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Posts Tagged ‘agency denial’

I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence.
–  Jude Faccidomo

It Looks Good On Paper

Remember that I’ve been a harsh critic of these do-nothing law for 7 years:

Under Ohio’s safe harbour legislation – and similar laws across all states…[women can] request that criminal charges…accrued while [coerced into prostitution be]…expunged from the public record.  Yet [prohibitionists] across the US are warning that a sudden decision by the Trump administration, effective immediately, to cut all funding for legal representation…means that many other victims will now struggle to get their expungement cases into a courtroom…the American Bar Association, members of Congress, survivors, advocates and law enforcement have called for a reversal of the decision [even though they still support]…deny[ing]…the…legal rights [of sex workers who aren’t poster children for prohibition]…

Far be it from me to say anything good about the orange-utang, but these laws actually help nobody but “perfect victims”; defunding them will change essentially nothing.

With Friends Like These…

If you can’t write a pro-decrim article without saying that you wish whores didn’t exist, don’t write one at all:

…there’s not much that’s more misogynistic than blaming women because they fulfill the needs of men.  It’s all very well to insist that women make this choice because of patriarchy and false consciousness, as some feminists do, and are called “whorephobic” for their pains.  But…feminist theory doesn’t pay the bills.  I’m not pretending that there would be prostitution in my ideal world.  There wouldn’t.  I like neither the idea nor the reality of prostitution.  But I also know that the world isn’t, and can’t be, arranged around what I like…I know as well, or think I know, that “free choice” is merely a concept and that human beings have no more free choice than foxes or dolphins or butterflies.  We have loaded choices, all of them dictated by our upbringing, our finances, our cultural landscape and our genes, in that order…

In my ideal world, hypocritical apologists for feminism like Deborah Orr wouldn’t exist; I like neither the idea nor the reality of them.  But I’m an adult who understands that the concept of an “ideal world” is childish nonsense, and that one whose “ideal world” doesn’t include free choice is a pompous asshat.

See No Evil (#136) 

Seven years in a cage for drawing a fictional character:

Christopher John Czarnik…is serving time on a 2014 plea for the possession and distribution of sexually explicit images of children.  He was then charged again with child porn in prison….[after] guards found a drawing of a young girl engaged in sexual acts with an adult male…Czarnik then showed [screws] more pictures and writings of this own creation.  That was deemed possession and creation of child porn…Czarnik entered a guilty plea with the condition that the legal issue be allowed to be litigated over…”cartoon characters.”  That plea limited the added sentence to seven years…

A Broker in Pillage (#406)

It’s not often a judge rules against cops in favor of a sex worker:

The Miami-Dade Police Department must return nearly $20,000 in cash to a woman after prosecutors admitted that [cops] illegally searched her car and seized several lawfully owned guns…the department will also pay $3,000 in legal fees to Lizmixell Batista, a dancer at the local Cheetah Gentleman’s Club, and her husband, Ras Cates…Batista and Cates were arrested following a traffic stop in May.  [Cops pretended to] smell…marijuana in their car, and a subsequent search turned up six guns, several large bottles of what cops [claimed] to be codeine cough syrup, and nearly $20,000 in cash in Batista’s purse…[cops bragged as though] it [were] a major bust…[but] prosecutors dropped the charges…when body-cam footage showed police didn’t have permission to search the couple’s trunk.  The guns were all legally owned, Cates had a concealed carry license, and no testing had been done on the su[ppos]ed codeine…Batista had explained…why, given her profession, she would be carrying large amounts of cash, but the department initiated a forfeiture case against the money anyway…[pretend]ing it was dope money…

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

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

Yan Liu, originally from China and now a resident of New York City, was charged [in Maine] with engaging in prostitution.  No other people were charged in connection with her arrest, including a man and a woman [imagined] by the motel employee as coercing Liu back into the room, or a client [of hers]…Liu, who does not speak English and communicated with police and court officials through an interpreter, posted a $1,000 cash bail and pleaded not guilty to the charge…but she has been unwilling to [tell] her court-appointed attorney, Merritt Heminway [what he wants to hear]…She did, however, tell him she arrived in the United States last September and has applied for asylum…After a June 27 hearing…Liu and the state filed an agreement that if she remains out of trouble for one year, her case will automatically be dismissed.  She was not required to enter a guilty plea…Destie Hohman Sprague…of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, [complained that pigs and politicians did not overrule Liu’s agency]…to protect Lui’s safety…But Liu’s defense attorney criticized the district attorney’s office for prosecuting the case at all, contending Liu is a victim of sex trafficking…He speculated the rational [sic] for applying charges was to convince her to identify leaders of a [fantasized] trafficking ring…[the DA bloviated that] prosecuting such cases is sometimes the only mechanism the court system has of [maintaining surveillance] on people who[se agency it wishes to deny]…The [pompous ignoramus who acts as] prosecutor said nearly all women involved in prostitution have been trafficked at some point in their lives…

Negative Secondary Effects

Welcome to our world, cannabusiness:

Every municipality in San Diego County that limits or bans the sale of marijuana has cited public safety as the justification…[then-police chief] Shelley Zimmerman’s testi[lied] in September 2017…[that] 272 police radio calls for “burglaries, robberies, thefts, assaults and shootings, just to name a few,” at medical marijuana dispensaries over a two-and-a-half-year period [constituted] evidence of the kind of activity such facilities invite on a neighborhood…Zimmerman’s [lies] appeared in a memo written by Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy to the City Council, which decided — against the recommendations of a subcommittee — not to allow retail shops.  Her remarks were also cited by anti-pot activists in Imperial Beach who helped slow down  marijuana regulations there…Diane Goldstein, a retired Redondo Beach police lieutenant, analyzed the records, which were made available on the city’s website in March.  She concluded that the Police Department’s presentation was “sloppy, unprofessional and based on ideology”…The address listed on more than a quarter of those reports were to neighboring business, not a marijuana facility.  Several of the city’s legal dispensaries existed then — as they still do — within shopping malls or office complexes…

To Molest and Rape (#756) 

Rapist cop escapes consequences for his actions by croaking:

Troy Allen Large…died earlier this year…Large, a…sex-crimes investigator, is accused of using his “position of power to [rape]…female victims of violent crime” and then…coercing them into participating in video-recorded, nude catfights…police officials were aware of the accusations…and [did nothing]…

Saving Them From Themselves (#764)

Adult woman magically turns into “child” via the power of a magical camera:

A Cleveland man who testified in defense of his roommate in a child pornography case admitted on the stand to taking sexually explicit pictures of a…girlfriend…Edward Marrero, 27, said…he took the photos in April 2011…[when] she was 17 years old and he was 20…The age of consent in Ohio is 16 years old, but federal law states it is illegal to create, share or possess sexually-explicit images of anyone under the age of 18…He is now charged with producing child pornography.  If convicted, he faces between 15 and 30 years in federal prison…

“Child” pornography.  Of a consenting woman it was legal for him to fuck, who is now 24 years old.  But it’s to “protect the children”!!!!

