Posts Tagged ‘internet’

I recently became aware of Science Hooker, and I was so impressed I immediately asked her to do a guest column.  She was able to achieve what in my youth I wanted to achieve, but couldn’t, and that makes her even more awesome in my estimation.science-hooker

Fucking science.
Science does not need to be dry.
Middle and upper class.
Even though people fitting these values dominate it.
Serve my science as a double shot in a sleazy bar.
“What was your name again?”
Learning and ability is not about background.
It’s about will, thought, curiosity, stubbornness and passion.
Science Hooker is about science for ALL.

Nerves jostle my stomach stepping onto the podium, adjusting the mic.  Hundreds of academic faces, mostly white, mostly men, mostly upper middle class, peer at me from the cavernous dark.  Mars rover tools.  I’m here to talk about Mars rover tools, about how ultrasonics enhance performance.  The focus envelopes, I calm…. begin.  A significant part of my confidence in academia traces back to me fucking for a living.  Honing those social skills.  Escort, prostitute, courtesan, whore; the label has never seemed important.  I remember perching on the radiator in a cold Edinburgh flat, nervous energy bubbling through me and a client due to arrive any minute.  The doorbell chimed, the focus enveloped, calm… begin.

I’ve never been ashamed or embarrassed about escorting.  Why should I?  There was so much learning.  So much living. I was an escort in Edinburgh, Scotland, and was studying part time at the Open University of Scotland, a truly fantastic institution for social mobility.  I gained a 1st in a geoscience BSc and was half way through an MSc when offered a PhD with the UK Space Agency, investigating the loss of the Mars atmosphere into the rocky crust and what lessons we can take from this in respect to climate change on Earth.  I’d never studied full time, nor physically attended an institution.  The integral snobbery, bigotry and discrimination is real.

Many academic peers are surprisingly religious, mass on Sunday sort of thing.  Their attitude to open discussions of prostitution backgrounds is full of the usual “saddening”, “terrible” and “disgusting”, coupled with trite ignorant sentiments such as, “Well, at least that is behind you know, or I hope it is, otherwise I don’t know what to say”.  The idea that there could be any positive life or value within the confines of escorting is anathema.  The message clearly announced that sex workers do not belong in academia unless they are very repentant, and acknowledge that their life was very sad, and how grateful they are to have transcended into the academic’s world.  Fuck conforming to fit in with this scene.

Science Hooker is my reaction to this elitist, insular environment of privilege.  It started in December 2015 as website, Twitter and Facebook platform where I simply shared fun science, but with an “escort” slant, which probably tasted daring and risqué to most academics.  The few thousand followers were mostly academics.  Yet, the project has evolved since the early days, becoming less timid.  A regular blog slot was provided by The Huffington Post, with a relatively free hand regarding content; this has been a powerful platform to engage larger audiences.  Following a Huffington article I wrote on prostitution, the House of Commons invited me to a panel discussion on reforming prostitution laws; it suddenly felt like Science Hooker could make an impact.  A short film was produced as a Cairn Productions-Science Hooker collaboration about my science research.  Thousands of academics followed, hundreds of professors; but still, I felt Science Hooker was pointless in a way.  Sharing academic content with academics is preaching to the converted.  It is not outreach.  It is not real science communication.  Added to this, a dozen other platforms are doing the exact same format of science dissemination.  I found myself asking: why am I doing Science Hooker?  What is the goal?  Where is it going?

The answer is still forming.  Fermenting.  Recently, large numbers of sex workers have followed, sharing their content, thoughts, jokes and issues.  I am glad of this demographic shift.  Interestingly, the extent I engage with the sex work community correlates with a proportionate decline in academic followers; a price worth paying, but informative about attitudes, and reinforcing my previous conclusions.  There has been a mixture of positive and negative reactions to Science Hooker.  Recently an academic pulled their copyright and association with a mineral reference book I had been working on with other students because they had stumbled over Science Hooker and my escort history.  This was no loss, academics are plentiful; we simply replaced his contribution and took the incident as a perfect example of bigotry and exclusion in the sciences for those from alternative backgrounds.  At the other end of the spectrum, Science Hooker recently got nominated by a post-doctoral fellow for the Annie Maunder medal from the Royal Astronomy Society for public outreach.  Science Hooker generates impact, disparagement, respect, hatred, encouragement and dismissal in a messy bundle of reactions.

Science Hooker ethos has always been about making science accessible and understandable to all, yet the tangible application of this goal is difficult.  How does one achieve this in any concrete sense?  Initially the accessibility I had in mind was all about explaining science, but now I feel it has morphed to include smashing down ivory walls of the academic tower, or at least graffiti them up a bit; highlighting discrimination, denial of access and judgemental hatred to sex workers in relation to formal science, education and academia.  A new project on the drawing board just now is called “Ask a scientist!”  I am collecting a network of scientists from a wide range of disciplines willing to answer public questions in a 1-1 personal way.  There will be two functions.  Anyone will be able to search for a scientist from a database, read about their history and motivations, their area of research and contact them directly via email.  Alternatively, people will be able to ask a question on the website, and any scientist can choose to respond and answer it, or not.  Possibly different scientists will forward different viewpoints and a conversation will develop.  I hope so.  Once this has been trialed successfully, it would be interesting to create another database called “Ask a sex worker”, again, with the aim of developing conversation, connection and mutual understanding.  I firmly believe it is through knowledge of each other that stigma dies.

The university is ending my funding soon, and I won’t have finished the PhD in time.  I don’t know what will happen, with me, or with Science Hooker.  I may even return to escorting.  Life is uncertain. I am unpredictable.  Science Hooker is fluid.  We can all only play with the cards in our hand, make a difference where opportunity and circumstance allow. So why not visit Science Hooker?  See what it’s all about.

Read Full Post »

Our civilisation cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose. The censor-moron does not really hate anything but the living and growing human consciousness.  –  D.H. Lawrence

defend-the-1st-amendmentEvery year, the last week of September is designated as “Banned Books Week“; the name seems to imply the kind of top-down state censorship which was at one time very common even in the US, and is still common in many countries we generally think of as advanced ones with Western values.  But this kind of censorship is very rare now in the United States, and has been for decades; the majority of “challenges” now (despite the celebration’s name, it’s pretty rare that books are actually removed from public collections) originate not with state officials or other “authorities”, but with individuals seeking to “protect the children” from thoughts their parents don’t want them to have.  Nor are those thoughts only sexual ones any more, though obviously those are still the most common reason; nowadays, demands that books be burned controlled are just as likely to come from soi-disant “progressives” as from cultural conservatives, and the reasons may include “racism”, “sexism”, “religious viewpoint”, “violence” and so on.

