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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

No one has said…that we want prostitutes to have a good time while we also try to stamp out prostitution.  –  an “expert adviser” to Norway

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

Elizabeth Nolan Brown has become a force to be reckoned with:

Every year some 1,000 new children are trafficked for sex in Ohio, while an additional 3,000 remain “at risk” of being trafficked, according to U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty [of] Ohio…[who claimed the figure] came from a report commissioned by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.  The only such report comes from 2010…At the root is an FBI-led operation that took place in Toledo and its surrounding county between 2005 and 2009, called “Operation Innocence Lost”…Toledo…[is] a city with a decaying economy and one of the highest crime rates in the region…number one in Ohio, and 49th in the entire United States.  In the course of Operation Innocence Lost…60 [young people were labeled] “minor victims of sex trafficking.”  Forty-five—an average of 15 per year—came from Lucas County.  It’s this number from which the committee extrapolated for all of Ohio.  Using Lucas County population data, the researchers arrive at the conclusion that 15 per 24,965 Ohio girls ages 12 through 17—or 0.06 percent—are “successfully recruited into the sex trade from Ohio each year.”  With 337,961 Ohio girls in this age group overall, that 0.06 percent rate yields an estimate of… 202 per year…[another] study claims that every minor…knew an average of 5 more underage minors “that were not known to law enforcement, but who were engaging in the sex trade”…[so they multiplied the “estimate” by 5]…

It gets worse from there; the article is well worth reading in its entirety.

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Dude argues that censorship is OK because Donald Trump is running for president. I am not making this up:

It is time to ban pornography…We find it perfectly acceptable that smut, no matter how [much I personally dislike it], should be widely available…“Ban” strikes us as a nasty word…But are bans really so terrifying and impossible?  We are not averse to banning something when we think it is really wrong.  We are happy to “ban” murder, rape and even certain types of speech (try yelling “Fire!” in a theater)…Gail Dines…has found [exactly what she wanted to find]…Happily, the left appears ready to take up the censor’s task…pornography…serves as an instruction manual for the subjection of women…the rise of Donald Trump provides evidence of pornography’s social harm…If you cringe at Trump’s sneering misogyny, then join me in calling for a ban on the thing that made his crude appeal possible…

Droit du Seigneur 

The people prohibitionists want to “rescue” us:

A “disabled” ex-cop with ties to the mob has been accused of…running dozens of prostitution Web sites…Michael Rizzi…who retired in 2000 on a disability pension…[owned] nearly 60…Web sites…Between 2012 and 2016, the operation processed more than $2 million in credit-card transactions…Rizzi’s wife, Jill, is the daughter of Gambino family muscle Richard Juliano…

Notice it’s never called “sex trafficking” when cops are involved:

A “prostitution ring” in  Kentucky’s capitol city may have shared a lot more than proximity with powerful state officials. The operation, allegedly run by former Franklin County constable Thomas Banta, is accused of servicing a roster of local legislators and police officers…He’s charged with five felonies, including promoting prostitution, kidnapping, and impersonating a peace officer…The case does contain a few red-flag details, such as a claim by one woman that, under Banta’s direction, she had appointments with 15 to 20 clients per day, twice a week, and was once offered $500 to have sex with a dog…one claims she was in eighth grade when Banta first started paying her to have sex with him and others.  Interestingly, none of the Ketucky media that have reported on the story have been throwing around terms like “sex trafficking,” despite the possible link to at least one underage woman.  I guess it’s only sex trafficking when former government officials aren’t involved.

The Prudish Giant

The original article of this title referred to Google, but Facebook long ago surpassed it in prudishness by at least an order or magnitude:

…The spaces in which we interact online are largely controlled today by corporations…these unelected “sovereigns of cyberspace” operate without accountability, and often with little respect to our hard-won freedoms.  On today’s Internet, those making the rules aren’t elected officials but technocrats — mostly male and mostly American.  And those making day-to-day decisions about what we can and cannot see aren’t judges with years of training but low-wage workers at outsourcing firms in places like the Philippines…Facebook…has created its own set of “community standards” that are intended to be globally applicable…Under Facebook’s rules, sexual content is banned, as is most nudity (though exceptions exist for works of famous art, photos of mothers breastfeeding and post-mastectomy images).  Shirtless photos of women are forbidden, while shirtless photos of men are fine…The human body is not inherently sexual, nor are all depictions of sexual acts pornography.  By lumping together porn with all other sexual content — and lumping sexual content with nudity — Facebook is setting a new standard, one that is far more restrictive than our Constitution, and one that treats women’s bodies as shameful…

Above the Law  

Since I have a new subtitle for rapist cops, I’m now going to use this one for other kinds of officials:

An Iowa Department of Transportation driving instructor forced a customer to view sexually explicit photos and videos of himself during an exam and then threatened her to keep quiet…John Wayne Alexander…is charged with felonious misconduct…and harassment…The 60-year-old abruptly retired from the DOT in March amid a disciplinary investigation…A…woman seeking to have her license reinstated told police that Alexander instructed her to pull into [a] parking lot…saying he wanted to smoke a cigarette…then gave [her] his phone…and said that he needed her to delete several photos, which showed him “in various forms of self-pleasure and undress”…Fearing for her safety and license status, the woman says she deleted the images as told.  She gave the phone back to Alexander, who then forced her to watch a video of himself masturbating and using a sex toy…

Guinea Pigs 

Don’t be fooled by this article’s appearance in Forbes; if you look closely you’ll realize it’s a “guest post”, which is to say a sponsored article like paid ads in newspapers made to look like actual articles.  One telling sign of that?  Forbes now blocks users with adblockers, yet I have no trouble accessing this because it is an ad, just presented as news.  Anyhow, much of this is the usual mixture of incredibly bad numerical charlatanry (such as the painfully stupid claim that fewer than 0.6% of the male population somehow manages to support the entire 0.3% of the female population which are full-time sex workers) and intensely moronic “solutions” such as magical apps that “children” can activate for “rescue” if they’re suddenly “trafficked” by “pimps” jumping out of bushes at them.  But if you can last that long without your eyes rolling entirely out of your head, look at all the calls for mass surveillance in this.  Yikes.

Fever Dream (#541)

I don’t give a damn what the cops’ victims did for a living; it’s the article’s language that’s horrifying:

…the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) [arrested] 32 people…in Knoxville…Human traffickers all around us [sic].  If you’re buying or selling, you are part of the $150 billion business — and part of the crime…Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch calls human trafficking the “scourge on society” and [masturbates while claiming] his department is committed to doing all that’s necessary to protect victims…

Despite all the “trafficking” talk, the sex workers were arrested and charged with the clients and all charges are ordinary prostitution-related ones.

Crying for Nanny (#570)

A long, revolting exercise in bootlicking intended to raise support for an idiotic lawsuit which every sane person understands cannot win:

…every lawsuit filed by…[an] underage [prostitute] against Backpage has been dismissed because of a law called the Communications Decency Act of 1996.  The law protects [websites]…from being held legally responsible for what users post…“If someone publishes a faulty motorcycle [ad on Backpage.com], the buyer of that motorcycle shouldn’t be able to sue Backpage merely for posting the ad, that doesn’t make sense,” said ABC News’ senior legal correspondent Sunny Hostin…Backpage [said]…”making online service providers responsible for millions of posts by third-party users…[would] inevitably [result in] highly restrictive censorship or the total banning of certain categories of online content so that online service providers are not in constant anxiety about potential liability for the one ad that slipped through their moderation systems”…

Of course, censorship is exactly what prohibitionists want.  Don’t read this unless you have a strong stomach for graphic depictions of cop worship & bootlicking.

Saving Them From Themselves (#597)

I hope he wins and establishes a precedent:

The investigation of a “sexting” case involving a…teenager, and the desire by prosecutors and police to repeatedly obtain photos of his genitalia, sparked a national uproar in the summer of 2014.  Authorities backed down from their second search warrant for explicit photos, and the teen was placed on probation.  The case took a further turn last December when the detective, David E. Abbott Jr., was accused of molesting two young boys and killed himself as police moved to arrest him…The teenager, Trey Sims, 19, filed a federal civil rights suit…against both Abbott’s estate and Claiborne Richardson II, the…[district] attorney who [colluded with] Abbott to [manufacture “child” porn by photographing]…Sims’ genitalia…Sims was then charged with manufacturing and distributing child pornography, but the girl was not…Richardson and Abbott only charged Sims because he is male, a violation of his equal protection rights…

Turning Point

Emily Bazelon pisses the prohibitionists off even more by promoting Amnesty International’s pro-decriminalization platform:

On Wednesday night, Amnesty International released its long-awaited policy…calling on governments around the world to “decriminalize consensual sex work.”  Amnesty also wants countries to “include sex workers in the development of laws that affect their lives and safety”…Amnesty’s researchers spoke to 54 people in Norway, including police officers, prosecutors, academics, social science providers and 30 sex workers, including three victims of trafficking…Amnesty’s basic finding is that Norway’s laws punish people who sell sex — not through arrest but in a variety of other ways.  One researcher told Amnesty that police forces in Oslo “often use terms like they are going to ‘crush’ or ‘choke’ the [prostitution] market, and unsettle, pressure and stress the people in the market”…

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I could be a slave to the banks for the rest of my life, or I can spend a few years doing this and I could be free.  –  JohannaVillage Voice 5-18-16

Gorged With Meaning

Yes, this is yet another article on student sex workers; what makes it interesting is its “so what?” tone and emphasis on facts over hysteria.  It concentrates on NYU, but it does mention other schools, most notably “Oregon’s Portland State University…the only college in America with a student sex worker outreach program…no one involved [is] permitted to speak publicly…[by order of] the university’s administration…”  The article also quotes veteran activist Norma Jan Almodovar (much to the chagrin of some snotty youngsters who were still in diapers when Norma was already doing activism).

First They Came for the Hookers…

Regulations on sex work are never intended to “protect” the workers, no matter what politicians claim:

Dancers in Mumbai are apprehensive about new laws that…limit dancers’ ability to earn a decent wage…Varsha Kale…of the bar girls’ union…[says] they have been treated like children and ignored.  The new laws dictate a number of restrictions…[including a] 3 feet high railing separating the dance floor from the seating area [with] at least 5 feet between the railing and the customers…Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis admitted…that the state’s intention…was to ensure that dance bars do not survive.  The new laws also state that dancers must receive a fixed salary and will not be able to directly receive tips…This is a step backwards for dancers, who fought hard to end fixed salaries nearly 20 years ago…

The Lion and the Ox

In the US media, “sex trafficking” is now just a dysphemism for “sex work”:

Fifteen men from 6 different states will likely be prosecuted after being arrested during an undercover sex trafficking mission…by the Portland Police Bureau’s Sex Trafficking Unit.  The mission focused on addressing online sex trafficking…The…15 men contacted undercover police officers to arrange payment for sexual acts…

Try not to laugh too hard at self-important cops calling their pathetic little deception a “mission” as though they were the A-Team or something.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

…the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management…mission is…allegedly…preparing for and responding to terrorism and natural disasters, so it’s…a joke that its officials are concerning themselves with catching unlicensed massage therapists and people engaging in prostitution…[they] and police…took down four women…all Asian Americans in their early 40s…Each was charged with one count of unlicensed practice of massage therapy.  One of the women was also charged with one count of prostitution…

Backwards into the Future (#334)

Which is to say, the second country in the entire world:

South Africa may become the first African country to decriminalize sex work.  If it does, it will be one of a handful of countries that have fully decriminalized sex work (including New Zealand and New South Wales in Australia)…Currently only Senegal makes some provision for legal sex work and subjects it to regulation…

Opting Out

But it’s not a surveillance measure, no sirree!  Because THE CHILDREN!!!

The [United Kingdom] is going to force…all sites that contain pornographic material…to verify that their users are over 18, forcing them to register their age and potentially even their credit card details…[domestic] sites that don’t comply with the ruling could be banned from advertising or even shut down entirely…the blocks [will] apply…to any [sites] that…would get an 18 rating if they were classified formally…Free speech campaigners and civil liberties experts have repeatedly criticised the Government’s plans…but the Government has repeatedly cited [bogus] research about the availability of porn to children and the damage that it can do…

Cops and Robbers

How barbaric!  This is TOTALLY different from what American cops do:

During the night of 17th to 18th of May, Viacheslav Datsik and his supporters illegally raided a brothel…in St Petersburg where 10 sex workers were working…He broke down the door and under the threat of beating the women working there he forced them to undress completely, and then took them to the police naked.  He managed to carry out an attack on a similar establishment in central St Petersburg, but he was detained by the brothel’s security guards and was taken to the police station.  Datsik has a huge criminal background…and…has been imprisoned several times.  He is a former member of the ultranationalist Slavic Union…and…[intends] to run for the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg.  If elected, he has promised he will promote laws against sex work.  Datsik believes the penalty for sex work in Russia should be forced labour…Datsik filmed…the…raids and shared these videos with the media…In the past [Datsik has] threatened and raped several sex workers…

The Public Eye (#511)

Here’s a glimpse at the return of the Sex Workers’ Opera:

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#618)

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

Prostitution is heavily frowned upon in [Indonesia but]…there is no specific law that penalises it, with people only facing legal action when acts are associated with other crimes.  The fact that the legal status of prostitution remains a grey area has helped commercial sex to become a big business in cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya…In a bid to stop the flesh trade, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa vowed in February that by 2019 Indonesia will be free from prostitution and all the red-light districts in the country will be shut down…Days after the announcement, Jakarta’s oldest red-light district, called Kalijodo, was demolished.  But that does not seem to have put the brakes on the sex industry.  Many workers from there seem to have just moved, or gone online

Paint By Numbers (#625)

Given the exploitation of “rescued” sex workers in garment-industry sweatshops, the use of fashion shows to promote “sex trafficking” hysteria is particularly loathsome:

During a fashion show..High School senior Hannah Rezabek will showcase a black couture number handcrafted by noted fashion designer Korto Momolu….her outfit…reinforces how a human-trafficking victim feels “tied” to the streets, as reflected by the struggles of victims, even when rescued, to break free from the grip of pimps and prostitution…Rezabek is among 30 students who will serve as models for the Unchained Fashion Show — a different sort of runway event whose message runs far deeper than the latest prints and hottest summer colors…

Monsters (#632) 

Police in Maryland said they have arrested two people in the slaying of…Keyonna Blakeney…Arbra Arnie Bethea, 17…and Keith Christopher Renier, 21…[were charged] with murder…armed robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery…Bethea has been charged as an adult…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#638)

Mike Crawford is one of the most eloquent male voices on sex worker rights, and I predict we’ll be hearing a lot more from him:

It seems that after the recent New York Times piece on sex work, those who seek to completely prohibit commercial sexual exchange are concerned they no longer have a stranglehold on the dialogue about sex workers’ lives.  Over the past few days, there have been three pieces attempting to undermine the Times’ article: one from a radical feminist, one from the bastion of journalistic integrity that is the NY Post (written by a correspondent whose primary focus is religion, no less) and then today’s from a representative of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW.)  Today’s piece is a simple continuation of the others; it’s a disjointed combination of appeals to emotion, anecdotal evidence meant to discredit actual studies, flawed statistics, frequently told lies, obfuscation, a blithe dismissal of reality, and an absolute refusal to engage in the core of the argument for the decriminalization of sex work: harm reduction…

To Molest and Rape

I wrote yesterday’s column on Tuesday night, and the very next morning I had another example:

A Walker County [Georgia] deputy was arrested…[fired] because…he sexually assaulted a woman while transporting her from one hospital to another…Wesley Holland…[orally raped the prisoner but Sheriff Steve] Wilson…is [trying to pretend it was] consensual [so as to minimize the deputy’s punishment while pretending to take it seriously]…

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If you criminalise buying sex, the prostitute knows she becomes the evidence.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Whore Madonnas

South Africa is another country with awesome sex worker activists:

Mothers for the Future is an initiative of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT).  It provides support groups, outreach and home visits.  Mothers discuss difficulties such as domestic violence, child grants, and the challenges that they face when their children are targeted as a result of their mother’s work.  Duduzile Dlamini, the programme coordinator, says that some mothers even have their children taken away from them by social services and that their children, like their mothers, are criminalised…Porcia, who is a member of Mothers for the Future, has two children and…makes donations to the church from the money that she earns as a sex worker.  Sometimes she is arrested on a Friday night and kept at the police station for the whole weekend.  Her children are then at home alone and without any food…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Guys, please do your research, and let the pigs hunt each other:

Dayton Police arrested ten men for solicitation….[including] Todd Pultz of the North Hampton Police Department…“if you are sworn to uphold the law the last thing you want to do is break it, especially in this fashion” [oinked a spokespig]…“These women have sex hundreds of times–that’s hundreds of men that could be infected and take it back to their family”…

“Especially in this fashion”, as opposed to acceptable crimes like robbery, rape, mayhem and murder.

Droit du Seigneur 

Sometimes “authorities” prefer to rape vulnerable men instead:

An East Arkansas judge accused of trading sex with defendants in exchange for reduced sentences is resigning after…sexually explicit photos [were] recovered from his computer…District Judge Joe Boeckmann was…accused of having sex with defendants…[and] demanding [they] take sexually explicit photos…the photos also depicted evidence the young men had been paddled and…the judge…was instructed not to destroy the paddle depicted in the photos…investigators believe…the judge’s sexual misconduct extended to more than 30 years ago to his time as a deputy prosecuting attorney…in…one scenario…Boeckmann took [a young man] to the courthouse after hours, forced him to strip inside the district courtroom, put him in handcuffs and took naked pictures of him in the courtroom.  The man said Boeckmann paid him $50 and told him “case dismissed” at the conclusion of the photo shoot…

See No Evil

All censorship seems this futile and ridiculous to me:

…New regulations mean that live-streaming sites must monitor all their output round-the-clock to ensure nothing untoward is going on, keeping an eye out for any “erotic” banana-eating…wearing stockings and suspenders while hosting a live stream is now also forbidden.  The move is the authorities’ latest attempt to clamp down on “inappropriate and erotic” online content…that “harms social morality”…such sites are attracting more and more users in China…News of the banana ban has prompted thousands of users to chime in on Chinese social media…”How do they decide what’s provocative when eating a banana?”…”Can male live-streamers still eat them?”…”They will all start eating cucumbers, and if that’s no good, yams”…

Above the Law  

Anyone who actually believes that a rape is worse if a cop commits it “in uniform”, “on duty” or “on police property” is part of the problem:  “A [Newark, New Jersey cop] was charged with sexually assaulting a woman on police property…Kenneth Gaulette…[raped] the…woman…Nov. 29, 2015…”  And that problem is far more extensive than “authorities” want you to know:

The young victim of a [rapist cop]…in Kern County, California, has settled a civil lawsuit for $1m, marking the second violent misconduct case the beleaguered sheriff’s office has settled in just five days…a Guardian investigation…identified law enforcement in the county as the deadliest in the US and revealed a program of attempted cash payoffs to vulnerable women who had been [raped] by Kern County deputies…Gabriel Lopez in March 2013…forced the young woman to strip naked…and then [raped] her [mere hours after arresting her] boyfriend at the same house…another…young woman Lopez was convicted of [raping] accepted a cash payment of $5,000 from the sheriff’s office…

Hall of Shame

Outing a famous non-prohibitionist client just to make money?  Instant ticket to my Hall of Shame:

While the debate over the UK gagging order preventing publication of the identity of an A-list actor who allegedly slept with an escort continues, Sydney-based sex worker Amanda Goff said…Helen Wood, the prostitute who claims she was paid $380 for sexual services with the British thespian, “committed the number one crime…An escort never talks about names…It has ruined someone’s life…The details she gave to the press about what they did in bed is appalling.  Why would she do that?  How can she sleep at night?”…

The Schizoid State

If a woman under 18 chooses to be a whore she’s automatically a victim because she’s a “child”, but if she helps someone else to do it she’s a “criminal” because she’s old enough to know better.  Yet she still can’t be named because she’s a “child”. Got that?

Toronto police say they have charged a 17-year-old girl after a 16-year-old girl was forced into the sex trade last year.  [Cops] allege the suspect…introduced the victim to two men, who told her she could make a lot of money working for them…Police allege the victim was “controlled through intimidation and threats,” and forced to work in the sex trade.  The 17-year-old suspect allegedly took photos of the victim in various states of undress and posted them on backpage.com…She cannot be identified per the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act…

The Widening Gyre

Fact: woman with drug problem goes missing.  Conclusion: sex trafficking!

For the last six months, Michael Fusaro, 33, has repeatedly traversed a shadowy criminal underworld, all in the hopes of finding his 27-year-old sister, Jamie Nastali…Fusaro was convinced his sister…was being held by human traffickers based on one of the last conversations he had with her late last year.  Nastali, who Fusaro acknowledges has a drug problem, called him with a cloak-and-dagger story of being kidnapped and taken to San Diego…[on May 7th] his sister…was [arrested and jailed]…for drug and identity theft charges…Fusaro said he believes there may also be a prostitution charge…[but] no prostitution offense shows up on her booking record…[prohibitionist] Dianne Amato…said…“One of the biggest misconceptions is that women who are 24, 25, 26 years old are adults”…

Obviously the belief that adult women are not adults is “feminist”.

Sexual Predators (#449)

Police chief decides to destroy a few lives to give bored cops some fun:

…Terre Haute [Indiana] Police…Chief Ed Tompkins…[used a] sting…[to arrest five people as] “a way to give the detectives something different to do other than work property crimes, arsons and burglaries”…The objective of Operation Back Page to Front Page was…to…make an arrest.  Detecting human trafficking was also a goal…

Repeat Offenders (#563) bra drive

Why do prohibitionists who want to “rescue” sex workers invariably push them into menial garment-related work?

University of Georgia students…Emily Wilhoit…and Joshua Dunn…to support their first annual bra drive for Free The Girls.  The…drive…brought in 1,239 bras…Free The Girls is a nonprofit organization based out of Denver, whose mission is to “provide jobs to survivors of sex trafficking in developing countries by helping them set up micro enterprises selling bras”…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

This would’ve been better without her moral signalling at the beginning, but still:

The rationale for making prostitution illegal while protecting the filming and selling of pornography as protected speech under the First Amendment eludes me.  Morally I’m opposed to both, but criminalizing one and not the other hurts people more than it helps and lacks intellectual cohesion.  But who cares what I think?  The question is, what do the candidates think?  While Americans have been fixated on the surreal primary contests between Republican and Democratic gladiators, a huge international movement has been heating up that touches upon the lives of millions and millions of people and involves billions and billions of dollars…Next month the board of Amnesty International is slated to approve its final policy in support of the full decriminalization of consensual sex work…And Amnesty is not alone; other groups, including the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Foundation, are on board…

Eternal Vigilance (#587)

Decriminalization in New South Wales is safe for now:

The Baird government has rejected a call to more strictly regulate brothels through licensing and a specialist police unit, arguing it would recriminalise prostitution and put the health of sex workers at risk…A government response…rejects the inquiry’s call for a special police unit, similar to that which exists in Victoria, to be created to ensure brothels are licensed, comply with planning laws and don’t have foreign nationals working in violation of their visas.  The licensing of brothel managers has also been rejected on the advice of NSW Health.  Minister for Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, said: “Introducing a licensing regime for brothels may drive more operators underground, which could adversely affect the health and protection of sex workers. The evidence from other jurisdictions is that licensing simply doesn’t work”…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

My friend Brooke Magnanti schools politicians on their latest attempt to persecute adults for wanting sex:

The criminalisation of payment for sex would dissuade sex workers from reporting violence against them, Brooke Magnanti…has told a group of MPs…looking into the way prostitution is dealt with in legislation…Magnanti appeared alongside Paris Lees, a journalist and equality campaigner who has also previously been a sex worker.  Both were critical of the witnesses the select committee had called to question as part of the inquiry. “Of the four sex workers you’ve spoken [to] face to face, three of us aren’t doing it any more…Who are the people who should have been asked here instead of us?  People from the Sex Worker Open University, people from the English Collective of Prostitutes, current sex workers.  They weren’t asked because me and Paris come with great media platforms, we bring attention, so you can tick a box and say we spoke to some ex-sex workers”…Both witnesses…warned against trusting reduced crime statistics from countries such as Sweden and Northern Ireland…“Part of the problem with statistics being currently produced by Sweden is they don’t have statistics [from] before the law came into place,” Magnanti said…“When you look at the countries most affected by trafficking such as India, Cambodia, which also have very strong sex worker-led organisations, the percentage of people who are actively trafficked are comfortably under 5%”…

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Anything with “sex” in the vicinity will gather news crews like pyros to a dumpster fire.  –  Tim Cushing

Puritan shamingIt’s probably almost impossible for anyone under the age of 30 or so to conceive of how different the United States I grew up in was from the US of today.  That’s true in many ways and on many levels, but for right now I just want to look at one of them: the way Americans have lost so many of the gains made in the so-called Sexual Revolution, and returned to a Puritanism more vicious and repressive than we’ve experienced in centuries.  Because while it’s absolutely true that sexual variation is recognized and tolerated to a much greater degree than it has been for most of this country’s history, it is equally true that the moralists and censors now have far more terrifying tools of surveillance and a greater capacity to inflict violence than those possessed by any of their spiritual ancestors since the Dawn of Man.  And while people who were shamed or persecuted for their sexual behavior in the past might be able to pull up stakes and start a new life somewhere else where nobody knew them, in the Information Age every transgression is eternal and indelible;  furthermore, self-appointed guardians of the public morals are always looking for new ways to ensure that absolutely no one can escape their snooping or whatever scarlet letters they’ve been branded with.

Fortunately, a growing number of journalists have begun to awaken to the presence of the black pall that has descended over what was once described as “The Land of the Free”, and while it’s much too late for those who have already joined the obscenely-long roll call of victims of the Anti-Sex police state, recognition of a problem is the first step toward solving it.  The pendulum must eventually swing the other way, and perhaps articles like this one from The Week are among the first signs that we’re reaching the top of the arc:

…It is…remarkable how deranged so many of us seem to become as soon as sex is invoked in a public dispute…moralistic grandstanding drives public argument and policymaking when it comes to sex.  The porn panic...is a prominent example.  But it’s hardly the only one…

We’ll come back to that article presently, but let’s look for a minute at what The Atlantic had to say about the most egregious example of that porn panic, Utah’s recent embrace of Gail Dines’ crypto-moralistic scheme to disguise a Puritanical censorship regime in “public health” rhetoric:

…Gail Dines…wrote a column that spread widely: “Is Porn Immoral? That Doesn’t Matter: It’s a Public-Health Crisis”.  The divisive proclamation was occasioned by a bill passed last month in Utah…[which itself solipsistically] traces back to Dines…In 2013, Dines traveled to Reykjavik, where she met with Iceland’s Ministers of health and welfare amid [the] country’s campaign to ban pornography.  The move would have put the liberal state…in the company of Saudi Arabia and the countries where gender disparities are greatest.  But it made sense to many as a matter of public health…

Regular readers will recognize this sentence as the product of a mind befuddled by the “left-right” fallacy; a totalitarian state is a totalitarian state, and Iceland’s carceral “feminism” is as much a religion as Saudi Arabia’s Islam.  But I digress:

…In 2015, [Dines] returned her focus to the U.S., relaunching an advocacy group based in Boston with the new mission to “eradicate porn’s harms because porn has quickly escalated into an overlooked public health crisis”…at an anti-pornography summit…she reached an unlikely confederate, a Republican state senator from Utah named Todd Weiler…[who’s in league with] a Utah-based group called Fight the New Drug…The group denies a formal affiliation with the Mormon church, though…its founders are all Mormon, and its facts rely on claims from Mormon author Donald Hilton’s He Restoreth My Soul…

Again, there’s absolutely nothing “unlikely” about an alliance between two anti-sex, pro-censorship ideologues who prefer to hide their moralism under bogus studies and cargo-cult “science”; it would be exceedingly unlikely for these two not to team up.  But for some reason many people are wedded to the ahistorical notion that evangelical feminists and evangelical Christians are “opposed” to one another, and they keep professing shock when the world fails to conform to their fantasies.  Anyhow, let’s return to that article from The Week:

…sexual assaults are being handled on college campuses…by  establishing offices to oversee the creation and enforcement of regulations…covering every imaginable form of sexual or quasi-sexual conduct, ensuring that in all cases such conduct conforms to legalistic norms of consent…The result is a supremely creepy combination of liberalism, Puritanism, and the infrastructure of a police state.  In addition to stifling free speech and the free exchange of ideas on campus, such regulations go well beyond punishing bad behavior to require a transformation in the way people relate to one another at an individual level.  Ruling common forms of flirtation and seduction out of bounds, they aim to remake romantic and sexual interactions on the model of contractual negotiations among business partners…

If you think he’s exaggerating there, take a look at this article from Reason:

Colorado State University-Pueblo [expelled] a male athlete…after he was [declared] responsible for sexually assaulting a female trainer…[who] never accused him of wrongdoing, and said repeatedly that their relationship was consensual.  She even stated, unambiguously, “I’m fine and I wasn’t raped”…The athlete’s lawsuit against CSUP…argues that the university not only deprived him of fundamental due process rights, but also denied sexual agency to an adult woman…The student-athlete, Grant Neal, has named the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights as a co-defendant.  OCR’s Title IX guidance…”encourages male gender bias and violation of due process right during sexual misconduct investigations”…Neal’s expulsion…stemmed from his…relationship with a female student and athletic trainer, Jane Doe…Sexual relationships between athletes and trainers are frowned upon…Neal [gave]…Doe a hickey…[which] was…noticed by another trainer, described as the “Complainant” in the lawsuit.  When confronted, Doe confessed to the Complainant that she and Dean had engaged in sex.  According to the lawsuit, the Complainant “presumed” this sex was nonconsensual, and reported it to the director of the athletic training program…Doe told another administrator, “Our stories are the same and he’s a good guy.  He’s not a rapist, he’s not a criminal, it’s not even worth any of this hoopla!”…[but] the predetermined outcome for Neal was a guilty verdict…

As I and other sex worker activists have repeatedly pointed out, a society which does not respect a woman’s “yes” cannot be trusted to respect her no either; the latter is demonstrated about twice a week in this blog, and the former is at the heart of the War on Whores:flush the johns

The criminal justice system theoretically operates on a presumption of innocence.  An arrest booking is hardly an indicator of guilt, but try telling that to millions of people who believe being accused is no different than being found guilty by a jury.  Everyone knows this presumption of guilt exists, despite it being wholly contrary to the basis of our justice system.  Cops know this best.  A high-profile bust is as good as a guilty verdict.  So it’s no surprise that they’ve increasingly turned to the greatest shaming mechanism known to man: the internet.  In a long, detailed and disturbing piece for the New Republic, Suzy Khimm examines law enforcement’s infatuation with harnessing the internet to prey upon the public’s continual presumption of guilt…Prostitution stings are a favorite.  You can easily tell it’s a victimless crime because none of the parties involved receive any privacy protections from law enforcement.  Being swept up in one of these stings means seeing your name and face splashed across a variety of news outlets while the fine print (“all arrestees are innocent until proven guilty”) is relegated to the end of the coverage, if it’s mentioned at all…This country’s Puritanical approach to sex has long been the focus of law enforcement shaming efforts.  It’s not enough to simply arrest and charge customers and sex workers. An effort must be made to uphold the stigma…

In the US, government at all levels has always been at war with human nature, including sex.  But as I said at the beginning, “authorities” now wield weapons beyond the wildest wanking fantasies of their Puritan forebears.  And if they aren’t stopped, those weapons will not be restricted to use against male sexuality of which “feminists” disapprove, nor even to just women who cater to or enjoy that sexuality; they will be turned to use against everyone, and by the time useful idiots like Gail Dines realize that means her as well, it will be much too late.

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Let us not treat prohibitionists as misguided people who care, any more than we should waste breath over whether it is right or wrong to lynch black people or gas Jews.  –  Jerry Barnett

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I hope they keep feeding on each other:

A [New Jersey cop] who claimed he was retaliated against after [ratting out] a former public safety director [who] sought prostitutes has been promoted and awarded $80,000.  Frederick Walz was promoted from sergeant to lieutenant, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015…Walz also got wages equal to a year’s difference in salary between the sergeant and lieutenant positions, a year of pension payments retroactive to his promotion, and $80,000 in compensatory damages and attorney’s fees…

Backwards into the Future

Yes, Zimbabwe is actually ahead of the US in this area of human rights:

Sex workers in Zimbabwe have welcomed the recent court ruling that outlaws police arrest on charges of “loitering for the purposes of prostitution”…The ruling builds on another Constitutional court ruling last year that ruled against the arrest of women on allegations of soliciting for sex in the streets…

Rooted in Racism

ICYMI:  a tiny minority of French politicians managed to impose the Swedish model last week:

…it takes a truly Orwellian mindset to believe that one can outlaw the buying of a service without hurting those who sell it.  This is, of course, designed to hurt sex workers.  The bigotry of the anti-prostitution movement is there for all to see…It is well known that criminalising any aspect of the trade clearly harms sex workers…unlike last time around, the driving force of French fascism is the the political left.  A few days ago, for example, French Socialist government minister Laurence Rossignol said that women who wore veils were like “negroes who supported slavery”.  The anti-veil law was presented with a thin progressive veneer, using “secularism” as an excuse…to viciously abuse minorities…in the UK, a Labour-led parliamentary inquiry is also trying to ban prostitution.  Open anti-sex attitudes, and veiled racist attitudes are now commonplace on the political left everywhere…

The Pygmalion Fallacy toasters

Those trapped in magical thinking can’t see that a human-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

Touching a human-shaped robot in areas that would be considered “intimate” if they were on a person, has the power to arouse humans, a new study suggests.  Researchers from Stanford University…looked at how humans would respond when asked by a machine to touch parts of its robotic body; from the more accessible regions like hands, to the more “intimate”, like eyes or buttocks…test subjects…were wired up to a skin conductance sensor to measure their reaction time as well as their physical responses, while sitting next to the robot and following its instructions…when the…robot told test subjects to touch its “intimate” body parts, participants were “more emotionally aroused” but also “more hesitant”—suggesting potential discomfort—compared to touching less intimate regions, which saw subjects deliver a more natural, and typically quicker response…

So Close and Yet So Far

I believe J.R. Thorpe wants to be an ally; I really do.  But this listicle is more interested in being “cute” than it is in being accurate:

It’s important not to judge sex workers, assume that we know what motivates them or what experiences they have had — especially when we’re basing our ideas on film and TV depictions of sex work, as many of us are…It’s equally important to not glorify what can be an intensely exploitative and dangerous industry…particularly in countries and states where regulation doesn’t exist and workers are operating without state or government protection…a [really bad] study of…advertising…in the UK found that…over a third [of sex workers] identified as transgender or male…(The Urban Institute has a detailed exploration into the economics of that, including average pimp income and the various restrictions pimps place on their workers…in decriminalized places, the incidence of STDs among sex workers is really low

Smoke and Mirrors

Another case in which the truth is so obscured by exaggeration, dysphemisms, myths and lies that we’ll probably never know what really happened:

A woman chained to a stripper pole.  A man with four wives.  Child pornography photos.  This is what authorities stumbled upon during a raid in Detroit, where a house-of-horrors tale is unfolding in federal court, with prosecutors accusing one man of enslaving women, selling them for sex on the Internet and…[sharing] sexually explicit photos of [children]…The suspect is Ryon Travis, a 32-year-old unemployed Detroit man…“Sex trafficking occurs all around us, and the victims are sometimes hiding in plain sight,” [bloviated] U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade…

Long-time readers may recall that we’ve seen Babs McQuade (AKA Electrawoman) before, and she was spouting “sex trafficking” bullshit then, too.

Policing for Profit 

Burn. It. To. The. Ground:

…[UK] police [routinely robsex workers] under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)…Janice [said] “They took my life savings, including money from my mom…They even tried to take my home. I was left with nothing after a lifetime of hard work”…Janice’s story isn’t unique.  Last year, Kent Police [stole] nearly £40,000 from two women accused of running a brothel in Folkestone.  One woman was forced to sell her home…or face an additional jail sentence…Jenny…called the police when men threatened to torch her working flat.  Police didn’t pursue her attackers; instead, they charged her with brothel-keeping and…[stole] her home and life savings…Niki Adams of ECP [said] “Their powers are draconian and they can take every penny earned from years of hard work—her house, her savings, her car, her jewellery, even her children’s and other family members’ money”…

An Example to the West (#349)

Indian sex workers are getting tired of bullshit:

Sex Workers in West Bengal are using the upcoming election to remind politicians they need to keep their promises…Many politicians have not shown commitment to taking action on the demands of sex worker-led organisations…Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC)…have made it clear they want “concrete” actions and measures [including]…Pension rights…Decriminalisation of the profession…and…self-regulatory boards to stop minors from being forced into the profession…

Cops and Robbers 

“Christian” vigilantes playing with people’s lives and lying to men in an attempt to steal income from sex workers who may need it to pay rent and feed their children:

Bait and Switch (#545)

If you’ll look back at what I’ve previously reported on Grady Judd, I’m sure you can guess what kind of tactics were used to entrap these people so Judd could destroy their lives for his self-aggrandizement:

A Florida sex sting targeting [supposed] child predators netted…Eighteen [victims of the sting] face multiple charges…Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.  They all allegedly responded to fake online ads from undercover detectives posing as children…

Signs

It was only a matter of time before male “survivors” started cashing in:

Hundreds showed up for a first-of-its kind symposium to train…San Diego’s hotel and motel employees to recognize and respond to the warning signs of human trafficking…in preparation for upcoming summer events such as the MLB All-Star Game and Comic-Con…[religious nut] Jamie Gates [said]…”There are about three to eight thousand survivors in a year”…experts say…70% of transactions [utilize]…social media.  “You’re groomed into a certain…mind frame that makes you susceptible to anyone’s demands,” said Tom Jones, a sex traffic survivor…Sex trafficking in San Diego is a $810 million dollar industry…and is run mostly by more than 100 local gangs.

Ridiculous numbers!  Facebook pimps!  Magic pimp mind control!  Gangs!  Gypsy whores catering to comic book fans!  And more, coming up in the next episode of They’re Coming for Our Children!

Choke Point (#610) 

A few journalists are starting to see where this is going:

…In a cashless society, the cash has been converted into numbers, into signals, into electronic currents.  In short: Information replaces cash…But wherever information gathers and flows, two predators follow closely behind it: censorship and surveillance…Where money becomes a series of signals, it can be censored; where money becomes information, it will inform on you…Operation Choke Point…[was actually] a policing of vice…One pundit wrote, “[W]hile abortion clinics and environmental groups are probably safe under the Obama administration, if this sort of thing stands, they will be vulnerable to the same tactics if a different administration adopts this same thuggish approach toward the businesses that it dislikes”…The choke points are private corporations that are not only subject to government regulation on the books, but have shown a disturbing willingness to bend to extralegal requests—whether it is enforcing financial blockades against the controversial whistleblowing organization WikiLeaks or the website Backpage…A little bit of pressure, and the whole financial system closes off to the government’s latest pariah…For the most vulnerable, the cashless society…only extends the reach of the existing paternal bureaucratic state…

Challenge (#628)

This can only be a good thing:

Former adult star Bree Olson is joining forces with the ESPLER Project in a push to demand that California legislators act to outlaw discrimination for all types of sex workers.  ESPLER Project has posted a petition online that is intended to reach California state Assembly and Senate members…Olson…said…current and former as well as legal and illegally working sex trade workers are having their due process rights violated, both by the law and members of society…

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It’s the oldest profession in the world for a reason.  –  Jami Rodman

A Moral Cancer smoking ban cartoon

As a lass, I never imagined there was a Western culture more puritanical than the US:

Sweden needs to limit the number of public spaces where people are allowed to smoke, according to a lengthy review of tobacco laws… “One should not be exposed to the temptation to smoke,” concluded the report’s author Göran Lundahl…It suggests that legislation should be extended to include “certain public places outdoors, such as café and restaurant terraces, entrances to establishments and other spaces to which the public has access”…The review also argues that e-cigarettes, herbal cigarettes and other products which simulate tobacco smoking should be banned…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

I don’t think I need to tell you that there’s absolutely no evidence for these claims, even if they constituted a valid argument for censorship (which they don’t):

Children as young as five are sexually abusing their peers after being exposed to pornography, a Senate inquiry has been told.  In chilling evidence that would shock parents, a [former] child development expert has outlined a [parade] of cases where primary school aged children were coercing classmates into performing sex acts including intercourse.  University of South Australia Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs…cited her own work that found fathers were watching online porn with their young sons for “fun” because “that’s what guys do”.  The prevalence of internet pornography — especially how children can stumble on it while innocently doing homework — has alarmed…[the] inquiry [on] the harm it is causing children, including sexualising them at a young age…Senator Back said he was keen to explore what could be done to protect children, including seeing whether technological advances had made internet-wide filtering possible…

Note that Australia dumped a countrywide censorship plan as unworkable four years ago.

A Whore in Church 

Sex worker tells preacher exactly why she does sex work; preacher ignores her and blathers about imaginary “pimps” instead:

New Day Ministry Pastor Helen Wolfe…[pretends that] prostitutes proposition her church members before and after church services.  “These ladies are literally chasing them to the front door,” she said…[this wonderful Christian threatened] one of them, “Somebody is going to cut you up, somebody is going to kill you…Tell the pimps I’m coming after them.”  One of the ladies agreed to come inside the sanctuary and share her story…”I had a good job, a nice home, car, everything, and I got really badly hurt and got on pain pills.”  She…[is] no longer be addicted to drugs but continues to work as a prostitute because she can’t find another job…”The pimps are now getting into my pocket,” Helen said. “Now the daycare is decreasing because…they say they get chased down by the prostitutes.  I’m going to flip this and get in the pimp’s pocket.”  Pastor Helen plans to start taking pictures of people involved in criminal activity outside her church, including the men who pick up the prostitutes, and sending them to the police…

Enabling Oppression

What could be more outrageous and tone-deaf than prohibitionists trying to link their campaign to increase state control over individuals with the drive to end slavery?  How about linking support for an increasingly-violent and all-pervasive police state with a famous victim of such a state?

[Rescue industry-supporting BDSM fantasist “One-Hand”] Kristof and [violent prohibitionist “Cuckoo Clock”] McCain were presented with the 2015 Anne Frank Award and the Anne Frank Special Recognition Award, respectively, for their work fighting [advertising websites and consensual sex between adults]…The award ceremony took place February 25 in the Members Room of the Library of Congress…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Accurate headline: “Life Continues As Usual When Foreign Politicians Visit City

As politicians grappled with Britain’s EU future at a crunch summit, other more sordid deals were being thrashed out nearby.  David Cameron was locked in talks at the European Parliament as the Brussels’ sex trade was ­thriving from an influx of well-off EU politicans and officials…­hundreds of prostitutes from Romania, Albania and Bulgaria were plying their trade.  Flooding in to meet ­increased ­demand ­at the time of top EU ­meetings, they blew kisses to ­smart-suited men trawling the ­fleshpots of Rue d’Aerschot.  Some offered “40 euros for one sex position or 50 for several”…

Catastrophic Consequences

Much more of this, please:

The Crown Office has dropped the cases against eleven people charged with brothel offences, prompting criticism of Police Scotland for its high profile raids on Edinburgh’s saunas.  Six men and five women were set for a court hearing in November, but prosecutors backed off and have now abandoned the proceedings.  Many of Edinburgh’s saunas have effectively operated as brothels since the mid-1980s.  The approach had the tacit support of the former Lothian and Borders police force and the council in Edinburgh, which provided saunas with public entertainment licenses…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#431)

Indonesian officials decide to prevent a repeat of the Dolly fiasco by means of extreme violence:

One of Indonesia’s oldest red-light districts was demolished in an operation overseen by hundreds of police and troops…Dozens of illegal bars and brothels along a…strip in north Jakarta…known…as Kalijodo…were reduced to rubble by excavators….leaving behind nothing but splintered wood, brick and old mattresses…North Jakarta Mayor Rustam Effendi…said…the demolition would make way for a public park.  “There was open prostitution there and all kinds of other things as a result, like liquor,” he [said]…During the eviction of residents over the past week, police seized and destroyed large quantities of alcohol…The government last week instructed local authorities to shut down an estimated 100 red-light districts across the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country…

Shift in the Wind (#451)

Fraught With Complications

Here’s a good, thorough article on what to do if you fall in love with a whore:

So you met a hooker and at first you were cool with it.  You didn’t freak out when they first told you about their job and you didn’t freak them out with your response.  You started seeing each other and maybe you had some reservations but figured you would…talk them into your way of thinking…Or you figured whatever you had with them wasn’t so serious so it didn’t need to be a big deal…But…Over time and as your feelings for them have grown, you’ve found your acceptance for their job has diminished…So now what?…

Welcome To Our World (#588)

Maybe the Times thinks if it backs away slowly enough, nobody will notice:

When New York Times editors were defending the paper’s two-part series on alleged labor abuses in nail salons last year, they repeatedly pointed to the high rate of violations uncovered by a state inspection task force…A spokesperson for the paper later used the same defense when responding to my own critical appraisal of the nail salon series.  After Bernstein and I demonstrated that the original articles…by…Sarah Maslin Nir…were filled with blatant mischaracterizations and misquotes from key sources…theeditors clung to the notion that the state’s findings demonstrated that Nir basically got the story right.  Now the Times has taken a close look at those labor inspections and discovered that they “reveal another reality” that doesn’t match up with Nir’s findings.  As reporters Russ Buettner and Kim Barker explain, immigrant nail salon owners were often tripped up by the technicalities of New York State wage and hour regulations…”In two dozen cases, for instance, owners paid employees an equivalent of at least the state minimum wage and overtime for the hours they worked, but because they did not correctly account for the overtime hours, they were still cited for underpayment…”  If you exclude those two dozen cases, Buettner and Barker report that 67 nail salons, or a little more than one quarter of those investigated by the state, paid less than the minimum wage.  And of those 67, 25 missed the mark by less than $50.  In other words, the original Times story argued that three-quarter of nail salons in New York paid less than the minimum wage, but the state inspections have found roughly the opposite to be true…

Too Close To Home

Once again, the Seattle Times demonstrated its deep prohibitionism and disgusting obsequiousness by publishing this asinine regurgitation of prohibitionist feces its editors eagerly lapped off the boots of King County cops and prosecutors.  And when Mistress Matisse called those editors out via Twitter for publishing lies that five minutes of high-school-level Googling would have disproven, they either ignored her or doubled down defending this dumpster fire of an editorial.  Fortunately, not every reporter in Seattle feels that “journalism” is a synonym for “fellating authority”; Sydney Brownstone of The Stranger responded thus:

…it’s clear that the Ed Board…has not interrogated the sex work “research” cited by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg very deeply…The “age of entry” myth—a common one—has been challenged by sex work advocates and research from anti-trafficking group Polaris…the “local” research being cited by Satterberg’s office….[is] a collection of studies that drew flawed, biased conclusions about sex work and trafficking based on small sample sizes of populations that already skewed heavily toward victims of abuse or street workers…when I asked legislators to send me research about the claim that sex workers often come from a background of abuse, I was forwarded a letter from local anthropologist-activist Debra Boyer that incorrectly cited…a famed book on trauma research…[which] had used clinical vignettes from sex workers already in trauma treatment to illustrate the idea that survivors of child abuse are vulnerable to revictimization…[it] did not claim that a majority or plurality of sex workers came from backgrounds of abuse…Even if sex workers did have histories of sexual abuse or assault—histories that many women share, regardless of their occupations—does that mean they’re incapable of making decisions in their own best interest?…

The Public Eye (#608)

Another shrug-inducing interview with Jami Rodman.  At the risk of sounding conceited, I have to tell you there’s nothing here I haven’t covered before (and in greater detail, and far more eloquently); however, I’m still glad to see the facts of our lives getting out there from as many sources as possible, and her conclusion was strong.

Book Reviews (#616)

Some people are just so hateful:

…On the 18th of February, my follower count was 34,872.  It started going up sharply, by about 500 a day…I remembered seeing a tweet from @Popehat from a few years ago.  Someone had maliciously bought the account thousands of followers; this is something people do so they can report the account for the fakes, and try to get them kicked off Twitter.  I DM’d a couple of people with experience of both being the target of online harassment and of communicating with Twitter.  The response was unanimous: someone is trying to get you banned. Lock your account and start deleting the fake followers…Publishers increasingly expect authors to use social media presence to publicise their work to readers.  My publisher likes that social media is embedded in my writing and that I engage with a lot of people online – without the Internet, I would never have become a writer at all…By Friday night the Twitter follower count was touching 40k with no sign of slowing.  I didn’t have much choice anymore.  I locked the account and started blocking the bots and declining the hundreds of follow requests from fakes coming in.  This is an ongoing effort. If you have recently followed me and find yourself blocked, I apologise — there are going to be some false positives in this process…

I wish my friend the best, and I encourage all of you to support her writing in the most pragmatic fashion possible.

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If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s actually human trafficking these days.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Halfway Whores

A profession as old as human civilization, but it’s somehow always “growing”:

…a growing army of men…hire beautiful young women to accompany them on dates and public appearances.  Sometimes they are businessmen, both foreign and [from Thailand], who require a pretty woman to be on hand when a contract is signed.  On other occasions they are hired to fill in as girlfriends at family functions and have even been employed by psychologists to go on dates to build a person’s self esteem.  There are thousands of young women taking advantage of the new trend, supplementing their daytime incomes and paying off student debt with part-time work as non-sexual escorts.  Some of these women come from successful families and act as contact points to get their dates introductions to the right business people…

Saving Them From Themselves

This is kind of like “legalizing” prostitution; as long as a consensual act is criminalized to any degree, the cops have power to annoy, harass, brutalize and otherwise harm that person via arrest, publishing mug shots, stealing property or even murdering him for “resisting arrest”:

A bill making its way through the Kansas legislature would change most sexting offenses involving teenagers from felonies to misdemeanors…Any defendant obviously would prefer the lighter penalties, but their availability might make prosecution more likely.  Forced to choose between felony charges and no charges at all in a case involving teenagers sharing pictures of themselves…any decent prosecutor would pick the latter option, as prosecutors in Colorado and Michigan recently did.  But when a misdemeanor option is available, it may be tempting for prosecutors intent on teaching kids a lesson.  The Topeka Capital-Journal paraphrases an author of the Kansas bill as saying “the moderated sanctions would permit prosecutors to intervene with young people who commit these acts”…

