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Posts Tagged ‘activism’

I have no plans to stop fighting this war until there is no breath left in me.  And truth be told, I’m not even sure I could stop even if I wanted to.  –  “Ninth Anniversary

Ten years is a long time for one human to do anything without a break, much less publish a blog post without missing a single day.  But then, I’ve never been one for taking breaks; I’ve always considered them little more than a delay in whatever it is that I’m doing.  And when that “whatever” is fighting a war for self-ownership and human rights…well, as the epigram says, I’m not sure I could stop even if I wanted to.  Certainly, I’ve slowed down; when I first started this blog a decade ago, I used to publish an all-new essay every day, and the essays were much longer on average.  But as I exorcised at least a little of the righteous fury which fuels my activism, and my other activities expanded to take up more of my time, I was forced to fill an increasing number of daily slots with shorter, easier-to-write posts.  Only two days in the average week now see original essays, and I feature a lot more of what most would consider typical blog posts than in the past.  On the other hand, I’ve written lots of non-blog articles for magazines, books, etc, and I’m about to publish my fifth book; I’ve also got a documentary called The War on Whores and I give dozens of interviews for articles, radio, video, and TV every year, plus more public appearances than I can count.  So even though my blog isn’t growing as quickly as it once did (and, thanks to Google’s censorship, is seen by fewer new readers than in times past), my public presence is still growing.  And given that all of that public presence is dedicated toward fighting for my cause, I would consider that a win.

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Sex workers are not a thought experiment.  –  Kai Cheng

Monsters

Violence against trans people is getting mainstream attention:

The NYPD drone circling over the protest outside the Brooklyn Museum [on June 14th] must have only picked up a sea of white.  That’s the color protestors were asked to wear to rally and march silently in the wake of the deaths of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah MiltonTony McDade, and countless other Black trans victims of police brutality and civilian violence.  The event featured speakers from the Okra Project, the Marsha P. Johnson InstituteFor the GworlsGLITS, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, as well as the family and loved ones of Layleen Polanco…Many of the people gathered had their own stories of police brutality to tell, but that didn’t stop them from showing up for the Black trans community…

Nothing To Be Proud Of

More queer sex workers are remembering that Pride commemorates a riot:

Sex work gave me a livelihood and autonomy…and…sex workers taught me resilience and self-worth.  Queer “community,” with its endless callouts and purity politics, has never come close to doing that…Maybe you came here expecting a congenial, well-reasoned article patiently defending the virtues of sex work as a profession and politely asking for solidarity.  This isn’t that article.  That article has already been written, several times, by several different authors.  That article should have changed all of your minds already about the fact that sex workers are human beings who deserve basic human rights, but apparently it didn’t, so here we are.  Still criminalized, still stigmatized, still by and large ignored by mainstream “LGBT community,” despite the fact that transfeminine sex workers such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the reason that we have Pride in the first place.  People love the idea that sex workers need saving.  A lot of money, power, and attention goes into that idea – not to sex workers, but to our would-be saviors…In order to [really help], though, anti-sex work activists and police would have to actually care about sex workers’ actual lives, as opposed to their self-image as Real Life Heroes™ rescuing us from evil human traffickers…

Do Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

Government as domestic abuser is a very useful metaphor:

For ages the Democratic Party and its allies have been actively manipulating leftwardly-inclined Americans away from issues which might inconvenience the powerful — issues like economic justice, anti-imperialism, slashing the military budget, ending government surveillance and police militarization, and actually getting money out of politics…The powerful do not care if you have an abortion. They do not care how many bullets your gun can hold, they do not care if two guys get married or what gender pronouns you use, and they do not care if everyone is a racist or if no one is.  They care about maintaining and expanding their ability to exert control over other people…But…[now] people aren’t just out protesting racism, they’re calling for the complete dismantling of the entire police state…And the nice guy abusers are falling all over themselves to manipulate them back into their cage…Liberal narrative managers manipulated the people into understanding that they are only allowed to care about issues like sexism, LGBT rights, and racism.  The people responded by saying “Okay, well then we demand that you dismantle the entire police state because it is racist.”  Through all the confusion and fog of a lifetime of ingesting establishment propaganda, the people have still managed to find one solid strand of “no” that they know the nice guy abuser can’t actually forbid them from holding onto…

Quiet Genocide

Mainstream Western media are still largely ignoring China’s atrocities in Xinjiang:

…Formally an autonomous region of China, [Xinjiang] is today practically the largest internment camp in the world…Xi [Jinping] instructed the cadres of the Communist Party of China to “show absolutely no mercy” to its Uighur Muslim population.  The regime that now decries any allusion to the genesis of the coronavirus as bigoted then proceeded to describe Islam as a “virus”.  And its prescription for the eradication of this pathogen…was the swift “hospitalisation” of Muslims in indoctrination camps…up to 20 prisoners are packed into every cell.  Heads shaved, hands and feet bound at all times, they are permanently watched by cameras.  Their day begins at 6am and ends after midnight.  Their meals consist of gruel — except on Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, when they are served pork, forbidden by Islam — and they are granted two minutes a day to relieve themselves in a communal bucket.  The remaining hours are devoted to the performance of rituals intended to purge them of their religious and ethnic identity.  They must master Mandarin, the language of their overlords; soak themselves in party propaganda; atone for who they are by confessing to their existence as a crime; and endlessly chant slogans pledging subservience to Han supremacy: I love China! Thank you, Communist Party! I love Xi Jinping!…Inmates are made to sit on chairs embedded with metal spikes, starved, and suspended from ceilings and flogged with electric truncheons; their fingernails are prised with pliers, their skin is pierced with needles, and their bodies are pumped with mysterious medicine.  “Good” behaviour cannot bring relief from this ordeal because it is impossible for the captives to know what defines “good” behaviour…All that stands between the inmates and the torture chamber is the mood of the prison guards…There is no emancipation even in death from the humiliations…in addition to destroying and disfiguring Muslim places of worship, [China] also razes their graves

