Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘law’

You can’t change your life [after a prostitution arrest], because you got people who just want to ride around and randomly take people to jail for nothing.  –  Erika Elias

Think of the Children! 

“Concerned parents” is a euphemism for “busybodies”:

A [gang] of [busybodies pretend] their quality of life is being affected after [one of them] discovered a business selling adult services was operating in their street…The owner of the house, Nigel Sanders, said…”I have a girlfriend who is a professional dominatrix, she comes to visit me in Exeter and on some occasions she may have found it convenient to see someone for services in…the [house]”…[one of the busybodies] said it made her feel uncomfortable that [people were having consensual sex close to where the products of other consensual sex acts were living]…

Lack of Evidence

As long as these laws exist, all women are vulnerable to persecution by cops:

Erika Elias…was waiting for a ride outside a Columbus, Georgia, trailer-park last month when a local [cop]…spotted her.  Because Elias had been been picked up for prostitution nearby previously, and the neighborhood is one where cops regularly make prostitution arrests…Ryan Vardman…arrested [her] for “loitering for the purposes of prostitution” and [she] now faces nearly two months in county jail…The criteria for this crime is entirely subjective: does a cop think you look like someone selling sex?…sleazebag-cop-michael-e-moore

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

“…Toledo [cop]…Michael E. Moore, Sr…was indicted by a…grand jury on two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of compelling prostitution…[after he] paid for sex with a girl, who was at the time between 13 and 14…”

A War for Peace

Femen’s main purpose seems to be the generation of irony from hypocrisy:

The founder of the Canadian chapter of…FEMEN…Kseniya Chernyshova was arrested in midtown Manhattan on Nov. 11…[for] “sexual intercourse in exchange for $300”…The Ukrainian-born Chernyshova…has been trying to [stop other] women [from making money the same way she does]…

Surplus Women 

Why can’t reporters write about the murders of sex workers without lurid bullshit?

It has been 10 years since a suspected serial killer prowling the streets of Atlantic City claimed Molly Dilts, 20, and three other women, Kim Raffo, 35, Barbara Breidor, 42, and Tracy Ann Roberts, 23.  The women, whose lives had unraveled under the weight of drug addiction, worked as prostitutes in the shadow of the resort’s neon-lit casinos.  Over five weeks, the killer took them one by one, dumping their bodies in a brackish, trash-strewn drainage canal…The killings spawned lurid headlines around the nation for months…Before drugs took hold of their lives, the four…were mothers and daughters…

A man who implies that sex workers can’t be “mothers and daughters”, and who apparently views women as only having worth in our relationships to others, has the nerve to call similar reporting on the same subject “lurid”.

The Widening Gyre

It’s fascinating to see fetishists convincing themselves their fantasies are real:

New details are emerging about the kidnapping of Northern California mom Sherri Papini, who was able to provide basic descriptions of the two Spanish-speaking women she says abducted her. Authorities say the motive for the kidnapping is still unknown, but one private investigator says there are signs that sex trafficking could be involved.

Another caption below this piece claims Papini was “branded”, which as longtime readers know is total bullshit.  This smells to me like a troubled woman looking for attention by faking her own “sex trafficking” abduction.  The “Spanish-speaking women” seem kin to the imaginary dark-skinned men usually featured in such hoaxes.

Train Wreck

It looks like Kenyan articles about sex workers can be just as weirdly stupid as Nigerian ones:

The increasing number of commercial sex workers touting for business at the Central Business District in Nakuru during the day is scaring away potential investors and customers…the Nakuru Business Association [pretends]…that the twilight girls some who are under age, strategically position themselves outside business premises disrupting human traffic to shops…The commercial sex workers are now considered as a big hindrance to normal operation of business in the city…

So now “disrupting human traffic” is a bad thing?  Please tell this to the “end demand” people.

Checklist

Fetishist admits her “information” is bullshit, yet teaches it anyway:

Sex trafficking in the United States is a “hidden epidemic”…an [opportunist]…told Longview [Texas patsies]…during a workshop.  “No one is an expert in this yet,” said Traffick911 Director of Programs Lindsey Speed…”as soon as we learn the way pimps do their business, they change it up”…Speed [fantasized about]…sex trafficking and how people can spot signs of potential victims…Speed offered up [nonsense] statistics about the industry…

Traffick911 is a coalition of Christian groups best known for claiming that their imaginary bogeymen can be chased away by saying prayers over highways.

Unintentional Hilarity Pokemon GO squirtle

Quite possibly the stupidest prohibitionist argument of the year:

Pokemon Go is a game in which you capture little monsters inside balls and trade them for candy or use them to fight other Pokemon to gain points…But, as with prostitution, when you look more closely at Pokemon Go, you see a nastier side.  In the game, I lure and drug beautiful little wild animals in their natural environment to calm them for capture, then bombard them with ever stronger Pokeballs in which I eventually confine them…I put Pokemon in my collection, inspect their vital statistics and, if it suits me, sell them to an authority figure (the Professor, a wise old white man) in return for candy.  Or I may keep them, send them to battle others and get them hurt in the process.  Like a pimp lures and (sometimes literally) captures a woman in prostitution and then rents her out to men to control and enjoy…

Yes, she’s actually comparing living adult women to imaginary cartoon monsters and apparently implying that “pimps” have magical entrapment abilities.  Also, some clients refer to seeing sex workers as “The Hobby”, not “The Game”. But prohibitionists never let actual facts contaminate their bizarre, sex-hating beliefs.

Imaginary Evils (#348)

A deep look at the Maoist cult whose members were at first called “slaves” by the media:

When Aravindan Balakrishnan was growing up, in Kerala…his mother often warned him not to curse people when he was angry…she believed that her eldest son possessed occult powers, and nicknamed him Black Tongue; later, as an adult, Balakrishnan would boast that he could set people aflame by looking at them.  He was a good student, and won a British Council scholarship…to study at the London School of Economics…By 1967, Balakrishnan had suspended his studies at the university and joined the Communist Party of England.  He…later…persuaded a small group of people—including Chanda Pattni, a classmate from Tanzania, whom he later married—to follow him.  Together, they founded their own party, the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought…Eventually, they moved in to a communal house in Clapham, South London…Balakrishnan enforced control by encouraging rivalries among the women and keeping them financially dependent.  He warned them that if they strayed, an invisible machine would punish them.  He called it JACKIE, an acronym of Jehovah, Allah, Christ, Krishna, and the Immortal Easwaran—the last of these being a scholar and spiritual teacher from Kerala.  If any of the women tried to flee, Balakrishnan said, JACKIE would zap them with lasers.  If they had disloyal thoughts, JACKIE would make the household appliances go haywire…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#574)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