Surplus Women missing Anchorage sex workers

The idea that an unknown serial killer might be terrorizing the women of Anchorage [Alaska] was raised in a 2009 story by Andrew Holland of America’s Most Wanted, who wrote of the horrific murder and dismemberment of [sex workers] Desiree Lekanoff and Michelle Rothe…Robin Vansickel, Jeri BrommelsSamantha Kent, Tracie Vicent and Kelly Sue Dunn–are [other missing sex workers]…each of these unsolved cases [may be] unrelated, but the possibility that these women have disappeared at the hands of…someone who sees sex workers as easy targets…must not be discounted…Robert Hansen and Robert Pickton…flew under the radar as they killed scores of women…[because] they were held up as…above reproach, while the women they murdered were…denigrated, devalued and dismissed…the monsters were believed and excused because society considered them upstanding businessmen, whereas sex workers they hunted and preyed upon were dehumanized…

Above the Law 

Cops sexually assault domestic violence victims almost as often as they do whores:

Portland [cop] Jeromie Palaoro has resigned from the force and pleaded guilty to official misconduct, eight months after a woman visiting from Las Vegas said he arrived at her…hotel room to follow up on her domestic assault complaint, stripped naked and ordered her to give him a massage…He will receive 18 months of probation…Roni Reid-James…[said] Palaoro [threatened her with] his [gun] before taking off his clothes…[he] groped her and [demanded] sexual favors, then warned her not to tell anyone because he was writing the report on her assault complaint…

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

Ted Cruz’s…campaign…pulled a commercial…because one of the actresses had previously appeared in pornographic films…Amy Lindsay…described herself as a Christian conservative and a Republican…[and] tweeted her displeasure that the video was pulled from the airwaves…campaign spokesman Rick Tyler said Lindsay had responded to an open casting call for the ad…”Had the campaign known of her full filmography, we obviously would not have let her appear in the ad”…

A Whore in Church (#134) 

Another sex worker who subverts hijab:

Nadia Ali, a 24-year-old porn star and first-generation American from Pakistan…doesn’t mind pushing religious boundaries in the name of XXX entertainment.  Oh, and she’s also a practicing Muslim.  Ali is often filmed wearing her hijab—and little else—while engaged in various hardcore sexual activities…And since homosexuality is technically illegal in Pakistan, which is trying its damnedest to ban online porn altogether, she intends to film plenty of girl-on-girl action this year, too…

Under Every Bed

Population 467,026.

Child sex trafficking is a growing problem in Onondaga County [New York.  Prohibitionist]…Erin Yeager…says it’s crucial to break the stereotype of what we think human sex trafficking is.  The basic definition is exchanging sex for something with value; that could be anything from clothing to a place to stay…

Actually, that’s a basic definition of prostitution, demonstrating how utterly devoid of meaning the term “sex trafficking” has become.

The Missing Word

The magic word appears herein only in a description of a phone number:

For two years, a 38-year-old nanny wasn’t allowed to wash her hair, take hot baths, or eat anything but leftover scraps…If her bosses didn’t like how she dressed their children, she was slapped and dragged by the hair.  Now a Texas couple is facing prison time for allegedly holding their Nigerian nursemaid hostage, forcing her to work 20 hours a day and tormenting her in…suburban Houston…Chudy [and Sandra] Nsobundu…[face] charges of forced labor, visa fraud, withholding documents, and conspiracy to harbor an alien.  If convicted, they face up to 60 years in prison…the Nigerian-born husband and wife—both naturalized U.S citizens—allegedly lured their nanny into household slavery and physically and verbally abused her before she escaped by calling a human-trafficking hotline…

Cooties

It’s always “gangs”.  Because you know women are too stupid to use AirBnB for ourselves:

…Human traffickers are using hotels and guest houses across the Lake District as “pop-up brothels”…Crime gangs have trafficked refugees to use as illegal sex workers…and…exploiting “human misery for financial gain”…[pig mouthpiece] Nick Coughlan…[fantasized that] most of the women involved are victims of human trafficking who have been forced into prostitution…Hoteliers, apartment owners and cleaners were being asked to [spy on renters] and [snitch] to the police…

Vendetta (#512)

Liz Brown tries to assess the toll in human lives from Swanee Hunt’s latest pogrom:

…FBI and vice cops nationwide conducted a coordinated series of prostitution stings in conjunction with the latest Super Bowl, yielding hundreds of arrests for “would-be sex buyers.”  Known as the National John Suppression Initiative, the stings—which took place in 14 states and involved 23 different law-enforcement units this year—start with police decoys offering commercial sex…At the end of the January 17 through February 7 operation, 552 people were arrested for trying to purchase sex, and officials expect to collect a minimum of $187,000 in fines from them…Across all operations, 10 teens were discovered…Though almost exclusively referred to as “children” by police and press, one recovered juvenile was 14 years old and the other nine ranged from ages 15 to 17…the Contra Costa Timesreports that “sex workers who were arrested were offered a wide array of services, such as food, clothing and shelter”…

But of course they were: food and shelter in a jail, and a lovely new orange jumpsuit.

Sex Rays (#560)

Swanee’s brother.  Need I say more?

Billionaire oilman Ray Hunt, one of [Dallas’] highest-profile property owners, emailed the…City Council…asking them to vote…against allowing a porn convention to open shop at the city-owned convention center…Hunt, who owns more than 30 acres downtown…says he believes Exxxotica “constitutes an activity that runs totally counter to the values, mores and beliefs of the vast majority of the citizens of the City of Dallas.”  And, he [pretends]…allowing porn stars to peddle their wares on city property is a violation of the section of the Dallas City Code that licenses sexually oriented businesses [even though city attorneys have told the council that law does not apply to conventions]…Exxotica came to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center last August over the objections of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and several women’s advocacy groups, chief among them the Dallas Women’s Foundation…Rawlings said at the time he was “particularly worried about the message that our playing host to this convention might send regarding our city’s position on the sexual exploitation of women”…

The Mote and the Beam (#591) 

You’d think people would remember the targets of previous Senate censorship “hearings” of this sort:  comic books, “dirty” song lyrics, communists

The United States Senate and the online advertising site Backpage.com are headed for a legal showdown, after a Senate committee voted unanimously…to hold the site in civil contempt for not cooperating with a probe into how it screens sex ads for illegal trafficking of minors*…it would be the first civil contempt declaration by the Senate in more than 20 years, according to its sponsors, Sens. Claire McCaskill…and Rob Portman…A lawyer for Backpage said the company welcomes the contempt citation, and that the company has been for months calling on McCaskill and Portman for a legal test of Congress’s authority to probe the actions of a company that…has First Amendment protections…another lawyer for Backpage – Liz McDougall – last year accused McCaskill and Portman of engaging in the same tactics of the Cold War era Sen. Joe McCarthy…

*As opposed to what, legal trafficking of minors?

Blunt Instrument (#596)

Due to their visibility, massage parlors are taking the brunt of the “sex trafficking” hysteria in smaller cities:

The owner of a [Wichita, Kansas] massage parlor…is facing federal sex trafficking charges…60-year-old Samir F. Elias employed and provided housing for a Chinese woman working as a prostitute…the woman…worked daily with no formal massage training and has been convicted of selling sex…She paid Elias a portion of the fees collected for giving massages to patrons — $10 or $20, depending on the length of the appointments…Elias is charged with transporting and harboring an unlawful alien, harboring an alien for prostitution, and two counts of money laundering…

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