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Posts Tagged ‘Italy’

In efforts to catch imagined “pimps”…officials have long considered the liberty and rights of…sex workers (and their customers) to be an acceptable sacrifice.  The rest of us were really never far behind.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Moloch 

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

South Carolina can continue to require…teens convicted of…sex crimes to appear on the state’s public sex-offender registry and wear an electronic monitor for the rest of their lives, the state Supreme Court ruled…A boy…who was 15 when he sexually assaulted a 5-year-old boy…challenged the law…The teen’s lawyer said being publicly branded a sex offender and electronically monitored for the rest of his life is too harsh a punishment, citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on the death penalty for anyone under age 18.  The justices, however, said the Legislature was well within its power to pass a law that treats juveniles and adults differently in criminal punishment, but establishes the same requirements for the registry [due to the pretense that it isn’t a punishment]…

No Friend of Ours

Nevada has caught up with Washington, Arizona & Florida as one of the most vile, loathsome fonts of anti-whore vomit in the US:

Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick spoke with Crysta Price, one of the [fabulists who created yet another bogus] study…[they actually represent themselves as] data scientists [though they’re not dealing in actual data and instead just vomit out a lot of lies & “end demand” filth.  Price pretends that]…Reno is in the top 6.5 percent, in terms of the per-capital [sic] number of individuals that are advertised for sex.  And then Nevada itself is the number one state…if you have the same amount [sic] of demands, you’ll just see those individuals replaced with trafficked individuals…demand…is often the result of a lot of males with expendable income…where it’s in an entertainment-like experience, that can often filter them into purchasing sex in the commercial sex industry…

“Per capital”?  “Entertainment-like experience”?  “Filter them into purchasing sex”?  Is this woman for real, or is she some sort of Marxist clown robot railing against “expendable income”?  Perhaps she thinks the almighty state should “protect” these vegetable-like “trafficked individuals” by stealing all that extra income & giving it to creatures like her?

New Excuse

For over three years now, I’ve been saying that the War on Whores is the new War on Drugs.  And here’s a perfect example of that:

In the high days of America’s militarized war on drugs, baseless and botched home raids have become a defining feature—with often disastrous consequences.  Now we’re seeing the same sort of overzealous enforcement efforts in the fight against…prostitution.  This week, Detroit police raided an innocent family’s home after receiving a [bogus] sex-trafficking tip and then seeing two teens enter the house.  One of the teens was the family’s 13-year-old daughter, who…wound up face-down and handcuffed on the floor, along with the rest of her family, after cops cut through a locked gate…and entered with their guns drawn…Maria Navarete [reported that] police told her to “shut up, you have no rights” when she asked what was happening…Police apologized, [pretending] that a mysterious heroin-addicted woman in a local hospital said she and several underage girls had been held against their will and forced into prostitution…[at] the Navarete’s place…

Business As Usual 

Why does it surprise people when cops fight for what they imagine to be their “right” to rape sex workers?

The Anchorage Police Department is fighting a pair of state bills that would criminalize cops who have “sexual contact” with people under investigation.  The reason for the opposition, according to Deputy Chief Sean Case, is that…such a law would allow sex workers to avoid arrest, since it provides them with a way to check if a potential client is a cop…“If we make that act (of touching) a misdemeanor we have absolutely no way of getting involved in that type of arrest”…Case [pretends] the department isn’t interested in making arrests for sex work in general and is instead focused on sex trafficking…which raises the question of [why] police are…advocating for the need to have “sexual contact” with trafficking victims…The bills at issue are the result of activism by…Community United for Safety and Protection (CUSP), which [explains] that sex workers in [every] state [are routinely] subjected to sexual abuse by police during undercover busts…Initially, it seemed that the bills would have no trouble passing.  “Police and prosecutors [lied] that police never engage in sexual conduct during stings anyways”…said [Tara Burns].  “Then right as the bill was about to be heard they changed their story and now claim that they need to engage in sexual conduct with sex trafficking victims in order to rescue them”…sex worker advocates say that every state needs bills like those proposed in Alaska that expressly define “sexual contact” with sex workers during investigations as sexual abuse.  That said, these laws only go so far…As Maggie McNeill…told Vocativ, “No matter what the law says, cops will keep raping sex workers, either in stings or outside of them, for as long as our profession is criminalized because they know damned well there’s nothing we can do about it.”

The Public Eye (#617)

Once again, Caroline McLeod handled this interview like a champ; and once again, the “journalists” sullied her words by surrounding them with prohibitionist lies.  I’m not even going to bother quoting this dreary mess, which includes the usual anti-sex vomit from the usual sex-hating liars.

To Molest and Rape 

Arkansas lets dangerous, violent rapist walk free; guess his profession:

…[Rapist cop] Robert G. Retford pleaded guilty to a charge of 3rd degree sexual assault.  He was sentenced to 6 years probation…Retford’s victim…asked to be identified and wants everyone to know what…that [rapist cop] did to her…During the second week of September 2016…two Johnson County deputies showed up at her home for a domestic dispute…Retford offered to take her away from the situation…he…assaulted her with…his police baton.  Then…raped her and urinated on her.  “After that he made me drink his urine,” Shanna said…”I think he’s scary, it scares me just talking about him…he should be in jail locked up and I don’t feel other women and girls out there are safe”…

The Widening Gyre (#663)

More racist infantilization of Nigerian sex workers in Italy:

…For most of these women, sex work is…slave labour, enforced by vicious gang leaders who threaten the women with physical violence and deportation if they refuse to comply…Father Vincenzo (Enzo) Volpe…the Sicilian priest who works with Sister Valeria to protect the women and offer them hope for a new life, estimates there are some 500 Nigerians working against their will on the streets and in the brothels.  That’s [an impossibly] big number for a city with a population of only 1.3 million [but fetishists believe it anyway]…tens of thousands of Nigerian sex slaves have poured into Italy and more are arriving almost every day in rickety boats dispatched from the Libyan coast, seeking a better life in Europe…

Pyrrhic Victory (#677)

Seattle cops aren’t the only ones with a fetish for creepy surveillance:

…After Geofeedia’s highly publicized PR disaster, in which Chicago Police were found to have used the social media surveillance platform to track racial justice protests and gatherings, the social media monitoring company saw Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram cut off its data streams…A company called Babel Street [is letting violent busybodies get around that]…Seattle PD are one of many users of Babel Street software, and are soon to be joined by the US Secret Service…the FBI is also using Babel Street programs…Babel Street also seems to be making a substantial push into the private market…[mostly] sports stadiums and entertainment venues…Babel X has access to over 25 social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram, and to Twitter’s firehose…Babel X can also surveil millions of URL’s including the deep web.  The software can instantly translate over 200 languages, and can set up geo-fences around areas of special interest, and has highly customizable filtering options including for hashtags, emojis, handles, names…keywords….numerical sequences like credit card or social security numbers…dates, times, data type, language, and—interestingly enough—sentiment…

“Filter for sentiment”.  Let that sink in, and remember that when I started this heading five years ago some people claimed I was exaggerating.

Policing for Profit (#687) 

Once in a very great while, the bad guys still lose:

James Slatic was never charged with a crime, but it took 15 months and a twisting legal battle before three different judges for him to get back the more than $100,000 the San Diego District Attorney’s Office seized from him and his family—including his daughters’ college savings accounts.  On [May 5th] a California superior court judge [finally] ordered the San Diego District Attorney’s Office to return [the money]…it [stole] from the Slatic family following a police raid last January on James Slatics’ medical marijuana company…

Advice for Clients (#704)

A simple primer on interacting with sex workers on Twitter:

Imagine you’re walking through your local mall…and discover a friendly lady…holding out a tray of…whatever…do you stand around engaging her in small talk while she…attempts to work around you?…Do you insist that she let you have a few more since you’ll definitely be a regular customer…Do you offer her unsolicited advice on how to season the food?…

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We wanted to show the world that we are not the image they have of us.  –  Maria Elena Davila

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Liz Brown tackles the myth that porn has become mostly violent & “misogynistic”:

…the ostensible rise of rough porn is just a symptom of a larger truth: that there’s more porn of all kinds out there.  More female-produced and women-friendly porn.  More lesbian porn aimed at lesbians, not straight men.  More “radical transgender kink.”  More political porn parodies.  More “amateur” porn studios.  More web-camming sites.  More web-savvy women making money on their own websites and social media accounts.  More virtual reality porn and gadgets.  More fetish porn of all sorts.  And so on.  This not only means that there’s more erotic entertainment out there for a diverse range of tastes, it means we see a much more diverse range of people represented in erotic entertainment…

Crying for Nanny

Another attempt to rob a business using “sex trafficking” hysteria as a weapon:

…a…The teen’s lawyers are using Pennsylvania’s human trafficking law to sue the motel where they say their client was sexually exploited, marking the first civil suit under the law since it was enacted in 2014…Lawyers [fantasize] employees at the Roosevelt Inn in northeast Philadelphia knew that a 14-year-old girl was being held against her will for two years.  She was forced to have sex with more than 1,000 men for as little as $50, they said…The lawsuit demands $50,000 in damages…the girl managed to escape and…those responsible…were convicted…[yet] her attorneys…declined to identify her captors, [supposedly] fearing retaliation…prosecutors [fantasize the motel is]…“the epicenter of human trafficking” in the city…“You have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know that 100 men are showing up over a period of a couple days,” says [shyster] Tom Kline…“You have a cleaning crew that comes into the room and oftentimes finds boxes or waste cans full of use condoms…You can’t have a line of johns out the front door and around the room waiting without them knowing,” Kline said…

So 1000 over 2 years (about 1.4/day) comes to “100 men…over…a couple days”, 1 constitutes a “line out the front door”, 2 condoms makes “a waste can full” and and average of $70/day is enough to pay for a hotel room, food & other expenses and still leave enough profit to justify the kind of risk involved in pimping a minor. Gee, math is hard.

The Last Shall Be First 

Badass woman uses her badassery for justice:

Anti-trans activists in Washington State have been trying to tell cisgender women for more than a year that we ought to be afraid of transgender people using the bathroom.  This is the main marketing behind I-1552, a proposed ballot initiative from anti-trans group Just Want Privacy that attempts to repeal state anti-discrimination protections for trans people and mandate that public schools keep trans students out of bathrooms that correspond with their gender.  But it appears that Just Want Privacy’s latest fear-mongering effort has backfired.  Last week, the group tried to use the story of Kelly Herron…who was allegedly attacked by a man in a Golden Gardens bathroom, to promote their anti-trans ballot measure in a fundraising e-mail and on Facebook.  Unfortunately for Just Want Privacy, Herron has now spoken out against their campaign.  “To the people behind I-1552, I say ‘not today, mutherfuckers,'” Herron said in a public statement…”I refuse to allow anyone to use me…to cause harm and discrimination to others”…Herron was attacked in a public…bathroom on March 5 by Gary Steiner, a 40-year-old registered sex offender from Arizona [who as the picture shows is neither trans nor dressed as a woman to get into the bathroom]…

I saw these sleazy fucks trying to trick people into signing their trash several times last year.

Watershed

To the coming generation, bigotry against sex workers will be as vile as bigotry against queer people is to the young people of today and bigotry vs racial minorities was to the previous generation:

…We can’t forget that those who make decisions about female sex workers’ rights are often powerful, privileged men.  They paternalistically presume to know what’s best for women…[they] quip that “women deserve better” while simultaneously being the ones who oppose legislation funding education, job training, welfare and other programs to uplift poor women…the issue is…also that the mainstream media have seized the narrative around sex work from the workers themselves and failed to include their real concerns…those who claim to be feminists…argue that discussions of sex work disempower women.  But frankly, who gets to define empowerment to women without your same economic privilege and access to education, whose sole means of survival are a profession you would rather turn a blind eye to?…

Whimsical Notions

Wait, you mean healthy young men in an ultra-masculine profession can’t merely be ordered to be asexual?  Who’d have thunk it?