Dozens of teachers gathered in [California]…to learn about how to [indoctrinate]…students in fifth to eleventh grades [in “sex trafficking” propaganda].  Tiffany Lavoie, a [fetishist, lied that]…”The average age of a victim of human trafficking in the United States is eleven to fourteen years old.  Some studies say fifteen…my mom trafficked me from the age of three until I was 13″…Lavoie said her goal is not to scare kids about strangers…

Bullshit; that’s exactly her goal.  And more importantly, to scare their parents & “authorities” so she can keep making money off of this moral panic.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now (#693)

Liz Brown has discovered a rather revolting pattern in US vice cops’ recent behavior:

One disturbing new trend I’ve noticed of late is undercover cops posing not just as vanilla sex-buyers or women looking to get cash for sex but as prostitution clients with unusual kinks or women demanding payment in things like cheeseburgers.  Then, after a sex worker or would-be client is arrested by undercover officers, the police—and the media segments that parrot them—are sure to highlight the more…mockable and attention-grabbing…elements of the bust…In [one] case, they set up a sting wherein sex workers advertising online were asked to oblige an undercover cop’s fetish request, which involved gummy worms in some way.  But the gummy-worm fetish part has no bearing on whether the elements of the crime of prostitution are satisfied, so it’s hard to see why [cops] would include it but for their own amusement or to ensure that the sting would be irresistible to the press afterward (or both)…

The Widening Gyre (#694)

I’m glad this happened; it isn’t until moral panics start disrupting the lives of the well-connected that they finally end:

A man who said he was investigating a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place fired an [“assault rifle”] inside the Washington, D.C., restaurant on Sunday…Edgar Maddison Welch…was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon…the pizza place has been hammered by thousands of threats and bizarre, unsubstantiated tales about child sex trafficking online for weeks…two women, who declined to give their names, [were found] banging on the patio…in late November.  The women were looking for the alleged tunnels used to traffic children.  “All of this is an underground tunnel that…transport them back and forth so they can can do these rituals,” said one of them. “They are putting a lot of curses and spells over the city”…

The tie-in to the Satanic Panic makes it even better.

Read Full Post »

We should have a national day for camp followers.  –  Brendan Trainor

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

You mean pictures don’t have magic anti-love powers?  Who could have guessed?

In [a] 1989…study, subjects were exposed to photos from Playboy and other types of erotica.  Subjects who had viewed these nude images then [supposedly] found other women—especially their wives—to be less attractive…[and] reported that they were actually less in love with their wives…This research has been heavily cited in…[pro-censorship] arguments…recent research has attempted to replicate some of the hallmark findings of some heavily-cited, influential research in psychology and the social sciences.  [Un]surprisingly…many of these…[attempts] have failed, suggesting that in many cases, the original studies were limited by statistical strategies, methodological flaws, or just over-interpretation by…researchers eager to publish sensational findings in an academic market that feeds on hype.  Balzarini, Dobson, Chin, and Campbell recently undertook research to recreate the findings from the 1989 study…over three distinct experimental tests.  In each trial, the researchers were unable to replicate the original findings…

Public Service Announcement 

Are politicians actually stupider than other people, or does it just seem that way?

A Louisiana [politician] admits that he sent a then-17-year-old boy sexually charged text messages and gave him a “graduation present” pair of racy designer underwear, but insists that he was only “playing along” with the teen and that no sexual contact took place…He maintained that many of the details revealed in a 2015 blog post by the boy about the affair were false and that he never had sexual contact with the teen beyond kissing, nor was he grooming the boy for a sexual relationship…[which even if he were is] not illegal because the age of consent…in Louisiana is 17…Yenni said…“I’m not gay”…

So all those times I kissed girls, it wasn’t sexual contact & it doesn’t mean I’m queer?  Wow, that’s kind of a shock.

Saving Them From Themselves

What could possibly go wrong?

Under-18s should be prevented by social media companies from texting sexually explicit images, the health secretary has said.  Giving evidence to the Commons health committee on suicide prevention efforts, Jeremy Hunt also called for a crackdown on cyberbullying by the technology industry via the introduction of [magical] software that can [magically] detect when it is happening…

Heroines (First Updates of the Year) sailor-moon-vs-stis

Well, if Wonder Woman can teach breast self-examination

…Sailor Moon…and her creator, Naoko Takeuchi, have teamed up with the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to…raise awareness about the rise of diseases like HIV and syphilis among young Japanese women.  Condoms and fliers featuring the pretty soldier, as she is famously known…will be distributed at several venues…The ministry…reworked the…famous catchphrase – “In the name of the moon, I will punish you!” – to: “If you don’t get tested, I will punish you!”…

Hard Numbers (#321)

Sex workers in [Australia’s] Northern Territory would be significantly safer if the industry was decriminalised…as a motion called for at a Labor conference held in February…the Northern Territory would become only the second state or territory in Australia to do so, after New South Wales.  The Attorney-General and Minister for Health Natasha Fyles confirmed…the new Labor Government would revise the Prostitution Regulation Act within its first term.  However she stopped short of indicating when exactly that would happen…[one] key reason why decriminalisation is necessary is to remove the mandatory requirement on sex workers to register with police…[sex workers are thus] branded for life, and there are instances of police releasing that information to third parties…

Creating the Crisis (#322)

I think the definition of “sexual predator” used here is much too broad to be useful, but the study is still interesting:

…a…peer-reviewed paper,  “Sexual Victimization Perpetrated by Women: Federal Data Reveal Surprising Prevalence”…[was] co-authored [by Lara Stemple] with Andrew Flores and Ilan Meyer…[using] federal survey data [that] challenged conventional wisdom.  “These surveys have reached many tens of thousands of people, and each has shown internally consistent results over time,” the authors note. “We therefore believe that this article provides more definitive estimates about the prevalence of female sexual perpetration than has been provided in the literature to date…the reports…document surprisingly significant prevalence of female-perpetrated sexual victimization, mostly against men and occasionally against women.”  Those conclusions are grounded in striking numbers…

No Difference

And this is different from the US…how, exactly?

An eight-year-old Ugandan girl has been arrested on suspicion on “lesbianism”…after she was found kissing friends…[and] a neighbour [snitched on her]…Human rights organisations have called for the child’s immediate release…the country’s notoriously stringent anti-homosexuality laws…amount to life imprisonment for those found in breach…

In the US, ten-year-old girls are arrested and charged with “aggravated sexual assault” for playing doctor.  And they are consigned to the “sex offender” registry, a form of imprisonment with invisible bars, often for life.

