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Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Bounty-hunters can buy information about where we are, in real time…and come after us.  You don’t need to be a replicant to be scared of the consequences.  –  Thomas Rid

A Broker in Pillage

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

Chicago…regularly pulls residents into a nexus of ticket-related debt and car seizures that is stunning in its scope.  In 2017 alone, Chicago booted more than 67,000 vehicles for unpaid tickets.  In about a third of those cases, the driver couldn’t afford to remove the boot, and the vehicle was later towed to a city impound lot…[and] sold off, with the owners receiving none of the sale proceeds…the city and its towing contractor pocketed millions of dollars, while residents were left with ticket debt…there have been nearly 50,000 of these sales since 2011…the vast majority…from low-income and minority communities…The city…[calls] those who owe ticket money…“scofflaws”…conflating the inability to pay debts with criminal activity…workers or contractors sometimes [illegally] issu[e]…multiple tickets on the same day…[and] just two or three outstanding tickets will prompt the city’s revenue workers to boot a car.  Owners have just 24 hours to pay $100 to remove a boot…if the window’s missed, the car’s towed, and the owner [is also assessed]…a $150 towing fee…cars can [then] be sold in as little as three weeks, but not before drivers rack up [daily] storage and other fees…

Buried Truth 

Not quite an example of the McNeill Rule, but close:

Donnie Romero, a Baptist pastor in Texas who has a history of making…anti-LGBT…[remarks], told his congregation last week that he would be resigning from his post…Though Romero did not provide details to his congregants…[another preacher] Steven Anderson…weighed in on his “grievous sins” in a [YouTube] video…“The major sin involved was being with prostitutes, and then there were also marijuana and gambling”…Romero, who has called gays “scum of the earth,” also came under immense scrutiny in 2016 after he said he was praying that victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando who were injured would not survive “so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and hurt little children”…

Sex Rays

The puritanism just keeps increasing:

Organizers of the Consumer Electronics Show…in Las Vegas selected a sex toy called Osé as one of a handful of honorees in its robotics and drones Innovation Awards program.  But two weeks later, they disqualified the device and banned its exhibition at the event — because it’s an adult product…Osé…(formerly called Vela) is a sex toy developed in partnership with an engineering professor at Oregon State University that uses “biometric mimicry” for hands-free vaginal and clitoral stimulation…It’s unclear why the CTA made the Osé an honoree in the first place, before backtracking on its decision…The trade show gave a sex toy a similar award three years ago, and other companies have exhibited sex toys and adult products at the show over the years…

Bottleneck (#414)

Canberra is infested with prohibitionists, many of them in the police.  Articles like this one typically spout similar “rescue” and “sex trafficking” nonsense; the rebuttal from actual experts is way down at the end:

…Jules Kim from the national sex worker’s union, The Scarlet Alliance, doubted that human sex trafficking was as widespread in Canberra and Australia as police claimed…a 2017 federal government inquiry…found no sex workers were tricked into the job out of the 14 sex-work-related trafficking convictions nationally since 2004…despite this, there [i]s “a continued focus on framing issues” in the sex industry, particularly those involving South-East Asia migrants, as trafficking…”police raids…ha[ve] been proven to create worse conditions for sex workers, resulting in…barriers to accessing police in the event of a crime“…Ms Kim said the “illegal brothels” police referred to were often situations where more than one worker was working from a premises in order to share costs — which is illegal in some states and territories, including the ACT…


The Last Shall Be First (#785)

Anti-trans bigots often claim transwomen will sexually assault ciswomen in public toilets:

Two North Carolina women…were charged with second-degree kidnapping and sexually battery of a transgender woman in a ladies room of a Raleigh bar…the…victim had just entered the women’s restroom at the popular Milk Bar when Amber Harrell…and Jessica Fowler…followed her in and locked the door….[then] verbally and sexually assaulted her…Both women are also accused of exposing their breasts and genitals to the victim, who eventually escaped the bathroom.  The two…then followed her to the bar and continued the abuse, a bartender testified to police…

It’s not coincidental that this happened in a state where politicians openly encourage such bigotry.

