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Posts Tagged ‘Decentralization’

Radfems…use terms like “sell herself” as though, at the end of the transaction, a woman has sold off a body part.  –  Lauren Rosewarne

Saving Them From Themselves

Apparently Dan Rubinstein has never heard of this thing called “pregnancy”:

…Ronald Lee Love faces a felony child sexual-exploitation charge for exchanging explicit text-messages with someone with whom it would have been legal for him to have had sex.  Love, who lives in Mesa County, Colorado, began corresponding last summer when he was 25 with a 15-year-old girl who lives in New England…he explicitly insisted that their relationship remain digital because he believed physical activity was illegal…In Colorado, however, the age of consent is 15, so long as a sexual partner is not 10 or more years older…Yet authorities in this same state have decided someone…Receiving or possessing sexually-oriented images of someone under age 18…is a felony punishable by one to six years per offense…Local authorities defended their position that sexting is worse than actual sex, contending that…while a real-life sexual liaison might be a one-or limited-time thing, the teen sending Love her photo could “potentially come back to haunt this girl 30 years from now,” said Mesa County District Attorney District Attorney Dan Rubinstein.

Because obviously being saddled with a brat at 15 wouldn’t be NEARLY as bad as the kind of nudie pics that every ordinarily-sexual woman in the developed world has floating around.  Do pigs (I count DAs as part of that species) ever sound as stupid as they do when coming up with moronic rationalizations for moronic laws?

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Heroic Irish “authorities” save a man from getting his kidney transplant paid for:

A 73-year-old Brazilian prostitute…working in a brothel in…Kildare…walked free from court because she planned to return home as soon as the…case was over…She…was running the brothel…to pay for her 40-year-old son’s kidney transplant.  She also wanted to return home to her seriously ill 98-year-old mother…gardai…found just €80 in cash at the property…but…Judge Zaidan…[stole it anyway] and [gave it to Ruhama]…

Irish judges have a long an sadistic history of robbing sex workers and giving the money to those who want us imprisoned in workhouses and our families destroyed.

The Notorious Badge

You know peak hysteria has been reached when a moral panic features in afternoon soaps:

Young and the Restless (Y&R) spoilers for the week of August 7 and 14 reveal that Sharon…finds herself in grave danger while investigating a sex ring in Genoa City…Crystal…claims she is being held against her will by a prostitution ring…[and] is trying to escape from her captors who are following her… Zack is involved in the prostitution ring and…his dating app project with Abby Newman is linked with the operations of the criminal ring.  Abby Newman will soon find out that the dating app she is developing with Zack is part of a sex trafficking operation…

End Demand

Authoritarians would be even more dangerous if they could actually get their shit together:

People convicted of buying sex have, since February, been eligible for a program to [indoctrinate] them [in anti-sex propaganda]…But no one has been sentenced to it yet…[because] Bismarck [North Dakota]…City Attorney Jason Hammes…did not know it existed…”It appears the municipal prosecutors and judges may not be aware of it,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in a letter to city attorneys and municipal judges on July 25…

Watershed

Australia has far more sane feminists than does the US:

While women’s libbers have spent decades fighting to get us dominion over our own bodies, radical feminists have spent almost as long trying to insert caveats.  Apparently there are right and egregiously wrong ways to use our bodies – more specifically our genitals – particularly when dollars are involved…I not only vehemently disagree with the radfem position, but I view it as fundamentally un-feminist…If feminists aren’t fighting for my right to use my body how I choose, then they’ve dramatically detoured from their mission…

Decentralization (#444)

Remember “titcoin”?

“Lust” is an initial coin offering based on the Ethereum blockchain platform, designed for prostitutes and their customers to exchange money for sexual services.  It uses…anonymity features to escrow funding of the parties and keep their identities private, in order to avoid law-enforcement scrutiny and public shaming.  Leaving aside the thorny moral and social questions raised by the currency’s intended use…the “smart contracts” favor one side of the bargain: the “key has to be scanned later if they make an agreement and meet otherwise the contract gets automatically closed in 48 hours, and the client gets his Etherium tokens back in the wallet”…if the “client” has sex with the worker, and then does not scan her (sic) token, the client gets to have sex, and the worker gets nothing.  Despite high-minded talk about preventing violence against sex-workers, the major threat-model addressed by these smart-contracts is men who don’t feel like they got value for money when having sex, not women who perform sex-for-money and don’t get paid for it…

Despite Cory Doctorow’s pompous pearl-clutching (since when is consensual sex a “thorny moral question” to anyone but authoritarians?) he’s right about the way this would work, which means no sane sex worker will ever use it.  Cash up front, guys, or you get nothing.

Shift in the Wind (#510)

The Adam Smith Institute continues its support of decriminalization with a commentary on a new paper by Ron Weitzer:

…sociologist Ronald Weitzer…gives new insight into the sorry state of the academic literature on these topics.  First on his list of grievances is the unreliability of the data that is often used…[but] Flawed data is just the tip of the iceberg…[often] the authors’ approach to study design also leaves a lot to be desired…”The authors use aggregate national trafficking estimates (which combine labor, sex, and other kinds of trafficking) in their attempt to assess whether legal prostitution makes a difference. This means that there is a gross mismatch between the trafficking figures and prostitution law:  In assessing whether prostitution law is related to the incidence of trafficking, figures on sex trafficking alone should be used, not the totals for all types if trafficking“…A subsequent study by Cho (2016) using a different data source contains another howler…”Without citing any source, Cho claims that ‘prostitution is closely linked to human trafficking because sex trafficking for the purpose of prostitution is the most common form of human trafficking and constitutes the largest fraction of trafficking victims’…This claim is contradicted by the International Labour Organization (ILO)…[which states] ‘Forced commercial sexual exploitation represents 11% of all cases’ of forced labor worldwide“…Weitzer’s paper would be an interesting academic exercise in the perils of low-quality data and poor research methodology, except for the fact that policies being enacted on the basis of [these bad] studies are hurting marginalized women…when it comes to scaremongering stories about sex trafficking epidemics and accompanying calls for the “Nordic Model”, extra caution should be exercised.

Cops and Robbers (#629) 

More vigilantes playing with people’s lives and lying to men in an attempt to steal income from sex workers who may need it to pay rent and feed their children:

A new [chat]bot built by Microsoft employees in their spare time…[was] tested recently in Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington…[it] lurks behind fake online ads…posted by [anti-sex worker profiteers]…and responds to text messages sent to the number listed.  The software initially pretends to be the person in the ad, and can converse about its purported age, body, fetish services, and pricing.  But if a would-be buyer signals an intent to purchase sex, the bot pivots sharply into [prohibitionist propaganda]…”Buying sex from anyone is illegal and can cause serious long term harm to the victim, as well as further the cycle of human trafficking…Details of this incident will be reviewed further and you may be contacted by law enforcement for questioning”…Project Intercept’s lead partner, Seattle Against Slavery, is working with counterparts in 21 other U.S. cities, including Boston and Houston, to deploy the bot more widely…Project Intercept was started in 2012 by two Microsoft employees after seeing a [movie] about sex trafficking…

Given the involvement of the vile SAS and the list of cities involved, methinks Swanee Hunt’s foul reek is all over this.