Silver Lining

My answer to the titular question: “I certainly hope not”:

…the anti-trafficking community has been largely silent on the blossoming conversation on police brutality…While some organizations have put out blanket statements about Black Lives Matter and racism, these…have not addressed the field’s entrenchment with law enforcement, or the use of anti-trafficking to re-brand abusive police forces/tactics and expand the police statecan a field that relies on carceral penalties and approaches even be saved from its pro-police roots?  The history of the anti-trafficking field has revolved around the decision to take social justice problems and apply a criminal justice answer…This decision to…center…law enforcement and criminal justice-based interventions was concretized through legislation which incentivized joint approaches between service providers and law enforcement and primarily defined success as convictions…

Social Distancing (#1031)

The Japanese are much more sensible about sex than Americans:

…nightclubs across Japan are trying to come to terms with in the age of COVID-19, as they roll out a raft of anti-infection measures to shed their newfound notoriety as hotbeds for virus clusters.  The industry [was ready]…for the full lifting [last] Friday of Tokyo’s business closure requests, which…pave[d] the way for host clubs and hostess bars…to officially reopen for the first time in months.  In reality, a number of nightclubs had already resumed business to protect the livelihoods of employees.  But…many parlors [are now] taking a stab at the new safety guidelines issued by the government on how to coexist with the pandemic…

The Cop Myth (#1049)

A Reason interview with Reason alumnus Radley Balko:

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Fundamental[ly]…policing [is]…a state institution that’s predicated on the use of violence to fix problems.  –  Alex Vitale

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

Sex workers aren’t always a part of [amateurs’] conversation about police brutality, but they should be.  Police regularly target, harass, and assault sex workers or people they think are sex workers…[and] usually get away with the abuse because sex workers fear being arrested if they report. If we lived in a world that didn’t criminalize sex work, sex workers could better protect themselves and seek justice when they are harmed.  Protecting sex workers from police violence is just one of the reasons we need to decriminalize sex work…

To Molest and Rape

A murderer is also a rapist.  Gee, what a surprise:

…one of three white officers accused in the death of Breonna Taylor…[also molested at least] two women [in the past.  Brett Hankinson]…is…a dirty cop [who has also carried out] vendetta[s by] arrest[ing people he dislikes on trumped-up charges]…the more recent sexual assault…[was] against…a woman [named]…Margo Borders w[ho reported that Hankinson]…”drove me home [from a bar] in uniform, in his marked car, invited himself into my apartment and sexually assaulted me while I was unconscious”…In the second instance…Emily Terry…”began walking home from a bar intoxicated.  A [cop] pulled up next to me and offered me a ride home…He began making sexual advances towards me…As soon as he pulled up to my apartment building, I got out of the car and ran to the back”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#903) 

Amazon wants to have its cake and eat it too:

We’re implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon’s facial recognition technology.  We will continue to allow organizations like Thorn, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Marinus Analytics to use Amazon Rekognition to [persecute sex workers] and [pass the information on to the cops]…

In other words, Amazon is adopting a cosmetic ban in order to take advantage of the anti-cop zeitgeist while simultaneously profiting from helping notorious fascist anti-sex organizations to persecute sex workers and pass the information along to their pig buddies.

Silver Lining

Another sign that the moral panic may be dying:

For the second year in a row, the number of federal human trafficking cases…has dropped after almost two decades of increases…Overall, federal p[er]secutions of [people using the excuse of] human traffick[ing] have dropped by about a third since 2017…The decrease came entirely from a drop in prosecutions of sex trafficking…which has consistently made up the majority of federal human trafficking prosecutions since the TVPA was enacted.  The number of labor trafficking cases has remained roughly the same, [because unike “sex trafficking” they are based in reality]…The number of new sex trafficking cases, meanwhile, dropped from 207 in 2017 to just 136 filed in 2019…

Working From Home (#1045)

Moloch (#1047) 

Contrast with Oregon and other states which are finally moving to protect students from police violence:

…thousands of small children who are led out of schools in handcuffs every year around the country.  Juvenile arrests in Florida have been steadily declining over the last decade, as they have been more generally across the U.S., but…the state embarked on an aggressive plan to “harden” its…[treatment of students], including putting at least one [armed, dangerous thug] in every K-12 school in the state…[the result is that] students, especially minorities and those with disabilities, are now bearing the brunt of new zero tolerance policies and heavy-handed discipline…In Minneapolis…the school board recently voted in favor of…ending a $1 million [cash cow for]…city police.  Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon, announced…that he would disband the city’s school [pig herd]…Other states and cities appear to be considering similar measures.  [But] in Florida [police violence against students] increased…20%…[and] there’s been a spike in the use of involuntary psychiatric commitments against kids…thanks to an existing Florida…that gives police authority to temporarily lock up both children and adults against their will…

