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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

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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One of the biggest challenges facing the anti-trafficking movement today is a near-constant acceptance of baseless, inaccurate, and even grossly exaggerated information.  –  Benjamin Corey

Celebrities Denver Broncos logo

Man is shamed and disgraced for seeking consensual sex:

The Denver Broncos are sending practice squad safety Ryan Murphy home…after he was questioned in a prostitution sting…and released…his brother and a suspected prostitute received citations…“We decided it was best if we continued our preparation for Super Bowl 50 without him,” head coach Gary Kubiak said…Murphy’s status as a practice squad player had not changed, only his participation in Super Bowl week…

Naturally, this humiliation was not enough for “sex trafficking” fetishists:

…The National Center on Sexual Exploitation specifically notes the Murphy situation in…[propaganda] declaring that “the normalized culture of commercial sex is a leading contributor to the spike in sex trafficking during the Super Bowl and other large sporting events…Just days before the Super Bowl, we see a prominent sports figure contributing to the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking,” [whore-hater] Dawn Hawkins [vomited out]…“Prostitution is an inherently exploitive and damaging institution, and is intrinsically linked to sex trafficking”…

Droit du Seigneur 

Notice: not “sex trafficking”.  Cops nearly always get the least-possible charges:

Eduardo Cornejo had been a…[New York cop]…for more than a decade…But investigators…had been tracking his movements for months after an anonymous tipster said Mr. Cornejo was a pimp…[who] had employed at least 10 prostitutes…Cornejo…was charged…with transporting women in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution, a federal offense…

Try not to choke when the FBI stooge says “Police officers, like all public servants, are held to a higher standard.”

Law of the Instrument

Baboons define consensual sex as “trafficking”, then scratch their arses in wonderment when they find an unending stream of “traffickers”:

A monthlong [prostitution] sting ended with the arrest of 46 people…in McLennan County [Texas]…This was the fourth sting in the past year…“It shocked me…” [Chief Ape Parnell] McNamara said. “To think, every sting gets a little bit bigger . . . and it doesn’t seem to stop.”  In the past year, 139 people have been arrested in McLennan County undercover stings….including members of an alleged human trafficking ring…[paid perverts] said they logged hundreds of man- hours in the past month visiting online ads…

Gorged With Meaning

Hey Australia, can the US import some of your journalists?

…some have dubbed [sugar dating]…prostitution.  So?  The only surprise about the news hundreds of…young women are signing up to be spoiled on their own terms by older men is that it’s raising eyebrows at all.  If no one in the arrangement is being exploited or coerced, just where does the problem lie?  These are mature adults; any judgment of their choices says more about the person doing the judging.  This is not sex slavery or sex trafficking, it’s not even a case of desperate girls doing something they feel is degrading just to stay alive.  More than a third of the women who responded to the Seeking Arrangement website survey were of middle or upper middle class (comfortable) status…

Deborah Jeane Palfrey

I’ll just leave this right here:

The former lawyer of Deborah Jeane Palfrey…has filed a motion to allow the release of her escort services’ records, saying they “may contain information relevant to the upcoming presidential election.”  Palfrey [supposedly] committed suicide in 2008 following a racketeering conviction.  Montgomery Blair Sibley, whose legal strategies and motions often included antagonizing opposing counsel and judge…remains under several 2007 restraining orders, which prohibited him from releasing Palfrey’s records.  Sibley won’t say how the records could affect the election…

The Widening Gyre

Observable fact: man talks to young women in public, in broad daylight.  Conclusion:  SEX TRAFFICKING!!!

A case of stranger danger at Catalina High School has administrators taking action.  Two girls said they were approached by the same man near campus a few weeks ago, so a meeting to talk about safety…There have been no new incidents…But with no suspects and no arrests, the school doesn’t want to wait for a third…According to the girls, the man told them he was from Pima Community College and wanted to interview them…Council member Steve Kozachik is worried the man may have been up to something much more sinister.  “It might be…some guy putting the young girls in jeopardy as to being trafficked”…

The Free Speech Mafia Marc Randazza

Marc Randazza, the noted First Amendment lawyer, has written a paper which, I think, would be of interest to many of my readers, especially (but not limited to) those who are yourselves lawyers.  Skeptical?  Here’s the abstract in its entirety:

In the case of intellectual property rights (IPRs), some nations erect barriers to the protection of IPRs on the basis of “morality”.  This paper will examine the implications of morality-based impediments to the enforcement of IPRs and their supportability under international agreements.  There are significant freedom of expression issues to consider when we think about “morality” getting in the way of intellectual property rights.  If that description doesn’t make you run to download it, it manages to include an academic discussion of “Cumfiesta”, “Screw You”, “Nut Sack Ale”, and Japanese porn being stolen in Taiwan.  Beat that.