Checklist (#796)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system continues:

Last year, 276 [phone calls were made from Georgia by hysterics]…to the National Human Trafficking Hotline…Georgia law requires airports, train stations and emergency rooms to post [magic anti-pimp signs] in public restrooms…[spokespig Brian] Johnston [oinked that] Savannah’s highways and interstates…mak[e[ it easier to move people quickly to another city or another state…St. Joseph’s/Candler [hospital forces]…staff to [attend indoctrination sessions on]…the [mythical] signs…[social worker and fabulist Jessy] McMullan said she already knows it works from a friend who works as an ER nurse in Atlanta and had similar training.  “Within two weeks of the training, she identified two child victims that came through the emergency room…They were reunited with their families.  It gives you chills”…

Urban legends are always said to have happened to a “friend of a friend” (FoF); in this case it’s the supposed patient of an unnamed friend.  So where are the links to the news stories where the pigs grunt about these “child sex trafficking victims” they “rescued”?  Because you know that if this had actually happened it would’ve been big news.

Rooted in Racism (#797)

More European government humanitarianism to “fight human trafficking”:

Operation Sophia, the EU naval operation in the Mediterranean…is helping the Libyan coastguard return migrants to rape, slavery, torture and murder in local camps…Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), citing accounts from its staff in Libya, says…when migrants could not pay for their release having been captured by the authorities, some had their genitals cut off…Others said there had been routine rapes at camps to detain migrants.  MSF says that it sends 50 body bags a week to one camp…“Under the pretence of saving lives and disrupting the business model of smugglers and traffickers, the Libyan coastguard are supported and empowered by EU states to intercept people at sea and send them back to the very conditions they were trying to escape”…

Backwards into the Future (#827) 

Another victory for feminism against jobs for women:

The Dutch brewer Heineken is suspending the use of ‘beer girls’ in Mozambique due to allegations of sexual harassment from customers …NRC Handelsblad…published…research by Partner Africa showing that…there were “revealing short skirts” in…Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda.  It has introduced a new code of practice for its third party partners, who employ the women to sell the beer to bars and restaurants in Africa, including safe working practices and “decent uniforms”…NRC [also] claimed…some prostitutes combined beer promotion with their Heineken work, to get more clients for both.  No evidence of links with prostitution was [provided]…But the Amsterdam-based brand was under pressure from other businesses, including the Global Fund international health organisation, which had suspended its partnership with Heineken and urged it to protect women beer promoters from [gainful employment]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#841)

Where “cutting-edge” is used to mean “hopelessly inaccurate”:

The head of London’s Metropolitan Police force has defended the organization’s ongoing trials of automated facial recognition systems, despite legal challenges and criticisms that the technology is “almost entirely inaccurate”…Police commissioner Cressida Dick said…the public “expect[s]” law enforcement to test such cutting-edge systems…The London force is one of several in the UK…deploy[ing the surveillance system] at public events like concerts, festivals, and soccer matches.  Mobile CCTV cameras are used to scan crowds, and tries to match images of faces to mugshots of wanted individuals…According to data released under the UK’s Freedom of Information laws, 98 percent of the “matches” made by the Metropolitan’s AFR system are mistakes…The Met [claims]…that no individuals have [yet] been arrested because of a false match…

Legislators Gone Wild (#847) 

Evil douchebags trying to criminalize Nevada brothels fall on their faces:

Opponents of legalized prostitution in Nye County had been trying to put the issue to voters in a referendum in November. But county officials said Monday the effort had failed to turn in the required 1,963 signatures. The deadline was [June 29th].  The only recourse for proponents of the brothel elimination measure is to get county commissioners to agree to put it on the ballot…Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said the board’s chairman had already indicated he would not bring the item forward…That leaves [prohibitionists] needing at least two other commissioners to call a special meeting…The group had also targeted Lyon County…But the county’s Board of Commissioners decided in June to take a different approach to the issue by placing an advisory question on the ballot in November…ask[ing] voters whether the board should end legalized prostitution in Lyon County…

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This is bigger than us…it’s a world wide crackdown on freedom of expression.  –  Vex Ashley

Real People 

I suspect this sort of story isn’t all that unusual:

There’s a misconception that sex work only entices clients who are entitled, disrespectful or predatory, yet this wasn’t my experience…phone sex…attracts some of the most struggling and deeply hurt clientele: people with agoraphobia, people with intimacy issues, other sexual assault survivors…as my friendships with my clients continued to progress, I learned I was more like my regulars than I wanted to acknowledge.  My clients and I had arrived on the opposite ends of phone sex — me as a sex worker, and them as a patron — but we sought similar resolutions.  Sex work…was quietly contributing to my healing…I realized I gravitated toward the sex industry in part to reprocess my trauma in an environment that was safe, to redevelop a way to have a healthy connection with men, and to explore my sexuality…

They Still Don’t Get It

This vile farrago of lies appears to be an attempt to slander the good work done by SWOP Behind Bars:

Women in prisons across the US are being recruited by sex traffickers who force them into prostitution on their release…Pimps and sex buyers are locating incarcerated women awaiting a court date by using personal data such as mugshots and bail bonds posted online, or through corrupt bondsmen.  Traffickers are then bailing women out of detention.  Once released, the women are told they must work as prostitutes or have their bond rescinded and be sent back to jail…Diane Checchio, a former prosecutor for the district attorney’s office in Orlando, Florida, said the bail bond system was routinely exploited by traffickers…Once they have identified a potential target inside a prison or jail, traffickers will try to establish a relationship by using letters, phone calls and promises of money and housing when the victim is released.  Prison bank accounts are also used to send money to women, establishing a debt that is used to coerce them into prostitution on their release…Pimp-controlled prostitution is now [fantasiz]ed as one of the most brutal and pervasive forms of human trafficking in the US…

The notion that clients would go to this kind of trouble, when most of them can barely even handle the normal screening and booking process, would be hilarious if it weren’t being used to undermine human rights.

Buried Truth 

Yet another perfect example of the McNeill Rule:

A Columbia University student whose global campaign against rape and sexual abuse of children earned him berths to speak alongside [politicians]…was himself charged…with a series of sex crimes against children…Joel Davis…[faces] a series of sordid allegations, including an admission by Mr. Davis that he had sex with a 13-year-old boy in his New York apartment.  The complaint also outlines text messages Mr. Davis sent undercover F.B.I. agents seeking sexual images of children as young as 2.  “The conduct alleged against Joel Davis is as unfathomable as it is sickening,” [a prosecutor bloviated]…

This is only “unfathomable” to idiots who neither understand psychology nor read the news.  The more any man crusades against a particular sex act, the more likely he is to be a practitioner.

