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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

If this newest expansion of the power of costumed clowns to ruin the lives of others by signing a piece of paper doesn’t bother you, I have to wonder if you’re even awake.  –  Maggie McNeill

Yesterday I published an article at Reason about the newest outrage:

Two major credit card companies this week announced that they will refuse to process payments for “adult” ads on the popular advertising site Backpage.com.  Mastercard said Tuesday that it would no longer process these payments; on Wednesday, Visa followed suit.  Since American Express did the same earlier this year, that leaves Bitcoin as the only current means of paying for adult ads on Backpage.  Both…decided to stop processing the payments upon request from Thomas Dart, a Cook County, Illinois, sheriff on a crusade against Backpage…the…conflation [of consensual sex work with “sex trafficking is based on]…the idea that women are such brainless, innocent creatures we’re unable to have sex for reasons other than pleasure or romance; the idea of actually profiting from men’s desire to have sex with us would never enter our fluffy, pink little brains.  So, even if a woman says she’s doing sex work voluntarily, she’s either lying or suffering from “Stockholm syndrome,” and has actually been coerced by a “pimp”…

Dr DoomThe essay covers the relative scarcity of “pimps”, the sick relationship between Dart and billionaire whore-hater Swanee Hunt, the resemblance to Operation Choke Point, and the fact that this is a flagrant violation of due process; Backpage has broken no laws and has consistently won challenges in court, so it has to be shut down by the actions of moralistic megalomaniacs.  This is not to “stop prostitution”, because it can’t and won’t, not even on Backpage; it’s to punish Backpage for refusing to get on its knees and lick the boots of “authorities” who wanted it to capitulate to their whims so they could win political points in the minds of the Great Unwashed.  I don’t use the term “megalomaniac” lightly; Dart’s actions are textbook examples of the mental disorder.  He’s not content with exerting his “authority” over Chicago, nor over the whole state of Illinois, nor even over the entire United States; as of this writing Mastercard and Visa are refusing to process payments to Backpage even in countries where sex work is legal, including Canada and Australia.  Dart has essentially asserted his will over hundreds of thousands of sex workers all over the globe, overruling their own governments in the process; he honestly thinks his political ambitions trump every single government in the world.  That is power-madness of Dr. Doom-like proportions, and if the US government allows his action to stand unchallenged the repercussions will be far greater than sex workers having to find new ways to advertise.

A few practical notes in closing:  it seems as though some forms of Visa (including cards issued by at least some Australian and Canadian banks, at least some prepaid debit Visa cards and the “virtual Visa” from Entropay) are still working as of 8:00 UTC today, and some sex workers have offered to help others learn to use Bitcoin.  Also, Backpage has issued a promo code which can be used to post if one’s credit cards won’t work; the code is FREESPEECH and can be used as often as one likes “until the payment issues are resolved“.  Furthermore, I’m meeting this morning with the CEO of a new escort advertising and screening service due to go online in the next few weeks, which promises to be even more affordable than Backpage; he’s seeking my help in making his site useful and helpful to the sex worker community, which is already a strong sign in its favor (what I’ve seen so far impresses me very much).  I’ll keep you posted on developments to this story in my News columns, and of course on Twitter, as I find out about them, and I’ll devote a whole column to that new escort site as soon as it goes live.

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Don’t make me fucking run around here with thirty pounds of god-damn gear in the sun.  –  David Casebolt

In memory of Christopher Lee, I present this retrospective of some of his most memorable roles.  The links above the video are from Emma Evans (“ghosts”) and Jesse Walker (“redundant” and “Doc”); the remaining three are from Popehat.

From the Archives

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If a woman is to be believed when she asserts that she did not consent to sex, it follows that she must be believed when she asserts that she did.  –  Pandora Blake and Niki Adams

The Red Umbrella 

A lady suspected to be a prostitute has been beaten by a client…in Accra [Ghana].  According to reports, the unknown young man picked the lady up…and they had a sexual marathon…The man then suggested they go to his house…to finish off the business…but…instead of receiving her wage for the job, she received severe beatings from her client.  Her screams drew the attention of neighbours who came to her rescue…the young man is insisting he never had sex with her…

Dirty Amateurs

Anything that increases the number of amateurs having amateur sex (such as criminalizing sex work) invariably increases the STI rate:

The Rhode Island Department of Health…released data…showing that the rates of HIV and several other STDs are increasing…from 2013 to 2014…The number of infectious syphilis cases increased by 79%…The number of gonorrhea cases increased by 30%…The number of newly-identified HIV cases increased by nearly 33%…The increase has been attributed to…high-risk behaviors that have become more common in recent years…[including] using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without a condom…and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol…

Don’t Take My Word For It

This sounds interesting on its face, but keep in mind how abysmally bad most sex work research is; note the small sample and highly questionable methodology.

Women are buying more sex than ever before, according to new research…[which] found that women who pay for sex come from all ages [and] backgrounds and it appears that one of the main reason for the transaction is they lack the time for a relationship.  Researchers…spoke to 21 escorts and are now seeking female customers to continue their study.  The study…found that advertisement profiles of men rose from 5,246 in 2010 to 15,732 this year.  Female profiles rose from 11,056 to 28,614 over the same period…

Under Every Bed 

Grodd

Though most of this is the usual hilarious pearl-clutching hysteria, note the sinister propaganda that “drug dealers are shifting to sex trafficking”; in other words, “authorities” are just using a new excuse to target the same victims they always have:

…Panelists at a forum…told a full room at Beloit Public Library…that human trafficking takes place, even in Beloit [Wisconsin, population 37,000]…“We have drug dealers shifting over to human trafficking as their crime of choice,” said Milwaukee County Prosecutor Christopher Ladwig…Sgt. Theresa Janick of the Milwaukee Police Department has worked undercover in the Sensitive Issues Unit that includes prostitution…“The average age for girls entering into human sex trafficking is 12…”The gorilla pimp…beats on his own chest”…Guns and more violent problems are all wrapped up into one giant crime scene…“Pimps…use mind control”…Detective Joe Cassioppi of the Beloit Police Department [made up] a local case of sex trafficking in which a mother of three was first victimized by an online trafficker in Ohio, then began victimizing her own children…Cassioppi said the mother in this case is now serving 30 years in prison [but presented no names or links to the story]…

My favorite bit is the pimp gorilla with mind-control powers.

Deafening Silence

“Rectification” is a particularly horrifying euphemism:

Beijing Police has ordered six entertainment venues to suspend trading for rectification after being found involved with alleged prostitution and gambling…[this] is the first major raid…in the Chinese capital this year…police has clamped down 68 criminal groups and captured more than 600 criminals charged with prostitution…

Policing for Profit 

At least they’re not pretending that this money is being paid “back” to anyone:

A brothel madam who earned a fortune running an Edinburgh prostitution racket has agreed to hand over £1m.  Margaret Paterson, 62, was jailed for five years in 2013…The crown brought an action to seize any crime profits from Paterson and a…settlement [has] been reached in the case…

Opting Out

Now, this is an interesting development:

…A leaked EU document showed that David Cameron’s approach to online pornography – have it banned by default and make people opt in – has not been viewed in positive terms in Brussels…with the EU reportedly considering making the PM’s plan illegal.  Instead, the European officials would opt for a system that allows pornography by default with users, then being able to opt into a deal where the ISP blocks such content.  The user would also be able to back out of the agreement with the ISP at any time…It [would] at least partially…[ease] the burden on ISPs who have had to deal with numerous issues thanks to the Tory government’s blanket approach…

Fever DreamTBI logo

You may remember the TBI’s bogus “sex trafficking report” from several years ago:

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced results of a week-long operation to…identify potential victims of trafficking, arrest those seeking to purchase illicit sex, and learn more about the specific nuances of this type of crime…Governor Bill Haslam signed…a…law giving TBI original jurisdiction over investigations of human trafficking [and]…the state legislature approved funding for four Special Agents, who will exclusively investigate human trafficking cases…the TBI and Vanderbilt University partnered on in-depth studies to better understand the scope of human trafficking in Tennessee…

The idea that cops are interested in the “nuances” of sex work is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has ever been involved in it in any capacity.

Original Sin (#407)

I’m sick of hearing otherwise-reasonable people declare that the use of violence to suppress consensual adult behavior is something that’s up for “debate”:

Last week the New Statesman organised a debate on “buying and selling sex”…this debate was not about sex workers with different experiences trying to find common ground.  It was not about propping up a flawed binary between “happy hooker” and “helpless victim” (categories that are both used to silence sex workers who speak up).  And it wasn’t a stimulating academic conversation exploring ideological difference.  Sex work is a survival strategy used by real people…The campaign to criminalise clients, and the industry devoted to “rescuing” sex workers from their chosen source of income, is a moralistic crusade with financial and ideological connections to fundamentalist Christianity…Many of the organisations [involved]…oppose gay marriage, sex outside marriage, and abortion.  For example, the [APPG]…choose as its secretariat Care, a notorious Christian charity which sponsored conferences promising to [“cure”] gay people…During the debate, panelist Fiona Broadfoot showed her colours when she claimed that since clients were criminalised in Sweden, the country had become “less sexually deviant” because there was less prostitution.  Are we really going back to the days when consenting sex between adults, in this case where payment is involved, is labelled deviant?…

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[Sex workers are] not helped by campaigns which [call] us…“prostituted women” who don’t have any ability to properly consent anyway.  –  sex workers of St. Kilda

One Size Fits All

The phrase “human trafficking” now means “any behavior I don’t like”:

Not a single same-sex couple can reproduce together.  It behooves us to analyze the ways that same-sex marriage demands other people’s children as a “civil right” and in so doing invariably denies both women their own children and children their right to a mother and a father…Gay families are compromised by their need to tear apart other people’s families using the oppressive force of the state and its legal apparatuses…People use their children in all kinds of ways.  Except these are often other people’s children and they did not have to be conscripted to a life of distortion and play-acting.  These children are never the result of same-sex couples’ accidental pregnancy…All gay families are created by or because of someone else’s family being destabilized…The new social justice dictum is that society owes LBGT people the flesh and blood of other people’s children because they are “married” now.  Let’s be honest.  Love does not make a family in this case.  Human trafficking does.

Author Rivka Edelman works hard to get libertarians on her side by invoking the specter of state violence, but this strategy depends on the reader swallowing the rather bizarre assumption that all children placed for adoption got there by being stolen from their birth mothers.  It is absolutely true that the state has a fetish for stealing people’s children, but I sincerely doubt that the majority of adopted children (or even a large minority) are available because of such actions.  Furthermore, the rationalization she employs to separate same-sex adoptive couples from heterosexual ones, namely that straight couples could theoretically produce children of their own, is an exercise in absurdity; if gay couples should be denied the right to adopt because they can’t biologically produce offspring, infertile couples would have to be denied for precisely the same reason.

It Looks Good On Paper

Article goes on and on about how awful it is that “sex trafficking victims” are burdened with a criminal record, yet never questions the premise of burdening anyone with such a record for peaceful, consensual activities.  Oh, and it quotes the usual lies, too.

…no matter how hard she tried, Nicole, who was lured into the brutal world by an abusive boyfriend when she was a teenager, couldn’t get her record expunged…But that system is starting to ease up for trafficking survivors…It’s a welcome reprieve considering that sex trafficking is the fastest-growing business of organized crime…An estimated 293,000 youths alone are at risk of being sexually exploited in the U.S.  Nailing down precise figures remains a challenge due to a lack of funding and the fact that victims are too fearful to come forward.  Compounding the issue is the fact that police often can’t detect the difference between someone who has been forced into the sex trade and a consensual sex worker…

Surplus Women Zheng Shurong

A construction worker thought to be the boyfriend of a murdered prostitute has been arrested at his home in [Hong Kong]…the 62-year-old had a relationship of several years with Zheng Shurong, 44, who was found dead in her…flat…with a curtain chord around her neck.  Zheng’s 19-year-old daughter called police after loosing contact with her mother…

The Prudish Giant

It looks like Twitter may be heading in the same direction as Google, PayPal, LinkedIn, et al:

According to SunTrust Robinson Humphrey tech analyst Robert Peck, Twitter is preparing to purge an estimated 10 million porn-posting users.  Ditching such a large chunk of users sounds drastic until you do the math:  Twitter claims to have 302 million monthly users, so getting rid of the explicit posters will only account for about 3 percent of its total—although that’s just counting the users and not their followers…One week after Twitter’s revenue forecast was reported to be below expectations and deemed a “nightmare earnings scenario,” Nielsen, a global television and digital data company, pulled its advertising campaign after discovering paid promoted tweets on pornography-associated pages…A Twitter spokesperson told Adweek they “are committed to providing a safe environment for brands to build their business, and our product team is working to fix the issue.”  But…how the company intends to fix the issue is a growing concern within the adult industry…

Useful Idiots 

Scott Greenfield explains how useful idiots are trying to subject all human interaction to criminal law.  Here’s the text he quotes and discusses:

…the American Law Institute (ALI) has undertaken a review of the sexual assault provisions of the Model Penal Code.  The undersigned members of ALI are concerned about the direction the project has taken…If there is political consensus on anything in the United States today, it is the consensus that our government has overcriminalized and overincarcerated the American public…§1519 is a bad law — too broad and undifferentiated, with too high maximum penalties, which give prosecutors too much leverage and sentencers too much discretion.  And…in those ways, §1519 is unfortunately not an outlier, but an emblem of a deeper pathology in the federal criminal code…the current ALI draft is an extreme deviation, focused on expanding criminal sanctions for sexual behavior and expanding the problems…equating silence with unwillingness, as Section 213.2(2) does, “patronizes” or “infantilizes” women, treating them as if they were incapable of expressing their own desires…

Buried Truth  Screen-Shot-2015-05-18-at-1.58.14-PM-670x592

Another anti-gay “authority” figure is revealed as a closet queer:

Until 2 p.m. on Monday, the “Our Church Staff” section of St. John’s Lutheran  Church and School’s website described Reverend Matthew Makela as an associate pastor who enjoys, “family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.”  Screenshots obtained by Queerty from a source who asked that his name be withheld shed light on some of the Reverend’s other favorite past times — namely nude make out sessions and sex with other men…how someone behaves between the sheets is really nobody’s business but his own, except when he’s actively doing damage to others.  We’ve seen it time and time again. The lawmaker who spends his days fighting against gay rights and his nights cruising for bottoms, or the ex-gay activist who isn’t quite as ex-gay as he’d like everyone to believe…Makela…doesn’t just preach Jesus’ love and help with bake sales.  He also uses his position of authority and respect in his community to broadcast his self-loathing view on same-sex attraction…

Banishment

A call for a return of the policy which enabled Robert Pickton to slaughter women virtually at will:

Residents of Vancouver’s Kensington-Cedar Cottage neighbourhood are petitioning the city to crackdown [sic] on prostitution in residential areas and establish a red light district…It’s not clear where he wants the red light district located, but [instigator Ewart] Aitken says organizers hope to meet with city officials in coming weeks…

Under Every Bed 

Though this story quotes “sex trafficking” fetishists who fantasize that a tiny town is a “sex trafficking hub”, it also quotes the truth from sex workers themselves:

…Apip-Acam, a [rescue industry NGO]…describes [La Jonquera, Spain] as “one of the main centers of the prostitution industry and the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation in Europe”…Many women here insist that they are not working for pimps or being exploited by trafficking gangs, and that this is the only way they can make a living.  Of the 111 women working in the open in La Jonquera that Apip-Acam has contacted, only six have signed up to a program for victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation…[yet Apip-Acam still pretends that] “all of them are subject to extreme control and domination by small family clans”…

Be Careful Who You Rape Meagher turns prohibitionist

Remember how Tom Meagher, the husband of a woman who died because “authorities” don’t give a shit about whores, supplied the quote from which this subsection title was drawn?  Well, he’s become a prohibitionist now, and the sex workers of St. Kilda have something to say to him:

As street based sex workers from St Kilda we have come together to urge you to reconsider your position endorsing the campaign “We Don’t Buy It” and to share with you some of the implications it has for us as sex workers…we…are…subject to laws and policing operations that target us and our clients.  And this really makes it harder for us to best look after our safety…our justice system…is more of an injustice system, and as you pointed out so well, this tragically not only affects us, but our whole society.  To report crimes committed against us we risk being charged ourselves and being known to police for further profiling and harassment…seeing your passion for justice…[for] all, including sex workers, co-opted into a campaign which does just the opposite of this is hugely disappointing and upsetting…Any campaign which calls to end sex work or stigmatises our clients ends up further stigmatising and dehumanising us as well, and ultimately serves to take away our agency and increases violence towards us…

Broken Record (#425)

I kind of feel sorry for “sex trafficking” fetishists from Omaha; since their city appears to have just one largish sporting event, they keep tapping its anemic body to feed “gypsy whores” hysteria:

Hotel workers in the Omaha area are undergoing training on how to spot women and minors being forced into prostitution…Experts say high-profile events, such as the College World Series in Omaha, bring a higher risk of sex trafficking occurring at lodging facilities…Coalition member Shane Fagan said signs hotel staff should keep an eye out for include lodgers with a small amount of luggage, an unusual collection of wigs or IDs inside a suite, prepaid debit cards and girls who are unsure of what city they’re in.

How could one fit “an unusual collection of wigs” in a small amount of luggage?

Lying Down With Dogs (#430)

The idea that “not happening in front of this camera” = “eliminated” is a product of the same level of cognition that allows a toddler to conclude that if he can’t see you, you can’t see him either:

Security cameras installed…[in] “red light districts”…in Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap District have helped eliminate prostitution there…After seeing these cameras installed…potential guests do not dare enter…Such devices also help detect and prevent thefts and other social evils…police…[hope] the presence of such cameras [will force sex workers to]…give up the trade…

Crying for Nanny (#445)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion, and the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow knew it:

A federal judge in Massachusetts dismissed a lawsuit brought against…Backpage.com over posting ads for the sexual trafficking of minors…the judge correctly concluded that Backpage.com couldn’t be sued for running the ads, relying largely on Section 230 (47 U.S.C. § 230), the law that immunizes websites from liability based on user-generated content…The plaintiffs in the case of Doe No. 1 v. Backpage.com, LLC are young women who were allegedly sold for sex as minors via ads placed on Backpage…[they] brought various claims against Backpage.com even though it did not have a hand in creating or posting the ads…the court rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that Section 230 did not apply to civil actions…[and] explained that it found EFF persuasive in arguing that the chilling effect of extending this exception to private actions would be particularly serious because they would not be subject to the filter of prosecutorial discretion and the heightened standard of proof present in criminal prosecutions…

Check Your Premises (#449)

What, not 50 or 100 per day?  Slackers.

The 18-year-old South Jersey woman arrested last month on charges she recruited a girl to be a prostitute was herself a victim of the…human trafficking ring recently broken up by federal and state investigators…the men who ran the prostitution ring forced a 14-year-old girl to have sex with up to 10 men a day…and…used violence and threats to control the girl and the 18-year-old…woman, who was also forced to become a prostitute…

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[Prohibitionists] aren’t really interested in rescuing or protecting anyone.  They are profiting…off our deep social ambivalence with the realities of sex.  –  Remittance Girl

Rough Trade Xmas rapist

Judge issues advice to rapists: choose your victim & the time of year carefully, and you’ll get away with it:

A father of three has been given a suspended sentence for attempting to rob and threatening to rape an escort at gunpoint because he needed money for Christmas.  Liam McGran (49) later told gardaí he decided to rob the woman as he had been with her before and he knew she was small.  He demanded money and threatened to rape the woman in her home as he pointed an imitation pistol at her.  However the victim, who had a firearms licence and was knowledgeable about guns, recognised it as a fake and fought McGran off before he fled the apartment…The woman sustained scratches and bruises…He also pulled out some of her hair…

Welcome To Our World

As a regular customer of nail salons for almost 19 years, I can attest that Nir is nothing more than a concern troll:

…the nail-salon industry in…America [is]…an avenue of opportunity for immigrant workers with low skills and little English.  As Asian nail salons have proliferated—often offering manicures, pedicures, and acrylics at a fraction of the cost of high-end salons—immigrant women have trained and employed one another, providing new arrivals with a means of making a living, a way help out families back home, and a community.  They have also helped drastically grow the manicure market, making what used to be only a luxury for the rich an affordable and accessible habit for middle-income Americans…But The New York Times this week presents a very different narrative of the nail industry.  In a multi-part series by reporter Sarah Maslin Nir, the Times suggests that the real “price of nice nails” is an underclass of immigrant women subject to high rates of exploitation, abuse, fertility issues, and other health problems…In the apprenticeship system for that’s sprung up in nail salons, she sees only exploitation…But in the formal economy, cosmetologists of all sorts must pay to attend schools and certification programs, pay the government for a licence, and take internships or training programs before salons let them do hair/nails/makeup on their own.  Is the apprenticeship system really so different?  At least salon workers can still make tips while they train…One of the major impediments to doing so…is workers’ immigration status.  They have trouble participating in the formal economy…because they are in America illegally…Nir fails to indict U.S. immigration policies for their poor conditions.  Instead, she would actually [like to] see more government agents visiting the nail salons…

The Punitive Mindset

Stop faking!

A…woman arrested in a Daytona Beach [prostitution] sting…died in her jail cell…because she did not get the care she needed as a known addict…April Brogan…complained of being “dope sick” when she was brought to the jail April 29…Two days later…[she] started vomiting and foaming at the mouth…Volusia County spokesman Dave Byron said…there was no breach of protocol…

Broken Record 

This is turning into a full-blown black comedy:

Houston police and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office are teaming up with [prohibitionists]…Prostitution is such a big problem during the annual oil and drilling convention…that police are stepping in to do something about it…the thousands of men in town for the convention…raises the demand for sex trafficking.  So police went out…with [prohibitionists]…to walk around the Astros and Dynamo games…giving out [propaganda] flyers…”We do not tolerate anyone that is trying to buy a human being,” said Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia…

Traffic Circle

Articles recognizing “sex trafficking” as overblown hysteria are becoming far more common, and can be found in sources ranging from blogs:

…sex-trafficking – i.e. people who are kidnapped, enslaved and forced into sexwork against their will –  isn’t quite the massive global problem campaigners want you to believe it is…anti-trafficking campaigners aren’t seeking to pressure law enforcement to enforce existing laws more forcefully (kidnapping and rape are already prosecutable crimes).  They are blurring the lines between forced and voluntary sexwork, and it seems, when you examine their agenda critically, that their real desire is simply to criminalize all sexwork and label all sexworkers as exploited victims…

…to the Huffington Post:

…anti-trafficking groups have deliberately conflated trafficking with prostitution by…choice…anti-trafficking groups like the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women (CATW) not only spew wildly inflated statistics about the number of women and children being trafficked in the United States; they also argue that the vast majority of sex workers in this country are trafficking victims.  And that’s simply not true.  Studies show that most sex workers in the developed world are in the profession by choice, not because they are trafficked.  Yet even federal and state agencies do not distinguish between consensual prostitution and actual trafficking cases…Indeed, anti-trafficking groups acknowledge that they now use the term, trafficking, for what used to be called pimping…

Bottleneck (#440) invoice

Under the banner “Sex trade is work,” Argentine prostitutes handed out symbolic invoices with prices for their sexual services in front of the Buenos Aires City Legislature, in an unusual campaign for a law to recognize their rights as workers.  Health care, access to education, the right to freely practice their trade, trade union organization and the possibility of retirement benefits, basic rights that any other work would provide, are a dream for these women.  Argentina does not regard prostitution as a legal activity, but does not ban it either, which is why around 80,000 prostitutes remain marginalized by public policy and face risks including fear of losing their homes, extortion and police persecution…The police, if not extorting bribes, harass them and occasionally launch violent operations to shut down brothels…A bill to regularize prostitution rests with the Argentine Senate, but may not be considered this year…

The Course of a Disease (#444)

Given that the BBC has until now belched up “sex trafficking” propaganda as though it were factual, it’s a slight improvement for it to pretend that the subject of client criminalization is one which can be “debated” by two opposing sides (neither one an actual sex worker).  However, neither side does anything but spout talking points; the whole article is about as phoned-in a piece of tripe as ever got past a bored, hung-over editor.

A Year Later

Four months after the…government brought into force new laws aimed at ending prostitution…the vast grey market for sexual services in Canada remains, unsurprisingly, intact.  From Halifax to Victoria and everywhere in between, sex is still being bought and sold in Canada, according to sex workers, police departments, researchers, and common sense.  But that doesn’t mean the industry…hasn’t shifted in response to the laws…sex workers in five cities…said uncertainty over the new regulations has pushed some clients away and made business harder for them…Chris Atchison, a research associate at the University of Victoria, doesn’t expect it to last.  Atchison, who has spent almost 20 years studying men who buy sex, says what we’re seeing now is basically what happens anytime there’s any change to the laws around sex work…but the market doesn’t go away in the long run…the worry is that, as the industry recalibrates, it will reform in ways that are less open and thus less safe for sex workers and clients alike…

Sexcrime

Two dominatrix pornographers have become the first adult filmmakers to fall foul of strict new regulations governing online pornography…a ruling from the television on demand regulator has found that videos from professional dominatrix Megara Furie and a Welsh dominatrix operating under the name Mistress R’eal were in breach of the new guidelines…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#527)

A lawyer representing adult entertainment venues says his clients will sue Georgia over the state’s new anti-trafficking law, which…is financed in part through a new tax on [strip clubs]…Alan Begner, whose practice represents nearly two-thirds of strip clubs in the capital city, said…“Nude dancing is protected under the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions, and speech cannot be taxed”…

Worse Than I Thought (#532)

Why do people think “bipartisanship” is so wonderful? Anything politicians can agree on is almost invariably horrible for the citizenry:

The anti-human trafficking bill whose unanimous passage in the Senate last month was widely hailed as a triumph of bipartisanship includes language that could send publishers of…adult advertisements to prison, civil liberties advocates have warned…prosecutors don’t even need to prove prior knowledge, just that “the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the person”…the preponderance of language in the bill would quietly advance a “tough on crime” agenda just as many Americans are clamoring for broad-based criminal justice reform and a softening of state attitudes toward non-violent behaviors…

Bread and Circuses (#533)

The “sex trafficking” circus needs victims to die for the crowd’s satisfaction, and if a big, juicy one can’t be found, little scrawny ones will have to do:

Two women have been sentenced to federal prison terms in Massachusetts for their role in a sex trafficking ring that transported other women across state lines to engage in prostitution…Vanessa Grandoit…was sentenced…to one year in prison and five years of probation…Kairis “Lola” Sanchez…to 18 months in prison and five years of probation…The women acted mainly as drivers.

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I READ THE FUCKING BOOKS!  –  Axis of Awesome

A busy week leads to a short links column!  This week’s video is from Endza, and the links above it from Dan SavageCarol FentonRadley Balko and Clarkhat (in that order).

From the Archives

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on February 22nd; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

wood splitting wedgeAs I’ve written many times, tyranny always starts with unpopular minorities, but it absolutely never stops with them.  Every time a new kind of law, legal procedure or police tactic is dreamed up by those with the sick need to control others, it is invariably tested first on some group that the “authorities” know few others will defend; then by the time it’s expanded to the general population, it’s much too late to do anything about it.  For example, US surveillance methods which were first excused as being necessary to uncover “terrorists” were quickly expanded to drug investigations, then to the entire population (as Edward Snowden revealed); similarly, the license-plate readers which were first used in the Drug War and “end demand” operations against sex workers’ clients were recently revealed to be employed in vast numbers to build a nationwide database of all automobiles.  Last year, I explained how men were being arrested for talking to a computer program intended to trick them into thinking it was a young girl, and in Florida and Arizona huge police operations (with cops in place of the program) have predatorily arrested hundreds of men whose only “crime” was looking for women their own age on dating sites.  In the UK, an internet censorship regime which was sold to the public in the name of “protecting children” from “extreme porn” is now being used to block anything some government official decides he doesn’t want the public to see.  And “asset forfeiture” proceedings, which were first touted as weapons against “drug lords”, are now being used to rob ordinary people who have done absolutely nothing wrong of their cash, cars and even real estate.

“Sex trafficking” has proved a bonanza for those who wish to install ever-greater tyranny without the slightest opposition from the populace; besides the increased surveillance, expanded asset seizure and new laws that criminalize ordinary behaviors, fanatical politicians are working to entirely destroy the internet as we know it by subjecting website owners and operators to criminal charges for third-party content.  And even if they fail, other nosy parkers are trying to harness the power of computers to spy on otherwise-anonymous citizens by analyzing what they post online:

…researchers have developed software that allows police departments to mine online ads offering prostitution services.  Traffic Jam gives police a rapid way to sort sex ads, spotting indirect language that may suggest sex trafficking, or grouping ads with similar language that may have been written by the same person… research analyst Emily Kennedy said more than 100 sites are commonly used in sex trafficking…

Regular readers know this is arrant nonsense; “sex trafficking” is here being used as a dysphemism for “sex work”.  Promoters of this incredibly misogynistic myth pretend that women are too asexual to choose sex for pragmatic reasons, and too stupid to place our own ads or plan our own travel; this article hilariously claims that women fly into towns “with a handler”, which is especially funny because four-year-old interviews with the same cops from the same podunk little Pennsylvania town mention no “handlers” of any kind.  These imaginary persons are almost literally pasted into the line to fit the “sex trafficking” narrative that is used to justify gross invasions of privacy.

But the aforementioned cops, who are well-known for the grotesque and evil lengths to which they will go to harass and victimize sex workers, fit right into the rogue’s gallery quoted in support of this Orwellian surveillance program; another such collective entity is the Arizona State University School of Social Work, Dominique Roe-Sepowitz’s highly-criticized factory for generating bogus prohibitionist studies and the academic leg of the awful Project ROSE.  And who, pray tell, financed the development of this data-mining program?Guinea pigs  Why, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) which sunk $3.6 million into the project.  Another, similar platform was funded by the CIA.  But you just go right ahead believing that the US military-industrial complex is so very concerned with commercial sex that it’s willing to spend considerable funds just to stop people from having it; I’m sure that’s a lot more comforting than recognizing that whores are just the guinea pigs for yet another oppression that will soon be extended to everyone.

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