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Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

The way we are dealing with trafficking cases is not effective.
– Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez

Legal Is As Legal Does (#7)

Hamilton politicians should talk to those in Auckland & Christchurch:

Hamilton City Council is trying to renew a bylaw that may be illegal – a ban on street prostitution that threatens a $20,000 fine.  The Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) is dead against it, and even the council admits it’s on shaky legal ground…But…the ban is illegal [because it] recriminalises sex workers…Two attempts by Manukau City Council to ban street prostitution in 2007 and 2012 failed.  The Hamilton Mayor admits that exposes his council to legal risk…

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

Alabama’s prison…inmates are housed in unconstitutional conditions…the Department of Justice has…threatened to hit Alabama with a federal lawsuit if the state doesn’t begin to correct the violations within 49 days.  The report…lays out in unsparing detail a culture of violence across the state’s 13 prisons for men, which house roughly 16,000 inmates in dangerously understaffed prisons that are also among the nation’s most overcrowded.  During a single week…one inmate bled to death after being stabbed repeatedly as two others stood guard…Another stabbed inmate had to be evacuated by helicopter, and a prisoner…was attacked with a sock filled with metal locks…Rapes happen day and night in all corners of the prisons…more than 600…from late 2016 through April 2018…[and] the report…”did not identify a single incident in which…staff…intervened”…The prison system documented 24 prisoner homicides between January 2015 and June 2018, but the Justice Department said that…was an undercount…[because] the state [often] classifies violent deaths as arising from natural causes…

To Molest and Rape

Yet another typical and representative cop:

A Newport News [cop] was arrested…[for] rape and [anal rape] of…a girl [under 18]…the department [first] received a report on June 6, 2018 [but took their sweet time arresting their buddy, using the excuse that]…it had happened significantly prior to when the report was made…

The Enlightenment Police (#785)

Five times a day, Guilbault makes obeisance toward the capitol and chants, “the Law is the Law”:

…Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault told reporters at the Quebec National Assembly that it is the job of the police to enforce the law, and the province’s proposed ban on wearing religious symbols in some public service jobs would be no different.  “The law is the law,” Ms. Guilbault [chanted]…“People can [call the cops on others who have not hurt them]…The law is the law.”  She later clarified that she is confident officials will [mindlessly] obey the law…[even though] several Montreal-area municipalities and school boards say they would not enforce a ban on religiously symbolic garments such as the turban, kippa, hijab and crucifix from being worn by people in positions of authority, including teachers and [pigs]…the law…contain[s] no punitive measures…[but In]justice Minister Sonia LeBel said if a school board or city refuses to enforce the law, the province could obtain a court injunction to force compliance…“I’m very confident…there will be no civil disobedience,” she [lied.  Premier François] Legault later told reporters…“We shouldn’t be talking about [the gun in the room]. Quebeckers know there are means to [violently] force respect for the law”…Most of the people who would be affected are Muslim teachers who wear headscarves…

It’s cute how Canadian politicians like to dance around the inherent tyranny of laws against consensual behavior.

To Molest and Rape (#845) 

Dante would’ve placed this monster in Ptolomea:

Kenneth Collard…pleaded guilty to [rape]…and is expected to be sentenced to [a mere] five years in prison…Collard was staying at the home of an[other cop]…when he entered the [his host’s daughter’s] bedroom and [rap]ed her in the middle of the night…

Where Are the Protests? (#848)

I suggest you compare this to the “nail parlor slavery” myth:

Police have been alerted to 930 reports of [imagined] modern-day slavery at hand car washes, thanks to a new smartphone app devised by the Church of England (C of E) and the Catholic Church…Customers concerned by working conditions at a hand car wash have been urged to download the Safe Car Wash app and complete a survey which includes key indicators of modern slavery…[such as] evidence of staff living on site…

Rooted in Racism (#867)

But they want to “rescue” them!

Sex workers in the UK are being illegally targeted for deportations and subjected to harassment and attacks because of a Brexit-inspired culture of discrimination against foreigners…A dossier compiled by the…English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP) includes examples of women being targeted by police for arrest and deportation despite having the right to remain in Britain, and police dismissing reports of violence against women…Niki Adams…said…“Migrant sex workers from EU countries like Romania, Albania and Poland do have the right to work in the UK but they have been picked up and deported…The police were doing things like confiscating a woman’s travel documents or passport and saying, ‘We will only give this back to you if you produce a one-way ticket to Romania’”…

The Widening Gyre (#901)

Cops don’t like it when non-cops falsely accuse innocent people of “crimes” that didn’t happen:

Santana Adams of Milton, West Virginia, has been charged with falsely accusing a man of trying to kidnap her 5-year-old daughter at the mall.  On April [Fool’s Day], Adams told the police that a stranger at the Old Navy store in Barboursville “grabbed the child by the hair and attempted to pull her away.”  The girl then “dropped to the floor with the male still pulling her”…The woman told police she pulled out a gun and the man quickly left the scene…the accused man, Mohamed Fathy Hussein Zayan, was thrown in jail…But the case against him quickly began to unravel…By Tuesday, Zayan was released…By Thursday night…the prosecutor dismissed all charges….[after] surveillance video [showed] the two shoppers calmly leaving the store at slightly different times, going in opposite directions…By Friday afternoon the tables had completely turned and Adams found herself facing charges for accusing Zayan of a crime that did not happen.  Possible penalties are a $500 fine and sixth months in jail…

Safe Position (#919)

Even my jaded self is impressed with the speed this is happenng in New York:

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez voiced his support for the decriminalization of sex work on April 4 during a wide-ranging discussion with elected officials, advocates, and members of Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn (LID).  The “decriminal­izing queerness” event, which was hosted by LID and primarily focused on sex work but also touched upon marijuana legalization, housing rights, and other issues facing marginalized groups, additionally featured Brooklyn State Senators Julia Salazar and Zellnor Myrie as well as advocates who have experience as sex workers…Gonzalez’s clear support for decriminalization comes just weeks after he unveiled his Justice 2020 plan geared towards reducing incarceration…

Business As Usual (#921)

Every so often the feds decide to make an example of an especially-horrible cop:

A Franklin County grand jury indicted [typical and representative] Columbus…vice [pig] Andrew Mitchell…in the [murder] of Donna Castleberry…Mitchell had been attempting to [rape] Castleberry when she [resisted, so]…he shot her multiple times.  Mark Collins, Mitchell’s defense attorney [tried to defame the dead victim and claims]…Mitchell was acting in self-defense [when he murdered an unarmed woman half his size]…

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What message are we sending [young women]…to roll over when your picture gets exposed without your…consent?  –  Lauren Miranda

Under Every Bed

‘I was deeply troubled to learn that my home town of Sheboygan could be the hub of sex trafficking in this state’…said Sara Neumann, a junior…at Lakeland University“.  It’s true, Sara!  Why, the rate of “sex trafficking” in Sheboygan, with under 50,000 people, is comparable to that of a European country with over 42 million!

…the Eastern European country of Ukraine and Sheboygan…are…both…major hubs for human trafficking.  So as part of the Open World Program, a delegation of young professionals from Ukraine are in Sheboygan this week to exchange ideas on how to deal with the human trafficking issue…

Above the Law (#443) 

They spent five years trying to exonerate him, then finally gave him a slap on the wrist:

A [typical and representative] Birmingham [cop] arrested more than four years ago…[after] he sexually abused a child and raped an adult woman has been sentenced to [a mere] six months in the Shelby County Jail.  Joshua Herbinger…[made a plea bargain to dismiss]…other child sex abuse charges…He is required to register as a sex offender and avoid contact with the victims and their families…

Compare this sentence with the one in “To Molest and Rape” below.

Happy Endings

Possibly the best explainer about Asian massage parlors I’ve ever seen.  It was written by a guy who dated a spa owner for years, and is written in clear, concise English without a lot of the jargon so many activists seem addicted to.  I’m not going to attempt to quote from it because you need to read it all, except for this bit from the conclusion:

…These smart, enterprising women need your help to combat this vicious slander.  Upvote this answer.  Share it…send…links to this Quora answer to media outlets.  If enough of them see it, perhaps they’ll at least publicly question the human trafficking allegations…

Checklist (#562)

Another whore-snitching app:

A Flushing, NY woman has been arrested and charged with prostitution [for doing her job] after police…[targeted her workplace because a useful idiot snitched] through the STOPit phone app…[which makes it easy for squealers]…to [squeal] in real time with [pigs who record all their details despite claims the snitch is anonymous]…

Think of the Children! (#619) 

Another young woman fired for having a private sex life:

Lauren Miranda was…told in January that a male student had a topless selfie of the 25-year-old math teacher…so…she was…fired…she took steps to sue the South Country [New York] School District…for $3 million, claiming gender discrimination…The photo was taken in 2016…[for] another teacher…whom she was dating at the time…she…is not sure how it got into the hands of the student…who…was [apparently not] disciplined…New York state law allows women to appear topless in public…

To Molest and Rape

It’s rare to see the phrase “rapist cop” outside of my oeuvre:

[Rapist cop] Robert A. Sundberg III was sentenced…to 10 to 15 years in state prison for raping and abusing his ex-girlfriend, a[nother cop]…Sundberg’s ex-girlfriend said that instead of upholding his sworn oath…Sundberg [instead acted like a cop]…to manipulate and abuse her physically and emotionally…She described him as “remorseless” and a “predator”…Sundberg was behind a false emergency call that led to her being…[wrongly] arrest[ed] for drunk driving…Sundberg…was [not] officially fired [until he was sentenced]…

The fact that his victim was another pig rather than just a little girl may have something to do with his getting an appropriate sentence.

Backwards into the Future (#763)

This is quite a change in less than two years:

[South African] President Cyril Ramaphosa told dozens of women and civil organisations that the government is looking into decriminalising sex work…His comments were greeted by loud cheers from women activists and members of nongovernmental organisations against gender-based violence…

Negative Secondary Effects (#859)

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

Ypsilanti [Michigan] is in the process of relegating gun retailers and ranges to often undesirable locations in the city alongside strip clubs, massage parlors and pornography shops…Current zoning laws allow for gun retailers and ranges to operate in the same commercial districts as general stores and recreation businesses…

The Course of a Disease (#869)

Israeli prohibitionists are trying to criminalize all sex work:

Lap dancing should be regarded as a form of [prostitution]…and those who own properties where they are conducted will be prosecuted as pimps, the [Israeli] State Attorney…[laying the ground for future criminalization of all forms of] stripping…the decision speaks of a “slippery slope” in which stripping…leads to sex work in back rooms – which is [now] illegal…

Business As Usual (#905)

Every vice gang in the country needs to be shut down:

The police chief of Glynn County, Georgia, says the department’s narc…[gang]…has been dissolved [because]…one of its detectives [named James Cassada] was using drugs and [raping snitches]…also…[cop] David Hassler [lied]…during the investigation and [cop] John Simpson had an ongoing friendship with a convicted drug manufacturer…

Micromanagement (#912)

They’re not only giving cops people’s info, but trying to convince their victims it’s a good thing:

FamilyTreeDNA is finally being upfront with users about its intentions for their DNA samples. This is due to its founder deciding — without consulting his customers — that they’re all as willing as he is to convert your DNA samples into public goods.  “Bennett Greenspan, the firm’s founder, said he had decided he had a moral obligation to help solve old murders and rapes”…FamilyTreeDNA [claims]…it’s finally going to seek consent from its customers, but only after having abused their trust once…While some DNA companies like 23andMe are insisting on at least a subpoena before handing over access…other companies are…specifically targeting law enforcement agencies with ads promising to help them work through their cold case files…it’s never going to be complete consent, no matter how FamilyTreeDNA shapes the argument…[because] as Elizabeth Joh points out at Slate…”[W]hen you volunteer your DNA sample, you’re volunteering your genetic family tree, without having asked your parents, siblings, cousins, and distant cousins…You can’t give the police lawful consent to search your third cousin’s house, even if your third cousin (who you may never have met) is suspected of having been involved in a serious crime.  Why are we allowing a distant relative to grant police permission to your DNA?”…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#917)

Destroying sex workers’ safety, one “improvement” at a time:

One million pounds…was given to Sacro to fund a “safety app for women involved in prostitution”…Sacro run a [program]…called Another Way, aiming at [pushing] women out of prostitution…in complete contrast to what is actually demanded by…sex worker[s]…the Home Office [is] frustrated that data around sex workers is so tightly protected amongst our allies…apps are regularly used as methods to gather data, and that installing an app can give it access to our locations, contacts, and even use of our camera.  This is deeply worrying when the app will be being built and run by…people who seek to see us eradicated…[prohibitionists will] get access to our personal data and an overarching ability to track us, and see who we communicate with…

Guinea Pigs (#919) 

Cops thought they had a big trophy when they arrested a billionaire for consensual sex:

Police used a fake bomb threat to clear out a Florida spa and install cameras…Robert…Kraft’s attorneys wrote in a…motion to suppress the video footage that Jupiter Police Department (JPD) officers…used “allusions to human trafficking” to secure the warrant.  “This ruse concealed the execution of the Warrant from the Spa, its employees, and its customers, none of whom received notice of the issuance of the Warrant or the placement of hidden video cameras on Spa premises,” Jack Goldberger…wrote…The filing also took issue with the inspections of the spa conducted by Florida Department of Health [copsucker] Karen Herzog, whose reports have been included in other warrants issued…as part of the [pogrom] that led to more than 300 arrests…“Herzog [claimed]…female employees were living there”…[yet] only…noted was that there were “some tables showing wear and tear.”  Two photos of the inside of a refrigerator…showed bottled water and ranch dressing…“[the pig who requested the warrant] made his reckless leap over to human trafficking based on supposed ‘evidence’ consisting of…a refrigerator stocked with food, two beds, and clothing‐all of which may be routinely observed at any number of places of employment, including law offices, for reasons having nothing to do with human trafficking,” Goldberger wrote…

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I met Elsi Dawson at my Vancouver screening a few weeks ago, and when our conversation turned to new advertising venues she offered to do a guest column on the new site Tryst, which I have recently started an ad on myself.  I really like the way the site looks and operates, and I’m really hoping it catches on well enough that we can all start to abandon platforms which regularly invent new ways to annoy or actively hurt us while offering no customer service.

It’s been well-established that FOSTA/SESTA has shuttered, or at least, stunted many advertising platforms that are based out of the US.  While that nightmare has been felt most acutely by American sex workers, especially those in marginalized positions, the ripple effects have hurt sex workers in Canada as well.  The puritan moral panic that sought to end all sex-slavery has succeeded—if their goal was to cut the legs out from under independent sex workers and drive human trafficking underground.  Bravo.

Backpage went down, but the supply didn’t.  In Canada, the overflow moved to the next nearest website, Leolist – similar in function, but with better aesthetics and a much higher price tag.  Initially it seemed much more sex worker friendly, with the ability to verify yourself, bump your ad, purchase upgrades with premium features and navigate on a mobile platform.  But the longer you stay on Leolist, the more you notice that, even though it’s your credit card attached to the account, you’re not the client, you’re the product.  And, with all the people hustling on Backpage now looking for somewhere else to grind, Leolist found themselves running a monopoly.  A few years ago, an ad cost about $2 US, would go to the first page, scroll off onto subsequent pages until it expired thirty days later on page 16 or so.  Or, one could pay another $2 US to bring it back to the top of the list again at any time, multiple times a day.  A heavy volume day would probably be four or five bumps, and one could expect nearly a thousand views on their ad from that.  But post-FOSTA/SESTA, ads which used to be on Page 1 for an hour on a busy day, now barely last 30 minutes.  The result is a sex worker either not getting as much “primetime” ad exposure, or bumping more frequently to make up the difference.  After a small struggle (and a change of bank vendor) the prices changed to Euros, with a promise to keep the rates comparable.  In a move that surprised exactly no one, they did not.  Every few months for the past year, their rates have been climbing.  Not content with being at the top of the pile or having the most local traffic, Leolist gradually increased the cost of an ad, the cost of a bump, the cost of premium features.  Was it a move to try to starve out the scam artists and the fake ads?  Maybe, but we’ll never know because Leolist doesn’t have any interest in answering to their advertisers.  They don’t take comment or feedback, and even their Twitter is locked (after they directed people to contact them there).  The result is a frustrated group of independent sex workers who are watching their overhead costs tick up like the start of a rollercoaster, while their ads get less visibility and fewer bites.