In a way, the name “Banned Books Week” is far too narrow to encompass everything we should be talking about, and a week is far too limited a time to be talking about it.  As I wrote above, “banned” implies a top-down regime, while in reality the majority of censorship now is the result of morons trying to self-lobotomize our entire culture; the word also implies a governmental action, when in reality the rise of social media and mega-media corporations has resulted in a de facto delegation of the censorship authority to them.  And if you’re tempted to suggest that this isn’t as bad, I suggest you ask yourself how much distribution your book will get if Amazon & Wal-mart refuse to stock it and Google monkeys with your search results to make it difficult to find.  Furthermore, “books”, as much as I love them, are now only a tiny fraction of the ways information can be shared; people who would balk at the idea of censoring actual paper books suddenly feel very differently when the conversation turns to magazines, or movies, or pictures, or music, or video games, or public lectures, or articles, or blogs, or other social media postings, or (most especially) advertising.  The same “right-thinking” folks who would march in protest if a school library declined to stock And Tango Makes Three grow strangely silent when Twitter bans a member’s account for “hate speech”, and may even be willing to march in support of censoring escort ads on Backpage.  As I wrote last year,

We are living in the past of Fahrenheit 451, the early stages of a culture which values feelings above thought, the history of a world in which the solution to any troubling idea is to eradicate it.  Right now it’s going on in the universities, where sheltered young people who have been coddled by overprotective parents for two decades are declaring themselves to be “triggered” or “offended” or even “violated” by ideas – whether spoken or in print – that they haven’t encountered before, or that contradict their opinions, or that they find unpleasant, or that bear some superficial resemblance to any of the preceding.  Just as their parents “protected” them from these unpleasant thoughts by banning them from their homes with internet filters or “parental controls”, so they feel entitled to “protect” themselves – and every other person within their sphere of influence – from those bad, icky ideas by banning them…

The censor-morons are loose, and they’re coming after everyone who dares to disagree with them.  And the only way to stop them is to oppose every attempt to limit the free expression of ideas, even if you disagree with them or find them offensive.  Correction: especially if you find them offensive.  Because as always, tyranny starts with those nobody really wants to defend.think-for-yourself

Read Full Post »

The courts, instead of keeping our lawmakers honest, have instead opted to craft ostensibly thoughtful and well-reasoned opinions allowing the legislature to do whatever ridiculous and often horrible things pop into their heads.  –  Matt Brown

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#12)

Criminalization always makes sex work conditions shittier:

…the International Labor Organization interviewed…sex workers…and local authorities in Vietnam, and strongly suggested that the country do something about the occupational safety and health risks that come with the industry.  Most workers had casual jobs before they chose to enter the sex industry, after considering it a better option.  Out of the 73 workers surveyed, only one reported to having been deceived into selling sex, but many workers had their movements controlled by employers and some had their identity papers held…According to the workers, conditions would be better in well-maintained, expensive bars, discotheques, spas, massage parlors and restaurants, while brothels and cheap cafés, restaurants, karaoke bars and parlors are dirty and do not guarantee security and safety.  However, no matter where they work, there is always the threat of violence and police raids, especially for women working on the streets…

Too Young To Know

Despite the emphasis on asinine dysphemisms like “resorting to sex work” and “selling their body” [sic], at least this article understands that young people nearly always sell sex out of necessity, and not because they’re abducted by bogeyman “pimps”:

Teenagers in America are resorting to sex work because they cannot afford food, according to a study…by the Urban Institute…Evidence of teenage girls turning to “transactional dating” with older men is likely to cause particular alarm…The consistency of the findings across gender, race and geography was a surprise…Teens would overwhelmingly prefer to earn money through a formal job but prospects for youth employment are extremely limited…

The two red flags I see here are 1) the Urban Institute has produced shoddy sex work studies in the recent past; and 2) the study seems to rely more heavily on anecdotes told by teens about other, unidentified teens, rather than on reports given by teens about their own behavior.

Still a Child 

It’s shocking & saddening to see how low the journalistic standards of PBS and the New York Times have dropped:

An exposé on the shocking number of girls who continue to be forced into marriage in the United States will air…as part of a two-part special for PBS NewsHour….“This is a story so few know is happening right down their street,” [Gayle] Lemmon [said]…in an email…Among the stories featured will be that of a New Jersey girl named Jada, whose father brought her with him to live in Saudi Arabia.  At the age of 12, her father decided to marry her off…he…forced her to walk on his right side while they were together in public — so other Saudi men would know that she was for sale.  Apparently, it’s a cultural signal there.  Another woman…is Nina, a 33-year-old Michigan woman, who said she was seeking an annulment because she had been married against her will at the age of 19.  The case is perhaps the first of its kind in the U.S., and could shape future legal precedent…Nina…talks about [how] sex with her “husband” came to feel like imprisonment and tantamount to rape…

“Right down their street” sounds like something borrowed from “sex trafficking” hysteria, which this whole story resembles. “Apparently, it’s a cultural signal…” “Apparently“?  Didn’t y’all bother to fucking find out, like by consulting an expert on Saudi culture?  And as for Nina, last I checked, 19 was not considered a “child” anywhere in the US, at least not yet.  I’m certainly sympathetic to women who may feel economically trapped in a bad marriage, or feel unable to leave due to threats of violence, but this seems to be conflating adult women with 12-year-old girls, and that’s an extremely dangerous road for self-respecting women to be allowing our culture & media to follow without speaking up.

Policing for Profit 

This excuse is pathetic, even by cop standards:

NYPD brass testified before the…City Council…that it has no idea how much money it [steals] from citizens each year…and an attempt to collect the data would crash its computer systems…NYC councilmember Ritchie Torres introduced legislation this year that would require annual reports from the police department about how much money it [steals], but at Thursday’s hearing, the NYPD said it has no technologically feasible way to track [thefts that were]…not [challenged by the rightful owners in court]…Bronx Defenders…is suing the NYPD for public records on its asset forfeiture program, which rakes in millions in seized cash and property…every year.  According to the scant records Bronx Defenders did manage to get back, the NYPD reported more than $6 million in revenue in 2013 from seized cash, forfeitures, and property sold at auction, and it had a balance of more than $68 million in seized currency in any given month of that year…the vast majority of [stolen] assets are simply forfeited…after the…property owner fails to go through the burdensome and Byzantine process of trying to retrieve them by the deadline…

Nice While It Lasted

Now that the precedent’s firmly established, you’re going to see an increasing number of laws that presume guilt:

In Arizona, the legislature…decided to define sexual abuse and molestation of a child in such a way that intentionally or knowingly touching the genitals or anus of a child or the breast of a female younger than fifteen is a felony.  That should come as no surprise to anyone who is remotely familiar with Arizona, as the one thing the legislature is good at is passing the broadest and most Draconian criminal laws they can imagine…thanks to the Supreme Court of Arizona’s opinion in State v. Holle, the terms of the statute are to be applied literally…the defense that there was no sexual motivation is one the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence…the court justifies making every parent in Arizona a sex offender tasked with proving his or her innocence should a prosecutor decide to ruin his or her life with charges…

Vendetta (Traffic Updates)

More anti-sex violence and attempted brainwashing funded by the sociopathic Swanee Hunt:

[Boston] is stepping up efforts to shame prostitution customers — including the prospect of sending them off to “john school” to [indoctrinate them in the religion of] human trafficking.  It’s all part of a police [fantasy that they can] reduce the online sex trade in the city by 20 percent over the next year…Police are set to receive a $30,000 grant from Demand Abolition…

Between the Ears (#545) 

Have a device that connects to the internet? Assume it can be used to spy on you:

…in a class-action lawsuit representing…tens of thousands of users, [an] Illinois woman has…[sued] sex-toy company Standard Innovation.  She accuses the company, which is based in Ottawa, Canada, of consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, intrusion upon seclusion, and violating the Federal Wiretap Act and the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute…The woman reportedly bought her We-Vibe Rave for $130 in May and proceeded to use it several times before learning via a Defcon hacking convention talk…that her extremely personal usage was being scrutinized for marketing purposes by its maker…the toy can connect to a smartphone for such activities as adjusting vibration type…and intensity…not to mention allowing someone else to be at the controls from afar…

The Widening Gyre (#545) sex-trafficking-flyer

I guess that “outside agency” never heard of Snopes:

The Boys and Girls Club in Chico [California] was notified…about a suspicious job flyer…Devon Saul says these flyers are raising some serious questions.  “For very minimal work it does through [sic] up a red flag to say okay what’s the catch…It promises great pay. 60, 80, 100 dollars a day.  Great trips, great gifts and bonuses and things like that”…His concerns were solidified when an outside agency in Tehama County notified then non-profit that this may be a sex trafficking scam…the club decided education on human trafficking was needed for staff…

Actually, it says $60 to $100 a week, which is about $12-$20 a day; not exactly a fortune.  But I guess we can’t expect literacy from a man who mixes metaphors so egregiously and thinks that if two people are both hysterical, that “solidifies” their fantasies.  And I guess it’s too much to expect these people to actually call the number to investigate what it’s about instead of jumping at their own shadows.

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

I encourage residents to use public computers to report every police car and other official vehicle they can find:

Oakland is…introducing a website…[where busybodies can report] the license plate numbers of suspected johns’ vehicles and describe the specific activity they witnessed.  The sightings are uploaded to the police, who will send a letter to the address where the vehicle is registered…The predecessor…was a program called Dear John, introduced in 2013, which allowed residents to fill out a form that they submitted to the police.  That program generated more than 300 “Dear John” letters mailed to the owners of the vehicles spotted by residents…[cops pretend that] there had been no signs of false reporting in [that] program…

The crowning hypocrisy?  This is Oakland.

To Molest and Rape 

Another woman raped by cops answers headline: “Almost certainly.”

A woman who was…raped by a [cop] said much of which she recalled from that night was “blurry,” but that at one point she woke up and “he was on top of me”…an acquaintance…[drove] her [home from a bar] because she wasn’t in a condition to drive…[Erich] Fritz pulled the man over…and arrested him for operating while intoxicated…Fritz [then] took her to…a hotel room [and raped her]…

Turning Point

Tina Horn uses the New York Times Magazine cover story as a jumping-off point for an article entitled “10 Reasons Decriminalizing Sex Work Is A Feminist Issue“.  And though I think there are much better arguments to be made than most of these, every little bit helps and it’s great to see the number of articles like this one ever increasing.

Too Close To Home (#672)

Read Liz Brown’s fantastic expose, then understand that this is talking about the same events through an anti-sex filter:

The men didn’t know that Hillman, the man they had invited into their elite circle, was actually an undercover detective.  Law enforcement is beginning to take notice of so-called “John boards” — review sites where customers rate prostitutes.  The men busted in this Seattle group earlier this year exposed a secretive world where online sex buyers are treading on a whole new level of criminal behavior…Hillman wrote fake reviews and was invited to join a subgroup that called itself “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”…The League attracted the attention of law enforcement not because its members bought a lot of sex, but because of how they worked together…After six months of undercover surveillance, law enforcement closed in.  They busted eight brothels.  A dozen Korean women were offered human trafficking victim services and released…

Hillman didn’t write “fake reviews”; he paid and wrote reviews just like the others, which (considering he used the acts to harm us) makes him a serial rapist.  And no, those women weren’t “offered” anything, nor were they “released”, because the cops never got their filthy hands on them; they were tipped off and fled.  But because that would ruin the narrative of “exploited victims”, this story was invented so the “authorities” could look benevolent to ignoramuses.  Also note this story doesn’t bother to mention the ruined lives and the suicide this ham-fisted pogrom left in its ugly wake.

Of Course It Is (#673)

I hope she gets every damned penny:

…a lawsuit was filed against the city of Oakland [by] attorneys for Jasmine Abuslin, formerly known as Celeste Guap…her attorneys expect to file similar suits against other jurisdictions involved in this sex scandal.  So far, only two [cops] have been formally charged…

Read Full Post »

Almost none of [the “sex trafficking” narrative] is true—and the little that is technically true is so lacking in context that it’s utterly misleading.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Anatomy of a Boondoggle 

Just another example of “authorities” paying men to rape whores:

Police raided two flats used as brothels…in Nicosia [Cyprus], arresting a woman from China and detaining another female sex worker [pretended] to be a victim of human trafficking.  A civilian associate of the police visited the brothel and used marked bills to buy sexual services…After [raping the women] the man signalled the police by sending them an SMS message…Police located the two marked bills and [stole] 347 condoms, four of which had been used, along with four mobile phones, sex toys, a computer, and the amount of €345 in cash…

Something Rotten in Sweden

It’s good to see that even reporters who credulously parrot cop anti-whore propaganda now feel compelled to at least mention Amnesty’s findings:

…It can be difficult for police to build cases against traffickers when their primary witnesses — victims — are too afraid to talk [and] don’t trust police [who]…still conduct stings against sex workers…To create more trust among potential victims and curb the demand for commercial sex, sting operations should focus more on catching johns and pimps, [fetishist cop Mark Keller] said…He also suggested changing state law to the so-called Nordic model, which makes it legal for people to prostitute themselves but illegal to pimp, traffick or purchase sex…The model could help [cops] gain the trust of sex trafficking victims…Keller said.  However, it was recently scrutinized in a report by…Amnesty International…which found it subjected sex workers to increased police scrutiny, evictions and other penalties…

The Eye of the Beholder (June Updates)

Given that there is no possibility of a child, what exactly is the rationale behind this prosecution, other than “The ‘authorities’ find this skeevy” or “The law is the law”?

A mother and daughter are facing incest charges in…Oklahoma after authorities learned they were legally married earlier this year.  It is unclear what motivated Patricia Ann Spann, 43, and her daughter, Misty Velvet Dawn Spann, 25, to wed…Investigators also found Patricia Spann married her son in 2008.  He filed for an annulment 15 months later, citing “incest”…Police discovered the marriages late last month during a child welfare check-up.  Patricia Spann told investigators she had lost custody of her biological children as a young mother and only came into contact with her daughter two years ago…the couple believed the union was legal, since she was not listed as the biological mother on her daughter’s birth certificate.  Each woman faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic weiners-weiner

Maybe if we keep repeating this enough, it will eventually sink into the thick public skull:

…Despite popular headlines and self-promoting TV doctors’ proclamations to the contrary, sex addiction isn’t real…There is no doubt that some people have trouble regulating their sexual thoughts, desires, and behaviors.  But addiction has a real meaning and a real clinical definition…When addicts…are shown pictures of their drug of choice there is a clear and uniform response in their P300 brain waves…However, when UCLA researchers studied the response to viewing sexually explicit images in people who self-defined as being unable to regulate their porn viewing, the results showed no similar response…In fact, they found the only thing correlated with brain wave activity was sexual desire such that the higher their self-reported sexual desire, the more brain wave activity they showed.  The authors concluded that there was no evidence to say that even problem sexual regulation fit the definition of addiction as defined by brain response and that these people simply had high sex drives…

Divided We Fall (#13)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

Indonesian police are taking aim at Grindr and other gay social networking apps following the arrest of three men accused of running a “gay prostitution ring” [advertising] underaged boys for sex.  The arrests come amid an unprecedented uproar about homosexuality in the country, where it has never been a major political issue before this year.  Members of the legislature announced…they would…ban “gay propaganda” online.  The country’s Constitutional Court is likewise currently in the middle of hearings on a petition to [criminalize]…all sex outside of marriage…Police have told local media they have identified 148 victims of the network, though only 27 of them are [supposedly younger than 18]…“More than a few gay communities have been growing and targeting kids as victims,” said Asruron Ni’am Sholeh, chair of the Child Protection Commission…

“Targeting kids”…hmm, where have we heard that accusation before?  But back when the moral retards were just warring on female sex workers, the big GLBT organizations couldn’t be bothered to notice.