Lack of Evidence (#696)

As long as these laws exist, all women are vulnerable to persecution by cops:

On July 31, an undercover cop in Columbus, Georgia, invited a 51-year-old woman into his car and offered her $5 for oral sex. When she rebuffed his offer and tried to get out, he arrested the woman for loitering for the purpose of prostitution…a controversial charge commonly used by the Columbus Police Department (CPD) to target those such as homeless women, people who’ve previously been arrested on prostitution charges, or people who don’t meet a [cop’s] standard of gender conformity.  On Sunday morning, CPD officers arrested a 24-year-old homeless woman for allegedly waving at two passing cars from the side of the road…Last summer, 24-year-old C. Williams was arrested while sitting at a bus stop because…Williams was carrying condoms and “dressed as a woman”…the city statute…expressly says evidence of an intent to commit prostitution or sodomy includes the person being “a known prostitute, pimp or sodomist”…

The Widening Gyre (#696) 

Given the number of companies profiting from “sex trafficking” hysteria, it should come as no surprise when individuals start using it for publicity stunts:

British model Chloe Ayling…claims she was held captive for almost a week after being lured to Milan, Italy, for what she was told was a photo shoot.  Her alleged captor, Lukasz Pawel Herba, [supposedly] drugged her and placed her in a large suitcase in a car boot…Ayling was allegedly held hostage for up to six days as her abductors [supposedly a group called “Black Death” with ties to the Russian mafia] tried to sell her as a sex slave…The gang says its victims can be “transported globally” and advertises its activities, saying: “If you wish, we can kidnap a specific target for your needs…The advert claims the abductors “do not sell girls that are terminally ill, pregnant, have STDs or are young mothers”.  It has been suggested the gang let Ms Ayling go after realising she had a two-year-old son…While [sensible] people have raised doubts about her story, her lawyer, Francesco Pesce, said investigators believed her claims…

That cops, whose credulity on the topic of crime knows no bounds, believe the story is an argument against its being true, not for it.  Another is the notion of a gang which has no problem selling women into slavery, yet revere the sanctity of motherhood, and yet another is the fact that Ayling was seen shopping for shoes with her alleged abductor during the time she was supposedly bound to a chest of drawers (?) at a farmhouse.

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Anti-sex-trafficking…is a zero-tolerance movement rooted in fear propaganda that uses police power, public shaming, creepy reeducation, and increased surveillance.  –  Savannah Sly

Feminine Pragmatism 

An absolutely fucking brilliant act of harlotry:

One crafty [woman] from China…[convinced] 20 boyfriends to buy her 20 new iPhone 7s, which she then sold for enough money to put a down payment on a house.  Using the pseudonym Proud Qiaoba, a blogger gave a detailed description of how the hustle was performed by a colleague of hers, dubbed Xiaoli…the BBC reported it has been able to authenticate the claims…Xiaoli…sold 20 iPhones to a mobile phone recycling plant for $A23,200 ($17,815) and then used that money for her house deposit…

Decentralization

Another anti-establishment group throws sex workers under the bus in an attempt to curry favor with the overlords:

Following [illegal threats]…from [a power-mad] Illinois [politician]…Visa and MasterCard ceased doing business with BackPage…[because] bitcoin was a perfect workaround, the decision had an unintended side effect that may have actually helped make the job of modern day slave traders even easier.  The tried-and-true investigative techniques that had been until that moment employed by law enforcement and banks to help prevent human trafficking were largely rendered null and void as the pedlars of human cargo embraced bitcoin.  Then, in December 2015, a [prohibitionist named]…Timea Nagy, addressed a room filled with financial executives from some of the largest banks in Canada and made a plea…asking them to modernize the way they track the financial transactions that power human trafficking…

Note that this pro-bitcoin site is obsequiously positioning itself on the side of pigs and government surveillance, and blatantly casting sex workers as passive, infantilized victims of imaginary “pimps”.  It’s enough to make one vomit.

The Public Eye savannah

A short interview with a dear friend, the superlative Savannah Sly:

When I first met Savannah Sly in…2015, she was working to fight bills in the Washington State Legislature that aimed to increase punishments for buyers of sex.  Sly, then volunteering with the Sex Workers Outreach Project-Seattle (SWOP-Seattle) and wearing cat ears, cited a slew of facts on the harms of such policies from multiple sex-work studies…A year later, the New York Times ran a big story questioning whether prostitution should even be considered a crime, and Amnesty International published a position on sex work that concurred with Sly’s: Criminalizing sex-buying also puts sex workers…in harm’s way.  Much of this newfound recognition for sex workers’ rights can be traced to the activism of sex worker advocates like Sly, who refused to shut up when uninformed lawmakers attempted to crack down on sex work…

With Friends Like These…

Brothel owners who promote “diseased whore” myths and “sex trafficking” lies to further their own interests are the worst kind of scum:

Tracey Smith has been the manager of Butterfly’s Massage Parlour in Alexandra Parade for 10 years.  Butterfly’s recently came under fire after a BBC investigation said it had hired girls as young as 15 to clean its rooms and hand out leaflets – claims Tracey says are “completely false…The girls who work here clean their own rooms…and…Any leaflets advertising Butterfly’s have never shown a woman – the only image they ever have on them is of a butterfly…The girls work here voluntarily, they are never forced to work…We have regular health checks for the girls and regular inspections from the council and the police.  We have a no drugs policy and if we think a girl might be an addict of any sort she cannot work here…We have had girls come to us who have gone to work at other places and realised…they were going to be trafficked”…

Checklist

Gee, I can’t imagine why a teenager would want a fake ID:

…the North Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force wants everyone to know the signs of this crime…When you’re out, [spy on] the children [and teenagers] around you…poor health, anxious demeanor and even tattoos…other “red flags” of human trafficking victims [include]…Inability to make eye contact…will not speak to [a stranger] alone [after years of “stranger danger” indoctrination]…Lying about age or false ID…

The Widening Gyre (#314) 

Missing woman was last seen with a member of a gang who commit violence against women at twice the rate of the general population; naturally, her family blames imaginary bogeymen instead:

It’s been six weeks since 20-year-old Wichita…college student Toni Anderson went missing.  Her parents…[imagine] their daughter is a victim of human trafficking…the morning of January 15…[she made] a text exchange with a friend, saying she had been pulled over [by] a North Kansas City [cop]…After that, she was gone…

Monsters chyna-doll-dupree

Another woman senselessly murdered:

A transgender woman was shot dead…outside a shopping center in New Orleans East, according to a relative who identified the victim as Chyna Doll Dupree…Neighbors said they heard eight to 10 gunshots…Dupree is a drag performer…[who] has toured in shows across the country…[she] had recently arrived from her current home in California to celebrate Mardi Gras with friends and family…

The End of the Beginning (#661)

Another step toward getting rid of these tyrannical and unconstitutional laws completely:

A few years ago, Marc Pepitone was arrested at a park in Bolingbrook, Illinois…for walking his dog there…A law enacted more than a decade later made it a crime for sex offenders like Pepitone to be present in “a park, forest preserve, bikeway, trail, or conservation area under the jurisdiction of the State or a unit of local government”…a state appeals court overturned Pepitone’s conviction after concluding that the law he broke “is unconstitutional on its face because it bears no reasonable relationship to protecting the public”…

See also the second item below.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#679) 

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

A brothel, filled with only sex dolls in Barcelona, boasts “appointments” with its “staff” for 80 euros per hour.  Lumidolls…claims to be the first establishment offering this service in Europe.  Options of doll include “Lily, Katy, Laiza and Aki”, who are all of varying height and aesthetics; such as anime Aki and “big boobed” Katy.  Clients can request in advance how one of the four dolls will be dressed…the dolls are “poseable” and feature three orifices…

The End of the Beginning (#686) 

More good news about bad laws:

The Supreme Court on Monday appeared likely to strike down a North Carolina criminal law that bars people on the state’s sex offender registry list from “accessing” social networking websites…[which] have become “crucially important” places for political communication — with Justice Elena Kagan noting, “The president now uses Twitter”…The state’s lawyer, Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert Montgomery, responded that the law doesn’t bar those on the registry from the entire internet…[and cited] a 1992 case, Burson v. Freeman, in which the court upheld a 100-foot buffer zone barring political activity outside polling places…Justice Anthony Kennedy replied…that if Burson is the state’s only case supporting its argument, “[Y]ou lose.”  Montgomery provided no other case.

All-Purpose Excuse (#717)

“Sex trafficking” fetishists are becoming increasingly unhinged:

At Townhall.com, sex-crime [profiteer]…Liz Crokin accuses the mainstream media of “ignoring Trump’s sex trafficking busts.”  In Crokin’s reality, “authorities have arrested an unprecedented number of sexual predators involved in child sex trafficking rings in the United States” since Donald Trump took office on January 20.  “There have been a staggering 1,500-plus arrests in one short month; compare that to less than 400 sex trafficking-related arrests in 2014 according to the FBI,” Crokin writes.  This is, as Trump would put it, “fake news.”  Every part of it.  For starters, the 2014 data she links to is far from a complete account of U.S. sex-trafficking arrests that year.  It reflects incomplete state-level arrest numbers…and…does not include…arrests by federal agencies such as the FBI and…ICE…many of the [supposedly post-Trump] arrests Crokin includes in her tally—arrests that include mostly women selling sex and men trying to engage in consensual adult prostitution—are part of annual sting operations, were the result of investigations in the works long before Trump took office, and/or had absolutely nothing to do with federal law-enforcement directives or activities…

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Victimless crime creates the surveillance state.  –  Wendy McElroy

Amazingly Stupid Statements

License to Rape

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

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

Decentralization

Wendy McElroy on bitcoin and consensual crime:

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

Broken Record 

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

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

Imaginary Evils

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

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

Cops and Robbers

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

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

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

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

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

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

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

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

Challenge (#677)

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

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

The Naked Anthropologist (#701) 

Noah Berlatsky reviews Laura Agustín’s new book:

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

The War Goes On 

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

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

I Swear To God (#708)

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

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

Stupor Bowl (#711)

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

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

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If this newest expansion of the power of costumed clowns to ruin the lives of others by signing a piece of paper doesn’t bother you, I have to wonder if you’re even awake.  –  Maggie McNeill

Yesterday I published an article at Reason about the newest outrage:

Two major credit card companies this week announced that they will refuse to process payments for “adult” ads on the popular advertising site Backpage.com.  Mastercard said Tuesday that it would no longer process these payments; on Wednesday, Visa followed suit.  Since American Express did the same earlier this year, that leaves Bitcoin as the only current means of paying for adult ads on Backpage.  Both…decided to stop processing the payments upon request from Thomas Dart, a Cook County, Illinois, sheriff on a crusade against Backpage…the…conflation [of consensual sex work with “sex trafficking is based on]…the idea that women are such brainless, innocent creatures we’re unable to have sex for reasons other than pleasure or romance; the idea of actually profiting from men’s desire to have sex with us would never enter our fluffy, pink little brains.  So, even if a woman says she’s doing sex work voluntarily, she’s either lying or suffering from “Stockholm syndrome,” and has actually been coerced by a “pimp”…

Dr DoomThe essay covers the relative scarcity of “pimps”, the sick relationship between Dart and billionaire whore-hater Swanee Hunt, the resemblance to Operation Choke Point, and the fact that this is a flagrant violation of due process; Backpage has broken no laws and has consistently won challenges in court, so it has to be shut down by the actions of moralistic megalomaniacs.  This is not to “stop prostitution”, because it can’t and won’t, not even on Backpage; it’s to punish Backpage for refusing to get on its knees and lick the boots of “authorities” who wanted it to capitulate to their whims so they could win political points in the minds of the Great Unwashed.  I don’t use the term “megalomaniac” lightly; Dart’s actions are textbook examples of the mental disorder.  He’s not content with exerting his “authority” over Chicago, nor over the whole state of Illinois, nor even over the entire United States; as of this writing Mastercard and Visa are refusing to process payments to Backpage even in countries where sex work is legal, including Canada and Australia.  Dart has essentially asserted his will over hundreds of thousands of sex workers all over the globe, overruling their own governments in the process; he honestly thinks his political ambitions trump every single government in the world.  That is power-madness of Dr. Doom-like proportions, and if the US government allows his action to stand unchallenged the repercussions will be far greater than sex workers having to find new ways to advertise.

A few practical notes in closing:  it seems as though some forms of Visa (including cards issued by at least some Australian and Canadian banks, at least some prepaid debit Visa cards and the “virtual Visa” from Entropay) are still working as of 8:00 UTC today, and some sex workers have offered to help others learn to use Bitcoin.  Also, Backpage has issued a promo code which can be used to post if one’s credit cards won’t work; the code is FREESPEECH and can be used as often as one likes “until the payment issues are resolved“.  Furthermore, I’m meeting this morning with the CEO of a new escort advertising and screening service due to go online in the next few weeks, which promises to be even more affordable than Backpage; he’s seeking my help in making his site useful and helpful to the sex worker community, which is already a strong sign in its favor (what I’ve seen so far impresses me very much).  I’ll keep you posted on developments to this story in my News columns, and of course on Twitter, as I find out about them, and I’ll devote a whole column to that new escort site as soon as it goes live.

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There’s something deeply troubling about taking a person who’s at ease with her past and turning her into a victim.  –  Wendy Lyon

Think of the Children! 

An angry mother was horrified to learn she has booked a family break in a hotel the same weekend a swingers party is being held.  The woman believes it is inappropriate for the “Halloween fancy dress” bash to be held at the luxury Silver Springs Moran Hotel in Cork [on Halloween weekend]…

Lack of Evidence

It’s not only cops who think that believing a woman is a whore is grounds for assaulting her:

A [South African] swimming school owner and well-known cyclist was arrested…after he…beat up a…domestic worker in broad daylight…then excused his behaviour by saying he had believed she was a prostitute…Cynthia Joni, 44…was on her way to work…on October 2 when a…man leapt from his car and slapped her repeatedly, then threw her to the ground, without any explanation…Her…attacker was later identified as…Tim Osrin…a…member of the neighbourhood’s “security committee” [who] lives close to where the incident took place…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The investigator leading the probe into the Secret Service’s 2012 prostitution scandal quietly resigned…after he was implicated in a prostitution entanglement of his own…David Nieland was observed entering and leaving a building that was under surveillance as part of a [sting]…in Broward County, Fla.  Authorities later interviewed a prostitute who identified Nieland in a photo and said he had paid her for sex…Jian Ghomeshi title card

He Said, She Said

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation dismissed Jian Ghomeshi…as host of the cultural affairs show Q…Ghomeshi…claimed he was fired due to…his [BDSM] sexual behaviour…[and says] he’s been hounded by false allegations from an ex-girlfriend…The Toronto Star reported…that three women have made allegations of violent, non-consensual  assaults…[and] a former employee of the CBC claimed [he]…sexually harassed [her]…his lawyers announced…that he intends to sue the CBC for $50-million…

Subtle Pimping

Naturally, they don’t speak up for sex workers or donate any of the money to our cause:

Stephanie Berger…co-founded the Poetry Brothel with Nicholas Adamski in 2008…They concocted the idea of a turn-of-the-century bordello – historically the realm of artists and miscreants – where writers could present their work in a more vibrant, visceral setting.  They would dress up, invent alter egos, and sell not their bodies but their poems…“Sex work and poetry are two of the oldest professions,” says Berger.  “Both are incredibly intimate acts that explore love, fantasy and the underside of people”…

Decentralization

what…has Titcoin done to be adult-industry friendly, other than insert “Tit” into its name?…For Titcoin to be desirable to sex workers, it’d need to feel like it was offering certain advantages that Bitcoin wasn’t.  It would need to embrace the community of sex workers who are discriminated against by the mainstream financial system, not just try to make money off of them…

One Born Every Minute

Two teenage boys from Norway…posted…fake advertisements on a website offering escort services.  The ads offered sex with women in exchange for gift vouchers which had to be purchased in advance via the website.  The crafty duo were set to net 150,000 kroner ($22,600) before the website owners became suspicious and alerted the police…

Saving Them From Themselves

a Michigan Sheriff’s Department has gotten itself involved in…sexting…[cops have] already confiscated 31 phones…investigations will continue to turn up even more phones, containing more evidence, and so on, until… well, until what, exactly?…at some point, an arbitrary line will be drawn to end the investigation…High school students…may find themselves facing child pornography charges…

See No Evil Tony the Tiger

One of the most ludicrous prosecutions to arise from [the UK’s “extreme porn”] law was the infamous “tiger porn” case, in which Andrew Holland was prosecuted for possessing a video of…a woman having sex with a tiger…When the case finally reached court, the judge requested that the video be played with sound – something the police hadn’t thought of doing. During the scene, the “tiger” turned to the camera and said “that’s grrrrreat!”…It’s clear that police and CPS training doesn’t include the skills to distinguish between a real tiger and a pretend one.  Holland was acquitted.  But during the legal process, he had been branded a sex offender, experienced vigilante attacks, and been prevented from seeing his daughter for a year.  He suffered a heart attack during this time…

Scapegoats

[Jerald Hill,]  the president…of a Missouri Baptist conference center is out of a job after [cops]…arrested him for allegedly arranging to have sex with [an undercover police] dog…on Craigslist…

End Demand

A municipal lawmaker in [St Petersburg, Russia] has drafted a bill introducing heavy fines for the clients of prostitutes, but they’ll be forgotten if client agrees to marry the sex worker…In the explanatory note attached to the bill Galkina [pretends that the Swedish model works as advertised]…

First They Came for the Hookers…

This is mostly typical “sex trafficking” garbage, but there are a couple of interesting points; one is the claim that there are “25,000 victims” in Chicago, due of course to highways but also because of all the farming that goes on within city limits (“large agriculture…base”).  But the other is an expansion of the increasingly-popular lie that all commercial sex involves “sex trafficking”:

…FBI agents…called for more public exposure to the “Johns”…who keep demand high.  They strongly suggested [censoring] the words ‘Gentleman’s Club” and…plastering their faces on the front pages of newspapers.  Public humiliation, they said, does make a huge difference.  The problem “will stop…if men stop buying sex”…a stronger…ordinance…makes it more difficult for adult bookstores, strip clubs and other sexually-themed entertainment to set up shop…Social media…is the number one tool of traffickers…

The Widening Gyre 

Several sex worker activists recently decided to…[take] the online Human Trafficking course offered by Ohio State University’s Social Work program…The…discussion…was “about 99.99% about forcing women to stop doing sex work.”  There was little or no moderation, with students up or down voting each other’s posts similarly to the way Reddit users do.  The instructor, Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah…rarely interacted with students and never corrected misinformation… “Several of the students have claimed that they’d immediately turn…a prostitute into the police ‘for their own good’,” one student commented…the first person to be banned from the course for offering information was Dr. [Thaddeus] Blanchette…a professor and well-known trafficking researcher…

With Friends Like These…

Please, Roman Kalinowski, become a prohibitionist; if your attempt to hurt us is as totally wrong as your attempt to “help”, it’ll be a great pro-decrim argument:

World governments and the state of Hawai‘i need to accept the sale of sex between consenting adults and treat it like any other industry…Prostitution is profitable because…the demand for paid sex far exceeds the supply of sex workers.  There are high costs associated with kidnapping, secretly transporting and forcing people against their will into prostitution.  If legal…it would no longer be economically feasible to hold sex slaves…Hawai‘i [is] the only state in America which allows undercover police to penetrate sex workers…Registering with the government…has made the trade safer [in legalization regimes]…Legalizing prostitution would benefit everyone involved except for the pimps and madams currently exploiting workers…

Banishment

These types of procedures are very common in Swedish-flavored regimes:

By unanimous vote…Oakland [California granted itself]…the power to evict sex workers “associated” with a property—and to require their landlords to do the same…the city can go after the landlord for not taking action against a tenant “after being apprised by the City that the tenant has engaged in illegal activity”…The bill does not describe the burden of proof the city needs…Nor does [it] stipulate…whether this evidence is to be shared with the tenant…[nor] set forth any protections for due process.  The bill does not require that charges or a warrant be brought against a tenant [and]…there’s no clear definition for what “engaging” in illegal…activities…means…

Give Them an Inch…

European anti-migration policies grow steadily more horrible:

Seven Tunisian fishermen [are] on trial in Sicily…for the crime of rescuing 44 migrants from certain death in the sea.  They are accused of aiding and abetting illegal immigration.  If convicted, they face…[up to] 15 years in jail…Among [those rescued] were two children and 11 women – two of them pregnant and one elderly…The true object of the trial, it is suspected, is to dissuade fishermen from doing their duty…other…fishermen…recently beat migrants attempting to get into their boat with sticks, forcing them into the water where several drowned.  No action was taken against them…

License to Rape (TW3 #337) 

A reporter recently informed me that Los Angeles Times reporters are officially forbidden to refer to the acts of rapist cops with the word “rape”, as in this story of the sentencing of a monster we’ve seen before:  “[Rapist vice cop Jose Jesus Perez] was sentenced…to 25 years in federal prison for forcing prostitutes to have sex with him while he was in uniform…Perez blamed the stress from his job…[and] said he was a sex addict…

Whimsical Notions

U.S. Forces Korea has banned servicemembers from buying drinks for workers in “juicy bars,” which have long been suspected of involvement in prostitution and human trafficking.  While the military has maintained a zero-tolerance policy toward prostitution, buying drinks in exchange for female company was not strictly prohibited…[until] Oct. 15…

Train Wreck (TW3 #407)

Commercial sex workers in Abuja have reportedly been given a 2-day ultimatum to leave the city…Authorities have also threatened to punish individuals who patronize the sex workers with a death sentence…These stringent measures were said to have been formulated by Secretary for Social Development, Blessing Onuh, after she visited several locations that experience high sex trafficking activity…

The Public Eye (TW3 #410)

Belle Knox writes about how her story was used as the basis for an episode of Law and Order: SVU, a show not exactly known for an enlightened attitude toward sex workers.  Miraculously, this was what the writer of the episode told Belle:  “You, and others, have made the case that sex work is legitimate professional work, a potentially empowering choice individuals should be able to make without repercussions or stigmatization.  Other students who’ve done pornography have not survived the harassment that followed.  We wanted to tell their stories, too.

Rescued To Death

Another excellent essay from Wendy Lyon:

…the…“woman-protective anti-abortion argument” [is] a strategic shift away from the foetus fetishism that has traditionally defined the right-to-life movement…At the same time…[there’s] a new anti-sex work campaign led by women who describe themselves as “survivors”…The idea that regret is…a reason to legally constrain women’s actions is conceptually flawed, paternalistic and degrading.  It’s grounded in age-old sexist nonsense about women needing choices to be made for us…women who don’t regret their abortion or sex work threaten to undermine the effectiveness…of those who do; thus, they must be silenced, discredited, or worse still, recruited…[by] persuading them that they were traumatised all along and didn’t know it…

Bottleneck (TW3 #443) 

a federal judge in [Washington state] issued a temporary injunction to block the release of…licenses, which include dancers’ stage and legal names…and photos …the man who requested the info, David Van Vleet, said his request was for “the public good” and he had merely wanted to “pray for those dancers by name”…A final decision will be issued December 15…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #443)

if there’s one thing on which Northern Ireland’s divided politicians can always be sure to agree it’s the regulation and control of women’s bodies.  All for their own good, of course.  That’s why the Northern Ireland Assembly has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a ban on the purchase of sex…when radical feminists and religious fundamentalists join forces, facts tend to go out the window, often with dangerous consequences for those they seek to “save”…The Police Service of Northern Ireland has long made it clear that…such a law would be unworkable…But…enforcement was never the point …campaigners….seek the satisfaction of a symbolic victory:  the ability to declare our shores closed to prostitution…[just as] anti-abortion activists like to proclaim Ireland free of abortion…

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There’s a collective American fixation on the creepy image of a sex offender salivating just beyond the playground fence, but that’s just not how things usually work.  –  Jesse Singal

Decentralization

For the first time…a country will officially adopt bitcoin as its currency: Dominica…[made] an agreement…[with] Coinapult, Aspen Assurance, Bitcoin Beauties, and the College Cryptocurrency Network (CCN)…[to] send a small of amount of bitcoin to every island resident via text message…[turning] Dominica…into the most densely concentrated bitcoin community in the world…The launch date…March 15, 2015, at 9:26 a.m., coincides with Pi Day, a global celebration of the mathematical constant…

Above the Law Erasmo Mata

A grand jury indicted a former [Texas cop]…after he…sexually assaulted an underage girl multiple times…Erasmo Mata Jr., 25, is accused of [raping] a 17-year-old girl during work hours [in] five separate incidents…other [cops] watched Mata commit the sexual assaults and…Pharr Police Chief Ruben Villescas met with the victim’s family…and told them not to hire an attorney…

Legal Is as Legal Does (TW3 #34)

As I’ve stated many times, any artificial bottleneck in the legality of sex work (such as licensing, venue restrictions or immigration controls) inevitably creates problems in the restricted sector:

Police are investigating five illegal brothels across the Geelong [Victoria] region…[with] a new specialist investigation unit dedicated to prosecuting unregistered sex operators.  Sergeant Aaron Riches said…“We’re not the moral police but…you’ve been committing a crime by soliciting an illegal sex worker”…Registered brothel Lorraine Starr boss David…welcomed the police crackdown on illegals…“We’ve seen illegal ones open up next to the homes of mums and dads and last year even a school”…

No one is safe from the horror of sex rays!

Under Every Bed 

I’m sure every reader has seen 12-year-old strippers and websites where they can “purchase” girls:

…[a “sex trafficking” fetishist publicly fantasized about]…how young at-risk girls fall prey to older “pimps”…victims are typically girls 12 to 14 years of age who encounter older men on the Internet…and are…forced to work as prostitutes, strippers or massage parlor workers in large cities like Atlanta…while there has not yet been a confirmed human trafficking raid in Albany, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation strongly suspects the activity exists…“There are online sites where ‘customers’ can go to ask for a 12-year-old blond, for example and then purchase that girl. Unfortunately, those sites aren’t being shut down”…potential [victims are] more likely to have unsupervised access to a smart phone or…computer…and may walk alone to school or to the local mall…communities can help guard against the threat of human trafficking by…summer lunch programs…and homeless shelters…

An Example to the West (TW3 #316)

Over a dozen Sex Workers…are getting set to travel to Guyana in October where a meeting of Sex Workers from across the Caribbean will take place…Among the countries from which Sex Workers are expected are: Trinidad and Tobago (2), Jamaica (4), Suriname (2), Grenada (3), Antigua (2), and Dominican Republic (3).  Some ten Sex Workers from Guyana are also expected to participate…

Japanese Prostitution (TW3 #327) enjo kosai

New to Japan, maybe, but not to the Americans they’re emulating:

Police in Japan have adopted a new tactic in the apparently unending struggle against the under-age sex industry, introducing sting operations against minors offering sexual services…In the first six months of this year, officers using these tactics took into custody 220 girls under the age of 18.  Instead of arresting first-time offenders, however, the police are providing “cyber correctional guidance”, which warns them of the crimes they are committing and the potential dangers.  After a dose of moral re-education, the girls are then taken home and their parents informed…The phenomenon of enjo kosai – which literally means compensated dating…first emerged in Japan in the 1990s.  Concerned at the number of men eager to pay for the company of a teenage girl, as well as the appetite of minors for brand-name goods and…the funds to buy them, Japanese authorities passed strict new laws…

Enjo kosai didn’t start in the ’90s, though the term dates to that time; anyone who thinks young girls trading sex for cash is something new is an historical illiterate.  As is anyone who isn’t disgusted by the phrase “moral re-education”.

Check Your Premises (TW3 #327)

The University of Missouri has banned obtaining clear consent:

…MU Title IX Coordinator Linda Bennett provided…students…an all-university memo a few weeks ago.  Elaborating on an already-overbroad sexual harassment policy, Bennett’s memo seems to prohibit asking for consent for sexual activities.  “Examples of behavior that will not be tolerated,” the letter says, include “Requesting another person to engage in a behavior with a sexual body part or enacting a sexual behavior.”  (Emphasis added.)  How is a student supposed to engage in any sexual activity, except by first requesting that the other person engage in it?  Maybe MU doesn’t think consent is sexy, after all…

Be Careful Who You Rape

Maybe if the doctor’s victims had been “good” women, they’d have been investigated in a timely fashion:

A highly paid neurosurgeon who indulged his cocaine addiction…and was directly linked to the death of two prostitutes avoided detection and continued to practise…Dr Suresh Nair worked at the Nepean Private Hospital in Sydney’s western suburbs…He would eventually be charged in connection with the deaths of two sex workers from cocaine toxicity and have his medical licence revoked…many of his patients were horrified to learn…[that] Dr Nair had botched their operations and left them with life-long ailments…Victoria McIntyre…died of a cocaine overdose after a booking at Dr Nair’s apartment…the NSW Medical Board…was not informed…another young escort, Suellen Domingues-Zaupa…[later] suffered a cardiac arrest, but Dr Nair left her for dead as he went elsewhere to continue partying with other escorts.  Many questions have been raised about how the doctor was allowed to continue practising…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #335)

Once again: No, this was NOT the first tippelzone in Europe:

…Zürich…opened Europe’s first municipal drive-in brothel in an old industrial area…Sex workers who agreed to relocate from their traditional…haunts were allowed to ply their trade…with a minimum of fuss…they had to obtain permits and pay tax…”The first year of the service has been positive,” Zurich social services said…authorities admit that not everyone is happy.  Some sex workers complain that their earnings have fallen and that they are too far from city-centre bars and nightclubs…

Peeping Toms (TW3 #351) Brown Family of Sister Wives

Last December, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups struck down a central part of the Utah law banning polygamy. [Wednesday]  he issued the rest of his ruling…Waddoups found the Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman violated the Browns’ constitutional rights when he oversaw a 2010 investigation into whether [they were] committing bigamy…Buhman eventually decided not to file criminal charges, but Waddoups said the investigation stifled the Browns’ rights to free speech, religion and equal protection.  Waddoups ordered Utah to pay the Browns’ attorney fees…Utah’s attorney general says he plans to appeal the case…

Flush Criminalization (TW3 #352)

A…doctor who was among the 104 men swept up in the “Flush the Johns” sting last year has been acquitted of patronizing a prostitute, and his attorney is considering suing Nassau County.  Richard Obedian…was the fifth defendant…to take his case to a bench trial.  Four of those trials have resulted in acquittals.  The doctor was the only defendant to continue to trial since District Attorney Kathleen Rice…began allowing the men to plead guilty to…disorderly conduct…At least one other man arrested in the sting has filed a notice of claim…against the county for false arrest and false imprisonment.  Asked for comment…Rice’s office [vomited out disgusting “end demand” propaganda]…

Cops and Robbers 

While “sex offender” hysteria appears to have peaked in the US, it’s still ramping up in Canada:

…sex offender Keith Constantin was released from prison in July after five years, but in…a few weeks he was run out of town twice…Constantin, convicted of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old boy and a 45-year-old blind woman, faced a concerted backlash orchestrated by 200 angry mothers; his face and crimes plastered on posters on every pole in town.  In the end…he [was accused of breaking] his curfew and [re-arrested]…growing numbers of grassroots activists…use…posters, taking pictures, pestering to the point of harassment, anything to send the message that sex offenders are not wanted…Organizations like this say they are not vigilantes, but their messaging is questionable.  In a promotional video, [one group] uses graphic images with slogans like: “Hurt my kid and I’ll bury you where they’ll never find the body”…

Cuckoo Advertising (TW3 #420)

These “findings” absurdly presume that a woman planning to cheat on her spouse will be totally honest with everyone else:

…According to a new study, women who cheat on their husbands are looking for passion and sex, but they have no desire to end their marriages.  Using data from AshleyMadison.com…Eric Anderson…the [business’s] chief science officer…[eavesdropped on] 100 women between the ages of 35 and 45 on the site.  After [unethically] reading their conversations with potential lovers, Anderson found that 67 percent of these married ladies were specifically looking for more “romantic passion,” aka sex.  None wanted to actually leave their husbands and most even painted their clueless spouses in a positive light…this sample isn’t quite representative — the findings are only generalizable to the women using AshleyMadison…

Nice While It Lasted

Britain’s most senior police chief has called for wide-ranging new powers to tackle…terrorism, including a “rebuttable presumption” that anyone who visits Syria without prior notice should be treated as a terror suspect.  Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe…also called for a return of control orders and…[backed] Boris Johnson’s proposal for the presumption of innocence to be overturned for Britons who travel to warzones…”If we can get an assumption that when people come back and have been to Syria they’ve been involved in terrorism.  If they can prove they haven’t then that’s up to them.  It’s pretty hard for us sometimes to prove what they were doing in Syria…”

Above the Law (TW3 #434) Eric Roberts

OHP Trooper Eric Roberts also sexually assaulted [a second woman who has come forward]…Roberts pulled over her car on July 8…and made inappropriate sexual comments to her.  She texted a friend with the Trooper’s tag number because she was afraid she might die when he instructed her to follow him…he drove her to a secluded location and sexually assaulted her.  The woman…didn’t report it initially because she…thought no one would believe her…

Banishment (TW3 #434)

Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York State are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that governs where they can live”…The unfortunate thing about this situation is that laws designed to restrict where sex offenders can live are really and truly useless, except as a means of politicians scoring easy political points by ratcheting up hysteria.  There are many tricky social-scientific issues on which there are a range of opinions…among experts, but this isn’t one of them.  Among those whose job it is to figure out how to reduce the rate at which sex offenders commit crimes (as opposed to those whose job it is to get reelected, in part by hammering away at phantom threats), there is zero controversy:  These laws don’t work, and may actually increase sexual offenders’ recidivism rates…

Bait and Switch

If you believe this, you didn’t read Monday’s column:

A three month investigation ends with more than two dozen arrests for prostitution offenses in Rochester [Minnesota].  The police…posted ads to…backpage.com…Of the 29 arrested, close to half wanted someone underage.  Experts say this sting highlights a problem bigger than prostitution…

Another Fine Mess

It’s really gratifying to see an amateur who recognizes that ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy because hookers use them:

It seems that every few years, some intrepid reporter…[makes] the game-changing discovery that a lot of people use the Internet to conduct their business.  Though this sounds like an absolute non-story, when the people in question are sex workers…editors are bound to green-light…stories that all essentially reveal…that sex workers advertise and network online…Some of the stories appear to just be comically out-of-touch…and…many such non-stories perpetuate the myth that sex workers are coming for civilians where they least suspect it!  They browse among us…better hide the husbands!…

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Slavery works as a public fantasy through which the real problems of the world can be pushed to one side and replaced with…“evil slave-owners” who allegedly lurk behind such phenomena.  –  Frank FurediSWAT thugs

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Many organizations…receive inquiries from potential volunteers whose primary desire is to kick in doors and rescue…victims…once a potential volunteer learns that the organization does not have a covert SWAT team…they seem shocked and in disbelief.  The concept of private entities using…armed…[“rescue”] teams…is fueled by Hollywood and…non-governmental organizations…who play DVDs at anti-human trafficking events indicating their organization uses [such] teams…some even indicate their activities are unhindered by the bureaucracy of governments…

Handy Figures

I find this number very credible, given that 1% of comparatively-prudish Western women have worked as whores, plus an unknown (but certainly larger) number in other kinds of sex work:

…economist Yasuyuki Iida…says that five percent of women in Japan have [done some kind of sex work.  He]…begins by estimating that there are 10,000 clubs, bars and parlors offering sex nationwide… “each employs 30 women on average…That puts the number of women…at 300,000”…Iida settles on 10 years as the average tenure…based on data from the Ministry of Justice…the average woman enters the biz between the age of 25 and 29.  Census data…indicates that a total of 700,000 women fall within…that…group.  If 30,000 women [per year]…enter the fuzoku trade, that would represent…4.29[%] of that total…

The Course of a Disease

The Vietnamese government has just passed a decree under which clients of prostitutes will be punished more severely than the call girls…sex buyers will be fined VND500,000-VND1 million (US$23.7-$47.4)…prostitutes…will be issued a warning…in less severe cases or a monetary fine of VND100,000-VND300,000 (up to $14)…If the prostitutes are foreigners, they can be deported from Vietnam…

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Another example of the need for eternal vigilance:

A delegation of former prostitutes…[and] advocates have appeared before…Parliament calling for a change to prostitution laws…the organisation Freedom from Sexual Exploitation (FFSE)…says…”the Prostitution Reform Act…not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but transformed prostitution into an acceptable, even attractive job for young, poor woman in New Zealand”…FFSE is asking the government to…[criminalize] the purchase of sexual services…

Above the Law

Three more “isolated incidents”:

Nearly twenty years after two young women were shot and stabbed to death at a Kentucky massage parlor…former [cops]…Edward Carter and Leslie Duncan are among three men charged…Tammy Papler, the woman who once ran the parlor, claimed years ago that she had been bribing police…and that the killings took place after she stopped paying.

Of course, it isn’t only whores they target:

A…San Antonio [cop raped a young woman]…Jackie Len Neal pulled [her] over…[on the pretext] that her car was reported stolen.  Even though [she] produced a sales slip…Neal insisted on patting her down…[then] placed [her] in handcuffs…[in] the back of his patrol car…[and raped her]…video cameras mounted in Neal’s cruiser were not functioning…[but] a GPS tracking system did corroborate that…[it] was parked for 18 minutes…as the woman had claimed…

And an update from the original “Above the Law”:  “A victim of a…Pittsburgh police officer…filed a federal lawsuit…Adam Skweres…failed his psychological examination before [hiring and]…the city [allowed him to keep working]…after it received complaints against him…[for] three years…Frankenstein - angry mob

The Widening Gyre

You know a moral panic is nearing its zenith when you start seeing mobs with torches:

Hundreds of people [gathered]…on Long Beach Boulevard in Compton to march against the sex trafficking of children and teenagers along the notorious strip.  The march…[followed] the route often used by johns and pimps in buying and selling young victims…”We are marching tonight to shine a light in the darkness and let these men know we see them,” [politician Mark] Ridley-Thomas said…”And to let businesses that profit from this vile trade…know that we’re coming for them”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #34)

Don’t believe our data; believe our dogma instead!

In Maine…its hotline netted 19 of what Polaris Project defines as high- or moderate-level indicators of trafficking in the most recent year…Destie Sprague…[of] the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said…Mainers should not reach the conclusion that only 19 people in the state were victims of trafficking in the past year…the number is in reality much higher…

Lower Education

The federal government is backing away from the nationwide “blueprint” for campus speech restrictions issued this May…the new head of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)…said that “the agreement in the Montana case represents the resolution of that particular case and not OCR or DOJ policy”…the Montana agreement included an overly broad definition of punishable sexual harassment: “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech)…Serious First Amendment and due process problems remain with…other recent OCR pronouncements…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #326)

Wouldn’t you love to see articles like this in the US?

Media organizations worldwide have been busy crucifying Rob Ford for his alleged crimes and intoxicated buffoonery…but mainstream outlets in Canada…need to apologize for repeatedly presenting Ford’s crimes in conjunction with allegations of “prostitution”…Having sex for money is not a crime in this country.  Even though many activities associated with it remain illegal, having sex for money…is a job…Every major mainstream media source in the city latched onto the “hanging out with suspected prostitutes” allegations…what makes someone a “suspected prostitute,” anyway?  Fishnets?…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #329)

Though registration is a poor idea because of the inevitable bottleneck, the general tone of this article is far more sensible than anything from the US:

…Swaziland’s sex workers are not a major contributor to the spread of HIV…[it] is spread widely by people in [unpaid] sexual encounters …However…if HIV is to be contained in any country the need to protect sex workers from HIV is a requirement…Identification of sex workers is the first step, allowing a registry of sex workers for contact and communication.  Thus reachable, these individuals can receive advice on health issues, HIV testing…counselling…treatment …and a supply of condoms…public health crises require realism…

Migliorini in PlayboyLittle Boxes (TW3 #332)

A woman who sold her virginity…for $780,000 but was unable to consummate the transaction has decided to put herself back on the market…Catarina Migliorini  was initially promised to a 53-year-old Japanese millionaire, but the deal fell through after Natsu ended up being a 21-year-old who looked nothing like his online profile.  She also had a falling out with the documentary filmmaker who recruited her…

Decentralization (TW3 #334)

Another example of “sex trafficking” as default bogeyman:

…bitcoin…is not backed by any central bank or government and can be transferred “peer to peer” between any two people anywhere…By largely eliminating intermediaries, bitcoin allows individuals to conduct transactions without being subject to anti-money laundering controls, which makes it an attractive currency to criminals — particularly those who prey on the weak.  Sex slavery and human trafficking generate $9.5 billion yearly in the United States alone, with each trafficked child yielding between $150,000 to $200,000 to her pimp, who controls four to six girls on average…

It’s That Time Again (TW3 #334)

The cuckoo clock is striking 13:

Cindy McCain slammed the National Football League…for not being “willing to deal” with the issue of sex trafficking at the Super Bowl…McCain…said the Super Bowl is the “largest human-trafficking venue on the planet,” but she will be working to tackle the issue in [Arizona] in 2015…McCain emphasized the necessity of bringing the issue to…Congress.  “This issue’s not sexy on Capitol Hill yet, but we’re going to make it sexy”…

Given all the one-handed writing politicians do about “child sex slaves”, I’d say they already find it plenty sexy.  But McCain’s comments, however idiotic, are at least coherent, which is more than I can say for those of her sidekick:

…Saada Saar spoke about her involvement in shutting down “adult services” ads on Craigslist in 2010…“I will never forget that morning getting calls from some of the girls who were still out there saying, ‘Oh my God!  The pimp’s [sic] are losing their minds because they can’t put us up for sale.  We are no longer for sale’…”

Imaginary Evils

Slaves found in London 'tip of the iceberg' Daily MailI knew this would turn out to be bogus, but I’m very pleased that it came apart so quickly:

The first stories in the London slavery reports…all gave the same horrifying account:  three women had been rescued by police after thirty years held against their will…But as details emerged, it seemed to be an entirely different affair…after contacting the charity, the women were encouraged to leave the house, which they did…with no dramatic police raid…[they] had joined a radical Marxist collective…which…was like a microcosm of a Soviet state- workers toil unrewarded for the benefit of the leader…”social services, education and housing departments had all had contact with the household” and…both the leaders had been previously arrested.  The presence of these women in the house was not a new discovery by any means…

And in Spiked, Frank Furedi uses the incident as a springboard for a strong criticism of the way the word “slavery” is used to describe phenomena which are absolutely nothing like chattel slavery.

Everything Old is New Again

Here are two more stories in which “sex trafficking” is described using ludicrous Victorian phraseology; this one from Ohio tells us that the mustache-twirling villains behind the “perfidious crime” are not usually stopped by “swift apprehension”, and that arresting sex workers “[fights] the vexing scourge” by “helping to restore a semblance of normalcy to [their] lives”.  The other, from California, gasps in horror at the idea of “children…at risk” from people having sex “in a home right across the street from an elementary school,” opines that “the horror of human trafficking…has destroyed the meaning of what it means to be ‘safe’ in a free world,”  and tells us that “expanding shackles” (presumably, a technology related to “invisible handcuffs”) are “fueled” by “assumptions that these are consensual interactions with women flaunting their sexual desire alongside pimps in outlandish suits with expensive cars.”

Meanwhile, if you click back to the original column by this name you’ll see something about how New Port Richey, Florida has a scheme to allow “authorities” to persecute “known prostitutes” at will.  Well, here’s an open letter to the town from its most famous daughter, Dr. Brooke Magnanti:

…Profiling has a false positive rate greater than zero, and some of those false positives will no doubt lawyer up.  Also, picking up people because you think they might possibly commit a crime in the future is not the same as detecting people who are actually breaking the law.  It is – hm, how you say? – oh yeah, now I remember the word.  “Unconstitutional.”  (My time in Florida’s schools did not go to waste, as you can see)…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #346)

Buried down near the bottom of this farrago of pearl-clutching nonsense about a persecuted Calgary massage parlor:  “Human trafficking is not a widespread problem among sex workers in Calgary massage parlours, police say…Mary Ann Franks threatens to beat up website owners

Shame, Shame

Activists seeking to criminalize “revenge porn” say they are…[preparing] federal legislation that would force Internet companies to take [it] down…law professor Mary Anne Franks…is helping draft the bill…”Going after intermediaries is a really bad idea,” says Matt Zimmerman…[of] the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  “The entire speech ecosystem…[suffers] because those service providers…decide what people can and cannot post”…Internet companies would likely respond to such a law by removing content any time there’s a complaint, to reduce their liability and…save time…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #347)

This ugly exercise in arse-backwardness repeats lurid nonsense about “sex tourism” in Brazil using Justin Bieber clickbait while describing dry stories about sex workers’ language lessons and business improvements as “titillating”; it then dismisses UN recommendations for decriminalization in a flurry of “sex trafficking” hoo-hah (describing the fringe group Equality Now as “many NGOs”), and adds insult to injury by mentioning Gabriela Leite’s Davida without stating that it’s a sex worker rights organization.  Compare it with this one, which despite being fixated on “grittiness” is at least basically honest.

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