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Posts Tagged ‘gay rights’

All the excitement and hand wringing about [sex robots] was…pointless because [they] just don’t exist.  –  Mark Hay

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

The head pastor of a Methodist congregation in Orange County [California]…was charged…with two counts of molesting a girl under 14 years old…John Rodgers McFarland…was arrested…Dec. 18…San Diego County prosecutors filed two counts of lewd acts on a child…stem[ming] from incidents in 2012 and 2013…Police in Fountain Valley, where McFarland worked as a pastor at a Methodist church for 26 years, said there is “evidence that McFarland abused other victims during his time as a pastor in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach”…He was the head pastor from 1988 to 2014 at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church, and a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2014…McFarland was also the youth pastor at San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas from 1978 to 1981…

Backwards into the Future (#425) 

I wonder how long it will be before the US abandons “re-education” for sex workers and clients?

China looks set to abolish a controversial system that lets police arbitrarily detain sex workers and their clients for up to two years without trial for “compulsory education”.  The “detention and re-education for those involved in prostitution” program, which has existed for 27 years, was recommended for abolition…by the Legislative Affairs Commission…scholars, legal practitioners and members of the public…have long lobbied for the change on the grounds such administrative detention is unjust, extrajudicial and particularly punitive.  Sex work will remain punishable …by a penalty of up to 15 days’ detention.  The parallel custody and education system [h]as…[since] 1991…authorized police to force sex workers into various forms of long-term “education” which included morality lessons, written confessions, forced labor and other humiliating activities designed to “remove evil habits”…

Shift in the Wind (#530)

More and more, the media in many countries are siding with sex workers:

On December 17th, sex workers…and…activists from Macedonia held the 11th annual “Red Umbrella March” in Skopje…The Macedonian march was organized by STAR-STAR, the first sex workers collective in the Balkans…participants demand changes to in the Criminal Code which has remained unchanged for three decades since the fall of Communism…with exception to increasing penalties for sex workers…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

…a darkening wave of internet censorship…started when Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in March…Long before these laws were passed though, sex workers and advocates spoke out against them, [explaining] that their terms were vague and overreaching and would…decimate the digital platforms that have specifically provided a space for workers to meet, vet clients, and engage in consensual business in an online environment far safer than working on the street…The sex workers’ fears did materialize. Craigslist immediately deleted its Personals section…and Backpage…was seized by the FBI.  Multiple sex work forums disappeared immediately…harming and isolating queer people…Over the past few months alone Recon, a fetish dating site for gay men, saw their Youtube temporarily suspended…Naked Boys Reading saw their Facebook page temporarily banned…In October, Facebook was revealed to be blocking many LGBTQ+ ads as part of its new advertising policy…Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has also appeared to be censoring the queer community with algorithms that, intentionally or otherwise, flag queer content at a higher rate than non-queer content…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

I wish writers would stop these pandering claims that censorship attempts are “well-intentioned”:

…a string of civil lawsuits [has] intended to pin liability on online platforms for allegedly providing material support to terrorists.  Several federal trial courts dismissed such suits [last] year, but some of these cases are on appeal and plaintiffs have filed several new ones.  If these suits are successful…platforms would have little choice to become much more restrictive in what sorts of speech they allow…these cases…threaten the availability of open online forums and Internet users’ ability to access information.  That’s why EFF filed legal briefs in 2018 asking two different federal appellate courts to dismiss material support cases against social media platforms…So far, courts have been quick to toss out these material support lawsuits…As well-intentioned as these cases are, they pose a threat to…online communities…[they] threaten Internet users’ and the platforms’ First Amendment rights…[and] jeopardize one of the Internet’s most important laws, Section 230…

Censorship and prohibition are not, and by their very nature cannot be, “well-intentioned”.  They are attempts to control other people’s minds, bodies and lives and are thus intrinsically evil no matter how they’re excused by authoritarians.

Disaster 

It’s good to see so many journalists recognizing how dangerous the War on Whores has become.  This Forbes article on “The 9 Most Important Sex Trends Of 2018” includes the following:

…FOSTA-SESTA…opens internet platforms to liability for…user-generated content, creating a major legal risk for sites used to facilitate sex work…[and] adds to the popular, yet false, conflation of sex work with sex trafficking…The law has led to the shutdown of a number sites, groups, and forums sex workers used to facilitate their operations…[and] share safety information…and…has also…accelerated a wave of sexual censorship online…FOSTA-SESTA “is causing major havoc,” argues [sexologist Jill] McDevitt, for “anyone who uses the internet to read, research, or express themselves sexually in any way”…[experts] are worried that Twitter, the last major bastion of sexual speech online, may fall to this wave of censorship in the new year…

Imaginary Victims (#864) 

As I’ve pointed out many times, “safe harbor” laws only protect “perfect victims”, not real ones:

The Summit County Juvenile Court in Ohio didn’t follow the law when it allowed a 15-year-old girl who was a human trafficking victim to be tried as an adult in the robbery and murder of the man who trafficked her, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled…The high court, however, upheld the girl’s conviction and sentence to prison for the rest of her life…[claiming] Alexis Martin couldn’t prove that the judge’s decision to bind her over to adult court would have changed if the juvenile court had [actually followed the “safe harbor” law as it was required to do]…

Gorged With Meaning (#877)

Ignoring student sex workers would be fine; the problem is that universities are actively harming them:

Universities must stop ignoring the plight of a growing number of students turning to sex work and should start offering non-judgemental support, campaigners demand.  Students and experts have accused institutions of “simply burying their heads in the sand” over the issue…many universities are…actively blocking groups trying to support students involved in sex work.  In one case a student…sex work[er] was evicted from her home and threatened with expulsion by her university…The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)…have fought a number of cases recently where universities have threatened to throw out students if they do not stop doing sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#884)

Israeli prohibitionists are trying to criminalize all sex work:

The Knesset approved the first reading of a bill limiting the Israeli access to…sites presenting adult-related materials…the bill demands web-service providers to send a message to house-holds with internet access asking if they wish to have such sites blocked or not…Should they decline the offer they will be asked to provide personal information [which will then be shared with the government] proving that they are adults and are the ones paying for the service…The Knesset also approved adopting the Nordic Model…which…is…a state intervention on people’s right’s and bodies as well as a criminaliz[ation of] human activity that will be very hard to prevent…

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There is no “[sex trafficking] marketplace”, but rather all sorts of people selling and buying sex for their own reasons, some of them miserable.  –  Laura Agustín

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

San Diego County may not remove children from their homes and subject them to highly intrusive physical examinations without parental permission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled…The case stems from an April 2010 incident involving Michael and Melissa Mann and their four young children.  The Manns had apparently spanked at least one of the kids with a wooden spoon as a form of punishment…The county [abducted] the children…and [held] them in [custody]…while the parents went to court to regain custody…a doctor performed a 22-step medical exam requiring “blood samples and a gynecological and rectal exam…[including] separat[ing] the labia and look[ing] at the hymen”…County officials did not obtain a court order authorizing these examinations, nor did the parents sign off.  Indeed, the Manns didn’t even know [that]…their kids [had been molested] until one of them said something about it later…

