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Posts Tagged ‘guest columnist updates’

I asked Brooke for a quick introduction to her new book, and she wrote: “You Don’t Know Me is a follow-up to The Turning Tide, though you don’t have to have read that book to read this one.  It’s set in the same universe: a medium-sized town in the Highlands called Cameron Bridge.  It all starts (as so many crime novels do) with the disappearance and death of a call girl.  However that is only the beginning.  As the investigation unfolds in the here and now, her best friend’s flashbacks reveal a woman who is anything but the expected ‘dead sex worker’ trope.  It’s a story about sex and secrets, but also about women and passionate friendships.  How far would you go to avenge your best friend and soulmate?  That’s the question one woman will have to answer.”

It is the second half of her master’s course in Newcastle.  Her first spring in the city, after a winter of freezing rain and baffling lectures.  Denise’s cheap coat, good enough for the London cold, is insufficient here and beginning to come apart at the seams.

She logs her hours in the computer lab, turns in every piece of work on time, and phones her parents twice a week whether they answer or not.  Usually they do not.  She waits for the answerphone, leaves a message as if everything is the same as it was before.  Before she moved to Newcastle to start a master’s course in genetic epidemiology.  Before her brother died.

There is money in her account, far too much.  One hundred and fifty thousand pounds.  The number glares at her every time she has to use the cash point.  She can’t spend it and she doesn’t want to keep it.  But giving it away is no good either; it would be like giving away the last photograph of a loved one.  It would be unthinkable.

Denise throws herself into her master’s project.  She analyses single nucleotide polymorphisms in genetic samples of families with a history of colon cancer.  A text-based program calculates risk predictions for future generations in those families.  She tweaks the code, pleased when she shaves microseconds off the runtime of each simulation.  It is like the swimming practices she and Darwin did as teens.  Working over weeks, months, even an entire season to prune down their personal bests.

One night Denise is at the bus stop when she sees some of her course mates in a pub.  It looks warm inside, the bus is almost 20 minutes late, and she has five pounds in her pocket she forgot to spend on lunch.  She crosses the rain-slicked road and goes in.

“Denise!” a man at the bar waves.  “I’m getting a round in.  What are you having?”

“Hi, Jack.”  Denise smiles.  “That’s very kind, thank you.  Diet coke and lemon, please.”  Jack has blue eyes and wears his hair long but it suits him.  His smile is kind and his eyes seek her out in lectures, exchanging a look that seems to indicate they are in on some kind of secret together.

He always seems so nice, at ease in any group, charming and smart.  She realises she has probably had a crush on him for some time now.

A crush she can never act on.  Because he has a girlfriend.  This girlfriend is called Miriam.  His eyes go soft whenever he mentions her, as if the sound of her name has a sort of power.  Denise has never met this woman, but the others have, and they agree she is wonderful.  She is not sure what to imagine.  A petite and serious brunette, perhaps, the kind of studious woman who is primly perfect when she takes her glasses off?  Or else a tight-bodied, hockey-playing blonde, the sort of country girl already settled into Jack’s family, accompanying his parents on weekend trips to the garden centre?

The other students are dressed more formally than usual, a woman in a short purple satin frock, the men in trousers and jackets.  Is there something on she has forgotten about?

“Didn’t think you’d be out tonight.”  The woman’s teeth look dull yellow next to her lipstick.  “Or did you get a ticket in the end?”

Denise accepts a glass from Jack at the bar.  “A ticket to what?”

The group erupts in a peal of laughter.  “To the Medics Ball?  At City Hall?”  A hot redness blooms on her cheeks.  The epidemiology students aren’t medics even if they are in the medical school; why would it occur to her to go?

“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Jack says.  “I went last year.  It’s not all that.  Terrible meal.  The disco is dire.  You’re not missing anything.”

“Are we ready or are we ready?” a voice calls out behind them.  Denise follows the others’ eyes as they look to the door.

“Miri!” Jack says.  “Finally.”

The woman in the green velvet dress enters the pub.  It is a cold night, but she is wearing no coat.  Probably local to the area, then – one of the first things Denise noticed about Newcastle was that the rumours were correct:  true Geordies went out in all weather without jackets or hats.  Her hair has the colour and movement of fire.  The crushed velvet clings to her pear-shaped body and reveals plainly that she is wearing nothing underneath.  A long string of garnets, dark as the shadows in her hair, is looped once around her neck and hangs almost to her waist.  She is wearing the kind of strappy sandals Denise often looks at in shop windows but can never bring herself to buy:  too impractical, too showy.  But the black patent straps look just right around her narrow ankles, not too showy at all.

Her only concession to the cold is a pair of black satin gloves that come past her elbows.  Denise looks away but not before she notices Miri slip an arm around Jack’s neck and his twist to kiss her on the cheek.

“Who’s this?” she asks, meaning Denise.  “I don’t think we’ve met.”  Miri’s voice is smoky and deep, a surprising contrast to her pink cheeks and baby skin.  She detaches her arm from where it is snaked around Jack to offer a hand.  Denise mumbles her name, first and last.  “Are you coming?” Miri smiles.  Her smile is a sweet tiny bow, the face of a Victorian valentine.

“I was on my way home,” Denise says.  “I don’t have a ticket…”

Miri laughs, full throated like a goose.  “You shouldn’t let a thing like that stop you!” she says.  “Come with me.”  She grabs Denise’s elbow and leads her to the toilets, shouting to the rest of the group to go on ahead, they will catch up.

Inside are two toilet stalls, one missing a door.  Miri indicates for Denise to take off her coat, which she does.  Miri folds it and stuffs it into Denise’s bag.  Suddenly Miri is peeling off her dress.  “You can wear mine,” she says.  “You can’t walk in there dressed like that.  Give me your clothes.”

Denise hesitates.  As she suspected Miri is wearing nothing underneath.  Miri tilts her head and smiles, slinky green fabric in her gloved hand.  The dress looks smaller off her body, hardly more material than a swimsuit.  “Go on, it’s stretch, it fits everyone,” she says.  “You’re almost as flat up top as I am.”

“But what will you wear?”

Miri smiles.  “Your clothes, obviously.  Don’t worry.  I know the doormen, it won’t be a problem for me to walk in.”

Denise doesn’t know what to do.  It is impossible to look at the girl standing in front of her wearing nothing but gloves, a long necklace, and heels.  It is almost as hard not to stare.  Miri is slim up top and heavier below.  She has the kind of seal-like limbs, smooth, that Denise often thinks of as boneless.  Her legs taper from firm round thighs to tiny narrow ankles.  It is not the type of body that is fashionable now, not the body celebrated in haute couture shows and women’s magazines.  But the way she is standing tells her that Miri is more comfortable in her skin than she with her angular limbs and narrow hips ever will be.

