Posts Tagged ‘California’

Talk to your neighbors, not the police.

There are certain genres of fiction which I love in principle while hating most examples of; short horror films are one of them, largely because they’re usually predictable and not at all scary.  This one is an exception; while I knew what was coming from the first weird happening, the ending was a mystery rather than the usual dumb “bogeyman jumps out” nonsense.  The links above it were provided by Brooke MagnantiKevin WilsonAmy AlkonRadley BalkoEmma EvansScott Greenfield, and Popehat, in that order.

From the Archives

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If you’re not supporting the way people are surviving, you’re not supporting their survival.  –  Kate D’Adamo

Here We Go Again 

As I’ve been saying for the past 14 years:

The notion that prostitution…is a form of slavery…[is] a reprise of the Progressive Era [hysteria]…of the early 20th century, when a burgeoning national media, led by McClure’s magazine, established the “white slave trade” as an urgent and widespread peril facing the nation.  The ensuing moral crusade led to “formal responses on both the local and federal levels, including the election of anti-trafficking candidates to governmental office; the proliferation of commissions to study white slavery and vice…the formation of special vice units…the passage of…legislation [such] as the Mann Act…and the expansion of the Bureau of Investigations [the precursor to the FBI]”…according to Gretchen Soderlund, author of Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism… “White slavery was largely a cultural myth for understanding sex work,” wrote social-work researcher Nicole Bromfield…“White slavery”…linked a moral crusade with the vilification of immigrants — especially nonwhite immigrants — who were painted as pimps and slavers.  Women of color who did sex work were dismissed as “voluntary” prostitutes, unworthy of redemption or rescue.  As for white women, their innocence might be presumed but their consent was considered irrelevant…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Men are impersonating [cops] and using the broad powers of the job to sexually assault women…[because cops], too, have a long track record of committing sexual violence against women…experts say…not enough police departments are taking the issue seriously.  “It’s so troubling when we hear about these cases,” said Alex Vitale, author of The End of Policing, which includes a chapter about sex work…“a significant proportion of [sex workers] have had interactions with police that involved demands for sex or other kinds of abuse, so sex workers are going to be particularly wary to challenge a [cop]”…


Actually, I think this is a good thing; the more people are subjected to this evil tyranny, the more will realize that nobody should be:

…[Politicians] have long justified sex offender registries as a way to notify people about potentially dangerous neighbors or acquaintances, while critics say they fail to prevent crime and create a class of social outcasts.  Over the years, several states have expanded their registries to add [people convicted] of other crimes, including kidnapping, assault, and murder.  Tennessee added animal abuse.  Utah added white collar crimes.  A few states considered but abandoned plans for hate crime and domestic abuse registries.  At least five states publicly display methamphetamine producers.  But Kansas went furthest, adding an array of lesser drug crimes; roughly 4,600 people in the state are now registered as drug offenders…[pigs pretend] that the registry helps keep track of people who may commit new offenses and cautions the public to avoid potentially dangerous areas and individuals…Kansas legislature is currently considering a bill proposed by the state’s sentencing commission that would remove drug offenders from the registry.  “It is a drain on resources with no science, studies, or data to justify it,” defense lawyer Jennifer Roth told [politicians] at an early February hearing…

Under Every Bed

This is just the same old “interstate highway” nonsense, but the fact that it’s Alabama makes it even funnier:

A multi-billion-dollar industry is taking east Alabama by storm…“It’s a $150 billion worldwide industry…the target age is 12-14″…[hebephilic fantasist] Maryhelen Kirkpatrick said…“Because you all are so close to Atlanta there ’s a lot of trafficking that happens here”…easy interstate access provides a hot spot for predators in our area to lure victims away…“These…kids have no idea who they are talking to until it’s too late,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said…“Sex trafficking is a huge issue that is getting bigger, bigger, and bigger almost by the day”…

Doesn’t Hughes sound like he’s wanking and about to jizz on himself? “It’s getting bigger…BIGGER…BIGGER…oooh yeah!”

If Men Were Angels 

“Pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

“Sexual immorality” was the reason cited when longtime Pastor Ken Engelking resigned in January from Morning Star Community Church in Salem [Oregon].  Four women had come forward…with allegations against Engelking, two other former church staff members and a member of an affiliated church…the women chronicled accusations of an abusive, adulterous relationship involving Engelking, and sexual assault and rape by three other men over more than 20 years, including as recently as 2010…the women said they were silenced by Nelson and other church leaders, pressured to not report what happened to them or do anything that could tarnish Morning Star’s image…the…church board [included a cop and a politician]…

Censor Chic

Though this isn’t awful, every article Wired prints about sex work contains an inexcusable amount of misinformation:

While some sex-work directory sites do still exist online, the 2014 federal takedown of popular web hub RedBook [sic] hastened a shift that was already in the offing: sex workers taking their marketing into their own hands via social media..But…all of it is strictly against platforms’ rules regarding sexual content, which are loosely based on United States prostitution law.  And…workers’ accounts are often shut down without warning or explanation, even when their content never ventures into explicit territory.  So they’re feeling more than a little betrayed by the platforms they feel they helped create…

Some sites still exist”?  MyRedBook (not “Redbook”) spoken of without mentioning Rentboy, Backpage or TRB?  Platform rules based on “prostitution law”?  WTF, Wired?  Could you, like, talk to some sex workers before making the moronic assertion that Instagram is “the only place to connect” with good clients?

