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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

[Current law] leaves the door open for prosecutors to go after any teens who sext.  –  Doug Honig

Saving Them From Themselves

“Progressive” Washington state reaffirms its “liberal” views on sex:

…the Washington State Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of a 17-year-old who sent a dick pic.  The court found that state law allows him to be convicted for distributing child porn, even when the photo he sent was of himself.  Legal advocates…[warned] that the ruling…make[s] it possible for prosecutors to charge sexting teens with crimes that will follow them for the rest of their lives…In an amicus brief…the ACLU of Washington, Columbia Legal Services, TeamChild, and the Juvenile Law Center argued that upholding the teen’s conviction is a “strained and erroneous interpretation” of child porn laws that “would jeopardize thousands of minors…by criminalizing…common and normative adolescent behavior.”  The groups said the teenager’s conviction runs counter to the [supposed] intent behind the law, which is to [supposedly] protect children from exploitation, not convict them for taking pictures of their own bodies…

The civil rights groups’ statement is highly disingenuous; the intent of such laws isn’t to “protect” anyone, but to punish people for sexual behavior of which “authorities” disapprove.

Surplus Women 

When a sex worker dies, the media treats it as a form of lurid entertainment:

Sarah Woods…of Portsmouth, [Ohio]…[was] found dead [on August 22nd]…Wood’s death was quickly a popular topic on social media…Woods had a long history of drug abuse and prostitution.  She had also lost many of those closest to her to drug abuse…Woods was still actively prostituting and using crack cocaine…[family members] saw Woods leave with an unidentified man that had helped set up clients…for Woods…

Legal Is as Legal Does

The difference between legalization and decriminalization cannot be stated too often:

…campaigners for criminalisation…often use the terms “legalisation” and “decriminalisation” interchangeably as if ignorant of their enormous differences.  Legalisation holds sway in Nevada, Amsterdam and Germany, automatically criminalising any who do not comply with the regulatory regime – this may include those unwilling to register with the state, undergo high cost compulsory frequent medical checks or who wish to work in their own premises rather than large venues controlled by someone else.  Decriminalisation, the removal of laws relating to consensual adult sexual behaviour, has been instituted nationwide only in New Zealand…

Signs (#650)

Beware of hotels eager to suck the cocks of “authorities”:

…two Motel 6 locations in Phoenix [are] routinely sending in leads to…Immigration and Customs Enforcement…”We send a report every morning to ICE—all the names of everybody that comes in,” a front-desk clerk told the [Phoenix] New Times…court documents show that “between February and August, ICE agents made at least 20 arrests at Motel 6s, showing up roughly every two weeks” while there was a distinct lack of “records indicating that ICE conducted arrests at other local motels during this same time period”…Motel 6 has a history of nationwide narc-ery, as documented by the American Civil Liberties Union in a 2015 statement about the chain’s habit of collaboration with local police…

One Born Every Minute (#685) 

It’s always a pleasure to see whore-raping scum thrown in prison:

Mario Ambrose Antoine, a Kansas City-area man who posed as an adult producer and talent agent to [rape] women…and film them, was sentenced…to 10 years in federal prison without parole…Antoine told the women, who signed contracts and modeling release forms…that they would be paid thousands of dollars for their auditioning and modeling activity…when the women complained about not being paid, Antoine forwarded images of their sexual activity to their employers or significant others…

Wise Investment (#717)

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

…An arbitrator has awarded $17.5 million to a former Swedish Health neurosurgeon who says he was fired in retaliation for questioning the practices of another top surgeon.  Dr. David Newell lost his job a year ago, and Swedish contends he was fired for failing to notify the organization that he had been arrested and jailed in a Seattle prostitution sting…“For this arbitrator to award Dr. Newell $17.5 million — at a time when…there is a [moral panic about imaginary]…sex trafficking and…[adult] women [are making their own sexual decisions] — is unconscionable and outrageous,” said Swedish’s CEO, Dr. Guy Hudson…Newell contends the prostitution issue was used as cover to get rid of him after he had raised internal concerns about Dr. Johnny Delashaw, a star surgeon who…had his state license suspended

Until the Establishment suffers more from each “sting” than the victims do, such evil scams will never stop.

Too Close To Home (#729)

I hope this rapist spends the rest of his life on the “sex offender” registry:

For five months, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray rejected calls for his resignation [after it became known that]…he sexually abused teens decades before entering politics.  But…he announced his resignation [last] Tuesday…after news emerged that a younger cousin was publicly accusing Murray of molesting him in…the 1970s…Since the [facts] began to emerge in April, Murray has continued to [pretend] he is innocent…

Yes, this is the kind of sociopath who thinks he has the right to persecute adult men for seeking consensual sex.  If there’s any justice in the world John Urquhart, Dan Satterberg and Val Richey will be joining him in the same prison.

