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Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

A lot of people under 18…are only considered “trafficked” because the law says so.  –  Raani Begum

Capricious Lusts

Some people can’t seem to understand that while sex workers can help men to manage their sexual frustration, there is nothing we can do once they grow to believe they’re entitled to free sex and go down the twisted “incel” rabbit hole.  I think Dan Savage does a good job of explaining that difference here:

…Sexual deprivation can make a person miserable, even suicidal…and, as a society, we seem fine with that.  People who can’t get sex are often told that…no one has ever dropped dead as a result of being deprived of sex.  (Loneliness, however, can hasten death; it may be a greater risk factor for early death than smoking or obesity)…sexually deprived people…who…identify as incels…[don’t] feel…depressed or blam[e] themselves…[they] are filled with rage and blame…women…And when an incel with social or mental health issues—issues that doubtless contributed to his being an “involuntarily celibate” in the first place—violently attacks women (men are often killed too), the online incel breaks into cheers…I don’t think throwing sex workers at violent, deranged incels will solve the violent, deranged incel problem.  Our culture has to change in enormous ways to solve this problem…men have to stop being socialized to believe they’re entitled to women’s bodies…adults who do sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals) and adults who hire adults doing sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals).  The former cultural transformation will solve the “incel” problem; the latter will solve the problem of sexual deprivation, i.e. involuntary celibacy…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Once again:  coalitions of fundamentalist anti-sex groups are in no way “surprising”:

If you had told radical feminist and [writer for SWERF/TERF rag Feminist Current] Natasha Chart five years ago that she would be fired from her advocacy job for objecting to the prostitution of minors, she wouldn’t have believed…She opted to speak with The Christian Post…”because…there is a significant and influential portion of…mainstream human rights activist community that…believes…youth sex work[ers]…should [not be raped and caged by cops]”…Chart is a former Jehovah’s Witness…no one is served when trusted civil society institutions utilize their clout…to quietly further a “pimping agenda“…If this goes unaddressed it is only a matter of time before the sex industry is considered “respectable” enough to emerge from the shadows and begin openly sponsoring a political caucus, as is the case in the Netherlands and Australia…

Yes, this is a Christian publication masturbating at very great length about the “pimp lobby” and approvingly quoting Meghan Murphy.

Seizing Power (#679)

Can we please stop pretending that Dart’s actions are anything other than a power & money grab?

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart wants [to profit from]…a recent plea deal [by Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer]…Dart filed a motion…asking [a]…Judge…to require Backpage.com LLC and its attorneys to pay the county for its legal fees in connection with a legal battle that dates back to 2015, when the Dallas-based online classified advertising site obtained a preliminary injunction blocking the sheriff’s office from [threatening] credit card companies [to force them to stop] processing payments for the site…

Broken Record (#733)

Prohibitionists just can’t stop beating this dead horse:

Three local groups are hosting an outreach event to warn the community about the dangers and reality of human trafficking during the Kentucky Derby…If you spot [any of these] red flag[s, report the person to the cops]…Hotel guests with little luggage…”Do Not Disturb” sign used constantly on a hotel room door…Housekeeping services refused for many days…Adults with…cell phones…A person is vague about his/her profession…

Can you imagine these phone calls? “Hi, Officer Porky, I’d like to report a man with a cell phone who told me to mind my own business…”

License to Rape (#806)

US prisons are hotbeds of rape in every form:

Jeannette Reynoso dreaded visiting her husband at…Rikers Island…She knew she would wait hours to be processed, go through several metal detectors and be subjected to a search by dogs sniffing for drugs and weapons.  But she never thought she would be…naked and in tears before two [screws raping her using the excuse of searching]…her body cavities for contraband…When she [resisted the supposed search]…the [screws] threatened to cancel her visits for 45 days…[among other violations] the [screw]…violently inserted two fingers into her anus…she was menstruating at the time…The search Ms. Reynoso described is prohibited in city jails.  In state and federal prisons, strip searches of visitors are permitted with consent, but not cavity checks…Elias Husamudeen, the president of the [Porcine Propaganda Perpetrators]…[mocked] the [reports made] by the women in the lawsuits and [claimed that]…“People are coming in with weapons in their vaginas, up their anus and in baby bottles”…

Because every woman I know can fit a 0.44 magnum in her pussy and a knife up her arse, at the same time.

