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Posts Tagged ‘Devil’s Advocate’

The cops are the villains of this story, not the heroes.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Torture Chamber 

It’s unusual to see them actually use the word “rape” in this context:

A deputy jailer at Hardin County [Kentucky] jail has been arrested after…inmate Amanda Chambers [reported] that Deputy Stephen Renfrow provided her with tobacco dip in exchange for sex…He was arrested on Friday and is facing charges for rape, promoting contraband, and official misconduct…

If it was a true “exchange” as the story suggests, why did Chambers report him, and why the charge of rape?  It seems more likely he raped her and then gave her the tobacco in an attempt to bribe her into silence.

Case Study

Is it sexist of me to wonder why men seem to be pearl-clutching even more than women these days?

There are two brothels operating…[in an apartment building]…each containing several “sex workers”.  They advertise their services openly on websites.  Clients pick a woman from a menu of hundreds and make a phone call to get directions…A garda familiar with the case confirms there are several brothels operating out of apartment complexes in the area, as well as “pop-up” brothels in the local hotel.  He says there is little that can be done unless they witness cash been handed over…Street prostitution still exists but the vast majority of prostitution is now advertised on the internet.  Ruth Breslin of Ruhama, an organisation [that persecutes sex workers]…estimates there are no more than 70 prostitutes working on the streets in Dublin…“Women are moved around an awful lot in the indoor trade because the market is all about new girls. Buyers are often not interested in going back to the same woman,” Breslin says…

Scare quotes for a job title.  Advertising being described as “open” as though there were another way for it to be effective.  Can you imagine a site featuring ads for physicians or lawyers being described as a “menu”?  Ruhama interviewed instead of sex workers.  Women described as passive objects who “are moved” rather than being able to move themselves. And it goes on from there…

Moving Pictures 

Salon’s definition of “everyone” excludes all people who actually know anything about sex work, or have critical thinking skills and access to Google:

“It’s all a lie. It’s all a big lie.”  That’s how director Josie Swantek Heitz, her face stunned and expressionless as she leans against a wall, informs director/cinematographer Dave Adams that they have been hoodwinked.  This discovery occurs moments into the intro of their film The Wrong Light…[first intended to be a fakumentary] about trafficked girls in the stateless Hill Tribe communities that border Northern Thailand.  After this initial confusion…we are suddenly plunged headlong into the world of Mickey Choothesa and COSA (Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia), a [rescue profiteering] organization…A half hour in, the film flips to include an intricately woven fiction that fooled everyone, including both filmmakers, the producers, a slew of international donors, a parade of interns, and even foreign correspondent Adam Ramsey…It is as though the [fantasy] of witnessing pretty girls being trafficked…[turns moralists on so much that they]…open…their…wallets without further investigation…

Readers with long memories will remember that I debunked COSA in this blog five and a half years ago.

Theatrics (#549)

People who can’t admit their kinks unknowingly display them to the world:

The group ‘Yet She Rise’ hopes people will see their human trafficking displays this weekend in [Chicago’s] Wicker Park and feel uncomfortable…there is a box with two child actors inside it, tape over their mouths and wrists.  “In a box, you know, roped and tied, with tape across their mouth, just to show how [sexy], and how [arousing], this situation is,” sa[livate]d Lamar Flowers, who’s with the organization…

This is at least the fourth iteration we’ve seen of this same inane stunt.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

Italy sends its navy to stop brown people from coming into the country; everyone pretends it isn’t racist:

Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni…announced…that the Italian navy would be patrolling with Libyan ships just off the Libyan coastline…to curb human trafficking and [turn] migrants back…to Libya…Italy has already threatened to stop allowing boats carrying rescued migrants to dock in Italian ports…Most of the migrants are from African countries, and many try to travel on to France…However, the border is being policed by French officials.  Migrants who are caught are sent back to Italy.  Austria has announced that it too will close its border with Italy if the number of migrants starts to rise…The interior ministry has…announced that it will reinforce repatriation programs…

“Repatriation” is the currently-fashionable euphemism for “deportation”.

Power Play (#701)

The only part of this I disagree strongly with is Petro’s conciliatory statement that “There are lots of good reasons to root for Kamala Harris”:

…Like racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all the rest, casual whorephobia and anti-sex work sentiment and views — even among so-called progressives — is endemic…The latest and most vivid example of this is the growing popularity of superstar Democrat Kamala Harris…[who] has been called a “liberal hero” and a “rising star” in the party…There are lots of good reasons to root for Kamala Harris…But the fact that Harris was an active force behind a campaign that endangered the lives of sex workers makes it understandably difficult for people with experiences in the sex trades to throw her our support…

No, there are no good reasons to root for Harris; she’s a corrupt, self-serving, two-faced demagogue who, in addition to her anti-whore campaigns, participated in political cover-ups and actively campaigned against prison reform because, she claims, California needs the slave labor prisoners are forced to do.  She is a vile, loathsome monster even by the standards of politicians, and that’s saying something.

Devil’s Advocate (#723) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

A surge in the number of seizures of child-like sex dolls by border officers has led investigators to identify dozens of previously unknown suspected paedophiles.  The…dolls…are a “relatively new phenomenon” in the UK and should be criminalised, said Hazel Stewart [a sex cop]…those who order them can be prosecuted under a specific charge of importing an indecent or obscene article…[but] it is not illegal to own a child sex doll…Stewart said: “I think it’s got to be through the full range of this criminality, from manufacturer to sale, to import, to possess – the full range.  And we need to make sure it’s future-proofed in case there is the introduction of…sex robots”…

I’m sure you guessed this would merge with the sex robot hysteria.

The War Goes On (#731) 

Prohibitionists just don’t realize how obvious their masturbation to the “pimp” fantasy is, bless their little hearts:

For pimps and prostitutes, gift cards have become a currency to pay for sex ads on Backpage.com, anti-prostitution activists say…Credit card companies [were illegally threatened into cutting off] business with the website two years ago.  People could still buy Backpage ads, but it became more difficult:  They had to mail in checks or use complicated digital currencies like bitcoin.  But now, Backpage has begun accepting gift cards from major retailers…that means a pimp could walk into any local grocery store and pick up a convenient, untraceable way to pay the site to post ads selling women…[prohibitionists publicly masturbate to the fantasy that] Backpage’s new payment system will make it easier to sell vulnerable girls online…

What’s also fascinating is the number of anti-sex women who insist that other women are far too stupid to do anything as simple as pay for an online service by themselves, without an all-powerful male doing it for them.

Too Close To Home (#760)

Liz Brown on the warped thought patterns of Seattle prosecutor Val Richey:

In Seattle, sex must be a “leisure activity” for both parties or it’s nonconsensual, according to…Val Richey—a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County…”What you have is someone paying this person essentially to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes,'” Richey [said]…”these women, as a leisure activity, are not looking to have sex with 10 guys in a day. They’re doing it for the money.”  By that logic, anyone who wouldn’t perform their job without remuneration is a victim of labor trafficking!  But Richey is “adamant”…that what Korean sex workers…”were doing could not be called consensual because they were being paid”…

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People have the right to do what they want with their bodies. -Dr Paul Ryan

Rooted in Racism

Sometimes “trafficking” just means “bringing in brown people“:

Police in India have arrested eight foreign nationals…for allegedly forging passports and impersonation…The arrested included four Britons who were allegedly trying help four Sri Lankans gain entry into the UK with fake Indian passports…Police believe that the suspected traffickers are part of a wider network that could be helping non-Indian nationals to fly out to other countries on fake documents…entering the UK and getting a job for people carrying Sri Lankan passports is difficult, so they opt for the easier route of travelling with forged Indian passports…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Seriously, has this girl been living under a rock?

A pregnant woman in northeastern Alabama has been charged with rape after…she wrote on a Medicaid application that a 14-year-old boy was the father of her unborn baby…19-year-old Mekenzie Leigh Guffey…[was ratted out to cops by] the state human resources agency…and charged with second-degree rape and second-degree sex abuse, along with enticing a child for immoral purposes, traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act, possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography…If convicted, Guffey could face up to 20 years in prison…

Just think; if the state sends her to prison it will be ruining three young people’s lives with one action.  Of course, prosecutors consider that a win.  Protecting the “children”!!!

Monkey Business 

So much for human uniqueness:

A chimpanzee was filmed using tools to apparently clean the corpse of her adopted son, the first hint that animals other than humans have mortuary practises…Noel…was seen using a stem of grass to remove debris from the teeth of a young male named Thomas, who she had looked after since the death of his own mother four years earlier…Dr Edwin van Leeuwen…said:  “Noel…sat down close to his head…select[ed] a hard piece of grass…and used her thumbs to explore his teeth…she…started to meticulously poke the grass in the same dental area as where her thumbs had been”…Nina, her adolescent daughter, stayed at her side and observed the cleaning efforts of her mother…researchers say Noel might also have been trying to understand how Thomas had died.  She was seen tasting the debris she had picked from his teeth.  A post-mortem revealed that Thomas had most likely died from a combination of a viral and bacterial lung infection…

Across the Pond (#333)

Four years ago, Ipswitch was claiming to have “eradicated” street work:

…The number of calls Suffolk Constabulary has received reporting suspected street prostitution in Ipswich has more than tripled over a year, jumping from three in 2015 to 10 last year…Up until February 7 this year there had been two recorded sightings.  [Politician] David Ellesmere…said plans for a new [snitching] system…were being put in place…Brian Tobin…of Iceni Ipswich…said…“I…believe that in any great shape or form street prostitution won’t return to Ipswich…People are…now [arranging meetings]…online…if people are safe and they are not coerced, they are not under-age…then who are we to judge them?  In a massage parlour or a flat you’ve got more security”…[But] Ellesmere [fantasizes about]…problems of trafficking and child sexual exploitation…[fellow politician] Ben Gummer [drooled over his fantasies of]…“the growing number who are being exploited in hotel rooms and rented accommodation across the town”…

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Traffic Circle

Little by little, bit by bit:

…”Awareness raising” campaigns are typically aimed at two main audiences, namely potential victims of human trafficking and the general public…both types…suffer from serious problems…there is little empirical data demonstrating that public service announcements (PSAs) such as posters in bus stations and airports are effective mechanisms for trafficked persons to access help.  The organisations that [create these] receive vast sums of money…Campaigns aiming…[at] the general public are even more problematic…[they] rely on images of sexual exploitation, and their “further information” links or phone numbers are often either non-functional or [simply connect to the cops]…Both types of campaigns…utilise scare tactics and voyeuristic, often sexualised images.  In addition to being ethically questionable, these can actually redirect our attention and resources away from more common forms of exploitation, such as children engaged in child labour, workers picking fruit, catching fish or packaging chicken…

Guinea Pigs 

It’s absolutely insane that anyone thinks this is OK, even if the notions it was based on weren’t completely idiotic:

A British bank is helping to identify women trafficked here to work as prostitutes by monitoring customers’ accounts for daily purchases of contraceptives…The same unnamed bank has also been looking for payments to “high end restaurants and cheap diners on the same day” in the belief that such transactions could indicate a sex worker dining with a client while her “handler” eats more frugally nearby.  Another financial institution provided 80 tip-offs to [pigs] after identifying accounts which received multiple cash deposits of under £10,000, often paid in anonymously, as well as regular payments to websites advertising “adult services” and flights to Eastern European countries [which are commonly featured in men’s fantasies of] sex trafficking…

I’m not sure if the stupidest premise here is that the only things people buy at pharmacies are condoms, or if it’s that whores pay for our client’s dinners rather than the other way around.  But I have to admit the idea of a pimp following a sex worker around by lurking in McDonald’s is totally hilarious.

Choke Point (#610)

From Sex Worker Helpfuls, here’s a list of payment processors that are openly hostile to sex workers, and others which are friendly so far.  Obviously this can change on a whim as it does so often, but it’s a good starting point.  The post is two years old, but appears to have been kept up to date with edits.

The Widening Gyre (#670) 

More “grocery store sex trafficking” lunacy:

My name is Amanda…a Longview, Texas resident.  I’m convinced that our two-year-old daughter was the victim of a potential sex-trafficking scam yesterday.  I got in the check-out line at a local store early afternoon.  I took my daughter out of the cart and the couple ahead struck up the typical conversation about how “cute your daughter is” and then asked about her age…I initially was understanding of what I assumed was a cultural barrier, but I quickly became uncomfortable with the woman’s body language and close proximity…the woman ask[ed] if she could hold her…my toddler reached her arms around the woman before I could really respond…The woman resisted returning her when I physically pulled my daughter from her arms…

“Cultural differences”.  In other words, the woman was an immigrant and therefore (in Amanda’s fear-crazed mind) immediately suspect no matter how mundane the interaction.

Power Play (#701)

Marc Randazza & other 1st-amendment lawyers speak out against the Backpage persecution:

The First Amendment Lawyers Association (FALA) is asking new Attorney General of California Xavier Becerra to end the “abuse of governmental power” perpetuated by predecessor Kamala Harris against current and former executives of the classified-ad site Backpage…FALA…sent a letter to Becerra condemning “the abusive prosecution of individuals associated with…Backpage.com, and also the use of expansive search warrants seeking vast amounts of constitutionally-protected material, including personally identifiable information about all of the website’s users.”  In the letter, FALA President Marc Randazza says he can identify “no theory under the First Amendment that would countenance such an abusive use of prosecutorial discretion or such a dragnet demand for information”…

Devil’s Advocate (#714) 

Authoritarians refuse to admit that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

The very idea of a child sex doll — a life-size, anatomically correct figure typically modeled after a little girl — tends to evoke abject horror.  But…a Finnish non-profit that has spent several decades promoting “sexual well being” suggested that these disturbing little dolls might actually help to protect children from abuse.  Tommi Paalanen…of the Sexpo Foundation…argued that pedophiles can be prevented from abusing kids if given an acceptable channel for their desires…“A person who uses a lot of money and effort to purchase the doll has already made the decision that he wants to carry out the sexual tendency…Therefore, it is important that…authorities…do not hamper their availability.”  The statement…came following news of an uptick in Norway of imports of child sex dolls from Hong Kong.  Police there have seized 21 such dolls since October and…men in Canada and Australia are currently on trial or being investigated for allegedly purchasing child sex dolls…Milton Diamond, a sex researcher…has long argued that simulated child pornography — meaning pornographic content that features computer-generated images instead of footage of real children— can prevent child abuse.  In 2010, he published a study finding that during a period in the Czech Republic when child pornography was not illegal, there was a “significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.”  Studies have found similar evidence in Denmark and Japan.  From that, he argues, we can conclude that child sex dolls would have a similar effect…

Authoritarians deny this, of course, because their belief-system insists that a human is a tabula rasa for the almighty State to write upon, and all that’s required to change sexual and other desires are sufficiently-punitive laws intended to “send messages” in blood.

The Course of a Disease (#715)

It’s good to see academics in the afflicted countries saying this:

Dr Paul Ryan has been lecturing at Maynooth University…for 10 years.  He is a board member of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland…“Most academics do want a focus on harm reduction, but public policy in Ireland has moved towards a…point where all sex work is seen as a violence against women…The argument is…not backed up by evidence.  Sweden has had this law since 1999 and it still has a thriving sex industry”…Ireland went one step further than its northern neighbours, however, by increasing the penalties criminalising sex work itself…Ryan is concerned the law could have unintended consequences…an advisory group on a project commissioned by the Department of Justice and undertaken at Queen University Belfast…found the law to be largely unenforceable.  The proposal ultimately became law anyway.  So, Ryan asks, “Is it about real change, or sending out a message?”…

Ryan is, of course, being diplomatic by saying “unintended consequences”; politicians in every country which has passed the Swedish model have been very clear that the law is fully intended to harm sex workers. It’s only the model’s prohibitionist cheerleaders who pretend otherwise.

Worse Than I Thought (#717)

It’s good to know there are at least a few sane people opposing the bizarre schemes of Oregon politicians:

…new laws that would suspend professional, recreational, and driver’s licenses of people busted for visiting a sex worker…were tabled last week…[but] “a new bill will be put forward which will combine elements of these two bills”…[and] mandate something known as “john school,” which aims to [brainwash] men [with propaganda claiming fantasized]…negative effects of paying for sex…[blah blah blah] child sex trafficking…the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA) [points out that such a law] will only hinder people from getting their lives back on track after a conviction, citing a 2016 state study that found “the inability to obtain or reinstate a driver’s license is one of the single greatest barriers to obtain/maintain stable employment”…professional and recreational license…[suspensions could gravely harm] doctors, teachers, cosmetologists, contractors, liquor licensees, hunters, anglers, and so on…Gail Meyer, an OCDLA lobbyist [also pointed out that]…“The whole issue of whether or not two consenting adults ought to be able to choose whether or not they want to engage in sex for a fee is sort of getting swept under the rug”…

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This has given me a fear of women.  –  Zachary

Saving Them From Themselves

Who cares if a kid’s life is destroyed?  We need to “send a message”!

Zachary, now 19, is in jail awaiting sentencing for five pictures his teenage girlfriend sent him of herself in her underwear.  He faced a choice between a possible (though unlikely) maximum sentence of 350 years in prison, or lifetime on the sex offender registry as a “sexually violent offender”—even though he never met the girl in person…a month after Zachary turned 18, the girl sent him five pictures of herself in her underwear.  Her face was not visible, nor were her private parts…Zachary was arrested and charged with 20 felonies, including indecent liberties with a minor, using a computer to propose sex, and “child porn reproduce/transmit/sell,” even though he did not send or sell the pictures to anyone…the pictures came to light because [the girl foolishly trusted]…a counselor…[who betrayed her] to…the police…

Soap Opera pono-soap

The hucksters who hawk anti-pimp personal hygiene products are always pompous and self-aggrandizing, but this one’s a full-blown megalomaniac:

Kathy Xian didn’t start Pono Soaps to be just a health and beauty venture…[her] Hawaii-based…Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS) [works to harm sex workers and their clients]…PASS is responsible for the passage of 14 anti-[sex worker] state laws…She [fantasizes] that before that the laws, prostitution was “almost legal” in the state…In contrast to its image as a paradise, Xian said that Hawaii is a hub of human trafficking… “Because of its location”…

The idea that sex work was “almost legal” in Hawaii until recently will certainly come as a surprise to Hawaiian sex workers, who for years have been actively hunted by cops with explicit legal permission to rape them.  Also, since as we all know interstate highways are the main cause of “sex trafficking”, one wonders how Hawaii has any at all.

So Close and Yet So Far

It’s sad that even people who support decriminalization feel the need to infantilize sex workers and promote myths, lies & insulting tropes:

Few people grow up dreaming of being a prostitute…Prohibitionists look at sex workers’ rates of disease and likelihood of being sexually assaulted — and, understandably, want to help…black-market prostitutes are less likely to get screened for sexually transmitted infections lest they alert doctors to their illegal professional activities…criminalizing prostitution makes sex trafficking more likely.  One widely recognized consequence of prohibition is the formation of…large criminal enterprises with monopoly power…Prohibition does nothing to help [sex workers] exit the industry or provide them with education or other skills…

Blunt Instrument

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

[Rockford, Illinois] plans to [persecute]…massage parlors…some of the people involved in these businesses are being abused sometimes even young children [fantasizes]…Venita Hervey…The new law would give the city the power to shut down massage businesses that are involved in illegal activity without a valid license…

Wait, so Rockford issues licenses for illegal activity?

Sex Rays

Sex rays could be harmful to sick people!

The Sun newspaper has publicly outed a newly-qualified nurse as a former gay porn star – for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  The article…publishes the name, age and hospital that the young man works at, as well as his picture…patients or staff…were unaware of his background until The Sun chose to investigate the “story”…As well as publishing images taken from the man’s…adult films, the tabloid appears to have sent photographers to the man’s home to take undercover photos of him taking out the bins…

Devil’s Advocate

Nobody wants to admit that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

Canada and Australia now have both reported charging men with breaking child pornography laws for possession of child sex dolls…the purpose of child porn laws is to protect children from being harmed in the production of child porn (where the images are themselves evidence of abuse)…With child sex dolls, however, there is no actual victim being protected, and it does not matter whether there is a market for latex dolls.  Although it is very reasonable to conclude that the consumers purchasing sex dolls are genuinely attracted to children, there is no evidence to indicate that sex doll owners are at an elevated level of risk to go on to commit crimes that do involve a victim…Men who are attracted to children have no healthy outlet for their sex drives, and it will be that way for their entire lives.  For someone who did not ask to be pedophilic and who cannot have romantic and sexual relationships like the rest of us, the only outlet they have is masturbation.  For society to hamper even that, to me, is cruel when it is in the absence of a demonstrated societal benefit.

The Public Eye (#444)

While the makers of the Law and Order: SVU episode based on Miriam’s story asked for her input, Lifetime didn’t even bother to ask her permission:

Before Lifetime agreed to make a movie called From Straight A’s to XXX, inspired by the true story of a Duke University freshman who moonlighted as a porn star to pay for college, the network had one condition.  “[They] only wanted to do it if we told the story in such a way that it was not just about a salacious story,” said executive producer Sheri Singer…the film…is also a scathing indictment of skyrocketing college tuition prices – and it has a lot to say about the double standards of men who watch pornography and then shame the women who star in it…While Singer’s team reached out to Miriam multiple times, they received no response.  So Singer and the screenwriter, Anne-Marie Hess [just did it anyway without her consent]…Singer is pleased with the movie’s perspective, especially given that it had female executive producers, a female screenwriter, a female director…and a female star…

Because it’s so “feminist” to proceed with exploiting someone just because you didn’t get an explicit “no”.  One wonders how Singer and all her “feminist” cronies would feel if some dude they didn’t even know just went ahead and fucked them because they didn’t answer when he asked for sex?

That Old Black Magic (#552)

Though this “academic” writer downplays the usual casting of Nigerian sex workers as ignorant victims of superstition, she’s still happy to portray them as helpless pawns rather than adults making difficult decisions under stressful circumstances:

Discussions about human trafficking between Africa and Europe are frequently blurred by generalisations about villainous traffickers and their naïve young victims who have been misled into prostitution.  But the world of sex trafficking is far more complex…several studies have shown that Nigerian sex trafficking rings are dominated by women, known as madams, and use of black magic rituals…But…two [other dynamics] are important.  The first is the active role that extended families play…the second is the fact that women themselves are nowadays increasingly aware of the work that awaits them, even though they cannot imagine how brutal and miserable it actually is.  The lack of research has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the much more complex reality of the circumstances under which victims fall into the hands of traffickers…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#580) playboy-march-april-2017

Gee, who could’ve predicted this?

No-nudes were apparently not good news at Playboy…The 63-year-old legendary men’s magazine is bringing back nude models in its upcoming issue — one year after banning naked photos in an effort to boost circulation and attract more mainstream advertisers.  That effort obviously has failed…

Not Worth the Paper

The Arizona anti-sex freakshow travels to Las Vegas:

A newly released study paints a picture of a violent and thriving sex trafficking industry in Las Vegas, with a majority of victims identified as children..Arizona State University…researchers…[claim to have]  identified 247 known victims in 2014, most of them younger than 18 years old…Randy Carter…[fantasizwes that] at 8 years old [he was shared by]…four pimps…Dr. Dominique Roe-Sepowitz [drooled while fantasizing about]…”a person who cut the cord off a hair straightener and…whipped the victim until she was in a coma.  We saw a lot of sexual assaults…knocking out teeth…breaking bones”…Cindy McCain [is in cahoots with her]…[Las Vegas] Vice [pigs want everyone to rat sex workers out to them]…

So “Cuckoo Clock” McCain and “Body Fluids” Sepowitz want you to believe that Vegas is so lousy with pimps they’ve been reduced to sharing one kid with broken bones & no teeth between them.  But our clients are the ones they want to pretend are sick.

The Rape Question (#630) 

Because just not being ashamed of one’s sexuality is too hard:

We live in an age of hacked celebrity nudes, leaked sex tapes, and revenge porn…Rumuki, now available through the App Store, allows users to film, encrypt and keep under digital lock and key their “most intimate moments”.  The idea is that your videos are safe from hackers, leaks, and spurned exes…Let’s say a couple wants to make a sex tape.  They both download Rumuki and then sync up with each other’s accounts.  Then, one of them uses the app to film a video with their partner.  The video is encrypted and saved on each partner’s smartphone…[it] cannot be watched by either party unless they have permission from their partner.  Permission can only be given for a one-time playback, and it expires in a week.  Without that permission, the video remains encrypted and cannot be played…The video may be on their device, but it’s encrypted, so they can’t post it to the internet.  A user can also revoke permission or delete the video at any point…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#639)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

…Early last year, 34 white doves and multiple bunches of coloured balloons were released into the air to the beat of traditional Papuan drums when Indonesia’s Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa announced an [absurd] plan — to eliminate prostitution from the 17,500-island nation by 2019.  Parawana…has become the face of the Government’s attempted move to bring in a five-year penalty for all sex outside of marriage…She has also said those caught visiting sex workers will have their faces published on social media…the main tool — the growls, creaks and crashes of the bulldozer.  68 red-light districts across the archipelago nation have been razed so-far…some of the girls from the bulldozed area had simply gone to other clubs, some were working on street corners…To date, no sex workers are known to have voluntarily joined the Government’s program to retrain them in poor-paying menial jobs…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#653) 

Yes, this is actually a mainstream US newspaper giving space to a priest claiming that porn comes from “the depths of Hell”:

…Growing up is a difficult process, fraught with all sorts of emotional turmoil that tempt young men to look toward pornography for relief.  Once the seeking of relief becomes habitual…the necessary experiences that boys require to become men are often thwarted…Today this affects more of our young men than we can count…and the effects are never neutral…First exposure most often occurs during adolescence, when the brain is still forming and very impressionable by graphic images…Porn comes from the depths of hell, and is calculated to destroy the characters of young men before they even have a chance to grow into a healthy sense of who they are and what they can become.  Once your mind becomes pornified…You lose any higher sense of self, and your relationships become distorted…

One would think a newspaper would know “pornified” isn’t an actual word with any real scientific meaning.

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We cannot…be blind to the very real harms posed by exposing all sorts of innocent people to unnecessary scrutiny from…authorities.  –  Liz Brown

Advice for Clients

It’s always good to see different sex workers’ perspectives on this topic:

With the exception of the occasional inconsiderate asshole, most people know how to behave at the shops, the hairdressers, or when they’re catching an Uber.  They know not to skip the line, to tip, and not to barf all over the backseat.  But a lot of people don’t know how you’re supposed to behave when you visit a sex worker…it’s only fair that you try and be polite and considerate.  But what are the dos and don’ts?  Can you ask a sex worker to lower the going rate for a blowjob because you’re such a loyal customer?  And exactly how handsy can you get when you have a half-naked stripper grinding on your lap?…

No Other Option

An important observation from Mark Draughn:

…one item on [COSWAC’s] Myths vs. Facts page caught my attention…MYTH: Clients are pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships…someone needs to address the motives of the people promoting this myth.  People who say things like this aren’t just making an academic observation; they’re arguing that sex work should be (or remain) outlawed because of these kinds of clients.  And that’s an ugly argument…Why should it matter that some clients are “pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships”?  Does that mean they should never have sex?  That they should never experience pleasurable physical intimacy, never touch a woman, because they lack the confidence or charisma to charm a woman into bed?  Keeping them from hiring sex workers isn’t protecting women from predators.  It’s just sentencing people with personality disorders to a life without intimacy…

Real People 

Though this article is padded with the usual ignorant bloviation from moralists who have never done or even studied sex work, it starts with the stories of several sex workers from Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan:

Despite the traditional mentality prevalent in the Caucasus, sex work is not uncommon, especially for women who find themselves in dead end situations.  Although well known, the rights of sex workers and their issues are rarely discussed in any of the three countries in the South Caucasus…journalists…decided to gain a better understanding of the topic by directly asking sex workers questions related to their lives.  What forces women into sex work?  What are the risks?  How does society perceive them?  What are their rights?  The following interviews are the result of their inquiries…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do murderous-sociopath-cop-frankie-bybee

A cop is a cop, even when he’s a sex worker.  But this one is unusually sociopathic even for a cop:

…Sarasota County deputy Frankie Bybee…received more than $100,000 over the years from a woman named Elinor Jarvis in exchange for…sex…Jarvis contacted investigators after learning [Bybee] had been arrested for attempting to kill a 79-year-old woman by entering her home, mounting her and shoving prescription pills down her throat before leaving her car running in her garage with the door open in the hope she would die of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Bybee was trying to make it look like a suicide.  But Marcia Sohl survived the encounter…Bybee met Sohl in October when she called the…Sheriff’s Office for help, transporting her to the hospital and praying with her to gain her trust and confidence.  He also agreed to care for her Yorkshire in exchange for $1,000, even texting her a photo of himself with the dog to show that it was safe.  But then he sold the dog on Craig’s List [sic]…he wrote checks from the woman’s account to himself and children for $65,000…On December 28, he sent an email to the woman’s doctor from her email address, pretending that she had “suicidal implications,” which led to the woman being involuntary committed for evaluation in a treatment facility…the IP address originated from his home…Nevertheless, a judge…reduced his bail from $900,000 to $250,000…And Sohl’s dog has since been returned.

They Still Don’t Get It

This is a mass of stupidity even by “sex trafficking” standards, but this paragraph is representative:

…“Maryland is a hot spot of trafficking. It’s that simple,” says Maryland [spokesow]…Deborah Flory…“That’s because of I-95, I-70, and BWI Airport, and the mix of wealth and poverty, which is one of the things that makes young women vulnerable.”  Traffickers, aka pimps, are familiar with the laws in each state and know there are weaker penalties in Maryland than elsewhere, including the possibility of a misdemeanor charge for trafficking someone age 18 or older, Flory says…“They can make more money than dealing drugs—$200,000 a year off of one girl—and it’s easier because they don’t have to re-up with cocaine or heroin.  They sell the same ‘product’ over and over again”…

The number of myths, tropes & lies in just that short passage is impressive.

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Pet clothing company Lulu & Robbie is showing its support for the United Nations’ Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking.  One of Lulu & Robbie’s four new styles…features the campaign’s official…“Blueheart tartan, whose colours and lines symbolise the collective heartbeat of victims of human trafficking”…

I write fantasy, and yet I couldn’t make up anything so totally ridiculous.

Devil’s Advocate

This dude has very poor judgment and might even be a rapist.  But this sets a really dangerous precedent:

…Cody Herrera…19…pleaded guilty to statutory rape with a 14-year-old girl…prosecutors said that he could face additional charges for allegedly videotaping sexual acts with a 17-year-old…Herrera received probation and the judge prohibited him from having “sexual relations” outside of marriage as a probation condition…Banning “sexual relations” without defining the term does not…tell a person what conduct violates the condition…“sexual relations” can mean anything from phone sex to intercourse…Rather than wondering if a kiss is a violation, probation officers should be able to devote themselves to better things like helping a defendant get a job…or mental health treatment…suppose kissing isn’t a violation, but intercourse is.  Should an unmarried probationer who has consensual intercourse be imprisoned?  The costs are enormous. It’s not just $20,000 to $30,000 in annual expenses.  If the probationer is employed, he gets removed from the work force – and it is plenty hard for convicts to get jobs…

Original Sin (#449) st-josephine-bakhita

The Pope continues to recklessly promote “sex trafficking” hysteria:

As human trafficking continues to be a supremely important issue during Pope Francis’ pontificate…St. Josephine Bakhita, enslaved during her own childhood, has emerged as a patron not only for her home country of Sudan, but for all victims of trafficking.  St. Josephine was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 7, undergoing immense suffering throughout her adolescence before discovering the faith in her early 20s…Feb. 8, St. Josephine’s feast day, marks the third international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking…

Down Under (#567)

Even Kiwis who are prudish & judgy about sex work have to admit decriminalization is a success:

Prostitution was made legal in New Zealand 14 years ago, a move which some hoped, or feared, would remove the stigma from those who buy or sell sex.  That has not happened…it…is…safer for the community because safe sex practices could more easily be promoted to an industry that would otherwise continue to operate outside the law.  To that extent the legislation is said to have made a difference but it has not removed the stigma.  Not many prostitutes want their occupation generally known.  Few if any parents would want their daughter or son to grow up to be a sex worker…Selling sex, or buying it, need not be illegal for society to register its contempt for the commodification of the human body…legalisation has not done the harm its opponents feared.  It has simply made a sad industry safer.

Challenge (#679)

Let’s hope more legal sex work businesses come on board:

Fetish site RetailClips.com has pledged a percentage of profits from its site to help the Erotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research (ESPLER) Project’s court case that seeks to legalize prostitution in California.  Maxine Doogan…said she hopes that RetailClip’s promise to share in profits will “inspire others in the larger erotic industry to recognize our common ground and join the fight…In the current climate, where government is coming after a whole range of adult industry players, we really need to support each other — to not only protect but also to expand sexual privacy and sexual freedoms for everyone,” Doogan said.  Donald Kaiser, founder of Black Murk Entertainment, the operator of the newly launched RetailClips, said that ESPLER Project’s court case is crucial for the adult entertainment biz as a whole…

Stupor Bowl (#704)

It’s almost sad to see these losers trying to cash in with debunked bullshit a year ahead of time:

Hennepin County…is expected later this month to approve hiring specialized staff members in the county attorney’s and sheriff’s offices to address a growing number of sex trafficking cases, especially before next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis…Metro area prosecutors and police agencies anticipate that hundreds of women and girls will be sold on the sex market during Super Bowl 2018

Crying for Nanny (#705)

Just in case you thought we’d seen the last of futile attempts to wring a profit from anti-Backpage propaganda:

A new federal lawsuit in Orlando is the latest legal effort to shut down [the already-censored] social media website Backpage.com [over fantasies] that it encourages and profits from sex trafficking.  A…[prohibitionist] organization, Florida Abolitionist, is behind the suit….it…is one of several groups in the area that are working to [profit from] sex trafficking [hysteria]…

Checklist (#711) 

You know that absurd “air hostesses vs pimps” bullshit that was making the rounds last week?

…There was no follow-up on where the alleged trafficker had come from, what happened to him after the flight—arrest? prosecution? prison?…Fedrick’s 2011 experience didn’t just happen into the 2017 media by accident.  Her story is part of a campaign from Airline Ambassadors International, who…used the myth of a sports-related sex trafficking boom to permeate the Super Bowl news-cycle.  AAI was founded in the 1990s by Nancy Rivard, and the bulk of its efforts long revolved around providing adult escorts to children traveling for medical procedures.  But beginning in 2009, the agency began a serious shift toward human-trafficking [profiteering]…the…alleged…incident received little public attention in 2011.  While the news that year is full of stories about a man arrested at the San Francisco International Airport for wearing baggy pants, plus stories about local efforts to stop sex trafficking, none mention a human trafficker apprehended at a Bay Area airport that year.  The San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) web archives turn up similarly scant results.  And nothing fitting the description is mentioned in a statewide 2012 report about successful anti-trafficking efforts in the previous year.  When the Super Bowl was held in San Francisco, in 2016, the airport teamed up with Airport Ambassadors International and others…None of the materials…mention any previous trafficking busts at the airport based on flight-attendant tips…

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Most of the whores l’ve met are women who question things, who value their independence over social norms.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

Droit du Seigneur Darryl Stasher

He didn’t rape her, but he sure seems to think it was his privilege to fuck her:

A Mississippi cop was fired…after a video that went viral on social media shows him lurking in his patrol car near a high school, trying to coax a teenaged girl into cutting class, pressuring her into accompany him to “room” to have sex instead.  [Darryl Stasher] said he “wanted to do more than just talk.”  He then assured the teen nobody would find out what they were doing, and that he’d “take care of her”.  “Oh.  So you saying you ain’t fucking,” a disappointed [Stasher] can be heard asking after the student declined his advances that were caught on camera in the 49 second clip…

Schadenfreude 

It’s always so sweet when a rescue industry scam is exposed:

For years, Jenny Williamson…has [hawked] her [fantasy] of rescuing girls from sex traffickers, spreading the Gospel while [raking in] hundreds of thousands…[she] has regaled audiences with the litany of horrors these girls suffer…Courage House [was]…closed…effective June 14, amid a flurry of state inspections that found numerous violations, including inadequate staffing levels…[despite] assets of…$1.4 million…Courage House was cited 16 times in the first six months of this year…10 were classified by the state as Type A, or serious enough to have an immediate impact on clients’ health, safety or personal rights…former workers [describe] Williamson as a temperamental leader with no child-development background who micromanaged her trained staff and became…swept up in her own publicity…staff members were…abruptly fired for…expressing concerns over [her inclusion]…of clients’ confidential information in fundraising or publicity efforts…[including]  identifiable images of [inmates]…on the company’s Facebook page…[Williamson] routinely “paraded the girls around” for marketing purposes…Arlicia Lorentty, who was a social worker/case manager in the home in 2015, said…“Everything was a photo op”…girls were…[forced to attend] a Christian church…whose leaders and congregation have been heavily involved in Courage House…

The More the Better 

There’s no “if” about it; Melania Trump is or was a sex worker.  Even if she was never an escort as rumors allege (and I think it very likely that she was indeed one), she posed for nude photos (including a lesbian scene) and is now a trophy wife…and sorry, ladies, but both of those are definitely kinds of sex work.  When people started mocking her for using an incompetent speechwriter, I defended her not on the grounds of the political beliefs she claims to profess, but on the grounds that she is a fellow whore doing her job (which for a wife means emotionally & socially supporting her husband) and should not be mocked merely because he happens to be a delusional narcissist.  Margaret Corvid has more to say about the new rumors:

…when you share those allegations, pointing and laughing, saying “Look!”, calling her a liar, calling her a whore, saying that she is unfit for the White House because she was photographed sexually, you are stepping on everyone who does sex work in this country every day—most of whom are much more vulnerable than Melania Trump…[she] isn’t a liar for covering up sex work…[because] it…is necessary for survival in a country where selling sex is illegal and where it is so stigmatized that it can get you fired from your “mainstream” job, get your kids taken away, and destroy your reputation for life…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now 

…that Canada’s new law is “protecting” sex workers from making money from lonely old men:

Two Sydney men have pleaded guilty and were fined…in connection with a prostitution sting…after…Judge Brian Williston ruled that [entrapment isn’t entrapment when it’s politically popular]…Gordon Ernest MacLean, 66, and John Howard MacLean, 66…were fined a total of $500 after the judge waived costs and surcharges.  They also must submit a DNA sample…

Because obviously, the cops never know when these hardened “sex criminals” may strike again.

Monsters

[Mexican] police do little to protect the transgender community and [rarely investigate trans sex workers’] deaths…Mexico has one of the highest rates of transphobic violence in the world, according to a recent report by the Cornell University Law School in New York and the Transgender Law Center…The number of documented murders of transgender people rose to 46 in 2012 from four in 2008, with actual figures likely to be significantly higher…transgender women in particular have suffered from a fierce backlash against same-sex marriage and other advances…

Passive Voice

Even though it’s a year old, this tutorial in how the past exonerative tense works is too brilliant to pass up.  It’s also too brilliant for me to risk butchering by any attempt at synopsis, so do yourself a favor and go read it.

Devil’s Advocate

This article could’ve appeared under so many headings; “Cops and Robbers” due to the vigilantism and “Bait and Switch” because of the sleazy entrapment tactics (“18” in big letters and “15” in fine print, for example, when any whore can tell you horny guys rarely read past the pictures).  But I think the fact that the state convicted two men for non-crimes against a “person” who does not even exist puts it in this category:fake Tinder profile

The creators of the “Tinder Experiment” set up a fake profile of a [a fake 18-year-old girl pretending to be] 15…in a bid to [entrap careless, stupid men]…They then secretly filmed conversations and face-to-face meetings with the men before shaming them online.  Those videos were removed and their website shut down by police, but [the sleazy pigs were still happy]…to use the information from the “experiment” [to destroy lives]…Nicolaos Katsamas was…sentenced last month to two- and-a-half years’ jail…Tobias Kilsby was also jailed for two years…Detective Senior Constable Tas Gagatsakis [admitted that]…Tinder is [only] for users 18 and over…

Don’t Call It Trafficking

This isn’t called “trafficking”, while the same demographic choosing to sell sex to survive is:

…Island View…housed more than 100 [“troubled teens”]…aged 13-17, and charged parents at least $10,000 a month…the staff tormented and abused them — pitting teens against each other, physically restraining them, secluding them, medicating them with high doses of powerful antipsychotics and forcing them to sit without speaking for hours or days at a time…[after a lawsuit] it…closed…[and] a new company, Family Help & Wellness, took over the property.  The facility began to operate under a different name, Elevations RTC.  It continues to bring in new students today…39 of the 48 employees listed on Elevations’ website worked for Island View…At least 1,500 [teens] in 30 states alleged that they were abused at private treatment facilities in 2005 alone…The troubled-teen industry is almost entirely unregulated…Congress has repeatedly refused to intervene…Parents who send their children to residential treatment centers like Island View often hire independent contractors, colloquially known as “transporters,” to forcibly [abduct] their kids…

Yellow Fever (#509) 

Remember Tenancingo, the Mexican town which was supposedly infested with “pimps” but actually had only two (plus employees) and 26 supposed “victims”?  Apparently Canada wants a “pimp town” too, and naturally they claim it’s the country’s largest black community.  But they’re not racists, no sirree!

One of the first things you notice when you enter this community northeast of Halifax is a large billboard that tells you you’re in “Canada’s Largest Black Community”…every driver here acknowledges oncoming drivers — even strangers — with a wave of the hand.  It’s not the welcome you expect in a place that has repeatedly been described as the birthplace of North Preston’s Finest, a violent gang that specializes in trafficking young women and girls as young as 14 in the sex trade…residents, even local police…insist the claims about a criminal gang originating in North Preston are exaggerated, misleading or manufactured by outsiders who don’t know their community…But police [and other prohibitionists] outside the province…[masturbate furiously to fantasies of] a community that has churned out generations of ruthless pimps who are spread across the country and unafraid to use brute force to punish women in their “stable” if they step out of line…

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

My friend Kaytlin’s one-woman show is part of the Fringe Festival:

Cuntagious [is] a one woman show, written by Kaytlin Bailey – now a stand up comedian, once a sex worker…“the first run was really a coming out process.  I performed the show before I told my family.  I knew most of the audience members personally, so they were very supportive…when you come out, other people come out.  I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me to tell me their own experience with sex work, I love that”…

I’ve seen the show twice, and I will again when she brings it back to Seattle; you really should, too.

Another Fine Mess (#547)

As I and many others have said, sex drives technological development.  And I think that’s what the prudes are really afraid of:

…The World Wide Web turned 25 this month…The sexualized female body has, from the beginning, been the catalyst for attempts to regulate what’s on the Web, ultimately shaping what the Internet looks like today.  Only a couple of years after Berners-Lee began to worry about an incoming flood of photos of nude women, Congress was gripped by the “great Internet sex panic of 1995”…the Communications Decency Act…was signed into law on Feb. 8, 1996, and thousands of websites went dark in protest…provisions that criminalized sending or displaying to a minor “any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communications” that were sexual in a “patently offensive” way…[were determined by] the Supreme Court…[to be] unconstitutionally vague and [were] struck…down…Yet another part of the widely loathed CDA — one the Supreme Court has never heard any challenges to — also helped bring about the Web we now know.  Section 230 immunizes service providers from lawsuits over the speech of their users.  It’s the law that lets Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Twitter, Yelp, Craigslist and Reddit exist.  Without its provisions, a service such as Twitter could be sued into nonexistence if an individual user sent a single defamatory tweet…

Eternal Vigilance (#617)

Rent in exchange for sex isn’t “free”; it has been paid for with sex:

A room in return for sex…the…landlord cashing in on desperate, vulnerable and homeless women in London.  A recent report has unveiled a disturbing attempt to exploit homeless women by offering free accommodation in return for sexual favors…There are hundreds of listings…by men either obliquely or explicitly (some very explicitly) offering free housing to women for sex….they also include men who are expressly targeting adverts at homeless women…

How are the ads “explicitly targeting homeless women”?  Do they read, “only homeless women need apply” and require proof of homelessness?  This looks to me like nothing more than Puritans upset about the fact that some women are comfortable paying our rent (and other expenses) with sex.

Check Your Premises (#636)

Another cop so disconnected from reality that she thinks she can “build communication with sex workers” while stealing their income by harassing their clients:

A new strategy to tackle prostitution in [Redbridge, London] will see the police’s focus shift from the sex workers to [demonized clients and partners]…Insp Gellatley’s team aims to disrupt clients while engaging in a relationship of trust with prostitutes.  “We are trying to build communication with the sex workers” [she said]…

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Human trafficking is the new charge du jour.  –  Brian Thompson

Anatomy of a Boondoggle arrested Thai sex workers

Just in case you thought cops raping whores in order to arrest them was mostly a US thing:

…Sa…is from Laos and…[has] been arrested many times, mostly when a police officer who had been her client had informed on her…”They took me out…and…had sex with me.  Next thing I knew I was arrested and sent home”…the superintendent of Udon Thani city police, said the law specifically mentioned that to make an arrest for prostitution…the sex worker has to be caught in the act…Nid is from a Karen hill tribe village and is considered a “star” hostess at a bar in Chiang Mai.  Like Sa, she was “lured” to her arrest by a police officer who was a client…Chantawipa Apisuk, the director of Empower who has been working with sex workers for more than 30 years, said the methods the police used to secure an arrest are unacceptable…in Nid’s case…police produced marked banknotes allegedly handed over to her and a used condom as evidence…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

A Brooklyn jury…convicted a sexual predator for the rape and robbery of a prostitute while pretending to be a [cop]…Jason Forgetta flashed a fake police badge to a female sex worker who stopped his car…on July 30, 2014…The 26-year-old victim agreed to go with Forgetta to [her incall]…when he told her she was under arrest…Forgetta…shoved the woman against the wall, put a pillow over her head and raped her…[he then] told the woman to take a shower to “wash all the DNA” off…[and] stole her wallet, cellphone and underwear.  As he fled the scene, the woman ran after him and wrote down [his] license plate [number]…Forgetta…was convicted in 2004 for committing the same…crime.  He was sentenced to three years in prison in that case…

Lack of Evidence

This is pretty typical of the level of “evidence” in sex work trials:

A woman accused of running a brothel out of a Baltimore County massage parlor was acquitted of all charges…Di Zhang…was found not guilty…of 15 offenses, including human trafficking and prostitution…”There was very little evidence in the case,” said Zhang’s attorney, Brian Thompson…the state had one witness who worked at the business and claimed Zhang was running it…But when police kept watch at the business for several weeks, they only observed Zhang there once…to drop off some medication for the witness…Thompson said police were targeting Zhang after a previous case…Police wrote in charging documents that Zhang “continues to run illegal massage parlors without fear of the police or court systems”…

The Proper Study

This is, of course, obvious to sex workers, but it’s nice to see academics discovering it:

Most migrant sex workers are satisfied with their working conditions in Australia…Despite growing fears about human trafficking…the vast majority are content to be working in massage parlours and brothels for a satisfactory income, and that there is little evidence of widespread sex slavery.  The Australian Institute of Criminology and the Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) surveyed 594 sex workers across Australia, 412 of whom were migrants. Most were female, with only 17 male and eight transgender respondents…One in five were married; one in three were parents; and while a small number had little to no education, the majority were highly educated. About one third said they did not speak English well…

The Punitive Mindset (#337)

Some countries…make condoms available to prisoners, while others cite security issues, or blanket prohibitions of sex…Even in places where condoms are available, guards sometimes limit distribution as a form of control.  In the medical journal The Lancetresearchers at Johns Hopkins cite this as one factor in the spread of infectious diseases in prisons…at rates far exceeding those in the communities from which they came.  Of more than 10 million incarcerated people in the U.S. alone, 4 percent have HIV, 15 percent have hepatitis C, and 3 percent have active tuberculosis.  These diseases are part of our criminal justice system, then, metered out and sanctioned implicitly by the state.  The penal system is also a primary reason that these diseases can’t be eliminated globally…The scale of the problem is due to the fact that so many people are incarcerated in the first place, which [researcher Chris] Beyrer traces to the war on drugs…

Paint By Numbers po-faced twits folding paper

Even in the world of stupid “sex trafficking” publicity stunts, this one is painfully stupid:

A piece of blue paper folded into the shape of a crane bird is a traditional symbol of origami.  In Japan, it’s believed that 1,000 of those symbolise hope, love, honour, and peace.  It’s also believed that if you have the patience to fold 1,000 pieces, your most desired wish will come true.  UCC student Laura Pauwels’s wish is to bring hope to survivors of and people affected by human trafficking.  And so she’s enlisted the help of Corkonians to make that wish come true — together, they will fold 1,000 blue cranes to make a stand against the illegal act…

Traffic Circle

Here’s a long, thorough debunking of “sex trafficking” hysteria by Brittany Turner of SWOP-Shreveport:

In the past year, local broadcast and print media have covered numerous stories regarding the perils of sex trafficking in Shreveport, without exercising due diligence to accurately assess the reality of this problem or the efficacy of anti-trafficking programs. This coverage often excludes key stakeholders from the conversation: sex workers themselves. Instead, the coverage frequently relies on inaccurate data and anecdotal evidence, corralling those who have chosen to work in the sex industry under the umbrella of “trafficking victims,” effectively silencing the voice of many sex workers…

Devil’s Advocate

As usual, the government’s using someone accused of especially nasty crimes to undermine liberty for everyone:

A Dallas, Texas man accused of prostituting underage girls was secretly ordered by a federal judge to unlock his iPhone using his fingerprint, according to federal court documents that are now unsealed…Experts also warned these demands [will] probably not [be interpreted by cop-worshiping courts as] a breach of the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination…The authorities were unable to access the phone’s contents…[because] if a iPhone [sic] that has been fingerprint enabled has not been used for at least 48 hours, both the password and fingerprint are required to unlock it…Martavious Banks Keys…is charged with one count of sex trafficking of children…He allegedly forced two girls, ages 14 and 15, to have sex with men who paid him $150 a session…One girl told authorities that Keys made her perform anal sex when her vagina was bleeding from abuse…

Counter-Countermeasure

I’m not really sure why this article is discussing a two-year-old study as if it’s new, but I really don’t care.  All that’s important is that more and more mainstream media are presenting information that debunks “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…The results contradict some of the most common stereotypes we have about sex trafficking and sex work.  For example, only 14 percent of female New York respondents said that they worked for a pimp, and in New Jersey that number was just 13 percent including males and females; 47 percent in New Jersey said that they didn’t even know a pimp.  Most reported that they had not been introduced to sex work by a stranger at all, but rather by a family member or family friend, and most said that they were not forced into sex work by any one person, but rather because of a lack of housing, or money, or that they couldn’t get by on low-paying jobs.  The…research also calls into question the narrative of helpless girls and violent pimps who throw them into hotel-brothels…Busting the myths matters, because we pass laws and make policies that don’t help the people who need it most…

The More the Better (#544)

I’d be much happier with an article doing something like this for escorting, since there are literally thousands of escorts for every Nevada brothel worker.  However, every little bit helps to undermine the “sin and degradation” narrative:

Insatiably curious about what the process for becoming a legal, full-time sex worker might look like, I couldn’t help but wonder how a person even begins to go about working at a place like one of Nevada’s brothels.  Did someone like me have what it takes to become the object of another person’s desire?  Well, one cursory Google search later later, I discovered these places actually have online applications for employment!  And that is how I ended up applying for a job at Sheri’s Ranch…

Property of the State (#640) 

It’s impossible to overstate how important this reversal is:

The Indiana Court of Appeals…overturned the 2015 feticide conviction of Purvi Patel…In a 3-0 ruling, the judges said that the state feticide statute was not intended to apply to abortions, and legal experts said that…it should give Indiana prosecutors pause before bringing similar charges against pregnant women in the future…the court relied heavily on how prosecutors have applied the feticide law in the past, noting that this case was an “abrupt departure” from its typical usage:  cases in which a pregnant woman and her unborn child are the victims of violence…It stopped short of clearing her of any criminal responsibility…upholding a lower-level felony neglect conviction for failing to provide medical care to the baby, who medical experts testified was alive and breathing after birth…

If It Were Legal (#656)

I’m rather skeptical of the claimed disparity here, but at least they’re not pretending the escorts flocked from out of town for the conference:

It’s been a great week for gay escorts in Cleveland…Republican National Convention attendees…are clamoring for their services.  “Business has been way better. I’ve seen 10 clients so far,” one male escort said…Another escort said he had already earned $1,600 since Monday — over six times the amount he usually makes…But ladies of the night weren’t reaping the same benefits…females for hire said they’re making much less money than normal…

To Molest and Rape (#657)

And please don’t think South Africa is any worse than the US in this respect:

More than 400 sex workers reported cases of abuse at the hands of the police between 2011 and 2015, according to a Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) report on cases of physical assault‚ rape‚ harassment and unlawful arres…414 sex workers reported 682 instances of abuse‚ mostly harassment and verbal abuse at the hands of the police.  Almost 20% of those who reported police abuse said they had been physically assaulted and 3% said they had been sexually assaulted…

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An adult who chooses to engage in sexual activity, whether for recreation, procreation or in exchange for something of value, makes a private, individual choice that should not be subject to criminal sanctions.  –  Jeanne LoCicero and Udi Ofer

Something Rotten in Sweden

The 5th installment of the Tits and Sass series “Big Mother is Watching You” profiles notable American proponents of “end demand” and the Swedish model, namely  Rachel Durchslag, Tom DartBeth Klein, Shirley Franklin, Yasmin Vafa and  Dominique Roe-Sepowitz.

A False Dichotomy 

They “see it as a business transaction” because that’s exactly what it is:

…in recent interviews conducted to understand what is driving [migrants] into the hands of human traffickers, it is clear that those involved see the risk they are taking as a business transaction, not a crime.  Malick Traore of Mali…said…“It is even more risky to live in misery in my own home country with a family always having tears in their eyes from hungers…the traffickers…do not call the migrant from their homes, or force them to cross the sea.  It is just an agreement between shipman and client”…Mariam Camara…is a widow with two daughters…[she said] “the criminal is Malian government but not the traffickers.”  Hamidou Thierro…says:  “I do not see those traffickers as criminals, because they are helping the poor migrants who are sacrificing their life to get into Europe to help back their families and plan better life for their children.  The traffickers are not human life protection agent but normal transporter as air plane or train”…

Lawheads just can’t get that normal people don’t really give a shit about their bullshit regulations.

Gorged With Meaning

Just about everything you need to know about this craptastic mixture of the obvious, the pearl-clutching and the dead wrong is that the author interviews the sociopathic narcissist Meghan Murphy instead of one of the many sex workers who write on the subject (such as, oh, ME for example), and approvingly quotes her as saying that raping a sex worker is no big deal.  That, and the fact that it’s named “The New Prostitution Economy” because it pretends that young women trading sex to older men for resources is some kind of new thing.

Follow Your Bliss 

Again, don’t think this is unique to Oakland:

When Leneka Pendergrass’ seventeen-year-old daughter…escaped…a pimp…Pendergrass turned to an organization that had previously helped.  She called Patrick Mims…of the Sexually Exploited Minors program at Bay Area Women Against Rape…the lead East Bay nonprofit organization in the state’s Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force…BAWAR works closely with Oakland police…to [indoctrinate] them about child sex trafficking.  And BAWAR employees…accompany Oakland cops on their anti-[sex worker] sting operations…Pendergrass…and Mims frequently texted the first few nights after she and her daughter escaped…Then…less than a week [later]…Mims came to her apartment and they had sex…[this continued for six weeks, then] Mims suddenly stopped responding to her calls and texts…[and] her daughter’s case was no longer a priority for BAWAR.  She felt Mims abused his position of power.  Feelings of confusion and remorse grew intense, she said.  She worried that her access to OPD and the DA was being curtailed, too…Pendergrass also wrote a letter to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an umbrella organization of rape-crisis centers like BAWAR…nothing ever came of her letter, or the police report…BAWAR…appears to never have acknowledged what happened…Jacqueline Montero

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

…Jacqueline Montero…worked as a prostitute for years to feed her children.  Now, after a decade of activism for women’s rights in the Dominican Republic, she hopes to put her life experience to work following her election to the Chamber of Deputies as part of an opposition coalition…The 46-year-old wants to focus on improving opportunities for women, a significant challenge in a country where about 35 percent of households are led by single mothers in poverty…She plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit discrimination against…LGBT, sex workers, people with AIDS and the elderly.  The walls of her office are adorned with diplomas and posters from international conferences dealing with sex work…Activists say the significance of her election transcends her relatively minor legislative position because she will be a powerful voice for largely unrepresented people…

Cops and Condoms (#313)

Remember Bill Gates’ $100,000 grant to develop “the next generation of condom”?  Well, the first results are in:

…After weeding through 953 applications, the foundation awarded grants to 26 applicants.  Among them was Richard Chartoff, a polymer scientist at Oregon State University, who developed an idea for ultra-thin condoms made from polyurethane elastic polymers that respond to body heat and conform to the penis’s shape…the HEX condom,  developed by luxury sex toy company LELO…[features a] “hexagonal net design [which] effectively holds together the condom,” [founder Filip] Sedic explains, “so we were able to make the majority of the condom’s surface very thin without forfeiting strength”…the hexagonal design gripped his penis without squeezing it.  My husband’s sensations were less dulled than usual, too, since it was the thinnest traditionally shaped condom we used…myONE Perfect Fit from ONE Condoms will bring 56 different sizes to the market, allowing men to use a kit…to measure their penis length and width to determine the best size for them…

Devil’s Advocate

This guy seems like a real scumbag…so why isn’t Thailand asking for Norway to extradite him for prosecution there? Do you really want a precedent that people can be prosecuted in one jurisdiction for things they did in another jurisdiction where their actions weren’t illegal?

A 34-year-old Swedish businessman based in Oslo is facing trial in Norway accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in Thailand for several years – including making her pregnant…the girl…is from a poor family and had started working as a prostitute straight after finishing school…at the age of 14 she gave birth to the baby…DNA records have shown that the man is the child’s biological father…Police launched their investigation after he was arrested for…drugs two years ago.  During a search of his home in Oslo officers found indecent images…and 51 movies showing children being sexually abused.  They also found pictures of the Thai girl…

Guinea Pigs 

This is one of those potpourris of hysteria that could fit into any of several headings, but I think the most important one is yet another surveillance tool for hunting down sex workers:

…Tim Wedge, a Forensics Science professor…in Defiance, Ohio…[created] FAGIN, Facial Analysis to Gain Information Now, a basic crude prototype…[which] is designed to take…pictures of missing children, run it through the facial analysis software by comparing them to pictures in ads for people being sold for sex online, and produce a report whenever there’s a match…Wedge says FAGIN has the possibility of rescuing a shocking amount of victims…800,000 children are reported missing each year.  One in five of them are sex trafficking victims…

Can this “science professor” even do math?  Because the reporter sure can’t.  But more importantly: the same program could also compare pics from ads to, say, a driver’s license database, thus giving cops an escort’s legal name and address.

Aloha, Oy!

Hawaii was the last state to criminalize prostitution, and now it’s become the last state to fully rebrand it as “sex trafficking”:

Hawaii has become the last state in the nation to explicitly ban sex trafficking.  Gov. David Ige signed the bill…[which] makes [acts that were already illegal illegal again], expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation.  “It’s a historic day for Hawaii.  Now, from sea to sea, the United States can say it [criminalized some crimes twice],” said Kris Coffield…[a “sex trafficking” profiteer]…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#622) 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

In honor of International [Whores’] Day, activists marched on Atlantic City on June 3 to call for the decriminalization of sex work…This is a goal the American Civil Liberties Union…strongly supports.  Since 1975, the ACLU has believed that prostitution…should be decriminalized…It’s time to stop sweeping consenting adult sex workers into the criminal justice system.  We need models that protect their rights, their health and their safety…Amnesty International adopted a policy advocating the decriminalization of adult consensual sex work in its efforts to prevent human rights violations.  Amnesty isn’t alone.  They joined the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and many other…groups in calling for the decriminalization of sex work to stem the abuse, discrimination and violence that too frequently plague the lives of sex workers…

King of the Hill (#623) The Keep

One of the more amusing tropes of this moral panic: labeling a particular street a “hotbed” of sex work or “trafficking”:

For more than three decades now, the corner of Cypress Avenue and Starr Street has been known as one of the old-school New York prostitution hotbeds.  Even as gentrification of the area rapidly progresses, prostitution as a symptom of the “bad old times” continues…Unbeknownst to the owners at the time of the opening, [a bar named] The Keep became somewhat of a local epicenter for…“Operation Losing Proposition,” the goal of which is to lock up johns as they solicit sex from undercover [sows who use]…the bathrooms at The Keep [without permission] to change into their [costumes]…Eli B. Silverman explains that the initiative was designed by CEU attorneys who researched the law that allows for [asset seizure]…In this case, johns’ cars could be seized…the operation has been yielding incredible [profits]…and [Silverman pretends] prostitution has been greatly reduced…the operation has been consistently dubbed a success, but 26 years later, one has to wonder whether the number of arrested johns is the correct indicator of success, or whether the operation opened a bottomless well of meaningless arrests…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

No, you fucking filthy liar, it’s not “unique” and you fucking know it:

Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ray Kelly, a former sex crimes investigator who serves as the agency’s spokesman, said several members of his department were investigated but a review showed none had done anything illegal or against policy. Kelly would not say if the deputies had sex with [Celeste Guap]…“This case is unique, and it’s not a good example of the relationships between sex crimes victims and police officers,” he said…

In typical tone-deaf LA Times fashion, the reporter concludes a story about people abusing women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices by praising someone who abuses women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices:

…[Sylvia] Vigil…has been preaching to the girls she [condescendingly dehumanizes] as “twilight treasures” since 1982…when she founded the Oakland branch of Victory Outreach…On [a] recent visit to International Boulevard, Vigil shook her head as she watched [a] young woman enter [a client’s] car, said a prayer, then brought her van’s engine to life and hit the gas…As the man in the Cutlass attempted to drive away, Vigil pulled her van in front of his car, blocking him in.  A colleague from the ministry who sat in Vigil’s van held up a Victory Outreach business card and shouted “not tonight” at the man…

Naturally, Vigil didn’t offer to pay the girl for the client she scared away, so the girl probably didn’t eat that night. But I’m sure the knowledge that she had been “saved” from dirty, filthy sex assuaged her hunger.

The End of the Beginning (#653)

Another in an anti-registry series from Vox:

When I first became a public defender, I believed the worst punishment that my clients would face would be time in jail.  Since then, I’ve learned that incarceration is not the…worst…punishment the criminal justice system can impose.  The registration requirements imposed on those convicted of sex offenses are unfairly harsh and punitive…I had always assumed that sex offender registration was limited to those who committed the most egregious and dangerous offenses.  I had also trusted that the Supreme Court was right when, in 2003, it stated that sex offender registration laws are not punishments but merely administrative requirements to protect public safety.  But I realize now that many of my clients would choose…anything to avoid being labeled a sex offender for life…because our current…laws apply an…inhumane one-size-fits-all approach that does not prevent future sex crimes and in fact makes us all less safe…The registration process appears designed to make people fail.  The rules are so complicated that few non-attorneys can keep up with them…

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