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Posts Tagged ‘evidence’

The science behind marijuana consumption turning your tongue green is about as sound as the science behind the earth being flat or that lying makes your nose grow.  –  Erik Altieri

This animation from 1929 is meant to be a simulation of the evolution of simple life forms; it was called to my attention by The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society.  The links above it were all contributed by the very active Cop Crisis account, with the exceptions of “horror” (Radley Balko), “trick or treat” (Phoenix Calida), and “headline” (Lucy Steigerwald).

From the Archives

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I recently heard you speak, but was unclear on your point that the criminalization of prostitution suppresses the sexuality of women in general, not just the sexuality of sex workers.  Could you please make this connection clearer?

The criminalization of sex work is nothing less than the criminalization of thought.  Sex outside of committed relationships, even with total strangers, is perfectly legal for motives such as fun, excitement, relief of boredom, experimentation, gratitude, friendship or whatever; it’s only when the woman has a “bad” motive, ie profit, that the act becomes illegal.  Criminalization of sex work therefore gives cops the “right” to guess what a woman’s motive for sex might be, and if they decide (correctly or incorrectly, with or without proof) that her motive is a pragmatic one, to brutalize, rob, abduct and cage her, and in most places even to rape her to “collect evidence”.  Prostitution laws therefore suppress all women’s sexuality, because women who dare to be sexual outside of committed relationships, especially women of color, are always in danger of cops deciding to harass or violate them under the premise of “investigating the crime of prostitution”.  And in the aftermath of FOSTA, we are even beginning to see an erosion of women’s right to go unescorted in a public place without being discriminated against or even accused of “prostitution” or being a “sex trafficking victim”.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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If we’re going to protect the most marginalized workers, we have to give them the same rights as everyone else.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Buried Truth

A rare female example of the McNeill Rule:

A Christian school kindergarten teacher in the Chicago suburbs is facing charges related to sexual assault and child pornography…Shannon Griffin is the wife of the pastor of Jordan Baptist Church…She…“sent nude pictures and videos of herself to and requested nude pictures from [two young students]…and…also…molest[ed one of the students] start[ing] in 2013 and continu[ing] until earlier this year…Griffin [was known] for being really strict when it came to dress code violations.  “She would…tell…us how to dress…how to be modest, and be Christian women”…said [one student]…Parent…Mike Mollo…found out when his son showed him naked videos and pictures of Griffin…

Broken Record (#659) 

Small cities trying to cash in on “sex trafficking” hysteria need to recycle their propaganda:

Water Follies brings thousands of people to the Tri-Cities, and that means…sex trafficking.  “[Imaginary sex slaves I fantasize about said]…that during…boat races they would have to service a lot more customers,” [panted] Tricia MacFarlan…of Mirror Ministries…MacFarlan [vomited out a lot of tired, thoroughly-debunked nonsense about]…an increase in sex trafficking during large events, and [inanimate, doll-like “slaves”]…being advertised…Mirror Ministries [capitalizes on the hysteria in all the typical ways, including propaganda sessions for the very stupid, sharing sex fantasies about]…runaway children…[handing out] soaps that have a [phone number for people too stupid to remember the numbers “nine one one”, and planting “sex trafficking” porn] in [hotel] rooms…

Between the Lines (#843)

Last year the FBI was bragging about the “success” of its annual pogroms.  But now:

The FBI launched [Operation Cross Country] over a decade ago to [unconstitutionally funnel federal funds into persecuting peaceful individuals using state laws]…but…now the Bureau is evaluating its effectiveness…1374 individual[s have been accused of]…traffick[ing]…since Operation Cross Country began in 2007….[roughly] 1000 [underage sex workers] have been [arresed and caged, while many thousands of adult sex workers have been brutalized and outed, while their children are abucted by the state and their lives are destroyed.  But sex workers have become warier of the usual stupid pig tricks are screening more effectively, with the result that]…arrests [have] dropp[ed] nearly 50 percent [in the past three years]…they are trying to re-evaluate the [scheme] to see what improvements could be made [to trap innocent people more effectively]…

Business As Usual (#905)

Columbus is still pretending it’s going to “do something” about its rapist vice pig problem:

Columbus Police is [talking about the possibility of slapping]…five [pigs on their wrists] over the [politically-motivated] 2018 arrest of…Stormy Daniels.  Interim [Swineherd] Tom Quinlan announced the [so-called] charges…[yet is keeping the names of the accused pigs secret]…each of the [pigs] will receive a hearing [with other pigs and bureaucrats], after which Quinlan will make a recommendation for [wrist-slapping].  Based on that recommendation, [an unelected, unaccountable bureaucrat] will make the ultimate decision about suspensions, demotions or terminations…

Lack of Evidence (#915)

A small victory for sex workers in California:

…California Governor Gavin Newsom…sign[ed] legislation that would increase protections for people working in the commercial sex trade…Senate Bill 233…protects sex workers from arrest on prostitution- and drug-related charges if they come forward as victims of [certain specific crimes]…It also bans the use of condoms as evidence of sex work, a police practice sex workers have long said compromises their health and safety

On the one hand, a law is better than a non-binding “policy” which can be changed at a whim.  But I’m still extremely skeptical of the “immunity” portion of this law, which could easily be circumvented by charging the sex worker with “sex trafficking” rather than simple prostitution using any of the myriad excuses available to cops.  I really hope I’m wrong.

