Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

Laws don’t pay my bills!  –  unnamed Glasgow street worker

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Laura Lee on the appalling blindness of “authorities”:

…The last victim of Jack the Ripper, [Mary] Kelly’s body was so badly mutilated that she could only be identified by her hair and eyebrows…Fast forward 127 years and we have surely progressed a great deal since then in terms of sex worker safety, right?  Well no, actually.  If anything it’s worse.  Following the removal of the tolerance zone for street prostitution in Edinburgh, crimes against sex workers shot up by 95%.  The reason for that is simple, it became known that the police were no longer there to protect the workers, but rather to harass and arrest them, and their clients.  Let’s make a clear distinction for once and all, many attackers of sex workers are not or will never be “sex buyers”.  They are predators, looking for an easy target, and they know that sex workers are alone, vulnerable and highly unlikely to report an attack to the police…152 sex workers have been murdered since 1990.  How many more Mary Kellys must we have before the penny drops that leaving vulnerable people open to attack is not a good policy?

The Lesser of Two Evils Vatican City

If the Church were sanely-run, this article would be true:

The newest leaked information associated with the Vatileaks scandal states that properties owned by the Vatican along Piazza Barberini and the Italian parliament have now been converted to “massage parlours” and saunas, and their patrons are priests.  The leaked document points to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith…[which] owns and operates numerous properties within Rome.  The properties in question are referred to as “peppercorn rents” and are said to be leased for cheap to “powerful colleagues” of the religious institution…

Check Your Premises

They worked for themselves, but it’s a “ring” and the cops are looking for “pimps”:

Four women have been arrested as part of an alleged prostitution ring operating in Mississippi…Arrested were Anjeni’ Qyanik Moore, 34, of Norfolk, Virginia; Heaven Leigh Nix, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee; Joneka Santrice Burns, 24, of Jackson, Mississippi; and Candace Renee Stewart, 30, of Byhalia, Mississippi…MBI spokesman Warren Strain said the women were working independently and are not believed to be victims of human trafficking.  He declined to say…whether they worked with pimps, citing an ongoing investigation…

Saving Them From Themselves

Lock ’em all up, New York!  Let’s put the entire next generation on the “sex offender” registry!

…17 states have changed their child pornography laws so that teenagers who swap nude photos of themselves with each other are not automatically treated as felons.  One of those states is New York, which makes an exception for images exchanged between people 20 or younger whose ages are no more than five years apart.  In such cases, the “offenders” can avoid criminal charges by undergoing an eight-hour “education reform program” that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying.  Despite that provision, two Long Island teenagers were recently charged with felonies for producing and disseminating a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl…the two boys…are both 14…the boys…were each charged with…disseminating indecent material to minors and promoting a sexual performance by a child…In addition to the two boys who were arrested, 20 students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The cops are happy to serve as an ex’s revenge goons:

A 50-year-old woman…has been sentenced for soliciting prostitution…Marisa Frances Lang pleaded guilty to prostitution in a public place…and to disorderly conduct…Judge Michael A. Fahey…placed Lang on two years of probation.  She was ordered to continue mental health treatment and counseling…and must pay $585 in fines and fees…her ex-husband’s [ratting her out to cops]…led to a sting operation…

Finding What Isn’t There

“Authorities” amazed that an imaginary problem doesn’t materialize in response to their “mandating” that it exists:

…Around the country, pimps…force thousands of…women and girls…into prostitution every day.  Florida has the third highest number of sex trafficking cases…Reformers have argued that prostitutes are victims, not criminals, and more effort should be made to go after human traffickers – the pimps…Despite this new focus, a statewide analysis…found that efforts…to investigate and prosecute sex traffickers have yielded few results…[“rescue” profiteers pretend] the image of the independent prostitute, working for herself and selling sex by choice, is rarely accurate…“I [fantasize] the majority who are in the life have been the victims of trafficking,” said Katariina Rosenblatt, founder of There Is HOPE for Me…

The Widening Gyre 

The “Facebook pimps” myth is one of the silliest of the whole panic:

…Traffickers worldwide are increasingly using social media to contact vulnerable teenagers and sell them into sex work…Once limited to luring victims in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools in their arsenal.  “If just one of them answers … traffickers can make thousands of dollars off that girl very quickly,” said Andrea Powell, founder and director of FAIR Girls…a growing trend in the United States is to use WhatsApp or Snapchat where messages evaporate over time…Europol…said social media and other online technology have not only taken the recruitment and selling process off the streets but also allow traffickers to control victims using remote surveillance…

Here the magical “pimp” mind-control powers are claimed to be exerted via some mumbo-jumbo fantasy technology.Lucy Steigerwald

Shift in the Wind

Lucy Steigerwald presents a pro-decriminalization argument to a conservative audience:

Unfortunately, while the war on one vice dials back, law enforcement and government fight hard against another supposed danger…these days it sure seems as if the hot new thing to swoon over and vow to “do something” about is prostitution.  Worse than that, it’s prostitution-slash-sex trafficking, vaguely hand-waved together as the same thing…the solution to the latter is to legalize the former.  It’s that easy.  Or it could be, if people would do two things: stop filing trafficking with prostitution, and stop pretending that laws against selling and purchasing sex actually prevent people from selling and purchasing sex…Both hand-wringing liberals and worried social conservatives need to realize that some sex workers—perhaps the vast majority—have no need of rescue.  They need their line of work to be taken out of the black-market shadows.  They need to be left alone…We tend to look back with shame and bafflement at the obviously absurd moral panics that have gripped our society, but only after the damage has been done.  We are in the middle of a sex trafficking panic that not only exaggerates the threat that prostitutes pose to the moral fiber of society but, worse still, makes enormous exaggerations about the number of sex-trafficked (mostly) women and children…

Fever Dream

It’s like they’re not even trying any more:

Law enforcement officials on all levels – from local to international – are working together to crack down on human trafficking, which is a growing problem…[fetishists] call it “modern day slavery,” and it’s happening right here in East Tennessee…pimps…target young girls…on…social media…Interstate 40 is a convenient corridor for sex traffickers…the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking…[trains] people to recognize victimization…traffickers and pimps employ manipulation…21 of Tennessee’s 95 counties reported at least 16 cases of sex trafficking involving a minor in 2010…

Yes, that’s the same discredited study they’re still quoting despite the fact that it isn’t even supported by the cops’ own records.

