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Posts Tagged ‘A Procrustean Bed’

FOSTA’s real purpose is making it easier to file lawsuits against online companies, while politicians pat themselves on the back.  –  Ron Wyden

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

A documentary glorifies the prohibitionist shitshow that is New York’s “sex trafficking court”:

…Judge Toko Serita…presides over Queens’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court…where she processes women who have been arrested on charges of prostitution…The women…are offered a choice:  Instead of [being given constitutional due process]…they can [submit to]…a set number of [brainwashing] sessions.  If, in six months, they have not been arrested again, the charges are dropped and the case is sealed…about 80 percent of the women take the [brainwashing] option…[less] than victims, Serita sees them first and foremost as…[objects to be processed.  Filmmaker Stephanie] Wang-Breal…says…in the film’s notes: “Who am I to say she doesn’t have agency, who am I to say what she should be doing with her life?” [and yet she glorifies this grotesque denial of women’s agency anyway]…

Nobody involved in producing this mess stopped to question the court’s assumption that human beings are mere objects to be “processed”.  You know, like in a food processor.

All Shapes and Sizes (#521)

This procedure has come a long way in only three years:

Doctors in the US have performed the world’s first complete penis and scrotum transplant on a former soldier who had his genitals blown off after stepping on a hidden bomb while on tour in the Middle East.  The 14-hour operation performed last month at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, was the most complex and extensive penis transplant ever attempted…The young [man]…received an entire penis, scrotum (without testicles), and partial abdominal wall from a deceased donor…It took a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urology surgeons…The surgery took place on March 26 and nearly a month on doctors seem confident of its success but will continue to monitor the patient’s recovery…

Shame, Shame (#649)

My friend Mark Bennett takes down Texas’ overbroad and mindlessly-draconian “revenge porn” law:

Mark Bennett, the Texas Tornado, took another law down for violating the First Amendment.  This time, it was…the so-called “revenge porn” law.  In Ex parte Jones, the 12th District Court of Appeals…held that the statute was facially unconstitutional.  As has been argued from the day Mary Anne Franks began her efforts to create a criminal revenge porn statute, it clearly implicated the First Amendment’s prohibition against laws infringing on free expression, to which she merely screamed her denials and did her best to deflect by creating a fantasy interpretation of the First Amendment…The State argues…relying upon Franks’ and Danielle Citron’s “legal” arguments…that [such images fall] within a new concept of obscenity, “contextually obscene”.  Except there is no such category outside of their imaginations, nor can anything be found obscene except by a jury…the court noted that the law failed to make any effort to narrow its prohibitions, which was a fundamental tenet of the Franks approach to criminalizing revenge porn lest anyone get away with it…

The Peril 

The hypocrisy of politicians sometimes defies belief:

Jack Johnson…became the first black heavyweight boxing champion after defeating Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, in 1908.  Two years later, he defended his title against boxer James J. “Jim” Jeffries, who…was referred to as the “great white hope” by racist…fans who wanted him to…take back the heavyweight crown for whites…Jeffries lost the fight…[but] what racism could not do to Johnson in the boxing ring, it found other ways to accomplish.  Johnson was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act…the Justice Department…argued that Johnson’s relationship with a white woman was a “crime against nature”…criminalization of sex work in the US is rooted in racism, and modern campaigns do little to mask that lineage…The “white slavery” campaign of the early 1900’s…led directly to the enactment of the federal Mann Act, (a.k.a. the White Slave Traffic Act), in 1910.  “[O]nce prohibition of sex work was in place,” writer Maggie McNeill has noted, “it was enforced disproportionately against poor people and ethnic minorities, especially black people, just as all prohibitionist laws are.”  As Andrew Glass wrote for Politico, the first person prosecuted under the Mann Act…was Jack Johnson…That Donald Trump should look to a pardon for Johnson in the same month he signed…FOSTA…into law, is bitterly ironic…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#666) 

Lewis & her friends are naive fools; what they’re asking for is legalization & protectionism, and they’re not going to like it if they get it:

New Zealand sex workers are furious that foreign prostitutes who come on temporary visas can advertise their services here despite it being illegal for them to work.  High profile escort Lisa Lewis is one of several who have taken their complaints to Immigration New Zealand…calling for a harsher stance against migrant sex workers…She wants INZ to shift its focus from just deporting migrant sex workers to punish [advertising venues] that profit from helping the promotion of these illegal sex workers.  Lewis said the increase in number of foreign prostitutes coming over has hit local sex workers in the pocket…

Permanent Record

Note that other states have similar (if less broad) laws, and that the tendency toward such penalties is increasing:

Currently in both Maryland and Tennessee, a criminal past — or even just being accused of a crime — often stands between people and a job.  This is because many occupational licensing laws prevent ex-offenders from being able to obtain a license for the jobs they seek…these restrictions aren’t targeted at people whose criminal history relates to their desired career; instead, they can serve as blanket bans for those hoping to enter hundreds of professions including plumbing, cosmetology and interior design.  By prohibiting wide swaths of people from licensure, these boards aren’t protecting health and safety — they’re just making it more likely these individuals will remain unemployed and unable to support themselves or their families…in some cases, people need only to be accused of a crime — not even convicted of it — for the board to deny them a license.  Many of these bans are also permanent…In one instance in Tennessee…a woman convicted for prostitution over a decade ago learned she couldn’t become a radiation therapist…

I’m going to start using this heading for the many cases of people who lose their jobs due to a history of sex work; they currently appear under the overbroad “First They Came for the Hookers…”

All-Purpose Excuse (#794)

In this confused mess, a lawyer complains that anti-immigrant actions “hurt efforts to stop human trafficking”, even though “human trafficking” is a dysphemism used to demonize immigration:

If Trump truly cared about victims of human trafficking, he would put an end to his ongoing assault on immigrants.  Statistics on the number of victims of human trafficking are notoriously unreliable because of widespread [ov]erreporting…Since Trump assumed the presidency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has used the fight against human trafficking as justification for its crackdown on undocumented immigrants.  ICE arrests have surged by more than 40 percent…[which] has aggravated the fear of coming forward among undocumented victims of human trafficking, undermining the U.S. government’s own efforts to tackle the problem…

In other words, “Trump’s crackdown on migration is interfering with existing attempts to prevent migration”.

Disaster

Here’s another article about FOSTA, which despite many good points expended so much effort in licking prohibitionist arseholes it nearly made me vomit.  Since there are plenty of good articles which denounce censorship and promote human rights without sucking the dick of power, there’s not a lot of reason to bother with this one; however, if you feel compelled you’ll see this “journalist” ceding ground to prohibitionists and otherwise making ignorant, unhelpful statements all over the place.  It starts in the lede, which proclaims that FOSTA was “a rare moment of bipartisan agreement”, a deeply stupid statements which ignores that the two main US parties have never disagreed on prohibition as a principle at any point in the past century, and that literally every single anti-sex work bill of the past two decades has had nearly-unanimous bipartisan support.  The article misstates the case against Backpage, repeats prohibitionist lies, characterizes third parties as “pimps & traffickers”, downplays the breadth of opposition to internet censorship with phrases like “some argue”, and even claims that “FOSTA was pitched with a very specific (and noble) goal in mind”; apparently author Kate Knibbs believes that censorship, denial of human rights, and negating the agency and consent of half a million women are “noble”.  I certainly don’t.

