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Posts Tagged ‘Madonna/whore’

It’s…a surveillance-first, ask-permission-later system.  –  Jake Laperruque

The More the Better 

There are a lot of things I dislike about this article written by a brothel owner in New Zealand, not the least of which is the writer’s use of the term “ethical pimp” to mean “ordinary madam” (the term “pimp” is hopelessly contaminated by racism and copaganda; it cannot be “reclaimed”).  But everything that helps to demystify sex work is good, even if its style grates on my nerves.

Gingerbread House

Stories about hooker jails are absolutely crammed with appalling euphemisms:

[More] victims of human trafficking [than exist in the United States] are expected to be [arrested] from [ordinary sex work] in Fresno alone this year.  But…a $45,000 donation from Granville Homes will be used to help “Breaking The Chains” build a new [prison] facility…[for] 25 victims of [the police]…It will provide a [place to lock them up out of public view so cops can pressure them to provide fake “evidence”]…to help [convict people as] gangs or pimps…District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp [moaned with her hand in her pants, fantasizing]…”It happens in schools.  People are taken from malls.  There are all different types of ways [magic ninja] traffickers get these girls,” [panted] Smittcamp…

The Missing Word

We certainly can’t use that word for people who were given control over their victims by the government:

A Crawfordville, Florida couple preparing for Armageddon faces multiple serious charges after two females escaped the couple’s farm and [said] they were prevented from leaving and were physically and sexually abused for years…[by] Mirko…and Regina Ceska…The females…The females…were [given] “custodial responsibility” of the Ceskas [by the government, and were forced to begin]…working each day at 5:30 a.m…The females reported they were not allowed to go anywhere, couldn’t have friends, couldn’t have cell phones, nor talk to people in public places”…If they didn’t smile, they would face a variety of punishments ranging from verbal abuse, beatings or being deprived of food….”Detectives noted marks and bruises on the female’s back and arm.”  Both females also described times that Mirko Ceska would force sex acts upon them…”with the support of Regina Ceska”…Mirko Ceska screamed at the females

I wonder what biological sex the victims were?

Rescued To Death

I’m sure they don’t mind having their lives destroyed so bourgeois Englishwomen can feel good:

The Modern Slavery Act…helps cover up serious forced labour issues…while making [busybodies]…feel better…Article 54…assigns British companies the responsibility to clean up their global supply chains…[and they shove] this responsibility [of on] local factory managers in Sri Lanka…[who intrusively] monitor their [mostly-female] workforce…for fear of losing their contracts…[many of these] women…engage…in part-time sex work to [supplement their meager pay, as working-class women have done since at least Roman times]…But local managers fear…it would be [fantasized] by Western [busybodies to be] exploitation and threaten their contracts…one factory manager [said]:  “If we do not fire part-time sex workers, our factories can get blacklisted, and our orders will be cancelled”…

Guinea Pigs (#690) 

Apply a label like “prostitute” or “gang member” and civil rights go out the window:

An NYPD database labels over 18,000 people in New York City as active gang members.  Three…are 13 years old, and more than 400 others are under 18…nearly 88 percent are Black or [Hispanic].  If your name is entered into the database, you have no way of knowing about it and no way of contesting it…Across the country, people have been calling for significant reform of, or even an end to, gang databases and gang policing measures…The Chicago Police Department database is [an order of magnitude larger than New York’s], containing the names of an estimated 128,000 adults and at least 33,000…people 17 and younger…includ[ing] hundreds listed as dead or having no known gang affiliation…two men listed as 132 years old and several 118-year-olds…alleged gang affiliation [is] treated as a factor in immigration proceedings, bail decisions and sentencing, and treatment when in jail or prison. The NYPD [pretends] that it does not share information with other agencies but [that is well-known to be a lie]…

Guess who built California’s version of this?  Palantir.  And I’ll bet they had a hand in New York’s, too.

Against Their Will (#795) 

This looks like a huge victory against the powerful Indian rescue industry:

The Bombay High Court has said that an adult [arrested under the pretense of] rescue…under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act cannot be sent to a [prison]…against her wish…The order will set a precedent…for all the women who are in [“rescue” prisons] against their wish…Advocate Satyavrat Joshi argued…that the Constitution provides every citizen a right to move freely through the territory of India and also the right to choose a vocation…

Dirty Laundry (#845)

The “Good Shepherd Sisters” were one of the two orders behind Ireland’s horrific Magdalene laundries, now doing business as the anti-sex work gang Ruhama:

…In “hubs” of human trafficking such as Detroit, faith-based groups such Sisters of the Good Shepherd have [capitalized on the hysteria] by [pretending to] offer…services to [sex workers], including counseling, housing, career training, prevention programs and even [indoctrin]ating the community [in propaganda] about human trafficking…

Finding What Isn’t There (#870)

Trying to manufacture data to “prove” a problem exists when existing data says it doesn’t is not science:

Britain is aiming to [exaggerate] the true scale of modern slavery and [invent] more trafficking networks [out of individuals] through the creation of a 10 million pound ($12.5 million) research center involving [hired guns, prohibitionists and rescue profiteers]…The initiative will [invent] research and boost [fascist] collaboration in Britain and abroad between various sectors…[and] law enforcement…[prohibitionists masturbate to the fantasy that] Britain is home to…136,000 slaves…a figure [dreamed up by rescue profiteers Walk Free Foundation]…whose accuracy has been [widely debunked] by academics and activists…

Disaster (#902)

Is there anyone outside government and prohibition profiteer groups who fails to recognize what a disaster FOSTA is?

…police…stings are [claimed] to fight sex trafficking, but…simply instigate…arrests for prostitution.  It’s a racket…Would Americans be in favor of spending these astronomical sums to fight sex work that is completely unrelated to sex trafficking?…they should at least…not be tricked into believing sex trafficking is happening all around them…FOSTA-SESTA has made sex work more dangerous, the internet less useful, and we are throwing money out the proverbial window in our zeal to fight a scourge that isn’t nearly as widespread as we are led to believe.  We need elected officials brave enough to say a mistake has been made.