Denise doesn’t want Miri to laugh at her for being a prude.  She does not want to have to see Jack and the others later, tomorrow or the next day or next week, in the library or in an exam, and explain what happened.  She closes her eyes and begins unbuttoning her shirt.  The hands feel as if they belong to someone else, as if all of this is something she is watching in a film.  Miri pulls the velvet dress over her head.  To Denise’s surprise the dress does indeed shrink and stretch in the right places to fit.

“Hair,” Miri says, and reaches forward, her arms encircling Denise’s neck.  Her eyes, which looked blue at a distance, are green and violet close up, flecked with yellow, the fire of opals in her pale face.  The scent of her is sweet and sharp, sweat and vanilla.  Miri’s small hands untangle Denise’s pigtail, arrange the strands over shoulders.  “Not bad,” she pronounces.  “Do you have makeup?”  Denise shakes her head.

“That’s OK, we’ll make do.”  Her face suddenly darts forward, and she plants a firm kiss on the lips.  She leans back and examines Denise’s surprised face.  “Perfect,” she declares.  “Now you have some of my lippy.”

She tells Denise to look in the mirror.  Denise’s cheeks are flushed as if she has been running and her lips are a bright pink like Miri’s.  The ends of her hair graze her collarbones, now exposed by the low neckline of the dress.  Denise stares at her reflection as if she is looking at someone else entirely, someone who resembles her but not quite.  A close relative, perhaps.  A twin.  She had a twin once.  Then her twin was lost and she has been alone ever since.  If the mirror can be her twin, perhaps she isn’t alone after all.

She glances down at her watch.  “We should hurry,” she says.  “We don’t want to be too late.”

“Is being on time important to you?” Miri says.

“I guess so.”  Denise hesitates.  Wasn’t being on time important to everyone?  “It’s rude to be late, isn’t it?  Like, you would get in trouble if you were late for work—”

Miri’s throaty laugh cuts her off.  “There are only two kinds of people who are paid to be on time,” she says.  “Train drivers and call girls.  Anyway, what’s the rush?  Let’s have a drink, get to know each other a little better.  Jack tells me nothing about his friends.  I want to find out more about you.”

“What’s to find out?  I’m very boring.”  But Miri is standing there, expecting something.  “OK, my name is Denise Ang.  My family is from Macau, I was born in London.  My parents have a chip shop.”  She is about to mention Darwin but stops herself.  She looks at the mirror again, it is almost impossible not to.  Twin-Denise moves her mouth when Denise does, but she is different somehow.  Both her and not-her.  She has a thrilling, guilty feeling of looking at herself too long, as if someone has caught her staring at them.  She clears her throat and looks away again.  “I have a degree in maths.  So I guess I’m kind of a walking cliché.”

Miri tilts her head.  “How so?” she says.

Denise is confused.  Is she taking the piss, or does she really not know?  “I’m very boring,” she repeats.

“Nonsense,” Miri says, and her reflection smiles at Denise’s.  “In my experience, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for.”

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Anti-trafficking laws in the United States have [always] been about trying to eliminate the sex industry.  –  Alexandra Lutnick

Check Your Premises

“Rescuers” are so invested in their own fantasies that they’ll believe anything which props them up:

More than 200 victims of human trafficking from Bangladesh, who were rescued and sheltered in homes across West Bengal roughly four years ago, are still waiting to return back to their country…most of these girls are unable to provide addresses in Bangladesh where they can be sent, or their parents are unreachable.  Principal secretary of the state’s Women and Child Welfare Development Roshni Sen said…that since some trafficking cases were pending in courts, the victims were required to be present here because of their being prime witnesses against traffickers…An NGO…which runs a home for rescued trafficked victims confirmed that quite often, victims could not remember names of their villages as they were trafficked at a tender age of 10-12…

The idea that the “victims” might be feigning ignorance because they don’t want to return to Bangladesh never occurs to these self-important idiots.

Imaginary Evils

Remember, huge police operations have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases in the UK:

Some of Scotland’s most popular escort websites are being targeted by a specialist police unit in a bid to uncover human trafficking networks.  [Cops]…have already [leered at] almost 3000 profiles…belonging to sex workers in Scotland and are certain some of these are victims of trafficking…Some reviews on the sites complain that the women can’t speak English, act as if they don’t want to be there or are so drunk that they can’t stand…Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Houston [fantasized]…that it can be difficult to track down victims of trafficking who are used for prostitution as they are moved from place to place to prevent them forming bonds…

So now add drinking and bad work attitude to the list of “signs of trafficking”, and a new excuse to why cops can’t locate these supposed millions of “victims”.

Innocence Never Had

People kept out of the formal economy by bad laws turn to the informal economy to survive; stupid people are shocked:

The shocking media reports about prostitution among young migrants to Germany are not so surprising given the long-standing connection between migration and sex work, [said] Ralf Roetten, director of the charity “Help for the Young”…Last month, German media reported that increasing numbers of young migrants are turning to prostitution to make ends meet…young male migrants are working as prostitutes in several parks around Berlin.  In addition, some failed asylum seekers have moved in with older men who offer them food and accommodation in return for sex…

Also: “Shocking reports are not shocking” is a piss-poor lede.

Business As Usual 

It’s “rape”, Vice.  The term for nonconsensual sex isn’t “sleeping with”, it’s “rape”:

…”The reality of…police [raping] sex workers during the course of [entrapping them]…has been in existence as long as selling sex has been a criminal offense,” explains Dr. Alexandra Lutnick, an expert on the US sex industry at RTI International…A research study that she conducted in San Francisco found that over 14 percent of sex workers said that they had been threatened with arrest unless they [submitted to rape by a cop], and two percent had been arrested after [the rape]…anyway.  Astonishingly, it’s not specifically illegal for [cops] in many states to [rape] sex workers during the course of [deceit & entrapment] operations…

Really good graphic, though.

