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Posts Tagged ‘evidence’

Since the beginning of civilization, “authorities” have lusted for the magical ability to divine which of the peons might be disobeying their diktats.  Primitive cultures often believed in trials by ordeal, in which the guilty would be revealed by failing certain tests (presumably because the favor of the gods was believed to be necessary to pass these tests).  There were literally hundreds of these in various cultures and times, of which the best-known is probably throwing an accused witch into a pond; if the water “rejected” her (i.e. she managed to stay afloat despite being bound) she must be “impure” and therefore a witch, but if the water “accepted” her (i.e. she sank) she was innocent of the charge, despite being drowned.  As time went on, “scientific” methods of detection replaced more openly mystical ones; that is to say, the various mumbo-jumbo rituals “authorities” used to make people into “criminals” were explained to the masses with pseudoscientific claptrap rather than nonsense about spirits, mana, divinely-revealed knowledge or whatever.  The nineteenth century brought us “scientific” advances in criminal detection such as phrenology and criminological physiognomy, led by brilliant scholars like Cesare Lombruso who

…claimed that all prostitutes, without exception, had receding foreheads and large jaws, and that some had “exaggerated” growth of the labia or clitoris.  He…claimed…that “primitive” African and American Indian women shared these same features, thus demonstrating that whores were more like “savages” than like highly-evolved Europeans.  And since prostitutes were primitive they were also stupid, and thus incompetent to make their own decisions…

Of course, as time went on cops and prosecutors embraced far more dependable “evidence” of criminality, such as winking, possession of condoms, walking on certain streets and the type (or lack) of underwear.  And the outrageously-racist rhetoric of Lombruso and his ilk were replaced by more subtle (but still purely racist) excuses for targeting black people.  “Forensic science” gave cops tools like bite-mark analysis, recovered memories and “signs” that an infant was shaken to death; these were used to send hundreds of innocent people to rot in cages, despite being no better at detecting “criminals” than sacrificing a goat and examining its entrails.  The “War on Drugs” introduced new lows in evidentiary standards, such as “field tests” that routinely mistake substances such as spices, cookies, oil, soap and candy for “illegal drugs”, and “drug dogs” who actually “alert” to whatever their handlers want them to “alert” to rather than whatever might actually be there.  But the myth of the magic super-dog who can detect anything has become so entrenched in porcine mythology that cops will believe dogs can detect virtually anything, including electronically-stored ones and zeros, and they expect courts and the public to believe it as well:

…the feds are…[now] training dogs to sniff out…child pornography.  No kidding:  “‘Today we’re announcing a new weapon in the war against child…exploitation’, [Delaware County (Pennsylvania) District Attorney Jack] Whelan said“…Charlie—a female yellow Labrador retriever—is an “‘electronic-detection forensic K-9’…[who] will be deployed with the Internet Crimes Against Children Pennsylvania Task Force, tasked with sniffing out small hidden electronics, from CD-ROMs to flash drives, in suspected predators’ homes“…Charlie is also a good friend to the cop, Nat Evans, who handles [her]…This sort of thing is, in a word, idiotic.  And unscientific.  As Jacob Sullum reported in 2013, dogs trained to sniff out contraband (in most cases, drugs) are wildly inaccurate and often poorly trained…reports you read about dogs being able to magically sniff out this or that substance are pharmaceutical-grade bunkum…”[Supreme Court Justice David] Souter said, ‘the infallible dog…is a creature of legal fiction’.  Souter cited examples of dogs accepted as reliable by courts that had error rates of up to…60 percent“…It turns out that dogs mostly respond to their handlers and routinely infer when they should alert on a car, or a school locker, or a piece of luggage…

But don’t worry, sex-haters and prohibition fans, you needn’t despair; even if porn-sniffing dogs are eventually proven to be as reliable as a politician’s promise, the South Koreans just sold a sooper-dooper porn-detecting machine to Uganda, and there are oodles of magical “algorithms” that purport to be able to detect at least a few of those hundreds of thousands of “child sex slaves” we’re told are hidden “in your own backyard”.  And even if those fall flat, US courts have repeatedly ruled that cop accusations based in their “training and experience” – copese for “bigotry and wild-ass guesses” – are just as good as dogs, field tests and “algorithms”.  And maybe even almost as good as weighing women against ducks to see if they’re really witches.

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The trade union movement has to decide whether it’s going to back workers…or…police.  –  Laura Watson

Monsters 

The Swedish model protects sex workers!