Pyrrhic Victory (#810) 

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

In cities across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents can mine local police reports using COPLINK, a data program little known outside law enforcement circles…The software ingests local police databases, allowing users to map out people’s social networks and browse data that could include their countries of origin, license plate numbers, home addresses, alleged gang membership records, and more…[“authorities” pretend] these databases and analytic tools helps ICE…tackle serious crimes, like child pornography and [the catchall] money laundering.  But…ICE…agents are also involved in questionable immigration enforcement actions nationwide…

Watershed (#815)

When stuffy NBC News publishes an article which openly calls for decriminalization, you know things are changing:

…the true targets of the [so-called] war on trafficking have been the marginalized, low income consensual sex workers whose livelihoods and ability to stay safe have long been dependent on the resources being scrubbed from the internet in the name of ending trafficking…It’s likely that these [“sex trafficking”] laws will be challenged in court and eventually overturned…Even the Department of Justice has said [FOSTA] could…be found to be unconstitutional…But while overturning these bills in court would be a good first step, it’s not enough.  As long as consensual sex work is treated as functionally indistinct from abusive, forced or coercive situations, our laws will continue to punish some of the vulnerable people we claim to want to protect.  Criminalizing and aggressively cracking down on all sex work pushes consensual sex workers underground and into unsafe environments…and…does little to discourage or combat people who profit from coercing others…In contrast, decriminalization…allows…sex workers to more openly and thus safely conduct business…A wide range of groups including Amnesty InternationalFreedom Network USAGlobal Alliance Against Traffic in WomenHuman Rights WatchUNAIDSWorld Health OrganizationInternational Women’s Health Coalition and numerous sex worker advocacy and support groups have thrown their support behind…decriminalization…

Negative Secondary Effects (#817)

Normally, the pretended “secondary effects” are concrete things, not silly nebulosities:

[Prohibitionists] have been granted a judicial review against Sheffield’s strip club licensing policy in a move that could…have significant implications for other councils considering strip club licences.  It could force them to take into account the [imaginary] impact on women and gender equality, rather than just the wellbeing of [actual people like the dancers who these prohibitionists want unemployed]…

Funny how nobody is crusading against businesses that employ mostly men on grounds of “gender equality”.  Don’t men have an equal “right” to be forced out of high-paying work to appease prudish lunatics?

Disaster (#832)

Judging by the breadth of responses from all over the political map, FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government:

“What the new law does is it allows the FBI and law enforcement and individuals to sue platforms of any kind online for third-party hosts and content,” Barb Brents, a professor of sociology at UNLV, told KNPR…She explained that platforms like Craigslist and Backpage…are simply platforms for information and couldn’t be held responsible for what people posted on that format.  But under the new law, people can sue them for what other people post…Brents said there is no real evidence that real traffickers are using those sites, but the sites are used by consensual sex workers.  With them shut down or otherwise threatened…sex workers are losing an important screening mechanism…

And here’s a good introduction to FOSTA and its related tyrannies:

…Hillary Clinton would have signed it, too.  It…has had an overwhelming bipartisan majority…FOSTA-SESTA does nothing but places liability on online platforms by asking them to tackle an enormous “real world”/not online problemFOSTA-SESTA spooks online platforms into pre-emptively censoring free speech for fear of criminal liability, which has all sorts of horrible consequences for free speech…You can no longer share “explicit and vulgar content” on any Microsoft product, which means that no longer allowed to do anything sexual with anyone on their platforms, regardless…if…paid or unpaid…Here is an incomplete list of products and institutions that discriminate or ban sex work or adult products

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I don’t think there’s any kind of case law that says you can sue a penis.  –  Judith Lonnquist

Those among you who have never seen Heavy Metal may not really dig how completely cool this sequence was in 1981, but if it inspires you to go see the film (one of the last feature-length hand-drawn animated movies), I’ve done my job.  Naturally, Elon Musk’s shooting-a-car-into-space publicity stunt inspired me to tweet this video on Tuesday; the links above it were provided by Patrick NonwhiteScott GreenfieldMark DraughnJillian KeenanWalter OlsonNun Ya, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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I can’t breathe.  –  Louis Tramunti

Another of my favorite voice artists is gone; this video features many of her better-known roles, but she had so many they’re literally uncountable (included the original “Chatty Cathy” doll and her sinister Twilight Zone twin, Talky Tina).  The links above the video were provided by Jesse Walker (“Skynet”, “planets” & “map”), Franklin Harris (“RIP”), Scott Greenfield (“never”), Tim Cushing (“alley”), and Tejas (“accused”).

