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Posts Tagged ‘All-Purpose Excuse’

It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession.  –  WAVAW Board

The Sky is Falling!

Even by prohibitionist standards, this is hilariously hysterical:

“Sugar daddy” dating sites such as Seeking Arrangement…are aggressively targeting college students — with free premium memberships for signing up under an .edu email plus plenty of assurances that being a “sugar baby” is safe, empowering and profitable.  But sugar babies typically do not, in fact, have control over these relationships, which often turn dangerous and exploitative, [pearl-clutchers whined]…at a “World Without Exploitation Youth Summit” held in Downtown Brooklyn for high school and college students…“Sugaring” almost always involves a coercive exchange of money for sex, the [pearl-clutchers moaned]…even if the coercion is subtle and regardless of the dating website’s promises of “pampering,” “mentoring” and “networking”…“There’s an expectation that the buyer or the sugar daddy can do whatever he wants, so very often we hear there’s extraordinary violence when the door gets shut,” adds Lauren Hersh, national director of World Without Exploitation, a [prohibitionist] group…

This is your regular reminder that Lauren Hersh is a former prosecutor who was forced to resign in disgrace after she was caught trying to railroad two innocent black men for rape.

Watershed

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

As a [rape crisis centre] we always say that systems and perpetrators of violence need to be held accountable.  This is no different when we have enacted harm ourselves…We have taken actions that have caused harm to sex workers, and it is important that we take responsibility for those actions.  In 2008, we produced a position paper on sex work titled “Stepping out of the Binary”.  The paper framed the sex work industry as inherently violent and oppressive…and…conflated sex work with trafficking and exploitation…Our [excuse] was that we critiqued and challenged the sex work industry as a whole, but would not turn away individual sex workers who wanted to access our services.  This position is inherently flawed.  It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession…We support sex work.  We support the rights of sex workers.  We believe sex workers should have access to the services they need, when they need them…

Theatrics

Though this subtitle is now used for prohibitionist publicity stunts, the original covered this:

…dozens of female workers in Spain’s Huelva region, most of them Moroccan…reported having been harassed, raped, blackmailed, physically assaulted or insulted by their superiors…

Good News, Bad News (#409)

Australian prohibitionists are just as vile as those in the US & UK:

Prostitution legislation is currently being discussed in the Northern Territory…Prostitution affects everyone because…[the private acts of individual women magically inflict] violence against [other] women…Australia’s acceptance of [civil liberties] is becoming embarrassing internationally, as progressive countries move towards [authoritarian regulation]…of [the bodies and lives of] all women.  When it is acceptable for women to [make their own choices]…every woman is devalued [to the state].  The availability of women’s [sexual services for free] creates a sense of entitlement in too many men which inevitably plays out in their day to day interactions with women…

Only in the warped prohibitionist mind could reducing women to mere parts of a collective entity and demanding government control over people’s private lives be characterized as “human dignity”.

The Face of Trafficking (#646) 

Note that even a horrifying case like this doesn’t look anything like the “sex trafficking” myth as prohibitionists tell it:

One of New Zealand’s most sickening criminal cases, just the third conviction for slave trading in the country’s legal history, can now be revealed.  A mother of a teenage daughter has been jailed for six years and 11 months [for pimp]ing her daughter…some 1000 times over a two-year period…as many as five times a day.  The teen…escaped…in November 2016 and fled to police.  Kasmeer Lata, the teen’s mother, was sentenced…for dealing in slaves and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services from an underage person…

While I usually edit items to point out the truth in authoritarian propaganda, in this case I did so to eliminate the lurid language the reporter used to exploit this young woman’s ordeal for clickbait.  Because yellow journalists are just as awful in New Zealand as anywhere else.

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

Just in case you forgot about the other sex workers Trump paid off:

…investigators discovered recordings made by Michael Cohen which include a then-candid Donald Trump talking about a payment to…former Playboy model…Karen McDougal [who] previously claimed that she had an affair with Mr. Trump…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#833) 

All the disclaimers won’t stop charlatans from pretending this is their imaginary “sex addiction”:

The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list…filed “compulsive sexual behavior disorder” — often [incorrectly] referred to as sex addiction — as an impulse-control disorder…WHO’s new list will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022, as revisions still need to be made…clinicians…fear that recognizing compulsive sexual behavior disorder would pathologize normal sexual behavior, [said] Dr. Stefanie Carnes…“One of the things WHO did…is say specifically, ‘You can’t make the diagnosis of the compulsive disorder just due to shame or moralistic thoughts and feelings’”…In other words, a diagnosis cannot be made for someone with conservative religious views who frequents pornography sites a few times a month and thus believes that is a problem…the…proposed inclusion characterizes the disorder as “a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges, resulting in repetitive sexual behavior over an extended period (e.g., six months or more) that causes marked distress or impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”  Carnes…[said] “I have patients who…spend $300,000 on a prostitute”…

Say, Dr. Carnes, would you introduce me to these guys? I’ll take good care of them, I promise.

All-Purpose Excuse (#834)

I hope this finger-pointing keeps up until the hysteria implodes:

…the Trafficking in Persons Report directly references the vulnerability of migrants and children to trafficking without mention of recent U.S. policies that increased family separation and detention.  This dissonance is not new [to this administration], although recent events have been particularly egregious.  Since his inauguration, President Trump has espoused strikingly different — and dramatically inconsistent — approaches to immigration and human trafficking…Despite the administration’s [typical] rhetoric about protecting survivors of trafficking, the brutal fact is that indiscriminate targeting of undocumented immigrants…has sown chaos and fear in immigrant communities.  This makes survivors much less likely to cooperate with [pigs], and more likely to be targeted as victims…on June 28, 2018, USCIS issued a new policy memorandum specifying that any survivor who applies for T visas — and is denied — will be placed in deportation proceedings…

Trumpists: “YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Anti-Trumpists:  “No, YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Me: “LOL, please continue.”

