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Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

It’s a privilege that [clients] choose us to share their hopes, fears and dreams with.  –  Rachel Wotton

Lack of Evidence

Discrimination against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Landlords in Nairobi…are threatening to smoke out single women from their apartments, claiming that their houses have been turned into sex dens.  The[y]…have now resorted to vetting potential tenants and turning away single women…“We have instructed our agents and caretakers to ensure that female tenants provide proof of marriage or that they have serious boyfriends before they are allowed to live in our apartments,” said one of the landlords…most of have been outwitted by shrewd women who [circumvent] the…[discrimination] process by bringing male companions to pose as husbands during their house-hunting missions…

Long-time readers may remember that similar practices in 19th-century Europe led to the appearance of pimps.  I also find it fascinating that so many ignoramuses seem to think marriage is a magical ward against harlotry.

The Public Eye 

The more out sex workers there are, the harder it will be to ignore us:

In 1995 New South Wales  became…the first place…in the world to decriminalise sex work.  Against a backdrop of the AIDS epidemic and a recommendation to fight police corruption from a royal commission into the state’s police service, sex workers succeeded in lobbying the government for change.  The NSW model is often cited as an example of best-practice, evidence-based regulation.  The state has an estimated 10,000 sex workers and many of them are active globally in law reform, human rights and HIV prevention campaigns.  But 23 years since decriminalisation, how much has changed for sex workers and what does the future hold?  The Guardian spoke to six sex workers about their personal experiences and the diverse nature of the work they do…

Most of y’all will probably recognize at least one or two of these names, especially that of Rachel Wotton, whom I deeply admire and got to meet last month.

Catastrophic Consequences

After harassing sex workers for the past five years, Scottish police now pretend they want to be “fair”:

Police Scotland is to review thousands of warnings handed out to sex workers in a bid to ensure prostitutes are not being unfairly criminalised.  Warnings…will also be removed from the internal police system after two years as part of a new policy designed to reduce the risk of discrimination…Under the existing system…A range of warnings are “weeded”…after two years, but there is a higher hurdle for sex workers to overcome.  A single warning for a prostitute will be erased from the system after 24 months, but two or more sanctions for the same individual triggers the so-called “40-20” rule.  This means that a person has to be 40 years old or over, and the information would have had to be on record for at least 20 years, before a weed is carried out…The move comes nearly five years after Police Scotland raids on saunas in Edinburgh effectively ended the regulated brothel system in the city…The action is believed to have damaged police relations with sex workers…

“Is believed to have damaged relations”.  Really?  I can’t imagine why hounding people out of safe working conditions, destroying their livelihoods and saddling them with 20-year criminal records would make them unhappy.

Nice While It Lasted

Remember when a person had to actually be found guilty to get a life sentence?

In New York a defendant can be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life based on accusations a jury rejected.  So the state’s highest court ruled last week in a case that illustrates how fear and loathing of sex offenders  lead to results that would be recognized as unjust and illogical in any other context.  Quinn Britton’s 13-year-old niece, identified in court documents as A.B., accused him of raping her during a Thanksgiving Day visit to her grandmother’s home in Brooklyn…when she was 11.  Britton denied any inappropriate behavior, and his mother said A.B. had spent the whole evening watching TV in the living room with her.  The girl’s older brother said she had described a sexual assault to him, but…A.B. told her brother Britton had tried to engage in vaginal intercourse with her but couldn’t because his penis “wouldn’t fit”.  By contrast, she told police Britton had penetrative sex with her for about 10 minutes.  A detective testi[l]ied that Britton had admitted touching, kissing, and performing oral sex on A.B., but he had no recording or written statement to corroborate the confession, which Britton denied making.  The jurors…found Britton guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, based on the allegation that he kissed A.B.’s breasts, but not guilty of three felonies…the judge nevertheless assumed that Britton had committed the felonies and therefore assigned him to risk level two…which triggers lifetime registration…

The reason the judge can get away with this abomination is the loathsome pretense that “sex offender” registration is merely a administrative requirement rather than a penalty.