Guest Columnist:  Andrea Werhun 

Another peek at Andrea and her book, Modern Whore:

Former escort Andrea Werhun, 28, says she was determined to destigmatise sex work, and show that it is a job like any other.  The Canadian writer recounts sleeping with obese, unattractive and foul-smelling clients, taking part in a threesome and being raped on the job…She even says she actively enjoyed having sex with an 80-year-old man.  “It’s a reasonable option for a certain kind of person, especially if you have strong boundaries…If you’re just desperate for the money, it could eat you alive.”  Werhun, whose book contains a practical “how-to” guide for would-be escorts, says she thought it was “important to show the full picture” and recount her worst encounters as well as the best…

I think it’s hilarious how much amateurs fixate on our clients’ attractiveness, then have the nerve to talk about “objectification” and similar nonsense.

Fallen Idol (#792)

More allegations of sexual abuse in the porn industry:

Porn actors Leigh Raven and Riley Nixon have released a more than hour-long YouTube video detailing two different incidents of alleged abuse on adult sets.  They say both events took place during shoots with the male performer Rico Strong, and for a director known as Just Dave.  Their accusations include misleading booking practices, excessive face-slapping and choking, and boundary violations.  In Raven’s case, the shoot in question took place earlier in the week of March 6.  Raven says she has filed a police report and undergone a medical evaluation…Nixon’s allegation concerns a shoot that happened in early January; she came forward with her account only in response to Raven’s claims, which were initially aired in a cryptic tweet on [March 8th]…

Lack of Evidence (#805)

Two months.  That’s all it took for San Francisco to figure out a way to harass sex workers that gets around its “policy”:

San Francisco District Attorney [and former police chief] George Gascón is asking new Mayor Mark Farrell to let him install a Human Trafficking Unit in his office, a proposal that gained the support of a key women’s group in the city…“While a 2017 study…found that 58 percent of all defendants in federal human trafficking cases operated as part of an organized criminal group, San Francisco has not identified, investigated or prosecuted any criminal organizations involved in human trafficking,” said Gascón’s proposal.  A trafficking unit would help the D.A.’s office “more effectively identify and prosecute…traffickers, and disrupt criminal organizations that drive trafficking”…

For those who still don’t get it, I present these translations from the Porcish:  “sex trafficking” = “sex work”; “criminal organizations” = “sex workers who know each other in any capacity”; “women’s group” = “authoritarians with vaginas”.

Not So Easy

A stripper lays some inconvenient truths on New Orleans:

Since 2015’s Halloween strip club raids, the count of such clubs in the Vieux Carre in New Orleans has gone from 23 to 14…Adverse zoning, contact and distance laws, discriminatory legislation by age and gender, undercover surveillance and overt police raiding are part of a feedback loop that entrenches itself in the public imagination, spurred on by the concept of “trafficking”…used as a euphemism for “prostitution”…[which] was extrapolated into any gesture or conversation “lewd” enough to be construed as an “ask”. No actual sex acts were documented, no “victims of trafficking” or underage workers were found.  The ATC charged the clubs for women touching their own bodies…[the state has hired] adultbusinesslaw.com …backed by Christian Right activist organizations, this firm’s sole purpose is to eradicate adult businesses…The “secondary negative effects” method has been shown, over and over, to be rife with un-empirical data and unethical ways of collecting it, yet it continues to re-emerge…Bergthold’s cases, when they reach federal court, are routinely thrown out for violating the First (and often the Fifth and Fourteenth) amendment.  Meanwhile, his targets are buckling under the time and money involved in defending against his bottomlessly funded attacks…

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When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.  –  Maya Angelou

Prohibitionists like to call themselves “abolitionists”, a racist and self-aggrandizing reference to those who worked to abolish slavery.  And while I won’t give them that dignity, let’s look at the word for a moment:  they want to be known as people who want to “abolish” something.  They like to pretend that “something” is a form of “slavery”, but nobody but the most stupid, ignorant or delusional actually believes that sex work is a form of slavery; they themselves don’t even believe it, as revealed in some of their own internal documents: “Framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support and to stimulate stronger opposition.”  That’s from Swanee Hunt’s organization, the same organization that pays off cops & DA offices in a dozen large cities to mouth Hunt’s anti-client rhetoric while conducting operations that target both clients and sex workers.  Lauren Hersh, mouthpiece for prohibitionist group Equality Now, is a former prosecutor forced to resign in disgrace when she was caught railroading two innocent black men for rape; do you think her tactics for attacking sex work are any more honest?  As attorney general of California, Kamala Harris actually argued that her state needed to keep people in prison to use them as slaves; in October 2016 she committed the blatantly criminal act of arresting publishers on false charges, though she had previously admitted in a letter to the US Congress that she knew she had no authority to do so, and that the men had committed no crime under US law.  In hearings for the Swedish model in both Canada and Northern Ireland, several politicians admitted on the record that they knew the laws would harm sex workers, and they were fine with that; the Swedish government’s own report on their eponymous “model” stated quite clearly that “negative effects of the [sex purchase] ban…must be viewed as positive from the perspective that the purpose of the law is…to combat prostitution“…in other words, “it’s a good thing that those dirty whores are dying, because omelettes and eggs and all.”

