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Posts Tagged ‘Guinea Pigs’

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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White people saving white people is not as sexy and compelling as white people getting to further exercise their savior complex through the racist stereotype of the submissive, obedient Asian sex slave.  –  Laura LeMoon

Rough Trade 

From Norway, the other feminist paradise:

A 36 year old man has been sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of two rapes.  The punishment would have been harsher if the victims were not prostitutes…the judgment of Stavanger District Court [reads]…”By the rape of a prostitute who has agreed to sell sexual services, but where a situation arises where the offender will not pay, and thus develop into a rape which in this case is the violation of sexual integrity by a somewhat different character”…the verdict has been appealed…

The Daughters of Shamhat

Sex work is not an evil to be tolerated, but a good to be celebrated:

…Over the next year I sought out…sexworkers…every for every time I felt I was losing control…the only thing holding me together was the sexworkers I was seeing every three to four weeks.  They kept my wife safe from my anger…Based on the recommendation of a sexworker I sought help.  I was diagnosed with PTSD…later [my wife] filed for divorce…years [later] I met a young lady…that stole my heart.  After two months of dating…she said she could not have an exclusive physical relationship with me, but if I was willing to have a mentally exclusive and love exclusive relationship, she would be more than happy to join me in such a relationship.  That’s when she explained that she was a sexworker…Today, she and I are married.  We have a loving relationship based on openness and honesty.  She actually encourages me seeing sexworkers…

If Men Were Angels

This is obviously a major ethical violation, but I don’t think letting drug warriors handle the case helped anyone:

[Doctor] Naga Thota…was sentenced to more than two years in federal prison for distributing controlled substances without a legitimate purpose, part of…a “quid pro quo situation in which he exchanged drugs, gifts and money for sex.”  A criminal complaint accuses him of having similar arrangements with two other patients — all of them in their 20s and addicted to pain pills…Thota and the women would exchange sexually explicit texts, then Thota would write prescriptions in exchange for sexual favors…he switched them to more powerful painkillers, then increased the dosages — and their dependence on him as a supplier…

Guinea Pigs 

“Protecting women” is nearly always code for either spying on us or controlling us:

…the imagination of safety for women in public spaces always ends up focusing on monitoring their moves – by dotting the cityscape with closed-circuit television cameras.  The Karnataka government responded to the allegations of rape and molestation by announcing the purchase of 550 more CCTVs, never mind that the thousand-odd such devices had failed to stop the assaults in the first place…in spite of having more security cameras than any other country in Europe, only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images in 2015.  Additionally, this bolsters the notion that crimes against women are always inflicted by unknown persons — the ubiquitous stranger rape – and erases that most such violence happens within the home, by family members, where there are no CCTVs…The gentrification – which included CCTV installation — of Kolkata’s biggest lakeside park threw sex workers and transfolk onto the streets and made them far more susceptible to police and stranger violence…

To Molest and Rape 

Don’t socialize with the sleazy fuckers, either:

A Minneapolis [cop]…sexually [assaulted] an unconscious woman with whom he was out drinking earlier that night…Thomas Robert Tichich…and the victim were with another woman who invited them to spend the night at her home…to avoid driving drunk…the victim passed out on a large living room couch.  The woman went to sleep in an upstairs bedroom and told Tichich to sleep on a smaller living room couch…[she] woke up later to find Tichich in her bed touching her arm…[so she] told Tichich to leave the room.  A while later, the woman, unable to sleep, went downstairs to find Tichich naked and standing over the victim sleeping on the large couch and attempting a sex act.  She took photographs using her cellphone, then kicked Tichich out of her house and called police…

Still a Child (#677) 

A rare victory against prohibitionists:

[Prohibitionists] were dealt a blow…in a federal court in Louisiana, with U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier siding with strippers between the ages of 18 and 20 in their dispute with a recent Louisiana lawthat prohibits anyone age 18 to 20 from dancing nude in Louisiana strip clubs.  The decision deals a major blow to what legislators [pretend is] an effort to shield young women from being exploited by  human traffickers that they [fantasize] recruit young women in clubs…The ruling appears to establish stripping as a constitutional right under the First Amendment, making Barbier not just a hero to strippers, but to Americans in general…

Send In the Clowns 

Back so soon?

Extra police patrolled West Mifflin, Pennsylvania over the weekend after officials received reports of two men with weapons, dressed as clowns, frightening a group of children…The search didn’t turn up any evidence…The children were playing hide-and-go-seek in the woods, when around 4:15 p.m. they [claimed] two men dressed like scary clowns and carrying weapons approached them…

The War Goes On 

The prohibitionist arseholes at the New York Times still refuse to understand how anti-sex crusades harm sex workers:

In the fight against child sex trafficking, shutting down an epicenter like Backpage was a major victory, but one against a relentless foe that quickly unfurled new tentacles…it…illustrated how difficult it is to stamp out the practice of selling children for sex…Eric Quan, a [vice pig]…with the San Jose Police Department, said there had been a conspicuous rise in street prostitution…

It’s interesting how often cops & reporters with “sex trafficking” fantasies are also apparently fans of hentai. Also note that though this reporter keeps drooling about “selling children for sex” the woman he interviewed for this tragedy porn is 18.

Cooties (#711)

Super-ally Frankie Mullin exposes cop bullshit:

“Pop-up brothels” full of trafficked women are sweeping the country, according to a spate of recent reports…The tale – valiant but kindly cops, the suggestion of women chained to radiators – with its trendy packaging in hipster terminology has been guzzled up by the press.  Basic fact-checking…is absent…in the last 12 months recorded, Devon and Cornwall police have made just one referral for sex trafficking to the National Referral Mechanism…and that was for an underage girl from the UK…Insp Dave Meredith…admitted…”We haven’t managed to locate any traffickers as a direct result of visiting pop-up brothels”…when I checked out Meredith’s claim – repeated by every news outlet which covered the story – that “the sex workers are the victims so we try to offer them help and signpost them to various agencies”, I hit a dead end…So…contrary to news reports: no Eastern European trafficking victims have been found, and “signposting to agencies” is, as yet, a hypothetical concept.  If the situation arose, cops would “google it”…

Spotlight (#715) 

It’s so good to see people who had a bad time in sex work attacking self-proclaimed savior Asstoon:

With tears brimming his eyes and a quiver in his voice, Ashton Kutcher testified…how he had recently seen a video of a 7-year-old girl in Cambodia being raped.  Search for his speech online, and shockingly, no one seems to have one word of criticism for the actor-turned-crusader…despite the fact that he…according to his own admission, is somehow getting ahold of and watching what is essentially child snuff porn — and then crying about it to the senate, where he’s praised for his compassion.  Unlike Kutcher, I am a trafficking survivor. I have also come to the sex industry at various points of my own choosing and have worked as an escort, adult film performer and street-based sex worker…What Kutcher represents…is exactly the problem with the global anti-trafficking movement today: paternalism and the trafficking savior complex…it has become abundantly clear to me that there might be — at most — one other trafficking survivor among potentially hundreds of people at [“anti-trafficking”] events.  This is precisely why Kutcher is problematic…

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[“End demand” makes sex work] less safe, [it makes] it harder to make money; how would you help any individual with that approach?  –  Sola

The Swedish Pimpocracy 

The key to understanding Swedish law: the government thinks it owns the citizens:

Sweden’s government…backed the reintroduction of compulsory military service for men and women born in or after 1999.  The country’s armed forces is planning to add 4,000 recruits a year in 2018 and 2019…“We have had a difficult time manning the war units on a voluntary basis and it has to be addressed in some way.  Therefore, it is necessary to reactivate conscription,” Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist [said]…

And yest Sweden calls sex work “slavery”.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic soi-disant-addict-michael-wilson

So why can’t drug addicts get out of 20-year prison sentences for “possession”?

…Michael Wilson…[was]  sentenced…on four counts of possession of child pornography…to 20 years in prison, with all but three years and six months suspended…Testimony from defense witnesses centered around Wilson’s decades-long struggle with pornography addiction and the steps he has taken for treatment and medication…psychiatrist  James Sellman…has seen Wilson as a patient since July 2016…Sellman described the changes in brain chemistry that occurs in pornography addicts, including…abnormal levels of dopamine in the brain…Wilson previously attended group therapy in Florida for sex addiction, but Sellman said pornography addiction differs from sex addiction…

Just so you understand: everything Sellman says here is pure quackery, especially the pretense that high dopamine levels mean something other than the fact that the person really enjoys whatever he’s experiencing. That’s not a pathology, except in the minds of puritans for whom pleasure is an evil.

Watershed

When even an article that feels compelled to quote a violent prohibitionist ends up sounding pretty sympathetic to sex workers, you know things are changing:

A council of 160 current and retired sex workers from the Seattle Sex Workers Outreach Project…[is] joining other regional chapters of the organization in pushing for decriminalization of sex work…[which] would mean less stigma for sex workers, and allow them and their clients to inform police about sex trafficking without fear of prosecution.  The demand for sex workers’ rights is hardly unique to the United States.  Ever since more than 25,000 sex workers gathered in India on March 3rd, 2001, sex worker communities around the world celebrate March 3rd as “Sex Workers’ Rights Day”…Increasingly, movement to decriminalize sex work also has the support of major global organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), Amnesty International and UNAIDS…

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:

Fly Fishing Collaborative provides sustainable livelihood that prevents children from entering sex-slavery through the building of Aquaponics Farms globally and justice initiatives locally. We’re able to build Aquaponics Farms globally and fund local justice initiatives through the purchase of our FFC Branded gear and guided Fly Fishing Trips.

Property of the State 

I don’t think legislators can make a law immune to judicial review or subsequent repeal:

A “personhood” measure that aims to criminalize abortion…in Iowa could be on its way to the state senate floor.  The bill…would give a fetus “the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Iowa,” and the laws of Iowa…The bill…would prohibit the Iowa Supreme Court from having appellate jurisdiction over its provisions, if it becomes the law.  Iowa lawmakers would not be able to modify the law to “to create or recognize a right to an abortion”…

Business As Usual 

Journalists love to pretend that this is somehow unusual, when in fact it’s the norm:

Michigan has a law on the books that grants the police immunity from prosecution if they…[rape] a prostitute during an investigation.  Michigan is the only remaining state we know of which still grants that immunity, but that might change….Bridgette Carr…of the…University of Michigan Law School, is working with Rep. Gary Glenn…to draft a bill that would get rid of that exemption.  Carr first became aware of the exemption a couple of years ago, when Hawaii was “phasing out their exemption”…[because] Carr [is a badge-licker]…she does not believe the law was created with any bad intent…

As I’ve explained before, the only thing unusual about this “exception” is that it’s actually spelled out in law.  In fact, cops routinely rape, molest or sexually assault sex workers during stings, and are almost never disciplined for it much less prosecuted.

Between the Ears (#545) 

There is literally no information, absolutely none, that this stupid gimmick could record which could conceivably improve anybody’s sexual enjoyment in any way:

The i.Con Smart Condom, which markets itself as the “world’s first smart condom,” is actually a ring that fits over a boring, dumb condom and claims to track the exercise of your man bits, as well as detect chlamydia and syphilis.  The ring, first announced last July, is currently available for preorder on British Condoms for £59.99 (about $74, AU$97) with an unknown release date.  But…the company says it won’t take your money until the product has a firm release…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#573)

Does anyone else find it deeply ironic that sociopathic anti-sex control freak Kathleen Richardson had to PAY to get someone to publish this deeply disturbed screed? (That’s what “sponsored feature” means.)

…men are routinely encouraged through pornography, prostitution and popular culture to view women as sexual objects.  In turn male technologists do not produce neutral technologies, but ones that are shaped by their privileges and preferences…sex robots [are] a further extension of this dehumanised idea of women.  With sex dolls, women are reduced to their sexual attractiveness…That’s why I founded the Campaign Against Sex Robots…One of the horrors of 21st century is the decriminalised and growing commercial sex trade…Prostitution and even rape are involved in the marketing strategies of sex dolls and robots…

To Molest and Rape 

“Gain access to” = “break in”.  “Seek the services of” = “attempt to rape”.