This Means War (#830) 

Megalomaniacal US rulers believe they have the right to disrupt the lives of millions all over the world:

Before New Zealand Cracker – a classifieds website used by sex workers – was shut down by the FBI, Wellington woman Sarah (not her real name) says she received at least five enquiries from clients each day.  Now, she is lucky to receive two a week through other advertising platforms.  “It has totally ruined our lives”…the FBI seiz[ure of]…Backpage.com…[has produced] a global and profound disruption of the sex work industry, including in countries like New Zealand, where prostitution is legal.  New Zealand Cracker was one of the many subsidiary sites Backpage.com hosted around the world.  For more than a decade it was at the heart of New Zealand’s sex work industry – offering businesses and sex workers a cheap, effective way of connecting with clients.  Its closure has, without warning, taken livelihoods away, leaving workers without the resources to operate their businesses or, in some cases, survive…

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Predicating [the] entire argument on [sex workers] being victims…[is] increasing victimization.  –  Kate D’Adamo

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

The claim that “child sex trafficking” makes more money than pharmaceuticals, food, tourism, insurance, electronics & others is so absurd it defies sanity:

Texas has ranked number two in the nation, behind California, in reported trafficking cases…Lisa…with Harvest House [has the fucking nerve to pretend she needs anonymity as sex workers do because of the criminalization she promotes]…Lisa [tells masturbatory fantasies about “pimps” abducting girls off the street] and [fantasizes]…“In seven years…You’re so diseased that they don’t need you anymore.  The life expectancy of a trafficked victim is seven to ten years…Child sex trafficking…is the number two money maker in the entire world”…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

[New York City] bartenders are now competing with the strippers…[by] wearing provocative clothing and doing a little shake…they’re distracting patrons from the actual strippers on stage who are much more athletic, more trained and who are doing the job which they were hired to do.  Furthermore, as people who rely on patrons spending money on them, men giving it to the bartenders, who are already being paid and tipped for their service, is taking money out of their pockets…the bartenders are often lighter skinned women who are either racially ambiguous and not Black.  Colorism has affected virtually every other industry, it only makes sense it would show up in the adult entertainment world as well…

So Close and Yet So Far

If you want to write an article supporting sex workers, is it so hard to fucking talk to one of us first so you don’t write stupid garbage?

Laws that prohibit prostitution should be declared unconstitutional…In 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a Texas law that made it a crime for consenting adults to engage in private, consensual…sexual activity…Lawrence recognized the importance of sexual activity as an essential part of liberty and explicitly rejected Texas’ argument that it could make a moral judgment that homosexual activity was wrong…This same reasoning explains why laws that prohibit prostitution are unconstitutional.  They, too, restrict what consenting adults do in their bedrooms…For some people, purchasing sex is their only way to engage in sexual activity…If prostitution were legal, it could be regulated.  There could be required health check-ups, protecting health for sellers and buyers.  Trafficking is an enormous problem…Other countries’ experience shows legalization is preferable…There are mandatory inspections…

If this dimwit had bothered to actually do some research he would’ve learned that NOBODY who has actually studied the issue wants legalization, which is just a form of criminalization that creates a two-tiered system because over 90% of sex workers refuse to be monitored like criminals, subjected to insulting “inspections” while amateurs run around spreading STIs, etc.

Uncharted Seas

Though it’s good to see more talk of legalizing polygamy, it’s sad that people are so conformist they feel they need to justify it with “feminism” instead of simply respecting people’s right to make their own choices:

…I am suggesting that polygyny — when a man has multiple wives — might be the answer as long as we see it through a feminist slant…We’re always hearing about a lack of marriageable men…the lack…isn’t just about well-employed college-educated men; it’s that…there may be fewer [“egalitarian”] men around than there are women wanting those kind of men…There are more than a few upsides to a polygamous arrangement that women enter into freely and willingly because it suits their needs…

Skin To Skin

There can never be too many articles on sex workers for the disabled:

…”people with disabilities…feel…really lonely and alienated, as though their sexuality doesn’t get to exist,” said Heather Jarvis of the Safe Harbour Outreach Project…some sex workers refuse to take clients with disabilities, because they…are afraid they’ll inadvertently hurt the client…[but in general] sex workers…mak[e a big difference] in the lives of clients with disabilities…a lot of it is non-judgmental communication…and…plain old companionship…

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

It’s never called “trafficking” when the government or a crony does it:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma is suing to stop the state’s courts from sending people to “an unpaid labor camp disguised as a rehabilitation center.”  The suit accuses the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program (DARP) of federal labor violations and human trafficking…Participants…were told the program would be focused on counseling and addiction recovery.  “Instead, these plaintiffs were forced into a human trafficking scheme and remained under threat of prison sentences if they did not…provid[e] hundreds or thousands of hours of unpaid labor to…private corporations, doing such work as welding, plastic product manufacturing, and chicken processing”…any pay they earned from the companies went to DARP…they were fed one bologna sandwich and a Little Debbie cake for lunch and were often expected to make do on that for their entire 12-hour shift of manual labor; and that they were forced to sleep in bedbug-invested barracks and fed chicken from the plant that was unfit to sell…

New Excuse

Sometimes the War on Whores is the War on Drugs rather than its successor:

In Louisiana [last] week, the FBI helped arrest—and publicly ridicule—57 men who responded to fake (adult) prostitution ads.  Meanwhile in North Carolina, DHS has pitched in to help round-up people with small amounts of marijuana or cocaine on them.  Local media described the DHS efforts as a “human trafficking case.”  But the only offenses any suspects were arrested for were drug possession, driving with a revoked license, and parole violations—all state-level offenses, and mostly misdemeanors…no human-trafficking arrests, no children were found, and no victims of sex trafficking were rescued…

End Demand (#574)

It’s good to see articles critical of the “john school” scam appearing in trade publications:

…According to [Tennessee Assistant District Attorney Tammy] Meade, sex workers are women who lack control — women who are exploited by men — rather than women who make an informed, conscious choice to engage in the sex industry…John school is painted as a win-win for men and women alike…However…these programs, along with the narratives of victimization they perpetuate…harm women far more than they help.  The premise of john school and cracking down on “demand” is still driven by the idea that sex work needs to be policed in the first place, which creates barriers to safety and exacerbates stigma…and…there is no evidence to suggest that john schools actually decrease trafficking or prostitution.  Meanwhile, the classes fail to provide concrete resources — such as housing or access to childcare — and alternative job opportunities for the women they are [pre]tended to help…

Soap Opera (#628) 

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

…Women and children are bought and sold every day in Fresno – online, in street corners, while at school.  They are raped, branded and beaten…Human trafficking casts a shadow on the central San Joaquin Valley, with thousands of victims both female and male, young and old, rich and poor, white, black, Hispanic, Asian.  It’s an industry that thrives on targeting your children.  And…it’s getting worse…High poverty and runaway rates contribute to the problem, as does Fresno’s central location between human trafficking hubs in the Bay Area, Southern California and Las Vegas…

Man, I can practically hear this guy’s fapping to his nasty fantasy; it’s really quite disgusting.

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of politicians:

…RISE Court, which stands for Resiliency Is Strength and Empowerment…participa[nts] are expected to make their first appearances before San Diego Superior Court Judge Carolyn Caietti…“A lot of kids have this horrible, nightmarish existence, and it’s going to take a lot [of punitive state action] to get them back so they’re going to feel [docile & obedient]” said Robert Trentacosta, presiding judge for the Juvenile Court…The special court is the county’s latest weapon against human trafficking…The court is modeled after a mental health court already in operation…as well as got input [sic] from [prohibitionists]…Trentacosta [masturbated furtively while fantasizing that]…“girls…are so fearful of their pimp [we have to brainwash them]”…[imprisonment] doesn’t necessarily [end] once they turn 18 [and could be indefinite]…

Too Close To Home (#701) 

Seattle’s rapist-in-chief has gone from slandering his victims as mentally ill to actually suing them:

King County Sheriff John Urquhart has filed a defamation lawsuit after a former deputy came forward with [a report] that Urquhart sexually assaulted him in 2014 outside of a Renton restaurant.  Brian Barnes…[reported that] Urquhart touched his crotch outside of the Yankee Grill after the two met for dinner…[local media claimed] Barnes [has]…a long history of…filing complaints and grievances against his superiors…Urquhart…[whose job is to terrorize the citizenry, un-ironically bloviated that] “Barnes has been terrorizing people…he doesn’t like for far too long.  It’s time for Barnes to be held responsible for his actions”…

Capricious Lusts (#720)

Another study shows what’s already been shown over & over again:

A new paper in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy by Bisschop, Kastoryano, and van der Klaauw looks at the opening and closing of…tippelzones…in 25 Dutch cities.  “Our empirical results show that opening a tippelzone reduces sexual abuse and rape…by a 30–40 percent reduction in the first two years after opening the tippelzone”…Cunningham and Shah studied decriminalization of indoor prostitution in Rhode Island and found very similar results…In addition a working paper by Riccardo Ciacci and María Micaela Sviatschi studies prostitution in New York and also finds that prostitution significantly reduces sex crimes such as rape…

Between the Lines (#784)