Welcome To Our World (#600)

Welcome to our world, infertile women:

Five people in Cambodia were arrested on charges of human trafficking after the police found 33 pregnant women during a raid on a…[banned] surrogacy operation…Cambodia is one of four Asian countries — along with Thailand, Nepal and India — that have banned commercial surrogacy in recent years.  Experts say the bans have pushed some surrogacy agencies underground while also fueling demand for the practice in other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, where local regulations are more welcoming.  “Most bans don’t…work”…said Sam Everingham, the founder of Families Through Surrogacy, a nonprofit based in Australia that provides advice and support for people seeking surrogacy arrangements…

Shame, Shame (#649)

“Revenge porn” laws keep getting struck down because their proponents refuse to tailor them narrowly, insisting instead on unconstitutional broadness:

[Censors, prudes and showboaters] blamed [Google] for helping to…kill a [FOSTA-like] bill in New York that would have [allowed opportunists to sue web hosting companies for]…nonconsensual…sexually explicit images [found on their site.  The censors wanted to also expand mass incarceration]…by making the act a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail…[but] the Internet Association, a lobbying group representing Google and other web companies,  stepped in…to [point out to] lawmakers [that] language in the legislation that would have allowed [opportunists] to sue web companies [is unconstitutional and violates section 230 of the CDA]…Mary Anne Franks…began working with Assemblyman Edward Braunstein on New York’s bill back in 2013.  That original version…was…one of the [most mindlessly-draconian revenge porn laws in the country…

Like Houses

Naturally useful idiots are surprised, though this was as predictable as sunrise:

…police in Pennsylvania who are using the state’s hate crime statute…against people who [insult] them.  On Sept. 23, 2016, Robbie Sanderson, a 52-year-old Black man from North Carolina, was arrested for retail theft…During the arrest, Sanderson [correctly] called police “Nazis,” “skinheads” and “Gestapo”…For that, he was charged with a hate crime.  “This is completely ridiculous,” said Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “This is not what the hate crime statute was for.  This is criminalizing pure speech and that violates the First Amendment”…

Does someone need to explain to Mary that all “hate speech” laws criminalize pure speech?

The Prudish Giant (#787)

Once Patreon started caving in to PayPal, this was inevitable:

Adult content creators on crowdfunding site Patreon are facing a sudden spate of suspensions, with many reporting “implied nudity” as the reason their pages are shut down…”We have been ramping up the [censorship] of content on Patreon due to requirements from our payment partners,” a Patreon spokesperson [said]…Sex workers, porn producers and anyone working in the erotic labor trade have [in the past few decades] faced discrimination from payment processors and banks…Patreon set itself up as an alternative home for creators of all kinds to make money doing what they love, but [like PayPal and so many others, they are throwing sex workers under the bus now that they’re successful]…

The Punitive Mindset (#790) 

In which two groups of warring scumbags pretend to be unable to understand that locking human beings in cages tends to induce pathological behavior:

A federal judge refused to dismiss lawsuits from female public defenders and [screws] who claim Cook County, Illinois, inmates have been exposing themselves and masturbating in front of them, a problem they say was exacerbated by a program rewarding detainees with pizza for not engaging in such behavior…the women…alleg[e]…that Dart had created solutions to the problem only to reverse them…[so as to support his] proposed legislation that would [subject] inmates [to more time under Dart’s control] for sexual [behavior]…

Soap Opera (#809)

A functioning police state needs no police:

…Kent Couch, owner of Stop and Go in Bend, Ore., was skeptical that human trafficking was happening in his community.  Then three years ago, he met Nita Belles, founder…of In Our Backyard, a [rescue industry profiteer group]…She asked him to display a [magic] sticker in his store’s bathroom that offers…a toll-free number to call [for women too stupid to remember the numbers “911”]…Couch put the sticker up and covered it with a frame so that it wouldn’t attract graffiti…“A week later, the frame was ripped off the wall and thrown in the garbage and the sticker taken…I hung up a new one, and the frame was again broken and the number scratched out.  So that was a heads-up to me that in fact we do have human trafficking here”…Employees are instructed to alert him if they’ve seen anything suspicious…Recently, a woman came into the store with black-and-blue eyes, making no eye contact and with her hood up.  “We called 911 right away and gave [her] license-plate numbers,” he says…

He put a frame on the sticker because he has a problem with vandalism in his bathroom, so when more vandalism happens that “proves” it’s “sex traffickers”?  And they turn customers into the pigs for having injuries?  Are these people living in reality at all?

Disaster

Since the UK is becoming a colony of the US, this “monkey see, monkey do” was inevitable:

Ministers…[came] under intense pressure from a [prohibitionist] group of MPs this week to follow the US by banning…[sex work advertising] websites amid [repetitious and unsupported claims] that they are enabling a huge growth in sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women to the UK for profit.  Members of the all-party group on prostitution have secured a parliamentary debate during which they will demand that the Home Office acts to [criminalize] websites such as Vivastreet and Adultwork [if they remain on UK soil]…

India and Israel have also introduced FOSTA copycat laws.  Gee, it’s almost like governments don’t like the open internet.

Too Close To Home (#830) 

A pet judge isn’t going to be able to make this scandal go away:

King County…Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (“KCPAO”) entered into a funding agreement with an organization called Demand Abolition that channels funds from the Hunt Alternatives family foundation…KCPAO and other local law enforcement agencies have garnered a great deal of positive publicity in the past few years for…saying that they are aggressively tackling sex trafficking.  In reality, their efforts target buyers of sex who purchase from adult consensual sex workers…Why did Satterberg describe this as sex trafficking when there was no evidence of trafficking? Don’t prosecutors have to follow rules and be careful about how they describe arrestees’ alleged criminal conduct in the media? (Short answer: yes)…Public records show that [Val] Richey made a sustained effort to…push the tactic of targeting sex buyers.  He also encouraged a shift in how prosecutors handled defendants’ cases after arrest, halting the diversion that they typically offered to first-offender buyers and instead imposing fines and fees while requiring enrollment in a buyer intervention course (that just so happened to be offered by an organization that also received funding by Demand Abolition).  Richey also worked closely with Demand Abolition and with consultants hired by Demand Abolition throughout the time he received grant funding, including to craft communications efforts that deliberately conflated adult consensual sex work and trafficking…

To Molest and Rape (#846) 

Oregon’s just full of rapist cops lately:

Michael Goff, a parking [cop] for the City of Newport, was [arrested]…a day after…Newport police sergeant [Brad Purdon] was [also] arrested  on sex abuse charges…involving the same [underage] victim…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#850) 

Total number of frogs in Lisa Lewis’ self-destructive chorus: 3.