Finding What Isn’t There

Note how dysphemisms and weasel-words are used to conjure a story out of nothing but rumors, exaggerations and hysteria:

More than 1,000 women and girls have been apparent victims of sex trafficking in illicit cantinas in the United States that largely operate beyond the reach of law enforcement, the anti-[sex work] group Polaris [fantasized]…Half of the…cases…arose in Houston, Texas, a city near the Mexican border with a large Latino population…Cantinas…may disguise the cost of commercial sex in very high drink prices, and women are forced to flirt and drink with patrons…hotlines run by Polaris got reports of 201 cases of sex and labor trafficking, involving 1,300 potential victims at cantinas and bars in 20 U.S. states from 2007 to 2016.  More than half the victims were underage…At one illicit cantina in Houston, some victims were forced to have sex as often as 50 times a day, it said.  The cantina owner, convicted of sex trafficking, conspiracy and other charges, was sentenced to life in prison earlier this year…Cases can be hard to investigate and prosecute because traffickers and owners may hide their ownership of cantinas or liquor licenses, and because victims are too scared to testify in court, afraid that traffickers will retaliate by hurting their families…

“Apparent” victims, meaning reports from busybodies that added up to nothing.  Reports of “force” that don’t hold up because there isn’t any, which Polaris then insists are real except that the “victims” won’t admit it.  Impossibly-high claims of clients per day such as we haven’t seen in a couple of years now, using a high-profile racism-based railroading case as “evidence”, and moving the entire city of Houston hundreds of miles south to bolster their fantasy.  This is absurd even by Polaris’ standards.

Too Close To Home

Serious question: How do we nominate Liz Brown for a Pulitzer?

…On January 7, Washington officials [claimed]…women [had been] lured from South Korea under false pretenses and “held against their will” at local brothels.  [They crowed about seizing] a website where deviant men promoted and reviewed these enslaved women…King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg [said]…”The systematic importation of vulnerable young women for sexual abuse, exploitation, and criminal profiteering has been going on for years and it came to a stop this week…This is what human trafficking looks like.”  But as more information about the case has become available, Satterberg’s narrative starts to break down.  The reality—as evidenced by police reports, court documents, online records, and statements from those involved—is…a story of immigration, economics, the pull of companionship and connection, the structures and dynamism that drive black markets, and a criminal-justice system all too eager to declare women victims of the choices they make…

The piece is long, thorough and damning. I strongly urge you to read the whole thing, even if you need to do so in three sittings (it’s broken into three parts).  The “sex trafficking” narrative has been slowly crumbling, and in this important article Liz has handily taken a sledgehammer to a very prominent outcropping of it.

The Mote and the Beam (#613) 

Another victory against a political witch hunt:

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked a congressional subpoena that seeks information on how Backpage.com screens for possible sex trafficking in classifieds advertising.  The order…came hours after Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer asked the high court to intervene, saying the case threatens the First Amendment rights of online publishers…the…stay means that Backpage need not comply…until further action from the Supreme Court…The Senate panel has tried for nearly a year to make Backpage produce certain documents as part of its [persecution of sex work advertisements] over the internet.  After the website refused to comply, the Senate voted 96-0 in March to hold the website in contempt…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-james-robinson

Go on, keep giving male cops power over women; what could possibly go wrong?

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations arrested Riverdale [cop] James Robinson Jr…[for] raping a woman he was transporting to jail…Robinson stopped the car next to an empty building near a Custom tire shop…as soon as the woman was released from jail she…asked the shop for footage from its security cameras…

One Born Every Minute (#644)

Interesting that this article doesn’t mention the anti-Backpage mob:

In a 2014 opinion in a case involving a woman who was drugged, raped, and filmed by men she met through the website ModelMayhem.com…the Ninth Circuit wrote that the CDA was not “an all purpose get-out-of-jail-free card for businesses that publish user content on the internet.”  The court found that Model Mayhem…could be sued for failure to warn as the site was aware of the model’s rapists because they were the subject of a criminal investigation for doing the same thing to other Model Mayhem users…the court found that Section 230 did not protect the website when it failed to do anything about the rapists it knew were prowling its site…a…Match.com case is very similar.  [Wade] Ridley, the suit claimed, had attacked other women using Match.com and the company had done nothing to warn love-seeking online daters about the possibility of attack.  The Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of some claims, but it found that the logic supporting the court’s Model Mayhem ruling applied here, too…

Of Course It Is

A step in the right direction, at least:

…Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley [announced] criminal charges against seven [cops]…O’Malley [also] said she found evidence of [rapist cops]…in Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Joaquin counties, all outside her jurisdiction.  She said she has  contacted her counterparts there to pursue criminal action…The most serious Alameda County charges — felony oral copulation with a minor — will be filed against Oakland [cop] Giovanni LoVerde and Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputy Ricardo Perez…Oakland [cop] Brian Bunton also faces a felony charge of obstruction of justice and a misdemeanor charge of engaging in prostitution.  Three other Oakland [cops] will be charged with crimes…Terryl Smith…LeRoy Johnson…and…Warit Uttapa…Dan C. Black of the Livermore Police Department…faces [four] misdemeanor charges…O’Malley said it’s likely that formal charges against the officers will not be filed until Guap, the case’s primary witness, returns to California…“If the [City of Richmond] does not pay for her to come back, we will pay for her airfare,” O’Malley said…

Read Full Post »

Most of the whores l’ve met are women who question things, who value their independence over social norms.  –  Kaytlin Bailey

Droit du Seigneur Darryl Stasher

He didn’t rape her, but he sure seems to think it was his privilege to fuck her:

A Mississippi cop was fired…after a video that went viral on social media shows him lurking in his patrol car near a high school, trying to coax a teenaged girl into cutting class, pressuring her into accompany him to “room” to have sex instead.  [Darryl Stasher] said he “wanted to do more than just talk.”  He then assured the teen nobody would find out what they were doing, and that he’d “take care of her”.  “Oh.  So you saying you ain’t fucking,” a disappointed [Stasher] can be heard asking after the student declined his advances that were caught on camera in the 49 second clip…


It’s always so sweet when a rescue industry scam is exposed:

For years, Jenny Williamson…has [hawked] her [fantasy] of rescuing girls from sex traffickers, spreading the Gospel while [raking in] hundreds of thousands…[she] has regaled audiences with the litany of horrors these girls suffer…Courage House [was]…closed…effective June 14, amid a flurry of state inspections that found numerous violations, including inadequate staffing levels…[despite] assets of…$1.4 million…Courage House was cited 16 times in the first six months of this year…10 were classified by the state as Type A, or serious enough to have an immediate impact on clients’ health, safety or personal rights…former workers [describe] Williamson as a temperamental leader with no child-development background who micromanaged her trained staff and became…swept up in her own publicity…staff members were…abruptly fired for…expressing concerns over [her inclusion]…of clients’ confidential information in fundraising or publicity efforts…[including]  identifiable images of [inmates]…on the company’s Facebook page…[Williamson] routinely “paraded the girls around” for marketing purposes…Arlicia Lorentty, who was a social worker/case manager in the home in 2015, said…“Everything was a photo op”…girls were…[forced to attend] a Christian church…whose leaders and congregation have been heavily involved in Courage House…

The More the Better 

There’s no “if” about it; Melania Trump is or was a sex worker.  Even if she was never an escort as rumors allege (and I think it very likely that she was indeed one), she posed for nude photos (including a lesbian scene) and is now a trophy wife…and sorry, ladies, but both of those are definitely kinds of sex work.  When people started mocking her for using an incompetent speechwriter, I defended her not on the grounds of the political beliefs she claims to profess, but on the grounds that she is a fellow whore doing her job (which for a wife means emotionally & socially supporting her husband) and should not be mocked merely because he happens to be a delusional narcissist.  Margaret Corvid has more to say about the new rumors:

…when you share those allegations, pointing and laughing, saying “Look!”, calling her a liar, calling her a whore, saying that she is unfit for the White House because she was photographed sexually, you are stepping on everyone who does sex work in this country every day—most of whom are much more vulnerable than Melania Trump…[she] isn’t a liar for covering up sex work…[because] it…is necessary for survival in a country where selling sex is illegal and where it is so stigmatized that it can get you fired from your “mainstream” job, get your kids taken away, and destroy your reputation for life…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now 

…that Canada’s new law is “protecting” sex workers from making money from lonely old men:

Two Sydney men have pleaded guilty and were fined…in connection with a prostitution sting…after…Judge Brian Williston ruled that [entrapment isn’t entrapment when it’s politically popular]…Gordon Ernest MacLean, 66, and John Howard MacLean, 66…were fined a total of $500 after the judge waived costs and surcharges.  They also must submit a DNA sample…

Because obviously, the cops never know when these hardened “sex criminals” may strike again.


[Mexican] police do little to protect the transgender community and [rarely investigate trans sex workers’] deaths…Mexico has one of the highest rates of transphobic violence in the world, according to a recent report by the Cornell University Law School in New York and the Transgender Law Center…The number of documented murders of transgender people rose to 46 in 2012 from four in 2008, with actual figures likely to be significantly higher…transgender women in particular have suffered from a fierce backlash against same-sex marriage and other advances…

Passive Voice

Even though it’s a year old, this tutorial in how the past exonerative tense works is too brilliant to pass up.  It’s also too brilliant for me to risk butchering by any attempt at synopsis, so do yourself a favor and go read it.

Devil’s Advocate

This article could’ve appeared under so many headings; “Cops and Robbers” due to the vigilantism and “Bait and Switch” because of the sleazy entrapment tactics (“18” in big letters and “15” in fine print, for example, when any whore can tell you horny guys rarely read past the pictures).  But I think the fact that the state convicted two men for non-crimes against a “person” who does not even exist puts it in this category:fake Tinder profile

The creators of the “Tinder Experiment” set up a fake profile of a [a fake 18-year-old girl pretending to be] 15…in a bid to [entrap careless, stupid men]…They then secretly filmed conversations and face-to-face meetings with the men before shaming them online.  Those videos were removed and their website shut down by police, but [the sleazy pigs were still happy]…to use the information from the “experiment” [to destroy lives]…Nicolaos Katsamas was…sentenced last month to two- and-a-half years’ jail…Tobias Kilsby was also jailed for two years…Detective Senior Constable Tas Gagatsakis [admitted that]…Tinder is [only] for users 18 and over…

Don’t Call It Trafficking

This isn’t called “trafficking”, while the same demographic choosing to sell sex to survive is:

…Island View…housed more than 100 [“troubled teens”]…aged 13-17, and charged parents at least $10,000 a month…the staff tormented and abused them — pitting teens against each other, physically restraining them, secluding them, medicating them with high doses of powerful antipsychotics and forcing them to sit without speaking for hours or days at a time…[after a lawsuit] it…closed…[and] a new company, Family Help & Wellness, took over the property.  The facility began to operate under a different name, Elevations RTC.  It continues to bring in new students today…39 of the 48 employees listed on Elevations’ website worked for Island View…At least 1,500 [teens] in 30 states alleged that they were abused at private treatment facilities in 2005 alone…The troubled-teen industry is almost entirely unregulated…Congress has repeatedly refused to intervene…Parents who send their children to residential treatment centers like Island View often hire independent contractors, colloquially known as “transporters,” to forcibly [abduct] their kids…

Yellow Fever (#509) 

Remember Tenancingo, the Mexican town which was supposedly infested with “pimps” but actually had only two (plus employees) and 26 supposed “victims”?  Apparently Canada wants a “pimp town” too, and naturally they claim it’s the country’s largest black community.  But they’re not racists, no sirree!

One of the first things you notice when you enter this community northeast of Halifax is a large billboard that tells you you’re in “Canada’s Largest Black Community”…every driver here acknowledges oncoming drivers — even strangers — with a wave of the hand.  It’s not the welcome you expect in a place that has repeatedly been described as the birthplace of North Preston’s Finest, a violent gang that specializes in trafficking young women and girls as young as 14 in the sex trade…residents, even local police…insist the claims about a criminal gang originating in North Preston are exaggerated, misleading or manufactured by outsiders who don’t know their community…But police [and other prohibitionists] outside the province…[masturbate furiously to fantasies of] a community that has churned out generations of ruthless pimps who are spread across the country and unafraid to use brute force to punish women in their “stable” if they step out of line…

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

My friend Kaytlin’s one-woman show is part of the Fringe Festival:

Cuntagious [is] a one woman show, written by Kaytlin Bailey – now a stand up comedian, once a sex worker…“the first run was really a coming out process.  I performed the show before I told my family.  I knew most of the audience members personally, so they were very supportive…when you come out, other people come out.  I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me to tell me their own experience with sex work, I love that”…

I’ve seen the show twice, and I will again when she brings it back to Seattle; you really should, too.

