Posts Tagged ‘internet’

Laws don’t pay my bills!  –  unnamed Glasgow street worker

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Laura Lee on the appalling blindness of “authorities”:

…The last victim of Jack the Ripper, [Mary] Kelly’s body was so badly mutilated that she could only be identified by her hair and eyebrows…Fast forward 127 years and we have surely progressed a great deal since then in terms of sex worker safety, right?  Well no, actually.  If anything it’s worse.  Following the removal of the tolerance zone for street prostitution in Edinburgh, crimes against sex workers shot up by 95%.  The reason for that is simple, it became known that the police were no longer there to protect the workers, but rather to harass and arrest them, and their clients.  Let’s make a clear distinction for once and all, many attackers of sex workers are not or will never be “sex buyers”.  They are predators, looking for an easy target, and they know that sex workers are alone, vulnerable and highly unlikely to report an attack to the police…152 sex workers have been murdered since 1990.  How many more Mary Kellys must we have before the penny drops that leaving vulnerable people open to attack is not a good policy?

The Lesser of Two Evils Vatican City

If the Church were sanely-run, this article would be true:

The newest leaked information associated with the Vatileaks scandal states that properties owned by the Vatican along Piazza Barberini and the Italian parliament have now been converted to “massage parlours” and saunas, and their patrons are priests.  The leaked document points to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith…[which] owns and operates numerous properties within Rome.  The properties in question are referred to as “peppercorn rents” and are said to be leased for cheap to “powerful colleagues” of the religious institution…

Check Your Premises

They worked for themselves, but it’s a “ring” and the cops are looking for “pimps”:

Four women have been arrested as part of an alleged prostitution ring operating in Mississippi…Arrested were Anjeni’ Qyanik Moore, 34, of Norfolk, Virginia; Heaven Leigh Nix, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee; Joneka Santrice Burns, 24, of Jackson, Mississippi; and Candace Renee Stewart, 30, of Byhalia, Mississippi…MBI spokesman Warren Strain said the women were working independently and are not believed to be victims of human trafficking.  He declined to say…whether they worked with pimps, citing an ongoing investigation…

Saving Them From Themselves

Lock ’em all up, New York!  Let’s put the entire next generation on the “sex offender” registry!

…17 states have changed their child pornography laws so that teenagers who swap nude photos of themselves with each other are not automatically treated as felons.  One of those states is New York, which makes an exception for images exchanged between people 20 or younger whose ages are no more than five years apart.  In such cases, the “offenders” can avoid criminal charges by undergoing an eight-hour “education reform program” that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying.  Despite that provision, two Long Island teenagers were recently charged with felonies for producing and disseminating a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl…the two boys…are both 14…the boys…were each charged with…disseminating indecent material to minors and promoting a sexual performance by a child…In addition to the two boys who were arrested, 20 students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The cops are happy to serve as an ex’s revenge goons:

A 50-year-old woman…has been sentenced for soliciting prostitution…Marisa Frances Lang pleaded guilty to prostitution in a public place…and to disorderly conduct…Judge Michael A. Fahey…placed Lang on two years of probation.  She was ordered to continue mental health treatment and counseling…and must pay $585 in fines and fees…her ex-husband’s [ratting her out to cops]…led to a sting operation…

Finding What Isn’t There

“Authorities” amazed that an imaginary problem doesn’t materialize in response to their “mandating” that it exists:

…Around the country, pimps…force thousands of…women and girls…into prostitution every day.  Florida has the third highest number of sex trafficking cases…Reformers have argued that prostitutes are victims, not criminals, and more effort should be made to go after human traffickers – the pimps…Despite this new focus, a statewide analysis…found that efforts…to investigate and prosecute sex traffickers have yielded few results…[“rescue” profiteers pretend] the image of the independent prostitute, working for herself and selling sex by choice, is rarely accurate…“I [fantasize] the majority who are in the life have been the victims of trafficking,” said Katariina Rosenblatt, founder of There Is HOPE for Me…

The Widening Gyre 

The “Facebook pimps” myth is one of the silliest of the whole panic:

…Traffickers worldwide are increasingly using social media to contact vulnerable teenagers and sell them into sex work…Once limited to luring victims in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools in their arsenal.  “If just one of them answers … traffickers can make thousands of dollars off that girl very quickly,” said Andrea Powell, founder and director of FAIR Girls…a growing trend in the United States is to use WhatsApp or Snapchat where messages evaporate over time…Europol…said social media and other online technology have not only taken the recruitment and selling process off the streets but also allow traffickers to control victims using remote surveillance…

Here the magical “pimp” mind-control powers are claimed to be exerted via some mumbo-jumbo fantasy technology.Lucy Steigerwald

Shift in the Wind

Lucy Steigerwald presents a pro-decriminalization argument to a conservative audience:

Unfortunately, while the war on one vice dials back, law enforcement and government fight hard against another supposed danger…these days it sure seems as if the hot new thing to swoon over and vow to “do something” about is prostitution.  Worse than that, it’s prostitution-slash-sex trafficking, vaguely hand-waved together as the same thing…the solution to the latter is to legalize the former.  It’s that easy.  Or it could be, if people would do two things: stop filing trafficking with prostitution, and stop pretending that laws against selling and purchasing sex actually prevent people from selling and purchasing sex…Both hand-wringing liberals and worried social conservatives need to realize that some sex workers—perhaps the vast majority—have no need of rescue.  They need their line of work to be taken out of the black-market shadows.  They need to be left alone…We tend to look back with shame and bafflement at the obviously absurd moral panics that have gripped our society, but only after the damage has been done.  We are in the middle of a sex trafficking panic that not only exaggerates the threat that prostitutes pose to the moral fiber of society but, worse still, makes enormous exaggerations about the number of sex-trafficked (mostly) women and children…

Fever Dream

It’s like they’re not even trying any more:

Law enforcement officials on all levels – from local to international – are working together to crack down on human trafficking, which is a growing problem…[fetishists] call it “modern day slavery,” and it’s happening right here in East Tennessee…pimps…target young girls…on…social media…Interstate 40 is a convenient corridor for sex traffickers…the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking…[trains] people to recognize victimization…traffickers and pimps employ manipulation…21 of Tennessee’s 95 counties reported at least 16 cases of sex trafficking involving a minor in 2010…

Yes, that’s the same discredited study they’re still quoting despite the fact that it isn’t even supported by the cops’ own records.

