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Posts Tagged ‘asset seizure’

The U.S. Attorney made it clear that he intends to put us in prison for the rest of our lives.  –  Michael Lacey

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Liu Aik Kang…[of Singapore] hatched a plan with his cousin and the cousin’s friend to pose as [cops] to [rape] a…[criminalized] sex worker and steal from her.  They…[intentionally] sought out their victim because they knew [she] was [doing sex work]…illegal[ly]…Liu…was sentenced to 14 months and two weeks’ jail for his offences…[after raping the victim] Liu, together with his cousin Hu Zhihao…made off with more than S$8,000 [$5850 US]…worth of [their victims’ possessions], including laptops and cameras…

Dysphemisms Galore 

In normal adult sane-person language, she owned four very ordinary massage parlors:

Dan T. Zheng…of Boston was arrested…and charged with trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, deriving support from prostitution and procuring support for prostitution…for [owning] four massage parlors…Six female victims were also located…police learned that male clients were allegedly being offered, and accepting additional services of a sexual nature following their scheduled massage for an additional fee…said District Attorney Ryan…“The defendant in this case was allegedly using businesses in four communities as a front to provide illegal sexual services for a fee while exploiting the women who were employed by her in the process”…

Policing for Profit

Cops will never stop doing this as long as the state keeps giving them pretexts:

…several [cops] in Northern California [stole] three pounds of legal marijuana from [Zeke Flatten] during a traffic stop, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit…And he’s not the only one who…was…robbed by a group of [profiteering pigs]…three [pigs] from the town of Rohnert Park and Hopland Band of Pomo Indians pulled him over last December while he was driving through Mendocino County.  The[y]…were not wearing name tags or badges, and [lied that] they…[were] federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms…Flatten [foolishly] told the [bandits] about the marijuana and offered to show them his paperwork for it, but they [stole] it and left without issuing him a ticket or running his name to check for outstanding warrants…The lawsuit, citing recent local news investigations, says [cops] from the town and tribe have a pattern of using a lucrative civil asset forfeiture program to shake down motorists for marijuana and cash during traffic stops…

Rough Trade (#351)

Politicians will do anything to avoid decriminalizing women’s sexual choices:

When rape shield laws spread across the country in the 1970s to protect sexual misconduct victims from having their sexual histories used against them in court, women could finally come forward without fearing their “promiscuity” would be paraded in front of a jury…But…stigmas…about…sex workers are still etched into the rape shield statute by treating them differently when they suffer sexual attacks…In New York’s legislative bodies, two bills attempt to address New York’s outmoded law.  One…removes an exception that allows the defense to introduce evidence proving the victim has been convicted of a prostitution offense in the three years prior to the alleged sex offense under prosecution…The other…extends the rape shield protection to cover sex trafficking cases…

Because we couldn’t just make sex work not a crime, no sirree.

Rotting Fruit

But please, tell me again about how the political teams are really opposed:

Jeffrey Epstein had a little black book filled with the names and personal phone numbers of some of the world’s wealthiest and most influential people, [including] Bill Clinton and Donald Trump…A money manager for the super-rich, Epstein had two private jets, the largest single residence in Manhattan, an island in the Caribbean, a ranch in New Mexico and a waterfront estate in Florida…For years, Epstein lured an endless stream of teenage girls to his Palm Beach mansion, offering to pay them for…sex…with him and others…in 2007, despite substantial evidence…the U.S. attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, signed off on a secret deal for the multimillionaire…that ensured he would never spend a day in prison.  Acosta, now President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, agreed to seal the agreement so that no one — not even Epstein’s victims — would know the full extent of his crimes or who was involved…

The Mote and the Beam (#822)

Since Trump has jumped on this bandwagon, perhaps the soi-disant “resistance” types may start listening to the truth, even if only to spite him:

President Trump took strong action…to hold accountable* those governments that have persistently failed to [persecute sex workers sufficiently to sate US bloodlust]…Specifically, the president will limit the number of national-interest waivers and restrict certain types of foreign assistance for nearly two dozen governments of countries identified as “Tier 3” by the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report.  The report, [a political tool used to blackmail poor countries]…places each country in tiers to [reward obedience to US political pressure]…and urge greater action to [persecute adults for consensual sex]…Tier 3 countries are those that have neither [obeyed] nor made a significant effort to [lock human beings in cages for consensual sex]…this administration will no longer use taxpayer dollars to support governments that consistently fail to [satisfy US puritanism]…

* “Hold accountable” is a euphemism used by totalitarians to mean “persecute under guise of some kind of moralistic rhetoric”.  It’s commonly seen in phrases such as “hold sex buyers accountable”, which means “persecute men for wanting consensual sex”.

Elephant in the Parlor (#847)

I’ve been saying I distrusted Avenatti since almost the beginning of this:

Stormy Daniels…said she’s unsure if [Michael] Avenatti…will continue to represent her.  “I’m tremendously grateful to him for aggressively representing me in my fight to regain my voice…But in other ways Michael has not treated me with the respect and deference an attorney should show to a client.  He has spoken on my behalf without my approval.  He filed a defamation case against Donald Trump against my wishes.  He repeatedly refused to tell me how my legal defense fund was being spent.  Now he has launched a new crowdfunding campaign using my face and name without my permission and attributing words to me that I never wrote or said.”  In response, Avenatti said..that Daniels paid $100 to retain him, and they agreed any money raised in the legal defense fund would go toward his costs…Daniels’ words came after Avenatti was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence [in November].  Prosecutors in Los Angeles declined to charge him with a felony, and Avenatti denied ever acting abusively to any woman.  After those allegations, Daniels said she did not condone violence against women and would end her working relationship with Avenatti if they were found to be true…

Censor Chic (#861) 

Remember when people used to believe that Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto was sincere?