The head of the US Marines has vowed to hold service members accountable for sharing nude photos of their female colleagues online.  Gen Robert Neller promised to change the Marine culture while testifying before a Senate committee.  Last week, reports emerged that current and former Marines were sharing [nude] photos [of women] on Facebook and on message boards, triggering a Navy investigation…The [Facebook] group, which included around 30,000 active and retire male marines, has now been closed down…The Marine Corps has the lowest percentage of female members among the five military services.  Women make up about 7 to 8% of all Marines…

An Example to the West (#544)

A new documentary about the Nicaraguan sex workers accredited by the government as “judicial facilitators”:

In most countries around the world, sex workers are criminalized by police…In…Nicaragua, sex workers are replacing police…French filmmaker Florence Jaugey released a documentary about the Sunflowers of Nicaragua, a woman-led sex worker collective serving as community mediators…In 2009, members of the Sunflowers…began organizing against discrimination and violence within their communities…with the intention of gaining…trust…in order to win mass support for their primary demand:  the judicial integration and unionization of sex workers across the country.  Their strategy worked.  In 2015, Nicaragua’s Supreme Court of Justice asked members of the collective if they wanted to work as judicial facilitators in Managua…Now, the sex workers are accredited and have licenses signed by the Supreme Court of Justice to mediate small conflicts in their communities…The Sunflowers…has also been accepted by the socialist government’s Confederation of Self-Employed Workers, granting them legal union status.  The collective, which aims to organize Nicaragua’s estimated 14,000 sex workers, has recruited 2,300 thus far…

Between the Lines

The amazing Liz Brown, queen of sex worker allies, delivers up a long and thorough takedown of the FBI’s annual “Operation Cross-Country” pogroms, backing up what I’ve been saying for years about these skeevy, prurient, horrifyingly-wasteful intimidation theatrics with facts, statistics and detailed analysis:

…sensationalized montages of footage from the stings, which the FBI has been proudly posting to YouTube since Operation Cross Country launched in 2008…show authorities handcuffing young people, mostly women and girls, and parading them down dim hallways, thick gloved hands gripping skinny arms on either side, or pushing them up against cop cars, the camera lingering on cuffed wrists clasped tightly over baggy jeans or long, bare legs.  The latest iteration of the initiative—Operation Cross Country X—took place across 103 U.S. cities from October 13 to 16…it involved the efforts of 74 federally led Human Trafficking Task Forces, comprised of officers from 55 FBI field offices and more than 400 federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies…the operation identified 82 “children” engaged in prostitution, an average of about 0.88 per city, or one for every five agencies participating.  All were teenagers—mostly 16- and 17-year-olds—and a number of cities where they were found made no simultaneous pimping or sex trafficking arrests…only five men stand accused of federal crimes—with only two accused of crimes against actual minors.  None of these suspects was part of anything even remotely resembling an organized criminal enterprise…

The Lesser of Two Evils (#589) 

Presumably, those who are “outraged” would prefer boys be molested instead:

Lurid accusations of priests involved in sex orgies, porn videos and prostitution have emerged from several parishes in Italy recently, sending shock waves all the way to the Vatican…In…Naples…[Rev. Mario D’Orlando] was recently suspended…over claims he held gay orgies and [paid male sex workers]…In…Padua…Rev. Andrea Contin, is facing defrocking…amid accusations he had up to 30 lovers, some of whom he took to a swingers’ resort in France…One woman…claimed the priest carried sex toys and bondage equipment, prostituted his lovers on wife-swapping websites and also invited other priests from the area to sex parties…

New flash: humans have sexual urges.  Deprive them of socially-sanctioned ways to meet their needs, and they’ll find other ways.  It really is that simple.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#626)

If it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe“:

…Don and Bridget are the founders of Agape International Missions, or AIM, a Christian missionary group on the front lines of the war against child sex trafficking in Cambodia…They have made it their life’s work to stop men…from abusing children…Human trafficking was once endemic in Cambodia…Anecdotal…tales of pimps and profiteers openly selling women and children on the streets are commonplace…According to surveys of sex workers…the number of child prostitutes has reportedly been dropping for years.  Survey estimates once reported nearly 35 percent of Cambodian prostitutes…were minors.  Recent estimates pegged that number closer to 1 to 2 percent…But Don Brewster [pretends] the falling estimates are misleading…

To Molest and Rape 

Try to imagine a non-cop getting just three years for this. Go on, try.

An NYPD [cop] who raped and sexually abused a 13-year-old girl scored a soft sentence…of only three years in prison — just a year for each attack.  Vladimir Krull…raped the victim in her home and in his car during two separate incidents…Krull…was also convicted of [orally raping] the victim…in June 2014 after a father-daughter breakfast for her eighth-grade class…

Still a Child (#674) 

Despite the pearl-clutching, I actually agree with this:

For nearly 90 years, an uncelebrated New York State law has largely escaped attention, allowing what would seem to be unfathomable in this day and age…child marriages, by the thousands.  Since 1929, New York has allowed children as young as 14 to marry; 14- and 15-year-olds can do so with judicial and parental approval, and 16- and 17-year-olds can marry with mere parental consent…Most states allow 16- and 17-year-olds to marry, and more than two dozen other states have no statutory minimum age at all…Between 2000 and 2010, nearly 3,900 minors were wed in the state, mostly in marriages arranged by parents whose religious or cultural traditions embrace the practice.  State lawmakers and Governor Cuomo are now trying to put an end to so-called child marriages, and have introduced similar bills to end marriage altogether for 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds, joining a number of states from New Jersey to Missouri that are working to change similar laws…

Once all the sex-magic mumbo-jumbo is stripped away, marriage is simply a contract; no more, no less.  It’s illegal for minors to enter into contracts, therefore it should be illegal for them to marry. Q.E.D.  Furthermore, the State forbids even taking pictures of nude minors, yet it allows them to make binding lifelong contracts for sexual services?  Really?