…By presenting…Lisa Lewis as the voice of sex workers, [The New Zealand Herald] allowed a nuanced issue to be hijacked by a small group with an axe to grind.  It claimed that New Zealand sex workers rejected the NZPC’s support of migrant sex workers, based solely on a letter written by Lewis, signed by two other sex workers and backed by a member of Family First — an organisation that routinely attacks the rights of sex workers…Of the hundreds of escorts in my community…not one shares Lisa Lewis’ vitriol towards migrant workers and the NZPC.  The claim that her 25 signatures (the majority of which…come from non-sex workers) is somehow an accurate summation of the 4000 plus sex workers currently active in New Zealand would be laughable if it wasn’t so harmful…The NZPC are not advocating importing hundreds of sex workers to flood the market and take “money off legal sex workers”, as Lewis’ letter claims.  They are simply supporting the human rights of foreign workers and upholding their safety and agency within the industry…

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of women less “oppressed” than sex workers.  –  Sharanya Gopinathan

Saving Them From Themselves

Pigs shouldn’t be “investigating” sexting at all, but at least this is a start:

The Nashua, New Hampshire, police received word in May that 10 or 20 students at Bishop Guertin High School had been snapping and swapping sexts.  But then, rather than arresting these kids for making child porn, or threatening to register them as sex offenders, the police did something outrageously reasonable.  They opted not to charge any of them…

Worse Than I Thought

Virginia passes law to indefinitely detain the associates & loved ones of sex workers:

…the law…adds four offenses…to the list of crimes in which [innocent people accused of crimes] can be denied bail…[including] Receiving money from the earnings of a prostitute…[politician] Michael Mullin…was the chief patron of the bill.  He’s a prosecutor…[who says] he has seen people make bond, then post bail for sex workers and take them out of town…

Rough Trade (#345) 

Not as bad as calling rape “theft of services”, but bad enough:

Sex workers in Spain have protested the acquittal of three men accused of raping a sex worker.  24 hours after being arrested, the three men accused of rape had been released…The men denied the rape “because the woman is a prostitute”…The woman told the court she already knew the men, and that they gave her a strong tranquilizer which left her in an incapacitated state.  She underwent medical tests the next day which confirmed that an assault had taken place.  The judge released the men with charges of sexual abuse, but not rape, which means lesser punishment…

To Molest and Rape 

A typical hero cop, bravely protecting and serving:

A Texas sheriff’s deputy…sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl and threatened the child’s undocumented mother with deportation if she reported the abuse…Jose Nunez…is a [screw in San Antonio]…the victim’s mother took her daughter to a local fire station for help.  He was charged with super aggravated sexual assault of a child, a class one felony that carries a minimum 25-year sentence…the girl and her mother are relatives of the [rapist]…

Taking the child to a fire station rather than a pigpen was an absolutely brilliant move on the mother’s part.

Torture Chamber (#656)

Despite current posturing by Democrats, abuse of migrants has been a bipartisan policy for quite a while:

…[young people] at an immigration detention facility…were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells…They were included in a federal civil rights lawsuit with a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino youths held for months or years at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center [in Virginia.  Boys]…as young as 14 said the guards there stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads…The incidents described in the lawsuit occurred from 2015 to 2018, during both the Obama and Trump administrations.  Many…were sent there after U.S. immigration authorities accused them of belonging to violent gangs…But a top manager at the Shenandoah center said during a recent congressional hearing that the [young people] did not appear to be gang members and were suffering from mental health issues resulting from trauma that happened in their home countries — problems the detention facility is [totally un]equipped to treat…Virginia ranks among the worst states in the nation for wait times in federal immigration courts, with an average of 806 days before a ruling…

An Example To the West (#715)

In India, mainstream feminists support sex worker rights and prohibitionists are a crank minority who can be individually called out:

The women and child development minister of Karnataka, Jayamala, has instructed her department’s officials to henceforth refer to all sex workers as “damanitra mahila”…the Kannada term for “oppressed women”…The strides sex workers have managed to make over the last twenty years…are by no means an easy feat.  Sex workers have made truly remarkable achievements, like collectivising and organising under the uniquely dangerous circumstances they live and work in, thanks to a tangle of Victorian laws, carrying out their work with agency and ingenuity while protecting themselves from goondas [hired thugs], police, and misguided do-gooders.  They have also played a crucial role in implementing a roster of remarkable socio-political and legal changes for themselves in the face of shocking persecution, all in just two decades.  These are simply not  achievements a singularly oppressed group of people could pull off.  And now that these strides have indeed been made, and continue to be made, where do we get off calling these women, of all women, oppressed?…This pushes back [their] struggle for the rights of sex workers by decades; for dignity and rights rather than pity and victimhood…

Dutch Threat (#789) 

Dutch authorities’ attempts to Disnify De Wallen are failing:

Amsterdam has not succeeded in its efforts to clean up the city’s red light district…The old city centre still contains a “monoculture” of tourist shops and low-value cafes and bars…nor have officials been able to [find any of the] human trafficking and forced prostitution [prohibitionists fantasize about]…Project 1012 had two main ambitions; to replace cannabis cafes and souvenir shops with restaurants and galleries and to [persecute]…sex [workers] by closing brothels and stepping up [harassment]…Nevertheless, the “desired economic upswing” has not happened.  Officials may have closed 48 coffeeshops but they have been replaced by waffle shops and mini supermarkets.  And the combination of rising property prices and tourism has created a great deal of unhappiness among locals and local businesses…the closure of more than 100 brothel windows and [harassment of] brothel owners have not led to [the discovery of fantasized]…human trafficking…

Checklist (#812) 

Just in case you didn’t think you were spied on enough in airports:

This week…about 500,000 people globally – 75% them women and children – will be abducted or lured into a life of prostitution and/or slave labor.  And perhaps as many as 300,000 of them will be transported this month to their new, horrible living and working conditions aboard a commercial airliner.  That’s why the world’s airlines have launched a global awareness and industry-wide training program called #EyesOpen…aim[ed at indoctrinating] flight attendants, gate agents and other airline personnel [in anti-whore propaganda]…

So Forbes is not only claiming that half a million people a week (ie 26 million per year, or 4% of the entire world’s population every decade) magically vanish without anyone noticing, but also that 300,000 is 60% of 2 million (500,000/week x 4).  And people trust this magazine to give them financial advice?

Disaster (#832)

FOSTA is so blatantly unconstitutional this is bound to win; I just hope it’s quick:

Two human rights organizations, a digital library, an activist for sex workers, and a certified massage therapist have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to block enforcement of FOSTA, the new federal law that silences online speech by forcing speakers to self-censor and requiring platforms to censor their users.  The plaintiffs are represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Davis, Wright Tremaine LLP, Walters Law Group, and Daphne Keller.  In Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States, the plaintiffs argue that FOSTA is unconstitutional, muzzling online speech that protects and advocates for sex workers and forces well-established, general interest community forums offline for fear of criminal charges and heavy civil liability for things their users might share…plaintiff[s include] the Woodhull Freedom Foundation…Human Rights Watch…and…The Internet Archive…

License to Rape (#836)

“When the bad guys at Rikers are the guards”, meaning “always”:

…about 50 of the 800 women [caged] at [Rikers Island] at any one time are being sexually victimized by staff — which puts [it] among the top-12 worst jails in the country.  Rikers’ reputation as a brutally Darwinian, scandal-ridden “torture island”, where people who can’t afford bail spend months — and occasionally years — awaiting trial, has been well documented….Although it’s part of the same story of corruption and violence, sexual assault and harassment at Rikers’ women’s facility has received relatively little attention…