And then there are the review boards.  In Western Canada, we have the archaic and wholly unwieldy Pacific Escort Review Board (PERB.cc) run on vBulletin (you know it’s bad when even academia has left the format behind).  On any given day, the old guard of “perberts” post degrading and vulgar comments about providers, their bodies and a scale-ten judgment of their services.  Hobbyists take nit-picky circle-jerk punches at “girls with boyfriends” and “girls who have cellulite” and “girls who think they have golden pussies.”  They routinely marvel at how providers could even dare to ask them for a deposit.  They jostle to outdo one another on their conquests and oscillate between “I think I’m going to quit this hobby” and “I can’t wait until the market pulls the prices back down and these girls get a good idea of what they’re actually worth.”  A month of all the ad posting you can eat (but only two ads a day, and posting a selfie counts as an ad, by the way) runs $113.  There are a litany of rules spread across eight different threads, with vague wording and a system of infractions, points, expirations, perbatory and permanent deletion.  A provider is allowed to comment on their own review, but not anyone else’s, and only while they’re “in red” (a bassackwards term that means “paid up” to them and no one else in the English-speaking world).  Necroposting (replying to an old thread to bring it back into discussion) is an infraction, and so is reposting (starting a new thread on a topic that has already been discussed but may have long since gone quiet).  It’s a minefield and a distraction from the day-to-day operations of running an independent sex work business.  Oh, and Leolist has exclusive rights to advertise on PERB – a cute little bromance that keeps client traffic swirling around the same toilet bowl.

Suddenly, a ray of hope appears.  Tryst.link arrives on the scene to balm our wounds and bring sanity to online marketing.  The superhero geniuses that brought us Switter (the Sex Worker Twitter, get it?!) when FOSTA/SESTA scared the other Twitter into shadow banning everyone with a visible nipple, have branched into making an advertising platform and it’s like a breath of fresh air.  Their team, Assembly Four, has put together a platform that works for the sex worker.  Do you want to set your weekly availability?  Sure. Wanna promo a tour? Here’s a drop-down menu for that.  Do you have different rates for different session types and lengths?  Go ahead and list them in as much or as little detail as you’d like.  Tryst, like Switter, has been built while avoiding the use of US companies, and prioritizing the privacy of the workers who reside on their platforms.  They ask for minimal personal information from clients (the basic username, email, and password) upon sign up.  Provider verification for Tryst is also quite standard and based on a handful of factors such as social media presence, other verified accounts, and verification photos.  They don’t ask for or require any civilian forms of ID for verification, and any information sent to them is treated with extreme sensitivity.  Tryst is rapidly gaining user profiles in Asia, Australia + NZ, Canada, Europe and – you guessed it – the United States of America.  As their traffic has increased (by 15.6x since November), they have encouraged feedback from providers and clients alike.  Since their launch, they’ve added features to better advertise genders, ethnicity, and transgender disclosure options at the suggestion of their members.  Their mission is not to be “your elite [cis white conventionally attractive woman in her mid-twenties] companion website” but to offer affordable and effective advertising with a sleek, contemporary, and user-friendly interface to sex workers at all price points and in all specializations.  This year, Tryst plans to implement a range of other features to further help workers of all demographics thrive in a post FOSTA/SESTA world.  For the first time, possibly ever, the way we advertise online is within our own control.  Solutions which cater to the needs of sex workers and still bring in clients are finally within reach.

What this development says to me is that whores are collaborating, investing in our communities, and coming back stronger than ever.  FOSTA/SESTA is devastating and terrifying, particularly for US providers, but It’s going to take more than a short-sighted and thinly-veiled prohibition/censorship bill to break us apart.  We’ve got a revolution on our hands, honey, and we’re not going anywhere.  This may be the world’s oldest profession, but we’re also gunning for the title of boldest as well.

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I find it interesting that everyone who left the massage parlor, within a matter of miles, committed a traffic infraction.  –  Eric Schwartzreich

Feminine Pragmatism 

Wherever there are men making money, there will be enterprising women working to get some of it:

The “gold rush” in Crucitas, in northern Costa Rica…has also attracted sex workers to the area to offer their services [so naturally the pigs are trying to spread anti-whore propaganda and defining them as a “problem”]…

Blunt Instrument 

It’s great to see Asian sex workers fighting back against racist harassment by cops:

Dozens of sex workers and their allies gathered just outside police barricades…with cardboard signs that read “Solidarity with massage workers” and “Rights not raids.”  Steps away, in the basement auditorium of the Flushing Library, local City Councilmember Peter Koo was co-hosting a packed community meeting with the NYPD intended to [spread propaganda] about [sex work]…protesters said they hoped to dispel misinformation about…human trafficking in…massage establishments, and honor the life of 36-year-old Yang Song, an immigrant massage worker who fell to her death [while trying to escape] an NYPD Vice Unit raid in 2017…while…Koo [tried to whip up hysteria against sex work]…advocates warned that this conflation of massage work with human trafficking…is inaccurate, racist and dangerous…“Not only has policing never been the answer, it actively harms all of those people that we serve,” said Aya Tasaki of Womankind…Events like Koo’s “recruit the public to be accomplices in racially targeted state violence under the benevolent delusion of rescue,” added Kate Z., a former massage worker and organizer with the newly formed grassroots coalition Red Canary Song…Nina Luo, of the DecrimNY campaign, confronted Koo about [Yang] Song…“You know that Song was killed by NYPD and here you are today advocating for more policing,” she shouted…

Monsters 

Reporter quotes bigot who talks about a murdered woman as though she were a disease:

A transgender woman was shot and killed [last] Saturday morning near the D.C. line in Prince George’s County [Maryland]…The victim has been identified as 27-year-old Ashanti Carmon…One resident who said she heard the shots fired and later saw the victim’s body said police seem to be unable to stop the transgender prostitution…in the area.  “They park on our side streets…and…have sex with people,” said Akiaba Steward, who added that she believes the prostitution issue will only get worse now with the warmer weather…

The Missing Word 

I’m unsure why the modern term was eschewed here in favor of its 20th century counterpart:

…Alisa Mitrova, 21, was originally wrongly diagnosed with chickenpox when she collapsed unconscious on a gruelling seven-month catwalk assignment.  This follows the case of…Vlada Dzyuba who died 18 months ago after she became seriously ill with “acute meningitis compounded by anorexia” during a three month assignment on tiny pay in China…Like 14-year-old Vlada and reportedly many Russian models in China, Miss Mitrova had no medical insurance when she was struck down…Concern has been expressed in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus over young women – some of school age – lured to work in China as models or in “seedy clubs”…critics have warned of such cases being the “tip of an iceberg” of a “white slave trade” with girls and women from poor families in the former USSR being exploited…

To Molest and Rape

Yet another typical and representative cop:

A small-town Pennsylvania police chief and his friend…[repeatedly raped] a child over a seven year period starting when [s]he…was 4 years old…Brent Getz, the 27-year-old Chief of the Weissport Police Department, and friend Gregory Wagner…were arrested [on March 26th]…the investigation “began in May 2012 when the victim, then 12-years-old, reported to a substitute teacher that Gregory Wagner”…had [raped] her…[nothing productive was done until] “2015, [when] the case was reassigned and police prepared a criminal complaint…[which] was dismissed by the Magisterial District Judge due to a paperwork error…[and] never refiled.”  But then, in August 2018, “[cops finally remembered]…the case and asked the victim to come back in for an interview.  At this time, the victim also disclosed that Brent Getz…had [raped] her too”…

Elephant in the Parlor (#724) 

In other news, bear shits in woods:

An Arizona [politician]…resigned this week [after an ethics investigation discovered he paid]…two boys under the age of 15 for sex in the 1980s.  David Stringer…was arrested in 1983…and…accepted a plea deal [for]…five years of supervised probation.  The case was expunged by a Baltimore judge in 1990…Stringer resigned from his position in the state legislature…after he refused to cooperate with [the]…investigation…

Moloch (#742)

Literally scaring a teen to death for normal behavior is “just doing their jobs”:

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the city of Naperville…filed by the family of…[a] High School student who [was driven to] suicide…The judge ruled school and police officials were doing their jobs when they [literally scared Corey Walgren to death by threatening him with lifetime damnation on the “sex offender” registry for consensensual sex with his girlfriend]…the 16-year-old junior slipped out of the school and jumped from the top of a downtown Naperville municipal parking deck…the [judge denied that pervert administrators] Stephen Madden and James Konrad and [pervert pig] Brett Heun…[inflicted] “extreme, intolerable and excessive emotional and psychological distress” and [broke] the law by interrogating Walgren without first notifying his parents, Douglas and Maureen Walgren…[Judge Andrea Wood claimed that the] reckless and alarming accusations against the teen…“were…ordinary police interrogation tactics”…

Is this enough blood yet?  Can we stop now?

Good News, Bad News (#857)

Australia’s Northern Territory is moving toward decriminalization, and prohibitionists aren’t happy:

It’s long been an open secret, tucked away in the alleyways of the tropical Northern Territory capital…Now, the veil has been lifted on the illicit industry, with the NT Government releasing a new discussion paper which reveals the extent of the illegal sexual activities operating in plain sight within the Darwin CBD…a 2015 crackdown saw NT Police and Australian Border Protection Force officers raid 19 parlours across Darwin and Palmerston and…three people were deported…While prostitution itself is not against the law…brothels…are…The discussion paper…has been pegged as a move towards the eventual decriminalisation of the industry, a shift which has long been welcomed by industry advocates…

Fever Dream (#901)

Mathematical illiteracy is no bar to becoming a cop:

People wanting to buy and sell sex online are going after [other consenting adults who want to sell or buy sex]…The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says…The average age range of buyers…is between 18 and 80…

Do they not teach the concept of an “average” in fourth grade anymore?

An Avalanche of Bullshit

The way an individual or agency treats sex workers is a good indication of how they feel about people in general:

11 people [have been] freed from jail following revelations that [a cop]…falsified narcotics arrests…the…bogus…arrests aren’t the only instances of misconduct in the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, the same agency that spearheaded the Orchids of Asia Day Spa bust…Since 2000…Martin County…has spent more than $1.33 million settling lawsuits…[over cop violence, murders and lies]…Snyder and his deputies have portrayed themselves as rescuers of trafficked women…But the[ir pretended] concern…is at odds with [their] own troubling treatment of women…[including slurs against] female employee[s]…and…illegal [surveillance]…Sandipkumar Patel was arrested…and [publicly shamed]…after [pigs] claimed that he patronized one of the massage parlors that were raided…Patel…[is] su[ing] the sheriff…an attorney for one Orchids of Asia defendant filed a motion arguing that video the Sheriff’s Office…recorded inside the massage parlor is “violative of the accused’s privacy rights” and therefore should be inadmissible in court.  Another attorney filed a motion to suppress the video [because]…a court order did not grant the Sheriff’s Office authority to record video…

Opting Out (#923) 

Any non-politician would have given this up as a bad idea by now:

The [UK] government’s much heralded porn “block” has been delayed once again.  Under the [censorship] plans, people will have to verify their age to access UK commercial pornographic websites…the [government] said a [new] date has not been set for the roll-out…Jim Killock from the Open Rights Group says the delays are due to serious concerns about privacy and data collection.  “When they consulted about the shape of age verification last summer they were surprised to find that…everyone who [isn’t a politician understood that]…this was a privacy disaster…


You Were Warned

European politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

…Europe is imposing a “link tax” online that will fundamentally change the relationships between media, search engines, and social platforms…[politicians are pretending the cash & control grab is about] “copyright protection”…In the U.S., meanwhile, the assault on Section 230…continues…Were [it not for this law]…a small handful of bad actors could topple every social community and app we know…[yet] the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals….dismissed an Airbnb and Homeway challenge to a Santa Monica law that would hold those companies legally liable if users listed Santa Monica rental properties…

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I’m not sure what’s scarier, the idea of putting people permanently on a public list, or aggressively incentivizing hotels to pry into the sex lives of their guests.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

The More the Better

It’s so very important for celebrities to be “out” if they did sex work in their youth:

Janet Mock, the writer, television presenter, and activist, grew up in Honolulu…she fell into the protective company of a glamorous cadre of transgender friends and mentors; her seventh-grade hula teacher was a māhū, a native Hawaiian term, Mock explains, for people who live outside of the gender binary…”Merchant Street…was…where the girls worked…I first went there when I was, like, fifteen, when I was able to go out at nighttime.  At first I came with…all these puritanical views…about what it meant to use your body, your only asset, in a world that’s not taking care of you…And so I knew that, by doing this sixty-dollar hand job, I would be able to have two months of hormones.  And so I remember making the decision to get in that car and, at fifteen years old, to do this, and to continue to do this…for, like, the next two years of my life.  And that was my way into sex work…

Business As Usual

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

Sex work is legal[ized] in the Dominican Republic.  But despite this, sex workers are still vulnerable to abuse—particularly at the hands of [cops], who know they can torture…sex work[ers] with impunity…A new report…by Amnesty International…“If They Can Have Her, Why Can’t We?” features interviews from 46 trans and cisgender women sex workers, all of whom report suffering horrific violence at the hands of [cops]…“At least 10 out of the 24 cisgender women interviewed for this research described having been raped by police officials, often at gunpoint…Most of the transgender women had been subjected to…violent actions by the police that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment, typically focused on their gender-identity or expression”…

Now They Notice

It’s about goddamned time:

…LGBTI activists worldwide resolved to address the stigmatisation of sex workers, including in the LGBTI movement…and [to] oppose…all forms of criminalisation and legal oppression of sex workers – an historic first for…the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.  “By approving this resolution, our global LGBTI family is saying…that addressing violence, criminalisation and human rights violations against LGBTI and all sex workers must be a priority for our movement”, said outgoing ILGA co-Secretaries General Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy…this global LGBTI network representing more than 1,500 organisations from each region of the world join a growing number of human rights, health and anti-trafficking organisations demanding governments recognise sex work as work, and protect sex workers’ labour and human rights…

A False Dichotomy (#652)

Even in Australia, spineless “journalists” prefer to print prohibitionist pap than to consult experts:

Air Asia…decided to use “Get off in Thailand” as a campaign slogan, but considering the abundance of sexual tourism in the country, you’d think the…airline might have put a bit more thought into the reaction such a tagline would attract [from puritans].  Posted around the city of Brisbane, Australia the “Get off in Thailand” campaign promoting the airline’s direct route to Bangkok has not gone over well [with puritans].  Collective Shout, a [prohibitionist organization best known for its] campaign…against [pictures of]…women, [screeched] that the campaign was promoting sex tourism in Thailand…

“Collective Shout” has a long and infamous history of campaigning against lucrative jobs for women, including such tame & innocuous forms of sex work as bikini modeling.

The Course of a Disease (#778)

Remember that Irish prohibitionists celebrated this increase in violence vs sex workers:

Crime against sex workers has almost doubled in the two years since…Ireland adopted the “Nordic Model” on March 27 2017…[despite the warnings of] sex worker organisations [that exactly this would happen]…Statistics from UglyMugs.ie…[demon]st[r]ate that since the law came into force, the number of incidents of abuse and crime…has greatly increased…The number of sex workers using UglyMugs.ie has remained steady at between 6,000 and 7,000 per year.  The number of incidents reported from 2015-2017 was 4,278.  Since the law change, from 2017-2019, incidents rose to 10,076…crime has increased 90% whereas violent crime specifically has increased 92%…

Disaster (#885)

We did warn you dilettantes that this wouldn’t stop with actual sex workers:

Targeted online advertising by the Hump! Film Festival has been kneecapped by FOSTA/SESTA, according to festival founder Dan Savage…“Hump is largely dependent on targeted Facebook ads for ticket sales, and thanks to Facebook’s overreaction to…SESTA/FOSTA …it will not accept ads for the festival any longer, despite the fact that the ads themselves are G-rated and are only targeted at adults”…Savage notes that “Facebook no longer allows ads for, quote-unquote, adult content…as a result…we can no longer advertise on Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook also owns”…the festival’s Facebook business account was [also] “shuttered”…Savage urged listeners to follow Hump! on their social media channels and to subscribe to the festival’s official newsletter to stay up-to-date…

Elephant in the Parlor (#894)

I’ve been saying I distrusted Avenatti since the beginning:

Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti has been arrested and charged with federal wire fraud and bank fraud in California as well as four counts of extortion in New York…Avenatti tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike…[and] embezzled a client’s money to, in part, pay off expenses for his coffee business, Global Baristas US LLC, which operated Tully’s Coffee stores…Avenatti purchased the coffee stores in 2013 with actor Patrick Dempsey, who sued Avenatti that same year to break their business partnership…prosecutors in California also accused the lawyer of defrauding a bank with phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans…

The Course of a Disease (#896)

Looks like the Spanish case of the Swedish rot may be especially virulent:

Finnish websites used by sex workers to advertise and share information with each other have been closed down following a judicial warrant by Spanish police…Sihteeriopisto (Secretary College) and the international counterpart, sexworknet, were launched in Finland but…maintenance was moved overseas when the sale of sexual services was outlawed in Finland in 2003…A sex worker in Spain said:  “The…website had [a] forum, where sex workers were sharing warnings about bad clients, robbery…There are of course other websites, but none of them has a forum.  We lost the platform…where we could communicate and support each other”…These closures follow closures of similar websites in other countries, including in the USA following FOSTA-SESTA…

You may have noticed that the cops always go for the best boards, noted for civility and sex worker forums.  This is not accidental.

Lack of Evidence (#900)

All prostitution “stings” are entrapment; that’s the whole point of them:

Dee Curry…an outspoken advocate for transgender rights in the District of Columbia for many years…said she…was arrested on Feb. 8…as part of a D.C. police “sting” operation…she considers the police tactics used to arrest her as a form of entrapment…and…a misuse of police resources…her arrest involved a…[vice pig] who posed as an Uber driver and…[offered] her…a ride…then…said…[he] wanted a blowjob for $30 and [specifically wanted to] park [next to]…a school …“I said no you’re not, not with me…And that’s when the police came”…Curry [is a former]…sex work[er who retired] after a previous arrest in 2011 in which she said she was similarly entrapped…[but] found not guilty…when the [lying pig] gave the signal, three or four police cars with flashing lights and sirens rushed to the scene, with at least two [pigs] in each of the [swinemobiles]…to arrest her…[instead of dealing with actual] crime…

Yes, cops are actually trying to press prostitution charges against a 64-year-old woman for walking down the street.  I’m sure you feel safer now.

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

A rare victory for sex workers against the state:

Florida [politicians] have for now ditched plans to create a registry of prostitution clients…after sex workers and activists showed up at the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee to protest and give testimony…A version of the legislation passed the committee without the solicitation registry included…It [still] requires that cleaning and reception-desk staff at hotels and motels be trained on spotting the “signs” of trafficking—a list of absurd and ordinary behavior that includes not wanting cleaning service—and creates new regulatory liabilities on hospitality businesses…Heather Fitzenhagen…author of the failed solicitation registry idea [was unhappy, and vomited out some lawheaded bigotry]…”a prostitute…is committing a crime…It is not my intent to work with them going forward”…

An Avalanche of Bullshit

This could potentially be very good for us:

Lawyers for…Robert Kraft…want the 77-year-old’s solicitation of prostitution case to be tried by a jury instead of a judge…Kraft…was charged [after a massive massage-parlor pogrom] along with…about 300 men…in total…Kraft rejected a plea deal in which…he…and his fellow defendants [would be forced to pretend]…they would be found guilty if their case went to trial, [pay] a $5,000 fine, [perform] 100 hours of community service…attend…a [brainwashing] class [much like the dangerous “gay conversion therapy” which has been banned in a number of states]…and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases…

A jury trial will allow the lawyers to present expert witnesses and debunking of the “sex trafficking” hysteria which drove the raids; it will allow them to dig into the money trail and present that in open court; it will provide ammunition for the lawyers of the other victims of this raid, and other raids like it; and it may inspire other men to fight.  As I’ve been saying for the past decade, if everyone charged in a “prostitution sting” would fight the charges by demanding a trial, the machine would grind to a halt and the carceral system would be forced to change its tactics.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#922)

Even “legal” sex workers were harmed by FOSTA:

…HB 1756…strives to improve working conditions for strippers in Washington by implementing mandatory trainings, establishing an adult entertainer advisory committee, putting panic buttons in VIP rooms, and making a blacklist for abusive patrons…Savannah Sly, a sex worker and community organizer with Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Seattle, believes the organizing started after FOSTA/SESTA…[and the government destruction of]…Backpage…sent shockwaves throughout the sex worker community…”There are displaced sex workers and clients who are looking for a place to connect,” Sly told the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee…[w]hen…internet spaces for sex work…disappeared…it forced [many] sex work[ers] offline and back onto the streets…former [escort] clients, without the spaces they used to frequent, are making their way into strip clubs…

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Since the beginning of the internet, politicians have been trying to get control of it.  The idea of a vast landscape completely outside of their control, where people can associate with each other from thousands of kilometers away and even transact business anonymously, with cops being powerless to stop them or even spy on them very effectively, was obviously a terrifying nightmare to sociopathic control freaks whose entire lives revolve around telling others what to do and enforcing their arbitary diktats with threats of violence.  So naturally, an attempt to destroy it was made before most people had even heard of it, much less figured out how to access it; this was the Communications Decency Act of 1996, an attempt to turn the internet into a walled garden under Congressional control.  Large portions of the Act were so blatantly unconstitutional they were struck down the following year, and the only important section to survive was the one which had exactly the opposite effect the law was intended to have:  Section 230, which immunized websites from nuisance lawsuits and megalomaniacal prosecutors alike.  Naturally, both politicians and wannabe internet cops of all types couldn’t stand that, and have been trying to overturn that immunity ever since; after years of attempts, generally pretended to be about “THE CHILDREN!!!!!TM” and always dying before passage or being executed by judges in court (again, due to their blatant unconstitutionality), they finally succeeded with FOSTA just one year ago.

Longtime readers will recall that I’ve been sounding the alarm about these attempts since the beginning of this blog; as I wrote in “The Camel’s Nose” (October 2nd, 2010): “once Big Brother has the power to shut down big hunks of the internet for one specific purpose, does anyone honestly believe that he will only use that power for the stated purpose and no other?”  Whores understand only too well what useful idiots never do: that though surveillance, censorship, criminalization of consensual behavior and other such obscenities often start with whores, they never, ever stop with us.  I wasn’t even close to the only harlot warning that laws like FOSTA would destroy the internet as we know it, and basically every single civil liberties organization and internet company were saying exactly the same thing.  This broad opposition might have prevented disaster had Facebook not betrayed every internet user on the planet in order to curry favor with Congressional censors, but that was exactly what it did and I don’t think any regular reader needs an itemized list of the damage that has already been done as a result.  Until now, all the damage has been self-inflicted, as companies eagerly castrate and/or lobotomize temselves in order to avoid liability; however, that changed last week with the filin of the first big nuisance lawsuit under FOSTA, against a company that even few “sex trafficking” fetishists would have predicted as a target:

[Shysters recruited] fifty women [as plaintiffs in a predatory lawsuit claiming that deep-pocketed]…tech giant Salesforce…help[ed] the now-shuttered website Backpage facilitate sex trafficking…The [shysters claimed the]…women…were “sexually exploited and trafficked through Backpage”…[in] New Orleans, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Seattle, Chicago and Phoenix, among others.  The lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court accuses Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff of overseeing a strategy where the company claimed to be fighting trafficking but “Behind the scenes … kept taking Backpage’s money and supporting it with the CRM [customer relations management] database of pimps, johns, and traffickers that Backpage needed to operate”…

Basically, this is equivalent to suing a paper mill because lawyers claim that its paper was used to print a book that a woman claims inspired a nameless boyfriend to beat her up at some point in the past (even though there were neither witnesses nor evidence to said beating).  Such lawsuits, however flimsy, are generally settled out of court for tens of millions of dollars and are thus accepted by the hoi-polloi as “proven” even if they could never have actually won in a jury trial.  And that’s not even the worst of it; as Elizabeth Nolan Brown explained,

…Backpage and FOSTA tested the waters.  [Politicians]…are now talking about carving out more exceptions in Section 230 or abolishing it entirely.  That would allow not just any politically disfavored platforms but anyone that provided any services to them—cloud companies, payment processors, any kind of software, vendors, etc.—to be sued or charged criminally.  It could make it completely untenable for many such services to work with companies that let user-generated, social, free speech flourish.  That’s the end goal.  Don’t be fooled by the cynical “sex trafficking” spin…

The internet may survive outside of the US and be accessible to US citizens, but that would require other countries to invest in building new internet “backbones” out of the reach of power-mad US politicians, and nobody seems inclined to spend that money yet.  Until and unless they do, the internet as we know it will be gone in a very short time, replaced by something much more like cable TV than the powerful engine of free thought it has been until now.

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This kind of abuse happens all the time, we just happen to have footage in this case.  –  Maryanne Kaishian

Here’s another Rube Goldberg machine, brought to my attention by reader Dave Crisp.  The links above the video were provided by Radley Balko, Zuri Davis, Mike Siegel, Desiree Alliance, Elizabeth N. Brown, and Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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