Between the Ears (#674) 

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

Canadian “smart” sex toy manufacturer We-Vibe recently felt the long, hard, stiff arm of the law when it was fined $4 million CAD (about $3 million USD) after it tracked users’ use without their consent.  The money will go to compensate those who bought the device.  Owners of the We-Vibe 4 Plus who used the app are entitled to claim C$10,000 (about $7,500), while those who just bought the vibrator can claim up to $199, less legal fees…This follows a successful class-action lawsuit that was brought before an Illinois federal court…

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The state should be extremely reluctant to criminalize activities freely entered into by consenting adults.  –  Peter Singer

An Older Profession Than You May Have Thought shrike-whore

This article doesn’t cover any new ground, but I just love the pictures of the little animal whores holding their cash.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

She publicly humiliated him and forced him into a brainwashing program designed to shame him for his sex drive and convince him it’s pathological, and now he doesn’t want to fuck her?  Why, who could ever have predicted that?

Katie Price has hinted her sex life with Kieran Hayler is lacking after he went into therapy…to help overcome his sex addiction after…[she] discovered he’d been sleeping with two of her friends…when asked if therapy had changed him, she instantly replied: “Completely, from him wanting to fuck everything to me being like ‘do you want it?’”…The former glamour model even made crude gestures to prove her point, pretending to grab an imaginary penis with her hand before dropping it and laughing…

What kind of “friends” do glamour models have?  And regarding Hayler, obviously, not all sex workers (he was a male stripper) have the goddamned sense to actually get what sex workers are for.

They Still Don’t Get It

The bizarre illogic, the self-defined “evidence”, the weird 19th-century language…are these people for real?

An alleged sex trafficking operation based out of a [Massachusetts] home — in which police said johns used Backpage.com to set up appointments with three woman made to work 14 hours a day — is not unusual, a sex trafficking expert said.  “Yes, it’s happening next door,” said Kate Nace Day…”This is part of our society, part of our neighborhood — that’s how bad it is”…Boston police raided the house…and rescued three women…Wong, Tang and Xu were each charged with…keeping a house of ill fame…

She thinks the fact that sex work is common & mundane “proves” it’s bad?  What?

Shift in the Wind (#36)

The bioethicists are now on our side as well:

…feminist organizations…argue…we should “end the demand for paid sex” – but without explaining how this is to be done.  In species that reproduce sexually, sex is, for obvious reasons, one of the strongest and most pervasive desires.  Humans are no exception…In every modern society, humans exchange money or other valued items for things that they desire and could not otherwise obtain.  For various reasons, a significant number of people cannot get sex, or sufficient sex, or the kind of sex they want, freely.  Unless at least one of these conditions changes, demand for paid sex will continue…Another response to proposals to decriminalize sex work is that we should instead change the conditions that lead people to [work]…This assumes that only those who lack any other means of supporting themselves would engage in sex for money.  That assumption is a myth…Faced with the prospect of monotonous, repetitive work for eight hours a day on an assembly line or flipping hamburgers, [some] prefer the higher pay and shorter hours that the sex industry offers.  Many may not make that choice, but should we make criminals of those who do?…

Monsters 

Niurkeli, a 33-year-old transgender sex worker, was murdered by a client in Nantes, France.  Niurkeli was [a] migrant sex worker of Ecuadorian origin…Since [France started moving toward the Swedish model in] 2014 her work conditions have deteriorated…many sex workers have lost income…[and] moved to more remote and dangerous areas to work because that is where their clients feel more secure…

Not What They Expected

Cops are no doubt disappointed that the media can’t be counted on to mindlessly parrot their “sex trafficking” propaganda any more, and that sex workers are finally being heard:

New Haven [Connecticut] Police…said they have placed prostitution stings on hold as city and department personnel rework their strategy for addressing sex workers in the city…[spokespig] David Hartman confirmed…that stings like the Oct. 25 operation that led to the arrest of 13 women on prostitution charges will not be conducted as the department mulls other practices and possible alternatives to arrest…[on November 18th] a demonstration took place in front of City Hall that included some 50 people voicing concerns about the Police Department’s [abominable] treatment of sex workers…Demonstrators want New Haven police to stop targeting workers in the sex industry and provide more resources for their rehabilitation…They also asked the state’s attorney’s office to drop all pending prostitution charges and ask that local press not publish booking photos for those arrested and charged with prostitution, which they said adds to “public shaming”…

We need to keep this up; if we keep loudly protesting every fucking “sting”, and making sure reporters are there to cover our protests, it’s going to be a lot harder for prohibitionists to sell their snake oil to the public.  That having been said, I’m not sure if this “rehabilitation” bullshit came from the protesters, a cop description of them or the reporter’s own mind; if it did come from the protesters themselves, someone needs to reach out to them about avoiding that sort of stigmatizing rhetoric that treats sex work as a failing from which we need to be “rehabilitated”.

All-Purpose Excuse

Dianne Feinstein, who never met a police-state law she didn’t like, crows about her efforts to hound sex workers’ clients and cut off our advertising; in the process she praises the flatly-illegal prosecution of Backpage officials and even brings up “sex trafficking” as an excuse for Washington’s imperialist meddling in the Middle East.  But none of this is really surprising because Feinstein is one of the sleaziest, most loathsome and disgusting examples of her entire vile breed ever to crawl the face of the Earth.

The Widening Gyre (#441) possibly-samantha-azzopardi-again

It looks like Samantha Azzopardi is back to her usual tricks:

** DOES ANYONE RECOGNISE THIS GIRL? **  She is very confused and currently detained in Italy.  She answers in English only to any questions asked so may be from an English speaking country…She sleeps outside and has mental problems I think…she has said that her name is Maria and she may be Ukrainian…

Because Ukrainians are known for only speaking English.

Banishment (#446)

Politicians are again working to get sex workers evicted and enrich the state:

New legislation in Prince George’s County aims to [railroad] landlords and property managers…for [sex work]…at their rental properties…[politician] Deni Taveras…proposed the bill after [pretending] complaints from several…mothers [because THE CHILDREN!!!!TM]…The bill makes it a misdemeanor to “knowingly” allow use of an apartment or home for prostitution or trafficking, punishable with a $1,000 fine…It passed the council unanimously…

There’s also a lot of silly nonsense about “pimps”, “snakes” and “roots” before a pig vomits up a lot of filth about “sending a message”.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#511)

Really, guys?  Is it really so hard to just hire an escort?