Comfort Zone (#844)

Sometimes they don’t even bother with the “sex trafficking” excuse any more:

Police detained 35 foreign nationals suspected of prostitution during a raid at a hotel and bar in central Trinidad…ten men and 25 women, were held…while police suspect they were all engaged in prostitution, they could not charge them for that offence as no one was caught in the act.  Instead, the foreigners, who are from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Guyana, Grenada and Jamaica, were charged for various immigration offences including overstaying their time and entering the country illegally…

All-Purpose Excuse (#846)

Trump’s saying stuff like this will hasten the collapse of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…President Trump [claimed] that the media is enabling human trafficking at the southern border during a speech to a small business group in Washington.  “They are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe”…he said, citing no real evidence.  He also [claimed] that human traffickers are using children as “a ticket to getting into the country” and as “passports”.  As is often the case with Trump’s statements, it’s unclear exactly what he meant or how these alleged human traffickers are supposed to be using these kids.  Regardless, it’s the latest in a long line of dubious attempts to tie social and political controversies to human trafficking using weak or non-existent evidence.  [Father]land Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen echoed the president’s hysteria…saying, “We do not have the luxury of pretending that all individuals coming to this country as a family unit are in fact a family”…

Legislators Gone Wild (#847) 

Ron Weitzer debunking prohibitionist bullshit:

…legal prostitution is not a crazy, fringe idea.  In fact, the American public is much more sympathetic to the idea of it than is commonly believed.  Recent national polls show…support for legalizing prostitution increased from 38 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2015 and 49 percent in 2016.  And legalization bills have been recently introduced in Hawaii, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C.  Anti-prostitution activists claim that legalizing prostitution will increase sex trafficking.  This notion defies all logic.  Organized crime thrives where an activity is criminalized and clandestine, not where goods and services are lawfully exchanged.  The history of alcohol and drug prohibition offers overwhelming proof of this…UNLV…research shows that brothel workers are generally satisfied with their working conditions, do not consider themselves victims, rarely experience altercations with customers, have freedom to choose the kinds of services they provide and are working in healthy conditions…

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When we come back, we come back stronger.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Surplus Women 

Politicians won’t even wait for a whore’s body to be cold before launching vile attacks on her community:

Just a few hours before the march…in memory of [Eunice, a Nigerian sex worker] who was mortally stabbed on…5 June, the Committee of Brussels’s Alhambra District…speaks…in favor of…prostitution tolerance zones…and of a building complex to shelter…prostitutes’ shop windows…The Alhambra Committee [claims] that it is not against prostitution, but rather against the disturbance it causes in a residential district…“We can accept several independent prostitutes ‘working’ in the neighborhood, but it is difficult not to notice the Rumanian-Bulgarian-Albanian-Hungarian mafia installed on our streets since 2005″…the…Committee…[also stated] that they are favorable to police control of clients…[and] denounces the fact that [activists are against this ghetto because]…prostitutes without official papers could not work there…

Dehumanization, racism, end demand garbage, scare quotes around “working” and a bottleneck to keep “dirty foreigners” out.  They didn’t even include her name, just called her “a prostitute”.  But they’re not against sex work, no sir!

Broken Record 

Hysteria is like a disease; it spreads among friend & foe alike:

Even though prostitution is illegal in Russia, there are around three million regular sex workers in the country, according to activist group Silver Rose.  Until recently, the group says, the police had turned a blind eye to the practice or taken kickbacks.  But with hundreds of thousands of tourists descending on Russia for the World Cup, the authorities are [purging as “authorities” always do before such events]…this means frequent raids on well-known prostitution sites…Despite the authorities’ efforts, though, [prohibitionists fantasize] that the relaxed visa regime introduced to simplify travel to Russia during the tournament is encouraging illegal trafficking of women.  As Yulia Siluyanova of Alternativa, a Moscow-based [prohibitionist] organization, put it, “The World Cup is a gift for traffickers”…

Under Every Bed

Is it just me, or are “sex trafficking is EVERYWHERE!” articles beginning to sound very tired?

Some Central Texans are taking a stand against sex trafficking…the T.S.O.Y., Texas Save Our Youth organization, held a meeting…to [indoctrinate] the public…[in bogus] statistics, [fantasies] of trafficking and warning signs like strategically placed tattoos…The U.S. is the number one producer and consumer of sex trafficking in the world, and Texas is in the top three states in the country.

Bottleneck (#638)

“Licensing” is one of the ways governments try to surreptitiously ban things:

The state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums…to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution.  Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, have reportedly shut down to avoid prosecution.  Reuters reports: Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a license.  Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below $900 a year.  Digital activists say the law is part of a crackdown on dissent and free speech…Government officials [pretend] the new rules are aimed at tackling hate speech and other online crimes, including cyberbullying and pornography

Does that list of “crimes” justifying censorship sound familiar?

Morality Lessons (#689)

In which the FBI running an actual child porn site is called “law enforcement ingenuity”:

…we spearhead and coordinate massive nationwide and international operations to disrupt and destroy child exploitation networks….these…are most successful only when we can rely on our close partnerships with the many federal, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental partners here today.  Operation Pacifier was a prime example.  In that case, we…[took over] a highly sophisticated, global enterprise on the dark web called “Playpen,” where users exchanged tens of thousands of postings relating to the sexual abuse of children – even, revoltingly, children as young as infants and toddlers.  Operation Pacifier was a model of law enforcement ingenuity.  Agents identified and seized the “Playpen” server, which gave the FBI a very short window of time to [keep running it as normal]…to identify site users…

Your regular reminder that the word for a “partnership” between political and corporate interests is “fascism”.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

Another sighting of the “sex trafficking” fetishist who masturbates to the fantasy that emojis in low-rent escort ads are part of some mysterious pimp “code”:

“Human trafficking is a business,” said Jessica Whitney, “where people are treated as inventory”…Whitney [fantasizes] that traffickers use certain language and emojis (symbols) to appeal to certain buyers.  They market the girls — by age, race, skin color, “new in town” (i.e. limited time only) — as a retailer positions its products.  In fact, victims are often forced to write their own customized ads.  The [fantasy] doesn’t relent…

The Course of a Disease (#757)

Israeli prohibitionists ladle FOSTA slop on top of an already-bad anti-whore bill:

The state is petitioning the courts to remove five Israeli prostitution websites from the internet…[clients careless enough to be] caught [in pig stings] within three years of the first offense will pay doubled the original fine, according to the draft legislation…[Injustice Minister Ayelet] Shaked had decided that customers would be pursued through administrative rather than criminal enforcement: the offender would not be considered a criminal with a criminal record…The minister [bloviated] that the draft bill fining customers is…part of a wider plan she intends to bring before government in the months to come…Meanwhile…the Knesset approved a bill banning advertisement of prostitutes…for the first time, the prohibition will apply to the printing shop that printed the ad…offending internet sites and phone numbers involved in promoting prostitution services could be blocked…

Surprised how fast mass censorship is taking hold? We did warn you.

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

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

The U.S. House approved a ban…on the importation and trafficking of anatomically correct child sex dolls…that [perverts wrongly claim] “normalize sex between adults and minors…These dolls can be programmed to simulate rape. The very thought makes me [excited]” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte…“Once an abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to a child”…[fantasized bill sponsor] Dan Donovan…The proposal [imagines] the…dolls…“can resemble actual children”…Goodlatte [pretended to be] “distraught” that…child sex dolls even exist…“Customers can order bespoke dolls, providing pictures of specific children they would like the doll to resemble.  They can indicate a preferred facial expression such as sadness or fear”…

Even in the world of anti-sex propaganda, this bill and article are egregious.  They express psychologically-illiterate fantasies and scare-claims in declarative sentences, and make assertions that are not only untrue, but calculated to demonize the buyers of such dolls (eg, the last sentence).  I also remind you of the McNeill Rule.

Feminine Pragmatism (#778) 

One day, reporters will get that “People Work To Make Money” is not news:

…in Colombia’s border city of Cucuta…Venezuelan sex workers…now [do a fairly ordinary job] to support themselves and their families…About 672,000 Venezuelans have crossed into neighbouring Colombia alone, both legally and illegally, since 2015…The exodus from the oil-rich country is the largest migration of people in South America’s recent history, and it shows little signs of abating.  For some, sex work is [a reasonable, practical] option…

The Widening Gyre (#811)

Lenore Skenazy is doing great work reporting on these absurd “sex trafficking” panics:

Here’s [a] mom’s Facebook post:  “we are driving home from Cincinnati and got off at a rest stop for a quick bathroom break.  Just my daughter and I went inside…some lady who appeared to be on something, was trying to talk to my daughter…I heard…her say “the little girl” [to another woman]…As we leave I passed both women and the one that I originally saw had changed clothes and started to leave…I then made a dead sprint to the car, threw my daughter in and locked doors.  Once we were safely in car I noticed 3 men standing in front of a gold minivan with all the doors open…I have this terrible feeling that had I not been aware…my daughter may have been taken from me“…stranger danger is so rare that even the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…has asked people to stop using the term.  And David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, told me he had heard of no children ever abducted from their parents in public for sex trafficking purposes…A media organization uncritically promoting this hysteria is…reckless journalism…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

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

[A small group of] New Zealand sex workers have written an open letter…asking for the election of a Minister of Prostitution.  The letter also rejects the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) as the representative organisation of sex workers here, and attacks the collective’s support for illegal sex workers.  The letter by Hamilton sex worker Lisa Lewis carries 25 other names…In an unlikely alliance, the letter was written with the help of [conservative Christian group] Family First…Lewis said… “Prostitution needs to be governed in New Zealand.  If there is a legislation, there should be a Minister.”  The letter claimed migrants coming on temporary visas to work as prostitutes were “taking money off legal sex workers, not paying tax and going home with the money …NZPC’s current focus is legalising internationals to be allowed to provide commercial sexual services here in New Zealand and no legal New Zealand sex worker wants this”…Family First is highly critical of the Prostitution Reform Act and is calling for a Nordic model…

I am reminded of the fable, “The Frogs Who Desired a King”.

Choke Point (#839) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

Several gun-related businesses were suddenly — and without warning — disrupted in recent weeks when Intuit stopped processing credit card payments because phone and internet sales were gun-related…Some of the payments stopped didn’t even involve firearms, but simply T-shirts and coffee mugs and gun safety classes…As a result, the businesses had to scramble to track down customers to get them pay their bills after Intuit credited back to customers’ accounts the purchases — even if the T-shirt was already shipped or the class already taken…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there.

Disaster (#839)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

After…SESTA-FOSTA…organizing around sex workers has been reinvigorated with a new urgency.  The legislation…cripples sex workers’ ability to work safely online.  It’s merely the latest example in an unbroken history of harmful anti-sex work laws.  But at a time when activism…is all the more crucial…SESTA-FOSTA…[is] silencing and criminalizing the very organizing and advocacy that would help sex workers stay safe and fight persecution, even chilling journalists’ efforts to cover these issues…In one poignant example of how these laws harm advocacy, the Desiree Alliance Conference — the largest U.S. gathering addressing human, labor, and civil rights for workers in the sex industry — announced that it will not take place this year due to fears surrounding SESTA-FOSTA…

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As I’ve written several times recently, we’re seeing a lot of new wannabe sex worker allies, from politicians to journalists to regular folks without any special platform.  And though some of them are very much on-point, or recognize that they can help best by amplifying the voices of sex workers, others seem to have a lot of uninformed, dumb, stereotyped or just plain wrong ideas about sex workers, clients, our work, third parties and the demimonde in general.  So today I’d like to welcome you all to the war zone, and to clear up a few persistent errors I keep seeing (other than the ones covered here).

This is Trump’s (or the GOP’s) war on sex workers.

Nope, not even close.  The US War on Whores, like so many bad US policies, is rooted in institutionalized racism.  The very first federal anti-prostitution law was the Page Act, which was intended to harass Chinese immigrants, and though it was indeed passed under a Republican president, that president was Ulysses S Grant.  And the Congress which passed it (in 1875) was Democrat-controlled.  The War was really ramped up under the administration of another Republican, William Howard Taft, but most of the action was in Congress (Democrat-controlled again) and at the state level (party control differing by state, though all Southern states controlled by Democrats).  The first chief executive to take direct presidential action against sex workers was Woodrow Wilson (yep, a Democrat, in fact one beloved by “progressive” scholars who make a point of ignoring his tyranny and racism).  After him, the war wound down on the federal level for a few decades; the groundwork for its revival was laid down in the latter days of the Clinton administration, begun in earnest under Bush the Younger and wound up to a fever pitch under Obama.  And no, it wouldn’t have been different had Hillary Clinton been elected president; not only did she participate in the promotion of anti-sex work rhetoric as a senator and cabinet secretary, she also identifies as “feminist” and…see the next entry.  The important takeaway from this one, though, is that the War on Whores is solidly bipartisan, and most “sex trafficking” bills (thinly-disguised anti-prostitution or even anti-sex bills) have one sponsor from each party. The awful FOSTA was passed nigh-unanimously, with only one “nay” from each party.

Feminists support sex worker rights. People who don’t are social conservatives.

I wish.  In truth, most factions of feminism have been against sex work for as long as feminism has existed, and in fact feminists have usually been in bed with evangelical Christians on the matter.

It would be best if sex work were legalized and regulated.

Nope.  Every sex worker organization, human rights organization, medical organization, and academic who has actually studied sex work recognizes that decriminalization is the legal regime which produces the best results. Under legalization, sex work is still pretended to be a “crime” for which the law make allowances; a large fraction of sex workers (over 99% in Nevada, for example) prefer to work illegally than to submit to onerous “legalization” regimes which often require licensing, background checks, confinement in brothels, and other repressive (and expensive) requirements that marginalized sex workers won’t or can’t comply with.  Furthermore, most of us don’t want amateurs putting “laws and programs” in place that are claimed to “protect sex workers and clients”.  We just want to be left the fuck alone.  The majority of our problems come from government “laws and programs”, administrated by rapist thugs. No thanks.  If you want more explanation of the differences between legalization and decriminalization, you might consult this.

