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Posts Tagged ‘Business As Usual’

Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual.  –  Dipak Misra

Maggie in the Media 

Peeping Toms

While the US increases interference into private lives, India goes the other way:

India’s Supreme Court…struck down a colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a landmark victory for gay rights that one judge said would “pave the way for a better future.”  The 1861 law, a relic of Victorian England that hung on long after the end of British colonialism, was a weapon used to discriminate against India’s gay community, the judges ruled in a unanimous decision…the court said sexual orientation was a “biological phenomenon” and that discrimination on that basis violated fundamental rights…

Banishment

I’m sure you feel safer now:

Olivia Munn’s new film, The Predator, is making headlines not just because of its premiere but because Twentieth Century Fox pulled a scene from the film after it was revealed that director Shane Black had cast a registered sex offender to play a small part.  Munn [complained] to the…studio and has now [bragged] about it on social media…Steven Wilder Striegel…pleaded guilty in 2010 to allegations that he attempted to lure a 14 year-old girl into a sexual relationship via the internet…Munn wrote…”excerpts from the arrest affidavit are beyond disturbing and completely contradict Wilder’s version of how he was convicted”…

Try not to throw up when you read all the bootlicking statements about how everything pigs and prosecutors say is unquestionable holy truth.

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 19 so far this year:

Vontashia Bell, an 18-year-old transgender woman was fatally shot multiple times in Shreveport, Louisiana, on August 30…Later that day, Dejanay Stanton’s body was found in an alley on Chicago’s South Side…Like Bell, Stanton had been shot to death…In Philadelphia, police are looking for the person or persons behind the murder of Shantee Tucker, a 30-year-old trans woman who was found shot in the back [on August 29th]…With their deaths, there have now been 19 known killings of transgender or nonbinary people this year, with 13 of them being black

Whither Canada? (#813)

A new challenge is only necessary because Liberals lied about repealing the law:

Across Canada, sex workers are still regularly being charged with crimes because of their profession.  Their clients, too, are being targeted by police…Canada’s new laws…have only made things worse…Bill C-36, came into effect in 2014 under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, and it was opposed by all opposition parties at the time, including Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, who contended that the legislation was unconstitutional and failed to comply with th[e] Supreme Court ruling [which decriminalized sex work].  During the 2015 federal election campaign, Trudeau vowed to undo or fix various criminal justice reforms brought in by his predecessor, painting the Tories’ tough-on-crime agenda as heartless and damaging…But now—three years after the Liberals won a majority government, four years after C-36 came into force, five years after the Supreme Court ruled that Canada’s long-standing prostitution laws were unconstitutional…any plans for reform appear to have stalled…After years of patience with the Liberals, sex workers are beginning to speak out again…A constitutional challenge to the Harper-era laws is facing a Charter challenge in a London, Ont. courtroom, which promises to extend into years of further legal wrangling.  The Pivot Legal Society, an intervenor in the Bedford case…[is] considering another challenge…

Pyrrhic Victory (#854)

The problem with facial recognition isn’t that it’s inaccurate, which would give victims a way to fight it legally.  The problem is that it won’t stay inaccurate for much longer:

Sixteen states let the FBI use face recognition technology to compare the faces of suspected criminals to their driver’s license and ID photos…at least 26 states allow [in-state pigs] to run or request [such] searches…Roughly 50 percent of American adults have their photos searched this way — meaning that 117 million adults are included in law enforcement face recognition networks…But critics question the…[use of] software which is known for problems with accuracy — especially in…people of color…At a time when artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly [sold to the deeply stupid] as a tool to keep us safe, experts are beginning to sound the alarm…for privacy…Clare Garvie, an associate with the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law [points out that] other police investigative tools — such as wiretaps and fingerprints — are heavily regulated, requiring a judge to issue a warrant for use.  But only a handful of state laws touch on face recognition…Garvie compares the presence of police video cameras enabled with face recognition technology on every corner to the act of a [pig rooting] through a protest demanding to see identification of everyone…face recognition cameras do the same thing — while capturing faces and identifying people remotely and in secret…

Full of Themselves (#860)

Let’s hope this attempt to harass Asian massage parlors out of business harms licensed masseuses even more:

Coralville and Iowa City joined the growing number of local city governments in passing ordinances that target…massage parlors since the Iowa Legislature gave cities the ability to regulate requirements last year.  [Prohibitionists pretend] human trafficking in massage parlors is an issue in Iowa City…

As long as politicians can successfully draw lines between adult businesses and others, they will continue to.

Business As Usual (#868) 

Rapists and murders say they want to “regain public trust” by not raping and murdering as much for the next few weeks:

Columbus Division of Police is temporarily suspending routine vice operations in part to regain public trust in light of two high-profile [abuses of power by] vice [cops] in the last 45 days.  The vice [pen], which includes about 20 [pigs], will spend the next 28 days providing command staff with information on how [raids] are conducted, Deputy Chief Tim Becker said…On July 11, vice [cops] arrested adult film actress Stormy Daniels and two other women following Daniels’ performance at the Sirens strip club…City Attorney Zach Klein…said he would no longer prosecute cases involving inappropriate touching by dancers.  Becker also issued a memo…barring vice and narcotics [pigs] from [rooting] into strip clubs without a specific complaint and permission from Becker or Chief Kim Jacobs…On Aug. 23, [disguised pig] Andrew Mitchell…[murdered] 23-year-old Donna Castleberry while he was [trying to rape her]…Mitchell…had a citizen complaint filed against him less than a week before the [murder]…During the 28-day vice review, only the “most critical” vice cases will be investigated, Becker said…

What, pray tell, constitutes a “vital” intrusion of armed thugs into people’s consensual acts?  Because that’s exactly what “vice” policing is.

The Widening Gyre (#870) 

Cops are trying to regain control of the runaway moral panic by releasing even more hysterical exaggeration than the Facebook loons:

You may have seen the Facebook posts…A young woman fears being followed by “strange” men, in the store or the parking lot…she believes that she was being followed as part of an attempt to kidnap her for a human trafficking sex ring.  However, local authorities say, the posts are reinforcing a common misconception:  real life bogeymen waiting in parking lots, snatching young women off the street and forcing them to have sex with others.  Unfortunately, the truth is far worse: a human trafficker can be anyone you know…And victims of human trafficking can be anyone — human trafficking victims look just like you or me, a child or an adult…

Hide under your bed!  Trust no one!  Don’t form personal relationships!  “Sex traffickers” are EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

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It’s time to stop letting zealots…not only destroy the lives of innocent people but hijack police and media focus for their weird authoritarian ends.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Lack of Evidence 

They were “safeguarded”, no doubt at a “safe house”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Police have busted what they believe to be a suspected brothel in Moseley…[they] discovered dozens of condoms and…around £200 in cash in…[a woman’s] purse…Sparkbrook Police tweeted… “SparkbrookWMP have raided a suspected brothel in Moseley today.  Two females have been safeguarded…often you find organised Sex Trafficking behind them”…

This is your regular reminder that massive police operations in the UK have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases.  Plus condoms and pocket change as “evidence” of “sex trafficking”.  What a pathetic, misogynistic wanking fantasy.

