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Posts Tagged ‘Backpage’

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

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

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

 

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Facebook censorship is just what government censorship looks like in a corporatist system.  –  Caitlin Johnstone

Banishment (#446)

Threatening landlords to get them to evict sex workers is a popular Bay Area pig trick:

More than a hundred massage parlors in San Jose…were…shut…down…by…Vice [pigs]…[after pigs got happy ending massages at] 54 of [them.  Cops then threatened]…landlords [with pimping charges]…which prompted the shutdown of 62 of the parlors…neighboring cities, which [are also run by gangs of simians]…are now asking SJPD for information [so they can “monkey see, monkey do”] its approach…

One jurisdiction in the Washington DC area has done this as well.

To Molest and Rape 

If not for the witness & video, they’d be defending this rapist right now:

…Ryan Macklin…of the Prince George’s County Police Department, was [arrested for raping a woman after he forced her to pull]…over at about 1 a.m. on [October 11th.  He]…order[ed] her to move her car behind a store…[where he] oral[ly raped] her [and attempted to rape her vaginally until] interrupted by a witness whom the woman had called earlier, the [rapist then fled and] the witness later corroborated some of the woman’s account of the assault, which was also backed up by video evidence…Police [claim] they do not know why Macklin…[raped] the [woman]…

Cooties (#786) 

Shuker is a well-known prohibitionist fond of publicly masturbating to “sex slave” fantasies:

…MP Gavin Shuker has started a…[gang] to [at]tack…sex [workers]…called Luton Against Sexual Exploitation (LASE)…He [claims] a police initiative, begun in 2013, [to not persecute sex workers] was viewed as a failure by [prohibitionists who want sex workers persecuted]…Shuker is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution which [fantasizes that] sexual exploitation of women in pop-up brothels was widespread across the country.  The committee [was organized specifically to] recommend…the government…make paying for sex a crime…

Censor Chic (#830)

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

After a massive purge of hundreds of politically oriented pages and personal accounts for “inauthentic behavior”, Facebook rightly received a fair amount of criticism for the nebulous and hotly disputed basis for that action.  What received relatively little attention was the far more ominous step which was taken next:  within hours of being purged from Facebook, multiple anti-establishment alternative media sites had their accounts completely removed from Twitter as well…Anti-Media, the Free Thought Project, and Police the Police, all of whom had millions of followers [were banned from both] Facebook…and…Twitter [almost simultaneously]…It is now clear that there is either (A) some degree of communication/coordination between Twitter and Facebook about their respective censorship practices, or (B) information being given to both Twitter and Facebook by another party regarding targets for censorship.  Either way, it means that there is now some some mechanism in place linking the censorship of dissident voices across multiple platforms.  We are beginning to see smaller anti-establishment alternative media outlets cut off from their audiences by the same sort of coordinated cross-platform silencing we first witnessed with Alex Jones in August…

Pyrrhic Victory (#849)

You do realize TSA is part of DHS, right? The agency building a giant biometric database?

Customs and Border Protection has been using facial recognition to screen non-US residents on international flights since 2015, a project that was expedited by the Trump administration.  Last year, the US government laid out its plans to start expanding the [surveillance] tools to US citizens, which would require them to undergo facial scans when they leave the country through a system called the Biometric Pathway…TSA will adopt the same technology, partnering with CBP on biometrics for international travelers, expanding security operations to TSA Precheck members, and eventually, using facial recognition to verify domestic travelers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

Activists, civil rights groups and Amazon’s own shareholders are now joined by its employees:

…Amazon, where I work, is currently allowing police departments around the country to purchase its facial recognition product, Rekognition, and I and other employees demand that we stop immediately.  A couple weeks ago, my co-workers delivered a letter to this effect, signed by over 450 employees, to Jeff Bezos and other executives.  The letter also contained demands to kick Palantir…off Amazon Web Services and to institute employee oversight for ethical decisions…Amazon’s website brags of the system’s ability to store and search tens of millions of faces at a time.  Law enforcement has already started using facial recognition with virtually no public oversight or debate or restrictions on use from Amazon.  Orlando, Florida, is testing Rekognition with live video feeds from surveillance cameras around the city.  A sheriff’s department in Oregon [uses]  Rekognition to let officers in the field compare photos to a database of mugshots.  This is not a hypothetical situation…

One Born Every Minute (#856) 

Another sleazy scam artist raping aspiring sex workers:

…Deana Embry got a Facebook message from a man who said he was an agent for Evil Angel Videos…and urged her to audition…she signed several [fake] contracts, discussed her boundaries, and did everything asked of her in the extensive audition process—including a sex scene…[later] she learned the man was not an agent…but a local business owner and engineering student by the name of Francisco Reveriano…[who] sent similar messages to at least two other women …but…a sting operation…by Embry and a top executive of Evil Angel [with the help of a PI]…succeeded in driving Reveriano underground, even securing a videotaped admission from him.  But despite [raping at least one woman and scheming to rape others] Reveriano currently faces nothing more than a fine [because Texas]…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#867) 

I’ll bet you thought I was kidding when I put that necrophilia item under this heading:

…one of the UK’s first sex doll rental services…offers to make bespoke dolls for those seeking comfort after losing a partner by matching their likeness.  Jade Stanley…says…“We have a lot of people approach us who have dolls made that resemble a partner they have lost”…Bespoke dolls can cost up to $5,200 and can be made to any specification…“I’m hoping to open an office in Atlanta…We are currently in the process of working with some well-known porn stars to get dolls made that look just like them”…

Disaster (#873)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

The government shutdown of Backpage.com this year…has [predictably] prompted an increase in [the number of] sex [workers] on San Francisco streets.  [Arrests]…related to [sex work]…have more than tripled in 2018 — with 67 through August, up from 21 during the same period last year…as much of the activity had been [peacefully and privately conducted] online…Antonio Flores [oinked]…“A few sex workers are [resisting when cops try]…to prey on [them]”…Pike Long…of St. James Infirmary [explained]…“Without being able to advertise online…a huge number of sex workers were forced to go outside, and many have reported that former pimps came out of the woodwork offering to ‘manage’ their business again since they were now rendered unable to find and screen clients online”…

Remember, when cops & reporters say “sex trafficking” they actually mean sex work; in San Francisco, it’s an important way of getting around the “policies” they established to quiet squeaky wheels.

The Widening Gyre (#878)

What the fuck is going on in San Angelo, Texas?

San Angelo Police issued a news release after recieving several calls Monday, Oct. 15…“Police received several inquiring about black-colored zip ties being used to target potential victims of human trafficking…One post was concerning a zip tie that was placed on a…vehicle side mirror.  In another…sex traffickers were placing black zip ties on the lamp posts, houses, apartments, and fences of their intended female targets.”  The department said it’s received no reports of…attempted kidnappings relating to human trafficking…police learned the person who created the original post was not the owner of the pictured vehicle and had copied the claim as a means to [get attention]…

This is the same small city which saw the “Bible study sex traffickers” a few weeks ago.  Naturally, USA Today helpfully responded by posting more “signs of sex trafficking” propaganda so as to help quench the fire with gasoline.

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As most of y’all can probably guess, I have not been watching the Kavanaugh hearings on TV, because even if I did watch other TV news (which I don’t, and haven’t since I first started reading the newspaper around age 12, recognizing even then that it was entertainment and not news) I would certainly not watch this ridiculous circus designed to further the popular “red-blue” myth in the minds of the hoi-polloi.  I also have the word “Kavanaugh” muted on Twitter, but of course that doesn’t block tweets which don’t directly reference him.  So I was able to see and comment on this very interesting observation by Phoenix Calida:

So you know Rachel Mitchell, the woman who is going to question Dr. Christine Ford?  She’s a prosecutor with the special victims unit.  From Maricopa county.  You know, the place where sheriff Joe Arpaio worked?…The one who bragged about running concentration camps where guards tortured inmates?  And then he was held in Contempt of court for racial profiling and pardoned by Trump?…And remember when Sheriff Joe refused to investigate rape cases?  And cases where children were being sexually abused by adults?  All Bc the victims were Latinas?  That’s where this woman earned her credentials as a sex crimes prosecutor.  Rachel Mitchell is about to question Dr. Ford, an alleged rape victim.  And Mitchell earned her “credentials” working with cops who wouldn’t even investigate rape cases in their county.  How do y’all see this really turning out?

