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Posts Tagged ‘Doubling Down’

The government failed in its attempt to criminalize basic human kindness.  –  Scott Warren

The Monsters Are Due 

At peak hysteria, all it takes is this:

A [contractor] who has been harassed because of the van he drives wants people to know he is not involved with human trafficking.  Marcel Jackson said the harassment started after a video of a woman claiming she saw a young girl being forced into the back of a van at a Detroit gas station went viral on Facebook.  “A lot of people have been following me, trying to pull me over, trying to look inside the van and stuff,” Jackson said….[one] woman followed him for miles…[then claimed] she was an undercover cop…and asked, “Are there any children in your van?”…Other white van owners have experienced similar harassment over the vehicles they drive.

“Are there any children in your van?”.  What is this, a game of Go Fish?.

Sex Rays (#694)

Our descendants will be confused about why we thought this sort of thing was noteworthy:

Cheetah Gentlemen’s Clubs once again…g[a]ve away 3,000 turkeys to families in need for Thanksgiving.  The annual giveaway of frozen birds [was] held at 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 25, in club parking lots…in Hallandale Beach…and…West Palm Beach…

Saving Them From Themselves (#846)

Another bad law giving prosecutors more ways to charge teen sexters rather than simply leaving them alone:

An Ohio [politician] has proposed banning sexting for those 18 and under…Nathan Manning…said his proposed law is meant to prevent minors from [expressing their sexuality without prosecutors] facing [public criticism for completely destroying the lives of young people doing ordinary, mundane things]…Qualifying first time-offenders could be [sentenced] to…[re-]education…in lieu of [prison]…The new bill is similar to…one that [failed to] clear…the Ohio…Senate…before the legislative session expired…That version of the bill faced formal opposition from the Ohio Prosecuting Attorney’s [sic] Association, which argued that [they should be able to destroy anyone’s life at will]…and from the ACLU of Ohio, which [recognizes that] there already are too many criminal laws on the books…

Choke Point (#850) 

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there:

A new gun control bill calls for banks and credit card companies to [snoop] and [snitch] to the feds on…firearm purchases as a way of tracking people…[using the excuse of] prevent[ing] mass shootings…the…bill [pretends] it’s possible to tell who is a threat based on tracking credit card activity….[but] government’s past attempts to identify “red flags” by [by spying on financial] transaction[s]…has resulted in, as…Elizabeth Nolan Brown puts it, banks “cast[ing] as wide a net as possible”…[to avoid] the consequences of being accused of not doing enough to comply with [fascism]…banks’ attempts to [spy on] customers…to identify human traffickers for the government have resulted in the creation of an extremely broad definition of what constitutes suspicious activity, including things like running up large grocery bills…

Held Together With Lies (#916)

This fantasy number now exceeds 1.3% of the entire population of the world:

Never in human history have [fetishists imagined] so many slaves…there could be more than a hundred million adults and children enslaved across the world today.  It is a vast, [disgusting], perpetually evolving [sexual fantasy], and it is a [profitable] issue [about] which to [spread bogus] data.  In 2017, statistics from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation put the number of slaves at 40.3 million…This figure…is [already based in nothing other than fantasy], but most [fetishists are unsatisfied with that absurdity and so claim] that the number is actually far higher…[many fantasists pretend] that 30 per cent of slaves are trafficked for sex and 70 per cent are in forced labour, although of course the ratio varies from [propaganda source to propaganda source]…

In case you find math hard, they’re claiming that 0.44% of all living humans are held as “sex slaves”; in reality, only about 0.33% of women are full-service sex workers of any kind.  In other words, their fantasy of “slaves” is about three times the number of actual whores, or one “sex slave” for every 85 adult men on the planet (remember that trafficking fan “estimates” of clients per day range from 15 to 100).  So this idiotic propaganda is now in line with Kristof’s claims about US men:  for these fantasies to resemble reality, every single adult man in every single country in the entire world would need to be raping a “trafficked sex slave” at least once or twice a week.

A Broker in Pillage (#935)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

Critics of civil forfeiture, the system of legalized theft that allows law enforcement agencies to seize people’s property by [pretending] it is connected to criminal activity, often focus on the burden of proof the government faces when owners try to recover their assets….[but] nearly nine out of 10 federal forfeiture cases never make it to court, largely because mounting a challenge often costs more than the property is worth.  And while the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA) allows owners who win in court to recover “reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs,” prosecutors can defeat that safeguard by dragging out cases and then dropping them before a judge decides whether forfeiture is legally justified.  In the meantime, desperate owners may decide to let the government keep some of their property, even when they are completely innocent.  From the government’s perspective, there is no downside…Institute for Justice…is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a case that takes aim at such sneaky tactics…”The threat of paying attorneys’ fees is a critical check on government abuse…Otherwise, there is no disincentive to stop prosecutors from filing frivolous civil forfeitures”…

Profound Ignorance (#939) 

For those who still think the decriminalization of sex work in Rhode Island was “accidental”:

COYOTE sued the state of Rhode Island in 1976 alleging that their anti-prostitution laws were far too broad…the case was…dismissed as moot…[after] the Rhode Island General Assembly changed the prostitution laws in an attempt to make them more specific…the…legislative loophole…lasted almost 30 years…[it] outlawed street prostitution but…the penalty…was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.  In 1998, the Rhode Island State Supreme Court ruled in State v DeMagistris that the law criminalizing prostitution was “primarily to bar prostitutes from hawking their wares in public,” and that someone who engages in sex work privately could not be prosecuted under this law.  In 2003 a court case was dropped after the judge realized…[this] and soon began the re-criminalization campaign in the state.  After many unsuccessful attempts…beginning in 2005…[sex work] was [re-criminalized] in 2009…

Unchristian Nation (#945)

A jury slaps down your government’s crusade against Christian charity:

Jurors found humanitarian aid volunteer Scott Warren not guilty…of intentionally harboring and concealing two undocumented migrants from the Border Patrol in the remote Arizona desert…Warren, a longtime volunteer with the aid group No More Deaths, faced up to 20 years in prison.  It was his second trial this year stemming from his January 2018 arrest…The 12-person jury in Tucson took just more than two hours to reach a not guilty verdict, striking a blow to prosecutors…who [illegally subjected Warren to double jeopardy using the excuse of] a hung jury in [their first crucifiction attempt]…

Panopticon (#970)

The more we discover about Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops, the worse it gets:

[Cops] who download videos captured by…Ring doorbell cameras can keep them forever and share them with whomever they’d like without providing evidence of a crime…More than 600 [cop shops]…have [already taken advantage of the surveillance network]…allowing them to quickly…download video recorded by Ring’s motion-detecting, Internet-connected cameras inside and around Americans’ homes [without the permission of the owner.  Amazon claims]…that homeowners are free to decline the requests…but [if a customer turns down a police demand, Amazon instructs the cops to make an “official request” to the company and then they grant warrantless access to the footage]…

The Cop Myth (#990)

Tell me again how the US isn’t a police state:

Imperial County [screw] Richard Edward Sotelo [attacked and attempted to rape] his [estranged] wife…[in] November 2012…and [she only escaped because one]…of their three children [walked in on them]…Sotelo was charged…with misdemeanor domestic battery [rather than assault and attempted rape, and] was allowed to keep his job…[until] he…groped the [penis] of a[nother pig]…multiple times at work.  It was only after…he…[was] charge[d for that]…in December 2013 that he [was forced to resign]…Sotelo pleaded no contest…was given probation…[and] the charges [were] taken off his record…the co[p] Sotelo groped filed his own legal claim against the county…[which] has [hidden the details of]…the claim and any subsequent settlement…after DUI…domestic violence [i]s the most common charge filed against [cops]…

Attempting to rape a mere peasant wasn’t a big deal; he didn’t get in trouble until he dared touch a fellow member of the ruling caste.

A Moral Cancer (#991)

Your “leaders” don’t like it when they’re caught with their hands in your till:

The Massachusetts Senate…stripped from a bill banning flavored tobacco and taxing e-cigarettes a provision that would have allowed the police to [steal] the car of anyone [they claimed they caught] driving with untaxed vaping products in the car.  Massachusetts law already lets [cops steal] the vehicle of anyone [they decide to accuse of having]…untaxed…tobacco products…the bill would have extended that to…vaping…[but politicians] worried that [it might affect them or their relatives]…

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Sex workers…have the most deeply honed knowledge and practice of ethical principles…of any profession.  –  Pamela Gawler-Wright

So Close and Yet So Far

I support sex workers, just not those dirty whores“:

…Nikeisah Newton…started a food delivery service named Meals 4 Heels catering for [sic] strippers, bouncers and dominatrixes in need of a home-cooked supper late at night…in Portland [Oregon]…”I have so many friends who are bouncers and dominatrixes, sex workers and dancers.  Sex work is stigmatised and looked down upon and demonised”…

Apparently, it’s OK to ignore escorts while pretending that bouncers are sex workers (which they obviously aren’t).  And lest you feel inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt by assuming she only caters to strip clubs, I must point out that dommes don’t work in them.

Paint By Numbers

Have you noticed we don’t see as many dumb “anti-trafficking” stunts as we used to?

The [Los Angeles] Angels [baseball]…team held their annual event to [disseminate harmful propaganda] about…sex [workers]…First baseman …Albert Pujols and his wife Deidre kicked off [sic] their third annual “Strike Out Slavery”…evening…to bring [cops and rescue industry promoters] together [with gullible] people…The Pujols’ [sic] are hoping to eventually expand the “Strike Out” program to all 30 Major League stadiums…

Maybe they’re trying to head off “sex trafficking” fetishists extending the “Super Bowl sex trafficking” idiocy to the World Series.

Rotting Fruit

When moral panic and yellow journalism intersect, the result is lurid fantasy without limit:

A woman who said she was repeatedly raped by Jeffrey Epstein desperately tried to swim through shark-infested waters to escape his clutches…Sarah Ransome said she was so determined to escape Little St. James…she was willing to gamble her life in the Caribbean waters…Ransome [said she] jump[ed] on a quad bike to flee…but…was spotted on surveillance cameras…and was quickly stopped by…staff…Ransome went on to become one of the key accusers who helped expose Epstein’s depravity…eventually settling [a lawsuit] with [him] in 2018 over her accusations that he kept her as a sex slave…

The way that thoughts about swimming became “desperately tried to swim through shark-infested waters to escape his clutches” is a good example of how actual events are inflated into torture porn.

Doubling Down

Another explosion of mathematically-imbecilic prohibitionist vomit from “One Hand” Kristof:

…the problem isn’t one tycoon but many tens of thousands of men [including Kristof] who pay for sex with underage girls across the country.  And society as a whole reacts with the same indifference that the authorities showed in the Epstein scandal…If we want to channel our outrage at the Epstein case in a productive way, we could: A) ramp up prosecution of [sex workers’ friends, family and support networks]; B) p[er]secute [clients so as to throttle sex workers’ income]; C) [infantilize sex workers by defining them as “victims” no matter what they say about their own lives]; and D) [dump more money into violent policing and]…predator[y “rescue” organization]s…some 40 million people are effectively locked into modern forms of slavery, according to the Global Slavery Index…In the United States, no one knows exactly how many children are sold for sex, but estimates have run [up to]…100,000 in any given year…

I reckon Kristof feels it’s been long enough since his enabling of a massive “rescue” scam was exposed to safely begin profiting from “sex trafficking” hysteria again.  If you’re unable to recognize just how absurd Kristof’s claims are, please click on the embedded links, especially that last one.

All-Purpose Excuse (#608)

If the government has its way, phone privacy will soon be gone completely:

…Israeli cybersecurity company Cellebrite is courting new scrutiny after signing on to a new agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to help the organization hack more phones…Cellebrite’s equipment…is able to bypass security settings and access data on locked smartphones…the agreement is worth between $30 and $35 million, a huge step from the previous $2.2 million contract between the two entities…border agents have, without warrants, been searching the phones of travelers — including U.S. citizens —through U.S. borders, something that …violates the constitution…U.S. Customs and Border Protection searched more than 30,000 devices in 2017…

The Real World

Anti-whore stigma also harms sex workers who want to become therapists:

Sex work and therapy, or transitioning from one to the other, appears to be a well-trodden path…It’s not hard to understand why.  The professions have transferable skills – active listening, empathy – and since the cost of therapy training runs so high (around £20,000, often more) with very few funding options available, sex work is one option for those who would otherwise find themselves financially excluded.  While barring sex workers from therapy training is not usually explicit in policy, social stigma and institutionalised discrimination are still felt hard by those attempting to break into the field…

The War Goes On (#867) 

The government has announced its new post-Backpage bogeymen:

…U.S. [pigs and spooks from] the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are looking into whether [they can use “sex trafficking” fantasies to loot and destroy] three websites that make money off of escort ads and user-generated prostitution reviews …Rubmaps.ch…EroticMonkey.ch…and…Eros.com…[have] ties to David Azzato, a Swiss businessman convicted in France in 2011 for running a network of escort sites…the three sites in question were among those that most benefited from Backpage’s removal…while Azzato has denied any current connection to the sites…the [government apparently plans to make him the fall guy]…

I’ve been saying that Rubmaps would be the next prohibitionist bogeyman for over a year and a half now, and Eros’ US call center was raided by the feds two years ago and they’ve been frantically trying to cover their collective arse ever since.  As for Erotic Monkey, it appears to have started as a scraper site, stealing ads from other sites in order to trick escorts into paying for more ads; it also features reviews, mostly apparently falsified, and appears to be owned by the current owner of Eros (whether that’s Azzato or someone else).  My advice?  It’s time to move to Slixa, Tryst and Have We Met?

Business As Usual (#905)

Ohio moves to punish sex workers for outing rapist cops:

A three-day [pig deception scheme persecuted] 104 people [for desiring consensual sex with other adults]…“Here’s the message: [let cops rape you like good girls and we’ll leave you alone],” said Dave Yost, the attorney general.  The [vengeance] effort focused on [the Columbus] Ohio area]…“In ten minutes, I can [rape] a victim, go on the internet, [download copies of her ad as “evidence”] and then [get away with it],” said [vice pig] Mark Rapp…43 women[‘s lives were ruined before forcing them into a state “re-education” scheme]…

Think of the Children! (#967)

Funny how the rescue industry isn’t afraid to take “sex ray”-contaminated money:

No university or charity or scientific society has been more closely associated in the public eye with Jeffrey Epstein than Harvard University, which received approximately $9 million from him over the years.  And no organization has seemingly been more adamant that it had nothing to explain, nothing to review, nothing to refund — even after Epstein later became the nation’s most notorious sexual predator…After refusing to comment for months on its past associations with Epstein and the money it collected as a result, Harvard released a letter from its president…stating that the school had opened a review into the matter…two sets of Epstein funds, totaling $186,000, were still being put to use through the school’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and that it would be redirecting those funds “to organizations that support victims of human trafficking and sexual assault”…

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We are workers, not victims.  –  Lily Hermarratanarapong

Safe TargetsRed Light Legal logo 

Most conversations around legal advocacy for sex workers tend to focus on a handful of big ticket items, like the fight for decriminalization or protecting sex workers from rapist cops…But there are a lot of smaller, and much more mundane, ways that sex workers can benefit from legal representation, whether they’re strippers going through custody battles, former escorts seeking a divorce, or cam girls looking to incorporate.  At long last, there’s an organization dedicated to helping sex workers find culturally competent legal representation–and thanks to the internet, it’s poised to have a pretty serious impact.  Red Light Legal was founded by Kristina Dolgin, a long time sex worker who enrolled in law school in the hopes of finding a way to help out her community.  Since the organization’s inception, the internet’s been integral to its operations: as a way of raising funds, spreading awareness about sex work law issues, and, most essentially, connecting with clients…

License to Rape

Prohibition turns every individual’s body into a “crime scene”:

A Canadian businesswoman…was sexually assaulted by three U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers during a motorcycle trip on May 14.  The three male officers were ostensibly searching her orifices for contraband, which they did not find…The 51-year-old woman…planned to ride with a female friend from Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, to Elmo, Montana.  At the…border crossing, she was questioned by a CBP officer who wondered why she was visiting Elmo, which he described as “Indian country”…three [rapists] searched her motorcycle and her wallet, in which they found a perfectly legal interim motorcycle license that they deemed suspicious.  To resolve their suspicions, they said, she would have to remove her clothing and submit to probing of her anus and vagina…

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

…a…report…in the Lancet…found that today’s teens are growing up in a world where preventable and treatable health issues, such as HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancy, abound…For women between the ages of 10 and 24, unsafe sex is the fastest-growing risk factor for illness and death worldwide…the report’s researchers observed changes in this group’s health over 23 years.  At first, STIs didn’t even rank as a risk factor for death, but…reached number one by the end of the research period…

Bottleneck

Now just imagine if this was the law, and always available:

…the home addresses of several German sex workers have allegedly been leaked in a customized Google Map…the map…was promoted by [prohibitionist] groups…[and] remained live for several days.  “Publishing their addresses to anyone opens them up to forced outing and violence,” said Fabienne Freymadl of the Professional Association of Erotic and Sexual Services…“They might lose custody of children, lose contact with family and lose any other jobs they hold.”  The map displayed roughly 2,000 German addresses purportedly linked to the sex trade, which is legal in the country but nevertheless carries stigma.  Sex work activists say some of the information on the map was publicly available—like the addresses of legal brothels—but that independent sex workers’ home addresses were included as well…When sex work activists got wind of the map, they quickly mobilized to get it taken down…Those behind the map [pretend] that [no] personal addresses were published…

Held Together With Lies (#447)

Up by 27% from the last nonsense “estimate” less than two years ago:

The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world today.  The Index presents a ranking of 167 countries based on the proportion of the population that is estimated to be in modern slavery…

The number is derived in part by combining completely different phenomena such as prison laborers and sex workers.

Doubling Down

PBS once again demonstrated its prohibitionist bias by presenting an anti-whore propaganda show disguised as a “debate”:

Americans are split on whether prostitution should be legal, according to a new survey from The Marist Poll and PBS TV-series Point Taken.  Forty-nine percent of respondents in the new national poll said prostitution between two consenting adults should be legal, while 44 percent responded that it should be illegal.  Younger respondents were more in favor of legalization, with 58 percent of those under 45 supportive, compared to just 40 percent of those 45 and older.  Men were more in favor of prostitution legalization than women, at 54 percent versus 44 percent.  And Democrats and political independents were much more likely than Republicans to say it should be legal:  52 and 58 percent, versus 35 percent…around 40 percent of those who said prostitution should be illegal also said criminal charges were not appropriate.  And overall, some 63 and 60 percent said selling and buying sex should not yield criminal penalties…The two guests most opposed to decriminalization were a Kings College philosophy professor and a self-described “investor, author, and finance expert,” who cast [a black sex worker and former foster child who started out while underage] as a privileged activist…They came ready with ample…false statistics about the average age of entry into prostitution, the prevalence of sex trafficking in countries where prostitution is legal, and the compassion and prudence of the Nordic Model…”Legalization allows traffickers to hide victims in plain sight, which creates greater trafficking,” insisted the finance expert, against all evidence…

Worse Than I Thought (#532)

Politicians say not enough people’s lives are being destroyed for consensual sex:

…Under the JVTA, the presence of a single sexually-oriented ad posted by someone under 18 could trigger sex-trafficking charges for anyone involved with running the platform.  Rep. Ann Wagner…said…she hopes the Department of Justice (DOJ) will make more use of the advertising clause in the upcoming year…Wagner is just one of 37 legislators calling on the feds to be more [profligate] about using the 2015 federal sex-trafficking law…they stressed…greater focus on catching and prosecuting people who pay for sex…Lawmakers speak of this move as a way to bring justice to bear on “child sex traffickers.”  In reality, it allows for the escalation from misdemeanor solicitation charges to federal or felony human trafficking charges for anyone who offers—knowingly or unknowingly—to pay someone even one day under 18 for sex…And the government need not prove that a sex solicitor “knew the person [selling sex] had not attained the age of 18 years”…There also need not be an actual victim under this approach—an undercover officer posing online as a teenager will do just fine…

Served Cold (#537) 

This fascist group, with its CIA connections, is the most terrifying of all the rescue industry groups, and almost certainly the most dangerous to human rights on a global scale:

“This is a war.  This is a battle”…Mark Stott called the people of Utah County figuratively to arms May 25 at the “Time to Rescue” benefit concert.  Stott is the co-founder of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a [fascist paramilitary] organization dedicated to rescuing women and children from sex trafficking around the world.  Headed by former Homeland Security Special Agent Tim Ballard, the 2-year-old charity [claims to have] rescued almost 600 victims and assisted in the arrest of almost 200 traffickers worldwide…Angela Brady Krois, organizer of the Time to Rescue event, wants to preserve…the innocent dreams of the women and children that are sold and used throughout the world…O.U.R…is in the trenches, infiltrating the sex-trafficking rings worldwide to literally pluck the children from criminals’ grasp…

Note that isn’t metaphorical; these lunatics literally conduct paramilitary operations in sovereign foreign countries that the CIA pressures to play along with them.

The Course of a Disease (#574)

Sometimes the changes are incremental:

In a landmark ruling, a Tel Aviv court declared…that prostitutes working from home or paying rent for a brothel could be acting legally…Judge Itai Hermelin determined the conditions under which operating a brothel is not an offense as part of a trial brought by the state against an establishment in east Tel Aviv.  Hermelin imposed restrictions on the operations of the Tel Aviv brothel.  However, these were subject to the state committing to avoid prosecuting sex workers who use their own apartments or locations that are rented by several women together for the purpose of prostitution, or at a location rented by one woman who then invites other women to share it…This is believed to be the first time a judge in Israel has underscored the freedom of women to engage in prostitution, as well as specifying their rights…He [wrote] “pushing these women onto the street violates their dignity in an unacceptable manner…interpreting the law in a way that criminalizes prostitution taking place in a building is unconstitutional and must be rejected”…the judge noted that the main criticism voiced by the sex workers speaking in court was directed not at their place of employment – which they described as discreet, safe and clean – but at the police.  “The attitude of the police was…degrading and harmful, sometimes bordering on violent abuse…There were repeated descriptions of women being chased out of buildings naked during police raids, with abusive language”…

An Example To the West (#626) 

Thai sex workers just love contradicting prohibitionist who claim they’re “victims”:

…Empower [is] a sex-workers’ rights organisation with an estimated 50,000 members.  Since the group’s founding in 1985, it has fought to improve the working conditions of women in the sex trade in Thailand…(Empower is short for “Education Means Protection Of Women Engaged in Recreation”)…less than 10 percent of sex workers in Thailand are “trafficked”—duped, tricked, or forced into their circumstances…A 2012 research report compiled by Empower details a host of abuses related to treating these women as trafficking victims, including widespread police entrapment, wrongful detention, extortion, invasive medical examinations, and unjust deportation…Empower has pushed the Thai human-rights community to reconsider its reliance on raids, rehab, and criminal prosecution as the go-to approaches to combat trafficking, fundamentally questioning whether the sex industry ought to be deemed illicit.  The organisation has become one of the leading voices in Southeast Asia and throughout the world…

Broken Record (#638) 

Canadian prohibitionists are desperate to cash in before the panic implodes:

The Formula One Grand Prix weekend in Montreal…brings thousands of tourists to the city, with many on the prowl for sex…[prohibitionists] in Quebec launched a campaign…called “Buying Sex is Not a Sport”…Lise Theriault, Quebec’s minister…for the status of women [vomited out the usual prohibitionist garbage]…Montreal as a Canadian “hot spot” for child sex tourism due to its proximity to the U.S. border…The average age of entry into the sex trade…is about 14 or 15…

To Molest and Rape

The people prohibitionists want in control of sex workers:

…A 2008 study in Cape Town showed that nearly half of street-based sex workers surveyed “have been threatened with violence by police”.  12% have been raped by police, and 28% have been asked for sex in exchange for release from custody…

Turning Point (#641)

On May 31st, Dan Savages’s guests included Emily Bazelon of the New York Times and my friend Mistress Matisse, talking about decriminalization.  If you’d like to listen (and why wouldn’t you?) download it here.

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The only issue is that the people having sex are consenting to it and anything else is an arbitrary moral judgement which no one has the right to make.  –  Stephanie Farnsworth

The Rescuers

Harassing streetwalkers to scare away their clients has become a popular “Christian” pastime:

Valerie Carter…has been prowling some of the toughest highways in Richmond, Virginia…for the past eight years.  She and her “streetwalking ministry” volunteers look for women and girls caught up in the local sex trade……they…pray with the women, hug them, give them a list of resources to help them get out of the trade.  They keep the visits short to avoid putting the women at risk of beatings from their pimps…Carter says. “No one dreamed about being in this kind of business.”  But they are in it, most of them unwillingly.  Someone else makes money by exploiting them, whether it’s a pimp or a trafficker…

Acting and Activism Amal Clooney

Apparently, she’s less human rights lawyer and more Hollywood propagandist these days:

Amal Clooney took her first trip to Dallas to…[speak] before a sold-out crowd at the annual New Friends New Life luncheon…The event raised more than $1 million for the anti-trafficking organization, which [claims to] offer…counseling, housing and other services to 1,400 formerly trafficked teens and women every year…

In actuality, the “services” this organization “offers” are the usual things: feel-good bullshit like art therapy and a photocopied list of government welfare programs.

Droit du Seigneur 

I just love watching them eat their own:

Federal prosecutors…have indicted two DEA employees for moonlighting as strip club owners and then purportedly lying about it to their bosses…Special Agent David Polos and Greg Glover, a telecommunications specialist, have been charged with conspiracy and making false statements in connection with the forms they submitted to renew their national security clearances…Polos and Glover conspired to conceal their ownership of the New Jersey strip joint, “Twins Go-Go Lounge”, and that Polos also failed to disclose an “intimate relationship” with one of its foreign dancers that lasted for months…the government [alleges]…prostitution, drug use, employment of illegal immigrants, and running the club during “DEA business hours”…

Divided We Fall

Go, Stephanie Farnsworth!

The fact that many LGBT people end up in sex work is an issue often overlooked rather conveniently by many activists and charities.  Sex work is still talked about in moralizing terms, and the…image of the LGBT world in recent campaigns has been that of white cisgender gay people in long term relationships, often with children…The heart of the demand for LGBT rights is the idea that all people should be granted autonomy over their lives and bodies, that anyone should be allowed to sleep with who they choose and that it only concerns the people in the relationship and not the government or bigots…People enter into sexual relationships for all kinds of reasons.  It is rarely a fairytale of two people falling in love.  Sometimes it is for fun, but many engage in [transactional] sex…or…to shut their partner up.  The list is endless and every reason is valid…It is simply hypocritical for LGBT activists to fight for bodily autonomy but deny it to sex workers, and given the huge numbers of people within the community who engage in sex work it also throws a lot of LGBT people under the bus…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Norman Ochs is facing charges for allegedly hiring prostitutes…The 76-year-old was charged…with four crimes.  Each misdemeanor count carries up to a 93-day jail sentence…

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit and the sex workers, nearly always immigrants, can easily be pressured to “co-operate” or be deported:

…federal law enforcement has rebranded as a sort of national ministry for vice prevention…Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigators and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials conducted a widespread raid on Korean massage parlors in New York City, which the feds allege were…fronts for commercial sexual activity…11 massage-parlor owners were…charged with conspiracy to launder money and to violate the federal Travel Act…informants…who…[are] “cooperating with law enforcement in the hope of receiving a more lenient sentence”…[say] the alleged prostitution…was not being forced upon the staff.  Any money earned from such endeavors was split between workers and business owners, and workers were free to come and go as they pleased…Nonetheless, the indictment refers to the massage parlors as “commercial sex trafficking businesses”…

Monsters 

Though the reporter couldn’t resist mentioning a past criminal charge, at least NBC refrained from publishing her mugshot:  “…a transgender woman who may have been working as a prostitute…Keyonna Blakeney…was found dead, with trauma to the upper body, in a [hotel in] Montgomery County [Maryland]…

Cops and Robbers Adam LaRoche

The rescue industry provides many opportunities for wealthy white folks to play cowboy:

Adam LaRoche is a 36-year-old who played Major League baseball for 12 seasons before causing a ruckus by retiring earlier this year…the first baseman, a conservative Christian, “spent 10 days in November in Southeast Asian brothels, wearing a hidden camera and doing undercover work to help rescue underage sex slaves”…LaRoche…[and] Milwaukee Brewers pitcher…Blaine Boyer… “tried to determine the age of the girls…and identify their bosses”…

Safe Targets (#512)

My friend Tara Burns, still doggedly fighting for sex workers in Alaska, with the help of Maxine Doogan of ESPLERP:

…What Burns and Maxine Doogan really want is for prostitution to be decriminalized.  That’s the mission of the advocacy group they started, Community United for Safety and Protection (CUSP)…[but in the meantime] they’re after the next best thing:  improved safety and protection for those in Alaska’s sex industry and equal protection as citizens under the law…The two women…stayed in Juneau the entire legislative session, pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 21…[which] grants prostitutes immunity for prosecution when they come forward as a victim or witness of a violent crime…

Doubling Down

This is mostly just ignorant cheerleading for a do-nothing law, but it contains a repetition of the moronic statement, “It is estimated that here in the United States more than 100,000 children are victims of human sex trafficking each year.”  For an analysis of what that would actually look like in the real world, click on the subtitle above.  I reckon it’s a good thing Aleeshia Carroll is majoring in social work, because basic math is obviously far out of her grasp.

The Widening Gyre (#616)

Misinterpreting ordinary interactions is common at the height of a moral panic:

The propaganda-created panic over sex trafficking in your own backyard!!!! has claimed yet another victim…Amanda Kalidy…was shopping at Target [in Edmond, OK] with her 4-year-old daughter when another young girl began following them and repeatedly asking her daughter for candy.  Kalidy says she asked the other child where her mom was, but the girl, who looked about 9 years old, did not answer.  Later the girl offered her daughter some gum.  That’s when Kalidy noticed a “strange” man nearby.  Obviously, the only explanation for the situation is that the man wanted to steal Kalidy’s daughter so he could sexually exploit her and was using this other child as bait…She reported the incident to a Target manager, who allegedly told her that that’s “what [sex traffickers] do is target places like Target.”  For the record, there have been zero reported cases of sex traffickers kidnapping children from Target in the history of the United States…

The Public Eye (#618)

Color me unsurprised:

The Las Vegas Madam: The Escorts, The Clients, The Truth is the tell-all memoir of Jami Rodman, the madam who came to fame by employing…Suzy Favor Hamilton...this book was…written more to play to outsiders’ expectations than to advocate for the people Rodman worked with…What really got to me, though, wasn’t the manner in which Rodman chose which stories to tell, focusing on titillating accounts such as nonconsent roleplays gone wrong and customers with pedophilic ageplay fetishes.  It was her disdainful attitude toward other sex workers and the industry…the book certainly doesn’t foster sex worker solidarity, nor does it paint a nuanced picture of escorts…At one point, Rodman cites statistics from [Melissa Farley‘s] “Prostitution Research”, a site which is heavily affiliated with rescue industry organizations…it became painfully clear to me that she was buying into the flawed statistics, salacious reporting, and misleading accounts of the wider industry put forward by abolitionists rather than trusting her own sex work experiences and those of the many women she worked with whose lives stand in direct contrast to prohibitionist tropes.  It’s funny that she quotes a website which would label her a trafficker…

Traffic Jam (#619)

Of course, even if Weyker and the department lose, the money won’t come out of their pockets. But the more lawsuits against the cops, the better:

A dozen or more people who say they were harmed by a discredited sex trafficking case soon could be suing the St. Paul Police Department and Sgt. Heather Weyker, according to the attorney representing…Yassin Abdirahman Yusuf [who] is seeking $20 million in damages for the more than four years he spent in jail on sex trafficking charges based on exaggeration and lies…[Attorney Robert] Bennett said he has another nine or 10 people preparing to sue, and other lawyers have several more.  Earlier this month, Hamdi Ali Osman…filed the first suit arising from the dismissed charges, seeking $12 million…

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Selling sex is not inherently harmful or dangerous.  Criminalising it would be.  –  Alex Bryce

The Proper Study

Prevalent discourse would have you believe that sex workers are problems to deal with, or victims to “save”.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth.  In fact, when you ask sex workers about their job satisfaction and working conditions – as a study led by Leeds University just has – the majority of them are happy…91 per cent of sex workers described their work as “flexible”, 66 per cent described it as “fun” and over half find their job “rewarding”…this came as no real surprise to other sex workers or experts in the field, who are well aware that the common view of sex workers is wrong…

The Mote and the Beam

What distinguishes this rather typical New York Times anti-whore screed is the fact that all three of the politicians it praises have been ridiculed in previous columns:

…A bill championed by Senator John Cornyn…would…[impose]  additional fines on people convicted of sex…trafficking, child pornography and other crimes…The second bill, put forward by Senator Amy Klobuchar…would give…grants to states that adopt “safe harbor” laws…A…measure that would help ensure housing and services for homeless juveniles [was] introduced [by]…Patrick Leahy

An Example To the West Savannah shirt

Elizabeth Nolan Brown presents a worldwide roundup of Sex Worker Rights Day events.  It’s great to see the media outside of the demimonde beginning to notice these observances; it’s only one step from there to actually recognizing that we’re saying something.

The Notorious Badge 

Ethiopian scriptwriter and film director Hermon Hailay says she grew up close to prostitutes.  “I know them as young, beautiful women, mothers, sisters and friends…I always wanted to tell their story, because I know it well.  As a kid, I did not see the shame in what they do”…her latest film, Price of Love…follows the life of a young taxi driver who…falls in love with a prostitute…his mother…also earned her living from prostitution…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Elizabeth Nolan Brown explores the history of artificial sex partners, from dolls to sex robots; she even explores the ethical and psychological implications of robot whores that I’ve examined so many times under this heading.

The Naked Emperor

Here are 9 social panics that gripped America, were totally false, and did lasting damage” trumpets the headline.  Guess which one is conspicuous by its absence?

Broken Record

This is particularly funny, given that the Pan Am Games were among the first sporting events for which this myth was disproven:

Cities that host international sporting events…ignore an ugly reality behind the spectacle: the exploitation of women and children shipped in to cater to the sexual proclivities of spectators, says the general secretary for the Canadian Council of Churches.  “Human sex trafficking goes with national and international sporting events,” Karen Hamilton said…“And…Toronto is hosting the Pan Am Games this summer”…Scholarly studies of human trafficking also reinforce Hamilton’s contentions regarding human trafficking…in regard to sporting events

Think of the Children! (#445) Hump the Bundle

Sex rays!

…a new adult site…Hump the Bundle…raised nearly $15,000 …[but]  they can hardly find any charities willing to take their money…So far, Hump the Bundle has managed to partner with the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture, which promotes sex positivity through art and advocacy, Able Gamers, which develops better video games for disabled people, and Angels Giving Tree, an organization that gives holiday gifts to needy children. But those are the exceptions, not the rule. Just this week, Hump the Bundle received the following rejection by email: “After speaking with our legal and communication teams, we have decided that we will not pursue this offer”…

Original Sin (#445)

It’s really good to see the mainstream media beginning to question the hysteria:

…sex trafficking…has become…a Christian cause célèbre…Many…compare their work to the 19th-century abolitionist movement against chattel slavery…But…the better comparison may be to the “white slavery” panic…[which] engaged both feminist and Christian activists…[and] focused primarily on protecting female virtue—often depicting prostitution as “slavery”…women being forced…was mostly malarkey…“rescuing” supposed slaves has…been criticized as paternalist, moralist, and ineffective.  Then there’s the numbers of the forcibly “enslaved,” which seem to be wildly overestimated…

Doubling Down

“The notion of choice…by women.”  Yes, that phrase is actually in here:

In his…PBS documentary, A Path Appears…Nicholas Kristof says it’s time we acknowledge sex trafficking as an American problem, and that we take a hard look at prostitution and the notion of choice, especially by women…average age…12 to 14…self-esteem problems…predators…sneak in…recruiters lurk in bus depots, homeless shelters and foster care facilities…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on February 8th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

As I’ve pointed out many times, moral panics do not slowly decline until they vanish; rather, they continue to grow until they begin to rot from within like an overripe fruit, then they burst and spread their noxious juices everywhere.  Seen from some angles, though, the panic may seem as robust as ever right up until the end.  One of the areas in which this is so is the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), the anemic American counterpart to the BBC; because both networks (and the US equivalent to BBC radio, National Public Radio [NPR]) depend on government sufferance for their funds, it is completely unsurprising that they have pandered shamelessly to the “sex trafficking” narrative both the UK and US governments have used to excuse xenophobia, asset seizure and an expansion of the police state.Somaly Mam and Nick Kristof  Still, it’s fascinating that at a time when the paradigm’s critics are becoming ever-bolder and getting increasing attention from the media, that PBS feels comfortable getting behind yet another self-aggrandizing project of the pathologically-smarmy Nick Kristof, especially one which shamelessly doubles down on the absurd claims which have become the hallmark of “sex trafficking” hysteria.

The nonsense starts right from the lede of this adulatory Guardian advert for the show, with the ludicrous claim that “each year 100,000 American girls and women are coerced into prostitution.”  Setting aside for a moment that there are only about 450,000 sex workers at a time in the US, let’s just judge the claim exactly as presented.  “Sex trafficking” fetishists are also very fond of pretending that the average “sex trafficking victim” only lives for 7 years once she starts seeing clients, so that would mean there were about 700,000 “sex trafficking victims” in the US at any given time (we’re also told that the average “victim” is 13 and dies at 34, but let’s not think too hard right now about how one can subtract 13 from 34 and arrive at 7).  Claims for the number of clients per day range from a high-but-reasonable 5 to a literally-impossible 110, but for the sake of argument let’s go with the not-atypical claim of 20-48, which is to say 34 (related to the spurious death age by magical numerology, perhaps).  This would mean that on any given day, 700,000 x 34 or 23,800,000 American men – roughly a fifth of the entire adult male population – was paying for sex with such a “victim”.  Unless we believe that every one of these monsters can afford to pay for sex several times a week, the inescapable conclusion is that every single adult American man, including Nick Kristof, is paying for sex with a “sex trafficking victim” every single week of his life.  Yet other ignoramuses tell us that only about 10% of men have ever paid for sex; are you beginning to understand why I find the pronouncements of prohibitionists so ridiculous?

The rest of the article is no less absurd.  There’s the usual bootlicking presentation of every asinine proclamation of cops as though it came straight from the Delphic oracle, the typical demonization of clients (which as we have seen above, include every single American man including the cops and Nick Kristof), the denial of the agency of every single sex worker, the mythmaking about “pimps” who in real life barely even exist, the libeling of escort services as “sex trafficking”, and the reiteration of the same dubious statistics as every other “sex trafficking” scare story.  There is also the grotesque lionization of the vile Tom Dart,Tom Dart on fire a monster who tries to make it look as though he’s targeting “demand” by charging male and transwoman sex workers as clients, and of course the lurid presentation of underage-streetwalker porn for the wanking pleasure of the oh-so-moral audience who salivate at the thought of young girls being dominated by stereotyped “pimps” and raped by cops.  In short, it’s an ugly, repetitious pile of filth standing in obscene disregard of the increasingly-publicized truth about “sex trafficking” hysteria, but you can bet Kristof and his “rescue” cronies will continue to milk it for all the cash and publicity they can get, right up until the point it erupts like a turgid pustule.

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