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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

I’ve been asked to signal boost two messages for sex workers from organizations in our community, both of which provide opportunities to help yourself and other sex workers at the same time.  The first is about an essay contest from the ad website Slixa:

The passage of SESTA/FOSTA earlier this year…threatens the safety and livelihood of providers all across the world.  In an effort to gauge the impact of this law and how targeted communities might be helped, Slixa is announcing a call for essay submissions about the impact of SESTA/FOSTA, and a $10,000 USD total prize to be shared with the winning entrants and advocacy organizations of their choosing…in an effort to call extra attention to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (December 17th), submissions will be open [today], December 14th, 2018, and we are looking for voices like yours to help us raise awareness, both of the International Day and of the profoundly negative impact of SESTA/FOSTA on our community.  You can find details about the call for entries here, and information about Slixa here

The other is from the ever-awesome SWOP Behind Bars, who has made a deal to supply inexpensive cell phone service that also helps SWOP in its important mission to support incarcerated sex workers!

Our Solidarity Network lets you choose the premium network that is best for your area!  It’s the exact same networks as the “big” providers but for a lot less!

    • Bring your current phone or get a great deal on a new phone!
    • No contract and you can leave any time.
    • Unlimited talk, text, and data.on America’s fastest unlimited network.
    • Taxes & fees included.
    • No surprise fees on your monthly plan bill.
    • Texting & data abroad.
    • Unlimited in Mexico & Canada.

The Solidarity Network lets YOU be in charge of your mobile service! BRING YOUR OWN PHONE or choose from a wide variety of phones on sale at Great prices!

Click here to find out more!

I’m not planning to make a habit of promoting projects in this manner, but a chance for a sex worker to win a cash prize and an easy way for us to help less fortunate sisters are both very good reasons to make an exception!

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The issue with filters starts with the fact that their purpose is to block content.  –  Michael Stabile

They Just Don’t Get It

Pittsburgh-area cops are among the most aggressively ignorant and pompously stupid in the US on the topic of sex work:

Prostitution rings are becoming more sophisticated, and that’s creating new challenges for police…Greensburg police investigators say the internet has [magically transformed into] a vast sea of sex for sale [complete with ships and tentacled hentai monsters]…[unusually stupid pig] Robert Stafford [oinked that]…the sites used to advertise such services…“always seem to be the same website…there always seems to be a drug habit involved”…when [sex workers] are [locked] up [often after being raped by cops], there is a genuine effort to save them from the street and in reality from themselves…

So many dysphemisms, so much bullshit.  “Sophisticated prostitution rings” is the most popular cop excuse for raping sex workers, a practice that Pennsylvania aggressively defends.  As for the bizarre cop fantasy that there is only one ad website, this is the first I’ve heard of it; usually the claim is exactly the opposite, that there are dozens or even hundreds in every city.

Judd Not, Lest Ye Be Judded

I’m always glad to see this wannabe savior get egg on her face:

Ashley…Judd’s…anti-trafficking activism [ignorantly and intentionally]…conflate[s] sex trafficking and sex work.  Judd also serves on the advisory council of Demand Abolition…[after a series of ugly anti-sex worker tweets last week] Judd’s social media was quickly inundated with criticism, causing Judd to double down on her anti-sex work platform…writing…I believe body invasion is indeed inherently harmful…Buying sex…commodifies…girls and women’s orfices [sic]”…Unsurprisingly, real-life sex workers took issue with Judd’s numerous…assertions…@BrookeBrou was a vocal participant in the thread, tweeting, “You are harming people with your ignorant ideas about what sex work actually is”…Brou…explained that, “I find [Ashley Judd’s] posts rendering a SW to her orifices incredibly disgusting…What is apparent is that Ashley Judd is not only misguided, but also simple-minded…it looks like Ashley lacks the cognitive ability to fully grasp the complexity of…SW voices and experiences”…

That weird sci-fi “body invasion” nonsense was invented by Gloria Steinem; this isn’t the first time Judd has incompetently parroted it.

Backwards Into the Future (June Updates)

A strip club defeats part of a stupid “sin density” law:

In New Jersey, clubs and restaurants that do not have licenses to sell alcoholic beverages may nevertheless allow customers to bring beer or wine to consume on the premises.  But they [we]re not allowed to tell customers about that option…until…a federal judge ruled that a state ban on advertising BYOB policies violates the First Amendment…Stiletto, a strip club in Atlantic City…[has no] liquor license…[because] strip clubs that feature total nudity are not allowed to have [one]…New Jersey offered no [defense to the club’s suit other]…than boilerplate about “protect[ing] the health, safety, and welfare of the people…through the promotion of temperance.”  It did not explain how letting people know they can bring their own beer and wine is more likely to promote intemperance than advertising the sale of alcoholic beverages, as businesses with liquor licenses routinely do…

Scapegoats (#15) 

Six and a half years after I first heard the tale, and 15 years after it is supposed to have happened, the story of the “prostitute” orangutan named Pony gets enough detail to tip my opinion from “probably not true” to “probably at least partly true”.  This version of the story actually has the name of a Danish conservationist, Lone Droscher-Nielsen, who cared for Pony after she was rescued from a village near a palm-oil plantation in Indonesia; the story talks about a “brothel” but other details seem to indicate that she was the pet of the whole village, and that the men who paid to fuck her appear to have viewed the experience as a novelty.  It’s in The Sun, which is not exactly known for journalistic rigor; however, there are pictures of the ape and quotes from the conservationists explaining the rehabilitation process.  My guess?  Basically true but embellished to increase luridness.

