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Posts Tagged ‘Coming and Going’

Every now and then, a take comes along that’s so scorchingly wrong, so unbelievably erratic in its approach to reality, that it feels a bit like sacrilege to think of it as bad journalism.  –  David Meyer Lindenberg

Think of the Children! 

“Authorities” force victims to mouth official propaganda to escape consequences, just as terrorists force hostages to read denunciations at gunpoint.  Both are equally sincere and truthful.

Resa Woodward, 38, said she participated in the [porn] industry more than a decade ago because she was in an abusive relationship with a controlling man….[who] pressured her into sex slavery…She said he booked her for shoots for a little more than one year.  Woodward has been a teacher for 15 years now…[but school] administrators…when the films…[were reported to the school by] an anonymous [informant]…She’s now requesting the Texas Education Agency reconsider her termination…”Do not penalize me for a dark saga in my youth that was not of my making”…

The More the Better 

The idea that a sleep mask, a feather duster and a scalp tingler constitute “sex toys” that need to be distributed in a box marked “18+” makes me roll my eyes so hard it’s painful, and not in a good way.  But I guess they deserve points for trying, and maybe this is a teeny-tiny baby step on a thousand-mile journey toward Western culture actually growing up:

Burger Kings in Israel are giving grown-up customers extra incentive to visit this Valentine’s Day…an “Adults Meal” that includes…”adult toys” in the tamest [sense] possible—nothing you can comfortably insert or battery-operated—just a satin blindfold, a scalp tingler, and a feather tickler…

The Spiral of Absurdity texas-tribune-tinfoil-hat

Jaded as I am, even I was shocked at the incredible cluelessness & stupidity of this one-page hit piece from the Texas Tribune, whose intent actually seems to be to get as much wrong as possible.  The “mistakes” (lies? intentional libel? attempts at satire?) are so basic and obvious it’s almost impossible to believe that none of the FOUR “journalists” (yes, it took four people to produce this one turd, presumably human-centipede style) knew better or even thought for a second, “Hey, maybe we should call an actual sex worker to fact-check this.”  Dave Meyer Lindenberg of Fault Lines has already done a terrific job of mincing it into pieces so small they can practically be inhaled, so I’m not going to duplicate his efforts (especially since he cites me extensively in the process); I am, however, going to reproduce the original here just in case some Tribune editor wakes up and tries to memory-hole this…thing.  And here are a few choice quotes from Dave’s dissection:

…The…article is a case study in the use of framing and omission to achieve an effect.  You’ll look in vain, for example, for a mention of the fact that Backpage won all its court cases…As call girl and sex-workers‘ rights activist Maggie McNeill has been pointing out for years, what data there are suggest underage prostitutes are a tiny subset of sex workers.  What’s more, only a small percentage are forced into the business…[as for] the meat of the article…What fresh hell is this?  What “phrases and symbols?” Is there any factual basis whatever for this assertion, or is the Texas Tribune receiving instruction from a higher plane?…law enforcement and groups claiming to fight sex trafficking have lists of “tells”…these “checklists” include plenty of things so bland as to apply to nearly everyone…things of which entire age groups are guilty…and outright absurdities…This is a paranoid fabrication, on a par with claiming playing a heavy metal record backwards gets you Satanic messages…

As for the piece’s nadir of idiocy, I’m going to have to go with its claim that a two-girl special means “at least one of the girls is underage, and the other is responsible for making sure she goes through with the sex act.”  Watching these people reveal their BDSM wanking fantasies in print is almost embarrassing.

Cops and Robbers (#435)

Cops are upset that the anti-sex hysteria they helped create has encouraged people to follow their example:

…self-proclaimed pedophile hunters set up fake social media profiles, masquerading as vulnerable teens, to…[shame people they decide are] “creeps”…Hundreds of Canadians…have been put in the spotlight when these groups post videos to sites such as Facebook and YouTube.  A handful of them have faced criminal charges…But…their cameras often don’t tell the whole story.  Cases with truly horrifying chats have been lumped in with chats that show no evidence of any sexual intent…In one case a woman who was targeted committed suicide…some of these Creep Catchers have a long history of criminal convictions, with one doing federal prison time…the evidence collected in stings by the Creep Catchers is rarely usable in court, and…the group has interfered with police operations…

Secret Squirrel (#509)

Politicians are shocked, SHOCKED I say, that software used by the police state they support is also being used by abusive fuckheads who don’t have magic costumes and Important Titles:

In a 2015 Women’s Aid survey of 693 women, 29 per cent said they had spyware or GPS locators installed on their phones or computers by a partner or ex.  In 2014, NPR surveyed 70 women’s shelters, finding 85 per cent were working with victims whose abusers tracked them via GPS, or what’s often referred to as “spouseware”…behind such easy-to-use spyware are opportunistic salesmen who’re peddling not just to jealous spouses and paranoid parents for small fees, but whose powerful spying software is also sold to police and intelligence agencies for hundreds of thousands of dollars…the malware used to snoop on terrorists and pedophiles is much the same as that used to control partners in abusive relationships…lawmakers, lawyers and women’s rights activists…[have absurdly] called on the U.S. government to take action [against its own creation, because making something illegal causes it to vanish]…

Sorry, authoritarian arseholes; y’all should’ve thought of this before letting that djinni out of its bottle.

Coming and Going (#592)

If you actually believe that the “authorities” had “no choice” but to jail an underage sex worker, infantilize her & try to brainwash her, then claim they “didn’t want to do it”, you are part of the problem:

Lena was…a…17-year-old [caged] with two dozen women in a single room….with no privacy…Yet [prohibitionists want you to believe that’s “rescue” from her difficult life as an underage sex worker]…[everyone pretends they didn’t] want…Lena in jail — not the Houston police who arrested her, not the district attorney who pursued the case…Texas has just one [disguised prison for underage]…sex [workers, and as usual only those who can be presented as perfect]…victims…[are] accept[ed there.  So to maintain the pretense that they give a shit]…authorities [pretend that locking up minors for being sexual is]…a gamble they call “arrest and recovery”:  arrest them to get them off the street and drop the charges later.  “What options do we have with these girls?” [pontificated] Ana Martinez, a prosecutor in Harris County…”If I dismiss her case, she’s just [not locked in a cage] that night”…

NB: This steaming turd was passed through three of the human centipede segments responsible for the specimen in “The Spiral of Absurdity” above before being plopped onto the plates of Texas Tribune readers.

The Public Eye (#596)

Another theatrical production by sex workers designed to debunk prohibitionist BS about our lives:

London’s Young Vic…[is featuring] a new play, See Me Now, the cast of which are all current or former sex workers, and whose content is made up entirely of their stories…See Me Now…is…a collaboration between the performers, writer Molly Taylor and director Mimi Poskitt.  It was inspired, in part, by conversations Poskitt had with a friend who volunteered at a sex work support project…Performers were recruited via outreach projects across the capital and come from a range of backgrounds; outdoor, indoor and independent sex work are all represented.  Some have second jobs, others survive solely through sex work.  Performers are male, female and trans.  However certain experiences unite everyone…

Lying Down With Dogs (#625) 

All the most enlightened, free countries have US-style anti-sex worker “crackdowns”:

[Hanoi] is aiming to bust up to 500 cases of illegal sex work in 2017, more than twice the number usually seen in past years…hundreds of hair salons and massage parlors will be inspected regularly.  The goal is to [destroy the lives of] 500 [human beings to “send a message”]…authorities last year identified more than 5,500 businesses offering so-called “sensitive” services.  Most of them are registered as hair salons, bars or massage parlors but also provide illegal sex services.  The city also plans to [force]…sex workers [into menial]…jobs…

Spotlight (#683) asstoon-strikes-again

I wonder if Asstoon will ever get professional help for his delusions of grandeur?

[Last] Wednesday, actor Ashton Kutcher testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on behalf of Thorn, an anti-sex [worker]…organization he co-founded with Demi Moore.  Thorn’s main project is Spotlight, a cloud-based data-collection and analysis tool that purportedly helps police find sex traffickers.  According to Kutcher…the app—funded by the McCain Foundation—has helped save more than 6,000 U.S. sex-trafficking victims, including 2,000 minors, in the past 12 months.  But…in government fiscal-year 2015, the FBI identified around 672 adult and child victims of sex or labor trafficking.  The FBI opened 802 human-trafficking investigations (resulting in 453 convictions) that year, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) opened 1,034 sex- or labor-trafficking investigations (and got 51 sex-trafficking convictions).  In addition, Uniform Crime Reporting data from the states indicates that 744 investigations into state-level sex-trafficking offenses were opened in 2015…even if we count all cases separately, we’re looking at a total of 2,580 investigations into sex or labor trafficking—5,725 less cases than Thorn allegedly helped identify in a one-year period…How can Kutcher’s group have helped in dramatically more sex-trafficking investigations than were actually opened across America?…

The Course of a Disease (#686)

Another patient succumbs to the Swedish disease:

[On] February 15th…the Republic of Ireland voted in favour of…the criminalisation of clients as well as [increasing] the penalty for sex workers working together for safety.  The Bill also allows the authorities to [steal] the earnings of sex workers as “proceeds of crime”.  [Though sold to the very stupid]…as a tool to promote gender equality and help rescue sex workers [from their own choices], the Bill…does not include any provision that would offer support to sex workers wanting or forced to stop selling sexual services…

An Example To the West (#710)

In India, mainstream feminists support sex worker rights and prohibitionists are a crank minority who can be individually called out:

In her recent piece, Sex work or slavery?: Why human rights discourse is no longer a tool for liberation, Nandita Haksar bases her entire argument on the faulty premise that “almost all women who have been in prostitution call it slavery”.  Haksar has chosen to…ignore…the National Network of Sex Workers Statement that was signed by more than 2,000 sex workers from seven states in India.  She discounts their agency and contradicts the feminism that supposedly drives her arguments – isn’t a deep respect for the choices and autonomy of all women at the core of what it means to be a feminist?…What Haksar fails to understand is that it is the State that is failing its citizens…The health and safety of sex workers is undermined by the continued criminalisation of sex workers, their clients and the organisation of their work, as well as the repressive use of other kinds of laws…

Business As Usual (#711) 

These rapist pigs are the same ones politicians keep urging sex workers to “trust” because of imaginary “pimps”:

On September 1, 2016, “Sunny” Kimnam gave a massage and a hand-job to an undercover police informant.  Since that day, she has been incarcerated, and faces likely deportation to Korea.  Kimnam’s story is far from unique.  Tucked in tales of “human trafficking investigations” and massage-parlor prostitution busts across the U.S., you’ll find that these efforts are almost always aided or led by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents…[or] ICE…Since January 1…DHS has been involved in at least a dozen massage-parlor raids, arresting at least 26 people.  Twenty-three of these arrests were women, all Asian and mostly in their 50s.  None were found to be involved in human trafficking, but they were arrested on charges such as prostitution, promoting prostitution, and giving an unlicensed massage…Even legal permanent residents—i.e. “green card” holders—can be “removed” if found to be sex workers.  Under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, legal immigrants who have not been naturalized as citizens can become deportable for a variety of reasons, including…crimes of “moral turpitude”—a nebulous concept defined at various points in immigration law as “conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals”…

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In…the trafficking framework…sex work becomes a kind of statutory crime, with women as legal children…and questions of consent rendered irrelevant.  –  Lisa Duggan

Coming and Going

Boo fucking hoo:

When Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk was a judge, the cases that upset her the most involved…prostitution.  Hawk said that feeling has carried over into her work as district attorney and her office focuses on “prosecuting…[people and doing anything to] make sure they go to prison”…Last year in Dallas, 62 underage sex trafficking victims were rescued from their pimps, [lied] Deputy Police Chief Vernon Hale.  Dallas County also has several diversion programs to [brainwash sex workers]…One program, dubbed STAR Court, [forces] women [wrongfully persecuted for consensual sex to] go through counseling and drug or alcohol rehabilitation [whether they need it or not].  The goal is to give women an alternative to a criminal lifestyle…The [rescue industry corporation] Mosaic recently released an app…called Operation Compass [which makes it]…convenient…to [rat people out to the pigs]…

In other words, if you have sadfeelz about someone else’s way of making a living you should inform on them so they can be locked up and subjected to psychological torture to “correct” their “criminality”.

Droit du Seigneur 

Peacekeepers“.

The United Nations has been grappling with so many sexual abuse allegations involving its peacekeepers that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently called them “a cancer in our system”…Investigators discovered this month that at least four U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic allegedly paid girls as little as 50 cents in exchange for sex…employees have been accused of 22 other incidents of alleged sexual abuse or sexual exploitation in the past 14 months.  The most recent accusations come in the wake of Ban’s efforts to implement a “zero tolerance” policy for such offenses.  The United Nations maintains nine peacekeeping operations in Africa, employing more than 100,000 people on the continent, and the abuses threaten to erode the organization’s legitimacy.  Other sex-crime cases have occurred in Mali, South Sudan, Liberia and Congo in recent years…

Counterfeit Comfort

That’ll teach them dirty “sex offenders”!

The government may start stamping “sex offender” on the passports of citizens who were convicted of a sex offense against a minor.  Yes, that would include high school seniors who slept with their freshman girlfriends.  The rationale behind the International Megan’s Law is that these people could be traveling for sex-trafficking purposes…There are almost 850,000 Americans on the Sex Offender Registry, up from 750,000 just a few years ago.  About a quarter of them got on the list when they were juveniles themselves, because young people have sex with other young people…The branding…will affect even Americans whose offenses aren’t crimes in the countries they’re trying to visit:  For instance, I have a friend who had sex, once, with a 14-year-old when he was 19.  If he had done this in Austria, Germany, Portugal or Italy, it wouldn’t have been a criminal act at all. The age of consent there is 14.  But here in America he went to prison — for nine years.  He spent his 20s in a cell for one act of consensual sex between two teens, and now that he’s out, he remains on the Sex Offender Registry for life…if my friend’s passport is stamped with “Sex Offender,” any country he approaches will assume he’s a monster trying to get in.  Oddly enough, that country won’t be alerted if a visitor has served time for, say, mugging old ladies

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

If someone stole $100 from a convenience store, would the Times-Picayune refer to the crime as a “quibble”?