The Cop Myth (#1047)

Alex Vitale on what abolishing police would actually look like:

Five years ago, in the wake of the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, we were told, “Don’t worry, we’re going to fix it. We’re going to give the police implicit bias training.  We’re going to hold some community police encounter sessions.  We’re gonna buy some body cameras”…what we often refer to as “procedural reforms”…[were] going to magically fix the problem.  But…the problem of overpolicing remains…Procedural justice folks…want to restore the public’s trust in the police…But this ignores the question of what they are policing, and whether they should be policing it.  We have [millions of] low-level arrests in the United States every year and most of them are completely pointless.  It is just a huge level of harassment meted out almost exclusively on the poorest and most marginal communities in our society…[true police reform must] go…hand in hand with decriminalizing sex work, drugs, homelessness, mental illness.  We don’t really need a vice unit, we need a system of legalized sex work that’s regulated just like any other business.  We don’t need school police, we need counselors and restorative justice programs.  We don’t need police homeless outreach units, we need supportive housing, community based drop-in centers, social workers…

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It will be neither an easy fight nor a quick one, but neither was the struggle for LGBT rights and look how far that’s come.  –  “Galvanized

Today is International Whores’ Day, a celebration of the power and resilience of sex workers in the face of state violence and social stigma alike.  This year, when our community is suffering from pandemic-caused privation in addition to the evil crusade which many governments subject to US hegemony have increasingly inflicted upon us since the beginning of the century, it may seem as though there is little to celebrate; some even worry (and others hope) that current conditions will accomplish what no other menace in history has been able to, the end of sex work as a viable profession.  The yellow journalists at CNN even published a story whose headline shrieks, “Can the world’s oldest profession survive the age of social distancing?” and I’m here to answer it:  Of course we fucking can.  As I wrote over three years ago in “For My Sisters“,

We have survived the fall of empires and the disappearance of whole peoples.  We have survived fire, flood, famine, pestilence, war and every other disaster.  We have survived persecution, pogroms, confinement in brothels, literal slavery, mutilation & even burnings.  We will survive this too…and our tribe will exist when The USA is nothing but a thing kids learn about in history, then forget.  We are as eternal as the sea; our enemies are mere insects, who annoy for a season and are then gone.  In order for them to win, they would have to completely destroy human sexuality; in order for us to win, all we need do is practice the patience and courage which we have in abundance.  And though it’s difficult to remember that in trying times, it doesn’t even matter if we do or not because even if we as individuals forget, we as a group will survive and triumph nonetheless.

The prohibitionists’ best attempts to crush us have all backfired; public support for decriminalization is higher than it has ever been, and a week doesn’t pass that some prominent magazine, newspaper, website or even politician calls for it.  Every prominent human rights organization, medical organization, and academic who has studied the subject agrees.  Sex work is even increasingly viewed as “cool” by young people, and the same pandemic which is causing us so much pain right now has also turned “sex trafficking” hysteria into yesterday’s news (a fact even prohibitionists are starting to grasp).  Yes, things are very damned bad right now…and it will pass, as everything does.  And when it does we will still be here, just as we always have been.

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It’s unlikely you’ll make the world a better place by twisting people’s arms.  –  J.D. Tuccille

A Broker in Pillage

I’m sure you know the answer to the question posed in this headline:

An Arizona bill requiring police and prosecutors to get a criminal conviction before they could [steal citizens’ property]…died [in the Arizona House]…The bill passed the [state] Senate unanimously in March.  Then the coronavirus pandemic hit and…politic[ians decided]…they don’t want to give up the revenue…Kirsten Engel…[basically] said that…she wants to use civil forfeiture to finance police departments even if it means the disadvantaged get the blunt end of the stick…

The Joy of Juxtaposition

Beneath their “red x” silliness and childish propaganda, “End It” are dangerous copsuckers:

The End It movement is not…apolitical…people are supporting and directly funding institutions that define slavery, trafficking, and freedom by their own criteria while collaborating with the FBI, DHS, and police forces.  Overall, the End It movement serves the state, corporate, and institutional interests of the people who run it.  Every year the End It movement picks a random date in February to…promote Westerners drawing a red “X” on their hand to represent millions of victims who are enslaved…their Twitter page is full of…celebrities, police, corporations and…“law and order” types…

Rough Trade (#915) 

Cops refuse to release the name of a dangerous, violent serial rapist.  Guess why?

A man gardaí believe is a “serious threat to women” is staying in a Dublin hotel after arriving back into the country in recent weeks…The man[‘s name is not being released]…because his only [recent] rape [accusations were] of two prostitutes…who[m]…he…drugged and raped…and beat…during a lengthy attack…

The Course of a Disease (#980)

Proponents of the Swedish rot will use any excuse to push their filth:

Pro[hibitionist] German politicians…called for brothels to be closed indefinitely…[by rehashing the tired old myth of sex workers as vectors of disease]…”[We want people to believe] that prostitutes could become epidemiological ‘super spreaders’ — sexual activities are, as a rule, not compatible with social distancing measures,” the letter reads…The letter calls for Germany to take the opportunity to adopt the “Nordic model”…

The speed with which Swedish criminalization fans have pivoted from “we’re only trying to protect women!” to “whores are dirty and should be condemned to re-education” tells you all you need to know about their sincerity.