False Target (#917)

The predictable result of European countries denying queer people asylum:

A [lesbian] who was unlawfully deported from the UK has described how she was gang-raped and has lived in perpetual fear since being sent back to Uganda six years ago.  The British government was ordered by the High Court…to help the 26-year-old return to the UK on the grounds that its decision to reject her asylum claim was unlawful.  The landmark ruling could open the door to thousands of similar challenges.  The [woman]…also [got]…pregnant and ha[d] a child, who is now four months old, as a result of the sexual assault…she…arrived in the UK in 2011 and claimed asylum on the basis that she was a lesbian and would be at risk of persecution in Uganda.  But this was refused…because the Home Office [pretended] she was [was not queer]…the Home Office has decided to appeal the decision [so as to]…sen[d her] back to Uganda [to be raped] again…

I Saw My Brain (#940)

The Robert Kraft pogrom seems to have attracted the media’s attention to the psychopathic Grady Judd:

Sheriff Grady Judd [pretends his anti-whore pogroms are intended]…“to rescue victims of human trafficking”…Yet…only three people out of the 154 arrested [in May]…were considered possible victims of human trafficking…and…[they] were charged with unspecific crimes [anyhow]…their mugshots were displayed on a banner during the sheriff’s press conference and subsequently published online by local newspapers…Judd insisted that many of the women arrested were victims of human trafficking [even though his own department said otherwise]…Operations that purport to target human trafficking but yield mass arrests for prostitution-related offenses are commonplace in Florida…

Rough Trade (#942)

Imagine this actually going to trial in the US:

A man who raped two European women who were working as prostitutes in Ireland has been jailed for 20 years after the judge described the crimes as a “vicious and shocking”…Justice Tara Burns said that Gheorghe Goidan…had…clearly targeted them because he thought they would not be believed.  “He clearly thought they were mere dirt to rob and steal from [because Irish law defines them as moral imbeciles]”…the judge said…

Pyrrhic Victory (#957)

More on Amazon’s fascist collaboration with cops to end privacy forever:

Amazon’s [self-surveillance] company Ring has enlisted local police departments around the country to advertise its surveillance cameras in exchange for free Ring products and a “portal” that allows police to [demand] footage from these cameras, a secret agreement obtained [via public records request]…requires police to “keep the terms of this program confidential”…A signed memorandum…between Ring and the police department of Lakeland, Florida…show that Ring is using local police as a de facto advertising firm.  Police are contractually required to “[Frighten] the Lakeland community with [threats and propaganda] to encourage adoption of the platform/app”…Ring [gave] 15…surveillance cameras to the Lakeland Police Department, and…for every Lakeland resident that downloads [the] Neighbors [self-surveillance app]…the Lakeland Police Department gets…[a] $10 [coupon for buying more]…Ring cameras”…[at the full] $130 [retail price]…

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We have refrigerators with condiments at my law firm, then I must be running a brothel from the law firm?  –  Katie Phang

Monsters 

Just another fatality from the state’s sick need to police women:

Layleen Polanco…[an] Afro-Latina transgender woman was found dead in solitary confinement [on June 7th] at Rikers Island Jail. Polanco was being held on $500 bail owing to misdemeanor charges for a prostitution-related offense, in addition to the lowest-level drug charge.  The New York medical examiner has not yet [invented] the cause of her death…Decrim NY…[said] “Polanco’s death was caused by an all-too-common overlap of three aspects of the criminal legal system: She was criminalized for sex work.  She was held on $500 bail for misdemeanor charges.  And she was placed in solitary confinement”…hundreds of people gathered in downtown Manhattan to pay tribute to Polanco and to join in her family and the broader LGBTQ+ community’s calls for answers…

To Molest and Rape

Just another typical, representative cop:

 A Florida [cop]…has been fired and arrested after…he tried to lure a Polk County child for sex…Okaloosa County Sheriff’s [deputy]…Cansas Sadler, Jr., came in contact with the 9-year-old girl through an online game called, “The Wolf”…[and] pretended to be an 11-year-old named, “Jade” [as cops so often do to their intended victims.  Sadler]…engaged in a sexual conversation…and…ask[ed] the child if she wanted to have sex with a 31-year-old man named “Jason”…then, he [sent her a dick pic]…and…[asked her] to take pictures of herself [to] send to him…the suspect [eventually] called the 9-year-old but the little girl’s mother answered the phone and…call[ed] the cops…[who] traced Sadler’s IP address…

Grady Judd of Polk County expends a lot of effort tricking young men into having sexual conversations with imaginary teenagers, when all he has to do if he wants to arrest “sex predators” is “investigate” his own men.

