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Posts Tagged ‘Disaster’

Hotel…staff are being told to imagine that sex slavers lurk behind every pair of big sunglasses.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Wise Investment 

Even though we’re going to lose many of these, lawsuits are for the present our best weapon against prohibitionists:

A Colorado industrial hemp company filed a federal lawsuit…against the Idaho State Police after its 6,701 pound shipment was seized during a stop in Boise…The company’s driver was…arrested for…trafficking marijuana from a farm in Oregon to a distribution center in Colorado…the seizure and arrest were both unlawful due to the 2018 federal farm bill and that the goods being transported were hemp and not marijuana…Both plants fall under the cannabis family, though Congress approved the industrial use of hemp last year in products such as clothing, biofuel, building materials and paper…a…spokes[pig bloviated that]…Idaho law recognizes both hemp and marijuana as illegal…[but] “The 2018 Farm Bill prohibits states from blocking the transportation of industrial hemp in interstate commerce…states cannot prohibit the shipment of a legal good through interstate commerce”…

The More the Better 

Every debunking of anti-whore BS helps:

Misha Mayfair, a former cam girl turned porn performer…struggles with the discord between what she sees in the media, and what she experiences on a day-to-day basis.  “People really have this strange, falsified fantasy world that they think porn exists in,” she tells me. “They think it operates in this world where Taken has happened: they imagine that it’s all blonde girls who have been dumped into car boots and stolen by local Albanian men… It’s like: do I live in the same reality as everyone?”  Mayfair debunks some of the most frustrating myths she’s come across so far…

The Missing Word 

That word appears only in a tag hidden way down at the bottom:

The Telegraph talked to 22 Nepali and Bangladeshi employees of Karex’s condom and catheter factories…Despite the products they produce being supplied to some of the world’s biggest and most “ethically conscious” brands, all told similar stories…workers were living in cramped and undignified conditions, housed up to 12 in a room in damp and unhygienic dormitories.  For £9 a month deducted from their wages, workers in Pontian received half of a steel bunkbed – but no mattress – a piece of string on the grimy wall for a wardrobe, access to a filthy, broken toilet, and a kitchen consisting of two gas burners…In Port Klang, a dormitory of 12 workers seen by the Telegraph was more hygienic, but still devoid of basic facilities.  In one corner stood a makeshift dining table crafted out of scrap plywood, with upturned buckets as chairs…Karex produces five billion condoms a year, accounting for roughly 15 per cent of the world market.  It has a turnover of nearly £70 million and it’s senior director, Goh Siang, is listed as one Malaysia’s richest men…On the company website, a corporate video claims the firm is “helping humanity one condom at a time”.  It describes itself as a “champion social responsibility and sustainability”…

Schadenfreude (#766)

“Elijah Rising” profits from anti-sex hysteria by taking busloads of yokels around Houston to gawk at street workers and the outsides of strip clubs:

…Elijah Rising…lead[s an] hours-long [expedition to annoy sex workers]…once-a-month…[one of them fantasized] “A lot of these women here are being trafficked…They came over (from Asia) and they were expecting a job…But now because of the papers they have, the person who brought them here is kind of in control of that whole situation.”  Vanessa Forbes, inter[ference] coordinator at Elijah Rising, said…”Everyone goes out of their way to find the missing 17-year-old suburban white girl, but let’s talk about the women who are here in the middle of our neighborhoods who [do really mundane work]…They are hidden in plain sight.  They are [not] overlooked [by cops looking for low-hanging fruit].”  While efforts by community groups to bring [foment hysteria around imaginary] human trafficking…have been successful…not all law enforcement believe the [propaganda they’re continually fed]…

Most of the story is just pigs oinking about their fascist collaborations with private companies and other pig gangs.

Disaster (#844)

I love seeing tyrants hoist by their own petard.  Due to the omniprevalence of the “sex trafficking” paradigm, cops are forced to call ordinary street work “sex trafficking” and thereby admit the dismal failure of prohibition:

Violent crime is way down in San Francisco…But…police recorded a 170 percent jump in reports of human trafficking in 2018.  The huge spike appears to be connected to the federal shutdown of sex-for-sale websites…But [using prohibitionist lies that] Backpage was linked to sex trafficking of underage girls, [politicians] in Washington voted almost unanimously to [give themselves the long-desired power to censor the internet]…“It has suddenly re-empowered this whole underclass of pimps and exploiters,” said Pike Long, deputy director of St. James Infirmary…Long estimates the number of street-based sex workers has tripled…

The article also features a spokespig making the outrageous lie that “abatement” means helping the thing that is supposed to be “abated”.

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#867)

Yet another “Uber for escorts” app; I’ve never heard a single good thing about any of these:

Escort booking app Smooci is finally coming to the UK…London will be the seventh city in which it operates…[starting] on 14 February.  Other cities…include Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Manilla.  Currently the only European city covered is Berlin (and there are only three escorts registered there so far) but Amsterdam will also follow suit with its own launch in February.  The app promises to make escorting safer for both parties, using a two-way rating system…Buyers can see when escorts are available, check their ratings, chat to them and negotiate service requirements…Smooci does not take a cut from the transactions.  Instead it’s primarily by a premium membership tier, functioning in a similar way to many dating apps…

Micromanagement (#881)

Any new technology which can be used to spy on you, will be:

Family Tree DNA, one of the largest private genetic testing companies whose home-testing kits enable people to trace their ancestry and locate relatives, is working with the FBI and allowing agents to search its vast genealogy database…Federal and local [cops]…have used public genealogy databases for more than two years to solve cold cases, including the landmark capture of the [cop who was the] Golden State Killer, but the cooperation with Family Tree DNA and the FBI marks the first time a private firm has agreed to voluntarily allow [pigs to root through] its database…

Hard Numbers (#884)

Another Australian state moves toward decriminalization:

July 3 this year will be the 30th anniversary of the release of the final report from the Fitzgerald Inquiry, a judicial inquiry that found systemic corruption among Queensland Police in relation to organised sex work…The now infamous report concluded that arguments by police for special powers and a sex work-related police squad were unjustified.  Yet, 30 years later, Queensland Police…still ha[ve]…extreme powers in relation to sex work…Imagine running an independent business where it’s illegal to contact a colleague to let them know a client has arrived or left.  It’s also illegal to work with another colleague, employ a receptionist to manage your calls, use a driver that a colleague recommends, or describe the services you provide in your advertising…Every day we choose between working  safely or legally…Police look through sex worker advertising…searching for an incorrect word or banned acronym.  Finding such a breach triggers their ability to gain a warrant, set up a stingpose as a client, make a booking, turn up at a sex workers’ workplace,  pressure sex workers to agree to sex without condoms or other protection, and seek evidence for further charges.  The evidence they are looking for includes: text messages to other workers about clients or bookings, proof of assisting colleagues with advertising, evidence of a receptionist, or the sharing of phones or accommodation…

Pyrrhic Victory (#885) 

As long as cops suffer no consequences for disobedience, laws like this are mere political grandstanding:

Municipal [politicians] in San Francisco unveiled an ordinance proposal…that, if passed, would make the city the first in the country  to completely ban government use of facial recognition systems.  The bill would also establish an audit system for agencies acquiring any surveillance technologies.  “The propensity for facial recognition technology to endanger civil rights and civil liberties substantially outweighs its purported benefits, and the technology will exacerbate racial injustice and threaten our ability to live free of continuous government monitoring,” the proposed legislation reads…

A Mound of Filth (#907) 

“Cuckoo Clock” McCain’s creepy, racist BDSM fantasies are getting out of control:

Cindy McCain was heard in a radio interview…claiming she stopped a human trafficking incident at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, but Phoenix police has debunked that claim…“I spotted…a woman of a different ethnicity than the child…[so] I went over to the police and told them what I saw, and they went over and questioned her, and, by God, she was trafficking that kid.”  McCain [also fantasized] that she discovered the woman was waiting for the man who bought the child to arrive from his flight…Phoenix police said…that while [cops] did respond to the Jan. 30 call…they were able to determine “there was no evidence of criminal conduct or child endangerment”…

In McCain’s world, mixed-race families deserve to be harassed by cops for making racists uncomfortable.

Signs (#909) 

The unsinkable Liz Brown with a deep dive into hotel “sex trafficking” surveillance:

…the surveillance tactics that have been adopted by hotel chains are part of a disturbing partnership between hospitality businesses, federal law enforcement, and rent-seeking nonprofits that increasingly seeks to track the movements and whereabouts of people, especially women, all over the country.  Under pressure from the federal government and driven by persistent myths about the nature and prevalence of sex trafficking, hotel chains like Marriott have become the new frontiers of the surveillance state.  Like the indiscriminate spying campaigns that grew out of the 9/11 attacks, it’s an effort based on panic, profiling, and stereotypes, and it is nearly certain to ensnare more innocents than it helps…these efforts have largely wound up as law-enforcement-driven attacks on sex workers and their clients, on immigrants, and on other members of marginalized communities…Many of these efforts fall under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Blue Campaign,” which has been in place since 2010…as an update to the war-on-terror surveillance systems developed under the George W. Bush administration.  It relies on tactics adapted from “If You See Something, Say Something“…

Stupor Bowl (#909)

As the myth implodes, you’ll see ever more rats deserting this sinking ship:

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said that…claims of multiple sex trafficking arrests in the city of Atlanta during that period were not…true…the Department of Homeland Security announced that 33 people had been arrested for sex trafficking in the Atlanta area.  When asked about those arrests…Shields was far more particular with her wording. She pointed out that the APD works with the FBI on the Match Task Force to arrest sex [workers]…on a year-round basis…”it was not sex trafficking victims in Metro Atlanta, because I think that label is unfairly applied to this city”…

A Woman’s Point of View (#910) 

More on the new organization “Decriminalize Sex Work”:

In response to the new federal law that resulted in widespread censorship of websites…a new national organization has formed to repeal this law and decriminalize sex work nationwide.  The mission of Decriminalize Sex Work – a new national organization with offices in AustinNew York City, and  Washington DC – is “to end the prohibition of prostitution in the United States.”  The…national strategy is to inform the public about the harms caused by prohibition, with a focus on lobbying state governments to remove penalties for adult prostitution and all other forms of consensual sex work if conducted in private… “Dozens of allied organizations are already doing great work advocating for decriminalization,” said Kaytlin Bailey, communications director for Decriminalize Sex Work. “What makes our organization different is that Donald Trump’s new law inspired a California philanthropist to donate sufficient seed money to pay for a full-time staff and lobbying firms”…

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As I reported in December, the escort ad site Slixa held a contest for essays about how FOSTA/SESTA has harmed sex workers.  Well, the winners were announced this week!  I’m going to keep this short so you’ll have time to read the three winning essays, because I think it’s important for my readers to have as many perspectives on this situation as possible.  The first place winner was “Against FOSTA/SESTA: One Canary’s Cry From Inside the Coal Mine” by Lucy Kahn; second place was “The Death Of The Dabbler and The Erasure Of Sex Work From The Common Internet” by Grace Marie; and third place was “Global Implications Of FOSTA” by Meghan Peterson.  In addition to a cash prize, a sex worker rights organization of each winner’s choice received a matching donation.  Kudos to all three winners; we need a lot more sex workers to join them in clearly expressing to the public exactly how much damage the War on Whores is causing everyone, not just sex workers and clients.  Because as long as amateurs think their necks aren’t in the government’s noose along with ours, they’ll continue to blissfully sit in the pot while their rulers keep turning up the heat.

 

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The system isn’t in place to help you. It’s in place to keep you where you are.  –  Sophie

Thought Control (#137)

I’ve written on several occasions about arch-censor Fredric Wertham, a prohibitionist busybody who used Melissa Farley-style tactics to lobotomize the comic book industry in the 1950s; here’s a short video (courtesy of Kevin Wilson) showing him in action.

The Course of a Disease (#729)

There is no “debate”; this terrible law was unilaterally imposed by politicians despite vociferous opposition from everyone who is affected by it:

French sex workers have lodged a constitutional challenge to [the Swedish model]…reopening a debate on whether people should be free to [have consensual sex without government interference]…around 30 sex workers backed by nine associations, including [the prestigious Médecins du Monde], went to the Constitutional Council to argue the law infringed their sexual and commercial freedom and made them more vulnerable to attack…the law…[i]s an infringement of “constitutional rights to personal autonomy and sexual freedom, respect of privacy, freedom of contract and freedom to do business”…

The Course of a Disease (#796)

Prohibitionist scum understand that decriminalization is the only moral framework for sex work; that’s why they keep trying to trick people into thinking the Swedish model is decrim:

Rep Kay Khan of [Massachusetts is at it again with]…two [Swedish model] bills…One…n[orm]alizes [the persecution of] young people involved in sex work by [subjecting them to indefinite detention under the pretense of “protecting” them]…the other [pretends] to decriminalize adult sex workers [in order to confuse people into backing a campaign to choke off their income, get them evicted and persecute their families]…The two bills evolved from an earlier bill, HB 3499, which was submitted to to the Massachusetts House and Senate in early 2017…Any step towards decriminalization [would be] a win for sex workers’ rights.  But unfortunately, these bills [are not such a step and intentionally] leave in place statutes, language, funding, and institutional infrastructure which…[enables cops to] aggressively pursue…sex workers…

The Swedish model is NOT a step toward decriminalization; it infantilizes women, demonizes men, and defines consensual sex as “violence against women”.  That is a giant step away from decriminalization.

Signs (#886)

The public seems to have finally noticed that hotels are training their staff to harass women:

…Marriott International said it has reached a goal of training 500,000 hotel workers to spot and [harass sex workers]…Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson [said] “By…[indoctrinat]ing our global workforce to say something if they see something, we are [licking the boots of our masters and] protecting associates and guests [from dangerous sex rays]”…It collaborated with [prohibitionist] anti-[whore] groups ECPAT-USA and Polaris to create the program, which has been translated into 16 languages as well as English so it can be taught to employees throughout the 130 countries in which Marriott does business…

Legislators Gone Wild (#887) 

Oh, what a surprise:

…an annual Campaign and Expense…report filed by the End Trafficking and Prostitution (ETAP) PAC revealed…what appears to have been an outrageous abuse of power and conflict of interest by an elected government official…In December 2017, Reno lawyer Jason Guinasso  filed a public records request with the Lyon County recorder’s office demanding copies of the work card applications submitted to the Lyon County sheriff’s office by professional sex workers at all four of Lyon County’s legal brothels.  He filed the request on letterhead from the law firm at which he works – Hutchison and Steffen – which happens to be owned by then-Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, a political opponent of then-Assembly candidate Dennis Hof, who happened to own all four of Lyon County’s legal brothels…my guess is he wanted to make the addresses public in an effort to shame the adult women who were engaged in a legal business he has personal objections to…A couple months later Mr. Guinasso registered “End Trafficking and Prostitution” as a PAC with the Nevada Secretary of State…to place initiatives on the November 2018 ballot to shut down the legal brothels in Nye and Lyon counties – the two counties, not coincidentally, where Mr. Hof owned brothels…On June 7, 2018 the Lyon County Commission voted to place an “advisory question” on the ballot despite Mr. Guinasso’s failure to obtain enough signatures from Lyon County voters to do so himself…[this] was ultimately and overwhelmingly rejected in November by 80 percent of voters…

As we’ve seen before, crap like this is one of the primary reasons sex worker licensing schemes have such abysmally low compliance rates (below 1% in Nevada):  very few women are interested in being on a shaming & stalking list.

Why I Wait (#889)

Another dumb article about a phenomenon that probably doesn’t even exist:

…In her December 2018 cover story for The Atlantic warning that Americans—Millennials in particular—are having “so little sex,” senior editor Kate Julian soberly framed the drop as a “sex recession”.  Drawing from a 2017 study…[and methodologically-poor] evidence from the 2016 General Social Survey…sex for all adults dropped from 62 to 54 times a year, on average…mainly among white, middle-aged, married couples…the fear of a “sex recession” is misdirected.  A drop in sexual encounters from 62 to 54 times per year means that the average adult is still having sex more than once a week.  Current research suggests that having sex more than once a week does not have any positive impact on relationship satisfaction

That’s enough to show you the weaknesses in this turd sandwich, which, while skeptical of the worry, is not at all skeptical of the crap evidence itself.  Regular readers may recall that, as I’ve written on multiple occasions, the GSS is conducted face to face and is a terrible source for any sexual data (such as “have you ever paid for sex?“) because people simply lie about sexual questions.  These surveys don’t find anything about what people are actually doing sexually; what they measure is people’s relative comfort with the question, which is a horse of a different color.  The innate moralism of this article is visible in its assumption that the only important factor in talking about sex is “relationship satisfaction” (because obviously everybody has to pair off in vanilla monogamous amateur couples), not to mention the author’s asinine and moralistic statement that “There’s also a bit of a dark side in framing sex as economic given the realities of sex work“; I suspect this dumb bunny wouldn’t know one of the “realities of sex work” if it sashayed up and kissed her on the nose.

Stupor Bowl (#899) 

There’s very little point in bothering to quote this ridiculous mess because it’s the same garbage we’ve seen countless times: Theresa Flores selling her magical anti-pimp soap (designed to “help” women too stupid to remember the numbers “9-1-1”) and retelling her masturbatory fantasy of ninja pimps who managed to sneak her out of her home to “sell her for sex” every single night for two years without any member of her family ever noticing or any of her teachers wondering why she was falling asleep in class.  Politicians posturing so spasmodically one has to wonder how they don’t dislocate something.  Prohibitionists lovingly drooling over fantasies of enslaved thirteen-year-olds.  The magnification of a few prostitution arrests into an army of invisible “traffickers”.  I’m only mentioning it for two reasons: First, note that the opportunists now wait for mere days before the event in the forlorn hope that we won’t have time to debunk them (they used to start crowing about this idiocy as much as a year ahead); and second, that debunking is now so widespread that a refutation of this foofaraw appeared in the very same paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Disaster (#899)

Tumblr made its bed, and now look who’s lying in it with them:

One month ago, Tumblr made the wildly unpopular decision to ban pornography and adult content from its website.  The move was greeted with outrage…and…critics accused the site of attempting to please larger tech corporations…Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio, however, maintained that the changes were made to foster a more “inclusive” community…however…the website is currently littered with pages promoting Nazism, white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, and far-right terrorism.  Despite their often flagrant violation of Tumblr’s Community Guidelines, these pages remain largely active and easy to find…

Well, at least Tumblr users are safe from “female-presenting nipples”.

On Tape

Trump has finally made it acceptable to question “sex trafficking” porn, at least when he spreads it:

…Trump[‘s]…human trafficking hyperbole is barely distinguishable  from the melodramatic “modern slavery” narratives put forth regularly by Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton, and others during their tenure in power.  Or the stories stories spun by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during her time as California attorney general.  And none of those stories were any less out of touch with reality…Ye[t]…CNN—which has rarely met a fact-free sex-trafficking melodrama it wouldn’t publish uncritically—ran an article titled “Experts: Trump’s tape-bound women trafficking claim is misleading“…and…at Vox, Dara Lind…reports that a top Border Patrol official emailed agents last week seeking information to back up the president’s claims…Seeking post-hoc justification for wild human trafficking claims is also a bad habit that predates Trump.  For many years, numbers spread by Justice Department and administration officials were more or less made up out of thin air, as The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler has pointed out. (See also: “The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs“)…

Top Cop

Another look at the odiousness of the police-state operative Hillary fans have anointed as their savior:

…any Democratic women who reject the feminist label would kill her campaign before it even started.  This may be why it’s especially galling that all four [female] candidates signed a piece of legislation that is making life harder and more dangerous for some of society’s most vulnerable women…SESTA/FOSTA, which was widely advertised by its proponents as a way to fight human trafficking.  What the legislation, which was co-sponsored by Sens. [Kamala] Harris and [Kirsten] Gillibrand, actually did was amend the Communications Decency Act, which, until last year, prohibited websites from being held liable for content posted by the site’s users…prominent sex-work marketplaces either shut down voluntarily, like Craigslist’s Casual Encounters section, or, like Backpage, were seized and shut down by the Feds. This is exactly what Harris intended…“from my earliest days as a prosecutor, I’ve led the fight against Backpage and other sex [work advertising] platforms”…There was one group…that has roundly condemned SESTA/FOSTA, and that’s the group most impacted by it: sex workers…

The article, by Katie Herzog of The Stranger, includes interviews with me, my friend Sophie and other sex workers.

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All the excitement and hand wringing about [sex robots] was…pointless because [they] just don’t exist.  –  Mark Hay

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

The head pastor of a Methodist congregation in Orange County [California]…was charged…with two counts of molesting a girl under 14 years old…John Rodgers McFarland…was arrested…Dec. 18…San Diego County prosecutors filed two counts of lewd acts on a child…stem[ming] from incidents in 2012 and 2013…Police in Fountain Valley, where McFarland worked as a pastor at a Methodist church for 26 years, said there is “evidence that McFarland abused other victims during his time as a pastor in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach”…He was the head pastor from 1988 to 2014 at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church, and a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2014…McFarland was also the youth pastor at San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas from 1978 to 1981…

Backwards into the Future (#425) 

I wonder how long it will be before the US abandons “re-education” for sex workers and clients?

China looks set to abolish a controversial system that lets police arbitrarily detain sex workers and their clients for up to two years without trial for “compulsory education”.  The “detention and re-education for those involved in prostitution” program, which has existed for 27 years, was recommended for abolition…by the Legislative Affairs Commission…scholars, legal practitioners and members of the public…have long lobbied for the change on the grounds such administrative detention is unjust, extrajudicial and particularly punitive.  Sex work will remain punishable …by a penalty of up to 15 days’ detention.  The parallel custody and education system [h]as…[since] 1991…authorized police to force sex workers into various forms of long-term “education” which included morality lessons, written confessions, forced labor and other humiliating activities designed to “remove evil habits”…

Shift in the Wind (#530)

More and more, the media in many countries are siding with sex workers:

On December 17th, sex workers…and…activists from Macedonia held the 11th annual “Red Umbrella March” in Skopje…The Macedonian march was organized by STAR-STAR, the first sex workers collective in the Balkans…participants demand changes to in the Criminal Code which has remained unchanged for three decades since the fall of Communism…with exception to increasing penalties for sex workers…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

…a darkening wave of internet censorship…started when Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in March…Long before these laws were passed though, sex workers and advocates spoke out against them, [explaining] that their terms were vague and overreaching and would…decimate the digital platforms that have specifically provided a space for workers to meet, vet clients, and engage in consensual business in an online environment far safer than working on the street…The sex workers’ fears did materialize. Craigslist immediately deleted its Personals section…and Backpage…was seized by the FBI.  Multiple sex work forums disappeared immediately…harming and isolating queer people…Over the past few months alone Recon, a fetish dating site for gay men, saw their Youtube temporarily suspended…Naked Boys Reading saw their Facebook page temporarily banned…In October, Facebook was revealed to be blocking many LGBTQ+ ads as part of its new advertising policy…Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has also appeared to be censoring the queer community with algorithms that, intentionally or otherwise, flag queer content at a higher rate than non-queer content…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

I wish writers would stop these pandering claims that censorship attempts are “well-intentioned”:

…a string of civil lawsuits [has] intended to pin liability on online platforms for allegedly providing material support to terrorists.  Several federal trial courts dismissed such suits [last] year, but some of these cases are on appeal and plaintiffs have filed several new ones.  If these suits are successful…platforms would have little choice to become much more restrictive in what sorts of speech they allow…these cases…threaten the availability of open online forums and Internet users’ ability to access information.  That’s why EFF filed legal briefs in 2018 asking two different federal appellate courts to dismiss material support cases against social media platforms…So far, courts have been quick to toss out these material support lawsuits…As well-intentioned as these cases are, they pose a threat to…online communities…[they] threaten Internet users’ and the platforms’ First Amendment rights…[and] jeopardize one of the Internet’s most important laws, Section 230…

Censorship and prohibition are not, and by their very nature cannot be, “well-intentioned”.  They are attempts to control other people’s minds, bodies and lives and are thus intrinsically evil no matter how they’re excused by authoritarians.

Disaster 

It’s good to see so many journalists recognizing how dangerous the War on Whores has become.  This Forbes article on “The 9 Most Important Sex Trends Of 2018” includes the following:

…FOSTA-SESTA…opens internet platforms to liability for…user-generated content, creating a major legal risk for sites used to facilitate sex work…[and] adds to the popular, yet false, conflation of sex work with sex trafficking…The law has led to the shutdown of a number sites, groups, and forums sex workers used to facilitate their operations…[and] share safety information…and…has also…accelerated a wave of sexual censorship online…FOSTA-SESTA “is causing major havoc,” argues [sexologist Jill] McDevitt, for “anyone who uses the internet to read, research, or express themselves sexually in any way”…[experts] are worried that Twitter, the last major bastion of sexual speech online, may fall to this wave of censorship in the new year…

Imaginary Victims (#864) 

As I’ve pointed out many times, “safe harbor” laws only protect “perfect victims”, not real ones:

The Summit County Juvenile Court in Ohio didn’t follow the law when it allowed a 15-year-old girl who was a human trafficking victim to be tried as an adult in the robbery and murder of the man who trafficked her, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled…The high court, however, upheld the girl’s conviction and sentence to prison for the rest of her life…[claiming] Alexis Martin couldn’t prove that the judge’s decision to bind her over to adult court would have changed if the juvenile court had [actually followed the “safe harbor” law as it was required to do]…

Gorged With Meaning (#877)

Ignoring student sex workers would be fine; the problem is that universities are actively harming them:

Universities must stop ignoring the plight of a growing number of students turning to sex work and should start offering non-judgemental support, campaigners demand.  Students and experts have accused institutions of “simply burying their heads in the sand” over the issue…many universities are…actively blocking groups trying to support students involved in sex work.  In one case a student…sex work[er] was evicted from her home and threatened with expulsion by her university…The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)…have fought a number of cases recently where universities have threatened to throw out students if they do not stop doing sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#884)

Israeli prohibitionists are trying to criminalize all sex work:

The Knesset approved the first reading of a bill limiting the Israeli access to…sites presenting adult-related materials…the bill demands web-service providers to send a message to house-holds with internet access asking if they wish to have such sites blocked or not…Should they decline the offer they will be asked to provide personal information [which will then be shared with the government] proving that they are adults and are the ones paying for the service…The Knesset also approved adopting the Nordic Model…which…is…a state intervention on people’s right’s and bodies as well as a criminaliz[ation of] human activity that will be very hard to prevent…

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Facial recognition…will turn members of the public into walking ID cards.  –  Silkie Carlo

The Red Umbrella 

As tourists shopped for Christmas gifts in the brightly lit Westlake Center, sex worker and performance artist Vee Chattie sat half-naked in the rain on a towel…[covered in] fake blood…poured…from a vessel marked “FOSTA-SESTA“…A few bicycle cops rode up to make sure they weren’t actually bleeding.  A passerby asked if they were okay.  Another stopped by to voice his agreement…these Seattleites showed more human concern for Chattie than many show for sex workers on a regular basis.  It was effective performance art…

Real People 

A good profile of veteran trans & sex worker rights activist Ceyenne Doroshow:

…As a Black trans woman I see progress, but not that much…we have a government fighting against our very existence…Are we gonna go back to the Stonewall days where you need to have on two male articles [of clothing]?…I will never go back to those times, I’m sorry.  When I had to be Eddie Morales, it was for survival.  When I had to do sex work, it was definitely survival.  Because even working a part-time job for a non-profit where I’m saving lives was not paying me enough to sustain in life…And we’re still seeing that today in not-for-profits.  We’re being tokenized…We can systematically turn people off when we let a government ordain what femininity looks like, what women’s rights looks like, what protection looks like…

Above the Law  

Even being related to a cop may be enough:

Rape and sodomy charges against the son of Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton were dismissed by a…grand jury…Patrick Melton…[raped the drunk] victim on July 7 at his residence on University Avenue in Lexington [Kentucky]…The woman…tried to squirm, push and kick Melton…[and] multiple witnesses confirmed the victim’s statements that she was intoxicated and passed out prior to the [rape]…

Watershed

When the magazine founded by Gloria “Body Invasion” Steinem publishes an anti-Swedish model article, the handwriting is on the wall for “feminist” prohibitionism:

…the “Nordic Model”…is often touted as a compromise between the criminalization or decriminalization of sex work, and one that decreases prosecution against sex workers—but, like all criminalization approaches to the regulation of sex work, the Nordic Model is underpinned by a moralistic framing of sex work that is inherently harmful, to sex workers and to society at-large…it applies an oversimplified macro-economic framing of supply and demand to an industry that consists of fundamentally discrete, personal and often isolated or irregular interactions.  December 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers—and we’re demanding an end to “End Demand”.  Here are three reasons why…

Japanese Prostitution (#435) 

More accurate headline: “Enjo kosai girls get better at protecting themselves from busybodies”:

More than half of youths involved in [what is now labeled] child prostitution in Japan’s three biggest metropolitan areas last year had shown no signs of delinquency, attending schools normally and having never had criminal records, a survey shows.  The finding suggests it has been increasingly difficult for parents and teachers to detect a change in the attitude of juveniles, the National Police Agency said…[yet still insisted on describing them as]…victimized…[even though] most…were involved in [sex work]…for financial reasons, with 84.5 percent saying they wanted “money for leisure and other activities,” while 5.7 percent and 2.6 percent pointed to “living expenses” and “tuition,” respectively.  Other reasons included “out of curiosity” and “invited by friends”…

“Compensated dating” has existed in Japan for decades, but Japanese “authorities” have only started imposing a “crime and victimization” narrative on the activity within this decade.

The Prudish Giant (#789)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Facebook gave more than 150 companies, including Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, and Yahoo, unprecedented access to users’ personal data…[the] New York Times…obtained hundreds of pages of Facebook documents, generated in 2017, that show that the social network considered these companies business partners and effectively exempted them from its privacy rules.  Facebook allowed Microsoft’s search engine Bing to see the names of nearly all users’ friends without their consent, and allowed Spotify, Netflix, and the Royal Bank of Canada to read, write, and delete users’ private messages, and see participants on a thread.  It also allowed Amazon to get users’ names and contact information through their friends, let Apple access users’ Facebook contacts and calendars even if users had disabled data sharing, and let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts “as recently as this summer,” despite publicly claiming it had stopped sharing such information a year ago…

The article then goes on to list the denials & prevarications of Facebook and many of its “partners”.

Stupor Bowl (#811)

Prohibitionists are trying to subvert our debunking of the gypsy whores myth by pretending the reason there’s no surge is that the “demand” for “victims” is always sky-high:

[Prohibitionist profiteer] Bob Rodgers [said] “The Super Bowl doesn’t cause sex trafficking…Conferences and conventions, like so many we have in Atlanta, don’t cause sex trafficking.  It is already occurring in every metro Atlanta county and it will still be happening when the Super Bowl leaves”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#871)

The biggest problem with this ridiculous failure rate is that it won’t stay inaccurate for much longer:

London cops have been slammed for using unmarked vans to test controversial and inaccurate automated facial recognition technology on Christmas shoppers…in…Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square…the tech will be attached to vans and run for eight hours on each day…In May, a Freedom of Information request from Big Brother Watch showed the Met’s facial recog had a 98 per cent false positive rate…a subsequent request found that 100 per cent of the so-called matches since May have been incorrect.  A recent report from Cardiff University questioned the technology’s abilities in low light and crowds – which doesn’t bode well for a trial in some of the busiest streets in London just days before the winter solstice…

Disaster (#895) 

Never forget that “filter” is merely a euphemism for “censor”:

According to Tumblr, its new adult content ban doesn’t effect [sic] images of “female-presenting nipples” that involve medical situations, are related to political speech, or appear in artwork.  Tumblr itself, however, apparently can’t come up with four examples of [nipple pictures]…its porn filter actually allows…Tumblr’s staff account published a message  aimed at “clarify[ing]” the new policy…[including] a gif providing several examples of nudity that is “still permitted within our policy”…but…when Gizmodo posted the gif to Tumblr ourselves, it was immediately flagged as a potential violation and hidden by the…filter.  When the images…were uploaded individually, two of the four examples…were similarly flagged and hidden…In recent days, the platform has allegedly flagged a picture of a finger, historical bus photos, and Great British Bake-Off gifs…

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In the minds of the regulate-and-incarcerate crowd, it is much better to treat unsolicited butt or genital sightings with the same intensity as we do matters of national security.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot has reached Spain:

The Spanish government is proposing a spate of new legal measures to [persecute] prostitut[es].  These include penalizing clients who solicit for sex and punishing landlords who make properties available to sex workers.  Further measures would also look to prosecute [people cops decide to label] traffickers…and…decriminalizing [sex workers, even though they are not currently criminalized]…Sex work is…neither illegal nor regulated [in Spain] but Prime Minister Sanchez came to power in June with a strongly [misogynist] agenda and promising to fight the e[mployment and sexual autonomy] of women…

Traffic Jam (#694) 

24 years of state-inflicted torture finally end for the San Antonio 4:

…Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl handed out orders…expunging the records of Elizabeth Ramirez…Cassandra Rivera…Kristie Mayhugh …and Anna Vasquez…all government agencies that house information on criminal charges, indictments, arrests or convictions related to the cases in which the women were found innocent must seal or destroy the records.  The women consistently maintained their innocence from that day 24 years ago when Ramirez’s nieces, then ages 7 and 9, accused the women of brutalizing them while on a weekend visit…After the women served nearly 15 years in prison, one of the nieces publicly recanted.  She said family members upset that her aunt had come out as a lesbian told her to lie.  So did her father, who…was upset that Ramirez had spurned his advances…it was also shown that [bogus] science helped support the charge…each of them…[has] receive[d] state compensation of about $80,000 for each year they were imprisoned — a little more than $1 million apiece…

Too Close To Home (#760)

Another exercise in cop-fellation and myth-regurgitation masquerading as journalism:

…Charles Peters…[of] the self-titled “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”…was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine after a jury convicted him in October of nine counts of second-degree promoting prostitution.  Peters…is appealing his conviction…[and free on] $75,000 bond while his appeal is pending…

Though she didn’t write that moronic headline (“Ringleader”?  Who the fuck uses that word with a straight face any more? Has the editor been watching ’30s gangster movies?), Sara Jean Green still needs to be ashamed of herself for this garbage, especially considering that I know for a fact she has the phone numbers of several prominent Seattle sex workers (including mine).  Prohibitionists claim what I do for money is “demeaning”, but I don’t have to infantilize peaceful women, demonize peaceful men, or lionize violent thugs.

Check Your Premises (#809)

Despite some conciliatory language and ground-ceding, this is a good article:

…the Tucson Weekly accessed a spreadsheet of all [Southern Arizona “sex trafficking”] investigations in the three years since the beginning of the grant and found 10 people who were convicted of trafficking and related crimes.  Out of 516 investigations…[only] 23 people were categorized as arrested for trafficking…of those 23…[only] 14 were [actually] charged with trafficking [or] other sex crimes…Of the 14…10 people were convicted or took plea deals, three have ongoing court cases and one committed suicide after being released on bail…[only] two cases resemble the mainstream narrative of a…[woman] forced to commit commercial sex acts against her will…In one case, a drunk, 71-year-old registered sex-offender in a wheelchair persistently and crudely offered a 14-year-old girl money for sexual favors at a bus stop…In another case, a man offered to pay three 15-year-old boys and one girl to [perform] sex acts in front of him.  Some of the cases involve runaways…In other cases, the…[so-called] trafficker [was the sex worker’s] friend or boyfriend…The spreadsheet indicates 52 misdemeanor arrests related to prostitution or not having an escort license…

Traffic in Nonsense (#831)

Anti-whore indoctrination has wholly infested the US trucking industry:

…Kendis Paris…of Truckers Against Trafficking…is one member of the 15-person Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation in October.  The group’s goal is to develop strategies for [encouraging truck drivers to snitch on sex workers]…The committee includes leaders of [rescue industry] organizations…[anti-whore propagandists] and representatives of the trucking, bus, rail, aviation, maritime and port industries…Truckers Against Trafficking leads [indoctrination] programs and distributes [propaganda] materials to various sectors of the industry…About 40 states have adopted aspects of Truckers Against Trafficking’s [indoctrination] model.  The group has worked with [pigs] who give [propaganda] wallet cards to truck drivers…

Imaginary Victims (#839)

Even by despicable modern US standards, this is an incredibly evil ruling:

A woman who was 16 when she killed a Nashville man who [assaulted] her…must serve at least 51 years in prison before she’s eligible for release, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court…The court’s five justices were unanimous in their decision against Brown, who was convicted of killing a…[client] in 2004 when he [roughed her up and]…she feared he would kill her…Brown argues her sentence is unconstitutional, citing a 2012 opinion by the US Supreme Court that said mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders violate the US Constitution…

Brown’s only chance now is the outgoing Tennessee governor, who can pardon her and commute her sentence.

Shame, Shame (#853)

New York just won’t stop trying to subject nude-pic-posters to police violence:

Under [New York politician Joseph] Borrelli’s measure, it would be a misdemeanor offense “to send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm such other person,” punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.  Sexually explicit means anything showing “genitals, pubic area or anus of any person”…It’s already illegal for adults to send sexually explicit images to minors…[and] already illegal…to harass someone, stalk them, or threaten them.  So sending sexually explicit images “with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm” could already be prosecuted under another statute, provided there actually is evidence of harassing or threatening intent.  What that leaves us with is basically a way for anyone to press charges against anyone who sends them a sexualized image…The measure would provide plenty of opportunity for jilted lovers to get even with criminal charges…The opportunity is also ripe for abuse against sex workers who advertise online, whether by those who enjoy harassing them for sport (as with last week’s so-called ThotAudit), by customers who feel slighted, or by law enforcement…

A Broker in Pillage (#858)

With any luck, SCOTUS will shut down this extortion scheme and others like it:

A Detroit woman [named Crystal Sisson] is suing Wayne County, Michigan, after police [stole] her car [because she bought] $10 worth of [legal] marijuana…[from] a [licensed] Detroit medical marijuana dispensary…the sheriff’s deputies cited her for “illegally occupying a place where controlled substances are sold” and seized her 2015 Kia Soul…To get her car back, Sisson had to pay the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office $1,200 to settle the forfeiture case, a typical practice in the county…the Supreme Court is currently considering a similar asset forfeiture case, Timbs v. Indiana, that revolves around the case of Tyson Timbs, whose Land Rover, worth $41,000, was seized after he sold two grams of heroin to a [narc]…Court watchers strongly suspect the Supreme Court will incorporate the Eighth Amendment, making the Excessive Fines clause apply to states.  Sisson is only one of hundreds of Wayne County residents who’ve been surveilled, pulled over, had their car [stolen], and been forced to pay out more than $1,000 to get it back, all for visiting legal, state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries…

Banishment (#870) 

Caging people permanently, without trial or sentence:

…William Welsh has a number of convictions for child molestation and sexual abuse dating back to 1979.  In 2011 he was no longer in custody, having served his required prison and probationary sentences. He was, however, required to register on Oregon’s Sex Offender Registry because of his prior convictions.  When he traveled to Belize in 2011 and failed to update the address listed on his registration, he was charged, and pled guilty, to violating…registration requirements – a felony – and he was sentenced to 673 days in prison.  A few weeks prior to his release, the Attorney General designated him a “sexually dangerous person”; the reviewing court agreed, and he was [indefinitely] committed…In 2016, however, his conviction (for having failed to update his registration) was vacated, after the Supreme Court, in US v. Nichols, 136 S.Ct. 113, held that SORNA did not require a person to update his registration when he was traveling to a foreign country.  So he petitioned for a release from custody, arguing that because he had not lawfully been “in custody” of the Bureau of Prisons…he could not, lawfully, have been subject to the commitment proceeding for “sexually dangerous persons” in the first place.  But his request for release was denied, first by the federal district court and then by the 4th Circuit

Surplus Women (#873) 

Let’s play a game:  Is this a rationalization of cop behavior or serial killer behavior?

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been charged with capital murder after telling investigators he killed four female sex workers because he considered them worthless and that he thought he was doing something good for his Texas border city…[the] prosecutor said…he will seek the death penalty if Juan David Ortiz is found guilty…

Feminine Pragmatism (#892) 

Dreams“. How old is the imbecile who writes this shit? Eight?

…Escalona was one of at least 41 Venezuelan women murdered abroad from February 2017 to this November.  They had fled Venezuela’s economic turmoil. They left their homeland with dreams.  Some were forced into prostitution.  All met death…

No.  These women weren’t “following dreams” like refugees from a fucking Hallmark card; they were trying to survive by fleeing a collapsing socialist dictatorship.  They were not naive children like so many American women; they were adults who had to take risks thanks to authoritarians criminalizing their pragmatic choice to cross borders to work.  And since criminalization attracts criminals, sometimes they lost those gambles.  The villains here aren’t imaginary “trafficking rings”; they’re the fucking politicians who force desperate people to deal with criminals to have a chance to escape hell.

Disaster (#893)

I’m not sure how much this will help, but it certainly can’t hurt:

…the new platform Tribunus has allowed web users to weigh in on critical issues when petitions and digital comments are no longer viable steps.  On Tribunus’ simple site, US residents can contact legislators directly by placing a phone call, sending them a fax, or — if their fax machine is turned off — quickly sending them a paper letter instead.  Tribunus’ creator, a Bay Area programmer who asked to be identified as Michael, said he first launched the platform to help defeat a legal measure threatening California sex workers (successfully, after protests and hundreds of letters).  Later on, he added pages addressing immigrant family separation and net neutrality…

The Prudish Giant (#895) 

Facebook turns the dial on its anti-sex “standards” up to 11:

Facebook just…adopted…new “sexual solicitation” rules…[that] ban “implicit sexual solicitation”including the use of sexual slang, the solicitation of nude images, discussion of “sexual partner preference,” and even expressing interest in sex…the new policy [even] bars “vague suggestive statements, such as ‘looking for a good time tonight’”…discussion of sexual exploitation is allowed, but discussion of consensual, adult sex is taboo.  That’s a classic censorship model: speech about sexuality being permitted only when sex is presented as dangerous and shameful…such…rules can incentivize abuse from…bad actors…[including] state actors…This process gives the user no meaningful opportunity to appeal a bad decision.  Given the rules’ focus on sexual interests and activities, it’s easy to imagine who would be the easiest targets:  sex workers…[and] members of the LGBTQ community…

From the way these rules are worded, they seem to even ban bland statements like “I’m lesbian” (which is “expressing sexual partner preference”).

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I’ve been asked to signal boost two messages for sex workers from organizations in our community, both of which provide opportunities to help yourself and other sex workers at the same time.  The first is about an essay contest from the ad website Slixa:

The passage of SESTA/FOSTA earlier this year…threatens the safety and livelihood of providers all across the world.  In an effort to gauge the impact of this law and how targeted communities might be helped, Slixa is announcing a call for essay submissions about the impact of SESTA/FOSTA, and a $10,000 USD total prize to be shared with the winning entrants and advocacy organizations of their choosing…in an effort to call extra attention to the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (December 17th), submissions will be open [today], December 14th, 2018, and we are looking for voices like yours to help us raise awareness, both of the International Day and of the profoundly negative impact of SESTA/FOSTA on our community.  You can find details about the call for entries here, and information about Slixa here

The other is from the ever-awesome SWOP Behind Bars, who has made a deal to supply inexpensive cell phone service that also helps SWOP in its important mission to support incarcerated sex workers!

Our Solidarity Network lets you choose the premium network that is best for your area!  It’s the exact same networks as the “big” providers but for a lot less!

    • Bring your current phone or get a great deal on a new phone!
    • No contract and you can leave any time.
    • Unlimited talk, text, and data.on America’s fastest unlimited network.
    • Taxes & fees included.
    • No surprise fees on your monthly plan bill.
    • Texting & data abroad.
    • Unlimited in Mexico & Canada.

The Solidarity Network lets YOU be in charge of your mobile service! BRING YOUR OWN PHONE or choose from a wide variety of phones on sale at Great prices!

Click here to find out more!

I’m not planning to make a habit of promoting projects in this manner, but a chance for a sex worker to win a cash prize and an easy way for us to help less fortunate sisters are both very good reasons to make an exception!

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