It’s mildly amusing to watch a self-declared “sex trafficking expert” fail to comprehend that the reason the conviction rate for “pimps” is so low is that the FBI & cops are mostly just making up lies about sex workers and our friends, associates and partners:

In the latest nationwide human trafficking sting known as Operation Cross Country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation [labeled] 120 [people as] child sex traffickers and [arrested or abducted] 84 [legal minors]…behind the headlines, the reality is much different than what the public is led to believe….[people] arrested [as] human traffickers are rarely convicted for these crimes.  Charges are often dropped [for lack of evidence] or offenders accept plea bargains…one [so-called]…rescue…victim…was placed in a juvenile detention center, where she was sodomized by two inmates with a toothpaste tube.  She was later held in detention as a material witness until she gave her testimony at trial.  Therapy was not provided because “she didn’t avail herself”…Stories of arrests are quickly shared with the media, leading [self-professed “experts”]…to…be[lieve]…in…a…human trafficking scourge…

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Prostitution is that it is one of the few remaining areas of public legislation which is based almost entirely on private morality.  –  Ian O’Doherty

The Scarlet Letter

Interesting how these “experts” don’t criticize “john shaming” when cops & politicians do it:

[Ohio busybodies have]…created a website…where residents can share pictures of men who pick up prostitutes in the area…the site’s creator…[hypocritically] wants to remain anonymous.  He says they are hoping that by exposing “Johns,” the men, the prostitutes and the drug dealers will stay away from their neighborhoods…Law experts…warn there’s evidence that shaming criminals doesn’t stop them from committing crimes.  Instead, they say it often angers them and motivates additional criminal behavior.

Profanation Rural Beauty

A fascinating article on the slow decline of the devadasis in Indian society:

…There was a time when the prostitute was celebrated.  The most beautiful woman in the city was not allowed to marry.  She became the city-bride (nagar-vadhu). She was allowed to choose a lover, but not restrict herself to one…We hear of…courtesans in ancient Hindu, Buddhist and Jain literature.  Known as ganikas, they lived independent lives…In time, these ganikas came to be attached to temples.  They became wives of the enshrined deities, who never get widowed, and who loved all men as containers of the divine seed.  These were the devadasis.  Their images inspired the carvings of beautiful women on temple walls.  They challenged the old monastic orders.  They were part of temple rituals.  But eventually, the priests and the monks stripped the devadasi of her independence and her agency.  Slowly, she was answerable to the men in positions of power…If not attached to a temple, the woman who sold pleasure for a fee became part of a king or nawab’s court, or a community to entertainers, the nats…In a feudal society, that looked down on trade and commerce, that created hierarchy based on purity of vocations, and gender, she was clearly at the bottom.  What little agency she had was taken away from her, first by colonial administrators and later by puritanical freedom fighters, who modelled themselves on monks of yore…

Saving Them From Themselves

If your reason for warning people against a consensual act is that they could face criminal charges, the problem is with the laws, not the act:

The Mexican government has teamed up with several children’s rights organizations to launch a nationwide campaign against “sexting”…The…campaign…has triggered a debate between government officials and internet rights NGOs on whether the practice leads to so-called “sextortion”…and “revenge porn”…the campaign…[is] overly “paternalistic” while laying out a “prohibitionist” strategy…[officials warn] sexting involving minors may be classified as child pornography and can therefore be punishable with up to 7 to 12 years of jail time…The Network in Defense of Digital Rights (R3D) have criticized the anti-sexting campaign for supposedly framing the practice as a “moral problem” while reflecting a “reduced vision of sexuality and its free exercise”…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now 

I’d normally file this one under “Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through“, but this feisty old dude clearly did think it through; he just isn’t afraid of the cops and their stupid shaming tactics:

A 90-year-old man was arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute…Nicholas Salerno of Dennis Port [Massachusetts] paid a local woman $100 [for at outcall] in June…[but] noticed a necklace missing after the woman used a bathroom in his home.  He reported the theft to police, who informed Salerno that he would be charged with soliciting a prostitute.  “I don’t give a [fuck].  I’m 90 years old,” Salerno told officers…The woman, later identified as 48-year-old Karen Proia, was charged with larceny and prostitution…

The Widening Gyre

This unsupported and hysterical assertion reeks of racism:

The trafficking of Nigerian women from Libya to Italy by boat is reaching “crisis” levels, with traffickers using migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution across Europe, the UN’s International Office for Migration (IOM) warns…More than 80% of these women will be trafficked into prostitution…[fantasized] Simona Moscarelli, [prohibitionist propagandist] at the IOM.  “Our indicators are the majority of these women are being deliberately brought in for sexual exploitation purposes.  There has been a big enhancement of criminal gangs and trafficking networks engaging in the sexual exploitation of younger and younger Nigerian girls”…Nigerian women who are entering Italy among migrants on boats from Libya should be immediately…treated as trafficking victims.  Instead of being processed in reception centres, they should be [locked up and brainwashed]…she said…

Gingerbread House

“Secure unit” = “prison”.  Because female sexual “purity” trumps individual rights:

A 16 year old girl who is at high risk of being sexually exploited by men requires to be placed in a secure unit for troubled teenagers, the High Court has heard…the girl had a history of drug and alcohol taking and had been seen in the company of older men as well as getting into cars with different men.  Both her father and those [guarding] her [for the state] had reported the teenager at times having been in possession of relatively large amounts of cash, the source of which she would not reveal and which could not be ascertained…the Child and Family Agency had secured a temporary High Court order allowing it to [imprison] the girl…in a secure unit for troubled girls under 18…the girl had a history of absconding, initially from her family home and then from where she had been [confined] by the Agency…She had refused to fully engage with social workers or avail of counselling services…there were serious concerns about being vulnerable to sexual exploitation…

The Course of a Disease (#510)

Ian O’Doherty with another denunciation of prohibition in Ireland:

…The reality, for anyone who has ever bothered to listen to prostitutes rather than merely lecture them on their moral failings, is that they are like everyone else – they want to be left alone to conduct their business in safety but that safety can never be guaranteed when the participants are automatically criminalised.  But even taking into account the rights or wrongs of the arguments in favour of legalisation, there is one major point which nobody wants to accept – it’s simply nobody else’s business…Even if you removed all the reasons for objection; even if you stopped all trafficking and ensured that all sex workers loved their job and were friends with the clients, the likes of Ruhama would never support it because of their moral judgment…

Moving Pictures 

“Sex trafficking” may be the first truly global moral panic:

Not My Life…is [an] Oscar-nominated film [about] the hidden international industry of human slavery…initially commissioned by Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime…How accountable are traffickers in Argentina?  According to the US State Department…“Argentina is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.  Argentine women and children, including many from rural areas or northern provinces, are forced into prostitution within the country”…

Welcome to the Future (#587)

It looks like the cops in Northern Ireland are gaining confidence in the prohibitionists’ ability to stall Laura Lee’s challenge to the Swedish model:

The PSNI has arrested six men suspected of buying sex and passed files on a total of 10 men to the Public Prosecution Service…In November the PSNI said that despite making two arrests it had decided not to seek prosecutions – for an unspecified period – in order to “allow time for understanding and awareness” of the new law…Solicitor Ciarán Moynagh, who is representing sex worker Laura Lee in her legal challenge against the new law, said the 10 referrals to the PPS show that the police had insufficient evidence to achieve an overnight charge or standard 28-day charge to court.  “It will be interesting to see whether charges ever arise and if so what type of evidence supports the case,” he added…The PSNI Human Trafficking Unit screened 252 people for trafficking in 2015/16 and recovered 59 potential victims…

“Recovered” is a euphemism for “arrested”.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#630) 

“Sex addiction” is now being used as a defense even for violent sex offenders:

An Army medic charged in his wife’s death will spend over two years in prison after being court-martialed for possessing child pornography and soliciting payment for sex.  Michael Walker pleaded guilty…to solicitation and not guilty to possession of child pornography…Walker said in court that he placed advertisements in September 2014 and was paid for sex multiple times…Defense attorneys argued pornographic images and videos of children found on Walker’s computer were dumped there in a massive file transfer.  They say prosecutors did not prove Walker was the person who accessed the files.  An attorney pushed for leniency, saying Walker is seeking sex addiction treatment…[he] was indicted in November on charges of aiding and abetting and conspiring to commit first-degree murder.  He faces a January trial in civilian court.