The Real World

Despite some highly exaggerated claims about the prevalence of serious mental illness among sex workers, this article recognizes criminalization as a major cause of stress:

Sex workers already operate at the social and economic margins.  SESTA-FOSTA makes it increasingly difficult for them to advertise and screen clients safely, deeply cutting into their incomes and threatening their livelihoods…The conflation of consensual sex work with trafficking, abuse, moral decrepitude, and shame is as pervasive as is it is lacking nuance…Mental health providers must wade through social discourse thick with misinformation to be effective allies to sex workers in their practice.  Scholars and practitioners alike propose harmful and stigmatizing models of understanding sex work…Although sensationalist media outlets frequently use sex trafficking as a boogeyman to encourage tougher policing of sex work, research from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain shows that decriminalizing sex work has made the industry safer…In the wake of SESTA-FOSTA, sex workers are scared that they won’t be able to provide for themselves and their families…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

Hey, Seattle!  Get your kids into the facial recognition database before they even hit puberty, and help the government to analyze how people’s faces change with time, so nobody can EVER escape surveillance!

RealNetworks, the Seattle company best known for pioneering streaming media…will offer a new facial recognition technology, called SAFR, for free to K-12 schools to help upgrade their on-site [surveillance] systems.  SAFR can be used with the same cameras that traditional surveillance systems to recognize students, staff, and people visiting schools…in addition to security, the tool can also help with [normalization of constant surveillance] and [the school-to-prison pipeline]…

Disaster (#852)

Woodhull, et al’s request for a preliminary injunction vs FOSTA is a thing of beauty, and even if you don’t really understand legalese you should read it, because most of it is in plain English and its arguments are solid.  Reading it for yourself is the only way you can fully grasp what a crock of shit the judge’s inaction was:

A federal judge on Thursday tabled a motion brought by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and four other plaintiffs, who are suing to stop the government from enforcing…FOSTA…Judge Richard Leon…made no ruling on Woodhull’s request for a preliminary injunction that would stop the law from remaining in effect until the group’s lawsuit…is decided. Nor did he announce a date when he would issue a ruling.  According to one account from inside the courtroon, Leon “sounded skeptical” that the law had actually caused harm to the plaintiffs in the case…

Basically, the judge wants time to try to think of the proper legal wording for “Yes, I know this law is blatantly unconstitutional, but I’m not gonna be the one to issue an injunction on it because whores”.

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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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Forcing us into the closet makes it easier for prohibitionists to make up stories about our lives.  –  Liara Roux

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

A bizarre claim even by the low standards of anti-porn nuts and gun-grabbers:

Rep. Diane Black…who is running for governor of Tennessee…raised the issue of gun violence in schools and why it keeps happening.  “Pornography,” she said.  “It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store.  Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there…All of this is available without parental guidance.  I think that is a big part of the root cause”…Beyond naughty movies, Black said school shootings are on the rise because of the “deterioration of the family,” mental illness and violent movies…

Like most things claimed to be “on the rise” by hysterics, school shootings aren’t.  But what I want to know is, where are these grocery stores that stock porn on shelves near the front door?  I’m guessing they’re probably located in the same towns where one can “order a child for sex like a pizza“.

Perquisites

Are amateurs really so sheltered that this sort of thing shocks them?

…Alene Anase was asked by her employer Alpha Omega Winery to serve guests as part of a charity cruise on the San Francisco Bay.  But what she expected to be a routine shift serving wine turned into a nightmare…The guests aboard the yacht that night — described in her 2016 lawsuit as 25 of the Napa Valley-based winery’s top investors, all men — were openly using what appeared to be cocaine and “drawing straws” for which sex worker to hire…Anase alleges that on the Aug. 12, 2015 cruise she could hear sexual activity happening in the yacht’s bedrooms and witnessed men “fondling and suckling” sex workers’ breasts — some [of whom Anase fantasized] to be “too young to consent”…

Surplus Women 

Twelve days after the decomposed body of a woman aged around 30 was found packed in a drum in Shivaji Nagar, the police…claimed to have solved the murder case.  A 60-year-old man has been arrested while his wife is wanted in the case…the arrested accused, Babu Bhagwan Patel…has confessed to his role.  The woman, identified only as Meena, was a commercial sex worker from Dadar…

Coming Out

Liara Roux on coming out:

…I almost started crying.  I was so worried I would lose my sister, who I loved so dearly.  I was shocked when she told me:  “I’m glad you’re happy!  I’m glad you found a job that works for you!”…She asked a couple questions about my job…My sister has always been incredibly thoughtful like this.  I remember coming out to her as queer and how excited and happy for me she had been about that too…I told her not to tell Mom…I come from an extremely religious, conservative family—house full of kids and fire and brimstone.  I’ve always lived my life in extreme and unusual ways and it scares her…There’s so much I haven’t told her because whenever I try to, I freeze.  I was worried if I came out to her while living with her that she and my father would have sent me to gay conversion camp or that they would kick me out of the house and I would be homeless, which had happened to some of my friends.  I like to think that she would have accepted me, but I don’t know…

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only five months for this?