Guinea Pigs (#936)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

The Palantir user guide shows that police can start with almost no information about a [victim] and instantly know extremely intimate details about their lives…they can use automatic license plate reader data to find out where they’ve been, and when they’ve been there…[they] can also find a person’s email address, phone numbers, current and previous addresses, bank accounts, social security number(s), business relationships, family relationships, and license information like height, weight, and eye color…The software can map out a person’s family members and business associates of a suspect, and theoretically, find the above information about them, too…

Pyrrhic Victory (#944)

As I keep saying, it’s already far too late to stop this tyranny:

…Thousands of facial-recognition requests, internal documents and emails over the past five years…reveal that [pigs and spooks] have turned state Department of Motor Vehicles databases into the bedrock of an unprecedented surveillance infrastructure…Neither Congress nor state legislatures have authorized the development of such a system, and growing numbers of [politicians] are [publicly] criticizing the technology [to win support from voters while doing absolutely nothing to stop it]…Since 2011, the FBI has logged more than 390,000 facial-recognition searches of federal and local databases, including state DMV databases…The records…detailed the regular use of facial recognition to track down suspects in low-level crimes…with nothing more formal than an email from a federal agent to a local contact…

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I’ve followed Cathy Reisenwitz‘ work since I started this blog, yet somehow we’ve never had a guest column from her!  So when I saw that she’s started a new newsletter, I jumped at the excuse.

It’s a tragedy of feminism that so many of us are stumped by a very easy question:  Is sex work a choice?  Ask any current sex worker and they’ll tell you:  Sucking dick for money under patriarchal capitalism is as much a choice as cleaning toilets.  But one pays a lot better.  Is being a housewife a choice?  If your view is that society worships motherhood and despises ambitious women, then obviously those forces will influence women’s choices.  But an influenced choice is still a choice, something many radical feminists don’t like to admit.  Radfems like to straw-man arguments for female autonomy as choice feminism.  But when the women in question have power, suddenly the question changes.  While downtrodden and oppressed women aren’t allowed to make their own choices, women in positions of power are afforded unlimited options.  I find a particularly interesting example of this “choice only for the powerful” phenomenon in feminist author Jill Filipovic’s treatment of presidential hopeful Kamala Harris.  While Filipovic equivocates about sex work and choice feminism, she asks for nuance when considering Harris’s choice to use her powers as a prosecutor to deprive women of the choice to engage in safe sex work.

Harris’ record as prosecutor reveals a woman who is more than happy to use the criminal justice system to keep other women from engaging in sex work without fear of violence, arrest, or imprisonment.  Harris arrested Backpage.com executives and illegally charged them with pimping and conspiracy, then after a judge threw out the case Harris filed nearly identical charges in another California court; the First Amendment Lawyers’ Association described the maneuvers as “a gross abuse of prosecutorial discretion.”  Harris fought Backpage and continues to support FOSTA in the name of fighting human trafficking, yet everyone from Amnesty International to the World Health Organization says that decriminialization leads to lower rates of sex trafficking.  Despite this, Harris has consisently sided with prostitution prohibitionists and supported police raids of sex workers.  And while San Francisco Bay Area police officers were committing actual sex trafficking, Harris and her office pretended it wasn’t happening.  Jill Filipovic is quite aware of the “Kamala Harris is a cop” meme, but has a more nuanced take.  In a recent op-ed, Filipovic asks readers to consider the competing interests Kamala had to take into account when making choices as a prosecutor (if Harris hadn’t defended the death penalty she risked alienating politically powerful police unions; if she hadn’t fought the California anti-overcrowding court ruling the state would’ve missed out on slave labor, etc).  I’m not sure how to justify her choice to become a prosecutor in the first place; as Joe Biden pointed out in the recent Dem debate, “I was a public defender. I didn’t become a prosecutor.”  Filipovic is able to see Harris’s choices through the lens of a woman navigating a minefield of racism and sexism while also balancing careerism and her own conscience, yet when it comes to sex workers, all that nuance is reduced to “choice feminism.”

In Supporting Sex Workers’ Rights, Opposing the Buying of Sex, Filipovic writes, “[In Utopia], sex would be a fun thing, a collaborative thing, always entered into freely and enthusiastically and without coercion.  Of course women should have the right to do what they want with their own bodies, and of course there are many sex workers who aren’t trafficked or forced into the trade.  But that smacks a bit too much of ‘I choose my choice!’ feminism, which I find to be incredibly intellectually lazy.”  What’s really incredibly intellectually lazy is to spend hundreds of words apologizing for a woman who chose to arrest and incarcerate sex workers and make their jobs less safe to bolster her own career, and then dismiss the fight for sex work decriminalization as “choice feminism.”  Are sex workers not doing the best job they can considering there are negative consequences to every position they could take?

A look at my own experience with sex work may be helpful in illustrating this.  From the time I walked the aisle at a tent revival and confessed my sins and gave my heart to Jesus at five years old, I’ve always been a true believer.  I’m not sure if I ever signed a purity pledge, but I might as well have.  I met my favorite high school boyfriend at a good old-fashioned Southern Baptist abstinence retreat, and I lost my virginity at 22, on my wedding night.  As I pulled away from religion, my husband drew in; by the time I said I wanted a separation four years in, he said he’d only see the pastor and his wife for marriage counseling.  I studied her perfect highlights as they refused to talk about the problems in our marriage until my relationship with Jesus was fully addressed.  Sometime between the divorce and today I got paid for sex for the first time, because once you see that traditional marriage is just one long, nominally exclusive mutually beneficial arrangement you really can’t unsee it; then the question becomes how long, and how exclusive, do you want the arrangement to be?