One Born Every Minute (#645) Matt Hickey screenshot 8-8-16 at 11.11 AM

Here’s Sydney Brownstone with an update on a sleazy rapist:

…Matt Hickey, the Seattle-based tech journalist recently accused by multiple women of rape and posing as a female porn recruiter online, put out a call [on FetLife] for “sluts” in Las Vegas who are into “being naked, drinking booze, and having fun”…[Hickey, whose FetLife handle is]…4eyez…[said he’s] “going to be living in Vegas for the next few months doing some research”…Hickey…[confirmed via text] that he is…the 4eyez account…[which has since] been deactivated or removed from the site.

Still a Child (#646) 

Louisiana politicians destroy the jobs of scores of women with the stroke of a pen.  To “protect” them, of course:

When a state law banning exotic dancers under 21 was passed, many believed some of the ones already performing at strip clubs would be grandfathered into the law…But state police [decided] that will not happen.  Dancers under 21 have until Oct. 1 to get offstage.  State troopers met with club managers [to threaten them]…If club owners are found with dancers under 21, penalties are strict…[politicians pretend] the move will ultimately reduce human trafficking and drug and alcohol abuse…Police [pretend] an undercover sting is something they want to avoid doing, but would go that route if a club is in violation.

A Procrustean Bed (#661)

Prosecutors claim that sex workers are both victims and criminals simultaneously:

Under California law, anyone under age 18 who is engaged in prostitution is considered a sex-trafficking victim, regardless of whether any force or coercion is involved.  Yet teens in the sex trade can also be charged under state law with committing prostitution.  California legislators are trying to change this…but the measure has run into opposition from law enforcement officials, who say that arresting victims is integral to saving them…the California District Attorneys Association, which says that without the threat of criminal sanctions, victims won’t have enough incentive to testify against people the state would like to lock-up as pimps…

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It’s easy to see sex traffickers everywhere when you define all sex workers as victims.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Check Your Premises

Once again, Liz Brown exposes the tyranny of “fighting sex trafficking”:

Here’s a good example out of El Paso about the way America’s fight against “child sex trafficking” works in practice…two girls—one 15 and one 17—had sex with clients for money, and the boy, who is 18, rented the hotel room in his name and acted as security.  Now he’s locked up on child sex-trafficking charges…Edeme Missiadan…and the two girls…”Lexi” and “Natalia,” are from Phoenix.  One of the girls was dating Missiadan’s brother…and…planned to come to El Paso by herself to work, but Missiadan didn’t want her to go “without protection”…literally anything that makes sex workers safer is considered to be sex trafficking.  Bring along a bodyguard?  He’s a sex trafficker.  Have a friend drive you to a client and wait outside?  She’s a sex trafficker.  Use a booker or escort agency to screen clients?  They’re sex traffickers!  Search for clients via online ads instead of on the streets?  The Internet is a sex trafficker!…People hate the idea that innocent young things might actually choose to sell sex on their own accord.  But some do.  And…treating anyone who assists them in any way—including other teenagers—like a serious criminal doesn’t help anyone…

Public Service Announcement 

Are politicians actually stupider than other people, or does it just seem that way?

Amid allegations that he shared sexually explicit video of himself via his state computer, [Nebraska state] Sen. Bill Kintner appears to have been snagged by a well-documented internet scam.  Since at least 2013, international media outlets and  government agencies have warned people against engaging in nude or sexual live video chats with online strangers who could later use them for blackmail…

Shift in the Wind

Another health organization issues a pro-decrim report:

A report by the Centre for Health and Gender Equity (Change) explores the many barriers to health and rights that female sex workers face.  The report highlights evidence that laws criminalising sex work put female sex workers at disproportionately high risk of harassment and violence by police, clients and intimate partners.  Criminalisation also encourages female sex workers to move their work “underground” where they have less control of their working conditions, including condom use and client screening, and are less able to access essential health services…Based on Change’s examination of peer-reviewed articles and extensive interviews with practitioners and advocates, the report concludes that decriminalisation of sex work is necessary for female sex workers to fully realise their rights and is necessary for an effective global HIV response…

So Close and Yet So Far

You’re supposed to be a libertarian, Gary; this ain’t rocket science:

In a CNN town hall…Anderson Cooper asked Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson whether he supported the decriminalization of prostitution.  In a somewhat muddled answer, Johnson said he would leave it up to individual states and applauded the system in…Nevada…There are so many easy libertarian answers on this one—that there’s no place for the state in consenting sexual relationships between adults; that prostitution prohibition creates many of the same harms we saw with alcohol and drug prohibition…it was disappointing that Johnson appeared to be caught off-guard by the question and seemed visibly uncomfortable with the topic.  But his answer, while not perfect, may have been forgivable had Cooper not pressed him: “Is prostitution a victimless crime?”  Johnson responded that currently, “the victims are the prostitutes”…here I thought totally denying women’s agency was the purview of Democrats and Republicans…I reached out to the Johnson campaign for clarification, and received an answer from its communication director, Joe Hunter…All he would say about what Johnson meant last night was this: “In an illegal environment, prostitutes are at risk.”  It’s not much, but it suggests that Johnson believes the victimhood he attributed to sex workers stems from the illegal nature of prostitution, not that he thinks anyone selling sexual services must be doing so unwillingly.

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

A missing 12-year-old San Antonio girl has been found alive…On June 20, she was outside her home listening to music when she disappeared…no one knew her whereabouts until two weeks ago when she texted her family…Authorities tracked the girl down to a hotel near Nashville.  She was with 36-year-old Tavarie Anthony Williams…[who] has since been arrested, accused of pimping her out and holding her against her will…Williams…[supposedly] offered her a ride home, but drove her to Tennessee instead…“Her mother may have had a role in all this, but it’s still too soon to say,” [cop] spokesman James Keith said…It could be many weeks before the girl returns to San Antonio.  She’s with a foster family, in therapy, but in constant communication with the grandfather…

Williams “offered her a ride home” from her own front yard, where she was listening to music?  And if she had a cell phone, why wait two weeks to text?  This story stinks on ice.

Under Every Bed

Just imagine how far $100,000 could’ve gone toward providing services; instead, it’s used to spread lies:

WEST NC, a new, two-year project to end sex trafficking in five mountain counties, aims to educate the public and service providers…A $100,000 grant from the Women for Women giving circle is funding WEST NC through Our VOICE…Angelica Wind…says the big “goal is to end human trafficking in this area…people are really surprised that human trafficking happens in Asheville”…trafficking often occurs in wealthy or relatively wealthy areas where there’s demand, along with access to major highways and an airport…“Where there are sex workers, there’s also human trafficking”…Nearby major metro areas — Atlanta and Charlotte — have seen significant increases in human trafficking in recent years…

The End of the Beginning

Nearly all “sex offender” laws are this unconstitutionally overbroad:

Sex offenders in Illinois are challenging the state law that bans them from entering parks, schools, places providing services for kids, and even “holiday events involving children”…the rules are so vague that they can’t always tell if or when they are breaking the law.  For instance, if a sex offender plays a round of golf on a municipal course—a solitary, adult activity—is that legal (because kids aren’t around) or illegal (because it’s on parks department land, and therefore a park)?…one of the plaintiffs…would like to visit his granddaughter, but she lives within 500 feet of her subdivision’s playground.  Is it legal for him to see her at her home?  “State police told him he was allowed to visit as long as he walked straight from his car and back — but the local cops said he wasn’t allowed to be there at all“…

Drawing Lines

Not a bad introduction to the concept of whorearchy:

…many sex workers look…down on others with “lesser” jobs.  This hierarchy [isn’t] based on money.  If anything, the highest earners [are] often looked down upon…many individuals choose to work as pro-dominatrixes or dancers “because they don’t have sex, give blowjobs, or exchange body fluids.  They feel superior to those who do.  They use contact as a meter”…A few strippers told me they didn’t think stripping was sex work at all, since they didn’t have to touch any of their clients…This is underscored by the legal boundaries, which are more permissive toward no-contact activities (like stripping) than high-contact activities (like prostitution)…Other sex workers [are] less judgmental about physical contact and instead prioritise…enjoyment of their work…A porn producer, cam girl, and stripper…each told me that the people they admire most in their industry are those who “really love what they do” or are sex workers because “it’s something they’ve always wanted to do”…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#526) 