Shame, Shame

Here’s a excellent article on the State’s two-faced attitude toward “revenge porn”:

…Sex workers themselves are erased from anti–revenge-porn rhetoric.  Proposed remedies for revenge porn—criminalization of disclosures and liability for third-party websites—fail to address the sex-work stigma that creates repercussions for victims of revenge porn.  When a woman has her Google results bombed with nude photos and fake sex ads, she won’t pass a screening when she tries to get a job—because she’ll be mistaken for a sex worker.  The solution, we conclude, is to remove all possibility of that mistake—rather than to remove what bars a sex worker from getting that job…We propose new criminal statutes and partner with the police, even as the police threaten to post photos of sex workers during “busts” on social media accounts.  These are women who are being locked out of jobs because of nude photos of them on the Internet.  These are women who are being publicly disgraced as sex workers—because they are sex workers…the existence of sex work raises awkward questions about how to define revenge porn, how to understand its harms, and how to most appropriately redress its victims…

Blunt Instrument (#547)

And the gravy train just keeps rolling along:

Victims of human trafficking in Tampa Bay will have more access to legal help thanks to a $600,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant…Some…brothels take the form of what are called massage parlors.  Gulfcoast Legal Services attorney Sophia Lynn Denicolo says they can be hotbeds of human trafficking…

The Public Eye (#557)

Another sex work-positive article in Cosmopolitan.  Hey prohibitionists:  We’re winning.  And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

There are a few rules for dating a sex worker:  don’t compromise their cash flow by driving away their business, never out them to other people without their consent, and don’t expect them to eagerly perform activities they normally get paid to do for free…Ask any sex worker how they maintain their boundaries, and you’re in for a long conversation.  Some people develop a working identity that they keep entirely separate from their real-life persona, and others conflate the two.  Many sex workers desperately want to be out but don’t want to endure the invasive questions, or fear that their housing stability or the custody of their children would be compromised…The hardest boundary I’ve had to confront in my romantic relationships is the line between authentic desire in my work, and the “it’s just work” defense…But the world isn’t black-and-white, and while the vast majority of us are not regularly turned on by our work, real connections can happen with scene partners and genuine fun can be had with clients.  So where’s the line?…

Seizing Power (#574)

I’m adding Judge Posner to the very short list of men who can claim a freebie from me anytime they like:

A federal appeals court has ordered the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to cease lobbying major credit card companies that do business with…Backpage.com…At a hearing on Friday, Judge Richard Posner expressed unease with the notion, presented by the sheriff department attorneys, that Dart’s First Amendment rights protected his individual right to express his displeasure with Backpage to the credit card companies…on the sheriff department’s letterhead…“He can use the office of the sheriff to express any antipathy that he has to anything?” Posner posed to the sheriff’ department attorneys.  “So you’re saying there is no limit?  He can express his opinion on his office stationery on any subject that occurs to him.  What if he doesn’t like pets?  He doesn’t think people should have animals in their house.  He can suggest to everyone they euthanize their pets?”  Dart was also directed by the appeals court to send a copy of the order to Visa and Mastercard and all other recipients of the June 29 letter within 24 hours…

The recording is well worth your time, especially the segment from roughly the 18 minute mark to the 30 minute mark.  Dart’s mouthpiece clearly knows she’s spouting drivel, and the judges keep calling her on it.

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I support sex workers because I was one…it’s a job that’s needlessly shunned by society when frankly we should be worshiped.  –  Margaret Cho

Where Are the Protests? 

Note that absolutely none of the “human trafficking” cases mentioned in this story involve prostitution:

…the West Midlands branch of Hope for Justice has rescued 82 people so far this year.  Many of those were unknown to police…few cases of modern slavery have gone through the criminal justice system.  Only 130 cases that involved human trafficking were successfully prosecuted in 2014-15, representing just one prosecution for every 100…victims [claimed by fetishists]…

That last statement is roughly equivalent to my claiming to be a millionaire, but the bank will only let me have 1% of my money.

Higher Education

A website which purported to connect students with internships in every industry functioned in that manner for five years, from June of 2010.  But at some point after August 1st of this year, the site was taken over by some sort of scammer who planned to use it to exploit wannabe sex workers by offering to “teach them the trade” via an “internship program”.  In other words, a crooked escort service or group of services was trying to trick newbie whores into working for them for free.  Once the sex worker community got ahold of the link and started tweeting it around, the site vanished at some point in the last few days.

The More the Better Margaret Cho

She’s been all over Twitter since, interacting with and following outspoken sex workers:

Margaret Cho…opened up about her former life as a sex worker to her thousands of Twitter followers Thursday, saying of herself and her fellow sex workers: “we were tough and proud…Sex work is simply work.  For me it was honest work.  I was a sex worker when I was young.  It was hard but well paid.  There’s no shame in it”…


[Connecticut] resident Timothy T. Cutcher denies having sex with dogs or any of his relatives.  However, the 23-year-old man told the Reflector it’s true he’s addicted to sex…Cutcher said he’s “borderline mentally disabled”…

No, it isn’t true, because there is no such thing as “sex addiction”.