Not Good Enough (#687) 

Another shitty drug intended to capitalize on an imaginary “problem”:

U.S. [bureaucrats] approved a second drug to [capitalize on what is defined by profiteers as] low [in comparison to men] sexual desire in women…bremelanotide…will be marketed by Amag Pharmaceuticals…under the brand name Vyleesi…it’s a shot that comes in an auto-injecting pen that…would [be] use[d] about 45 minutes before [planned] sex…A spokeswoman for the company said it plans to start selling the drug in September and will announce its price closer to the launch…the FDA said about 25% of patients treated with Vyleesi benefited from an increase in sexual desire score, compared with about 17% who took a placebo.  [This net 8% increase in “desire” was paid for with a] 40% [rate] of…nausea…13% needed medications to [stop throwing up]…8% [of the test group] discontinued due to nausea…the National Women’s Health Network…urged women not to use Vyleesi until more is known about its safety and effectiveness…

So these idiots want women to give themselves a shot and then wait 45 minutes for the outcome, which is 5x as likely to be puking than it is to be horniness.  A nice present would be far more effective, without the vomit.

Disaster (#832)

It’s easy to for US sex workers to forget that FOSTA harms sex workers all over the world:

…[Since] FOSTA…it can seem like two parallel internets have formed:  one ostensibly “free” of sex work, and another, hand-built in the margins by workers now excluded from mainstream platforms…This has especially significant consequences for the more vulnerable sex workers…In the wake of FOSTA, there has been a growing focus on sex worker-led technology companies, set up to address the workers’ own needs…Lola Hunt and Eliza Sorensen, based in Melbourne, have launched several technology platforms serving sex workers through their company, Assembly Four.  One is Switter, a social media network for sex workers; another is a paid advertising platform called Tryst Link.  Neither are hosted in the US, to avoid FOSTA exposure…the Assembly Four team has been “completely bootstrapping” its work…because they haven’t yet been able to receive venture capital funding…getting merchant facilities from banks or the means to accept payments…has been a “nightmare”…

Full of Themselves (#886)

This one eschews the usual puritanical lingo in favor of Copese pomposity:

The Kitsap County [Washington] Sheriff’s Department…[lied about] a large-scale operation…Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office [bloviated that]…”a significant military/U.S. Navy Nexus was identified” [meaning there’s a naval base nearby and sailors often go to massage parlors.  Pigs also oinked that]…they rescued human trafficking victims [when in reality they merely arrested 4 migrant women ranging in age from 51 to 61]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#915) 

Government didn’t need to impose mass surveillance because bootlickers volunteer to be spied on:

…police departments around the country are encouraging [peasants] to register their doorbells to police [so the cops can use them at will to spy on anyone coming or going from their houses].  Right now there’s no such program in Huntsville or Madison [Alabama.  “Crime” rhetoric and a lying sentence fragment, then pigs hilariously claiming] …they respect citizens’ rights to privacy…

The Crumbling Dam (#917)

It’s OK; I’m sure no more than a few dozen people will OD in the next year:

A new effort by California [polticians] to permit a safe injection facility to be built in San Francisco has been put on hold until next year apparently due to struggles getting it through the State Senate…last year state [politicians] crafted a bill that would guarantee…people running a permitted SIF in San Francisco wouldn’t be arrested by local or state police…but when it got to Gov. Jerry Brown, he vetoed it.  In his veto letter, he argued that…drugs [are bad]…

Spotlight (#943)

Take a look at this fawning praise of a fascist surveillance organ, then click on the subtitle link above to see the truth about this topic:

[A pig’s self-aggrandizing, evidence-free tall tale of] the rescue [of a “child” of indeterminate age] illustrates [the level of “evidence” accepted by mainstream reporters when writing about] Thorn…[the fascist surveillance corporation] cofounded in 2009 by actors Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher…Thorn…was named one of eight projects that will share in $280 million from TED’s philanthropic offshoot, the Audacious Project…Thorn initially worked to pressure technology companies to [censor] more…more recently, it shifted to…a more [profitable] strategy of producing and operating new technology for use by…the [police state]…Thorn…offers a[nother] way…[for cops to use] facial recognition…[to] endanger…privacy…[starting by putting every sex worker in the world into a database for pigs to root through]…

Those who wondered why I was skeptical of WIRED‘s recent article about Backpage:  this gullible, swallow-whatever-an-authority-figure-says-about-sex-work-no-matter-how-stupid approach is typical of their treatment of the topic.

