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Posts Tagged ‘consensual crime’

It’s been a while since I’ve had to say this, but as my readership has grown it’s inevitable that I’ve picked up readers who don’t get it.  Some people who visit here, or read my tweets, seem to think they’re on YouTube, Reddit or some other site dominated by testosterone-addled adolescent trolls and can therefore get away with saying any stupid, rude thing that comes into their minds.  So I’m taking today to correct that misapprehension in those of you who may be suffering from it:  this is my online “house”, and if you’re going to visit here you’ll have to play by my rules (which I helpfully spelled out more than six years ago).  A little over a year after that, I penned a helpful sequel called “How Not To Get Your Comments Posted“, which you should read right now if you’ve been coming here for less than five years.  And yet, the narcissistic ninnies still refuse to get that:

A) throwing garbage out of my own space does not constitute “censorship” in any way because I’m not a government and you’re still free to strew your filth anywhere else on the internet that isn’t mine; and

B) I am not your dancing monkey; I am a professional entertainer, so even though I don’t charge people to read my blog or Twitter, if you want me to entertain you in some way that I am not interested in freely giving (such as by engaging in stupid arguments with you), you’re going to have to pay me for that just as you would have to pay me to play the part of your mother, daughter, sister, teacher, secretary, or whoever else you’d like to fantasize about fucking or being chastised by or whatever.  And it won’t even cost you my full rate; for internet argumentation not involving sexy talk, I only charge $100/hour (minimum 30 minutes).

Every sex worker has hard limits, things she won’t do no matter how highly paid, and I’m no exception; for example, I don’t do scat play and I won’t see anyone before noon except as the tail end of an overnight or part of a multi-day gig.  And in the argument department, you can forget about my “debating” you on the topic of whether or not the State has some imaginary “right” to control adults’ sexual choices, or the “right” to send armed thugs to spy on, harass, threaten, brutalize, rob, rape, cage, humiliate or otherwise harm individuals for any consensual act (including the “possession” of some object or substance the state has decided it doesn’t like).  In fact, I have absolutely zero tolerance for bootlicking, toadying, pig worship, partisan cheerleading, authoritarian apologia or any other sycophantic defense of the police state; I have no stomach for evil or for useful idiots who enable evil via their spineless excuses for it, so if anyone posts comments or tweets at me with such filth I will view it as tantamount to the intellectual equivalent of a monkey flinging poop, and that individual will be muted or banned so quickly he may not even realized what’s happened.  I do the work I do because it’s right, not because I’ve been sentenced to it, and I feel no masochistic need to watch the noblest of animals abase itself by groveling to sociopathic control freaks who think every individual is their personal or collective property.

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The other day, a total twit on Twitter twitted that she’s like to see the US federal government sue Exxon into bankruptcy for global warming.  Let’s put aside for a moment the incredible absurdity of choosing that one particular corporation rather than any other petrochemical firm or coal-mining concern; any auto manufacturer or power company; any government entity which owns industrial facilities; people collectively for driving cars & using electricity; the heirs of Faraday or Edison; China, India, or Brazil; or even cows collectively for belching up so much methane.  Do you really want to government to be able to sue YOU for something they decide to blame you for?  That’s the precedent that would set.  Why are people so damned stupid about how legal precedent works?  Once set, a precedent isn’t only usable vs. people YOU consider bad.

Look, y’all, it’s simple.  Big corporations are dangerous, but they don’t claim the right to inflict violence on me for not using their products.  There are lots of big corporations I won’t give money to, and they don’t send armed thugs to smash down my door, steal everything I own, lock me in a cage and render me forever unemployable (assuming I survive the process) for refusing to deal with them.  Try doing that with government; go on, I dare you.  Refuse to purchase government “services” or follow their “terms of service” (called “laws”), and see if you get away as painlessly as you do when you boycott Wal-mart or choose not to watch Hollywood movies.  The real danger is that corporations and government are increasingly intertwined, and corporations can call on government to inflict violence (such as via “copyright violation investigations”).  But sever the connection and those corporations are toothless.  So if you’re afraid of Monsanto, but not of the government mechanisms it can use to crush you, you’re hopeless and deserve everything you get; alas, you’re dragging me down with you.  Government promotes the myth that it protects people from big corporations, but in reality, they couldn’t have grown so big without the corrupt symbiosis which has been growing ever more extensive, powerful and inescapable since the days of the East India Company.

On a small scale, consider the myriad laws requiring people to buy commercial products (under threat of “punishment” as though we were children), or attempting to prevent people from buying cheaper alternatives from competitors who aren’t in bed with government.  Government “regulations” are always unnecessarily byzantine so that only corporations large enough to keep full-time compliance experts (lawyers, accountants, etc) on the payroll can possibly hope to follow all of them without unknowingly breaking some, and thus bringing down crushing fines (or, increasingly, criminal penalties).  If you’re in favor of government “regulation” of some industry but also claim you’re against big corporations, you’re a hypocrite and a fool because the regulations are always written by operatives of big corporations or professional cartels to favor big corporations and kill small competitors.  Ask yourself who benefits from requiring black women to take thousands of hours of training when all they want to do is braid hair, or who benefits from requiring food trucks to follow arbitrary rules designed to stifle their business and drive up their operating costs, and maybe it’ll begin to dawn on you.  Also note that these two examples force small, usually minority-owned businesses to dance to tunes written by established businesses (which are, of course, mostly owned by white people) and maybe, just maybe, you’ll begin to see a glimmer of what I see.

But even more importantly than all that:  Any individual thuggish cop can do more to destroy the average person’s life in seconds than Microsoft could do in ten years. When Coca-Cola, Disney, IBM, Google, Monsanto, Chase, Wal-mart or Kraft starts sending out gangs of thugs to rape, rob & murder people, then and only then will I be more concerned about them than I am about government.  I notice most people whining about corporations are middle-class whites; oppressed minorities are more concerned about being robbed, locked up, virtually enslaved and even murdered by government actors than they are about “unfairness”.  Yes, huge corporations are dangerous, but governments are much more dangerous because they claim the “right” to do evil to anyone they want, often without the victim having any recourse whatsoever.  No corporation claims that, and if one ever does then it will have crossed over into being a government.

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Usually, when I devote a whole column to picking on a news article, it’s because said article is so hilariously bad or deeply disturbing (or both) that I can’t bear to limit myself to a quick jab of the knife in a news column, and instead prefer to lovingly vivisect it until the entire virtual room is spattered in blood.  But this is, alas, not one of those cases; the article’s author, Sonja Sharp, clearly believes herself an ally of sex workers, or is at least open-minded to the idea that sex workers deserve human rights, yet she can’t quite bring herself to shake off her childlike trust in government and her belief that cops are the “good guys”.  So what we get is an article that is generally supportive of sex worker rights, yet fails to properly place the blame for our oppression on the prohibitionists; instead, it adopts a kind of mealy-mouthed “moderation”, pretending that there is a legitimate “debate” to be had between those who say humans own ourselves and have unalienable rights, and those who pretend that individuals are owned by the State, which has the “right” to use violence to “protect” us from choices with which our owners disapprove.  There’s very little point in quoting the good parts, so I’m just going to concentrate on pointing out the bad ones.

[When] Police Commissioner James O’Neill and the city’s First Lady Chirlane McCray…[announced] the NYPD would bolster the size of its vice squad in order to stamp out sex trafficking…the hope on part of some advocates was that sex workers might see relief from the pressure traditionally brought to bear by police…

I have no idea who these “advocates” Sharp refers to are, but none of them are sex worker rights activists; we know better than to harbor naive beliefs that doubling the size of a police unit could in any way signal “relief” for those the unit is specifically intended to oppress.

…a growing number of law enforcement agencies…are forming their own anti-trafficking units—often using grants from the feds—and deploying similarly gallant rhetoric despite limited evidence their arrests do much to stop exploitation…But alternatives are time-consuming and remain opaque to most law enforcement agencies, which have been deputized to fight human trafficking in part because it’s widely understood to be synonymous with illegal sex work…Modernizing their approach is still a work in progress, to say the least…

Because the writer can’t bring herself to question the institution of policing, she buys into the claim that cops are interested in “stopping exploitation”; she imagines that the idea of just leaving people alone instead of persecuting them for private, consensual activities is “opaque” to cops, rather than recognizing “sex trafficking” as a boondoggle intended to disguise the ugly persecution of sexual behavior under a mask of “helping”.  The idea that cops’ behavior needs to be “modernized” is the most asinine of all; what they’re doing now IS the modern approach, by definition, since it’s less than 20 years old.  What we really need is a return to the approach which predominated throughout most of human history: recognizing that sex work is normal and not a government matter, and leaving it the fuck alone.

…Jean Bruggeman, executive director of the national anti-trafficking organization Freedom Network USA [says] “I think in their zeal to help [cops] are doing some very wrongheaded things,” including mass arrests of sex workers and John stings using fake Backpage ads…

More exoneration of cops, pretending their abusive behavior (including surveillance, rape, robbery, brutality, destruction of homes and lives and even driving people to suicide) is motivated by a “zeal to help”.  You know, like terrorists blow up innocent people in their “zeal to help” them get to Heaven.

…In what appears to be a more concerted approach than that of the NYPD, LA Sheriff’s detectives bring an outreach worker with them whenever they approach sex workers…always offering them diversion first, before an arrest is made…”if they flat-out refuse, we book them, and then they’re sent to the appropriate court,” where they are then [forced into] a system of mandatory services…It seems like progressive approach, one most people—even those who think sex work should be legal—might be able to get behind…

Yeah, it’s “progressive” all right, considering that the Progressive movement spawned the concept of Prohibition in the first place.  To pretend that people who want to suppress consensual sex are actually trying to “help” anyone but themselves is disingenuous in the extreme, yet Sharp just can’t see that attacking peaceful people and then forcing them at gunpoint to accept the government’s idea of “help” is evil even if implemented exactly as planned, both in theory and in practice.

…demand reduction…is hotly contested among advocates and experts.  While less explicitly harmful than arresting sex workers, opponents say it does little to rout traffickers, while those who endorse it argue arresting Johns makes sexual exploitation less attractive as a business…

Aaaaaaaand I’m gonna stop right there before I am seized with the urge to disembowel Sharp along with her crappy article.  No, “end demand” isn’t “hotly contested” among anyone who actually gives a shit about human rights, nor is it less harmful than arresting sex workers (indeed, in the US it always includes arresting sex workers despite the rhetoric).  There is no legitimate “debate” over whether people own their own bodies, nor whether they have the right to consensual sex with other adult partners; pretending that there is such a “debate” is nothing more than catering to evil control freaks and sucking the dick of power.  The pretense that cops are some kind of sweet, well-intentioned social justice squad, and that it isn’t their fault the laws are bad, is so incredibly nauseating it boggles the mind.  Stories like this, written by sheltered little girls barely out of their parents’ houses, are vile apologies for evil policies that enable uniformed rapists and soft-peddle operations intended to destroy lives, enable armed robbery of citizens and increase the real “modern slavery”, mass incarceration.

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Government…persecutions [of sex workers]…are nothing but the temper tantrums of frustrated authoritarians.  –  “Whores’ Day 2016

42 years ago today, French sex workers occupied the Church of St. Nizier in Lyon to protest the depredations inflicted on them by the police; the event garnered worldwide attention and is considered the beginning of the sex worker rights movement.  For a long time, not much changed; the early successes of the movement were suppressed within a decade by the growing anti-sex coalition of fundamentalist Christians & fundamentalist feminists, fueled by the AIDS panic (which also choked the Sexual Revolution).  But slowly, sex workers won rights in many countries, and public opinion slowly turned in our favor; by 2004 the only way prohibitionists could effectively fight us was to intentionally launch a moral panic by recycling the century-old “white slavery” hysteria.  Governments found the myth of sex workers as passive, “voiceless” victims a useful one for expanding their police states and restricting immigration while pretending not to be racist, and so applied themselves to spreading the panic on a scale unprecedented since the witch panics of the 15th to 18th centuries.

But even though governments continue to pour money and manpower into anti-whore propaganda and campaigns intended to terrorize sex workers, our clients and our families, and police abuse of sex workers is at least as bad as it was in 1975, the rise of social media has allowed sex workers to interact with the public on an unprecedented scale.  Every day, sex workers of all backgrounds, all around the world, work to debunk prohibitionist lies and expose the ugly truth about government persecution of individuals for the “crime” of consensual sex.  All reputable human rights and health organizations, and every academic and journalist who has actually taken the time to objectively research the subject, now support sex workers’ demands for decriminalization; the foundation of lies on which prohibition is built is now crumbling, and soon everyone not blinded by their own sick need to control others’ private behavior will see the prohibition of sex work as the destructive evil it is.  This does not mean the War on Whores will end soon; the War on Drugs is now recognized as a tyrannical abomination by the majority of people both in and out of government, and yet its demise will still take years due to the fact that powerful interests profit from it both monetarily and in increased power.  But any cultural change requires a victory in the court of public opinion, and we’re slowly winning that; we’ve already passed the turning point in this war, and all that is required for eventual victory is that we keep relentlessly hammering at the lies, fighting bad laws and policies, and sharing the truth.

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He had had prior run-ins with local authorities.  –  Alexandra Petri

Guitarist J Geils, who founded the band that bore his name, died this week; a lot of sex workers dislike the band’s most famous song, “Centerfold”, for what seems to be acceptance of the Madonna/whore dichotomy.  But the narrative persona in a song does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the songwriter (were the Rolling Stones advocating for war & genocide in “Sympathy for the Devil”?) and in this case, I’ve always felt the last line of the song indicates the writer’s real feelings about people who express the dichotomy.  The links above the video were provided by Rick HorowitzJesse Walker (x2), PopehatMike SiegelRadley Balko, and Mike Chase (in that order).

From the Archives

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It’s amazing to me that supposedly rational adults go around making stupid proclamations like “the commodification of sex is sad”.  For right now, let’s ignore the utterly asinine notion that some small fraction of people feeling “sad” about something is an argument for its criminalization; I’ve already covered that pretty thoroughly elsewhere.  And just for today, let’s ignore the incredible stupidity of the concept that “fair exchange is sad”, which appears to imply that coerced, uneven and unfair exchanges are wonderful; let’s also forget about the fact that such moronic opinions are used as an excuse to send armed thugs to deceive, shame, brutalize, rape, rob, cage and destroy the lives of peaceful adults for the “crime” of consensual sex.  Let’s limit ourselves to examining that childish and ignorant opinion in isolation from its inevitable consequences in a society where the powerful believe they have the right to use violence to inflict their opinions, no matter how utterly imbecilic, on others, and where those with severe malacia of the cranium and vertebrae fervently support their rulers in that belief.  Stripping away those other factors, what we’re left with is this:  Sex IS an exchange, whether you like it or not; it always has been & always will be.  In some unusual & lovely circumstances the exchange is so intimately mutual it seems to cost nothing to either party, but such situations are both rare & very short-lived and people’s needs are neither.  Furthermore, I find it very strange (and, frankly, stupid) that people only reserve words like “sad” for sexual exchanges; nobody goes to see a great movie & then says it was “sad” that they had to pay admission, that the actors were professionals & that the movie made money.  And nobody enjoys a delicious dinner and then claims it’s “sad” they had to pay the check & tip the waiter.  But somehow, sex generates a lot of idiotic Utopian mumbo-jumbo in the minds of otherwise reasonable people (and even more so in the minds of the evil and/or intellectually deficient).  So if you think it’s “sad” sex is subject to economics, I have only four words to say to you:  Grow the fuck up.

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Victimless crime creates the surveillance state.  –  Wendy McElroy

Amazingly Stupid Statements

License to Rape

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

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

Decentralization

Wendy McElroy on bitcoin and consensual crime:

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

Broken Record 

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

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

Imaginary Evils

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

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

Cops and Robbers

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

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

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

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

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

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

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

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

Challenge (#677)

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

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

The Naked Anthropologist (#701) 

Noah Berlatsky reviews Laura Agustín’s new book:

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

The War Goes On 

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

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

I Swear To God (#708)

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

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

Stupor Bowl (#711)

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

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

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