A Birmingham, Ala., woman called police after…a man who paid her $100 for a sexual rendezvous…stole back the cash…But Kenner [Louisiana] police wound up busting both for the illegal hookup…Montez Robinson…told [cops] he reached out to Rachel Burma…through her profile…on Backpage…

Forward and Backward

A pilot scheme in Leeds to allow sex workers to ply their trade on the streets without fear of arrest will continue indefinitely after the council announced it had improved the safety of prostitutes and made it easier for them to report crimes.  The scheme…allows prostitutes to work in a “managed area” between 7pm and 7am…The council says the scheme has improved community relations, the safety of sex workers and allowed prostitutes to report incidents of harassment without facing recrimination.  Police in the area will no longer issue cautions or make arrests for soliciting during the working hours specified…A female police officer has also been specially appointed to handle cases involving sex workers and to ensure their safety…

The Pygmalion Fallacy Gloria & robot

Unless they can bruise, heal, cry and exude a certain rare and as-yet-undiscovered pheromone, I’m not remotely interested:

…It wouldn’t take tech as advanced as Gigolo Joe [from the movie A.I.] to pique women’s interest in sexbots.  For one thing, women already use sex toys…women don’t really care whether the toy they’re using to orgasm even faintly resembles the anatomy of a human man…While toys for men, whether Fleshlights or RealDolls, conjure the appearance of an actual woman, women’s toys don’t…Women’s porn viewing habits…tend to be more varied than those of men…there’s a strong argument to be made that…women…are polymorphously perverse, being sexually aroused by far more configurations of bodies than men…a sexbot for women could be vaguely torso-shaped, equipped with vibrating pads and oscillating nubs, and furnished with outlets that would allow for multiple snap-on tools…Maybe make it’s voice-activated so that you could rotate between modes without the tiresome pressing of a button…No fuss.  No muss…And no uncanny valley…this bot could also sidestep the major controversy of sexbots: that of emotional connection…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Note that the main reason for the strippers’ plight is Washington’s idiotic prudishness:

…The owners of a collection of Washington strip clubs have sued state labor regulators, claiming they’ve been wrongly ordered to pay workers’ compensation to dancers hurt on the job…they claim regulators are trying to “financially break” their businesses.  At issue, in part, is the strippers’ status as club employees.  The women rent space from the clubs, which regard them as independent contractors.  The state Department of Labor & Industries has taken a different view, contending that, at times, dancers are entitled to workers’ comp if they’re injured at the clubs…The economics of Washington state strip clubs are particularly brutal, largely because the alcohol-free clubs draw their income almost exclusively from high-priced soft drinks and the fees paid by dancers.  Strippers pay a large portion of their earnings back to the clubs in a system previously decried by a U.S. attorney for Washington as abusive.  In Seattle, strip clubs have historically been subjected to extreme scrutiny from law enforcement and regulators

Now They Notice

The case against Rentboy isn’t actually any weaker than any other website takedown case; they’re all this weak:

…law-enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors considered this a big, bold police action against a criminal organization.  They threw around phrases like “Internet brothel,” “international online prostitution ring,” and “global criminal enterprise”…This was the beginning of an important and high-profile win for the government in the fight against illegal commercial sex, or so [they]…must have thought.  But things started going badly for the government right away…the raid was vigorously condemned by sexual-freedom and sex-worker advocates…LGBT groups…human-rights and free-speech organizations…and even many media outlets, including The New York Times.  The ACLU and Lambda Legal later initiated a meeting with prosecutors to defend Rentboy’s positive role in the community, which included funding scholarships and other educational projects…After such widespread backlash, the prosecution stalled, so far requesting four delays in the 30-day deadline for indictment.  Though such extended delays are not unusual, as investigators search for further evidence and try to locate cooperating witnesses, no new charges have surfaced in this case…

Bread and Circuses (#573) 

Federal “authorities”, unsatisfied with merely hounding a hardworking woman’s husband to death, humiliate her and lock her in a cage for six months:

A woman who came from a poor family in Thailand became a prostitute in Hawaii through working in the massage industry…Judge Susan Oki Mollway [pretended] she took those circumstances — along with her husband’s suicide — into account when sentencing her to six months in federal prison.  In a deal with prosecutors, [Khemwika] Ernst pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and filing false tax returns…

She only made about $75,000 per year, but prosecutors pretended that’s some huge amount of money so as to paint her as a master criminal.

Still a Child (#574) 

Women are such fragile little flowers that, although men can choose to risk death at 18, it takes us three extra years to mature to the point where we can choose to take off our clothes:  “The New Orleans city council voted unanimously…to ban strip club employees younger than 21 from dancing nude…the new rules do not apply to employees under 21 who are already working as dancers…

Above the Law (#587) 

Why I didn’t report being raped by cops:

For five years, Lindsay F. relived the night she was brutally raped by Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, then a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, over and over again.  She had to recall every detail…whenever investigators asked her to retell her story.  If Lindsay missed a detail or confused the timeline, even after years had passed, they accused her of lying…in her fight for the county to admit liability, Lindsay underwent a humiliating and interminably long process, one that experts in law enforcement misconduct litigation said is commonplace.  Even after Sanchez went to prison — not just for raping Lindsay, but for attempting to coerce another woman into sex under similar circumstances just two days later — the county’s lawyers…spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking Lindsay as if she had falsely accused Sanchez…They asked Lindsay about her sexual history:  Had she ever had HPV?  They deposed her friends:  What had Lindsay been wearing the night Sanchez pulled her over?  They even went as far as to hire a gynecology medical expert witness to testify that Lindsay’s vagina had not shown significant signs of trauma

The Widening Gyre (#597)

Another sign of peak panic: mere “sex trafficking” isn’t shocking enough any more, so fetishists are now claiming that “traffickers” are members of some other pariah-group besides being “pimps”:

…Katherine Svoi Symthe said…“All human traffickers are pedophiles, but not all pedophiles are traffickers”…Symthe’s [novel] Unbreakable, The Story of an Unrelenting Spirit, describes in shocking detail her [fantasized] story from the time she was smuggled into the U.S. as an infant to her rescue at age 17…Symthe said many pedophiles also get gratification by torturing their victims…

Too Close To Home

Feminist Whore debunks the King County sheriff’s press conference:

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Someday we may look back at this era the way we now think about (alcohol) Prohibition: a failed experiment that was indefensible in principle.  –  Douglas HusakWar Machine

Rough Trade 

How are there actually still attorneys clueless enough to use this “defense”?

The mixed martial arts fighter who calls himself War Machine said in court…that it would be impossible for him to have raped his ex-girlfriend because she was a porn star.  He then went on to blow an “offensive” kiss to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth…the nonsensical defense ploy which War Machine — born Jonathan Koppenhaver — used during his trial [was in answer to]…34 criminal counts ranging from sexual assault to attempted murder…Christy Mack…was left with “a blowout fracture of her left eye and several other broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places” after the attack…defense attorney Brandon Sua said that Mackinday’s career in adult films constituted consent and that her job instilled in her “the desire, the preference, the acceptability towards a particular form of sex activities that were outside of the norm.”  The sexual assaults Mackinday charges Koppenhaver with, said Sua, were a consensual part of their relationship…Judge Elissa Cadish told Sua that she failed to see how a person’s choice of profession could determine their constant and ongoing consent to sex…

Think of the Children! 

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep stopping us from making money in other jobs?

A federal appeals court has ruled against a former porn star turned math tutor, saying he doesn’t have a free speech right to hang a sign advertising his tutoring business at three [Florida] schools…David Mech paid $1,750 to advertise his “Happy/Fun Math Tutor” business in 2010, but the School District of Palm Beach County removed the signs in 2013 after learning that Mech was a porn star who acted under the name Dave Pounder…the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision that the signs are not considered free speech, but “government speech”…Since the banners were hung on school fences, the court opined that government property is “often closely identified in the public mind with the government unit that owns the land”…

Coming and Going

One of the most aggressive campaigns of sex worker persecution in the entire US gets even worse:

In roughly six weeks following Houston Police Department’s Vice Division’s announcement that it was changing its tactics for policing prostitution in the city, 30 individuals have been arrested and charged with felony prostitution.  Almost 100 more have been handed misdemeanor charges.  Several others have been charged with promotion of prostitution…[vice pig] Dan Harris…described a new [tactic for harassing sex workers by charging them with more serious crimes.  He described this as] “Let’s work smarter, not harder”…

Law of the Instrument

Rescue industry & “authorities” invent a ludicrously-broad definition of “sex trafficking”, spread panic over it, then pretend it means something when people claim to see it everywhere:

So far this year, the [Connecticut] department [of Children and Families] has received more than 80 referrals of possible victims of human trafficking in the state, said Tammy Sneed…“There is a direct correlation with an increase in training and an increase in referrals,” Sneed said, referring to the amount of training now available for law enforcement agencies to identify victims of sex trafficking…

Don’t Take My Word For It

It’s good to see more in the media on the reality of male sex work:

Christopher said prostitution wasn’t a career he dreamt of pursuing as a child but that it was a decision he wasn’t ashamed of making.  “A lot of people…think sex workers are all drug addicts or messed up people, but a lot of us just do it because we get satisfaction out of the work and make good money while doing it…I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I’ll keep doing it as along as people keep booking me.”  He said there was less demand for male sex workers than women but that the industry was easier on men.  “I think it’s even easier for male sex workers than women because there’s less stigma and its more of an even playing field in terms of strength so you’re less likely to be taken advantage of…I’ve never been attacked or robbed or anything like that.  Women sex workers have always been visible…but…now [men are] out and proud all over the internet and just as accessible and visible”…

Change a Few Words

I think it’s a serious moral wrong to send people to prison for the recreational use of drugs…What we need is a total decriminalization of drug use…Everyone agrees it is seriously unjust to punish people in the absence of very good reasons to do so…it’s wrong to punish people just to get them not to do something bad.  That principle would allow us to punish overeating, smoking, failing to exercise, and lots of other activities that virtually no one proposes to punish.  Most crimes we punish (murder, rape, robbery) do serious harm to other people.  Almost all people who do drugs at most harm only themselves…We should not subject tens of millions of Americans to punishment because of bad effects that materialize in only a small subset of cases.  In addition, threats of punishments don’t do much to deter drug use.  Most drug users don’t believe they’ll be caught, and they are right…longitudinal studies indicate that health and life expectancy of the roughly half of all Americans who have used drugs (with the exception of tobacco) is virtually identical to that of the half of Americans who have not…the consequences of punishment are worse than whatever harm the drugs are likely to have caused…

Profit from Panic sex trafficking T shirt

Is Rand Paul still claiming to be a kind of libertarian?

During this holiday season, we are undertaking a modest effort to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking.  We worked with a gifted designer to create a simple but elegant t-shirt that brings home a message of hope…the sale is supporting survivors of human trafficking in two ways:  first, the campaign will donate its share of every shirt purchase to Braking Traffik, a charity that protects women…from human trafficking.  Second, the campaign is partnering with To The Market…to source a limited supply of these t-shirts from a factory that employs women formerly trapped in sex slavery and gives them a new life…

Under Every Bed 

I picture this dysphemism-spewing idiot as shouting in a kind of fit, spraying spittle everywhere:

…Alabama is a nexus for the [sex] trade…the highly organized pipeline…connection to the ring [is] horrendous…The victims were referred to and marketed like meat…[pogroms are] a much needed salvo to combat an evil that simmers, mostly invisibly, beneath the surface of civilized life.  Sex trafficking entraps as many as 200,000 victims nationwide at any time. Atlanta’s interstate corridors make the Southeast, including Alabama, prime real estate for traffickers…Obvious gaps that must be addressed include tougher laws to attack sex-trafficking crimes from the “demand” side – meaning harsher penalties for johns who solicit sex.  For starters, solicitation of a prostitute should be a felony charge, not just a misdemeanor.  Requiring that convicted johns register as sex offenders would also discourage demand…young victims can escape the trafficking hellhole…

On second though, maybe the body fluid he’s spraying isn’t spittle.

Shame, Shame

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is preparing for an en banc hearing on whether there is a privacy interest inherent in mugshots, or whether they are simply public records that can be obtained with an FOIA request.  For the most part, mugshots have been considered public records. This has led to a shady mugshot-posting cottage industry, as well as an equally-shady mugshot-removal cottage industry…Despite the nation’s justice system being built on the presumption of innocence, a large percentage of the population views “arrested and charged” as being no different than “found guilty.”  (Federal law enforcement databases — used for background checks — reinforce this perception by entering arrested persons’ info when booking, but routinely failing to remove it when charges are dropped or the person is found innocent)…this case involves a federal law enforcement agency and the indictment of three local [cops]…the [DOJ’s]…ultimate goal is to obtain the final say on the release of booking photos via a wholly internal process…Siding with members of the public who have been tarnished by this guilt-by-association also means siding with an agency seeking yet another way to withhold public records from the public.  Siding with the Detroit Free Press means…allowing a whole host of dubious “entrepreneurs” to use public perception against private citizens to extract fees for the removal of booking info…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#347)

The EFF steps up to do the ACLU’s job:

A Los Angeles City Hall proposal to send “john letters” to the owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution has drawn criticism from a California civil liberties group…The letters would be written to discourage those who were soliciting prostitutes from returning to the area while posing no harm to those who were there for legitimate reasons, Councilwoman Nury Martinez [pretended]…The collection of license plate data is opposed by the…Electronic Frontier Foundation…[which] has an ongoing lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over the issue…other cities have used “john letters” to combat prostitution.  In some communities, residents are encouraged to [snitch]…Some [badge-lickers] praised the proposal in Los Angeles…

Drawing Lines 

It’s so nice to see this from the other side of that imaginary line:

…we vintage enthusiasts have a problem:  We often celebrate imagery created by sex workers of old, while stigmatizing…the sex workers of today…we’re building this community…on the backs of women whom we then nakedly disclaim.  I’m unsettled by the preponderance of pinup photographers who yearn for a time “when sexy was classy,” of dancers who assure us that burlesque is “an art form […] it’s not sleazy“, and of vintage enthusiasts who congratulate us on looking “so cute, and not at all slutty” (as I’ve been told on more than one occasion). These types of statements are simultaneously whorephobic   …and gratingly ahistorical.  No, Bettie Page and co. weren’t “classy” sex workers.  They were sex workers, full stop.  I’ve seen many a modern pinup reap the benefits of blushing “tee-hee” sexuality without acknowledging its origins in the “filthy whores” before her.  Because that’s what Bettie and Mae and Marilyn were, in the eye of much of the public.  Marilyn Monroe posed fully nude.  Bettie Page made fetish porn.  Mae West was arrested and imprisoned for an “indecent” Broadway play.  Bikini model Kiki Hakansson was condemned by the Pope himself.  Even the red lipstick endemic to today’s pinup girls was once the domain of the harlot

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

Young Greek women are selling sex for the price of a sandwich as six years of painful austerity have pushed the European country to the financial brink…a new study…which compiled data on more than 17,000 sex workers operating in Greece, found that…sex on sale in Greece is some of the cheapest…in Europe…when the economic crisis began…the going rate…was 50 euros ($53)…now, it’s fallen to as low as two euros ($2.12) for a 30-minute session…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Since universities have been hotbeds of neofeminism, this could be a huge development if more schools follow suit:

On Wednesday 25th November, Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) passed…a motion…resolving “to support and campaign for the full decriminalisation of sex work” and “campaign against any attempt to introduce the Nordic model”…The motion…also included a resolution “to campaign particularly for the rights of student sex workers”…as well as offer support to any student who comes out privately as a sex worker…the…motion…comes off the back of a move by Amnesty International…to urge decriminalisation of prostitution worldwide…

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I support sex workers because I was one…it’s a job that’s needlessly shunned by society when frankly we should be worshiped.  –  Margaret Cho

Where Are the Protests? 

Note that absolutely none of the “human trafficking” cases mentioned in this story involve prostitution:

…the West Midlands branch of Hope for Justice has rescued 82 people so far this year.  Many of those were unknown to police…few cases of modern slavery have gone through the criminal justice system.  Only 130 cases that involved human trafficking were successfully prosecuted in 2014-15, representing just one prosecution for every 100…victims [claimed by fetishists]…

That last statement is roughly equivalent to my claiming to be a millionaire, but the bank will only let me have 1% of my money.

Higher Education

A website which purported to connect students with internships in every industry functioned in that manner for five years, from June of 2010.  But at some point after August 1st of this year, the site was taken over by some sort of scammer who planned to use it to exploit wannabe sex workers by offering to “teach them the trade” via an “internship program”.  In other words, a crooked escort service or group of services was trying to trick newbie whores into working for them for free.  Once the sex worker community got ahold of the link and started tweeting it around, the site vanished at some point in the last few days.

The More the Better Margaret Cho

She’s been all over Twitter since, interacting with and following outspoken sex workers:

Margaret Cho…opened up about her former life as a sex worker to her thousands of Twitter followers Thursday, saying of herself and her fellow sex workers: “we were tough and proud…Sex work is simply work.  For me it was honest work.  I was a sex worker when I was young.  It was hard but well paid.  There’s no shame in it”…

Scapegoats

[Connecticut] resident Timothy T. Cutcher denies having sex with dogs or any of his relatives.  However, the 23-year-old man told the Reflector it’s true he’s addicted to sex…Cutcher said he’s “borderline mentally disabled”…

No, it isn’t true, because there is no such thing as “sex addiction”.

Above the Law 

A few hundred down, tens of thousands to go:

…In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by U.S. law enforcement, The Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.  The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action.  California and New York — with several of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies — offered no records because they have no statewide system to decertify officers for misconduct.  And even among states that provided records, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records…

Yellow Fever

Alison Bass on the yellow journalism which permeates coverage of sex work:

When it comes to the coverage of sex work or trafficking, the mainstream media seems to forget a basic journalistic principle — the need to get their facts straight…anti-trafficking groups have spread grossly inaccurate and inflated statistics about the number of women and children being trafficked for paid sex in the United States…[Gloria] Steinem…points to the Nordic Model “as being the only system that seems to work for women in the trade.”  In fact, the opposite is true…sex workers themselves say that the…decriminalized model that New Zealand adopted in 2003 is a much more successful approach…why [do] otherwise respectable media drop their journalistic standards when reporting on the sex trade…Is it because they’re so desperate to be politically correct…or is it because the mere mention of women’s sexuality sends normally methodical journalists into a tizzy of sensationalistic misinformation?…

The Lion and the Ox

As I predicted almost 4 year ago, we’ve now reached the point where a mainstream publication can feature an article like this:

…”Trafficking”…is less a clear-cut crime than a call to moral panic.  The vagueness of the definition allows or even encourages governments, organizations, and researchers to claim that there are tens of millions of trafficking victims worldwide on the basis of little more than hyperbolic guesses…the term “sex trafficking”…seems to have been developed by anti-prostitution feminists in the 1990sto describe the migration of women from the collapsing Soviet Union to the United States…Obama also uses the term to refer to children pressed into military service and agricultural laborers forced to work under poor conditions or without pay…the term…often is used to refer to cases in which there is no migration at all…in practice, trafficking does not mean “modern-day slavery.”  Nor does it mean being transported across borders for purposes of sexual exploitation.  Instead, it usually refers to one or more of the following:  being underage and selling sex; illegally immigrating; being subjected to any kind of forced labor or abusive labor practices; engaging in consensual sex work…

Capricious Lusts

The author of this piece fails to link the relevant statistics, so even though what he’s saying is generally true in essence, there’s no way to know if the correlation is as close and unmistakable as is claimed here:

…In October of 2014 the Seattle police department implemented the “Buyer Beware” program…he rate of rape shot up 150% compared to October 2013.  November 2014 the rate of rape shot up 225% compared to November 2013.  December 2014 the rate of rape shot up 80% compared to December 2013.  Statistics for 2015 are not yet available…The rape rate from January 2013 to September 2013 compared to the rape rate from January 2014 to September 2014 were nearly identical with the rate in 2014 being up a slight 4% for the nine month period.  Once the “Buyer Beware” program was implemented in October and the correlating jump in rape for the final three months of 2014, the final three months of 2014 compared to the final three months of 2013, the rape rate was up 151%.   That brought the year over year rate up 28%…

Coming and Going (#335)

Here’s a long, thorough look at Kathryn Griffin and her “prostitution diversion” scam in Houston:

…Griffin is currently under fire from sex worker and human rights advocates who say her tough-love, one-size-fits-all approach is flawed and fails to respect basic human dignity.  People who are arrested for prostitution are not necessarily poor and dependent on drugs, and so-called “rescue-and-recovery” operations that lump sex workers in with victims of sex trafficking have lead to human rights abuses across the globe.  Many activists say Griffin’s habit of thrusting her clients into the limelight…isn’t just manipulative, it’s dangerous…Kamylla claims she never offered [an undercover cop] sexual intercourse, but she could not afford a lawyer.  She called [the 8 Minutes] team…and…asked if they could help her with legal representation.  Instead of connecting Kamylla with an attorney, they connected her with…Griffin…At the time, Adrian Garcia was the sheriff of Houston, and in April he resigned to run for mayor of Houston.  Sex worker activists began connecting the dots on social media.  It turned out that Griffin has Garcia to thank for her program in the Houston jail, along with its $40,000 annual budget.  The activists dug up photos of Griffin and Garcia appearing in public together and were outraged to discover via social media that Griffin’s We’ve Been There Done That participants, many of whom were once held in Garcia’s jail, were asked to volunteer for Garcia’s campaign, and posed with him for photos wearing their organization’s T-shirt.  “Adrian Garcia is basically arresting himself this little army of free labor,” [said] one activist…Sex worker activists obtained audio recordings from some of the meetings that Kamylla attended, and the content made them furious.  In one recording, which is posted on YouTube, Griffin insists that a criminal is a criminal, and criminals hurt people, so even anyone who has “prostituted” even “one time” must admit that they share common ground with rapists and even Charles Manson…

Business As Usual (#442)

She declined the officer’s request“.  Badge-lickers are nauseatingly obsequious, even when they’re talking about a savage would-be rapist:

A shocking video…captures the moment a [cop] brutally beats a mother on the street after “she refused to perform a sex act on him”.  In the clip, Weerasinghe Arachchilage Kanthilatha, a sex worker from Ratnapuara, Sri Lanka, is seen being struck repeatedly…She can be heard screaming out in pain as she lies on the ground…[P.P. Thissera] threatened to “teach her a lesson” before returning a few days later and attacking her with [his] baton.  The incident occurred in September 2014 and caused a public outcry…Kanthilatha and her lawyer have filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court, citing violation of her rights…

Guinea Pigs 

Yet another software package designed to sell whores out to the cops:

A San Diego State University professor and graduate student have developed [software]…that they believe could help law enforcement identify human trafficking victims…[it] can browse though thousands of Internet ads for “escorts” and finding potential victims through certain key words, phrases or other indicators….Murray Jennex…said the knowledge management system he and graduate student Marisa Hultgren developed could be a potential tool for [targeting sex workers for arrest]…“We’re looking for things that indicate young people,” Jennex said. “Things like, ‘Barely legal, fresh, college freshman”…The system they developed also searches for indicators that a person is being confined, such as ads that stipulate in-calls only, meaning a client must come to a specific place.  The system also searches for signs that a victim is being moved from town to town…Posts that suggest an escort is “open minded” and “willing to try anything” also could indicate somebody is being coerced by a trafficker…

So basically sex workers in their early twenties, or who don’t have cars, or who tour, or who do fetish work, are all “trafficking victims”.  The ignorance involved here is truly staggering.

The Face of Trafficking (#567)

Another case of what really happens when a wannabe “pimp” abducts a girl:

An East Bay rapper has been charged with human trafficking and sexually abusing a minor over a period of several weeks, and could spend the next 20 years in prison if convicted.  Joshua Richard Durham…goes by the stage name “Five Hunnet”…Police started investigating the case after the alleged victim — a female runaway who is [16] years old — told her family that Durham had been soliciting her…from Aug. 1 through Aug. 11…[and again] from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 Durham continued to traffic the girl…and also forced her to perform oral sex on him during that time…

As usual: no cartel, no interstate travel, and victim got away in a very short time. This is absolutely nothing like the myths.  The story has one horrifying element, though: “Some of his lyrics contain references to pimping, and members of the District Attorney’s Office reportedly instructed…police to listen to Durham’s lyrics for potential evidence…”  Can you imagine what crimes the pigs could discover “evidence” for in my fiction?

Here’s what Tara Burns had to say about another highly-publicized recent case:

The public hears about trafficking most frequently in made-up, sensational movies and fundraising tall tales…Did you think sex trafficking was people being forced into prostitution?  That hardly ever happens — if for no other reason than that the customers would freak out…in #TheStory, which Zola has clarified is “based on a true story“, sex trafficking happened when Jessica lied and told her they were just going to dance and the guy was just her roommate (fraud in recruitment).  Women like Zola have been charged with conspiracy to traffick just for posting ads on the Internet…Sex trafficking in real life and the courtroom is so different from sex trafficking on TV that no one even recognizes it…

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People you know and love purchase sex. And it doesn’t make them bad people at all.  –  Sarah Penello

Welcome To Our World

How irrationally stupid are people about sex?  This much:

…a study out of the University of Toronto Mississauga…looked at attitudes [on indoor prostitution and offering cash for organ donations. and] found that people generally disapprove of both, but are more firmly against indoor prostitution than they are against selling organs – particularly so among women…

Real People 

More of this, please:

I worked for a legal brothel in Australia and it was the best job I ever had…I loved and admired the women I worked with.  I took great pride in the pleasure I could give to people.  It was a job that I enjoyed, and I was better at it because I enjoyed it…Besides the inherent pleasure of a job well done, the monetary rewards of sex work are unmatched.  Try finding another job that allows me to choose my own hours and make over $1,000 per week on a part-time schedule.  In a legal, regulated and safe environment, the real trap of sex work isn’t usually the stuff of horror movies but the less exciting reality of the intoxicating quality of money…

Scapegoats 

He’s lucky he didn’t try to pay the pony:

A 74-year-old Frenchman who was caught in the act of having sex with a pony this week has walked free after escaping punishment…[he] was caught in the act…by a member of staff in the pony’s stable at a horse-riding centre…the witness…was unable to be absolutely sure that intercourse took place [so]…police released [him] due to insufficient evidence…

Above the Law John Van Trump

What a brave hero!

…[Texas cop] John Van Trump was [convicted] of sexually assaulting a girl younger than six-years-old…[he faced] a minimum sentence of 25 years in jail and the potential for life…The details of Trump’s crimes were so heinous that they were not released publicly.  We only know that Trump sexually assaulted the daughter of his former girlfriend on multiple occasions.  At the time of the…crimes, she was 5…However, instead of the minimum 25-year sentence he originally faced, Trump received far less time.  In fact, he received no time.  Trump will not serve one day in prison.  Trump was sentenced to 10 years deferred adjudication.  In other words, Trump, a convicted child rapist, will avoid jail altogether after admitting to these heinous accusations…

Uncharted Seas

Nathan Collier and his wives Victoria and Christine applied at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings [Montana] on Tuesday in an attempt to legitimize their polygamous marriage…The Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday made gay marriages legal nationwide.  Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent that people in polygamous relationships could make the same legal argument that not having the opportunity to marry disrespects and subordinates them…

New Excuse

I’m really pleased to see others talking about the War on Whores as the new War on Drugs:

…As the drug war has lost popularity, the war on trafficking has gained momentum.  Both the war on drugs and the war on trafficking are housed within the criminal justice system, operating through punishment and incarceration.  Both wars seek to eliminate their abstract opponents by attacking communities of drug users and sex workers, composed mainly of poor people of color.  One way in which both…operate is through the use of increased sanctions.  The criminal justice system imposes harsh penalties on drug and sex related crimes, which in turn leads to mass incarceration, blocking upward mobility for those targeted…

Another Fine Mess

Though this story has some good features, it’s far too mired in the notion that prior to the internet, a very large fraction of sex work was street work (when in fact, street work has always been a minority).  And near the end of the story, the reporter makes the shockingly-incorrect statement that in the US, indoor sex work isn’t criminalized; I can’t imagine how anyone who hadn’t literally just arrived from some other country could possibly be so ignorant about the status of sex work in this country.

Coming and Going (#515) Greg Abbott applauds himself

Given his record of persecuting whores as Texas attorney general, I think we know which it is:

[Texas] governor Greg Abbott, three weeks after effectively telling drug overdosers to drop dead by killing a bill to protect Good Samaritan 911 callers from prosecution…took another…regressive potshot at the Legislature’s attempts to make Texas’ criminal justice system just a bit more humane.  Among the measures killed by…vetoes…was Dallas state Representative Eric Johnson’s HB 1363, which would have reduced penalties for certain prostitution offenses…It’s hard to find a policymaker in Texas…who isn’t in favor of cautiously reducing penalties for nonviolent offenders, and Johnson’s bill is nothing if not cautious.  That leaves only a few possible explanations for Abbott’s veto:  He’s a true believer in an outmoded punitive, tough-on-crime approach to criminal justice; he’s not a true believer but is in thrall to people who are; or he bears a deep-seated animosity toward prostitutes, as he does with drug users.

That Old Black Magic (#546)

Witch doctors do magic vs magic of other witch doctors that kings’ magicians dislike:

…thousands of Nigerian women trafficked to Europe…become sex slaves every year [have] been told [they owe tens of thousands of euros]…for [the] journey…Although the chains…are only psychological, they are extremely powerful.  In their desperation to break the hold over the girls, many of which are sent on the migrant boats crossing the Mediterranean, the Italians have even resorted to get Catholic priests to perform exorcisms on them.  There are estimated to be 25,000 Nigerian girls working as prostitutes in Italy and the numbers arriving rose 300 per cent in 2014, experts say…in Nigeria [witch doctors perform] voodoo [over them and]…promise…hairdresser [jobs but force them into prostitution instead.  They believe they must]…pay off the debt or face terrible repercussions…

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There is no singular story or person to represent the varied and complex experiences of all sex workers.  –  Tilly Lawless

Bad Girls Carolynne Wright

A South Carolina stripper has pleaded guilty to assaulting a…coworker with a “clear plastic high-heeled shoe” that left the victim with puncture wounds in her scalp…Carolynn Wright…was sentenced to six days in jail and ordered to pay fines and court costs totaling $173.90…

Feminine Pragmatism 

Most of the research conducted on the topic of prostitution in Costa Rica tends to be concentrated in the Greater San Jose Metropolitan Area…and on the phenomenon of sexual tourism…[according to] Rodolfo Nuñez Arias, Professor of Social Studies at the National University in Nicoya…prostitution in Santa Cruz was scant from about 1860 to 1949, at least in comparison to other burgeoning regions of Costa Rica…Things changed between 1970 and 1980, when many women in Guanacaste…found that they could earn a lot more from prostitution than from agricultural or even professional employment…

Profit from Panic 

There’s this problem I invented!  Now buy my software!

A growing number of children all around the world are being forced into taking explicit photos and videos of themselves online, an expert has warned…The term “sextortion” means children are first lured into taking naked photos or videos of themselves, and then blackmailed into making more.  If they don’t comply, they are threatened that the photos will be distributed to their friends and family…Bob Lotter, the creator of online safety tool My Mobile Watchdog…said his company is dealing with an “epidemic” of sextortion cases…Children as young as 12 are often victims, he says, adding that 14-year-olds are the most common age group…

Above the Law 

A South Florida woman videotaped her parole officer sexually assaulting her so that she could prove to police that she was, in fact, raped and so that the officer couldn’t revoke her parole…Zachary Thomas Bailey told the victim that he needed to perform a “study” of her Coral Springs home…During the visit, Bailey allegedly blocked the victim in her bedroom and touched her genitals.  Bailey reportedly returned the next day, asking the victim for a massage. When the victim refused, Bailey allegedly took off his clothes, put on a condom and raped the woman…

Coming and Going (#44)

How much money did Seattle waste on this boondoggle?

…Seattle police…spent months posing as pimps, prostitutes and drug buyers to…[arrest] the Orion [hotel’s] managers, a married couple who had lived on site…Kevin Lundquist Jr. and his wife [were charged with]…prostitution-related crimes…

Gorged With Meaning (#51)

In other words, female students are much, much more inclined to lie:

Nearly five percent of U.K. students have engaged in some form of sex work, according to new research…more male than female students participated…And while money was one motivating factor, students also cited flexible scheduling and personal enjoyment or curiosity among their main reasons for getting involved.  The research was part of the Student Sex Work Project, a 3-year initiative led by Swansea University.  Researchers surveyed more than 10,000 students from England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland…4.8 percent of student respondents had done some sort of sex work, including 5 percent of male students surveyed and 3.4 percent of female students…Nearly nearly 22 percent of respondents had considered doing sex work…some have portrayed these findings as a shame and a call to action.  But the data hardly seems to indicate that student sex workers would be better off with jobs in the campus dining hall or more student loans…

Birth of a Movement (#314)

After only two years, France re-criminalizes “looking like a whore”:

Women in skimpy outfits and high heels could be arrested under new French laws that make it illegal to simply “look like a prostitute” in public…It is expected that prostitutes will be forced to wear casual clothing like jeans and trainers to get around the rules…French sex workers’ union Strass described the law as “a huge step backwards”…

Science!

Global warming turns women into WHORES!!!

Whether you call it climate change, global warming…the crazy week on the topic just got a little bit crazier, thanks to Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California…That’s because she says women will not only be harder hit by climate change, but it could force millions of women to participate in “transactional sex.”  In other words, they’d prostitute themselves out for food and water to feed their family…

Catastrophic Consequences

Scottish police just won’t stop endangering sex workers with “end demand” claptrap:

Prostitutes, lap dancers and online sex workers will be the focus of a new group set up to tackle commercial sexual exploitation…The campaign…aims to stamp out demand for sex services…and…is supported by Police Scotland…“CSE is a serious issue…which is often misconstrued as a choice made in return for financial…gain,” said…[a] spokeswoman.  “However, we know that this is not the case”…

Not Your Rescue Project Savannah

My friend Savannah Sly is among the pictures featured here:

Sex workers are sharing photos of themselves on social media as they fight back against claims that most escorts are forced into the industry and lead lives of abuse.  The hashtag #FacesOfProstitution started trending on Twitter with sex workers from Australia and across the world using social media to share positive stories from their industry.  It comes after Mamamia published a blog post from Christian group Exodus Cry last week that claimed the 1990 film Pretty Woman lured women into the sex industry by ‘leading them to believe that prostitution was glamorous and romantic”…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#438) 

Judge Michael Bohren ruled that two Wisconsin teenagers will have to stand trial as adults for…[stabbing] a 12-year-old classmate 19 times last year…to mollify a cult fan fiction character called Slender Man..Attorneys for the two girls were hoping to have the charges reduced so they could be tried in juvenile court.  But Judge Bohren found probable cause for prosecutors to bring first-degree attempted homicide charges, which, under Wisconsin law, must be tried in adult court…the girls in this case are pretty much textbook arguments for why children cannot be treated like adults in our legal system…

He Said, She Said (#448)

Another violent, manipulative sadist tries to disguise his actions as consensual BDSM:

…Graham Dwyer was found guilty of the murder of Elaine O’Hara…allegedly as part of his BDSM fetish, which included a fantasy to stab partners during sex…Dwyer had pursued a relationship with O’Hara, a childcare assistant with a history of depression, and abusively exploited her psychological illness…O’Hara, on numerous occasions, expressed a desire to end the blood play but was punished for even suggesting that she’d want out…any talk of leaving resulted in a stabbing during one of their “sessions.”  Likewise, O’Hara was badgered and manipulated into thinking that she was responsible for finding a murder victim or, as one message termed it, “offer her own flesh”…

The Course of a Disease (#428)

Hundreds of foreign sex workers in France, the majority of them illegal Chinese immigrants, rallied in the Place Pigalle in Paris on March 28 to fight for their right of survival in their country of adoption…Some…have signed a petition to urge the French government to cancel a motion that sanctions those who buy sex services, their clients…A Chinese sex worker known as Ai Ying interviewed by Radio France International (RFI) said punishing clients will hurt their earnings and they will be exposed to greater dangers and problems.  Ai Ying said the new law will not help them change their line of work, because they are not likely to get a job without a residency permit…

Apparently, the outcry was heard; the legislature scrapped the law.

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People who think they can abolish [sex work] entirely from any country are living in a dream world.  –  Ronald Weitzer

Coming and Going

In 2012, more than 1,000 people were booked into the Bexar County Jail for prostitution and the cost to taxpayers was more than $1.2 million dollars.   State Representative Eric Johnson…has introduced House Bill 1363 to reduce punishment for prostitution.   The bill would make a first or second offense of prostitution a Class C Misdemeanor and calls for an intervention program…community service, counseling, and treatment…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Samuel Riggi

an Orlando [Florida] police lieutenant…[is] accused of having a sexual relationship with a prostitute and taking nearly $10,000 from her…Gricelda Umana…[said] she and Lt. Samuel Riggi had sex every two weeks for two years, sometimes at the massage parlor where she worked.  She said he asked her for money and said she made 17 deposits totaling almost $10,000 from her prostitution proceeds into his account to protect her from arrest…

One Born Every Minute

A new site that claims to be “the AirBnB for escorts” doesn’t seem to be anything like AirBnB…or like a legitimate escort site, for that matter.  AirSnB—which stands for “Air Sexy Buddy,” I was told— launched in December  and, according to owner Amir Mo, is supposed to be the escort industry’s answer to the sharing economy…Mo said customers pay AirSnB upfront for a date arranged with their escort of choice (based on hourly rates).  After the date, AirSnB transfers the money to the escort, skimming their percentage off the top…if there are any issues—like the escort doesn’t show up or doesn’t follow through…AirSnB will return the money to the customer or give them a percentage back, depending on the situation.  But as if this didn’t sound sketchy enough already, many of the escort listings on the site don’t appear to be…real.  Almost every profile I found was copied word-for-word from listings elsewhere on the internet…

The Course of a Disease

Anti-prostitution campaigners have made grand statements about the effectiveness of Sweden’s hugely influential approach to prostitution.  However, researchers say the claims are grossly exaggerated and the law has put sex workers in greater danger.  The so-called “Swedish model”…portrays itself as an example to emulate.  Ambassadors for the approach preach its virtues to government regulators worldwide…But an increasing number of voices…say claims exaggerate its successes for ideological reasons.  The most recent attacks on the 1999 Kvinnofrid law come from Malmö University researcher Charlotta Holmström.  In contrast to the loud claims of anti-prostitution campaigners, that it has made sex workers safer, Holmström says they are far more vulnerable to exploitation and violence…

J’accuse (#42)

A high-profile pimping case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn nearly unraveled…[when] five of six plaintiffs…dropped their accusations against him…Strauss-Kahn has testified to having orgies…to being “rough” with his sexual “conquests,” and to needing sex with exceptional frequency.  But none of that is illegal…Strauss-Kahn insists he didn’t know the women involved were prostitutes…

But while Straus-Kahn will probably walk away free, French sex workers may not be so lucky:

…Morgane Merteuil…of the French sex worker’s trade union Strass…believes the trial has increased the stigmatisation of the sex industry and has presented a skewed view of the profession.  “There is a confusion with abolitionist organisations between when a client respects a contract and when he does not.  [DSK] didn’t respect the contract…not all clients act like him”…Merteuil says she believes the trial may result in the criminalisation of the sex industry…

Skin To Skin

For many disabled people, sex is off the cards.  While most needs are met through the provision of carers, or by parents, sex is often missed out entirely.  But now a number of sex workers are looking to combat this, stepping into the breach to provide specialist services to help disabled people to fulfil their sexual desires.  It’s easy for disabled people’s sexuality to become obscured by a web of societal assumptions about what it is to be disabled. But of course, disabled people are just as horny as anybody else…

Be Careful Who You Rape

After all, we wouldn’t want to waste effort investigating the rapes of “criminals”:

A new controversial policy requires sexual assault and rape victims to undergo police background checks before they can receive services…[including] rape kits or medical investigations into the criminal activity that was perpetrated against them…The bizarre policy has been around since 2007, but it has only been implemented and enforced since November…Critics of this law suggest that many will not come forward to report sexual assaults and rapes if they feel they maybe prosecuted for something…

Sex Rays

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the people who write these stories actually take them seriously:

Their locations are blended right into the fabric of busy communities. They set up shop next to store fronts and restaurants…police raided the Queen Spa, an illegal massage parlor set up near the University of Rhode Island…next to a Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sandwich shop…other suburban locations where illegal massage parlors open…[include one] just feet from an ice cream stand and a toy shop…

Remember, sex work was only recriminalized in Rhode Island five years ago.

The Roof Caves In (#425) 

Disgraced anti-sex trafficking activist Somaly Mam’s new charity – which is headed by former staff of her fallen foundation, a Hollywood actress and a PR guru – announced…that it has been given the green light in the US…The organisation, which will employ about 37 full-time staff and expects to generate more than $682,000 this year…

Bread and Circuses

The war on sex worker advertising continues:

A [Colorado] man…was arrested…for “Use of a Facility in Interstate Commerce to Promote a Business Enterprise Involving Prostitution”…David A. Warmack owned and operated a website business named “Sowet.com”…[which] promoted and facilitated prostitution that took place at multiple massage parlors across the Metro Denver area…

The Face of Trafficking

In the largest ever study into the health of trafficking victims, researchers interviewed more than 1,100 men, women and children in Southeast Asia who had been trafficked into at least 15 sectors – including factory work, domestic labor, sex work and fishing…Most previous studies [only] looked at…women trafficked into sex work…[but] this study found…that women trafficked for other forms of labor, including factory work, domestic work and as brides, suffered worse mental health problems than those trafficked into sex work…

A Year Later

Sex worker advocates are warning Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur that Canada’s new controversial prostitution law will “force people in the sex trade in harm’s way.”  Meilleur is reviewing Bill C-36 and will file a report on the law to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who has expressed “grave concerns” about the federal Conservative government’s latest effort to deal with prostitution…

Moving Pictures

Add another “sex trafficking” porn fantasy to the list:  “Tricked…features interviews with people in all areas of the sex trafficking trade, including prostitutes who are often victims, the traffickers (pimps), customers (Johns) and the vice officers who fight the trade…

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