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Posts Tagged ‘hysteria’

Sex work is first and foremost a livelihood strategy.  –  Borislav Gerasimov

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

New Hampshire’s state Supreme Court has upheld a young man’s harsh sentence—which includes lifetime registry on the sex offender list—for propositioning a 15-year-old girl over the internet.  The man, Bailey Serpa, was 18 at the time.  According to New Hampshire law, Serpa would have been guilty of a mere misdemeanor had the two actually had sex. But online solicitation of a minor is considered a felony.  Serpa appealed the sentence on grounds that it was “unconstitutional and grossly disproportional”…Teens expressing sexual interest in each other isn’t weird or abnormal, and it certainly shouldn’t be a crime…

Broken Record

Top this one, “sex trafficking event” hysterics:

Lynne Barletta is the founder of Catch the Wave of Hope, a[n]…organization designed to [spread] human trafficking [hysteria].  She says during the summer, traffickers are at beaches, in malls – anywhere children could be unsupervised…13-year-old girls and 11-year-old boys are the prime target.  The recruiters are the same age…[Fetishists fantasize that] modeling or a summer job is the most popular technique…

Believe it or not, we’ve seen this one before, but both Google and WordPress searches are so poor and non-Boolean that I can’t find the previous claim. I think it was quite early in the blog’s history, prior to 2012, but I might be wrong.

The Widening Gyre 

Observation: homeless camp in woods. Conclusion: sex trafficking!

A homeless veterans advocacy group stumbled upon an abandoned campsite on the night of Tuesday, May 29…Dani Ward, a volunteer, [said]…she thinks it’s a child trafficking camp.  She pointed out children’s clothing, toys, luggage and strollers.  Ward [breathlessly fantasized] that straps tied to trees were used as restraints.  Also described was an underground bunker where they [fantasize] children may have been kept.  [Reporters] toured the site…and noticed structures in the camp were tied together using similar straps that they described as restraints.  The area…where they claim the children may have been kept could also have been used as shelter to get out of the heat or place to sleep…

When you’ve lost local news reporters, your moral panic is dying.

An Example To the West (#343) 

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Sting operations staged to crack down on human trafficking in the sex industry violate human rights, and lead to stigmatisation and discrimination against women who are working as sex workers of their own volition…Empower Foundation…said that in order to rescue 10 victims of enforced or underage sex workers, on average some 100 innocent women are also arrested. These women suffer distress from violation of their human rights and dignity. The women’s rights group urged the authorities to decriminalise prostitution…as a legal career in order to give them protection and welfare as per labour law, which will also be a sustainable solution to suppress human trafficking in the sex industry…Thanta Laovilawanyakul, Empower Foundation coordinator, said…“Many of them face the charge of adultery and are publicly exposed for working in the sex industry. Even the victims of human trafficking are mistreated…they are detained in an improper detention area for a long period and they are unable to contact their family”…

Property of the State 

Condemning a young man to frequent, horrific seizures is “standing up for a child’s welfare”:

Georgia recognizes cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy and notionally lets certified patients possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil”…that contains a…substantial amount of cannabidiol (CBD), the ingredient that reduces seizures.  That privilege is mainly theoretical, however, since there is no legal way to produce or obtain cannabis extract in Georgia.  Given that glaring defect in the state’s medical marijuana law, it is easy to understand why Matthew and Suzeanna Brill let their 15-year-old son, David, smoke cannabis in a desperate attempt to control his epileptic seizures…David was having several seizures a day…and the drugs he was prescribed for his epilepsy did not work.  But after he started smoking marijuana in February, he went more than two months without a seizure…David’s doctors knew why he was suddenly doing so much better, and they did not object.  But his therapist ratted out the Brills, which led to a visit by Twiggs County sheriff’s deputies, who demanded that David stop taking his medicine…The Brills were charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, and Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services took David away.  He has been living in a group home for a month now, away from his parents, his medicine, and the dog that is trained to detect imminent seizures.  His parents are fighting to get him back, a process they say may take as long as a year.  They are trying to raise money to cover their legal expenses on GoFundMe…Twiggs County Sheriff Darren Mitchum defended his department’s handling of the case…[with] “somebody’s got to stand up for the child’s welfare”…

Where Are the Protests? (#578)

Before swallowing this, I suggest you compare it to the “nail parlor slavery” myth, which it resembles even to the point (see title link) of claims of “sex slaves” hidden in the back:

…a shocking investigation reveals that many of the 20,000 hand car washes operating in this country are criminally exploiting workers.  They are typically staffed by immigrants from Eastern Europe who have been trafficked into this country on the promise of paid work – but without immigration papers they find themselves trapped in debt to their new bosses.  Often unable to speak English they are forced to work up to 11 hours a day for as little as £1 an hour, with even those pitiful wages docked to cover the cost of accommodation.  Those who try to quit are threatened with violence and deportation.  The exploitation extends even to putting their health at risk, with ruthless bosses providing little or nothing in the way of safety equipment or protective clothing despite the strong detergents used by many washes.  Latest figures show that about a 10th of the police operations tackling slavery in Britain involve car washes – double the figure of a year before…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#628)

Cops busting kids’ lemonade stands isn’t news any more, but they usually have the law behind them:

Everybody was having a good time on Memorial Day until somebody called the cops on the children selling lemonade to neighbors across the street from a park in Denver…police wasted no time in shutting the lemonade stand down for operating without a permit, putting a good scare into the kids, including the 6-year-old who took off running and the 4-year-old who started crying.  Jennifer Knowles, mother of the two boys, later learned there is no law or policy requiring kids to obtain a license to set up a temporary stand for neighbors…she encouraged her children to set up a lemonade stand…to teach them business and entrepreneurial skills…But if the kids learned anything, it is to not trust police…

Lack of Evidence (#659)

Just in case you thought this particular insanity was over:

…police charged people with both prostitution and possessing an instrument of crime in 100 cases last year in Allegheny County [Pennsylvania].  In 15 of the cases, condoms were an alleged instrument of crime.  In 14 others, police seized condoms as evidence.  In…the remaining cases, people faced instrument-of-crime charges for allegedly using cellphones to set up meetings…Authorit[arians think this is OK because]…filing condom-related charges or using condoms as evidence gives police and judges more leverage to win guilty pleas in prostitution cases and allows [pigs] to [arrest] sex workers…By filing an additional instrument-of-crime charge, a suspect is immediately processed and their fingerprints and photos are stored in a [pig] database.  It ensures police will be aware of their prior criminal history if they [are arrested] elsewhere…

Banishment (#779) 

This Orwellian tyranny is part of how governments are getting around the push to reduce prison populations:

In early September 2015, guards fanned out across Texas…to round up about 200 men, rousing some from bed as early as 3 a.m. and demanding they stuff whatever they wanted to keep into black Hefty bags…The state calls them “sexually violent predators,” men required not only to publicly register their whereabouts but also to participate in a court-ordered monitoring and treatment program meant to cure them of “behavior abnormalities”…most were living in boarding homes and halfway houses…[they] were frisked, loaded onto vans and prison buses and driven hundreds of miles to Littlefield, a remote, sparsely populated corner of the Texas Panhandle, where guards shuffled them into…a prison that had been empty for six years…the men [were forced to] surrender…their IDs, Social Security cards, birth certificates and credit cards, along with cash…Guards dug through the Hefty bags, tossing out all sorts of personal items now considered contraband…But officials at the detention center were adamant:  This wasn’t a prison.  They [demanded] the men…call their [cells] “rooms,” not prison cells…the new inmates couldn’t come and go.  It wasn’t clear when their sentences would end, if ever.  Two and a half years…[later] only five men have been released — four of them to medical facilities where they later died.  State officials claim Texas’ new civil commitment program is designed to rehabilitate the men….[by] stash[ing] them in a for-profit prison…far away from the support services they’ll need if there’s any hope of transitioning back into society — the supposed goal of the facility…

The Cop Myth

Alex Vitale on the development of modern policing:

The first modern police force—the London Metropolitan Police—was established by Sir Robert Peel in 1829.  He developed his ideas about law and order, Alex S. Vitale writes in his book The End of Policing, when he was “managing the British colonial occupation of Ireland and seeking new forms of social control … in the face of growing insurrections, riots, and political uprisings.”  The “Peace Preservation Force” was meant to serve as a less expensive alternative to the British army…Appointed home secretary in 1822…Peel would run the London Metropolitan Police along the same lines…Boston adopted the London model in 1838, and New York established a formal police force in 1844…But well before then, cities in the southern United States, such as New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston, “had paid full-time officers”…charged with preventing slave revolts…The motto “to protect and to serve”—adopted by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1955 and later used by others around the country—has been a highly effective public relations tool for the police, as it obscures the main function of their work, which since its inception has been to act in an adversarial manner toward the wider community…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#784)

Never underestimate the human capacity to obsess about things that don’t exist:

There’s “no evidence that having sex with robots is healthy,” The Washington Post wants you to know.  Similar headlines grace the pages of USA TodayThe VergeCNBC…and many other outlets, sometimes with an added dose of alarmism (“Sex robots could empower pedophiles and sex offenders“) or millennialism (“There’s literally no research proving sex robots are good for society“).  These headlines are all true, more or less, but they omit an important fact: There’s also “literally no research” showing…sex robots unhealthy…There’s just no evidence about sex robots period, because at present they don’t really exist.  The authors of a new article in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health—the study behind all those headlines—admit as much…

Sex Workers Against Trafficking (#812)

The world’s largest “anti-trafficking” organization recognizes that sex workers are the best guardians against actual coercion in our industry:

In February 2018 the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) published our new report, Sex Workers Organising for Change: Self-representation, community mobilisation and working conditions.  The report documents how organising has enabled sex workers to deal with the on-going stigma and discrimination they face from society and the authorities, and to prevent and address the violence, coercion, and exploitation occurring in the sex industry…At least one sex worker organisation in each country took part: Stella and Butterfly (Canada), Brigada Callejera (Mexico), Hetaira and Genera (Spain), SWEAT and Sisonke (South Africa), SANGRAM and VAMP (India), Empower (Thailand) and New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (New Zealand).  These countries were chosen because they represent different world regions and cultures, span both the global north and global south, and are considered as both countries of origin and destination for migration and trafficking…

Perquisites (#840)

Are amateurs really so sheltered that this sort of thing shocks them?

Just a week before the World Cup starts, Mexico’s national team is embroiled in scandal…El Tri held a farewell party in Mexico City…the…day the team claimed victory over Scotland…where players were joined by “30 VIP escorts”…Mexican officials won’t sanction players because it took place on their day off…

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If you’re a regular reader you’ve probably noticed that I’m fond of metaphors, and I’ve used a number of different ones over the years to describe the way public opinion about sex work has been slowly changing.  I’ve used the cycle of day and night, shifting winds, and crossing a watershed, but today I’m going to return to one I first used almost three years ago, the turn of the tide.  I rather like that image right now because, like the tide, the apparently-sudden shift seems to have surprised those unable to read the signs I’ve been telling you about for quite a while now.  The turning started when Amnesty International announced its support for decriminalization, but most prohibitionists were unable to read that and so encouraged the US government in what is beginning to look like a fatal overstep, the awful FOSTA censorship law which is designed to gut the internet in its haste to force sex workers back into the shadows under the pretense of fighting “sex trafficking”.

I call it an overstep because it’s fairly clear that its proponents had no idea it would not silence sex workers, but rather amplify our voices instead; US sex workers have finally begun to come out in unprecedented numbers to fight for our rights:

…over 300 sex workers and allies gathered…in downtown Oakland for International Whores Day…The rally’s focus on FOSTA shows just how dramatically the legislation has shifted the sex work debate…the rally mobilized hundreds of sex workers—in the past…events like this might have drawn only 15 people.  “People are hungry, people have lost their screening tools,” said Hunter [Leight].  “They’re coming out because they’re desperate, they’re stressed, and they’re under attack”…

in other words, FOSTA has finally made US sex workers aware that we’re being backed into a corner, and that we are at war.  For decades US sex workers, pushed into the shadows by criminalization, have been afraid to mobilize to the same levels as our sisters in the majority of the world, where our work is at least legal (albeit heavily stigmatized and persecuted by cops); these new laws have forced American whores to understand that our enemies will not stop until we’re dead, and that our only alternative is to fight back.  And we’re not alone; the mainstream media are finally beginning to notice us, and it’s no longer politically fatal for politicians to support sex worker rights.  But perhaps one of the most telling signs of how much the tide has turned came last week from Down Under; Australia and New Zealand aren’t all that different from the US culturally, though they stayed with the British Empire instead of breaking away as the US did.  And since they’re more advanced than the mother country in the area of sex worker rights, we got to see this

Named in [New Zealand’s] twice-year allotment of knighthoods…is life-long advocate and founding member of the nation’s prostitutes’ collective, Catherine Healy, who has been made a dame companion for her services to the rights of sex workers…While working as a school teacher in the ’80s, Dame Catherine signed up for a receptionist job at a brothel to earn extra money for travel.  She was the collective’s national coordinator by the end of the decade.  She built the group into an internationally-recognised organisation, becoming the country’s leading voice for sex worker rights, health and education and eventually organised the charge towards decriminalisation of prostitution in 2003…

And this:

Julie Bates laughs at the way she instinctively responded when the emblem of the Crown bobbed up on an email in her inbox a few weeks ago.  “I thought ‘Oh my God, what have I done now?’” It’s been 23 years since the sex industry was decriminalised in NSW, and still,  sometimes, “the only thing you expect first thing in the morning is a knock on the door from the cops…that kind of trauma and instinct still sits with you, no matter how many years ago it was.”  The email, however, bore good news: the 68-year old becomes an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday honours, recognising the work she’s done over decades to champion the rights of sex workers and mobilise the sex industry against the spread of HIV/AIDS…

Naturally, the prohibitionists are furious, but they’re as helpless against this as sea creatures washed up on the beach are to stop the retreating tide.  For US politicians and staid Commonwealth governments to feel comfortable supporting something, that thing must already have considerable public support.  The prohibitionists put all of their hopes into “sex trafficking” hysteria, and as that hysteria dries up – in part due to their own incredible overconfidence and total lack of restraint in inventing absurd numbers and outrageous lies – they’re going to find themselves abandoned in the dirt and slowly dying of neglect as the rest of humanity leaves them behind.

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It’s easy to see the vast gap between the reality of sex workers’ lives and the bleak fiction peddled by the anti-sex work industry.  –  Lux Alptraum

Against Their Will 

The Indian press just can’t let go of the word “rescue”, even when it’s patently absurd:

Eight sex workers from Thailand, who were rescued from a spa at Bapuji Nagar on May 19, were deported…and were given 48 hours to leave the country…

Gorged With Meaning

Posturing, hair-splitting and moral panic create a strange stew out of normal and age-old behavior:

…”part-time girlfriend” is a euphemism often used by young women in the city who may be studying or have jobs, but who also offer sex on the side.  By using variations of the hashtag #ptgf as shorthand, they connect with men on networks such as Instagram and then switch to direct messaging to offer services and arrange to meet.  Instagram says it has made #ptgf and #hkptgf unsearchable, but a host of new alternatives that add Chinese characters or initials to the original tag circumvent the block…[as usual, busybodies blame a lot of nonsense other than] financial pressures [as] key motivators for young women …Bowie Lam, executive director of Teen’s Key…[claims] the age of “part-time girlfriends” is getting lower…These young women often do not see themselves as sex workers because the…[propaganda has misled them as to what sex work is like]…Hong Kong police said they have taken action against websites, chat rooms and discussion forums to combat illegal prostitution activities.  The act of prostitution in itself is not illegal in Hong Kong…but soliciting is…

Cops and Robbers

Bigots try to cover racism and misogyny by blaming imaginary “gangs” for this:

Prostitutes blamed for robbing and pick-pocketing British tourists in Magaluf, Spain, have been chased off the streets by angry protesters.  Spanish taxi drivers led a [mob]…against the women by recording them with their mobile phones and chanting: “No prostitutes on the streets”…It is claimed that the women have come to Spain via organised crime in Nigeria, and they are blamed by local businesses for a drop in tourist trade…

End Demand (#638)

Swanee Hunt can recycle this propaganda from Seattle because modern “reporters” never fact-check:

Nearly two dozen businesses and institutions joined…a new initiative called Employers Against Sex Trafficking (EAST) to create a coalition of business leaders who have committed to zero-tolerance policies on sex buying…[propaganda invented] by Demand Abolition…showed that nearly 13 percent of calls responding to…decoy ads originated from local businesses, and that the peak time people are searching online to buy sex is during the workday, at 2 p.m.  The…study revealed…more than 9,000 searches for sex-buying opportunities happening in Boston each day and that more than 20,000 ads selling people for sex are posted online every month, with each ad receiving an average of 52 responses.  Many sex buyers have said they buy illegal sex while traveling for business…

If you don’t recognize businesses “partnering” with government to infringe on civil rights as fascism, perhaps the horrific phrase “illegal sex” might give you a clue.

Traffic Jam (#704) 

How many moronic prohibitionist  plays can the market bear?

After a year of co-writing, directing and now acting in Jane Doe in Wonderland, Erin Johnston is even more adamant about the play’s impact in [spreading propaganda against] sex [work].  “We’re excited about this production,” she said.  “It allows people to get used to theater to tell the story and the performance is digestible and accessible.  And…we don’t curse or show physical violence.  The focus is on the emotional and psychological process that’s experienced.”  As part of the [rescue industry] Game Over organization, Jane Doe in Wonderland visits around 20 Bay Area cities on its current tour…

Spotlight (#715) 

I wonder if Asstoon will ever get professional help for his delusions of grandeur?

Ashton Kutcher’s non-profit organisation Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children [claims to have] identified almost 6,000 child victims of human sex trafficking last year…Impact reports from the organisation for 2017, show that Thorn’s software allowed law enforcement and investigators to identify 5,791 child sex trafficking victims…They were able to [arrest] 103 [legal minors]…Thorn uses web application Spotlight which provides [cops] with information and leads on [sex workers]…in order to [arrest them]…In 2016, during an appearance on the Today show, the actor said “We’ve identified and recovered more than 6,000 trafficking victims this year.  We identified and recovered more than 2,000 traffickers.”  He also stated his next mission was to eliminate child pornography from the internet…

The same figures for two years in a row, and the Mail doesn’t find it fishy.  The reporter also didn’t bother to read Liz Brown’s debunking (see title link).

Monsters (#730) 

All around the world, monsters torture sexual minorities under the excuse of “helping” or “curing” us:

When he was 15, his family found out that Ibrahim…was gay…from that moment on, local mullahs and “old wives” (faith healers and local women reputed to be witches) “tried to ‘treat’…my homosexuality…[with] bloodletting…herbs (after which I had hallucinations, nausea, stomach pains), strong pressure on the painful points of the body, and…electric shocks onto the penis.  There were also some ‘spells’ or nashidas (though to no effect)…It went on and off…till I turned 18.”  Ibrahim is all right, for now, having escaped Chechnya.  He is living under the care of Stimul, a Russian LGBT organization…that…arranges safe housing and advice and advocacy…for…LGBT people seeking asylum from Central Asian countries…and…Chechnya, where homosexuality is not only against the law…but…viciously persecuted…Stimul aims to…place LGBT people…in European countries, the U.S., and Canada…

Hard Numbers (#756)

Good news from South Australia:

South Australian Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, says she will sponsor a bill to decriminalise sex work when it comes to the state’s Lower House, boosting its chances of becoming law…The Decriminalisation of Sex Work Bill was introduced by Greens MLC Tammy Franks last month and is the same as one sponsored by Liberal Upper House MP Michelle Lensink in 2015.  That bill passed the Legislative Council but failed to go to a conscience vote in the House of Assembly before the March election…

Choke Point (#767) 

“Choke Point Mark II” would be statutory rather than mere policy, and laser-focused on sex workers:

…Of four quick and easy tests for bad legislation, the [End Banking for Human Traffickers Act] passes three:  First, it’s “bipartisan”…Rubio and Warren are aligned on both elements of the issue.  Both of them want control of your genitalia and both of them want control of your bank account.  Secondly, it exploits moral panic to discourage scrutiny of its actual effects.  In this case, the trending buzz word is “human trafficking”…another excuse for harassing adult sex workers trying to make a living and, contra all the “for the chillllllldren” posturing, taking food out of the mouths of THEIR children (if not taking away their children entirely).  Thirdly, it doesn’t even bother to hide the fact that it’s yet another attempt to conscript supposedly private sector actors into conducting…intrusive search-like activity that, if done directly by government employees…might be held accountable to inconvenient standards like probable cause, warrants, etc.  The only test the bill fails is the “warm, fuzzy, and/or patriotic-sounding acronym” test…if this bill passes the Senate and is signed into law, sex workers — already pushed to the economic margins in various ways by law enforcement, social stigma, and…poverty…are going to have an even harder time opening or keeping…accounts at traditional banks…

As I wrote in the title-linked piece: “Since ‘Choke Point’ was never declared unconstitutional by a court nor officially banned by a law, there’s nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back.”

Comfort Zone (#774)

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

In France, two separate…activists are [on trial for] human trafficking for helping migrants on humanitarian grounds.  The law on which they are being charged is currently under review in the Constitutional Court.  Martine Landry, a 73-year-old pensioner working with…Amnesty International, faces up to five years in prison and a 30,000-euro fine…[for] facilitating the passage of two Guinean boys, then aged 15 and 16, into France…a separate trial…[concerns] two Swiss nationals…and one Italian…who accompanied migrants through a mountain pass on 22 April 2018.  They face up to 10 years in prison, 750,000 euros in fines and a ban from French territory…“If I become friends with a migrant who has no papers and invite them to sleep on my sofa, I become a criminal, and if I become a trafficker and have Nigerian prostitutes come into France, I am a criminal under the same provision,” says Lucile Abassade, a lawyer in the Paris region…As the trials open, France’s Constitutional Court is reviewing the law…to decide whether the law violates the French constitutional principle of fraternity…Such cases have become relatively common in France in recent years…

Legislators Gone Wild (#833) 

One can never have too many debunkings of prohibitionist bullshit:

…The No Little Girl campaign has argued that Nevada’s brothels have a negative effect on the state.  In reality, research shows that the lives of Nevada citizens have improved due to the legalization of sex work in the state.  Nevada’s system isn’t perfect — but it’s a considerable improvement over the national policy of criminalization.  No Little Girl has three major [claims] for shutting down the legal brothel industry:  Brothels do not significantly contribute to their counties’ economies while deterring other businesses from setting up shop; they increase violence against women who don’t work in the sex industry; and they’re inherently abusive (because, as the campaign’s tagline reminds visitors, “no little girl grows up wanting to be a prostitute”)…combing through the data — even the data the organization links to on its site — suggests that many of No Little Girl’s claims are exaggerated at best and misleading at worst…

Elephant in the Parlor (#844)

My irony meter just overloaded and burned out:

President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said…Stormy Daniels has no credibility because of her profession…”If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation”…Giuliani said in Israel…”If you’re involved in a sort of slimy business, (that) says something about you — says something about how far you’ll go to make money”…

Disaster (#844)

When a highway is destroyed, the traffic has to go into side streets:

Wall Street Journal has an article on the potentially negative impact of our country’s new “anti-trafficking” law—not on sex workers, mind you, but on the big business of online dating.  Yes…FOSTA…is endangering sex workers’ livelihoods and lives—but, oh, won’t someone think of the multi-million-dollar companies?  As the article warns its conservative, money-minded readers, “The booming business of online dating faces new risks from a law designed to prevent sex trafficking and prostitution”…The bill’s opponents warned that it would lead to sweeping censorship and, in its few weeks of life, it already has…As Heidi Vogt and John D. McKinnon write, FOSTA has led to the shuttering of sites used by sex workers—and “some worry that could drive the pay-for-sex market to legitimate dating platforms.”  They continue to explain, paraphrasing a legal expert, that “it could easily create liability for legitimate services if sex workers simply use their platforms.”  The article is filled with moralizing language that poses “legitimate dating platforms” and “legitimate services” opposite “prostitutes”.  It’s Match.com versus “bad behavior”.  OKCupid versus “illicit behavior”.  Tinder versus “those peddling sex”…

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Forcing us into the closet makes it easier for prohibitionists to make up stories about our lives.  –  Liara Roux

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

A bizarre claim even by the low standards of anti-porn nuts and gun-grabbers:

Rep. Diane Black…who is running for governor of Tennessee…raised the issue of gun violence in schools and why it keeps happening.  “Pornography,” she said.  “It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store.  Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there…All of this is available without parental guidance.  I think that is a big part of the root cause”…Beyond naughty movies, Black said school shootings are on the rise because of the “deterioration of the family,” mental illness and violent movies…

Like most things claimed to be “on the rise” by hysterics, school shootings aren’t.  But what I want to know is, where are these grocery stores that stock porn on shelves near the front door?  I’m guessing they’re probably located in the same towns where one can “order a child for sex like a pizza“.

Perquisites

Are amateurs really so sheltered that this sort of thing shocks them?

…Alene Anase was asked by her employer Alpha Omega Winery to serve guests as part of a charity cruise on the San Francisco Bay.  But what she expected to be a routine shift serving wine turned into a nightmare…The guests aboard the yacht that night — described in her 2016 lawsuit as 25 of the Napa Valley-based winery’s top investors, all men — were openly using what appeared to be cocaine and “drawing straws” for which sex worker to hire…Anase alleges that on the Aug. 12, 2015 cruise she could hear sexual activity happening in the yacht’s bedrooms and witnessed men “fondling and suckling” sex workers’ breasts — some [of whom Anase fantasized] to be “too young to consent”…

Surplus Women 

Twelve days after the decomposed body of a woman aged around 30 was found packed in a drum in Shivaji Nagar, the police…claimed to have solved the murder case.  A 60-year-old man has been arrested while his wife is wanted in the case…the arrested accused, Babu Bhagwan Patel…has confessed to his role.  The woman, identified only as Meena, was a commercial sex worker from Dadar…

Coming Out

Liara Roux on coming out:

…I almost started crying.  I was so worried I would lose my sister, who I loved so dearly.  I was shocked when she told me:  “I’m glad you’re happy!  I’m glad you found a job that works for you!”…She asked a couple questions about my job…My sister has always been incredibly thoughtful like this.  I remember coming out to her as queer and how excited and happy for me she had been about that too…I told her not to tell Mom…I come from an extremely religious, conservative family—house full of kids and fire and brimstone.  I’ve always lived my life in extreme and unusual ways and it scares her…There’s so much I haven’t told her because whenever I try to, I freeze.  I was worried if I came out to her while living with her that she and my father would have sent me to gay conversion camp or that they would kick me out of the house and I would be homeless, which had happened to some of my friends.  I like to think that she would have accepted me, but I don’t know…

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only five months for this?

A[n Oregon cop] was sentenced…to 150 days in jail and five years probation for having sex with an underage girl and soliciting sexual contact from [her] online…Daniel Kerbs…was held…on 13 child sex crimes, including six counts of third-degree sodomy, six counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child…

Droit du Seigneur (#691) 

Do we really want rapists to eschew condoms so they can avoid federal charges?

…Federal prosecutors said William Whitley’s conduct affected interstate commerce because…the condoms he used [to rape] a 14-year-old girl [were made out of state]…Prosecutors often cite guns made outside a state to support federal charges.  Condom use is [a wholly predictable following of established precedent]…a federal sex trafficking charge has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, while the minimum at the state level would be six years…

Saving Them From Themselves (#778)

Naturally, politicians had to make this bad law even worse before passing it:

…members of the [Ohio] House Criminal Justice Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill to ban teen sexting, even for…teenagers who are [18 and therefore] legally adults…Teens found guilty of sexting could be sentenced to [re-education]…but judges would be free to overlook this program, and minors with previous sex-related offenses on their records would not be eligible.  Outside the diversion program, a sexting charge could lead to…eight hours of community service—a light punishment that the bill’s supporters have brandished to make their proposal more palatable.  But…the real harm comes from saddling these kids with criminal records for the rest of their lives…The bill’s sponsors have argued that theirs is a compassionate plan because it gives prosecutors an option to avoid charging teen sexters with more serious child pornography charges.  But there’s nothing requiring the state’s cops to crack down on teen sexting to begin with, and…prosecutors could use their discretion to not bring child porn charges…instead, they’re simply adding on another possible charge for law enforcement to slap onto texting teens…

All-Purpose Excuse (#783)

I feel so much schadenfreude at watching the government’s own moral panic come back to bite it:

…Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of [Health & Human Services] Administration for Children and Families, faced a barrage of questions…over why HHS does not track unaccompanied minors who fail to appear at their immigration court hearings.  The agency has faced increased scrutiny following a scathing 2016 report…that found it failed to protect unaccompanied minors from traffickers and other abuses…In 2014, at least 10 trafficking victims, including eight minors, were discovered during a raid…[according to the movie]  Trafficked in America, HHS had released several minors to the traffickers…Between October and December 2017…the agency was unable to locate almost 1,500 out of the 7,635  minors that it attempted to reach — or about 19 percent.  Over two dozen had run away, according to Wagner, who said the agency did not have the capacity to track them down…

Rooted in Racism (#800) 

Another case of deliberate racial profiling by thanks to government-approved guidelines:

…Lindsay Gottlieb…was flying home [to California] from Denver when a Southwest agent asked her to prove she was the mother of her [biracial] baby.  Gottlieb said she showed her son’s passport, but the agent wasn’t satisfied and demanded a birth certificate [because obviously everyone carries those around with them]…The agent eventually let her family check in, but Gottlieb turned to Twitter to get the airline’s attention.  She tweeted: “I’m appalled that after approximately 50 times flying with my one-year-old son, ticket counter personnel told me I had to ‘prove’ that he was my son, despite having his passport.  She said because we have different last names.  My guess is because he has a diff. skin color”…

Although this coverage doesn’t mention it, I think everyone reading this knows why airline personnel are being trained to racially profile travelers.  Every agent and air hostess wants to be the next big hero for catching a “sex trafficker”.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#823)

The stench of FOSTA is all over India’s terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill:

…there appear to be several issues with overbroad or vague language…that could lead to a deleterious effect on the Freedom of Expression…section 39(2)…mandates punishment even for a vaguely defined action or actions that may not actually be connected to the trafficking of a person.  In other words, the provision doesn’t require any of the actions to be connected to trafficking in their intent or even outcome, but only in potential connection to the outcome…The excessively wide scope of this badly drafted provision leaves it prone to abuse…Even the electronic publicizing of an academic study on trafficking could fall under the provision as it currently reads…Similarly, any of our vast number of self-appointed moral guardians could also pull within this provision any artistic work that they may personally find offensive or ‘obscene’…Section 41…[criminalizes] “Whoever distributes, or sells or stores” [information claimed to leads to “trafficking”]…the infrastructure of the electronic/digital world requires 3rd party intermediaries to handle information…As it is not feasible, desirable or even practically possible for intermediaries to verify the legality of every bit of data that gets transferred or stored by the intermediary, “safe harbours” are provided in law for intermediaries, protecting them from liability of the information being transmitted through them…If intermediaries are not granted this protection, it puts them in the unenviable position of having to monitor un-monitorable amounts of data, and face legal action for the slip-ups that are bound to happen regularly…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#831) 

As long as any part of sex work is criminalized, cops will have power over sex workers:

Some Victorian sex workers say that working under the licensing framework…is even worse than working in places that totally outlaw sex work because of the extreme complexity of the laws.  Jules Kim from…Scarlet Alliance says [that in Queensland and Victoria] sex…workers are subject to unwarranted “surveillance and entrapment”…Examples include police calling workers to request services considered illegal within those states, such as condomless oral or threesomes, and then laying charges if the worker agrees…Such entrapment can disproportionately affect marginalised workers, such as migrant workers with limited English, who may not know what they are agreeing to.  In Western Australia and South Australia, where most forms of sex work are deemed illegal, police may use the fact that someone had condoms as “evidence” that they were working…

Imaginary Evils (#833)

Calling this “sex trafficking” lets the government steal property:

The Justice Department is moving in to target two [houses in Brooklyn]…where sex trafficking and branding allegedly took place.  Court documents filed by the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn are to forfeit and condemn two properties allegedly used by Keith Raniere and his victims…in connection with Raniere’s [NXIVM] cult…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844) 

That didn’t take long, did it?

We’ve heard so many stories lately about the frankly horrifying degree to which facial recognition leads to tracking or privacy invasions.  But a startup specializing in AI is instead leveraging facial recognition technology to [rat sex workers out to the cops]…Marinus Analytics…program called Traffic Jam…builds a database of images, phone numbers, and location data which can help identify [sex workers]…It scrapes the websites every few minutes, meaning even ads which are deleted or changed is [sic] still usable…The company last year added a feature to Traffic Jam called Facesearch, which combs through online photographs and identifies specific [sex workers]…Amazon’s Rekognition software is the technology behind the facial recognition…Rekognition is also being used by law enforcement for other…surveillance purposes.  While that usage has some ethical dilemmas which other experts in the field have pointed out, the usage of the software to find [sex workers]…feels far more noble [to the dangerously ignorant]…

The gullibility of this reporter is nothing short of alarming; notice how eagerly she sucks the dick of “sex trafficking” propagandists even though she clearly understands the danger of mass surveillance, then proceeds to make excuses for the surveillance based in swallowing the propaganda.

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Jeremy Malcolm is the founder and director of the Prostasia Foundation, the first sex-positive and pro-civil rights child protection organization.  He’s an IT and intellectual property lawyer and consultant, and a member of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum; prior to Prostasia he was Senior Global Policy Analyst at Electronic Frontier Foundation. When he asked me to be on Prostasia’s advisory council I gladly accepted, and when it came time to start getting the word out I naturally offered this space.

As a child, I remember how terrified I was by a rerun of the 1956 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which the lead character attempts to sound the alarm about a stealth alien invasion of Earth.  In the final scene of the movie, mounting panic overcomes him as realizes that he is too late, and that the vehicles passing him by on the roadside are already carrying the alien pods that contain the seeds of humanity’s doom.  The movie was widely interpreted as a cold war allegory, because it reflected how the public fear of infiltration of the United States by communists had been worked up into such a frenzy by Senator Joseph McCarthy that it empowered the government (for a while) to get away with taking repressive measures in response—measures that would never otherwise have been considered justified outside of wartime.  Although the red scare has passed, the public feeling of creeping terror about existential threats to our society, and the shrewd and calculating management of that feeling, remains part and parcel of contemporary politics today.  So much so, that international relations scholars have a specific a word used to describe what happens when governments manipulate public fear in this way: it’s called securitization.

When a public policy issue is not merely politicized, but securitized, it is constructed in such a way that authorities assert the right to take extraordinary and otherwise impermissible measures in response.  Whatever the issue happens to be—it might be terrorism, ebola, or migration, for instance—if politicians are able to whip up enough hysteria about the threat that it poses to the integrity and long-term survival of a society, concerns about human rights, public debate, and due process can be hand-waved away.  Too much is at stake—our lives, our liberty!  And very often too: our children.  So it is that we often observe this pattern of rhetoric when child protection laws are put forward.  It is quite right that we should do all that we can constitutionally do to protect children from sexual abuse, and that the political process should be a part of this.  It’s also normal that politicians will selectively use the evidence that supports laws that they favor.  But a healthy political process is one in which that evidence is at least open for debate, and in which the effects of proposed laws on our rights and freedoms as a society are carefully scrutinized.  These democratic safeguards are frequently bypassed when it comes to child protection laws, because of how child sexual abuse is securitized, framed as an existential threat that has to be purged from society at any cost.  This construction of the issue transforms Congress from what should be – a sober, deliberative legislative body (a filter for the views of the people, as Alexander Hamilton would have it) – into a mirror of a society in moral panic, willing to accept with a minimum of scrutiny almost any measure that purports to address the problem.

Proponents of such laws know this full well, which is why they invest heavily in fueling and manipulating the moral panic that gives child protection this privileged status in political discourse.  One way in which they do this is by playing on emotions, rather than evidence—and since child protection involves very strong emotions anyway, all that might be needed to push a law over the line might be the performative retelling of the story of the victim chosen to be the law’s public face (Megan’s Law, the template for America’s ubiqituous, although ineffective, sex offender registration laws, is a good example of this).  It was much the same in the case of FOSTA/SESTA too, for which it was a movie about sex trafficking, along with a series of increasingly fever-pitched (if largely fictitious) stories about the commercial child sex trafficking industry, that made the law unassailable against evidence of its flaws.  In the end, all but two Senators voted for a law that has actually made the fight against sex trafficking harder, while also harming sex educators, putting adult sex workers in physical danger, and seeing a rash of privatized censorship sweeping the Internet.  Even aside from these laws’ harmful side-effects, they aren’t even fit for purpose, because the vast majority of sexual offending isn’t a result of child sex trafficking, nor is it committed by those who are already registered sex offenders.  In fact, notwithstanding popular belief to the contrary, most child sex offending isn’t even committed by pedophiles.  That’s not to say that prevention interventions can’t be aimed at these groups, but if that’s where we stop then we are barely scratching the surface of the problem.  Politicians and the public alike rely a lot on the stereotype of the child sexual abuser as a creepy old man hanging around a schoolyard in a van, or the brazen sidewalk pimp with links to organized crime.  Just as the stereotype of the psycho serial killer represents the much larger problem of violence in America, it can be perversely comforting to be able to focus our attention on these sorts of outlying abusers, as it helps us feel that we have a handle on the problem.

What was scariest about Invasion of the Body Snatchers wasn’t the fear an alien might come and kill you or a loved one.  The most terrifying part of the movie (spoiler alert!) was the revelation that your loved one was already an alien, and you didn’t even know it.  The “red scare” was so scary not because of the reds over the ocean, but because of the reds under the bed.  So too, potential child abusers are in every neighborhood, and in many families; they don’t identify (nor would be clinically diagnosed) as pedophiles, and they certainly aren’t going to be prevented from offending by laws aimed at the sex industry or at those who have offended in the past.  It’s a sobering thought.  But the good news is that the scale of the problem doesn’t have to make us feel paralyzed into inaction.  There are things that we can do—it’s just that politicians aren’t going to do them, or at least not for as long as self-righteous morals campaigners and “tough on crime” ideologues control the child protection agenda.  What’s needed is a broader primary sex-positive prevention approach that respects the civil and human rights of all.  Prostasia Foundation is the first child protection organization to simultaneously champion such an approach, while also criticizing laws and policies that while putatively for child protection, are really nothing more than child protection theater.  Formed following the passage of FOSTA/SESTA by a diverse group including child sexual abuse survivors, civil rights campaigners, medical health professionals, and sex industry experts, we are currently crowdfunding with the aim of a full launch next month, and we could use your support.

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Sensationalist buzzwords…put women’s lives at risk.  –  Dulcie Lee

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

In 1917, as World War I raged across the Atlantic, American government officials launched a program aimed at protecting newly-arrived army recruits from acquiring sexually-transmitted infections…police and health officers gained the power to arrest and perform crude physical examinations on anyone (though the people they arrested were almost always women) they “reasonably suspected” of carrying an STI…if a woman was found to be sick, she was sent to a “detention hospital” (or to jail) until she was deemed cured or “reformed”.  Some of those who tested negative for disease were incarcerated anyway, because their alleged promiscuity was deemed a threat to soldiers’ moral hygiene…Sex workers were the prime targets, but so was any woman deemed “suspicious”—which at that time could mean anything from being seen in the company of a soldier to eating alone in a restaurant…Any woman, at any time, could legally be arrested, sexually assaulted, and hauled off to jail with no trial, no lawyer, and no idea when she’d be released.  Those who were imprisoned in detention hospitals were subjected to involuntary medical examinations, inhumane living conditions, and…continuous doses of mercury and arsenic, toxic chemicals which poisoned these women’s bodies while doing absolutely nothing to cure their ills…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

We haven’t seen this concentration of ludicrous claims in a couple of years now:

Nearly 300,000 youth in the U.S. are at risk of being sexually exploited…“Human trafficking is an issue anywhere with a freeway and motels,” said Santa Maria Police Lt. Paul Van Meel…“sex trafficking is second only to gun trafficking and drug trafficking, but guns and drugs are one-time sales.  A woman can be sold over and over again. There are young girls having to service 30 or 35 men a day. It’s just horrific,” said Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino.  California is one of the top four human trafficking destinations in the country…the Central Coast has been identified as a natural transit corridor for trafficking activity between Los Angeles and San Francisco…Yleana Velasco, victim advocate with the County of Santa Barbara…[said] “Within 48 hours of a youth running away, a trafficker will approach them”…then romance them into the trafficking lifestyle…There is apparently no lower age limit for child sexual exploitation. Van Meel said…he’s seen children as young as 8…

LOL at “trafficking lifestyle”, another silly construction like “sex trafficking world” or “sex trafficking trade”.  Have these people been hiding under rocks?  I haven’t seen some of these claims in years; maybe they didn’t get their copy of the updated 2018 propaganda manual?

Counterfeit Comfort

Another fruit of the poisonous lie that “sex offender” registration isn’t punishment:

…the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously ruled that defendants need not be informed that pleading guilty to certain sex crimes will subject them to lifetime GPS monitoring because that requirement is not a punishment.  In reaching that conclusion, the court relied on a widely cited but fictitious recidivism estimate as well as the familiar but dubious assumption that a state’s asserted interest in promoting public safety justifies the burdens and restrictions it imposes on sex offenders long after they have completed their sentences.  Under  Wisconsin law, people convicted of serious sex offenses involving minors are required to wear GPS transmitters on their ankles for the rest of their lives unless they leave the state, become permanently incapacitated, or successfully petition a court for relief after 20 years. The Department of Corrections reviews tracking data every night and receives alerts whenever an offender leaves an “inclusion area,” enters an “exclusion area,” or tampers with his GPS device. Malfunctions and signal loss that cause erroneous alerts can lead to arrest, jail, and loss of employment…GPS tracking conspicuously marks anyone who wears it as someone to be shunned, feared, despised, and perhaps worse…

Broken Record 

Low-population areas come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

…the…South Carolina…rape crisis center says the target age for sex trafficking is 12 to 14 years old…[fantasist] Ashely Hoshihara Cruz [claims]…according to a study done by Carnegie Mellon University [with its crystal ball], the problem will spike during Memorial Day weekend.  “The super bowl used to be the single most sporting even that had the most sex trafficking, but Myrtle Beach bike week has far surpassed that.  How many kids sneak out during these events trying…to see the bikes and hang out and party they’re easy targets”…

Stand back, World Cup!  Step aside, Super Bowl!  Make way, Olympics!  The new “sex trafficking” Mecca is Myrtle Beach Bike Week!

Dirty Laundry

The “Good Shepherd Sisters” were one of the two orders behind Ireland’s horrific Magdalene laundries, now doing business as the anti-sex work gang Ruhama:

Good Shepherd Sister Winifred Doherty, who is her religious congregation’s representative to the United Nations, observed that sex trafficking, “a debasement of the human person,” is “rooted in the structure of society, and more so today.”  The “social acceptance of the prostitution of women and girls” includes the benign label of sex worker.  “Prostitution is neither sex nor work,” Sister Doherty told the inaugural Shine the Light conference at the U.S. Capitol May 15…

A woman who has never had sex and never had to support herself with work has the nerve to lecture others about what sex and work are.  Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

A Load of Farley (#570)

Farley’s going to keep hawking this same snake oil until she croaks:

Prostitution is harmful to the women in Nevada’s legal brothels.  It is also harmful to Nevada’s communities.  It’s time to end legal prostitution in Nevada…In order to better [bullshit people about] the impact of Nevada legal prostitution on college-aged men and on the community, University of Nevada, Reno Professor Mary Stewart, Kyle Smith and I did some research on UNR students’ attitudes toward prostitution, women and rape.  We asked students at other U.S. universities the same questions and then compared them.  We found out that more often than other U.S. students, the Reno students were active sex trade consumers.  They went to strip clubs more often, and they went to both legal and illegal brothels more often…In contrast to students from other parts of the United States where prostitution is illegal, the UNR students were more accepting of sexual violence against not just women in prostitution but against non-prostituting women as well…

Yes, Farley says cops raping whores is OK because criminalization “sends a message” that sex is bad.

The Course of a Disease (#637) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

…a self-appointed group of MPs, that got together for the sole purpose of lobbying for the criminalisation of sex workers’ clients, conduct Inquiry and recommend the criminalisation of clients!  No surprise there then…In Ireland, reported incidences of violent crime against sex workers have risen by almost 50%…In France, a two-year evaluation of the law…found 42% of sex workers are more exposed to violence and 38% have found it increasingly hard to demand use of condom.  In Norway…despite claims that sex workers have been decriminalised, forced evictions, prosecutions and increased stigma are prevalent with migrant workers particularly targeted…As for Sweden, the poster child for laws criminalising clients: 63% of sex workers said the law has created more prejudice…plus, there is “no convincing empirical evidence that the law has resulted in a decline in sex work in Sweden, which was the law’s principal ambition”…

To Molest and Rape 

What kind of “friend” rapes your daughter while staying at your house?  Oh, right, cop “friends”:

A Los Angeles [cop] was charged…with sexually assaulting a teen girl while he was staying at her parents’ house in Torrance…Kenneth Collard, 51, faces three counts of lewd act upon a child and one count of sexual penetration by foreign object…Collard is friends with the 13-year-old girl’s parents…the victim is the daughter of another LAPD [cop]…Collard wound up staying with his coworker after friends told him not to drive back to his home in Riverside at the end of an evening of [getting drunk]…He then…entered the victim’s bedroom in the middle of the night that night…and sexually assaulted her…

Cooties (#811)

It looks like at least some UK reporters are realizing that so-called “pop-up brothels” are just ordinary, mundane escort touring incalls rather than the tools of “sex trafficking” from cop wanking fantasies:

Hundreds of pop-up brothels are springing up across the country…Crimestoppers have launched a campaign to try and stem their supposedly indomitable rise…Local papers are running stories on how to tell if a pop-up brothel has been set up on your street.  The rate at which this latest buzzword has taken over discussions of the sex industry has left little time to dissect what it actually means.  In reality, the phrase is useless at best, and dangerous at worst.  A brothel is any premises that is used by more than one person for the purposes of prostitution…Pop up, it turns out, is just another word for temporary…So pop-up brothels are literally just temporary brothels.  And as the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) admitted last year, there is desperately little data on the phenomenon, so generalisations about the nature of pop-up brothels and the people who work in them are mere speculation…

Business As Usual (#824)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

…a third of…sex workers who say they have been raped or sexually assaulted by police, according to a new report by Sonke Gender Justice and Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce  (SWEAT).  Sex workers also frequently reported that they experienced other forms of violence and even torture at the hands of police including being beaten with sjamboks or the butts of guns as well as being tasered…Almost six out of every 10 surveyed workers had been arrested an average of four times, most of whom paid a fine before being released.  But many workers allege their arrests were unlawful or occurred while they were off duty, for instance while out shopping, visiting friends or sitting by the side of the road…

Spotlight (#828) 

Like a who’s who of delusional busybodies:

In 2009, Ashton Kutcher co-founded what would later become Thorn, a non-profit dedicated to [exploiting a moral panic]…to [win publicity for a has-been actor]…Cindy McCain, a leading voice in the [anti-human rights movement]…speaks with Kutcher about Thorn’s progress and what remains to be done to [suppress consensual sex]…The discussion is introduced by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota

Disaster (#832)

If this is the best the prohibitionists can do, FOSTA won’t last very long:

a condescending and infuriating essay on The Hill…attacked the work of those on the ground scrambling for survival in the wake of this disastrous legislation, questioned opponents’ status as survivors and attempted to muddy the waters around our on the ground impact research and reporting…”rather than trying to meaningfully understand the legal impact of SESTA/FOSTA, self-proclaimed ‘sex worker advocates’ have used the flurry of misinformation to their advantage, perpetuating a false narrative about the law’s supposed effects…”  Why is sex worker advocates in quotes?  Why mention they’re “self-proclaimed”…Instead of addressing the actual impact they say we’re not “meaningfully understanding”…they just condescendingly paste the text of the bill…[which] is not really about sex trafficking…this bill doesn’t say anything about [force or coercion]…It just says “promote or facilitate [prostitution]”.  What does that mean?  No one knows!  Which is why sites that deal with sexual education and even personal non-commercial dating have been hit…

Bottleneck (#844) 

I’m pretty damned sick of politicians representing their schemes to ruin sex workers’ lives as attempts to “help” us:

[Michigan] State Rep. Leslie Love…[is] the lead sponsor of a package of bills that would license and regulate adult entertainment businesses and their employees and dancers…The bills would establish licenses, fees and regulations for strip clubs, managers, employees and dancers; set guidelines for design requirements in the clubs…set the age limit for dancers at 21 and older, and require that posters [misrepresenting sex work as] human trafficking are placed in the locker rooms of the businesses…

Regular readers are already aware of what a terrible idea stripper licensing is, and this adds several paternalistic “regulations” on top of that.

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Creating a…registry of strippers is not going to help stop exploitation.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Under Every Bed

The confused babble spouted by “officials” in low-population states is truly stupefying:

Assistant US Attorney General Andy Cogar, co-chair of the West Virginia Human Trafficking Taskforce, said one of the challenges…“is the learning curve we have with law enforcement…because they are on the front lines, but it’s also a cultural learning curve that we have to go through when it comes to sex trafficking…They blur those lines between sex trafficking and prostitution, and so there is a tendency— because…prostitutes are written off as almost subhuman at times. There’s a lack of concern or credibility that’s ascribed to sex trafficking victims because they are written off often times as just lowly prostitutes…We have to break through that and have a much more nuanced understanding of what prostitution is frankly.  But also, and more importantly, the various ways that sex trafficking can manifest itself or that it is manifested”…

This guy actually sounds like he almost gets it, but his brain is too mired in “sex trafficking” propaganda and cop “NHI” doctrine that he can’t quite close the circle.

Saving Them From Themselves (#428) 

Yeah, destroy their lives!  That’ll teach ’em not to have sexual feelings, you betcha!

Police are investigating as many as a dozen teenagers at two separate schools in Falls Church, Virginia, as part of an ever-widening sexting inquiry.  Police seized five cell phones and have recovered multiple “explicit images” that students shared with each other…Virginia police have a history of pursuing teen sexting cases with misguided zealotry…It’s well worth asking, then, whether the police should really be in the business of collecting sexually explicit images of teenagers as part of an effort to hold them criminally accountable…

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

…Jazmina Saavedra, who is running for a House seat in California, accused a transgender woman of invading her privacy as she live streamed herself challenging the woman in a public restroom in Los Angeles.  “I’m trying to use the ladies’ room and there is a man here claiming that he is a lady,” Saavedra said in the Facebook Live video, filming just outside the bathroom stall in a Denny’s restaurant…

Cops and Robbers (#632) 

The rescue industry provides many opportunities for wealthy white folks to play cowboy:

Christian rock frontman David Zach of the band Remedy Drive recounts some of the chilling experiences he’s had while undercover as a covert operative to help rescue teenage girls trapped in sex trafficking rings in Asia and Latin America.  While serving undercover over the past four years, Zach has spent most of his time undercover in brothels and red light districts searching for evidence of sex trafficking.  Zach teamed up with Matt Parker, founder of the anti-[sex work] organization The Exodus Road…

To Molest and Rape 

Why he wasn’t charged with rape isn’t at all “unclear” to me:

A cop…offered to drive a sexual assault victim home but instead took her to a motel and raped her.  John Nissen…was charged with official misconduct, tampering with a witness and theft by deception over the incident…Why…he…was not charged with rape was unclear…the victim gave an interview at the Hillview, Kentucky, police station about the initial rape.  Nissen agreed to take her home…[but actually] took her to…[a] hotel…[where he] demand[ed] oral sex from the woman and then rap[ed] her…Afterwards…he…[told her] she should move to a different jurisdiction and not pursue her rape case…Nissen’s own department became suspicious of his actions when reading the incident report and handed it over to the Kentucky State Police to investigate…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#662)

Summer Stephan has for years touted her personal animus against whores as “concern”:

Interim [San Diego] DA Summer Stephan, who’s running for election in June, doesn’t see any meaningful difference between sex work, or prostitution, and sex trafficking.  In doing so, she and other prosecutors in California conflate sex trafficking with sex work and are confusing the public in…an attempt to inspire moral outrage…Anti-trafficking laws that conflate sex work with sex trafficking have forced sex workers into “safe houses” and rehabilitation programs against their will…During a two-year study with sex workers, I observed that sex workers felt comfortable working cooperatively with police officers when the police opted not to arrest sex workers and to treat sex work as if it were decriminalized.  Similar findings have been observed in New Zealand…The conflation of sex work and sex trafficking…reduces…women…into a victim status in order to comply with a notion of womanhood tied to sexual purity that is compliant with dominant morality.  A woman who chooses to take an alternative, often difficult path, for her family by becoming a sex worker is dismissed as a victim incapable of the choice…We need a district attorney who would build partnerships with sex workers so they feel comfortable coming forward to the district attorney’s office when they observe genuine human trafficking without fearing more prosecutions, not one who judges their choices…

Bottleneck (#728) 

There are so many reasons sex worker licensing is a bad idea:

…Palm Beach County is the only local government in South Florida to license strippers…[under the pretense of] stop[ping] the exploitation of minors…But…Issuing a government ID creates a…public record.  “They’re creating a registry of strippers” said Elizabeth Nolan Brown… “They’re opening up these dancers to having their information revealed to people”…Stalkers.  Zealots.  Violent ex-partners.  Spouses in a child custody battle.  Potential employers…because of the stigma attached to stripping, there are lots of reasons they may want to keep that information private…

Comfort Zone (#769)

Sometimes they don’t even bother with the “sex trafficking” excuse any more:

Migrant victims of crime are being handed over to [UK] immigration enforcement officials by police when they report crimes…There are fears the disclosure could discourage migrant victims of crime from coming forward, although the Home Office [lied] it would support vulnerable migrants “regardless of their immigration status…Victims of crime must be treated first and foremost as victims,” a spokesperson [lied]…

Uncommon Sense (#774)

The IWW was the first major union to support sex workers rights, but it won’t be the last:

At its 2018 Annual Conference, IWW Branch delegates from across Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England were asked to consider a motion presented by our members to publicly state its commitment to the full decriminalisation of sex work and a full pardon for any sex workers convicted under existing legislation…the motion was passed unanimously…

Out of Control (#782) 

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A University of Southern California gynecologist was allowed to continue practicing for many years, despite multiple complaints of misconduct…The complaints against George Tyndall date back to the 1990s and include allegations of inappropriately photographing students’ genitals, making sexualized commentary about patients’ bodies, and explicitly referencing sexual intercourse while inserting his fingers into patients’ vaginas.  Some of the most unsettling accusations come from nurses and medical assistants—sometimes known as chaperones—who witnessed his exams firsthand.  Tyndall, who resigned last summer, has denied the accusations and outrageously speculated that…“chaperones reported him because they had trouble reaching orgasm and were jealous of young patients with tighter pelvic muscles.”  Let us pause for a moment to let that shit sink in: This gentleman argues that he is being set up by old ladies who wish they had tighter vaginas…

Elephant in the Parlor (#835)

I absolutely love Stormy Daniels’ honesty about her whoredom:

…Stormy Daniels…has become a political Rorschach test.  Women thank her at the grocery store for inspiring them to speak up, sharing their personal #MeToo stories.  Conspiracy theorists call her the “Deep State’s Plan B” if the multiple Russia investigations fail to bring down Trump…[others] hail…her as a saving grace that might lead to impeachment…The only person who sees Stormy’s story as not political is Stormy herself.  “I’m fine with women coming up to me and saying, ‘You’ve inspired me’.  That’s great.  But I’m quick to point out that’s not my story,” she says.  “I suck dick for a living.  Nobody wants to know what I think about the wall or health care…it’s my job and my service to society to be an entertainer.  Yes, my version of being an entertainer happens to be a porn star, which makes it even more important: I am an escape from reality”…

Disaster (#839)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

Some 60 residents…said over and over that prostitution [in San Francisco’s Mission district] has never been worse, and they made it clear to District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen and Mission Captain Gaetano Caltagirone that their official efforts have been too slow and ineffective…By the end of the night, Ronen and Caltagirone vowed to redouble their efforts to abate the sex work that has long operated on Shotwell Street…They were even receptive to almost unanimous support from the [useful idiots] to [establish a curfew on] certain parts of Shotwell and Capp streets on Friday and Saturday…residents…said the efforts had failed to abate a booming prostitution ring operating outside their doorsteps…

It’s because stupid people have been taught to believe in fantasies like “prostitution rings” that this happened in the first place; when politicians shut down inexpensive and accessible advertising, only a complete imbecile could fail to understand that the sex workers who used that advertising will now have to advertise in another way, such as by walking the streets.

Pyrrhic Victory (#841)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

Amazon…has developed a powerful and dangerous new facial recognition system and is actively helping governments deploy it.  Amazon calls the service “Rekognition”…[it] can identify, track, and analyze people in real time and recognize up to 100 people in a single image…[by] scan[ning] information it collects against databases featuring tens of millions of faces…Amazon is [specifically] marketing Rekognition for government surveillance…say[ing] Rekognition can be used to identify “people of interest“, raising the possibility that those labeled suspicious by governments — such as undocumented immigrants or Black activists — will be seen as fair game for Rekognition surveillance…

Because this story is on the ACLU website, naturally it doesn’t mention that the people who will be first spied upon by this software are sex workers.

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