Social Distancing

Bills and hunger don’t “socially distance” from people without income:

…“the world’s oldest profession”…doesn’t stop for anything.  Not an economic crisis, not Ramadan, and not a deadly coronavirus outbreak.  [Even] in [Iran,] where “Morality Police” roam the streets, everyone knows exactly where to go to find prostitution…Mona…tells me…“It’s either I die of poverty or die of Corona – I choose the second one.”  Mona says that she gets fewer house calls these days, but the street ones are still coming.  Sex is always in demand, so business hasn’t taken much of a hit from the spread of the virus…

Working From Home (#1032)

Susannah Breslin interviews a stripper activist:

New Orleans…[stripper Chase] Kelly has become a source of support and wisdom for her dancer clients and her over 46,000 followers on Instagram.  So, when the coronavirus pandemic began spreading across the U.S. early this year, Kelly become a front line worker at the intersection of the pandemic and strip clubs, providing counseling and support for dancers who, due to the nature of their work, found themselves in dire circumstances.  Here, Kelly talks about how the coronavirus has changed the strip club business, why taking things online isn’t the same thing when you strip for a living, and whether or not the coronavirus will wipe out the strip club industry altogether…

Like Houses (#1038)

Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Violence is safety:

For a brief time, [Americans] seemed to be taking the dangers of official force to heart.  Then the pandemic came along, and…politicians quickly went to their happy place: threatening people with violence for not doing what they’re told…Threats to arrest people for violating stay-at-home [diktats] are especially ironic, given reports of rapid contagion in crowded jails and prisons.  Mass imprisonment…isn’t a great public health tactic…Cops across the country busted people for “social-distancing violations” including hanging out with friendsplaying with their children in public parks, and failing to wear face masks. Police in Brooklyn “cuffed a mother and pinned her to the ground” because her mask was around her neck instead of over her nose and mouth.  Everybody is potentially on the receiving end of such treatment, but cops always lean most heavily on the people they prefer to target…members of minority communities who are less able to push back…

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Marginalized communities have always taken care of each other because the state explicitly excludes us.  –  Molly Simmons

A Broker in Pillage

The number of excuses government uses for robbery keeps growing:

…a Delaware supplier of medical equipment [has reported that federal goons stole]…hundreds of thousands of N95 respirators [under color of law].  George Gianforcaro …of…Indutex USA…said the Federal Emergency Management Agency did not pay him when it [stole two imported shipments of masks bound for customers…includ[ing] Delaware nursing facilities, the state of Michigan and boat captains who steer foreign ships through U.S. bays.  He…does not know where the seized…masks are today…FEMA appeared to deny Gianforcaro’s charge without addressing the specific claims.  It called reports of its officials [stealing] supplies of…critical equipment “false” [despite the fact that it’s obviously happening]…

Disaster (#931)

I’m sure you amateurs are happy to be censored “for THE CHILDREN™!”:

Zoom is [attempting to censor] nudity following reports that users have been organizing orgies and sex parties during COVID-19 quarantine.  The video conferencing app…surged in popularity this year after [politicians started ordering people to stay home under pain of police violence]…But as users find creative ways to maintain their social lives through Zoom, the company is…[proclaiming that its] “user policies explicitly prohibit any obscene, indecent, illegal, or violent activity or content”…Zoom declined to clarify…whether…bots would patrol meetings looking for users in various states of undress…But some are skeptical…[because] the company’s own privacy guidelines [claim] that “video, audio chat content is not stored…unless a meeting is recorded by the host,” making it difficult for Zoom to monitor or surveil content…

Social Distancing

Sex workers must help each other, because few others will:

In the midst of a pandemic that has completely overwhelmed institutional support structures…communities [have] organize[d] mutual aid projects to redistribute resources among the most vulnerable [while politicians issue authoritarian proclamations and point fingers at one another].  Sex worker organizing could be a model for this…There is a deep history of mutual aid and redistribution—both formal and informal—within the sex worker community.  As it became clear that Covid-19 would hit the United States with the force of a…disaster, sex workers were among the first to respond with broadscale mutual aid efforts…outside of [the] official [and destructive] government response…

Like Houses (#1029)

The power to declare something “non-essential” is the power to ban it:

Christa Thompson was…charged…with a [“crime”] that carries a fine of up to $1,000 and the possibility of six months in jail.  The crime?  Holding a yard sale…[because politicians have declared it] not an essential business…[pigs claim] the governor’s order…[prohibits her] selling her father-in-law’s property in order to pay bills and buy groceries for her six kids…

Working From Home (#1031)

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about stage names:

In the age of social distancing, camming has become the way to go…for adult entertainment performers…[and] amateurs [alike]…But as more models join in the online [work]…some well-established [sex workers] are increasingly finding their moneymaking names or similar ones—including those protected by trademark—being used by fakes, frauds and phonies on various cam sites.  Industry attorney Lawrence Walters…says those individuals [starting online sex work]…especially need to be concerned about their stage names not riding on the coattails of established performers…“If the chosen name is the same, or confusingly similar to, an existing registered mark, this could spell trouble for the performer…Even if there is no federal [or state] trademark registration, the brand…may be used by someone without a registration, who could still have superior ‘common law’ rights.”  It is best to legally clear a stage name before sinking substantial funds into marketing and promotion…

Like Houses (#1032)

If you didn’t expect censorship, you are hopelessly naive:

The local television station London Live is facing sanctions after the [government opined that]…it had posed a threat to the public’s health by showing a lengthy interview with [professional crackpot] David Icke about the coronavirus pandemic…Icke used the broadcast to [propose the notion] that the pandemic was cover for a supposed global world order to purposefully crash the economy, end the use of cash payments, and track every individual…

Social Distancing (#1033)

Compare to the ugly behavior of France & the US:

There are literally thousands of European sex workers stuck in Spain, unable to repatriate to their country of origin, who have pleaded for help…there will be funds made available for housing and care to all…sex [workers]…in most major cities across Spain.  The government wants this income to guarantee  “the minimum subsistence conditions,” provided that they meet the agreed criteria.  The women, many of them foreigners existing in illegal situations, generally live in social isolation…without access to the resources of the local environment…

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I’ve been following Maya Morena, an undocumented migrant sex worker and tireless activist, since she became more prominent a year or so ago; I’ve wanted to publish a guest column from her for a while now, so I was pleased to have the opportunity to offer her this space to describe yet another effort by prohibitionists to silence us.

On March 10, 2020 I had the pleasure of attending the Sex Workers’ Pop-Up with some friends.  Sex workers and undocumented immigrants are subject to constant epistemic injustice, so something so simple as basic human respect from outsiders is rare.  We were trusted to represent ourselves and not be symbols for someone else’s white savior project.  I was excited by how many people showed up to support, knowing I would be looking at my friends’ faces on the gallery walls, and their artwork and stories would be showcased. The event itself mostly consisted of a panel of sex workers and people who identify as sex trafficking victims (or both). Personally, I didn’t think the event was radical enough and I’m hopeful that new platforms will spring up in the future.  But the hatred and exclusion that we were met with by a highly organized network of organizations was unbelievable, and considering that the exhibit was closed ahead of schedule due to COVID-19, the SWERFs who fought so hard for weeks to get it shut down have gotten their wish in the end.

On March 2, 2020 “New Yorkers for the Equality Model”, a coalition of organizations fighting for Swedish-style criminalization, created a letter with their partners.  I had protested the very formation of that group a few months earlier, and started http://www.equalitymodel.com to educate the public on what they were doing; in response, they filed a bogus DMCA takedown against it (as they have done many times against female content creators) and had a whole section of the site taken down.  I ended up paying $550 trying to file a counterclaim to protect my information from them, but didn’t have funds to keep fighting.  Various SWERFs such as Rachel Moran, and Julie Bindel (who don’t even live in New York) have been demanding that the MTA and Outfront Media take down our (paid-for) posters for the events we were hosting.  This is very on-brand for Bindel, who has argued that giving sex workers hand sanitizers and medical advice on how to reduce potential disease is a “waste of time” since it would “encourage” sex workers to stay working longer (as though people were doing sex work for the sole reason that someone gave them hand sanitizer).  The letter itself – hosted on their website and promoted through mainstream media – claims that there’s an evil conspiracy by George Soros to target children through the ads and get them to become sex slaves.  The letter makes the claim that “The term ‘sex work’ is a euphemism for prostitution, coined in the 1980s by people with financial interests in the sex trade, whose goal was to mainstream and normalize the systems of prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation.”  The “people with financial interests” referred to are sex workers, because “sex work” encompasses everything from stripping, to webcamming, to dominatrix work – not only prostitution, and not all illegal; the term was actually coined by Carol Leigh, a sex worker and activist.  The letter goes on to dehumanize sex workers by comparing us to drugs, cigarettes, guns, and organs harvesting, then makes veiled threats against sex workers by stating that we are still criminalized in New York in an attempt to get the ads censored by New York state.  Many of the organizations who penned the letter worked hard to create the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts which still incarcerate and deport sex workers, despite their repeated claims that they wouldn’t.

The organizations who make up “New Yorkers for the Equality Model” are deeply racist, but try to obscure this is by exploiting a few migrants as tokens via the “Trafficking Visa“, which has only been given to 6780 people over the past 11 years despite having an annual cap of 5,000 (it is one of the only visas that never meets its cap).  And even it is very weak help; it only gives an immigrant the right to work in the US for 4 years.  This is best the  US and “anti-trafficking” groups have to give to people they label victims.  The US spends millions every year on “human trafficking”, most of which goes toward police and border control efforts; the prohibitionist organizations are “law and order” types, and only “help” migrants – exploited or otherwise – who are willing to help them put others behind bars.  These tokens are therefore not good representatives of sex workers or marginalized groups.  They represent oppressive institutions that exclude and criminalize undocumented immigrants from services; they are an exceedingly small minority which promotes criminalization of other minorities; and when they work for the state or “anti-trafficking” organizations, they often consider themselves “legal immigrants” and thus superior to sex workers and “illegal” immigrants.  Even the kids who have been separated from their parents, molested by guards at the border, and sold through adoption are not considered worthy of assistance; they are “criminals” just like me, who was a child migrant and a DACA kid.  It does hurt that the people who work hard to erase marginalized people get to claim they’re “saving” us to a gullible public.