Over and over and over again, we can see that soi-disant “abolitionists” are perfectly willing to lie; to consign innocent people to the brutality of arrest, prison and even actual slavery; to break both laws and their own solemn oaths; and to sign the death warrants of women they profess to want to “save”…all in the name of “abolishing” consensual adult sex that they willfully, intentionally and knowingly misrepresent as something evil because they either dislike it or recognize it as an easy path to vengeance or political power.

These people have shown you who they are, quite clearly; do you believe them?

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Now is the moment for celebrities to give up the fantasy of saving “Jane Doe” and do the hard work of seeing and listening to people in the sex trades as fully formed, complex individuals who have actual names.  –  Alana Massey

Here We Go Again 

Here’s an interesting biography of Anthony Comstock, the deeply-deranged, self-loathing pervert behind the previous American crusade against “obscenity” and “pornography”.  Given that we’re currently deeply immersed in a very similar crusade (though driven this time by many pathological prudes rather than one), this two-year-old article might offer some insights which could prove useful…though I think it’s fascinating how moderns writing about such things (another example is “white slavery” hysteria) in smug or condemnatory tones never seem able to connect the Victorian campaigns to their modern counterparts.

Wise Investment 

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

SWARM and ECP congratulate the three [UK] women who last week won in court the right not to reveal their criminal convictions for prostitution to prospective employers.  The women have multiple convictions for soliciting or loitering under the Street Offences Act, and their records will be amended to filter out these convictions…ECP and SWARM …[insist] that criminal records for prostitution should be fully expunged.  Under [this] court ruling the police will still have access to the information that someone has been convicted for soliciting…

Wise Investment (#428)

Evil laws and policies cause tremendous harm; here’s what happens when they’re repealed:

Increasing understanding of the mistakes of the past—and the violent impacts of taking action based on moral or ideological assumptions about sex workers and their lives—has changed the way sex work is viewed and monitored in Vancouver…police created a sex work enforcement guidelines policy, which clearly stated that adult consensual sex work would no longer be a priority…The City of Vancouver also adopted a policy of non-enforcement through their sex work response guidelines, which states explicitly that sex work is not a bylaw violation…The net result…has been de facto decriminalization of sex work in the city of Vancouver…Not only are crimes against sex workers being reported more often…but…there have been no murders of sex workers in Vancouver since 2009…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Though the silly notion that ejaculation saps a man’s vitality is a very old one, the even sillier “porn as abuse” belief is of recent vintage:

The [manager of the] Kansas City Royals [forced players to attend] a [propaganda session] for minor-league players…[organized by] anti-porn group “Fight the New Drug“…[which pretends] it is not religiously affiliated…general manager Dayton Moore is [obsessed with] the issue, and [though] the [supposed] goal is for players to be zeroed in on their performance for games…Moore [has in the past vomited out a lot of nonsense to reporters such as]…“pornography…what that does to the minds of players and the distractions, and how that leads to…abuse of women”…

The notion that healthy, physically-active young men can simply be ordered to be asexual was first imposed on the military by politicians, but now appears to be spreading.

Agony Aunt (#666) 

“Dear Prudence” gives good advice to a gay man whose lover has a sugar mama:

You don’t seem to have much of an issue with the arrangement qua arrangement if you’ve met her several times, enjoyed her company, and taken money from her yourself.  Your jealousy isn’t centered around the connection your boyfriend shares with his patron; it’s that his job requires significant emotional and romantic output on his part, and you want to make some space in your relationship where the two of you connect on a romantic rather than a merely domestic level…it’s very much worth talking about, especially if you make it clear that you’re not trying to discourage him from continuing with his patronage and that you support his work…

Pyrrhic Victory (#691) 

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

After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years.  The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants…The relationship potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.  The documents…show that Best Buy officials have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years…Geek Squad employees were financially rewarded for finding child pornography.  Such a bounty would likely encourage Geek Squad employees to actively sweep for suspicious content…

Elephant in the Parlor (#815)  

Powerful men never learn that whores aren’t afraid of them:

…Trump’s lawyer is trying to silence adult-film star Stormy Daniels, obtaining a secret restraining order in a private arbitration proceeding and warning that she will face penalties if she publicly discusses a relationship with the president…The new pressure on Daniels…comes a day after she filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles court alleging that a nondisclosure agreement she made to keep quiet about an “intimate” relationship with Trump is invalid because he never signed it…[the] lawsuit says that Trump attorney Michael Cohen — who brokered the agreement…during the presidential campaign — attempted to “intimidate” [Daniels] and “shut her up” by initiating what it calls a “bogus arbitration proceeding” against her in Los Angeles on Feb. 27…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Teen Vogue and now Allure…it’s so heartening to see so many women’s fashion & beauty magazines recognizing that they owe their very existence to whores, and speaking up:

…FOSTA…[and] SESTA …target websites…that enable people in the sex trades to do their work safely and independently…[in a celeb-heavy PSA with Seth Meyers, Amy Schumer, and others] Schumer calls [Section 230] a “stupid loophole” [in the Communications  Decency Act]…Both those in the sex trade and those with any understanding of free online expression consider this so-called “stupid loophole” a “core pillar of Internet freedom” and the “most important law in Internet history.” The bills that would alter it have been roundly condemned by advocates for trafficking victims and survivors of trafficking, as well as by those willingly in the industry who would be at greater risk for exploitation in the absence of online platforms that allow them to share information…the PSA [is]…based [on]…the premise…that right this second and in your own hometown, it is totally possible to go online and buy a child for sexual slavery — that it’s “as easy as ordering a pizza,” according to Schumer.  I put this claim to the test…via a set of searches on Backpage that have likely landed me on an FBI watch list.  Not one lousy “kid”, “minor”, “teen”, or “child” was available for purchase.  Meanwhile, Domino’s is at my house within 21 minutes of me placing an order…It is almost as if perpetrators of human trafficking aren’t really all that likely to advertise using photos of shackled minors…

Morality Lessons (#819) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

Rhode Island has joined a host of other states in considering an irrational measure to regulate online porn by charging consumers a $20 access fee.  But the Rhode Island bill actually beats others like it in terrible and unconstitutional requirements…the Rhode Island bill wouldn’t just block overtly sexual content but anything deemed “patently offensive,” too–even though there’s no clear definition of this term…It would also require devices to automatically block “any hub that facilitates prostitution”—again, not a legal or well-defined category of content…device makers would also have to “ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible” on their products…If it were that easy to stop the spread of child porn, companies would be doing it already…

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If the benefits, and responsibilities, of adulthood keep getting deferred, is it any wonder kids have a hard time growing up?  –  Karol Markowicz

Dysphemisms Galore 

In normal adult language, they ran an ordinary escort service like I did:

A [San Francisco Bay area] woman who is accused of running a 150-woman prostitution ring with her son is also a prolific author of feminist erotica…Fay Ruth Romesburg, is accused of working with her son David Scott Romesburg…to lure women into sex work and then arranging appointments for them at three properties…Romesburg said she is “deeply concerned with female sexual empowerment” and referred to laws against sex work as a “continued assault on women’s rights…We need to stop treating these women as victims,” she said of sex workers…”They are highly intelligent and educated”…

Still a Child 

It’s a pity so few Americans can see this:

…for a long time, 18 meant the start of official adulthood in America…suggestions of raising the age for gun purchases came during the same week that the…forceful outpouring of civic engagement by Stoneman Douglas High School students led commentators to argue that the voting age should be lowered to 16…We send mixed messages about when adulthood begins and what will be expected once it arrives…Allan Metcalf notes that “until the teen age was invented, that was the goal of children: to become adult as soon as possible, to escape the limitations of childhood.”  But somewhere along the way, we came up with this middle ground and, to our detriment, this middle ground is [pretended to be] the brightest, happiest time…Then 18 rolls around…An 18-year-old can vote or join the military but not buy beer or, in some states like New York, cigarettes…On the other hand: When they commit a crime, we try juveniles as young as 13 as adults even though we know their cognitive abilities aren’t mature…a Pew Research study last year found that kids are living at home longer than ever before.  They can stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26…

If Men Were Angels 

A secondary evil made possible by drug prohibition:

Christopher Bathum managed to build an empire in California’s lucrative addiction treatment industry despite the fact that he held no license in drug counseling and no college degree.  The self-described “Rehab Mogul” founded…a chain of about 20 facilities in Southern California and Colorado…Bathum presented himself as a trusted confidant and mentor to his patients – particularly to young, broken women wrestling with addiction.  He made numerous, vulnerable young women feel special, showering them with “internships” and access to company cars and iPhones…But he also used their weaknesses…to lure the women with drugs, get them high, and then sexually assault them…Bathum was convicted of sexually assaulting seven women…and…now faces up to 65 years in state prison when he is sentenced in April…

Above the Law (#615)

25 years would be satisfactory, if it were given to every single rapist cop:

Two Los Angeles [cops] pleaded no contest…to [raping] multiple women, often preying on victims while one partner served as the lookout as the other carried out an attack in their unmarked police car…[rapist pigs] Luis Valenzuela and James C. Nichols entered their no-contest pleas to two counts each of forcible rape and two counts each of…oral [rape]. The [rapists] appeared in court in orange, jail-issued jumpsuits and were shackled at the waist…The judge also ordered the [rapist pigs] to register as sex offenders…

The Prudish Giant (#703) 

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

…The latest work deemed “pornographic” is the 30,000 year-old nude statue famously known as the Venus of Willendorf…An image of the work posted on Facebook by Laura Ghianda…was removed as inappropriate content despite four attempts to appeal the decision…A case on Facebook’s censorship of art was heard in a Paris court earlier this month.  Frédéric Durand-Baïssas, a French teacher, has been trying to sue the social media giant since 2011 for closing his account after he posted a photograph of Gustave Courbet’s 1866 painting L’Origine du Monde…Despite Facebook changing its policy on nudity to allow “photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”, instances of art censorship persist…

Guinea Pigs (#719) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers, and gave California cops a facial recognition database of black and Latino men:

According to Ronal Serpas, the [former NOPD] chief…one of the tools used by the New Orleans Police Department to identify members of gangs like 3NG and the 39ers came from the Silicon Valley company Palantir.  The company provided software to a secretive NOPD program that traced people’s ties to other gang members, outlined criminal histories, analyzed social media, and predicted the likelihood that individuals would commit violence or become a victim…[trials using the data as evidence] made no mention of the NOPD’s partnership with Palantir…[which] began in 2012…Palantir Technologies…[was] founded with seed money from the CIA…

Absolute Corruption (#758)

