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Posts Tagged ‘BDSM’

Though I’ve always loved old-style science fantasy, I have an especial love for “lost race” and “lost city” stories, in which a modern (i.e., 19th or early 20th century) hero stumbles upon some ancient (and often previously-unknown) race of people hidden away in some remote part of the globe, cut off from contact with the modern world by some kind of natural barrier such as a treacherous mountain range, an impassable desert, a dangerous jungle, etc.  The works of Edgar Rice Burroughs are full of tales of such hidden places, and A. Merritt’s entire oeuvre consisted of them; Wakanda from the Black Panther movie is a famous example, but as one might expect they’re not common any more for the simple reason that global satellite mapping has made the concept of such a hidden land unbelievable.  Recently, I received as a gift the mid-19th century novel A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, which describes a lost civilization in the Antarctic; Amazon then helpfully informed me that Richard Shaver’s weird tales, out of print since the ’40s, are now available again in paperback.  Of course I had to put them on my wishlist, and a kind gentleman has already sent me the first volume.  But since most of you probabably have absolutely no idea what the hell I’m talking about, I’ll give you a quick synopsis.

Richard Shaver was an unemployed (and probably schizophrenic) Pennsylvania welder who believed that the Earth had once been ruled by a powerful humanoid race who discovered that they were being poisoned by solar radiation, and so moved their entire civilization underground.  They later decided to abandon the Earth entirely, fleeing to an apparently-healthier star in a huge fleet of spaceships and leaving the weak and inferior behind to give rise to modern man.  But their former slaves remained in the cities, degenerating into beings Shaver called “Deros” (short for “detrimental robots”) who were wholly evil and perverse and delighted in using the machines left by the ancients to inflict all sorts of harm on the descendants of their former masters.  They had various rays that could drive people insane (causing mass shootings and the like) or cause earthquakes and other natural disasters, and they used these for their sick idea of fun.  But their most terrifying behavior was to occasionally venture to the near-surface (subway tunnels, basements, etc) to abduct hapless surface-dwellers (especially women, of course), whom they would then use as sex slaves in sadomasochistic orgies in their underground cities.  Shaver wrote a plethora of stories based on this mythos, and from 1945 to 1948 he was the most popular writer in the pulp magazine Amazing Stories, whose editor Raymond Palmer (a bit of a latter-day Barnum in his way) promoted the tales, which Shaver insisted were true, as “The Shaver Mystery”.  Readers who preferred harder sci-fi (among them the young Harlan Ellison) criticized it instead as “The Shaver Hoax”, and eventually interest declined enough for Palmer to drop the series.  But while Palmer was a showman out for a buck, poor Shaver really believed in his fantasies and continued to (intermittently) self-publish a magazine called The Hidden World for most of the ’50s.  From the early ’60s until his death in 1975, he then devoted himself to photographing and painting what he called “rock books”, mineral formations he believed were something like primordial solid-state memory crystals in which the ancients had stored images and data with something like a laser (ironically, interest in his images of these “books” has increased since the early ’90s, and there have been a number of exhibitions of his work in this century).

I’m not just telling you all this as an amusement; as usual, there’s a connection to my larger body of work.  Whenever some kind of crackpot idea gets into the popular culture as Shaver’s did, there will always be people who embrace it to a near-cultic degree; compare the recent popularity of Zecharia Sitchin’s ideas about the alien Anunnaki from the planet Nibiru.  Shaver was no exception, and though his mass popularity faded in just a few years, “Shaver Mystery Clubs” continued throughout the ’50s and into the ’60s (and some may still exist, as far as I know).  But consider the basic elements of the Shaver mythos:  evil, malign sexual perverts with mysterious powers lurking around the world, abducting women in large numbers to use as sex slaves in hidden underground lairs.  Sound familiar?  How about if I tell you that Shaver claimed that he had been a prisoner of the Deros from 1934 to 1942, and that during the height of the “Mystery”, Amazing Stories printed a letter from a woman who claimed she had been captured by the evil creatures in a sub-basement in Paris and kept as a sex slave for several months until she escaped?  As I explained in “Imagination Pinned Down” and “Mind-witness Testimony“, some humans have always reported abduction (usually sexual, often with strong BDSM overtones) by and captivity among beings such as nymphs, fairies, goblins, witches, Deros, aliens, Satanists and “sex traffickers” with mind-control powers.  And while they serve as a good basis for fascinating tales and entertaining fantasies, they’re a terrible and dangerous foundation for public policies.

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If [TV] producers were courageous, they would’ve done a show about undercover vice cops…raping and extorting sex workers.  –  Ron Kim

Elephant in the Parlor

The notion that a politician would be “shocked” by the existence of sex workers is absurd even for the UK press:

[Politician] Dave Craker was approached by [a] sex worker while [politicking]…earlier this year [and used the supposed incident to argue for more harassment of them.  He pretended to be]…shocked [because it was] 10.30am on a Saturday [and he apparently thinks Englishmen shouldn’t have sexual urges at that time]…

Torture Chamber

Just in case you thought screws restricted their petty sadism to the prisoners:

An 8-year-old girl was stripped naked and [molested by Virginia screws using the excuse of a] search…after she was [coerced by being told that] refusal would result in not being allowed to see her father…The girl was accompanied by her father’s girlfriend, who is not her legal guardian.  If they refused to [submit to the pretextual molestation], they could have been banned from the prison…Daniel Macallair…of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice [said]…“this is an act of child abuse”…[a spokespig thinks everthing is excused by claiming] the [screw] who approved the search didn’t have that authority…

To Molest and Rape

It’s good to see the phrase “rapist cop” outside of my oeuvre:

A [cop who] rap[ed] two women and sexually assault[ed] a third…told one of his victims he liked when she fought back…Anthony Westerman…[of] Baltimore…lured one woman to his home after meeting her at a bar by telling her he planned to call her an Uber [because she had passed out drunk]…but instead…he raped [her]…Another…victim…was [foolishly] drinking at Westerman’s home…when she fell asleep in his spare bedroom…Westerman later woke her up and raped her…

Do I really need to say “don’t get drunk with one either”?