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

Kaytlin’s past in sex work has nothing to do with her current tour, so naturally that’s what the reporter leads with:

Kaytlin Bailey is a Raleigh-born comedian who used to be involved in both political consulting and sex work.  Guess which one of those burnt her out to the point it drove her to do stand-up?…dealing with the shady world of politics…made her realize comedy was her calling…In 2011, she moved to New York…where she…found comrades in fellow female comics Abbi Crutchfield, Carrie Gravenson and Erin Judge  [currently on the road for their CAKE comedy tour]…Crutchfield is the co-host of truTV’s You Can Do Better.  Judge released her first novel, Vow of Celibacy, last year.  And Gravenson is gathering up material so she can record her first comedy album…And…Bailey…has written and performed a one-woman show about her experiences as a teenage escort right here in Raleigh.  It’s currently titled “Consensual Business“…and was featured in last year’s NYC Fringe and United Solo Festivals…

The Widening Gyre (#546)

If cops don’t want people spreading stupid rumors, they need to stop spreading such rumors themselves first:

Auburn Hills [Michigan] police are responding to a disturbing Facebook post in which a woman reacts to rumors of…a sex trafficking ring targeting women and children at Great Lakes Crossing [shopping mall]…But the disturbing claims aren’t true.  Neither is the public’s belief that Auburn Hills police are engaged in a cover up to protect the mall.  “I’ve also found it insulting on behalf of our whole police department that someone would suggest that [the stipid myths we’ve been actively spreading for years might actually be true]” says [Police Chief Doreen] Olko…[the woman said] a man…held the door open for her and her 6-month-old son.  “He looks me up and down and starts talking about how incredible my body is…And all I could think was is this guy like trying or going to try to traffic me and (my son)?”…

Yes, clumsy and caddish attempts at passes are now evidence of “sex trafficking”.  Really, guys, just stick to pros.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#558)

An Indian court rules that acts which aren’t illegal, aren’t illegal:

In a significant ruling, the Gujarat High Court on Friday said that if a sex worker is engaged in prostitution of her own volition, and not due to any inducement, force or coercion then a criminal case is not maintainable against her…

Indian law on the subject is based on British law, in which the exchange of money for sex has never been illegal, though some associated activities such as so-called “pimping” and “brothel-keeping” are.

Too Close To Home

Another racist anti-whore pogrom in “progressive” Seattle:

Six people are under arrest…as part of an investigation into an organized crime ring involved with prostitution…FANG WANG…YONGGUANG WU…YUNZHONG CHEN…YAOAN HE…ZHAOFENG ZHANG…and STEVEN THOMPSON…are charged…with [talking about]…prostitution…“These defendants ran an organized prostitution ring with tentacles into many of our cities and towns,” said U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes…“Our work with our partners continues to expose the underbelly of this industry”…said [rapist & sex harasser] John Urquhart…federal and local law enforcement partners worked jointly to [stop people from helping]…Asian sex workers [to make a living]…

The weirdest thing about prohibitionists is their hentai fixation.

To Molest and Rape 

It’s amazing how many of these “isolated incidents” there are:

A…Hot Springs [Arkansas cop admitted to]…molesting a 9-year-old girl on multiple occasions beginning earlier this year…Paul Henry Allen…was arrested [last week] by the Malvern Police Department…

Served Cold (#675) 

Another unethical cowboy raid against brown people in a developing country, staged for the entertainment of rich American moralists:

…during the 2017 Super Bowl, an Operation Underground Railroad Jump Team was preparing to expose a band of sex traffickers in Haiti.  In a new video…Alex Boye…sings the national anthem while the footage from the Haiti rescue is played…the team [coerced] local authorities [into] arrest[ing] nine [people they labeled] traffickers and [detaining without charge] 29 victims [of OUR’s cowboy antics]…the OUR website [urges other Americans to interfere in the affairs of sovereign nations under the rationale that]…“It is our duty as a free and blessed people”…

This is a jihadist mentality, not one based on the founding principles of the US.  But Deseret News does get one thing right: note which section this article appears in.  These videos are indeed entertainment (just as Roman circuses were), not actions intended to “help” anyone but these sociopathic profiteers.

Send In the Clowns 

I’m delighted to see that the “creepy clown” hysteria still has a bit of life in it:

North Dakota police say they are investigating a…report involving a creepy clown and a man with a snake…Authorities [claim] the snake was a boa constrictor about 3-to-4-feet-long…the clown and his alleged cohort…could face a felony charge of terrorizing…a witness….[claimed] the two men approached the children, asked if they “wanted to see a dead body” and threatened to kill them…

Worse Than I Thought (#723)

Destroying men’s ability to provide for their families is the latest anti-whore fad among politicians whose desire to be the most mindlessly punitive has entirely rotted their brains:

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez [drooled all over herself about] a State Assembly bill…that could result in [ordinary men] having their vehicles [stolen by pigs] as part of a pilot program to crack down on prostitution…“When we arrest these johns, their [families] shouldn’t remain [unpunished].  We must [ensure the men can’t get to work so their families will be destroyed and their kids forced into foster care, thereby creating a new generation of underage survival sex workers so assholes like me can have crusades to make even more police-state laws about”…

I Swear To God (#728)

In the contemporary US, people can be fired from government jobs for blasphemy:

The New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force severed its partnership with its grant administrator, leading to the firing of…project director…Kate D’Adamo, [who committed thoughtcrime by making] arguments in favor of decriminalizing prostitution…

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My friend Brooke Magnanti’s last book, The Turning Tide, is now available in the United States!  So I asked her to provide an excerpt so as to entice y’all to buy it…especially since her new one is coming out this summer!  If you live in the UK, buy it here instead.  And just in case you don’t remember, she did a series of video promos when the book was first published last year!

Of all the things that Daniel Wallace had hoped to do on holiday, finding a dead body was not one of them.

The kayak trip from Skye to Raasay was perfect. Daniel had planned this leg of the trip carefully: a mid-February journey starting on Skye, going up the long east coast of the island of Raasay. Although the water was cold, there was little wind and the only snow was on the mountaintops. They would paddle past the steep cliffs and fossil beaches with views over to the mainland and lunch on the cobble beach below castle ruins, then continue on to a romantic bothy inaccessible to walkers and unlikely to be occupied at this time of year.

Maya teased him for being such a list maker, but as the day went on he was pleased at having planned it so well. There was a slight chop on the water and late winter light on the wavelets sparkled like sequins. It became glassy smooth as they rounded the tip of Raasay and turned north. There was a superpod of dolphins spanning the sound between the island and Applecross on the mainland, hundreds of them leaping and squealing for the sheer fun of jumping around. Maya was nervous about the large mammals at first. She clutched the shaft of her paddle tightly, but was soon laughing with the joy of it all.

They landed on the northern tip of the island. Maya pulled her kayak above the tide line onto the shingle beach while Daniel hung back. ‘Something wrong?’ she asked.

‘I think there’s something caught in my rudder,’ Daniel said, ‘bit of seaweed, maybe. You go on ahead and find the bothy, I’ll catch up.’

‘Sure,’ she smiled. Daniel watched her buttocks cased in her kayaking drysuit disappear along the path. Three years in and he still fancied this woman as if they just met. A good sign, right? That she was a keeper. The One.

So far, so good. Tonight they would watch the sunset from the beach and share a bottle of whisky. He would make them a simple meal of bacon and tuna pasta on the gas camping stove.

Then there was the ring, tucked safely away in his dry bags. He planned to pop the question after dinner: maybe on a moonlit walk, maybe sitting by the bothy fire later. With the day going so well he could afford to play that part by ear.

