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Posts Tagged ‘Follow the Leader’

It is…easier to characterize sex work activists as traffickers and pimps than what they really are: vulnerable women advocating for themselves within a system that is set up to marginalize and dehumanize them.  –  Alana Massey

Amsterdam

What the fuck is this patronizing bullshit?

Amsterdam may open a brothel where fifty women will get a chance to do their work without pimps. The municipality proposes five buildings with a total of 19 windows available…A feasibility study has been launched to see what all is involved in a prostitution business that is run by prostitutes. The municipality believes that a company which sex workers themselves are responsible for the affairs, will contribute to a prostitution industry with good working conditions without abuses…

If Dutch politicians would stop mistaking their masturbatory fantasies for reality, they’d know that most prostitutes already run their businesses without the dubious “help” of pimps or politicians.

Real People Bella Robinson

Here’s a good profile of Bella Robinson, written by fellow activist Tara Burns:

Bella Robinson entered the sex industry as a homeless 18-year-old fleeing an abusive marriage that had rescued her from the foster care system.  She’s exactly the sort of “victim” for whom sex trafficking laws were invented.  But Robinson—now a human rights activist who has been a hooker (her preferred term) for 30 years—doesn’t think of herself as a victim of the sex industry.  She says she’s been sex trafficked by the state and victimized by laws intended to help people like her…

One Size Fits All

Because Shazam!

51-year-old Robert Edward Neves, an American National arrested in the Philippines, will face trial for [dating] a 17-year-old [woman]…Neves is also being charged with [sex trafficking]…it is illegal for any person…to keep or have in their company a minor which is 12 years or under – or who is 10 years or more his junior in any public place…The [young woman said she]…and Neves…met in an online date site…eventually becoming lovers…after they met in person…

Follow the Leader

Costumed hooligans with titles like “officer” abduct and abuse people in much the same way every day:

A 6-year-old boy in Missouri endured an emotional four-hour staged kidnapping because his family thought he was being too nice to people he didn’t know…the boy’s mother, grandmother, aunt and a co-worker of the aunt…have been charged with kidnapping and other felonies…the boy was lured…into a pickup after getting off his school bus, tied up, threatened with a gun, taken to a basement where his pants were removed, and told he could be sold into sex slavery…that he would never “see his mommy again,” and he would be “nailed to the wall of a shed”…[he was bound] in the basement for some time before he was unbound and…lectured…about stranger danger…

Uncommon Sense

Ticino has always been considered a haven of the Swiss sex industry.  Dozens of Italian sex workers, both women and men – regularly commute…there…roughly 600 registered sex workers [work] in Ticino out of a total population of 340,000 residents…But…the local government is trying to push through a new law aimed at cracking down on unregulated prostitution by confining the oldest trade to just licensed brothels, apartments and authorised sex districts…

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong

Dear clergymen:  STOP STICKING YOUR DAMNED NOSES INTO OUR BUSINESS.  Love, sex workers everywhere.

Representatives of the Church of Scotland have joined other churches and faith groups, including Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims, Sikhs, Quakers and the Free Church, in urging the First Minister to…follow the kind of prostitution law adopted in Nordic countries…Sex worker-led charity Scot-Pep said laws criminalising the buyer exposed sex workers to HIV and violence and had been rejected by UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation and Human Rights Watch…a Swedish report on the issue published this week had concluded that the law made sex workers more vulnerable.  Fiona Gilbertson…of Scot-Pep…said…”This is clearly a subject about which the Church has been misinformed, and I would invite them…to read the evidence and to speak to sex workers before proceeding any further with this campaign…”

Here’s my friend Laura Lee on the subject.

The Last Shall Be First

A bill…in the Florida Legislature…would make it a crime for transgender people to use single-sex public facilities…including restrooms…that correspond with their gender identity.  Violators would be [subject to]…a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.  The bill would also empower people in a…restroom during any “unlawful entry” to sue the alleged interloper and owner of the facility…single-sex facilities…would be restricted to those with a corresponding “biological sex…at birth”…

Yellow Fever

Lauren HershMost of this reads like a script for a really lurid TV cop show, because reporters nowadays believe everything cops tell them as though it were engraved on stone tablets.  There’s also infantilization of young people, agency denial, bogus statistics, conflation of all “missing child” cases with stranger abduction and all stranger abduction with “sex trafficking”, the evocation of imaginary “criminal gangs”, pro-criminalization propaganda and a special guest appearance by the vile Lauren Hersh, the prohibitionist who was a prosecutor until she was forced out in disgrace for railroading two innocent men for rape.

Policing for Profit 

Here’s another prohibitionist badge-licker who is so busy wanking to his fantasies of “slave ships” that he is unable to comprehend that expanded state power to steal private property will eventually come back to bite him:

Tim Heffer [fantasizes] so strongly that sex [work] is…slavery that he compares the cars…owned by [clients] to slave ships…he testified in support of HB 1558, which would allow [cops to steal]…the cars and money of people arrested for soliciting a prostitute, even if they are never convicted.  “Rather than one large ship, they’re smaller vessels…we need to take these ships away from traffickers and buyers”…

Rough Trade (#339)

Who else but a sociopath could “appear to be in disbelief” when he is convicted for the same kind of rape he’s been convicted for at least twice before?

Akis Livas, 52, appeared to be in disbelief when his lawyer explained to him that he would be locked up for…[booking a sex worker] for four hours, and [bringing] an envelope stuffed with paper which he pretended was the $850 to pay her.  The woman said when she discovered there was no money, she became scared…she has suffered from a lack of trust in others and [is] still receiving counselling…Livas continued to minimise his responsibility and had not shown remorse…

Shame, Shame

A mugshot…is a photo designed to tell the state’s side of a story.  The subject of the photo, taken at one of the lowest points in their life, has no voice, but the language of the form – the unflattering bright light, the drab background, the name and prisoner ID at the bottom – tells us we are looking at a “criminal”.  With the internet, that “we” has expanded to the far reaches of the globe…before the subject can mount a defense, a 1,000-word photo pronouncing their guilt may have already gone viral.  Stacking the deck in favor of the already advantaged police, the photos discourage empathy in favor of judgment…this humiliation becomes just another manifestation of punishment…The press partakes readily in this ritual debasement, the most respectable of media outlets eagerly distributing the state’s unflattering photos, of people who have yet to be convicted of anything, on the front page and on the evening news and on dedicated websites that feature nothing but mugshots…

Uncommon Sense (#420)

After months of negotiations, [German politicians]…agreed the final details of a new law governing sex work…but prostitutes say it isn’t fit for [the] purpose…Undine de Rivière…[of the] sex workers’ union BeSD…[said] the rule requiring sex workers to be registered with the authorities…was unacceptable…[as is] requiring prostitutes to have a doctor’s note…while sex workers are happy to discuss measures that can help them practice their profession and maintain their health, they want them on their terms…

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

A metro Atlanta dominatrix…is suing a…private investigator for secretly filming their…session…Lakenya Monfort…contends Reginald Walker…posed as…[a] client…[and used a] hidden…video-camera to record the session without Monfort’s knowledge…[to use] as evidence against Monfort in her child-custody case…Georgia law…prohibits secretly…video-recording someone in a place where he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy…

The Notorious Badge (#452) 

50 shades of clusterfuck:

…the press tour for…50 Shades of Grey [is] now firmly established as among the most disastrous of the past decade…The most glaring problem…is [that]…romantic leads Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan do not like each other…A routine visit to TODAY takes on the excruciating air of a court-ordered couples therapy session…It is not difficult to picture Dornan and Johnson luring one another into a “Red Room of Pain.”  It stretches the capacity of the imagination to think that both would emerge alive…[both]…routinely display discomfort…when talking about sex…Dornan [said]…”I had to do stuff to her that I’d never choose to do to a woman…The first day…was kind of an out-of-body experience…I’m like, ‘What the fuck is happening?  I’m a dad.  What?’…

The way Dornan repeatedly mentions his child, as if to provide a ward against evil, is fascinating in a Victorian kind of way.

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Lawmakers and judges toss years, even decades, around as though the sentences were Frisbees floating on a leisurely summer breeze. – Norm Pattis

Imaginary Victims

Sarah KruzanCalifornia Gov. Jerry Brown has decided…not to [deny]…parole to Sara Kruzan…[who] was 17 when she was sentenced to die in prison for the 1994 shooting death of George Gilbert Howard…[who had] sexually abused her and…groomed her since she was 11 to work for him as a child prostitute…”  Long-time readers may remember that prohibitionists have never spoken as much as a word in Kruzan’s behalf, despite their supposed wish to “rescue children” from “pimps”.

Lack of Evidence

When will amateurs learn that the War on Whores affects them as well?

[A judge ruled] New York City can be sued for false arrest and malicious prosecution…[for] targeting and entrapping gay men at video stores…[Robert] Pinter and an undercover officer agreed to leave a video store and have sex in a nearby car.  On the way out the door, the undercover allegedly added he would perform a sex act for $50.  Pinter…remained silent but continued walking with the undercover until he was arrested…for prostitution.

And in Dallas:

…police opened fire on [David Blair] as he stood in his doorway…after he rebuffed their interrogation efforts during an operation to apprehend call girls and johns…After nearly being shot to death, Blair was arrested for aggravated assault on a police officer…[but] released after several hours…“I guess I wasn’t supposed to tell them to get the light out of my face,” Blair said…

That’s the first time I’ve ever heard streetwalkers referred to as “call girls”.

January Q & A

The only thing “sordid” and “seedy” about this is the way cops and the media collaborate to destroy lives, and the only “notable name” is that of Brian Bates, the soi-disant “Video Vigilante”, who is bizarrely referred to as an “anti-prostitution advocate” because the reporter is too ignorant to use the word “advocate” properly.

Secret Squirrel

AT&T…[is introducing] a…GPS-tracking…watch-like thingie…called FiLIP…[which alerts] when your child enters or leaves a designated area…[the ad says] “FiLIP…[helps] kids be kids again”…Right.  And the Invisible Fence collar…let my dog be a dog…I can get an iPhone Spy Stick, to be plugged into a USB port while he sleeps…or…Mobile Spy, software that would let me follow…his online activity and geographical location…[or] an innocent-looking iPhone Dock Camera that…surreptitiously [records audio and] video in his room…[In ZDNet’s survey of]  parental espionage…82 percent…agreed…that …“It is a parent’s right to ‘violate’ their child’s notion of ‘privacy’”…

Imaginary CrisesChristina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers…explains that the study often cited as the origin of the “one in five” factoid is an online survey…[which] employed such a broad definition that…”attempted forced kissing” qualified as sexual assault.  The Bureau of Justice Statistics…tells a different and more plausible story…During…1995-2002…there were six rapes or sexual assaults per thousand per year…about one victim in forty students.  Other DOJ statistics show that the overall rape rate…since 1995…has decreased by about 60 percent…

Follow the Leader

Clark Bianco pointed out this example of the state punishing citizens for following its lead: “a [Connecticut] couple faces charges after a 9-year-old girl in their care was punished with an electric shock collar used to discipline barking dogs”, but “a [South Dakota] police chief…is defending an officer’s [tasing] an 8-year-old girl…

Saving Them From Themselves

San Diego police say criminal charges will be filed in a sexting ring involving dozens of students…there’s no hacking or coercion…The girls sent out the naked pics themselves…

Surplus Women

A U.S. Marine has been referred for trial by court-martial…on charges of killing a visiting Las Vegas prostitute who was last seen alive outside a bar in…Waikiki…Master Sergeant Nathaniel Cosby is charged…in the death of 29-year-old Ivanice “Ivy” Harris…Messiah of Evil

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Thanks very much to Celos for sending me Messiah of Evil, which was our Halloween night movie this year!

Rhinoceros

His motive is obvious, but this is still freakish:

…authorities and human trafficking experts believe dozens of girls and boys are being brought to St. Louis to be offered for sale during the World Series…Michael Ocello owns several [strip] clubs and founded…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking [COAST].  He has the backing of ICE and Homeland security…[and] has earned credibility with law enforcement…Ocello printed 10,000 baseball cards that will be handed out by his employees this weekend…the back details signs of human trafficking and a number to call…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

“Trafficking” as an excuse for surveillance again:  “…a button inside a police car…[releases] a [GPS tracker bug] that shoots out and sticks to the car in front…They can track and pinpoint [the target] vehicle…‘This is an important tactic for the police…rescuing little girls from human trafficking’…

Above the LawX-Ray of woman's chest

Business as usual in a police state:

…Diana Hardy…and her boyfriend, Mark McKoy, were…pulled over by [New York State] Trooper Robert Baird, who claimed that they were speeding and that the car was reported stolen…After two “sexualized” pat downs, Baird…illegally searched the…van…and…found personal lubricant, a sex toy, condoms and a half-full package of balloons from a child’s birthday party, and immediately accused Hardy of hiding drugs in a body cavity…“He seemed to become enraged and handcuffed [her], demanding to know why she ‘needed lube,’ crudely asking if McKoy was ‘really that big’ and stating that he had a ‘gut feeling’ [she] was smuggling drugs inside her body”…She was hauled to the barracks, shackled to a wall and strip-searched three times…[then] wept through a body-cavity search, but even though a doctor also failed to find proof, [Baird]…demanded an X-ray…[which] showed [she] had no contraband in her body…The couple were finally released after they paid to have their van towed to the police barracks…

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast:

A…[California] police officer is currently under investigation after…raping a trans woman…the cop stopped her while she was walking to a friend’s house…he…groped her and asked if she was a “nasty shemale”…then forced her to perform oral sex and raped her…[she] was able to retrieve and turn in a [used] condom…[for] DNA test…

Much Ado About Nothing

White House official fired for mocking his masters.  Same government official hires whores.  Media pretends this is somehow shocking:  “…well-known National Security Council staffer Jofi Joseph…was the man behind @NatSecWonk…and…follow-up reports claim Joseph may also have been writing as @DCHobbyist…a regular patron of Washington’s sex worker scene…

Above the Law (TW3 #47)

Britain’s most senior police officer has said he cannot be sure that [cops] are not still getting involved in sexual relationships with partners who do not know their real identities.  Eleven women are taking legal action against the Metropolitan police over claims that they were duped into relationships…with undercover officers…ITPA as Mahishasur

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #48)

Indian sex workers protest another attempt to impose the horrible Swedish model:

[In] the Puja [at]…Sonagachi…this year…Mahishasur was depicted as…embodying the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. And Goddess Durga  was shown ripping the demon-legislation apart with her trident…[a new amendment]…criminalises clients visiting brothels…[which] is tantamount to depriving sex workers of their livelihood. “Moreover, it will lead to more and more harassment by the police,” says [Bharati De of DMSC]…

The Camel’s Nose (TW3 #137)

This zombie legislation just won’t stay dead:  “The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which [requires] private companies to share customer information with the NSA and others in the name of cybersecurity, is back on the legislative agenda…

Here We Go Again (Extra Edition)

This academic’s massive blind spot about “sex trafficking” hysteria is fascinating; she walks all around that elephant in the room, yet can’t see it.  Furthermore, the details about how the “white slavery” panic fueled the growth of the FBI are interesting.

Uncommon Sense (Extra Edition)

Zurich…provided…a suite of 30 drive-in wooden booths in a non-residential neighborhood, where surveillance could keep pimps out…[The city thinks] they work…[but] organizations working with prostitutes…say…the…boxes attract new arrivals rather than…street veterans…[who] have…just gone elsewhere…Switzerland’s Salvation Army has recommended that the city allow prostitutes back onto the old red light district…Cornelia Zürrer Ritter…of the SA…[said]…gave…up [the facility] because they “earned less money there and found the working conditions inhumane”…

Imaginary Evils

Theresa May, the UK Home Secretary…[has launched] her attack on “modern day slavery”…a tiresome, over-emotive phrase which functions as political speak for human trafficking…[she] has made much of the need for increasingly harsh sentences for traffickers.  But, as highlighted by Anti-Slavery International, this focus is a red herring.  Its position is that the UK should improve its response to victims, primarily by taking a more robust approach against victim criminalization…

Furthermore, as Tim Worstall explains:

…a new report…shows…that while the problem is real it’s small.  United Kingdom Estimated number enslaved 4,200 – 4,600…But…who can forget Dennis MacShane telling the House of Commons that there are 25,000 slaves just in the sex industry [or]…Julie Bindel and…the Poppy Project insisting that there are vast tribes of women held as sex slaves…

And even that 4200 is hyperinflated.Alicia Beltran

Due Consideration (TW3 #341)

Finally, mainstream coverage of the vile mistreatment of Alicia Beltran:

…[at] 12 weeks pregnant, she [went] to a…clinic…for a…checkup…[she] admitted a past struggle with…Percocet…but [had been self-administering] Suboxone…to treat Percocet dependency…in decreasing doses…[with the] last dose a few days before her…visit…the physician’s assistant recommended she renew…use of Suboxone under a doctor’s supervision.  After Beltran declined…she was asked to take a drug test, which was negative for all…except Suboxone.  Two weeks later, a social worker visited Beltran…and told her that she needed to continue Suboxone treatment…Beltran…again declined.  Two days later, [cops dragged her to]…a…judge [who] ordered her to spend 90 days in a drug treatment center…

Yes, the state chained and caged her because she wouldn’t take drugs.

Torture Chamber

A powerful argument against draconian sentences:

…The dead…are a howling wound deafening those left behind.  Locking a killer away for a lifetime doesn’t silence that howling…it merely creates eddies of despair, whirlpools that swirl and draw down…the spirits of the condemned, their loved ones, and…the rest of us.  Revenge isn’t justice, it is just revenge…locking people up doesn’t bring back the dead, it doesn’t repay money stolen, it doesn’t repair the psyche of all the folks we calls victims.  Prison is a confession of failure, both for society and for the individuals who demand long sentences without end for those who transgress…our love of prisons…[is] a celebration of a moral cancer…

Us and Them (TW3 #342)

For those who think my use of the word “pogrom” is too strong to describe police persecution of whores and clients: “60 people were arrested…as part of ‘Operation Off the Streets 2’, a cleansing initiative…men and women have been busted for everything…from street level prostitution to…Internet and hotel arrangements in Northwest D.C…”  A “cleansing initiative”; like “ethnic cleansing”.

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #342)

APNSW anti-sweatshop logoThe APNSW held a workshop last week, and several media outlets were on hand to interview sex workers and activists (including Melissa Ditmore and Cheryl Overs) about prohibitionist myths, the rescue industry and Equality Now’s attempt to negate the voices of thousands of sex workers. Regular readers won’t find anything surprising here, but it’s important to note the rising number of articles debunking “trafficking” mythology and publicizing both sex workers’ calls for decriminalization and the fact that several UN agencies support that policy.

Buried But Not Dead

More pearl-clutching about young pop-stars from a bunch of middle-aged ones who can’t compete with them any more, and “feminists” who never could.  It’s at least 2000 words too long and rife with inane buzzwords like “pornographic object”, “misogyny” and “sexualization”, but it’s mildly amusing in a train-wreck sort of way.

Across the Pond (TW3 #343)

As expected, six were closed:  “Seven of Edinburgh’s saunas have had their licences renewed…in the face of police objections…items of a sexual nature can be permitted on the premises — rejecting a principal objection by the police…[who later] denied this…meant condoms should be banned from the saunas…

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Any punishment that does not correct, that can merely rouse rebellion in whoever has to endure it, is a piece of gratuitous infamy which makes those who impose it more guilty in the eyes of humanity, good sense and reason, nay a hundred times more guilty than the victim on whom the punishment is inflicted.  –  Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade

Some people believe that truly horrific crimes are more common than they used to be, but others point out that while it is highly unlikely that humanity’s prodigious capacity for behaving in a monstrous fashion has increased, modern media undoubtedly publicizes atrocity stories more widely and efficiently than ever before.  Certainly the historical record reports many incidents equal to the worst committed by modern governments, police and serial killers, and our ancestors’ genius at inventing horrible means of torture speaks eloquently of mankind’s pronounced sadistic streak.  But there are more people on Earth now than there have ever been before, so even if the rate at which acts of senseless violence are committed has remained constant, the aggregate number of such acts is vastly greater than it was at any time in history.  And since cities are more densely packed than ever before, the chance of an atrocity occurring in any given place is greater than it was in the past.  And that’s only counting individual actions; when the criminals in question represent governments, the advantages conferred by technology must also be considered.  Modern industrial methods allow far larger numbers of people to be tortured or slaughtered far more quickly and efficiently than in pre-industrial times.  It’s unlikely that anything like the carnage of the “War on Drugs” would’ve been feasible prior to the late 19th century, and though the witch-hunts conducted by Germans of the 16th and 17th centuries (some of which ended in mass burnings) were easily as diabolical as anything their Nazi descendants did, those campaigns took many decades rather than a few years.

Indeed, it may be that most of those in power are not actually greater fiends than most of those they govern, but rather that they simply have greater ability to molest and torture a far greater number of people than those who lack an abusable position, not to mention a vastly greater ability to protect themselves from the consequences of their own evil.  So it’s entirely possible that the punitive mindset of the “authorities” in our society, who think nothing of locking people up for decades for breaking arbitrary rules which restrict what they’re allowed to do for pleasure, is reflected in the actions of the monsters in this Huffington Post story from July 29th; the only difference is that those in power are supported by sycophants and armed thugs who allow them to enforce their sick desire for control on grown strangers rather than their own children.

The family of a 10-year-old found dead in a trunk outside an Arizona home initially claimed the child died while playing hide-and-seek.  But investigators now believe Ame Deal suffocated after her family locked her in the box because she took a popsicle from the freezer without permission.  Phoenix police claim Deal’s grandmother, aunt and two cousins regularly subjected the child to horrific treatment, ultimately culminating in her July 12 death…[which] was classified as a “[cause] unknown” until July 28…after Deal’s cousin Samantha Allen, 23, and her husband, John Allen, 23, admitted putting the child in the trunk and padlocking it, authorities charged the couple with first degree murder…The victim’s aunt, Cynthia Stoltzmann, 44, and grandmother, Judith Deal, 62, were charged with child abuse and kidnapping after reportedly admitting to locking the child in the box on previous occasions.  Witnesses told investigators the child was regularly punished by being locked in the trunk.  They also saw the caregivers force Deal to eat dog feces as punishment, crush cans barefoot and exercise outdoors in “extreme measures”…Deal, who weighed just 59 pounds and was discovered in soiled clothing, died in a box that measured less than 3 feet long, 14 inches wide and one foot tall…Twelve children who lived at the residence have been taken into custody by Child Protective Services…The whereabouts of the child’s mother are unknown and authorities are currently trying to locate [her] biological father.

On second thought, there’s another difference; when ordinary sadists kill people by locking them up in extreme Arizona heat as “punishment” for breaking stupid, arbitrary rules, they’re charged with first-degree murder.  But when sadists with uniforms kill people in almost exactly the same way and for similarly absurd and pointless reasons there are literally no consequences whatsoever.

One Year Ago Today

The first part of “Regulars”, my column about repeat customers.

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