But despite the Sex Worker Pop-Up’s short duration, it did give me a glimpse of how many sex workers allies there are, and how much they desire to listen to and support us.  I met more sex workers in that one place then I have anywhere else except for the internet, and was able to connect with radical activists, content creators, professionals, and even male sex workers that our sciety prefers to pretend don’t exist.  We even spoke about creating other, future events to educate the public, even though we know we’ll have to fight those who want to silence and harm us to do so.

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If you don’t follow me on Twitter, you’ve missed some of my musings on the pandemic, the panic surrounding it, and the police state expansion it’s being used an excuse for. Here are a few choice examples:

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We await a thundering so great
That it shatters stars
That it awakens fate
To save us from a void of eternal scars.
  –  Abdurehim Imin Parach

Not for Everybody (#626)

Women who had a bad time in sex work are exploited by prohibitionists, but some wake up:

…when I came across the “survivor” movement…it was like coming home.  I finally felt able to share my experiences honestly and without feeling judged…I accepted what I was told about the Nordic Model; that it was a framework which supported women and punished the perpetrators.  And all buyers were perpetrators.  I was encouraged to share and re-share and share again my trauma experiences (for no compensation, of course) to the point that I was a quivering wreck, angry at the world and thoroughly believed that women were doomed without the passing of a Sex Buyer Law, and anyone who said otherwise was part of the Big Pimp Conspiracy.  Looking back it felt a little like joining a cult.  I was saved!  And I had a responsibility to save others.  I’m mortified, now, at the way I ignored the efforts of those who patiently tried to show me the documented evidence…

Worse Than I Thought (#711)

A perfect storm of stupidity, sex fantasy and authoritarian violence:

…senate candidate Bill Hagerty [publicly shared his sexual fantasies about] human trafficking…in Tennessee…[after vomiting up a lot of nonsense about] roadways…and…proximity to Atlanta…[then reciting the shahada and dehumanizing sex workers as a] growing epidemic…[he called for increased censorship of] the internet…and…[claimed] that [sex work]…”is one of the most atrocious crimes, and the death penalty should absolutely be considered for these criminals”…

Worse Than I Thought (#737)

“Human trafficking” has become nothing more than a dysphemism for sex work:

The Odessa City Council will consider…an…ordinance…that is aimed at tightening [the noose] on sex…[workers]…The ordinance will…extend…the distance a sexually oriented business can be from a school or church from 600 feet to 1,500 feet….[and] require those businesses to add [magical anti-pimp]…signs in Spanish…the ordinance [also] includes a rule…[that strippers]…who…have an overdue balance on a utility bill like water or gas [due to lack of work during virus panic] may be denied th[e] permit [the city demands they have in order] to work [and pay the overdue bill]…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#855) 

I suppose it only makes sense to excuse an imaginary “offense” with an imaginary “disorder”:

A top NHS chest doctor who used a hospital computer to view…pornography [w]as [slapped] with a 12-month suspension [during a respiratory disease epidemic because sex rays.  He might have received an even more ridiculous penalty had he not placated the puritans by]…checking himself into a sex addiction clinic.  Professor Peter Davies…viewed [the porn]…at work [because] his wife put an anti-[porn] filter on his computer at home.  The world-renowned expert on tuberculosis…[claimed] he had been addicted to pornography since he was 18 years old [even though there is no such thing as “pornography addiction”]…

Quiet Genocide

How China tries to keep the genocide quiet:

China’s government considers…the Uighur ethnic minority to be “terrorists” and “separatists.”  It has imprisoned them on a mass scale and has turned Xinjiang into one of the world’s most tightly controlled police states.  As a result, many Uighurs have fled to Turkey, which they have traditionally viewed as a refuge and an advocate for their rights.  Now, many Uighurs in Istanbul…fear China is pressuring Turkey to threaten them.  [Abdurehim Imin] Parach…was targeted after he published [Breathing in Exile,] a book of poetry describing China’s oppression of Uighurs…The book came out in December 2018…and…two months later…Turkish [cops] arrested him…and sent [him] to [a] deportation center…for [three] months [before releasing him without explanation]…One Uighur activist in Turkey…has counted at least 200 such detentions since January 2019, while a lawyer…has assisted more than 400 Uighurs arrested in the past year…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#998) 

“Sex trafficking” now means whatever authoritarians want it to mean:

Sen. Ben Sasse…demanded Attorney General William P. Barr investigate adult video giant Pornhub for allegedly facilitating human trafficking [by which he apparently means GirlsDoPorn’s release of material it told performers would not be available online]…in a [written sex fantasy he referred to the women victimized by GirlsDoPorn as]…”exploit[ed] children”…[meanwhile] anti-[sex worker] activist Laila Mickelwait [of the religious pro-censorship group Exodus Cry] launched a petition to [censor] the website and [unconstitutionally persecute] its executives…

An article by Tracy Clark-Flory points out that “The petition itself links to TraffickingHub.com, a site…which prominently quotes Gail Dines…this is not a “nonpartisan” petition, but rather an abolitionist project…

You Were Warned (#1007)