Another Fine Mess (#547)

As I and many others have said, sex drives technological development.  And I think that’s what the prudes are really afraid of:

…The World Wide Web turned 25 this month…The sexualized female body has, from the beginning, been the catalyst for attempts to regulate what’s on the Web, ultimately shaping what the Internet looks like today.  Only a couple of years after Berners-Lee began to worry about an incoming flood of photos of nude women, Congress was gripped by the “great Internet sex panic of 1995”…the Communications Decency Act…was signed into law on Feb. 8, 1996, and thousands of websites went dark in protest…provisions that criminalized sending or displaying to a minor “any comment, request, suggestion, proposal, image, or other communications” that were sexual in a “patently offensive” way…[were determined by] the Supreme Court…[to be] unconstitutionally vague and [were] struck…down…Yet another part of the widely loathed CDA — one the Supreme Court has never heard any challenges to — also helped bring about the Web we now know.  Section 230 immunizes service providers from lawsuits over the speech of their users.  It’s the law that lets Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Twitter, Yelp, Craigslist and Reddit exist.  Without its provisions, a service such as Twitter could be sued into nonexistence if an individual user sent a single defamatory tweet…

Eternal Vigilance (#617)

Rent in exchange for sex isn’t “free”; it has been paid for with sex:

A room in return for sex…the…landlord cashing in on desperate, vulnerable and homeless women in London.  A recent report has unveiled a disturbing attempt to exploit homeless women by offering free accommodation in return for sexual favors…There are hundreds of listings…by men either obliquely or explicitly (some very explicitly) offering free housing to women for sex….they also include men who are expressly targeting adverts at homeless women…

How are the ads “explicitly targeting homeless women”?  Do they read, “only homeless women need apply” and require proof of homelessness?  This looks to me like nothing more than Puritans upset about the fact that some women are comfortable paying our rent (and other expenses) with sex.

Check Your Premises (#636)

Another cop so disconnected from reality that she thinks she can “build communication with sex workers” while stealing their income by harassing their clients:

A new strategy to tackle prostitution in [Redbridge, London] will see the police’s focus shift from the sex workers to [demonized clients and partners]…Insp Gellatley’s team aims to disrupt clients while engaging in a relationship of trust with prostitutes.  “We are trying to build communication with the sex workers” [she said]…

Read Full Post »

Prostitution is that it is one of the few remaining areas of public legislation which is based almost entirely on private morality.  –  Ian O’Doherty

The Scarlet Letter

Interesting how these “experts” don’t criticize “john shaming” when cops & politicians do it:

[Ohio busybodies have]…created a website…where residents can share pictures of men who pick up prostitutes in the area…the site’s creator…[hypocritically] wants to remain anonymous.  He says they are hoping that by exposing “Johns,” the men, the prostitutes and the drug dealers will stay away from their neighborhoods…Law experts…warn there’s evidence that shaming criminals doesn’t stop them from committing crimes.  Instead, they say it often angers them and motivates additional criminal behavior.

Profanation Rural Beauty

A fascinating article on the slow decline of the devadasis in Indian society:

…There was a time when the prostitute was celebrated.  The most beautiful woman in the city was not allowed to marry.  She became the city-bride (nagar-vadhu). She was allowed to choose a lover, but not restrict herself to one…We hear of…courtesans in ancient Hindu, Buddhist and Jain literature.  Known as ganikas, they lived independent lives…In time, these ganikas came to be attached to temples.  They became wives of the enshrined deities, who never get widowed, and who loved all men as containers of the divine seed.  These were the devadasis.  Their images inspired the carvings of beautiful women on temple walls.  They challenged the old monastic orders.  They were part of temple rituals.  But eventually, the priests and the monks stripped the devadasi of her independence and her agency.  Slowly, she was answerable to the men in positions of power…If not attached to a temple, the woman who sold pleasure for a fee became part of a king or nawab’s court, or a community to entertainers, the nats…In a feudal society, that looked down on trade and commerce, that created hierarchy based on purity of vocations, and gender, she was clearly at the bottom.  What little agency she had was taken away from her, first by colonial administrators and later by puritanical freedom fighters, who modelled themselves on monks of yore…

Saving Them From Themselves

If your reason for warning people against a consensual act is that they could face criminal charges, the problem is with the laws, not the act:

The Mexican government has teamed up with several children’s rights organizations to launch a nationwide campaign against “sexting”…The…campaign…has triggered a debate between government officials and internet rights NGOs on whether the practice leads to so-called “sextortion”…and “revenge porn”…the campaign…[is] overly “paternalistic” while laying out a “prohibitionist” strategy…[officials warn] sexting involving minors may be classified as child pornography and can therefore be punishable with up to 7 to 12 years of jail time…The Network in Defense of Digital Rights (R3D) have criticized the anti-sexting campaign for supposedly framing the practice as a “moral problem” while reflecting a “reduced vision of sexuality and its free exercise”…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now 

I’d normally file this one under “Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through“, but this feisty old dude clearly did think it through; he just isn’t afraid of the cops and their stupid shaming tactics:

A 90-year-old man was arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute…Nicholas Salerno of Dennis Port [Massachusetts] paid a local woman $100 [for at outcall] in June…[but] noticed a necklace missing after the woman used a bathroom in his home.  He reported the theft to police, who informed Salerno that he would be charged with soliciting a prostitute.  “I don’t give a [fuck].  I’m 90 years old,” Salerno told officers…The woman, later identified as 48-year-old Karen Proia, was charged with larceny and prostitution…

The Widening Gyre

This unsupported and hysterical assertion reeks of racism:

The trafficking of Nigerian women from Libya to Italy by boat is reaching “crisis” levels, with traffickers using migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution across Europe, the UN’s International Office for Migration (IOM) warns…More than 80% of these women will be trafficked into prostitution…[fantasized] Simona Moscarelli, [prohibitionist propagandist] at the IOM.  “Our indicators are the majority of these women are being deliberately brought in for sexual exploitation purposes.  There has been a big enhancement of criminal gangs and trafficking networks engaging in the sexual exploitation of younger and younger Nigerian girls”…Nigerian women who are entering Italy among migrants on boats from Libya should be immediately…treated as trafficking victims.  Instead of being processed in reception centres, they should be [locked up and brainwashed]…she said…

Gingerbread House

“Secure unit” = “prison”.  Because female sexual “purity” trumps individual rights:

A 16 year old girl who is at high risk of being sexually exploited by men requires to be placed in a secure unit for troubled teenagers, the High Court has heard…the girl had a history of drug and alcohol taking and had been seen in the company of older men as well as getting into cars with different men.  Both her father and those [guarding] her [for the state] had reported the teenager at times having been in possession of relatively large amounts of cash, the source of which she would not reveal and which could not be ascertained…the Child and Family Agency had secured a temporary High Court order allowing it to [imprison] the girl…in a secure unit for troubled girls under 18…the girl had a history of absconding, initially from her family home and then from where she had been [confined] by the Agency…She had refused to fully engage with social workers or avail of counselling services…there were serious concerns about being vulnerable to sexual exploitation…

The Course of a Disease (#510)

Ian O’Doherty with another denunciation of prohibition in Ireland:

…The reality, for anyone who has ever bothered to listen to prostitutes rather than merely lecture them on their moral failings, is that they are like everyone else – they want to be left alone to conduct their business in safety but that safety can never be guaranteed when the participants are automatically criminalised.  But even taking into account the rights or wrongs of the arguments in favour of legalisation, there is one major point which nobody wants to accept – it’s simply nobody else’s business…Even if you removed all the reasons for objection; even if you stopped all trafficking and ensured that all sex workers loved their job and were friends with the clients, the likes of Ruhama would never support it because of their moral judgment…

Moving Pictures 

“Sex trafficking” may be the first truly global moral panic:

Not My Life…is [an] Oscar-nominated film [about] the hidden international industry of human slavery…initially commissioned by Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime…How accountable are traffickers in Argentina?  According to the US State Department…“Argentina is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.  Argentine women and children, including many from rural areas or northern provinces, are forced into prostitution within the country”…

Welcome to the Future (#587)