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

Rates of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia have climbed for the fourth consecutive year in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced…Last year, nearly 2.3 million US cases of these sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed…That’s the highest number ever reported nationwide, breaking the record set in 2016 by more than 200,000 cases…

Change a Few Words

A good example of why “legalized” sex work is a bad idea:

In November 2016, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing marijuana for recreational use.  But nearly two years later, there are still no stores licensed to sell pot to the public.  One business owner now she faces criminal charges for trying to find a way around the roadblock…Humble Bumble, a since-closed health and wellness store, would overcharge for regular items.  In return, customers were “‘gifted’ specific amounts of a green, leafy substance consistent with marijuana”…Humble Bumble…wasn’t technically selling marijuana to customers, and it seems like the store did its best to comply with local regulations…Under Massachusetts law, it’s not illegal to give away weed for free.  The transfer simply can’t be “advertised or promoted to the public.”  Other companies in the state have been taking advantage of this loophole as well.  But…only Kattar has been prosecuted…

Torture Chamber 

“Correcting” people to death:

Another inmate has died in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, making 12 deaths this month.  Troy Pittman…died at Promise Hospital…The manner and cause of death are pending autopsy but [Coroner David] Ruth [claimed] Pittman likely died of “natural causes”.  Pittman was an inmate at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, making him the fifth inmate death at the facility this month…The ages of the 11 other deceased inmates in August  range from 24 to 78.  Three were housed at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution, four were at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, three were at Parchman and one was housed at the privately run Wikinson County Correctional Facility…

Dirty Laundry (#438)

More on child abuse by nuns at US orphanages:

…for all the…[recent] revelations [about abusive Catholic clergy] — including this month’s Pennsylvania grand jury report on how the church hid the crimes of hundreds of priests — a darker history…remains all but unknown.  It is the history of unrelenting physical and psychological abuse of captive children.  Across thousands of miles, across decades, the abuse took eerily similar forms:  People who grew up in orphanages said they were made to kneel or stand for hours, sometimes with their arms straight out, sometimes holding their boots or some other item.  They were forced to eat their own vomit.  They were dangled upside down out windows, over wells, or in laundry chutes.  Children were locked in cabinets, in closets, in attics, sometimes for days, sometimes so long they were forgotten.  They were told their relatives didn’t want them, or they were permanently separated from their siblings.  They were sexually abused. They were mutilated…[some] entered orphanages but did not leave them alive…these deaths…were not natural or even accidents, but were instead the inevitable consequence of the nuns’ brutality…

To Molest and Rape 

Another prosecutor claims he let a serial rapist cop off to “protect” his underage victim:

…Georgia [cop Richard Gooddine]…accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl…has been fired…and is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation…Gooddine detained the girl [on August 19th] for violating curfew…he…drove [her] around for hours and sexually assaulted her at an apartment complex before driving her home…GBI previously investigated Gooddine over a 2011 sexual assault [of]…a minor.  The case wasn’t prosecuted.  Fulton County D.A. [pig mouthpiece claimed]…the office was concerned about traumatizing the victim in that case…

Victimless “crimes” such as curfew violations exist for the sole purpose of giving cops excuses to harass and victimize peaceful people who are harming nobody.

Vendetta (#664)

Liz Brown on this year’s Swanee Hunt psychodrama pogroms:

Last week concluded the latest “National Johns Suppression Initiative”, an appropriately draconian name for a coordinated cross-country targeting of sex workers and their customers…The [ChicagoTribune headline describes it a “national sex trafficking crackdown”.  But let’s do the math from the figures it gives us:  473 people arrested for attempting to pay for sexual activity…6 people arrested for pimping…0 people arrested for sex trafficking…This “national sex trafficking operation” has a zero percent success rate if the goal is, you know, actually catching sex traffickers.  Even counting the six alleged pimps, these arrests make up less than 1.3 percent of the total arrests reported (and that’s without including sex workers arrested in the course of these stings)…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#837) 

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

…Aura Dolls is launching what it claims is the first sex doll brothel in North America on Sept. 8…Names, photos and descriptions of the dolls can be found on the company’s website along with rates which range from $80 for one doll for 30 minutes to $960 for two dolls for four hours…the customers will only interact with the dolls when they visit the business, which will have a private entrance at the back and a buzzer system to exit.  “They put their payment down on the counter and they go straight to their room,” [marketing director Claire] Lee said…“We don’t have staff there, just a camera”…The company also encourages the use of lube and condoms and said the dolls will be cleaned after each customer using a three-step routine to get them as clean as possible…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because a 30-year-friend touched your butt”?

…”Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, who ran the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for eight years under President Obama, was arrested…and charged with groping a woman in his apartment in October 2017″…Before the vicious attack occurred, the “survivor” was deeply involved in the #metoo movement as an artist creating #metoo art…In April, she wrote an article in an online publication describing her transition from activist to victim, and related the events of that night without naming her abuser.  What was this horrifying act of depravity that cause her to go to the police ten months later to seek criminal charges against this person she’s known for more than 30 years?  He touched her butt…She said Dr. Frieden groped her while their spouses were not looking, and apologized later…It was certainly prescient of Judge Yavinsky to order the surrender of his passport to avoid him fleeing to a tropical island to avoid prosecution, and issue a no contact order, since there was a grave chance that Frieden might stalk her to touch her behind one more time…

What kind of mind files criminal charges against a lifelong friend who got a little handsy?  Especially a YEAR after the incident?  Wouldn’t it have been enough to say, “Whoa, hands off!” and ask for an apology?  Or at most to tell his wife?  What justice is served by feeding non-criminal people into the police state sausage grinder?

Legislators Gone Wild (#862) 

Judge slaps down two out-of-control politicians:

A federal judge ordered Nye County to restore and reinstate Dennis Hof’s brothel and liquor licenses for his Love Ranch South brothel…Judge Richard Boulware ordered a preliminary injunction based on perceived First Amendment retaliation by Nye County Commissioners Dan Schinhofen and Andrew “Butch” Borasky.  Hof has lawsuits against both commissioners for comments and actions they’ve made about him…Boulware banned the pair of commissioners from voting on any action regarding Hof and his brothel licenses while pending litigation goes forward…

Hof is a complete douchebag, but these little power games hurt the sex workers and other employees of the brothel.

