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Posts Tagged ‘Backpage’

Sex work is the most pervasive profession for a reason: acquiring human connection is essential for life.  –  Jerome NicholsEric Mischel

Droit du Seigneur

Most cops think they’re nobles, but this one thinks he’s King David:

A Cowetta County, Georgia District Attorney, Peter Skandalakis…has said that his office will not pursue charges against an officer who used his special badge powers to have several men arrested and thus detained while he dawdled their romantic partners.  Luthersville Police Department Officer Eric Mischel became involved in several affairs with women in relationships with men whom he violated…Even though an investigation has revealed a mountain of unscrupulous and unlawful behavior, he will not be charged because D.A. Scandalous says he was unable to find evidence that he broke his oath of office…

The More the Better

A few of my favorite lines from “6 Reasons to Hire a Sex Worker“:

…a good sex worker will do their best and that’s more than you can expect from a lot of volunteer sex partners…Pros are professionals; they know what they’re doing and make more money when you have fun.  The better sex they offer you, the more likely you are to return…Sex workers have experience and wisdom to share with you.  They can offer you lessons in an afternoon some people take years to acquire…You’d never say no a driving lesson before getting your license…

The Last Shall Be First

Somehow I doubt this will stop morally-retarded politicians (pardon the redundancy):

…OSHA now requires all employers under its jurisdiction provide employees with restroom facilities…According to the new guidelines, “Restricting employees to using only restrooms that are not consistent with their gender identity, or segregating them from other workers by requiring them to use gender-neutral or other specific restrooms, singles those employees out and may make them fear for their physical safety.  Bathroom restrictions can result in employees avoiding using restrooms entirely while at work, which can lead to potentially serious physical injury or illness.”  The new memo states employers must accommodate their employees based on which gender that employee identifies with…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#34)

millions of…sex workers…[are] anxiously waiting for [India’s] highest court to hand down a ruling which they hope will finally clarify the age-old profession s legal status.  Soliciting is illegal in India along with running a brothel and pimping, but the law, an archaic throw back to British colonial times, is vague on prostitution itself.  Sex workers are hoping the Supreme Court’s ruling will force the government to decriminalise the industry.  They say they are tired of being randomly targeted by police and sent to correction homes where they say conditions are worse than jails…

With Friends Like These…

Please, David Rosen, become a prohibitionist; if your attempt to hurt us is as totally wrong as your attempt to “help”, it’ll be a great pro-decrim argument:

…The real victims of commercial sex industry are the women, girls and some young men who are forced (or “choose”) to work in the sex trade.  These people most often live in poverty, have suffered physical and/or sexual abuse, lack affordable housing, have limited education, [and] have few job opportunities…The decriminalization of prostitution can help bring sex workers — the real victims of this “victimless” crime— out of the social shadows so they could secure labor rights, unemployment benefits, health care and life insurance…sex trafficking has reached epidemic proportion, with between 100,000 and 300,000 people annually at risk.  The Department of Homeland Security reports the average age for a girl sex worker at between 12-14 years and 11-13 years for boys.  The decriminalization of prostitution can help contain sex trafficking…

Science!

Another entry in the “climate change causes ‘sex trafficking’!” genre:

Pope Francis said he…believed the United Nations needed to play a central role in the fight against global warming…“the trafficking of human beings…has been created by climate change,” the pope said.  The remarks followed a day-long meeting of mayors from around the world…hosted by the Vatican…and…began by hearing [lurid tales] from two Mexican women who [claim to be] victims of modern-day slavery…

Unfortunately, this Pope seems to have completely swallowed the “sex trafficking” myth.

Policing for Profit

Just in case you don’t believe cops & politicians are completely out of touch:

An assistant district attorney in…Oklahoma lived rent-free in a house confiscated by local law enforcement under the practice of asset forfeiture.  His office paid the utility bills.  He remained there for five years, despite a court order to sell the house at auction.  Another district attorney used $5,000 worth of confiscated funds to pay back his student loans.  These are just a few of the gems unearthed during a recent hearing on Oklahoma authorities’ liberal use of asset forfeiture to take property from suspected criminals and spend it on personal enrichment…State Sen. Kyle Loveless…has sponsored a bill to…prohibit asset forfeiture unless a suspect was actually convicted of a crime, and stipulate that the money go to the state’s general fund…Unsurprisingly, cops are desperate to preserve the practice…We can’t stop people from having drugs unless we are allowed to steal more money has to be one of the least-convincing arguments for maintaining the drug war…

Hall of Shame (#428) 

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

…Dennis Hof…has started an exploratory committee to pursue a run for US Senate in Nevada, and created a plan to end sex trafficking…he plans to run on the libertarian ticket…Sex trafficking is an American epidemic far more dangerous than Ebola…and…the third biggest black market industry after drugs and arms trafficking…Hof…believes his experience with legal prostitution proves that decriminalizing the oldest profession would end one of the world’s biggest human rights issues…

Hof has never spoken in favor of decriminalization; he speaks in favor of legalization, and regularly implies that women are too stupid and weak to have sex for our own reasons without crony pimps holding our leashes.  He’s a “libertarian” like I’m a socialist.Hanna Fanni

Whore Detection

It isn’t only in the US that black women are routinely profiled as whores:

…on July 8th…the hotel staff at [the] five-star…Mövenpick Hotel [in Dubai] refused to serve [a Nigerian woman named Hanna Fanni ]…when she visited the hotel’s popular West Beach Bistro & Sports Lounge with her black American friend…“They suspected us of being prostitutes…solely because of the colour of our skin.  I have lived here for 10 years and have never been treated in such a disrespectful and despicable manner…First the waitress refused to serve us and then a security guard ordered us to leave the hotel.  At one stage he was ready to engage with us physically…he kept telling us that the bar didn’t allow unaccompanied women…[but] there were several tables occupied by women.  When I pointed to them, he said he was merely following orders…I showed [the bar manager] my business card…his face contorted in panic as it dawned on him that they had racially profiled the wrong people.  But instead of making amends, he said the security guard had asked us to leave as some black women had come in earlier and solicited their guests”…the hotel tried to make amend but they were so humiliated they had to leave…

Repeat Offenders (#449) 

Prohibitionists cut into street workers’ income by hanging around them:

They are a band of Christian soldiers who walk Akron’s streets looking for prostituted women.  Their sole goal is to pray that the weighty chains that bind these women to their lifestyles will be severed.  To tell them that there is a God who is mightier than their pimps.  And to say that He loves them for who they are — not because they can turn tricks.  The men and women who make up this army are part of RAHAB, a nonprofit ministry of hope.  To make themselves more accessible to those who are forced to sell their bodies, they work out of a house on the east side of Akron.  They say the girls who have been coerced onto the streets…are victims. And the…mission is to help them recover from the atrocities of human trafficking…

Seizing Power

Backpage.com is suing the sheriff in Chicago over his successful campaign to urge credit card companies to cut ties with the classified ads company…[the] lawsuit…[alleges] that…Thomas Dart…[is] censoring the company and its customers’ right to free speech…“Sheriff Dart’s actions to cripple Backpage.com and all speech through the site are an especially pernicious form of prior restraint,” the complaint says.  “He has achieved his purpose through false accusations, innuendo, and coercion, whereas, if he had brought suit directly or Cook County had attempted to pass a law to shut down the website, Backpage.com would have had a fair opportunity to respond and defeat such efforts, given well-established law”…

The Scarlet Letter (#553)

Unfortunately, the writer felt compelled to counter SWOP’s statements with anti-whore propaganda:

…”I’m a sex worker.  I’m not coerced.  I’m not trafficked.  I’ve been a sex worker my entire life,” [said Liz] Coplen…of the Sex Workers Outreach Project in Tucson.  Coplen said many women enter…sex work to make money.  The women on these sites range from college students, to single moms, to professionals with a side job.  Their clients also run the gamut, from police officers…to doctors, lawyers, soldiers and college professors…

Ashley Madison (#557) 

News that hackers are threatening to expose the personal information of the affair website AshleyMadison.com’s 37 million users undoubtedly has its members panicking.  The rest of us, though, are thinking, “Thirty-seven million?”  That is a whole heck of a lot of people who are looking to have affairs—roughly equivalent to the entire population of Poland.  But…only 2.3 million of those members are active users…(Think:  The population of Queens, New York.)  Disparities between total members and active users are typical with dating sites.  PlentyOfFish boasts 100 million registered users…but 3.6 million active daily users…OkCupid has 10 million active users…one in 10 dating profiles…are fakes made by scammers or spammers.  The rest are users who joined a given site and are no longer active—maybe they found love or just gave up on the whole proposition…

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Essentially it boils down to the idea that if the percent of people harmed is low enough, then we don’t have to care. –  Francis Walker

Gateway

Whores are bad, because drugs!  And “trafficking”!  And disease!  And vehicles!

It’s gone from the back alleys to websites like Backpage.com.  Some women are no longer working the streets, but rather the keyboard…Huntington [West Virginia] Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli said…it’s really all…to fuel the woman’s drug habit.  “While almost universally, the women involved are addicted or drug users…this plague of drug addiction knows no bounds.  Somebody who might be your next door neighbor yesterday could be unfortunately a prostitute tomorrow”…most of the ads on…Backpage.com…are trapped in sex trafficking rings…Police say it’s a dangerous situation…for the paying customers, as well.  “Certainly, the customers always run the risk of being robbed, or having their vehicles being stolen…communicable diseases that are spread by IV drug users in sexual situations is astronomical.”  So what’s being done to stop this?  Several local police agencies, including the Charleston Police Department, now run online sting operations… “We’re well aware of what’s going on.  Anybody who thinks they can evade us by using some sort of anonymity online is sadly mistaken”…


If this pompous, doughnut-addicted ignoramus knows as little about internet security as he does about sex work, even the most elementary precautions would be more than enough to evade him.

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

This is all pure nonsense, of course, and dozens of studies (including two US government ones) have found the exact opposite.  But look at the cast of characters:

…Patrick Trueman…of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE)…said Congress passes appropriations to fight sex trafficking, child pornography and sexual violence against women, but fails to address the root causes of those crimes.  To change that, the NCSE is holding a symposium next week intended to educate lawmakers and congressional staffers about the effects of pornography on society and criminal activity…NCSE said pornography shapes the sexual templates of children and contributes to the rise in sexual dysfunction now experienced by young men…“You have to address what attracts a man to enslave a woman or…have sex with an enslaved woman, and that’s pornography,” Trueman said.  Speakers…include…Ernie Allen…and Melissa Farley

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

More of this, please:

A clinical psychologist has ruled out “sex addiction” as the motive for a 22-year-old’s manipulation and threats that led to charges of blackmail and fraud…James Charles White…admitted charges of blackmailing one gay sexual partner, and obtaining sexual services from another young and vulnerable victim…by offering large amounts of money which were never paid…White had said he had a sex addiction and was getting help.  But defence counsel Phillip Allan said the clinical psychologist’s view was that there was no such thing as sex addiction…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

This listicle debunking myths about strippers would be better without the gratuitous whorearchy:  “The lie: You can always pay more for “extras”.  The truth: There’s no price for that.  Nope. Just nope.”  Except that some (certainly not all) girls do indeed sell “extras”, and Elle Stranger knows it as well as I do.