Perhaps you’ve heard about the latest employee uprising at Google, against a search engine and other products tailored for the Chinese government called project Dragonfly.  Workers staged a high-profile…protest [on November 27th] against Dragonfly….[and] raised over $200,000 for a “strike fund”.  This came after a new report confirmed the project and quoted ex-Google engineer and company privacy advocate Yonatan Zunger, who said the company’s privacy and security teams were locked out of key meetings.  Most visible amid Google employee rancor is a statement and petition they posted to Medium…[signed by] 628 [employees]…a leaked confidential memo [reported] that in 2016 Dragonfly was originally “developed as an app for Android and iOS devices, and would link people’s search records to their personal cellphone number and track their location“…

Damned Lies (#866)

Remember the government’s boast that it had censored 90% of sex work ads on the internet, which was already 50% false the day it was made?

Online sex ads plunged in April following Backpage’s seizure and [the enactment of FOSTA]…But a new analysis finds the drop in the number of ads may have been short-lived.  According to…[fascist cop-collaboratorsMarinus Analytics, there were about 146,000 online sex ads posted per day in the U.S. on leading escort websites from mid-September to mid-October — and the company expects the total for this month to be even higher.  In contrast, there were about 133,000 such ads posted on Backpage in the month before its shutdown…Instead of backing away amid the government [jihad against sex workers]…some escort websites…[have moved overseas, safely out of the reach of US busybodies,] and see the Backpage shutdown as an opportunity to expand…

Moronic “experts” quoted in the story also think that the lower response to pig-placed fake ads is due to a reduction in “demand”, when in actuality more men are just learning to exercise due diligence.

Changing the Rules

Michael Lacey tells the story of the government’s war on free speech, with Backpage as the bogeyman:

…strong political currents agitated by Senator John McCain, now deceased, and his beer-baroness wife Cindy — with her high-church hair bun and her wildly exaggerated campaign against child sex trafficking — swamped prosecutorial restraint and common sense.  The McCain medicine wagon hauled out roundheads, god botherers, creeping Jesus crawlers, and magical legislative elixirs meant to banish sex workers.  Cindy McCain, in particular, fixated on trafficking.  She has said that she saw the light during a trip to India, after she purchased some gewgaws for her daughter that she suspected — with no evidence — had been made in a sweatshop.  (Evidently, her inherited riches obviated the need for facts.)  The McCains’ fellow carnival barker, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, supervised the inquisition within the halls of Congress.  Even as the government spends millions of dollars trying to put us behind bars, it has not appropriated a penny to aid sex workers with counseling, education, housing, or job training.  The logic apparently hails from an unpublished Dr. Seuss book that begins: “The ‘world’s oldest profession’ exists because of Backpage, which began in 2004”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#885) 

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

An Amazon patent application…describes how a network of cameras could work together with facial recognition technology to identify people, and re[port them to the pigs, an application already being tested in Orlando, Florida].  Amazon’s application says the process leads to…more [surveilled] neighborhoods, as well as better informed [cops]…The application describes creating a database of suspicious persons.  Unwanted visitors would be added to the list when a homeowner tags them as not authorized.  Other people could be added to the database because they are a convicted felon or registered sex offender…”The patent is a roadmap for Amazon’s disturbing vision of surveillance in the future,” [said] Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union…”People have the right to go about their daily lives without being watched and tracked”…

Forward and Backward (#889)

Kate Lister of “Whores of Yore” interviews street workers in Leeds:

In 2014, Leeds City Council…designated [a] non-residential area [where] between the hours of 8pm and 6am, there would be no police prosecutions for soliciting or selling sex…a small, but vocal group called “Save Our Eyes” is currently campaigning to have it shut down…[by pretending] that some women are selling sex outside the specified time and place.  Under intense pressure, Leeds City Council has now voted to review the managed approach…But the voices of the women working in the managed area are often missing from the debate over its future…The following interviews are with the street sex workers who work, or have recently worked, within the managed area of Holbeck.  The interviews were secured through Basis Sex Work Project…

“Save Our Eyes”.  In other words, these busybodies are implying that human beings are eyesores.

Toxic Entitlement

It didn’t take long for the “thot audit” to move from a foolish game to an actual threat:

…The harassers [have graduated to] taking advantage of user reporting tools made available by companies like PayPal, Venmo, and CirclePay, in an attempt to force their targets offline and freeze their finances…dozens of…sex workers [have] experienced…harassment and expressed outrage over being banned from multiple online payment service providers…Many of the women…have lost…hundreds of dollars, as most payment companies [steal] whatever funds were stored in the reported account.  Participants in the harassment campaign openly discussed tactics and specific attacks in r/ThotAudit, a public subreddit…Users also posted comprehensive “thot auditing field guides,” including a continually updated list of tens of thousands of potential targets, and detailed instructions for getting sex workers banned from PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, Amazon Pay, Stripe, Circle Pay, Snapchat, and Kik…

Because of these companies’ long history of stealing money from sex workers under the excuse of “TOS violations”, it’s a bad idea for any sex worker who uses them to leave more than a pittance in any of them.  I suggest transferring large amounts out within minutes of receiving them, and don’t let smaller amounts accumulate to over $100.  That way even if your account is closed, at least you don’t lose any money with it.  You might also consider having two bank accounts, and not leaving more than a token amount in the one linked to any payment processor; transfer anything else to the main account ASAP, and do not link it to any online payment processor.