Two gardaí have failed to get High Court orders halting an internal Garda disciplinary investigation against them over an incident where they allegedly attempted to gain access to an apartment seeking the services of a prostitute…David Naughton and…Wesley Kenny…became involved in a fracas with two [men] and the dispute was broken up by other gardaí…the plaintiff[s]…had attempted to force entry to an apartment allegedly looking for prostitutes [and the men stopped them]…

Guinea Pigs (#690) 

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:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement is deploying a new intelligence system called Investigative Case Management (ICM), created by Palantir Technologies, that will assist in President Donald Trump’s efforts to deport millions of immigrants…Palantir…[was] founded by billionaire Trump advisor Peter Thiel…ICM allows ICE…to access a vast “ecosystem” of data to facilitate immigration officials in both discovering targets and then creating and administering cases against them.  The system provides its users access to intelligence platforms maintained by the [DEA, ATF, FBI]…and an array of other…law enforcement entities.  It can provide ICE agents access to information on a subject’s schooling, family relationships, employment information, phone records, immigration history, foreign exchange program status, personal connections, biometric traits, criminal records, and home and work addresses…

The Public Eye (#718) 

Have I ever mentioned that besides being a top-notch whore, friend and activist, Savannah Sly is also a very talented musician?

Monsters (#718) 

What the hell is going on in my native state?

Just one day after we reported on the murder of Ciara McElveen…Mic is reporting on the murder of Jaquarius Holland, another Black trans woman in Louisiana…Holland was only 18 years old. 18 years old…[and] is the sixth Black trans woman reported murdered this year…all of them…women of color…Holland’s friend Chesna Littleberry has set up a GoFundMe to pay for funeral expenses…The GoFundMe uses both “she” and “he” to describe Holland because her family still used “he” pronouns for her…

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Victimless crime creates the surveillance state.  –  Wendy McElroy

Amazingly Stupid Statements

License to Rape

At least the European media aren’t afraid to apply the word “rape” to the actions of rapist cops:

Hundreds of people took to the streets of a Paris suburb…to denounce police brutality, after a 22-year-old black man was…sodomised with a baton during an arrest last week…One [cop] was charged…with rape, while three others were charged with assault…The man suffered severe anal injuries which required surgery and was also treated for damage to the head and face…The severity of his injuries led a doctor to declare him unfit to work for 60 days…[cops] deny the [obvious evidence] and [pretend] they were targeting lookouts for drug dealers…

Decentralization

Wendy McElroy on bitcoin and consensual crime:

…There are people who use bitcoin to buy “immoral goods” (whatever that means) just as there are people who use cash to do so.  As long as the participants are consenting adults, that’s their business.  Not yours, not mine.  The state is the one who interjects violence and harm when it points a gun at peaceful adults…The attack on bitcoin will be framed…as a way to protect vulnerable and misguided individuals who use their own bodies in “unacceptable” ways.  Or it will unfold as a campaign of resentment against those individuals who do not pay their so-called “fair share” toward maintaining the surveillance state.  A moral attack must be met with moral indignation, not an apology…

Broken Record 

How fetishists are trying to back away from the thoroughly-debunked “Super Bowl sex trafficking” trope without abandoning the larger “gypsy whore” myth:

While there was a considerable increase in the number of [sex work] ads surrounding the Super Bowl, other events like a Memorial Day motorcycle rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and various industry conferences had a bigger impact than expected, suggesting that resources devoted to combating the problem of forced prostitution have been misdirected….[“sex trafficking” fetishists fantasize] that traffickers and pimps use online classified services like Backpage.com to advertise their victim’s sexual services…[pigs bizarrely fantasize that] words like “young” and “no pimps” can be indicators that the person in the photo is a trafficking victim…

Imaginary Evils

Since there are virtually no actual “sex trafficking” cases in the UK despite massive, multi-million-pound crusades to discover them, cops keep themselves busy with fantasies of “pimps” lurking behind every ordinary escort ad:

West Midlands Police has confirmed they now [waste] a substantial part of their [time] in [fantasizing about] sex trafficking victims in the region…[based on propaganda from] The Salvation Army…The content of profiles leads to more suspicion…A lot of the prostitutes also claim to be ‘independent’…But [since we know women are too stupid to plan travel or get pictures taken] their profile pictures…[and] the fact they move around the country would…allude to a larger, more organised, illegal operation…

Cops and Robbers

These are the kind of people who call us “bad” women:

…a group of sex workers…operate from one of three houses [in suburban Johannesburg] which were attacked by [a mob which]…marched to their house on [February 5th] and tossed their belongings outside before torching them.  Beds‚ bedding‚ plasma TV sets‚ music systems‚ clothes and money were some of the things that the girls lost in the [unprovoked attack which] locals [rationalized as taking] a stand against what they say are drug dens and brothels run by Nigerian nationals…

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

Maker of fascist surveillance software uses Backpage as a prop for self-fellation:

Marinus Analytics LLC has joined DeliverFund’s International Human Trafficking Analysis Center (iHTAC), a consortium of organizations who’ve partnered to [come up with more ways to profit from hysteria over]…human trafficking…The combined capabilities of Marinus Analytic’s Traffic Jam and DeliverFund’s uniquely qualified personnel allowed [pigs]…to continue [oppressing people] without disruption during the recent Backpage.com’s closure of its adult ads section…

To Molest and Rape child-molester-cop-chris-wilbanks

Lying, tricking someone into doing something wrong, threatening harm to compel behavior…gee, I wonder where he learned to act this way?

A [South Carolina cop] was arrested after federal investigators say that he coerced an 11-year-old girl into sending him a nude picture, then told her to send more naked photographs or he would show the first one to others…Chris Wilbanks…is charged with production of child pornography…[he] posed as a 14-year-old boy nicknamed “Redneck Rick” on social media and talked to the girl, who said she was 12…the girl sent about a dozen pornographic images to Wilbanks and was crying in many of them…

Challenge (#677)

What could be more Orwellian than referring to groups trying to take away women’s rights as “women’s rights groups”?