Uncommon Sense (#435)

Essentially, a mobile tippelzone:

Michael Lodberg Olsen…[created] Sexelance, his mobile sanctuary for street sex workers…A notice inside informs prostitutes that volunteers will call the police at the first sign of violence and encourages them to make contact if they are victims of human trafficking…Soon he hopes to have a generator and a small heater…Even if the project fails, he and his partners will have learned that they need a permanent facility like the ones that have been successful in bringing Canadian prostitutes off the street in Vancouver…

All-Purpose Excuse

One of the more predictable uses of the “sex trafficking” excuse: mass censorship:

A New Mexico legislator is getting on board with an effort to force manufacturers of electronics that connect to the internet to install filtering devices that would block online “obscenity”…David Gallegos…[says] he plans to sponsor…the Human Trafficking Prevention Act, [which was written] by a [prohibitionist] group attempting to introduce identical bills in the legislatures of at least 23 other states this coming year…the proposed law labels all devices that don’t install such filters “pornographic vending machines”…The bill lists child pornography, revenge pornography and online prostitution hubs as specific types of material that must be filtered…Free speech and digital rights advocates are lambasting the proposed legislation…as [blatantly] unconstitutional …the…bill would require New Mexico to declare all pornography a “public health crisis”…Consumers…would have the authority to turn the electronic filter off and view such “obscene” material, but only after making the request in writing and proving that they are 18 or older either in person “or through means that verify” their adult age…[they] must also pay a $20 opt-out fee “to help offset the secondary harmful social effects”…

Is the group backing this idiocy so desperate and delusional that they don’t recognize its blatant unconstitutionality?  Even if this shitshow passes it will instantly be challenged by watchdog groups and struck down in federal court.  Perhaps it’s just intended as a stalking horse, so as to force civil rights groups to waste money?

Camp Followers

It’s quite nice to see my ideas quoted positively in the mainstream press:

Nov. 11 was Veterans’s day.  Nov. 10 is Marines Founding Day…Politicians make tribute speeches and lay wreaths at memorials while bands play patriotic songs.  Americans everywhere show their appreciation to our troops.  But there are those who provide aid and comfort to our troops who are never mentioned.  They are the “camp followers,” who from time immemorial have followed warriors, providing immensely important services that help heal physical and mental wounds and raising the morale of our troops so they could endure the long stretches of boredom punctuated by adrenaline-fueled violence that is the reality of warfare.  Camp follower, of course, is a euphemism for sex worker, prostitute, whore.  No one has ever erected a monument that a wreath can be laid at for these women—or men—who provide vital services to our servicemembers in uniform at home and overseas, in peace and war.  Although the camp follower is as old as warfare itself—Homer mentions their role in the Trojan War—it wasn’t until the 19th century that modern Western governments began to pay attention to them…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#601)

This is what “legalized and heavily regulated” actually looks like in practice:

The laws surrounding sex work are complicated in [Hong Kong]…where the legal system consists of a tangled yarn of a colonial British past and ever-growing influence from China.  While solicitation for “immoral” purposes in public is flatly illegal, prostitution itself…is not illegal…this means in practice that they can offer services, but only if they are alone, in their own apartments.  The strange state of affairs has led to the proliferation of what are [moronically] called “one-woman brothels”…leaving many women at the mercy of predators, [most] of them cops…Hong Kong police…[often] threaten…or entrap…sex workers instead of protecting them…While this is [just as common]…in Western countries where prostitution remains illegal and vice cops are plentiful, critics suggest it is deeply ingrained into local policing in Hong Kong…

molester-cop-marc-smith
To Molest and Rape

Once again: if you think it matters whether a cop is “on duty” or not when he commits a sex crime, you are part of the problem:

A[n Oregon] sheriff’s deputy…used a work cellphone to film a minor in a state of nudity…Marc Smith…also…touched a girl’s breast, exposed his genitals to her and filmed and photographed her [vulva]…in August and September of 2015 and 2016…while he was off-duty…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

Funny how much delusional anti-drug nonsense sounds like delusional anti-sex nonsense, isn’t it?

…WANE, the CBS affiliate in Fort Wayne, Indiana…warns that “dealers [are] using THC-laced ‘edibles’ to attract young people”…that “much of it is done online,” and that “buyers order the candies online and use them to get high discreetly”…But…presents [no] evidence of such online commerce in cannabis candies for kids.  The genesis of the story was an incident…”involving suspicious lollipops” at West Noble High School in Ligonier.  The…package…indicates they were made by…an edible manufacturer that serves patients in Michigan…[reporter Angelica] Robinson compounds the deception with some bizarre scaremongering…”Typically, edibles can contain anywhere between 70 and 100 percent of THC.  Marijuana has just 17 to 30 percent.”  These numbers are nonsensical. A lollipop that was 100 percent THC would not be a lollipop; it would be pure THC.  Even a product that was 70 percent THC would not have the taste, consistency, or appearance of a lollipop, which consists mostly of sugar…a seven-gram lollipop that was 70 percent THC would contain 4,900 milligrams…[in actuality] the label on the…package indicates that it contains…25 milligrams per lollipop…

Read Full Post »

The reason it took so long was we kept looking for something we couldn’t find.  –  Joe DiSalvo

Election Day (#45) trump-the-circus-peanut

It was interesting, but not at all surprising, to look back at my comments after the last presidential election and discover that the issues literally haven’t changed at all.  Once again the world was subjected to Americans vomiting poison all over each other for over a year while flushing some two billion dollars down a colossal toilet of hate in a mad contest to convince the undecided that an unbalanced TV clown who has bankrupted more businesses than I’ve owned would be a better Chief Sociopath than a power-mad harpy who never met a non-Anglophone brown person she didn’t want to bomb, and vice versa.  We endured months of propaganda claiming that a word-salad-spewing orang-utan the color of a circus peanut candy could somehow manage the largest corporate complex on Earth even though he couldn’t successfully manage any of his own companies; that a robotic war criminal with the fashion sense of Kim Jong-un and the charisma of your average DMV functionary was somehow less evil than her public behavior would indicate because she has a vagina; and that people so disgusted with these two utterly repellent specimens of homo sapiens that they threw their support behind either a stoner hick with a loose-cannon running mate or a crackpot prohibitionist so deranged even she doesn’t actually know what she believes, somehow owed the Two-Winged Fascist Party their votes lest the madman beat the megalomaniac or vice versa.

Well, we all know how that turned out; Trump won the popularity contest in spite of his own best efforts to sabotage his campaign, which means we may soon be forced to endure the spectacle of a sitting US president defending himself against a slew of lawsuits and even criminal charges.  His cabinet suggestions are a veritable rogues’ gallery of tyrants and malefactors, including the psychopathic Joe Arpaio, who was finally ousted from his position as dictator of Maricopa County, Arizona under the shadow of pending federal criminal charges.

There was some good news, though; California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine legalized recreational cannabis, while Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota approved cannabis for medical use and Montana reversed an attempt by prohibitionist politicians to castrate access to medical cannabis in their state.  Prohibitionists convinced the bootlicking yahoos of Arizona to vote down recreational use, but a fat lot of good it’ll do them with weed being legal now in both California and Colorado.  Given that even the Texas legislature is considering legalization, it seems likely that the federal government will soon give up its evil and hopeless efforts to eradicate usage of the drug by destroying hundreds of thousands of lives.  In fact, it would be a smart move for Trump, one of the most hated men ever to win the Presidency, to reschedule marijuana and thereby basically end the most costly and devastating campaign of the War on Drugs, thus winning brownie points (sorry, y’all) with a large fraction of the people who hate him most while doing absolutely no damage to his reputation with his fanatical followers.

Also, Michael Weinstein’s bizarre one-man crusade to drive the porn industry out of California by allowing any individual to sue the makers of porn movies that don’t include visible condoms (thereby financially destroying the industry) has finally failed at last; while we probably haven’t seen the last of the fanatically-evil Weinstein, it appears that the voters of California aren’t going to give him the power he wants.  And perhaps the defeat of a mindlessly-restrictive prohibitionist law aimed at destroying one segment of the sex industry is a harbinger of flagging support for prohibition of other forms of sex work, just as expanding access to cannabis is a harbinger of failing support for prohibition in general no matter who is in the White House (especially given that despite Trump’s many horrible characteristics, this is the first time we’ve had a former sex worker as First Lady).

Like a Horse and Carriage

Taiwan appears set to become the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage…Taiwanese lawmakers are currently working on three bills in support of marriage equality, one of which is already listed for review and could be passed within months.  Same-sex marriage also has the prominent support of President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female head of state.  About 80 percent of Taiwanese between ages 20 and 29 support same-sex marriage…That’s seen as a reflection of Taiwan’s ready acceptance of multi-party democracy and other inclusive attitudes, as well as the fact that Taiwan’s 23 million people largely follow Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions that take no strong positions on sexual orientation…

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

A possible move toward decriminalization in India:

A Supreme Court panel formed to look into the status of sex workers…has recommended that sex work be given legal recognition…Recommendations include that state authorities should issue ration cards to sex workers, that sex workers should be given voter identification cards, and that the children of sex workers should be given admission in government schools…The panel has also recommended that [programs for transition out of sex work] be made a right for those who seek it…The panel has also called for recommendations to amend the existing Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act…[including] changing the definition of brothel…not penalising those living on the earnings of a sex worker…deletion of the section on soliciting…and the doing away of the section on the removal of a prostitute from any place…among others…

Morality Lessons

We’re lucky to have such outstanding moral exemplars to “protect” and “lead” us:

The FBI reportedly ran 23 child pornography websites to try to ensnare users, according to an affidavit from the agency acquired by the…ACLU…It was previously reported that the FBI had seized and maintained the child pornography website Playpen to install malware on its users’ computers…[so as to] gain users’ identities and apprehend them.  But the…FBI had not revealed that it also operated the 23 other child porn websites until the new affidavit…the…websites…were hosted at a government facility…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-eutt-sharp

I’m pleased to see the actual word “rape” being used for rapist cops more often these days:

An Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputy was arrested for first-degree rape…Eutt Sharp was arrested on [October 29th] after a woman reported she was raped by an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Deputy…

Of course, this probably has a little bit to do with damage control after Daniel Holtzclaw.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#669) 

The defense of choice for sex offenders, plus ADHD:

During a trip to a tanning salon, a Saskatoon woman spotted something in the mirror while applying lotion — something she soon realized was a cellphone…a…police investigation…revealed videos taken of 18 other women, without their consent, while undressing in tanning salons around Saskatoon…Harley Zane Irwin…received a 12-month conditional sentence…after pleading guilty to 19 counts of voyeurism…Dr. Derek Doan, Irwin’s family doctor and psychotherapist, assessed Irwin as having Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  A second doctor diagnosed him as having a sex addiction that resulted from childhood trauma.  Dr. Fred Reekie, a psychologist deemed an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of sex addiction, said Irwin is making strides in his treatment and has shown tremendous growth…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

Because “I was wrong” isn’t in the cop vocabulary:

James Reed, the Illinois sheriff whose Halloween alert confused Crunch Choco Bars with THC…treats, now admits the error, reporting that…”was positive for containing cannabis.” In a press release issued last week, the Bureau County Sheriff’s Office says “the suspicious candy bars…were found to be imported from Japan, and the design on the wrapper is actually a Japanese Maple Leaf, which [does not in any way] closely resemble…a cannabis leaf”…Instead of apologizing for unnecessarily scaring parents and lending credibilty to the mythical menace of marijuana-infused Halloween candy, Reed offers lame excuses…claim[ing]…”attempts to locate [the candy] on the internet were unsuccessful.”  It is hard to imagine what those attempts entailed, since a Google image search for “Crunch Choco Bars” immediately revealed Reed’s confusion…this incident was a completely bogus scare, a fictional example of a nonexistent phenomenon.  Had Reed’s warning proved accurate, it would have been the first-ever documented case of cannabis candy distributed to trick-or-treaters in the two decades since California became the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use…

Read Full Post »

This is neanderthal policing based on hysteria and headline-chasing.  –  Alex Feis-Bryce

Real People 

What’s “shocking” is that some people are so ignorant they actually think it’s “shocking” that sex workers are mostly normal people with mostly normal lives:

Jess Lang…talks about her life before becoming an escort — twice divorced, former fundamentalist Christian.  She…admits most people who know her wouldn’t be surprised to learn of her profession.  Jess seems like the furthest thing from a desperate girl selling her body under the coercion of a pimp.  She is…a middle-class escort who loves what she does and makes good money doing it…a growing international alliance of sex workers [is] calling for the rest of society to understand their work, decriminalize it, and give them the same labor rights as people in other jobs…

Bottleneck

The narrower the neck, the more “illegal” sex work there will be:

In the 2015–2016 financial year, five of Queensland’s brothels shut their doors, bringing the number of licensed brothels down to 22.  This is the lowest it’s been in a decade…it’s not just the state of the economy that’s affecting sex workers.  It’s the way Queensland licenses its brothels…Annual license fees…are…about $35,000, and each manager has to be licensed up as well, which costs $1,000 each…brothels can only have a maximum of five rooms and eight workers on shift at any one time.  In comparison, the limit is six rooms in Victoria, but brothels that were established before 1995 are allowed to have more…Not only are Queensland’s brothels paying more, with less staff to make money, but they’re also prohibited from offering…outcall…services, losing a large proportion of business to private sex workers.  Victorian brothels are allowed to offer such services.  So while Queensland’s licensed brothels are closing, more and more workers are turning to private work…

Monkey Business capuchin-monkey-tools

So much for human uniqueness:

Monkeys have been observed producing sharp stone flakes that closely resemble the earliest known tools made by our ancient relatives, proving that this ability is not uniquely human…archaeologists…can no longer assume that stone flakes they discover are linked to the deliberate crafting of tools by early humans…Unlike early humans, the flakes produced by the capuchins were the unintentional byproduct of hammering stones…the monkeys appeared to be seeking out the quartz dust produced by smashing the rocks, possibly because it has a nutritional benefit…monkeys…selected rounded quartz hammer stones …[then] pounded their chosen stone on embedded quartz cobbles and then licked the quartz dust that this produced.  They made no attempts to use the sharp fragments and showed no interest in them…

Blunt Instrument

I wonder how many happy endings these brave heroes got during their “investigation”?