Loose Cannons (#947)

Even reporters are starting to see how stupid & blatantly illegal the actions of cops and collaborators were:

Because of Kraft, what would have been a police blotter entry in local newspapers has made international headlines…[thus drawing much-needed outside attention to the] fates of the women [violated, attcked, robbed and caged by cops]…The [persecu]tion that became State of Florida v. Robert Kraft…began when…a [busybody] Florida Department of Health inspector, Karen Herzog, [snitched to pigs] about…Bridges Day Spa…[claiming] proof of human trafficking [consisting of]…a “refrigerator filled with food and condiments”…[even though] Herzog’s state inspection report…attached two photos of a refrigerator that would not look out of place in any workplace kitchen…[after the busts, pigs oinked to reporters that]…“these women…are not citizens and don’t have residency cards, and so they’re afraid…of being deported,” [said lawyer Tama] Kudman…“Well, at [Orchids of Asia], every [masseuse] was not only either a resident or a citizen, but they were in their 30s and 40s.  These were not children.  These were women who held multiple massage and cosmetology licenses.  [The truth] couldn’t have been further from the stereotype that they were trying to paint when this case first occurred”…[owner Hua] Zhang [is] a 58-year-old…grandmother who has a master’s degree…The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is attempting to [steal her]…home, as well as the homes of her son and cousin…“When you start using slogans like human sex trafficker, prostitute, john, these [terms] have a lasting effect on the people that they’re used against,” Kudman said…“our state attorneys and our sheriffs have to be more careful with their allegations before they destroy people’s lives”…

Despite a slightly-Swedish-scented undertone, the article isn’t bad for the mainstream media.

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I usually assign 1984 to my students; now we will be living it.  –  a teacher in Lockport, NY

Dysphemisms Galore 

If this headline had been written by a normal adult sane person, it would be something like “Border Controls Expose Migrant Women to Exploitation”.  But because “sex trafficking” hysteria has not yet imploded, this interview about the difficulties encountered by migrant sex workers under repressive criminalization regimes such as China and Middle-Eastern countries (bribes, rape by cops, deportation, etc) is capped with a ridiculous headline about “sex slavery” despite the fact that the interviewee clearly discusses three-month contracts, visiting home, girls going back once they know how to game the system without middlemen, etc, with nary a “slave” in sight.

If Men Were Angels 

You mean he wasn’t a “youth pastor”?

Bobby J. Blackburn, pastor of the Elevate Church in Prestonsburg, [Kentucky] was arrested…and charged with using an electronic communication system to get a minor to commit a sex act…Blackburn also owns a local Giovanni’s pizza place, which plays Christian music and puts Bible verses on receipts…Blackburn’s business employs the girls, one of whom showed [cops] the sexual messages from Blackburn…[who] also…threaten[ed] to fire a third girl if she didn’t take the blame for sending the messages…

Where Are the Protests? (#596)

The US is too busy forcing African “authorities” to keep their people from migrating to bother policing its own food supply chains:

…The world’s chocolate companies have missed deadlines to uproot child labor from their cocoa supply chains in 2005, 2008 and 2010.  Next year, they face another target date and…they…will miss that, too…the odds are substantial that a chocolate bar bought in the United States is the product of child labor.  About two-thirds of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa where…more than 2 million children [a]re engaged in dangerous labor in cocoa-growing regions.  When asked this spring, representatives of some of the biggest and best-known brands — Hershey, Mars and Nestlé — could not guarantee that any of their chocolates were produced without child labor…Mars…can trace only 24 percent of its cocoa…Hershey…less than half; Nestlé can trace 49 percent of its global cocoa supply to farms…Other companies…such as Mondelez and [white bourgeois American woman favorite] Godiva…likewise would not guarantee that any of their products were free of child labor…

Naturally, American women are only concerned about how other women have sex; they don’t actually want to know where the candy they stuff into their faces comes from.  Besides, imaginary enslaved white girls take precedence over real enslaved black boys, dontchaknow.

Unchristian Nation (#838)

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

…Scott Warren, on trial for providing humanitarian aid to two migrants…faces a possible 20-year prison sentence for two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants and one count of conspiracy…his alleged crimes amount to nothing more than basic human kindness.  On January 14, 2018…two Central American migrants—Kristian Perez-Villanueva and Jose Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday—arrived unexpectedly at “the Barn,” a building in Ajo, Arizona, used by No More Deaths and other aid groups…the migrants…were suffering from blisters, dehydration, and exhaustion…[so] Warren…arranged a check-up by a doctor, who advised that the two migrants stay off their feet.  Warren allowed the men to remain in the Barn for the next three days…Nate Walters, the [prosecutor, characterizes]…humanitarian aid…[as] a nefarious plot “to shield illegal aliens from [thugs who would have murdered or caged them] for several days”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

Putting young people into a facial recognition database will help the government to analyze how people’s faces change over time, so nobody can ever escape surveillance:

Western New York’s Lockport City School District…[has begun] a wasteful and dangerous experiment…the district’s eight public schools began testing a system called Aegis, which includes facial recognition technology, that could eventually be used to track and map student movements…in 2015, in the wake of Sandy Hook and other high-profile school shootings, our district was approached by Tony Olivo, a [soi-disant] security consultant, who [made a sales pitch he sold to paranoid officials as]…a free threat assessment of our schools…he encouraged the school district to purchase and install…[Aegis, and received a] $95,450 annual…[commission from its makers] for five years…the…district held only one public meeting to discuss the purchase…on a Wednesday afternoon in mid-August 2016, when most parents were away or at work…the system…[has] the capacity to go back and create a map of the movements and associations of any student or teacher the district might choose.  It can tell them who has been seen with whom, where and how often.  District officials pledge that they would never deploy the software in that way, but…what matters is not what those in charge promise but what an intrusive technology has the capacity to do…Thanks to the efforts of the New York Civil Liberties Union, state officials have finally begun to ask the kinds of questions they should have asked before the project was approved…[but] the school district is forging ahead with its testing and its plans to make the cameras fully operational when school starts up again in the fall…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#885)

Why are politicians so enamored of violent Disnification campaigns that virtually never work?

A Bangkok red light district is set to be remodelled – in the style of the…region of England known as the Cotswolds.  The Rattanakosin Island area…has been…for decades…[an] area [where sex workers] cater to local Thai men rather than…foreigners in the country’s tourist hotspots.  But…military [dictator] Prayut Chan-o-cha now wants to [Disnify] the…district [by painting things]…yellow [and blanketing the area with mass surveillance to facilitate police violence.  Bureaucrats fantasize they can force sex workers into menial labor that earns about 1/10 as much]…

Lack of Evidence (#900) 

Most of these “settlements” are just dodges that force cops to find a different excuse for harassing women:

The NYPD is changing the [excuses] it [uses when wielding] the loitering law [as a weapon against citizens] after it was sued for illegally profiling and arresting women, transgender people and others on prostitution charges that were based largely on looks…The Legal Aid Society sued the department on behalf of people who[m cops] had arrested…[under the evidence-free claim] they were working as prostitutes.  One cop admitted in a deposition that he would look for “Adam’s apples” when…[hunting victims] to detain…Under the settlement, the NYPD is amending the Patrol Guide to [force cops to use a different excuse other than]…gender, gender identity, clothing and location to enforce the loitering law.  The change also requires [cops] to provide more [elaborate excuses]…for why they detained someone…Loitering arrests will also be audited by the NYPD’s Legal Bureau [after the victim has sat in a filthy, dangerous jail for a few months. Legal Aid Society chief Tina]…Luongo called on the state Legislature to repeal the loitering law…

Where Are the Victims? (#906)

This is exactly the outcome prohibitionists wanted:

Two women who were [working together for safety]…in Newbridge, [Ireland] have been [sentenced to] jail…for nine months…Adrina Podaru…and Ana Tomascu…were [peacefully minding their own business]…when [they were attacked by state-employed thugs] on November 18, 2018…following [a report from a snitch]…the women admitted that they were [legally] working as prostitutes, [which is not against the law.  Luckily it was early so]…no significant money was [ar]ound [for the pigs to steal]…Ms Podaru is currently expecting a child with her partner…but Judge Desmond Zaidan…sentenced the pair to nine months in prison…Ms Podaru has lodged an appeal and has been released on bail…

It might be better for my mental health if I actually believed there was a Hell to punish evil people who cage pregnant women for peacefully supporting themselves because they broke a moronic, arbitrary rule imposed by sociopaths who have never actually done the work.  But since I know there isn’t, I’ll just have to deal with it.

The Course of a Disease (#932)

In which perennial drunk, incompetent liar, sloppy fabulist and serial lawsuit-abuser Julie Bindel shares her fantasies of what sex is like:

Julie Bindel, the [plagiar]ist and author of the book The Pimping of Prostitution [recently the subject of a libel suit which Bindel lost]…appeared before the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on commercial sexual exploitation this week, and [fantasized] that “decriminalising sex work means decriminalising violence against women and children”…Bindel [also fantasized that in] sex work… “women are…vessels for men to masturbate into”…

Disaster (#941)

Facebook’s policies make harassing and exploiting women easy:

…Omid…has…claimed responsibility for shutting down hundreds of Instagram accounts by reporting performers for violating the company’s [censorship rules]…driven by a moralistic anti-porn agenda…[one of his victims, Bella] Bathory…[heard] about a…social media management company that purported to have the ability to restore shuttered Instagram accounts...she agreed to pay…the $450 they quoted her…Within hours of the agency telling her that her account was about to be restored, it was.  Then, when Bathory declined to follow through with payment, the…account…once again disappeared…an…Instagram…spokesperson said that there is no evidence that a single entity was behind the restoration or deletion of her account…[but] the agency that Bathory contacted…provided purported evidence via screenshot…If the agency’s allegations are true, it shows how a third party can profit handsomely from Instagram’s opaque and convoluted moderation policies.  And if [not]…it shows how a shadow economy can thrive on desperation.  Either way, it’s sex workers who suffer…

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I’m not sure what’s scarier, the idea of putting people permanently on a public list, or aggressively incentivizing hotels to pry into the sex lives of their guests.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

The More the Better

It’s so very important for celebrities to be “out” if they did sex work in their youth:

Janet Mock, the writer, television presenter, and activist, grew up in Honolulu…she fell into the protective company of a glamorous cadre of transgender friends and mentors; her seventh-grade hula teacher was a māhū, a native Hawaiian term, Mock explains, for people who live outside of the gender binary…”Merchant Street…was…where the girls worked…I first went there when I was, like, fifteen, when I was able to go out at nighttime.  At first I came with…all these puritanical views…about what it meant to use your body, your only asset, in a world that’s not taking care of you…And so I knew that, by doing this sixty-dollar hand job, I would be able to have two months of hormones.  And so I remember making the decision to get in that car and, at fifteen years old, to do this, and to continue to do this…for, like, the next two years of my life.  And that was my way into sex work…

Business As Usual

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

Sex work is legal[ized] in the Dominican Republic.  But despite this, sex workers are still vulnerable to abuse—particularly at the hands of [cops], who know they can torture…sex work[ers] with impunity…A new report…by Amnesty International…“If They Can Have Her, Why Can’t We?” features interviews from 46 trans and cisgender women sex workers, all of whom report suffering horrific violence at the hands of [cops]…“At least 10 out of the 24 cisgender women interviewed for this research described having been raped by police officials, often at gunpoint…Most of the transgender women had been subjected to…violent actions by the police that could amount to torture or other ill-treatment, typically focused on their gender-identity or expression”…

Now They Notice

It’s about goddamned time:

…LGBTI activists worldwide resolved to address the stigmatisation of sex workers, including in the LGBTI movement…and [to] oppose…all forms of criminalisation and legal oppression of sex workers – an historic first for…the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.  “By approving this resolution, our global LGBTI family is saying…that addressing violence, criminalisation and human rights violations against LGBTI and all sex workers must be a priority for our movement”, said outgoing ILGA co-Secretaries General Ruth Baldacchino and Helen Kennedy…this global LGBTI network representing more than 1,500 organisations from each region of the world join a growing number of human rights, health and anti-trafficking organisations demanding governments recognise sex work as work, and protect sex workers’ labour and human rights…

A False Dichotomy (#652)

Even in Australia, spineless “journalists” prefer to print prohibitionist pap than to consult experts:

Air Asia…decided to use “Get off in Thailand” as a campaign slogan, but considering the abundance of sexual tourism in the country, you’d think the…airline might have put a bit more thought into the reaction such a tagline would attract [from puritans].  Posted around the city of Brisbane, Australia the “Get off in Thailand” campaign promoting the airline’s direct route to Bangkok has not gone over well [with puritans].  Collective Shout, a [prohibitionist organization best known for its] campaign…against [pictures of]…women, [screeched] that the campaign was promoting sex tourism in Thailand…

“Collective Shout” has a long and infamous history of campaigning against lucrative jobs for women, including such tame & innocuous forms of sex work as bikini modeling.

The Course of a Disease (#778)

Remember that Irish prohibitionists celebrated this increase in violence vs sex workers:

Crime against sex workers has almost doubled in the two years since…Ireland adopted the “Nordic Model” on March 27 2017…[despite the warnings of] sex worker organisations [that exactly this would happen]…Statistics from UglyMugs.ie…[demon]st[r]ate that since the law came into force, the number of incidents of abuse and crime…has greatly increased…The number of sex workers using UglyMugs.ie has remained steady at between 6,000 and 7,000 per year.  The number of incidents reported from 2015-2017 was 4,278.  Since the law change, from 2017-2019, incidents rose to 10,076…crime has increased 90% whereas violent crime specifically has increased 92%…

Disaster (#885)

We did warn you dilettantes that this wouldn’t stop with actual sex workers:

Targeted online advertising by the Hump! Film Festival has been kneecapped by FOSTA/SESTA, according to festival founder Dan Savage…“Hump is largely dependent on targeted Facebook ads for ticket sales, and thanks to Facebook’s overreaction to…SESTA/FOSTA …it will not accept ads for the festival any longer, despite the fact that the ads themselves are G-rated and are only targeted at adults”…Savage notes that “Facebook no longer allows ads for, quote-unquote, adult content…as a result…we can no longer advertise on Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook also owns”…the festival’s Facebook business account was [also] “shuttered”…Savage urged listeners to follow Hump! on their social media channels and to subscribe to the festival’s official newsletter to stay up-to-date…

Elephant in the Parlor (#894)

I’ve been saying I distrusted Avenatti since the beginning:

Celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti has been arrested and charged with federal wire fraud and bank fraud in California as well as four counts of extortion in New York…Avenatti tried to extort more than $20 million from Nike…[and] embezzled a client’s money to, in part, pay off expenses for his coffee business, Global Baristas US LLC, which operated Tully’s Coffee stores…Avenatti purchased the coffee stores in 2013 with actor Patrick Dempsey, who sued Avenatti that same year to break their business partnership…prosecutors in California also accused the lawyer of defrauding a bank with phony tax returns to obtain millions of dollars in loans…

The Course of a Disease (#896)

Looks like the Spanish case of the Swedish rot may be especially virulent:

Finnish websites used by sex workers to advertise and share information with each other have been closed down following a judicial warrant by Spanish police…Sihteeriopisto (Secretary College) and the international counterpart, sexworknet, were launched in Finland but…maintenance was moved overseas when the sale of sexual services was outlawed in Finland in 2003…A sex worker in Spain said:  “The…website had [a] forum, where sex workers were sharing warnings about bad clients, robbery…There are of course other websites, but none of them has a forum.  We lost the platform…where we could communicate and support each other”…These closures follow closures of similar websites in other countries, including in the USA following FOSTA-SESTA…

You may have noticed that the cops always go for the best boards, noted for civility and sex worker forums.  This is not accidental.

Lack of Evidence (#900)

All prostitution “stings” are entrapment; that’s the whole point of them:

Dee Curry…an outspoken advocate for transgender rights in the District of Columbia for many years…said she…was arrested on Feb. 8…as part of a D.C. police “sting” operation…she considers the police tactics used to arrest her as a form of entrapment…and…a misuse of police resources…her arrest involved a…[vice pig] who posed as an Uber driver and…[offered] her…a ride…then…said…[he] wanted a blowjob for $30 and [specifically wanted to] park [next to]…a school …“I said no you’re not, not with me…And that’s when the police came”…Curry [is a former]…sex work[er who retired] after a previous arrest in 2011 in which she said she was similarly entrapped…[but] found not guilty…when the [lying pig] gave the signal, three or four police cars with flashing lights and sirens rushed to the scene, with at least two [pigs] in each of the [swinemobiles]…to arrest her…[instead of dealing with actual] crime…

Yes, cops are actually trying to press prostitution charges against a 64-year-old woman for walking down the street.  I’m sure you feel safer now.

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

A rare victory for sex workers against the state:

Florida [politicians] have for now ditched plans to create a registry of prostitution clients…after sex workers and activists showed up at the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee to protest and give testimony…A version of the legislation passed the committee without the solicitation registry included…It [still] requires that cleaning and reception-desk staff at hotels and motels be trained on spotting the “signs” of trafficking—a list of absurd and ordinary behavior that includes not wanting cleaning service—and creates new regulatory liabilities on hospitality businesses…Heather Fitzenhagen…author of the failed solicitation registry idea [was unhappy, and vomited out some lawheaded bigotry]…”a prostitute…is committing a crime…It is not my intent to work with them going forward”…

An Avalanche of Bullshit

This could potentially be very good for us:

Lawyers for…Robert Kraft…want the 77-year-old’s solicitation of prostitution case to be tried by a jury instead of a judge…Kraft…was charged [after a massive massage-parlor pogrom] along with…about 300 men…in total…Kraft rejected a plea deal in which…he…and his fellow defendants [would be forced to pretend]…they would be found guilty if their case went to trial, [pay] a $5,000 fine, [perform] 100 hours of community service…attend…a [brainwashing] class [much like the dangerous “gay conversion therapy” which has been banned in a number of states]…and be tested for sexually transmitted diseases…

A jury trial will allow the lawyers to present expert witnesses and debunking of the “sex trafficking” hysteria which drove the raids; it will allow them to dig into the money trail and present that in open court; it will provide ammunition for the lawyers of the other victims of this raid, and other raids like it; and it may inspire other men to fight.  As I’ve been saying for the past decade, if everyone charged in a “prostitution sting” would fight the charges by demanding a trial, the machine would grind to a halt and the carceral system would be forced to change its tactics.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#922)

Even “legal” sex workers were harmed by FOSTA:

…HB 1756…strives to improve working conditions for strippers in Washington by implementing mandatory trainings, establishing an adult entertainer advisory committee, putting panic buttons in VIP rooms, and making a blacklist for abusive patrons…Savannah Sly, a sex worker and community organizer with Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Seattle, believes the organizing started after FOSTA/SESTA…[and the government destruction of]…Backpage…sent shockwaves throughout the sex worker community…”There are displaced sex workers and clients who are looking for a place to connect,” Sly told the Senate Labor & Commerce Committee…[w]hen…internet spaces for sex work…disappeared…it forced [many] sex work[ers] offline and back onto the streets…former [escort] clients, without the spaces they used to frequent, are making their way into strip clubs…

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The carpet was just pulled out underneath us.  –  Tammy Marie Kruwell

Oops

300 texts does not equate to 300 men, since many guys send a barrage:

A Michigan woman says hundreds of men solicited her for sex within just a couple days…because her number ended up on an escort [advertising] website…Her phone holds nearly 300 texts and some voicemails from men looking for attention.  Susan said she didn’t even know most of the sexual lingo in the texts…one of the texts referenced a website called “Skip the Games”…the family emailed the site administrator numerous times and asked them to take the number down.  They had no success [until they copied a TV station in]…on an email…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you from the lies of cops and prudes:

The Providence [Rhode Island] Board of Licenses revoked the [Foxy Lady] strip club’s licenses [less than a week before Christmas because] Providence Police arrested three dancers at the club last week [for refusing to give pigs sex]…at least 200…employees are suddenly out of work…Mayor Jorge Elorza [slandered] the club [claiming it was] running a “full-on prostitution ring”.  The attorney for the club, Fausto Anguilla, has [pointed out that] police…never proved that sex was occurring inside the club’s private rooms.  Several dancers…[told reporters] management at the club is strict with its no-prostitution rules, and cut ties with dancers who were caught having sex in the private rooms…

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

A [privately-owned prison for] juvenile [prisoners]…in northern Minnesota is accused of failing to stop the sexual abuse of minors in its care, according to two federal lawsuits…[which] detail two separate [coercive] sexual relationships between teenage girls and employees dating back to 2014, both resulting in criminal convictions…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#412) 

New items of this type appear under the heading “Permanent Record”:

“LEGAL ‘NYMPH’,” blared the front page of [the December 13thToronto Sun. “Law student faces good character hearing over double life as an escort.”  Except — as the story about prospective lawyer Nadia Guo made clear near its top — what the headline described was not the case at all…No one complained about her escort job.  Instead, the complaints made to the Law Society of Ontario concerned Guo’s conduct as an articling student in the latter half of 2015…the piece by courts reporter Sam Pazzano…[also revealed her stage name], “Dawn Lee”…the Sun ran a correction to its front-page headline [the next day]…But Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno ran her own piece …that led with Guo’s sex work, printed her work name in its first sentence, and expressed apparent surprise and disappointment that the Law Society chose not to [persecute] her…for [doing work to pay for school]…

Traffic Jam (#680)

Looks like Minnesota’s second attempt to imprison a bunch of migrants as “sex traffickers” fared better than its first:

A federal jury in St. Paul has convicted all five people charged with conspiring to traffic hundreds of Thai women for sex…nearly three dozen other [people were charged]…all but five [made] plea…[bargains]…Prosecutors said victims, some of whom testified during the trial, were misled as to how much they truly owed and were threatened if they tried to leave the business…U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald described the case as one of the largest trafficking networks ever dismantled…

I’d be a lot more inclined to believe there was serious exploitation here if we hadn’t heard all this before, especially the practically-impossible claims of client numbers.  Remember, migrant sex workers are far less likely to be deported if the agree to sing the state’s song, so there’s no real way to know how much of this is true and how much hype.

The Mote and the Beam (#776)

Just in case you though FOSTA was as bad as it would get:

…Congress…authorized a [bipartisan] national [crusade to] arrest…sex [workers’ clients] and approved the use of secret wiretaps in misdemeanor prostitution cases…as part of the massive “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act“…through a secret vote of the sort civil libertarians have long opposed…based on the false idea that customers of…adult sex workers [magically] drive demand for minors.  All state and local cops, prosecutors, and judges are to be [encouraged]…to [steal the] asset[s of sex workers and clients]…In addition, Congress “clarif[ies] that commercial sexual exploitation is a form of gender-based violence,” whatever that means…The House…passed the bill via “voice vote,” a process under which there’s neither a record of how members voted, whether they were present for a vote, nor how many total members actually voted…One provision essentially creates a new federal crime initiative by directing resources and money to fight “sextortion”…

Lack of Evidence (#859) 

If sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

Jessica, a 23-year-old transgender woman living in Queens…[was arrested on] July 8…and charged…with “loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution act”…[the “evidence” cops listed was that she] was wearing “a mini skirt and a blouse which showed cleavage”…Loitering arrests increased more than 180 percent between January and October…last year…More than half of the…arrests occurred in Queens, where attorneys say they’re concentrated in…immigrant-heavy neighborhoods…This increase in loitering arrests follows a class action lawsuit backed by the Legal Aid Society of New York that challenges the constitutionality of New York’s law on loitering for the purposes of prostitution…recent loitering complaints noted that defendants were wearing “black cowboy boots” and “light blue short [sic], a red tank top and tan sandals”…

See also “Business As Usual” below.

Rescued To Death (#869)

“Abatement”.  A term used for inhuman things, especially nuisances:

A new unit that San Francisco police created to [harass sex workers]…is facing opposition from advocates…the Sex Workers Abatement Unit…has resulted in an uptick in the number of sex workers who have been arrested in the Mission…[and reinforces] a hostile environment where “women are forced into more isolated, unfamiliar areas where attacks are more likely…sex workers who are victims of violence are intimidated and running from police,” [Rachel] West [of US PROS] said.  West argued that the unit undermines a police policy from last December that [supposedly] prevents sex workers who are the victims of certain crimes from being arrested for performing sex work.  The policy [gives lip service to the fact] that “the criminalization of sex work is one of the primary barriers to reporting violence to law enforcement”…

I’ve spoken out against these hollow “policies” before; they are not binding and can be reversed as easily as they were granted.  They’re not a serious effort to respond to sex workers’ concerns; they’re just meant to shut us up.

Business As Usual (#895)

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

Mariatu was 15 years old when her widowed mother died and she ended up sleeping rough on the streets of Freetown where she fell into commercial sex work.  Not long after, she was arrested for “loitering” and, unable to pay a police bribe, spent six months in an adult jail.  Now 22, she is desperate to escape a life marked by suffering, violence and exploitation and is appealing to the state to provide more support to Sierra Leone’s sex workers who are stigmatised by society and suffer unfair treatment at the hands of the legal system.  She spoke to the Guardian before the online launch of a documentary to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers which…examines their treatment by [cops]…who…exploit…them for sex and money…

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