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Human trafficking is the new charge du jour.  –  Brian Thompson

Anatomy of a Boondoggle arrested Thai sex workers

Just in case you thought cops raping whores in order to arrest them was mostly a US thing:

…Sa…is from Laos and…[has] been arrested many times, mostly when a police officer who had been her client had informed on her…”They took me out…and…had sex with me.  Next thing I knew I was arrested and sent home”…the superintendent of Udon Thani city police, said the law specifically mentioned that to make an arrest for prostitution…the sex worker has to be caught in the act…Nid is from a Karen hill tribe village and is considered a “star” hostess at a bar in Chiang Mai.  Like Sa, she was “lured” to her arrest by a police officer who was a client…Chantawipa Apisuk, the director of Empower who has been working with sex workers for more than 30 years, said the methods the police used to secure an arrest are unacceptable…in Nid’s case…police produced marked banknotes allegedly handed over to her and a used condom as evidence…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

A Brooklyn jury…convicted a sexual predator for the rape and robbery of a prostitute while pretending to be a [cop]…Jason Forgetta flashed a fake police badge to a female sex worker who stopped his car…on July 30, 2014…The 26-year-old victim agreed to go with Forgetta to [her incall]…when he told her she was under arrest…Forgetta…shoved the woman against the wall, put a pillow over her head and raped her…[he then] told the woman to take a shower to “wash all the DNA” off…[and] stole her wallet, cellphone and underwear.  As he fled the scene, the woman ran after him and wrote down [his] license plate [number]…Forgetta…was convicted in 2004 for committing the same…crime.  He was sentenced to three years in prison in that case…

Lack of Evidence

This is pretty typical of the level of “evidence” in sex work trials:

A woman accused of running a brothel out of a Baltimore County massage parlor was acquitted of all charges…Di Zhang…was found not guilty…of 15 offenses, including human trafficking and prostitution…”There was very little evidence in the case,” said Zhang’s attorney, Brian Thompson…the state had one witness who worked at the business and claimed Zhang was running it…But when police kept watch at the business for several weeks, they only observed Zhang there once…to drop off some medication for the witness…Thompson said police were targeting Zhang after a previous case…Police wrote in charging documents that Zhang “continues to run illegal massage parlors without fear of the police or court systems”…

The Proper Study

This is, of course, obvious to sex workers, but it’s nice to see academics discovering it:

Most migrant sex workers are satisfied with their working conditions in Australia…Despite growing fears about human trafficking…the vast majority are content to be working in massage parlours and brothels for a satisfactory income, and that there is little evidence of widespread sex slavery.  The Australian Institute of Criminology and the Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) surveyed 594 sex workers across Australia, 412 of whom were migrants. Most were female, with only 17 male and eight transgender respondents…One in five were married; one in three were parents; and while a small number had little to no education, the majority were highly educated. About one third said they did not speak English well…

The Punitive Mindset (#337)

Some countries…make condoms available to prisoners, while others cite security issues, or blanket prohibitions of sex…Even in places where condoms are available, guards sometimes limit distribution as a form of control.  In the medical journal The Lancetresearchers at Johns Hopkins cite this as one factor in the spread of infectious diseases in prisons…at rates far exceeding those in the communities from which they came.  Of more than 10 million incarcerated people in the U.S. alone, 4 percent have HIV, 15 percent have hepatitis C, and 3 percent have active tuberculosis.  These diseases are part of our criminal justice system, then, metered out and sanctioned implicitly by the state.  The penal system is also a primary reason that these diseases can’t be eliminated globally…The scale of the problem is due to the fact that so many people are incarcerated in the first place, which [researcher Chris] Beyrer traces to the war on drugs…

Paint By Numbers po-faced twits folding paper

Even in the world of stupid “sex trafficking” publicity stunts, this one is painfully stupid:

A piece of blue paper folded into the shape of a crane bird is a traditional symbol of origami.  In Japan, it’s believed that 1,000 of those symbolise hope, love, honour, and peace.  It’s also believed that if you have the patience to fold 1,000 pieces, your most desired wish will come true.  UCC student Laura Pauwels’s wish is to bring hope to survivors of and people affected by human trafficking.  And so she’s enlisted the help of Corkonians to make that wish come true — together, they will fold 1,000 blue cranes to make a stand against the illegal act…