Readers who are still around in 2040 can expect a series of exonerations of victims of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

A judge has dismissed charges against two men who were convicted in the death of a woman as part of a “Satanic ritual” more than 25 years ago…Judge Bruce Butler dismissed the charges against Jeffrey Clark and Keith Hardin…[who] were convicted of killing Rhonda Warford in 1992 as part of a Satanic ritual, and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.  New DNA evidence and accusations that [pigs maliciously and intentionally] framed the pair led the Kentucky Supreme Court to vacate the convictions.  After special prosecutor Jon Heck chose not to pursue a new trial, this was the final step…

The Mote and the Beam (#798)

Authoritarianism is its own reason for existence:

…the House voted both on Rep. Mimi Walters’ bad amendment to attach SESTA to FOSTA, and then on the combined bill — and both sailed through Congress…even though the Justice Department weighed in with a last minute letter saying that the language in the combined SESTA/FOSTA is so poorly drafted that it would actually make it more difficult to prosecute sex traffickers, and also calling into question whether or not the bill was even Constitutional…the combined (terrible) bill sailed through the whole House 388 to 25.  Kudos to the 25 Representatives who actually understand how CDA 230 works and why this bill is so bad, but it’s depressing to think that it was just 25…

Decentralization (#813) 

I’ll start accepting bitcoin for donations (not services) as soon as someone shows me how to exchange it freely for stuff I actually need:

An adult entertainment venue in Las Vegas will enable its dancers to get payments from clients directly via bitcoin transfers.  The use of the cryptocurrency is primarily used as a privacy-enhancing measure as well as an attraction for affluent bitcoin investors.  Vistors to the Legends Room can use the…bitcoin ATM to buy cryptocurrency at the club.  The dancers can choose to wear temporary QR tattoos as wallet addresses that can be scanned on a smartphone.  Besides the privacy concerns of the patrons, the use of bitcoin allows the dancers to avoid explaining to banks where they get large amounts of cash…

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[Laura Lee] put herself on the line in a way few have the guts to do.  –  Brooke Magnanti


An interesting look at brothel archaeology in Australia:

Sex work was one of the major ways poor women could earn a reasonable income in the 19th century.  Especially unmarried women with babies.  But we don’t hear people say “my great-great-grandmother was a sex worker”…Social stigma belies the importance of prostitution in providing an independent living, and even property ownership, for numerous women in this period…the Little Lon district in Melbourne CBD’s north-east corner…has been extensively excavated by a series of archaeological projects over the last 30 years, and our recent intensive research on the artefacts recovered (held at Museum Victoria and Heritage Victoria) is revealing much more about the brothels and the women who owned them that had disappeared from memory…

Whore Madonnas 

While mainstream media mindlessly parrots “sex trafficking” propaganda, the alternative press is listening to sex workers:

…Liz Afton works as a counselor at the Sex Workers Project…which provides legal and social services to people involved in sex work…“Mothers…who are involved in sex work often have it used against them to separate them from their child,” Afton says.  Atossa Movahedi, director of legal services and development at the UJC’s domestic violence project, says…“More often than not…the opposing party had knowledge of, or even was involved directly, in the client’s participation in the sex work, and is now using it as a tool to exploit them in the court system.”  When dealing with custody disputes, courts [supposedly] first look at a parent’s ability to provide a loving and stable home.  Financial status, mental health, drug use and domestic violence all fall under consideration.  Though many mothers involved in sex work pass inspection in these areas, they’re left with the fact that the job is usually illegal—and in the eyes of some on the bench, immoral…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Liz Brown is becoming our most powerful voice against sex hysteria:

Evidence-free freakouts over erotica are a time-honored tradition…history is littered with authoritarians of all stripes convinced that censoring sexual imagery was a necessary social good.  And with each iteration, what porn prohibitionists lack in actual facts to support their doomy view they make up for with warnings that this time it’s different — that whatever new medium exists for producing or distributing porn is uniquely dangerous to the youth and degrading to good women.  For decades now, this supposed difference has been chalked up to the proliferation of online pornography…there’s no evidence that internet porn has been destroying millennials — some of whom now have two decades of…data to offer…all the available evidence shows…teens today are starting sex later, and more likely than previous generations to use condoms when they do.  Teen pregnancy rates are at their lowest levels in decades…In addition, there’s now a huge body of research showing that…it’s “time to discard the hypothesis that pornography contributes to increased sexual assault behavior”…sexually well-adjusted adults “reported more experience with pornography as teenagers” than their maladjusted counterparts…

Finding What Isn’t There

Too bad all prohibitionism isn’t focused on harassing women who don’t exist:

Lake of the Woods boasts 15,000 islands and more than 100,000 kilometres of shoreline — more coast than Lake Superior…the [area]…near the Manitoba border sees its population double in the summer months.  When [masturbatory fantasies] of women and girls being forced into the sex trade on Lake of the Woods arose at a 2013 human trafficking conference in Kenora, even local social service workers were shocked…“Dock girls,” as they came to be known…are [fantasized] to be overwhelmingly Indigenous [minors who]…are [fantasized] to be transported…from…northwestern Ontario and Manitoba as part of a human trafficking circuit…only…one social service worker [in the area claims]…they’ve come face-to-face with a “dock girl”…[yet]…Kenora will receive $504,000 over three years to [indoctrinate] frontline hospitality workers…[in the usual anti-whore propaganda]…there is so little hard evidence for the “dock girl” phenomenon that it raises questions about whether the problem exists at all.  And if it doesn’t, critics say, wouldn’t the government’s funding…be better spent elsewhere?…

