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Posts Tagged ‘Guinea Pigs’

Well-adjusted people realize that words have different meanings in different contexts.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Mary Magdalene 

No, it isn’t “orthodoxy” that Mary Magdalene was a whore; quite the opposite, in fact:

A new film about Mary Magdalene sets out to refute the commonly held assumption that she was a prostitute redeemed by Christ…A new film, though, flips the script to show Mary in a new light – as an independent free-thinker who…deserves to be considered as an apostle in her own right…This is deeply contentious territory that flies in the face of the commonly accepted orthodoxy that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute…It is a notion that has been perpetuated for centuries – partly thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who had Mary sing about the “many men” she’s “had” in Jesus Christ Superstar…Put all the evidence together and it is easy to conclude that Mary has been the victim of 1,400 years’ worth of character assassination…

Critic Neil Smith’s madonna-whore complex is on full display here; portraying Mary as an “independent free-thinker” is supportive of the idea she was a harlot.  Before the advent of the currently-fashionable “victim” nonsense, we were always seen as independent, uppity women who won’t mind our “place”; in fact, that’s exactly why patriarchal religions dislike us.  But then, I guess we couldn’t expect much from a mind that thinks it makes sense to blame Jesus Christ Superstar (recorded October 1970) for a 1400-year-old tradition.

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Thomas Mowbray didn’t even know Eboni Sanders.  They both lived [in Pittsburgh, PA] in the same…building…In early February 2016, they ran into each other in the laundry room.  Mr. Mowbray claims Ms. Sanders came on to him and that he declined…Twelve days after that, Pittsburgh police charged Mr. Mowbray with indecent assault after Ms. Sanders claimed that he had groped her…The charges marked the beginning of a nightmarish two years in the criminal justice system for Mr. Mowbray…and his girlfriend, Patrese Thompson …Over that time, Pittsburgh police filed six criminal cases against Mr. Mowbray and two against Ms. Thompson — all based on shocking allegations made by Ms. Sanders of gun-toting assailants, assaults, threatening letters and phone calls, stalking, contract killings and knife-wielding attacks…Mowbray spent more than six months in jail.  But on Feb. 22, the last of the cases was withdrawn by…prosecutors.  Police had finally [accepted] what the couple had long insisted — that Ms. Sanders was lying.  Now she is the one facing criminal charges.  “For two years of our lives, this woman has been using the criminal justice system to terrorize us,” Ms. Thompson said…

Too Close To Home

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

Three men arrested in a 2016 prostitution sting in Bellevue are suing King County and Bellevue police for defamation, [explaining that] officials exaggerated their crimes to satisfy a private foundation that provided a grant for the [pogrom]…Keith Emmanuel, Richard Homchick, and Charles Peters…were only charged with second-degree promoting prostitution during the sweep…However, during press conferences and other public appearances, Bellevue Chief Steve Mylett, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and former sheriff John Urquhart made statements that made it seem like the three men had engaged in crimes like rape and human trafficking…Those statements were made, the suit alleges, to satisfy Demand Abolition…[billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt’s] foundation that had given the county a grant to [harass sex workers] and [persecute clients].  Demand Abolition gave the prosecutor’s office a $50,000 grant in 2014…and has continued to give grants each year since.  “Defendants have deliberately conflated that prostitution charge with human trafficking and sex slavery as part of a concerted plan to secure private funding by generating publicity and manipulating media coverage of the arrests,” the suit [states]…To keep the grant, the prosecutor’s office had to meet performance targets…increasing the arrests of [men] by 50 percent…

Full of Themselves (#614)

California produces the most horrifying and racist anti-massage-parlor propaganda, hands down:

Doug Bennett, the founder of Magdalene Hope, a [prohibitionist group]…and his [gang] of [busybodies]…[literally spy on Asian-owned massage businesses,] spending their evenings watching the parlors, [stalking] masseuses after they leave and gathering evidence to pass on to the…[cops]…Massage parlors have been [dysphemized as] “modern-day brothels” and “prostitution rings.”  They are [fantasized] by [“trafficking” fetishists] to be storefronts for a complex network of human traffickers shuffling victims throughout the region, multiple [conspiracy theorists, pigs, white supremacists]…and [other tinfoil-hat wearers] said on and off the record…

Naturally, the California Massage Therapy Council is quoted.  Don’t miss the part about how Bennett and his cronies pray together before literally stalking women late at night, and be sure to click on that link in the first line for a look at one of “Magdalene Hope’s” hilariously-bad propaganda ads.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

What hysteria about “crime” in Italy would be complete without bringing in the Mafia?  This lurid, self-righteous mess should serve as a warning to clients to be careful which “journalists” they talk to; this unethical, pompous fantasist fully admits that the only reason she didn’t out a man she interviewed, despite her promise that she wouldn’t, was that he had a wife and children.  Yet she clearly sees herself as moral while the women who honestly sell sex and keep their clients’ confidences are “degraded victims” and the clients who enable them to earn a living are “rapists” who “keep this lurid business of sex slavery alive”.

Opting Out (#700)

“At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots”:

Twitter and other social media companies have so far refused to engage with the government’s plans to introduce age checks to limit underage access to online pornography…Lord Erroll…who chairs the Digital Policy Alliance (DPA)…admitted the ultimate sanction intended for sites that fail to implement AV is unlikely to be applied to Twitter.  Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Twitter has no rules against the posting of sexually explicit material and hosts many accounts that promote publishers and stars of pornography.  “The challenge with that is if you block Twitter, people will just say this is an overreaction, it’s mad, and it would not go down well in public,” Erroll said…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#737)

India’s pigheaded resistance to decriminalization continues:

On February 28…the Union cabinet approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018…[it] falls into the familiar trap of trying to use criminal law to solve a social problem.  The IPC already criminalises trafficking…The new Bill introduces 15 new offences on top of this, and introduces numerous…ambigu[ous]…clauses…[which] unfairly target…marginalised actors and rely…heavily on criminalisation…It only creates further confusion by introducing existing offences in the new packaging of “aggravated offences”, adding more layers of bureaucracy and complicating enforcement…The Bill…relies on the raid, rescue and rehabilitation model, which…is nothing but victim detention, resulting in the complete loss of liberty for an adult woman.  The rehabilitation process disregards the wishes and choices of the “rescued” person, especially sex workers.  Such a paternalistic approach…ignores the agency of adult women to determine what is good for them…

Torture Chamber (#770) 

The state wants us to call these subhuman monsters “correctional officers”:

Jailhouse video reveals California sheriff’s deputies watching and sometimes laughing as a schizophrenic man who had been strapped naked to a chair for 46 hours writhes on the floor of his cell, loses consciousness and eventually dies…the county [was forced to pay Andrew] Holland’s family $5 million for his death, which a medical examiner determined was caused by a pulmonary embolism…[directly caused by] the [inhumane] restraint chair…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#811)

What terrible “crimes” these “gangsters” are accused of:  not paying licenses.  Assisting migrants.  Illegally subdividing a building.  Doing their employees’ laundry.  The fiends!