Real People 

Universities are very slowly beginning to turn toward sex worker rights:

…Lady Lola Lightning…a 23-year-old [NYU] sophomore and Salem, Massachusetts native started playing with Periscope just five months ago….[and has] gathered a loyal following as a webcam model…she doesn’t use toys or do too many tricks; she just strips down and has a raw chat with viewers…along with her new job as a stripper in Brooklyn, she is able to pay for her entire tuition and living expenses without support from her family…

Not To Be Taken Internally (First Updates of the Year)

Please, y’all, do NOT let non-doctors inject liquid silicone into your bodies, unless you want to die:

On October 15, 2018, a 28-year-old Australian-born Seattle resident named Jack Chapman, also known as Pup Tank, died…he…was…romantically linked to Dylan Ray Hafertepen, a well-known member of the Dom/sub pup play communities in San Francisco and, later, Seattle…Hafertepen[‘s]…Tumblr (as well as the Tumblr accounts of several of his pups) contained numerous images of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections.  In one picture, Tank’s testicles dangle outside of his basketball shorts, his nuts roughly the size of two dodgeballs…Since World War II, cosmetic surgeons and back-alley “pumpers” have offered liquid silicone injections as a quick and dirty form of plastic surgery…But such injections aren’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures because of adverse reactions.  Sometimes they harden into painful masses that appear like wormy tumors under the skin.  Sometimes the surrounding tissue gets infected…Other times, stray bits can travel through the bloodstream, causing [fatal] embolisms…Numerous articles have discussed trans women who end up disfigured or dead because of silicone injections by unlicensed pumpers.  But few mention the pumpers who offer silicone injections for gay men…Tank died from “silicone embolism syndrome”…[which] led to “pneumonitis”…bleeding in the lungs…and eventually…death…

The article is very long and very detailed, and describes what looks to me like a very abusive BDSM relationship.  But it wasn’t the emotional & psychological abuse which killed Chapman/Tank; it was misuse of a substance which has caused the deaths of many seeking quick, cheap body modification without proper medical safeguards.

The Notorious Badge

Looks like I’m not the only sex worker writing horror with sex worker characters:

Award-winning screenwriter Isa Mazzei did not have a welcoming introduction to the movie industry.  “I’ve…never been more sexually harassed than trying to sell this film in Hollywood,” she [said]…Mazzei, a former cam girl, has written one of the hottest horror movies on this year’s genre festival circuit.  Cam, which will debut on Netflix later this month, drags the audience inside the paranoia and perils of being an internet star.  Her success in creating a believable yet terrifying online dystopia was bolstered by its roots in Mazzei’s real fears, including the risks of being harassed, hacked, doxxed or assaulted…Mazzei had to endure the sleaze of movie execs who believed they could harass and belittle her because of her previous  sex work.  Lots of them asked her to share details from her past life, some suggested she was only credited as the screenwriter as a gimmick to help the pitch, while one owner of a Hollywood agency went so far as to write an alternate ending to the semi-biographical movie that included himself and Mazzei inserted into the script…

No Difference

African campaigns against homosexuality are a lot like US campaigns against sex work:

The governor of…Dar es Salaam…launched an anti-gay crackdown…calling on [collaborators] to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week…homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.  “These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said [governor Paul] Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli.  “Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them”…Anti-homosexual sentiment is rife in Tanzania…and…has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election…AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magafuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies…

Somewhere in the Middle (#425)

Kate Iselin on myths about clients:

…Films and television shows cast clients as either sinister perverts who slither around in the darkness…or drug-addled millionaires looking for more Barbie-lookalikes to fill their yachts with for the weekend…Sure, not every client is perfect.  Some are far from it.  I could share a horror story or two about some who…disregard [hygiene or] boundaries…But clients like these are, thankfully, rare.  The majority of people who visit sex workers — whether they visit strip clubs, brothels, see private workers, or simply download some good, old-fashioned porn — are as normal and average as you and me.  They have jobs, and hobbies, and families, and social lives, just like anyone else…I believe it’s the heavy stigma around sex work that carries over to our clients, too: it makes sense that someone who thinks sex workers are immoral and disgusting would also feel the same about the people who pay to spend time with us…the belief that our clients are bad people is damaging not only to our clients themselves, but to the sex industry as a whole…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

The Drug Enforcement Administration [worked to drum up hysteria over] candy laced with marijuana and methamphetamine this Halloween.  The DEA St. Louis Division says there has been no [actual] threat, but [authoritarians are using the existence] of drug-laced edibles [in states where cannabis is legal to frighten the ignorant]…signs of marijuana or meth-laced candy include unusual wrapping, appearance, unusual colors, odd smell…candy…that is unwrapped or unmarked…

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag. Not a single one.  Every time the claim has been made, it turns out to be either an intentional hoax or some nefarious shit by the parents.

Full of Themselves (#787)

Puritanical language is an intrinsic part of any story about cops raiding massage parlors:

Police have posted notices at 18 massage parlors in Kent [Washington] saying that they will be shut down…after a monthslong [escapade involving vice cops getting happy endings at] businesses that they say were fronts for prostitution…some of the massage-parlor owners and employees have been charged with crimes and…[prosecutors] plan…to bring charges against any customers who engaged in prostitution…many of the businesses…were not licensed by the state and failed to follow regulations to protect the health and privacy of patrons…

“Fronts”.  “Prostitution”.  “Crimes”.  “Engaged in prostitution”.  “Regulations”.  And it’s pretty hilarious to see thugs pretending to give a shit about people’s privacy while simultaneously plotting to destroy their lives.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

It’s good to see “sex addiction” collapsing as an excuse for bad behavior:

A former WAFB employee who secretly recorded two female station employees using the restroom in 2017 was sentenced to four months in prison…Morgan McDermitt…must also register as a sex offender for 15 years. His wife, upon hearing the sentence…ran from the courtroom sobbing…Judge Beau Higginbotham initially sentenced McDermitt…to four years in prison…but then suspended all but four months of the sentence. In July, Higginbotham refused to accept a proposed plea bargain in the case that would have only placed McDermitt on probation…The judge asked McDermitt, who sought sex addiction therapy after his arrest, why he did not seek help before he was caught…

Damned Lies (#866)

It’s good to see fact checkers demolishing politicians’ grandiose claims about Backpage:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton…[claimed to have] “shut down the world’s largest human trafficking marketplace”…The Texas attorney general’s office helped shut down the Backpage website, which is what another Paxton ad says.  However, the federal government led the shutdown and officials in other states pitched in.  Significantly too, we otherwise landed no confirmation that the Backpage site, which profited from ads about sex, also was the world’s largest trafficking marketplace–a classification that experts found dubious and unverifiable.  All told, we rate this statement Mostly False…