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The first thing that [repressive regimes] try to do is control the communications network.  –  Margaret Atwood

As veteran journalist A.J. Liebling once observed, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”  So when media conglomerates started buying up all the presses in the 1980s, censorious politicians were probably very happy: when 90% of the media in a country is owned by only five mega-corporations who are all part of the fascist establishment, it’s very easy to control the message.  No wonder they were so disappointed when the internet derailed that concentration process by making literally anybody with time and a high-school level of technical savvy into a publisher.  By 1996 perceptive control freaks were already trying to strangle the infant internet in its cradle via the Communications Decency Act, only to be thwarted when a few politicians with a particle of actual decency managed to smuggle Section 230 into what was intended to be a massive censorship law, and courts struck down all of its censorship provisions within a year.  Naturally, the Puritans never abandoned their sick dream of censoring the internet, and in just a few years they had created “sex trafficking” hysteria, a resurrection of the moribund Satanic Panic using parts recycled from the “white slavery” hysteria of a century before; the synthetic moral panic caught on, and less than 20 years later the busybodies and thought-controllers had what they wanted:  a means of bringing the most powerful tool for the dissemination of information ever created completely under government control.  Where bogeyman tales of devil worshipers and “terrorists” had failed, kinky fantasies of millions of 13-year-old “sex slaves” chained to radiators and raped by literally every single adult male in the US finally succeeded:  the useful idiots gave politicians the power to “protect” them from nonexistent bogeymen by destroying the laws which restrained government censorship, and handing control of the internet to cops, politicians and a few powerful corporate members of the fascist oligarchy.

Every totalitarian movement needs a bogeyman, and since the few escort service owners and small-time pimps the inquisitors were able to lock in cages were insufficient to sustain the required level of mindless hysteria, Backpage was chosen for that role after Craigslist took a dive.  Unfortunately for legions of busybodies, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were veteran newsmen of the old-time free speech variety, who insisted on defeating every single attempt to destroy them.  So naturally, the government simply changed the rules (egregiously violating the Constitution in the process) to make it impossible for them to win again, and hedged its bets by literally stealing everything they owned, setting a trial so far in the future anything that was missed in the raid would be used up, and even trying to deprive their victims of legal counsel.  But they’re not going down silently; Frontpage Confidential, the inheritor of Lacey & Larkin’s journalistic legacy, has been covering their fight, and last week Tom Finkel (formerly one of the duo’s top editors) delivered this broadside; he tells me they will soon publish an essay from Lacey himself, which I’ve been privileged to see a preliminary draft of.  Stay tuned, because no matter how this goes we need to remember that some things are worth fighting for, even against implacable and obscenely-powerful enemies who will do anything to win.

 

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Do you think I want to shoot an 11-year-old?…Don’t make me.  –  “Officer” Peter Casuccio

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I find the psychedelic videos from Sesame Street quite entertaining when I’m high; here’s another one, which was clearly inspired by Yellow Submarine.  The links above it were provided by Mike SiegelTim CushingJesse WalkerZuri DavisScott Greenfield, and Jacob Sullum, in that order.

From the Archives

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Apparently after reading the introduction to an Econ 101 textbook, many…believe the best way to eliminate the supply of sex trafficking victims is to end the demand for paid sex.  –  Eric Sprankle

The Course of a Disease (#344)

Indian sex workers often use Durga Puja as an occasion to protest tyranny:

A street graffiti dedicated to the life and struggle of the sex workers was unveiled by a Durga Puja organiser in…Kolkata…The graffiti, painted on a 300 [foot] stretch of road [near Sonagachi]…tells the tale of hardships and the circumstances that force a woman…into the flesh trade…soil from a brothel is an essential ingredient for the making of a Durga idol…”We are really happy that such a theme has been taken up by the puja committee depicting our lives and struggles,” Santana Das of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee said…

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

Remember, this isn’t “human trafficking”, but consensual sex is:

…one foster family’s initially successful attempt to win full custody of [a child abducted by ICE pigs]…reveals what could happen to some of the infants, children and teens taken from their families at the border…this year.  The “zero-tolerance” crackdown ended in June, but hundreds of children remain in detention, shelters or foster care and U.S. officials [have arbitrarily declared that] more than 200 are not eligible for reunification or release.  Federal officials [claim] they are reuniting families…but an Associated Press investigation…identified holes in the system that allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families — without notifying their parents.  And today, with hundreds of those mothers and fathers deported thousands of miles away, the risk has grown exponentially…

Also note: this policy did not originate with Trump; it’s been going on under every president since the ’80s.

Torture Chamber (#421) 

Cops can be fired for consensual sex, but not for torturing people to death:

A former [screw] is set to lose his job as a cop after it was revealed he was hired despite locking a mentally ill prisoner in a scalding hot shower until he died.  Roland Clarke only resigned…two years after he forced Darren Rainey into the shower…in 2012…Clarke was never charged with a crime and…[almost immediately] began working as a [pig] for the Miami Gardens Police Department…Now, thanks to a new report from the Miami New Times, the city…is trying to get [rid of]…Clarke, who has racked up a number of violations…[for being] “distasteful”…[including] repeatedly visiting a woman…at her home while…on duty…

In the US, a pig can be as dangerously violent and psychopathic as he wants, as long as he does it tastefully.  For another violent uniformed psychopath from Miami, see “To Molest and Rape” below.

Traffic Jam (#534)

Schools are rewarded for “finding” what the government wants found:

Social media is increasingly being exploited to contact, recruit and sell children for sex, according to a study by The University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.  The study, which was [commissioned] by the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission, [spins tales about] how traffickers quickly target and connect with vulnerable children on the Internet through social media…Through a series of 16 in-depth interviews…with…[cops], judges, [rescue profiteers, prohibitionists], and [corrupt academics]…the [fantasies] outline…how [authoritarians fantasize about people having sex with teens]…The [so-called] experts…identities are not being released…

WTF? Interviewing 16 anonymous pigs, prohibitionists and profiteers about their masturbatory fantasies about sex workers is not anything remotely like a “study”.  But the government doesn’t care as long as the “researchers” come to the correct conclusions, and Ohio is one of the states whose “educational institutions” are sufficiently corrupt for the task (others include Pennsylvania and Arizona).