I was a sex work activist before I was a sex worker, because a feminism that doesn’t include self-ownership is no feminism at all, and women don’t own our bodies if we aren’t allowed to rent them out.  Contrary to the carceral feminists, I don’t believe any kind of consensual sex should involve arrest or imprisonment.  In what universe can a woman consent to cleaning a toilet for money under capitalism, but not to sucking dick?  Such a conception is utterly infantilizing, superstitious, and antifeminist.  It’s not despite my femimism that I support sex work decriminalization; it’s because of it.  Whoring has always been one of the only ways a low-born woman could rise above her station; sex work enables more women (and men) than you’ll ever know who don’t have trust funds to pursue social justice, music, comedy, and acting.  Or writing feminist screeds, in my case.  I’m neither proud nor ashamed of having done sex work.  If I had been a great sex worker I’d be proud, but I wasn’t; I didn’t find most of my clients interesting and I’m bad at pretending.  Yet I found sex work empowering even though I didn’t like doing it; maybe it’s my libertarian showing, but I tend to believe more options are better than fewer.

I’ve been writing about feminism, sex, and capitalism for the past ten years, mostly at Sex and the State; in that time I’ve changed my thinking on everything from abortion and sex work to the social safety net.  My writing is thinking aloud and learning in public.  I’m honored to have learned from women like Maggie, who turns the “prostituted woman” trope on its head; far from being abused or oppressed (except by cops and an overinvolved state), no one could prostitute Maggie except Maggie herself.  I’m still a true believer — evangelical as the day is long — but what I’m preaching has changed quite a bit.  I invite you to join my sex-positive libertarian feminist tent revival, by subscribing to my daily email.

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I think most of my readers know that I think the idea that there is only One True Path to Decriminalization is as wrongheaded and destructive as the notion that there is only One True Path to Salvation.  Those who claim that a labor rights approach, or a privacy rights approach, or a social justice approach, or a civil liberties approach, or a medical approach, or a harm reduction approach, or whatever, represent the only way to achieve sex worker rights, have been drinking their own Kool-Aid and need to move on to more potent and adult beverages.  But there is one popular approach that I’m going to ask y’all to reconsider, because I believe it’s doing more harm than good:  Please stop telling authoritarians that their terrible laws are harming sex workers and even getting us killed.  Look, I fully understand why y’all think this will work; it’s because you’re decent human beings who care about others, so naturally you think other decent human beings will also care.  And you’re mostly right, except for one small factor:  politicians, cops and other authoritarians are not decent human beings.  They are sociopaths who think that “law and order” trumps every other concern, and at a minimum accept harm to sex workers as acceptable collateral damage in their war to establish a jackboot Utopia with them at the top; in the worst cases (which means most of them), they are happy when their laws harm sex workers, because that is their specific intent.  In other words, when you tell these moral imbeciles, “Please stop because you’re killing us,” you are not dissuading them from their course of action; you are encouraging it.  Don’t believe me?  Consider that the Skarhed Report, the Swedish government’s own report on their eponymous “model”, stated quite clearly that “negative effects of the [sex purchase] ban…must be viewed as positive from the perspective that the purpose of the law is…to combat prostitution“…in other words, “it’s a good thing that those dirty whores are dying, because omelettes and eggs and all.”  And then there’s this video, which I’ve shared often, that states the prohibitionist attitude so clearly and distinctly you may even be able to see it through rose-colored glasses:

And here’s a selection from a recent article on Florida’s creation of an adjunct “sex offender” registry strictly for clients and sex workers accused of any of the “offenses” that are now fashionable to call “sex trafficking”:

…Savannah Parvu, an anti-sex-[work activist] and [prohibitionist] who advised Rep. Fitzenhagen on the bill…[believes] that that sex workers are…acceptable collateral…“Sex workers…claim they’re doing it willingly, so if a bill that is designed to [empower the police state]…puts sex workers in danger or is bad for…business…then maybe it’s time for a career change”…The bill’s authors are well aware of the criticism—but they don’t…see the issues that activists raise as problems.  “In case it was lost on you, a consensual sex worker, AKA a prostitute, is committing a crime,” Rep. Fitzenhagen said in…March…“It is not my intent to work with them moving forward”…

By all means, keep making this argument to the public, and pointing out the dangers of prohibition to reporters, academics and other potential allies.  But when you tell die-hard prohibitionists their schemes are hurting us, that’s just free intel for them from the front lines of a war against humanity they will do anything to win.

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We don’t know what we’re doing. –  rare true prohibitionist statement

Real People 

Stories like this need to be heard in order to fight the racist “sex trafficking” and “illegal alien” narratives:

…My mother came to Denmark as a marriage migrant.  She received a tourist visa in Thailand, came to Denmark, and put an ad in the local newspaper with the headline “Thai Woman Seeking”.  The man who became my stepfather answered.  They got married, and shortly thereafter I came to Denmark to live with them…People have always looked down on my mom or pitied her.  They have condemned my stepfather.  And they have felt misplaced sympathy for me…If my mother had not migrated from Thailand, I would probably still be in Isaan today.  I would have two or three children and work in my family’s rice paddies, at a factory, or have some other kind of low paying job.  Maybe I would have to migrate to Bangkok to work an unskilled job at a factory, leaving my children in the care of their grandparents in those months where there is no work to be done in the fields.  Maybe I would have to work in the sex industry in Pattaya and send home money to my children and my mother, because sex work is the field where you earn the most as an unskilled female labourer…Why are the women who change their lives by selling sex or by getting married scorned?…Why do we look down on women who simply use the opportunities they have been given?  There is no right or wrong way to migrate.  There are just women trying to create better lives for themselves and their children with whatever cards they have been dealt…

One Size Fits All

Marriage brokering, migrant sex work, forced prostitution and organ harvesting are all the same thing?

