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Posts Tagged ‘end demand’

When one of the men caught in Seattle’s anti-sex pogroms offered to write about his experience in “john school” (i.e, coerced “re-education” sessions), naturally I accepted.  Also naturally, I gave him a pseudonym to protect him from retaliation by Val Richey and company.

I was mandated to attend the Organization of Prostitution Survivor’s STOP Exploitation class (in other words, “john school”) in Seattle, WA.  It’s well-known that such classes have no actual deterrent effect; the only things they actually achieve are enriching the organizations which hold them, and disseminating radical feminist dogma.  Over the ten weeks I was forced to attend, the most consistent elements of the sessions were the use of fear and shame to induce conformity, and the toxic perpetuation of sex worker stereotypes and tropes.  Indeed, the existence of sex workers is only barely recognized in this course, and when they are mentioned at all it’s as a “privileged minority”; most sex workers are claimed to be “prostituted persons”, passive objects subjected to constant violence and coercion by “pimps”.  Ironically, it’s parasitic organizations like OPS which are the real exploiters of sex workers; they are manipulated through court mandated diversion programs, lied about by professional “Prostitution Survivors”, and oppressed by law enforcement and prosecutors to perpetuate a cycle of violence via the criminalization of sex work.  Sex workers are not even afforded a voice in a “school” that should have been focused on them and their struggles; instead they are extinguished as individuals with free-will to fuel an anti-sex agenda.

The hypocrisy and falsity of STOP are well-represented by its chief facilitator, Peter Qualliotine; his plastic smile and smarmy manner are inadequate cover for the dangerous oppression he helps enable.  The local media has been unfriendly and unbalanced regarding the topic of sex work.  Sex workers are claimed to be “sex slaves” or “victims” and the lies and disinformation promoted by opportunists like Qualliotine and professional “survivors” like Alisa Bernard are accepted without question or the most rudimentary fact-checking, despite the fact that SWOP Seattle is extremely public and it would be the work of only a few minutes for any reporter to get a statement from them about these claims. Interestingly, even Qualliotine himself seems to know there’s something fishy about his claims; though there’s a gleam in his eye when he tells us that he “enthusiastically endorses masturbation!” as an alternative to seeing sex workers, his shoulders slump, his arms are crossed and he looks down at the floor when he claims that decriminalization will never work and that independent sex workers are a very slim minority.  And disturbingly, he brightens up again when discussing Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer (which he does often over the ten weeks).  The fact that Ridgway claimed it was wrong to pay for sex, just as Qualliotine himself claims, is not ever mentioned.

I paid attention as closely as I could because by the third week I realized that I wanted to write this, but it wasn’t easy; when Qualliotine isn’t quoting Melissa Farley’s bogus “statistics” and infantilizing women by claiming they aren’t psychologically able to make their own sexual decisions (because of “PTSD” and “trauma bonding”), he’s regaling his captive audience with the grade-school baseball analogy for sex, talking about “toxic masculinity” and claiming that simply looking at a woman exists on a “Continuum of Sexual Violence” that leads to rape and murder, with paying for sex at about the halfway point.  He also alluded to BDSM, conflating it with domestic violence, and though he branded male-dominant relationships specimens of “male privilege”, he paradoxically also claimed it’s men’s responsibility to end “sexist” sexual interactions (including money for sex) even if a woman prefers them or demands them.  Almost as an afterthought, he added that the cops need to “go after” madams and female escort service owners as well as male “pimps” and clients.  In a session mostly devoted to intimate partner violence, Qualliotine lists public shaming, outing and debt as forms of violence; presumably, the shaming, outing and debt inflicted by police stings don’t count.  It was all so stultifying a number of attendees slept; Qualliotine either didn’t notice or didn’t care.  I assume he gets the same amount of money per warm body from King County whether anyone actually listens to him or not.

Valiant Richey, King County Prosecutor (in other words, Demand Abolition’s local propaganda officer) claims most sex buyers are white and well-to-do, a proposal that promotes the concept of patriarchy.  But that’s not what I saw in these sessions, which are at least half men of color, many evidently working-class; one couldn’t ask for clearer evidence that, as with all prohibition, the consequences of criminalization fall upon the marginalized despite OPS’ claims to the contrary.  Qualliotine is an entitled white man bloviating against entitlement, whiteness and masculinity in order to play the hero and set himself up on a pedestal.  His pretense of personal outrage is so clearly false it’s embarrassing; during one of his rants about whiteness I saw two of the men of color firmly close their eyes, as though they could no longer bear to look upon this vulgar hypocrite.  This isn’t about feminism or justice; it’s about feeding Peter Qualliotine’s ego.  His sense of entitlement is immense; he actually expects attendees to trust him and OPS before even working with them, demanding one-way respect before earning it.  There exists no independent review of this dangerous and banal reductionism; it’s a middle school curriculum produced by an art student that reduces complex life issues to abstract polemic theory with no expectation of producing any effect.  Indeed, it reinforces the very stereotypes that it claims to want to expose.  If the goal of STOP was to make an ally, it failed.  Rights, not rescue; I’ve never believed in it more.

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Instead of raising children in an adult world…we prefer to live much of our lives in a make-believe children’s world.  –  Hugh Hefner

R.I.P. Hugh Hefner 

The founder and embodiment of Playboy magazine died a week ago today at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles; he was 91.  Love him, hate him or indifferent to him, it’s undeniable that Hefner and his magazine were among the most important driving forces of the sexual revolution and, to a lesser but still important degree, of the popularization of liberal (in the original sense of the word) political ideas such as LGBT rights; in a world where homosexuality was illegal Hef published Charles Beaumont’s “The Crooked Man“, and years before Roe v Wade he was bankrolling abortion rights activism.  Naturally, he was despised by narrow-minded feminists who think that a woman can be sexy or intellectual but never both (despite his support of female authors and thinkers), and he was even controversial among sex workers (including yours truly) for his rather odd home life with his playmate “girlfriends”, but by most accounts he was an ethical businessman whose legacy of support for both his contributors and for individual rights would have been more universally lauded had his magazine and life not featured sex in such a central role.

An Enormous Big Nothing

More hysterics who can’t tell the difference between adults and children:

The headline reads Spanish brothel’s “back to school” party sparks outrage in Andalusia.  El Bosque is a legal club de alterne where sex workers drink, dance and chat with customers with the option to retire to private rooms for paid sex.  The party-poster was called an incitement to paedophilia…despite the obvious age of women (and their clothing) in the poster.  The club’s owner removed the posters and cancelled the party…

Dirty Amateurs

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

In 2016, Americans were infected with more than 2 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, the highest number of these sexually transmitted diseases ever reported…the…CDC’s…annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report shows that more than 1.6 million of the new cases were from chlamydia, 470,000 were from gonorrhea and nearly 28,000 cases were primary and secondary syphilis…While all of these can be cured by antibiotics, many [amateurs] go undiagnosed and untreated…When you include herpes and more of the dozens of diseases which can be transmitted sexually but which are not tracked, the CDC estimates there are more than 20 million new cases of STDs in the United States each year.  At least half occur in young [amateurs] ages 15 to 24…

The Lion and the Ox

Talking is now defined as “sex trafficking”:

Two people were arrested…after using Snapchat to recruit a woman into prostitution…she was contacted in January by [her] friend…Wynter Fowler…[who] told her that she “was pretty and could make a lot of money” if she moved to Las Vegas to work as an exotic dancer and escort…Fowler[‘s]…boyfriend, Ezekiel Gilbert…persuaded [the complainant] to work as a prostitute for him…she said Gilbert threatened her when she tried to quit in February…he…bragged that he “had already gotten away with murder” before…Gilbert [had been previously] arrested in Texas after an escort was shot and killed, but was later acquitted…Police arrested Gilbert and Fowler on Sept. 12…Both were booked…on sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking…

I can think of several better, less tyrannical things to charge the thoroughly-nasty Gilbert with than simply talking to someone.

So Close and Yet So Far

A good little article despite a truly stupid statement in the third sentence:

I am not a pimp or a trafficker.  I am neither a rape apologist nor someone who excuses violence against women.  I do not believe men have a right to buy sex, or that anyone, of any gender, should be forced to sell sex.  One might have thought these things go without saying, and yet they are examples of some of the vitriol levied at us – those that advocate for the decriminalisation of the sex industry.  In recent weeks…establishment media has provided…an “everywhere-you-turn” kind of platform…to anti-prostitution feminists.  Julie Bindel does, after all, have a new book to publicise. Underpinning the arguments of many anti-prostitution feminists is the idea that the purchase of sex ought to be criminalised and sex workers [cast] as victims of male violence.  They argue we should be doing more to eradicate the sex industry and rescue the sex workers within it…

Of course men have the right to buy sex from someone offering to sell it, just as women (or men) have the right to sell it.  Any claim to the contrary reflects the irrational and authoritarian mindset of a prohibitionist.

Banishment

Remember:  these people have already served their sentences:

Scores of sex offenders ordered to live on a secluded island in Washington state say the often-cloudy, brown water there is making them sick…About 200 [inmates] of the Special Commitment Center have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the facility is…forcing them to drink contaminated water that causes stomach pain and skin rashes and has been blamed for unexplained deaths.  The executive who oversees the center [claims] the water [which he needn’t drink] turns brown…when the pipes are flushed, and…the cloudiness is only an aesthetic effect that causes no harm.  But…Department of Health records shows that the water has repeatedly exceeded standards for various chlorine-related chemicals and has been cited for violations dating back to 2006…a former [treatment] plant operator told health officials in 2015 that the water’s cloudiness readings were being manipulated to make the water look cleaner than it was…The Special Commitment Center [imprisons]…sex offenders…[that] the state convinced a judge…were too dangerous to be released…

The Sky is Falling! (#415)

The Francophone world seems to be in especially deep denial about compensated dating:

Belgian ministers have said they will take legal action in an attempt to force a [sugar dating] website…to remove…adverts near the country’s universities.  Trucks bearing large posters promoting Rich Meet Beautiful…have appeared on the outskirts of campuses in Brussels in recent days…the Norwegian company behind the website says it hopes to recruit 300,000 Belgian registrations by the end of 2018…The site, however, has been accused of encouraging prostitution and playing on the financial insecurity of the young [by offering them an option to get out of financial insecurity.  Two pearl-clutching ministers]…have declared they intend to launch a criminal proceeding against the firm for inciting debauchery and prostitution, and to force the suspension of its campaign on public order grounds…

Feminine Pragmatism (#518) 

This isn’t “remarkable” or even “unusual”; women have done part-time sex work to supplement meager earnings at least since Roman times:

…after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.  She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch…when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction.  “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad”…Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness…

Under Review (#733)

Escort advertising is already illegal in Ireland, which is why Irish sex workers have such limited advertising options:

The government is being urged [by prohibitionists] to ban a website that facilitates the advertising of prostitution services – and invites customers to review the women they hire…Over 7,000 [ignorant busybodies] have now signed a petition urging the Department of Justice to step in and [magically] remove the website [despite its being hosted in Spain] and ban others like it [again, but magically this time so the sex rays can’t cross into Irish cyberspace]…

I Saw My Brain (#773)

Authoritarian idiots will probably keep re-electing this lunatic no matter how much his antics cost them:

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd garnered widespread scorn for blathering and boasting on social media, threatening to arrest people with outstanding warrants if they sought public shelter while Hurricane Irma battered Florida…Now Judd has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly denying entry to a man seeking shelter, saying he had to go through a background check first…Judd [doubled down on his moronic rhetoric, claiming the man] wasn’t denied shelter…[but] offered accommodations in jail…