Maricopa County is, of course, a cesspool of political corruption, especially where sex work is concerned.  And Arpaio was a big Trump supporter, so one of his gang turning up in Washington to help Trump is not really a surprise.  But Phoenix’s tweets got me thinking, so I wrote this after quoting hers:

You remember Arpaio, right?  The guy who arrested newspapermen Lacey & Larkin for exposing his corruption?  The same Lacey & Larkin who were persecuted as owners of Backpage, partly thanks to the efforts of Cindy McCain, whom they exposed as a drug addict who robbed her own charity?  The same Cindy McCain, widow of John McCain, warmonger politician from AZ (where Maricopa County is) who has relentlessly demonized Backpage (owned by the men who exposed her crimes) for years?  Arizona is also the site of ASU, home of Dominique Roe-Sepowitz (who says sex work is bad because “body fluids” cause brain damage), who is paid big bucks by the McCain Institute and government cronies to do bogus “studies” designed to “prove” that “sex trafficking” was rampant on Backpage?  Funny how all of this shit begins to fit together when you follow the money and the trail of vendettas, alliances & favors, isn’t it?

And in case you hadn’t noticed, while this big show of “us vs them” was going on, Congress almost-unanimously passed the biggest war-advancing military spending bill in history, and the House passed a bill which expands the PATRIOT Act using “sex trafficking” as an excuse with solid support from both of these supposedly-deadly-enemy parties.  But please keep watching the fireworks and pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

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Elizabeth Nolan Brown is the queen of whore allies.  For the past several years she has relentlessly pursued every item she can find about sex work and the “sex trafficking” hysteria that authoritarians are using to persecute us, drilling down to the truth and splattering the propaganda that most mainstream journalists eagerly swallow whole while making “nom nom nom” noises.  But every so often she writes something huge, like her exposé of the facts behind the 2016 takedown of Seattle’s The Review Board.  And this week she released another such piece:  a thorough look at what I recently called “Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin[‘s]…long, strange trip from student antiwar activists to props in the government’s manufactured ‘sex trafficking’ hysteria.”  The article is what this piece in Politico could’ve been had the reporter been more interested in getting at the truth than in demonstrating how much of the dick of power he could get down without gagging.  It deserves to be read in its entirety, but here are a few excerpts to tease it:

…Lacey and Larkin, ages 69 and 70, respectively, are confined by court order to Maricopa County and stuck wearing homing devices under their pant legs to ensure it…Their confinement will last through 2020, when their trial is scheduled.  Their bank accounts have already been seized. “Everything has been brutal,” says Larkin.  Both men argue that the case against them is politically motivated and that current stalling on the state’s part is designed to force a plea.  But “they’re going to have to win this in court,” says Lacey, “and we don’t think they can.  And our lawyers don’t think they can.”  Officially, Larkin, Lacey, and several of their former colleagues were accused of money laundering, conspiracy, and violating the Travel Act, which says local crimes become federal business when they cross state lines.  But in the court of public opinion, you’ll hear that they were complicit in facilitating underage prostitution as the founders and former owners of the now-shuttered classified ad website Backpage…

…Neither Lacey nor Larkin is accused of directly participating in any sexual exchange or of having knowledge about any particular crimes advanced through the platform.  In fact, law enforcement sources have over the years consistently applauded Backpage for its help making cases against predators and locating runaway teens.  The story of their arrest, then, is better understood as one of near-religious fervor, government greed, and political retribution, in which an escalating panic over commercial sex coincided with a booming online publishing platform.  “We didn’t go looking for this fight,” says Lacey, whose knuckles are tattooed with the words HOLD FAST.  “But we didn’t back away from it either”…

…Neither Lacey nor Larkin expected serious trouble.  New Times “had personals from day one,” says Larkin. “We’ve had adult advertising from 1970.”  Initially, the relationship between Backpage and law enforcement agents was cordial and cooperative.  Ads that directly indicated underage or forced prostitution were blocked and reported to NCMEC and law enforcement, as were posts deemed suspicious or likely to contain images of someone under 21, the legal threshold for missing children.  Backpage lawyers gave tutorials at national police conferences on how to work with Backpage records staff for investigative purposes, and management met with NCMEC monthly.  CEO Carl Ferrer also testified in sexual exploitation cases, and Backpage staff were described by authorities as quick and cooperative in responding to records subpoenas—around 100 per month by 2011.  Statements from a wide array of officials highlight the site’s value to investigators in solving cases, often noting how much more helpful it was than other web forums…

…”This is the biggest speech battle in America right now,” Lacey adds.  “The First Amendment isn’t about protecting the rights of the McLaughlin Group to speak their mind on television.  This is specifically what the fuck it’s about.  Unpopular speech.  Dangerous speech.  Speech that threatens the norm.  Not only do we have that right, our readers have that right.  The [Backpage] posters have that right…We spent 40 years doing journalism, groundbreaking journalism, and they want to take all that away,” he says—because “they don’t like who exercised their constitutional rights to use our advertising platform”…

What are you waiting for?  Go read it already!

