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Posts Tagged ‘harm reduction’

Fucking over sex workers is a way [Democrats] can be bipartisan.
– Sean McElwee

Life Imitates Artifice

Prohibitionist tactics remain the same no matter what they’re trying to prohibit:

Members of Congress…held a press conference…to announce a letter signed by 56 GOP lawmakers calling for investigations into a report from discredited anti-choice group Live Action Network accusing Planned Parenthood of covering up child sexual abuse…[this] follows a familiar game plan, including coordination between an anti-choice activist group and Republican lawmakers.  This round of attacks come as the Trump administration looks to reinstate a…restriction blocking federal family planning funds from organizations that provide abortion services in the same location as Title X-funded services…The Live Action report…includes discredited and extensively edited “sting” footage originally reported in 2008 and 2011…

This laudatory article from Christian Post has a bit more meat:

Laura J. Lederer, president of Global Centurion…[fantasized] that abortions and the sex trade are “inextricably linked.”   She recently conducted a study…in which the findings revealed that approximately 30 percent the trafficking victims surveyed reported multiple abortions.  Traffickers would routinely threaten their lives and beat them if they became pregnant, Lederer said.  One survivor whose abuse was especially brutal at the hands of her trafficker “said that she had 17 abortions over the time she was trafficked, all of them at the same clinic”…

I’m honestly surprised that the “forced sex trafficking abortions” myth didn’t become more popular, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore and anti-abortion activism.

Moloch 

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

…18-year-old Mariea Starr…[of] Waynesboro, Pennsylvania…was caught by another student allegedly performing oral sex on a boy in a school stairwell…Because Starr had turned 18 two months before the incident and the boy she allegedly engaged in oral sex with…was [16, school pig Matthew Gordon]…charged [Starr] with…felony unlawful contact with minors which carries a Tier II sex offender designation…for 25 years, including being photographed by Pennsylvania State Police twice a year…Gordon brought the case without oversight from the district attorney’s office or school district administration because in Pennsylvania [pigs have absolute power to inflict charges on students]…Franklin County District Attorney Matthew Fogal…reduced the charges against Starr to open lewdness.  She was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and will not be placed on the registry.  Nonetheless, Starr will graduate from high school with a criminal record, which will significantly affect her educational and job opportunities…Starr is far from the only student that Gordon…has [fed] into the criminal justice system…

Dirty Laundry

And yet the Times supports the evil of Ruhama, the Magdalene orders’ rebranding:

…220 survivors of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries convened for a state-sponsored meeting in Dublin…The laundries were filled not only with “fallen women” — prostitutes, women who became pregnant out of marriage or as a result of sexual abuse and those who simply failed to conform — but also orphans and deserted or abused children…The Magdalene Laundries were part of an interlocking system of orphanages, industrial schools, “mother and baby homes” for unwed mothers and church-run institutions in which Ireland…confined…At least 10,000 women and girls…between independence from Britain in 1922 and the closing of the last one in 1996…

The Spiral of Absurdity 

Why do reporters repeat this egregious nonsense without fact-checking?

A sting on the sex-trafficking trade in metro Atlanta netted dozens of arrests and the rescue of dozens of children forced into sexual servitude, the FBI announced…Operation Safe Summer was a collaborative effort between the FBI’s Atlanta field office and 38 law enforcement agencies…The sting ended with nearly 160 children rescued, including one as young as 3 years old, and nearly 150 arrests, convictions or sentences…

Really?  If cops had really discovered 160 kids being held hostage, this would be international news, not a minor local story.  Looks to me like some mouthpiece repeated the number of arrests as the number of “rescued children”.

Between the Ears (#407)

Velvet Swing is the first female sex aid that actually works:

…it’s not exactly surprising that [Mistress Matisse] ended up in the cannabis industry…It’s even less surprising that her first product is a weed lube, called Velvet Swing.  While weed lube—rightly touted as the first truly effective female sex aid—is nothing new, Velvet Swing is the first water-soluble version.  Which kind of means it’s the first one that really qualifies for the term weed lube.  Oil-based lubricants are…not condom safe, meaning that products like Foria or Bond Sensual Oil are effectively restricted to people in monogamous partnerships…

And naturally, Matisse uses the interview to wake up pot-business folks to sex worker rights.

Bait and Switch

Entrapment so blatant even a judge couldn’t swallow it:

…In 2014…Skagit County [Washington] detective Theresa Luvera…posted a sex solicitation on Craigslist’s casual encounters…Craigslist’s rules required all participants to be 18+. something that has undermined sex stings in the past…After some online exchanges between the detective and the defendant, the detective claimed she is underage (“almost 15 but waaay advanced”).  Even further in…the detective brought up money-for-sex.  At every step along the way but the end, the defendant seemingly made it clear he was seeking free sex with a female adult.  Eventually the defendant shows up at the designated rendezvous point baitwith the requested items…The trial court dismissed the prosecution because the “State engaged in outrageous misconduct in violation of a defendant’s due process right to fundamental fairness”…Now that Craigslist has shut down its personals section, I’m not clear where law enforcement will conduct its online sex stings…

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” think harm reduction principles only apply to drug use:

Seattle’s efforts to find a location for its…supervised injection site has turned up nothing, and now the mayor’s office is looking to go mobile.  Jeff Sakuma…point person in finding a site…[said] there are no city or county-owned buildings that meet the criteria…the $2 million the council had set aside is to low to purchase an existing building or buy land and build…a private party that could partner with the city to allow the use of their property as an injection site, “could be subject to seizure by the federal government”…As an alternative…Seattle & King County would purchase a recreation[al] vehicle and remodel it…The mobile [unit] would park either on the street or in a parking lot near a facility that would provide space for a reception area, a waiting area, restroom storage and utility space…

Worse Than I Thought (#745)

Another shitty law specifically designed to harm sex workers:

Phoenix is ramping up the penalties for [adult consensual sex] as part of the city’s ongoing effort to curb [adult consensual sex].  The City Council voted…to fine individuals convicted of soliciting sex workers $2,000 for a second offense, $2,250 for a third offense and $2,500 for each additional conviction. The mandatory fines will be in addition to jail sentences of 15-180 days.  “If we catch you … we’re going to make it as unpleasant for you as we possibly can and I don’t feel bad about that at all,” said Councilman Jim Waring, chair of the Phoenix [anti-consensual sex] Task Force…

The Widening Gyre (#764) 

Yeahno.  This still smells like a publicity stunt gone wrong:

British model Chloe Ayling has thanked those who “believed in me from the beginning” after a Polish man was jailed for kidnapping her.  Lukasz Herba held Chloe Ayling captive for six days in a farmhouse near Turin in Italy, after abducting her during what she thought would be a photo shoot last July.  He was arrested after releasing her at the British consulate, and has now been sentenced to 16 years and nine months in jail…Ayling…has always insisted she has told the truth about her captivity.  She told police she never tried to escape because she was terrified and believed Herba’s threats that he was part of a bigger criminal gang that was watching her constantly…

Pyrrhic Victory (#836)

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data…in the United States. The agency’s new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people.  It will be shared with federal agencies outside of DHS as well as state and local law enforcement and foreign governments…HART will chill and deter people from exercising their First Amendment protected rights to speak, assemble, and associate…face recognition makes it possible to identify and track people in real time, including at lawful political protests and other gatherings.  Other data DHS is planning to collect—including information about people’s “relationship patterns” and from officer “encounters” with the public—can be used to identify political affiliations, religious activities, and familial and friendly relationships.  These data points are also frequently colored by conjecture and bias…

Blunt Instrument (#841)

With the demise of Backpage, anti-whore pogroms turn back to low-hanging fruit:

Three indictments were unsealed…alleging massage parlors in Topeka and Lawrence were fronts for prostitution…Five people were charged in federal grand jury indictments alleging prostitution businesses generated millions of dollars in revenue.  Charges included conspiracy, interstate racketeering, bank fraud and money laundering…

Note the way pigs try to make this seem like a big-time cartel by throwing around terms like “millions”; any business that doesn’t gross at least $1 million over a five-year period is probably failing.

Safe Position

If the Democrats were smart, they’d adopt this as their official platform:

…when it comes to the rights of…sex workers…elected Democrats still overwhelmingly side with the religious right and consistently fail to consult the people most affected by their policies…Now, however, a small but growing group of…candidates are heeding the outrage of their constituents and have turned against laws that make it harder for sex workers to safely practice.  At least three Democrats running in competitive House primaries are currently campaigning on their opposition to SESTA/FOSTA, legislation that passed in April and holds websites criminally liable for any [claims of] sex trafficking that occurred on their pages…the bill effectively shut down the websites that were the safest venues for sex workers to ply their trade.  Following its passage, Backpage.com and the personals section of Craigslist immediately folded.  Their collapse has already prompted many sex workers to return to the streets, where conditions are much more dangerous…

Lack of Evidence (#848)

The recrudescence of a public health nightmare:

…If you believe that all prostitutes are forced into it against their will…then prostitutes are victims.  If you believe it’s possible that it’s just a transaction between consenting adults, then it shouldn’t be a crime at all.  If you’re just a prude determined to tell other people how to conduct their sex lives in accordance with your sniffling sensibilities, then it doesn’t matter…As advocates like Maggie McNeill have made clear, there are women who choose prostitution as their occupation without shame or excuse.  This is what they choose to do, and they don’t give a damn about your Victorian mores.  You don’t have to like it, but…the demand exists and always has, and despite your sniffling, it’s not going away.  But is the answer to force prostitutes, and their customers, to risk the choice between contracting a loathsome, if not deadly, disease or enhance their time in jail?  That’s what Allegheny County is trying to do…the possession of condoms means the difference between a summons and a custodial arrest…

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I consider myself an upstanding guy and a good provider but I’m now engaged in what some consider the lowest behavior a man can engage in and I am feeling tremendous guilt. Up until about 6 months ago I had been completely faithful.  About 9 months ago my wife had a meltdown over something unrelated to this and told me to leave, then a few days later asked me to come home.  Over the following 3 months this happened 4 more times.  One night I was lonely and decided to call an escort.  I’m prepared to be thrown out again at any time, and I found that I really enjoyed seeing escorts and do not intend to stop.  I feel like cheating scum.  I’m honest with the providers and disclose that I’m married.  How do these providers see me?

What low behavior are you involved in?  Are you a cop or politician?  The only thing you mention doing is seeing escorts because your wife has, to put it bluntly, turned into a flake.  You have needs; you’re dealing with them pragmatically.  When she threw you out, did you just stand outside in the rain?  No, you went and rented a hotel room.  If she refused to feed you, would eating at a restaurant have been “low”?  No, it would be sensible.  And so is seeing escorts to get your sexual & emotional needs met now that your wife seems to think you’re a human yo-yo for her to play with.  You mention telling your escorts you’re married; honey, 70% or more of our clients are married.  We are the safety valve which allows the highly unnatural institution of monogamy to exist at all, and civilization itself would be literally impossible without us.  Every person has the right to control their own sexuality, and nobody else’s (unless that’s part of some kink dynamic they both consent freely to).  In other words, your wife has the right to say “I will not fuck you”, but she does not have the right to tell you that you can’t have a sex life because she’s too busy playing non-consensual tease-and-denial games.  By seeing an escort, you are mitigating the harm that would come from extracurricular fucking of amateurs whose ideas of consent, hygiene and respect for boundaries probably range from confused to nonexistent.

And though you didn’t ask for advice on this other topic, I’m going to give it anyway:  at one point in your very long letter you mentioned the difficulty of finding a good therapist for yourself.  From what I can see, you don’t need therapy (except for your inappropriate feelings of guilt for taking care of your own needs, and maybe to uncover why you accept this kind of treatment); your wife does.  It’s not normal to keep repeatedly throwing a partner out and then summoning them back; it’s emotional abuse.

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

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Last week, a long-time client of Laura’s asked if I’d publish this tribute to her today, the day of her funeral.  And how could I not?  This text was approved by her daughter Cat prior to publication.

Today is the funeral of Laura Lee, “Ant” (Antoinette) to her friends, but I can’t be there celebrating her full but short life and grieving at her unexpected death.  Yes, I am one of those, a client, who has another life which made it impossible for me to attend.  I have no one to share my grief with, other than other sex workers, clients, allies and academics who knew Laura; they have been an immense help.  It has been a hard few days for me and I am sure I am not alone.  I have known Laura for twelve years, and online even longer than that.  She was a moderator on the forum call Punternet…yes, that so-called “patriarchal” review site so beloved by the antis had real life sex workers as moderators.  The first time I met Laura was in Edinburgh, and after our appointment she asked me back to accompany her on a midnight Edinburgh ghost walk tour.  I did, and that was the start of a long relationship.  Little did I know she was fascinated in ghosts, and only days before she left us she was staying in a haunted coach house.

During the next few years I would meet Laura wherever our paths crossed, often in Edinburgh or London, and once a coincidental meeting in Carlisle where we both happened to be working at the same time.  One year I took the plunge and invited her to come to Glastonbury music festival with me; I already had a ticket, but her ticket was a late booking on the Glastonbury ticket resale, and the only tickets available included coach transfer.  So, I drove there on Wednesday and set up camp; she arrived by coach the next day.  I met her on Thursday afternoon and we spent the rest of the day looking around and eventually making our way back to the small tent, soaking wet from the rain which had started.  We didn’t mind; we were together for the weekend.  There were no showers, and the loos at Glastonbury are diabolical stinking holes in a tank; wet wipes and cider become the currency of the festival.  The privacy in a small tent sited within a foot of other tents is virtually non-existent; three middle aged men nearby were discussing the moans of ecstasy they had heard during the night.  We would lie together listening to the requests for Ketamine and the inflation of balloons throughout the night.

She loved the Green Fields area and the Healing Fields, the Hippy area Laura called it, where there are various massages available, Yoga and Tarot card readings.  Having a wicked sense of humour, she went up to one young police officer and asked him about the laws on opening a massage tent and would it be alright if she supplied extra services.  The poor man flushed and stammered with embarrassment, eventually saying he would have to ask a superior.  Laura was supportive of all harm reduction initiatives and spent time talking with the helpers at a drug help tent.  Here they would advise people on safe drug use and they would spend the night and early hours touring the stone circle area handing out water and helping anyone in distress.  She was impressed by the care they gave.  The Green Fields area and especially the Peace Garden were a quiet safe space where one could sit and contemplate; it’s where we lay in the sun and I told her I loved her.  I felt so embarrassed after saying this, but no she said it was sweet and a lovely thing to have said.

Laura’s determination to come with me to Glastonbury was revealed next year, after she broke her ankle and damaged her knee in a fall in the bath tub a few weeks before the festival.  Her whole leg was placed in plaster all the way up to her crotch.  I was sure she would not come, but she did; luckily, we had upgraded to glamping and were sleeping in a bed, with showers and flush loos.  I was over the moon when she told me she hadn’t even contemplated not coming.  The only downside of the location of our yurt was the hill up to the campsite; pushing Laura up the wet grass in the wheel chair was punishing and very challenging work at the end of a long night.  But it was an amazing festival, and people were always ready whenever we needed help in the mud, or faced a steep hill.  We had hospitality tickets that year, so we celebrity spotted in the area between the Pyramid and Other stage; Laura was in her element being photographed with Paolo Nutini.

We managed five Glastonburys, two T in the parks, TRNSMT in Glasgow and even did the small Pilton party together last year.  From there Laura has a selfie of herself with Michael Eavis.  The great highlights of Glastonbury for her were Dolly Parton and Adele; she also valued her meeting with the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell (a vocal supporter of sex workers rights who knew of Laura) at the Left Field stage.  Taking an out-sex worker with a public profile and those unmistakable long black curls to such a public event has its risks; she had appeared on many chat shows and on TV shows such as Sex on Wheels which featured disabled people’s sexual needs and had been aired several times.  Generally, the reaction to her was positive, with women coming up to be photographed with her.  One time after Glastonbury at Bristol airport she was hugged and thanked for all she was doing.  During that last festival she was spotted by another sex worker and ended up giving advice and help.  Of course there were downsides too, such as the Irish doctor at our glamping site who recognised Laura and started making loud audible snide comments.  Last year we spotted a woman who just kept glaring angrily at Laura without saying anything.  Thankfully the glamping area had grown large, so we didn’t have to see either of them again.  Laura would outwardly laugh these slights off, but I knew it hurt her and put a damper on the late evenings sitting around the brazier in Love Fields.

The Greenfields area of Glastonbury had a debating and lecture area, and this is where she met Ruby Wax giving a talk on mental health, which was a personal issue for Laura, though when I was with her I very rarely saw it.  She was so pleased to have the opportunity to speak with Ruby and get her autograph.  She worked hard promoting sex worker rights, even while we were enjoying ourselves at festivals; there were always emails or phone calls for help or for an interview, and she tried to fit these in when she could.  She took every opportunity to promote sex worker rights, to the extent of questioning those working on the Glasgow Sexual Health stand at the TRNSMT festival about their attitudes toward sex workers.

Outside of her work Laura tried to fit in speaking engagements, TV debates and protest marches where ever she could, along with actively working with different campaign groups and building relationships with the Belfast Reclaim the Night, feminist organisations and Repeal the 8th.  This often cost her money for hotels and travel, and importantly her time when she could have been working.  Campaigning is not cheap, with the costs increasing, and her earnings reduced, her stress levels increased with bills needing payment.  This spiral was having on effect on her health and made me very aware that allies must step up and help by donating money unconditionally to activists.  Not just money for a specific court case or cause, but money for the travel, accommodation and the loss of income from not being able to work on those days.

I loved Laura and I believe she had affections for me, often sharing with me aspects of her life, and sometimes having petty arguments like married couples.  I loved her forthrightness and the way she picked me up on my occasional tactlessness.  I greatly miss her; her death has left a hole in my heart and life.  I bitterly regret not attending the Beyond the Gaze event in Manchester where Laura received a standing ovation for her speech.

May Laura continue to haunt the lives of those who fight against total decriminalisation of sex work.

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Sex workers…are fed up with being used as pawns…in…a publicity stunt.  –  Valerie Scott

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

A new campaign’s being launched by Public Health England to get more under-25s to use condoms…a survey carried out by PHE and YouGov revealed almost half of 16-24-year-olds have never used a condom with a new partner.  One in 10 of them had never even used one…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

The story is the same the world over:

…The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1986, which conflates trafficking and sex trade…and…other laws under the Indian Penal Code…look at trafficking only from the perspective of sex work…people being tricked into or forced into moving for labour related activities in construction, factories etc are left out of the equation…The proposed new anti-trafficking Bill makes small amends.  [sic] But, leaves a lot more to be desired…interestingly, the version of the Bill that was distributed to the stakeholders for feedback is not the version that is with the Cabinet.  So, when the Bill will be introduced in the Parliament in the Winter Session, the chances are that parts of it will come as a shock to various communities that will be affected by it…Sex workers have constantly expressed their opposition to the Bill, claiming that it presupposes that sex work always entails trafficking and can never be voluntary…

End Demand 

The “end demand” strategy carried to its logical conclusion:

21-year-old Creio Chance Bishop did not want his girlfriend dancing at JB’s Gentlemen’s Club in West Virginia.  The jealous boyfriend is facing second-degree arson charges after…he set the exterior of the strip club where his girlfriend worked on fire at 3:30 a.m. on December 13.  The manager…Jim Reed…[said] “It’s stupid.  She’s trying to make a living for herself.  He’s not doing nothing.  She’s paying the bills, from what I understand.”  Bishop fled the crime scene on foot, only making it as far as a Walmart parking lot right across the street before Cabell County Sheriff’s Department deputies detained him…

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 28 this year:

A transgender woman was shot to death in Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood early Wednesday, Dec. 13…Brandi Seals, 26…is at least the 28th trans person murdered in the U.S. in 2017, the deadliest year on record for the community.  The vast majority of victims, including Seals, have been trans women of color.  Four of the murders have occurred in Texas.  Seals was repeatedly misgendered in a Fox 26 report about her murder, including by a Houston police detective who referred to the victim as “a man in women’s clothing”…

Bait and Switch

If you’re tempted to badge-lick about this, reread the original article of this heading:

A 22-year-old college student at Ohio’s Youngstown State University was arrested after falling for a fictional 15-year-old boy created by local cops…[who] used a phony dating-app profile for…an adult to lure in the student…After chatting, the catfish “revealed” he was [supposedly] 15 years old.  The college student, A.G. (not his full name), indicated he didn’t have a problem with his age.  The conversation eventually turned sexual and A.G. sent the faux boy some nude photos of himself.  It was clear from the exchanges, police [admit], that A.G. was developing feelings for the imaginary teen.  A.G. described him as “my one and only” and talked about being his husband someday.  On December 12…A.G. showed up at what he thought was the boy’s home with homemade chicken alfredo, soda, and lubricant…This a young man who is about 5’7″…weighs 450 pounds…[and] is gay in a part of Ohio where that’s still really difficult sometimes…he…was preyed on by police who pretended to be interested and said exactly what he wanted to hear, even after realizing the emotional attachment he was developing and the potential psychological effect this was having on him.  And now he will likely be branded a sex offender and a pedophile for life.

Harm Reduction (#627)

Alas, politicians, being exceptionally stupid creatures, cannot understand that the same principles hold true for all prohibition:

Norway is to become the first Scandinavian country to decriminalise drugs as it focuses on treatment rather than punishment.  The majority of the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, backed the historic shift…and…directed the national government to reform its policies on drugs.  Sveinung Stensland, deputy chairman of the Storting Health Committee, [said]…“It is important to emphasise that we do not legalise cannabis and other drugs, but we decriminalise…those who have a substance abuse problem should be treated as ill, and not as criminals with classical sanctions such as fines and imprisonment”…

Of course, the vast majority of people who use prohibited drugs have no “problem”, and if this new policy forces people into “treatment” it’ll just be another Scandinavian scheme to dress authoritarianism up as social justice.

The Puritan Recrudescence

“Environmental cost” = “public health crisis”.

…Is pornography in the digital era leaving a larger carbon footprint than it did during the days of magazines and videos?…if pornography experts’ estimates are accurate, they suggest a rare scenario where digitization might have increased the overall consumption of porn so much that…people to spend so much time looking at porn that it’s actually worse for the environment…

The Course of a Disease (#634)

It’s good to see Médecins du Monde make this position official:

Médecins du Monde has officially announced its position in favor of the total decriminalization of sex work…adopting a position similar to that of Amnesty International…Dr Françoise Sivignon [said]…”In France, a little more than a year and a half after the adoption of the law aimed at fighting against the prostitution system, we clearly see the deleterious impact of measures adopted…we are witnessing the isolation…of sex workers, their distance from care and prevention structures, as well as increased exposure to sexually transmitted infections and increased violence”…Doctors of the World had already made known its position against the penalization of the customers during the parliamentary debates of the previous years…The organization…explains…[that] criminalization policies are…incompatible with good access to [medical] care or prevention…

To Molest and Rape 

Two more cops, protecting and serving:

Two [Alabama cops]…Jonathan Perry Works…and Brian Edward Walker…were…charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy…[for raping a] mentally incapacitated [woman]…

Whither Canada? (#748)

Articles like this are much more common in Canada, while US media self-destructively cheer censorship:

Recently, the owner of a [Greater Toronto] bar began a campaign against NOW Magazine.  Decals reading “NOW Sells Sex Slaves” have been appearing in parts of Toronto, including on public art.  Letters making false and misleading claims that NOW “facilitates human trafficking” have been sent to many of the magazine’s advertisers and to Chief Federal Prosecutor Morris Pistyner…NOW does not “facilitate human trafficking.”  In fact, quite the opposite.  By publishing the ads of sex workers, NOW facilitates our ability to remain safe and independent.  But religious fundamentalists – and some old-school feminists –  have formed alliances and been quite successful in redefining all sex work as human trafficking.  In their view, all adult women are incapable of making the choice of whom to have sex with if money is involved…

Scrupleless in Seattle (#772)

These guys dodged a bullet, but you may not; STOP going to see unknowns who may be cops!

After more than a hundred people were arrested early September following an eight-day prostitution sting in Bellevue, 61 of those cases have now been dismissed due to [cops’ violation of] Washington state law…Part of the [scheme] included hidden cameras…[but] state law requires two-party consent to record audio conversations…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#778) 

A talking toaster is still a toaster:

In February…I ran an experiment in which I sexually harassed Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Google Home to document how these digital personal servants—whose names and voices are already feminized—peddle stereotypes of female subservience, putting their “progressive” parent companies in a moral predicament.  Now, those findings are being cited in a petition on the social network Care2 asking Apple and Amazon to “reprogram their bots to push back against sexual harassment”…

The idea that words and phrases without sexual motivation shouted at a circuit board constitute “sexual harassment” is like something out of a Monty Python sketch; the fact that people seriously think of this nonsense as a “moral predicament” doesn’t say much for their grasp of reality.

Against Their Will (#795)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

Yang Song fell four stories onto a sidewalk in Flushing, Queens on the night of November 25th…while [fleeing] police…attempting to arrest her for allegedly engaging in sex work…Hai Song, Yang’s younger brother…and his 65-year-old mother, Yumei Shi…are haunted by details she shared with them over the phone this year.  Yang described being sexually assaulted by a man who flashed a badge and gun and claimed to be an undercover cop, they say.  Yang also told them that the police [pressured] her to become a [snitch] this fall…“I hope to know the truth,” Shi [said via]…a translator.  “We want to know whether this was a retaliation from the police and they forced her to die”…While the police [claim] that they were not in the room when Yang jumped…both Hai and Shi insist that she would not kill herself…they are left with the stories Yang shared with them about her life in Flushing — and of the police she…[was] harassed and intimidated by…

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It’s psychologically damaging to stay 12 hours in an office getting paid a minimum wage.  –  Andra Chirnogeanu

See No Evil

I’m sure you feel safer now:

Police dug through Walter Korte’s trash four times.  They searched his car, his office, and his home.  They found thousands of…”erotic and pornographic pictures that appeared to be printed off websites.”  The “vast majority” of the images “appeared legal and depicted adults and transgender individuals.”  Some of the photos showed “young men clothed and unclothed,” some of whom “appeared to be in their late teens.”  One of those pictures was ultimately determined to qualify as child pornography under Virginia law, meaning that it was a “sexually explicit” image of “an identifiable minor,” i.e., someone younger than 18.  As a result, Korte, a [73 year old] former film studies professor at the University of Virginia with no criminal record, faces up to a year in jail and registration as a sex offender…According to the proposed plea deal, Korte “knowingly possess[ed] child pornography”…[even though] the police did not know that the single purportedly illegal image, showing a boy in his “late teens,” was child pornography until they consulted experts at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  It also is not clear why prosecutors, who noted that “police did not find evidence of any hands-on crimes against minors”…are insisting that he register as a sex offender, which is not required by statute for possession of child pornography unless it is a second offense…

The More the Better 

This is actually a very reasonable article, especially considering the BBC’s usual prudishness:

…Working an eight-hour day, [Lana] earns close to 4,000 euros (£3,600) per month – nearly 10 times the Romanian average wage.  As Lana’s employer, Studio 20 also makes 4,000 euros per month from her online sessions.  And at the top of the video chat money-making pyramid, LiveJasmin – the online cam site that streams Studio 20’s content and is responsible for collecting payment from the credit cards of clients – takes double that: 8,000 euros…LiveJasmin is the largest internet cam host in the world.  Between 35 and 40 million users visit it daily, and at any given moment, there are 2,000 models live online…Studio 20 is the largest studio webcam franchise in the world.  It has nine branches in Romania, including one employing “cam-boys” who service the gay market.  Its other branches are in the Colombian city of Cali, Budapest and Los Angeles…

Naturally, they felt compelled to quote a prohibitionist about magical “damage” and camming being a “gateway” to whoredom, and the reporter had to end with an absurd little Utopian “feminist” homily.  But these come across as tacked-on detraction from an otherwise truthful article.

Sex Rays

Half the population of New York City would be contaminated by sex rays!

Porn streaming site RedTube has offered to take Gov. Andrew Cuomo up on his idea to sell naming rights to subway stations…Owned by porn giant MindGeek, RedTube is a YouTube-like service that focuses on pornographic videos.  It boasts 20 million daily users…Required donations range up to $600,000…Earlier this year, RedTube paid to have its logo placed on the shirts of a Massachusetts amateur soccer club.  And three years ago, sister site YouPorn (another MindGeek holding) became the title sponsor of a Madrid, Spain-based esports team – now called Team YP.

Shifting the Blame (#553)

Compare “Hood’s trial on white slavery charges comes as Mr. Bell’s telephone company is under increasing scrutiny for connecting prostitution calls“:

The teen…described being prostituted around the Washington area by two brothers she met at a Virginia motel…Danielle H…testified that one of the brothers, Christian Hood, posted ads for her on…Backpage earlier this year.  His half brother Abdul Bangura was her boyfriend and her pimp, she said.  Hood’s trial on sex trafficking charges comes as Backpage is under increasing scrutiny for hosting prostitution ads that include child-trafficking victims…

Full of Themselves (#591)

What is it about massage parlors that brings the puritans out of the woodwork?

The booming spa and massage parlour business in India has led to an increasing demand for women from Thailand, many of whom are being duped and trafficked into slavery in the country’s sex industry, [cops], [politicians] and [prohibitionists] said…At least 40 Thai women have been [arrested and deported] in 2017 during police raids on massage parlours acting as fronts for prostitution in western cities such as Mumbai and Pune…There are an estimated 40 million sex workers globally, according to French [prohibition profiteers] Fondation Scelles.  [Prohibitionists fantasize] most have been lured, duped or forced into sexual slavery by pimps and traffickers…

Comfort Zone (#651)

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

…in the downtown area and hotel zone of Cancun, more than twenty women of several nationalities were [arrested by] National Institute of Migration (INM) authorities, in order to determine their legal immigration status [using the excuse that] all the detained women were alleged victims of forced prostitution…[pigs] raided night clubs with a warrant to detect any [migrants]…

Theatrics (#677) 

These fake “sex trafficking” websites set up by prohibitionists demonstrate the depravity of their lurid fantasies about our lives and work:

A new hotel ad campaign launched by Toronto Crime Stoppers online is [spreading anti-sex worker propaganda]…in hotels across the Greater Toronto Area.  From a restaurant menu of OxyContin, marijuana, cocaine and heroin, to room service amenities, such as intercourse, threesome, backrubs and bondage, Hotel de Jeunesse’s website aims to [spread disinformation] about sex [work]…The ad also [fantasizes about so-called]…warning signs that hotel staff need to look for…

Pyrrhic Victory (#697)

The word for collaboration between government & private industry to control people is “fascism”:

…the British government has announced  plans…to partner with businesses to come up with the best ways to implement surveillance and crowd-control techniques at heavily-populated venues…The British government already has the “most sweeping” surveillance powers in the western world, thanks to a bill passed last fall.  The new focus of combining that massive surveillance apparatus with crowd-control techniques is what makes this new initiative so jarring.  DASA is offering up to £1 million of funding in the first round to companies that can come up with the best ways to improve current surveillance and use crowds as “sensors” to detect dangers through the use of behavioural sciences…the goal is to find a way to [indoctrinate] the public to…keep a distrustful eye on those around them.  Those ideas seem similar to American initiatives such as the Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” program, which essentially incentivizes a sense of paranoia when riding the metro or attending an event where a large crowd is present…

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

I’m rather pleased that somebody beat the pompous, priggish politicians of Seattle to the punch:

For nearly three years, in an undisclosed US city, a social service agency has quietly been inviting people to inject illegal drugs at a clandestine site, without the government’s approval.  More than 100 people have injected drugs at the site…This data provides the first glimpse of what it would look like if the US decided to follow 10 other countries and open supervised injection facilities…two people’s lives were saved because they overdosed at the site, where staff had immediate access to…naloxone, and 90% of people who used there said they would have injected in a public restroom, street, park or parking lot if the site had not been available…The secret site is modeled after legal facilities in countries including CanadaDenmark and France, where users can take drugs in a safe space with clean supplies…

Stupor Bowl (#752)

Even cop-fellating pieces like this one now mostly admit that “Super Bowl sex trafficking” is a myth, but they’re trying to turn the truth on its head by pretending the reason there’s no surge is that the “demand” for “victims” is always sky-high:

Minneapolis [prohibitionists fantasize that] criminal sexual enterprise has taken root in the state and will remain long after the Super Bowl leaves town…So law enforcement agencies and nonprofit groups are [lying about] the big game to bring fresh…funding to anti-sex-[worker pogroms]…It includes coordinated stings and [indoctrination to] train…bus drivers, hotel workers and 10,000 Super Bowl volunteers [spy on people for the pigs]…Authorities aren’t expecting a massive spike in trafficking during the Super Bowl…

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I liked [escorting].  It was very empowering.  I had control over my life and I had options.  –  Jerene Dildine

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

Meet Christine Dolan, a “trafficking” fetishist so delusional she expects us to believe that the wildly-inflated “slavery” estimates are too low by at least an order of magnitude:

…The numbers are increasing instead of decreasing…President Trump confidently noted the number of slaves globally as 27 million…That number was inaccurate when it was anecdotally concocted years ago by Kevin Bales…It is a bogus number.  With mass migrations, internet generated trafficking, and sophisticated terrorist networks financially fueled by human trafficking, that number was exponentially higher when concocted, and more so, today…The heartbreaking truth of the human trafficking sex trade is that women and girls are repeatedly raped, and get pregnant multiple times.  [A US State Department RFP] creates a loophole that could permit multiple serial abortions to be paid for with U.S. funds.  This is a perverse result that benefits pimps and traffickers by returning their “productive assets” to them for further pimping…the…RFP as currently written could create a giant Fund that supports the aggressive “pro-sex work” stance of many organizations and governments around the world…[it] would permit an organization that promotes prostitution…to receive funds as long as they don’t use USG money to promote prostitution and its decriminalization, legalization, and unionization.  This would position a pro-prostitution organization to build its stature and influence by rescuing children from sex trafficking while simultaneously using that influence to promote older child and adult prostitution as a legitimate form of labor…

For that number to be “exponentially higher”, literally 5% or more of the world’s population would need to be “slaves”.  Methinks Dolan needs to put down her Hitachi and pick up her calculator before submitting another such absurd  masturbatory fantasy for publication.

Rooted in Racism

It’s interesting to see an article which could be synopsized as “OMG an invasion of foreign whores!” nevertheless admit that sex work is work:

Refugees and illegal immigrants are increasingly engaged in prostitution in Finland.  While the exact extent of the shadow market remains to be estimated, this phenomenon is getting increasingly popular, as selling sex has proven to be a real way of earning money…about 70 percent of all workers in the sex market are foreigners, but recently asylum seekers and illegal immigrants have joined their ranks…migrants in Finland often have two alternatives, to seek employment in the shadow economy for a measly pay of several euros per hour or go into prostitution, which is paid much more generously…

Wise Investment 

Every outed sex worker or client should sue the person or institution who did it:

A Denver district court jury awarded a former escort $1.7 million in damages…after concluding that one of her clients, a high end Denver attorney, was guilty of outrageous conduct and invading the woman’s privacy by “outing” her to her family, friends and colleagues…In November of 2013, she was contacted…by Sean Saxon, a Denver attorney who specialized in drug and medical device litigation…within a short time it turned romantic…But…Saxon…became angry and violent at times, and would threaten to expose her…Dildine broke off the relationship and asked Saxon to leave her alone…he refused, continuing to stalk her and threaten her with exposure.  Eventually, Saxon followed through on his threats, sending a letter to Dildine’s mother and father, brother and other relatives describing her life as a prostitute, including revealing sexual photos of her, and online reviews of her sexual services.  He sent the same packet to her classmates and teacher at a Denver aesthetician school she attended, describing her as “a mid- level prostitute. I have attached her escort profile, some of her twitter posts, and some of the on- line reviews she has received for her activities,” wrote Saxon. “I should warn you that much of it is rather pathetically pornographic”…

They Still Don’t Get It

Stenographer parrots clueless cop’s weird & ignorant masturbatory fantasies:

…According to Madera [California] Police Sgt. Daniel Foss, the department has been dealing with the sex industry on the Internet, and is facing the challenges Internet-driven prostitution poses.  “It’s made it more difficult for the fact prostitutes used to be contained in one area fairly well,” Foss said, “and if they went outside that area. [sic] it was immediately obvious to everybody.  Now they’re everywhere”…These women, Foss said, operate by an “in-call/out-call” system.  In an out-call solicitation, the girl, usually delivered by her pimp, will come to the client; in an in-call solicitation, the client makes the order, and goes to the girl.  It’s common during an in-call visit, according to Foss, for the pimp to wait outside for the client to finish…on the Internet…victims of sex trafficking are able to be hidden by their pimps.  They are also able to advertise them as adults…

You can hear the fapping as Foss fantasizes that every sex worker has a “pimp” lurking about; the thought clearly excites him almost as much as his delusion that in the past, whores were “obvious to everybody” if we wandered out of the ghettos he imagines we were confined to.

Watershed

Not just a feminist, but an “anti-trafficking” activist:

Many of those working in America’s spas and massage parlors are Asian immigrants…and…many…police departments routinely conduct raids on spas and massage parlors.  These raids, purported to curb human trafficking, have resulted in the arrests of many Asian immigrants…Some of these immigrants reside in the spa in which they work.  When the spa is shut down, they can be rendered both jobless and homeless.  For those who are the sole income provider for their families, they and their families are left destitute…they are…swept up and arrested indiscriminately and they become deportable, regardless of whether or not they are documented immigrants.  The charge…is “unauthorized practice of a profession”…a felony…In the era of travel bans and Trump’s crackdown…even some supporters of immigrants are latching onto the “good immigrant” vs. “bad immigrant” narrative in an effort to save the so-called good immigrants…mass arrest is not the answer…

As the pogroms continue over the next few years, keep essays like this, appearing in mainstream media, in mind.  We are winning, and this will eventually all be a bad memory just as anti-gay pogroms mostly are now.

Amnesty At Last

Playboy needs to do a lot more articles like this:

…in August 2015, Amnesty International…announced it would join the effort to decriminalize sex work.  In May 2016, the group released its official policy paper on the issue.  The 17-page document states that continuing to treat sex work as a crime infringes on the human rights of consenting adults…Patricia Schulz, a United Nations gender-equality expert…lays out the cost of ignoring those recommendations.  “When prostitution is criminalized, sex workers risk being abused…They risk being [raped by] police workers.  If they’re brought to detention, they might be raped by other inmates…There’s a whole series of violations of their rights arising from the situation.”  This insight comes after years of hearing from sex workers in many countries, studying the issue and, she says, “traveling a long way” from her initial view on the matter…

Big Sister (#631)

Is Iceland just going to recycle this story every spring?

The number of prostitutes in Iceland has increased substantially recently, according to Inspector Snorri Birgisson, at the Reykjavík…Police Department.  That is evident…from websites where escort services are advertised…The number of registrations at one website has increased five-fold in a year and a half.  Snorri believes there is a strong connection between the increased influx of tourists in the country and prostitution.  This, he said, is the dark side of tourism, which must be discussed.  He stated that the women involved in prostitution now come from other countries than before…

To Molest and Rape 

Though the story doesn’t say it because he’s a cop, this would mean his victim was no more than seven when he first raped her:

[Detroit cop] Thomas Pedersen…pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct…[and] sentenced to 42 months to 15 years in prison.  He will have to register as a sex offender when he is released and will be under life-time electronic monitoring…Pedersen…[admitted to raping] a girl younger than 13 for nearly six years…

Hard Numbers (#662) 

Why yes, I do get tired of saying “I told you so.”  Thanks for asking!

…the Olympic Games was a highly anticipated business opportunity in Brazil…Yet many of the sex workers who anxiously awaited the boon from foreign clientele found that it did not materialise.  Only a few benefited financially from the event, while [prohibitionists]…urged authorities to crack down on “sex tourism”.  [One brothel’s]…manager…said…”it is an illusion that FIFA or the Olympics are good for business.  This is a myth.  Some of the biggest [sex-related] businesses in Ipanema went bankrupt during the games.  And now it is worse”…Instead, what surfaced was a heightened security presence in the street, provided in part by Centro Presente – a quasi-public police force, partially funded by the local commercial and business association…

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

“Freed…said…’I don’t want to see heroin-injection sites’,” is this whole thing in a nutshell:

An initiative to ban safe-injection sites in King County [Washington] was announced Thursday.  The proposed initiative requires signatures from 47,443 valid county voters to qualify for the November ballot, said its chief sponsor…Joshua Freed…Freed…said…“I don’t want to see heroin-injection sites”…He said he’d prefer [cops to harass doctors who]…prescrib[e] opiates…The initiative would ban public consumption of heroin and all federal Schedule I drugs except marijuana…[another supporter of the ban is politician Mark] Miloscia…an outspoken opponent of safe-injection sites…[who] unsuccessfully propos[ed] a bill in the Legislature to ban them.  He also wrote a letter urging the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene and stop the sites.  Miloscia…[is also] an opponent of marijuana legalization and an advocate of tighter restrictions on alcohol…[he believes] we should “stigmatize people who get hooked on drugs to get into treatment”…He argued that hard-drug users need to face the threat of criminal sanctions to be steered into treatment…

Dutch Threat (#727)

I’d love to be wrong once in a while:

My Red Light was supposed to be a brothel run by sex workers.  Well, that failed…There’s an entire board of so called “experts” in a “Council of Supervision” who have the real power and control over this brothel.  These people include…a former public prosecutor…But no sex workers…because they didn’t get through the “screening”…The working conditions are the same, since they do exactly the same thing as other brothel operators.  There is absolutely nothing new about this…The rental conditions are mostly either the same or much worse than with other brothels…

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The only thing [cops]…do is…sweep everyone up in antiprostitution policing, and then somehow assert that this is being done in the name of combating human trafficking.  –  Kate Mogulescu

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

How long can this scam go on?

A married doctor who romped with an escort in hospital can treat patients again – after claiming cycling has helped him quit his sex addiction.  Father-of-two Dr Rupert Pemsel…had sex with the prostitute…But when she blackmailed him for £10,000 he came clean to the General Medical Council (GMC) and last March was suspended for “deplorable and morally reprehensible” misconduct.  Now he has been given the green light by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service to retrain as a family GP after claiming he has turned his life around…

ozzy-gives-the-birdThe UK media has a bizarre fondness for kindergarten words like “romp” and for obsessing about whether someone in a news story has spawned or not.  But the idea that doctors fucking whores is even remotely out of the ordinary is hilarious; when I was working in New Orleans, probably 20% of my income came from MDs.  Still, the main story here is the way privileged men use “sex addiction” as an excuse when they get caught, a fact not lost on the Ozzman:

Ozzy Osbourne has backtracked on claims he was suffering from sex addiction, which he made in the aftermath of an affair last year…“I’m in a fucking rock band, aren’t I?…There have always been groupies.  I just got caught, didn’t I?…I don’t think I’m a fucking sex addict”…

You’re absolutely right, Ozzy, because there is no such fucking thing as a sex addict.  As my friend Brooke Magnanti once put it, he might as well have claimed he was Father Christmas.

Monsters 

Australian police practice “NHI” as well:

…During the 1980s and 1990s, the Australian authorities now say, gangs of teenagers in Sydney hunted gay men for sport, sometimes forcing them off the cliffs to their deaths.  But the police, many of whom had a reputation for hostility toward gay men, often carried out perfunctory investigations that overlooked the possibility of homicide…Now the police in New South Wales…are reviewing the deaths of 88 men between 1976 and 2000 to determine whether they should be classified as anti-gay hate crimes…

Imagine the Sky

Here’s an interesting article on regulated brothels in 19th-century St. Petersburg.  As in France and Italy, sex workers were confined to specific brothels in an attempt to control them, and as in the US the writer clings doggedly to the myth that laws and cops were in place to “help” us, and just can’t imagine why so many women refused to submit to this “protection”.

Stupor Bowl

Have you noticed we’ve heard almost nothing about “Super Bowl sex trafficking” this year?  Even Sports Illustrated, not exactly known for hard-hitting investigatie journalism, is calling it a debunked myth and quoting those who oppose it (though, alas, no sex workers):

…The Global Alliance Against Traffic In Women makes the case that by focusing on the sex trade, authorities are taking resources that could be used to investigate [actual crimes]…there are signs that the Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking Myth might be splintering.  Minal Davis, the special adviser to the [Houston] mayor on human trafficking, believes that the “sensationalistic” approach at previous Super Bowls “hurts the messaging” and minimizes the severity…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

I’m honestly surprised the “forced sex trafficking abortions” trope didn’t catch on:

Any woman seeking an abortion in South Dakota would have to be given the name and telephone number of an [anti-sex worker] organization…under a measure introduced…[by] Dan Kaiser…[who pretends] the idea is…an educational measure that might help get women out of dangerous and violent situations…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#563)

The biggest problem with these stupid “like Uber for sex workers” apps is that their developers don’t bother to consult any actual sex workers while developing them:

A new app…aims to make it easier and safer for sex workers to meet their clients…While sex work is legal in some Australian states, there are a number of risks for both parties.  Rendevu hopes to solve that problem.  Developer Reuben Coppa said sex workers could list themselves on the application list, show when they were working, what type of appointments they were taking and their price points…Both clients and escorts can write and read reviews about their experience.  The app also tracks location and requires credit card details…[to] guarantee the amount of the booking…So far, traffic on the app has been high but the number of bookings has been fewer than expected — there have been about 100 since the launch…

O, Canada! (#617)

Canadian prohibitionists are trying desperately to whip up “sex trafficking” hysteria there to US levels:

…in the densely populated Greater Toronto Area…girls are recruited at school by young males and taken to local motels or condominiums, where they engage in sex work.  Most continue to live at home…[prohibitionist] Katarina MacLeod [parrots,] “You have these guys making regular girls feel special, buying them things and taking them shopping…[The men] know exactly how to build dependence…Girls as young as 13 are getting recruited in”…

The More the Better (#667) 

The law is an ass, and so is this judge:

Claims that First Lady Melania Trump worked as a high-end…escort before she married businessman, billionaire and now President Donald Trump will be argued over in a Maryland court…[after] a Montgomery County judge ruled that Melania Trump’s $150 million defamation lawsuit against a Clarksburg blogger will continue to trial, saying the blog posts implied she acted as a prostitute…”The court believes most people, when they hear the words ‘high-end escort’ that describes a prostitute.  There could be no more defamatory statement than to call a woman a prostitute”…

Fuck you. Judge Sharon Burrell; there are far worse things a woman can be than a prostitute, such as a hypocritical and prudish politician.

The Crumbling Dam (#668)

Alas, Seattle “officials” think harm reduction principles only apply to drug use:

Officials in Seattle…approved the nation’s first “safe-injection” sites for users of heroin and other illegal drugs, calling the move a drastic but necessary response to an epidemic of addiction that is claiming tens of thousands of lives each year.  The sites — which offer addicts clean needles, medical supervision and quick access to drugs that reverse the effects of an overdose — have long been popular in Europe.  Now, with the U.S. death toll rising, the idea is gaining traction in a number of American cities, including Boston, New York City and Ithaca, N.Y.  While [prohibitionists] say the sites promote illegal drug use, supporters say they can keep people alive and steer them toward treatment…

The War Goes On 

Here’s a constantly-updated spreadsheet of sex worker advertising sites; I can’t speak for its contents, but the more resources for sex workers impacted by the censorship of Backpage, the better.

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