Above the Law 

Yeah, I’m sure this sex was 100% consensual; we always give it up for free to cops who arrest us because they’re just so damned sexy:

…a young Eastern European sex worker [was arrested] after her apartment was raided because it was being used as a “brothel”…after she and another sex worker…were…questioned [and released, one of]…the [gardai] later returned alone to the apartment and raped her.  The garda denied this and said they had “consensual” sex and that he was off-duty at the time…The second woman…gave evidence that she had witnessed the rape…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Strippers and other adult entertainers may soon find themselves having to register with the Monroe County [Florida] government as a way to deter sex trafficking…The Monroe County Commission could opt for a less drastic measure and have adult entertainment clubs “post human trafficking awareness signs printed in both English and in Spanish in conspicuous locations clearly visible to the public and employees”…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

A statistician vivisects the ridiculous notion that false accusations of rape are so rare they can be ignored:

…Even if false reporting of rape is low, rape as percentage of total sex is even lower and very few people would argue that we don’t really need to care about rape.  About the only argument you can make here with any validity would be that rape affects more people than false accusations of rape.  But that isn’t a particularly great argument either…On a percentage basis, there aren’t many Jews in the US, nor are there many homosexuals.  The percentage of trans-gendered individuals is even smaller.  What rights would society be rightfully allowed to deprive those populations of simply because they are in the minority?…If You Experience a Tiny Bump in Libido Lasting More Than Four H

Not Good Enough (#545)

More than two hundred scientists are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to reject the so-called “female Viagra” pill…experts in disciplines ranging from bioethics to sexology say that flibanserin is “minimally effective”…only 9 to 15 percent more effective than a placebo in increasing desire.  They also highlight its…side-effects, including hypotension and sudden unconsciousness, and its negative interactions with several drugs, including…alcohol and birth control pills…Flibanserin was rejected by the administration twice before, but an FDA panel recently…recommended it for approval [after]…an effective public relations campaign…blamed…previous rejections on sexism on the part of the FDA.  “Approving flibanserin will not only unleash an unsafe drug onto the U.S. market…but will send a message to industry that pressuring the FDA through public relations campaigns can get a drug approved.”

Seizing Power

They’re not even trying to be credible any more:

…According to Shared Hope International, 495 victims of child sex trafficking in 46 states and D.C. have been linked to Backpage.com.  A study by YouthSpark in Atlanta, Georgia, found 53% of children receiving care from service providers across the country were bought and sold for sex on Backpage.com.  With the recent decision of Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, many are wondering what’s next for Backpage.com and its impact on the future of the child sex trafficking industry…

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[Tom] Dart says sex workers are victims, but his actions suggest he intends to make sure they’re victims, one way or the other.  –  Noah Berlatsky

Shifting the Blame

Politician blames advertising site for damage caused by criminalization:

[Massachusetts] Attorney General Maura Healey called on Backpage.com to shut down its “adult” section after two men allegedly killed an escort…whom they had met through the website…Epshod Jeune…and Derrell Fisher…carried out a “joint venture to rob escorts at gunpoint’’…[but] Healey [pretended it was somehow the advertisement’s fault]…

The Scarlet Letter

This week in serious civil-liberties violations in the name of stopping sex, the city of Tucson, Arizona, has released information on hundreds of people with “ties” to suspected sex workers.  The move is part of a years-long investigation into a handful of massage parlors that may offer more than just muscle-pain relief.  Obviously, such nefarious criminal activity (hand jobs—for money? the horror!) warrants extreme measures, which is why Tucson cops couldn’t just stop after raiding the six massage parlors in January and seizing the owners’ assets.  Now the department has publicized the names of all the phone contacts stored in 15 cellphones seized during the raids…getting a massage is apparently now grounds for public shaming at the hands of the state…

Feminine Pragmatism 

Dog bites man:

…Nearly a third of Greeks are living below the poverty line, and children and families make up a significant proportion of those most vulnerable as a result of brutal austerity measures.  This is well-known and well-documented.  Yet one fallout of Greece’s mass unemployment is largely concealed – the rising rate of women turning to sex work to make ends meet. There are reportedly around 18,000 sex workers in Greece, up from the estimated 17,000 in 2012…the number of people selling sexual services in Greece has soared by 150% during the crisis – driven by those desperate to put food on the table after the nation’s financial meltdown…

Above the Law 

Brave heroes of the week:

A…[cop named Nakia Johnson] has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing…an 11 year-old girl.  Deputies say he was in the car with the child when he accidentally pocket dialed the girl’s mother…

Meanwhile, in Maryland:

A Maryland state trooper has been charged with forcing a woman to perform a sex act on him at gunpoint…Brian Tucker…and the woman had previously arranged an agreement for a sex act for money, but the woman…was forced to perform an additional sex act at gunpoint…

Full of Themselves (#439)

The luridly-pompous language used in massage parlor hit pieces from California is probably the most unintentionally-hilarious anti-whore pap out there:

…The number of state-certified masseuses has risen 13% since 2014 to 51,885 this year, according to the California Massage Therapy Council…Nationwide, the massage industry is growing as medical establishments increasingly embrace massage’s therapeutic benefits…more than 5,400 massage technicians list home addresses in [the San Gabriel Valley]…10% of the massage technicians in the entire state.  Now that cities have more authority over massage parlors, officials are weighing how to balance the rights of a growing profession of legitimate massage therapists against the responsibility to solve problems caused by the less savory businesses.  An athlete with sore muscles or an office worker with a stiff neck could not browse long online without running into websites offering Yelp-style reviews of sexually oriented massage parlors.  Posters swap information, using abbreviations and acronyms to throw authorities off the trail…A study by the Urban Institute…described a highly organized sex trafficking ring revolving around a chain of massage parlors in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles…

Soap Opera (#509) 

First-magnitude fabulist Theresa Flores’ maudlin comedy act, distributing soap bars to fight “pimps” hiding in hotel lavatories, continues:

As the Major League All-Star Game approaches, local law enforcement officials as well as anti-human trafficking activists are bracing for a spike in sex traffic in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  One of their main weapons to combat such an influx?  Bars of hotel soap…The shower is one place where victims are alone and away from their pimps/controllers.  “We know with any big event or big sports event, there is always an increase in demand for commercial sex (prostitution),” said Erin Meyer, the anti-human trafficking program coordinator for the Cincinnati branch of The Salvation Army and coalition manager for End Slavery Cincinnati.  “And that will no doubt mean an increase in human trafficking.  That data is there“…The effort is part of the national SOAP (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) program started by Theresa Flores, a former victim of sex slavery…

Worse Than I Thought (#530)

It’s like they’re competing with each to see who can inflict the most mindlessly-draconian sentences:

[Florida] lawmakers have increased the penalties for people soliciting prostitutes…The first offense is now punishable by up to $1,000 fine…up from $500.  Second and third offenses become felonies.  First offenders will now serve 100 hours of community service, but a second offense will get you ten days in the county jail…State Representative Jeanette Nunez [belched out] “The wives and spouses…this will certainly be a wake up call for them”…Domestic Violence counselors are especially keen on provisions that require Johns to pay for and attend an education program on prostitution and sex trafficking…

Seizing Power Backpage free

As I explained Friday, Backpage has issued a big “fuck you” to Tom Dart & Swanee Hunt by making adult ads free for the time being; Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes:

…Backpage’s move to make adult ads free is a big screw you to fearmongering, First-Amendment-hating, Internet-freedom-stifling nanny statists who think they can control financial-services firms, foreign-based websites (Backpage.com is owned by a Dutch company), and the way women choose to earn a living…

Meanwhile, over at New Republic, Noah Berlatsky writes:

Dart [pretends that]…sex work is “outrageously dangerous”…and [claims] that life expectancies for sex workers [are] comparable to those in “a Third World nation”—though such statistics are notoriously unreliable.  It’s certainly true that putting up barriers to Backpage makes sex work more difficult.  But that doesn’t seem like it will help sex workers.  Instead, sex workers who use Backpage.com say Dart’s successful campaign will make their jobs more dangerous, not less…the changes to Backpage may mean that [some women]…have to work on the street—or find a manager or pimp who has developed alternate payment methods…

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If this newest expansion of the power of costumed clowns to ruin the lives of others by signing a piece of paper doesn’t bother you, I have to wonder if you’re even awake.  –  Maggie McNeill

Yesterday I published an article at Reason about the newest outrage:

Two major credit card companies this week announced that they will refuse to process payments for “adult” ads on the popular advertising site Backpage.com.  Mastercard said Tuesday that it would no longer process these payments; on Wednesday, Visa followed suit.  Since American Express did the same earlier this year, that leaves Bitcoin as the only current means of paying for adult ads on Backpage.  Both…decided to stop processing the payments upon request from Thomas Dart, a Cook County, Illinois, sheriff on a crusade against Backpage…the…conflation [of consensual sex work with “sex trafficking is based on]…the idea that women are such brainless, innocent creatures we’re unable to have sex for reasons other than pleasure or romance; the idea of actually profiting from men’s desire to have sex with us would never enter our fluffy, pink little brains.  So, even if a woman says she’s doing sex work voluntarily, she’s either lying or suffering from “Stockholm syndrome,” and has actually been coerced by a “pimp”…

Dr DoomThe essay covers the relative scarcity of “pimps”, the sick relationship between Dart and billionaire whore-hater Swanee Hunt, the resemblance to Operation Choke Point, and the fact that this is a flagrant violation of due process; Backpage has broken no laws and has consistently won challenges in court, so it has to be shut down by the actions of moralistic megalomaniacs.  This is not to “stop prostitution”, because it can’t and won’t, not even on Backpage; it’s to punish Backpage for refusing to get on its knees and lick the boots of “authorities” who wanted it to capitulate to their whims so they could win political points in the minds of the Great Unwashed.  I don’t use the term “megalomaniac” lightly; Dart’s actions are textbook examples of the mental disorder.  He’s not content with exerting his “authority” over Chicago, nor over the whole state of Illinois, nor even over the entire United States; as of this writing Mastercard and Visa are refusing to process payments to Backpage even in countries where sex work is legal, including Canada and Australia.  Dart has essentially asserted his will over hundreds of thousands of sex workers all over the globe, overruling their own governments in the process; he honestly thinks his political ambitions trump every single government in the world.  That is power-madness of Dr. Doom-like proportions, and if the US government allows his action to stand unchallenged the repercussions will be far greater than sex workers having to find new ways to advertise.