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I am a mid level ($250/hr) escort in a large US city and have been in the business for a dozen or more years, and I’ve never seen so many clients assume they can have sex without a condom.  It used to be if they even asked for bareback I wouldn’t even see them; now that request is more than half the people I speak with, and a good percentage think they can just hop on bareback without even asking.  Is it because I am older?  One guy said he assumed I would be OK with it because I can’t get pregnant (which isn’t even correct).  Haven’t these idiots heard of STIs?  Also, what is the definition of GFE?  A good portion of men now seem think it means BBFS.  That has never been my definition of those letters.

It’s not because you’re older; it’s because of the government’s war on us.  The increase in stings and persecution of clients has made some guys either stop seeing escorts for a while, or stick with girls they already know and trust, or turn to higher-priced girls with a bigger web presence.  That means a lot of the semi-pros and low-priced full-timers don’t get the business they did only a few years ago, and some of them have (understandably) become more desperate because of that.  Some are lowering prices, others are relaxing screening, and some are doing bareback to catch the foolish guys others are turning away.  Also, with the demise of Backpage, a lot of the budget providers who advertised there don’t know where to turn & can’t afford more expensive ad sites like Eros or Slixa; a lot of the guys who were able to find “anything goes” semi-pros on Backpage are also flooding into other ad sites & they don’t know the rules.  So the whole market is in chaos, and mid-range providers like you are forced to deal with stupid yo-yos who think “STI” is a government agency.

I’ve been in the business since the ‘90s, and I can state categorically that GFE does not and never has meant “bareback”; it has always meant a style that’s more relaxed & friendly, with conversation, kissing & cuddling.  In fact, I remember arguing on hooker boards around 2010 with guys who were trying to claim it meant some checklist of activities (which it doesn’t & never has), but even then everyone understood it did not mean bareback.  I’m not sure where the idea that it does came from, but this is the second time recently I’ve heard this; the other was on Twitter, where someone quoted from an idiot cop’s claim to a court that GFE and PSE both mean “bareback”.  My only guess is that over the past decade some group of really dumb hobbyists, probably on a “bros before hos” site like TER, intentionally decided to try to shift the meaning of GFE (because they’re stupid and think with the wrong head), and now that their site has been shut down due to FOSTA they’re spilling out into the general community and can only be stopped from their filthy habits by scrupulous professionals like us. 

(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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Humans have been exchanging sex for money and goods for thousands of years.  No act of government will end the practice.  –  Adam Sullivan

Counterfeit Comfort

How does government fight imaginary high recidivism rates?  By enacting policies designed to dramatically magnify the social isolation that increases recidivism, of course!

An Ohio [man] who spent three years in jail for a sex crime with an 18-year-old [woman] is not allowed to live with or write to his son, 14, because the boy is a minor.  He is also not allowed to talk to him on the phone or even possess a photo of him.  Now the dad has filed a federal lawsuit claiming these parole conditions are unconstitutional …his crime wasn’t with a male or a minor.  And yet, under Ohio’s five year mandatory “post-release control,” he cannot visit his son without [supervision] by a parole officer, whom he must pay. Unemployed, the dad can’t afford a visit.  And the rules say that even during a supervised visit, he would not be allowed to hug his son…”he is forbidden from moving back to the family home or having any contact with his son. He could not send his son a card or call him on his 14th birthday“…

Creating the Crisis

More accurate headline: “How Romania Became a Prohibitionist Bogeyman”:

Berlin…residents [use their magic mind-reading powers to declare that migrant sex workers] from Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine….did not have the German sex industry on their minds when they [supposedly] imagined [childish fantasies about] bright futures for themselves in the EU, just as Romania did not envisage prostitution becoming one of its leading “exports” after it joined the EU in 2007.  But official statistics from Germany and some other EU member states show that Romanian nationals represent a significant portion of sex workers in these countries.  “When talking about sex trafficking, Romania is [fantasized] as one of the trend setters in Europe, next to Albania,” [proclaimed] Silvia Martis Tabusca, an international law professor specializing in migration…