That was tonight sorted. Tomorrow? Tomorrow they would paddle around the smaller nearby isle of Rona before heading down the other coast of Raasay and back to Skye. He had booked a table and room at an inn that specialised in local seafood and folk music, and they could toast their engagement with a pint of ale.

He tugged hard on the deck lines. The kayak would not budge. Daniel took off his gloves and felt along under the boat to the rudder. Something was caught on it. He pulled but it wouldn’t give way. So it was not seaweed then. It felt a bit like rope. ‘What on earth…’ he murmured. Maybe a belt? Someone’s old climbing gear? The cliffs further down the island were popular with climbers and the waters were trawled by fishing vessels. You never knew what could wash up on the beaches here.

As he gave one last pull something came loose. Daniel crossed to the bow and dragged the kayak up the shore. He flipped the boat on its side and saw what looked like a holdall with one long strap that must have caught on his boat in the shallows. He sighed. Maybe the bag fell off a hiker on a hill somewhere. ‘Someone wasn’t having a great day,’ he said to no one in particular.

Probably there would be a wallet inside, or a tag perhaps, and they could get this back to its rightful owner. He didn’t relish the thought of carrying someone else’s luggage around for the next day or two, but he hoped someone else would have done the same for him.

The zip came unstuck with a little effort. Inside it looked like – well, he wasn’t sure what, exactly. Something the size of a melon poked out, round. It had a slippery, translucent quality rather like a jellyfish. But it was too early in the year for jellyfish. He poked at it with the toe of his neoprene boot. The stench hit him at the very moment he realised what it was he was looking at. The contents of Daniel’s stomach bubbled into his throat as a wave of shock ran up his body. He collapsed on the ground.

‘Maya!’ he shouted. ‘Maya!’ He tried to clamber to his knees, but his legs felt rubbery and uncertain.

Maya was only seconds away but to Daniel those moments felt like hours. She put her hand gently on his shoulder. ‘Are you OK?’ she said. Daniel did not often lose his cool, not even the time they went out for a routine paddle that turned into force eight gale conditions off the Islay. This had to be serious.
Daniel closed his eyes and shook his head. He tried to raise one arm and point back to the boat.

‘What is it?’ Maya asked.

‘You tell me,’ he said.

Maya went for a closer look. The sight and smell knocked her back for a moment, but she recovered quickly and leaned in to see what was in there. There was a body inside the bag. No doubt about that. Three years of a forensic science degree had prepared her, but only just, for something like this. She had seen plenty of specimens in the lab or in the morgue but that was different. Those were lifeless, static things that looked more like oversized dolls than anything else.
This however was… well, it was kind of great, actually. Her first cold one in situ. ‘It’s dead,’ she said. She picked up Daniel’s paddle and poked the remains with the end. ‘Human.’ There was a retching sound behind her. ‘Daniel?’

He was sitting upright, head between his knees. ‘Are you sure?’

‘Sure it’s dead, or sure it’s human?’ No reply; only the sound of more heaving. ‘Yeah, I’m sure,’ she said.

Maya frowned at the remains. A head, bald. A shoulder and arm pulled back, maybe tied? A slender elbow joint poked through the grey, gelatinous scraps of flesh and connective tissue. If the body hadn’t been in the bag, odds were the rest of its extremities would have fallen away from the trunk by now. This had been in the water some time – weeks, at least.

Daniel’s chest rose and fell heavily. ‘What now? Do we radio this in? Pull the GPS beacon?’ Of all the emergency situations he had prepped for over the years, this was not one of them.

Maya inspected the outside of the bag for clues. It was covered in black algae. There was no sign of ID.

‘Pulling the beacon might be too far,’ she said. ‘Whoever it is, he’s already dead.’ If someone was dead it was a collection job, not an emergency.

Was it an offence to leave a dead body unattended? She couldn’t remember. Maya surveyed the horizon in all directions. There was the tiny island of Rona to the north and six miles of heather bog to the south; Skye on one side, mainland Scottish Highlands on the other. No place within walking distance of where they were unless she fancied a four-hour yomp to Raasay’s only village in wet boots. Plus Daniel didn’t look in any shape to do it. She popped the covers open on his kayak and rifled through his dry bags for a phone. ‘Do you have reception? We could call the police station in Portree.’

‘No reception here.’

‘I’ll get on the VHF and radio the coastguard,’ Maya said. ‘They can pass it on to police. Looks like we might not be staying here the night after all.’

Daniel’s five-star instructor’s course had offered no guidance on what to do if you ended up having to haul a sack of decomposing human remains on a sea kayak. ‘Please tell me we’re not paddling this – this thing – to shore.’

‘No,’ Maya said. ‘Best not to move it more than necessary – in case there’s any evidence to be found at the site.’ She sat down next to her boyfriend. ‘We’ll see if we can get a lift off the coastguard and grab a B&B on Skye tonight,’ she said. ‘It’s not the end of the world.’

Daniel nodded weakly. Maya repacked his bags. She spotted a tiny jewellery box among his things and her heart skipped a beat. ‘Oh my God! Daniel… is this what I think it is?’ She tugged off her gloves to slide the half-carat sparkler on her left ring finger. ‘And it’s a perfect fit!’

Her fiancé rolled to one side and chucked a mouthful of foamy spittle on the grass.

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I am an adult, and how I choose to spend my time and money is MY FUCKING BUSINESS.  –  Rick Pettit

Broken Record 

Sex workers on Twitter agreed we couldn’t think of a venue less conducive to selling sex than a state fair:

The New Mexico State Fair draws a huge crowd each year, but Street Safe New Mexico knows it’s not all about fun and games.  “You notice during the state fair, there’s new girls out here, right?” Executive Director Christine Barber said.  “They’re being brought in by the gangs and being forced to work…(The victims are) 15, 16 years old to anything older…I met a lady yesterday who was 47.”  The group says the victims’ pimps like to use the state fair as a hunting ground for willing johns…”Forty-two percent of them are beaten every single day by their pimps or their sex traffickers”…

Coincidentally, 42% of all “sex trafficking” statistics are made up on the spot, and 100% of them are bullshit.