Finding What Isn’t There (#559)

Michigan has decided to increase its “sex trafficking” numbers by inventing imaginary “victims”:

One hundred and twenty-three missing Michigan minors were [supposedly] found during a one-day “sex trafficking operation”…[but actually] only three of the minors are even suspected of having been involved in prostitution…What’s more, all but four of the “missing children” were not actually missing.  In the remaining [119] cases, minors were listed in a police database as missing but had since been found or returned home on their own…Many were (homeschooled)…Some were runaways…Nothing in the U.S. Marshals report on the operation makes mention of any arrested kidnappers, “traffickers”, or other adults involved in endangering or exploiting any of the missing minors that were identified…

The Punitive Mindset (#600) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

A new policy has put Pennsylvania prisoners’ communications under intense surveillance in the [pretense] of stopping contraband drugs [which are in reality smuggled in by screws for a price]…all incoming mail would be sent to a private company in Florida, Smart Communications, for scanning into a searchable database.  Prisoners would then receive photocopies of the incoming mail—and the originals would be shredded.  The DOC has also banned prisoners from receiving books from vendors…Instead, prisoners will have the option of paying for ebooks via [substandard] tablets that cost over $147 each…the Amistad Law Project…said the new policy will most likely result in self-censorship…and…has effectively ended mailed communication between lawyers and their clients because they cannot guarantee confidentiality…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Government thinks it can make any statement true simply by declaring it in a law:

…when I dug…into SF 2554, what I found wasn’t a law which links porn to human trafficking, but an embedded assumption that the two are fundamentally linked…being introduced into an existing state law by…changes to statutory language…the bill…adds “possession of pornographic work involving minors” and “harmful materials; dissemination and display to minors prohibited” to a list of crimes which the Minnesota government requires specified governmental and nongovernmental agencies to report on…In other words, what this law does to “link” pornography to human trafficking simply is to declare such a link exists

Unsurprisingly, the law was written by a religious anti-porn group.

To Molest and Rape 

Do I really need to say, “Don’t date one, either”?

Before a Miami-Dade [SWAT pig] was [arrested for] molesting a young girl, he was [given a pass by] his own department…[for] beat[ing] and abus[ing] his…lovers…two…women [reported that] Braulio Gonzalez [was] exceedingly jealous and pointed weapons at them, threatening their lives…he choked [one of them] and head-butted her so hard it broke her nose…[he] threw a bottle of whiskey at [anot]her and broke her arm.  A third woman also complained…about his…abuse…and [the department ruled he] had not followed proper procedure [in abusing her]…in [the latest totally]…related case…Gonzalez [was charged] with armed kidnapping and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child…[after] a young girl told a psychologist that Gonzalez fondled her repeatedly when she was between 8 and 10 years old…pointed a gun at her head and threatened to kill a relative unless she [submitted]…His domestic [violence was] well-known within the department…

The Widening Gyre (#703)

I really hope abusers keep using “sex trafficking” to justify their abuse:

…21-year-old…Whitney Harris made the long flight to India to meet 20-year-old Pulkit Monga, a man she’d connected with online two years prior.  “I left to India to meet my friend and to get away from my abusive mother and grandmother who have mentally and emotionally abused me all my life,” Harris [said]…The family…first had a Christian minister in the city of Amritsar “intercept” her and then came to collect her themselves 10 days later…Harris’ mother Destiny and father Brett met Monga’s hospitable parents who took them to holy sites and restaurants — all while “slandering” [their hosts] behind their backs…Harris agreed to buy a return plane ticket to assuage their concerns, but before she was able to book it, “her mother allegedly sent a letter to the local Indian police claiming that Pulkit was a rapist, had drugged their daughter and was a sex trafficker”…After Harris and the Mongas were interrogated by police, the young woman’s family conspired with people from the local Christian church to get her to the airport and out of the country…Harris refused to see her parents upon arrival back home in Alabama — and is working to reunite with Monga as soon as she can…

Pyrrhic Victory (#849)

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 Law Enforcement Data Service, a new super-database for [UK] police…would combine the current Police National Computer…and the Police National Database (PND)…with others at a later date.  It would include sensitive information on victims and on people unrelated to or cleared of wrongdoing.  The UK government has accepted that large amounts of data on the super-database would have nothing to do with crime, and intends to open up access to other organisations, such as the UK Border Force…the actions of the Home Office…have been repeatedly ruled unlawful in various cases regarding unlawful retention of surveillance or biometric data…the proposed database…contents would never expire or be removed – and the police have admitted that various types of data it has no legal right to hold will be transferred to the new database too…

Dangerous Speech

The government keeps making up new rules in its war on thought:

Federal prosecutors in the Backpage case appear to be employing a strangulation strategy:  Swipe the defendants’ money, then go after their lawyers…federal prosecutors…[tried] to disqualify a team of First Amendment lawyers from…Davis Wright Tremaine…[while] a federal judge in California has yet to rule on motions in which the defendants have challenged the asset seizures…on First Amendment grounds…Davis Wright’s First Amendment duo of Robert Corn-Revere and Jim Grant have successfully defended Backpage and its former owners from criminal and civil claims arising from adult advertising that appeared on the website.  Invoking both the First Amendment and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996…Davis Wright has rebuffed criminal indictments, overturned adverse rulings on appeal, and nullified laws in three states, in cases involving allegations that Backpage promoted prostitution…and/or sex trafficking…Lacey and Larkin sold their interests in Backpage to CEO Carl Ferrer in 2015, but Davis Wright continued to represent Backpage and all three men.  Six days after seizing Backpage, the government revealed that it had secretly flipped Ferrer…Davis Wright has since withdrawn from representing Ferrer and Backpage…government attorneys argued that Davis Wright can no longer continue to represent [Lacey & Larkin]…because to do so would violate Arizona’s rules of professional conduct for lawyers, which forbid attorneys from representing clients whose interests are adverse to a former client…But defense lawyers pointed out that Ferrer had waived all attorney-client privilege in his deal with the government, and additionally, that he’d previously signed three joint defense agreements with Lacey and Larkin, allowing Davis Wright to remain as counsel if Ferrer withdrew from the pact…[in another example of misconduct] the government supplied the defense with 10.5 million documents in “an unusual format”…requir[ing] the use of special software that could result in up to $800,000 in costs, not including the hours that attorneys will have to devote to making sense of the information…