The Missing Word (#735)

Note that state-sanctioned near-slavery isn’t called “trafficking” herein:

Two Bangladeshi men…have been charged at a Dubai court with human trafficking after they allegedly tried to sell an Indonesian absconding maid…via WhatsApp…They are also facing charges…of running a…prostitution den, facilitating prostitution…and sexual exploitation…the victim…[was] subject to a deportation order…[she] said…”I got in contact with a countrywoman and told her I was not happy at work because the sponsor’s wife was very demanding.  That woman introduced me to another compatriot (a wanted runaway) who promised me a part-time job…The runaway woman told me I would work as a prostitute and that I had to accept as I had no other choice”…

The “sponsors” of such migrant workers hold officially-granted power over them, and often abuse and exploit them because they can have them deported at a whim.  Women who flee the exploitation are treated as criminals (note the terms “absconding” and “runaways”); is it any wonder other nasty characters can take advantage of them?  But only the people they flee to are called “traffickers”, never the well-connected abusers they flee from.

The Punitive Mindset (#804) 

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

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is quietly rolling out a pair of new policies that could restrict access to books and communications for the system’s nearly 200,000 prisoners.  The first of the new policies bans all books from being sent into federal facilities from outside sources including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  These retailers are usually the only means by which prisoners can receive books because most facilities reject reading material sent from individuals or small bookstores due to [arbitrary bullshit]…Now, prisoners instead will have to submit a request to purchase books — a limit of five per order — through an ordering system in which they must pay exorbitant prices and don’t have the option to buy cheaper used paperbacks.  In addition, prisoners must pay a 30 percent tax plus shipping cost…Under the new protocol, a book purchased from Amazon for as little as $11.76, with shipping included, could cost more than $26.  The new books policy…has been in effect in [two facilities for months]…and…has resulted in a massive price increase for books as well as months of wait time between orders…

Unchristian Nation 

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

Scott Warren was arrested by Border Patrol agents…just north of the Mexican border, in January…he was indicted by a grand jury in February, on two counts of harboring illegal aliens and one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens…Warren is also one of nine volunteers with No More Deaths, an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, to be hit with federal charges in recent months for leaving water in a remote federal wilderness preserve where migrants routinely disappear and die.  His arrest came just hours after No More Deaths published a report that documents evidence of Border Patrol agents destroying jugs of water that the group leaves for migrants in the desert…

This Means War (#831)

It’s good to see they’re going to fight this:

Backpage.com co-founder Michael Lacey offered his first public comments about allegations of running prostitution ads and money laundering.  “Nonsense!” Lacey said before his attorney added that his client had no further comment.  Lacey, and co-founder James Larkin are scheduled to stand trial Jan. 15, 2020…Five site employees will also stand trial.  Attorneys were given enough time to review an estimated 7 million to 9 million pages of documents about the case…CEO Carl Ferrer, has pleaded guilty to a separate federal conspiracy case in Arizona and state money laundering charges in California.  In addition, [Ferrer] pleaded guilty [in the company’s name] to human trafficking in Texas and in a federal money laundering conspiracy case in Arizona.  Ferrer has agreed to testify against others…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#837) 

I should’ve realized a change like that wouldn’t be a merely administrative one:

Experience in the sex…industry will no longer help would-be immigrants move to New Zealand, it seems.  The recently-hyped addition to the employment list, for visa hopefuls, has vanished from the immigration website…While the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website did not issue any official statement on the development, the agency’s area manager Stephanie Greathead told local media that the removal was done to avoid “further confusion”

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We will call the police and tell them he has a gun so they can come faster.  –  Shanna Swearingen

Prince was famously protective of his image, and videos of his performances never stayed online long (there are several dead video embeds on this blog because of it).  His estate has continued the tradition, if not quite as aggressively, so videos that stick tend to be things that aren’t official Prince videos.  Here’s a clever tribute to his songwriting prowess which gets around the banhammer by…well, see for yourself.  The links above it were provided by Conner Habib (“legit”), Mike Chase (“serve”), Emma Evans (“Australians”), Tushy Galore (“bigot”), and Amy Alkon (“prohibition”).