Hollywood [Florida] police arrested 24 women at 20 different locations this week in a prostitution sting targeting massage parlors.  During the five-month investigation called Operation Red Light, undercover detectives said they found evidence that the women were performing sexual acts on customers in exchange for payment.  All of the women face charges of prostitution, practicing without a license and misrepresenting themselves as a licensed massage therapist.  Two of the massage parlor owners, Giselle Guo…and Yan Zheng…also face bribery charges…Hollywood police Chief Tomas Sanchez [vomited onto reporters]…”These massage parlors breed other criminal activities, including human and sex trafficking, drug sales and money laundering”…

The End of the Beginning 

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether North Carolina can ban registered sex offenders from using social media websites and other sites that allow minors to have accounts…Lester Packingham…was…found…guilty [of violating the ban] in May 2012…He appealed, and in 2013 the North Carolina Court of Appeals vacated…[the] conviction…finding…the law…unconstitutional…[then] a divided North Carolina Supreme Court reversed the appeals court a year ago…

Secret Squirrel (#421)

Conditioning kids to accept intrusive monitoring of every aspect of their lives:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation…is pushing to develop…biometric devices wrapped around the wrists of students [to] identify which classroom moments excite and interest them…Gates officials hope the devices, known as Q Sensors, can become a common classroom tool, enabling teachers to see, in real time, which kids are tuned in and which are zoned out…Skeptics…call the technology creepy and say good teachers already know when their students are engaged.  Plus, they say it’s absurd to think spikes in teenagers’ emotional arousal necessarily correspond to learning…

I don’t usually feature four-year-old items, but I made an exception in this case.

Worse Than I Thought (#597)

Backpage’s loss here may actually be a kind of win, since the court specifically stated that the SAVE Act doesn’t apply to regular escort ads:

A federal judge…threw out Backpage.com’s claim that the U.S. attorney general is enforcing an unconstitutional law against [sex work] advertising…Backpage challenged the constitutionality of the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation Act…[because] it feared prosecution if it did not comply with the law by removing the “adult” category from its website…U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton…said the company lacks standing.  “Backpage.com has not presented evidence that Congress sought to eliminate all advertisements of a sexual nature…through the adoption of the SAVE Act; rather, the legislation is directed only at those advertisements concerning illegal sex trafficking”…Backpage has said it screens, blocks and removes such content…[so] it cannot allege that it would be burdened by compliance measures in this case.  Backpage attorney Robert Corn-Revere portrayed the ruling as a sort of win for his client.  “We are gratified that the court recognized that prosecution…requires actual knowledge that criminal activity is going on”…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops sue news media for revealing that they’re rapists:

A year after CBC Radio-Canada reported allegations of police sexually and physically abusing Aboriginal women in Val-d’Or, Quebec, the broadcaster is getting sued for $2.3 million…forty [cops] have filed the defamation lawsuit claiming [that the truth]…reporting upset their relationship with the community and tainted the reputation of the [cops] who [didn’t get caught]…The Provincial Police Association of Quebec [is] funding the lawsuit…The report uncovered two decades of…sexual abuse against…women [who]…were beaten and raped by the [cops]…

The Course of a Disease (#663)

Truth from a politician is even rarer than a denunciation of prohibition in Ireland:

A Fine Gael minister has caused outrage by [stating] there is nothing wrong with lonely men finding affection in the arms of a prostitute…And he dismissed Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s plans to criminalise hookers and clients as something that “doesn’t work…We don’t have the resources to police the women and certainly don’t have resources to police the much larger number of men…where you are talking about a lonely chap who wants to go out and spend his money to have a physical relationship because he’s got a need, there’s nothing wrong with that’’…

It’s a measure of the sickness of Western society that such an obviously-true statement could cause “outrage”.

Send In the Clowns 

We’re probably nearing the end of this year’s clown panic, and that’s kind of sad:

On 12 October 2016, the Facebook page “Clown Hunters” published a post warning that clowns may be “planning their own purge the night before Halloween…Stay inside, keep all pets inside and keep all doors and windows locked”…Despite having all the hallmarks of an opportunistic social media hoax predicated on contemporaneous purported clown sightings, close to half a million users directly shared the post within 48 hours of its appearance…Missing from most versions of the rumor were details about how information on the clown purge was obtained, how the clowns might be organizing among themselves, whether the clown purge threat was localized or widespread, or indication that any credible entity believed such a thing was possible or likely.  The rumor was a variation on cyclically viral general “purgerumors spurred on by social media panics in specific areas, often occurring around Halloween…no outbreak of widespread crime has ever followed them…Unlike previous viral purge panics, we haven’t been able to find any indication that police in any jurisdiction have even bothered to address the clown purge rumors…

Whatever They Need To Say (#684)

Frankie Mullin on the recent Soho & Chinatown raids:

…A [cop mouthpiece pretended]…that the operation was “launched specifically in response to concerns raised by sex workers themselves”…[but in reality it was] “concern”…from…[prohibitionist NGOs masquerading as] charities…In 2013, the justification for the raids was, again, trafficking.  But no evidence of trafficking was found.  After a series of court cases and public outcry, 18 of the 20 closed flats were reopened…definitions of trafficking conflict with common sense understandings of the term.  It’s deemed “irrelevant whether the victim consents to the travel”.  No coercion is necessary, meaning any undocumented migrant worker in the UK is fair game to be “rescued” as a trafficking victim…the Met…confiscated £35,000, bagged it up and, in the style of the best teenage Instagram gangsters, released trophy pictures to the press…

Read Full Post »

The criminalization of sex work exposes not only sex workers but all women to more violence.  –  Alison Bass

The Proper Study

Yet another study confirms what we’ve been saying all along:

a recent study in…Las Vegas uncovers what anti-trafficking organizations might not like to hear.  The majority of youth selling sex on the streets have no pimps, or even third party managers, countering one of the key narratives of the sex trafficking movement that all youth involved are victims doing this work against their will…three fourths of the youth interviewed about the sex trade said they were not working with any pimp or other kind of third party manager…24 percent of the study’s participants reported use of a third party to find clients at some point in their lives, but only 4 percent…reported use of one at the time of the study…youth sex workers who do use pimps do so inconsistently and intermittently…[they] are finding their clients independently and negotiating their own prices…

It Looks Good On Paper (#340)

Remember that religious brainwashing program which “partnered with the Sarasota…Police Department…to bring victims into their care?

The conversations happening by phone are ones that the Sarasota Police Street Crime Unit hope will turn into a positive outcome.  “I want you to know you are not in any trouble,” [oinked a pig]…”We are just trying to reach out and let you know there are options”…Sergeant Robert Armstrong and his unit are [harassing and intimidating] women who have active ads online for escort services.  Many are involved in prostitution…The team is focused on connecting women with Selah Freedom…

“Many are involved in prostitution”?  Are these people actually pretending not to know what an escort is?  Look beneath the pious exterior; we don’t actually know what stated or implied threats these cops are using to try to intimidate women into this “program”, which is so unpopular the only way it gets participants is by cops literally forcing or frightening women into it.  If the tactic seems familiar, it’s because it’s much like Canada’s “Operation Northern Spotlight” except that the cops are (for now) merely terrorizing sex workers by phone instead of showing up at their doors.wesley-blackburn

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

A Pennsylvania pastor faces charges he impregnated a 15-year-old girl from his youth group during a seven-month sexual relationship…Wesley Blackburn, youth pastor at Faith Brethren Bible Church, told the New Paris church’s head pastor he had confessed to the relationship and asked for a divorce…church leaders immediately fired Blackburn…and alerted police last week.  He was charged Oct. 6 on hundreds of counts of statutory sexual assault and indecent assault…

Rough Trade (#446) 

A setback for women’s rights in India:

The Supreme Court…ruled that a sex worker cannot file a case alleging rape if her customers refused to pay her…The judgment…acquitted three people of rape charges in a case that is close to 20 years old…the Karnataka High Court had convicted them of raping the victim, who used to work as a maid; the victim’s roommate had revealed that she works as a sex-worker at night…the Supreme Court…[claimed] that the woman’s “conduct during the alleged ordeal is unlike a victim of rape and betrays somewhat submissive and consensual disposition”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#502)

In which po-faced twits with tape over their mouths walk down a street holding pre-printed propaganda cards:

A long, single-file line of people donned [sic] in black, some with their mouths taped shut, silently made its way down Stephen Avenue [in Calgary] to [promote anti-sex work propaganda]…The [po-faced] group remained speechless, but handed out [propaganda] pamphlets to bystanders…former Manitoba MP Joy Smith [spoke] at the event…part of a global initiative by A21…

The tape is supposed to signify that sex workers are “voiceless”, a convenient lie for those who wish to talk over us.  A21, the NGO which sponsored this charade, is infamous as the source of the high-water mark of the “clients per day” competition of a few years ago: 110.

Eternal Vigilance (#610)

Just a reminder that prohibitionism still exists in decriminalized regimes:

New Zealand celebrities will be donning aprons to serve dinner with a difference at Destiny Rescue’s Dark Secret Pop up Dinner on International Anti-Slavery Day, Tuesday 18 October…Another special menu, thankfully not available in New Zealand, will shine the spotlight on the dark secret of the near two million children trapped in sexual slavery in countries like Thailand, India and the Philippines…

The table-waiting gimmick is appropriate given that Destiny’s idea of “rescue” is to teach brown urchins to sew, wait table and draw with crayons.

Wise Investment (#673)

Picket-fence gay men are such wonderful, dependable sex worker allies:

In his recent attempt to revise the history of sex workers in Vancouver’s West End, Kevin Dale McKeown…erases the West Sex Workers Memorial Committee and our eight-year campaign to secure financial reparations and a formal civic apology from the City of Vancouver.  He instead claims that his recollections are more truthful and authentic than the voices of sex workers…In McKeown’s distorted revision…expelled sex workers become the villains.  However, our archival research found close to 1,000 news articles revealing that power elites in the early 1980s — including Mayor Mike Harcourt, MP Pat Carney, Attorney General Brian Smith, Concerned Residents of the West End (CROWE) and Shame the Johns — forged a “war on hookers” with lethal consequences…Residents like McKeown moved into the West End when it was a thriving [24-hour] entertainment zone…McKeown…frantically disavows his own and other white gay men’s complicity in hooker-bashing tactics…McKeown makes a failed attempt to hide his investment in a “quiet” and “peaceful” gaybourhood cleansed of “noisy” hookers…

Too Close To Home (#677)

These are the people who claim they want to “protect” women, and portray the men we choose to have sex with as “sexual predators”:

…after settling a sexual-harassment lawsuit for $1 million in 2013, the King County Sheriff’s Office…is again embroiled in a legal fight over its treatment of female officers.  This time, two…deputies and one sergeant are accusing the county of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual-orientation based harassment, and retaliation…a former head of internal affairs [is] seeking whistleblower protections before he talks.  Central to many of these claims is King County Sheriff John Urquhart…[whose] tenure so far…has been ignominious, involving the two sexual-harassment lawsuits, a cop convicted of pimping his wife and selling his colleagues steroids, a bogus “sex trafficking bust,” a chief-of-staff with polygraph problems, and more…this latest lawsuit…specifically calls out the actions of Sheriff Urquhart, Major Sean Ledford, and Sergeant Dewey Burns…defensive tactics instructor Melissa Deer…claims [Burns] grabbed her crotch during a training exercise…text messages showed the sergeant making racist, anti-gay, and sexually explicit comments to other staffers, including…Deputy Amy Shoblom…who…is one of three plaintiffs in the current suit, along with Diana Neff…and Julie Blessum…[Burns’] antics included texting her half-naked photos of women he was sleeping with, asking during a roll call if she had “hooked up” with a male deputy, and drawing a penis on the hood of her car with hand sanitizer…

There’s a lot more, and it’s by the awesome Liz Brown so you should read it all.

Send In the Clowns dublin-clown

The most disturbing thing about the clown hysteria is the way in which it has so quickly given rise to organized violence and naked authoritarianism.  A “Clown Lives Matter” protest against the panic, to be held in Tucson, was cancelled due to amateur threats of violence, and the professional violence-inflicters are responding by criminally charging people and destroying young childrens’ lives.  The hysteria has also spread to Ireland, and while police in Dublin have responded calmly, those in Belfast have responded with US-style threats of violence and lifelong imprisonment.  Dutch police are moronically calling for a prankster there to turn himself in, and the ever-lunatic British tabloid press have found a way to merge the clown panic into “sex predator” panic:

The basic premise of [this] story is that some men get off on women dressed as creepy clowns, they’re causing a spike in clown-porn searches and clown-fetish requests at escort services, and soon their “sick fetish” may lead them to commit real-world sexual assaults “as the adrenaline junkies seek more ‘extreme thrills'”…what the story lacks in logic it makes up for in references to “sex-mad sickos” and quotes from an anonymous escort-agency head…[it] also quotes a woman who counsels rape victims and worries that the “clown craze” provides cover to predators…Popular millennial women’s website Elite Daily published a clown-sex-panic story…warning readers that “the sexual deviants partaking in the madness are allegedly dressing up as clowns and experimenting with BDSM” and “those who are involved in the aggressive clown porn are potentially dangerous.”

Power Play

Your periodic reminder that Dennis Hof is a revolting excuse for a human being:

Dennis Hof…said that while he supports law enforcement aggressively enforcing laws against underage sex trafficking, he believes that law enforcement in the United States would have an easier time doing its job if adult prostitution were [legalized]…using the [Nevada]…model…Hof said [independent sex workers spread]…sexually transmitted diseases…”My brothel business model [magically] puts the…pimps [who aren’t politically connected] out of business, [magically] stops underage girls from working illegally [?] and [magically] ends sex trafficking [even though 99% of Nevada sex workers prefer to work illegally than to submit to the onerous brothel regime]”…

In the first version of the press release, Hof actually cheered the arrests of the owners & CEO of Backpage; I guess he later realized that was vile even by his standards.

Challenge (#681)

The ACLU has finally done something to act on its theoretical support for decriminalization by filing an amicus brief in the ESPLERP case:

The ACLU brief supports the lawsuit’s contention that California’s penal code violates fundamental constitutional rights to sexual privacy and is enforced in a discriminatory manner…Lawrence v. Texas…recognized that “liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex”…The ACLU brief also argues that the California penal code is unconstitutional because the way it is enforced is discriminatory.  Certain groups, such as transgender women, LGBT youth, and female sex workers are targeted and arrested for prostitution in disproportionately higher numbers than other people…

Read Full Post »

We see no constitutionally adequate basis to criminalize sex solely because one consenting adult pays another.  –   Hayley Gorenberg  and Richard Saenz of Lambda Legal

Rough Trade 

Be careful out there, my sisters in Philadelphia:

Philadelphia police say a predator who’s attacked female prostitutes earlier this year may be responsible for two more recent attacks…the most recent incident occurred Oct. 1 when a man on a bike propositioned [a street worker] for sex…the man choked her until she lost consciousness…Police believe the same man also accosted another prostitute at gunpoint Sept. 19.  He took her to an alley and [raped] her while holding a knife to her face.  Police believe the same man attacked a prostitute with a brick then stabbed [to death]…on July 16. She died.  The same man, often arriving on a bike, is believed to have attacked at least one other prostitute, slashing her throat April 19.

The Lesser of Two Evils

As I’ve pointed out before, most laws governing sex work prior to the late 19th century were aimed at drawing lines between harlots and “good” women, rather than at advancing a quixotic crusade to “eradicate” the ineradicable.  Here’s a list of garments prostitutes were required to wear in various medieval European cities:

Beaucaire: a mark on the left arm…
Berne: red cap.
Bristol: striped hoods.
Castres: a man’s hat and a scarlet belt.
Florence: gloves and bells on the head…and high-heeled slippers.
Languedoc: a cord belt.
Leipzig: yellow cloak trimmed with blue.
London: striped hoods.
Mantua: white cloak and badge on chest…
Marseilles: striped tunic.
Milan: black cloak.
Nimes: a sleeve of a special colour.
Pisa: a yellow headband.
Strasbourg: black and white sugarloaf hat.
Toulouse: a mark on their sleeve.
Venice: yellow scarf.
Vienna: yellow scarf.
Zurich: red cap.

Saving Them From Themselves

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

A man [in Australia] who found out that his 15-year-old stepdaughter was sexting her boyfriend proceeded to download the evidence to bring it to the school and the police to ask them to intervene…Now [Ashan Ortell] has been convicted on child pornography charges and placed on the sex offender registry…for eight years…

Frankly, I’m glad this idiot got what he deserved.  If anything, anyone who would report his own daughter to the pigs for the “crime” of having a sexual relationship deserves much worse than 8 years on the registry.

Gullible’s Travels

Even if this were true (which it isn’t), it’s a testament to the entrenched stupidity of authoritarians that they refuse to see that binge drinking on US university campuses only became common after the drinking age was raised to 21:

A growing number of college are banning hard liquor on campus in a move to curb extreme drinking — but students are still getting their party on, and some are adding an extra element of risk to their binges…the phenomenon dubbed “drunkorexia”…University of Houston Professor Dipali Rinker said in a study of 1,200 students, he found up to 80 percent were restricting calories, overexercising, purging or using laxatives in combination with binge drinking…

Bogeymen

No, the sex trade in Ireland is no more “controlled” by “gangs” than it is in the US.  This is little more than a cop wanking fantasy of there being “bad guys” to target, aided and abetted by the pathological liars at Ruhama:

Five major vice gang members are behind three-quarters of the sex-for-sale business in Ireland, according to data taken from the most popular website used to advertise prostitution.  One gang this week has links to 80 advertised women and more than 10 transgender prostitutes, who can each make €1,000 a day.  Ireland’s multi-million euro vice trade is set for a massive blow as a new law to make it illegal to buy sex is due before the Dáil this week…

But just for fun, ask yourself:  If there really were mobsters behind all the sex work in Ireland, would they want decriminalization or increased criminalization?  Did the Mafia like the end of Prohibition?  And what happened to Mexican drug cartels’ profits when Washington & Colorado legalized cannabis?

The End of the Beginning 

This is what happens when you don’t fight tyrannical laws from the beginning:

A federal class action…challenges a Mississippi statute that requires people convicted of having anal sex to register as sex offenders.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Mississippi residents who say they were convicted under various sodomy prohibitions, including the “unnatural intercourse” law, and Louisiana’s “crime against nature by solicitation” law…the [registration requirement] is discriminatory and unenforceable in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence v. Texas invalidating all state laws against gay sex as unconstitutional…

You know why they can get away with this despite Lawrence?  Because the Great Unwashed said nothing when federal courts established the precedent that the horrific persecution and ostracism inflicted on “sex offenders” are not punishments, but merely side effects of a record-keeping process.

Torture Chamber

Stop faking!