Original Sin

I could also have filed this one under “Paint By Numbers”, since they “fight trafficking” by just standing around silently:

Since last December, activists have gathered monthly in front of St. André Bessette Parish in Northwest Portland in silent witness to the horror of human trafficking…Called modern slavery, it’s just one of the present attacks on the dignity of human life…Among them are abortion, euthanasia, cloning, the destruction of human embryos, genocide, torture, and the direct and intentional targeting of noncombatants in war or terrorist attacks…

I’m not sure it’s proper to use the term ACTIVist for someone who literally stands around, doing and saying nothing.crystal-edmonds

Monsters 

The body count continues to rise:

Just five days ago I wrote about a Black trans woman named T.T. who was viciously murdered in Chicago…Now, a…Black trans woman [named]  Crystal Edmonds has been shot in the back of the head and murdered in Baltimore.  She’s the 21st trans person that we know of who has been murdered in the United States this year…Police say…they have no suspects and very few leads…[but] reports are saying that people in the neighborhood are complaining about sex workers in their area, which makes me even more worried that this case will not be given the attention it deserves…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Fifty people in teams of five…[followed] clues through various historic landmarks [in Lexington, Kentucky]…to raise money to help women..caught up in the human trafficking industry.  Participants raised money to support “Un-Shackled By Love Ministries”…the first group of women to join the program will stay for four months where they will receive counseling.  Eventually they will move on to a facility in Lexington the ministry [has not actually opened yet]…

Traffic Circle

Debunking of prohibitionist lies is spreading:

Denise Charlton of the Turn Off the Red Light Campaign…claimed the [new Swedish model] legislation [in Ireland] would protect sex workers by decriminalising them.  Does the bill really do that?  A group called Ugly Mugs, which facilitates information-sharing between sex workers, argues that the claim is false, and brought it to our attention on Twitter.  Claim: The new Sexual Offences Bill would decriminalise sex workers  Verdict: Mostly FALSE

  • The new bill would decriminalise public solicitation by sex workers, but…
  • It would retain the criminalisation of loitering by sex workers, and increase the penalties for it
  • It would retain the effective criminalisation of sex workers, under a provision on brothels, and increase the penalties for it.

Served Cold 

For a change, it only took the mainstream media two years to catch up with me:

…Operation Underground Railroad…was founded by self-proclaimed “Man of God,” former CIA and Homeland Security official Tim Bollard…The organization receives allocated funding…and makes contact with local law enforcement.  An elaborate sting follows…All this is filmed so the [backer]…can watch, in real time and from the comfort of his or her office or home…From the perspective of a victim’s right to privacy, such actions are reprehensible…from a criminal justice perspective, there are even more pressing concerns…Why are police in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Colombia not arresting child sex traffickers if they are so easy to find?…Why is OUR not…raiding the brothels of Amsterdam or London?…Bollard and his rag-tag team would be arrested on the spot.  And any court in any [developed nation] would not hesitate to throw out a case that rests on the evidence of an OUR-type raid because of the failure to meet even the most basic standards of supervision and accountability.  It’s no surprise that the organization and its fellow travellers limit their activities to countries burdened by dysfunctional criminal justice systems that…in response to pressure from the U.S. government…agree to cooperate…Bollard’s operations say much about the man: they are arrogant, unethical and illegal.

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

Expect a lot more cases like this before potty hysteria is over:

Security attempted to escort a lesbian woman…out of toilets at a music venue after because they thought she was a man.  Mary Looper was at a Carrie Underwood concert with her aunt when security attempted to escort her out of the women’s restroom.  A female security officer stood outside Looper’s stall demanding…proof she was a woman…She took to Facebook to share her dismay…

SWOP Behind Bars

My friend Mistress Matisse has been applying her indomitable (see what I did there?) efforts to support SWOP Behind Bars, most recently by talking about them on Dan Savage’s Savage Love podcast.  Go have a listen!  And if you haven’t yet sent a book to one of the incarcerated sex workers in the program, hie thee thither and do so posthaste!

Sales Pitch (#642) ingeborg-kraus-tampon-collector-simon-haggstrom

Remember the creepy Swedish cop who collects used tampons?  He’s teaming up with a German neofeminist to spread the Gospel of Violent Busybodiness to Canada:

…Ingeborg Kraus, a [prohibitionist who pretends that]…Germany decriminalized the sex industry…[claims that legalization there has] fuelled human trafficking [and lies that literally]…”No German woman will work in those conditions anymore”…[pervert cop Simon Haggstrom pretends that] Sweden…decriminalize[d] the sale of sex…[fantasizes about a] connection between prostitution and organized crime…[and lies that sex workers who demand our rights] are a small minority within the sex industry…

Allied for Change

I truly hope many more clients are inspired to speak out like this:

My name is Rick Pettit, and I am a client of sex workers.  I am in my 60s, divorced, and unattached.  I run my own moderately-unsuccessful service business in a small town in New England.  I’m just an ordinary person…not particularly well-off financially, and certainly not a hub of criminal activity.  I am well-liked by my customers and in my town.  I am NOT a “pervert”…I do NOT abuse the women I spend time with.  Most importantly, I DO NOT “BUY” ANYONE’S BODY. (There’s not enough room in my closet)…

Pimps Ahoy

You can’t keep a bad organization down:

Courage Worldwide said today that after the appeal process…the organization is in good standing with state regulators and plans to rehire and train new staff to reopen Courage House immediately…“We are gratified that the state has…agreed cell phones pose a real danger to the girls in our care since they link these vulnerable children back to the people who trafficked them.  The cell phone is the preferred mechanism of the trafficker to market and sell under-age girls on the internet”…

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Our perception of what makes a service “safer” isn’t always universal.  –  Lux Alptraum

Bad Jobs

Like something Melissa Farley would make up, only true:  “A new survey shows 90% of social care workers [in Ireland] have experienced violence in the workplace…75% experienced physical assaults – some on a daily basis…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever, especially if you’re a whore:

A prostitute was arrested after she told police a clients handcuffed her and robbed her of $2,000 in cash and her belongings…At some point after the man paid her…he pulled out a police [badge], claimed he was a [cop] and handcuffed her with fake cuffs…He took his $190 off the hotel room dresser, swiped $2,000 in cash…and…the woman’s $1,000 iPad Mini, a $40 backpack and a $100 MetroPCS phone…Police arrested the woman and charged her with prostitution…However, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case…

Above the Law  creepy-cop-neil-hempsall

There’s nothing here saying he harmed or threatened any of the sex workers he looked up, but of course there’s no way to know that given that he stalked them by looking up their fucking police records:

A disgraced cop who used his force computer to contact sex workers…was allowed to keep his job…[Neil Hempsall] admitted four charges and escaped with a community order…[the prosecutor said] “He…had been using the services of sex workers and accessing their record on the police computer system”…There was…[also] evidence he was tracking down a former lover…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#46)

I can’t help laughing at pathetic losers wanking to their fantasies of superhuman sex robots, but the ones who suffer reaction formation from such fantasies elicit a mixture of pathos and disgust:

According to a [soi-disant] expert in the field, we’ll need to be careful we don’t get addicted to artificial-intelligence lovemaking.  Joel Snell is an [academic who fantasizes]…there’s a real risk linked to the robots…because they’ll offer great sex at any time of the day and night…it’ll never be able to turn you down.  “People may become obsessed by their ever-faithful, ever-pleasing sex robot lovers,” he warned.  “People will rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions”…

Bonus stupid anti-sex trope: “sex addiction”.