Two women’s rights organisations are to feature in a High Court challenge to a new law making it illegal for men to pay for sex in Northern Ireland…Space International, a [prohibitionist] group [backed by the nuns who abused women in the infamous Magdalene laundries], and Equality Now, [a group led by a former prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after railroading two innocent black men for rape,] have been granted intervener status in proceedings brought by sex worker Laura Lee…amendments to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act breach [sex workers’] human rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination.  Northern Ireland is currently the only UK region to make the purchase of sex a criminal offence…

The Naked Anthropologist (#701) 

Noah Berlatsky reviews Laura Agustín’s new book:

Laura Agustín’s novel The Three-Headed Dog…argues that the notion of innocent young girls exploited, waiting to be rescued by daredevil Kristofs, is a pernicious myth.  People who cross borders generally do so to find a better life.  They end up doing sex work because it can sometimes be the best option available, especially given prejudiced restrictions placed on immigrant entry and employment…Immigrants are often victimized, but they aren’t solely victims…The Three-Headed Dog doesn’t have an exciting rescue narrative…[it shows] exploitation [as]…a fact of life, a constant backdrop too ubiquitous to be felled with a single punch or raid…

The War Goes On 

We have so many more vocal allies now than we did when I started blogging seven years ago!

Last month, authoritarians…forced Backpage, the world’s second-biggest classified-ads website, to shut down its adult section.  A motley crew of elected officials at all levels of government…bullied Backpage and its executives into getting rid of it, supposedly because they were concerned about people being “sex trafficked”…Of course, as Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, Backpage was already cooperating with law enforcement…something that won them numerous accolades from state and federal cops.  Purely with respect to fighting crime, the government’s victory was somewhere between empty and actively harmful…What’s more, politicians and law enforcement conflate sex trafficking with voluntary prostitution. As…Maggie McNeill has been arguing for years, there are no good data to suggest anything but a tiny fraction of sex workers are trafficked…a lot of prostitutes…used Backpage’s adult section, and the government’s self-indulgent crackdown put their livelihoods at risk…

I Swear To God (#708)

Michelle Chen on how the US tests oppressive tactics abroad before inflicting them domestically:

One of the first policy measures taken by Donald Trump…was reinstating and expanding a piece of presidential policy known as the “Global Gag Rule.”  The policy bars USAID funding for any organization abroad that provides abortions or even presents abortion as a family planning option…In another global campaign to spread “Christian values,” the US government’s long-standing “anti-prostitution pledge” restricts funding from going to any organizations that promote or support sex work.  The oath forces organizations to choose between providing comprehensive services to their constituencies, or cutting back on certain services in order to get US funding…the worst abuses of Washington’s hegemonic power have always taken place in international arenas before creeping inward.  The use of private detention facilities and military contractors in border enforcement and migration detention have been experimental sites for the most exploitative forms of prison profiteering.  It was, after all, the expansion of immigration detention that helped revive the private prison industry across the country, after the traditional prison industry’s profits plateaued after decades of mining black communities to fill its facilities…

Stupor Bowl (#711)

Liz Brown finds the usual total lack of “sex trafficking” at this year’s Super Bowl:

To hear the hysterics tell it, thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of sex-selling women will flock like cockroaches to cities where sports-fans gather, and only some will be there willingly; the rest, including many children, are trucked in by opportunistic pimps and traffickers.  As ample people have pointed out…there’s not a shred of evidence to support this rumor…examinations of actual arrest data in Super Bowl cities shows no corresponding spike in sex trafficking, compelling prostitution, or any other similar charge—despite the verifiable spike in law-enforcement and media attention to the issue…Between the Saturday before the Super Bowl and the Tuesday morning after, no criminal complaints were filed against anyone [in Houston] for sex trafficking, soliciting a minor, pimping, promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, etc…[the rumor is] what people today like to refer to as “fake news,” and the people who propagate it year after year—police departments looking to justify vice stings and asset forfeiture, missionary groups looking to fundraise or justify federal anti-trafficking grants, sensationalist media, and state and national politicians with human-trafficking measures to promote—are not…“abolitionists” but propagandists, plain and simple.

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There is no thought that a person should be able to have which lands them in jail.  –  Brian Shuster

Surplus Women 

Rolling Stone manages to do an entire article on serial killers who target sex workers without bothering to mention the reason so many do:  the criminalization that forces us to operate in the shadows:

The Killing Season, A&E’s upcoming documentary series about…unsolved murders of prostitutes…starts by looking into the Long Island Serial Killer investigation…but…is not just about LISK…the show…found there are likely many, many more predators who have been able to keep their killings sprees unnoticed.  “These guys aren’t getting away with murder because they are such geniuses,” [filmmaker Rachel] Mills tells Rolling Stone. “They have identified the perfect victims.  They know that those are the types of people that maybe they should go after because they don’t leave as much of a trace as a soccer mom who posts on Facebook”…families of…victims…[have] a hard time convincing law enforcement to take their concerns seriously…

Peeping Toms (#331)

Cops just love their “crackdowns” against queers, but in the current environment of tolerance they’re having to get more creative with their excuses:

Toronto police are helping residents…take back a park that has allegedly been used as a place for sexual activity at all times of the day.  Police said…they have laid 89 charges, mainly bylaw infractions, against 72 people…to clean up Marie Curtis Park…[cops], during their “plain clothes enforcement,” were solicited for sex in the park.  At other times, officers witnessed open sexual activity or men soliciting other men…police [pretend they] are not targeting any one particular group….[but] ninety-five per cent of those charged are men…the community wants the park to be a family friendly place where adults and children can enjoy the outdoors without fear of witnessing sexual acts.  There have also been complaints about litter left behind, including condoms…

Note the close resemblance to typical excuses for “stings” vs sex workers (including public sex and discarded condoms), the similarity of tactics and the typical dehumanizing language such as “take back” and “clean up”.