Monsters 

This could also be filed under “Torture Chamber”, but I suspect she was targeted for being trans:

A transgender woman who died [after being caged by] Immigration and Customs Enforcement…was likely physically abused [by screws]…and died after several days of severe, untreated dehydration.  Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez…died on May 25…[from] “severe complications of dehydration superimposed upon HIV infection”…the…autopsy…also found evidence of physical abuse, with “deep bruising” on her hands and abdomen, evidence of blunt-force trauma “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with blunt object”…as well as extensive hemorrhaging on [her]…wrists, which…[a]re “typical of handcuff injuries”…

If Men Were Angels 

Most rapes by clergymen are much more subtle:

A former pastor…kidnapped three women and [raped] two…Thomas Bruce…had a history of going on social media rants against “gun-free zones”…[he] posed as a customer of a Catholic Supply store in [Missouri]…When he saw that there were two female employees and one female customer in the store, Bruce…forced the three women to go with him into a back room at gunpoint…he ordered them to strip and “perform…sexual acts on him”…One of the women, Jamie Schmidt refused to give in to his demands, and Bruce…killed her with a shot to the head.  This prompted the other two women to begin complying with his requests, and Bruce eventually fled…

Grow the Hell Up! (#644)

Sometimes “sex trafficking” bullshit is too much for even politicians to pretend to believe. The Dallas Morning News printed this “editorial”:

A [pig leader masturbated while fantasizing that]…a person trapped into “the life”…is left with little hope and no sense of what it means to trust another person, experience joy, or even know friendship.  It is gratifying then to know that this week the Dallas Police Department will…unveil…a new strategy…to [persecute peaceful adults using the excuse of]…human sex trafficking…On November 28, the department is relaunching its vice unit, which was disbanded last year amid an internal investigation…a new philosophy…will [lock up sex workers and call that]…serving the victims…those who [are labeled] trafficked will face prosecution [anyway]…[blah blah] those who traffic in the sale of human flesh…

While on the same day, the same paper printed this:

…The Dallas Police Department’s beleaguered vice unit will soon be back in action after a year off the streets.  But the…details were a little murky to some members of the [city] council’s Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee…members…wanted to know how the department’s new approach differed from the unit’s previous iteration — and why the vice unit was disbanded in the first place…Police Chief U. Renee Hall in November 2017 disbanded the vice unit amid what she called “serious issues”.  Since then, she has given few specific details about what those issues were [except vague statements about]…policy violations, accounting discrepancies…and a general lack of accountability.  But [the names of cops]…accused of violations [are still being hidden and there have been no]…criminal charges…The [old vice pigs]…will not be returning to the unit…council members said police officials were still too vague in their descriptions of both the problems and the [supposed] solutions…

Whore Madonnas (#734) 

An interview with a pregnant sex worker:

Sex work is arguably the single most stigmatized profession in the world.  Add pregnancy and motherhood…and that stigma increases one-hundred fold.  Last year, when Summer Sebastian announced that she would be working at the Bunny Ranch…throughout her pregnancy, it made for international headlines.  [Maxine] Holloway hasn’t even given birth yet and she’s already been harassed online by people saying that she’s harming her future child.  I visited Holloway at her home in Oakland, California to talk about pregnancy fetishes, mommy role-play, and the stigma of doing sex work while pregnant…

Opting Out (#822) 

UK politicians have been forced to delay their ridiculous censorship scheme again:

For the past year and a half, the UK government has been promising…a nationwide age verification system that would require would-be porn consumers to demonstrate their adulthood before accessing adult content…A few years ago, the country attempted to block adult sites at the ISP level, requiring users to opt in to access adult content…[of course the censorship software] ended up blocking far more than just porn.  The Digital Economy Act…puts the onus on [websites], who must comply with the policy or risk getting banned by major payment processors.  Yet…the age verification system’s rollout — which was initially scheduled for this past spring — was postponed yet again, as [politicians] continued to grapple with the [impossibility] of creating a system that [censors content for people under 18] without [blocking]…other sex-related content…Since the dawn of the internet, tech companies have promised [censorious] parents an easy way to [maintain] their children’s [ignorance about sex]…while allowing them to freely browse the [rest] of the internet…however, these porn blockers aren’t nearly as…effective as advertised, largely because figuring out what is and is not pornography is rarely a simple matter.  Apple’s recently launched…parental controls…produced results that were inconsistent at best…innocent items like a search for a dulce de leche recipe wound up blocked, as did numerous sex education sites.  Teen Vogue’s entire site wound up blocked, as did sites offering assistance to queer youth…

Disaster (#865)

Even the perennially-obtuse Rolling Stone recognizes that FOSTA has galvanized sex worker activism:

…It wasn’t until the passage of the so-called Online Trafficking bill SESTA-FOSTA last spring that many workers began to [participate in activism]…not just to oppose the bill but also to support sex work decriminalization efforts more broadly…Christa Daring, the executive director of [SWOP-USA, says]…“SESTA-FOSTA didn’t make prostitution any more illegal than it was before, but it…really threw into stark contrast the amount of criminalization that people were facing”…“Now you have coalitions rising of people who care about criminal justice and racial justice and immigration issues all working together,” says [activist Lola] Balcon…“I’ve never seen sex workers begin organizing in the way they did following SESTA-FOSTA,” says activist Siouxsie Q. “Enough was enough”…

End Demand (#872)

At least one journalist at the Graun appears to get it:

…Under the guise of “anti-trafficking” efforts, police practices in northern California and a new federal law have broadly affected adult sex workers both online and in the streets.  The result…is…increased violence and suffering for the very women whom lawmakers [pretend] they are rescuing.  There have been two such anti-“human trafficking” sting operations in Sacramento this year, most recently in August, in which [sows role-play sex workers]…16 men were arrested for soliciting…police also arrested 25 women for “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” or “disorderly conduct”…[spokespigs] insisted the women’s arrests were separate from the stings, even though some happened on the same day and location…But Alix Lutnick, a researcher with RTI International…said that there is growing recognition that john stings don’t actually help victims…The crackdown, in a state that pre[t]en[d]s [to be] a progressive leader in social justice and women’s rights, has come at a time in which sex work is being aggressively criminalized across the US…Democrats in California have spearheaded the [persecution]…Kamala Harris, a rising star in the party, fought for the shutdown of Backpage.com…when she was the state’s top prosecutor…For one woman caught up in the [recent] arrests, police cited as evidence that she was wearing a “lace bralette”, “shorts” and “flip flops” and was carrying four “unused condoms”.  Despite the “trafficking” label, the stings have led to no trafficking charges.  [A] Sacramento [spokespig admitted]…the stings were [really] about punishing “males who were trying to pick up prostitutes”…

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It would have been better to be in prison, at least you can meet with your family there.  –  a former victim of what Prajwala calls “rescue”

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Police have confirmed a female reporter’s claim that she was subjected to surveillance and a hotel room inspection like a “prostitution bust” while she was covering a chemical leak in southeast China…The Quanzhou Public Security Bureau…issued an apology and said four [cops] – three of whom were from an auxiliary unit – had overstepped their jurisdiction and “caused negative social effects”.  A deputy bureau chief had been “punished”, while another local police station chief would “make amends” to the local Communist Party committee…One of the [cops] involved has also been suspended…

Case Study

One day, “businessman rents workspaces to small businesses” will be recognized as the non-news it is:

Prime Minister Theresa May is being urged to give back hundreds of thousands of pounds donated to the Conservatives by a property tycoon who owns a London apartment block…[because] more than 100 sex workers have been listed online as working [there]…Chelsea Cloisters…is owned by wealthy property tycoon Christopher Moran…the sex trade is so extensive at the Sloane Avenue building that punters booking prostitutes online refer to it as “Sodom and Gomorrah” and “10 floors of whores”.  Reporters were able to [waste the time of 23 sex workers there with] [f]ake bookings…Some of the woman were found to have come from Romania…

To Molest and Rape

Another example of the McNeill Rule following his bliss:

…Neil Kimball, a…sex crimes investigator, [has been arrested for raping a 14-year-old girl]…and is being held on $2 million bond.  He has [also] been [granted] paid [vacation]…

Against Their Will (#736)

May this be the beginning of the end for the evil, deranged Sunitha Krishnan:

Prajwala…[incarcerates] thousands of women and girls…each year [in India] under a draconian anti-prostitution law.  Sunitha Krishnan, Prajwala’s leader, has won numerous international awards…But interviews with sex workers, activists, outreach workers and police paint a picture of life inside Prajwala’s secretive shelters very much at odds with the one Krishnan has presented to the world.  Former [prisoners] describe an atmosphere of fear and despair, where those who rebel against their detention are beaten, and where there is virtually no contact with the outside world.  Self-harm and suicide attempts are common…Krishnan denies the…beatings, but acknowledges that [prisoners are forced into slave labor, claiming they only resist because]…“they are not used to daytime activities”…Krishnan said holding women there against their will is justified because “they are indoctrinated to believe that they have to get out”.  [Prisoners] are denied phone calls if a woman’s family…wants to get their relative released…because [Krishnan fantasizes that]…an “innocent” family would reject a relative involved in sex work…“We do not allow journalists…If people think we are not transparent, so be it”…Prajwala does not distinguish between women who enter sex work voluntarily and genuine trafficking survivors, nor between those who consent to being “rescued” and those who do not…

Broken Record (#848) 

I think this might just be the second stupidest claimed “cause of sex trafficking” of all time, right after “summer”:

…a [Florida prohibitionist fantasizes] this is prime time for sex crimes and there’s a tactic criminals are now using that parents need to know about.  Young faces, including teens, are being used as recruiters…they’ll ask for a cell phone number…“because they can use GPS coordinates to locate the child,” said Lynne Barletta, [DBA] Catch The Wave of Hope.  Barletta is on a mission to [spread hysteria] about sex trafficking…and her message to holiday bargain hunters is don’t leave your daughters on their own…Barletta cites a…[thoroughly debunked] statistic: 300,000 children in America are victims of human trafficking …[her vibrator hums loudly as] she [masturbates to]…the thought that a teenage girl just window shopping at a mall could be lured into that world or shoved into the back of a car…[She also bizarrely claims that] “I saw it happening in our own backyard”…

Feminine Pragmatism (#850)

Why do people have to be branded “victims” and subjected to police theatrics to get help?