To Molest and Rape (#731) 

When the molester is a cop, sexual assault becomes “interfering with civil rights”:

Cleveland [cop] Kenneth Bolton Jr. pleaded guilty to charges including gross sexual imposition as well as misdemeanor interfering with civil rights in a plea deal that allowed a kidnapping charge to be dropped…Bolton pulled over two women…after [being tipped off about their looks by]…another [cop]…Bolton used a sex toy [that he found by illegally searching their car] to rub their genitals over their clothing…he will now have to register as a sex offender.  He will also no longer be able to serve as a [cop in Ohio, though he’ll probably be hired elsewhere]…

At least he’ll be on the “sex offender” registry, which rapist cops usually escape.

A Broker in Pillage (#750)

It looks like Congress is split on whether it’s OK for pigs to rob citizens blind:

…the House of Representatives…approved an amendment to [an]…Appropriations Act that will roll back Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s expansion of asset forfeiture.  Amendment No. 126 was sponsored by a bipartisan group of nine members, led by Rep. Justin Amash…Sessions revived the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, which allowed state and local police agencies to [steal] assets and then give them to the federal government — which would in turn give a chunk back to local police.  This served as a way for these local agencies to [openly violate] state laws designed to limit asset forfeiture…Rep. Don Beyer…[said] “Civil asset forfeiture…creates a perverse incentive to seek profits over justice.”  The amendment passed with a voice vote, meaning it had overwhelming support…

The Mote and the Beam (#773)

What might the internet look like if SESTA isn’t stopped?

…With the threat of overwhelming criminal and civil liability hanging over their heads, Internet platforms would likely turn to automated filtering of users’ speech in a big way.  That’s bad news because when platforms rely too heavily on automated filtering, it almost always results in some voices being silenced.  And the most marginalized voices in society can be the first to disappear…The modern Internet is a complex system of online intermediaries…which we use to speak out and communicate with each other.  Those platforms are all enabled by Section 230, a law that protects platforms from some types of liability for their users’ speech.  Without those protections, most online intermediaries would not exist in their current form; the risk of liability would simply be too high…SESTA would…shift…additional liability to intermediaries.  Many online communities would have little choice but to mitigate that risk by investing heavily in policing their members’ speech…

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I think that is an interesting attempt to cover their butts.  –  Adam Frank

Here’s another song that I considered my favorite at some point in childhood.  There are several interpretations of the lyrics; any of them present an interesting coincidence, given that I was much too young to have any idea of their meaning (I just liked Freda Payne’s voice and the way the song sounded musically).  The links above the video were provided by Eddie J CunninghamPatrick Nonwhite, ClarissaJesse WalkerMistress MatissePopehat, and Nun Ya, in that order.

From the Archives

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The trade union movement has to decide whether it’s going to back workers…or…police.  –  Laura Watson

Monsters 

The Swedish model protects sex workers!

Last year, France passed [the Swedish model, under the pretense of]…protecting sex workers from prosecution, but…[as sex worker activists predicted] it is simply driving them further underground and exposing them to far more danger.  Transsexual prostitutes who work in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne…are disproportionately affected…

Prudesville 

A new twist in Everett, WA’s absurd “bikini barista” melodrama:

Bikini baristas…are suing [Everett] over its ban on serving “quick service” food and drinks with bare shoulders, midriffs, or upper thighs…a group of seven baristas and one coffee stand owner filed a federal lawsuit alleging a violation of their rights to free expression, privacy, due process, and equal protection…Everett isn’t claiming that the regulations serve any food safety or public health purposes…the point of the dress code is to prevent…baristas from giving customers a peep show for extra cash…Employee violations can lead to fines for business owners, along with a requirement to register for a special license (which the city can deny)…if the owners are judged to have “facilitated” the “lewd conduct,” they can be slapped with a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.  Essentially, Everett has created a crime similar to promoting prostitution—but for facilitating skimpy clothing…

Law of the Instrument (#560)

Picture what you’d think of as “sex trafficking”, then compare it to this:

A St. Louis man who was employed at a high school is facing child pornography and sex trafficking charges after police said he exchanged illicit texts with a 15-year-old male student at the school.  Michael A. West…told the [young man] he could get him an opportunity to make money for performing sexual acts…

Cases are this are why even some not-completely-stupid people believe that “sex trafficking” is increasing; “sex trafficking” charges certainly are.

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Add Dayton, Ohio to the cities mailing blatantly-unconstitutional “Dear John” letters to the registered addresses of vehicles passing through certain neighborhoods:

So far this year, the Dayton police Vice Unit has mailed 18 [threat letters] to the owners of vehicles that were spotted in areas [police claim to be] known for high levels of prostitution.  The letters are supposed to [scare] people [by claiming that wanting sex]…is a “serious offense” that carries potential…deadly disease and other sexually transmitted infections…[often] the recipients are spouses or business owners whose vehicles were in the possession of [others] when [cops decided to stick their noses into others’ business]…

To Molest and Rape 

The US government claims it takes reports of cops raping women seriously…as long as they’re not US cops:

…two U.S. students…were raped by Carabinieri policemen who [took] them home in a patrol car from a nightclub…three patrol cars went to a nightclub to investigate a fight.  Two cars left after calm was restored, but the third remained.  The women…told authorities that the [cops] drove them to their apartment building and raped them…witnesses…confirm[ed] they saw the women enter the patrol car…

Uncommon Sense (#669)

The IWW was the first major union to support sex workers rights, but it won’t be the last:

The GMB and ASLEF have come out in support of the full decriminalisation of sex work in Britain, the first major unions to do so…The unions, which have a combined membership of over 600,000, are calling for the UK to adopt full decriminalisation, similar to the approach adopted by New Zealand, which since 2003 has provided sex workers with legal protections…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#687) 

“Sex robot” hysteria gets ever sillier:

A cybersecurity scientist has issued a bizarre warning that sex robots could one day rise up and kill their owners if hackers can get inside their heads…cybersecurity lecturer Dr. Nick Patterson [fantasized] that the lifelike dolls could end up going all “Terminator” on us…hackers could breach the realistic robots’ inner defenses and catch their owners with their pants down…

Does this idea seem familiar to regular readers?

The Widening Gyre (#735)

They finally realized they could expand the panic by adding male “sex slaves”:

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation [formerly “Morality in Media”], Washington College, and The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking held a historic press conference…to kick off the first ever symposium on the sexual exploitation harming boys and men.  The government, NGOs, and society at large have overlooked male victims of sexual exploitation, the organizations [pandered]…Haley Halverson…of…the [NCSE fantasized]…that [the] estimated range of male trafficking victims hovers in the hundreds of thousands”…

The NCSE is a fundamentalist Christian anti-porn organization which is also behind the recent tactic of getting conservative states to declare porn a “public health crisis”.

Comfort Zone (#769)

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

…”It had been more than 10 years since Gari, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala…had seen his younger brother.  So he was surprised earlier this year when he received a call from a federal government agency telling him his teen brother had emigrated alone from the Central American country to the Arizona-Mexico border…the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…asked Gari to take legal guardianship of his brother….officials [lied]…that it wouldn’t jeopardize his own safety….[but] Gari…was arrested…by federal immigration agents who had used his little brother as bait“…immigration attorney Yazmin Rodriguez…knows at least three other similar cases…ICE [pretends] using children fleeing violence as bait “[is] part of a broader mission to disrupt human trafficking”…

The Mote and the Beam (#773)

The odious Nick Kristof finds it “baffling and perplexing” that internet companies don’t want the internet destroyed by sociopathic politicians on a witch hunt:

Sex traffickers in America have…a…crucial (if secret) ally: Google…organizations it funds have for years been quietly helping Backpage.com, the odious website where most American [passive, vegetable] victims of human trafficking are sold, to battle lawsuits from [ambulance-chasers fantasizing that] children [are] sold there for sex.  Now Google is using its enormous lobbying power in Washington to try to kill bipartisan legislation that would [enable profiteers to sue]…websites that [they claim] promote sex trafficking [or virtually any other federal crime]…as Backpage fights off prosecutors and worries about the legislation, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, Google has emerged as its behind-the-scenes champion…

What I find “baffling and perplexing” is that so few people recognize “One-hand” Kristof’s BDSM masturbatory fantasies about underage girls for what they are.

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The point [of vice laws] is keeping cops busy, giving them a chance to play hero, and letting them seize all the assets they can.  –  Liz Brown

Check Your Premises 

This is why sex workers shouldn’t “debate” prohibitionists; it gives an air of false legitimacy to people who are so stupid and deranged that they make up their own facts, support them with outright lies, then argue that stalking, harassing, humiliating, evicting and impoverishing women is actually “helping” them:

De[ranged politician]…Thangam Debbonaire  [fantasized that]…punishments must remain in place for the “pimps and punters” who “buy and sell other women’s bodies”.  The [ignorant prohibitionist]…was arguing against Niki Adams, a spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes…Debbonaire said [propaganda] produced by the Police Foundation, a [pig-fellating] think tank, [fantasized] women working in three-quarters of Bristol’s 65 brothels were…coerced, trafficked and forced…she [fantasized that]…“if I’m exploited as a prostitute and someone says, ‘I’m going to pay to have sex with you’ and I then change my mind for whatever reason, and they insist on having their commercial contract fulfilled – which legalising or decriminalising would do – then they are raping me, and I have no choice”…Debbonaire said she supported prostitution continuing to be against the law so that [pigs can rape]…women [instead]…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

The anti-porn loons are completely losing their minds:

Uganda’s pornography detecting machine is said to be coming soon…the machine is said to be able to detect both deleted and current pornographic materials stored on people’s computers in Uganda.  This apparently includes detection and blocking of porn photos, videos or any graphics taken or saved on anyone’s phone, computer or camera…The…machine…cost Uganda’s government $88,000…and is reported to have been developed in South Korea…It is not exactly clear what the porn detector machine actually is, i.e. whether it is a content filtering machine which all ISPs in Uganda will be expected to connect to, or whether it is some of a deep packet inspection system…

She Should Know Better

As I’ve pointed out before, Arianna Huffington is a world-class hypocrite. Despite the fact that she made a tremendous amount of money via her sexual liaisons with men, she allows her rag to host propaganda claiming every other woman who does it is a “victim”.  And now she’s hosting some of the most vile filth I’ve seen in a while; prohibitionists drunk on blood and money have now expanded their claims from the usual “women have no sexual agency” to the much larger “no person has sexual agency”.  And as usual, the silence from Gay, Inc is deafening despite the fact that a very large fraction of gender and sexual minorities have participated in the sex trade from either the selling or buying side, or both.  I’m not going to quote any of this regurgitated feces; suffice to say that the lunatic who wrote it has expanded the “money is a magic mind-control spell” idiocy to a whole new level.

The More the Better 

Sex work is work, and there is no specific “sex worker type”:

…Rosie Renee, a 22-year-old from Queensland, quit her job as a personal trainer to enter the lucrative “camming” industry and decided to share her story to break down sex industry stereotypes.  But after reading comments from critics claiming she needed to “go to school” and that she “can’t possibly be proud”, Ms Renee took to her Facebook page to address them directly.  “I’ve worked harder and have done more than just about any other 22-year-old I know…I built, owned and operated a gym, I’ve managed restaurants, I ran my own cleaning business, I PAID out of pocket to get an education after high school and yes I am proud of what I do because I’ve worked damn hard (I’ve worked harder as a cam girl than I have in even the most hands on vanilla job I ever had)”…

Bogeymen

Remember this next time you hear pigs oinking about how many “pimps” they arrested:

A husband and wife…were arrested.  She was charged with a misdemeanor.  He’s facing a human-trafficking charge and decades in prison.  The case perfectly encapsulates how harsh laws against human trafficking are used to target sex workers’ families, friends, and colleagues who so much as drive them to meet a client.  It also showcases the sexism at work…Neither [Jason] Hicks nor his wife Heather…were involved in anything the average person would think of as sex trafficking; this was just an old-fashioned vice sting…

The Public Eye 

Another sex worker turned performing artist, this one a rapper:

…Chae Buttuh is definitely true to this…HoFi and its sexiness was inspired by a brief time in my life when I escorted.  I don’t escort now, unless I have to.  I hate it…it’s the customer that matters type shit…I’ve been a sugar baby for almost 10 years now…I met my main sugar daddy when I was 18, he was 42.  He fed me, housed me, and  really helped me a lot (He actually funds a lot of my touring)…from the outside it all seems good, but it’s not always.  I’m constantly worrying about when he may just stop and I’m left stranded…I want to be able to survive off my art and quit the sugar baby game…

I Saw My Brain

Your regular reminder that Grady Judd is an utterly loathsome excuse for a human:

A Florida sheriff said…he’ll arrest people with open warrants who seek shelter from Hurricane Irma…”If you go to a shelter for #Irma, be advised: sworn [law enforcement officers] will be at every shelter, checking IDs.  Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office tweeted [last] Wednesday morning as the hurricane hit the Virgin Islands. “If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we’ll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail”…

Just a reminder: most “registered sex offenders” are only guilty of “offenses” like public urination or sexting/having sex with peers while teenaged.  And most “warrants” are for garbage like unpaid fines or missed court appearances; most of those fines are for things like broken tail lights or expired license plates.  For most of my twenties I had warrants on a regular basis, probably about once a year; in much of the US, especially the South, having warrants is almost synonymous with being poor.

Lower Education

Emily Yoffe takes a deep dive down the “campus rape crisis” rabbit hole:

…[Kangaroo courts] were mandated or strongly encouraged by federal rules that govern the handling of sexual assault allegations on campus today.  These rules proliferated during the Obama administration, as did threats of sanctions if schools didn’t follow them precisely…a new attitude about due process—and the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty—has taken hold, one that echoes the infamous logic of Edwin Meese, who…argu[ed] against the Miranda warning.  “The thing is,” Meese said, “you don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime.  That’s contradictory.  If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect.”  There is no doubt that until recently, many women’s claims of sexual assault were reflexively and widely disregarded—or that many still are in some quarters…But many of the remedies that have been pushed on campus in recent years are unjust to men, infantilize women, and ultimately undermine the legitimacy of the fight against sexual violence…

The Mote and the Beam (#762)

Jeremy Malcolm uses the imminent destruction of the internet by SESTA as the jumping-off point for a broader discussion of censorship in the name of “THE CHILDREN!!!!!

…SESTA will cause significant harm to those who have nothing to do with sex trafficking, impacting free speech and innovation across the Internet.  And this is only the latest in a long line of measures taken in the name of child protection by both governments and private companies that actually have much more sweeping ramifications for users…

The Mote and the Beam (#763)

Now that “sex trafficking” hysteria is endangering the entire internet, the ACLU and other groups have finally decided to pull their thumbs out of their arses and say something:

We, the undersigned human rights and civil liberties organizations, write to convey our significant concern with S.1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which was introduced earlier this week…the approach of SESTA, to create substantial new federal and state criminal and civil liability for the Internet intermediaries that host third-party speech, will lead to increased censorship across the web…These entities – including website operators, email providers, messaging services, search engines, access providers, and more – form the platform on which all online speech depends.  These intermediaries in turn depend on protections from liability for the user-generated speech they host and transmit.  Without this protection, intermediaries would face a potential lawsuit in each one of the thousands, millions, or even billions, of posts, images, and video uploaded to their services every day…

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Brooke Magnanti has released a new, revised edition of her book The Sex Myth, retitled Sex, Lies and Statistics.  This was adapted by Brooke from her afterword (the foreword was written by yours truly), and I hope it will serve to encourage you to buy the book, which demolishes the shoddy garbage prohibitionists hold up in place of actual facts.  And it’s on sale now!

Media are obsessed with promoting a view we would previously have dismissed as Victorian.  There are indeed parallels.  The end of the 19th century and start of the 20th brought new technologies to add to the dissemination of ideas through mass media (much like the Internet today)…with the predictable horror and blame that brought then, just like now.  The political class made some unexpected alliances as a result; again, we see this happening.  Feminism has joined the anti-sex bandwagon in a big way.  Not just by blaming men for inequality between the sexes, but perhaps more profitably and successfully by blaming other women.  Many mainstream feminist critiques gloss over old “man-hating” attitudes and place blame squarely on other women.  Instead of embracing women who challenge convention, the preoccupation is with shooting them down.  On the one hand, we’re told that anyone who believes women and men should have equal rights under the law is a feminist, whether they know it or not.  On the other, we are told that one or another group of women are traitors.  It’s the feminists who have taken up the finger-wagging role of the patriarchy.  Take, for example, this quote by Julie Burchill:  “When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women.”  Advocating the murder of large numbers of women is such a great way to win supporters to the cause, no?

The more you look at the key players behind some of the stories, the more you notice odd pairings.  A group working closely with the anti-gay, anti-abortion US lobbying group using a female MP as the mouthpiece of their opinions on porn.  The well-known feminists signing up to work with far right groups.  Celebrities lending star power to issues they don’t understand at all.  Almost all approaches to these issues fail to consider the diversity of factors involved.  The “Swedish model” of sex work is an example of this.  Lots of hype, not a lot of data on whether paid sex work has stopped or whether anyone’s life has been improved as a result.  Columnists like Joan Smith can gush about jumping in to a cop car to see how the law is panning out, all while ignoring the fact that sex workers repeatedly confirm that the police are their greatest source of harassment, assault, and rape.  Proponents of the Swedish approach mention how “pressure” is ramping up on this topic – pressure that they themselves have generated through unchallenging media coverage.  When in doubt, follow the money.  Over and over again the people fronting these campaigns are connected to industries with vested interests, radical right-wing think tanks, or anti-LGBT lobbyists.  The deputy editor for the New Statesman previously worked at the Mail and is rumoured to have subedited Jan Moir when she wrote a viciously homophobic column about Stephen Gately’s death.  Arch-feminists like Julie Bindel write for staunchly right wing, regressive magazines like the Spectator.  There’s a saying where I come from:  you got to dance with the one who brung you.  I wonder, when everyone gets to the end of their dance cards, what promises feminists have made and what obligations they’ll have to honor.

Before 2009, when I wrote books under a pseudonym about my experiences as a sex worker, there was no small amount of grumbling in the press.  After I won the Guardian Best British Weblog award in 2003, a number of female contributors to that paper signed a letter vowing that if I was commissioned to write for the paper, they would quit.  Yet I continued to believe that if they knew I was real, they would feel differently.  It’s probably not a surprise to you that I was unprepared for what any fool could have predicted would happen.  Since coming out as a former sex worker, I have been criticized for being too middle class, too well educated, too independent.  As if my very existence in sex work was, somehow, unique.  But data across the spectrum of sex work shows this not to be true.  In any case, if I admitted to a drug addiction instead, or had been homeless?  That would have been used to write me off, too.  It is bizarre to read articles by people who’ve never met me attempting to dissect this or that bit of my life.  Some lazy commentators “blame” me for the existence of other call girls, or whatever new student sex worker is uncovered by the tabloids.  As flattering as that is, it is not true.  Prostitution is called “the oldest profession” for a reason.

After a while all such nonsense became background noise.  I assumed the combined forces of feminists and the Rescue Industry had nothing worse up their sleeves.  I was wrong.  When the first edition of this book was published in Britain in 2012, it was embargoed before publication day and available to fewer than 20 people to review.  Journalists who saw the book signed confidentiality agreements.  So it was a great surprise to wake up on the morning of publication slapped with a libel lawsuit from Eaves For Women, the domestic violence charity whose hapless forays into research are touched on in this book.  If their work had been published in academic journals, anyone writing to correct their numbers would have been treated professionally, but this was not academia I was dealing with.  Obviously, I did not write anything about Eaves that could not be verified, and just as obviously, they had not been sent a pre-publication copy of the book by my publisher but had been given one by book reviewer – and Eaves board member – Julie Bindel.  The firm representing Eaves in this lawsuit threat?  The one with Bindel’s wife as a founding partner.  The Eaves claims would have been hilarious if they had not been so ludicrous.  They claimed I “hacked their servers” to get information about their income and expenditures (as with all UK charities, it’s public information available on government websites) and “broken confidentiality agreements” to discuss their research (I looked up their publications from conferences, also available online).  Their arguments depended on evidence so far-fetched it could have served as a bad science example in the book itself.  I later learned this was not the first time this had happened.  Eaves had threatened to sue so many people, so often, they even served legal threats on Bindel’s own employer at the time, the Guardian newspaper for an article by Belinda Brooks-Gordon (Bindel is no longer on Guardian staff, but freelances for them).  The intellectual dishonesty of someone like Bindel, who claims to be “silenced” and a “free speech” advocate yet uses archaic laws to try to silence opposition, is staggering.  Unsurprisingly the threatened suit was without merit and quickly dropped.

Meanwhile, the media feminists of the UK rounded on me.  Julie Burchill wrote one article claiming I was a “sex addict”, another calling me a “human toilet”, and compared me to a convicted (and executed) Nazi war criminal; this was especially offensive as I am of Jewish heritage.  The “feminist” literature magazine that published those last two tidbits claimed they did not know what the words meant.  Sorry, Mslexia, but ignorance is no excuse.  They did not apologize.  One feminist turned up at a talk in Edinburgh to shout to the audience that I was a pedophile and claim my screenshots of the Glasgow City Council’s website (showing how much they paid for anti-strip club consultations) were faked.  Others picketed talks and book signings, sent death threats, and harassed me so frequently by phone that I gave up on carrying a mobile altogether.  They contacted my former editor at the Telegraph in an attempt to get me fired – long after I’d already quit.  Few in journalism seem to care that the people doing this are all a couple of degrees of separation from known anti-LGBT and white supremacist orgs in the US.  All anyone wants is to see the naughty, naughty sex lady be punished.  They don’t care how it’s done or who does it.  This, I was told, was the price of being a sex worker in public.

Writers with the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, many of whom launched careers by harassing trans women and sex workers, also got the boot in.  Their assistant editor, Helen Lewis, sits on the board of a charity that is anti-sex work and anti-trans women.  She and other feminists joked on social media when a former partner tried to sue me for reporting his abuse (he later dropped the suit to much less fanfare).  They encouraged Breitbart to run a week-long campaign of harassment and abuse.  They egged on nasty “investigative journalist” Jeremy Duns who made sexual threats against me and my husband.  They examined photos from my escorting days, speculating on whether I was “hot enough” have been a sex worker, and speculating about what diseases I might have.  They circulated a list at public events suggesting that I and others were employed by a shadowy “Pimp Lobby” and financially benefitting from trafficking (if that’s the case, I have yet to receive a paycheck).  The laughable list, compiled by Julie Bindel, included a number of people uninvolved with sex work at all, including an artist who died in 2010, so it’s clear fact-checking is not a valued quality among these people.  The abuse peaked when they outed a trans camgirl whose Twitter account they thought had been written by me.  It wasn’t – but in the process they humiliated a woman who was not yet out to her family.  Their supposed evidence?  We both supported Scottish independence, and both, at different times, used the phrase “snake oil”.  In spite of having got it drastically wrong, no apology to the woman they doxxed was forthcoming.  Why would anyone do this?  In short, to control the narrative.

It would be unthinkable – to most people, anyway – to have a discussion about women’s rights that did not involve any women.  Or a discussion about race that did not include people of color.  But time and again when the topic is sex work, sex workers themselves are not simply ignored, they are actively excluded.  What do sex workers want?  A seat at the table.  To be able to work together for safety.  To report crimes against them without fear of arrest.  For services to be made available that are not dependent on them giving evidence against others.  To not live in fear of deportation or abuse by police.  In short:  they want the same protection under the law that any other worker can expect.  And not only is this what sex workers want, it’s what the evidence supports as best practice.  We’ve seen the benefits of decriminalization in New Zealand, in New South Wales Australia.  We’ve also seen what goes wrong in Sweden, in the Netherlands, and in the US.  International agencies from the WHO to Amnesty agree.  But this evidence-driven support for decrim hasn’t come out of thin air.  Much has been written on the disruptive effects of social media, but this much is true:  if not for the internet, people like me would never have been able to challenge the stereotypes with facts.  Marginalized people with multiple oppressions – black trans sex workers, drug using sex workers – who would otherwise fear being outed, are being taken seriously by a mainstream that otherwise would never have known they existed.  The infantilized victims who need rich white ladies to save them, it turns out, are fully capable adults who can make their own decisions and won’t hesitate to tell you that.  And that makes some folks with vested interests very upset indeed.

What happened to me was not the first nor even worst example.  Entrenched second-wave feminists in media have harassed trans politicians out of their jobs, driven black cultural commentators off of social media, and consistently outed and trashed any sex worker who crosses their paths.  Heaven help you if you happen to belong to more than one of these groups.  They reserve the worst treatment for the most marginalized, secure in the knowledge that society does not care because they told society not to.  The disinformation campaign used to sustain sex myths was a glimpse into a post-truth world where what matters is not what is right, but who can get the most money.  Some of those folks were so threatened by one woman and one book that they tried to bankrupt, discredit, and silence one blogger.  A movement backed by billions of dollars in international grants is so susceptible to people seeing the real data, they will stop at nothing to keep the truth from getting out.  And they are not interested in ethical debate; they demand that their point of view be bowed to in any discussion, even (and especially) if that means keeping the discussion centered on their feelings rather than other people’s right to exist.  They use the media not to understand, but to bludgeon.  They simply do not care if their information is incorrect.  I started off believing that open debate was the best way to win hearts and minds; I ended up realizing that some people will use that to drown out anyone who does not agree with their own intolerant, hate-filled views.  There simply is no way to have a debate with people who characterize you as an “orifice” who “should be dead in a ditch.”  There is no common ground to be found with people who willingly promote your abusers.

And yet, in all the negativity, there are signs of light.  In the years from when I was a sex worker in 2003, since I came out in 2009, and after the first edition of this book in 2012, the ground has rapidly shifted.  When Amnesty International rejected threats from famous feminists and backed the decriminalization of sex work based on the evidence, it was a win for a sex workers’ movement that far predates and will long outlast any one person.  When I gave evidence to UK Parliament in 2016, the MPs – to my surprise – took the suggestions of sex workers on board in their report, rather that listening to entrenched and well-funded special interests.  In Scottish Parliament, Rhoda Grant (who receives funding from the anti-gay, anti-abortion charity Care) has tried three times to introduce criminalization of sex work, and been defeated all three times.  Evidence really does win out from time to time; it might not seem that way in the moment, but things are changing, slowly and surely.  In 2009 and 2012, it felt as if every week brought new abuse from a media obsessed with surfaces instead of content.  So-called progressives shame and reject us, even when sex workers were early supporters of feminism, gay rights, and other movements that have since gained public acceptance on the back of that effort.  In particular, the most marginalized sex workers from black and trans communities were the ones most likely to be erased, people like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, and many more.  Slowly and surely their legacy is being reclaimed, too.  The pendulum of attitudes about sex and sexuality is always in motion.  I hope that in my lifetime the burden of shame felt by so many for so long will be lifted.  With evidence and hard work we can reclaim the narrative – and take back our lives from the playground bullies of shame and fear.

Brooke doesn’t pull any punches in this new, US edition; it’s a vital debunking resource for those who support sex worker rights, and you really, really, REALLY ought to read it!

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It’s been a while since I’ve had to say this, but as my readership has grown it’s inevitable that I’ve picked up readers who don’t get it.  Some people who visit here, or read my tweets, seem to think they’re on YouTube, Reddit or some other site dominated by testosterone-addled adolescent trolls and can therefore get away with saying any stupid, rude thing that comes into their minds.  So I’m taking today to correct that misapprehension in those of you who may be suffering from it:  this is my online “house”, and if you’re going to visit here you’ll have to play by my rules (which I helpfully spelled out more than six years ago).  A little over a year after that, I penned a helpful sequel called “How Not To Get Your Comments Posted“, which you should read right now if you’ve been coming here for less than five years.  And yet, the narcissistic ninnies still refuse to get that:

A) throwing garbage out of my own space does not constitute “censorship” in any way because I’m not a government and you’re still free to strew your filth anywhere else on the internet that isn’t mine; and

B) I am not your dancing monkey; I am a professional entertainer, so even though I don’t charge people to read my blog or Twitter, if you want me to entertain you in some way that I am not interested in freely giving (such as by engaging in stupid arguments with you), you’re going to have to pay me for that just as you would have to pay me to play the part of your mother, daughter, sister, teacher, secretary, or whoever else you’d like to fantasize about fucking or being chastised by or whatever.  And it won’t even cost you my full rate; for internet argumentation not involving sexy talk, I only charge $100/hour (minimum 30 minutes).

Every sex worker has hard limits, things she won’t do no matter how highly paid, and I’m no exception; for example, I don’t do scat play and I won’t see anyone before noon except as the tail end of an overnight or part of a multi-day gig.  And in the argument department, you can forget about my “debating” you on the topic of whether or not the State has some imaginary “right” to control adults’ sexual choices, or the “right” to send armed thugs to spy on, harass, threaten, brutalize, rob, rape, cage, humiliate or otherwise harm individuals for any consensual act (including the “possession” of some object or substance the state has decided it doesn’t like).  In fact, I have absolutely zero tolerance for bootlicking, toadying, pig worship, partisan cheerleading, authoritarian apologia or any other sycophantic defense of the police state; I have no stomach for evil or for useful idiots who enable evil via their spineless excuses for it, so if anyone posts comments or tweets at me with such filth I will view it as tantamount to the intellectual equivalent of a monkey flinging poop, and that individual will be muted or banned so quickly he may not even realized what’s happened.  I do the work I do because it’s right, not because I’ve been sentenced to it, and I feel no masochistic need to watch the noblest of animals abase itself by groveling to sociopathic control freaks who think every individual is their personal or collective property.

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Laws, like houses, lean on one another.  –  Edmund Burke

The inability of naive people to understand the power of legal precedent is one of the greatest forces for evil in the world.  These well-meaning dunderheads simply refuse to understand that once a law is passed and enforced unchallenged, or when the state prevails in challenges to that law, that other laws and procedures can follow on the trail blazed by the first one.  It makes absolutely no difference what the “intent” of the first law was, nor if the laws which follow it were passed with completely different intentions; once the precedent is established that it’s OK to criminalize xa, laws that criminalize xb, xc and xd are quick to follow, all leaning on the first like Burke’s row houses.  Any legal weapon given today to any state actor for use against people you dislike, will be used tomorrow against people you like, and once the process gains momentum it’s nearly impossible to stop before it reaches xz.

It seems so obvious, one has to marvel that people still don’t get it; they’re willing to give “their” guy extraordinary weapons to deal with what they view as a menace, and can’t seem to fathom that someone else with very different ideas about what constitutes a menace will occupy the throne in a very short time, and that extraordinary weapon will still be available to him in the armory, to use however he pleases.  Useful idiots are so convinced of their own righteousness, they’re unable to conceive of anyone branding them as evil.  It’s the result of a sheltered existence in which the force of the state has never been used against them, just against others they can feel good about standing up for.  Last weekend I was tweeted at by one such idealistic fool, who insisted it’s possible to draw a “bright clear line against ‘hate speech'”, differentiating it from other kinds of speech so as to allow censorship.  This nitwit was seemingly unaware that “hate crime” laws have already been extended to cops via so-called “blue lives matter” laws in several states; from there it’s only one more step to criminalizing speech that criticizes cops or politicians, and a package of laws going through Congress right now paves the way for paying for sex to be classified as a “hate crime” by defining it as “gender-based violence”.  And after that, it’s just one step further to defining speech about decriminalization as “hate speech” because it “promotes gender-based violence”.  But do sheltered idiots who talk about “bright clear lines” vs “hate speech” get that?  Nope, because never once in their sheltered ninny lives have they seen laws and policies maliciously applied to harm them or those they love.  They just sit in their freaking ivory towers and blame some convenient “other”, when in actuality the laws used as weapons of oppression were supported and cheered on by previous generations of useful idiots exactly like them, who never admit that oppressors rarely take power; they’re given it by privileged idiots to fight Muslims, “sex trafficking”, “terrorists”, “Satanists”, “sex predators”, “criminals”, “illegal aliens”, drug users, whores, communists, Jews, black people, the “yellow peril”, “witches” or whoever the fashionable villain of the day might be.  And the evil effect of those laws remains long after the moral panic is gone, causing both direct harm themselves and indirect harm by propping up the still-more-evil laws that inevitably follow them.

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