Last year, France passed [the Swedish model, under the pretense of]…protecting sex workers from prosecution, but…[as sex worker activists predicted] it is simply driving them further underground and exposing them to far more danger.  Transsexual prostitutes who work in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne…are disproportionately affected…

Prudesville 

A new twist in Everett, WA’s absurd “bikini barista” melodrama:

Bikini baristas…are suing [Everett] over its ban on serving “quick service” food and drinks with bare shoulders, midriffs, or upper thighs…a group of seven baristas and one coffee stand owner filed a federal lawsuit alleging a violation of their rights to free expression, privacy, due process, and equal protection…Everett isn’t claiming that the regulations serve any food safety or public health purposes…the point of the dress code is to prevent…baristas from giving customers a peep show for extra cash…Employee violations can lead to fines for business owners, along with a requirement to register for a special license (which the city can deny)…if the owners are judged to have “facilitated” the “lewd conduct,” they can be slapped with a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.  Essentially, Everett has created a crime similar to promoting prostitution—but for facilitating skimpy clothing…

Law of the Instrument (#560)

Picture what you’d think of as “sex trafficking”, then compare it to this:

A St. Louis man who was employed at a high school is facing child pornography and sex trafficking charges after police said he exchanged illicit texts with a 15-year-old male student at the school.  Michael A. West…told the [young man] he could get him an opportunity to make money for performing sexual acts…

Cases are this are why even some not-completely-stupid people believe that “sex trafficking” is increasing; “sex trafficking” charges certainly are.

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Add Dayton, Ohio to the cities mailing blatantly-unconstitutional “Dear John” letters to the registered addresses of vehicles passing through certain neighborhoods:

So far this year, the Dayton police Vice Unit has mailed 18 [threat letters] to the owners of vehicles that were spotted in areas [police claim to be] known for high levels of prostitution.  The letters are supposed to [scare] people [by claiming that wanting sex]…is a “serious offense” that carries potential…deadly disease and other sexually transmitted infections…[often] the recipients are spouses or business owners whose vehicles were in the possession of [others] when [cops decided to stick their noses into others’ business]…

To Molest and Rape 

The US government claims it takes reports of cops raping women seriously…as long as they’re not US cops:

…two U.S. students…were raped by Carabinieri policemen who [took] them home in a patrol car from a nightclub…three patrol cars went to a nightclub to investigate a fight.  Two cars left after calm was restored, but the third remained.  The women…told authorities that the [cops] drove them to their apartment building and raped them…witnesses…confirm[ed] they saw the women enter the patrol car…

Uncommon Sense (#669)

The IWW was the first major union to support sex workers rights, but it won’t be the last:

The GMB and ASLEF have come out in support of the full decriminalisation of sex work in Britain, the first major unions to do so…The unions, which have a combined membership of over 600,000, are calling for the UK to adopt full decriminalisation, similar to the approach adopted by New Zealand, which since 2003 has provided sex workers with legal protections…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#687) 

“Sex robot” hysteria gets ever sillier:

A cybersecurity scientist has issued a bizarre warning that sex robots could one day rise up and kill their owners if hackers can get inside their heads…cybersecurity lecturer Dr. Nick Patterson [fantasized] that the lifelike dolls could end up going all “Terminator” on us…hackers could breach the realistic robots’ inner defenses and catch their owners with their pants down…

Does this idea seem familiar to regular readers?

The Widening Gyre (#735)

They finally realized they could expand the panic by adding male “sex slaves”:

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation [formerly “Morality in Media”], Washington College, and The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking held a historic press conference…to kick off the first ever symposium on the sexual exploitation harming boys and men.  The government, NGOs, and society at large have overlooked male victims of sexual exploitation, the organizations [pandered]…Haley Halverson…of…the [NCSE fantasized]…that [the] estimated range of male trafficking victims hovers in the hundreds of thousands”…

The NCSE is a fundamentalist Christian anti-porn organization which is also behind the recent tactic of getting conservative states to declare porn a “public health crisis”.

Comfort Zone (#769)

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

…”It had been more than 10 years since Gari, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala…had seen his younger brother.  So he was surprised earlier this year when he received a call from a federal government agency telling him his teen brother had emigrated alone from the Central American country to the Arizona-Mexico border…the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…asked Gari to take legal guardianship of his brother….officials [lied]…that it wouldn’t jeopardize his own safety….[but] Gari…was arrested…by federal immigration agents who had used his little brother as bait“…immigration attorney Yazmin Rodriguez…knows at least three other similar cases…ICE [pretends] using children fleeing violence as bait “[is] part of a broader mission to disrupt human trafficking”…

The Mote and the Beam (#773)

The odious Nick Kristof finds it “baffling and perplexing” that internet companies don’t want the internet destroyed by sociopathic politicians on a witch hunt:

Sex traffickers in America have…a…crucial (if secret) ally: Google…organizations it funds have for years been quietly helping Backpage.com, the odious website where most American [passive, vegetable] victims of human trafficking are sold, to battle lawsuits from [ambulance-chasers fantasizing that] children [are] sold there for sex.  Now Google is using its enormous lobbying power in Washington to try to kill bipartisan legislation that would [enable profiteers to sue]…websites that [they claim] promote sex trafficking [or virtually any other federal crime]…as Backpage fights off prosecutors and worries about the legislation, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, Google has emerged as its behind-the-scenes champion…

What I find “baffling and perplexing” is that so few people recognize “One-hand” Kristof’s BDSM masturbatory fantasies about underage girls for what they are.