Stupor Bowl

Given that “sex trafficking” myth is largely derived from evangelical Christian dogma, you’d think they’d listen when a theologian tells them it’s bunk:

…Regardless of who published it, the article is likely to have a shocking headline similar to: “Super Bowl is Largest Human Trafficking Event”, or something to that effect.  However, that claim is completely untrue…Whereas other social movements are often born out of a desire to correct stereotypes and misinformation…the modern anti-trafficking movement…perpetuates misinformation…the annual claim that the Super Bowl will be a major human trafficking event…is simply untrue…this results in increased attention from law enforcement (which is often misdirected and harmful)…most arrests are local sex workers, and…cases of human trafficking can often be counted on one hand…anti-trafficking organizations…[perpetuate] bad data, unproven claims, and harmful stereotypes about trafficking and sex workers…I can’t count the times I’ve heard:  “My city is in the top 5 biggest human trafficking destinations!”, “Did you know the average trafficking victim is 14 years old?”, “90% of sex workers are forced into it!”, or, “Pornography is what’s fueling human trafficking!”…As my therapist often tells me: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

The Mote and the Beam (#422)

Buried in this huge mound of bullshit is its astonishingly stupid and imperialistic premise: the author believes the US government can and should criminalize sex work in other countries:

…the State Department…sidesteps the most critical aspect of determining whether nations are truly “making serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex,” as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act mandates.  Punishing those who seek to purchase commercial sex is the one proven indicator of whether a country is making efforts to reduce demand…Enough is enough.  Any national government having the authority to criminalize the purchase of commercial sex should do so.  It’s time for Congress to pass pending legislation sponsored by Rep. Randy Hultgren…that would…require future TIP reports to assess sex-purchase laws when determining whether nations are making serious efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex…

Rhinoceros (#509)

COAST is still pretending that pigs, bureaucrats and other busybodies know more about our profession than we do:

Dwayne Angebrandt…of Homeland Security…put together a public presentation on how to spot the signs of [“sex trafficking”]…a group of strip-club operators.  For years, law enforcement had [pretended] such a group would likely be made up of some of the very people who are quietly selling women into prostitution…But…many of the club operators and their dancers he met were surprisingly clueless [about government propaganda declaring them “pimps” and “victims”]…an unlikely alliance has formed between his agency and a group called Club Organizers Against Sex Trafficking…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#563)

I predict this will be lousy with cops within a few months:

New Yorkers sick of the uncertainties of the urban dating scene can now turn to a new app designed to reduce the complexities of dating to dollars and cents.  Ohlala, a controversial on-demand escort dating  app popular in Germany, is launching its services today in its first American market…Pia Poppenreiter…[describes] her app as one that “connects people to go on instant, paid dates…But what happens on the date is actually a private matter”…The app, which launched in Germany this past August, has already facilitated over 25,000 paid connections…[and] is also adding three new cities (Stuttgart, Cologne and Dusseldorf) to its German market, which already includes Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg…

Ashley Madison (#567) 

If this is real, it’s hilariously pathetic:

Isn’t it creepy when your husband/boyfriend leaves the room for a second, and then a stranger with a mask over his eyes enters it right after, and you’re like, “Whoa! Who are you and what have you done with my husband/boyfriend?!” Because everyone knows that disguises that only cover half your face can fool loved ones into thinking you’re a total stranger, Ashley Madison is offering…the option of a brown or black mask that can be slapped on a profile photo; four levels of photo blurring (for those who can’t use Photoshop themselves); and a black bar that can be placed over a user’s eyes in a photo…It’s unclear whether this is intended to be an actual extra layer of security or someone has been watching too many romantic comedies involving masquerade balls and mixed up identities.

Choke Point (#603) 

Much more of this, please:

If you or your company had an active PayPal account frozen or terminated between April 19, 2006, and Nov. 5, 2015, you may eligible for a settlement payment of up to $440 per account.  In the five-year-old class action case of Zepeda v. PayPal, both parties have agreed to a settlement with regards to…improper account holds PayPal placed on some of its customers.  PayPal recently released a notice of settlement, directing users to AccountHoldSettlement.com to file a claim and learn more about the case itself.  A May 10 deadline has been set…PayPal and its partner at the time, eBay…placed inappropriate holds or reserves on sellers’ funds…PayPal has denied all allegations but has agreed to the terms of the settlement to “avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial.”

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The [only Super Bowl-related] surge was in cops and busybodies looking for something to do.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Safe Targets

In the US, the victim would’ve been arrested as well:

A woman and her two accomplices, who tried to blackmail a sex worker and extort money from her customer, were arrested by [Hyderabad] police…Moina Nayeeda…established a fake NGO…and…went to the house of Sabha, a sex worker…and told her that she was in financial trouble and want to make some money by prostitution.  Then Sabha arranged a customer one Jaheer…Nayeeda came to Sabha’s place along with her brother Sohail and some others…After entering the house, Nayeeda closed the doors with the customer inside and shouted loudly about the illegal acts going on there.  Nayeeda’s brother Sohail and others rushed to the house and threatened the owner of the house and the client saying they were from an NGO and would file a complaint against their illegal activities…

Barbie

This article contains no new info, but it’s of interest for the selection of Lilli cartoons:  “So it turns out Barbie’s original design was based on a German adult gag-gift escort doll named Lilli.  That’s right, she wasn’t a dentist or a surgeon, an Olympian gymnast, a pet stylist or an ambassador for world peace. And she certainly wasn’t a toy for little girls…Lilli cartoons

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

WTF, Vice?  Seriously?  You’re back to spreading “sex trafficking” myths again?  Make up your minds whose side you’re on, you sleazebags:

There are 20-30 million victims of human trafficking living in the world today.  These modern slaves cost an average $90-a-head…human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry, generating profits of around $32 billion each year…This January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month…we asked three organizations fighting trafficking about how things have progressed over the last few years, as well as what steps we can take to actually eradicate the practice…

This is your periodic reminder that one of the big wheels at Equality Now, one of the orgs included here, is a former prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after she was caught railroading innocent men for rape.

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

I’m not sure who’s stupider:  the idiots who claim that porn will replace whores, or this moron who claims that porn increases our business:

A Utah state senator is taking a stand against pornography, blaming skin flicks for creating a “sexually toxic environment,” increasing the demand for prostitution and ruining families.  Sen. Todd Weiler…is…asking that the state recognize that porn is creating a public health hazard…The politician [fantasized]…that porn was more addictive than powerful drugs, and the public needed to start seeing adult films as a national epidemic.  “I have read books and I have experts tell me pornography is more difficult to overcome than cocaine,” he said…He said he hopes to shift the public opinion on [pictures he doesn’t like] the same way it has on cigarettes…”These are scientific facts, just like global warming”…

A presume he envisions an anti-porn firewall around Salt Lake City, or something.

Surplus Women 

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) mourns the death and honours the memory of Tammy Le…[who] was found dead early morning on January 23rd at a hotel in Hamilton [Ontario]…Following the murders of Jiali Zhang and Evelyn Bumatay Castillo, she is the third Asian sex worker in Hamilton and Mississauga to be murdered within the past two years.  Violence against Asian sex workers is a direct result of repressive laws and a climate of hatred towards sex workers and sex work…Since December…six sex workers – also members of Butterfly – have been arrested, detained or deported.  Sex workers with legal immigration status have been charged and harassed arbitrarily by city police.  These conditions encourage sex workers to work and live in isolation and to avoid mainstream services and protections.  They encourage a targeting of migrant sex workers and create a climate of impunity for predators who are aware of the vulnerabilities migrant sex workers face because of criminalization and their risk of deportation…

See No Evil 

A slight glimmer of sanity in the totally mad world of “child pornography” prosecution:

Jack Weinstein, a federal judge in New York City who for years has criticized penalties for…child pornography as excessively rigid and harsh, was recently called upon to sentence a man who had pleaded guilty to possessing two dozen photos and videos.  The federal sentencing guidelines recommended a prison term of six-and-a-half to eight years.  Instead Weinstein sentenced the defendant—identified by his initials, R.V.—to time served (five days), a fine, and seven years of supervised release.  “The applicable structure does not adequately balance the need to protect…juveniles…against the need to avoid excessive punishment, with resulting unnecessary cost to defendants’ families and the community, and the needless destruction of defendants’ lives,” Weinstein wrote in a 98-page explanation of his reasons for departing so dramatically from the guidelines…

They Still Don’t Get It

This truly bizarre article uses the arrest of two petty thieves who also did sex work as a springboard to launch into…well, see for yourself:

Chloe Marie Schutz…and Cynthia Leshay Reichow…were arrested Tuesday and charged with burglary.  Reichow was also charged with prostitution…prostitution in Idaho pale in comparison to neighboring states — in 2010, Utah reported 414 arrests for prostitution, Nevada documented 3,738 and Idaho reported 13…In September, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of three girls who sued Backpage.com after they were sold as prostitutes on the site*…More than 70,000 people are arrested for prostitution each year in the U.S., costing taxpayers an estimated $200 million.  Seventy percent are female prostitutes and madams, 20 percent are male prostitutes and pimps, and just 10 percent are johns, or clients.  About 40 percent of prostitutes are former child prostitutes who were illegally forced into the profession through human trafficking**…Sgt. Bryan Lovell…said drug use is common…[and fantasized that]…runaway girls…are pimped out and then dumped off in eastern Idaho…

*No, it didn’t.  **No, they aren’t.

Feeding On Their Own

Much more of this, please:

Migrant children in the government’s care were placed in U.S. homes and left vulnerable to human trafficking due to sometimes nonexistent screening by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a congressional report…HHS failed to run background checks on the adults in the sponsors’ households, failed to visit sponsors’ homes and failed to realize some sponsors were accumulating multiple unrelated children, which can be a sign of human trafficking.  Some lawmakers contend that the government weakened its child-protection policies as it was overwhelmed by tens of thousands of children crossing the border…HHS officials declined to fully answer many of the senators’ questions…saying they did not have the legal authority from Congress to follow up on the children…

Monsters Monica Loera

The nation’s first reported murder of a transgender person in 2016 is…Monica Loera of Austin [Texas]…Loera…was…reportedly involved in sex work…In the wake of her death, Loera was misgendered by both police and the media, referred to by masculine pronouns and her birth name…

Stupor Bowl

I figured I’d wind up this year’s “trafficking bowl” coverage with a couple of debunkings; the first one is from J.D. Tucille & quotes me directly:

…That term–not “prostitution,” but “trafficking”—is a deliberate choice, selected to confuse people…44 percent [of Americans now] favor…legalization of prostitution…That’s up from 38 percent…in 2012…Opponents of commercial sex find themselves on the wrong side of shifting public opinion, so they pull a little rhetorical sleight of hand to get around that inconvenient word “consensual”…”Coercion is much rarer than ‘trafficking’ fetishists pretend it is,” insists Reason contributor and former call girl Maggie McNeill.  “The term ‘trafficking’ is used to describe many different things along a broad spectrum running from absolutely coercive to absolutely not coercive, yet all of them are shoehorned into a lurid, melodramatic and highly-stereotyped narrative.”  Evidence for McNeill’s take is apparent in the difficulty authorities often have in convincing the trafficking “victims” they rescue that they’re in need of heroic intervention into their lives…And government officials and anti-trafficking activists are poised to rescue a wave of such trafficking “victims” when the Super Bowl comes to town.  Once they convince them that they’re victims, that is…

The other, from Dr. Marty Klein, (perhaps unintentionally) paraphrases me without attribution:

…Simple economics would explain why event-specific trafficking rarely happens: it makes no sense for traffickers to spend huge amounts of money dragging victims across the country, housing them, advertising for business, and charging reduced rates to undercut local prostitutes, all for a single weekend of illicit income—in a place crawling with law enforcement…

Check Your Premises (#422)

Under Swedish-flavored criminalization, underage boys are claimed to have more sexual agency than adult women of any age:

Visalia [California] police, working with the FBI…arrested eight suspected female prostitutes, along with their suspected pimp — a 17-year-old Fresno boy.  The women…range in age from 18 to 47…the teenage boy…[was] described as a pimp and “one of the main players in this operation”…some of the women appeared to be victims of human trafficking…they didn’t want to engage in prostitution but “they’re being forced by pimps to go that route”…the women were arrested [anyhow] because…they reportedly broke the law…

Consider that both these cops and the reporter parroting this idiocy are supposedly rational adults.

Eternal Vigilance

Until prohibition is itself outlawed, decriminalization of any consensual activity is at best a temporary respite:

The Labour Party’s “shock, horror” response to the exposure of a growing sex-for-rent trend amongst some landlords and tenants is ironic given Labour was [pivotal in achieving decriminalization in New Zealand]…says [an anti-sex worker] group…Stop Demand Foundation…notes that [politician Ruth] Dyson and her colleagues have been avid supporters of decriminalising and destigmatising the sale and purchase of sexual services…Stop Demand…supports the Nordic model of prostitution…and…notes that if New Zealand had followed the Nordic model…these landlords could be prosecuted [for consensual sexual arrangements]…

Choke Point (#593) 

Lux Alptraum on financial discrimination vs sex businesses:

…frustrated with the high rate of chargebacks related to porn sites (…likely due to shame-induced buyer’s remorse on the part of porn consumers), Visa and MasterCard made the decision to classify adult sites as “high risk,” and require anyone hoping to process payments for adult content to pay an upfront registration fee, plus annual renewal every year after…this might seem like nothing more than an annoying additional expense, one easily borne by any successful business.  But in practice, it provided payment processors with a license to discriminate against anyone working in sex—even in situations that have nothing to do with their work.  Shortly after the Visa/MasterCard announcement, PayPal announced that it would no longer be processing payments for anyone tied to sex…dig into the TOS of virtually any popular digital payment platform, and…you’ll find some sort of ban on adult content and services…There are mainstream payment processors are slightly more adult friendly…but oftentimes these processors are obscure, complicated to use, and much shadier than their competitors.  It can be difficult to get a client to connect their bank account to a payment platform they’ve never heard of, and it’s hard to feel comfortable using a service that could easily shut down overnight, taking whatever money that might be owed to you with them as they cut and run…

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If you want to reduce abuse, you need to find a way to hack the system that increases the power of marginalized people, not of the police.
–  Noah Berlatsky

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea

Remember, sex work is legal but “regulated” in India.  Here’s what that looks like:

…police abuse and bad laws live on despite decades of evidence of the harm being done to millions of Indian women…[who] are arrested under charges of “possession of condoms”, or even on false charges of “possession of narcotics”…(They) are rounded up at the end of the month when the target for petty/minor offences are not met…Some [cops] are known…to be self-avowed crusaders against “prostitutes”.  Instead of protecting these women from…criminal elements, the police adds its own violence and abuse to that of other criminals…whether [under] the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986, or the myriad “vagrancy” and “public indecency” acts commonly used against them…[police] “victimise the women,” doubling their “exploitation and extortion”…

It Looks Good On Paper

It’s not “surprising” in the least; as I’ve explained repeatedly, only very rare “perfect victims” are helped by so-called “safe harbor” laws:

…Latesha Clay…was sentenced to prison for up to 20 years…Clay, whose name was inexplicably released by local press despite her status as a minor, had been offered up as bait in a Backpage post advertising sex with the underage girl.  When the clients showed up at a Motel 6…they were met by an adult male, Trayvin Donnell Lewis, who used a realistic-looking airsoft gun to drive the clients to an ATM and rob them…However, Clay herself fits every guideline for qualifying as a trafficking victim just by virtue of being underage and [advertising] online for sex.  According to the Justice Department’s federal definition of sex trafficking, a person under 18 engaging in prostitution (even the mere “offering” of sex for sale) is automatically considered a trafficking victim regardless of whether a pimp or client used “force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion, or any combination of those means, to cause the minor to engage in a commercial sex act”.  When the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) was signed into law in 2015, many advocates [imagined] the federal government [would] increase protections for underage…teens…in the sex industry…That’s why Clay’s prison sentence, rather than the kind of support and treatment outlined by the JVTA, is surprising…

Tyranny By Consensus 

Los Angeles County and the porn industry are at “a stalemate” over a mandatory condom requirement, according to criminal and constitutional lawyer Paul Cambria Jr…”Measure B”…was approved by L.A. voters in 2012, and has been embroiled in legal challenges ever since…Both a U.S. district court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Vivid’s argument that the condom law violates the First Amendment…But…affirmed the lower court’s decision to enjoin several key provisions…including stipulations that noncompliant production companies could have their permits taken away and a provision related to searches and seizures…The state can still go after filmmakers under California’s occupational safety rules, however…the agency’s heart doesn’t seem to be in enforcement…Karen Fuller Tynan…who specializes in adult-industry cases…helped one client settle with the agency for $685—down from an initial attempt to fine the company more than $20,000 for “lack of barrier protection” in a film scene.  She also represented porn company Evil Angel…they went to trial, and half way through the first morning in court the agency dropped all charges related to condoms…

The Public Eye

This interview with retired madam Jami Rodman is overblown & sensationalized, as such interviews tend to be when the interviewed sex worker was connected to some kind of scandal.  But the more the public sees us as real people, the harder it will be to keep the “sex trafficking” lie afloat.

Bottleneck

How Laws Regulating Sex Work Ignore Workers Themselves” is another good example of the stupid, evil laws created by amateurs to “regulate” sex workers, justified under the excuse of “protecting” us from our own choices.  Click to open the image at right, then click again to enlarge.

Checklist

Fellow librarians: this is bullshit.  It is a serious breach of your professional ethics to support the surveillance state against patrons:

…More than 800 staff members at all of San Diego’s 36 library locations recently received training on how to spot sex trafficking victims, how to start a conversation with them, and ultimately how to steer them to the appropriate resources for help…Local law enforcement statistics show an alarming rise in sex…trafficking cases.*  San Diego is one of the top 10 worst cities in America for human trafficking**, and…it is the second most lucrative industry in the region, right behind drug trafficking.^  “It’s a big problem with gangs,” said [library director Misty] Jones. “Gangs are actually trafficking people more so than trafficking drugs now”^^…

*  No, they don’t.   **No, it isn’t.
^ No, it isn’t.        ^^No, they aren’t.

Opting Out

New Zealand bureaucrat imagines he can stop people from seeing online porn he doesn’t like, despite the fact that Australia abandoned a similar censorship scheme as unworkable:

…deputy chief censor Jarred Mullen detailed the harm that [he pretends] increasingly extreme pornography that can cause, and outlined some possible steps towards regulating it.  These steps could include an ISP level ban, where pornography viewers have to “opt in” to viewing pornographic content, similar to that of the United Kingdom’s…Current censorship law…already bans certain types of pornography, including [BDSM & scat]…Censors also look at whether the pornography “degrades or dehumanises or demeans any person,” but this does not necessarily result in a ban.  The censor’s office reviews every DVD released in New Zealand, as well as anything customs seize at the border, but their control over online market is essentially non-existent…

All-Purpose Excuse

in California…an elected official [is] attempting to use the latest law-and-order magic words—”human trafficking“—to push for mandatory decryption on smart phones…Jim Cooper wants to order smartphone manufacturers to be capable of decrypting and providing access to their products on demand…Cooper [bloviated]…”We’re going after…people who are doing bad and evil things.  Human trafficking trumps privacy, no ifs, ands, or buts about it“…

Moving Pictures 

Yet another ridiculous “sex trafficking” fakumentary:

…Filmmaker Gunther Meisse II teamed up with…Mark Lovely to create a…30-minute documentary on human trafficking, “Shadow in the Heartland”…The pair hope to [sell] the documentary…to schools throughout the state so teachers can show it in…schools where it can be seen by young people who are most vulnerable to human trafficking…In 2013, Ohio ranked fifth among all states for calls to the Nation Human Trafficking Hot Line.  Each year an estimated 1,078 Ohio children become victims…

Stupor Bowl (#601)

This is the typical “Super Bowl sex trafficking” story now; it debunks the specific gypsy whore myth while still accepting the greater “sex trafficking” myth:

Media briefs screamed into inboxes, blaring in all caps that the Super Bowl is NOT the largest human trafficking event in the world.  But…officials from the D.A.’s office and City Hall took the mic at Boeddeker Park to declare human trafficking an invisible scourge that haunts us 365 days a year…It’s hard to say how what began as an urban legend became the animus for ad campaigns and undercover stings involving everyone from local police departments to the FBI to the Department of Homeland Security…The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women reported that in 2008, 2009, and 2011, local law enforcement observed “no increases in sex work-related arrests” during the Super Bowl…judging by statistics, San Francisco is a hub of the global trade in humans.  The city has the 13th-highest number of child sex trafficking cases in the country…Many victims are shuttled through brothels, massage parlors, and other underground channels, while some are never counted at all…

But because the rescue industry can see the end of the hysteria is coming, it’s really trying to milk this Super Bowl for everything it can get:

…Traffickers from all over the nation and local traffickers already here are believed to gravitate toward the thousands of fans in town for the game.  Lisa Blanchard, executive director of the Grateful Garment Project, believes a sizable number of girls and boys trapped in the sex trade will be arrested or detained, enough to persuade her to organize Sunday’s backpack-stuffing event…”We’re already a hot spot…so when you bring in a big event like the Super Bowl, common sense tells you there will be an increase.”  Her…group assembled two dozen or so volunteers…to fill 165 backpacks with several items, including fleece pants and sweatshirts, underwear, socks, toiletries, flashlights and books — memoirs by people who survived the illicit trade.  Blanchard said the youths would need the clothing and items because they’re dressed “scarcely, almost naked,” when they’re [arrested]…by police…

The idea that “trafficking” fanatics arrive at their beliefs by anything remotely involving common sense is hilarious, but it may not be as funny as this:

The Archdiocese of New Orleans is calling on all Catholics to take a stand against human trafficking.  They want people to fast from social media on February 1…“the…day of Prayer and Awareness coincides well with two major events that cause a spike in human trafficking activity:  the Super Bowl (February 7) and, locally, Mardi Gras (February 9),” the Archdiocese said…Barbarella orgasmatron

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#605) 

You almost have to feel sorry for geeks, wanking to their ludicrous fantasies of a day when they only have to pay once for sex instead of every time.  But really, the idea that computers or highfalutin’ 3D goggles could ever replace actual women is deeply misogynistic at best, and misanthropic at worst:

…The world’s oldest profession is under attack from the newest…VR displays video through screens that strap to your face and create lifelike scenes…[Nevada brothel] Sheri’s Ranch has taken notice of the changes shaking the porn industry and is worried they could be bad for business…Demand for sex might be a constant, but how people go about getting it done has changed.  These days, they’re not paying for it like they used to. In 1948, 69 percent of American men reported having at least one experience with a prostitute, according to a study by The Kinsey Institute.  By the 1990s, that fell to as little as 15 percent…

No, it didn’t.  Honestly, repeatedly refuting this bullshit gets exhausting.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#605)

Contrary to a…report by CNBC, picked up by numerous other media outlets, Penthouse is not shutting down its print magazine.  According to [managing director] Kelly Holland…the magazine is launching a digital edition, [but] that will be a companion to, not a replacement for, its print publication…

Vendetta (#607)

Noah Berlatsky on Swanee Hunt’s HackTrafficking4Good scheme:

…the righteous, adrenalin-fueled approach to battling sex trafficking isn’t likely to help much of anyone.  The statistics on the site are grossly exaggerated and confused.  The claim that hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of sex trafficking is based on what the Washington Post calls “nonsense facts,” and the 12-14 year age of entry is similarly dubious.  In fact, the whole narrative that pimps are systematically kidnapping children and forcing them into sexual slavery doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.  Most underage people…engage in survival sex because they are fleeing abusive situations at home…not because they are in the thrall of criminal gangs.  The vision of noble hackers helping police to swoop in and save exploited women is dear to the hearts of anti-prostitution groups like conference sponsor Demand Abolition.  But it’s also fanciful—not least because police are in fact one of the chief dangers faced by sex workers…But the HackTrafficking4Good conference doesn’t see law enforcement as a potential threat.  Instead, the conference is focused on helping police with surveillance…

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