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

It’s a sign of our culture’s deeply-sick sexual attitudes that people still believe in “virginity tests”:

[Dear Dr. Petra, my boyfriend is] like me…a virgin.  But when he checked my vagina he said he could tell I wasn’t a virgin and he doesn’t feel able to be with me until I can be truthful.  I don’t know how to convince him that I am a virgin and don’t know what signs he can see that tell him I’m not…I’m now worried I might be mistaken about myself…[Dr. Petra Answers:] I’m sure everyone reading this [is]…wondering what the circumstances were that led up to him checking your vagina?…You may have told him to get better educated about virginity and women’s bodies.  You might have told him his actions felt alarming and controlling…You could have said he clearly had no idea what he was talking about.  Any or all of these responses would have been reasonable.  And all of them are a good enough reason…to end the relationship without further discussion…There will be other people who are kinder, more sexually informed, more respectful, better communicators and won’t subject you to virginity checks…

Cardboard Cutouts

Note that 1.5% is my standard estimate of coercion among Western sex workers:

This week new statistics on human trafficking in The Netherlands where presented by the Dutch National Rapporteur Human Trafficking [and]…the city of Amsterdam…the Dutch Rapporteur reported…1,321 possible victims of trafficking…66%…from the sex industry…these are not proven victims, but simply people of whom other people (police, marshals, city officials and social workers) have (slight) suspicions about that perhaps they could be victims…if…there are about 827 possible victims in prostitution, and the total amount of sexworkers in The Netherlands are estimated at around 20.000…it would come down to about 4,1%…only 102 possible victims in prostitution where reported in Amsterdam…[which] would come down to about 1,5% of all the sexworkers in Amsterdam…what’s interesting is to compare the suspected victims with the actual number of victims that annually actually press charges…in 2015…33 victims actually [pressed] charges for human trafficking, which is almost the same as the year before (29 in 2014) and the year before that (32 in 2013).  In short, quite a bit lower than how many people are being reported as “possible” victims…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Once again:  NO, a coalition between two different fundamentalist groups to fight what they perceive as a common enemy is in no way “surprising”:

…the surprising nexus between radical feminists and Christian Right culture warriors has been with us a long time.  In the 1980s, anti-porn feminists like Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin teamed up with anti-porn conservatives like Edwin Meese, leading to the passage of laws censoring sexual speech in the name of protecting women.  In the last decade, anti-prostitution feminists have joined forces with fundamentalist Christians to prosecute sex workers under the aegis of sex trafficking laws.  And now, some essentialist feminists – pejoratively nicknamed TERFs, for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists” – have provided the pseudo-philosophical basis for fundamentalist Christians’ anti-transgender laws…[while] TERFs…approvingly cite…anti-trans [Christian]…right-wing scholars and writers…Feminists…and…Conservatives don’t oppose porn because they want to protect women; they oppose porn because they oppose sexual licentiousness and free sexual expression.  Just like they oppose protecting trans people because transgender reality scares them, disgusts them, or offends their outdated theologies.  A similar shell-game has recently arisen in the context of sex trafficking…This was a deliberate deception on the part of anti-sex activists like the anti-prostitution group Demand Abolition.  As exposed by The Washington Post in 2014, that group’s internal document said that “framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support”…

Hey, Jay Michaelson:  I appreciate your mentioning my work, but the standard practice when doing so is to name the author rather than just the publication, and to include a link to the piece cited.

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

My friend Kaytlin Bailey, on coming out to her father:

…I was afraid to tell him about my having been a prostitute because he was a great dad.  I didn’t want him to think one had anything to do with the other.  I didn’t want to burden him with this indulgent, selfish secret because I feared the images that “your daughter was a prostitute” would conjure might break him, even when his various tours of duty didn’t…We talked for hours, never addressing my prostitution directly. We got tipsy, and…he said…that he was proud of me, and that I could always come home.  “No matter what.”  I could see he wasn’t angry.  He was nervous for me the same way he’s always been…

Go read it.  Please. playing-cowboy-in-cartagena

They Never Learn

Since this self-aggrandizing fascist wankfest hasn’t sold as a TV show, they made a pilot movie:

“Just like the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought awareness to slavery and helped start a civil war, this movie can instantly turn that dial of public awareness to sex trafficking,” [fantasizes] director Chet Thomas.  Toward the beginning of The Abolitionists, a film with a limited release…the audience is introduced to “Batman”…a flawed hero with a troubled past who now works largely in the dark of night, protecting the vulnerable from unimaginable horrors…Batman…spent 15 years laundering money for drug cartels in Latin America…[until he had] a Christian epiphany…Nowadays, he works undercover, largely with a former Homeland Security officer named Tim Ballard.  The two of them set up sting operations worldwide that result in the capture of those who sell children as sex slaves…The directors of the documentary…also are working on a TV show.  They say they have enough video — taken with cameras disguised as sunglasses, pens and phones — for 25 episodes…Ballard’s organization, Operation Underground Railroad, has rescued 573 children worldwide and put 160 criminals behind bars…

Choke Point (#610)

The government-encouraged gentrification of the internet is tightening the noose on sex workers:

Lately, it seems like every website wants to see my ID.  Facebook was the first…then Airbnb started asking me to submit both a Facebook account and legal identification…And now Twitter’s opened up its verification process to all sorts of users—provided, of course, those users are willing to send the staff a copy of their legal identification…this push towards a verified internet…makes me concerned that the next iteration of the social media sites that have been essential to the destigmatization of sex work…won’t be quite so amenable to sex work…It should be relatively obvious why a tweeting escort would want to avoid providing her legal information…but even practitioners of legal sex work such as porn and stripping might not be too keen on the idea…it’s…possible that the potential chilling effect on sex worker voices is more than just an unintentional side effect…

The End of the Beginning (#668) 

A reminder that in most of the US, the situation is still worsening:

When he was 18, David Clark had sex with a 14-year-old.  In 1982 he pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct…and was sentenced to four years of probation.  The following year, the state legislature passed a law that retroactively required Clark to register as a sex offender.  In 2009 he was arrested for failing to register…He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.  Last week a federal appeals court [pretended] there was nothing constitutionally amiss about this series of events, because the law threatening to put Clark behind bars is [supposedly] not punitive…retroactive application…violates the Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws…[but politicians and courts pretend that] forcing sex offenders to register is not a punishment…

Of Course It Is

It’s nice to know that at least a few reporters get this:

…TV stations plastered [Celeste Guap’s] image on newscasts.  Reporters hounded her for interviews and shared images from her social-media accounts on their websites.  During this time, Guap was [using heroin]…to cope with depression related to her [sexual abuse by cops]…last week…Florida deputies arrested Guap and charged her with felony battery…How did the Bay Area media react to this news?  At least four local outlets — including KTVU, SFist.com, ABC 7 and KRON — published Guap’s true identity and legal name, along with a “mug shot” from Florida jail…some local journalists are arguing that Guap’s case already was widely publicized, so it was OK to disclose her legal name…Bullshit.  The only reason her story is news…is because she was an underage victim of sexual assault [by cops]…And her legal name and identity should be protected as such…and…what the hell was Guap doing [in Florida] in the first place?…She’s a witness to…crimes committed by numerous Bay Area [cops, including]…human trafficking, statutory rape, interfering with a police investigation, illegal use of a police computer system, and pandering…she’s…trapped with a $300,000 bail and detoxing from hard street drugs cold-turkey, and…experiencing [jailhouse] harassment from [jailers]…

It’s What They Do

Thanks, Iain, but we don’t want to be “legalized and regulated”; we just want to be left the Hell alone:

The politician in charge of the Commons committee reviewing the laws on prostitution is caught in a prostitution scandal.  It is right for Labour MP Keith Vaz to resign as chairman of the Commons Home Affairs committee for the time being…But beyond that, Jeremy Corbyn is right about it being “a private matter”…Mr Vaz has done nothing illegal.  Even the “poppers” he was alleged to have taken are a legal stimulant.  But a lot of people seem to believe that Mr Vaz should now stand down as an MP simply because he was unfaithful to his wife…Yet…people have always had affairs…gay men should surely not be forced do disclose their sexuality if they feel uncomfortable about doing so…Some of the criticism has clearly come from supporters of what is called the “Nordic model” who believe that the buying of sex should be illegal.  But this story vividly illustrates the problems associated with changing the law to criminalise men who purchase sex…I can’t really understand why the sale of sexual services should ever be illegal unless it involves trafficking, pimping, compulsion or other forms of coercive behaviour.  The Vaz case – if the allegations are true – demonstrates why prostitution should be legalised and properly regulated.  So long as it is underground, the sex trade will remain in the hands of the criminals and blackmailers…

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Most of the whores l’ve met are women who question things, who value their independence over social norms.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

Droit du Seigneur Darryl Stasher

He didn’t rape her, but he sure seems to think it was his privilege to fuck her:

A Mississippi cop was fired…after a video that went viral on social media shows him lurking in his patrol car near a high school, trying to coax a teenaged girl into cutting class, pressuring her into accompany him to “room” to have sex instead.  [Darryl Stasher] said he “wanted to do more than just talk.”  He then assured the teen nobody would find out what they were doing, and that he’d “take care of her”.  “Oh.  So you saying you ain’t fucking,” a disappointed [Stasher] can be heard asking after the student declined his advances that were caught on camera in the 49 second clip…

Schadenfreude 

It’s always so sweet when a rescue industry scam is exposed:

For years, Jenny Williamson…has [hawked] her [fantasy] of rescuing girls from sex traffickers, spreading the Gospel while [raking in] hundreds of thousands…[she] has regaled audiences with the litany of horrors these girls suffer…Courage House [was]…closed…effective June 14, amid a flurry of state inspections that found numerous violations, including inadequate staffing levels…[despite] assets of…$1.4 million…Courage House was cited 16 times in the first six months of this year…10 were classified by the state as Type A, or serious enough to have an immediate impact on clients’ health, safety or personal rights…former workers [describe] Williamson as a temperamental leader with no child-development background who micromanaged her trained staff and became…swept up in her own publicity…staff members were…abruptly fired for…expressing concerns over [her inclusion]…of clients’ confidential information in fundraising or publicity efforts…[including]  identifiable images of [inmates]…on the company’s Facebook page…[Williamson] routinely “paraded the girls around” for marketing purposes…Arlicia Lorentty, who was a social worker/case manager in the home in 2015, said…“Everything was a photo op”…girls were…[forced to attend] a Christian church…whose leaders and congregation have been heavily involved in Courage House…

The More the Better 

There’s no “if” about it; Melania Trump is or was a sex worker.  Even if she was never an escort as rumors allege (and I think it very likely that she was indeed one), she posed for nude photos (including a lesbian scene) and is now a trophy wife…and sorry, ladies, but both of those are definitely kinds of sex work.  When people started mocking her for using an incompetent speechwriter, I defended her not on the grounds of the political beliefs she claims to profess, but on the grounds that she is a fellow whore doing her job (which for a wife means emotionally & socially supporting her husband) and should not be mocked merely because he happens to be a delusional narcissist.  Margaret Corvid has more to say about the new rumors:

…when you share those allegations, pointing and laughing, saying “Look!”, calling her a liar, calling her a whore, saying that she is unfit for the White House because she was photographed sexually, you are stepping on everyone who does sex work in this country every day—most of whom are much more vulnerable than Melania Trump…[she] isn’t a liar for covering up sex work…[because] it…is necessary for survival in a country where selling sex is illegal and where it is so stigmatized that it can get you fired from your “mainstream” job, get your kids taken away, and destroy your reputation for life…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now 

…that Canada’s new law is “protecting” sex workers from making money from lonely old men:

Two Sydney men have pleaded guilty and were fined…in connection with a prostitution sting…after…Judge Brian Williston ruled that [entrapment isn’t entrapment when it’s politically popular]…Gordon Ernest MacLean, 66, and John Howard MacLean, 66…were fined a total of $500 after the judge waived costs and surcharges.  They also must submit a DNA sample…

Because obviously, the cops never know when these hardened “sex criminals” may strike again.

Monsters

[Mexican] police do little to protect the transgender community and [rarely investigate trans sex workers’] deaths…Mexico has one of the highest rates of transphobic violence in the world, according to a recent report by the Cornell University Law School in New York and the Transgender Law Center…The number of documented murders of transgender people rose to 46 in 2012 from four in 2008, with actual figures likely to be significantly higher…transgender women in particular have suffered from a fierce backlash against same-sex marriage and other advances…

Passive Voice

Even though it’s a year old, this tutorial in how the past exonerative tense works is too brilliant to pass up.  It’s also too brilliant for me to risk butchering by any attempt at synopsis, so do yourself a favor and go read it.

