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Posts Tagged ‘asset seizure’

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 by 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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This has been a very cleverly designed campaign to end the commercial sex industry.  –  Billie McIntire

Where Are the Victims?

As usual, not even an allegation that he exploited anyone:

An American man has been arrested in a sting operation for allegedly running a online brothel service matching men in northern Thailand with Myanmar sex workers across the border…Kenneth Viggo Albertsen…is behind a website and Facebook page called “Burmese Border Chicks for Hire” that sold sex with Myanmar women for 6,500 baht ($200).  The business brought women to meet clients on the Thai side of the border in Mae Sai, and also offered to “guide” men into Myanmar for sex services…

A Procrustean Bed

Let’s hope this is the start of a new trend:

After just a few years in operation, Delaware’s Human Trafficking Court is shutting down. The court’s rise and fall…shines a light on how trending problems lead to stupid policy…a 2016 report from the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, which found less than a third of people who started the…program actually completed it and that there was “little evidence to suggest the defendants of this court are the subjects” of sex-trafficking enterprises…[delusional prohibitionists] argue that “free will is an illusion”…and they insist the definition of sex-trafficking victim should be expanded to include anyone who exchanges sexual services for money…But…many arrested on prostitution charges didn’t want to declare themselves victims, name names of “traffickers,” enter a months-long state-run “treatment” program, or even leave prostitution in the first place.  And those that were open to state aid with starting a new life could find themselves presented not with practical assistance but things like yoga classes and group counseling

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Because “brothel”:

A husband and wife team who charged clients €200 an hour for sex with them at their Ennis home have escaped jail.  Spanish national, David Navaro…and his Brazilian born wife, Celia Galan…arrived into Ireland from Barcelona in 2015 and a surveillance operation by Gardai was mounted outside the couple’s Ennis home in July 2016 as a result of Garda suspicions that there was a brothel being operated from their home…[since] both have no previous convictions [the] judge…fine[d] each €600…

Little Tin Gods

For those who think Arpaio, Judd & Dart are anomalies:

…[sheriffs have] enormous power…over the lives of local residents. The scope of their dominion varies slightly by county, but is almost always wide-reaching.  Like other police officers, sheriffs can arrest you, serve you a warrant, write you a traffic ticket.  But, depending on the county, they also perform countless other duties, including overseeing discretionary funds, patrolling highways, investigating crimes, and evicting tenants…in most places, sheriffs are also responsible for managing the local jails.  This is particularly important because jails have functionally replaced mental health facilities in America…The extent of a sheriff’s power can [be]…dangerous.  In some California counties, the sheriff even moonlights as the county coroner, an example of how sheriffs’ power obliterates any hope of accountability by the public…the only thing that could really limit the power of the sheriff is the voter.  But that’s not really how it plays out on the ground…As Professor Casey LaFrance told the New Yorker’s Rachel Aviv, “Once you become the sheriff, you’re likely to remain the sheriff until you retire or die”…

Drawing Lines

Most of this is fairly elementary, but it’s always nice to see this kind of point:

…Alison Bass…said it was interesting that other forms of sex work, such as stripping, pornography and being a mistress in exchange for money and power were legal, while sex work involving a straightforward transaction was not.  “What’s the difference between Donald Sterling, the former owner of the Yankee Clippers, who spent millions of dollars on his much younger mistress—bought her a car, an apartment, all this stuff…and someone who has a more straightforward transaction for an evening or an hour? There’s really no difference, but one is legal, perfectly legal, and one is not”…

Prudesville 

If you think the choice of target had nothing to do with the neighboring county’s crusade against them, you haven’t been paying attention:

Police from the southern King County town of Pacific arrested two men…who allegedly confessed to setting fire to a bikini barista stand.  The men, both 19, were booked into King County Jail…and reportedly called themselves “stupid”…about 2:54 a.m. at the Cowgirls Espresso stand…[cops] arrived to find “a large cloud of smoke”…and the smell of gasoline…the south side of the building was damaged.  An Auburn [cop] had already detained two men nearby from a reported car vandalism incident and…they also admitted to setting the Cowgirls blaze…

He Said, She Said (#448) 

Another abusive asshole tries to hide his violence behind BDSM:

Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, has long [pretended to] be…a…champion of women’s rights, and recently he has become an outspoken figure in the #MeToo movement…Now Schneiderman is facing a reckoning of his own…four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters…accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence.  All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal.  But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women.  They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent…both…sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked.  Selvaratnam says that Schneiderman warned her he could have her followed and her phones tapped, and both say that he threatened to kill them if they broke up with him…

Naturally, actual kinky people are appalled:

…Mistress Matisse called any non-negotiated encounter “ABUSE. End of story”…Ronan Farrow, co-author of the New Yorker story that first revealed the allegations…[said] the accusers made clear “that this was not role-playing…It wasn’t in a gray area at all”…Jillian Keenan, author of the BDSM memoir Sex with Shakespeare…[wrote] “Just as sex without consent is rape, kink without consent doesn’t exist – that’s assault”…

Send In the Clowns 

Dare I hope for a return of “creepy clown” hysteria?