Shame, Shame

Here’s a excellent article on the State’s two-faced attitude toward “revenge porn”:

…Sex workers themselves are erased from anti–revenge-porn rhetoric.  Proposed remedies for revenge porn—criminalization of disclosures and liability for third-party websites—fail to address the sex-work stigma that creates repercussions for victims of revenge porn.  When a woman has her Google results bombed with nude photos and fake sex ads, she won’t pass a screening when she tries to get a job—because she’ll be mistaken for a sex worker.  The solution, we conclude, is to remove all possibility of that mistake—rather than to remove what bars a sex worker from getting that job…We propose new criminal statutes and partner with the police, even as the police threaten to post photos of sex workers during “busts” on social media accounts.  These are women who are being locked out of jobs because of nude photos of them on the Internet.  These are women who are being publicly disgraced as sex workers—because they are sex workers…the existence of sex work raises awkward questions about how to define revenge porn, how to understand its harms, and how to most appropriately redress its victims…

Blunt Instrument (#547)

And the gravy train just keeps rolling along:

Victims of human trafficking in Tampa Bay will have more access to legal help thanks to a $600,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant…Some…brothels take the form of what are called massage parlors.  Gulfcoast Legal Services attorney Sophia Lynn Denicolo says they can be hotbeds of human trafficking…

The Public Eye (#557)

Another sex work-positive article in Cosmopolitan.  Hey prohibitionists:  We’re winning.  And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

There are a few rules for dating a sex worker:  don’t compromise their cash flow by driving away their business, never out them to other people without their consent, and don’t expect them to eagerly perform activities they normally get paid to do for free…Ask any sex worker how they maintain their boundaries, and you’re in for a long conversation.  Some people develop a working identity that they keep entirely separate from their real-life persona, and others conflate the two.  Many sex workers desperately want to be out but don’t want to endure the invasive questions, or fear that their housing stability or the custody of their children would be compromised…The hardest boundary I’ve had to confront in my romantic relationships is the line between authentic desire in my work, and the “it’s just work” defense…But the world isn’t black-and-white, and while the vast majority of us are not regularly turned on by our work, real connections can happen with scene partners and genuine fun can be had with clients.  So where’s the line?…

Seizing Power (#574)

I’m adding Judge Posner to the very short list of men who can claim a freebie from me anytime they like:

A federal appeals court has ordered the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to cease lobbying major credit card companies that do business with…Backpage.com…At a hearing on Friday, Judge Richard Posner expressed unease with the notion, presented by the sheriff department attorneys, that Dart’s First Amendment rights protected his individual right to express his displeasure with Backpage to the credit card companies…on the sheriff department’s letterhead…“He can use the office of the sheriff to express any antipathy that he has to anything?” Posner posed to the sheriff’ department attorneys.  “So you’re saying there is no limit?  He can express his opinion on his office stationery on any subject that occurs to him.  What if he doesn’t like pets?  He doesn’t think people should have animals in their house.  He can suggest to everyone they euthanize their pets?”  Dart was also directed by the appeals court to send a copy of the order to Visa and Mastercard and all other recipients of the June 29 letter within 24 hours…

The recording is well worth your time, especially the segment from roughly the 18 minute mark to the 30 minute mark.  Dart’s mouthpiece clearly knows she’s spouting drivel, and the judges keep calling her on it.

Read Full Post »

Social policies do not have to be so dumb.  –  Laura Agustín

The Scarlet Letter

This article is so stupidly evil it’s almost fascinating:

A plan to publicly shame those who solicit sex with minors moved forward…with a draft ordinance covering Los Angeles County expected next week…Don Knabe has been pushing for a “shame campaign” since late last year…the…ordinance that would provide for the publication of names and booking photos of those convicted of soliciting prostitution or loitering with intent to solicit prostitution…Sheila Kuehl…questioned the practice of arresting people for loitering with intent, saying she thought the allegation amounted to “mind reading”…The Los Angeles Times editorial board, when Knabe first made his proposal, called the plan “anachronistic” and said it amounted to “sensationalism”…

Parable Kesha

Noah Berlatsky with another analogy for the absurdity of prohibition:

Should young women be allowed to enter the music industry?  That seems like a preposterous question.  But consider:  Kesha…filed a lawsuit against her former producer Dr. Luke…alleging that he had sexually, physically, and mentally abused her for a decade…Kesha’s lawsuit also alleges that Sony music refused to take steps to stop the abuse, and even covered up for it…The situation is not rare; producers and managers like Phil Spector and Ike Turner have physically and mentally abused their artists for years…Shouldn’t there be laws in place to prevent women from entering an industry such as this where they can be abused and harmed?  It should be clear why this is a bad idea.  Heavy-handed restrictions on women would hurt women, not protect them.  To make it illegal for women to be musicians and pop stars would be abusive and unfair in itself…And yet, when it comes to sex work, restricting women’s options in the name of “protecting” them is suddenly seen as reasonable, logical, and necessary…

Saving Them From Themselves

How many more kids’ lives have to be destroyed before we stop the cops?

Police in a Pennsylvania school district have charged at least three kids—one of them just 11 years old—with distributing sexually explicit pictures of other minors.  They…face juvenile detention, expulsion, and a variety of other life-altering consequences.  This is somehow in their best interests—and the interests of kids everywhere—authorities claim…The levelling of charges…should not be viewed as some low-cost precondition to keeping kids safe, but a horrible, life-derailing consequence in and of itself…But we live in a country where paranoid delusions about safety provide cover for police to enforce absurd laws that make life miserable for kids…

Surplus Women 

Kenyan police are investigating the murders of 10 women working as prostitutes, a record number of attacks in one month that has led to fears of a serial killer…campaigners have called on the government to legalise prostitution and offer proper protection to vulnerable women.  The police commander in the town of Nakuru, where four bodies were found, said an intense manhunt was under way…Hassan Barua said security had been improved in the area, but would not comment on whether one suspect was wanted for multiple murders…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

Because they are?

When the issue of sex workers in Thailand is brought up, any discussion is usually characterized with words of “exploitation”, “coercion”, and “human trafficking”.  However…Some…girls…[feel] that sex work [is] a means of emancipating themselves economically…A prevailing attitude…[is] that they feel better being paid for the sex they provide, rather than providing sex to a husband in a dead end relationship that they get nothing for.  This was most prevalent in those who had been married before…Some even talk about providing sex as helping clients with a basic need…What was most common with those sex workers who had been prudent financially, was a satisfaction with their career as a sex worker…

The Mother Learns From Her Children

Sex worker rights activists from around the world will join researchers and experts to present evidence to parliament in support of the decriminalisation of sex work.  The day-long symposium, organised by the English Collective of Prostitutes and hosted by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, is an opportunity for parliamentarians and the public to sidestep the charged emotion of international debates on the nature of sex work and hear crime-related, humanitarian, and public health analyses from leading academics and campaigners…The symposium will compare the outcomes of Sweden’s criminalisation of the buying of sex with the full decriminalisation model that has flourished in New Zealand…activists from Thailand, Taiwan, Canada and South Africa will explain how criminalisation, rescue and rehabilitation programs have affected sex workers there.  Rachel West, an American sex worker rights activist, will explore how a recent surge in anti-trafficking policing has disproportionately affected black sex workers and their clients…

The Lion and the Ox

Laura Agustín on the uselessness of the term “human trafficking”:

…There are young people now who have grown up surrounded by campaigning against trafficking, unaware there is conflict about how to define the term.  Some want to dedicate energy to combating what is figured as a modern social evil.  Some compare themselves with 19th-century anti-slavery advocates and feel outraged that anyone would question what they are doing…after…the idea of trafficking began its ascent…we who were interested in migration, sex work and labour policy realised it was useless for gaining equity or rights…the assumption is this human mobility to work is fomented by criminals who use force and coercion against their victims…Behind this over-simplification and over-focus on sex lie real social inequalities and oppressions:  migration policies that favour middle- and upper-class jobs, out-of-date notions of the formal economy and productive labour, young people who want to get away from home, job-seekers willing to take risks to make more money, laws that make commercial sex illegal, laws that make sweatshops illegal and…more.  To lump all this under a single term simply disappears the array of different situations, encourages reductionism and feeds into a moralistic agenda of Good and Evil…

King of the Hill (#421)

“The Harvard of sex trafficking” has now morphed into “The Harvard of pimp school”.  Or was it really the other way around?  Does it really matter, when both phrases are utterly ludicrous?