Above the Law 

A few hundred down, tens of thousands to go:

…In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by U.S. law enforcement, The Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.  The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action.  California and New York — with several of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies — offered no records because they have no statewide system to decertify officers for misconduct.  And even among states that provided records, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records…

Yellow Fever

Alison Bass on the yellow journalism which permeates coverage of sex work:

When it comes to the coverage of sex work or trafficking, the mainstream media seems to forget a basic journalistic principle — the need to get their facts straight…anti-trafficking groups have spread grossly inaccurate and inflated statistics about the number of women and children being trafficked for paid sex in the United States…[Gloria] Steinem…points to the Nordic Model “as being the only system that seems to work for women in the trade.”  In fact, the opposite is true…sex workers themselves say that the…decriminalized model that New Zealand adopted in 2003 is a much more successful approach…why [do] otherwise respectable media drop their journalistic standards when reporting on the sex trade…Is it because they’re so desperate to be politically correct…or is it because the mere mention of women’s sexuality sends normally methodical journalists into a tizzy of sensationalistic misinformation?…

The Lion and the Ox

As I predicted almost 4 year ago, we’ve now reached the point where a mainstream publication can feature an article like this:

…”Trafficking”…is less a clear-cut crime than a call to moral panic.  The vagueness of the definition allows or even encourages governments, organizations, and researchers to claim that there are tens of millions of trafficking victims worldwide on the basis of little more than hyperbolic guesses…the term “sex trafficking”…seems to have been developed by anti-prostitution feminists in the 1990sto describe the migration of women from the collapsing Soviet Union to the United States…Obama also uses the term to refer to children pressed into military service and agricultural laborers forced to work under poor conditions or without pay…the term…often is used to refer to cases in which there is no migration at all…in practice, trafficking does not mean “modern-day slavery.”  Nor does it mean being transported across borders for purposes of sexual exploitation.  Instead, it usually refers to one or more of the following:  being underage and selling sex; illegally immigrating; being subjected to any kind of forced labor or abusive labor practices; engaging in consensual sex work…

Capricious Lusts

The author of this piece fails to link the relevant statistics, so even though what he’s saying is generally true in essence, there’s no way to know if the correlation is as close and unmistakable as is claimed here:

…In October of 2014 the Seattle police department implemented the “Buyer Beware” program…he rate of rape shot up 150% compared to October 2013.  November 2014 the rate of rape shot up 225% compared to November 2013.  December 2014 the rate of rape shot up 80% compared to December 2013.  Statistics for 2015 are not yet available…The rape rate from January 2013 to September 2013 compared to the rape rate from January 2014 to September 2014 were nearly identical with the rate in 2014 being up a slight 4% for the nine month period.  Once the “Buyer Beware” program was implemented in October and the correlating jump in rape for the final three months of 2014, the final three months of 2014 compared to the final three months of 2013, the rape rate was up 151%.   That brought the year over year rate up 28%…

Coming and Going (#335)

Here’s a long, thorough look at Kathryn Griffin and her “prostitution diversion” scam in Houston:

…Griffin is currently under fire from sex worker and human rights advocates who say her tough-love, one-size-fits-all approach is flawed and fails to respect basic human dignity.  People who are arrested for prostitution are not necessarily poor and dependent on drugs, and so-called “rescue-and-recovery” operations that lump sex workers in with victims of sex trafficking have lead to human rights abuses across the globe.  Many activists say Griffin’s habit of thrusting her clients into the limelight…isn’t just manipulative, it’s dangerous…Kamylla claims she never offered [an undercover cop] sexual intercourse, but she could not afford a lawyer.  She called [the 8 Minutes] team…and…asked if they could help her with legal representation.  Instead of connecting Kamylla with an attorney, they connected her with…Griffin…At the time, Adrian Garcia was the sheriff of Houston, and in April he resigned to run for mayor of Houston.  Sex worker activists began connecting the dots on social media.  It turned out that Griffin has Garcia to thank for her program in the Houston jail, along with its $40,000 annual budget.  The activists dug up photos of Griffin and Garcia appearing in public together and were outraged to discover via social media that Griffin’s We’ve Been There Done That participants, many of whom were once held in Garcia’s jail, were asked to volunteer for Garcia’s campaign, and posed with him for photos wearing their organization’s T-shirt.  “Adrian Garcia is basically arresting himself this little army of free labor,” [said] one activist…Sex worker activists obtained audio recordings from some of the meetings that Kamylla attended, and the content made them furious.  In one recording, which is posted on YouTube, Griffin insists that a criminal is a criminal, and criminals hurt people, so even anyone who has “prostituted” even “one time” must admit that they share common ground with rapists and even Charles Manson…

Business As Usual (#442)

She declined the officer’s request“.  Badge-lickers are nauseatingly obsequious, even when they’re talking about a savage would-be rapist:

A shocking video…captures the moment a [cop] brutally beats a mother on the street after “she refused to perform a sex act on him”.  In the clip, Weerasinghe Arachchilage Kanthilatha, a sex worker from Ratnapuara, Sri Lanka, is seen being struck repeatedly…She can be heard screaming out in pain as she lies on the ground…[P.P. Thissera] threatened to “teach her a lesson” before returning a few days later and attacking her with [his] baton.  The incident occurred in September 2014 and caused a public outcry…Kanthilatha and her lawyer have filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court, citing violation of her rights…

Guinea Pigs 

Yet another software package designed to sell whores out to the cops:

A San Diego State University professor and graduate student have developed [software]…that they believe could help law enforcement identify human trafficking victims…[it] can browse though thousands of Internet ads for “escorts” and finding potential victims through certain key words, phrases or other indicators….Murray Jennex…said the knowledge management system he and graduate student Marisa Hultgren developed could be a potential tool for [targeting sex workers for arrest]…“We’re looking for things that indicate young people,” Jennex said. “Things like, ‘Barely legal, fresh, college freshman”…The system they developed also searches for indicators that a person is being confined, such as ads that stipulate in-calls only, meaning a client must come to a specific place.  The system also searches for signs that a victim is being moved from town to town…Posts that suggest an escort is “open minded” and “willing to try anything” also could indicate somebody is being coerced by a trafficker…

So basically sex workers in their early twenties, or who don’t have cars, or who tour, or who do fetish work, are all “trafficking victims”.  The ignorance involved here is truly staggering.

The Face of Trafficking (#567)

Another case of what really happens when a wannabe “pimp” abducts a girl:

An East Bay rapper has been charged with human trafficking and sexually abusing a minor over a period of several weeks, and could spend the next 20 years in prison if convicted.  Joshua Richard Durham…goes by the stage name “Five Hunnet”…Police started investigating the case after the alleged victim — a female runaway who is [16] years old — told her family that Durham had been soliciting her…from Aug. 1 through Aug. 11…[and again] from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 Durham continued to traffic the girl…and also forced her to perform oral sex on him during that time…

As usual: no cartel, no interstate travel, and victim got away in a very short time. This is absolutely nothing like the myths.  The story has one horrifying element, though: “Some of his lyrics contain references to pimping, and members of the District Attorney’s Office reportedly instructed…police to listen to Durham’s lyrics for potential evidence…”  Can you imagine what crimes the pigs could discover “evidence” for in my fiction?

Here’s what Tara Burns had to say about another highly-publicized recent case:

The public hears about trafficking most frequently in made-up, sensational movies and fundraising tall tales…Did you think sex trafficking was people being forced into prostitution?  That hardly ever happens — if for no other reason than that the customers would freak out…in #TheStory, which Zola has clarified is “based on a true story“, sex trafficking happened when Jessica lied and told her they were just going to dance and the guy was just her roommate (fraud in recruitment).  Women like Zola have been charged with conspiracy to traffick just for posting ads on the Internet…Sex trafficking in real life and the courtroom is so different from sex trafficking on TV that no one even recognizes it…

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A prison might be defined as any place you’ve been put into against your will and can’t get out of, and where you are entirely at the mercy of the authorities, whoever they may be.  –  Margaret Atwood

Bad Jobs

You’ll notice that sex workers are immune to most of these factors:

People often like to groan about how their job is “killing” them.  Tragically, for some groups of people in the U.S., that statement appears to be true.  A new study by researchers at Harvard and Stanford has quantified just how much a stressful workplace may be shaving off of Americans’ life spans.  It suggests that the amount of life lost to stress varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

There are about 40,000 girls aged 13-17 in San Diego; this “study” claims that 30% of them become “victims of sex trafficking” every year:

A new study released by the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University revealed that the dark and secret world of sex trafficking in San Diego is the second largest underground economy locally after drugs…sex trafficking is an estimated $810 million-a-year industry and it is run mostly by gangs.  The study revealed that as many as 11,773 become victims to human trafficking in San Diego alone on a yearly basis…Victims are primarily underage…The study was funded by the Department of Justice, and found that more than 100 gangs are involved in the local sex trafficking operations…next to schools, other recruitment hot spots include:  trolley and bus stops, house parties, social media, tattoo parlors, churches, malls…about 1,776 victims/survivors come in contact with law enforcement…

That last is larger than the total number of “sex trafficking victims” that have ever been identified as such in the entire US.

With Folded Hands

Margaret Atwood on the asininity of giving away freedom for “security”:

…Governments know our desire for safety all too well, and like to play on our fears.  How often have we been told that this or that new rule or law or snooping activity on the part of officialdom is to keep us “safe”?  We aren’t safe, anyway:  many of us die in weather events – tornados, floods, blizzards – but governments, in those cases, limit their roles to finger-pointing, blame-dodging, expressions of sympathy or a dribble of emergency aid.  Many more of us die in car accidents or from slipping in the bathtub than are likely to be done in by enemy agents, but those kinds of deaths are not easy to leverage into panic…

Above the Law Patrick Quinn coercive cop

Sometimes sexually-exploitative cops stop short of rape:

In August Patrick Quinn, a 27-year-old…Texas [cop]…pulled over a driver and [claimed he] spotted marijuana paraphernalia in her car.  He told her he would not arrest her if she would let him lick her feet or give him her underwear.  He…was [fired and] sentenced to a year in jail…

Parting of the Ways

Peter Barbey is wasting no time as the new owner of the Village Voice.  Per an interview with [the] Wall Street Journal…he’s nixed the thought of changing the print edition size, pitched to staff the concept of special themed inserts and decided it’s time for a major ad dollar shift:  “Barbey plans to get rid of escort ads, a racy fixture of many an alt-weekly.  ‘Adult women can be escorts, that’s fine with me’, Mr. Barbey said, ‘but it’s not the kind of advertising that fits where we want go’.