Torture Chamber

What our government calls a “correctional facility”:

…in the El Paso County Jail in Colorado, [sow] Sandra Rincon was celebrated with a tiara, a “princess” plate, and a cake with the number “50” on top.  The number…referred to the number of times she had used force against prisoners, ranging from handcuffing to punching and kicking.  She was the winner of what one of the county [screws] called a “fight club,” crowning whoever used force most often as the champion.  The “fight club” competition was uncovered in the course of a lawsuit filed by civil rights attorney Darold Killmer…[for] excessive force against his client, Philippa McCully…the county settled McCully’s case for $675,000.  The uncovering of the “fight club” did lead to an investigation, but [as always] that investigation  fell far short of being genuine…There were…no demotions, no transfers, [no criminal charges] or dock of pay for anyone involved…[Let’s hope] the county’s dismissal of the “fight club” as simply bad judgment…exacerbates the distrust between the community and [the count’s hired thugs]…[and even] further erode it…

Whither Canada?

Why does this journalist feel compelled to cede ground to prohibitionist lies?

When Canada decided to tackle prostitution by adopting “end demand” laws, it was supposed to make sex work safer and healthier.  But precisely the opposite has happened, according to new research presented at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam…Researchers from both Canada and France found that…the Nordic model, or “end demand” approach – actually made life worse for sex workers by pushing the trade further into the shadows, making it more difficult to negotiate prices and condom use, and making it less likely that workers would access health services…Elena Argento…a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, studied 854…sex workers…Hélène Le Bail, a researcher at Sciences Po CERI in Paris, said the “end demand” approach was supposed to be more progressive but France has seen the same problems as Canada…Her research, which involved 691 sex workers, showed that “end demand” laws have resulted in an “acute increase in socioeconomic vulnerability”…and [contrary to the sale pitch] sex workers are still more likely to be arrested and fined than their clients…

No, Canada’s Swedish model law was not “supposed to make sex work safer and healthier”; like all versions of the Swedish filth, it was specifically intended to make sex work more dangerous:

Full of Themselves (#630)

It’s good to see at least a few masseuses recognizing that they need to stand with sex workers rather than getting in bed with pigs and prohibitionists:

[Politicians] in several Iowa communities are considering moves to [harass]…massage businesses…[that pigs claim] are selling illegal sex services, and some [pompous] massage therapists say they give the industry a bad reputation.  [Prohibitionists pretend] their main concern…is…sex trafficking…However, [prohibitionists intentionally] conflat[e]…human trafficking with…sex work…“We act as though people with vaginas should not be choosing when or why they have sex and who they have it with.  Effectively it’s saying that they couldn’t possibly make decisions about their own bodies,” said Jaime Nevins, an Iowa City licensed massage therapist and an advocate for sex workers’ rights.  Nevins…[told] Iowa City [politicians]…“It’s like you can’t really be against [the proposed regulations] or you’ll be pro-sex trafficking, or perceived as that”…Bans on sex work are…similar to drug and alcohol restrictions.  Prohibition inevitably leads to underground markets..Violence thrives in secrecy…

Rough Trade (#769)

As I’ve mentioned many times, US sex workers are arrested for being raped:

…a 30-year-old woman…was [drugged and] raped and then “dumped out” near a [Nashville gas] station…several calls [reported] a [woman]…walking in the middle of the road crying, and possibly intoxicated…staff at the [gas] station had come to the aid of the woman in distress, [but by contrast]…the…police [protected and served her by arresting]…her…for public intoxication, though they clearly note in documents that she had no smell of alcohol, but was likely under the influence of an unknown drug…[then after] she admitted that…she [is a sex worker]…she was taken directly to booking, without any testing of the drugs in her system, any rape kit done, or even knowing if she was drugged by the man, or took the drugs willingly…then charged…with prostitution…

Paint By Numbers (#784)

WTF, Teen Vogue?  You’ve been doing so well, and now you publish “sex trafficking” nonsense, complete with taped mouths and red Xs?

