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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

[Cops] just treat everybody as a criminal.  –  Tanya

The Swedish Pimpocracy hypocritical-swedish-politician-per-erik-muskos

It’s illegal to pay for sex in Sweden, unless you’re the government:

A local official in Sweden has a novel proposal to [let the government break its own prohibitionist laws]…give municipal employees an hourlong paid break each week to go home and have sex…In introducing his proposal this week, he told fellow members of the town council that it would give a nudge to the dwindling local population, add spice to aging marriages and improve employee morale…

Broken Record 

I’m very amused to see the hysteria Hollywood has helped promote coming home to roost:

It’s the most glamorous showbiz event of the year, with the biggest stars in the world descending on Hollywood to party…But scratch beneath the surface and it soon becomes clear that the ­Academy Awards has a side that is far darker…A booming trade in drugs and vice sees hundreds of young girls pour into LA to profit from the sex trade’s big event.  As former [sow] ­Stephany Powell [breathlessly fantasized] “Pimps know this is a time they can make a lot of money…I once [masturbated to a fantasy of] a private golf course where a tent was set up with girls in it to service men”…Girls can rake in up to £40,000 each in Oscars week…

Worse Than I Thought

What a great idea; make people unable to get to work & provide for their families!  That’ll teach them dirty “johns” not to have sexual feelings, by golly!

Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would suspend driving privileges for those who solicit prostitutes.  A driver’s license would be suspended for six months…”Maybe this would have some deterrant effect because often people do really value their driver’s license.  So if they have one that’s something that they’re going to maybe alter their behavior a little bit so that they keep it,” [clueless & sociopathic control freak] Beth Heckert said…

The Widening Gyre (#314) 

Fact: Young woman leaves hotel.  Conclusion: “sex trafficking”!

Missing Utah teenager Sarah Dunsey “was not kidnapped” and there is “no evidence any crime has occurred” in Las Vegas…The 17-year-old…left the MGM Grand hotel with two men “willingly” and without putting up any sort of struggle…Dunsey’s mother…Amie Ellis “told [cops] that she was taken by sex traffickers.  We found that not to be true”…

Wise Investment (#694)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing police departments over them:

The [Chicago] City Council’s Finance Committee…authorized a $370,000 settlement to a former city supervisor who…was…[entrapped by] a police prostitution sting.  But aldermen argued that the compensation for Hugo Holmes wasn’t nearly enough to offset the damage done to his reputation after [the government-approved public shaming following] his arrest…Ald. Anthony Beale…bemoaned the fact that there is neither audio nor video to back up the claims of an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute that Holmes solicited her for sex…

I have a better idea: why don’t we stop destroying people’s lives over “crimes” that have no victim, and therefore can only be enforced via duplicity, lies & entrapment?

One Born Every Minute (#702) Matt Hickey

Did serial rapist Matt Hickey think just ignoring this would make it go away?

When the Washington State Attorney General sued former Capitol Hill tech journalist and fake porn recruiter Matt Hickey in December, Hickey failed to respond…[so] a King County Superior Court judge sided with the state, ruling that Hickey violated state consumer protection laws by pretending to be a female porn recruiter on the internet and luring young women into having sex with him…Hickey…has separately been charged with three counts of rape...over the porn scam…

The War Goes On 

Awesome whores being awesome:

…the Sex Workers’ Mutual Care Collective…fundraises for sex workers in need…The group was formed a few months back to support sex workers in need more generally, but those reeling from the loss of Backpage soon became the priority…Vee Chattie, a 28-year-old sex worker based in Seattle, responded to the Backpage shutdown by putting out a call for people to send donations via Venmo for sex workers in need…she received roughly $1,600, which she passed along to several sex workers, many of them single moms and people of color…“People are still hurting,” Chattie said. “There’s nothing that’s really taken the place of Backpage”…

Business As Usual (#711) 

These are the same cops politicians keep urging sex workers to trust, because of imaginary “pimps”:

…the NYPD’s vice unit arrested [fourteen] people on prostitution charges…a few days [after politician’s wife] Chirlane McCray and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill hosted a press conference at One Police Plaza to [vomit out inane lies about building] trust between…police [and their victims]…”Today we are saying loud and clear that in New York City we do not punish people who are being hurt [except by cops and politicians…Those kind of people] we…call…criminals.”  From now on, O’Neill said, the department will focus its resources on [strangling sex workers’ business and getting them evicted from their homes]…An anonymous 24-hour hotline will [talk to stool pigeons and snitches]…and the public should expect “more [deception and entrapment]”…to achieve the goal, the NYPD is doubling the size of its vice enforcement unit…

The Course of a Disease (#715)

Nuns are shocked that their magical proclamation didn’t erase economic reality:

In spite of laws coming into force which criminalise the users of their services, hundreds of foreign women are still coming into Ireland to offer sex for sale…it is only with full decriminalisation that the rights of sex workers can be protected…the [Swedish] model [just enacted in Ireland] “strips women of agency and autonomy” and “still means arresting, fining and jailing people over consensual sex”…In spite of those using their services facing fines and being named in court, more than 700 women are listed on escort-ireland.com, by far the biggest prostitution website in this country…

All-Purpose Excuse (#716)

Trump’s ideas for “fighting human trafficking” mostly involve deporting people & giving cops even more power:

President Donald Trump says he will bring the “full force and weight” of the U.S. government to combat an “epidemic” of human trafficking…Trump [fantasizes that] human trafficking…is “not talked about enough” [despite being in every news source every day for over a decade now].  He says he will order the departments of Justice and Homeland Security to take a hard look at the resources they are devoting to addressing the issue…

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Poor Spider. Just on his way to work, and no one wants to sit with him.  –  Chrissy Nicole

This very strange Soviet animated short from 1989 is entitled “Fru-89 From Left to Right”; the words at the beginning read, “Frustration – a state of repressed needs”.  It was provided by Walter Olson and the links above it by Jason Kuznicki (“light”),  Jesse Walker (“nightmare”), Tim Cushing (“safety”), Ed Krayewski (“Melbourne”),  Amy Alkon (“laws”), and Violet Blue (“states”).

From the Archives

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So what if…women…are doing this…of their own free will? – Rachel Moran

The Immunity Syndrome pornhub-sexual-wellness-center

Porn isn’t sex education, but Pornhub supports it:

Porn is often blamed for miseducating people about sex…[and] members of the adult industry often counter that porn is simply entertainment and shouldn’t be expected to teach the public about the birds and the bees — but now Pornhub, one of the world’s most popular tube sites, has decided to get in the game of sex education.  On Wednesday, the site launched its new Sexual Wellness Center, an online sex-ed hub run by Dr. Laurie Betito…It has information about everything from the female reproductive system to sexually transmitted infections to testicular cancer. Betito will answer reader questions about love and romance…“[W]e wanted to provide our fans with a trusted educational platform they can utilize as their go-to resource for information and advice when it comes to sex,” said Corey Price, Pornhub’s vice president…

Shift in the Wind

While the prohibitionists continue to scream their filthy fantasies at the top of their lungs, thoughtful people are quietly coming to realize how truly awful anti-sex laws actually are:

To better control their working conditions, sex workers need the removal of punitive sex work laws, rights to security, and to be regarded as authorities in what does and does not improve their lives…Even though sex work was legalized in Hungary in 1999, sex workers continue to face mistreatment by police and other authorities…sex workers are routinely and arbitrarily fined, arrested, and detained under vague laws.  Sex workers are also regularly targeted for administrative fines on unsubstantiated grounds, such as littering or violating pedestrian or traffic regulations, in order to meet police quotas…As a result of regulations that are impossible to comply with for the majority of sex workers…a significant proportion of sex work continues to takes place illegally, even though sex work is officially legal…In a 2011 survey…more than 10 percent of the 246 respondents had been [raped] by…police…and 43.4 percent…had experienced verbal or physical assault by authorities…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

Marcel RaAnthony Richard…is charged with human trafficking and compelling prostitution.  If convicted, he faces up to life in prison…The teen, who is not being named because she is the victim of an alleged sex crime, has a history of using suggestive screen names and chatting online about sex with older men…The teen’s testimony…was peppered with “I do not recall” and “I do not know.”  She was often unclear about dates, times and events…She testified Richard had posted classified ads on Backpages.com [sic].  The ads…included…photos of a woman that was clearly not the teen…she [also] testified that she was high when she first talked with police and…[some things she said then weren’t] true…police were unable to find any specific locations [she described] nor could they locate any of the other people that the teen said she came in contact with [while supposedly being pimped by Richard]…

Checklist

Huge sums of money given to cops to inflict violence on adults for consensual sex is, alas, not news these days.  But the NYPD is being given a new list of “sex trafficking signs” that describe a very large segment of the population:

New York City…[is creating] a dedicated hotline that will allow [people to rat sex workers out to the cops]…the Vice Unit has been restructured, including the addition of 25 more detectives who will [actively hunt sex workers full-time and]…placing a greater emphasis on pimps and johns…Some of the warning signs people may exhibit are:

  • Signs of physical and/or sexual abuse
  • Lack of memory of recent events
  • Limited freedom of movement
  • Being unpaid or paid very little
  • Having limited access to medical care
  • Seeming to be in debt to someone
  • Working excessively long or unusual hours
  • Having high security measures in the work and/or living locations
  • Showing signs of fear, anxiety, depression, tension, or paranoia
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Having a strong fear of authorities
  • Appearing malnourished or showing signs of repeated chemical exposure
  • Having numerous inconsistencies in his/her story…

Most of the US population is “in debt to someone”, and most women, minorities & young people will show signs of “strong fear” of pigs who are harassing & questioning them about personal matters, including so-called “inconsistencies” due to the disorienting tactics cops intentionally use during interrogation.

Real People (#422) 

A profile of the woman who set up a home for retired sex workers in Mexico City:

After years of working the streets of Mexico City, Carmen Munoz wondered what happened to sex workers like her when they got old – so…for the next 13 years she lobbied the city authorities to provide a retirement home for elderly and homeless sex workers.  With the support of several well-known artists, neighbours from the Merced and fellow sex workers, she finally persuaded them.  The city gave them a large 18th Century building, just a few blocks from Plaza Loreto…It took a lot of work to clean up the building, a former boxing museum, but in 2006 the first women moved in.  They named the shelter Casa Xochiquetzal, after the Aztec goddess of women’s beauty and sexual power…

To Molest and Rape 

Stop faking!

A federal lawsuit brought by a Cincinnati woman against several guards and medical staff from the Warren County Jail [states that she]…was held at the jail in May 2013, after turning herself in on a four-year-old warrant for deception to obtain drugs…the jail’s nurses refused to give the woman her prescribed medicine for her epilepsy, causing her to experience seizures and withdrawal, leaving her debilitated in her jail cell…her jailers [then] Tased her, [stripped] her…turned off her running water and forced her to drink out of the toilet…[they then] held…[her] facedown…[and] at least two [pigs]…climbed on her and raped her…and…orthopedic surgeon said bone shattered on her shoulder was caused by blunt-force trauma consistent with sexual assault and would later have to be surgically treated…six days into her sentence, the woman was sent to the hospital by her tormentors, where doctors found sperm in her urine…one of the defendant nurses, Krys Lambert…said that the inmate was “playing” them, and even refused to give her medications after the jail doctor prescribed them…the guards covered the windows with black garbage bags to conceal the assault…

The Public Eye (#639) jacqthestripper-not-like-other-guys

Sex workers reaching out to the public via art:

Sex workers…are celebrated in We’re Still Working: The Art of Sex Work, a stellar exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center [in San Francisco], on view through Feb. 25…Comprising pieces created by artists who, in one fashion or another, identify as sex workers, We’re Still Working presents an array of experiences in an industry condemned by the majority of Americans as immoral and threatening to public health and safety.  To counter assumptions and harmful stereotypes about who sex workers are personally and professionally, co-curators Maxine Holloway and Javier Luis Hurtado selected the work of artists who deploy a heady mix of humor, anger and sarcasm in their respective practices, all in defiance of society’s judgement…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#662)

San Diego ramps up its anti-whore pogroms:

More than 400 people were arrested in a three-day statewide sweep aimed at [harassing & impoverishing sex workers]…”Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” also resulted in the [arrest] of 28 [underage sex workers] and 27 women…142 male suspects were arrested on suspicion of solicitation, 238 suspects on suspicion of prostitution and 36 male suspects on suspicion of pimping…”This operation sends a clear message to those who would pay for sex in San Diego County,” [vomited out] Chief Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan…

Finding What Isn’t There (#672)

Are people really so stupid they can’t understand that calls to a hotline represent only the prevalence of beliefs, suspicions and paranoia, not actual crimes?

Reports of domestic human trafficking continued to increase in 2016…according to…the Polaris Project…Almost three-quarters of the calls were made in regards to [fantasized] sex trafficking [despite the fact that it’s only a small fraction of] labor trafficking…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

More on the useful idiots who are trying to destroy the internet:

Lawsuits in New York and California are attacking an important tool protecting online free speech by alleging the interactive computer services…promote terrorism…Without Section 230 protections, innovators would not create online public forums for fear they would be held liable for terrorist attacks or every comment made on their websites…courts have repeatedly dismissed the actions citing Section 230, and rejecting allegations that social media companies provide material support.  At least one of the cases filed against Twitter has been dismissed twice.  The others are similarly unlikely to succeed…

The War Goes On 

We’re seeing more editorials critical of the War on Whores:

Whenever a liberal feminist politician talks to a socially conservative politician, no doubt they’re conspiring to harass sex work.  This truism revealed itself again as Sen. Dianne Feinstein…told…Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing that “human sex trafficking was the second largest criminal activity in the United States.”  Human trafficking costs are estimated at $9 billion a year…Since the drug trade is worth $100 billion, and Medicare fraud is estimated at $60 billion, Feinstein’s estimate was not in the same league, never mind ballpark.  She also repeated the debunked untruth that the “average age” of trafficking victims was 12-14 years.  How many six-year-olds do you see strutting on Fourth Street?  A Department of Justice study released in June 2016 concluded there could be as few as 4,500 underage youth in the sex trade, and only 15 percent had pimps.  Feinstein’s fake statistics fuel the growth of sex trafficking laws that punish actual adult working women and their clients to satisfy politicians’ lust for power…

An Example To the West (#708)

As glad as I am to see this story getting wider press, the use of minimizers like “some” or “not all” to mean “the vast majority” really grates on my nerves, as does the ignorant assertion that sex work is illegal in most countries (totally false, though most do have laws which allow cops to persecute us).  Bonus:  white women like Rachel Moran and Ashley Judd coming to India to negate the voices of tens of thousands of women as “a tiny minority”.  Note Judd’s incompetent parroting of Gloria Steinem’s moronic comments about “body invasion”, which makes it sound as though she shares arch-lunatic Sheila Jeffreys’ belief that intercourse is “unnatural”.

That Old Black Magic (#708)

It’s good to see at least a few judges recognizing these fantasies as such:

A mother accused of trafficking a Nigerian woman into the country and forcing her into prostitution has been acquitted after several inconsistencies emerged in the alleged victim’s evidence.  The complainant had previously told a jury she underwent a “voodoo process” in her home country during which she swore she would not report the alleged trafficker, Joy Imasogie…the alleged victim told the jury that she had stopped working as a prostitute in 2008…However…evidence…showed that the woman continued to work as a prostitute after this date…The woman told [bureaucrats] she was still working as a prostitute and that she advertised her services on the internet.  She also said she didn’t want help to leave that way of life.  The judge also noted that the alleged victim was found in the same house as the accused’s husband and €14,000 in cash on a date after she said she fell out with Ms Imasogie…

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I like to see people dressed when they’re in public.  –  Tom Weathersby

I don’t generally like these “Top Ten” video things, but I wanted to honor the passing of John Hurt, possibly one of the most underrated actors of our time, by reminding you of his many top-notch performances.  The links above the video were contributed by Brooke Magnanti (“steakification”), Tim Cushing (“easy” and “first”), Emma Evans (“paging”), Lucy Steigerwald (“police”), and Carol Fenton  (“counseling”).

From the Archives

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When I say by any means necessary that would be up to those in charge.  –  James Tomes

It recently came to my attention that Mystery Science Theater 3000 has been uploading full episodes onto YouTube, so to call attention to that I’m going to feature their treatment of Prince of Space, one of my favorite so-bad-it’s-good movies (though it pales in comparison to the Starman movies).  The links above it are from Radley Balko (“necessary”), Mike Siegel (“sirree”), Jesse Walker  (“gaslight”), and Mark Bennett (“smug”).

From the Archives

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If all the little black books in the world were opened, far more than golden showers would trickle out.  –  Brooke Magnanti

License to Rape

Another excuse to justify rape:

…Inmate visit procedures for Rikers Island state visitors are subject to search at any time.  Before anyone is allowed to visit an inmate, he or she must pass through a metal detector and have items such as handbags pass through a fluoroscope machine. If the metal detector sounds an alarm, prospective visitors might face a “pat frisk” search…Jasmine Quattlebaum…was led to a private area by a female [screw] who asked her during the pat frisk to unbutton her pants…“Once I put my hands back up, she pulled my panties out, takes her two fingers, and just jams it in between my crotch…I slapped her hand away a little bit”…When she objected…the [screw] “tried to pull both of my hands together with one hand, and she tried to still put her fingers into my crotch”…her experience is one many female Rikers visitors experience, according to information from 311 complaint calls obtained by The Intercept…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

After arresting one of their own, pigs oink a lot of nonsense about how the families they damage in stings were magically damaged before (but presumably didn’t know it):

Dunwoody [Georgia] Police say a months-long [violation of peaceful citizens’ private lives] has netted nearly 60 arrests…Police Chief Billy Grogan [bloviated that sex work]…“damages families” [yet somehow arresting fathers doesn’t]…DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston said the arrests should send a strong message…“Both supply and demand must be eradicated if we are to stop…consensual sex”…Among the accused customers arrested is Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Chris Quinn…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

My friend Cris Sardina of Desiree Alliance on the ridiculous “statistics” spouted by prohibitionists:

…If you look at any leading anti-trafficking organizational rhetoric…hundreds of thousands of sexually exploited people…are held captive by hundreds of thousands of pimps…[Norma Jean] Almodovar satirically makes a valid point in questioning Polaris’ statement as to why neighbors wouldn’t take notice of the lines of men waiting outside to be sexually serviced in the approximate 15 minutes they would have from the door to the sexual act itself?  In truth, these much cited numbers would entail victims to service 25 to 48 men daily during a 12 hour shift, with no time to take care of daily functions such as using the bathroom, eating, sleeping, or texting the Polaris BeFree Textline…andrew-sustaita

Scapegoats 

Presented without comment:

A [Houston, Texas] sheriff’s deputy is out of a job after a [not remotely] shocking allegation…[involving] production of obscene material that includes sexual contact with a dog…Andrew Sustaita Jr…was relieved of duty after his arrest…

End Demand

On what planet is “end demand” anti-client bullshit “disregarded” in “sex trafficking” propaganda?

[New Hampshire’s] Trafficking in Persons Council announced its new “End Demand” campaign…“Conversations about sex trafficking almost exclusively disregard the role of the individual buying sex — the ‘john,’” TIPC Chairwoman Jillian Gilchrest said [moronically]…

Sold Out

Pride Toronto has voted to ban police from having any official presence at future parades, making good on a demand made by Black Lives Matter Toronto last year…

Size Matters (#566)

If Rainbow is “notorious”, I’d hate to see what adjective they use for me:

Seattle-area madam Rainbow Love has again avoided prison time for operating a string of Seattle-area “temples”…Love, 51, pleaded guilty to pimping- and drug-related crimes…[and] was sentenced…to inpatient drug treatment, rather than jail…

Choke Point (#593) 

Think you’re safe being a sexual minority just because money isn’t involved?

Recent censorship enacted at FetLife is the result of financial discrimination by multiple credit card processors who have ceased business with FetLife for what the processors claim are “Illegal or Immoral” reasons.  It began for users one week ago when FetLife announced changes to content guidelines, stating “We can no longer allow FetLifers to publicly share sexual pics and vids containing blood visible in them.”  Then without warning, Fetlife deleted hundreds of groups and literally thousands of fetish categories that represented a range of kinky communities (like ones with hypnosis, blood, and humiliation in the name).  This was in response to to significant pressure from FetLife’s credit card processor…

A Woman’s Point of View kate-murray

Given all the “sex trafficking” rhetoric and agency denial, I smell a whiff of Swedish rot here rather than actual decriminalization:

Four female [New Hampshire] representatives have sponsored a bill that proposes establishing a committee to study decriminalizing…sex work…[yet] one of the bill’s sponsors…Kate Murray…said…”I have no interest in legalizing prostitution…this is about…human trafficking with the goal of protecting the victim”…the committee would study reports about sex work and human trafficking by Amnesty International, the World Health Organization, the International Labour Organization, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, Human Rights Watch, the Open Society Foundation and Anti-Slavery International…and…would also study prostitution laws in Germany, Great Britain and New Zealand where it is legal…

To Molest and Rape

Your regular reminder that rapist cops aren’t solely an American aberration:

a garda detective has been suspended after a woman accused him of demanding sexual favours…this…is the third garda from the same district to be suspended, transferred or disciplined over separate sexual assault cases…the Garda Ombudsman (GSOC)…shows 70 allegations of sexual offences were made between 2010 and 2015. However, so far, only one of these cases has resulted in the DPP directing there be a criminal prosecution…

Permanent Record

The prohibitionist Seattle Times once again prints a story containing the typical libel against sex workers without consulting any sex workers for the story, despite the fact that this particular reporter knows several of us and has our phone numbers:

[New and awful Washington state] legislation would extend the statute of limitations from three to 10 years for the crimes of human trafficking, commercial sex abuse of a minor and promoting the commercial sex abuse of a minor.  “For victims of human trafficking, the very nature of that relationship is that they’re under the control of their trafficker,” [attorney general] Ferguson [fantasized while touching himself]…Many victims are reluctant to go to police and are so traumatized by their exploitation that by the time they come forward, “three years has gone by and there’s no justice for that victim”…Embedded in the bill to extend the statute of limitations is a request to alter the legal definition of commercial sex…[to] change “fee” to “anything of value,” which could mean drugs, food or even a bed for the night…

The War Goes On 

Lawheaded idiots are amazed that their persecution of Backpage didn’t magically make sex work go away:

Backpage.com…shut down its erotic services section where most prostitution ads were posted.  But in New Orleans, people posting ads for prostitution have found an easy workaround:  Just post them in the section reserved for people looking for dates.  At least 60 ads had been posted in the “Women seeking men” section of the website…Jan. 17…Some of those ads contained emojis that [fetishists fantasize]…the prostitute may be underage…the volume of ads began rising significantly on Jan. 10, the day after Backpage announced it was shuttering its adult services section…

Elephant in the Parlor (#705)  

My friend Brooke Magnanti on politicians & whores, including a quote from me:

The rich are jaded souls.  Kinks that we otherwise associate strictly with lifestyle BDSM seem to litter stories about wealthy men caught in compromising positions…For some sex workers, golden showers are bread-and-butter work.  Dominatrix friends admit to chugging diet cola by the litre in preparation for such dates…Nearly every sex worker has at some time met someone powerful and famous.  Because it isn’t just about the kink, it’s about the discretion…Maggie McNeill, an escort in Seattle, remarks: “I personally could wreck the careers of a dozen politicians.  And there are roughly half a million [sex workers] in the US”…

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Inside of the White Slave TrafficWith Backpage in the news so much, and various government actors vomiting out so many egregious lies about it, I thought it might be a good idea to recap how this whole shitshow developed from its roots in the previous “sex trafficking” moral panic to the present political circus.  See, while the politicians want you to believe that Backpage is some sort of magical pimp machine the likes of which has never been seen before, the truth is that Backpage ads are the end result of a slow and steady progression of advertising starting roughly a century ago, just after prostitution was criminalized in the US at the height of the last go-round of hysteria over “sex trafficking” (or as it was called then, “white slavery”).  Once brothels could no longer operate openly, escort services appeared, while some women chose to frequent hotels and such and others preferred to take out personal ads in newspapers.  Once the alternative weeklies appeared in the 1960s, the latter approach became far more popular; escorts were able to be more blunt than they could in major newspapers, though not remotely as blatant as they later became once those weeklies went online.  Even the name “Backpage” is a tribute to the site’s origin as an online version of the back pages of alt-weeklies, where the classified ads (including escort ads) were located.  In fact, the only important differences between the online version and its print ancestors are those directly related to the differences between the online medium and the print medium, such as ease of access and speed of both posting and reply (ask a whore who worked prior to the late ’90s about going to one’s PO Box to pick up actual paper letters from clients answering one’s ad, requesting appointments days or weeks in the future).

So when Craigslist first appeared in 1996 as an online classified ad site, it was a foregone conclusion that whores would post ads in its classified and massage sections, just as they had in newspaper sections.  It wasn’t any kind of “revolution”; it just sped things up and made them more efficient.  But whenever a new technology is involved, you can be absolutely sure the Puritans and Luddites will insist that it’s the source of all manner of new evils, and that it will surely bring about the end of civilization (usually by corrupting women and harming children, naturally).  It took them over ten years, however; though Craigslist had a dedicated “erotic services” section by 2002 (I’m not sure of the exact date it was added), the “sex trafficking” fetishists, at that time far less numerous and vociferous than they are now, did not really begin to take note of it until sometime after 2005.  That was the year bureaucrats from the San Francisco Department of Public Health embarked on a campaign to blame the site’s personals section for a rise in syphilis among gay men, using the typical government argument that adults are so stupid and passive that they need to be “encouraged” or “facilitated” by some corporation or communications medium to do things like have sex.  The blame-game seemed to attract the attention of the “sex trafficking” fetishists, and by the following year they were starting to put pressure in the site to “do something” about their favorite imaginary problem.  A group of 40 state attorneys general demanded that Craigslist facilitate pigs’ attempts to arrest sex workers (under guise of “stopping “trafficking”, naturally) and the site responded by requiring a working phone number and charging a fee to post in the erotic services section (to keep underage people out).  Of course, that wasn’t enough; the following year Craigslist renamed the section to “adult services” while prohibitionists blathered about how much money the company was making from the fee they had forced it to charge.  Finally, in 2010 the site shuttered the section, putting up a “censored” bar over the link to it, and advertisers either migrated to Backpage (founded in 2004 specifically as a competitor to Craigslist) or went back to advertising in the personals & massage sections as they did before the “erotic services” category was established.

Drunk with their victory, the prohibitionists immediately turned to Backpage; within weeks of Craigslist’s defeat they sent a similar letter to the one they had sent Craigslist, no doubt expecting a similar reaction.  Instead, they got a fight which has gone on for over six years, with Backpage winning at every turn for the simple reason that the government’s demands are blatantly unconstitutional.  But the evil don’t stop being evil merely because they’re wrong; faced with repeated defeats in their attempts to take legal action against the company, government prohibitionists decided to simply take illegal actions instead, ranging from Tom Dart’s threats against credit card companies to Senate “hearings” of the same sort previously held to intimidate moviemakers, comic book publishers and the music industry.  Then in October, California attorney general Kamala Harris upped the ante by committing the blatantly criminal act of arresting the CEO and both owners of Backpage and filing charges against them that she absolutely knew were illegal for her to file.  Naturally, a judge slapped her down, and she replied by filing even more ridiculous charges, shitting all over the dying protection against double jeopardy in her quest to be a hero to fanatics.  Exhausted and facing the prospect of an infinite succession of similar nuisance charges from criminal tyrants the courts seem unwilling to charge or even rein in, Backpage finally followed in Craigslist’s footsteps and censored its adult ads one week ago today.

But while the mainstream reaction to Craigslist’s defeat was largely a collective yawn, the same is not true this time around.  While Craigslist’s resistance and eventual surrender was generally conducted rather quietly, the war on Backpage has been extremely noisy and impossible to ignore; as a result there have been many articles about it already.  The best of these, as usual, is by Elizabeth Nolan Brown; David Meyer Lindenberg of Fault Lines and Mike Ludwig of Truthout, both strong and dependable allies, also wrote on the topic, and Alison Bass ridiculed Nicholas Kristof’s predictably-ridiculous take on the subject.  Sex workers are coming together to help each other find alternative advertising resources, and other groups such as free-speech advocates and anarchists are chiming in as well.  Backpage has vowed to continue the fight, and I certainly hope they do, because as soon as they stop struggling the prohibitionists will need to find another advertising site to turn into a monster.  Their campaign of eternal outrage needs a target for its hate, or else it means the end of all the accumulation of money and power which is the true aim of this ugly anti-sex crusade.

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