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Posts Tagged ‘Elephant in the Parlor’

There’s real people being hurt.  But [cops are too] busy playing these goddamn games.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Droit du Seigneur

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do exist are cops:

Seven members of the NYPD were arrested [last] Wednesday in connection with a prostitution and gambling case as part of an investigation dating back to 2015…retired NYPD detective Ludwig Paz…and his wife, a former prostitute, ran brothels located in Queens, Brooklyn and Hempstead, Long Island, along with numerous gambling rooms set up in beauty salons and other businesses.  [Cops] who knew the retired detective then became involved…providing security or information…the suspects have been identified as…Carlos Cruz…Louis Failla…Cliff Nieves…Steven Nieves…Giancarlo Raspanti…Gionanny Rojas-Acosta…[and] Rene Samaniego…

End Demand

But they’re “going after the johns”!

A coalition with the stated mission of disrupting human trafficking in the Sacramento region touted the results of a crackdown on the men who pay for sexual favors.  But the press release…omitted one crucial detail:  Considerably more women are arrested for prostitution-related offenses—contradicting the message that authorities are zeroing in on the men who purportedly fund sexual exploitation…

Bait and Switch

Cops will keep pulling these shenanigans as long as courts let them:

A…man received a stay of imposition Sept. 7…Paul R. Lund was…charged last August with felony prostitution…[after cops] rented a Springfield residence and [fantasy role-played] as 16-year-old females willing to trade sex…for money or narcotics.  Lund’s defense attorney, Jacob Birkholz of Mankato, accused the State of trying to burden shift, using photos of someone age 18 or older, originally claiming the female was 18, then 16…

To Molest and Rape 

A rare example of an appropriate sentence for a rapist cop:

A [typical and representative Ohio] cop convicted of raping four women…was sentenced to 43 years in prison.  The first 33 years of Justin Sanderson’s sentencing are mandatory…and he will not be eligible for early release until the last 10 years.  Sanderson will have to register as a sex offender if he is ever released from prison…

Elephant in the Parlor (#831) 

As long as transactional sex is criminalized and stigmatized, it will be used as a weapon against women:

…the Russian spy who shagged NRA members is yet another sexual fiction created by the feds.  Russian national Maria Butina still stands accused of having failing to file proper paperwork while working as a foreign agent and conspiracy.  But U.S. prosecutors have now admitted that they have no evidence she traded sex for secrets or otherwise acted as a “honeypot“.  The Butina text messages used to make that claim were just jokes, prosecutors now [admit]…Butina’s lawyers “are arguing that the prosecutors’ error is emblematic of a flawed federal case that has wrongly landed their client in pretrial custody”…The alleged error is…incredibly typical for the feds…[who often] tell sordid or scandalous sexual tall tales about suspects, especially when any appearance of transactional sex is concerned.  Butina is lucky that prosecutors have at least acknowledged their mistake publicly…All too often, those who the feds falsely accuse of sexual intrigue and crime do not get that chance

The Punitive Mindset (#838) 

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

For the last seven years, inmates have stocked the libraries of their personal MP3 players with $2 downloads.  Come January, they’ll be forced to hand it all over because the Florida Department of Corrections signed a new deal with a competing company…the Florida Department of Corrections struck a deal with JPay…to sell profit-driven multimedia tablets to incarcerated people…inmates will have to return the players [they purchased from another company], and they can’t transfer the music they already purchased onto their new devices…The Department of Corrections, meanwhile, has collected $1.4 million in commissions on each song downloaded and other related sales since July 2011…JPay already operates banking accounts and facilitates phone calls at the state-run prisons, charging inmates and their loved ones steep fees for the services…

Perquisites (#848)

Are amateurs really so sheltered that this sort of thing shocks them?

A tour bus company was slammed after footage emerged of young lads being entertained – by COYOTE dancers.  The young men hired the coach…for a trip from Bangkok, Thailand, into neighbouring provinces.  But video taken during the journey onboard the…Bus…with blacked out windows shows passengers cavorting with young women in hot pants and skimpy tops…Video…sparked outrage from [busybodies] who said [other people’s private behavior] was [somehow] inappropriate…

Uncommon Sense (#855)

How countries with healthy ideas about sex react to the Swedish disease:

…the Zurich Women’s Centre…launched its campaign for a ban on prostitution based on the Swedish model…Other NGOs started a counter-campaign called “Sex Work Is Work”, in which they take a stand against a ban and for the rights of sex workers.  Even state-run gender-equality agencies and advisory offices have spoken out against the demands of the Zurich Women’s Centre…A majority of the Swiss media is also sceptical about the Zurich Women’s Centre’s proposal.  A ban on prostitution would be expensive, the Tages-Anzeiger commented:  If the sex trade is made illegal, then it would be necessary to help the women concerned to find new work, or to fund their retraining.  “Anything else would be hypocritical and unfair”…

The Widening Gyre (#869) 

Another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter:

A [New Jersey] teen took to Twitter to formally apologize for initiating a widespread panic with her tweet that [fantasized a shopping mall]…in Toms River was a hot-spot for human trafficking.  The original tweet, posted by Sarah Gascho, stated: “the parking lot on route 37 where ShopRite, staples, Panera, etc. are located is apparently becoming a spot for human traffickers to kidnap victims!!!!!”  The tweet has since been deleted; however, it garnered hundreds of shares and comments on social media prior to being removed…“We have not received any official reports alerting us to any criminal activity of this nature,” stated Toms River Police.  “Please be aware that posting un[approv]ed rumors can rise to causing false public alarm which is a chargeable offense.  If you have been witness to something or feel in danger, call the police, do not post about it”…

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If America had a civil death penalty, putting people on sex registries would be it.  –  Guy Hamilton Smith

Elephant in the Parlor 

The idea that politicians paying for sex is “unprofessional” tells me these people are living in a fantasy world:

…Westminster’s first code of conduct…introduced after a sex harassment scandal in parliament, ban MPs from paying for sex while…engaged in any activity connected with their role as an MP, whether in the UK or abroad…The new complaints and grievance policy states: “Although it might not be illegal to pay for sex, in line with best practice it is considered unprofessional, inappropriate and a breach of the behaviour code”…

A Broker in Pillage

Watch for the definition of “unexplained” to expand dramatically over the next decade or two:

Criminals who can’t explain how they got their money will be [robbed] under a national scheme that allows the government to sweep up their assets.  A Senate committee unanimously recommended the “unexplained wealth” legislation be passed…despite concerns being raised by the Law Council and Civil Liberties Australia.  The legislation will force people convicted of crimes to prove that their wealth was derived from legitimate sources, rather than the onus being on prosecutors to establish that it came from the proceeds of crime…Banks will be forced to hand over any information they have on the unexplained wealth of a convicted client.  The Police Federation has been lobbying for the…scheme for more than a decade…

Election Day (#332)

How many political scandals must Davis embroil herself in to get her name in the news again?

Kristin Davis, also known as the “Manhattan Madam”, will testify before a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation…Davis [previously] met with Mueller’s team…It is not clear what the focus of that interview was or how Davis may fit into the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination between Trump associates and the Russian government.  But investigators have been very interested in Roger Stone, with whom Davis has a close personal relationship and has worked for in the past…

Everything Old is New Again

This absurd Victorian language is even funnier because it’s meant to be dead serious:

…It’s not a profession.  It’s not about the sex, and there’s certainly no erotic aspects about these encounters.  It’s purely a financial interaction, business deals that involve blood, sweat, tears and semen…women wait…for dark to descend.  Then the hunters begin to approach…Slowly they cruise by, headlights blinding the women as they search for their prey.  The hunters feel a sense of control as they strip the victims of their dignity, their humanity…

I was also tickled to see a link to this previous article about the “dangerous cycle of prostitution”, which is presumably a used Harley bought with whoring money.  After that one I wrote, “As far as I can make out, this dude’s pearl-clutching tone is dead serious.  Do you amateurs really believe this kind of shit?”

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only probation for this?

Madison County [Alabama cop] Roland Campos pleaded guilty to a [molesting a young girl]…and was sentenced to a year’s probation.  Campos…must also [register as a] Sex Offender…the judge suspended the jail term and ordered Campos to serve a year’s probation…Campos was arrested in August 2017 after a middle school student…told a school official Campos had sexually abused her…

Monsters (#730) 

The US only prosecutes people for sex worker “propaganda”, which is obviously completely different:

The first minor has been found guilty of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” laws.  Maxim Neverov was found guilty of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” despite being only 16-years-old himself.  The teenager from Biysk was fined 50,000 rubles on 7 August for publishing photos on social network site Vkontakte [Russian Facebook]…the teenager was not allowed to consult a lawyer.  This led him to refuse to testify…

Banishment (#798)

Another good essay by Guy Hamilton Smith on the torture the US hides under the euphemism “registration”:

…Recently, a major court decision lambasted registries as ineffective at promoting public safety, while noting that they rendered those on them “moral lepers” who are forced to reside at the margins of society on the sole basis of a conviction.  Another decision, currently on appeal in the…10th Circuit…called registries cruel and unusual punishments in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution — an almost unheard-of legal conclusion for American courts to reach outside of death penalty litigation…in my view, it is the right one.  I know, because of the nearly million people on America’s sex offense registries, I am one of them.  In describing his experiences with solitary confinement — a practice widely regarded as torture — Nelson Mandela concluded that there is nothing more dehumanizing than isolation from human connection…Being labeled a sex offender, you carry your solitary with you, in your heart, and in your mind…The indelible electronic mark you carry threatens to turn your own thoughts against you, unless and until you can find a way outside of the prison your own mind begins to construct for you.  Until then, you die slowly, suffocating in shame.  I have written more fully about my story and experiences elsewhere, but I have spent the last eleven years living on America’s sex registry.  More than simply punishment, in my opinion, it is most fairly characterized as torture…

Laura Lee, Sex Work Stigma, and the Limits of #MeToo

Looks like Olaf isn’t going to be able to hush this up as he wanted to:

Gardaí have reopened an investigation into a complaint made by [the late] Laura Lee…friends of Ms Lee have been contacted by officers reopening an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.  Ms Lee, a law graduate, had made a statement to gardaí in Dublin about the…incident last November.  [Accused rapist Olaf Tyaransen] has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.  The garda investigation was closed when Ms Lee died of undisclosed causes this year at the age of 44 but gardaí are now in the process of taking statements again…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#858)

Indian sex workers’ fight against a terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill is drawing international attention:

…“No one has forced me to do this…it pays better than being a maid or factory worker,” said Sanjana Murali…“But with this law, if the police raid a kotha [brothel], I will be taken into police custody and sent to a rehabilitation clinic.  What about my freedom to choose?…If the state thinks I should be ‘rescued’ and trained to sew clothes or make papar (papadams) to survive, it is wrong.  That kind of work will never pay enough”…When MP Shashi Tharoor raised this point in parliament, he was assured by minister for women Maneka Gandhi that the bill would not target voluntary sex workers.  “That’s just her word,” said Dr Smarajit Jana of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee…“Why isn’t there a single sentence in the bill stating that?  All the bill does is empower the police to harass sex workers and disempower the women themselves.”  Jana said…that most…sex workers…are…the “heads” of their extended families.  Their income pays for food, rent, a relative’s illness, and the school fees of their children, and those of their siblings…“When you put them into a rehabilitation clinic, who is going to look after their children?”…the bill is based on paternalistic assumptions about rescuing sex workers…no…organisation was consulted in the drafting of the bill, even though sex workers are well organised…

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It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession.  –  WAVAW Board

The Sky is Falling!

Even by prohibitionist standards, this is hilariously hysterical:

“Sugar daddy” dating sites such as Seeking Arrangement…are aggressively targeting college students — with free premium memberships for signing up under an .edu email plus plenty of assurances that being a “sugar baby” is safe, empowering and profitable.  But sugar babies typically do not, in fact, have control over these relationships, which often turn dangerous and exploitative, [pearl-clutchers whined]…at a “World Without Exploitation Youth Summit” held in Downtown Brooklyn for high school and college students…“Sugaring” almost always involves a coercive exchange of money for sex, the [pearl-clutchers moaned]…even if the coercion is subtle and regardless of the dating website’s promises of “pampering,” “mentoring” and “networking”…“There’s an expectation that the buyer or the sugar daddy can do whatever he wants, so very often we hear there’s extraordinary violence when the door gets shut,” adds Lauren Hersh, national director of World Without Exploitation, a [prohibitionist] group…

This is your regular reminder that Lauren Hersh is a former prosecutor who was forced to resign in disgrace after she was caught trying to railroad two innocent black men for rape.

Watershed

For those who think I’m wrong about sex worker rights having passed the watershed:

As a [rape crisis centre] we always say that systems and perpetrators of violence need to be held accountable.  This is no different when we have enacted harm ourselves…We have taken actions that have caused harm to sex workers, and it is important that we take responsibility for those actions.  In 2008, we produced a position paper on sex work titled “Stepping out of the Binary”.  The paper framed the sex work industry as inherently violent and oppressive…and…conflated sex work with trafficking and exploitation…Our [excuse] was that we critiqued and challenged the sex work industry as a whole, but would not turn away individual sex workers who wanted to access our services.  This position is inherently flawed.  It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession…We support sex work.  We support the rights of sex workers.  We believe sex workers should have access to the services they need, when they need them…

Theatrics

Though this subtitle is now used for prohibitionist publicity stunts, the original covered this:

…dozens of female workers in Spain’s Huelva region, most of them Moroccan…reported having been harassed, raped, blackmailed, physically assaulted or insulted by their superiors…

Good News, Bad News (#409)

Australian prohibitionists are just as vile as those in the US & UK:

Prostitution legislation is currently being discussed in the Northern Territory…Prostitution affects everyone because…[the private acts of individual women magically inflict] violence against [other] women…Australia’s acceptance of [civil liberties] is becoming embarrassing internationally, as progressive countries move towards [authoritarian regulation]…of [the bodies and lives of] all women.  When it is acceptable for women to [make their own choices]…every woman is devalued [to the state].  The availability of women’s [sexual services for free] creates a sense of entitlement in too many men which inevitably plays out in their day to day interactions with women…

Only in the warped prohibitionist mind could reducing women to mere parts of a collective entity and demanding government control over people’s private lives be characterized as “human dignity”.

The Face of Trafficking (#646) 

Note that even a horrifying case like this doesn’t look anything like the “sex trafficking” myth as prohibitionists tell it:

One of New Zealand’s most sickening criminal cases, just the third conviction for slave trading in the country’s legal history, can now be revealed.  A mother of a teenage daughter has been jailed for six years and 11 months [for pimp]ing her daughter…some 1000 times over a two-year period…as many as five times a day.  The teen…escaped…in November 2016 and fled to police.  Kasmeer Lata, the teen’s mother, was sentenced…for dealing in slaves and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services from an underage person…

While I usually edit items to point out the truth in authoritarian propaganda, in this case I did so to eliminate the lurid language the reporter used to exploit this young woman’s ordeal for clickbait.  Because yellow journalists are just as awful in New Zealand as anywhere else.

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

Just in case you forgot about the other sex workers Trump paid off:

…investigators discovered recordings made by Michael Cohen which include a then-candid Donald Trump talking about a payment to…former Playboy model…Karen McDougal [who] previously claimed that she had an affair with Mr. Trump…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#833) 

All the disclaimers won’t stop charlatans from pretending this is their imaginary “sex addiction”:

The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list…filed “compulsive sexual behavior disorder” — often [incorrectly] referred to as sex addiction — as an impulse-control disorder…WHO’s new list will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022, as revisions still need to be made…clinicians…fear that recognizing compulsive sexual behavior disorder would pathologize normal sexual behavior, [said] Dr. Stefanie Carnes…“One of the things WHO did…is say specifically, ‘You can’t make the diagnosis of the compulsive disorder just due to shame or moralistic thoughts and feelings’”…In other words, a diagnosis cannot be made for someone with conservative religious views who frequents pornography sites a few times a month and thus believes that is a problem…the…proposed inclusion characterizes the disorder as “a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges, resulting in repetitive sexual behavior over an extended period (e.g., six months or more) that causes marked distress or impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”  Carnes…[said] “I have patients who…spend $300,000 on a prostitute”…

Say, Dr. Carnes, would you introduce me to these guys? I’ll take good care of them, I promise.

All-Purpose Excuse (#834)

I hope this finger-pointing keeps up until the hysteria implodes:

…the Trafficking in Persons Report directly references the vulnerability of migrants and children to trafficking without mention of recent U.S. policies that increased family separation and detention.  This dissonance is not new [to this administration], although recent events have been particularly egregious.  Since his inauguration, President Trump has espoused strikingly different — and dramatically inconsistent — approaches to immigration and human trafficking…Despite the administration’s [typical] rhetoric about protecting survivors of trafficking, the brutal fact is that indiscriminate targeting of undocumented immigrants…has sown chaos and fear in immigrant communities.  This makes survivors much less likely to cooperate with [pigs], and more likely to be targeted as victims…on June 28, 2018, USCIS issued a new policy memorandum specifying that any survivor who applies for T visas — and is denied — will be placed in deportation proceedings…

Trumpists: “YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Anti-Trumpists:  “No, YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Me: “LOL, please continue.”

The Real World

Despite some highly exaggerated claims about the prevalence of serious mental illness among sex workers, this article recognizes criminalization as a major cause of stress:

Sex workers already operate at the social and economic margins.  SESTA-FOSTA makes it increasingly difficult for them to advertise and screen clients safely, deeply cutting into their incomes and threatening their livelihoods…The conflation of consensual sex work with trafficking, abuse, moral decrepitude, and shame is as pervasive as is it is lacking nuance…Mental health providers must wade through social discourse thick with misinformation to be effective allies to sex workers in their practice.  Scholars and practitioners alike propose harmful and stigmatizing models of understanding sex work…Although sensationalist media outlets frequently use sex trafficking as a boogeyman to encourage tougher policing of sex work, research from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain shows that decriminalizing sex work has made the industry safer…In the wake of SESTA-FOSTA, sex workers are scared that they won’t be able to provide for themselves and their families…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

Hey, Seattle!  Get your kids into the facial recognition database before they even hit puberty, and help the government to analyze how people’s faces change with time, so nobody can EVER escape surveillance!

RealNetworks, the Seattle company best known for pioneering streaming media…will offer a new facial recognition technology, called SAFR, for free to K-12 schools to help upgrade their on-site [surveillance] systems.  SAFR can be used with the same cameras that traditional surveillance systems to recognize students, staff, and people visiting schools…in addition to security, the tool can also help with [normalization of constant surveillance] and [the school-to-prison pipeline]…

Disaster (#852)

Woodhull, et al’s request for a preliminary injunction vs FOSTA is a thing of beauty, and even if you don’t really understand legalese you should read it, because most of it is in plain English and its arguments are solid.  Reading it for yourself is the only way you can fully grasp what a crock of shit the judge’s inaction was:

A federal judge on Thursday tabled a motion brought by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and four other plaintiffs, who are suing to stop the government from enforcing…FOSTA…Judge Richard Leon…made no ruling on Woodhull’s request for a preliminary injunction that would stop the law from remaining in effect until the group’s lawsuit…is decided. Nor did he announce a date when he would issue a ruling.  According to one account from inside the courtroon, Leon “sounded skeptical” that the law had actually caused harm to the plaintiffs in the case…

Basically, the judge wants time to try to think of the proper legal wording for “Yes, I know this law is blatantly unconstitutional, but I’m not gonna be the one to issue an injunction on it because whores”.

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There is a difference between what a decision maker must do, and what such a person may do.  –  Donal O’Donnell

No Other Option

I’ve often discussed disabled clients, but sex work can also be a boon for disabled workers:

For disabled people who are unable to secure benefits because their condition or symptoms fall out of the scope of federal care, the financial strain can be unbearable…without documentation of disability, workers can be fired from their jobs for issues arising from their disability.  Others are forced to hide the disabling symptoms of their conditions in order to stay employed.  And those who are able to obtain government assistance may find it doesn’t stretch far enough to allow a disabled person to live comfortably without additional income.  Sex work is sometimes the only option to make the exorbitant amount of money medical bills and other living expenses require with relative speed, without waiting for reimbursement or approval.  Medical assistance, food stamps, and other government benefits can be maintained while bringing in cash under the table.  Sex work can also be a way for disabled people to work out of their own homes if necessary, or only when they are able…both legal and illegal forms of sex work have been affected by FOSTA and SESTA, and sex workers have been endangered as a result…the most marginalized sex workers, including disabled sex workers, are [especially harmed]…FOSTA and SESTA makes clients nervous about prosecution…and the shrinking client pool could be driving down service prices and forcing providers to offer services they otherwise would not…

Business As Usual

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

Sex workers in Ukraine are increasingly using online networks to protect each other…[from] abusive clients or police and share tips on the warning signs to look out for…Sex work[ers]…are vulnerable to abuse, sexual assault and blackmail by police…of women detained by police – 90 percent of the time by the anti-trafficking department – more than 40 percent reported sexual assault and 60 percent said officials extorted money from them…

To Molest and Rape 

What is it with Alabama politicians and underage girls?

Police are investigating Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin for…[molesting and raping] underage girls during drug-fueled parties he hosted for fellow [pigs]…in the early nineties.  [Mary Elizabeth Cross]…alleged that Entrekin had sex with her four times in the late summer of 1992, when he was 29 and she was 15…In Alabama, the age of consent is 16…Cross…says that she did not attempt to refuse Entrekin’s advances, but that she also personally watched him rape another underage girl who repeatedly said no…Entrekin gained a degree of national notoriety in March, when AL.com exposed that over the past three years he personally kept more than $750,000 in public funds allocated to feed inmates in the county jail he oversees.  In September, Entrekin purchased a $740,000 beach house…

One Born Every Minute (#775) 

Another sleazy scam artist raping aspiring sex workers:

A person claiming to be a director with the adult studio Wasteland, and possibly other sites, has been approaching potential models in an attempt to set up auditions.  He uses the profile Ayman Kad, but may use other names as well.  He is not related in any way to Wasteland…[which] was alerted to the potential scam by a model after Kad approached her on Facebook…We do not know if the scammer is using more than one account, or approaching models on other social media sites, or from other adult companies…always confirm the identity of any unknown director or other solicitor by calling or emailing the company they claim to represent…If you are unable to reach the company…Free Speech Coalition…can help confirm…

Whore Madonnas (#809) 

Stress, such as that resulting from evil fucks trying to deport sick children, tends to aggravate chronic health conditions:

…a nine-year-old Irish-born boy with a severe form of sickle cell disease [has died after losing]…an appeal over deportation orders made for him and his Nigerian mother…The Supreme Court last March dismissed their appeal…but signalled a fresh application to revoke could be brought and also stressed the Minister for Justice could decline to deport on humanitarian grounds.  While the fresh application was being prepared, the child became very ill…and was taken to hospital, where he died [on July 9th]…

Opting Out (#810)

Fascism in action:

MindGeek own almost 90 per cent of the popular tube sites such as Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn, and now they stand to increase their huge market share even further by offering age verification services to smaller sites.  The software they have created, AgeID, identifies users by credit card, passport or driving license details…[this] could lead to a database of user information vulnerable to a breach…[including] people’s private sexual preferences…The privacy policy for AgeID states, “we also may use these technologies to collect information about your online activities over time and across third-party websites or other online services”…It’s also very interesting – and not at all surprising – to see that MindGeek made AgeID to monopolize on the new age verification law, but…have [also] created their own VPN…[which] will allow…users…to bypass the age verification controls by avoiding being detected as a UK viewer…

The Widening Gyre (#849) 

The lady doth protest too much, methinks:

Model Chloe Ayling has revealed she wants to make a Netflix movie about her kidnapping ordeal because “everyone assumed I was lying”.  The 20-year-old appeared on This Morning…to discuss her terrifying ordeal and the release of her new book…She added that she wanted to tell her story through her book and a possible film because people thought she was lying about the kidnapping…

Disaster (#852)

Delays in cases like this always benefit the government:

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon today ordered a two-day extension of time for the Justice Department to file its opposition to Woodhull Freedom Foundation’s motion for a preliminary injunction over FOSTA …“defendants shall file their opposition to the motion for preliminary injunction by 6 p.m. on July 12, 2018, and…plaintiffs shall file their reply in support of the motion by 6 p.m. on July 17, 2018,” Leon wrote…Leon will hear the motion for preliminary injunction on Thursday, July 19, at 4 p.m…Justice Department attorneys, as defendants in the suit, will respond to challenges waged by Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the Human Rights Watch, the Internet Archive and two individuals, Alex Andrews and Eric Koszyk…

The Monsters Are Due (#855) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs.  Note that similar fake “child abduction” videos are being used to foment hysteria in the US.

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As so often happens, partisans got outraged last week over something they’ve never given a shit about until they thought it gave them some political advantage:

…Adult film star and locus of national scandal Stormy Daniels was arrested [on July 11th] at Sirens, a strip club in Columbus, Ohio.  The stop was part of a tour Daniels is taking across the country…Attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing Daniels in her lawsuit against Donald Trump, tweeted…that Daniels was arrested while “performing the same act she has performed across the nation at nearly a hundred strip clubs.  This was a setup & politically motivated….They are devoting law enforcement resources to sting operations for this?  There has to be higher priorities!”  Higher priorities for local cops than getting to take in naked ladies for a few hours and then assert their authority over the most famous of them?  Avenatti can’t be that naive…

The charges were dropped the next day due to a loophole excluding featured performers, but the two other dancers arrested with her are not so fortunate; Stormy donated all her tips from the next night to their legal defense.  Naturally, sex workers and supporters of free speech were irate:

…almost any law aimed at free expression can be used to punish a political opponent.  These regulations—typically known as “no touch” or “proximity” rules—are common, and throughout their history they have been used to make end-runs around the First Amendment…erotic dancing is a form of expression protected by the Bill of Rights…so…those who wanted to restrict strip shows were forced to get more creative…Enter the “adverse secondary effects” doctrine…in which the Supreme Court said that the government can’t restrict adult businesses because the government doesn’t like the expression therein—but it can restrict them, using zoning regulations, because of harmful effects the businesses may cause…in reality, these secondary effects rarely actually exist outside of the imaginations of those who want to regulate the businesses…There are a number of dances that require proximity—and not just lap dances:  Think of a hula dance in which the dancer places a lei around the spectator’s neck.  Unfortunately, courts have been hostile to this notion, and almost universally uphold proximity and no-touch rules…Daniels was arrested under one of these laws after an extensive sting operation.  Why did the State of Ohio devote a team of police officers and hours of taxpayer-funded overtime to an investigation, raid, and arrest of a woman for the grave crime of touching another person while semi-nude?…When you give law enforcement a tool that can be used to target someone who has unpopular views, they will use it.  So, not only was the expression demonstrated by the nude dancing suppressed, but the tool of suppression may have been used to punish someone for their political activism…

Democrats have always joined Republicans in enthusiastic support for anti-sex worker laws since such laws first started popping up in the late 19th century, and half of the blame for “sex trafficking” hysteria and the horrible laws it has enabled is scattered all over the Dems’ front lawn like overturned garbage cans.  But now that their chief political enemy has a long history of interaction with sex workers, their opinion of us changes with every news cycle.  When it was revealed that Trump’s wife has a history of sex work, his enemies happily used that as an attack.  But when the Stormy Daniels scandal broke, suddenly we became heroes and the anti-whore laws magically become the fault of “conservatives”, while the “progressive” rhetoric which has been used to push them for this entire century so far is swept under the rug.  So though Susan Shepard’s article on the incident does mention the feminist “exploitation” argument (and contains an excellent survey of “pole taxes” and other anti-stripping laws, many authored by Christian hit-shyster Scott Bergthold), her editor at NBC chose to lay the blame solely on “evangelicals” and to call attention to Shepard’s rather tone-deaf and divisive statement that “club owners and customers generally skate by with a slap on the wrist or a ticket…It’s a double standard that unfairly punishes working women while leaving those who purchase and profit from their work unscathed.”  I’m rather annoyed to see this strongly Swedish-scented assertion from Shepard, a former stripper who co-founded Tits and Sass, but I guess one has to cater to one’s audience, and her audience for this article is composed of holier-than-thou “progressives” now looking for ways to pretend they aren’t anti-whore by blaming everything on holier-than-thou “conservatives”, and, naturally, those nasty old clients who provide sex workers’ income.

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It’s easy to see the vast gap between the reality of sex workers’ lives and the bleak fiction peddled by the anti-sex work industry.  –  Lux Alptraum

Against Their Will 

The Indian press just can’t let go of the word “rescue”, even when it’s patently absurd:

Eight sex workers from Thailand, who were rescued from a spa at Bapuji Nagar on May 19, were deported…and were given 48 hours to leave the country…

Gorged With Meaning

Posturing, hair-splitting and moral panic create a strange stew out of normal and age-old behavior:

…”part-time girlfriend” is a euphemism often used by young women in the city who may be studying or have jobs, but who also offer sex on the side.  By using variations of the hashtag #ptgf as shorthand, they connect with men on networks such as Instagram and then switch to direct messaging to offer services and arrange to meet.  Instagram says it has made #ptgf and #hkptgf unsearchable, but a host of new alternatives that add Chinese characters or initials to the original tag circumvent the block…[as usual, busybodies blame a lot of nonsense other than] financial pressures [as] key motivators for young women …Bowie Lam, executive director of Teen’s Key…[claims] the age of “part-time girlfriends” is getting lower…These young women often do not see themselves as sex workers because the…[propaganda has misled them as to what sex work is like]…Hong Kong police said they have taken action against websites, chat rooms and discussion forums to combat illegal prostitution activities.  The act of prostitution in itself is not illegal in Hong Kong…but soliciting is…

Cops and Robbers

Bigots try to cover racism and misogyny by blaming imaginary “gangs” for this:

Prostitutes blamed for robbing and pick-pocketing British tourists in Magaluf, Spain, have been chased off the streets by angry protesters.  Spanish taxi drivers led a [mob]…against the women by recording them with their mobile phones and chanting: “No prostitutes on the streets”…It is claimed that the women have come to Spain via organised crime in Nigeria, and they are blamed by local businesses for a drop in tourist trade…

End Demand (#638)

Swanee Hunt can recycle this propaganda from Seattle because modern “reporters” never fact-check:

Nearly two dozen businesses and institutions joined…a new initiative called Employers Against Sex Trafficking (EAST) to create a coalition of business leaders who have committed to zero-tolerance policies on sex buying…[propaganda invented] by Demand Abolition…showed that nearly 13 percent of calls responding to…decoy ads originated from local businesses, and that the peak time people are searching online to buy sex is during the workday, at 2 p.m.  The…study revealed…more than 9,000 searches for sex-buying opportunities happening in Boston each day and that more than 20,000 ads selling people for sex are posted online every month, with each ad receiving an average of 52 responses.  Many sex buyers have said they buy illegal sex while traveling for business…

If you don’t recognize businesses “partnering” with government to infringe on civil rights as fascism, perhaps the horrific phrase “illegal sex” might give you a clue.

Traffic Jam (#704) 

How many moronic prohibitionist  plays can the market bear?

After a year of co-writing, directing and now acting in Jane Doe in Wonderland, Erin Johnston is even more adamant about the play’s impact in [spreading propaganda against] sex [work].  “We’re excited about this production,” she said.  “It allows people to get used to theater to tell the story and the performance is digestible and accessible.  And…we don’t curse or show physical violence.  The focus is on the emotional and psychological process that’s experienced.”  As part of the [rescue industry] Game Over organization, Jane Doe in Wonderland visits around 20 Bay Area cities on its current tour…

Spotlight (#715) 

I wonder if Asstoon will ever get professional help for his delusions of grandeur?

Ashton Kutcher’s non-profit organisation Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children [claims to have] identified almost 6,000 child victims of human sex trafficking last year…Impact reports from the organisation for 2017, show that Thorn’s software allowed law enforcement and investigators to identify 5,791 child sex trafficking victims…They were able to [arrest] 103 [legal minors]…Thorn uses web application Spotlight which provides [cops] with information and leads on [sex workers]…in order to [arrest them]…In 2016, during an appearance on the Today show, the actor said “We’ve identified and recovered more than 6,000 trafficking victims this year.  We identified and recovered more than 2,000 traffickers.”  He also stated his next mission was to eliminate child pornography from the internet…

The same figures for two years in a row, and the Mail doesn’t find it fishy.  The reporter also didn’t bother to read Liz Brown’s debunking (see title link).

Monsters (#730) 

All around the world, monsters torture sexual minorities under the excuse of “helping” or “curing” us:

When he was 15, his family found out that Ibrahim…was gay…from that moment on, local mullahs and “old wives” (faith healers and local women reputed to be witches) “tried to ‘treat’…my homosexuality…[with] bloodletting…herbs (after which I had hallucinations, nausea, stomach pains), strong pressure on the painful points of the body, and…electric shocks onto the penis.  There were also some ‘spells’ or nashidas (though to no effect)…It went on and off…till I turned 18.”  Ibrahim is all right, for now, having escaped Chechnya.  He is living under the care of Stimul, a Russian LGBT organization…that…arranges safe housing and advice and advocacy…for…LGBT people seeking asylum from Central Asian countries…and…Chechnya, where homosexuality is not only against the law…but…viciously persecuted…Stimul aims to…place LGBT people…in European countries, the U.S., and Canada…

Hard Numbers (#756)

Good news from South Australia:

South Australian Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, says she will sponsor a bill to decriminalise sex work when it comes to the state’s Lower House, boosting its chances of becoming law…The Decriminalisation of Sex Work Bill was introduced by Greens MLC Tammy Franks last month and is the same as one sponsored by Liberal Upper House MP Michelle Lensink in 2015.  That bill passed the Legislative Council but failed to go to a conscience vote in the House of Assembly before the March election…

Choke Point (#767) 

“Choke Point Mark II” would be statutory rather than mere policy, and laser-focused on sex workers:

…Of four quick and easy tests for bad legislation, the [End Banking for Human Traffickers Act] passes three:  First, it’s “bipartisan”…Rubio and Warren are aligned on both elements of the issue.  Both of them want control of your genitalia and both of them want control of your bank account.  Secondly, it exploits moral panic to discourage scrutiny of its actual effects.  In this case, the trending buzz word is “human trafficking”…another excuse for harassing adult sex workers trying to make a living and, contra all the “for the chillllllldren” posturing, taking food out of the mouths of THEIR children (if not taking away their children entirely).  Thirdly, it doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that it’s yet another attempt to conscript supposedly private sector actors into conducting…intrusive search-like activity that, if done directly by government employees…might be held accountable to inconvenient standards like probable cause, warrants, etc.  The only test the bill fails is the “warm, fuzzy, and/or patriotic-sounding acronym” test…if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, sex workers — already pushed to the economic margins in various ways by law enforcement, social stigma, and…poverty…are going to have an even harder time opening or keeping…accounts at traditional banks…

As I wrote in the title-linked piece: “Since ‘Choke Point’ was never declared unconstitutional by a court nor officially banned by a law, there’s nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back.”

Comfort Zone (#774)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

In France, two separate…activists are [on trial for] human trafficking for helping migrants on humanitarian grounds.  The law on which they are being charged is currently under review in the Constitutional Court.  Martine Landry, a 73-year-old pensioner working with…Amnesty International, faces up to five years in prison and a 30,000-euro fine…[for] facilitating the passage of two Guinean boys, then aged 15 and 16, into France…a separate trial…[concerns] two Swiss nationals…and one Italian…who accompanied migrants through a mountain pass on 22 April 2018.  They face up to 10 years in prison, 750,000 euros in fines and a ban from French territory…“If I become friends with a migrant who has no papers and invite them to sleep on my sofa, I become a criminal, and if I become a trafficker and have Nigerian prostitutes come into France, I am a criminal under the same provision,” says Lucile Abassade, a lawyer in the Paris region…As the trials open, France’s Constitutional Court is reviewing the law…to decide whether the law violates the French constitutional principle of fraternity…Such cases have become relatively common in France in recent years…

Legislators Gone Wild (#833) 

One can never have too many debunkings of prohibitionist bullshit:

…The No Little Girl campaign has argued that Nevada’s brothels have a negative effect on the state.  In reality, research shows that the lives of Nevada citizens have improved due to the legalization of sex work in the state.  Nevada’s system isn’t perfect — but it’s a considerable improvement over the national policy of criminalization.  No Little Girl has three major [claims] for shutting down the legal brothel industry:  Brothels do not significantly contribute to their counties’ economies while deterring other businesses from setting up shop; they increase violence against women who don’t work in the sex industry; and they’re inherently abusive (because, as the campaign’s tagline reminds visitors, “no little girl grows up wanting to be a prostitute”)…combing through the data — even the data the organization links to on its site — suggests that many of No Little Girl’s claims are exaggerated at best and misleading at worst…

Elephant in the Parlor (#844)

My irony meter just overloaded and burned out:

President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said…Stormy Daniels has no credibility because of her profession…”If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation”…Giuliani said in Israel…”If you’re involved in a sort of slimy business, (that) says something about you — says something about how far you’ll go to make money”…

Disaster (#844)

When a highway is destroyed, the traffic has to go into side streets:

Wall Street Journal has an article on the potentially negative impact of our country’s new “anti-trafficking” law—not on sex workers, mind you, but on the big business of online dating.  Yes…FOSTA…is endangering sex workers’ livelihoods and lives—but, oh, won’t someone think of the multi-million-dollar companies?  As the article warns its conservative, money-minded readers, “The booming business of online dating faces new risks from a law designed to prevent sex trafficking and prostitution”…The bill’s opponents warned that it would lead to sweeping censorship and, in its few weeks of life, it already has…As Heidi Vogt and John D. McKinnon write, FOSTA has led to the shuttering of sites used by sex workers—and “some worry that could drive the pay-for-sex market to legitimate dating platforms.”  They continue to explain, paraphrasing a legal expert, that “it could easily create liability for legitimate services if sex workers simply use their platforms.”  The article is filled with moralizing language that poses “legitimate dating platforms” and “legitimate services” opposite “prostitutes”.  It’s Match.com versus “bad behavior”.  OKCupid versus “illicit behavior”.  Tinder versus “those peddling sex”…

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Creating a…registry of strippers is not going to help stop exploitation.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Under Every Bed

The confused babble spouted by “officials” in low-population states is truly stupefying:

Assistant US Attorney General Andy Cogar, co-chair of the West Virginia Human Trafficking Taskforce, said one of the challenges…“is the learning curve we have with law enforcement…because they are on the front lines, but it’s also a cultural learning curve that we have to go through when it comes to sex trafficking…They blur those lines between sex trafficking and prostitution, and so there is a tendency— because…prostitutes are written off as almost subhuman at times. There’s a lack of concern or credibility that’s ascribed to sex trafficking victims because they are written off often times as just lowly prostitutes…We have to break through that and have a much more nuanced understanding of what prostitution is frankly.  But also, and more importantly, the various ways that sex trafficking can manifest itself or that it is manifested”…

This guy actually sounds like he almost gets it, but his brain is too mired in “sex trafficking” propaganda and cop “NHI” doctrine that he can’t quite close the circle.

Saving Them From Themselves (#428) 

Yeah, destroy their lives!  That’ll teach ’em not to have sexual feelings, you betcha!

Police are investigating as many as a dozen teenagers at two separate schools in Falls Church, Virginia, as part of an ever-widening sexting inquiry.  Police seized five cell phones and have recovered multiple “explicit images” that students shared with each other…Virginia police have a history of pursuing teen sexting cases with misguided zealotry…It’s well worth asking, then, whether the police should really be in the business of collecting sexually explicit images of teenagers as part of an effort to hold them criminally accountable…

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

…Jazmina Saavedra, who is running for a House seat in California, accused a transgender woman of invading her privacy as she live streamed herself challenging the woman in a public restroom in Los Angeles.  “I’m trying to use the ladies’ room and there is a man here claiming that he is a lady,” Saavedra said in the Facebook Live video, filming just outside the bathroom stall in a Denny’s restaurant…

Cops and Robbers (#632) 

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

Christian rock frontman David Zach of the band Remedy Drive recounts some of the chilling experiences he’s had while undercover as a covert operative to help rescue teenage girls trapped in sex trafficking rings in Asia and Latin America.  While serving undercover over the past four years, Zach has spent most of his time undercover in brothels and red light districts searching for evidence of sex trafficking.  Zach teamed up with Matt Parker, founder of the anti-[sex work] organization The Exodus Road…

To Molest and Rape 

Why he wasn’t charged with rape isn’t at all “unclear” to me:

A cop…offered to drive a sexual assault victim home but instead took her to a motel and raped her.  John Nissen…was charged with official misconduct, tampering with a witness and theft by deception over the incident…Why…he…was not charged with rape was unclear…the victim gave an interview at the Hillview, Kentucky, police station about the initial rape.  Nissen agreed to take her home…[but actually] took her to…[a] hotel…[where he] demand[ed] oral sex from the woman and then rap[ed] her…Afterwards…he…[told her] she should move to a different jurisdiction and not pursue her rape case…Nissen’s own department became suspicious of his actions when reading the incident report and handed it over to the Kentucky State Police to investigate…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#662)

Summer Stephan has for years touted her personal animus against whores as “concern”:

Interim [San Diego] DA Summer Stephan, who’s running for election in June, doesn’t see any meaningful difference between sex work, or prostitution, and sex trafficking.  In doing so, she and other prosecutors in California conflate sex trafficking with sex work and are confusing the public in…an attempt to inspire moral outrage…Anti-trafficking laws that conflate sex work with sex trafficking have forced sex workers into “safe houses” and rehabilitation programs against their will…During a two-year study with sex workers, I observed that sex workers felt comfortable working cooperatively with police officers when the police opted not to arrest sex workers and to treat sex work as if it were decriminalized.  Similar findings have been observed in New Zealand…The conflation of sex work and sex trafficking…reduces…women…into a victim status in order to comply with a notion of womanhood tied to sexual purity that is compliant with dominant morality.  A woman who chooses to take an alternative, often difficult path, for her family by becoming a sex worker is dismissed as a victim incapable of the choice…We need a district attorney who would build partnerships with sex workers so they feel comfortable coming forward to the district attorney’s office when they observe genuine human trafficking without fearing more prosecutions, not one who judges their choices…

Bottleneck (#728) 

There are so many reasons sex worker licensing is a bad idea:

…Palm Beach County is the only local government in South Florida to license strippers…[under the pretense of] stop[ping] the exploitation of minors…But…Issuing a government ID creates a…public record.  “They’re creating a registry of strippers” said Elizabeth Nolan Brown… “They’re opening up these dancers to having their information revealed to people”…Stalkers.  Zealots.  Violent ex-partners.  Spouses in a child custody battle.  Potential employers…because of the stigma attached to stripping, there are lots of reasons they may want to keep that information private…

Comfort Zone (#769)

Sometimes they don’t even bother with the “sex trafficking” excuse any more:

Migrant victims of crime are being handed over to [UK] immigration enforcement officials by police when they report crimes…There are fears the disclosure could discourage migrant victims of crime from coming forward, although the Home Office [lied] it would support vulnerable migrants “regardless of their immigration status…Victims of crime must be treated first and foremost as victims,” a spokesperson [lied]…

Uncommon Sense (#774)

The IWW was the first major union to support sex workers rights, but it won’t be the last:

At its 2018 Annual Conference, IWW Branch delegates from across Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England were asked to consider a motion presented by our members to publicly state its commitment to the full decriminalisation of sex work and a full pardon for any sex workers convicted under existing legislation…the motion was passed unanimously…

Out of Control (#782) 

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A University of Southern California gynecologist was allowed to continue practicing for many years, despite multiple complaints of misconduct…The complaints against George Tyndall date back to the 1990s and include allegations of inappropriately photographing students’ genitals, making sexualized commentary about patients’ bodies, and explicitly referencing sexual intercourse while inserting his fingers into patients’ vaginas.  Some of the most unsettling accusations come from nurses and medical assistants—sometimes known as chaperones—who witnessed his exams firsthand.  Tyndall, who resigned last summer, has denied the accusations and outrageously speculated that…“chaperones reported him because they had trouble reaching orgasm and were jealous of young patients with tighter pelvic muscles.”  Let us pause for a moment to let that shit sink in: This gentleman argues that he is being set up by old ladies who wish they had tighter vaginas…

Elephant in the Parlor (#835)

I absolutely love Stormy Daniels’ honesty about her whoredom:

…Stormy Daniels…has become a political Rorschach test.  Women thank her at the grocery store for inspiring them to speak up, sharing their personal #MeToo stories.  Conspiracy theorists call her the “Deep State’s Plan B” if the multiple Russia investigations fail to bring down Trump…[others] hail…her as a saving grace that might lead to impeachment…The only person who sees Stormy’s story as not political is Stormy herself.  “I’m fine with women coming up to me and saying, ‘You’ve inspired me’.  That’s great.  But I’m quick to point out that’s not my story,” she says.  “I suck dick for a living.  Nobody wants to know what I think about the wall or health care…it’s my job and my service to society to be an entertainer.  Yes, my version of being an entertainer happens to be a porn star, which makes it even more important: I am an escape from reality”…

Disaster (#839)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

Some 60 residents…said over and over that prostitution [in San Francisco’s Mission district] has never been worse, and they made it clear to District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen and Mission Captain Gaetano Caltagirone that their official efforts have been too slow and ineffective…By the end of the night, Ronen and Caltagirone vowed to redouble their efforts to abate the sex work that has long operated on Shotwell Street…They were even receptive to almost unanimous support from the [useful idiots] to [establish a curfew on] certain parts of Shotwell and Capp streets on Friday and Saturday…residents…said the efforts had failed to abate a booming prostitution ring operating outside their doorsteps…

It’s because stupid people have been taught to believe in fantasies like “prostitution rings” that this happened in the first place; when politicians shut down inexpensive and accessible advertising, only a complete imbecile could fail to understand that the sex workers who used that advertising will now have to advertise in another way, such as by walking the streets.

Pyrrhic Victory (#841)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

Amazon…has developed a powerful and dangerous new facial recognition system and is actively helping governments deploy it.  Amazon calls the service “Rekognition”…[it] can identify, track, and analyze people in real time and recognize up to 100 people in a single image…[by] scan[ning] information it collects against databases featuring tens of millions of faces…Amazon is [specifically] marketing Rekognition for government surveillance…say[ing] Rekognition can be used to identify “people of interest“, raising the possibility that those labeled suspicious by governments — such as undocumented immigrants or Black activists — will be seen as fair game for Rekognition surveillance…

Because this story is on the ACLU website, naturally it doesn’t mention that the people who will be first spied upon by this software are sex workers.

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