From the Archives

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A lot of people…do not want to accept the reality that, for the most part, sex workers are just ordinary women.  –  Jennifer Wright

Surplus Women 

This is going to become much more common due to the ramped-up war on whores:

The three-month-long search for a missing California woman came to a tragic end on the morning of March 25.  Kristen Marti’s body was found by authorities after a lengthy search of Prefumo Canyon, about seven miles west of San Luis Obispo.  Her January 9 disappearance is now considered a murder investigation…When Marti was last seen, she was with an unknown man in a maroon-colored sedan…Marti was “known to frequent hotels” in the San Luis Obispo-area…

Little Boxes (#21)

Long time readers may remember “Fake Internet Girlfriend”:

Every morning I…log into the Tinder account of a 45-year-old man from Texas—a client.  I flirt with every woman in his queue for 10 minutes, sending their photos and locations to a central database of potential “Opportunities”.  For every phone number I get, I make $1.75.  I’m what’s called a “Closer” for the online-dating service ViDA (Virtual Dating Assistants).  Men and women (though mostly men) from all over the world pay this company to outsource the labor and tedium of online dating.  The matches I speak to on behalf of the Texan man and other clients have no idea they’re chatting with a professional…

By the numbers provided, she makes less than $12 an hour maximum. That may be the shittiest-paying sex work ever.

New Excuse

An excellent article by stalwart friend of whores Mark Draughn:

…I’ve long been opposed to all consensual crimes — recreational drugs, gambling, pornography, public drunkenness, vagrancy, homosexuality, food trucks, gun ownership, kink, migration, raw milk, incest, risky sports, transgenderism, loitering, status offenses, braiding hair without a license, whatever — because as long as everybody involved has consented freely and competently…I don’t think it should be a crime.  So I’ve always opposed prostitution laws in theory.  My opposition became somewhat less theoretical a few years ago when I bumped into Maggie McNeill…I became a steady reader of Maggie’s blog, and I began to learn more about the legal issues that concern sex workers in this country…the situation for sex workers seems to be deteriorating, in ways that are sadly familiar to those of us who know the War on Drugs…cops seem to realize that their pearl-clutching over call girls is a dumb waste of police resources, so they’ve tried to recast what they do as fighting a genuine evil.  They’ve hit on the idea of calling everything “sex trafficking,” or even worse, “child sex trafficking”…We’re also starting to see other unpleasant features of the War on Drugs, such as federal funding and inter-agency task forces…I used to get angry whenever I heard of some new atrocity in the War On Drugs, but I was usually able to keep some emotional distance from the worst of it because I didn’t actually know any drug dealers.  It wasn’t personal for me…But when it comes to sex workers, I follow far too many of them on Twitter…I know these people.  And the last few weeks have been pretty bad.  This bullshit is hurting people I know, and they are bitter, hurt, and angry…

Somebody’s Daughter (#434)

Despite FOSTA & the seizure of Backpage (perhaps partly because of them), we’ve definitely passed the watershed on public support for sex worker rights.  It’s now no longer taboo for reporters, columnists and even politicians (!!!) to come out in support of decrim.  Here’s a recent article (in the very mainstream Harper’s Bazaar) which covers arguments readers of this blog will know well, and starts this way:

“But what if it was your daughter?”…Thus goes the common refrain…I do not have a daughter.  But, then, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, the people making this argument do not necessarily have daughters, either.  So, here is a brief list of professions I would not want my fictitious daughter to enter into:  Professionally playing any sport that involves head trauma…Being a war reporter…Any profession that promises people a quick, easy and most likely ineffective way to solve their problems, like hawking untested diet pills…regardless of how I feel about them, my future daughter has a perfect legal right to pursue them.  People are allowed to enter professions that might be unsafe.  People are allowed to enter into professions where their body is seen as a tool of the trade.  People are allowed to enter professions that seem morally questionable.  The only time that isn’t the case is when a woman is having sex as her profession…At least, it isn’t the case in the United States.  There are a great many countries where sex work is legal, such as New Zealand, which decriminalized sex work in 2003…

Eternal Vigilance

The stupidity and evil of politicians is sometimes mind-boggling:

Sex workers in Victoria are under attack as politicians try to [re-criminalize]…“the world’s oldest profession”…the Liberal Party’s Victorian branch will discuss…a motion…by [prohibitionists claiming]…“sexual services have surged into our suburbs in the guise of massage parlours” and “are now closer to our homes and schools than ever before”…the [prohibitionists are] pushing [their party] for the adoption of the “Nordic model”…

Australian politicians can see the success of decriminalization right there in New South Wales, but are still willing to push this evil bullshit to placate prudes with fantasies of sex rays.