A 19-year-old was arrested…for stabbing her boyfriend not long after she said men should only be used as “human sacrifices”.  Zoe Adams reportedly dressed up as a clown and put a pillow over Kieran Bewick’s face as they were intimate one night. Then she stabbed him five times with a 10-inch knife…Adams described the incident, which resulted in Bewick, 17, having a collapsed lung, as an “overreaction”…She allegedly took pictures after the incident with the caption “Murder is like a bag of chips: you can’t stop after just one”…

A Broker in Pillage (#750)

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

Anthonia Nwaorie says she knew travelers entering the United States with more than $10,000 in cash are legally required to report that fact to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  But the Texas nurse, who was born in Nigeria and became a U.S. citizen in 1994, says she did not realize the same obligation applies to people leaving the United States.  That mistake cost her $41,377, most of which was earmarked for a medical clinic she planned to build in her native country…Because the Justice Department declined to pursue civil forfeiture of the money, CBP was required to return it.  Yet the agency has refused to do so unless Nwaorie signs a waiver forgoing interest on the money, renouncing any legal claims in connection with the seizure, assuming responsibility for claims by third parties, and promising to reimburse the government for any expenses it incurs while enforcing the agreement.  That demand is illegal and unconstitutional, according to a federal class action lawsuit that the Institute for Justice filed…on behalf of Nwaorie and other travelers who have found themselves in the same situation…

Original Sin (#803)

We’re seeing more and more of this in mainstream papers:

…anti-trafficking NGOs…are staunchly religious, and those religious views can have damaging effects…Billie McIntire, a psychotherapist and educator at the Colorado School for Family Therapy, as well as a former sex worker…says that the anti-trafficking movement has been intentionally co-opted by religious institutions, who police prostitution and infringe on the rights of sex workers, using anti-trafficking rhetoric as a ploy to gain sympathy, more members, more money and more ammunition against consensual commercial erotic services…McIntire blasts anti-trafficking organizations that have joined up with movements like Fight the New Drug (an anti-pornography initiative), and have lobbied against national bills to decriminalize prostitution…

Crying for Nanny (#809)

This is even scarier post-FOSTA:

…“Some of the facts of our cases are going to show that not only did some of these hotel facilities or truck stops turn a blind eye, but they actually facilitated the trafficking of these individuals,” attorney Annie McAdams said…“We’re here to disrupt the status quo of the industry”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

License plate readers are a menace to civil rights:

Maryland State Police vehicles have their on-board computer connected to the automatic license plate readers in their patrol cars. These computers are set to flag…out-of-state vehicles with owners that have concealed carry permits…The [cop] can…stop the vehicle and challenge the driver to produce his concealed weapon, for which he has a legal permit IN ANOTHER STATE.  If the driver is found to have a concealed firearm…he has violated Maryland State firearms law.  The person will be arrested and there is a three year minimum sentence.  Having a concealed carry permit in another state [is also claimed as] probable cause for…a search of the…vehicle…IF YOU ARE LEGALLY CARRYING CONCEALED FROM ANOTHER STATE, DO NOT EVEN DRIVE THROUGH MARYLAND. AND IF YOU HAVE A PERMIT FROM ANOTHER STATE, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT CARRYING, EXPECT TO BE STOPPED…

To Molest and Rape (#817) 

Another pig uses a traumatized woman’s fear as leverage:

…a [cop] in Apex, North Carolina has been accused of coercing a domestic violence survivor into an affair while working on her case…Worth Brown kissed Julia Allgrove against her will after she called police after her estranged and abusive husband repeatedly violated a restraining order she’d taken out to protect herself and their two small children.  A relationship between the victim and the detective developed…he said her husband’s case would be dropped if the relationship was ever revealed…and…that she could lose custody of her children…

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A lot of people under 18…are only considered “trafficked” because the law says so.  –  Raani Begum

Capricious Lusts

Some people can’t seem to understand that while sex workers can help men to manage their sexual frustration, there is nothing we can do once they grow to believe they’re entitled to free sex and go down the twisted “incel” rabbit hole.  I think Dan Savage does a good job of explaining that difference here:

…Sexual deprivation can make a person miserable, even suicidal…and, as a society, we seem fine with that.  People who can’t get sex are often told that…no one has ever dropped dead as a result of being deprived of sex.  (Loneliness, however, can hasten death; it may be a greater risk factor for early death than smoking or obesity)…sexually deprived people…who…identify as incels…[don’t] feel…depressed or blam[e] themselves…[they] are filled with rage and blame…women…And when an incel with social or mental health issues—issues that doubtless contributed to his being an “involuntarily celibate” in the first place—violently attacks women (men are often killed too), the online incel breaks into cheers…I don’t think throwing sex workers at violent, deranged incels will solve the violent, deranged incel problem.  Our culture has to change in enormous ways to solve this problem…men have to stop being socialized to believe they’re entitled to women’s bodies…adults who do sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals) and adults who hire adults doing sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals).  The former cultural transformation will solve the “incel” problem; the latter will solve the problem of sexual deprivation, i.e. involuntary celibacy…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Once again:  coalitions of fundamentalist anti-sex groups are in no way “surprising”:

If you had told radical feminist and [writer for SWERF/TERF rag Feminist Current] Natasha Chart five years ago that she would be fired from her advocacy job for objecting to the prostitution of minors, she wouldn’t have believed…She opted to speak with The Christian Post…”because…there is a significant and influential portion of…mainstream human rights activist community that…believes…youth sex work[ers]…should [not be raped and caged by cops]”…Chart is a former Jehovah’s Witness…no one is served when trusted civil society institutions utilize their clout…to quietly further a “pimping agenda“…If this goes unaddressed it is only a matter of time before the sex industry is considered “respectable” enough to emerge from the shadows and begin openly sponsoring a political caucus, as is the case in the Netherlands and Australia…

Yes, this is a Christian publication masturbating at very great length about the “pimp lobby” and approvingly quoting Meghan Murphy.

Seizing Power (#679)

Can we please stop pretending that Dart’s actions are anything other than a power & money grab?

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart wants [to profit from]…a recent plea deal [by Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer]…Dart filed a motion…asking [a]…Judge…to require Backpage.com LLC and its attorneys to pay the county for its legal fees in connection with a legal battle that dates back to 2015, when the Dallas-based online classified advertising site obtained a preliminary injunction blocking the sheriff’s office from [threatening] credit card companies [to force them to stop] processing payments for the site…

Broken Record (#733)

Prohibitionists just can’t stop beating this dead horse:

Three local groups are hosting an outreach event to warn the community about the dangers and reality of human trafficking during the Kentucky Derby…If you spot [any of these] red flag[s, report the person to the cops]…Hotel guests with little luggage…”Do Not Disturb” sign used constantly on a hotel room door…Housekeeping services refused for many days…Adults with…cell phones…A person is vague about his/her profession…

Can you imagine these phone calls? “Hi, Officer Porky, I’d like to report a man with a cell phone who told me to mind my own business…”

License to Rape (#806)

US prisons are hotbeds of rape in every form:

Jeannette Reynoso dreaded visiting her husband at…Rikers Island…She knew she would wait hours to be processed, go through several metal detectors and be subjected to a search by dogs sniffing for drugs and weapons.  But she never thought she would be…naked and in tears before two [screws raping her using the excuse of searching]…her body cavities for contraband…When she [resisted the supposed search]…the [screws] threatened to cancel her visits for 45 days…[among other violations] the [screw]…violently inserted two fingers into her anus…she was menstruating at the time…The search Ms. Reynoso described is prohibited in city jails.  In state and federal prisons, strip searches of visitors are permitted with consent, but not cavity checks…Elias Husamudeen, the president of the [Porcine Propaganda Perpetrators]…[mocked] the [reports made] by the women in the lawsuits and [claimed that]…“People are coming in with weapons in their vaginas, up their anus and in baby bottles”…

Because every woman I know can fit a 0.44 magnum in her pussy and a knife up her arse, at the same time.

Pyrrhic Victory (#810) 

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

In cities across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents can mine local police reports using COPLINK, a data program little known outside law enforcement circles…The software ingests local police databases, allowing users to map out people’s social networks and browse data that could include their countries of origin, license plate numbers, home addresses, alleged gang membership records, and more…[“authorities” pretend] these databases and analytic tools helps ICE…tackle serious crimes, like child pornography and [the catchall] money laundering.  But…ICE…agents are also involved in questionable immigration enforcement actions nationwide…

Watershed (#815)

When stuffy NBC News publishes an article which openly calls for decriminalization, you know things are changing:

…the true targets of the [so-called] war on trafficking have been the marginalized, low income consensual sex workers whose livelihoods and ability to stay safe have long been dependent on the resources being scrubbed from the internet in the name of ending trafficking…It’s likely that these [“sex trafficking”] laws will be challenged in court and eventually overturned…Even the Department of Justice has said [FOSTA] could…be found to be unconstitutional…But while overturning these bills in court would be a good first step, it’s not enough.  As long as consensual sex work is treated as functionally indistinct from abusive, forced or coercive situations, our laws will continue to punish some of the vulnerable people we claim to want to protect.  Criminalizing and aggressively cracking down on all sex work pushes consensual sex workers underground and into unsafe environments…and…does little to discourage or combat people who profit from coercing others…In contrast, decriminalization…allows…sex workers to more openly and thus safely conduct business…A wide range of groups including Amnesty InternationalFreedom Network USAGlobal Alliance Against Traffic in WomenHuman Rights WatchUNAIDSWorld Health OrganizationInternational Women’s Health Coalition and numerous sex worker advocacy and support groups have thrown their support behind…decriminalization…

Negative Secondary Effects (#817)

Normally, the pretended “secondary effects” are concrete things, not silly nebulosities:

[Prohibitionists] have been granted a judicial review against Sheffield’s strip club licensing policy in a move that could…have significant implications for other councils considering strip club licences.  It could force them to take into account the [imaginary] impact on women and gender equality, rather than just the wellbeing of [actual people like the dancers who these prohibitionists want unemployed]…

Funny how nobody is crusading against businesses that employ mostly men on grounds of “gender equality”.  Don’t men have an equal “right” to be forced out of high-paying work to appease prudish lunatics?