To Molest and Rape (#842) 

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

In one of the first releases of records under a new [California] law that [removes the previously-existing laws which allowed]…police [departments to hide] misconduct, documents show the Burlingame Police Department fired a [rapist cop] last year after…he [pressured] a woman [for sex by claiming he would interfere] with [her] DUI [case] if she would [not]…David W. Granucci…was later found to have made similar proposals to two other women, one [of] who[m submitted to letting]…him [rape her]…Granucci…obtained her phone number and address and went to her house the…day [after she was arrested] and made the [threat]…She rejected Granucci’s advances and reported him to police.  Granucci was [miraculously] fired [probably because Bay Area police departments are covering their arses due to the Celeste Guap affair]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#864)

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

Whereas it’s common knowledge that [pigs] can track phones with [stingrays or] a warrant to service providers…at least one company, called Microbilt, is selling phone geolocation services with little oversight to a spread of different private industries, ranging from car salesmen and property managers to bail bondsmen and bounty hunters…this spying capability is also being resold to others on the black market…mobile networks and the data they generate are…open to surveillance by [cops], stalkers, and [other] criminals, and comes as media and [informed citizens] are paying more attention than ever to how location and other sensitive data is collected and sold

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#879) 

Truly dedicated prohibitionists never let the fact that a thing doesn’t actually exist stop them from banning it:

…Bryan [Texas]…put…the definition of a sex robot into the city [zoning] ordinance….[so] any [sex doll arcade]…would be required to be located only in the area of the city that’s zoned for adult-type businesses.  The move comes mostly as a precaution after someone tried to open a similar type of business in Houston…

Censor Chic (#894)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Li Chengzhi had a lot to learn when he first got a job as a professional censor…Now, after training, he knows what to look for — and what to block.  He spends his hours scanning online content on behalf of Chinese media companies looking for anything that will provoke the government’s wrath.  He knows how to spot code words that obliquely refer to Chinese leaders and scandals, or the memes that touch on subjects the Chinese government doesn’t want people to read about.  Mr. Li, who [has been well-brainwashed, believes]…his job…“helps cleanse the online environment”…For Chinese companies, staying on the safe side of government censors is a matter of life and death.  Adding to the burden, the authorities demand that companies censor themselves, spurring them to hire thousands of people to police content.  That in turn has created a growing and lucrative new industry: censorship factories…

Imaginary Victims (#896)

Naturally, he had to show how big his dick is by delaying her release for seven months:

Cyntoia Brown…is due to be released on Aug. 7…She has [been kept locked in a cage] since she was 16…Gov. Bill Haslam…granted Brown a…commutation to parole…for 10 years…Brown will be required to participate in regular counseling sessions and to perform at least 50 hours of community service, including working with at-risk youth.  She also will be required to get a job [with a murder conviction on her record].  Her Aug. 7 release marks 15 years since the date of her crime.  Brown’s attorneys said 15 years is a typical sentence for a second-degree murder conviction…

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There is no “[sex trafficking] marketplace”, but rather all sorts of people selling and buying sex for their own reasons, some of them miserable.  –  Laura Agustín

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

San Diego County may not remove children from their homes and subject them to highly intrusive physical examinations without parental permission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled…The case stems from an April 2010 incident involving Michael and Melissa Mann and their four young children.  The Manns had apparently spanked at least one of the kids with a wooden spoon as a form of punishment…The county [abducted] the children…and [held] them in [custody]…while the parents went to court to regain custody…a doctor performed a 22-step medical exam requiring “blood samples and a gynecological and rectal exam…[including] separat[ing] the labia and look[ing] at the hymen”…County officials did not obtain a court order authorizing these examinations, nor did the parents sign off.  Indeed, the Manns didn’t even know [that]…their kids [had been molested] until one of them said something about it later…

Real People 

Universities are very slowly beginning to turn toward sex worker rights:

…Lady Lola Lightning…a 23-year-old [NYU] sophomore and Salem, Massachusetts native started playing with Periscope just five months ago….[and has] gathered a loyal following as a webcam model…she doesn’t use toys or do too many tricks; she just strips down and has a raw chat with viewers…along with her new job as a stripper in Brooklyn, she is able to pay for her entire tuition and living expenses without support from her family…

Not To Be Taken Internally (First Updates of the Year)

Please, y’all, do NOT let non-doctors inject liquid silicone into your bodies, unless you want to die:

On October 15, 2018, a 28-year-old Australian-born Seattle resident named Jack Chapman, also known as Pup Tank, died…he…was…romantically linked to Dylan Ray Hafertepen, a well-known member of the Dom/sub pup play communities in San Francisco and, later, Seattle…Hafertepen[‘s]…Tumblr (as well as the Tumblr accounts of several of his pups) contained numerous images of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections.  In one picture, Tank’s testicles dangle outside of his basketball shorts, his nuts roughly the size of two dodgeballs…Since World War II, cosmetic surgeons and back-alley “pumpers” have offered liquid silicone injections as a quick and dirty form of plastic surgery…But such injections aren’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures because of adverse reactions.  Sometimes they harden into painful masses that appear like wormy tumors under the skin.  Sometimes the surrounding tissue gets infected…Other times, stray bits can travel through the bloodstream, causing [fatal] embolisms…Numerous articles have discussed trans women who end up disfigured or dead because of silicone injections by unlicensed pumpers.  But few mention the pumpers who offer silicone injections for gay men…Tank died from “silicone embolism syndrome”…[which] led to “pneumonitis”…bleeding in the lungs…and eventually…death…

The article is very long and very detailed, and describes what looks to me like a very abusive BDSM relationship.  But it wasn’t the emotional & psychological abuse which killed Chapman/Tank; it was misuse of a substance which has caused the deaths of many seeking quick, cheap body modification without proper medical safeguards.

