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Posts Tagged ‘language’

If you’re a regular reader you’ve probably noticed that I’m fond of metaphors, and I’ve used a number of different ones over the years to describe the way public opinion about sex work has been slowly changing.  I’ve used the cycle of day and night, shifting winds, and crossing a watershed, but today I’m going to return to one I first used almost three years ago, the turn of the tide.  I rather like that image right now because, like the tide, the apparently-sudden shift seems to have surprised those unable to read the signs I’ve been telling you about for quite a while now.  The turning started when Amnesty International announced its support for decriminalization, but most prohibitionists were unable to read that and so encouraged the US government in what is beginning to look like a fatal overstep, the awful FOSTA censorship law which is designed to gut the internet in its haste to force sex workers back into the shadows under the pretense of fighting “sex trafficking”.

I call it an overstep because it’s fairly clear that its proponents had no idea it would not silence sex workers, but rather amplify our voices instead; US sex workers have finally begun to come out in unprecedented numbers to fight for our rights:

…over 300 sex workers and allies gathered…in downtown Oakland for International Whores Day…The rally’s focus on FOSTA shows just how dramatically the legislation has shifted the sex work debate…the rally mobilized hundreds of sex workers—in the past…events like this might have drawn only 15 people.  “People are hungry, people have lost their screening tools,” said Hunter [Leight].  “They’re coming out because they’re desperate, they’re stressed, and they’re under attack”…

in other words, FOSTA has finally made US sex workers aware that we’re being backed into a corner, and that we are at war.  For decades US sex workers, pushed into the shadows by criminalization, have been afraid to mobilize to the same levels as our sisters in the majority of the world, where our work is at least legal (albeit heavily stigmatized and persecuted by cops); these new laws have forced American whores to understand that our enemies will not stop until we’re dead, and that our only alternative is to fight back.  And we’re not alone; the mainstream media are finally beginning to notice us, and it’s no longer politically fatal for politicians to support sex worker rights.  But perhaps one of the most telling signs of how much the tide has turned came last week from Down Under; Australia and New Zealand aren’t all that different from the US culturally, though they stayed with the British Empire instead of breaking away as the US did.  And since they’re more advanced than the mother country in the area of sex worker rights, we got to see this

Named in [New Zealand’s] twice-year allotment of knighthoods…is life-long advocate and founding member of the nation’s prostitutes’ collective, Catherine Healy, who has been made a dame companion for her services to the rights of sex workers…While working as a school teacher in the ’80s, Dame Catherine signed up for a receptionist job at a brothel to earn extra money for travel.  She was the collective’s national coordinator by the end of the decade.  She built the group into an internationally-recognised organisation, becoming the country’s leading voice for sex worker rights, health and education and eventually organised the charge towards decriminalisation of prostitution in 2003…

And this:

Julie Bates laughs at the way she instinctively responded when the emblem of the Crown bobbed up on an email in her inbox a few weeks ago.  “I thought ‘Oh my God, what have I done now?’” It’s been 23 years since the sex industry was decriminalised in NSW, and still,  sometimes, “the only thing you expect first thing in the morning is a knock on the door from the cops…that kind of trauma and instinct still sits with you, no matter how many years ago it was.”  The email, however, bore good news: the 68-year old becomes an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday honours, recognising the work she’s done over decades to champion the rights of sex workers and mobilise the sex industry against the spread of HIV/AIDS…

Naturally, the prohibitionists are furious, but they’re as helpless against this as sea creatures washed up on the beach are to stop the retreating tide.  For US politicians and staid Commonwealth governments to feel comfortable supporting something, that thing must already have considerable public support.  The prohibitionists put all of their hopes into “sex trafficking” hysteria, and as that hysteria dries up – in part due to their own incredible overconfidence and total lack of restraint in inventing absurd numbers and outrageous lies – they’re going to find themselves abandoned in the dirt and slowly dying of neglect as the rest of humanity leaves them behind.

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If you suspect you are going to become the subject of a Title IX investigation, the optimal strategy may very well be to file the first complaint.  –  Robby Soave

Where Are the Victims?

An escort service driver is convicted of “sex trafficking”:

A [judge ignored the conditions of a plea bargain to]…re-sentence…[a man who] pleaded guilty to a violation of the Mann Act…Judge Robert Pitman…[sentenced] Emmanuel Emil Bailey…[to] 84-months in [a cage and]…3-years on supervised release…[pigs called] an escort service ad and [fraudulently booked a session]…at a Waco [Texas] motel and when she arrived…[they] arrested her. [and her driver, Bailey]…

Lower Education

Why, how could anyone have predicted this?

The University of Cincinnati suspended a female student for allegedly engaging in nonconsensual sex with a male student who claimed he was too drunk at the time to approve the encounter.  The fact that this case involves a male accuser (“John Doe”) and a female aggressor (“Jane Roe”) makes it unusual among Title IX complaints…But the female student’s lawsuit against Cincinnati…reveals…Roe had previously filed a sexual misconduct complaint against one of Doe’s friends.  Roe’s lawsuit…suggests that Doe filed the complaint against Roe as a kind of revenge for getting his friend in trouble…Here’s an alternative theory: Doe woke up, realized they had engaged in sexual activity while they were both drunk, and feared that she would file a complaint against him, as she had done to his friend.  Panic-stricken, he felt he had no choice but to beat her to the punch…[because] Title IX administrators often appear biased in favor of the initial complainant, and presume the other party is the wrongdoer…