There are different estimates of the number of victims in the world today, but virtually all [prohibitionists] agree that it’s in the millions…there are many…sources [of propaganda] to help you learn more [nonsense you can use to harm sex workers by]…calling or texting the National Human Trafficking Hotline when you [imagine] signs of human trafficking, or [supporting] anti-[sex] legislation…whatever your background and interests, you can [make up] unique [publicity stunts or just mindlessly participate…in…[deeply stupid herd activities like standing around on lawns, getting dressed or drawing] a red X

Pyrrhic Victory (#785)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

[Western journalists visiting] the city of Kashgar in westernmost China…are [harassed by police]…we’re being tailed by some eight people and three cars…The minute we strike up conversation with anyone, officials appear and start interrogating them…Nowhere in the world, not even in North Korea, is the population monitored as strictly as it is in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region…Oppression has…worsened massively in recent months…Beijing has…turned Xinjiang into a security state that is extreme even by China’s standards…With around 500 [government thugs]…for every 100,000 inhabitants, the police presence will soon be almost as tight as it is in neighboring Tibet…cameras illuminat[e] every street all over the region, from the capital Urumqi to the most remote mountain village.  Iris scanners and WiFi sniffers are in use in stations, airports and at the ubiquitous checkpoints…an “integrated joint operations platform”…stores further data on the populace — from consumer habits to banking activity, health status and indeed the DNA profile of every single inhabitant of Xinjiang…The government has built up a grid of hundreds of re-education camps.  Tens of thousands of people have disappeared into them in recent months.  [Expert on China Adrian] Zenz estimates the number to be closer to hundreds of thousands…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#820) 

Porn is abuse of women!

…Patricia Hill, 69, of Jefferson County, Arkansas, has been charged with the capital murder of her husband, 65-year-old Frank Hill..Mrs  Hill…said she confronted her husband in the shed after she “disagreed with her husband’s purchase of video pornography via the television guide, which she cancelled upon discovering the purchase but Mr Hill managed to place a subsequent order”…After her husband refused to leave [his own home as] she [demanded]…Patricia Hill went back inside the home to arm herself with a .22 caliber pistol.  She then returned to the shed and…shot him in the leg and head…Hill confirmed that that there had never been any physical altercations between her and her husband prior to the night of the shooting…

If anything is a “public health crisis”, it’s violent prohibitionism.

This Means War

Though this article about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin has some good information on their long, strange trip from student antiwar activists to props in the government’s manufactured “sex trafficking” hysteria, it buys into that hysteria far too much to be read without an entire carton of salt, especially when it promotes the government-friendly view that the pair were no longer “real” journalists (a claim anyone who’s ever talked to Lacey in particular for more than about half an hour knows is 9944/100% pure bullshit).  Look also for the subtle pearl-clutching, complete with scare quotes around ordinary words, like, “On deadline days for escort ads, the offices of New Times publications filled with young women wearing skimpy outfits and too much perfume…I witnessed firsthand this weekly parade of ‘escorts’ at two papers owned by Lacey and Larkin...”

Rooted in Racism (#846) 

An especially egregious case of deliberate racial profiling by government-approved guidelines:

Three Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants are [bizarrely] being hailed as heroes after they [harassed] a group of [travelers that they had racist sex fantasies about]…Flight attendant Wesley Hirata [claimed] he sensed something wasn’t right [because] an older Asian man [was traveling with two white women and their younger sister] from Los Angeles to Honolulu.  Hirata [conspired with] other flight attendants who [interrogated] the [women] – revealing that one of them was [a legal minor] and all three had the same name [as one would expect of unmarried sisters]…The attendants informed the captain [that there was a family on board] and [somehow decided this was grounds for snitching to the pigs] in Honolulu.  Upon arrival in Hawaii the group was questioned by local police, who referred the case to the FBI…[who] soon established [that the sisters were indeed sisters]…and the man was a…[family friend] travelling…with them [and not a sinister Fu Manchu-like character out of these bigots’ racist sex fantasies]…

Choke Point (#850) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

…Bank of America customer[s] might be getting questions about…citizenship status and even have…accounts frozen with no warning.  KCTV…photographer…Josh Collins…received a mailer claiming to be sent by Bank of America that asked for personal information and citizenship information.  However, he has been a Bank of America customer for 20 years and was born a U.S. citizen, so he figured it could be a scam and that the bank would follow up if it was legitimate.  The next thing he knew, his accounts were frozen without notice…The bank representative told Collins…his…“cards ha[d] been lost or stolen.”  That was not true…They eventually unfroze Collins’ accounts, but not before sending an email notifying him all of his automatic bill payment accounts were wiped out…the bank explained that…they would be asking this of all their customers…Bank of America [blamed]…”law” [for the harassment]…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers, gun owners or migrants, but never stops there.

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