A triad-controlled prostitution racket that brought sex workers from Europe, Asia and mainland China into Hong Kong has been broken up in one of the city’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns with the arrest of 75 people…the syndicate had turned 72 subdivided flats into one-woman brothels…four vice establishments and unlicensed massage centres in the same district were also controlled by the gang…the syndicate had its own laundry centre…and supplied towels to sex workers…police arrested 14 men and 61 women…

Overdue

“Fainting-couch feminism” is a brilliant coinage:

…[Massachusetts politician] Michelle DuBois…has been calling for the removal of a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” (so inscribed because it stands opposite a statue of [US Civil War] General Hooker), which she described as an affront to “women’s dignity”…If that isn’t the ultimate in futile, fainting-couch feminism, I’m not sure what is…attitudes like hers—which treat women as excessively fragile beings, and which posit that female “dignity” is diminished by even so slight an association with sex work as walking under a door that says “hooker”—just props up old-fashioned and patriarchal ideas about sex and gender…

Cops and Robbers (#813)

As I surmised, this sleazy attempt to hurt sex workers’ income is bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

[Pigs trying to harm sex workers] are using cyber-based “patrols” to [harass potential clients]…[in] Los Angeles…Working in partnership with Demand Abolition, a [vanity project] focused on eradicating [sex workers]…sheriff’s deputies post ads to make contact with would-be buyers.  Once phone contact is made, detectives identify themselves as members of the [vice squad]…advise the caller that solicitation is a crime and offer referrals to sex addiction treatment.  Investigators also use electronic “bots” to send [propaganda] text messages to buyers…During the first month of operations this year, nearly 1,900 conversations took place with potential sex buyers which prompted more than 30,000 text warnings designed to disrupt [sex workers’ business]…

Guinea Pigs (#818) 

Every New Orleanian knows that cockroaches can’t stand sunlight:

[After] The Verge reported the existence of a six-year predictive policing collaboration between the New Orleans Police Department and Palantir Technologies…which…was unknown to the public and key members of the city council prior to publication…outgoing…Mayor Mitch Landrieu…[said] his office would not renew its pro bono contract with Palantir, which has been extended three times since 2012…The mayor did not respond to repeated requests for comment from…media since news of the partnership broke.  There is also potential legal fallout from the revelation…[which was not included in] discovery evidence [for a number of criminal trials]…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

When an incredibly bad law skates through a legislature, follow the money:

FOSTA…offer[s] a powerful incentive for online platforms to police the speech of users and advertisers.  A perceived violation of a state’s anti-trafficking laws could lead to authorities seeking civil or criminal penalties, or a barrage of lawsuits.  So, why are movie studios involved at all in this debate?  Hollywood is lobbying for laws that will force online intermediaries to shut down user speech.  That’s what they’ve been seeking since practically the beginning of the Internet…For legacy software and entertainment companies, breaking down [Section 230] is another road to a controlled, filtered Internet—one that looks a lot like cable television.  Without safe harbors, the Internet will be a poorer place—less free for new ideas and new business models.  That suits some of the gatekeepers of the pre-Internet era just fine…An Internet that’s policed by “copyright bots” is what major film studios and record have advocated for more than a decade now…

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If the benefits, and responsibilities, of adulthood keep getting deferred, is it any wonder kids have a hard time growing up?  –  Karol Markowicz

Dysphemisms Galore 

In normal adult language, they ran an ordinary escort service like I did:

A [San Francisco Bay area] woman who is accused of running a 150-woman prostitution ring with her son is also a prolific author of feminist erotica…Fay Ruth Romesburg, is accused of working with her son David Scott Romesburg…to lure women into sex work and then arranging appointments for them at three properties…Romesburg said she is “deeply concerned with female sexual empowerment” and referred to laws against sex work as a “continued assault on women’s rights…We need to stop treating these women as victims,” she said of sex workers…”They are highly intelligent and educated”…

Still a Child 

It’s a pity so few Americans can see this:

…for a long time, 18 meant the start of official adulthood in America…suggestions of raising the age for gun purchases came during the same week that the…forceful outpouring of civic engagement by Stoneman Douglas High School students led commentators to argue that the voting age should be lowered to 16…We send mixed messages about when adulthood begins and what will be expected once it arrives…Allan Metcalf notes that “until the teen age was invented, that was the goal of children: to become adult as soon as possible, to escape the limitations of childhood.”  But somewhere along the way, we came up with this middle ground and, to our detriment, this middle ground is [pretended to be] the brightest, happiest time…Then 18 rolls around…An 18-year-old can vote or join the military but not buy beer or, in some states like New York, cigarettes…On the other hand: When they commit a crime, we try juveniles as young as 13 as adults even though we know their cognitive abilities aren’t mature…a Pew Research study last year found that kids are living at home longer than ever before.  They can stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26…

If Men Were Angels 

A secondary evil made possible by drug prohibition:

Christopher Bathum managed to build an empire in California’s lucrative addiction treatment industry despite the fact that he held no license in drug counseling and no college degree.  The self-described “Rehab Mogul” founded…a chain of about 20 facilities in Southern California and Colorado…Bathum presented himself as a trusted confidant and mentor to his patients – particularly to young, broken women wrestling with addiction.  He made numerous, vulnerable young women feel special, showering them with “internships” and access to company cars and iPhones…But he also used their weaknesses…to lure the women with drugs, get them high, and then sexually assault them…Bathum was convicted of sexually assaulting seven women…and…now faces up to 65 years in state prison when he is sentenced in April…

Above the Law (#615)

25 years would be satisfactory, if it were given to every single rapist cop:

Two Los Angeles [cops] pleaded no contest…to [raping] multiple women, often preying on victims while one partner served as the lookout as the other carried out an attack in their unmarked police car…[rapist pigs] Luis Valenzuela and James C. Nichols entered their no-contest pleas to two counts each of forcible rape and two counts each of…oral [rape]. The [rapists] appeared in court in orange, jail-issued jumpsuits and were shackled at the waist…The judge also ordered the [rapist pigs] to register as sex offenders…

The Prudish Giant (#703) 

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

…The latest work deemed “pornographic” is the 30,000 year-old nude statue famously known as the Venus of Willendorf…An image of the work posted on Facebook by Laura Ghianda…was removed as inappropriate content despite four attempts to appeal the decision…A case on Facebook’s censorship of art was heard in a Paris court earlier this month.  Frédéric Durand-Baïssas, a French teacher, has been trying to sue the social media giant since 2011 for closing his account after he posted a photograph of Gustave Courbet’s 1866 painting L’Origine du Monde…Despite Facebook changing its policy on nudity to allow “photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures”, instances of art censorship persist…

Guinea Pigs (#719) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers, and gave California cops a facial recognition database of black and Latino men:

According to Ronal Serpas, the [former NOPD] chief…one of the tools used by the New Orleans Police Department to identify members of gangs like 3NG and the 39ers came from the Silicon Valley company Palantir.  The company provided software to a secretive NOPD program that traced people’s ties to other gang members, outlined criminal histories, analyzed social media, and predicted the likelihood that individuals would commit violence or become a victim…[trials using the data as evidence] made no mention of the NOPD’s partnership with Palantir…[which] began in 2012…Palantir Technologies…[was] founded with seed money from the CIA…

Absolute Corruption (#758)

Readers who are still around in 2040 can expect a series of exonerations of victims of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

A judge has dismissed charges against two men who were convicted in the death of a woman as part of a “Satanic ritual” more than 25 years ago…Judge Bruce Butler dismissed the charges against Jeffrey Clark and Keith Hardin…[who] were convicted of killing Rhonda Warford in 1992 as part of a Satanic ritual, and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.  New DNA evidence and accusations that [pigs maliciously and intentionally] framed the pair led the Kentucky Supreme Court to vacate the convictions.  After special prosecutor Jon Heck chose not to pursue a new trial, this was the final step…

The Mote and the Beam (#798)

Authoritarianism is its own reason for existence:

…the House voted both on Rep. Mimi Walters’ bad amendment to attach SESTA to FOSTA, and then on the combined bill — and both sailed through Congress…even though the Justice Department weighed in with a last minute letter saying that the language in the combined SESTA/FOSTA is so poorly drafted that it would actually make it more difficult to prosecute sex traffickers, and also calling into question whether or not the bill was even Constitutional…the combined (terrible) bill sailed through the whole House 388 to 25.  Kudos to the 25 Representatives who actually understand how CDA 230 works and why this bill is so bad, but it’s depressing to think that it was just 25…

Decentralization (#813) 

I’ll start accepting bitcoin for donations (not services) as soon as someone shows me how to exchange it freely for stuff I actually need:

An adult entertainment venue in Las Vegas will enable its dancers to get payments from clients directly via bitcoin transfers.  The use of the cryptocurrency is primarily used as a privacy-enhancing measure as well as an attraction for affluent bitcoin investors.  Vistors to the Legends Room can use the…bitcoin ATM to buy cryptocurrency at the club.  The dancers can choose to wear temporary QR tattoos as wallet addresses that can be scanned on a smartphone.  Besides the privacy concerns of the patrons, the use of bitcoin allows the dancers to avoid explaining to banks where they get large amounts of cash…

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People say [sex work] is…easy money…those are people who have never done sex work.  –  Christa Daring

Watershed

Slowly but surely, public opinion is turning in our favor:

…Baltimore’s observation of the International Day To End Violence Against Sex Workers on Dec. 17…was organized by Sex Workers Outreach Project, or SWOP, and held in a small room in Impact Hub on North Avenue, just a few short blocks from “the stroll” on Charles Street…the Baltimore Police Department routinely refuse[s] to investigate sexual assaults and often harasse[s] victims of sexual assault, and that in cases of sexual assault or violence against sex workers, [cops] often [try] “to coerce sexual favors from them in exchange for avoiding arrest”…

Opting Out (#401)

This will continue until people recognize that “filtering” is a euphemism for “censorship”:

In school districts across the country…censorship takes place invisibly, through the use of internet filtering programs that block certain categories of websites — or even websites that mention specific words — when students use school computers to access the internet.  Although primarily designed to prevent access to pornography, the deeply flawed software, and school districts’ widespread embrace of it, has a significant impact on classroom teaching.  In Rhode Island…in 2013, the ACLU found that, whether by design or just due to the inevitably clumsy nature of such filtering, teachers and their students were blocked from viewing such varied and innocuous websites as those for PBS Kids and National Stop Bullying Day, a video clip of the Nutcracker ballet, and a website on climate change, among many others.  One science teacher expressed frustration that a lesson plan of his was ruined when students couldn’t search for information about “polyvinyl alcohol” on their computers because the term contained the blocked word “alcohol.”  Four years later…school districts continue to block sites that prevent students from researching all sorts of topical subjects.  Some districts took the censorship to ridiculous extremes — using their filtering software to block sites designated as “political,” “news,” and even “dictionary”…

Original Sin (#445)

The entire “sex trafficking” myth is rooted in the anti-sex dogma of Protestant Christianity:

…The rhetoric of evangelical anti-trafficking activists…is sensationalist…it works to incite fear, prurient interest, and a sense of moral righteousness…In the last two decades, the fight against [sex work] has become something of an evangelical mission.  One now finds fundraising walks prayer weekendsBible studiesself-help books and even praise songs devoted to [it]…the crusades’ rhetoric…is grounded in…conservative Protestant sexual morality.  A traditional script of sexual and gender roles is foundational to anti-trafficking activism.  Girls are rehabilitated so that they can occupy their [approved] positions…as married women and mothers.  This is ultimately what anti-trafficking activists mean by freedom, Yvonne Sherman argues in Other Dreams of Freedom: Religion, Sex, and Human Trafficking…conservative Protestants have argued that marriage alone is the appropriate sexual relationship, divinely ordained…As such, sexual relations outside of marriage are imagined as bondage…Conservative Protestant women have a long history of fashioning themselves as guardians of the moral order, more specifically of marriage and the familya strategy they have employed to legitimate their political and social campaigns, from suffrage and temperance to abortion and same-sex marriage debates…

Moving Pictures 

I wonder how many of these Reefer Madness-style fakumentaries there will be before the hysteria ends?

Gridshock is a feature-length investigative documentary that exposes the sex trafficking industry in Iowa.  It will explore the insidious network of sexual enslavement that is flourishing in our communities RIGHT NOW…in our neighborhoods IN EVERY SINGLE IOWA COUNTY…all around us is a thinly veiled market trading in sexually enslaved human beings, mostly women and children.  In two online clicks, you can purchase – for sex against their will – an infant, child, or adolescent; a woman or man; in any county in Iowa…

It’s good to see this scam flopping.  Maybe people are starting to understand that no, you can’t “buy a slave with two online clicks”, not in Iowa nor anywhere else in the world.

Guinea Pigs (#530) 

Hypocrisy, thy name is Washington:

Washington’s attorney general is suing Motel 6, saying the budget hotel disclosed the personal information of thousands of guests to federal immigration authorities in violation of state law…Bob Ferguson said…Motel 6’s “actions are disturbing and they are unlawful.”  He said the motel divulged to Immigration and Customs Enforcement the names, dates of birth, license plate numbers and room numbers of more than 9,000 guests at six locations throughout the state…

Remember, this is the state which regularly enters into corrupt fascist deals with prohibitionists and pressures businesses to snitch to the pigs about their employees’ private sexual activities.

To Molest and Rape 

Cop uses typical cop deception tactics to lure teen girls he can molest:

A U.S. Border Patrol agent accused of posing online as a [teen] boy to share nude photos and sexually explicit messages with teen girls now faces a federal sex crime charge.  Micah Mardo…was arrested…at a northwest Washington state Border Patrol station after…a complaint to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children was forwarded to a Bellingham-based FBI agent…the [snitch] reported Mardo’s wife had discovered child pornography and…”emails to minors with pornographic photos, conversations between her husband and a coworker…where her husband described sexual fantasies about his own minor daughter and her friends”…[Mardo also pressured girls for nude photos, sent obscene images of himself and shared sexually explicit messages]…

A Woman’s Point of View (#706) 

While one of the sponsors of the New Hampshire decriminalization bill has made comments that reek of the Swedish rot, I had a pleasant exchange with one of the other sponsors on Twitter the other day.  When I asked her to clarify her stand on the Swedish model, this was her encouraging response:

As I told her at the time, I’ve had enough politicians as clients to understand that sausage-making can be a nasty process.  But its good to see that this lady has laudable goals, even if they’re later undermined by other legislators.