Though the judge seemed cowed by prosecutors, he nonetheless ruled against the attempt to disqualify the attorneys not on constitutional rounds, but rather on the grounds that prosecutors willfully ignored Ferrer’s waiver of privilege.

Traffic Circle (#876)

It’s wonderful that so many academic allies are debunking the hysteria:

…a billboard…in Two Harbors, Minnesota [became] the latest example of the ad nauseam awareness campaigns…that perpetuate the moral panic surrounding sex trafficking by conflating it with sex work.  The billboard warns “johns” to “end the demand” because “we’re someone’s children” and includes a police lineup photo of a chef, physician, a snowmobiler, a flannel-clad “every man,” and a college graduate, which could be used as an album cover for a Village People cover band.  Given that the billboard also features an ominous photo of two people in hoodies sitting with their backs turned, it left many wondering what it’s trying to communicate…maybe passing motorists will get the general gist that northern Minnesotans need to end the demand for sex trafficking because trafficking affects “someone’s children”…The Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force celebrated the billboard’s unveiling, stating that the installation was the “fulfillment of a 4-5 year dream.”  Not to piss on anyone’s parade, but a billboard, in Two Harbors, was not only someone’s dream, but took 4 to 5 years to fulfill?  I guess if you dream to reach the stars, you’ll at least land 20 feet above Highway 61…

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To many people, what we do is more important than who we are.  –  Empower Foundation

Storyville 

An interesting collection of 19th-century brothel photos:

Working Girls, an exhibition of remarkable archival photos…has just opened at Ricco/ Maresca Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea district (where it will remain on view through October 13).  These photographs, which are also featured in a new book of the same name…are intriguing documents…of “an American brothel, circa 1892”…

If It Were Legal

I know several ladies who would’ve gladly handled this job:

An Arizona man has been charged with multiple counts of sex abuse and fraudulent schemes after he allegedly faked having Down syndrome and hired female caregivers to bathe him and change his diapers.  Three women have accused Paul Menchaca…[who] would become aroused during baths and diaper changes…Menchaca…hired the women using an online service, where he posed as his mother…making arrangements for them to pick him up at various locations…Several…times he insisted that his genitals were not cleaned enough…The caregivers became suspicious, and one…visited Menchaca’s home…Menchaca’s parents…said he is capable of taking care of himself and does not have Down syndrome…

Even if sex work were legal and unstigmatized, Menchaca (and others like him) might still choose not to hire dommes willing to cater to infantilists, either because they’re too cheap or they get off on tricking women.  And certainly, most infantilists do contract with dommes to get their needs met despite the stigma.  But the possibility cannot be discounted that some, perhaps even many, men with this kink are too ignorant to know that there are professionals skilled in dealing with their needs or too afraid to hire them.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

Hostess bars in the Near East aren’t very different from those in the Far East:

…are the “Russian bars” [in Jordan] really hotbeds of prostitution and trafficking?  “Russian bars” aren’t necessarily Russian.  The women who work there…[often] hail from other post-Soviet and central Asian countries, including Ukraine, Estonia, Romania, Uzbekistan and Moldova.  “Russian” women work in bars in many other Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon, and are often assumed to be sex workers…[but] the bar owners and managers either prohibited or strongly discouraged the women from sleeping with their…clients…The women make their money by getting the clients to buy drinks at the bar…and…work on commission…Bar managers…ensure that the women are sent home in cabs booked by the bar, so there is no chance they are going to a client’s home.  But rules get broken, or at least worked around.  What is good for the bar manager isn’t necessarily what’s good for the women working there.  Whilst all of the women interviewed for the study on “Russian bars” denied ever having sex with a client, everyone knew another girl who had…

A Broker in Pillage

Let’s hope this is merely the first of many such settlements:

Philadelphia’s civil forfeiture program, which critics have long assailed for allowing prosecutors to [steal] the cash and property of [innocent people]…will be overhauled as part of a court settlement…the city…agreed to place new limits on its seizures, more quickly hold hearings for defendants to challenge the seizures, and include judicial oversight earlier in the process…”Philadelphia treated its citizens like ATMs, ensnaring thousands…in a system designed to strip people of their property and their rights,” [said] Darpana Sheth…[of the] Institute for Justice…the settlement would also create a $3 million fund to compensate some of those whose property was seized…Scott Bullock, president of the Institute for Justice…said that other jurisdictions should proactively seek to reform their civil forfeiture practices in order to avoid litigating them as Philadelphia was forced to do…

Blunt Instrument 

“Sex trafficking” is such a convenient weapon to use against adult businesses:

San Diego massage parlors have become hotspots of human trafficking thanks to the high concentration of U.S. military personnel in the area, claim local [prohibition]ists…If San Diego has a human trafficking problem because of U.S. troops, I’d say that’s an issue for the U.S. military and federal law enforcement.  Instead, the San Diego City Council is considering a measure to require special police-issued permits for massage businesses, in addition to the general business permits owners must have and the state certification required of massage therapists…These new licenses could be yanked if any illicit activity takes place at the business…a business fronting for illegal activity can already be shut down if law enforcement goes through the typical legal channels:  bringing criminal charges, proving guilt, etc., etc…But those avenues require due process, which is costly and time-consuming for cops and prosecutors.  The new measure would allow the city to yank a business’ license if any of its individual employees were found guilty of any number of minor offenses…excessive occupational and business licensing has come under intense fire from progressives…So…bureaucrat[s]..pretend the regulations are about protecting people, rather than depriving them of their liberty and property…