Despite its appearance in a rag like Rolling Stone, this is an excellent article:

…a Wisconsin appeals court upheld a decision to try…as adults…two girls [who] admitted as 12-year-olds in 2014 to having stabbed their friend in order to please “Slender Man,” an Internet horror meme.  (The victim luckily crawled to safety and survived.)  The decision to try two children as adults – two children immature and mentally ill enough to believe in the literal existence of a fictional character – may seem inappropriate, to put it mildly.  But legally it’s a viable one – thanks to a terrible Wisconsin law with analogues in many other states…Morgan Geyser, who wielded the knife, has since been diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia…Anissa Weier [was diagnosed] with a delusional disorder and schizotypy…after the two stabbed their friend, they set off to find Slender Man in a forest 300 miles away – on foot.  Mental health professionals testified that Geyser still believes Slender Man is real…The Wisconsin code…is designed to keep cases where the alleged offense is particularly heinous in adult court – which doesn’t make much sense.  The egregiousness of a crime is not evidence of some maturity or self-control that could justify treating a child like an adult.  It’s irrational to say children don’t really choose to commit bad acts except when those acts are really shocking…

Turning Point

More and more groups are speaking up in favor of sex work decriminalization:

It’s a big day for the new civil rights movement known as Black Lives Matter.  Up until now, the movement had famously opted to forgo hierarchies in favor of a diffuse coalition that more resembled Occupy Wall Street than, say, the ‘60s-era Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.  The movement’s decentralized approach has been criticized in the past, and its activists have butted heads with both civil rights leaders and the Obama administration. But on [August 1st]  Black Lives Matter made a decision to be a movement with a plan, a platform, and concrete demands.  In a statement released by more than 30 organizations (and endorsed by an additional 50), BLM released six platform demands and “key solutions”—a list of more than 40 policy recommendations, including…an immediate and retroactive decriminalization of drug and sex-work offenses…

Uncommon Sense (#650)

How does this dude think he’ll get around UK brothel & avails laws?

A company plans to set up a “fellatio café” in central London where customers receive oral sex while having a cappuccino.  Bradley Charvet…is already planning a branch in Geneva to open this December…the business would be like a “normal café” where up to 100 customers can sit and drink a coffee – but also be given oral sex by an escort.  Modelled on similar businesses in Thailand, the idea has already sparked uproar in Switzerland…Westminster City Council has indicated to the Standard that such a venue would not be able to get a licence and it has also been slammed by a leading womens’ rights group.  It could also fall foul of the law as, in Great Britain, prostitution is not illegal but running or owning a brothel or pimping are considered crimes…

A bit of hair-splitting:  a sex worker who sells blow jobs but doesn’t otherwise interact with her client isn’t an escort.

Cooties (#650)

Being a “legal” sex worker doesn’t protect you, so stop your bootlicking & join your sisters in the fight:

…The work [Arianna] Travaglini does is legal, and she…didn’t work out of the Airbnbs she rented.  She claims she “never had a single problem” with Airbnb until she realized she was banned while trying to book a trip to Baltimore and Washington, D.C, where she would teach sex-ed workshops…The email she received…is a form letter, basically identical to one Airbnb sent professional dominatrix and porn performer Julie Simone in March.  Simone faced almost the same problem with Airbnb, receiving a swift ban without explanation shortly after signing up…Asked…whether Airbnb has a policy on sex work, legal or otherwise, a spokesman for Airbnb didn’t elaborate much. “Prostitution is not allowed and we are constantly reviewing the platform to be sure any activity in the listing is in line with what hosts would be ok with in their home,” a spokesperson explained…the reality is that people are going to have sex in Airbnbs, especially if you’re renting to a couple.  It’s even possible that, *gasp,* some will bring a new friend back to an Airbnb for sex…

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of politicians:

…More than 30 bills this legislative session alone have attempted to combat a multibillion-dollar industry that now operates as much online, if not more, as it does on the streets.  But much of the legislation, still pending as lawmakers return to Sacramento for their final month of deliberations, varies in its approach to the problem…The proposals run the gamut, from providing protections for human trafficking victims in court to enhancing penalties for sex buyers…one…bill…would allow the seizure and impoundment of a vehicle used in the solicitation of prostitution…opponents are concerned some of the laws could lead to unconstitutional seizures and violations of defendants’ rights…[pigs lust for] the authority to arrest minors to hold them in secure facilities, where they can be [forced to accept “services”]…

A lot of bullshit numbers are repeated, and one prohibitionist in the story says, “I don’t think this is the end of the road, but we are in a precipice of sea change with how we deal with human trafficking…” Holy mixed metaphors, Batman!

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Anti-prostitution advocates…incorrectly portray the global sex workers’ rights movement as dominated by Western, white, middle-class, cisgender women…as a way of dismissing the movement as “non-representative.”  –  Chi Adanna Mgbako

License to Rape Joseph Stanton

Good riddance to bad rubbish:

Joseph Raymond Stanton…was arrested on June 29…[for] the rapes of two prostitutes and the attempted rape of a third…In each case…Stanton…passed himself off as a…[cop] and lured the victims to his car.  He then drove them to a secluded location and raped them.  One of the women was able to escape before he could [rape] her…Stanton posted bail and was released…the day after his release [cops] found him dead in what appeared to be a suicide…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying them fairly that isn’t:

Four Montreal police officers who work with informants have been arrested…Fayçal Djelidi…is facing nine charges, including perjury, attempting to obstruct justice, breach of trust by a public officer and obtaining sexual services for consideration…David Chartrand…was charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of attempting to obstruct justice…Two more officers were also arrested and are being questioned by Montreal police…Djelidi…is alleged to have communicated with unknown persons with the aim of procuring sexual services for himself in exchange for payment…

An Example To the West

Chi Adanna Mgbako on sex worker activism in Africa:

…In the past 10 years or so, sex worker activism has exploded throughout Africa, and there are now sex-worker-led organizations in African countries as diverse as Botswana, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and many more.  In Kenya alone, there are now over 80 sex-worker-led collectives.  All of these groups are advocating for their right to work, to access de-stigmatized health care, and to live free from violence and discrimination.  It’s also important to note that outside of formal civil society actors like sex-worker-led NGOs, sex workers informally organize and resist criminalization by supporting each other financially, socially, and emotionally in their local communities.  This informal activism is an indispensable part of movement building…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

Kate Iselin gets it, though four years after I did:

…The scenario that gives rise to the demand for android sex workers reads like a great big “told you so” fantasy of anyone involved in anti-sex work campaigning…It’s a creepy, shallow rendering of the nightmare portrait of sex work we’re too-often sold:  An industry that we worry dehumanises women can only be saved by, in this case, literally replacing humans with what amounts to an almost-sentient Fleshlight.  The idea that a robot brothel can solve all of our problems is naïve at best, and deeply ignorant at worst.  What assumptions does one need to make about our clients to suggest that they would be just as happy – or happier – penetrating chrome steel instead of receiving the touch of a human?…the “any hole’s a goal” mentality presumed in the [notion] overlooks the vast reasons one may have for seeing a sex worker: loneliness, curiosity, sexual or emotional unfulfilment, desire, the want for a certain skillset, or perhaps simply the need to be touched by a new and unfamiliar pair of hands…Plus, it’s telling – and hurtful – that little to no consideration is given to the skills of the sex worker.  I know myself and the service I provide well, and there is no possible way that the warmth of my body and the skill of my touch could be unnoticably replaced by an android…

Damned If You Don’t

But picket-fence queers say cops aren’t our enemies:

On July 4, police made sweeps and arrests at a gay beach in New York City, much to the surprise of beachgoers.  At the far corner of Jacob Riis Park—a gay beach that has been a notorious LGBT safe haven for decades…police descended unannounced…gay Brooklyn photographer Krys Fox…stood with a towel wrapped around his waist…Suddenly, the towel loosened and dropped.  Before Fox could refasten it around his waist, he was tackled to the ground by a squad of police.  Fox told the Daily Dot that police had dominated the gay beach all day—”on horses, in uniform, undercover”—and were “everywhere.”  But he didn’t expect to be arrested, he said, because he hadn’t done anything wrong…those who…were [there]…noted that police targeted the gay section of the beach specifically, stating that there were no police on the rest of the beach…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s kind of refreshing to read an article which portrays us as depraved monsters rather than pathetic victims:

…Police raided a Warsaw [Indiana] massage parlor…next door to Kevin Love’s home.  He said he knew something suspicious was happening for about three years now…The two women were arrested after police found evidence related to prostitution, tax evasion and corrupt business practices.  Love said he often saw two women walking around the neighborhood in the evening…”just like any normal person would get out and go for a walk”…Love…is just relieved it is over.  “There are children on back further in the neighborhood, and they don’t need to be around something like that,” he said…

Bait and Switch

One can always assume there’s a wide gap between what actually happened and what the cops claim happened:

Aren Lindquist…has been sentenced to 25 years at Montana State Prison with 20 years suspended…[he was tricked by a fake] online ad for an escort service called “Barely Legal 18.”  [Cops told] the respondents…that no 18-year-olds were available and they had the option of having sex with a 15-year-old or a 12-year-old…

Another Fine Mess

Reporters never get tired of pretending that ordinary sex work practices are new and novel:

…at least 60 prostitutes from China [are] advertising their services online and operating in condominiums and apartments in Geylang…Instead of relying on pimps and brothel keepers, the women post suggestive photos of themselves and ask those interested to contact them on mobile phones directly.  These freelance prostitutes enter Singapore on tourist visas and typically work for up to one month…

A Procrustean Bed (#440) Judge Paul Herbert

It’s enough to make one vomit:

…These weekly court sessions are the core of a special probation program for victims of sex trafficking in Columbus. [Judge] Herbert started the program—known as CATCH (Changing Attitudes to Change Habits)—in 2009.  Women arrested on prostitution charges in Columbus can opt into this program – where they get safe housing, counseling, and close supervision instead of jail time.  Nearly all are in recovery from addiction.  As he moves through the docket, Herbert calls each defendant by her first name…”He said we’re going to love you until you can love yourself. And…I see something in you that you can’t see yet”…

King of the Hill (#537)

It looks like they’ve scaled back the claims about Charlotte, North Carolina’s “hub” status, maybe because the kids they’re trying to scare with it are smarter than the adults who believe this crap:

Starting this fall, sex trafficking will be addressed in seventh and eighth-grade classrooms across Charlotte…Director of Present Age Ministries Hannah Arrowood [said] “Charlotte is actually the number one city in the state of North Carolina for human trafficking”…Five-hundred new ads are posted soliciting sex in Charlotte every day…many of the women in the ads are not women at all, but rather trafficked teenagers and young girls…forced to have sex with multiple men…

Checklist (#593)

Because there aren’t enough real “victims” to go around, the rescue industry creates fake ones:

Catherine Pisha…is…an actor learning how to portray a [stereotype of a] human trafficking victim.  Pisha works at the University of Vermont’s Clinical Simulation Lab…[and] helps health care professionals improve the quality of their care by being a human guinea pig…Edith Klimoski…writes the scripts for these actors…Studies show that anywhere between 50 percent and 80 percent of human trafficking victims will come in contact with someone in the medical community during the time they’re being trafficked…

The Public Eye (#609)

Laura Lee braves the hostile waters of Mumsnet:

…One of the most infuriating strands to the current feminist discourse around sex work is the assertion that we are abused, or even raped, every time we sell sex.  That statement is injurious and grossly insulting to those who have survived abuse and rape, and it also strips sex workers of our agency.  As much as we campaign for the right to say “yes”, we absolutely reserve the right to say “no”.  I detest the use of the word “empowerment” in any debate on sex work.  My job is no more empowering than anyone else’s; it allows me to support my family and pay my bills.  But as a community, there is no doubt that we are more empowered to say “no” when we are permitted to work together for safety…

Uncommon Sense (#619)

the upcoming German law…will enforce mandatory registration of sex workers nationwide.  The law pretends to fight human trafficking…Forced registration through obligatory counselling includes the evaluation of one’s mental status by a state authority and implies sex workers…are perceived as irresponsible, mentally incapable beings…Our very own whore ID will be a state-issued document including our picture; our profession (that is “prostitute”, as the word “sex worker” is a bit too modern for the German state), our real name and address…In order to get it we will be forced to visit a state body and undergo counselling…You read that right: a functionary will decide in a compulsory talk if you have the marbles in your brain to be a sex worker…

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Having your mugshot plastered to Facebook is not the best advertisement for employability.  –  Tana Ganeva

Gateway Corn on the Cop still

It’s always especially ludicrous when small-town police chiefs try to justify prostitution stings:

The city police department…is publicizing 14 arrests made in a recent prostitution sting to discourage the sex trade within Lebanon [New Hampshire]…“We hope this…sends a message,” Chief Richard Mello [oinked]…“When we post an ad, we are inundated with messages, to the point of it being ridiculous”…Deputy Chief Phil Roberts…[said] in June 2014 that prostitution hasn’t been a “significant” problem in the city…[but] Mello…[pretends] residents are negatively impacted by other behavior associated with prostitution…“It is not just about ‘Leave these adults alone’…there is a direct impact to our community.  Some people don’t understand that.”  Prostitution also is frequently linked to drug activity, he [grunted]…

I agree, Chief Porky; your cartoon police-state tactics are indeed ridiculous.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

Dude, seriously? $60 would’ve been a cheap price to pay for a lesson:

A man who was robbed at gunpoint in Greendale [Indiana] is being charged with Patronizing a Prostitute.  David Wayne Allen…told [cops] that he had met with Kyle W. Bernett…with the intent of paying Bernett for sex.  Allen called police after Bernett robbed him of $60…

Profit from Panic (#40)

Hey, kids! Fight “human trafficking” for fun and profit! Implicate your neighbors! Persecute sex workers! Win big prizes!

Concerned about the atrocities of human trafficking, a small group of Nevada County [California] women founded…“Good Women International” in 2013…Due to its proximity to Canada and Mexico, California is among the top five trafficking states in the country…Good Women International is launching a human trafficking prevention poster campaign…In 2012, the state of California passed a civil code requiring certain businesses to display a [propaganda] poster…When enforced, this law has proven to raise awareness and help law enforcement save enslaved individuals, [claimed] Joanna Britt [without any evidence whatsoever]…All posters will be displayed during a public reception…on Sept. 19, when prizes will be awarded for the top three posters chosen…“We do plan to follow up, to see if businesses are posting the information,” said Britt. “And we will report businesses not in compliance”…

“Due to its proximity to Canada and Mexico” has got to be the best “King of the Hill” excuse yet.  See also the next item below.

Under Every Bed

Marin County isn’t as small as most of the places I feature under this heading, but this is still patently absurd:

Authorities need to work together to crack down on a human sex trafficking problem in Marin that goes mostly unrecognized and underreported, according to [a bunch of self-important ignoramuses]…In a new report — “Marin’s Hidden Sex Trafficking Challenge: It’s Happening In Our Backyard” — the panel [claimed] that sex trafficking…is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world…at least 100,000 child victims…A pimp can earn $150,000 to $200,000 per child annually, exploiting an average of four to six girls per year…the sex-trafficking circuit has come to include Marin because of its proximity to San Francisco, which is one of the nation’s known hubs for the crime…Some Marin gangs have also incorporated sex trafficking into their repertoire because it is lucrative and there is a high demand…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#316)

Given that this campaign previously appeared with exactly the same propaganda & graphics in Chicago, and that both cities are part of the “CEASE Network“, a front for Swanee Hunt’s “Demand Abolition”, this has Hunt’s foul stench all over it:

…officials…launched a new [propaganda campaign] aimed at…shining a light on the realities of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in San Diego County…“The Ugly Truth” campaign grew out of a simple belief:  That…the public [will believe anything it sees on billboards, no matter how ridiculous]…According to a recent study…the average age for entry into sex trafficking is 16 years old….and about 85 percent of sex trafficking is controlled by gangs…The scale of the illicit sex economy is $810 million a year with each trafficker controlling about four victims and making an average of $670,625 per year…

It’s a rare whore who makes $167,000 a year, much less an “average” one.