Colombian police have rescued 43 Venezuelan women held captive and forced into prostitution after being lured by the promise of a new life.  The women were “recruited” in Cucuta…and taken to Bogota…It was here, police say, where their “nightmare” began…Police said the women were given just 15 minutes of freedom a day and were “constantly threatened and tortured” by thugs in the gang…Police said the rescued women were being treated as victims and were been given food and humanitarian aid…

These women were recruited (why the scare quotes?) in Cucuta because hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have crossed into Colombia there.  Though the conditions may have been worse than they expected, the idea that they were “slaves” who were lied to about the work is absurd.  Women are not stupid; they knew very well what kind of work they would be doing (see item at subtitle link).  The reason they were able to be exploited isn’t because of “sex trafficking” mumbo-jumbo; it’s because they were desperate and on the wrong side of magic lines drawn on a map by pompous control freaks, and shitty employers have been taking advantage of such desperation since the beginning of civilization.

Uncommon Sense (#869) 

As usual, the mainstream media is a font of disinformation where sex work is concerned.  The New York Times advertised its own prohibitionism in its lede, “Spain’s National Court has outlawed a union of sex workers, saying that recognition of the group amounted to making the exploitation of prostitutes legal“…but as Dr. Laura Agustín explains in her thorough article on the topic, “despite misleading press headlines…the [court] annulled the group’s statutes but hasn’t the power to dissolve the union“…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#875) 

Pigs and prohibitionists say one is “as many as 150”:

As many as 150 teens in Santa Barbara County have been identified as “commercially sexually exploited children”…since the launch of the Human Trafficking Task Force in 2013…a public-forum panel…began with a video of a [single] teen who was rescued from human trafficking, which doesn’t happen often, according to…p[rohibition]ists …”We need more [money],” [a pig oinked]…To…organize…sting operations…

The spectacle of grown adults sitting around telling each other such fantasies will make fascinating material for the appendix of some future ethnography of the strange tribes of the American Decline period.

Watershed (#885)

It’s a rare thing nowadays for an organization to prioritize ethics over the heckler’s veto:

Quebec’s most prominent women’s group continues to lose members after it passed a resolution last month recognizing that women [own their bodies and are not moral imbeciles].  The resolution approved by members of the Federation des femmes du Quebec has split the organization between pro[-violence busybodies] and those who believe [in human rights]…

Kudos to FFQ for standing up for women against the demands of misogynistic control freaks.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#885)

The weird, dangerous belief that masturbation is harmful to men continues to increase in popularity:

…Growing out of…internet message boards…[and] deeply traditional, historically puritanical views, the movement has grown to the tens of thousands, with hundreds posting on the sub-Reddit every single day.  The forum is No Nut November: the internet challenge encouraging men not to ejaculate (or “nut”) for an entire month…NNN came out of the NoFap “movement”, which…has become linked to wider sexism and misogyny, reducing women to sexual objects to be attained or abstained from and shaming sexually active women…the origin point of Not Nut November came from pick-up artist and conspiracy theory sites – ones where the forums’ influential leaders  argued that there was some inherent power in men that could be “focused” by not masturbating…[some even believe] that semen has magical properties, and by storing up as much of it as possible men will become more attractive to women…

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Those of you who follow me on Twitter may remember that on several occasions I’ve tweeted GoFundMe appeals for homeless sex workers, organized by a close friend of mine who does street outreach.  Recently, I asked her to write something for me so that in future, I can point back to it to explain who it is I’m asking charity for.  This lady is a Seattle sex worker who is well-known in our community, but prefers to remain anonymous for her activism.  If you’d like to help her out (because she does 95% of this out of her own pocket), please let me know and I’ll arrange a way for you to donate to her important work.

Like so many things in this industry, it started with Kristen D’Angelo, who contacted me because her friend from Sacremento had a daughter living in Seattle.  Kristen’s friend was concerned his daughter was working on the streets and was hoping to get someone to check on her; she (let’s call her Jess) was homeless, using drugs, and working on Aurora Avenue.  Maggie and I ended up taking her out for dinner.  More than anything, she was surprised that instead of being met with judgement and Jesus, she was met by peers with compassion and kindness (along with some screening tips for seeing clients).  Shortly thereafter, I found out an acquaintance of mine had lost her housing, and she and her boyfriend were living out of their car.  I would go see her once, occasionally twice, a week, bringing lunch or dinner, and we would eat together and talk.  After a couple visits I starting meeting some of the people that they had befriended in their time on the streets.  I was struck by the situations of the women there.  To see women so vulnerable was terrifying…but I wasn’t sure what I could do.  I asked them: what do you need?  How can I help?  While I don’t have a tremendous surfeit of disposable income, I could certainly spend $100 a week buying food for people that badly needed it.  So I did.

