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Posts Tagged ‘California’

Sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such.  –  Anja Derungs

Acting and Activism 

Not an article you’d see in the US:

…Celebrities…[such as] Ashton Kutcher, Ricky Martin, Demi Moore, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Emma Thompson have all been extensively involved in [so-called] anti-trafficking campaigns…Recently, comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Meyers starred in a [propaganda video] in support of…new [censorship] legislation in the US to curtail sex work in the name of preventing sex trafficking…Celebrities…bridge the gap between brand and cause ambassador, between hawker and humanitarian.  A clear example of this is Demi Moore’s partnership in 2011 with a jewellery retailer to sell diamond handcuff pendants, with some of the profits going to support the anti-[sex work] foundation established by Moore and her husband at the time, Ashton Kutcher…the presence of movie and television stars at the forefront of awareness campaigns can fuel the expectation that real trafficking victims are just like those we see on television or the big screen…sex slavery…is a popular storyline in entertainment mediaTaken…was a smash hit…spawning two sequels and a television show…Stories of sex trafficking have featured in other movies like The Whistleblower and Trade, and numerous television shows including Criminal Minds, CSIHawaii Five-O, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS: Los Angeles, Without a Trace, and The Wire.  The broad reach of movies and TV means that we are more likely to hear about human trafficking in a fictional context…The lines between entertainment, infotainment and information become blurred, especially when we are told…stories of trafficking by the very people who might play the heroes on screen...

Saving Them From Themselves

Dr. David Ley can always be counted on to speak good sense:

…prosecution of teen sexting suffers from the same disparities as much of our legal system: teens who are Black [or LGBT] may be more likely to face prosecution…Males are more frequently charged than females, even in cases involving mutual sharing of pictures…it is mostly the US that is having this teen sexting panic.  Countries in which social nudity is common and accepted don’t seem to be reacting quite as punitively to these phenomena…Amy Hasinoff, author of Sexting Panic, argues strongly that…child pornography laws need to be updated to be more consistent with age of sexual consent laws:  If you can have sex at age 15 or 16, then you should be able to take or share a naked or sexual image (of yourself) as well.  But she also says that we need to take a better educational approach with teens, teaching them about healthy sexuality and relationships and giving them support and guidance on how to sext safely, not trying to stop them sexting altogether.  In other words, we need to start practicing harm reduction strategies…

Gorged With Meaning

Cracked has fewer pro-sex work articles than it once did, but this one’s excellent:

…”Being alone with a man is being alone with a man,” says Fancy, “and they don’t see a difference between a sugar baby and an escort.  In fact, because it’s the first area of sex work many people start with, the risk is higher because the expectation of screening isn’t really there”…Despite sugar sites’ insistence that “entering the sugar bowl” is all about forming lasting romantic bonds of convenience, the turnover rate for arrangements is high — about two months on average, in Fancy’s experience…Both of our sources recently made the decision to quit sugar dating.  Julia got a promotion at her day job, while Fancy decided that the profit wasn’t worth it compared to traditional escorting and stripping.  “I found the men on the sugaring sites to largely be cheapskates who want to trick young women who are too scared to escort into providing escort services for a fraction of the cost,” she says. “It’s very manipulative, financially”…higher-end escorts tend to charge at least $2,000 for overnight stays.  In her experience, that amount is at the upper end of the monthly  allowances sugar daddies offer — and for escorts, those overnight stays don’t require the devotion, time, and attention that often accompany a sugar arrangement…”I was taking $300-$600 for overnight (sugar) stays!  All just so I could call myself something other than a whore”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

A…Lethbridge [Alberta] school teacher…Dwayne Schnell…pleaded guilty to charges of making and distributing child pornography…Schnell abused his position of trust by taking pictures of eight students…without their knowledge…a psychiatrist said…Schnell has no concept of the harm caused to the children, parents, or the school where he worked….[and] assertions that he suffers from impulse control and addiction issues were “self-deceptive excuses to justify his behaviour”…Schnell…[claims] he has a pornography addiction…

Uncommon Sense (#545)

How countries with healthy ideas about sex react to the Swedish disease:

A campaign to make prostitution illegal in Switzerland is being met with stiff resistance from human rights group.  The Swiss Aids Federation [and] Amnesty International…are among several advocacy groups rallying against the…[crusade, which] was launched by the Women’s Centre in Zurich…and calls for a Swedish-style ban on prostitution…Anja Derungs, spokesperson for the Zurich Equality Office said that “sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such”…Daniel Seiler…of the Swiss AIDS Federation, said that sex work “is the oldest profession in the world” and would not disappear if a ban was in place.  This approach had not worked it Sweden either, where the trade still exists, he noted…The Women’s Centre in Bern also expressed its opposition to the campaign launched by its counterpart in Zurich…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Shaming clients is an exercise in evil fuckery that just won’t die:

The Catalan town of Gavà wants to stamp out [sex workers]…and snitch on those who [enable sex workers to pay their bills and support their children]…by sending fines to their family addresses…”Up until now, the client used to pay the fine (to police) in cash right there and then so that there was no record of the offence”…[anti-sex] Minister Gemma Badia is quoted as saying…As a result, authorities have decided [cops]…should send the fines to clients’ home addresses…Even if the clients were to insist on paying before the fine was posted, they would still receive a letter informing them, and quite possibly their family members, on the settlement of their prostitution case…

The Monsters Are Due (#742) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

A 92-year-old man…was thrown to the ground [and] stomped on by strangers on the Fourth of July…in…Los Angeles…Rodolfo Rodriguez [is] a native of Mexico and legal U.S. resident…Laquisha Jones, 30, was arrested…[and] booked for assault with a deadly weapon…Rodriguez had gone out alone for his daily walk, [the victim’s grandson, Erik] Mendoza said…While walking, Rodriguez may have bumped into a small girl, witness Misbel Borjas…said…she [then] saw a woman with the girl push Rodriguez and beat him with a brick.  The woman also told Rodriguez to “go back to your country”…Borjas had been driving by, she said, and wanted to stop, but the woman threatened to hit her car with the brick.  Borjas instead called 911 and took a picture of the woman, which she shared with police and put on social media.  Borjas said a group of men then came down the street, and the woman accused Rodriguez of trying to take the child.  That’s when about three of them also began beating him…Rodriguez…suffered two broken ribs and a broken cheekbone…

Cops and Robbers (#823)

No fad spreads faster than a new way to tyrannize innocent people:

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco announced new initiatives to [harass]…sex [workers]…Deputies will utilize intercept bots to track people who use the Internet to search out [adult consensual sex]…The bots will communicate like a [very stupid and robotic] person, exchanging information such as phone numbers and could even set up meeting locations.  [Pigs]…will [creep] in to lock up the buyer and then go after the person in court…

Guys, it’s extremely easy for men to know which ads are real and which are pig swill: women in real ads will have an established online presence.  Just Google the name, email address, phone number, etc; if there are no other hits on an escort site, other ad sites, Twitter, etc, you’re probably looking at a pig trap.

The War Goes On (#831) 

We told you so:

…promoting prostitution…cases, according to [spokespig] John Daggy [of Indianapolis]…have…dried up…[since] the feds closed police’s [easiest site for stings]…Backpage…“We’ve been a little bit blinded lately because they shut Backpage down,” Daggy said…

The melodramatic telling of the arrest of a wannabe “pimp” is especially hilarious.  NB: Every time his name comes up, I remind readers that one of Daggy’s jobs is to make excuses for cops who rape sex workers.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#849) 

It’s fascinating in a train-wreck kind of way to watch the lies spiral out of control:

Fulton County Police Chief Darryl Halbert said 100,000 children become sex trafficking victims in Georgia per year and are mostly runaways between the ages of 12 and 14.  He said the county police department uses surveillance cameras and sting operations to [pretend they’re fighting] the [imaginary] crime…

Yes, that’s a pig oinking that almost 5% of the entire below-18 population of Georgia (something like 30% of the age group mentioned) become “sex slaves” every year.  Even allowing for half “escaping”, that would mean roughly half of the population of Georgia under the age of 30 are now “sex slaves”.  One wonders where they’re all stored, and where the clients to support this massive population all come from.

Welcome To Our World (#853)

Locking pregnant women in cages for “trafficking” themselves.  Had enough yet?

Phnom Penh Municipal Court…charged 33 women with human trafficking after they were detained following a raid on a surrogacy business…last month…[being pregnant in a way politicians don’t like] is illegal and could carry a jail sentence of up to 20 years…Chou Bun Eng, chair of the National Authority Against Human Trafficking, said…“We cannot tell you the place where the women are [locked in cages] because we want to protect their rights and…keep them safe”…

“Keep them safe” and “protect their rights”.  By locking them in cages for 20 years.  For being pregnant.  Feminism!

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I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence.
–  Jude Faccidomo

It Looks Good On Paper

Remember that I’ve been a harsh critic of these do-nothing law for 7 years:

Under Ohio’s safe harbour legislation – and similar laws across all states…[women can] request that criminal charges…accrued while [coerced into prostitution be]…expunged from the public record.  Yet [prohibitionists] across the US are warning that a sudden decision by the Trump administration, effective immediately, to cut all funding for legal representation…means that many other victims will now struggle to get their expungement cases into a courtroom…the American Bar Association, members of Congress, survivors, advocates and law enforcement have called for a reversal of the decision [even though they still support]…deny[ing]…the…legal rights [of sex workers who aren’t poster children for prohibition]…

Far be it from me to say anything good about the orange-utang, but these laws actually help nobody but “perfect victims”; defunding them will change essentially nothing.

With Friends Like These…

If you can’t write a pro-decrim article without saying that you wish whores didn’t exist, don’t write one at all:

…there’s not much that’s more misogynistic than blaming women because they fulfill the needs of men.  It’s all very well to insist that women make this choice because of patriarchy and false consciousness, as some feminists do, and are called “whorephobic” for their pains.  But…feminist theory doesn’t pay the bills.  I’m not pretending that there would be prostitution in my ideal world.  There wouldn’t.  I like neither the idea nor the reality of prostitution.  But I also know that the world isn’t, and can’t be, arranged around what I like…I know as well, or think I know, that “free choice” is merely a concept and that human beings have no more free choice than foxes or dolphins or butterflies.  We have loaded choices, all of them dictated by our upbringing, our finances, our cultural landscape and our genes, in that order…

In my ideal world, hypocritical apologists for feminism like Deborah Orr wouldn’t exist; I like neither the idea nor the reality of them.  But I’m an adult who understands that the concept of an “ideal world” is childish nonsense, and that one whose “ideal world” doesn’t include free choice is a pompous asshat.

See No Evil (#136) 

Seven years in a cage for drawing a fictional character:

Christopher John Czarnik…is serving time on a 2014 plea for the possession and distribution of sexually explicit images of children.  He was then charged again with child porn in prison….[after] guards found a drawing of a young girl engaged in sexual acts with an adult male…Czarnik then showed [screws] more pictures and writings of this own creation.  That was deemed possession and creation of child porn…Czarnik entered a guilty plea with the condition that the legal issue be allowed to be litigated over…”cartoon characters.”  That plea limited the added sentence to seven years…

A Broker in Pillage (#406)

It’s not often a judge rules against cops in favor of a sex worker:

The Miami-Dade Police Department must return nearly $20,000 in cash to a woman after prosecutors admitted that [cops] illegally searched her car and seized several lawfully owned guns…the department will also pay $3,000 in legal fees to Lizmixell Batista, a dancer at the local Cheetah Gentleman’s Club, and her husband, Ras Cates…Batista and Cates were arrested following a traffic stop in May.  [Cops pretended to] smell…marijuana in their car, and a subsequent search turned up six guns, several large bottles of what cops [claimed] to be codeine cough syrup, and nearly $20,000 in cash in Batista’s purse…[cops bragged as though] it [were] a major bust…[but] prosecutors dropped the charges…when body-cam footage showed police didn’t have permission to search the couple’s trunk.  The guns were all legally owned, Cates had a concealed carry license, and no testing had been done on the su[ppos]ed codeine…Batista had explained…why, given her profession, she would be carrying large amounts of cash, but the department initiated a forfeiture case against the money anyway…[pretend]ing it was dope money…

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of “authorities”:

Yan Liu, originally from China and now a resident of New York City, was charged [in Maine] with engaging in prostitution.  No other people were charged in connection with her arrest, including a man and a woman [imagined] by the motel employee as coercing Liu back into the room, or a client [of hers]…Liu, who does not speak English and communicated with police and court officials through an interpreter, posted a $1,000 cash bail and pleaded not guilty to the charge…but she has been unwilling to [tell] her court-appointed attorney, Merritt Heminway [what he wants to hear]…She did, however, tell him she arrived in the United States last September and has applied for asylum…After a June 27 hearing…Liu and the state filed an agreement that if she remains out of trouble for one year, her case will automatically be dismissed.  She was not required to enter a guilty plea…Destie Hohman Sprague…of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, [complained that pigs and politicians did not overrule Liu’s agency]…to protect Lui’s safety…But Liu’s defense attorney criticized the district attorney’s office for prosecuting the case at all, contending Liu is a victim of sex trafficking…He speculated the rational [sic] for applying charges was to convince her to identify leaders of a [fantasized] trafficking ring…[the DA bloviated that] prosecuting such cases is sometimes the only mechanism the court system has of [maintaining surveillance] on people who[se agency it wishes to deny]…The [pompous ignoramus who acts as] prosecutor said nearly all women involved in prostitution have been trafficked at some point in their lives…

Negative Secondary Effects

Welcome to our world, cannabusiness:

Every municipality in San Diego County that limits or bans the sale of marijuana has cited public safety as the justification…[then-police chief] Shelley Zimmerman’s testi[lied] in September 2017…[that] 272 police radio calls for “burglaries, robberies, thefts, assaults and shootings, just to name a few,” at medical marijuana dispensaries over a two-and-a-half-year period [constituted] evidence of the kind of activity such facilities invite on a neighborhood…Zimmerman’s [lies] appeared in a memo written by Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy to the City Council, which decided — against the recommendations of a subcommittee — not to allow retail shops.  Her remarks were also cited by anti-pot activists in Imperial Beach who helped slow down  marijuana regulations there…Diane Goldstein, a retired Redondo Beach police lieutenant, analyzed the records, which were made available on the city’s website in March.  She concluded that the Police Department’s presentation was “sloppy, unprofessional and based on ideology”…The address listed on more than a quarter of those reports were to neighboring business, not a marijuana facility.  Several of the city’s legal dispensaries existed then — as they still do — within shopping malls or office complexes…

To Molest and Rape (#756) 

Rapist cop escapes consequences for his actions by croaking:

Troy Allen Large…died earlier this year…Large, a…sex-crimes investigator, is accused of using his “position of power to [rape]…female victims of violent crime” and then…coercing them into participating in video-recorded, nude catfights…police officials were aware of the accusations…and [did nothing]…

Saving Them From Themselves (#764)

Adult woman magically turns into “child” via the power of a magical camera:

A Cleveland man who testified in defense of his roommate in a child pornography case admitted on the stand to taking sexually explicit pictures of a…girlfriend…Edward Marrero, 27, said…he took the photos in April 2011…[when] she was 17 years old and he was 20…The age of consent in Ohio is 16 years old, but federal law states it is illegal to create, share or possess sexually-explicit images of anyone under the age of 18…He is now charged with producing child pornography.  If convicted, he faces between 15 and 30 years in federal prison…

“Child” pornography.  Of a consenting woman it was legal for him to fuck, who is now 24 years old.  But it’s to “protect the children”!!!!

Checklist (#796)

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

Last year, 276 [phone calls were made from Georgia by hysterics]…to the National Human Trafficking Hotline…Georgia law requires airports, train stations and emergency rooms to post [magic anti-pimp signs] in public restrooms…[spokespig Brian] Johnston [oinked that] Savannah’s highways and interstates…mak[e[ it easier to move people quickly to another city or another state…St. Joseph’s/Candler [hospital forces]…staff to [attend indoctrination sessions on]…the [mythical] signs…[social worker and fabulist Jessy] McMullan said she already knows it works from a friend who works as an ER nurse in Atlanta and had similar training.  “Within two weeks of the training, she identified two child victims that came through the emergency room…They were reunited with their families.  It gives you chills”…

Urban legends are always said to have happened to a “friend of a friend” (FoF); in this case it’s the supposed patient of an unnamed friend.  So where are the links to the news stories where the pigs grunt about these “child sex trafficking victims” they “rescued”?  Because you know that if this had actually happened it would’ve been big news.

Rooted in Racism (#797)

More European government humanitarianism to “fight human trafficking”:

Operation Sophia, the EU naval operation in the Mediterranean…is helping the Libyan coastguard return migrants to rape, slavery, torture and murder in local camps…Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), citing accounts from its staff in Libya, says…when migrants could not pay for their release having been captured by the authorities, some had their genitals cut off…Others said there had been routine rapes at camps to detain migrants.  MSF says that it sends 50 body bags a week to one camp…“Under the pretence of saving lives and disrupting the business model of smugglers and traffickers, the Libyan coastguard are supported and empowered by EU states to intercept people at sea and send them back to the very conditions they were trying to escape”…

Backwards into the Future (#827) 

Another victory for feminism against jobs for women:

The Dutch brewer Heineken is suspending the use of ‘beer girls’ in Mozambique due to allegations of sexual harassment from customers …NRC Handelsblad…published…research by Partner Africa showing that…there were “revealing short skirts” in…Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda.  It has introduced a new code of practice for its third party partners, who employ the women to sell the beer to bars and restaurants in Africa, including safe working practices and “decent uniforms”…NRC [also] claimed…some prostitutes combined beer promotion with their Heineken work, to get more clients for both.  No evidence of links with prostitution was [provided]…But the Amsterdam-based brand was under pressure from other businesses, including the Global Fund international health organisation, which had suspended its partnership with Heineken and urged it to protect women beer promoters from [gainful employment]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#841)

Where “cutting-edge” is used to mean “hopelessly inaccurate”:

The head of London’s Metropolitan Police force has defended the organization’s ongoing trials of automated facial recognition systems, despite legal challenges and criticisms that the technology is “almost entirely inaccurate”…Police commissioner Cressida Dick said…the public “expect[s]” law enforcement to test such cutting-edge systems…The London force is one of several in the UK…deploy[ing the surveillance system] at public events like concerts, festivals, and soccer matches.  Mobile CCTV cameras are used to scan crowds, and tries to match images of faces to mugshots of wanted individuals…According to data released under the UK’s Freedom of Information laws, 98 percent of the “matches” made by the Metropolitan’s AFR system are mistakes…The Met [claims]…that no individuals have [yet] been arrested because of a false match…

Legislators Gone Wild (#847) 

Evil douchebags trying to criminalize Nevada brothels fall on their faces:

Opponents of legalized prostitution in Nye County had been trying to put the issue to voters in a referendum in November. But county officials said Monday the effort had failed to turn in the required 1,963 signatures. The deadline was [June 29th].  The only recourse for proponents of the brothel elimination measure is to get county commissioners to agree to put it on the ballot…Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said the board’s chairman had already indicated he would not bring the item forward…That leaves [prohibitionists] needing at least two other commissioners to call a special meeting…The group had also targeted Lyon County…But the county’s Board of Commissioners decided in June to take a different approach to the issue by placing an advisory question on the ballot in November…ask[ing] voters whether the board should end legalized prostitution in Lyon County…

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Diary #417

As I was eating breakfast Thursday and preparing to head to the airport, there was a knock on my door.  When I opened it, what should I find but a large box containing a brand-new roller-bag in snakeskin print!  The sender only signed themselves “A children’s librarian in Texas”, so thank you, generous benefactor!  Then while I was in LA, I received a pair of snakeskin-print skinny jeans (no sender note in the package) and a copy of Vangelis’ Rosetta and the book The End of Policing, both from Robin Aguilar.  Thank y’all so much!  While at the airport and on the plane I participated in Liara Roux’s Reddit “Ask Me Anything”, which was apparently very successful judging by the number of questions and replies.  But the big news is that on Friday and Saturday I participated in a meeting at the ACLU offices in LA with roughly 30 sex workers, activists, academics, lawyers and other allies; we did some work I think will be considered very important, but I’ll let Cris Sardina announce it in her own time and manner.  We also got some slightly heartening news from ACLU, but again, I’ll wait until they speak up about it before saying anything (and yes, I’m going to keep needling them on Twitter until then).  This picture was taken at the very end; a few people had to leave early, and some didn’t want to be in the picture, but you’ll probably see more than one face you’ll recognize.  So keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of what we created sometime in the next week or so! 

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Thanks in part to my foresight in getting ahead in my writing before I left for the UK, it wasn’t difficult to catch back up when I returned; I’ve made similar (though lesser) preparations for my trip to Los Angeles this weekend (leaving Seattle on Thursday & returning Sunday).  And that’s good news not only for my stress levels, but for my off-blog writing as well; it looks as though I’ll finally be in the right headspace to start compiling The Essential Maggie McNeill, which I’ve been promising y’all for about three years now.  Even better news:  once I get in the swing of doing that work, I should be able to get out about three volumes of that in reasonably-rapid succession.  I’ve also got another story in mind, and I’ll probably write it before the end of the summer.  But back to the short term:  at 10 AM PDT Thursday (17:00 UTC) I’ll be taking part in an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit organized by Liara Roux.  More accurately, the AMA starts at that time; there are over 25 of us participating, so though it’s very unlikely you’ll see me there very early, I’ll try to answer as many questions as I can while at the airport and on the plane to LA, so roughly 4 – 8 PM PDT.  Which reminds me:  my venerable rolly-bag carry-on, which I’ve had since the mid-90s or thereabouts, seems close to giving up the ghost; one of her zippers is now broken and the other lost its pull-tab quite a while back.  So I’ve put a new one I’d like on my Amazon wishlist, along with a lot of other nifty things I’d like; if you’re in a mood to give me a present, there’s your chance!  Amazon arranges the list by order things were put on, so don’t be afraid to scroll down and get me something from further down the list if you’re so inclined.  And anyone who does gets a copy of “Bird of Prey” if they haven’t got one already.

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If you’re a regular reader you’ve probably noticed that I’m fond of metaphors, and I’ve used a number of different ones over the years to describe the way public opinion about sex work has been slowly changing.  I’ve used the cycle of day and night, shifting winds, and crossing a watershed, but today I’m going to return to one I first used almost three years ago, the turn of the tide.  I rather like that image right now because, like the tide, the apparently-sudden shift seems to have surprised those unable to read the signs I’ve been telling you about for quite a while now.  The turning started when Amnesty International announced its support for decriminalization, but most prohibitionists were unable to read that and so encouraged the US government in what is beginning to look like a fatal overstep, the awful FOSTA censorship law which is designed to gut the internet in its haste to force sex workers back into the shadows under the pretense of fighting “sex trafficking”.

I call it an overstep because it’s fairly clear that its proponents had no idea it would not silence sex workers, but rather amplify our voices instead; US sex workers have finally begun to come out in unprecedented numbers to fight for our rights:

…over 300 sex workers and allies gathered…in downtown Oakland for International Whores Day…The rally’s focus on FOSTA shows just how dramatically the legislation has shifted the sex work debate…the rally mobilized hundreds of sex workers—in the past…events like this might have drawn only 15 people.  “People are hungry, people have lost their screening tools,” said Hunter [Leight].  “They’re coming out because they’re desperate, they’re stressed, and they’re under attack”…

in other words, FOSTA has finally made US sex workers aware that we’re being backed into a corner, and that we are at war.  For decades US sex workers, pushed into the shadows by criminalization, have been afraid to mobilize to the same levels as our sisters in the majority of the world, where our work is at least legal (albeit heavily stigmatized and persecuted by cops); these new laws have forced American whores to understand that our enemies will not stop until we’re dead, and that our only alternative is to fight back.  And we’re not alone; the mainstream media are finally beginning to notice us, and it’s no longer politically fatal for politicians to support sex worker rights.  But perhaps one of the most telling signs of how much the tide has turned came last week from Down Under; Australia and New Zealand aren’t all that different from the US culturally, though they stayed with the British Empire instead of breaking away as the US did.  And since they’re more advanced than the mother country in the area of sex worker rights, we got to see this

Named in [New Zealand’s] twice-year allotment of knighthoods…is life-long advocate and founding member of the nation’s prostitutes’ collective, Catherine Healy, who has been made a dame companion for her services to the rights of sex workers…While working as a school teacher in the ’80s, Dame Catherine signed up for a receptionist job at a brothel to earn extra money for travel.  She was the collective’s national coordinator by the end of the decade.  She built the group into an internationally-recognised organisation, becoming the country’s leading voice for sex worker rights, health and education and eventually organised the charge towards decriminalisation of prostitution in 2003…

And this:

Julie Bates laughs at the way she instinctively responded when the emblem of the Crown bobbed up on an email in her inbox a few weeks ago.  “I thought ‘Oh my God, what have I done now?’” It’s been 23 years since the sex industry was decriminalised in NSW, and still,  sometimes, “the only thing you expect first thing in the morning is a knock on the door from the cops…that kind of trauma and instinct still sits with you, no matter how many years ago it was.”  The email, however, bore good news: the 68-year old becomes an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday honours, recognising the work she’s done over decades to champion the rights of sex workers and mobilise the sex industry against the spread of HIV/AIDS…

Naturally, the prohibitionists are furious, but they’re as helpless against this as sea creatures washed up on the beach are to stop the retreating tide.  For US politicians and staid Commonwealth governments to feel comfortable supporting something, that thing must already have considerable public support.  The prohibitionists put all of their hopes into “sex trafficking” hysteria, and as that hysteria dries up – in part due to their own incredible overconfidence and total lack of restraint in inventing absurd numbers and outrageous lies – they’re going to find themselves abandoned in the dirt and slowly dying of neglect as the rest of humanity leaves them behind.

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The moral of this story is don’t call the cops.  –  Janus Cassandra

Another video demonstrating the awesomeness of what segregationists decry as “cultural appropriation”, provided by Emma Evans.  The links above it were contributed by Franklin HarrisJesse Walker (x2), Brooke MagnantiMarc Randazza, and Scott Greenfield (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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It’s easy to see the vast gap between the reality of sex workers’ lives and the bleak fiction peddled by the anti-sex work industry.  –  Lux Alptraum

Against Their Will 

The Indian press just can’t let go of the word “rescue”, even when it’s patently absurd:

Eight sex workers from Thailand, who were rescued from a spa at Bapuji Nagar on May 19, were deported…and were given 48 hours to leave the country…

Gorged With Meaning

Posturing, hair-splitting and moral panic create a strange stew out of normal and age-old behavior:

…”part-time girlfriend” is a euphemism often used by young women in the city who may be studying or have jobs, but who also offer sex on the side.  By using variations of the hashtag #ptgf as shorthand, they connect with men on networks such as Instagram and then switch to direct messaging to offer services and arrange to meet.  Instagram says it has made #ptgf and #hkptgf unsearchable, but a host of new alternatives that add Chinese characters or initials to the original tag circumvent the block…[as usual, busybodies blame a lot of nonsense other than] financial pressures [as] key motivators for young women …Bowie Lam, executive director of Teen’s Key…[claims] the age of “part-time girlfriends” is getting lower…These young women often do not see themselves as sex workers because the…[propaganda has misled them as to what sex work is like]…Hong Kong police said they have taken action against websites, chat rooms and discussion forums to combat illegal prostitution activities.  The act of prostitution in itself is not illegal in Hong Kong…but soliciting is…

Cops and Robbers

Bigots try to cover racism and misogyny by blaming imaginary “gangs” for this:

Prostitutes blamed for robbing and pick-pocketing British tourists in Magaluf, Spain, have been chased off the streets by angry protesters.  Spanish taxi drivers led a [mob]…against the women by recording them with their mobile phones and chanting: “No prostitutes on the streets”…It is claimed that the women have come to Spain via organised crime in Nigeria, and they are blamed by local businesses for a drop in tourist trade…

End Demand (#638)

Swanee Hunt can recycle this propaganda from Seattle because modern “reporters” never fact-check:

Nearly two dozen businesses and institutions joined…a new initiative called Employers Against Sex Trafficking (EAST) to create a coalition of business leaders who have committed to zero-tolerance policies on sex buying…[propaganda invented] by Demand Abolition…showed that nearly 13 percent of calls responding to…decoy ads originated from local businesses, and that the peak time people are searching online to buy sex is during the workday, at 2 p.m.  The…study revealed…more than 9,000 searches for sex-buying opportunities happening in Boston each day and that more than 20,000 ads selling people for sex are posted online every month, with each ad receiving an average of 52 responses.  Many sex buyers have said they buy illegal sex while traveling for business…

If you don’t recognize businesses “partnering” with government to infringe on civil rights as fascism, perhaps the horrific phrase “illegal sex” might give you a clue.

Traffic Jam (#704) 

How many moronic prohibitionist  plays can the market bear?

After a year of co-writing, directing and now acting in Jane Doe in Wonderland, Erin Johnston is even more adamant about the play’s impact in [spreading propaganda against] sex [work].  “We’re excited about this production,” she said.  “It allows people to get used to theater to tell the story and the performance is digestible and accessible.  And…we don’t curse or show physical violence.  The focus is on the emotional and psychological process that’s experienced.”  As part of the [rescue industry] Game Over organization, Jane Doe in Wonderland visits around 20 Bay Area cities on its current tour…

Spotlight (#715) 

I wonder if Asstoon will ever get professional help for his delusions of grandeur?

Ashton Kutcher’s non-profit organisation Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children [claims to have] identified almost 6,000 child victims of human sex trafficking last year…Impact reports from the organisation for 2017, show that Thorn’s software allowed law enforcement and investigators to identify 5,791 child sex trafficking victims…They were able to [arrest] 103 [legal minors]…Thorn uses web application Spotlight which provides [cops] with information and leads on [sex workers]…in order to [arrest them]…In 2016, during an appearance on the Today show, the actor said “We’ve identified and recovered more than 6,000 trafficking victims this year.  We identified and recovered more than 2,000 traffickers.”  He also stated his next mission was to eliminate child pornography from the internet…

The same figures for two years in a row, and the Mail doesn’t find it fishy.  The reporter also didn’t bother to read Liz Brown’s debunking (see title link).

Monsters (#730) 

All around the world, monsters torture sexual minorities under the excuse of “helping” or “curing” us:

When he was 15, his family found out that Ibrahim…was gay…from that moment on, local mullahs and “old wives” (faith healers and local women reputed to be witches) “tried to ‘treat’…my homosexuality…[with] bloodletting…herbs (after which I had hallucinations, nausea, stomach pains), strong pressure on the painful points of the body, and…electric shocks onto the penis.  There were also some ‘spells’ or nashidas (though to no effect)…It went on and off…till I turned 18.”  Ibrahim is all right, for now, having escaped Chechnya.  He is living under the care of Stimul, a Russian LGBT organization…that…arranges safe housing and advice and advocacy…for…LGBT people seeking asylum from Central Asian countries…and…Chechnya, where homosexuality is not only against the law…but…viciously persecuted…Stimul aims to…place LGBT people…in European countries, the U.S., and Canada…

Hard Numbers (#756)

Good news from South Australia:

South Australian Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, says she will sponsor a bill to decriminalise sex work when it comes to the state’s Lower House, boosting its chances of becoming law…The Decriminalisation of Sex Work Bill was introduced by Greens MLC Tammy Franks last month and is the same as one sponsored by Liberal Upper House MP Michelle Lensink in 2015.  That bill passed the Legislative Council but failed to go to a conscience vote in the House of Assembly before the March election…

Choke Point (#767) 

“Choke Point Mark II” would be statutory rather than mere policy, and laser-focused on sex workers:

…Of four quick and easy tests for bad legislation, the [End Banking for Human Traffickers Act] passes three:  First, it’s “bipartisan”…Rubio and Warren are aligned on both elements of the issue.  Both of them want control of your genitalia and both of them want control of your bank account.  Secondly, it exploits moral panic to discourage scrutiny of its actual effects.  In this case, the trending buzz word is “human trafficking”…another excuse for harassing adult sex workers trying to make a living and, contra all the “for the chillllllldren” posturing, taking food out of the mouths of THEIR children (if not taking away their children entirely).  Thirdly, it doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that it’s yet another attempt to conscript supposedly private sector actors into conducting…intrusive search-like activity that, if done directly by government employees…might be held accountable to inconvenient standards like probable cause, warrants, etc.  The only test the bill fails is the “warm, fuzzy, and/or patriotic-sounding acronym” test…if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, sex workers — already pushed to the economic margins in various ways by law enforcement, social stigma, and…poverty…are going to have an even harder time opening or keeping…accounts at traditional banks…

As I wrote in the title-linked piece: “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.”

Comfort Zone (#774)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

In France, two separate…activists are [on trial for] human trafficking for helping migrants on humanitarian grounds.  The law on which they are being charged is currently under review in the Constitutional Court.  Martine Landry, a 73-year-old pensioner working with…Amnesty International, faces up to five years in prison and a 30,000-euro fine…[for] facilitating the passage of two Guinean boys, then aged 15 and 16, into France…a separate trial…[concerns] two Swiss nationals…and one Italian…who accompanied migrants through a mountain pass on 22 April 2018.  They face up to 10 years in prison, 750,000 euros in fines and a ban from French territory…“If I become friends with a migrant who has no papers and invite them to sleep on my sofa, I become a criminal, and if I become a trafficker and have Nigerian prostitutes come into France, I am a criminal under the same provision,” says Lucile Abassade, a lawyer in the Paris region…As the trials open, France’s Constitutional Court is reviewing the law…to decide whether the law violates the French constitutional principle of fraternity…Such cases have become relatively common in France in recent years…

Legislators Gone Wild (#833) 

One can never have too many debunkings of prohibitionist bullshit:

…The No Little Girl campaign has argued that Nevada’s brothels have a negative effect on the state.  In reality, research shows that the lives of Nevada citizens have improved due to the legalization of sex work in the state.  Nevada’s system isn’t perfect — but it’s a considerable improvement over the national policy of criminalization.  No Little Girl has three major [claims] for shutting down the legal brothel industry:  Brothels do not significantly contribute to their counties’ economies while deterring other businesses from setting up shop; they increase violence against women who don’t work in the sex industry; and they’re inherently abusive (because, as the campaign’s tagline reminds visitors, “no little girl grows up wanting to be a prostitute”)…combing through the data — even the data the organization links to on its site — suggests that many of No Little Girl’s claims are exaggerated at best and misleading at worst…

Elephant in the Parlor (#844)

My irony meter just overloaded and burned out:

President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said…Stormy Daniels has no credibility because of her profession…”If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation”…Giuliani said in Israel…”If you’re involved in a sort of slimy business, (that) says something about you — says something about how far you’ll go to make money”…

Disaster (#844)

When a highway is destroyed, the traffic has to go into side streets:

Wall Street Journal has an article on the potentially negative impact of our country’s new “anti-trafficking” law—not on sex workers, mind you, but on the big business of online dating.  Yes…FOSTA…is endangering sex workers’ livelihoods and lives—but, oh, won’t someone think of the multi-million-dollar companies?  As the article warns its conservative, money-minded readers, “The booming business of online dating faces new risks from a law designed to prevent sex trafficking and prostitution”…The bill’s opponents warned that it would lead to sweeping censorship and, in its few weeks of life, it already has…As Heidi Vogt and John D. McKinnon write, FOSTA has led to the shuttering of sites used by sex workers—and “some worry that could drive the pay-for-sex market to legitimate dating platforms.”  They continue to explain, paraphrasing a legal expert, that “it could easily create liability for legitimate services if sex workers simply use their platforms.”  The article is filled with moralizing language that poses “legitimate dating platforms” and “legitimate services” opposite “prostitutes”.  It’s Match.com versus “bad behavior”.  OKCupid versus “illicit behavior”.  Tinder versus “those peddling sex”…

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