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” still adore prohibition of things other than cannabis:

Seattle officials announced…that they have filed a motion to vacate all convictions and drop all charges for marijuana possession for anyone arrested in the city in the past few decades…the proposed move would affect 542 people who have convictions on their records.  “Vacating charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession is a necessary step to correct the injustices of what was a failed war on drugs, [but we’re going to keep pursuing the even more unjust and failed war on consensual sex because we’re hypocrites],” Mayor Jenny Durkan…said in a statement…

An Example to the West (#776) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

Sex workers in Colombia have started a newspaper that is “flying off the shelves”—a rare distinction for any newspaper these days.  La Esquina—which means “The Corner” in English—is made by and for sex workers in Bogotá’s red light district…It’s both distributed as a regular newspaper and, ingeniously, laminated and plastered on the district’s walls for sex workers to read while they wait for clients…The paper was founded last summer by a group of activists and artists…

Tracy Clark-Flory has singlehandedly made Jezebel relevant again.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table is a “stadium”:

Down a dead-end street in a quiet neighborhood south of Dortmund’s city center stands Germany’s first sex doll brothel.  For €80 ($97) an hour, customers can [play with] one of 12 silicone dolls, including one male doll and a model with both breasts and a penis…Evelyn Schwarz …is the founder and owner of Bordoll, which…also [has an actual] brothel and a…BDSM [dungeon]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

I’m so glad silly protectionist whores weren’t able to wreck decrim in New Zealand:

…Under a new plan, would-be immigrants can claim points as skilled sex workers and escorts.  The skill is regarded as providing social companionship in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) list.  In order to meet the criteria of a highly qualified sex worker, would-be migrants will be expected to…have relevant recognized qualifications or have at least three years of work experience in the relevant industry…they would [also] need a formal offer of employment [from a brothel or escort service]…

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The latest government attacks on online platforms used by sex workers are directly undermining [their] safety, health, and human rights.  –  David Grosso

Cuckoo Advertising (#601)

Will gullible reporters ever stop publishing Ashley Madison ads for free?

A [slight] majority of America’s cheaters identify as Republicans, according to…Ashley Madison…The site surveyed nearly 1,000 users on their political affiliations…60 percent of those surveyed said they identify as Republicans, while nearly 40 percent said they affiliate with the Democratic Party…a vast majority (89 percent) of those surveyed said “opposing political views” would compel them to cheat on their spouse, while 55 percent said they’d prefer to cheat with a Republican-identifying voter…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#609) 

“Legalization” of sex work always features weird, arbitrary laws written by obsessive bureaucrats:

Sex workers are complaining that their work is being hamstrung by ludicrous laws in Queensland that police what they can and cannot say to potential clients…advertising regulations…go into an almost perverse level of detail.  Phrases sex workers could get arrested for using in ads includes seemingly innocuous terms such as “natural,” “tasty,” “kissable” and “sweet nectar”…stating they offer oral sex is prohibited, but oddly, saying they specifically do not offer oral sex is just fine…guidelines…also lists words that are fine to use including “magic hands,” “dominatrix,” and “man action”…

Full of Themselves (#614)

If there’s ever an award for the most pompous, stuffy, bootlicking language in anti-whore propaganda, we need to name it after the California Massage Therapy Council:

…California…massage therapists are dogged by a big problem: criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes.  This situation isn’t unique to California.  However, a new [fascist] partnership between [cops] and the entity that administers voluntary massage certification is a novel weapon in the fight against [sex workers]…CAMTC…[claims he right to define] what constitutes legitimate massage therapy services…and…has…created a Sexually Suggestive Advertising Task Force as a tool to weed out criminals posing as massage therapists…police agencies throughout the state are especially [sexually obsessed] with sex traffickers using the massage industry as a cover…

Scapegoats (#697) 

Because obviously pigs still don’t have enough excuses to cage people yet:

The [Louisiana] Senate has approved a bill designed to make it clear that bestiality is illegal…A law on the books prohibits “crimes against nature,” but it also outlaws so-called sodomy and was ruled unconstitutional in 2003…Senator JP Morrell says it’s important that the state has a way to arrest someone for having sex with animals.  He told fellow lawmakers, “God forbid you vote against this bill, good luck explaining it.”  Ten senators did vote against it…

The War Goes On (#711) 

The idea that women have free will is incomprehensible to the misogynistic sociopaths in “law enforcement”:

The Backpage shut down…has…prompted fear of where prostitutes and pimps will look to advertise their services…Utah Attorney General’s Office Assistant Chief Nate Mutter [said]…“The demand is going to be there, what this will do is slow the supply side down a bit…My guess is a lot of advertisement from Backpage will find its way to more applications…People need to be aware of that they can accidentally find themselves being involved in trafficking.”  Mutter says sex traffickers are manipulative and may try and extort online dating app users…

Look out, dating app users, someone may offer you quality sex at a set price!  THE HORROR!!!!

