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Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

Raymond Surratt will die in prison because of a sentence that the government and the district court agree is undeserved and unjust.  –  Judge Roger Gregory

Every so often I see a “how-to” video that reminds me of my old friend Walter, who was a walking encyclopedia of these kinds of things; if anyone could be trusted to do something like start a fire with a lemon, it was Walter.  Alas, I haven’t seen him in years, so this video had to be provided by Radley Balko (who also gave us “banality”, “reason” and “burn”).  The other links above the video are from Tim Cushing (“consent”, “2001” and “drugs”), Popehat (“nope”), Thaddeus Russell  (“crossing”), and Dave Krueger (“laws”).

From the Archives

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It is apparent that the attenuated causal chain proposed by [those suing Backpage] is forged entirely out of surmise.  –  Justice Bruce Selya

Rough Trade 

Just imagine this ridiculous defense working for anyone in another profession:

A Melbourne real estate agent…was cleared of raping and imprisoning a sex worker in a vacant house…Henry Jiang…was accused of binding the woman with cable ties and raping her repeatedly…after…his booking with her had ended.  His defence barrister [Con Heliotis] said everything that happened was consensual, and the woman had agreed to extend her time with Mr Jiang after he offered her more money and drugs…[but] didn’t tell her escort agency she was staying later…because she didn’t want to pay them a higher commission.  Mr Jiang admitted taking money from the woman, because he calculated he was owed it for the drugs…Heliotis said the sex worker was concerned she had been robbed and only claimed she had been raped…when asked directly by police…In explaining the woman’s…screams as she [fled] the house, Mr Heliotis said: “She would be extremely distressed if she had lost her money and couldn’t buy drugs”…

Lying Down With Dogs

Another US-style “prostitution crackdown” in a country the US should be proud to resemble:

Tanzanian authorities are holding some 800 people suspected of involvement in prostitution…around 500 suspected sex workers and almost 300 alleged customers have been arrested…Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who was elected in October…[on a] law and order [platform has not]…banned…miniskirts [as reported in January]…though…the president and his government [say they are] are “strong proponents of decent dressing”…

Do be sure to click that link to see what Tanzanian ideas of “law and order” entail.

St. James Infirmary

St. James Infirmary, San Francisco’s health care organization for sex workers, cut the ribbon on its new Tenderloin clinic Monday, March 14.  St. James shares the space, located at 234 Eddy Street, with the Transgender Gender Variant and Intersex Justice Project…In addition to primary medical care, the peer-based organization also offers HIV testing and prevention services, including PrEP; sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment; transgender hormone therapy; mental health care; harm reduction services, including needle exchange and naloxone; case management; support groups; food and clothing; and other assistance to people of all genders involved in the sex trade and their families.  All services are free and confidential…

Above the Law  

Some rapist cops go out and look for victims:

A [New Jersey cop] has pleaded guilty to using his badge [and a loaded gun] to [rape] a prostitute…Dinis Oliveira…pleaded guilty…to…third-degree criminal coercion……[he] is expected to be sentenced to probation and…must give up his job and forfeit his pension…Oliveira had been charged with sexual assault, official misconduct and criminal coercion [but of course not aggravated rape as anyone else would’ve been]…

And some just wait for victims to be brought to them:

A Philadelphia-area [cop] is accused of [raping] three women [locked up] inside the police department…Roosevelt Turner is charged with official oppression, indecent exposure and indecent assault.  The charges are based on separate encounters in 2015…

It’s amazing how reporters are seemingly unable to use a simple word like “rape” when the rapist, even one who rapes a woman at gunpoint, is a fucking pig.

Change of Heart

As far as I’m concerned, any sex worker who outs a prohibitionist politician has not violated professional ethics; it’s just too bad this woman waited until the day Rubio pulled out of the race:

Marco Rubio…just suspended his campaign after Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump won [Florida] in a landslide victory.  Adding to his problems, his personal life is being shopped around by a dominatrix who alleges she had a kinky sex romp with Rubio…

First They Came for the Hookers…

It doesn’t matter what a sex worker does with her life after leaving sex work; to the media, she’ll always be a whore:

An ex-stripper who went on to law school and later was elected a judge was found dead inside her Nevada home [on March 13th]…authorities do not suspect foul play.  Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who was 50…appeared to be the perfect picture of health…Hampton, who served as a municipal judge for more than a decade, worked with youth in the community to discourage them from crime…

Buried Truth 

Vociferous opposition to anything sexual is nearly always strong evidence of an attraction to it:

…As the prosecuting attorney for Ingham County, Michigan, since 1997, Stuart Dunnings III spend decades helping to put people behind bars for commercial sexual activity.  But at the same time, Dunnings was routinely shelling out money for sexual services…Dunnings…instituted tougher penalties and a program of impounding johns’ vehicles…Now…authorities allege that Dunnings “paid for commercial sex… hundreds of times…between 2010-2015.”  For five years, Dunnings met with one sex worker up to four times per week, in addition to his encounters with others.  For what it’s worth, the arrest affidavit paints Dunning as considerate client who tipped well and acted more like a “sugar daddy” to some of the women, taking them out to dinners and paying their rent, cellphone bills, and other expenses…After one woman confessed to a heroin habit, Dunnings paid for her weekly methadone treatments and attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings with her…the feds went after Dunnings under the guise of stopping “human trafficking”, because that’s what law enforcement calls all prostitution circa 2016.  Most of the charges actually brought against him, however, are misdemeanor charges for “engaging in the services of prostitution” (10 counts) and “willful neglect of duty” (4 counts).  The one felony charge is because Dunnings…allegedly coerced a domestic violence victim…into having sex with him, then paid her for it…about $600 every two weeks as well as…some of her bills…

The Washington Post coverage that first broke the story preferred to soak in dysphemisms and libel the sex workers that to actually cover the facts.

Backwards into the Future (#334)

UNAIDS welcomes the roll-out of South Africa’s National Sex Worker HIV Plan, 2016–2019.  Launched by the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, in his role as the Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), this unique plan will ensure equitable access to health and legal services for sex workers in South Africa…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (All Traffick, All the Time)

Here’s another “rescue” scam designed to recruit unhappy whores into the anti-whore brigade; it resembles a “crisis pregnancy center”, which is not surprising since a number of “anti-trafficking” NGOs also operate (or formerly operated) such schemes.  What makes it interesting to me is that it’s the highest claimed number of clients per day (60) we’ve seen in a while, since the high-lunacy mark of 110 current from 2012-2014.  With the exception of a brief requote of that figure (which actually seems to have originated among prohibitionists in 2001) a few months ago, most of the claims have returned to the pre-June 2012 typical claim of 15/day, which is high but not literally impossible.Lake Pahoe

King of the Hill (Traffic Updates)

These moral crusades labeling one particular thoroughfare a “hotbed of sex trafficking” remind me of the Monty Python episode in which there is an entire lake in a basement flat:

Jillian Gilchrest, chairwoman of the [Connecticut] Trafficking in Persons Council, says the Berlin Turnpike is a hotbed for sex trafficking, often involving minors who are exploited…The Underground, a faith-based organization…[identified]…27 of which offer hourly rates…“For far too long, state laws and culture accepted that the purchase of sex will happen,” said Gilchrest…The Judiciary Committee advanced two bills…to attempt to address the issue…[one] would mandate additional training for law enforcement and employees at hotels and motels to identify victims of sex trafficking.  It would also require businesses that offer lodging to maintain detailed records of [cash] transactions for at least six months…[Gilchrest] said… “It was shocking to me [that people are allowed to conduct business with legal tender]”…The bill initially included a provision that would make it illegal to charge hourly for a room at a hotel or motel…But the Judiciary Committee voted…to strike the measure from the bill in response to testimony…[that] hourly rates are often used by truck drivers and travelers seeking a break from the road…

Sex Work is Work (#517)

Bureaucrats can turn anything into a hassle:

New tax laws in Austria is [sic] causing problems for sex workers as rules now dictate that all customers need to be issued with an itemised bill listing all services rendered…As services provided by sex workers covers a wide spectrum, bosses ask how, for example, a two-hour chat with no sexual contact should be written down…others questioned how a self-employed sex worker would issue receipts…

Guinea Pigs 

Americans are so ovine, all one needs do is say “THE CHILDREN!” and everyone cheers while big tech companies give cops horrifying new surveillance tools:

Palantir Technologies…isn’t unique in its efforts to turn its software toward social good—plenty of tech companies do that.  But unlike most, Palantir says it treats nonprofits like any other customer..in 2012, Polaris’ chief executive, Bradley Myles, heard Palantir’s CEO, Alex Karp, speak at a White House event…Myles knew it was something his [corporation]—which is dedicated to eradicating [sex work]—needed but couldn’t afford…Just a few weeks later, Palantir engineers were integrating data from thousands of [sex worker arrest] records, public tips and financial networks…The…company [also] integrates tips, case reports, public records, videos, social media feeds and other data sources and helps draw connections…To help…law enforcement [spy on adult sex workers and clients in the name of fighting] the abduction and sexual exploitation of children…

Crying for Nanny (#539)

The outcome was a foregone conclusion; the lawyers who orchestrated this shitshow were only appealing to cover their arses:

Backpage.com…has been sued a bunch of times, almost always by people [deliberately] misunderstanding Section 230 of the CDA which, as we’ve discussed hundreds of times, says that sites are not liable for the actions of their users…the appeal on [a] Massachusetts case has brought another good Section 230 win, saying that Backpage.com is not liable…The crux of the argument…is that…the way Backpage is set up…makes it different from a standard “publishing” platform.  This is a pretty common attack on Section 230, claiming that it does more than a publisher and thus isn’t protected.  Courts have almost universally rejected that, unless those additional actions themselves could be seen to break the law…the court rejects this argument, saying that everything Backpage.com does is a traditional publisher activity…

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Nash the Cat had a brilliant brain. Until cannabis sent his brain down the drain.  –  Singapore Central Narcotics Bureau

As regular readers know, I’m a minarchist and consider both so-called political parties in the US to be merely the wings of one Fascist Party.  As such, I’m as likely to attack any candidate as any other; however, I must admit that Donald Trump’s openly-fascistic rhetoric has been unusually interesting even to someone as cynical about politics as me, and I thought this mashup (contributed by Jesse Walker) of Pink Floyd’s The Wall and footage from a Trump rally was rather inspired.  But again, I’m not a partisan; find me an attack on any other candidate (Republican, Democrat or third-party) which is equally well-done and I’ll post it too.  The links above it were provided by Mistress Matisse (“do”), Tim Cushing (“drive”), Nun Ya (“hate”, “question” and “never”), Dave Krueger (“police”), Jillian Keenan  (“imagine”), Emma Evans (“purpose”), and Radley Balko (“afraid”).

From the Archives

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mystery powderOliver poked at the powder in the little tin with a small metal scoop.  It had seemed ivory-colored in the shop, but under the strong light of his desk lamp it actually seemed to have a kind of orange tinge, and it was a bit clumpy and mealy.  Since it was neither fine nor powdery he risked a gentle sniff, and found its smell rather pungent and earthy, with notes like spoiled meat.  It didn’t much remind him of any other drug he’d ever taken, but that was to be expected because it was supposed to be unlike anything else he’d ever taken; in fact, it wasn’t like any drug most people had ever taken, and because neither the cops nor the news media had heard of it yet, it wasn’t even illegal.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly easy to get, either; this small pile of powder, enough for only three doses from what the old man at the Chinese apothecary had told him, had cost him $300, and it would be months before the old man could get any more.  He helpfully explained that it came from a remote part of the Xinjiang region and had to go by way of certain parties in Hong Kong because, while it was not technically banned, Beijing frowned on its exportation.

After weighing the mass on a small digital scale, he used the scoop to divide it into three equal-seeming piles, then weighed each again and measured one into a waxed-paper bindle; he returned the second directly into the tin and tucked the bindle in beside it, then closed the lid and secreted the precious package in the box where he kept his stash.  He then dumped the remaining measure into a tumbler, filled it halfway with Passiona, swirled it around until he was reasonably sure it had all dissolved, and then downed the lot as quickly as possible.  It tasted terrible, but the rest of the soft drink in the can quickly alleviated that; then all there was left was to wait.

As previously agreed, he texted Nick that he had started the experiment; his friend was the perfect ground control because while he himself never used any drug stronger than a good stout, he had logged hundreds of hours with friends using every substance imaginable, and could always be counted on to take care of whatever problems might arise.  He then closed the window against the chilly July evening, changed into sweat pants and fiddled around with his music player for a while, finally settling on a program of baroque chamber music that he felt would set the right mood.  The clock said it had been 35 minutes since he had dosed, so he wrote the details in a little notebook and then settled back to listen to the music.

Finally, he began to feel some mild physical symptoms; a little restlessness, some lack of feeling in the extremities, an odd sort of bloatiness in the face, a bit of nausea.  He wrote the sensations down and texted to Nick, who said he’d be over in an hour or so, and would Oliver like anything from Red Rooster?  Oliver decided against it; the nausea might pass, but it could get much worse, as the restlessness already was.

About 75 minutes after downing the drug, the first of the visual effects appeared: drifting lazily into his field of view from the general direction of the kitchen was something very like a lavender paramecium about the size of his shoe.  It just gently floated across the room in a generally-northerly direction, silently undulating its cilia; even for an experienced drug user like him, it was a pretty striking sight.  And since nothing else had materialized as of yet, he decided to get up and follow it; he was a little unsteady on his feet, but that was more due to the fact that he couldn’t feel them than to anything else.  Slipping his phone into his jacket pocket, he stumbled into the next room just in time to see the thing go through the closed window; as in, right through the shade and glass, like a ghost.

microbial menagerieHe was about to follow it outside when he realized he was barefooted; he quickly pulled on his sandshoes where he’d left them beside the door and hastened outside, only to immediately lose interest in the intruder as he took in the full vista before him.  All around his house, all over the grass and trees and lamposts and parked cars, slid and floated and bounced and hopped and swam innumerable creatures of every description imaginable.  Many were like the protozoans one might see in a drop of pond water under a microscope; others were like masses of crystals that grew rapidly in one direction while vanishing from the other; some were like living flows of liquid or tiny suns, and a few were like earthly creatures he knew, only transparent and silent.  None of the alien things seemed even aware of his presence, and while the phantom animals seemed to sense him, they also seemed entirely uninterested in him.

He slowly walked down the street, taking it all in; he saw a few human shapes, too, but unlike the other creatures they appeared to actively avoid him.  Since it was early, there was still considerable traffic on the main street; the faces of the car’s occupants looked strange and somehow distorted, though he couldn’t be sure through the moving window-glass due to shifting reflections.  It was enough to pique his curiosity, though, so he decided to wander down to the shops to take a look at the people more closely.  Though the numbness in his feet and hands had spread up the limbs, they still responded more or less normally, and it was worth the risk of stumbling to see what there was to see; at worst, people would think him drunk.

The first place he reached was a little kebab shop that always did brisk business even on weekday evenings, and he was soon glad some sense of caution prompted him to look through the glass before entering; the shop was swarming with a veritable menagerie of monsters.  Oh, some of them looked human enough, but others looked like apes, reptiles or gigantic insects, and a few were so indescribably hideous he found himself unable to retain his composure.  He had always been able to talk himself down from bad trips before, but this time he was unable to convince himself that what he saw was only in his mind.  He lost control of his legs entirely and fell down upon the pavement, shaking and crying; he was aware that people emerging from the shop were staring at him and whispering, but he was too frightened to move until he heard a gentle voice asking, “Can we be of help, son?”

He looked up to see a face of almost unearthly beauty, strong and wise and benevolent; another of much the same type hovered nearby, and he heard the latter say, “Ian, I think I know this young man; he lives in the building down at the corner, don’t you love?”

Ollie was sure he’d never met these two angels before, but he instantly trusted them; no ill intent could possibly lurk behind such visages. “Yes’m.”

“What’s your name, son?”

“Oliver, sir.  My friends call me Ollie.”

“Well, Ollie, you just let us help you up, and we’ll get you home so you can sleep it off, alright?”

He couldn’t feel their hands on him at all, but he could see them, and he also saw the multiplicity of wings they spread above and around him, shielding his eyes from the sight of the horrors that had collected on the sidewalk to gawk at him.  He decided it was best to fix his gaze on his legs, since he could no longer feel them at all; still, they obeyed his commands and, with the help of his angelic guides, he was able to walk the several blocks back to his own place.

“Ollie!  What happened to you?”  He had rarely been as happy to hear anything as he was to hear Nick’s familiar, friendly tones conversing with his two rescuers; the man was explaining where they had found him while the woman was getting him settled on the couch and asking if he wanted a cup of tea.

“No ma’am, I think I had best just close my eyes and try to sleep this off.”

“Well, you take care dear, and perhaps you ought not to try anymore of whatever it was you tried tonight, yes?”

A few minutes later they were gone; Ollie heard Nick promising them he would stay the night to watch over him, and thanking them again for their kindness.  The door closed, and he sat down in the chair.  “Bloody hell, mate, but you gave me a scare!  You look awful, like you’ve seen a ghost!”

“That’s exactly what I have done,” croaked Ollie, “hordes of ’em.  That’s what this drug does.”

“Howzat?”

“This stuff opens the organs of metaphysical perception, and allows the user to see spiritual beings.  Ghosts, spirits, disembodied ectoplasmic entities, the lot.  That much I expected; what I didn’t realize was that I’d be able to see people’s souls, and that most of them wouldn’t be what we think of as human.”

“So, they’re like animals and such?”

“More like monsters, though those two people who brought me home were like angels.”True Face of Nick

“What about me?  What do I look like?”

Ollie opened his eyes and looked toward his friend, and immediately started crying; Nick appeared to be a horrible fungoid mass crowned with undulating tentacles, bereft of anything like a face.  He instantly shut his eyes again, but was so choked with sobs he couldn’t speak.

Nick let out a whistle.  “That bad?”  Ollie nodded.  “Well, you know it’s still me, yeah?”  He nodded again.  “Is there anything I can do?”

“I feel sick.  Would you help me to the lavatory?”  He couldn’t bear to look at Nick again, so he just stared straight ahead while he was helped down the hall; once inside he collapsed to the floor in front of the toilet and chundered for several minutes, praying that at least some of the awful stuff would be purged from his body in the process.  Finally the nausea subsided, and he pulled himself up to the basin, running cold water to rinse his mouth and splash his face.  He then rose and opened his eyes, and began to shriek as he beheld the head of a gigantic reddish-black beetle staring back at him from the mirror.

(With grateful acknowledgement to the work of H.P. Lovecraft).

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Sex workers are still most commonly depicted in the mainstream media as victims, pests or, in the odd case, saints.  –  Eurydice Aroney

Think of the Children! Leigh Ann Arthur

That the pictures were stolen is immaterial; she was fired for having a sex life:

A South Carolina high-school teacher may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after a student stole her cellphone and distributed partially nude photos from it around the school.  Administrators say she should have password-protected the phone.  The male student grabbed the phone from…Leigh Ann Arthur’s desk while she was making required…rounds between classes…he went through Arthur’s photos, eventually finding some sexually oriented shots that Arthur says she took for her husband.  By the time she returned to the classroom, the student was texting the photos to other students.  According to Arthur, he told her: “Your day of reckoning is coming.”  One might think that the student would at least face disciplinary action…if not criminal charges of some sort.  But thus far, the school has not moved to hold the 16-year-old student accountable at all.  Arthur, however, is another story…she resigned when district officials gave her the choice to do so immediately or start the firing process…More than 1,600 people have signed an online petition created by students…in support of their former teacher…

Rooted in Racism

Mainstream anti-trafficking and abolitionist discourses construct the image of the victim by channelling “white slavery” myths.  Eastern European women (along with other women from the ex-peripheries of global capital) are attributed a central role…Apart from the restrictions faced by most migrants from the former “eastern bloc” in so-called developed states, eastern European migrant sex workers encounter even tougher barriers…Even when legally residing and working, simply owning a Romanian or Russian passport can make female sex workers the target of rescue, detention, and re-socialisation and/or deportation programmes implemented by governmental agencies and carceral NGOs…The imaginary [status] of [these] countries as sources of “forced prostitution”…coincides with a Cold War hangover and…serve to doubly vilify and infantilise European women sex workers…

Peeping Toms

The late Justice Scalia was of course right about this; Lawrence vs. Texas actually overturned all laws against consensual adult sex, including those against prostitution.  But now that picket-fence gays have their seat at the big table, they’re not going to say much while further court decisions attempt to turn Lawrence into a “monogamous vanilla amateurs only” club:

Uh-oh, kinksters:  sex cops could be coming for you next.  According to a new federal court decision, Americans have no constitutional right to engage in consensual BDSM because “sexual activity that involves binding and gagging or the use of physical force such as spanking or choking poses certain inherent risks to personal safety.”  Thus officials could constitutionally ban or regulate such activity in the interest of “the protection of vulnerable persons,” the court held.  In striking down bans on things like sodomy and adultery, U.S. courts have repeatedly said that citizens have a right to engage in whatever sort of consensual sexual activity they choose within the privacy of their own rooms (that is, as long as money isn’t involved).  But federal judges now say that the Constitution “does not prohibit the regulation of BDSM conduct”…

Wise Investment

Every decision like this, in any country, brings us closer to the goal:

…sex workers in Macedonia…have been awarded protection…against the unlawful treatment of the police and the criminal court.  On a November night in 2008, the police carried out [a pogrom]…in which 32 individuals, 23 of whom sex workers, were deprived of liberty.  The police unlawfully detained the sex workers longer than 20 hours in inhuman and degrading conditions…without food, water or any possibility for sanitary hygiene.  Some of them were left without medical help…The following day, all of them were taken for [involuntary STI] testing without any explanation…fourteen (14) sex workers filed a lawsuit…against the…Ministry of Interior…Seven years [later]…the Primary Court…partially granted the lawsuit of the sex workers and again established that…the police action “Suppression of Street Prostitution” violated the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, i.e. violated the…sex workers’ rights…

Universal Criminality

When a cop wants to destroy someone, universal criminality makes it so easy:

A [Florida] sheriff’s deputy was fired and likely will face charges of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence after he tried to plant [drugs] on a [man cops considered a troublemaker]…Stephen LeBlanc…is accused of persuading a man in [what police call] a known drug neighborhood to help [him]…plant evidence on Thomas Parisi, who LeBlanc in November arrested for spray-painting…“Sex workers are people, too,” and an anti-law enforcement sentiment [on a wall]…LeBlanc then began [stalking] Parisi…to “get him jammed up on more charges,” the sheriff said…

Above the Law 

Just imagine any non-cop getting a deal like this for aggravated rape:

[An] Alabama State Trooper who was…charged with rape and sodomy of an accident victim…has reached a deal with prosecutors that will see him plead guilty to misdemeanor sexual misconduct…Samuel McHenry…put the woman…in his patrol car before [vaginally and anally raping her]…under threat of jail time…McHenry [must] serve six months in the Butler County Jail…in increments at his own discretion…within the next year…pay a $500 fine and restitution, and is ordered not to contact the victim…state law requires he register as a sex offender.

The Birth of a Movement

Yesterday, an English version of Eurydice Aroney’s French radio documentary “The Revolt of the Prostitutes” was broadcast on Australia’s ABC network.  To promote it, she wrote this article on the occupation of the Church of St. Nizier in 1975, the event which gave birth to the international sex worker rights movement.  I was especially touched by this passage:

…Little has changed for these workers since the strike in 1975.  I spoke to…one of the original St Nizier strikers who now works in her van in Gerland.  I asked if she knew that the St Nizier Church occupation was commemorated in Australia and across the world as International Whores’ Day.  “No, I didn’t know that.  Really?” she said. “And in Australia, are there lots of sex workers?  And they aren’t being hassled by the police?”  I told her that no, sex work is decriminalised in NSW…

Traffic Jam (#323)

See the resemblance to the “Satanic Panic” yet?

In the press, it was a “wide-reaching sex-trafficking operation” run by Somali Muslim gangs who forced “girls as young as 12” to sell sex in Minnesota and Tennessee.  In reality, the operation—which led to charges against 30 individuals, sex-trafficking convictions for three, and an eight year legal battle—was a fiction crafted by two troubled teenagers, a member of the FBI’s human-trafficking task force, and an array of overzealous officials…federal prosecuters had no evidence whatsoever to support their “child sex trafficking conspiracy” case outside the seriously flawed testimony of two teenagers, one of whom had “been diagnosed as insane and was off her medication”…The [cop] was…caught lying to the grand jury and lying during a detention hearing, while Doe and the state’s other primary witness were, according to the court, almost entirely “unworthy of belief”…

Size Matters (#337)

Sadly, this was a foregone conclusion:

The leader of the Phoenix Goddess Temple that offered spiritual and touch-based healing services in exchange for donations has been convicted of operating a house of prostitution…Tracy Elise [was pronounced] guilty…on all 22 counts including 12 of money laundering.  She also was convicted of six counts of pandering and one count each of conspiracy to commit illegal control of an enterprise, illegal control of an enterprise, prostitution and operating a house of prostitution…Elise is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8…

Imagine the Sky

The most interesting part of this article for me isn’t the location of historical New York brothels {yawn}, but rather the dogged persistence with which ignoramuses cling to the myth that prostitution was criminalized in the US before the 20th century:

…Sex workers have been operating illegally in New York since before the Revolutionary War.  In the early 19th century, prostitutes worked in Five Points — above present day City Hall Park — and along the East River.  But it wasn’t until the middle of that century that prostitution concentrated in SoHo and formed the city’s first sex district.  While the districts moved northward over time…the manner in which johns found out about the districts remained consistent for decades: cheaply printed guidebooks…patrons needed help finding the city’s illicit brothels that law enforcement mostly turned a blind eye to…

New Excuse

Sometimes politicians’ rhetorical devices are blatantly transparent:

At a hearing on new measures to address human trafficking, California Assemblyman Reggie-Jones Sawyer [said]…”the last time we’ve had this kind of emergency was…the crack-cocaine epidemic.”  Sadly, Sawyer was not referencing the ways in which the current popular panic about sex trafficking and governmental responses to it mirror the outlandish, hysteria-based, and detrimental state approach to the war on drugs.  Rather, Sawyer sees our attention to the “crack-cocaine epidemic” as something we should now strive to emulate…In many, many respects…officials already are treating sex trafficking in the same way they did the drug war.  The dominant legislative response has been increased criminalization of all sorts of commercial sexual activity…

Checklist (#514) 

So about a month ago, this ridiculous air hostess person who’s hawking a book started tweeting nonsense about “sex trafficking” (because her wonderful “signs of trafficking” training makes her an expert, donchaknow).  And she just couldn’t understand why all us mean hookers attacked her when all she wants to do is rescue people!  So she wrote about it, and of course some ass published it:

As a flight attendant, I’ve been trained to spot trafficking in the air…It’s made me take a special interest in the topic, and I was even motivated to speak to my City Council…You…might think human trafficking is a topic we would all agree on. Right? Wrong. I recently learned there are a lot of people who disagree…some sex worker advocates argue we’re creating more victims:  That when I speak out against human trafficking, that I’m contributing to the mass incarceration of sex workers…I met a woman in my neighborhood who works with a nonprofit organization that fights trafficking…so trafficking, in my town of Redondo Beach, has become an off-duty interest for me.  On the drive to my son’s school, we pass 18 massage parlors — in less than two miles.  Every single day I look at these massage parlors, and wonder what might be going on behind those covered up windows surrounded by security cameras…The average person hasn’t had their employer teach them how to stop human trafficking like mine has.  The average person doesn’t have a daily reminder that trafficking is going on in the world the way I do…

Poor Heather; the weight of the world is on her shoulders!  If she doesn’t defend “sex trafficking” victims in Redondo Beach against us bad ol’ whores, who will?

Uncommon Sense (#557)

If any job indicates a need for “counseling”, it’s politician:

…A group of sex workers protested…in Hamburg against a new government bill that would force sex workers to register with the state [every two years or, for women ages 18 to 21, every year] and receive counseling.  The protesters held symbolic “prostitute cards” to illustrate what it would mean for them to be forced to carry with them registration, said Friederike Strack of the Berlin-based consulting center Hydra…

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It’s not clear why WhatsApp settled on such an oddly specific number.  –  Doug Boulton

This week’s seasonal video was contributed by my friend Frank, who has a knack for finding such things but won’t get on Twitter.  The links above it were provided by Nun YaTim CushingMistress MatisseRadley BalkoEmma Evans, and  Clarissa, in that order.

From the Archives

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This is like consulting the school bully on how to make the schoolyard safer.  –  anonymous Toronto resident, on consulting cops about harm reduction

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 fire him for:

…Fairview [Tennessee] Police Chief Terry Harris and assistant chief Mark Sutton have both been suspended…after one of their officers, Ronnie Williams, was arrested by…Nashville police in a prostitution sting…Williams was allowed to resign rather than be fired, which would be notated on his post certification possibly preventing him from going to another department…

Harm Magnification

Naturally, because it’s cops’ job to cause harm, not reduce it:

When word got out in mid-December that undercover [cops] had arrested two men accessing Toronto Public Health’s (TPH) needle exchange program…TPH’s own harm reduction workers scrambled to warn the drug user community…harm reduction workers [wondered]…Were plainclothes police riding in…mobile outreach vans?  Were they present during the highly sensitive and confidential process of rapid HIV/AIDS testing?…The Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance says police participation in the program has fractured the trust the harm reduction community has cultivated over decades with street-involved people…Zoe Dodd, a long-time harm reduction worker and community activist [said] “I don’t recall drug users ever saying they wanted -police to be involved.  This really just shows me that these agencies are more committed to their relationship with police than they are to their relationship with drug users”…

Saving Them From Themselves

Apparently, this stupid pig doesn’t think a lifetime on the “sex offender” registry is a “real severe thing”:

A Three Rivers, Michigan, teenager is both the victim and perpetrator of a sex crime.  He might land on the sex offender registry, and face criminal charges, all because he took…a nude photo of himself on a girl’s cell phone.  That girl sent the picture to another girl, who sent it to another.  Preliminary charges are pending for all three—the boy was charged with manufacturing child porn, and the girls with distributing it.  A prosecutor is still weighing whether to pursue the charges.  Police Detective Mike Mohney…[bloviated] that sexting is a serious crime because it leads to “bullying,” and “real severe things like people committing suicide or violent crimes against others because they’re so embarrassed about it”…

Scapegoats

Actually, the truth is worse.  The bill doesn’t add a new sodomy law, because Michigan never repealed its old one.  Politicians are just too spineless to repeal a blatantly-unconstitutional (an therefore unenforceable) law:

The Michigan Senate just passed a bill that makes sodomy a felony, despite the U.S. Supreme Court declaring such a law unconstitutional.  The…law…makes anal sex punishable by up to 15 years in prison…[and] is directly linked to a law against bestiality…saying…it is a felony for anyone to commit “the abominable and detestable crime against nature with mankind or with any animal”…Senator Rick Jones says [changing the wording] could put the entire bill, created to protect animals, in jeopardy.  “The minute I cross that line and I start talking about the other stuff, I won’t even get another hearing.  It’ll be done…Nobody wants to touch it.  I would rather not even bring up the topic, because I know what would happen.  You’d get…a big fight that’s not needed because it’s unconstitutional.”  Jones believes that the sodomy ban can only be repealed if a bill is created to strike all unconstitutional laws from the state’s books, but he is not willing to do it at the expense of his dog bill…

Above the Law 

US cops don’t have a monopoly on raping whores:  “David Gibson…is on trial [in] Liverpool…after [raping]…a…sex worker [under threat of arrest]“…And this other arsehole was a serial offender:

A [rapist cop] has pleaded guilty to voyeurism after secretly filming himself [raping] prostitutes – but he was cleared of stalking them.  Irshad Kamal, 47, made dozens of films between 2010 and 2012 without informing the women involved.  His video library was discovered [after he attacked a sex worker]…by tearing her clothes off and grabbing her by the throat…Kamal was arrested when she posted his details on “Ugly Mugs” – a sex industry site for dangerous punters…

Naturally, neither was charged with rape.

First They Came for the Hookers…

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to stop us from getting other jobs?

When Cheryl’s manager discovered…[she] used to work in the sex trade…he joked that a name plate on her desk read “pubic relations.”  Kayla…was in a new job too when she says a [cop] informed a colleague she had formerly been a “prostitute and a junkie.”  She lost the job and saw no option but returning to the sex industry.  Both women encountered the degrading treatment when they attempted to leave sex work for new occupations, an obstacle that a recently published study calls the “whore stigma”…The women, whose names were changed in the study to protect their identities, reported  challenges from name calling to violence, identifying the stigma they faced as the most challenging barrier to leaving the sex trade…

Checklist

Is there any profession that the fetishists don’t think requires “signs of trafficking” training?

Cosmetologists all over Ohio have begun training to spot signs of human trafficking in their clients.  The new educational push was a requirement passed by the State Cosmetology Board for licensing…Director Christopher Logsdon said when Ohio’s more than 108,000 cosmetologists are trained; they will collectively touch tens-of-thousands of lives.  “Trafficking is a reality in Ohio and Ohio agencies are engaged to train as many as possible on identifying the signs of human trafficking,” Logsdon said. “We hope and pray that one day this Human tragedy will no longer plague our state and the nation”…

Birth of a Movement (#312)

It only starts with us:

Racial profiling, arbitrary house arrests, detentions, and deportation threats—they’re all too common in France these days as part of the “state of emergency” declared to fight terrorists.  But they’ve been familiar to France’s sex workers for quite a while, which is why they have joined those fighting to try to stop an extension of what some people have called the French “Patriot Act,” only worse…Authorities may search homes and place suspects under house arrest without a judicial warrant…and the government can set curfews and forbid large demonstrations…Morgane Merteuil…joined [a protest vs the “emergency” powers] on behalf of STRASS, France’s only sex-worker-led labor union…”The state of emergency doesn’t really change things for sex workers,” [said] Merteuil…”But it’s an extension of police practices that are already in effect for certain segments of the population, including sex workers”…

Available Weapon nuisance abatement map

Weapons forged for use against whores will work on anyone:

…The nuisance abatement law was created in the 1970’s to combat the sex industry in Times Square.  Since then, its use has been vastly expanded, commonly targeting apartments and mom-and-pop bodegas even as the city’s crime rate has reached historic lows.  The NYPD files upward of 1,000 such cases a year, nearly half of them against residences…The process has remarkably few protections for people facing the loss of their homes.  Three-quarters of the cases begin with secret court orders that lock residents out until the case is resolved.  The police need a judge’s signoff, but residents aren’t notified and thus have no chance to tell their side of the story until they’ve already been locked out for days.  And because these are civil actions, residents also have no right to an attorney…residents can be permanently barred from their homes without being convicted or even charged with a crime…

Cooties

Swedes just can’t admit that whores can do things for ourselves:

Police in Stockholm say the rise of Airbnb…has resulted in pimps booking apartments by using fake profiles…growing numbers of prostitutes [use] sublet apartments to charge for sexual services…prostitutes are active at around 200 addresses on a typical day in the city, with hotels no longer their accommodation of choice…pimps [create] fake profiles of respectable couples…

Dirty Laundry (#452)

Apparently, there’s at least one decent judge in Ireland:

A judge has rejected a State application to confiscate the “hard earned” income of two prostitutes which was stolen and later recovered.  Judge Patrick McCartan…praised the courage of the two women in attempting to stop…Mantas Grazevicius…until gardaí arrived…prosecuting counsel Tony McGillicuddy BL [had tried to steal] the € 2,675…for…the state as the proceeds of prostitution…

Fallen Idol

only three months have passed since the horrifying allegations and James Deen appears to have been welcomed back with open arms…Deen walked the red carpets of the XBIZ and AVN Awards, smiling and posing as if it were business as usual…Though Deen received a whopping 33 XBIZ nominations between him and his company, the popular porn star left without a single award.  AVN was a different story.  There, at the “Oscars of Porn,” Deen was awarded two statues as part of ensembles…While prominent companies Evil Angel and Kink were applauded for cutting ties with Deen in the wake of the sexual assault allegations, the scenes he has done for them will continue to be available for purchase…As his work continues to sell, companies will be inclined to hire him.  This is the nature of the business (and reliable male performers are hard to come by)…There is a clear divide within the industry among those who believe the allegations and those who do not, but few on either side…are willing to comment publicly, since he still carries considerable weight within porn…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

It’s always so great to see academics stand up for us in print:

…MP Fiona Bruce published an article…urging the home affairs select committee…to criminalise the purchase of sex.  Her core argument…[is] fundamentally flawed.  The laws she so vociferously calls for are likely to have disastrous consequences for the safety of sex workers…Fueled by dogmatic radical feminists and ideologues from the religious-right, anti-prostitution sentiment transcends traditional party politics…Bruce’s piece offers an oversimplified and paternalistic argument in favour of the Swedish model.  She argues that prostitution – the sale of sex between two consenting adults – represents “sexual exploitation”.  In so doing, she dismisses a wealth of evidence that many women choose to sell sex and enjoy their sex working.  It is not uncommon for advocates of the Swedish model to argue that sex workers who claim to sell sex of their own volition suffer from “false consciousness” – they hold a distorted image of their own social situation.  They are victims without knowing it…

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