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Posts Tagged ‘Craigslist’

When sex trafficking is somehow construed as the “natural consequence” of virtually any action, virtually no person or entity is safe from the threat of liability.  –  Alex Yelderman

Surplus Women

The Swedish model protects women!

[A sex worker was] found dead on Christmas morning…partially burned and stripped…near the pond of Font Merle, in Mougins [France.  Cops are]…trying to find out “who gravitated around this young woman” [in hopes of persecuting her clients or friends]…

Monsters

Yet TERFs want you to believe trans women are the dangerous ones:

David Bogdanov…is accused of second-degree murder in the [strangling] death of Nikki Kuhnhausen, a [Vancouver, Washington] teenager who had been missing since June…Bogdanov and Kuhnhausen appear to have first spent time together June 5 — the same day she last had contact with her family…Bogdanov [admitted]…that Kuhnhausen told him she was biologically male at some point after he picked her up from an apartment on the morning of June 6…He [claims that he then] asked Kuhnhausen to get out of his car…and…that was the last time he saw her.  [But] Bogdanov’s phone records [place him]…near Larch Mountain in east Clark County…[where] On Dec. 7, a passerby…found a human skull…[which] forensic analysis confirmed…[as] Kuhnhausen[‘s]…

Policing for Profit

Cops will never stop doing this as long as the state keeps giving them pretexts:

…St. Charles County [Missouri cops] coerced at least 39…motorists into signing over their assets in 2018…[the pigs] would lie in wait for a car [driven by a minority person, then accuse them of] committing a minor traffic violation…[the pigs] would then…direct them to a private towing lot owned by Superior Towing…[where they would] search the vehicle, all in the hopes of finding large amounts of cash..[they would then get a] dog [to bark, claiming that meant drugs were present, and give]…the motorists two options: they could go to jail, or sign their possessions away to the department and leave with a traffic ticket.  In the 39 documented stops, no criminal charges were filed.  A third of the targets were stopped and taken to the lot after midnight…nearly half of the drivers had either Hispanic or Asian surnames…Missouri…asset forfeiture laws…require…criminal conviction…before forfeiture, and the assets are supposed to go towards schools, not [pigs, but]…the federal Equitable Sharing program…[lets pigs violate state law].  A legislative effort to close this loophole and force [pigs to follow]…state law was defeated this year after the local police lobby quietly campaigned against it, calling it “anti-police”…

Torture Chamber

Just in case you thought screws restricted their petty sadism to the prisoners:

New York City has agreed to [steal] $12.5 million dollars [from taxpayers] to settle a class action lawsuit by people who were subject to invasive strip searches while visiting loved ones in jail…In the most serious cases, [screws digitally raped] women…or forced them to drop their pants and show their sanitary napkins…each person is entitled to up to $4,000 in damages…The city has also agreed to [tell] all [screws not to rape or humiliate people who aren’t prisoners]…[but] individual [screws] named in the lawsuit…[will not] be disciplined…

He or She? (#512)

Surprising absolutely no trans people:

Transgender children…start to identify with toys and clothes typical of their gender identity from a very young age, a recent study suggests.  And their confidence in their gender identity is generally as strong as that of cisgender children…researchers interviewed 317 transgender children, ages 3 to 12, and 189 of the children’s siblings.  They also interviewed 316 cisgender kids…The transgender kids showed strong preferences for toys and clothing typically associated with their gender identity, not their assigned sex…[and those] preferences didn’t appear to differ based on how long they had lived as their current gender.  Transgender kids also didn’t appear to have preferences much different from cisgender children with the same gender identity…The similarities among transgender and cisgender children were surprising [to cisgender people who believe in the tabula rasa doctrine]…

Amateur Night

This sounds like somebody who followed my repeated advice to older virgins:

Five years ago I wrote an essay for Salon about being a 33-year-old virgin…I wrote about how not having sex is not weird, and that if you haven’t met the right one, to not let bitterness and anger overtake you…I was wrong…last October I bought a plane ticket to Las Vegas…[did] the seven-hour drive to the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, and…lost my virginity…It was fine. It was fun…Sex is not a big deal.  Stop waiting.  Have it.  Experience it.  Enjoy it…It’s normal…staying away from sex all those years was like banning myself from the grocery store.  It’s not the end of the world to have sex with someone you have no connection with.  Also, we need to stop the stigma against sex workers.  I had a great time at the ranch.  It did wonders for me mentally.  I used to think I’d be ashamed if I lost it to a prostitute.  Not at all. I was given a great experience and was handled with real care…I’m dating now…and life is good…I [used to] let my fear of…doing it with someone I don’t care for block me from making connections with women…I put that wall up.  Life didn’t change.  I did…

A Moral Cancer (#790)

Prohibitionism is a mental illness:

[Irish] supermarket customers face a ban on using loyalty card points to buy alcohol under new regulations…aimed at [making it harder for poor people to buy] alcohol [under the excuse of]…health…

I Spy (#903) 

The US is following in the footsteps of China:

When Syracuse University freshmen walk into professor Jeff Rubin’s…class…Bluetooth beacons…connect with a…[compulsory] app on their smartphones and boost their “attendance points”.  And when they skip class…the…app…log[s] their absence into a campus database that tracks them over time and can sink their grade…campuswide WiFi networks are empowering colleges across the United States to track hundreds of thousands of students…Dozens of schools now use such technology to monitor students’ academic performance, analyze their conduct or assess their mental health…[only a few] professors and education advocates [recognize]…the systems [as] a new low in intrusive technology, breaching students’ privacy on a massive scale…[to power a Chinese-style “social credit”] system…[to] infantilize students in the very place where they’re expected to grow into adults, further training them to see surveillance as a normal part of living, whether they like it or not…

Loose Cannons (#982)

Florida prosecutors are desperately trying to wipe the egg off of their faces:

Florida prosecutors…[are now pretending that] Robert Kraft’s…two misdemeanor c[harges] of soliciting prostitution…[magic]ally co[nstitute] a felony [because they say so, thus ensuring that Kraft’s lawyers are highly motivated to work even harder to destroy the state’s case if]…the state wins its appeal of a lower court order [dismissing the evidence cops obtained with lies and an illegal warrant]…Observers across the country view it as a constitutional test that pits police powers to [terrorize consenting adults]…against individual privacy rights…

Quiet Genocide (#989)

Oh look, Western nations are starting to notice a genocide in progress:

Western coverage of one of China’s worst human rights abuses…has [very slightly] increased over the past year.  Satellite images revealed the Government destroying scores of traditional burial grounds belonging to Uighurs in northwest Xinjiang; drone footage revealed hundreds of blindfolded and shackled men being transferred to detention camps; and just last month, secret Chinese Government documents revealed how the regime was instructed to deal with the ethnic minority.  But [even] less…reported on is…a forced-living arrangement between Han Chinese men and Uighur women that…[constitutes] mass rape…[which] the Government claims [is] designed to promote harmony between the different cultural groups…The [Newspeak term for the mass rape scheme is]…the “Pair Up and Become Family” program…Rushan Abbas, a Uighur activist…[explained that] “The Government is offering money, housing and jobs to Han people to come and marry Uighur people.  Neither the girls nor their families can reject such a marriage because they will be [treated]…by Chinese authorities…as Islamic extremists for not wanting to marry atheist Han Chinese…

To Molest and Rape (#998)

Another specimen of the garbage the state pays to violate teenagers:

A [typical and representative pig Arizona hired to terrorize teenagers in] school…now faces multiple criminal charges [for molesting a teenage girl]…Yuma police arrested Bobby Garcia on numerous charges including [trying to hide evidence]…Police…receiv[ed] a complaint against [Garcia in May, but didn’t arrest him until December]…

Crying for Nanny (#998)

The hotel industry is really going to regret having collaborated with fanatics rather than fighting “sex trafficking” hysteria:

A case challenging FOSTA on constitutional grounds was dismissed on grounds that none of the plaintiffs…could demonstrate a credible threat of prosecution, civil liability, or redressable harm…Three recently-filed civil lawsuits have soundly refuted th[at claim]…Two of the federal  cases that will potentially implicate FOSTA were filed in state courts, one in Washington and the other in California…Craigslist [has] removed [both] case[s] to federal court, on grounds that 18 U.S.C. § 1595 creates a federal (not state) cause of action…The cases are essentially the same, with sections of their respective complaints copied verbatim…and…do not allege that craigslist knew anything about them specifically being trafficked…but rather claim that the website [should have shut itself down]…once [fanatics started spreading ridiculous myths and wanking fantasies about]…its ongoing operation “amount[ing] to a venture with sex traffickers to efficiently market victims”…This is a radical theory of liability, and…shows the Woodhull plaintiffs’ fear to be entirely reasonable…The third case…was filed in Georgia by an attorney who has also sued Facebook, Instagram, Backpage, and Salesforce, among others…the charges against Salesforce were dismissed due to the Section 230 immunity)…[if] the…[expansive] view of “natural consequences” [upon which these cases are based] is [allowed to stand]…there is no limiting factor in sight…

There is also another lawsuit in Texas.

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If [TV] producers were courageous, they would’ve done a show about undercover vice cops…raping and extorting sex workers.  –  Ron Kim

Elephant in the Parlor

The notion that a politician would be “shocked” by the existence of sex workers is absurd even for the UK press:

[Politician] Dave Craker was approached by [a] sex worker while [politicking]…earlier this year [and used the supposed incident to argue for more harassment of them.  He pretended to be]…shocked [because it was] 10.30am on a Saturday [and he apparently thinks Englishmen shouldn’t have sexual urges at that time]…

Torture Chamber

Just in case you thought screws restricted their petty sadism to the prisoners:

An 8-year-old girl was stripped naked and [molested by Virginia screws using the excuse of a] search…after she was [coerced by being told that] refusal would result in not being allowed to see her father…The girl was accompanied by her father’s girlfriend, who is not her legal guardian.  If they refused to [submit to the pretextual molestation], they could have been banned from the prison…Daniel Macallair…of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice [said]…“this is an act of child abuse”…[a spokespig thinks everthing is excused by claiming] the [screw] who approved the search didn’t have that authority…

To Molest and Rape

It’s good to see the phrase “rapist cop” outside of my oeuvre:

A [cop who] rap[ed] two women and sexually assault[ed] a third…told one of his victims he liked when she fought back…Anthony Westerman…[of] Baltimore…lured one woman to his home after meeting her at a bar by telling her he planned to call her an Uber [because she had passed out drunk]…but instead…he raped [her]…Another…victim…was [foolishly] drinking at Westerman’s home…when she fell asleep in his spare bedroom…Westerman later woke her up and raped her…

Do I really need to say “don’t get drunk with one either”?

Dark Corners (#702)

Funny how nail techs are only “trafficked” in the UK, but not the US:

A police raid on five nail bars in Southwark [arrested] 24 [migrant women, who were labelled] victims of human trafficking and…14 [other] people [who were labelled “traffickers”.  Those who were labeled “victims”]…were taken to a nearby [detainment] centre where they [are being held for deportation, while the others were put in regular jail]…

Keep in mind that despite many huge and expensive raids, the UK has never found more than a single-digit number of cases of genuine exploitation; these are actually just immigration raids cloaked under the pretense of “rescue”.

Shift in the Wind (#764)

Support for decriminalization is becoming the norm among economists:

…When sex work is decriminalized, violence against women declines…pro[hibitionists now tend to support]…the so-called Nordic model [which infantilizes or even institutionalizes]…sex workers…[and] prosecut[es their friends, family members, employees,] managers and customers…[has absolutely no] support from sex workers, who [explain] that it complicates their screening procedures for customers and drives sex work underground.  This jibes with economic theory, which suggests that the costs of any limitation on the market fall on those with the fewest options, whether buyers or sellers…research confirms just how powerful this effect can be.  Economists studied Craigslist…[and found its] expansion…into a market “led to a 10% to 17% reduction in female homicides.”  To be clear, that figure is not homicides among sex workers…but…all women in the area…A 2014 study of…decriminalization of indoor sex work in Rhode Island…found…a 30% drop in rapes.  This isn’t mere correlation:  Both the Rhode Island and Craigslist studies use several methods designed to identify causation…

Against Their Will (#799)

The awful Law & Order: SVU once again uses sex workers to spread copaganda:

It’s been two years since…Yang Song fell four stories to her death from an apartment window [while fleeing] a police raid on [her workplace] in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens…Just before her fatal fall, a [pig] attempted to arrest her [for consensual] sex…Recently, an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit pla[giariz]ed…[the] scen[ario while insulting the victim’s memory to spread]…anti-trafficking rescue [fantasies.  In the Hollywood version]…one woman…attempts to flee by climbing out of a window to a fire escape..and…is saved by [a prosecutor instead of being raped and caged as she wold be in real life]…the show feeds us a white savior fantasy version of the very real [persecution of] Asian-run spas that offer sexual services…across the country.  The same savior narrative fuels the real-life raids and busts, in which Asian migrant massage workers are [pretend]ed to be victims of some massive sex-trafficking ring in need of rescue…

If you’re keeping track, they’ve previously done this to Belle Knox and Suzy Favor Hamilton.

If It Were Legal (#874)

If not for stigma, he could simply have hired a domme:

…Rutledge Deas IV, known as Rory, posted an add on job app UrbanSitter claiming he needed a carer to look after his disabled 18 year-old brother…Cory…But…”Cory” was actually Rory, with the unsuspecting babysitter caring for him 10 times…The carer grew suspicious a[fter] Deas…[became erect when she changed his diaper]…the man who hired her refused to meet, and instead paid her through Apple Pay or…Venmo.  The woman looked up Deas’ publicly-visible payment history on Venmo, and saw a profile with the name Rory Deas featuring a photo of the man she knew as Cory.  She reported the…deception to UrbanSitter, who closed Deas’s account down.  The woman also called police…Deas is believed to have hired at least three other carers…Orleans Parish…charged [Deas] with 10 counts of human trafficking and sexual battery…

“Human trafficking”.  Still wonder why those claimed numbers are so huge?