Like Houses

As usual, I’m sure useful idiots will be cheering this expansion of censorship:

Social media platforms doing business in Germany can look forward to a year filled with fines of up to €50m.  Germany’s hate speech law went into effect on January 1st, providing the country with a new revenue stream it can tap into for the rest of whatever…The law gives social media platforms 24 hours to remove “obviously illegal” content.  This, of course, raises the question about how obvious “obviously illegal” content needs to be…Presumably, the government gets to decide how “obvious” the illegality is and how often it gets to collect millions of euros…Not only are service providers fined…EMPLOYEES of these companies can be directly fined as well…A regime with an interest in censorship and curtailing criticism has already pushed out a carbon-copy of Germany’s law.  This gives Russia the opportunity to push companies into performing censorship on its behalf, with Germany to point at when critics start questioning [its] actions…

Cops and Robbers (#794) 

More pompous, misogynistic men taking it upon themselves to “disrupt” women’s income:

…Over 74,000 attempts to purchase sex have been disrupted…[by] men…in Portland, San Diego, Boston, Foster City, Oakland, Fort Worth, Dallas, Detroit, Kansas City and Los Angeles…[the program has] enthusiastic support from [pigs, prohibitionists and politicians]…

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“Sex addiction”…is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.  –   Angela Mollard

Friday the Thirteenth 

Deviant Ollam, who designed our “McNeill/Matisse 2020” T-shirts, tells hackers why they should support sex workers:

Sex workers face many of the same stigmas that hackers do.  In addition to being misunderstood by the general public so often that they may choose to not even self-identify publicly unless they are in “safe” environments and surrounded by their own kind, the mainstream portrayal of such groups of people is riddled with the most ostentatious and over-blown stereotypes…If we search for the word “hacker” what are we going to see for the results?…Black hoodies and balaclavas everywhere.  The stock image sites are among the worst offenders, as always.  But that’s what editors (and, by extension, their readership) sees in their mind when they hear the word “hacker.”  By and large, we are seen as scary, malicious, and out to cause mayhem.  Let’s try a google image search for “prostitute” now…Is it much of a surprise to anyone that the trope of the “at-risk street walker” is far-and-away the most returned image?…I put it to you that the “prostitutes” in these photos are no more representative of the sex work population than the “hackers” in the earlier images are of our own community…

Enabling Oppression

I’m glad a few people recognize how loathsome it is to use talk of “slavery” to oppose human rights:

…The click bait power of slavery and human trafficking, often encouraged by sensationalist headlines such as “victims branded like cattle”, operates to obscure real problems.  This is tied up with how we label people.  People entering the UK illegally, for example, are characterised as one of two types: either they are seen as undesirable migrants, or else as victims of slavery.  Our use of such labels – “slave”, “trafficking victim”, “refugee”, “migrant” – highlights our need to distinguish between those who deserve protection and those who don’t…the continued use of the idea of slavery to invoke an emotive response…promotes overly simplistic solutions – such as awareness raising campaigns…

Paint By Numbers

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

Men, women and children took to the streets of Newcastle to make a stand against human trafficking.  With their mouths taped shut, more than 100 people dressed in black walked in single file through the city centre down to the Quayside on Saturday, stopping briefly to make a silent demonstration at the Monument…One of the Newcastle Walk for Freedom organisers, Rachel Jobes…said: “When we say this is a crime that’s happening under our noses we aren’t exaggerating.  We [fantasize] there have been trafficking victims in nail bars, held as slaves in parts of our city and we [masturbate to thoughts of] people…sexually exploited on the streets where we walked”…

Available Weapon

How can people read this and still think prostitution laws are a good idea?

…in Henrico County, Virginia…the number of female inmates at the county jail has more than doubled in the past year…due to…an intensifying police crackdown on sex workers and on people with drug dependence issues…[prosecutor] Michael Feinmel…claims that…these people are a nuisance to the public…or pose an immediate danger to themselves.  But this isn’t true.  Henrico County vice cops go out of their way to arrest these women…They troll online ads, reach out to sex workers pretending to be customers, and rent rooms at local motels where they can lure these women in order to arrest them…They do this under the guise of fighting “human trafficking,” but it’s just punishing women who sell sex…

Moloch (#572)

State actors keep trying to crucify a young man after their first attempt to destroy him failed:

Zach Anderson, the young man…whose harsh punishment for consensual sex with an underage teenager he wrongly believed was 17 made headlines around the country in 2015, has been arrested for violating his probation…He stopped by for dinner at his parents’ home.  His younger brother was present, and incidentally, so was the brother’s friend.  The brother thought this friend was 19 years old, but he turned out to be just 17.  Anderson, unfortunately, is not allowed to have contact with anybody under the age of 18, except his own siblings.  There was one other thing.  Anderson works on the tech team at his local church.  Recently, a 17-year-old girl joined the church staff as an intern.  While Anderson has never met or spoken with her, the fact that they volunteer on separate teams at the church is a violation of his probation, according to officials who issued a warrant for his arrest last week…Possible outcomes range from dismissing the charges to extending probation, putting Anderson on the sex offender registry, sending him to prison, or any combination thereof…

Guinea Pigs (#634) 

Don’t feel left out, amateurs; they’ll get around to you next:

PornHub…uses a tagging system to categorize all its content…But videos already outpace humans’ ability to keep up and tag everything, and so the site is turning to help from software…using facial ID tech not unlike that which Facebook, Amazon, and other media entities apply…There’s nothing illegal about making…from porn…[but] it’s…not a line of work one really discusses in-depth with the neighbors.  Performers, especially amateurs, may well prefer to keep their public, working persona separated from the name and identity they use in private life…[so] this particular use of facial recognition is a privacy disaster in the making…A video that has been uploaded and tagged on PornHub won’t necessarily stay on the service, but will instead travel the internet — and bring the performer’s auto-tagged name along with it.  There’s also the entire challenge of revenge porn…although the site has tried to make it easier for victims to report content and have it removed, it still exists on the site until or unless someone flags it…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t limit themselves to women:

A…Pennsylvania…[cop] will serve no more than two years — and possibly less than one — for [repeat]edly raping two boys and threatening to kill them.  David Turkos…accepted a plea agreement in June on misdemeanor charges…His two victims came forward as teenagers and told police that Turkos began sexually abusing them in 2001, when they were 6 and 4 years old…Turkos threatened to hurt their mother and pets or take away their toys if they revealed the abuse.  One of the boys told police that Turkos choked him and used zip ties to restrain him during the abuse, and…held a hand over his mouth to muffle his screams.  “I hope you die — you’re a piece of crap,” Turkos told one of the boys…Turkos frequently pointed his gun at the brothers to frighten them…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#645)

Say what you like about Larry Flynt, but he’s a dedicated foe of tyranny:

…Larry Flynt is offering “up to $10 million” to anyone who produces information that leads to President Donald Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.  He lays out the offer in a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#671)

I may soon need to come up with a heading for stories that combine “sex addiction” nonsense with “sex robot” nonsense:

…sex experts say vibrators–no matter how technologically advanced they become—will never surpass human intercourse.  What’s more, they say any addiction to automated sex is downright impossible.  “The term addiction is often misused,” Dr. Kat Van Kirk…says…”A true addiction would mean the behavior would negatively affect the person’s day-to-day life…and using it to the exclusion of intimate live partner play.”  She says there’s “absolutely no research” to indicate vibrators’ addictive properties…Nicolette Heidegger…said that her clients often raise the question—a result of our collective 21st century fear that sex dolls…could one day replace actual intimacy…between humans…But “the fact of the matter is that there is no empirical data to support the claim that you can become physiologically or biologically addicted to a sex toy”…

The Maze of Consent

Attempts by “authorities” to negate the consent of adult women via psychobabble won’t stop with sex workers:

Forced into sex with large groups of strangers, stripped of their freedom and ferried from house to house by their controlling pimps, the story of how a group of vulnerable young women were turned into modern day slaves is brutal and uncompromising…thanks to the efforts of Greater Manchester Police officers the women were eventually freed and the gang who had trafficked them jailed…Why had these women – alone, afraid and forced into degrading and unsafe sex…never tried to escape their pimps?…police in Manchester turned to a leading expert in trauma to help them understand.  His report…paints a bleak picture in which the victims of the case were portrayed as being “brainwashed” into “childlike dependency” through controlling behaviour…Dr Michael Korzinski…[fantasized that] “Trafficking robs the victim of the most basic modes of relating to reality”…

Between the Lines (#782)

The Unsinkable Liz Brown looks at this year’s “Operation Cross Country”:

The FBI just wrapped up its 11th annual “Operation Cross Country,” a massive multi-day vice sting conducted under the guise of stopping sexual predators…The media will largely lap up this sensationalist pageantry, as it has in previous years.  And once again, everyone will ignore the real victims of Operation Cross Country: the vulnerable women and girls tricked, frightened, robbed, detained, arrested, incarcerated, and otherwise mistreated by police and federal agents as part of this sick charade that claims to help them…[they] have any money they have on then taken by the cops…may spend days in jail (and away from families or day jobs) before even going to court…have their names and mugshots plastered all over local news and online (sometimes in conjunction with degrading details and comments from cops); and…face court fees, fines, and a criminal record…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#783) 

If you get caught paying for sex, you may be charged with “sex trafficking”.  But cops?

In an Oakland case…most were let off the hook, including three…whose cases were dismissed last week…NYPD [cop]…Raul Olmeda was indicted this week for allegedly paying a teen girl to have sex with him on multiple occasions and filming the sexual activity…Denver Police Department…[cop] Zachery Phillips…was recently given a 15-day suspension without pay after admitting to an encounter with a sex worker…The woman…was…charged with prostitution and possession of a controlled substance…in Cleveland…Mark Reilly is back on the job after spending 10 days in jail for paying for sex…In Vermont, police dispatcher Earl Benway was charged with paying for oral sex and leaking information to the sex worker he paid…And, finally, Abraham Flores Galvan…in Tunnel Hill, Georgia…was caught in his own colleagues’ sting operation [last] Thursday.  Galvan responded to an online ad posted by [wanker cops pretending]…to be a teenager under age 18…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#783) 

Weinstein has inadvertently made it possible to publicly attack “sex addiction” as malarkey:

…I am not a sex addict but my attendance at an SLAA meeting was part of a six-week investigation I undertook into sex addiction for a British newspaper.  Posing as a PR girl who went out several times a week to pick up men, I sought help via a psychotherapist, a phone counsellor and one of the world’s most reputable rehab clinics.  My conclusion?  That “sex addiction” — the malady Harvey Weinstein claims is responsible for his deplorable behaviour — is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions…

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Give up hope — we’ll find you, too!  –  Je Suis Maidan

Bad Girls 

Translation: some robbers employ female accomplices who pose as sex workers to attract victims:

Hundreds of thousands of UK ­tourists travel to Sunny Beach resort in Bulgaria, where pints are as cheap as 80p…But the flocks of drunk Brits are attracting criminals, the Foreign Office said.  It added: “Tourists are targeted by thieves and pickpockets in Sunny Beach.  There has been an increase in burglaries from hotel rooms.”  Prostitution is not illegal in Bulgaria…but it is believed [by cops] to be linked to the criminal underworld…”We’ve received numerous reports of muggings and assaults of British nationals by prostitutes and their minders…Tourists have been victims of overcharging in strip clubs [and] threatened with violence if they don’t pay”…

This scam has existed for as long as there have been cities; the Romans referred to such women as gallinae (“hens”).  To report this as “news” is like pretending the existence of pickpockets and panhandlers is.  Also:  Try buying something at any business in the US or UK and refusing to pay, and let’s see if you aren’t threatened with violence.  The fact that the thugs you’ll be threatened with in those places are more likely to wear costumes doesn’t change the fact that you’re being threatened with violence.

The Course of a Disease (#8)

A watered-down disease culture, but a disease culture nonetheless:

…[Israeli] lawmakers [who happen to have vaginas]…announced they would present legislation punishing the clients of prostitutes…as the Justice Ministry wrapped up a year-long evaluation of the issue…The issue in recent months earned overwhelming support in the Knesset, with 71 lawmakers from both the coalition and opposition lending their support…Justice Ministry Director-General Emi Palmor ruled out leveling fines against those who paid for sex, saying it was not legally viable.  However, Palmor said she was “very, very much in favor” of instituting gradual criminal penalties against those who pay for sex, beginning with a warning and building up to court-ordered “John school” attendance, and other criminal punishments…Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked…will then decide whether to pursue legislation that would both punish clients and set up [re-education] programs for the sex workers…

The Immunity Syndrome (#321)

The last “super gonorrhea” scare turned out to be bogus, and I strongly suspect this one is as well:

…the World Health Association is now warning of an globally spreading gonorrhoea superbug which is resistant to all antibiotics…Thus far there have been only three identified cases of people with a strain resistant to all antibiotics, so it’s far from too late for us to stop this becoming a pandemic, or for you to protect yourself…

Observation: three cases of a dangerous disease.  Conclusion: “globally spreading” pandemic!  Everybody panic!

Pimping the Pimp (#446) 

With her exaggerated claims, naked opportunism, and ludicrous misuse of terminology, this woman reminds me very much of Annie Lobert of “Liars for Jesus”:

Elle Snow laces up her combat boots, prepared once again, to go to war with “The Game”…says Snow…”The [sex] traffickers like to move their victims frequently so they can’t get to know anyone and it’s harder for law enforcement to track them”…Snow…says she was 19 when she was first approached by an older man [named David Bernard Anderson] who…[coerced her into prostitution]…Anderson was one of many men and women following a set of carefully laid-out rules and guidelines for how to force women into prostitution.  “What happened to me was called ‘The Game,’ this monstrous beast that is this world of sex trafficking…These guys have a complete structure, they have books, they have documentaries, they have podcasts”…Now Snow spends many of her days monitoring sex ads on online classified sites, looking for trends …”I’m looking for tattoos because traffickers like to brand their victims”…

Yes, Snow is intentionally conflating the street term “The Game” (which, like “john”, is used far more often among cops and prohibitionists than among streetwalkers, and virtually never by other sex workers) with “Game”, the pickup artist system.  Anyone who’s ever researched the latter knows that it has nothing to do with pimping, but Snow doesn’t let that stop her any more than she lets the demonstrated falsity of that tattoo nonsense stop her from claiming that.  Neither CNN nor her intended marks will bother to do any research, because they’re eager to hear more masturbatory fantasies they can pretend are about fighting evil rather than appealing to their prurient interests.

Guinea Pigs (#634) 

New surveillance weapons are usually used against sex workers first, but it never stops with us:

In late June, someone launched a website called Je Suis Maidan, identifying people captured in photographs from Moscow’s June 12 anti-corruption protest.  On July 7, the website also started identifying demonstrators who attended protests that day in regions throughout the country.  Je Suis Maidan relies on the controversial app “FindFace,” which makes it possible to find a random person’s social-media page on Vkontakte [Russian Facebook] with a photograph of that person.  Using images that appeared in the news media (including a gigapixel photograph published by the pro-Kremlin tabloid Life.ru), the website finds people through FindFace, listing their real names and Vkontakte pages…

The War Goes On (#705) 

Politicians will keep persecuting Backpage until they find a new website to demonize:

Five members of Congress who [ride anti-whore hobbyhorses]…called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch a criminal investigation of Backpage.com after a trove of documents revealed that the website hired a company in the Philippines to lure advertisers and customers…The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations…[claimed] in January that Backpage was removing offensive terms from its sex ads but allowing the ads, some with [imagined] child-trafficking content, to remain posted…

Some of the five named politicians are the same ones working to gut Section 230, thereby destroying the internet as we know it.

Business As Usual (#738) 

Even though there’s nothing here which wasn’t already covered in earlier articles on the topic (including mine), its appearance in a mainstream and controversy-averse publication like Glamour is an extremely promising sign:

There’s a heated debate going on right now in Alaska between the police department and sex workers’ rights advocates over a bill that would make it illegal for [cops] to [rape or molest] sex workers before arresting them.  If Alaska passes this bill, they’ll become the first state to outlaw any sexual contact between police and the people they’re [trying to entrap]…Advocates…[point out] that police catching sex workers in the act by engaging with them sexually is a human rights violation, and Amnesty International has made an official statement…that…“Such conduct is an abuse of authority and…amounts to rape and/or entrapment”…

Across the Pond (#744)

Here’s that vile use of “safer neighborhood team” to mean “vice squad” again:

After a [supposed] spike in complaints…[cops] are launching the new campaign which they hope will stop the sex trade in Redbridge…Sgt Matt Taylor…was quick to [hide the persecution behind the faddish claim]…that his detectives are targeting the pimps and criminals which organise and use the prostitutes, and not the girls themselves…“We want to [force] them…out of prostitution”…Sgt Taylor said police [pretend] the gangs are “organised”…Insp Lee Canter, the head of Redbridge Safer Neighbourhoods, commented: “I would like to send a strong message out to those who intend to use the services of sex workers as we will seek to prosecute you and if convicted your picture may be published in the local papers”…

Total Eclipse of the Brain 

Though it’s too early in the implosion to tell for sure, we may have a winner in the “stupidest gypsy whore magnet” competition:

The eyes of the world will be on Hopkinsville [Kentucky] next month when a total solar eclipse brings tens of thousands of people to the small city.  But law enforcement and activists are warning everyone of sex trafficking, a dangerous threat they hope does not become a reality…[profiteer] Amy Leenerts [claims]…“yes, it will definitely happen…it’s a human trafficking ring.  And we expect that to probably end up in Hopkinsville”…The FBI is looking into the credibility of human trafficking threats during the eclipse.  Meanwhile, the Christian County Sheriff Department is wasting no time preparing for the worst…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#755)

One way to tell a moral scold’s head is inextricably embedded in his own rectal cavity:  he claims supposed disastrous effects of whatever-it-is that are the exact opposite of those claimed by other moral scolds:

The Salvation Army has condemned…sex robots, warning that the technology could increase demand for people trafficked into the UK for sexual exploitation…rather than decrease demand for real sex workers…Kathryn Taylor, of the Salvation Army’s anti-[whore]…unit said…”In the same way that pornography normalises certain behaviours, the availability of sexbots could normalise a distorted power dynamic which devalues the other person involved when transferred to human interactions.  This could encourage increased objectification of women and children and a lack of respect for their fellow human beings”…Prof Noel Sharkey…said compliant and uncomplaining sexbots could encourage objectification, abuse, rape and paedophilia…

You know, kind of like Agatha Christie novels and TV cop shows increase real crimes.  It’s funny how prudes expect everyone to believe that human beings are only volitionless tabulae rasae when sex is involved.

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We have been so brainwashed by talk of trafficking that we imagine we see it everywhere.  –  Lenore Skenazy

Enabling Oppression

It’s hard to get more vile and disgusting than white prohibitionists using the names of dead black icons to support campaigns of oppression that disproportionately affect black people.  Most of this is a typical Julie Bindel smear screed, referring to sex worker rights advocates as “pimps” and “pro-prostitution pressure groups” (Bindel, you may remember, is the one who says Brooke Magnanti and I, along with Amnesty International and a corpse, are the heads of the imaginary “pimp lobby”).  But here’s the money quote, edited for clarity and truth:

…The [prohibitionists fantasize about an imaginary Utopia]…free from prostitution.  Many are keen to campaign for the introduction of a law to criminalise the demand.  “These men [sex buyers] have a comfortable life,” says one of the women, “after they [complete a mundane business transaction] they go back to their homes and their wives.  We want them to be exposed [as people who conduct business transactions]”…”Mandela would understand,” says [one prohibitionist] “I seriously believe that if we had gone to him …he would have [supported police violence against peaceful people having consensual sex]”…

The Notorious Badge

I’d be interested in hearing what actual sex workers think of this show:

Somewhere in the vast terrain between the hooker-as-fairytale-princess fantasy of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and the prim, grim Victorian sociology of Stephen Crane’s Maggie: A Woman of the Streets lies Harlots, Hulu’s odd but engrossing new drama about life inside an 18th-century London brothel.  Screenwriter Moira Buffini, one of the five British women who produce, write, and direct Harlots, said in unveiling the project that the goal was “everything from the whore’s-eye view.”  The result is that the women in Harlots are neither glamorous courtesans nor broken flowers, and their depiction is never erotic…

A Narrow View (#25)

Mark Draughn on the hypocrisy of arresting underage sex workers under guise of “helping” them:

Is it really necessary to send cops with guns to forcibly “help” people?  And even if you think it’s necessary to coerce child victims of sex trafficking into accepting social services, can’t you do it without giving them a criminal record?…There are better alternatives. We know this because non-governmental organizations like the Sex Work Outreach Project (SWOP) don’t have arrest powers, and they’ve been doing outreach to sex workers for years…Here in Chicago, the Young Women’s Empowerment Project spent years studying ways to help young women in the sex trade, and they had some useful observations, especially about what they call institutional violence

Profound Ignorance 

This is at least less harmful than the usual ignorance-based sex work “study”, though no less stupid:

To get a feel for what a certain dollar amount can get someone seeking escort services, we averaged 277 images of Las Vegas escorts using face-morphing software and organized them by price point…beauty is not only affected by our personal preferences but is also shaped by our culture…When looking at the women in our composite comparison, the most expensive female escort seems to have more refined features…She also has lighter skin and looks much younger than the woman charging $10 to $99 per hour for her services…

More beautiful escorts are more in demand and can therefore charge more. Gee, who’d have guessed?

Micromanagement

Please, ladies, don’t be so stupid as to give cops evidence they can & will use against you:

Sara Katsanis, a bioethicist at Duke University…was surprised to hear of a program initiated by Dallas [cops] to collect DNA from truck-stop sex workers to solve hypothetical future crimes…Voluntarily give a DNA sample now, the program promised, and if it’s your dead body, at least your family will know.  Can sex workers truly consent when it’s police doing the asking?…The program, which was first proposed in 2007, had done a very small survey and found women universally willing to contribute their DNA with no major concerns.  “So the ethicist [part of me] said, ‘Oh really, no concerns?,’’ recounted Katsanis.  “And who asked?  Oh the police”…So she and a colleague, Jennifer Wagner, went down to Dallas, to talk to the sex workers themselves, without [Porky Pig] in the room…

Case Study

Dysphemisms and gawking abound in UK articles about sex work:

A Fulham brothel operator and head of a London sex empire is facing jail after he admitted a series of crimes including making money from prostitution and human trafficking.  David Archer…pleaded guilty…to running a string of brothels, trafficking women and controlling their profiles on adult websites…Detective Sergeant John Kirby [drooled]…”Archer exploited vulnerable women to build his lucrative empire in the sex industry over a number of years…once he lured the women, they were instructed to pose for explicit photos, and in some cases forced to engage in sexual activity…Neighbours describe seeing women as young as 18 “dancing naked in the garden” before [one] brothel was shut…

Nice While It Lasted

What could possibly go wrong?

Senior council figures have backed plans to give officials the power to dish out £100 [trial-free] fines for drinking, begging and urinating…[the due-process-free penalties are to be euphemistically labeled] Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)…the orders would allow police…and council officers to issue instant £100 fines for anyone [they claim committed] one of several anti-social behaviour offences in the areas…deputy council leader…Clyde Loakes [lied]…“This is not an attack on homeless people…this is not infringing human rights”…A third PSPO, aimed at curbing street prostitution, has also been proposed for the Lea Bridge area of Leyton…

Signs 

This woman calls bruises and rope burns “signs of trafficking”. I call them “signs of a fun evening”:

…the Southwest Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force recently unveiled two training mannequins that exhibit common physical signs of human trafficking, including bruising, rope burns and possessive tattoos, said Cathy Knauf…She said the tattoos are usually not professionally done and say “Daddy” or are a UPC bar code.  “It shows ownership by the trafficker that this is his property,” she said.  She said the task force started collecting money for Freethem Ink, which will pay to have a survivor’s tattoo changed into something beautiful or removed…

Lies Piled on Lies

Nebraska is vying with Washington, Arizona and Florida to be the state which produces the stupidest “sex trafficking” nonsense:

Seven score and 14 years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, a different form of slavery lingers in the United States…human trafficking…ensnares children as young as 13 in the sex industry…Glen Parks [a pig mouthpiece, bloviated while secretly masturbating]…“It’s treating someone like you own them, like they’re an object”…The [pig] who pulls over a suspect transporting three inappropriately dressed and unrelated teenage girls, needs [to lock the girls up]…he said…“We can train motel workers to spot the signs of sex trafficking.  These victims get sick more than most, and must be taken to a clinic or a hospital, where if nurses are trained to spot the signs they can [rat them out]”…Connie Lofgreen, a sex addiction [profiteer] in Omaha, [pearl-clutched] that pornography is a “theater” of trafficking…“You don’t know when you look at pornography if that person is participating as a willing participant.  You don’t know that they’re not a minor or that they haven’t been trafficked in from another country.”  Lofgreen said an entire generation of men has developed an addiction to pornography, and that like all addicts they need increasingly stronger doses, a process that sometimes causes them to drift into child pornography…

Under Every Bed (#669)

We’ve heard all these lies before; this is only notable for the sheer density of bullshit, and the fact that it’s claimed to take place in a state with a smaller population than Greater Seattle:

Amber Lawrence…travels…Iowa [for] Teens Against Human Trafficking…trying to protect young people from being “Taken” down a heartbreaking road in which life expectancy is a stark seven years…an educational exhibit…features art of young women in a cage, an empty pair of silver high heels, and an abandoned teddy bear symbolizing loss of innocence…as a college freshman at 19, she had been the target of an attempted human trafficking incident…

An “attempted human trafficking incident”.  You know, like in “The Widening Gyre” below.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

With mascots dressed as smiling fish and a police rock band, Thai authorities launched a “Happy Zone”…to [sanitize] the image of a city [known] for sex tourism…the…sex…industry…remains economically vital while being officially excoriated…The latest of many crackdowns in Pattaya happened…last month…A handful of bars were raided.  Bar owners and working women were fined.  Scared to venture out, tourists…stayed in hotels.  Street vendors and shops saw sales tumble.  The money which flows to all levels in the city – including law enforcement agencies – fell off.  The Happy Zone approach is a softer way to try to [pretend] that something is being done…Apichai Krobpetch, chief of Pattaya city police, [said] “We will also stamp out prostitution in the area”…

Guinea Pigs (#723) 

More on the “banks looking for whores to rat out to the pigs” evil from last week:

…banks have become adept at mining data to comply with anti-money-laundering regulations.  Much of that same data can also be used to detect signs of human trafficking…Some financial patterns that could potentially indicate human trafficking include credit card purchases on some classified-ad sites, several individuals with a common address depositing money into the same account, or multiple accounts transferring money to the same beneficiary…analytics tools can also cross-reference customer phone numbers to see if those same numbers appear on classified-ad pages where illegal services might be sold…

“Multiple accounts transferring money to the same beneficiary”.  You know, like when different people pay for purchases from one company.

The Widening Gyre (#723) 

Lenore Skenazy’s take on yet another hysterical “sex trafficking” fantasy:

89,000 shares of this piece from ForEveryMom…”Diandra Toyos is a Southern California mom of three kiddos aged 4, 1.5, and 7 weeks.  Looking for a fun outing, she and her mom decided to take the kids to their local IKEA recently to do some couch shopping…But Toyos never could have imagined that their lighthearted shopping trip was about to take a sinister turn“…This “My kids were about to be trafficked, I just KNOW it” post is so shockingly similar to last week’s “My kids were about to be trafficked, I just KNOW it” post that it feels…creepy.  A lot creepier than being at Ikea where a couple of men glance at my kids…What, two men are going to grab two or three kids, all under age 7, IN PUBLIC, in a camera-filled IKEA, with the MOM and the GRANDMA right there, not to mention a zillion other fans of Swedish furnishings?…You can TELL nothing happened, because the whole thing was described as an “incident”.  And Lenore’s #1 Rule of Reporting is: When something is called an “incident,” it’s because nothing happened…

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People have the right to do what they want with their bodies. -Dr Paul Ryan

Rooted in Racism

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

Police in India have arrested eight foreign nationals…for allegedly forging passports and impersonation…The arrested included four Britons who were allegedly trying help four Sri Lankans gain entry into the UK with fake Indian passports…Police believe that the suspected traffickers are part of a wider network that could be helping non-Indian nationals to fly out to other countries on fake documents…entering the UK and getting a job for people carrying Sri Lankan passports is difficult, so they opt for the easier route of travelling with forged Indian passports…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Seriously, has this girl been living under a rock?

A pregnant woman in northeastern Alabama has been charged with rape after…she wrote on a Medicaid application that a 14-year-old boy was the father of her unborn baby…19-year-old Mekenzie Leigh Guffey…[was ratted out to cops by] the state human resources agency…and charged with second-degree rape and second-degree sex abuse, along with enticing a child for immoral purposes, traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act, possession of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography…If convicted, Guffey could face up to 20 years in prison…

Just think; if the state sends her to prison it will be ruining three young people’s lives with one action.  Of course, prosecutors consider that a win.  Protecting the “children”!!!

Monkey Business 

So much for human uniqueness:

A chimpanzee was filmed using tools to apparently clean the corpse of her adopted son, the first hint that animals other than humans have mortuary practises…Noel…was seen using a stem of grass to remove debris from the teeth of a young male named Thomas, who she had looked after since the death of his own mother four years earlier…Dr Edwin van Leeuwen…said:  “Noel…sat down close to his head…select[ed] a hard piece of grass…and used her thumbs to explore his teeth…she…started to meticulously poke the grass in the same dental area as where her thumbs had been”…Nina, her adolescent daughter, stayed at her side and observed the cleaning efforts of her mother…researchers say Noel might also have been trying to understand how Thomas had died.  She was seen tasting the debris she had picked from his teeth.  A post-mortem revealed that Thomas had most likely died from a combination of a viral and bacterial lung infection…

Across the Pond (#333)

Four years ago, Ipswitch was claiming to have “eradicated” street work:

…The number of calls Suffolk Constabulary has received reporting suspected street prostitution in Ipswich has more than tripled over a year, jumping from three in 2015 to 10 last year…Up until February 7 this year there had been two recorded sightings.  [Politician] David Ellesmere…said plans for a new [snitching] system…were being put in place…Brian Tobin…of Iceni Ipswich…said…“I…believe that in any great shape or form street prostitution won’t return to Ipswich…People are…now [arranging meetings]…online…if people are safe and they are not coerced, they are not under-age…then who are we to judge them?  In a massage parlour or a flat you’ve got more security”…[But] Ellesmere [fantasizes about]…problems of trafficking and child sexual exploitation…[fellow politician] Ben Gummer [drooled over his fantasies of]…“the growing number who are being exploited in hotel rooms and rented accommodation across the town”…

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Traffic Circle

Little by little, bit by bit:

…”Awareness raising” campaigns are typically aimed at two main audiences, namely potential victims of human trafficking and the general public…both types…suffer from serious problems…there is little empirical data demonstrating that public service announcements (PSAs) such as posters in bus stations and airports are effective mechanisms for trafficked persons to access help.  The organisations that [create these] receive vast sums of money…Campaigns aiming…[at] the general public are even more problematic…[they] rely on images of sexual exploitation, and their “further information” links or phone numbers are often either non-functional or [simply connect to the cops]…Both types of campaigns…utilise scare tactics and voyeuristic, often sexualised images.  In addition to being ethically questionable, these can actually redirect our attention and resources away from more common forms of exploitation, such as children engaged in child labour, workers picking fruit, catching fish or packaging chicken…

Guinea Pigs 

It’s absolutely insane that anyone thinks this is OK, even if the notions it was based on weren’t completely idiotic:

A British bank is helping to identify women trafficked here to work as prostitutes by monitoring customers’ accounts for daily purchases of contraceptives…The same unnamed bank has also been looking for payments to “high end restaurants and cheap diners on the same day” in the belief that such transactions could indicate a sex worker dining with a client while her “handler” eats more frugally nearby.  Another financial institution provided 80 tip-offs to [pigs] after identifying accounts which received multiple cash deposits of under £10,000, often paid in anonymously, as well as regular payments to websites advertising “adult services” and flights to Eastern European countries [which are commonly featured in men’s fantasies of] sex trafficking…

I’m not sure if the stupidest premise here is that the only things people buy at pharmacies are condoms, or if it’s that whores pay for our client’s dinners rather than the other way around.  But I have to admit the idea of a pimp following a sex worker around by lurking in McDonald’s is totally hilarious.

Choke Point (#610)

From Sex Worker Helpfuls, here’s a list of payment processors that are openly hostile to sex workers, and others which are friendly so far.  Obviously this can change on a whim as it does so often, but it’s a good starting point.  The post is two years old, but appears to have been kept up to date with edits.

The Widening Gyre (#670) 

More “grocery store sex trafficking” lunacy:

My name is Amanda…a Longview, Texas resident.  I’m convinced that our two-year-old daughter was the victim of a potential sex-trafficking scam yesterday.  I got in the check-out line at a local store early afternoon.  I took my daughter out of the cart and the couple ahead struck up the typical conversation about how “cute your daughter is” and then asked about her age…I initially was understanding of what I assumed was a cultural barrier, but I quickly became uncomfortable with the woman’s body language and close proximity…the woman ask[ed] if she could hold her…my toddler reached her arms around the woman before I could really respond…The woman resisted returning her when I physically pulled my daughter from her arms…

“Cultural differences”.  In other words, the woman was an immigrant and therefore (in Amanda’s fear-crazed mind) immediately suspect no matter how mundane the interaction.

Power Play (#701)

Marc Randazza & other 1st-amendment lawyers speak out against the Backpage persecution:

The First Amendment Lawyers Association (FALA) is asking new Attorney General of California Xavier Becerra to end the “abuse of governmental power” perpetuated by predecessor Kamala Harris against current and former executives of the classified-ad site Backpage…FALA…sent a letter to Becerra condemning “the abusive prosecution of individuals associated with…Backpage.com, and also the use of expansive search warrants seeking vast amounts of constitutionally-protected material, including personally identifiable information about all of the website’s users.”  In the letter, FALA President Marc Randazza says he can identify “no theory under the First Amendment that would countenance such an abusive use of prosecutorial discretion or such a dragnet demand for information”…

Devil’s Advocate (#714) 

Authoritarians refuse to admit that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

The very idea of a child sex doll — a life-size, anatomically correct figure typically modeled after a little girl — tends to evoke abject horror.  But…a Finnish non-profit that has spent several decades promoting “sexual well being” suggested that these disturbing little dolls might actually help to protect children from abuse.  Tommi Paalanen…of the Sexpo Foundation…argued that pedophiles can be prevented from abusing kids if given an acceptable channel for their desires…“A person who uses a lot of money and effort to purchase the doll has already made the decision that he wants to carry out the sexual tendency…Therefore, it is important that…authorities…do not hamper their availability.”  The statement…came following news of an uptick in Norway of imports of child sex dolls from Hong Kong.  Police there have seized 21 such dolls since October and…men in Canada and Australia are currently on trial or being investigated for allegedly purchasing child sex dolls…Milton Diamond, a sex researcher…has long argued that simulated child pornography — meaning pornographic content that features computer-generated images instead of footage of real children— can prevent child abuse.  In 2010, he published a study finding that during a period in the Czech Republic when child pornography was not illegal, there was a “significant decrease in the incidence of child sex abuse.”  Studies have found similar evidence in Denmark and Japan.  From that, he argues, we can conclude that child sex dolls would have a similar effect…

Authoritarians deny this, of course, because their belief-system insists that a human is a tabula rasa for the almighty State to write upon, and all that’s required to change sexual and other desires are sufficiently-punitive laws intended to “send messages” in blood.

The Course of a Disease (#715)

It’s good to see academics in the afflicted countries saying this:

Dr Paul Ryan has been lecturing at Maynooth University…for 10 years.  He is a board member of Sex Workers Alliance Ireland…“Most academics do want a focus on harm reduction, but public policy in Ireland has moved towards a…point where all sex work is seen as a violence against women…The argument is…not backed up by evidence.  Sweden has had this law since 1999 and it still has a thriving sex industry”…Ireland went one step further than its northern neighbours, however, by increasing the penalties criminalising sex work itself…Ryan is concerned the law could have unintended consequences…an advisory group on a project commissioned by the Department of Justice and undertaken at Queen University Belfast…found the law to be largely unenforceable.  The proposal ultimately became law anyway.  So, Ryan asks, “Is it about real change, or sending out a message?”…

Ryan is, of course, being diplomatic by saying “unintended consequences”; politicians in every country which has passed the Swedish model have been very clear that the law is fully intended to harm sex workers. It’s only the model’s prohibitionist cheerleaders who pretend otherwise.

Worse Than I Thought (#717)

It’s good to know there are at least a few sane people opposing the bizarre schemes of Oregon politicians:

…new laws that would suspend professional, recreational, and driver’s licenses of people busted for visiting a sex worker…were tabled last week…[but] “a new bill will be put forward which will combine elements of these two bills”…[and] mandate something known as “john school,” which aims to [brainwash] men [with propaganda claiming fantasized]…negative effects of paying for sex…[blah blah blah] child sex trafficking…the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association (OCDLA) [points out that such a law] will only hinder people from getting their lives back on track after a conviction, citing a 2016 state study that found “the inability to obtain or reinstate a driver’s license is one of the single greatest barriers to obtain/maintain stable employment”…professional and recreational license…[suspensions could gravely harm] doctors, teachers, cosmetologists, contractors, liquor licensees, hunters, anglers, and so on…Gail Meyer, an OCDLA lobbyist [also pointed out that]…“The whole issue of whether or not two consenting adults ought to be able to choose whether or not they want to engage in sex for a fee is sort of getting swept under the rug”…

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