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

Police are investigating the former Modesto [California] youth pastor who is accused of sexual acts with teenage girls who attended his churches in California and Arizona…Les Hughey…was a youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Modesto in the 1970s.  Women recently came forward to accuse Hughey of coercing them into having sex when they were teenagers and he was a young married man…

Moving Pictures 

About the same level of reality as the other Rambo movies, really:

Sylvester Stallone…is returning for a [Rambo] sequel that’s scheduled to begin shooting September 1st.  In this installment, our hero is living in Arizona and burdened with PTSD.  He is forced to come out of mass killing retirement when his friend’s granddaughter goes missing in Mexico, which leads him to battle a vicious crime lord and his sex trafficking ring…

To Molest and Rape 

Too bad all rapist cops don’t make it this easy:

A Brooklyn jail guard who’s on trial for forcing inmates to pleasure his huge, stinky, hooked penis also bragged that his nickname was “caballo” — “horse” in Spanish…Eugenio Perez crowed about his 12-inch tool before abusing the women…The feds…corroborated the stories of [his] five [victims]…by confirming their description of his massive, putrid member.  The FBI got a search warrant to take photos of the distinctive phallus…which [were] show[n] to jurors…

Skin To Skin (#702)

All challenges to anti-sex laws end this way, until the day they don’t:

A lawsuit seeking to legalize prostitution in Utah got shot down by a federal magistrate judge…The case was brought by Russell Greer, a 25-year-old Utah resident who sought to open a brothel in Salt Lake City.  State authorities initially granted Greer a license for the establishment, then revoked it.  Greer sued, claiming his constitutional rights were being violated by Utah’s criminalization of prostitution…

Presumption of Guilt (#703)

Another step toward total financial surveillance:

Australia’s Liberal Party government has announced that it will soon be illegal to purchase anything over $10,000 AU ($7,500 US) with cash. The government says it’s, “encouraging the transition to a digital society,” and cracking down on tax evasion. But…anyone with their eyes open can see where this is going…

The Missing Word (#735)

The magic word isn’t completely missing herein, but look at where it isn’t used:

Thousands of migrants from Haiti and the Dominican Republic seeking a better life in more prosperous Chile are at high risk of labour exploitation and trafficking as migration to the South American nation soars…At least 100,000 migrants arrived in Chile last year from Haiti, the poorest nation in the Americas…Chilean authorities charged five people with smuggling dozens of Haitians into the country with false promises of jobs and work visas…Wadner Maignan [of] the Jesuit Service for Migrants…says Haitian men often end up working on construction sites and in factories where they are victims of labour exploitation and abuse…Chile [recently] tightened its rules on migration for Haitians and other nationals, citing a need to stem rising illegal immigration…

Between the Lines (#741)

Federal & fed-assisted vice pogroms now claim to be based on a “model”:

…a lengthy and significant investigation involving International Human Trafficking suspects operating in and throughout the Midwest…focused on the use of Internet based websites such as Backpage and City Vibe, which offered erotic massage and escort services of Asian females.  The ads were determined to serve as covers for prostitution services offered in dozens of U.S cities…Federal and local law enforcement choreograph[ed] the simultaneous service of multiple search warrants…The “Omaha Model” was advanced to all branches participating in the effort as the template for success…The communal efforts were successful in identifying and arresting fifteen Asian females…

Torture Chamber (#798) 

Trump thinks there isn’t enough rape in prisons:

The Trump administration…rolled back rules that allowed transgender inmates to use facilities that match their gender identity, including cell blocks and bathrooms, thereby reversing course on an Obama administration effort to protect transgender prisoners from sexual abuse and assault.  The Bureau of Prisons now “will use biological sex” to make initial determinations in the type of housing transgender inmates are assigned…The policy…gives federal officials…more leeway to place transgender women in cells alongside men…[leaving them] vulnerable to violence and rape…

Original Sin (#803)

Sometimes they don’t even bother to hide the evangelicalism of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Victory Outreach…Pentecostal church is…trying to bring sex workers and sexually exploited youth in off the streets.  Their main tool is prayer.  But in a city where police and prosecutors have tried to turn the tide of sex trafficking for more than a decade, can appeals to God really make a difference?…Ebony Salazar is driving down International Boulevard in Oakland…“We’re looking for girls that are out there, selling their bodies,” she explains…Salazar jumps out of the car.  The young women walk away, and a man drives up close next to them, swearing.  Salazar says he’s probably their pimp, and she calls after them:  “Jesus loves you!”…

Because interfering with poor women trying to make a living is a show of “love”.

Whore Madonnas (#808) 

More from Juniper Fitzgerald:

…mothers working within the sex industry are often heavily stigmatized.  As a mother to a precocious four-year-old, and a former sex worker, I know this stigma all too well.  Even though I command a certain degree of social capital…I nevertheless experience the stigma of my former work more often than most might think.  Even after earning my PhD, countless lawyers advised me that my former sex work would likely result in me losing full custody after my child’s father and I split…My experience is not an anomaly…

To Molest and Rape (#827) 

This is the first time I’ve been pleased about politicians’ tendency toward “monkey see, monkey do”:

A new Kansas law makes it a crime for police to [rape] people they [arrest or] pull over for traffic violations…the new law [was] passed in a bundled bill…[after] multiple [women spoke out against rapist cop]…Roger Golubski…[who] had a long history of coercing sex from women in Kansas City’s black community by threatening to arrest them or their relatives if they didn’t comply…

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It’s tyranny at its finest.  –  Rakem Balogun

Regular readers may recall that I love Rube Goldberg machines, and here’s a doozy called to my attention by Mike Siegel.  The links above it were provided by Dave KruegerNun YaClarissaPopehatScott GreenfieldWalter Olson, and Tim Cushing, in that order.