A few practical notes in closing:  it seems as though some forms of Visa (including cards issued by at least some Australian and Canadian banks, at least some prepaid debit Visa cards and the “virtual Visa” from Entropay) are still working as of 8:00 UTC today, and some sex workers have offered to help others learn to use Bitcoin.  Also, Backpage has issued a promo code which can be used to post if one’s credit cards won’t work; the code is FREESPEECH and can be used as often as one likes “until the payment issues are resolved“.  Furthermore, I’m meeting this morning with the CEO of a new escort advertising and screening service due to go online in the next few weeks, which promises to be even more affordable than Backpage; he’s seeking my help in making his site useful and helpful to the sex worker community, which is already a strong sign in its favor (what I’ve seen so far impresses me very much).  I’ll keep you posted on developments to this story in my News columns, and of course on Twitter, as I find out about them, and I’ll devote a whole column to that new escort site as soon as it goes live.

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We all know that a bullet doesn’t leap out the barrel of a gun of its own volition.  When law enforcement departments tie themselves up in shibari-style grammatical knots to imply that it did, they only undermine their own credibility even further.  –  Rhiannon Starr

Rough Trade 

A man has been found guilty of raping a woman in an Edinburgh park.  Faizan Ali attacked [her]…on 13 November 2014…Ali…will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register…

Above the Law 

A…jury found Rajat Sharda guilty…of sexually assaulting a woman in August 2013 after the on-duty officer came across the woman and her boyfriend having sex in a vehicle…Judge David Ricciardone sentenced him…to 5 to 7 years of imprisonment, followed by ten years of probation…

Surplus Women (#24)

A jury…found [Terry Speaks] guilty of killing and dismembering a stripper he lured from a New Orleans French Quarter bar along with his ex-girlfriend…Margaret Sanchez…the couple lured her from the club where she was working, killed her, cut her up and then drove the body parts to Mississippi where they dumped the pieces.  [Jaren] Lockhart’s head, lower legs and left thigh washed up on…beaches in June 2012, triggering an investigation that eventually led authorities to Speaks and Sanchez.  Sanchez’s trial has not yet been scheduled…hilarious trafficking nonsense

The Public Eye

Here’s a profile of sex worker Kitty Stryker, in Cosmopolitan of all places.  Better yet, it’s part of a continuing series.  Hey prohibitionists:  We’re winning.  And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

Theatrics

This wouldn’t “shock” anyone with the approximate timidity of a sheep, especially considering it’s at least the third example we’ve seen of this same inane gimmick:

Those who approached what appeared to be a working vending machine…were in for a surprise when they found it filled with an image of two young girls available for purchase.  Rather than candy or soda, the machine contained informational fliers about sex trafficking in Milwaukee as part of an awareness campaign…called “Children Are Not For Sale.”  The fliers highlighted warning signs to look for…Last year’s campaign, called Unlucky Thirteen, was named after the average age of trafficking victims…[a nearby prohibitionist vomited out]…”If you see something, say something” [and] “Milwaukee has been considered a hub for human trafficking”…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Gary is essentially a suburb of Chicago; “cross-border trafficking of prostitutes” therefore actually means “escorts driving across town”:

The Lake and Cook County sheriffs announced a joint initiative Friday to end cross border trafficking of prostitutes between Chicago and Gary.  Sheriff John Buncich and Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said…they have formed a task force to arrest pimps who shuttle sex workers among clients in the Indiana-Illinois border…Dart singled out Backpage for allowing its classified advertising website…to be used in Indiana and Illinois for illegal activity.  He said human traffickers use the Internet to lure women into prostitution and force them to set up Facebook pages to lure their friends as well…

Yes, that’s the “Facebook pimps” myth again.

Torture Chamber 

Three [guards] at an Alabama county jail were caught coercing female inmates into nude dancing for them in exchange for doughnuts and cell phones…this…seems to be merely the latest in a string of indignities and abuses—some fatal—inflicted on prisoners at Alabama county jails.  Madison County is facing three federal lawsuits filed by the families of former inmates who died while in custody….of conditions that shouldn’t be fatal:  gangrene, a broken bone, and constipation…Sexual abuse, either at the hands of [guards] or simply ignored by them, also seems to be a major problem…

Sex Rays Bree Olson

I’m honestly not sure why this was controversial; nobody can deny it’s true:

…Bree Olson was…a Penthouse pet and the star of hundreds of adult movies…she posted [this] admonition to aspiring porn stars on Twitter…[many] adult performers…applauded Olson’s message…But it also generated some controversy…Olson insists that she has no problem with the porn industry itself, and that her experiences there were largely positive…the worst part…is…that…sex workers are frequently the target of discrimination, even long after they’ve left the industry…

Traffic Circle

Another mainstream article tearing down “sex trafficking” hysteria, this one from a sex worker:

…It is well documented that one of the largest and most conservative lobbies in Washington—Shared Hope International—is behind much of the so-called anti-trafficking policy in the U.S., policy with politically and socially vested interests in conflating sex work with sex trafficking.  It is no secret, of course, that the religious right opposes prostitution on purely moralistic grounds.  Regressive ideologies of gender and sexuality contribute to the belief that prostitution is moral bankruptcy for women and, furthermore, that Godly salvation is the only path to “restoration.”  As a result, sex workers—and other so-called sexually deviant women, often poor women—are scapegoats for anxieties surrounding sex and sexuality more generally.  Perhaps less well known is the link between lobbyists, anti-trafficking non-profits, allocations of federal grant money for academic research, and the subsequent propagation of sexual danger narratives…

