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Posts Tagged ‘J’accuse’

Investors and sex workers already know each other…frequently intimately.  –  Bardot Smith

Feminine Pragmatism 

It seems to me that these women knew exactly what they were doing:

Members of a U.N. peacekeeping mission engaged in “transactional sex” with more than 225 Haitian women who said they needed to do so to obtain things like food and medication, a sign that sexual exploitation remains significantly underreported in such missions…About a third of alleged sexual abuse involves minors under 18…And widespread confusion remains on the ground about consensual sex and exploitation…For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the “triggering need”…urban and suburban women received “church shoes”, cell phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money.  In cases of non-payment, some women withheld the badges of peacekeepers and threatened to reveal their infidelity via social media…

Setting Women’s Rights Back a Century

Amherst says even unconscious men are morally superior to women:

An Amherst College student…accompanied a fellow student back to her dorm room after drinking in February 2012. While he was blacked out, she performed oral sex on him.  Nearly two years later, she would accuse him of sexual assault.  And under Amherst’s guilty-until-proven-innocent…hearing standards, the accused student was expelled…John Doe — is suing the college for denying him due process.  His lawyer had discovered text messages that prove the accused student did not initiate the encounter and in no way sexually assaulted the accuser.  Despite this evidence, the college refused to reopen Doe’s case…Doe was not allowed to directly cross-examine his accuser and could only write down questions for the panel to ask her, leaving no room for follow-ups…the accuser said during her hearing that she only texted one friend to help her handle the assault as she felt “very alone and confused”…Rather, the accuser texted her friend “Ohmygod I jus did something so fuckig stupid” [sic throughout].  She then proceeded to fret that she had done something wrong and her roommate would never talk to her again, because “it’s pretty obvi I wasn’t an innocent bystander”…

J’accuse (#42)International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Strauss-Kahn listens during a news conference in Vienna

Was this outcome ever in doubt?

Former International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is not guilty of “aggravated pimping”, a French court has ruled.  A judge in Lille described…DSK…as a “libertine” and a “customer”, but said he was not a pimp…

Under Every Bed 

I wonder sometimes if the reporters who write pap like this realize how ridiculous they sound:

A message to those who would traffic in human life:  A crackdown is coming.  New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas plans to sharpen the state’s focus on investigating and prosecuting human trafficking crimes – and has requested a $750,000 federal grant to roughly double the number of personnel dedicated to such cases…Human trafficking is an underreported crime that too frequently goes uninvestigated…New Mexico…has prosecuted fewer than two dozen cases since an anti-human-trafficking law went into effect in 2008. But that number belies the real extent of the crimes committed…[Balderas’ toady] said “The numbers don’t really reflect the human trafficking that is happening in New Mexico…we know this is a rampant, billion-dollar industry.”

Skin To Skin (#315)

criminalisation of clients has negative effects on the safety, wellbeing and health of sex workers.  Yet there is another side to the problem – the sexual fulfilment of vulnerable clients, such as those with a disability…Clients are often portrayed as men who enjoy degrading women and even violent characters who like to abuse them.  But…research…contradicts this view…Tuppy Owens, sex therapist and founder of the TLC Trust, which connects people with disability with sex workers, argues the effects of criminalising clients would be tragic for people with disability…while many clients will simply go underground to avoid being caught if criminalisation becomes a reality, this is less of an option for people with disabilities.  Many rely on a third party to help them access sex services…We should promote rather than restrict initiatives that allow them to explore their sexuality in a safe and mutually respectful way with a…sex worker.

Pimping the Pimp

If Patricia Spencer doesn’t pace herself, she’ll burn out her Hitachi in no time:

…we’re pretty fortunate in Las Vegas because we have a full-time unit dedicated to vice and sex trafficking-related activities.  That’s why we’re unique, and that’s why we get so much exposure to everything going on, because we see it every day…If you publish an article…about a prostitution-related incident, and you read the comments at the bottom, it’s very discouraging because the comments…are almost always negative towards the police doing this type of investigation…the public does not understand…that 99.9% of the women are trafficked.   They’re beaten.  They don’t keep the money, and they are in a life that they can’t escape from.  The amount of juveniles that are being trafficked is astronomical…People are getting annihilated, and all for money…they’re enslaved into this life…It’s almost like addiction for these women.  They need treatment programs, just like addicts…Their kids are kidnapped and held from the victim a lot…My love and passion has always been chasing and going after gang members, and I can see that gang members have now evolved into pimping…we’re seeing a great deal of these girls turning into trick-rollers…if they have a quota to meet, they would much rather meet that quota by stealing than having to turn tricks all night.  I mean, who wants to do that?  It’s much easier, and there’s more money…

A woman who’s never done sex work (or any other useful labor) stating that theft is easier than fucking is a perfect example of the warped police mentality.

To Protect and Serve (#413)

Undercover inspections are one of vice unit’s main tactics in making sure San Diego’s strip clubs adhere to what some consider to be the most restrictive adult-entertainment ordinance on the West Coast…from April 20, 2013, to June 6, 2014, detectives from the vice unit visited Cheetahs on ten occasions…In March 2014, nearly a dozen [of them forced] the dancers to pose for photos in their lingerie…Two lawsuits…were soon filed…and [the city retaliated by revoking] their nude-entertainment business permit…a…former vice detective [says] “Vice unit is a club…detectives…go drinking every night.  When they decide to target a place they’ll send in vice cops, narcotics, code compliance to find violations.  Once they get a hard-on, they will do whatever they need to do”…

Property of the State 

I suspect Georgia politicians will close this loophole almost immediately:

Georgia prosecutors have dropped the murder charges brought against 23-year-old Kenlissa Jones, who attempted to abort her pregnancy at around five months by taking an abortion drug that she ordered online.  The drug sent Jones into early labor, delivering a child that allegedly was alive but died soon thereafter.  Jones was originally charged with malice murder and possession of a dangerous drug…The…district attorney’s office is still charging Jones with misdemeanor possession of a dangerous drug…(misoprostol).  But it dropped the murder charges after District Attorney Greg Edwards realized that…”although third parties could be criminally prosecuted for their actions relating to an illegal abortion…as the law currently stands in Georgia, criminal prosecution of a pregnant woman for her own actions against her unborn child does not seem permitted.  Applicable criminal law and statutes provide explicit immunity from prosecution for a pregnant woman”…