From the Archives

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After the United States dies, the evil of prohibition will (albeit gradually) follow it into Hell.  –  “Successor

Four years ago I wrote “The Mills of the Gods”, in which I explained that…

…my perspective on human affairs had undergone a dramatic shift toward the cosmic…my viewpoint…receded, as though I had stepped away from a magnifying lens through which I had always viewed the world…since then I have been unable to view the timescale of any human life as “long”, and in fact often catch myself talking about stretches of many decades as “brief periods in history”…

Though at the time of that writing I imagined the process as a singular shift, I have since come to realize that it was only the beginning of a continuing process which has since gone much further, and will probably continue until I leave this world.  Whether the disassociation is merely a part of the original process, a response to the deep emotional trauma of the past few years, a defense mechanism to protect my psyche against the cultural horror show I chronicle every day, an adaptation to make me a more effective activist or some combination of several or all of these, I cannot tell; all I know is that I’ve come to view the present as an historical tableau, a set of events that has already happened, which I observe unfolding as though I were a time traveler from a future age.  This isn’t to say I know what’s going to happen; I usually don’t, and even when I do I arrive at the prediction by cognitive processes rather than precognitive ones.  At least, I think that’s the case, and if I’m wrong it’s probably better I don’t know about it just yet.

So, while many of my friends are extremely concerned and even frightened by the events of this century so far (and especially recent events), I tend to view them with a sort of detachment.  This isn’t to say that I’m not angry or offended by them, but I also tend to burst into tears when watching any depiction of the First World War and a number of other historical events that I’m not aware of having been a part of.  Expressed less metaphysically, the political events I’m living through now don’t really feel any more real or personal to me than the events of the Great War, the Roman civil wars or the constantly-shifting political landscape of ancient Mesopotamia, and my tiny part in the events of the present often feels almost inevitable, as though I’m following a script written for me long ago.  People call me heroic, but I don’t feel heroic; I usually feel as though what I’m doing is the only possible choice, or at least the only moral one.

And so, unlike most Americans, I have no innate sense of American exceptionalism; I understand that the current American government will soon (on the historical scale of time) fall, just as all bloated, decadent, dying empires do, and that we’re already beyond the point at which future historians will divide the “classical” US from the late-period one.  I understand that when the collapse comes, it’s not going to be pretty or nice, and that a lot of innocent blood will be spilled along with that of the tyrants and revolutionaries.  I recognize that it’s very unlikely that a new federal government without a clear line of political succession will be able to hold onto all of the states any more than collapsing Rome could hold onto all of her far-flung provinces, and that it’s very likely that in another century the map of North America will look at least as different from the current one as a map of modern Europe looks from an 18th-century one.  I understand and accept these things as wholly as you accept the events of the 19th century: as phenomena that, while one might have feelings about them (even very strong feelings), there’s absolutely nothing one can do about them.  Call that fatalism if you like; I don’t see it that way.  I see it as history, and I see history as a continuously-unfolding process stretching into the far future rather than as a collection of moldering facts about the dead past.

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Chicago!  I’m heading your way on the 21st!  I’ll give you the details when I get ’em, but you’ll be able to hear me read from my new book, The Forms of Things Unknown, at two area bookstores; meet me at a fundraiser Friday night; or have some personal time with me.  But if you want that last, please contact me ASAP because my time will be limited; I’m flying out again on Saturday the 24th!  This is a perfect example of how to go about getting me to your city for a visit: a libertarian activist in Chicago put essentially the whole visit together for me, contacting the bookstores, setting up the fundraiser, and providing me with board; all I need to do is deliver my lovely self to the Windy City.  And if you can set up a similar deal in your city, you (and others there) can book me for regular-length appointments because I’ll already be there instead of having to travel just for you (see how that works)?  Obviously, please contact me before setting things up so I can give you some good date ranges.  Right now, my travel is limited to the US and parts of Canada I can drive to (Vancouver), but I applied for my passport a week ago yesterday; if the guy who got my records straight two years ago was correct, I should have it in just a few weeks (a generous gentleman paid for expedited service because he wants to take me to Europe next month, his schedule permitting).  Of course, that means I’ll soon be able to travel internationally if the price is right; European fans, start saving up!

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Dr. Laura Agustín, author of the blog The Naked Anthropologist and the book Sex at the Margins, the seminal work on “sex trafficking” hysteria (in which she coined the term “rescue industry”), has written The Three-Headed Dog, a novel  dramatizing the problems faced by migrants.  It’s another way of introducing readers to the issues the “sex trafficking” paradigm attempts to paper over, which Dr. Agustín has studied for over 20 years and understands in a way very few others do.  I recently read the novel, and Dr. Agustín graciously agreed to answer some questions about it.

MM:  Sex at the Margins has been and continues to be a work of major importance to the sex workers’ rights movement; I know it really helped me to shake off the dualistic thinking about “willing” vs “coerced” sex work, and it’s invaluable in getting people to look at their preconceptions around why people (especially women) leave their original home countries to work.  So why did you decide to write fiction instead of a 10th-anniversary edition?

LA:  The essence of Sex at the Margins doesn’t need updating, by which I mean women’s migration to work as maids or to sell sex, the use of smugglers, the rise of the Rescue Industry.  Someone else can document the growth and proliferation of that last, if they can stomach it, but the core ideas haven’t changed.  I wanted to write stories to reach people who don’t read books like Sex at the Margins and who only hear about the issues from mainstream media reports.  The Three-Headed Dog provides a way to learn about social realities and be gripped by stories at the same time.

MM:  I write fiction myself, so that makes sense to me.  But what made you choose the crime genre?  Why not do a “straight” novel?

LA:  Crime seemed like the right frame, because everyone thinks smuggling and undocumented migration are at least technically crimes – leaving the idea of trafficking out of it.  I am a fan of some kinds of mystery writing, and the formula of a detective who searches for missing migrants provides infinite opportunities for all sorts of stories and characters.

MM:  I think you just started to answer one of my questions!  At the end of the book several questions are unresolved, and I would have liked to know more about Félix, the detective.  Is this the first of a series?

LA:  I’ve got too many stories to tell for one book.  The Dog was getting long and complicated, so I decided to make it the first in a series.  In the detective genre it’s common for some questions to remain dangling, and readers know they can learn more in the next installment.  If I’d been writing 150 years ago I might have done weekly installments in a magazine, as Dickens did with The Pickwick Papers.  In the next book, which I’ve started, Félix’s search takes her to Calais and London.

MM:  I was very intrigued by Félix, and it seems to me that she might be based on you.  Would I be correct?  And are any other characters based on people you know?

LA:  The characters created themselves in my mind out of the many thousands of migrant friends and acquaintances I’ve had in my life.  Including myself.  But they sprang forth and told me who they were.  I identify with much of Félix’s character, but I identify with much of the smuggler Sarac’s character, too.

MM:  I like that Félix has some history of sex work, and that she still seems to be comfortable taking gigs that dip into the edges of sex work.

LA:  She certainly was a sex worker during the European tour she did when younger with her friend Leila, who now lives in Tangier.  I think she still takes sexwork gigs when it suits her. I expect she’ll tell us more about that in the future.

MM:  Not many novels have well-developed and nuanced sex workers as major characters, and when we appear as minor characters we’re mostly there to be rescued or murdered.  But these characters, even the minor ones, are much more developed than that.  There was one character, Marina, who was clearly intending to do sex work, but what about the others?  I couldn’t be sure.

LA:  This is Marina’s second time sexworking in Spain.  Félix looks for two other characters in spas (massage joints) in Madrid, and one of those is adamant about not intending to be a maid.  They’re Latin Americans who belong to a long tradition of working in indoor businesses like bars and flats, or sometimes in the street.  They arrive with contacts and some prior knowledge of what they’re getting into, so it’s a serious problem when the smuggler makes them de-plane in Madrid instead of Málaga.  Of the other characters, Promise, the Nigerian, planned to sexwork in the street, and Eddy, the boy who goes missing, doesn’t intend anything but is moving in that direction.

MM: It seemed to me that their ending up in Madrid was a very big issue, even beyond the lack of connections.  Is Madrid so very different from Málaga?

LA:  Yes, Madrid is a harder place, a capital city and centre of echt-Spanish culture.  Málaga is on the Costa del Sol, crossroads for many kinds of migration, smuggling, tourism and crime.  It’s a long stretch of coast that ends in a point only 32 kilometres from Africa across the Mediterranean Sea.  Nowadays many non-Spanish Europeans from colder climates have homes there in quasi-closed communities.  The coast is by no means a piece of cake, but it’s not a cold, self-important northern city.  Personally I feel a great sense of history there and lived in Granada during the years I worked on Sex at the Margins.