Traffic in Nonsense (#747)

Another state requires anti-whore indoctrination for licensing:

A new law passed by the Colorado legislature will require applicants for commercial drivers licenses…to go through indoctrination] on how to spot signs of human traffickers and their victims…Truckers Against Trafficking has fully supported the bill…

Amnesty At Last (#781)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for three years now:

D.C. Council member David Grosso…issued a statement…calling on District Police Chief Peter Newsham and U.S. Attorney for D.C. Jessie Liu to temporarily suspend arrests and prosecutions of sex workers…Grosso said his request was based on concerns raised by sex worker advocacy groups that the recent forced shutdown of websites that allowed sex workers to operate with a “greater degree of safety than on the streets” has placed them in danger of violence and arrest…

O, Canada! (#785)

Canadian cops are really invested in pretending their sexual harassment of women is to “protect” them:

[Toronto] has launched an investigation into the conduct of some of its bylaw officers in relation to [reports] from women working in…body rub parlors…Kristyn Wong-Tam said…women working at the parlours…felt they are being racially targeted…“They felt that having an officer come in three to four times a week…was rather punitive…It was very disruptive to their business”…the women were forced to sing for the officer’s entertainment, told to stand as a form of punishment and barred from using the bathroom during an inspection…

Against Their Will (#799)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

Two…sex workers… died after falling from the third floor of a building while trying to escape a police raid in…Mumbai…by climbing down…with the help of a rope…while climbing down, they slipped and fell…

Business As Usual (#824)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

…prostitutes operating in…Bulawayo [Zimbabwe]…have expressed dismay over the abuse they endure at the hands of [cops] who continuously arrest them and demand sex in return for their freedom.  Some…make the demands daily and sometimes more than once in a single night…The prostitutes…[are] threatened with arrest and to avoid the inconvenience would [allow themselves to be raped]…to avoid sleeping in the cells and losing business.  The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in May 2015 outlawed the arrest of prostitutes on charges of loitering “for purposes of prostitution”…

Disaster (#826)

Some activists believe that FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government; even the Christian-leaning American Conservative sees it as a bad idea:

…The language of FOSTA is both vague and extremely expansive.  It prohibits website owners from “promoting or facilitating prostitution”.  That can obviously be subjected to wide interpretation, and the penalty for violating the new law is up to 10 years in prison.  Hence, multiple websites are erring on the side of self-censorship…Amending Section 230 is a terrible precedent and a slippery slope towards government regulation of the Internet and censorship…several privacy and personal freedom organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have criticized the expansive nature of the bill, worried that it could ultimately affect web content unrelated to prostitution…

The deeply-confused Rolling Stone published an article by our own Siouxsie Q:

The debilitating shock, sadness and panic that is moving through the sex-working community right now is palpable…Still, the community is rallying as hard as we are grieving, organizing in an unprecedented push to let the voices of those who will be affected by these pieces of legislation be heard.  Survivors, allies, and sex workers from all over the country flooded the congressional phone lines last month…The #LetUsSurvive and #SurvivorsAgainstSesta social media campaign has garnered over 5 million impressions and even mainstream celebrities have started speaking up and standing with sex workers and survivors…

This Means War 

Millions of sex workers can thank Carl Ferrer for selling them out to save his own skin:

Backpage…CEO Carl Ferrer has entered a guilty plea…[saying] he knew that the “escort” section of Backpage was largely ads for prostitution…Court documents in the cases against Ferrer and Backpage don’t reveal any damning new information about the company, nor any new discoveries that allowed authorities to make their case…But this time, Ferrer decided to break from his colleagues and play ball with the state rather than fight.  In exchange for the plea deal, he’ll provide information on the Travel Act and money-laundering cases against his colleagues…Money-laundering may sound sinister…but it’s one of those charges (like conspiracy) that our nation’s cops and courts often abuse.  In this case, Backpage originally accepted payments for its…ads…via typical digital payment mediums…But thanks to hounding and intimidation by various government entities, Backpage was forced to stop accepting all those payment methods….and…to encourage people to use cryptocurrency for payments.  The company also created intermediary companies to handle payments, so that the transactions wouldn’t raise alarms with risk-paranoid bankers and financial processors.  Ultimately, the money-laundering that…Ferrer admitted wasn’t about shielding assets in offshore tax havens or otherwise hiding the company’s profits from government tax collectors…without subsidiaries and crypto, Backpage had no way to accept payment for…ads…

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

It’s dangerous to be a woman who knows the sexual secrets of powerful men:

[Thai] police have filed new charges against…a woman who claims to have evidence of Russian ties to U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign…Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, has attracted widespread attention for claiming to have recordings of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a crony of President Vladimir Putin, discussing interference in the U.S. election.  She is being held in an immigration detention center and has pleaded not to be expelled to Russia….[she was] arrested with eight others for holding a sex training course…

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If Jesus was coming up the escalator three or four steps lower than you are, would He consider what you were wearing was acceptable?  –  Christian modesty guide (2016)

When this song came on my “Bohemian Rhapsody” Pandora station last week (yes, I have a station based on “Bohemian Rhapsody”; why don’t you?) I hadn’t heard it in decades.  But it’s one I have thought about often, and upon re-listening I realized that it’s one of the inspirations for my story “Millennium“.  The links above it were provided by Tim CushingElizabeth N. BrownMike SiegelRick HorowitzLenore Skenazy, and Tim Cushing again, in that order.

From the Archives

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Imagine…saying that domestic violence victims need to be arrested because they’re too morally damaged to know what’s good for them.  –  Tara Burns

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Boo hoo hoo, the poor widdle piggie CWIED because he got caught!

A police officer breaks down in tears after being arrested on suspicion of blackmail as part of an investigation to weed out corrupt cops.  DC Gareth Suffling is led away in handcuffs after he was found to have accessed a blackmail victim’s details on his police computer to find out his address before the victim reported he was being blackmailed…[the] married man [was] sent a letter threatening to tell his family he had received oral sex from a sex worker unless he pays the blackmailer £1000.  The letter also contained photos of the man visiting the sex worker…

Moloch 

Naturally, there are people opposed to this, because THE CHILDREN!!!!

A Kansas state legislator has proposed a bill that would decriminalize consensual sexual contact between kids under the age of 14…the state’s draconian laws…currently criminalize sexual contact up to age 16…The bill is partly inspired by the ordeal of Randy Masten, whose 14-year-old son was charged with a felony for engaging in mutual, consensual kissing and touching with a 13-year-old girl…”The charges were later dropped.  Masten…spent nearly $13,000 on an attorney and never found out why the case went away…his son and the girl were 55 days apart in age.  ‘What if we did not have the means to defend our son?  An overzealous DA…could have destroyed my son’s life and wrecked the lives of my wife and myself as well’, Masten said“…

Watershed

Articles like this one are now becoming quite common:

…sex workers are challenging…misleading and harmful efforts to link prostitution to sex trafficking.  “People have used this moral panic, this idea that there is a trafficking epidemic, to create so much funding and so much policy that now they’re being pressured to show the evidence”…said Tara Burns, researcher and founding member of the Community United for Safety and Protection (CUSP)…“That’s where we see police arresting [prostitutes] for sex trafficking themselves, just so they can get those sex trafficking numbers up, and match the moral panic they’ve created”…

Policing for Profit

When victims have nothing to steal, cops profit from them by fucking up their lives instead:

Moving in on what [they claimed] to be a crack deal, [two cops planted] two packets, which turned out to contain little more than a residue of the drug.  Two men — [claimed] to be the buyer and the seller — were arrested, but the charges against one of the men were eventually dismissed.  What the [cops] did get that day was more than 20 hours in overtime for hauling in and processing the men…as much as $1,400 in extra pay…four of the [cops] involved…fac[e] accusations that they detained one of the men, Hector Cordero, simply to increase their income.  If any of the [four] are found liable, another trial will be scheduled, one that could represent the biggest challenge to New York policing practices since stop-and-frisk.  The second trial would examine the broader question of whether the city’s [cops] habitually use false arrests to bolster their pay.  Accusations about the practice — known as “collars for dollars” — have dogged the department for decades.  The Mollen Commission’s 1994 report about police corruption, which used the term, detailed the various and devious overtime schemes that have been used…

