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Posts Tagged ‘Backpage’

The war on drugs plays out as a war on the millions of people who use drugs.  –  Editors of the BMJ

Think of the Children! 

So what if the church, school & playground are closed?  Sex rays contaminate the buildings so the children are dangerously “sexualized” when they come in later!

There’s a club in Brentwood [Missouri] where you can get tied up and whipped, right next to both a church and a preschool…These parties happen one Saturday night a month in the American Legion Hall…near St. Mary Magdalene…The legion hall shares a driveway with the Elaine Rossi Academy for Children.  A playground sits directly behind.  The…event is called FLOG…[a snitch claims] her fear is the alcohol at the events, leading her to question whether the participants are really consenting…but Susan Wright…with the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom…said…FLOG’s rules [state]…You must leave if you’re intoxicated…she points out FLOG is a nonprofit club, not a business, that would be subjected to liquor laws…The pre-school next door…said they are aware of FLOG and that the monthly event does not take place at a time when there would be anything going on at the school…

License to Rape

Just protecting and serving:  “…a civil court jury ruled that Chicago [cop] Scott Korhonen sexually assaulted a 20-year-old black man with a screwdriver.  The taxpayers will pay $4 million to the victim.  They will also continue to pay…Korhonen’s salary, because he gets to keep his job…”  For more cop hijinks from Chicago, see the next item.

Droit du Seigneur 

Do as they say, not as they do:

…Chicago [cop] William Whitley…was arrested…for sex trafficking of a minor and production of child pornography…[for paying] girls as young as 14…for sex at parties, at his apartment, and even in his car with his partner present.  Whitley was also found to have taken graphic photos of the girls…a federal investigation into him was launched in September 2015…after the 14-year-old was arrested on outstanding warrants after being picked up in an FBI-orchestrated prostitution sting…Whitley…admitted to having sex…with…her…but claimed that he did not know she was underage…His file reveals at least 28 complaints against him, going back as far as 1991…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic God kills kittens

This is the kind of sick mind that believes in “porn addiction”:

A Christian pastor in Minnesota offered advice to a grieving husband whose wife suffered a miscarriage, suggesting his “struggle with lust and pornography” somehow contributed to the couples’ loss…Piper went on to insist god punishes people for their sins, and that “discipline” from god may “come in the form of harm, even death, to others that we love, as well as ourselves”…

Pyrrhic Victory

Watch what you say, comrade:

The FBI has signed a contract with Dataminr, a company that sifts through the Twitter newsfeed to identify issues and trends in real time. Dataminr will…give the FBI the capability to search the complete Twitter firehose in real time, using customized filters…the FBI will now have access to all messages written on Twitter, and will be able to search through the messages for key words and phrases, providing a level of social media monitoring that had been unavailable until now.  They will be able to use Dataminr’s proprietary algorithms and geolocation tools to sift through the entirety of messages posted by Twitter’s 317 million average monthly users worldwide…the FBI noted that social media platforms are used by…“criminal organizations to further their illegal activity”…Criminal activities could include communication…Twitter’s Developer Agreement…states specifically that surveillance of Twitter users is prohibited in situations that would normally require a court order or subpoena.  It also specifically bans any use of Twitter API or Twitter content by a government entity…

Remember, sex workers are “criminals”, so sex worker groups are “criminal organizations” and our ads are “criminal activity”.

Broken Record 

When there’s this much concentrated stupidity it’s hard to choose a heading, but I think this is probably the most interesting part:

…[pig and fetishist] Mike Ferjak says it’s important [for the continuation of the hysteria] not to doubt the validity of human trafficking survivor’s stories…Ferjak [fantasizes] victims are recruited at the mall, school or in online chat rooms under a false promise of a dancing or modeling career…their picture and description are posted on buyer boards like “Backpage”…then [literally] sold in our own [literal] backyards.  “When we saw the NCAA tournaments here earlier this year, Polk County saw a 45-percent increase in the number of persons being offered for sale”…He says that same spike happens during the 80/35 music festival, the Downtown Farmer’s Market and even the Iowa State Fair…Iowa is in the prime location for it due to interstates 35 and 80…

It’s not to hard to guess what this cornpone is doing while spinning his fantasies of raped teen girls.

Sex Rays

Scum like Webber imagine they have the right to treat whole neighborhoods like their private estates:

…conductor Julian Lloyd Webber says his prestigious neighbourhood has become blighted by vice dens.  The musician has launched a fight against the illegal brothels after his wife…cellist Jiaxin Cheng, was mistaken for a sex worker…

Don’t want to worry about neighbors?  Buy yourself a country house on some land, you pompous twit.

Change a Few Words (#625)

Though their condemnation of the drug war is still far too timid and they still give far too much respect to the idea that drug use is a social ill, it’s great to see so many physicians coming out against prohibition:

…the…esteemed British Medical Journal…followed [The Lancet in] urging governments to “investigate more effective alternatives to criminalisation of drug use and supply.”  The…editorial notes that consumption of psychoactive substances is an ancient and persistent aspect of human behavior and that attempts to suppress it have had horrendous consequences, including crime driven by artificially high drug prices, promotion of blood-borne diseases, deaths linked to unpredictable potency and unreliable quality, and “appalling violence”…Because doctors “have ethical responsibilities to champion individual and public health, human rights, and dignity and to speak out where health and humanity are being systemically degraded,” the editors argue, they “should use their authority to lead calls for pragmatic reform informed by science and ethics”…

Criminal laws “informed by science and ethics”?  LOL.

To Molest and Rape

Once again: if you think it matters whether a rapist cop was “on duty” or not at the time of the rape, you are part of the problem:  “…agents with the SC Law Enforcement Division arrested a…[cop who raped three] women…while on duty…William McKinley Littlejohn was [merely] charged with three counts of misconduct in office…” but

Prosecutors are recommending a…Wapato [Washington cop] be sentenced to [merely] six months on electronic home monitoring after he pleaded guilty to third-degree rape.  Travis Disney…raped a…woman he knew while off duty…Disney will have to register as a sex offender for 10 years…

Power Play

I can’t recall a more obvious case of a judge being intimidated into backing down from a ruling:

It looked like the courts would once again save us from prosecutorial overreach aimed at…Backpage—and in so doing, reaffirm the protection under federal law and the First Amendment that’s afforded third-party publishers of online content.  On Wednesday morning, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael Bowman indicated that he would reject California’s case against Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer and two former site owners on charges of pimping, pimping a minor, and conspiracy.  In a tentative ruling, Bowman agreed with the defense that the federal Communications Decency Act prohibits the charges against Ferrer and co-defendants Michael Lacey and James Larkin…he wrote…”Congress has spoken on this matter and it is for Congress, not this court, to revisit”…[but mere hours later] the judge…said he won’t dismiss the pimping charges just yet and would like more briefings from both sides before deciding whether to make the tentative ruling final…

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This is neanderthal policing based on hysteria and headline-chasing.  –  Alex Feis-Bryce

Real People 

What’s “shocking” is that some people are so ignorant they actually think it’s “shocking” that sex workers are mostly normal people with mostly normal lives:

Jess Lang…talks about her life before becoming an escort — twice divorced, former fundamentalist Christian.  She…admits most people who know her wouldn’t be surprised to learn of her profession.  Jess seems like the furthest thing from a desperate girl selling her body under the coercion of a pimp.  She is…a middle-class escort who loves what she does and makes good money doing it…a growing international alliance of sex workers [is] calling for the rest of society to understand their work, decriminalize it, and give them the same labor rights as people in other jobs…

Bottleneck

The narrower the neck, the more “illegal” sex work there will be:

In the 2015–2016 financial year, five of Queensland’s brothels shut their doors, bringing the number of licensed brothels down to 22.  This is the lowest it’s been in a decade…it’s not just the state of the economy that’s affecting sex workers.  It’s the way Queensland licenses its brothels…Annual license fees…are…about $35,000, and each manager has to be licensed up as well, which costs $1,000 each…brothels can only have a maximum of five rooms and eight workers on shift at any one time.  In comparison, the limit is six rooms in Victoria, but brothels that were established before 1995 are allowed to have more…Not only are Queensland’s brothels paying more, with less staff to make money, but they’re also prohibited from offering…outcall…services, losing a large proportion of business to private sex workers.  Victorian brothels are allowed to offer such services.  So while Queensland’s licensed brothels are closing, more and more workers are turning to private work…

Monkey Business capuchin-monkey-tools

So much for human uniqueness:

Monkeys have been observed producing sharp stone flakes that closely resemble the earliest known tools made by our ancient relatives, proving that this ability is not uniquely human…archaeologists…can no longer assume that stone flakes they discover are linked to the deliberate crafting of tools by early humans…Unlike early humans, the flakes produced by the capuchins were the unintentional byproduct of hammering stones…the monkeys appeared to be seeking out the quartz dust produced by smashing the rocks, possibly because it has a nutritional benefit…monkeys…selected rounded quartz hammer stones …[then] pounded their chosen stone on embedded quartz cobbles and then licked the quartz dust that this produced.  They made no attempts to use the sharp fragments and showed no interest in them…

Blunt Instrument

I wonder how many happy endings these brave heroes got during their “investigation”?

Hollywood [Florida] police arrested 24 women at 20 different locations this week in a prostitution sting targeting massage parlors.  During the five-month investigation called Operation Red Light, undercover detectives said they found evidence that the women were performing sexual acts on customers in exchange for payment.  All of the women face charges of prostitution, practicing without a license and misrepresenting themselves as a licensed massage therapist.  Two of the massage parlor owners, Giselle Guo…and Yan Zheng…also face bribery charges…Hollywood police Chief Tomas Sanchez [vomited onto reporters]…”These massage parlors breed other criminal activities, including human and sex trafficking, drug sales and money laundering”…

The End of the Beginning 

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether North Carolina can ban registered sex offenders from using social media websites and other sites that allow minors to have accounts…Lester Packingham…was…found…guilty [of violating the ban] in May 2012…He appealed, and in 2013 the North Carolina Court of Appeals vacated…[the] conviction…finding…the law…unconstitutional…[then] a divided North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the appeals court a year ago…

Secret Squirrel (#421)

Conditioning kids to accept intrusive monitoring of every aspect of their lives:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…is pushing to develop…biometric devices wrapped around the wrists of students [to] identify which classroom moments excite and interest them…Gates officials hope the devices, known as Q Sensors, can become a common classroom tool, enabling teachers to see, in real time, which kids are tuned in and which are zoned out…Skeptics…call the technology creepy and say good teachers already know when their students are engaged.  Plus, they say it’s absurd to think spikes in teenagers’ emotional arousal necessarily correspond to learning…

I don’t usually feature four-year-old items, but I made an exception in this case.

Worse Than I Thought (#597)

Backpage’s loss here may actually be a kind of win, since the court specifically stated that the SAVE Act doesn’t apply to regular escort ads:

A federal judge…threw out Backpage.com’s claim that the U.S. attorney general is enforcing an unconstitutional law against [sex work] advertising…Backpage challenged the constitutionality of the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act…[because] it feared prosecution if it did not comply with the law by removing the “adult” category from its website…U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton…said the company lacks standing.  “Backpage.com has not presented evidence that Congress sought to eliminate all advertisements of a sexual nature…through the adoption of the SAVE Act; rather, the legislation is directed only at those advertisements concerning illegal sex trafficking”…Backpage has said it screens, blocks and removes such content…[so] it cannot allege that it would be burdened by compliance measures in this case.  Backpage attorney Robert Corn-Revere portrayed the ruling as a sort of win for his client.  “We are gratified that the court recognized that prosecution…requires actual knowledge that criminal activity is going on”…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops sue news media for revealing that they’re rapists:

A year after CBC Radio-Canada reported allegations of police sexually and physically abusing Aboriginal women in Val-d’Or, Quebec, the broadcaster is getting sued for $2.3 million…forty [cops] have filed the defamation lawsuit claiming [that the truth]…reporting upset their relationship with the community and tainted the reputation of the [cops] who [didn’t get caught]…The Provincial Police Association of Quebec [is] funding the lawsuit…The report uncovered two decades of…sexual abuse against…women [who]…were beaten and raped by the [cops]…

The Course of a Disease (#663)

Truth from a politician is even rarer than a denunciation of prohibition in Ireland:

A Fine Gael minister has caused outrage by [stating] there is nothing wrong with lonely men finding affection in the arms of a prostitute…And he dismissed Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s plans to criminalise hookers and clients as something that “doesn’t work…We don’t have the resources to police the women and certainly don’t have resources to police the much larger number of men…where you are talking about a lonely chap who wants to go out and spend his money to have a physical relationship because he’s got a need, there’s nothing wrong with that’’…

It’s a measure of the sickness of Western society that such an obviously-true statement could cause “outrage”.

Send In the Clowns 

We’re probably nearing the end of this year’s clown panic, and that’s kind of sad:

On 12 October 2016, the Facebook page “Clown Hunters” published a post warning that clowns may be “planning their own purge the night before Halloween…Stay inside, keep all pets inside and keep all doors and windows locked”…Despite having all the hallmarks of an opportunistic social media hoax predicated on contemporaneous purported clown sightings, close to half a million users directly shared the post within 48 hours of its appearance…Missing from most versions of the rumor were details about how information on the clown purge was obtained, how the clowns might be organizing among themselves, whether the clown purge threat was localized or widespread, or indication that any credible entity believed such a thing was possible or likely.  The rumor was a variation on cyclically viral general “purgerumors spurred on by social media panics in specific areas, often occurring around Halloween…no outbreak of widespread crime has ever followed them…Unlike previous viral purge panics, we haven’t been able to find any indication that police in any jurisdiction have even bothered to address the clown purge rumors…

Whatever They Need To Say (#684)

Frankie Mullin on the recent Soho & Chinatown raids:

…A [cop mouthpiece pretended]…that the operation was “launched specifically in response to concerns raised by sex workers themselves”…[but in reality it was] “concern”…from…[prohibitionist NGOs masquerading as] charities…In 2013, the justification for the raids was, again, trafficking.  But no evidence of trafficking was found.  After a series of court cases and public outcry, 18 of the 20 closed flats were reopened…definitions of trafficking conflict with common sense understandings of the term.  It’s deemed “irrelevant whether the victim consents to the travel”.  No coercion is necessary, meaning any undocumented migrant worker in the UK is fair game to be “rescued” as a trafficking victim…the Met…confiscated £35,000, bagged it up and, in the style of the best teenage Instagram gangsters, released trophy pictures to the press…

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I have the right to choose what I do with my body.  –  Katherine Stone

Safe Targets 

In case you can’t quite figure out what this site is actually for, I’ll spell it out for you.  After Tom Dart’s megalomaniacal assault on Backpage left it unable to take payments except by money order or Bitcoin, many sex workers who weren’t comfortable with adopting the latter opted for the former.  But now that other sociopathic politicians have demonstrated that they won’t even let the law stop their jihad, many sex workers are terrified that their identities will be uncovered by pigs illegally rooting in Backpage’s records in a future raid.  Into this opening have stepped profiteers who, like Dennis Hof, are perfectly happy to charge an exploitative 50% by charging $2 for every $1 worth of “safe Backpage credit” (presumably in bitcoin) that can’t easily be traced back to them.  This is what “law enforcement” means when it claims it wants to “help” sex workers.

Presumption of Guilt (November Updates)

Fascist scum like this will be the first up against the wall after the politicians they worship:

There is $1.38 trillion worth of cash in circulation; $1.08 trillion of this is in the form of $100 bills…that works out to 34 hundreds in circulation for every man, woman, and child in the United States — even though a normal American rarely carries even one…No one knows exactly who has all those large bills because physical cash, by its nature, is hard to track…consequently most C-notes are used for a variety of illicit purposes — tax evasion, drug dealing, bribery, and so forth — both in the United States and overseas.  Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff believes that the solution is to get rid of cash.  In a new book, he argues that abolishing $100, $50, and perhaps even $20 bills will seriously inhibit crime and tax evasion while doing little to hamper legitimate commerce…

Note that the buying power of a $100 bill today is less than that of a $5 bill in 1900.  In Rogoff’s totalitarian fantasy, the government would have total control of virtually all commerce; sex workers and others in the irregular economy would be forced to deal in barter, cryptocurrency or the currencies of less-totalitarian states, which would make life a lot more difficult…presumably the outcome this bootlicker wants.

Gorged With Meaning

“British students are going to extraordinary lengths to fund their studies, including doing lucrative work”.  That’s how extraordinarily dumb this sounds to me:

British students are going to extraordinary lengths to fund their studies, including sex work and drug dealing, as the cost of university continues to rise…one in 10 undergraduates admitted to knowing someone who has turned to drug dealing to earn extra money, and as many as one in 20 said they knew someone who pays for their course by escorting.  Some 17 per cent of students said they considered stripping an acceptable way of funding university life, and one in 25 students surveyed said they were considering looking for a sugar daddy to support them financially…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

Deep self-deception about technology, pearl-clutching about sexuality and offensive ignorance about sex work, all under one roof!

…Goldsmith University in London…is where the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots is to be held this upcoming December.  The congress was supposed to be held in Malaysia on November 16 but was subsequently banned by the country as it deemed the whole premise as “too extreme”…The session will focus on humanoid robots, robot emotions and personalities, teledildonics (cybersex toys), intelligent electronic sex hardware, entertainment robots and more…Joel Snell…warns that engaging sex with a robot can be addicting…sex therapist Gurpreet Singh says…robots shouldn’t replace humans entirely…Dr. John Danaher believes that sex robots are an excellent replacement to human prostitutes…”They won’t need to ‘fake it’ the same way as human prostitutes.”

Imagination Pinned Down

This ridiculous fantasy is nauseating even by “sex trafficking” standards:

Rachel Pointer…[of] Omaha…[claim’s her neighbor’s] boyfriend raped [her when she was six and] then…started [pimping] her…It wasn’t always the same person selling her.  Pointer said after a few months someone else “took over that role”…It was surprisingly easy for this to happen without anyone noticing…The kids were homeschooled and there weren’t regular doctor appointments.  In other words, there were no outsiders to see what was happening.  The traffickers would tell Rachel to do things like fake an illness and go to bed early, then sneak out her second floor window and climb down a trellis to be sold for sex at night.  “Drugs and alcohol became part of the picture at a very young age, 7, 8, 9-years old,” she explained.  “Cocaine mostly and alcohol..enough to take the edge off and to keep me up and to keep me compliant…this was her life three, four, five times a week.  For 10 years…“When I got older, when I was a teenager, I started not being able to make as much.  I wasn’t as profitable”…The traffickers made one final threat of what would happen to Rachel and her family if she ever said anything, then it was over.  She never heard from them again.  There was no investigation, no charges, no punishment for the men who sold her and those who bought her…

As usual, there are no names and no evidence, and it’s all set conveniently decades in the past.  And nobody bothers to question the blatant, ugly and totally-bizarre lie that there are more adult men who would be interested in fucking a six-year-old than a 16-year-old, nor the absurd premise that nobody would notice a schoolkid was constantly drunk or hopped up on coke.

Whatever They Need To Say (#350)

Three years later, another massive pogrom in Soho, troublingly timed to coincide with similar pogroms all over the world:

Late…on the evening of Thursday, 20 October, [cops with]…sniffer dogs raided six massage parlours in Chinatown and Soho, when their cash registers were full with most of a day’s takings.  Women…were dragged out onto the streets past midnight, before 12 were detained and removed for immigration offences, with a further 6 arrests of maids and other staff members…The Met [pretends]…that the “aim of the operation is to identify, safeguard and remove victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and modern slavery offences”…[reporters repeated the propaganda that the arrested] women had been “rescued”…The use of sniffer dogs highlights the absurdity of the Met’s claims to deploy their raids, in the middle of the night, for the protection of women.  Can a sniffer dog tell us if a massage parlour is “utilising trafficked women”?  Can a sniffer dog say if a sex worker is being paid fairly for work, in decent conditions?  No.  In fact, all a sniffer dog can do is to intimidate women and provide evidence for laying charges, which was, of course, the Met’s primary aim all along…The police also saw fit to take away tens of thousands of pounds from workers at the end of a day of seeing clients…

See also “Between the Lines” below.

Little Boxes (#419)

There’s a shorter phrase for “those who believe a woman’s virginity should only be shared for love”; it’s “prudish busybodies”:

At one of Nevada’s…legal brothels, a 20-year-old woman recently signed up…to sell…Her virginity.  Like the brothels themselves, Stone’s choice has been controversial, particularly for those who believe a woman’s virginity should only be shared for love…In 2014, Stone’s family home in Seattle…was destroyed by a fire.  Without insurance, Stone and her family found themselves forced to remain in the scorched property…Brothel tycoon Dennis Hof…agreed to sell Stone’s one-time service…[for] a 50% cut from the profits of the final bid…”People say you are suppose to do it for love,” Stone says…”But…I am doing it because I love my family”…At the moment…[the high] bid is a little over $400,000…While she waits, Stone is still “contracted by Dennis Hof to legally provide services to gentlemen who are seeking experiences” other than intercourse, she says…Even after her virginity is auctioned, Stone says she has no intentions of leaving the ranch. “I anticipate to continue working at the ranch for the next five years,” she says. “I plan to go to law school in the future”…

Under decriminalization, she could’ve stayed here in Seattle; the sex worker community here, including me, would’ve helped her to arrange this and supported her emotionally through the experience without even taking a cut.

Between the Lines

In a very troubling development, the FBI’s “Operation Cross-Country” appears to be spreading to other countries; a few of the articles on the annual pogrom mentioned international operations, and this confirms that:

An impressive number of 28 countries teamed up with Europol to deliver a major blow to organised crime groups involved in trafficking in human beings across the European Union and beyond.  During the operational activities of the EU-wide Joint Action Day (JAD) named Ciconia Alba, one part of the intelligence-led police actions and controls focussed explicitly on [sex workers]…11,161 locations…were [raided]…43,405 persons were [harassed, questioned and/or detained]…and 549 [sex workers were labeled] potential victims…Data gathered during the operations led to the launch of 102 new investigations…Fourteen underage victims were reported.  Overall fifty-two countries and four international organisations were involved…

Yes, over forty-three thousand people were subjected to police violence, all to discover 14 underage sex workers, of whom statistically all but one or two were working of their own choice.  In other words, the operation had a “success rate” of roughly 0.003%.

To Molest and Rape 

More brave heroes from Washington state, “saving” women:

In a matter of six months in 2014, three Colville [cops] either resigned or were fired.  Two…were accused of sexual misconduct…the third, Rex Newport, pleaded guilty to felony sex crimes…That’s 30 percent of the department — three of 10…in a city of less than 5,000 people…Newport…took a plea deal and served time in prison.  He must register as a sex offender and can no longer work as a cop in Washington state…Jeffry Finer…and…Richard Wall filed a civil lawsuit at the beginning of 2015 and recently agreed to a $230,000 settlement for their clients…[the] attorneys…found that [cops] were routinely unsupervised and allegations of sexual misconduct…were not thoroughly investigated, which…perpetuated a culture of such misconduct…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#663) 

“Sex addiction” is now being used as a defense even for violent sex offenders:

A young man who tackled a heavily pregnant woman off her bike and tried to rape her was addicted to pornography and had violent sexual dreams in the lead-up to the attack…Casey Tennent said he “couldn’t help it” and rambled “I imagined doing it and then dreamt about it, and then did it tonight” when he was arrested after the assault in Melbourne…Tennent was chased off by three men…who were able to surround him, take him down and restrain him in a laneway until police arrived…

Of Course It Is

While Oakland appears to be starting a purification campaign to get rid of cops who deal honestly with whores instead of raping us, Celeste Guap fired her prohibitionist attorney for, apparently, refusing to stop spewing anti-whore bullshit at her (in fact, she didn’t even stop after she was fired).  Fortunately, a competent and less-judgmental defense attorney immediately took her place on the legal team.

Send In the Clowns 

While Canadian “authorities” are so far content to “suggest people do not dress up as clowns and walk around with what is going on,” threatening them with unspecified criminal charges, those in Mississippi have gone totally (and unconstitutionally) ape shit:

A Mississippi county has declared it illegal to dress like a clown, and is threatening to levy $150 fines against anyone caught in a clown costume.  The Kemper County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously [last] Wednesday to implement the ban, which expires the day after Halloween.  It makes it unlawful for anyone of any age to appear in public in a clown costume, clown mask or clown makeup…the measure was passed at the request of Kemper County Sheriff James Moore…

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The raid of Backpage.com’s Dallas office and the arrest of its CEO is an election-year stunt, not a good-faith action by law enforcement.
–  Liz McDougall

For the past five years, pompous politicians have repeatedly attempted to bully and threaten Backpage into removing its designated escort ad section in the same way they terrorized Craigslist into doing it, and like all bullies they’ve grown increasingly crimson-faced and apoplectic as the Backpage has not only ignored their toothless threats, but beaten them at every turn in court.  The reason this has happened is that career politicians are narcissistic sociopaths who can’t grasp when they’re in the wrong and are no more capable of rethinking their tactics than a tribe of rather slow-witted gibbons might be; because Craigslist backed down after a bit of posturing and saber-rattling, naturally the politicians assumed the same schoolyard tactics would work on Backpage.  Unfortunately for them,

Craig Newmark is a shy, timid fellow who may have Asperger’s Syndrome and was unable to cope with tyrannical demands and false accusations from people who relish upsetting others.  So he simply shut down his “adult services” section, thus granting the witch hunters their empty symbolic victory and allowing the whores who advertise on Craigslist to return to the personals and therapeutic services sections where they posted their ads before the government demanded the creation of an “adult services” section in the first place…[however] Village Voice Media is not run by gentle, socially-awkward souls who shrink from confrontation, and its owners have no intention of running from this fight; some commentators have observed that they actually seem to relish it, and why shouldn’t they?  The attorneys general don’t have a legal leg to stand on, and they know it; they’re just trying to blow down paper targets with hot air…

Time after time after time after time after time, judges have slapped down attempts to hold Backpage liable for the content of its ads, and for good reason: if publishers (whether traditional or electronic) were responsible for third-party content, nobody would dare risk hosting such content (from newspaper ads to WordPress blogs) for fear of being sued out of existence.  But neither common sense nor the common good ever stopped a politician, so last week Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California (who is running for US Senate) conspired with the attorney general of Texas to commit the blatant crime of falsely arresting Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer.  Though the headline writer is a slackjawed moron who uses the phrase “sex trafficking” to mean “sex work”, the author of this article agrees with my analysis:

It takes a lot to turn a publisher of sex ads into a First Amendment hero.  But the attorney general of California has managed the feat.  By charging Carl Ferrer…with pimping and sex trafficking in minors, Kamala Harris has seriously breached the constitutional wall meant to protect the free press.  Ferrer — and the two controlling shareholders of the online classified marketplace Backpage — aren’t charged with actually arranging sex for pay.  They’ve been criminally charged based on a claim that Backpage is designed to, and does, publish third-party ads for sex trafficking.  On this theory, essentially any publication that sells ads could be outlawed — and that’s almost any publication on earth…

Harris has knowingly and with malice aforethought arrested a publisher for publishing; that makes her guilty of several federal crimes I can think of, and I’m sure a creative prosecutor could come up with a lot more.  Not that she’s ever likely to be charged; witch-hunters rarely are, certainly not during the witch hysteria and not generally after it’s over either.  The reason is evident from that asinine headline and from the subtext of this article in the generally anti-whore publication hypocritically named Vice; though it quotes several sex worker rights activists, it gives just as much space to prohibitionist propaganda and is laced through with garbage like this:

Backpage notorious among law enforcement…the risk of physical violence or rape among sex workers who advertise…online is…still ever present…Backpage has become synonymous with sex trafficking…E.S. who said she was a forced into prostitution on the site when she was 13…The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has also said there has been a more than 800 percent increase over the last five years in reports of suspected child sex trafficking, with much of it happening online…Backpage made it easy to earn cash fast, which isn’t necessarily a good thing: If it wasn’t for the website, [one incarcerated sex worker] says, she might not have fallen into sex work in the first place…

With that kind of attitude so common among the people who are supposed to be questioning government pronouncements, is it any wonder Harris felt emboldened to her blatantly banana-republic actions?  Which, by the by, have now extended to Backpage’s owners:

All three top executives of Backpage.com are being held without bond in a jail in Sacramento, California, on sex-crime charges.  Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, listed as owners of the website through a Dutch corporation, were booked late Monday…Liz McDougall, a First Amendment attorney who represents Backpage…[explained that] the charges were…”flatly illegal.  They ignore the holdings of numerous federal courts that the First Amendment protects the ads on Backpage.com.  The actions…also violate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act preempting state actions such as this one and immunizing web hosts of third-party created content”…

All three men were granted bail yesterday afternoon after a secret hearing in which a judge slapped down the state’s argument that all of their money is contaminated by sex rays so they couldn’t use it to post bond.  Lacey & Larkin are going to fight this evil lunacy, and they’re no strangers to being arrested on bullshit charges by megalomaniacal politicians; Loony Joe Arpaio tried that in 2007, and when the dust settled Lacey & Larkin were awarded $3.75 million because of it.  So here’s hoping that history repeats itself, and that this time the award is at least 10 times as high and is accompanied by criminal charges against their persecutors.

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Political opponents of [Backpage] like to imagine that without it, sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors would simply cease.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Do As I Say, Not As I Do freddie-lorick

Of course they didn’t accuse him of faking:

Ten men, including a South Carolina police chief, have been arrested in an undercover prostitution sting…Chief Freddie Lorick Sr…told officers he needed medical treatment and was taken to a local hospital. It’s unclear whether he has been released…

An Ounce of Prevention

There have been a few close approaches, but this could be the most promising yet:

British man could become the first person in the world to be cured of HIV using a new therapy designed by a team of scientists from five UK universities…presently the virus is completely undetectable in the man’s blood, although that could be a result of regular drugs.  However if the dormant cells are also cleared out it could represent the first complete cure…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

While the feds actively persecute some sex workers

The federal government is again suing a Mississippi strip club, saying its owner still discriminates against black strippers…Danny’s Downtown Cabaret…managers require African-American strippers to work exclusively at the neighboring Black Diamonds club or pay extra to work at Danny’s.  The suit alleges patrons at Black Diamonds were allowed to grope strippers in a building where air conditioning sometimes didn’t work…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

This double dose of stupid reminds me of those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials: “Hey! You got your robot whore fantasy in my blow job cafe fantasy!” “No, you got your blow job cafe fantasy in my robot whore fantasy!

An entrepreneur who hopes to open London’s first “fellatio cafe” has revealed his staff will be made up entirely of sex robots…Bradley Charvet…claims the sex-bots will be programmable to a person’s needs and will soon be seen as “totally normal”…

Shift in the Wind (#131)

An interesting article on getting funding for sex worker rights projects:

As human rights and social justice funders, we try to reach those people who are most marginalized and excluded from services and protection.  Those who are least empowered, least resilient, and hardest hit by inequality.  But one group that ticks all those boxes is systematically excluded from funding opportunities:  sex workers.  Why are not more funders stepping into this gap?  What makes even human rights funders so hesitant to take on the human rights of sex workers?…

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

Future generations will marvel at their ancestors’ deeply weird obsession with female virginity:

An Egyptian MP has called for women to be forced to undergo virginity tests before being admitted to university…Elhamy Agina called on the Minister of Higher Education to issue a mandate requiring him or his officials to enforce the virginity tests…Agina reportedly [said]:  “No one should be upset by this decision.  If you’re upset then that means you’re scared that your daughter is in an ‘urfi’ marriage behind your back.”  Urfi marriages can be entered into without the approval of a bride’s guardian and can only require two witnesses, resulting in a cultural perception among some segments of Egyptian society that they are covert or secret marriages…

Fever Dream

We’re not hearing quite as much of this “highway” bullshit as we used to:

…Chattanooga and Tennessee have become a focal point [sic] in the war against sex trafficking.  The effort has involved not only agencies such as the TBI and local law enforcement, it also has…made its way to Congress with the End Modern Slavery Initiative from Bob Corker, the…U.S. senator from Tennessee and former Chattanooga mayor.  As the geographic intersection of Interstates 75, 24 and 59, Chattanooga provides an easy path for pimps to transport their victims around the Southeast…That’s especially true for traffickers from Atlanta which, in 2014, was ranked as the No. 1 city in the country for sex trafficking…

Seizing Power (#593)

A win for Backpage on one front:

The Supreme Court announced…it has declined to hear an appeal from…Chicago…sheriff [Tom Dart] who was ordered to cease threatening credit card companies about doing business with…Backpage.com.  The justices let stand a lower court order that forbids…Dart from contacting Visa and MasterCard in his effort to [censor] sex [workers’ ability to advertise online]…

However, see “Crying For Nanny” below.

Challenge (#628)

ESPLERP vs. Gascon reaches a court which could potentially do something:

…ESPLERP…filed a brief in the United States Federal Ninth Circuit appealing against the Northern California District Court’s judgement dismissing ESPLERP v Gascon…Maxine Doogan [said]…“[The judge] acknowledged that Lawrence v Texas defined a constitutional right to privacy in individuals’ sexual conduct, and also acknowledged that morality was not a basis to deny that right, but then found flimsy legal arguments to deny that right…“Lawrence v Texas made it clear that governments may not intrude into the private lives of consenting adults by criminalizing their sexual behavior” said Mike Chase, longtime human rights activist…Contributions to support the court case can be submitted through…www.litigatetoemancipate.com

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-christopher-odom

A Spring Hill [Tennessee cop] has been charged with rape and sexual battery…Christopher Odom…pulled two women over for traffic stops on two separate occasions, once in June and again in July, [raping] both adult women…

Crying for Nanny (#659)

It’s difficult to overstate what a huge development this is; the allegations constitute a direct attempt to destroy Section 230 and therefore the entire internet, all so a few megalomaniacal politicians can score a few political points:

State agents raided the Dallas headquarters of…Backpage and arrested Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer on Thursday following allegations that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site.  Ferrer…was arrested on a California warrant…[issued by] California Attorney General Kamala Harris…on felony charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping….Harris…is running for the U.S. Senate in next month’s election…

Here’s more from super ally Liz Brown.

Dutch Threat (#678) 

Felicia Anna on the “My Red Light” scam:

…I’ve already talked about this project before…the mayor…proposed…that this brothel would be the first brothel without pimps.  A complete bullshit story, since first of all there are very few girls that actually have a pimp…and since this brothel has just as much chance of renting their windows to a girl with a pimp as any other brothel…there are hardly any abuses to begin with, as the numbers from the city of Amsterdam themselves prove…unlike how people (like the mayor for example) often claim…the mayor [is] trying to frame the current brothel owners as the bad guys…so he can have an excuse to close down the other brothels…only 6 sexworkers showed an interest in working in this brothel at all…

Send In the Clowns

As I expected when I wrote yesterday’s column, the clown panic continues to spin out of control:

A Livonia [New York] man was charged with falsely reporting an incident after he allegedly edited a clown image into a photo of [a local] Park…posted it on his Facebook page and then warned people to keep their children out of the park…Hooper…told his Facebook followers “the clown had then run away when he snapped the picture”…Hooper was charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident…the charge is a misdemeanor…

In New York, making up idiotic stories to frighten the stupid is only a misdemeanor, but in Texas it’s a matter of national security:

..a 14-year-old [Houston] student has been charged…[with] making a terroristic threat.  The student is accused of threatening “to shoot up an HISD school with his clown friends” on social media…”We can’t ignore it,” said HISD Spokesman Jason Spencer. “We [completely lack the adult capacity to control our own actions or use any discretion whatsover]…

Just in case you think my editorialization there is a bit extreme:

…”This clown crap is really getting on my nerves,” [suburban Dallas cop] Latrice Pettaway wrote on Facebook Monday night…”Pop a cap in the first clown you see.  Someone needs to just hit one and the rest of these fools will learn”…police spokesman Shane Kizer said….said shooting people dressed like clowns is “absolutely not” how the department wants the public to respond to viral reports of clowns…

And Utah cops agree with Kizer:  “Police in Orem, Utah would like to make it clear that neither they, nor you, can legally shoot random clowns…

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The police…should…sow trust among the community rather than alienate some…whose actions should not be considered a crime to begin with.  –  Udi Ofer

Saving Them From Themselves

Prosecutors have the magical ability to transform a “child” into an adult, but only for the purpose of wantonly destroying innocent lives:

Austin Yabandith, a 17-year-old from Superior, Wisconsin [was charged with sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation, and possession of child pornography]…after [a school cop found nude] photos of Austin’s 15-year-old girlfriend on his cell phone—as well as a video of the couple having sex…the age of consent in Wisconsin is 18, which means Austin is…under-age, just like the girlfriend he is accused of exploiting.  But Wisconsin’s sex offender laws [allow]…17-year-olds [to] be charged as adults—even though the law considers them to be children and incapable of consenting to sex…In many U.S. jurisdictions, the law permits consensual relationships [between] underage teens if the [elder] is no more than four years older than the [younger]…Wisconsin is one of a handful of states with no Romeo and Juliet exception…even though it’s perfectly normal for teens to form…relationships with other teens, fall in love, and [have] sex…

And how did the cop “discover” the photos?  By intimidating the boy into “allowing” him to search the phone.

Above the Law  rapist-politician-richard-keenan

He once said, “Dedicating my life to Jesus has changed my life.”

…Richard Keenan, who served as mayor of Hubbard [Ohio] in 2010 and 2011, was indicted [for] eight counts of rape and 12 counts of attempted rape and gross sexual imposition…Keenan pleaded not guilty…but prosecutors said he admitted to sexually assaulting the girl over a three-year period, beginning when she was 4 years old…Keenan confessed…to his wife, a pastor, a social worker and his brother- and sister-in-law…[after] the child told Keenan’s wife about the abuse and she confronted him…he blamed the child for initiating the sex acts and described her as a “willing participant”…

The Shape of the Spoon

The reason why people view sex work as an “unacceptable” risk for women, while simultaneously encouraging us to become cops, join the military, etc:

…Ashley Thomas…the lead author of a recently published study…note that legal norms needn’t follow inaccurate beliefs about risks.  “The fact that many people irrationally fear air travel does not result in air travel being criminalized…Parents are not arrested for bringing their children with them on airplanes.  In contrast, parents are arrested and prosecuted for allowing their children to wait in cars, play in parks, or walk through their neighborhoods without an adult”…The researchers…created a series of surveys asking participants to rate the danger to children left alone in…specific circumstances…The reasons for the parent’s absence were varied randomly…“A mother’s unintentional absence was seen as safer for the child than a mother’s intentional absence for any reason, and a mother’s work-related absence was seen as more dangerous than an unintentional absence, but less dangerous than if the mother left to pursue an illicit sexual affair,” they write.  The same was true for fathers, except that respondents rated leaving for work as posing no greater danger than leaving unintentionally.  Moral disapproval informed beliefs about risks…“People…think that leaving children alone is…immoral and therefore dangerous.  That is, people overestimate the actual danger to children who are left alone by their parents, in order to better support or justify their moral condemnation of parents who do so”…

Pyrrhic Victory

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

Under a new set of rules, the FBI would have the authority to secretly use malware to hack into thousands or hundreds of thousands of computers that belong to innocent third parties and even crime victims…The new plan…is known formally as amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the proposal would allow the government to hack a million computers or more with a single warrant.  If Congress doesn’t pass legislation blocking this proposal, the new rules go into effect on December 1…The government [pretends] it needs this power to investigate a network of devices infected with malware…what’s known as a “botnet”.  But the…amendments…are woefully short on protections for the [privacy]…of innocent Americans…

Micromanagement

I really hate being right all the fucking time:

Over the last decade, collecting DNA from people who are not charged with — or even suspected of — any particular crime has become an increasingly routine practice for police in smaller cities…in Florida…Connecticut, Pennsylvania and North Carolina…While the largest cities typically operate public labs and feed DNA samples into the FBI’s national database, [small] cities…have assembled databases of their own…in partnership with private labs that offer such fast, cheap testing that police can afford to amass DNA even to investigate minor crimes…some…have quietly begun [coercing] people to turn over DNA…during traffic stops…or…chance encounters with police…Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania…pays for the testing…with…money [stolen from citizens]…Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement must have a reasonable suspicion that a person is involved in a crime before requiring a search or seizure.  But the notion of collecting DNA [by coerced “consent”] is still so new that the ground rules remain uncertain.  Who can give such consent and what must they be told about what they’re consenting to?  Who decides how long to keep these samples and what can be done with them?…Automated “Rapid DNA” machines allow police to analyze DNA right at the station in a mere 90 minutes…but…police departments’ private databases…are subject to no state or federal regulation or oversight…

Delightful Conversation 

The stupidity defense:

A man who ran an escort agency…was cleared of any wrongdoing.  Prosecutors proved Candy Girls offered sexual services…The…[various defendants all were found] guilty…[except for] Karl Jackson…[who] left school at 15 with no qualifications and always looked up to his older brother, Leon, who [owned the agency]…When interviewed by police in 2014, he said he ran a “companionship service” and never suspected the girls had sex with clients.  When asked what this involved, he said: “A companion who’s going to sit there and do everything your girlfriend did do, just watch telly and maybe clean your house, I don’t know”…

Wise Investment (#428)

A better monument to the victims would be eradicating the horrible laws that made their murders possible:

After years in the making, a sex worker memorial in Vancouver’s West End [was] unveiled…Friday.  The monument will honour the sex workers who once were part of a flourishing community before being expelled from the area…after a July 1984 Supreme Court injunction by Justice Allan McEachern…During the 1970s and ’80s, the West End was home to a tightly knit, diverse community of sex workers, she says, who kept the area pimp-free…The City of Vancouver has put $28,000 into funding the monument — the same amount it raised in fines against sex workers and consumers during enforcement of its 1982 bylaw…The memorial’s location, at Jervis and Pendrell Streets, marks a convergence of the old sex worker strolls.  It also is in front of St Paul’s Anglican Church, which often offered refuge…

Down Under (#518)

In the US, the government would’ve “helped” by prosecuting her:

A [New Zealand] sex worker’s five-year restraining order has been reinstated after years of harassment from a client that was obsessed with her.  After first paying for her services in 2012, the man began a systematic campaign of harassment when his advances were spurned…The man…would wait for her outside work and hired a private detective…to track down her identity…When she filed for a restraining order, the client went out of his way to protract a course of legal action that was used to “play” with the woman…The man, known in court papers as NR or Mr N, and woman, known as MR, have permanent name suppression and were referred to in court documents as R and M respectively.  The recently-released decision stated that M is allowed to file further evidence, seek reinstatement of indemnity costs and her restraining order for a period of five years has been reinstated…R’s appeals…have been dismissed and he must pay M’s costs…

My First Million (#568)

I hit the 5 million pageview mark just a little after 4:00 UTC last Tuesday, September 13th (a little after 9 PM Monday evening here in Seattle).  Thanks to all the readers who made it happen!
5000000

What Were You All Waiting For? (#654) 

Let’s hope other ACLU chapters start following New Jersey’s lead:

…The Newark Police Department’s 13 arrests on charges related to prostitution over the weekend raise concerns yet again about Newark’s embrace of failed and destructive “Broken Windows” policing strategies.  Using our criminal justice system to harass, arrest and incarcerate consenting adults who agree to exchange sex for money is a poor use of the NPD’s limited resources.  These arrests harm public health by stigmatizing sex workers and making their lives more difficult and dangerous.  These crackdowns harm public safety by stoking fear of police among sex workers…We urge the City to explore harm reduction…and to reject failed approaches of criminalization…Sex work should not be criminalized…

Of Course It Is

Because obviously, the prosecutor couldn’t simply exercise his discretion and decline to press charges:

[Celeste Guap]…remained jailed in Florida…but was offered a plea deal that could hasten her return to California…the assistant state attorney in Martin County, David Lustgarten, said Monday that he is charging Guap with misdemeanor battery.  “The evidence did not lead me to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a felony was committed,” he said.  Lustgarten said he offered a plea bargain to the young woman…

She was allowed to plead “no contest” to the reduced charge, and returned to California on Wednesday while her attorney belched out “sex trafficking” rhetoric.

Mote and the Beam (#672) 

Alas, the victory was short-lived:  “The Supreme Court declined Tuesday to block subpoenas issued to Backpage.com by a Senate committee that is investigating its alleged role in facilitating child sex trafficking…

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Almost none of [the “sex trafficking” narrative] is true—and the little that is technically true is so lacking in context that it’s utterly misleading.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Anatomy of a Boondoggle 

Just another example of “authorities” paying men to rape whores:

Police raided two flats used as brothels…in Nicosia [Cyprus], arresting a woman from China and detaining another female sex worker [pretended] to be a victim of human trafficking.  A civilian associate of the police visited the brothel and used marked bills to buy sexual services…After [raping the women] the man signalled the police by sending them an SMS message…Police located the two marked bills and [stole] 347 condoms, four of which had been used, along with four mobile phones, sex toys, a computer, and the amount of €345 in cash…

Something Rotten in Sweden

It’s good to see that even reporters who credulously parrot cop anti-whore propaganda now feel compelled to at least mention Amnesty’s findings:

…It can be difficult for police to build cases against traffickers when their primary witnesses — victims — are too afraid to talk [and] don’t trust police [who]…still conduct stings against sex workers…To create more trust among potential victims and curb the demand for commercial sex, sting operations should focus more on catching johns and pimps, [fetishist cop Mark Keller] said…He also suggested changing state law to the so-called Nordic model, which makes it legal for people to prostitute themselves but illegal to pimp, traffick or purchase sex…The model could help [cops] gain the trust of sex trafficking victims…Keller said.  However, it was recently scrutinized in a report by…Amnesty International…which found it subjected sex workers to increased police scrutiny, evictions and other penalties…

The Eye of the Beholder (June Updates)

Given that there is no possibility of a child, what exactly is the rationale behind this prosecution, other than “The ‘authorities’ find this skeevy” or “The law is the law”?

A mother and daughter are facing incest charges in…Oklahoma after authorities learned they were legally married earlier this year.  It is unclear what motivated Patricia Ann Spann, 43, and her daughter, Misty Velvet Dawn Spann, 25, to wed…Investigators also found Patricia Spann married her son in 2008.  He filed for an annulment 15 months later, citing “incest”…Police discovered the marriages late last month during a child welfare check-up.  Patricia Spann told investigators she had lost custody of her biological children as a young mother and only came into contact with her daughter two years ago…the couple believed the union was legal, since she was not listed as the biological mother on her daughter’s birth certificate.  Each woman faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic weiners-weiner

Maybe if we keep repeating this enough, it will eventually sink into the thick public skull:

…Despite popular headlines and self-promoting TV doctors’ proclamations to the contrary, sex addiction isn’t real…There is no doubt that some people have trouble regulating their sexual thoughts, desires, and behaviors.  But addiction has a real meaning and a real clinical definition…When addicts…are shown pictures of their drug of choice there is a clear and uniform response in their P300 brain waves…However, when UCLA researchers studied the response to viewing sexually explicit images in people who self-defined as being unable to regulate their porn viewing, the results showed no similar response…In fact, they found the only thing correlated with brain wave activity was sexual desire such that the higher their self-reported sexual desire, the more brain wave activity they showed.  The authors concluded that there was no evidence to say that even problem sexual regulation fit the definition of addiction as defined by brain response and that these people simply had high sex drives…

Divided We Fall (#13)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

Indonesian police are taking aim at Grindr and other gay social networking apps following the arrest of three men accused of running a “gay prostitution ring” [advertising] underaged boys for sex.  The arrests come amid an unprecedented uproar about homosexuality in the country, where it has never been a major political issue before this year.  Members of the legislature announced…they would…ban “gay propaganda” online.  The country’s Constitutional Court is likewise currently in the middle of hearings on a petition to [criminalize]…all sex outside of marriage…Police have told local media they have identified 148 victims of the network, though only 27 of them are [supposedly younger than 18]…“More than a few gay communities have been growing and targeting kids as victims,” said Asruron Ni’am Sholeh, chair of the Child Protection Commission…

“Targeting kids”…hmm, where have we heard that accusation before?  But back when the moral retards were just warring on female sex workers, the big GLBT organizations couldn’t be bothered to notice.

Finding What Isn’t There

Note how dysphemisms and weasel-words are used to conjure a story out of nothing but rumors, exaggerations and hysteria:

More than 1,000 women and girls have been apparent victims of sex trafficking in illicit cantinas in the United States that largely operate beyond the reach of law enforcement, the anti-[sex work] group Polaris [fantasized]…Half of the…cases…arose in Houston, Texas, a city near the Mexican border with a large Latino population…Cantinas…may disguise the cost of commercial sex in very high drink prices, and women are forced to flirt and drink with patrons…hotlines run by Polaris got reports of 201 cases of sex and labor trafficking, involving 1,300 potential victims at cantinas and bars in 20 U.S. states from 2007 to 2016.  More than half the victims were underage…At one illicit cantina in Houston, some victims were forced to have sex as often as 50 times a day, it said.  The cantina owner, convicted of sex trafficking, conspiracy and other charges, was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year…Cases can be hard to investigate and prosecute because traffickers and owners may hide their ownership of cantinas or liquor licenses, and because victims are too scared to testify in court, afraid that traffickers will retaliate by hurting their families…

“Apparent” victims, meaning reports from busybodies that added up to nothing.  Reports of “force” that don’t hold up because there isn’t any, which Polaris then insists are real except that the “victims” won’t admit it.  Impossibly-high claims of clients per day such as we haven’t seen in a couple of years now, using a high-profile racism-based railroading case as “evidence”, and moving the entire city of Houston hundreds of miles south to bolster their fantasy.  This is absurd even by Polaris’ standards.

Too Close To Home

Serious question: How do we nominate Liz Brown for a Pulitzer?

…On January 7, Washington officials [claimed]…women [had been] lured from South Korea under false pretenses and “held against their will” at local brothels.  [They crowed about seizing] a website where deviant men promoted and reviewed these enslaved women…King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg [said]…”The systematic importation of vulnerable young women for sexual abuse, exploitation, and criminal profiteering has been going on for years and it came to a stop this week…This is what human trafficking looks like.”  But as more information about the case has become available, Satterberg’s narrative starts to break down.  The reality—as evidenced by police reports, court documents, online records, and statements from those involved—is…a story of immigration, economics, the pull of companionship and connection, the structures and dynamism that drive black markets, and a criminal-justice system all too eager to declare women victims of the choices they make…

The piece is long, thorough and damning. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing, even if you need to do so in three sittings (it’s broken into three parts).  The “sex trafficking” narrative has been slowly crumbling, and in this important article Liz has handily taken a sledgehammer to a very prominent outcropping of it.

The Mote and the Beam (#613) 

Another victory against a political witch hunt:

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a congressional subpoena that seeks information on how Backpage.com screens for possible sex trafficking in classifieds advertising.  The order…came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers…the…stay means that Backpage need not comply…until further action from the Supreme Court…The Senate panel has tried for nearly a year to make Backpage produce certain documents as part of its [persecution of sex work advertisements] over the internet.  After the website refused to comply, the Senate voted 96-0 in March to hold the website in contempt…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-james-robinson

Go on, keep giving male cops power over women; what could possibly go wrong?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations arrested Riverdale [cop] James Robinson Jr…[for] raping a woman he was transporting to jail…Robinson stopped the car next to an empty building near a Custom tire shop…as soon as the woman was released from jail she…asked the shop for footage from its security cameras…

One Born Every Minute (#644)

Interesting that this article doesn’t mention the anti-Backpage mob:

In a 2014 opinion in a case involving a woman who was drugged, raped, and filmed by men she met through the website ModelMayhem.com…the Ninth Circuit wrote that the CDA was not “an all purpose get-out-of-jail-free card for businesses that publish user content on the internet.”  The court found that Model Mayhem…could be sued for failure to warn as the site was aware of the model’s rapists because they were the subject of a criminal investigation for doing the same thing to other Model Mayhem users…the court found that Section 230 did not protect the website when it failed to do anything about the rapists it knew were prowling its site…a…Match.com case is very similar.  [Wade] Ridley, the suit claimed, had attacked other women using Match.com and the company had done nothing to warn love-seeking online daters about the possibility of attack.  The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of some claims, but it found that the logic supporting the court’s Model Mayhem ruling applied here, too…

Of Course It Is

A step in the right direction, at least:

…Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley [announced] criminal charges against seven [cops]…O’Malley [also] said she found evidence of [rapist cops]…in Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Joaquin counties, all outside her jurisdiction.  She said she has  contacted her counterparts there to pursue criminal action…The most serious Alameda County charges — felony oral copulation with a minor — will be filed against Oakland [cop] Giovanni LoVerde and Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy Ricardo Perez…Oakland [cop] Brian Bunton also faces a felony charge of obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor charge of engaging in prostitution.  Three other Oakland [cops] will be charged with crimes…Terryl Smith…LeRoy Johnson…and…Warit Uttapa…Dan C. Black of the Livermore Police Department…faces [four] misdemeanor charges…O’Malley said it’s likely that formal charges against the officers will not be filed until Guap, the case’s primary witness, returns to California…“If the [City of Richmond] does not pay for her to come back, we will pay for her airfare,” O’Malley said…

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