Innocence Never Had

Imagine American cops making a statement like this:

Children as young as 12 are working in a hidden Auckland sex scene, according to new research…none of them are protected by the Prostitution Law Reform Act and they often work in unsafe circumstances.  Natalie Thorburn interviewed 10 underage sex workers for her Masters of Social Work (MSW) at the University of Auckland…Some of her participants had parents that had been suicidal or mentally ill and others claimed they were abused by the organisations set up to help them, including claims of sexual assault…Allegations of underage prostitution in Auckland have been made in the past…Police said they treated such allegations seriously but could not find any underage prostitution.  “The reality is we can find no evidence to support that child prostitution is happening, anywhere, at this point in time,” said Counties Manukau West Area Commander Jason Hewett…

Passive Voice (#429)

Police in the United States have fatally shot 455 people so far this year.  The phrase they would use is that 455 officer-involved shootings occurred.  That term is so ubiquitous that it even has its own acronym: OIS.  It’s vile to reduce the loss of a life to three euphemistic letters.  However, it’s not the only strange language in many press releases from US police departments.  Certain rhetorical devices are frequently used to deflect attention away from officers who shoot civilians…Three linguistic sleight-of-hands are wheeled out with wearisome predictability.  The first is suggesting the victim is to blame…The second…is to avoid explicitly stating that a police officer fired the fatal shot…The third…is to describe the gun as if it acted independently of an officer…D. Brian Burghart, the founder of Fatal Encounters…agrees.  “The grammar of officer-involved homicides is Orwellian.  It’s amazing the gymnastics these cops and media will perform to make the officers passive actors in these dramas”…

Crying for Nanny (#539)

Ignorance of the law creates train wrecks like this:

A group of [self-declared] teen sex trafficking victims are appealing the dismissal of their lawsuit against Backpage.com…the Communications Decency Act immunizes Web services companies from liability for crimes by users…[but] the plaintiffs’ [lawyers]…allege that Backpage…violated a host of laws…the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other digital rights advocates…[pointed out] that requiring Backpage to face the lawsuit would cause online platforms to become “more expensive, more restrictive, and ultimately less available for individual expression”…

Follow Your Bliss (#544)

Who are the “sex traffickers” again?

A 25-year-old male “transporter” with all of three days on the job, and no real background check.  And a 17-year-old girl who wound up in foster care partly because she had fallen victim to forced prostitution.  When the eight-hour drive was over, the [girl] had been victimized yet again, and the driver was under investigation for rape…Our Kids, the organization that oversees foster care and adoption services in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties under contract with the Department of Children & Families, declined to discuss the 17-year-old, whose case was being managed by the Family Resource Center, an Our Kids subcontractor…the man…got his job…partly upon the recommendation of another FRC employee, a case worker, to whom he is related…

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[Sex workers are] not helped by campaigns which [call] us…“prostituted women” who don’t have any ability to properly consent anyway.  –  sex workers of St. Kilda

One Size Fits All

The phrase “human trafficking” now means “any behavior I don’t like”:

Not a single same-sex couple can reproduce together.  It behooves us to analyze the ways that same-sex marriage demands other people’s children as a “civil right” and in so doing invariably denies both women their own children and children their right to a mother and a father…Gay families are compromised by their need to tear apart other people’s families using the oppressive force of the state and its legal apparatuses…People use their children in all kinds of ways.  Except these are often other people’s children and they did not have to be conscripted to a life of distortion and play-acting.  These children are never the result of same-sex couples’ accidental pregnancy…All gay families are created by or because of someone else’s family being destabilized…The new social justice dictum is that society owes LBGT people the flesh and blood of other people’s children because they are “married” now.  Let’s be honest.  Love does not make a family in this case.  Human trafficking does.

Author Rivka Edelman works hard to get libertarians on her side by invoking the specter of state violence, but this strategy depends on the reader swallowing the rather bizarre assumption that all children placed for adoption got there by being stolen from their birth mothers.  It is absolutely true that the state has a fetish for stealing people’s children, but I sincerely doubt that the majority of adopted children (or even a large minority) are available because of such actions.  Furthermore, the rationalization she employs to separate same-sex adoptive couples from heterosexual ones, namely that straight couples could theoretically produce children of their own, is an exercise in absurdity; if gay couples should be denied the right to adopt because they can’t biologically produce offspring, infertile couples would have to be denied for precisely the same reason.

It Looks Good On Paper

Article goes on and on about how awful it is that “sex trafficking victims” are burdened with a criminal record, yet never questions the premise of burdening anyone with such a record for peaceful, consensual activities.  Oh, and it quotes the usual lies, too.