Simultaneously, I was keeping in (more sporadic) contact with Jess.  It wasn’t long before I was heading up to Aurora once a week (give or take) as well.  Eventually I was out two or three nights a week talking to young women from Aurora to Belltown to SoDo, both in the jungle and working the streets.  I found myself out at 7pm, 10pm, or midnight walking through the city, talking to people.  Instead of being in Greenlake or Madrona, I found myself in places with appellations like the Batcave and Clowntown; I was under the viaduct and in tent cities along the highway.  Within this world, it takes time to earn trust; there are always, to this day, some women that refuse to talk to me or that I have met five times but act as if they don’t know me…and that’s fine.  For the ones that do talk, I hand out condoms and Narcan.  I bring jackets, food, toiletries, clean socks, and camping propane tanks.  I take girls to Planned Parenthood for panel tests; to emergency shelters; to drop them off at detox.  Many of them, if you asked, would not identify as a sex workers, and if you called them a sex worker, you might get punched in the face.  But, if you said, “if you give me a blowjob, you can sleep in my tent tonight.”  Well, that’s an easy yes!!  Whether they identify as sex workers or not, they know when they see me that religion isn’t coming into the conversation and I am not going to tell them what they should do or have to do.  Giving these women autonomy in their decision-making is very important; even when, in my opinion, they may make a terrible choice, it’s theirs to make and I won’t try to take that away from them.  Similarly, none of the things I hand out have strings attached; the only rules are I will not give out cash or buy drugs.

When I meet women that are open to talking, I may make some harm reduction suggestions or ask them what they need.  Much of the time, I listen.  Many of these women have suffered extensive trauma, have drug abuse issues (the desire to anesthetize a terrible situation is strong), or have mental health problems – or all three.  In addition, there is the pervasive sense of hopelessness that comes with being utterly marginalized and, in effect, thrown away by society; just having someone listen and acknowledge you can be significant.  It definitely isn’t the easiest volunteer path I could have taken.  There have been multiple calls from girls that have been raped, assaulted, or robbed.  I helped a girl that had been thrown out of a moving car by a client, and another girl that was pistol-whipped by her boyfriend.  I’ve Narcan’d people through countless overdoses (if anyone ever needs to be resuscitated – I am a fucking pro).  I’ve been hung up on by police when calling 9-1-1 for help and been told by the paramedics that they “can’t” go where they are needed.  I’ve stepped over dead bodies and had rats the size of Boston Terriers leisurely swagger over my toes.

The other side is that there are happier stories.  I paid out my own pocket for a girl to go to rehab because I believed in her when no one else did; she completed 90 days of treatment and moved back to her parent’s house in Minnesota.  That was over a year ago and she is still clean and sober.  Two girls had been living in and out of motels on Aurora and we worked together to get them into a low-income apartment; two other girls saw what they did and decided they could do it too.  I’ve acted as an advocate for a girl that was brutally raped by a prominent Seattleite; I connected her with a lawyer and could not have been happier for her when she got a ridiculously large settlement.  Money didn’t make the PTSD disappear, but it certainly put her in a situation where she could take time and heal.  Unfortunately, the stories with (ahem) happy endings are exceptionally few and far between; the emotional labor can be intense, overwhelming, and exhausting.  I’ve asked myself more than once why I’m not walking dogs at the Humane Society, and I have spent more hours than I can count crying on Maggie’s couch.  But I very strongly believe that everyone needs some help now and then; if I can help someone make a more informed decision or turn a corner, then it’s worth it.

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The goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation.  –  Wilhelm Reich

The Red Umbrella 

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targeted for violence:

…four masked men…knocked on the hotel door of a dominatrix in Queens, pushed their way in and tied her up at gunpoint before running off with an iPhone, cash and a debit card…The woman got a call from an unknown number she figured was a client; when she opened the hotel door, she expected her client to be on the other side…The four men, all wearing black hooded sweatshirts or jackets, forced their way in…when she opened the door around 5:45 p.m. They menaced her at gunpoint and bound her with duct tape before stealing the phone, cash, card and her state driver’s license…

Watershed

For those who think I’m wrong about sex worker rights having passed the watershed:

The Federation des Femmes du Quebec (FFQ)…a well-recognised women’s rights organisation…took [the obvious]…stance…that women can make a free-will choice on their own to enter into the sex trade…The executive-director of Stella, a Montreal sex workers advocacy group praises the decision…[saying] said it recognises sex workers choices and their human rights…

Red Lamp

Sometimes, studying commercial sex of the past opens people’s eyes to the present:

They worked in brothels frequented by troops serving on the front line in northern France, but their role has been virtually erased from the history books.  Thanks to a new Roundhouse art project, Cause and Effect, to mark the centenary of the end of the conflict, the wartime sex workers have been immortalised in a film with poet Hollie McNish …[who] worked with historian Clare Makepeace…to create War’s Whores, which details the “significant minority” of men paying for sex on the front line…McNish [said]…that one of the things that she found most poignant was the fact that so many men wanted to visit a sex worker if they thought they would die the next day…“It’s a much deeper thing than we give it credit for.  The men thought they were likely to die the next day, the thought you’re never going to have someone touch you nicely again before you die, it must be horrendous”…she hopes that reigniting the memory of wartime sex workers will provoke conversations about the industry today…“It’s ridiculous…that we’re allowed to talk about violence and not about sex…That job has been shamed out of history, rather than just forgotten”…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#726)