A[n Oregon cop] was sentenced…to 150 days in jail and five years probation for having sex with an underage girl and soliciting sexual contact from [her] online…Daniel Kerbs…was held…on 13 child sex crimes, including six counts of third-degree sodomy, six counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child…

Droit du Seigneur (#691) 

Do we really want rapists to eschew condoms so they can avoid federal charges?

…Federal prosecutors said William Whitley’s conduct affected interstate commerce because…the condoms he used [to rape] a 14-year-old girl [were made out of state]…Prosecutors often cite guns made outside a state to support federal charges.  Condom use is [a wholly predictable following of established precedent]…a federal sex trafficking charge has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, while the minimum at the state level would be six years…

Saving Them From Themselves (#778)

Naturally, politicians had to make this bad law even worse before passing it:

…members of the [Ohio] House Criminal Justice Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill to ban teen sexting, even for…teenagers who are [18 and therefore] legally adults…Teens found guilty of sexting could be sentenced to [re-education]…but judges would be free to overlook this program, and minors with previous sex-related offenses on their records would not be eligible.  Outside the diversion program, a sexting charge could lead to…eight hours of community service—a light punishment that the bill’s supporters have brandished to make their proposal more palatable.  But…the real harm comes from saddling these kids with criminal records for the rest of their lives…The bill’s sponsors have argued that theirs is a compassionate plan because it gives prosecutors an option to avoid charging teen sexters with more serious child pornography charges.  But there’s nothing requiring the state’s cops to crack down on teen sexting to begin with, and…prosecutors could use their discretion to not bring child porn charges…instead, they’re simply adding on another possible charge for law enforcement to slap onto texting teens…

All-Purpose Excuse (#783)

I feel so much schadenfreude at watching the government’s own moral panic come back to bite it:

…Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of [Health & Human Services] Administration for Children and Families, faced a barrage of questions…over why HHS does not track unaccompanied minors who fail to appear at their immigration court hearings.  The agency has faced increased scrutiny following a scathing 2016 report…that found it failed to protect unaccompanied minors from traffickers and other abuses…In 2014, at least 10 trafficking victims, including eight minors, were discovered during a raid…[according to the movie]  Trafficked in America, HHS had released several minors to the traffickers…Between October and December 2017…the agency was unable to locate almost 1,500 out of the 7,635  minors that it attempted to reach — or about 19 percent.  Over two dozen had run away, according to Wagner, who said the agency did not have the capacity to track them down…

Rooted in Racism (#800) 

Another case of deliberate racial profiling thanks to government-approved guidelines:

…Lindsay Gottlieb…was flying home [to California] from Denver when a Southwest agent asked her to prove she was the mother of her [biracial] baby.  Gottlieb said she showed her son’s passport, but the agent wasn’t satisfied and demanded a birth certificate [because obviously everyone carries those around with them]…The agent eventually let her family check in, but Gottlieb turned to Twitter to get the airline’s attention.  She tweeted: “I’m appalled that after approximately 50 times flying with my one-year-old son, ticket counter personnel told me I had to ‘prove’ that he was my son, despite having his passport.  She said because we have different last names.  My guess is because he has a diff. skin color”…

Although this coverage doesn’t mention it, I think everyone reading this knows why airline personnel are being trained to racially profile travelers.  Every agent and air hostess wants to be the next big hero for catching a “sex trafficker”.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#823)

The stench of FOSTA is all over India’s terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill:

…there appear to be several issues with overbroad or vague language…that could lead to a deleterious effect on the Freedom of Expression…section 39(2)…mandates punishment even for a vaguely defined action or actions that may not actually be connected to the trafficking of a person.  In other words, the provision doesn’t require any of the actions to be connected to trafficking in their intent or even outcome, but only in potential connection to the outcome…The excessively wide scope of this badly drafted provision leaves it prone to abuse…Even the electronic publicizing of an academic study on trafficking could fall under the provision as it currently reads…Similarly, any of our vast number of self-appointed moral guardians could also pull within this provision any artistic work that they may personally find offensive or ‘obscene’…Section 41…[criminalizes] “Whoever distributes, or sells or stores” [information claimed to leads to “trafficking”]…the infrastructure of the electronic/digital world requires 3rd party intermediaries to handle information…As it is not feasible, desirable or even practically possible for intermediaries to verify the legality of every bit of data that gets transferred or stored by the intermediary, “safe harbours” are provided in law for intermediaries, protecting them from liability of the information being transmitted through them…If intermediaries are not granted this protection, it puts them in the unenviable position of having to monitor un-monitorable amounts of data, and face legal action for the slip-ups that are bound to happen regularly…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#831) 

As long as any part of sex work is criminalized, cops will have power over sex workers:

Some Victorian sex workers say that working under the licensing framework…is even worse than working in places that totally outlaw sex work because of the extreme complexity of the laws.  Jules Kim from…Scarlet Alliance says [that in Queensland and Victoria] sex…workers are subject to unwarranted “surveillance and entrapment”…Examples include police calling workers to request services considered illegal within those states, such as condomless oral or threesomes, and then laying charges if the worker agrees…Such entrapment can disproportionately affect marginalised workers, such as migrant workers with limited English, who may not know what they are agreeing to.  In Western Australia and South Australia, where most forms of sex work are deemed illegal, police may use the fact that someone had condoms as “evidence” that they were working…

Imaginary Evils (#833)

Calling this “sex trafficking” lets the government steal property:

The Justice Department is moving in to target two [houses in Brooklyn]…where sex trafficking and branding allegedly took place.  Court documents filed by the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn are to forfeit and condemn two properties allegedly used by Keith Raniere and his victims…in connection with Raniere’s [NXIVM] cult…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844) 

That didn’t take long, did it?

