Posts Tagged ‘law’

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…


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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Thanks for your concern but we’d rather have your respect and the right to work how we choose.  –  Thai sex worker

R.I.P. Carol Doda Carol Doda

Carol Doda, who…gained worldwide fame as a topless dancer in the 1960s and ’70s, died Monday of complications related to kidney failure.  She was 78…Doda was…a waitress who go-go danced on top of a piano at the Condor 51 years ago when the club’s publicist, Davey Rosenberg, handed her a Rudi Gernreich topless swimsuit…It was a sensation — the first topless dancing act of widespread note in America.  So many customers packed the club that Ms. Doda spent $1,500 to boost her bust size from 34B to 44DD through silicone injection, which was then a new technique…At the height of her fame, Ms. Doda’s breasts were dubbed “the New Twin Peaks of San Francisco.”  At one point they were insured for $1.5 million with Lloyd’s of London…Doda’s only arrest in the profession came in 1965, when police raided the Condor on indecency charges. She was found not guilty and continued to dance until 1985, when she quit, saying she was never paid enough…

Subtle Pimping

Another example of profiting from sex workers’ images while giving us nothing:

…If you follow independent and/or luxury lingerie brands, chances are you’ve seen an ad showing a woman decadently sprawled in strappy black lingerie…body bathed in red light from an out of frame bulb.  She may be seated in a high-end hotel room, looking wry but effortlessly detached, while a man in a suit stands nearby, frozen in the act of either removing his coat or undoing his tie…these images are all enticing and racy, but it may not have occurred to you that they intentionally allude to the models being sex workers.  Escorts.  Peepshow girls.  Pro-Dommes.  The industry not only benefits from sex workers’ money, it also uses their imagery to peddle product.  This wouldn’t matter if not for the fact that these same brands never want to admit these ties for the sake of appealing to a civilian…public.  Yet, every season, it seems like they push the envelope by co-opting sex work more and more…

Saving Them From Themselves

Go ahead, Colorado; prosecute all of them.  Put an entire generation on the “sex offender” registry.  Surely that’ll teach ’em to not be sexual:

Authorities in Colorado are investigating widespread sharing of hundreds of nude pictures at a high school…Officials in Cañon City say an unspecified “number of students” — both boys and girls — exchanged nude photos of themselves…The district said it received anonymous tips about the alleged sexting…and that it has turned the investigation over to the Cañon City Police Department.  Police are looking at whether adults were involved, or if any of the photos were coerced…officials are warning parents that students apparently used apps to hide the photos on their phones.  District Attorney Dan May [bloviated] that having nude pictures of minors could be considered child pornography — regardless of whether the picture is of oneself or someone else.  He said teens caught could also be put through a diversion program instead…

Change a Few Words

Another move away from prohibitionism:

Mexico’s Supreme Court…ruled that individuals should have the right to grow, possess, and consume marijuana…the court…concluded that the right to “free development of the personality” includes the freedom to engage in recreational activities, subject to restrictions “necessary to protect health and public order.”  In the court’s view, the damage caused by consumption and noncommercial production of marijuana is not “of such gravity as to warrant an absolute ban.”  The court was responding to a lawsuit brought by activists who asked COFEPRIS, the national agency in charge of regulating drugs, for permission to use marijuana.  When COFEPRIS said no, the applicants challenged the its decision in the courts.  According to The New York Times, the Supreme Court’s ruling applies only to the cannabis consumers who brought the case.  “For legal marijuana to become the law of the land…the justices…will have to rule the same way five times, or eight of the 11 members of the full court will have to vote in favor”…

Above the Law 

This week’s rapist cop cost Los Angeles taxpayers $6.15 million:

…the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to a payment of $6.15 million to a woman who was raped by an on-duty sheriff’s deputy…The rapist is Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, who was sentenced to nine years in prison last year.  He admitted to the rape as well as another instance of offering a bribe of sexual activity to a different woman.  He is also to register as a sex offender.  The incident took place…on September 22, 2010…Lindsay F…was stopped by Sanchez who [claimed]…she was driving under the influence of alcohol and had a suspended license…Sanchez offered not to arrest her in return for sexual favors, but she refused…so he drove her down a distant dirt road…and…forced her to have oral, vaginal and anal sex with him against the hood of his patrol car.  Then he…asked Lindsay to give him her phone number in case he wanted to “mess around” again…

Red in Tooth and Claw

Just a reminder of how nasty Mother Nature really is:

…some male spiders lop off parts of females’ genitalia to prevent [them] from mating again, a new study says.  The behavior, which guarantees that the male will father all of her offspring, is the first to suggest that males evolve behaviors to maim external parts of the female genitalia…A male spider delivers its sperm via pedipalps, a pair of leg-like appendages near its mouth that latch onto the female’s scapus from above and below…the L. jeskovi pedipalp grasps and twists the scapus as the male dismounts, snipping it off as if with scissors.  Without this crucial handle, other males can’t grasp the female at all, preventing her from having another sexual partner.  It’s a twist on the typical arachnid battle of the sexes.  Many female spiders have sex with multiple males but fertilize their eggs with only one suitor’s sperm.  This competition has prompted some species’ males to take drastic action, such as castrating themselves to plug the females’ reproductive tract.  In this case, however, “males have found a very clever means to prevent females from remating without mutilating themselves…Female spiders can store viable sperm for years, so having only one sexual partner might not hamper their fertility…

Stupor Bowl

Stories like this are much more common now:

The Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers’ Rights is speaking out against claims that a major sporting event will increase “sex trafficking” in their city.  In the lead up to the Grey Cup…government officials have set up over $45,000 CAD worth of funds to combat “human trafficking” in Winnipeg.  The funds will be used to set up a phone hotline and an awareness campaign called Buying Sex is Not a Sport…the Winnipeg Working Group has organised to counter these claims. “Despite media hype and police enthusiasm, there was no evidence that large sporting events increase trafficking for prostitution,” they wrote in their press release on October 29, 2015…

If Men Were Angels

The inevitable result of people being given power over others:

Settlement talks are set to begin in the Baltimore City public housing sex for repairs scandal.  So far, 11 women have joined the federal lawsuit…in which housing maintenance employees are accused of demanding sex before repairing deplorable, even life-threatening, conditions inside public housing apartments.  Eleven women say they were forced to live with dangerous mold, no heat and rodent infestations, all because they rejected maintenance men’s advances.  “We uncovered a union investigation, which found many, many more victims,” said attorney Cary Hansel…[who] says some housing officials were aware of the allegations and did nothing…

Welcome to the Future (#543)

“Swedish model” propaganda pretends that women are “decriminalized” under the law; look at the proportion of arrests here:

Police in Northern Ireland have arrested the first person under the new laws that [claim to] target the buyers of sex.  During a [raid on] a brothel…police arrested [one] man for paying for sexual services…and…three females…for keeping a brothel…The new legislation…aims to mirror the so-called Swedish model…

Naked Truth (#544) Loubna Abidar

Whore stigma affects amateur women, too:

The star of a film on sex work in Morocco…was savagely beaten in Casablanca last week, sparking an outcry on social media over social taboos that activists say can be enforced by violence.  Loubna Abidar, who portrays a Marrakech sex worker in Much Loved…said police and hospital workers refused to help her.  Instead they humiliated her, she said…

Uncharted Seas (#552)

It’s only a matter of time now:

…in Brazil…three women have defied deeply conservative trends…and wider traditional mores by celebrating a polyamorous civil union.  The happy trio, who reportedly have shared a bed for years and say they want to raise a child, took an oath of love…in the presence of…notary public Fernanda de Freitas Leitao.  “This union is not just symbolic,” because it defines “how they intend to have children,” attorney Leitao said…The union is not a formal marriage, because under Brazilian law that would be bigamy.  Neither are they automatically allowed to declare joint income or join a healthcare plan for spouses.  But the civil union is still a big step…”If they seek these rights before a court, they could obtain them — and I think they will,” Leitao said…

Eternal Vigilance (#563)

Twenty years of successful decriminalization in New South Wales is threatened by politicians:

A new police unit should be established to stamp out organised crime and exploitation in the NSW sex industry, a parliamentary inquiry…[recommended]…the…committee…[proposed] the biggest overhaul of the NSW sex industry in more than two decades with police receiving “greater powers” to enter premises and monitor illegal activity.  Police background checks will also form part of a revised license approval process…The reforms are…criticised by sex [workers] who [point out that] police were stripped of such powers, and the industry decriminalised, in the mid-’90s because of corruption…

The Mother Learns From Her Children (#586)

After years of moralistic ideology prevailing over evidence, and policy being formed about, but not with, sex workers…the English Collective of Prostitutes’ (ECP) event in the House of Commons…saw sex workers and their allies, including politicians from all of the main parties, presenting compelling evidence in favour of decriminalising sex work.  Also this week, the Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) are holding four days of conferences, workshops, parties and even a sex worker film festival.  Next week MSP Jean Urquhart’s Bill to decriminalise sex work in Scotland will be launched in the Scottish Parliament…Until recently…sex workers and allies were forced to focus their energies on constantly putting out the fires instigated by those driven by radical feminist or fundamentalist Christian ideology.  Just a year ago MPs were voting on an attempt by…Fiona McTaggart to shoehorn the criminalisation of the purchase of sex into a bill about something entirely different…[backed by] the All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade…They still manage to waste Parliamentary time pushing their ideology…but…the mood has changed so significantly that they are no longer seen as a substantial threat, just a strange club where self-described radical feminists and evangelical Christians come together to dream about creating a moral utopia at whatever cost…

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Domina Elle is a professional Dominatrix who hosts in her “FUNgeon” in Denver, Colorado. She is also an artist, photographer, member of the Erotic Service Providers’ Union and board member of the Erotic Service Providers’ Legal, Educational and Research Project (ESPLERP). 

ElleWar has been declared upon all American erotic service providers and their clients, and as in every war a propaganda campaign has been set into motion to justify it; no one can argue with “save the children”.  Certainly not the elected officials who have jumped on the legislative bandwagon to further criminalize adult consensual erotic services, and certainly not the opportunistic NGO’s participating in what has become a billion dollar federal grant program via the non profit industrial complex known to sex workers as the “rescue industry”.  Certainly not the law enforcement agencies which justify arresting consenting adults, as they, too generate revenue for their employer the state.  Each day there are new casualties in the war against prostitution; each day immeasurable damage is being perpetrated upon erotic service providers and the body count rises, both figuratively and literally.  We must fight back.  It has become more crucial than ever before that we do so, and in a solid tangible way.

The word “Decriminalization” has become a mantra chanted by sex workers around the globe.  Tears of joy were shed when a council of Amnesty International recently announced its support of the decriminalization of prostitution, just as the United Nations and the World Health Organization had already done.  Even the U.S. State Department, in its 2015 “Universal Periodic Review Of Human Rights“, affirmed United Nations recommendation #86, stating:  “We agree that no one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution”.  But these declarations are as of yet merely suggestions, and have not translated into harm reduction for sex worker communities throughout the globe.  To ensure that our needs are met we ourselves must transform our rallying cry into a reality, bringing about the emancipation and protections which our vast community so desperately needs.  In America, this action must be accomplished through the courts; it isn’t an easy path and requires much diligence and of course a great deal of money.  While the Erotic Service Providers’ Legal, Educational and Research Project’s (ESPLERP’s) legal challenge has already been filed and is in process, the truly tricky part is the continual funding of the case.  Because we are criminalized and stigmatized, the US sex worker rights movement is not well funded, and the little funding which is available is not being prioritized towards striking down the unconstitutional anti-prostitution laws.  So while some of the most dedicated and diligent activists I have ever known of are at the heart of supporting this challenge, without sufficient funding the case could fall apart (which is certainly what our opponents hope for).

In early August, ESPLERP members, supporters and legal representatives gathered in California to hear the lower court judge’s decision, which was that there would be no public hearing and that the ruling would be announced at a future time.  ESPLERP’s lawyer Louis Sirkin stated that this type of action by the court is not uncommon, and that he wasn’t surprised at all; we were also told that there is no time limit on how long the Judge can take to render his decision, so now we wait.  From day one, our plan was to take this case to the highest court possible in order for more states to be affected, and more people to be emancipated.  If the lower court judge stands by the principles in the Bill Of Rights and rules in our favor, erotic service providers who are criminalized in the state of California will be free from criminalization and the real work can begin in California at least.  If the judge chooses to dismiss the case, we will go up to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; if that court rules in our favor no fewer than nine states will be emancipated from the threat and devastation of criminalization, and other sex workers and organizations in other parts of the US would be able to use the ruling to file similar cases or defend themselves from charges.  THIS WOULD BE HUGE!

A legal challenge such as this is no small task.  My dream, as a member of the erotic service provider community, is to see the emancipation of our people, and this case could be the key to open that door.  Decriminalization is hardly a panacea; it’s only the means of stopping the immediate harm caused by arrest and the life devastation which comes with it.  Law enforcement agencies would no longer have the means by which they literally rape and pillage our community with impunity.  Though decriminalization is only the beginning of what sex workers need to accomplish, it will give the erotic services community a safer platform upon which to openly organize in order to demand and protect our rights that much more.  The storm of oppression is already here raining down upon us, and we haven’t even seen the eye just yet.  We need the legal umbrella provided by decriminalization, and we can rally around this legal challenge to achieve solidarity as we never have before; it can provide a powerful and warm fire around which we can join our hearts and minds to weather the storm together.  We can do this,  but it requires you to be around that fire contributing your fuel to it.  For more information about the challenge please visit decriminalizesexwork.com, and to donate to the legal challenge fund please go to litigatetoemancipate.com.  Viva la revolution!ESPLERP

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

Bad Jobs

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

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

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

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

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

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

With Folded Hands

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

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

Above the Law Patrick Quinn coercive cop

Sometimes sexually-exploitative cops stop short of rape:

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

Parting of the Ways

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


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

Frequently Told Lies

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

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

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

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

The Camel’s Nose (#504)

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

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

What Were You All Waiting For? Richard Branson

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

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

Now They Notice

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

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

Seizing Power (#574)

The Cato institute supports sex workers’ right to advertise:

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

Welcome To Our World (#578)

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

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

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I think I just wasted my time doing all these other jobs before I did sex work.  I should have been doing it a long time before.  –  Mai Jantawhite slave girl

It Looks Good On Paper

Another bullshit story touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws that allow “perfect victims” to expunge their records of prostitution charges after going through the hell that is the US “justice” system:

…states have dramatically changed laws…to distinguish between voluntary prostitution and the trafficking of women and girls…Before the new laws, states primarily dealt with the sex trade by charging sex workers, usually women, with prostitution.  Many of those laws remain on the books, but states are supplementing them with “safe harbor” laws that protect minors—and sometimes adults—who can prove they were coerced into selling sex…

There’s so much wrong in this one short section: the organized crime myth; agency denial; the pretense that only “many” prostitution laws remain (they all do); the pretense that “safe harbor” laws protect anyone; the reversal of the burden of proof…it’s truly staggering that people can’t see this for what it is.

The Punitive Mindset

Authoritarians think people can simply be ordered to be asexual:

…Sexuality in prison is a controversial topic, and the rare studies that explore the subject focus mostly on the impact of conjugal visits or on the same-sex relationships that develop behind bars.  The general consensus, though, is that helping inmates relieve sexual tensions can actually lead to a reduction in violence and prison rape.  Still, many governments around the world have refused to offer prisoners the “privilege” to watch racy content.  French judge Nina Califano, author of Sexualité, Incarcérée (Sexuality, Imprisoned), [says]…”Sexuality is a basic need that doesn’t go away when you are incarcerated”…[she] argues that allowing inmates to cater to their basic sexual needs — through erotic visual stimulation and masturbation — does more than calm inmates who are behind bars; it is also an important part of ensuring [they]…can later be reintegrated into society…

Change a Few Words

All prohibition is the same, so any move away from it affects all types:

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) appeared set to call on governments to end the criminalization of drug use and possession…but in a dramatic turn of events withdrew a briefing paper under pressure from…the U.S. government.  More than 1.5 million drug arrests are made every year in the U.S. – the overwhelming majority for possession only.  Roughly two dozen countries, and dozens of U.S. cities and states, have taken steps toward decriminalization of drug use and possession.  “There is simply no good basis in science, health or ethics for bringing someone into the criminal justice system solely for drug possession,” [said Ethan] Nadelmann [of the Drug Policy Alliance].  “This will hopefully help accelerate the global trend toward ending the criminalization of drugs”…

St. James Infirmary

This fundraiser for the St. James Infirmary met and surpassed its goal in only a few days, but they’re such an important organization that I’m not going to miss giving it a mention and ask that you consider helping out.

Comfort Zone (#320)

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

The International Organization for Migration (IOM)…called on governments to more closely monitor sex trafficking and lend specialized assistance to the 1.5 million refugees expected to enter the European Union this year, warning of a surge in sexual assault against women being smuggled across the Mediterranean Sea from West Africa…

Perquisites (#340) 

Dear Dave Zirin: please STFU and stop trying to get free pussy from feminists by parroting their nonsense:

In revelations that the University of Louisville basketball program may have paid a…madam to supply recruits with strippers and sex, the reactions have congregated into two camps: moralizers and cynics.  The moralizers are bleating that this scandal has forever tarnished the innocent joys of amateurism…the cynics…[are] fashionably bored by all of this.  They shrug, saying that these kinds of things happen everywhere…But both of these reactions miss the most urgent issue—the NCAA’s political economy of misogyny…

An Example To the West (#343) Not Drowning - Waving

The writer hasn’t got much of a sense of history; not so long ago, a substantial fraction of the bars in the US were owned by sex workers:

The stereotype of trafficked Asian women exploited by sex tourists means that few people in the west expect Thai sex workers to be at the forefront of a radical push for sex workers’ rights, but…Can Do bar represents just that…it…is the only bar in Thailand, if not the world, that is owned and run by a collective of sex workers, and designed to model exemplary working conditions in the industry…[Liz] Hilton explains.  “One day a group of sex workers here in Chiang Mai said, ‘Actually the government doesn’t get it, nobody understands what we’re talking about, we’re going to have to build it ourselves, we can’t wait anymore.’  And so they pooled their money and raised a million baht [almost $30,000] between them all and created the bar”…

Secret Squirrel (#344)

I’ve written about this issue before, but this is a new low:

Halloween…is a totally subversive day, proving to kids that however much they are supervised the rest of the year, they obviously don’t need it.  They can go out with their friends, roam the neighborhood and have a great time.  So, naturally, this rebellion must be squashed.  Enter…child tracking devices that are pitching parents on the necessity of electronically monitoring their kids’ spoooooooky journey to…the neighbor’s homes. AireLive’s press release promises that its livestreaming capacity will allow “kids to communicate with their parents in real time should any questions arise.  Parents can view the livestream and assess the situation should a teen ever be in need of assistance.”  Nooooooo!  The whole idea is that if “questions” arise, kids should solve them on their own…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#440)

As Leona Hameed once wrote, “Sex work under ‘legalisation’ is still…conceived of as a crime for which the law makes allowances“.

…The ECP and [MSP Jean] Urquhart are campaigning for decriminalisation.  This is not – as has been suggested in countless media reports – legalisation.  Insisting on clarification isn’t petty quibbling.  The models are so distinct that when York Union…changed the title of its debate to “This House believes the legalisation of prostitution would be a disaster”, both sides thought they were arguing in favour of the motion…The York mix-up wasn’t unique.  Since Amnesty released its draft proposal for the decriminalisation of sex work, countless articles have conflated the terms, inaccurately holding up Germany and the Netherlands as examples of “decriminalisation gone wrong”…under legalisation, sex work is controlled by the government and is legal only under certain state-specified conditions.  Decriminalisation involves the removal of all prostitution-specific laws, although sex workers and sex work businesses must still operate within the laws of the land, as must any businesses…

Surplus Women (#550) 

I’m honestly not sure why the writer chose to link this woman’s death those of a serial killer’s victims merely because they happened in the same town:

The body draped over the fence was so bruised and mangled, passerby thought it was a Halloween decoration…Rebecca Cade, a 31-year-old resident of Chillicothe, Ohio…is the seventh Chillicothe woman found dead or missing in the past 16 months—a staggering number for a town of just 21,000 residents.  Then there’s the media coverage of Cade’s murder.  As news spread of the grisly discovery, websites across the nation used Cade’s own mugshot from a previous arrest to illustrate articles about her death—a confusing and ethically murky editorial decision that strikes at the heart of why women like Cade become victims at all…Donnie Couchenuer Jr., 27, was charged with murder and is currently in jail awaiting trial.  But it was Cade’s mugshot that dotted the digital landscape all week long…

Challenge (#559)

California legislators heard from a diverse range of voices about human trafficking and prostitution in America.  The proceedings before the Assembly Public Safety Committee provided a rare chance for people with divergent viewpoints…to come together and have their say.  And then something even more rare happened: some California politicians even seemed to come away with new perspective…Fox News Sacramento reported on the hearing with the headline “Some Suggest Legalizing Prostitution Would Put an End to Sex Trafficking“, noting the “odd mix of legislators, policy wonks, (and) sex workers” in the room…Actually, sex work and human rights advocates tend to focus on decriminalization, not legalization, of prostitution…Nonetheless, the Fox article presents an atypically nuanced perspective on prostitution…It goes on to note that “many adult sex workers say they won’t be able to protect a child, or show her how to stay safe on the streets, for fear of being arrested as a trafficker”…

Innocence Never Had (#574)

Even when authoritarians do something right, they can’t resist warping it into something wrong:

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced Wednesday that his department will immediately stop arresting children on prostitution charges.  “They are child victims and survivors of rape,” McDonnell wrote in a letter to his employees.  “We must remember that children cannot consent to sex under any circumstance.”

No, no, fucking no.  Young adults are not “children”, and the notion that they “cannot” consent is a legal fiction, not a reality.  The article goes on to delineate that these young people will still be coerced into “help” by cops, such as by confining them in the foster care system many of them fled in the first place.  At the end, the story quotes a prohibitionist named Withelma Pettigrew as saying “Labels are a big deal.” I agree, and labeling young adults as “children” and passive “victims” both demeans and infantilizes them.

Celebrities (#580)

The phrase “sanctimonious bullshit” comes to mind:

Dennis Hof is not paying the 2 hookers who cavorted with Lamar Odom at the Love Ranch brothel, because he now believes they may have had something to do with Lamar doing drugs at the facility…The…deal with Hof was to split the $75k Lamar paid — so they were to get $37,500 which they would equally divide.  But now Hof says…”They will not answer questions about Lamar or possible drug use while he was here.  I’m suspicious”…

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What better way to stop people from trading sex for money than taking all their money away?  –  Jamie Peck


I’m nauseated every time the word “illegal” comes out of Dennis Hof’s mouth:

[Disgraced basketball star] Lamar Odom…was found…face down and alone…after spending four days at the Love Ranch…Odom started “throwing up all kinds of stuff” after a 911 operator told them to turn him on his side, Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof [said]…Odom had “spent time socializing with some of my girls,” but wasn’t seen taking any illegal drugs, Hof said…a brothel employee who called 911 reported Odom did cocaine Saturday and had taken up to 10 tabs of a sexual performance enhancer over the past three days…he was found unresponsive with blood coming from his nose and mouth…

Barbie Jane Goodall doll

More women badly in need of lives:

Wendy Tsao has created a collection of feminist dolls all women will want to play with.  Jane Goodall, J.K. Rowling and Malala Yousafzai stand among the ranks of Tsao’s “Mighty Dolls”, a collection of repurposed Bratz dolls meant to inspire young girls to greatness…Australian native Sonia Singh made waves earlier this year by repurposing used Bratz dolls to look like real girls.  She posted the transformations on her Tumblr page, Tree Change Dolls…[they] fetch anywhere from AU$300 (US $219) to AU$1,600 (US $1178) in auctions on eBay.  Tsao says she plans to list her “Mighty Dolls” on eBay in “a few weeks”…

Check Your Premises

Words can’t express how pleased I am to see so many reporters adopting this tone of late:

The police of Hoover, Alabama, provided a prime example of government hypocrisy recently when they claimed to be helping the “victims” of the sex trade…right after arresting seven women in a prostitution sting and releasing their names and photos to the public…Norman McDuffey conflated consensual sex work with sex trafficking and claimed the women he’d just arrested were victims…of the crime they’d just been arrested for…crimes [that cops pretend]…“go…along with prostitution”…have all been shown to decrease substantially when sex work is decriminalized…To use them as justification for further arrests is like pouring gasoline onto a fire and getting upset when it flares up…and then pouring on some more, because you still don’t get it…

Another Example of Swedish “Feminism”

Only the willfully ignorant imagine Sweden to be a “feminist” country:

…Undercover footage shot by reporters…showed doctors across the country agreeing to perform illegal tests for religious families to determine whether or not their daughters had had sex…Human rights groups have condemned the practice.  Liesl Gerntholtz, of the Human Rights Watch [said]…”In a country that internationally has played a leading role in protecting women’s human rights, it was almost unthinkable to me that this would be happening in a country like Sweden”…

Droit du Seigneur

Pimping underage girls is another of the crimes (like rape and domestic violence) that cops commit in far greater proportions than members of the general public:

…two [Chicago cops]…are accused of sex-trafficking a 14-year-old girl and there may have been other victims as well…[they] were first caught with child pornography, but as Internal Affairs investigators looked further into the case, they uncovered additional evidence the [pigs] had been using some online web pages to advertise the girl, or girls, for prostitution…

Dirty Amateurs

There should be a law forcing amateurs to get regularly tested for STIs:

…monogamy…isn’t necessarily any better for our health than being consensually nonmonogamous…consider the results of a study I recently published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine…people in consensually nonmonogamous relationships reported more lifetime sex partners than those who were monogamous (6.4 vs. 3.9, respectively)…about three-quarters of people in open relationships said they currently had multiple partners; however, it turned out that nearly one-quarter of monogamous participants did, too…compared to people in open relationships, monogamous people reported using condoms less often with all partners (primary and secondary) and were less likely to have ever been tested for STIs.  In other words, a large number of people in “monogamous” relationships were cheating, they weren’t telling their partners about it, they weren’t using protection reliably, and they weren’t getting tested to see whether they’d picked up any infections along the way…There was actually no difference between monogamous and consensually nonmonogamous participants in reported rates of sexually transmitted infections…

Saving Them From Themselves

A woman dares to challenge the nonsense that young women are asexual “children” without agency:

…I had [a webcam] arrangement with around five or six boys in my year at school when I was 13 years old…They would usually ask me to strip, sometimes half-naked, sometimes completely…After a blissful year of camming, my entire life as I knew it flipped on its head in the space of a day.  One of the boys told his mother, or maybe she found out some other way.  And despite my activities being more or less widely known throughout the male population of my year at school, the fact that it was now known outside of the sanctioned circle turned it unacceptable…Despite my peers and teachers unequivocally agreeing that what I had done was Wrong and Bad, I was never offered any form of comfort, guidance, or support at school.  At home, my diary was taken off me and analyzed for further evidence of sexual misconduct; a strict curfew and constant surveillance of my goings-on was put in place…in…my camming days, I remember being at peace with myself.  I wanted to be sexual.  I chose to engage in sexual activity…The camming never changed anything in me while it was happening; it was the reaction that destroyed my perception of myself and my sexuality…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#331) Playboy brand

“…instead of calling the process by which we limit our expression of dissent and wonder ‘censorship’, we call it ‘concern for commercial viability’.”  –  David Mamet

Playboy’s recent decision to stop publishing nude photos marks a watershed moment in media, as the porn pioneer buttons up and turns its back on what made it famous.  But the company’s core has had little to do with pornography for a long time…Over the course of a decade, Playboy has steadily transformed itself from a publishing company to a company that sells bunny drawings to T-shirt manufacturers.  Revenues from licensing Playboy merchandise went from $37 million in 2009 to $65 million in 2013…about half the company’s revenues at the time.  Dumping the brand’s association with nudity, however mild compared to online porn standards, gives it a better image in countries where government policies towards pornographers can be highly critical—which just happen to be the two most populous countries in the world…Playboy earns 40% of its revenues from China…“In…Asian markets, Playboy has positioned itself as a lifestyle brand for sophisticated, suave, fashion-conscious consumers by working with strong licensees in premium mass-market apparel, sportswear, eyewear etc,” said Torsten Stocker…at AT Kearney…magazine sales, on the other hand, have been a lost cause for some time…

Broken Record (#419)

Poor North Carolina; the only big event it can pretend to be a magnet for gypsy harlots is ludicrously pathetic:

Beginning Saturday and running through Oct. 22, an estimated 75,000 people will flock to High Point from around the world to buy, sell and market furniture, accessories and design services.  The twice-annual market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world…there’s a dark side to any temporary population boom…“The statistics show that any time there is a large gathering of people…victims of sex trafficking are usually brought in,” Sandra Johnson…of Triad Ladder of Hope [said]…

Gift Horse

Pay attention, sex worker activists; this is NOT a pro-decriminalization article but rather a pro-Swedish model one.  Swedish model proponents fraudulently refer to their evil, misogynistic regime as “decriminalization” in order to fool people into thinking it is supported by groups like Amnesty International, when in actuality it still criminalizes sex workers’ clients, partners, families and associates, infantilizes sex workers themselves and pathologizes our profession.  If the tragedy porn that makes up the bulk of this article and the penultimate line (“We should be focusing on arresting those who sell or buy victims of trafficking“) weren’t already dead giveaways, the source of the propaganda – Washington, DC “rescue” profiteers  FAIR Girls – should certainly have been.

It Looks Good On Paper (#543)

Once again: “safe harbor” laws are nothing but evil bullshit designed to distract the naive from the evils of criminalization:

…On 29 May, President Obama signed the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act, which gives preferential consideration for some federal grants to states that have enacted a “safe harbor” law.  [Such] laws…universally require some form of law enforcement arrest or protective custody…being prosecuted for prostitution as a minor in family court in most states may result in court supervision and institutionalization in a geographically isolated and restrictive “staff secure” facility until the age of majority…In the prosecution of adult offenses, indeterminate commitment is regarded as unconstitutional, and even in juvenile criminal courts, it is generally seen as a drastic and final step.  By contrast, family courts often use indeterminate adjudications, effectively keeping non-criminal youth tied to the judicial system, which is what this new law would now impose on minors who…engaged in survival sex work…

Between the Lines

Most of this story is just the usual cop-fellating coverage of an “Operation Cross Country” pogrom, but I would like to point out that “We have dope guys that have stopped selling drugs and have started selling human beings” is just Copese for “we’re going to keep targeting the same people, but we’re using this new excuse because you’ve stopped swallowing the old one”.

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Essentially, what we have here is a massive, coordinated, and federally funded vice sting.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Five years ago I published “Reading Between the Lines“, my dissection of the FBI press release of that year’s “Operation Cross Country”, the fifth in a series of coordinated pogroms against sex workers perpetrated under the umbrella of the lugubriously-entitled “Innocence Lost Initiative”, which has been going on since the dawn of the “sex trafficking” hysteria in 2003.  Since then there have been four more such operations, each growing larger and victimizing more sex workers.  Expressed in plain English, “Innocence Lost” is an immense boondoggle designed to funnel federal funds into local police departments for the harassment of adult sex workers on the basis of misdemeanor laws against wholly consensual activities the US government wishes to discourage in the name of “morality”.  Of course, that’s not how it’s sold to the American public; the typical “Operation Cross Country” story fawns on cops to a truly fellatory level and swallows every drop of “enslaved children” funk without the greatest enthusiasm.  Here’s an example from the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:

…Nationally, 149 underage victims were rescued and 153 “pimps” arrested in 135 cities during an initiative dubbed “Operation Cross Country IX” the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday…Because the women have few other options, police have realized that arrests will seldom convince them to leave prostitution…Officers in last week’s crackdown used a different approach:  Women who cooperated were given a canvas bag of supplies indicative of a fresh start.  Each bag…contained a blanket, socks and toiletries and was designed to convey a message that someone cares…Nationwide, the youngest victim was 12 years old…

Before we get to the meat of the matter, I need to ask:  Can you imagine any sane human, no matter how much she dislikes her job, being convinced to rat someone out to the pigs AND give up the income that pays for her rent, bills and food because someone gave her some socks, toothpaste and tampons?  It would be hilarious if it weren’t so mind-bogglingly insulting and infantilizing.  But that’s a small-town paper, right?  Surely a publication from an ultra-sophisticated place like Seattle will be different:

A weeklong FBI operation aimed at helping sexually exploited children recovered three juveniles in Washington state.  The FBI task force also made contact with 119 adults who were being victimized through prostitution.  FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich says some of the adult victims had been forced into engaging in prostitution since they were juveniles.  The victims were offered services in the community, including job training, housing, counseling and medical help…

“Offered services in the community” means “here’s a pamphlet from the Department of Human Services”.  In other words, they didn’t even get the bag full of bog rolls.  But the important thing to notice here is the lie that the stings were “targeted” at “rescuing children”; if that were really true, they have some mighty poor aim.  In the very first “Operation Cross Country” story I covered, 69 “children” (in other words, 16- and 17-year-old young women) were “recovered” (in other words, arrested) along with 99 “pimps” (in other words, male sex workers, drivers, roommates, boyfriends, older work partners and maybe about 7 actual pimps) and – here’s the meat – 768 adult female sex workers.  After 2010, someone at the FBI must’ve realized that the arrest proportions, more than 10 adult sex workers arrested for every teen even in an operation specifically targeted at young-looking sex workers, demonstrated the egregiousness of the lie that most whores are underage; they therefore stopped reporting how many adult sex workers were arrested nationwide, leaving activists to make estimates based upon local news reports and the proportions of earlier pogroms.  And it looks like this:

# Date minors “pimps” adults
V November 2010 69 99 768
VI June 2012 79 104 ≈800
VII July 2013 105 150 ≈1200
VIII June 2014 168 281 ≈1800

adding machineThis year, the proportions are harder to calculate; in previous years, the number of adult sting victims was about 11x the number of underage ones, or 7-8x the number of “pimps”.  But this year, the number of claimed “pimps” is almost the same as the number of “rescued children”, probably because male & transgender underage sex workers who were previously charged as “pimps” were this time counted as “victims” (which might get the “pimp” conviction rate above the usual 4% this time).  That puts the number of adult sex workers arrested at somewhere between 1200 and 1800; it’s impossible to get a much closer estimate because the FBI doesn’t want us to have one, though the indispensable Elizabeth Nolan Brown gave it a try.  It’s heartening to note that the curve is flattening; taken together, the number of underage sex workers and people charged with “pimping” this year is only barely higher than the number charged with “pimping” alone last year, and that means it’s likely that the number of adult sex workers assaulted, robbed, caged and possibly raped by cops is also probably lower than last year.  Does this mean that sex workers are getting wise to cop’s tricks, or that the cops are getting sloppier, or both?  And will the numbers continue to drop next year, or will the federal government double down by vastly increasing the amount of money and manpower it dumps into persecuting adults for daring to have unlicensed consensual sex?  Only time will tell, because you can be sure the FBI won’t.


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