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

Sex work has been illegal in Thailand since 1960 but government officials and law enforcement officers have long turned a blind eye…a series of high profile police raids has put considerable strain on that relationship and some sex workers fear the whole industry is in jeopardy…the country’s Tourism Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul [has] said “We want Thailand to be [Disnified]…we want the sex industry gone.”  Her [statements parrot] those of the military junta that seized power in 2014…said Somai Jantawong, a…sex worker living in Chiang Mai…“If we are arrested or lose our jobs then it affects the whole family and the whole community.  We are the drivers of development in this country, if you lock us up then you will have more people in poverty and more people without homes”…Havocscope, who chart black market crime statistics and data, estimate that the sex industry pumps $6.4 billion into the Thai economy.  In fact, Friedrich Schneider, an economist at Johannes Kepler University in Austria, found that Thailand has one of the largest shadow economies in the world, accounting for 40.9% of real GDP in 2014…

O, Canada! (#785)

I thought “Operation Northern Spotlight” had been rebranded, but apparently that was a different Canadian cop campaign to harass and intimidate sex workers:

From October 15 to 21, police arrested 20 [sex workers and associates] through the seventh edition of Operation Northern Spotlight…a Canadian law enforcement [sting] operation…to [harass] and [intimidate]…sex [workers]…This year’s operation [included]…the RCMP…and…62 [other cop shops] from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island…

The Notorious Badge (#795)

There is nothing remotely “intimate” about sucking a dildo in front of dozens of people and a chaperone, for broadcast to millions of viewers:

Last spring, Emily Meade was getting ready to give a [fake] blow job [to a dildo] in front of a crew of people on the…set of HBO’s The Deuce…As Meade knelt down, a woman named Alicia Rodis, the network’s first-ever “intimacy coordinator,” was within eyeshot, watching the monitor.  She had given Meade a pad for her knees, knowing that the hard floor would bruise them otherwise.  Between takes, she offered mouth spray and flavored lubricant.  And she had spoken with Meade before the scene about her concerns and relayed them to the director…Network executives found Rodis through Intimacy Directors International, a nonprofit she cofounded in 2016 that aims to normalize a set of standards and practices surrounding the execution of sex scenes on stage and on film…HBO has now adopted a policy whereby all of its shows and movies with intimate scenes will be staffed with an intimacy coordinator — either Rodis or someone like her…

Because hiring actual sex workers as consultants for this sort of thing would be crazy, and fucking amateurs can’t think of things like knee pads.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#820)

Dr. David Ley on the weird, dangerous and increasingly-popular belief that masturbation is harmful to men:

In recent years, we’ve seen the return of a strange, antiquated belief system that claims that masturbation results in weakness, loss of manhood, and psychological damage…Your Brain on Porn and Reboot Nation are…online groups who argue that masturbation to porn…results in neurological changes which desensitize a person’s brain to real sex, cause erectile dysfunction, and instill an addiction to…pornography…Brigham Young University…spent what appears to be a great deal of money to produce a public service advertisement against the dangers and “darkness” of masturbation…The Proud Boys…a group of young, nationalist males…claim…that masturbating makes men less likely to get dates…all of these concerns, both historical and modern, about masturbation are primarily focused on male masturbation…Wilhelm Reich…who wrote The Mass Psychology of Fascism…suggested that sexual suppression was a tool of fascism, a way to train young people to submit to authority, even in something relating to their own body…and…conservative religions…have a long history of condemnation of masturbation…

To Protect and Serve (#830)

A rare victory for sex workers over pigs:

The San Diego City Council today gave the green light for $1.5 million in payouts to 17 dancers who…were violated [by cops] during raids at two strip clubs…The first settlement awarded $110,000 to one dancer.  The second settlement awarded about $1.4 million to 16 dancers…[who] were held against their will and [molested]…by 10 [pervert cops]…Attorney Dan Gilleon, who represented 16 of the dancers, [said]…”The…settlement is a drop in the bucket compared to what the City of San Diego spent conducting the raids in the first place and then misleading the public for four years with painfully dumb legal denials and defenses…the City Attorney’s Office…arrogantly bullied the dancers and filed bogus defense after bogus defense until they realized they would not sell their legal charade to a set of jurors with common sense”…

Disaster (#841)

We did warn you dilettantes that this wouldn’t stop with actual sex workers:

HotMilitaryGirls.com, a site that for years offered nude photos and videos of female servicemembers, has been shut down by its operators as the site’s legal counsel reviews its content…after [pearl-clutching prohibitionist politician] Claire McCaskill, [one of] the [chief sponsors of the censorship law FOSTA/SESTA]…called for the Defense Department’s inspector general to investigate the site…McCaskill’s office said in a statement that she lauded the news the site had [self-censored] but still sought [revenge on peaceful people for daring to be sexual]…

Dutch Threat (#852) 

Dutch authorities are now pretending their attempts to Disnify De Wallen are really intended to help sex workers:

The three parties which run Amsterdam city council have drawn up a string of proposals for dealing with the city’s red light district and moving prostitution to a new location is one of the options…The area has been home to prostitution for centuries, because of its proximity to the docks, but the surge in tourism is causing both locals and prostitutes considerable problems, [politicians claim]…Many clients are now visiting prostitutes they find via internet or at a hotel rather than in the Wallen district.  This means that many red light windows are now empty during the day and [prohibitionists have schemed for years to]…clos[e] them altogether…[politicians] now suggest giving licences for prostitution outside the red light district, so the women who work in window brothels can move to a new area, without the problems caused by tourists…Prostitution is a major tourist draw, but is this really the reason you want to attract people to visit?, said [prudish busybody] Socialist councillor Nicole Temmink…