From the Archives

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A lot of people…do not want to accept the reality that, for the most part, sex workers are just ordinary women.  –  Jennifer Wright

Surplus Women 

This is going to become much more common due to the ramped-up war on whores:

The three-month-long search for a missing California woman came to a tragic end on the morning of March 25.  Kristen Marti’s body was found by authorities after a lengthy search of Prefumo Canyon, about seven miles west of San Luis Obispo.  Her January 9 disappearance is now considered a murder investigation…When Marti was last seen, she was with an unknown man in a maroon-colored sedan…Marti was “known to frequent hotels” in the San Luis Obispo-area…

Little Boxes (#21)

Long time readers may remember “Fake Internet Girlfriend”:

Every morning I…log into the Tinder account of a 45-year-old man from Texas—a client.  I flirt with every woman in his queue for 10 minutes, sending their photos and locations to a central database of potential “Opportunities”.  For every phone number I get, I make $1.75.  I’m what’s called a “Closer” for the online-dating service ViDA (Virtual Dating Assistants).  Men and women (though mostly men) from all over the world pay this company to outsource the labor and tedium of online dating.  The matches I speak to on behalf of the Texan man and other clients have no idea they’re chatting with a professional…

By the numbers provided, she makes less than $12 an hour maximum. That may be the shittiest-paying sex work ever.

New Excuse

An excellent article by stalwart friend of whores Mark Draughn:

…I’ve long been opposed to all consensual crimes — recreational drugs, gambling, pornography, public drunkenness, vagrancy, homosexuality, food trucks, gun ownership, kink, migration, raw milk, incest, risky sports, transgenderism, loitering, status offenses, braiding hair without a license, whatever — because as long as everybody involved has consented freely and competently…I don’t think it should be a crime.  So I’ve always opposed prostitution laws in theory.  My opposition became somewhat less theoretical a few years ago when I bumped into Maggie McNeill…I became a steady reader of Maggie’s blog, and I began to learn more about the legal issues that concern sex workers in this country…the situation for sex workers seems to be deteriorating, in ways that are sadly familiar to those of us who know the War on Drugs…cops seem to realize that their pearl-clutching over call girls is a dumb waste of police resources, so they’ve tried to recast what they do as fighting a genuine evil.  They’ve hit on the idea of calling everything “sex trafficking,” or even worse, “child sex trafficking”…We’re also starting to see other unpleasant features of the War on Drugs, such as federal funding and inter-agency task forces…I used to get angry whenever I heard of some new atrocity in the War On Drugs, but I was usually able to keep some emotional distance from the worst of it because I didn’t actually know any drug dealers.  It wasn’t personal for me…But when it comes to sex workers, I follow far too many of them on Twitter…I know these people.  And the last few weeks have been pretty bad.  This bullshit is hurting people I know, and they are bitter, hurt, and angry…

Somebody’s Daughter (#434)

Despite FOSTA & the seizure of Backpage (perhaps partly because of them), we’ve definitely passed the watershed on public support for sex worker rights.  It’s now no longer taboo for reporters, columnists and even politicians (!!!) to come out in support of decrim.  Here’s a recent article (in the very mainstream Harper’s Bazaar) which covers arguments readers of this blog will know well, and starts this way:

“But what if it was your daughter?”…Thus goes the common refrain…I do not have a daughter.  But, then, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, the people making this argument do not necessarily have daughters, either.  So, here is a brief list of professions I would not want my fictitious daughter to enter into:  Professionally playing any sport that involves head trauma…Being a war reporter…Any profession that promises people a quick, easy and most likely ineffective way to solve their problems, like hawking untested diet pills…regardless of how I feel about them, my future daughter has a perfect legal right to pursue them.  People are allowed to enter professions that might be unsafe.  People are allowed to enter into professions where their body is seen as a tool of the trade.  People are allowed to enter professions that seem morally questionable.  The only time that isn’t the case is when a woman is having sex as her profession…At least, it isn’t the case in the United States.  There are a great many countries where sex work is legal, such as New Zealand, which decriminalized sex work in 2003…

Eternal Vigilance

The stupidity and evil of politicians is sometimes mind-boggling:

Sex workers in Victoria are under attack as politicians try to [re-criminalize]…“the world’s oldest profession”…the Liberal Party’s Victorian branch will discuss…a motion…by [prohibitionists claiming]…“sexual services have surged into our suburbs in the guise of massage parlours” and “are now closer to our homes and schools than ever before”…the [prohibitionists are] pushing [their party] for the adoption of the “Nordic model”…

Australian politicians can see the success of decriminalization right there in New South Wales, but are still willing to push this evil bullshit to placate prudes with fantasies of sex rays.