Devil’s Advocate

This article could’ve appeared under so many headings; “Cops and Robbers” due to the vigilantism and “Bait and Switch” because of the sleazy entrapment tactics (“18” in big letters and “15” in fine print, for example, when any whore can tell you horny guys rarely read past the pictures).  But I think the fact that the state convicted two men for non-crimes against a “person” who does not even exist puts it in this category:fake Tinder profile

The creators of the “Tinder Experiment” set up a fake profile of a [a fake 18-year-old girl pretending to be] 15…in a bid to [entrap careless, stupid men]…They then secretly filmed conversations and face-to-face meetings with the men before shaming them online.  Those videos were removed and their website shut down by police, but [the sleazy pigs were still happy]…to use the information from the “experiment” [to destroy lives]…Nicolaos Katsamas was…sentenced last month to two- and-a-half years’ jail…Tobias Kilsby was also jailed for two years…Detective Senior Constable Tas Gagatsakis [admitted that]…Tinder is [only] for users 18 and over…

Don’t Call It Trafficking

This isn’t called “trafficking”, while the same demographic choosing to sell sex to survive is:

…Island View…housed more than 100 [“troubled teens”]…aged 13-17, and charged parents at least $10,000 a month…the staff tormented and abused them — pitting teens against each other, physically restraining them, secluding them, medicating them with high doses of powerful antipsychotics and forcing them to sit without speaking for hours or days at a time…[after a lawsuit] it…closed…[and] a new company, Family Help & Wellness, took over the property.  The facility began to operate under a different name, Elevations RTC.  It continues to bring in new students today…39 of the 48 employees listed on Elevations’ website worked for Island View…At least 1,500 [teens] in 30 states alleged that they were abused at private treatment facilities in 2005 alone…The troubled-teen industry is almost entirely unregulated…Congress has repeatedly refused to intervene…Parents who send their children to residential treatment centers like Island View often hire independent contractors, colloquially known as “transporters,” to forcibly [abduct] their kids…

Yellow Fever (#509) 

Remember Tenancingo, the Mexican town which was supposedly infested with “pimps” but actually had only two (plus employees) and 26 supposed “victims”?  Apparently Canada wants a “pimp town” too, and naturally they claim it’s the country’s largest black community.  But they’re not racists, no sirree!

One of the first things you notice when you enter this community northeast of Halifax is a large billboard that tells you you’re in “Canada’s Largest Black Community”…every driver here acknowledges oncoming drivers — even strangers — with a wave of the hand.  It’s not the welcome you expect in a place that has repeatedly been described as the birthplace of North Preston’s Finest, a violent gang that specializes in trafficking young women and girls as young as 14 in the sex trade…residents, even local police…insist the claims about a criminal gang originating in North Preston are exaggerated, misleading or manufactured by outsiders who don’t know their community…But police [and other prohibitionists] outside the province…[masturbate furiously to fantasies of] a community that has churned out generations of ruthless pimps who are spread across the country and unafraid to use brute force to punish women in their “stable” if they step out of line…

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

My friend Kaytlin’s one-woman show is part of the Fringe Festival:

Cuntagious [is] a one woman show, written by Kaytlin Bailey – now a stand up comedian, once a sex worker…“the first run was really a coming out process.  I performed the show before I told my family.  I knew most of the audience members personally, so they were very supportive…when you come out, other people come out.  I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me to tell me their own experience with sex work, I love that”…

I’ve seen the show twice, and I will again when she brings it back to Seattle; you really should, too.

Another Fine Mess (#547)

As I and many others have said, sex drives technological development.  And I think that’s what the prudes are really afraid of:

…The World Wide Web turned 25 this month…The sexualized female body has, from the beginning, been the catalyst for attempts to regulate what’s on the Web, ultimately shaping what the Internet looks like today.  Only a couple of years after Berners-Lee began to worry about an incoming flood of photos of nude women, Congress was gripped by the “great Internet sex panic of 1995”…the Communications Decency Act…was signed into law on Feb. 8, 1996, and thousands of websites went dark in protest…provisions that criminalized sending or displaying to a minor “any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communications” that were sexual in a “patently offensive” way…[were determined by] the Supreme Court…[to be] unconstitutionally vague and [were] struck…down…Yet another part of the widely loathed CDA — one the Supreme Court has never heard any challenges to — also helped bring about the Web we now know.  Section 230 immunizes service providers from lawsuits over the speech of their users.  It’s the law that lets Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Twitter, Yelp, Craigslist and Reddit exist.  Without its provisions, a service such as Twitter could be sued into nonexistence if an individual user sent a single defamatory tweet…

Eternal Vigilance (#617)

Rent in exchange for sex isn’t “free”; it has been paid for with sex:

A room in return for sex…the…landlord cashing in on desperate, vulnerable and homeless women in London.  A recent report has unveiled a disturbing attempt to exploit homeless women by offering free accommodation in return for sexual favors…There are hundreds of listings…by men either obliquely or explicitly (some very explicitly) offering free housing to women for sex….they also include men who are expressly targeting adverts at homeless women…

How are the ads “explicitly targeting homeless women”?  Do they read, “only homeless women need apply” and require proof of homelessness?  This looks to me like nothing more than Puritans upset about the fact that some women are comfortable paying our rent (and other expenses) with sex.

Check Your Premises (#636)

Another cop so disconnected from reality that she thinks she can “build communication with sex workers” while stealing their income by harassing their clients:

A new strategy to tackle prostitution in [Redbridge, London] will see the police’s focus shift from the sex workers to [demonized clients and partners]…Insp Gellatley’s team aims to disrupt clients while engaging in a relationship of trust with prostitutes.  “We are trying to build communication with the sex workers” [she said]…

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bed of rosesWell, there are all kinds of things going on right now, but I can’t tell you about most of them because they’re sort of behind the scenes.  Suffice to say that I’m making some changes which should increase my income, and among those changes is training in a few specialized skills that I previously lacked.  I know, I’m a terrible tease; you’ll just have to watch Twitter or inquire discreetly if you’re dying to know (especially if you think you might be interested in more than an academic fashion).  I’m starting to firm up the schedule for my tour to Oklahoma; right now it looks like I’ll be leaving Seattle on Sunday July 26th, spending the night in Boise or therabouts, ending up in Denver on the 27th, moving on to Wichita on the 28th & arriving at my ranch on the 29th.  But that’s not by any means set in stone, and I’m not exactly sure when in August I’m coming back (though it’ll probably be the week of the 11th).  There are also some developments on the activism front: beside my trip to Vancouver this coming Saturday for the Red Umbrella March, Mistress Matisse and I visited with a reporter over dinner yesterday, and on July 19th SWOP Seattle will welcome Kaytlin Bailey for an appearance in our variety show at the Highway 99 Blues Club.  Also, just yesterday I received a thumb drive that Grace sent from home with my book on it; I’ll be starting to work on that again right away.  I’m sorry it has taken so long; as part of my apology, please accept this picture from my old escort website, taken when I was a mere 34 years old.  It was also on the drive Grace sent; perhaps if y’all are very nice to me I may share others.  Yes, that’s teasing again; I’m afraid I can’t help it.

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