We told you so, over and over and over again:

Imagine an Internet where the law required every message sent to be read by government-approved scanning software.  Companies that handle such messages wouldn’t be allowed to securely encrypt them, or they’d lose legal protections that allow them to operate…The so-called EARN IT bill, sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham…and Richard Blumenthal…will strip Section 230 protections away from any website that doesn’t follow a list of “best practices,” meaning those sites can be sued into bankruptcy.  The “best practices” list will be created by a government commission, headed by Attorney General Barr, who has made it very clear he would like to ban encryption, and guarantee [pigs and spooks]…access…to any digital message…[but] because they didn’t put the word “encryption” in the bill, they…insist it doesn’t affect encryption…the bill…would create a 19-person commission that’s completely controlled by the Attorney General and [pigs, spooks and professional busybodies such as]…NCMEC…[which has already] made it clear…[they] believe…online services should be made to [spy on all communications]…report what they find in the messages to NCMEC; and be held legally responsible for the content of messages sent by others…The Commission won’t be a body that seriously considers policy; it will be a vehicle for creating a law enforcement wish list…

Out of Control (#1021)

Sex workers know how to protect each other, but “authorities” want to keep us from doing it:

…online databases are vital for sex workers’ safety, but they’re moving further and further underground in the wake of the so-called SESTA/FOSTA law…that…criminalizes anything they do, even posting about work online.  The database that figured into [rapist client Dr. Manish] Gupta’s case requires users to pay for membership, is hard to join without an invitation and…now requires lengthy verification.  It’s one of a handful of closed-door screening sites that not only protect sex workers but, as the Gupta case shows, can be crucial for securing arrests.  “People are more hesitant to use them now because they don’t want to be accused of promoting prostitution,” said Phoenix Calida from [SWOP-USA]…“That’s how predators are able to continue for so long.  There were complaints lodged about this person being a bad date a couple of years before the person who went to the police was assaulted”…The investigation ramped up in late 2019 after a sex worker victims’ advocate began collating accounts of women who’d been drugged, raped, and videotaped by Gupta…there were 20 different victims in Gupta’s videos…the FBI’s Cleveland Office said they hope media coverage of Gupta’s arrest will encourage more victims to come forward.  “We want to remind them that they can contact the FBI anonymously,” she said…

DO NOT trust the FBI!  They will collect all of your information to hold for future use.  If you have information about Gupta you wish to share, contact a lawyer to help you negotiate that; do not call or e-mail them directly!

Social Distancing

This is going to hurt a lot of sex workers:

…gentlemen’s club…proprietors [in Jamaica] have been bracing for the hammer to fall soon on their regular…operations, but for now at least, lap dances are still en vogue, despite the spreading threat of the coronavirus…”We hear that they might close us down by Monday…how the girls dem a go mek money if dem caan give lap dances?…When wi close down, all our dancers may just start go do independent sex work, and that is more dangerous for them to be on the streets, so we ah gwaan watch and wait,” stated [on]e club manager…the virus is a serious financial…worry.  Prostitutes, dancers and other categories of sex workers are already feeling the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak directly…

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Fuck the patriarchy — but not for free!  –  protest sign in Berlin

If It Were Legal

Do prosecutors think scoring points trumps five women’s harassment lawsuit?

LA Direct agency owner Derek Hay has made arrangements to travel to Los Angeles to face criminal pandering charges in California, stemming from accusations made during [a] recent…case involv[ing] five of his former models petitioning against him and his agency before the California Labor Commission…Charlotte Cross, Shay Evans, Sofi Ryan, Andi Rye and Hadley Viscara…[are suing] Hay and two other individuals [for sexual assault, but apparently]…California [prosecutors think the fact that he paid]…Viscara…and…Ryan [for sex in]…2017 [is somehow more important]…

Follow the Leader

Costumed hooligans regularly abduct and torture people in ways that would be charged as crimes for anyone else:

PJ Starr’s chilling documentary “No Human Involved” recounts the 2009 [murder] of Marcia Powell by…Arizona [screws]…and condemns the criminalization of prostitution…the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office…[did] not…prosecute [the screws who intentionally and maliciously locked] Powell outside in a human cage for several hours without water as temperatures soared to 107 degrees…[a lying pig] who had already arrested Powell twice before for [prostitution]…entrapp[ed] a…schizophrenic woman…[and terrible laws were used to] turn…what would normally be a…misdemeanor…into a…felony…In the film, retired [Arizona] Deputy Warden Carl Toersbijns reviews Powell’s…file…and observes its tone of “retaliation” and “pettiness” toward the woman.  Powell was written up for things like drinking coffee out of the wrong cup and…shackled…every time she got out of her cell…[the torture escalated until screws respnded to suicidal ideation by locking her in the cage where she was found four hours later, covered in her own shit with a body temperature of 108o]…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#724) 

Given that dancers win every one of these suits, the old strip club business model is a dead duck:

…a judge at an employment tribunal ruled that dancers in a London strip clubs Browns and Horns have worker status.  Until now, dancers were misclassified as “independent contractors” [despite being treated as employees], which means they had no access to even the most basic rights at work.  The new ruling now opens the door for dancers to claim workers’ rights such as paid annual leave, a guaranteed pay for all hours worked, the right to take maternity or sick leave without the risk of termination, protection against workplace harassment and the right to organise through a trade union…