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” still adore prohibition of things other than cannabis:

Seattle officials announced…that they have filed a motion to vacate all convictions and drop all charges for marijuana possession for anyone arrested in the city in the past few decades…the proposed move would affect 542 people who have convictions on their records.  “Vacating charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession is a necessary step to correct the injustices of what was a failed war on drugs, [but we’re going to keep pursuing the even more unjust and failed war on consensual sex because we’re hypocrites],” Mayor Jenny Durkan…said in a statement…

An Example to the West (#776) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

Sex workers in Colombia have started a newspaper that is “flying off the shelves”—a rare distinction for any newspaper these days.  La Esquina—which means “The Corner” in English—is made by and for sex workers in Bogotá’s red light district…It’s both distributed as a regular newspaper and, ingeniously, laminated and plastered on the district’s walls for sex workers to read while they wait for clients…The paper was founded last summer by a group of activists and artists…

Tracy Clark-Flory has singlehandedly made Jezebel relevant again.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table is a “stadium”:

Down a dead-end street in a quiet neighborhood south of Dortmund’s city center stands Germany’s first sex doll brothel.  For €80 ($97) an hour, customers can [play with] one of 12 silicone dolls, including one male doll and a model with both breasts and a penis…Evelyn Schwarz …is the founder and owner of Bordoll, which…also [has an actual] brothel and a…BDSM [dungeon]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

I’m so glad silly protectionist whores weren’t able to wreck decrim in New Zealand:

…Under a new plan, would-be immigrants can claim points as skilled sex workers and escorts.  The skill is regarded as providing social companionship in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) list.  In order to meet the criteria of a highly qualified sex worker, would-be migrants will be expected to…have relevant recognized qualifications or have at least three years of work experience in the relevant industry…they would [also] need a formal offer of employment [from a brothel or escort service]…

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The latest government attacks on online platforms used by sex workers are directly undermining [their] safety, health, and human rights.  –  David Grosso

Cuckoo Advertising (#601)

Will gullible reporters ever stop publishing Ashley Madison ads for free?

A [slight] majority of America’s cheaters identify as Republicans, according to…Ashley Madison…The site surveyed nearly 1,000 users on their political affiliations…60 percent of those surveyed said they identify as Republicans, while nearly 40 percent said they affiliate with the Democratic Party…a vast majority (89 percent) of those surveyed said “opposing political views” would compel them to cheat on their spouse, while 55 percent said they’d prefer to cheat with a Republican-identifying voter…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#609) 

“Legalization” of sex work always features weird, arbitrary laws written by obsessive bureaucrats:

Sex workers are complaining that their work is being hamstrung by ludicrous laws in Queensland that police what they can and cannot say to potential clients…advertising regulations…go into an almost perverse level of detail.  Phrases sex workers could get arrested for using in ads includes seemingly innocuous terms such as “natural,” “tasty,” “kissable” and “sweet nectar”…stating they offer oral sex is prohibited, but oddly, saying they specifically do not offer oral sex is just fine…guidelines…also lists words that are fine to use including “magic hands,” “dominatrix,” and “man action”…

Full of Themselves (#614)

If there’s ever an award for the most pompous, stuffy, bootlicking language in anti-whore propaganda, we need to name it after the California Massage Therapy Council:

…California…massage therapists are dogged by a big problem: criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes.  This situation isn’t unique to California.  However, a new [fascist] partnership between [cops] and the entity that administers voluntary massage certification is a novel weapon in the fight against [sex workers]…CAMTC…[claims he right to define] what constitutes legitimate massage therapy services…and…has…created a Sexually Suggestive Advertising Task Force as a tool to weed out criminals posing as massage therapists…police agencies throughout the state are especially [sexually obsessed] with sex traffickers using the massage industry as a cover…

Scapegoats (#697) 

Because obviously pigs still don’t have enough excuses to cage people yet:

The [Louisiana] Senate has approved a bill designed to make it clear that bestiality is illegal…A law on the books prohibits “crimes against nature,” but it also outlaws so-called sodomy and was ruled unconstitutional in 2003…Senator JP Morrell says it’s important that the state has a way to arrest someone for having sex with animals.  He told fellow lawmakers, “God forbid you vote against this bill, good luck explaining it.”  Ten senators did vote against it…

The War Goes On (#711) 

The idea that women have free will is incomprehensible to the misogynistic sociopaths in “law enforcement”:

The Backpage shut down…has…prompted fear of where prostitutes and pimps will look to advertise their services…Utah Attorney General’s Office Assistant Chief Nate Mutter [said]…“The demand is going to be there, what this will do is slow the supply side down a bit…My guess is a lot of advertisement from Backpage will find its way to more applications…People need to be aware of that they can accidentally find themselves being involved in trafficking.”  Mutter says sex traffickers are manipulative and may try and extort online dating app users…

Look out, dating app users, someone may offer you quality sex at a set price!  THE HORROR!!!!

Traffic in Nonsense (#747)

Another state requires anti-whore indoctrination for licensing:

A new law passed by the Colorado legislature will require applicants for commercial drivers licenses…to go through indoctrination] on how to spot signs of human traffickers and their victims…Truckers Against Trafficking has fully supported the bill…

Amnesty At Last (#781)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for three years now:

D.C. Council member David Grosso…issued a statement…calling on District Police Chief Peter Newsham and U.S. Attorney for D.C. Jessie Liu to temporarily suspend arrests and prosecutions of sex workers…Grosso said his request was based on concerns raised by sex worker advocacy groups that the recent forced shutdown of websites that allowed sex workers to operate with a “greater degree of safety than on the streets” has placed them in danger of violence and arrest…

O, Canada! (#785)

Canadian cops are really invested in pretending their sexual harassment of women is to “protect” them:

[Toronto] has launched an investigation into the conduct of some of its bylaw officers in relation to [reports] from women working in…body rub parlors…Kristyn Wong-Tam said…women working at the parlours…felt they are being racially targeted…“They felt that having an officer come in three to four times a week…was rather punitive…It was very disruptive to their business”…the women were forced to sing for the officer’s entertainment, told to stand as a form of punishment and barred from using the bathroom during an inspection…

Against Their Will (#799)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

Two…sex workers… died after falling from the third floor of a building while trying to escape a police raid in…Mumbai…by climbing down…with the help of a rope…while climbing down, they slipped and fell…

Business As Usual (#824)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

…prostitutes operating in…Bulawayo [Zimbabwe]…have expressed dismay over the abuse they endure at the hands of [cops] who continuously arrest them and demand sex in return for their freedom.  Some…make the demands daily and sometimes more than once in a single night…The prostitutes…[are] threatened with arrest and to avoid the inconvenience would [allow themselves to be raped]…to avoid sleeping in the cells and losing business.  The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in May 2015 outlawed the arrest of prostitutes on charges of loitering “for purposes of prostitution”…

Disaster (#826)

Some activists believe that FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government; even the Christian-leaning American Conservative sees it as a bad idea:

…The language of FOSTA is both vague and extremely expansive.  It prohibits website owners from “promoting or facilitating prostitution”.  That can obviously be subjected to wide interpretation, and the penalty for violating the new law is up to 10 years in prison.  Hence, multiple websites are erring on the side of self-censorship…Amending Section 230 is a terrible precedent and a slippery slope towards government regulation of the Internet and censorship…several privacy and personal freedom organizations, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have criticized the expansive nature of the bill, worried that it could ultimately affect web content unrelated to prostitution…

The deeply-confused Rolling Stone published an article by our own Siouxsie Q:

The debilitating shock, sadness and panic that is moving through the sex-working community right now is palpable…Still, the community is rallying as hard as we are grieving, organizing in an unprecedented push to let the voices of those who will be affected by these pieces of legislation be heard.  Survivors, allies, and sex workers from all over the country flooded the congressional phone lines last month…The #LetUsSurvive and #SurvivorsAgainstSesta social media campaign has garnered over 5 million impressions and even mainstream celebrities have started speaking up and standing with sex workers and survivors…

This Means War 

Millions of sex workers can thank Carl Ferrer for selling them out to save his own skin:

Backpage…CEO Carl Ferrer has entered a guilty plea…[saying] he knew that the “escort” section of Backpage was largely ads for prostitution…Court documents in the cases against Ferrer and Backpage don’t reveal any damning new information about the company, nor any new discoveries that allowed authorities to make their case…But this time, Ferrer decided to break from his colleagues and play ball with the state rather than fight.  In exchange for the plea deal, he’ll provide information on the Travel Act and money-laundering cases against his colleagues…Money-laundering may sound sinister…but it’s one of those charges (like conspiracy) that our nation’s cops and courts often abuse.  In this case, Backpage originally accepted payments for its…ads…via typical digital payment mediums…But thanks to hounding and intimidation by various government entities, Backpage was forced to stop accepting all those payment methods….and…to encourage people to use cryptocurrency for payments.  The company also created intermediary companies to handle payments, so that the transactions wouldn’t raise alarms with risk-paranoid bankers and financial processors.  Ultimately, the money-laundering that…Ferrer admitted wasn’t about shielding assets in offshore tax havens or otherwise hiding the company’s profits from government tax collectors…without subsidiaries and crypto, Backpage had no way to accept payment for…ads…

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

It’s dangerous to be a woman who knows the sexual secrets of powerful men:

[Thai] police have filed new charges against…a woman who claims to have evidence of Russian ties to U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign…Anastasia Vashukevich, also known as Nastya Rybka, has attracted widespread attention for claiming to have recordings of Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a crony of President Vladimir Putin, discussing interference in the U.S. election.  She is being held in an immigration detention center and has pleaded not to be expelled to Russia….[she was] arrested with eight others for holding a sex training course…

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Well-adjusted people realize that words have different meanings in different contexts.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Mary Magdalene 

No, it isn’t “orthodoxy” that Mary Magdalene was a whore; quite the opposite, in fact:

A new film about Mary Magdalene sets out to refute the commonly held assumption that she was a prostitute redeemed by Christ…A new film, though, flips the script to show Mary in a new light – as an independent free-thinker who…deserves to be considered as an apostle in her own right…This is deeply contentious territory that flies in the face of the commonly accepted orthodoxy that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute…It is a notion that has been perpetuated for centuries – partly thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who had Mary sing about the “many men” she’s “had” in Jesus Christ Superstar…Put all the evidence together and it is easy to conclude that Mary has been the victim of 1,400 years’ worth of character assassination…

Critic Neil Smith’s madonna-whore complex is on full display here; portraying Mary as an “independent free-thinker” is supportive of the idea she was a harlot.  Before the advent of the currently-fashionable “victim” nonsense, we were always seen as independent, uppity women who won’t mind our “place”; in fact, that’s exactly why patriarchal religions dislike us.  But then, I guess we couldn’t expect much from a mind that thinks it makes sense to blame Jesus Christ Superstar (recorded October 1970) for a 1400-year-old tradition.