Pakistan…arrested eight Chinese nationals [and accused them of] trafficking Pakistani girls to China and forcing them into prostitution…and organ trade…Pakistani…[cops also] raided a wedding ceremony…and arrested the Chinese groom…after…[calling the] marriage [false]…

If this keeps up, soon we’ll just be able to abolish nearly all laws and call everything cops choose to accuse anyone of “human trafficking”.  Think of the time and labor savings!  Threaten everyone with life in prison, let them plead down to one of a few minor and equally-vague offenses like “money laundering”, “conspiracy”, “racketeering” or “hate”, then put them on ankle monitors for a decade or two.  International Utopia!

Cops and Robbers

Another bunch of racist vigilantes playing games with people’s lives:

This is the story of a group of [busybodies] so agitated by news of [women of] other [races running lucrative businesses instead of doing menial labor for whites]…that they launched a vigilante response…[like all busybodies] the women weren’t affected by the massage parlors personally.  They’d been driving right by them for [their whole lives] without noticing them at all…But the spas loomed large for the women after they learned [how much money migrant]…women…from China [could make]…as prostitutes [without having to kowtow to bourgeois white Boston puritans]…“We decided as a group we want to [harass] the women”…

First they tried to spy on them, then sic the pigs on them; when the cops told them luggage and TV sets were not evidence of “sex slavery” they decided to start a new NIMBY club called “Operation Rescue”.  Go ahead and read the whole thing if you want a deep dive into the tiny, ugly, racist minds of women who aren’t satisfied with merely keeping the brown folks in line by occasionally calling the cops on them for existing in public spaces.

Property of the State

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

Juan Leon-Gomez…was arrested…after a mother reported that her daughter was missing…the [now-pregnant] 11-year-old was found in [Leon-Gomez’s] bedroom closet…[he] was already the subject of an ongoing sexual assault investigation involving the girl…Ohio’s new “heartbeat bill”, which is slated to take effect in mid-July, means that the 11-year-old girl could be forced to carry the child to birth, regardless of the fact that she was raped…

Saint Death (#428) 

The…notion [of] ‘narco-saints’ borders on incomprehensible…But give it a cool name…and it suddenly turns religion into proof of guilt“:

“Narco saints,” or patron saints of the drug cartels, are making the criminals even bolder…[according to racist propaganda the] Drug Enforcement Administration…has [been trying to push for over a decade]…with…li[ttle success except among bootlickers and deeply credulous cops]…Atlanta DEA [pig]…Robert Murphy…[imagines] shrines of “narco saints”…are [magically] facilitating the flooding of Georgia streets with illegal drugs including heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl…[via their magic powers] to recruit and embolden the…[drug dealers this pig tellingly refers to as] soldiers…[illiterate redneck] District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson says she was so alarmed by the “narco saints”…she [went to church and then] used [stolen] money to bring an expert [propagandist] from Texas to [indoctrinate] local [cops so they’d have another convenient excuse to murder Hispanic men on sight]…“Why it’s so dangerous…is they believe they’re [bulletproof warriors] and they’re not afraid of death,” Lawson said…

Think of the Children! (#565)

Obviously this sex-ray contaminated money would have “sexualized” the childen!

Robert Kraft tried to donate $100,000 to a charity that educates children in Haiti—but it rejected the money because of allegations he [had consensual] sexual [contact with an adult woman]…“The last thing I wanted was a donation from Robert Kraft,” [said] Patrick Moynihan of The Haitian Project…“I could not be [sensible]. I had to [be a prudish moron who cares more about virtue signaling than the education of children in poverty]”…

Permanent Record

Sex workers need to bury all prohibitionists of every kind in lawsuits:

Nicole Gililland…had been doing well as a nursing student at Southwestern Oregon Community College…She was making the dean’s list and was about a year away from graduating…when…the college decided to run her out of school after it found out she used to perform in porn.  This February, she filed a federal lawsuit against the school and some of its personnel, charging them with breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and subjecting her to a hostile educational environment.  Experts say this…could be the first time a plaintiff has used Title IX to make an accusation of discrimination based on a person’s status as a current or former sex worker…

Guinea Pigs (#719) 

Just a reminder that one of Palantir’s first contracts was helping cops spy on sex workers:

Palantir, the CIA-funded data analysis company founded by billionaire Trump adviser Peter Thiel, provided software at the center of a 2017 operation targeting unaccompanied children and their families…newly released Homeland Security documents show….[that] Palantir…spokespe[ople were lying when they claimed]…that Palantir software is strictly involved in criminal investigations as opposed to deportations…Far from detached support in “cross-border criminal investigations,” the materials released this week confirm the role Palantir technology played in facilitating hundreds of arrests, only a small fraction of which led to criminal prosecutions…

A Woman’s Point of View (#805) 

The push for decrim in Hawaii isn’t dead yet:

…Harm Reduction Hawaii…sponsor[ed] presentations by Dame Catherine Healy…on May 9 and 10.  She is a former sex worker and advocate for sex worker rights.  In 1986 she was a cofounder of the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective.  She was made a Dame of the British Empire due to her long time work aimed at…decriminalization of prostitution in 2003.  Recent reports from the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women indicate there is no evidence of sex trafficking there.  This is in a country with four times the population of Hawaii…We believe evidence-based approaches need to supplant the sorts of hysteria that has often taken over the public press in discussions over sex work…

Disaster (#881)

Facebook has the money to protect itself from the monster it helped unleash on the internet:

Under FOSTA/SESTA…Section 230 no longer protects platforms from liability in cases where third-party content is [claimed by a prosecutor or ambulance-chaser to be] somehow connected to sex trafficking…Facebook support[ed this censorship] effort…But now [it] has been forced to send lawyers to defend itself from two lawsuits brought in Houston, Texas, under the same FOSTA/SESTA law that [it] backed…and it…is…argue[ing] that Section 230 of the CDA protects the firm from being held liable for the activities of users, no matter what those activities may be…[even though] thanks to [Facebook’s own support of] FOSTA/SESTA, that protection no longer exists…