Suppression

This is especially important because other states are trying the same scam:

…Pennsylvania [prisons will]…allow…book orders to resume through a new centralized processing center…The [censorship plan] was…[pretended] to eliminate drug smuggling into the prisons, [when in actuality all contraband comes in via screws]…[Chief Screw] John Wetzel said the new procedure was a response to criticisms by book-donation groups…The new policy…allows family and friends to order books to be shipped directly from publishers or bookstores to a secure processing center in Bellefonte, Pa., where staff will screen books five days per week.  It also enables inmates to place orders directly from a hard-copy catalog…the book-donation groups still have concerns about how the new process will play out, including how the [prison system] will ensure the packages reach the inmates who requested them, intact with all supplemental materials…Sean Damon of Amistad Law Project, which led protests over the book prohibition…[is] not satisfied, as other new security measures — including the scanning and surveillance of incoming mail, and the photocopying of inmate legal mail — remain in place…

Traffic Jam (#877)

Remember that “threat” a Hawaiian prohibitionist claimed to have received from “pimps”?

The recent publication of a hyperbolic study that purported to show an “astronomical” level of demand for sex workers in the Hawaii was punctuated by…Police…respond[ing] to a call regarding a purported threat of physical violence against [prohibitionist politician] Khara Jabola-Carolus…police concluded that there had been no physical threat…[what actually happened was that during] a conference call…one [prohibitionist claimed to]…hav[e] received a…text message [from Dominique Roe-Sepowitz which in turn claimed] that…some person or persons were “trying to get Jabola-Carolus fired”…

Signs (#878) 

Another state mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

A state mandate now aims to [harass] sex [workers] in Minnesota through the state’s hotel industry.  The law requires all hotel and motel employees to be [indoctrinated] in [anti-whore propaganda].  The training must be completed by Nov. 28.  After that date, all new employees must be [indoctrinated] within 90 days of hire…the signs to look for [include] guest[s traveling light]…or [with their children]…“There might be signs in the room – for example, that they…request extra sheets and extra towels, [and enjoy their privacy]” said Minnesota [prohibitionist]…Beatriz Menanteau…

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Women are always in need of things and these nowadays men, they like to get but they don’t like to give.  –  Shauna Chyn

Rough Trade 

He has a sex addiction and has been going through a 12-step program“.  For serial rape.

Thomas Walter Oliver [was] convicted…[for] raping or sexually attacking 11 women and teenage girls over a nine-year span….and…sentenced…to 30 years in prison.  Oliver was acquaintances or friends with many of his victims.  He met one on the dating site Tinder.  Another was a neighbor.  He met another at a music festival.  Three were working in the sex industry.  Six were younger than 18…

Lack of Evidence 

A pretty typical level of “evidence” for allegations of prostitution:

This decision…by the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court starts as so many qualified immunity cases do…”On May 22, 2014, [Brittany] Harris, along with her mother, father and older sister, went out for dinner…their minivan was stopped by [cops using the pretext of]…an obstructed license plate“…Brittany asked to go to the restroom after she and her family had spent more than an hour being detained by six squad cars…She was accompanied by [a sow called] Kimberly Klare, who…”secured Harris’s hands behind her back…placed her hands under Harris’s brassiere and pinched the girl’s breasts, causing bruising…Klare told her that…a previous suspect at that location had ‘stuffed needles in her bra’ and because…'[y]ou have the look of a junkie whore’.  But Klare found no drugs…or other contraband…[cops] also noticed that Harris’s father had…’tools, like screwdrivers and wrenches’…[in the vehicle, and that this somehow constituted ‘evidence’] that Harris’s mother was engaged in drug activity“…

Feminine Pragmatism 

Misogynists and cheapskates hate it when women encourage younger women to know their worth:

Shauna Chyn said she doesn’t understand why people are in their feelings about the content of her new single, “Suicidal”…[in which she]…encourages women to “collect” monetary advances…before getting intimate with a man…Chyn said she is tired of hearing women lament that when relationships end, they are left with nothing but memories.  “As women, we go through a lot with these men, and den nuff time dem just get up and leave. If a man a go leave, yuh must can have something to show for it.  Make dem spoil yuh before you give dem yuh thing,” she added.  She added that she is aware her message will not be met with open arms, but said she could[n’t] care less as her concern is to get women to see their worth and not be fooled…she…then made it clear that she has no issues with prostitutes.  She said as far as she is concerned, they are earning an honest bread.  “Dem nah rob and kill people, dem a hustle dem own just like anybody else…dem have kids and bills to take care of like anybody else”…

Surplus Women 

Yet another rapist/murderer cop.  But go on, tell me how we’re supposed to trust their “help”:

…Juan David Ortiz is a nine-year veteran of U.S. Customs and Border Protection…[who is] facing at least four murder convictions after…his fifth would-be victim escaped and [found a state trooper]…all of the women targeted by Ortiz worked as prostitutes [and the fifth woman knew two of the others, which caused her to become suspicious]…After being interrogated, Ortiz confessed to the four-known murders…[plus] aggravated assault and kidnapping…Two of Ortiz’s admitted victims were discovered alongside Interstate 35 in a rural, northwestern patch of Webb County [near Laredo, Texas]…the third and fourth victims were discovered…[last] Saturday…The investigation…began after Melissa Ramirez…was found dead on September 4 near an intersection…[then on September 13th] Claudine Anne Luera was found fatally wounded near that same intersection…

Aggressive Ignorance (#403)

Another “sex trafficking study” reaches the stunning conclusion that hotels tend to cluster along highways:

Sex [workers whom cops prey upon to charge with “trafficking” are most often arrested in]…poor and urban neighborhoods near highways and cheap motels, according to researchers at Texas State University …[prohibitionists] Deborah Mletzko, Lucia Summers and Ashley N. Arnio found Austin, Texas’ “hottest cluster” of sex trafficking [arrests] in the north end of the city, where a major interstate highway intersects two other major roads and is adjacent to a [stroll]…Not clear, however, is the [work’s] connection to poverty…

This one also contains the shocking revelation that poor people tend to rent cheaper hotels, yet the “researchers” can’t understand why poor people work.  I am not making this up; read it yourself.

Don’t Take My Word For It (#541)

Anything a reporter wants to increase hysteria about is perpetually “on the rise”:

The significantly understudied practice of female sex tourism…can be…exploitative [and] abusive…but far too often, it goes unaddressed…Wealthy, predominantly white Western women travel—primarily to once-colonized nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa—to visit male prostitutes, often much younger in age…more than half a million women engaged in sex-based travel between 1980 and 2005…Even without direct cash exchange, varying forms of “payment”—clothing, meals, shelter, gifts—reveal the relationship is a glorified business transaction…

When prudes clutch their pearls over the pragmatic sexual arrangements made by young women, it’s just tiresome.  But when they do it over the same kind of arrangements made by young men, it’s hilarious.