Disaster (#832)

Judging by the breadth of responses from all over the political map, FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government:

“What the new law does is it allows the FBI and law enforcement and individuals to sue platforms of any kind online for third-party hosts and content,” Barb Brents, a professor of sociology at UNLV, told KNPR…She explained that platforms like Craigslist and Backpage…are simply platforms for information and couldn’t be held responsible for what people posted on that format.  But under the new law, people can sue them for what other people post…Brents said there is no real evidence that real traffickers are using those sites, but the sites are used by consensual sex workers.  With them shut down or otherwise threatened…sex workers are losing an important screening mechanism…

And here’s a good introduction to FOSTA and its related tyrannies:

…Hillary Clinton would have signed it, too.  It…has had an overwhelming bipartisan majority…FOSTA-SESTA does nothing but places liability on online platforms by asking them to tackle an enormous “real world”/not online problemFOSTA-SESTA spooks online platforms into pre-emptively censoring free speech for fear of criminal liability, which has all sorts of horrible consequences for free speech…You can no longer share “explicit and vulgar content” on any Microsoft product, which means that no longer allowed to do anything sexual with anyone on their platforms, regardless…if…paid or unpaid…Here is an incomplete list of products and institutions that discriminate or ban sex work or adult products

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[Laura Lee] put herself on the line in a way few have the guts to do.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Storyville 

An interesting look at brothel archaeology in Australia:

Sex work was one of the major ways poor women could earn a reasonable income in the 19th century.  Especially unmarried women with babies.  But we don’t hear people say “my great-great-grandmother was a sex worker”…Social stigma belies the importance of prostitution in providing an independent living, and even property ownership, for numerous women in this period…the Little Lon district in Melbourne CBD’s north-east corner…has been extensively excavated by a series of archaeological projects over the last 30 years, and our recent intensive research on the artefacts recovered (held at Museum Victoria and Heritage Victoria) is revealing much more about the brothels and the women who owned them that had disappeared from memory…

Whore Madonnas 

While mainstream media mindlessly parrots “sex trafficking” propaganda, the alternative press is listening to sex workers:

…Liz Afton works as a counselor at the Sex Workers Project…which provides legal and social services to people involved in sex work…“Mothers…who are involved in sex work often have it used against them to separate them from their child,” Afton says.  Atossa Movahedi, director of legal services and development at the UJC’s domestic violence project, says…“More often than not…the opposing party had knowledge of, or even was involved directly, in the client’s participation in the sex work, and is now using it as a tool to exploit them in the court system.”  When dealing with custody disputes, courts [supposedly] first look at a parent’s ability to provide a loving and stable home.  Financial status, mental health, drug use and domestic violence all fall under consideration.  Though many mothers involved in sex work pass inspection in these areas, they’re left with the fact that the job is usually illegal—and in the eyes of some on the bench, immoral…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Liz Brown is becoming our most powerful voice against sex hysteria:

Evidence-free freakouts over erotica are a time-honored tradition…history is littered with authoritarians of all stripes convinced that censoring sexual imagery was a necessary social good.  And with each iteration, what porn prohibitionists lack in actual facts to support their doomy view they make up for with warnings that this time it’s different — that whatever new medium exists for producing or distributing porn is uniquely dangerous to the youth and degrading to good women.  For decades now, this supposed difference has been chalked up to the proliferation of online pornography…there’s no evidence that internet porn has been destroying millennials — some of whom now have two decades of…data to offer…all the available evidence shows…teens today are starting sex later, and more likely than previous generations to use condoms when they do.  Teen pregnancy rates are at their lowest levels in decades…In addition, there’s now a huge body of research showing that…it’s “time to discard the hypothesis that pornography contributes to increased sexual assault behavior”…sexually well-adjusted adults “reported more experience with pornography as teenagers” than their maladjusted counterparts…

Finding What Isn’t There

Too bad all prohibitionism isn’t focused on harassing women who don’t exist:

Lake of the Woods boasts 15,000 islands and more than 100,000 kilometres of shoreline — more coast than Lake Superior…the [area]…near the Manitoba border sees its population double in the summer months.  When [masturbatory fantasies] of women and girls being forced into the sex trade on Lake of the Woods arose at a 2013 human trafficking conference in Kenora, even local social service workers were shocked…“Dock girls,” as they came to be known…are [fantasized] to be overwhelmingly Indigenous [minors who]…are [fantasized] to be transported…from…northwestern Ontario and Manitoba as part of a human trafficking circuit…only…one social service worker [in the area claims]…they’ve come face-to-face with a “dock girl”…[yet]…Kenora will receive $504,000 over three years to [indoctrinate] frontline hospitality workers…[in the usual anti-whore propaganda]…there is so little hard evidence for the “dock girl” phenomenon that it raises questions about whether the problem exists at all.  And if it doesn’t, critics say, wouldn’t the government’s funding…be better spent elsewhere?…