Above the Law (#405)

Once in a while a rapist cop gets his comeuppance:

A former Lake County [Florida] sheriff’s deputy convicted of [raping] a woman during a traffic stop on New Year’s Day 2014 has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.  Matthew Donnelly was sentenced [November 8th] and his attorney filed an appeal the same day…

Torture Chamber (#407)

What happens when government stops obsessively prohibiting things and treats prisoners like human beings:

While the UK and much of the world struggles with overcrowded prisons, the Netherlands has the opposite problem.  It is actually short of people to lock up.  In the past few years 19 prisons have closed down and more are slated for closure next year…Fewer than 10% [of Dutch prisoners] return…after their release.  In England and Wales, and in the United States, roughly half of those serving short sentences reoffend within two years, and the figure is often higher for young adults…A decade ago the Netherlands had one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe, but it now claims one of the lowest – 57 people per 100,000 of the population, compared with 148 in England and Wales…police…have shifted their focus away from drugs and…judges often use alternatives to prison such as community service orders, fines and electronic tagging…Angeline van Dijk, director of the prison service in the Netherlands, says jail is increasingly used for those who are too dangerous to release, or for vulnerable offenders who need the help available inside…critics…[pretend there are criminals hiding all over who haven’t been caught] and…many of…van Dijk’s staff are not happy about the lack of people to lock up…

The Public Eye (#449) 

Tyranny By Consensus (#528)

This isn’t the first time Weinstein’s been accused of financial shenanigans:

…The Free Speech Coalition…is taking aim at Weinstein and his nonprofit over…improper political spending.  FSC filed a formal complaint…charging that Weinstein’s spending push related to promoting measures such as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, an anti-development initiative designed to curb building in Los Angeles, has been dubious…[and] constitutes a breach of the Internal Revenue Service’s requirements for an organization to maintain non-profit status, since much of the spending is not directly related to AHF’s own AIDS-related mandate…AHF has…spent in excess of $10 million on local ballot measures and lobbying…[and] almost $20 million on statewide ballot measures…while continuing to receive government grants and not paying taxes on pharmacy sales…[of] over $800 million annually…

Guinea Pigs (#623) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers:

California’s secretive gang database, with information on hundreds of thousands of predominantly black and Latino men, uses a controversial overlay of…data analysis and surveillance technologies…they are being employed by law enforcement without public use policies or privacy safeguards beyond the database’s own rules.  The 19-year-old CalGang database has relied on facial recognition technology at least since the mid-2000s…Yet facial recognition, so imprecise that the Federal Bureau of Investigation accepts an error rate of up to 20 percent, is even more inaccurate when used to identify African Americans…at least one jurisdiction was allowed to employ a powerful dataset-linking program created by Palantir Technologies, a Pentagon contractor, and indicate that the CalGang Executive Board has considered using social media mining software…intelligence [is gathered] from stops by police, such as pulling someone over for a traffic violation or jaywalking.  Any information collected during those stops and uploaded into CalGang, including photos of an individual’s face…people [are] classified as gang-affiliated based on flimsy evidence, record keeping [is] sloppy and gang intelligence [has] been used for employment background checks in violation of federal law and CalGang’s own policies…

Change a Few Words (#625)

It’s good to see more and more doctors attacking the drug war:

Richard A. “Red” Lawhern, Ph.D. is a long-time advocate…for chronic pain patients…”Over the past 20 years, I have interacted with thousands of pain sufferers…In many of these people, prescription opioids have made the difference between total disablement or death by suicide, versus at least a marginal quality of life and function…During the last two years, I have increasingly heard from patients who are being subjected to a systematic campaign of medication denial and personal stigmatization by the mainstream medical establishment.     Patients who have been successfully and responsibly managed for years on prescription opioids are now being labeled as addicts and denied renewal of medication…Doctors are being driven out of pain management…by an over-zealous witch hunt headed by the…DEA…the most prevalent causes of opioid deaths are street heroin, a flood of imported fentanyl from China and Mexico, and the diversion of stolen or fraudulently obtained prescription opioids…Chronic pain patients did not cause the “overdose epidemic”…a quarter or fewer of overdose victims have a current medical prescription for pain relievers…

Virtual Unreality 

Prudes will turn anything related to sex into a problem:

Realistic sex robots are still a very long ways away — but realistic virtual reality sex has already arrived…we are already hearing about the potential for virtual sexual assault.  Last month, Jordan Belamire shared a now-viral story of getting groped during a multi-player VR video game, which she said “felt real, violating”…[prudes are freaking out about simulated] sexual encounters with [nonexistent electronic images designed to look like] children…[fetishists imagine] VR sex will become so technologically advanced that it is actually preferable to real world sex.  Kathleen Richardson…is…director of The Campaign Against Sex Robots…but she’s also [judgmental] about the nearer-term reality of virtual reality sex.  She believes that things like VR, and sex robots, encourage us to see other humans as property and decrease our empathy…The issue of acting out sexual assault on a purely computer-generated character is…fundamentally not all that unlike the sometimes hysterical worries that have come up with past technological advances — whether it be cybersex in AOL chatrooms, the proliferation of internet porn, or the advent of swipe-based dating…there is no evidence [violent video games] lead to real world criminal behavior…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#635)

It’s interesting to see how much more critical mainstream media in the British Isles can be about anti-porn hysteria:

…a study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin was mentioned as evidence that porn causes changes in consumers’ brains…the researchers actually concluded that they could not prove if the people in their study had this type of brain before their exposure to porn, or if porn was responsible for changing the brain.  To generalise about this small-scale study of 64 Danish men is disingenuous…and the experience of men cannot be said to be exactly the same as the experience of women…It was also stated that there is research to show that women in porn are abused and mistreated, however…there is no large-scale, longitudinal research done with porn performers.  The closest to this was the Griffith study in 2013 which asked 177 female performers about their history of sexual abuse and their levels of self-esteem.  They reported lower levels of childhood sexual abuse and higher rates of self-esteem, social support, sexual satisfaction, and spirituality compared to the control group of non-porn performers…a statistic…claimed porn receives 30,000 hits a second –  but…comes from a Christian website that campaigns against porn…YouTube…receives a billion views a day…PornHub received just over 4 billion hits for the whole year.  PornHub also [reports] the average viewing time worldwide is about ten minutes each visit.  We must also ask how much time people spend watching Hollywood films, social media, or Netflix, and what kind of content they are consuming on there…

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When something goes wrong, we never call [the cops]…we know they will arrest us.  –  Maria, a Romanian sex worker in London

Check Your Premises

Florida cops claim to be “helping” marginalized women by brutalizing them and giving them criminal records which will make them forever ineligible for on-the-books jobs:

Seven women have been arrested in a prostitution operation along US 19 in Pasco County…Many of the women have been arrested before for the same crime…Captain Chris Beaman…said prostitutes lead dangerous lives, sometimes targeted by serial killers or human traffickers…Beaman said business owners are afraid of becoming victims of crimes themselves…

The article goes on to say that some business owners are “elated” at the pogrom, which is exactly why we now live in a police state.