Droit du Seigneur (#872)

If these pimps weren’t cops, they’d be facing “sex trafficking” charges right now:

Six of the NYPD cops accused of running a prostitution and gambling ring are in plea talks with prosecutors…the men were offered plea deals ranging from probation to 2-to 6-year prison sentences, but their lawyers didn’t want to accept so early in the case…

Pyrrhic Victory (#882) 

More on police abuse of Amazon’s face recognition software:

…[in downtown] Orlando…lightbulb-sized camera[s] affixed to…traffic signal poles…instantly send a live video feed over to Amazon’s facial “Rekognition” system, cross-referencing…face[s] against [a surveillance database]…In the US, there are no laws governing the use of facial recognition, and there is no regulatory framework limiting its law enforcement applications.  There is no case law or constitutional precedent upholding police use of the tech without a warrant; courts haven’t even decided whether facial recognition constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment…[so of course cops are eager to] pilot…these systems [before their power is limited by laws or precedents…Amazon marketed its facial recognition tools to Orlando’s police department, providing tens of thousands of dollars of technology to the city at no cost, and shielding the Rekognition pilot with a mutual nondisclosure agreement that kept its details [secret from]…the public…In May, Orlando police reportedly finalized a deal to crowdsource neighborhood footage from residents of the city using [another Amazon] service called Ring, which uses…a doorbell camera…to[feed images] to Orlando Police…There is no automatic sharing of data between Ring and Rekognition right now.  But Amazon would not…commit…to keep the data generated by each of these companies…separate…

To Molest and Rape (#883) 

“Feminists” who talk about rapist cops without mentioning sex workers are aiding and abetting the rapists:

[A cop] is caught in an act of sexual misconduct every five days, and that the majority of cases involve “motorists, crime victims, informants, students and young people in job-shadowing programs”…black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people, along with Indigenous, immigrant, and other people of color, make up the majority of people targeted for sexual violence by law enforcement agents…police sexual violence is consistently ignored by mainstream media and movements focused on police violence and sexual assault…[because cops] intentionally target people they don’t think will be believed…people who use drugs, trade sex, people who are precariously housed, disabled, LGBTQ—people who aren’t seen as ideal poster children for mainstream movements.  Secondly, acknowledging sexual violence by [cops] as a systemic problem profoundly destabilizes the notion of police as protectors, an uncomfortable reality for movements deeply invested in law enforcement as the answer to sexual violence…

You see that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to “people who trade sex”?  That’s the only reference in a 1200+ word article about the one group which is targeted for sexual violence by cops more than any other, by a wide margin.  In an article about how activists ignore rape victims who aren’t ideal poster children. The reek of hypocrisy is overwhelming.

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Though it took longer than usual, my brain has now downshifted into autumn mode and I’m enjoying the lovely cool, dark, rainy Seattle weather. I’ve done two duos with Lorelei in the past week and we have another set up; I published a new story, have some friends coming over for my birthday tomorrow, and in a few days Daylight Mismanagement Time will be over and I won’t have to endure the sun while I’m eating dinner.  Paul Johnson is in the final stages of editing The War on Whores, and we’ll be shooting a cover image pretty soon; I think I have the energy to finally get The Essential Maggie McNeill out; and I’ll be announcing another big project pretty soon.  The “authorities” want sex workers to shut up and play the part of damsels in distress for their melodramatic morality play, starring cops and politicians as the heroes; instead, I’m going to proclaim the truth even more loudly, and pretty soon I’ll be asking for the help of all my readers to do it.

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The paramilitary, bureaucratic structure [of police] produces a dysfunctional culture.  –  Norm Stamper

It Looks Good On Paper

Another story touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

After first being introduced in 2015, the Pennsylvania General Assembly unanimously passed Safe Harbor legislation that protects minors from being prosecuted for sexual exploitation…The bill…provides immunity to all minors for the crimes of prostitution and obstruction of the highway [and] provides alternatives to delinquency for sexually exploited children who could otherwise be charged with prostitution-related offenses… 

Unless this bill is very different from all the others, what it actually does is to give cops the power to indefinitely detain a minor they label as a “victim” while giving “immunity” only to lily-white “perfect victims” with no criminal record who go through a lengthy and complex expungement process.