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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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My business was…illegal, but it shouldn’t have been.  –  Jeffrey Hurant

Safe Targets 

Naturally; they can steal more money from whores, and we don’t shoot back:

…Scotland Yard has been…threatening to prosecute women who work in brothels rather than pursue an armed gang of robbers who have been repeatedly targeting premises used for sex work…The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer…has written to the Metropolitan police in support of one of the victims…who is a constituent of his…Starmer said letters sent by the Met threatening women with prosecution…“could make it more difficult to stay in touch with victims of violent crimes”…The Met denies there is evidence of connected attacks on brothels and [pretends] that criminalising prostitutes is not a priority…

Rooted in Racism

Sometimes “trafficking” just means “bringing in brown people“:

A huge human trafficking ring that has been flying hundreds of Iranian migrants, some as young as five, into Britain has been smashed…The alleged leader of the criminal gang was detained at Heathrow as he tried to escape justice by flying to Brazil.  Another 14 gang members were held in Malaga…more than 200 people a year had been smuggled by the gang for around 10 years…Europol said the gang had run a “perfectly structured” criminal operation in which each migrant was charged around £22,000 and provided with accommodation, transfers and flights.  There was no immediate information from the Home Office about how many Iranians have managed to enter Britain illegally or whether any of those detained have been removed from the country…

Notice the use of “ring” as dysphemism for “business”, and “gang members” as dysphemisms for “employees”; note also the pretense that just because a business violates stupid laws makes it somehow surprising that it’s well-run.  Nobody would consider it newsworthy that an ordinary travel agency had only 200 customers a year; if anything, that qualifies as a rather small business.  Note also the phrase “as young as five”, borrowed from “sex trafficking” propaganda; why are we supposed to be shocked that people moving to another country would take their children along? Personally, I think it’d be more newsworthy if they left them behind.

Dutch Threat 

A rare victory for sex workers against “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Amsterdam’s policy that prostitutes must share personal information with brothel owners, is in violation of the Personal Data Protection Act, the court in Amsterdam ruled…The court was dissatisfied with Amsterdam’s policy on various points, especially on the intake conversation brothel operators have to have with prostitutes before they start working there.  The municipality made this intake conversation obligatory in 2013, with the idea that operators will notice [magical] signals of human trafficking during the talk…The intake forms also contain information about the sexual life of the sex worker and operators must store these forms and present them during inspections…

Policing for Profit

Almost nobody still believes cops’ pretense that this is about anything other than profit:

…Adrienne Chapa was arrested [in Minneapolis] and spent a few days in jail before she went home to Las Vegas…[but] the Hennepin County attorney’s office filed a lawsuit to keep [her] money through [legalized robbery]…It took two years to resolve the legal cases, and $21,000 is finally getting distributed [among various pigpens]…Minnesota legislators outlawed civil forfeiture in 2014…[but Chapa eventually plead guilty on condition that the conviction will be erased in two years]…her attorney, Avery Appelman, said seizing the cash was a “large motivating factor” for her prosecution and that police use forfeited property as a “slush fund”…

What’s that word for men who use force to take money that a woman earns via prostitution?

Lack of Evidence (#678) 

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

…New York Penal Law Section 240.37 has criminalized loitering in a public place by anyone the police determine is present for the purpose of prostitution.  “Purpose” is not defined…thus the reason for one’s presence is ultimately decided by the opinions of arresting officers…A woman may be surveilled, searched, and detained, in part because an officer takes issue with her clothing…pre-printed affidavits…include “indications of prostitution,” such as:  the defendant was standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand; the defendant was carrying money or “sexual paraphernalia”; the defendant was with someone known to have been previously arrested for prostitution-related offenses…The…N.Y.P.D…Patrol Guide…offers no objective criteria on what attire is suspect, thus failing citizens the ability to anticipate how their fashion could establish cause for their arrest…From 2012 through 2015, nearly 1,300 individuals were arrested in New York City under the law…85 percent of them were black or Latina.  According to a class-action lawsuit filed September 30, 2016 by the Legal Aid Society of New York…transgender women are especially victimized…

Now They Notice (#680)

It’s sick and sad how, after an initial show of calculated outrage, Gay, Inc abandoned him to the government:

A federal judge…sentenced Rentboy.com founder Jeffrey Hurant to a six-month prison term…Federal authorities [had] already [stolen] about $1.5 million that they claim was laundered money from Hurant’s company…[but] did not pursue a seizure of $101,000 from Hurant’s personal bank account…the…judge…also fined him $7,500.  After sentencing, Hurant told reporters…that…sex work between adults should be decriminalized and destigmatized…

Backwards into the Future (#743)

Virtually no government “commission” will ever suggest taking power away from government:

…the South African Law Reform Commission chose fiction over facts…After taking two decades to draft its final report, it has recommended the continued full criminalisation of consensual adult sex work…The commission also included a last-minute secondary option of [The Swedish model]…These recommendations were made despite mounting evidence that shows that the full decriminalisation of sex work is the most effective and respectful model to ensure improved access to health, justice and support services for sex workers…We have had this apartheid-era model in South Africa for a long time now.  What have the results been?  High levels of violence and abuse, stigma and discrimination when sex workers attempt to access basic services, and high rates of new HIV infections…And this violence is most often committed by police officers, as illustrated by a review by the Women’s Legal Centre of cases reported between 2011 and 2015.  Of the abuse reported to the centre by sex workers, more than 60% of cases identified the police as perpetrators…

The Widening Gyre (#756) 

I am so enjoying watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control of the “authorities”:

A Facebook post [reporting] illegal immigrants are trying to kidnap young girls for human trafficking…[states] Mentor [Ohio] Police are aware…that men are sitting in parked cars in…parking lots…Police [claim] they have received no reports of any human trafficking or related suspicious behavior.  Police also [allege] they’ve reached out to security at Great Lakes Mall and the mall has not received any reports…

The War Goes On (#757) 

If Backpage is so awful, why do politicians need lies to attack it?

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley claimed he has “new evidence” showing that the classifieds site “Backpage has directly and actively promoted illegal sex trafficking.”  But the only thing new is Hawley’s level of desperation and deceit…Among the “new” evidence…is a January report from the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.  Despite the senators having access to all of the internal Backpage data and hosting a theatrical in-person inquiry, they found nothing sufficient to spur a criminal investigation or any charges.  Hawley also submitted the transcript of an audio recording seized from Philippines company Avion, in which an Avion employee contacts a London sex worker…A state attorney general cannot attempt to prosecute foreign contractors for ads created and posted in foreign countries.  And it is legal for Backpage contractors to generate adult ads abroad, where the rules governing web-publishing platforms and legal liability for content vary (and prostitution in certain forms may be legal).  Hawley’s actions here should be seen for what they are: a sneaky attempt to build credibility in his illegal crusade…

The Mote and the Beam (#762) 

The Unsinkable Liz Brown with more on the censors who want to destroy the internet in the name of “fighting sex trafficking”:

…The underlying reason why no one’s been able to pin criminal charges on Backpage isn’t a “loophole” in federal law that lets Backpage knowingly profit from human trafficking but the fact that the evidence doesn’t support claims that it does so.  If it did, Section 230 would be irrelevant, and Backpage execs could be charged under a number of laws—including one 2015 law crafted for just this purpose. The Stop Advertising Victims of Sexual Exploitation Act specifically prohibits the knowing advertisement of sex trafficking victims, under threat of a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence…Section 230 doesn’t apply to content that a platform has itself created “in whole or part,” nor to one that…”is directly involved” in the alleged crime.  But a website operator “who edits user-created content… retains his immunity for any illegality in the user-created content”…If Backpage is more like the first category, it’s already punishable under criminal statutes and subject to civil claims.  If it’s only the former, than opening up Backpage to criminal charges and civil payouts opens up all of the internet to the same…

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Most cops would never think of using [laws allowing them to molest sex workers] for nefarious purposes because sex workers are exploited “victims” that they’re trying to “rescue”.  –  Me

It’s been a while since I’ve had an article at Reason, but as y’all know I’ve been pulling out of my two-year slump and as a result, my productivity is increasing.  So when I got the opportunity to get more eyeballs than usual on a topic I consider extremely important, you can bet I took it.  The article appeared yesterday, and starts like this:

Once again, cops are arguing that they need to be allowed to have sex with suspects in order to investigate prostitution allegations.  And once again, lawmakers and journalists are acting like exploitation and assault of sex workers by law enforcement is a rare occurrence, rather than a national epidemic.  Most people would agree that the deception, the power differential, and the subsequent arrest of sex workers make such contact utterly unacceptable, even if they don’t think that it rises to the level of rape.  Yet the behavior is common enough to bring police unions to its defense on a regular basis…

See, I can restrain myself and use less-inflammatory language when the need arises!  For those who haven’t seen my work on Reason before, here are the previous ones:

How a Crusading Chicago Sheriff Convinced Visa and Mastercard to Screw Sex Workers (7/2/15)

No, Rhode Island Didn’t “Accidentally” Decriminalize Prostitution (8/24/14)

The Mythical Invasion of the Super Bowl Hookers (1/26/14)

Reason articles use headlines rather than essay-type titles, so these are longer than you’re used to seeing on my work (and they’re written by editors rather than by me).  While we’re at it, this is as good a place as any to remind you on some other articles I’ve done for high-traffic sites:

Lies, Damned Lies and Sex Work Statistics for the Washington Post (3/28/14)

and

Treating Sex Work as Work in Cato Unbound (12/2/13), the lead essay in an online debate (including several follow-ups).

Anyhow, there will certainly be more, and I’ll certainly call your attention to ’em as they appear.

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What you probably know about human trafficking is horseshit.
–  Laura Lemoon

Lack of Evidence

A teenage girl riding in a car now constitutes “evidence” of “sex trafficking”:

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking after a car transporting a 17-year-old girl was stopped in Preston…the…girl, who is from Romania, is now [in jail]…

Against Their Will

Sunitha Krishnan is a fanatic & compulsive liar who claims all sex workers are “victims” who are “raped by a hundred men a day.”  Is it any wonder that a person who quotes her as an “authority” finds sex workers’ desire for individual rights “surprising”?

…Prajwala…headed by Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, is [a prison compound in which] hundreds of women and girls [abducted by cops] from brothels around India [are locked up for brainwashing]…The facility, funded by several [wealthy white prohibitionists], is surrounded by 20-foot high walls with barbed wire atop; its address is not publicly listed.  Dr. Krishnan explained that this level of security was needed [to keep] the women [imprisoned there from escaping with the help of friends outside]…What is surprising is that a number of women wanted to go back to their previous life as a prostitute…

It Looks Good On Paper

Another bullshit story touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws that allow “perfect victims” to expunge their records of prostitution charges after going through the hell that is the US “justice” system:

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee…signed into…law…a bill that…allows victims of human trafficking to clear prostitution convictions, even if the person convicted has been found guilty of committing other crimes…the “new measure states any motion filed to vacate a prostitution conviction must prove ‘by a preponderance of the evidence’ that the applicant’s conviction, along with any other crimes committed, was a result of being a ‘victim of trafficking, promoting prostitution in the first degree or promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor’”…

The Mote and the Beam

Two stinking piles of filth want to cut sex workers off from the banking system:

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren…and Marco Rubio…introduced legislation to aid financial institutions in identifying and reporting instances of [sex work]…so that offenders can be prosecuted…The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act would direct federal banking regulators to work with law enforcement and financial institutions to combat the use of the financial system for [sex work]…The bill would further increase collaboration between law enforcement and experts in financial crimes by adding financial intelligence and regulatory officers to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and require the Task Force to…strengthen anti-money laundering programs…

Divided We Fall (#427)

Though Gay, Inc pointedly ignores the connection between queerdom & sex work, some Canadian writers refuse to follow suit:

…[In] conversion therapy…psychiatrists would attempt to suppress same-sex behaviour…by redirecting it toward the heterosexual norm.  In other words, the dominant culture sought to impose itself on sexual expression deemed morally objectionable…”John school” has now replaced conversion therapy as a form of state-sanctioned brainwashing that attempts to label purchased sex as a repugnant, unnatural vice…john school engages in psychological repression…Ottawa Citizen…editor Tyler Dawson accurately refers to these therapy sessions as “creepy re-education nights run by the Salvation Army”…For anti-prostitution activists, it’s not enough that johns change their behaviour: they must also change their preferences.  Men are told not only that their sexual choices are wrong, but that no “normal” adult would engage in this kind of depravity…advocates of john school continue to stigmatize paid sex between consenting heterosexual adults in private in the same way that the state once stigmatized sex between consenting homosexual adults in private…

Cardboard Cutouts

Liz Brown discusses “Why Is Everyone So Willing to Believe ‘Fake News’ About Sex Trafficking?”

All Wet

Better headline: “Korean Men More Honest About Sex Buying Than Western Men“:

More than half of Korean men have paid for sex at least once in their life, a government report showed…Nearly 26 percent of them had engaged prostitutes in the past year and did so 8.46 times per year on average.  The majority of men who had paid for sex, or 53.8 percent, first did so when they were aged between 20 and 24, followed by those aged 25-29 (27.6 percent), 30-34 (10.2 percent) and those under 20 (3.9 percent)…According to a survey of 174 sex workers, 75.6 percent of them were in their 30s.  Nearly 48 percent of prostitutes first turned to prostitution in their 20s, while nearly 22 percent began as teenagers…

Fallen Idol

Serial rapist & consent violator James Deen is trying to reframe himself as a protector of children:

…In the last 10 years we have had more free pornography at your fingertips than ever before, to a point where people are no longer learning about sexuality…This is something that is made for a purpose, this is not an example of what sex is, this is people having sex for entertainment…Now, a child, an 11-year-old child, anyone at any age could go to a myriad of places on the internet and be exposed to endless amounts of content…8- or 9-year-olds are not able to properly process what this is.  Especially when it’s not just, “Here are two people kissing and some standard sex.”  It’s some crazy stuff.  And I think now that people…are…seeing these examples, regularly, for years and years and years, of what they believe to be sex…

Droit du Seigneur (#641) 

It’s been an astounding week for abuses of power and sexual violence committed by state agents“:

…In New York City alone, one former cop is on trial for running for running a prostitution ring, another was sentenced to federal prison for soliciting child pornography from mothers he met online, and three others have been indicted on suspicion of trading gun permits for sex, travel, and cash…in…Atlanta, Georgia…arrests continue in a police take-down of two escort services…that also ensnared Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Christopher Quinn in January.  Quinn was caught on camera paying for and having sex with a woman who worked for one of the escort agencies….[in] the U.S. territory of Guam…Paul John Santos…was found guilty this week of criminal sexual conduct, bribery, and official misconduct after threatening to arrest a sex worker if she didn’t have sex with him…The judge sentenced him to 21 years.  That sort of punishment for sex-predator cops is rare…In Memphis, Tennessee, Sergeant Erskine Caldwell…was reported to Internal Affairs by his fellow officers after they spotted him several times with a known sex-worker in his patrol car…Caldwell had harassed her until she complied with his sexual demands…

Just Another Day in America

A Truthout article echoes what I said in the original of this title:

“Our collective focus on police shootings overshadows the reality of what is going on for women on a daily basis,” said Jacqueline Robarge of Power Inside…”The way the police engage women, especially Black women and sex workers, creates a culture of violence.  The police use a variety of tactics, including harassment, physical and sexual violence, medical neglect in police custody”…The DOJ investigation prompted by [Freddie] Gray’s killing revealed a number of instances in which Baltimore police officers extorted sex from women they alleged were engaged in prostitution or drug-related activities.  The women’s complaints were poorly and partially investigated, if at all, with little or no consequences for the officers involved…a 2014 study by Johns Hopkins University found that 6 percent of…Baltimore [sex workers] had been [raped by cops]…within a given month.  In Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, I summarize the sizeable body of research revealing that the police sexual violence found by the DOJ in Baltimore, and committed by now infamous Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, is alarmingly commonplace across the country…

Pimps Ahoy 

The rescue industry is nasty from every angle:

…Cisgender men, trans folks and anyone who is gender-nonconforming are not going to receive help from these organizations because they don’t fit the stereotype of the sex-trafficking victim in a way that lets these “rescuers” be rescuers.  The involvement of government in the suppression and oppression of trafficking survivors also cannot be overlooked…government sanctioning of the maltreatment and exploitation of trafficking survivors is an example of how the current…rescue system is allowed to proliferate…An astonishing 80 percent of survivors who go into [one particular Midwest] shelter end up getting kicked out with a “red dot” status, which means they can’t come back or even engage in any other services…Amber Paulina of Seattle…shares…how two church elders, with no experience or education, opened a residential facility for trafficked girls.  She was forced to call the executive director “Mom” and her husband “Dad” — they called all the girls their “daughters”…Amber was grilled about her masturbation habits and was forced to write book reports on “famous” survivors like Rachel Lloyd.  “I made bracelets for five bucks a pop that were flipped over at nine bucks a pop en masse at anti-trafficking events and at local boutiques.  All material donated.  ‘Made by trafficking survivor’ bracelets.  All the time.  For money.  Unpaid,” Amber says…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now (#696) 

Another case in which a filthy vice pig tricks a desperate survival sex worker with an offer of money plus food so as to ensure public ridicule by the bootlicking press:

Florida [pigs] have charged a [desperately poor] woman with prostitution after she agreed to perform a sex act on an undercover detective for $25 and chicken McNuggets…Alex Direeno was being held…without bond at the Manatee County Jail on charges of prostitution, possession of drug paraphernalia and on outstanding warrants…It’s unclear whether Direeno has retained an attorney.

“Retained an attorney”?  Really?  With what currency?  The $25 they promised her, then stole as “evidence”?

The War Goes On (#711) 

The profound stupidity of lawheads is a marvel to behold:

[Sleazy] vice [pigs] in Metro Atlanta say Backpage.com is still a marketplace for prostitution, despite the fact that Backpage removed its adult escort section…in January…[stenographer] Mark Winne spent days [masturbating while following] the DeKalb County…Vice Unit and [is parroting cop propaganda about] how Backpage is still the go-to website for sex trafficking…[Head] Vice [pig] Curtis Williams told Winne that ads for prostitution…simply moved to elsewhere on the site…Winne…asked [one of the cops’ victims], “How come you turned down that officer’s offer of help?”  “Cause I don’t want it!” She said…

“Offer of help”.  Is Winne a grown man and university graduate?  This is the level of critical thinking I’d expect from someone who still believes in the Easter Bunny.

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There are about 200 stranger kidnappings in the U.S. every year.  Your kid is more likely to get killed by lightning.  –  Marty Klein

Check Your Premises

A judge lectures young sex workers with myths about the “danger” of sex work while actively working to destroy their lives for the “crime” of agreeing to consensual sex:

Three college students in Florida were [brutalized by pigs after tricking them into meeting]…at a ritzy Miami hotel…Maury Noun, 21, is [accused] of pimping out 19-year-old Samara Charlotin and 23-year-old Acacia Friedman…The detective offered Noun $10,000 to have sex with both Charlotin and Friedman.  Noun [stupidly] consented…telling the cop that he would have to pay extra for unprotected sex.  [Pigs]…arrested them as soon as they arrived…and…arraigned on a slew of prostitution charges…Charlotin was also charged with drug possession…Charlotin told Judge Mindy Glazer that she’s pursuing a degree in biology…”You’re a smart girl, if you want to live to see age 20, you need to find a new line of employment,” Glazer [pompously pontificated]…

I wonder when Miami cops will start arresting college football players so Judge Dipshit can lecture them about finding a different line of work if they want to make it to 20 without brain damage?

Saving Them From Themselves

Poor, helpless little piggies; they HAVE TO stick their snouts into young people’s personal lives and then destroy them.  It’s not their fault, they’re robots without discretion or free will!

The Polk County [North Carolina] Sheriff’s Office has had 12 cases in the last year and three months at Polk County Middle School and high school…where students were charged with criminal acts for sharing pictures and videos…Capt. B.J. Bayne said cell phones are the cause of most of the charges and since there’s really not a crime that fits juveniles, the charges have to be related to adult porn charges.  “The goal is to correct the issue, not punish the issue,” Bayne said. “We really have a good team trying to get these kids educated [by traumatizing them & giving them a criminal record]”…

Gorged With Meaning

When sex is involved, a poison pen letter is considered proof:

The Coastal Carolina cheerleading team has been suspended after being accused of engaging in prostitution…[in] an anonymous letter mailed to…University President Dave DeCenzo, alleging that the cheerleaders were engaging in prostitution, buying alcohol for minors and paying others to do their homework…

Scorched Earth 

NCMEC is among the most dangerous of the anti-sex organizations due to its shameless hiding of its agenda behind “protecting children”:

…NCMEC—The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…[has] for decades…told parents to fear “stranger danger,” and instructed them to transmit this fear to their kids…By conflating “missing” and “exploited,” they have panicked Americans into thinking the average child is “at risk” of being kidnapped.  By talking about “children” they conflate the experiences of five-year-olds and 17-year-olds.  According to their own website, over 90% of “missing” teens are not “missing,” they have run away…over 3/4 of…[them] from institutions like foster homes…By expanding the definition of “sex trafficking” to include every sex worker…they have successfully convinced Americans that huge numbers of Americans are sex trafficked.  It’s a lie.  NCMEC can’t document even a half-dozen cases of women forced to act in porn, but they’ve planted the idea that porn actresses are trafficked…NCMEC champions government stings in adult chatrooms where adults roleplay age games, pursuing adults for thought crimes that harm no one…actual child molesters don’t look for kids in adult chatrooms…NCMEC also champions Amber Alert, an enormous waste of money and…resources [whose]…main accomplishment is to terrify…parents.  Similarly, NCMEC favors punitive, counter-productive sex offender laws and registries—which includes putting children on these registries when they mistreat (“molest”) their peers…

See also “Who Watches the Watchmen?” below.

Watershed

Because of the neofeminist lie that having sex for pragmatic reasons magically harms women’s infantile, subhuman brains, it’s especially important that women be making arguments like this:

Economists are obsessed with markets…yet the sex trade has for too long been left to operate with virtually no official support or recognition.  And sex workers have therefore been left vulnerable to exploitation…from the authorities.  The usual justification for brushing the sex trade under the carpet is that the sale of sex is “immoral”…However, there is a logical inconsistency with the way that we think about consensual prostitution – a largely female trade – compared with the male-dominated spheres of soldiering and boxing – all of which come at significant risk to the body and the brain.  As Barbara Einhorn, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Sussex, wrote in a 2016 letter to The Guardian, “prostitution and soldiering are arguably the oldest professions. While doubts about their legitimacy are understandable, both provide a service that society appears to need.  Yet one is heroised, the other vilified.”  As a society, we are also…completely comfortable with people in effect pimping their brains.  If you have high-level numerical or literacy skills, it is fine to work long hours, for example, at a multinational bank or law firm.  But if you’re born with a great body and are able to hone your erotic skills, it is seen as animalistic and shameful to make money from those “assets”…And since women have traditionally been seen as inferior, it has been assumed that making money from the female-associated body is less respectable than making it from the male-associated brain…

Who Watches the Watchmen? (#649)

Once again, actual figures disprove the hysteria:

…American children today are no more likely to be kidnapped than they were decades ago, and much more likely to be returned safely when they are…there were just 105 “stereotypical kidnappings” in America between late 2010 and late 2011, the last period for which we have data.  (For reference, there were about 73.9 million children in America that year.)  Just 65 of these kidnappings were committed by strangers.  Less than half involved the abduction of a child under age 12.  Only 14 percent of cases were still open after one week, and 92 percent of victims were recovered or returned alive…The Department of Justice (DOJ) defines stereotypical kidnappings as those in which 1) the victim is under 18-years-old, 2) the kidnapper is either a stranger or a “slight acquaintance”, 3) the abduction involves moving the victim at least 20 feet or detaining them for at least one hour, and 4) the victim is either held for ransom, transported at least 50 miles, detained overnight, held with an intent to keep permanently, or killed…DOJ defines slight acquaintance as someone the child or their family have known for less than six months, someone they’ve known for longer than six months but see less than once per month, or someone who might be recognizable to a child or their parents but not known by name.  In one…case…a 16-year-old girl ran away to live with an adult boyfriend, who is defined as a “slight acquaintance” because she had only been seeing him a few months.  So the number of stereotypical kidnappings that the general public would consider stereotypical is actually lower than the feds’ estimate…

Dutch Threat (#678)

Even if PROUD supports this, I’m still skeptical of the subtext:

…project My Red Light…enables prostitutes to determine their own work routine…while offering more protection from the pressures and abuses inflicted by intermediaries.  Fourteen windows…in the Red Light District are expected to come into operation in May…If the initiative proves to be a success, the business model may be expanded to other Dutch cities.  Yvette Lurs, president of the Dutch Union for Sexworkers (PROUD), supports the project.  “It would be great if sex workers had more opportunities to open their own brothels,” she says…the spokesman for My Red Light, Richard Bouwman, says that its main goal is to “empower sex workers and, more specifically, to give them the support and the knowledge to run their own business”…

…which most sex workers already do, so why pretend the opposite?

Finding What Isn’t There (#710)

You’d think a business news site could understand that hysterical phone calls don’t correlate meaningfully with actual events.  And you’d be wrong:

Reports of domestic human trafficking continued to increase in 2016, jumping 35 percent over 2015, according to a report released…by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and the Polaris Project…Due to the [imaginary] nature of the crime, authorities and academics alike [are free] to [wildly exaggerate] the scope of the problem.  One source of quantifiable information about [the level of] trafficking [hysteria] in the U.S. is a hotline set up in 2007 by Polaris, an anti-[sex work] organization…it’s unclear whether the rise of an online sex market over the last twenty years has increased the sex trade, or just made it more visible.  In previous decades, sex work was [understood by rational people]…to be a “victimless crime”…but that perception has changed, thanks in large part to [propaganda promoted] by [anti-sex] groups, and now a sex worker is more likely to be [fantasized] as a trafficking victim…

Property of the State (#719) 

If I lived in one of these fanatical “all your uteri belong to us” states & my ability to have children wasn’t already decades in the past, I’d get myself sterilized immediately:

An Iowa state representative…[said] women who miscarry after 20 weeks of pregnancy should be forced to carry their dead fetuses [until the mothers die of septicemia]…During a hearing…which would clear the way for a state ban on abortions after the 20-week mark…Shannon Lundgren…[said] “This bill wasn’t written for the intent to protect or govern on the side of the woman.  It was written to save babies’ lives, giving the choice and being the voice of those babies”…

Between the Lines (#722)

Moralistic control freak clutches her pearls and screeches that facts are evil once somebody says “THE CHILDREN!!!

…in an article for…Reason magazine, Elizabeth Nolan Brown takes the FBI to task for [its annual pogroms vs consenting adults]…Brown declares the FBI’s yearly Operation Cross Country investigation expensive and ineffective and says they do not rescue a significant enough number of underage victims to justify the cost…Her main complaint, however, is that…the FBI is functioning as a “national vice squad,” arresting more adults on charges stemming from prostitution activities than finding underage trafficking victims…Brown continues by asserting that underage youth who are not being forced by a trafficker into selling sex do not need to be rescued and should not be [locked in cages and brainwashed]…

The rest denies the agency of sex workers, quotes the usual absurd myths and Farley’s made-up BS, etc.

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