…no matter how hard she tried, Nicole, who was lured into the brutal world by an abusive boyfriend when she was a teenager, couldn’t get her record expunged…But that system is starting to ease up for trafficking survivors…It’s a welcome reprieve considering that sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime…An estimated 293,000 youths alone are at risk of being sexually exploited in the U.S.  Nailing down precise figures remains a challenge due to a lack of funding and the fact that victims are too fearful to come forward.  Compounding the issue is the fact that police often can’t detect the difference between someone who has been forced into the sex trade and a consensual sex worker…

Surplus Women Zheng Shurong

A construction worker thought to be the boyfriend of a murdered prostitute has been arrested at his home in [Hong Kong]…the 62-year-old had a relationship of several years with Zheng Shurong, 44, who was found dead in her…flat…with a curtain chord around her neck.  Zheng’s 19-year-old daughter called police after loosing contact with her mother…

The Prudish Giant

It looks like Twitter may be heading in the same direction as Google, PayPal, LinkedIn, et al:

According to SunTrust Robinson Humphrey tech analyst Robert Peck, Twitter is preparing to purge an estimated 10 million porn-posting users.  Ditching such a large chunk of users sounds drastic until you do the math:  Twitter claims to have 302 million monthly users, so getting rid of the explicit posters will only account for about 3 percent of its total—although that’s just counting the users and not their followers…One week after Twitter’s revenue forecast was reported to be below expectations and deemed a “nightmare earnings scenario,” Nielsen, a global television and digital data company, pulled its advertising campaign after discovering paid promoted tweets on pornography-associated pages…A Twitter spokesperson told Adweek they “are committed to providing a safe environment for brands to build their business, and our product team is working to fix the issue.”  But…how the company intends to fix the issue is a growing concern within the adult industry…

Useful Idiots 

Scott Greenfield explains how useful idiots are trying to subject all human interaction to criminal law.  Here’s the text he quotes and discusses:

…the American Law Institute (ALI) has undertaken a review of the sexual assault provisions of the Model Penal Code.  The undersigned members of ALI are concerned about the direction the project has taken…If there is political consensus on anything in the United States today, it is the consensus that our government has overcriminalized and overincarcerated the American public…§1519 is a bad law — too broad and undifferentiated, with too high maximum penalties, which give prosecutors too much leverage and sentencers too much discretion.  And…in those ways, §1519 is unfortunately not an outlier, but an emblem of a deeper pathology in the federal criminal code…the current ALI draft is an extreme deviation, focused on expanding criminal sanctions for sexual behavior and expanding the problems…equating silence with unwillingness, as Section 213.2(2) does, “patronizes” or “infantilizes” women, treating them as if they were incapable of expressing their own desires…

Buried Truth  Screen-Shot-2015-05-18-at-1.58.14-PM-670x592

Another anti-gay “authority” figure is revealed as a closet queer:

Until 2 p.m. on Monday, the “Our Church Staff” section of St. John’s Lutheran  Church and School’s website described Reverend Matthew Makela as an associate pastor who enjoys, “family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.”  Screenshots obtained by Queerty from a source who asked that his name be withheld shed light on some of the Reverend’s other favorite past times — namely nude make out sessions and sex with other men…how someone behaves between the sheets is really nobody’s business but his own, except when he’s actively doing damage to others.  We’ve seen it time and time again. The lawmaker who spends his days fighting against gay rights and his nights cruising for bottoms, or the ex-gay activist who isn’t quite as ex-gay as he’d like everyone to believe…Makela…doesn’t just preach Jesus’ love and help with bake sales.  He also uses his position of authority and respect in his community to broadcast his self-loathing view on same-sex attraction…

Banishment

A call for a return of the policy which enabled Robert Pickton to slaughter women virtually at will:

Residents of Vancouver’s Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhood are petitioning the city to crackdown [sic] on prostitution in residential areas and establish a red light district…It’s not clear where he wants the red light district located, but [instigator Ewart] Aitken says organizers hope to meet with city officials in coming weeks…

Under Every Bed 

Though this story quotes “sex trafficking” fetishists who fantasize that a tiny town is a “sex trafficking hub”, it also quotes the truth from sex workers themselves:

…Apip-Acam, a [rescue industry NGO]…describes [La Jonquera, Spain] as “one of the main centers of the prostitution industry and the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation in Europe”…Many women here insist that they are not working for pimps or being exploited by trafficking gangs, and that this is the only way they can make a living.  Of the 111 women working in the open in La Jonquera that Apip-Acam has contacted, only six have signed up to a program for victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation…[yet Apip-Acam still pretends that] “all of them are subject to extreme control and domination by small family clans”…

Be Careful Who You Rape Meagher turns prohibitionist

Remember how Tom Meagher, the husband of a woman who died because “authorities” don’t give a shit about whores, supplied the quote from which this subsection title was drawn?  Well, he’s become a prohibitionist now, and the sex workers of St. Kilda have something to say to him:

As street based sex workers from St Kilda we have come together to urge you to reconsider your position endorsing the campaign “We Don’t Buy It” and to share with you some of the implications it has for us as sex workers…we…are…subject to laws and policing operations that target us and our clients.  And this really makes it harder for us to best look after our safety…our justice system…is more of an injustice system, and as you pointed out so well, this tragically not only affects us, but our whole society.  To report crimes committed against us we risk being charged ourselves and being known to police for further profiling and harassment…seeing your passion for justice…[for] all, including sex workers, co-opted into a campaign which does just the opposite of this is hugely disappointing and upsetting…Any campaign which calls to end sex work or stigmatises our clients ends up further stigmatising and dehumanising us as well, and ultimately serves to take away our agency and increases violence towards us…

Broken Record (#425)

I kind of feel sorry for “sex trafficking” fetishists from Omaha; since their city appears to have just one largish sporting event, they keep tapping its anemic body to feed “gypsy whores” hysteria:

Hotel workers in the Omaha area are undergoing training on how to spot women and minors being forced into prostitution…Experts say high-profile events, such as the College World Series in Omaha, bring a higher risk of sex trafficking occurring at lodging facilities…Coalition member Shane Fagan said signs hotel staff should keep an eye out for include lodgers with a small amount of luggage, an unusual collection of wigs or IDs inside a suite, prepaid debit cards and girls who are unsure of what city they’re in.