A Procrustean Bed (#921)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of “authorities”:

A lawsuit filed by Harris County seeks to [rob and harass] sex workers in the Bissonnet Track, a Houston [stroll]…The lawsuit, which targets 86 “nuisance” individuals, is [intended to bleed marginalized people with] fines in addition to…criminal charges. [SWERFs are angry that] the measure ignores the[ir preferred narrative] that most sex workers are victims [because they want sex workers starved, evicted and enslaved in sweatshops rather than openly criminalized]…

Worse Than I Thought (#925)

Florida prohibitionists are now tripling down on their awful anti-whore laws:

Florida lawmakers just voted to create a public registry of people [accused by cops of] attempting to pay for sex.  After an initial defeat…the registry—arguably the worst part of a new Florida crime bill capitalizing on human-trafficking propaganda—was revived and reinserted before the measure’s passage…The final version…creates a database of [adults caught in cop sting operations]…targets strip clubs, and mandates that a slew of state workers and businesses jump through new hoops to accommodate a few politicians’ latest attempt to get their names in the press…The Soliciting for Prostitution Public Database will list anyone who has been convicted of, or plead guilty, to “soliciting, inducing, enticing, or procuring another to commit prostitution, lewdness, or assignation” [which of course includes sex workers arranging duos or giving references or other help to other sex workers]…The new measure also classifies strip clubs as “adult theaters”—then makes it a first-degree misdemeanor criminal offense for the operator of any adult theater to fail to keep proper records.  The law also creates wide new categories of workers and businesses that are [forced to endure]…anti-prostitution and pro-surveillance propaganda disguised as tips for teaching bystanders how to prevent human trafficking…

Top Cop (#931)

Just in case you needed another reason to be disgusted by this power-mad sociopath:

Kamala Harris is making the potential punishment of social media platforms that don’t censor what she [represents] as hateful speech a focal point of her presidential campaign…[she] wants social media to do more to stop…ideas [she disapproves of, such as sex worker rights] from being expressed and spread online.  It’s not clear what she thinks the companies should specifically do, but she’s definitely laying the blame on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube for the existence and proliferation of angry people online…what she wants with her prosecutor background is to force compliance with whatever rules she puts into place and use the threat of punishment to shut down resistance…just [like] California parents who were threatened with jail time because of her support for criminal truancy laws…or [her repeated and illegal]…attempt[s] to bring pimping charges against the publishers of Backpage…

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Meagan works for Prostasia, the organization which sponsored the Bay Area screening of The War on Whores, and I met her in person the day of the screening.  She interviewed me for Prostasia’s podcast (see below), and when Jeremy Malcolm sent me the link to the video he also included this essay Meagan wrote, which I found so sweet and touching I asked for permission to share it.

Why Maggie McNeill is My Hero

There are a lot of good reasons why Maggie McNeill should totally be your hero.  I mean, she’s brilliant, well spoken, sexy as all get out, an outspoken advocate for civil liberties, sex worker rights, sex positivity, child protection, the list goes on.  Basically, Maggie is the feminist we need if not the feminist we deserve.  But that’s not why she’s my hero.

Allow me to tell you a story.  Just to set the scene, it’s a Tuesday in the Bay Area.  My boss and I have had the pleasure of hosting Maggie all afternoon and evening.  She was kind enough to do an interview for Prostasia’s Podcast Sex, Human Rights, and CSA Prevention, then we all shared a lovely dinner and cocktails.  That was followed with the Bay Area premiere of The War on Whores, and we all capped the night off with lovely conversation and pie in a little diner near her hotel where we were dropping her off.  But on the way from screening to pie, there was a spot of bother on the freeway; a large plastic garbage can had wedged itself under the car and for a moment we feared we’d popped a tire.  So we pulled over and got out to investigate.

Now, it’s worth noting that I don’t drive and have a deep mistrust of cars, despite accepting them as a necessary means of transportation.  So I’m standing on the side of the road with my boss and Maggie, and she comes to the conclusion that if she and I stand on the garbage can while he backs the car up slowly, our combined weight will keep the can in place so we can free it from under the car.  I dunno what you always thought a day with a (in)famous sex worker would be like, but friends, this isn’t what I had in mind…Anywho, Maggie, who is super brave, btw, and I stand with a foot each and most of our weight on the can and the car is backed up slowly.  The closer the wheel got to our feet, the more I started to panic; directly to our backs were cars rushing by at freeway speed and directly in front of our toes was a car tire.  So, some part of my brain is aware that in my professional capacity, I should have probably had Maggie stand at the side of the road, away from the scary cars, and done this myself, because good hosting and whatnot.  But I’m apparently a giant baby, so instead of honorably protecting our guest, she casually coached me through this ordeal as I whimpered and had trouble forcing my body to keep my foot in place.  Her plan worked perfectly, but during the last stages she kept her foot on the can and it started dragging her a bit (she’s been in heels and a slinky evening type gown this whole time, btw).  So before I know what I’m doing, I think I wrapped my arms around her to make absolutely sure she didn’t go down as the center of balance changed.  I’m pretty sure she was in no danger of that, and it was a dorky overreaction on my part.  Hi, my name is Meagan and I was a huge dork in front of Maggie McNeill several times in a day and she was nice to me anyway.

The thing is, anyone can cultivate a reputation, and social media makes it easier than ever to build and perpetuate propaganda.  But these silly, random, slightly dangerous moments in life where people have to just be people to get through it, reveal a lot more about a person than their press does.  Like I said, there are a lot of good reasons to be a huge fan of Maggie.  Her social work, her “social” work, her writing, her documentary, her body, her mind, her fantastic makeup and fashion tips, how incredibly down to earth she is when she really doesn’t have to be…but I will always be a big fan of Maggie because of one very random, very silly, very human moment on the side of the road, headed towards San Francisco.