Another Fine Mess

Bardot Smith points out that sex workers aren’t only on the forefront of new technologies; we often drive their development:

…while women indirectly control the overwhelming majority of major purchases being made, they have limited exposure and access to the development of these new systems and tools.  The adult industry is the exception.  [It] and the financial sector…have always been connected…as women are always directly linked to the movement of resources in an economy…Nearly all men enjoy the…commercial sex industry in some way.  Venture capitalists are certainly no exception, and the finance industry in general has a long and storied love affair with the working girl…the end goal is always, unapologetically, a direct transfer of wealth to women…sex workers have long driven major revolutions in technology:  still photography, video cameras, telephone services, VCR, peer-to-peer computing, phone and video chat, and streaming.  They have also been at the forefront of innovating new business models for content, communications, and services themselves…And yet…despite the fact that adult content drives 30% of internet traffic, and the fact that companies are profiting from the traffic, ads and services involved in the industry, the women who power that capital flow are treated like criminals…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#442)

How much of this is due to the end of Somaly Mam’s disinformation, and how much to rescue industry repositioning?

The number of minors working in Cambodia’s sex industry is on the decline…A study by the International Justice Mission, which closely monitors the issue, shows a decline in the prevalence of girls under the age of 17 in brothels and other venues.  The IJM report found the prevalence of underage girls declined from around 8 percent to just over 2 percent from 2012 to 2015.  Holly Burkhalter, IJM’s vice president of government and advocacy…[said] Cambodia is “no longer the world’s No. 1 destination to buy a child,” though the threat of sex trafficking remains high…

IJM is one of the most notorious of all the “rescue” organizations, so what are they up to?McDonald's tattoo

Soap Opera (#447) 

The “trafficking tattoo” trope has taken on a life of its own:  “Some have bar codes.  Others are marked with their pimp’s name and phone number.  Branded like cattle, victims of human trafficking recovered in Pennsylvania could soon apply to the state to have any tattoos from their pimps surgically removed…

Blunt Instrument (#516)

“Sex trafficking” used as an excuse to destroy and loot businesses against which there is literally no evidence of criminality:

A 10-month investigation uncovered nearly a dozen Utah massage parlors being used as fronts for sex trafficking…the [allegations] led to the questioning of more than a dozen women and one man…[but] no charges have been filed.  “Our hope is to find evidence of trafficking in person [sic],” said Attorney General Sean Reyes…[who also pretended]  there is a lead person who moves women around to different fronts, collects money and sends it to the women’s home country.  The first words out of one woman’s mouth when investigators arrived was, “Help me. Please, please help me,” he said…

Yes, Mr. Reyes, that’s called “praying”.  People often do it in terrifying situations, such as when threatened by thugs waving guns around.

Drawing Lines (#516) 

The tax protest angle is interesting, but look more closely at what the brothel owner wants from the “authorities”:

A licensed brothel in…Salzburg has been offering free drinks and free sex in a protest against what its owner says is unfair taxation…the news “has spread like wildfire, with punters lining up to get inside”…Hermann “Pascha” Müller, who owns the…brothel, [said]…he no longer wants to be “the tax office’s pimp”…Müller says that he is paying the prostitutes’ usual hourly rate out of his own pocket.  “In the last decade I have paid taxes of almost €5 million…The problem is, the tax office wants more and more, and they are not cracking down on illegal street and apartment prostitution”…

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People who think they can abolish [sex work] entirely from any country are living in a dream world.  –  Ronald Weitzer

Coming and Going

In 2012, more than 1,000 people were booked into the Bexar County Jail for prostitution and the cost to taxpayers was more than $1.2 million dollars.   State Representative Eric Johnson…has introduced House Bill 1363 to reduce punishment for prostitution.   The bill would make a first or second offense of prostitution a Class C Misdemeanor and calls for an intervention program…community service, counseling, and treatment…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Samuel Riggi

an Orlando [Florida] police lieutenant…[is] accused of having a sexual relationship with a prostitute and taking nearly $10,000 from her…Gricelda Umana…[said] she and Lt. Samuel Riggi had sex every two weeks for two years, sometimes at the massage parlor where she worked.  She said he asked her for money and said she made 17 deposits totaling almost $10,000 from her prostitution proceeds into his account to protect her from arrest…

One Born Every Minute

A new site that claims to be “the AirBnB for escorts” doesn’t seem to be anything like AirBnB…or like a legitimate escort site, for that matter.  AirSnB—which stands for “Air Sexy Buddy,” I was told— launched in December  and, according to owner Amir Mo, is supposed to be the escort industry’s answer to the sharing economy…Mo said customers pay AirSnB upfront for a date arranged with their escort of choice (based on hourly rates).  After the date, AirSnB transfers the money to the escort, skimming their percentage off the top…if there are any issues—like the escort doesn’t show up or doesn’t follow through…AirSnB will return the money to the customer or give them a percentage back, depending on the situation.  But as if this didn’t sound sketchy enough already, many of the escort listings on the site don’t appear to be…real.  Almost every profile I found was copied word-for-word from listings elsewhere on the internet…

The Course of a Disease

Anti-prostitution campaigners have made grand statements about the effectiveness of Sweden’s hugely influential approach to prostitution.  However, researchers say the claims are grossly exaggerated and the law has put sex workers in greater danger.  The so-called “Swedish model”…portrays itself as an example to emulate.  Ambassadors for the approach preach its virtues to government regulators worldwide…But an increasing number of voices…say claims exaggerate its successes for ideological reasons.  The most recent attacks on the 1999 Kvinnofrid law come from Malmö University researcher Charlotta Holmström.  In contrast to the loud claims of anti-prostitution campaigners, that it has made sex workers safer, Holmström says they are far more vulnerable to exploitation and violence…

J’accuse (#42)

A high-profile pimping case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn nearly unraveled…[when] five of six plaintiffs…dropped their accusations against him…Strauss-Kahn has testified to having orgies…to being “rough” with his sexual “conquests,” and to needing sex with exceptional frequency.  But none of that is illegal…Strauss-Kahn insists he didn’t know the women involved were prostitutes…