It looks like the cops in Northern Ireland are gaining confidence in the prohibitionists’ ability to stall Laura Lee’s challenge to the Swedish model:

The PSNI has arrested six men suspected of buying sex and passed files on a total of 10 men to the Public Prosecution Service…In November the PSNI said that despite making two arrests it had decided not to seek prosecutions – for an unspecified period – in order to “allow time for understanding and awareness” of the new law…Solicitor Ciarán Moynagh, who is representing sex worker Laura Lee in her legal challenge against the new law, said the 10 referrals to the PPS show that the police had insufficient evidence to achieve an overnight charge or standard 28-day charge to court.  “It will be interesting to see whether charges ever arise and if so what type of evidence supports the case,” he added…The PSNI Human Trafficking Unit screened 252 people for trafficking in 2015/16 and recovered 59 potential victims…

“Recovered” is a euphemism for “arrested”.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#630) 

“Sex addiction” is now being used as a defense even for violent sex offenders:

An Army medic charged in his wife’s death will spend over two years in prison after being court-martialed for possessing child pornography and soliciting payment for sex.  Michael Walker pleaded guilty…to solicitation and not guilty to possession of child pornography…Walker said in court that he placed advertisements in September 2014 and was paid for sex multiple times…Defense attorneys argued pornographic images and videos of children found on Walker’s computer were dumped there in a massive file transfer.  They say prosecutors did not prove Walker was the person who accessed the files.  An attorney pushed for leniency, saying Walker is seeking sex addiction treatment…[he] was indicted in November on charges of aiding and abetting and conspiring to commit first-degree murder.  He faces a January trial in civilian court.

One Born Every Minute (#645) Matt Hickey screenshot 8-8-16 at 11.11 AM

Here’s Sydney Brownstone with an update on a sleazy rapist:

…Matt Hickey, the Seattle-based tech journalist recently accused by multiple women of rape and posing as a female porn recruiter online, put out a call [on FetLife] for “sluts” in Las Vegas who are into “being naked, drinking booze, and having fun”…[Hickey, whose FetLife handle is]…4eyez…[said he’s] “going to be living in Vegas for the next few months doing some research”…Hickey…[confirmed via text] that he is…the 4eyez account…[which has since] been deactivated or removed from the site.

Still a Child (#646) 

Louisiana politicians destroy the jobs of scores of women with the stroke of a pen.  To “protect” them, of course:

When a state law banning exotic dancers under 21 was passed, many believed some of the ones already performing at strip clubs would be grandfathered into the law…But state police [decided] that will not happen.  Dancers under 21 have until Oct. 1 to get offstage.  State troopers met with club managers [to threaten them]…If club owners are found with dancers under 21, penalties are strict…[politicians pretend] the move will ultimately reduce human trafficking and drug and alcohol abuse…Police [pretend] an undercover sting is something they want to avoid doing, but would go that route if a club is in violation.

A Procrustean Bed (#661)

Prosecutors claim that sex workers are both victims and criminals simultaneously:

Under California law, anyone under age 18 who is engaged in prostitution is considered a sex-trafficking victim, regardless of whether any force or coercion is involved.  Yet teens in the sex trade can also be charged under state law with committing prostitution.  California legislators are trying to change this…but the measure has run into opposition from law enforcement officials, who say that arresting victims is integral to saving them…the California District Attorneys Association, which says that without the threat of criminal sanctions, victims won’t have enough incentive to testify against people the state would like to lock-up as pimps…

Read Full Post »

It’s easy to see sex traffickers everywhere when you define all sex workers as victims.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Check Your Premises

Once again, Liz Brown exposes the tyranny of “fighting sex trafficking”:

Here’s a good example out of El Paso about the way America’s fight against “child sex trafficking” works in practice…two girls—one 15 and one 17—had sex with clients for money, and the boy, who is 18, rented the hotel room in his name and acted as security.  Now he’s locked up on child sex-trafficking charges…Edeme Missiadan…and the two girls…”Lexi” and “Natalia,” are from Phoenix.  One of the girls was dating Missiadan’s brother…and…planned to come to El Paso by herself to work, but Missiadan didn’t want her to go “without protection”…literally anything that makes sex workers safer is considered to be sex trafficking.  Bring along a bodyguard?  He’s a sex trafficker.  Have a friend drive you to a client and wait outside?  She’s a sex trafficker.  Use a booker or escort agency to screen clients?  They’re sex traffickers!  Search for clients via online ads instead of on the streets?  The Internet is a sex trafficker!…People hate the idea that innocent young things might actually choose to sell sex on their own accord.  But some do.  And…treating anyone who assists them in any way—including other teenagers—like a serious criminal doesn’t help anyone…

Public Service Announcement 

Are politicians actually stupider than other people, or does it just seem that way?

Amid allegations that he shared sexually explicit video of himself via his state computer, [Nebraska state] Sen. Bill Kintner appears to have been snagged by a well-documented internet scam.  Since at least 2013, international media outlets and  government agencies have warned people against engaging in nude or sexual live video chats with online strangers who could later use them for blackmail…

Shift in the Wind

Another health organization issues a pro-decrim report:

A report by the Centre for Health and Gender Equity (Change) explores the many barriers to health and rights that female sex workers face.  The report highlights evidence that laws criminalising sex work put female sex workers at disproportionately high risk of harassment and violence by police, clients and intimate partners.  Criminalisation also encourages female sex workers to move their work “underground” where they have less control of their working conditions, including condom use and client screening, and are less able to access essential health services…Based on Change’s examination of peer-reviewed articles and extensive interviews with practitioners and advocates, the report concludes that decriminalisation of sex work is necessary for female sex workers to fully realise their rights and is necessary for an effective global HIV response…

So Close and Yet So Far

You’re supposed to be a libertarian, Gary; this ain’t rocket science:

In a CNN town hall…Anderson Cooper asked Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson whether he supported the decriminalization of prostitution.  In a somewhat muddled answer, Johnson said he would leave it up to individual states and applauded the system in…Nevada…There are so many easy libertarian answers on this one—that there’s no place for the state in consenting sexual relationships between adults; that prostitution prohibition creates many of the same harms we saw with alcohol and drug prohibition…it was disappointing that Johnson appeared to be caught off-guard by the question and seemed visibly uncomfortable with the topic.  But his answer, while not perfect, may have been forgivable had Cooper not pressed him: “Is prostitution a victimless crime?”  Johnson responded that currently, “the victims are the prostitutes”…here I thought totally denying women’s agency was the purview of Democrats and Republicans…I reached out to the Johnson campaign for clarification, and received an answer from its communication director, Joe Hunter…All he would say about what Johnson meant last night was this: “In an illegal environment, prostitutes are at risk.”  It’s not much, but it suggests that Johnson believes the victimhood he attributed to sex workers stems from the illegal nature of prostitution, not that he thinks anyone selling sexual services must be doing so unwillingly.

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

A missing 12-year-old San Antonio girl has been found alive…On June 20, she was outside her home listening to music when she disappeared…no one knew her whereabouts until two weeks ago when she texted her family…Authorities tracked the girl down to a hotel near Nashville.  She was with 36-year-old Tavarie Anthony Williams…[who] has since been arrested, accused of pimping her out and holding her against her will…Williams…[supposedly] offered her a ride home, but drove her to Tennessee instead…“Her mother may have had a role in all this, but it’s still too soon to say,” [cop] spokesman James Keith said…It could be many weeks before the girl returns to San Antonio.  She’s with a foster family, in therapy, but in constant communication with the grandfather…

Williams “offered her a ride home” from her own front yard, where she was listening to music?  And if she had a cell phone, why wait two weeks to text?  This story stinks on ice.