Torture Chamber 

I can tell you exactly how high it goes, but you won’t like or accept the answer:

S[even screws]…have been charged with sexually abusing female inmates, some for more than a decade, at a…prison in Pennsylvania…The seven men created a culture of fear and [rape] inside the Lackawanna County Prison in Scranton, using their positions of power over the inmates to [rape] them…in cells and utility closets…The sexual abuse was common and widely known within the prison, where guards alerted one another if supervisors were approaching while they were [raping their victims]…Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, said…“This was not one rogue prison guard…Whenever you see this kind of scope, whenever you see this kind of pervasive culture that was allowed to exist, you have to wonder how far up the chain this goes”…

Eternal Vigilance

Even in Australia, where one state has decrim and it’s frequently talked about in others, prohibitionists keep trying to spread their lies:

Respect and the peak national sex worker organisation, the Scarlet Alliance, are calling on every state and territory to follow the example of New South Wales, which repealed laws against prostitution…But legitimacy is vehemently opposed by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA).  Spokeswoman Dr Meagan Tyler…says decriminalisation does not recognise [what she fantasizes are] prostitution’s systemic harms and imbedded inequalities…

False Witness 

Just in case you thought stuff like this ended with the Satanic Panic:

Gabby Sones…along with a nephew and two nieces—all of them between the ages of four and eight—had [been led by cops, prosecutors, “child protection” bureaucrats and other malignant busybodies to support a] made[-up] series of accusations that rocked their community.  They’d claimed that Gabby’s parents, Jimmy and Sheila, as well as five other local adults, had committed a series of depraved, almost incomprehensible sex crimes.  The defendants, the children [were led to] testif[y], had set up a “sex kindergarten” in a trailer outside Tyler [Texas].  Then the adults [fantasized that the Sones & the others] had put the children on a stage at a swingers club in nearby Mineola, where the kids were drugged and forced to dance and have sex with one another…“Mineola Child Sex Ring: ‘Indescribable Acts,’ ” blared the Tyler Morning Telegraph.  Across the country, people read in Newsweek about the case…A war would rage for eight years, pitting children against parents, social workers against cops, and one district attorney against another.  But above all else, it would pit a woman named Margie Cantrell, a lifelong [busybody] and de[lusional pathological liar]…against a group of people portrayed [by “authorities”] as redneck deviants.  In 2008 and 2010, based on the [coerced] testimony of Gabby and the other children, four of the defendants were put on trial and sentenced to prison for life.  As a young child, Gabby had…accepted whatever [cops] told her.  But she was an intelligent kid, curious and hardheaded, and the older she got, the more she tried to make sense of what she’d supposedly been through.  As a teenager, the questions in her mind became more difficult to suppress.  The stories just didn’t add up…

In this case, several of the victims of the witch hunt managed to escape without their lives being entirely destroyed, and Gabby is working to clear their names.  But until our “justice” system renounces its sick obsession with doing anything, even pretending that impossible nonsense is credible, in order to score “convictions” by destroying people’s lives, this is going to keep happening over and over and over.

Prudesville (#794) 

Stays like this always favor the party with more money and power, in this case the city:

The city of Everett, Washington, has filed an appeal after a federal judge ruled in favor of bikini baristas, who sued the city over new dress code ordinances that ban bare skin…the baristas’ lawsuit has been put on hold as the city appeals the judge’s decision in December to extend an injunction, preventing the city from enforcing its two laws. The judge last month agreed to stay the case as the appeal proceeds…

Lest you forget, Everett’s argument for its law is “women who dress like sluts are asking to be raped”.

Cooties (#811)

AirBnB knows very well there’s no “sex trafficking” going on, because sex workers rent the spaces under their own individual profiles.  But this makes good publicity for the very stupid:

Airbnb said…it would invest in new technology to crack down on modern slavery [in order to capitalize on fantasies]…that traffickers are turning its properties into “pop-up brothels” to sexually exploit [passive, doll-like] women and girls.  Airbnb…has teamed up with anti-[sex worker profiteers] Polaris to [indocrinate] its employees, develop new [means of spying on AirBnB users] and [rat suspected sex workers out to] the police…

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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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