Milwaukee has become “the Harvard of pimp school” and Wisconsin is a hub of human trafficking, a [self-declared] expert has said in the wake of an FBI sting last month in which nine adolescents were [arrested]…meaning Milwaukee is tied with Las Vegas for the third highest number of young people [arrested]…Denver topped the list, with 20…and Detroit was next with 19.  Over the past four years, however, Milwaukee has consistently ranked among the top five cities in the nation for [arrests of underage sex workers]…

If Men Were Angels

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

A…Houston mother of two says she was raped in her hospital bed by a doctor…she reported the rape to nurses who responded with cold skepticism.  She had to wait nearly two years for police to collect the alleged attacker’s DNA and make an arrest.  And now…Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh…may get off scot-free in civil court.  And Texas law may entitle her to only modest compensation from Sheikh’s employer at the time of the rape, the prestigious Baylor College of Medicine…Baylor doctors staff Ben Taub, which is a public hospital owned by Harris County.  The doctor isn’t the only one who can deploy the “government unit” shield.  Baylor lawyers have successfully argued that the college itself can be construed as a government entity and is entitled to the same protections a county institution would enjoy…Baylor can argue it is immune to the claim altogether…and…the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that rape in some circumstances is covered by medical malpractice laws…Gillian Anderson looking stupid again

Acting and Activism (Traffic Updates) 

Anderson’s right at home in a movie based on ridiculous, exaggerated conspiracy theories:

Gillian Anderson wasn’t expecting to appear in the movie Sold.  The actress, known for her role on The X-Files, had initially been approached by…director Jeffrey Brown…about just being part of the film’s campaign.  She immediately said yes because she felt passionate about…sex trafficking…”High school students go missing and they are…forced into prostitution where there is violence and they don’t get paid for being a sex slave…And they get brainwashed into being a part of a community and they are terrified for their lives to escape”…

Safe Targets (#452)

Tara Burns, Maxine Doogan and two others on “sex trafficking” in Alaska:

…Last year a woman dialed 911 in Anchorage and reported that she had been a victim of sex trafficking.  When the [cops]…decided to follow up with her they…traveled to where she was working as an independent escort and…posed as a customer to book an appointment with her and meet her in a sexual context.  Then [they] placed her in handcuffs, threatened her with felony charges, and told her nobody would be able to “actually” love her as she was.  In response to a…complaint about this incident, the Department of Public Safety explained that this is a common “strategy of building rapport” with victims…

Vendetta (#518)

Oakland City Council Takes Stand Against Sex Workers“.  Seriously.

On October 20…[Oakland, California] endorsed…The “CEASE Network”…a project of Demand Abolition, a Boston-based program dedicated to “eradicating the illegal commercial sex industry” by going after “demand.”  That means targeting clients…Demand Abolition is a program of Hunt Alternatives, the foundation of Swanee Hunt…the daughter of…oil tycoon H.L. Hunt…The groups fund law enforcement and public media campaigns and advocate for stronger legal penalties…when police agencies and district attorneys broadly target demand, they end up wasting resources on arrests and prosecutions that further criminalize adult sex workers and their clients…the Demand Abolition approach…[threatens] marginalized workers in the sex industry.  That was a concern of government officials in San Francisco, which last year ended a brief partnership with Demand Abolition after facing a backlash from…sex workers…

End Demand (#576)

My friend Savannah Sly is quoted extensively in this article about the fascist BEST program:

…a new public-private coalition that aims to have sites like backpage.com blocked in…workplaces…free speech advocates and…sex workers…are critical of the BEST Employer Alliance’s methods, warning that it errors on the side of censorship and endangers sex workers…If third-party Web hosting were akin to aiding in criminal activity, then Facebook and Twitter would quickly cease to exist…By pressuring credit card companies to divest, and now by pressuring employers to block the site en masse, the anti-Backpage set hopes to slowly choke the site out of its users…Savannah Sly, the director of…SWOP…said…”This painting of all clients as pedophiles reminds me of how we use to paint all homosexual men as pedophiles…If you shut down Backpage adult listings…You’re denying thousands and thousands of workers who need money.  And if you shut down all of Backpage, you’re punishing hundreds of thousands of people who want access to roommate listings, sale items, general classifieds…all for the crimes of a very, very small few”…

In fact, I’m relatively sure she was riding in my car while giving this interview.

Read Full Post »

A prison might be defined as any place you’ve been put into against your will and can’t get out of, and where you are entirely at the mercy of the authorities, whoever they may be.  –  Margaret Atwood

Bad Jobs

You’ll notice that sex workers are immune to most of these factors:

People often like to groan about how their job is “killing” them.  Tragically, for some groups of people in the U.S., that statement appears to be true.  A new study by researchers at Harvard and Stanford has quantified just how much a stressful workplace may be shaving off of Americans’ life spans.  It suggests that the amount of life lost to stress varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

There are about 40,000 girls aged 13-17 in San Diego; this “study” claims that 30% of them become “victims of sex trafficking” every year:

A new study released by the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University revealed that the dark and secret world of sex trafficking in San Diego is the second largest underground economy locally after drugs…sex trafficking is an estimated $810 million-a-year industry and it is run mostly by gangs.  The study revealed that as many as 11,773 become victims to human trafficking in San Diego alone on a yearly basis…Victims are primarily underage…The study was funded by the Department of Justice, and found that more than 100 gangs are involved in the local sex trafficking operations…next to schools, other recruitment hot spots include:  trolley and bus stops, house parties, social media, tattoo parlors, churches, malls…about 1,776 victims/survivors come in contact with law enforcement…

That last is larger than the total number of “sex trafficking victims” that have ever been identified as such in the entire US.

With Folded Hands

Margaret Atwood on the asininity of giving away freedom for “security”:

…Governments know our desire for safety all too well, and like to play on our fears.  How often have we been told that this or that new rule or law or snooping activity on the part of officialdom is to keep us “safe”?  We aren’t safe, anyway:  many of us die in weather events – tornados, floods, blizzards – but governments, in those cases, limit their roles to finger-pointing, blame-dodging, expressions of sympathy or a dribble of emergency aid.  Many more of us die in car accidents or from slipping in the bathtub than are likely to be done in by enemy agents, but those kinds of deaths are not easy to leverage into panic…

Above the Law Patrick Quinn coercive cop

Sometimes sexually-exploitative cops stop short of rape:

In August Patrick Quinn, a 27-year-old…Texas [cop]…pulled over a driver and [claimed he] spotted marijuana paraphernalia in her car.  He told her he would not arrest her if she would let him lick her feet or give him her underwear.  He…was [fired and] sentenced to a year in jail…

Parting of the Ways

Peter Barbey is wasting no time as the new owner of the Village Voice.  Per an interview with [the] Wall Street Journal…he’s nixed the thought of changing the print edition size, pitched to staff the concept of special themed inserts and decided it’s time for a major ad dollar shift:  “Barbey plans to get rid of escort ads, a racy fixture of many an alt-weekly.  ‘Adult women can be escorts, that’s fine with me’, Mr. Barbey said, ‘but it’s not the kind of advertising that fits where we want go’.


Beyoncé Karungi, a 35-year-old campaigner…is in hospital following [a] horrific attack.  The activist had recently penned an article on surviving in Uganda as a trans sex worker, an occupation that can be dangerous and occasionally deadly.  After recieving several hate threats, she went into hiding.  When she emerged, she was attacked by a group of five unknown men.  She sustained several serious facial and bodily injuries…This is not the first time Beyoncé has been attacked…one time police undressed her, took her bag, money and phone and then cut her hair to make her “masculine”…

Frequently Told Lies

The title is “Feminism’s Sex Work Problem“, but this thorough article contains a large section debunking the usual lies prohibitionists employ:

I’m not going to make the pro-decriminalization case here.  Others have made it far more eloquently than I could…However, there are some elephants in the room that simply have to be addressed before a real conversation can occur.  These are mistruths that seem to have become cemented as fact through sheer force of mindless repetition, and unfortunately they severely derail any objective discussion of sex work…

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

Las Vegas police will pay more than $80,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who said officers detained her for two hours in The Cosmopolitan after falsely accusing her of being a prostitute.  A federal judge wrote that the case showed…prostitution sweeps in casinos were overly broad and threatened people’s constitutional rights.  Chentile Goodman was released without charge after the 2011 incident and filed a lawsuit later that year…

The Camel’s Nose (#504)

Meet CISA, formerly known as CISPA, AKA SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed the Senate today by a vote of 74 to 21.  A different version passed the House earlier in the year, so they’re going to have to conference to hammer out differences.  Retail business interests supported the legislation.  Major Internet and tech firms like Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Twitter…opposed it…”CISA…allows companies to monitor users and share their information with the government without a warrant, while offering a backdoor that circumvents any laws that might protect users’ privacy“…Attempts to add amendments to narrow the bill’s focus all failed…The Sunlight Foundation…notes that CISA creates a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act…”That means if they overstep and share the wrong information — as this bill seems to intend — the public won’t know, and even if it did, it would have no legal recourse…CISA guarantees the public will have no ability to see what information is going from companies to the government“…

What Were You All Waiting For? Richard Branson

I’m glad Richard Branson is speaking out against criminalization, but I wish he’d talk to sex workers so as to avoid gaffes like this:

…There are good Catholic countries like Chile that have legalised prostitution.  And I know its very controversial.  Most people would put their arms up in horror.  But by legalising it, they got rid of the pimps.  The girls are monitored properly to make sure that they are healthy, to make sure they can come forward if they’ve got a problem.  And they believe a lot of the illegal trafficking of young girls has gone away…

Now They Notice

One of the more loathsome uses of asset seizure:  stealing all of the victim’s bank accounts so he can’t pay for a legal defense.

Things aren’t looking good for rentboy.com…The company’s bank accounts containing millions of dollars were frozen and its website was seized by Homeland Security…Now, the company is selling its office supplies and furniture on Craigslist in an effort to raise money to pay for its mounting legal fees…Some of these “goodies” include glass desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and video monitors.  Other items for sale include cables, software, books, magazines, artwork, lamps, a copy machine, and “a lot of special, one of a kind rentboy.com ephemera”…

Seizing Power (#574)

The Cato institute supports sex workers’ right to advertise:

Prior restraints—legal prohibitions on disseminating information before publication—are an odious burden on the freedom of expression and come with a “heavy presumption” against their constitutionality.  Indeed, they are so disfavored in the law as to be virtually impossible to obtain outside of wartime.  Informal prior restraints—government pressure without formal sanction—are even more unconstitutional than formal ones, as the Supreme Court noted in Bantam Books v. Sullivan(1963)…But that strong precedent didn’t stop…Thomas Dart and his crusade against Backpage…As Cato, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project point out in our amicus brief before that court, Dart’s claimed “epidemic” of sex trafficking has evaded any sort of empirical verification for over two decades.  Indeed, State Department data indicate that the opposite may be true.  Nevertheless, Sheriff Dart, along with a new-age Baptist-and-bootleggers coalition matching the religious right and radical feminists, have raised the human-trafficking bugaboo to rally against prostitution—mimicking the drug war and all of its worst legal mechanisms…

Welcome To Our World (#578)

Here’s the first part of an in-depth look at how the New York Times callously maligned an entire industry – one that, like sex work, provides income for undocumented migrants with little money to squander on bureaucratically-imposed startup costs:

Sarah Maslin…Nir’s coverage broadly [mischaracterized] the nail salon industry, [and] several of the men and women she spoke with say she misquoted or misrepresented them.  In some cases, she interviewed sources without translators despite their poor English skills.  When her sources’ testimonies ran counter to her narrative, she omitted them altogether.  The second article lent the Times’ imprimatur to unproven theories, while committing science journalism’s cardinal sin of highlighting alarmist anecdotes that aren’t representative of systematic research.  If it hadn’t had real-world consequences, the series—and subsequent attempt by Nir and her editors to parry criticism—wouldn’t be worth such intense scrutiny.  But the day after the first article appeared in the print edition of the Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo…announced a new multi-agency task force to inspect nail salons…The rush to legislate based solely on the Times’ shoddy reporting has hurt the industry.  New nail salons, “which used to open every week in New York,” have stopped appearing…Salons once provided a steady source of jobs for undocumented immigrants; now many owners say they’ll hire only legal workers who’ve completed an occupational licensing program because they’re afraid of getting in trouble…

Read Full Post »

Equating the temporary, paid provision of sexual services to the “buying and selling of human beings”…only makes sense if you also think paying your hairdresser, landscaper, and barista are forms of slavery.
–  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

I don’t think this is as much a “subculture” as it is a few isolated psychos inspired and encouraged by “sex trafficking” hysteria, and perhaps in some cases even created by it:

In March 2014, Steven Currence gave undercover agents a grand tour of the dungeon hidden inside his Montana home.  The subterranean hellhole contained a heavy wooden cross…The walls were covered in whips, chains, and torture devices.  Currence boasted of blacking out the windows to dash any hopes of escape…One kidnapped woman would sleep in the basement torture chamber, while the other would be chained to his bed—with a chain long enough to reach the bathroom…Currence believed he would soon purchase the women from the agents, who posed as human traffickers…the feds cuffed him two months later when he traveled to Arizona to buy two women at what he believed was a slave auction…he was one of four men nabbed in an FBI sting operation targeting an extreme slice of the human trafficking underworld: people seeking sexual and domestic slaves…The goal was to find any victims who might need to be rescued. “We didn’t find any victims…but the market is definitely there”…

If the market is “definitely there”, why didn’t they find any victims?

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Gary Mariner, the son of a one-time…police chief, used his dead father’s badge and a gun to intimidate a prostitute in Portland last month into [submitting to rape]…Mariner…picked up the 25-year-old [woman] in his car…and told her, “It’s not (your) lucky day,” as he showed her the…badge…He allegedly told the woman that he had been called back from retirement to work for the Maine State Police as part of a special prostitution unit…

Real People 

The title and lede say it all: “Escorts describe first day at work in Reddit thread that dispels misconceptions about sex work…The vast majority on the thread describe their experiences as positive”.  Naturally, this surprises stupid people despite the fact that women like me have been saying exactly the same thing forever.

Higher Education

An Italian porn actor and director is starting an academy to teach aspiring adult film actors and actresses the tricks of the trade…Rocco Siffredi…will document his training in the reality show, Universita del Porno to air in Italy…Classes will be in session on the set of “Siffredi Hard Academy,” in which the porn veteran will instruct a group of 21 hopefuls on different techniques and tactics on how to be a believeable porn actor on screen…

The Course of a Disease

One can never have too many anti-Swedish model editorials:

…the Nordic approach has been packaged as “progressive” and “woman-friendly”.  However, it is completely untenable on three grounds:  first, the evidence of Sweden’s “success” at stopping prostitution is deeply suspect; second, the dangers to women’s health and well-being are ignored; and third, “gender equality” becomes an imposition on people’s rights, namely, those established through contractual agreements…Prohibitionists have lauded the act’s achievements, claiming that it has reduced prostitution…deterred male clients and changed societal attitudes toward prostitution.  In reality, however, sex workers in Sweden have begun using other means to find clients, and vice versa…Sweden’s claim of “successfully” decreasing the demand for sexual services appears highly unlikely since it is impossible to monitor every transaction or sexual encounter…

Above the Law 

Fake rapist cops like the one in “License to Rape” above are often convicted; real ones usually aren’t:

A South Florida cop accused of raping a woman at gunpoint while on duty was acquitted…after a jury determined she had asked for it and was merely acting out a fantasy by allowing the cop to penetrate her as she bent over the hood of his car.  After all, defense attorneys argued, the woman had posed for a photo back in high school where she bent over the hood of a car with her hands behind her back in a “strikingly similar position” to how…Stephen Maiorino…raped her…it is not clear how the photo was even admitted as evidence…Maiorino [claimed] the sex was consensual.  And his attorneys said that he even gave her his business card, indicating that he wanted to continue having sex with her.  They also said that because he did not bother cleaning up the DNA evidence from his uniform after they had sex – or try to hide the used condom later found at the scene – then it was obviously consensual.  However, the woman denies receiving his business card and said she was afraid for her life…

So Close and Yet So Far

I guess Dick Cady is pretty credible, for what he is:

The veteran journalist who co-authored a book filled with explosive allegations against the University of Louisville men’s basketball program said…that the escort he wrote with is “pretty damn credible.”  Dick Cady, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist based in Indianapolis, insisted that Katina Powell — a Louisville prostitute who claims a former Louisville staff member paid thousands of dollars and gave game tickets to her and other escorts…to provide sexual services to players and recruits — “never tried to back down or amplify or gussy something up…Every time we hit her with a new question or an explanation, she came through…I thought she was pretty damn credible for what she was”…

Dutch Threat

What’s Dutch for “bottleneck effect”?

Sex workers without brothel licenses will soon risk a prison sentence of up to six months…the Act Regulating Prostitution (WRP)…[will] criminalize all sex workers without a license, including independent prostitutes and camgirls/camboys. This is the first time that the Netherlands has criminalized sex workers…Many prostitutes are willing to work legally, but…because municipalities refuse to issue permits to them, more and more sex workers choose to work without a permit, often from their own homes.  The WRP considers these…brothel owners (operators) without a permit and allows them to be punished as such…


Nope, no hate here:

A transgender woman…was attacked by a group of men before being fatally shot…Police are treating the case as a homicide — not a hate crime — though that could change as the investigation continues…[Kiesha] Jenkins was jumped by five to six men, physically assaulted, then shot in the back…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#555) 

Take a good, hard look at who the “feminists” are in bed with:

The anti-porn activists at Morality in Media, recently rechristened the “National Center on Sexual Exploitation” (NCOSE), are launching a coordinated attack on human-rights organization Amnesty International (AI) for its support of decriminalizing prostitution…It’s also urging supporters to email, tweet at, and otherwise contact AI with the message: No Amnesty for Pimps…In NCOSE’s ideal world, protecting the “human rights or persons in prostitution” would involve throwing them, their employers, and their customers in prison…When not trying to diminish the human rights of sex workers, NCOSE also enjoys chastising the Department of Justice for not enforcing federal obscenity laws more aggressively, accusing shitty erotica of normalizing domestic violence, and calling out the American Library Association as a conduit for sexual exploitation…

Welcome To Our World (#559)

I’m awaiting apologies from those of you who doubted me:

…New York City nail salon owners and employees mobbed The New York Times’ office in protest of the paper’s coverage of their industry…Reporter Sarah Maslin Nir said she wanted to highlight the pervasive worker exploitation she [claimed] took place in the city’s Asian nail salons…New York authorities had been on a crusade since at least year to regulate nail salons more tightly…Nir’s article provided the impetus and public support enabling the city to do just that.  But you know who hasn’t been so psyched about the new worker “protections?”  The people who actually work at nail salons.  Because of citations and new regulations, some salons have been forced to close, costing the women who worked there their jobs.  Because of rules mandating extra pay for overtime work, manicurists saw hours cut back…

Business As Usual (#566)

Rapists sue because their names were revealed, thus warning potential victims:

Three [vice pigs] whose names were made public after prostitution busts at massage parlors are suing the city, county and state.  The [rapists]…claim that data on undercover officers is private and the defendants violated the Minnesota Data Practices Act…The prostitution busts got media attention when they were dismissed…after the judges said the [cops] went too far when they [raped] the [sex workers].  The police department has since suspended its use of undercover details in massage parlors.  The lawsuit says that since the [rapists’] names were disclosed, [they] and their families have received negative comments and have suffered “stress, anxiety, and emotional damage.”  [They] have also been harassed at work and their reputations have been damaged, the lawsuit claims…one of the [rapists] has been shamed because of [his committing rape] and “has been excluded from the ability to practice his religion [because rape is a sin]”…

FYI, the suppressed names of the three rapists are Steven Lecy, Christopher Reiter and Abubakar Muridi.

Where Are the Protests? (#576)

Well, that didn’t take long:

Motorists visiting car washes across North Wales are being “offered sex” by migrant gangs using them as a front for brothels…Such incidents are [claimed] to have occurred at three garages across the region with migrant workers allegedly inviting drivers to “go inside” and see two waiting women.  The head of a task force set up to crack down on human trafficking and modern-day slavery said there was a risk vulnerable people…could be targeted by unscrupulous traffickers who would force them into sex work…

Read Full Post »

If we believe what we’ve heard, the sight of a female breast, either inadvertent or deliberate, immediately transforms men into raving sexual predators who rush to the nearest restroom and kidnap children.
–  Bob Stephens

The Scarlet Letter

It looks like Vice is slowly ditching the anti-whore bullshit and supporting our rights:

…Montreal sex worker support group Stella…says that…law enforcement’s crackdown on johns forces sex workers into isolation.  An environment where clients are trying to avoid police means sex workers are more likely to meet up with johns in dangerous areas, or get into cars without properly negotiating their terms…Client shaming isn’t a new tactic:  In the US, police have taken to sharing johns’ mugshots on Facebook or with the media…or they…send them letters that would be opened by their loved ones…

Public Service Announcement Jud McMillin

Are politicians actually stupider than other people, or does it just seem that way?

The controversial House Majority Leader in Indiana…resigned suddenly on Tuesday after a sexually compromising video was sent to all of the people on his “Contacts” list…After news of the mass-texting began to circulate, Representative Jud McMillin (R) claimed that his “phone was stolen in Canada and out of my control for about 24 hours. I have just been able to reactivate it under my control. Please disregard any messages you received recently. I am truly sorry for anything offensive you may have received.”  But his…defense apparently didn’t convince many of his “Contacts”…and so Tuesday night he released a statement in which he said that the “time is right for me to pass the torch and spend more time with my family”…McMillin has crusaded to “protect the integrity of the institution of marriage,” but the Advocate reported that the woman on the video he texted was not, in fact, his wife…


Are the sex rays produced by bestiality different from other sex rays?

[A Queensland] woman who was filmed having sex with a dog is appealing her conviction after she lost her blue card to work with children.  The woman…answered a Craigslist ad in 2013 from a man looking for a woman willing to perform sex acts online.  The pair had ­intercourse and she briefly had sex with the man’s dog…She pleaded guilty to bestia­lity…and received two years’ probation…the Queensland Court of Appeal was…told the conviction should not be recorded because it was manifestly excessive…

End Demand

The term for a symbiotic relationship between government and big business is “fascism”.

…[Members of] Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST)…have agreed to block websites where sex is advertised, update personnel policies and make it clear to employees that [their private sex lives are subject to their employers’ control]…King County…[and] the city of Seattle [are]…founding member[s]…With an estimated 27,000 buyers soliciting online sex through 130 different websites in King County every day, it wasn’t hard to deduce that a sizable number were likely on the clock and using work phones and computers to browse ads and connect with women and girls in the sex trade, [prosecutor Val] Richey said.  He said court cases and [interviews with a few prohibitionists]…bolster that supposition.  The BEST Employers Alliance is an extension of the county’s two-year, Buyer Beware program launched a year ago to increase the risk of arrest for men through street-level stings and undercover operations.  “No other jurisdiction in the country has tried this [collusion] with employers to [control private behavior]”…said Richey’s boss, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg…

King of the Hill

Remember, Feinstein thinks that the way to keep people “safe” is to spy on them and destroy their civil liberties:

Senator Dianne Feinstein…applauded the Department of Justice’s $1.5 million grant to the Los Angeles County Sheriff and Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) to create a new task force to investigate and prosecute [sex workers]…California is one of the top four destination states for trafficking victims and they are moved throughout California at an alarming rate…

Where Are the Protests? (#51)

It’s growing!

…“car wash slavery” has become a major problem in the UK and other European countries in recent years.  Romanian gangs have been…trafficking men from their country into other parts of Europe and putting them to “work” in car wash businesses…Gangs can establish themselves on vacant lots which they rent for insignificant amounts of money and set up business with minimal outlay.  If the businesses attract attention from the authorities, they can be shut down with no losses incurred and re-established immediately in other locations at little cost.  Those familiar with the growing phenomenon say…scenarios to trap victims are fabricated by gang members…The victims’ passports are retained by their minders-cum-gang enforcers…

Hollow Claims

No, there aren’t a “growing number” of prohibitionists in Germany; they’re just being given more airtime due to the prevalence of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…former prostitute Huschke Mau has joined a politician and a social worker to found a new anti-prostitution organization – Sisters e. V. – to help prostitutes out of the sex trade…Hydra Berlin…already offers counseling for prostitutes – including, but not limited to those who want to get out…Sisters [is] a kind of missionary service that “rescues” prostitutes, working from a premise of moral judgment that closes the group to a broad range of sex workers…Sisters…volunteer supporters [are]…women…[who] think prostitution is terrible…”Anyone who wants to do something against prostitution can come to us” [said Mau]…

Little Boxes (#138)

A recent “Free the Nipple” rally in Springfield, Missouri, elicited swift action from the city—but not in the direction activists were hoping for.  Rather, the Springfield City Council voted that women should actually cover up more of their breasts in public than was previously required.  The new indecent exposure law prohibits women from showing too much of the sides and bottom of the breasts—aka “underboob”…The issue was contentious among city officials, passing the city council by just 5-4.  Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens voted against it, condemning proponents’ claim that keeping women’s breasts hidden is necessary so as not to encourage sexual assault…But the new law’s instigator, Councilman Justin Burnett, said it was important for protecting the city’s “family-friendly image” and ensuring “the safety of the most vulnerable among us.”  It is unclear who Burnett thinks is made unsafe by the public presence of underboob…

Under Every Bed 

This is jaw-droppingly stupid even by Washington state standards:

…”I have never seen nothing [sic] worse than I have in Snohomish County,” Charlotte said. “It’s all over…it’s constant”…forensic nurse Paula Newman-Skomski…[is] motivated by her own past of sexual abuse…[and] her daughter was kidnapped…for four hours…she’s specially trained to do things like…advocate for victims of sexual abuse and slavery…”Just being a teenager puts girls at risk for being…coerced into trafficking by pimps…A lot of times you won’t see the girls with their…pimps or controllers”…

Remember, this comes from the home of the infamous crusade against coffee stands.

Policing for Profit 

Anyone who thinks £166,000 ($250,000) a year is some tremendous amount for a small business is an ignoramus:

Mark Cass…registered his business…with the local authority and employed six staff who…[used] time sheets in order to keep track of their busy schedules…Cass netted an average of £166,000 a year and…[employed] his brother as a…manager…police are trying to [steal his] assets…[including] his £47,000 home…a BMW car worth £4,000…[and] £87,499 [in other assets.  The cops want Cass] rendered homeless…[carless] and unable to work…The prosecution [admitted] that [his employees] were not under duress, not corrupted and not imprisoned…Exotic Thai was [such] a popular place to work [that] Cass got calls from Thai girls in London asking for jobs…

In other words, he was a rather ordinary businessman running a rather ordinary business, but the cops want to steal his moderate middle-class assets because sex.

Catastrophic Consequences

Glasgow is the center of official anti-whore sentiment in Scotland:

Glasgow is to be named a White Ribbon City in recognition of the work it does to tackle violence against women…[including] the End Prostitution Now campaign, Sixteen Days of Action, the Routes Out of Prostitution project, the Trafficking Alliance Raising Awareness (TARA) project and ASSIST, the support project linked to Glasgow’s domestic abuse court…

Catastrophic Consequences (#430)

This sleazy tactic has spread from Canada to Scotland to England:

A pioneering new tactic could be launched in Cambridge to rescue sex slaves from city brothels…police are considering visiting brothels…to talk to sex workers to discover if they are consenting or have been trafficked and exploited by brothel keepers.  Police hope to both rescue the women from modern-day slavery as well as gain information about gangs operating in the city’s sex trade.  Detective Chief Inspector Lorraine Parker…said…”We would make regular visits to make sure a sex worker is not being forced and exploited and offer them support as well as refer them to agencies that can help”…

Because unannounced intimidation visits from cops are just so helpful to sex workers.

New Excuse (#568)

Have I told y’all yet today that I love Liz Brown?  This was Reason‘s cover story this month:

…Lawmakers touted harsher penalties for drug offenses. The war on drugs raged. New task forces were created. Civilians were trained how to “spot” drug traffickers in the wild, and students instructed how to rat out drug-using parents. Politicians spoke of a drug “epidemic” overtaking America, its urgency obviously grounds for anything we could throw its way.  We know now how that all worked out.  The tactics employed to “get tough” on drugs ended up entangling millions in the criminal justice system, sanctioning increasingly intrusive and violent policing practices, worsening tensions between law enforcement and marginalized communities, and degrading the constitutional rights of all Americans. Yet even as the drug war’s failures and costs become more apparent, the Land of the Free is enthusiastically repeating the same mistakes when it comes to sex trafficking. This new “epidemic” inspires the same panicked rhetoric and punitive policies the war on drugs did—often for activity that’s every bit as victimless…

Read Full Post »

You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred.  Ask yourself, What do we want in this country above all?  People want to be happy, isn’t that right?…Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo.  Burn it.  White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  Burn it.  Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs?  The cigarette people are weeping?  Burn the book.  Serenity, Montag.  Peace, Montag.  Take your fight outside.  Better yet, to the incinerator.  –  Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

books cause thoughtThough Ray Bradbury was much more a fantasist than a writer of science fiction, in many ways his predictions about the society of the future have proven far more prescient than those of his contemporaries whose writings are more grounded in hard science.  One striking example is his depiction of future homes and cities as being constantly inundated by music, synthetic voices and fast-changing video images from huge screens and loud speakers in every conceivable location; the TV screens which start playing commercials when one passes them in a store are straight out of Bradbury, as are the video players we carry in our pockets and the earbuds and bluetooth sets in our ears.  Most science fiction writers depicted future people as being better-informed and more scientifically literate; Bradbury realized they would, if anything, be less so.  And while typical 20th-century literary dystopias featured top-down censorship by totalitarian governments who wanted to wanted to keep their citizens in the dark for political reasons, Bradbury alone understood that the censorship of the future would be lateral, grass-roots efforts pushed by ignorant citizens who wanted to remain ignorant and unchallenged by ideas which unsettled them.

We are living in the past of Fahrenheit 451, the early stages of a culture which values feelings above thought, the history of a world in which the solution to any troubling idea is to eradicate it.  Right now it’s going on in the universities, where sheltered young people who have been coddled by overprotective parents for two decades are declaring themselves to be “triggered” or “offended” or even “violated” by ideas – whether spoken or in print – that they haven’t encountered before, or that contradict their opinions, or that they find unpleasant, or that bear some superficial resemblance to any of the preceding.  Just as their parents “protected” them from these unpleasant thoughts by banning them from their homes with internet filters or “parental controls”, so they feel entitled to “protect” themselves – and every other person within their sphere of influence – from those bad, icky ideas by banning them.  And just as they may have been shamed as children for “bad” thoughts, so they seek to shame others who originate such thoughts; sometimes these censors go beyond mere shaming to the desire to punish the Bad People, and often that punishment can be career-destroying or even life-wrecking.

But it’s not completely limited to universities, nor to insular corners of social media; as I wrote in last year’s essay for Banned Books Week (which in case you hadn’t figured it out from the topic, starts today):

…the urge to censor actually is [not]…limited to those traditionally labeled “social conservatives”…nowadays, the most belligerent, aggressive and effective proponents of censorship are those who…describe their targets with words like “sexist”, “racist”, “homophobic”, “objectifying”, etc…promoters of this chic form of censorship very often don’t call for the direct government suppression of their targets; that would, after all, be censorship, and every thinking person knows censorship is bad.  So instead, they just “critique” the things they want banned and sling ad hominems like “misogynistic” at their targets’ creators, hoping to make them so radioactive in the public mind that risk-averse corporations will refuse to fund them…this isn’t technically censorship in the strictest traditional sense of the word, because it isn’t being forcibly executed by a political authority.  Neither is Operation Choke Point direct criminalization of the businesses it targets; that doesn’t change the fact that those businesses are as effectively suppressed as if they had been criminalized…while [such methods] lack the violence associated with actual criminalization of forbidden ideas, they are still very effective in creating an intellectual soil highly toxic to free expression…

It doesn’t matter whether the excuse is “sin” or “feelings”, or the injured party is conceived of as an individual or collective, or the suppression comes from above or below, or the method is violence or economics; the suppression of thought and speech is evil, tyrannical and socially self-lobotomizing.  As Ryan Holiday wrote in The Observer,

Your feelings are your problem, not mine—and vice versa.  Real empowerment and respect is to see our fellow citizens…as adults.  Human beings are not automatons—ruled by drives and triggers they cannot control.  On the contrary, we have the ability to decide not to be offended.  We have the ability to discern intent.  We have the ability to separate someone else’s actions or provocation or ignorance from our own.  This is the great evolution of consciousness—it’s what separates us from the animals…

Up until recently, Western society was built upon the premise that citizens were self-owning adults capable of self-determination and self-regulation, but as citizenship has been expanded over the last century and a half, the rights associated with it have been dramatically curtailed.  As detailed exhaustively in this blog, modern governments believe they own citizens’ bodies and can control what we do with them to a terrifying degree; now our fellow citizens are trying to control what we can do with our minds.  That is a two-pronged recipe for cultural suicide, and though it may be much too late to avert that, I consider it the duty of every freethinking, self-owning individual to do his or her best to at least go down fighting.Fahrenheit 451 woman

Read Full Post »

Different people have different types of sex for all sorts of reasons that are really no one else’s business.  –  Steve ChapmanNew Zealand coat of arms

Down Under

Here’s a good article on how New Zealand achieved decriminalization:

…Tim Barnett…became involved with the PRA shortly after he won his first campaign for Christchurch Central’s parliamentary seat in 1996.  He did so on the request of Catherine Healy, the national coordinator of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC), who actively sought out his support for decriminalisation after the election…Barnett entered into an already vibrant political field.  The Massage Parlours Act of 1978 was, nearly a decade after its implementation, suddenly causing controversy because police had announced that the legislation effectively allowed indoor commercial sex work.  As a result, a working group comprised of NZPC and mainstream liberal feminist groups…began work on a pro-decriminalisation reform bill…

The Last Shall Be First

Anti-trans people just can’t get their minds out of the toilet:

…Jared Woodfill…and his group, the “Campaign For Houston”, are trying to get “no” votes for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance…which voters will vote on in November…“No men in women’s bathrooms,” the ad actually begins. “This ordinance will allow men to freely go into women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.  That is filthy, that is disgusting, and that is unsafe,” the [female announcer says, claiming] to represent “all moms, sisters, and daughters”…

Too Young To Know

Far too many sex worker rights activists are afraid to discuss this topic:

…Generally, if someone is working underage, it’s because they’re aware their alternatives are worse.  With a system that entirely fails to protect and serve young people, either forcing them back into abusive homes or shuffling them into new, potentially even more violent environments such as group homes, foster homes, and juvenile halls, it’s no wonder these young people take their fate into their own hands.  The few jobs that will hire young workers pay a pittance, and signing a lease isn’t even an option for minors…

Sexual Predators

If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skip this badge-licking article; it is, however, refreshing to see “sex trafficking” mentioned only in passing after all the talk of “morality” and dirty whores.  Note also the bizarre use of scare quotes around ordinary words like “time”:

…Websites like Backpage.com are a playground for people looking for “escorts,” and the people who put up ads are barely discrete [sic] about what they’re selling.  While some allege that anyone who responds is paying for their “time” and “companionship,” others say things like, “No pimp, no drama”…Some people believe that prostitution arrests are just about the actual sex acts…Police say they’re not.  “It was important to make these arrests for the sake of prostitution itself, but it also curtails other crimes as well, such as drugs and robberies…You have to realize prostitution not only offends some citizens as far as moral standards, it can become a nuisance to businesses and residents”…

Uncommon Sense (#435)

The number of prostitutes using Zurich’s [tippelzones] has nearly doubled over the last year say city authorities, who are hailing the two-year-old scheme a success.  Around 25-30 sex workers are now using the guarded drive-in brothel, up from around 15 this time last year…

The Face of Trafficking

This is what really happens when a wannabe “pimp” abducts a girl:

A 16-year-old girl snatched right off an Indianapolis street and sold into prostitution is back home after a terrifying weekend…The victim [was] walking home when a young man pulled up and offered her a ride…the…man…24-year old Kevryn Gaines-Dukes [raped her] then met up with a second suspect, Myeisha White…the two [drove her to]…Nashville, Tenn., where White took pictures of the teen and posted them on backpage.com, a site known by solicitors and investigators for sex trafficking…”If they ever outlawed backpage.com, we’d have trouble finding victims,” said Sgt. Jon Daggy, who investigates human trafficking as part of the Vice Unit with IMPD.  The 16-year old told police her captors made a thousand dollars that weekend, forcing her to have sex with at least 10 men…She had been secretly texting messages like “police” to her father and sister….Gaines-Dukes then texted the father, demanding $25,000 in ransom…The texts were traced to a Nashville motel…

Yet we’re supposed to believe that 100,000 cases a year go unnoticed. By the by, John Daggy “investigates human trafficking” by making excuses for cops who rape sex workers.

Choke Point (#511) 

Ashley Madison (#557) 

I did try to tell y’all:

…the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized.  This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives…it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots…the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile…the overwhelming majority of men using Ashley Madison weren’t having affairs.  They were paying for a fantasy…About two-thirds of the men, or 20.2 million of them, had checked the messages in their accounts at least once.  But only 1,492 women had ever checked their messages

And all those guys who didn’t listen to me?  Well, they’re not very happy:  “Two Canadian law firms have filed a $578m class-action lawsuit against the companies that run Ashley Madison after a hacker group’s data breach exposed some 39 million memberships in the adultery website earlier this week“…

Seizing Power (#559)

As I said, nearly toothless:

A federal judge…denied a preliminary injunction request that would have forced Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to retract statements he made in lobbying credit card companies to block their cards from being used to buy sex ads on Backpage.com…Judge John Tharp wrote that the “cease and desist” letters Dart wrote to Visa and Mastercard…could have been construed as threats.  But they did not amount to censorship, since the sheriff had no legal authority to force the credit card companies to act…The judge also said he considered “the profound interests of the victims of the human trafficking that Backpage’s advertising facilitates”…The ruling does not affect the underlying lawsuit against Dart seeking damages…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#564)

Dave Ross of KIRO radio interviews Mistress Matisse about her debunking of Seattle politicians’ agency-denying garbage; what never ceases to amaze me is the tenacity with which reasonably-intelligent people cling to stupid preconceptions and asinine myths when the subject is sex.  And that crack about her age…really, Dave?  Matisse was much more charming to you than you deserved.

Not Good Enough (#565) 

Just in case you didn’t think the approval of flibanserin could’ve been any shadier:

If you happen to be a woman interested in taking Addyi…your doctor will…tell you…You absolutely cannot drink — at all — as long as you’re taking the drug, because alcohol has been shown to exacerbate its side effects, including fainting, dizziness, and low blood pressure…but…Nobody actually even knows what would happen if a woman taking Addyi were to cheat and have, say, a glass of wine with dinner — because the research…was done almost entirely on men.  The alcohol-safety study included 23 men, and a grand total of two women…alcohol affects men and women very differently…and women are more susceptible to toxicity effects than are men…

What Were You All Waiting For?

It’s as though every anti-prohibitionist was just waiting for Amnesty:

Banning things you don’t like has a long history, though not a happy one.  Americans have tried banning alcohol, marijuana, pornography and homosexuality.  All of them persisted anyway.  So we learned to not only tolerate but allow them.  Nowadays, you can have a glass of scotch in a gay bar while looking at porn on your iPad, and the police won’t care.  In Colorado and Washington, you can walk out and buy weed at a state-licensed dispensary.  Prohibition has also been a failure for commercial sex…banning prostitution doesn’t get rid of it.  It merely pushes it underground, where abuses are more likely and harder to detect…The denunciations of decriminalization come from a strange alliance of feminists who regard all sex workers…as victims of oppression and Christians who see them as drenched in depravity.  Both exploit the sense that some types of sex are shameful, dangerous and intolerable — an attitude that long fueled the persecution of gays…

And speaking of gays, this denunciation of Amnesty by two Swedish politicians taking their travelling medicine show to Los Angeles could win some kind of award for bad timing; it was published the day after the federal raid on Rentboy.com triggered a groundswell of public support for decriminalization, thus making its moronic representation of sex work as a form of gendered violence look utterly tone-deaf in addition to being dishonest and fascist.  The Swedes refer to their snake oil as a “middle way” between criminalization and decriminalization, which is exactly the same as saying, “There is a middle way between Jim Crow and treating black people like human beings.”

Now They Notice

As I pointed out yesterday, many people who didn’t give a shit about the criminalization of sex work when it was women, our clients and our advertising venues being attacked, suddenly care very much now that they see the anti-sex machine is also going to be turned loose on the queer sex trade.  And while I absolutely welcome these folks as allies, I’m not going to accept this kind of sexist, patronizing bullshit from queer boys who couldn’t be bothered to speak up for me and my sisters last week:

Yesterday’s raid on the offices of Rentboy.com…was a bizarre, unprovoked crackdown on people it’s easy for “respectable” folks to stigmatize or ignore…this thoroughly unnecessary bust should be the impetus to legalize and regulate consensual sex work.  It should become the “Stonewall” of sex workers, the moment in which they and their allies say:  Enough…this is not about sex trafficking…it’s not alleged in the government’s complaint in this case…Want to fight sex trafficking?  Fight sex trafficking.  Not Rentboy…No one is disputing that prostitution can be exploitative, especially to women and minors, and that the global sex trade is often a kind of slavery.  Even legal prostitution can trap women in exploitative power relationships.  The question is how best to address these problems, and the emerging answer is that legalization-and-regulation…is better than criminalization…

Fuck you, Jay Michaelson.  Fuck your patronizing picket-fence queer bullshit.  Fuck your attempt to pretend that sex workers (backed by Amnesty International and many others) are asking for “legalization and regulation” because women (though obviously not men) are too fucking weak and stupid to protect ourselves from “exploitation”. Fuck your trying to co-opt our movement, which was already going on for forty fucking years before you deigned to fucking notice it.  Stonewall was the fucking Stonewall of sex workers, you asshole; the riot that started the avalanche that gave gay amateurs their rights was started by professionals.  And I’ll be goddamned if I’m going to remain silent while sleazy douchebags like you call for my body and my choices to be “regulated” by the same kind of fucking pigs those rioters were fighting against, just so middle-class vanilla fucks like you don’t have to feel threatened by my unregulated sexuality.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,974 other followers