Under Every Bed

Population 13,665:

…a recently-formed group in York County [Nebraska] wants to…erase the faces of sex trafficking from the York area…and…educate York County residents on what they can do to disrupt the sex trafficking plague…Local schools are being trained on how to identify human trafficking, as well as the hospitality industry…Hospitality employees are crucial to disrupting sex trafficking, as many victims are sold in hotels…

This is one of the tiniest little podunk towns I’ve ever featured in this subtitle; even the rural county I lived in when I was in Oklahoma had almost twice as many people, and I was the only escort there (plus a couple of girls who worked the bars, I believe).  One wonders where they think all those “sex traffickers” are hiding; I grew up in a town of 6000 and everybody knew everybody else’s business.

Torture Chamber 

“Correcting” people to death:

A Texas prison guard has been charged in the aggravated assault of an inmate who…died [as a result of the attack]…[screw] D’Andre Glasper [slammed] Gary Ryan[‘s] head [into a concrete floor, resulting in]…brain injuries…[Ryan] died nearly two weeks later…Ryan was less than three months away from completing a five-year sentence for [contempt of cop]…

An Example To the West (#659) 

The Thai sex worker organization EMPOWER has now opened an online library to supplement its physical sex work museum in Chiang Mai.  I have said many times before that Asian sex worker activists, most especially Thai and Indian activists, are among my heroines; they regularly accomplish amazing activism far beyond what we in the West ever manage, under oppression and social stigma as bad as that in the US.  These women’s courage is an inspiration to all their sisters in every land.

Send In the Clowns 

A sad epilogue to the Great Clown Panic of 2016:

A Reading [Pennsylvania] man was sentenced…to 22 months to five years in state prison for firing a shotgun while drunk at his apartment in December 2016 because he believed there were clowns inside it…Nathan A. Matthias…will receive credit for the 490 days he’s spent in prison since June 2017 and was ordered to complete drug and alcohol treatment…[cops] found Matthias standing next to the house holding a shotgun and ordered him to put the gun on the ground.  Matthias told police that two small clowns were running around his apartment and he had shot at them…While being questioned outside, Matthias pointed next door and said he still saw clowns on the neighbor’s roof, but [the cops] did not see any…

Comfort Zone (#847)

Europe’s attempts to hide its racism behind the “human trafficking” hysteria are crumbling:

Eleven people who had been arrested and charged with human trafficking in October 2017 appeared in court in Brussels on September 6, the first hearing of a trial that activists say is yet another case of “criminalization of solidarity” in Europe.  The defendants have allegedly assisted 95 undocumented migrants, including 12 minors, to travel from Belgium to the United Kingdom last year, either by hosting them in their homes, by lending them phones and thereby indirectly helping them cross the channel.  On the day of the trial, three hundred people protested in front of the courthouse.  Demonstrators say this is a political trial, aimed at dissuading people from helping migrants by establishing an intimidating judicial precedent…Belgian law states that there must be a monetary transaction involved for an act to be framed as human trafficking, something the defendants deny ever happening…[advocates point out] that the law’s scope is…being expanded to target activists…

The Widening Gyre (#872) 

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

The woman behind a now viral Facebook Live video says she regrets using the term “human trafficking” to describe what [didn’t] happen…at a local grocery store but does not regret [spreading hysteria about] the [fantasy].  Lynne Knowles went live on Facebook Sunday and it has since been viewed more than 3 million times.  Knowles described a suspicious man following her through several aisles of a [Florida] grocery store, recording her on his cell phone…While the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says they are seeing more women report[ing] being followed by strangers in public places, what happened to Knowles doesn’t sound like a precursor to human trafficking…[spokespig] Spencer Gross…says [they haven’t] investigated a human trafficking case in more than 18 months…[but oink oink “If you see something say something” squeal grunt]…

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We didn’t think it was good idea to have [rapey cop] conduct aired publicly in a prosecution.  –  Scott Perrilloux

To Protect and Serve

Strip club raids exist only for pigs to get their jollies:

Prosecutors have scuttled a multi-agency investigation into a…strip club in St. Helena Parish [because a disguised pig]…committed a crime – by digitally penetrating a woman during two private dances.  The month-long sting operation included another [cop] asking a dancer at The Mansion to lactate on him “because he was curious”…The [sexual assault] of the dancer was described in a lengthy affidavit…by Scott Jarreau, a Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s…deputy who recounted the…actions in graphic detail [because he idiotically thought it would]…support…a civil asset forfeiture case against the club’s owner that was ultimately dismissed.  The [pigs’ disgusting] conduct was among the reasons prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against 13 people arrested in the raid, including the club’s proprietor…It’s not clear why Shreveport, which is more than four hours away, lent officers to the effort…

It’s “not clear” to people whose heads are so far up their own arseholes they don’t know what pervert cops look like.

