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Posts Tagged ‘cops’

I just had it.  –  Lucas Hinch

This week’s video is…well, see for yourself!  The links above it are from Radley Balko (“law” and “close”), Popehat (“protect”), Jesse Walker (“irony”), Lenore Skenazy (“reading”), and Jason Kuznicki (“government”).

From the Archives

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When sex workers or former sex workers write as academics, their voices can’t be reduced solely to sex.  –  Noah Berlatsky

The Proper Study

Noah Berlatsky on sex workers conducting our own research:

Melissa Gira Grant…is not alone; there are many sex workers and former sex workers who research and analyze sex work from an analytical perspective.  Author, media consultant, and former sex worker Maggie McNeill, for example, discusses common myths about human trafficking…The Red Umbrella Project, a peer-led sex worker advocacy organization, conducted a study of New York City trafficking courts that found police were disproportionately targeting black sex workers and using racial profiling to make arrests…Tara Burns…researched Alaska’s trafficking laws while working toward her Master’s in social justice…Christina Parreira…has continued to work as a sex worker while also pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology…she has…interviewed other workers about how they understand their work…dropbox logo

Saving Them From Themselves

Missouri law enforcement is serving cloud-storage site Dropbox with a search warrant for an account used by area teens suspected of sexting…after school officials heard rumors that students were sharing nude photos via phones and Dropbox…cops interviewed students and seized some of their cell phones.  And what did they find?  No pics.  But…with just a little more privacy infringement, they’re certain they can turn up some nude teen photos…

King of the Hill

Two for one!  “Michigan ranks No. 2 for human trafficking sex trade behind only Nevada…

If Men Were Angels

A chiropractor in…Iowa…has had his license pulled after being accused of trading services for sex with clients and for performing exorcisms…Dr. Charles Manuel voluntarily surrendered his license after the Iowa Board of Chiropractic accused him of unethical conduct…The board also stated that Manuel had instructed some of his patients to stop taking their prescribed medications…

Schadenfreude (#434) 

Voice of America has followed the party line on “sex trafficking” thus far, so it’s nice to see them publishing an interview with super ally Anne Elizabeth Moore:

The garment industry, because there are so few employment options for women, creates this sense of an almost economic imperative..in the U.S. we talk a lot about how horrible it is for women and the sex industry in Cambodia, and how they all are trafficked.  And all the reports are about quoting Somaly Mam, who of course…spent a lot of time talking about how everyone that she worked with in her various foundations was a victim of sex trafficking, when you actually talk to the people that live in her shelters, and/or sought assistance from her, or even people who were…involved in…anti-trafficking organizations elsewhere, what you discover is actually that most of them are not victims of trafficking.  Most of them identified as people who were working either in the sex industry or another industry.  And the opportunity provided to them by the anti-trafficking organizations was simply better than their continued labor in that industry…

Served Cold

Utah based Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) has attracted a great deal of attention since it was first endorsed by Glenn Beck…This new addition to the already crowded field of anti-trafficking organisations “us[es] cutting-edge computer technology…[to] go into the darkest corners of the world to…liberate enslaved children and dismantle the criminal networks.”  It is this type of language that identifies OUR as yet another disturbing example of a “raid-and-rescue” organisation…these interventions represent the latest version of the “white man’s burden”…OUR takes things one step further by sending, essentially, gun-toting vigilantes to foreign countries in the pursuit of “hope and freedom” for enslaved children…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#445) clogs

It would be hard to imagine a more unintentionally-revealing example of mental masturbation than this attempt to entangle the supposed morality of overpriced clogs with welfare-state propaganda and dangerously-prudish Sweden’s wholly-undeserved reputation for sexiness:

Blixt’s wooden shoes are not just “hasbeens’ because of the retro style – it’s also a comeback of retro Swedish sexiness – not the stereotype, but rather the truth.  Outdated stereotypes of Sweden as overly sexualized have reigned for too long.   “I think it’s a misunderstanding,” Blixt remarks. “Sex is one thing, and a naked body is something else; it’s natural.”  When Blixt talks about sexy shoes, she’s speaking of classic Swedish values.  In other words: au natural…Made only with natural materials in good work situations, the shoes are sustainable, durable, and handmade…“We are actually raised to be creative in Sweden, and it’s easy to start a company here with our free education, access to social security, funding and young people who dare to think big,” Blixt reflects. “People learn to dare and believe in their ideas, and that is our hope for the future”…

The smugness is so thick one could cut it with a knife.

Guinea Pigs 

Another software package designed to sell whores out to the cops:

Rescue Forensics claims it “archives massive quantities of data from classified advertisement sites specializing in commercial sex ads.”  It gathers a lot of text, and even more nude and semi-nude photos.  Then it turns all that over to the cops…what Rescue Forensics appears to be selling is just one more tool to help cops track people engaged in sex work through their online activities…there’s a good chance that if you’ve placed an ad online in the last two years for escorting, massage, BDSM, stripping, private modeling, nude housekeeping, selling your underwear, or any other permutation of the various sexual services people can put on offer, Rescue Forensics has a copy.  And because Rescue Forensics has a copy, so do their users in law enforcement…for Dalton, the fight against trafficking isn’t just about finding the people Rescue Forensics believes are “exploited”:  It’s about abolition…Dalton was a policy advisor to Shared Hope International…Dalton himself acknowledges what they’ve built isn’t enough to identify someone who has been trafficked into sex work, and that there’s no way to tell from an ad if someone is forced or coerced…Dalton still stands to profit from a product that can’t make that distinction, placed in the hands of law enforcement officers who…routinely…harass and arrest sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought (#525)

Bad laws never die, even if they appear to have been staked and beheaded:

U.S. Senators…reached a deal on legislation addressing human trafficking.  Passage of the “Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act”…had been delayed for several weeks due to a partisan dispute over abortion funding for trafficking victims.  CBS News explains the complicated compromise, which ultimately does not allow funds allocated under the bill to go toward abortions…there’s still a chance that political maneuvering could doom the legislation…if Republicans force a vote on controversial amendments concerning immigration and other issues…

Precedent

There’s a saying in American politics:  As California goes, so goes the nation.  If that’s true, we may be at the start of a nationwide fight to decriminalize sex work.  The Erotic Service Provider Legal, Education, and Research Project (ESPLERP) filed a federal lawsuit on March 4 that seeks to overturn the criminalization of prostitution in California by arguing that the ban is unconstitutional…because it hinders sex workers’ rights to participate in private and consensual activities…If the lawsuit is successful, California could become the tipping point for the decriminalization of sex work nationwide…the decriminalization argument will acquire powerful legal precedent in the most populous state in the country…it could move the conversation forward even if it fails…The state will almost certainly use trumped-up concerns over human trafficking to put the lawsuit to rest…But…nearly 40 million people live in California.  To even put this issue on the political radar of that many people is a revolutionary act…

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Even though some might say this is just a teenage prank, who knows what this teenager might have done.  –  Chris Nocco

This week’s video needs a little explanation; it’s an Italian musician’s idea of what an American song sounds like, and the suggestion that one is listening to unintelligible English lyrics (rather than pure nonsense) is very powerful.  The video was provided by Michael Whiteacre, who also gave us “brontosaurus”.  The other links were contributed by Radley Balko (“headline”), Jesse Walker (“braid”), Lenore Skenazy (“happens”), and Scott Greenfield (“might”).

From the Archives

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Plain and simple, if you fuck with me, I’m going to break your leg before you get the chance to run.  –  “Officer” Rod Webber

The changes I spoke of on Friday are already helping me to get back on schedule; I finished this early in the afternoon yesterday, around the same time I used to before moving to Seattle (not counting the two-hour time difference).  In a few months we should be going smooth as silk again!  Today’s video was provided by Franklin Harris, and the links above it by Jillian Keenan (“does”), Rick Horowitz  (“coward”), Grace (“ride”), and Mistress Matisse (“execution”).

From the Archives

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From a financial perspective, the American rescue industry may be the third most popular sports franchise in the world.  –  Anne Elizabeth Moore

The Slave-Whore Fantasy 

Yet another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

Peter Hamilton…[was walking his dog when] he heard a woman’s voice coming from across the street…The woman was lying on the porch floor, her hands and feet bound by cloth restraints, duct tape, and handcuffs.  Her pants and underpants were pulled down around her ankles, tangled up in her leg restraints.  She was shaking quite a bit, and had bruises on her arms and legs.  “She said, ‘Help me, I’ve been kidnapped and held hostage for five days.”  She told him that her captor was still in the house — she had managed to wriggle down the stairs while he slept — and that he had a gun and a knife…he began trying to free her from her restraints, using the only tool in his pocket, a nail clipper, to snip away at the duct tape on her hands to get it to tear…That’s when her captor emerged from the doorway…leapt over the woman, and ran past…Later…police would arrest Rejean Perron, and charge him with repeatedly sexually assaulting the woman…between March 31 and April 5…the accused picked up the 27-year-old woman, a sex worker…when she tried to leave, he allegedly threatened her, bound her, and held her captive…

Gateway

Using one consensual “crime” as an excuse to persecute another is like building a house of cards:

The prostitution sting last week…marked at least the third organized crackdown this year by [New Hampshire] police departments in response to complaints about ongoing prostitution in their communities…it was part of a weeks-long enforcement campaign prompted by reports of salacious behavior in an area frequented by young children on their way to school…it points to a trend that has at least remained constant as the state continues to buckle from opiate addiction.  “We’ve been getting a lot more street complaints than before, and we relate that directly to heroin,” said Nick Willard, assistant chief of police in Manchester…

Tyranny By Consensus

One of the nation’s largest suppliers of HIV and AIDS medical care is accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid in an elaborate $20 million dollar scam that spanned 12 states, according to a lawsuit filed in South Florida federal court.  Three former managers of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a suit…alleging the company paid employees and patients kickbacks for patient referrals in an effort to boost funding from federal health programs…The referrals were key to the company’s business model and touted by AHF President Michael Weinstein at a 2013 leadership summit…

An Example To the West (#133)

Some 900 [Korean] sex workers…submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court to repeal the prostitution law, which they say infringes on their rights…In December of 2012, the Seoul Northern District Court asked the Constitutional Court for a constitutional review of the law after a prostitute who was charged made the request.  The crux of the issue is whether prostitution is a profession and cracking down on it violates sex workers’ rights or whether the practice is a public hazard and exposes minors to danger…Chung Kwan-young, a lawyer representing prostitutes, said the law goes against the “principle of minimal intervention” as it punishes a voluntary choice made by adults.  Critics of the law also point out that crackdowns have failed to eradicate prostitution.  Kim Kang-ja, a former chief at the Jongam Police Station who spearheaded crackdowns in the 2000s, said her operations only exacerbated the situation of sex workers…stop closing our windows

Dutch Threat

Hundreds of Amsterdam’s window prostitutes took to the streets yesterday in protest against the city authorities’ attempts to clean up the red light district.  Sex workers say they have been targeted over the years as local politicians try to reinvigorate the area, under the guise of stopping human trafficking.  Some 250 prostitutes and their supporters marched against the latest proposals to shut down more of the city’s brothels.  Since 2008 115 of the 500 windows…have been closed…

Confined and Controlled (#335)

Italian law allows [Rome] to issue an ordinance banning the solicitation of sex on certain streets…Rome City Hall has agreed to…a pilot program that would include greater police surveillance and fines of up to $500…for men caught with a sex worker on a prostitution-free street…the idea is vehemently opposed by Catholic organizations that say it legitimizes the exploitation of women.  Father Aldo Buonaiuto [wants imposition of the Swedish model]…

Uncommon Sense (#404)

The Assembly of Sex Work Pro-rights Activists of Catalonia, is made up of sex workers and allies…“We are the most stigmatised and criminalised group of women in society,” said Montse Neira, one of the group’s founders…“From now on, nobody else is going to speak for us”…Paula Vip from…Asociación de Profesionales del Sexo (Aprosex) [said] “The violence we face doesn’t come from our clients, but from the institutions that govern based on the interest of a moral minority.  From now on, we prostitutes will be organised, convinced, ready to fight and ready for war”…

Prudesville

Yes, these are actual adults panicking over coffee stands:

…From the way…bikini baristas have been in the firing line of [Washington state] officials, you’d think this was the first time anyone combined nearly nude women and food.  But practically the same controversy continues to pop up in headlines across America:  Girls want to serve coffee mostly naked, people want to buy it, someone wants to stop it…Buxom girls and fast food have been lumped together since topless servers started waiting on San Franciscans in the 60s…and Hooters…has been around since 1983…To Mike Fagan, a Spokane city councilman who just saw a voter-led initiative to restrict bikini baristas flop…[the] model is too risqué not to regulate.  But he says he’s taken heat for trying to impose a moral code on local businesses…If they’re not offensive, he wonders, why then are school-buses being rerouted so kids won’t see the coffee stands?…“I think bikini baristas are sex workers, because their work involves using sexual appeal,” says…Savannah Sly…“Because they may be stigmatized or their place of employment scrutinized due to the erotic nature of the work, I deem it worthy of the label of sex work.”  Sly says some might argue that bikini baristas aren’t sex workers because they don’t strip, touch customers, or explicitly talk about sex.  But…“a lot of people who do phone sex and cam work…also don’t do sexual stuff for a lot of their clients”…

We Told You So (#509)

Another great article from Anne Elizabeth Moore:

The images are compelling:  young, White women, bound and bedraggled, alone and vulnerable.  The first-person tales are equally attention-grabbing:  rape, emotional abuse, graft, torture…Yet what we can definitively state about [the rescue industry]…makes for a much less satisfying narrative…the 50 most prominent anti-trafficking organizations in the United States…command over half a billion dollars every year, and focus primarily on sex trafficking, as opposed to the far more pressing global concern of labor trafficking.  Fundraising pitches for these groups rest largely on the recitation of widely disputed statistics, many of which have been entirely disproven…The claims are ludicrous.  Even if the number of rescues was believable, it represents approximately a quarter of all the cases of sex trafficking worldwide reported to the US Department of State…This would make the United States the global hotbed of sex slavery…

Broken Record (#519)

sex workers’ safety could be at risk if police launch sweeps to clean up city streets heading into this summer’s Pan Am Games…fears over potential trafficking during sports competitions are typically overblown and sometimes serve as excuses to round up local and foreign sex workers…a stronger police presence could have a “harsh impact” on street-based sex workers, who would be forced to work in more isolated — and potentially unsafe — conditions…a study examining the impact of the Vancouver Olympics suggests there was no significant influx of sex workers or reports of a spike in trafficking there.  The survey of sex workers found there was less demand for their services, possibly due to the difficulty in meeting clients…

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Thing of the Past

Once I let a man wing by without references; he claimed to be a lawyer who would bring his business card along.  But instead of a safe, elderly client, what I got instead was a whole squad of cop cars and repeated pounding on my door.  I wasn’t stupid enough to open it, and eventually they left.  I moved immediately, and never again will I trust an unscreened client.  But with MyRedBook gone, I am leery of references; I’m desperately looking for an alternative, but my hopes aren’t high.  Do you have any screening procedures you could recommend, now that references are becoming a thing of the past?

magnifying glassReferences are a great method of screening, but not the only way.  You could try running a client’s name through Intellius or a similar “background check” service, or simply Googling it; alas, you can only get really good results from either of those if the client is willing to give you his full name, age and address, and anyone who is reluctant to give references may be equally reluctant to provide other screening info.  P411 uses employment screening, and you can do it yourself just as they do; simply call the client’s work and ask to speak to Mr. So-and-So, then make sure the man you’re connected to is the one you spoke to before.  If you have never heard of the company, you need to check up on it in the phone book and online; cops can create fake companies, but such fakes won’t have any kind of history in public records.  The most important kind of screening, though, is your gut; talk to the man on the phone and see how you feel about him.  If he seems creepy, cocky, suspicious or overly interested in details, or even if he just sets off your alarm bells in  way you can’t adequately define, you may want to pass on seeing him.  Of course, some cops are such practiced sociopaths that they can lie to their victims and seem perfectly normal while doing it, so you will probably want to take the final precaution of not revealing your exact address until he arrives nearby at the proper time and calls you.  Not giving an exact location in advance makes it much harder for cops to organize the kind of nasty trick they pulled on you before.  If you really want to be cautious, you could even meet the client in a nearby cafe or the like, so that you can look him in the eye and feel him out before taking the final step of letting him in your door.

Remember, long before the advent of the internet, we relied on our instincts to screen clients, and we mostly did pretty well.  And now that our enemies are attacking the external methods by which we protect ourselves, the old ones supplied by Mother Nature are becoming much more important again.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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[To politicians] a stripper is a sex-trafficker is a source of state revenue.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Bad Girls 

A Nevada brothel worker and an armored truck employee conspired to take at least $100,000 from the former’s workplace over several months…Shiva Zamiri and Jessie Aulelava were arrested…Zamiri started working as the brothel’s bookkeeper last September, and that money was stolen within weeks of her being on the job.  A person close to Zamiri identified the unnamed brothel as Sheri’s Ranch…

Out of Control (The Camel’s Nose) another spooge sneaker

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a spooge sneaker:

A man has admitted to ejaculating into a female colleague’s coffee several times  – but says he fancied her and hoped it would make her notice him.  Robert John Lind, of Blaine, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to ejaculating into his colleague’s coffee and over her desk on a number of occasions last year.  The woman said she had an ongoing issue with her coffee tasting foul before she caught Lind with his hands near his genitals and a “deer in the headlights” expression near her desk.  The victim then noticed, “a large amount of clear liquid on…her desk”…

Gateway

Cops blatantly lie to justify persecuting peaceful, consensual behavior:

Six men were caught up in a prostitution sting over the weekend by vice and narcotics agents of the Clarksville [Tennessee] Police Department…The ongoing effort is designed not only to reduce this type of activity but also to prevent assaults and robberies against the solicitors.  This has become commonplace with online prostitution as the men become easy targets when they are directed to [incalls, a cop mouthpiece lied]…

A Modest Proposal

An hour with London escort Kamillah is $450. But for $100 more, she’ll enter into a nikah mut’ah—a temporary marriage that some Shia say makes sex outside of marriage permissible…Among [her] reviews…[one] satisfied customer concludes: “Allahu Akbar! Had the best mutah experience everr [sic]”…

Saving Them From Themselves

Because “sending a message” is more important than human life:

Four Chicago-area teenagers faces felony child-pornography charges after uploading a video of themselves having sex to Twitter…Both the sex and the posting of the video were consensual—this is not a rape or “revenge porn” scenario.  But…minors who post sexually-oriented images of themselves online or even share them privately with one another can be charged as child pornographers…Who benefits from branding these teens sex predators for life because they dared to explore their sexuality?…

The Biggest Whores (#134)

Alternative fee arrangements are all the rage.  But beware in Indiana, because the courts have drawn the line at seeking “sex or fellatio in exchange for providing legal services,” suspending a lawyer for a year, without automatic reinstatement, for propositioning an arrested prostitute in exchange for representation…Christopher A. Hollander, worked as a public defender and used the access provided by his position to score the phone number of an unnamed sex worker that he’d previously admired in the classified section…he called her up and offered his services…intending to barter.  The exchange never happened because when Hollander met with the prostitute, it turned out to be an undercover cop…Hollander got pinched by a bunch of overzealous cops who seemingly substituted “shits and giggles” for “probable cause” or “reasonable suspicion”…[the cops had stolen the woman’s phone and intercepted his texts]…All they know is that a lawyer claimed to have learned of an accused woman’s plight from a friend of hers and offered representation.  There’s absolutely nothing shady about this text…With absolutely no reason to suspect anything but the exercise of someone’s constitutional right to counsel, the cops decided to impersonate the alleged prostitute to set up a meeting with the lawyer.  You know, because defending accused criminals is suspicious activity…

The Auctioneer Effect

Grandstanding female politician in Nevada introduces yet another ludicrous “sex trafficking commode sign” bill.  Another grandstanding female politician tries to one-up her by demanding castration as the penalty for “sex trafficking” so as to discourage “these pimps”.  Sponsoring politician then huffs that her bill is VEWWY SEEWIUSS and berates second politician for her ball-cutting fantasy.  Second politician then doubles down…

The Mote and the Beam (#419)

Remember, sex work was recriminalized in Rhode Island less than six years ago, largely due to the efforts of cops who wanted in on the “sex trafficking” gravy train:

…police set up [fake]…escort ads…and [entrapped] nearly two dozen men…Providence Police Chief Hugh T. Clements Jr…[bloviated] “Many of these girls are being used, they are being forced into it because of addictions, forced into it by boyfriends and pimps”…Mayor Jorge Elorza…[pretended that] he’s reviewing possible legal action that could be taken against Backpage.com…”It’s dangerous,” Clements said. “We want to send a message to these girls, do not use this page to make money.  They could be victims”…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#420)

The Georgia House of Representatives just approved a constitutional amendment to make strip clubs pay for the state’s fight against child sex-trafficking…The amendment’s proponents have barely even bothered to justify why strip club owners should be liable for footing this particular bill.  Imagine the outrage if lawmakers were trying similar shenanigans on any other category of business—soliciting an annual fee from gas stations to fight rape, say, or forcing podiatrists to subsidize drunk-driving checkpoints…all adult-entertainment businesses would have to pay $5,000 per year or 1 percent of their revenue, whichever is greater, into a state fund…The bill’s text suggests that consuming alcohol and looking at naked women may entice strip club customers to go forth and sexually exploit children and hence the fee is “necessary” and “reasonable.”  It also suggests that strip clubs are a popular venue for shopping for child sex slaves.

Another Fine Mess

Once again:  ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy when hookers use them:

Zimbabwean sex workers…are now embracing mobile payment service…in a bid to safeguard their payments…from…clients [who]… violently demand their money back…The sex workers are also able to send pictures and videos of cases of abuse or violence to rights campaigners using social media and other instant messaging platforms…

Property of the State (#512) Purvi Patel

The first woman to be sentenced for killing a foetus has been handed a 20-year prison term for feticide and neglect of a dependent, despite claiming she gave birth to a stillborn baby.  Purvi Patel was bleeding heavily when she entered a hospital emergency room in Indiana in 2013 after giving birth unexpectedly in her bathroom…The prosecution also claimed that Patel had ordered drugs to induce an abortion on the internet [sic].  However, a toxicology report did not find any evidence of the drugs in her system.  Patel is the second woman to be charged with feticide in the US, but the first to receive a prison sentence.  She was prosecuted under state laws that are [supposedly] intended at targeting illegal abortion providers and prosecuting crimes against pregnant women…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#523)

It’s good to see the mainstream media publishing truth about at least one form of sex work:

…Porn is condemned regularly for a rise in labioplasty procedures, a cosmetic surgery that anti-porn activists would have audiences believe is sweeping the globe.  The organization Fight the New Drug is entirely devoted “to raising awareness on [porn’s] harmful effects using science, facts, and personal accounts” and almost-charming attempts at youth lingo.  They even tell readers that they’re going to “drop some truth bombs” in a listicle called “Ten Porn Stats That Will Blow Your Mind.”  Because if there is one thing the young folks can’t get enough of (besides porn) it is a mind-blowing listicle using ancient studies that weren’t peer reviewed.  But recent studies looking at porn consumption and depictions of sex in porn actually reveal that it is hardly the life-ruining, woman-hating, healthy-sex-murdering specter we’ve been warned about for so long…

Guinea Pigs

New forms of tyranny are often tested on sex workers first:

…Oregon entrepreneur Lawrence George Owen…owned one restaurant, eight strip clubs, and two adult-video stores in the Portland area…Owen installed ATM machines…and sometimes, customers used the cash to privately pay some strippers for sex.  Now Owen faces federal charges for “conspiring to use interstate commerce” in promotion of prostitution…[as] the result…of a nine year joint-effort by Portland’s vice squad and the FBI…Promoting prostitution is only a federal crime under certain circumstances, such as when the perpetrator transports or coerces an individual across state lines for prostitution purposes.  Using mail, telephone calls, or other “facilities of interstate commerce” in service of prostitution will also do the trick.  But the FBI has no evidence that Owen enticed or transported strip-club employees from outside Oregon, nor that he used mail or telephone calls to help facilitate their prostitution efforts.  When the FBI wants to make a case against someone, however, they’ll find a way. In this case, the FBI decided that ATM machines count as “facilities of interstate commerce”…

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