MM:  So it’s a good place to find jobs that aren’t strictly legal?

LA:  This is about informal economies that exist in parallel to formal ones (which means they’re included in government accounting).  Informal economies are even larger than the formal in some developing countries.  In Spain it is not illegal to sell sex, but undocumented migrants have no right to be in the country at all, much less work there.  The same is true when they get jobs in restaurant kitchens, on construction sites, picking fruit and working as maids and cleaners.  The informal economy rolls along, the jobs are available and migrants are more or less glad to get them despite the clandestinity.

MM:  And as you discussed in Sex at the Margins, it’s this informal economy that’s depicted as “trafficking” nowadays, even when there’s no coercion involved per se.

LA:  The group that arrives by plane at the beginning are undocumented migrants.  They’ve got papers to show at the border: passports and tourist visas.  Fakery was involved, and these young people are planning to get paid work, so they’re going to misuse the visas.  A guy who’s part of the smuggling travels with them.  The project is based on the migrants getting jobs and income so they can pay back debts they or their families took on when they bought travel-agency-type services (known in crime-circles as smuggling).  Technically they’re all committing crimes, but to the migrants they feel like minor crimes, given the well-known availability of jobs when they arrive.  Everyone knows people who’ve done it and sent money home.  Do smugglers sometimes resort to nefarious practices?  Of course; it’s an unregulated economy.  But if smugglers want to stay in the business they guard their reputation.  Word spreads.

MM:  I’m sure the rescue industry folks would find fault with the fact that the book isn’t about people “rescuing” these migrants from their smugglers.

LA:  I wrote this book out of love, not as polemic.  I’d have to get paid very well to devote myself for long to analysing moral entrepreneurship; I don’t find crusader-figures interesting.  I don’t see the world in black-and-white, I like ambiguity and shifting ground.  In Félix’s interior life, questions of helping and saving play a part, but she refuses the rescuer-role.

MM:  And really, even the villains aren’t the mustache-twirling cardboard characters so beloved by those who promote the “sex trafficking” narrative.  I’m thinking about Sarac, the smuggler, and Carlos, the sex club owner.

LA:  The smugglers are squabbling amongst themselves and not very appealing, but they aren’t monsters or driving anyone into bondage.  They charge for their services.  Sarac worked as a soldier/mercenary, now does “security” and is involved in people-smuggling.  He wants to do something new, but not pimping.  Carlos operates hostess clubs in Madrid.  Those are not illegal, but he may employ illegal migrants.  He’s part of an established tradition, and he makes good money on the women’s work.

MM:  I think American readers have some very confused ideas about the sex industry and migration in Europe.  Do you think The Three-Headed Dog will appeal to them and help clear up some of those misconceptions?

LA:  Undocumented migration and working in underground economies are worldwide phenomena no matter what local culture or national laws prevail.  Ways to earn money by selling sex vary in the details, but sex workers recognise each other across national borders and talk about the same problems and solutions everywhere.  Sometimes places where laws are uglier provide more opportunities.  Since the migrants are working illegally in Spain they have a lot in common with all sex workers in the USA, right?

MM:  True; all of us are illegal here, whether we were born here or not.  Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers that I haven’t thought of?

LA:  Yes, I want to point out that even if you don’t own a Kindle, you can still buy the Kindle version of The Three-Headed Dog and download a free reading app right there.  And you can read more about sex industry jobs here at my blog.

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The civil rights victory of the near future will be led by heroes with Twitter handles like @mistressmatisse, @SavannahSly, and @Maggie_McNeill.  –  Brendan Trainor

My Body, My Choice

An argument I’ve often made myself:

The belief that you should be able to ingest any substance…because you own your own body is a profoundly libertarian, not progressive, idea…It was the progressives who gave us alcohol prohibition in the first place…Progressivism is the belief that good things come from government—from laws and regulations and central planning and generals and spies and bureaucrats…it is none of the state’s business whether you buy sex with flowers and dinner, or with marriage and mortgage, or with cold hard cash on the dresser…The feminist establishment will soon be forced to accept women’s dominion over body parts besides the womb.

I Swear To God

Remember, the SCOTUS reaffirmed the unconstitutionality of loyalty oaths just a few years ago:

Manchester [New Hampshire] police officials said…they want to see Kate D’Adamo, who has advocated for the [decriminalization] of prostitution, fired from her job overseeing a federally funded task force designed to [suppress sex work] in the state.  Assistant Police Chief Carlo Capano said D’Adamo’s statements last week, in which she reportedly presented arguments in favor of the decriminalization of prostitution, potentially violated the federal grant that pays her salary…“Obviously, we’re a little concerned that Kate’s personal opinions are becoming a distraction to [our trying to destroy the lives of sex workers],” said Maria Gagnon…According to…stipulations of the grant, the Manchester Police Department cannot promote, support or advocate for the legalization of prostitution…

Bottleneck 

There are so many reasons sex worker licensing is a bad idea; here’s another:

In Palm Beach County, Florida, all topless dancers are required to register with county officials and obtain an Adult Entertainment Work Identification Card (AEIC), at the cost of $75 per year…Anita Pedemey… “diverted” at least $28,875 (and possibly an additional $3,305) from county coffers between October 2013 and mid-November 2016…from both adult-entertainer fees—approximately 70 percent of which were paid in cash—and court-ordered payments intended for a crime Victims Services Fund…Because she manipulated reports but left the underlying database unaltered, the county still received records of adult-entertainment ID applications even if accounting never received their payments, which means that at least most applicants whose money was taken were still legitimately registered with the county…

Remember, New South Wales decriminalized sex work specifically because corruption like this (and far worse) was rampant.

Standard Operating Procedure

If only amateurs realized that this is the norm, not a deviation from it:

…a Secret Service agent on Vice President Mike Pence’s detail has been suspended from official duties after meeting a prostitute at a Maryland hotel…police saw him exiting the hotel…[after responding] to a [snitch] from the hotel manager…The agent was arrested and was charged with solicitation.  He then self-reported his arrest to the Secret Service…the agent was off-duty and did not present himself in his official capacity…

Seriously, I have had more G-men between my legs than most amateur women have had of any kind of man.  Show me a G-man who’s never been with a whore & I’ll show you a rookie.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlor pogroms are coming to Canada:

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is asking for the power to crack down on…massage parlours…he wants the city to be able to shut down businesses engaging in such activity by revoking their certificates of occupancy…The director of the Montreal-based sex work organization Chez Stella, Sandra Wesley, says shutting down massage parlours will do more harm than good…”If [Coderre’s] going to go after massage parlours, then he’s going after migrant women,” she…says…closing massage parlours won’t end the sex trade — it will only make it more dangerous for sex workers…[and that] Coderre and others are using sex workers as “pawns in their next re-election campaign”…

The Mote and the Beam (#332)

The censors who want the internet destroyed are at it again:

A…new House measure, sponsored by…Ann Wagner…and dubbed the “No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act,” would carve out an exception to Section 230 for sex-trafficking offenses involving minors.  Supporters portray it as a way to “hold sex traffickers accountable,” but we already have sufficient penalties—at the state and federal level—for people who force, decieve, or coerce others into prostitution…What the change would do is make it possible for states to indict any app, website, or platform that introduces an underage person to a possible sex buyer as a conspirator in sex trafficking.  And it would allow any underage person who was paid for sex to subsequently sue any website or web service remotely involved in the transaction…the change would not merely apply to classified-ad sites like Backpage, or to sites and services specializing in escort advertising…With the proposed change, victims will have the right to sue any third-party web service that enabled their participation or exploitation in the sex trade.  And in this case, victim means anyone under 18 whom someone paid for sex, regardless of whether any force, fraud, coercion, or middlemen and women were involved…It gives victims—most of whom fall prey to petty pimps with few assets, not organized criminals—a civil-suit target with much deeper pockets than the criminals who exploited them, and the same for state prosecutors with asset-forfeiture fever…A huge number of “child sex trafficking stings” in this country involve police posing online as sex workers…and, once a customer is interested, “admitting” that they’re actually underage (usually 16 or 17).  The men who still agree to meet for sex are greeted by police officers and charged with…child sex trafficking.  Their vehicles and sometimes other assets are seized.  Imagine if cops could do this sort of “random virtue testing” (as Ars Technica‘s Nate Anderson aptly described it) but then go after big web publishers and platforms instead of just impounding a few cars…

Bad Girls (#540) 

American “authorities” are dedicated to the philosophy that anyone who ever did anything wrong should keep paying for it, forever:

A prostitute who injected a Google executive with a lethal dose of heroin in 2013 while aboard his yacht in Santa Cruz harbor and spent more than two years in jail was taken into custody by federal immigration agents as soon as she was released…Alix Tichelman — who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes — was released by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office around 5 a.m. on [March 29th]…ICE agents waiting outside the jail in the predawn hours came into the building to detain Tichelman…

Aversions (#642)

Miranda Kane on annoying clients:

The (non) expert…[wants to] get his own rocks off by thinking he’s amazing in bed, when all he’s really done is delivered a few sloppy snogs while rubbing my cunt in a style that makes me think he wants a genie to pop out of my vagina…The bashful one…will…stay silent, move with about as much enthusiasm as a gutted fish, and 55 minutes into an hour appointment he’ll say:  “Umm…this was nice, but really all I wanted was to lick your feet with a dildo up my arse, dance for you wearing women’s stockings while you sang the greatest hits from the popular disco band Boney M”…

Challenge (#677)

Laura Lee on the possible wider effects of her challenge to the Swedish model in Northern Ireland:

Sex worker and law graduate Laura Lee is steeling herself for a battle in Belfast’s high court that she believes could make European legal history…Lee…[is] aiming to establish that the criminalisation of her clients violates her right to work under European human rights law…[this] is only the start of a Europe-wide campaign to overturn the model…Lee’s next target is the Irish Republic, which…has introduced a similar ban aimed at criminalising clients.  “A win for us in Belfast will have a knock-on effect and set a precedent across Europe.  If successful up north there will be a challenge in Dublin and sex workers across Europe can use the precedent to overturn the so-called ‘Nordic model’ in their countries,” she said…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

“Competition” from fancy fleshlights?  Really, ladies, calm down:

Europe’s first sex robot [arcade] has been forced to move after real-life prostitutes complained sex dolls were stealing their trade.  The original location in Barcelona at 2 Baixada de Sant Miquel had been in the Spanish city’s Gothic quarter, north of the cathedral…[it] has now moved to a mystery new location with a receptionist saying the address would only be given out to paying customers.  Prostitutes who work in the city with Aprosex – the Association of Sex Professionals – objected saying a doll cannot match the services of a real person and denigrates real sex workers to merely being an object…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#720)

More on the oppression of Ukrainian sex workers:

Ukraine used to be depicted as a paradise for sex tourists.  The news that the country would co-host the European Football Championship in 2012 was followed by…moral panic…the city of Kropyvnytsky, in central Ukraine, is…home to Legalife, Ukraine’s leading sex workers’ organisation…Their organisation got its start following an episode of police abuse in 2009, when Isaeva, a former sex worker who conducted outreach work with sex workers, was unlawfully detained by an anti-trafficking police unit.  They threatened to charge her with pimping, and when Isaeva tried to file a complaint the next day, there was no trace of her detention.  She did, however, obtain an apology.  The head of the anti-trafficking unit was transferred and the officers’ bonuses slashed.  This incident prompted the women to stand for sex workers’ rights, attracting the attention of international donors such as Open Society who have funded Legalife ever since…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

Ah, the delicious schadenfreude of prohibitionists’ lies coming back to bite them in the arse:

A viral Facebook entry about child sex trafficking posted by…Diandra Toyos…is a misinformed and ultimately harmful depiction of what this crime is about…There are zero indicators of human trafficking in Toyos’ story…it so misrepresents the dangers, warning signs and risks associated with sex trafficking that its readers and likers may now try to protect kids by watching for the wrong things in the wrong places…I’m a professional in the anti-trafficking field, and…I have never seen, read or heard about a real sex-trafficking situation in which a child was abducted by traffickers in broad daylight at a busy store under a mother’s watchful eye…The most pernicious part of the viral Facebook post is its comments section.  As sex-trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking advocates — myself included — tried to correct the misconceptions in it, and tried to alert the public to the harms caused by misunderstandings and sensationalism, we were met with anger and outrage.  Sound bite quotes and statistics were thrown back at me in an attempt to highlight my “ignorance” on the subject.  “Human trafficking happens everywhere,” I was reminded. “It’s in our own backyards.”  These are the exact phrases my colleagues and the anti-trafficking movement publicized years ago to raise awareness. We never imagined they’d be used to challenge our own expertise and in defense of efforts that threaten victims…

Here’s some free advice, Miss “Trafficking Expert”:  if you don’t want hysteria, don’t promote it yourself.  And if you want people to defer to “experts” on prostitution, you need to set an example by shutting the fuck up, sitting the fuck down and listening to the real experts, sex workers themselves.

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