Business As Usual (#866)

More on the rapist cop who murdered a sex worker in Columbus, Ohio:

…Andrew Mitchell…has already made 80 prostitution-related arrests in 2018, overwhelmingly of women…he is the subject of an internal affairs investigation, opened before the shooting, and multiple previous complaints…Though [cops gave the victim’s married name, Castleberry, to the media]…she went by Donna Dalton…a…CPD spokesman…[referred to the victim as] a nuisance to the neighborhood…[and her murderer] as a 30-year veteran.  It declined to discuss the dozens of arrests he made for prostitution-related offenses like “soliciting” and “loitering soliciting”…Mitchell faced at least eight complaints since 2006…in two he was found be “outside of policy”…In 2018, there have been 17 incidents involving [Columbus cops] shooting people…Seven of those people died.  Between 2013 and 2017, CPD officers fatally shot 28 people.  Columbus officers are also almost always cleared of wrongdoing…In fact, since Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien was elected in 1996, he has never indicted any [cops] for fatal on-duty shootings…

The article also points out that it was the Columbus police who arrested Stormy Daniels on bogus charges in July.

Full of Themselves (#867)

Remember, choosing a massage professional certified by the California Massage Therapy Council is your only protection against “criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes”:

…Massage Envy is facing a rash of lawsuits by women who say…they were sexually assaulted while getting massages in at least five Florida locations.  The Arizona-based company, which has some 1,200 franchises across the country, was the subject of an investigation by BuzzFeed last November that revealed more than 180 customers said they had been sexually assaulted at the spas…attorneys for the…women claim the company knew of these allegations and took steps to make sure they were never brought to law enforcement…and/or state massage therapy boards…The Palm Beach suit comes on the heels of a lawsuit by five plaintiffs in San Mateo County, California, who accused Massage Envy of negligence, sexual battery, gender violence, false imprisonment, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, after they they were allegedly harassed or sexually assaulted at franchises…Buzzfeed’s original investigation found…[that] women…were groped, digitally penetrated, and raped [by masseurs] all across the country and that the company either ignored or mishandled the complaints…

The Widening Gyre (#867) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter; as you can see they’re getting stupider and more dangerous all the time.  This one is an attempt to replace wariness of the very real phenomenon of “phishing” (clicking on the link could download spyware or other malware into your device) with panic over an imaginary peril.  105,000 retweets for this idiotic garbage; is it any wonder the US has turned entirely into a police state, with the enthusiastic support of the Great Unwashed?

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You can’t provide consent freely if you’re…not free.  –  William Ramirez

Rough Trade 

Reporter helps cops add insult to injury by infantilizing a rape victim:

Bellevue police have arrested two men in connection with the rape and robbery of a Chinese woman — believed to be a victim of human trafficking…on July 19…Police say the suspects know these types of incidents aren’t usually reported due to the victim’s fear of being arrested or deported.  These suspects are believed to have committed several similar robberies in the greater Seattle area and Bellevue…

The cops claim they won’t arrest victims who report, but it would be foolish for a sex worker to take the risk.  And even if they don’t arrest her, they’ll deny her agency and use her to advance their anti-whore narrative by calling her a “sex trafficking victim”.

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers and lack of rights for women in general are part of the same ugly scheme:

A friend of mine lived alone in downtown Cairo…One day in 2012, her neighbors saw her heading to the apartment with her boyfriend and two friends, a man and a woman.  Once they were inside, the neighbors started banging on the door, calling her a prostitute and threatening to call the police to arrest them for prostitution…My friend told them that she and her partner were married, through an urfi or unregistered marriage, and the guests were just friends.  Things settled down only after she promised that she would move out of the apartment within days.  Many women have been raised in familial contexts where their mobility and sexuality are restricted…These restrictions have driven many of us to move out of our family homes out of a desire to experience life for ourselves, and enter the expanding ranks of the mustaqellat, or independent women, those who live neither in the home of their families nor husbands.  If we thought that by leaving our family homes we could escape respectability politics, we learn very quickly that this is not the case.  When women live alone, they are perceived as…abnormal subjects, because we are not living with our families, the source of a woman’s identification and social value…a woman trying to live beyond the traditional frameworks of social relationships…is constantly surveilled, and the primary authority over her body moves from the family and its neighborhood to the larger community…

Above the Law  

They always make these cases sound like the bureaucrat was doing his victims a favor:

A…Pennsylvania district attorney who tipped off female drug dealers and gave them lenient treatment in exchange for sex was sentenced to eight years of probation…Bill Higgins…pleaded guilty in May in a deal with prosecutors that guaranteed him no jail time and no additional felony counts.  He was officially disbarred earlier this month…Judge Thomas Ling ordered him to perform over 1,100 hours of community service and pay fines of nearly $10,000…Attorney General Josh Shapiro charged Higgins in April, calling his behavior a betrayal of the community…

Yeah, “The Community” was the victim and not the women he coerced sex from because they were engaged in peaceful, consensual transactions.  It’s enough to make one vomit.

First They Came for the Hookers…

Y’all didn’t stand up for professional whores, and now they’re coming for you dabblers:

A British Airways flight attendant has been suspended after putting a video of herself sniffing her tights and unbuttoning her shirt online…While it is unknown whether the flight attendant sold the tights or shoes, there is a growing trend for cabin crew selling their used garments online…

Monsters 

Another trans sex worker murdered, this time in Paris:

On the night of August 16-17, we received several messages and calls…reporting the murder of Vanessa Campos…[by] 7 to 8 men…This…would probably be a gang of men who regularly assault sex workers and their clients to rob them.  This band phenomenon targeting sex workers is currently developing throughout the Ile de France region.  Those who try to organize for self-defense…are then attacked separately…The murders of trans women sex workers are not rare…we regularly try to alert public opinion and the authorities to this violence.  Unfortunately as always, we find ourselves alone…

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to call this a “correctional institution” and the torturers “correctional officers”:

…about 100 people…poured into an Ocala meeting hall…to…Talk about brutal abuse, corruption and inhumane treatment behind the walls of one of Florida’s most notorious prisons, Lowell Correctional Institution for women.  For the first time, former inmates and their families were given a voice, and many of them had a lot to say to investigators from the U.S. Department of Justice about how rape [and] assault…by [screws] has become routine…The community meeting was set up by DOJ investigators who wanted to [see if there’s a way to cover up]…civil rights abuses and other unlawful conduct at the prison [which]…the…Florida Department of Corrections has ignored, covered up or dismissed…Laura Cowall, an attorney with the Justice Department, emphasized that the inquiry is not a criminal investigation but rather one that may result in a [useless] report…That prompted one family member to question whether the investigation will produce any substantive changes since it will not hold officers and staff responsible for inmates who have been beaten, raped or died…“They are scared to talk. How can you guarantee their safety?”…shouted one family member.  Cowall [vomited up bullshit] that retaliation would not be tolerated by the Department of Justice [because obviously they’ll be there 24 hours a day and can read the minds of screws with their magic federal powers]…

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

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

The shock of last year’s category five hurricane was just a precursor to the radical overhaul of Puerto Rico’s overburdened prison system…Nestled away in [a] 200-page [austerity plan] was a policy to offshore around a third of Puerto Rico’s prison population – 3,200 inmates – to private facilities thousands of miles away within the US…The government insists it will be voluntary…“This is government sponsored human trafficking”…said William Ramirez, executive director of the Puerto Rico American Civil Liberties Union.  “Even if you say it’s consensual, the reality is that you can’t provide consent freely if you’re…not free”…

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

Citing more than two years of secret bathroom recordings of juvenile victims, federal prosecutors argue that a former Medford [Oregon] youth pastor should be sentenced as a “repeat and dangerous sex offender”.  Prosecutors are seeking…more than 15 years…for Donald Courtney Biggs…who’s been held in the Jackson County Jail since early 2015…Biggs…groomed victims by giving them gifts…and singled out victims for activities outside of church…Investigators have recovered 166 illicit videos recorded without victims’ knowledge, about 80 more than previously reported.  They had been recorded in secret during overnight youth trips that included summer camps and spring break outings, as well as taken at Biggs’ home and at the church…

Business As Usual

Cop murders sex worker for resisting his attempt to rape her:

[Andrew Mitchell, an Ohio cop with 30 years of complaints and reprimands for excessive force, murdered] 23-year-old [sex worker] Donna Castleberry [by shooting her 8] times [at point-blank range after she]…stabbed [him in the hand.  The plainclothes cop, who had parked his unmarked car so close to the wall that the passenger door could not be opened, had apparently forced the un-handcuffed Castleberry into the front seat of his car]…[Though Mitchell claims he] was investigating complaints related to prostitution in the neighborhood [he was probably specifically looking for Castleberry since a warrant had been issued on her the day before for failing to appear in court on a soliciting charge]…

Thanks to Donna’s mother and best friend for the details pointing to the cop’s motives, which of course the cops di not release to the bootlicking local media.  What actually happened is clear: Mitchell, a cop with a long history of brutality, sought Donna out on purpose to rape her, knowing she had a warrant.  He forced her into the front seat of his car without handcuffing her, and when she tried to stop him from raping her, he emptied nearly the whole clip into her 100-pound body at point-blank range.

If Men Were Angels (#586)

The victim can’t get damages in civil court because her rapist worked for the beneficent government:

A…Houston doctor convicted of sexually assaulting a patient while she was tethered to machines…won’t serve any prison time and will instead serve 10 years’ probation…Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh…acknowledged at trial that he had sexual contact with the woman during the night shift at Ben Taub hospital in 2013 but [like most rapists pretended] it was consensual…[even though] the woman was weak, sore and medicated following several acute asthma episodes.  The victim…tried to summon a nurse with the call button, but witnesses testified it had been unplugged…Sheikh has lost his medical license and must register as a sex offender…

The Widening Gyre (#698)

Hysteria like this is a predictable outgrowth of the “sex trafficking” hysteria politicians, cops & media have aggressively promoted for the past 14 years:

Voodoo Doughnut found itself mired in an online conspiracy theory alleging the famous Portland doughnut franchise is involved in child sex trafficking.  It started when a man identified as Michael Whalen appeared on a YouTube show on Aug. 4, claiming he saw signs of child trafficking [like those “authorities” are always telling people to watch for] during a party he attended at Voodoo owner Tres Shannon’s…house…[like those “authorities”] Whalen offered no…evidence to support his claims, but told the show’s host, Nathan Stolpman, that he had spoken to authorities…Portland police…say no such reports exist…While the original interview appears to have been removed from YouTube, Stolpman has since posted several other videos…that appear to add actor Macaulay Culkin and nearby rock club Dante’s to the list of alleged conspirators…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844)

It may already be far too late to put this evil djinni back in its bottle:

Should the government be able to track your every move when you walk down the street, join a protest, or enter your psychiatrist’s building?  Facial recognition technology may make that a reality for Australians.  Parliament should refuse to expand its use until the government can demonstrate it won’t be used to violate human rights or turn us all into criminal suspects.  [A new] bill would create a nationwide database of people’s physical characteristics and identities, linking facial images and data from states and territories and integrating them with a facial recognition system….[which] would initially enable centralised access to passport, visa, citizenship, and driver license images…government agencies and some private companies would then be allowed to submit images to verify someone’s identity….[or] identify an unknown person…the proposal is too broad, enables using facial recognition for purposes far beyond fighting serious crime, and leaves significant details to departmental discretion or future interpretation.  The lack of safeguards combined with the centralisation of a massive amount of information raises the potential for abuse and ever-expanding mission creep…

Damned Lies

Glenn Kessler located the bogus numbers behind this painfully-dumb claim:

In a self-congratulatory video posted on July 20 by the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, Wagner, the key sponsor of FOSTA, made a claim that caught our attention: “We have shut down nearly 90 percent of the online sex trafficking business and ads”…When asked for evidence, Wagner’s office sent a chart that tracked all sex-related advertising, saying that it showed weekly global ad volume dropped 87 percent from January to April.  The chart was generated through a [government surveillance] system called Memex…The biggest drop in ads came after the shutdown of Backpage…a[nother] drop…took place after the laws achieved final passage in Congress on March 21, prompting sex-oriented websites such as CityVibe and the Erotic Review to begin to shut down in the United States…Okay, but what happened after April?  Wagner’s staff refused to share the data, so we asked…[Memex’s managers] Uncharted Software…it turns out that after that initial drop, advertising for the sex trade appears to have rebounded, such as on new websites that mimic Backpage with names like “Bedpage”.  Worldwide ads had a daily average of about 105,000 when FOSTA-SESTA passed on March 21 and had dropped 28 percent by the time Backpage was closed on April 5.  It then plunged another 75 percent and reached a low of 19,456 on April 17, for a total decline of about 82 percent.  But on the day the Judiciary Committee posted the video, sex-trade ads were back at about 50 percent of the daily volume before the law had passed; as of Aug. 11, they were at almost 75 percent…Wagner…celebrated a decline of “sex-trafficking business and ads” but as we noted, the metric she is using is advertising for all sex work.  The actual impact on “sex trafficking” is unknown…