Policing for Profit

Cops are starting to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

In Alabama…two [politicians] introduced legislation that would require that prosecutors actually convict people of crimes in order to keep their stuff.  It would put the burden on the state to prove that the property they want to seize is connected to a crime…It would move the proceeds of forfeiture to the state’s general fund to eliminate the profit incentive for police and prosecutors to try to seize whatever they could get their hands on.  And it would close a loophole that would forbid local law enforcement agencies from bypassing restrictions by participating in the federal “equitable sharing” Department of Justice forfeiture program…the head of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association and the Alabama Sheriffs Association teamed up with an op-ed that urges against reforms to asset forfeiture…Brian McVeigh and Dave Sutton warn that requiring successful prosecutions will lead to them filing more charges against people…When you find yourself threatening to find more reasons to put even more citizens in jail in order to protect your revenue stream, it’s maybe time to…think about what you’re doing…

Torture Chamber 

Stop faking!

Women imprisoned at California’s Santa Rita Jail say they’re being [caged] in filthy conditions, denied basic hygiene products, pressured to have abortions, subjected to incessant strip searches, and forced to endure many other manners of cruel and inhumane treatment from guards and staff…In a new federal lawsuit, they’re asking a federal judge to intervene on behalf of them and future female prisoners, particularly those who are pregnant…The jailhouse horror stories…provide an invaluable glimpse at the…systemic degradation…such institutions foster…female inmates face the standard abuses inflicted on male prisoners as well as those unique to their sex, from being forced to “free bleed” during their periods if they can’t afford to buy tampons to facing higher levels of sexual assault and coercion from guards and staff…pregnant prisoners [are] denied proper nutrition and prenatal care and, in some places, forced to give birth in shackles.  At Santa Rita…one inmate was…left alone in solitary confinement to give birth…”She was banging on her metal door…[the screws] closed the slider-window…so she could not see out, and no one could see in…Only after we could hear the crying of the baby did the deputies finally go over and open her door”…

Opting Out (#401)

This is no surprise to those of us who have actually studied the effects and history of censorship:

Sky UK has been called out for blocking a…website that its algorithms deem as “pornographic”…as part of the Digital Economy Act 2010…Sky UK have blocked gay-teen advice website gayteenresources.org…an important resource for teenagers exploring their sexuality and for those that may be struggling…blocked.org.uk, which lists sites that cannot be accessed, reveals that O2, EE and Three have also automatically filtered the site from their mobile networks…

“Filtered” is a euphemism for “censored”, and this will continue until the media acknowledge that.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#792) 

At least universities in Washington state aren’t generally used to spread “sex trafficking” propaganda, unlike those in Arizona and Texas:

The “Artifacts of Human Trafficking” exhibit is designed to [facilitate masturbation] to [the fantasy of] human trafficking in Texas…there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in the state…From Feb. 12 to March 16, the School of Social Work will host the art exhibit, created by Austin artist Amie Stone King…illustrat[ing] themes of isolation, captivity and desperation…Prominent in the center of the exhibit is a “seclusion room.”  Attendees are invited to enter the small space and [masturbate in private while fantasizing about pubescent girls in]…a life of captivity…

The Public Eye (#797)

Though Rolling Stone is far too timid to write honestly about escorts, it’s good to see a sex work-positive article in it at all:

At…the 35th Annual Adult Entertainment Expo and Adult Video News Awards…plenty of big names were in attendance – stars who had led more traditional adult-film careers – but they were outnumbered by scores of up-and-coming models who primarily built their own businesses using cam shows, original clip stores and monetized social-media platforms.  The mass availability of easily pirated streaming video may have decimated the porn economy, but it seems that women are the ones adapting, finding fresh ways to connect directly with consumers.  As these models gain more economic influence, they are also raising the bar for consent conversations throughout the industry…

Tit For Tat

One day, our culture will grow up enough that this won’t be noteworthy:

Eva Sless…is a sex columnist, a sex educator and a sex worker  who…[is] married.  Sless’ husband, Justin…is completely supportive of her work, though they’re both aware it’s an unconventional life.  “I know we are a rare couple.  Our life and marriage is built on a foundation of strong friendship, trust, love, and respect…I don’t know if the life we live is for everyone, but it works for us. I love our world.”  Below, they tell us more about Sless’ work, how it affects their marriage and what Justin thinks of his wife’s clients…

Elephant in the Parlor (#806)  

This ought to be interesting:

Stormy Daniels, the porn star whom Donald Trump’s attorney acknowledges paying $130,000 just before Election Day, believes she is now free to discuss a…sexual encounter with the man who is now president…At the same time, developments…are fueling questions about whether such a payment could violate federal campaign finance laws.  Daniels…believes that Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, invalidated a non-disclosure agreement after two news stories were published [early last week]…one in which Cohen told The New York Times he made the six-figure payment with his personal funds, and another in the Daily Beast, which reported that Cohen was shopping a book proposal that would touch on Daniels’ story, said the manager, Gina Rodriguez.  “Everything is off now, and Stormy is going to tell her story,” Rodriguez said…

Watershed (#809)