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In the current environment, we…have no choice but to suspend service.  –  Massage Republic

The Notorious Badge

Whatever one’s opinion of this show, it’s great that the media is listening to sex workers’ opinions of our media depictions:

The Twitter account for Mistress May…primarily tweets links to positive reviews of the Netflix show Bonding…because Mistress May is a fictional Twitter account created by Netflix to promote the show…unlike [real] sex workers on Twitter, Mistress May is verified…on a website that…partakes in discriminatory behavior against…sex workers [many] are outraged that Twitter would provide a platform for a fictional sex worker from a show that they have argued promotes an inaccurate and outright harmful view of their profession…

The Shape of the Spoon

If the mother doesn’t mind, how is it the state’s place to interfere?

…Jerri [Lee’s] son took an interest in drag when he was “around 3 or 4”…Jerri viewed Jacob’s love of drag as no different from her older son’s desire to play football.  It was harmless, and it didn’t hurt anyone.  Although Jacob performed as “Miss Mae Hem” at local Pride events, no one ever made an issue of it until a Facebook page…picked up a video of him performing…in December…the situation immediately began to be twisted into something it wasn’t.  [Trolls] claimed Jacob was “stripping” and giving audience members “lap dances.”  A Facebook user…made a poster saying the event was part of “Lancaster’s Pedophilia Night.”  Other…trolls…found where she lived and published the family’s address online.  They called several local police departments, children’s services, the sheriff’s office, and even the FBI…children’s services found no probable cause to investigate…[but] in early April…[politician] Tim Schaffer…introduced a bill [in the Ohio House]…to ban…adults from putting on any performance…which [perverts claim]…“appeals to prurient interest”…[naturally prohibitionists] claim it’s intended to curb sex trafficking…

What kind of pervert thinks a child playing dress-up is innately sexual, even if the costume is a cross-dressing one?

Watershed

When teen fashion magazines publish articles like this, prohibition’s days are numbered:

…continued criminalization of sex work and sex workers is a form of violence by governments and contributes to the high level of stigma and discrimination.  A systematic review and meta-analysis led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), for instance, has found that sex workers who have experienced “repressive policing” (including arrest, extortion, and violence from police) are three times more likely to experience sexual or physical violence.  But governments often fail to accept the evidence for the economic and social bases for sex work…They also ignore the wishes of sex workers, who want full decriminalization, as supported by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, and the Lancet, as well as human rights organizations like Amnesty International…sex worker rights are women’s rights, health rights, labor rights, and the litmus test for intersectional feminism…

Even the hopelessly-whitebread USA Today is getting there:

Decriminalization of sex work is just the first step in creating a more just world.  Even if all sex work were decriminalized tomorrow, large swaths of the sex working population would still face over-policing.  People of color, African-Americans especially, are routinely targeted by law enforcement for harassment and face disproportionate rates of arrest and violence at the hands of police.  Similarly, transgender individuals are regularly profiled as sex workers or other members of the street economy, and thus treated as criminals from the start…We must move beyond this culture of incarceration and policing…

To Molest and Rape 

Don’t ever think rapist cops are limited to the US:

A [typical and representative] garda who sexually assaulted a sleeping woman…has lost an [attempt to reduce his already-low]…two year prison sentence.  The [rapist]…pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the woman at a Mayo hotel, in July 2015…the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had gotten into the sleeping woman’s bed and was discovered by her husband with his trousers down.  He initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea to guilty at a late stage of his trial…

Repeat Offenders (#704)

Even when it isn’t garment-related, “rescuers” invariably want to push sex workers into some kind of traditional feminine menial labor:

Noel Yeatts…of World Help…[describes well-paid sex work as] misery…and [wants to push]…the Gospel [on them while forcing them into]…a new baking school in Pattaya, one of the centres of Thailand’s booming sex industry…[in her looking glass weltanschauung lucrative, flexible] sex [work is]…keeping girls enslaved and…[low-paid] baking [for some cafe owner is]…freedom…

Welcome To Our World (#758)

Rape victims are increasingly treated like criminals:

Victims of crimes, including those alleging rape, are to be asked to hand their phones over to police – or risk prosecutions not going ahead.  Consent forms asking for permission to [root like pigs through private] information including emails, messages and photographs have been rolled out in England and Wales…police and prosecutors say the forms can plug a gap in the law which says complainants and witnesses cannot be forced to [let the pigs dig through their lives looking for information with which to charge the complainants with crimes rather than actually having to investigate the crimes they reported]…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#788) 

It’s never called “trafficking” when the government or a crony does it:

A nationally renowned drug rehab program in Texas and Louisiana has sent patients struggling with addiction to work for free for some of the biggest companies in America, likely in violation of federal labor law.  The Cenikor Foundation has dispatched tens of thousands of patients to work without pay at more than 300 for-profit companies over the years.  In the name of rehabilitation, patients have moved boxes in a sweltering warehouse for Walmart, built an oil platform for Shell and worked at an Exxon refinery along the Mississippi River…Cenikor…[pretends]…work helps people recover from addiction…participants have to do is surrender their pay to cover the costs of the two-year program.  But the constant work leaves little time for counseling or treatment, transforming the rehab into little more than a cheap and expendable labor pool…At some job sites, participants lacked proper supervision, safety equipment and training, leading to routine injuries…Labor experts say Cenikor’s entire business model might be illegal under federal labor law…

Disaster (#831)

When even a government propaganda outlet criticizes a law, you know it’s bad:

A popular sex classified website said…that it was shutting down its services in the United States, citing the likelihood that legal challenges would fail to overturn a…federal [censorship] law…passed by Congress a year ago.  The decision by MassageRepublic.com marks the latest indication that…FOSTA-SESTA…has made it difficult for websites selling [classified ads] to survive…

Checklist (#854)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system continues:

[Alabama politicians] considered four [anti-sex] bills…Two…would require health care workers and new commercial drivers to go through [anti-whore] training…The third…allow[s pigs] to publish pictures of those [caught in stings]. The goal is to [imitate other states who have similar laws, in “monke see, monkey do” fashion]…The last…increases the penalties for certain buildings that don’t have [magic anti-whore] posters…