Beyoncé Karungi, a 35-year-old campaigner…is in hospital following [a] horrific attack.  The activist had recently penned an article on surviving in Uganda as a trans sex worker, an occupation that can be dangerous and occasionally deadly.  After recieving several hate threats, she went into hiding.  When she emerged, she was attacked by a group of five unknown men.  She sustained several serious facial and bodily injuries…This is not the first time Beyoncé has been attacked…one time police undressed her, took her bag, money and phone and then cut her hair to make her “masculine”…

Frequently Told Lies

The title is “Feminism’s Sex Work Problem“, but this thorough article contains a large section debunking the usual lies prohibitionists employ:

I’m not going to make the pro-decriminalization case here.  Others have made it far more eloquently than I could…However, there are some elephants in the room that simply have to be addressed before a real conversation can occur.  These are mistruths that seem to have become cemented as fact through sheer force of mindless repetition, and unfortunately they severely derail any objective discussion of sex work…

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

Las Vegas police will pay more than $80,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who said officers detained her for two hours in The Cosmopolitan after falsely accusing her of being a prostitute.  A federal judge wrote that the case showed…prostitution sweeps in casinos were overly broad and threatened people’s constitutional rights.  Chentile Goodman was released without charge after the 2011 incident and filed a lawsuit later that year…

The Camel’s Nose (#504)

Meet CISA, formerly known as CISPA, AKA SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed the Senate today by a vote of 74 to 21.  A different version passed the House earlier in the year, so they’re going to have to conference to hammer out differences.  Retail business interests supported the legislation.  Major Internet and tech firms like Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Twitter…opposed it…”CISA…allows companies to monitor users and share their information with the government without a warrant, while offering a backdoor that circumvents any laws that might protect users’ privacy“…Attempts to add amendments to narrow the bill’s focus all failed…The Sunlight Foundation…notes that CISA creates a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act…”That means if they overstep and share the wrong information — as this bill seems to intend — the public won’t know, and even if it did, it would have no legal recourse…CISA guarantees the public will have no ability to see what information is going from companies to the government“…

What Were You All Waiting For? Richard Branson

I’m glad Richard Branson is speaking out against criminalization, but I wish he’d talk to sex workers so as to avoid gaffes like this:

…There are good Catholic countries like Chile that have legalised prostitution.  And I know its very controversial.  Most people would put their arms up in horror.  But by legalising it, they got rid of the pimps.  The girls are monitored properly to make sure that they are healthy, to make sure they can come forward if they’ve got a problem.  And they believe a lot of the illegal trafficking of young girls has gone away…

Now They Notice

One of the more loathsome uses of asset seizure:  stealing all of the victim’s bank accounts so he can’t pay for a legal defense.

Things aren’t looking good for rentboy.com…The company’s bank accounts containing millions of dollars were frozen and its website was seized by Homeland Security…Now, the company is selling its office supplies and furniture on Craigslist in an effort to raise money to pay for its mounting legal fees…Some of these “goodies” include glass desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and video monitors.  Other items for sale include cables, software, books, magazines, artwork, lamps, a copy machine, and “a lot of special, one of a kind rentboy.com ephemera”…

Seizing Power (#574)

The Cato institute supports sex workers’ right to advertise:

Prior restraints—legal prohibitions on disseminating information before publication—are an odious burden on the freedom of expression and come with a “heavy presumption” against their constitutionality.  Indeed, they are so disfavored in the law as to be virtually impossible to obtain outside of wartime.  Informal prior restraints—government pressure without formal sanction—are even more unconstitutional than formal ones, as the Supreme Court noted in Bantam Books v. Sullivan(1963)…But that strong precedent didn’t stop…Thomas Dart and his crusade against Backpage…As Cato, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project point out in our amicus brief before that court, Dart’s claimed “epidemic” of sex trafficking has evaded any sort of empirical verification for over two decades.  Indeed, State Department data indicate that the opposite may be true.  Nevertheless, Sheriff Dart, along with a new-age Baptist-and-bootleggers coalition matching the religious right and radical feminists, have raised the human-trafficking bugaboo to rally against prostitution—mimicking the drug war and all of its worst legal mechanisms…

Welcome To Our World (#578)

Here’s the first part of an in-depth look at how the New York Times callously maligned an entire industry – one that, like sex work, provides income for undocumented migrants with little money to squander on bureaucratically-imposed startup costs:

Sarah Maslin…Nir’s coverage broadly [mischaracterized] the nail salon industry, [and] several of the men and women she spoke with say she misquoted or misrepresented them.  In some cases, she interviewed sources without translators despite their poor English skills.  When her sources’ testimonies ran counter to her narrative, she omitted them altogether.  The second article lent the Times’ imprimatur to unproven theories, while committing science journalism’s cardinal sin of highlighting alarmist anecdotes that aren’t representative of systematic research.  If it hadn’t had real-world consequences, the series—and subsequent attempt by Nir and her editors to parry criticism—wouldn’t be worth such intense scrutiny.  But the day after the first article appeared in the print edition of the Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo…announced a new multi-agency task force to inspect nail salons…The rush to legislate based solely on the Times’ shoddy reporting has hurt the industry.  New nail salons, “which used to open every week in New York,” have stopped appearing…Salons once provided a steady source of jobs for undocumented immigrants; now many owners say they’ll hire only legal workers who’ve completed an occupational licensing program because they’re afraid of getting in trouble…

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Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, fand er sich in seinem Bett zu einem ungeheueren Ungeziefer verwandelt.  –  Franz Kafka

Even though it’s in German, I think you’ll appreciate this short animation of Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” provided by Ed Krayewski (or else you won’t).  The links above it were contributed by Nun YaScott GreenfieldWWAVMike SiegelBrooke Magnanti, and Michael Whiteacre (in that order).

From the Archives

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Equating the temporary, paid provision of sexual services to the “buying and selling of human beings”…only makes sense if you also think paying your hairdresser, landscaper, and barista are forms of slavery.
–  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

I don’t think this is as much a “subculture” as it is a few isolated psychos inspired and encouraged by “sex trafficking” hysteria, and perhaps in some cases even created by it:

In March 2014, Steven Currence gave undercover agents a grand tour of the dungeon hidden inside his Montana home.  The subterranean hellhole contained a heavy wooden cross…The walls were covered in whips, chains, and torture devices.  Currence boasted of blacking out the windows to dash any hopes of escape…One kidnapped woman would sleep in the basement torture chamber, while the other would be chained to his bed—with a chain long enough to reach the bathroom…Currence believed he would soon purchase the women from the agents, who posed as human traffickers…the feds cuffed him two months later when he traveled to Arizona to buy two women at what he believed was a slave auction…he was one of four men nabbed in an FBI sting operation targeting an extreme slice of the human trafficking underworld: people seeking sexual and domestic slaves…The goal was to find any victims who might need to be rescued. “We didn’t find any victims…but the market is definitely there”…

If the market is “definitely there”, why didn’t they find any victims?

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Gary Mariner, the son of a one-time…police chief, used his dead father’s badge and a gun to intimidate a prostitute in Portland last month into [submitting to rape]…Mariner…picked up the 25-year-old [woman] in his car…and told her, “It’s not (your) lucky day,” as he showed her the…badge…He allegedly told the woman that he had been called back from retirement to work for the Maine State Police as part of a special prostitution unit…

Real People 

The title and lede say it all: “Escorts describe first day at work in Reddit thread that dispels misconceptions about sex work…The vast majority on the thread describe their experiences as positive”.  Naturally, this surprises stupid people despite the fact that women like me have been saying exactly the same thing forever.

Higher Education

An Italian porn actor and director is starting an academy to teach aspiring adult film actors and actresses the tricks of the trade…Rocco Siffredi…will document his training in the reality show, Universita del Porno to air in Italy…Classes will be in session on the set of “Siffredi Hard Academy,” in which the porn veteran will instruct a group of 21 hopefuls on different techniques and tactics on how to be a believeable porn actor on screen…

The Course of a Disease

One can never have too many anti-Swedish model editorials:

…the Nordic approach has been packaged as “progressive” and “woman-friendly”.  However, it is completely untenable on three grounds:  first, the evidence of Sweden’s “success” at stopping prostitution is deeply suspect; second, the dangers to women’s health and well-being are ignored; and third, “gender equality” becomes an imposition on people’s rights, namely, those established through contractual agreements…Prohibitionists have lauded the act’s achievements, claiming that it has reduced prostitution…deterred male clients and changed societal attitudes toward prostitution.  In reality, however, sex workers in Sweden have begun using other means to find clients, and vice versa…Sweden’s claim of “successfully” decreasing the demand for sexual services appears highly unlikely since it is impossible to monitor every transaction or sexual encounter…

Above the Law 

Fake rapist cops like the one in “License to Rape” above are often convicted; real ones usually aren’t:

A South Florida cop accused of raping a woman at gunpoint while on duty was acquitted…after a jury determined she had asked for it and was merely acting out a fantasy by allowing the cop to penetrate her as she bent over the hood of his car.  After all, defense attorneys argued, the woman had posed for a photo back in high school where she bent over the hood of a car with her hands behind her back in a “strikingly similar position” to how…Stephen Maiorino…raped her…it is not clear how the photo was even admitted as evidence…Maiorino [claimed] the sex was consensual.  And his attorneys said that he even gave her his business card, indicating that he wanted to continue having sex with her.  They also said that because he did not bother cleaning up the DNA evidence from his uniform after they had sex – or try to hide the used condom later found at the scene – then it was obviously consensual.  However, the woman denies receiving his business card and said she was afraid for her life…

So Close and Yet So Far

I guess Dick Cady is pretty credible, for what he is:

The veteran journalist who co-authored a book filled with explosive allegations against the University of Louisville men’s basketball program said…that the escort he wrote with is “pretty damn credible.”  Dick Cady, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist based in Indianapolis, insisted that Katina Powell — a Louisville prostitute who claims a former Louisville staff member paid thousands of dollars and gave game tickets to her and other escorts…to provide sexual services to players and recruits — “never tried to back down or amplify or gussy something up…Every time we hit her with a new question or an explanation, she came through…I thought she was pretty damn credible for what she was”…

Dutch Threat

What’s Dutch for “bottleneck effect”?

Sex workers without brothel licenses will soon risk a prison sentence of up to six months…the Act Regulating Prostitution (WRP)…[will] criminalize all sex workers without a license, including independent prostitutes and camgirls/camboys. This is the first time that the Netherlands has criminalized sex workers…Many prostitutes are willing to work legally, but…because municipalities refuse to issue permits to them, more and more sex workers choose to work without a permit, often from their own homes.  The WRP considers these…brothel owners (operators) without a permit and allows them to be punished as such…


Nope, no hate here:

A transgender woman…was attacked by a group of men before being fatally shot…Police are treating the case as a homicide — not a hate crime — though that could change as the investigation continues…[Kiesha] Jenkins was jumped by five to six men, physically assaulted, then shot in the back…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#555) 

Take a good, hard look at who the “feminists” are in bed with:

The anti-porn activists at Morality in Media, recently rechristened the “National Center on Sexual Exploitation” (NCOSE), are launching a coordinated attack on human-rights organization Amnesty International (AI) for its support of decriminalizing prostitution…It’s also urging supporters to email, tweet at, and otherwise contact AI with the message: No Amnesty for Pimps…In NCOSE’s ideal world, protecting the “human rights or persons in prostitution” would involve throwing them, their employers, and their customers in prison…When not trying to diminish the human rights of sex workers, NCOSE also enjoys chastising the Department of Justice for not enforcing federal obscenity laws more aggressively, accusing shitty erotica of normalizing domestic violence, and calling out the American Library Association as a conduit for sexual exploitation…

Welcome To Our World (#559)

I’m awaiting apologies from those of you who doubted me:

…New York City nail salon owners and employees mobbed The New York Times’ office in protest of the paper’s coverage of their industry…Reporter Sarah Maslin Nir said she wanted to highlight the pervasive worker exploitation she [claimed] took place in the city’s Asian nail salons…New York authorities had been on a crusade since at least year to regulate nail salons more tightly…Nir’s article provided the impetus and public support enabling the city to do just that.  But you know who hasn’t been so psyched about the new worker “protections?”  The people who actually work at nail salons.  Because of citations and new regulations, some salons have been forced to close, costing the women who worked there their jobs.  Because of rules mandating extra pay for overtime work, manicurists saw hours cut back…

Business As Usual (#566)

Rapists sue because their names were revealed, thus warning potential victims:

Three [vice pigs] whose names were made public after prostitution busts at massage parlors are suing the city, county and state.  The [rapists]…claim that data on undercover officers is private and the defendants violated the Minnesota Data Practices Act…The prostitution busts got media attention when they were dismissed…after the judges said the [cops] went too far when they [raped] the [sex workers].  The police department has since suspended its use of undercover details in massage parlors.  The lawsuit says that since the [rapists’] names were disclosed, [they] and their families have received negative comments and have suffered “stress, anxiety, and emotional damage.”  [They] have also been harassed at work and their reputations have been damaged, the lawsuit claims…one of the [rapists] has been shamed because of [his committing rape] and “has been excluded from the ability to practice his religion [because rape is a sin]”…

FYI, the suppressed names of the three rapists are Steven Lecy, Christopher Reiter and Abubakar Muridi.

Where Are the Protests? (#576)

Well, that didn’t take long:

Motorists visiting car washes across North Wales are being “offered sex” by migrant gangs using them as a front for brothels…Such incidents are [claimed] to have occurred at three garages across the region with migrant workers allegedly inviting drivers to “go inside” and see two waiting women.  The head of a task force set up to crack down on human trafficking and modern-day slavery said there was a risk vulnerable people…could be targeted by unscrupulous traffickers who would force them into sex work…

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I have never met anybody who says there will be a day when no one is selling sexual services for money. You will never stop it.  –  Jean Urquhart

Think of the Children! 

No doubt the child was contaminated with sex rays!

A Scottsdale, Arizona private school kicked out a five-year-old boy the day before starting kindergarten…because his dad once worked in porn.  Jay Grdina is now a millionaire CEO of Dolce Bevuto…But before moving into the “lifestyle beverage” industry, Grdina ran the website ClubJenna.com with ex-wife Jenna Jameson…Grdina no longer works in the adult industry, and he also remarried (model Erin Naas) and had two children. Grdina told TMZ that the family enrolled their son Jayden at Scottsdale Christian Academy (SCA) in May after a six-month process of applications and interviews…

Enabling Oppression

I’m glad more people are seeing how loathsome it is for prohibitionists to link sex work to historical American black slavery:

For anti-prostitution campaigns pushing for the criminalization of the sex industry, “slavery” has been decontextualized from Black struggle and repurposed to describe [sex work]…Mobilizing slavery in this way has always seemed a deeply disrespectful appropriation of Black suffering, disrespectful both to our deceased ancestors and to our still-endangered lives as Black folks.  But by hijacking the terminology of slavery, even widely referring to themselves as “abolitionists”, anti-sex work campaigners have not only (successfully) campaigned for funding and legal reform; but they do so without any tangible connections to historical or current Black political movements against state violence.  Indeed in pushing for criminalization, they are often undermining those most harmed by the legacy of slavery…

End Demand

I’m rather glad to see the return of “criminal whore” rhetoric:

…Fall River…stings were sporadic and usually only targeted the would-be customers.  “That’s the wrong approach,” Fall River Police Chief Daniel S. Racine said…undercover [pigs] are now frequently, almost on a weekly basis, driving unmarked vehicles while patrolling areas known for prostitution activity…looking for both the street prostitutes and the johns, and arresting them.  “We’re looking to deter prostitution on both ends, the supply and the demand,” said Racine, who acknowledged that the police department will not completely eliminate what is often called the world’s oldest profession…[a clueless business owner] said…“A lot of the customers are from out of town, and I don’t want to give them that image of Fall River, as if that’s the type of neighborhoods we have, because it’s not”…

In other words, he wants “that type” of neighborhood “cleaned up” so as to prove it never existed.

Pearls Firmly Clutched Fast Girl

Her escorting was “caused” by being bipolar?  Really, Suzy?

…Suzy Favor Hamilton…was a three-time track and field Olympian who had been featured in magazines and who also had a loving family – so fans were shocked in 2012 when she was outed as a high-end escort in Las Vegas.  In her new memoir, Fast Girl, Hamilton says that her bipolar disorder, which had not yet been diagnosed, caused her shocking behavior.  “My bipolar was driven toward sex.  It could have been driven towards drugs and alcohol, or gambling.  I found sex was the biggest high to fuel my mania, which is common with bipolar people,” Hamilton tells People

Catastrophic Consequences (#407)

Jean Urquhart, MSP moves beyond merely “calling for debate”:

Sex workers and charities across Scotland are rallying behind an MSP’s proposal to decriminalise prostitution in the country…HIV Scotland and NUS Scotland have championed the MSP’s consultation, as has Scot-Pep, the sex worker-led charity that advocates for the safety, rights and health of people who sell sex in Scotland…The proposed bill would permit sex workers to work in groups of up to four…laws against soliciting and kerb-crawling would be scrapped…Sex workers would also be permitted to have joint finances with family members or flatmates…

Above the Law (#418)

The French just love these massive DNA fishing expeditions:

…as part of a probe into the rape of a Canadian tourist at police headquarters in Paris…all 120 police officers and civilian staff who were present in the building on the night the rape took place…are being tested over three days…Investigators are trying to find a match for a so far unidentified DNA sample taken from sperm found during the victim’s medical examination…

Last time it was even worse.