[In 1993] Anthony Gay…pled out to violating probation because of a “strong arm robbery.”  Gay was convicted of the robbery and hence the violation after nicking a hat and $1, resulting in a sentence of 7 years in prison…he was warehoused at the notorious…Tamms Correctional Center in Illinois [where]…”his actions…driven by his mental illness, resulted in years of solitary confinement and additional criminal convictions, chiefly due to a series of assaults on guards, including throwing feces and urine out of the food slot in his cell door.  By 2013, his sentence had been increased to 97 years and his release date pushed back to around 2091…he practiced self-mutilation, even to the point of cutting out one of his testicles and hanging it on a cell door in 2010“…He was literally crying out for help, and no one listened, save for his lawyers who managed to…convince…the court that the sentences Gay racked up while at Tamms had been improperly stacked…his new release date is set for August of 2018…Tamms has closed shop because its blatant incompetence and overindulgence in costly solitary confinement of people like Gay…

Making It Up As They Go 

Seattle pretends to be “liberal”, but it’s home to vile bullshit like this:

Escape to Peace launched…a…center for survivors of sex trafficking in Bellevue on Oct. 6….Carol Loya was inspired to create the non-profit after a 2012 mission to Thailand, during which she was shocked to see and talk to young…sex work[ers]…At any given time in King County, 300-500 underage girls are being trafficked.  The average age of entry is 12-14 years old, with some as young as 8 or 9…

Yes, they’re actually claiming that Greater Seattle has 20% of all coerced underage prostitutes in the entire US.

Checklist (#612)

More “beauty salon sex trafficking” idiocy from Ohio:

…100,000…cosmetologists throughout the state of Ohio…are now the latest allies in the fight against human trafficking…In Ohio alone, it is estimated that more than 1,000 girls and boys, between the ages of 12 and 17, are involved in the sex trade.  Last year, Ohio’s state cosmetology board approved a requirement that human-trafficking awareness training become a mandatory part of obtaining a cosmetology license…[fetishists fantasize that] traffickers or so-called pimps may take a victim to a hair salon in order to change their appearance to avoid detection…If stylists see anything suspicious, there are things they can do like get a license plate number and call police…

In a police state, even your hairdresser may be spying on you.

One Born Every Minute (#645) 

I’m pleased for the very small part I played in helping to expose this rapist:

Matt Hickey…has been charged by the King County Prosecuting Attorney with three counts of rape in the second degree.  The charges…contain allegations from three women, including two women The Stranger wrote about earlier this year…who said Hickey told them he was working with a female porn recruiter, and asked them to audition for them…Not long after the first piece came out, three more women came forward to accuse Matt Hickey of rape.  These women told The Stranger that Hickey got them blackout drunk and raped them while they were unable to consent.  Hickey denied all of the allegations…

Vendetta (#664)

A look at the aftermath of one of the private pogroms bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

Cory Walcott, was chair of the Military Science Department at the University of Nebraska Kearney until he was busted in a highly-publicized national sting…Prosecutors have now announced they are dropping the charge against Walcott and another man, Maurice Briggs…Their arrests were both part of the “National John Suppression Initiative”…[in which] police departments across the country pose undercover as either sex workers or their clients, arrest a lot of adult men and women for things like prostitution and solicitation, then put out splashy press releases about all the “sex trafficking arrests” they’ve made…the ultimate arrest/rescue breakdown for Lincoln?

  • no underage or adult sex-trafficking victims discovered
  • no force, fraud, or coercion discovered
  • four women, ages 23 to 36, charged with misdemeanor prostitution
  • five men charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with felony solicitation of prostitution
  • one man charged with marijuana possession…

Send In the Clowns

The most interesting part of the clown panic isn’t the hysteria itself (which is kind of a yawn to anyone who’s studied such panics before), nor the copycats trying to get attention by mimicking the imaginary bogeys (ditto), but the bizarre things one finds in news stories about clown incidents.  One story says “Three ‘juvenile clowns’ were taken into custody in Albuquerque, New Mexico, under the influence of marijuana“; Holy Reefer Madness, Batman!  One wonders what the Kentucky man who “fired a semi-automatic rifle at a woman walking her dog because he thought she was a clown” was under the influence of; like some others, this story tries to blame the clown hysteria on Stephen King, specifically a new production of It which I doubt has anything to do with the panic.  Then there’s this Massachusetts Halloween haunted house which features “scary clowns” among its attractions, reassuring the public that “they would know if there was a clown impersonator among them.”  Self-important Australian “experts” pronounced the hysteria “dangerous” and “sinister” after it spread to Perth and to cities in Victoria (one wonders why they haven’t opined on the far-more-serious “sex trafficking” hysteria).  But those all pale beside the horrifying statements made by cops in (wait for it) Arizona:

The Phoenix Police Department reports five juveniles ages 14 and 15 were charged with scary clown threats. Mesa police [arrested] two juveniles…[one maniac said] “I would call it a hate crime.”  To prevent copycats, [pigs] and county prosecutors are taking a zero tolerance approach.  “Every image, every text, every mention will be investigated,” said [Commissar] Nik Rasheta…prosecutors plan to prosecute anyone else making scary clown threats to the full extent…[propaganda operatives] say don’t think social media will be a shield to make scary clown threats. Authorities have the technology to see who’s posting and spreading them…

Challenge (#679)

Lambda Legal has honored the commitment it made to sex worker rights last year by filing an amicus brief in the ESPLERP case:

…At the heart of Lambda Legal’s most groundbreaking victories and continuing mission is self-determination, including bodily autonomy.  When the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing same-sex relationships and gay identity in Lawrence v. Texas, it rightly rejected assertions against us that “public health” justified sodomy laws.  The movement for reproductive justice, from which we draw key legal precedents, similarly fights for facts over fiction when government tries to limit the right to contraception, abortion, or other similar personal decision-making.  Lawrence explained that the constitutional right to liberty protects all of us when we make our own decisions about adult, consensual sexual intimacy…sometimes relationships are transactional…consider prenuptial agreements, surrogacy, and hook-up websites; the fact that money is involved does not obliterate constitutional protections for marriage, parenting or sexual intimacy.  All of these truths animate Lambda Legal’s position that the government may not constitutionally criminalize consensual adult sex solely because it is bought and sold.

Read Full Post »

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

Aversions

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

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

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

Check Your Premises

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

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

Uncommon Sense natalie-hot

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

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

Finding What Isn’t There

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory

Not a police state, no sirree:

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

I Saw My Brain

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

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

Frequently Told Lies

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

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

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

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

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

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

Traffic Jam (#619)

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

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


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

To Molest and Rape 

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

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

The Prudish Giant (#641) 

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

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

Now They Notice (#666)

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

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

Send In the Clowns

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

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

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »