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Posts Tagged ‘end demand’

[Tom] Dart says sex workers are victims, but his actions suggest he intends to make sure they’re victims, one way or the other.  –  Noah Berlatsky

Shifting the Blame

Politician blames advertising site for damage caused by criminalization:

[Massachusetts] Attorney General Maura Healey called on Backpage.com to shut down its “adult” section after two men allegedly killed an escort…whom they had met through the website…Epshod Jeune…and Derrell Fisher…carried out a “joint venture to rob escorts at gunpoint’’…[but] Healey [pretended it was somehow the advertisement’s fault]…

The Scarlet Letter

This week in serious civil-liberties violations in the name of stopping sex, the city of Tucson, Arizona, has released information on hundreds of people with “ties” to suspected sex workers.  The move is part of a years-long investigation into a handful of massage parlors that may offer more than just muscle-pain relief.  Obviously, such nefarious criminal activity (hand jobs—for money? the horror!) warrants extreme measures, which is why Tucson cops couldn’t just stop after raiding the six massage parlors in January and seizing the owners’ assets.  Now the department has publicized the names of all the phone contacts stored in 15 cellphones seized during the raids…getting a massage is apparently now grounds for public shaming at the hands of the state…

Feminine Pragmatism 

Dog bites man:

…Nearly a third of Greeks are living below the poverty line, and children and families make up a significant proportion of those most vulnerable as a result of brutal austerity measures.  This is well-known and well-documented.  Yet one fallout of Greece’s mass unemployment is largely concealed – the rising rate of women turning to sex work to make ends meet. There are reportedly around 18,000 sex workers in Greece, up from the estimated 17,000 in 2012…the number of people selling sexual services in Greece has soared by 150% during the crisis – driven by those desperate to put food on the table after the nation’s financial meltdown…

Above the Law 

Brave heroes of the week:

A…[cop named Nakia Johnson] has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing…an 11 year-old girl.  Deputies say he was in the car with the child when he accidentally pocket dialed the girl’s mother…

Meanwhile, in Maryland:

A Maryland state trooper has been charged with forcing a woman to perform a sex act on him at gunpoint…Brian Tucker…and the woman had previously arranged an agreement for a sex act for money, but the woman…was forced to perform an additional sex act at gunpoint…

Full of Themselves (#439)

The luridly-pompous language used in massage parlor hit pieces from California is probably the most unintentionally-hilarious anti-whore pap out there:

…The number of state-certified masseuses has risen 13% since 2014 to 51,885 this year, according to the California Massage Therapy Council…Nationwide, the massage industry is growing as medical establishments increasingly embrace massage’s therapeutic benefits…more than 5,400 massage technicians list home addresses in [the San Gabriel Valley]…10% of the massage technicians in the entire state.  Now that cities have more authority over massage parlors, officials are weighing how to balance the rights of a growing profession of legitimate massage therapists against the responsibility to solve problems caused by the less savory businesses.  An athlete with sore muscles or an office worker with a stiff neck could not browse long online without running into websites offering Yelp-style reviews of sexually oriented massage parlors.  Posters swap information, using abbreviations and acronyms to throw authorities off the trail…A study by the Urban Institute…described a highly organized sex trafficking ring revolving around a chain of massage parlors in New York City, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles…

Soap Opera (#509) 

First-magnitude fabulist Theresa Flores’ maudlin comedy act, distributing soap bars to fight “pimps” hiding in hotel lavatories, continues:

As the Major League All-Star Game approaches, local law enforcement officials as well as anti-human trafficking activists are bracing for a spike in sex traffic in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  One of their main weapons to combat such an influx?  Bars of hotel soap…The shower is one place where victims are alone and away from their pimps/controllers.  “We know with any big event or big sports event, there is always an increase in demand for commercial sex (prostitution),” said Erin Meyer, the anti-human trafficking program coordinator for the Cincinnati branch of The Salvation Army and coalition manager for End Slavery Cincinnati.  “And that will no doubt mean an increase in human trafficking.  That data is there“…The effort is part of the national SOAP (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) program started by Theresa Flores, a former victim of sex slavery…

Worse Than I Thought (#530)

It’s like they’re competing with each to see who can inflict the most mindlessly-draconian sentences:

[Florida] lawmakers have increased the penalties for people soliciting prostitutes…The first offense is now punishable by up to $1,000 fine…up from $500.  Second and third offenses become felonies.  First offenders will now serve 100 hours of community service, but a second offense will get you ten days in the county jail…State Representative Jeanette Nunez [belched out] “The wives and spouses…this will certainly be a wake up call for them”…Domestic Violence counselors are especially keen on provisions that require Johns to pay for and attend an education program on prostitution and sex trafficking…

Seizing Power Backpage free

As I explained Friday, Backpage has issued a big “fuck you” to Tom Dart & Swanee Hunt by making adult ads free for the time being; Elizabeth Nolan Brown writes:

…Backpage’s move to make adult ads free is a big screw you to fearmongering, First-Amendment-hating, Internet-freedom-stifling nanny statists who think they can control financial-services firms, foreign-based websites (Backpage.com is owned by a Dutch company), and the way women choose to earn a living…

Meanwhile, over at New Republic, Noah Berlatsky writes:

Dart [pretends that]…sex work is “outrageously dangerous”…and [claims] that life expectancies for sex workers [are] comparable to those in “a Third World nation”—though such statistics are notoriously unreliable.  It’s certainly true that putting up barriers to Backpage makes sex work more difficult.  But that doesn’t seem like it will help sex workers.  Instead, sex workers who use Backpage.com say Dart’s successful campaign will make their jobs more dangerous, not less…the changes to Backpage may mean that [some women]…have to work on the street—or find a manager or pimp who has developed alternate payment methods…

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“Show us your humanity!” is more belittling and damaging than “Show us your tits!”  –  Conner Habib

Think of the Children! Rafe Esquith

Because ordinary English words can emit sex rays, too!

After being taken out of his classroom for two months, a famous Los Angeles teacher, Rafe Esquith, is filing a claim against the L.A. Unified School District…Esquith…was removed from the classroom and put on paid leave…while the district investigates him for misconduct…[because] he made a joke to his class that prompted a complaint from another teacher…that if the class couldn’t raise enough money for their Shakespeare play then they might have to perform some of it naked, like the king in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn…Superintendent Ramon Cortines [said] that the inquiry includes “serious issues that go beyond the initial investigation”…Esquith is well-known and renowned globally. H e is the recipient of the president’s National Medal of Arts and is the only K-12 teacher to receive that award.  Many of his books, such as Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, are bestsellers…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

You know a jurisdiction is deeply immersed in “end demand” mania when it starts devouring its own and makes grandiose claims:

A former police chief, an attorney and six other area men are facing gross misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution…following a sting…Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted…said the operation…is the first step toward uncovering the major players in sex trafficking in the Brainerd lakes area…

The idea that a Backpage sting could “uncover the major players” in anything is so hilariously stupid it’s almost unbelievable.  But down in Florida, it’s a bit different:

A woman is facing a felony prostitution charge after she was found in a hotel room with a Tallahassee Police Department sergeant…Afton Chewning…was found with 49-year-old TPD Sgt. Brian Davis in a Days Inn motel room…Davis turned himself in…on a misdemeanor charge of solicitation…[and] has filed a plea of not guilty…

Felony for her, misdemeanor (which he’ll certainly escape) for him.  Nice.

Check Your Premises

The fact that one of the “traffickers” really did rape and abuse one woman doesn’t change the incoherence of this first part of the article:

Four sex traffickers who brought more than 50 Hungarian women into the country and sold them as part of their highly lucrative vice empire…in…London are facing years behind bars.  Most of the victims came into the country voluntarily to work in the sex industry, promoted themselves on adult websites and kept half of their earnings…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

This story on another creepy facial-recognition surveillance tool contains the following incredible claim: “In the United States, more than 800,000 children are reported missing every year, and nearly half end up living on the streets. Seventy percent will become sex trafficking victims, most within their first 72 hours of living on the street…

Surplus Women 

Chillicothe, Ohio…has crept…into headlines…[as] the place where women go missing and wash up dead.  In little over a year, at least six women have disappeared from the town of only 21,000.  Four of their bodies have been found, almost all of them dumped in creeks or streams flowing away from the town…Most of them were hooked on drugs, and many moonlighted as prostitutes to fund their addictions…Some of them even knew one another.  The similarities between the victims and the crime scenes have Chillicothe terrified that a serial killer is on the loose…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

In a new book, Sex Addiction: A Critical History, New Zealand academics Barry Reay, Nina Attwood and Claire Gooder claim that porn addiction is mythical; a product of “social opportunism, diagnostic amorphism, therapeutic self-interest and popular cultural endorsement”.  Reay argues that there’s little scientific basis for the classification of porn use as an addiction.  Instead, our sex-negative culture, click-bait media and flourishing therapy industry have combined to create a fanciful and frightening condition…

Above the Law Micah Meurer

An Amarillo [Texas cop] was fired…after investigators determined he had…sexually assaulted her…[the] woman reported…Micah Meurer…had sexually assaulted her in her…home…

Chauvinism

Conner Habib has written year’s best essay about prohibition so far:

I’ll refer to anti-sex-work and anti-porn campaigners here…as “anti-sex bigots”…because sex is what makes sex work so special for them.  Sex makes this line of work a singular profession, mystically distinguished from other jobs.  But…there is no substance to their arguments.  Their tactics are strung together not with understanding or data, but with hate.  Their bigotry is visceral, and their goals are clear:

1. Distort and destroy consent.

2. Create a framework of good vs. evil.

3. Cherry-pick voices.

4. Play the victim while holding the power.

5. Create apocalyptic urgency.

This list might sound like an exaggeration to outsiders.  To sex workers, it’s exhaustingly and overwhelmingly familiar…

Mumbo Jumbo

Apparently it isn’t just whores who have the power to grant demons “permission”:

Pat Robertson…told a woman her son’s “hatred and mental issues” might be brought on by demons, which in turn were brought on because she brought a Ouija board home one time.  “You can open the door to demons…There was one lady I heard about who was demon-possessed [because]…she had gone to an X-rated movie and done all these sex things”…

Challenge (#402) 

Tits and Sass has a pretty good rundown of the key players in the recriminalization of sex work in Rhode Island.  Well worth your time on the principle of “Know thine enemy”.

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

At least Canadian media have the sense to put “rescue” in scare quotes:

Windsor police “rescued” two sex workers from harmful situations as part of a provincewide investigation into the sex trade…On June 17-18, human trafficking and vice units from more than 20 different police services across Ontario investigated whether sex workers were involved in human trafficking or exploitation…This latest investigation was the third phase of Operation Northern Spotlight, which is designed to open up lines of communication between police and sex workers…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#423)

Bindel can’t possibly be as delusional as she pretends to be; her slipshod list of “pimp lobby” members proves that.  So what is she really up to?

Julie Bindel is…now raising money for a book she’s writing, to…“outline the emergence of a powerful lobby — the sex workers’ rights movement — that works in favour of a total decriminalisation of the sex industry”…Bindel’s project is…part of anti-sex-work eradicationists’ ongoing drive to paint all sex workers speaking out for their rights as pimps and punters in disguise.  (A reporter who attended one of Bindel’s talks at a Stop Porn Culture conference last year wrote that her “presentation on ‘the politics of the sex industry’” was “a succession of tabloid-style personal attacks on pro-sex industry activists, academics, escorts, and performers, complete with photos seemingly lifted without permission from their social-media profiles”)…

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Why would a prostitute decide to be a witness and testify against a pimp if she’s only facing a violation?  – Keith Kaneshiro

As I explained a month ago, “Hawaii was the last American state to criminalize prostitution…and since then…[has] tried to make up for the late start by coming up with some of the most grotesque anti-whore shenanigans imaginable.”  I thought we had seen the worst last year, when Hawaiian cops brazenly petitioned to be allowed to keep the legal right to rape sex workers which had been enshrined for years in Hawaiian law until discovered by a justly-scandalized legislator.  But cops have the astounding ability of continually increasing their own level of barbarity, and a few weeks ago we heard that they had actually charged sex workers with sexual assaulting the cops who had in reality assaulted them:

…Lawyer Myles Breiner, who represented several of the women, told the Associated Press that in at least one instance an officer disrobed and then took the woman’s hand and physically placed it on his genitals. “They’re experimenting with the limits of the constitution,” said Breiner. “Sex assault in the fourth degree is a non-consensual touching of a sexual nature.  How can you say it’s not consensual when the officers are going into these establishments intending to be touched?”…

hero cops arrest dangerous womanNow, this should come as no shock to anyone who’s ever heard of any of the myriad instances in which cops charge their victims with “assaulting a police officer” for scratching a cop’s knuckles with their teeth while being punched in the mouth, bleeding on their assailant’s uniforms or falling on their feet after being pummeled to the ground.  What makes it especially revolting is that the cops blamed this odious stratagem on their being forced to give up the right to rape their victims:

…now that Hawaii cops can’t sleep with sex workers in order to make prostitution cases, they must rely on explicit conversation about the transaction.  But most massage parlor workers know not to be explicit in this way.  Instead, they may simply gauge the situation and then start in on sexual action without hashing out the details first—aka, without getting consent.  That’s what allows these enterprising cops to charge sex workers with sexual assault…

In other words, “let us sexually assault you or we’ll charge you with doing the same to us.”  Lovely.  Unfortunately for these disgusting thugs, most people won’t give sexual violence a free pass anymore, even when it’s cops perpetrating it; that’s one of the reasons prohibitionism has shifted to Swedish-flavored “rescue” nonsense and cops pretend to be targeting men (“pimps and johns”) when they are in actuality still mostly targeting women:

…Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro wrote that his office was dedicated to “maintain[ing] its focus on prosecuting those who profit from prostitution and has worked with prostituted persons to accomplish this goal”…In January…Kaneshiro boasted about how his office had increased prosecution of pimps and traffickers…[by] relying upon the state’s current prostitution statute to “give police the necessary leverage to influence a prostitute to testify against her pimp…If she’s facing a crime and if she might do jail time, she might have incentive to cooperate with law enforcement”…coercive criminal charging is…ineffective.  Most sex workers do not have pimps or traffickers…the popular conceit, that sex workers are lured into the industry as children and then forced to continue sleeping with men until they finally escape, is simply not borne out by empirical evidence…Massage parlor workers may simply have no pimp to “give up.”  And instead, when faced with considerable criminal charges, are being forced to name any friend who helped them, whether that person gave them a ride to work or babysat their children…

In other words, “going after the pimps” simply means arresting and charging more women.  When the tactics are too heavy-handed, as they are wont to be in Hawaii, a public outcry like the one that resulted in the repeal of the rape-right may result; that’s what happened again this time:

Sex assault charges were dismissed Wednesday against 16 women who were arrested…during a Honolulu police prostitution sting…The decision to drop the charges has many wondering if the Honolulu Police Department conducted the operation without consulting with the prosecutor’s office first.  One legal expert says media coverage may have led to the decision.  “They may have been on the same page as long as there were no news stories on it…” said…Law Professor Ken Lawson.  “Either way, based on the nature of the charges and the facts of the underlining case, it was going to be dismissed anyway”…”It seems that HPD keeps looking for opportunities to have sexual contact with [sex worker] targets”…said Defense Attorney Myles Breiner…[who] represents several of the women…

Lion & UnicornThe dropping of the charges doesn’t even end this ordeal for some of the women who “were in the country illegally. Deportation proceedings for these women are now underway…”  Of course, the “authorities” try to cast such deportation as “repatriation” instead; they pretend the women were “sex trafficking victims” who never wanted to come to the US in the first place, so that it’s a kindness to give them a free ride back to where they came from.  This is typical of the looking-glass logic of Prohibitionland, where choice is called “slavery”, persecuting women is “going after the men”, and a sleazy rapist is defined as the victim of his target.  And for whatever reason, Hawaii seems determined to embrace such insanity as its brand and standard.

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In its moral simplicity and willingness to exploit its subjects, [Hot Girls Wanted] ends up resembling the genre it aims to expose.  –  Susan Shepard

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

A [Merseyside, England] police sergeant [named David Gibson] has been charged with misconduct after allegedly engaging in a sexual act with a prostitute while on duty…

The Pro-Rape Coalition Ava Taylor

Hot Girls Wanted…looks at five young women who were recruited off of Craigslist by an “agent” in Miami, Florida named Riley from Hussie Models.  It was directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, whose previous documentary Sexy Baby, looked at an alleged cultural shift in the sexual landscape that, the women claim, was caused by adult entertainment…Writing in Vice, Susan Elizabeth Shepard notes that the team’s new film is actually an exercise in offering “unexamined statements and vague intimations about how doing porn harms women and watching it warps men”…one of the documentary’s subjects, ex-performer Ava Taylor …oozed a sense of entitlement…she wanted to make money and get famous fast…the dressed down and bespectacled Ava…claims to be out of sex work…[she] is angry and combative, hurling blame at producers, her agent, and even the testing system for adult performers.  On one of her Twitter accounts, she has repeated how glad she is to be out, and moving on with her life…However…two months after Hot Girls Wanted premiered, Ava was back in Los Angeles shooting brand new porn scenes…[she also] currently offers escort services online…

It Looks Good On Paper

The national “safe harbor” law is just as useless and dishonest as the state ones:

The average sex-trafficking victim is a 13-year-old girl, often forced into the illicit business against her will and fed illegal drugs to keep her tethered to her pimp.  These children need housing, education, jobs and hope for a future — not a criminal rap sheet, says U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar…President Obama signed a law championed by Klobuchar that…creates financial incentives for states to pass laws that ensure minors sold for sex aren’t prosecuted, but are instead treated as victims…

Wise Investment

The latest hit to companies who are actively anti-sex industry is a lawsuit against the payment processor Square.  Xbiz reports that attorney William McGrane is taking them to court with the claim that the 27 business categories in…“Prohibited Businesses” are being discriminated against and having their civil rights violated under the policy.  According to McGrane, the majority of the types…listed are either too vague to be valid or are legal businesses, making it illegal for Square to discriminate against them…

Policing for Profit

When the cops raided Ginnifer Hency’s home in Smiths Creek, Michigan…”they took everything,” she told state legislators…including TV sets, ladders, her children’s cellphones and iPads, even her vibrator.  They found six ounces of marijuana and arrested Hency for possession with intent to deliver, “even though I was fully compliant with the Michigan medical marijuana laws”…Hency, a mother of four with multiple sclerosis, uses marijuana for pain relief based on her neurologist’s recommendation.  She also serves as a state-registered caregiver for five other patients…[the] judge dismissed the charges against her.  But when she asked about getting back her property… “The prosecutor came out to me and said, ‘Well, I can still beat you in civil court.  I can still take your stuff’…the Michigan House Judiciary Committee [is] considering several bills that would make this sort of legalized larceny more difficult…Annette Shattuck, another medical marijuana patient…was [robbed of]…bicycles, her husband’s tools, a lawn mower, a weed whacker, her children’s Christmas presents, cash (totaling $85) taken from her daughter’s birthday cards, the kids’ car seats and soccer equipment, and vital documents such as driver’s licenses, insurance cards, and birth certificates…

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Another jurisdiction officially classifies women as passive objects without agency:

[Chicago] officials have launched a new alternative program for men and women charged with prostitution…the new court would help connect the women – and sometimes men – connect with social services so they can turn away from prostitution…“and turn their lives around”…Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli said, instead of prosecution, defendants will get mostly treatment and help from social service agencies. “They will learn how to break their pasts, and cut all ties with those who have abused them, or dragged them into living lives of desperation”…

The Roof Caves In

The US government knew about the now-infamous deceptions and malpractice within organisations run by Somaly Mam for years prior to the media exposés…last year.  Even so, Washington continued to see her as a “positive force in the anti-trafficking effort”, despite evidence that medical care at her shelters was not available and that her…NGO, Afesip, had “mismanaged” funds…A cable titled Somaly Mam Under Microscope sent to the State Department from the embassy in Phnom Penh on May 8, 2012, shows that the embassy suspected as early as 2006 that a key claim repeated by Mam over the years – that her daughter was abducted in 2006 in revenge for an Afesip raid on a Phnom Penh brothel in 2004 – was false…

Welcome to the Future

News media used to just report news; now they allow propagandists to make bogus predictions of disaster:

From 1 June, it will be illegal to pay for sex in Northern Ireland…The Immigrant Council of Ireland and…Turn Off The Red Light…will…call for similar laws to come into force in the south immediately…[because]  counties south of the border will become “more attractive for pimps, traffickers and thugs”…

And then gin up fake “statistics” to support their own predictions:

Pimps and prostitutes are moving into the border counties as a crackdown on the sex trade in Northern Ireland comes into force, campaigners have warned. There has been more than a 50 per cent rise in online sex trade activity in counties Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and Louth in recent weeks, according to a study by the Immigrant Council of Ireland…Brian Killoran…of the ICI…said the Border counties now face being used as a “safe haven” for sex traders in the absence of a similar ban by the Dublin government. “The initial indications are that those who run prostitution have been feeling the heat of Northern Ireland’s new laws even before they came into force and have been switching their operations to the south”…

Yes, they’re actually claiming the laws had effects reaching into the future.

Monkey Business (#449) 

More than a year after the starting fight for legal personhood for the research chimpanzees Hercules and Leo, the apes and their lawyers got their day in court…A decision could set a precedent for challenging…the captivity of other chimpanzees—and perhaps other species…New York assistant attorney general Christopher Coulston…argued that [the judge] was bound by the previous decisions of two appellate courts, which had ruled that other Nonhuman Rights Project chimps didn’t qualify for habeas corpus…Both those decisions are controversial.  In one, judges decided that habeas corpus didn’t apply because the chimp would be transferred from one form of captivity to another—in this case, a sanctuary.  But illegally-held human prisoners have been released to mental hospitals, and juveniles into the care of guardians.  In the other appeals court decision, judges declared that chimps are not legal persons because they can’t fulfill duties to human society.  But that rationale arguably denies personhood to young children and mentally incapacitated individuals, as several high-profile legal scholars…pointed out…

Moving Pictures just as truthful as Jurassic Park

Because “trafficking” means anything we want it to mean!

Ed Smart…visited east Idaho…to attend a screening of a documentary about child sex trafficking…“When Elizabeth was abducted do we think of her being enslaved?…She absolutely was…she was assaulted once twice a day for almost every day of the nine months she was gone.”  Smart is now on a mission to rescue children from sex trafficking.  He’s working with Operation Underground Railroad….“Any time you have a resort area more than likely trafficking is going on there.  Any time there’s a big sporting event in the United States you can believe trafficking is going on.”  Operation Underground Railroad  has produced a new documentary called The Abolitionists.  It shows investigators rescuing endangered children and going after the adult perpetrators around the world…

Vendetta (#518)

It’s hard to tell the worst part of this “end demand” propaganda.  Is it the bullshit claim that women aren’t being arrested because they’re forced into “re-education” rather than jail?  The badge-licking description of cops hunting down people seeking to engage in consensual sex?  The Orwellian euphemism “recovering a victim” used to mean “arresting a woman”?  The cop bragging about how many women he’s arrested?  The pervasive denial of female agency?  The description of a prosecutor as a “defense attorney”?  Or the fact that neither warped billionaire Swanee Hunt (the architect of the fascist program Seattle is participating in) nor her “CEASE Network” front organization are mentioned at all, even though she paid for the policy change with grants?

Guinea Pigs 

What can one conclude about an article on “data analysis” that begins with mathematically-illiterate bullshit?

The average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is 14.  The kind of profit a pimp can expect to make on a child prostitute each year is $150,000.  Child trafficking operations spend about $45 million a year advertising their services on literally thousands of sites and millions of pages…Two computer science professors, Pedro Szekely and Craig Knoblock…have developed a new search tool intended to…turn advertising against human traffickers.  The work is being funded by Memex, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program aimed at developing the next generation of search technologies…The tool they’ve created combs through escort ads; downloads all relevant pages, including the ones those ads link to; discovers connections, folds the data into a repository; and provides query and analysis functionality to enable searching by law enforcement users…Currently, the database contains content from 50 million Web pages and 2 billion records; it’s growing at the rate of about 5,000 Web pages per hour…

Another Fine Mess (#527)

Why are amateurs so surprised that sex workers use ordinary business tools?

…in Zimbabwe…many people in the informal economy make use of [a South African cell phone payment service named] EcoCash and sex workers are no exception, with some carrying multiple phones.  “If I’ve got 20, 30 or 50 bucks and I’m not going to use it, I will put it in EcoCash,” says Ncube.  “Even if someone steals my bag, I will open my mobile wallet tomorrow and the money will still be there”…Officials…express surprise at the swift integration of mobile money.  Jessie Majome, a former deputy minister of women’s affairs, says…“Wow. Hi-tech sex work.  I’m struck how early they’ve adapted to that”…

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The [Satanic] panic…was instigated and perpetuated mostly by groups of fundamentalist Christians who saw Satan in every heavy metal album, “Smurfs” episode, and Dungeons & Dragons game.  –  Radley Balko

The Biggest Whores

An Australian lawyer chides prohibitionist peers:

…If lawyers picked and chose…their clients…based on morality, then those individuals who fall on the wayside of public opinion would be completely without assistance…I was essentially being called morally bankrupt by two men who have acted for some of the most notorious criminals this state has come across.  They have also acted on behalf of alleged criminals who have been found not guilty.  If these men had subjected their clients to the same moral rigour as they have with sex workers, those clients may not have had the benefit of their legal services to begin with, and may have subsequently found erroneously guilty…when lawyers cast…moral aspersions on parts of society, something we are specifically trained not to do in ethics class, that does not leave much hope for the minority that are subject to those aspersions…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

The inevitable result of criminalization:

…Tucson [cop]…Shane Barrett said the department first received complaints about [an alleged brothel]…on Nov. 29, 2011.  The Pima County Attorney’s Office used Barrett’s affidavit as the basis for trying to seize $15,000 and a long list of property from the accused operators…Clarissa Lopez and Ulises Ruiz…[cops] finally obtained and served search warrants on Ruiz and Lopez’s home and their places of business…three years and two months after the initial reports…TPD is conducting an internal affairs investigation alongside the criminal investigation…It’s unclear whether the implicated officers are thought to be customers of the brothel or involved in some other way…

Held Together With Lies

Prohibitionists make up a bunch of big numbers, then multiply them to get an even bigger fake number.  SCIENCE!

…Prostitution in France brings in an annual turnover of €3.2 billion, a new study funded by the European Commission has found…France’s nearly 40,000 prostitutes…bring in an average gross total of €87,700 a year – much of which is sent abroad.  The authors of the report, who are campaigning for the abolition of prostitution, say that there is a serious tax evasion on these earning that totals €853 million a year.  They added that the total “cost” on society was €1.6 billion…The profession also proves costly for indirect social consequences, the study noted, such as imprisonment for pimping, health expenses, and addictions.  Maîtresse Gilda, spokeswoman from the French sex-workers union Strass said the figures in the study were “delusional”…

The idea that sex workers are to blame for the costs of criminalizing us is the exact moral equivalent of a bully who hits another child with his own hand while mocking, “Stop hitting yourself!”

First They Came for the Hookers…

“Sex trafficking” fetishists target strip clubs because they’re much more easily located than online escorts:

…OneHeart Ministry in Dayton…is…helping women who work at strip clubs who are at risk of being trafficked or are being trafficked…children ages 10 to 12 are being targeted for prostitution…“If you see something, say something,” she said…

Yes, these fanatics are un-ironically using one of the police state’s more notorious slogans.no trafficking shelter here

Gingerbread House

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

Controversy continues to grow over the proposed safe house for male victims of sex trafficking in [North Carolina]…The group against the safe house said their major complaints were that no one told them it was going right behind their houses, and the fact the boys living there could run away and cause damage to their property. However, they remain adamant that they have nothing against the boys or mission…

NIMBY at its finest and most literal.

Checklist

It’s hard to imagine an article with a lower opinion of female intelligence and agency than this one:

…a…Florida…bill…requires public-awareness signs be placed at rest areas, turnpike service plazas, some emergency rooms, weigh stations, strip clubs and bodyworks businesses not operated by health-care professionals.  The signs will outline how to identify a human trafficking victim along with the phone number of the awareness center.  Signs could also be placed in restroom stalls, allowing victims to self-identify during a rare moment of privacy…a…second bill attacks the root cause of much human trafficking…without the demand by so-called johns, the pimps would be out of business.  To that end, the bill targets first-time offenders with a $5,000 fine, 100 hours of community service and completion of [“john school”]…That should serve as a stronger deterrent than current penalties…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#312)

Prostitution activities maybe [sic] permitted in several areas [in Jakarta, Indonesia] in an effort to control illegal prostitutions [sic] in rented rooms and apartments…In addition, allowing prostitutions in specific places was said to enable a check on activities to offer sex by underaged girls…Indonesia Ulama Council’s general head’s representative Ma’ruf Amin…[said] the proposal…deviated from Islamic teaching…

Theatrics 

But hey, they weren’t selling sex, so there’s no need for a crusade or anything:

An Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ruling has highlighted the vulnerability of temporary foreign workers in a case where two women worked in what the tribunal called a “sexually poisoned work environment.”  The women had their work permits revoked and were sent back to Mexico after resisting the sexual overtures of their employer at Presteve Foods…One woman was forced to perform sex acts under threat of being sent home and both were sexually harassed in other ways…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s kind of nice to see sex workers described as depraved temptresses rather than helpless victims:

…more terms [have emerged for an] escort [such as]…PSP — or personal service provider…prostitution is utilizing the power of the Internet to lure those who patronize it…The underground flesh trade has become more wired and clandestine…Ashley…moonlights as a PSP to support her obsession with material possessions…mostly…gadgets and signature dresses…she does this to…mask what was really behind her personality…the person she is…too ashamed for others to see…according to psychologist Dr. Estrella Tiongson-Magno, women dabble into prostitution because it is easy money…some men buy sex as a way to escape problems or uncomfortable emotions…however…since the pleasure is not lasting, men have to do it over and over again…Ronald Aguto…of the Cybercrime Division of NBI, said that self-advertised prostitution is rampant online…

Tyranny By Consensus (#346)

I’ll bet you thought opponents of condoms in porn were exaggerating:

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health has issued a set of safety standards for all California porn production sets.  The 21-page standards presentation…goes into graphic detail about the safety precautions that are to be undertaken when adult video actors perform various acts.  Here’s one eye-opening detail from the document:  “the employer shall provide, at no cost to the employee, appropriate personal protective equipment such as, but not limited to, condoms, gloves for cleaning, and, if contact of the eyes with OPIM-STI is reasonably anticipated, eye protection.  Personal protective equipment will be considered “appropriate” only if it prevents blood or OPIM—STI* from passing through to or reaching the employee’s eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes“…“OPIM—STI” means pre-ejaculate, ejaculate, semen, vaginal secretions…or…any other bodily fluid…in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between bodily fluids…

Yes, that means goggles.

Absolute Corruption (#449)

Radley Balko uses the case of Fran & Dan Keller to discuss the Satanic Panic in general:

…”[Texas’] highest criminal court…threw out the 1992 sexual assault convictions against Dan and Fran Keller but declined to find the former Austin day care owners innocent of crimes linked to a now-discredited belief that secret satanic [sic] cults were abusing day care children nationwide.  The Kellers spent more than 22 years in prison…The nine judges did not provide an explanation for why they rejected the Kellers’ innocence claim”…dozens of innocent people were sent to prison for crimes for which there was no evidence other than the coerced testimony of kids, and for which those same defendants would later be exonerated.  Here’s an excerpt from the concurring opinion of Judge Cheryl Johnson, who would have declared the couple innocent:  “This was a witch hunt from the beginning.  The allegations…were based on the testimony of a three-year-old child who…was in therapy for numerous psychological and behavioral issues“…That the highest court in Texas still can’t bring itself to declare the couple innocent, in spite of all that we know now, shows just how difficult it can be to undo the damage caused by a moral panic and junk science in the courtroom…One of the best treatments of the panic is the movie Witch Hunt, which focuses on Kern County, arguable the epicenter of the panic…

Bottleneck (#508)

Prohibitionists never understand how ridiculous they sound to normal people:

Edmonton should stop licensing body rub centres and crack down on their customers instead…four speakers argued…Kylee Nixon from the Friends and Families of McCauley Society called on the city to reduce demand for these services by focusing on johns.  This should include forcing customers to provide their names at the centres and arresting them when they break prostitution laws, she said…

Traffic Circle (#532)

The Washington Post continues to hammer at “sex trafficking” myths:

…many…lawmakers [have] repeatedly cited the statistic that “300,000” children were “at risk” of being sexually exploited.  Often, the source of the statistic was claimed to be the Justice Department…But it turns out that this is another one of those nonsense statistics, based on data so old that the original researcher even says it is no longer relevant.  It also does not have the imprimatur of the Justice Department. In recent months, The Fact Checker has exposed a series of dubious factoids, each of which are endlessly repeated by politicians and, even more irresponsibly, by the media…In 2008, Michelle Stranksy and David Finkelhor of the respected Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire wrote a report explaining the problems with the Estes/Weiner estimate, as well as other claims about the extent of the juvenile prostitution.  “PLEASE DO NOT CITE THESE NUMBERS,” the report pleaded…how did such an out-of-date guesstimate get touted as a current “Justice Department” figure?…in 2010, the Office of Justice Programs published an article in its Juvenile Justice Bulletin that cited the Estes/Weiner estimate…But the bulletin makes clear that this is only an opinion article and it does not express the official position of the Justice Department.  A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed that…“No reliable national estimate exists of the incidence or prevalence of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the United States”…[politicians] should be ashamed of citing a figure that is so out of date and discredited…All lawmakers should stop using it and post prominent corrections of their statements on their Web sites…

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If Australia decriminalised prostitution the sky would still be blue the following day.  –  Catherine Healey

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Four cops in Fort Worth who tried to report their supervisor for being a suspect in a prostitution case were all suspended without pay…J.C. Williams, C. Cespedes, D. Shaw, and J. Pittman suspected their narcotics sergeant was involved with a prostitution ring and trying to cover for the prostitutes and their clients…Three of the officers received a 10-day suspension, while the forth, J.Pittman received only five…According to the internal affairs report…the officers were upset about being transferred to another unit, so they retaliated by trying to frame their sergeant…

Dirty Whores

Can’t let the facts get in the way of a money grab, can we Mr. Spicer?

Drugs and prostitution are common in Austin, Indiana.  The town of about 4,000 people is at the center of a public health emergency, with the number of confirmed HIV positive cases at 159…Authorities have been arresting drug dealers…but police say putting prostitutes in jail isn’t as easy…[because] Austin only has six officers and most of the prostitutes know who they are…Anyone charged with prostitution is also required to take an HIV test…Spicer says [giving him] more [money] would help stop prostitution in Austin…

In the US, sex workers aren’t an important vector of any STI, including HIV.

Hard Numbers

As we keep saying over and over:

NEW Zealand…[has] the best working conditions for prostitutes on the planet.  Sex workers…[can] sign contracts, get paid weekly, work for bosses who keep their best interests at heart and have a relationship with police that Australian prostitutes can only dream of.  Prostitution is even covered under occupational health and safety laws.  It’s not pot luck that New Zealand prostitutes have it better.  It can all be traced to a single piece of legislation that passed through parliament in 2003 — the Prostitution Reform Act.  The decision 12 years ago to decriminalise sex work meant it became legal to work in managed brothels without a size limit, work for yourself, work from home, work from the street or work from the web…

Broken Record Indy 500

The “gypsy whores” nonsense has been going on for so long, we’re seeing the same sporting events touted again and again despite a total lack of evidence:

IndyCar fans are quickly making their way to the “Racing Capital of the World,” but the dark  reality of illegal sex trafficking is also making an appearance.  Experts say young girls will be brought to central Indiana this weekend and sold for sex.  The combination of large crowds, a party atmosphere and an event that caters mostly to men is when sex trafficking spikes.  However, the Indiana Attorney General’s office is fighting back though an awareness campaign titled, “Indiana’s Not Buying It”…leaders in the Attorney General’s office have gone to hotels and businesses near the track to pass out information regarding the sex trade…

“Illegal sex trafficking”, as opposed to what?  Legal sex trafficking?

The Public Eye

This craptastic mess is thick with dysphemisms and whorearchy:

A shocking new Channel 4 documentary introduces us to…two high class call girls who sell their bodies through an app on their phones.  They can make between £500 to £5000 a night offering their services to business men, although the average seems to be £2,000 for sex.  Emily B and Cookie Jane come from well-off and well-educated backgrounds, having both attended…£15,000 a year schools, but decided their lives would be more “glamorous” as call girls than by going to university…

Housewife Harlotry (#41)

As is a typical, a “feminist” insinuates that other women’s pragmatic choices are not “real” choices because she disagrees with them.  Naturally, her own choices are 100% free and absolutely uninfluenced by anything outside herself (and certainly not feminist dogma):

…I told the women…that I was writing a book about being a mother on the Upper East Side, and many of them were eager to share their perspectives…It was easy for me to fall into the belief…that all these wealthy, competent and beautiful women…were powerful…But…there was the undeniable fact of their cloistering from men…Sex segregation, I was told, was a “choice.”  But like “choosing” not to work, or a Dogon woman in Mali’s “choosing” to go into a menstrual hut, it struck me as a state of affairs possibly giving clue to some deeper, meaningful reality while masquerading…as a simple preference.  And then there were the wife bonuses…[which] might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance — how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a “good” school — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks…

Checklist (#345)

“Sex trafficking” fetishist develops app to cram complex individual situations into a series of stock “sex trafficking” phrases:

…Duane Dunston…decided to use his expertise to help law enforcement agencies communicate with victims of slavery – by creating an app…”You Have a Voice” is designed to enable victims to describe the nature of their enslavement or exploitation in their native language by answering a series of questions.  Answering sensitive questions by using the app rather than speaking directly to officers could reduce the shame and fear that often stops victims from speaking out, and help police to arrest traffickers and save other victims…Dunston has attended several human trafficking conferences…and…has also written two novels about human trafficking…

He’s an “expert” because he has written two books of fiction about his fantasy-world of sex slavery; by that standard John Norman should be considered the world’s leading expert on the subject.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #439)

Even officials in Vietnam are starting to sound more sympathetic to sex workers:

…almost 44 percent of all sex workers have suffered from physical violence.  Nearly 46 percent of them did not report to authorities due to limited knowledge of the law and lack of trust in the authorities…Le Van Quy of the Ho Chi Minh City Anti-Social Evils Agency, said violence is a permanent threat for sex workers…Nguyen Thi Hue of the HCMC Aids Prevention Committee said many sex workers do not test for HIV…due to discrimination by healthcare workers…He…said…“It is difficult for them to raise their voice.  First, they will face an administrative fine.  Then there is a perception that a person working in the field must suffer from that form of violence”…

Checklist (#501) 

[The] Mayor [of Baltimore] signed…a bill that protects hotel employees who report suspected human trafficking from retaliation.  The bill…is a companion…to another…requiring hotels to train employees on how to spot human trafficking…Maryland is a “hot spot” for human trafficking according to the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force…

Vendetta (#518) Jimmy Carter

Morally-warped billionaire enlists clueless, ignorant old millionaire to aid in her crusade to “save” women by subjecting them to violence:

…Our home cities, Atlanta and Boston, are among 11 in a network launched in February, called Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE).  These cities are committed to reducing the demand for illegal sex in their communities by 20 percent within two years…The new approach we advocate moves away from hunting down and punishing those being exploited—the sellers—and focuses on the true perpetrators:  those who profit and those who buy.  By taking steps to reduce demand rather than supply, we can make this market less profitable…This strategy reflects an emerging philosophy first embraced in the Nordic countries…

Bad Girls (#537) 

Alix Tichelman…was found guilty of giving a Google executive a fatal dose of heroin on his yacht and was sentenced to 6 years in prison.  Defense attorneys…say their client had also injected herself, clouding her judgment.  She…didn’t call for help because she panicked…Tichelman plead guilty to two counts of administering a controlled substance and one count of involuntary manslaughter…

 

 

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Hamlet:  Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius:  By th’ mass, and ’tis like a camel indeed.
Hamlet:  Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius:  It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet:  Or like a whale.
Polonius:  Very like a whale.

Rorschach_blot_06A fantasy is in many ways like a cloud formation or a Rorschach inkblot; because its form is unmoored to anything concrete, the shape the human mind imposes upon it is determined by the patterns of the mind rather than any external phenomena.  A psychologist can sometimes tell something about the workings of a subject’s mind by the shapes he imagines he sees in inkblots and the stories he tells about those shapes; likewise, it’s possible to tell something about a fabulist’s mind by the content of the fantasies she spins about the lives of people she knows absolutely nothing about.  This recent “sex trafficking” article from Alabama is a fine example; we’ve seen all theses tropes before, but this time let’s think about what they say about a person who either believes them herself or expects everyone else to believe them.

Eliminating Homewood’s prostitution problem isn’t about going after the girls, said Tajuan McCarty–founder of the Birmingham-based anti-trafficking organization The Wellhouse–it’s about going after the pimps and Johns…

The first thing we can tell about McCarty is that she has little or no capacity for original thought; the “end demand” nonsense spewed here is the cant du jour among prohibitionists, so espousing it takes roughly the same level of cognition as “Support our troops!” or “Smash the Patriarchy!”  It’s nothing more than a shibboleth to demonstrate that she belongs to the “us” group.

…Homewood resident Andy Conaway…is spearheading efforts to eliminate issues that plague their neighborhood—including prostitution.  McCarty…said…Birmingham is a hub of prostitution…

As I’ve pointed out before, dysphemisms play an important part in the demonization of peaceful, consensual transactions; sex is a “plague” (later it’s referred to as an “epidemic”), and a rather unremarkable American city is cast as a “hub” from which the imaginary pestilence spreads to nearby, smaller towns (“…the area…is known for prostitution well outside Alabama’s borders…“)

…both grown women and children [are] being trafficked in plain sight…a 17-year old girl rescued in Homewood…had been kicked out of the prostitution ring she was part of…because she was “too old”…”Pimps will talk about how they can walk into any middle school and leave with five girls who willingly run away with them,” said McCarty…

Nearly all “sex trafficking” propaganda relies heavily on the fetishization of pubescent girls; believers dwell upon lurid descriptions of the bondage, humiliation and rape of teenagers, and the “average debut at 13″ myth is lovingly and obsessively repeated despite its evident absurdity to anyone with even fifth-grade mathematical ability (much less that expected of actual 13-year-olds).  But McCarty goes much further than usual; while it’s not unusual for prohibitionists to vomit out the vile, misandrist fantasy that literally no man wants a woman over some arbitrary age, I’ve never seen that age set below 18.  Moreover, the idea that a “victim” would actually be released from her supposed “slavery” because she had reached that age is not only novel, but also contradicts her earlier statement that “grown women” (a term usually considered to refer to people of at least 18) are “being trafficked in plain sight”.  But the most telling content is what follows next; it occurs in several places in the article, but I’ve gathered it together here for ease of demonstration:

…”These women are victims…whether they are willing participants or not.  She is a princess; she is someone’s daughter”…They are always viewed as commodities and not people…Asked if there are ever any cases where women work for themselves, McCarty said absolutely not.  “Somebody’s got her…every single time”…

The defining characteristic of McCarty’s weltanschauung is her shocking disregard for the intellect and capacity for the self-determination of her own sex.  Even if a woman decides to sell sex, McCarty tells us, her decision cannot be trusted; she is not a rational actor but a pawn of malevolent “pimps and johns” and a passive “princess” to her parents, no matter how old she may be.  That doll-like view of women is echoed a few sentences later, where we are told that “prostitutes sit and wait under the watchful eyes of their pimps“, like toys unable to move until someone fully human – i.e. a male – winds them up and sets them in motion.  Nor does she imagine this to be merely a common or even typical situation; she insists in no uncertain terms that it is a universal one.  In McCarty’s view, no woman is ever capable of self-determination, ever.  She believes that cops should actively hunt sex workers, trap them like animals and then transfer ownership to her organization like dogs sent to the pound; meanwhile, men who violate what she considers to be the proper usage for these mindless playthings should be utterly destroyed without even a semblance of due process:  “It should be about helping her and arresting him…Send her to us and plaster his face all over a billboard.”  McCarty’s mind is a horrifying landscape of self-loathing and reality-denial, and she wants the state to use violence to force everyone else to live in it with her.

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