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Thomas Mowbray didn’t even know Eboni Sanders.  They both lived [in Pittsburgh, PA] in the same…building…In early February 2016, they ran into each other in the laundry room.  Mr. Mowbray claims Ms. Sanders came on to him and that he declined…Twelve days after that, Pittsburgh police charged Mr. Mowbray with indecent assault after Ms. Sanders claimed that he had groped her…The charges marked the beginning of a nightmarish two years in the criminal justice system for Mr. Mowbray…and his girlfriend, Patrese Thompson …Over that time, Pittsburgh police filed six criminal cases against Mr. Mowbray and two against Ms. Thompson — all based on shocking allegations made by Ms. Sanders of gun-toting assailants, assaults, threatening letters and phone calls, stalking, contract killings and knife-wielding attacks…Mowbray spent more than six months in jail.  But on Feb. 22, the last of the cases was withdrawn by…prosecutors.  Police had finally [accepted] what the couple had long insisted — that Ms. Sanders was lying.  Now she is the one facing criminal charges.  “For two years of our lives, this woman has been using the criminal justice system to terrorize us,” Ms. Thompson said…

Too Close To Home

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

Three men arrested in a 2016 prostitution sting in Bellevue are suing King County and Bellevue police for defamation, [explaining that] officials exaggerated their crimes to satisfy a private foundation that provided a grant for the [pogrom]…Keith Emmanuel, Richard Homchick, and Charles Peters…were only charged with second-degree promoting prostitution during the sweep…However, during press conferences and other public appearances, Bellevue Chief Steve Mylett, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and former sheriff John Urquhart made statements that made it seem like the three men had engaged in crimes like rape and human trafficking…Those statements were made, the suit alleges, to satisfy Demand Abolition…[billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt’s] foundation that had given the county a grant to [harass sex workers] and [persecute clients].  Demand Abolition gave the prosecutor’s office a $50,000 grant in 2014…and has continued to give grants each year since.  “Defendants have deliberately conflated that prostitution charge with human trafficking and sex slavery as part of a concerted plan to secure private funding by generating publicity and manipulating media coverage of the arrests,” the suit [states]…To keep the grant, the prosecutor’s office had to meet performance targets…increasing the arrests of [men] by 50 percent…

Full of Themselves (#614)

California produces the most horrifying and racist anti-massage-parlor propaganda, hands down:

Doug Bennett, the founder of Magdalene Hope, a [prohibitionist group]…and his [gang] of [busybodies]…[literally spy on Asian-owned massage businesses,] spending their evenings watching the parlors, [stalking] masseuses after they leave and gathering evidence to pass on to the…[cops]…Massage parlors have been [dysphemized as] “modern-day brothels” and “prostitution rings.”  They are [fantasized] by [“trafficking” fetishists] to be storefronts for a complex network of human traffickers shuffling victims throughout the region, multiple [conspiracy theorists, pigs, white supremacists]…and [other tinfoil-hat wearers] said on and off the record…

Naturally, the California Massage Therapy Council is quoted.  Don’t miss the part about how Bennett and his cronies pray together before literally stalking women late at night, and be sure to click on that link in the first line for a look at one of “Magdalene Hope’s” hilariously-bad propaganda ads.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

What hysteria about “crime” in Italy would be complete without bringing in the Mafia?  This lurid, self-righteous mess should serve as a warning to clients to be careful which “journalists” they talk to; this unethical, pompous fantasist fully admits that the only reason she didn’t out a man she interviewed, despite her promise that she wouldn’t, was that he had a wife and children.  Yet she clearly sees herself as moral while the women who honestly sell sex and keep their clients’ confidences are “degraded victims” and the clients who enable them to earn a living are “rapists” who “keep this lurid business of sex slavery alive”.

Opting Out (#700)

“At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots”:

Twitter and other social media companies have so far refused to engage with the government’s plans to introduce age checks to limit underage access to online pornography…Lord Erroll…who chairs the Digital Policy Alliance (DPA)…admitted the ultimate sanction intended for sites that fail to implement AV is unlikely to be applied to Twitter.  Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Twitter has no rules against the posting of sexually explicit material and hosts many accounts that promote publishers and stars of pornography.  “The challenge with that is if you block Twitter, people will just say this is an overreaction, it’s mad, and it would not go down well in public,” Erroll said…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#737)

India’s pigheaded resistance to decriminalization continues:

On February 28…the Union cabinet approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018…[it] falls into the familiar trap of trying to use criminal law to solve a social problem.  The IPC already criminalises trafficking…The new Bill introduces 15 new offences on top of this, and introduces numerous…ambigu[ous]…clauses…[which] unfairly target…marginalised actors and rely…heavily on criminalisation…It only creates further confusion by introducing existing offences in the new packaging of “aggravated offences”, adding more layers of bureaucracy and complicating enforcement…The Bill…relies on the raid, rescue and rehabilitation model, which…is nothing but victim detention, resulting in the complete loss of liberty for an adult woman.  The rehabilitation process disregards the wishes and choices of the “rescued” person, especially sex workers.  Such a paternalistic approach…ignores the agency of adult women to determine what is good for them…

Torture Chamber (#770) 

The state wants us to call these subhuman monsters “correctional officers”:

Jailhouse video reveals California sheriff’s deputies watching and sometimes laughing as a schizophrenic man who had been strapped naked to a chair for 46 hours writhes on the floor of his cell, loses consciousness and eventually dies…the county [was forced to pay Andrew] Holland’s family $5 million for his death, which a medical examiner determined was caused by a pulmonary embolism…[directly caused by] the [inhumane] restraint chair…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#811)

What terrible “crimes” these “gangsters” are accused of:  not paying licenses.  Assisting migrants.  Illegally subdividing a building.  Doing their employees’ laundry.  The fiends!