The Notorious Badge

Looks like I’m not the only sex worker writing horror with sex worker characters:

Award-winning screenwriter Isa Mazzei did not have a welcoming introduction to the movie industry.  “I’ve…never been more sexually harassed than trying to sell this film in Hollywood,” she [said]…Mazzei, a former cam girl, has written one of the hottest horror movies on this year’s genre festival circuit.  Cam, which will debut on Netflix later this month, drags the audience inside the paranoia and perils of being an internet star.  Her success in creating a believable yet terrifying online dystopia was bolstered by its roots in Mazzei’s real fears, including the risks of being harassed, hacked, doxxed or assaulted…Mazzei had to endure the sleaze of movie execs who believed they could harass and belittle her because of her previous  sex work.  Lots of them asked her to share details from her past life, some suggested she was only credited as the screenwriter as a gimmick to help the pitch, while one owner of a Hollywood agency went so far as to write an alternate ending to the semi-biographical movie that included himself and Mazzei inserted into the script…

No Difference

African campaigns against homosexuality are a lot like US campaigns against sex work:

The governor of…Dar es Salaam…launched an anti-gay crackdown…calling on [collaborators] to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week…homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.  “These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said [governor Paul] Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli.  “Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them”…Anti-homosexual sentiment is rife in Tanzania…and…has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election…AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magafuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies…

Somewhere in the Middle (#425)

Kate Iselin on myths about clients:

…Films and television shows cast clients as either sinister perverts who slither around in the darkness…or drug-addled millionaires looking for more Barbie-lookalikes to fill their yachts with for the weekend…Sure, not every client is perfect.  Some are far from it.  I could share a horror story or two about some who…disregard [hygiene or] boundaries…But clients like these are, thankfully, rare.  The majority of people who visit sex workers — whether they visit strip clubs, brothels, see private workers, or simply download some good, old-fashioned porn — are as normal and average as you and me.  They have jobs, and hobbies, and families, and social lives, just like anyone else…I believe it’s the heavy stigma around sex work that carries over to our clients, too: it makes sense that someone who thinks sex workers are immoral and disgusting would also feel the same about the people who pay to spend time with us…the belief that our clients are bad people is damaging not only to our clients themselves, but to the sex industry as a whole…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

The Drug Enforcement Administration [worked to drum up hysteria over] candy laced with marijuana and methamphetamine this Halloween.  The DEA St. Louis Division says there has been no [actual] threat, but [authoritarians are using the existence] of drug-laced edibles [in states where cannabis is legal to frighten the ignorant]…signs of marijuana or meth-laced candy include unusual wrapping, appearance, unusual colors, odd smell…candy…that is unwrapped or unmarked…

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag. Not a single one.  Every time the claim has been made, it turns out to be either an intentional hoax or some nefarious shit by the parents.

Full of Themselves (#787)

Puritanical language is an intrinsic part of any story about cops raiding massage parlors:

Police have posted notices at 18 massage parlors in Kent [Washington] saying that they will be shut down…after a monthslong [escapade involving vice cops getting happy endings at] businesses that they say were fronts for prostitution…some of the massage-parlor owners and employees have been charged with crimes and…[prosecutors] plan…to bring charges against any customers who engaged in prostitution…many of the businesses…were not licensed by the state and failed to follow regulations to protect the health and privacy of patrons…

“Fronts”.  “Prostitution”.  “Crimes”.  “Engaged in prostitution”.  “Regulations”.  And it’s pretty hilarious to see thugs pretending to give a shit about people’s privacy while simultaneously plotting to destroy their lives.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

It’s good to see “sex addiction” collapsing as an excuse for bad behavior:

A former WAFB employee who secretly recorded two female station employees using the restroom in 2017 was sentenced to four months in prison…Morgan McDermitt…must also register as a sex offender for 15 years. His wife, upon hearing the sentence…ran from the courtroom sobbing…Judge Beau Higginbotham initially sentenced McDermitt…to four years in prison…but then suspended all but four months of the sentence. In July, Higginbotham refused to accept a proposed plea bargain in the case that would have only placed McDermitt on probation…The judge asked McDermitt, who sought sex addiction therapy after his arrest, why he did not seek help before he was caught…

Damned Lies (#866)

It’s good to see fact checkers demolishing politicians’ grandiose claims about Backpage:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton…[claimed to have] “shut down the world’s largest human trafficking marketplace”…The Texas attorney general’s office helped shut down the Backpage website, which is what another Paxton ad says.  However, the federal government led the shutdown and officials in other states pitched in.  Significantly too, we otherwise landed no confirmation that the Backpage site, which profited from ads about sex, also was the world’s largest trafficking marketplace–a classification that experts found dubious and unverifiable.  All told, we rate this statement Mostly False…

Suppression

This is especially important because other states are trying the same scam:

…Pennsylvania [prisons will]…allow…book orders to resume through a new centralized processing center…The [censorship plan] was…[pretended] to eliminate drug smuggling into the prisons, [when in actuality all contraband comes in via screws]…[Chief Screw] John Wetzel said the new procedure was a response to criticisms by book-donation groups…The new policy…allows family and friends to order books to be shipped directly from publishers or bookstores to a secure processing center in Bellefonte, Pa., where staff will screen books five days per week.  It also enables inmates to place orders directly from a hard-copy catalog…the book-donation groups still have concerns about how the new process will play out, including how the [prison system] will ensure the packages reach the inmates who requested them, intact with all supplemental materials…Sean Damon of Amistad Law Project, which led protests over the book prohibition…[is] not satisfied, as other new security measures — including the scanning and surveillance of incoming mail, and the photocopying of inmate legal mail — remain in place…

Traffic Jam (#877)

Remember that “threat” a Hawaiian prohibitionist claimed to have received from “pimps”?

The recent publication of a hyperbolic study that purported to show an “astronomical” level of demand for sex workers in the Hawaii was punctuated by…Police…respond[ing] to a call regarding a purported threat of physical violence against [prohibitionist politician] Khara Jabola-Carolus…police concluded that there had been no physical threat…[what actually happened was that during] a conference call…one [prohibitionist claimed to]…hav[e] received a…text message [from Dominique Roe-Sepowitz which in turn claimed] that…some person or persons were “trying to get Jabola-Carolus fired”…

Signs (#878) 

Another state mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

A state mandate now aims to [harass] sex [workers] in Minnesota through the state’s hotel industry.  The law requires all hotel and motel employees to be [indoctrinated] in [anti-whore propaganda].  The training must be completed by Nov. 28.  After that date, all new employees must be [indoctrinated] within 90 days of hire…the signs to look for [include] guest[s traveling light]…or [with their children]…“There might be signs in the room – for example, that they…request extra sheets and extra towels, [and enjoy their privacy]” said Minnesota [prohibitionist]…Beatriz Menanteau…

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To attribute [women’s]…prostitution to fear of powerful Nigerian juju is pure hogwash.  –  Leo Igwe

Yellow Fever

Like the BBC, the New York Times has discarded whatever credibility it once enjoyed:

When the New York Times Magazine (10/10/18) looked at Kensington, a neighborhood in northeast Philadelphia, it…saw an opportunity to take readers on a sensational 6,000-word tour of trauma, complete with cringe-worthy language and compassionless photographs.  Reporter Jennifer Percy…doesn’t shy away from…reducing an extremely complicated issue to trauma-porn:  “…women often ended up as prostitutes.  They offered oral sex for $25 so they could buy a few bags“…How many women did Percy interview before determining that all of them offered the same services for the same price?  Could she have crafted a description that was any more victimizing?…Street-based sex work already comes with risks.  Publishing detailed and intimate information about…how they don’t report abuse, could attract predatory individuals…Sex worker advocate groups and researchers have repeatedly said that criminalization forces workers into dangerous situations, and leads to a strained or even abusive relationship between law enforcement and sex workers.  Multiple harm-reduction groups exist in Kensington specifically for sex workers, including SOL CollectiveProject SAFE, and the Philadelphia Red Umbrella Alliance, but Percy didn’t think to include their work in the conversation…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

I hope this doesn’t harm the trend toward increased awareness of rapist cops:

…Bellevue, WA police chief [Steve Mylett] was cleared on charges he raped a woman after it was discovered she created fake emails to prove her accusation…The…woman…claimed he raped her two years ago at his Bothell home during an encounter arranged “through an adult sex website.”  The woman also made accusations against two other Bellevue detectives, which led to domestic violence and witness tampering charges against one of them (those charges were dropped earlier this month).  “Bothell investigators found Mylett’s accuser had gone so far as to create phony, backdated email exchanges that contained the address of a Bothell rental home where Mylett temporarily lived…But lease records…proved Mylett had moved out of that house prior to when the woman claimed the assault occurred, and DNA tests ruled Mylett out as a possible match to genetic evidence gathered from clothing the woman turned over”…The woman [allegedly] had a history of hooking up with men she found on Craigslist and then claiming the consensual encounters as rape…Though she had made two false accusations prior to Mylett, she was not charged because of her mental-health problems.  This time, however, it appears she won’t get away with her false accusations [because they were against cops]…Mylett [said]…“people [who aren’t cops] should be held accountable for their actions [even if they’re mentally ill]”…

This man was one of the gang who took it upon themselves to destroy the lives of men who had consensual sex with adult women in the TRB case.

Banishment

Any elected official who acts in this way should be removed from office:

When Richard Gardner, a convicted child sex offender, was released from prison after serving almost 30 years, he quietly moved into the Washington Park neighborhood in Providence…Because his crimes were committed so long ago, Gardner is not subject to the community notification provisions that apply to more recent offenders…But the police [gave] his address to public officials, and a media circus ensued.  The result has been raucous nightly protests in front of his house by dozens of people calling on him to leave the neighborhood…Mayor Jorge Elorza helped fuel the angry gatherings in front of Gardner’s home by stating at a community meeting immediately preceding the first protest that Gardner “has given up his right to be here in the community.”  Other city officials have also encouraged a mob mentality…

The Enlightenment Police (#427)

The European Court of Human Rights kissed France’s arse, but the UN didn’t:

…the United Nations Human Rights Committee found that a French law banning full-face veils in public violates the religious freedom rights of Muslim women.  It is the first time the UN has ruled on full-face veil bans and could have implications for several other European countries that have implemented similar legislation…the UN body found that France’s ban was “too sweeping” and that French officials hadn’t adequately explained why it was necessary to ban…articles of clothing.  Although the ban is [pre]tended to protect women, the law could have the opposite effect by “confining them to their homes, impeding their access to public services and marginalizing them,” the committee said…

The Prudish Giant (#523)

Facebook claims this picture will sexually arouse its users:

For a few hours after The New York Times published an article about conflict and hunger in Yemen, Facebook temporarily removed posts from readers who had tried to share the report…[because]  the article included several images of emaciated children…Tens of thousands of readers shared the article on Facebook, but some got a message notifying them that the post was not in line with Facebook’s community standards…[because] “On Facebook, we don’t allow…any sexual content involving minors”…

Facebook is the embodiment of D.H. Lawrence’s statement, “Our civilisation cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose.”

Guinea Pigs (#579) 

Welcome to our world, amateurs; I hope y’all enjoy what your bootlicking has created:

…[very few US] police departments…have any rules for [pigs] who [violate Facebook’s terms of service by creating]…fake accounts…to friend people of interest and monitor what they post…the practice is almost wholly unregulated…Facebook policies prohibit the creation of fake accounts by law enforcement, but [pigs] are making them anyway.  Some…[even] boast…about their [deceptions] on social media [and Facebook does nothing to stop it]…

Guinea Pigs (#719) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers, and gave cops a facial recognition database of black and Latino men:

Major technology companies including Palantir, Microsoft and Amazon make millions of dollars annually from their contracts with U.S. immigration enforcement agencies…and have helped expand their capabilities, says [a] paper by Mijente, an advocacy group…Palantir’s ICE case management software, which helps the agency track, surveil and deport immigrants, has led to “dangerous acceleration of surveillance technology at the hands of police and prosecutors to target and build profiles of people”…Amazon’s cloud computing subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, [has] become a “key contractor” for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s cloud computing system…The report comes amid increased backlash from workers in the tech industry over the contracts with the government that their companies are taking on.  Google said it would end its work with the Pentagon this year after heavy employee backlash…

See also “Pyrrhic Victory” below.

That Old Black Magic (#769)

I’m so glad to see a Nigerian scholar demolish the racist European masturbatory fantasy of childlike Nigerian women enslaved by black magic:

…There have been [many] reports that have associated forced prostitution by Nigerian women with the traditional belief in juju…from my own point of view as a Nigerian, this much-publicized connection [is] baseless, senseless and absurd…Unfortunately, many western individuals and organizations that are working and campaigning to combat…prostitution…seem to be fascinated by the juju scare narrative.  They find it useful not only because it fits into the stereotypic notion of Africans as childish in thinking…[but also because] it gives them a special job of managing this “people”…European anti-human trafficking campaigners…have refused to pay critical attention to the underlying socioeconomic reasons that force Nigerian women to travel thousands of miles to prostitute in Europe…Many Nigerian prostitutes come into Europe as illegal immigrants and they live in constant fear of deportation.  So Nigerian women who fear returning to Nigeria have other reasons than…juju…

Cooties (#786) 

After more than two years of UK cops publicly masturbating to the fantasy of “trafficking gangs enslaving women in pop-up brothels”, they finally found people they could shoehorn into the narrative:

A gang centred on a single family has been jailed for forcing women from Hungary to work as prostitutes.  Police said “pop up” brothels ran in Nottingham and Derby…Csaba Csomor was jailed for 13 years after [pleading guilty to] charges including trafficking and controlling prostitution.  Five other members of Csomor’s family were jailed for a total of 30 years for a series of related offences…Police [claimed] between December 2012 and December 2017 women were duped into coming to the UK, some on the promise of cleaning jobs.  They were then forced to into sex work…Hungarian authorities alerted UK police…Several women have been [deported] to Hungary but detectives said more victims could still be out there [hiding from the cops who claim they want to “rescue” them]…

I’m sure the cops were disappointed that these folks aren’t Romanian, but one can’t have everything.

Hard Numbers (#847)

Another Australian state moves toward decriminalization:

…the Queensland Government…confirmed the possible decriminalisation of sex work was currently under discussion between the Attorney-General and the Police Minister.  This is a turnaround from six months ago when Police Minister Mark Ryan [said]…there were no plans to decriminalise sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#869)

We were warned that Israeli whore-censorship was only “part of a wider plan”:

The Knesset…gave initial approval to a bill allowing heavy fines to be levied on  people caught hiring prostitutes, as the government aims to crack down on sex [workers]…The legislation passed its first reading by 39-0 votes.  It will now face deliberations in the Knesset Committee for the [Suppression] of Women before coming up for final plenary votes…The bill was first proposed as part of a re[striction] package that Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said aimed at stamping out [sex workers]…

Droit du Seigneur (#872) 

Sex workers have been saying this for decades:

By their nature, are police vice units inherently at risk for corruption and misconduct?  Consider recent revelations at the NYPD:  On Sept. 13, retired vice Det. Ludwig Paz was charged with running a prostitution and gambling ring.  In November 2017, a sex worker died while attempting to flee [brutalization] by vice [cops] in a raid on a massage parlor.  The Queens district attorney’s report on her death offered no critical introspection on the impact of vice operations, labeling her a “criminal” who “engaged in a degrading and humiliating profession.”  In June 2017…a vice [pig] faced disciplinary hearings after he…[raped sex workers; no known] disciplinary action was taken …vice unit[s]…operate…with impunity…[like all cops] the NYPD targets marginalized communities, fails to improve community relationships, and hides [their crimes]…behind the blue wall of silence…

Pyrrhic Victory (#882) 

While activists and Amazon’s own shareholders & employees were asking for the company not to support fascism, Bezos was doing this:

Amazon over the summer met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials to pitch them on buying the tech giant’s controversial facial recognition technology…Alonzo Peña, who served as deputy director of ICE during the George W. Bush administration, [said] that undocumented immigrants could be deterred from seeking  life-sustaining services if they knew immigration officials were using facial recognition software.  Although ICE is technically barred from arresting undocumented people in hospitals and other sensitive locations, Peña says there have been instances of immigration enforcement [ignoring] those rules…

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I used to get as many Halloween-themed columns into October as possible, and though I no longer have the energy for that I’m still dedicated to the idea of this as the time of year for spooky fun.  So every year I collect all the spooky, creepy or scary links and other content from the previous year into one place just before Halloween.  If you’ve come to my blog in the past year, or don’t remember previous editions, they are “Trick or Treat”, “More Trick or Treat“, “Tricks and Treats“, “This Trick’s a Treat”, and “Tricky Treats“.  Horror or death-themed columns of the past year include “Thanatopsis“, “Whistling Past the Graveyard“, “Eternity“, and “Approaching Infinity“; there are creepy or spooky-fun videos in Links #383, #385, #387#388, #394, #398, #402, and #404; and here’s a small collection of spooky or Halloweeny links:

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Fraudulently achieving sexual intercourse…constitutes rape.
–  Judge Hilary Penfold

Schadenfreude 

Despite the title of this subsection, I take no joy in reporting the horrible abuse perpetrated on young Liberian girls by the rescue industry group “More Than Me”:

…The charity would raise over $8 million, including almost $600,000 from the U.S. government. [Katie] Meyler would…rub shoulders with Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey, and even get invited to the Obama White House.  MTM’s footprint in Liberia would multiply to 19 schools teaching 4,000 students.  Yet some of the girls…[were not] saved from sexual exploitation, [but rather] being raped by the man standing beside Meyler on the stage.  His assaults went on for years and…he was protected by his position…he and Meyler had had an intimate relationship, and she kept him in place even after having reason to suspect his predilections.  But he was also shielded from exposure in the community by everything that she had brought: a school, scholarships and, above all, hope.  After his crimes became known…the charity worked to obscure the details and to place responsibility almost anywhere but with Meyler or MTM…They argued that the good they had done in Liberia more than made up for any harm…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#20)

As silly as this may seem, it’s an example of the kind of arbitrary control Turkish brothel owners exercise:

Three prostitutes sued a bordello that fired them…[for] feeding stray cats…in the Turkish province of Erdine…One of the prostitutes, Mürvet Taşvur, claimed:  “They fired us and kicked us out of the apartment due to us looking after the animals.  They shot one of our cats with a pump shotgun, he’s named Kinah.  He’s still alive with 11 pellets in his body.”  The three prostitutes filed a complaint to the Edrine Chief Persecutor’s Office…

King of the Hill

It’s fascinating to watch the various ways in which states try to claim the top spots in the “sex trafficking” pissing contest:

A new report…reveals Florida ranks third in the nation for active sex and labor trafficking cases being prosecuted in federal court…[prohibitionist] Alyssa Beck…said…“Jacksonville has a lot of hotels and also I-95 runs right through…So, it’s really just easy access to a lot of different things that traffickers may need”…

Micromanagement

Any new technology which can be used to spy on you, will be:

A new study argues that more than half of Americans could be identified by name if all you had to start with was a sample of their DNA and a few basic facts, such as the region where they live and about how old they might be…once 3 million Americans have uploaded their genomes to public genealogy websites, nearly everyone in the U.S. would be identifiable by their DNA alone and just a few additional clues.  More than 1 million Americans have already published their genetic information, and dozens more do so every day…This new reality represents the convergence of two long-standing trends.  One of them is the rise of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Companies such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe can sequence anyone’s DNA for about $100.  All you have to do is provide a sample of saliva and drop it in the mail.  The other essential element is the proliferation of publicly searchable genealogy databases like GEDmatch.  Anyone can upload a full genome to these sites and powerful computers will crunch through it, looking for stretches of matching DNA sequences that can be used to build out a family tree…

Rough Trade (#513)

Yes, this is absolutely rape.  No, I don’t want to “discuss” it:

In some jurisdictions, courts have found that when a person cons a sex worker – refuses or evades the agreed payment for sex – such acts constitute rape, because consent for the sexual act was obtained fraudulently.  But [in other places such attackers are only]…convicted of fraud [if tried at all]…Experts and sex worker groups…believe such cases clearly constitute rape and say parts of Australia’s justice system still fail to properly deal with offenders who fraudulently obtain the consent of sex workers…many [of whom] fear…[going] to the police, and [a]re often not treated as sexual assault victims if they [do]…studies [also] show…sentencing [is] also comparatively low for men who…sexually assault…sex workers…[in a recent] case [in]…Queensland…the man was charged with two counts of fraud…and was ordered to pay $350 restitution to each woman and was fined $750 for each offence.  But…In the ACT, a similar set of circumstances led to a rape conviction for…Akis Emmanouel Livas…gave the woman a sealed envelope…[claiming] the full amount owed was inside, but [pretending]…“it’s part of my fantasy that it’s all about the romance and I need you to trust me”…Livas physically blocked her from opening the envelope…Eventually, she discovered there was no money inside…

In the US, most sex workers who report rape are arrested and charged with prostitution, and their rapes are ignored.

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

Remember: they say it’s about “pimps”, but really it’s about sex workers and clients today, and about everybody once they get it perfected:

Minerva [software] helps NCMEC find information in large, hard to search data sets.  Specifically, Minerva has helped NCMEC locate additional phone numbers in online advertisements and further analyze who that phone might be registered to, which can lead to possible current location for the [targeted sex worker]…with human trafficking, there are bad guys acting with malice…Minerva has now identified 989 individual [sex workers] and is tracking 22,000 more…

Signs (#813) 

“Sex trafficking” provides a new excuse for cops to use the same old bogus “evidence” to harass women:

It’s possible Amaya could have escaped sooner than she did, at 24 years old, had [cops] been trained to look for the warning signs of trafficking:  Maybe she had no identification…Did she avoid eye contact with [pigs]?  Was her purse full of condoms?  Was she really as old she claimed to be?  These are just a few of the many [excuses cops]…across the country are being trained to [employ].  The increased awareness and training reflects a shift as law enforcement agencies [use]…the [excuse of “sex trafficking” to]…arrest…prostitutes…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#840)

