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Posts Tagged ‘Decentralization’

If the benefits, and responsibilities, of adulthood keep getting deferred, is it any wonder kids have a hard time growing up?  –  Karol Markowicz

Dysphemisms Galore 

In normal adult language, they ran an ordinary escort service like I did:

A [San Francisco Bay area] woman who is accused of running a 150-woman prostitution ring with her son is also a prolific author of feminist erotica…Fay Ruth Romesburg, is accused of working with her son David Scott Romesburg…to lure women into sex work and then arranging appointments for them at three properties…Romesburg said she is “deeply concerned with female sexual empowerment” and referred to laws against sex work as a “continued assault on women’s rights…We need to stop treating these women as victims,” she said of sex workers…”They are highly intelligent and educated”…

Still a Child 

It’s a pity so few Americans can see this:

…for a long time, 18 meant the start of official adulthood in America…suggestions of raising the age for gun purchases came during the same week that the…forceful outpouring of civic engagement by Stoneman Douglas High School students led commentators to argue that the voting age should be lowered to 16…We send mixed messages about when adulthood begins and what will be expected once it arrives…Allan Metcalf notes that “until the teen age was invented, that was the goal of children: to become adult as soon as possible, to escape the limitations of childhood.”  But somewhere along the way, we came up with this middle ground and, to our detriment, this middle ground is [pretended to be] the brightest, happiest time…Then 18 rolls around…An 18-year-old can vote or join the military but not buy beer or, in some states like New York, cigarettes…On the other hand: When they commit a crime, we try juveniles as young as 13 as adults even though we know their cognitive abilities aren’t mature…a Pew Research study last year found that kids are living at home longer than ever before.  They can stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26…

If Men Were Angels 

A secondary evil made possible by drug prohibition:

Christopher Bathum managed to build an empire in California’s lucrative addiction treatment industry despite the fact that he held no license in drug counseling and no college degree.  The self-described “Rehab Mogul” founded…a chain of about 20 facilities in Southern California and Colorado…Bathum presented himself as a trusted confidant and mentor to his patients – particularly to young, broken women wrestling with addiction.  He made numerous, vulnerable young women feel special, showering them with “internships” and access to company cars and iPhones…But he also used their weaknesses…to lure the women with drugs, get them high, and then sexually assault them…Bathum was convicted of sexually assaulting seven women…and…now faces up to 65 years in state prison when he is sentenced in April…

Above the Law (#615)

25 years would be satisfactory, if it were given to every single rapist cop:

Two Los Angeles [cops] pleaded no contest…to [raping] multiple women, often preying on victims while one partner served as the lookout as the other carried out an attack in their unmarked police car…[rapist pigs] Luis Valenzuela and James C. Nichols entered their no-contest pleas to two counts each of forcible rape and two counts each of…oral [rape]. The [rapists] appeared in court in orange, jail-issued jumpsuits and were shackled at the waist…The judge also ordered the [rapist pigs] to register as sex offenders…

The Prudish Giant (#703) 

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

…The latest work deemed “pornographic” is the 30,000 year-old nude statue famously known as the Venus of Willendorf…An image of the work posted on Facebook by Laura Ghianda…was removed as inappropriate content despite four attempts to appeal the decision…A case on Facebook’s censorship of art was heard in a Paris court earlier this month.  Frédéric Durand-Baïssas, a French teacher, has been trying to sue the social media giant since 2011 for closing his account after he posted a photograph of Gustave Courbet’s 1866 painting L’Origine du Monde…Despite Facebook changing its policy on nudity to allow “photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”, instances of art censorship persist…

Guinea Pigs (#719) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers, and gave California cops a facial recognition database of black and Latino men:

According to Ronal Serpas, the [former NOPD] chief…one of the tools used by the New Orleans Police Department to identify members of gangs like 3NG and the 39ers came from the Silicon Valley company Palantir.  The company provided software to a secretive NOPD program that traced people’s ties to other gang members, outlined criminal histories, analyzed social media, and predicted the likelihood that individuals would commit violence or become a victim…[trials using the data as evidence] made no mention of the NOPD’s partnership with Palantir…[which] began in 2012…Palantir Technologies…[was] founded with seed money from the CIA…

Absolute Corruption (#758)

Readers who are still around in 2040 can expect a series of exonerations of victims of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

A judge has dismissed charges against two men who were convicted in the death of a woman as part of a “Satanic ritual” more than 25 years ago…Judge Bruce Butler dismissed the charges against Jeffrey Clark and Keith Hardin…[who] were convicted of killing Rhonda Warford in 1992 as part of a Satanic ritual, and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.  New DNA evidence and accusations that [pigs maliciously and intentionally] framed the pair led the Kentucky Supreme Court to vacate the convictions.  After special prosecutor Jon Heck chose not to pursue a new trial, this was the final step…

The Mote and the Beam (#798)

Authoritarianism is its own reason for existence:

…the House voted both on Rep. Mimi Walters’ bad amendment to attach SESTA to FOSTA, and then on the combined bill — and both sailed through Congress…even though the Justice Department weighed in with a last minute letter saying that the language in the combined SESTA/FOSTA is so poorly drafted that it would actually make it more difficult to prosecute sex traffickers, and also calling into question whether or not the bill was even Constitutional…the combined (terrible) bill sailed through the whole House 388 to 25.  Kudos to the 25 Representatives who actually understand how CDA 230 works and why this bill is so bad, but it’s depressing to think that it was just 25…

Decentralization (#813) 

I’ll start accepting bitcoin for donations (not services) as soon as someone shows me how to exchange it freely for stuff I actually need:

An adult entertainment venue in Las Vegas will enable its dancers to get payments from clients directly via bitcoin transfers.  The use of the cryptocurrency is primarily used as a privacy-enhancing measure as well as an attraction for affluent bitcoin investors.  Vistors to the Legends Room can use the…bitcoin ATM to buy cryptocurrency at the club.  The dancers can choose to wear temporary QR tattoos as wallet addresses that can be scanned on a smartphone.  Besides the privacy concerns of the patrons, the use of bitcoin allows the dancers to avoid explaining to banks where they get large amounts of cash…

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Why shouldn’t a man want sex?  Why shouldn’t a man want intimacy?…Why do we view that as being abusive or predatory?  –  Antonia Murphy

Mythbusters

Six years ago I mocked UK cops for demanding censorship of nude art based on Greek mythology, but now the galleries are doing it themselves:

Manchester Art Gallery has…remov[ed] John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs…from its walls.  Postcards of the painting will be removed from sale in the shop.  The painting was…replaced with a notice explaining that a temporary space had been left “to prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artworks”.  Members of the public have stuck Post-it notes around the notice giving their reaction…Clare Gannaway, the gallery’s curator of contemporary art, [gave her opinion even though the painting is Pre-Rapealite and not contemporary]…The removal itself is [censorship presented as] an artistic act and will feature in a solo show by the artist Sonia Boyce which opens in March…Gannaway [pretended] the removal was not about censorship [despite bloviating a lot of nonsense about “objectification” and the evil “male gaze”]…

Yes, this means that modern people are officially more prudish than Victorians. 

First They Came for the Hookers… (#349)

For those who still pretend government is different from organized crime:

A Harris County judge has ordered the closing of a Houston strip club after [cops raided it] more than 30 [times, alleging] crimes including prostitution…over the past four years.  Judge Fredericka Phillips granted a request from the city to have Fantasy Plaza, a club [which does not pay the required bribes to Houston police], closed…

That’s not just a snarky interposition of my own, by the way; click on the title link.  Houston actually has a program that allows strip clubs to openly pay off cops not to be raided, and Fantasy Plaza is one of the clubs suing the city in federal court to shut the scheme down. But yeah, I’m sure those 30 raids were for serious “crimes”.

Down Under (#410)

New Zealand is moving toward the day when disclaimers like this will no longer be necessary:

Antonia Murphy is…the madam of Whangarei’s The Bach, an enterprise she’s taking pains to describe as an ethical brothel.  “If you start by saying it’s a ­brothel, in my experience people immediately start relating it to violence and gangs and drugs,” Murphy says…This means treating her workers with respect – providing them with condoms, briefing them on their legal rights, paying them at least $150 an hour – and there’s free childcare on site.  “New Zealand seems way ahead of the curve in terms of decriminalisation and yet [because of stigma] much of the sex industry is still bogged down in sort of shady working practices…It’s still not socially accepted and there is still a lot of judgment”…

Whither Canada? (#439)

This challenge is only necessary because the Liberals lied about repealing the law:

Canada’s prostitution laws are being put to the legal test in a London, Ont. courtroom where two people are charged with advertising sexual services, profiting from the sex trade and producing a person to offer sexual services.  The first defence expert witness called in the case, academic Chris Atchison, testified that the new law, often referred to as Bill C-36, makes it less safe for people in the sex trade to do their jobs…Hamad Anwar and Tiffany Harvey…face more than two dozen [prohibition]-related charges each…[after] a bust made by London police at an escort service in November 2015…

Schadenfreude (#561) 

I wonder how much profit they made on survival sex workers’ backs with this scam?

Dozens of [survival sex workers were kick out of a shelter the day after the Super Bowl]…a long-term residential facility…called Breaking Free…typically require[s women to submit to indoctrination]…to stay there but for the 10 days leading to the Super Bowl, Breaking Free [staged a publicity stunt in which they provided] emergency shelter.  The NFL Super Bowl Host Committee, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Catholic Benedictine Sisters and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet, among other organizations, footed the bill to help Breaking Free buy beds, food and emergency provisions…”What a heartbreak to tell the women they can’t spend the night here” said Terry Forliti, Breaking Free’s executive director…”My fear is they fall back into the life, when we have tried so hard to offer an exit strategy”…

“Exit strategy” my high-priced arse.  Breaking Free is well known as a money-hungry profiteer group more concerned with milking the unfortunate than helping them; three years ago its own employees reported it to its funding agencies for “misuse of funds, property, and services and…staff misconduct”…

That Old Black Magic (#714)

The descent of “sex trafficking” hysteria into self-parody continues unabated:

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said it has engaged some local witchdoctors in Benin, Edo as ambassadors in fighting human trafficking in [Nigeria]…The Director General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donli…said investigations revealed that some local witch doctors were involved or used in the [migration] of persons to Europe.  “When we gathered these witchdoctors recently to [indoctrinate] them [with anti-migration propaganda European countries are paying us to disseminate], they were shocked”…

O, Canada! (#733)

Canadian prohibitionists are trying desperately to whip up “sex trafficking” hysteria there to US levels:

If you ask most Canadians, they’d say…this isn’t the kind of place where men and women entrap teenagers, then move them from city to city, buying and selling them as modern-day sex slaves…But Canada is exactly that kind of place….[prohibitionists fantasize] there are thousands of them…The average age at which exploitation begins is 13; the average age of rescue, if a girl is rescued at all, is 17…[prohibitionist] Shae Invidiata…[fantasizes] “One girl in Canada can make a pimp $300,000 a year”…[hysteria has] gotten to the point where, last February, the Edmonton Police Service changed the name of its Vice unit…to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit [so they could cash in]…The youngest victim they’ve rescued so far was 13…

It’s rare that a propaganda piece is so idiotic that it contradicts itself within a couple of paragraphs; how can the average and youngest “victim” both be 13?

First They Came for the Hookers… (#752) 

Sorry, but I have no sympathy for someone who leaves a job inflicting violence consensually for one where she can inflict it non-consensually:

A New Jersey sheriff’s officer has lost her job because she previously appeared in bondage films as a dominatrix…Kristen Hyman…was [supposedly] terminated for lying about her prior work on her application, [but]…she would not have made it into the academy had she been honest about her past.  The sheriff’s office characterized Hyman’s activities, which took place roughly from 2010 through 2012, as conduct unbecoming for a public employee…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#756)

This might be the first of these apps to actually consult sex workers:

A new app…is dubbing itself the Airbnb of sex work…“Gfendr”…developed in Montreal, has attracted 700 users since its launch [three] weeks ago…[it] allows sex workers to list their services and rate clients.  In turn, clients can search for sex workers based on their preferences and chat with their chosen service provider about location and price ahead of time.  Sex workers can flag difficult or dangerous clients, helping others avoid unsafe situations in the future.  Vancouver sex-worker advocacy group PACE said the founders of the app reached out to them and other groups across the country ahead of the launch and asked for feedback…Co-developer Melissa Desrochers says she and her partner have built the app without funding. Once there are more users, sex workers will be able to pay to promote their services in search results…[but since] current laws…say buying sex and helping advertise are illegal…the police might use the app to gather information on sex workers and clients…Gfendr only requires a phone number or email to register, and Desrocher assures that this and all other identifying information is encrypted by an outside company, so even she doesn’t have access to it…

Decentralization (#764)

Good grief, another titcoin?

Leah Callon-Butler wants to revolutionise the sex and adult industries using cryptocurrency.  Alongside her four co-founders she’s helping develop a new cryptocurrency called Intimate which will operate as a digital payment option for adult or sexual products, services or offerings…

Signs (#766) 

Yet another reason never to call the fucking cops:

When Jodi Gaylord answers…911 calls at the emergency dispatch center in Vancouver [Washington], details can raise red flags.  She asks herself, “Could this be a sex trafficking situation?”…Gaylord was just one dispatcher in four groups who…were [indoctrin]ated on the subject by [prohibitionists]…

IOW, that call you make to rat out your neighbor could end with a SWAT team smashing down your door and murdering your dog because some dumbass with no critical thinking skills imagines you “raised a red flag”.

Signs (#771)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers announced Monday, Jan. 29 they would introduce legislation during the coming 2018 session designed to help prevent sex trafficking in Minnesota through education…“There are people who are trained to manipulate you, to coerce you, to persuade you they’re your boyfriend…This is the curriculum we hope to have schools teach and will warn girls against”…

Cops and Robbers (#794)

These were first used in Seattle, but monkey-cop see, monkey-cop do.  Especially when both gangs of monkeys are on the same billionaire sociopath’s payroll:

Technology has opened a new door for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Tom Dart says it’s not clear yet what they’ll do with it.  It’s software that can respond by text to people who are looking on-line to pay for sex…In a roughly 30-day period that just wrapped up, 2,500 people engaged with the bots.  Around 65 percent of them stayed with the text exchange until they agreed on a price.  Then, the would-be sex buyers got a…sort of a “scared straight” message meant to deter any future endeavors…

And judging by the amount of work I and my friends have had in Seattle since summer, no, they don’t deter business.  But I’m sure you’d already guessed that; cops don’t like to crow about surveillance tricks (such as Stingrays) that actually work.

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Officialdom should never have the right to tell grown adults when, how, with whom and for what reason they can have sex.  –  Ella Whelan

Feminine Pragmatism 

The capacity of lawheads for denying reality is nothing short of astonishing:

The [Samoan] Ministry of Health has made it a priority to educate and counsel “commercial sex workers” despite the government downplaying their existence…the number of female sex workers in Samoa was estimated at around 400.  It was also revealed that most women are doing sex work for economic reasons…The…report was rubbished by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi who laughed at claims that poverty and hardship are to blame for the growing number of sex workers in Samoa…

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

A woman who works at a Tulsa massage parlor…has been charged with trying to persuade colleagues to not testify against their employer.  Stefanie Lea Thomas…was charged…with intimidation of a witness…Thomas is the manager…The owner…Willie Charles Whitman, was arrested earlier this month as the result of a…[sting and] charged with two counts of human trafficking…On the night of Whitman’s arrest, he called Thomas from the county jail and told her he “needed the other girls in the shop to go to court and say that he was not human trafficking anyone”…

Of course, he’d have said the same things if he was innocent & simply intelligent enough to realize that the pigs are trying to pin BS “sex trafficking” charges on him, but of course that’s not important now that presumption of innocence is a thing of the past.

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to call this a “correctional institution” and the torturers “correctional officers”:

For 46 hours, Andrew Holland’s legs and arms were shackled to a chair in the San Luis Obispo County jail.  The [helpless human being], who suffered from schizophrenia, was left in his own filth, eating and drinking almost nothing.  He was naked, except for a helmet and mask covering his face and a blanket that slipped off his lap, exposing him to jail staff who passed by his glass-fronted cell.  When he was finally unbound, [screws] dumped him to the floor of a nearby cell.  Within 40 minutes, he [died]…

All-Purpose Excuse

It’s not “erroneous”, which implies an honest mistake; it’s a willful conflation:

…The way police involved in…sting[s] chose to spin their costly efforts to entrap the buyers and sellers of sex is just one more example of how law enforcement and others routinely conflate consensual prostitution with far rarer instances of actual sex trafficking…in [a recent “Operation Cross-Country”]…which cost taxpayers millions of dollars, only six underage prostitutes were found out of a total 85 prostitutes…only 14 “pimps” were arrested and there is no evidence that any of them actually engaged in trafficking according to the legal definition.  It’s not just law enforcement that…[conflates] victimless sex work with trafficking.  Many politicians…and others persist in conflating the two for their own political benefit…

Dating Game

Melissa Petro on her post-sex work dating experiences:

Aside from losing my career in dramatic fashion, dating was one of the toughest parts of being someone with sex work experience.  Whether you’re a dancer or an escort, a porn star or a cam girl, the same questions arise:  how and when to tell the person you’re dating, and then, how to manage their reaction (they always have one).  “Do prostitutes really date and marry?” is an actual question some men ask.  And some men think the answer ought to be no.  Whether our experiences in the industry are positive, negative, or — as they very frequently are — neutral, many people paint all sex workers with the same broad brush.  They’re morally corrupt, or else so emotionally and even physically damaged by their experiences as to be undatable…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#698) 

As regular readers know, “expert sex therapists” have never labelled “sex addiction” a disorder:

In the world of sex therapy, there is no consensus on what constitutes a sex addict…Answers from therapists vary wildly.  And for now, nobody is right and nobody is wrong, as there is no standardized “sex addiction” diagnosis.  This could soon change, and a bitter battle is raging behind the scenes over whether it should change…

No, there is no “bitter battle” among actual, qualified sex therapists; those who wish this imaginary syndrome labeled  a true disorder are opportunists, few with actual qualifications as therapists, who want their pet label officially recognized so they can cash in on insurance. But credulous reporters don’t want to hear that.

Decentralization (#718)

Did you ever wonder why the government stopped harassing bitcoin?

Computer science [bootlickers] at the University of California, Berkeley have developed new tools to identify sex [workers]…making them easier for law enforcement to target and prosecute…The new technique [pretends to]…find…stylistic similarities between ads for sex services posted to sites like Backpage.com…[in order to pretend they’re all posted by] criminal organizations posting multiple ads…Because Backpage is the most used portal for advertising sex services, credit card processors like Visa [were threatened into choking off payment processing by a megalomaniacal Chicago politician]…starting in 2015.  That left Bitcoin as the preferred means of paying for ads.  The Berkeley researchers took advantage of Bitcoin’s public blockchain — a record of all transactions — to identify payments for sex ads…and even to connect them to real-world names…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

I’m really enjoying “grocery store sex trafficking” hysteria:

A creepy trend has been scaring mothers across Sarasota County who say strangers are approaching women in stores and parking lots, asking intrusive questions about their children.  This has…many people panicked on social media…[one hysteric] says two pretend shoppers [no doubt wearing labels that said “pretend shopper”] approached them in the toy aisle…one woman asked strange religious questions while the other was fixated on her daughter…asking direct questions about [her] looks and features…“It just made me even more afraid that they were going to try to grab either just my daughter or both of us”…

Because nobody but a “sex trafficker” ever attempts to be polite by complimenting a child’s looks.

Like Houses

The leading edge of a wedge is often extremely thin:

A bill that will allow homes to be searched without a warrant was passed with overwhelming support by the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Trump—and it happened with no media coverage and very little fanfare.  On the surface, House Joint Resolution 76 looks harmless…However, there is one major red flag buried within the text of the bill that stems from the list of “powers” given to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, and it violates one of the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution…The text gives the Commission the authority to enter property near the Metro Rail System “without limitation” and without a warrant, for the purpose of “making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.”  This clearly goes against the Fourth Amendment…[but] only five Congressmen…voted against it…This is not the first time Congress has quietly passed a bill that will take away some of the most basic rights from law-abiding citizens in the U.S…and while it may only affect the Washington D.C. metro area now, it could be laying the blueprint for future legislation across the country.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#767) 

Bindel is increasingly becoming a transparent laughing stock:

…In framing prostitution as modern slavery, something that holds women captive, Bindel plays on the classic and sexist damsel-in-distress motif.  Yes, in other countries women do not enjoy the same rights as we do in the UK.  But sticking with the country Bindel is based in and writes about in her piece – Britain – there is simply no epidemic of “sex slavery” here.  Prostitution happens, often in unpleasant circumstances, but these women are not chattel; they can make decisions…

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Goats are escape artists.  –  Matt Minnick

The first music videos (short films intended to market a song) were probably Warner Brothers’ “Merrie Melodies” cartoons, but the form as we would recognize it today probably began with The Beatles cartoon series (1965) and grew by way of The Monkees (1966) and Yellow Submarine (1968).  So it’s probably not surprising that many of the first stand-alone videos were short animated films; the Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour showed these as a regular feature, and I fondly remember quite a few of them.  This was one of my favorites: the music is a Sonny & Cher cover of the anti-racist folk-rock song “Black and White“.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker (“course”), Conner Habib (“wouldn’t”),  Tushy Galore (“happens”),  Mistress Matisse (“woo” and “together”), and Tejas (“safe”).

From the Archives

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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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