Worse Than I Thought (#869)

The hotel industry is really going to regret having collaborated with fanatics rather than fighting “sex trafficking” hysteria:

McAllen [Texas] police have arrested the manager of a local motel…on a charge of continuous human trafficking…Lucila Saucedo [was arrested]…on a charge of promoting prostitution…[for charging sex workers an hourly room rate]…The human trafficking charge against Saucedo is a first-degree felony and carries a penalty of at least 25 years in prison…

O, Canada! (#918)

Canadian cops continue to try to sell their grotesque sex worker intimidation tactics as “helping” them:

…sex workers across Ontario have described aggressive surveillance and abuse at the hands of [cops, bureaucrats] and [spooks]…massage parlour…work[ers are]…confronted by pervasive surveillance, harassment and abuse from [cops]…under the pretence of “human trafficking” investigations…these unwanted visits are driven by moral panic rather than evidence…Encouraged by the conflation of sex work and human trafficking, [cops] are increasingly invading sex workers’ spaces under the guise of protection and “rescue”.  But their “protection” is unwanted, misdirected and outright harmful…sex workers interviewed [by journalists] universally describe…abuse including assault, intimidation, harassment, threats, retaliation, extortion, unwarranted searches and seizures, and arbitrary or disproportionate application of the law…

Rough Trade (#923)

Imagine this actually going to trial in the US:

A man who removed his condom during…sex with a prostitute has been jailed for 12 years for raping her.  Lee Hogben…ignored his…victim’s repeated objections and carried on [raping]…her…Hogben denied the charge of rape but was found guilty following a trial.  After being [sentenced] Hogben threatened to shoot the…judge…Hogben [had also] threatened [the escort] with violence…and…left without paying…her…

Worse Than I Thought (#925)

Florida prohibitionists are doubling down on their awful anti-whore laws:

…[prohibitionists fantasize that] “If human trafficking was to discontinue…motel owners…would be out of business”…[politicians] must also resolve their differences over…a database of people found guilty of  “soliciting, inducing, enticing, or procuring” another to commit “prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.”  The loose definition [ensures that] sex workers…[will] be [included] in the [registry], but [politician] Fitzenhagen [doesn’t give a shit because]…“I think it’s a disgrace that sex workers are coming before the House and Senate, saying you are going to make me scared of the police, reduce my income and hurt my family if I get arrested,” she said. Well, guess what, prostitution is illegal”…

“I think it’s a disgrace that Negroes are coming before the House and Senate, saying they are scared of the police” –  Heather Fitzenhagen, 1959

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The careers of…politicians ultimately benefited from the war on…female sexuality.  –  Sascha Cohen

It Looks Good On Paper

What these “safe harbor” laws actually do is empower the cops to indefinitely detain underage sex workers in “protective custody”, i.e. jail:  “A minor engaged in prostitution should be considered a victim and not face criminal charges, a [Mississippi] bill says…House Bill 571 also allows the [young woman] to be taken into protective custody…

Policing for Profit

But they’re rescuing “sex slaves”!

Five [Florida cop gangs profited handsomely from what they claim were]…investigations into prostitution and possible sex-trafficking operations inside massage parlors and day spas in their jurisdictions.  Martin County Sheriff’s Office and Jupiter Police Dept. worked together, and collectively [stole] a property in Stuart, two properties in Hobe Sound, six vehicles, including luxury cars like a Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, and more than $500,000 in cash.  Indian River County Sheriff’s Office [stole] $22,000 in cash, a 2018 Toyota Corolla and…more than $110,000 in bank accounts.  Vero Beach Police…[stole more than] $30,000 in bank accounts and an undisclosed amount of cash.  Sebastian Police…[stole] almost $5,500 in cash, laptops, cellphones, a credit card machine, and a plastic bag of finger condoms…

Paint By Numbers

We haven’t seen any dumb “anti-trafficking” stunts for a while, but Captain Save-a-ho here is going to “fight” our work by walking around:

A U.S. Army veteran plans to walk [from Chicago] to Springfield next week to raise awareness and funds to help [himself using the hysteria over]…human trafficking.  Jordan Mitchell…plans to make the 189-mile march with a ruck sack weighing up to 100 pounds.  “Walking with weight on your back is…symbolic of the problem of human trafficking.  These girls carry the weight of a million different problems every day.”  Mitchell [infantilizes Korean sex workers by fantasizing them as] preteen girls engaged in sex trafficking…When he returned to the United States, he said he talked to other…[racists] about [exploiting those women for his own profit]…

To Molest and Rape

Rapist cops are typical and representative of all cops:

Robert M. Collins…retired [from his cop job]…shortly after he was arrested…[for raping] four women…from August 2013 to December 2014…Collins is the second area [cop]…facing [rape] charges…Mark Icker…was arrested Dec. 20…after [orally raping] a woman…[in] a secluded park…within two weeks of his arrest, detectives charged Icker with additional allegations by two other women

This is your regular reminder that Pennsylvania is one of several states (the others being Florida & Indiana) which actively defends cops who rape sex workers prior to arresting them; these two rapists apparently forgot they needed to join the sacred Vice Gang to get that protection, and went about raping women without the pretense of “investigation”.