Sex workers need special protections (such as the Swedish model) from violent clients.

No. Violent clients are rare, and violent men pretending to be clients are like robbers who enter a store pretending to be customers in order to rob it; both groups (and also violent and/or exploitative third parties such as “pimps”) are empowered by criminalization, and the Swedish model both infantilizes women and increases our vulnerability to violent men, of whom the majority under every single regime where sex work is even partially criminalized (ie every place but New Zealand & New South Wales) are cops.

Nobody chooses to be a sex worker.

I have actually see this stated by people who claim to be allies; it’s a deeply misogynistic and infantilizing notion based in the fallacy that women are fragile, asexual beings for whom sex without “loooooove” is uniquely damaging.  Just because you couldn’t have sex with strangers for a living doesn’t mean I can’t, so get this out of your head.  Related: a woman’s worth does not reside in her sexual “purity”, so selling sexual services is not “selling her body”, nor is the average sex worker “traumatized” or “ruined” by our work.

We’re really pleased to see our new allies, and welcome you to supporting our movement.  But if you go around spouting garbage, you’re actually helping the prohibitionists.  Please learn the facts before speaking about sex work, and you’ll be the kind of person we cherish and celebrate rather than the kind who does more harm than good.

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Fucking over sex workers is a way [Democrats] can be bipartisan.
– Sean McElwee

Life Imitates Artifice

Prohibitionist tactics remain the same no matter what they’re trying to prohibit:

Members of Congress…held a press conference…to announce a letter signed by 56 GOP lawmakers calling for investigations into a report from discredited anti-choice group Live Action Network accusing Planned Parenthood of covering up child sexual abuse…[this] follows a familiar game plan, including coordination between an anti-choice activist group and Republican lawmakers.  This round of attacks come as the Trump administration looks to reinstate a…restriction blocking federal family planning funds from organizations that provide abortion services in the same location as Title X-funded services…The Live Action report…includes discredited and extensively edited “sting” footage originally reported in 2008 and 2011…

This laudatory article from Christian Post has a bit more meat:

Laura J. Lederer, president of Global Centurion…[fantasized] that abortions and the sex trade are “inextricably linked.”   She recently conducted a study…in which the findings revealed that approximately 30 percent the trafficking victims surveyed reported multiple abortions.  Traffickers would routinely threaten their lives and beat them if they became pregnant, Lederer said.  One survivor whose abuse was especially brutal at the hands of her trafficker “said that she had 17 abortions over the time she was trafficked, all of them at the same clinic”…

I’m honestly surprised that the “forced sex trafficking abortions” myth didn’t become more popular, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore and anti-abortion activism.

Moloch 

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

…18-year-old Mariea Starr…[of] Waynesboro, Pennsylvania…was caught by another student allegedly performing oral sex on a boy in a school stairwell…Because Starr had turned 18 two months before the incident and the boy she allegedly engaged in oral sex with…was [16, school pig Matthew Gordon]…charged [Starr] with…felony unlawful contact with minors which carries a Tier II sex offender designation…for 25 years, including being photographed by Pennsylvania State Police twice a year…Gordon brought the case without oversight from the district attorney’s office or school district administration because in Pennsylvania [pigs have absolute power to inflict charges on students]…Franklin County District Attorney Matthew Fogal…reduced the charges against Starr to open lewdness.  She was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and will not be placed on the registry.  Nonetheless, Starr will graduate from high school with a criminal record, which will significantly affect her educational and job opportunities…Starr is far from the only student that Gordon…has [fed] into the criminal justice system…

Dirty Laundry

And yet the Times supports the evil of Ruhama, the Magdalene orders’ rebranding:

…220 survivors of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries convened for a state-sponsored meeting in Dublin…The laundries were filled not only with “fallen women” — prostitutes, women who became pregnant out of marriage or as a result of sexual abuse and those who simply failed to conform — but also orphans and deserted or abused children…The Magdalene Laundries were part of an interlocking system of orphanages, industrial schools, “mother and baby homes” for unwed mothers and church-run institutions in which Ireland…confined…At least 10,000 women and girls…between independence from Britain in 1922 and the closing of the last one in 1996…

The Spiral of Absurdity 

Why do reporters repeat this egregious nonsense without fact-checking?

A sting on the sex-trafficking trade in metro Atlanta netted dozens of arrests and the rescue of dozens of children forced into sexual servitude, the FBI announced…Operation Safe Summer was a collaborative effort between the FBI’s Atlanta field office and 38 law enforcement agencies…The sting ended with nearly 160 children rescued, including one as young as 3 years old, and nearly 150 arrests, convictions or sentences…

Really?  If cops had really discovered 160 kids being held hostage, this would be international news, not a minor local story.  Looks to me like some mouthpiece repeated the number of arrests as the number of “rescued children”.

Between the Ears (#407)

Velvet Swing is the first female sex aid that actually works:

…it’s not exactly surprising that [Mistress Matisse] ended up in the cannabis industry…It’s even less surprising that her first product is a weed lube, called Velvet Swing.  While weed lube—rightly touted as the first truly effective female sex aid—is nothing new, Velvet Swing is the first water-soluble version.  Which kind of means it’s the first one that really qualifies for the term weed lube.  Oil-based lubricants are…not condom safe, meaning that products like Foria or Bond Sensual Oil are effectively restricted to people in monogamous partnerships…

And naturally, Matisse uses the interview to wake up pot-business folks to sex worker rights.

Bait and Switch

Entrapment so blatant even a judge couldn’t swallow it:

…In 2014…Skagit County [Washington] detective Theresa Luvera…posted a sex solicitation on Craigslist’s casual encounters…Craigslist’s rules required all participants to be 18+. something that has undermined sex stings in the past…After some online exchanges between the detective and the defendant, the detective claimed she is underage (“almost 15 but waaay advanced”).  Even further in…the detective brought up money-for-sex.  At every step along the way but the end, the defendant seemingly made it clear he was seeking free sex with a female adult.  Eventually the defendant shows up at the designated rendezvous point baitwith the requested items…The trial court dismissed the prosecution because the “State engaged in outrageous misconduct in violation of a defendant’s due process right to fundamental fairness”…Now that Craigslist has shut down its personals section, I’m not clear where law enforcement will conduct its online sex stings…

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” think harm reduction principles only apply to drug use:

Seattle’s efforts to find a location for its…supervised injection site has turned up nothing, and now the mayor’s office is looking to go mobile.  Jeff Sakuma…point person in finding a site…[said] there are no city or county-owned buildings that meet the criteria…the $2 million the council had set aside is to low to purchase an existing building or buy land and build…a private party that could partner with the city to allow the use of their property as an injection site, “could be subject to seizure by the federal government”…As an alternative…Seattle & King County would purchase a recreation[al] vehicle and remodel it…The mobile [unit] would park either on the street or in a parking lot near a facility that would provide space for a reception area, a waiting area, restroom storage and utility space…