When stuffy Time publishes an article who only major nod to prohibitionism is to quote dried-up dinosaur Gloria Steinem vomiting up her “body invasion” nonsense, you know things are changing:

Like millions of others, Melony Hill took to social media last fall to say “me too”…But rather than receiving an outpouring of support, Hill said she’s gotten messages saying that she deserved to be sexually assaulted — because she has worked in the sex industry for 20 years…“They’ll say we’re just whores anyway — ‘How can you sexually assault a whore?’ I’ve had that said to me multiple times”…Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence on the job, but have few good options to report it…Some…sex…[workers] told Time that they have posted their #MeToo stories anonymously to avoid potential legal repercussions.  Others said that they don’t want to speak out publicly because they anticipate they’ll be shamed, or not believed because they aren’t “perfect victims”…there’s also the damaging notion that sex workers can’t be sexually assaulted…“Not all women are being supported in the #MeToo movement,” said Cris Sardina…of…Desiree Alliance…“It’s what type of woman”…

R.I.P. Laura Lee

A very nice tribute from The Herald:

She was, in the words of Scots author Kirstin Innes, “a powerhouse, a formidable, vital, hilarious and angry star”…Others described her as a “fierce warrior” for women.  She appeared regularly in the pages of this newspaper fighting the corner of the most marginalised women in society – sex workers.  She was Laura Lee – a brilliantly clever Irish woman who found an adoptive home in Scotland and made the choice to work in the sex industry.  Last week, she died aged just 39…

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A federal war on porn would be just as winnable as the federal wars on drugs and alcohol—in other words, not winnable at all.  –  Peter Suderman

The Punitive Mindset 

Only in the US could a fucking screw expect sympathy for having to endure the aberrant behavior of human beings she helped keep locked up in cages:

I…don’t watch porn because I’ve seen more men masturbate than I can count.  One of my first jobs out of college was working as a [fucking screw] at a county jail in the South.  Even after getting an Ivy League degree at the University of Pennsylvania, I had to take the work I could find that was related to my field: criminology.  And only one facility called me back…it got so bad that I whenever I saw an inmate masturbating, I would look away or pretend not to see it so I didn’t have to do all the paperwork.  Besides, I soon realized that for…men [locked up in cages and deprived of all normal human contact]…the punishment they would get…was no deterrent…Four years ago, I left the jail to go to grad school.  But this stays with me: I was a female [screw]…who had to figure out how to do my job while inmates masturbated to my presence, my voice, even my scent…And there is nothing at all that will help me forget it…

Waah, waah, waah.  People who make their living off of human misery deserve everything they get.  I’m glad she’ll never forget it; maybe she’ll think twice before taking another job keeping human beings in conditions that wouldn’t even be humane for chickens.

Elephant in the Parlor 

I can’t even begin to guess how much taxpayer money ended up in my bank account:

A Utah lawmaker who voted for tougher penalties for prostitution has resigned amid allegations that he used taxpayer dough to pay for hotel rooms to hook up with an online escort…Brie Taylor [said]…Jon Stanard paid her $250 for sex twice at the Fairfield Inn in Salt Lake City…Stanard…was reimbursed for two hotel stays while he was attending legislative meetings at the state capital…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

“Sex addiction” is still being used to excuse bad behavior:

Mesa police have arrested a 50-year-old man accused of exposing himself on at least three occasions, dating back to February of 2017.  Erik Gerard Becker…allegedly exposed himself and [masturbated]…at least three times…to a 12-year-old girl in one of the instances…Becker is the Chief Financial Officer for Catholic Charities in Arizona…[and] has a history of public sexual indecency and indecent exposure charges…all the way back to 2012…Becker told police he had a lifetime problem with sex addiction and advised he was still in therapy…

Standard Operating Procedure

One day, amateurs will realize that “visitors to a country do business with locals” is neither “misconduct” nor even news:

Oxfam, one of Britain’s largest charities, acknowledged…that staff members committed “sexual misconduct” in Haiti in 2011, after a news report revealed that senior officials there had hired prostitutes, including for sex parties.  Oxfam fired four people and allowed three others to resign after an investigation, which also found that drivers were sometimes ordered to pick up prostitutes and that orgies were held at houses near Port-au-Prince that were used by the organization’s staff…

The Notorious Badge (#513) 

50 shades of clusterfuck:

Fifty Shades Freed is about as arousing as staring at a mildewed patch of wallpaper.  This is the third film to be adapted from EL James’ trilogy of zillion-selling “mommy porn” S&M bonkbusters, and its protagonists are two attractive young lovers who can’t keep their hands off each other, so it should be a turn-on, if nothing else.  And yet Fifty Shades Freed is so unarousing that it could be used as therapy in a sex addiction clinic…

The Puritan Recrudescence

On the absurdity of currently-fashionable calls to ban porn:

Imagine…what it would take to successfully ban pornography in the United States…you would need to stop the production of porn by business enterprises…Next, you would need to find a way to stop a slew of high profile, incredibly lucrative websites from posting, hosting, or otherwise distributing explicit material.  After you cracked down on the pros, you would need to go after amateurs by finding some way to stop tens of millions of iPhone-wielding Americans from making home movies…and distributing them anonymously online…you would also need to enforce criminal penalties against former professionals who continued to produce porn for the black market.  And you’d need to penalize thrill-seeking amateurs as well, which would mean going after, and perhaps locking up, a wide array of sympathetic and otherwise law-abiding individuals from all walks of life whose only crime was to record and distribute consensual sexual activity.  You’d also need to punish illicit viewers, whose numbers could easily reach into the tens of millions…Many of the most popular domestic hubs for porn would probably move to protected locations overseas…

The End of the Beginning (#703)

Another step toward eliminating arbitrary state oppression of “sex offenders”:

California must consider earlier parole for potentially thousands of sex offenders, maybe even those convicted of pimping children…Judge Allen Sumner…ordered prison officials to rewrite part of the regulations for Proposition 57.  The 2016 ballot measure allows consideration of earlier parole for most state prison inmates, but Gov. Jerry Brown promised voters all sex offenders would be excluded.  That goes too far, Sumner said…”If the voters had intended to exclude all registered sex offenders from early parole consideration…they presumably would have said so”…He said the scope of exclusions should be narrowed to only those now serving time for a violent sex offense…those who already served their time for a sex crime…and now are imprisoned for a different crime should be eligible for early release…Janice Bellucci…argued the measure requires earlier parole consideration for any sex crime not on the state’s narrow list of 23 violent felonies, which includes murder, kidnapping and forcible rape…

Reminder: “pimping children” usually means something like “a teen sex worker talking to her slightly younger friend.”

Stalkers in Blue 

When cops want to make life miserable for someone, it’s easy to do so without even assaulting them:

Ashley Diamond…sued the Georgia Department of Corrections in 2015 after suffering repeated sexual assaults in prison…After [filing the suit, she]…was routinely targeted by police officers in Rome, the Georgia town to which she would be confined as a condition of her parole…[she was] subject[ed]…to frequent random stops—as many as four times in a single day…Rhys Harper…an activist and filmmaker…[was] interviewing Diamond during the time of the…harassment…Nearly every time the two met to record a segment for his documentary, Diamond would get pulled over.  He says he “lost count” of how many times it happened….she was stopped 19 times in a single year…At the same time…a local Ku Klux Klan chapter…launched a full-fledged campaign targeting Diamond…When [she] didn’t come home to a torrent of white one-sheets in her yard, she would find feces smeared on her door or a noose hung in the entryway…Diamond requested her parole be moved to Atlanta…But her parole officer…wouldn’t allow the transfer…[even though its a common practice]…

Lest you think of this as two separate things, remember that in some rural areas the membership rolls of the police department and KKK are virtually identical.

Pyrrhic Victory (#805)

Expect this to spread to the US within just a few years:

Police in China have started wearing sunglasses outfitted with facial recognition technology to spot suspected criminals.  The sunglasses, which were designed to spot people in large crowds, are connected to a handheld device that scans an internal database…seven suspects — wanted for crimes ranging from hit-and-runs to sex trafficking — have already been arrested using the new technology.  Police have also caught 26 people with fake IDs…all…at the train stain in Zhengzhou…

To Molest and Rape (#806) 

It’s good to see this not only getting attention, but being called what is is:

Vaguely written statutes in many states…permit [cops] to escape sexual assault charges by claiming that the victims consented…The New York State Assembly last week passed legislation to close that odious loophole — and the State Senate, which is considering the same bill, needs to swiftly follow suit.  States across the country that [are] letting [cops] get away with rape need to revisit their statutes as well…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#811)

It’s good to see that somebody gets it:

While prostitution is a legal grey area in Hong Kong and has long been a distinctive part of the city’s nightlife, the laws…[make] them more vulnerable to abuse, sexual violence and robbery…“Since the current law prohibits them from hiring a bodyguard or someone like a helper or cleaner, they must face any dangerous situations alone,” said Cherry Chui of Action for Reach Out (AFRO), the first non-profit organisation established locally in support of sex workers’ rights…The restrictions effectively leave sex workers forced to work alone in one-woman brothels more powerless and vulnerable, especially those who are migrants and do not possess a Hong Kong identity card…

Checklist (#812) 

I’m not sure what, if anything, to make of this:

…the Junior League of Salt Lake City…is working hard to [harass sex workers and migrants using the excuse of]…human trafficking…They approached the airport about buying ad space to show travelers how to [spy on others looking for bogus] signs that someone may be being trafficked like refusing to make eye contact [or] looking disheveled…the airport told them…advertising space is reserved exclusively for people looking to sell a product.  They don’t allow [propaganda] campaigns…[because] airport…policy is to avoid controversy and err on the side of not offending anybody…the airport has decided it will run its own [propaganda] campaign…

Whither Canada? (#813)

Good news for the defendants, but the actual challenge to the law is just starting:

Human trafficking charges were dropped [last] Wednesday against the owners of a London [Ontario] escort agency whose case is testing the constitutionality of Canada’s prostitution laws.  Hamad Anwar and Tiffany Harvey were charged in November 2015 with more than two dozen charges each after their business, Fantasy World Escorts, was shut down by…police…[state] lawyers agreed to withdraw most of those charges, leaving only the ones that deal with procuring, advertising and materially benefiting from someone else’s sexual services…Those three offences are relatively new, brought in under Canada’s 2014 prostitution law, Bill C-36, which criminalize the buying of sex…Led by Toronto lawyer James Lockyer, the defence has put forward a motion to argue the constitutionality of those charges, saying it violates sex workers’ right to the security of person…

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