Despite many years of hype, teledildonics have largely existed in the realm of disappointment and “one day this might be a thing” hypotheticals.  But camming company CamSoda is investing in trying to actually make them a thing this time around with Blowcast, its new online marketplace for virtual blow jobs.  It lets…any penis-haver…browse through a library of pre-recorded blow jobs performed by professionals and amateurs alike.  A woman performs oral sex on-camera on a tricked out, touch-sensitive vibrator known as the Kiiroo Pearl.  It records the performer’s movements and translates them into sensations that can be experienced on-demand through a masturbatory sleeve known as the Kiiroo Onyx.  Blowcast syncs these sensations with a video of the woman performing said blow job to create the illusion —at least in theory — of receiving a blow job…the creators acknowledge that these virtual blow jobs will not be confused for the real thing…

To Molest and Rape 

When putting this column together I thought for a moment these were the same case:  “…sergeant [Thomas Pederson of] the Wayne County [Michigan] Sheriff’s department is facing sexual assault charges involving a child…under 13 years of age…” But nope, it’s two different young-relative-molesting cops:

…Indian River County [Florida] Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Peek was arrested…for…[groping his] step-daughter…The victim, now 20, told police that…Peek…began touching her when she was 14 years old, and it stopped at age 17 when she started dating.  She never told police because…[she] didn’t think anyone would believe her…during her senior year of high school, she would have to allow “Steve to touch her for 10 minutes if she wanted to go out and do something”…The victim’s current boyfriend…saw a text message…when she was 17 years old…asking…“for his 10 minutes.”  Peek also sent another text asking her when he could see her body…

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Sex workers are getting paid for what we do – you ain’t.  –  Miranda Kane

Aversions

The older I get, the more deeply weird (and frankly, kind of disgusting) the idea of giving strangers sex for free seems to me.  So I’m fascinated by the looking-glass prohibitionist notion that being paid for sex is somehow degrading, especially when I read stuff like this about what amateur dating (which I’ve never really engaged in per se) is like:

…It is not, in fact, sex-work that puts me off men.  It’s dating them.  When I was a sex worker, when a client came to see me, he knew I was a luxury item.  My Dos and Do Nots were clear from the start, and if he asked me to do something I didn’t want to, I said no and that’s as far as it went…sex workers see the best part of men – they’re polite, friendly…On a date I’m just one click away from rejection…The sex workers of Twitter created the hashtag of #banfreebies, an ironic take on what people expect of us as obviously being so “oppressed and exploited”.  Remember that, won’t you, the next time he rolls over and starts snoring and you have to bring out the Rampant Rabbit…

And since I’m bisexual, I feel it needs to be noted that women aren’t really much better.

Check Your Premises

It’s pretty bad when they can’t even maintain their own paradigm for more than a sentence:

Nine people were arrested in Suisun City [California] in a human trafficking operation…Detectives posed online as would-be ‘johns’ to contact prostitutes [that they pretended to believe to be] underage…Once the…sex workers arrived, they were [arrested] and [cops tried to pressure them into claiming to be]…victims of sex trafficking…Seven women…between the ages of 18 and 28 were arrested…

Uncommon Sense natalie-hot

Is there any other kind of work that is so consistently treated as a subject for abstract “debate” by outsiders?

German porn star Natalie Hot will appear in court…to defend her right to work as a “webcam girl”…from her detached house in Ampfing, Bavaria.  The town is home to 6,000 residents, several of whom have lodged legal complaints over their neighbour’s chosen profession.  Hot is challenging a decision by local authorities that prevented her from undressing on camera, threatening a penalty of €2,000 if she doesn’t adhere to the ban.  Their reasoning is that her house is in a specific land-use area, which does not allow for commercial use…A judge will now rule whether the room Hot uses for her work could be considered a “home office”, a label which would allow her to continue her work…

Finding What Isn’t There

You know how freshwater crabs wave their claws around and foam at the mouth when one throws them in salt water to purge them?  Picture that:

There are no statistics to back up her claims, but the country’s Chief Immigration Officer Annette Mark believes the sex trafficking problem in Antigua & Barbuda is more prevalent than perceived…Mark [fantasizes that] nightclubs and strip clubs…are to be blamed for the [nonexistent epidemic]…She said…“what is unfortunate is that the women who come seem to be willing participants, so it’s difficult to [force them to pretend] that they are victims of trafficking”.  According to Mark, while women [use sex work]…as a means of income, it is part of a slave trade…

Pyrrhic Victory

Not a police state, no sirree:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced an ambitious plan to [equip]…10 bridges and tunnels leading into the city…with facial recognition and license plate reading technology, giving police a comprehensive record of every car making the crossing…

I Saw My Brain

More terrifying insanity from the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

If you happen to be heading over to Polk County Florida, be sure to check to see if you have anything on or about your person that may have someone’s business name on it…That’s what Tim Troller found out when an ever vigilant deputy saw a Sunshine State Dairy Farms milk crate strapped to his BMX bike.  Polk County takes broken windows policing to the extreme, a milk crate strapped to your bike is a major indicator that you are a career criminal, or as the Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokes-prevaricator Debbie Horstman put it, undoubtedly with a straight face… “Deputies are…looking for people who are doing even the smallest crime, because, what we’ve learned is, those who will go out and steal a milk crate, for example, are the same people who are probably breaking into cars, breaking into your house”…

Frequently Told Lies

Caty Simon on the “sex work leads to drug use” myth:

You’ve heard the story:  A troubled woman prostitutes herself.  To numb the pain of belonging to this sordid underground world, she begins to use drugs…and her life continues to spiral out of control…“Multiple studies repeatedly and consistently … refute this narrative,” [says] Melbourne-based sex worker Fae Adams…In a study conducted in Sydney in the 1990s, for example, a sample group of 120 sex workers were found to be lighter drinkers than a sample group of women health care workers.  They were only 15 percent less likely to abstain from illegal drugs than the control groups of students and health workers.  And a 2002 British study correlated “problematic” drug use among sex workers with teenage drug use pre-dating entry into the industry, as well as homelessness and convictions…Yet the trope about using drugs to make sex work tolerable persists—and many drug-using sex workers find it infuriating because of how it reduces and flattens their lives and strips them of their choices…

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

Stupid assumptions about sex work often result in incredibly stupid concepts like the idea that working independently is somehow noteworthy, or that making a law against one aspect of the work is the same as criminalization:

Italy has yet to exit from…the worst [recession] in its postwar history — and the protracted crisis has seen the number of Italian sex workers surge more than 26 percent from 2007 to 2015…The extended downturn also has fueled a proliferation of “good” women generating badly needed income by engaging in prostitution on the side as “house practitioners”…35 percent of the 20,000 prostitutes in Italy, or some 7,000 women, are house practitioners…Michel Venturelli, a criminologist who has researched the issue…[says] “It’s do-it-yourself domestic sex work”…The Italian parliament banned prostitution in 1958, shuttering brothels.  Since then it’s been chaotic in the sex-for-sale industry…

No, the parliament didn’t “ban prostitution”, as the article itself mentions later; it banned brothels, but even while those were legal many if not most sex workers worked outside of them.  The only “chaos” is in the minds of cops, prohibitionists and reporters who listen to them.

Traffic Jam (#619)

Remember what happened the last time Minnesota “authorities” claimed they had busted a “sex trafficking gang”?

About a dozen people were arrested in cities across the U.S…for running what authorities [pretend is] a sophisticated sex trafficking operation in which hundreds of women were brought from Thailand to America under fraudulent visas and forced to work as prostitutes to pay off tens of thousands of dollars in bondage debts.  The women – including one who was forced to have sex with strangers for 12 hours a day, six or seven days a week- were not allowed to move about freely and were “effectively modern day sex slaves”…The arrests, along with the recent arrest of the organization’s boss in Belgium, will effectively dismantle the operation, said Alex Khu, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Minneapolis…


You may also recall that “sophisticated operations” is the excuse pigs use to rape sex workers.  And if you haven’t yet read Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s analysis of very similar claims made against Seattle-area Korean sex workers and clients, now would be the time.  See more of Liz’s work below.

To Molest and Rape 

The ever-vigilant Liz Brown looks at several cases of rape & sexual abuse by cops, several of which I haven’t yet covered:

…Allen Large…of the Horry County [South Carolina] Sheriff’s Office…was recently indicted by a grand jury on five counts of…[raping] multiple victims…Large…is also the subject of multiple civil lawsuits accusing him of activity such as sexual assaulting a woman who came to him to report a sexual assault, sexual harassment, and threatening to interfere with a woman’s child-visitation rights if she wouldn’t participate in nude “catfight” videos…Horry County [cop] Luke Green was indicted for [raping a sex worker]…during a prostitution arrest and the same with a confidential police informant…On September 21, New Jersey [cop] Ed Leopardi [committed]…suicide…[because he] was under investigation for [anally raping] a sex worker at a Trenton police K-9 training facility…”then allegedly wiped his penis on the headquarters’ curtains”…

The Prudish Giant (#641) 

It’s impossible to express how much this delights me:

On [October 4th]  Facebook introduced Marketplace, a new section on its mobile app that allowed its users to buy and sell things with their friends and strangers.  By the evening, the social giant was apologizing for an issue with the section, which featured some posts that would not have been out of place on the…Silk Road…Illegal drugs.  Dogs.  Guns.  Sexual services.  Baby hedgehogs…Mary Ku, a director for product management…who had cheerfully introduced the Marketplace app in a blog post earlier in the day, issued a statement saying that a technical issue had prevented Facebook’s reviewing system from identifying posts that violated its commerce policies and community standards…

Now They Notice (#666)

Note that we aren’t hearing a peep out of Gay, Inc about this any more:

The chief executive officer of a once-popular male escort website pleaded guilty…to promoting prostitution in a federal case that prompted accusations of anti-gay bias…Under a plea deal, Hurant agreed not to appeal a sentence of two years or less in prison.  His company also cannot appeal a penalty of $10 million or less…

Send In the Clowns

Watching how the clown panic develops is an example of a moral panic in miniature.  For example, note how the skateboard carried by this hoaxer myseteriously transformed itself into an “ax” for a more imaginative witness.   Everybody wants to get into the act; sales of clown masks have soared by 300% from this month last year, and the website Atlas Obscura has produced this interactive map of sightings which they say will be regularly updated.  They’ll need to expand it, though; the hysteria has spread to Canada and also the UK:

A masked man carrying a knife left a group of children aged 11 and 12 “upset and distressed” when he jumped out on their way to [school in]…County Durham…in Suffolk, a boy “younger than a teenager” was chased by “several people dressed as clowns”…Tom Jackson…a first year student at Leeds Beckett University [said]…he was “very scared” when he saw a man dressed as a clown near an underpass…Northumbria Police issued an appeal and warning after a series of incidents in Newcastle involving people dressed as clowns jumping out and scaring schoolchildren.  A 13-year-old boy was arrested…following [the] reports…In Essex, two…schoolgirls were approached by two people dressed as clowns who asked them if they wanted to attend a birthday party…People on social media have also reported clown sightings in Cheshire, North Wales, Dundee, Norwich, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield.  A man dressed as a clown “wearing a hockey mask and a blood-stained poncho” was captured on camera in…Greater Manchester…

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Wearing pumps is now considered code for…“Help, I’m a sex traffic victim being made to sell my body for sex.”  –  Carmen Barika

Profit from Panic dirty-overpriced-jeans

Buying These Jeans Will Help Stop Human Trafficking.”  No, it won’t, but it’ll make these opportunists wealthier:

“It started with myself and my wife…watching the movie Taken“…[said] James Bartle, founder of Outland Denim…”We spent the next few years bringing girls in and training them…We started as a not for profit business and we were able to grow to five girls, but we then realised it was nearly impossible to get beyond that, so we changed our model to a profit for purpose business…Since then we have grown to having 29 local seamstresses over there and two other Cambodian staff”…

Too Young To Know

This judge apparently thinks it’s her job to convince a young sex worker that she’s a victim:

A court in Rome has handed down an unusual penalty to the client of an underage prostitute, ordering him to buy her 30 books on the theme of women’s dignity…including novels by Virginia Woolf, Anne Frank’s diary and the poems of Emily Dickinson…Judge Paola Di Nicola [was apparently annoyed that]…the teenager…used [her earnings] to “buy new clothes and the latest mobile phones”…“the judge favoured a remedy that would [convince] the young girl to [believe] the real ‘damage’ that she had suffered was damage to her dignity as a woman”…

Under Every Bed

I’m not going to try to quote any of this massive garbage fire, an accumulation of most of the currently-popular myths and bogus “statistics” on “sex trafficking”, every one of which has been repeatedly debunked.  But given that this website belongs to the National Conference of State Legislatures, i.e. a collusion of money-grubbing, power-hungry politicians from every state in the US, that is hardly surprising; lies are a proven way to shore up prohibitionist police-state regimes.

Dysphemisms Galore 

Threatening the peace.”  Seriously.

Lahore…is housing at least 1,906 “safe heavens” [sic] in the three categories of crime, posing a potential threat to the peace…Of them, 1,123 dens deal in drug selling, 318 in prostitution and 465 in gambling…a senior police official…said the consolidated data on the hateful crime surfaced for the first time…a non-stop crackdown under a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards these notorious crimes would help bring peace to the city…Similarly, out of total 330 hate spots, the Saddar Division is housing 47 gambling, 78 prostitution and 205 drug selling dens…

Innocence Never Had

Because “children” are merely inanimate objects who can’t move from one place to another without being carried by “pimps”:

…Anjelique…[is a] troubled 12-year-old…[who ran] away from home…Police ended up finding Anjelique but they didn’t bring her back to her mother.  Instead they dropped her off at Alameda County Social Services’ assessment center in Hayward…Anjelique made friends with a teenage girl…who took her to a nearby motel…where the family says she first got lured into the sex-trafficking pipeline…even though the county keeps the assessment center’s location a secret, pimps know exactly where it is and could potentially use children inside to recruit others…Anjelique’s grandmother is convinced exploiters are lurking in the shadows.  “So you think there are pimps that are waiting outside the assessment center?” we asked her…

This would be hilarious if it weren’t being used as an excuse to destroy lives.

New Excuse

Sometimes the two “wars” blur into one:

A joint investigation into human trafficking in Ocean City [New Jersey] concluded…with three [simple] prostitution arrests…[cops stole] over 270 Baggies of heroin…a small amount of marijuana, $350 in currency, a 2011 Honda Odyssey mini-van, five cell phones and a police-style baton…Each of the suspects was offered victim services…

A Year Later

Ricochet is running a series on the effects of Canada’s new anti-whore laws:

…With Bill C-36 now law, sex workers are struggling…customers are pushing for more incall services at more private locations to avoid police detection.  More than 75 per cent of the inquiries I now receive want to meet at my home…I’m considering forsaking my safety in order to pay the bills.  In recent months I’ve broken my own rule about never meeting a client in an 18-wheeler truck…The rationale behind the criminalization of clients seems to be that causing clients to feel bad about purchasing sex will deter their desires and end sex work.  It doesn’t work that way.  It only makes sex workers and clients more creative as we both try to find ways to not get caught…

Uncommon Sense (#557)

Because whores are morons whose lives and businesses must be micromanaged by governments:

German politicians have approved a law making it illegal to have sex with prostitutes without using a condom, among other regulations on the sex trade…Anyone attempting to open a commercial premises for prostitution will undergo checks attempting to crack down on the involvement of gangs, traffickers and criminals…Prostitutes must also register with local authorities, gaining a certificate that must be renewed every two years, and attend an annual health “advice” session…

In other words, the number of whores working illegally will skyrocket as soon as this goes into effect; no licensing regime in the world has higher than a 10% compliance rate.

Vendetta (#607)

Another way to destroy lives, funded by the sociopathic Swanee Hunt:

Cook County’s Tom Dart, the prostitution-obsessed sheriff…has found a new way to threaten people’s privacy, screw over sex workers, and grow the police state.  The latest Dart-led initiative involves creating a national database of prostitution customers, using solicitation-arrest data submitted by cops through a phone app.  Demand Abolition…reported on Sheriff Dart’s new plot in a late-August post crowing that “1,300 sex buyers—a record—were arrested across 18 states in just one month” of Dart’s National John Suppression Initiative.  Now, the sheriff is using data from that sting to start a national database of people arrested for soliciting prostitution.  You know, for research purposes…This is thanks to a new app that streamlines the logging of prostitution arrest information….developed at a January “social justice hackathon”, in which a hundred or so techies were presided over by a team of anti-prostitution zealots from across the country…During the last John Suppression Initiative, cops logged info from 80 percent of all arrests into the database…

Cops and Condoms (#654)

WARNING:  Lelo Hex condoms are NOT safe!

As I looked through the press-kit Lelo sent me, I was faced with a distressing image. An animated GIF of a stretched-out Hex being repeatedly poked with a pin.  Lelo was showcasing a feature of their new condom, which was still latex by the way, that you could poke a hole in it without breaking the it in any noticeable way.  Read that again.  This is an advertised design feature…While it sucks to have a condom break, the way in which they break acts as, whether intentionally or not, a red flag system.  The shattering of the condom means you know that your barrier has failed and that you now need to take steps to address the situation- emergency contraception, STI testing, post-exposure STI prophylaxis…whatever an instance of exposure means to you.  The manner in which Hex fails, however, means the sex act can be completed and there be no sign that there was a breach of security…

The Widening Gyre (#670) 

This example of “grocery store sex trafficking” lunacy resulted in cop harassment of three people:

This past spring I was cornered in the parking lot of the Whole Foods on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie by two [cops].  They said they’d received a 911 call from an anonymous caller who — after observing my father and me eating breakfast biscuits at the Chick-fil-A up the street and then watching as I was dropped off in front of the Whole Foods several miles down the road (yeah, he had followed us) — somehow surmised I was a part of a prostitution/sex-trafficking ring…The…stalker…I mean, caller…had also identified my father and some guy parked nearby, whose license plates he had taken time to record, as a part of the suspected ring…Consequently, the three of us spent the next 20 to 30 minutes standing in the parking lot with…five surrounding police cars…waiting to be cleared from any salacious, solicitous, unwholesome “ho-dom,” all the while wondering how three people grocery shopping at Whole Foods could have induced such an “unsolicited,” inconvenient misunderstanding…

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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…

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While I am your mistress, I will treat you like a king.  But once we part ways, I care not where you may go. – Bérénice, Madame de Pascal

Portrait of a Lady as Diana by Nicholas de LargilliereIt may be that Bérénice was only a stage name, but there’s no way to be sure because it’s the only one any record discovered to date ever uses for her.  She was born in a village near Naples somewhere around 1640, and though she always claimed her father had run off soon after she was born, it is entirely possible that her mother, a waitress and casual prostitute, actually had no idea of his identity.  Like so many courtesans she was noted for her precociousness, married too early, created an exotic stage persona which won her the attentions of wealthy men and died far too young, but unlike many she died in a high station and very wealthy, having amassed a personal fortune equivalent to about $360 million in 2016 dollars.

Bérénice’s mother appears to have been as bereft of parental instinct as her unknown father, and vanished from her daughter’s life before her 9th birthday.  She left the child in the keeping of her own mother, a rather dour old woman said to have been of Moorish descent.  In the 17th century, Italy was not as hospitable to courtesans as it had been a century before, but young Bérénice’s exceptional looks would have attracted attention even in a time of far more repressive sexual morality; by the time she was 13 her grandmother had married her off to the relatively-wealthy Lorenzo Gordini, a man some four times her age.  And there her story might have ended had her husband not died some four years later of an unnamed disease, probably some kind of cancer, leaving her the heir to a modest fortune; unfortunately, Gordini had three adult children from a previous marriage who contested the will, and Bérénice was forced to sign most of it over to them to avoid a long and protracted court battle.  Even so, she was left with far greater resources than the average 17-year-old in any century, and so made a decision perhaps not out of character for a fairly-well-off teenager with nobody to answer to: she moved to Paris.

Bérénice arrived in Paris late in the summer of 1658, and though she had neither experience nor reputation as a courtesan her stunning looks and quick wit soon attracted the attention of Alexandre de Crécy, one of Cardinal Mazarin’s important lieutenants; she became his mistress and accompanied him on his various missions for the Cardinal to various parts of France and other nearby countries.  While de Crécy certainly enjoyed her company, he had an ulterior motive for taking her everywhere with him: he was insanely jealous and wanted her where he could keep an eye on her. Bérénice soon tired of his controlling behavior, and since she had means of her own was not highly motivated to endure it; while he was en route to Spain in 1660, she abandoned him and fled back to Paris, where she traded on her well-known connection to de Crécy to install herself into the social scene.  Not that she needed much help; she was petite, charming and very beautiful (with black  eyes, lustrous black hair and an 18-inch waist), and her first husband had bequeathed her something far more valuable than money: an education.  She soon began to prosper as a courtesan, catering to the elite of Louis XIV’s court, and by 1664 had saved enough money to purchase a large, tasteful maison of her own, to which she always retreated when she wanted solitude; she only rarely entertained there.

Portrait of a lady, said to be Marie Angelique de Scorraille de Roussilles, Duchesse de FontangesThough Bérénice’s charms were many, it was her skill as a storyteller which set her apart and won her a devoted following; she embroidered upon her own background and life experiences so heavily that, with the exception of details that can be fixed by records such as her first husband’s will, it is impossible to know which are real.  Many of the details of her early life (that lovers had fought duels over her, that she had traveled from Naples to Paris alone on horseback, that she had shot a man who attempted to violate her) recorded by biographers sound more like tall tales than probable events, and even her dramatic escape from de Crécy (perhaps even his jealousy) may have been exaggerated for effect.  One thing is certain:  it was in 1666 that she attracted her first VIP client, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the Minister of Finance.  He was the perfect client for Bérénice; though he was very generous with her he prized discretion above all else, and never interfered with her social life.  He saw her regularly, probably several times a month, until 1676, and though he had apparently grown tired of her by that time he ensured her future by not only securing her an allowance from the royal treasury, but also arranging an important marriage for her.  It was through this marriage, to Louis, Vicomte de Pascal, that Bérénice finally received the title by which she is known to history, only six years before her death.

In the summer of 1667, Bérénice met and befriended Ninon de l’Enclos; the older courtesan had stopped taking clients by this time, and referred some of her younger patrons to Bérénice.  She also advised her to establish a salon, which soon become wildly popular with a certain artistic element; it went on for some five years, but after that Bérénice (who despite her education was rather bored by intellectual pursuits) lost interest.  Still, it had served to make her many important friends; chief among these was Molière, who is said to have based one of the characters in Les Femmes Savantes (The Learned Ladies) on her.  Whatever faults may have been Bérénice’s, indiscretion was not among them; though she must have known of the enmity between her friend and her patron, there is no evidence Molière knew that she was sleeping regularly with Colbert.  Another of her friends was the poet Jean de La Fontaine, whom she helped through some financial difficulties after the death of his patron in 1672.

After her marriage, Bérénice slowed down somewhat; her husband was not politically powerful, and since the two of them appear to have viewed their union more as a business partnership than anything else, he encouraged her activities as a means of making connections.  But around the end of 1677 she began to suffer frequent periods of weakness, later aggravated by abdominal pains; she died on May 8th, 1682 of her chronic illness, which may have been cervical cancer.  She left a daughter, Aimee, who herself became the mother of a beautiful daughter named Adelais, who would later become one of the many mistresses of King Louis XV.  In a world where social mobility was nearly always restricted by the circumstances of birth, women like Bérénice were nonetheless able to trade upon their natural gifts to rise from the lowest ranks of society to the highest; her latter-day sisters can do much the same, though the gulf between rich and poor is not so great as it was under the Ancien Régime.  Yet prohibitionists wish for you to view us as victims, and to believe that Bérénice would’ve been better off dying as a monogamous peasant’s wife than a wealthy and well-respected noblewoman.

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