Dark Corners (#702)

Funny how nail techs are only “trafficked” in the UK, but not the US:

A police raid on five nail bars in Southwark [arrested] 24 [migrant women, who were labelled] victims of human trafficking and…14 [other] people [who were labelled “traffickers”.  Those who were labeled “victims”]…were taken to a nearby [detainment] centre where they [are being held for deportation, while the others were put in regular jail]…

Keep in mind that despite many huge and expensive raids, the UK has never found more than a single-digit number of cases of genuine exploitation; these are actually just immigration raids cloaked under the pretense of “rescue”.

Shift in the Wind (#764)

Support for decriminalization is becoming the norm among economists:

…When sex work is decriminalized, violence against women declines…pro[hibitionists now tend to support]…the so-called Nordic model [which infantilizes or even institutionalizes]…sex workers…[and] prosecut[es their friends, family members, employees,] managers and customers…[has absolutely no] support from sex workers, who [explain] that it complicates their screening procedures for customers and drives sex work underground.  This jibes with economic theory, which suggests that the costs of any limitation on the market fall on those with the fewest options, whether buyers or sellers…research confirms just how powerful this effect can be.  Economists studied Craigslist…[and found its] expansion…into a market “led to a 10% to 17% reduction in female homicides.”  To be clear, that figure is not homicides among sex workers…but…all women in the area…A 2014 study of…decriminalization of indoor sex work in Rhode Island…found…a 30% drop in rapes.  This isn’t mere correlation:  Both the Rhode Island and Craigslist studies use several methods designed to identify causation…

Against Their Will (#799)

The awful Law & Order: SVU once again uses sex workers to spread copaganda:

It’s been two years since…Yang Song fell four stories to her death from an apartment window [while fleeing] a police raid on [her workplace] in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens…Just before her fatal fall, a [pig] attempted to arrest her [for consensual] sex…Recently, an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit pla[giariz]ed…[the] scen[ario while insulting the victim’s memory to spread]…anti-trafficking rescue [fantasies.  In the Hollywood version]…one woman…attempts to flee by climbing out of a window to a fire escape..and…is saved by [a prosecutor instead of being raped and caged as she wold be in real life]…the show feeds us a white savior fantasy version of the very real [persecution of] Asian-run spas that offer sexual services…across the country.  The same savior narrative fuels the real-life raids and busts, in which Asian migrant massage workers are [pretend]ed to be victims of some massive sex-trafficking ring in need of rescue…

If you’re keeping track, they’ve previously done this to Belle Knox and Suzy Favor Hamilton.

If It Were Legal (#874)

If not for stigma, he could simply have hired a domme:

…Rutledge Deas IV, known as Rory, posted an add on job app UrbanSitter claiming he needed a carer to look after his disabled 18 year-old brother…Cory…But…”Cory” was actually Rory, with the unsuspecting babysitter caring for him 10 times…The carer grew suspicious a[fter] Deas…[became erect when she changed his diaper]…the man who hired her refused to meet, and instead paid her through Apple Pay or…Venmo.  The woman looked up Deas’ publicly-visible payment history on Venmo, and saw a profile with the name Rory Deas featuring a photo of the man she knew as Cory.  She reported the…deception to UrbanSitter, who closed Deas’s account down.  The woman also called police…Deas is believed to have hired at least three other carers…Orleans Parish…charged [Deas] with 10 counts of human trafficking and sexual battery…

“Human trafficking”.  Still wonder why those claimed numbers are so huge?

Torture Chamber (#966) 

Just another state-funded rape camp in Florida; nothing to see here:

For years, male [screws] at…Coleman Federal [cage stack]…sexually harassed and [raped helpless women]…[and] were [intentionally] shielded from any consequences…Fourteen women, ranging in age from 30 to 56…have banded together to sue the United States…over the abuse…seven of the women are still [locked in cages like animals]…women [a]re coerced and threatened…[by screws] to submit [to rape].  The [rapist screws]…would at times display computer screens showing the women the exact location of their families, a pointed [threat] that their relatives could be [raped or murdered] if the women didn’t cooperate.  Some of the women had minor children.  In some cases, [screws thought they could still show up whenever they wanted to rape]…the women after they had [been released from the cages]…[at least] seven [screws belonged to the rapist gang]…some of [whom] had been [supposedly] investigated for sexual abuse in the past, with nothing coming of it…At least one victim…was [forced] to begin birth control to avoid the possibility of becoming pregnant [due to repeated rape]…One reason the women didn’t come forward until now was a prison policy calling for anyone who complained to be sent to the county jail…[under pretense of] maintain[ing] the women’s safety…[but in actuality] as punishment since a county jail is far more restrictive than a federal [rape & torture] camp…

Crying for Nanny (#968)

The hotel industry is really going to regret having collaborated with fanatics rather than fighting “sex trafficking” hysteria:

A western Washington woman who [pretend]s she was forced into a [BDSM fantasy] world of sex trafficking at age 12 is now suing area hotels and Craigslist for being complicit in the crimes.  [She fanasizes] pimps would advertise her on Craigslist under “erotic” or “adult” services categories, drawing in two to 20 men a day to rape her…[blah blah, “signs of trafficking“, blah blah Motel 6, blah blah Mar Brettman snake oil]…

As usual, the claims are sufficiently in the past for all evidence to be gone.  But if this woman had actually done any kind of sex work, she’d know what an absurd claim “20 clients per day” is.

Welcome to the Future (#971)

Do I really need to tell y’all that “don’t talk to cops except to demand your lawyer” also includes written statements?

SCAN (Scientific Content Analysis) is a lie-detecting method invented by Avinoam Sapir, a former Israeli spook turned polygraph examiner that involves picking out small textual details from writing samples to determine when someone is lying…SCAN has no empirical support, and is so outlandish that it has hardly been studied by third parties at all.  However, each time it was studied, it was found to perform no better than chance…Despite this, SCAN is widely deployed in the US and abroad…by police departments and spies…[because it pretends to confirm cops’] “belief…that they can tell when someone is lying to them with a high degree of accuracy”…SCAN has all the hallmarks of a junk-science scam, including claims by the inventor that he has secret and/or nonspecific studies to prove his product’s efficacy, and a website filled with anonymous testimonials…

To Molest and Rape (#987) 

Hey, female cops; how’s that collaboration with the police state working out?

…[Philadelphia pig trainer] Carl Holmes…[groomed] Patricia Diaz…[so when she] confid[ed] her fears [about being sexually harassed by her boss and other swine] Holmes [molested]…and groped her…tell[ing]…her…no one would believe “some little bitch”…In the 15 years [since] Holmes grew more powerful, rising to the rank of chief inspector, while also [sexual]ly assaulting two other female cops…His [blatant] crimes were well known to officials in the Philadelphia Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and City Hall…But in October, District Attorney Larry Krasner [finally] charged Holmes with sexual assault and related offenses…Holmes’ conduct…[went previously unstopped due to] systemic [properties] that [intentionally] shielded him and other top police officials…even as Holmes cost taxpayers more than $1.3 million in lawsuit settlements…

The system isn’t “flawed”; it’s doing exactly what it was designed to do: let politicians and their henchmen get away with whatever they want while destroying the lives of those they choose as victims.

Quiet Genocide (#989)

Just in case you doubted this was about total genocide:

…Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person’s face…to…build…a tool that could be used [in]…racial profiling and other state discrimination against Uighurs…In the long term…it may even be possible for the…government to feed images produced from a DNA sample into [its] mass surveillance and facial recognition systems…at least two Chinese scientists working…on the technology have received funding from [racist] institutions in Europe.  International scientific journals have published their findings without examining the…ethical questions raised by [forcibly] collecting such samples in Xinjiang…scientists and human rights activists say the Chinese government is exploiting the [naivety] of the international scientific community to harness research into the human genome for [totalitarian] purposes.  Already, China is exploring using facial recognition technology to sort people by ethnicity…[and] how to use DNA to tell if a person is a Uighur…The Chinese government is building… “technologies used for hunting people,” said [Dr] Mark Munsterhjelm…who tracks Chinese interest in the technology…the Chinese police…have already gathered millions of DNA samples in Xinjiang

The Monsters Are Due (#996)

We’re getting very close to implosion:

Nazario Garcia was gunned down…in his white work van…in the parking lot of a…[Memphis, Tennessee] Goodwill store…he…was parked…when Favian and Miguel Effinger showed up…[and murdered] Garcia “without provocation”…He tried to get away but lost control…and crashed into a shopping cart, ending up on the curb.  Before the shooting…the brothers’ mother, Gjuandell Effinger, sent a video on social media — [fantasizing] the occupant of a white van with the same tag number as Garcia had tried to abduct her from the parking lot of a nearby Walmart…Effinger’s Facebook page shows post after post she shared from other users [fantasiz]ing about white vans being used for sex trafficking…[and other fantasies] about abducted children and women…Miguel and Favian are charged with first degree murder.  Their mother is charged with solicitation of first degree murder…

“Shit just got real”, all right.  Of course, it didn’t need to end in murder to be more “real” than these silly BDSM sex fantasies.

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Allena Gabosch’s new book, Sex Positive Now, is out, and I have an essay in it; so do lots of others whose names you may know, including Veronica Monet, Gloria Brame, Susie Bright, Annie Sprinkle, and many others.  So as is my habit, I’ll just give you a little taste of my contribution; if you want more you’ll just have to buy the book!  And if you do you’ll not only be supporting the work of a lot of sex positive thinkers and writers, but also helping Allena herself, who is battling cancer (please also consider donating to fund her treatment).

…For most of recorded human history, the manifold laws regulating sex work were not intended to preclude pragmatic motivations for sexual behavior, but rather to keep up appearances, guard the purity of bloodlines, and maintain public order.  But as industrialization rapidly changed the face of Europe and the young United States, a new idea began to take hold of people’s minds:  if science could improve Man’s tools and techniques, why couldn’t the same process be applied to Mankind itself?  The immediate result of turning (pseudo-)scientific inquiry upon sex was that taking money for it was no longer considered merely something that “low” or “sinful” women did for a living or extra income; instead, the “prostitute” was defined into existence as a specific type of woman, separate and distinct from other women.  And once the idea of “prostitution” as some uniquely disgraceful activity was invented, and the “prostitute” was defined as the lowest of the low, it was inevitable that women who would previously have been considered more or less the same as whores would attempt to draw lines between themselves and the new pariah class.  Furthermore, once these new ideas inspired Western governments to criminalize prostitution and/or its attendant activities, distinguishing oneself from a “common prostitute” became a matter not only of dignity, but of legal necessity.

The first group to successfully shed the whore stigma was actresses, who had since classical times been considered interchangeable with harlots; dancers whose style could be credibly represented as asexual or highbrow (preferably both) followed them, then masseuses and finally, “emancipated” women who had extramarital sex for non-financial reasons.  In the past several decades, these groups have multiplied to include burlesque and competition pole dancers, glamour and lingerie models, professional “cuddlers”, nude maids, waitresses catering to sexual fantasies and even sugar babies; all of these absolutely insist that they are different from strippers, hookers and fetish workers in some real (and legally defensible) way.  Even people who are directly paid for a hands-on sexual service claim that being “certified” or “spiritual” or whatever makes them distinctly different from other sex workers, and I’ve actually heard women willing to top strangers at kink parties claim that their lack of a pecuniary motivation makes them not only distinct from, but morally or even psychologically superior to, professional dominatrices…

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I’ve got an article on sex work, money and consent in the new print edition of Reason, and I think y’all should show your support by picking one up!  But if you have neither subscription nor newsstand handy, here it is online.  A sample to get you started: 

…In the realm of sex, consent has been elevated to the level of a sacred word.  But in practice, most of us believe in a host of exceptions…Many if not most of these exceptions involve sex, money, or power, so it’s not surprising that sex work—which involves all three—inspires some truly absurd mental gymnastics on and around the concept of consent.  Statists, both in and out of government, like to play Kafkaesque games with the idea of consent.  We are told by a certain type of feminist that consent must be explicitly verbal, ongoing, and “enthusiastic”.  They say it must be tiresomely re-ascertained over and over and over again, no matter how clearly it was expressed in the first place.  Modern Puritans, meanwhile, claim that people who engage in “deviant” sexual behavior (including sex work, BDSM, and—until very recently—homosexuality) are suffering from “Stockholm syndrome,” “trauma bonding,” or “false consciousness” and thus cannot consent to things they claim to enjoy because they are not in their right minds.

But the most bizarre of these tortuous mind games, popular among radical feminists for years but gaining momentum today among “progressives,” is the idea that if a person is paid to do something he wouldn’t do for free, that constitutes “coercion” or even “violence”.  As Reason‘s Elizabeth Nolan Brown pointed out a few years ago, “In Seattle, sex must be a ‘leisure activity’ for both parties or it’s nonconsensual, according to one area prosecutor.”  Brown was writing about Val Richey, a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County, Washington, who argued that all sex workers are victims of rape because someone paid them “essentially to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes.'”  This dogma is deranged.  Richey doesn’t do his job for free; does that mean he is coerced, too?  This contradiction doesn’t seem to occur to anti–sex work crusaders, because they’re unwilling to accept that sex, like every other part of the material world, is not distributed “evenly” or “fairly”…

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Kraft’s…case punctured some of the overheated rhetoric surrounding coerced sex work.  –  Matt Ford

Rough Trade 

A rare case where a rapist of sex workers is actually convicted:

A San Francisco jury…found a man guilty of several felonies in connection with the sexual assault of two female sex workers more than five years ago in the city’s Mission District…Edwin Rodriguez [was found]…guilty of multiple counts of forcible rape as well as aggravated kidnapping, assault and criminal threats.  Rodriguez now faces multiple life sentences…

Unclean Situation (#330)

These are also some of the nuns behind Ruhama:

A religious order which ran some of the Magdalene laundries, but has refused to pay into the redress scheme for survivors, is to sell its retreat centre in north Dublin.  The Religious Sisters of Charity announced it will sell the €3m Stella Maris Retreat Centre in Howth…A spokesman for the Department of Justice said no contributions have been made by any of the four religious congregations involved in respect of the implementation of the Magdalen Restorative Justice Ex-Gratia Scheme…[which has paid] a total of €27.8m…so far to 732 applicants…

Catastrophic Consequences (#576)

This sleazy tactic started in Canada, then spread to the UK:

[In the UK] “anti-trafficking”…raids [are] known officially as “welfare visits”…[cops pretend] that “the welfare and safety of the women…is…the number one priority”…[but in truth] “prostitute cautions“…are…handed out at high rates, and the…Proceeds of Crime Act not only allows them to [steal] sex workers’ earnings, it actively making it easier for them by reversing the burden of proof…the [stolen] cash is given to the Home Office, which then [gives it right back] to the police force without regulating how it’s spent.  The official line is that [cops] have no incentive to raid, but the truth is that the police force does stand to profit…

BDSM (#583)

A “cult”.  Because mentioning their sex practices wasn’t quite lurid enough:

Torsten Weiss…[the owner of a] medieval fetish shop in Hachenburg, Germany…was found dead with crossbow bolts protruding from his neck and skull…[in] a…B&B in Passau…By his side was 33-year-old Kerstin Enders who had succumbed to similar fatal injuries.  On the floor in front of them in a pool of blood was 30-year-old Farina Caspari, suspected of honoring Weiss’s…command to first kill him and Enders, and then take her own life…Weiss and Enders left wills at their sides…”Investigators suspect they were all members of a kind of sex circle with a focus on the Middle Ages,” according to RTL news…[at] Caspari[‘s]…house [cops]…found two more female victims.  One, identified only as Gertrud C., was her lover…friends of the four female victims interviewed by police say the women had all been under Weiss’s hypnotic control.  They reportedly engaged in extreme sexual acts, often involving BDSM, under his direction.  But what police don’t yet know is what led the fivesome to their deaths rather than just continuing their fantastical life…The two women found dead in [Caspari’s] apartment have no obvious wounds or signs of violence. Toxicology reports will show if they were poisoned…

Other than what I’ve quoted above, most of the rest is lurid speculation by cops and the neighbors, friends, and family members of the victims, mostly of the same level of popular ignorance as the myth that a person can be “hypnotized” to do things against their will.

To Molest and Rape 

Just 1500 isolated incidents:

Nearly 1,500 accusations of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, [rape, sexual assault] and child [molestation], have been made against [cops] in England and Wales over six years…Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that 1,491 complaints were filed against [various kinds of cops]…across 33 forces in England and Wales between 2012 and 2017, or 2018 in the case of the Metropolitan Police in London, which took a year to respond…Of these cases, 371 were upheld, resulting in the sacking or resignation of 197 [rapists]…Ten police forces [refused to] provide data…

Girls, Girls, Girls! (#679)

Clubs need to learn that the bad old days of exploiting dancers are over:

A federal jury has awarded five black dancers more than $3 million in their discrimination lawsuit against Danny’s strip club…Danny’s Downtown Cabaret…limit[ed] the number of shifts black dancers could work, and subject[ed] them to racially offensive epithets…”Danny’s also forced the dancers to work at a related club, Black Diamonds, even though they were subject to arrest there because they were not licensed to work at that club,” according to the EEOC.  “The pay and working conditions at Black Diamonds were inferior to those at Danny’s, and there was less security there.  The dancers who refused to work at Black Diamonds were fined and sent home, and not allowed to work at Danny’s”…

Profound Ignorance (#800) 

Scott Cunningham has finally set the record straight on the history of decriminalization in Rhode Island:

…In 1980, the Rhode Island General Assembly legalized indoor sex work.  The surviving members of that assembly have [pretended] that legalizing indoor sex work happened accidentally while trying to strengthen laws prohibiting street prostitution…the police and local prosecutors [eventually forgot]…as indoor sex workers were arrested and prosecuted regularly…throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s.  Then in 2003, a Rhode Island District Court judge reminded everyone what the law said…For six years the state was running a “natural experiment” that would teach us more about decriminalized indoor sex work than we’d ever known in history…what we found surprised us and everyone else…Rhode Island rapes and sexually transmitted infections both substantially declined…several other articles in economics have found similar effects but in other countries and cities…in light of these studies, organizations such as the World Health Organization and the ACLU have begun calling for reconsideration of our commercial sex laws…

Unfortunately, he’s still making silly claims like “everyone was surprised” (no, prohibitionists feigned surprise; it has been known since at least the 1920s that criminalization of a market always increases violence and health issues).  But at least he’s admitting that Rhode Island was neither a “mistake” nor a merely six-year phenomenon, and I’ve noticed his studies have been getting much better.  We may make a good ally out of him yet.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#830)

Even Reuters is starting to listen to what sex workers have to say about “rescue”:

Sex workers in Thailand are rejecting the “raid and rescue” model used by authorities to crack down on…sex workers…[by labeling them] victims of trafficking.  Many of the women arrested are then [forced] to learn [menial] skills like sewing and baking.  “People say we should stop doing what we do, and sew or bake cookies instead – but why are only those jobs considered appropriate?” said Mai Chanta, who has been a sex worker for about eight years.  “This is what we choose to do, and we feel a sense of pride and satisfaction that we are just like other workers”…

That Old Black Magic (#884)

Click on the subtitle for the truth about Nigerian juju (not “voodoo”) rituals:

Spanish Police have busted a network of Nigerian voodoo sex traffickers who use illegal migration routes to smuggle young girls into Europe…the sex slaves are being groomed in Benin City, Edo state by mafia-style gangs promising them a better life in Spain…They were submitted to voodoo rituals threatening terrible consequences to them and their families if they disobeyed the organisation, police [fantasized, groaning and making furtive movements in their pants while describing how]…parts of their bodies were smothered in animal blood before they were threatened with death or infertility if they failed to obey the traffickers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#899)

Welcome to the future:

A UK pedestrian was arrested and fined £90 ($115 US) after attempting to cover his face while passing a controversial facial recognition camera van on an East London street.  The notorious London police vans scan the faces of passers-by and compare them to a database of wanted criminals.  One man wasn’t having any of it, and was seen covering his face with his hat and jacket before London police stopped him and [forcibly] took his picture anyway…The ticketing comes in the wake of another similar incident in February, in which another man refused to be scanned by one of the facial recognition vans and was also fined £90…the technology is terribly inaccurate – wrongly matching over 2,000 people to criminal…[at] the Champions League Final in Cardiff in 2017

First They Came for the Hookers… (#903) 

Most “prostitution” cases come apart like wet toilet paper if actually taken to trial:

A former Foxy Lady dancer…was found not guilty…of offering sex for money.  Lindsay Hoffmann…one of three dancers arrested at the club on Dec. 11, was cleared after a trial…lasting less than an hour…[a cop claimed] Hoffmann told him…he could get “anything” he wanted for $300 in the downstairs VIP room…But Judge Melissa DuBose said “anything” could have been anything…

End Demand (#910)

Mar Brettmann is a sleazy opportunist who will use any story about petty crime to sell her anti-whore snake oil:

…According to Mar Brettmann…“We know that 300-to-500 kids are prostituted at any given time in King County.”  Brettmann is executive director of B.E.S.T. – Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking – in Seattle…[which profits by indoctrinating] businesses and employees in King County to [harass] sex [workers], especially in hotels and motels…

In other words, she claims that there are about twice as many “teen sex slaves” in Seattle as adult escorts, a number so absurd prominent Seattle sex workers have actually been asked by cops where all those supposed “sex slaves” are hiding, because they sure can’t find them.

Loose Cannons (#938)

Another good anti-prohibition article at New Republic:

…The…charges against Kraft came as part of a sweeping, dramatic raid on Asian massage parlors across Florida…prosecutors [pretended]…they had smashed a international sex-trafficking ring…the narrative changed just as the public’s attention turned elsewhere…law enforcement agencies…often use [the claim] to describe and justify crackdowns on consensual sex work…prosecutors regularly use the threat of additional charges and a prolonged trial to induce defendants to accept a guilty plea…This warps the criminal justice system, such that…between 90 and 95 percent of federal and state cases are now resolved through plea deals instead of a trial with one’s peers…

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Our government has this idea of “we have to find this common enemy to fight”…right now, sex workers [are] that villain.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

But Georgia’s only too happy to lock up adult sex workers:

…Michael Wysolovski coerced a North Carolina teenager into sex and held her against her will for more than a year inside a dog cage in his Georgia home…he pleaded guilty to first-degree cruelty to children and interstate interference with custody…[and] won’t spend any time in prison…the terms of his plea deal gave him credit for the time he spent behind bars awaiting bail. He will spend the remaining nine years on probation and must register as a sex offender…the girl [was discovered] in a state of malnutrition with ringworm and back pain caused by being caged for so long…she reached out to a…person on [an online] forum, who in turn informed the FBI…When they first met, the girl told Wysolovski she was unhappy at home, so he convinced her to come live with him when she turned 16…[they] agreed to a “consensual non-consensual” sexual relationship…[but Wysolovski eventually disregarded her] boundaries and safe words…because…the relationship…resided in a gray area of consent…a trial by jury might not have yielded a guilty verdict on the rape charge…[so] the victim’s family didn’t want the case to go to trial because they didn’t want her to have her story picked apart on the stand.

Down Under

Prohibitionists keep insisting that decriminalization doesn’t work:

The Sex Worker Advisory Group, or SWAG, is a unique collaboration between the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Prostitutes’ Collective (NZPC), and groups like Rape Crisis to help sex workers better access support services after sexual assault…[though] sexual assault isn’t common in the industry…there is still stigma around sex work in New Zealand.  When many people’s attitude is…“Aren’t you getting sexually assaulted in a daily basis?”, finding non-judgmental support can be incredibly difficult…Both the Prostitution Reform Act and SWAG offer a new paradigm for police-sex worker relations that stands in stark contrast to the hostile relationship seen in the rest of the world.  In the UK, “Police forces are failing sex workers who come to them as victims of crime”. In the United States, sex workers are often the victims of sexual assault by the police.  And in Norway…the police have evicted and deported workers who have reported rape to them.  These patterns repeat themselves in other countries where the sex industry remains fully or partially criminal…

Rooted in Racism

Mistreatment of sex workers is deeply rooted in racism all over the world:

Our conversations about sex work in Australia are deeply racialised, with roots in a number of anti-Asian tropes…cultural stereotypes of Asian women as “passive” has primed white Australia to swallow the portrayal of Asian sex workers as always already exploited.  This generates a default suspicion that has been used to justify intense over-policing of Asian migrant sex workers and their lack of access to safe and legal long-term labour migration pathways, all under the banner of “anti-trafficking”.  It’s also contributed to the construction of the popular image into which a collective xenophobic contempt for for sex work and sex workers is currently distilled: “illegal Asian brothels”.  This image normalises and perpetuates state violence against migrant sex workers…accompanied by grotesque, sensational media reporting, and the resulting deportation of migrant sex workers on minor breaches…

Above the Law

Obviously this fireman has been hanging around too many cops:

A fire captain in Arizona accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl while “extremely intoxicated” claims he mistook the girl’s genitals for the mouth of an adul…Michael William Palmatier…[also blamed his behavior on] a prescription muscle relaxer…Palmatier…[claims to] recall…going into a bedroom during the party…and starting to [perform oral sex on]…the victim…a…colleague then told Palmatier that the victim was 8 years old, prompting him to repeatedly curse before crying and apologizing…but insisted that he thought he was kissing an adult’s mouth rather than the girl’s genitals…

Train Wreck (#544)

The “Abuja Environmental Protection Board” is the Orwellian name of a Nigerian vice gang empowered to do basically anything it likes to terrorize sex workers:

…Activists ha[ve] called on the [government]…to desist from the persistent public humiliation, assault, sexual harassment of women in Abuja in the name of [harassing]…sex workers in the city or face legal action…a statement signed by 36 civil society groups…condemned the recent raids and arrest of over 100 women at a night club in Abuja…on two different occasions within one week – April 17 and 26.  The raids were carried out by…the Joint Task [Gang], which [includes]…the…Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB)…many of the arrested women “were severally assaulted and sexually harassed, with some raped, leaving injuries in the vaginas of some of them…many were psychologically traumatised by the experience…[the raids] targeted and violated young women in the club…No attempts were made to question the club proprietors or arrest the male guests…[but] several female guests in or around the nightclub were also arrested and harassed…young women were brutally dragged out by male officers who beat them, and some women were stripped naked”…

Gingerbread House (#693)

It’s satisfying when the mask of concern for “trafficking victims” slips:

…the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland is seeking to open a [jail] for teenage…sex…[workers]…but the…plan…is facing opposition on multiple fronts.  Claire’s House, named after [some politician’s] mother…plans to [lock] up…12 teenage sex [worker]…at a [time]…advocates…say the church’s opposition to contraception and abortion could harm [their] victims.  Meanwhile, neighbors of the [jail] worry that traffickers will bring crime, drugs and guns to their community…

Disaster (#879)

Good news about the FOSTA challenge:

…The important thing to remember about this appeal is that the question before the appeals court isn’t really about the constitutionality of FOSTA itself.  What’s being appealed is the case having been dismissed for lack of standing by the plaintiffs.  The district court never directly ruled on the constitutionality of the law; it only ruled that these plaintiffs had no right to complain about it…the…court [claimed] these plaintiffs weren’t being hurt, or likely to be hurt, by FOSTA, and so it dismissed their case…All the DOJ…has to do to defend FOSTA is say…”These people…will not be hurt by FOSTA, so keep this case dismissed”…but that’s exactly what the amicus brief by the twenty-one state attorney generals does not do…their brief instead reads as a bright flashing neon sign warning the court that there is plenty of reason for them to be worried.  Because…[it] reads as a paean to everything FOSTA is going to let the states do, including to people just like the plaintiffs…

A Broker in Pillage (#904)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

The Institute for Justice filed a class-action lawsuit in Illinois state court alleging that Chicago’s impound program violates residents’ guarantee of due process, as well as protections against excessive fines and unreasonable seizures, under both the Illinois and U.S. constitutions…A Reason investigation published last year described how Chicago’s punitive impound program soaks people in fines and fees and deprives them indefinitely of their transportation, whether or not they actually committed an offense, in an effort to reduce its massive annual budget deficits.  It also operates independently from the state’s courts, meaning that even in cases where a defendant beats a criminal charge and/or a civil asset forfeiture case, they can still be found liable for thousands of dollars in fines and storage fees, and have their cars held until they pay or relinquish them to the city…

Disaster (#922)

The sweet smell of schadenfreude:

Verizon is seeking a buyer for Tumblr, the blogging platform it [intentionally destroyed by ill-considered censorship] in 201[8]…Pornhub VP Corey Price claimed…that his company is “extremely interested” in buying Tumblr and…“restoring it to its former glory with NSFW content”…Price is referring to…Tumblr[‘s deeply-stupid]…step of banning porn on its platformresult[ing] in harsh criticism…and a steep decline in web traffic…Pornhub [has] sought to attract those users that Tumblr drove away…

The Course of a Disease (#925)

How do you think they “stopped” these guys?  By spying on “known prostitutes” and harassing anyone who visited them, just like in Sweden:

Gardaí said that it carried out [harassment] operations in DMR North, DMR East, DMR South Central, Wexford, Louth and Kildare.  A total of 36 individuals were stopped and [interrogated after being seen visiting known sex workers]…A number of files are now being prepared for forwarding to the Director of Public Prosecutions.  The DPP will then decide if any criminal proceedings should be initiated.  Gardaí said that the operation reinforces their “commitment to target [sex workers and harass them to death]”…

Torture Chamber (#928) 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

On March 25, 2019, Christopher Caldwell…[was made] nearly immobile, shackled to a bucket at Limestone [Cage Stack] in Alabama.  His pant legs were taped up, and his belly, feet and hands were shackled.  Caldwell’s handcuffs were shackled to his belly, preventing him from moving his hands above his waist.  Caldwell had just been transferred…from [another prison]…and had already undergone extensive [initiation tortures]:  several body cavity searches, metal detectors and drug dogs…[then screws locked] him in a [cage], shackled and taped him…[and] told [him that] his restraints would not be removed until he “shat six times” in the bucket…he…was bound to the bucket in a [cage] without running water for five days.  His pleas for help were either ignored by guards, or met with mace threats.  Another confined individual subjected to the “shitting in a bucket” [torture], Daniel Bolden…said that his memories of eating like a dog (due to constrained hands) are etched into his mind.  Unable to shower, he was forced to lie near and in his own feces and urine…a mother whose son is currently confined at [the same prison]…reported…that she’s been extorted by [screws who]…“stabbed my son…then…call[ed me and]…said things would get worse for him if I didn’t send money”…

Broken Record (#932)

You mean they just made it up?  Say it ain’t so!

[For the last decade, pigs, spooks and politicians] have promoted the [myth] that a rise in sex trafficking rates is correlated with large sporting events.  [Despite repeated debunking] this narrative [is intentionally spread by prohibitionists]…every year around the Super Bowl…Yet [people who actually can do math and understand the difference between their anuses and holes in the ground]…say that there is…[absolutely no] evidence to support the idea that events like the Super Bowl or the Kentucky Derby are correlated with a rise in sex trafficking rates…even…Polaris…the there’s…no…data to suggest [such] spikes…Such [propaganda campaigns]…put sex workers at increased risk of arrest during anti-sex [worker pogroms justified by these myths about]…large sporting events, says Kristen DiAngelo…of SWOP Sacramento…

Loose Cannons

A judge slaps down pigs & prosecutors for a change:

Florida police failed to exhaust [legal] options and to protect the privacy of non-suspects when secretly recording surveillance video inside Martin County massage parlors.  That’s the verdict of Florida Judge Kathleen Roberts…”at no time was any effort made to stop the monitoring or recording at any point to protect the innocent person who happened to enter an area covered by a camera”…Kraft and other men charged with solicitation have been challenging the use of “sneak and peak” warrants…Workers at these businesses are also suing over the surveillance, as are customers of the spas who simply received regular massage services…State prosecutors [predictably] intend to appeal the ruling…

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In the current environment, we…have no choice but to suspend service.  –  Massage Republic

The Notorious Badge

Whatever one’s opinion of this show, it’s great that the media is listening to sex workers’ opinions of our media depictions:

The Twitter account for Mistress May…primarily tweets links to positive reviews of the Netflix show Bonding…because Mistress May is a fictional Twitter account created by Netflix to promote the show…unlike [real] sex workers on Twitter, Mistress May is verified…on a website that…partakes in discriminatory behavior against…sex workers [many] are outraged that Twitter would provide a platform for a fictional sex worker from a show that they have argued promotes an inaccurate and outright harmful view of their profession…

The Shape of the Spoon

If the mother doesn’t mind, how is it the state’s place to interfere?

…Jerri [Lee’s] son took an interest in drag when he was “around 3 or 4”…Jerri viewed Jacob’s love of drag as no different from her older son’s desire to play football.  It was harmless, and it didn’t hurt anyone.  Although Jacob performed as “Miss Mae Hem” at local Pride events, no one ever made an issue of it until a Facebook page…picked up a video of him performing…in December…the situation immediately began to be twisted into something it wasn’t.  [Trolls] claimed Jacob was “stripping” and giving audience members “lap dances.”  A Facebook user…made a poster saying the event was part of “Lancaster’s Pedophilia Night.”  Other…trolls…found where she lived and published the family’s address online.  They called several local police departments, children’s services, the sheriff’s office, and even the FBI…children’s services found no probable cause to investigate…[but] in early April…[politician] Tim Schaffer…introduced a bill [in the Ohio House]…to ban…adults from putting on any performance…which [perverts claim]…“appeals to prurient interest”…[naturally prohibitionists] claim it’s intended to curb sex trafficking…

What kind of pervert thinks a child playing dress-up is innately sexual, even if the costume is a cross-dressing one?

Watershed

When teen fashion magazines publish articles like this, prohibition’s days are numbered:

…continued criminalization of sex work and sex workers is a form of violence by governments and contributes to the high level of stigma and discrimination.  A systematic review and meta-analysis led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), for instance, has found that sex workers who have experienced “repressive policing” (including arrest, extortion, and violence from police) are three times more likely to experience sexual or physical violence.  But governments often fail to accept the evidence for the economic and social bases for sex work…They also ignore the wishes of sex workers, who want full decriminalization, as supported by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, and the Lancet, as well as human rights organizations like Amnesty International…sex worker rights are women’s rights, health rights, labor rights, and the litmus test for intersectional feminism…

Even the hopelessly-whitebread USA Today is getting there:

Decriminalization of sex work is just the first step in creating a more just world.  Even if all sex work were decriminalized tomorrow, large swaths of the sex working population would still face over-policing.  People of color, African-Americans especially, are routinely targeted by law enforcement for harassment and face disproportionate rates of arrest and violence at the hands of police.  Similarly, transgender individuals are regularly profiled as sex workers or other members of the street economy, and thus treated as criminals from the start…We must move beyond this culture of incarceration and policing…

To Molest and Rape 

Don’t ever think rapist cops are limited to the US:

A [typical and representative] garda who sexually assaulted a sleeping woman…has lost an [attempt to reduce his already-low]…two year prison sentence.  The [rapist]…pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman at a Mayo hotel, in July 2015…the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had gotten into the sleeping woman’s bed and was discovered by her husband with his trousers down.  He initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to guilty at a late stage of his trial…

Repeat Offenders (#704)

Even when it isn’t garment-related, “rescuers” invariably want to push sex workers into some kind of traditional feminine menial labor:

Noel Yeatts…of World Help…[describes well-paid sex work as] misery…and [wants to push]…the Gospel [on them while forcing them into]…a new baking school in Pattaya, one of the centres of Thailand’s booming sex industry…[in her looking glass weltanschauung lucrative, flexible] sex [work is]…keeping girls enslaved and…[low-paid] baking [for some cafe owner is]…freedom…

Welcome To Our World (#758)

Rape victims are increasingly treated like criminals:

Victims of crimes, including those alleging rape, are to be asked to hand their phones over to police – or risk prosecutions not going ahead.  Consent forms asking for permission to [root like pigs through private] information including emails, messages and photographs have been rolled out in England and Wales…police and prosecutors say the forms can plug a gap in the law which says complainants and witnesses cannot be forced to [let the pigs dig through their lives looking for information with which to charge the complainants with crimes rather than actually having to investigate the crimes they reported]…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#788) 

It’s never called “trafficking” when the government or a crony does it:

A nationally renowned drug rehab program in Texas and Louisiana has sent patients struggling with addiction to work for free for some of the biggest companies in America, likely in violation of federal labor law.  The Cenikor Foundation has dispatched tens of thousands of patients to work without pay at more than 300 for-profit companies over the years.  In the name of rehabilitation, patients have moved boxes in a sweltering warehouse for Walmart, built an oil platform for Shell and worked at an Exxon refinery along the Mississippi River…Cenikor…[pretends]…work helps people recover from addiction…participants have to do is surrender their pay to cover the costs of the two-year program.  But the constant work leaves little time for counseling or treatment, transforming the rehab into little more than a cheap and expendable labor pool…At some job sites, participants lacked proper supervision, safety equipment and training, leading to routine injuries…Labor experts say Cenikor’s entire business model might be illegal under federal labor law…

Disaster (#831)

When even a government propaganda outlet criticizes a law, you know it’s bad:

A popular sex classified website said…that it was shutting down its services in the United States, citing the likelihood that legal challenges would fail to overturn a…federal [censorship] law…passed by Congress a year ago.  The decision by MassageRepublic.com marks the latest indication that…FOSTA-SESTA…has made it difficult for websites selling [classified ads] to survive…

Checklist (#854)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system continues:

[Alabama politicians] considered four [anti-sex] bills…Two…would require health care workers and new commercial drivers to go through [anti-whore] training…The third…allow[s pigs] to publish pictures of those [caught in stings]. The goal is to [imitate other states who have similar laws, in “monkey see, monkey do” fashion]…The last…increases the penalties for certain buildings that don’t have [magic anti-whore] posters…

Worse Than I Thought (#869)

The hotel industry is really going to regret having collaborated with fanatics rather than fighting “sex trafficking” hysteria:

McAllen [Texas] police have arrested the manager of a local motel…on a charge of continuous human trafficking…Lucila Saucedo [was arrested]…on a charge of promoting prostitution…[for charging sex workers an hourly room rate]…The human trafficking charge against Saucedo is a first-degree felony and carries a penalty of at least 25 years in prison…

O, Canada! (#918)

Canadian cops continue to try to sell their grotesque sex worker intimidation tactics as “helping” them:

…sex workers across Ontario have described aggressive surveillance and abuse at the hands of [cops, bureaucrats] and [spooks]…massage parlour…work[ers are]…confronted by pervasive surveillance, harassment and abuse from [cops]…under the pretence of “human trafficking” investigations…these unwanted visits are driven by moral panic rather than evidence…Encouraged by the conflation of sex work and human trafficking, [cops] are increasingly invading sex workers’ spaces under the guise of protection and “rescue”.  But their “protection” is unwanted, misdirected and outright harmful…sex workers interviewed [by journalists] universally describe…abuse including assault, intimidation, harassment, threats, retaliation, extortion, unwarranted searches and seizures, and arbitrary or disproportionate application of the law…

Rough Trade (#923)

Imagine this actually going to trial in the US:

A man who removed his condom during…sex with a prostitute has been jailed for 12 years for raping her.  Lee Hogben…ignored his…victim’s repeated objections and carried on [raping]…her…Hogben denied the charge of rape but was found guilty following a trial.  After being [sentenced] Hogben threatened to shoot the…judge…Hogben [had also] threatened [the escort] with violence…and…left without paying…her…

Worse Than I Thought (#925)

Florida prohibitionists are doubling down on their awful anti-whore laws:

…[prohibitionists fantasize that] “If human trafficking was to discontinue…motel owners…would be out of business”…[politicians] must also resolve their differences over…a database of people found guilty of  “soliciting, inducing, enticing, or procuring” another to commit “prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.”  The loose definition [ensures that] sex workers…[will] be [included] in the [registry], but [politician] Fitzenhagen [doesn’t give a shit because]…“I think it’s a disgrace that sex workers are coming before the House and Senate, saying you are going to make me scared of the police, reduce my income and hurt my family if I get arrested,” she said. Well, guess what, prostitution is illegal”…

“I think it’s a disgrace that Negroes are coming before the House and Senate, saying they are scared of the police” –  Heather Fitzenhagen, 1959

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