Comfort Zone (#320)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

…Carrying out orders…to combat human trafficking…the first raiding team…roped in 20 Myanmar construction workers…the migrants were all charged with entering and staying in [Thailand] illegally.  A second team…raided a Korean barbeque buffet (moo kata) restaurant…where they arrested five more Mynamar nationals accused of working in the kitchen…[and] a Chinese shop nearby [where they] arrested a Chinese [shopkeeper and her] “assistant”, in addition to a Vietnamese woman found tending to a fruit stall in front of the shop.  All eight aliens were charged with doing forbidden work without permit.  The Vietnamese national was also charged with entering and staying in the kingdom illegally…

Gingerbread House (#332)

This is what “rescue” looks like:

Underage human trafficking victims are sometimes housed in juvenile detention centers because…Contra Costa County [California lacks]…victim housing, a county civil grand jury found…”Such bookings allow authorities to keep (sex trafficking victims) under protective custody, away from their exploiters,” the report says. “It also provides probation and [a religious NGO]…time to assess the situation and to [force] these youth [into] therapy and social services…Once in juvenile hall, most victims…are uncooperative and ultimately released back to their next of kin, where they will likely walk back to their exploiters”…

No, once they’re released they’re walking away from their exploiters.

Not What They Expected

Cops are so used to the media mindlessly parroting their “sex trafficking” propaganda, that the widespread negative reaction to this pogrom must’ve been very surprising to them:

Texas law enforcement officers have heroically “saved” dozens of “sex trafficking victims” by putting them in jail and plastering their mugshots on Facebook…the McLennan police department carried out a sting operation…netting 56 arrests (and 61 arrest warrants overall).  They pitched the sting as a way to bust sex traffickers and help their victims.  But as Reason points out…the majority of arrests were of adult women and a handful of men alleged to be their pimps, not underage victims or women pressed into sex work against their will…it’s not clear how throwing [women] in jail will help [them] “escape” sex work if they want to.  US jails are not exactly an efficient route to professional advancement….Sheriff Parnell McNamara [bragged]…“Putting criminals in jail is our favorite pastime.”  Police also availed themselves of [$4500 in] cash and [some quantity of] drugs during this selfless endeavor…

And here’s The Young Turks on the story:

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

There aren’t many genuine cases of coercion like this, so naturally opportunists are going to exploit it to sell their brand:

On January 16, 2016, a trucker noticed something odd…while at a…truck stop outside of Richmond, Virginia…Kevin Kimmel…called the police…Aldair Hodza…and Laura Sorensen…have been charged with human trafficking.  The victim was found starved, disheveled and had  evidence of extreme physical abuse, sexual abuse — and torture……Truckers Against Trafficking…trains truck drivers to recognize signs…of…sex trafficking…right in front of us at truck stops, massage parlors, hotels, salons…There are an estimated 20.9 million victims of human slavery…An estimated $150 billion is made by human traffickers…[fetishist] Tony Talbott…[repeated the common shibboleth] “You can sell a kilo of Heroin once; You can sell a 13-year-old girl 20 times a night, 365 days a year”…

A Procrustean Bed (#600)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of politicians:

Sex workers are fighting to do away with parts of a California bill that…would give…[cops power] over whether sex workers are either arrested or referred to social services, and could put sex workers at risk of [even more] police exploitation.  Rachel West with US PROStitutes Collective said, “The Oakland police scandal…has exposed just how problematic this is.”  The bill…would establish Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, pilot programs in California…[sponsors pretend] the bill would allow [cops] to direct people with low-level offenses to treatment programs in lieu of arrest.  But sex workers and their allies, who aim to one day have prostitution decriminalized altogether, are rejecting the bill’s language and say they want legislators to remove any mention of sex workers from the bill.  “It treats sex work not as a job but as a disease and sex workers not as workers but as offenders in need of treatment and rehabilitation,” West said.  The Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA…argues that the bill invites [cops] to take on the role of social worker…and…could harm sex workers if transparent police misconduct mechanisms are not in place…

Still a Child (#620) 

It’s really gratifying to see sex workers rebelling against paternalistic bullshit:

Dozens of New Orleans strip-club dancers descended on City Hall…June 28…to reclaim their voices.  City planners…had set about crafting rules that could put hundreds of people out of work without seeking out the opinions from those who stand to lose their livelihoods…Contrary to what some would have the commission believe, “we can think and make decisions for ourselves,” said Stephanie Montgomery, a 10-year veteran of the industry…The City Planning Commission…recently…[opined] that the city should reduce the number of clubs…and limit them to the commercial stretch of Bourbon Street between Iberville and St. Ann streets…The city could further limit the numbers by allowing only one club per block in the district.  That would cap the number of possible clubs at seven, less than a third the number in operation today.  Dozens of dancers spoke for more than two hours in defense of their industry.  When they were finished, at least one commissioner was ready to reject the staff report out of hand.  Commissioner Nolan Marshal III, who is set to take over the chairman’s seat, said the staff had not done enough to consult with the women who work in the industry. “The study was clearly shaped by people who don’t understand the industry”, he said…

To Molest and Rape

In what other profession would raping a woman result in a “sentence” of nine YEARS of paid vacation?

…Manuel Avila, a Paterson, New Jersey, cop…[orally raped a prisoner] in 2007…A few days [after]…a city psychiatrist had ruled [him]…unfit [for duty] and recommended that he retire.  Instead, police officials decided to reassign him for six months to a duty that didn’t involve carrying a weapon, at which point he would reach 20 years of service…Avila was acquitted of criminal charges…in 2010.  The city settled a civil lawsuit with his [victim] in 2011, agreeing to pay her $710,000.  But somehow, the police department’s internal investigation persisted through early 2016…Avila had collected about $900,000 in income for doing nothing.  With Avila’s pay, the settlement with his accuser, and legal fees, the city has spent about $1.9 million on this case…Avila will retire, receive around $85,000 in “accrued money owed” for things like vacation and sick days, and may be eligible for lifetime medical benefits and pension payments.

To Molest and Rape (#646)

The Oakland affair just keeps getting worse:

The young woman at the center of a scandal shaking multiple California police departments has revealed new and damning facts about the situation.  Celeste Guap…claims to have had sex with more than 30 Bay Area police officers in exchange for cash, tips about upcoming prostitution stings, and protection from prosecution.  Things allegedly started when she was still a minor and met Oakland [cop] Brendan O’Brien in the course of fleeing an abusive pimp…she celebrated her 18th birthday by traveling to Puerto Rico, where she found herself alone in a “rough area” and called O’Brien for help.  He didn’t pick up.  She threatened to expose him for sleeping with her when she was still 17 and, when he still didn’t respond, she did it, sending a text to a commanding officer at OPD detailing her relationship with O’Brien and several other OPD officers.  She then sent a screenshot of the text to O’Brien.  A few hours later, [he] committed suicide…if my colleague had killed himself after being threatened with exposure by a teen sex worker, my impulse would be, at least, to avoid her.  OPD officers, however, thought otherwise.  Not only did those alerted to O’Brien and Guap’s relationship not report it, they began allegedly contacting Guap—the daughter of an OPD dispatcher—for sex themselves.  Guap…turned over an array of cell phone records to various departments to corroborate her claims…While all of this was happening…the Oakland and Alameda County police departments were very public crusaders against prostitution

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You can only really help people if you respect them.  –  Emily Bazelon

Broken Record pizza girl

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

…Ernie Allen…[helped to write] a new [wanking fantasy] study…The study refers to increased prostitution, some of it involving minors, during the annual Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal…“During (the Grand Prix) weekend, many adolescent girls run away from youth centres…because their traffickers need them to cater to tourist demand,” the study [fantasizes]…many of the girls are threatened, beaten up and enslaved…Atlanta and Las Vegas are also highlighted in the report.  “These are hub cities, magnet cities where people go for sporting events, for conventions, for trade shows…These are people who travel to a location for another purpose and while there encounter a situation where there’s an opportunity to have sex with a child and they do it…The purchaser doesn’t have to go to a city street. He can shop online for a child for sex from the safety of his home or hotel room”…

I’m disappointed that Ernie didn’t compare these “slave children” to pizza.

Bogeymen

Because women are passive dolls without volition who never make any decision without male coercion:

A New Port Richey [Florida] man is accused of being at the center of a human trafficking ring and targeting some of the most vulnerable women…Clent Ruffin…was already in jail on major drug charges…Melanie Snow, a spokesperson for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office [claimed] Ruffin would target women in strip clubs…and convince them to come back to his house…then get them hooked on drugs, like heroin, and force them to do sexual favors for his customers…

Obviously, women never decide to take drugs on our own; there’s always some Svengali with magical pimp mind-control powers “getting then hooked”.

Worse Than I Thought

Missouri wants to define escort ads as “sex trafficking”:

The Missouri legislature has passed…a…bill [which] would add advertising sex with trafficking victims to the state’s definition of the crime of trafficking.  Trafficking is a felony punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or 10-years in prison or life, depending on the age of the victim…

Bottleneck

Susan Shepard of Tits and Sass compares the persecution of ridesharing companies to the absurdity of stripper licensing:

…Stripper licensing [in Texas] is, like cab licensing, done on a city or county basis.  There isn’t yet any state-level licensing, although…representative Bill Zedler proposed one in 2013 that would have required strippers to take a training course on human trafficking, and in 2015 a Pennsylvania proposal to create a statewide stripper registry stalled out.  In both cases, the legislators were fairly transparent that they wanted to use the proposed licenses as disincentives…Like most laws around the industry, what is touted as protecting women and children is actually about controlling women’s movements and policing nonwhites.  The licensing process in most jurisdictions only looks for drug- and prostitution-related charges and convictions…a felony—even a homicide charge—isn’t going to disqualify someone from a stripper license, but a mere arrest on one of the specified charges can be enough to prevent the granting of a license even if the applicant was found not guilty…

So Close and Yet So Far

Protip: If you’re writing an article about “feminist” reasons to support decriminalization, do NOT get your definition of it from a prominent prohibitionist who led a successful re-criminalization campaign: “…decriminalization…essentially ‘eliminates all laws’ regulating sex work, according to Professor Donna Hughes at the University of Rhode Island…”  This is a common prohibitionist lie intended to frighten & confuse law-and-order types and progressives who think people shouldn’t be allowed to blow their own noses without some sort of government regulation.  Decriminalization is the removal of criminal laws intended to control or “regulate” sex work, hence that word “decriminalization”.  Hughes’ statement is exactly as true as the statement, “there are no laws regulating food service”; of course there are, but they’re not criminal laws. This is about the highest level of rhetoric of which prohibitionists are capable, yet the naive and ignorant just keep lapping it up.

Dutch Threat 

The Dutch seem determined to slowly throttle sex work to death:

…The leader of our Christian Party…wants to make it illegal to pay for the services of a sex worker when you should have been able to know she’s a victim of exploitation.  “For example, when she’s working from a cellar somewhere, bruised, with two big Bulgarian guys at the door”…Politicians often paint this picture of the perfect victim…many fall into a semi-pornographic style when describing their fantasies…In the last couple of years, over half of legal working places for prostitutes have been closed.  Brothels are shut down, windows are closed, and no new licences to work are given to anyone…Those who still work from a licenced location are harassed by police, their workplaces broken into, their homes smashed up and their belongings taken.  They are subject to random semi-arrests, where they’re put into police vans and taken to the station for questioning because they’re suspected of being a victim…Many hotels no longer accept escorts or try to keep them out.  Renting an apartment to work from is all but impossible, and working from home means your landlord can kick you out.  So voluntary workers are pushed into basements and sheds and caravans.  Regular security companies will not work with prostitutes…So if you’re working from a shed somewhere and you want some big guys to keep you safe, you’re forced to work with people who will do it.  You know, off the record.  Two big Bulgarian guys, perhaps.  And there you have it: the girl working from a shed with two big guys at the door…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s like they’re competing to see who can write the most cop-fellatory article imaginable:

Nothing shocks Sgt. Torrey Kennedy anymore…“We’re going after John’s [sic] and pimps, and calling them what they are — pedophiles and sex offenders,” he says…“Finding sex trafficking in Atlanta is easier than shooting fish in a barrel”…inviting CBS46 on a wild and exclusive ride into the city’s naked underbelly, teeming with predators…Thousands of women in Atlanta are sold for sex every day, including an estimated 200-300 underage girls a month…Kennedy straps on a bullet proof vest, and we head to a shopping center to join his backup; a squad of patrol cars circle a giant dumpster and hatch a plan take out the human trash…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#410)

Anyone who is “shocked” by this should probably consider moving to a remote farm without television or internet:

A female garda has allegedly been accused of working as an escort in her spare time…after gardai at a Dublin station allegedly received a tip-off…Gardai are allegedly probing whether the woman in question only started working as a call girl in the last two months.  If the claims are true, she will be facing the sack…A garda representative source also confirmed that they are aware of the shocking claims…

A Procrustean Bed (#502) Portrait of Love by Molly Crabapple (2016)

Molly Crabapple profiles a woman who fought New York’s agency-denying “trafficking courts”:

…Love…had once been a sex worker…but by the time she was arrested on the charge that brought her to the courtroom, she was out of the business and pursuing a degree as a surgical technician.  The problem was, the cops still knew her face, and…figured she was…an easy stat-padding arrest.  They snatched her, threw her in a cell, then charged her with misdemeanor prostitution…Love…demanded a trial…the prosecutor offered no hard proof any crime had been committed.  Instead he had only her prostitution record and an undercover officer’s word…the judge declared her not guilty.  Love wasn’t content just to prove her innocence.  She…hired an attorney to sue the city for false arrest.  The case was settled out of court for $15,000, and, exactly a year after the initial trial, in November 2015, Love had the money in hand…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Though this editorial is a bit too accepting of “end demand” rhetoric, it’s a good counter to the Seattle Times‘ nauseating bootlicking & pompous prohibitionism:

The title of a powerful feature published in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday posed the question: “Should Prostitution Be a Crime?”  Reporter Emily Bazelon spoke with dozens of sex workers around the world, including several from Seattle, to draw a nuanced portrait of the underground sex economy…Many of Bazelon’s subjects (much like Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch) want to decriminalize sex work.  She describes the health benefits of removing criminal sanctions from in New Zealand and part of Australia, achieved without any discernible increase in the overall sex trade.  She lists the harms that well-intentioned crusaders have wrought upon their rescue targets.  She details the unholy alliance between the Christian right and…“carceral feminists” to turn the abolition of sold sex into a moral crusade.  She describes an influential abolitionist casually dismissing sex workers’ very capacity for consent. And she raises questions about…the extent to which violence and coercion influence people’s choices about whether to do sex work…

End Demand (#576)

KIRO, you have my phone number; next time call it before printing this kind of ludicrous garbage:

…the Washington Technology Industry Association…has teamed up with [fascist organ] Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking to try and eliminate sex trafficking in the tech industry…“It’s predominantly white men exploiting women of color” [lied] Michael Schutzler of the WTIA…Schutzler said 75 percent of sex trafficking transactions happen at about 2 p.m., and 62 percent of prostituted people meet clients on company property…

Since “trafficking” is used to mean “sex work” these days, just let the absurdity of this claim sink in; I can assure you that there is no way anything like even 6% of outcalls are to clients’ offices, and not even restaurants do 75% of their business in such a narrow window. Yet idiots lap up this shit like a dog eating its own vomit.

Checklist (#599)

Why do people just accept these ridiculous made-up numbers?

A new app tracks vulnerable girls in India and Bangladesh so nonprofits can help prevent trafficking and child marriage…Girl Power…has already helped save more than 200 girls from being exploited, NDTV reported.  Community facilitators and teachers are given tablets or Android phones, which have the app installed, and are tasked with registering young girls in 20 villages…

“Maggie McNeill’s providing a sexual outlet to frustrated husbands has already saved over 2000 marriages, Maggie McNeill reported.”  That statement is exactly as credible as the one in the story, and based on exactly the same type of “evidence”.

Under Every Bed (#631)

Spokane guys, please be careful; your local cops are on a fanatical crusade targeting YOU:

…Local law enforcement and federal agents teamed up for what is called, [sic] Operation Cross Country…It is a problem that…unfortunately exists in the Spokane area…FBI leaders said they are currently looking into participating in the operation again in 2016 to help rescue even more victims.  Before the operation in 2015, the FBI brought [pigs] over from Seattle from the Child Exploitation Task Force to [indoctrinate pigs] in the Inland Northwest on the [newest popular anti-whore propaganda]…

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