Stripping is no different from prostitution; say nothing when they attack the latter, expect them to come for the former:

…the government is…mulling rules for Malta’s strip-club industry which could ban the use of private rooms and…allow pole dancers only to be naked on stage…private dancing rooms will no longer be allowed, which previously meant that customers could get private dancers but also negotiate prices for sexual favours…There will also be restrictions on advertising outdoors [and] new zoning guidelines that could prevent such clubs from appearing within a certain distance of schools or places of worship…

Disaster (#853)

Another “monkey see, monkey do” FOSTA copycat:

The [South Korean] government plans to strengthen its monitoring of websites linked to prostitution and sex trafficking,…to control the websites and prevent prostitution…The ministry will develop a large data-based artificial intelligence program to monitor the prostitution situation in the country.  When the program is operational, the websites will be shut down and the operators warned of relevant punishment.  The government believes it is important to take pre-emptive actions against the sites because they lead many people to start paying for sex…

Gee, it’s almost like governments don’t like the open internet.

Fair-Weather Friends (#859)

Every sex worker arrested in a “sting” should sue the cops if at all possible:

Ohio police spent $768 on strip club tickets, tips, and booze during a July sting that ended in the arrest of Stormy Daniels…The undercover excursion could wind up costing cops a whole lot more than that.  The charges filed against Daniels and two other women arrested that night, Miranda Panda and Brittany Walters, were quickly dismissed.  Now Panda and Walters have sued several Columbus [cops] in federal court, arguing that the arrests were politically motivated.  As a result…Panda and Walters…suffered reputational harm and exposure to harassment.  Someone painted the word whore across the door of Panda’s home, for example, and reporters outed Walters as a stripper to her immediate family.  The women are seeking at least $50,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorneys’ fees…

Disaster (#878)

Mark Draughn does not see any good coming out of the FOSTA Facebook suit:

…I’m not…optimistic…about Facebook coming under attack in the sex trafficking panic.  I agree…that Facebook is going to throw money, lawyers, and lobbyists at the problem, and they’ll come out of this just fine.  But I’m not convinced that Facebook’s victory will be a victory for sex workers.  That’s because I expect Facebook to work toward a[n]…outcome [that will only benefit Facebook].  Their lobbyists and lawyers will offer their expertise at social media to work with Congress to help craft the most effective legislation for “protecting vulnerable people”…Facebook, with $40 billion a year or so in revenue, could easily afford to create a department and hire 10 or 20 people to comply with a law like that, as could many of the other social media giants.  But a lot of smaller businesses would be casualties, not all of them escort advertising sites…

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Stand up and act like a lady.  –  “Officer” James Brooks

I first discovered this song when it was performed by Harley Quinn in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series; those of you who remember it from that show may appreciate seeing the original, and those who are unfamiliar with it may want to watch Harley’s version too.  The links above were provided by Franklin HarrisElizabeth N. BrownEmma EvansAmy AlkonPhoenix CalidaTim Cushing, and Emma Evans again, in that order.

From the Archives

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Why don’t the people who support decriminalization work together with those who support legalization to fight criminalization?

The answer to that is simpler than you might think:  it’s because nobody supports legalization.  You may think that’s a bit glib, but it’s basically the truth.  Every sex worker rights organization, human rights organization (including Amnesty International), health organization and academic who has actually made a proper study of sex work agrees that decriminalization (in which sex work is treated as a form of work rather than a type of criminal behavior to be “controlled”, and sex workers are treated as adults with agency rather than broken children to be managed by the state) is the best framework for everyone involved.  Studies from New Zealand and New South Wales demonstrate that the decriminalized sex industry in those places is far healthier than in any place with heavy-handed government “regulation” of women’s sexuality by police.  The number of sex workers who want themselves declared moral imbeciles in need of management by the state is vanishingly small; nearly everyone who supports “legalization” is a politician, cop, moralist or crony who stands to profit from the “legalized” system (such as Nevada brothel owners or the owners of STI testing services).  In other words, the only people who support women being paternalistically treated like imbecilic disease vectors who need others to make decisions about their bodies for them, are those who stand to gain power (including the power to rape women who color outside the lines) or money from such a system.  And many such people, such as Dutch “authorities” and pimps like Dennis Hof, are perfectly happy to spread “sex trafficking” propaganda and other lies in order to ensure that women are denied control over our own sexual and economic behavior.

Does that answer your question about why we can’t work together?

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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