Droit du Seigneur 

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do exist are cops:

A…Newark [cop] was charged…with…soliciting and accepting cash payments from brothel owners in exchange for protecting the brothels from police action and…failing to report those cash payments on his…income tax returns…Julio Rivera…[extort]ed more than $100,000 in cash payments from three brothel owners [?] in Newark…

I’m guessing that by “brothels” these prosecutors actually mean massage parlors.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical 

Hysteria over “dangerous teen fads” is much funnier when cops are its primary vectors:

…“Momo”…is the face of a viral Internet game, [fantasized] to be spreading via…WhatsApp and sparking worldwide warnings…by [authoritarians] about its potential to harm young people who may be lured into playing…references to “Momo” also have circulated on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  The…“Momo Challenge”…requires players to complete escalating tasks that are [supposedly] dangerous…But…it’s simply another one of the many hoaxes that breed on the Internet.  Officials in multiple countries [fantasize] Momo’s final challenge is suicide and the game is rumored to be linked to at least three recent cases of minors who killed themselves in Argentina, Colombia and India…None of these circumstantial reports tying the game to suicides have been proved…[people who aren’t cops or hysterics] are calling it an Internet hoax designed to generate paranoia among adults…

Finding What Isn’t There

Trying to manufacture data to “prove” a problem exists when existing data says it doesn’t is not science:

…David Cohen…of Stanford’s…Center for Human Rights…has created a set of resources to help NGOs and government agencies working in the anti-trafficking field gather data [for] policymakers…about the nature and scope of the problem they face.  “Sectors in the anti-trafficking field [do] not always cooperat[e] in a way that…allow[s] us to understand that data”…said senior program manager Jessie Brunner…“After decades of work…there is still no [politically popular] answer to “what is the problem and why is it happening”…That scares me, that after all these efforts and money spent we still aren’t able to figure that out.  And we need a solid answer to that question so that we can actually stop the problem”…Brunner…that the data that exist are often limited…of low quality or outdated…

When an article about the lack of good data about a phenomenon refers to that phenomenon as a “problem” and a “scourge” while admitting that the hysterics don’t even know that there is a problem, it’s a safe bet that any forthcoming data from the announced project will be worthless.

Chauvinism (#335)

Instead of purging sex workers with police violence, Argentina negotiated with them as citizens:

…For two months, transgender sex workers will move from the red light zone in Plaza Florencio Sánchez…in…Palermo…to another space, a few blocks away…The move [was agreed upon in meetings between]…the Argentina LGBT Federation and the Association of Women of Argentina (AMMAR)…sex workers in the area, the Undersecretary of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism of the Buenos Aires Government and the Ombudsman of the City…The reason is that Florencio Sanchez square is being converted to volleyball courts, while the neighboring Lago de Regatas is being conditioned for the Olympic Triathlon swimming competition…[for] the Youth Olympic Games, which will run from October 6 to 18…until October 31, the trans girls will leave their usual area…to…offer their services in…a temporary red light zone…the City Government also agreed to make improvements in working conditions that they had committed to when the red light zone…was created in 2008…

Allied for Change

This announcement is definitely flawed, but I applaud any client who comes out:

Lily Allen has revealed that she slept with female escorts because she felt “lost and lonely” during the tour for her third album Sheezus in 2014…explaining her decision was made after learning that some details of her upcoming book My Thoughts Exactly had been leaked to the Daily Mail.  “I slept with female escorts when I was on tour, cause I was lost and lonely and looking for something.  I’m not proud, but I’m not ashamed…I don’t do it anymore”…

Follow Your Bliss (#698) 

Yet the government still won’t admit that the TSA attracts pedophiles:

A…Transportation Security Administration supervisor has been sentenced for having child pornography at his home.  Devin David Jutilla…resigned from his job at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after his arrest April 25 [and]…pleaded guilty last month to second-degree child pornography possession as part of [a plea bargain] with Pierce County prosecutors…Judge Bryan Chushcoff sentenced Jutilla to six months in jail…

The Widening Gyre (#825) 

Cops are trying to regain control of a runaway moral panic by using their favored tool, violence:

An Ohio mom’s Facebook video about the attempted abduction of her child in a Walmart parking lot was [like] all [sex trafficking scare tales] made up…Chelsie Hendel was arrested…after…Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey…[reviewed] security footage [that]…showed no such incident happened.  Bailey also said Hendel never reported a crime to police.  When police questioned Hendel…she admitted to making the story up and was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic.  Her video…has been taken down from Facebook…

Banishment (#848) 

This Orwellian tyranny is part of how governments are getting around the push to reduce prison populations:

…civil commitment allows a prosecutor to subject those convicted of sexual offenses (and sometimes, those with no conviction at all) to an indefinite period of civil punishment at the end of their criminal sentence.  Civil commitment can mean years of additional detention under the guise of psychiatric treatment meant to reduce a person’s risk of committing another crime, with an often-illusory promise of freedom.  Statutes that [supposedly] constrain the power of authorities to civilly commit people…are  broad and ambiguous…and…rates of reoffending are far lower than would be believed—potentially imperiling the justification for civil commitment itself…In California, there [are] 345 people trapped in…“pretrial” detention for more than three years.  More than a quarter of those have been held without trial since 2006 or earlier.  In Florida…89 of the 489 detainees at their civil commitment center are pretrial.  Fourteen have been held for more than a decade; five for nearly 20 years.  In Washington State, Jesse McReynolds spent nine years civilly detained on McNeil Island without trial before a judge ordered his release…McReynolds’s case was…not an anomaly, and…multiple [Washingtonians] have been civilly detained pending trial, sometimes for decades…

Soap Opera (#853)

They’re “certified” in making up absurd stories and spreading moral panic:

…in Deschutes County, a local response team comprised of 16 experts in their various fields follows up on all human trafficking leads.  The Deschutes County Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) Response Team then coordinates a continuum of care, helping victims become survivors…

In Bend, Oregon, home of this “team”, this “continuum of care” includes posting magic “sex trafficker” detecting stickers (subtitle link), turning people in to the pigs for being injured, and claiming that eclipses cause “sex trafficking” by magic passes involving poker chips.

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If America had a civil death penalty, putting people on sex registries would be it.  –  Guy Hamilton Smith

Elephant in the Parlor 

The idea that politicians paying for sex is “unprofessional” tells me these people are living in a fantasy world:

…Westminster’s first code of conduct…introduced after a sex harassment scandal in parliament, ban MPs from paying for sex while…engaged in any activity connected with their role as an MP, whether in the UK or abroad…The new complaints and grievance policy states: “Although it might not be illegal to pay for sex, in line with best practice it is considered unprofessional, inappropriate and a breach of the behaviour code”…

A Broker in Pillage

Watch for the definition of “unexplained” to expand dramatically over the next decade or two:

Criminals who can’t explain how they got their money will be [robbed] under a national scheme that allows the government to sweep up their assets.  A Senate committee unanimously recommended the “unexplained wealth” legislation be passed…despite concerns being raised by the Law Council and Civil Liberties Australia.  The legislation will force people convicted of crimes to prove that their wealth was derived from legitimate sources, rather than the onus being on prosecutors to establish that it came from the proceeds of crime…Banks will be forced to hand over any information they have on the unexplained wealth of a convicted client.  The Police Federation has been lobbying for the…scheme for more than a decade…

Election Day (#332)

How many political scandals must Davis embroil herself in to get her name in the news again?

Kristin Davis, also known as the “Manhattan Madam”, will testify before a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation…Davis [previously] met with Mueller’s team…It is not clear what the focus of that interview was or how Davis may fit into the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination between Trump associates and the Russian government.  But investigators have been very interested in Roger Stone, with whom Davis has a close personal relationship and has worked for in the past…

Everything Old is New Again

This absurd Victorian language is even funnier because it’s meant to be dead serious:

…It’s not a profession.  It’s not about the sex, and there’s certainly no erotic aspects about these encounters.  It’s purely a financial interaction, business deals that involve blood, sweat, tears and semen…women wait…for dark to descend.  Then the hunters begin to approach…Slowly they cruise by, headlights blinding the women as they search for their prey.  The hunters feel a sense of control as they strip the victims of their dignity, their humanity…

I was also tickled to see a link to this previous article about the “dangerous cycle of prostitution”, which is presumably a used Harley bought with whoring money.  After that one I wrote, “As far as I can make out, this dude’s pearl-clutching tone is dead serious.  Do you amateurs really believe this kind of shit?”

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only probation for this?

Madison County [Alabama cop] Roland Campos pleaded guilty to a [molesting a young girl]…and was sentenced to a year’s probation.  Campos…must also [register as a] Sex Offender…the judge suspended the jail term and ordered Campos to serve a year’s probation…Campos was arrested in August 2017 after a middle school student…told a school official Campos had sexually abused her…

Monsters (#730) 

The US only prosecutes people for sex worker “propaganda”, which is obviously completely different:

The first minor has been found guilty of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” laws.  Maxim Neverov was found guilty of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” despite being only 16-years-old himself.  The teenager from Biysk was fined 50,000 rubles on 7 August for publishing photos on social network site Vkontakte [Russian Facebook]…the teenager was not allowed to consult a lawyer.  This led him to refuse to testify…

Banishment (#798)

Another good essay by Guy Hamilton Smith on the torture the US hides under the euphemism “registration”:

…Recently, a major court decision lambasted registries as ineffective at promoting public safety, while noting that they rendered those on them “moral lepers” who are forced to reside at the margins of society on the sole basis of a conviction.  Another decision, currently on appeal in the…10th Circuit…called registries cruel and unusual punishments in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution — an almost unheard-of legal conclusion for American courts to reach outside of death penalty litigation…in my view, it is the right one.  I know, because of the nearly million people on America’s sex offense registries, I am one of them.  In describing his experiences with solitary confinement — a practice widely regarded as torture — Nelson Mandela concluded that there is nothing more dehumanizing than isolation from human connection…Being labeled a sex offender, you carry your solitary with you, in your heart, and in your mind…The indelible electronic mark you carry threatens to turn your own thoughts against you, unless and until you can find a way outside of the prison your own mind begins to construct for you.  Until then, you die slowly, suffocating in shame.  I have written more fully about my story and experiences elsewhere, but I have spent the last eleven years living on America’s sex registry.  More than simply punishment, in my opinion, it is most fairly characterized as torture…

Laura Lee, Sex Work Stigma, and the Limits of #MeToo

Looks like Olaf isn’t going to be able to hush this up as he wanted to:

Gardaí have reopened an investigation into a complaint made by [the late] Laura Lee…friends of Ms Lee have been contacted by officers reopening an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.  Ms Lee, a law graduate, had made a statement to gardaí in Dublin about the…incident last November.  [Accused rapist Olaf Tyaransen] has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.  The garda investigation was closed when Ms Lee died of undisclosed causes this year at the age of 44 but gardaí are now in the process of taking statements again…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#858)

Indian sex workers’ fight against a terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill is drawing international attention:

…“No one has forced me to do this…it pays better than being a maid or factory worker,” said Sanjana Murali…“But with this law, if the police raid a kotha [brothel], I will be taken into police custody and sent to a rehabilitation clinic.  What about my freedom to choose?…If the state thinks I should be ‘rescued’ and trained to sew clothes or make papar (papadams) to survive, it is wrong.  That kind of work will never pay enough”…When MP Shashi Tharoor raised this point in parliament, he was assured by minister for women Maneka Gandhi that the bill would not target voluntary sex workers.  “That’s just her word,” said Dr Smarajit Jana of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee…“Why isn’t there a single sentence in the bill stating that?  All the bill does is empower the police to harass sex workers and disempower the women themselves.”  Jana said…that most…sex workers…are…the “heads” of their extended families.  Their income pays for food, rent, a relative’s illness, and the school fees of their children, and those of their siblings…“When you put them into a rehabilitation clinic, who is going to look after their children?”…the bill is based on paternalistic assumptions about rescuing sex workers…no…organisation was consulted in the drafting of the bill, even though sex workers are well organised…

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