Across the Pond

Is anyone really surprised by the fact that young migrant women bear the brunt of police harassment under a system which declares them infantile “victims”?

…Between 2010 and 2014, the number of young women [18 to 25] the police arrested in London for prostitution-related crime nearly trebled…The increase contrasts with steep falls in the number of arrests of men and across all the other ages for crimes related to prostitution…Laura Watson, from the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), calls the rise in arrests of young women “horrifying…The police use public concern for young people’s wellbeing to justify targeting and ‘saving’ young people from working as sex workers by arresting them…No alternatives are given, just criminalization”…treating young prostitutes as victims does more harm than good…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

When will lawheads learn that whores cannot be made to vanish by proclamation?

Thailand’s…sex industry is under fire, with the tourism minister [fantasizing she can] rid the country of its ubiquitous brothels and a spate of police raids in recent weeks…Those who work in the industry say curbs on commercial sex services would hurt a flagging economy…Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul played down the role of the sex industry in drawing visitors…”We want Thailand to be about quality tourism. We want the sex industry gone,” she said…

Would somebody from Las Vegas care to school the minister on the likely outcome of her Disneyfication fantasy?

If It Were Legal (#27)

Let’s hope this myth is dead, or at least nearly so, by the next election:

As thousands prepare to descend on Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention, a coalition is helping spread the word about a crime that often accompanies large gatherings…Experts say trafficking tends to spike around large-scale events…”It’s definitely a concern,” Hugh OrganMoe the bartender, associate executive director at Covenant House PA, said…”But it’s not anything like the Super Bowl.”  The Super Bowl is the top human trafficking event in the United States, Organ said…

Of course, other people whose names don’t sound like something Bart Simpson would ask Moe the Bartender to page are saying similar things about Republicans:

…The top strip clubs in Cleveland, Ohio, are all preparing for the inevitable influx of horny, cash-flinging Republican out-of-towners who will drop by during next week’s GOP convention…A huge gathering of drunk, lustful Republicans—much like drunk, lustful Democrats, or drunk, lustful registered independents, or drunk, lustful Green Party members—is sure to be great for business…Jeff Kallam, general manager at the Crazy Horse Cleveland strip club…insists…“Republicans love strippers, so we’re just hoping to make some money”…

Traffic Jam (#29)

“Pimp” classification schemes are some of the most painfully stupid tropes of this whole panic:

…The Empower Youth Program…[has] identified five “disguises” that a person looking to exploit someone may take on to gain trust.
1 – Pretender — Someone who pretends to be something s/he is not, such as a boyfriend, a big sister, a father, etc.
2 – Provider — Someone who offers to take care of an individual’s needs, such as for clothes, food, a place to live, etc or their wants, like cool cell phones, purses, parties, etc.
3 – Promiser — Someone who promises access to great things, like an amazing job, a glamorous lifestyle, travel, etc.
4 – Protector — Someone who uses physical power or intimidation to protect (but also control) an individual.
5 – Punisher — Someone who uses violence and threats to control an individual. When the previous disguises have been exhausted, an exploitative person often becomes a Punisher to maintain control…

King of the Hill

If interstate highways are so dangerous, why aren’t prohibitionists calling for them to be banned?

The internet makes commercial sex largely invisible, but northeast Wisconsinites need only pull up a map and draw a line down Interstate 41 to see where much of it happens.  The corridor of cities along I-41 — Milwaukee, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Appleton and Green Bay — is not only convenient for those working the sex trade, but is another form of control for a pimp, since women and girls who don’t feel familiar with their surroundings are less likely to flee.  “It’s a major thoroughfare,” said Carl Waterstreet, a [moron with a penchant for stating the obvious]…

Torture Chamber

Calling a prison an “immigration centre” doesn’t make it any less of a prison:

The Home Office is refusing to reveal if any female detainees have been sexually assaulted or raped inside Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre…A member of staff reportedly told a newspaper that “disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the commercial interests” of people involved with Yarl’s Wood such as Serco, the private company that runs the facility…

Schadenfreude (#434) 

Super-ally Anne Elizabeth Moore has published a new book, collecting her comic-strip-format exposes of the deep connection between the rescue and garment industries:

…The through line of Threadbare is that, due to a combination of US trade policies with developing nations…and cultural restrictions on women working outside the home, the garment industry is the only legal job available to the majority of women in the world.  But…when there are no other legal job opportunities…women will do what they can to get by…So, where the garment trade exists, there is generally a healthy sex trade as well, and it’s often tolerated or legal until the US steps in and criminalizes it, often as a rider in trade deals.  These are presented as “anti-trafficking” measures…the garment industry supports the arrests of, and finances the supposed rehabilitation of, women who leave the garment trade, forcing them to return to these low-paying, high-risk jobs that more often than not include a likelihood of sexual exploitation…

Little Boxes (#504) whore in denial

Sex workers who pretend they aren’t are almost as bad as prohibitionists:

There’s been plenty written about the Power of Human Touch…That’s the concept of the professional cuddling company Snuggle Buddies…Professional cuddling is not meant to be sexual.  It’s a point [Lisa] VanArsdale can’t emphasize enough, though she seems aware of the fact that clients may not fully understand, even when respecting the rules…The Snuggle Buddies website addresses these rules plainly in the contract its clients must agree to electronically.  Clothes are required, sexual requests are forbidden, and anyone who doesn’t abide by the cuddling contract—even with rogue questions asked via email—is blacklisted…Strip clubs and prostitutes offer the fulfillment of more promiscuous desires, anyway…

Every sex worker has some kinds of physical contact she won’t allow; having an especially long and/or strict list doesn’t magically make you into a non-whore.

What a Week! (#648)

It’s a “shock”, except to people who habitually go through life with their heads outside of their own rectal cavities:

Dr Emily Cooper…carried out dozens of interviews…which she said “smashed” her preconceived ideas about massage parlours…and how they affect people’s lives…“They evoke feelings of safety and security via their often 24-hour presence, they are distractions from the mundane hours of work, they contribute economically via the use of taxi services and other amenities for clients and sex workers, and finally, a role that is never reported, the sex workers are also neighbours and friends who ‘put the bins out like everybody else’”…

Guinea Pigs (#650) 

If you think that American whores don’t have to worry about prohibitionist nuns as our Irish sisters have to, think again:

Through a $100,000 matching grant the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph has helped the Exchange Initiative and two developers create TraffickCam, an app that helps [cops hunt down sex workers like animals]…TraffickCam allows anyone with a smartphone to help [expand universal surveillance] by uploading photos of hotel rooms when they travel…Sex [workers sometimes] post photos of [themselves] in hotel rooms in their online advertisements.  [Cops] can use these…to find [sex workers to arrest]…

Traffic in Nonsense (#651)

NPR is a hotbed of empty-headed prohibitionism, so it was only a matter of time before they lauded “Truckers Against Trafficking”:

…”Trafficking happens everywhere,” [Kylla] Lanier says. “It’s happening in homes, in conference centers, at schools, casinos, truck stops, hotels, motels, everywhere.  You know, it’s an everywhere problem, but truckers happen to be everywhere.”  And these days TAT stickers, wallet cards and posters — showing a phone number for a sex trafficking hotline — are becoming ubiquitous in the trucking industry.  TAT [indoctrinates] drivers to try to spot sullen, hopeless-looking children, teens and young adults.  Perhaps they’re wearing revealing clothing, or maybe have tattoos like bar codes or men’s names that might indicate ownership…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#653) 

Pro-censorship loon wants parents to panic about “artificial necrophilia”. I am not making this up:

…Internet pornography is a real problem for the 66 million American parents with children under 18.  Parents don’t have to believe that such material is a direct cause of sexual violence to be driven a little crazy by it.  It’s bad enough that it’s giving our sons and daughters some very creepy ideas about how they’re supposed to look and act…Two bills passed by Congress to restrict minors’ access to pornography over the past two decades were struck down by the Supreme Court because they infringed on adults’ First Amendment rights…In addition to making pornography hard to contain, the internet is making it weirder and weirder…The fetish that’s trending right now…is necrophilia — “artificial snuff films”…I…don’t want my preteens watching actors having sex with corpses, even fake corpses, before they’ve begun to date…

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An adult who chooses to engage in sexual activity, whether for recreation, procreation or in exchange for something of value, makes a private, individual choice that should not be subject to criminal sanctions.  –  Jeanne LoCicero and Udi Ofer

Something Rotten in Sweden

The 5th installment of the Tits and Sass series “Big Mother is Watching You” profiles notable American proponents of “end demand” and the Swedish model, namely  Rachel Durchslag, Tom DartBeth Klein, Shirley Franklin, Yasmin Vafa and  Dominique Roe-Sepowitz.

A False Dichotomy 

They “see it as a business transaction” because that’s exactly what it is:

…in recent interviews conducted to understand what is driving [migrants] into the hands of human traffickers, it is clear that those involved see the risk they are taking as a business transaction, not a crime.  Malick Traore of Mali…said…“It is even more risky to live in misery in my own home country with a family always having tears in their eyes from hungers…the traffickers…do not call the migrant from their homes, or force them to cross the sea.  It is just an agreement between shipman and client”…Mariam Camara…is a widow with two daughters…[she said] “the criminal is Malian government but not the traffickers.”  Hamidou Thierro…says:  “I do not see those traffickers as criminals, because they are helping the poor migrants who are sacrificing their life to get into Europe to help back their families and plan better life for their children.  The traffickers are not human life protection agent but normal transporter as air plane or train”…

Lawheads just can’t get that normal people don’t really give a shit about their bullshit regulations.

Gorged With Meaning

Just about everything you need to know about this craptastic mixture of the obvious, the pearl-clutching and the dead wrong is that the author interviews the sociopathic narcissist Meghan Murphy instead of one of the many sex workers who write on the subject (such as, oh, ME for example), and approvingly quotes her as saying that raping a sex worker is no big deal.  That, and the fact that it’s named “The New Prostitution Economy” because it pretends that young women trading sex to older men for resources is some kind of new thing.

Follow Your Bliss 

Again, don’t think this is unique to Oakland:

When Leneka Pendergrass’ seventeen-year-old daughter…escaped…a pimp…Pendergrass turned to an organization that had previously helped.  She called Patrick Mims…of the Sexually Exploited Minors program at Bay Area Women Against Rape…the lead East Bay nonprofit organization in the state’s Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force…BAWAR works closely with Oakland police…to [indoctrinate] them about child sex trafficking.  And BAWAR employees…accompany Oakland cops on their anti-[sex worker] sting operations…Pendergrass…and Mims frequently texted the first few nights after she and her daughter escaped…Then…less than a week [later]…Mims came to her apartment and they had sex…[this continued for six weeks, then] Mims suddenly stopped responding to her calls and texts…[and] her daughter’s case was no longer a priority for BAWAR.  She felt Mims abused his position of power.  Feelings of confusion and remorse grew intense, she said.  She worried that her access to OPD and the DA was being curtailed, too…Pendergrass also wrote a letter to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an umbrella organization of rape-crisis centers like BAWAR…nothing ever came of her letter, or the police report…BAWAR…appears to never have acknowledged what happened…Jacqueline Montero

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

…Jacqueline Montero…worked as a prostitute for years to feed her children.  Now, after a decade of activism for women’s rights in the Dominican Republic, she hopes to put her life experience to work following her election to the Chamber of Deputies as part of an opposition coalition…The 46-year-old wants to focus on improving opportunities for women, a significant challenge in a country where about 35 percent of households are led by single mothers in poverty…She plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit discrimination against…LGBT, sex workers, people with AIDS and the elderly.  The walls of her office are adorned with diplomas and posters from international conferences dealing with sex work…Activists say the significance of her election transcends her relatively minor legislative position because she will be a powerful voice for largely unrepresented people…

Cops and Condoms (#313)

Remember Bill Gates’ $100,000 grant to develop “the next generation of condom”?  Well, the first results are in:

…After weeding through 953 applications, the foundation awarded grants to 26 applicants.  Among them was Richard Chartoff, a polymer scientist at Oregon State University, who developed an idea for ultra-thin condoms made from polyurethane elastic polymers that respond to body heat and conform to the penis’s shape…the HEX condom, developed by luxury sex toy company LELO…[features a] “hexagonal net design [which] effectively holds together the condom,” [founder Filip] Sedic explains, “so we were able to make the majority of the condom’s surface very thin without forfeiting strength”…the hexagonal design gripped his penis without squeezing it.  My husband’s sensations were less dulled than usual, too, since it was the thinnest traditionally shaped condom we used…myONE Perfect Fit from ONE Condoms will bring 56 different sizes to the market, allowing men to use a kit…to measure their penis length and width to determine the best size for them…

Devil’s Advocate

This guy seems like a real scumbag…so why isn’t Thailand asking for Norway to extradite him for prosecution there? Do you really want a precedent that people can be prosecuted in one jurisdiction for things they did in another jurisdiction where their actions weren’t illegal?

A 34-year-old Swedish businessman based in Oslo is facing trial in Norway accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in Thailand for several years – including making her pregnant…the girl…is from a poor family and had started working as a prostitute straight after finishing school…at the age of 14 she gave birth to the baby…DNA records have shown that the man is the child’s biological father…Police launched their investigation after he was arrested for…drugs two years ago.  During a search of his home in Oslo officers found indecent images…and 51 movies showing children being sexually abused.  They also found pictures of the Thai girl…

Guinea Pigs 

This is one of those potpourris of hysteria that could fit into any of several headings, but I think the most important one is yet another surveillance tool for hunting down sex workers:

…Tim Wedge, a Forensics Science professor…in Defiance, Ohio…[created] FAGIN, Facial Analysis to Gain Information Now, a basic crude prototype…[which] is designed to take…pictures of missing children, run it through the facial analysis software by comparing them to pictures in ads for people being sold for sex online, and produce a report whenever there’s a match…Wedge says FAGIN has the possibility of rescuing a shocking amount of victims…800,000 children are reported missing each year.  One in five of them are sex trafficking victims…

Can this “science professor” even do math?  Because the reporter sure can’t.  But more importantly: the same program could also compare pics from ads to, say, a driver’s license database, thus giving cops an escort’s legal name and address.

Aloha, Oy!

Hawaii was the last state to criminalize prostitution, and now it’s become the last state to fully rebrand it as “sex trafficking”:

Hawaii has become the last state in the nation to explicitly ban sex trafficking.  Gov. David Ige signed the bill…[which] makes [acts that were already illegal illegal again], expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation.  “It’s a historic day for Hawaii.  Now, from sea to sea, the United States can say it [criminalized some crimes twice],” said Kris Coffield…[a “sex trafficking” profiteer]…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#622) 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

In honor of International [Whores’] Day, activists marched on Atlantic City on June 3 to call for the decriminalization of sex work…This is a goal the American Civil Liberties Union…strongly supports.  Since 1975, the ACLU has believed that prostitution…should be decriminalized…It’s time to stop sweeping consenting adult sex workers into the criminal justice system.  We need models that protect their rights, their health and their safety…Amnesty International adopted a policy advocating the decriminalization of adult consensual sex work in its efforts to prevent human rights violations.  Amnesty isn’t alone.  They joined the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and many other…groups in calling for the decriminalization of sex work to stem the abuse, discrimination and violence that too frequently plague the lives of sex workers…

King of the Hill (#623) The Keep

One of the more amusing tropes of this moral panic: labeling a particular street a “hotbed” of sex work or “trafficking”:

For more than three decades now, the corner of Cypress Avenue and Starr Street has been known as one of the old-school New York prostitution hotbeds.  Even as gentrification of the area rapidly progresses, prostitution as a symptom of the “bad old times” continues…Unbeknownst to the owners at the time of the opening, [a bar named] The Keep became somewhat of a local epicenter for…“Operation Losing Proposition,” the goal of which is to lock up johns as they solicit sex from undercover [sows who use]…the bathrooms at The Keep [without permission] to change into their [costumes]…Eli B. Silverman explains that the initiative was designed by CEU attorneys who researched the law that allows for [asset seizure]…In this case, johns’ cars could be seized…the operation has been yielding incredible [profits]…and [Silverman pretends] prostitution has been greatly reduced…the operation has been consistently dubbed a success, but 26 years later, one has to wonder whether the number of arrested johns is the correct indicator of success, or whether the operation opened a bottomless well of meaningless arrests…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

No, you fucking filthy liar, it’s not “unique” and you fucking know it:

Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ray Kelly, a former sex crimes investigator who serves as the agency’s spokesman, said several members of his department were investigated but a review showed none had done anything illegal or against policy. Kelly would not say if the deputies had sex with [Celeste Guap]…“This case is unique, and it’s not a good example of the relationships between sex crimes victims and police officers,” he said…

In typical tone-deaf LA Times fashion, the reporter concludes a story about people abusing women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices by praising someone who abuses women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices:

…[Sylvia] Vigil…has been preaching to the girls she [condescendingly dehumanizes] as “twilight treasures” since 1982…when she founded the Oakland branch of Victory Outreach…On [a] recent visit to International Boulevard, Vigil shook her head as she watched [a] young woman enter [a client’s] car, said a prayer, then brought her van’s engine to life and hit the gas…As the man in the Cutlass attempted to drive away, Vigil pulled her van in front of his car, blocking him in.  A colleague from the ministry who sat in Vigil’s van held up a Victory Outreach business card and shouted “not tonight” at the man…

Naturally, Vigil didn’t offer to pay the girl for the client she scared away, so the girl probably didn’t eat that night. But I’m sure the knowledge that she had been “saved” from dirty, filthy sex assuaged her hunger.

The End of the Beginning (#653)

Another in an anti-registry series from Vox:

When I first became a public defender, I believed the worst punishment that my clients would face would be time in jail.  Since then, I’ve learned that incarceration is not the…worst…punishment the criminal justice system can impose.  The registration requirements imposed on those convicted of sex offenses are unfairly harsh and punitive…I had always assumed that sex offender registration was limited to those who committed the most egregious and dangerous offenses.  I had also trusted that the Supreme Court was right when, in 2003, it stated that sex offender registration laws are not punishments but merely administrative requirements to protect public safety.  But I realize now that many of my clients would choose…anything to avoid being labeled a sex offender for life…because our current…laws apply an…inhumane one-size-fits-all approach that does not prevent future sex crimes and in fact makes us all less safe…The registration process appears designed to make people fail.  The rules are so complicated that few non-attorneys can keep up with them…

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