Policing for Profit

Cops are starting to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

In Alabama…two [politicians] introduced legislation that would require that prosecutors actually convict people of crimes in order to keep their stuff.  It would put the burden on the state to prove that the property they want to seize is connected to a crime…It would move the proceeds of forfeiture to the state’s general fund to eliminate the profit incentive for police and prosecutors to try to seize whatever they could get their hands on.  And it would close a loophole that would forbid local law enforcement agencies from bypassing restrictions by participating in the federal “equitable sharing” Department of Justice forfeiture program…the head of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association and the Alabama Sheriffs Association teamed up with an op-ed that urges against reforms to asset forfeiture…Brian McVeigh and Dave Sutton warn that requiring successful prosecutions will lead to them filing more charges against people…When you find yourself threatening to find more reasons to put even more citizens in jail in order to protect your revenue stream, it’s maybe time to…think about what you’re doing…

Torture Chamber 

Stop faking!

Women imprisoned at California’s Santa Rita Jail say they’re being [caged] in filthy conditions, denied basic hygiene products, pressured to have abortions, subjected to incessant strip searches, and forced to endure many other manners of cruel and inhumane treatment from guards and staff…In a new federal lawsuit, they’re asking a federal judge to intervene on behalf of them and future female prisoners, particularly those who are pregnant…The jailhouse horror stories…provide an invaluable glimpse at the…systemic degradation…such institutions foster…female inmates face the standard abuses inflicted on male prisoners as well as those unique to their sex, from being forced to “free bleed” during their periods if they can’t afford to buy tampons to facing higher levels of sexual assault and coercion from guards and staff…pregnant prisoners [are] denied proper nutrition and prenatal care and, in some places, forced to give birth in shackles.  At Santa Rita…one inmate was…left alone in solitary confinement to give birth…”She was banging on her metal door…[the screws] closed the slider-window…so she could not see out, and no one could see in…Only after we could hear the crying of the baby did the deputies finally go over and open her door”…

Opting Out (#401)

This is no surprise to those of us who have actually studied the effects and history of censorship:

Sky UK has been called out for blocking a…website that its algorithms deem as “pornographic”…as part of the Digital Economy Act 2010…Sky UK have blocked gay-teen advice website gayteenresources.org…an important resource for teenagers exploring their sexuality and for those that may be struggling…blocked.org.uk, which lists sites that cannot be accessed, reveals that O2, EE and Three have also automatically filtered the site from their mobile networks…

“Filtered” is a euphemism for “censored”, and this will continue until the media acknowledge that.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#792) 

At least universities in Washington state aren’t generally used to spread “sex trafficking” propaganda, unlike those in Arizona and Texas:

The “Artifacts of Human Trafficking” exhibit is designed to [facilitate masturbation] to [the fantasy of] human trafficking in Texas…there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in the state…From Feb. 12 to March 16, the School of Social Work will host the art exhibit, created by Austin artist Amie Stone King…illustrat[ing] themes of isolation, captivity and desperation…Prominent in the center of the exhibit is a “seclusion room.”  Attendees are invited to enter the small space and [masturbate in private while fantasizing about pubescent girls in]…a life of captivity…

The Public Eye (#797)

Though Rolling Stone is far too timid to write honestly about escorts, it’s good to see a sex work-positive article in it at all:

At…the 35th Annual Adult Entertainment Expo and Adult Video News Awards…plenty of big names were in attendance – stars who had led more traditional adult-film careers – but they were outnumbered by scores of up-and-coming models who primarily built their own businesses using cam shows, original clip stores and monetized social-media platforms.  The mass availability of easily pirated streaming video may have decimated the porn economy, but it seems that women are the ones adapting, finding fresh ways to connect directly with consumers.  As these models gain more economic influence, they are also raising the bar for consent conversations throughout the industry…

Tit For Tat

One day, our culture will grow up enough that this won’t be noteworthy:

Eva Sless…is a sex columnist, a sex educator and a sex worker  who…[is] married.  Sless’ husband, Justin…is completely supportive of her work, though they’re both aware it’s an unconventional life.  “I know we are a rare couple.  Our life and marriage is built on a foundation of strong friendship, trust, love, and respect…I don’t know if the life we live is for everyone, but it works for us. I love our world.”  Below, they tell us more about Sless’ work, how it affects their marriage and what Justin thinks of his wife’s clients…

Elephant in the Parlor (#806)  

This ought to be interesting:

Stormy Daniels, the porn star whom Donald Trump’s attorney acknowledges paying $130,000 just before Election Day, believes she is now free to discuss a…sexual encounter with the man who is now president…At the same time, developments…are fueling questions about whether such a payment could violate federal campaign finance laws.  Daniels…believes that Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, invalidated a non-disclosure agreement after two news stories were published [early last week]…one in which Cohen told The New York Times he made the six-figure payment with his personal funds, and another in the Daily Beast, which reported that Cohen was shopping a book proposal that would touch on Daniels’ story, said the manager, Gina Rodriguez.  “Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story,” Rodriguez said…

Watershed (#809)

When stuffy Time publishes an article who only major nod to prohibitionism is to quote dried-up dinosaur Gloria Steinem vomiting up her “body invasion” nonsense, you know things are changing:

Like millions of others, Melony Hill took to social media last fall to say “me too”…But rather than receiving an outpouring of support, Hill said she’s gotten messages saying that she deserved to be sexually assaulted — because she has worked in the sex industry for 20 years…“They’ll say we’re just whores anyway — ‘How can you sexually assault a whore?’ I’ve had that said to me multiple times”…Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence on the job, but have few good options to report it…Some…sex…[workers] told Time that they have posted their #MeToo stories anonymously to avoid potential legal repercussions.  Others said that they don’t want to speak out publicly because they anticipate they’ll be shamed, or not believed because they aren’t “perfect victims”…there’s also the damaging notion that sex workers can’t be sexually assaulted…“Not all women are being supported in the #MeToo movement,” said Cris Sardina…of…Desiree Alliance…“It’s what type of woman”…

R.I.P. Laura Lee

A very nice tribute from The Herald:

She was, in the words of Scots author Kirstin Innes, “a powerhouse, a formidable, vital, hilarious and angry star”…Others described her as a “fierce warrior” for women.  She appeared regularly in the pages of this newspaper fighting the corner of the most marginalised women in society – sex workers.  She was Laura Lee – a brilliantly clever Irish woman who found an adoptive home in Scotland and made the choice to work in the sex industry.  Last week, she died aged just 39…

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Sexual assault by [cops]…is…the second most frequently reported form of police misconduct, after excessive force.  –  Andrea Ritchie

The Course of a Disease

Prohibitionist scum understand that decriminalization is the only moral framework for sex work; that’s why they keep trying to trick people into thinking the Swedish model is decrim:

Prostitution would [not] be decriminalized in Massachusetts under a bill that Rep. Kay Khan hopes will [choke off sex workers’ income by criminalizing]…people who buy sex and those who [assist] sex workers…it would not legalize the illicit sex trade.  [Sex workers with incalls, or who have any contact with other sex workers] and [clients who provide their income] would remain criminals under the legislation…Khan [fantasizes that consensual]…sex…fosters some unspeakable crimes…

The Notorious Badge 

Hollywood recognizes that prior to the First World War, sex workers were businesswomen who did the work because it was lucrative and flexible:

In Netflix’s Godless…Callie Dunn (Tess Frazer) is one of maybe 50 women who live in La Belle, a town almost entirely populated by women…the men of the town died in a mining accident, leaving the wives to operate the town all on their own.  Callie is the resident school teacher, and a nascent love interest for Mary Agnes (Merritt Wever).  She’s also the richest woman in town because she used to be a sex worker…After the accident…her place of work closed.  Lack of men will do that to brothel…In the lawless west (the show takes place in Colorado and New Mexico), there’s not much a woman could do to earn her own money.  Even Mary Agnes, the widow of the town’s late mayor, is at a loss for funds.  But Callie is sitting pretty on almost $20,000 (almost half a million in today’s dollars)…”Let me take care of you,” Callie begs Mary Agnes in the third episode.  She reveals her impressive savings and offers to run away with Mary Agnes.  When Mary Agnes looks surprised, Callie responds, “Don’t you know?  Whores are always the richest people in town”…

Unfortunately, it also believes we all magically turned into pathetic victims about 100 years ago.

The Lion and the Ox

“Sex trafficking” means whatever “authorities” want it to mean:

Investigations into the many alleged sexual assaults by Harvey Weinstein are now underway all over the world, with the NYPD, the LAPD, the Beverly Hills Police, and UK law enforcement all looking into possible acts of rape, harassment, and other forms of misconduct.  Now…the former producer and his namesake company are facing claims of sex trafficking…actress Kadian Noble is alleging that “Harvey Weinstein was able to force or coerce Kadian into sexual activity…because of his promise of a film role and use of his influence on her behalf” — despite having no intention of following through on those promises…“Harvey Weinstein…offer[ed] her something of value, knowing that he would use this offer as a means to defraud, force, or coerce her into a sexual encounter”…

Scapegoats (#49)

If he’d done this two years ago he’d have been safer than if he’d had consensual sex with a human:

An elderly man has been convicted of sexually assaulting a horse in a stable north of Stockholm.  The owner raised the alarm after discovering someone had entered the stable during the night.  Police found the man hiding under refuse bags…a security camera in the stable caught evidence which led to the conviction.  He was sentenced to fines for trespassing and for breaching Sweden’s Animal Protection Act. Few have been convicted of breaching the act since it was brought in last year…

Policing for Profit

Does any sane person still believe cops’ pretense that this is about anything other than profit?

…the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office [claims] Phil Parhamovich was moved during a traffic stop last March to donate $91,800, his life savings, to the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation to help it wage the war on drugs.  Parhamovich’s version is rather more plausible:  He says state police took his money after pressuring him to sign a “waiver” that circumvented even the limited protections offered by Wyoming’s civil asset forfeiture law…Parhamovich is in state court, trying to get his money back with help from the Institute for Justice, which argues that Wyoming’s roadside waivers are a thin disguise for highway robbery.  Parhamovich, a Wisconsin musician, was on his way to a gig in Salt Lake City on March 13 when a state trooper, Jeramy Pittsley, pulled him over on Interstate 80 in Laramie County [using the pretext that he had] fail[ed] to buckle his seat belt.  The stop turned into an interrogation…and [search in which] they found $91,800 inside a speaker cabinet.  The cops were so excited by their discovery that they high-fived each other.  The windfall also apparently made them forget that there was no trace of the drugs that Pittsley’s dog supposedly had detected…

Apparently the judge is sane, because he ordered the state to return the entire sum to Parhamovich.

Out of Control (#410) 

Doctors aren’t the only medical professionals who throw their careers away for this stupid shit:

Former [Pennsylvania] nurse James Close will spend up to four years in prison and 20 years on probation for secretly filming female patients, including one underage girl…Judge Wallace H. Bateman also ordered him to…sexual offender and sex addiction treatment…

Above the Law (#418) 

Just a reminder that this behavior is intrinsic to policing, not an isolated incident limited to the US:

A Canadian tourist who was…rape[d] by French police…has spoken out for the first time about the night she was attacked…Emily Sponton has decided to waive her anonymity to give her account of the night of April 22nd 2014 when, after meeting three French police at the Galway Irish pub she was…gang rape[d by them] at the nearby Paris police HQ…Sponton said she had been drinking with the three [pigs] who had been regaling her with stories of their work…[they] offered to give her a tour of the building but once there Sponton says they tried to force her to drink large amount of whisky…”when I refused to do what they wanted…they smashed my face against the desk”…She…was raped several times…[and] later found lying on the street outside the police HQ…On [medical] examination she was found to have bruises and lesions in the genital area.  She immediately filed a complaint for rape before heading home to Canada…two [were] finally set to face trial on charges of gang rape…after Sponton had won her appeal to see the case brought back to court after judges initially threw it out last year…One of the [pigs claimed the rape was]…”consensual” [as rapist pigs nearly always do]…

Paint By Numbers (#593) 

Given the lack of imagination displayed by “sex trafficking” fetishists, I reckon it’s predictable that they keep recycling their stupid stunts:

…Started in 2013, the Dressember foundation is a [profiteering] organization…dedicated to [profiting from]…human trafficking [hysteria]….Those willing to take the more popular approach will opt in by wearing a dress every day of December.  Others, who may not have many dresses to wear or who may be a bit more warm-blooded, can still help out by donating to the cause.  All of the money donated goes toward [persecuting sex workers]…

The Rape Question (#602) 

I’m honestly amazed the dumb “rape is asexual” dogma is still popular:

There are reasons why nobody would tell a child “look only to the left when crossing the street because people are nice and swerve out the way for you” or “don’t wear your seatbelt because nothing will happen to you.”  The unfortunate reality is that simply changing our ideas about the world doesn’t actually change the world…in the case of sexual assault, coercion, and rape, omitting crucial pieces of the puzzle (like biological constraints) in understanding these heinous acts could prove to be detrimental…this blank slate version of human nature is riddled with holes…what we’ve seen is a tacit acceptance of the crime when it is committed by “one of our own” and harsh condemnation when it is someone from “the other side” doing it…social role theorists want us to believe that there is a utopian world just beyond our grasp that somehow males and capitalism prevent us from achieving…understanding biology is important in helping us deter sexual violence and why ignoring it could prove to be dangerous…

Pyrrhic Victory (#609)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

“Oklahoma has finalized a deal with a Massachusetts company to use license-plate scanners to catch uninsured drivers, and the firm expects to issue 20,000 citations a month starting as early as next year.  The program…involves setting up automated high-speed cameras on highways around the state to detect uninsured vehicles and mailing their owners a citation with a fine of $184“…[besides] the mass collection of plate/location data…Gatso USA will receive more than 40% of the revenue…The company hopes to make more than $1.6 million a month…”It will be overseen by the District Attorneys Council rather than law enforcement, and the state’s 27 district attorneys’ offices are expected to receive millions of dollars in citation revenue a year”...