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There is a difference between what a decision maker must do, and what such a person may do.  –  Donal O’Donnell

No Other Option

I’ve often discussed disabled clients, but sex work can also be a boon for disabled workers:

For disabled people who are unable to secure benefits because their condition or symptoms fall out of the scope of federal care, the financial strain can be unbearable…without documentation of disability, workers can be fired from their jobs for issues arising from their disability.  Others are forced to hide the disabling symptoms of their conditions in order to stay employed.  And those who are able to obtain government assistance may find it doesn’t stretch far enough to allow a disabled person to live comfortably without additional income.  Sex work is sometimes the only option to make the exorbitant amount of money medical bills and other living expenses require with relative speed, without waiting for reimbursement or approval.  Medical assistance, food stamps, and other government benefits can be maintained while bringing in cash under the table.  Sex work can also be a way for disabled people to work out of their own homes if necessary, or only when they are able…both legal and illegal forms of sex work have been affected by FOSTA and SESTA, and sex workers have been endangered as a result…the most marginalized sex workers, including disabled sex workers, are [especially harmed]…FOSTA and SESTA makes clients nervous about prosecution…and the shrinking client pool could be driving down service prices and forcing providers to offer services they otherwise would not…

Business As Usual

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

Sex workers in Ukraine are increasingly using online networks to protect each other…[from] abusive clients or police and share tips on the warning signs to look out for…Sex work[ers]…are vulnerable to abuse, sexual assault and blackmail by police…of women detained by police – 90 percent of the time by the anti-trafficking department – more than 40 percent reported sexual assault and 60 percent said officials extorted money from them…

To Molest and Rape 

What is it with Alabama politicians and underage girls?

Police are investigating Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin for…[molesting and raping] underage girls during drug-fueled parties he hosted for fellow [pigs]…in the early nineties.  [Mary Elizabeth Cross]…alleged that Entrekin had sex with her four times in the late summer of 1992, when he was 29 and she was 15…In Alabama, the age of consent is 16…Cross…says that she did not attempt to refuse Entrekin’s advances, but that she also personally watched him rape another underage girl who repeatedly said no…Entrekin gained a degree of national notoriety in March, when AL.com exposed that over the past three years he personally kept more than $750,000 in public funds allocated to feed inmates in the county jail he oversees.  In September, Entrekin purchased a $740,000 beach house…

One Born Every Minute (#775) 

Another sleazy scam artist raping aspiring sex workers:

A person claiming to be a director with the adult studio Wasteland, and possibly other sites, has been approaching potential models in an attempt to set up auditions.  He uses the profile Ayman Kad, but may use other names as well.  He is not related in any way to Wasteland…[which] was alerted to the potential scam by a model after Kad approached her on Facebook…We do not know if the scammer is using more than one account, or approaching models on other social media sites, or from other adult companies…always confirm the identity of any unknown director or other solicitor by calling or emailing the company they claim to represent…If you are unable to reach the company…Free Speech Coalition…can help confirm…

Whore Madonnas (#809) 

Stress, such as that resulting from evil fucks trying to deport sick children, tends to aggravate chronic health conditions:

…a nine-year-old Irish-born boy with a severe form of sickle cell disease [has died after losing]…an appeal over deportation orders made for him and his Nigerian mother…The Supreme Court last March dismissed their appeal…but signalled a fresh application to revoke could be brought and also stressed the Minister for Justice could decline to deport on humanitarian grounds.  While the fresh application was being prepared, the child became very ill…and was taken to hospital, where he died [on July 9th]…

Opting Out (#810)

Fascism in action:

MindGeek own almost 90 per cent of the popular tube sites such as Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn, and now they stand to increase their huge market share even further by offering age verification services to smaller sites.  The software they have created, AgeID, identifies users by credit card, passport or driving license details…[this] could lead to a database of user information vulnerable to a breach…[including] people’s private sexual preferences…The privacy policy for AgeID states, “we also may use these technologies to collect information about your online activities over time and across third-party websites or other online services”…It’s also very interesting – and not at all surprising – to see that MindGeek made AgeID to monopolize on the new age verification law, but…have [also] created their own VPN…[which] will allow…users…to bypass the age verification controls by avoiding being detected as a UK viewer…

The Widening Gyre (#849) 

The lady doth protest too much, methinks:

Model Chloe Ayling has revealed she wants to make a Netflix movie about her kidnapping ordeal because “everyone assumed I was lying”.  The 20-year-old appeared on This Morning…to discuss her terrifying ordeal and the release of her new book…She added that she wanted to tell her story through her book and a possible film because people thought she was lying about the kidnapping…

Disaster (#852)

Delays in cases like this always benefit the government:

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon today ordered a two-day extension of time for the Justice Department to file its opposition to Woodhull Freedom Foundation’s motion for a preliminary injunction over FOSTA …“defendants shall file their opposition to the motion for preliminary injunction by 6 p.m. on July 12, 2018, and…plaintiffs shall file their reply in support of the motion by 6 p.m. on July 17, 2018,” Leon wrote…Leon will hear the motion for preliminary injunction on Thursday, July 19, at 4 p.m…Justice Department attorneys, as defendants in the suit, will respond to challenges waged by Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the Human Rights Watch, the Internet Archive and two individuals, Alex Andrews and Eric Koszyk…

The Monsters Are Due (#855) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs.  Note that similar fake “child abduction” videos are being used to foment hysteria in the US.

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Sensationalist buzzwords…put women’s lives at risk.  –  Dulcie Lee

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

In 1917, as World War I raged across the Atlantic, American government officials launched a program aimed at protecting newly-arrived army recruits from acquiring sexually-transmitted infections…police and health officers gained the power to arrest and perform crude physical examinations on anyone (though the people they arrested were almost always women) they “reasonably suspected” of carrying an STI…if a woman was found to be sick, she was sent to a “detention hospital” (or to jail) until she was deemed cured or “reformed”.  Some of those who tested negative for disease were incarcerated anyway, because their alleged promiscuity was deemed a threat to soldiers’ moral hygiene…Sex workers were the prime targets, but so was any woman deemed “suspicious”—which at that time could mean anything from being seen in the company of a soldier to eating alone in a restaurant…Any woman, at any time, could legally be arrested, sexually assaulted, and hauled off to jail with no trial, no lawyer, and no idea when she’d be released.  Those who were imprisoned in detention hospitals were subjected to involuntary medical examinations, inhumane living conditions, and…continuous doses of mercury and arsenic, toxic chemicals which poisoned these women’s bodies while doing absolutely nothing to cure their ills…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

We haven’t seen this concentration of ludicrous claims in a couple of years now:

Nearly 300,000 youth in the U.S. are at risk of being sexually exploited…“Human trafficking is an issue anywhere with a freeway and motels,” said Santa Maria Police Lt. Paul Van Meel…“sex trafficking is second only to gun trafficking and drug trafficking, but guns and drugs are one-time sales.  A woman can be sold over and over again. There are young girls having to service 30 or 35 men a day. It’s just horrific,” said Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino.  California is one of the top four human trafficking destinations in the country…the Central Coast has been identified as a natural transit corridor for trafficking activity between Los Angeles and San Francisco…Yleana Velasco, victim advocate with the County of Santa Barbara…[said] “Within 48 hours of a youth running away, a trafficker will approach them”…then romance them into the trafficking lifestyle…There is apparently no lower age limit for child sexual exploitation. Van Meel said…he’s seen children as young as 8…

LOL at “trafficking lifestyle”, another silly construction like “sex trafficking world” or “sex trafficking trade”.  Have these people been hiding under rocks?  I haven’t seen some of these claims in years; maybe they didn’t get their copy of the updated 2018 propaganda manual?

Counterfeit Comfort

Another fruit of the poisonous lie that “sex offender” registration isn’t punishment:

…the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously ruled that defendants need not be informed that pleading guilty to certain sex crimes will subject them to lifetime GPS monitoring because that requirement is not a punishment.  In reaching that conclusion, the court relied on a widely cited but fictitious recidivism estimate as well as the familiar but dubious assumption that a state’s asserted interest in promoting public safety justifies the burdens and restrictions it imposes on sex offenders long after they have completed their sentences.  Under  Wisconsin law, people convicted of serious sex offenses involving minors are required to wear GPS transmitters on their ankles for the rest of their lives unless they leave the state, become permanently incapacitated, or successfully petition a court for relief after 20 years. The Department of Corrections reviews tracking data every night and receives alerts whenever an offender leaves an “inclusion area,” enters an “exclusion area,” or tampers with his GPS device. Malfunctions and signal loss that cause erroneous alerts can lead to arrest, jail, and loss of employment…GPS tracking conspicuously marks anyone who wears it as someone to be shunned, feared, despised, and perhaps worse…

Broken Record 

Low-population areas come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

…the…South Carolina…rape crisis center says the target age for sex trafficking is 12 to 14 years old…[fantasist] Ashely Hoshihara Cruz [claims]…according to a study done by Carnegie Mellon University [with its crystal ball], the problem will spike during Memorial Day weekend.  “The super bowl used to be the single most sporting even that had the most sex trafficking, but Myrtle Beach bike week has far surpassed that.  How many kids sneak out during these events trying…to see the bikes and hang out and party they’re easy targets”…

Stand back, World Cup!  Step aside, Super Bowl!  Make way, Olympics!  The new “sex trafficking” Mecca is Myrtle Beach Bike Week!

Dirty Laundry

The “Good Shepherd Sisters” were one of the two orders behind Ireland’s horrific Magdalene laundries, now doing business as the anti-sex work gang Ruhama:

Good Shepherd Sister Winifred Doherty, who is her religious congregation’s representative to the United Nations, observed that sex trafficking, “a debasement of the human person,” is “rooted in the structure of society, and more so today.”  The “social acceptance of the prostitution of women and girls” includes the benign label of sex worker.  “Prostitution is neither sex nor work,” Sister Doherty told the inaugural Shine the Light conference at the U.S. Capitol May 15…

A woman who has never had sex and never had to support herself with work has the nerve to lecture others about what sex and work are.  Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

A Load of Farley (#570)

Farley’s going to keep hawking this same snake oil until she croaks:

Prostitution is harmful to the women in Nevada’s legal brothels.  It is also harmful to Nevada’s communities.  It’s time to end legal prostitution in Nevada…In order to better [bullshit people about] the impact of Nevada legal prostitution on college-aged men and on the community, University of Nevada, Reno Professor Mary Stewart, Kyle Smith and I did some research on UNR students’ attitudes toward prostitution, women and rape.  We asked students at other U.S. universities the same questions and then compared them.  We found out that more often than other U.S. students, the Reno students were active sex trade consumers.  They went to strip clubs more often, and they went to both legal and illegal brothels more often…In contrast to students from other parts of the United States where prostitution is illegal, the UNR students were more accepting of sexual violence against not just women in prostitution but against non-prostituting women as well…

Yes, Farley says cops raping whores is OK because criminalization “sends a message” that sex is bad.

The Course of a Disease (#637) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

…a self-appointed group of MPs, that got together for the sole purpose of lobbying for the criminalisation of sex workers’ clients, conduct Inquiry and recommend the criminalisation of clients!  No surprise there then…In Ireland, reported incidences of violent crime against sex workers have risen by almost 50%…In France, a two-year evaluation of the law…found 42% of sex workers are more exposed to violence and 38% have found it increasingly hard to demand use of condom.  In Norway…despite claims that sex workers have been decriminalised, forced evictions, prosecutions and increased stigma are prevalent with migrant workers particularly targeted…As for Sweden, the poster child for laws criminalising clients: 63% of sex workers said the law has created more prejudice…plus, there is “no convincing empirical evidence that the law has resulted in a decline in sex work in Sweden, which was the law’s principal ambition”…

To Molest and Rape 

What kind of “friend” rapes your daughter while staying at your house?  Oh, right, cop “friends”:

A Los Angeles [cop] was charged…with sexually assaulting a teen girl while he was staying at her parents’ house in Torrance…Kenneth Collard, 51, faces three counts of lewd act upon a child and one count of sexual penetration by foreign object…Collard is friends with the 13-year-old girl’s parents…the victim is the daughter of another LAPD [cop]…Collard wound up staying with his coworker after friends told him not to drive back to his home in Riverside at the end of an evening of [getting drunk]…He then…entered the victim’s bedroom in the middle of the night that night…and sexually assaulted her…

Cooties (#811)

It looks like at least some UK reporters are realizing that so-called “pop-up brothels” are just ordinary, mundane escort touring incalls rather than the tools of “sex trafficking” from cop wanking fantasies:

Hundreds of pop-up brothels are springing up across the country…Crimestoppers have launched a campaign to try and stem their supposedly indomitable rise…Local papers are running stories on how to tell if a pop-up brothel has been set up on your street.  The rate at which this latest buzzword has taken over discussions of the sex industry has left little time to dissect what it actually means.  In reality, the phrase is useless at best, and dangerous at worst.  A brothel is any premises that is used by more than one person for the purposes of prostitution…Pop up, it turns out, is just another word for temporary…So pop-up brothels are literally just temporary brothels.  And as the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) admitted last year, there is desperately little data on the phenomenon, so generalisations about the nature of pop-up brothels and the people who work in them are mere speculation…

