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Posts Tagged ‘hysteria’

How can we dial back the obsession with sex trafficking?  –  Lenore Skenazy

Check Your Premises

Step One: Define people who make choices the law refuses to recognize as “victims”.  Step Two: Define the decisions of 21-year-olds as legally invalid. Step Three:

…researchers have found that roughly one-fifth of all homeless youth in the U.S. are victims of human trafficking, often for purposes of sex…Covenant House funded the report…The youths who spoke with researchers were all 21 and under…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#351) 

Has this histrionic now made a rotting moral panic her whole career?

The horror the victims suffer is almost too much to contemplate.  And yet, we can’t combat the abomination that is human trafficking unless we first acknowledge that it exists.  That’s why [has-been] actress and [moral panic profiteer] Mira Sorvino came to Bakersfield…According to Sorvino…the trafficking of human beings claims some 40 million victims and generates obscene annual profits, making it one of the most lucrative criminal enterprises in history.  One young woman Sorvino interviewed estimated she was raped 43,000 times between the ages of 12 and 16…

Nice While It Lasted

Buried in the usual pap about “signs of trafficking” and masturbatory fantasy about passive, doll-like 12-year-olds being “sold for sex” is this horrific proposal:

…Assemblyman Brian Maienschein held a news conference in San Diego…to push his bill, the Commercial Child Rape Prevention Act, which aims to give governments tools they can use to target sex trafficking in civil court…This would mean that district attorneys, attorney generals, some city attorneys and the victims would be able to sue the perpetrators, hitting them where it might hurt the most — their profits…State Sen. Toni Atkins…has two bills pending…one…would allow prosecutors in criminal trials to introduce evidence of past illegal acts…that would typically be excluded at trial…

In civil court, the burden of proof is reversed; this would allow prosecutors, backed by the vast resources of the state, to levy charges that presumed guilt.  I wonder how much longer before presumption of innocence is nothing more than a mere historical relic?

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

Despite its name, The Libertarian Republic is Republican, not libertarian; that explains why it’s printing pro-surveillance, anti-body autonomy “sex trafficking” propaganda:

Human trafficking has become…the third largest criminally ran [sic] industry in the entire world, generating estimated revenues of $32 billion a year…the average age a person is abducted/coerced into this horrendous trade is 12-14…resilience against law enforcement…trying to shut down this insidious industry…[snitching on sex workers to the pigs] can help combat human trafficking at the source, on the street level…truckers have found themselves leading the charge against this industry…Commonly known as a lot lizard, prostitutes often wait around truck stops to solicit sex to the drivers who are passing through…truckers are exposed to the largest portion of prostitutes…it is vitally important for news outlets to [uncritically parrot police-state propaganda]…

The idea that truck-stop hookers make up the largest fraction of sex workers is probably the stupidest statement in this reeking pile of stupidity.

Checklist (#523)

Arizona wants hospitals to rat sex workers out to the pigs:

A hospital network with several facilities in Arizona said it was taking steps to counter human trafficking.  Dignity Health said it has trained staff at three hospitals…to look for indicators of possible human trafficking and that it has implemented mandatory screening in emergency rooms and obstetrics departments…so-called “red flags” of trafficking include homelessness, discrepancies between reported and apparent ages, lack of identification and a dominating or controlling companion who refuses to leave the patient alone…

Signs 

How many resources will our society waste in trying to stop an omnipresent voluntary activity older than the human species?

…The Palm Beach County Commission…approved additional training for several groups of its employees to spot signs of [“sex trafficking”], which has been described as modern-day slavery.  Employees who are out in field — code enforcement, youth services and parks and recreation workers, for example — will be among those receiving the training…Among other signs, victims of trafficking may exhibit poor health, show signs of physical abuse or restraint, and lack control over personal documents or the ability to speak for themselves…

Rooted in Racism (#605) 

It’s no longer safe for men to travel with their children:

A dad returning from Mexico with his 3-year-old daughter who has lighter skin than his is suspected of sex trafficking her…despite papa having her passport, his passport, AND a notarized letter from the mom saying that she gave them her permission to travel, the authorities felt compelled to act upon a “tip”…that was nothing more than a passenger’s hunch fueled by the hysteria of the moment:  That 3-year-olds are being trafficked right and left in the USA…

Where are the Victims? (#634)

We’re so lucky to have cops qualified to diagnose us as “victims” no matter what we may think:

Seven men and a woman have been arrested as part of a nationwide crackdown on…prostitution.  Dawn raids were carried out out across Lancashire, Gateshead and Evesham in relation to a…[so-called] “Romanian crime group” centred on Blackburn.  [Cops fantasize] the gang netted up to £1.3million…Eight women, aged between 18 and 26, were found inside the suspected brothels and are [pretended] to have been trafficked to the UK from Romania for the purposes of prostitution.  Police [used euphemisms to cloak the fact that the women were being held without charge pending deportation]…

Peeping Toms (#662)

The larger implications of anti-sex toy laws:

An ordinance of the City of Sandy Springs, Georgia, prohibits the sale of sex toys.  Businesses and individuals have challenged this statute as unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause in controlling their consensual, sexual behavior in the privacy of their homes.  The district court and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld the ordinance given the Eleventh Circuit precedent of Williams v. Attorney General (2004), which upheld an Alabama sex-toy-sales ban…Williams…is inconsistent with more recent Supreme Court precedent in United States v. Windsor (2013) and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)…Windsor and Obergefell… raised the protection of rights concerning private sexual intimacy and Obergefell described this right as “fundamental”…Williams also misinterpreted Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which in striking down a ban on homosexual sodomy made clear that it wasn’t merely the right to perform “a particular sexual act” that was in question in these intimacy cases, but the infringement of rights regulating “the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, in the most private of places, the home.”  Lawrence also made clear that state assertion of a “morality” interest isn’t a sufficient justification for limiting the right to adult sexual intimacy…

Eternal Vigilance (#667)

Puritans are still upset about the fact that some women are comfortable paying our rent (and other expenses) with sex:

…despite the fact that [sex for rent] ads have been around for more than a decade and tend to transparently describe the (consensual) relationships they’re after, a gaggle of outraged internet activists are suddenly convinced it’s “abusive” behavior that must be stamped out.  The issue has been getting attention this week because of U.K. columnist Vonny Moyes, who covered it in Scottish newspaper The National…The ads she shared ranged from requests for household labor from a hot girl in exchange for free rent to fetish-related requests…ongoing mistress or “sugar baby” type situations…and people looking for short-term sex-for-housing arrangements…But the Twitter outrage brigade can’t conceive of these varied individual ads as anything but a big patriarchal plot to extort sex from homeless women…

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If living my life on my own terms is being a feminist…then I am a feminist.  –  Vidya Balan

Bad Girls 

Men: pay your whores!  Ladies: get the money up front!

…a 64-year-old man surnamed Lau hired a prostitute surnamed Kong in [Hong Kong]…after having sex…Lau…refused to settle up and, upon hearing Kong threaten to call the police, took her phone and ran out of the room.  Kong chased him, yelling for help along the way, and eventually caught the [rapist]…with the help of passersby…Kong reportedly took off one of her high-heeled shoes and hit the man with it until pulled off him by witnesses.  [Cops] arrived…to arrest the pair for fighting in a public place…

License to Rape 

“Authorities” now claim the right to rape toddlers if shamans declare their parents ritually unclean:

Imagine the Department of Social Services threatens to [abduct] your child from your custody unless you agree to have his urine collected.  Under duress, you consent— only to watch hospital staff pin your three-year-old down and forcibly catheterize him as he screams in pain.  Two days later, he is still in pain.  You take him back to the hospital, where he is diagnosed with a staph infection in his penis…police in Pierre, South Dakota, [raided] a home to arrest a man…because he tested positive for drugs…his girlfriend was told her children would be [abducted by the state] if she did not consent to having their urine tested.  Because of that threat, she agreed to the test, but since her youngest child is not toilet-trained, they forced him to undergo the catheterization…

See No Evil

Once again, a person whose computer contained taboo pictures is condemned to a far worse sentence than if he had actually raped a child:

A 36-year-old [Florida] man…[was sentenced by] Judge Howard Maltz…to 100 years in prison…after a jury found Jesse Graham Berben guilty on 20 counts of possession of child pornography…Berben…denied knowing anything about the files…While he admitted to having a peer-to-peer file-sharing program that he used to download music, he denied using his computer to keep or download child porn…Berben had been offered a plea agreement…that would have netted him a prison sentence of about 5 years, “but he refused…because he said…he wasn’t going to plead guilty to something he didn’t do and become a registered sex offender”…The sentence…was more than four times the “lowest permissible” sentence Maltz could have handed down…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

“Rescuers” swoop in to “regulate” women’s jobs out of existence:

Minneapolis [politicians] are taking steps to crack down on downtown strip clubs after two recent [fishing expeditions manufactured] health and safety risks at…11 venues.  Shortly afterward, a report from the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), commissioned and co-funded by the health department, showed that strip club employees face on-the-job health and safety hazards but have few protections.  Both investigations zeroed in on VIP rooms…the venues where bodily fluids were identified were declared a public health nuisance under state law…

Train Wreck

It looks like articles about sex workers in Ghana can be just as weirdly stupid as Nigerian ones:

Commercial Sex workers at the Uhuru Electoral Area have added robbery to their trade, Ebenezer Cudjoe, [a prohibitionist politician, claimed]…The sex workers, commonly called “Ashawo”…suggest a pub…”While she leads her clients to the suggested pub, the ashawo alerts her male guards, who, then, pounce on the male sex client and rob him of any valuables,” Ebenezer Cudjoe [fantasized]…that a lot of residents feared coming out of their homes in the night.  “A few years ago, I personally reported these ungodly activities of the commercial sex workers to the police, however, the police told me that they could not effect any arrest, unless they caught the ladies in the act,” he said…about three years ago, he tried to woo some of the sex workers to start some vocational training to [do menial jobs at which they couldn’t possibly] earn a decent living [but unsurprisingly, they refused and now he’s making up stories to make life difficult for them]…

Capricious Lusts (#52)

While Hollywood figures are lining up to climb on the “sex trafficking” bandwagon, Bollywood figures support sex worker rights:

…there have been some realistic representations of bar dancers and courtesans, prostitutes…Women are a marginalised section of society even though we are 50% of the society.  Within that, prostitutes are what, a trickle?  But, they are the ones who are standing up on their feet, putting up a fight and saying this is not acceptable to us.  They are staking their claims to their share of the sky, which is incredible.  That’s what I found most powerful, because you don’t expect the so-called weaker sections of society to stand up…

Micromanagement

I’d really like to be wrong once in a while:

A State panel of scientists is considering a controversial DNA testing policy that would allow police to [harass] the relatives of New Yorkers whose DNA closely matches DNA recovered from a crime scene…police would be able to pull close DNA matches in certain criminal investigations, generating a list of people with prior convictions, including low-level broken windows convictions like [turnstile jumping or loitering]…police would then have leeway to [harass] close relatives of those near matches (son, father, etc.), in hopes of turning up the exact match…In other words, the New York Civil Liberties Union has testified, “criminal suspicion will attach to innocent persons merely because of their biological relation to a person whose DNA is in the state’s databank”…

To Molest and Rape 

Reporters, please stop perpetuating cops’ dehumanizing habit of referring to women as “females”:

…Kenneth Bolton Jr. sexually assaulted two females with a sex toy during an illegal traffic stop in February.  The East Cleveland [cop] was fired by the department last month after he…pulled over the two women, both in their early 20s, about 30 minutes after he heard that they’d been pulled over and cited by another officer.  During the illegal stop, Bolton allegedly found a sex toy in the car and used it to sexually assault both women.  A Cuyahoga County grand jury brought charges of gross sexual imposition, abduction, and civil rights charges…

“He heard they’d been pulled over and cited” means the first pig called him and described their looks to him. “Found a sex toy” means he rooted through other people’s private possessions like the filthy swine he is.

Imaginary Evils (#699)

The UK Home Office is really dedicated to competing with the US in using “sex trafficking” as an excuse to destroy civil liberties:

The Home Secretary has announced…a multi-agency team of analytical experts who will be embedded in the National Crime Agency to help tackle cross-border and domestic slavery…The Home Secretary said “It is exactly this kind of co-operation between the police, Border Force, the National Crime Agency and others that will be our way of getting at the people traffickers.  The Centre will enable us to have a co-ordinated push against the organised crime groups that are at the heart of the trade in human beings and human misery.  Our message to the perpetrators is clear; we are coming after you, and there is nowhere to hide”…

The War Goes On (#711) 

Notice how the narrative is changing; prohibitionists now claim Backpage was “barred” from publishing sex work ads, when in fact it chose to do so to end its persecution by “authorities”:

A…prostitution sting in Delaware County resulted in the arrests of five women in one night.  Deputies found them on a website that’s supposed to be barred from posting sex ads…prostitutes and pimps are finding ways around the rules and posting ads on other parts of the site, through tabs like…”women seeking men”…[pigs oinked that] prostitutes…will travel from anywhere in central Indiana to Muncie to make some money and often times, buy drugs.  “You don’t just get the prostitutes that show up.  You might get pimps.  There might be robberies…” the [pig drooled while masturbating]…

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The civil rights victory of the near future will be led by heroes with Twitter handles like @mistressmatisse, @SavannahSly, and @Maggie_McNeill.  –  Brendan Trainor

My Body, My Choice

An argument I’ve often made myself:

The belief that you should be able to ingest any substance…because you own your own body is a profoundly libertarian, not progressive, idea…It was the progressives who gave us alcohol prohibition in the first place…Progressivism is the belief that good things come from government—from laws and regulations and central planning and generals and spies and bureaucrats…it is none of the state’s business whether you buy sex with flowers and dinner, or with marriage and mortgage, or with cold hard cash on the dresser…The feminist establishment will soon be forced to accept women’s dominion over body parts besides the womb.

I Swear To God

Remember, the SCOTUS reaffirmed the unconstitutionality of loyalty oaths just a few years ago:

Manchester [New Hampshire] police officials said…they want to see Kate D’Adamo, who has advocated for the [decriminalization] of prostitution, fired from her job overseeing a federally funded task force designed to [suppress sex work] in the state.  Assistant Police Chief Carlo Capano said D’Adamo’s statements last week, in which she reportedly presented arguments in favor of the decriminalization of prostitution, potentially violated the federal grant that pays her salary…“Obviously, we’re a little concerned that Kate’s personal opinions are becoming a distraction to [our trying to destroy the lives of sex workers],” said Maria Gagnon…According to…stipulations of the grant, the Manchester Police Department cannot promote, support or advocate for the legalization of prostitution…

Bottleneck 

There are so many reasons sex worker licensing is a bad idea; here’s another:

In Palm Beach County, Florida, all topless dancers are required to register with county officials and obtain an Adult Entertainment Work Identification Card (AEIC), at the cost of $75 per year…Anita Pedemey… “diverted” at least $28,875 (and possibly an additional $3,305) from county coffers between October 2013 and mid-November 2016…from both adult-entertainer fees—approximately 70 percent of which were paid in cash—and court-ordered payments intended for a crime Victims Services Fund…Because she manipulated reports but left the underlying database unaltered, the county still received records of adult-entertainment ID applications even if accounting never received their payments, which means that at least most applicants whose money was taken were still legitimately registered with the county…

Remember, New South Wales decriminalized sex work specifically because corruption like this (and far worse) was rampant.

Standard Operating Procedure

If only amateurs realized that this is the norm, not a deviation from it:

…a Secret Service agent on Vice President Mike Pence’s detail has been suspended from official duties after meeting a prostitute at a Maryland hotel…police saw him exiting the hotel…[after responding] to a [snitch] from the hotel manager…The agent was arrested and was charged with solicitation.  He then self-reported his arrest to the Secret Service…the agent was off-duty and did not present himself in his official capacity…

Seriously, I have had more G-men between my legs than most amateur women have had of any kind of man.  Show me a G-man who’s never been with a whore & I’ll show you a rookie.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlor pogroms are coming to Canada:

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is asking for the power to crack down on…massage parlours…he wants the city to be able to shut down businesses engaging in such activity by revoking their certificates of occupancy…The director of the Montreal-based sex work organization Chez Stella, Sandra Wesley, says shutting down massage parlours will do more harm than good…”If [Coderre’s] going to go after massage parlours, then he’s going after migrant women,” she…says…closing massage parlours won’t end the sex trade — it will only make it more dangerous for sex workers…[and that] Coderre and others are using sex workers as “pawns in their next re-election campaign”…

The Mote and the Beam (#332)

The censors who want the internet destroyed are at it again:

A…new House measure, sponsored by…Ann Wagner…and dubbed the “No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act,” would carve out an exception to Section 230 for sex-trafficking offenses involving minors.  Supporters portray it as a way to “hold sex traffickers accountable,” but we already have sufficient penalties—at the state and federal level—for people who force, decieve, or coerce others into prostitution…What the change would do is make it possible for states to indict any app, website, or platform that introduces an underage person to a possible sex buyer as a conspirator in sex trafficking.  And it would allow any underage person who was paid for sex to subsequently sue any website or web service remotely involved in the transaction…the change would not merely apply to classified-ad sites like Backpage, or to sites and services specializing in escort advertising…With the proposed change, victims will have the right to sue any third-party web service that enabled their participation or exploitation in the sex trade.  And in this case, victim means anyone under 18 whom someone paid for sex, regardless of whether any force, fraud, coercion, or middlemen and women were involved…It gives victims—most of whom fall prey to petty pimps with few assets, not organized criminals—a civil-suit target with much deeper pockets than the criminals who exploited them, and the same for state prosecutors with asset-forfeiture fever…A huge number of “child sex trafficking stings” in this country involve police posing online as sex workers…and, once a customer is interested, “admitting” that they’re actually underage (usually 16 or 17).  The men who still agree to meet for sex are greeted by police officers and charged with…child sex trafficking.  Their vehicles and sometimes other assets are seized.  Imagine if cops could do this sort of “random virtue testing” (as Ars Technica‘s Nate Anderson aptly described it) but then go after big web publishers and platforms instead of just impounding a few cars…

Bad Girls (#540) 

American “authorities” are dedicated to the philosophy that anyone who ever did anything wrong should keep paying for it, forever:

A prostitute who injected a Google executive with a lethal dose of heroin in 2013 while aboard his yacht in Santa Cruz harbor and spent more than two years in jail was taken into custody by federal immigration agents as soon as she was released…Alix Tichelman — who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes — was released by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office around 5 a.m. on [March 29th]…ICE agents waiting outside the jail in the predawn hours came into the building to detain Tichelman…

Aversions (#642)

Miranda Kane on annoying clients:

The (non) expert…[wants to] get his own rocks off by thinking he’s amazing in bed, when all he’s really done is delivered a few sloppy snogs while rubbing my cunt in a style that makes me think he wants a genie to pop out of my vagina…The bashful one…will…stay silent, move with about as much enthusiasm as a gutted fish, and 55 minutes into an hour appointment he’ll say:  “Umm…this was nice, but really all I wanted was to lick your feet with a dildo up my arse, dance for you wearing women’s stockings while you sang the greatest hits from the popular disco band Boney M”…

Challenge (#677)

Laura Lee on the possible wider effects of her challenge to the Swedish model in Northern Ireland:

Sex worker and law graduate Laura Lee is steeling herself for a battle in Belfast’s high court that she believes could make European legal history…Lee…[is] aiming to establish that the criminalisation of her clients violates her right to work under European human rights law…[this] is only the start of a Europe-wide campaign to overturn the model…Lee’s next target is the Irish Republic, which…has introduced a similar ban aimed at criminalising clients.  “A win for us in Belfast will have a knock-on effect and set a precedent across Europe.  If successful up north there will be a challenge in Dublin and sex workers across Europe can use the precedent to overturn the so-called ‘Nordic model’ in their countries,” she said…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

“Competition” from fancy fleshlights?  Really, ladies, calm down:

Europe’s first sex robot [arcade] has been forced to move after real-life prostitutes complained sex dolls were stealing their trade.  The original location in Barcelona at 2 Baixada de Sant Miquel had been in the Spanish city’s Gothic quarter, north of the cathedral…[it] has now moved to a mystery new location with a receptionist saying the address would only be given out to paying customers.  Prostitutes who work in the city with Aprosex – the Association of Sex Professionals – objected saying a doll cannot match the services of a real person and denigrates real sex workers to merely being an object…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#720)

More on the oppression of Ukrainian sex workers:

Ukraine used to be depicted as a paradise for sex tourists.  The news that the country would co-host the European Football Championship in 2012 was followed by…moral panic…the city of Kropyvnytsky, in central Ukraine, is…home to Legalife, Ukraine’s leading sex workers’ organisation…Their organisation got its start following an episode of police abuse in 2009, when Isaeva, a former sex worker who conducted outreach work with sex workers, was unlawfully detained by an anti-trafficking police unit.  They threatened to charge her with pimping, and when Isaeva tried to file a complaint the next day, there was no trace of her detention.  She did, however, obtain an apology.  The head of the anti-trafficking unit was transferred and the officers’ bonuses slashed.  This incident prompted the women to stand for sex workers’ rights, attracting the attention of international donors such as Open Society who have funded Legalife ever since…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

Ah, the delicious schadenfreude of prohibitionists’ lies coming back to bite them in the arse:

A viral Facebook entry about child sex trafficking posted by…Diandra Toyos…is a misinformed and ultimately harmful depiction of what this crime is about…There are zero indicators of human trafficking in Toyos’ story…it so misrepresents the dangers, warning signs and risks associated with sex trafficking that its readers and likers may now try to protect kids by watching for the wrong things in the wrong places…I’m a professional in the anti-trafficking field, and…I have never seen, read or heard about a real sex-trafficking situation in which a child was abducted by traffickers in broad daylight at a busy store under a mother’s watchful eye…The most pernicious part of the viral Facebook post is its comments section.  As sex-trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking advocates — myself included — tried to correct the misconceptions in it, and tried to alert the public to the harms caused by misunderstandings and sensationalism, we were met with anger and outrage.  Sound bite quotes and statistics were thrown back at me in an attempt to highlight my “ignorance” on the subject.  “Human trafficking happens everywhere,” I was reminded. “It’s in our own backyards.”  These are the exact phrases my colleagues and the anti-trafficking movement publicized years ago to raise awareness. We never imagined they’d be used to challenge our own expertise and in defense of efforts that threaten victims…

Here’s some free advice, Miss “Trafficking Expert”:  if you don’t want hysteria, don’t promote it yourself.  And if you want people to defer to “experts” on prostitution, you need to set an example by shutting the fuck up, sitting the fuck down and listening to the real experts, sex workers themselves.

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There are many instances of drug dealers altering flavor and packaging of cocaine or methamphetamines to appeal to children.  –  Dianne Feinstein

As regular readers know, I never used cannabis before moving to Seattle, and I dislike smoking the stuff.  But I’ve become very fond of edibles, and here’s an interesting video on the differences between smoking & eating (courtesy of Emma Evans).  The links above it were provided by Mirriam Seddiq (“does”), Tim Cushing  (“nope”, “reason” & “dinosaurs”), Amy Alkon (“Neighborhood”), Police Misconduct  (“dog”), and Grace (“together”).

From the Archives

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

Enabling Oppression

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

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

The Notorious Badge

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

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

A Narrow View (#25)

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

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

Profound Ignorance 

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

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

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

Micromanagement

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

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

Case Study

Dysphemisms and gawking abound in UK articles about sex work:

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

Nice While It Lasted

What could possibly go wrong?

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

Signs 

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

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

Lies Piled on Lies

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

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

Under Every Bed (#669)

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

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

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

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

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

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

Guinea Pigs (#723) 

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

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

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

The Widening Gyre (#723) 

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

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

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The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

For years, many of y’all have been urging me to get more rest, take a few breaks, maybe even not post every day.  And while the latter is out of the question, the more observant among you (especially those who have been hanging around here for years) have almost certainly noticed that I’ve done a lot to lighten my workload.  The time and energy I used to use to prepare one weekly news column now produces two; my weekly diary is often quite short and requires little effort to write; Q&A columns flow naturally in response to reader questions and are thus comparatively low-effort; links columns grow from scanning Twitter and thus almost write themselves; I no longer do research-intensive essays (partly thanks to Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who has become the Queen of Debunking); fictional interludes have become occasional rather than monthly; and holidays are now represented by the online equivalent of greeting cards.  But there was still one holiday I always poured considerable effort into, and that one is today, April Fool’s Day.  I’ve always enjoyed gently hoaxing y’all, and longtime readers may remember that some of the pranks were fairly elaborate.  But at least for now, I feel it’s time to retire that six-year tradition.

It’s not only to reduce my stress levels, however; it’s also because hoaxes just aren’t fun any more.  The internet is full of parody news sites which, unlike The Onion, Clickhole and Reductress, make no effort to be amusing or witty; they just print stupid shit that isn’t true and yet isn’t silly enough to be distinguished from the actual absurdities published by the mainstream news sites.  Furthermore, even the “real” news media are positively riddled with idiotic nonsense about “sex trafficking”, the “War on Cops”, supposed “epidemics” of things that are actually less common than they’ve ever been, and other tall tales that could be easily debunked by ten fucking minutes on Google if reporters actually cared to practice journalism rather than stenographically reporting every moronic, impossible and self-serving lie vomited out by cops, politicians, prohibitionists and all the other bipedal vermin who glut themselves on others’ suffering and profit from human misery.  Mathematically-impossible, scientifically-illiterate and sociologically-absurd poppycock too ridiculous for a ’50s science fiction B-movie is routinely presented as fact even by “respected” sources like The New York Times, and politicians base laws on fantasies roughly as credible as the contents of Malleus Maleficarum, complete with penalties that would’ve found approval from those who employed that book.  Clowns are widely presented as objects of terror (and are the subject of a recurring moral panic), which perhaps makes sense given that our rulers are themselves violent clowns who send forth armed thugs in clownish costumes to terrorize, rape, rob and murder the populace based on excuses Caligula himself might recognize as mad.  And their cringing subjects attempt to impose order on a world gone completely insane by artificially dividing their overlords into teams, swearing fealty to one of those teams and then obstinately ignoring all the evil done by “their” leaders while blaming the other side for everything no matter what the facts show.  In short, we live in a world in which the highest points are all occupied by professional full-time fools, and it seems pointless for a sane person to even attempt to compete with them.

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Whores are often the first to feel the effects of exclusion.  –  Fleur de Lit

Whores and Wives

Please, wives, stay in denial; if you actually took our advice it might potentially reduce our income:

…Social media lit up when sex workers took to news.com.au to tell Australian women they didn’t know how to take care of their male partners, with growing numbers of men paying for “girlfriend” or “companionship” experiences.  [Female] readers on the Sunshine Coast Daily Facebook page had the firm view that perhaps if these men used their money to wine and dine their partners, they might get the intimacy they appear to crave…Stacey Brownlie commented…”These men should be there helping their wives with the kids so she has time to connect to (her) husband instead of him sneaking to a hooker to talk to”…Donna Turnley took a similar view.  “All these men have in common is that they are liars and cheats…”

You’re exactly right, ladies!  Stick to your guns on this, and encourage your friends to do the same!  Whores have bills to pay, and you’re giving us a big hand in paying them.

Follow Your Bliss 

Understand that people like this are the norm in prosecuting sexual offenses, and always will be:

…Craig Wattier rose through the ranks of his police department…[to] investigati[ng]…sex crimes against children…[since] 2013…he stayed late [at] work…to watch child pornography seized from other people…By the time Wattier was caught more than two years later, he had watched hours of footage and hundreds of videos…[but] the judge [only] sentenced [this very typical cop] to a year in jail…The judge, Katherine McLeod, [also]…watched a sample of the videos on a laptop [even though there was no actual legal reason for her to do so]…

Not To Be Taken Internally

Who could possibly guess that it was a bad idea for someone without medical training to inject large amounts of industrial-grade sealant into a person’s body under septic conditions, after lying to them about the contents of said injection?

A defense attorney for a Dallas woman accused of killing a client by injecting silicone caulk into her backside says no one could have known the procedure would turn deadly…After all, Wykesha Reid had suffered no [apparent] negative side effects following at least three previous butt injections, the attorney for Denise “Wee Wee” Ross said…Reid…died Feb. 19, 2015, when industrial-grade silicone seeped through her veins and filled her lungs…Ross is charged with murder and practicing medicine without a license…

Banishment

OH MY GOD THE SEX RAYS COULD HAVE HARMED THE CHILDRENTM!!!!!!

…in Palos Park, Illinois…A sex offender drove his car by a school bus stop…He didn’t even get out of his car…but…some parents noticed an unfamiliar red Hyundai and alerted the cops…[who] questioned the man.  Turns out he kept driving by each day for the very creepy and bizarre reason that this happens to be the route to his job…And yet the cops praised the parents for calling the authorities…[because] that’s what parents are supposed to do these days: freak out at red Hyundais.  Naturally, the police proceeded to notify the school district, and naturally, the superintendent notified even more parents…

Broken Record (#416)

It’s been a few years since we’ve seen this sporting event touted as a “sex trafficking” magnet:

…thousands will be heading to Augusta for the Masters tournament.  During that time that a local organization will beef up its efforts to shed light on the dark side of human trafficking that so often happens during major sporting events like this one.  The group I’m Aware, held an information blitz at First Baptist Church where they gave out pamphlets to discuss what they’re calling modern-day slavery…The pamphlets gave volunteers information about resources for sex trafficking victims that could travel to Augusta to work during the masters tournament.  While here victims tend to frequent places such as bars, hotels and even truck stops…

It’s interesting that “victims” here is being directly used as a one-to-one substitution for “sex workers”, with no mention of “pimps”.

Schadenfreude (#521)

The Dallas outfit cashing in on “sex trafficking” tours has now expanded to Houston:

It’s widely [fantasized among fetishists] that Houston has been a hub for human trafficking.  The…profit[eers], Children At Risk, took a group of about 40 people on a bus tour…to [profit from]…the [moral panic]…They took the tour group to about a dozen [pretended] human trafficking hot spots around southwest Houston…James Caruthers [said, in a rare moment of honesty]…”We call it a human trafficking tour…But really it’s an explo[it]ation of the commercial sex industry in Houston that [we pretend] has strong links with the crime of human trafficking”…

Rough Trade (#592) 

And the sick fuck just keeps smiling and laughing while facing the possibility of life in a cage:

A jury has found War Machine guilty on 29 felony counts stemming from an attack on adult star and ex-girlfriend Christy Mack and her friend in August 2014.  Sentencing is slated for [May 10th]…During the reading of verdicts, War Machine appeared shaking his head in amazement.  Several moments, he was even smiling..[he] is possibly facing a life sentence…

Signs

An antecedent is a terrible thing to waste:

The Country Inn and Suites in Albert Lea [Minnesota] held [an indoctrination] session…to teach hotel employees…sex trafficking [dogma]. “Hotels are the perfect location for sex trafficking because they’re so transient”…[grammar moron] Deb Flatness said…Minnesota is one of the top states in the country for sex trafficking…A few signs to look for are people traveling with no luggage or paying with cash…

Gotta watch out for those transient hotels; I hear they follow “circuits” down interstate highways.

To Molest and Rape 

Because women always give blow jobs to random cops who show up at their houses unannounced:

An Orlando Police Department detective [who orally raped]…a woman…will not face criminal charges…[because the] State Attorney…[claims] there was no proof the [woman didn’t just want to give a random pig a blow job in his car in broad daylight]…On Dec. 15, 2016 [Angel] Burgos arrived at the victim’s house around 9 a.m. in an unmarked police vehicle, and asked the woman to join him in the car parked outside her home.  The two knew each other from a previous case the woman was involved with…Inside, Burgos…expos[ed] his penis….[groped her] and…pleaded with her to “jerk him off”…[when] she continued to say no…Burgos grabbed her by the back of her head and…forcefully pushed [onto] his penis…telling her to “be quiet” and…to “live in the moment.”  The woman…pulled away once she felt his grip loosen…Burgos [then]…ejaculated into a microfiber towel…The woman got out and returned to her house…Burgos later yelled at her over the phone and asked whether she was going to report him, [trying to gaslight her by] telling her to not contact him again [even though it was he who had come to her house]…

Eternal Vigilance (#637)

Cops will never stop trying to gain power to rape and rob sex workers until the very concept of prohibition is completely eradicated:

Sydney sex workers would require a licence to work as part of a [scheme] to reduce [imaginary] human trafficking and [once again subject sex workers to police] corruption.  It is not a criminal offence to work as a prostitute in NSW, but police [don’t like that they have no power to threaten sex workers with prohibitionist laws]…officers must rely on [getting a warrant]…if they want to investigate abuse claims at brothels.  The lack of [police power over sex workers mean cops must rely on tales of]…sex slavery, corruption, blackmail and even child abuse [in order to regain that power]…There are also increasing police [masturbatory fantasies] about…young females coming to Australia from countries such as China, Korea and Thailand on student visas and being forced to sell their bodies for greedy pimps…

I Saw My Brain (#700)

Yet another pogrom in the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

Basketball fans are excited over March Madness right now.  But Polk Sheriff Grady Judd is enthralled with something else: March Sadness.  That’s the name of his latest [pogrom]…during [which]…104 sex workers and Johns were arrested.  “What you see here is not a star basketball team,” Judd [crowed]…”They are a lot of losers.”  Judd [took particular glee in destroying the life and career of a man]…stationed at Cape Canaveral [who] has top secret security clearance [after a sow claims she told him she was 14, though given Judd’s record that is highly doubtful]…

Grady Judd is one of the few people so vile, so utterly evil, that a mere firing squad would be insufficient punishment for him; being burned at the stake would be more like it, assuming it was a nice, low fire.

Lack of Evidence (#716) 

Sex workers have been legally prohibited from entering the US for almost 150 years:

…You are not a Muslim for good because you held up a placard on a sunny afternoon in New York City.  You can take a sign off and go back to work.  It’s like dressing as a hooker on Halloween; you can still enjoy the social privilege of not being a truly stigmatized person…friends of mine…have suffered the same treatment Muslims have of late: called out, zip-tied and paraded through airports, asked questions about their integrity and then banned…My choice, after being warned through my networks, has been not to try to cross the border…In this industry, drawing the ire of people who hold power is dangerous…and…I prefer to avoid such exchanges, which are really just demonstrations of power…I’m not all that fussed that I can’t go to the States, a country simultaneously obsessed with and terrified by expressions of sex that diverge from fundamentalist Christianity…

No Friend of Ours (#720)

For those still laboring under the misapprehension that Nevada is whore-friendly:

A bill penalizing [men who]…buy [sex from independent sex workers instead of those working for licensed pimps]…is intended to [increase the power of the police state]…minimum fine [will increase to] $400…Funds would go to [the pigs]…The bill allows suspended sentences for first-time offenders if they attend [brainwashing] programs like so-called john schools…

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