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Posts Tagged ‘diversion programs’

Usually, when I devote a whole column to picking on a news article, it’s because said article is so hilariously bad or deeply disturbing (or both) that I can’t bear to limit myself to a quick jab of the knife in a news column, and instead prefer to lovingly vivisect it until the entire virtual room is spattered in blood.  But this is, alas, not one of those cases; the article’s author, Sonja Sharp, clearly believes herself an ally of sex workers, or is at least open-minded to the idea that sex workers deserve human rights, yet she can’t quite bring herself to shake off her childlike trust in government and her belief that cops are the “good guys”.  So what we get is an article that is generally supportive of sex worker rights, yet fails to properly place the blame for our oppression on the prohibitionists; instead, it adopts a kind of mealy-mouthed “moderation”, pretending that there is a legitimate “debate” to be had between those who say humans own ourselves and have unalienable rights, and those who pretend that individuals are owned by the State, which has the “right” to use violence to “protect” us from choices with which our owners disapprove.  There’s very little point in quoting the good parts, so I’m just going to concentrate on pointing out the bad ones.

[When] Police Commissioner James O’Neill and the city’s First Lady Chirlane McCray…[announced] the NYPD would bolster the size of its vice squad in order to stamp out sex trafficking…the hope on part of some advocates was that sex workers might see relief from the pressure traditionally brought to bear by police…

I have no idea who these “advocates” Sharp refers to are, but none of them are sex worker rights activists; we know better than to harbor naive beliefs that doubling the size of a police unit could in any way signal “relief” for those the unit is specifically intended to oppress.

…a growing number of law enforcement agencies…are forming their own anti-trafficking units—often using grants from the feds—and deploying similarly gallant rhetoric despite limited evidence their arrests do much to stop exploitation…But alternatives are time-consuming and remain opaque to most law enforcement agencies, which have been deputized to fight human trafficking in part because it’s widely understood to be synonymous with illegal sex work…Modernizing their approach is still a work in progress, to say the least…

Because the writer can’t bring herself to question the institution of policing, she buys into the claim that cops are interested in “stopping exploitation”; she imagines that the idea of just leaving people alone instead of persecuting them for private, consensual activities is “opaque” to cops, rather than recognizing “sex trafficking” as a boondoggle intended to disguise the ugly persecution of sexual behavior under a mask of “helping”.  The idea that cops’ behavior needs to be “modernized” is the most asinine of all; what they’re doing now IS the modern approach, by definition, since it’s less than 20 years old.  What we really need is a return to the approach which predominated throughout most of human history: recognizing that sex work is normal and not a government matter, and leaving it the fuck alone.

…Jean Bruggeman, executive director of the national anti-trafficking organization Freedom Network USA [says] “I think in their zeal to help [cops] are doing some very wrongheaded things,” including mass arrests of sex workers and John stings using fake Backpage ads…

More exoneration of cops, pretending their abusive behavior (including surveillance, rape, robbery, brutality, destruction of homes and lives and even driving people to suicide) is motivated by a “zeal to help”.  You know, like terrorists blow up innocent people in their “zeal to help” them get to Heaven.

…In what appears to be a more concerted approach than that of the NYPD, LA Sheriff’s detectives bring an outreach worker with them whenever they approach sex workers…always offering them diversion first, before an arrest is made…”if they flat-out refuse, we book them, and then they’re sent to the appropriate court,” where they are then [forced into] a system of mandatory services…It seems like progressive approach, one most people—even those who think sex work should be legal—might be able to get behind…

Yeah, it’s “progressive” all right, considering that the Progressive movement spawned the concept of Prohibition in the first place.  To pretend that people who want to suppress consensual sex are actually trying to “help” anyone but themselves is disingenuous in the extreme, yet Sharp just can’t see that attacking peaceful people and then forcing them at gunpoint to accept the government’s idea of “help” is evil even if implemented exactly as planned, both in theory and in practice.

…demand reduction…is hotly contested among advocates and experts.  While less explicitly harmful than arresting sex workers, opponents say it does little to rout traffickers, while those who endorse it argue arresting Johns makes sexual exploitation less attractive as a business…

Aaaaaaaand I’m gonna stop right there before I am seized with the urge to disembowel Sharp along with her crappy article.  No, “end demand” isn’t “hotly contested” among anyone who actually gives a shit about human rights, nor is it less harmful than arresting sex workers (indeed, in the US it always includes arresting sex workers despite the rhetoric).  There is no legitimate “debate” over whether people own their own bodies, nor whether they have the right to consensual sex with other adult partners; pretending that there is such a “debate” is nothing more than catering to evil control freaks and sucking the dick of power.  The pretense that cops are some kind of sweet, well-intentioned social justice squad, and that it isn’t their fault the laws are bad, is so incredibly nauseating it boggles the mind.  Stories like this, written by sheltered little girls barely out of their parents’ houses, are vile apologies for evil policies that enable uniformed rapists and soft-peddle operations intended to destroy lives, enable armed robbery of citizens and increase the real “modern slavery”, mass incarceration.

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Just because someone can’t love you…doesn’t mean that you’re unlovable.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

Check Your Premises 

This man has repeatedly said Seattle is not interested in prosecuting us:

For five years, the city of Seattle has touted its [faddish] approach in [persecuting] the buyers of sex rather than the prostitutes themselves.  While the number of cases filed against prostitutes dropped dramatically in 2012 and 2013, it has increased again slightly in recent years…City Attorney Pete Holmes…said the increase in prostitution cases in 2014 through 2016 came after his office realized many women were not [submitting to] the [brainwashing] program called LEAD, or Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion…Holmes said he therefore pivoted to use the real possibility of prosecution, as a way of encouraging people to take advantage of LEAD instead…

“Pivoted” is such a banal way to say “lied with prohibitionist propaganda while threatening women with violence for peacefully earning a living”.

Feminine Pragmatism 

This needs to be repeated until it’s inextricably hammered into the faces of prohibitionists:

…When I began sex work there were aspects that were exhilarating.  Being my own boss and setting my own schedule was something I’d never had the luxury of.  My manager at the bar, who knew she could shop me for benefit fraud at any moment, didn’t care when men…threatened to follow me home because I didn’t want their numbers…I worked 12 hour shifts, with no breaks, and at the end she would hand me an envelope with barely £70 in…escorting [clients] sometimes reminded me of the pub customers…[but] at the end of a three hour booking I would tuck a few hundred pounds in the lining of my handbag, and go home to a bath and some posh beers…This isn’t to say sex work was a utopia where I could take six months off when my health was bad…However, contrary to popular view…it is not a one way ticket to a breakdown.  The difference between us and workers in other industries is that when we seek help we are asked to look at the ways we’ve kept ourselves out of poverty as shameful…

Where Are the Victims?

The poor widdle sheriff “had no alternative” because sex is bad:

A “normal family man” who cared for his sick wife…in Edinburgh has been jailed for 29 months.  Emil Wakulicz…recruited women from Poland to offer sexual services…Sheriff Ross said he had no other alternative but to send Wakulicz to prison as he had exploited the women who had worked for him.  Det Insp Arron Clinkscales…[bragged]: “We…[locked] this man [up]…and [stole] his assets.”

Naturally, the story lists no evidence whatsoever of “exploitation”.  I’m sure his wife will be much better off on the dole, and her depression will improve while her husband sits in a cage for two years.  Justice!

They Still Don’t Get It

The headline writer inadvertently got it right: “prostitution investigations” (ie stings) are indeed part of a larger problem, the one called prohibition.

…Winston-Salem police…arrested…John Richard Hernandez and…Amanda Dawn Moser in connection to the armed robbery of a 67-year-old man…the pair lured [the victim]…to Hernandez’s home…by posting [a fake escort] ad…on…backpage.com…Hernandez [hit him with a hammer and] and robbed [him] of his money, ATM card and vehicle…a [pig too chickenshit to give his name bloviated a whole pile of ignorant nonsense]…“when it does happen in homes, those are usually offenders that have been caught multiple times at the hotel, and now they’ve moved their modus operandi to a residential home…Many of those, obviously, are minors that are…easily manipulated – into performing sexual acts for someone that’s controlling them…We located needles, various drug paraphernalia, spoons, that are indicative of heroin use”…The department also works with different counseling services and the health department to help victims of human trafficking…“It is a criminal act,” the [cowardly, ignorant pig oinked]…

Prohibition forces a peaceful activity into the shadows, where criminals then use it as a cover because they know their victims are less likely to report.  Then cops use the result of criminalization as an excuse for more criminalization while mixing in rhetoric that contradicts the entire “whore as criminal” trope.  I know basic logic & a triple-digit IQ aren’t requirements for being a brutal thug mindlessly enforcing arbitrary rules via violence, but this is like watching a self important pig masturbating until he shoots into his own eye, then tripping over the pants around his ankles & falling flat on his face.

Coming Out

Kaytlin Bailey on coming out to a lover:

…Maybe you’ve taken the position that everyone you have sex with has to know beforehand, because the last time you told someone you were already in love with, he hit you.  Maybe you’re coming out, as a political statement, trying to erode the delusion that someone doesn’t know “any girls like that” by being one of those girls.  Maybe you have to tell your lover because you keep having cold sweat anxiety dreams about it.  Maybe living the nightmare won’t be as scary as having the same one every night.  Maybe you’ve been in a relationship for awhile, and you think you can trust them.  Or maybe you know you can’t, but you just can’t stand them saying one more dumb thing about “whores” without knowing.  Or maybe you’re scared, and you want your partner’s support…

My personal way of dealing with this: I haven’t been romantically involved with anyone who isn’t a whore or client since 1995.  But I understand that won’t work for everybody.

Welcome To Our World (#43)

This is good; too bad they still criminalize having sex for the “wrong” reason:

[The Republic of Ireland] is to repeal a law which made it a criminal offence for a person with an intellectual disability to have a sexual relationship…The [new] law will consider whether a person with an intellectual disability has capacity to consent…rather than just outlawing such relationships because they have a disability…a new category of “protected person” has been created.  This will be defined as someone who lacks the capacity to consent to a sexual act by reason of a mental or intellectual disability, or a mental illness…It will now be illegal for a person to have a sexual relationship with a protected person…

I Really Shouldn’t Even LOOK at an Issue of Cosmopolitan (#346) 

A)  Is this dude gay?  B) WTF, Cosmo?  C) I know it’s two years old.

We’re going to shake things up, aren’t we?  And by “shake things up” I mean you’re going to sit on my face…I need a signal for you to give me some air that isn’t me throwing you off me in a panic…My eye is basically in her butt…is this how all adults get pink eye?…I have no choice but to make her orgasm…I can’t even see anymore.  It’s just pitch black and vibrations, like an earthquake in a cave.

Size Matters (#532)

I told y’all that this wasn’t gonna work, but of course y’all didn’t listen:

[Deceitful busybodies] in Tennessee have determined that a building registered as a church was being operated as a sex club…the city of Nashville has filed a complaint against the owners for “maintaining a public nuisance by permitting acts of lewd conduct” and violating a state law banning sex clubs from operating within 1,000 feet of a school.  The longtime downtown swingers club…in 2015…relocated to a run-down office park…calling itself a church because the new location is near the back of the private Goodpasture Christian School.  Two [voyeurs] paid $40 to enter the facility…and filed [porn narratives] detailing sex acts they witnessed within…

The End of the Beginning (#677) 

This clear constitutional violation persists due to the egregious lie that the “sex offender” registry isn’t a punishment:

A sex offender…thought he had moved on with his life after successfully completing five years of probation for sending webcam photographs of his genitals to a [pervert cop pretending to be]…a 13-year-old girl.  Now he’s among hundreds of people in Missouri who are learning they must attach GPS monitoring systems to their ankles for life, even though such a requirement wasn’t part of their sentencing agreement…The retroactive [punishment is] part of a revised state criminal code that went into effect Jan. 1…several sex offenders…are suing…the state…“I don’t think a lawyer can make a straight-faced argument that it’s constitutional,” said…attorney Matt Fry…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#724) 

This is what robo-fetishists want you to believe will take my job soon:

…Matt McMullen, the chief executive of Abyss Creations, which makes RealDoll…says…”Many people who may buy a RealDoll because it is sexually capable come to realise it is much more than a sex toy…It has a presence in their house and they imagine a personality for her.  AI gives people the tools to create that personality.”  This is done via an app, which can be used with the doll or independently, existing as a virtual person on a smartphone or similar device.  Users can choose from a variety of personality options, including moody, angry and loving…The app…is already available to buy, although only directly from the Realbotix website…Neither Google’s nor Apple’s official stores will carry it because of the explicit content.  The doll will go on sale later this year and there will be two versions – one with computer vision that enables it to recognise faces, which will cost $10,000…and a…version without vision for $5,000…

Bonus:  sociopathic prude Kathleen Richardson of the “Campaign Against Sex Robots” has apparently decided in the past two months that “dolls aren’t really the problem”.  Why does anyone take prohibitionists seriously?

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I don’t trust the value system of somebody else…because my life isn’t their life.  –  Nadia Yasmeen

One Size Fits All

Finally, a US court finds something it isn’t willing to call “trafficking”:

…[Milwaukee] prosecutors charged [Kevin] Long…with child trafficking because he admitted that he paid a 16-year-old Milwaukee boy to lick or kiss his feet, and offered to pay that boy’s 17-year-old friend to do the same.  That boy said he wasn’t interested…[so] Long apologized…took the 17-year-old to the mall and bought him shoes…In his home, police found materials referencing foot fetish websites and a journal of Long’s prior encounters…Long’s attorney, Ray Dall’Osto…[argued] there was no [vanilla] sexual touching, no exposure or even discussion of genitals…Dall’Osto mounted a full-on constitutional attack on the child trafficking law, calling it vague and overbroad…Long wound up pleading guilty to reduced charges…pandering and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child, all misdemeanors…Judge Jeffrey Wagner…stayed Long’s registration as a sex offender until after [a forthcoming] review…

It Looks Good On Paper

If you’re inclined to view this as a positive development, read more carefully; it’s justified by, and would reinforce, the dogma that sex workers are pathetic victims who need to be treated as wards of the state.  It’s also another weapon prosecutors can use to coerce sex workers into “cooperating” with police to betray their clients and other sex workers, and note the “escort registration” provision:

It’s illegal to publish official post-arrest photographs of people accused of prostitution, under an Alabama law that went into effect Aug. 1…press advocates say it’s probably unconstitutional…[sponsor] Jack Williams…has been pushing for years for changes to the state’s prostitution laws, arguing that prostitutes themselves are in most cases victims of human trafficking…Williams’ bill, the Alabama Human Trafficking Safe Harbor Act, allows people arrested for prostitution to be held for 72 hours, with a hearing to assess their financial situation, mental health and other issues within 48 hours — with an eye toward [forcing] the alleged prostitute…through a…diversion program…The law also requires “escort services of companionship” to register with the Alabama secretary of state’s office…[which threatened] to report [unregistered escorts to the pigs]…

Where Are the Protests? 

Only “A few critics call it a form of human trafficking.”  Because there’s no sex and the traffickers are government actors and clergymen:

Percida Ramos was losing her son to heroin…[A lying pig told her about] Kensington, where ministers run resort-like, anti-addiction estates where the…demons are chased from young people’s brains as they ride horses, swim in blue pools, and play day and night on basketball courts…Her son would even have a job within five months, she was promised…All Ramos…had to do was get [her son] to Philadelphia and wire $150 to an address on North Front Street…What [Kelvin Aldarondo] found was far different from what he and his mother were promised…a grim, three-story building under the El with around 20 other men sleeping on bunk beds in four bedrooms and sharing three bathrooms…Since the late 1990s, pastors, police, and mayors in Puerto Rico have been sending hundreds of heroin addicts, many of them HIV-positive, to Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and other cities.  The officials work with mainland ministers, some of whom travel from Philadelphia to the island to recruit addicts, offering drug treatment based on abstinence and prayer.  [The practice is known as Air Bridge]…and…[it] has increased the numbers of homeless and HIV-positive people in the city, torn apart families, and confounded advocates…

A Whore in Church 

Tits & Sass presents a nice look at the religious beliefs of sex workers:

Many people think of whores as being as far from God as possible.  We are seen as “fallen women,” people whose moral deficiency has put them at odds with God.  When God, morality, and religion are discussed in tandem with sex work, these conversations often promote religious dogma which serves to justify the marginalization of sex workers. Sex workers are rarely heard from on their own relationships with religion or spirituality, even though we have roots in religious and spiritual life as far back as Biblical times…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

SWOP’s annual fundraiser is going on right now!  Many of you have asked me how you can support sex worker rights; well, this is an excellent way, and your donations are tax-deductible!  So please don’t hesitate; donate today!swop-fundraiser

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Brave hero cops save The Children!TM from the menace of desperately-needy people, both in Ohio: “…Crystal D. Hotlosz…told [a lying pig] she would provide a sex act for $60 and nachos…She was arrested, and charged for solicitation and criminal tools…” and in Florida: “Eight homeless prostitutes, one homeless 68-year-old pimp and a hooker with an address were among those arrested in the most recent prostitution sting…[a lying pig] hunting for streetwalkers asked some of the women if they were cops and even encouraged one of the suspects to grab his genitals…”  Judging by her language, sleazebag “reporter” Lyda Longa thinks she’s clever; I wonder how she’d feel if a pig came to her place of work and tricked her into doing something so he could arrest her?  N.B: in Ohio, “criminal tools” means condoms and/or a cell phone.

Banishment

Because laws are more important than people:

In Florida, a wheelchair-bound man with end-stage Alzheimer’s must move out of the hospice where he’s dying, because he is a registered sex offender and the hospice is too close to a preschool…Jack Ehrhart…was convicted of a sex offense about 30 years ago, when he was a doctor.  Several patients accused him of touching them sexually during their gynecological exams—with a nurse present.  He now faces arrest unless he gets…out of the Heartland Hospice…Ehrhart’s wife is arguing that the residency restrictions apply only to people who have deliberately chosen to live where they live…her husband’s condition means he not only had no say in where he’s living, he has no idea where he is now.  Still, Heartland is trying to ship him out, but having a hard time, because it can’t find other hospices that will take him.  Meanwhile, Ehrhart’s attorney is trying to get him off the sex offender registry, arguing that Florida allows some former offenders to be removed from the list after being on it 25 years…

What kind of warped mind thinks this is OK?

My Body, My Choice (#319)

A rare decision in favor of self-ownership:

The 69-pound woman has battled anorexia for the majority of her life…after spending nearly two years in a New Jersey psychiatric hospital, the 29-year-old woman with a bone density of a 92-year-old told a court that she refused to eat any food, and wished to enter palliative care instead…A Superior Court judge ruled…that she cannot be fed against her will…and…has the mental capacity to choose not to accept nutrition.  The state…argued the woman is mentally ill due to depression, and that by approving the withdrawal of force-feeding the court would essentially be allowing her passive suicide…Palliative care would simply provide drugs to numb her pain and ease her…death…Her treating psychiatrist, Joshua Braun, said force feeding A.G. would be “cruel and torturous at this point,” because restraining her could cause her delicate bones to break…

Backwards Into the Future (#323)

Note that this kind of abuse is also typical in the US:

Namibian authorities stand accused of failing to meet multiple obligations under the Convention Against Torture…in relation to addressing severe abuse suffered by Namibian sex workers at the hands of authorities and the community…a group of local and international NGOs working with sex workers detailed an extensive list of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of sex workers in Namibia…One of the recommendations contained in the report is to decriminalise sex work in Namibia in order to effectively deal with the abuse and to establish legal procedures to investigate allegations of torture and provide victims with redress…criminalisation…has given free rein to police officers, health workers and clients and the community at large to abuse sex workers in a multitude of ways, without fear of consequences…

Gingerbread House (#542)

It’s satisfying when the mask of concern for “trafficking victims” slips:

Straight Street Revolution Ministries…plan to build housing for women who are fleeing sex trafficking on 50 acres of land…in southeast Hall County [Georgia]…But opponents have made it clear they don’t want it in their rural community…residents [pretend]…crime and safety concerns, fearing the place could draw a bad element…

Yes folks, sex rays are also magnetic and can draw “bad elements”.

Fallen Idol (#612)

It’s been nearly a year since James Deen…was first accused of assault.  In the days after the first allegation…porn studios began to cut ties with Deen…But, a year later, it’s clear that while Deen’s career might have taken a slight hit, it isn’t going anywhere.  “Very little has changed in James’ life over the last year,” said Howard Bragman, Deen’s spokesperson.  “He is not subject to any cases either criminal or civil and he is continuing the same work he did before”…analysis of adult film releases, as well as industry interviews, show this isn’t just the boasting of a publicist trying to make his client look good…

Virtual Unreality vr-headset

Unless the VR unit deposits $400 into my bank account before the show starts, I’m not remotely interested:

…the firm WankzVR premiered FemalePOV, its new virtual reality porn series filmed from a woman’s viewpoint — meaning, headset wearers occupy the perspective of a female porn performer or, in gamer speak, avatar…WankzVR…found was that women…who either used their product or frequented Reddit VR threads…did not want to see the gentle, less explicit content that they are so often said to desire.  These ladies wanted something in-between the hardcore gonzo cliché of porn for men and the gauzy soft-focus cliché of porn for women…in VR porn for men, male performers are often instructed to keep their hands out of the frame and let their female co-stars do all the work…because male viewers typically report that seeing their avatar’s hands interacting in the scene takes them out of the illusion of being in the film…however, WankzVR found that female viewers expressed that they were disturbed to see their avatar just lying there, relatively motionless…it…looks a bit too much like sexual assault…

To Molest and Rape (#687) 

For every assault a rapist cop is caught in, you can be sure there are others yet undetected:

…[Rapist cop Marcellus White] was rebooked…Nov. 21…on 16 new counts…five new rape charges as well as two counts of sexual battery, two counts of oral sexual battery, two counts of molestation of a juvenile, two counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile and one count each of simple kidnapping, false imprisonment and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number…

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The criminalization of sex work exposes not only sex workers but all women to more violence.  –  Alison Bass

The Proper Study

Yet another study confirms what we’ve been saying all along:

a recent study in…Las Vegas uncovers what anti-trafficking organizations might not like to hear.  The majority of youth selling sex on the streets have no pimps, or even third party managers, countering one of the key narratives of the sex trafficking movement that all youth involved are victims doing this work against their will…three fourths of the youth interviewed about the sex trade said they were not working with any pimp or other kind of third party manager…24 percent of the study’s participants reported use of a third party to find clients at some point in their lives, but only 4 percent…reported use of one at the time of the study…youth sex workers who do use pimps do so inconsistently and intermittently…[they] are finding their clients independently and negotiating their own prices…

It Looks Good On Paper (#340)

Remember that religious brainwashing program which “partnered with the Sarasota…Police Department…to bring victims into their care?

The conversations happening by phone are ones that the Sarasota Police Street Crime Unit hope will turn into a positive outcome.  “I want you to know you are not in any trouble,” [oinked a pig]…”We are just trying to reach out and let you know there are options”…Sergeant Robert Armstrong and his unit are [harassing and intimidating] women who have active ads online for escort services.  Many are involved in prostitution…The team is focused on connecting women with Selah Freedom…

“Many are involved in prostitution”?  Are these people actually pretending not to know what an escort is?  Look beneath the pious exterior; we don’t actually know what stated or implied threats these cops are using to try to intimidate women into this “program”, which is so unpopular the only way it gets participants is by cops literally forcing or frightening women into it.  If the tactic seems familiar, it’s because it’s much like Canada’s “Operation Northern Spotlight” except that the cops are (for now) merely terrorizing sex workers by phone instead of showing up at their doors.wesley-blackburn

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

A Pennsylvania pastor faces charges he impregnated a 15-year-old girl from his youth group during a seven-month sexual relationship…Wesley Blackburn, youth pastor at Faith Brethren Bible Church, told the New Paris church’s head pastor he had confessed to the relationship and asked for a divorce…church leaders immediately fired Blackburn…and alerted police last week.  He was charged Oct. 6 on hundreds of counts of statutory sexual assault and indecent assault…

Rough Trade (#446) 

A setback for women’s rights in India:

The Supreme Court…ruled that a sex worker cannot file a case alleging rape if her customers refused to pay her…The judgment…acquitted three people of rape charges in a case that is close to 20 years old…the Karnataka High Court had convicted them of raping the victim, who used to work as a maid; the victim’s roommate had revealed that she works as a sex-worker at night…the Supreme Court…[claimed] that the woman’s “conduct during the alleged ordeal is unlike a victim of rape and betrays somewhat submissive and consensual disposition”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#502)

In which po-faced twits with tape over their mouths walk down a street holding pre-printed propaganda cards:

A long, single-file line of people donned [sic] in black, some with their mouths taped shut, silently made its way down Stephen Avenue [in Calgary] to [promote anti-sex work propaganda]…The [po-faced] group remained speechless, but handed out [propaganda] pamphlets to bystanders…former Manitoba MP Joy Smith [spoke] at the event…part of a global initiative by A21…

The tape is supposed to signify that sex workers are “voiceless”, a convenient lie for those who wish to talk over us.  A21, the NGO which sponsored this charade, is infamous as the source of the high-water mark of the “clients per day” competition of a few years ago: 110.

Eternal Vigilance (#610)

Just a reminder that prohibitionism still exists in decriminalized regimes:

New Zealand celebrities will be donning aprons to serve dinner with a difference at Destiny Rescue’s Dark Secret Pop up Dinner on International Anti-Slavery Day, Tuesday 18 October…Another special menu, thankfully not available in New Zealand, will shine the spotlight on the dark secret of the near two million children trapped in sexual slavery in countries like Thailand, India and the Philippines…

The table-waiting gimmick is appropriate given that Destiny’s idea of “rescue” is to teach brown urchins to sew, wait table and draw with crayons.

Wise Investment (#673)

Picket-fence gay men are such wonderful, dependable sex worker allies:

In his recent attempt to revise the history of sex workers in Vancouver’s West End, Kevin Dale McKeown…erases the West Sex Workers Memorial Committee and our eight-year campaign to secure financial reparations and a formal civic apology from the City of Vancouver.  He instead claims that his recollections are more truthful and authentic than the voices of sex workers…In McKeown’s distorted revision…expelled sex workers become the villains.  However, our archival research found close to 1,000 news articles revealing that power elites in the early 1980s — including Mayor Mike Harcourt, MP Pat Carney, Attorney General Brian Smith, Concerned Residents of the West End (CROWE) and Shame the Johns — forged a “war on hookers” with lethal consequences…Residents like McKeown moved into the West End when it was a thriving [24-hour] entertainment zone…McKeown…frantically disavows his own and other white gay men’s complicity in hooker-bashing tactics…McKeown makes a failed attempt to hide his investment in a “quiet” and “peaceful” gaybourhood cleansed of “noisy” hookers…

Too Close To Home (#677)

These are the people who claim they want to “protect” women, and portray the men we choose to have sex with as “sexual predators”:

…after settling a sexual-harassment lawsuit for $1 million in 2013, the King County Sheriff’s Office…is again embroiled in a legal fight over its treatment of female officers.  This time, two…deputies and one sergeant are accusing the county of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual-orientation based harassment, and retaliation…a former head of internal affairs [is] seeking whistleblower protections before he talks.  Central to many of these claims is King County Sheriff John Urquhart…[whose] tenure so far…has been ignominious, involving the two sexual-harassment lawsuits, a cop convicted of pimping his wife and selling his colleagues steroids, a bogus “sex trafficking bust,” a chief-of-staff with polygraph problems, and more…this latest lawsuit…specifically calls out the actions of Sheriff Urquhart, Major Sean Ledford, and Sergeant Dewey Burns…defensive tactics instructor Melissa Deer…claims [Burns] grabbed her crotch during a training exercise…text messages showed the sergeant making racist, anti-gay, and sexually explicit comments to other staffers, including…Deputy Amy Shoblom…who…is one of three plaintiffs in the current suit, along with Diana Neff…and Julie Blessum…[Burns’] antics included texting her half-naked photos of women he was sleeping with, asking during a roll call if she had “hooked up” with a male deputy, and drawing a penis on the hood of her car with hand sanitizer…

There’s a lot more, and it’s by the awesome Liz Brown so you should read it all.

Send In the Clowns dublin-clown

The most disturbing thing about the clown hysteria is the way in which it has so quickly given rise to organized violence and naked authoritarianism.  A “Clown Lives Matter” protest against the panic, to be held in Tucson, was cancelled due to amateur threats of violence, and the professional violence-inflicters are responding by criminally charging people and destroying young childrens’ lives.  The hysteria has also spread to Ireland, and while police in Dublin have responded calmly, those in Belfast have responded with US-style threats of violence and lifelong imprisonment.  Dutch police are moronically calling for a prankster there to turn himself in, and the ever-lunatic British tabloid press have found a way to merge the clown panic into “sex predator” panic:

The basic premise of [this] story is that some men get off on women dressed as creepy clowns, they’re causing a spike in clown-porn searches and clown-fetish requests at escort services, and soon their “sick fetish” may lead them to commit real-world sexual assaults “as the adrenaline junkies seek more ‘extreme thrills'”…what the story lacks in logic it makes up for in references to “sex-mad sickos” and quotes from an anonymous escort-agency head…[it] also quotes a woman who counsels rape victims and worries that the “clown craze” provides cover to predators…Popular millennial women’s website Elite Daily published a clown-sex-panic story…warning readers that “the sexual deviants partaking in the madness are allegedly dressing up as clowns and experimenting with BDSM” and “those who are involved in the aggressive clown porn are potentially dangerous.”

Power Play

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

Dennis Hof…said that while he supports law enforcement aggressively enforcing laws against underage sex trafficking, he believes that law enforcement in the United States would have an easier time doing its job if adult prostitution were [legalized]…using the [Nevada]…model…Hof said [independent sex workers spread]…sexually transmitted diseases…”My brothel business model [magically] puts the…pimps [who aren’t politically connected] out of business, [magically] stops underage girls from working illegally [?] and [magically] ends sex trafficking [even though 99% of Nevada sex workers prefer to work illegally than to submit to the onerous brothel regime]”…

In the first version of the press release, Hof actually cheered the arrests of the owners & CEO of Backpage; I guess he later realized that was vile even by his standards.

Challenge (#681)

The ACLU has finally done something to act on its theoretical support for decriminalization by filing an amicus brief in the ESPLERP case:

The ACLU brief supports the lawsuit’s contention that California’s penal code violates fundamental constitutional rights to sexual privacy and is enforced in a discriminatory manner…Lawrence v. Texas…recognized that “liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex”…The ACLU brief also argues that the California penal code is unconstitutional because the way it is enforced is discriminatory.  Certain groups, such as transgender women, LGBT youth, and female sex workers are targeted and arrested for prostitution in disproportionately higher numbers than other people…

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Anti-prostitution advocates…incorrectly portray the global sex workers’ rights movement as dominated by Western, white, middle-class, cisgender women…as a way of dismissing the movement as “non-representative.”  –  Chi Adanna Mgbako

License to Rape Joseph Stanton

Good riddance to bad rubbish:

Joseph Raymond Stanton…was arrested on June 29…[for] the rapes of two prostitutes and the attempted rape of a third…In each case…Stanton…passed himself off as a…[cop] and lured the victims to his car.  He then drove them to a secluded location and raped them.  One of the women was able to escape before he could [rape] her…Stanton posted bail and was released…the day after his release [cops] found him dead in what appeared to be a suicide…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying them fairly that isn’t:

Four Montreal police officers who work with informants have been arrested…Fayçal Djelidi…is facing nine charges, including perjury, attempting to obstruct justice, breach of trust by a public officer and obtaining sexual services for consideration…David Chartrand…was charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of attempting to obstruct justice…Two more officers were also arrested and are being questioned by Montreal police…Djelidi…is alleged to have communicated with unknown persons with the aim of procuring sexual services for himself in exchange for payment…

An Example To the West

Chi Adanna Mgbako on sex worker activism in Africa:

…In the past 10 years or so, sex worker activism has exploded throughout Africa, and there are now sex-worker-led organizations in African countries as diverse as Botswana, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and many more.  In Kenya alone, there are now over 80 sex-worker-led collectives.  All of these groups are advocating for their right to work, to access de-stigmatized health care, and to live free from violence and discrimination.  It’s also important to note that outside of formal civil society actors like sex-worker-led NGOs, sex workers informally organize and resist criminalization by supporting each other financially, socially, and emotionally in their local communities.  This informal activism is an indispensable part of movement building…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

Kate Iselin gets it, though four years after I did:

…The scenario that gives rise to the demand for android sex workers reads like a great big “told you so” fantasy of anyone involved in anti-sex work campaigning…It’s a creepy, shallow rendering of the nightmare portrait of sex work we’re too-often sold:  An industry that we worry dehumanises women can only be saved by, in this case, literally replacing humans with what amounts to an almost-sentient Fleshlight.  The idea that a robot brothel can solve all of our problems is naïve at best, and deeply ignorant at worst.  What assumptions does one need to make about our clients to suggest that they would be just as happy – or happier – penetrating chrome steel instead of receiving the touch of a human?…the “any hole’s a goal” mentality presumed in the [notion] overlooks the vast reasons one may have for seeing a sex worker: loneliness, curiosity, sexual or emotional unfulfilment, desire, the want for a certain skillset, or perhaps simply the need to be touched by a new and unfamiliar pair of hands…Plus, it’s telling – and hurtful – that little to no consideration is given to the skills of the sex worker.  I know myself and the service I provide well, and there is no possible way that the warmth of my body and the skill of my touch could be unnoticably replaced by an android…

Damned If You Don’t

But picket-fence queers say cops aren’t our enemies:

On July 4, police made sweeps and arrests at a gay beach in New York City, much to the surprise of beachgoers.  At the far corner of Jacob Riis Park—a gay beach that has been a notorious LGBT safe haven for decades…police descended unannounced…gay Brooklyn photographer Krys Fox…stood with a towel wrapped around his waist…Suddenly, the towel loosened and dropped.  Before Fox could refasten it around his waist, he was tackled to the ground by a squad of police.  Fox told the Daily Dot that police had dominated the gay beach all day—”on horses, in uniform, undercover”—and were “everywhere.”  But he didn’t expect to be arrested, he said, because he hadn’t done anything wrong…those who…were [there]…noted that police targeted the gay section of the beach specifically, stating that there were no police on the rest of the beach…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s kind of refreshing to read an article which portrays us as depraved monsters rather than pathetic victims:

…Police raided a Warsaw [Indiana] massage parlor…next door to Kevin Love’s home.  He said he knew something suspicious was happening for about three years now…The two women were arrested after police found evidence related to prostitution, tax evasion and corrupt business practices.  Love said he often saw two women walking around the neighborhood in the evening…”just like any normal person would get out and go for a walk”…Love…is just relieved it is over.  “There are children on back further in the neighborhood, and they don’t need to be around something like that,” he said…

Bait and Switch

One can always assume there’s a wide gap between what actually happened and what the cops claim happened:

Aren Lindquist…has been sentenced to 25 years at Montana State Prison with 20 years suspended…[he was tricked by a fake] online ad for an escort service called “Barely Legal 18.”  [Cops told] the respondents…that no 18-year-olds were available and they had the option of having sex with a 15-year-old or a 12-year-old…

Another Fine Mess

Reporters never get tired of pretending that ordinary sex work practices are new and novel:

…at least 60 prostitutes from China [are] advertising their services online and operating in condominiums and apartments in Geylang…Instead of relying on pimps and brothel keepers, the women post suggestive photos of themselves and ask those interested to contact them on mobile phones directly.  These freelance prostitutes enter Singapore on tourist visas and typically work for up to one month…

A Procrustean Bed (#440) Judge Paul Herbert

It’s enough to make one vomit:

…These weekly court sessions are the core of a special probation program for victims of sex trafficking in Columbus. [Judge] Herbert started the program—known as CATCH (Changing Attitudes to Change Habits)—in 2009.  Women arrested on prostitution charges in Columbus can opt into this program – where they get safe housing, counseling, and close supervision instead of jail time.  Nearly all are in recovery from addiction.  As he moves through the docket, Herbert calls each defendant by her first name…”He said we’re going to love you until you can love yourself. And…I see something in you that you can’t see yet”…

King of the Hill (#537)

It looks like they’ve scaled back the claims about Charlotte, North Carolina’s “hub” status, maybe because the kids they’re trying to scare with it are smarter than the adults who believe this crap:

Starting this fall, sex trafficking will be addressed in seventh and eighth-grade classrooms across Charlotte…Director of Present Age Ministries Hannah Arrowood [said] “Charlotte is actually the number one city in the state of North Carolina for human trafficking”…Five-hundred new ads are posted soliciting sex in Charlotte every day…many of the women in the ads are not women at all, but rather trafficked teenagers and young girls…forced to have sex with multiple men…

Checklist (#593)

Because there aren’t enough real “victims” to go around, the rescue industry creates fake ones:

Catherine Pisha…is…an actor learning how to portray a [stereotype of a] human trafficking victim.  Pisha works at the University of Vermont’s Clinical Simulation Lab…[and] helps health care professionals improve the quality of their care by being a human guinea pig…Edith Klimoski…writes the scripts for these actors…Studies show that anywhere between 50 percent and 80 percent of human trafficking victims will come in contact with someone in the medical community during the time they’re being trafficked…

The Public Eye (#609)

Laura Lee braves the hostile waters of Mumsnet:

…One of the most infuriating strands to the current feminist discourse around sex work is the assertion that we are abused, or even raped, every time we sell sex.  That statement is injurious and grossly insulting to those who have survived abuse and rape, and it also strips sex workers of our agency.  As much as we campaign for the right to say “yes”, we absolutely reserve the right to say “no”.  I detest the use of the word “empowerment” in any debate on sex work.  My job is no more empowering than anyone else’s; it allows me to support my family and pay my bills.  But as a community, there is no doubt that we are more empowered to say “no” when we are permitted to work together for safety…

Uncommon Sense (#619)

the upcoming German law…will enforce mandatory registration of sex workers nationwide.  The law pretends to fight human trafficking…Forced registration through obligatory counselling includes the evaluation of one’s mental status by a state authority and implies sex workers…are perceived as irresponsible, mentally incapable beings…Our very own whore ID will be a state-issued document including our picture; our profession (that is “prostitute”, as the word “sex worker” is a bit too modern for the German state), our real name and address…In order to get it we will be forced to visit a state body and undergo counselling…You read that right: a functionary will decide in a compulsory talk if you have the marbles in your brain to be a sex worker…

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Behind the opposition to decriminalise both abortion and sex work lies the belief that…women…are incapable of physical autonomy, that their choices are so socially harmful, so deluded, they must be legislated against.  –  Frankie Mullin

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

If you’re raped by a cop, accuse him of offering to pay you for sex instead; that, they’ll try him for:

…Columbus [cop]…Bobby G. Schoolcraft…is charged with solicitation and engaging in prostitution…[after] the woman reported…that an unknown officer had paid her $20 to $40…Schoolcraft admitted 20 days later that he was the officer involved…The woman has a history of drug and prostitution arrests…

Part of the Picture

Is it just me, or is this hilarious?

…Covenant Eyes was created by evangelical Christians…For $10 a month, you can get an Internet Accountability report sent to your spouse, a friend, or anyone who would understand your struggles with erotic desire. This report is customizable, so you can set it to only report what times you went online, or the most “highly mature” sites you visited…You can also add filtering services to your account.  One person, designated the “Filter Guardian,” chooses an age-appropriate level of internet restriction for family members, and Covenant Eyes blocks domains they deem unacceptable…the app also provides a “Panic Button” you can hit when you’re in crisis and worrying you might give in to temptation.  This effectively shuts down all web access until you call Covenant Eyes personally, and ask them to reinstate your connection—after you confess to them that you wanted to look at porn…Whether it’s possible to be addicted to porn or sex…is still officially up for debate…Jessica McGraa

No, it isn’t.

Surplus Women 

This is about the least-infuriating coverage of this story I could find:

A mother was only uncovered as a sex worker after her dead body was discovered in a flat in Aberdeen.  A 25-year-old man, Bala Wadzani Chinda, has…[been] charged with the murder of the woman…37-year-old Jessica McGraa…She kept the nature of her work private, and her friends and ex-husband were shocked to find out she worked as a prostitute…

As you might expect from the sickeningly-yellow British press, other versions of the story focused on how much she charged and other such salacious details.

Whorearchy

The more sex workers and former sex workers come out, the better:

…there exists what sex workers like to call a whore hierarchy: The closer one gets to full service sex work, the closer one gets to being a whore and the further she is from being seen as a whole, complete woman.  As though the qualities of being a whore negate one’s humanity.  At the bottom of this hierarchy are the full-service sex workers who are most at risk by the stigma and fear mongering…Many women in the stripping community harbor a widespread disgust for escorts who come into clubs with clients, porn workers who occasionally perform at clubs and strippers who offer customers “extras” (i.e. more than just a lapdance).  Some even label fellow strippers who dance more aggressively or work at fully nude clubs as “more whore-ish.”  As if by distancing themselves from those further down the whore hierarchy — in this case, those who show pussy or grind harder — they can save themselves from experiencing whore stigma…

The Widening Gyre

Snopes sez: “this warning makes it sound as though the bad guys are stymied in their search for victims and don’t know where to look for kids to abduct until they see pictures of them on Facebook“:

One day you receive a friend request, as you often do every week or so.  It’s a nice looking man who you don’t seem to recognize…Later that day you decide to post photos of your little 6-year-old girls birthday party, and you tag all of her friends through their parents…You’ve essentially just given a trafficker and his customers multiple pickings not to mention the school they attend and the park which they frequent…stop posting your children’s photos on the internet…All it takes is one account to be hacked and you’ve just offered up your children’s images to all kinds of freaks, molesters, and yes, traffickers…Please share this important warning with all your friends! It can prevent a tragedy…

Under Every Bed

Population 126,326.

Cedar Rapids is a crossroads for human trafficking.  Police say our location between larger mid-west cities makes eastern Iowa a frequent stop for victims and those who control them…”Only 1-2% of human trafficking victims are ever rescued,” says Teresa Davidson, President of Cedar Rapids Gives…

How do you know this, Theresa? Are you in collusion with the “traffickers” and therefore know how many “victims” they enslave?  And do you possess even the most rudimentary form of common sense?  Meanwhile, in Ohio, cops ominously inform us that “the same Ohio roads that are used legitimately are also used by human traffickers and smugglers to transport their victims and further their operations…” OH MY GOD!  NO!!!! SAY IT ISN’T SO!! THE SAME ROADS???? THE FIENDS!!!!! I’ll bet they even use standard transportation that wouldn’t raise eyebrows.

Paint By Numbers

“Anti-trafficking” stunts grow ever stupider:

Members of a [University of Florida] fraternity used a children’s game to [indoctrinate] students about human trafficking…60 silver and red blocks each had a [propaganda trope] about human trafficking.  A student would read the block he or she picked before placing it back on the stack…Rafael Cruzado…learned human trafficking is a problem in Alachua County because of its proximity to Interstate 75…Jason Feliciano…[said] “People don’t know that it is still happening”…

Seriously, debunking this nonsense isn’t even fun anymore; it’s just too easy.

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Another jurisdiction officially classifies women as passive objects without agency:

People ensnared in the cycle of prostitution and the criminal lifestyle it engenders now have a lifeline…[Shreveport, Louisiana] District Court…in partnership with faith-based Purchased: Not for Sale…have begun a diversion program called Exit Strategy…[It is] the brainchild of Assistant District Attorney Holly McGinness…[who despite her apparent possession of a law degree, and thus presumably understanding the principle of separation of church and state] said, “The idea behind the name is that no person is for sale, we’ve already been purchased by Jesus”…Most people who engage in prostitution and other “sex industry” crimes, which begin as victimless misdemeanors, cannot engage in other meaningful productive work and often have underlying drug or mental problems that contribute to their cycle of criminal activity…

I wonder what underlying mental problems contribute to an attorney’s flagrant violation of one of the most basic principles of American government?Eliot Spitzer

Droit du Seigneur (#401)

Reminder: Spitzer’s a fan of choking women during sex:

…Eliot Spitzer was [regularly] seeing a…25-year-old blond [escort]…but became enraged when [she]…wanted to move back to her native country…The disgraced former governor is accused of attacking Svetlana Travis…a day before she flew home…Travis…wrote a 2014 article for…Medium that was headlined “Sex Is Sex, But Money Is Money”…after Spitzer…allegedly choked and pushed Travis…she cut herself with a broken glass…In the hours after the alleged scrap, Spitzer was caught on hotel video wearing a wool cap pulled down low over his eyes, sources said. While Travis was in the hospital, a man identifying himself as “George” called twice to ask about seeing her…but was told he could not…Police believe the caller and the visitor were Spitzer because hospital video shows him wearing the same wool cap…

Property of the State 

As with abortion…so with sex work…almost every form of labour reflects and is shaped by social inequality.  Yet there’s no call to ban, for instance, the cleaning industry…No one is claiming that agency always equals feminism.  However, the removal of it, the demand for state intervention in women’s choices, is deeply anti-feminist.  There’s nothing radical about denying us agency over our bodies.  A view of the state as a responsible arbiter of justice, and of the police as a benign force for good, is one that comes from a place of privilege…[prohibitionists often] claim to be protecting the vulnerable – unborn babies, trafficked women – but by allowing the state increased access, the outcome is yet more danger…

Full of Themselves (#553)

Oh, California Massage Therapy Council, please never change:

City Attorney Barry DeWalt will present a report to the Redding City Council…on the connection between illegal massage parlors and sex-trafficking, highlighting the need for an ordinance regulating businesses that could act as a front to human-trafficking…the Northern California Anti-Trafficking Coalition suggested the Police Department send officers to personally inspect each massage business and issue city permits, with associated fees…DeWalt will recommend massage therapists operating in Redding receive certification by the California Massage Therapy Council, ensuring therapists have at least a minimum number of hours of therapy education.  The report will also suggest hours of operation for the businesses and appropriate dress or conduct for massage therapists…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

Some [politicians] including…MP Fiona Bruce are calling for buying sex to be criminalised under laws similar to those in Sweden…But the idea has drawn an angry response from Britain’s sex workers, who say they fear it could put them in danger.  Around 96 per cent of those who took part in the survey by National Ugly Mugs…said people should not be criminalised for buying sex from a consenting adult and 82 per cent said they would feel less safe if the law were introduced.  More than 200 sex workers took part in the survey, along with 52 organisations that offer frontline services to between 20 and 2,000 sex workers…

Cooties (#612)

Remember, kids, the Swedish modelTM eliminates prostitution!

…Swedish police reported an increase in human traffickers taking advantage of people renting out their homes through…Airbnb.  This is an obvious nightmare for anyone whose bed has been used to host this kind of sexual exploitation, but an even more nightmarish situtation for people being prostituted, often having to face numerous sex-buyers every day.  The vast majority of people exploited in prostitution are trafficked into it…[“pimps”] are in fact intentionally luring innocent people into contributing to what is best described as transnational organized crime…Sweden’s sex purchase act…has come to be regarded as the archetype for preventing prostitution and trafficking of human beings for sexual purposes…Because of the significant increase in knowledge among hotel staff to be alert to possible prostitution…traffickers now seem in desperate need of new venues to ensure the continuation of their criminal activities without being detected by police…the police badly need more resources.  This has even been pointed out many times by the police themselves…

Wow, what a surprise; the police agree that they need more money and power.

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Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god, to equate its many acts of evil…with the greater good of a plan that none of us asked to be a part of.  –  Brittney Cooper

R.I.P. Madame Claude

Fernande Grudet, who under the name Madame Claude operated a deluxe [escort service] in Paris in the 1960s and ’70s…died on [December 26th] in Nice…She was 92…“Two things in life sell,” she once said. “Food and sex. And I was not meant to be a chef”…Ms. Grudet zeroed in on “failed models and actresses, the ones who just missed the cut,” [said] high-society columnist Taki Theodoracopulos…Only one in 20 candidates made the grade.  Requirements included beauty — plastic surgery could be arranged — poise and a familiarity with history, literature and current events.  Also, talent in bed…assessed by…male acquaintances who took candidates for a trial run and reported back to her…Many of her “Claude girls” went on to find success in film, fashion or business.  Quite a few married rich clients…[her clients] included John F. Kennedy, the shah of Iran, Muammar el-Qaddafi, Gianni Agnelli, Moshe Dayan, Marc Chagall, Rex Harrison and King Hussein of Jordan…

Here We Go Again

Maybe someone should tell them the AJWS supports decrim?

…the National Council of Jewish Women…and its members are…still trying to end…sex trafficking, just as their foremothers had done…Liz Robbins…[of] the New York Times…[wrote] a piece…last year about a human trafficking court in Queens…Lori Cohen…learned about the “white slave trade” in the 1890s to 1930s, which resulted in the trafficking of thousands of young Jewish women from Eastern European shtetls to the Americas on false promises of marriage or employment.  In 1910, she discovered, an estimated 900 Jewish women were sold for sex in Philadelphia…

For those who don’t realize: literally no reputable historian believes the “white slave trade” was anything other than a moral panic.

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights

What’s that, Asstoon?  “Real men don’t buy girls”, you say?  Oh, my:

Ashton Kutcher…was seen last week ducking out of a Thai massage parlour…women employed at the Ancient Therapy Massage Parlour in LA offer sexual favours after a massage.  There is no suggestion Ashton…engaged in any of these acts.  But our investigator visited the shop later and was offered sexual favours…

Is there a single male prohibitionist who doesn’t enjoy whatever he crusades to deny to others?

Sales Pitch

Remember, kids, the Swedish model eliminates “human trafficking”!