Worse Than I Thought (#745)

Another shitty law specifically designed to harm sex workers:

Phoenix is ramping up the penalties for [adult consensual sex] as part of the city’s ongoing effort to curb [adult consensual sex].  The City Council voted…to fine individuals convicted of soliciting sex workers $2,000 for a second offense, $2,250 for a third offense and $2,500 for each additional conviction. The mandatory fines will be in addition to jail sentences of 15-180 days.  “If we catch you … we’re going to make it as unpleasant for you as we possibly can and I don’t feel bad about that at all,” said Councilman Jim Waring, chair of the Phoenix [anti-consensual sex] Task Force…

The Widening Gyre (#764) 

Yeahno.  This still smells like a publicity stunt gone wrong:

British model Chloe Ayling has thanked those who “believed in me from the beginning” after a Polish man was jailed for kidnapping her.  Lukasz Herba held Chloe Ayling captive for six days in a farmhouse near Turin in Italy, after abducting her during what she thought would be a photo shoot last July.  He was arrested after releasing her at the British consulate, and has now been sentenced to 16 years and nine months in jail…Ayling…has always insisted she has told the truth about her captivity.  She told police she never tried to escape because she was terrified and believed Herba’s threats that he was part of a bigger criminal gang that was watching her constantly…

Pyrrhic Victory (#836)

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data…in the United States. The agency’s new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people.  It will be shared with federal agencies outside of DHS as well as state and local law enforcement and foreign governments…HART will chill and deter people from exercising their First Amendment protected rights to speak, assemble, and associate…face recognition makes it possible to identify and track people in real time, including at lawful political protests and other gatherings.  Other data DHS is planning to collect—including information about people’s “relationship patterns” and from officer “encounters” with the public—can be used to identify political affiliations, religious activities, and familial and friendly relationships.  These data points are also frequently colored by conjecture and bias…

Blunt Instrument (#841)

With the demise of Backpage, anti-whore pogroms turn back to low-hanging fruit:

Three indictments were unsealed…alleging massage parlors in Topeka and Lawrence were fronts for prostitution…Five people were charged in federal grand jury indictments alleging prostitution businesses generated millions of dollars in revenue.  Charges included conspiracy, interstate racketeering, bank fraud and money laundering…

Note the way pigs try to make this seem like a big-time cartel by throwing around terms like “millions”; any business that doesn’t gross at least $1 million over a five-year period is probably failing.

Safe Position

If the Democrats were smart, they’d adopt this as their official platform:

…when it comes to the rights of…sex workers…elected Democrats still overwhelmingly side with the religious right and consistently fail to consult the people most affected by their policies…Now, however, a small but growing group of…candidates are heeding the outrage of their constituents and have turned against laws that make it harder for sex workers to safely practice.  At least three Democrats running in competitive House primaries are currently campaigning on their opposition to SESTA/FOSTA, legislation that passed in April and holds websites criminally liable for any [claims of] sex trafficking that occurred on their pages…the bill effectively shut down the websites that were the safest venues for sex workers to ply their trade.  Following its passage, Backpage.com and the personals section of Craigslist immediately folded.  Their collapse has already prompted many sex workers to return to the streets, where conditions are much more dangerous…

Lack of Evidence (#848)

The recrudescence of a public health nightmare:

…If you believe that all prostitutes are forced into it against their will…then prostitutes are victims.  If you believe it’s possible that it’s just a transaction between consenting adults, then it shouldn’t be a crime at all.  If you’re just a prude determined to tell other people how to conduct their sex lives in accordance with your sniffling sensibilities, then it doesn’t matter…As advocates like Maggie McNeill have made clear, there are women who choose prostitution as their occupation without shame or excuse.  This is what they choose to do, and they don’t give a damn about your Victorian mores.  You don’t have to like it, but…the demand exists and always has, and despite your sniffling, it’s not going away.  But is the answer to force prostitutes, and their customers, to risk the choice between contracting a loathsome, if not deadly, disease or enhance their time in jail?  That’s what Allegheny County is trying to do…the possession of condoms means the difference between a summons and a custodial arrest…

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As many sex workers and clients know, having a degree and/or certification is no guarantee that a therapist will not be completely clueless about sex work.  Disinformation about our work and lives is so widespread, and the stigma against properly investigating it so entrenched, that it’s possible for someone to earn a PhD in psychology or social work or whatever without even having a passing acquaintance with anything resembling a fact on the subject.  Moreover, interest in psychology is not equivalent to a belief in human rights or a desire to promote happiness and sexual health; there are just as many control freaks dressed up as therapists as there are dressed up as teachers, doctors, clergymen, judges or any other “authority” figure you can name, and people like Melissa “13” Farley and Dominique “Body Fluids” Roe-Sepowitz are perfectly happy to design fake “studies” to “prove” whatever anti-whore belief they want to lend credence to.  So when a sex worker or client goes looking for a therapist, they’re much less likely to find an Alyxx Berg or a David Ley than they are a misogynistic quack who insists that literally no woman is capable of making pragmatic decisions about sex, and knows nothing of any of the copious research disproving myths about sex work, sex workers, clients, third parties or any other aspect of the demimonde.  Therapists well-informed about sex work are so rare, in fact, that when I see an excellent article like this one by Katie Bloomquist I experience a palpable sense of relief that there are at least some members of the psychiatric community who live in the real world rather than in some Victorian fantasyland of male sexual predators and helpless, asexual female victims:

Assuming therapy clients who pay for sex have traits of sexual narcissism and feel “entitled” to women’s bodies is based on harmful myths and stereotypes about those who pay for sex.  As systemic mental health providers, being curious about the needs the client is getting met when they pay for sexual services is key– is it an emotional need?  A physical need?  A need to express a type of sex that is not “allowed” in the relationship”…Examining the systemic function the behavior of paying for sexual services plays usually reveals more about our clients’ needs and wants in their relationships and sex lives…Conversely, the antiquated notion that women should only have sex with men “for free” is based on male entitlement to women’s bodies and grossly gendered ideas of emotional and sexual labor.  This notion is also based on gendered assumptions…that women who engage in sexual behavior in exchange for money are either deviants or victims, as the stereotype of women who have any type of sex is that their sexual behavior must be “intimate” or “emotional”.  Gendering sex in this way is inaccurate and harmful – as it often results in female-identified people being expected to provide sex and intimacy “for free” and discounts emotional and sexual labor as a valuable type of work…

This isn’t Bloomquist’s only article on the subject, and informed therapists are not as rare as they were even ten or twenty years ago.  But they’re still rare enough that when I see reality laid out like this in a short, concise article, it gives me hope that many years of hard work by activists and ethical researchers is finally beginning to have lasting cultural impact.

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