Under Every Bed

Just imagine how far $100,000 could’ve gone toward providing services; instead, it’s used to spread lies:

WEST NC, a new, two-year project to end sex trafficking in five mountain counties, aims to educate the public and service providers…A $100,000 grant from the Women for Women giving circle is funding WEST NC through Our VOICE…Angelica Wind…says the big “goal is to end human trafficking in this area…people are really surprised that human trafficking happens in Asheville”…trafficking often occurs in wealthy or relatively wealthy areas where there’s demand, along with access to major highways and an airport…“Where there are sex workers, there’s also human trafficking”…Nearby major metro areas — Atlanta and Charlotte — have seen significant increases in human trafficking in recent years…

The End of the Beginning

Nearly all “sex offender” laws are this unconstitutionally overbroad:

Sex offenders in Illinois are challenging the state law that bans them from entering parks, schools, places providing services for kids, and even “holiday events involving children”…the rules are so vague that they can’t always tell if or when they are breaking the law.  For instance, if a sex offender plays a round of golf on a municipal course—a solitary, adult activity—is that legal (because kids aren’t around) or illegal (because it’s on parks department land, and therefore a park)?…one of the plaintiffs…would like to visit his granddaughter, but she lives within 500 feet of her subdivision’s playground.  Is it legal for him to see her at her home?  “State police told him he was allowed to visit as long as he walked straight from his car and back — but the local cops said he wasn’t allowed to be there at all“…

Drawing Lines

Not a bad introduction to the concept of whorearchy:

…many sex workers look…down on others with “lesser” jobs.  This hierarchy [isn’t] based on money.  If anything, the highest earners [are] often looked down upon…many individuals choose to work as pro-dominatrixes or dancers “because they don’t have sex, give blowjobs, or exchange body fluids.  They feel superior to those who do.  They use contact as a meter”…A few strippers told me they didn’t think stripping was sex work at all, since they didn’t have to touch any of their clients…This is underscored by the legal boundaries, which are more permissive toward no-contact activities (like stripping) than high-contact activities (like prostitution)…Other sex workers [are] less judgmental about physical contact and instead prioritise…enjoyment of their work…A porn producer, cam girl, and stripper…each told me that the people they admire most in their industry are those who “really love what they do” or are sex workers because “it’s something they’ve always wanted to do”…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#526) 

Despite its appearance in a rag like Rolling Stone, this is an excellent article:

…a Wisconsin appeals court upheld a decision to try…as adults…two girls [who] admitted as 12-year-olds in 2014 to having stabbed their friend in order to please “Slender Man,” an Internet horror meme.  (The victim luckily crawled to safety and survived.)  The decision to try two children as adults – two children immature and mentally ill enough to believe in the literal existence of a fictional character – may seem inappropriate, to put it mildly.  But legally it’s a viable one – thanks to a terrible Wisconsin law with analogues in many other states…Morgan Geyser, who wielded the knife, has since been diagnosed with early-onset schizophrenia…Anissa Weier [was diagnosed] with a delusional disorder and schizotypy…after the two stabbed their friend, they set off to find Slender Man in a forest 300 miles away – on foot.  Mental health professionals testified that Geyser still believes Slender Man is real…The Wisconsin code…is designed to keep cases where the alleged offense is particularly heinous in adult court – which doesn’t make much sense.  The egregiousness of a crime is not evidence of some maturity or self-control that could justify treating a child like an adult.  It’s irrational to say children don’t really choose to commit bad acts except when those acts are really shocking…

Turning Point

More and more groups are speaking up in favor of sex work decriminalization:

It’s a big day for the new civil rights movement known as Black Lives Matter.  Up until now, the movement had famously opted to forgo hierarchies in favor of a diffuse coalition that more resembled Occupy Wall Street than, say, the ‘60s-era Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.  The movement’s decentralized approach has been criticized in the past, and its activists have butted heads with both civil rights leaders and the Obama administration. But on [August 1st]  Black Lives Matter made a decision to be a movement with a plan, a platform, and concrete demands.  In a statement released by more than 30 organizations (and endorsed by an additional 50), BLM released six platform demands and “key solutions”—a list of more than 40 policy recommendations, including…an immediate and retroactive decriminalization of drug and sex-work offenses…

Uncommon Sense (#650)

How does this dude think he’ll get around UK brothel & avails laws?

A company plans to set up a “fellatio café” in central London where customers receive oral sex while having a cappuccino.  Bradley Charvet…is already planning a branch in Geneva to open this December…the business would be like a “normal café” where up to 100 customers can sit and drink a coffee – but also be given oral sex by an escort.  Modelled on similar businesses in Thailand, the idea has already sparked uproar in Switzerland…Westminster City Council has indicated to the Standard that such a venue would not be able to get a licence and it has also been slammed by a leading womens’ rights group.  It could also fall foul of the law as, in Great Britain, prostitution is not illegal but running or owning a brothel or pimping are considered crimes…

A bit of hair-splitting:  a sex worker who sells blow jobs but doesn’t otherwise interact with her client isn’t an escort.

Cooties (#650)

Being a “legal” sex worker doesn’t protect you, so stop your bootlicking & join your sisters in the fight:

…The work [Arianna] Travaglini does is legal, and she…didn’t work out of the Airbnbs she rented.  She claims she “never had a single problem” with Airbnb until she realized she was banned while trying to book a trip to Baltimore and Washington, D.C, where she would teach sex-ed workshops…The email she received…is a form letter, basically identical to one Airbnb sent professional dominatrix and porn performer Julie Simone in March.  Simone faced almost the same problem with Airbnb, receiving a swift ban without explanation shortly after signing up…Asked…whether Airbnb has a policy on sex work, legal or otherwise, a spokesman for Airbnb didn’t elaborate much. “Prostitution is not allowed and we are constantly reviewing the platform to be sure any activity in the listing is in line with what hosts would be ok with in their home,” a spokesperson explained…the reality is that people are going to have sex in Airbnbs, especially if you’re renting to a couple.  It’s even possible that, *gasp,* some will bring a new friend back to an Airbnb for sex…

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of politicians:

…More than 30 bills this legislative session alone have attempted to combat a multibillion-dollar industry that now operates as much online, if not more, as it does on the streets.  But much of the legislation, still pending as lawmakers return to Sacramento for their final month of deliberations, varies in its approach to the problem…The proposals run the gamut, from providing protections for human trafficking victims in court to enhancing penalties for sex buyers…one…bill…would allow the seizure and impoundment of a vehicle used in the solicitation of prostitution…opponents are concerned some of the laws could lead to unconstitutional seizures and violations of defendants’ rights…[pigs lust for] the authority to arrest minors to hold them in secure facilities, where they can be [forced to accept “services”]…

A lot of bullshit numbers are repeated, and one prohibitionist in the story says, “I don’t think this is the end of the road, but we are in a precipice of sea change with how we deal with human trafficking…” Holy mixed metaphors, Batman!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »