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Posts Tagged ‘idaho’

We cannot…be blind to the very real harms posed by exposing all sorts of innocent people to unnecessary scrutiny from…authorities.  –  Liz Brown

Advice for Clients

It’s always good to see different sex workers’ perspectives on this topic:

With the exception of the occasional inconsiderate asshole, most people know how to behave at the shops, the hairdressers, or when they’re catching an Uber.  They know not to skip the line, to tip, and not to barf all over the backseat.  But a lot of people don’t know how you’re supposed to behave when you visit a sex worker…it’s only fair that you try and be polite and considerate.  But what are the dos and don’ts?  Can you ask a sex worker to lower the going rate for a blowjob because you’re such a loyal customer?  And exactly how handsy can you get when you have a half-naked stripper grinding on your lap?…

No Other Option

An important observation from Mark Draughn:

…one item on [COSWAC’s] Myths vs. Facts page caught my attention…MYTH: Clients are pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships…someone needs to address the motives of the people promoting this myth.  People who say things like this aren’t just making an academic observation; they’re arguing that sex work should be (or remain) outlawed because of these kinds of clients.  And that’s an ugly argument…Why should it matter that some clients are “pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships”?  Does that mean they should never have sex?  That they should never experience pleasurable physical intimacy, never touch a woman, because they lack the confidence or charisma to charm a woman into bed?  Keeping them from hiring sex workers isn’t protecting women from predators.  It’s just sentencing people with personality disorders to a life without intimacy…

Real People 

Though this article is padded with the usual ignorant bloviation from moralists who have never done or even studied sex work, it starts with the stories of several sex workers from Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan:

Despite the traditional mentality prevalent in the Caucasus, sex work is not uncommon, especially for women who find themselves in dead end situations.  Although well known, the rights of sex workers and their issues are rarely discussed in any of the three countries in the South Caucasus…journalists…decided to gain a better understanding of the topic by directly asking sex workers questions related to their lives.  What forces women into sex work?  What are the risks?  How does society perceive them?  What are their rights?  The following interviews are the result of their inquiries…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do murderous-sociopath-cop-frankie-bybee

A cop is a cop, even when he’s a sex worker.  But this one is unusually sociopathic even for a cop:

…Sarasota County deputy Frankie Bybee…received more than $100,000 over the years from a woman named Elinor Jarvis in exchange for…sex…Jarvis contacted investigators after learning [Bybee] had been arrested for attempting to kill a 79-year-old woman by entering her home, mounting her and shoving prescription pills down her throat before leaving her car running in her garage with the door open in the hope she would die of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Bybee was trying to make it look like a suicide.  But Marcia Sohl survived the encounter…Bybee met Sohl in October when she called the…Sheriff’s Office for help, transporting her to the hospital and praying with her to gain her trust and confidence.  He also agreed to care for her Yorkshire in exchange for $1,000, even texting her a photo of himself with the dog to show that it was safe.  But then he sold the dog on Craig’s List [sic]…he wrote checks from the woman’s account to himself and children for $65,000…On December 28, he sent an email to the woman’s doctor from her email address, pretending that she had “suicidal implications,” which led to the woman being involuntary committed for evaluation in a treatment facility…the IP address originated from his home…Nevertheless, a judge…reduced his bail from $900,000 to $250,000…And Sohl’s dog has since been returned.

They Still Don’t Get It

This is a mass of stupidity even by “sex trafficking” standards, but this paragraph is representative:

…“Maryland is a hot spot of trafficking. It’s that simple,” says Maryland [spokesow]…Deborah Flory…“That’s because of I-95, I-70, and BWI Airport, and the mix of wealth and poverty, which is one of the things that makes young women vulnerable.”  Traffickers, aka pimps, are familiar with the laws in each state and know there are weaker penalties in Maryland than elsewhere, including the possibility of a misdemeanor charge for trafficking someone age 18 or older, Flory says…“They can make more money than dealing drugs—$200,000 a year off of one girl—and it’s easier because they don’t have to re-up with cocaine or heroin.  They sell the same ‘product’ over and over again”…

The number of myths, tropes & lies in just that short passage is impressive.

Paint By Numbers

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

Pet clothing company Lulu & Robbie is showing its support for the United Nations’ Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking.  One of Lulu & Robbie’s four new styles…features the campaign’s official…“Blueheart tartan, whose colours and lines symbolise the collective heartbeat of victims of human trafficking”…

I write fantasy, and yet I couldn’t make up anything so totally ridiculous.

Devil’s Advocate

This dude has very poor judgment and might even be a rapist.  But this sets a really dangerous precedent:

…Cody Herrera…19…pleaded guilty to statutory rape with a 14-year-old girl…prosecutors said that he could face additional charges for allegedly videotaping sexual acts with a 17-year-old…Herrera received probation and the judge prohibited him from having “sexual relations” outside of marriage as a probation condition…Banning “sexual relations” without defining the term does not…tell a person what conduct violates the condition…“sexual relations” can mean anything from phone sex to intercourse…Rather than wondering if a kiss is a violation, probation officers should be able to devote themselves to better things like helping a defendant get a job…or mental health treatment…suppose kissing isn’t a violation, but intercourse is.  Should an unmarried probationer who has consensual intercourse be imprisoned?  The costs are enormous. It’s not just $20,000 to $30,000 in annual expenses.  If the probationer is employed, he gets removed from the work force – and it is plenty hard for convicts to get jobs…

Original Sin (#449) st-josephine-bakhita

The Pope continues to recklessly promote “sex trafficking” hysteria:

As human trafficking continues to be a supremely important issue during Pope Francis’ pontificate…St. Josephine Bakhita, enslaved during her own childhood, has emerged as a patron not only for her home country of Sudan, but for all victims of trafficking.  St. Josephine was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 7, undergoing immense suffering throughout her adolescence before discovering the faith in her early 20s…Feb. 8, St. Josephine’s feast day, marks the third international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking…

Down Under (#567)

Even Kiwis who are prudish & judgy about sex work have to admit decriminalization is a success:

Prostitution was made legal in New Zealand 14 years ago, a move which some hoped, or feared, would remove the stigma from those who buy or sell sex.  That has not happened…it…is…safer for the community because safe sex practices could more easily be promoted to an industry that would otherwise continue to operate outside the law.  To that extent the legislation is said to have made a difference but it has not removed the stigma.  Not many prostitutes want their occupation generally known.  Few if any parents would want their daughter or son to grow up to be a sex worker…Selling sex, or buying it, need not be illegal for society to register its contempt for the commodification of the human body…legalisation has not done the harm its opponents feared.  It has simply made a sad industry safer.

Challenge (#679)

Let’s hope more legal sex work businesses come on board:

Fetish site RetailClips.com has pledged a percentage of profits from its site to help the Erotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research (ESPLER) Project’s court case that seeks to legalize prostitution in California.  Maxine Doogan…said she hopes that RetailClip’s promise to share in profits will “inspire others in the larger erotic industry to recognize our common ground and join the fight…In the current climate, where government is coming after a whole range of adult industry players, we really need to support each other — to not only protect but also to expand sexual privacy and sexual freedoms for everyone,” Doogan said.  Donald Kaiser, founder of Black Murk Entertainment, the operator of the newly launched RetailClips, said that ESPLER Project’s court case is crucial for the adult entertainment biz as a whole…

Stupor Bowl (#704)

It’s almost sad to see these losers trying to cash in with debunked bullshit a year ahead of time:

Hennepin County…is expected later this month to approve hiring specialized staff members in the county attorney’s and sheriff’s offices to address a growing number of sex trafficking cases, especially before next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis…Metro area prosecutors and police agencies anticipate that hundreds of women and girls will be sold on the sex market during Super Bowl 2018

Crying for Nanny (#705)

Just in case you thought we’d seen the last of futile attempts to wring a profit from anti-Backpage propaganda:

A new federal lawsuit in Orlando is the latest legal effort to shut down [the already-censored] social media website Backpage.com [over fantasies] that it encourages and profits from sex trafficking.  A…[prohibitionist] organization, Florida Abolitionist, is behind the suit….it…is one of several groups in the area that are working to [profit from] sex trafficking [hysteria]…

Checklist (#711) 

You know that absurd “air hostesses vs pimps” bullshit that was making the rounds last week?

…There was no follow-up on where the alleged trafficker had come from, what happened to him after the flight—arrest? prosecution? prison?…Fedrick’s 2011 experience didn’t just happen into the 2017 media by accident.  Her story is part of a campaign from Airline Ambassadors International, who…used the myth of a sports-related sex trafficking boom to permeate the Super Bowl news-cycle.  AAI was founded in the 1990s by Nancy Rivard, and the bulk of its efforts long revolved around providing adult escorts to children traveling for medical procedures.  But beginning in 2009, the agency began a serious shift toward human-trafficking [profiteering]…the…alleged…incident received little public attention in 2011.  While the news that year is full of stories about a man arrested at the San Francisco International Airport for wearing baggy pants, plus stories about local efforts to stop sex trafficking, none mention a human trafficker apprehended at a Bay Area airport that year.  The San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) web archives turn up similarly scant results.  And nothing fitting the description is mentioned in a statewide 2012 report about successful anti-trafficking efforts in the previous year.  When the Super Bowl was held in San Francisco, in 2016, the airport teamed up with Airport Ambassadors International and others…None of the materials…mention any previous trafficking busts at the airport based on flight-attendant tips…

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The government concedes it presented no evidence.  –  9th Circuit Court

We’ve all seen American propaganda cartoons from the Second World War, but here’s an interesting twist: a Japanese propaganda cartoon from 1936 in which the evil Mickey Mouse bombs Japan and is defeated by Japanese cartoon characters.  Like so many interesting videos lately, it was called to my attention by Jesse Walker; the links above it were provided by Rick HorowitzEd KrayewskiJason KuznickiTim CushingEmma EvansKevin WilsonDave Krueger, and Tim Cushing again, in that order.

From the Archives

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I have some good news for those of you who’ve been waiting patiently for me to come to your city, at least if you live on the West Coast:  I will be driving down the coast in advance of my giving the keynote address for the Freedom Rising 2017 Convention for Outright, a libertarian group for gender & sexual minorities (including sex workers).  That’s on January 21st in Phoenix, Arizona, so my tentative travel schedule is this:

Date City
January 10-11 Portland, OR
January 12-13 San Francisco, CA
January 14 Sacramento, CA
January 15-16 Los Angeles, CA
January 17-18 Las Vegas, NV
January 19 Tucson, AZ
January 20-21 Phoenix, AZ
January 22-23 Albuquerque, NM
January 24 Denver, CO
January 25 Twin Falls, ID
January 26 Return to Seattle

Those dates are not set in stone; for example, if I get a lot of bookings for Los Angeles but few for Las Vegas, I could stay an extra day in LA.  The sooner I know, the better, so here’s your chance to get a great deal on time with me: until Saturday January 7th, I will give DOUBLE your time if you book and pay in advance.  Two hours for the price of one, three for the price of 90 minutes or four for the price of two; it’s a steal!  The reason I do this (it’s my traditional pre-tour deal) is that I like to know my schedule in advance and I like to have my expenses covered, so the discount is my way of thanking gentlemen (or ladies, or couples) who help me with that.  Please note:  on the first day in a city I’ll be driving there from the previous city, and I’m not an early riser.  So evening appointments only that day!  I can take afternoon appointments on the second day in a given city.  I’m going to be very busy in Phoenix, so I may not be able to take more than one or two appointments there; if you’re interested, you should probably contact me ASAP.  Finally, I may (though I can’t promise) have some copies of my new book for sale; we’ll know once we get closer!classic nude

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No woman is made safer by laws which deny her right to consent to sex.  –  Catherine Staples

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality 

“Contracts” like this offer no protection and can actually be damning in court should something go wrong:

An Austrian sex worker has been convicted over the death of a sadomasochist client left to die with a noose and a shoelace around his neck in a Vienna hotel room…[she] only received a two-year suspended sentence…due to attenuating circumstances.  The woman said the…client paid her…to help him lose consciousness by strangling him with the shoelace while he tightened a rope attached to the wall around his neck.  She said the man had signed a piece of paper saying he assumed “complete responsibility for all risks and health damages” and that he was “fully aware that such a fetish can lead to death”…With his head in the noose, his face a different colour and his hands and feet twitching, the woman tightened the lace for a few seconds…She then eased it, got dressed and left, as agreed.  But some 90 minutes later after the man failed to contact her, she began to panic…

Theatrics (#446) prohibitionist-escort-service-scam

A new low in prohibitionist vileness: using fake images of murdered sex workers to campaign for laws that will result in more violence against us:

…French [prohibitionist] organization Le Mouvement du Nid launched its own [fake] escort website, with help from McCann Paris…Girls of Paradise looks like a basic escort service.  You can check out profiles and pictures, and opt to chat or call the women you’re interested in before arranging a date.  But…each woman featured in Girls of Paradise is [supposedly] already dead…when clients initiate a chat or a phone call…they’re shown [fake] photos of the woman, beat up and bloody, or simply told that she isn’t available tonight because she was killed in a manner most grisly…Le Mouvement du Nid…seeks to…victimize [sex workers further by supporting the Swedish model]…Girls of Paradise will score a gold Clio

You read that correctly: the sociopaths behind the Clio awards (the advertising industry’s Oscars) gave this ethical abomination a fucking award.

Checklist (#542)

Another state plans to “fight sex trafficking” with magical posters:

…Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz wants to require certain types of Anchorage businesses…to hang up posters [pretended] to combat labor trafficking…Berkowitz is seeking to update the city penal code on prostitution…to…reflect what he called “modern [propaganda]…surrounding prostitution and sex trafficking.”  For instance, changing the word “solicitation” to “sexual exploitation” in city law…

Too Close To Home

Remember that this is a sheriff who imagines he has the right to destroy hundreds of people’s lives because he doesn’t like their sexual choices:

The former head of internal affairs for the King County Sheriff’s Office now seeks whistleblower protection after saying Sheriff John Urquhart made troubling comments about women and meddled in internal investigations involving female officers who complained of discrimination.  Capt. D.J. Nesel recently testified that a county prosecutor threatened him prior to a court-ordered deposition in which he roundly criticized Urquhart…as a bitterly fought lawsuit involving discrimination claims against Urquhart and his office reached a boiling point.  Urquhart has been ordered to testify as attorneys for the county fight to keep Nesel from divulging details of the sheriff’s comments…

Challenge (#615)

I am proud to call this incredible woman my friend:

A sex worker has won the right to have a judicial review over a law that makes it illegal to pay for sexual services in Northern Ireland.  Laura Lee…for a legal challenge to the Human Trafficking Act at the high court in Belfast on Wednesday…A full hearing date for the judicial review will be set in 11 weeks’ time…Lee, a law graduate, had stated previously that she was prepared to go to the European court of human rights to challenge the law, which she and fellow sex workers [explain] discriminates against their rights to privacy, to earn a living and physical protection…

Pyrrhic Victory (#648)

Seattle cops have a positive fetish for illegal surveillance:

Beginning two years ago, but unbeknownst to the public—until now…the Seattle Police Department…acquired the ability to watch your social media posts in real time, using software that can place those posts on a digital map.  This tracking software, which the SPD purchased in October 2014 from a CIA-funded company called Geofeedia, is designed to tell [cops] where you posted from and what you said.  It can also show hundreds of other tweets, Instagrams, and other social media posts from anyone else in the vicinity, and then file all of that information into one big database.  The secret purchase of the Geofeedia software—for $14,125—violated a Seattle law requiring a city official outside of the police department to be notified of such acquisitions…The secret use of the software…also violated the city’s 2013 surveillance ordinance, which requires “any City department intending to acquire surveillance equipment” to “obtain City Council approval”…SPD spokesperson Sean Whitcomb [lied] to The Stranger on September 23 that…”We are no longer using Geofeedia”…another SPD official…Brian Maxey said the department is now using software from a firm called Babel Street “to support lawful criminal investigations.”  On its website, that company offers…the ability to “geo-locate the origin of e-chatter”…

Remember, Seattle ladies, we’re all “criminals”, which makes spying on us a “lawful criminal investigation”.

Still a Child (#663) bear-breasts

I’m pleased to see this lawsuit, but sad to see they felt compelled to employ ugly whorearchical bullshit to further it:

Jane Does I, II and III say the state of Louisiana is robbing them of their ability to express themselves, and doing so in a way that discriminates against their gender.  These women are exotic dancers younger than 21, and therefore will be barred from performing in strip clubs in about a week…In a federal lawsuit, the dancers say the law violates the First Amendment by denying them freedom of expression, and violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause by unfairly targeting women…the law’s definition of strip club performers as “entertainers whose breasts or buttocks are exposed to view” fails to prohibit the same conduct by men who are between the ages of 18 and 21…the lawsuit cites comments by legislators to bolster its case for gender discrimination…[politicians] said the law was aimed at protecting young women…[but] the law is already endangering young woman.  One plaintiff says she has witnessed pimps and prostitutes trying to use the new law…to “recruit entertainers who are now lawfully employed, but who will lose their jobs as a result of the Act.”  Another plaintiff…says other dancers under 21 have told her they plan to switch to prostitution once they can no longer dance…

Oh, and CBS? I don’t think the law is trying to stop anyone from “bearing” breasts and butts; how would such a statute be enforced, mass mutilation?

It Looks Good On Paper (#666)

What this law actually does is empower the cops to indefinitely detain underage sex workers “for their own protection”:

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation decriminalizing prostitution for minors.  By prohibiting law enforcement from arresting people under the age of 18 for soliciting or loitering with intent [but not for whatever other reason might pop into their piggy heads], Senate Bill 1322 [pretends to] shield…those young people from criminal penalties…While embracing the idea of treating young sex workers as [incompetent] victims [they can lock up at will], law enforcement groups warned that removing penalties would remove a crucial tool for [caging] young people and keeping them away from their [friends]…

The End of the Beginning (#668) 

They’re only saying this because it’s true:

…A federal lawsuit filed [against Idaho] argues that retroactively imposing…requirements on sex offenders, in some cases more than two decades after they were convicted, violates the Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws.  Whether the courts agree will depend on whether they view registration and the burdens associated with it as a punishment…in August the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit concluded that Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act goes far enough beyond Alaska’s law that applying it retroactively is unconstitutional.  The 6th Circuit focused on the act’s arbitrary classification scheme, residence restrictions, and burdensome reporting requirements—all features shared by Idaho’s law…

It’s What They Do

Are headline writers the most clueless people in news organizations, or does it just seem that way?

…[prohibitionist MP] Thangam Debbonaire [vomited out Swedish model poison and called for]…the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into prostitution – which recommended “soliciting” for sex be made legal – to be “redone” after its chair, Keith Vaz MP, was found to be paying rent boys for sex…[sex worker] Catherine Staples…replied by telling the MP her argument was helping to promote a negative stigma of her life choice, [correctly] calling her and fellow panelist, Dr Madeliene Coy, “anti-women’s rights”…

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My bubble is at the bottom of the ocean.  –  Reza Baluchi

Transposing songs from a major to a minor key (or vice versa) always makes them sound strange, but this example (provided by Mistress Matisse) goes from sounding like something that should be in a romantic scene to…well, listen for yourself.  The links above it were contributed by ClarissaTim CushingNun Ya,  Chris HallGrace and Cathy Reisenwitz, in that order.

From the Archives

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The first seats at the table ought to be reserved for those from the sex work community– and everyone else should listen.  –  Benjamin L. Corey

Droit du Seigneur Milton Anthony

Not quite a rapist cop, but bad enough:

An Oklahoma sheriff requested a sexual relationship with one of his female employees in exchange for hiring her husband…Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony at his office [on June 1st]…The female employee’s husband was hired shortly after the sexual contact started, and sexual contact between the sheriff and the employee continued for several months…When the woman tried to end the contact, Anthony allegedly insinuated he would alter her work hours and even fire her and her husband if she did not continue with their agreement.  The woman began saving the sheriff’s texts and recorded a conversation between her and the sheriff in April…

One Born Every Minute

I strongly suspect that these rapists are the same ones discussed in the original of this title:

…a Jane Doe plaintiff sued Internet Brands, parent company of popular networking site Model Mayhem, alleging that the site’s operators had violated California state law by failing to notify Model Mayhem users of the very real risk that they could be targeted by…a pair of…sex offenders that the plaintiff claims Internet Brands had known about for years before they — under the pretense of being a “talent scout” — lured her to Florida, where she was allegedly drugged and raped in Feb. 2011…the pair had been at this scheme for around five years, using Model Mayhem as a hunting ground for victims; not only sexually violating…[them] but then allegedly distributing video of the acts…the plaintiff points to a 2010 lawsuit filed by Internet Brands against the original owners for allegedly failing to disclose the potential for civil suits arising from the activities of these particular rapists…“Posting or emailing such a warning could be deemed an act of publishing information, but [the Communications Decency Act] bars only liability that treats a website as a publisher or speaker of content provided by somebody else,” reads the ruling.  “A post or email warning that Internet Brands generated would involve only content that Internet Brands itself produced”…This ruling…determines that the lawsuit against the company can move forward…

Universal Criminality

That whole “freedom of speech” thing was nice while it lasted:

Lancaster [Pennsylvania] police arrested 13 people after a recent crackdown on prostitution…12 men solicited an undercover Lancaster police officer posing as a prostitute during the sting…Charde Clawges…was charged with obstructing administration of the law because she approached the undercover officer and began yelling that she knew the woman was a police officer.  Police said Clawges and the undercover officer had prior contact…

Worse Than I Thought

“Sex trafficking” laws keep getting broader and scarier:

…advocates against…sex trafficking of minors, are celebrating the passage of [a draconian new Connecticut law]…Public Act No. 16-71 will require [hotels] to keep records of their guests’ receipts and transactions for a minimum of six months after the guest has vacated.  [Indoctrination] programs will be recommended for staff at hotels and motels to learn to identify the signs of human trafficking and report the suspected crimes…The [law] now [requires] a mandatory $2,000 fine for convicted buyers of sex and an automatic $2,000 fine for those who [hire] a sex worker in a motor vehicle…accused buyers…cannot…claim…that they did not know the age of the sex worker to avoid harsher penalties that come with trafficking minors…

Legitimate Outrage

Being an ignoramus is no impediment to a career in politics:

Another Republican lawmaker suggested women and girls are unlikely to become pregnant from rape or incest.  Idaho State Rep. Pete Nielson…expressed his doubts that post-rape pregnancies were medically possible…“It is a logical conclusion that any woman who got pregnant after such a despicable and gruesome act must have, in fact, enjoyed it even on a small scale, which eventually led to the obvious consequences…the brain and our emotions affect our bodies.  So, when a woman gets raped, if she experiences that as a trauma, she doesn’t get pregnant.  And you can say what you want, but when she does get pregnant after such a crime, that undoubtedly means that she liked it at some point, regardless of how strange or unbelievable that sounds.  Medicine and biology don’t lie.  They just don’t.”

Grow the Hell Up! (#139)

The bullshit is so deep in this, you’ll need waders to get through it:

…Up until her 18th birthday, that would have made Lexi a sex slave and the hotel sting her emancipation.  A social worker would have been summoned and the man who booked the room arrested for human trafficking.  But Lexi’s 20 now—too old to rescue unless she asks.  Instead, she’s cited for prostitution…Women and children involved in prostitution are now seen as victims instead of criminals…A vice squad goes after prostitutes.  A human trafficking unit looks for slaves and their captors…San Jose specifically has received annual grants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 to pay for police overtime pay, cameras, binoculars, night vision monoculars, cellphones and phone number-reset software, body wire and other equipment for undercover ops…When a sting nets an adult instead of a minor, he adds, sometimes they just let them go…Still…commercial sex breaks laws police have sworn to uphold, so they can’t let them walk every time…

Traffic Circle (#429)

Theologian Benjamin Corey is quickly distinguishing himself as one of Christianity’s most outspoken sex worker allies:

…the stories of those in the sex work community are individual, varied, nuanced and complex, and do not line up with some prefabricated narrative where one size fits all…far too many in the anti-trafficking movement are not in dialogue with the sex work community…I hear voices expressing feelings of being silenced, discounted, stigmatized, ignored, and even parented by strangers who think they know what’s best for them– without even knowing them or their individual stories…What is happening today in the anti-trafficking/anti-sex industry movement would be offensive in any other context.  It’s a form of moral colonialism:  “Oh, hey– I’m here, I have moral objections to how you’re living, and I know exactly how your life needs to change without even listening to your story.”  The only reason why it’s tolerated in this context is because of the stigmatization associated with the sex industry– one that is often perpetuated by the very people who claim they want to help…

Dr. Corey’s work also appeared in this blog earlier this year when he debunked the “gypsy whores” myth.

All-Purpose Excuse

When men get caught in some kind of sexual misbehavior, the usual excuse is “sex addiction”.  I really hope “sex trafficking” doesn’t start providing an equivalent excuse for women:

The 15-year-old girl had only been a student at South Fort Myers High School…for two weeks when she went looking for her new crush in the boys’ bathroom.  She’d spent the prior two years in and out of treatment facilities…learning to cope with the horrors of the sex slave industry into which she had been trafficked at age 13.  So when…her crush…asked her for sex…[she] agreed.  But…someone started filming, and over the next hour as many as 25 male students were shown on school surveillance footage passing through the bathroom…Multiple boys had sex with the girl…Sixteen students were disciplined…Though the sex was described as consensual…the girl was not legally old enough to give consent.  And because of her troubled background, the teen’s mother and advocates have said this behavior, called promiscuous by many outraged community members, is actually quite common among sex-trafficking survivors…

Vendetta (#588) 13 billboard

It isn’t just morally-warped billionaires’ money going to vomit anti-whore propaganda all over the landscape, but yours as well:

Not content to spread false sex-work statistics in the media and legislature, Indiana activists and officials have now put up billboard advertisements to promote their anti-fact, anti-prostitution message.  One billboard—emblazoned at the top with “‘She looked 18.’  She’s not”—claims that 13-years-old is “the average age kids are first used in the sex trade.”  Any way you slice it, that’s simply not true: whether we are talking about the average age of entry into prostitution in general or the average age of minors engaging in prostitution, there’s no good evidence to back this assertion and a whole lot to suggest that it’s wrong. Even Polaris Project, arguably the most influential anti-trafficking organization in the United States, says that “this stat is not actually supported by any data“…The misleading ads are made all the more egregious because they’re paid for with taxpayer money.  The billboards were a project of the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force, a group that lists itself on Facebook as a “nonprofit” but is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and headed up by U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.  In addition to billboards, the group’s “Not Buying It” campaign also features ads on city buses and elsewhere…

Book Reviews (#630)

Another good interview with Chester Brown about his new book:

…Brown was last in the public eye in 2011 with Paying for It…a book that generated extreme reactions with its frank and dispassionate treatment of a [controversial] subject…and its advocacy for the rights of sex workers.  “I hadn’t been intending to do any kind of followup (to Paying For It)…I thought I would do a very different book”…Mary Wept Over The Feet of Jesus…is, as planned, a very different book.  Yet it’s a followup too, or at the very least a complementary companion piece.  Going back two thousand years and more in search of the roots of what Brown calls our culture’s “whore phobia,” the new book reinterprets a range of parables and stories from the Old and New Testaments, emerging with a thesis…that “Jesus was arguing that prostitution is a good thing, something that benefits society”…What specifically spurred Brown into writing Mary Wept was an interpretation he read of the enigmatic Parable of the Talents, in which seemingly the least responsible of three slaves entrusted with a master’s fortune – he literally spends his whole stake on prostitutes – gets rewarded…

To Molest and Rape

It’s rare to see a new outlet actually use the word “rape” in reference to a rapist cop:  “An Owenton [Kentucky cop] was arrested [on June 2nd] and charged with first-degree rape…Rufus Shearer…is being held at the Carroll County Detention Center…

Turning Point

Kari Lerum, a UW professor I’ve worked with as an activist, discusses the wrongheadedness of opposition to decriminalization:

…with Amnesty International’s recent unflinching policy recommendation to decriminalize all adult consensual sex work…it is becoming increasingly difficult for naysayers to ignore the well-documented ways that sex workers are harmed by criminalization.  Amnesty’s position is based on many years of empirical research by leading health and human rights researchers, as well as calls by sex workers and advocates…for some individuals, no amount of evidence or logic will change their opinion that sex work is intrinsically wrong.  For them, decriminalizing any form of sex work – including adult consensual encounters – would send the unacceptable message that sex work is a legitimate form of income generation…I ask students to honestly reflect on how their life experiences might shape the way they approach the issue of exchanging sexual services for pay.  At the end of the course I ask students to revisit their feelings.  I have found that when given the opportunity to make space for their feelings and to evaluate the best empirical evidence…most students conclude that adult consensual sex work should be decriminalized…even if they still personally do not “believe” in it…I wish that I could also give this assignment to all policymakers and anti-sex trade activists…

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The [only Super Bowl-related] surge was in cops and busybodies looking for something to do.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Safe Targets

In the US, the victim would’ve been arrested as well:

A woman and her two accomplices, who tried to blackmail a sex worker and extort money from her customer, were arrested by [Hyderabad] police…Moina Nayeeda…established a fake NGO…and…went to the house of Sabha, a sex worker…and told her that she was in financial trouble and want to make some money by prostitution.  Then Sabha arranged a customer one Jaheer…Nayeeda came to Sabha’s place along with her brother Sohail and some others…After entering the house, Nayeeda closed the doors with the customer inside and shouted loudly about the illegal acts going on there.  Nayeeda’s brother Sohail and others rushed to the house and threatened the owner of the house and the client saying they were from an NGO and would file a complaint against their illegal activities…

Barbie

This article contains no new info, but it’s of interest for the selection of Lilli cartoons:  “So it turns out Barbie’s original design was based on a German adult gag-gift escort doll named Lilli.  That’s right, she wasn’t a dentist or a surgeon, an Olympian gymnast, a pet stylist or an ambassador for world peace. And she certainly wasn’t a toy for little girls…Lilli cartoons

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

WTF, Vice?  Seriously?  You’re back to spreading “sex trafficking” myths again?  Make up your minds whose side you’re on, you sleazebags:

There are 20-30 million victims of human trafficking living in the world today.  These modern slaves cost an average $90-a-head…human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry, generating profits of around $32 billion each year…This January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month…we asked three organizations fighting trafficking about how things have progressed over the last few years, as well as what steps we can take to actually eradicate the practice…

This is your periodic reminder that one of the big wheels at Equality Now, one of the orgs included here, is a former prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after she was caught railroading innocent men for rape.

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

I’m not sure who’s stupider:  the idiots who claim that porn will replace whores, or this moron who claims that porn increases our business:

A Utah state senator is taking a stand against pornography, blaming skin flicks for creating a “sexually toxic environment,” increasing the demand for prostitution and ruining families.  Sen. Todd Weiler…is…asking that the state recognize that porn is creating a public health hazard…The politician [fantasized]…that porn was more addictive than powerful drugs, and the public needed to start seeing adult films as a national epidemic.  “I have read books and I have experts tell me pornography is more difficult to overcome than cocaine,” he said…He said he hopes to shift the public opinion on [pictures he doesn’t like] the same way it has on cigarettes…”These are scientific facts, just like global warming”…

A presume he envisions an anti-porn firewall around Salt Lake City, or something.

Surplus Women 

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) mourns the death and honours the memory of Tammy Le…[who] was found dead early morning on January 23rd at a hotel in Hamilton [Ontario]…Following the murders of Jiali Zhang and Evelyn Bumatay Castillo, she is the third Asian sex worker in Hamilton and Mississauga to be murdered within the past two years.  Violence against Asian sex workers is a direct result of repressive laws and a climate of hatred towards sex workers and sex work…Since December…six sex workers – also members of Butterfly – have been arrested, detained or deported.  Sex workers with legal immigration status have been charged and harassed arbitrarily by city police.  These conditions encourage sex workers to work and live in isolation and to avoid mainstream services and protections.  They encourage a targeting of migrant sex workers and create a climate of impunity for predators who are aware of the vulnerabilities migrant sex workers face because of criminalization and their risk of deportation…

See No Evil 

A slight glimmer of sanity in the totally mad world of “child pornography” prosecution:

Jack Weinstein, a federal judge in New York City who for years has criticized penalties for…child pornography as excessively rigid and harsh, was recently called upon to sentence a man who had pleaded guilty to possessing two dozen photos and videos.  The federal sentencing guidelines recommended a prison term of six-and-a-half to eight years.  Instead Weinstein sentenced the defendant—identified by his initials, R.V.—to time served (five days), a fine, and seven years of supervised release.  “The applicable structure does not adequately balance the need to protect…juveniles…against the need to avoid excessive punishment, with resulting unnecessary cost to defendants’ families and the community, and the needless destruction of defendants’ lives,” Weinstein wrote in a 98-page explanation of his reasons for departing so dramatically from the guidelines…

They Still Don’t Get It

This truly bizarre article uses the arrest of two petty thieves who also did sex work as a springboard to launch into…well, see for yourself:

Chloe Marie Schutz…and Cynthia Leshay Reichow…were arrested Tuesday and charged with burglary.  Reichow was also charged with prostitution…prostitution in Idaho pale in comparison to neighboring states — in 2010, Utah reported 414 arrests for prostitution, Nevada documented 3,738 and Idaho reported 13…In September, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of three girls who sued Backpage.com after they were sold as prostitutes on the site*…More than 70,000 people are arrested for prostitution each year in the U.S., costing taxpayers an estimated $200 million.  Seventy percent are female prostitutes and madams, 20 percent are male prostitutes and pimps, and just 10 percent are johns, or clients.  About 40 percent of prostitutes are former child prostitutes who were illegally forced into the profession through human trafficking**…Sgt. Bryan Lovell…said drug use is common…[and fantasized that]…runaway girls…are pimped out and then dumped off in eastern Idaho…

*No, it didn’t.  **No, they aren’t.

Feeding On Their Own

Much more of this, please:

Migrant children in the government’s care were placed in U.S. homes and left vulnerable to human trafficking due to sometimes nonexistent screening by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a congressional report…HHS failed to run background checks on the adults in the sponsors’ households, failed to visit sponsors’ homes and failed to realize some sponsors were accumulating multiple unrelated children, which can be a sign of human trafficking.  Some lawmakers contend that the government weakened its child-protection policies as it was overwhelmed by tens of thousands of children crossing the border…HHS officials declined to fully answer many of the senators’ questions…saying they did not have the legal authority from Congress to follow up on the children…

Monsters Monica Loera

The nation’s first reported murder of a transgender person in 2016 is…Monica Loera of Austin [Texas]…Loera…was…reportedly involved in sex work…In the wake of her death, Loera was misgendered by both police and the media, referred to by masculine pronouns and her birth name…

Stupor Bowl

I figured I’d wind up this year’s “trafficking bowl” coverage with a couple of debunkings; the first one is from J.D. Tucille & quotes me directly:

…That term–not “prostitution,” but “trafficking”—is a deliberate choice, selected to confuse people…44 percent [of Americans now] favor…legalization of prostitution…That’s up from 38 percent…in 2012…Opponents of commercial sex find themselves on the wrong side of shifting public opinion, so they pull a little rhetorical sleight of hand to get around that inconvenient word “consensual”…”Coercion is much rarer than ‘trafficking’ fetishists pretend it is,” insists Reason contributor and former call girl Maggie McNeill.  “The term ‘trafficking’ is used to describe many different things along a broad spectrum running from absolutely coercive to absolutely not coercive, yet all of them are shoehorned into a lurid, melodramatic and highly-stereotyped narrative.”  Evidence for McNeill’s take is apparent in the difficulty authorities often have in convincing the trafficking “victims” they rescue that they’re in need of heroic intervention into their lives…And government officials and anti-trafficking activists are poised to rescue a wave of such trafficking “victims” when the Super Bowl comes to town.  Once they convince them that they’re victims, that is…

The other, from Dr. Marty Klein, (perhaps unintentionally) paraphrases me without attribution:

…Simple economics would explain why event-specific trafficking rarely happens: it makes no sense for traffickers to spend huge amounts of money dragging victims across the country, housing them, advertising for business, and charging reduced rates to undercut local prostitutes, all for a single weekend of illicit income—in a place crawling with law enforcement…

Check Your Premises (#422)

Under Swedish-flavored criminalization, underage boys are claimed to have more sexual agency than adult women of any age:

Visalia [California] police, working with the FBI…arrested eight suspected female prostitutes, along with their suspected pimp — a 17-year-old Fresno boy.  The women…range in age from 18 to 47…the teenage boy…[was] described as a pimp and “one of the main players in this operation”…some of the women appeared to be victims of human trafficking…they didn’t want to engage in prostitution but “they’re being forced by pimps to go that route”…the women were arrested [anyhow] because…they reportedly broke the law…

Consider that both these cops and the reporter parroting this idiocy are supposedly rational adults.

Eternal Vigilance

Until prohibition is itself outlawed, decriminalization of any consensual activity is at best a temporary respite:

The Labour Party’s “shock, horror” response to the exposure of a growing sex-for-rent trend amongst some landlords and tenants is ironic given Labour was [pivotal in achieving decriminalization in New Zealand]…says [an anti-sex worker] group…Stop Demand Foundation…notes that [politician Ruth] Dyson and her colleagues have been avid supporters of decriminalising and destigmatising the sale and purchase of sexual services…Stop Demand…supports the Nordic model of prostitution…and…notes that if New Zealand had followed the Nordic model…these landlords could be prosecuted [for consensual sexual arrangements]…

Choke Point (#593) 

Lux Alptraum on financial discrimination vs sex businesses:

…frustrated with the high rate of chargebacks related to porn sites (…likely due to shame-induced buyer’s remorse on the part of porn consumers), Visa and MasterCard made the decision to classify adult sites as “high risk,” and require anyone hoping to process payments for adult content to pay an upfront registration fee, plus annual renewal every year after…this might seem like nothing more than an annoying additional expense, one easily borne by any successful business.  But in practice, it provided payment processors with a license to discriminate against anyone working in sex—even in situations that have nothing to do with their work.  Shortly after the Visa/MasterCard announcement, PayPal announced that it would no longer be processing payments for anyone tied to sex…dig into the TOS of virtually any popular digital payment platform, and…you’ll find some sort of ban on adult content and services…There are mainstream payment processors are slightly more adult friendly…but oftentimes these processors are obscure, complicated to use, and much shadier than their competitors.  It can be difficult to get a client to connect their bank account to a payment platform they’ve never heard of, and it’s hard to feel comfortable using a service that could easily shut down overnight, taking whatever money that might be owed to you with them as they cut and run…

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