Wise Investment (#775)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

One year later, cases from the Euro Spa sting of June 2016 are still slowly making their way through Seattle’s Municipal Court.  Some men…have pled guilty to “sexual exploitation,” the city’s recently modified term for the misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute.  Others have requested trials…But one accused john—we’ll call him John—adopted a different legal strategy…John’s lawyer, Bob Goldsmith, filed a motion in July challenging City Attorney Pete Holmes…[who] directed prosecutors to rule out pre-trial diversion…[and] instead…push for guilty pleas that will result in a criminal record…Holmes…[pretends] the policy…will reduce prostitution overall [and imagines that would be a good thing]…Anita Khandelwal, policy director for the Department of Public Defense, called Holmes’ tactic on sexual exploitation charges “unusual and illegal”.  While johns are often cast as sexual predators by law enforcement and the media, Khandelwal says the clients her office sees are “incredibly poor and marginalized and caught up in police stings.”  She added, “Mr. Holmes’ statement that criminalizing buyers results in changed behavior is not supported by the evidence.  The war on drugs did not reduce drug use but it filled prisons”…

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The work you do does not give you dignity; the dignity comes from you.  –  Elena Reynaga

Counterfeit Comfort

The Notorious Badge

An unusual portrayal of sex work in cinema:

…the 1918 silent film The Yellow Ticket…follows Lea, a young Jewish woman who lives in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Hoping to study medicine at a university in St. Petersburg, Lea is forced to register as a sex worker, receiving a “yellow ticket” as proof of her status as a prostitute, or else she will go to prison for being Jewish.  Posing as the deceased Christian sister of her former tutor, Lea reluctantly lives these dual lives until a classmate discovers her at the brothel and she tries to commit suicide…

Broken Record 

Low-population areas come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

Fargo [North Dakota] police arrested two men as part of a two-day sting…[during] the annual Big Iron Farm Show…[spokesow Junell] Krabbenhoft [oinked that]…“Any major event, anything that’s going to draw people to the area,” could attract potential buyers…

An Example to the West (#316) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

…sex workers [are] campaign[ing] for an International Labour Organization (ILO) resolution establishing the right to self-employed sex work, with a view to it being included in the individual legislations of Latin American countries, given that, although sex work is not explicitly penalised in many countries of the region, it is criminalised in many ways…they managed, after five years of failed attempts, to secure a thematic hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  The demands presented included the recognition of sex work, that the relevant authorities in each state intervene to end the impunity surrounding crimes against sex workers, and measures to tackle the institutional violence they suffer…The IACHR…“urged member states to design public policies and regulations that protect the human rights of sex workers…and…put an end to the stigmatisation and discrimination to which they are subjected”…

Traffic Circle (#431)

It’s so nice to see an article in which migrant African sex workers are treated as adults with agency rather than passive, childlike “victims”:

Bar girls and sex workers have a visible presence in Pattaya [Thailand].  Women and girls from neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar have made up a large slice of the sex worker demographic for as long as people can recall…Among the most recent round of newcomers are some women from Africa…Last week Pattaya City police arrested 12 women from Uganda…A Cambodian sex worker…[said] she came to the city to earn a living five years ago.  Pattaya improved her life, she says, and she wants to remain there for as long as possible…”Back at home, I can’t even earn 10% of what I am earning here.  I notice a lot more black girls these days but none of us get intimidated by this.  After all, we also came here to find an opportunity to make a better living”…

SWOP Behind Bars

A good article with a horrible headline: sex work is work, not an “offense”:

SWOP Behind Bars…provides a community and concrete aid [to incarcerated sex workers] when they’re released, from clothing and shoes to stamped envelopes, notebooks and hygiene products.  In a new program, the women also get cellphones…Connecting women to resources quickly after leaving prison is crucial.  “When you’re in prison and you get out and you don’t have any money, you’re almost forced back into sex work.  Which may not be where these women want to be, because it does put them at risk for rearrest,” [SBB founder Alex] Andrews said.  She calls this “state-sponsored trafficking”.  Women are cut off from their families and released without resources for finding jobs, getting an education or pursuing a GED.  Sex work is effectively the only way many of them have to make money…Finding cheap, reliable phone service nationwide has been tricky, Andrews says.  Many services aren’t set up to allow people to purchase phones for others, and she’d like to buy 90 days of service at a time, rather than the usual 30-day package.  Most women coming out of prison aren’t in a position to start paying for their own phone after only a month on the outside.  For the moment, Andrews has settled on Straight Talk, a program that’s offered through Wal-Mart and gets good service even in rural areas.  SWOP can send out refurbished iPhone 5S with 30 days of service for around $100 each.  The organization is accepting donations of used smart phones to help expand the program and lower costs…

To Molest and Rape 

“Former prison transport officer” = “pig who was actively employed when he raped women at gunpoint”:

A federal grand jury…returned a two-count indictment against Eric Scott Kindley…for crimes related to his sexual assault of a woman in his custody, and using his firearm in furtherance of the assault…Kindley was indicted on June 29, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, for committing similar offenses related to sexual assaults he committed on a different woman in his custody…These indictments stem from Kindley’s arrest in Stockton, California, on June 1, 2017…Kindley operated Group 6, LLC doing business as Special Operations Group, a company that local jails throughout the country hire to transport individuals who have been arrested on out-of-state warrants…In each instance, the victim was handcuffed and restrained, and taken to secluded locations where Kindley [raped] her…Kindley threatened each victim with his firearm and warned her that…no one will believe her…

Send In the Clowns 

This year’s “creepy clown” panic is off to a good start:

An Ohio man who tried to discipline his 6-year-old daughter by chasing her around in a clown mask has been charged after she ran screaming to a stranger’s apartment…Vernon Barrett Jr. donned a clown mask and began chasing his young daughter outside their apartment…the frightened child ran to a female stranger’s car nearby, jumped inside and said she was being chased by a clown…That woman later told police that the man wearing the clown mask pulled the child out of her car.  Unsure of what was happening, the woman called 911…the child [then] ran into the adjacent apartment of…Dion Santiago…[who] grabbed his firearm and fired a shot out of his window…

The Mote and the Beam (#748)

Liz Brown exposes more horrific laws that destroy civil rights under the pretext of “fighting sex trafficking”:

…two significant expansions of federal power…passed the Senate unanimously…Under these new measures, the FBI and immigration agents as well as state and local police can secretly wiretap suspected sex workers, or those who associate with them.  The wiretapping authority…includ[es] consenting adults on any side of a commercial sexual exchange.  The bills call for a new national strategy to reduce “demand” for prostitution, order all U.S. attorneys offices be trained on treating the sex trade as “a form of gender-based violence”…[ban] federal funds [from] any nonprofit that helps people who profit off sex and…broaden…the term “criminal street gang” [to] capture any five or more sex workers traveling together…[the bills provide] a pretext for ICE and Homeland Security Investigations to join in small-town prostitution stings and massage-parlor raids across America…[another] bill (S.1312) gives the attorney general power to file a civil suit against anyone suspected of…planning to commit “any action that constitutes or will constitute” a violation of various federal statutes…This…could allow the feds to preemptively shut down websites, search engines, social apps, browsers, encryption services, or brick-and-mortar businesses because criminals (broadly defined) might communicate there…The new TVPA will also make fighting…”sextortion”…an invitation for the federal government to get involved in teen sexting cases…

The Widening Gyre (#763) 

I am so enjoying watching “authorities” forced to deny the “sex trafficking” propaganda they helped spread:

Looks like the Roseville, California, police department got a little fed up with social media posts going on about local “sex trafficking kidnappers” and “suspicious people.”  And so it came out with this amazing document on its Facebook page…”kidnapping by strangers is a rare crime in the United States.  Stranger abductions of children are so frightening and so unusual that when they do happen, they make national news…children taken by strangers or slight acquaintances represent only one-hundredth of 1 percent (.01%) of all missing children…The Roseville Police Department has never taken a report of anyone being kidnapped by a stranger and forced into the sex trade…We…found no evidence that human traffickers were [at shopping malls] recruiting strangers“…

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Our justice system considers a reasonable and compassionate solution sentencing a child under the coercion of a pimp to nearly six years in prison for online chatting.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Saving Them From Themselves

A fairly typical abomination, but with an extra racist component:

…Levar Allen is an award-winning wrestler, football and basketball player [in Bossier City, Louisiana] who has never had problems with police until now.  [17-year-old] Levar exchanged naked pictures with a 16-year-old classmate…she sent Levar a nude video and then he sent her one in return…But Levar is black…she [is] a white girl and they live…in a racist area.  Her parents called the police when they discovered the video.  Naturally, the police arrested Levar and charged him with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and possession of child pornography…

Schadenfreude 

In other news, a bear was discovered shitting in the woods:

A Swedish NGO, Love and Hope (formerly LoveNepal) in Nepal collected donations from Swedish people based on false claims of “saving children from brothels” and posting photographs on social media of three girls they claimed to be sex workers…Håkan Gabrielsson, from the charity organisation Out of Ashes based in Nepal described this post as “purely fantasy”…the photos used…are the same photos he showed…[to] one of the founders of LoveNepal [in 2009]…the pictures have been used nonconsensually, and that the accompanying story has been made up to solicit donations.  Hannah Badi, a Nepalese woman who has spoken out about her experiences with the charity, said the charity often uses fake stories to elicit emotions and money…[she] said Mikael [Alfven of Love and Hope] coached her to lie about her background to make a “better story” to increase donations.  When she shared her story for the first time, she says Mikael told her “this is not enough, this is not a strong story.”  He…encouraged her to talk about sex slavery in brothels and to cry when talking about the Badi people…

US prohibitionists refer to this kind of lying as “reframing experiences”.

Something Rotten in Sweden (#44)

It’s nice to see at least a few reporters waking up:

…local authorities [fantasize about]…Sacramento County’s underground sex economy…39 people were arrested during “Operation: Hot Spots” on August 16…A narrative [was] quickly [concocted] about why the operation took place and what it supposedly accomplished.  “[blah blah blah]…fighting human trafficking by targeting sex buyers”…District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said…“[blah blah blah] send a…message that purchasing sex from trafficking victims will not be tolerated in our community.”  And yet, nearly two weeks later…the…alleged johns aren’t the ones facing criminal charges.  A 20-year-old black woman is…While the horrors of human trafficking draw big talk from elected officials and donation-seeking nonprofits, the ones who most often end up in handcuffs are women…

Uncommon Sense (#345)

Though it genuflects to ugly myths, I think this is a step in the right direction:

The German brothel owners’ association, BSD, has made a bid to introduce “controlled quality, transparency and service” to the country’s sex industry with the launch of a “seal of approval” for brothels…BSD said that the purpose of the seal was to “counter the general vilification and many false conceptions about the structures and working procedures” in brothels…The seal…requires owners to sign a pledge to oppose violence, forced prostitution and crime, and to provide fair, responsible and hygienic working conditions…The owners also have to prove that all the prostitutes are self-employed and working voluntarily, and can decide which customers they want to serve and which services they want to provide…

Halfway Whores (#439)

Though the numbers are of course exaggerated to make it more lurid, the story itself is a huge yawn:

A young model has claimed prostitution is rife within the fashion industry after she was offered cash to sleep with wealthy men…Jazz Egger, who recently turned 20, makes the extraordinary claim that “big agencies” and “established models” are involved in seedy underground dealings, with young women paid up to $2million (£1.54million) to spend the night with male clients.  Shockingly, Jazz claims she was even told that two young supermodels who have become household names have “spent time” with men for money in order to get ahead in their career…

Signs

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

…human traffickers…lurk on places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and SnapChat…”This can happen to any child; it doesn’t matter what family they come from,” said [profiteer] Shea Rhodes…the best way for schools to prevent trafficking is to have experts in the field come in to give presentations to the girls 13 years of age and up, since they are the most vulnerable to trafficking…School personnel should go through a similar training as well to be better prepared to identify trafficking…the…signs being [sic]…Having new clothes and belongings that the student hasn’t always been able to afford…Wearing clothes that are oversexualized…Sleeping in class…Changes in school attendance…Cutting class…An older boyfriend…

Sleeping in class?  Older boyfriend?  Obviously I was “trafficked” even in high school!  Here are previous examples of dopey “sex traffcking education” programs.

The Mote and the Beam (#728) 

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Motel 6 has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the city of Los Angeles alleging that the chain’s management allowed one of its locations to be used as a hub for human trafficking and gang activity…Motel 6 agreed to pay $250,000 to settle the suit…the Los Angeles city attorney [pretends] that the money would be used to [magically] deter human trafficking…The settlement requires the motel to post signs about human trafficking in its lobby, hire security guards and ask guests to show photo identification when checking in.

Check Your Premises (#730)

The real result of “sex trafficking” laws:

A Kansas teen who messaged a friend about getting into prostitution with her was sentenced to 71 months in prison for aggravated human trafficking of a minor—even though the girl herself was a minor at the time and operating under the influence of a coercive and violent older man.  Hope Zeferjohn, now 19…will be subject to lifetime court supervision, registration as a sex offender, and a permanent ban on carrying a firearm…

Full of Themselves (#765)

Indian journalists are even more brainlessly credulous of cop lies than American ones are:

Close to 10 days after a crackdown on an international sex racket involving high-end spas, 34 women from Thailand  who were rescued by…police, said they want to return to their country…[and] did not wish to continue staying at a local rescue home where they were being kept…A petition is likely to be moved soon seeking permission for their return to Thailand.  After this, a local court will take a decision regarding the same…

There’s a word for a place people are kept against their will, and it isn’t “home”.  Nor can the act of confining a person to such a place against her will be considered “rescue” in any but the most warped of minds.

Broken Record (#768) 

Is anyone so stupid they can’t grasp that when the pigs are actively engaged in stings, arrests rise?

Las Vegas police saw a spike in prostitution arrests this past weekend as fight-enthusiasts flocked to the city to watch Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor square off…118 prostitution-related arrests were made between Friday and Sunday…In contrast, the first weekend of August had just 34 of these arrests…

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It’s psychologically damaging to stay 12 hours in an office getting paid a minimum wage.  –  Andra Chirnogeanu

See No Evil

I’m sure you feel safer now:

Police dug through Walter Korte’s trash four times.  They searched his car, his office, and his home.  They found thousands of…”erotic and pornographic pictures that appeared to be printed off websites.”  The “vast majority” of the images “appeared legal and depicted adults and transgender individuals.”  Some of the photos showed “young men clothed and unclothed,” some of whom “appeared to be in their late teens.”  One of those pictures was ultimately determined to qualify as child pornography under Virginia law, meaning that it was a “sexually explicit” image of “an identifiable minor,” i.e., someone younger than 18.  As a result, Korte, a [73 year old] former film studies professor at the University of Virginia with no criminal record, faces up to a year in jail and registration as a sex offender…According to the proposed plea deal, Korte “knowingly possess[ed] child pornography”…[even though] the police did not know that the single purportedly illegal image, showing a boy in his “late teens,” was child pornography until they consulted experts at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  It also is not clear why prosecutors, who noted that “police did not find evidence of any hands-on crimes against minors”…are insisting that he register as a sex offender, which is not required by statute for possession of child pornography unless it is a second offense…

The More the Better 

This is actually a very reasonable article, especially considering the BBC’s usual prudishness:

…Working an eight-hour day, [Lana] earns close to 4,000 euros (£3,600) per month – nearly 10 times the Romanian average wage.  As Lana’s employer, Studio 20 also makes 4,000 euros per month from her online sessions.  And at the top of the video chat money-making pyramid, LiveJasmin – the online cam site that streams Studio 20’s content and is responsible for collecting payment from the credit cards of clients – takes double that: 8,000 euros…LiveJasmin is the largest internet cam host in the world.  Between 35 and 40 million users visit it daily, and at any given moment, there are 2,000 models live online…Studio 20 is the largest studio webcam franchise in the world.  It has nine branches in Romania, including one employing “cam-boys” who service the gay market.  Its other branches are in the Colombian city of Cali, Budapest and Los Angeles…

Naturally, they felt compelled to quote a prohibitionist about magical “damage” and camming being a “gateway” to whoredom, and the reporter had to end with an absurd little Utopian “feminist” homily.  But these come across as tacked-on detraction from an otherwise truthful article.

Sex Rays

Half the population of New York City would be contaminated by sex rays!

Porn streaming site RedTube has offered to take Gov. Andrew Cuomo up on his idea to sell naming rights to subway stations…Owned by porn giant MindGeek, RedTube is a YouTube-like service that focuses on pornographic videos.  It boasts 20 million daily users…Required donations range up to $600,000…Earlier this year, RedTube paid to have its logo placed on the shirts of a Massachusetts amateur soccer club.  And three years ago, sister site YouPorn (another MindGeek holding) became the title sponsor of a Madrid, Spain-based esports team – now called Team YP.

Shifting the Blame (#553)

Compare “Hood’s trial on white slavery charges comes as Mr. Bell’s telephone company is under increasing scrutiny for connecting prostitution calls“:

The teen…described being prostituted around the Washington area by two brothers she met at a Virginia motel…Danielle H…testified that one of the brothers, Christian Hood, posted ads for her on…Backpage earlier this year.  His half brother Abdul Bangura was her boyfriend and her pimp, she said.  Hood’s trial on sex trafficking charges comes as Backpage is under increasing scrutiny for hosting prostitution ads that include child-trafficking victims…

Full of Themselves (#591)

What is it about massage parlors that brings the puritans out of the woodwork?

The booming spa and massage parlour business in India has led to an increasing demand for women from Thailand, many of whom are being duped and trafficked into slavery in the country’s sex industry, [cops], [politicians] and [prohibitionists] said…At least 40 Thai women have been [arrested and deported] in 2017 during police raids on massage parlours acting as fronts for prostitution in western cities such as Mumbai and Pune…There are an estimated 40 million sex workers globally, according to French [prohibition profiteers] Fondation Scelles.  [Prohibitionists fantasize] most have been lured, duped or forced into sexual slavery by pimps and traffickers…

Comfort Zone (#651)

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

…in the downtown area and hotel zone of Cancun, more than twenty women of several nationalities were [arrested by] National Institute of Migration (INM) authorities, in order to determine their legal immigration status [using the excuse that] all the detained women were alleged victims of forced prostitution…[pigs] raided night clubs with a warrant to detect any [migrants]…

Theatrics (#677) 

These fake “sex trafficking” websites set up by prohibitionists demonstrate the depravity of their lurid fantasies about our lives and work:

A new hotel ad campaign launched by Toronto Crime Stoppers online is [spreading anti-sex worker propaganda]…in hotels across the Greater Toronto Area.  From a restaurant menu of OxyContin, marijuana, cocaine and heroin, to room service amenities, such as intercourse, threesome, backrubs and bondage, Hotel de Jeunesse’s website aims to [spread disinformation] about sex [work]…The ad also [fantasizes about so-called]…warning signs that hotel staff need to look for…

Pyrrhic Victory (#697)

The word for collaboration between government & private industry to control people is “fascism”:

…the British government has announced  plans…to partner with businesses to come up with the best ways to implement surveillance and crowd-control techniques at heavily-populated venues…The British government already has the “most sweeping” surveillance powers in the western world, thanks to a bill passed last fall.  The new focus of combining that massive surveillance apparatus with crowd-control techniques is what makes this new initiative so jarring.  DASA is offering up to £1 million of funding in the first round to companies that can come up with the best ways to improve current surveillance and use crowds as “sensors” to detect dangers through the use of behavioural sciences…the goal is to find a way to [indoctrinate] the public to…keep a distrustful eye on those around them.  Those ideas seem similar to American initiatives such as the Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” program, which essentially incentivizes a sense of paranoia when riding the metro or attending an event where a large crowd is present…

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

I’m rather pleased that somebody beat the pompous, priggish politicians of Seattle to the punch:

For nearly three years, in an undisclosed US city, a social service agency has quietly been inviting people to inject illegal drugs at a clandestine site, without the government’s approval.  More than 100 people have injected drugs at the site…This data provides the first glimpse of what it would look like if the US decided to follow 10 other countries and open supervised injection facilities…two people’s lives were saved because they overdosed at the site, where staff had immediate access to…naloxone, and 90% of people who used there said they would have injected in a public restroom, street, park or parking lot if the site had not been available…The secret site is modeled after legal facilities in countries including CanadaDenmark and France, where users can take drugs in a safe space with clean supplies…

Stupor Bowl (#752)

Even cop-fellating pieces like this one now mostly admit that “Super Bowl sex trafficking” is a myth, but they’re trying to turn the truth on its head by pretending the reason there’s no surge is that the “demand” for “victims” is always sky-high:

Minneapolis [prohibitionists fantasize that] criminal sexual enterprise has taken root in the state and will remain long after the Super Bowl leaves town…So law enforcement agencies and nonprofit groups are [lying about] the big game to bring fresh…funding to anti-sex-[worker pogroms]…It includes coordinated stings and [indoctrination to] train…bus drivers, hotel workers and 10,000 Super Bowl volunteers [spy on people for the pigs]…Authorities aren’t expecting a massive spike in trafficking during the Super Bowl…

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Radfems…use terms like “sell herself” as though, at the end of the transaction, a woman has sold off a body part.  –  Lauren Rosewarne

Saving Them From Themselves

Apparently Dan Rubinstein has never heard of this thing called “pregnancy”:

…Ronald Lee Love faces a felony child sexual-exploitation charge for exchanging explicit text-messages with someone with whom it would have been legal for him to have had sex.  Love, who lives in Mesa County, Colorado, began corresponding last summer when he was 25 with a 15-year-old girl who lives in New England…he explicitly insisted that their relationship remain digital because he believed physical activity was illegal…In Colorado, however, the age of consent is 15, so long as a sexual partner is not 10 or more years older…Yet authorities in this same state have decided someone…Receiving or possessing sexually-oriented images of someone under age 18…is a felony punishable by one to six years per offense…Local authorities defended their position that sexting is worse than actual sex, contending that…while a real-life sexual liaison might be a one-or limited-time thing, the teen sending Love her photo could “potentially come back to haunt this girl 30 years from now,” said Mesa County District Attorney District Attorney Dan Rubinstein.

Because obviously being saddled with a brat at 15 wouldn’t be NEARLY as bad as the kind of nudie pics that every ordinarily-sexual woman in the developed world has floating around.  Do pigs (I count DAs as part of that species) ever sound as stupid as they do when coming up with moronic rationalizations for moronic laws?

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Heroic Irish “authorities” save a man from getting his kidney transplant paid for:

A 73-year-old Brazilian prostitute…working in a brothel in…Kildare…walked free from court because she planned to return home as soon as the…case was over…She…was running the brothel…to pay for her 40-year-old son’s kidney transplant.  She also wanted to return home to her seriously ill 98-year-old mother…gardai…found just €80 in cash at the property…but…Judge Zaidan…[stole it anyway] and [gave it to Ruhama]…

Irish judges have a long an sadistic history of robbing sex workers and giving the money to those who want us imprisoned in workhouses and our families destroyed.

The Notorious Badge

You know peak hysteria has been reached when a moral panic features in afternoon soaps:

Young and the Restless (Y&R) spoilers for the week of August 7 and 14 reveal that Sharon…finds herself in grave danger while investigating a sex ring in Genoa City…Crystal…claims she is being held against her will by a prostitution ring…[and] is trying to escape from her captors who are following her… Zack is involved in the prostitution ring and…his dating app project with Abby Newman is linked with the operations of the criminal ring.  Abby Newman will soon find out that the dating app she is developing with Zack is part of a sex trafficking operation…

End Demand

Authoritarians would be even more dangerous if they could actually get their shit together:

People convicted of buying sex have, since February, been eligible for a program to [indoctrinate] them [in anti-sex propaganda]…But no one has been sentenced to it yet…[because] Bismarck [North Dakota]…City Attorney Jason Hammes…did not know it existed…”It appears the municipal prosecutors and judges may not be aware of it,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in a letter to city attorneys and municipal judges on July 25…

Watershed

Australia has far more sane feminists than does the US:

While women’s libbers have spent decades fighting to get us dominion over our own bodies, radical feminists have spent almost as long trying to insert caveats.  Apparently there are right and egregiously wrong ways to use our bodies – more specifically our genitals – particularly when dollars are involved…I not only vehemently disagree with the radfem position, but I view it as fundamentally un-feminist…If feminists aren’t fighting for my right to use my body how I choose, then they’ve dramatically detoured from their mission…

Decentralization (#444)

Remember “titcoin”?

“Lust” is an initial coin offering based on the Ethereum blockchain platform, designed for prostitutes and their customers to exchange money for sexual services.  It uses…anonymity features to escrow funding of the parties and keep their identities private, in order to avoid law-enforcement scrutiny and public shaming.  Leaving aside the thorny moral and social questions raised by the currency’s intended use…the “smart contracts” favor one side of the bargain: the “key has to be scanned later if they make an agreement and meet otherwise the contract gets automatically closed in 48 hours, and the client gets his Etherium tokens back in the wallet”…if the “client” has sex with the worker, and then does not scan her (sic) token, the client gets to have sex, and the worker gets nothing.  Despite high-minded talk about preventing violence against sex-workers, the major threat-model addressed by these smart-contracts is men who don’t feel like they got value for money when having sex, not women who perform sex-for-money and don’t get paid for it…

Despite Cory Doctorow’s pompous pearl-clutching (since when is consensual sex a “thorny moral question” to anyone but authoritarians?) he’s right about the way this would work, which means no sane sex worker will ever use it.  Cash up front, guys, or you get nothing.

Shift in the Wind (#510)

The Adam Smith Institute continues its support of decriminalization with a commentary on a new paper by Ron Weitzer:

…sociologist Ronald Weitzer…gives new insight into the sorry state of the academic literature on these topics.  First on his list of grievances is the unreliability of the data that is often used…[but] Flawed data is just the tip of the iceberg…[often] the authors’ approach to study design also leaves a lot to be desired…”The authors use aggregate national trafficking estimates (which combine labor, sex, and other kinds of trafficking) in their attempt to assess whether legal prostitution makes a difference. This means that there is a gross mismatch between the trafficking figures and prostitution law:  In assessing whether prostitution law is related to the incidence of trafficking, figures on sex trafficking alone should be used, not the totals for all types if trafficking“…A subsequent study by Cho (2016) using a different data source contains another howler…”Without citing any source, Cho claims that ‘prostitution is closely linked to human trafficking because sex trafficking for the purpose of prostitution is the most common form of human trafficking and constitutes the largest fraction of trafficking victims’…This claim is contradicted by the International Labour Organization (ILO)…[which states] ‘Forced commercial sexual exploitation represents 11% of all cases’ of forced labor worldwide“…Weitzer’s paper would be an interesting academic exercise in the perils of low-quality data and poor research methodology, except for the fact that policies being enacted on the basis of [these bad] studies are hurting marginalized women…when it comes to scaremongering stories about sex trafficking epidemics and accompanying calls for the “Nordic Model”, extra caution should be exercised.

Cops and Robbers (#629) 

More vigilantes playing with people’s lives and lying to men in an attempt to steal income from sex workers who may need it to pay rent and feed their children:

A new [chat]bot built by Microsoft employees in their spare time…[was] tested recently in Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington…[it] lurks behind fake online ads…posted by [anti-sex worker profiteers]…and responds to text messages sent to the number listed.  The software initially pretends to be the person in the ad, and can converse about its purported age, body, fetish services, and pricing.  But if a would-be buyer signals an intent to purchase sex, the bot pivots sharply into [prohibitionist propaganda]…”Buying sex from anyone is illegal and can cause serious long term harm to the victim, as well as further the cycle of human trafficking…Details of this incident will be reviewed further and you may be contacted by law enforcement for questioning”…Project Intercept’s lead partner, Seattle Against Slavery, is working with counterparts in 21 other U.S. cities, including Boston and Houston, to deploy the bot more widely…Project Intercept was started in 2012 by two Microsoft employees after seeing a [movie] about sex trafficking…

Given the involvement of the vile SAS and the list of cities involved, methinks Swanee Hunt’s foul reek is all over this.

Lack of Evidence (#696)

As long as these laws exist, all women are vulnerable to persecution by cops:

On July 31, an undercover cop in Columbus, Georgia, invited a 51-year-old woman into his car and offered her $5 for oral sex. When she rebuffed his offer and tried to get out, he arrested the woman for loitering for the purpose of prostitution…a controversial charge commonly used by the Columbus Police Department (CPD) to target those such as homeless women, people who’ve previously been arrested on prostitution charges, or people who don’t meet a [cop’s] standard of gender conformity.  On Sunday morning, CPD officers arrested a 24-year-old homeless woman for allegedly waving at two passing cars from the side of the road…Last summer, 24-year-old C. Williams was arrested while sitting at a bus stop because…Williams was carrying condoms and “dressed as a woman”…the city statute…expressly says evidence of an intent to commit prostitution or sodomy includes the person being “a known prostitute, pimp or sodomist”…

The Widening Gyre (#696) 

Given the number of companies profiting from “sex trafficking” hysteria, it should come as no surprise when individuals start using it for publicity stunts:

British model Chloe Ayling…claims she was held captive for almost a week after being lured to Milan, Italy, for what she was told was a photo shoot.  Her alleged captor, Lukasz Pawel Herba, [supposedly] drugged her and placed her in a large suitcase in a car boot…Ayling was allegedly held hostage for up to six days as her abductors [supposedly a group called “Black Death” with ties to the Russian mafia] tried to sell her as a sex slave…The gang says its victims can be “transported globally” and advertises its activities, saying: “If you wish, we can kidnap a specific target for your needs…The advert claims the abductors “do not sell girls that are terminally ill, pregnant, have STDs or are young mothers”.  It has been suggested the gang let Ms Ayling go after realising she had a two-year-old son…While [sensible] people have raised doubts about her story, her lawyer, Francesco Pesce, said investigators believed her claims…

That cops, whose credulity on the topic of crime knows no bounds, believe the story is an argument against its being true, not for it.  Another is the notion of a gang which has no problem selling women into slavery, yet revere the sanctity of motherhood, and yet another is the fact that Ayling was seen shopping for shoes with her alleged abductor during the time she was supposedly bound to a chest of drawers (?) at a farmhouse.

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Usually, when I devote a whole column to picking on a news article, it’s because said article is so hilariously bad or deeply disturbing (or both) that I can’t bear to limit myself to a quick jab of the knife in a news column, and instead prefer to lovingly vivisect it until the entire virtual room is spattered in blood.  But this is, alas, not one of those cases; the article’s author, Sonja Sharp, clearly believes herself an ally of sex workers, or is at least open-minded to the idea that sex workers deserve human rights, yet she can’t quite bring herself to shake off her childlike trust in government and her belief that cops are the “good guys”.  So what we get is an article that is generally supportive of sex worker rights, yet fails to properly place the blame for our oppression on the prohibitionists; instead, it adopts a kind of mealy-mouthed “moderation”, pretending that there is a legitimate “debate” to be had between those who say humans own ourselves and have unalienable rights, and those who pretend that individuals are owned by the State, which has the “right” to use violence to “protect” us from choices with which our owners disapprove.  There’s very little point in quoting the good parts, so I’m just going to concentrate on pointing out the bad ones.

[When] Police Commissioner James O’Neill and the city’s First Lady Chirlane McCray…[announced] the NYPD would bolster the size of its vice squad in order to stamp out sex trafficking…the hope on part of some advocates was that sex workers might see relief from the pressure traditionally brought to bear by police…

I have no idea who these “advocates” Sharp refers to are, but none of them are sex worker rights activists; we know better than to harbor naive beliefs that doubling the size of a police unit could in any way signal “relief” for those the unit is specifically intended to oppress.

…a growing number of law enforcement agencies…are forming their own anti-trafficking units—often using grants from the feds—and deploying similarly gallant rhetoric despite limited evidence their arrests do much to stop exploitation…But alternatives are time-consuming and remain opaque to most law enforcement agencies, which have been deputized to fight human trafficking in part because it’s widely understood to be synonymous with illegal sex work…Modernizing their approach is still a work in progress, to say the least…

Because the writer can’t bring herself to question the institution of policing, she buys into the claim that cops are interested in “stopping exploitation”; she imagines that the idea of just leaving people alone instead of persecuting them for private, consensual activities is “opaque” to cops, rather than recognizing “sex trafficking” as a boondoggle intended to disguise the ugly persecution of sexual behavior under a mask of “helping”.  The idea that cops’ behavior needs to be “modernized” is the most asinine of all; what they’re doing now IS the modern approach, by definition, since it’s less than 20 years old.  What we really need is a return to the approach which predominated throughout most of human history: recognizing that sex work is normal and not a government matter, and leaving it the fuck alone.

…Jean Bruggeman, executive director of the national anti-trafficking organization Freedom Network USA [says] “I think in their zeal to help [cops] are doing some very wrongheaded things,” including mass arrests of sex workers and John stings using fake Backpage ads…

More exoneration of cops, pretending their abusive behavior (including surveillance, rape, robbery, brutality, destruction of homes and lives and even driving people to suicide) is motivated by a “zeal to help”.  You know, like terrorists blow up innocent people in their “zeal to help” them get to Heaven.

…In what appears to be a more concerted approach than that of the NYPD, LA Sheriff’s detectives bring an outreach worker with them whenever they approach sex workers…always offering them diversion first, before an arrest is made…”if they flat-out refuse, we book them, and then they’re sent to the appropriate court,” where they are then [forced into] a system of mandatory services…It seems like progressive approach, one most people—even those who think sex work should be legal—might be able to get behind…

Yeah, it’s “progressive” all right, considering that the Progressive movement spawned the concept of Prohibition in the first place.  To pretend that people who want to suppress consensual sex are actually trying to “help” anyone but themselves is disingenuous in the extreme, yet Sharp just can’t see that attacking peaceful people and then forcing them at gunpoint to accept the government’s idea of “help” is evil even if implemented exactly as planned, both in theory and in practice.

…demand reduction…is hotly contested among advocates and experts.  While less explicitly harmful than arresting sex workers, opponents say it does little to rout traffickers, while those who endorse it argue arresting Johns makes sexual exploitation less attractive as a business…

Aaaaaaaand I’m gonna stop right there before I am seized with the urge to disembowel Sharp along with her crappy article.  No, “end demand” isn’t “hotly contested” among anyone who actually gives a shit about human rights, nor is it less harmful than arresting sex workers (indeed, in the US it always includes arresting sex workers despite the rhetoric).  There is no legitimate “debate” over whether people own their own bodies, nor whether they have the right to consensual sex with other adult partners; pretending that there is such a “debate” is nothing more than catering to evil control freaks and sucking the dick of power.  The pretense that cops are some kind of sweet, well-intentioned social justice squad, and that it isn’t their fault the laws are bad, is so incredibly nauseating it boggles the mind.  Stories like this, written by sheltered little girls barely out of their parents’ houses, are vile apologies for evil policies that enable uniformed rapists and soft-peddle operations intended to destroy lives, enable armed robbery of citizens and increase the real “modern slavery”, mass incarceration.

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