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Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

I think most of my readers know that I think the idea that there is only One True Path to Decriminalization is as wrongheaded and destructive as the notion that there is only One True Path to Salvation.  Those who claim that a labor rights approach, or a privacy rights approach, or a social justice approach, or a civil liberties approach, or a medical approach, or a harm reduction approach, or whatever, represent the only way to achieve sex worker rights, have been drinking their own Kool-Aid and need to move on to more potent and adult beverages.  But there is one popular approach that I’m going to ask y’all to reconsider, because I believe it’s doing more harm than good:  Please stop telling authoritarians that their terrible laws are harming sex workers and even getting us killed.  Look, I fully understand why y’all think this will work; it’s because you’re decent human beings who care about others, so naturally you think other decent human beings will also care.  And you’re mostly right, except for one small factor:  politicians, cops and other authoritarians are not decent human beings.  They are sociopaths who think that “law and order” trumps every other concern, and at a minimum accept harm to sex workers as acceptable collateral damage in their war to establish a jackboot Utopia with them at the top; in the worst cases (which means most of them), they are happy when their laws harm sex workers, because that is their specific intent.  In other words, when you tell these moral imbeciles, “Please stop because you’re killing us,” you are not dissuading them from their course of action; you are encouraging it.  Don’t believe me?  Consider that the Skarhed Report, the Swedish government’s own report on their eponymous “model”, stated quite clearly that “negative effects of the [sex purchase] ban…must be viewed as positive from the perspective that the purpose of the law is…to combat prostitution“…in other words, “it’s a good thing that those dirty whores are dying, because omelettes and eggs and all.”  And then there’s this video, which I’ve shared often, that states the prohibitionist attitude so clearly and distinctly you may even be able to see it through rose-colored glasses:

And here’s a selection from a recent article on Florida’s creation of an adjunct “sex offender” registry strictly for clients and sex workers accused of any of the “offenses” that are now fashionable to call “sex trafficking”:

…Savannah Parvu, an anti-sex-[work activist] and [prohibitionist] who advised Rep. Fitzenhagen on the bill…[believes] that that sex workers are…acceptable collateral…“Sex workers…claim they’re doing it willingly, so if a bill that is designed to [empower the police state]…puts sex workers in danger or is bad for…business…then maybe it’s time for a career change”…The bill’s authors are well aware of the criticism—but they don’t…see the issues that activists raise as problems.  “In case it was lost on you, a consensual sex worker, AKA a prostitute, is committing a crime,” Rep. Fitzenhagen said in…March…“It is not my intent to work with them moving forward”…

By all means, keep making this argument to the public, and pointing out the dangers of prohibition to reporters, academics and other potential allies.  But when you tell die-hard prohibitionists their schemes are hurting us, that’s just free intel for them from the front lines of a war against humanity they will do anything to win.

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In the current environment, we…have no choice but to suspend service.  –  Massage Republic

The Notorious Badge

Whatever one’s opinion of this show, it’s great that the media is listening to sex workers’ opinions of our media depictions:

The Twitter account for Mistress May…primarily tweets links to positive reviews of the Netflix show Bonding…because Mistress May is a fictional Twitter account created by Netflix to promote the show…unlike [real] sex workers on Twitter, Mistress May is verified…on a website that…partakes in discriminatory behavior against…sex workers [many] are outraged that Twitter would provide a platform for a fictional sex worker from a show that they have argued promotes an inaccurate and outright harmful view of their profession…

The Shape of the Spoon

If the mother doesn’t mind, how is it the state’s place to interfere?

…Jerri [Lee’s] son took an interest in drag when he was “around 3 or 4”…Jerri viewed Jacob’s love of drag as no different from her older son’s desire to play football.  It was harmless, and it didn’t hurt anyone.  Although Jacob performed as “Miss Mae Hem” at local Pride events, no one ever made an issue of it until a Facebook page…picked up a video of him performing…in December…the situation immediately began to be twisted into something it wasn’t.  [Trolls] claimed Jacob was “stripping” and giving audience members “lap dances.”  A Facebook user…made a poster saying the event was part of “Lancaster’s Pedophilia Night.”  Other…trolls…found where she lived and published the family’s address online.  They called several local police departments, children’s services, the sheriff’s office, and even the FBI…children’s services found no probable cause to investigate…[but] in early April…[politician] Tim Schaffer…introduced a bill [in the Ohio House]…to ban…adults from putting on any performance…which [perverts claim]…“appeals to prurient interest”…[naturally prohibitionists] claim it’s intended to curb sex trafficking…

What kind of pervert thinks a child playing dress-up is innately sexual, even if the costume is a cross-dressing one?