Torture Chamber (#966) 

Just another state-funded rape camp in Florida; nothing to see here:

For years, male [screws] at…Coleman Federal [cage stack]…sexually harassed and [raped helpless women]…[and] were [intentionally] shielded from any consequences…Fourteen women, ranging in age from 30 to 56…have banded together to sue the United States…over the abuse…seven of the women are still [locked in cages like animals]…women [a]re coerced and threatened…[by screws] to submit [to rape].  The [rapist screws]…would at times display computer screens showing the women the exact location of their families, a pointed [threat] that their relatives could be [raped or murdered] if the women didn’t cooperate.  Some of the women had minor children.  In some cases, [screws thought they could still show up whenever they wanted to rape]…the women after they had [been released from the cages]…[at least] seven [screws belonged to the rapist gang]…some of [whom] had been [supposedly] investigated for sexual abuse in the past, with nothing coming of it…At least one victim…was [forced] to begin birth control to avoid the possibility of becoming pregnant [due to repeated rape]…One reason the women didn’t come forward until now was a prison policy calling for anyone who complained to be sent to the county jail…[under pretense of] maintain[ing] the women’s safety…[but in actuality] as punishment since a county jail is far more restrictive than a federal [rape & torture] camp…

Crying for Nanny (#968)

The hotel industry is really going to regret having collaborated with fanatics rather than fighting “sex trafficking” hysteria:

A western Washington woman who [pretend]s she was forced into a [BDSM fantasy] world of sex trafficking at age 12 is now suing area hotels and Craigslist for being complicit in the crimes.  [She fanasizes] pimps would advertise her on Craigslist under “erotic” or “adult” services categories, drawing in two to 20 men a day to rape her…[blah blah, “signs of trafficking“, blah blah Motel 6, blah blah Mar Brettman snake oil]…

As usual, the claims are sufficiently in the past for all evidence to be gone.  But if this woman had actually done any kind of sex work, she’d know what an absurd claim “20 clients per day” is.

Welcome to the Future (#971)

Do I really need to tell y’all that “don’t talk to cops except to demand your lawyer” also includes written statements?

SCAN (Scientific Content Analysis) is a lie-detecting method invented by Avinoam Sapir, a former Israeli spook turned polygraph examiner that involves picking out small textual details from writing samples to determine when someone is lying…SCAN has no empirical support, and is so outlandish that it has hardly been studied by third parties at all.  However, each time it was studied, it was found to perform no better than chance…Despite this, SCAN is widely deployed in the US and abroad…by police departments and spies…[because it pretends to confirm cops’] “belief…that they can tell when someone is lying to them with a high degree of accuracy”…SCAN has all the hallmarks of a junk-science scam, including claims by the inventor that he has secret and/or nonspecific studies to prove his product’s efficacy, and a website filled with anonymous testimonials…

To Molest and Rape (#987) 

Hey, female cops; how’s that collaboration with the police state working out?

…[Philadelphia pig trainer] Carl Holmes…[groomed] Patricia Diaz…[so when she] confid[ed] her fears [about being sexually harassed by her boss and other swine] Holmes [molested]…and groped her…tell[ing]…her…no one would believe “some little bitch”…In the 15 years [since] Holmes grew more powerful, rising to the rank of chief inspector, while also [sexual]ly assaulting two other female cops…His [blatant] crimes were well known to officials in the Philadelphia Police Department, the District Attorney’s Office, and City Hall…But in October, District Attorney Larry Krasner [finally] charged Holmes with sexual assault and related offenses…Holmes’ conduct…[went previously unstopped due to] systemic [properties] that [intentionally] shielded him and other top police officials…even as Holmes cost taxpayers more than $1.3 million in lawsuit settlements…

The system isn’t “flawed”; it’s doing exactly what it was designed to do: let politicians and their henchmen get away with whatever they want while destroying the lives of those they choose as victims.

Quiet Genocide (#989)

Just in case you doubted this was about total genocide:

…Chinese scientists are trying to find a way to use a DNA sample to create an image of a person’s face…to…build…a tool that could be used [in]…racial profiling and other state discrimination against Uighurs…In the long term…it may even be possible for the…government to feed images produced from a DNA sample into [its] mass surveillance and facial recognition systems…at least two Chinese scientists working…on the technology have received funding from [racist] institutions in Europe.  International scientific journals have published their findings without examining the…ethical questions raised by [forcibly] collecting such samples in Xinjiang…scientists and human rights activists say the Chinese government is exploiting the [naivety] of the international scientific community to harness research into the human genome for [totalitarian] purposes.  Already, China is exploring using facial recognition technology to sort people by ethnicity…[and] how to use DNA to tell if a person is a Uighur…The Chinese government is building… “technologies used for hunting people,” said [Dr] Mark Munsterhjelm…who tracks Chinese interest in the technology…the Chinese police…have already gathered millions of DNA samples in Xinjiang

The Monsters Are Due (#996)

We’re getting very close to implosion:

Nazario Garcia was gunned down…in his white work van…in the parking lot of a…[Memphis, Tennessee] Goodwill store…he…was parked…when Favian and Miguel Effinger showed up…[and murdered] Garcia “without provocation”…He tried to get away but lost control…and crashed into a shopping cart, ending up on the curb.  Before the shooting…the brothers’ mother, Gjuandell Effinger, sent a video on social media — [fantasizing] the occupant of a white van with the same tag number as Garcia had tried to abduct her from the parking lot of a nearby Walmart…Effinger’s Facebook page shows post after post she shared from other users [fantasiz]ing about white vans being used for sex trafficking…[and other fantasies] about abducted children and women…Miguel and Favian are charged with first degree murder.  Their mother is charged with solicitation of first degree murder…

“Shit just got real”, all right.  Of course, it didn’t need to end in murder to be more “real” than these silly BDSM sex fantasies.

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Many people have used Craigslist to find a “causal encounter”, and some of them got lured into police sting operations.  I’m trying to determine what fraction of the stuff that used to be posted to that section (before Craigslist closed it a few months ago) was real, and what percentage prostitution (as opposed to a real, no strings attached encounter).

All sexual encounters which actually happen are as “real” as one another; being paid for sex does not magically make the ensuing sex imaginary.  Lots of people used Craigslist to advertise seeking or offering sex, and they had a plethora of different motivations; it’s a prohibitionist mentality to pretend that a pragmatic motivation for sex draws a bright, clear line between that sex and other sex.  You seem to want to exploit that imaginary difference to argue that cops stalking and victimizing people for sex in which no currency is directly exchanged is somehow different and worse than them stalking people who make a clear and honest exchange.  I can’t help you with that, and I wouldn’t if I could; the only assistance I can offer is to tell you that most scams only work on those with “larceny in their hearts”, i.e. those trying to get something for nothing.  Men seeking sex would be wise to stop trolling around trying to get it for “free” (the most expensive kind) or cheap, do their research, and deal only with known providers with established reputations.  Furthermore, the idea that sex work can be dependably differentiated from what you call “real sex” is not only wrong philosophically, but also practically; because sex work is only distinguished by its motivation, any procedure intended to ensnare sex workers and/or clients will also ensnare lots of other people.  The only way to ensure that no amateurs are caught up in prostitution stings is to do away with prostitution stings, and the only way to do that is to completely decriminalize all forms of sex work.

(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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Fucking over sex workers is a way [Democrats] can be bipartisan.
– Sean McElwee

Life Imitates Artifice

Prohibitionist tactics remain the same no matter what they’re trying to prohibit:

Members of Congress…held a press conference…to announce a letter signed by 56 GOP lawmakers calling for investigations into a report from discredited anti-choice group Live Action Network accusing Planned Parenthood of covering up child sexual abuse…[this] follows a familiar game plan, including coordination between an anti-choice activist group and Republican lawmakers.  This round of attacks come as the Trump administration looks to reinstate a…restriction blocking federal family planning funds from organizations that provide abortion services in the same location as Title X-funded services…The Live Action report…includes discredited and extensively edited “sting” footage originally reported in 2008 and 2011…

This laudatory article from Christian Post has a bit more meat:

Laura J. Lederer, president of Global Centurion…[fantasized] that abortions and the sex trade are “inextricably linked.”   She recently conducted a study…in which the findings revealed that approximately 30 percent the trafficking victims surveyed reported multiple abortions.  Traffickers would routinely threaten their lives and beat them if they became pregnant, Lederer said.  One survivor whose abuse was especially brutal at the hands of her trafficker “said that she had 17 abortions over the time she was trafficked, all of them at the same clinic”…

I’m honestly surprised that the “forced sex trafficking abortions” myth didn’t become more popular, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore and anti-abortion activism.

Moloch 

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

…18-year-old Mariea Starr…[of] Waynesboro, Pennsylvania…was caught by another student allegedly performing oral sex on a boy in a school stairwell…Because Starr had turned 18 two months before the incident and the boy she allegedly engaged in oral sex with…was [16, school pig Matthew Gordon]…charged [Starr] with…felony unlawful contact with minors which carries a Tier II sex offender designation…for 25 years, including being photographed by Pennsylvania State Police twice a year…Gordon brought the case without oversight from the district attorney’s office or school district administration because in Pennsylvania [pigs have absolute power to inflict charges on students]…Franklin County District Attorney Matthew Fogal…reduced the charges against Starr to open lewdness.  She was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and will not be placed on the registry.  Nonetheless, Starr will graduate from high school with a criminal record, which will significantly affect her educational and job opportunities…Starr is far from the only student that Gordon…has [fed] into the criminal justice system…

Dirty Laundry

And yet the Times supports the evil of Ruhama, the Magdalene orders’ rebranding:

…220 survivors of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries convened for a state-sponsored meeting in Dublin…The laundries were filled not only with “fallen women” — prostitutes, women who became pregnant out of marriage or as a result of sexual abuse and those who simply failed to conform — but also orphans and deserted or abused children…The Magdalene Laundries were part of an interlocking system of orphanages, industrial schools, “mother and baby homes” for unwed mothers and church-run institutions in which Ireland…confined…At least 10,000 women and girls…between independence from Britain in 1922 and the closing of the last one in 1996…

The Spiral of Absurdity 

Why do reporters repeat this egregious nonsense without fact-checking?

A sting on the sex-trafficking trade in metro Atlanta netted dozens of arrests and the rescue of dozens of children forced into sexual servitude, the FBI announced…Operation Safe Summer was a collaborative effort between the FBI’s Atlanta field office and 38 law enforcement agencies…The sting ended with nearly 160 children rescued, including one as young as 3 years old, and nearly 150 arrests, convictions or sentences…

Really?  If cops had really discovered 160 kids being held hostage, this would be international news, not a minor local story.  Looks to me like some mouthpiece repeated the number of arrests as the number of “rescued children”.

Between the Ears (#407)

Velvet Swing is the first female sex aid that actually works:

…it’s not exactly surprising that [Mistress Matisse] ended up in the cannabis industry…It’s even less surprising that her first product is a weed lube, called Velvet Swing.  While weed lube—rightly touted as the first truly effective female sex aid—is nothing new, Velvet Swing is the first water-soluble version.  Which kind of means it’s the first one that really qualifies for the term weed lube.  Oil-based lubricants are…not condom safe, meaning that products like Foria or Bond Sensual Oil are effectively restricted to people in monogamous partnerships…

And naturally, Matisse uses the interview to wake up pot-business folks to sex worker rights.

Bait and Switch

Entrapment so blatant even a judge couldn’t swallow it:

…In 2014…Skagit County [Washington] detective Theresa Luvera…posted a sex solicitation on Craigslist’s casual encounters…Craigslist’s rules required all participants to be 18+. something that has undermined sex stings in the past…After some online exchanges between the detective and the defendant, the detective claimed she is underage (“almost 15 but waaay advanced”).  Even further in…the detective brought up money-for-sex.  At every step along the way but the end, the defendant seemingly made it clear he was seeking free sex with a female adult.  Eventually the defendant shows up at the designated rendezvous point baitwith the requested items…The trial court dismissed the prosecution because the “State engaged in outrageous misconduct in violation of a defendant’s due process right to fundamental fairness”…Now that Craigslist has shut down its personals section, I’m not clear where law enforcement will conduct its online sex stings…

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” think harm reduction principles only apply to drug use:

Seattle’s efforts to find a location for its…supervised injection site has turned up nothing, and now the mayor’s office is looking to go mobile.  Jeff Sakuma…point person in finding a site…[said] there are no city or county-owned buildings that meet the criteria…the $2 million the council had set aside is to low to purchase an existing building or buy land and build…a private party that could partner with the city to allow the use of their property as an injection site, “could be subject to seizure by the federal government”…As an alternative…Seattle & King County would purchase a recreation[al] vehicle and remodel it…The mobile [unit] would park either on the street or in a parking lot near a facility that would provide space for a reception area, a waiting area, restroom storage and utility space…

Worse Than I Thought (#745)

Another shitty law specifically designed to harm sex workers:

Phoenix is ramping up the penalties for [adult consensual sex] as part of the city’s ongoing effort to curb [adult consensual sex].  The City Council voted…to fine individuals convicted of soliciting sex workers $2,000 for a second offense, $2,250 for a third offense and $2,500 for each additional conviction. The mandatory fines will be in addition to jail sentences of 15-180 days.  “If we catch you … we’re going to make it as unpleasant for you as we possibly can and I don’t feel bad about that at all,” said Councilman Jim Waring, chair of the Phoenix [anti-consensual sex] Task Force…

The Widening Gyre (#764) 

Yeahno.  This still smells like a publicity stunt gone wrong:

British model Chloe Ayling has thanked those who “believed in me from the beginning” after a Polish man was jailed for kidnapping her.  Lukasz Herba held Chloe Ayling captive for six days in a farmhouse near Turin in Italy, after abducting her during what she thought would be a photo shoot last July.  He was arrested after releasing her at the British consulate, and has now been sentenced to 16 years and nine months in jail…Ayling…has always insisted she has told the truth about her captivity.  She told police she never tried to escape because she was terrified and believed Herba’s threats that he was part of a bigger criminal gang that was watching her constantly…

Pyrrhic Victory (#836)

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data…in the United States. The agency’s new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people.  It will be shared with federal agencies outside of DHS as well as state and local law enforcement and foreign governments…HART will chill and deter people from exercising their First Amendment protected rights to speak, assemble, and associate…face recognition makes it possible to identify and track people in real time, including at lawful political protests and other gatherings.  Other data DHS is planning to collect—including information about people’s “relationship patterns” and from officer “encounters” with the public—can be used to identify political affiliations, religious activities, and familial and friendly relationships.  These data points are also frequently colored by conjecture and bias…

Blunt Instrument (#841)

With the demise of Backpage, anti-whore pogroms turn back to low-hanging fruit:

Three indictments were unsealed…alleging massage parlors in Topeka and Lawrence were fronts for prostitution…Five people were charged in federal grand jury indictments alleging prostitution businesses generated millions of dollars in revenue.  Charges included conspiracy, interstate racketeering, bank fraud and money laundering…

Note the way pigs try to make this seem like a big-time cartel by throwing around terms like “millions”; any business that doesn’t gross at least $1 million over a five-year period is probably failing.

Safe Position

If the Democrats were smart, they’d adopt this as their official platform:

…when it comes to the rights of…sex workers…elected Democrats still overwhelmingly side with the religious right and consistently fail to consult the people most affected by their policies…Now, however, a small but growing group of…candidates are heeding the outrage of their constituents and have turned against laws that make it harder for sex workers to safely practice.  At least three Democrats running in competitive House primaries are currently campaigning on their opposition to SESTA/FOSTA, legislation that passed in April and holds websites criminally liable for any [claims of] sex trafficking that occurred on their pages…the bill effectively shut down the websites that were the safest venues for sex workers to ply their trade.  Following its passage, Backpage.com and the personals section of Craigslist immediately folded.  Their collapse has already prompted many sex workers to return to the streets, where conditions are much more dangerous…

Lack of Evidence (#848)

The recrudescence of a public health nightmare:

…If you believe that all prostitutes are forced into it against their will…then prostitutes are victims.  If you believe it’s possible that it’s just a transaction between consenting adults, then it shouldn’t be a crime at all.  If you’re just a prude determined to tell other people how to conduct their sex lives in accordance with your sniffling sensibilities, then it doesn’t matter…As advocates like Maggie McNeill have made clear, there are women who choose prostitution as their occupation without shame or excuse.  This is what they choose to do, and they don’t give a damn about your Victorian mores.  You don’t have to like it, but…the demand exists and always has, and despite your sniffling, it’s not going away.  But is the answer to force prostitutes, and their customers, to risk the choice between contracting a loathsome, if not deadly, disease or enhance their time in jail?  That’s what Allegheny County is trying to do…the possession of condoms means the difference between a summons and a custodial arrest…

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Adapting…to…the new legal environment…will take time…that the most vulnerable sex workers don’t have.  –  Lux Alptraum

Feet of Clay 

Your periodic reminder that Nicholas Kristof is a vile excuse for a human being:

…what better example of our compromised political class is there than Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist and professional “humanitarian” whose calls to send in the Marines are always clothed in the raiment of altruism.  It’s people like Kristof that libertarian author Isabel Paterson warned us against when she wrote about the “humanitarian with a guillotine.”  For I can hardly recall a single war of the recent past that Kristof has not wholeheartedly embraced: while he shied away from jumping on the Iraq war bandwagon, he was gung ho for destroying Syria and making it a safe haven for jihadists: he’s never revisited that stance, nor apologized for it in any way.  He’s all for arming the Ukrainian government, which is surely one of the most corrupt in the world, and which has a huge neo-Nazi problem.  To top it off, he’s one of the loudest voices urging the US to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and support a crew of jihadist rebels “formerly” associated with al-Qaeda…

Every single “humanitarian” or “liberal” cause Kristoff embraces is a hypocrisy based in racism, sexism, colonialism or plain old jingoism.  He’s utterly disgusting.

Lower Education

Women are moral imbeciles, so men are always responsible for our choices:

If a man and a woman are both drunk and they have sex, the man is the rapist if the woman decides he is at some point, regardless of how she felt in the moment.  This is what American University taught students in a required sexual consent module last year, according to…screenshots of the training…CampusClarity…[features] invasive questions [and was] pulled from mandatory student training by Clemson University in 2014…the same training is used at public universities including the University of Florida and Kansas State…CampusClarity owner EverFi admitted…in 2014 that some of the statistics in its sexual consent training were questionable…EverFi’s “impact report” for the University of Oregon in 2013-2014 disclosed that it was lumping together “yes” and “not sure” answers to boost the numbers in response to a survey question on whether “someone pressured me into a sexual experience without my explicit consent”…

Choke Point 

New York is every bit as enthusiastic as the feds are at applying fascist pressure to accomplish illegal and unconstitutional agendas:

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s recent directive to financial regulators…[urges] them to pressure private companies to break ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA).  The “or else” is just a hair from being overt…The Department of Financial Services, which regulates the banking and insurance industries in New York, followed up with guidance letters to insurance companies and banks…the regulatory body that oversees these industries is warning companies under its power that they may be assuming reputational risk—a regulated area that draws official attention—by doing business with legal organizations including the NRA.  This reputational risk is said to exist because these groups are “gun promotion organizations,” which boils down to nothing more than them taking a public policy positions at odds with those favored by the state’s political leaders…

Not Worth the Paper

Another anti-whore “study” which is not worth the stuff removed by the paper hanging by your toilet:

As Craigslist expanded across the United States, the free classifieds website also bolstered the sex industry, according to a new study…In analyzing data from 1999 to 2008, [Jason] Chan…Anindya Ghose…and Probal Mojumder…found [what they were paid to find, namely that] Craigslist’s arrival in a market also led to…recruitment and coercion of new ones…this led to greater exploitation of vulnerable populations…

Since the “study” used online escort ads as a proxy for the number of sex workers in a market (a moronic assumption even when it isn’t used by prohibitionists), what it actually “found” was that as online advertising became more popular among sex workers, it became more popular among sex workers.  Yes, the “findings” are nothing more than a tautology; the nonsense about “exploitation” is the opinion the authors were paid to promote, and is unsupported by any evidence – even the usual bad evidence – in the paper my consultants were able to find.  Given Chan & Ghose’s history as hired guns producing pro-censorship “studies”, I suspect this paper is part of FOSTA supporters’ campaign to defend the reputation of their malevolent law.

Comfort Zone (#765)

This story does a better-than-usual job of hiding migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative:

A two-year investigation led to the arrest of 22 people involved in a human trafficking network and the [arrest] of 350 men, women and children [cops claim were] forced into slave-like labor and prostitution in Latin America and the Caribbean…the…people were found working in bars, night clubs, gold mines, factories and open-air markets; some of them in remote areas from which they could not escape.  Operation Libertad (freedom) was funded by the Canadian government and required coordinated raids in thirteen countries…What happens to trafficking victims once they are rescued “depends on the particular person’s circumstance… and often on the country’s resources,” [chief pig Tim] Morris said.  They can be [held] in special facilities, released or [deported]…

“Special facilities”, like “safe houses”, means “prisons”.  In poor countries.  I’m sure that’s much better than what they were “rescued” from.

Imaginary Victims (#797)

Prohibitionists never gave a shit about imprisoned underage sex worker Cyntoia Brown until they realized they could use her to advance the “child sex slave” narrative:

Attorneys for a woman who killed a man when she was a 16-year-old prostitute say she was a sex-trafficking victim afraid for her life — but prosecutors say she killed the man to rob him.  Both sides will make oral arguments next month in her appeal of her sentence of life without parole.  The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set a June 14 court date for the case of 29-year-old Cyntoia Brown in…Cincinnati.  Brown has been in prison since 2004…

Gorged With Meaning (#812)

Brandon Wade, who is pissing himself so badly over FOSTA you can smell it through this video, is doubling down on his ludicrous protestations that sugar dating isn’t sex work.  Here he goes full-on fascist pig (complete with “I’m better than you” finger-steepling body language), referring to escorts and clients as “those elements” and urging that those who have drunk the Kool-aid “If you see something, say something” before sex workers who understand their value and clients who prefer not to deceive themselves “contaminate” his site:

Got news for you, Brandon:  we’re already there.  Practically every whore I know has an SA profile, and numerous clients have messaged me through MY profile there.  But then, given your own history with girls who prefer to be paid by the hour, I’m sure you already knew that; you just mistakenly think that if you throw enough of us under the bus, the censors and ambulance-chasers whom FOSTA has enabled will spare your creepy arse.

The Peril (#834)

A decent article on the Mann Act marred by the author’s swallowing the “sex trafficking” myth:

A federal law passed in 1910, first designed to tackle the supposed scourge of “white slavery” that threatened the moral base of a rapidly changing America, is back in the news again…The Mann Act…was crafted as an anti-prostitution…law that made it illegal to cross state lines with women and girls “for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose”…Under the Mann Act’s vague “other immoral purpose” language, prosecutors brought charges against [Boxer Jack] Johnson for taking an unmarried white woman across state lines…the Mann Act also was also used to prosecute silent film star Charlie Chaplin regarding a paternity suit (he was acquitted); singer Chuck Berry for taking an Apache girl across state lines (convicted); and Frank Lloyd Wright for moving his lover and her daughter from Minnesota to Wisconsin (convicted)…The act has been amended since then and now is employed, primarily, as a tool to [harass sex workers]…

Disaster (#836)

Judging by the breadth of responses from all over the political map, FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government:

…FOSTA has…put sex workers in danger, and many have faced serious real-world consequences in the wake of this digital upheaval.  Although no official reports have been released as of this writing, anecdotal evidence is trickling in.  Johanna Breyer…of the Saint James Infirmary…[said their] mobile van outreach saw a dramatic increase of street-based sex workers in the Mission District.  Breyer estimated that there were about double or triple the usual number of workers…Fancy, a Midwestern sex worker who manages a fund dedicated to providing financial support for sex workers in need, has seen a dramatic uptick in requests for help.  In the wake of the Backpage shutdown, she says she went from receiving occasional requests for help to a dozen or two…daily.  Many messages were from sex workers asking for advice on how to work on the streets safely…

Even sites concerned with mundane matters such as Consumer Affairs get it:

FOSTA…[has] a potential chilling effect on any and all internet speech…Advocates…point out that trafficking…is already a crime in the United States…and…targeting websites…will now only create new crimes.  Whether FOSTA’s sponsors had intended to kick the entire sex trade offline…is unclear…[and politicians won’t answer honestly.  Prohibitionist propaganda director Mary] Mazzio…addressed concerns that sex workers could lose their livelihoods by publishing a list of homeless shelters and other social services…Such an offer — that women who made rent doing sex work online were now free to stay in homeless shelters — was described by those in the sex trade as deeply insulting…Vanessa Carlisle [of SWOP-LA noted that]…“sex workers who seek services are often turned over to police”…By targeting online business…lawmakers are ignoring the role that law enforcement [plays] in abusing sex workers…

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Stormy Daniels is…not speaking out because it’s fun or a great career move.  –  Savannah Sly

One Size Fits All

This is almost three years old, but it’s too good to pass up:

Many children in west Africa are brought up in households belonging to people other than their own parents.  There is a long tradition of fostering, yet in many cases the practice is now [claimed] to constitute “trafficking” or “modern slavery” because the children involved are put to work during their stay.  This makes little sense, yet the terminology of “human trafficking” and its consequences—namely that the “traffickers” involved should be prosecuted—has remained in vogue since at least 2000 with the support of European and American funding.  This has almost certainly caused more harm than good…ideas and methods imported from Europe and North America…have sought to prevent children from working away from home, rather than to protect children from harm regardless of where they live and whether they were at work or school.  This approach fails to adapt to the realities of childhood in west Africa and the practicalities of growing up in villages with little infrastructure…

Pyrrhic Victory

Toward the end of privacy, everywhere:

…the CLOUD Act…was never reviewed or marked up by any committee in either the House or the Senate.  It never received a hearing.  It was robbed of a stand-alone floor vote because Congressional leadership decided, behind closed doors, to attach this un-vetted, unrelated data bill to the $1.3 trillion government spending bill…All the bill requires now is the president’s signature…Because of this…U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize…your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online…without a warrant and with few restrictions…the CLOUD Act…will…Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people’s communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant…Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge…Allow the U.S. president to enter “executive agreements” that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws…Allow foreign police to collect someone’s data without notifying them about it…Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it’s a U.S. person’s or not, no matter where it is stored…

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of all kinds of sex workers:

Gentrification is often seen as an organic process that cities undergo.  Jeremiah Moss, the author of the book and blog Vanishing New York … says, “Gentrification was originally defined as the process by which working-class neighborhoods are changed into middle-class neighborhoods by the middle-class who buy homes there…Now we’re dealing with something much larger and more destructive — what I refer to as hyper gentrification which is not an organic process.  It’s the government stepping in with policies and zoning to remake the city for the upper classes.  In order to that, outlaws have to be removed, including sexual outlaws.  So adult businesses have to go…The hyper-gentrified city must be safe, friendly, and welcoming for tourist families and major corporations”…Shutting down adult businesses was on the top of [New York] Mayor Giuliani’s list throughout his terms.  Giuliani claimed strip clubs, peep shows, and x-rated video stores were “corrosive institutions” that contaminated neighborhoods and prevented “legitimate businesses” from prospering…

Blunt Instrument 

“Sex trafficking” is such a convenient weapon to use against adult businesses:

The Milwaukee Common Council voted not to renew the license of a…night club [using] sex trafficking [claims].  The vote came after…neighborhood [complaints that]…the owner of Tatou Ultra Pub…planned to renew the club’s license and then sell the business to VLive, a nationwide chain of strip clubs…aldermen were warned that the city attorney’s office could have trouble defending the city in court if aldermen failed to renew the license…residents [pretended] Tatou had contributed to loud noise and reckless driving in the area…[yet] there…were no recent police records documenting any nuisance activity at the club…

Under Every Bed

Population 36,000:

The Westerville [Ohio] community is learning how to spot signs of human trafficking after police busted a local massage parlor for prostitution.  [Cops pretend] they’ve seen an increase in human trafficking in the area…”It’s not the stereotypical human trafficking we’re used to.  A lot of these ladies can come and go, but they are threatened to stay in that environment,” Chief [Pig] Morbitzer [fantasized while playing pocket pool]…”One we shut down for prostitution reasons, one we cited for taxation reasons and one that was trying to open up was prohibited because of zoning code issues”…a…community meeting was hosted by the [pigs, a “diversion” program protecting its funding]…The Salvation Army, and [another rescue industry group]…

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 7 already this year:

[A trans woman was murdered] in Baton Rouge, LA…Amia Tyrae Berryman…was 28 years old.  Her body was found at…a…motel…with gunshot injuries…local media stating WBRZ…misgendered her

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

The next generation of sex worker security apps:

A new security application, Artemis’ Umbrella, has been developed for sex workers in Finland, and can be used anywhere in the world.  The app alerts a trusted contact when sex workers are in trouble, and uses location services to track the smart phone…it is possible to alert a pre-arranged friend if something like a customer meeting goes wrong and needs help.  The alarm can be triggered via the alarm button or via the timer (the alarm will be triggered if the function is not shut down in time).  Both alerts will also include the person’s location information…the application was…tested…in both Helsinki and Mumbai…

Morality Lessons (#783)

“The National Center on Sexual Exploitation” is the new self-aggrandizing name for pro-censorship fanatics Morality in Media:

…After collaborative dialogue with NCOSE, Walmart will remove Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines at 5,000 stores across the country. Protecting minors from the sexually explicit material that Cosmopolitan embodies and perpetuates has been a long-time priority of NCOSE

Agenda

Is this dumbass for real?

…I am pretty disappointed in the modern high-priced prostitutes of today.  They have no sense of honor and ethics…I do think that at one time in history there were professional prostitution ethics, where whatever happened between a man and his paid companion, there was the security of keeping things private.  In today’s world there seems to be no honor between a man and his contractual relationship between him and his paid companion…There is no honor among the profession…What’s the world coming to when you can’t trust a whore anymore?…

I can almost believe this ignorant weed’s claim that he’s never paid for sex, because he seems to know even less about whores than the average prohibitionist.  Besides his obviously-wrong-on-its-face central theme, he makes totally backward assertions like “Solon, the great Athenian legislator, was the first to actually legalize prostitution…”  No, you idiot, Solon was the first to try to criminalize prostitution.  Where do morons like this get this shit?  Do they literally look in the toilet and say, “Hey, that looks good, I’ll use it as a ‘fact’ in my next essay”?  WTF?  Why does every fuckwad think five minutes on Google make him an expert in my profession?  But I guess I’d better stop now, before I infuriate myself.

Morality Lessons (#820) 

It looks like Chris Sevier, the anti-porn fanatic behind the “mandatory porn filter” bills now making the rounds of US state legislatures, is about to do a massive pratfall:

Elizabeth Smart sent a cease-and-desist letter to prevent her name from being used to push a Rhode Island bill that would require a $20 fee to view pornography online…It is one of several similar bills pushed by Chris Sevier, who says the bill would protect children…Sevier said he chose Smart’s name as a tagline for the bill…[until he was] told…Smart was potentially pursuing legal action, [after which he claimed] the…name had been given to the [bill] by lawmakers…his website…specifically refers to [it] as “the Elizabeth Smart law”…[fellow anti-porn fanatics Morality in Media] has slammed Sevier for falsely claiming the[y]…supported his work…Earlier this month, a federal judge in Utah threw out Sevier’s lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop…

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Sevier, here’s an article from last year:

…Sevier has a warrant out for his arrest in Tennessee for failure to appear at criminal contempt proceedings….[arising from failure] to pay child support and violat[ing] a restraining order…[stemming] from Sevier’s 2011 arrest and  conviction for assaulting his father-in-law…Sevier’s baby was also injured in the altercation…Sevier claims that the Human Trafficking Prevention Act was hatched in part due to the horrors he saw as a volunteer in Asian countries, where he was “physically fighting human trafficking” as a rescue worker with an organization called Orphan Secure…[but] the president of Orphan Secure, Ronaldo Lopez…said that Sevier’s time with the group…amounted to a few broken promises…Despite repeatedly claiming he can legally practice law in two states, official records suggest Sevier is not licensed to practice law anywhere…a petition against him for ethical violations was pending in 2011 when the court temporarily inactivated his license based on a mental disability…

Not So Easy (#821)

A deeper look at the sleazy lies politicians are using to destroy women’s jobs:

…The raids seem…connected to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s  new vision of Bourbon Street as a family-friendly tourist destination, a vain attempt to gentrify one of the country’s most legendary red light districts as it approaches its 300th anniversary.  This vision…has the mark of Christian moralizing that has recently taken on new potency.  In October, Mayor Landrieu hired conservative Christian lawyer Scott Bergthold, whose Chattanooga-based law firm has a reputation for targeting strip clubs across the country.  The mayor also appointed a few key people to put together a study on trafficking, including councilperson Kristin Palmer, a longtime opponent of strip clubs; and Jim Kelly of Covenant House, part of a chain of nonprofit, Catholic-affiliated homeless shelters…The Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force says in its official documents that it’s targeting trafficking, but…they use words like prostitution and trafficking interchangeably, and they don’t recognize a categorical difference…[though an attempt at capping the number of strip clubs failed 4-3 in the City Council] clubs…must operate under new regulations.  Dancers are no longer allowed to twerk (defined as a “simulation of sex” per the state lewd act law), fondle their own breasts, or have exposed nipples; these are now defined as “lewd and lascivious conduct.”  Club managers must…post anti-trafficking posters from…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking (COAST).  COAST is in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security; the posters encourage workers to report abuse to a number which goes directly to ICE…if you’re an undocumented immigrant, there’s no guarantee  your rescue won’t also include deportation

Disaster

Even bootlicking Time seems to grasp that something bad has happened:

…The decision by Craigslist to stop hosting personal ads came as a preemptive move after Congress passed [FOSTA]…a sweeping piece of legislation intended to [harm sex workers]…The legislation targets websites that “promote or facilitate” prostitution, even in jurisdictions where prostitution is legal; individuals operating those sites face up to ten years in prison…The bill’s ambiguous terms threaten to impugn not only Craigslist, but any website or forum that accommodates discussion of the sex trade…these sites are crucial to [sex workers’] safety: they provide the community with a platform to share information about dangerous clientele (known as “bad date lists”) and other occupational hazards.  Advocates for these communities have also argued that eliminating the sex trade’s online presence will in fact make cases of actual human trafficking harder to identify…

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

I’m proud to see my dear friend Savannah Sly in Teen Vogue, which is turning into an important ally:

…Given how she’s described her situation, it makes sense that Stormy Daniels would sign a nondisclosure agreement…in exchange for $130,000…Many people (particularly sex workers and mothers) may do the same thing in the hopes of making a situation go away.  Also, the odds that a porn star would be believed (or treated with respect) by the public are slim to none.  Society callously condones the slut-shaming, misogyny, and discrimination that sex workers regularly suffer.  Regardless of how we try to sanitize and make palpable our professions, sex workers are seen as irresponsible “sluts” who deserve what we get, even when we’re murdered.  Porn stars, who are some of the most visible sex workers, suffer intense volumes of hate mail, doxing, stalking, and online bullying simply because they’re brazen enough to be publicly and commercially sexual…

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Forbidding the promotion of prostitution on the Internet…would be “to burn the house to roast the pig.”  –  Alex F. Levy

Unless you were overseas, deeply inebriated or in a coma for the past two days, I’m sure you’ve heard that the massive internet censorship bill known as FOSTA passed the US Senate Wednesday as unanimously as bad laws based on moral panic always do; all it lacks is Trump’s signature to become law, and unless he pulls one of his bizarre reversals that’s pretty much a given.  The law is so blatantly unconstitutional (on several grounds, including flagrant violations of the first and tenth amendments, and article 1’s ban on ex post facto laws) that even the DoJ (which never saw an expansion of federal power it didn’t like) recognizes that, and it will indubitably be challenged as soon as it hits the ground; unless the judge who hears that challenge is some kind of incompetent lunatic he’ll issue an injunction against enforcing it until the case is settled, which could take years.  But that doesn’t mean we can relax; the big businesses which control the internet are so risk-averse many of them are unlikely to wait for the outcome of that ruling, and will simply start pre-emptively censoring sex work content as Reddit already has:

Sometime around 2 a.m. [yesterday], Reddit banned several long-running sex worker forums from the platform.  The move comes just hours after the Senate passed a bill making digital facilitation of prostitution a federal crime.  Under the new law, social media sites and other hubs of user-generated content can be held criminally liable…Even if individuals aren’t targeted by law enforcement for placing ads, and even if individual cases brought by state prosecutors are struck down as unconstitutional, a lot of platforms will preemptively ban anything remotely related to sex work rather than risk it.  So far, four subreddits related to sex have banned:  Escorts, Male Escorts, Hookers, and SugarDaddy. None were what could accurately be described as advertising forums…The escort forums were largely used by sex workers to communicate with one another…

Craigslist followed last night, removing its US personals ad section and posting this apology:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, “FOSTA”, seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.  Any tool or service can be misused.  We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline.  Hopefully we can bring them back some day.  To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

I and many others have explained why this law is so uniquely awful, but let’s just sum it up once more:

  1. It allows US government censorship of the entire internet, destroys social media in all but the most neutered form, and creates a de facto internet cartel controlled entirely by the wealthiest and most powerful media corporations;
  2. It criminalizes all sex work advertising and creates a new federal prostitution crime;
  3. It allows both ambitious DAs and greedy opportunists to attack any internet entity with either criminal charges or civil suits for activity that was perfectly legal when it occurred.

Even if you aren’t a sex worker or civil libertarian, you should be able to see the issues with this, and so should all of the politicians who voted for it, who are guilty of nothing short of criminal incompetence:

Notre Dame law instructor Alex F. Levy:

The law relies on the unsubstantiated idea that reducing prostitution will reduce trafficking.  Indeed, the legislative report defends the regulation by proclaiming, without citation, that “[p]rostitution and sex trafficking are inextricably linked, and where prostitution is legalized or tolerated, there is a greater demand for human trafficking victims and nearly always an increase in the number of women and children trafficked into commercial sex slavery”…But the claim that legalizing (or decriminalizing) prostitution leads to sex trafficking is widely controverted by scholars…Congress does not even inquire into the basic reliability of the premise that undergirds this sweeping content-based speech restriction…it…restricts Constitutionally protected speech, yet fails under both strict and intermediate scrutiny standards.  It is unconstitutional and should not be passed into law…

Tech law journalist Mike Masnick:

…Senator Richard Blumenthal — who has spent years attacking the internet, and who has already stated that if SESTA kills small internet businesses he would consider that a good thing…sent out a letter…[in which] almost everything stated…is 100% factually wrong…so wrong that it raises serious questions about whether Blumenthal understands some fairly fundamental issues in the bill he’s backing.  Professor Eric Goldman has a pretty concise explanation of everything that’s wrong with the statement, noting that it…shows that SESTA’s main sponsors don’t even understand the very basic aspects of CDA 230…you have to start wondering what the hell is happening in the Senate, and in particular in Senator Blumenthal’s office.  He is not just doing a big thing badly — he is gleefully spouting the exact opposite of basic facts about both the existing law, and the bill he sponsored.  I know that politicians aren’t exactly known for their honesty, but he seems to be taking this to new levels…

Even economist Scott Cunningham, whom I’ve castigated more than once for not grasping basic facts about the demimonde, sure understands this one:

…This bill claims to be all about sex trafficking, but it seems to have a deep ignorance about how these markets work and a deep ignorance about the benefits of these technologies.  The people who support it don’t know about the client screening, they don’t know about the movement indoors and they don’t know that women are using these online platforms in order to avoid danger.  They don’t know or they don’t care…

Though Cunningham is perhaps being cautious and/or polite in his last statement, I think it’s pretty obvious that the latter clause is far more likely than the former.  Don’t you?

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