Comfort Zone (#769)

Given the scare quotes, it seems at least some UK reporters are no longer buying the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative:

Ten Romanian women [claimed by police] to have been trafficked for sex work have been “rescued” in raids across Glasgow and Edinburgh…[cops] found no suspects at [another] flat but [arrested] three young women [pretended] to be victims of trafficking…

Whatever They Need To Say (#826)

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of all kinds of sex workers:

New York…[dancers are concerned] that the number of strip clubs in town could contract from about 20 to less than eight if the city starts enforcing a ruling made last year…After a years-long court battle, a Manhattan judge ruled last year that strip clubs can no long­er operate under the so-called 60-40 rule, which allowed the[m]…in otherwise restricted zones as long as 60 percent of the club was used for “non-adult” entertainment, such as a restaurant…That has left some clubs scrambling to expand to new locations not [currently] in residential areas [until the city capriciously rezones the new areas as well]…

Normally, my edits are to condense meandering prose or eliminate euphemisms and prevarication; this time they’re mostly to remove puerile tee-hee-hee terms like “jiggle joints”.

Disaster (#844)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

Prostitution is taking-off along Aurora Avenue [in Seattle] again…and [busybodies] are demanding [a final solution] to…the spike in [what they absurdly call] sex trafficking…since online [advertising] services like backpage.com got shut down…Neighbors call it a scourge.  Prostitutes are [working to make a living during normal work hours]…and business owners said they are feeling the brunt…One suggestion was to do more to penalize motel operators who [book rooms to paying customers]…Police said one of the big challenges is building cases against…pimps…who [don’t actually exist]…In July, a diversion program also [claimed] to steer prostitutes off the streets and get them long-term help [yet didn’t offer to pay their bills]…

It’s because stupid people have been taught to believe that productive work is “criminal activity” controlled by shadowy “pimps” which can be magically eradicated by thuggish threats, authoritarian “penalties”, and moralistic “help”, that this happened in the first place; when politicians shut down inexpensive and accessible advertising, only a complete imbecile could fail to understand that the sex workers who used that advertising will now have to advertise in another way, such as by walking the streets.

The Prudish Giant (#853)

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

In June, China banned and excised videos of sound effects while  claiming to cleanse its internet of pornography. YouTube had already demonetized the genre in a sex panic; now PayPal is banning people for life and holding individuals’ funds…ASMR community websites are now warning all creators to avoid PayPal…Capitalizing on entrenched and easily exploitable anti-sex policies by internet giant payment processors and a new internet sex panic ushered in by FOSTA, 8chan trolls have started a campaign to mass-report attractive women who make ASMR videos…ASMR…[is] a genre of videos where the creator makes sound effects in a variety of scenarios that are geared toward evoking a sense-memory of tingling sensations from the back of the head.  If anyone ever played with your hair and you felt a funny but calming shiver, you get the idea.  The performance artists in these videos do things to create sounds like playing with hair, brushing microphones with makeup brushes, chewing ice and lots of other things…It may sound weird, but it’s quite popular — especially with people combating anxiety and insomnia…

False Target (#864)

Austria doubles down on using gay stereotypes to deport refugees:

Austria has rejected the asylum claim of an Afghan national who claims to be fleeing persecution for being homosexual after not being able to find any gay pornography on his mobile phone…The…reject[ion]…letter [stated]…“It is extremely unlikely that you are in actual communication with other men with no photos (resulting from chats) on your mobile phone…There should be interest here…in pornographic material of homosexuals, at least from favourited sites on the Internet”…The case comes after two other…asylum seekers were rejected by the BFA, including an Iraqi who was rejected because the agency found him too “girlish” in his behaviour and an 18-year-old Afghan who was rejected for not acting gay enough in his clothing or mannerisms…Austria has…focused on increasing deportations of failed asylum seekers with figures released in June revealing a 36 percent increase in deportations compared to 2017…

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Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual.  –  Dipak Misra

Maggie in the Media 

Peeping Toms

While the US increases interference into private lives, India goes the other way:

India’s Supreme Court…struck down a colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a landmark victory for gay rights that one judge said would “pave the way for a better future.”  The 1861 law, a relic of Victorian England that hung on long after the end of British colonialism, was a weapon used to discriminate against India’s gay community, the judges ruled in a unanimous decision…the court said sexual orientation was a “biological phenomenon” and that discrimination on that basis violated fundamental rights…

Banishment

I’m sure you feel safer now:

Olivia Munn’s new film, The Predator, is making headlines not just because of its premiere but because Twentieth Century Fox pulled a scene from the film after it was revealed that director Shane Black had cast a registered sex offender to play a small part.  Munn [complained] to the…studio and has now [bragged] about it on social media…Steven Wilder Striegel…pleaded guilty in 2010 to allegations that he attempted to lure a 14 year-old girl into a sexual relationship via the internet…Munn wrote…”excerpts from the arrest affidavit are beyond disturbing and completely contradict Wilder’s version of how he was convicted”…

Try not to throw up when you read all the bootlicking statements about how everything pigs and prosecutors say is unquestionable holy truth.

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 19 so far this year:

Vontashia Bell, an 18-year-old transgender woman was fatally shot multiple times in Shreveport, Louisiana, on August 30…Later that day, Dejanay Stanton’s body was found in an alley on Chicago’s South Side…Like Bell, Stanton had been shot to death…In Philadelphia, police are looking for the person or persons behind the murder of Shantee Tucker, a 30-year-old trans woman who was found shot in the back [on August 29th]…With their deaths, there have now been 19 known killings of transgender or nonbinary people this year, with 13 of them being black

Whither Canada? (#813)

A new challenge is only necessary because Liberals lied about repealing the law:

Across Canada, sex workers are still regularly being charged with crimes because of their profession.  Their clients, too, are being targeted by police…Canada’s new laws…have only made things worse…Bill C-36, came into effect in 2014 under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, and it was opposed by all opposition parties at the time, including Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, who contended that the legislation was unconstitutional and failed to comply with th[e] Supreme Court ruling [which decriminalized sex work].  During the 2015 federal election campaign, Trudeau vowed to undo or fix various criminal justice reforms brought in by his predecessor, painting the Tories’ tough-on-crime agenda as heartless and damaging…But now—three years after the Liberals won a majority government, four years after C-36 came into force, five years after the Supreme Court ruled that Canada’s long-standing prostitution laws were unconstitutional…any plans for reform appear to have stalled…After years of patience with the Liberals, sex workers are beginning to speak out again…A constitutional challenge to the Harper-era laws is facing a Charter challenge in a London, Ont. courtroom, which promises to extend into years of further legal wrangling.  The Pivot Legal Society, an intervenor in the Bedford case…[is] considering another challenge…