…98 cases of suspected human trafficking have been brought to the southern regional police division’s attention in 2015 – up by 700 percent on the year before when 14 incidents were reported…Most of the cases involve people driving others across the Öresund bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden…While some are believed to be the victims of organized smugglers taking advantage of vulnerable people and charging copious amounts of money for fake travel documents, others are helped by friends or relatives – who could also be charged with human trafficking…

Blasphemy

I find this essay somewhat myopic and disorganized, not to mention needlessly clannish and sectarian; however, at its core it contains the important truth that America’s fascist statism is indeed a religion:

We all saw Sandra Bland’s penultimate moments, being bullied and violated for failure to signal a lane change…before threatening to “light her up” with his taser, he never really gave a reason for pulling her over.  It is probable that he didn’t have one, other than the making of revenue…one of the young Black [Lives Matter] activists…spoke to me of the stress of her first arrest, of the feelings of disempowerment at having the state be in control of your body, of the feelings of disorientation and lack of concept of time in a jail cell, of the feelings of hopelessness such conditions induce…Because grand jury proceedings are secret, we have no idea what happened to Sandra Bland.  And if Waller County has [its] way, we never will…no police department in America is worthy of trust, or of the benefit of the doubt.  Sandra Bland’s death is just one more worm at the rotten core of the theology of one bad apple.  It is a theology and not merely an ideology because Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god…It is amazing how comfortable we are nailing innocent bodies to the cross of the unjust American imperialist justice system…

Saving Them From Themselves

Don’t be fooled; the only reason cops aren’t charging these kids is because their numbers are so great it would cause an uproar:

…Michigan…state police, after uncovering “a massive sexting scandal” involving “200 nude and semi-nude pictures” of female high school students…are not planning to charge the teenagers with producing, possessing, and distributing child pornography, offenses that carry penalties of up to four years in prison per image….[and] registration as a sex offender…Sgt. Jason Wickstrom…said that when some of the girls’ parents demanded criminal charges against the boys, “I told them, ‘We could go after these boys, but then your daughter is going to be charged too.’ That is the way that it would have to be”…

Surplus Women 

Daria Pionko…was found [severely injured] in…Leeds in the early hours [of] December 23…Police…were called to the scene by a friend of the woman, who reported the attack.  She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time later…Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson…said:  “We are treating this woman’s death as murder and a full investigation has been launched…the victim was a sex worker and the incident has taken place in the managed [red light] area”…a 38-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident…but [police] insist they are keeping an open mind about the case.

The Last Shall Be First Chris Christie bloviating

Anti-trans people just can’t get their minds out of the toilet:

Republican presidential wannabe Chris Christie may have just come up with the single weirdest argument I’ve heard about where transgender kids should go to the bathroom…”I don’t think we should be making life more confusing for our children…Think about those kids in Los Angeles who…had their entire district closed because of a threat.  Think about what they felt like the next day when they went back to school.  Did they feel completely comfortable, did they feel like they were safe?…every place in America is a potential target for terrorism…children learn better, grow up better, mature better when they live in a safe and secure and loving environment…we want our kids not to have to decide which bathroom they get to go in…And not to be subject to the embarrassment that could come with going in a bathroom where somebody maybe doesn’t agree that they should be in there or not,” Christie said.  So trans kids shouldn’t get to pick which bathrooms they use because they might be embarrassed, and also TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM.  Um…thanks for the thoughts, Governor…

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Sacramento classifies women as passive objects without agency, then pretends it doesn’t:

…An acronym for “Reducing Sexually Exploited & Trafficked”, RESET is a diversion court that allows adult sex workers to exchange misdemeanor criminal charges for programs that, if completed, dismiss the charges…the program created an incentive [for cops] to keep it supplied with participants…Prostitution arrests in the county…[steeply increased] last year…a 45-percent increase over 2013…RESET requires participants to plead guilty before they can participate, which irks advocates at the Urban Justice Center and Sex Workers Outreach Project.  But court officers [pretend] the guilty plea [sends a message]…Unlike an earlier version that [more obviously exploited sex workers by charging] participants $250 a pop…RESET is free and doesn’t require participants to say they were trafficked, which can be a sticking point for sex workers who don’t want victimhood thrust upon them…

Their “reward” for completing the program?  A “free” cup of coffee.  I am not making this up.

The Punitive Mindset (#414) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire…and the law firm Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson…filed a federal lawsuit on…behalf of a prisoner’s mother and three-year-old son challenging the constitutionality of a mail policy…that prohibits prisoners from receiving greeting cards, picture postcards, and drawings in the mail.  This policy violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution…The policy applies to all “drawings” or “other depictions”, all “greeting cards”, and all “postcards from particular locations or featuring any type of printed design, picture, or depiction.”  The ban includes Christmas cards, as well as prayer cards with pre-printed images often sent to individual prisoners by religious organizations…[prison officials pretend that] the new policy was put in place to prevent drugs like Suboxone from being smuggled into the state’s prisons through the mail…

Welcome To Our World (#439)

Recognize the rhetoric?

…[Russian] MP Yelena Mizulina, known for her staunch [anti-abortion] stance, has proposed…a law that would equate intermediary services in surrogacy to human trafficking and punish it with 10 years in prison…The senator emphasized that the only people who would face punishment under her bill were…those who arrange the process of surrogate childbirth and receive money for their services.  Surrogate children, their biological parents and women who give birth will all be treated as crime victims…“We are calling to put the commercial component of this phenomenon under strict control,” she emphasized. “As soon as the services of surrogate mothers became available in Europe, criminal groups immediately appeared there and started recruiting women from Hungary, Moldova and the UKThis is a scary form of human trafficking and one of the obvious threats to mankind“…The future bill isn’t Mizulina’s first attempt to introduce surrogacy regulation in Russia.  In April 2014, she prepared another draft that banned hired surrogate mothers [and] made it obligatory for biological parents to get an agreement from a special medical commission…and…[perform] the necessary medical procedures…in state-owned clinics…

Under Every Bed (#520) 

Nobody would believe North Dakota was a “hub”, so now they’re calling it a “funnel”:

…Under a “john school” law that takes effect Friday, judges can sentence those convicted of hiring someone for sex to attend an offender [re-]education program to [be forced to endure propaganda] about the [mythical] harmful effects of the commercial sex industry.  It was among a raft of bills…aimed at curbing sex trafficking in North Dakota, where an oil boom has attracted pimps hoping to cash in on a thriving economy full of male workers flush with disposable income…Sen. Mac Schneider [bloviated]…“If there was no demand for the illicit services offered by sex traffickers…there would be no sex trafficking here”…The concept for North Dakota’s john school came from the Offenders Prostitution Program run by the St. Paul, Minn.-based [rescue industry] group Breaking Free…Terry Forliti, a [shill]…who works as systems analyst for Breaking Free…said…“North Dakota has been a huge funnel for sex trafficking for years”…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

This isn’t the first time the Open Society Foundation has backed sex worker rights, but it is (to my knowledge) the first time it has openly backed an anti-criminalization campaign:

George Soros, the billionaire investor…is supporting a campaign by…Sex Workers Alliance Ireland against [the Swedish model]…he…[has long funded] campaigns on issues like immigration reform and drug legalisation…[including] an estimated $80 million on the cannabis legalisation effort over a 20 year period…the Soros-chaired Open Society Foundation…has long supported organisations…that are governed by sex workers, like the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe and the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network…

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