We’ve heard so many stories lately about the frankly horrifying degree to which facial recognition leads to tracking or privacy invasions.  But a startup specializing in AI is instead leveraging facial recognition technology to [rat sex workers out to the cops]…Marinus Analytics…program called Traffic Jam…builds a database of images, phone numbers, and location data which can help identify [sex workers]…It scrapes the websites every few minutes, meaning even ads which are deleted or changed is [sic] still usable…The company last year added a feature to Traffic Jam called Facesearch, which combs through online photographs and identifies specific [sex workers]…Amazon’s Rekognition software is the technology behind the facial recognition…Rekognition is also being used by law enforcement for other…surveillance purposes.  While that usage has some ethical dilemmas which other experts in the field have pointed out, the usage of the software to find [sex workers]…feels far more noble [to the dangerously ignorant]…

The gullibility of this reporter is nothing short of alarming; notice how eagerly she sucks the dick of “sex trafficking” propagandists even though she clearly understands the danger of mass surveillance, then proceeds to make excuses for the surveillance based in swallowing the propaganda.

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

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

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

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

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

All Shapes and Sizes (#521)

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

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

Shame, Shame (#649)

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

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

The Peril 

The hypocrisy of politicians sometimes defies belief:

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

Legal Is as Legal Does (#666) 

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

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

Permanent Record

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

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

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

All-Purpose Excuse (#794)

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

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

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

Disaster

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

This Means War (#830) 

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

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

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The major purpose of [FOSTA] is to…punish anyone who…engages in sex work.  –  Steven Thrasher

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

A Toledo [cop] was issued a summons…during a prostitution sting at a Columbus area hotel…Mack Collins…was not arrested…

Gullible’s Travels

I reckon the panic industry’s been too busy with Trump, guns, opiates and “sex trafficking” to come up with as many dumb “teen fad” panics as they used to:

…educators are warning about a “condom challenge” being spread online by YouTube videos and social media…The challenge involves  snorting an unwrapped condom up one nostril, then pulling the condom from the throat out the mouth…Snorting a condom up your nose not only poses a choking hazard but also puts you at risk for allergic reactions and infections…women [who] accidentally swallow…condoms [can] developing ailments ranging from pneumonia to appendicitis…The condom snorting challenge may eclipse the most recent viral video fad among teenagers, which involved eating brightly colored Tide Pods

Yeah, I’m sure this is going to be so much more popular than video games.

Bogeymen

Five years in prison for talking to someone online:

A Brockton man who recruited women online for prostitution, including an undercover police officer, was sentenced to five years in state prison for human trafficking…Shakwaan Simpkins…had “used a website with the express purpose of recruiting a woman to engage in prostitution,” District Attorney Marian Ryan said…

That’s all he did: talked to a pig on the internet.  Five years in a cage, at a cost to the taxpayers higher than if he were sent to Harvard.  I’m sure the good puritans of Massachusetts feel safer now that this evil texter is locked up.

Censor Chic

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors:

Earlier this month, the European Commission published a new [diktat] demanding that internet companies remove…content flagged to them in less than an hour — or face legislation forcing them to do so….Google and other big tech companies still publish transparency reports, but they now seems to serve a different purpose:  to convince authorities in Europe and elsewhere that the internet giant is serious about [censorship on bureaucratic demand]…The more takedowns it can show, the better…Expect additional “transparency” designed to underline Google’s own [internally-generated censorship]…the…report does not yet include a full accounting for YouTube…But Google has hinted it will soon produce a dedicated report for the video sharing site.  When and if it does, it promises to show not thousands but millions of annual takedowns, many for copyright violations, but also many for breaking “community rules”…The pace of private sector censorship is astounding — and it’s growing exponentially…

All-Purpose Excuse (#718)

Fans of the Democratic party need to remember their team did half the work of creating this lunacy:

Roseanne Barr was under attack this weekend for supporting President Trump’s efforts to end human trafficking.  CNN and other MSM media outlets claimed Barr’s tweet supporting the President’s efforts relied on a conspiracy theory while dismissing President Trump’s efforts. Roseanne was right.  Our analysis shows that arrests for human trafficking were up 150% in 2017 and are on track to be up nearly 500% in 2018 over 2016 numbers…

Actually, she’s not right; click on the title for Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s analysis of these bogus numbers, which come from the tinfoil-hat “Pizzagate” crowd of which Barr is a member.  However, I must point out that given the vague definition of “human trafficking”, it’s easy for any executive to increase “human trafficking” arrests by simply ordering cops and prosecutors to charge basically everyone they arrest in prostitution, immigration or immigrant-labor stings with “human trafficking”.  Given Trump’s ICE pogroms, I’m surprised it has only gone up by 500%.

Eternal Vigilance (#732)

Puritans are still upset about the fact that some women are comfortable paying our rent (and other expenses) with sex:

…Renting rooms for sexual favours is seen as a growing menace by [busybodies], and a byproduct of a housing crisis where young people are unable to find somewhere to live without spending exorbitant sums.  The [so-called] problem has become particularly marked in university towns, where young women are targeted by rogue landlords.  But while then justice secretary David Lidington last year said such offers may breach the Sexual Offences Act, there is frustration that more is not being done.  “Since last year, there has not been a single arrest, let alone a conviction, let alone anybody actually going to jail for it,” says [politician] Peter Kyle…[who] has consistently called for landlords who offer accommodation in exchange for sex to be prosecuted [for upsetting Kyle’s delicate fee-fees]…

Backwards into the Future (#778) 

Note that the headline blames the girls rather than the busybodies who want them unemployed:

The Global Fund is pulling out of a controversial partnership with Heineken but not for the reason most cited by critics.  [Crypto-moralists]  had been blasting…the Global Fund…for backing a partnership with Heineken to “fight infectious diseases in Africa.”  Some activists said it was [better for people to die of malaria than]…to align with a product that can be detrimental to people’s health…The Global Fund  shrugged off that criticism for weeks.  The plan was for Heineken to use its extensive logistics and communications expertise to help the Fund deliver medical supplies.  Now the Fund says it’s suspending the deal not out of concern for the people who drink too much Heineken but…because of “the company’s use of female beer promoters in ways that expose them to sexual exploitation and health risks”…for more than a decade [anti-sex groups have moaned about]…the exploitation of “beer girls” in Southeast Asia, including women working to boost sales of Heineken in bars in Cambodia.  Also known as “promotion girls,” these (primarily young) women encourage male customers to order a particular brand of beer.  The women earn relatively low wages, often survive off tips and…[often] moonlight as sex workers…

Cooties (#811)

Cops trying to draw others into their “sex slave” fantasies are a more dangerous version of time-wasters who call whores to masturbate to the sound of our voices:

Human traffickers [are fantasized to] be putting up sex workers in Cumbrian bed-and-breakfast businesses before moving them on to pop-up brothels…[cops pretend] that “a significant” proportion of illegal moving of people nationally is being carried out under the guise of tourism…[cops] urged business bosses and the public to [spy on their fellow citizens]…Detective Superintendent Lesley Hanson said…”We [masturbate to the fantasy] that pop-up brothels are set up across the county and there are victims forced into prostitution”…

To Molest and Rape (#814) 

Seeing this one power being taken from cops is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless:

Maryland is among 35 states that lack laws prohibiting police from [raping] those they arrest…New York’s legislature recently voted to change its law…Brooke Lierman…wants to make the same change in Maryland.  Her bill to do that has passed the House.  She told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee…that she was moved to push for the change after reading reports about women who were raped while in police custody [and the rapists get away with it by claiming it was consensual]…

Disaster

Now they notice.  Good going, Gay, Inc!

…More people should care about sex workers’ rights.  But if you think none of this applies to you because you’re not queer or into kink or sex work, think again: the US Congress wants to further regulate sex by way of the internet, and most people’s modern sex lives interact with the internet.  Craigslist shut down its entire personal section because of the overreaching congressional desire to control sex work.  And there’s no reason Congress couldn’t similarly intimidate Tinder or Grindr to remove you or shut down entirely as it has Craigslist…the real sex panic is not due to feminism run amok, but due to the patriarchal, homophobic, transantagonistic, theocratic desire of the US Congress to control sex workers – and, by extension, to smother the sexual desires of any of us who don’t want to conform to their puritanical ways.

Here are a few more of those in that “any of us” category:

…Another website taken offline was Pounced.org, a dating site for “furries” – or devotees of anthropomorphic animal characters who like to dress in costumes…“with limited resources and a small volunteer staff, our risk for operating the site has now significantly increased…if someone posts an ad looking to exchange sex…and we don’t catch it, is that facilitating prostitution?”…Microsoft…issued a change to its terms of service which will ban “offensive language”…from its services, including Skype…YourDominatrix.com ended all US listings, with a note saying it was “due to a recent bill passed by Congress”…the escort forums on “Hung Angels” shut down…VerifyHim, a site devoted to helping sex workers stay safe by screening their clients, also removed its discussion forums…On Twitter, sex workers…were passing around safety tips and “self-censoring” advice for the new era, while others were converting to secure email accounts and offshore internet hosting sites…

Morality Lessons (#826) 

Looks like at least one dangerous censor-moron is on his way out:

New revelations about the man who authored trendy anti-porn and digital censorship legislation has killed its chances in…Rhode Island…and may doom it…in the 17 other states with similar proposals…Chris Sevier…sometimes called [his brainchild] the “Elizabeth Smart Law”…[but] Smart recently demanded that Sevier stop using her name…It’s a bad legal month all around for Sevier, who had sued in federal court for the right to marry his laptop…A federal judge in Utah threw out the case…The whole fiasco isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of how a lot of state officials approach the lawmaking process.  At minimum, you’d think someone…would put a smidge of effort into finding out basic background about the people whose whims they’re attempting to enable into law…

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There is no “Truckers Against Trafficking Truckers” to help me safely return to the freedom and independence of sex work.  –  Kelly Michaels

Backfire

Pathetic “sex trafficking” fetishists are recycling an old failed propaganda campaign to convince men that it’s “cool” to let anti-sex lunatics control their sex lives, to infantilize women, and to empower the pigs to spy on people even more than they already do and to persecute them for seeking consensual sex.  It would be hilarious if it weren’t a direct threat to the sexual freedom and civil liberties of every adult in the world.

See No Evil 

It’s both fascinating and horrifying to watch a culture lobotomize itself:

An elementary school in…Utah fired an art teacher [for showing his students art]…One parent even called the police, accusing the teacher of showing the students pornography.  The saga began when Mateo Rueda had fifth and sixth grade students do a color study exercise…Rueda had students go to the library and look through art books and boxes of postcards so they could select which paintings best exemplified the color relationships they had been studying.  That’s when Rueda realized that some of the postcards, which…had been in the library long before he started teaching there, included some nude paintings, including Iris Tree by Amedeo Modigliani, François Boucher’s Brown Odalisque, and The Valpincon Bather by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres…He…then went through the pack to remove paintings he thought were inappropriate.  Still, he explained to the students that nudity in art is normal…Some students…expressed discomfort with the paintings and Rueda allegedly encouraged them to discuss things with their parents.  But some of the parents then proceeded to complain to the school, which fired Rueda on Dec. 8…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Two similar cases in just a few weeks:

Danny Kay…will greet the New Year as a free man after being convicted of a rape that was based on altered evidence submitted by the alleged victim.  His freedom is due not to police work but the work of his sister in law Sarah Maddison…[who] found…that the police used [Facebook] messages that were misleadingly edited by the woman and that the real messages directly contradicted her claims.  The police revealed an utter incompetence in the investigation and the prosecutors have expressed no intent in looking at possible charges against the woman who is accused of changing the meaning of the messages from exculpatory to incriminating…Archived versions of the original messages found by Maddison showed not only a consensual relationship but a desire to continue the relationship…

Banishment

Do these idiots think everyone in a crowded shelter will be contaminated by sex rays?

Our eastern and northern states, preparing for snow, ice, and plummeting temperatures, also prepare their ready-made speeches: “Sex offenders will not be allowed”…A Christian ministry in Alabama, not often a state that must prepare for sub-freezing weather, says that it “wants to make sure no one is without shelter Sunday” when the temperatures are expected to drop drastically…“The ministry will be taking in anyone who wants to escape the cold”…It is not until the last paragraph that we are told, “…sex offenders will not be allowed to stay because of children”…What about “sex offenders” who have children?  What about “sex offenders” who ARE children?…

Case Study

A sow seeks her 15 minutes by spinning tragedy-porn for her audience’s masturbatory pleasure:

…PCSO Jacqui Fairbanks…has been [harassing] the women in Hessle Road, Hull for a decade…“Some of these women have come from backgrounds of child abuse, both physical and sexual…Quite a number suffer from mental health problems and there are issues of trafficking and coercion by pimps and boyfriends…But the biggest issue is drugs and many of these women are on the streets to pay for theirs and their partner’s next fix.  One woman had a baby and, within half an hour, was back out on the streets. That’s how desperate some of these women are…Our problem is that these women will not come and deal with us.  Their self-esteem is so low that they [would rather do productive work than let us force them into menial labor for a fraction of the income]”…

All-Purpose Excuse

As if this weren’t already bad enough, take a look at the government’s excuse for flushing what little is left of the Fourth Amendment:

In the summer of 2014, Terrence Byrd was driving a rental car on an interstate highway in Pennsylvania.  His fiancée had rented it, and he was using it with her permission.  But he was not listed on the rental agreement as an authorized driver.  A state trooper, David Long, [tailed] Mr. Byrd and…[later] testified that Mr. Byrd had aroused his suspicion by holding the steering wheel as driving instructors recommend…and by sitting far back in his seat…Because Mr. Byrd was not listed as an authorized driver, Trooper Long said he was free to search the car without Mr. Byrd’s consent.  He found body armor and 49 bricks of heroin in the trunk.  After a judge refused to suppress the evidence, Mr. Byrd was convicted of federal drug charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Next week, the Supreme Court will consider whether privacy rights turn on the fine-print contracts signed by the more than 115 million people who rent cars every year…In a brief supporting the federal government, 15 states said criminals often used cars rented by others to transport drugs, victims of human trafficking and unauthorized immigrants…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#580) 

Predictable in the current Neo-Victorian climate:

…Playboy Enterprises Inc.’s controlling shareholder—private-equity firm Rizvi Traverse—is in talks to acquire the 35% stake Mr. Hefner left in trust to his heirs…the company says it is doubling down on efforts to make money from brand partnerships and licensing deals built around the Playboy name, ethos and bunny logo, with increasingly less focus on its editorial roots.  “We want to focus on what we call the ‘World of Playboy’ which is so much larger than a small, legacy print publication,” said Ben Kohn, a managing partner at Rizvi who took over as Playboy Enterprises’ chief executive in May 2016.  “We plan to spend 2018 transitioning it from a media business to a brand-management company”…

Naked Truth (#601)

Elizabeth Nolan Brown presents her picks for the best sex work writing of the year:

…Traditional media is not known for its nuanced and accurate portrayals of erotic industries, but more than a few fair accounts managed to slip through the mainstream cracks this year, in the form of both commentary and original reporting.  Meanwhile, sex-worker blogs, platforms like Medium, and indie press outlets have continued to allow current and former sex workers to tell their own stories.  I hope [this] list…provides some idea of the awesome breadth of sex worker experiences in 2017, the outlets and writers capturing them, and the devastating toll that current cultural panic and government policy responses are taking on people in a range of “adult” occupations and circumstances…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t limit themselves to any particular group of victims:

A former auxiliary cop [reports] her two NYPD bosses teamed up to pressure her for sex in the back of a police van.  The complaint…comes just a few months after two other city cops [violent]ly raped a [handcuffed] teen in their NYPD van…Huma Ayyaz…was targeted by…Andrew Thaler and…Rohnit Singh…because she comes from a conservative Pakistani Muslim family and they assumed she wouldn’t risk her reputation by speaking out…

Subtle Pimping (#767)

India has more that its share of scumbags profiting from sex workers by promoting harmful lies:

The Missing Public Art Project and Awareness Campaign exists [to profit by exploiting sex workers…Missing: The Complete saga is a role-playing game for PC where you play as a trafficking victim…It’s meant to capture the hopelessness of sex trafficking victims.  In order to do so, it’s being intentionally designed to feel unfair…

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The guns of oppression are aimed at the friendless before they swing to the connected and moneyed.  –  Guy Hamilton-Smith

Advice for Clients

Miranda Kane on how NOT to deal with a sex worker:

…Don’t ask questions like…”Is this your only job?”  Sex work is many people’s full time profession…Do not ask for a discount on the promise you’ll become a regular customer…Don’t send a picture of your dick…Contact us in the correct manner…turn up on time…

See No Evil 

Booga booga, the evil picture must be exorcised lest its sex rays radiate forth and “sexualize children”!

petition was begun by former art history major Mia Merrill to censor (though she doesn’t see this as censorship) this painting because it sexualized a child. Balthus painted something wrong…censorship is precisely what she’s asking for, even if she says she’s not…No doubt Merrill’s belief that her feelings are righteous justify her authority to scold the Met, not to mention Balthus, since it’s outrageous that he should paint something that offends her sensibilities…censors can’t bear the idea that something that offends them isn’t somehow subject to their control, so they…tell the world how literally awful it is while assuaging their conscience that they’re not really censors.  To its credit, the Met has told them to suck eggs…If it’s offensive, then people will see it and find it offensive.  No one needs a scold to tell them so…

With Friends Like These…

Prostitution itself isn’t illegal in Malaysia, but there are so many laws around it, it might as well be.  This guy proposes to solve that problem with MOAR LAWS!

Sex is a primary need…and because of that, sex work is…one of the oldest professions on the planet…Malaysia is not a country that people around the world would associate with prostitution.  Nevertheless, it would seem that Malaysia is fast rising as one of the main destinations for sex tourism in Southeast Asia.  Prostitution in Malaysia is illegal, but if you were to walk the streets of Kuala Lumpur, you will notice it is a thriving business…involved in layers of illegal activities such as organised crime, human trafficking, money laundering and even violent crimes…Sheril A. Bustaman…[of] PT Foundation…argued prostitution is a legitimate industry if owned and controlled by sex workers themselves…When the [Singapore] government legalised prostitution…brothels and their workers had to be registered and be given permits to operate…Sex workers are required to follow specific health procedures and are to be tested for sexually-transmitted diseases regularly…When the whole industry is regulated, it eliminates so many other actual undesirable crimes such as human trafficking…

Reporter Azlee is clearly an authority due to one conversation (in which he apparently didn’t listen very well) and is therefore far more qualified to opine on what sex workers need than, say, sex workers and human rights organizations, who all support decriminalization rather than “regulation”.

Banishment

Another good argument against the evil of “sex offender” registration:

…despite a steady media diet of cops and robbers police procedurals, the rhetoric on crime policy has begun to shift.  The [US] appears to be [losing]…our faith in imprisonment as an effective response to problems like drug addiction…Yet…one group of people continue to languish in the collective “harsher is better” mindset…forcing people to register as sex offenders “is what puritan judges would’ve done to Hester Prynne had laptops been available“…registries are rapidly proliferating and becoming an increasingly popular back-end tool for feeding people into the carceral state…

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to call this a “correctional institution” and the torturers “correctional officers”:

Lawyers are seeking a federal court order of protection for a transgender prison inmate who [was repeatedly]…sexually assaulted for the entertainment of prison guards.  Attorney Alan Mills of the Uptown People’s Law Center says…Strawberry Hampton…was forced to strip and…[blow] a cellmate for the entertainment of guards.  “She eventually said I’m not going to do this anymore and reported them through…the Prison Rape Elimination Act…When the guards found out she had reported them, that’s when the abuse really escalated.”  Including beatings, solitary confinement and the denial of food [sic]…

Shame, Shame 

A culture more worried about the sexual applications of this than about the government’s ability to fabricate evidence with it is a culture overdue for collapse:

There’s a video of Gal Gadot having sex with her stepbrother on the internet.  But it’s…an approximation, face-swapped to look like she’s performing in an existing incest-themed porn video.  The video was created with a machine learning algorithm…and open-source code that anyone with a working knowledge of deep learning algorithms could put together…It’s especially striking considering that it’s allegedly the work of one person—a Redditor who goes by the name “deepfakes”—not a big special effects studio…this…shows that we’re on the verge of living in a world where it’s trivially easy to fabricate believable videos of people doing and saying things they never did.  Even having sex…It isn’t difficult to imagine an amateur programmer running their own algorithm to create a sex tape of someone they want to harass…

“Even having sex” she says, as if that’s the worst thing this bird-brain can conceive of.  The idea of, say, cops manipulating a body cam video to make it look as though a black man they murdered had pulled a gun on the cop, doesn’t even enter her sheltered little mind.

Halfway Whores (#439)

This us about as “dog bites man” as it gets.  I’ve done parties like this, and so have many ladies I know:

…Silicon Valley’s homogeneity has a more trivial side effect:  boring holiday parties.  A fete meant to retain all your talented engineers is almost certain to wind up with a rather same-y crowd, made up mostly of guys.  At this year’s holiday parties, however, there’ll be a surprising influx of attractive women, and a few pretty men, mingling with the engineers.  They’re being paid to.  Local modeling agencies…say a record number of tech companies are quietly paying $50 to $200 an hour for each model hired solely to chat up attendees.  For a typical party…the company…[makes] them sign nondisclosure agreements, and [gives] them names of employees to pretend they’re friends with, in case anyone asks why he’s never seen them around the foosball table…

All-Purpose Excuse

Hey, picket-fence gays, are you ready to support sex workers yet?

Three [professional] sex-trafficking victims told their stories in a dramatic Tampa City Council meeting…to get support for a new city ordinance on bathhouses—a mammoth package of new occupational licensing requirements, record-keeping mandates, limits on hours of operation, and other rules…None of the victims…said they’d been exploited at a bathhouse.  Indeed, local lawmakers failed to offer any evidence at all that sex trafficking is an issue at Tampa’s bathhouses…but “sex trafficking” has become such a magic invocation that politicians can use it to pass just about anything, no matter how unrelated to the law’s professed purposes.  In this case, the city is using the specter of sex trafficking to collect new fees, take more control over local entrepreneurs, and make it much easier to shut down businesses they don’t like.  And they had ample help from the D.C.-based Polaris Project, which receives massive amounts of federal funding…it’s unclear how [other] evidence presented—reviews of erotic massage parlors—relates to bathhouses in Tampa, other than that Polaris is trying to make that link.  Tampa has entirely separate regulations  regarding massage therapists and parlors…the new ordinance…would mainly apply to the combination sauna, gym, and social clubs that are a fixture of Tampa’s gay scene…

Sales Pitch (#442)

I’ll bet the Swedes get all butthurt if foreign countries respond by claiming the right to punish Swedes in their countries for doing things that are legal in Sweden, such as homosexual activity:

Sweden…wants to…[make] it illegal [for Swedes] to pay for sex abroad…even if this was done in countries where the practice is legal…This is already illegal under Swedish law, however Swedish courts are not able to issue punishments on paying for sex in countries where it is legal, and that’s what the government wants to change…

The Scarlet Letter (#532)

Oklahoma prohibitionists claim that HIV+ people emit sex rays as well:

Every time I think sex policing cannot hit a new low, the news delivers something like this story out of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.  After an arrested woman informed the police that she was HIV-positive, the cops decided to broadcast this information—along with her full name and photo—to all the local TV news stations.  They also left letters on the subject on about 50 cars parked near…the…massage parlor where she worked…The woman…was booked for prostitution—a charge that was later dismissed—and knowingly spreading an infectious disease.  Yet police present no evidence that she engaged in unprotected sex with customers—nor, for that matter, that she had…sexual intercourse, with or without a condom, with anyone…The reporters seemed less interested in questioning the cops’ story than in expressing shock that prostitution could possibly exist in their town. “There are two schools on the next block, and just around the corner, there’s a family neighborhood that’s decorated for Christmas,” Charles Ely reported at the local ABC affiliate…

Catastrophic Consequences (#576)

This sleazy tactic has spread from Canada to Scotland to England to Ireland:

An erotic masseuse [in Dublin] has been accused of setting her dog on a [disguised cop] who [represented his deception of a sex worker as] a “mission of mercy” to try to find out if she had been trafficked.  Cristina Cristian is alleged to have assaulted the [garda] by unleashing her border collie Todd, which bit…Andrew O’Sullivan…[threatened] Christian and…her…girlfriend Elena Amuzan…and…[forced] Ms Amuzan…on the ground with her arm behind her back.  Ms Cristian…was scared when she saw this, thought they were being robbed and opened the bathroom to get her phone to call Ms Amuzan’s parents.  The dog had been locked inside and she did not realise it had got out.  She said she only called out in Romanian for the dog to come back…

Prudish Pedants (#624) 

Steinem’s been peddling this malarkey since 1978, and I’ve been mocking it since at least 1984:

Pornhub has opened up a pop-up shop in New York City, where patrons can buy promotional merchandise and sex toys…through Dec. 20…[prohibitionist] Gloria Steinem has called the brick and mortar location a tactic to further promote sexual violence.  Speaking at a Pornhub pop-up shop protest on [December 8th]…Steinem and tens of other [censors] called for New Yorkers to boycott the shop…“It is a hub that…we must realize is the source of the poison that is in our system,” Steinem said, [adding her oft-repeated nonsense]…that erotica is healthy but that mainstream porn was not healthy erotica, arguing that Pornhub normalizes the degradation of girls and women…[as part of] the protest’s press conference, Steinem and others marched into the store chanting, “Pornhub sells sexual violence,” as the feminist icon asked a store worker why the store was selling handcuffs and how those handcuffs were related to free will, democracy, or independent equality…

Anti-sex work kinksters:  reread that last line, then maybe rethink your loyalties.

The Mote and the Beam (#776)

Another attempt by politicians to destroy the entire internet:

…Under a proposal from Rep. Bob Goodlatte…anyone posting or hosting digital content that leads to an act of prostitution could face serious federal prison time as well as civil penalties.  This is obviously bad news for sex workers, but it would also leave digital platforms—including dating apps, social media, and classifieds sites such as Craigslist—open to serious legal liability for the things users post…it would give digital platforms a huge incentive to track and regulate user speech more closely…Ann…Wagner’s legislation (H.R. 1865) would open digital platforms to criminal and civil liability not just for future sex crimes that result from user posts or interactions but also for past harms…platforms that followed previous federal rules…would now be especially vulnerable to charges and lawsuits…Wagner’s bill doesn’t just stop at carving out a new Section 230 exception.  It also creates a new crime, “benefitting from participation in a venture engaged in sex trafficking,” and makes it easy to hold all sorts of web platforms and publishers in violation…So in cases like, say, Hope Zeferjohn, the teen girl convicted of sex trafficking for talking to a younger teen on Facebook about prostitution, Facebook could be facing a federal charge for participating in a sex trafficking venture…

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