A triad-controlled prostitution racket that brought sex workers from Europe, Asia and mainland China into Hong Kong has been broken up in one of the city’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns with the arrest of 75 people…the syndicate had turned 72 subdivided flats into one-woman brothels…four vice establishments and unlicensed massage centres in the same district were also controlled by the gang…the syndicate had its own laundry centre…and supplied towels to sex workers…police arrested 14 men and 61 women…

Overdue

“Fainting-couch feminism” is a brilliant coinage:

…[Massachusetts politician] Michelle DuBois…has been calling for the removal of a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” (so inscribed because it stands opposite a statue of [US Civil War] General Hooker), which she described as an affront to “women’s dignity”…If that isn’t the ultimate in futile, fainting-couch feminism, I’m not sure what is…attitudes like hers—which treat women as excessively fragile beings, and which posit that female “dignity” is diminished by even so slight an association with sex work as walking under a door that says “hooker”—just props up old-fashioned and patriarchal ideas about sex and gender…

Cops and Robbers (#813)

As I surmised, this sleazy attempt to hurt sex workers’ income is bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

[Pigs trying to harm sex workers] are using cyber-based “patrols” to [harass potential clients]…[in] Los Angeles…Working in partnership with Demand Abolition, a [vanity project] focused on eradicating [sex workers]…sheriff’s deputies post ads to make contact with would-be buyers.  Once phone contact is made, detectives identify themselves as members of the [vice squad]…advise the caller that solicitation is a crime and offer referrals to sex addiction treatment.  Investigators also use electronic “bots” to send [propaganda] text messages to buyers…During the first month of operations this year, nearly 1,900 conversations took place with potential sex buyers which prompted more than 30,000 text warnings designed to disrupt [sex workers’ business]…

Guinea Pigs (#818) 

Every New Orleanian knows that cockroaches can’t stand sunlight:

[After] The Verge reported the existence of a six-year predictive policing collaboration between the New Orleans Police Department and Palantir Technologies…which…was unknown to the public and key members of the city council prior to publication…outgoing…Mayor Mitch Landrieu…[said] his office would not renew its pro bono contract with Palantir, which has been extended three times since 2012…The mayor did not respond to repeated requests for comment from…media since news of the partnership broke.  There is also potential legal fallout from the revelation…[which was not included in] discovery evidence [for a number of criminal trials]…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

When an incredibly bad law skates through a legislature, follow the money:

FOSTA…offer[s] a powerful incentive for online platforms to police the speech of users and advertisers.  A perceived violation of a state’s anti-trafficking laws could lead to authorities seeking civil or criminal penalties, or a barrage of lawsuits.  So, why are movie studios involved at all in this debate?  Hollywood is lobbying for laws that will force online intermediaries to shut down user speech.  That’s what they’ve been seeking since practically the beginning of the Internet…For legacy software and entertainment companies, breaking down [Section 230] is another road to a controlled, filtered Internet—one that looks a lot like cable television.  Without safe harbors, the Internet will be a poorer place—less free for new ideas and new business models.  That suits some of the gatekeepers of the pre-Internet era just fine…An Internet that’s policed by “copyright bots” is what major film studios and record have advocated for more than a decade now…

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[The sex] industry is filled with strong, smart, very business-savvy women.  –  Lynn Comella

The Notorious Badge 

Though the headline links this to Stormy Daniels’ current newsworthiness, it’s actually a brief look at women in porn:

Thomas…Edison’s 1896 creation capturing [actress May] Irwin and actor John C. Rice doing something naughty caused a nationwide uproar as newspaper editorials declared the end of American morality and called for police action in theaters that dared to show the 18-second flick…“The Kiss” is now part of the Library of Congress’s catalogue…By today’s standards, of course, May Irwin wouldn’t qualify as a porn star.  A vaudeville actress, she channeled the infamy of “The Kiss” into a lucrative stage and silent film career…Gloria Leonard started out as a bond trader on Wall Street in the 1960s.  She left to go into public relations, then jumped to a film company that went under in 1974.  She was an unemployed, single mom when she decided to give acting a shot…the first role she snagged in 1974 was in a porn flick…that…led to a 10-year career in front of the camera, until she became a director, then editor of a nudie magazine.  There, she came up with an idea to increase circulation by teasing upcoming features with recordings in sultry voices…and the phone sex industry was born…Annie Sprinkle, who had her first experience with porn as a ticket-taker at a Tucson, theater showing Deep Throat in 1972, became a top-grossing actress in the 1980s…she turned the industry upside-down with her gonzo, feminist take on porn.  She produced educational videos and held workshops and created porn for women…“Porn is one place where women — the performers — get paid more, double, even triple what men are paid”…

Dirty Laundry

Your periodic reminder of the evil, psychopathic behavior of the organizations behind prohibitionist group Ruhama:

A survivor of the Magdalene laundries who bore a daughter after being raped by a priest…still bears the emotional and physical scars of the horrific abuse she suffered at the hands of sadistic nuns more than 70 years ago.  Mary Merritt…now aged 87, was born in a Dublin workhouse and never met her mother.  She was sent to a Sisters of Mercy orphanage…at the age of two for 14 years where she was whipped by a nun across the hips and back for no reason…But that was nothing compared to the horrors awaiting her when she turned 16 and was sent to the High Park Magdalene laundry for stealing apples.  Aside from working as a virtual slave, she was left blind in her right eye from the toxic material in the laundries and was later raped by a priest after trying to run away…she was stripped of all dignity – even her name – before learning she was pregnant with the priest’s child.  After giving birth to her daughter at the age of 23, she was sent to St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home…for a year where she was granted just half an hour a day to see her daughter…She was then sent back to the Magdalene laundry…where…her daughter [was] adopted out without her permission while she worked as a virtual slave for another three years…She eventually managed to track down her daughter Carmel 40 years after she was born…

Torture Chamber

Just in case you thought screws restricted their petty sadism to the prisoners:

A transgender woman who tried to visit her incarcerated brother [reports] Louisiana prison [guards] ordered her to remove her underwear and told her she would have to reveal her genitalia before she could leave the facility.  The woman…says in a lawsuit filed [last week] that [screws] insisted on searching her vehicle after she refused to remove her pants and underwear…The suit says guards stopped China from entering the…prison last September after a body screening machine detected an “unknown object” in her pants…

Broken Record (#708) 

Quite possibly the stupidest “sex trafficking” story of the year so far:

“Young women are historically vulnerable to sexual…exploitation as a part of…spring break”…[fantasized] Haley Halverson…[of] the National Center on Sexual Exploitation…“Some young women could even fall prey to sex traffickers in this environment.”  It’s also important to recognize that male spring breakers who participate in the commercial sex industry, whether that’s strip clubs or purchasing people in prostitution, could be perpetuating the modern-day sexual slavery market…“The conditions surrounding spring break — such as a large influx of males, the celebratory atmosphere, high alcohol consumption, and having money to spend — can create an increased demand for sex trafficking,” she [fantasized].  “[Propaganda] from [Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz at] the Arizona School of Social Work [claimed] that any large event…becomes a desirable location for a sex trafficker to bring their victims”…

Most 10-to-a-room frat boys can’t even afford to hire a hooker for an hour, much less “purchase a person” (which would run into the tens of thousands, all factors considered).  And if all those girls are supposedly being “pressured” into giving sex away, how the hell is anybody supposed to sell it there?  Illogic doesn’t just run through this story; it gallops.

The Widening Gyre (#786)

There’s a xenophobic stink of the “blood libel” about this story and its treatment:

Up to 1,000 children could have suffered in Britain’s worst known abuse scandal…The rape hell of vulnerable young girls in one town – Telford – went on for a shocking 40 years…Girls as young as 11 have been lured from their families to be drugged, beaten and raped in an epidemic that, say victims, is still ongoing…Despite similar high-profile cases in Rochdale and Rotherham, authorities in Telford ­repeatedly failed to stamp out a network of abusers…Council staff viewed abused and trafficked children as “prostitutes” instead of victims…Authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”…

Opting Out (#810) 

UK politicians aren’t happy that people see their surveillance scheme for what it is:

The UK Government is to delay the introduction of age checks for pornographic websites…to the end of 2018.  The move has been welcomed by privacy campaigners who claim such a process would be an infringement of personal data…[which] would risk personal information being hacked and leaked, such as who watches gay porn and lesbian porn…[anti-censorship lawyer] Myles Jackman…said the delay was an admission that ministers had failed to understand the implications of the age capture…“the privacy risk was so severe that if all that data were hacked they would never be taken seriously again when it came to holding private citizens’ data, whether covertly or otherwise”…

Sex Workers Against Trafficking (#812)

If every “anti-trafficking” organization were like GAATW, there would be no “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Workers and workers association in different sectors, such as domestic work, fisheries or agriculture, are considered the experts in reducing exploitation and trafficking in their industry.  However, when it comes to the sex industry, sex workers and the organisations working with them, are rarely consulted in the development of anti-trafficking measures.  As a result, the anti-trafficking community has alienated a crucial ally that can dramatically improve efforts to prevent trafficking and identify cases of trafficking in the sex industry…the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women…conducted  research which documented the strategies that sex worker organisations employ to prevent and address violence, coercion and exploitation in the sex industry, including instances of human trafficking…All of them respond to women’s needs by providing person-centred, holistic, and non-judgemental support…they listen, advise, intervene and refer women, as dictated by their individual needs…Despite this important work, sex worker organisations remain…vilified by the anti-trafficking community…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

How to prop up a massive and turgid conglomeration of myths, lies and ignorance: don’t talk to anyone who actually knows anything about the subject:

Ivanka Trump…host[ed] a roundtable at the White House…to discuss controversial sex trafficking legislation that has created a rift in the tech industry…Those attending the meeting include [only politicians and representatives of huge companies.  The politicians are only those]…pushing bills that would…[gut] Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which essentially gives internet platforms immunity from liability for content posted by third parties…cutting into Section 230 will damage the legal framework that allows for free speech online and hurt smaller internet companies by forcing them to pour resources into scouring their sites for [criminalized] content…

Elephant in the Parlor (#820)

I’m quite enjoying this whole saga:

[Stormy Daniels] offered…to return $130,000 she received from Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer in 2016 for agreeing not to discuss the alleged relationship.  In exchange…[she] seeks an end to her deal to keep quiet…she…would then be allowed to “(a) speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the President and the attempts to silence her and (b) use any publish any text messages, photos and/or videos…that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and legal liability for damages”…The offer puts the president and [his lawyer]…in a challenging position.  If they agree…[Daniels] can speak openly about not only the sexual relationship…but also about…[the] “hush money”…If they reject the offer, they could be seen as effectively acknowledging the existence of a continuing effort to keep [Daniels] silent…

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