Now They Notice

The [Rentboy] crackdown may have felt unprecedented to some, but it’s the public’s response that’s new.  When law enforcement targets sex workers and the websites they use, mainstream outlets and organizations tend to give them a pass.  But with Rentboy, that script has flipped…media and advocacy groups who don’t typically bring a political analysis to sex work responded to the raid primarily as an anti-gay attack, while also calling for an end to the policing of sex workers.  Some American LGBTQ organizations in particular have rallied around the political nature of the raid—in a way women’s rights groups in the United States, when women sex workers are targeted in similar raids, have not.  In fact, it might be the relative silence of women’s rights groups on the Rentboy raid that has provided space for sex workers’ rights to become the main focus of the story…

Ashley Madison (#567) Asley Madison bot tool

It seems I wasn’t the only one who had Ashley Madison pegged as a scam years ago:

…Ashley Madison created tens of thousands of fembots to lure men into paying for credits…To the Ashley Madison “guest,” or non-paying member, it would appear that he was being personally contacted by eager women.  But if he wanted to read or respond to them, he would have to shell out for a package of Ashley Madison credits, which range in price from $60 to $290.  Each subsequent message and chat cost the man credits.  As documents from company e-mails now reveal, 80 percent of first purchases on Ashley Madison were a result of a man trying to contact a bot, or reading a message from one…company executives were in a constant battle to hide the truth.  In emails to disgruntled members of the site, and even the California attorney general, they shaded the truth about how the bots fit into their business plan…

Now They Notice (#567)

Why the fuck are some gay dudes so totally fucking clueless, and announce their ignorance so loudly?

The Rentboy raid sparked a conversation among LGBT organizations who noted that similar, heterosexual-geared sites advertising escort services did not meet similar fates…Sasanka Jinadasa…[of] HIPS, Inc…[says] “Targeting sex work is an indirect way of targeting the LGBT community without calling it outright discrimination”…Becky believes regulating the sex industry…would provide more protection…[Nick] Kinkand…[bloviated] “A lot of people’s biggest complaint about sex work is the fact that there are these women or children that are being trafficked into the country to do this…If it were to become legal, it would reduce that, because…instead of going to…the street corner where these people…have diseases or something, I can go to a reputable place and see a reputable person”…

The most astonishingly-stupid statement in all that astonishing stupidity is the idea that straight escort sites aren’t targeted by cops.

A Load of Farley (#570)

Hilary Hanson of Huffington Post is beginning to distinguish herself as an ally:

Men who pay for sex may be more inclined to sexual violence and have less empathy for women, according a study that made headlines last week.  But…the study’s lead researcher was Melissa Farley, founder and director of…a nonprofit with the stated goal of abolishing prostitution.  The research was funded by a grant from Hunt Alternatives, a private organization with the stated goal of “combating the demand for purchased sex”…

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I asked a close friend who isn’t a sex worker to be my safe call.  Initially she agreed, but now suddenly she said she doesn’t want to hear about it, because she disapproves of my work and does not want to support it in any way.  There’s no one else I trust enough, so I’m hurt and feeling let down by my friend.  We’ve always been honest with and accepting of one another before, so why is this different?

medieval torture devicesStigma is an awful thing; it tempts otherwise-good people to shun or mistreat the stigmatized individual, encourages the weak-minded to view her as subhuman, and provides an excuse for evil people to harm or even kill her.  Perhaps at some point in our evolutionary history, “othering” fulfilled some useful function by allowing a band of proto-humans to exile or kill an individual who somehow imperiled the others’ survival, but nowadays the capacity for disconnecting one’s empathy and seeing another as a thing rather than as a brother or sister human is a dangerous atavism exploited by rulers as a tool for persecution of despised minorities.  Once the hatemongers succeed in convincing the masses that some real or imaginary group – Jews, aboriginal people, black people, the mentally ill, immigrants, homosexuals, “addicts”, “witches”, sex workers, clients, “sex offenders”, etc – is a threat to Our Treasured Way of Life, the majority will support denying members of that group even the most elementary level of decent treatment.  Though we all carry this nasty ability to dehumanize other humans in our brains, it’s far nearer the surface in some individuals; they’re the ones who can always be counted on to turn in their neighbors and family members to the secret police or Inquisition.  I don’t think they’re necessarily bad people; they’re just extremely susceptible to suggestions that some individuals need to be ostracized or even “punished”, personal affection notwithstanding.

I suspect your friend may be one of those individuals; she has bought in to the lie that compensated sex is a Great Social Evil that Must Be Stopped (for the children!), and your willing participation in it marks you as a Them who doesn’t deserve to be treated with the basic consideration one gives one’s friends.  She may believe that she’s demonstrating “tough love” by denying you safety, in the hopes that you’ll be scared out of what she views as unhealthy or “bad” behavior (despite the fact that you aren’t her minor child); if you get killed it’ll serve you right and teach your ghost a lesson, by golly!

Obviously, you can’t trust this friend to help you; I think you have every right to feel hurt and let down, and I wouldn’t blame you if you decided her friendship was insincere.  But while you’re wrestling with that question (and believe me, I don’t envy you the struggle), you still have the practical concern of finding someone to monitor you while in session with clients.  Are you friendly with any sex workers online?  With modern technology there’s no real need for the two of you to be in the same city; after all, she wouldn’t go to investigate in person if you failed to call in, now would she?  A lady in the UK, US, Australia or any other place could call for help just as easily as one in your own country, provided she was supplied with whatever emergency numbers you feel necessary.  And you could even perform the same service for her in return.

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

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