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Posts Tagged ‘California’

There is no “[sex trafficking] marketplace”, but rather all sorts of people selling and buying sex for their own reasons, some of them miserable.  –  Laura Agustín

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

San Diego County may not remove children from their homes and subject them to highly intrusive physical examinations without parental permission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled…The case stems from an April 2010 incident involving Michael and Melissa Mann and their four young children.  The Manns had apparently spanked at least one of the kids with a wooden spoon as a form of punishment…The county [abducted] the children…and [held] them in [custody]…while the parents went to court to regain custody…a doctor performed a 22-step medical exam requiring “blood samples and a gynecological and rectal exam…[including] separat[ing] the labia and look[ing] at the hymen”…County officials did not obtain a court order authorizing these examinations, nor did the parents sign off.  Indeed, the Manns didn’t even know [that]…their kids [had been molested] until one of them said something about it later…

Real People 

Universities are very slowly beginning to turn toward sex worker rights:

…Lady Lola Lightning…a 23-year-old [NYU] sophomore and Salem, Massachusetts native started playing with Periscope just five months ago….[and has] gathered a loyal following as a webcam model…she doesn’t use toys or do too many tricks; she just strips down and has a raw chat with viewers…along with her new job as a stripper in Brooklyn, she is able to pay for her entire tuition and living expenses without support from her family…

Not To Be Taken Internally (First Updates of the Year)

Please, y’all, do NOT let non-doctors inject liquid silicone into your bodies, unless you want to die:

On October 15, 2018, a 28-year-old Australian-born Seattle resident named Jack Chapman, also known as Pup Tank, died…he…was…romantically linked to Dylan Ray Hafertepen, a well-known member of the Dom/sub pup play communities in San Francisco and, later, Seattle…Hafertepen[‘s]…Tumblr (as well as the Tumblr accounts of several of his pups) contained numerous images of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections.  In one picture, Tank’s testicles dangle outside of his basketball shorts, his nuts roughly the size of two dodgeballs…Since World War II, cosmetic surgeons and back-alley “pumpers” have offered liquid silicone injections as a quick and dirty form of plastic surgery…But such injections aren’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures because of adverse reactions.  Sometimes they harden into painful masses that appear like wormy tumors under the skin.  Sometimes the surrounding tissue gets infected…Other times, stray bits can travel through the bloodstream, causing [fatal] embolisms…Numerous articles have discussed trans women who end up disfigured or dead because of silicone injections by unlicensed pumpers.  But few mention the pumpers who offer silicone injections for gay men…Tank died from “silicone embolism syndrome”…[which] led to “pneumonitis”…bleeding in the lungs…and eventually…death…

The article is very long and very detailed, and describes what looks to me like a very abusive BDSM relationship.  But it wasn’t the emotional & psychological abuse which killed Chapman/Tank; it was misuse of a substance which has caused the deaths of many seeking quick, cheap body modification without proper medical safeguards.

The Notorious Badge

Looks like I’m not the only sex worker writing horror with sex worker characters:

Award-winning screenwriter Isa Mazzei did not have a welcoming introduction to the movie industry.  “I’ve…never been more sexually harassed than trying to sell this film in Hollywood,” she [said]…Mazzei, a former cam girl, has written one of the hottest horror movies on this year’s genre festival circuit.  Cam, which will debut on Netflix later this month, drags the audience inside the paranoia and perils of being an internet star.  Her success in creating a believable yet terrifying online dystopia was bolstered by its roots in Mazzei’s real fears, including the risks of being harassed, hacked, doxxed or assaulted…Mazzei had to endure the sleaze of movie execs who believed they could harass and belittle her because of her previous  sex work.  Lots of them asked her to share details from her past life, some suggested she was only credited as the screenwriter as a gimmick to help the pitch, while one owner of a Hollywood agency went so far as to write an alternate ending to the semi-biographical movie that included himself and Mazzei inserted into the script…

No Difference

African campaigns against homosexuality are a lot like US campaigns against sex work:

The governor of…Dar es Salaam…launched an anti-gay crackdown…calling on [collaborators] to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week…homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.  “These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said [governor Paul] Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli.  “Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them”…Anti-homosexual sentiment is rife in Tanzania…and…has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election…AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magafuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies…

Somewhere in the Middle (#425)

Kate Iselin on myths about clients:

…Films and television shows cast clients as either sinister perverts who slither around in the darkness…or drug-addled millionaires looking for more Barbie-lookalikes to fill their yachts with for the weekend…Sure, not every client is perfect.  Some are far from it.  I could share a horror story or two about some who…disregard [hygiene or] boundaries…But clients like these are, thankfully, rare.  The majority of people who visit sex workers — whether they visit strip clubs, brothels, see private workers, or simply download some good, old-fashioned porn — are as normal and average as you and me.  They have jobs, and hobbies, and families, and social lives, just like anyone else…I believe it’s the heavy stigma around sex work that carries over to our clients, too: it makes sense that someone who thinks sex workers are immoral and disgusting would also feel the same about the people who pay to spend time with us…the belief that our clients are bad people is damaging not only to our clients themselves, but to the sex industry as a whole…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

The Drug Enforcement Administration [worked to drum up hysteria over] candy laced with marijuana and methamphetamine this Halloween.  The DEA St. Louis Division says there has been no [actual] threat, but [authoritarians are using the existence] of drug-laced edibles [in states where cannabis is legal to frighten the ignorant]…signs of marijuana or meth-laced candy include unusual wrapping, appearance, unusual colors, odd smell…candy…that is unwrapped or unmarked…

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag. Not a single one.  Every time the claim has been made, it turns out to be either an intentional hoax or some nefarious shit by the parents.

Full of Themselves (#787)

Puritanical language is an intrinsic part of any story about cops raiding massage parlors:

Police have posted notices at 18 massage parlors in Kent [Washington] saying that they will be shut down…after a monthslong [escapade involving vice cops getting happy endings at] businesses that they say were fronts for prostitution…some of the massage-parlor owners and employees have been charged with crimes and…[prosecutors] plan…to bring charges against any customers who engaged in prostitution…many of the businesses…were not licensed by the state and failed to follow regulations to protect the health and privacy of patrons…

“Fronts”.  “Prostitution”.  “Crimes”.  “Engaged in prostitution”.  “Regulations”.  And it’s pretty hilarious to see thugs pretending to give a shit about people’s privacy while simultaneously plotting to destroy their lives.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

It’s good to see “sex addiction” collapsing as an excuse for bad behavior:

A former WAFB employee who secretly recorded two female station employees using the restroom in 2017 was sentenced to four months in prison…Morgan McDermitt…must also register as a sex offender for 15 years. His wife, upon hearing the sentence…ran from the courtroom sobbing…Judge Beau Higginbotham initially sentenced McDermitt…to four years in prison…but then suspended all but four months of the sentence. In July, Higginbotham refused to accept a proposed plea bargain in the case that would have only placed McDermitt on probation…The judge asked McDermitt, who sought sex addiction therapy after his arrest, why he did not seek help before he was caught…

Damned Lies (#866)

It’s good to see fact checkers demolishing politicians’ grandiose claims about Backpage:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton…[claimed to have] “shut down the world’s largest human trafficking marketplace”…The Texas attorney general’s office helped shut down the Backpage website, which is what another Paxton ad says.  However, the federal government led the shutdown and officials in other states pitched in.  Significantly too, we otherwise landed no confirmation that the Backpage site, which profited from ads about sex, also was the world’s largest trafficking marketplace–a classification that experts found dubious and unverifiable.  All told, we rate this statement Mostly False…

Suppression

This is especially important because other states are trying the same scam:

…Pennsylvania [prisons will]…allow…book orders to resume through a new centralized processing center…The [censorship plan] was…[pretended] to eliminate drug smuggling into the prisons, [when in actuality all contraband comes in via screws]…[Chief Screw] John Wetzel said the new procedure was a response to criticisms by book-donation groups…The new policy…allows family and friends to order books to be shipped directly from publishers or bookstores to a secure processing center in Bellefonte, Pa., where staff will screen books five days per week.  It also enables inmates to place orders directly from a hard-copy catalog…the book-donation groups still have concerns about how the new process will play out, including how the [prison system] will ensure the packages reach the inmates who requested them, intact with all supplemental materials…Sean Damon of Amistad Law Project, which led protests over the book prohibition…[is] not satisfied, as other new security measures — including the scanning and surveillance of incoming mail, and the photocopying of inmate legal mail — remain in place…

Traffic Jam (#877)

Remember that “threat” a Hawaiian prohibitionist claimed to have received from “pimps”?

The recent publication of a hyperbolic study that purported to show an “astronomical” level of demand for sex workers in the Hawaii was punctuated by…Police…respond[ing] to a call regarding a purported threat of physical violence against [prohibitionist politician] Khara Jabola-Carolus…police concluded that there had been no physical threat…[what actually happened was that during] a conference call…one [prohibitionist claimed to]…hav[e] received a…text message [from Dominique Roe-Sepowitz which in turn claimed] that…some person or persons were “trying to get Jabola-Carolus fired”…

Signs (#878) 

Another state mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

A state mandate now aims to [harass] sex [workers] in Minnesota through the state’s hotel industry.  The law requires all hotel and motel employees to be [indoctrinated] in [anti-whore propaganda].  The training must be completed by Nov. 28.  After that date, all new employees must be [indoctrinated] within 90 days of hire…the signs to look for [include] guest[s traveling light]…or [with their children]…“There might be signs in the room – for example, that they…request extra sheets and extra towels, [and enjoy their privacy]” said Minnesota [prohibitionist]…Beatriz Menanteau…

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The goal of sexual suppression is that of producing an individual who is adjusted to the authoritarian order and who will submit to it in spite of all misery and degradation.  –  Wilhelm Reich

The Red Umbrella 

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targeted for violence:

…four masked men…knocked on the hotel door of a dominatrix in Queens, pushed their way in and tied her up at gunpoint before running off with an iPhone, cash and a debit card…The woman got a call from an unknown number she figured was a client; when she opened the hotel door, she expected her client to be on the other side…The four men, all wearing black hooded sweatshirts or jackets, forced their way in…when she opened the door around 5:45 p.m. They menaced her at gunpoint and bound her with duct tape before stealing the phone, cash, card and her state driver’s license…

Watershed

For those who think I’m wrong about sex worker rights having passed the watershed:

The Federation des Femmes du Quebec (FFQ)…a well-recognised women’s rights organisation…took [the obvious]…stance…that women can make a free-will choice on their own to enter into the sex trade…The executive-director of Stella, a Montreal sex workers advocacy group praises the decision…[saying] said it recognises sex workers choices and their human rights…

Red Lamp

Sometimes, studying commercial sex of the past opens people’s eyes to the present:

They worked in brothels frequented by troops serving on the front line in northern France, but their role has been virtually erased from the history books.  Thanks to a new Roundhouse art project, Cause and Effect, to mark the centenary of the end of the conflict, the wartime sex workers have been immortalised in a film with poet Hollie McNish …[who] worked with historian Clare Makepeace…to create War’s Whores, which details the “significant minority” of men paying for sex on the front line…McNish [said]…that one of the things that she found most poignant was the fact that so many men wanted to visit a sex worker if they thought they would die the next day…“It’s a much deeper thing than we give it credit for.  The men thought they were likely to die the next day, the thought you’re never going to have someone touch you nicely again before you die, it must be horrendous”…she hopes that reigniting the memory of wartime sex workers will provoke conversations about the industry today…“It’s ridiculous…that we’re allowed to talk about violence and not about sex…That job has been shamed out of history, rather than just forgotten”…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#726)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

Sex work has been illegal in Thailand since 1960 but government officials and law enforcement officers have long turned a blind eye…a series of high profile police raids has put considerable strain on that relationship and some sex workers fear the whole industry is in jeopardy…the country’s Tourism Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul [has] said “We want Thailand to be [Disnified]…we want the sex industry gone.”  Her [statements parrot] those of the military junta that seized power in 2014…said Somai Jantawong, a…sex worker living in Chiang Mai…“If we are arrested or lose our jobs then it affects the whole family and the whole community.  We are the drivers of development in this country, if you lock us up then you will have more people in poverty and more people without homes”…Havocscope, who chart black market crime statistics and data, estimate that the sex industry pumps $6.4 billion into the Thai economy.  In fact, Friedrich Schneider, an economist at Johannes Kepler University in Austria, found that Thailand has one of the largest shadow economies in the world, accounting for 40.9% of real GDP in 2014…

O, Canada! (#785)

I thought “Operation Northern Spotlight” had been rebranded, but apparently that was a different Canadian cop campaign to harass and intimidate sex workers:

From October 15 to 21, police arrested 20 [sex workers and associates] through the seventh edition of Operation Northern Spotlight…a Canadian law enforcement [sting] operation…to [harass] and [intimidate]…sex [workers]…This year’s operation [included]…the RCMP…and…62 [other cop shops] from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island…

The Notorious Badge (#795)

There is nothing remotely “intimate” about sucking a dildo in front of dozens of people and a chaperone, for broadcast to millions of viewers:

Last spring, Emily Meade was getting ready to give a [fake] blow job [to a dildo] in front of a crew of people on the…set of HBO’s The Deuce…As Meade knelt down, a woman named Alicia Rodis, the network’s first-ever “intimacy coordinator,” was within eyeshot, watching the monitor.  She had given Meade a pad for her knees, knowing that the hard floor would bruise them otherwise.  Between takes, she offered mouth spray and flavored lubricant.  And she had spoken with Meade before the scene about her concerns and relayed them to the director…Network executives found Rodis through Intimacy Directors International, a nonprofit she cofounded in 2016 that aims to normalize a set of standards and practices surrounding the execution of sex scenes on stage and on film…HBO has now adopted a policy whereby all of its shows and movies with intimate scenes will be staffed with an intimacy coordinator — either Rodis or someone like her…

Because hiring actual sex workers as consultants for this sort of thing would be crazy, and fucking amateurs can’t think of things like knee pads.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#820)

Dr. David Ley on the weird, dangerous and increasingly-popular belief that masturbation is harmful to men:

In recent years, we’ve seen the return of a strange, antiquated belief system that claims that masturbation results in weakness, loss of manhood, and psychological damage…Your Brain on Porn and Reboot Nation are…online groups who argue that masturbation to porn…results in neurological changes which desensitize a person’s brain to real sex, cause erectile dysfunction, and instill an addiction to…pornography…Brigham Young University…spent what appears to be a great deal of money to produce a public service advertisement against the dangers and “darkness” of masturbation…The Proud Boys…a group of young, nationalist males…claim…that masturbating makes men less likely to get dates…all of these concerns, both historical and modern, about masturbation are primarily focused on male masturbation…Wilhelm Reich…who wrote The Mass Psychology of Fascism…suggested that sexual suppression was a tool of fascism, a way to train young people to submit to authority, even in something relating to their own body…and…conservative religions…have a long history of condemnation of masturbation…

To Protect and Serve (#830)

A rare victory for sex workers over pigs:

The San Diego City Council today gave the green light for $1.5 million in payouts to 17 dancers who…were violated [by cops] during raids at two strip clubs…The first settlement awarded $110,000 to one dancer.  The second settlement awarded about $1.4 million to 16 dancers…[who] were held against their will and [molested]…by 10 [pervert cops]…Attorney Dan Gilleon, who represented 16 of the dancers, [said]…”The…settlement is a drop in the bucket compared to what the City of San Diego spent conducting the raids in the first place and then misleading the public for four years with painfully dumb legal denials and defenses…the City Attorney’s Office…arrogantly bullied the dancers and filed bogus defense after bogus defense until they realized they would not sell their legal charade to a set of jurors with common sense”…

Disaster (#841)

We did warn you dilettantes that this wouldn’t stop with actual sex workers:

HotMilitaryGirls.com, a site that for years offered nude photos and videos of female servicemembers, has been shut down by its operators as the site’s legal counsel reviews its content…after [pearl-clutching prohibitionist politician] Claire McCaskill, [one of] the [chief sponsors of the censorship law FOSTA/SESTA]…called for the Defense Department’s inspector general to investigate the site…McCaskill’s office said in a statement that she lauded the news the site had [self-censored] but still sought [revenge on peaceful people for daring to be sexual]…

Dutch Threat (#852) 

Dutch authorities are now pretending their attempts to Disnify De Wallen are really intended to help sex workers:

The three parties which run Amsterdam city council have drawn up a string of proposals for dealing with the city’s red light district and moving prostitution to a new location is one of the options…The area has been home to prostitution for centuries, because of its proximity to the docks, but the surge in tourism is causing both locals and prostitutes considerable problems, [politicians claim]…Many clients are now visiting prostitutes they find via internet or at a hotel rather than in the Wallen district.  This means that many red light windows are now empty during the day and [prohibitionists have schemed for years to]…clos[e] them altogether…[politicians] now suggest giving licences for prostitution outside the red light district, so the women who work in window brothels can move to a new area, without the problems caused by tourists…Prostitution is a major tourist draw, but is this really the reason you want to attract people to visit?, said [prudish busybody] Socialist councillor Nicole Temmink…

Droit du Seigneur (#872)

If these pimps weren’t cops, they’d be facing “sex trafficking” charges right now:

Six of the NYPD cops accused of running a prostitution and gambling ring are in plea talks with prosecutors…the men were offered plea deals ranging from probation to 2-to 6-year prison sentences, but their lawyers didn’t want to accept so early in the case…

Pyrrhic Victory (#882) 

More on police abuse of Amazon’s face recognition software:

…[in downtown] Orlando…lightbulb-sized camera[s] affixed to…traffic signal poles…instantly send a live video feed over to Amazon’s facial “Rekognition” system, cross-referencing…face[s] against [a surveillance database]…In the US, there are no laws governing the use of facial recognition, and there is no regulatory framework limiting its law enforcement applications.  There is no case law or constitutional precedent upholding police use of the tech without a warrant; courts haven’t even decided whether facial recognition constitutes a search under the Fourth Amendment…[so of course cops are eager to] pilot…these systems [before their power is limited by laws or precedents…Amazon marketed its facial recognition tools to Orlando’s police department, providing tens of thousands of dollars of technology to the city at no cost, and shielding the Rekognition pilot with a mutual nondisclosure agreement that kept its details [secret from]…the public…In May, Orlando police reportedly finalized a deal to crowdsource neighborhood footage from residents of the city using [another Amazon] service called Ring, which uses…a doorbell camera…to[feed images] to Orlando Police…There is no automatic sharing of data between Ring and Rekognition right now.  But Amazon would not…commit…to keep the data generated by each of these companies…separate…

To Molest and Rape (#883) 

“Feminists” who talk about rapist cops without mentioning sex workers are aiding and abetting the rapists:

[A cop] is caught in an act of sexual misconduct every five days, and that the majority of cases involve “motorists, crime victims, informants, students and young people in job-shadowing programs”…black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people, along with Indigenous, immigrant, and other people of color, make up the majority of people targeted for sexual violence by law enforcement agents…police sexual violence is consistently ignored by mainstream media and movements focused on police violence and sexual assault…[because cops] intentionally target people they don’t think will be believed…people who use drugs, trade sex, people who are precariously housed, disabled, LGBTQ—people who aren’t seen as ideal poster children for mainstream movements.  Secondly, acknowledging sexual violence by [cops] as a systemic problem profoundly destabilizes the notion of police as protectors, an uncomfortable reality for movements deeply invested in law enforcement as the answer to sexual violence…

You see that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to “people who trade sex”?  That’s the only reference in a 1200+ word article about the one group which is targeted for sexual violence by cops more than any other, by a wide margin.  In an article about how activists ignore rape victims who aren’t ideal poster children. The reek of hypocrisy is overwhelming.

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I got a rock.  –  Charlie Brown

As usual, I don’t find any good Halloween videos until it’s too late to feature them before Halloween.  I’ve actually featured this one before, back in 2012, but at that time it was only available on the Funny or Die site and couldn’t be embedded; thanks to Franklin Harris for bringing this YouTube copy to my attention.  The links above it were provided by Tim CushingPopehatWalter OlsonNun Ya, Tim Cushing again and ACLU.

From the Archives

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Facebook censorship is just what government censorship looks like in a corporatist system.  –  Caitlin Johnstone

Banishment (#446)

Threatening landlords to get them to evict sex workers is a popular Bay Area pig trick:

More than a hundred massage parlors in San Jose…were…shut…down…by…Vice [pigs]…[after pigs got happy ending massages at] 54 of [them.  Cops then threatened]…landlords [with pimping charges]…which prompted the shutdown of 62 of the parlors…neighboring cities, which [are also run by gangs of simians]…are now asking SJPD for information [so they can “monkey see, monkey do”] its approach…

One jurisdiction in the Washington DC area has done this as well.

To Molest and Rape 

If not for the witness & video, they’d be defending this rapist right now:

…Ryan Macklin…of the Prince George’s County Police Department, was [arrested for raping a woman after he forced her to pull]…over at about 1 a.m. on [October 11th.  He]…order[ed] her to move her car behind a store…[where he] oral[ly raped] her [and attempted to rape her vaginally until] interrupted by a witness whom the woman had called earlier, the [rapist then fled and] the witness later corroborated some of the woman’s account of the assault, which was also backed up by video evidence…Police [claim] they do not know why Macklin…[raped] the [woman]…

Cooties (#786) 

Shuker is a well-known prohibitionist fond of publicly masturbating to “sex slave” fantasies:

…MP Gavin Shuker has started a…[gang] to [at]tack…sex [workers]…called Luton Against Sexual Exploitation (LASE)…He [claims] a police initiative, begun in 2013, [to not persecute sex workers] was viewed as a failure by [prohibitionists who want sex workers persecuted]…Shuker is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution which [fantasizes that] sexual exploitation of women in pop-up brothels was widespread across the country.  The committee [was organized specifically to] recommend…the government…make paying for sex a crime…

Censor Chic (#830)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

After a massive purge of hundreds of politically oriented pages and personal accounts for “inauthentic behavior”, Facebook rightly received a fair amount of criticism for the nebulous and hotly disputed basis for that action.  What received relatively little attention was the far more ominous step which was taken next:  within hours of being purged from Facebook, multiple anti-establishment alternative media sites had their accounts completely removed from Twitter as well…Anti-Media, the Free Thought Project, and Police the Police, all of whom had millions of followers [were banned from both] Facebook…and…Twitter [almost simultaneously]…It is now clear that there is either (A) some degree of communication/coordination between Twitter and Facebook about their respective censorship practices, or (B) information being given to both Twitter and Facebook by another party regarding targets for censorship.  Either way, it means that there is now some some mechanism in place linking the censorship of dissident voices across multiple platforms.  We are beginning to see smaller anti-establishment alternative media outlets cut off from their audiences by the same sort of coordinated cross-platform silencing we first witnessed with Alex Jones in August…

Pyrrhic Victory (#849)

You do realize TSA is part of DHS, right? The agency building a giant biometric database?

Customs and Border Protection has been using facial recognition to screen non-US residents on international flights since 2015, a project that was expedited by the Trump administration.  Last year, the US government laid out its plans to start expanding the [surveillance] tools to US citizens, which would require them to undergo facial scans when they leave the country through a system called the Biometric Pathway…TSA will adopt the same technology, partnering with CBP on biometrics for international travelers, expanding security operations to TSA Precheck members, and eventually, using facial recognition to verify domestic travelers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

Activists, civil rights groups and Amazon’s own shareholders are now joined by its employees:

…Amazon, where I work, is currently allowing police departments around the country to purchase its facial recognition product, Rekognition, and I and other employees demand that we stop immediately.  A couple weeks ago, my co-workers delivered a letter to this effect, signed by over 450 employees, to Jeff Bezos and other executives.  The letter also contained demands to kick Palantir…off Amazon Web Services and to institute employee oversight for ethical decisions…Amazon’s website brags of the system’s ability to store and search tens of millions of faces at a time.  Law enforcement has already started using facial recognition with virtually no public oversight or debate or restrictions on use from Amazon.  Orlando, Florida, is testing Rekognition with live video feeds from surveillance cameras around the city.  A sheriff’s department in Oregon [uses]  Rekognition to let officers in the field compare photos to a database of mugshots.  This is not a hypothetical situation…

One Born Every Minute (#856) 

Another sleazy scam artist raping aspiring sex workers:

…Deana Embry got a Facebook message from a man who said he was an agent for Evil Angel Videos…and urged her to audition…she signed several [fake] contracts, discussed her boundaries, and did everything asked of her in the extensive audition process—including a sex scene…[later] she learned the man was not an agent…but a local business owner and engineering student by the name of Francisco Reveriano…[who] sent similar messages to at least two other women …but…a sting operation…by Embry and a top executive of Evil Angel [with the help of a PI]…succeeded in driving Reveriano underground, even securing a videotaped admission from him.  But despite [raping at least one woman and scheming to rape others] Reveriano currently faces nothing more than a fine [because Texas]…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#867) 

I’ll bet you thought I was kidding when I put that necrophilia item under this heading:

…one of the UK’s first sex doll rental services…offers to make bespoke dolls for those seeking comfort after losing a partner by matching their likeness.  Jade Stanley…says…“We have a lot of people approach us who have dolls made that resemble a partner they have lost”…Bespoke dolls can cost up to $5,200 and can be made to any specification…“I’m hoping to open an office in Atlanta…We are currently in the process of working with some well-known porn stars to get dolls made that look just like them”…

Disaster (#873)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

The government shutdown of Backpage.com this year…has [predictably] prompted an increase in [the number of] sex [workers] on San Francisco streets.  [Arrests]…related to [sex work]…have more than tripled in 2018 — with 67 through August, up from 21 during the same period last year…as much of the activity had been [peacefully and privately conducted] online…Antonio Flores [oinked]…“A few sex workers are [resisting when cops try]…to prey on [them]”…Pike Long…of St. James Infirmary [explained]…“Without being able to advertise online…a huge number of sex workers were forced to go outside, and many have reported that former pimps came out of the woodwork offering to ‘manage’ their business again since they were now rendered unable to find and screen clients online”…

Remember, when cops & reporters say “sex trafficking” they actually mean sex work; in San Francisco, it’s an important way of getting around the “policies” they established to quiet squeaky wheels.

The Widening Gyre (#878)

What the fuck is going on in San Angelo, Texas?

San Angelo Police issued a news release after recieving several calls Monday, Oct. 15…“Police received several inquiring about black-colored zip ties being used to target potential victims of human trafficking…One post was concerning a zip tie that was placed on a…vehicle side mirror.  In another…sex traffickers were placing black zip ties on the lamp posts, houses, apartments, and fences of their intended female targets.”  The department said it’s received no reports of…attempted kidnappings relating to human trafficking…police learned the person who created the original post was not the owner of the pictured vehicle and had copied the claim as a means to [get attention]…

This is the same small city which saw the “Bible study sex traffickers” a few weeks ago.  Naturally, USA Today helpfully responded by posting more “signs of sex trafficking” propaganda so as to help quench the fire with gasoline.

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You deserve that child to be injured.  –  some creepy old busybody

Last week on Twitter there was a larger-than-usual number of belligerent amateurs making weird claims about how it’s somehow “exploitation” to charge men for sex, but not to give sex away to them for free; naturally I and many other sex workers were mocking them as the fools they are.  In the process Nattie Roman tweeted this video of a pivotal scene from Baby Face, which you should definitely read my review of and then go watch.  I’m featuring it because I love the scene, and also so I can find it next time I want to tweet it myself.  The links above it were provided by Tim CushingAmy AlkonCharles HillFurrygirl, Amy Alkon again, and Joe Setyon, in that order.

From the Archives

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Vanesa was murdered; the state is complicit.  –  protest chant in Paris

Subtle Pimping

Every damned internet company has profited from sex workers without even giving us credit:

…the porn and adult entertainment industries, and the women whose work built them, were one of the earliest to provide real-time credit card verification, establishing a precedent for models of e-commerce other industries would adopt later on.  Sex workers…essentially created, adopted, and inspired many of the technologies later co-opted by tech corporations and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs long before they reached the mainstream, and continue to do so.  However, [they]…rarely receive proper credit for their contributions…

Finding What Isn’t There

I can tell you why these cases aren’t being pushed, Susan, but it’s going to make you sad:

After [cheerleading for] local [cop] efforts to [persecute people using the excuse of] human trafficking, a [prohibitionist] is questioning why recent prostitution cases are seemingly sitting idle in the district attorney’s office…Susan Peters, executive director of [“rescue” profiteer] UnBound…[says] McLennan County Sheriff’s Office detectives have made about 330…arrests of alleged sex buyers since March 2015, but records show prosecutors have not taken action on [almost] any…many of the recent arrests stem from a December 2017 raid in which sheriff’s deputies [stole] video [from] surveillance systems in two massage parlors that [cops fantasize] women [were] forced to work at…Although it is unclear if video evidence in the massage parlor cases will be admissible in court, a total of 18 men have been arrested on prostitution charges since authorities started trying to identify [them]…

Counterfeit Comfort (#40) 

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

Janice M. Bellucci, executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws…plans to file suit against Calimesa, California, challenging its Halloween ordinance  [which]…forbids registrants…from decorating their home with Halloween decorations; mandates they leave all exterior or decorative lighting off from 4 to 11:59 p.m. [on Halloween]; and forbids them from answering the door to trick-or-treaters.  In August, Bellucci sent letters to five California cities, including Calimesa, urging them to repeal their Halloween restrictions by Sept. 28 or face litigation.  So far, Temecula has repealed its ordinance, and Lancaster is taking steps to do the same…The state of Missouri has a rule similar to the one that Bellucci fought in Simi Valley, requiring registrants on Halloween to post a sign at their home stating, “No candy or treats at this residence”…The California…Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, mandates that registrants who are on parole must remain indoors from 5 to 10 p.m. during which time they can open the door only to respond to law enforcement.  They must turn off all exterior lights, and…homeless parolees are required to spend the curfew hours in [jail]…New York…requires that the roughly 3,000 parolees convicted of sex crimes remain indoors at home on Halloween…until 6 the next morning…[and] are not allowed to have…candy in their possession…

Signs (#783) 

California mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

Two new California laws will require workers in certain industries to go through [indoctrination in] human trafficking [fantasies]…The laws are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, with training to be complete by 2020 for hotel and motel workers and by 2021 for transit workers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

The next time you drive past one of those road signs with a digital readout showing how fast you’re going…it may…be capturing your license plate data…the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of “multiple” trailer-mounted speed displays “to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms”…the DEA has hired a small machine shop in California, and another in Virginia, to conceal the readers within the signs…primarily along the southwest border region, and the country’s northeast and southeast corridors…

Disaster (#832)

Please, prohibitionists, force more deep-pocketed giants like Facebook to fight your evil:

A Texas woman, claiming that she was raped, beaten and sex trafficked at the age of 15 by a pimp who posed as a Facebook “friend,” has filed suit against the social network, alleging its executives knew minors were being lured into the sex trade on their platform…

Texas especially loves the “Facebook pimps” myth.

Torture Chamber (#852)

The “concerns” and crocodile tears of these kids’ jailers remind me of prohibitionists who say they want to “rescue” sex workers by locking us in cages:

In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night…and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new [prison]:  a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.  Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been housed in private foster homes or shelters, sleeping two or three to a room.  They received formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their…cases.  But in the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks.  There is no school…Access to legal services is limited.  These midnight voyages are playing out across the country, as the federal government struggles to find [cages] for more than 13,000 [imprisoned] migrant children — the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year.  The average length of time…in custody has nearly doubled over the same period, from 34 days to 59…

Prisoners, especially those government wants to dehumanize, are often shipped off in the middle of the night like this to facilities in the middle of deserts, so as to confuse and disorient them and make escape more difficult.

Monsters (#866) 

No, it’s almost wholly to blame. As we warned it would be.

Vanesa Campos…was shot and killed as thieves tried to rob her client, who survived….her…death…is proof of the growing dangers [sex workers] face since [the French] Parliament [imposed the Swedish model]…clients now demand to have sex in out of the way places, where the police are unlikely to be patrolling.  “Girls are now forced to hide and promise their clients that the police won’t find them,” said Giovanna Rincon, a former sex worker and transgender activist who leads the organization Acceptess-Transgenres.  “Today, they work in places where we, the old guard working at the Bois de Boulogne, would never have set foot”…

The Widening Gyre (#874) 

I love that Christian religious nuts, who started the “sex trafficking” hysteria in the first place, are now being accused of being “traffickers” themselves:

Two West Texas girls are [spreading hysteria] after what they described as a scary encounter at a Walmart in San Angelo…The students say they were approached by strangers inside the store late at night and invited to a Bible study…”They asked us if we were Christians and if we read the Bible, things like that…She started telling us Jesus was the sun and Moses was the moon, just things that didn’t sound right to us.”  One of the girls Googled some of the [statements] as the conversation continued, and [naturally] she [believed]…”… the first article that came up [which] said ‘Korean sex trafficking college campuses’.”…The girls say they went and found a store manager to tell them [that people were talking to them]…and a Walmart employee escorted them to their vehicles so they could…leave [without the danger of others talking to them]…There have been cases in other cities where members of the “God the Mother” church have been [fantasized to be] sex traffickers while trying to recruit members…

All-Purpose Excuse (#876)

Whores are not only the new drugs; we’re also the new “terrorism”:

Ann…Wagner’s little-heralded [recycling and expansion of the PATRIOT Act], known as the Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act, quietly passed the House [last] Wednesday—sailing through without much attention as the Brett Kavanaugh hearing occupied the media and public [atten]tion.  The bill, HR 6729, passed by a 297-124 vote, with 202 Republicans voting in favor and only 29 against.  Democrats who voted were split equally 95-95…

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I pray…that what happened to me…never happens to those who did this to my son.  –  Rosario Rodriguez

Bait and Switch

How convenient:

Cody Wilson…started [by] selling blueprints for 3D printed guns, and [then] launched Hatreon, the now-defunct platform he billed as “the #1 funding platform for the Alt Right”…Wilson…used a sugar daddy dating site to contact [a 16-year-old girl who advertised herself as an adult]…they allegedly started communicating via text message and he identified [himself]…On August 15, Wilson met her in person…and paid her $500 [for sex].  He was charged with a second degree felony count of sexual assault…Wilson’s last known location was Taipei, Taiwan, and [cops are trying to extradite] him to the U.S…police said they believed Wilson skipped a scheduled flight back to the U.S. after receiving a tip that he was under investigation…

I have little sympathy for Wilson, because his funding white supremacists far outweighs the good of circumventing prohibition, which someone else would’ve eventually done.  But I also know a honey pot setup when I see one, and characterizing a sugar relationship with a young woman who lied about her age to get on the platform as “child rape” is demeaning to both young people and sex workers and will only help those who want to censor such platforms.

The Face of Trafficking 

What an actual attempt to force an unwilling Nigerian woman into prostitution looks like:

A Benin based pastor has been arrested for his part in trafficking a 22-year-old [woman]…to Russia…Marvelous Odalo, who is the General Overseer of Mega Charismatic Fire Ministry, reportedly worked with a “madam” in Russia…[the young woman said] she and her sister were deceived and fell for the antics of the pastor and his accomplice… “They told me that I was going to meet a woman who is pregnant in Russian and I will assist her with domestic chores.  They said I will also be working as a stylist in her saloon…When I got there, it was a different ball game.  I was forced to engage in prostitution in Russia which I resisted, I rejected it and told them I will rather go home than sell my body to satisfy one greedy woman”…in the heat of the argument with her madam, she met a Nigerian in Russia, who introduced her to the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Anti-Human Trafficking Issues, Comrade Solomon Okoduwa, who eventually took the matter up in Nigeria…

For more on the juju aspects of this story, see “That Old Black Magic” below.

Moving Pictures 

Another “sex trafficking” hysteria film for future generations to laugh at:

Love Sonia, a [propaganda] film about sex trafficking, will be showcased at the UN…in New York on October 11, the International Day of the Girl Child.  The screening will be hosted by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime [which is one of the few UN agencies opposed to decriminalization of sex work] and Indian anti-[sex work] organisation, Apne Aap…

In case you have forgotten, Apne Aap is a “rescue” organization which runs a private prison in which sex workers are locked up indefinitely for the enrichment of the organization.

Pimps Ahoy

Pigs and screws team up to help a private prison previously shut down for abusing inmates:

Northern California [screws] are banding together [for] the [fantasy] of ending child sex trafficking…In 2013, Dawn Hershberger, a [screw] at California Correctional Center (CCC) in Susanville, heard Jenny Williamson speak about her nonprofit, Courage Worldwide, which [profits from arrested underage sex workers]…She reached out to the nonprofit to ask how she could assist, and was told they were in need of a way to transport [inmates] to appointments and other…events.  Hershberger partnered with fellow [screw] Joanne Vice and [pig] Randy Hewitt, and the team began organizing a run to raise funds to buy a van…they raised more than $4,000.  Inspired and motivated, they set their sights on a bigger goal, and the Courage Triathlon was born.  Since its inception the triathlon has raised more than $60,000 to [line of pockets] of [Williamson and other profiteers]…

If you don’t remember the ugly story of “Courage House”, click on the subtitle above.

Send In the Clowns 

Dare I hope for a return of “creepy clown” hysteria?

Two boys claimed they were chased by a man in a clown costume shouting “run or die” while clutching…something “which looked like a knife”.  After the boy’s parents called the police, a car was sent to the area to investigate…but no person matching the description was seen…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#728) 

Sex workers worried about sex dolls are saying a lot more about themselves than about the dolls:

[Three] legal prostitutes…at Nevada’s…Sheri’s Ranch brothel are [using sex robot hysteria] in hopes of [promoting themselves in the media, since advertising is illegal there]…”It’s dehumanising,” said licensed sex worker Allissa [parroting prohibitionist drivel often used against sex workers]…”Offering sex dolls as a substitute for human sex workers is…[magically] an insult to sex workers…[and] clients [who are not in the room with them]”…”The idea that women should be like dolls – unresponsive and lethargic during sex – is downright dangerous” said Roxanne Price, [despite the fact that nobody selling sex dolls has ever even implied such a thing]…

Sex dolls are a silly fad which will have zero effect on sex workers.  But you know what is dangerous and dehumanizing to whores?  Pompous twits in “regulated” Nevada brothels who regurgitate prohibitionist rhetoric to try to set themselves above other sex workers.

That Old Black Magic (#825) 

Remember, most of what Europeans brand “trafficking” is just migrating to wealthy Europe to work:

…During a ceremony in March, Oba Ewuare II, leader of the historic kingdom of Benin in southern Nigeria, invoked curses on anyone who used witchcraft to aid illegal migration.  Since then, anecdotal evidence suggests the trafficking has slowed although it is too soon for firm data to be collated…Belief in black magic is deep-rooted in Benin, and many fear crossing their traditional leader could incur death, mental breakdown or a myriad of unexplained physical ailments…David Edebiri, the second highest ranking chief in Benin…believes the Oba’s involvement, inspired by repeated bad press in the international media, has reduced trafficking and could help bring more traffickers to justice as many women involved were too afraid of juju rituals before to testify…

Notice the quick elision of the difference between “illegal migration” and “sex trafficking”.

Disaster (#845)

Why is The Hill turning itself into a platform for rabid prohibitionists, censors and anti-human rights cultists? This vile anti-internet, anti-consent, pro-censorship screed, paid for by the veteran Christian fundamentalist anti-porn organization “Morality in Media“, which rebranded a few years ago to the more secular (and authoritative) sounding “National Center on Sexual Exploitation” (by which they actually mean “against sex work“).  It’s pretty poisonous shit, so I’m not going to quote it here, but if you decide to read it note that it represents Melissa Farley’s propaganda as “fact”, puts forth a bizarre interpretation of Section 230, and pretends that sex workers literally being forced into the streets, where they are exposed to violence from cops and other monsters, is a good thing.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#849) 

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

The University of Alabama school of social work department shared some new a[rous]ing [fantasies] on human trafficking in the state this week…In 2017, authorities recovered more than 600 human trafficking victims stuck in the sex industry…more than half of them were minors, and that’s only about 10 percent of the victims actually out there, [sic] Stats show there are thousands more still suffering in Alabama.

If cops had really discovered 300 kids being held hostage in freaking Alabama, this would be international news, not a minor local story.

The Monsters Are Due (#869) 

More on the young man literally burned alive by “human trafficking” hysterics:

Ricardo Flores…21, and his uncle, Alberto Flores Morales, 56, [were lynched by a hysterical mob who] beat…them before dousing them with gasoline and burning them alive on the street…[while] the police [did nothing]…The pair had been [accused of child abduction]…The barbaric episode — reminiscent of mob killings in India fueled by viral messages — illustrates how [moral panic over “human trafficking” spread by politicians, cops and the mainstream media]…can generate hysteria and vigilante justice…Mob attacks are nothing new in Mexico, where cellphone video of townsfolk pummeling cornered suspects accused of robberies and other misdeeds is a regular feature on TV news…In the days before Flores and his uncle were targeted, half a dozen Mexican states issued public warnings refuting incendiary social media tales of kidnapping rings that remove organs from captive children to sell on the black market…

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