Watershed

When teen fashion magazines publish articles like this, prohibition’s days are numbered:

…continued criminalization of sex work and sex workers is a form of violence by governments and contributes to the high level of stigma and discrimination.  A systematic review and meta-analysis led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), for instance, has found that sex workers who have experienced “repressive policing” (including arrest, extortion, and violence from police) are three times more likely to experience sexual or physical violence.  But governments often fail to accept the evidence for the economic and social bases for sex work…They also ignore the wishes of sex workers, who want full decriminalization, as supported by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, and the Lancet, as well as human rights organizations like Amnesty International…sex worker rights are women’s rights, health rights, labor rights, and the litmus test for intersectional feminism…

Even the hopelessly-whitebread USA Today is getting there:

Decriminalization of sex work is just the first step in creating a more just world.  Even if all sex work were decriminalized tomorrow, large swaths of the sex working population would still face over-policing.  People of color, African-Americans especially, are routinely targeted by law enforcement for harassment and face disproportionate rates of arrest and violence at the hands of police.  Similarly, transgender individuals are regularly profiled as sex workers or other members of the street economy, and thus treated as criminals from the start…We must move beyond this culture of incarceration and policing…

To Molest and Rape 

Don’t ever think rapist cops are limited to the US:

A [typical and representative] garda who sexually assaulted a sleeping woman…has lost an [attempt to reduce his already-low]…two year prison sentence.  The [rapist]…pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman at a Mayo hotel, in July 2015…the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had gotten into the sleeping woman’s bed and was discovered by her husband with his trousers down.  He initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to guilty at a late stage of his trial…

Repeat Offenders (#704)

Even when it isn’t garment-related, “rescuers” invariably want to push sex workers into some kind of traditional feminine menial labor:

Noel Yeatts…of World Help…[describes well-paid sex work as] misery…and [wants to push]…the Gospel [on them while forcing them into]…a new baking school in Pattaya, one of the centres of Thailand’s booming sex industry…[in her looking glass weltanschauung lucrative, flexible] sex [work is]…keeping girls enslaved and…[low-paid] baking [for some cafe owner is]…freedom…

Welcome To Our World (#758)

Rape victims are increasingly treated like criminals:

Victims of crimes, including those alleging rape, are to be asked to hand their phones over to police – or risk prosecutions not going ahead.  Consent forms asking for permission to [root like pigs through private] information including emails, messages and photographs have been rolled out in England and Wales…police and prosecutors say the forms can plug a gap in the law which says complainants and witnesses cannot be forced to [let the pigs dig through their lives looking for information with which to charge the complainants with crimes rather than actually having to investigate the crimes they reported]…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#788) 

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

A nationally renowned drug rehab program in Texas and Louisiana has sent patients struggling with addiction to work for free for some of the biggest companies in America, likely in violation of federal labor law.  The Cenikor Foundation has dispatched tens of thousands of patients to work without pay at more than 300 for-profit companies over the years.  In the name of rehabilitation, patients have moved boxes in a sweltering warehouse for Walmart, built an oil platform for Shell and worked at an Exxon refinery along the Mississippi River…Cenikor…[pretends]…work helps people recover from addiction…participants have to do is surrender their pay to cover the costs of the two-year program.  But the constant work leaves little time for counseling or treatment, transforming the rehab into little more than a cheap and expendable labor pool…At some job sites, participants lacked proper supervision, safety equipment and training, leading to routine injuries…Labor experts say Cenikor’s entire business model might be illegal under federal labor law…

Disaster (#831)

When even a government propaganda outlet criticizes a law, you know it’s bad:

A popular sex classified website said…that it was shutting down its services in the United States, citing the likelihood that legal challenges would fail to overturn a…federal [censorship] law…passed by Congress a year ago.  The decision by MassageRepublic.com marks the latest indication that…FOSTA-SESTA…has made it difficult for websites selling [classified ads] to survive…

Checklist (#854)

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

[Alabama politicians] considered four [anti-sex] bills…Two…would require health care workers and new commercial drivers to go through [anti-whore] training…The third…allow[s pigs] to publish pictures of those [caught in stings]. The goal is to [imitate other states who have similar laws, in “monke see, monkey do” fashion]…The last…increases the penalties for certain buildings that don’t have [magic anti-whore] posters…

Worse Than I Thought (#869)

The hotel industry is really going to regret having collaborated with fanatics rather than fighting “sex trafficking” hysteria:

McAllen [Texas] police have arrested the manager of a local motel…on a charge of continuous human trafficking…Lucila Saucedo [was arrested]…on a charge of promoting prostitution…[for charging sex workers an hourly room rate]…The human trafficking charge against Saucedo is a first-degree felony and carries a penalty of at least 25 years in prison…

O, Canada! (#918)

Canadian cops continue to try to sell their grotesque sex worker intimidation tactics as “helping” them:

…sex workers across Ontario have described aggressive surveillance and abuse at the hands of [cops, bureaucrats] and [spooks]…massage parlour…work[ers are]…confronted by pervasive surveillance, harassment and abuse from [cops]…under the pretence of “human trafficking” investigations…these unwanted visits are driven by moral panic rather than evidence…Encouraged by the conflation of sex work and human trafficking, [cops] are increasingly invading sex workers’ spaces under the guise of protection and “rescue”.  But their “protection” is unwanted, misdirected and outright harmful…sex workers interviewed [by journalists] universally describe…abuse including assault, intimidation, harassment, threats, retaliation, extortion, unwarranted searches and seizures, and arbitrary or disproportionate application of the law…

Rough Trade (#923)

Imagine this actually going to trial in the US:

A man who removed his condom during…sex with a prostitute has been jailed for 12 years for raping her.  Lee Hogben…ignored his…victim’s repeated objections and carried on [raping]…her…Hogben denied the charge of rape but was found guilty following a trial.  After being [sentenced] Hogben threatened to shoot the…judge…Hogben [had also] threatened [the escort] with violence…and…left without paying…her…

Worse Than I Thought (#925)

Florida prohibitionists are doubling down on their awful anti-whore laws:

…[prohibitionists fantasize that] “If human trafficking was to discontinue…motel owners…would be out of business”…[politicians] must also resolve their differences over…a database of people found guilty of  “soliciting, inducing, enticing, or procuring” another to commit “prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.”  The loose definition [ensures that] sex workers…[will] be [included] in the [registry], but [politician] Fitzenhagen [doesn’t give a shit because]…“I think it’s a disgrace that sex workers are coming before the House and Senate, saying you are going to make me scared of the police, reduce my income and hurt my family if I get arrested,” she said. Well, guess what, prostitution is illegal”…

“I think it’s a disgrace that Negroes are coming before the House and Senate, saying they are scared of the police” –  Heather Fitzenhagen, 1959

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Their job was not to take my report; their job was to convince me that I was not raped.  –  Jennifer Welch

Life Imitates Artifice

Gee, I wonder where they got this idea?

…three are charged in a human trafficking case after a 16-year-old girl was found in a U-Haul truck in Ohio…a missing person report…[was filed on] Apr. 20…The next day, Cincinnati police…found [her]…she was taken by Michael Nason, Tiffany Cheek and Carl Hickman…Cheek is accused of luring the girl from her home “under false pretenses of being her guardian.”  Nason [raped her]…in the back of the truck…

Besides the obvious imitation of the linked fantasy, I must point out that the time scale – one day – is consisent with other true incidents of abduction…unlike the fantasies of girls “enslaved” by “traffickers” for months or years at a time.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I love it when they feed on their own:

A New Jersey [cop] was accused of attempting to lure and sexually assault a 15-year-old girl…Peter Tuchol, Jr…engaged in online conversations with [other pervert cops role-playing]…as a 15-year-old girl…Police executed a search warrant on Tuchol’s home and seized controlled dangerous substances, specifically anabolic steroids…

If they’re going to start arresting cops for steroid use, there are going to be a LOT of cops in prison.

Little Tin Gods

When a headline asks a question, the answer is nearly always “no”:

In January, an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle argued that the sheriff’s office should be eliminated throughout California.  “No office is less accountable or more reliable in producing scandal,” wrote the author, Joe Mathews.  Although police chiefs can be fired by mayors or city councils, sheriffs cannot..the incumbent usually has an advantage in elections, regardless of his performance…Though sheriffs have arguably become less important with the rise of city police departments, many of their offices have still grown larger, hiring more people every year…Because most sheriffs derive their authority from state constitutions, eliminating the office requires an amendment that, in most cases, must be approved by voters…[in 2000] Connecticut…voters agreed to pass a constitutional amendment to eliminate the position of sheriff…

Gorged With Meaning (#410) 

How things have changed since Belle Knox was mercilessly harassed:

The whispers wound their way through the hallways of Bear Creek High School in Stockton, Calif.  They said a senior at the school was working in adult entertainment…the Bruin Voice, the [school’s] award-winning…newspaper, whose motto is, “The Voice shall not be silenced!”…knew what to do — a profile of the girl…[who is] 18…editor…Bailey Kirkeby…felt comfortable approaching the target of the rumors because both participated in speech and debate.  The subject agreed to cooperate, even asking that her name be used…The profile…[was] set to be published in the May 3 issue of the newspaper…[and] charts the student’s path into…porn…Now, however…school administrators…are threatening to dismiss the newspaper’s faculty adviser, who was recently named educator of the year by the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists, if she doesn’t submit the article to them for [censorship]…The students are pushing back…and…the faculty adviser, Kathi Duffel, has remained resolute in her refusal to [submit]…the story [for censorship]…“This young woman has quite a story to tell…and we have every right to report it”…

Business As Usual

Buried deep in this story about presidential wannabe Pete Buttigieg’s covering up for violent pigs is the following:

…Two police sources independently recounted to TYT a story of…[cops] murdering a prostitute many years ago and burying her body in nearby Michigan…Other stories, which TYT could not immediately confirm, included rape of sex workers and homeless women, drug dealing, planting evidence, coverups, and more.  One story involved a cop accused of [orally raping] a sex worker…at gunpoint, who was allowed to resign rather than face an investigation…virtually all [sources] reported witnessing or hearing of behavior worse than the [“racist language” and other non-violent] problems Buttigieg cited in his book…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#695) 

You mean physical behavior have stronger effects than pictures?  What a shock!

New research casts doubts on the claim that pornography undermines men’s sexual satisfaction by promoting a preference for porn-like sex.  The findings, which appear in the journal Personal Relationships, provide some preliminary evidence that pornography could in some instances bolster sexual satisfaction by promoting sexual variety…There was no evidence that the desire for porn-like sex was related to reduced sexual satisfaction — but there was a relationship found between increased masturbation and reduced sexual satisfaction…“It’s possible that porn use causes an increase in masturbation, which then causes sexual dissatisfaction. But it is also possible that sexual dissatisfaction causes solitary masturbation, which then results in people seeking out pornography,” [said study author Dan] Miller…Despite the findings of reduced sexual satisfaction among those who frequently watch pornography, most men don’t feel that is has caused significant problems in their lives…

Morality Lessons (#720)

Remember this the next time politicians tell you that the point of anti-porn laws is to “protect children”:

The Department of Justice has been dismissing child pornography cases in order to not reveal information about the software…used as the basis for the charges…the private entities who developed these tools won’t submit them for independent inspection or hand over hardly any information about how they work, their error rates, or other critical information.  As a result, potentially innocent people are being smeared as pedophiles and prosecuted as child porn collectors, while potentially guilty people are going free so these companies can protect “trade secrets”.  The situation suggests some of the many problems that can arise around public-private partnerships in catching criminals and the secretive digital surveillance software that it entails (software that’s being employed for far more than catching child predators)…

Your regular reminder that the term for “public-private partnerships in catching criminals” is “fascism”.

Shift in the Wind (#733)

It’s weird how moral panics can even ensnare people with decent brains.  Angela Keaton pointed out that this article, which reads like an explosion in a Froot Loop factory, was written by a guy who is usually quite sensible and pro-civil liberties; I’m not even going to bother quoting it or playing “Count the Idiocies” because virtually every single sentence contains some lie, myth, wild exaggeration, prohibitionist wanking fantasy or just plain lunacy.  Read it if you like, but if you don’t want your jaw to drop so hard it may become dislodged from your skull, you might want to put a bandage around it like Marley’s ghost.

Whither Canada? (#799)

Given that Canada’s version of the Swedish model bans carrying sex work ads, it will be interesting to see if they go after the billboard company:

High above Portage Avenue near Aubrey Street [in Winnipeg]…stands a billboard with large yellow lettering on a black backdrop, advertising the services of “Sensational Serena,” an escort licensed with the City of Winnipeg…police say they have never before seen an escort or sex worker advertise their services in such an open and public fashion.  Sgt. Rick McDougall…[of] the Winnipeg [vice squad incorrectly]…said…there’s no law against [sex work] advertising…

Negative Secondary Effects (#836)

UK feminists’ latest attack on women’s financial security: releasing revenge porn of women who disagree with them:

In Sheffield and Manchester, men hired by the [soi-disant “Women’s Equality Party”] covertly filmed nude and semi-nude dancers in legal strip clubs. In their self-appointed mission to “save” dancers, the WEP continues to put women’s livelihoods at risk, while ignoring the explicit wishes of the women involved…Filming people…without explicit and direct consent and in clear violation of their right to privacy, is not just immoral — it is unlawful. Sharing…”revenge porn” of naked women, obtained with the explicit aim to undermine and harm them, constitutes harassment and misuse of private information under UK law. We demand that the WEP and its collaborators destroy immediately all footage obtained illegally inside clubs and apologise to the dancers…[who] have made it clear that they don’t need rescuing. They need a dignified workplace where they can earn a living to support themselves and their families…

Lack of Evidence (#838)

Discrimination against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Landlords in Nairobi…are [impotently] threatening to smoke out single women from their apartments…[due to a perceived increase in incall] sex work…Even though some landlords have succeeded, most of have been outwitted by shrewd women who [defeat the discrimination]…by bringing male companions to pose as husbands during their house-hunting missions…but…[misogynistic clients don’t like to see escorts being comfortable, and cheapskates]…are…complaining that all the beautiful women have quit the streets…

To Molest and Rape (#885) 

Know why cops don’t like to investigate rapes?  Professional courtesy:

Unbeknownst to [a rape victim], while [creepy cop Lukasz] Skorzewski was assigned to her case, he was under investigation by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for kissing and groping a rape victim whose case he was assigned to investigate…a high percentage [of rape cases in Queens are] closed due to an alleged lack of participation from the accuser or because the rape was unfounded…meaning a false report or complaint that does not fit the definition of a penal law crime…[Queens’ rate] is significantly higher than that of any other borough…NYPD…data show…24.6 percent of rape cases were closed due to an alleged lack of participation from the accuser.  Though some accusers may choose not to go forward with an investigation, the department has used the…“Uncooperative Complainant” classification to close cases even when victims want to pursue their case…a high rate of rape victims not cooperating with the NYPD indicates there may be problems with…the treatment of victims by investigators.  In Manhattan, the police closed nearly 40 percent of all rapes by indicating victims…no longer wished to participate…

Business As Usual (#905) 

Sex workers harmed by cop behavior need to keep suing until every department is buried in lawsuits:

Six women have filed a lawsuit against two Columbus [vice cops]…Steven Rosser and Whitney Lancaster, [report]ing malicious prosecution and abuse of process in violation of the fourth and fourteenth amendments.  The women…were targeted for arrest by Lancaster and Rosser after the general manager of Kahoots fired a bouncer who was [acting as a snitch]…Rosser approached the owner(s) of Kahoots and threatened that if…[the snitch] was not rehired by Kahoots [and given free reign to spy on women]…Rosser would “file a bunch of tickets”…the club eventually rehired the bouncer…[after] a number of [retaliatory] charges were filed against…the women…

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Registries deter the good guys without having much effect on the bad ones.  –  Alexandra Levy

We Told You So

Oh, what a surprise:

A…couple’s agency obtained a $1.5 million federal grant to [harass sex workers]…in Toronto…[but] the…project appears to be a sham…[La Passerelle I.D.E. used the names] of 26 Toronto women…[who] work in marketing, public relations, consulting and government…[as supposed sex workers]…in danger…La Passerelle is [also]…in hot water over misusing thousands of dollars of sports and concert tickets…The lawyer for La Passerelle, Peter Downard, [claims] the anti-prostitution program…will help young, immigrant francophone women escape from “informal prostitution,” which he describes as [actually getting something of value for their time instead of giving it to useless men for free]…

Ad Absurdum

Age of consent laws were always intended to criminalize teen sex:

The age…[of] consent…is set at the state level in the US…In states such as Montana, and Kansas, anyone over the age of 16 can engage in sex with whomever they choose…while…a 16-year-old high-school junior who has sex with someone in the year below them is…committing statutory rape…in states such as MassachusettsIllinois and California, two minors who engage in sex…might land one of them on the sex offenders’ registry for life…statutory-rape law can be a powerful tool in the hands of parents who want to prevent their teenagers from dating people they don’t like or from dating at all…this means the law disproportionally affects queer and interracial couples…Age-of-consent law as we know it today is a late 19th-century invention…In 1981…the…Supreme Court…held that “because their chastity was considered particularly precious, young women were felt to be uniquely in need of the state’s protection”.  Then the 1990s brought a push to shore up age-of-consent law in order to prevent teen pregnancy…age-of-consent law has always been…primarily focused on preventing consensual teenage sex…

AoC laws became popular as a way for parents to have revenge on young men who got their daughters pregnant, thus ruining their chances for an advantageous marriage.  All that modern crap about “child protection” is just rationalization to cover up the ugly, dehumanizing truth that despite the phrase “statutory rape”, AoC laws are more closely related to vandalism laws than they are to rape laws.

Cardboard Cutouts

Dutch sex workers are being threatened by Swedish plague carriers:

A [prohibitionist] petition is to be handed into the Dutch parliament demanding [the Swedish model]…”I am [worth]less” is the name of the social media-led campaign…[based in] Christian and feminist [dogma]…the group have posted Instagram photos showing [idiots with printed signs]…bearing [inane mottoes like]…I’m [worth]less…[and] “what if it was your sister?”…

A Load of Farley (#571)

Farley’s evil bigotry is finally coming back to bite her:

Florida lawmakers are rapidly advancing a bill they say will tackle human trafficking that would [condemn]…sex worker…[clients] to…a public registry.  But…the measure…relies on the work of [Melissa Farley] an…anti-sex work clinical psychologist who has referred to women sex workers as “house n****rs” [sic] and ”receptacles” and equates consensual sex with a sex worker with “rape”…other psychologists have described her work as “questionable”, “unqualified”, “inflammatory” and “demeaning propaganda”.  In 2010, Farley appeared as a key witness in a prostitution hearing in Ontario. The judge, Justice Susan Himel, dismissed Farley’s testimony [as]…”problematic”…[and] “inflammatory”…Several academics, writers and organizers wrote a scathing commentary on one of Farley’s reports in 2008, citing its biases and ignorance “of even the most basic legal principles”….Farley…initially denied using the racist slur, but when HuffPost sent her the archived link to the 2009 article, Farley said she was comparing “the structural similarities between prostitution and slavery”…

To Molest and Rape

This week’s typical and representative cop:

A Dartmouth [Massachusetts cop]..is facing…charges…[after raping] two children…Shawn Souza was arrested by state police…following a report from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and an investigation by the DA’s special victims unit…

Stalkers in Blue

She was “found dead” after a cop stalked her. Just a koinkydink:

A Denver [cop] will [get] a 10-day [vacat]ion and a fine for leaving work early to go to a strip club and then using a police database to look up a dancer, who was later found dead.  It is the second time in less than a year that…Shederick Dobbin has [received a light slap on the wrist] for abusing his access to the database…Dobbin was not a suspect in the [stripper’s death even though]…he [stalked]…her…and…two of [her] friends…Dobbin…previously [was rewarded with a] four day…[vacation] for [stalk]ing…the girlfriend of a man [accused] of assaulting a city employee…Denver [cops stalking women via computer]…became a focal point for the city’s Office of the Independent Monitor in 2016…

Imaginary Evils (#833)

It’s almost like feds use high-stigma accusations to force guilty pleas to lesser charges:

Allison Mack…pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering and one count of racketeering conspiracy, for threatening to release secret photos of two women if they didn’t engage in “acts of love” with [cult leader Keith] Raniere.  Mack was…arrested along with NXIVM co-founder Raniere in what federal authorities widely described as a sex trafficking case…another example of the FBI using its new favorite buzzword (and desperately trying to rack up actual prosecutions for the same) even when the charges were a huge stretch…There a lot to criticize NXIVM for…and evidence that Raniere is guilty of a host of ethical and legal transgressions…Just not for sex trafficking

Original Sin (#913) 

Nobody wants to admit that forced celibacy exacerbates these issues:

Indian authorities…charged a bishop with repeatedly raping a nun in…Kerala, the first case of its kind in the country and a development that comes just weeks after Pope Francis acknowledged a continuing problem with sexual abuse of nuns in the Catholic Church…Bishop Franco Mulakkal had been charged with raping a nun nine times over a two-year period starting in 2014…The charge sheet includes statements from 83 witnesses, including a cardinal, three bishops, 11 priests and 25 nuns…Nuns have tried for years to call attention to sexual exploitation in the Catholic Church.  They have recently stepped forward to accuse clerics of abuse in India and Italy, as well as in African and Latin American countries.  But they have also struggled to move the conversation forward among church leaders…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#926)

“Sex trafficking” fetishists are desperately trying to turn the recent racist Florida pogroms into a huge international conspiracy:

…Yujing Zhang…was charged with illegally “entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds” and with lying to a federal agent…But as of now, any links between Zhang and Li “Cindy” Yang are…circumstantial at best…Despite dramatic insinuations, there’s been no evidence that Yang was actually “selling access” to the president (or other political figures) in any meaningful way…Her consulting company, GY US Investments, arranged tours, visits, and attendance at an array of political offices, business conferences, and political, networking, and cultural events for Chinese and Chinese-American entrepreneurs…Until recently, she ran a chain of massage businesses…one of those businesses she closed in 2013.  It was opened under a new name by a woman with no apparent ties to Yang and, earlier this year, the site of a Homeland Security–assisted prostitution sting that netted…Trump supporter…Robert Kraft on misdemeanor solicitation charges…And yet some people are quickly weaving a new narrative of shady “influence” with her as some sort of centerpiece…congressional Democrats called on the FBI to investigate Yang, even though no one has produced any evidence she’s doing anything illegal…

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The way we are dealing with trafficking cases is not effective.
– Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez

Legal Is As Legal Does (#7)

Hamilton politicians should talk to those in Auckland & Christchurch:

Hamilton City Council is trying to renew a bylaw that may be illegal – a ban on street prostitution that threatens a $20,000 fine.  The Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) is dead against it, and even the council admits it’s on shaky legal ground…But…the ban is illegal [because it] recriminalises sex workers…Two attempts by Manukau City Council to ban street prostitution in 2007 and 2012 failed.  The Hamilton Mayor admits that exposes his council to legal risk…

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

Alabama’s prison…inmates are housed in unconstitutional conditions…the Department of Justice has…threatened to hit Alabama with a federal lawsuit if the state doesn’t begin to correct the violations within 49 days.  The report…lays out in unsparing detail a culture of violence across the state’s 13 prisons for men, which house roughly 16,000 inmates in dangerously understaffed prisons that are also among the nation’s most overcrowded.  During a single week…one inmate bled to death after being stabbed repeatedly as two others stood guard…Another stabbed inmate had to be evacuated by helicopter, and a prisoner…was attacked with a sock filled with metal locks…Rapes happen day and night in all corners of the prisons…more than 600…from late 2016 through April 2018…[and] the report…”did not identify a single incident in which…staff…intervened”…The prison system documented 24 prisoner homicides between January 2015 and June 2018, but the Justice Department said that…was an undercount…[because] the state [often] classifies violent deaths as arising from natural causes…

To Molest and Rape

Yet another typical and representative cop:

A Newport News [cop] was arrested…[for] rape and [anal rape] of…a girl [under 18]…the department [first] received a report on June 6, 2018 [but took their sweet time arresting their buddy, using the excuse that]…it had happened significantly prior to when the report was made…

The Enlightenment Police (#785)

Five times a day, Guilbault makes obeisance toward the capitol and chants, “the Law is the Law”:

…Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault told reporters at the Quebec National Assembly that it is the job of the police to enforce the law, and the province’s proposed ban on wearing religious symbols in some public service jobs would be no different.  “The law is the law,” Ms. Guilbault [chanted]…“People can [call the cops on others who have not hurt them]…The law is the law.”  She later clarified that she is confident officials will [mindlessly] obey the law…[even though] several Montreal-area municipalities and school boards say they would not enforce a ban on religiously symbolic garments such as the turban, kippa, hijab and crucifix from being worn by people in positions of authority, including teachers and [pigs]…the law…contain[s] no punitive measures…[but In]justice Minister Sonia LeBel said if a school board or city refuses to enforce the law, the province could obtain a court injunction to force compliance…“I’m very confident…there will be no civil disobedience,” she [lied.  Premier François] Legault later told reporters…“We shouldn’t be talking about [the gun in the room]. Quebeckers know there are means to [violently] force respect for the law”…Most of the people who would be affected are Muslim teachers who wear headscarves…

It’s cute how Canadian politicians like to dance around the inherent tyranny of laws against consensual behavior.

To Molest and Rape (#845) 

Dante would’ve placed this monster in Ptolomea:

Kenneth Collard…pleaded guilty to [rape]…and is expected to be sentenced to [a mere] five years in prison…Collard was staying at the home of an[other cop]…when he entered the [his host’s daughter’s] bedroom and [rap]ed her in the middle of the night…

Where Are the Protests? (#848)

I suggest you compare this to the “nail parlor slavery” myth:

Police have been alerted to 930 reports of [imagined] modern-day slavery at hand car washes, thanks to a new smartphone app devised by the Church of England (C of E) and the Catholic Church…Customers concerned by working conditions at a hand car wash have been urged to download the Safe Car Wash app and complete a survey which includes key indicators of modern slavery…[such as] evidence of staff living on site…

Rooted in Racism (#867)

But they want to “rescue” them!

Sex workers in the UK are being illegally targeted for deportations and subjected to harassment and attacks because of a Brexit-inspired culture of discrimination against foreigners…A dossier compiled by the…English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) includes examples of women being targeted by police for arrest and deportation despite having the right to remain in Britain, and police dismissing reports of violence against women…Niki Adams…said…“Migrant sex workers from EU countries like Romania, Albania and Poland do have the right to work in the UK but they have been picked up and deported…The police were doing things like confiscating a woman’s travel documents or passport and saying, ‘We will only give this back to you if you produce a one-way ticket to Romania’”…

The Widening Gyre (#901)

Cops don’t like it when non-cops falsely accuse innocent people of “crimes” that didn’t happen:

Santana Adams of Milton, West Virginia, has been charged with falsely accusing a man of trying to kidnap her 5-year-old daughter at the mall.  On April [Fool’s Day], Adams told the police that a stranger at the Old Navy store in Barboursville “grabbed the child by the hair and attempted to pull her away.”  The girl then “dropped to the floor with the male still pulling her”…The woman told police she pulled out a gun and the man quickly left the scene…the accused man, Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, was thrown in jail…But the case against him quickly began to unravel…By Tuesday, Zayan was released…By Thursday night…the prosecutor dismissed all charges….[after] surveillance video [showed] the two shoppers calmly leaving the store at slightly different times, going in opposite directions…By Friday afternoon the tables had completely turned and Adams found herself facing charges for accusing Zayan of a crime that did not happen.  Possible penalties are a $500 fine and sixth months in jail…

Safe Position (#919)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happenng in New York:

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez voiced his support for the decriminalization of sex work on April 4 during a wide-ranging discussion with elected officials, advocates, and members of Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn (LID).  The “decriminal­izing queerness” event, which was hosted by LID and primarily focused on sex work but also touched upon marijuana legalization, housing rights, and other issues facing marginalized groups, additionally featured Brooklyn State Senators Julia Salazar and Zellnor Myrie as well as advocates who have experience as sex workers…Gonzalez’s clear support for decriminalization comes just weeks after he unveiled his Justice 2020 plan geared towards reducing incarceration…

Business As Usual (#921)

Every so often the feds decide to make an example of an especially-horrible cop:

A Franklin County grand jury indicted [typical and representative] Columbus…vice [pig] Andrew Mitchell…in the [murder] of Donna Castleberry…Mitchell had been attempting to [rape] Castleberry when she [resisted, so]…he shot her multiple times.  Mark Collins, Mitchell’s defense attorney [tried to defame the dead victim and claims]…Mitchell was acting in self-defense [when he murdered an unarmed woman half his size]…

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I met Elsi Dawson at my Vancouver screening a few weeks ago, and when our conversation turned to new advertising venues she offered to do a guest column on the new site Tryst, which I have recently started an ad on myself.  I really like the way the site looks and operates, and I’m really hoping it catches on well enough that we can all start to abandon platforms which regularly invent new ways to annoy or actively hurt us while offering no customer service.

It’s been well-established that FOSTA/SESTA has shuttered, or at least, stunted many advertising platforms that are based out of the US.  While that nightmare has been felt most acutely by American sex workers, especially those in marginalized positions, the ripple effects have hurt sex workers in Canada as well.  The puritan moral panic that sought to end all sex-slavery has succeeded—if their goal was to cut the legs out from under independent sex workers and drive human trafficking underground.  Bravo.

Backpage went down, but the supply didn’t.  In Canada, the overflow moved to the next nearest website, Leolist – similar in function, but with better aesthetics and a much higher price tag.  Initially it seemed much more sex worker friendly, with the ability to verify yourself, bump your ad, purchase upgrades with premium features and navigate on a mobile platform.  But the longer you stay on Leolist, the more you notice that, even though it’s your credit card attached to the account, you’re not the client, you’re the product.  And, with all the people hustling on Backpage now looking for somewhere else to grind, Leolist found themselves running a monopoly.  A few years ago, an ad cost about $2 US, would go to the first page, scroll off onto subsequent pages until it expired thirty days later on page 16 or so.  Or, one could pay another $2 US to bring it back to the top of the list again at any time, multiple times a day.  A heavy volume day would probably be four or five bumps, and one could expect nearly a thousand views on their ad from that.  But post-FOSTA/SESTA, ads which used to be on Page 1 for an hour on a busy day, now barely last 30 minutes.  The result is a sex worker either not getting as much “primetime” ad exposure, or bumping more frequently to make up the difference.  After a small struggle (and a change of bank vendor) the prices changed to Euros, with a promise to keep the rates comparable.  In a move that surprised exactly no one, they did not.  Every few months for the past year, their rates have been climbing.  Not content with being at the top of the pile or having the most local traffic, Leolist gradually increased the cost of an ad, the cost of a bump, the cost of premium features.  Was it a move to try to starve out the scam artists and the fake ads?  Maybe, but we’ll never know because Leolist doesn’t have any interest in answering to their advertisers.  They don’t take comment or feedback, and even their Twitter is locked (after they directed people to contact them there).  The result is a frustrated group of independent sex workers who are watching their overhead costs tick up like the start of a rollercoaster, while their ads get less visibility and fewer bites.

And then there are the review boards.  In Western Canada, we have the archaic and wholly unwieldy Pacific Escort Review Board (PERB.cc) run on vBulletin (you know it’s bad when even academia has left the format behind).  On any given day, the old guard of “perberts” post degrading and vulgar comments about providers, their bodies and a scale-ten judgment of their services.  Hobbyists take nit-picky circle-jerk punches at “girls with boyfriends” and “girls who have cellulite” and “girls who think they have golden pussies.”  They routinely marvel at how providers could even dare to ask them for a deposit.  They jostle to outdo one another on their conquests and oscillate between “I think I’m going to quit this hobby” and “I can’t wait until the market pulls the prices back down and these girls get a good idea of what they’re actually worth.”  A month of all the ad posting you can eat (but only two ads a day, and posting a selfie counts as an ad, by the way) runs $113.  There are a litany of rules spread across eight different threads, with vague wording and a system of infractions, points, expirations, perbatory and permanent deletion.  A provider is allowed to comment on their own review, but not anyone else’s, and only while they’re “in red” (a bassackwards term that means “paid up” to them and no one else in the English-speaking world).  Necroposting (replying to an old thread to bring it back into discussion) is an infraction, and so is reposting (starting a new thread on a topic that has already been discussed but may have long since gone quiet).  It’s a minefield and a distraction from the day-to-day operations of running an independent sex work business.  Oh, and Leolist has exclusive rights to advertise on PERB – a cute little bromance that keeps client traffic swirling around the same toilet bowl.

Suddenly, a ray of hope appears.  Tryst.link arrives on the scene to balm our wounds and bring sanity to online marketing.  The superhero geniuses that brought us Switter (the Sex Worker Twitter, get it?!) when FOSTA/SESTA scared the other Twitter into shadow banning everyone with a visible nipple, have branched into making an advertising platform and it’s like a breath of fresh air.  Their team, Assembly Four, has put together a platform that works for the sex worker.  Do you want to set your weekly availability?  Sure. Wanna promo a tour? Here’s a drop-down menu for that.  Do you have different rates for different session types and lengths?  Go ahead and list them in as much or as little detail as you’d like.  Tryst, like Switter, has been built while avoiding the use of US companies, and prioritizing the privacy of the workers who reside on their platforms.  They ask for minimal personal information from clients (the basic username, email, and password) upon sign up.  Provider verification for Tryst is also quite standard and based on a handful of factors such as social media presence, other verified accounts, and verification photos.  They don’t ask for or require any civilian forms of ID for verification, and any information sent to them is treated with extreme sensitivity.  Tryst is rapidly gaining user profiles in Asia, Australia + NZ, Canada, Europe and – you guessed it – the United States of America.  As their traffic has increased (by 15.6x since November), they have encouraged feedback from providers and clients alike.  Since their launch, they’ve added features to better advertise genders, ethnicity, and transgender disclosure options at the suggestion of their members.  Their mission is not to be “your elite [cis white conventionally attractive woman in her mid-twenties] companion website” but to offer affordable and effective advertising with a sleek, contemporary, and user-friendly interface to sex workers at all price points and in all specializations.  This year, Tryst plans to implement a range of other features to further help workers of all demographics thrive in a post FOSTA/SESTA world.  For the first time, possibly ever, the way we advertise online is within our own control.  Solutions which cater to the needs of sex workers and still bring in clients are finally within reach.

What this development says to me is that whores are collaborating, investing in our communities, and coming back stronger than ever.  FOSTA/SESTA is devastating and terrifying, particularly for US providers, but It’s going to take more than a short-sighted and thinly-veiled prohibition/censorship bill to break us apart.  We’ve got a revolution on our hands, honey, and we’re not going anywhere.  This may be the world’s oldest profession, but we’re also gunning for the title of boldest as well.

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Last week I drove  up to Vancouver for the Canadian premiere of The War on Whores.  Though the screening was Wednesday evening, my producer, Paul Johnson, suggested I drive up on Tuesday in case of some delay at the border.  There was no substantial delay on the way there, but on my return trip Thursday I was delayed for almost two bloody hours at the border because…who knows?  The line was absolutely motionless for almost an hour, then finally started to creep forward in the way such lines are wont to do.  But that nuisance couldn’t ruin my mood, which was high due to the success of our screening and panel discussion afterward, in which I was joined by veteran Vancouver sex worker activist Kerry Porth, and Svend Robinson, Canada’s first openly-gay MP (who retired from Parliament in 2004 but is now running for office again).  Friday was a day of catching up, and then on Sunday I started my new GoFundMe to help cover the movie’s promotional costs!  My next screening will be at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland, CA at 7:30 pm, Tuesday, April 9th.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance.  I hope to see all of my Bay Area fans there!

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