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Posts Tagged ‘Latin America’

An adult who chooses to engage in sexual activity, whether for recreation, procreation or in exchange for something of value, makes a private, individual choice that should not be subject to criminal sanctions.  –  Jeanne LoCicero and Udi Ofer

Something Rotten in Sweden

The 5th installment of the Tits and Sass series “Big Mother is Watching You” profiles notable American proponents of “end demand” and the Swedish model, namely  Rachel Durchslag, Tom DartBeth Klein, Shirley Franklin, Yasmin Vafa and  Dominique Roe-Sepowitz.

A False Dichotomy 

They “see it as a business transaction” because that’s exactly what it is:

…in recent interviews conducted to understand what is driving [migrants] into the hands of human traffickers, it is clear that those involved see the risk they are taking as a business transaction, not a crime.  Malick Traore of Mali…said…“It is even more risky to live in misery in my own home country with a family always having tears in their eyes from hungers…the traffickers…do not call the migrant from their homes, or force them to cross the sea.  It is just an agreement between shipman and client”…Mariam Camara…is a widow with two daughters…[she said] “the criminal is Malian government but not the traffickers.”  Hamidou Thierro…says:  “I do not see those traffickers as criminals, because they are helping the poor migrants who are sacrificing their life to get into Europe to help back their families and plan better life for their children.  The traffickers are not human life protection agent but normal transporter as air plane or train”…

Lawheads just can’t get that normal people don’t really give a shit about their bullshit regulations.

Gorged With Meaning

Just about everything you need to know about this craptastic mixture of the obvious, the pearl-clutching and the dead wrong is that the author interviews the sociopathic narcissist Meghan Murphy instead of one of the many sex workers who write on the subject (such as, oh, ME for example), and approvingly quotes her as saying that raping a sex worker is no big deal.  That, and the fact that it’s named “The New Prostitution Economy” because it pretends that young women trading sex to older men for resources is some kind of new thing.

Follow Your Bliss 

Again, don’t think this is unique to Oakland:

When Leneka Pendergrass’ seventeen-year-old daughter…escaped…a pimp…Pendergrass turned to an organization that had previously helped.  She called Patrick Mims…of the Sexually Exploited Minors program at Bay Area Women Against Rape…the lead East Bay nonprofit organization in the state’s Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force…BAWAR works closely with Oakland police…to [indoctrinate] them about child sex trafficking.  And BAWAR employees…accompany Oakland cops on their anti-[sex worker] sting operations…Pendergrass…and Mims frequently texted the first few nights after she and her daughter escaped…Then…less than a week [later]…Mims came to her apartment and they had sex…[this continued for six weeks, then] Mims suddenly stopped responding to her calls and texts…[and] her daughter’s case was no longer a priority for BAWAR.  She felt Mims abused his position of power.  Feelings of confusion and remorse grew intense, she said.  She worried that her access to OPD and the DA was being curtailed, too…Pendergrass also wrote a letter to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an umbrella organization of rape-crisis centers like BAWAR…nothing ever came of her letter, or the police report…BAWAR…appears to never have acknowledged what happened…Jacqueline Montero

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

…Jacqueline Montero…worked as a prostitute for years to feed her children.  Now, after a decade of activism for women’s rights in the Dominican Republic, she hopes to put her life experience to work following her election to the Chamber of Deputies as part of an opposition coalition…The 46-year-old wants to focus on improving opportunities for women, a significant challenge in a country where about 35 percent of households are led by single mothers in poverty…She plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit discrimination against…LGBT, sex workers, people with AIDS and the elderly.  The walls of her office are adorned with diplomas and posters from international conferences dealing with sex work…Activists say the significance of her election transcends her relatively minor legislative position because she will be a powerful voice for largely unrepresented people…

Cops and Condoms (#313)

Remember Bill Gates’ $100,000 grant to develop “the next generation of condom”?  Well, the first results are in:

…After weeding through 953 applications, the foundation awarded grants to 26 applicants.  Among them was Richard Chartoff, a polymer scientist at Oregon State University, who developed an idea for ultra-thin condoms made from polyurethane elastic polymers that respond to body heat and conform to the penis’s shape…the HEX condom, developed by luxury sex toy company LELO…[features a] “hexagonal net design [which] effectively holds together the condom,” [founder Filip] Sedic explains, “so we were able to make the majority of the condom’s surface very thin without forfeiting strength”…the hexagonal design gripped his penis without squeezing it.  My husband’s sensations were less dulled than usual, too, since it was the thinnest traditionally shaped condom we used…myONE Perfect Fit from ONE Condoms will bring 56 different sizes to the market, allowing men to use a kit…to measure their penis length and width to determine the best size for them…

Devil’s Advocate

This guy seems like a real scumbag…so why isn’t Thailand asking for Norway to extradite him for prosecution there? Do you really want a precedent that people can be prosecuted in one jurisdiction for things they did in another jurisdiction where their actions weren’t illegal?

A 34-year-old Swedish businessman based in Oslo is facing trial in Norway accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in Thailand for several years – including making her pregnant…the girl…is from a poor family and had started working as a prostitute straight after finishing school…at the age of 14 she gave birth to the baby…DNA records have shown that the man is the child’s biological father…Police launched their investigation after he was arrested for…drugs two years ago.  During a search of his home in Oslo officers found indecent images…and 51 movies showing children being sexually abused.  They also found pictures of the Thai girl…

Guinea Pigs 

This is one of those potpourris of hysteria that could fit into any of several headings, but I think the most important one is yet another surveillance tool for hunting down sex workers:

…Tim Wedge, a Forensics Science professor…in Defiance, Ohio…[created] FAGIN, Facial Analysis to Gain Information Now, a basic crude prototype…[which] is designed to take…pictures of missing children, run it through the facial analysis software by comparing them to pictures in ads for people being sold for sex online, and produce a report whenever there’s a match…Wedge says FAGIN has the possibility of rescuing a shocking amount of victims…800,000 children are reported missing each year.  One in five of them are sex trafficking victims…

Can this “science professor” even do math?  Because the reporter sure can’t.  But more importantly: the same program could also compare pics from ads to, say, a driver’s license database, thus giving cops an escort’s legal name and address.

Aloha, Oy!

Hawaii was the last state to criminalize prostitution, and now it’s become the last state to fully rebrand it as “sex trafficking”:

Hawaii has become the last state in the nation to explicitly ban sex trafficking.  Gov. David Ige signed the bill…[which] makes [acts that were already illegal illegal again], expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation.  “It’s a historic day for Hawaii.  Now, from sea to sea, the United States can say it [criminalized some crimes twice],” said Kris Coffield…[a “sex trafficking” profiteer]…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#622) 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

In honor of International [Whores’] Day, activists marched on Atlantic City on June 3 to call for the decriminalization of sex work…This is a goal the American Civil Liberties Union…strongly supports.  Since 1975, the ACLU has believed that prostitution…should be decriminalized…It’s time to stop sweeping consenting adult sex workers into the criminal justice system.  We need models that protect their rights, their health and their safety…Amnesty International adopted a policy advocating the decriminalization of adult consensual sex work in its efforts to prevent human rights violations.  Amnesty isn’t alone.  They joined the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and many other…groups in calling for the decriminalization of sex work to stem the abuse, discrimination and violence that too frequently plague the lives of sex workers…

King of the Hill (#623) The Keep

One of the more amusing tropes of this moral panic: labeling a particular street a “hotbed” of sex work or “trafficking”:

For more than three decades now, the corner of Cypress Avenue and Starr Street has been known as one of the old-school New York prostitution hotbeds.  Even as gentrification of the area rapidly progresses, prostitution as a symptom of the “bad old times” continues…Unbeknownst to the owners at the time of the opening, [a bar named] The Keep became somewhat of a local epicenter for…“Operation Losing Proposition,” the goal of which is to lock up johns as they solicit sex from undercover [sows who use]…the bathrooms at The Keep [without permission] to change into their [costumes]…Eli B. Silverman explains that the initiative was designed by CEU attorneys who researched the law that allows for [asset seizure]…In this case, johns’ cars could be seized…the operation has been yielding incredible [profits]…and [Silverman pretends] prostitution has been greatly reduced…the operation has been consistently dubbed a success, but 26 years later, one has to wonder whether the number of arrested johns is the correct indicator of success, or whether the operation opened a bottomless well of meaningless arrests…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

No, you fucking filthy liar, it’s not “unique” and you fucking know it:

Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ray Kelly, a former sex crimes investigator who serves as the agency’s spokesman, said several members of his department were investigated but a review showed none had done anything illegal or against policy. Kelly would not say if the deputies had sex with [Celeste Guap]…“This case is unique, and it’s not a good example of the relationships between sex crimes victims and police officers,” he said…

In typical tone-deaf LA Times fashion, the reporter concludes a story about people abusing women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices by praising someone who abuses women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices:

…[Sylvia] Vigil…has been preaching to the girls she [condescendingly dehumanizes] as “twilight treasures” since 1982…when she founded the Oakland branch of Victory Outreach…On [a] recent visit to International Boulevard, Vigil shook her head as she watched [a] young woman enter [a client’s] car, said a prayer, then brought her van’s engine to life and hit the gas…As the man in the Cutlass attempted to drive away, Vigil pulled her van in front of his car, blocking him in.  A colleague from the ministry who sat in Vigil’s van held up a Victory Outreach business card and shouted “not tonight” at the man…

Naturally, Vigil didn’t offer to pay the girl for the client she scared away, so the girl probably didn’t eat that night. But I’m sure the knowledge that she had been “saved” from dirty, filthy sex assuaged her hunger.

The End of the Beginning (#653)

Another in an anti-registry series from Vox:

When I first became a public defender, I believed the worst punishment that my clients would face would be time in jail.  Since then, I’ve learned that incarceration is not the…worst…punishment the criminal justice system can impose.  The registration requirements imposed on those convicted of sex offenses are unfairly harsh and punitive…I had always assumed that sex offender registration was limited to those who committed the most egregious and dangerous offenses.  I had also trusted that the Supreme Court was right when, in 2003, it stated that sex offender registration laws are not punishments but merely administrative requirements to protect public safety.  But I realize now that many of my clients would choose…anything to avoid being labeled a sex offender for life…because our current…laws apply an…inhumane one-size-fits-all approach that does not prevent future sex crimes and in fact makes us all less safe…The registration process appears designed to make people fail.  The rules are so complicated that few non-attorneys can keep up with them…

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Whilst the Government looks to the law as a means to manage commercial sex, violence and abuse will continue for…sex workers.  –  Teela Sanders

Think of the Children! 

“Woman has two jobs” is not news:

Katya Gorlova…was [filmed without her consent] accepting cash from a customer [to do her job]…During conversation she told the man her [other] job involved teaching signing and dancing to young children at a school…She now faces an enquiry…She said her part-time prostitution work did not in any way hinder her job at the school…

The Swedish Pimpocracy

Sweden, the feminist paradise:

A Swedish doctor fed a woman drug-laced strawberries and then repeatedly raped her in a homemade bunker that he planned to use for more victims…the man, who has not been named…was an intellectual who was socially awkward and secretive…He once showed pals the outside of his underground dungeon, which he spent five years building…The doctor allegedly gave the woman…a box of chocolate-covered strawberries spiked with Rohypnol while at her place in Stockholm.  He then drove her to his lair 350 miles away…he…planned to keep the woman locked in the dungeon for years.  But he panicked when she was reported missing and drove her to a nearby police station, and was then arrested.porn categories

The Proper Study

But what does “porn” mean?

…Pornhub…just released its annual review of country-by-country data on porn searches and consumption.  By percentage of traffic, the United States was Pornhub’s biggest 2015 consumer, followed by the U.K., India, Canada, and Germany.  The most-searched term on Pornhub last year was lesbian, followed by teen, step mom, cartoon, and milf.  Pornhub also looked at which searches have gained the most over 2014.  Some of the more safe-for-work words:  giantess (up 1,091 percent), real public sex(up 583 percent), romantic sex (up 267 percent), and lesbian seduces straight (up 244 percent).  For U.S. users only, hardcore lesbian scissoring saw the most gain (up 918 percent), followed by celebrity sex tape (up 553 percent).  Other leaps included extreme gangbang (260 percent), step mom shower (213 percent), and yoga (133 percent)…

Droit du Seigneur 

Given that “ring” is a dysphemism for “suppressed business”, how can one have a “prostitution ring” that caters to government officials and is managed by the cops in a country where prostitution is legal?

Colombia’s national police force is facing allegations that it wiretapped a high-profile journalist…investigations into the allegations…are being hindered by death threats and conflicts of interests…The…scandal broke when prominent radio host and former news anchor Vicky Dávila announced that she, her family, and her reporting team had been trailed and wiretapped by the national police.  Dávila…was investigating allegations that some 300 police cadets were engaged in a prostitution ring catering to top officials…four other prominent journalists investigating the police have also claimed to be victims of wiretapping and harassment…

Above the Law 

These are the people prohibitionists want in charge of sex workers:

[An]…Ohio [cop] has been charged with raping a woman in 2014 and then using the police database to stalk her after she reported the crime….Jeffrey Martin…was arrested last month on charges of rape, stalking and menacing…Martin [also] pretended to be a private investigator so he could stalk his victim onto Ursuline College campus…he had been suspended four times by the Pepper Pike Police Department.  Two of the suspensions were related to inappropriate conduct toward women…

Checklist

Note that most of these revolve around either bogus “signs” or masturbatory “awareness raising”:

After first learning about human trafficking, many people want to help in some way but do not know how.  Here are just a few ideas for your consideration…Learn the red flags that may indicate human trafficking…so that you can help identify a potential trafficking victim…Incorporate human trafficking information into your professional associations’ conferences, trainings, manuals, and other materials…Join or start a grassroots anti-trafficking coalition…Distribute public awareness materials…Host an awareness event to watch and discuss a recent human trafficking documentary.  On a larger scale, host a human trafficking film festival…Set up a Google alert to receive current human trafficking news…Train your staff on how to identify the indicators of human trafficking…Look for signs of human trafficking among your clients…

Dutch Threat 

The slow death of Die Wallen:

…The constant claim people make on us is that they are helping us, but really what they’re doing is just dumping more shit on us.  They don’t really listen, they just talk with you so they can say they talked with you and listened to you.  But…if they really would’ve listened to us, the city government would’ve immediately stopped buying up more windows than the more than 100 workplaces that we’ve already lost. But they don’t…[the] 37 [new] window…[closures mean] work space [for] at least 135 prostitutes…these…on top of the estimated 375 women that [have] already [lost] their workplace, bringing the total to more than 500 women…We can’t work elsewhere, because all over this country they’re closing down legal workplaces for prostitutes.  In fact, between 2006 and 2014 in total 40% of all the legal prostitution businesses closed down.  Between 2000 and now, 729 prostitution windows alone closed down.  That’s more than 1/3 of all the prostitution windows in this country!  And than they’re still surprised that illegal prostitution is a growing problem?…window brothels in 2016

Worse Than I Thought (#322)

In other words, he was a time waster, not a “sex trafficker”:

A Nashville judge has overturned the conviction and 22-year prison sentence for a man whose case was [touted] by prosecutors as the first of its kind in the state…Kohlmeyer testified…that he was lonely and bored during his job as a forklift driver…when he began chatting with a prostitute he found on…Backpage…they talked for more than 90 minutes over two days…[and] Kohlmeyer offered “5000+ for you and someone YOUNG!”  The woman went to police, and Nashville Detective Sheba Cantrell took over, posing as the prostitute.  She…had conversations with Kohlmeyer about what age of girls he was looking for…”Just over 8 not over 16,” Kohlmeyer replied…Cantrell pushed for a meeting…[and] Kohlmeyer…cut off contact…Kohlmeyer never had the money discussed…Public Defender Chaucey Fuller…later filed a motion for acquittal arguing — among other things — that the law requires an actual person being trafficked, and that fictitious girls offered by an undercover detective did not meet that standard…Kohlmeyer is [currently also] facing [child porn] charges…

An Example to the West (#349)

thousands of sex workers in [Bengaluru,] India…want to be part of the mainstream society and enjoy all their rights…till a few years ago most of these women had no access to even a ration card…Today things are different.  Around 5,700 sex workers in the city have recently been benefited from various social security schemes and entitlements, which include, pension schemes, ration cards, Aadhar cards, Voter ID cards, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), Jan Dhan Yojana scheme, legal services and loans, to name a few.  All these have been made possible by the Sahaya Single Window project under the aegis of the Centre for Advocacy and Research (CFAR), an NGO.  It was first implemented in 2013…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#449)

Fantasy film double feature:

…in northwest Ohio…the…film…Chosen was presented as part of an event highlighting Human Trafficking Awareness Month at Van Wert Cinemas.  The free event attracted over 75 to see the documentary.  A free showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens followed…

The Course of a Disease (#449) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

MPs are to launch a major inquiry into how sex workers are treated in UK law…The Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry will examine whether criminal action should still be focused most heavily on those who sell sex, rather than those who buy it…Professor Teela Sanders of the University of Leeds…said shifting criminal action onto those who pay for sex risked driving the activities underground.  She said: “We have had two decades of reviewing, legislating, guidelines…and none of them have prioritised the safety of sex workers and the broader issues around human rights to protection.  There have been various consultations and parliamentary groups in recent years including attempts to make it a crime to pay for sex in 2009 and the more recent 2014 report Shifting the Burden from the All Party Parliamentary Group – none of these had the safety of sex workers at the fore”…

Schadenfreude (#566) 

This is the place sex workers “rescued” by the likes of Somaly Mam are sent:

Police in Phnom Penh arrested at least 274 sex workers…last year before sending them to the notorious Prey Speu social affairs center…The Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), which is run primarily by current and former sex workers, assisted in [their] release…street workers reported being arrested eight to nine times per year, on average.  Eighty percent of those surveyed reported being “violated” by police officers, either physically or sexually…district governor Kouch Chamroeun angrily denied that police…abused sex workers…[but also bloviated that] police had every right to arrest street workers…because sex workers held at Prey Speu have not received due process, nor faced prosecution in court, their detention is unlawful…

Surplus Women (#586) 

Nakuru [Kenya] sex workers say a serial killer is targeting and mutilating them…they protested on Kenyatta Avenue against the rise in murders.  They demanded county police catch the killer.  Four sex workers were found dead under mysterious circumstances between September and October last year.  Two had their skin peeled off and the others’ eyes were gouged out, the sex workers say…[on January 9th] another sex worker, 20-year-old Grace Wangari, was killed…

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For me, “whore” is a synonym for freedom.  –  Angela Villon

Lack of Evidence

As long as cops are given power over private behavior, this will keep happening:

A…Las Vegas [cop] was indicted by a federal grand jury…on felony charges of roughing up a woman he suspected was a prostitute.  Richard Scavone…was charged with violating the civil rights of the woman when he used excessive force while arresting her in January 2015 and falsifying his report of the encounter to obstruct an FBI investigation…Scavone…grabbed the woman around her neck and threw her to the ground, struck her in the forehead with an open palm, slammed her face into the hood of his patrol car two times and slammed her into the door of his car…Scavone was wearing a body camera during the scuffle, but police have [hidden]…the recording…

Rooted in Racism

No, this wasn’t a “mistake”; it was a deliberate action proceeding directly from government-approved profiling guidelines:

When Kathleen Chan and Jay Serrano boarded a flight from Miami to New York City, they didn’t expect to be escorted off the plane by police once it landed…the flight crew had alerted the police that it was a possible case of sex trafficking…the couple was [persecuted because] when Serrano went to the bathroom…because he was sick…Chan walked with him there and waited for him outside the lavatory.  And [later they shared]…a cup of orange juice…Michelle Guelbart, who works with the travel industry for…[rescue industry profiteers] ECPAT USA…[bloviated that] “One of the indicators for sex trafficking is someone who’s not allowed to move freely through the cabin”…

The Last Shall Be First

Pervert politicians want to give pedophile cops the power to inspect children’s genitals before they use the toilet:

A bill filed by a Virginia lawmaker…would require schools to be certain that children are using the restroom corresponding to their “correct anatomical sex”.  The legislation, which would prohibit transgender students from using the bathroom matching their gender, is being sponsored by Republican…Mark Cole.  House Bill 663 defines “anatomical sex” as “the physical condition of being male or female, which is determined by a person’s anatomy”…any student who violated the bathroom rules could be fined $50 by [armed government thugs]…Civil rights advocate Tim Peacock noted that “adults would be required to inspect children’s genitals before they use the bathroom” for the legislation to be enforceable…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

It’s kind of fascinating that so much effort is being expended over something that not only doesn’t exist, but will never exist in the form and timetable imagined in these articles:

The sexbots are coming.  Technology is transforming every step of our love lives.  What started as meeting and flirting through screens and progressed to sexy time over Skype is now leading to products that promise happier relationships and more meaningful connections…Experts predict that future generations will get frisky with the help of virtual reality goggles, holograms, stimulating bodysuits and, yes, erotic robots…What is the line between augmenting human connection with technology, and replacing it altogether?  What does it mean for sex as we’ve always known it — eye contact, skin, sweat — if there’s a digital third wheel in the mix?…

The Public Eye

Comfort Zone (#320)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

Human traffickers are exploiting the U.S. visa system by forcing young women to pose as fiancées or family members of American gang members, who force them into a life of misery once here…Sold by their parents, lured by promises of wealth and fame or kidnapped, young women are being brought to U.S. soil in plain sight, and with federally approved paperwork, said Claude Arnold…of [ICE]…A newly released audit…confirms the U.S. government may have issued hundreds of visas to human traffickers…The report blamed a critical lack of communication between ICE…and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services…

Original Sin (#321)

It was inevitable that some state actors would eventually start mouthing this idiocy, despite the fact that porn is legal:

The Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, announced Texas will combat modern-day slavery with a the state’s first human trafficking unit…“Where you find trafficking you find drugs, you find smuggling you find arms, you find violent crime of a whole large variety,” said [prosecutor] Kirsta Leeburg Melton…“There are huge links in the culture between pornography-use and the demand, that creates a demand for prostitution”…

Prudesville (#448)

Can this absurd little drama finally be over now?

…Carmela Panico faced up to a year in jail…but a judge agreed to grant the espresso madam a first-time offender waiver…Panico served two days in jail after her stands were raided in 2013. The former Snohomish woman…was forced to walk away from her lucrative bikini espresso stands in 2014 after pleading guilty to promoting prostitution and money laundering. Prosecutors alleged that the stands were operating as drive-through brothels, raking in millions. Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Bob Hendrix [pretended that] Panico engaged in predatory behavior, profiting from women with drug problems and financial troubles…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Suppressing dissident views is a typical behavior of religions:

Katherine Zappone, the [Irish] senator, has been criticised after a sex workers’ rights group claimed it was “uninvited” from her feminist conference because of political differences.  Fempower…had originally granted Ugly Mugs, the sex worker support group, a stand at the event but revoked the pass this week…

Stupor Bowl (#510) 

No facts to support your money-making propaganda?  No worries!  There are morally-retarded academics who’ll happily invent bullshit for you:

For the first time in its efforts to crack down on sex trafficking during the Super Bowl, the FBI will try to reach out to women and girls selling sex in the run-up to the game to give them a way out and get them to turn against their traffickers…This year’s event in the San Francisco Bay Area, like past bowls and other large sporting events, is expected to be a magnet for trafficking…according to [opportunistic liars who pretend]…that victims are often too fearful to help prosecute their traffickers…“A lot of times they don’t see themselves as victims,” said Jennifer Madden, a local prosecutor…[profiteers trying to keep the myth alive concede that] there is no evidence that additional women or girls are forced into prostitution to serve the Super Bowl market.  But [they pretend that] those already trafficked may be moved to such events…Dominique Roe-Sepowitz [designed a bullshit “study”] leading up to the 2015 Super Bowl in…Phoenix…They [invented] an uptick in online sex ads…[and pretended that] more than 60 percent of the 1,300 prostitution ads researchers flagged showed significant signs the sex provider was a trafficking victim…

Another Fine Mess (#547)

I’ve often pointed out that ordinary business practices don’t magically become newsworthy when whores use them.  However, I don’t so much mind these articles when their primary goal is demystification rather than gawking:  “…finding clients is just one small part of what technology can do for sex workers.  Equally, if not more, important is the way sex workers use apps and websites—often ordinary, everyday ones used by many outside the sex industry—to mitigate the risk that comes with their working environment…Penthouse September 1969

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#580)

Internet porn just claimed another casualty.  Penthouse has announced that it’s dropping its print magazine after 51 years of publication…the magazine [will] close its New York City offices and move into the Los Angeles location of its parent company, FriendFinder Networks.  FriendFinder isn’t specific about the reasons behind the decision besides a plan to “keep Penthouse competitive.”  However, it doesn’t take much to read between the lines.  Much like Playboy, Penthouse is struggling in an era when it’s trivial to find porn online…It had to either give its print mag a better reason to exist (Playboy‘s strategy) or else cut that overhead completely…

Harm Magnification (#599)

No, it’s not a “complicated issue”; it’s a non-issue complicated by the sociopathic need to control others’ sexual behavior:

London [Ontario’s] street sex workers fear growing isolation and the danger that comes with it…The places they fear most are often the one that many [clients] want to go, a survey of 33 workers found…The women said they would rather not travel to isolated places to perform sex, but the [clients] insist because they fear being caught…[due to] Canada’s new prostitution laws, which make it illegal to buy sex with punishment by fines and imprisonment…Prostitution legislation is a complicated issue with intense debate from all sides…

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You take a lot of steam out of the “not representative” argument…when you have…escorts in North America…advocating the same message as devadasi sex workers in India or bar hostesses in Kenya.  –  Anlina Sheng

Check Your Premises

Reading the self-contradictory sexual fantasies of prohibitionists makes me feel like I need a shower:

Last year, Rockford [Illinois vice pigs] arrested 95 women…and two men…[but in 2015 they] arrested 18 women…and 41 men…[then pretended this was some kind of “progress”.  Deputy cheif pig] Doug Pann [vomited out the lie that] “No one chooses to be a prostitute.  At some point in their life, they were forced or coerced into this lifestyle.  The people causing the harm are the pimps and johns.”  Pimps are men who control women who sell their bodies…[prohibitionist] Jennifer Cacciapaglia [profits from the state persecution of sex workers]…Chief Deputy [Pig] Mark Karner said….”you cannot paint with a broad brush prostitutes as victims”…police have to respond to complaints from neighbors who see a woman standing on a street corner…[bigots whine] about “bringing down my property values, bringing crime to my neighborhood.”  Cacciapaglia [denies sex workers’ humanity and agency, claiming instead]…”those women would not be there if the men were not buying them”…Pann said…police need the cooperation of prostituted women to go after pimps, but the women won’t talk because they fear being abused…pimps are “vicious monsters, incredibly dangerous,” Cacciapaglia said…

See No Evil Mathilde Grafström photo

In case you think Denmark’s “sexually liberal”:

An exhibition combating negative self-image in a square in Copenhagen has been closed down by police.  Photographer Mathilde Grafström snaps women who don’t have traditional model looks, for a photo series called Female Beauty…Police have denied permission for her photos to be displayed in Copenhagen’s Nytorv square, with Grafström filing a complaint against them and condemning their view of the female body as “offensive”…

The More the Better (#32)

Perhaps one day we’ll arrive at the point where, “She was so desperate to raise money she got a better job!” sounds as ridiculous to most people as it does to me:

Megan Clara, 20, says she was gutted last year when her son Ashton, five, complained that he didn’t receive the same expensive presents as his mates.  The single mum, who survived on £80 a week…vowed to make Christmas 2015 one to remember – and has spent the year making adult films, earning £500 a scene, to give her family a five-star festive celebration…

Japanese Prostitution (#131)

a decades-long standoff over Korean women forced into sexual slavery by Japan’s WWII military…[was settled on December 28th]…Both sides compromised…so no one got everything they wanted.  Nationalists in Japan are angry over Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s apology.  Some South Koreans say President Park Geun-hye settled for far too little money – about $8 million – and that Japan still hasn’t taken legal responsibility for atrocities during its colonial occupation of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945…tens of thousands of women from around Asia, many of them Korean, were sent to front-line military brothels to provide sex to Japanese soldiers.  But only 46 known former Korean sex slaves, most in their late 80s and 90s, still live, and with time running out and with frustration growing, this deal is seen by many here as the best to be had from a hawkish Abe government.  “Insisting that Japan take legal responsibility is the same thing as saying we don’t want to resolve the issue of comfort women,” said Jin Chang Soo, an analyst at the Sejong Institute think tank, who called the deal an important step forward…

Ad Absurdum

An 18-year-old “man” and a 17-year-old “girl”.  SHAZAM!

Authorities arrested an 18-year-old man…for promoting the prostitution of a minor…Philip Scott Pleasants took a 17-year-old girl to meet different “Johns,” or clients, in [North Carolina]…Pleasants was [caged]…in the New Hanover County Jail under a $250,000 bond…

Cuckoo Advertising

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

Ashley Madison claims it has added 4 million members…since a hack on the adultery dating site revealed the identities of thousands of cheating spouses…A rolling count on the homepage claims it has more than 43 million members, up from the 39 million users counted when the site was hit by a group of hackers dubbed the “Impact Team”…the site [also] had 70,000 fake female profiles used to lure men to pay fees for credits on the site.  Avid Life Media, Ashley Madison’s parent company, has not commented on the hack since an August statement and would not comment on the new numbers…

Paint By Numbers

Why do anything special? Just pretend your unsold product “raises awareness of sex trafficking” and watch the profits roll in!

Elisa Wolcott…a University of Nebraska at Omaha art major…has cast, fired and sanded 2,000 ceramic birds in order to raise awareness about sex trafficking in Nebraska.  Her project, “2000 Souls,” is meant to represent the number of women across the state who have been forced into prostitution.  While numbers [don’t exist]…the Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking [decided to pretend]…that at least 47 school-age girls — and likely many more — become victims of sex trafficking in Nebraska each year…her goal was to display the birds in a public setting.  She landed on the airport as her ideal venue.  It’s a place where people come and go by the thousands, where a constellation of birds suspended in air will draw attention…and where, perhaps, [she might make a lot of money from a moral panic]…

Naked Truth (#401)

Drawing BloodIf you want to understand the state of the sex trade…in 21st century America, look no further than the following books.  All published in 2015, they offer inside glimpses of the personal and political aspects of sex work…in ways that are both entertaining and enlightening…I surveyed some current and former sex workers about what they’ve been reading recently, too…”  The list includes Coming Out Like a Porn Star by Jiz Lee, Drawing Blood by Molly Crabapple, Saloons, Prostitutes, and Temperance in the Alaska Territory by Catherine Holder Spude, $pread:  The Best of the Magazine that Illuminated the Sex IndustryBest Sex Writing of the Year edited by Jon Pressick, Prose & Lore (issue 5) by the Red Umbrella Project, and Love Not Given Lightly by Tina Horn.

Not Your Rescue Project 

Sex workers…have formed such a vibrant, vocal part of the internet that it’s hard to imagine an online world without them.  And with that visibility has come a reduction in the stigma related to sex work.  After all, it’s a lot harder to assume that sex workers are mindless, manipulated fuckbots when they’re tweeting thoughts on feminism, racial justice, or the newest Star Wars film…sex workers…handily dismantled the myths and misconceptions that pop culture had fed me over the years.  For many years, I felt a bit alone in my sex work wokeness.  Most of my friends…seemed to harbor [a] rather antiquated…attitude that…sees sex work as abuse rather than legitimate employment.  But lately it’s felt like something has changed.  Over the course of 2015, sex workers have repeatedly been in the media…In fact, when millennial icon Lena Dunham came out against Amnesty International’s support for the decriminalization of sex work, she was excoriated in the media—the same media that, several years earlier, might have applauded her for that very stance…Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook are helping a whole new generation learn about the ins and outs of the world’s oldest industry…

License to Rape (#562)

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

A video uploaded to Facebook shows a gang of cops from the Fort Myers Police Department and Lee County Sheriff’s Office brutally violating a man on the roadside, after pulling him over for a rolling stop.  Screams of agony can be heard echoing from the trees as the man’s arm is twisted almost to the breaking point and his rectum is invaded by the gloved hand of a drug war enforcer.  The cops can be heard saying, “Stop resisting! Just relax!” as the victim continues to scream and kick in pain.  Five officers are initially involved in subduing the man and searching his vehicle, and then another joins the fun by posing with gun in hand facing the onlookers…the anal cavity search was carried out in full view of the public, including a female onlooker…Todd Crisp, a family member of the victim, said that at least one of the cops, Arturo Gonzales, routinely harasses Crisp and his family, and this was just the latest episode…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#575)

According to Hong Kong “authorities”, I operate a “brothel”:

…Sex work in Hong Kong is legal, if it is practised in one room with one person only and nobody else but the sex worker profits from the exchange.  This means that sex workers cannot have managers or security personnel.  The places where they work are called one-woman brothels.  Foreign sex workers cannot work with a tourist visa – they are often detained as they breach a condition of their stay by working without the appropriate permit.  Waiting for clients on the street or soliciting money for sex services is also illegal, and that may include anything from a verbal offer to gestural insinuation, or even just eye contact…[on September 17th] police arrested 62 alleged prostitutes from mainland China and Taiwan…for [such technicalities]…Pang Wing-chau…is a volunteer working with Zi Teng, a sex workers’ support association.  “Although police operations happen on a regular basis, there were more raids than usual in the last three months because of…the District Council elections…politicians ask the police to do more arrests just to get votes”…

Stupor Bowl (#593)

The “gypsy whores” myth has been so discredited, politicians can’t even get reporters to parrot it any more, and so must write their own propaganda:

Early next year, Super Bowl 50 will come to Santa Clara.  With increased tourism, we predict a spike in human trafficking…it’s estimated that 40 percent of the human trafficking activities on the West Coast come through the Bay Area airports…A shadow network shuttling women, men, girls, boys, even babies…trafficking is an estimated $150 billion industry worldwide, exploiting nearly 21 million victims around the world.  It remains the world’s fastest-growing criminal enterprise…we have the capacity and the capability to stop such atrocities from happening in our own backyard…it is only a matter of time until we eradicate human trafficking…

Served Cold (#595) 

Despite the ICE, the odor of this is unmistakable:

Two Utah nonprofit organizations raised money to help an international group of law enforcement officials arrest child sex traffickers in Peru…Dan Baird…of Crack the Crowd [claimed without presenting evidence that]…”A total of 36 people were freed from slavery, including 11 children; two of those were 4 years old and 7 years old, I mean really young kids”…Some Utah police departments regularly work to rescue victims through undercover child sex trafficking stings…”The ability for us to remove victims from their circumstance and [lock them up]” said Sgt. Jason Ackerman [in a sentence fragment]…Ackerman oversees undercover sex trafficking operations…monitoring child sex trafficking rings in “public hotels, they are out of houses and on the streets”…

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If you won’t honor people’s boundaries, you don’t belong anywhere near another human being, much less on a porn set.  –  Cyd Nova

Finding What Isn’t There

There are thousands of pimps and ‘sex slaves’, we swear!  We’re just not allowed to investigate them!

According to [Delhi] police, prostitution rackets prevail…because there are orders for local police not to carry out raids under the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act without enough evidence and permission from senior officers.  The orders were issued by senior officers at Delhi Police headquarters after regular complaints of corruption and harassment of sex workers by policemen.  “The order has come to the aid of pimps”…says a [cop]…“Prostitution involving foreign women is not only rampant…but seems to be flourishing with the support of authorities.  While many are willing…there are also those who have been tricked into the trade”…says [a prohibitionist]…Police and NGOs [imagine] that Uzbekistan…[is] one of the preferred countries for these gangs.  It is also [imagined] that women from the country are managed by women of Uzbek origin settled in India for many years…[another cop fantasizes that] “The money…is paid to the pimp.  The…money never goes to [the sex workers]”…police [imagine] there must be around 2,000 women from [other] countries working in the capital…

The Widening Gyre baby box

Observation: Naive woman makes an ill-considered Craigslist post.  Conclusion: A worldwide conspiracy abducting pregnant women to steal their babies.

Georgia mother Elaine Sunwoo Williams was worried that her baby-crazy 14-year-old daughter would go and get herself knocked up.  So, assuming someone must have a spare baby lying around, Williams posted an ad on Craigslist…[asking] new mothers with unwanted babies to drop them off…at the Williams residence, where she and her daughter would “provide a loving home”…Once the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office was tipped off to the ad, they arrested both Williams and her daughter, charging each with…a felony…If convicted, [Williams] faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine…An NBC Atlanta broadcast warned viewers that baby selling is “part of human trafficking“…NBC also quotes Louise Shelly, author of the book Human Trafficking, claiming that “human traffickers are increasingly trafficking pregnant women for their newborns”…Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office is asking Homeland Security to help it find people who emailed Williams offering to sell their babies so that they can be charged with human trafficking…

Worse Than I Thought

This is the result of draconian “sex trafficking” laws: sex workers threatened with decades in prison for being in the company of slightly younger sex workers:

…20-year-old Tayari Meadows was facing a sentence up to life in prison.  But…the prosecution and defense…reached a plea deal to release Meadows…on three years probation.  Meadows pleaded guilty under…an Alford Plea where she disputes…the facts presented by prosecutors but admits guilt in participating in a prostitution operation.  Her agreement requires her to testify against [accused pimp] Jackson Fleming…Meadows [served] only the 8 months she’s been in jail since being arrested in April…As part of her probation, Meadows is not allowed to have any contact with the teenage girl who…was found with her in a…motel room when Meadows was arrested…

“Only” 8 months locked in a cage for the “crime” of being with another person.

Dirty Laundry

We should all consider the fact that on many Christmas Days…many women were locked up as slaves in Magdalene laundries, far from family and friends.”

Ruhama, a [religious group] that [exploits sex worers]…has published a new report on the extent of the situation…the group’s CEO Sarah Benson said:  “We should all consider the fact that this Christmas Day while most of us settle down to a meal with loved ones, many women will be in brothels around the country, far from family and friends”…Last month…RTÉ [broadcast a fantasy about]…gangs…[moving] women…around brothels all over the country…Ruhama is calling for [more money so they can continue to profit from] prostitution and [the hysteria over] sex trafficking…

Checklist

“If you see something, say something”, UK style:

People in Essex are being urged to look out for signs of human trafficking and modern slavery as they go about their daily lives…the county’s deputy police and crime commissioner warned that “hidden harms” such as slavery…[and] child sexual exploitation…needed tackling head-on…everyone has a part to play in identifying and tracking down covert crimes – not just Essex Police officers.  He claimed if residents looked into suspicious situations, hidden harms would come to light…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s hard to believe this was written by an adult in 2015:

A Peabody [Massachusetts] brothel and drug den was operating behind the suburban facade of a six-bedroom house…before authorities swooped in and arrested six people…Dawn Spurr…is charged with two counts of drug possession, being the keeper of a noisy and disorderly house and trafficking in persons for sexual servitude…“I am extremely pleased…with [snitches]…assisting with the riddance of such types of despicable acts,” Peabody police Chief Thomas M. Griffin said…

The Missing Word

That word doesn’t appear in this article, but notice that everything magically becomes “dark” and “sinister” when sex is involved:

Sexual servitude is arguably the most egregious worker violation of foreign workers in this country…a joint taskforce including the Fair Work Ombudsman and Border Force, has raided five karaoke bars in two cities, Perth and Melbourne…[following] allegations of wage fraud, sham contracting and sexual slavery of female hosts…Australians are becoming increasingly horrified by the level of exploitation of foreign workers in this country…it is undermining the economic fabric of the country…[and] robbing the Australian Taxation Office of hundreds of millions of dollars a year…

That last line is, of course, the government’s real concern.

Above the Law (#434)

One down, tens of thousands to go:

…Oklahoma City [cop] Daniel Holtzclaw has been found guilty of multiple counts of rape…as well as sexual battery, procuring lewd exhibition, and forcible oral sodomy…His 36 charges ranged from stalking and indecent exposure to forcible sodomy…he was found guilty of 18…Holtzclaw deliberately chose women he thought were unlikely to be believed — black women with criminal records from an impoverished neighborhood…

Whore Detection

Prostitution laws harm all women, but especially black and transgender women:

…There are a lot of situations that may warrant calling 911.  But seeing a transgender person is not one of them.  But that’s exactly what a hotel manager in West Des Moines, Iowa, did when Meagan Taylor and her friend, both Black transgender women, checked into the hotel…on their way to a funeral…the ACLU…[has] obtained the audio recording of the 911 call…the caller complains that they are…“two males, but they’re dressed as females with ‘male IDs’ and ‘dressed a little over the top.’”  Even the dispatcher is somewhat incredulous that this would prompt anyone to call 911.  She questions why the caller is suspicious and the caller explains, that “I just want to make sure they’re not hookers”…

Served Cold 

Doesn’t anybody else think it’s a bit horrifying that the US is conducting military raids in other countries it’s not at war with?

An international law enforcement operation culminated…with the arrests of 6 individuals involved in sex trafficking and the [arrest] of 36 sex trafficking victims, including 11 minors.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Attaché Office covering the Andean region and the Peruvian National Police (PNP) conducted the binational law enforcement operation…The rescued victims are all Peruvian and one is as young as 4 years old…This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator…HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity…

“As young as 4 years old”?  What the fuck does that mean?  A person could literally be any age above 4 and that statement would still be true.

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

Because big strong men have to “rescue” weak, stupid women from our choices:

In January, Ohio will become the first state to require prospective truckers to be trained to spot warning signs for human trafficking before they get licensed.  Training will consist of materials provided by…Truckers Against Trafficking…“the goal…is driving human trafficking out of Ohio, because it’s going to be too dangerous for the bad guys to work here,” [a rather silly and pompous cop said]…the training program is based on guidelines first set up in Iowa to mobilize truckers to combat human trafficking…5.5 million children worldwide are victims of sex trafficking…

Welcome To Our World (#588)

This is really rather pathetic:

Somebody at the New York Times has repeatedly edited reporter Sarah Nir’s Wikipedia page to defend her controversial exposé of the nail salon industry and attack her critics…One of the 20 anonymous edits to Nir’s Wikipedia entry — since removed — dismissed the criticism as “minor controversies from right wing and Libertarian outlets, as well as several protests from salon owners unwilling to abide by the new laws created…in the wake of the story.”  Another edit blasted Richard Bernstein, who attacked Nir’s reporting in the New York Review of Books, as “a white salon owner and…author of a widely-panned book that highly sexualized Asian women.”  Besides the edits from the New York Times IP address, there were six from California last summer when Nir was on the West Coast. Another seven were from an AT&T mobile IP address…

Fallen Idol

Cyd Nova on the relief sex workers feel at being generally believed for once:

…For the survivors of James Deen whose stories are told and untold; for the sex workers whose perpetrators used the stigmatized environment of the profession to prey on their vulnerabilities; for the sex workers who have been assaulted and then continued to work, sometimes with the same person who assaulted them, because at that moment that was what they had to do to survive; this news cycle has been hell…I’ve never seen such public furor around the assaults of sex workers.  It’s left everyone I know drained thinking, talking, or reading about it. Waiting to see what direction the narrative will take—will the news coverage continue to slant in favor of the survivors?  What will the consequences be for Deen after the scandal of this story is dusted over by another?…Although I’d always hoped that someone would out him publicly, I understood why, for a long time, no one did.  I’ve been a sex worker for 13 years and have performed in or produced porn for most of that time…Building an illusion of blanket positivity about your job is not only about being a good porn star, it’s about building armor against a society that wants you to be damaged…

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Many use their hands, others use their brains.  We use our vaginas to work.  –  Mónica Lencina

The Red Umbrella 

Katherine Koster of SWOP published this list of “17 Facts About Sexual Violence and Sex Work” as a lead-up to December 17th.   Most of my readers are probably familiar with all or at least most of these already, but it’s important to remind the general public; furthermore, it’s good to see that Huffington Post seems to be slowly distancing itself from anti-whore propaganda and is publishing a lot more pro-sex-worker-rights articles in the past year or so.Mark Benavides

Droit du Seigneur

a…client of Mark H. Benavides, a San Antonio lawyer, accused Benavides of having sex with her in an empty room in the Bexar County Courthouse during her intoxication manslaughter trial.  Benavides claimed that she was lying and upset because she was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge…after the first victim spoke up, others came forward.  The first was a prostitute who said that after their first encounter in 2005, he offered his services as a lawyer.  She…always paid for his legal services with sex, never with money.  She stopped in 2012, and Benavides reminded her that he had videotape of their sexual encounters.  Another victim said that she met Benavides repeatedly for sex…[because she] was afraid that if she refused, Benavides would, based on his good relationship with the judge, hurt her case.  The final victim did not have money to pay Benavides, so he had her meet him every Tuesday at a motel.  When she didn’t show one time, he went to court and withdrew the attorney bond he had posted for her, which resulted in her being arrested…Benavides was arrested and charged with three counts of Compelling Prostitution…[which is] much easier to prove [than rape]…

Bell, Hook and Kettle

Though the reporter of course believes in the Salvation Army’s propaganda and doesn’t think to investigate the truth about the religious group’s anti-whore and anti-queer crusades, this puff piece contains some useful statistics:

…fliers featuring people’s mouths sealed with duct tape have gone up on targeted street corners and inside women’s restrooms — one of the few places where victims of sex trafficking might find privacy…82 cents of every dollar dropped into the kettle goes to helping people in need.  The holiday fundraising campaign generates nearly 70 percent of the funds used to provide services year-round…

There’s no telling what fraction of that 82% goes to hate campaigns, but you can bet it’s substantial.

Legal Is as Legal Does

Despite the moronic headline, this isn’t a bad article:

Ammar, the Argentinean union of prostitutes…set up a tent in front of Congress to request a new law that would allow them to access the same benefits enjoyed by other independent workers…Argentinean law does not ban prostitution. Each province, however, regulates it differently. In most cases, regulation is so rigorous that offering sexual services is virtually forbidden. For example, in San Juan…public…offer [of] sex services…[can be penalized by] up to 20 days in prison.More often than not, the legislation that is [pretended] to protect sex workers has the opposite effect…The prevailing government view…is to [pretend that] all sex workers [are] victims of human trafficking….

Profit from Panic 

Can you imagine a real “pimp” putting as much thought into it as these people put into their BDSM fantasies?

With the holiday’s [sic] right around the corner, you might be searching for that perfect, unique gift that give’s [sic] back to your local community.  Emily Mahoney and Lauren Carpenter are producing…handcrafted jewelry…that is…helping to end human trafficking in Tennessee…The women started Branded Collective, a collection of metal cuffs and jewelry, a few years ago.  Twenty-five percent of the proceeds…goes to…End Slavery Tennessee…Each cuff is “branded” with a little initial of the woman who helped to make it, and with a number.  Many victims of human trafficking are branded with tattoos or numbers. “Branding is a way of depersonalizing the human…and identifying them as…something you can buy and sell that’s disposable”…said Emily.  You can visit their website to read the story of the survivor that branded your one of a kind cuff…

Blunt Instrument

Attention, useful idiots: making it easier for cops to get search warrants is never a good idea, even if they pretend it’s to “fight” something you dislike:

Houston’s City Council passed…an ordinance that aims to help [cops close down]…massage establishments…that may be a front for prostitution…[by expanding] the legal definition of a massage establishment.  The change will allow the [cops to raid any place they declare a massage establishment]…”[Blah blah blah] human trafficking,” explained Minal Patel Davis, special advisor to the mayor on human trafficking…The change…will also make it easier for [cops to get rubber-stamped] search warrants…

Monsters 

[A] trans woman…lost her life in…Istanbul [on December 2nd]…Alev…was stabbed in her heart by a man who approached her as a client…police called on a couple of her friends for further investigation…There was another transphobic hate crime ten days ago in…Istanbul.  The victim was a young trans woman…[named] Nilay…[who] was stabbed several times and strangled with a bathrobe cord…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#407)

SCIENCE!!!

…Last year, the Journal of Religion and Health published an article linking schizophrenia to demonic possession based on the claims of a single faith healer.  Now, they’ve published new research…which claims that consuming…sexual media may have “a negative impact on learning second language vocabulary.”  Want to learn German? Better avoid sexy music videos and denim commercials, the study suggests.  “Aside from dire consequences in the afterlife, viewing sexual media can have a detrimental effect on human learning and memory in this life,” it concludes.  Yakup Çetin, the study’s author and a foreign language education professor at Faith University in Istanbul…[said] he…”[finds his own] study objective”…the [sexual material]  included the trailer for the Pitt-Jolie action flick Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the music video for “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias, and a television commercial for Mavi Jeans…


Property of the State 

Prison sentences for these women can be as much as 40 years“:

The Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court has reinstated the country’s total ban on abortion, including cases in which a pregnant woman’s life is at risk.  [Last December] Dominican President Danilo Medina approved measures decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape, incest, and fetal deformity, as well as situations where the mother’s life would be endangered by carrying the pregnancy to term.  The reforms were set to take effect December 19, 2015.  But religious and socially conservative groups appealed, arguing in court that the country’s constitution protects the rights of “unborn children” from the moment of conception…the country’s total abortion ban puts girls and women at risk by prompting pregnant women to visit black-market abortion doctors and forcing them to give birth even when it’s physically  dangerous…Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras also ban abortion in all circumstances…

Now They Notice

I find articles which pretend that Rentboy was fundamentally different from sites on which female escorts advertize to be utterly infuriating, especially when they strongly imply that male sex workers are entrepreneurs while women like me are passive victims:

…Arrangements made through Rentboy were between consenting adults. David Bimbi, professor of health sciences…drew a clear distinction between this business and other illegal activities.  According to Bimbi, many of the arguments against sex work — that it promotes pimping, sex trafficking and exploits minors — “fly out the window” when it comes to Rentboy, which was a site where adults self-advertised to other adults.”  Recently, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, Rashida Jones and other celebrities joined with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women to decry Amnesty International’s proposed recommendation to decriminalize sex work.  The coalition claimed Amnesty’s proposal would “advocate the legalization of pimping.”  Rentboy, Bimbi said, is a completely different situation…Since the raids, many sex workers have organized to battle sex worker stigma…

Danny Cruz and Conner Habib try to set writer Mathew Rodriguez straight, but he seems to think gay dudes just invented sex worker rights in the past few months.

Uncommon Sense (#572)

Sonja Dolinsek on the awfulness of German prostitution law “reform”:

After two years of negotiations, the German Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth shared its second draft of a new prostitution law…the 2002 law, widely decried as “legalizing prostitution” and blamed for an increase in human trafficking, has never been fully implemented.  But that hasn’t stopped politicians and the media from loading blame for the supposed catastrophic state of sex workers in Germany onto these three paragraphs – using the law to score easy points with the public.  Few in Germany or abroad questioned the idea that the law had led to an explosion of human trafficking…But nobody bothered to fact-check the claim of increased trafficking.  If they had, they would have found that that sex work had been legal long before 2002, and that human trafficking has actually been steadily decreasing…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#592)

Well, gee, this is SO MUCH better:

…The “John letters motion” was approved by the city council…and LAPD officers can presumably start recording license plate numbers and sending letters to the registered owners’ homes immediately.  But the media got one thing wrong: there’s no plan to use automated license plate readers to scan every license plate that goes through the neighborhood to shoot the drivers scarlet letters.  And…Los Angeles is not the only city to have this idea…But even without the Orwellian license plate reader element, there are legitimate concerns around guilt premised on an idling car…

Fallen Idol

Melissa Gira Grant interviewed a number of porn actors & actresses on the James Deen affair:

…That chorus of voices that followed Stoya’s shook the porn industry…and now the public is hearing…about the particular structural problems the porn industry contends with, and the persistent and pernicious idea that sex workers are by definition unrapeable…Arabelle Raphael…said…“A lot of people knew…And some people had really good experiences with him, but that doesn’t mean anything.”  Performers let each other know what they had heard about Deen…two people [previously told her to]…put James Deen on your ‘no’ list” – the performers she would not do scenes with…eight other women have also gone public. Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, Amber Rayne, Kora Peters, Nicki Blue, Lily LaBeau, and a woman writing as T.M., all say Deen has assaulted them, too. In the aftermath of those allegations, Deen’s career is crumbling…

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Silly men…thought they were better than me…[but] I was smarter than all of them.  I made them pay the few coins that they had on my softness of my body.  –  Gladys, grandmother of Rachel Almeida

Real People My Grandma the Sex Worker

A young woman tells how she discovered her grandmother had been a sex worker:

…”I don’t want you to take sides, Rachel, but your mom’s family isn’t what you think it is.  They’ve lied to you.  Your grandma was a prostitute, and that’s how she met your grandpa.”  And that’s how my dad broke the news to me that my grandmother was a sex worker, and that my “childhood was a lie”(his words).  My initial reaction was that of a fairly-mature-but-still-naïve 16 year old: “Wow, Grandma was a hooker”…I didn’t feel disgusted or betrayed; I…thought it was badass and I wanted to be like her.  I tried to probe my dad about the details of the huge family secret he just revealed—very clearly only to spite my mother—but he said that was all he knew.  My dad kept holding his head in his hands, repeatedly saying, “You’d just never expect it; she doesn’t look like a prostitute,” as if sex workers even wear some kind of easily identifiable uniform…Seven years on from my parents’ divorce, I called my grandmother, Gladys, to talk about her past…I refused to let my Dad have the final say in her life story and what she’s been through.  When she picked up the phone, I could tell she was nervous to speak to me about this…She’s 82 now and lives a long way from appointment-only brothels of Caracas.  Down the phone, she told me her story with the same authority and confidence she had back then.  “If men have the right to pay for sex without judgment,” Grandma told me, “then women also have the right to make sex their career”…

Sales Pitch

The Swedish model has virtually eliminated prostitution in Sweden!

At least six teenagers who were living at a centre for vulnerable young women are reported to have sold sex, with staff doing little to intervene despite being aware of their actions.  Prostitution has been part of everyday life at the centre in Södertälje, south of Stockholm, for several years…Neighbours also reported spotting cars picking the teenagers up late at night…

Checklist

After Arizona and Washington, Florida is the state most hysterically tyrannical over “sex trafficking”:

A local nonprofit organization, Wings of Shelter, conducted a presentation in front of nearly 50 healthcare professionals…They taught them how to identify the signs of trafficking and how to treat the young victims they find in the schools…They said between 100,000 to 300,000 girls under the age of 18 are victims in the United States every year…the majority of these victims will visit a school nurse due to an injury sustained while trafficking…the three most obvious  physical signs are long sleeves, tattoos, and malnourishment.  The long sleeves are used to hide the marks of abuse and the tattoos may represent ownership in the form of a man’s name or a Chinese symbol…

That “long sleeves” bit comes straight from a Golden Age Wonder Woman comic book.

The Widening Gyre (#348)

Los Angeles’ response to “sex trafficking” is, as one might expect, increased police brutality:

A new human trafficking task force in the Valley has arrested several pimps and dozens of “Johns” in sting operations in the last two weeks…The LAPD Operation-Valley Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force was created to address the “massive influx of human trafficking cases”…said [cop mouthpiece] Marc Evans…“We have a large influx of hard-core gang members that are buying and selling girls on the streets in the form of prostitution”…the task force has [also]…issued 155 traffic citations and [stolen] 10 vehicles, he said. Evans [would] not say how many prostitutes had been arrested…In 2013, 1,077 prostitution victims were arrested by Los Angeles Police Department…

The cops’ idiotically convoluted language is so hard to follow that the reporter accidentally writes the truth by stating that the so-called “victims” (i.e. sex workers) were arrested instead of using one of the usual lies, “rescued” or “recovered”.

The Missing Word

Two brothers in…South Carolina are facing charges that they treated a mentally handicapped black employee like a slave for years…two Charleston attorneys filed a civil suit on behalf of Christopher Smith, who worked at the J&J Cafeteria…for 23 years, but was hideously abused and exploited from 2010 to 2014…[by] Ernest J…and…Bobby Paul Edwards…Smith worked at the Edwards brothers’ business for more than two decades, but it was when Bobby took over as manager in 2010 that Smith’s situation turned ugly.  Smith was…savagely beaten with a frying pan, hot tongs, butcher knives, belt buckles and fists.  He worked 18-hour shifts Monday through Saturday and 11-hour shifts on Sundays with no breaks, receiving little pay.  His total wages for each year added up to less than $3,000…When he wasn’t at work, Smith lived in a filthy, cockroach-infested apartment owned by the Edwards brothers…

Policing for Profit (#446) 

In New Mexico, civil forfeiture is big business…Albuquerque alone brings in more than $1 million through civil forfeiture every year.  Police and prosecutors seize all this property without convicting anyone of a crime—and then keep the property for their own use…This business..came to the public’s attention in late 2014, when an attorney charged with overseeing one city’s forfeiture programs described civil forfeiture as a “gold mine” and property seized through civil forfeiture as “little goodies”.  The resulting wave of public outrage brought landmark legislation, as the state legislature voted unanimously to abolish civil forfeiture…But cities across New Mexico are refusing to follow the law.  In Albuquerque, police and prosecutors…have even announced plans to purchase a new, bigger parking lot to hold all the cars they expect to seize—a parking lot that will be paid for through civil forfeiture…New Mexico Senators…Lisa Torraco and Daniel Ivey-Soto…have joined with the Institute for Justice to enforce the Forfeiture Reform Law…A decision forcing Albuquerque to follow the law will have implications across the state and even across the country…

A Year Later Jody Wilson Raybould

Fleur de Lit is a lot more optimistic than I am; I hope she’s right:

…our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has appointed Jody Wilson-Raybould, an aboriginal woman…his justice minister…Wilson-Raybould says she’s been in discussions about Bill C-36 – which the Liberals have promised to repeal – and that in moving forward, “the safety of the workers is fundamentally important”…I am optimistic about this, specifically about [her] use of the word “workers”…

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

The rhetoric is ridiculous, but even stupid snitches are dangerous:

…a fleet of truck drivers…are leading the charge in exposing the criminals behind these acts and in freeing victims…pimps often bring their victims to rest areas where they present the girls as willing sex workers, according to…Polaris Project [propaganda]…truck drivers, in many cases, have become [informants]…for authorities…seeking to [harass sex workers]…One group in particular, Truckers Against Trafficking, has already [indoctrinated] about 170,000 drivers in [anti-sex worker propaganda]…

Full of Themselves (#535)

What is it about massage parlors that brings the puritans out of the woodwork?

…Massage parlors that offer services well beyond backrubs are not unique to New Orleans…[they] have proliferated in the United States in recent years, expanding their foothold beyond the country’s coastal metropolises.  Though almost universally regarded by law enforcement as shady, the establishments have proved resistant to regulation…the New Orleans Police Department has sharply curtailed vice investigations as officers grapple with huge backlogs of emergency calls…officials said they are confident that erotic massage parlors remain a barely veiled front for prostitution…online [client] forums have been highlighted on social media in recent months by an organization called Lady Trieu, which has…also has posted photos of the cars of alleged johns parked in front of some of the businesses in an attempt to shame them…James Kelly…of Covenant House…said…“It’s degrading of women.  This is a lack of respect.  This isn’t something that you just dismiss”…The federal interest in erotic massage parlors typically hinges on whether investigators can prove the masseuses are being forced to sell their bodies against their will…

The “sex trafficking” rhetoric sprinkled into articles like this isn’t even enough to disguise the true motivations that drive the writers, cops and “activists”:  prudishness, control-freakishness and plain old ugly racism.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#558)

the All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW), and other organisations are now…filing a petition before [the Supreme Court hears] a petition for [forcing] sex workers…[into brainwashing camps run] by anti-[sex worker] NGO Prajwala, set to be heard on December 9…“Sex workers…should be accepted and be able to live without stigma,” explains Amit Kumar, an AINSW national coordinator.  India has over three million sex workers but while they are increasingly accepted, they face ‘administrative problems’, says Kumar.  “When police raid a brothel or a sex worker’s house, they smash everything…they arrest every woman and ruin everyone’s lives”…Dr Jana, chief adviser to the Kolkata-based Usha Multipurpose Co-operative Society Ltd…says few women get into sex work because of coercion…

Between the Lines

And don’t think this is atypical:

During [the last “Operation Cross-Country”]…in Virginia, FBI and local [cops]…allegedly nabbed 12 “pimps“…along with the recovery of three “child sex trafficking victims”…two of the…suspects [were] released without charges…And…[another] was…only charged with gun and drug possession…two are juveniles.  And what about the three “children” police “rescued?”  One, a 16-year-old who was allegedly coerced into selling sex…went to police on her own accord…another…age 17, was willingly working in prostitution when she was arrested by police…In the course of this year’s OCC, the FBI helped Virginia vice squads arrest at least 30 people for prostitution, drug possession, and other non-violent or petty offenses…[such as] marijuana possession…driving on a suspended license…providing a false ID…outstanding warrant…and…providing false information to the police…

Now They Notice (#584)

Supporters of Rentboy need to do more than just protest; they’re going to need to literally put their money where their mouths are, because the government stole all of the money Rentboy could have used for its legal defense:

Staffers at a gay escort web site that was raided and shut down in August are trying to hammer out plea deals with prosecutors…Calling it a “digital Stonewall,” gay activists blasted the raid as a needless invasion of people’s private sexual lives and demanded that the raps be dropped.  Protesters — including several escorts who advertised on the site — massed outside of the Brooklyn federal courthouse after the arrests to voice their objections…

Little Tin Gods (#588)

None of this surprises me even one tiny bit:

For years, people in the tiny Louisiana town of Marksville watched the feud between their mayor and local judge like some kind of daytime soap opera…Then came the Nov. 3 shooting that killed a 6-year-old boy…Why in the world, residents ask, were deputy marshals — whose main job is serving court papers for the judge — out there chasing cars and shooting up suspects?  How did one of the deputies — who had been charged twice for aggravated rape and racked up a string of lawsuits accusing him of using excessive force — even get hired?  And how did a speck of a town like Marksville wind up with a shadow police force on its streets?…For years in Marksville, the marshal has been a local bus driver, Floyd Voinche Sr., who carried out his duties with one full-time employee and one part-timer…But sometime in the past two months, that changed…Voinche’s office bought two used police cruisers, hired several part-time deputies, and started patrolling the streets and issuing tickets like regular city police…Voinche has refused to explain his actions…citing a Louisiana law that empowers deputy marshals “in making arrests and preserving the peace”…

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