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Posts Tagged ‘Challenge’

The civil rights victory of the near future will be led by heroes with Twitter handles like @mistressmatisse, @SavannahSly, and @Maggie_McNeill.  –  Brendan Trainor

My Body, My Choice

An argument I’ve often made myself:

The belief that you should be able to ingest any substance…because you own your own body is a profoundly libertarian, not progressive, idea…It was the progressives who gave us alcohol prohibition in the first place…Progressivism is the belief that good things come from government—from laws and regulations and central planning and generals and spies and bureaucrats…it is none of the state’s business whether you buy sex with flowers and dinner, or with marriage and mortgage, or with cold hard cash on the dresser…The feminist establishment will soon be forced to accept women’s dominion over body parts besides the womb.

I Swear To God

Remember, the SCOTUS reaffirmed the unconstitutionality of loyalty oaths just a few years ago:

Manchester [New Hampshire] police officials said…they want to see Kate D’Adamo, who has advocated for the [decriminalization] of prostitution, fired from her job overseeing a federally funded task force designed to [suppress sex work] in the state.  Assistant Police Chief Carlo Capano said D’Adamo’s statements last week, in which she reportedly presented arguments in favor of the decriminalization of prostitution, potentially violated the federal grant that pays her salary…“Obviously, we’re a little concerned that Kate’s personal opinions are becoming a distraction to [our trying to destroy the lives of sex workers],” said Maria Gagnon…According to…stipulations of the grant, the Manchester Police Department cannot promote, support or advocate for the legalization of prostitution…

Bottleneck 

There are so many reasons sex worker licensing is a bad idea; here’s another:

In Palm Beach County, Florida, all topless dancers are required to register with county officials and obtain an Adult Entertainment Work Identification Card (AEIC), at the cost of $75 per year…Anita Pedemey… “diverted” at least $28,875 (and possibly an additional $3,305) from county coffers between October 2013 and mid-November 2016…from both adult-entertainer fees—approximately 70 percent of which were paid in cash—and court-ordered payments intended for a crime Victims Services Fund…Because she manipulated reports but left the underlying database unaltered, the county still received records of adult-entertainment ID applications even if accounting never received their payments, which means that at least most applicants whose money was taken were still legitimately registered with the county…

Remember, New South Wales decriminalized sex work specifically because corruption like this (and far worse) was rampant.

Standard Operating Procedure

If only amateurs realized that this is the norm, not a deviation from it:

…a Secret Service agent on Vice President Mike Pence’s detail has been suspended from official duties after meeting a prostitute at a Maryland hotel…police saw him exiting the hotel…[after responding] to a [snitch] from the hotel manager…The agent was arrested and was charged with solicitation.  He then self-reported his arrest to the Secret Service…the agent was off-duty and did not present himself in his official capacity…

Seriously, I have had more G-men between my legs than most amateur women have had of any kind of man.  Show me a G-man who’s never been with a whore & I’ll show you a rookie.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlor pogroms are coming to Canada:

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is asking for the power to crack down on…massage parlours…he wants the city to be able to shut down businesses engaging in such activity by revoking their certificates of occupancy…The director of the Montreal-based sex work organization Chez Stella, Sandra Wesley, says shutting down massage parlours will do more harm than good…”If [Coderre’s] going to go after massage parlours, then he’s going after migrant women,” she…says…closing massage parlours won’t end the sex trade — it will only make it more dangerous for sex workers…[and that] Coderre and others are using sex workers as “pawns in their next re-election campaign”…

The Mote and the Beam (#332)

The censors who want the internet destroyed are at it again:

A…new House measure, sponsored by…Ann Wagner…and dubbed the “No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act,” would carve out an exception to Section 230 for sex-trafficking offenses involving minors.  Supporters portray it as a way to “hold sex traffickers accountable,” but we already have sufficient penalties—at the state and federal level—for people who force, decieve, or coerce others into prostitution…What the change would do is make it possible for states to indict any app, website, or platform that introduces an underage person to a possible sex buyer as a conspirator in sex trafficking.  And it would allow any underage person who was paid for sex to subsequently sue any website or web service remotely involved in the transaction…the change would not merely apply to classified-ad sites like Backpage, or to sites and services specializing in escort advertising…With the proposed change, victims will have the right to sue any third-party web service that enabled their participation or exploitation in the sex trade.  And in this case, victim means anyone under 18 whom someone paid for sex, regardless of whether any force, fraud, coercion, or middlemen and women were involved…It gives victims—most of whom fall prey to petty pimps with few assets, not organized criminals—a civil-suit target with much deeper pockets than the criminals who exploited them, and the same for state prosecutors with asset-forfeiture fever…A huge number of “child sex trafficking stings” in this country involve police posing online as sex workers…and, once a customer is interested, “admitting” that they’re actually underage (usually 16 or 17).  The men who still agree to meet for sex are greeted by police officers and charged with…child sex trafficking.  Their vehicles and sometimes other assets are seized.  Imagine if cops could do this sort of “random virtue testing” (as Ars Technica‘s Nate Anderson aptly described it) but then go after big web publishers and platforms instead of just impounding a few cars…

Bad Girls (#540) 

American “authorities” are dedicated to the philosophy that anyone who ever did anything wrong should keep paying for it, forever:

A prostitute who injected a Google executive with a lethal dose of heroin in 2013 while aboard his yacht in Santa Cruz harbor and spent more than two years in jail was taken into custody by federal immigration agents as soon as she was released…Alix Tichelman — who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes — was released by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office around 5 a.m. on [March 29th]…ICE agents waiting outside the jail in the predawn hours came into the building to detain Tichelman…

Aversions (#642)

Miranda Kane on annoying clients:

The (non) expert…[wants to] get his own rocks off by thinking he’s amazing in bed, when all he’s really done is delivered a few sloppy snogs while rubbing my cunt in a style that makes me think he wants a genie to pop out of my vagina…The bashful one…will…stay silent, move with about as much enthusiasm as a gutted fish, and 55 minutes into an hour appointment he’ll say:  “Umm…this was nice, but really all I wanted was to lick your feet with a dildo up my arse, dance for you wearing women’s stockings while you sang the greatest hits from the popular disco band Boney M”…

Challenge (#677)

Laura Lee on the possible wider effects of her challenge to the Swedish model in Northern Ireland:

Sex worker and law graduate Laura Lee is steeling herself for a battle in Belfast’s high court that she believes could make European legal history…Lee…[is] aiming to establish that the criminalisation of her clients violates her right to work under European human rights law…[this] is only the start of a Europe-wide campaign to overturn the model…Lee’s next target is the Irish Republic, which…has introduced a similar ban aimed at criminalising clients.  “A win for us in Belfast will have a knock-on effect and set a precedent across Europe.  If successful up north there will be a challenge in Dublin and sex workers across Europe can use the precedent to overturn the so-called ‘Nordic model’ in their countries,” she said…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

“Competition” from fancy fleshlights?  Really, ladies, calm down:

Europe’s first sex robot [arcade] has been forced to move after real-life prostitutes complained sex dolls were stealing their trade.  The original location in Barcelona at 2 Baixada de Sant Miquel had been in the Spanish city’s Gothic quarter, north of the cathedral…[it] has now moved to a mystery new location with a receptionist saying the address would only be given out to paying customers.  Prostitutes who work in the city with Aprosex – the Association of Sex Professionals – objected saying a doll cannot match the services of a real person and denigrates real sex workers to merely being an object…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#720)

More on the oppression of Ukrainian sex workers:

Ukraine used to be depicted as a paradise for sex tourists.  The news that the country would co-host the European Football Championship in 2012 was followed by…moral panic…the city of Kropyvnytsky, in central Ukraine, is…home to Legalife, Ukraine’s leading sex workers’ organisation…Their organisation got its start following an episode of police abuse in 2009, when Isaeva, a former sex worker who conducted outreach work with sex workers, was unlawfully detained by an anti-trafficking police unit.  They threatened to charge her with pimping, and when Isaeva tried to file a complaint the next day, there was no trace of her detention.  She did, however, obtain an apology.  The head of the anti-trafficking unit was transferred and the officers’ bonuses slashed.  This incident prompted the women to stand for sex workers’ rights, attracting the attention of international donors such as Open Society who have funded Legalife ever since…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

Ah, the delicious schadenfreude of prohibitionists’ lies coming back to bite them in the arse:

A viral Facebook entry about child sex trafficking posted by…Diandra Toyos…is a misinformed and ultimately harmful depiction of what this crime is about…There are zero indicators of human trafficking in Toyos’ story…it so misrepresents the dangers, warning signs and risks associated with sex trafficking that its readers and likers may now try to protect kids by watching for the wrong things in the wrong places…I’m a professional in the anti-trafficking field, and…I have never seen, read or heard about a real sex-trafficking situation in which a child was abducted by traffickers in broad daylight at a busy store under a mother’s watchful eye…The most pernicious part of the viral Facebook post is its comments section.  As sex-trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking advocates — myself included — tried to correct the misconceptions in it, and tried to alert the public to the harms caused by misunderstandings and sensationalism, we were met with anger and outrage.  Sound bite quotes and statistics were thrown back at me in an attempt to highlight my “ignorance” on the subject.  “Human trafficking happens everywhere,” I was reminded. “It’s in our own backyards.”  These are the exact phrases my colleagues and the anti-trafficking movement publicized years ago to raise awareness. We never imagined they’d be used to challenge our own expertise and in defense of efforts that threaten victims…

Here’s some free advice, Miss “Trafficking Expert”:  if you don’t want hysteria, don’t promote it yourself.  And if you want people to defer to “experts” on prostitution, you need to set an example by shutting the fuck up, sitting the fuck down and listening to the real experts, sex workers themselves.

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We cannot…be blind to the very real harms posed by exposing all sorts of innocent people to unnecessary scrutiny from…authorities.  –  Liz Brown

Advice for Clients

It’s always good to see different sex workers’ perspectives on this topic:

With the exception of the occasional inconsiderate asshole, most people know how to behave at the shops, the hairdressers, or when they’re catching an Uber.  They know not to skip the line, to tip, and not to barf all over the backseat.  But a lot of people don’t know how you’re supposed to behave when you visit a sex worker…it’s only fair that you try and be polite and considerate.  But what are the dos and don’ts?  Can you ask a sex worker to lower the going rate for a blowjob because you’re such a loyal customer?  And exactly how handsy can you get when you have a half-naked stripper grinding on your lap?…

No Other Option

An important observation from Mark Draughn:

…one item on [COSWAC’s] Myths vs. Facts page caught my attention…MYTH: Clients are pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships…someone needs to address the motives of the people promoting this myth.  People who say things like this aren’t just making an academic observation; they’re arguing that sex work should be (or remain) outlawed because of these kinds of clients.  And that’s an ugly argument…Why should it matter that some clients are “pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships”?  Does that mean they should never have sex?  That they should never experience pleasurable physical intimacy, never touch a woman, because they lack the confidence or charisma to charm a woman into bed?  Keeping them from hiring sex workers isn’t protecting women from predators.  It’s just sentencing people with personality disorders to a life without intimacy…

Real People 

Though this article is padded with the usual ignorant bloviation from moralists who have never done or even studied sex work, it starts with the stories of several sex workers from Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan:

Despite the traditional mentality prevalent in the Caucasus, sex work is not uncommon, especially for women who find themselves in dead end situations.  Although well known, the rights of sex workers and their issues are rarely discussed in any of the three countries in the South Caucasus…journalists…decided to gain a better understanding of the topic by directly asking sex workers questions related to their lives.  What forces women into sex work?  What are the risks?  How does society perceive them?  What are their rights?  The following interviews are the result of their inquiries…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do murderous-sociopath-cop-frankie-bybee

A cop is a cop, even when he’s a sex worker.  But this one is unusually sociopathic even for a cop:

…Sarasota County deputy Frankie Bybee…received more than $100,000 over the years from a woman named Elinor Jarvis in exchange for…sex…Jarvis contacted investigators after learning [Bybee] had been arrested for attempting to kill a 79-year-old woman by entering her home, mounting her and shoving prescription pills down her throat before leaving her car running in her garage with the door open in the hope she would die of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Bybee was trying to make it look like a suicide.  But Marcia Sohl survived the encounter…Bybee met Sohl in October when she called the…Sheriff’s Office for help, transporting her to the hospital and praying with her to gain her trust and confidence.  He also agreed to care for her Yorkshire in exchange for $1,000, even texting her a photo of himself with the dog to show that it was safe.  But then he sold the dog on Craig’s List [sic]…he wrote checks from the woman’s account to himself and children for $65,000…On December 28, he sent an email to the woman’s doctor from her email address, pretending that she had “suicidal implications,” which led to the woman being involuntary committed for evaluation in a treatment facility…the IP address originated from his home…Nevertheless, a judge…reduced his bail from $900,000 to $250,000…And Sohl’s dog has since been returned.

They Still Don’t Get It

This is a mass of stupidity even by “sex trafficking” standards, but this paragraph is representative:

…“Maryland is a hot spot of trafficking. It’s that simple,” says Maryland [spokesow]…Deborah Flory…“That’s because of I-95, I-70, and BWI Airport, and the mix of wealth and poverty, which is one of the things that makes young women vulnerable.”  Traffickers, aka pimps, are familiar with the laws in each state and know there are weaker penalties in Maryland than elsewhere, including the possibility of a misdemeanor charge for trafficking someone age 18 or older, Flory says…“They can make more money than dealing drugs—$200,000 a year off of one girl—and it’s easier because they don’t have to re-up with cocaine or heroin.  They sell the same ‘product’ over and over again”…

The number of myths, tropes & lies in just that short passage is impressive.

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Pet clothing company Lulu & Robbie is showing its support for the United Nations’ Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking.  One of Lulu & Robbie’s four new styles…features the campaign’s official…“Blueheart tartan, whose colours and lines symbolise the collective heartbeat of victims of human trafficking”…

I write fantasy, and yet I couldn’t make up anything so totally ridiculous.

Devil’s Advocate

This dude has very poor judgment and might even be a rapist.  But this sets a really dangerous precedent:

…Cody Herrera…19…pleaded guilty to statutory rape with a 14-year-old girl…prosecutors said that he could face additional charges for allegedly videotaping sexual acts with a 17-year-old…Herrera received probation and the judge prohibited him from having “sexual relations” outside of marriage as a probation condition…Banning “sexual relations” without defining the term does not…tell a person what conduct violates the condition…“sexual relations” can mean anything from phone sex to intercourse…Rather than wondering if a kiss is a violation, probation officers should be able to devote themselves to better things like helping a defendant get a job…or mental health treatment…suppose kissing isn’t a violation, but intercourse is.  Should an unmarried probationer who has consensual intercourse be imprisoned?  The costs are enormous. It’s not just $20,000 to $30,000 in annual expenses.  If the probationer is employed, he gets removed from the work force – and it is plenty hard for convicts to get jobs…

Original Sin (#449) st-josephine-bakhita

The Pope continues to recklessly promote “sex trafficking” hysteria:

As human trafficking continues to be a supremely important issue during Pope Francis’ pontificate…St. Josephine Bakhita, enslaved during her own childhood, has emerged as a patron not only for her home country of Sudan, but for all victims of trafficking.  St. Josephine was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 7, undergoing immense suffering throughout her adolescence before discovering the faith in her early 20s…Feb. 8, St. Josephine’s feast day, marks the third international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking…

Down Under (#567)

Even Kiwis who are prudish & judgy about sex work have to admit decriminalization is a success:

Prostitution was made legal in New Zealand 14 years ago, a move which some hoped, or feared, would remove the stigma from those who buy or sell sex.  That has not happened…it…is…safer for the community because safe sex practices could more easily be promoted to an industry that would otherwise continue to operate outside the law.  To that extent the legislation is said to have made a difference but it has not removed the stigma.  Not many prostitutes want their occupation generally known.  Few if any parents would want their daughter or son to grow up to be a sex worker…Selling sex, or buying it, need not be illegal for society to register its contempt for the commodification of the human body…legalisation has not done the harm its opponents feared.  It has simply made a sad industry safer.

Challenge (#679)

Let’s hope more legal sex work businesses come on board:

Fetish site RetailClips.com has pledged a percentage of profits from its site to help the Erotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research (ESPLER) Project’s court case that seeks to legalize prostitution in California.  Maxine Doogan…said she hopes that RetailClip’s promise to share in profits will “inspire others in the larger erotic industry to recognize our common ground and join the fight…In the current climate, where government is coming after a whole range of adult industry players, we really need to support each other — to not only protect but also to expand sexual privacy and sexual freedoms for everyone,” Doogan said.  Donald Kaiser, founder of Black Murk Entertainment, the operator of the newly launched RetailClips, said that ESPLER Project’s court case is crucial for the adult entertainment biz as a whole…

Stupor Bowl (#704)

It’s almost sad to see these losers trying to cash in with debunked bullshit a year ahead of time:

Hennepin County…is expected later this month to approve hiring specialized staff members in the county attorney’s and sheriff’s offices to address a growing number of sex trafficking cases, especially before next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis…Metro area prosecutors and police agencies anticipate that hundreds of women and girls will be sold on the sex market during Super Bowl 2018

Crying for Nanny (#705)

Just in case you thought we’d seen the last of futile attempts to wring a profit from anti-Backpage propaganda:

A new federal lawsuit in Orlando is the latest legal effort to shut down [the already-censored] social media website Backpage.com [over fantasies] that it encourages and profits from sex trafficking.  A…[prohibitionist] organization, Florida Abolitionist, is behind the suit….it…is one of several groups in the area that are working to [profit from] sex trafficking [hysteria]…

Checklist (#711) 

You know that absurd “air hostesses vs pimps” bullshit that was making the rounds last week?

…There was no follow-up on where the alleged trafficker had come from, what happened to him after the flight—arrest? prosecution? prison?…Fedrick’s 2011 experience didn’t just happen into the 2017 media by accident.  Her story is part of a campaign from Airline Ambassadors International, who…used the myth of a sports-related sex trafficking boom to permeate the Super Bowl news-cycle.  AAI was founded in the 1990s by Nancy Rivard, and the bulk of its efforts long revolved around providing adult escorts to children traveling for medical procedures.  But beginning in 2009, the agency began a serious shift toward human-trafficking [profiteering]…the…alleged…incident received little public attention in 2011.  While the news that year is full of stories about a man arrested at the San Francisco International Airport for wearing baggy pants, plus stories about local efforts to stop sex trafficking, none mention a human trafficker apprehended at a Bay Area airport that year.  The San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) web archives turn up similarly scant results.  And nothing fitting the description is mentioned in a statewide 2012 report about successful anti-trafficking efforts in the previous year.  When the Super Bowl was held in San Francisco, in 2016, the airport teamed up with Airport Ambassadors International and others…None of the materials…mention any previous trafficking busts at the airport based on flight-attendant tips…

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Victimless crime creates the surveillance state.  –  Wendy McElroy

Amazingly Stupid Statements

License to Rape

At least the European media aren’t afraid to apply the word “rape” to the actions of rapist cops:

Hundreds of people took to the streets of a Paris suburb…to denounce police brutality, after a 22-year-old black man was…sodomised with a baton during an arrest last week…One [cop] was charged…with rape, while three others were charged with assault…The man suffered severe anal injuries which required surgery and was also treated for damage to the head and face…The severity of his injuries led a doctor to declare him unfit to work for 60 days…[cops] deny the [obvious evidence] and [pretend] they were targeting lookouts for drug dealers…

Decentralization

Wendy McElroy on bitcoin and consensual crime:

…There are people who use bitcoin to buy “immoral goods” (whatever that means) just as there are people who use cash to do so.  As long as the participants are consenting adults, that’s their business.  Not yours, not mine.  The state is the one who interjects violence and harm when it points a gun at peaceful adults…The attack on bitcoin will be framed…as a way to protect vulnerable and misguided individuals who use their own bodies in “unacceptable” ways.  Or it will unfold as a campaign of resentment against those individuals who do not pay their so-called “fair share” toward maintaining the surveillance state.  A moral attack must be met with moral indignation, not an apology…

Broken Record 

How fetishists are trying to back away from the thoroughly-debunked “Super Bowl sex trafficking” trope without abandoning the larger “gypsy whore” myth:

While there was a considerable increase in the number of [sex work] ads surrounding the Super Bowl, other events like a Memorial Day motorcycle rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and various industry conferences had a bigger impact than expected, suggesting that resources devoted to combating the problem of forced prostitution have been misdirected….[“sex trafficking” fetishists fantasize] that traffickers and pimps use online classified services like Backpage.com to advertise their victim’s sexual services…[pigs bizarrely fantasize that] words like “young” and “no pimps” can be indicators that the person in the photo is a trafficking victim…

Imaginary Evils

Since there are virtually no actual “sex trafficking” cases in the UK despite massive, multi-million-pound crusades to discover them, cops keep themselves busy with fantasies of “pimps” lurking behind every ordinary escort ad:

West Midlands Police has confirmed they now [waste] a substantial part of their [time] in [fantasizing about] sex trafficking victims in the region…[based on propaganda from] The Salvation Army…The content of profiles leads to more suspicion…A lot of the prostitutes also claim to be ‘independent’…But [since we know women are too stupid to plan travel or get pictures taken] their profile pictures…[and] the fact they move around the country would…allude to a larger, more organised, illegal operation…

Cops and Robbers

These are the kind of people who call us “bad” women:

…a group of sex workers…operate from one of three houses [in suburban Johannesburg] which were attacked by [a mob which]…marched to their house on [February 5th] and tossed their belongings outside before torching them.  Beds‚ bedding‚ plasma TV sets‚ music systems‚ clothes and money were some of the things that the girls lost in the [unprovoked attack which] locals [rationalized as taking] a stand against what they say are drug dens and brothels run by Nigerian nationals…

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

Maker of fascist surveillance software uses Backpage as a prop for self-fellation:

Marinus Analytics LLC has joined DeliverFund’s International Human Trafficking Analysis Center (iHTAC), a consortium of organizations who’ve partnered to [come up with more ways to profit from hysteria over]…human trafficking…The combined capabilities of Marinus Analytic’s Traffic Jam and DeliverFund’s uniquely qualified personnel allowed [pigs]…to continue [oppressing people] without disruption during the recent Backpage.com’s closure of its adult ads section…

To Molest and Rape child-molester-cop-chris-wilbanks

Lying, tricking someone into doing something wrong, threatening harm to compel behavior…gee, I wonder where he learned to act this way?

A [South Carolina cop] was arrested after federal investigators say that he coerced an 11-year-old girl into sending him a nude picture, then told her to send more naked photographs or he would show the first one to others…Chris Wilbanks…is charged with production of child pornography…[he] posed as a 14-year-old boy nicknamed “Redneck Rick” on social media and talked to the girl, who said she was 12…the girl sent about a dozen pornographic images to Wilbanks and was crying in many of them…

Challenge (#677)

What could be more Orwellian than referring to groups trying to take away women’s rights as “women’s rights groups”?

Two women’s rights organisations are to feature in a High Court challenge to a new law making it illegal for men to pay for sex in Northern Ireland…Space International, a [prohibitionist] group [backed by the nuns who abused women in the infamous Magdalene laundries], and Equality Now, [a group led by a former prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after railroading two innocent black men for rape,] have been granted intervener status in proceedings brought by sex worker Laura Lee…amendments to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act breach [sex workers’] human rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination.  Northern Ireland is currently the only UK region to make the purchase of sex a criminal offence…

The Naked Anthropologist (#701) 

Noah Berlatsky reviews Laura Agustín’s new book:

Laura Agustín’s novel The Three-Headed Dog…argues that the notion of innocent young girls exploited, waiting to be rescued by daredevil Kristofs, is a pernicious myth.  People who cross borders generally do so to find a better life.  They end up doing sex work because it can sometimes be the best option available, especially given prejudiced restrictions placed on immigrant entry and employment…Immigrants are often victimized, but they aren’t solely victims…The Three-Headed Dog doesn’t have an exciting rescue narrative…[it shows] exploitation [as]…a fact of life, a constant backdrop too ubiquitous to be felled with a single punch or raid…

The War Goes On 

We have so many more vocal allies now than we did when I started blogging seven years ago!

Last month, authoritarians…forced Backpage, the world’s second-biggest classified-ads website, to shut down its adult section.  A motley crew of elected officials at all levels of government…bullied Backpage and its executives into getting rid of it, supposedly because they were concerned about people being “sex trafficked”…Of course, as Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, Backpage was already cooperating with law enforcement…something that won them numerous accolades from state and federal cops.  Purely with respect to fighting crime, the government’s victory was somewhere between empty and actively harmful…What’s more, politicians and law enforcement conflate sex trafficking with voluntary prostitution. As…Maggie McNeill has been arguing for years, there are no good data to suggest anything but a tiny fraction of sex workers are trafficked…a lot of prostitutes…used Backpage’s adult section, and the government’s self-indulgent crackdown put their livelihoods at risk…

I Swear To God (#708)

Michelle Chen on how the US tests oppressive tactics abroad before inflicting them domestically:

One of the first policy measures taken by Donald Trump…was reinstating and expanding a piece of presidential policy known as the “Global Gag Rule.”  The policy bars USAID funding for any organization abroad that provides abortions or even presents abortion as a family planning option…In another global campaign to spread “Christian values,” the US government’s long-standing “anti-prostitution pledge” restricts funding from going to any organizations that promote or support sex work.  The oath forces organizations to choose between providing comprehensive services to their constituencies, or cutting back on certain services in order to get US funding…the worst abuses of Washington’s hegemonic power have always taken place in international arenas before creeping inward.  The use of private detention facilities and military contractors in border enforcement and migration detention have been experimental sites for the most exploitative forms of prison profiteering.  It was, after all, the expansion of immigration detention that helped revive the private prison industry across the country, after the traditional prison industry’s profits plateaued after decades of mining black communities to fill its facilities…

Stupor Bowl (#711)

Liz Brown finds the usual total lack of “sex trafficking” at this year’s Super Bowl:

To hear the hysterics tell it, thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of sex-selling women will flock like cockroaches to cities where sports-fans gather, and only some will be there willingly; the rest, including many children, are trucked in by opportunistic pimps and traffickers.  As ample people have pointed out…there’s not a shred of evidence to support this rumor…examinations of actual arrest data in Super Bowl cities shows no corresponding spike in sex trafficking, compelling prostitution, or any other similar charge—despite the verifiable spike in law-enforcement and media attention to the issue…Between the Saturday before the Super Bowl and the Tuesday morning after, no criminal complaints were filed against anyone [in Houston] for sex trafficking, soliciting a minor, pimping, promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, etc…[the rumor is] what people today like to refer to as “fake news,” and the people who propagate it year after year—police departments looking to justify vice stings and asset forfeiture, missionary groups looking to fundraise or justify federal anti-trafficking grants, sensationalist media, and state and national politicians with human-trafficking measures to promote—are not…“abolitionists” but propagandists, plain and simple.

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The criminalization of sex work exposes not only sex workers but all women to more violence.  –  Alison Bass

The Proper Study

Yet another study confirms what we’ve been saying all along:

a recent study in…Las Vegas uncovers what anti-trafficking organizations might not like to hear.  The majority of youth selling sex on the streets have no pimps, or even third party managers, countering one of the key narratives of the sex trafficking movement that all youth involved are victims doing this work against their will…three fourths of the youth interviewed about the sex trade said they were not working with any pimp or other kind of third party manager…24 percent of the study’s participants reported use of a third party to find clients at some point in their lives, but only 4 percent…reported use of one at the time of the study…youth sex workers who do use pimps do so inconsistently and intermittently…[they] are finding their clients independently and negotiating their own prices…

It Looks Good On Paper (#340)

Remember that religious brainwashing program which “partnered with the Sarasota…Police Department…to bring victims into their care?

The conversations happening by phone are ones that the Sarasota Police Street Crime Unit hope will turn into a positive outcome.  “I want you to know you are not in any trouble,” [oinked a pig]…”We are just trying to reach out and let you know there are options”…Sergeant Robert Armstrong and his unit are [harassing and intimidating] women who have active ads online for escort services.  Many are involved in prostitution…The team is focused on connecting women with Selah Freedom…

“Many are involved in prostitution”?  Are these people actually pretending not to know what an escort is?  Look beneath the pious exterior; we don’t actually know what stated or implied threats these cops are using to try to intimidate women into this “program”, which is so unpopular the only way it gets participants is by cops literally forcing or frightening women into it.  If the tactic seems familiar, it’s because it’s much like Canada’s “Operation Northern Spotlight” except that the cops are (for now) merely terrorizing sex workers by phone instead of showing up at their doors.wesley-blackburn

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

A Pennsylvania pastor faces charges he impregnated a 15-year-old girl from his youth group during a seven-month sexual relationship…Wesley Blackburn, youth pastor at Faith Brethren Bible Church, told the New Paris church’s head pastor he had confessed to the relationship and asked for a divorce…church leaders immediately fired Blackburn…and alerted police last week.  He was charged Oct. 6 on hundreds of counts of statutory sexual assault and indecent assault…

Rough Trade (#446) 

A setback for women’s rights in India:

The Supreme Court…ruled that a sex worker cannot file a case alleging rape if her customers refused to pay her…The judgment…acquitted three people of rape charges in a case that is close to 20 years old…the Karnataka High Court had convicted them of raping the victim, who used to work as a maid; the victim’s roommate had revealed that she works as a sex-worker at night…the Supreme Court…[claimed] that the woman’s “conduct during the alleged ordeal is unlike a victim of rape and betrays somewhat submissive and consensual disposition”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#502)

In which po-faced twits with tape over their mouths walk down a street holding pre-printed propaganda cards:

A long, single-file line of people donned [sic] in black, some with their mouths taped shut, silently made its way down Stephen Avenue [in Calgary] to [promote anti-sex work propaganda]…The [po-faced] group remained speechless, but handed out [propaganda] pamphlets to bystanders…former Manitoba MP Joy Smith [spoke] at the event…part of a global initiative by A21…

The tape is supposed to signify that sex workers are “voiceless”, a convenient lie for those who wish to talk over us.  A21, the NGO which sponsored this charade, is infamous as the source of the high-water mark of the “clients per day” competition of a few years ago: 110.

Eternal Vigilance (#610)

Just a reminder that prohibitionism still exists in decriminalized regimes:

New Zealand celebrities will be donning aprons to serve dinner with a difference at Destiny Rescue’s Dark Secret Pop up Dinner on International Anti-Slavery Day, Tuesday 18 October…Another special menu, thankfully not available in New Zealand, will shine the spotlight on the dark secret of the near two million children trapped in sexual slavery in countries like Thailand, India and the Philippines…

The table-waiting gimmick is appropriate given that Destiny’s idea of “rescue” is to teach brown urchins to sew, wait table and draw with crayons.

Wise Investment (#673)

Picket-fence gay men are such wonderful, dependable sex worker allies:

In his recent attempt to revise the history of sex workers in Vancouver’s West End, Kevin Dale McKeown…erases the West Sex Workers Memorial Committee and our eight-year campaign to secure financial reparations and a formal civic apology from the City of Vancouver.  He instead claims that his recollections are more truthful and authentic than the voices of sex workers…In McKeown’s distorted revision…expelled sex workers become the villains.  However, our archival research found close to 1,000 news articles revealing that power elites in the early 1980s — including Mayor Mike Harcourt, MP Pat Carney, Attorney General Brian Smith, Concerned Residents of the West End (CROWE) and Shame the Johns — forged a “war on hookers” with lethal consequences…Residents like McKeown moved into the West End when it was a thriving [24-hour] entertainment zone…McKeown…frantically disavows his own and other white gay men’s complicity in hooker-bashing tactics…McKeown makes a failed attempt to hide his investment in a “quiet” and “peaceful” gaybourhood cleansed of “noisy” hookers…

Too Close To Home (#677)

These are the people who claim they want to “protect” women, and portray the men we choose to have sex with as “sexual predators”:

…after settling a sexual-harassment lawsuit for $1 million in 2013, the King County Sheriff’s Office…is again embroiled in a legal fight over its treatment of female officers.  This time, two…deputies and one sergeant are accusing the county of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual-orientation based harassment, and retaliation…a former head of internal affairs [is] seeking whistleblower protections before he talks.  Central to many of these claims is King County Sheriff John Urquhart…[whose] tenure so far…has been ignominious, involving the two sexual-harassment lawsuits, a cop convicted of pimping his wife and selling his colleagues steroids, a bogus “sex trafficking bust,” a chief-of-staff with polygraph problems, and more…this latest lawsuit…specifically calls out the actions of Sheriff Urquhart, Major Sean Ledford, and Sergeant Dewey Burns…defensive tactics instructor Melissa Deer…claims [Burns] grabbed her crotch during a training exercise…text messages showed the sergeant making racist, anti-gay, and sexually explicit comments to other staffers, including…Deputy Amy Shoblom…who…is one of three plaintiffs in the current suit, along with Diana Neff…and Julie Blessum…[Burns’] antics included texting her half-naked photos of women he was sleeping with, asking during a roll call if she had “hooked up” with a male deputy, and drawing a penis on the hood of her car with hand sanitizer…

There’s a lot more, and it’s by the awesome Liz Brown so you should read it all.

Send In the Clowns dublin-clown

The most disturbing thing about the clown hysteria is the way in which it has so quickly given rise to organized violence and naked authoritarianism.  A “Clown Lives Matter” protest against the panic, to be held in Tucson, was cancelled due to amateur threats of violence, and the professional violence-inflicters are responding by criminally charging people and destroying young childrens’ lives.  The hysteria has also spread to Ireland, and while police in Dublin have responded calmly, those in Belfast have responded with US-style threats of violence and lifelong imprisonment.  Dutch police are moronically calling for a prankster there to turn himself in, and the ever-lunatic British tabloid press have found a way to merge the clown panic into “sex predator” panic:

The basic premise of [this] story is that some men get off on women dressed as creepy clowns, they’re causing a spike in clown-porn searches and clown-fetish requests at escort services, and soon their “sick fetish” may lead them to commit real-world sexual assaults “as the adrenaline junkies seek more ‘extreme thrills'”…what the story lacks in logic it makes up for in references to “sex-mad sickos” and quotes from an anonymous escort-agency head…[it] also quotes a woman who counsels rape victims and worries that the “clown craze” provides cover to predators…Popular millennial women’s website Elite Daily published a clown-sex-panic story…warning readers that “the sexual deviants partaking in the madness are allegedly dressing up as clowns and experimenting with BDSM” and “those who are involved in the aggressive clown porn are potentially dangerous.”

Power Play

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

Dennis Hof…said that while he supports law enforcement aggressively enforcing laws against underage sex trafficking, he believes that law enforcement in the United States would have an easier time doing its job if adult prostitution were [legalized]…using the [Nevada]…model…Hof said [independent sex workers spread]…sexually transmitted diseases…”My brothel business model [magically] puts the…pimps [who aren’t politically connected] out of business, [magically] stops underage girls from working illegally [?] and [magically] ends sex trafficking [even though 99% of Nevada sex workers prefer to work illegally than to submit to the onerous brothel regime]”…

In the first version of the press release, Hof actually cheered the arrests of the owners & CEO of Backpage; I guess he later realized that was vile even by his standards.

Challenge (#681)

The ACLU has finally done something to act on its theoretical support for decriminalization by filing an amicus brief in the ESPLERP case:

The ACLU brief supports the lawsuit’s contention that California’s penal code violates fundamental constitutional rights to sexual privacy and is enforced in a discriminatory manner…Lawrence v. Texas…recognized that “liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex”…The ACLU brief also argues that the California penal code is unconstitutional because the way it is enforced is discriminatory.  Certain groups, such as transgender women, LGBT youth, and female sex workers are targeted and arrested for prostitution in disproportionately higher numbers than other people…

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We see no constitutionally adequate basis to criminalize sex solely because one consenting adult pays another.  –   Hayley Gorenberg  and Richard Saenz of Lambda Legal

Rough Trade 

Be careful out there, my sisters in Philadelphia:

Philadelphia police say a predator who’s attacked female prostitutes earlier this year may be responsible for two more recent attacks…the most recent incident occurred Oct. 1 when a man on a bike propositioned [a street worker] for sex…the man choked her until she lost consciousness…Police believe the same man also accosted another prostitute at gunpoint Sept. 19.  He took her to an alley and [raped] her while holding a knife to her face.  Police believe the same man attacked a prostitute with a brick then stabbed [to death]…on July 16. She died.  The same man, often arriving on a bike, is believed to have attacked at least one other prostitute, slashing her throat April 19.

The Lesser of Two Evils

As I’ve pointed out before, most laws governing sex work prior to the late 19th century were aimed at drawing lines between harlots and “good” women, rather than at advancing a quixotic crusade to “eradicate” the ineradicable.  Here’s a list of garments prostitutes were required to wear in various medieval European cities:

Beaucaire: a mark on the left arm…
Berne: red cap.
Bristol: striped hoods.
Castres: a man’s hat and a scarlet belt.
Florence: gloves and bells on the head…and high-heeled slippers.
Languedoc: a cord belt.
Leipzig: yellow cloak trimmed with blue.
London: striped hoods.
Mantua: white cloak and badge on chest…
Marseilles: striped tunic.
Milan: black cloak.
Nimes: a sleeve of a special colour.
Pisa: a yellow headband.
Strasbourg: black and white sugarloaf hat.
Toulouse: a mark on their sleeve.
Venice: yellow scarf.
Vienna: yellow scarf.
Zurich: red cap.

Saving Them From Themselves

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

A man [in Australia] who found out that his 15-year-old stepdaughter was sexting her boyfriend proceeded to download the evidence to bring it to the school and the police to ask them to intervene…Now [Ashan Ortell] has been convicted on child pornography charges and placed on the sex offender registry…for eight years…

Frankly, I’m glad this idiot got what he deserved.  If anything, anyone who would report his own daughter to the pigs for the “crime” of having a sexual relationship deserves much worse than 8 years on the registry.

Gullible’s Travels

Even if this were true (which it isn’t), it’s a testament to the entrenched stupidity of authoritarians that they refuse to see that binge drinking on US university campuses only became common after the drinking age was raised to 21:

A growing number of college are banning hard liquor on campus in a move to curb extreme drinking — but students are still getting their party on, and some are adding an extra element of risk to their binges…the phenomenon dubbed “drunkorexia”…University of Houston Professor Dipali Rinker said in a study of 1,200 students, he found up to 80 percent were restricting calories, overexercising, purging or using laxatives in combination with binge drinking…

Bogeymen

No, the sex trade in Ireland is no more “controlled” by “gangs” than it is in the US.  This is little more than a cop wanking fantasy of there being “bad guys” to target, aided and abetted by the pathological liars at Ruhama:

Five major vice gang members are behind three-quarters of the sex-for-sale business in Ireland, according to data taken from the most popular website used to advertise prostitution.  One gang this week has links to 80 advertised women and more than 10 transgender prostitutes, who can each make €1,000 a day.  Ireland’s multi-million euro vice trade is set for a massive blow as a new law to make it illegal to buy sex is due before the Dáil this week…

But just for fun, ask yourself:  If there really were mobsters behind all the sex work in Ireland, would they want decriminalization or increased criminalization?  Did the Mafia like the end of Prohibition?  And what happened to Mexican drug cartels’ profits when Washington & Colorado legalized cannabis?

The End of the Beginning 

This is what happens when you don’t fight tyrannical laws from the beginning:

A federal class action…challenges a Mississippi statute that requires people convicted of having anal sex to register as sex offenders.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Mississippi residents who say they were convicted under various sodomy prohibitions, including the “unnatural intercourse” law, and Louisiana’s “crime against nature by solicitation” law…the [registration requirement] is discriminatory and unenforceable in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas invalidating all state laws against gay sex as unconstitutional…

You know why they can get away with this despite Lawrence?  Because the Great Unwashed said nothing when federal courts established the precedent that the horrific persecution and ostracism inflicted on “sex offenders” are not punishments, but merely side effects of a record-keeping process.

Torture Chamber

Stop faking!

[In 1993] Anthony Gay…pled out to violating probation because of a “strong arm robbery.”  Gay was convicted of the robbery and hence the violation after nicking a hat and $1, resulting in a sentence of 7 years in prison…he was warehoused at the notorious…Tamms Correctional Center in Illinois [where]…”his actions…driven by his mental illness, resulted in years of solitary confinement and additional criminal convictions, chiefly due to a series of assaults on guards, including throwing feces and urine out of the food slot in his cell door.  By 2013, his sentence had been increased to 97 years and his release date pushed back to around 2091…he practiced self-mutilation, even to the point of cutting out one of his testicles and hanging it on a cell door in 2010“…He was literally crying out for help, and no one listened, save for his lawyers who managed to…convince…the court that the sentences Gay racked up while at Tamms had been improperly stacked…his new release date is set for August of 2018…Tamms has closed shop because its blatant incompetence and overindulgence in costly solitary confinement of people like Gay…

Making It Up As They Go 

Seattle pretends to be “liberal”, but it’s home to vile bullshit like this:

Escape to Peace launched…a…center for survivors of sex trafficking in Bellevue on Oct. 6….Carol Loya was inspired to create the non-profit after a 2012 mission to Thailand, during which she was shocked to see and talk to young…sex work[ers]…At any given time in King County, 300-500 underage girls are being trafficked.  The average age of entry is 12-14 years old, with some as young as 8 or 9…

Yes, they’re actually claiming that Greater Seattle has 20% of all coerced underage prostitutes in the entire US.

Checklist (#612)

More “beauty salon sex trafficking” idiocy from Ohio:

…100,000…cosmetologists throughout the state of Ohio…are now the latest allies in the fight against human trafficking…In Ohio alone, it is estimated that more than 1,000 girls and boys, between the ages of 12 and 17, are involved in the sex trade.  Last year, Ohio’s state cosmetology board approved a requirement that human-trafficking awareness training become a mandatory part of obtaining a cosmetology license…[fetishists fantasize that] traffickers or so-called pimps may take a victim to a hair salon in order to change their appearance to avoid detection…If stylists see anything suspicious, there are things they can do like get a license plate number and call police…

In a police state, even your hairdresser may be spying on you.

One Born Every Minute (#645) 

I’m pleased for the very small part I played in helping to expose this rapist:

Matt Hickey…has been charged by the King County Prosecuting Attorney with three counts of rape in the second degree.  The charges…contain allegations from three women, including two women The Stranger wrote about earlier this year…who said Hickey told them he was working with a female porn recruiter, and asked them to audition for them…Not long after the first piece came out, three more women came forward to accuse Matt Hickey of rape.  These women told The Stranger that Hickey got them blackout drunk and raped them while they were unable to consent.  Hickey denied all of the allegations…

Vendetta (#664)

A look at the aftermath of one of the private pogroms bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

Cory Walcott, was chair of the Military Science Department at the University of Nebraska Kearney until he was busted in a highly-publicized national sting…Prosecutors have now announced they are dropping the charge against Walcott and another man, Maurice Briggs…Their arrests were both part of the “National John Suppression Initiative”…[in which] police departments across the country pose undercover as either sex workers or their clients, arrest a lot of adult men and women for things like prostitution and solicitation, then put out splashy press releases about all the “sex trafficking arrests” they’ve made…the ultimate arrest/rescue breakdown for Lincoln?

  • no underage or adult sex-trafficking victims discovered
  • no force, fraud, or coercion discovered
  • four women, ages 23 to 36, charged with misdemeanor prostitution
  • five men charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with felony solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with marijuana possession…

Send In the Clowns

The most interesting part of the clown panic isn’t the hysteria itself (which is kind of a yawn to anyone who’s studied such panics before), nor the copycats trying to get attention by mimicking the imaginary bogeys (ditto), but the bizarre things one finds in news stories about clown incidents.  One story says “Three ‘juvenile clowns’ were taken into custody in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under the influence of marijuana“; Holy Reefer Madness, Batman!  One wonders what the Kentucky man who “fired a semi-automatic rifle at a woman walking her dog because he thought she was a clown” was under the influence of; like some others, this story tries to blame the clown hysteria on Stephen King, specifically a new production of It which I doubt has anything to do with the panic.  Then there’s this Massachusetts Halloween haunted house which features “scary clowns” among its attractions, reassuring the public that “they would know if there was a clown impersonator among them.”  Self-important Australian “experts” pronounced the hysteria “dangerous” and “sinister” after it spread to Perth and to cities in Victoria (one wonders why they haven’t opined on the far-more-serious “sex trafficking” hysteria).  But those all pale beside the horrifying statements made by cops in (wait for it) Arizona:

The Phoenix Police Department reports five juveniles ages 14 and 15 were charged with scary clown threats. Mesa police [arrested]  two juveniles…[one maniac said] “I would call it a hate crime.”  To prevent copycats, [pigs] and county prosecutors are taking a zero tolerance approach.  “Every image, every text, every mention will be investigated,” said [Commissar] Nik Rasheta…prosecutors plan to prosecute anyone else making scary clown threats to the full extent…[propaganda operatives] say don’t think social media will be a shield to make scary clown threats. Authorities have the technology to see who’s posting and spreading them…

Challenge (#679)

Lambda Legal has honored the commitment it made to sex worker rights last year by filing an amicus brief in the ESPLERP case:

…At the heart of Lambda Legal’s most groundbreaking victories and continuing mission is self-determination, including bodily autonomy.  When the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing same-sex relationships and gay identity in Lawrence v. Texas, it rightly rejected assertions against us that “public health” justified sodomy laws.  The movement for reproductive justice, from which we draw key legal precedents, similarly fights for facts over fiction when government tries to limit the right to contraception, abortion, or other similar personal decision-making.  Lawrence explained that the constitutional right to liberty protects all of us when we make our own decisions about adult, consensual sexual intimacy…sometimes relationships are transactional…consider prenuptial agreements, surrogacy, and hook-up websites; the fact that money is involved does not obliterate constitutional protections for marriage, parenting or sexual intimacy.  All of these truths animate Lambda Legal’s position that the government may not constitutionally criminalize consensual adult sex solely because it is bought and sold.

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Political opponents of [Backpage] like to imagine that without it, sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors would simply cease.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Do As I Say, Not As I Do freddie-lorick

Of course they didn’t accuse him of faking:

Ten men, including a South Carolina police chief, have been arrested in an undercover prostitution sting…Chief Freddie Lorick Sr…told officers he needed medical treatment and was taken to a local hospital. It’s unclear whether he has been released…

An Ounce of Prevention

There have been a few close approaches, but this could be the most promising yet:

British man could become the first person in the world to be cured of HIV using a new therapy designed by a team of scientists from five UK universities…presently the virus is completely undetectable in the man’s blood, although that could be a result of regular drugs.  However if the dormant cells are also cleared out it could represent the first complete cure…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

While the feds actively persecute some sex workers

The federal government is again suing a Mississippi strip club, saying its owner still discriminates against black strippers…Danny’s Downtown Cabaret…managers require African-American strippers to work exclusively at the neighboring Black Diamonds club or pay extra to work at Danny’s.  The suit alleges patrons at Black Diamonds were allowed to grope strippers in a building where air conditioning sometimes didn’t work…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

This double dose of stupid reminds me of those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials: “Hey! You got your robot whore fantasy in my blow job cafe fantasy!” “No, you got your blow job cafe fantasy in my robot whore fantasy!

An entrepreneur who hopes to open London’s first “fellatio cafe” has revealed his staff will be made up entirely of sex robots…Bradley Charvet…claims the sex-bots will be programmable to a person’s needs and will soon be seen as “totally normal”…

Shift in the Wind (#131)

An interesting article on getting funding for sex worker rights projects:

As human rights and social justice funders, we try to reach those people who are most marginalized and excluded from services and protection.  Those who are least empowered, least resilient, and hardest hit by inequality.  But one group that ticks all those boxes is systematically excluded from funding opportunities:  sex workers.  Why are not more funders stepping into this gap?  What makes even human rights funders so hesitant to take on the human rights of sex workers?…

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

Future generations will marvel at their ancestors’ deeply weird obsession with female virginity:

An Egyptian MP has called for women to be forced to undergo virginity tests before being admitted to university…Elhamy Agina called on the Minister of Higher Education to issue a mandate requiring him or his officials to enforce the virginity tests…Agina reportedly [said]:  “No one should be upset by this decision.  If you’re upset then that means you’re scared that your daughter is in an ‘urfi’ marriage behind your back.”  Urfi marriages can be entered into without the approval of a bride’s guardian and can only require two witnesses, resulting in a cultural perception among some segments of Egyptian society that they are covert or secret marriages…

Fever Dream

We’re not hearing quite as much of this “highway” bullshit as we used to:

…Chattanooga and Tennessee have become a focal point [sic] in the war against sex trafficking.  The effort has involved not only agencies such as the TBI and local law enforcement, it also has…made its way to Congress with the End Modern Slavery Initiative from Bob Corker, the…U.S. senator from Tennessee and former Chattanooga mayor.  As the geographic intersection of Interstates 75, 24 and 59, Chattanooga provides an easy path for pimps to transport their victims around the Southeast…That’s especially true for traffickers from Atlanta which, in 2014, was ranked as the No. 1 city in the country for sex trafficking…

Seizing Power (#593)

A win for Backpage on one front:

The Supreme Court announced…it has declined to hear an appeal from…Chicago…sheriff [Tom Dart] who was ordered to cease threatening credit card companies about doing business with…Backpage.com.  The justices let stand a lower court order that forbids…Dart from contacting Visa and MasterCard in his effort to [censor] sex [workers’ ability to advertise online]…

However, see “Crying For Nanny” below.

Challenge (#628)

ESPLERP vs. Gascon reaches a court which could potentially do something:

…ESPLERP…filed a brief in the United States Federal Ninth Circuit appealing against the Northern California District Court’s judgement dismissing ESPLERP v Gascon…Maxine Doogan [said]…“[The judge] acknowledged that Lawrence v Texas defined a constitutional right to privacy in individuals’ sexual conduct, and also acknowledged that morality was not a basis to deny that right, but then found flimsy legal arguments to deny that right…“Lawrence v Texas made it clear that governments may not intrude into the private lives of consenting adults by criminalizing their sexual behavior” said Mike Chase, longtime human rights activist…Contributions to support the court case can be submitted through…www.litigatetoemancipate.com

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-christopher-odom

A Spring Hill [Tennessee cop] has been charged with rape and sexual battery…Christopher Odom…pulled two women over for traffic stops on two separate occasions, once in June and again in July, [raping] both adult women…

Crying for Nanny (#659)

It’s difficult to overstate what a huge development this is; the allegations constitute a direct attempt to destroy Section 230 and therefore the entire internet, all so a few megalomaniacal politicians can score a few political points:

State agents raided the Dallas headquarters of…Backpage and arrested Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer on Thursday following allegations that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site.  Ferrer…was arrested on a California warrant…[issued by] California Attorney General Kamala Harris…on felony charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping….Harris…is running for the U.S. Senate in next month’s election…

Here’s more from super ally Liz Brown.

Dutch Threat (#678) 

Felicia Anna on the “My Red Light” scam:

…I’ve already talked about this project before…the mayor…proposed…that this brothel would be the first brothel without pimps.  A complete bullshit story, since first of all there are very few girls that actually have a pimp…and since this brothel has just as much chance of renting their windows to a girl with a pimp as any other brothel…there are hardly any abuses to begin with, as the numbers from the city of Amsterdam themselves prove…unlike how people (like the mayor for example) often claim…the mayor [is] trying to frame the current brothel owners as the bad guys…so he can have an excuse to close down the other brothels…only 6 sexworkers showed an interest in working in this brothel at all…

Send In the Clowns

As I expected when I wrote yesterday’s column, the clown panic continues to spin out of control:

A Livonia [New York] man was charged with falsely reporting an incident after he allegedly edited a clown image into a photo of [a local] Park…posted it on his Facebook page and then warned people to keep their children out of the park…Hooper…told his Facebook followers “the clown had then run away when he snapped the picture”…Hooper was charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident…the charge is a misdemeanor…

In New York, making up idiotic stories to frighten the stupid is only a misdemeanor, but in Texas it’s a matter of national security:

..a 14-year-old [Houston] student has been charged…[with] making a terroristic threat.  The student is accused of threatening “to shoot up an HISD school with his clown friends” on social media…”We can’t ignore it,” said HISD Spokesman Jason Spencer. “We [completely lack the adult capacity to control our own actions or use any discretion whatsover]…

Just in case you think my editorialization there is a bit extreme:

…”This clown crap is really getting on my nerves,” [suburban Dallas cop] Latrice Pettaway wrote on Facebook Monday night…”Pop a cap in the first clown you see.  Someone needs to just hit one and the rest of these fools will learn”…police spokesman Shane Kizer said….said shooting people dressed like clowns is “absolutely not” how the department wants the public to respond to viral reports of clowns…

And Utah cops agree with Kizer:  “Police in Orem, Utah would like to make it clear that neither they, nor you, can legally shoot random clowns…

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No woman is made safer by laws which deny her right to consent to sex.  –  Catherine Staples

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality 

“Contracts” like this offer no protection and can actually be damning in court should something go wrong:

An Austrian sex worker has been convicted over the death of a sadomasochist client left to die with a noose and a shoelace around his neck in a Vienna hotel room…[she] only received a two-year suspended sentence…due to attenuating circumstances.  The woman said the…client paid her…to help him lose consciousness by strangling him with the shoelace while he tightened a rope attached to the wall around his neck.  She said the man had signed a piece of paper saying he assumed “complete responsibility for all risks and health damages” and that he was “fully aware that such a fetish can lead to death”…With his head in the noose, his face a different colour and his hands and feet twitching, the woman tightened the lace for a few seconds…She then eased it, got dressed and left, as agreed.  But some 90 minutes later after the man failed to contact her, she began to panic…

Theatrics (#446) prohibitionist-escort-service-scam

A new low in prohibitionist vileness: using fake images of murdered sex workers to campaign for laws that will result in more violence against us:

…French [prohibitionist] organization Le Mouvement du Nid launched its own [fake] escort website, with help from McCann Paris…Girls of Paradise looks like a basic escort service.  You can check out profiles and pictures, and opt to chat or call the women you’re interested in before arranging a date.  But…each woman featured in Girls of Paradise is [supposedly] already dead…when clients initiate a chat or a phone call…they’re shown [fake] photos of the woman, beat up and bloody, or simply told that she isn’t available tonight because she was killed in a manner most grisly…Le Mouvement du Nid…seeks to…victimize [sex workers further by supporting the Swedish model]…Girls of Paradise will score a gold Clio

You read that correctly: the sociopaths behind the Clio awards (the advertising industry’s Oscars) gave this ethical abomination a fucking award.

Checklist (#542)

Another state plans to “fight sex trafficking” with magical posters:

…Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants to require certain types of Anchorage businesses…to hang up posters [pretended] to combat labor trafficking…Berkowitz is seeking to update the city penal code on prostitution…to…reflect what he called “modern [propaganda]…surrounding prostitution and sex trafficking.”  For instance, changing the word “solicitation” to “sexual exploitation” in city law…

Too Close To Home

Remember that this is a sheriff who imagines he has the right to destroy hundreds of people’s lives because he doesn’t like their sexual choices:

The former head of internal affairs for the King County Sheriff’s Office now seeks whistleblower protection after saying Sheriff John Urquhart made troubling comments about women and meddled in internal investigations involving female officers who complained of discrimination.  Capt. D.J. Nesel recently testified that a county prosecutor threatened him prior to a court-ordered deposition in which he roundly criticized Urquhart…as a bitterly fought lawsuit involving discrimination claims against Urquhart and his office reached a boiling point.  Urquhart has been ordered to testify as attorneys for the county fight to keep Nesel from divulging details of the sheriff’s comments…

Challenge (#615)

I am proud to call this incredible woman my friend:

A sex worker has won the right to have a judicial review over a law that makes it illegal to pay for sexual services in Northern Ireland.  Laura Lee…for a legal challenge to the Human Trafficking Act at the high court in Belfast on Wednesday…A full hearing date for the judicial review will be set in 11 weeks’ time…Lee, a law graduate, had stated previously that she was prepared to go to the European court of human rights to challenge the law, which she and fellow sex workers [explain] discriminates against their rights to privacy, to earn a living and physical protection…

Pyrrhic Victory (#648)

Seattle cops have a positive fetish for illegal surveillance:

Beginning two years ago, but unbeknownst to the public—until now…the Seattle Police Department…acquired the ability to watch your social media posts in real time, using software that can place those posts on a digital map.  This tracking software, which the SPD purchased in October 2014 from a CIA-funded company called Geofeedia, is designed to tell [cops] where you posted from and what you said.  It can also show hundreds of other tweets, Instagrams, and other social media posts from anyone else in the vicinity, and then file all of that information into one big database.  The secret purchase of the Geofeedia software—for $14,125—violated a Seattle law requiring a city official outside of the police department to be notified of such acquisitions…The secret use of the software…also violated the city’s 2013 surveillance ordinance, which requires “any City department intending to acquire surveillance equipment” to “obtain City Council approval”…SPD spokesperson Sean Whitcomb [lied] to The Stranger on September 23 that…”We are no longer using Geofeedia”…another SPD official…Brian Maxey said the department is now using software from a firm called Babel Street “to support lawful criminal investigations.”  On its website, that company offers…the ability to “geo-locate the origin of e-chatter”…

Remember, Seattle ladies, we’re all “criminals”, which makes spying on us a “lawful criminal investigation”.

Still a Child (#663) bear-breasts

I’m pleased to see this lawsuit, but sad to see they felt compelled to employ ugly whorearchical bullshit to further it:

Jane Does I, II and III say the state of Louisiana is robbing them of their ability to express themselves, and doing so in a way that discriminates against their gender.  These women are exotic dancers younger than 21, and therefore will be barred from performing in strip clubs in about a week…In a federal lawsuit, the dancers say the law violates the First Amendment by denying them freedom of expression, and violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause by unfairly targeting women…the law’s definition of strip club performers as “entertainers whose breasts or buttocks are exposed to view” fails to prohibit the same conduct by men who are between the ages of 18 and 21…the lawsuit cites comments by legislators to bolster its case for gender discrimination…[politicians] said the law was aimed at protecting young women…[but] the law is already endangering young woman.  One plaintiff says she has witnessed pimps and prostitutes trying to use the new law…to “recruit entertainers who are now lawfully employed, but who will lose their jobs as a result of the Act.”  Another plaintiff…says other dancers under 21 have told her they plan to switch to prostitution once they can no longer dance…

Oh, and CBS? I don’t think the law is trying to stop anyone from “bearing” breasts and butts; how would such a statute be enforced, mass mutilation?

It Looks Good On Paper (#666)

What this law actually does is empower the cops to indefinitely detain underage sex workers “for their own protection”:

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation decriminalizing prostitution for minors.  By prohibiting law enforcement from arresting people under the age of 18 for soliciting or loitering with intent [but not for whatever other reason might pop into their piggy heads], Senate Bill 1322 [pretends to] shield…those young people from criminal penalties…While embracing the idea of treating young sex workers as [incompetent] victims [they can lock up at will], law enforcement groups warned that removing penalties would remove a crucial tool for [caging] young people and keeping them away from their [friends]…

The End of the Beginning (#668) 

They’re only saying this because it’s true:

…A federal lawsuit filed [against Idaho] argues that retroactively imposing…requirements on sex offenders, in some cases more than two decades after they were convicted, violates the Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws.  Whether the courts agree will depend on whether they view registration and the burdens associated with it as a punishment…in August the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit concluded that Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act goes far enough beyond Alaska’s law that applying it retroactively is unconstitutional.  The 6th Circuit focused on the act’s arbitrary classification scheme, residence restrictions, and burdensome reporting requirements—all features shared by Idaho’s law…

It’s What They Do

Are headline writers the most clueless people in news organizations, or does it just seem that way?

…[prohibitionist MP] Thangam Debbonaire [vomited out Swedish model poison and called for]…the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into prostitution – which recommended “soliciting” for sex be made legal – to be “redone” after its chair, Keith Vaz MP, was found to be paying rent boys for sex…[sex worker] Catherine Staples…replied by telling the MP her argument was helping to promote a negative stigma of her life choice, [correctly] calling her and fellow panelist, Dr Madeliene Coy, “anti-women’s rights”…

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