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This is not about resolving sex trafficking; this is about a moral crusade to appease local NIBMYs who can’t stand the idea of whores operating in their neighborhoods.  –  Savannah Sly

The More the Better

Anything that helps demystify sex work is a good thing:

“Amelia” is a 50-year-old woman from China who has worked in massage parlors off and on for the last three years…“Most of the owners, they don’t have the budget to offer you a dormitory somewhere nearby.…  It’s the same thing for a restaurant.  When people work in a restaurant, you can’t give everybody a place to sleep somewhere nearby.  This is an additional cost.  And if you want to work longer hours, it is a good choice to just stay there.  I don’t think massage parlors are some kind of an underground corner in this society.  This is right there in the neighborhood; it’s in the plaza, it’s in the mall…what kind of a secret business is it if you walk in? You can walk into a barbershop, you can walk into a nail salon, you can walk into a massage parlor…The authorities [claim] you’re being trafficked…but when you go to a Manhattan restaurant, that’s the same workers behind the kitchen”…

To Molest and Rape

There’s no way this thug is going to be able to claim it was “consensual”:

A former [Georgia screw]…was arrested [Friday, March 8th] on rape charges…Kirk Taylor Martin…is accused of sexually assaulting a woman from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning…He faces charges of rape, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated assault…attempt[ed anal rape]…false imprisonment and hindering an emergency call…Martin…was fired [from his job as a screw] in April 2018…after multiple violations of jail policy…the scratches across Martin’s chest and neck, which are visible in his booking photo, are from the victim fighting back.  Both of his eyes are also swollen from the…struggle…

So Close and Yet So Far (#767)

It’s sad that even people who support decriminalization feel the need to promote myths, lies & insulting tropes:

…more than 1 million people engage in sex work in the United States…The vast majority of sex workers (80%) are female, and 90% of them depend on a pimp.  If sex work were decriminalized, prostitutes wouldn’t need pimps, who often steal their money and physically abuse them…government bans on prostitution and alcohol consumption have not eradicated these behaviors…proponents of legalizing prostitution include the United Nations, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch…decriminaliz[ing] sex work…will…curb human trafficking by violent cartels…Prostitutes are far less likely to get tested for sexually transmitted infections because they’re afraid to tell healthcare workers what they do for a living…No one is arguing that prostitution is an ideal job that anyone would ever aspire to…

WHAT. THE. FUCK?  “90% depend on a pimp“?  “Violent cartels“?  “Far less likely to get tested for STIs“?  “No one would aspire to [sex work]“?  Using “legalization” and “decriminalization” interchangeably?  Please, Samantha Chang, either talk to actual sex workers before you write on this topic again, or just shut the fuck up, because you’re an ignoramus.

If Men Were Angels (#786) 

Churchy child molesters often seem to seek younger victims than other molesters:

[Jacop Hazlett,] a volunteer at the NewSpring Church campus in North Charleston, South Carolina faces charges for sexually abusing more than a dozen young boys in his care last year…volunteer [Leo LaSalle Comissiong]…was charged in 2016 for kissing and fondling a teenage boy at the NewSpring church campus [in Florence]…In Anderson…volunteer [Chaz Mckinsey Wood]…faced charges in 2016 after police say he fondled a 10-year-old boy…In early 2018, police arrested…youth pastor [Caleb Lide Jordan]…for sexual exploitation and solicitation of a minor…The Anderson…based megachurch NewSpring has 14 campuses around the state…Each time NewSpring reckoned with the fallout from these allegations, the church…offered nearly identical explanations…The accused individuals had been removed from their posts.  Evil was to blame…In the most recent case…Hazlett was caring for 3- and 4-year-old boys at the church when he was accused of performing oral sex on one of the boys in a bathroom…When a parent complained, church officials reviewed 90 days of video from the daycare room and found more than a dozen incidents with Hazlett assaulting the preschoolers…

Cops and Robbers (#794) 

Prohibitionist creeps move from stalking & harassing streetwalkers to stalking & harassing escorts:

The grim reality is that if I pulled out my phone right now, day or night, I could have a woman or even a child at my home or office within thirty minutes.  And there would be a strong possibility that, however willing she might seem, she would not be there by choice…our Reach Out Campaign in Tampa Bay, Florida…developed in partnership with Seattle Against Slavery, uses web scraping technology to obtain phone numbers off [escort ad] sites…and…mass texting blocks of these numbers with a phone number and a [prohibitionist propaganda] website…The 13 percent percent response rate we have received in only a matter of weeks, with just a small block of texts, has been extremely encouraging.  Seattle Against Slavery has been running Reach Out Campaigns in Chicago and cities throughout Washington State with similar response rates…Many…are victims of Stockholm Syndrome, held captive by a trauma bond with their trafficker…we [also]…target [men with]…fake [escort] ads…and then [threatens him with the pigs]…Many of these men suffer from sex addictions that can be treated…

Can’t you just hear the fapping?  I wish the moronic fantasy that a man can have an escort in 30 minutes was limited to prohibitionist wankers, but unfortunately it’s common among inexperienced clients as well.  Even in my agency days, it was rare that a girl could make it that fast, and nowadays it’s virtually impossible even for semi-pros who don’t screen.  As for the rest, these misogynistic idiots are spamming every escort they can find online; I even had one of them text me last month.  My guess is that their 13% “response rate” includes people replying with “Who is this?” or telling them off as I did, just as their “hotlines” count every single phone call as a “sex trafficking case”.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

The BBC produces evidence–free anti-sex propaganda, complete with “addiction” nonsense:

…six young Brits…travelled to Spain to explore the booming sex industry for BBC3 documentary Porn Laid Bare…Their journey takes them into the dark underbelly of the scene, where they hear tales of human trafficking, forced drug taking and violence…the group meet former porn addict Jesús Gomis…As a member of [the misogynistic anti-masturbation group] NoFap…Jesús now helps others to overcome their addiction…Jesús…recommends [one of the group] detox, including from porn stars he follows on social media…1 in 5 18-25 year olds think they might be addicted to porn…In Barcelona, they meet Ismael López Fauste, a porn magazine journalist turned [prohibitionist and] police informant [who claims] he…witness[ed] “human trafficking, drugs, lots of violence and a lot of prostitution”…[an anonymous] woman…[claimed] over the phone [to be] a former porn actress [and said] “In some scenes I was made to take drugs and if I didn’t I would be sent home without the money”…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#804)

Notice that there aren’t any men protesting or obsessing about this?

…The dildo has a butt.  And feet.  And huge hands, I guess so he can hold onto the ENORMOUS DICK that’s growing out of his torso?  Is this the natural progression of our old friend the Battery-Operated Boyfriend?  Has he grown into a… manchild?  Most arousingly of all, the dildo has a human face.  A custom, hyper-realistic, hand-sculpted bobblehead that will no doubt end up nodding at you condescendingly mid-thrust.  Customers are asked to first upload photos of various angles of somebody’s head, selecting hair color, eye color, and skin color…and the company then brings it to life, apparently checking in to get your approval throughout the process…the idea of having my boyfriend’s noggin on a dildo, grinning at me like that, and the notion that I would want such a thing…it all feels like a fucking zero on the Kinsey scale to me.  So heterosexual I can barely comprehend it..

Fallen Idol (#821)

I’d be much more sympathetic had these performers not tried to boost their claims with ugly whorearchy:

One of the porn industry’s top agents has been accused by women whom he represents of fraud, sexual abuse and links to an illegal escort business — accusations including coercing performers to pay off “unconscionable” fees and penalties either in cash or by performing sexual acts on him.  Derek Hay, the owner of LA Direct Models in Los Angeles…”coerces some of his performers into ‘escorting’ and then, should they seek to terminate their (illegal) contracts, threatens to ‘out’ them for performing illegal sex work,” says the complaint.  If they do not comply, Hay destroys their careers by refusing to book them for work, even if they have been requested specifically, it says…

Any sex worker who uses the word “illegal” pejoratively, as in this lawsuit, instantly loses my support.  There are living porn veterans who can tell you that not so long ago, their business was “illegal” too.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#897)

Partly because of their legalized status, strippers are spearheading the movement for sex worker labor rights:

…with the help of Working Washington, a grassroots bill…to improve the working conditions of exotic dancers has made its way successfully through the House…[the bill would] implement mandatory trainings for exotic dancers meant to educate them about their rights as workers and how they should be treated…The bill will establish an adult entertainer advisory committee with the Department of Labor and Standards.  Half of that committee will be made up of dancers…The bill also seeks to create…a list of [bad clients] and ban them from the club for three years…These safety problems are indicative of a strained and restricted industry in Washington state…[because] Seattle…is highly puritanical about sex and nudity…a 15-year ban on creating new strip clubs that started in 1988…created a virtual monopoly in the strip club business, something that’s shaped how the industry operates in Seattle to this day…Deja Vu has very little competition in the city and it’s been the dominant player since that morality crackdown in the ’80s.  That makes it so dancers have to accept the conditions in the workplace or face not being able to work…

Disaster (#909)

The sweet smell of schadenfreude:

Tumblr’s ban on adult content  has cost the sharing platform  over one-fifth of its users in its first month of being instituted…Visits to…Tumblr…fell from 521 million in December to 437 million in January…In defending the [censorship] Tumblr [absurdly claimed] it still wanted to still be a platform for LGBT conversations…“Tumblr has always been home to marginalized communities and always will be,” Tumblr wrote…

Click on the title link to see which “marginalized communities” the site is now “home” to.

Pyrrhic Victory (#916)

The dystopian future of Minority Report has arrived:

Police [and other government busybodies] in Canada are using shared databases to track the behaviour of…people…with little oversight and…without [the subjects’] consent…at least two provinces—Ontario and Saskatchewan—maintain a “Risk-driven Tracking Database” that is used to amass highly sensitive information about people’s lives…[this] is part of a [fascist] approach to policing called the Hub model that…[lets] cops [conspire with other busybodies to surveil and control people.  Those pretended]…to be “at risk” of becoming criminals or victims of harm is shared between…agencies [without their consent] and [allows] police…[to] evaluate…[subjects]…for a rapid intervention…[which] can range from a[n attempt to intimidate their way into homes without a warrant]…to forced [institution]alization or arrest…officials [pretend the] data…is “de-identified” by removing details such as people’s names and birthdates, [but]…scrubbing data so it may never be used to identify an individual is…impossible [and would invalidate the whole point of the surveillance system]…

Safe Position (#919)

At long last, anti-sex “feminists” are being revealed as the bigots they are:

…Members of the National Organization [Against] Women, the Coalition Against…Women and other anti-[sex worker] organizations teamed up to oppose [a] bill, slated to be introduced in the New York State Senate this session, which would remove all criminal penalties for the consensual sale of sex between adults.  The participants [vomited out nonsense about “]pimps and johns[“]…But…[were] interrupted by two current sex workers who shouted, “Listen to sex workers!”…NOW New York President Sonia Ossorio [pompously mansplained]…that [sex workers know less about our own lives than she does and]…“haven’t thought [our desire to not be raped by cops and starved via persecution of or clients] through”…Rally participants…included [a prohibitionist politician and] members of OBJECT, a U.K.-based [anti-sex worker] organization that [also blovi]ates against…“transgenderism”…Both NOW and [the politician tried to distance themselves from]…OBJECT…on Twitter…[even] though they were prominently featured in the crowd of supporters behind the podium…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#921)

While the Seattle Times obediently parrots porcine propaganda, The Stranger gives us this instead:

…the five people arrested in these raids aren’t actually charged with human trafficking or any other human rights violations; they’re being charged with money laundering and promoting prostitution.  Why?  Maybe it’s because there’s no evidence that trafficking was actually taking place…In Florida, police took six months to shut down these massage parlors, and this was after multiple undercover visits from detectives working the case (and, yes, they did engage in sex acts with the “victims” they later “rescued” themselves).  In Seattle, the sting took three and a half years.  The SPD [claims] that their officers didn’t engage in sex acts during the investigation and made up an excuse to leave when it came time to drop their pants…but…if they actually were being held and forced to perform sex acts against their will, why in the world would the police wait three years to rescue them?…According to Butterfly, an organization that is run by and works to support migrant sex workers in Canada, “Asian migrant sex workers are perceived to be at risk of abuse from their ‘traffickers,’ who are often in fact their colleagues, partners, or friends.  In fact, Asian migrant sex workers who are being targeted through these policies are rarely (and based on current data, never) trafficking victims, and become at risk through these anti-trafficking policies which allow them to be exploited, locked up, abused, and violated by law enforcement officers”…Savannah Sly told me in an email. “The narrative that all Asian women working in massage parlors [are trafficked] is racist, infantilizing, and lacks any realistic understanding of how the sex trade actually works”…

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Why do you advise activists not to debate prohibitionists?  Haven’t you argued in the past that the goal isn’t to convince your opposition but to convince the undecided/uninformed spectators? I would think a debate would help with that.

The main problem with “debating” fanatics of any stripe is that the human mind is more easily convinced by stories (however false) than facts (however solid).  The only way to counter the scary tales of prohibitionists is by long, thorough exposure to boring, mundane true stories of real sex workers.  Scare stories are intense & quickly told, but have shallow intellectual roots.  True stories are mild & boring and have no quick, exciting climax, but have deeper intellectual roots.  That’s why everyone used to believe in fanciful tales of witches, but almost nobody does now.  When gay rights started to become A Thing, prohibitionists vomited out their ugly “child molester” BS, but very few believe that any more; that change didn’t come from “debating” the fanatics, but from enough gay men being “out” that only the craziest couldn’t see the truth.  Similarly, note that the public’s opinion on sex worker rights is slowly shifting, as demonstrated by the fact that decriminalization is now a safe position for politicians in some places.  The prohibitionists are still vomiting out their wanking fantasies, but “out” sex workers are slowly washing away those ugly paint-bombs with the clean water of truth.  We are winning, and there is absolutely nothing prohibitionists can do about it in the long run; to lend them credibility by dignifying their nasty masturbatory fantasies with “debate” would only prolong the demise of their narrative.

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

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If you aren’t already familiar with “Ode to Billie Joe”, the song I featured in yesterday’s column, do yourself a favor and listen to it before continuing to read this one.  For over fifty years, listeners have speculated just what it was that the narrator and Billie Joe threw off of the Tallahatchie Bridge, and Bobbie Gentry – a woman almost as enigmatic as the song that made her famous, who abruptly stopped performing at the height of her fame forty years ago and has barely been heard of since – has steadfastly refused to explain it, or even to comment on the disappointing “solution” used by screenwriter Herman Raucher in the 1976 movie inspired by the song.  Given that she is approaching 80 and is more reclusive than ever, it seems likely she will take the secret to her grave, just as her character in the song apparently did; rather than share her grief with others, the narrator “spen[t] a lot of time pickin’ flowers up on Choctaw Ridge/And drop them into the muddy water off the Tallahatchie Bridge.”  As a young teen, the general consensus among the girls in my circle was that the object thrown into the water was a self-aborted fetus which had resulted from the narrator’s relationship with Billie Joe, and that the overly-sensitive boy had killed himself in a fit of inappropriate guilt, possibly due to being seen by the “nice young preacher, Brother Taylor”.  And while a number of other possibilities have been proposed, and good arguments could be made for some of them, it’s the one from my adolescence that inspired this essay upon my re-listening to the song last week.

Not everyone wants to “shout her abortion” as the activists urge; some prefer not to talk about it, and some may feel shame, sorrow or some more complex mix of emotions and prefer not to discuss the subject at all.  Similarly, while sex workers like me are almost belligerently open about it and others are only out with close friends, still others prefer not to admit their history of sex work to anyone.  Some LGBT people are “out and proud”, some more quietly queer, and some still deeply closeted.  The same range of coping strategies (if that’s even the right phrase) can be seen in relation to kinks or fetishes; mental health issues; a history of rape or sexual abuse; drug use; a criminal record; family issues; and nearly anything else for which guilt or shame, appropriate or not, can be heaped upon an individual by society, family members, or even one’s own psyche.  And while it’s certainly true that repressed shame can lead to all sorts of harmful outcomes (like jumping off of bridges or letting one’s life be consumed by bottled-up grief or anger), and that talking about taboo subjects certainly helps to normalize them, not everyone has the psychological mechanisms or social tools required to “shout” her abortion, discuss her whoredom on television, march in pride parades or display family skeletons in the front yard.  Some people have the psychic anatomy necessary to be honest about subjects that were or still are considered shameful, and some don’t; some may feel comfortable displaying some skeletons and not others (for example, being open about queerness but not about sex work).  And the only person who is qualified to make decisions about which laundry to air and which to pack away in the cedar chest is its owner.  While I would like it if more sex workers were “out”, I have no right to pass judgment on anyone who isn’t; their lives are theirs to live, not mine, and they are the ones who will reap the benefits or suffer the consequences of their decisions.  And the exact same thing is true of every other such secret.  To drag someone’s secrets into the open against their will is an act of psychic violence which could potentially trigger physical violence in some circumstances, which is why outing, “doxxing”, and tattling are condemned by all ethical adults.  Minding one’s own business is a virtue, locked closets should be respected, and sometimes silence really is golden.

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You’re gonna get tased, get on the ground now.  –  murderer Joshua Wang

I’ve been thinking about the Southern Gothic aesthetic a great deal lately (probably because my thoughts often turn to New Orleans in Mardi Gras week), and I realized that though I’ve mentioned this song before, I’ve never featured the video.  It’s probably one of the saddest and most enigmatic of all American popular songs, by one of the most brilliant singer-songwriters the country ever produced.  The links above the video were provided by Franklin Harris, Jesse Walker, Emma Evans, Scott Greenfield, and Phoenix Calida (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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If two people choose to engage in carnal activities, the terms of the encounter should be up to them, not the government.  –  Steve Chapman

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

…KTRK [reporters were]…with [lying pigs]…as they [sexually assaulted Houston women in order to destroy their lives]…The…[cops’ victims] were [then] arrested for prostitution [while reporters gawked & added images of scantily-clothed women to their spank banks.  One of the pigs oinked]…”Most massage parlors we go into are fronts for prostitution and human trafficking [so we really enjoy raping them while fantasizing they’re victims of others besides us]”…”I’m very passionate about [masturbating while thinking of] this”…said Ann Johnson, a [prohibitionist masquerading as a] defense attorney…

Confined and Controlled (#335)

This isn’t intended to increase sex workers’ range of options, but to control us a la Nevada:

Italian…League party leader Matteo Salvini’ [said]…“I would back reopening the ‘closed houses’…taking [sex workers]…off the streets is the right thing to do”…Efforts by previous governments to [criminalize sex work]…or [impose humiliating and unnecessary government]…health [inspections] have failed…

Shift in the Wind (#762)

Pro-decriminalization essays in newspapers are no longer a rarity:

The trafficking victims were mostly underage, held in harsh servitude and forced to spend long hours satisfying the needs of paying customers.  Prostitutes at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla.?  No.  An egg farm in Ohio where, federal authorities reported, kids as young as 14 were put to work cutting beaks off chickens and shoveling chicken excrement…in the St. Louis area, “agriculture, landscaping, construction and domestic servitude represented the top industries for forced labor.”  Is a homeowner whose lawn is done by a landscaping crew a monster because some of the workers were trafficked? How would the homeowner know? How would Kraft have known?  But commercial sex carries a stigma that lawn mowing doesn’t.  Anti-prostitution alarmists insist that…only criminal coercion, unconscionable manipulation or poverty could induce anyone to endure such shame.  Plenty of sex workers…disagree.  One of them is Maggie McNeill, whose new documentary is called The War on Whores.  She says, “We all have to make a living. There’s no rational reason for anyone to say that my choices are less valid merely because they involve sex”…

Guinea Pigs (#881) 

First it was supposedly about “terrorists”, then “sex trafficking”, and your business or home is next:

A central component of the recent…massage-parlor [pogroms] was the secret installation of hidden cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.  Now defense attorneys are challenging the legality of this…such surveillance stems from a provision of the PATRIOT Act that was passed [under the pretense that]…the power [would only be used] against possible terrorists.  “But the tactic has spilled over to…other [so-called] crimes”…notes Lisa J. Hurriash at the South Florida Sun Sentinel…Police were able to secretly install the surveillance cameras thanks to a sneak-and-peek warrant…[which] in practice [ha]ve mainly been used in [surveillance] of drug [users]…”sneak and peek warrants are not just being used in exceptional circumstances…but as an everyday investigative tool,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned five years ago…just as…cops and fed[s]…have used anti-terrorism tools to prosecute potheads, they’ve been keen on attacking all prostitution…as “human trafficking,” a federal crime.  Police in Palm Beach and Jupiter counties have been trotting out that claim this time too, although no sex trafficking or forced labor charges have been filed

Damned Lies (#886)

I guess it’s a good thing that Politifact once again debunked the “whores only live 7 years” lie, quoting veteran activist Bella Robinson in the process (its first debunking of the same lie was in May 2015, and quoted yours truly).  I just wish they weren’t so ridiculously timid about it, and that these debunkings were actually reprinted by other sources so we wouldn’t have to hear the same completely-ridiculous claims again and again and again, especially by politicians as support for expanding the police state.

To Molest and Rape (#887) 

In which rape of minors is described as “caregiving”:

Thousands of migrant children…suffered sexual abuse…[at the hands of] U.S. government [actors] over the past four years…over a thousand allegations of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors [locked in cages by the government]…were reported to federal authorities each fiscal year since 2015.  In total, between October 2014 and July 2018, 4,556 sexual abuse complaints were reported to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)…[which will] not reveal specific information about the [rapists except]…in 178 cases [where]…the Justice Department [reported] adult caregivers at U.S. facilities were reported to have sexually abused migrant minors…California Rep. Lou Correa…accused the Trump administration of a “systematic cover up” [but had nothing to say about the over 2000 rapes that occured during the Obama administration]…Most of the accused [rapist screws, pigs, spooks and paper-pushers mentioned by the DoJ] were immediately removed from duty and some cases were referred to [other pigs]…Some…were terminated, but others were reinstated…

Because abducting, caging & raping kids isn’t “sex trafficking” when the government does it.

Divided We Fall (#902)

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

…in the six months following Southern Decadence, several citations have been issued by the Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Office (ATC) to multiple LGBTQ+ bars and spaces across New Orleans in an operation that appears similar to [the raids on strip clubs] in 2016 [and early 2018].  The ATC [pretend]s that they are not targeting the LGBTQ+ community, but simply investigating and responding to complaints that have been called into their office [by cops]…at least one Bourbon Street strip club had its license suspended…[plus] two others…in New Orleans East…Michael Musa…[of] the Rawhide Lounge [said]…they received “numerous fines, citations, and imposed regulations on how to operate.”  The Rawhide chose to fight the ATC…whichattempted to persuade The Rawhide into dropping the case or accepting a settlement on the issue…Rawhide declined several settlement offers in the interest of protecting their community…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#903) 

If you think about it, this was a wholly predictable development:

Some adult dancers in Los Angeles say they aren’t getting a fair shake at…strip clubs…The group calls themselves “Soldiers of Pole” and they…want, among other things, fair wages after…a state court ruling changed their status from independent contractors to actual employees.  Now clubs have to pay them an hourly wage but…management is keeping a bigger chunk of their tips, and charging them new fees.  “We no longer should have to pay to work.  We shouldn’t have to pay house fees.  We shouldn’t have to give any sort of percentage of our tips to management or any other employees”…

On Tape

Prohibitionists: “Where on Earth did Trump get the idea that ‘sex trafficking’ victims are transported in trucks with their mouths taped?

Jordan Giddens [fantasizes] he was drugged, assaulted and nearly became a victim of human trafficking back in 2015…Giddens [claims] someone drugged his drink at a Birmingham bar while he was in the restroom…“We pulled up behind a U-Haul…which literally had people with duct taped mouths and their hands behind their back.  And at that point I really started to freak out and realize, okay something is wrong.” Giddens managed to escape [with his super kung-fu powers], but not all are as fortunate.  [His wanking fantasy is promoted by] Sunny Slaughter…a [self-proclaimed] anti-human trafficking expert [who] has [told this and similar tall tales] in several current human trafficking courses for [cops] in Alabama…

Signs (#912)

Dallas Morning News “sex trafficking” propaganda is deeply stupid even by the low standards of US “journalism”:

Pretty Woman…reveals the longstanding complicity of the hospitality industry in the trafficking of sex.  Early in the film, the hotel manager takes Vivian aside and says he is “willing to overlook” the trafficking of sex for “special guests” of the hotel, as long as she dresses “more appropriately”…hotels and motels too often turn a blind eye to sex trafficking.  Sadly, many businesses choose profit over freedom for the thousands of young women and girls…It’s also owners, managers and workers in the transportation industry, including airlines, rental car, limousine and taxi companies and other ride-sharing services…

Don’t be misled by the incredible idiocy of using a Disney adaptation of “Cinderella” as “proof” of anything, nor by the blatant equation of sex work with “slavery”:  this article is paid propaganda for Polaris’ new drive to cajole, trick, shame & manipulate every public-facing industry into acting as a fascist surveillance network intended to curtail the freedom of all women by summoning the pigs to harass us if we dare move about the world as men do.

Safe Position (#918)

A positive article on Decrim NY in Jezebel, which has never been very good on sex work:

…members of Decrim NY hope to leverage a reactive political climate to make New York the first state in the country to successfully enact this kind of reform…Unlike the so-called “Nordic model”…the group is hoping to…decriminaliz[e] the practice entirely…Though even Amnesty International voted to endorse full decriminalization three years ago, reform in America has been [nonexistent]…Anti-[sex worker] organizations invoke ghoulish scenarios and claim decriminalization will make women unsafe…Decrim NY responded to [Kamala] Harris, saying her call for a model that criminalized people who buy sex, particularly following her previous positions…[is] “about political opportunism while still getting to do the dangerous moralizing on sex work that, quite literally, kills people in our country”…There is overwhelming research supporting the idea that police and state interaction with sex workers makes an already vulnerable population even more unsafe, and that laws as they’re currently written, in addition to being absurd and ripe for abuse, facilitate deeply biased practices…

See the next item for more on Harris’ opportunistic lies.

Top Cop (#918)

The hopelessly-square Advocate tries to neuter an excellent anti-Copmala op-ed by slapping a weaselly headline on it:

…headlines [claiming that Kamala Harris supports decriminalizing sex work] are irresponsible and false…Harris has a career-long history of anti-sex worker efforts.  In 2008, Harris advocated against a ballot initiative that would decriminalize sex work in San Francisco, saying, “I think it’s completely ridiculous”…Harris did more than “support” FOSTA/SESTA — she was integral to their passage…and released a statement of victory when they passed…Harris clarifies her stance on prostitution…as…the Nordic model…she sees the act of buying sex as…crime…[on the topic of] Backpage.com…she dramatically repeats the phrase, “They were selling children”…Gay men, in particular, should bristle at th[is] decades-old…argument, which has been used by politicians for decades to strip us of employment and attack our rights.  For Harris, “selling children” is a scare tactic, a buzzword for people who don’t understand much about…sex work…

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The government has…tried to financially strangle these defendants at every turn.  –  Ariel Neuman

Droit du Seigneur

Hey, King County; maybe you should consult Matthew 7:3 for your “sex trafficking” policy:

Mark L. Norton, the superintendent of transit security…for King County Metro, was arrested…for allegedly “coercing a female to engage in commercial sex acts in King and Snohomish Counties.”  Norton…allegedly “groomed” the victim for five years while [she] was a babysitter for Norton’s children, using “emotional and psychological coercion [to] convince [her] to participate in prostitution for his benefit…the suspect operated as a pimp and pressured the victim to engage in prostitution on numerous occasions…and kept [her fees]”…ironically, King County Metro’s buses were recently covered with anti-trafficking signs as part of a [propaganda] campaign…by the…County…

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#335)

Destroying sex workers’ safety net, one internet “improvement” at a time:

…Google could be putting [Irish sex workers] at risk by blocking key functions on an app used to warn of dangerous clients.  The tech giant decided…to include limits on call logs and SMS permission access on apps in the Google Play store…[this could cripple] an Android app called Ugly Mugs, which…has been using advanced access features since 2013…[to] screen…incoming calls and text messages to sex workers and alert…them if [the initiating] number…is in the app’s database…

He Said, She Said (#624)

A psychiatrist who has sex with patients is a fool.  A male psychiatrist who draws vulnerable female patients into kink relationships is a dangerous fool:

…psychiatrist…Keith Ablow…[is facing malpractice lawsuits from three female patients who say he] abused his position while treating them for acute depression…the…therapist…encouraged women to trust and rely on him, then coaxed them into [BDSM] sexual activities, often during treatment sessions for which they were charged…three women who worked for Ablow [also] agreed to file affidavits, included in the lawsuits…that Ablow sexually harassed them, too.  One former staffer, Amy Dixon, said she had sex with Ablow during which he would regularly hit her and that he told her he wanted a “master/slave relationship”…In all three cases, the women…relocated from other states, at Ablow’s request, to be closer to his Newburyport [Massachusetts] office where he…treat[ed them] for depression…[with] Ketamine…in conjunction with talk therapy…

Ablow, who was a consultant for Fox News for years, has been mentioned in this blog before.

To Molest and Rape

When a cop rapes kids, there’s usually at least some chance of a conviction: “…[cops from] the Cascade County [Montana] Sheriff’s Office and agents from Homeland Security [quietly] arrested [rapist pig] Virgil Wolfe on 80 counts of sexual abuse of children…

False Target (#873)

Using “gayness tests” to deport refugees spreads to the UK:

A [67-year-old] man faces deportation to Malaysia, where homosexuality is illegal, after the Home Office [claimed] it did not believe he was gay – suggesting it was suspicious that [a 67-year-old migrant] did not have a boyfriend.  Yew Fook Sam…will be persecuted and imprisoned for his sexuality if he is deported to Malaysia, where homosexual acts are punishable under federal and sometimes sharia law.  He fears he will be forced to undergo gay conversion therapy should he be returned to the country, where the opposition leader last year blamed gay people for causing earthquakes and a lesbian couple were caned publicly for having sex in a car…

Dangerous Speech (#880)

The government keeps making up new rules in its war on thought:

…federal prosecutors are arguing that they’re entitled to all money made by Backpage, even proceeds derived from unquestionably legal ads, and that decades worth of earnings made by former Backpage leaders before the website even existed are also tainted…their lawyers [state in a recent filng that] “Virtually all of the Defendants’ assets have been seized, virtually all of the money in their attorneys’ trust accounts designated to fund the defense has been been seized or is effectively frozen,” and defense lawyers “may expose themselves to criminal liability if they use those funds to pay fees” from the case…the Cato Institute, DKT Liberty Project, and the Reason Foundation…filed a brief in support of the defendants on this matter…”The government has shut down a major internet site and confiscated millions of dollars of assets and proceeds not only from that site, but also from defendants’ numerous other publishing venues—ventures completely unrelated to the alleged criminality of the site and indisputably protected by the First Amendment…The history of government efforts to suppress and censor disfavored speakers, particularly speakers who offer sexually explicit materials, is long [and has]…involved tactics…designed to bankrupt speakers by forcing them to litigate on multiple fronts to prove that their speech is protected by the First Amendment”…

Dutch Threat (#885) 

Dutch authorities are now pretending their attempts to Disnify De Wallen are really intended to help sex workers:

…the De Wallen neighborhood…could soon face [forcible gentific]ation as local government officials strive to implement a new policy, set to increase the number of sex-work permits beyond De Wallen in an attempt to p[ush] sex workers…elsewhere…the Netherlands has been increasingly [aggressive] in [selling its Disnification efforts as] combating human trafficking…the…government…shut down many coffee shops and 112 sex-worker windows…pushing many sex workers towards illegal work or abroad to Brussels…[due to increased harassment] it’s often no longer in the interest of many independent workers to be registered under Amsterdam’s Municipal Ordinance…because sex workers [are rightly concerned] that their…work might be [criminalized or they might be branded “victims” against their will]…sex workers are increasingly demanding…the ability to book clients online and work [legally]  from home…

Traffic in Nonsense (#896)

The “sex trafficking” propaganda from these fetishists is some of the most blatantly derived from sexual fantasy in the entire rescue industry:

A national group is trying to get people not to…[listen to] sex workers, but to [instead label] them as…victims of human trafficking [no matter what they say about their own lives].  The group Truckers Against Trafficking [indoctrinates] truck drivers–and others–[in] how to [project their fantasies about] modern day slavery [on other people without their consent]…Ohio has been [trying to convince people that it’s] a hotbed of human trafficking in recent years…

A Broker in Pillage (#896)

SCOTUS demolishes a major pillar of government extortion schemes:

States are bound by the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against excessive fines and fees when they seek to [steal]…assets from individuals charged or convicted of a crime, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously…It’s a decision that hands a major victory to critics of civil asset forfeiture, and it opens another avenue to legal challenges against that widely…abused…practice by which states and local governments can seize carscashhomes, and pretty much anything else…[under the pretense that it was] used to commit a crime…Timbs v. Indiana, involved the seizure of a $42,000 Land Rover…from Tyson Timbs…During oral arguments in November, Indiana’s solicitor general got boxed into a corner by Justice Stephen Breyer, who managed to twist the government’s lawyer into arguing that Indiana should be allowed to seize vehicles for as small an offense as driving 5 mph over the speed limit, which literally elicited laughter in the courtroom…

The Crumbling Dam (#901)

The law is the law and if more people die, tough shit“:

…The U.S. Department of Justice took aim…at the movement to open a supervised consumption site in Philadelphia…[with] a civil lawsuit…against Philadelphia-based nonprofit Safehouse, asking the the U.S. District Court to rule that safe injection sites violate federal law…Ronda B. Goldfein, vice president of Safehouse…said the federal government is using the “crack house” statute in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986…[which] was [supposedly] intended to prevent businesses from profiting off drug consumption…

The Widening Gyre (#911)

I’m really happy to see Uber hoist on its own “sex trafficking” petard:

On February 19 2019, a woman shared a [fantasy of the type common in moral panics]…that a phony Uber driver in Tampa had nearly successfully abducted her for the purposes of sex trafficking…Within 48 hours, the post had been shared more than half a million times…[because of] its similarities to long-circulating urban legends involving nearly identical scenarios at locations [such] as Target, Hobby Lobby, and Walmart…police were able to verify that she did indeed get in the wrong car, but [pretended] they were perplexed as to how Hurley concluded that the mix-up was due to “sex trafficking” [despite the fact that they have themselves been spreading scare stories about “sex trafficking” for a decade now]…the car entered by Hurley was in fact a legitimate Uber driver, not an Uber impersonator.  The [hysteric] called for an Uber at the airport and appeared to have entered one of the several other Ubers not there for her…[her claim that] she “later found out” that the Uber driver was “a sex traffic worker”…[even though] police said [no]thing like that at all [is typical of the way “sex trafficking” propaganda tales are boosted by false claims of official verification]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#913) 

The fascists don’t want their surveillance powers limited by mere civil rights:

Microsoft is pushing back on a bill sponsored by a…group of Washington state [politicians] that would ban local and state governments from using facial recognition until certain conditions are met…Microsoft has endorsed a [much weaker]…bill…[with largely cosmetic] facial-recognition rules…Shankar Narayan, director of the technology and liberty project of the ACLU’s Washington chapter, says requiring public notice of face recognition won’t check its use, and he warns that authorities [will] use the “emergency” exception as a loophole. “Microsoft’s bill has us heading to a world where face surveillance is ubiquitous and the norm,” Narayan says…

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Last week, one of my Twitter readers mentioned that as foster parents, he and his wife were obliged to take a “sex trafficking” indoctrination intended to convince them that “pimps” were lying in wait for every foster kid, and the only solution was intense helicopter parenting.  Since he reads my writing, naturally he was skeptical and asked if I knew the truth about the prevalence of “sex trafficking” among foster kids; I explained that the problem is that under federal law, any sex work by a legal minor is considered “sex trafficking”, even when (as in 90% of the cases) there is no “trafficker”.  The great majority of underage sex workers do it as a survival tool to make it on the street, because the great majority are homeless runaways or throwaways.  Most of these kids would be happy to leave sex work if their needs were taken care of by supportive foster parents; unfortunately, the foster care system is by and large a shitshow, and foster parents who are both financially and emotionally supportive are a small minority.  The “authorities” know how bad the system is, but their jobs depend on hiding & denying it.  So when a foster kid who’s being maltreated, used as a servant, repressed by Christian “spare the rod” fetishists, or even sexually abused says, “fuck this, I know how to make it on the street” and runs back to that rather than endure the abuse, both the state and the abusive foster parents are highly motivated to blame imaginary “pimps” for abducting the kid again, when in reality she’s doing what she needs to survive in the way she learned after running away from her birth parents.  Lists of “signs of sex trafficking” are especially vile because they encourage foster parents to engage in exactly the kind of snooping, repression and social control that is most likely to drive an independent teenager back to the street.  My advice to foster parents who really, truly want to help is to ignore this BS.  Respect this young person you’ve volunteered to help; remember that they’re a young adult, not a “child”, and has probably lived on their own for at least some period of time.  You can’t put them back in the nursery, or monitor their every move, or “cure” their queerness (the majority of underage sex workers are LGBT), or spout this “tough love” BS, or they will bolt.  Support them, talk to them, trust them to the extent possible and practical, let them know they can be honest with you, and be there for them.  And then hope for the best.

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