How could one fit “an unusual collection of wigs” in a small amount of luggage?

Lying Down With Dogs (#430)

The idea that “not happening in front of this camera” = “eliminated” is a product of the same level of cognition that allows a toddler to conclude that if he can’t see you, you can’t see him either:

Security cameras installed…[in] “red light districts”…in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District have helped eliminate prostitution there…After seeing these cameras installed…potential guests do not dare enter…Such devices also help detect and prevent thefts and other social evils…police…[hope] the presence of such cameras [will force sex workers to]…give up the trade…

Crying for Nanny (#445)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion, and the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow knew it:

A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed a lawsuit brought against…Backpage.com over posting ads for the sexual trafficking of minors…the judge correctly concluded that Backpage.com couldn’t be sued for running the ads, relying largely on Section 230 (47 U.S.C. § 230), the law that immunizes websites from liability based on user-generated content…The plaintiffs in the case of Doe No. 1 v. Backpage.com, LLC are young women who were allegedly sold for sex as minors via ads placed on Backpage…[they] brought various claims against Backpage.com even though it did not have a hand in creating or posting the ads…the court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that Section 230 did not apply to civil actions…[and] explained that it found EFF persuasive in arguing that the chilling effect of extending this exception to private actions would be particularly serious because they would not be subject to the filter of prosecutorial discretion and the heightened standard of proof present in criminal prosecutions…

Check Your Premises (#449)

What, not 50 or 100 per day?  Slackers.

The 18-year-old South Jersey woman arrested last month on charges she recruited a girl to be a prostitute was herself a victim of the…human trafficking ring recently broken up by federal and state investigators…the men who ran the prostitution ring forced a 14-year-old girl to have sex with up to 10 men a day…and…used violence and threats to control the girl and the 18-year-old…woman, who was also forced to become a prostitute…

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Ridin’ the range once more
Totin’ my old .44
Where you sleep out every night
And the only law is right
Back in the saddle again.
 –  Gene Autry

Though I hinted at it in the comment thread of “An Ending and a Beginning“, stated it explicitly in “Diary #245” and have referenced it in a number of diary posts and tweets, it seems as though many readers haven’t quite realized that I have returned to active sex work.  You won’t find my escort website by Googling my name, and I’m not going to post rates or anything like that here; frankly, they’re in the “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” category anyhow, though I’m wholly willing to negotiate for regular readers and references from my many sex worker friends.  And though I do have a new work name (that I’m not going to share here), I’m not really concerned if anyone figures out that she is me; in fact, at a recent multi-escort, multi-client party I told the ladies not to fret if they slipped up and called me “Maggie” in front of the gents.  The important thing is that there not be a direct link between one and the other, and if you can’t understand why you haven’t been paying attention.  Simply put, I’m sure there are a number of vice cops who would just love to have my pretty head as a trophy on the wall, and I’m not going to facilitate that any more than I inevitably must (my appearance is, after all, pretty distinctive).  Just last week a reader recognized my picture on a sugar baby site, and messaged me to say hello; my reply was quite friendly because I have absolutely nothing to hide or be ashamed about.  I am a whore; I have always been, and I always will be.  I make my living by entertaining men (and, to a lesser extent, women) and the only thing that has changed about that for 18 years is the exact nature of the entertainment and the details of the contract.

That last is a very important point that I can’t possibly stress enough: the exact details of the contract are of no importance whatsoever from a moral or logical standpoint, and the pretense that some forms of transactional sex are “better” or “higher” or “purer” or “less skanky” than others is pure bullshit rooted in the deeply-dumb attitudes about sex held by the human race in general, and Western society in particular.  Just because I had a state-issued license to take money in exchange for sex and companionship to one particular man (that I happen to have great affection for) did not make my life from 2007 to 2014 any better or nobler or safer for the eyes of children than my life before ’07 or since my return to a more directly commercial form of sex work.  Nor was that return as recent as you might think; soon after starting this blog in 2010 I went back part-time (with Matt’s blessing) under my old stage name, partly for pocket money and partly to put myself in the right frame of mind to write the blog.  Rather than attempt to work for an agency I took out an ad on Craigslist for a week or so, then on Backpage for a couple of weeks, then on a national escort board.  “But Maggie, Craigslist?  Backpage?”  I hear some of you cry.  Yep, and if you don’t understand why please reread the first sentence of this paragraph.  I wanted to see what that form of whoring was like so that I could write about it with understanding and compassion, and I’m planning to eventually do a stint in a legal brothel for the same reason (if any Nevada owner or manager reads this and wants to negotiate a deal for this, please email me at your earliest convenience).  Mistress Matisse has been schooling me in domination, and my sugar baby profile?  That too.  Maybe I’ll even do a few weeks in a massage parlor.

cowgirlNow, I’m not saying that I’m going to stop being a courtesan; it’s the style of sex work that suits me best given my education, eloquence, presence and economic needs.  I eventually hope to get a solid group of dependable, generous, long-term clients who recognize the importance of my work and are willing to either travel to see me or give me space to be sick in the day I travel to see them.  I also plan to continue writing, speaking and advocating just as I have for the past five years.  That doesn’t mean I plan to stand up and orate in restaurants or lecture my gentlemen in bed about the harms of criminalization; what it does mean is that I consider my sex work and my sex work advocacy to be two parts of one unified whole.  Though it may look to y’all as though I’m back in the saddle again after an eight-year absence, in truth I never actually left it.

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