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Posts Tagged ‘Enabling Oppression’

Sex trafficking is…the crime du jour.  –  Judge Toni Messina

R.I.P. Christine Keeler 

Christine Keeler, the former model at the centre of the Profumo affairhas died aged 75, her family and a close friend have said.  Keeler, then a teenage model and showgirl, became famous for her role in the 1963 scandal…when she had an affair with the Tory cabinet minister John Profumo and a Russian diplomat at the same time at the height of the cold war…Keeler’s son, Seymour Platt…[said] she died on [December 4th]…She had been ill for several months…from…COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).  A major BBC series revisiting the scandal is due to start filming next year.  Keeler, who had been living under the name of Sloane for many years, was briefly married twice, both marriages ending in divorce.  She had two sons – James from her first marriage, and Seymour from her second – and a granddaughter..

Lack of Evidence

Name one other “crime” that gets this kind of treatment on nothing more than a busybody’s say-so:

Why should cops bother with investigations and due process when they can rely on anonymous tips and social shaming?…Larksville, Pennsylvania…police are bragging to local news that they bullied a woman out of town after a neighbor suggested she might be a sex worker…[because] here were too many cars pulling up to a local apartment building and too many men getting out of them…Based on that one tip, Chief John Edwards went straight to Facebook to post a warning notice…”‘ALLEGED’ prostitution” is taking place “in an apartment in or near the 200 block of Vine Street…I and my officers will provide you with a never-ending stream of police activity.”  He also said the cops would talk to “all the neighbors in the area” and instruct them “use video and photography to document” the comings and goings on the street.  Then Larksville police—still without talking to anyone at the allegedly suspicious apartment or conducting due diligence of their own—went to the street in question, put physical copies of the warning on any vehicles in the area, and handed them out to people door-to-door…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn

The truth about “sex trafficking” dawns in the mind of a judge:

…sex trafficking…laws are so expansively written that even if a woman voluntarily agrees to be photographed in scant attire in response to an escort ad but later changes her mind, the person who took the pictures could be convicted of sex trafficking for threatening to post the ad without her permission…I tried a case recently where the court found that a Backpage ad was enough to convict my client of sex trafficking in New York even though all of the acts relating to the sex trafficking charge occurred in New Jersey…I was told by Bella Robinson, founder of Coyoteri.org…that sex workers are more fearful of police who jail them than Johns.  Cops can arrest them, take their money, threaten to take their kids, and [rape them]…

Rooted in Racism

Deportation is euphemized as “sending migrants home”, ignoring the fact that if they wanted to be there they wouldn’t have endured such terrible hardships to leave in the first damned place:

The United Nations migration agency plans to fly 15,000 more migrants home from detention centres in Libya before year-end in the wake of shocking reports of rampant migrant abuse and squalid and overcrowded conditions at these facilities [in which they are detained after “authorities” stop them from migrating to Europe, where they actually want to go]…Libya in recent weeks has witnessed a drastic increase in the numbers of migrants [imprisoned] in detention centres – from a usual range of 5,000 to 6,000 to over 15,000…IOM is also scaling up its reintegration support for the migrants in countries of origin and will be working on addressing the root causes of migration, as well as increasing our programming to [force them to stay where they came from]…

Imaginary Victims (#344)

Like Sara Kruzan before her, prohibitionists never gave a shit about imprisoned underage sex worker Cyntoia Brown until they realized they could make political coin from her:

Twenty-nine-year-old Cyntoia Brown has been locked up in a Tennessee prison for 13 years, after she was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the killing of a man who hired her as a prostitute when she was 16…Brown…was a [cognitively impaired] runaway who was raped, abused and forced into prostitution by a man known as “Kut Throat.”  She will be eligible for parole after she turns 69…Brown’s case re-entered the spotlight this month after a group of celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and Snoop Dogg posted their support on social media with the hashtag, #FreeCyntoiaBrown.  An online petition urging Tennessee’s governor to consider clemency for Brown has garnered more than 4,000 signatures…Each year, more than 1,000 [legal minors] are arrested for prostitution in the U.S…Advocates say that in many cases those children are the true victims, and argue Brown’s case should be reconsidered under new “safe harbor” laws that [pretend to] protect trafficked minors from criminal charges [but in actuality only help “perfect victims”, not girls like Brown]…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#346)

While US politicians are marching along with a witch hunt:

…Senator Millicent Omanga has criticised members of Nairobi County Assembly over plans to pass a motion outlawing commercial sex work.  The senator termed the move impulsive and unfair…[and she] challenged the MCAs to provide alternative sources of livelihood for the commercial sex workers before condemning them…At the same time, atheists have come out in defence of commercial sex workers and…threatened to take action against the MCAs if they do not rescind the motion…Atheists in Kenya say the choice to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money is a private and should not be considered a crime, and that prostitution should be recognised as a form of trade…

The Public Eye (#589)

Despite the glaring absence of any escorts, it’s good to see a sex work-positive article in Glamour:

…The real stories of webcam models, dominatrices, and porn stars are often very different from the tropes we see in flashy (and often irresponsible) headlines about sexdrugs, and crime.  In fact, plenty of sex workers truly love what they do.  Glamour spoke to 15 women who work in different facets of the sex industry—porn performers, dominatrices, and cam models—about their choices to enter the business.  Even beyond the financial freedom and the ability to travel that their career paths afford, many of them emphasized how they use their platforms to draw attention to social causes, highlight the contributions of marginalized communities, and help destigmatize sex…

Served Cold (#737) 

This megalomaniac’s antics are growing so bizarre and disturbing that even prohibitionists are starting to see it:

When Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard looks at the latest artwork by conservative political painter Jon McNaughton, he gets emotional.  Painted into The Underground Railroad are Ballard and his wife, depicted carrying children they helped rescue from sex trafficking…the artwork’s historical figures, including Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln…are flanked by figures whom the painter refers to as “contemporary abolitionists” or “slave stealers”: Ballard’s friends and supporters, ranging from Tony Robbins and Glenn Beck to Utah Rep. Mia Love.  Art curators and Mormon black activists, though, are offended by the painting…“I would call it the epitome of the white savior complex,” says Mica McGriggs…Anthropologist Bradley H. Kramer…[says it’s] culturally clueless…to not realize depicting “white dudes rescuing black people” — under the title of “The Underground Railroad” — would be offensive…“It’s…like a parody of the white savior narrative…It steals the imagery and the power of the Underground Railroad narrative and transforms it into this Trumpian fantasy of brave, powerful white dudes rescuing black people from their squalor”…

Moving Pictures (#782) 

I’m sorry, but I find this both funny and satisfying:

Ashley Judd led a cast of what would turn out to be dozens of actresses in accusing Harvey Weinstein of decades of sexual harassment and abuse…[but] an indie drama she starred in, Trafficked …is itself at the center of its own fierce debate regarding…its casting process….producers quietly removed its director, Will Wallace, from the project during postproduction over a disagreement involving the depiction of rape.  And…one actress, Sanchita Malik…contacted SAG-AFTRA the day after attending [a casting] session…May 20, 2015, to convey her displeasure.  (She subsequently filed a lengthy written grievance with the actors’ union.)  In the statement…Malik [reported]…an extended exercise in which male counterparts…were coached to replicate harassment and assault…the scenario played out with her hair pulled, neck licked, body pushed against a wall and a fellow actor simulating rape…producers Conroy Kanter and Siddharth Kara…insist her characterization of the events involves “a significant embellishment and exaggeration of the level of intensity, crudeness and physicality of the casting session”…

A description of a work session involved “significant embellishment and exaggeration of the level of…crudeness”…Really?  Do tell?  Hmm, that somehow sounds familiar…

Cooties (#787) 

It looks like this popular cop masturbatory fantasy has made it across the Channel:

Three men have been arrested in Paris for…their roles in pimping out women for sex work in several apartments…rented out through…Airbnb…The key suspect…has a previous conviction for procurement.  He took 50 percent of the money the women earned…

He “took” 50%; in other words his cut was 50%, same as Nevada brothels.  Try calculating sometime how much of each dollar you earn for your company you get to keep; you’ll find it’s well below 50%.

Too Close To Home (#788) 

Does anyone believe the prosecutor would’ve made the same decision is the accused weren’t a politician?

The Snohomish County Prosecutor…[decided] not to file sexual assault charges against Sheriff John Urquhart…accused by a former deputy of groping him after dining together in 2014 at a Renton restaurant.  The Renton Police Department…recommended…charges of indecent liberties or assault with sexual motivation…The allegations were handled by independent police and prosecutors to [support the pretense of] avoid[ing] conflicts of interest.  Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe…[claimed] that even if the accuser’s accounts were true, the actions alleged did not meet the criteria for indecent liberties…

To Molest and Rape (#795)

What kind of sick fuck enrolls their daughter in a program specifically intended to groom them into members of a gang of violent thugs?

…[When] a…young woman…[was] found her dead of suicide on Nov. 2, 2015…detectives…found one of their own [ilk] suspiciously close to the death. [Francisco] Olmos…had been outside her house even before she was found dead.  While the girl’s father called 911, Olmos asked to used the girl’s phone..[but actually]…deleted…texts and Snapchats [the girl had exchanged with him]…On [November 30th], police arrested Olmos on charges of obstruction of justice and computer trespass…Olmos knew the young woman through Indianapolis police department’s Explorer program, which trains teenagers for careers in law enforcement…In the hours before the young woman’s death, Olmos tried calling her 16 times.  He left 10 text messages and two Snapchat messages…“Answer me you can’t do this to me AGAIN,” reads one of Olmos’ Snapchat messages shortly after the phone call…The girl didn’t answer.  “How can you ignore me like I’m just one of them,” Olmos messaged four minutes later…Two minutes later:  “You can’t do this to me you can’t.  I’m headed to your house right now”…After several more unanswered messages and several hours, Olmos sent a final missive. “I don’t know what the point of ignoring me is,” he wrote. “You make me feel like this is really all my fault…I need to talk to you it’s urgent”…When detectives tried to access the young woman’s iPhone, they found it password protected, raising the question of how Olmos placed a call from the device.  When an investigator asked the young woman’s parents for the passcode, both insisted that the device had not been password protected…Police sent the device to Cellebrite, a firm notorious for helping law enforcement hack into locked cellphones…They found what looked like a sloppy coverup.  Olmos and the young woman had texted 177 times between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, when she died…

For more on the “police explorer” rape trap for underage girls, see below.

To Molest and Rape (#796) 

It’s good to see this problem finally getting attention outside of libertarian and sex worker circles:

…police frequently target marginalized people with sexual violence.  That includes young women and girls, women of color, transgender women, sex workers, homeless women, women with mental illness, undocumented women, women who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, women with disabilities, and low-income women…police presence in schools…allows [cops]…to…abuse searches, harass girls in the hallways, and even sexually assault them…40 percent of police sexual misconduct cases involved teenagers and 34 percent happened during a traffic stop….[cops also] exploit young women…through Police Explorer programs…[and] sexually assault female high school interns in ride-alongs…a case of sexual misconduct by a police officer crop[s] up every five days.  And according to a 2013 study, 41 percent of police sexual violence cases were committed by repeat-offending [cops]…some…move across jurisdictions and keep their certificate despite their history of sexual violence, in what is known as the “officer shuffle”…

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By creating the impression that they are helpless slaves who need rescuing from the hands of criminals, [prohibitionists] propagate a myth that all informal work that helps migrants to survive is illicit and should be prohibited.  –  Mike Dottridge

Feminine Pragmatism 

Ruhama mouthpiece first admits women do sex work for money, then remembers their moronic “demand-driven” model:

Financial pressure will lead more women into prostitution over Christmas…[prohibitionist group Ruhama admitted].  There is expected to be a “surge” in women who will feel compelled to sell sex in the coming weeks to cope with the financial demands of the festive season…The majority of the women are involved in the so-called “indoor sex trade”…while one-third are involved in the on-street sex industry…Ruth Breslin…[of] Ruhama [kept her hand in her underwear while breathlessly panting about “pimps” and fantasizing]…that as it is a demand-driven industry, perhaps more men pay for sex at Christmas…”Most men don’t buy sex but there are some who see it as the same as paying for any other service, they are very much treating the women as products”…

Even ignoring this woman’s disgusting masturbatory fantasies about sex workers that she feels compelled to share in public, there is so much disinformation here it’s almost mind-boggling. Street workers make up only about 10-12% of all sex workers, not a third.  Business isn’t more plentiful at Christmas (as literally any whore could tell you); it’s slower because men are spending their money on gifts and year-end bills such as property taxes, etc. and also have less free time due to family obligations.  Most men have indeed paid for sex, and no they don’t treat women as “products”; in fact they treat us better than they treat amateurs like this silly wanker, which may be the source of her jealousy.  And so on…

Enabling Oppression

A good criticism of “slavery” talk from Mike Dottridge in Laura Agustín’s blog:

…a slave is defined as a person who is the legal property of another or can be treated as such: they can be bought, sold, traded or inherited.  A slave is a personal possession – a chattel…Using the term Modern Slavery precipitates us into name-and-shame mode, pointing the finger at governments and businesses which tolerate it…So, instead of the Development/cooperation paradigm that was dominant in the second half of the 20th century…we revert back to the 19th-century idea that some uncivilised countries require pressure from civilised ones to abandon unacceptable practices…In the minds of people in Western Europe and the Americas, the word slavery refers to the transatlantic slave trade.  Using the term for levels of exploitation which do not meet the legal definition trivialises historical chattel slavery and reduces any sense of responsibility in countries that benefited from it.  This fits neatly into the agenda of white supremacists who dismiss contemporary racism and discrimination against the descendants of slaves…

Moving Pictures 

I wonder how many of these Reefer Madness-style fakumentaries there will be before the hysteria ends?

On the Road explores the lives of the people who live and work alongside the Strada Bonifica, the ironically named “road of love”, on the Adriatic coast of Italy.  The nine-mile (15km) road has historically been a place of sex work and has recently seen a massive increase in the number of Nigerian women working alongside it – some of whom have been trafficked into the country and forced into prostitution.  The film moves between the women’s stories, the [NIMBY] Italians who live and work nearby…and the local NGO that attempts to [exploit] the women…Recruited from Nigeria…the women are tricked into leaving…They are saddled with an unpayable debt and are often terrified into silence by “Juju” voodoo rituals.  The women are beaten by their madams if they refuse to work.  On the Road is the name of a [prohibitionist group] that has been working to [profit from hysteria around] the sex workers for the last 20 years…

Nothing New

I called this one three years ago:

One Born Every Minute (#724) 

This scumbag might never have received his comeuppance but for the diligence of reporter Sydney Brownstone:

Matt Hickey, the former tech journalist who masqueraded as a porn scout to trick women into having sex with him during fake “auditions”…pleaded guilty to three felonies and fourth degree assault after six women came forward to accuse him of rape.  He faces up to 34 months in prison for his most serious conviction of indecent liberties, far fewer than he would face for his original rape charges.  Still, his guilty plea means that he will have to register as a sex offender.  Hickey has been in jail since October of 2016, after he was extradited from Las Vegas while on the run from accusations that dogged him here in Seattle…The Washington State Attorney General sued Hickey over the porn scam, and a judge fined Hickey more than $300,000 in violations of state consumer protection laws…

Cops and Robbers (#764) 

If this BBC reporter wasn’t going to talk to any local sex workers, why even come here? He could’ve copied this prohibitionist propaganda from his fellow parrots without even leaving London:

You can find “her” number within fake messages placed alongside real ads on websites popular with those looking to buy sex…the bot will tell you she is nervous and check that her [supposed under]age [status] is “cool with you”.  If you say yes, that’s when it [starts vomiting disgusting prohibitionist fantasies all over you]…Robert Beiser from Seattle Against Slavery [shares his vile prohibitionist masturbatory fantasy that paying for sexual services is] “buy[ing] another human being”…

The rest of the article is mostly parroting of the usual prohibitionist fantasies and lurid stalking of the sex workers on Aurora Avenue, who aren’t advertising in the venues where these prohibitionists are hiding their wankbot.

Prudesville (#774) 

Everett, WA is trying to defend its sick need to control women’s clothing as “feminism”:

Baristas, whose uniforms consist of bikinis, are heading to federal court…to argue that their First Amendment rights have been violated by…officials in one Washington city who implemented two [censorship] ordinances aimed at [women making money in a way politicians dislike]…“The Constitution doesn’t allow the government to regulate the content of speech because the government disagrees with it,” [said] Derek Newman, an attorney representing one of the baristas..Everett lawmakers have been steamed about the coffee stands for years – arguing everything from obscenity to mob ties – officials are [trying] a new [bullshit] argument…“The male gaze on bikinied women is on the continuum of sexualization of women,” wrote [a prohibitionist hired gun]… “When you make the body a commodity, and sex a product which you sell, one outcome is sexual violence…If you can sell it, you can steal it”…

Yes, that’s the “feminist” version of “women who dress like sluts are asking to be raped”.

To Molest and Rape (#780) 

But bad cops are only a tiny, atypical minority, a “few bad apples”:

A group of NYPD cops showed up at the hospital where an 18-year-old woman was seeking treatment after…being raped by two Brooklyn detectives, in a bid to bully her out of bringing [rape] charges, her lawyer [reported].  “They came with nine cops to intimidate her and her mom”…[said] Michael David…One [pig] in particular…kept saying…”How do you know they were real cops?”…“Didn’t you make complaints about cops before?”…and…“You don’t know what you’re talking about”…The young woman…was raped [both vaginally and orally] by…[rapist cops] Richard Hall and Eddie Martins in the back seat of their police van while she was handcuffed…Hall…and Martins…admitted [raping] her…but [trotted out the typical ludicrous pig fantasy that] it was consensual…

All-Purpose Excuse (#783)

It’s refreshing to see so many questioning the “human trafficking” narrative, albeit cautiously:

…Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has stood by her decision to assign three [cops] to provide traffic control during a federal immigration operation…Kirkpatrick [pretends]…that the early-morning raid on Aug. 16 by…ICE…involved “human trafficking” and was not a deportation case.  However, the raid only resulted in the arrest of one person, Santos de Leon, for being an undocumented immigrant.  And HSI/ICE officials have publicly acknowledged that de Leon was not involved in human trafficking or any other criminal matter and is now facing civil deportation proceedings…ICE and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have never successfully prosecuted a human trafficking case…from Oakland during the past 10 years…As such, there is no reason to believe that the current HSI/ICE investigation will result in…a…conviction…In recent years, [prohibitionists and the government] have expanded the definition of human trafficking to the point that it no longer means what many people think it means.  The term “human trafficking” conjures images of people being transported in shipping containers and forced to do labor or sold as sex slaves…the…expanded meaning of “human trafficking,” in which people who help immigrants get into the country or provide them with a place to work or live are considered “human traffickers”…

Buried Truth (#793) 

Did he really think more than 30 bodies would stay buried?

Disgraced Ohio state Rep. Wes Goodman…is being accused…of sexual misconduct…[by] over 30 individuals…many people have long been aware of Goodman’s…behavior that is very different than his…“family man” persona…Goodman has a reputation of reaching out to those involved in politics via Facebook Messenger — but things tend to quickly turn south, as he has been known to flirt with men, solicit sex, and even send pictures of his genitals…The majority of the people he targets are between the ages of 18 and 24 and have had very little interaction with him personally…Goodman apparently offered to be a “mentor” for those looking to get into politics.  Because of the power he had, his victims say they were afraid to report instances of abuse for fear of damaging their own political careers…

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“Sex addiction”…is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.  –   Angela Mollard

Friday the Thirteenth 

Deviant Ollam, who designed our “McNeill/Matisse 2020” T-shirts, tells hackers why they should support sex workers:

Sex workers face many of the same stigmas that hackers do.  In addition to being misunderstood by the general public so often that they may choose to not even self-identify publicly unless they are in “safe” environments and surrounded by their own kind, the mainstream portrayal of such groups of people is riddled with the most ostentatious and over-blown stereotypes…If we search for the word “hacker” what are we going to see for the results?…Black hoodies and balaclavas everywhere.  The stock image sites are among the worst offenders, as always.  But that’s what editors (and, by extension, their readership) sees in their mind when they hear the word “hacker.”  By and large, we are seen as scary, malicious, and out to cause mayhem.  Let’s try a google image search for “prostitute” now…Is it much of a surprise to anyone that the trope of the “at-risk street walker” is far-and-away the most returned image?…I put it to you that the “prostitutes” in these photos are no more representative of the sex work population than the “hackers” in the earlier images are of our own community…

Enabling Oppression

I’m glad a few people recognize how loathsome it is to use talk of “slavery” to oppose human rights:

…The click bait power of slavery and human trafficking, often encouraged by sensationalist headlines such as “victims branded like cattle”, operates to obscure real problems.  This is tied up with how we label people.  People entering the UK illegally, for example, are characterised as one of two types: either they are seen as undesirable migrants, or else as victims of slavery.  Our use of such labels – “slave”, “trafficking victim”, “refugee”, “migrant” – highlights our need to distinguish between those who deserve protection and those who don’t…the continued use of the idea of slavery to invoke an emotive response…promotes overly simplistic solutions – such as awareness raising campaigns…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Men, women and children took to the streets of Newcastle to make a stand against human trafficking.  With their mouths taped shut, more than 100 people dressed in black walked in single file through the city centre down to the Quayside on Saturday, stopping briefly to make a silent demonstration at the Monument…One of the Newcastle Walk for Freedom organisers, Rachel Jobes…said: “When we say this is a crime that’s happening under our noses we aren’t exaggerating.  We [fantasize] there have been trafficking victims in nail bars, held as slaves in parts of our city and we [masturbate to thoughts of] people…sexually exploited on the streets where we walked”…

Available Weapon

How can people read this and still think prostitution laws are a good idea?

…in Henrico County, Virginia…the number of female inmates at the county jail has more than doubled in the past year…due to…an intensifying police crackdown on sex workers and on people with drug dependence issues…[prosecutor] Michael Feinmel…claims that…these people are a nuisance to the public…or pose an immediate danger to themselves.  But this isn’t true.  Henrico County vice cops go out of their way to arrest these women…They troll online ads, reach out to sex workers pretending to be customers, and rent rooms at local motels where they can lure these women in order to arrest them…They do this under the guise of fighting “human trafficking,” but it’s just punishing women who sell sex…

Moloch (#572)

State actors keep trying to crucify a young man after their first attempt to destroy him failed:

Zach Anderson, the young man…whose harsh punishment for consensual sex with an underage teenager he wrongly believed was 17 made headlines around the country in 2015, has been arrested for violating his probation…He stopped by for dinner at his parents’ home.  His younger brother was present, and incidentally, so was the brother’s friend.  The brother thought this friend was 19 years old, but he turned out to be just 17.  Anderson, unfortunately, is not allowed to have contact with anybody under the age of 18, except his own siblings.  There was one other thing.  Anderson works on the tech team at his local church.  Recently, a 17-year-old girl joined the church staff as an intern.  While Anderson has never met or spoken with her, the fact that they volunteer on separate teams at the church is a violation of his probation, according to officials who issued a warrant for his arrest last week…Possible outcomes range from dismissing the charges to extending probation, putting Anderson on the sex offender registry, sending him to prison, or any combination thereof…

Guinea Pigs (#634) 

Don’t feel left out, amateurs; they’ll get around to you next:

PornHub…uses a tagging system to categorize all its content…But videos already outpace humans’ ability to keep up and tag everything, and so the site is turning to help from software…using facial ID tech not unlike that which Facebook, Amazon, and other media entities apply…There’s nothing illegal about making…from porn…[but] it’s…not a line of work one really discusses in-depth with the neighbors.  Performers, especially amateurs, may well prefer to keep their public, working persona separated from the name and identity they use in private life…[so] this particular use of facial recognition is a privacy disaster in the making…A video that has been uploaded and tagged on PornHub won’t necessarily stay on the service, but will instead travel the internet — and bring the performer’s auto-tagged name along with it.  There’s also the entire challenge of revenge porn…although the site has tried to make it easier for victims to report content and have it removed, it still exists on the site until or unless someone flags it…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t limit themselves to women:

A…Pennsylvania…[cop] will serve no more than two years — and possibly less than one — for [repeat]edly raping two boys and threatening to kill them.  David Turkos…accepted a plea agreement in June on misdemeanor charges…His two victims came forward as teenagers and told police that Turkos began sexually abusing them in 2001, when they were 6 and 4 years old…Turkos threatened to hurt their mother and pets or take away their toys if they revealed the abuse.  One of the boys told police that Turkos choked him and used zip ties to restrain him during the abuse, and…held a hand over his mouth to muffle his screams.  “I hope you die — you’re a piece of crap,” Turkos told one of the boys…Turkos frequently pointed his gun at the brothers to frighten them…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#645)

Say what you like about Larry Flynt, but he’s a dedicated foe of tyranny:

…Larry Flynt is offering “up to $10 million” to anyone who produces information that leads to President Donald Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.  He lays out the offer in a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#671)

I may soon need to come up with a heading for stories that combine “sex addiction” nonsense with “sex robot” nonsense:

…sex experts say vibrators–no matter how technologically advanced they become—will never surpass human intercourse.  What’s more, they say any addiction to automated sex is downright impossible.  “The term addiction is often misused,” Dr. Kat Van Kirk…says…”A true addiction would mean the behavior would negatively affect the person’s day-to-day life…and using it to the exclusion of intimate live partner play.”  She says there’s “absolutely no research” to indicate vibrators’ addictive properties…Nicolette Heidegger…said that her clients often raise the question—a result of our collective 21st century fear that sex dolls…could one day replace actual intimacy…between humans…But “the fact of the matter is that there is no empirical data to support the claim that you can become physiologically or biologically addicted to a sex toy”…

The Maze of Consent

Attempts by “authorities” to negate the consent of adult women via psychobabble won’t stop with sex workers:

Forced into sex with large groups of strangers, stripped of their freedom and ferried from house to house by their controlling pimps, the story of how a group of vulnerable young women were turned into modern day slaves is brutal and uncompromising…thanks to the efforts of Greater Manchester Police officers the women were eventually freed and the gang who had trafficked them jailed…Why had these women – alone, afraid and forced into degrading and unsafe sex…never tried to escape their pimps?…police in Manchester turned to a leading expert in trauma to help them understand.  His report…paints a bleak picture in which the victims of the case were portrayed as being “brainwashed” into “childlike dependency” through controlling behaviour…Dr Michael Korzinski…[fantasized that] “Trafficking robs the victim of the most basic modes of relating to reality”…

Between the Lines (#782)

The Unsinkable Liz Brown looks at this year’s “Operation Cross Country”:

The FBI just wrapped up its 11th annual “Operation Cross Country,” a massive multi-day vice sting conducted under the guise of stopping sexual predators…The media will largely lap up this sensationalist pageantry, as it has in previous years.  And once again, everyone will ignore the real victims of Operation Cross Country: the vulnerable women and girls tricked, frightened, robbed, detained, arrested, incarcerated, and otherwise mistreated by police and federal agents as part of this sick charade that claims to help them…[they] have any money they have on then taken by the cops…may spend days in jail (and away from families or day jobs) before even going to court…have their names and mugshots plastered all over local news and online (sometimes in conjunction with degrading details and comments from cops); and…face court fees, fines, and a criminal record…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#783) 

If you get caught paying for sex, you may be charged with “sex trafficking”.  But cops?

In an Oakland case…most were let off the hook, including three…whose cases were dismissed last week…NYPD [cop]…Raul Olmeda was indicted this week for allegedly paying a teen girl to have sex with him on multiple occasions and filming the sexual activity…Denver Police Department…[cop] Zachery Phillips…was recently given a 15-day suspension without pay after admitting to an encounter with a sex worker…The woman…was…charged with prostitution and possession of a controlled substance…in Cleveland…Mark Reilly is back on the job after spending 10 days in jail for paying for sex…In Vermont, police dispatcher Earl Benway was charged with paying for oral sex and leaking information to the sex worker he paid…And, finally, Abraham Flores Galvan…in Tunnel Hill, Georgia…was caught in his own colleagues’ sting operation [last] Thursday.  Galvan responded to an online ad posted by [wanker cops pretending]…to be a teenager under age 18…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#783) 

Weinstein has inadvertently made it possible to publicly attack “sex addiction” as malarkey:

…I am not a sex addict but my attendance at an SLAA meeting was part of a six-week investigation I undertook into sex addiction for a British newspaper.  Posing as a PR girl who went out several times a week to pick up men, I sought help via a psychotherapist, a phone counsellor and one of the world’s most reputable rehab clinics.  My conclusion?  That “sex addiction” — the malady Harvey Weinstein claims is responsible for his deplorable behaviour — is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions…

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We have been so brainwashed by talk of trafficking that we imagine we see it everywhere.  –  Lenore Skenazy

Enabling Oppression

It’s hard to get more vile and disgusting than white prohibitionists using the names of dead black icons to support campaigns of oppression that disproportionately affect black people.  Most of this is a typical Julie Bindel smear screed, referring to sex worker rights advocates as “pimps” and “pro-prostitution pressure groups” (Bindel, you may remember, is the one who says Brooke Magnanti and I, along with Amnesty International and a corpse, are the heads of the imaginary “pimp lobby”).  But here’s the money quote, edited for clarity and truth:

…The [prohibitionists fantasize about an imaginary Utopia]…free from prostitution.  Many are keen to campaign for the introduction of a law to criminalise the demand.  “These men [sex buyers] have a comfortable life,” says one of the women, “after they [complete a mundane business transaction] they go back to their homes and their wives.  We want them to be exposed [as people who conduct business transactions]”…”Mandela would understand,” says [one prohibitionist] “I seriously believe that if we had gone to him …he would have [supported police violence against peaceful people having consensual sex]”…

The Notorious Badge

I’d be interested in hearing what actual sex workers think of this show:

Somewhere in the vast terrain between the hooker-as-fairytale-princess fantasy of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and the prim, grim Victorian sociology of Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Woman of the Streets lies Harlots, Hulu’s odd but engrossing new drama about life inside an 18th-century London brothel.  Screenwriter Moira Buffini, one of the five British women who produce, write, and direct Harlots, said in unveiling the project that the goal was “everything from the whore’s-eye view.”  The result is that the women in Harlots are neither glamorous courtesans nor broken flowers, and their depiction is never erotic…

A Narrow View (#25)

Mark Draughn on the hypocrisy of arresting underage sex workers under guise of “helping” them:

Is it really necessary to send cops with guns to forcibly “help” people?  And even if you think it’s necessary to coerce child victims of sex trafficking into accepting social services, can’t you do it without giving them a criminal record?…There are better alternatives. We know this because non-governmental organizations like the Sex Work Outreach Project (SWOP) don’t have arrest powers, and they’ve been doing outreach to sex workers for years…Here in Chicago, the Young Women’s Empowerment Project spent years studying ways to help young women in the sex trade, and they had some useful observations, especially about what they call institutional violence

Profound Ignorance 

This is at least less harmful than the usual ignorance-based sex work “study”, though no less stupid:

To get a feel for what a certain dollar amount can get someone seeking escort services, we averaged 277 images of Las Vegas escorts using face-morphing software and organized them by price point…beauty is not only affected by our personal preferences but is also shaped by our culture…When looking at the women in our composite comparison, the most expensive female escort seems to have more refined features…She also has lighter skin and looks much younger than the woman charging $10 to $99 per hour for her services…

More beautiful escorts are more in demand and can therefore charge more. Gee, who’d have guessed?

Micromanagement

Please, ladies, don’t be so stupid as to give cops evidence they can & will use against you:

Sara Katsanis, a bioethicist at Duke University…was surprised to hear of a program initiated by Dallas [cops] to collect DNA from truck-stop sex workers to solve hypothetical future crimes…Voluntarily give a DNA sample now, the program promised, and if it’s your dead body, at least your family will know.  Can sex workers truly consent when it’s police doing the asking?…The program, which was first proposed in 2007, had done a very small survey and found women universally willing to contribute their DNA with no major concerns.  “So the ethicist [part of me] said, ‘Oh really, no concerns?,’’ recounted Katsanis.  “And who asked?  Oh the police”…So she and a colleague, Jennifer Wagner, went down to Dallas, to talk to the sex workers themselves, without [Porky Pig] in the room…

Case Study

Dysphemisms and gawking abound in UK articles about sex work:

A Fulham brothel operator and head of a London sex empire is facing jail after he admitted a series of crimes including making money from prostitution and human trafficking.  David Archer…pleaded guilty…to running a string of brothels, trafficking women and controlling their profiles on adult websites…Detective Sergeant John Kirby [drooled]…”Archer exploited vulnerable women to build his lucrative empire in the sex industry over a number of years…once he lured the women, they were instructed to pose for explicit photos, and in some cases forced to engage in sexual activity…Neighbours describe seeing women as young as 18 “dancing naked in the garden” before [one] brothel was shut…

Nice While It Lasted

What could possibly go wrong?

Senior council figures have backed plans to give officials the power to dish out £100 [trial-free] fines for drinking, begging and urinating…[the due-process-free penalties are to be euphemistically labeled] Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)…the orders would allow police…and council officers to issue instant £100 fines for anyone [they claim committed] one of several anti-social behaviour offences in the areas…deputy council leader…Clyde Loakes [lied]…“This is not an attack on homeless people…this is not infringing human rights”…A third PSPO, aimed at curbing street prostitution, has also been proposed for the Lea Bridge area of Leyton…

Signs 

This woman calls bruises and rope burns “signs of trafficking”. I call them “signs of a fun evening”:

…the Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force recently unveiled two training mannequins that exhibit common physical signs of human trafficking, including bruising, rope burns and possessive tattoos, said Cathy Knauf…She said the tattoos are usually not professionally done and say “Daddy” or are a UPC bar code.  “It shows ownership by the trafficker that this is his property,” she said.  She said the task force started collecting money for Freethem Ink, which will pay to have a survivor’s tattoo changed into something beautiful or removed…

Lies Piled on Lies

Nebraska is vying with Washington, Arizona and Florida to be the state which produces the stupidest “sex trafficking” nonsense:

Seven score and 14 years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a different form of slavery lingers in the United States…human trafficking…ensnares children as young as 13 in the sex industry…Glen Parks [a pig mouthpiece, bloviated while secretly masturbating]…“It’s treating someone like you own them, like they’re an object”…The [pig] who pulls over a suspect transporting three inappropriately dressed and unrelated teenage girls, needs [to lock the girls up]…he said…“We can train motel workers to spot the signs of sex trafficking.  These victims get sick more than most, and must be taken to a clinic or a hospital, where if nurses are trained to spot the signs they can [rat them out]”…Connie Lofgreen, a sex addiction [profiteer] in Omaha, [pearl-clutched] that pornography is a “theater” of trafficking…“You don’t know when you look at pornography if that person is participating as a willing participant.  You don’t know that they’re not a minor or that they haven’t been trafficked in from another country.”  Lofgreen said an entire generation of men has developed an addiction to pornography, and that like all addicts they need increasingly stronger doses, a process that sometimes causes them to drift into child pornography…

Under Every Bed (#669)

We’ve heard all these lies before; this is only notable for the sheer density of bullshit, and the fact that it’s claimed to take place in a state with a smaller population than Greater Seattle:

Amber Lawrence…travels…Iowa [for] Teens Against Human Trafficking…trying to protect young people from being “Taken” down a heartbreaking road in which life expectancy is a stark seven years…an educational exhibit…features art of young women in a cage, an empty pair of silver high heels, and an abandoned teddy bear symbolizing loss of innocence…as a college freshman at 19, she had been the target of an attempted human trafficking incident…

An “attempted human trafficking incident”.  You know, like in “The Widening Gyre” below.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

With mascots dressed as smiling fish and a police rock band, Thai authorities launched a “Happy Zone”…to [sanitize] the image of a city [known] for sex tourism…the…sex…industry…remains economically vital while being officially excoriated…The latest of many crackdowns in Pattaya happened…last month…A handful of bars were raided.  Bar owners and working women were fined.  Scared to venture out, tourists…stayed in hotels.  Street vendors and shops saw sales tumble.  The money which flows to all levels in the city – including law enforcement agencies – fell off.  The Happy Zone approach is a softer way to try to [pretend] that something is being done…Apichai Krobpetch, chief of Pattaya city police, [said] “We will also stamp out prostitution in the area”…

Guinea Pigs (#723) 

More on the “banks looking for whores to rat out to the pigs” evil from last week:

…banks have become adept at mining data to comply with anti-money-laundering regulations.  Much of that same data can also be used to detect signs of human trafficking…Some financial patterns that could potentially indicate human trafficking include credit card purchases on some classified-ad sites, several individuals with a common address depositing money into the same account, or multiple accounts transferring money to the same beneficiary…analytics tools can also cross-reference customer phone numbers to see if those same numbers appear on classified-ad pages where illegal services might be sold…

“Multiple accounts transferring money to the same beneficiary”.  You know, like when different people pay for purchases from one company.

The Widening Gyre (#723) 

Lenore Skenazy’s take on yet another hysterical “sex trafficking” fantasy:

89,000 shares of this piece from ForEveryMom…”Diandra Toyos is a Southern California mom of three kiddos aged 4, 1.5, and 7 weeks.  Looking for a fun outing, she and her mom decided to take the kids to their local IKEA recently to do some couch shopping…But Toyos never could have imagined that their lighthearted shopping trip was about to take a sinister turn“…This “My kids were about to be trafficked, I just KNOW it” post is so shockingly similar to last week’s “My kids were about to be trafficked, I just KNOW it” post that it feels…creepy.  A lot creepier than being at Ikea where a couple of men glance at my kids…What, two men are going to grab two or three kids, all under age 7, IN PUBLIC, in a camera-filled IKEA, with the MOM and the GRANDMA right there, not to mention a zillion other fans of Swedish furnishings?…You can TELL nothing happened, because the whole thing was described as an “incident”.  And Lenore’s #1 Rule of Reporting is: When something is called an “incident,” it’s because nothing happened…

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It’s the oldest profession in the world for a reason.  –  Jami Rodman

A Moral Cancer smoking ban cartoon

As a lass, I never imagined there was a Western culture more puritanical than the US:

Sweden needs to limit the number of public spaces where people are allowed to smoke, according to a lengthy review of tobacco laws… “One should not be exposed to the temptation to smoke,” concluded the report’s author Göran Lundahl…It suggests that legislation should be extended to include “certain public places outdoors, such as café and restaurant terraces, entrances to establishments and other spaces to which the public has access”…The review also argues that e-cigarettes, herbal cigarettes and other products which simulate tobacco smoking should be banned…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

I don’t think I need to tell you that there’s absolutely no evidence for these claims, even if they constituted a valid argument for censorship (which they don’t):

Children as young as five are sexually abusing their peers after being exposed to pornography, a Senate inquiry has been told.  In chilling evidence that would shock parents, a [former] child development expert has outlined a [parade] of cases where primary school aged children were coercing classmates into performing sex acts including intercourse.  University of South Australia Emeritus Professor Freda Briggs…cited her own work that found fathers were watching online porn with their young sons for “fun” because “that’s what guys do”.  The prevalence of internet pornography — especially how children can stumble on it while innocently doing homework — has alarmed…[the] inquiry [on] the harm it is causing children, including sexualising them at a young age…Senator Back said he was keen to explore what could be done to protect children, including seeing whether technological advances had made internet-wide filtering possible…

Note that Australia dumped a countrywide censorship plan as unworkable four years ago.

A Whore in Church 

Sex worker tells preacher exactly why she does sex work; preacher ignores her and blathers about imaginary “pimps” instead:

New Day Ministry Pastor Helen Wolfe…[pretends that] prostitutes proposition her church members before and after church services.  “These ladies are literally chasing them to the front door,” she said…[this wonderful Christian threatened] one of them, “Somebody is going to cut you up, somebody is going to kill you…Tell the pimps I’m coming after them.”  One of the ladies agreed to come inside the sanctuary and share her story…”I had a good job, a nice home, car, everything, and I got really badly hurt and got on pain pills.”  She…[is] no longer be addicted to drugs but continues to work as a prostitute because she can’t find another job…”The pimps are now getting into my pocket,” Helen said. “Now the daycare is decreasing because…they say they get chased down by the prostitutes.  I’m going to flip this and get in the pimp’s pocket.”  Pastor Helen plans to start taking pictures of people involved in criminal activity outside her church, including the men who pick up the prostitutes, and sending them to the police…

Enabling Oppression

What could be more outrageous and tone-deaf than prohibitionists trying to link their campaign to increase state control over individuals with the drive to end slavery?  How about linking support for an increasingly-violent and all-pervasive police state with a famous victim of such a state?

[Rescue industry-supporting BDSM fantasist “One-Hand”] Kristof and [violent prohibitionist “Cuckoo Clock”] McCain were presented with the 2015 Anne Frank Award and the Anne Frank Special Recognition Award, respectively, for their work fighting [advertising websites and consensual sex between adults]…The award ceremony took place February 25 in the Members Room of the Library of Congress…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Accurate headline: “Life Continues As Usual When Foreign Politicians Visit City

As politicians grappled with Britain’s EU future at a crunch summit, other more sordid deals were being thrashed out nearby.  David Cameron was locked in talks at the European Parliament as the Brussels’ sex trade was ­thriving from an influx of well-off EU politicans and officials…­hundreds of prostitutes from Romania, Albania and Bulgaria were plying their trade.  Flooding in to meet ­increased ­demand ­at the time of top EU ­meetings, they blew kisses to ­smart-suited men trawling the ­fleshpots of Rue d’Aerschot.  Some offered “40 euros for one sex position or 50 for several”…

Catastrophic Consequences

Much more of this, please:

The Crown Office has dropped the cases against eleven people charged with brothel offences, prompting criticism of Police Scotland for its high profile raids on Edinburgh’s saunas.  Six men and five women were set for a court hearing in November, but prosecutors backed off and have now abandoned the proceedings.  Many of Edinburgh’s saunas have effectively operated as brothels since the mid-1980s.  The approach had the tacit support of the former Lothian and Borders police force and the council in Edinburgh, which provided saunas with public entertainment licenses…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#431)

Indonesian officials decide to prevent a repeat of the Dolly fiasco by means of extreme violence:

One of Indonesia’s oldest red-light districts was demolished in an operation overseen by hundreds of police and troops…Dozens of illegal bars and brothels along a…strip in north Jakarta…known…as Kalijodo…were reduced to rubble by excavators….leaving behind nothing but splintered wood, brick and old mattresses…North Jakarta Mayor Rustam Effendi…said…the demolition would make way for a public park.  “There was open prostitution there and all kinds of other things as a result, like liquor,” he [said]…During the eviction of residents over the past week, police seized and destroyed large quantities of alcohol…The government last week instructed local authorities to shut down an estimated 100 red-light districts across the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country…

Shift in the Wind (#451)

Fraught With Complications

Here’s a good, thorough article on what to do if you fall in love with a whore:

So you met a hooker and at first you were cool with it.  You didn’t freak out when they first told you about their job and you didn’t freak them out with your response.  You started seeing each other and maybe you had some reservations but figured you would…talk them into your way of thinking…Or you figured whatever you had with them wasn’t so serious so it didn’t need to be a big deal…But…Over time and as your feelings for them have grown, you’ve found your acceptance for their job has diminished…So now what?…

Welcome To Our World (#588)

Maybe the Times thinks if it backs away slowly enough, nobody will notice:

When New York Times editors were defending the paper’s two-part series on alleged labor abuses in nail salons last year, they repeatedly pointed to the high rate of violations uncovered by a state inspection task force…A spokesperson for the paper later used the same defense when responding to my own critical appraisal of the nail salon series.  After Bernstein and I demonstrated that the original articles…by…Sarah Maslin Nir…were filled with blatant mischaracterizations and misquotes from key sources…theeditors clung to the notion that the state’s findings demonstrated that Nir basically got the story right.  Now the Times has taken a close look at those labor inspections and discovered that they “reveal another reality” that doesn’t match up with Nir’s findings.  As reporters Russ Buettner and Kim Barker explain, immigrant nail salon owners were often tripped up by the technicalities of New York State wage and hour regulations…”In two dozen cases, for instance, owners paid employees an equivalent of at least the state minimum wage and overtime for the hours they worked, but because they did not correctly account for the overtime hours, they were still cited for underpayment…”  If you exclude those two dozen cases, Buettner and Barker report that 67 nail salons, or a little more than one quarter of those investigated by the state, paid less than the minimum wage.  And of those 67, 25 missed the mark by less than $50.  In other words, the original Times story argued that three-quarter of nail salons in New York paid less than the minimum wage, but the state inspections have found roughly the opposite to be true…

Too Close To Home

Once again, the Seattle Times demonstrated its deep prohibitionism and disgusting obsequiousness by publishing this asinine regurgitation of prohibitionist feces its editors eagerly lapped off the boots of King County cops and prosecutors.  And when Mistress Matisse called those editors out via Twitter for publishing lies that five minutes of high-school-level Googling would have disproven, they either ignored her or doubled down defending this dumpster fire of an editorial.  Fortunately, not every reporter in Seattle feels that “journalism” is a synonym for “fellating authority”; Sydney Brownstone of The Stranger responded thus:

…it’s clear that the Ed Board…has not interrogated the sex work “research” cited by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg very deeply…The “age of entry” myth—a common one—has been challenged by sex work advocates and research from anti-trafficking group Polaris…the “local” research being cited by Satterberg’s office….[is] a collection of studies that drew flawed, biased conclusions about sex work and trafficking based on small sample sizes of populations that already skewed heavily toward victims of abuse or street workers…when I asked legislators to send me research about the claim that sex workers often come from a background of abuse, I was forwarded a letter from local anthropologist-activist Debra Boyer that incorrectly cited…a famed book on trauma research…[which] had used clinical vignettes from sex workers already in trauma treatment to illustrate the idea that survivors of child abuse are vulnerable to revictimization…[it] did not claim that a majority or plurality of sex workers came from backgrounds of abuse…Even if sex workers did have histories of sexual abuse or assault—histories that many women share, regardless of their occupations—does that mean they’re incapable of making decisions in their own best interest?…

The Public Eye (#608)

Another shrug-inducing interview with Jami Rodman.  At the risk of sounding conceited, I have to tell you there’s nothing here I haven’t covered before (and in greater detail, and far more eloquently); however, I’m still glad to see the facts of our lives getting out there from as many sources as possible, and her conclusion was strong.

Book Reviews (#616)

Some people are just so hateful:

…On the 18th of February, my follower count was 34,872.  It started going up sharply, by about 500 a day…I remembered seeing a tweet from @Popehat from a few years ago.  Someone had maliciously bought the account thousands of followers; this is something people do so they can report the account for the fakes, and try to get them kicked off Twitter.  I DM’d a couple of people with experience of both being the target of online harassment and of communicating with Twitter.  The response was unanimous: someone is trying to get you banned. Lock your account and start deleting the fake followers…Publishers increasingly expect authors to use social media presence to publicise their work to readers.  My publisher likes that social media is embedded in my writing and that I engage with a lot of people online – without the Internet, I would never have become a writer at all…By Friday night the Twitter follower count was touching 40k with no sign of slowing.  I didn’t have much choice anymore.  I locked the account and started blocking the bots and declining the hundreds of follow requests from fakes coming in.  This is an ongoing effort. If you have recently followed me and find yourself blocked, I apologise — there are going to be some false positives in this process…

I wish my friend the best, and I encourage all of you to support her writing in the most pragmatic fashion possible.

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I have never met anybody who says there will be a day when no one is selling sexual services for money. You will never stop it.  –  Jean Urquhart

Think of the Children! 

No doubt the child was contaminated with sex rays!

A Scottsdale, Arizona private school kicked out a five-year-old boy the day before starting kindergarten…because his dad once worked in porn.  Jay Grdina is now a millionaire CEO of Dolce Bevuto…But before moving into the “lifestyle beverage” industry, Grdina ran the website ClubJenna.com with ex-wife Jenna Jameson…Grdina no longer works in the adult industry, and he also remarried (model Erin Naas) and had two children. Grdina told TMZ that the family enrolled their son Jayden at Scottsdale Christian Academy (SCA) in May after a six-month process of applications and interviews…

Enabling Oppression

I’m glad more people are seeing how loathsome it is for prohibitionists to link sex work to historical American black slavery:

For anti-prostitution campaigns pushing for the criminalization of the sex industry, “slavery” has been decontextualized from Black struggle and repurposed to describe [sex work]…Mobilizing slavery in this way has always seemed a deeply disrespectful appropriation of Black suffering, disrespectful both to our deceased ancestors and to our still-endangered lives as Black folks.  But by hijacking the terminology of slavery, even widely referring to themselves as “abolitionists”, anti-sex work campaigners have not only (successfully) campaigned for funding and legal reform; but they do so without any tangible connections to historical or current Black political movements against state violence.  Indeed in pushing for criminalization, they are often undermining those most harmed by the legacy of slavery…

End Demand

I’m rather glad to see the return of “criminal whore” rhetoric:

…Fall River…stings were sporadic and usually only targeted the would-be customers.  “That’s the wrong approach,” Fall River Police Chief Daniel S. Racine said…undercover [pigs] are now frequently, almost on a weekly basis, driving unmarked vehicles while patrolling areas known for prostitution activity…looking for both the street prostitutes and the johns, and arresting them.  “We’re looking to deter prostitution on both ends, the supply and the demand,” said Racine, who acknowledged that the police department will not completely eliminate what is often called the world’s oldest profession…[a clueless business owner] said…“A lot of the customers are from out of town, and I don’t want to give them that image of Fall River, as if that’s the type of neighborhoods we have, because it’s not”…

In other words, he wants “that type” of neighborhood “cleaned up” so as to prove it never existed.

Pearls Firmly Clutched Fast Girl

Her escorting was “caused” by being bipolar?  Really, Suzy?

…Suzy Favor Hamilton…was a three-time track and field Olympian who had been featured in magazines and who also had a loving family – so fans were shocked in 2012 when she was outed as a high-end escort in Las Vegas.  In her new memoir, Fast Girl, Hamilton says that her bipolar disorder, which had not yet been diagnosed, caused her shocking behavior.  “My bipolar was driven toward sex.  It could have been driven towards drugs and alcohol, or gambling.  I found sex was the biggest high to fuel my mania, which is common with bipolar people,” Hamilton tells People

Catastrophic Consequences (#407)

Jean Urquhart, MSP moves beyond merely “calling for debate”:

Sex workers and charities across Scotland are rallying behind an MSP’s proposal to decriminalise prostitution in the country…HIV Scotland and NUS Scotland have championed the MSP’s consultation, as has Scot-Pep, the sex worker-led charity that advocates for the safety, rights and health of people who sell sex in Scotland…The proposed bill would permit sex workers to work in groups of up to four…laws against soliciting and kerb-crawling would be scrapped…Sex workers would also be permitted to have joint finances with family members or flatmates…

Above the Law (#418)

The French just love these massive DNA fishing expeditions:

…as part of a probe into the rape of a Canadian tourist at police headquarters in Paris…all 120 police officers and civilian staff who were present in the building on the night the rape took place…are being tested over three days…Investigators are trying to find a match for a so far unidentified DNA sample taken from sperm found during the victim’s medical examination…

Last time it was even worse.

Now They Notice

The [Rentboy] crackdown may have felt unprecedented to some, but it’s the public’s response that’s new.  When law enforcement targets sex workers and the websites they use, mainstream outlets and organizations tend to give them a pass.  But with Rentboy, that script has flipped…media and advocacy groups who don’t typically bring a political analysis to sex work responded to the raid primarily as an anti-gay attack, while also calling for an end to the policing of sex workers.  Some American LGBTQ organizations in particular have rallied around the political nature of the raid—in a way women’s rights groups in the United States, when women sex workers are targeted in similar raids, have not.  In fact, it might be the relative silence of women’s rights groups on the Rentboy raid that has provided space for sex workers’ rights to become the main focus of the story…

Ashley Madison (#567) Asley Madison bot tool

It seems I wasn’t the only one who had Ashley Madison pegged as a scam years ago:

…Ashley Madison created tens of thousands of fembots to lure men into paying for credits…To the Ashley Madison “guest,” or non-paying member, it would appear that he was being personally contacted by eager women.  But if he wanted to read or respond to them, he would have to shell out for a package of Ashley Madison credits, which range in price from $60 to $290.  Each subsequent message and chat cost the man credits.  As documents from company e-mails now reveal, 80 percent of first purchases on Ashley Madison were a result of a man trying to contact a bot, or reading a message from one…company executives were in a constant battle to hide the truth.  In emails to disgruntled members of the site, and even the California attorney general, they shaded the truth about how the bots fit into their business plan…

Now They Notice (#567)

Why the fuck are some gay dudes so totally fucking clueless, and announce their ignorance so loudly?

The Rentboy raid sparked a conversation among LGBT organizations who noted that similar, heterosexual-geared sites advertising escort services did not meet similar fates…Sasanka Jinadasa…[of] HIPS, Inc…[says] “Targeting sex work is an indirect way of targeting the LGBT community without calling it outright discrimination”…Becky believes regulating the sex industry…would provide more protection…[Nick] Kinkand…[bloviated] “A lot of people’s biggest complaint about sex work is the fact that there are these women or children that are being trafficked into the country to do this…If it were to become legal, it would reduce that, because…instead of going to…the street corner where these people…have diseases or something, I can go to a reputable place and see a reputable person”…

The most astonishingly-stupid statement in all that astonishing stupidity is the idea that straight escort sites aren’t targeted by cops.

A Load of Farley (#570)

Hilary Hanson of Huffington Post is beginning to distinguish herself as an ally:

Men who pay for sex may be more inclined to sexual violence and have less empathy for women, according a study that made headlines last week.  But…the study’s lead researcher was Melissa Farley, founder and director of…a nonprofit with the stated goal of abolishing prostitution.  The research was funded by a grant from Hunt Alternatives, a private organization with the stated goal of “combating the demand for purchased sex”…

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The idea that prostitution should be stopped by non-sex workers…devalues and dehumanizes people who are struggling to make ends meet. – Svati Shah

Check Your Premises

Oh, the mental gymnastics:

…Law enforcement and [feminist] groups [pretend that] tough…penalties are an appropriate response to pimps who prey on vulnerable young women…But at times, the law enforcement efforts that are meant to target the pimps also sweep up the women who assist them in their crimes, women who often are also victims themselves…

Blah blah “sold for sex”, blah blah “sex-trafficking network”, blah blah “control over her”, blah blah “enslaved to their pimps”.  You get the idea.

Repeat Offenders 

There’s something deeply disturbing about Catholic nuns aiding and abetting the police state; it’s even more disturbing when the collaborators name their operation after a Biblical whore famous for hiding fugitives from the police:

Sister Ancy Mathew …founded a charity called Rahab…and accompanied officers…raiding flats where trafficked women might be held…Women who have been trafficked into Britain to become sex workers have invariably been lied to, and have often been encouraged by the criminals who control them to fear police.  As a result, few trust the police enough to be able to open up…about what they know after they have been freed…

Enabling Oppression

Even the more perceptive survivors of forced prostitution recognize that criminalization enables it:

…I would never have had to go through that terrible situation if prostitution was legalized…If it was legal, I would have signed a contract, I would have known what I was getting myself into, and I could have held the recruiters accountable for their actions…

The Scarlet Letter (TW3 #19)

A woman that had been arrested in 2012 for allegedly working illegally as a prostitute and accused of intentionally causing clients serious bodily harm, has died from a drug overdose…she also left behind a suicide note.  Katerina…was among 12 HIV-positive women…whose names and photographs were published on the Greek police’s website in 2012…HIV stigma victimPositive Voice, a group that helps people with HIV, had denounced the incident as an unacceptable breach of  ‘medical confidentiality…Katerina…served a one year prison sentence and was released after a court…[found] no evidence [she] engaged in illegal prostitution…

The Widening Gyre 

Evidence?  This is Sweden, we don’t believe in evidence:

Sweden’s Security Service has expressed concerns about a rapid rise in the number of Swedes heading to Iraq and Syria to fight for Isis, as Sweden’s official coordinator against violent extremism suggests some girls are being forced to make the journey…she said that while many young people choose to join…others – especially girls – are…”trafficked” to the middle east and southern Asia…

Sexual Predators

Yakopovich believes cops should relax, have fun, rape a few whores and laugh at their tears:

Police say they are cracking down on prostitution…Lt. Vince Yakopovich said…”We always try to take the time and say, ‘Hey, drop what you are doing and let’s go'”…Local motels are cooperating for the most part…

Coming and Going (TW3 #311)

In the long run, tight budgets work in our favor:

Dallas County’s prostitution diversion [scheme]…was meant to serve as a model for the state’s largest counties.  But some officials, including those in Collin and Denton County, have passed on the state’s mandate…that counties with more than 200,000 people start [similar schemes]…Officials…say…prostitutes…in their jurisdictions …aren’t at the street level…and [harassing them] requires more [expensive]…investigations…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (TW3 #316)

Gloria Steinem went to India earlier this year…with Ruchira Gupta…of Apne Aap…Feminists in India…disagree with Steinem’s take on prostitution…Steinem…repeatedly calls Apne Aap a “grass roots” organization, which would imply that it has little or no international profile, and primarily works with local people…[but] Apne Aap…receives funding from outside India regularly, and…is part of the international trafficking industrial complex, that combination of non-governmental organizations, governments, and money that has enabled the strange rise of the idea that “trafficking”, whatever it may be (chattel slavery, forced prostitution, any prostitution, forced labor, illegal migration, and/or debt bondage) is a universal problem requiring huge resources to resolve…

Original Sin (TW3 #322)

Pope Francis and other leaders of the world’s main religions…signed a joint declaration to work together to eradicate modern slavery…by …2020…they declared that “Modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labor and prostitution…is a crime against humanity”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #329)Yoda

If something’s in a movie, it must be true!

When Tim Matsui began working on his project about the sex trafficking of teenagers around Seattle in 2012, he followed a group of police officers…The Long Night, a film…directed by…Matsui and funded by the [rescue industry] is a gut-wrenching [fantasy] of the effects of sex trafficking on seven people, including victims, survivors and law enforcement officers…

Policing for Profit 

Wally Kowalski, an engineer living in a farmhouse in rural southwest Michigan, came home one day…to find his property swarming with cops…Kowalski has a license to grow and distribute medical pot to several low-income people who depend on the drug…state police…seized his power generator—even though it had nothing to do with his marijuana plants—and some expensive equipment.  They also destroyed the plants.  Kowalski [said]…they grabbed anything likely to be sold at a police auction…”When they found my bank accounts here in my office, they let out a yell.  They said, ‘Here’s the bank accounts, we got him.’  It’s like the happiest thing for them, to find my bank accounts.”  The police froze his accounts, rendering him unable to make payments on his student loans or other bills…The authorities haven’t charged Kowalski with a crime…

Scapegoats (TW3 #334)

Once again, vanillas reveal themselves as the true perverts:

A report in the journal Archives of Sexual Behaviour describes an unusual field trip made by Canadian researcher Debra W. Soh – to a furry convention…she had expected to find herself in a dimly-lit orgy “filled with couples – or groups – of costumed folks engaging in kinky sex” but she saw nothing of the kind.  In fact, she saw nothing sexual at the whole convention except some erotic…fan art that was on sale.  Instead, the furries were chatting, playing board games, smoking, and so on…

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #349)

Former day care owners who spent 21 years in prison…[for Satanic panic] convictions…are struggling to convince prosecutors that they should be fully exonerated.  Dan and Fran Keller…were freed on bond last year when the only physical evidence against them was found to be a mistake…But…prosecutors remain unwilling to proclaim them innocent [despite the fact that everyone knows their conviction was the product of a witch hunt]…[their] claim…will be decided by…conservative judges [who protect the status quo and]…will be guided by the recommendations of [the] judge…who [convicted them in] 1992…and…has already twice ruled that they had failed to prove their innocence.

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #410) Fiona MacTaggart

a few weeks ago in Parliament…Labour MP Fiona MacTaggart added two clauses to the Modern Slavery Bill that would criminalise the clients of sex workers in England and Wales…MacTaggart and her supporters hoped to bring the Nordic Model here with almost no notice or debate…The English Collective of Prostitutes…lobbied their MPs on the phone or in person, and parliamentarians were blasted with anti-criminalisation briefings from left-wing Labour MP John McDonnell…Supporters Women Against Rape pointed out that: “To target men who have not been accused of violence just because they purchase sexual services, diverts police time and resources away from reported rapes”…MacTaggart has claimed that the majority of sex workers were coerced in some fashion – a view based on discredited statistics, and one for which she has been taken to task before

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #430)

Rare honesty in a mainstream American newspaper:

Let’s be honest.  Paying for sex has been around a long time, and it’s not going away anytime soon.  Recent court cases have established sexual rights and privacy in protecting what consenting adults do behind closed doors, but those rights end for people who wish to exchange sex for money…some people do not believe sex workers should have the same legal rights as other workers.  A study recently published in The Lancet found that even partial criminalization…such as the Swedish model…places sex workers at equal risk for human-rights violations and exploitation.  Trying to stop demand will not stop prostitution…Nearly every industrialized nation has made prostitution partially legal or outright legal. It’s time America does the same thing…

Special thanks to Mark Bennett for the unlocked version of the story.

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

Any amount of criminalization of sex work allows cops to play their evil games:

Five people were arrested…after police raided brothels in Germany…Austria, Bosnia and Romania.  More than 900 [cops]…took part in the raids…Police also seized cash, computers, hard drives, business records and one pistol.  Stuttgart prosecutors [demonized the sex workers’ relationships and told lurid “trafficking” tales]…

The Public Eye (TW3 #439) 

She’s a victim!  So let’s help her by making her homeless, too!  “Connected‘s Kate McGrew has revealed that she’s found it hard to find somewhere to live since revealing she is a sex worker on the reality show…

Monkey Business (TW3 #442)

Let’s hope this legal rationale of why chimps aren’t “persons” is extended to fetuses, too:

petitioner requests that this Court enlarge the common-law definition of “person” in order to afford legal rights to an animal.  We decline to do so, and conclude that a chimpanzee is not a “person” entitled to the rights and protections afforded by the writ of habeas corpus…chimpanzees cannot bear any legal duties, submit to societal responsibilities or be held legally accountable for their actions.  In our view, it is this incapability…that renders it inappropriate to confer upon chimpanzees the legal rights…that have been afforded to human beings…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #447)

thousands of…sex slaves in Russia are…waiting for a good samaritan [sic] to come along and save them…since the government and society in general prefer to look the other way, anti-trafficking activists [pretend]…Russia…is now at once a destination, origin and transit country for sex slaves…and…ranked as the country with the sixth-biggest slave population in the world…in a fresh annual report by the…Walk Free Foundation…

Divided We Fall (TW3 #447)

Twenty-five Toronto city councillors have signed a letter asking Premier Kathleen Wynne to take…Bill C-36…to the Ontario Court of Appeal to determine if it is constitutional.  The new legislation, which received royal assent last month, will become law on Saturday…”we work to promote measures that increase public safety…In particular, we are united in our efforts to end violence against women…Bill C-36 has introduced…unsafe conditions into Canadian society, bringing foreseeable detriment and real danger to some of the most vulnerable women we represent”…The letter will be presented at City Hall on Friday (Dec. 5), which is the National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women and the 25th anniversary of the Montreal massacre…

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