Broken Record (#691) 

Politicians demand magical posters to “fight” a repeatedly-debunked “problem”:

South Carolina law requires posting of human trafficking [propaganda] posters in hotels, bars and airports.  But with Columbia hosting first- and second-round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this weekend, the posters are on display for the first time ever in Colonial Life Arena.  “There’s always an increase in online solicitation around large sports events, which lands a lot of people in trafficking,” [fantasized prohibitionist] Alexis Williams Scurry [despite mountains of proof that this is a lie]…

I Saw My Brain (#773)

Your regular reminder that Grady Judd is an utterly loathsome excuse for a human:

The Polk County Sheriff’s Department in Florida is touting…a three-day sting in which cops arrested 26 registered sex offenders for…failing to register their vehicles with the government….sex offenders in Florida are required to provide the government with up-to-date information regarding their name, age, sex, height, weight, tattoos, hair color, address, email address, telephone number, social media accounts, employment information, and vehicle information.  It’s…easy for [someone]…to forget to constantly re-supply [demanded] information…it’s absurd to suggest that these un-registered cars posed some kind of danger to the community.  And yet The Miami Herald happily entertained this fantasy…and…printed the mugshots of all the offenders, listed their names, and provided not only the reason for their re-arrests but information on their initial arrests…most of these people were in their 20s, or teens themselves, when they were first convicted…J.S….was convicted…in 2005, and…is currently 25—meaning that at the time of the alleged crime, J.S. would have been about 12 himself…C.C., who is currently 39, was convicted in 1998 of lewd conduct toward a person under the age of 16.  This man would have been about 18 in 1998…

In the original article, Judd uses the moralist shibboleth “hold accountable”, which means something like “persecute using a moralistic excuse”.  Pay close attention to who uses the phrase and how.

Stalkers in Blue

With modern surveillance and data processing, no woman is safe from sexually-aggressive cops:

A [cop] in Cleveland was charged…with using…a police database to find information about [and photos of] two women, and to send social media messages to about 2,300 women over the course of eight months.  The charges against…Michael Rybarczyk…stemmed from an earlier investigation in which he was charged…with soliciting prostitution…

Turn of Tide

Want more proof that we’re past the watershed?  Consider this article, which even though it’s mostly the usual “sex trafficking” propaganda, also contains this passage:

One expert says that…sex trafficking studies feature “some of the worst research you will ever find in science literature…It is really hard to determine what is hyperbole and wild estimates and what is more reasonable and accurate,” says Rachael Lovell, a senior research associate at Case Western University’s Begun Center for Violence Prevention…

Also look for Melissa Farley basically admitting that she and cops just arbitrarily declare women “victims” as it suits them: “…some women might switch back and forth between being trafficked and being a prostitute.

The Last Shall Be First (#904)

Anti-trans bigots keep sexually assaulting trans people in public toilets:

An assistant principal at a West Virginia high school will not have his employment contract renewed after [he]…follow[ed] a transgender student into the bathroom and [told] him “you freak me out”…Lee Livengood…attempted to [force] 15-year-old student Michael Critchfield…to…[piss in front of him while he watched]…Livengood repeatedly yelled at [Critchfield]…saying, “Why are you in here? You shouldn’t be in here”…The decision not to renew his contract by the education board was reportedly unanimous…

Business As Usual (#905)

Prohibitionist group laments the shutdown of a gang of rapists:

The Columbus Vice Unit shutdown [due to rape, harassment and other gross abuses of power] has impacted local [fascist groups]…Local Outreach Volunteers…worked closely with the vice unit to [harass sex workers]…during prostitution busts.  Now that [the rapists can no longer roam about raping and robbing women]…they will have to search the “working girls” out on their own [if they want to continue interfering with their lives]…

Lack of Evidence (#907)

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

…when young, single women began to venture into America’s new urban establishments in large numbers, their presence in public was challenged…coalitions of police departments, city councils, business groups, and evangelical reformers were responsible for criminalizing women who socialized without a chaperone.  They warned of a “life of vice” in disease-ridden brothels, where “fallen girls” were “beaten by their so-called lovers or keepers, and often drunk or sick.”  This anti-prostitution rhetoric, couched in language of protection…was used to justify police surveillance of women…establishments posted signs that read…“no unescorted ladies will be served”…In the 1950s, politicians and the press orchestrated a campaign against “b-girls”…[who] in earlier decades…had been [portrayed] as potential victims of “white slavery,” but by the 1940s they were cast as the villains, out to fleece and extract money from innocent men…such women—whose sexuality was dangerous because it was too adjacent to prostitution—faced police harassment, arrest without bail, mandatory venereal disease testing, and even quarantine…

Signs (#912) 

The imposition of creepy fascist surveillance on hotel guests is growing worse:

Hampton Inn’s General Manager Jennifer Decker organized [a propaganda session in Manassas, Virginia]…“If one case comes to light on a property, it could have serious risks to the business…You could be held liable [under FOSTA & similar laws]”…[sow] Robyn Hyatt [vomited all kinds of widely-debunked propagnda at]…the group.  “One trafficker with three victims [and a] customer every 15 minutes can make $2.19 million in one year…Trafficking is…everywhere…Virginia…[is] a hotbed…we have…lots of hotels, FedEx Field, National Harbor, the 95-corridor…during the January Super Bowl in Atlanta, there were over 150 arrests for suspected human trafficking”…[another sow vomited out racist propaganda about]…gangs…The [sows] shared a typical [masturbatory fantasy, not dissimilar to those from old marijuana scare films]…a young woman…might be approached by a trafficker in a mall.  He flatters her, buys her presents…then one day she wakes up from a drug-induced state; she’s been raped.  He has taken photographs. He forces her to do things under the threat of distributing the photographs.  [excited, the cops masturbate and encourage others to do the same while denying the agency of non-sows]…

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

Voters voted to restore people’s voting rights after prison; politicians want to exclude sex workers:

Sex workers who’ve been convicted of prostitution three times…wouldn’t be eligible to have their voting rights automatically restored, under a [Florida] proposal aimed at ca[strat]ing…a constitutional amendment approved in November.  The…amendment…granted “automatic” restoration of voting rights to felons “who have completed all terms of their sentence, including parole or probation.”  The amendment excluded people “convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense.”  But state and local…officials…want to [undermine that to the greatest extent possible, so they want to exclude whores and businesspeople who made the error of]…locating an adult entertainment store within 2,500 feet of a school…

 

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