But while Straus-Kahn will probably walk away free, French sex workers may not be so lucky:

…Morgane Merteuil…of the French sex worker’s trade union Strass…believes the trial has increased the stigmatisation of the sex industry and has presented a skewed view of the profession.  “There is a confusion with abolitionist organisations between when a client respects a contract and when he does not.  [DSK] didn’t respect the contract…not all clients act like him”…Merteuil says she believes the trial may result in the criminalisation of the sex industry…

Skin To Skin

For many disabled people, sex is off the cards.  While most needs are met through the provision of carers, or by parents, sex is often missed out entirely.  But now a number of sex workers are looking to combat this, stepping into the breach to provide specialist services to help disabled people to fulfil their sexual desires.  It’s easy for disabled people’s sexuality to become obscured by a web of societal assumptions about what it is to be disabled. But of course, disabled people are just as horny as anybody else…

Be Careful Who You Rape

After all, we wouldn’t want to waste effort investigating the rapes of “criminals”:

A new controversial policy requires sexual assault and rape victims to undergo police background checks before they can receive services…[including] rape kits or medical investigations into the criminal activity that was perpetrated against them…The bizarre policy has been around since 2007, but it has only been implemented and enforced since November…Critics of this law suggest that many will not come forward to report sexual assaults and rapes if they feel they maybe prosecuted for something…

Sex Rays

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the people who write these stories actually take them seriously:

Their locations are blended right into the fabric of busy communities. They set up shop next to store fronts and restaurants…police raided the Queen Spa, an illegal massage parlor set up near the University of Rhode Island…next to a Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway sandwich shop…other suburban locations where illegal massage parlors open…[include one] just feet from an ice cream stand and a toy shop…

Remember, sex work was only recriminalized in Rhode Island five years ago.

The Roof Caves In (#425) 

Disgraced anti-sex trafficking activist Somaly Mam’s new charity – which is headed by former staff of her fallen foundation, a Hollywood actress and a PR guru – announced…that it has been given the green light in the US…The organisation, which will employ about 37 full-time staff and expects to generate more than $682,000 this year…

Bread and Circuses

The war on sex worker advertising continues:

A [Colorado] man…was arrested…for “Use of a Facility in Interstate Commerce to Promote a Business Enterprise Involving Prostitution”…David A. Warmack owned and operated a website business named “Sowet.com”…[which] promoted and facilitated prostitution that took place at multiple massage parlors across the Metro Denver area…

The Face of Trafficking

In the largest ever study into the health of trafficking victims, researchers interviewed more than 1,100 men, women and children in Southeast Asia who had been trafficked into at least 15 sectors – including factory work, domestic labor, sex work and fishing…Most previous studies [only] looked at…women trafficked into sex work…[but] this study found…that women trafficked for other forms of labor, including factory work, domestic work and as brides, suffered worse mental health problems than those trafficked into sex work…

A Year Later

Sex worker advocates are warning Ontario Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur that Canada’s new controversial prostitution law will “force people in the sex trade in harm’s way.”  Meilleur is reviewing Bill C-36 and will file a report on the law to Premier Kathleen Wynne, who has expressed “grave concerns” about the federal Conservative government’s latest effort to deal with prostitution…

Moving Pictures

Add another “sex trafficking” porn fantasy to the list:  “Tricked…features interviews with people in all areas of the sex trafficking trade, including prostitutes who are often victims, the traffickers (pimps), customers (Johns) and the vice officers who fight the trade…

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For all the talk about women involved in the sex industry as “victims”, there is no apparent appetite for actually speaking with them in order to assess what the real issues are.  –  Graham Ellison

Sex Work is Work

Nairobi Mayor George Aladwa has warned…sex workers that they risk being arrested if they will not stop conducting their business in Central Business District…The mayor urged the sex workers to use their talents in seeking income…”  This is, of course, exactly what he is threatening them for doing.

Updates

Think of the Children!

Indiana school officials believe that sex radiation is so dangerous that exposed students must be quarantined in order to contain the contamination:

Some students…in Anderson, Ind. [who] got a peek of their teacher’s bare breasts on a school-issued iPad…have been suspended and threatened with expulsion…Joshua Troutt, 13…and three other students were in their classroom, playing a game on [the] iPad…[and when] one of the students pressed a button…[the] photograph…was revealed.  “It’s not our fault that she had the photo on there,” Troutt said.  “We couldn’t do anything not to look at it…She had to have pressed something to make all of her [iPhone] photos synch on there”…

Let that be a lesson to you, kids:  never tell any authority figure about anything unusual that happens, ever.

Wholesale Hypocrisy

Even though the prosecutor euphemistically refers to armed robbery and grand larceny as “improper use of forfeiture funds”, it’s still a pleasure to see this coming up to trial at last:  “Former Romulus [Michigan] Police Chief Michael St. Andre, his wife, and five…detectives pled not guilty…to using asset forfeiture funds…[from] narcotics and prostitution investigations to buy…narcotics and prostitutes… The officers are accused of spending $40,000 in forfeiture funds in one year…[and] St. Andre also used $75,000 from drug forfeiture funds to buy a tanning salon…for his wife.

Above the Law

Yet again:  As long as government actors have excessive power over individuals, this will keep happening:

A woman in Maryland who was allegedly raped…by a deputy sheriff has filed a $15 million lawsuit against the Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Office…Lamar McIntyre allegedly…took [the woman, who was awaiting trial] into an isolated holding cell and told her to get naked, [forced her into] oral…and vaginal sex without a condom…”[slapped] her buttocks extremely hard”…[then] took pictures with his camera phone…McIntyre [then] took the woman to the court room “as if nothing ever happened”…McIntyre…admitted to police that he was involved…

Naked Truth

Dr. Brooke Magnanti’s Telegraph article on “sex trafficking” hysteria covers familiar ground, but she’s always a pleasure to read.  Furthermore, because she was born in Florida but did sex work in the UK, she qualifies as “trafficked” herself under the official criteria.  She mentions several useful statistics:

…of the trafficking referrals made to police in the UK, one in four are men, and domestic and agricultural exploitation counts for six of every 10 cases…Liz Kelly and Linda Regan of the University of North London attempted to estimate the number of women brought into the UK for sex in 1998 by surveying [police] reports…they came up with…71…[but this] included…women who willingly arrived…for sex work…In 2007…[Operation] Pentameter Two resulted in five convictions…406 arrests were made…153 of those…were released without charge.  Most of the rest were charged with immigration breaches and unrelated offences.  Twenty-two were prosecuted for trafficking; 7 of those were acquitted.  Ten of the remaining lot turned out not to have coerced the women they brought into the country.  This left five actual traffickers…none of [whom] were detected specifically by actions in the Pentameter Two effort…

She also mentions that the “80% of sex workers are coerced” claim promoted by MP Fiona Mactaggart (and repeated ad nauseum by other prohibitionists) originally came from a 1982 survey of San Francisco streetwalkers.

False Target

People want to believe that any behavior they dislike…is either wholly voluntary or the result of ‘socialization’…but…[these are] better explained by evolution and neurology than by ludicrous tabula rasa notions.  Why they prefer to believe that people are programmed by “society” or “the Patriarchy” than to acknowledge we are programmed by Nature I cannot say; perhaps they fear that instinct is harder to overcome than learning and therefore choose to deny the terrifying reality…”  More on this same line of thought from Dr. Gad Saad:

…“blank slate” explanations are ubiquitous in the social sciences…men stray from their marriages…due to their viewing of pornography …people succumb to juicy burgers…[because of] those alluring advertising jingles…women [suffer]…eating disorders…[due to] media images that attack [their] self-worth…young [men’s]…violent and reckless behaviors…[are caused by] video games…these arguments are pure fiction…rooted in a perfectly erroneous view of human nature.  Each of [these] is linked to evolutionary and biological principles that have little to do with…socialization…the blank slate view [is] so pervasive…[because] it caters to…the endless pursuit for hope…[and] provides people with the illusion of control.  Alter the supposed culprit environmental cause and the issue will apparently be resolved…

The Public Eye

Though this item from the East Bay Express is largely based around the harm Proposition 35 will do if enacted, it is less an analysis of the proposed law and more an honest and accepting profile of a number of sex workers in the San Francisco Bay area, including regular reader Jolene Parton.  The more articles like this we see, the harder it will be for prohibitionists to support the lie that well-adjusted sex workers are an unrepresentative minority.

That Old Black Magic

Most of this story about a “huge crackdown on human trafficking” in Scotland is the same old bombastic rhetoric, turgid “estimates” and endless repetition of lurid claims about the escort service owners convicted of “trafficking” last year.  But there was an embedded link proclaiming that “Sex trafficking victims reveal horror of witchcraft and torture being used to ensalve [sic] women in Scotland!” which led to an article I missed in January notable not only for the “magical slave control” pap, but also for being published just before the popular exaggeration increased from “15 men a day” to 50.  Stories like this are an excellent development, because they throw a spotlight on the close resemblance between “sex trafficking” hysteria and the Satanic Panic.

Metaupdates

What If They Threw a Party and Nobody Came? in October Updates (Part One)

Since it’s apparent that prudes prefer their daughters to die than to have sex, this study was necessary no matter how totally obvious its conclusions were from the start:

There did not appear to be any difference in the sexual behaviors of adolescent girls who received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and their unvaccinated peers…Among girls ages 11 and 12 enrolled in a large, managed-care organization, there were no between-group differences in the rate of pregnancy…sexually transmitted infection, or receipt of contraceptive counseling…In addition, the average age at the first composite outcome was no different between vaccinated and unvaccinated girls…

That’s especially good now that a new version of the vaccine may help women who are already infected:

…the experimental vaccine…was given to 18 women with cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition…caused by a chronic HPV infection…after vaccination, the women produced immune cells that were capable of attacking and killing HPV-infected cells…this…could clear chronic HPV infections, and prevent precancerous cells from becoming cancerous…it’s possible a [similar] vaccine…could treat other types of cancer caused by HPV, such as some head and neck cancers

J’accuse in TW3 (#13)

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is trying to get his “aggravated pimping” charge dismissed; apparently he’s just noticed that Western society, following behind the US like a flock of obedient sheep, is trying to “criminalize lust”:

…That defense and the investigation, which is facing a critical judicial hearing in late November, have offered a keyhole view into a clandestine practice in certain powerful circles of French society:  secret soirees with lawyers, judges, police officials, journalists and musicians that start with a fine meal and end with naked guests and public sex with multiple partners…the most perplexing question in the Strauss-Kahn affair is how a career politician…was blinded to the possibility that his zest for sex parties could present a liability, or risk blackmail…

It’s only “perplexing” to female American journalists whose dedication to a PC agenda has totally conquered any critical thinking skills they may once have had.  Another one who’s just waking up to reality is Hubert Delarue, the lawyer for one of Strauss-Kahn’s co-defendants, who apparently thinks halfway whores are something new:  “Prostitution was…for a certain type of population…[but] today…there are occasional prostitutes, and sometimes they’re top models who try to make ends meet. They aren’t miserable women on the sidewalk.”

Backwards into the Future in TW3 (#27)

Baby steps, I guess:

Vietnam will free about 900 sex workers…from compulsory rehabilitation centres…when a newly amended…law comes into effect…[next] July…Since July [of] this year, sex workers have no longer been sent to…[the] centres…but…fined up to five million dong [$240 US] instead…drug addicts will continue to be sent to detoxification centres…

The More the Better in TW3 (#32)

I really like this trend of brothels funding athletics:  “…[Members of] a cash-strapped Greek soccer team…are wearing…practice jerseys emblazoned with the logos of the Villa Erotica and Soula’s House of History, a pair of…bordellos recruited to sponsor the team after drastic government spending cuts left the country’s sports organizations facing ruin.  One team took on a deal with a local funeral home and others have wooed kebab shops, a jam factory, and producers of…feta cheese…

The Course of a Disease in TW3 (#34)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we in America could see articles like this strong criticism of an attempt to impose the Swedish model on Northern Ireland?

…Lord Morrow’s Bill…is ill-thought through, confusing and based on rather dubious evidence.  Sex trafficking is conflated solely with prostitution…and…is…accompanied by increasingly fantastical (and unsubstantiated) media claims about the number of “victims”…[yet] there has…been only one prosecution of a “trafficker”…and the women he “trafficked” were two Czech prostitutes that flew of their own volition to Belfast to operate out of [an] apartment that they rented from [him]…

The author, criminologist Graham Ellison, goes on to ridicule the impossible claims made about the Swedish model’s “success” and to correctly present it as the agenda of fundamentalist neofeminists and Christians.

My Body, My Choice in TW3 (#40)

Since the founder of Shared Hope International says that anti-trafficking activismshould be an extension of the ‘pro-life’ cause”, one wonders what her thoughts on this might be:

Argentina’s Supreme Court has ruled that a woman rescued from a prostitution ring must be allowed to have the abortion she wants…Argentina allows legal abortions in rape cases or to protect a woman’s health.  But politicians, doctors and judges often continue to block them…and…in this case, a judge intervened…saying there was no proof of rape even though the woman had been kidnapped and forced into prostitution…

Backwards into the Future in TW3 (#40)

This decriminalization video was produced by an organization named “Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights”; when will American human rights organizations take this unambiguous a stand against prostitution law?

This Week in 2010 and 2011

There were two columns on the multiplying cracks in the prohibitionist dam,  a juxtaposition of sex work with another form of labor, a look at whether prevailing religious views in a country determine its treatment of whores, a meditation on modern society’s attempts to ignore Nature, and news about HIV prevention.  We also delved into the truth about neofeminists, the destruction of civil liberties in the US, the horror of American prisons and the production of prohibitionist propaganda through collusion of cops and the media.  Finally, I examined the vital social role played by harlots in controlling male sexuality and ministering to the disabled, and called attention to society’s galling denial of it.

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Beware of purity workers [who are]…ready to accept and endorse any amount of coercive and degrading treatment of their fellow creatures in the fatuous belief that you can oblige human beings to be moral by force.  –  Josephine Butler

Two new items, ten updates and four metaupdates.

Lysistrata

Aristophanes’ comedy depicts an Athenian woman who convinces the women of both Athens and Sparta that the only way to end the Peloponnesian War is to withhold sex from their husbands; in the play, as in real life, the problem is getting all the women to cooperate.  The ridiculous sex strike American activists plan for April 28th is foredoomed to failure (as if a one-week strike could have any effect anyhow) because the wives of those making the objectionable laws won’t be participating, and even if they did the politicians would simply go to their regular pros.  But if all the whores cooperated

…The largest trade association for luxury escorts in the Spanish capital has gone on…strike…for bankers until they go back to providing credits to Spanish families, small- and medium-size enterprises and companies…a…spokeswoman [said] “…We have been on strike for three days now and we don’t think they can withstand much more.”  She has revealed that bankers have made some pitiful attempts to use their services by pretending to be engineers or architects…The bankers reportedly became so desperate that they even decided to call in the government for mediation…

Zero Information

Well, not zero exactly, but I couldn’t resist my first title beginning with “Z”.

A man who police say sometimes poses as a female prostitute to flag down motorists was arrested…Terrence Elliott…had been warned several times in the past few weeks…But Elliott was also found with a…crack pipe…and…charged with possession of drug paraphernalia [and]…loitering…

What the hell does this mean?  Is Elliott a drag prostitute, or does he dress in drag to rob or panhandle?  News stories are a lot more informative when they actually contain information.

Updates

Feminine Pragmatism (April 7th, 2011)

Because this was practically inevitable, she was a fool for waiting until her marketability dried up:

At the height of her fame…Octomom aka Nadya Suleman was offered a lot of money to show her body.  Vivid even offered her a $1 million deal to star in one of their films.  At the time…[she] swore she would never do nudity.  But dignity doesn’t feed 14…babies so…she [started] doing fetish photoshoots and now…topless shoots…However, she’s not commanding the same price she used to.  TMZ reports that days away from being foreclosed upon, Nadya has decided to go naked for…Closer.  Sources say she only made $10,000…

Subtle Pimping (April 8th, 2011)

Making money off of whores without giving them anything in return…is as good a working definition of ‘pimp’ as I can imagine…

…On Friday, March 30th…[the] 2012 Hooker Beauty Pageant…[will be held] in Hollywood…According to…[organizer] Natalia Fabia, the word “hooker” could be loosely defined as (excuse the pun) “someone who sells one’s talents and abilities, talent, or name for money, (but it also means) a rad, strong, talented, tough, colorful, independent, stylish, and beautiful woman.”  This pageant is Fabia’s platform for highlighting real women in Hollywood’s music and art scene…

Umm, how about highlighting real hookers – or more specifically, our mistreatment?  I googled Fabia and found no statements about sex worker rights or decriminalization, and nothing about part of the proceeds from her “hooker art” or publicity stunts going to hooker organizations, hooker rights advertising, outreach to street hookers…in short, she’s pimping our image.

Down Under (June 9th, 2011)

Australia continues to be what Sweden wants so desperately to be:  the world leader in demonstrating the proper way to deal with prostitution:

[A new study shows that]…New South Wales…is the best place in the world [for]…prostitutes…”Jurisdictions that try to ban or license sex work always lose track as most of the industry slides into the shadows,” [said]…Professor Basil Donovan…of [the] Kirby Institute… “In NSW, by contrast, health and community workers have comprehensive access to and surveillance of the sex industry.  This has resulted in the healthiest sex industry ever documented.”  The report, prepared for the NSW government, found…[that most] sex workers surveyed also reported being “well adjusted and comfortable with their occupation”…

The Crumbling Dam (October 14th, 2011)

Today the Ontario Court of Appeal delivered a landmark decision on …prostitution laws…All five judges…found that…the provision restricting “common bawdy houses” is grossly disproportionate and overbroad, and…that the provision restricting “living on the avails”…is overbroad because it would criminalize non-exploitive relationships…However, three of the five…upheld the provision criminalizing communicating for the purpose of prostitution, holding that the purpose of the provision…is legitimate and must be weighed against the harms it causes…The…decision will most certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada…

Here’s the full decision.  If there’s any justice in the universe, the Supreme Court will not only uphold the decisions of both lower courts overturning the bans on brothels and avails laws, but also reinstate Justice Himel’s decision overturning the “communicating” law.

Elephant in the Parlor (October 23rd, 2011)

Not news, but I want to catalog as many of these as possible:

John Edwards is denying a report that he used the services of a prostitute in New York…a call girl for…Anna Gristina told investigators she had sex with Edwards for money back in 2007…“Mr. Edwards categorically denies that he was involved with any prostitute or service”…  said…a statement.  “These allegations are false, defamatory, and he puts those who would publish or repeat them on notice that they acting [sic] with actual malice”…

I’m publishing and repeating them, and I fully admit malice toward career politicians, especially those who bear a huge part of the blame for America’s sky-high medical bills.

Divided We Fall (November 16th, 2011)

Gay activists could’ve demonstrated a commitment to supporting sex worker rights this week when “[Malaysian]…Deputy Minister…Datuk Mashitah Ibrahim…said…’The (LBGT) issue…can lead to prostitution, drug abuse, psychological problems and also mental illness…Part of the LBGT problem is caused by natural reasons, such as being born with two private parts…’” but instead many of them were just as indignant about being compared to prostitutes as they were with the mental illness and hermaphrodite stuff.  I guess once you win your rights in the West it’s OK to join in with stigmatizing other groups who haven’t yet, just to show you’re part of the gang.

See No Evil (November 26th, 2011)

An inability to tell fantasy from reality would normally be considered evidence of psychosis, but in law enforcement it’s a job requirement:

…the Canadian government [has] dropped all criminal charges against Ryan Matheson, [an] American…charged with…child pornography [due to] Japanese comic book images on his laptop…Matheson accepted a plea deal…[in] which he admitted to “a non-criminal regulatory offense…”

Presents, Presents, Presents! (December 29th, 2011)

I got three new presents this week!  Ted sent me The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner, and Gumdeo sent me the movie New Orleans and a Cuddly Cthulhu!  Thank y’all both so much for thinking of me!

The Course of a Disease (February 16th, 2012)

Apparently Canadian neofeminists, angry at their inability to infect their native land with the Swedish Disease, have decided to poison the well in a country which is already sickening:

[Canadian MP Joy Smith] has taken it upon herself to encourage Knesset members [via email] to support recent legislation…which will make paying for sex services a criminal offense…“Israel now has the opportunity to pass progressive legislation and to be a leader in the fight against this form of modern slavery,” Smith wrote in the email.  “I urge you to support MK Zuaretz’s bill and help make Israel a country that others aspire to emulate.  The world is watching and waiting for Israel to take this important step and eliminate the demand to purchase sex…”

Obviously, Israeli reporters don’t bother to check their facts any more than American ones do; this one erroneously states that “most” Western countries have adopted some form of the Swedish Model, and swallows the easily-debunked prohibitionist lie that most prostitutes are coerced.

Above the Law (March 8th, 2012)

Apparently, the American federal government believes it’s only OK to grope people if one puts on a uniform and does it without their permission:  “[Bryant Jermaine Livingston, a TSA] manager at [Dulles International Airport] has lost his job after being arrested on prostitution-related charges…”  The story explains that Livingston was running a kind of cheap temporary brothel in a hotel room, stupidly returned to the same hotel and was ratted out to the Gestapo of Montgomery County, Maryland by the irate manager.

Metaupdates

J’accuse in November Updates (Part Three) (November 4th, 2011)

in France…it’s OK to be a whore as long as you have no friends, family, employees, assistants, managers or other human contact other than customers”, and if you’re an official who has embarrassed Paris one too many times, you can be charged with the horrible crime of helping legal workers to conduct their legal business: “…Dominique Strauss-Kahn…is under investigation for “aggravated pimping” for his alleged participation in a prostitution ring in France…

Whores in the News in Further Developments (November 18th, 2011)

It’s now official; the government will steal $6.4 million from the former owners of Escorts.com.  As usual, the state’s claims read like an FBI drama, with heroic cops “investigating” hardened criminals; in reality, the feds botched an attempt to take over the site surreptitiously in order to use it to entrap thousands of escorts and clients.  The bogus “money laundering” charge was just a way for them to recoup their losses; despite FBI claims to the contrary, federal judges have repeatedly ruled that “facilitating prostitution” is not a federal crime and websites are not responsible for the content of ads.

Sex, Lies and Busybodies in That Was the Week That Was (February 4th, 2012)

Sean McBride, AKA “John Curtis”, has resigned as head of “The Grey Man”.  After it was discovered that a group of Thai children the group claimed to have rescued from “sex traffickers” were in fact ordinary village schoolchildren, Curtis issued a series of increasingly-absurd and self-contradictory “explanations” (including one on this blog), mostly based on a paranoid fantasy that a competing “rescue group” had conspired with the Thai government to discredit him.  But after new revelations that McBride routinely lied about the age of “victims” and the number “rescued”, he stepped down voluntarily before he was thrown out.  Good riddance to bad rubbish; let’s hope every one of the con artists who profit by the persecution of whores is similarly exposed, and soon.

Knights Erroneous in That Was the Week That Was (#12) (March 24th, 2012)

I’m pleased to see the number of voices raised in criticism of Nick Kristof’s anti-whore crusades is growing; ever-larger numbers of writers are pointing out the absurdity of the claims made by “trafficking” fetishists and calling attention to the harm this moral panic inflicts on women.  I suspect The Guardian will be one of the first major media outlets to officially denounce the hysteria; it’s published a number of articles on the subject, most recently last Monday:

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof is on the move and his  latest target is the Village Voice.  This attack appears to be part of a broader campaign to shut down the sex industry and to rescue  and rehabilitate women and girls working in it.  Kristof’s allies range from women’s rights organizations to religious organizations…the  critical lens applied to Kony2012…must [also be applied]…to the  crusades against sex trafficking…when women and girls are “rescued” by the anti-trafficking organizations, they may be taken to state-run rehabilitation homes that have jail-like conditions.  Human rights and sex worker organizations have long documented what rehabilitation might mean for a sex worker:  overcrowded conditions, a lack of healthcare, and violence at the hands of the police and guards…

It’s wonderful to see statements like these in a large newspaper, and even more heartening to read the many supportive comments beneath.

One Year Ago Today

In “March Q & A” I answer questions about cunnilingus, men pretending to be women online, and the sex drives of middle-aged escorts.

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To legislate against the moral codes of one’s fellows…is to steal their moral codes, to suppress their characters.  –  R.M. MacIver

Three forays into the bizarre world inhabited by lawheads, and a little good news.

Imaginary Lines (July 7th, 2011)

As this article Grace showed me demonstrates, it’s not only people whom the government subjects to arcane and complex border-crossing regulations, then treats as violent criminals if the paperwork is improperly filled out:

A…supplier of guitar-making parts is ensnared in an international smuggling investigation after federal authorities seized 24 pallets of exotic wood…Luthiers Mercantile International, or LMI, imported the $200,000-worth of Indian rosewood and ebony to sell to Gibson…On Aug. 24, federal agents descended on a Nashville, Tenn., warehouse where LMI’s wood was waiting for Gibson to take possession.  They seized the wood along with Gibson computer hard drives and guitars.  [Federal officials claim] the wood was “unlawfully imported, purchased and received”…[but] LMI officials say minor paperwork mistakes by their import broker on a separate wood shipment led to the raid…Though LMI has imported rosewood from India for decades, the U.S. government is now saying that Indian rosewood fingerboards are an illegal export…

Many of Sonoma County’s estimated 100 luthiers, who depend on tropical exotic hardwoods that have particular resonant qualities, say their futures are at stake…[Tom] Ribbecke, whose guitars are displayed in the Smithsonian Museum…fears that if authorities decide some of [his stock] is illegal, they will take it.  “The Lacey Act…makes all of our material that all of us have been saving and setting aside for our retirement illegal for us to own,” he said…Since 2008, the Lacey Act has made it illegal to bring wood into the United States that was exported illegally from a country of origin…but under World Trade Organization laws…what is legal in one country can appear illegal in another, based on differences in national tariff codes…

In other words, the government is fighting evil wood traffickers, working to rescue innocent boards from being enslaved in guitars, where they are sold to satisfy the sick desires of music lovers.  Don’t you feel safer now?

J’accuse (July 21st, 2011)

As I said in my column of October 23rd, most politicians hire whores at least occasionally, therefore reports that any individual politician hired a whore do not constitute news.  But this October 17th New York Post story on the continuing Dominique Strauss-Kahn hijinks has other features of interest, so I’ve edited it to remove colorful Post inanities like “bootyguard” and “serial sleazeball”:

A top French cop served as [Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s] personal pimp, organizing orgies for him in both France and New York…The new allegations came to light during an investigation into a ring of prostitutes that included underage teens…Sources…[said] that…DSK is among a group of politicians, lawyers and business leaders whose names were found in the ring’s “black book’’ of clients.  The French cop, Jean-Christophe Lagarde, also allegedly escorted ladies of the evening all the way from the French city of Lille, where the ring was headquartered, to New York for DSK.  Strauss-Kahn’s personal prostitutes were allegedly selected for him by a…procurer named Dominique “Dodo’’ Alderweireld, who…has since been arrested.  Lawyer Frederique Beaulieu says Strauss-Kahn “is asking to be questioned to put an end to these insinuations and extrapolations”…but has not yet been contacted by police…Five men…have been arrested in France and charged with pimping…

Welcome to the Wonderland of legalization.  Prostitution is legal in France, but “procuring, aiding or assisting” prostitutes is illegal, as is “living on the avails”.  In other words, it’s OK to be a whore as long as you have no friends, family, employees, assistants, managers or other human contact other than customers.  As soon as you move in with someone, tour with another girl, or pay someone to arrange travel or book appointments for you, your legal business is instantly transformed into a “ring”, your private affairs are a matter for police “investigation” and you are buried under an avalanche of dysphemisms.

Presumption of Guilt (July 29th, 2011)

How many of y’all enjoy shopping at used book or music stores, flea markets and the like?  I sure do.  But I’ll bet you didn’t know that every time you walk into such a place you might be surrounded by criminals so dangerous that, according to the Louisiana legislature, the need to catch them justifies outlawing an activity which is literally as old as civilization:

This summer…Louisiana passed a law that bans individuals and businesses from transacting in cash if they are considered a “secondhand dealer”…[which is defined as] “…Anyone, other than a non-profit entity, who buys, sells, trades in or otherwise acquires or disposes of junk or used or secondhand property more frequently than once per month from any other person, other than a non-profit entity…”  The law then states that “A secondhand dealer shall not enter into any cash transactions in payment for the purchase of junk or used or secondhand property.  Payment shall be made in the form of check, electronic transfers, or money order issued to the seller of the junk or used or secondhand property…”  The broad scope of this definition can essentially encompass everyone; from your local flea market vendors and buyers to a housewife purchasing goods on ebay or craigslist, to a group of guys trading baseball cards…Louisiana [has] effectively banned its citizens from freely using United States legal tender.

The law goes further to require secondhand dealers to turn over…their business’ proprietary client information.  For every transaction a secondhand dealer must obtain the seller’s personal information such as their name, address, driver’s license number and the license plate number of the vehicle in which the goods were delivered.  They must also make a detailed description of the item(s) purchased and submit this with the personal identification information of every transaction to the local policing authorities through electronic daily reports.  If a seller cannot or refuses to produce to the secondhand dealer any of the required forms of identification, the secondhand dealer is prohibited from completing the transaction…individuals and businesses are [thus] forced to report routine business activity to the police.  Can law enforcement not accomplish its goal of identifying potential thieves and locating stolen items in a far less intrusive manner?  And of course, there are already laws that prohibit stealing, buying or selling stolen goods, laws that require businesses to account for transactions and laws that penalize individuals and businesses that transact in stolen property.  Why does…Louisiana…need…more laws infringing on personal privacy, liberties and freedom?…Interestingly enough, although Pawnshops are still required to obtain clients’ personal information and transmit their client database information to law enforcement, they are exempt from the restriction of cash payments.  A jeweler next door to a pawnshop cannot offer clients the same payment method offered by its competing pawnshop neighbor…

The excuse used to justify this blatant tax grab and surveillance method was a recent increase in copper robberies.  The pillage of cables for their copper always increases during periods of high metal prices and/or high unemployment, but somehow government has always managed to deal with it before without requiring merchants to record the license plate numbers of little old ladies trading in romance novels or university students selling CDs they’re tired of.  But that’s because we used to have this thing called “presumption of innocence”; well, it was nice while it lasted.

Sea Change (November 4th, 2010)

My column of one year ago today discussed examples of the way that public opinion is slowly changing in our favor, and here’s a new one; on August 20th the 60-year-old Society for the Study of Social Problems adopted a resolution stating that it supports decriminalization:

WHEREAS the criminalization of prostitution and other forms of sex work negotiated between consenting adults perpetuates violence and social stigma against sex workers, including by law enforcement…WHEREAS the criminalization of prostitution and other forms of sex work denies sex workers basic human and civil rights, including healthcare and housing, extended to workers in other trades, occupations, callings, or professions; WHEREAS the decriminalization of prostitution would lead to safer working conditions and better health for both the worker and client, and allow workers to report nonconsensual activities to law enforcement without fear of being arrested…BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the SSSP supports:  (1) bipartisan legislation to decriminalize prostitution (2) public education regarding the costs of policing sex workers and (3) normalization of the occupation.

You can read the full text at the link; it was written by Jenny Heineman, co-coordinator of SWOP Las Vegas, which was also honored by the SSSP at a banquet.  This is a small change, but it has to start somewhere; the ACLU is pro-decriminalization as well (though they rarely say anything about it), and every professional organization we can win to the cause gives us that much more credibility in the eyes of the public and politicians.

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Power without responsibility—the prerogative of the harlot throughout the ages.  –  Rudyard Kipling

I’m sure most of you have been following the whole Dominique Strauss-Kahn unpleasantness, at least in a cursory fashion; and I know some of you are interested in what I think about it, because several of you have asked me.  Unfortunately, I honestly don’t know what to think, so I’ll just settle for synopsizing the mess and concluding with my analysis of the way the media has covered it and the unpleasant conclusions I am forced to draw from that coverage.

The affair started on Saturday, May 14th when Dominque Strauss-Kahn, a prominent French socialist and manager of the International Monetary Fund since 2007, was arrested on charges that he had sexually assaulted a Guinean maid named Nafissatou Diallo in his room at the Manhattan Sofitel.  The police made a great Roman triumph of parading him before the cameras (as they are wont to do in these barbaric times), and he was thrown into a high-security prison and denied bail on the grounds that he was a flight risk.  He resigned from his IMF post on Wednesday, May 18th, and the next day he surrendered his passport and was released to house arrest (at his daughter’s New York home) under condition of electronic monitoring.

Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers insisted that the encounter with the maid was consensual, but as I pointed out in my column of one year ago today it is a rare woman who has sex with a stranger without some other motivation, and as Laura Agustín pointed out it is unlikely “that a migrant person who has managed to obtain a steady job with an employer of some reputation, Sofitel, would risk losing that job.  Her employment is important to the case because for a migrant it means legal security of a kind not easily available, and on the basis of this alone I find it hard to imagine Diallo would fabricate an accusation against a guest, or engage in a sexual romp with one, for that matter.”  I agree, but at the same time I also agree with Furry Girl that it is a big mistake to automatically believe in the truth of every allegation of sexual assault.  So when Kristin Davis attempted to capitalize on DSK’s misfortune by tattling on his supposed past behavior with escorts, I responded by inducting her into my Hall of Shame and pointing out that “just because a client is rough with a working girl does not…constitute evidence of rape any more than reading a book about explosives means that a person is guilty of a bombing.”

In other words, I was (and remain) extremely uncertain about the case and was therefore unwilling to say anything one way or another.  I remained silent when a French reporter accused him of trying to rape her in 2002 and when a new book accused him of raping a Mexican maid  and trying to “jump” at least 14 other women; then I waited to see if anything would come of Diallo’s hiring a French lawyer to dig these women up.  But on July 2nd the tabloid New York Post reported that prosecutors had told them Diallo was a “pathological liar and scam artist” who was accused of defrauding other immigrants from her country with a pyramid scheme, lying to prosecutors and on her immigration papers and tax forms, falsely claiming to have been gang-raped in Guinea and saying to her boyfriend (on a phone line monitored at his end, in an Arizona jail), “Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing.”  So why is all this pertinent to this blog?  She’s also accused of prostituting herself to Sofitel guests.

Needless to say, Diallo has sued the Post; it is equally needless to say that the case against DSK quickly unraveled after the counter-accusations.  If this woman really did subject an innocent man to an extortion scheme, she deserves whatever she gets; as I said in my June 4th column, being a sexually aggressive arsehole does not make a man a rapist, and false rape accusations hurt all women by making the “authorities” more cynical about future rape accusations.  But that’s not the most important feature of this whole thing, which is the way that our profession is being slandered yet again.  It wasn’t enough just to say she had been accused of fraud and extortion; oh no!  The Post’s headline screamed, “DSK MAID A HOOKER”, because as we all know that’s much worse than being a pathological liar and scamming one’s own people.  Considering that sources close to the case say the accusation isn’t even true (and that seems likely considering her libel suit doesn’t mention the other allegations), why would the Post use that particular insult (and other media follow it like lemmings) when there are other, more solid and serious accusations to choose from?  Well, for one thing, sex sells.  But more importantly, branding Diallo as a whore allows the media to evoke the filthy lie that prostitutes cannot be raped, thus letting Strauss-Kahn off the hook (perhaps a consummation devoutly to be wished by media bigwigs who embarrassed themselves by convicting him in the court of public opinion practically as soon as he was arrested).

This is the real story, and the real shame on the American people:  nobody would’ve dared to say Strauss-Kahn must be a criminal because he is French, or Diallo one because she is black; nobody but the most fanatical neofeminists would’ve  pre-convicted DSK for being a man, and none but the most bitter misogynists would’ve pre-convicted Diallo for being a woman.  Likewise rich or poor, privileged or underprivileged, politician or peasant.  But let someone be accused of being a prostitute, and there are still far too many in this country (especially among the police, religious fanatics and neofeminists) who instantly accept that as irrefutable evidence of innate moral corruption and pronounce that any woman who could “degrade” herself by {gasp!} having sex and making a living at the same time, is capable of any crime no matter how depraved.

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