Business As Usual (#824)

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

…a third of…sex workers who say they have been raped or sexually assaulted by police, according to a new report by Sonke Gender Justice and Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce  (SWEAT).  Sex workers also frequently reported that they experienced other forms of violence and even torture at the hands of police including being beaten with sjamboks or the butts of guns as well as being tasered…Almost six out of every 10 surveyed workers had been arrested an average of four times, most of whom paid a fine before being released.  But many workers allege their arrests were unlawful or occurred while they were off duty, for instance while out shopping, visiting friends or sitting by the side of the road…

Spotlight (#828) 

Like a who’s who of delusional busybodies:

In 2009, Ashton Kutcher co-founded what would later become Thorn, a non-profit dedicated to [exploiting a moral panic]…to [win publicity for a has-been actor]…Cindy McCain, a leading voice in the [anti-human rights movement]…speaks with Kutcher about Thorn’s progress and what remains to be done to [suppress consensual sex]…The discussion is introduced by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota

Disaster (#832)

If this is the best the prohibitionists can do, FOSTA won’t last very long:

a condescending and infuriating essay on The Hill…attacked the work of those on the ground scrambling for survival in the wake of this disastrous legislation, questioned opponents’ status as survivors and attempted to muddy the waters around our on the ground impact research and reporting…”rather than trying to meaningfully understand the legal impact of SESTA/FOSTA, self-proclaimed ‘sex worker advocates’ have used the flurry of misinformation to their advantage, perpetuating a false narrative about the law’s supposed effects…”  Why is sex worker advocates in quotes?  Why mention they’re “self-proclaimed”…Instead of addressing the actual impact they say we’re not “meaningfully understanding”…they just condescendingly paste the text of the bill…[which] is not really about sex trafficking…this bill doesn’t say anything about [force or coercion]…It just says “promote or facilitate [prostitution]”.  What does that mean?  No one knows!  Which is why sites that deal with sexual education and even personal non-commercial dating have been hit…

Bottleneck (#844) 

I’m pretty damned sick of politicians representing their schemes to ruin sex workers’ lives as attempts to “help” us:

[Michigan] State Rep. Leslie Love…[is] the lead sponsor of a package of bills that would license and regulate adult entertainment businesses and their employees and dancers…The bills would establish licenses, fees and regulations for strip clubs, managers, employees and dancers; set guidelines for design requirements in the clubs…set the age limit for dancers at 21 and older, and require that posters [misrepresenting sex work as] human trafficking are placed in the locker rooms of the businesses…

Regular readers are already aware of what a terrible idea stripper licensing is, and this adds several paternalistic “regulations” on top of that.

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

Cuckoo Advertising (#601)

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

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

Legal Is as Legal Does (#609) 

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

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

Full of Themselves (#614)

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

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

Scapegoats (#697) 

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

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

The War Goes On (#711) 

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

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

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

Traffic in Nonsense (#747)

Another state requires anti-whore indoctrination for licensing:

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

Amnesty At Last (#781)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for three years now:

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

O, Canada! (#785)

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

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

Against Their Will (#799)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

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

Business As Usual (#824)

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

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

Disaster (#826)

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

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

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

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

This Means War 

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

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

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

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

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

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Removing all references to sex trafficking will hurt our ability to grab reporters’ attention.  –  Sydney Asbury of “Demand Abolition”

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn 

It’s been a long time since I’ve used this heading, but an even longer time since we’ve seen anything like this:

…lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide…to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia…and…He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics…keeping his word…In his first week on the job, he fired 31 prosecutors…because they weren’t committed to the changes he intended to make…Next, Krasner…release[d] a list of 29 [bad cops]…that…had lied…filed false reports, used excessive force, driven drunk, and burgled…but nothing is as essential and revolutionary as the internal five-page guiding document of new policies that Krasner sent to his staff…The first sentence says it all:  “These policies are an effort to end mass incarcerations and bring balance back to sentencing”…Krasner immediately instructs prosecutors to stop prosecuting marijuana possession regardless of the weight…[and] to stop charging …with any paraphernalia crimes…to stop charging sex workers that have fewer than three convictions with any crime and drop all current cases against sex workers who also fit that description.  All sex workers with three or more convictions are to be referred to Dawn Court…a…diversion…program created in 2010…Krasner instructed prosecutors to stop the wide-ranging practice of beginning plea deals with the highest possible sentencing and instead, begin those plea deals at the bottom end of the available range…Krasner instructed his prosecutors to now add up and justify the exact costs of every single person sentenced to a crime in Philadelphia…Stating that it costs between $42,000 and $60,000 per year to incarcerate a person, he reminded the prosecutors that the…annual cost of incarceration…is…more per year than the beginning salary of teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers, addiction counselors, and even prosecutors in his office…

Pyrrhic Victory

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

In at least four investigations last year…Raleigh [North Carolina] police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime…These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search…[“authorities” pretend] the practice is a natural evolution of criminal investigative techniques.  They [lie] that, by seeking search warrants, they’re carefully balancing civil rights with public safety [because most of the public is too stupid to know about the horrible “third-party doctrine”].  Defense attorneys and privacy advocates…are…[concerned about] how law enforcement turns to Google’s massive cache of user data, especially without a clear target in mind.  And they’re concerned about the potential to snag innocent users, many of whom might not know just how closely the company tracks their every move…

Under Duress 

The New York Times finally discovers what marginalized people have always known:

An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City [cop’s] testimony was…untrue…[they lie] about the whereabouts of guns…They…barge…into apartments and conduct…searches, only to testify otherwise later… they…give…firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness…No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish…In many instances, the motive for lying was…to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops.  In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people…with trumped-up evidence…

Bogeymen

Read this ludicrous exercise in pearl-clutching, then the item under the same heading two items down:

…illicit prostitution businesses are thriving in a surprising place: the legitimate corporate world.  And, we’ve found that the inequities of that world…contribute to that sex trade…we interviewed 44 pimps…in Chicago…fewer than half…fit the pop culture stereotype of a pimp.  The other half did not: a full third had four-year college degrees, primarily in business administration…and most…were white.  In addition to their pimping work, nearly half worked in legitimate companies, not in massage parlors or erotica businesses…these illegal businesses grew directly from the misogynistic culture of the legitimate ones that housed them.  Some became pimps after learning of demand for paid sex through informal bantering about sexual conquests over lunch or beers with the bros.  Half of the pimps started out as customers of sex workers, and several arranged “entertainment” for business clients as part of their job…

Huffington Post needs to exercise more diligence on its contributors; these two fantasists [44 interviews of self-proclaimed “pimps” in one city is not anything like a representative sample] have been recycling this same bogeyman tale on the strength of their supposed academic credentials for years.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (#314)

The only sex workers exploited in New Zealand are those who were intentionally excluded from decriminalization in order to appease prohibitionists:

Migrant prostitutes working illegally on temporary visas are “terrified” they will be deported if they report exploitative pimps and abusive clients…In the past year, 136 migrants suspected of coming here to carry out sex work were denied entry into New Zealand…Sex work is the only occupation migrants on temporary visas are not legally allowed to take up…However, migrants who have entered the country on temporary work, visitor, holiday or international student visas and work as prostitutes are being forced to carry out sexual acts without protection and often work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week…They would not speak to police because they would be deported…

Bogeymen (#317)

I’m glad to see Bruckert has expanded her study into a book:

“The sex industry, like mainstream businesses, rarely depends exclusively on clients and workers to operate efficiently and safely,” professor Chris Bruckert [said]…”Contrary to prevailing stereotypes that portray third parties [like pimps] as inherently abusive and controlling, these workers fulfill important roles and provide vital services.”  Bruckert and her team of researchers conducted interviews with 75 pimps — or “third-party” workers, as she prefers to call them — as well as 52 sex workers for her new book Getting Past ‘the Pimp’: Management in the Sex Industry…Bruckert said little research has been conducted on the role of pimps in the industry, adding that many people’s opinions are based on stereotypes…Most of the third-party workers Bruckert’s team spoke to were women — both surprising and understandable, she said, since the industry is female-dominated and the line between sex work and management is thin…

Torture Chamber

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)…frequently fails to either address or eliminate sexual abuse.  In jails and prisons across the country, incarcerated people are subject to sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff.  If they report these assaults, they risk retaliation, including greater violence…”Prisons are the worst distillation of toxic masculinity,” said Alan Mills [of the Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC)]…”It’s all about inflicting punishment on people.  It’s about the use of force in order to force compliance to an arbitrary set of rules.  It’s about dehumanizing people.  It’s not surprising that this translates to harassment and abuse”…

Business As Usual

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

Sex workers in South Africa will be arrested at least four times and will spend an average of 40 hours in custody if they are charged…one third of sex worker arrests never make it to a police station or courthouse‚ instead often ending in sex workers being abused by police or forced to pay bribes.  These were just some of the findings of The Policing of Sex Work In South Africa survey compiled by NGO’s Sonke Gender Justice and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…Advocacy officer at Sonke Donna Evans said that the most shocking thing to emerge from the report was the extreme levels of violence at the hands of police that were reported by sex workers.  “They were extremely disturbing and included incidents of torture‚ assault‚ rape and even permanent disability‚” Evans said…

Original Sin (#762) 

I guess this makes sense coming from a man who imagines condoms to be weapons of mass destruction:

Pope Francis asked forgiveness…for all Christians who buy sex from women, saying men who frequent prostitutes are criminals with a “sick mentality” who think that women exist to be exploited.  “This isn’t making love.  This is torturing a woman.  Let’s not confuse the terms,” Francis insisted…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

At least Wyoming had the sense to vote this nonsense down:

A Wyoming bill that would have recognized porn as a “public health crisis” failed in the 2018 session of the state Legislature…HJ1 was typical of various “public health crisis” bills that have made their way across the nation.  Wyoming’s bill, introduced by…Lars O. Lone, would have made official language stating porn increases the demand for sex trafficking, impacts brain development and functioning, diminishes the interest of young men in getting married and creates infidelity, among other [evidence-free] statements.  Another porn bill…sponsored by Lone, failed to win support, as well.  HB 127 would have ordered the installation of porn blocking software on all computers sold in the state to prevent the viewing of “obscene” material as defined by the state Attorney General’s office…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

SAVE THE TOASTERS!!!!

French activists are campaigning to shut down a new “sex doll brothel” on the grounds that it degrades women—and silicone.  Or something…Xdolls is registered as a gaming center, which makes sense if you consider doll-sex a form of escapist make-believe or wish-fullfilment akin to playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.  But Paris Council communists and other activists argue that Xdolls amounts to a brothel, which are illegal in France.  Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, head of the Paris council’s communist group…compared the business to “prostitution” and the owner to “a pimp.”  Sounds like someone just started watching Westworld.  The rhetoric only gets more extreme from there.  Lorraine Questiaux, spokesperson for the anti-sex work organization Mouvement du Nid…[said] “It’s a place…where you rape a woman”…You can’t rape a non-sentient silicone doll any more than you can rape a vibrator or a Fleshlight…but apparently not even lifeless dolls are immune to…rescue attempts…

I’m so glad Tracy Clark-Flory is writing again; I’ve missed her good sense.

Disaster

The fallout will continue until there’s some legal action against this horrific law:

…SESTA’s passage by the U.S. Senate has had an immediate chilling effect on those working in the adult industry…stories of a fallout are being heard, with adult performers finding their content being flagged and blocked…escort site [Cityvibe]…suddenly becoming “not available,” Craigslist shutting down its “personals” sections and Reddit closing down some of its communities, among other tales.  SESTA…targets scores of adult sites that consensual sex workers use to advertise their work.  And now, before SESTA reaches President Trump’s desk for his guaranteed signature, those sites are scrambling to prevent themselves from being charged under sex trafficking laws.  “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing an immediate chilling effect on protected speech,” industry attorney Lawrence Walters [said]…”This was predicted as the likely impact of the bill, as online intermediaries over-censor content in the attempt to mitigate their own risks.  The damage to the First Amendment appears palpable”…

Too Close To Home (#823)

It’s great to see a spotlight on this ugly scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

There is no mention in [propaganda about Seattle’s high-profile sex work stings] of the fact that [prosecutor Val] Richey’s work was handsomely supported by Demand Abolition, a nonprofit group whose stated mission is to end demand for sex work by going after buyers, or that the cost of some of his travels around the country has been defrayed by the same group.  Nor is there any mention of the fact that Demand Abolition, in exchange for providing approximately $191,667 in funding to the King County prosecutor’s office over four years, asked Seattle-area law enforcement to carry out regular arrests and prosecutions of buyers…As part of signed agreements for the funding, Richey and other law enforcement officials in King County were required to frame the activities of sex buyers and men involved with The Review Board as sex trafficking…even though there was no evidence of trafficking…and…none of the men arrested…were charged with trafficking — only with promoting prostitution…

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