Full of Themselves (#787)

‘Happy endings’ have apparently become a matter of national security“:

The FBI has launched an investigation into how applicants with phony or questionable credentials were able to get Massachusetts massage therapist licenses…[the FBI is claiming jurisdiction over a minor state regulatory issue using the excuse of] sex trafficking…the state Board…approved the applications of candidates who reported getting their training at Axiom Healthcare Academy in New Jersey, after the school closed in 2014…Axiom’s founder pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges he sold fake transcripts and phony graduation certificates to [sex workers to get around government busybodies]…

The War on Whores

Here’s a nice review of The War on Whores on an Australian radio program; it starts at the 9:00 mark and is about eleven minutes long, and you can also download it as an MP3.  The reviewer called it a “must-watch”, and said some very complimentary things about this blog as well.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

An Ohio plastic surgeon used sedatives…to drug and rape multiple women…[since] at least 2013…Manish Raj Gupta…faces [a raft of] federal charges…[including] sex trafficking…The FBI began investigating Gupta…[last year] after a woman who worked as a “high-end escort” reported that Gupta had [raped]…her in September 2016…In the morning, KB drove to the home of a client who is an anesthesiologist, and asked him to administer a drug test…[which] showed she had a tranquilizer in her system…[she wisely] did not report the incident to police…[but] did…[add him to] two [bad date] websites…[several other sex workers had] report[ed him starting in] March 2013…Gupta’s employees at his practice, Artisan Cosmetic Surgery, began to get suspicious of him when [one of his victims]…called the office “stating that Gupta had drugged her, raped her and video-recorded her,” describing him, his phone and his car in accurate detail…

I notice that NBC News felt no compelling need to put “plastic surgeon” or other non-sexwork job titles in scare quotes.

Uncommon Sense (#948)

Because whores are morons whose lives and businesses must be micromanaged by governments:

…the Prostituiertenschutzgesetz…which came into force 1 July 2017…require[s sex workers] to register with a local authority and undergo mandatory [indocrination sessions] and [violations pretended to be for] health…the law does [nothing] to improve working conditions and it fails to integrate sex work into existing labour law…The ProstSchG is…a bureaucratic nightmare for sex workers…if they comply [so most simply do]…not register…the realities of sex workers in [Germany] could s[till] get worse under…Swedish [criminalization], called for by [prohibitionist politicians]

End Demand (#972)

Mar Brettmann is a sleazy opportunist who will say anything to sell her anti-whore snake oil:

The Port of Seattle is implementing new [indoctrination]…for its 2,000 employees to [encourage] them [to] sp[y on citizens passing through]…the region’s air and sea…ports…The [propaganda was purchased from]…the [highly]…profit[able] group Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking…The [propaganda]…is specifically designed [to encourage racists and naifs to summon] law enforcement…[to inflict] violence, threats…and other manipulation…[on brown] people…generating [huge] financial sums [for both propagandists and cops themselves, the latter via the procedure called “asset forfeiture”.  The propaganda includes thoroughly-debunked fantasies such as the widely-touted by completely fabricated tale of how]…in 2017, an Alaska Airlines flight attendant…[supposedly] rescue[d] an underage teenager traveling from Seattle to San Francisco who’d become a trafficking victim…

The story was touted in 2017, but supposedly happened in 2011.  And “while the news that year is full of stories about a man arrested at the San Francisco International Airport for wearing baggy pants…none mention a human trafficker apprehended at a Bay Area airport that year…SFPD…web archives turn up similarly scant results…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#1014)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

Twenty-four states plus Washington D.C. mandate statewide comprehensive sex ed, but Washington state is not one of them.  In fact…40% of school districts in Washington don’t teach sex ed at all…[but] a…bill [mandating it may]…pass…this year.  Republicans…don’t like the legislation because they don’t want their children to learn about sex and consent…so they tried to kill it by adding an obscene 232 amendments…this display ultimately failed, and…[politicians] ultimately withdrew the most salacious amendments…[including one] which would force teachers to reference the “risk” of pornography in any discussion of [the topic]…[another] would…”exclude…any curricula that directs students to resources that discuss BDSM, bloodplay, inserting vegetables into the anus, or similar sexual behavior”…[another] tr[ies]…to prohibit…[one specific] book…and [still another]…”prohibits a teacher or other instructor from…demonstrating how to apply a condom…using…items such as sex toys, fruits, or vegetables”…

I sometimes wonder why politicians in general are so obsessed with plants, especially fruits and vegetables.  And in this case I’m specifically wondering how many of these proposed amendments are from the preaching pig.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1020)

Still think this djinni can be stuffed back into its bottle?

Wolfcom, a company that makes technology for police, is pitching body cameras with live facial recognition to [cop shops] across the United States…Axon, the largest manufacturer of body cameras in the United States, declared last year that it would not put the invasive technology in its hardware, citing “serious ethical concerns.”  NEC, which sells live facial recognition elsewhere in the world, has also not sold it to U.S. [cops.  But] Wolfcom claims to have sold body cameras to at least 1,500 [cop shops], universities, and [spook] organizations across the country.  It has been developing live facial recognition for the Halo, Wolfcom’s newest body camera model…

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