Uncommon Sense (#528) 

Sex workers in Indonesia form an association to fight together:

…the Yogyakarta Women’s Sex Workers Association (Perhimpunan Perempuan Pekerja Seks Yogyakarta, or P3SY)…was formed in 2010, facilitated by the Indonesian Family Planning Association…in Yogyakarta.  It has other branches in places with small communities of sex workers, which are run by the women themselves…the…union was established to deal with the threat of HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases…the community is working with local public health centres (puskesmas) to provide voluntary blood tests and counselling for the sex workers on a quarterly basis…women who test positive [for HIV] can gain access to free antiretroviral drugs provided by the regional government…P3SY…has persuaded almost all of its members to require their clients to wear protection…P3SY gives the women a platform to engage with and lobby the authorities.  Such advocacy proved useful when, in 2012, the authorities threatened to close down Bong Suwung.  P3SY and the PKBI managed to prevent it from happening by holding discussions with the local government…

To Molest and Rape (#797) 

It’s good to see this problem finally getting attention outside of libertarian and sex worker circles:

…US [cops] were charged with forcible rape 405 times between 2005 and 2013.  That’s an average of 45 a year.  Forcible fondling was more common, with 636 instances.  Yet experts say those statistics are, by no means, comprehensive.  Data on sexual assaults by police are almost nonexistent…”It’s just not available at all,” said Jonathan Blanks, a research associate with the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice.  “You can only crowdsource this info”…No one…[can] give an estimate, even ballpark, on how underreported these types of crimes might be…Unions…work hard to protect [cops from the consequences of their crimes]…[as do] some states’ laws…some jurisdictions include nondisclosure agreements in victim settlements.  “The system is rigged to protect [cops] from outside accountability,” Blanks said…for every sexual assault that makes the news, there are almost always more victims — on average, five more.  About half of the victims are [legal minors]…

Standard Operating Procedure (#814)

Remember, what these pearl-clutching loons mean by “predators” is actually “people who bring money into the local economy by hiring local entrepreneurs”:

Time is up for sexual predators in the aid sector, Britain’s development minister said…as she announced new measures to clamp down on sexual abuse and exploitation after a series of scandals…the British government will announce details of a joint initiative with Interpol to stop sexual predators from getting jobs…Revelations earlier this year that Oxfam staff [hired sex workers] in Haiti snowballed into widespread reports of misconduct in the aid sector…

Cooties (#845)

This popular UK cop masturbatory fantasy has crossed the Irish Sea:

Vulnerable women are being exploited and abused in “pop-up brothels” around Dublin…Labour senator…Kevin Humphreys [panted while publicly masturbating]…He ad[mitt]ed that one [so-called “gang” was actually]…two young women [working together for safety as sex workers have explained many times]…

Rooted in Racism (#858)

Note how the myth of Nigerian “sex trafficking” has grown more outlandish as European governments try to keep out black migrants while pretending not to be racist:

A new report by Europol shows that international criminal groups, particularly from Nigeria, are using established trafficking networks and the cover afforded by the migrant crisis to smuggle minors into northern European countries like Ireland for sale into the sex trade and other criminal enterprises…crime networks of “large family clans”…traffic children for the purposes of begging, criminality and sexual exploitation, with those clans operating in multiple countries at any one time and rotating their victims on a regular basis…people engag[e] in the trafficking and exploitation of their own children…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#866) 

Y’all didn’t stand up for professional whores, and now they’re coming for you dabblers:

A Wyoming woman running for city council is defending her panty-selling alter ego, confirming…that she will remain in the race.  Deborah Reno…has sold used panties and “dirty gym shorts” online for the past year.  She’s also seen stripteasing in videos…A handful of [busybodies complained] to other [politicians] following the discovery of what Reno thought was her secret identity.  The candidate said she no longer sells used underwear and has since deleted all her accounts, saying “Mystee is dead.”  Councilwoman Wendy Schuler said…that Reno is probably no longer electable as result…

Disaster (#873)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

If you’re wondering why you see so many prostitutes openly working Seattle streets, cops contend you should blame it on City Attorney Pete Holmes [rather than the government’s destruction of their advertising venues].  Cops complain that his office generally refuses to pursue charges against prostitutes.  Consequently, prostitutes are flocking to Seattle from out of town and [poor little piggies] feel powerless to attack the[m]…Some are there willingly, others are forced to by abusive pimps, who also ravage the neighborhoods with drug dealing and petty theft…But cops want to arrest pimps, as they’re often nearby in [an invisible] car waiting for their prostitutes to drop off cash from a client.  Without being able to use jail time as leverage over the prostitutes to turn on their pimps, it’s a futile effort…It could also explain why some sex workers refuse [fingerpainting classes] offered to them by the city [which take up time they could be earning money]…Even if they decided to [rape a few women] they’ll face scrutiny so unrealistically high, it’s not worth it…their complaints return to the Office of Police Accountability, an independent office within the SPD that cops [whine] is over-zealous…

The saddest thing is that Holmes, and probably most Seattle detectives, know this “pimps and hos” and “cleaning up the streets” malarkey is total bullshit, but they’re locked into it due to years of taking Swanee Hunt’s blood money.  “It’s a futile effort,” all right, but not because they can’t arrest sex workers; it’s because these invisible “pimps” don’t actually exist.  Also note the vile and sinister “we could make these whores go away if we didn’t have to follow all these rules.”  You know, the rules that were imposed by the feds because of all the police brutality.

Topping from the Bottom

Amateurs publish another public bad date list; Katie Herzog uses that as springboard to discuss Stephen Elliott:

…Elliott said that his behavior both in and outside the bedroom can be both atypical and unprofessional…A longtime friend of his told me that Elliot (who, as a child, was a ward of the state and lived in group homes) was “raised by wolves” and has “zero boundaries”.  He’s the kind of guy who will talk about sex in front of your grandma.  It’s easy to see how his behavior could be construed as—or could be—sexual harassment…

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