Pyrrhic Victory (#854)

The problem with facial recognition isn’t that it’s inaccurate, which would give victims a way to fight it legally.  The problem is that it won’t stay inaccurate for much longer:

Sixteen states let the FBI use face recognition technology to compare the faces of suspected criminals to their driver’s license and ID photos…at least 26 states allow [in-state pigs] to run or request [such] searches…Roughly 50 percent of American adults have their photos searched this way — meaning that 117 million adults are included in law enforcement face recognition networks…But critics question the…[use of] software which is known for problems with accuracy — especially in…people of color…At a time when artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly [sold to the deeply stupid] as a tool to keep us safe, experts are beginning to sound the alarm…for privacy…Clare Garvie, an associate with the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law [points out that] other police investigative tools — such as wiretaps and fingerprints — are heavily regulated, requiring a judge to issue a warrant for use.  But only a handful of state laws touch on face recognition…Garvie compares the presence of police video cameras enabled with face recognition technology on every corner to the act of a [pig rooting] through a protest demanding to see identification of everyone…face recognition cameras do the same thing — while capturing faces and identifying people remotely and in secret…

Full of Themselves (#860)

Let’s hope this attempt to harass Asian massage parlors out of business harms licensed masseuses even more:

Coralville and Iowa City joined the growing number of local city governments in passing ordinances that target…massage parlors since the Iowa Legislature gave cities the ability to regulate requirements last year.  [Prohibitionists pretend] human trafficking in massage parlors is an issue in Iowa City…

As long as politicians can successfully draw lines between adult businesses and others, they will continue to.

Business As Usual (#868) 

Rapists and murders say they want to “regain public trust” by not raping and murdering as much for the next few weeks:

Columbus Division of Police is temporarily suspending routine vice operations in part to regain public trust in light of two high-profile [abuses of power by] vice [cops] in the last 45 days.  The vice [pen], which includes about 20 [pigs], will spend the next 28 days providing command staff with information on how [raids] are conducted, Deputy Chief Tim Becker said…On July 11, vice [cops] arrested adult film actress Stormy Daniels and two other women following Daniels’ performance at the Sirens strip club…City Attorney Zach Klein…said he would no longer prosecute cases involving inappropriate touching by dancers.  Becker also issued a memo…barring vice and narcotics [pigs] from [rooting] into strip clubs without a specific complaint and permission from Becker or Chief Kim Jacobs…On Aug. 23, [disguised pig] Andrew Mitchell…[murdered] 23-year-old Donna Castleberry while he was [trying to rape her]…Mitchell…had a citizen complaint filed against him less than a week before the [murder]…During the 28-day vice review, only the “most critical” vice cases will be investigated, Becker said…

What, pray tell, constitutes a “vital” intrusion of armed thugs into people’s consensual acts?  Because that’s exactly what “vice” policing is.

The Widening Gyre (#870) 

Cops are trying to regain control of the runaway moral panic by releasing even more hysterical exaggeration than the Facebook loons:

You may have seen the Facebook posts…A young woman fears being followed by “strange” men, in the store or the parking lot…she believes that she was being followed as part of an attempt to kidnap her for a human trafficking sex ring.  However, local authorities say, the posts are reinforcing a common misconception:  real life bogeymen waiting in parking lots, snatching young women off the street and forcing them to have sex with others.  Unfortunately, the truth is far worse: a human trafficker can be anyone you know…And victims of human trafficking can be anyone — human trafficking victims look just like you or me, a child or an adult…

Hide under your bed!  Trust no one!  Don’t form personal relationships!  “Sex traffickers” are EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

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If America had a civil death penalty, putting people on sex registries would be it.  –  Guy Hamilton Smith

Elephant in the Parlor 

The idea that politicians paying for sex is “unprofessional” tells me these people are living in a fantasy world:

…Westminster’s first code of conduct…introduced after a sex harassment scandal in parliament, ban MPs from paying for sex while…engaged in any activity connected with their role as an MP, whether in the UK or abroad…The new complaints and grievance policy states: “Although it might not be illegal to pay for sex, in line with best practice it is considered unprofessional, inappropriate and a breach of the behaviour code”…

A Broker in Pillage

Watch for the definition of “unexplained” to expand dramatically over the next decade or two:

Criminals who can’t explain how they got their money will be [robbed] under a national scheme that allows the government to sweep up their assets.  A Senate committee unanimously recommended the “unexplained wealth” legislation be passed…despite concerns being raised by the Law Council and Civil Liberties Australia.  The legislation will force people convicted of crimes to prove that their wealth was derived from legitimate sources, rather than the onus being on prosecutors to establish that it came from the proceeds of crime…Banks will be forced to hand over any information they have on the unexplained wealth of a convicted client.  The Police Federation has been lobbying for the…scheme for more than a decade…

Election Day (#332)

How many political scandals must Davis embroil herself in to get her name in the news again?

Kristin Davis, also known as the “Manhattan Madam”, will testify before a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation…Davis [previously] met with Mueller’s team…It is not clear what the focus of that interview was or how Davis may fit into the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination between Trump associates and the Russian government.  But investigators have been very interested in Roger Stone, with whom Davis has a close personal relationship and has worked for in the past…

Everything Old is New Again

This absurd Victorian language is even funnier because it’s meant to be dead serious:

…It’s not a profession.  It’s not about the sex, and there’s certainly no erotic aspects about these encounters.  It’s purely a financial interaction, business deals that involve blood, sweat, tears and semen…women wait…for dark to descend.  Then the hunters begin to approach…Slowly they cruise by, headlights blinding the women as they search for their prey.  The hunters feel a sense of control as they strip the victims of their dignity, their humanity…

I was also tickled to see a link to this previous article about the “dangerous cycle of prostitution”, which is presumably a used Harley bought with whoring money.  After that one I wrote, “As far as I can make out, this dude’s pearl-clutching tone is dead serious.  Do you amateurs really believe this kind of shit?”

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only probation for this?

Madison County [Alabama cop] Roland Campos pleaded guilty to a [molesting a young girl]…and was sentenced to a year’s probation.  Campos…must also [register as a] Sex Offender…the judge suspended the jail term and ordered Campos to serve a year’s probation…Campos was arrested in August 2017 after a middle school student…told a school official Campos had sexually abused her…

Monsters (#730) 

The US only prosecutes people for sex worker “propaganda”, which is obviously completely different:

The first minor has been found guilty of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” laws.  Maxim Neverov was found guilty of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” despite being only 16-years-old himself.  The teenager from Biysk was fined 50,000 rubles on 7 August for publishing photos on social network site Vkontakte [Russian Facebook]…the teenager was not allowed to consult a lawyer.  This led him to refuse to testify…

Banishment (#798)

Another good essay by Guy Hamilton Smith on the torture the US hides under the euphemism “registration”:

…Recently, a major court decision lambasted registries as ineffective at promoting public safety, while noting that they rendered those on them “moral lepers” who are forced to reside at the margins of society on the sole basis of a conviction.  Another decision, currently on appeal in the…10th Circuit…called registries cruel and unusual punishments in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution — an almost unheard-of legal conclusion for American courts to reach outside of death penalty litigation…in my view, it is the right one.  I know, because of the nearly million people on America’s sex offense registries, I am one of them.  In describing his experiences with solitary confinement — a practice widely regarded as torture — Nelson Mandela concluded that there is nothing more dehumanizing than isolation from human connection…Being labeled a sex offender, you carry your solitary with you, in your heart, and in your mind…The indelible electronic mark you carry threatens to turn your own thoughts against you, unless and until you can find a way outside of the prison your own mind begins to construct for you.  Until then, you die slowly, suffocating in shame.  I have written more fully about my story and experiences elsewhere, but I have spent the last eleven years living on America’s sex registry.  More than simply punishment, in my opinion, it is most fairly characterized as torture…

Laura Lee, Sex Work Stigma, and the Limits of #MeToo

Looks like Olaf isn’t going to be able to hush this up as he wanted to:

Gardaí have reopened an investigation into a complaint made by [the late] Laura Lee…friends of Ms Lee have been contacted by officers reopening an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.  Ms Lee, a law graduate, had made a statement to gardaí in Dublin about the…incident last November.  [Accused rapist Olaf Tyaransen] has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.  The garda investigation was closed when Ms Lee died of undisclosed causes this year at the age of 44 but gardaí are now in the process of taking statements again…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#858)

Indian sex workers’ fight against a terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill is drawing international attention:

…“No one has forced me to do this…it pays better than being a maid or factory worker,” said Sanjana Murali…“But with this law, if the police raid a kotha [brothel], I will be taken into police custody and sent to a rehabilitation clinic.  What about my freedom to choose?…If the state thinks I should be ‘rescued’ and trained to sew clothes or make papar (papadams) to survive, it is wrong.  That kind of work will never pay enough”…When MP Shashi Tharoor raised this point in parliament, he was assured by minister for women Maneka Gandhi that the bill would not target voluntary sex workers.  “That’s just her word,” said Dr Smarajit Jana of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee…“Why isn’t there a single sentence in the bill stating that?  All the bill does is empower the police to harass sex workers and disempower the women themselves.”  Jana said…that most…sex workers…are…the “heads” of their extended families.  Their income pays for food, rent, a relative’s illness, and the school fees of their children, and those of their siblings…“When you put them into a rehabilitation clinic, who is going to look after their children?”…the bill is based on paternalistic assumptions about rescuing sex workers…no…organisation was consulted in the drafting of the bill, even though sex workers are well organised…

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People…[recognize] outrageous abuse of authority, but they often don’t question the authority itself.  –  Scott Shackford

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

But, but, but…BUYING WOMEN!!!

The head of the London [Ontario] police department’s human trafficking unit faces three professional misconduct charges for allegedly ordering the release a fellow [pig] swept up in a prostitution sting and then trying to cover up his tracks.  Sgt. Michael Hay…directed the unconditional release of a [cop]…who had been arrested during a [scheme to persecute] men [seeking consensual] sex…

Change a Few Words

What other group is stopped from entering the US for acts that aren’t crimes in their country?

…Sam Znaimer is a Vancouver, Canada-based venture capitalist who has been investing in everything from tech to telecommunications for more than 30 years.  Recently, he put more than $100,000 into legal American cannabis companies.  In May, when he attempted to drive across the border, he was flagged for [harassment] and [interrogate] for four hours.  “To my shock and horror, I was told that I was deemed to be inadmissible to the United States because I was assisting and abetting in the illicit trafficking of drugs,” Znaimer said…American immigration attorney Len Saunders said he’s seen at least a dozen cases like Znaimer’s at the Blaine land crossing as well as airports in Vancouver and Edmonton over the past few months.  In the prior 15 years that he’s practiced law on the border, he’d never seen one…In June, Canada became only the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana nationwide.  It’s also home to one of the only securities exchanges on the planet where people can buy stock in American pot companies…

Lack of Evidence (#344) 

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

…the Hollywood [Florida] Police Department raided  an adult store called the Pleasure Emporium…an undercover couple went to the store, purchased tickets for an adult video room, and found gay men allegedly performing sex acts either on themselves or with each other.  It wasn’t prostitution, but the cops decided it violated the statutes against lascivious acts and exposure of sexual organs…arrests followed, and…the men became victims of what the Miami New Times has rightly called a smear campaign.  Local outlets such as WPLG and The Miami Herald posted the men’s names and mugshots.  Abbie Cuellar, a lawyer representing one of the men, tells the New Times that her client lost his job as a result…

Bread and Circuses 

This pearl-clutching mess about feds’ attack on a fairly ordinary incall escort business is so larded with dysphemisms and lurid nonsense, there’s little point in quoting anything else:

Human merchandise hawked…littered with pictures of women…performing submissive positions…solicit women for prostitution…sophisticated prostitution and human trafficking network…pricy haunts…pimps and madams…virtual sex carnival…reel in johns….broken English…prostitution network…with that female…sex-trafficking matchmaker…prostitution proceeds…staggering number of condoms…sex house to sex house…Bashir and her cohorts…illicit sex operations…steady stream of men…

This bluenosed reporter apparently believes this kind of ridiculous language make her sound clever rather than like an intern at the Daily Mail incapable of doing the most basic research; three minutes on any escort’s site (mine included) would have led her to understand that a double means two girls, not “likely meaning having sex more than once”.  Of the victims of this witch hunt, Susan Bashir, Jineok Kim, and Kyung Song plead guilty; Yoon Kim and his wife Taehee Kim are still fighting the charges.

Policing for Profit (#590) 

Let’s hope this provides a powerful precedent to take down similar robbery gangs all over the US:

…in April 2016, Arlene Harjo let her 38-year-old son borrow her two-year-old Nissan Versa…the next morning Harjo learned that Albuquerque police had arrested him for driving while intoxicated…[and stolen] Harjo’s car, which the city planned to keep…U.S. District Judge James Browning…said…”The City of Albuquerque has an unconstitutional institutional incentive to prosecute forfeiture cases…because, in practice, the forfeiture program sets its own budget and can spend, without meaningful oversight, all of the excess funds it raises from previous years…[this] violates procedural due process, because owners have to prove that their cars are not subject to civil forfeiture”…Albuquerque [steals] more than 1,000 cars a year, generating more than $1 million in revenue, based on crimes such as DWI [and] patronizing prostitutes…Half the time, as in Harjo’s case, the car does not belong to the offender.  Cars nevertheless are automatically forfeited if the owner does not request an administrative hearing (and pay a $50 fee) within 10 days.  Before Harjo’s hearing, as part of its customary “settlement negotiations,” the city offered to sell her car back to her for $4,000, provided she agreed to have the vehicle booted [and therefore completely useless to her] for 18 months…Several months later, after Harjo filed a lawsuit with help from the Institute for Justice, the city dropped its forfeiture complaint. It turned out that Harjo’s car was not subject to forfeiture because it had been seized outside the boundaries of Albuquerque.  Meanwhile, the car had been damaged while sitting in a city lot for eight months, during which Harjo had to make payments on a vehicle she could no longer use…

New Mexico isn’t the only state which literally robs people in this fashion.

Censor Chic (#827)

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors around the world:

Google is reportedly planning to relaunch its search engine in China, complete with censored results to meet the demands of the Chinese government…According to internal documents provided to The Intercept by a whistleblower, Google has been developing a censored version of its search engine under the codename “Dragonfly”…[which] will reportedly “blacklist [forbidden] queries” and filter out all websites blocked by China’s web censors (including Wikipedia and BBC News)…The whistleblower…said they…were “against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people…what is done in China will become a template for many other nations”…Google previously offered a censored version of its search engine in China between 2006 and 2010, before pulling out of the country after facing criticism in the US

Rooted in Racism (#846) 

They want to make “different last names” a thing so as to cover up racial profiling:

The Home Office posted a tweet on [August 1st] advising family members with different surnames to bring birth or adoption certificates to the airport to help them pass through passport control more quickly.  The image accompanying the tweet read:  “Families with different surnames may be asked questions to establish their relationship”…In a follow-up tweet, the Home Office clarified its position: “We have a [scheme] to [maximize inconvenience in order]…to [further security theater]…and [increase surveillance to a many people as possible]…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#848)

Cops busting kids’ lemonade stands is no longer news, but adults calling the cops on kids is part of an ugly pattern we keep seeing of late:

Kid sets up a lemonade stand outside his home, which happens to be next door to the Saratoga County Fair in Ballston Spa, New York.  Vendors at the fair call state health officials to complain.  State health officials show up, determine the kid doesn’t have a permit, and shut him down…while we’re told that permitting and licensing programs are all about public safety, they are frequently used as bludgeons to keep competitors out of the marketplace…officials initially apologized after they realized they were just shutting down some kid’s stand, not somebody trying to undercut the vendors inside the fair.  But…officials [also]…said the boy would have to get a $30 temporary food permit, which…comes with all sorts of rules.  Politicians are now falling all over themselves to get publicity for [pretending to] support…the boy [while leaving the authoritarian system which enables such harassment unquestioned]…

Torture Chamber (#852) 

Despite current posturing by Democrats, abuse of migrants has been a bipartisan policy for quite a while:

A youth worker at a Southwest Key [migrant prison] in Mesa, Arizona, has been charged with molesting eight teenage boys in his care…Levian D. Pacheco…perform[e] oral sex on two boys and attempt[ed] to force one of them to anally penetrate him, as well as inappropriately touching other boys…Pacheco is HIV-positive and…some of [his victims] have undergone HIV testing.  The abuse…occurred over nearly a one-year period, from August 29, 2016, until July 24, 2017.  The boys were between 15 and 17 years of age and had all crossed the border as unaccompanied minors and were [captured and caged]…A worker [named Fernando Negrete] at another Southwest Key facility in Arizona was arrested and charged this week with sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl in his care…

Is this reporter asleep at her keyboard, or did she actually intend to refer to molestation of abducted teenage boys as “caring for unaccompanied minors” and to say of two molesters that caged victims were “in his care”?  Here’s more on the second molester: “Fernando Negrete..touched the girl’s breasts and crotch over her clothes, and kissed her on multiple occasions…

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It’s easy to see the vast gap between the reality of sex workers’ lives and the bleak fiction peddled by the anti-sex work industry.  –  Lux Alptraum

Against Their Will 

The Indian press just can’t let go of the word “rescue”, even when it’s patently absurd:

Eight sex workers from Thailand, who were rescued from a spa at Bapuji Nagar on May 19, were deported…and were given 48 hours to leave the country…

Gorged With Meaning

Posturing, hair-splitting and moral panic create a strange stew out of normal and age-old behavior:

…”part-time girlfriend” is a euphemism often used by young women in the city who may be studying or have jobs, but who also offer sex on the side.  By using variations of the hashtag #ptgf as shorthand, they connect with men on networks such as Instagram and then switch to direct messaging to offer services and arrange to meet.  Instagram says it has made #ptgf and #hkptgf unsearchable, but a host of new alternatives that add Chinese characters or initials to the original tag circumvent the block…[as usual, busybodies blame a lot of nonsense other than] financial pressures [as] key motivators for young women …Bowie Lam, executive director of Teen’s Key…[claims] the age of “part-time girlfriends” is getting lower…These young women often do not see themselves as sex workers because the…[propaganda has misled them as to what sex work is like]…Hong Kong police said they have taken action against websites, chat rooms and discussion forums to combat illegal prostitution activities.  The act of prostitution in itself is not illegal in Hong Kong…but soliciting is…

Cops and Robbers

Bigots try to cover racism and misogyny by blaming imaginary “gangs” for this:

Prostitutes blamed for robbing and pick-pocketing British tourists in Magaluf, Spain, have been chased off the streets by angry protesters.  Spanish taxi drivers led a [mob]…against the women by recording them with their mobile phones and chanting: “No prostitutes on the streets”…It is claimed that the women have come to Spain via organised crime in Nigeria, and they are blamed by local businesses for a drop in tourist trade…

End Demand (#638)

Swanee Hunt can recycle this propaganda from Seattle because modern “reporters” never fact-check:

Nearly two dozen businesses and institutions joined…a new initiative called Employers Against Sex Trafficking (EAST) to create a coalition of business leaders who have committed to zero-tolerance policies on sex buying…[propaganda invented] by Demand Abolition…showed that nearly 13 percent of calls responding to…decoy ads originated from local businesses, and that the peak time people are searching online to buy sex is during the workday, at 2 p.m.  The…study revealed…more than 9,000 searches for sex-buying opportunities happening in Boston each day and that more than 20,000 ads selling people for sex are posted online every month, with each ad receiving an average of 52 responses.  Many sex buyers have said they buy illegal sex while traveling for business…

If you don’t recognize businesses “partnering” with government to infringe on civil rights as fascism, perhaps the horrific phrase “illegal sex” might give you a clue.

Traffic Jam (#704) 

How many moronic prohibitionist  plays can the market bear?

After a year of co-writing, directing and now acting in Jane Doe in Wonderland, Erin Johnston is even more adamant about the play’s impact in [spreading propaganda against] sex [work].  “We’re excited about this production,” she said.  “It allows people to get used to theater to tell the story and the performance is digestible and accessible.  And…we don’t curse or show physical violence.  The focus is on the emotional and psychological process that’s experienced.”  As part of the [rescue industry] Game Over organization, Jane Doe in Wonderland visits around 20 Bay Area cities on its current tour…

Spotlight (#715) 

I wonder if Asstoon will ever get professional help for his delusions of grandeur?

Ashton Kutcher’s non-profit organisation Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children [claims to have] identified almost 6,000 child victims of human sex trafficking last year…Impact reports from the organisation for 2017, show that Thorn’s software allowed law enforcement and investigators to identify 5,791 child sex trafficking victims…They were able to [arrest] 103 [legal minors]…Thorn uses web application Spotlight which provides [cops] with information and leads on [sex workers]…in order to [arrest them]…In 2016, during an appearance on the Today show, the actor said “We’ve identified and recovered more than 6,000 trafficking victims this year.  We identified and recovered more than 2,000 traffickers.”  He also stated his next mission was to eliminate child pornography from the internet…

The same figures for two years in a row, and the Mail doesn’t find it fishy.  The reporter also didn’t bother to read Liz Brown’s debunking (see title link).

Monsters (#730) 

All around the world, monsters torture sexual minorities under the excuse of “helping” or “curing” us:

When he was 15, his family found out that Ibrahim…was gay…from that moment on, local mullahs and “old wives” (faith healers and local women reputed to be witches) “tried to ‘treat’…my homosexuality…[with] bloodletting…herbs (after which I had hallucinations, nausea, stomach pains), strong pressure on the painful points of the body, and…electric shocks onto the penis.  There were also some ‘spells’ or nashidas (though to no effect)…It went on and off…till I turned 18.”  Ibrahim is all right, for now, having escaped Chechnya.  He is living under the care of Stimul, a Russian LGBT organization…that…arranges safe housing and advice and advocacy…for…LGBT people seeking asylum from Central Asian countries…and…Chechnya, where homosexuality is not only against the law…but…viciously persecuted…Stimul aims to…place LGBT people…in European countries, the U.S., and Canada…

Hard Numbers (#756)

Good news from South Australia:

South Australian Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, says she will sponsor a bill to decriminalise sex work when it comes to the state’s Lower House, boosting its chances of becoming law…The Decriminalisation of Sex Work Bill was introduced by Greens MLC Tammy Franks last month and is the same as one sponsored by Liberal Upper House MP Michelle Lensink in 2015.  That bill passed the Legislative Council but failed to go to a conscience vote in the House of Assembly before the March election…

Choke Point (#767) 

“Choke Point Mark II” would be statutory rather than mere policy, and laser-focused on sex workers:

…Of four quick and easy tests for bad legislation, the [End Banking for Human Traffickers Act] passes three:  First, it’s “bipartisan”…Rubio and Warren are aligned on both elements of the issue.  Both of them want control of your genitalia and both of them want control of your bank account.  Secondly, it exploits moral panic to discourage scrutiny of its actual effects.  In this case, the trending buzz word is “human trafficking”…another excuse for harassing adult sex workers trying to make a living and, contra all the “for the chillllllldren” posturing, taking food out of the mouths of THEIR children (if not taking away their children entirely).  Thirdly, it doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that it’s yet another attempt to conscript supposedly private sector actors into conducting…intrusive search-like activity that, if done directly by government employees…might be held accountable to inconvenient standards like probable cause, warrants, etc.  The only test the bill fails is the “warm, fuzzy, and/or patriotic-sounding acronym” test…if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, sex workers — already pushed to the economic margins in various ways by law enforcement, social stigma, and…poverty…are going to have an even harder time opening or keeping…accounts at traditional banks…

As I wrote in the title-linked piece: “Since ‘Choke Point’ was never declared unconstitutional by a court nor officially banned by a law, there’s nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back.”

Comfort Zone (#774)

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

In France, two separate…activists are [on trial for] human trafficking for helping migrants on humanitarian grounds.  The law on which they are being charged is currently under review in the Constitutional Court.  Martine Landry, a 73-year-old pensioner working with…Amnesty International, faces up to five years in prison and a 30,000-euro fine…[for] facilitating the passage of two Guinean boys, then aged 15 and 16, into France…a separate trial…[concerns] two Swiss nationals…and one Italian…who accompanied migrants through a mountain pass on 22 April 2018.  They face up to 10 years in prison, 750,000 euros in fines and a ban from French territory…“If I become friends with a migrant who has no papers and invite them to sleep on my sofa, I become a criminal, and if I become a trafficker and have Nigerian prostitutes come into France, I am a criminal under the same provision,” says Lucile Abassade, a lawyer in the Paris region…As the trials open, France’s Constitutional Court is reviewing the law…to decide whether the law violates the French constitutional principle of fraternity…Such cases have become relatively common in France in recent years…

Legislators Gone Wild (#833) 

One can never have too many debunkings of prohibitionist bullshit:

…The No Little Girl campaign has argued that Nevada’s brothels have a negative effect on the state.  In reality, research shows that the lives of Nevada citizens have improved due to the legalization of sex work in the state.  Nevada’s system isn’t perfect — but it’s a considerable improvement over the national policy of criminalization.  No Little Girl has three major [claims] for shutting down the legal brothel industry:  Brothels do not significantly contribute to their counties’ economies while deterring other businesses from setting up shop; they increase violence against women who don’t work in the sex industry; and they’re inherently abusive (because, as the campaign’s tagline reminds visitors, “no little girl grows up wanting to be a prostitute”)…combing through the data — even the data the organization links to on its site — suggests that many of No Little Girl’s claims are exaggerated at best and misleading at worst…

Elephant in the Parlor (#844)

My irony meter just overloaded and burned out:

President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said…Stormy Daniels has no credibility because of her profession…”If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation”…Giuliani said in Israel…”If you’re involved in a sort of slimy business, (that) says something about you — says something about how far you’ll go to make money”…

Disaster (#844)

When a highway is destroyed, the traffic has to go into side streets:

Wall Street Journal has an article on the potentially negative impact of our country’s new “anti-trafficking” law—not on sex workers, mind you, but on the big business of online dating.  Yes…FOSTA…is endangering sex workers’ livelihoods and lives—but, oh, won’t someone think of the multi-million-dollar companies?  As the article warns its conservative, money-minded readers, “The booming business of online dating faces new risks from a law designed to prevent sex trafficking and prostitution”…The bill’s opponents warned that it would lead to sweeping censorship and, in its few weeks of life, it already has…As Heidi Vogt and John D. McKinnon write, FOSTA has led to the shuttering of sites used by sex workers—and “some worry that could drive the pay-for-sex market to legitimate dating platforms.”  They continue to explain, paraphrasing a legal expert, that “it could easily create liability for legitimate services if sex workers simply use their platforms.”  The article is filled with moralizing language that poses “legitimate dating platforms” and “legitimate services” opposite “prostitutes”.  It’s Match.com versus “bad behavior”.  OKCupid versus “illicit behavior”.  Tinder versus “those peddling sex”…

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