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Posts Tagged ‘consensual crime’

Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.  –  Mao Zedong

I’ve written on many occasions about how government is at best a necessary evil, and how modern governments of large countries are so powerful that they couldn’t help harming people by the millions even if they wanted to, which they don’t.  The reason they don’t is quite simple, yet somehow most people are either unable or unwilling to see it:  the only actual power government has is to inflict violence.  Government is a non-producer; like any parasite it is wholly dependent on its host for sustenance.  And so the only way it can accomplish anything is to force others to do it by the threat of violence.  Every government operative is paid with money extracted from individuals or corporations, and the reason those individuals pay up is that government threatens to inflict violence on their persons (and/or extract the money by direct robbery) if they don’t.  An ever-increasing army of thugs and petty functionaries provides the muscle, and these operatives are paid with stolen money; like any criminals, their demands for loot inevitably increase over time, and because the government was foolish and/or uncaring enough to allow these thugs to form public sector unions (ie, unconstitutional organs of government not answerable to the subject population even by the charade of elections), they are able to demand more money, more power and more numbers with every passing year.  Naturally the government gives in, because without these thug armies it would have no power to force everyone else to obey its whims; besides, the government doesn’t pay them with its own money anyhow, and it can always demand more with its ever-growing power.  This is what anarchists call “the gun in the room”:  every single law derives its power from the open or indirect threat of violence, the spoken or unspoken “do what we say, or else“.  And while the American faction which claims the label “left” likes to pretend it’s more gentle and concerned for individual rights than the soi-disant “right”, the truth is that, as I wrote in “Against Conscience“:

A few years ago, Americans who like to imagine themselves as “the political left” eschewed the traditional label “liberal” in favor of the older term “progressive”; this is especially interesting since the progressive philosophy (which holds that the world should be ruled by experts who are “scientifically” trained to know what’s “best for society” and therefore have the right to impose their will on everyone else “for our own good”) is if anything the exact opposite of classical liberalism (which holds that each person has the right to self-ownership and self-determination).  In other words, the shift in nomenclature revealed the truth previous leaders tried to hide under the “liberal” label:  the only…difference between the American political parties lies in the fact that soi-disant “conservatives” think the all-powerful ruling elite should be made up of the wealthy and religious authorities, while soi-disant “progressives” think it should be made up of those “educated” for the task in state-controlled systems.  In practice, however, there is no difference at all.  Both flavors of fascism favor infinite expansion of government power with the ultimate goal of total establishment control of all wealth and every individual; both dole out bread and circuses so as to call attention away from what they’re actually doing…

Even so, I’m continually amazed at the obtuseness of white “leftists” who acknowledge that the police state disproportionately harms the poor & minorities, yet support ever more things being criminalized.  Somehow these people imagine that their censorship, gun control, bans on substances (e.g., tobacco & sugar) and behaviors they dislike (e.g., sex work and “revenge porn”), and other laws won’t also be enforced more against black folks, despite the blatantly obvious fact that such laws always are.

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This is bigger than us…it’s a world wide crackdown on freedom of expression.  –  Vex Ashley

Real People 

I suspect this sort of story isn’t all that unusual:

There’s a misconception that sex work only entices clients who are entitled, disrespectful or predatory, yet this wasn’t my experience…phone sex…attracts some of the most struggling and deeply hurt clientele: people with agoraphobia, people with intimacy issues, other sexual assault survivors…as my friendships with my clients continued to progress, I learned I was more like my regulars than I wanted to acknowledge.  My clients and I had arrived on the opposite ends of phone sex — me as a sex worker, and them as a patron — but we sought similar resolutions.  Sex work…was quietly contributing to my healing…I realized I gravitated toward the sex industry in part to reprocess my trauma in an environment that was safe, to redevelop a way to have a healthy connection with men, and to explore my sexuality…

They Still Don’t Get It

This vile farrago of lies appears to be an attempt to slander the good work done by SWOP Behind Bars:

Women in prisons across the US are being recruited by sex traffickers who force them into prostitution on their release…Pimps and sex buyers are locating incarcerated women awaiting a court date by using personal data such as mugshots and bail bonds posted online, or through corrupt bondsmen.  Traffickers are then bailing women out of detention.  Once released, the women are told they must work as prostitutes or have their bond rescinded and be sent back to jail…Diane Checchio, a former prosecutor for the district attorney’s office in Orlando, Florida, said the bail bond system was routinely exploited by traffickers…Once they have identified a potential target inside a prison or jail, traffickers will try to establish a relationship by using letters, phone calls and promises of money and housing when the victim is released.  Prison bank accounts are also used to send money to women, establishing a debt that is used to coerce them into prostitution on their release…Pimp-controlled prostitution is now [fantasiz]ed as one of the most brutal and pervasive forms of human trafficking in the US…

The notion that clients would go to this kind of trouble, when most of them can barely even handle the normal screening and booking process, would be hilarious if it weren’t being used to undermine human rights.

Buried Truth 

Yet another perfect example of the McNeill Rule:

A Columbia University student whose global campaign against rape and sexual abuse of children earned him berths to speak alongside [politicians]…was himself charged…with a series of sex crimes against children…Joel Davis…[faces] a series of sordid allegations, including an admission by Mr. Davis that he had sex with a 13-year-old boy in his New York apartment.  The complaint also outlines text messages Mr. Davis sent undercover F.B.I. agents seeking sexual images of children as young as 2.  “The conduct alleged against Joel Davis is as unfathomable as it is sickening,” [a prosecutor bloviated]…

This is only “unfathomable” to idiots who neither understand psychology nor read the news.  The more any man crusades against a particular sex act, the more likely he is to be a practitioner.

Welcome To Our World (#600)

Welcome to our world, infertile women:

Five people in Cambodia were arrested on charges of human trafficking after the police found 33 pregnant women during a raid on a…[banned] surrogacy operation…Cambodia is one of four Asian countries — along with Thailand, Nepal and India — that have banned commercial surrogacy in recent years.  Experts say the bans have pushed some surrogacy agencies underground while also fueling demand for the practice in other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, where local regulations are more welcoming.  “Most bans don’t…work”…said Sam Everingham, the founder of Families Through Surrogacy, a nonprofit based in Australia that provides advice and support for people seeking surrogacy arrangements…

Shame, Shame (#649)

“Revenge porn” laws keep getting struck down because their proponents refuse to tailor them narrowly, insisting instead on unconstitutional broadness:

[Censors, prudes and showboaters] blamed [Google] for helping to…kill a [FOSTA-like] bill in New York that would have [allowed opportunists to sue web hosting companies for]…nonconsensual…sexually explicit images [found on their site.  The censors wanted to also expand mass incarceration]…by making the act a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail…[but] the Internet Association, a lobbying group representing Google and other web companies,  stepped in…to [point out to] lawmakers [that] language in the legislation that would have allowed [opportunists] to sue web companies [is unconstitutional and violates section 230 of the CDA]…Mary Anne Franks…began working with Assemblyman Edward Braunstein on New York’s bill back in 2013.  That original version…was…one of the [most mindlessly-draconian revenge porn laws in the country…

Like Houses

Naturally useful idiots are surprised, though this was as predictable as sunrise:

…police in Pennsylvania who are using the state’s hate crime statute…against people who [insult] them.  On Sept. 23, 2016, Robbie Sanderson, a 52-year-old Black man from North Carolina, was arrested for retail theft…During the arrest, Sanderson [correctly] called police “Nazis,” “skinheads” and “Gestapo”…For that, he was charged with a hate crime.  “This is completely ridiculous,” said Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “This is not what the hate crime statute was for.  This is criminalizing pure speech and that violates the First Amendment”…

Does someone need to explain to Mary that all “hate speech” laws criminalize pure speech?

The Prudish Giant (#787)

Once Patreon started caving in to PayPal, this was inevitable:

Adult content creators on crowdfunding site Patreon are facing a sudden spate of suspensions, with many reporting “implied nudity” as the reason their pages are shut down…”We have been ramping up the [censorship] of content on Patreon due to requirements from our payment partners,” a Patreon spokesperson [said]…Sex workers, porn producers and anyone working in the erotic labor trade have [in the past few decades] faced discrimination from payment processors and banks…Patreon set itself up as an alternative home for creators of all kinds to make money doing what they love, but [like PayPal and so many others, they are throwing sex workers under the bus now that they’re successful]…

The Punitive Mindset (#790) 

In which two groups of warring scumbags pretend to be unable to understand that locking human beings in cages tends to induce pathological behavior:

A federal judge refused to dismiss lawsuits from female public defenders and [screws] who claim Cook County, Illinois, inmates have been exposing themselves and masturbating in front of them, a problem they say was exacerbated by a program rewarding detainees with pizza for not engaging in such behavior…the women…alleg[e]…that Dart had created solutions to the problem only to reverse them…[so as to support his] proposed legislation that would [subject] inmates [to more time under Dart’s control] for sexual [behavior]…

Soap Opera (#809)

A functioning police state needs no police:

…Kent Couch, owner of Stop and Go in Bend, Ore., was skeptical that human trafficking was happening in his community.  Then three years ago, he met Nita Belles, founder…of In Our Backyard, a [rescue industry profiteer group]…She asked him to display a [magic] sticker in his store’s bathroom that offers…a toll-free number to call [for women too stupid to remember the numbers “911”]…Couch put the sticker up and covered it with a frame so that it wouldn’t attract graffiti…“A week later, the frame was ripped off the wall and thrown in the garbage and the sticker taken…I hung up a new one, and the frame was again broken and the number scratched out.  So that was a heads-up to me that in fact we do have human trafficking here”…Employees are instructed to alert him if they’ve seen anything suspicious…Recently, a woman came into the store with black-and-blue eyes, making no eye contact and with her hood up.  “We called 911 right away and gave [her] license-plate numbers,” he says…

He put a frame on the sticker because he has a problem with vandalism in his bathroom, so when more vandalism happens that “proves” it’s “sex traffickers”?  And they turn customers into the pigs for having injuries?  Are these people living in reality at all?

Disaster

Since the UK is becoming a colony of the US, this “monkey see, monkey do” was inevitable:

Ministers…[came] under intense pressure from a [prohibitionist] group of MPs this week to follow the US by banning…[sex work advertising] websites amid [repetitious and unsupported claims] that they are enabling a huge growth in sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women to the UK for profit.  Members of the all-party group on prostitution have secured a parliamentary debate during which they will demand that the Home Office acts to [criminalize] websites such as Vivastreet and Adultwork [if they remain on UK soil]…

India and Israel have also introduced FOSTA copycat laws.  Gee, it’s almost like governments don’t like the open internet.

Too Close To Home (#830) 

A pet judge isn’t going to be able to make this scandal go away:

King County…Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (“KCPAO”) entered into a funding agreement with an organization called Demand Abolition that channels funds from the Hunt Alternatives family foundation…KCPAO and other local law enforcement agencies have garnered a great deal of positive publicity in the past few years for…saying that they are aggressively tackling sex trafficking.  In reality, their efforts target buyers of sex who purchase from adult consensual sex workers…Why did Satterberg describe this as sex trafficking when there was no evidence of trafficking? Don’t prosecutors have to follow rules and be careful about how they describe arrestees’ alleged criminal conduct in the media? (Short answer: yes)…Public records show that [Val] Richey made a sustained effort to…push the tactic of targeting sex buyers.  He also encouraged a shift in how prosecutors handled defendants’ cases after arrest, halting the diversion that they typically offered to first-offender buyers and instead imposing fines and fees while requiring enrollment in a buyer intervention course (that just so happened to be offered by an organization that also received funding by Demand Abolition).  Richey also worked closely with Demand Abolition and with consultants hired by Demand Abolition throughout the time he received grant funding, including to craft communications efforts that deliberately conflated adult consensual sex work and trafficking…

To Molest and Rape (#846) 

Oregon’s just full of rapist cops lately:

Michael Goff, a parking [cop] for the City of Newport, was [arrested]…a day after…Newport police sergeant [Brad Purdon] was [also] arrested  on sex abuse charges…involving the same [underage] victim…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#850) 

Total number of frogs in Lisa Lewis’ self-destructive chorus: 3.

…By presenting…Lisa Lewis as the voice of sex workers, [The New Zealand Herald] allowed a nuanced issue to be hijacked by a small group with an axe to grind.  It claimed that New Zealand sex workers rejected the NZPC’s support of migrant sex workers, based solely on a letter written by Lewis, signed by two other sex workers and backed by a member of Family First — an organisation that routinely attacks the rights of sex workers…Of the hundreds of escorts in my community…not one shares Lisa Lewis’ vitriol towards migrant workers and the NZPC.  The claim that her 25 signatures (the majority of which…come from non-sex workers) is somehow an accurate summation of the 4000 plus sex workers currently active in New Zealand would be laughable if it wasn’t so harmful…The NZPC are not advocating importing hundreds of sex workers to flood the market and take “money off legal sex workers”, as Lewis’ letter claims.  They are simply supporting the human rights of foreign workers and upholding their safety and agency within the industry…

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Bindel is concerned with men treating women’s bodies like a workplace, when it is the state that treats us like property.  –  Ella Whelan

First They Came for the Hookers…

Stripping is no different from prostitution; say nothing when they attack the latter, expect them to come for the former:

…Tel Aviv…strippers…protest[ed] a new bill…that would put stripping on a legal par with prostitution…it would ban the possession of a location where prostitution or stripping occurs, as well as ban advertising and lobbying for stripping, which are not currently prohibited…

Watershed

Despite some dysphemisms, one of the best feminist arguments for decriminalization I’ve ever seen:

…Decriminalisation isn’t about what moral stance we take on prostitution itself.  It is about women being free to make choices about their own bodies.  It is the same as the argument for abortion rights…Some argue that it is a myth that women choose to go into prostitution, that women are unable to make an independent decision to become a prostitute because they are oppressed by men.  Sex workers are portrayed as victims of oppression, childlike in their need for protection…The criminalisation of sex work suggests women can’t be allowed to have control over their own bodies, that we can’t be trusted with that freedom – because all we’ll do is allow men to abuse us…Illiberal abortion laws prevent us from making our own choices about when to have children.  Consent classes and sex education seek to train us how and when to have sex.  Public-health policy demands that we live a certain way while pregnant. In every aspect of women’s lives, the state tries to act as our protector, withholding our freedom.  The decriminalisation of sex work is about insisting that a woman’s body should not be controlled by the state or the courts…

Torture Chamber

What our government calls a “correctional facility”:

In 2013, David O’Quin, a 39-year-old schizophrenic artist, was tied to a chair at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison for the better part of two weeks.  His restraints contributed to the formation of blood clots in his legs, which dislodged and stuck in his lungs, killing him.  The O’Quin family has already settled with the Sheriff’s Office, which operates the lockup.  The city-parish owns the facility, and…agreed last week to settle with the O’Quins for another $50,000…Metro Council members say they’re aware of problems at the jail but made no commitment at the April 25 meeting to a path forward…”the biggest blight in Baton Rouge is the East Baton Rouge prison,” said Gary Meise of Together Baton Rouge…

Down Under (#421) 

This is the kind of outcome I’d expect in Australia or New Zealand, not prohibitionist New York:

A former stripper received…a six-figure inheritance from a former client and friend…Veronica Beckham…met the former HBO executive, Micky Liu, back in July 2014 at the Atlantic City Scores strip club…Beckham…described the relationship they had as an “everlasting friendship” in court documents…Liu, who suffered from diabetes and heart disease related to [obesity]…died less than a year later…Despite knowing each other for such a brief time, Liu obviously felt the same way about their relationship – as he named Beckham the beneficiary of his retirement accounts and a life-insurance policy worth a combined $223,000…Micky’s sister, May Liu, challenged the inheritance…suggesting that “Beckham, as a professional exotic dancer, was adept at applying and using coercion and manipulation upon men…[she] preyed upon Micky Liu’s vulnerability by exerting influence over him in the form of moral coercion”…the courts ruled that Beckham was entitled to the money – and only former girlfriends of Micky could sue for the funds…

Now now, Ms. Liu; don’t you now we’re all “victims” now, not seductresses?

Election Day (#689) 

Marijuana prohibition will soon be a thing of the past:

For the last year and a half, Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, has been blocking implementation of a 2016 ballot initiative that legalized marijuana for recreational use…[but] state legislators [finally] showed their patience with LaPage’s objections had been exhausted,  overriding his veto of a bill aimed at creating a system to license and regulate commercial production and distribution of cannabis.  The vote was 109 to 39 in the House and 28 to 6 in the Senate, well in excess of the two-thirds required…

Perquisites (#708) 

Attractive women have been used to market sports for generations, but before the currently-fashionable anti-whore crusade those women were compensated instead of being, well, “trafficked”:

When the Washington Redskins took their cheerleading squad to Costa Rica in 2013 for a calendar photo shoot, the first cause for concern among the cheerleaders came when Redskins officials collected their passports upon arrival at the resort, depriving them of their official identification…some of the cheerleaders said they were required to be topless, though the photographs used for the calendar would not show nudity.  Others wore nothing but body paint…A contingent of sponsors and FedExField suite holders — all men — were granted up-close access to the photo shoots.  One evening, at the end of a 14-hour day that included posing and dance practices, the squad’s director told nine of the 36 cheerleaders that their work was not done…Some of the male sponsors had picked them to be personal escorts at a nightclub…Their participation did not involve sex, the cheerleaders said, but they felt as if the arrangement amounted to “pimping us out”…

A Mound of Filth (#751)

MGM join other anti-human rights groups in supporting “Cuckoo Clock” McCain:

As part of its contribution to the campaign to fight [consensual adult sexuality]…MGM Resorts International…awarded $250,000 to the McCain Institute for International Leadership at [prohibitionist shithole] Arizona State University.  The [anti-sex] think tank [funds bogus “studies” to support censorship and pogroms]…MGM Resorts is also an active participant in the Southern Nevada Human Trafficking Task Force, a collaboration led by…Las Vegas [cops]…to coordinate anti-[sex worker] strategies…and [spread propaganda] about [sex work]…

Disaster

Capricious Lusts (#836)

Why do people have such trouble with this?  Sex workers can help a decent man cope with frustrations that can erode his judgment; we can’t defuse angry, violent men who believe they’re “owed” sex, because they think that they “shouldn’t have to” pay for it:

…sex worker Emma Evans…said, “[an incel] is not going to be helped by seeing a sex worker, because it’s not about lack of sex.  It’s about…entitlement…and…rage”…A recent post on an incel forum, for example, explains that the reason “incels aren’t getting laid is because women with a sexual market value equal to theirs” will artificially “inflate” their value by wearing makeup and revealing clothing in order to “fuck with men above their league”…The…post…[fantasizes] women [should] be [forced by a totalitarian government]…to have sex with men of “equal” market value…[and] single mothers and those with more than nine sexual partners, “should be forced by the state to date and have sex with these incels”…they generally have a negative view of sex workers, according to Evans.  “They hate sex workers because we charge for sex, and of course that’s anathema to them”…Before going on a shooting spree in Isla Vista in 2014, Elliot Rodger touched on this idea in his 141-page-long manifesto titled “My Twisted Mind”.  Hiring a sex worker, Rodger posited, would “temporarily [feel] good for the moment, but afterward it makes one feel like a pathetic loser for having to hire a girl when other men get the experience for free”…

The saddest part about this, of course, is the delusion that some men get sex for “free”; wise men know that “free” sex is the most expensive kind.

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A lot of people…do not want to accept the reality that, for the most part, sex workers are just ordinary women.  –  Jennifer Wright

Surplus Women 

This is going to become much more common due to the ramped-up war on whores:

The three-month-long search for a missing California woman came to a tragic end on the morning of March 25.  Kristen Marti’s body was found by authorities after a lengthy search of Prefumo Canyon, about seven miles west of San Luis Obispo.  Her January 9 disappearance is now considered a murder investigation…When Marti was last seen, she was with an unknown man in a maroon-colored sedan…Marti was “known to frequent hotels” in the San Luis Obispo-area…

Little Boxes (#21)

Long time readers may remember “Fake Internet Girlfriend”:

Every morning I…log into the Tinder account of a 45-year-old man from Texas—a client.  I flirt with every woman in his queue for 10 minutes, sending their photos and locations to a central database of potential “Opportunities”.  For every phone number I get, I make $1.75.  I’m what’s called a “Closer” for the online-dating service ViDA (Virtual Dating Assistants).  Men and women (though mostly men) from all over the world pay this company to outsource the labor and tedium of online dating.  The matches I speak to on behalf of the Texan man and other clients have no idea they’re chatting with a professional…

By the numbers provided, she makes less than $12 an hour maximum. That may be the shittiest-paying sex work ever.

New Excuse

An excellent article by stalwart friend of whores Mark Draughn:

…I’ve long been opposed to all consensual crimes — recreational drugs, gambling, pornography, public drunkenness, vagrancy, homosexuality, food trucks, gun ownership, kink, migration, raw milk, incest, risky sports, transgenderism, loitering, status offenses, braiding hair without a license, whatever — because as long as everybody involved has consented freely and competently…I don’t think it should be a crime.  So I’ve always opposed prostitution laws in theory.  My opposition became somewhat less theoretical a few years ago when I bumped into Maggie McNeill…I became a steady reader of Maggie’s blog, and I began to learn more about the legal issues that concern sex workers in this country…the situation for sex workers seems to be deteriorating, in ways that are sadly familiar to those of us who know the War on Drugs…cops seem to realize that their pearl-clutching over call girls is a dumb waste of police resources, so they’ve tried to recast what they do as fighting a genuine evil.  They’ve hit on the idea of calling everything “sex trafficking,” or even worse, “child sex trafficking”…We’re also starting to see other unpleasant features of the War on Drugs, such as federal funding and inter-agency task forces…I used to get angry whenever I heard of some new atrocity in the War On Drugs, but I was usually able to keep some emotional distance from the worst of it because I didn’t actually know any drug dealers.  It wasn’t personal for me…But when it comes to sex workers, I follow far too many of them on Twitter…I know these people.  And the last few weeks have been pretty bad.  This bullshit is hurting people I know, and they are bitter, hurt, and angry…

Somebody’s Daughter (#434)

Despite FOSTA & the seizure of Backpage (perhaps partly because of them), we’ve definitely passed the watershed on public support for sex worker rights.  It’s now no longer taboo for reporters, columnists and even politicians (!!!) to come out in support of decrim.  Here’s a recent article (in the very mainstream Harper’s Bazaar) which covers arguments readers of this blog will know well, and starts this way:

“But what if it was your daughter?”…Thus goes the common refrain…I do not have a daughter.  But, then, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, the people making this argument do not necessarily have daughters, either.  So, here is a brief list of professions I would not want my fictitious daughter to enter into:  Professionally playing any sport that involves head trauma…Being a war reporter…Any profession that promises people a quick, easy and most likely ineffective way to solve their problems, like hawking untested diet pills…regardless of how I feel about them, my future daughter has a perfect legal right to pursue them.  People are allowed to enter professions that might be unsafe.  People are allowed to enter into professions where their body is seen as a tool of the trade.  People are allowed to enter professions that seem morally questionable.  The only time that isn’t the case is when a woman is having sex as her profession…At least, it isn’t the case in the United States.  There are a great many countries where sex work is legal, such as New Zealand, which decriminalized sex work in 2003…

Eternal Vigilance

The stupidity and evil of politicians is sometimes mind-boggling:

Sex workers in Victoria are under attack as politicians try to [re-criminalize]…“the world’s oldest profession”…the Liberal Party’s Victorian branch will discuss…a motion…by [prohibitionists claiming]…“sexual services have surged into our suburbs in the guise of massage parlours” and “are now closer to our homes and schools than ever before”…the [prohibitionists are] pushing [their party] for the adoption of the “Nordic model”…

Australian politicians can see the success of decriminalization right there in New South Wales, but are still willing to push this evil bullshit to placate prudes with fantasies of sex rays.

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” still adore prohibition of things other than cannabis:

Seattle officials announced…that they have filed a motion to vacate all convictions and drop all charges for marijuana possession for anyone arrested in the city in the past few decades…the proposed move would affect 542 people who have convictions on their records.  “Vacating charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession is a necessary step to correct the injustices of what was a failed war on drugs, [but we’re going to keep pursuing the even more unjust and failed war on consensual sex because we’re hypocrites],” Mayor Jenny Durkan…said in a statement…

An Example to the West (#776) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

Sex workers in Colombia have started a newspaper that is “flying off the shelves”—a rare distinction for any newspaper these days.  La Esquina—which means “The Corner” in English—is made by and for sex workers in Bogotá’s red light district…It’s both distributed as a regular newspaper and, ingeniously, laminated and plastered on the district’s walls for sex workers to read while they wait for clients…The paper was founded last summer by a group of activists and artists…

Tracy Clark-Flory has singlehandedly made Jezebel relevant again.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table is a “stadium”:

Down a dead-end street in a quiet neighborhood south of Dortmund’s city center stands Germany’s first sex doll brothel.  For €80 ($97) an hour, customers can [play with] one of 12 silicone dolls, including one male doll and a model with both breasts and a penis…Evelyn Schwarz …is the founder and owner of Bordoll, which…also [has an actual] brothel and a…BDSM [dungeon]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

I’m so glad silly protectionist whores weren’t able to wreck decrim in New Zealand:

…Under a new plan, would-be immigrants can claim points as skilled sex workers and escorts.  The skill is regarded as providing social companionship in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) list.  In order to meet the criteria of a highly qualified sex worker, would-be migrants will be expected to…have relevant recognized qualifications or have at least three years of work experience in the relevant industry…they would [also] need a formal offer of employment [from a brothel or escort service]…

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Sex workers…are human beings who[se]…rights to health, safety, self-determination, and bodily autonomy should not be subject to debate or sacrifice to abstract principles.  –  Green Party proposal

If It Were Legal

I’m willing to bet this was either a findom arrangement or a blackmail fantasy:

The second in command of the Harris County [Texas] Treasurer’s Office is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a county credit union to pay a dominatrix who was blackmailing him.  Gregory Lueb was arrested…and charged with felony theft of up to $30,000…Lueb told investigators…the woman eventually demanded money and threatened to tell his wife…

If he’s telling the truth, and if sex work weren’t illegal and stigmatized, he could’ve gone to an established professional instead of some sleazy amateur.

The Punitive Mindset

The need to censor is one of the most twisted of perversions:

A federal judge is considering whether South Dakota’s statewide ban on porn in prisons is constitutional.  The case arose from an inmate, Charles Sisney, who says all sorts of non-pornographic content got caught up in porn prohibition, including a yoga magazine, images of Michaelangelo’s work, and Japanese comics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota and the National Coalition have filed briefs in support of Sisney’s case…the parameters of the ban go way beyond adult films, nude images, or other things that most people would consider to be porn.  Prisoners are banned from writing sexually explicit letters or receiving them, and from receiving any visual or written material that’s deemed sexually explicit…

Three Steps Back

In December 2010, New Orleans decided to de facto decriminalize marijuana and prostitution, then it changed its collective mind and recriminalized them.  We’re all familiar with what happened afterward with sex work, but two years ago the city actually went ahead and truly decriminalized weed, with the following results:

…newly released city statistics show that New Orleans police have taken the city’s cannabis decriminalization efforts seriously, and now make arrests in only 1% of minor cannabis incidents.  The New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance two years ago  decriminalizing minor cannabis possession, giving [cops] the discretion to ticket rather than arrest suspects found with small amounts of pot…NOPD has all but eliminated marijuana charges from their protocol, reducing the rate of possession-related arrests from 72% of all police and pot interactions in 2011-2014, to the newly released number of only 1% in the last half of 2016 and first half of 2017…last year saw 5,000 fewer cannabis-related arrests in New Orleans than took place half a decade ago…

And yet they can’t seem to grasp that decriminalizing sex work would have similar benefits.

Stand-Up Guys 

Shift in the Wind

It looks like the Greens are poised to become the second US political party (the Libertarians have held the position for decades) to adopt decriminalization as an official position.  The new position has apparently been approved by Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Utah, and by the party’s Black Caucus, Lavender Greens and Young Greens.  The explanation of the reasons for the change starts like this:

It is the opinion of the authors of this document that the party’s current stance on sex work…is morally indefensible, ideologically incoherent, and politically damaging.  The submitted revisions represent an effort to eliminate derogatory language, move the Green Party’s stated policy prescriptions away from carceral state solutions and more in line with the current thought of human rights groups such as Amnesty International, and…condemn…violence against women without condemning or negating the existence of individual sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought

Anti-whore assholes just keep getting bolder:

California Senate Bill 1204…sponsored by…Patricia Bates…is aimed at broadening the definition of “pandering” within the State of California…to [include anyone] “who arranges, causes, encourages, induces, persuades, or procures another person to be a prostitute”…What does “encourages” mean? If I say to my friend “hey you would make a great prostitute!” – have I just encouraged that person to be a prostitute and therefore I am guilty of the crime of pandering?  What about my free speech rights?  What if my friend who is a prostitute says, “gee I wish I could see a client today because I really need to feed my child/pay my rent but I cannot afford condoms” and I give that person condoms, have I encouraged the act of prostitution?  What if I as a lawyer – give advice to a prostitute…have I just committed pandering?…I would encourage you to contact Senator Patricia Bates office and encourage her to kill her own bill…

The Punitive Mindset (#688) 

Long-time readers know that I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons since 1981, and that it’s my all-time favorite game.  I’ve alluded to it many times and even written a few columns touching on it, and though I haven’t played in about 8 years now I’ve recently started thinking about starting up a new game for some friends.  So I quite enjoyed this long-form article about the game, its history and its long record of being attacked by authoritarians for promoting imagination and free thought.  I decided to list it under this category because the article includes a section on prison officials banning the game (because of course they would), which I reported on in the above-linked column.  But really, I just couldn’t pass up calling it to your attention at a time when most of the contents of this blog are darker than any imaginary dungeon, and the real world is dominated by far scarier monsters than any I ever made up for the heroes to defeat.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#787) 

Yes, this is a supposedly sane adult arguing that toasters have “feelings” and can “suffer”, while classifying sex workers as subhuman:

Late in 2017 at a tech fair in Austria, a sex robot was “molested” repeatedly and left in a “filthy” state.  The robot, named Samantha, received a barrage of male attention, which resulted in her sustaining two broken fingers.  This incident confirms worries that the possibility of fully functioning sex robots raises both tantalising possibilities for human desire (by mirroring human/sex-worker relationships), as well as serious ethical questions …there are certain elements of relationships between humans and sex workers that we may not wish to repeat.  But to me, it is the ethical aspects of the way we think about human-robot desire that are particularly key…

Yes, moral retard Victoria Brooks there describes vandalism of a machine as “molestation” and waxes poetic about this object’s “suffering”, while twice in a short section referring to sex workers as things apart from humans.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Possibly the most pathetic of all things: a gay male prude:

…how Grindr is affecting gay men….doesn’t look good.  The most common reason users gave for going on the app is that sex feels great and Grindr makes it accessible, right at your fingertips…Neuroscientists have shown that orgasm causes activation of pleasure areas of the brain like the ventral tegmental area while deactivating areas involved with self-control.  And these patterns of activation in men are strikingly similar to what researchers see in the brain of individuals using heroin or cocaine.  So when a neutral action (clicking on Grindr) is paired with a pleasurable response in the brain (orgasm), humans learn to do that action over and over again.  This can be…a setup for addiction…

Disaster

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…Sex workers are the canaries in the digital coal mine, and SESTA, if it isn’t fought and reversed, is a disaster for all kinds of online speech…It’s no surprise that a bill like this has manifested alongside the #MeToo movement — it challenges what it means to for sex workers to consent, and takes aim at the online speech that acts as evidence that we have…The ambiguously written bill creates what is in effect a special loophole to target the speech of sex workers within the sweeping legal protections given to online speech.  And because marginalized groups often act as Patient Zero for regressive new laws, it will be no surprise when this new approach to censorship eventually spreads across the internet…The difference between what sex workers and their advocates say — that trafficking is a relatively minor issue in their industry — and what anti-sex trafficking legislators believe reflects the country’s long held reluctance to believe women when they tell the truth, especially when it involves sex.  One place where that truth is told daily is the internet communities where sex workers reside in safety and solidarity, and SESTA is designed to break up these communities…

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Removing all references to sex trafficking will hurt our ability to grab reporters’ attention.  –  Sydney Asbury of “Demand Abolition”

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn 

It’s been a long time since I’ve used this heading, but an even longer time since we’ve seen anything like this:

…lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide…to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia…and…He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics…keeping his word…In his first week on the job, he fired 31 prosecutors…because they weren’t committed to the changes he intended to make…Next, Krasner…release[d] a list of 29 [bad cops]…that…had lied…filed false reports, used excessive force, driven drunk, and burgled…but nothing is as essential and revolutionary as the internal five-page guiding document of new policies that Krasner sent to his staff…The first sentence says it all:  “These policies are an effort to end mass incarcerations and bring balance back to sentencing”…Krasner immediately instructs prosecutors to stop prosecuting marijuana possession regardless of the weight…[and] to stop charging …with any paraphernalia crimes…to stop charging sex workers that have fewer than three convictions with any crime and drop all current cases against sex workers who also fit that description.  All sex workers with three or more convictions are to be referred to Dawn Court…a…diversion…program created in 2010…Krasner instructed prosecutors to stop the wide-ranging practice of beginning plea deals with the highest possible sentencing and instead, begin those plea deals at the bottom end of the available range…Krasner instructed his prosecutors to now add up and justify the exact costs of every single person sentenced to a crime in Philadelphia…Stating that it costs between $42,000 and $60,000 per year to incarcerate a person, he reminded the prosecutors that the…annual cost of incarceration…is…more per year than the beginning salary of teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers, addiction counselors, and even prosecutors in his office…

Pyrrhic Victory

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

In at least four investigations last year…Raleigh [North Carolina] police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime…These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search…[“authorities” pretend] the practice is a natural evolution of criminal investigative techniques.  They [lie] that, by seeking search warrants, they’re carefully balancing civil rights with public safety [because most of the public is too stupid to know about the horrible “third-party doctrine”].  Defense attorneys and privacy advocates…are…[concerned about] how law enforcement turns to Google’s massive cache of user data, especially without a clear target in mind.  And they’re concerned about the potential to snag innocent users, many of whom might not know just how closely the company tracks their every move…

Under Duress 

The New York Times finally discovers what marginalized people have always known:

An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City [cop’s] testimony was…untrue…[they lie] about the whereabouts of guns…They…barge…into apartments and conduct…searches, only to testify otherwise later… they…give…firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness…No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish…In many instances, the motive for lying was…to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops.  In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people…with trumped-up evidence…

Bogeymen

Read this ludicrous exercise in pearl-clutching, then the item under the same heading two items down:

…illicit prostitution businesses are thriving in a surprising place: the legitimate corporate world.  And, we’ve found that the inequities of that world…contribute to that sex trade…we interviewed 44 pimps…in Chicago…fewer than half…fit the pop culture stereotype of a pimp.  The other half did not: a full third had four-year college degrees, primarily in business administration…and most…were white.  In addition to their pimping work, nearly half worked in legitimate companies, not in massage parlors or erotica businesses…these illegal businesses grew directly from the misogynistic culture of the legitimate ones that housed them.  Some became pimps after learning of demand for paid sex through informal bantering about sexual conquests over lunch or beers with the bros.  Half of the pimps started out as customers of sex workers, and several arranged “entertainment” for business clients as part of their job…

Huffington Post needs to exercise more diligence on its contributors; these two fantasists [44 interviews of self-proclaimed “pimps” in one city is not anything like a representative sample] have been recycling this same bogeyman tale on the strength of their supposed academic credentials for years.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (#314)

The only sex workers exploited in New Zealand are those who were intentionally excluded from decriminalization in order to appease prohibitionists:

Migrant prostitutes working illegally on temporary visas are “terrified” they will be deported if they report exploitative pimps and abusive clients…In the past year, 136 migrants suspected of coming here to carry out sex work were denied entry into New Zealand…Sex work is the only occupation migrants on temporary visas are not legally allowed to take up…However, migrants who have entered the country on temporary work, visitor, holiday or international student visas and work as prostitutes are being forced to carry out sexual acts without protection and often work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week…They would not speak to police because they would be deported…

Bogeymen (#317)

I’m glad to see Bruckert has expanded her study into a book:

“The sex industry, like mainstream businesses, rarely depends exclusively on clients and workers to operate efficiently and safely,” professor Chris Bruckert [said]…”Contrary to prevailing stereotypes that portray third parties [like pimps] as inherently abusive and controlling, these workers fulfill important roles and provide vital services.”  Bruckert and her team of researchers conducted interviews with 75 pimps — or “third-party” workers, as she prefers to call them — as well as 52 sex workers for her new book Getting Past ‘the Pimp’: Management in the Sex Industry…Bruckert said little research has been conducted on the role of pimps in the industry, adding that many people’s opinions are based on stereotypes…Most of the third-party workers Bruckert’s team spoke to were women — both surprising and understandable, she said, since the industry is female-dominated and the line between sex work and management is thin…

Torture Chamber

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)…frequently fails to either address or eliminate sexual abuse.  In jails and prisons across the country, incarcerated people are subject to sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff.  If they report these assaults, they risk retaliation, including greater violence…”Prisons are the worst distillation of toxic masculinity,” said Alan Mills [of the Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC)]…”It’s all about inflicting punishment on people.  It’s about the use of force in order to force compliance to an arbitrary set of rules.  It’s about dehumanizing people.  It’s not surprising that this translates to harassment and abuse”…

Business As Usual

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

Sex workers in South Africa will be arrested at least four times and will spend an average of 40 hours in custody if they are charged…one third of sex worker arrests never make it to a police station or courthouse‚ instead often ending in sex workers being abused by police or forced to pay bribes.  These were just some of the findings of The Policing of Sex Work In South Africa survey compiled by NGO’s Sonke Gender Justice and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…Advocacy officer at Sonke Donna Evans said that the most shocking thing to emerge from the report was the extreme levels of violence at the hands of police that were reported by sex workers.  “They were extremely disturbing and included incidents of torture‚ assault‚ rape and even permanent disability‚” Evans said…

Original Sin (#762) 

I guess this makes sense coming from a man who imagines condoms to be weapons of mass destruction:

Pope Francis asked forgiveness…for all Christians who buy sex from women, saying men who frequent prostitutes are criminals with a “sick mentality” who think that women exist to be exploited.  “This isn’t making love.  This is torturing a woman.  Let’s not confuse the terms,” Francis insisted…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

At least Wyoming had the sense to vote this nonsense down:

A Wyoming bill that would have recognized porn as a “public health crisis” failed in the 2018 session of the state Legislature…HJ1 was typical of various “public health crisis” bills that have made their way across the nation.  Wyoming’s bill, introduced by…Lars O. Lone, would have made official language stating porn increases the demand for sex trafficking, impacts brain development and functioning, diminishes the interest of young men in getting married and creates infidelity, among other [evidence-free] statements.  Another porn bill…sponsored by Lone, failed to win support, as well.  HB 127 would have ordered the installation of porn blocking software on all computers sold in the state to prevent the viewing of “obscene” material as defined by the state Attorney General’s office…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

SAVE THE TOASTERS!!!!

French activists are campaigning to shut down a new “sex doll brothel” on the grounds that it degrades women—and silicone.  Or something…Xdolls is registered as a gaming center, which makes sense if you consider doll-sex a form of escapist make-believe or wish-fullfilment akin to playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.  But Paris Council communists and other activists argue that Xdolls amounts to a brothel, which are illegal in France.  Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, head of the Paris council’s communist group…compared the business to “prostitution” and the owner to “a pimp.”  Sounds like someone just started watching Westworld.  The rhetoric only gets more extreme from there.  Lorraine Questiaux, spokesperson for the anti-sex work organization Mouvement du Nid…[said] “It’s a place…where you rape a woman”…You can’t rape a non-sentient silicone doll any more than you can rape a vibrator or a Fleshlight…but apparently not even lifeless dolls are immune to…rescue attempts…

I’m so glad Tracy Clark-Flory is writing again; I’ve missed her good sense.

Disaster

The fallout will continue until there’s some legal action against this horrific law:

…SESTA’s passage by the U.S. Senate has had an immediate chilling effect on those working in the adult industry…stories of a fallout are being heard, with adult performers finding their content being flagged and blocked…escort site [Cityvibe]…suddenly becoming “not available,” Craigslist shutting down its “personals” sections and Reddit closing down some of its communities, among other tales.  SESTA…targets scores of adult sites that consensual sex workers use to advertise their work.  And now, before SESTA reaches President Trump’s desk for his guaranteed signature, those sites are scrambling to prevent themselves from being charged under sex trafficking laws.  “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing an immediate chilling effect on protected speech,” industry attorney Lawrence Walters [said]…”This was predicted as the likely impact of the bill, as online intermediaries over-censor content in the attempt to mitigate their own risks.  The damage to the First Amendment appears palpable”…

Too Close To Home (#823)

It’s great to see a spotlight on this ugly scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

There is no mention in [propaganda about Seattle’s high-profile sex work stings] of the fact that [prosecutor Val] Richey’s work was handsomely supported by Demand Abolition, a nonprofit group whose stated mission is to end demand for sex work by going after buyers, or that the cost of some of his travels around the country has been defrayed by the same group.  Nor is there any mention of the fact that Demand Abolition, in exchange for providing approximately $191,667 in funding to the King County prosecutor’s office over four years, asked Seattle-area law enforcement to carry out regular arrests and prosecutions of buyers…As part of signed agreements for the funding, Richey and other law enforcement officials in King County were required to frame the activities of sex buyers and men involved with The Review Board as sex trafficking…even though there was no evidence of trafficking…and…none of the men arrested…were charged with trafficking — only with promoting prostitution…

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Talk to your neighbors, not the police.

There are certain genres of fiction which I love in principle while hating most examples of; short horror films are one of them, largely because they’re usually predictable and not at all scary.  This one is an exception; while I knew what was coming from the first weird happening, the ending was a mystery rather than the usual dumb “bogeyman jumps out” nonsense.  The links above it were provided by Brooke MagnantiKevin WilsonAmy AlkonRadley BalkoEmma EvansScott Greenfield, and Popehat, in that order.

From the Archives

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