To Molest and Rape 

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

…as we furiously unpack the prevalence of sexual assault across many industries, the reality of police sexual misconduct has not found its way into these discussions.  That’s a tragedy, because it happens so frequently…One study found that a [cop] is caught in an act of sexual misconduct every five days — and those are just the ones who are caught…national research…show[s] that almost a quarter or more of cases of police sexual assault involve minors…

Fever Dream (#742)

Reporters & prohibitionists are apparently too stupid to understand that when you misrepresent a consensual-crime misdemeanor a person didn’t even actually commit as a serious, violent felony, it’s going to be hard to get a conviction:

Over the past year [TBI has] conducted about a dozen undercover stings and charged more than 200 men…[in one] sting conducted in Nashville in 2016…TBI charged 34 men…27 of them had their cases dismissed and [expunged after paying for the “john school” the prohibitionists wanted, yet they’re not happy that an unproven misdemeanor charge isn’t enough to destroy the lives of the accused]…”Having all these charges expunged sends a very, very clear message that we’re not serious,” [prohibitionist & profiteer Cathy] Gurly said…Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade…[pointed out] that…these cases are difficult to prosecute because the victims aren’t real, they’re actually undercover agents…

Checklist (#783)

The real purpose of this scheme is to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system:

Advanced Periodontics & Implantology…[of] Michigan, organized a seminar for dentists and hygienists on the topic “Human Trafficking”…Michigan Public Health Code and Administrative rules require all dentists to complete training in identification of human trafficking victims…

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Shame on him that gives me a legal reason to stop him.  –  Patrick Ivey

David Cassidy died this week, and though I wasn’t as big a fan of his as one of my sisters was, I was always very fond of this particular song, with its very distinctive melodic structure and unusual key progression.  The links above the video were provided by Mike SiegelTim CushingKevin WilsonRadley BalkoAdjective Girl, and Walter Olson, in that order.

From the Archives

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It happened again a few days ago:  a local police department (this time in Laredo, Texas) thought it would be cute and heartwarming to pull motorists over, lights flashing, and give them some kind of gift, this time Thanksgiving turkeys.  Other police departments have pulled similar stunts over the past few years, usually but not always at holidays; the gifts have included Christmas presents for their kids, $100 bills, gift cards, ice cream, “good driving” tickets and probably several other things I can’t think of at the moment.  Have you ever watched one of the videos that are almost inevitably released after these stunts?  Despite the carefully cherry-picked and curated results, it’s still possible to notice that some of these people are confused and nervous, and that their laughter is more often the product of released tension or emotional shock than it is healthy joy.  Sometimes the news coverage is honest and reports that some of the victims of these mind games are angry and refuse the “gifts”, but most sources obediently give the cops the publicity they’re looking for by parroting their saccharine statements about how they want to give back to the community, build trust, etc.  But behind the smiles and fake goodwill lies the truth:  that these are nothing but vulgar publicity stunts dreamed up by tone-deaf sociopaths without the slightest clue how upsetting and stressful it is to be pulled over by a pig, or even worse,  by puerile sadists who think it’s funny to pull practical jokes on people who might potentially experience genuine terror from these sophomoric schemes.  If you’re a middle-class white person who’s never had a bad experience with a cop, or known anyone who did, you may be tempted to wonder what the harm is in this; you may figure I’m overreacting (certainly several bootlickers on Twitter did).  But for a lot of people those flashing lights don’t signal a temporary annoyance or slight financial hit; they represent at best the beginning of an ordeal which will inflict serious or even catastrophic financial hardship on them, and could possibly end in prison, the loss of their vehicles and/or jobs and potentially years of legal difficulties.  At worst, a police stop can result in robbery, rape or – if the victim is black – death.  And what do you think would happen if one of these practical jokers smelled weed, or noticed a totally legal firearm, in the car during this “fun” stop?  Life-destroying charges and possibly even being gunned down.  What a clever joke, hardy-har-har.

Others have written about the legal, constitutional and civil-rights issues raised by these sadistic games, but instead I’m going to ask that you try looking at them as what they are:  consent violations, not so very different from the other consent violations powerful men feel entitled to inflict on others.  These cops are using people without their consent as props in a propaganda show, and whatever “compensation” they give is the sucker doctors used to give kids for enduring shots.  If you can’t see this, let me ask you how you’d feel if an armed cop pulled you over and then asked to hug you, or to take you out on a date, or to marry him?  Don’t you feel like the situation is just an itsy-bitsy bit psychologically coercive?  Because I’ve actually been in the second situation, and I’ll tell you this:  when an armed cop pulls you over at 2 AM (albeit alongside a busy interstate highway), tells you how beautiful you are and then asks you for a date, it doesn’t feel like a compliment or a request; it feels like a demand.  And the fact that he’s twice your size and in possession of several deadly weapons and has the ability to destroy your entire life on a whim, turns that demand into a threat.  I honestly don’t recall what I said to get out of the situation, but given that this happened only a few years after I was actually raped by cops, you can probably guess how relieved I was when he took “no” for an answer and let me drive away.  Just like the victims of these “generous cop” scams are.

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