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Posts Tagged ‘Buttons Bags & Banknotes’

Officialdom should never have the right to tell grown adults when, how, with whom and for what reason they can have sex.  –  Ella Whelan

Feminine Pragmatism 

The capacity of lawheads for denying reality is nothing short of astonishing:

The [Samoan] Ministry of Health has made it a priority to educate and counsel “commercial sex workers” despite the government downplaying their existence…the number of female sex workers in Samoa was estimated at around 400.  It was also revealed that most women are doing sex work for economic reasons…The…report was rubbished by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi who laughed at claims that poverty and hardship are to blame for the growing number of sex workers in Samoa…

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

A woman who works at a Tulsa massage parlor…has been charged with trying to persuade colleagues to not testify against their employer.  Stefanie Lea Thomas…was charged…with intimidation of a witness…Thomas is the manager…The owner…Willie Charles Whitman, was arrested earlier this month as the result of a…[sting and] charged with two counts of human trafficking…On the night of Whitman’s arrest, he called Thomas from the county jail and told her he “needed the other girls in the shop to go to court and say that he was not human trafficking anyone”…

Of course, he’d have said the same things if he was innocent & simply intelligent enough to realize that the pigs are trying to pin BS “sex trafficking” charges on him, but of course that’s not important now that presumption of innocence is a thing of the past.

Torture Chamber 

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

For 46 hours, Andrew Holland’s legs and arms were shackled to a chair in the San Luis Obispo County jail.  The [helpless human being], who suffered from schizophrenia, was left in his own filth, eating and drinking almost nothing.  He was naked, except for a helmet and mask covering his face and a blanket that slipped off his lap, exposing him to jail staff who passed by his glass-fronted cell.  When he was finally unbound, [screws] dumped him to the floor of a nearby cell.  Within 40 minutes, he [died]…

All-Purpose Excuse

It’s not “erroneous”, which implies an honest mistake; it’s a willful conflation:

…The way police involved in…sting[s] chose to spin their costly efforts to entrap the buyers and sellers of sex is just one more example of how law enforcement and others routinely conflate consensual prostitution with far rarer instances of actual sex trafficking…in [a recent “Operation Cross-Country”]…which cost taxpayers millions of dollars, only six underage prostitutes were found out of a total 85 prostitutes…only 14 “pimps” were arrested and there is no evidence that any of them actually engaged in trafficking according to the legal definition.  It’s not just law enforcement that…[conflates] victimless sex work with trafficking.  Many politicians…and others persist in conflating the two for their own political benefit…

Dating Game

Melissa Petro on her post-sex work dating experiences:

Aside from losing my career in dramatic fashion, dating was one of the toughest parts of being someone with sex work experience.  Whether you’re a dancer or an escort, a porn star or a cam girl, the same questions arise:  how and when to tell the person you’re dating, and then, how to manage their reaction (they always have one).  “Do prostitutes really date and marry?” is an actual question some men ask.  And some men think the answer ought to be no.  Whether our experiences in the industry are positive, negative, or — as they very frequently are — neutral, many people paint all sex workers with the same broad brush.  They’re morally corrupt, or else so emotionally and even physically damaged by their experiences as to be undatable…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#698) 

As regular readers know, “expert sex therapists” have never labelled “sex addiction” a disorder:

In the world of sex therapy, there is no consensus on what constitutes a sex addict…Answers from therapists vary wildly.  And for now, nobody is right and nobody is wrong, as there is no standardized “sex addiction” diagnosis.  This could soon change, and a bitter battle is raging behind the scenes over whether it should change…

No, there is no “bitter battle” among actual, qualified sex therapists; those who wish this imaginary syndrome labeled  a true disorder are opportunists, few with actual qualifications as therapists, who want their pet label officially recognized so they can cash in on insurance. But credulous reporters don’t want to hear that.

Decentralization (#718)

Did you ever wonder why the government stopped harassing bitcoin?

Computer science [bootlickers] at the University of California, Berkeley have developed new tools to identify sex [workers]…making them easier for law enforcement to target and prosecute…The new technique [pretends to]…find…stylistic similarities between ads for sex services posted to sites like Backpage.com…[in order to pretend they’re all posted by] criminal organizations posting multiple ads…Because Backpage is the most used portal for advertising sex services, credit card processors like Visa [were threatened into choking off payment processing by a megalomaniacal Chicago politician]…starting in 2015.  That left Bitcoin as the preferred means of paying for ads.  The Berkeley researchers took advantage of Bitcoin’s public blockchain — a record of all transactions — to identify payments for sex ads…and even to connect them to real-world names…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

I’m really enjoying “grocery store sex trafficking” hysteria:

A creepy trend has been scaring mothers across Sarasota County who say strangers are approaching women in stores and parking lots, asking intrusive questions about their children.  This has…many people panicked on social media…[one hysteric] says two pretend shoppers [no doubt wearing labels that said “pretend shopper”] approached them in the toy aisle…one woman asked strange religious questions while the other was fixated on her daughter…asking direct questions about [her] looks and features…“It just made me even more afraid that they were going to try to grab either just my daughter or both of us”…

Because nobody but a “sex trafficker” ever attempts to be polite by complimenting a child’s looks.

Like Houses

The leading edge of a wedge is often extremely thin:

A bill that will allow homes to be searched without a warrant was passed with overwhelming support by the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Trump—and it happened with no media coverage and very little fanfare.  On the surface, House Joint Resolution 76 looks harmless…However, there is one major red flag buried within the text of the bill that stems from the list of “powers” given to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, and it violates one of the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution…The text gives the Commission the authority to enter property near the Metro Rail System “without limitation” and without a warrant, for the purpose of “making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.”  This clearly goes against the Fourth Amendment…[but] only five Congressmen…voted against it…This is not the first time Congress has quietly passed a bill that will take away some of the most basic rights from law-abiding citizens in the U.S…and while it may only affect the Washington D.C. metro area now, it could be laying the blueprint for future legislation across the country.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#767) 

Bindel is increasingly becoming a transparent laughing stock:

…In framing prostitution as modern slavery, something that holds women captive, Bindel plays on the classic and sexist damsel-in-distress motif.  Yes, in other countries women do not enjoy the same rights as we do in the UK.  But sticking with the country Bindel is based in and writes about in her piece – Britain – there is simply no epidemic of “sex slavery” here.  Prostitution happens, often in unpleasant circumstances, but these women are not chattel; they can make decisions…

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The federal government has no more business telling an adult where and how they can make their money than it does telling an adult where and how they can worship, study or spend.  –  Austin Petersen

Out of Control

People who deny this obvious fact are more interested in promoting an agenda than protecting society:

…There have been countless jokes and observations made about the root problem with political psychopaths being sexual frustration…problems are more complicated than any amount of sex could solve; but there’s also a trend…to dismiss the very idea of sexual frustration as a motivation for human behavior…It could very well be a coincidence that Richard Spencer has a mail-order bride, that David Duke has been divorced since 1984, that Steve Bannon and Rush Limbaugh have three divorces each, and that the twice-divorced Donald Trump does not sleep in the same bedroom as his current wife…There might be no pattern whatsoever to James Alex Fields Jr., Dylan Storm Roof, and Timothy McVeigh all being “confirmed bachelors” up to the date of their ghastly crimes…no woman should ever feel obligated to nanny some neurologically-dysfuctional pickle-polisher incapable of even quarter-ass effort at productivity.  Their answer is hookers…How is it an improvement for someone to not break the law or a taboo when they turn themselves to a public nuisance at best in the process of legal and moral obedience?  Why should the insipid lie of “there being someone for everyone” continue to be propagated in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary?…

Pyrrhic Victory

When I was young, we were told one of the reasons communist countries were bad was that they had tightly-controlled borders:

Some senators are looking to…[implement] a host of new incursions into travelers’ and visitors’ privacy.  Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica “outed” the not-yet-introduced bill — titled “Building America’s Trust Act” [wtf] — since the supporting lawmakers have yet to formally announce their plans to make the US a worse country to live in, much less visit…more surveillance, more boots on the ground, and green lights for law enforcement agencies located anywhere within 100 miles of the nation’s borders…as well as walls, levees, fences…The law calls for the program to be put in place at all high traffic ports of entry (including major airports) within two years…Customs authorities will also be given power to demand biometric info from visa applicants and DNA will be collected from all detained immigrants, whether or not they’re criminally charged…From there, the law adds other politically-charged stipulations, like an entire subsection entitled “Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act”.  Also of note: the bill would allow law enforcement to seize everything from cash to bitcoins if they’re suspected to be “criminal proceeds”…[and] strips away any mens rea protection from accusations of money laundering…

So Close and Yet So Far

It’s sad that even people who support decriminalization feel the need to promote myths, lies & insulting tropes:

…The Department of Health and Human Services says that almost 200,000 transactions are made annually in the United States in which minors are sold for sex…Missouri…has distinguished itself for its hard fight against this evil practice, creating a task force dedicated to eliminating trafficking from the state…But…we must consider whether in our zeal to purge the problem, we haven’t inadvertently created an environment in which this kind of market can flourish…This is what happens when the government tries to legislate an individual’s choices.  We made the same mistake just over a century ago with Prohibition.  In both cases, the government was simply trying to defend the innocent victims…But the resulting prohibition didn’t — and doesn’t — work.  Then, just as now, prisons were clogged with otherwise innocent people who made a personal choice that didn’t hurt others and didn’t deserve to be incarcerated.  Then, just as now, government expenditures skyrocketed in an attempt to enforce these laws.  And then, just as now, outlawing certain activities created an underground that veiled the activities and made them far more dangerous…outlawing prostitution makes it impossible to control the spread of STIs, with their lifelong physical and emotional consequences…The solution…is…give adults the freedom to make their own choices about what they do with their own bodies…

I get that this dude is a politician and so has to dick-stroke potential voters.  But the obsequious fawning to authoritarians about “government was simply trying to defend the innocent victims”, as nauseating as it is, would be bearable had he omitted pernicious lies about every single adult man in America paying to rape “child sex slaves” every week and whores being vectors of disease.  I invite Mr. Petersen to contact me, and I’ll be happy to fill him in on the facts so future editorials are free of disinformation.

Subtle Pimping (#330)

More scumbags profiting from sex workers by promoting lies that harm us:

A new game is in development that will be used to combat the [magically & infinitely] growing problem of sex trafficking…Missing: The Complete Saga is set in rural India, where [prohibitionists pretend] thousands of girls and women are captured and forced into sex work every year…While the original Missing took the form of a top-down point and click story, the new game is a 3D role-playing adventure that follows the life of an Indian village girl called Champa…[prohibitionist] Leena Kejriwal…and her team are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development.  Proceeds from sales of the game will go towards creating [brainwashing] programs and [prisons] for girls who…[are arrested by] police raids.  In the game, Champa is targeted by sex traffickers who want to take her to one of India’s fast-growing cities…in real life, Champa would likely fail to escape the [magical] traffickers, who [are omnipotent and nigh-omnipresent]…The game is…also an attempt to [indoctrinate] boys, and to [make them feel guilty for being sexual while teaching them the misogynistic lie that sexual women are operating under a]…total lack of agency…

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to refer to these evil thugs as “correctional officers”:

Two former prison guards in Florida who were members of the Ku Klux Klan have been convicted of plotting to kill a black inmate in retaliation for a scuffle with another guard who also belonged to the [non-state-sanctioned] hate group.  A jury…found David Elliot Moran and Charles Thomas Newcomb guilty of conspiracy to commit first degree murder after they were caught discussing their plans with an FBI informant…The third guard, Thomas Jordan Driver…pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to commit first degree murder and was sentenced to four years in prison…

Choke Point (#511) 

This makes the end of “Operation Choke Point” official, after two and a half years of retreat:

…In a letter to Rep. Robert Goodlatte…chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd called Operation Choke Point “a misguided initiative” and confirmed that DOJ was closing those investigations, Politico reported…Boyd is understating the degree to which Operation Choke Point was unlawful and just plain creepy…Choke Point began as an extension of the Obama administration’s Financial Fraud Task Force, but the dragnet investigation was never given proper statutory authority by either the administration or Congress.  In fact, details about Operation Choke Point were deliberately withheld from Congress at first…Targets…often didn’t have any idea why their bank accounts were being frozen or closed…

Need I point out that an oppression which was started by a memo and ended by a memo can easily be re-started by another memo?  Since “Choke Point” was never declared unconstitutional by a court nor officially banned by a law, there’s nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#550)

The only interesting thing about Julie Bindel is the way that the media refuses to recognize her as a broken-down one-trick pony, despite the fact that virtually every article she writes is dedicated to advancing the prohibitionist wanking fantasy of an all-powerful “pimp lobby”.  Bindel has written on virtually no other topic for more than three years; you can take a look at this new article (intended to drum up support for her upcoming book on – you guessed it – the so-called “pimp lobby”) if you want, but it’s the same agency-denying, paranoid-ranting reheated feces she’s been serving up for years.  Proceed at risk of your own boredom and/or nausea.

The War Goes On (#712) 

It won’t be much longer before no reasonable and educated person believes in “sex trafficking”, but of course the damage has already been done:

…Backpage…has been lied about by politicians for so long that many smart and otherwise savvy people seem to think the site is run by sexual-slavery-loving sociopaths.  Anyone under that misguided impression—and anyone seeking to push back against it—should check out some new research published in the Wake Forest Law Review.  In…”The Virtue of Unvirtuous Spaces,” Notre Dame Law School lecturer Alex F. Levy explores similarities between the Progressive Era’s pageantry around “white slavery” and the modern-day activists against the alleged “epidemic” of U.S. sex trafficking…In the late 19th and early 20th century, the focal point of this symbolic fighting was the dance hall.  Now it’s online venues such as the classified ad sites Craigslist and Backpage.  Levy finds that both campaigns are “pageantry:  a kind of theater designed to satisfy people’s need to identify and fight bad guys without regard to nuance or long-term outcome”…

Total Eclipse of the Brain 

Liz Brown ridicules the “solar eclipse sex trafficking” nonsense:

…What, you might wonder, is the theory here?  Will sex traffickers be emboldened by the extra bit of darkness?  Do they get extra aggressive depending on lunar phases?…In Kentucky, Allyson Cox Taylor, head of the state’s Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention, suggested that “people who weren’t trafficking before may decide…this is an opportunity to make money.”  Apparently she thinks finding and forcing others to do your bidding is something that people just up and decide one day to do on a whim.  In Bend, Oregon, several pre-eclipse seminars focused on how locals could spot the incoming sex traffickers…[including] “poker chips passing hands.”  Eclipse-pegged sex-trafficking warnings have also shown up…in Ohio, in Wyoming, and in Nebraska…a few…suggest that sex traffickers will be lurking in the dark, waiting to snatch up children who get separated from their parents for even a few minutes.  (In the midst of all this, however, behold the rarest of rare occurences: TV news and local police in Portland teaming up to announce that “they have no reason to suspect there would be a surge in human sex trafficking in the metro area”)…

Business As Usual (#757) 

Even though there’s nothing here which wasn’t already covered in earlier articles on the topic (including mine), it’s good to see so many young “feminist” writers taking interest in the issue:

…In Alaska, as in every other U.S. state, it is currently legal for [cops and informants]…to [molest]…individuals [they want to accuse of a crime.  Some states prohibit]…penetration [on paper, though not in practice].  Victims have recounted being threatened into [submitting to rape]…or finding themselves in legal trouble after providing sexual favors to a man presumed to be a client, but who is actually a cop…In many…spaces online, [sex workers]…have recounted the horror they face at the hands of police…In February, [Alaska state] Representative Matt Claman…introduced House Bill 112, which would close the loophole allowing [cops]…to [rape]…anyone under police investigation.  Current Alaska law only classifies [rape of]…a suspect…as illegal once a person has been arrested…

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The “pimp lobby” myth…indicates the extent to which [prohibitionist]  views are divorced from reality.  –  Frankie Mullin

Check Your Premises

The real effect of “sex trafficking” laws:

As a teenage runaway being threatened by a violent older pimp, Hope Zeferjohn should have been saved when Topeka police arrested the man for human trafficking.  Instead, she was cast as a conspirator in his schemes and now faces more than a decade in prison.  The situation stems from their 2015 attempt to recruit a 14-year-old girl to live and work with them…the girl told Zeferjohn and Anthony “Angel” Long, then 26, that she wasn’t interested…and then told her parents, who called the police.  The 14-year-old never met Long in person…was never abducted or physically harmed…was never advertised for commercial sex, nor did she ever engage in prostitution.  And…Long, who accepted a plea deal in February, was only convicted of attempted aggravated human trafficking…Yet somehow Zeferjohn…who was unquestionably underage at the time…and is…an abuse and exploitation victim herself—has wound up on the hook for aggravated human trafficking, a felony in the first degree…

Bullies With Badges

“Found in a room with a naked man” = “pigs bashed in a closed door on private property without warning or permission”:

Austin [pigs oinked that they had rooted out] a prostitution ring at a Northwest Austin massage parlor after a waste pipe at the business became clogged and destroyed by hundreds of condoms…One of the tenants of the property was listed as Jade Massage Therapy LLC…several other tenants had [stuck their noses into their neighbor’s business]…On March 22, Austin police executed search warrants at the address and found [owner Juan] Wang in a room with a naked man…

The story tries to make an act of barbaric violence sound like a visit to a thrift store.

Sexual Predators 

Our cop-worshiping culture lauds this sexual predator as a “hero”:

San Bernardino Vice Officer Kim Hernandez helps get girls as young as 13 off the streets, out of prostitution and even into college.  Last year she was responsible…for…making hundreds of arrests for prostitution…Instead of drugs, Hernandez said gangs are now trafficking girls, some as young as nine and ten years old.  “You can only sell a bag of marijuana or bag of meth or gun one time, but a human you can sell over and over,” she said.  It may take several arrests and [jailings] to finally [wear] a girl [down enough emotionally] to [get her to submit to brainwashing]…She said, “It’s that first contact and treating them like a human [by denying their ability to make choices and locking them in cages like animals]”…

If the term “vice officer” doesn’t make your skin crawl, try savoring the mindless parroting of masturbatory fantasies & pro-violence propaganda.

Monsters 

But never mind the concentration camps Russia already had for sex workers, because the US has those, too:

Gay men arrested in a “purge” in the Russian region of Chechnya are being held in concentration camp-style prisons…Russian newspapers and human rights groups report that more than 100 gay men have been detained…Several people were also reportedly feared dead following violent raids.  In a chilling response, a Chechen government spokesperson denied that there are any gay people to detain…The Kremlin denied any knowledge of a purge…One man who was released from the camp [said]…he was subjected to violent “interrogations”…to get him to confess the names and locations of more gay men.  The officials also seized his mobile phone, targeting his network of contacts regardless of whether they were gay or not…The detainees face electric shock torture and violent beatings, while some of them have been held to ransom and used to extort their families…

Lower Education

Cishet male privilege!

…A male student who was accused of sexual harassment committed suicide just days after the University of Texas at Arlington ignored its own policies in order to punish him.  The accused student’s father, a lawyer acting as the administrator of his son’s estate, is now suing the school for violating his son’s Title IX rights…Thomas Klocke…was accused by a gay male student of writing anti-gay slurs on his computer during a class.  Klocke vehemently denied the accusation, and administrators who investigated the incident acknowledged there was no evidence to support the accuser’s claims, yet Klocke was still punished…

Traffic Jam (#427) 

I honestly find it difficult to think of anything more pretentious than a faddish opera based on a current moral panic:

Chinese-born composer Du Yun won the Pulitzer Prize for music on Monday for Angel’s Bone, an experimental opera that explores [what she imagines to be] the psychology behind human trafficking.  The one-act opera…takes place in a non-descript American suburb but is filled with spiritual symbolism.  “Mr. and Mrs. X.E.,” riven by marital strife and financial problems, enslave and victimise a pair of angels who stumble upon the property…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#514)

Fortunately, prohibitionists’ attachment to this dumb canard is working against them:

…The pimp lobby – a conspiracy theory in which astroturfing pimps are behind the movement for decriminalisation – erases the reality of sex workers…in the Guardian, Kat Banyard dismisses Amnesty’s two-year research project as a pimp party; see [also] Julie Bindel…and…In 2014…MEP Mary Honeyball…wrote off…450 organisations which opposed [the Swedish model] as “organisations comprised of pimps”…[prohibitionists] don’t believe sex workers could be this organised, don’t believe they could be this united, don’t believe anyone in the industry could be clear-headed enough…To write [sex worker activists] off as pimps…is a vicious, desperate attempt to deny the lived experience of sex workers, even when those sex workers are standing in full sight.

Vendetta (#634)

Another group of technically competent but woefully naive kids is exploited by the police state to attack sex workers:

Hundreds of tech-savvy problem solvers gathered in Downtown Eugene [Oregon]…for the second annual “Hack for a Cause”…Hackers created software including mobile phone apps to combat…sex trafficking…One developer was creating a mobile app to [snitch to the pigs] at a touch of a button…Another community challenge the hackers discussed was how to use technology to encourage donations to [corporations] instead of [homeless people]…

Morality Lessons (#703) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

Draft bills in at least 13 state legislatures would require all internet-enabled devices to come installed with an anti-porn filter, which adult consumers could choose to have removed for a fee of $20.  They’re calling it the Human Trafficking Prevention Act.  The Daily Beast does a nice job today of exposing the huckster behind this legislation, a 40-year-old EDM musician and anti-porn crusader named Chris Sevier who tried to marry his computer in protest of same-sex marriage, was released early from an Iraq tour for mental-health issues, sued Apple over the dissolution of his marriage, and has been charged with harassing a teen girl as well as country singer John Rich…the porn-filter bill is explicitly packaged as a response to porn being a “public health hazard” and “cancer on society” that “perpetuates a sexually toxic environment” in America, normalizes violence against women and children, “portrays rape and abuse as if such acts are harmless,” promotes “problematic or harmful sexual behaviors,” and “increases the demand for sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse images, and child pornography”…

No Friend of Ours (#725)

A politician is someone who believes one can never have too many laws:

…SB488 by Sen. Pat Spearman…would expand Nevada’s sex trafficking laws to include not just those actually trafficking young people but to what she described as all the participants.  She said that includes [anybody prosecuters can even tangentially connect to] those who [have sex for reasons pompous baboons deem]…illicit and illegal…She presented a [show pony to distract male politicians from facts by telling them wanking fantasies about how]…she was repeatedly sold for sex when she was…11 to multiple men…

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Raising the minimum age perpetuates the notion that sex workers are naive individuals with little to no agency or understanding of their own situation.  –  Laura Marks

Lack of Evidence

A fine example of barking up the wrong tree:

During a recent trip to Miami, San Francisco residents Heather Cox and Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa visited Dean’s Gold strip club in North Miami Beach…they were denied entry…[because] they’re women and weren’t “accompanied by a man”…”The message that women must be accompanied by men is totally infantilizing,” says Otálvaro…”it’s a direct statement of exclusion targeted at bisexual women and lesbians”…

Nope and nope. It’s not “infantilizing” and it isn’t “targeted at lesbians”; the Florida policy is an anti-whore measure intended to keep us from “poaching” clients from the clubs.  Don’t like it, lesbians?  Fucking lobby for decriminalization, then, because as long as we have no rights yours will continue to be infringed.  And guys, don’t think these laws don’t affect you, too:

…The YouTube video’s original caption to the video…“Bought a burger and pulled over to have a few bites. I suppose that constitutes probable cause?”  Fortunately, the citizen…pulled out his phone and started recording when the Austin cop  approached the vehicle…Rick asked, “Why am I getting pulled out of my car?”  “Because you’re being detained.” answered the unknown Austin PD officer…Rick immediately asked, “Why am I being detained?”  “Let’s see. It’s 2 o’clock in the morning and you’re in a parked here by yourself in a high prostitution, high drug area”…

They Still Don’t Get It

This “editorial” cannot have possibly been written by an actual editor, unless this paper hires its editors from the local eighth-grade class.  It is also virtually fact-free and if its nose were any higher up the arse of authority it would suffocate:

…Prostitution has always been a money-making endeavor.  It generates an income for the women and the men who often control them.  But, the profession has become more dangerous because many of the prostitutes are desperate for money to support drug addiction.  That, of course, means crimes related to prostitution have increased dramatically…Most of the women are not street-walkers, but advertise themselves on a website called The Back Page…police respond to ads to snare women, and place fake ads on the site to entice the male customers…Fewer women are now advertising on the site, but the demand from male customers was still too high…prostitutes were more numerous 40 years ago and they frequented the heart of the downtown.  Development in the center city that has attracted families chased the prostitutes away.  We appreciate the police for continuing to work on the prostitution problem and…the developers who continue to make the downtown a better place…

End Demand

Ever wonder what kind of sick propaganda men are subjected to in “john school” for the “crime” of sexual desire?

Imagine your mother or the person you think of like a mother.  Now picture her on the street, offering sexual services for $10 at least a half-dozen times a day…The goal of the day was to outline not only the “what ifs,” such as being assaulted and robbed, but to impart that many prostituting are forced there by circumstances, whether that’s another person, addiction, or mental illness…the men also hear about possible health impacts, from HIV to pubic lice, sexual addiction, and the impacts of prostitution on communities…

Challenge

All anti-sex laws are repeatedly supported by courts until the day they aren’t:

A…judge has refused to find the laws that outlaw prostitution in Ohio unconstitutional in the case against two women who were operating a massage parlor…“Ohio prostitution statue compromises the protected right to sexual privacy by denying consenting adults the right to make decisions about sexuality in the commercial market place,” [defense attorney] Blake Somers wrote in his motion. “Such an instruction is not justified or mitigated by societal moral concerns…making the sale of sex illegal violates the right of sexual privacy derived from the due process clause and the defendant herein seeks nothing more that to invoke the principals of liberty that already exists”…

Still a Child 

Twenty-five years ago, Jim Kelly argued before the New Orleans City Council that women ages 18 to 20 shouldn’t be allowed to work as exotic dancers…The proposed ordinance was approved…but after a recent murder case involving 19-year-old dancer Jasilas Wright, Kelly realized it was not being enforced.  In July, he returned to City Hall to put teeth into the existing ordinance…Local dancers say the ordinance shouldn’t exist at all…”Don’t tell women they can’t work a f—king job when they’re adults,” says Lilith, a 27-year-old dancer at Babe’s Cabaret who started when she was 20. “To assume we’re all victims and have no other options or are forced to be there is simply disrespectful.”  Kelly says he is trying to protect young women…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes Zoo Weekly

Bauer Media announced that Zoo Weekly would be closing “due to tough retail conditions”.  It has been declared that its October edition will be its last…it is a victory that Collective Shout, Australia’s most vocal anti-porn campaigners, is claiming as its own.  In August…Zoo Weekly was removed from Coles’ shelves after a “successful online campaign” was waged by Collective Shout…history has shown that Collective Shout’s real problem lies with the idea of women displaying their bodies in men’s magazines…The women who appear in these magazines, often dressed in string bikinis, have done so consensually and have been paid for their work…there have been no instances where Zoo Weekly has placed a woman on their cover without that woman’s approval…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#419)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

…North Carolina Senate Bill 279 would amend state sex-education standards to require all schools teach age-appropriate info on “the threats” of sex trafficking…The bill also says school administrators must collaborate with law enforcement agents when developing or presenting this material…Training cops on sex trafficking issues is often a collaborative effort by religious nonprofits and the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) who preach the new gospel of prostitution: that almost all women…were…forced into it and should be treated as victims; that the Internet fuels a thriving child sex-slavery trade; that “ending demand” for adult prostitution by targeting johns and using other tough-on-prostitution measures are necessary to stop children from being sold into sexual slavery; and that there’s a rampant and escalating problem with sex trafficking in the United States.  But there is no solid evidence that any of these things are true.  A DOJ-orchestrated, law-enforcement-centered sex trafficking “awareness” program for public school kids seems likely to spew the kind of fact-lite, panic-heavy propaganda that fueled school anti-drug programs like DARE…

The Course of a Disease (#423)

The Israeli journalist who wrote this article on brothels in Tel Aviv presents a much more nuanced view of sex work than one would see in the American media:

…Reports on prostitution tend to focus on exceptional cases, such as…an underage sex ring…[or] human trafficking, a phenomenon of the 1990s…They concentrate on…“notorious drug and prostitution den[s]”…[such as] the Hasan Arfa area…a warren of tin shacks and garages supposedly overrun by drug users and sex workers…[prohibitionist]  Rebecca Hughes…writes, “Most women do not choose to be prostitutes.”  The actual face of prostitution is more nuanced.  There are hundreds of brothels in Tel Aviv. Many of them operate openly, advertising their services on the street with business-sized cards scattered on sidewalks throughout the city by young men…

Innocence Never Had (#428)

Yet another attempt to cast young people as passive vegetables without agency:

On Tuesday night Sean ’Diddy’ Combs tweeted a petition asking the Associated Press to stop using the phrases “child prostitute” and “child prostitution” in their style guides and news stories.  “They are victims [and] survivors of rape,” he wrote, sharing a link to the Change.org campaign…Because the terms deal with the issue of people who are too young to consent to sex, let alone sex work, the group argues that saying “child prostitute” or “child sex worker” is both insensitive and factually inaccurate.  Instead, the group suggests that outlets refer to these children as “victims and survivors of child rape”…

No.  The number of underage sex workers who are “children” in any meaningful sense is virtually nil; the vast majority are above the age of consent, albeit below 18.  To call them “victims of child rape” is both insulting and factually inaccurate.

Imaginary Crises (#445) 

The people who profit from rape panic just won’t stop creating new bogus “studies” designed to uphold their cherished “1 in 5” myth:

More than 20 percent of female undergraduates at an array of prominent universities said this year that they were victims of sexual assault and misconduct, echoing findings elsewhere…The survey from the Association of American Universities drew responses from 150,000 students at 27 schools…Researchers acknowledged the possibility of an overstated victimization rate because there was evidence that hundreds of thousands of students who ignored the electronic questionnaire were less likely to have suffered an assault…

Here’s another hint: counting everything under “sexual assault and misconduct” as assault is the same as counting everything under “murder and assault” as murder.grumpy Gloria

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#449)

This Indian critique of anti-whore “feminists” has especially strong words for Gloria Steinem:

…[Steinem’s] opposition to the AI proposal is based upon a rather parochial view of what sex work means to impoverished women, especially in developing countries…Since 2010 I have been engaged in ethnographic research with Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC)…Steinem visited  Sonagachhi in April 2012 on a six-day “learning tour”, under the guidance of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an anti-[sex work] organisation…She called this tour a “life changing experience” because she met several women who were…victims of unspeakable abuse.  However…In the last five years I have only met a handful of women in Sonagachhi who were trafficked.  In the initial phase of this research I gathered stories of how the women arrived in Sonagachhi and a pattern soon emerged consisting of abject poverty, abandonment, hunger, motherhood, familial responsibilities, and finally survival.  Most women told me that they arrived in Sonagachhi through a friend, a relative, or a neighbour who was either working in and/or had contacts in Sonagachhi…The women also do not necessarily see their work as “making a choice” in the classic dyad of forced into, or chose to engage in, prostitution or sex work.  Rather, it is the absence of choice and the structural barriers of poverty that lead them to sex work…

Seizing Power (#567)

Backpage wants a federal appellate court to prohibit Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart from pressing credit card companies to de-fund the site…The company set the appellate process in motion…when it filed…paperwork to appeal U.S. District Court Judge John Tharp, Jr.’s refusal to grant a preliminary injunction against Dart…

Now They Notice

In another example of how the Rentboy raid is being treated differently from the many raids on female escort sites which preceeded it, here’s an interview with a gay Rentboy client; how often have you seen interviews with the clients of female sex workers, despite their far greater numbers?

…I now enjoy my sexuality in a way  in which I don’t think would have happened unless I hired escorts.  It’s specifically because the cash makes it professional.  It’s bad customer service for him to judge me for my interests…I’m not saying he has to put up with everything I want.  In fact, there’s some things that I’ve asked for that he says not to…If he says no, then it’s no…That professionalism and that distance is profoundly helpful.  It takes me to a place where I can just enjoy sexuality.  It’s nice and clean…I see laws against prostitution as intolerant…We know from Romer v. Evans, that mere moral prohibition against something is not sufficient grounds for making a practice illegal.  In Lawrence v. Texas, for the life of me, I cannot see how Kennedy’s reasoning about an ordered liberty about private choices between consenting adults doesn’t cover prostitution.  He has that weird declaration at the end of his opinion that this case has nothing to do with prostitution.  It comes out of nowhere, he just stuck it in there to cover his ass…It strikes me as profoundly cruel for people who have more barriers to an enjoyable sex life, to just criminalize a method that works for both parties…

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The inevitable and terrifying end result of giving legal rights to fetuses [is] a woman…legally reduced to being nothing more than a vessel incubating a future ward of the state.  –  Maya Dusenbery

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

An Indianapolis police chaplain was arrested on multiple prostitution charges after he told a prostitute [who] he was…police [arrested a sex worker]…and…she told [them] that the day before “Bob from Noblesville showed me his shiny IMPD officer badge and told me he was a chaplain”…police determined “Bob from Noblesville” was actually…Chaplain Bishop John Robert Fiers…

The Mote and the Beam

The stupid, it burns!

The [Georgia] trial lawyer who wants to [profit from] sex trafficking through civil litigation said his phone hasn’t stopped ringing since he announced his plan late last year…David Boone, president and founder of Civil Lawyers Against World Sex Slavery, known as CLAWS…[said] “We’re really tried to take a business approach to this”…Boone [pretends he can sue] those who pay for sex as well as those who allow the business to exist…He said his research shows the “sex slave” industry is a $9.5 billion business in the United States, exploiting primarily girls starting at the age of 13 who are lured in or kidnapped.  Most die within seven years from drug overdoses, AIDS or murder.  Atlanta has become a hub for the trade largely as a side-effect of having one of the world’s busiest airports…

Schadenfreude 

Yet another rescue industry “hero” is revealed as an opportunistic fraud:

…Vednita Carter…started Breaking Free…nearly 20 years ago, vowing to help women and girls free themselves from prostitution…[by convincing them that] they were victims of abuse and sexual exploitation.  In recent years [“sex trafficking” hysteria] won [the organization] more funding and expanded its [hunger for money]…Carter…was named a CNN News Hero and the Bush Foundation gave Breaking Free an award…but…a group of former employees…wrote a letter in April to government agencies that have funded or worked with Breaking Free, detailing concerns about how victims were being treated and served, its adherence to laws and regulations, alleged “misuse of funds, property, and services and employment of family members,” and “staff misconduct and lack of training”…

Harm Magnification (The Beat Goes On)

Prostitutes have…accused police of trying to “ghettoise” them…after [it was] revealed that Gwent Police were planning a “managed” sex zone…One working girl feared that forcing them into designated zones could lead to more being raped and murdered.  “They tend to put these areas in out-of-the-way places in the back of commercial and industrial sites where there are rough roads and the lighting is poor, and access in and out is abysmal,” Michelle said…anti-prohibition DARE editorial

Change a Few Words

Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known as DARE, has spent decades telling schoolchildren…to “Just Say No” to marijuana.  For a few hours [on July 27th], however, they appeared to just say yes to legalization.  [Journalist] Christopher Ingraham…found a strange re-post on the DARE website…which originally ran in the Columbus Dispatch…[and contained] a full-throated endorsement of marijuana legalization by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) speaker Carlis McDerment…Ingraham contacted DARE for clarification and [they immediately removed the article]…

Above the Law 

Ever notice that cops “state” or “explain” their versions of events, but the rest of us merely “claim”?

A Garda forced a prostitute to perform a sexual act on him in order to have her laptop computer returned to her after it had been seized in a raid…Almost half (48.7%) [of sex workers surveyed] said they had garda clients and 2.7% said they had [been forced to] provide…”free or discounted” sexual services to officers…The purpose of the survey, by…Uglymugs.ie, was to establish how sex workers viewed policing in Ireland given plans to introduce new laws which will effectively criminalise the entire sex trade…

Sex Work is Work

Guess what, Mr. Huckabee? If “prostitutes, pimps [and] drug dealers” weren’t criminalized, we’d easily be able to contribute to your system:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said…that if elected President he would increase the money going into Social Security, Medicare and other entitlement funds by…”[transforming] the process by which we fund [them]…the money paid at consumption is paid by everybody — including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers, all the people who are freeloading off the system”…The line was met with thunderous applause…

Scrambled Eggs (#311)

I’m sure everyone who dies while waiting for a kidney is happy to go to his grave to prevent people from making their own decisions about what to do with their bodies:

Last year in the United States, more than 4,000 people died while…waiting…for a new kidney.  An additional 3,600…left the list when they became too sick for a transplant…In every country that does transplants — except one — patients have two legal ways to get a new kidney.  One is to have a friend or relative…donate a kidney.  The other is to get on the waiting list for a deceased donor.  In America, the average time on that list varies from 3 years to 10…Patients can’t even get on the list until they are about to start dialysis, and the average life span of someone who starts dialysis is only 5 to 10 years…And the longer a patient spends on dialysis before getting a transplant, the greater the chances of complications and death with a new kidney…[but] in Iran…people wait to donate a kidney.  That’s because donors are paid…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes

Hey Cosmo, are you ready to speak out for decrim yet?

Several major retailers have agreed to censor…Cosmopolitan behind blinders, after facing pressure from a campaign led by the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, the man who founded the company that owns the publication.  Victoria Hearst…began a campaign…called Cosmo Harms Minors, which…eventually [wants] shops to be banned from selling the magazine to anyone under the age of 18…

Sex RaysOur Lady of the Pillar

Spain’s Guardia Civil police force will no longer accept donations from a brothel in Navarra, even if the money is put towards a good cause…The unusual funding arrangement came to light…when the citizen group Observatory Against Corruption filed a complaint …The money was used to throw a celebration dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar, the patron saint of the Guardia Civil…

Choke Point 

Could be worth looking into for non-porn sex workers as well:

Major U.S. banks have closed or denied banking accounts to individuals working in the adult industry…the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC) is now offering…financial services offered by First Entertainment Credit Union…which…was first established as the credit union for Warner Bros. Studios in 1967 but now extends membership to many entertainment industry organizations, including the Free Speech Coalition…Services offered to APAC members will include checking and savings accounts, financial planning, home and auto loans, as well as business account services…For more information on becoming a member…visit the APAC website or email apac.information@gmail.com.

Property of the State 

Another abomination from Alabama:

A woman imprisoned in an Alabama jail wants an abortion…but her request…was denied…and…the state is attempting to strip her of her parental rights over a “child” that is not actually a born child yet and arguing that if she doesn’t have parental rights, she has no right to terminate the pregnancy…the state is arguing that since this woman has “endangered” her fetus by using drugs, it should now effectively become a ward of the state, and therefore the state can do anything it wants—including forcing her to carry it to term against her will…

Acting and Activism (#559)

My friend Savannah Sly on the Hollywood response to Amnesty:

These famous voices are…out of touch with the reality of sex work…[they] are connected to anti-trafficking organizations, which…fail to illustrate to these celebrities…that criminalization actually makes [things]…worse.  For some reason, celebrities are held up as just being wiser than the rest of us because they’re famous…Who are [Americans] going to trust, this seemingly familiar person they’ve seen on TV a lot or a bunch of social pariahs?…

And while the Guardian has long provided a platform to vehement prohibitionists, it did allow this one from Molly Smith to slip through:

…by prioritising the supposed “eradication” of the sex industry, [the Swedish model empowers] police…to harass, evict and deport migrant sex workers…Amnesty found that sex workers in Norway were routinely evicted by the police…“a number of migrant sex workers were violently attacked and raped…They reported the incident to the police…they returned to their apartment to find the police have removed all their money and electronic equipment.  Four days [later] they were forcibly evicted.”  It’s hard to believe that those Hollywood signatories read this and thought:  “Brilliant, the police evicting migrant women when they report rape sounds like the feminist solution to prostitution; we should support the legal model where this occurs.”  But that is what appears to have happened – unless they signed up to attack Amnesty over a document they had not read…

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“Show us your humanity!” is more belittling and damaging than “Show us your tits!”  –  Conner Habib

Think of the Children! Rafe Esquith

Because ordinary English words can emit sex rays, too!

After being taken out of his classroom for two months, a famous Los Angeles teacher, Rafe Esquith, is filing a claim against the L.A. Unified School District…Esquith…was removed from the classroom and put on paid leave…while the district investigates him for misconduct…[because] he made a joke to his class that prompted a complaint from another teacher…that if the class couldn’t raise enough money for their Shakespeare play then they might have to perform some of it naked, like the king in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn…Superintendent Ramon Cortines [said] that the inquiry includes “serious issues that go beyond the initial investigation”…Esquith is well-known and renowned globally. H e is the recipient of the president’s National Medal of Arts and is the only K-12 teacher to receive that award.  Many of his books, such as Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, are bestsellers…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

You know a jurisdiction is deeply immersed in “end demand” mania when it starts devouring its own and makes grandiose claims:

A former police chief, an attorney and six other area men are facing gross misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution…following a sting…Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted…said the operation…is the first step toward uncovering the major players in sex trafficking in the Brainerd lakes area…

The idea that a Backpage sting could “uncover the major players” in anything is so hilariously stupid it’s almost unbelievable.  But down in Florida, it’s a bit different:

A woman is facing a felony prostitution charge after she was found in a hotel room with a Tallahassee Police Department sergeant…Afton Chewning…was found with 49-year-old TPD Sgt. Brian Davis in a Days Inn motel room…Davis turned himself in…on a misdemeanor charge of solicitation…[and] has filed a plea of not guilty…

Felony for her, misdemeanor (which he’ll certainly escape) for him.  Nice.

Check Your Premises

The fact that one of the “traffickers” really did rape and abuse one woman doesn’t change the incoherence of this first part of the article:

Four sex traffickers who brought more than 50 Hungarian women into the country and sold them as part of their highly lucrative vice empire…in…London are facing years behind bars.  Most of the victims came into the country voluntarily to work in the sex industry, promoted themselves on adult websites and kept half of their earnings…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

This story on another creepy facial-recognition surveillance tool contains the following incredible claim: “In the United States, more than 800,000 children are reported missing every year, and nearly half end up living on the streets. Seventy percent will become sex trafficking victims, most within their first 72 hours of living on the street…

Surplus Women 

Chillicothe, Ohio…has crept…into headlines…[as] the place where women go missing and wash up dead.  In little over a year, at least six women have disappeared from the town of only 21,000.  Four of their bodies have been found, almost all of them dumped in creeks or streams flowing away from the town…Most of them were hooked on drugs, and many moonlighted as prostitutes to fund their addictions…Some of them even knew one another.  The similarities between the victims and the crime scenes have Chillicothe terrified that a serial killer is on the loose…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

In a new book, Sex Addiction: A Critical History, New Zealand academics Barry Reay, Nina Attwood and Claire Gooder claim that porn addiction is mythical; a product of “social opportunism, diagnostic amorphism, therapeutic self-interest and popular cultural endorsement”.  Reay argues that there’s little scientific basis for the classification of porn use as an addiction.  Instead, our sex-negative culture, click-bait media and flourishing therapy industry have combined to create a fanciful and frightening condition…

Above the Law Micah Meurer

An Amarillo [Texas cop] was fired…after investigators determined he had…sexually assaulted her…[the] woman reported…Micah Meurer…had sexually assaulted her in her…home…

Chauvinism

Conner Habib has written year’s best essay about prohibition so far:

I’ll refer to anti-sex-work and anti-porn campaigners here…as “anti-sex bigots”…because sex is what makes sex work so special for them.  Sex makes this line of work a singular profession, mystically distinguished from other jobs.  But…there is no substance to their arguments.  Their tactics are strung together not with understanding or data, but with hate.  Their bigotry is visceral, and their goals are clear:

1. Distort and destroy consent.

2. Create a framework of good vs. evil.

3. Cherry-pick voices.

4. Play the victim while holding the power.

5. Create apocalyptic urgency.

This list might sound like an exaggeration to outsiders.  To sex workers, it’s exhaustingly and overwhelmingly familiar…

Mumbo Jumbo

Apparently it isn’t just whores who have the power to grant demons “permission”:

Pat Robertson…told a woman her son’s “hatred and mental issues” might be brought on by demons, which in turn were brought on because she brought a Ouija board home one time.  “You can open the door to demons…There was one lady I heard about who was demon-possessed [because]…she had gone to an X-rated movie and done all these sex things”…

Challenge (#402) 

Tits and Sass has a pretty good rundown of the key players in the recriminalization of sex work in Rhode Island.  Well worth your time on the principle of “Know thine enemy”.

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

At least Canadian media have the sense to put “rescue” in scare quotes:

Windsor police “rescued” two sex workers from harmful situations as part of a provincewide investigation into the sex trade…On June 17-18, human trafficking and vice units from more than 20 different police services across Ontario investigated whether sex workers were involved in human trafficking or exploitation…This latest investigation was the third phase of Operation Northern Spotlight, which is designed to open up lines of communication between police and sex workers…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#423)

Bindel can’t possibly be as delusional as she pretends to be; her slipshod list of “pimp lobby” members proves that.  So what is she really up to?

Julie Bindel is…now raising money for a book she’s writing, to…“outline the emergence of a powerful lobby — the sex workers’ rights movement — that works in favour of a total decriminalisation of the sex industry”…Bindel’s project is…part of anti-sex-work eradicationists’ ongoing drive to paint all sex workers speaking out for their rights as pimps and punters in disguise.  (A reporter who attended one of Bindel’s talks at a Stop Porn Culture conference last year wrote that her “presentation on ‘the politics of the sex industry’” was “a succession of tabloid-style personal attacks on pro-sex industry activists, academics, escorts, and performers, complete with photos seemingly lifted without permission from their social-media profiles”)…

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When sex workers or former sex workers write as academics, their voices can’t be reduced solely to sex.  –  Noah Berlatsky

The Proper Study

Noah Berlatsky on sex workers conducting our own research:

Melissa Gira Grant…is not alone; there are many sex workers and former sex workers who research and analyze sex work from an analytical perspective.  Author, media consultant, and former sex worker Maggie McNeill, for example, discusses common myths about human trafficking…The Red Umbrella Project, a peer-led sex worker advocacy organization, conducted a study of New York City trafficking courts that found police were disproportionately targeting black sex workers and using racial profiling to make arrests…Tara Burns…researched Alaska’s trafficking laws while working toward her Master’s in social justice…Christina Parreira…has continued to work as a sex worker while also pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology…she has…interviewed other workers about how they understand their work…dropbox logo

Saving Them From Themselves

Missouri law enforcement is serving cloud-storage site Dropbox with a search warrant for an account used by area teens suspected of sexting…after school officials heard rumors that students were sharing nude photos via phones and Dropbox…cops interviewed students and seized some of their cell phones.  And what did they find?  No pics.  But…with just a little more privacy infringement, they’re certain they can turn up some nude teen photos…

King of the Hill

Two for one!  “Michigan ranks No. 2 for human trafficking sex trade behind only Nevada…

If Men Were Angels

A chiropractor in…Iowa…has had his license pulled after being accused of trading services for sex with clients and for performing exorcisms…Dr. Charles Manuel voluntarily surrendered his license after the Iowa Board of Chiropractic accused him of unethical conduct…The board also stated that Manuel had instructed some of his patients to stop taking their prescribed medications…

Schadenfreude (#434) 

Voice of America has followed the party line on “sex trafficking” thus far, so it’s nice to see them publishing an interview with super ally Anne Elizabeth Moore:

The garment industry, because there are so few employment options for women, creates this sense of an almost economic imperative..in the U.S. we talk a lot about how horrible it is for women and the sex industry in Cambodia, and how they all are trafficked.  And all the reports are about quoting Somaly Mam, who of course…spent a lot of time talking about how everyone that she worked with in her various foundations was a victim of sex trafficking, when you actually talk to the people that live in her shelters, and/or sought assistance from her, or even people who were…involved in…anti-trafficking organizations elsewhere, what you discover is actually that most of them are not victims of trafficking.  Most of them identified as people who were working either in the sex industry or another industry.  And the opportunity provided to them by the anti-trafficking organizations was simply better than their continued labor in that industry…

Served Cold

Utah based Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) has attracted a great deal of attention since it was first endorsed by Glenn Beck…This new addition to the already crowded field of anti-trafficking organisations “us[es] cutting-edge computer technology…[to] go into the darkest corners of the world to…liberate enslaved children and dismantle the criminal networks.”  It is this type of language that identifies OUR as yet another disturbing example of a “raid-and-rescue” organisation…these interventions represent the latest version of the “white man’s burden”…OUR takes things one step further by sending, essentially, gun-toting vigilantes to foreign countries in the pursuit of “hope and freedom” for enslaved children…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#445) clogs

It would be hard to imagine a more unintentionally-revealing example of mental masturbation than this attempt to entangle the supposed morality of overpriced clogs with welfare-state propaganda and dangerously-prudish Sweden’s wholly-undeserved reputation for sexiness:

Blixt’s wooden shoes are not just “hasbeens’ because of the retro style – it’s also a comeback of retro Swedish sexiness – not the stereotype, but rather the truth.  Outdated stereotypes of Sweden as overly sexualized have reigned for too long.   “I think it’s a misunderstanding,” Blixt remarks. “Sex is one thing, and a naked body is something else; it’s natural.”  When Blixt talks about sexy shoes, she’s speaking of classic Swedish values.  In other words: au natural…Made only with natural materials in good work situations, the shoes are sustainable, durable, and handmade…“We are actually raised to be creative in Sweden, and it’s easy to start a company here with our free education, access to social security, funding and young people who dare to think big,” Blixt reflects. “People learn to dare and believe in their ideas, and that is our hope for the future”…

The smugness is so thick one could cut it with a knife.

Guinea Pigs 

Another software package designed to sell whores out to the cops:

Rescue Forensics claims it “archives massive quantities of data from classified advertisement sites specializing in commercial sex ads.”  It gathers a lot of text, and even more nude and semi-nude photos.  Then it turns all that over to the cops…what Rescue Forensics appears to be selling is just one more tool to help cops track people engaged in sex work through their online activities…there’s a good chance that if you’ve placed an ad online in the last two years for escorting, massage, BDSM, stripping, private modeling, nude housekeeping, selling your underwear, or any other permutation of the various sexual services people can put on offer, Rescue Forensics has a copy.  And because Rescue Forensics has a copy, so do their users in law enforcement…for Dalton, the fight against trafficking isn’t just about finding the people Rescue Forensics believes are “exploited”:  It’s about abolition…Dalton was a policy advisor to Shared Hope International…Dalton himself acknowledges what they’ve built isn’t enough to identify someone who has been trafficked into sex work, and that there’s no way to tell from an ad if someone is forced or coerced…Dalton still stands to profit from a product that can’t make that distinction, placed in the hands of law enforcement officers who…routinely…harass and arrest sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought (#525)

Bad laws never die, even if they appear to have been staked and beheaded:

U.S. Senators…reached a deal on legislation addressing human trafficking.  Passage of the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act”…had been delayed for several weeks due to a partisan dispute over abortion funding for trafficking victims.  CBS News explains the complicated compromise, which ultimately does not allow funds allocated under the bill to go toward abortions…there’s still a chance that political maneuvering could doom the legislation…if Republicans force a vote on controversial amendments concerning immigration and other issues…

Precedent

There’s a saying in American politics:  As California goes, so goes the nation.  If that’s true, we may be at the start of a nationwide fight to decriminalize sex work.  The Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP) filed a federal lawsuit on March 4 that seeks to overturn the criminalization of prostitution in California by arguing that the ban is unconstitutional…because it hinders sex workers’ rights to participate in private and consensual activities…If the lawsuit is successful, California could become the tipping point for the decriminalization of sex work nationwide…the decriminalization argument will acquire powerful legal precedent in the most populous state in the country…it could move the conversation forward even if it fails…The state will almost certainly use trumped-up concerns over human trafficking to put the lawsuit to rest…But…nearly 40 million people live in California.  To even put this issue on the political radar of that many people is a revolutionary act…

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