Traffic Circle

Here’s a long, thorough debunking of “sex trafficking” hysteria by Brittany Turner of SWOP-Shreveport:

In the past year, local broadcast and print media have covered numerous stories regarding the perils of sex trafficking in Shreveport, without exercising due diligence to accurately assess the reality of this problem or the efficacy of anti-trafficking programs. This coverage often excludes key stakeholders from the conversation: sex workers themselves. Instead, the coverage frequently relies on inaccurate data and anecdotal evidence, corralling those who have chosen to work in the sex industry under the umbrella of “trafficking victims,” effectively silencing the voice of many sex workers…

Devil’s Advocate

As usual, the government’s using someone accused of especially nasty crimes to undermine liberty for everyone:

A Dallas, Texas man accused of prostituting underage girls was secretly ordered by a federal judge to unlock his iPhone using his fingerprint, according to federal court documents that are now unsealed…Experts also warned these demands [will] probably not [be interpreted by cop-worshiping courts as] a breach of the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination…The authorities were unable to access the phone’s contents…[because] if a iPhone [sic] that has been fingerprint enabled has not been used for at least 48 hours, both the password and fingerprint are required to unlock it…Martavious Banks Keys…is charged with one count of sex trafficking of children…He allegedly forced two girls, ages 14 and 15, to have sex with men who paid him $150 a session…One girl told authorities that Keys made her perform anal sex when her vagina was bleeding from abuse…

Counter-Countermeasure

I’m not really sure why this article is discussing a two-year-old study as if it’s new, but I really don’t care.  All that’s important is that more and more mainstream media are presenting information that debunks “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…The results contradict some of the most common stereotypes we have about sex trafficking and sex work.  For example, only 14 percent of female New York respondents said that they worked for a pimp, and in New Jersey that number was just 13 percent including males and females; 47 percent in New Jersey said that they didn’t even know a pimp.  Most reported that they had not been introduced to sex work by a stranger at all, but rather by a family member or family friend, and most said that they were not forced into sex work by any one person, but rather because of a lack of housing, or money, or that they couldn’t get by on low-paying jobs.  The…research also calls into question the narrative of helpless girls and violent pimps who throw them into hotel-brothels…Busting the myths matters, because we pass laws and make policies that don’t help the people who need it most…

The More the Better (#544)

I’d be much happier with an article doing something like this for escorting, since there are literally thousands of escorts for every Nevada brothel worker.  However, every little bit helps to undermine the “sin and degradation” narrative:

Insatiably curious about what the process for becoming a legal, full-time sex worker might look like, I couldn’t help but wonder how a person even begins to go about working at a place like one of Nevada’s brothels.  Did someone like me have what it takes to become the object of another person’s desire?  Well, one cursory Google search later later, I discovered these places actually have online applications for employment!  And that is how I ended up applying for a job at Sheri’s Ranch…

Property of the State (#640) 

It’s impossible to overstate how important this reversal is:

The Indiana Court of Appeals…overturned the 2015 feticide conviction of Purvi Patel…In a 3-0 ruling, the judges said that the state feticide statute was not intended to apply to abortions, and legal experts said that…it should give Indiana prosecutors pause before bringing similar charges against pregnant women in the future…the court relied heavily on how prosecutors have applied the feticide law in the past, noting that this case was an “abrupt departure” from its typical usage:  cases in which a pregnant woman and her unborn child are the victims of violence…It stopped short of clearing her of any criminal responsibility…upholding a lower-level felony neglect conviction for failing to provide medical care to the baby, who medical experts testified was alive and breathing after birth…

If It Were Legal (#656)

I’m rather skeptical of the claimed disparity here, but at least they’re not pretending the escorts flocked from out of town for the conference:

It’s been a great week for gay escorts in Cleveland…Republican National Convention attendees…are clamoring for their services.  “Business has been way better. I’ve seen 10 clients so far,” one male escort said…Another escort said he had already earned $1,600 since Monday — over six times the amount he usually makes…But ladies of the night weren’t reaping the same benefits…females for hire said they’re making much less money than normal…

To Molest and Rape (#657)

And please don’t think South Africa is any worse than the US in this respect:

More than 400 sex workers reported cases of abuse at the hands of the police between 2011 and 2015, according to a Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) report on cases of physical assault‚ rape‚ harassment and unlawful arres…414 sex workers reported 682 instances of abuse‚ mostly harassment and verbal abuse at the hands of the police.  Almost 20% of those who reported police abuse said they had been physically assaulted and 3% said they had been sexually assaulted…

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Given…that criminalization discourages us from helping, trusting, or even communicating with each other…creating a community of people who reject the stigma surrounding this work is an act of rebellion in itself.  –  Annie Calhoun

The Slave-Whore Fantasy IS slavery app

It’s been a while, so here’s another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

The advertisement on the Telegram app is as chilling as it is incongruous:  A girl for sale is “Virgin. Beautiful. 12 years old…. Her price has reached $12,500 and she will be sold soon.”  The posting in Arabic appeared on an encrypted conversation along with ads for kittens, weapons and tactical gear.  It was shared with the Associated Press by an activist with the minority Yazidi community, whose women and children are being held as sex slaves by the extremists.  While the Islamic State group is losing territory in its self-styled caliphate, it is tightening its grip on the estimated 3,000 women and girls held as sex slaves.  In a fusion of ancient barbaric practices and modern technology, IS sells the women like chattel on smartphone apps and shares databases that contain their photographs and the names of their “owners” to prevent their escape through IS checkpoints.  The fighters are assassinating smugglers who rescue the captives, just as funds to buy the women out of slavery are drying up…

Check Your Premises

I’m not going to expedite cops’ shaming people, but this jewel of self-contradiction was too good to pass up:

…Narcotics Detective Kim Lippincott…says prostitution is a huge issue in Monroe County. She has a message for any “john” paying for sex.  “The sex you are engaging in, the sex you are paying for, may not be as consensual as you think it is”…Detective Lippincott says the three women arrested for prostitution worked independently.  No traffickers were arrested…The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office says the big bust is part of a larger effort to combat human trafficking…

Across the Pond

While Parliament contemplates repealing some of the laws cops use to persecute sex workers, some UK “authorities” are demonstrating how ineffective that will be without full decriminalization:

…[Funding for] Open Doors, a pioneering NHS sex worker support service…has been cut substantially and…National Ugly Mugs (NUM)…has expressed “grave concern for the safety of sex workers in Hackney,” describing the changes as a “seismic shift towards criminalisation … recklessly compromising [sex workers’] safety and ignoring national guidelines.”  Until 2014, Hackney authorities worked in partnership with Open Doors to keep street sex workers out of the criminal justice system…As a result, sex workers had more trust in the police…The picture now is very different. NUM data shows a “startling decrease in the numbers of Hackney sex workers willing to report crimes to the police,” says Alex Feis-Bryce…of NUM…Sex workers are increasingly subject to enforcement by the police and local authorities in the form of dispersal orders, fines and even prosecution…local authorities have asked Open Doors to hand over their clients’ names to an “enforcement panel”…[Georgina] Perry, Open Doors’ manager of 13 years, has announced her resignation…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#27)

Another small country stands up to American bullying:

Sudan…criticized being placed by the United States on the blacklist countries involved in human trafficking, saying the report [was] “biased and intentionally distorting [sic]” Sudan’s efforts to combat human trafficking…The report mentioned unverified reports about South Sudanese children sold for agricultural work…[and] accused the Sudanese army of recruiting children aged between 16-17 years…It further said that asylum seekers from African and Arab countries are “highly vulnerable” to sex trafficking and forced labor…Sudanese law enforcement agencies are accused of being involved in this criminal activity…

And other kinds of small jurisdictions, too:

…the government is whole-heartedly rejecting…a recent report from the U.S. Department of State regarding the condition of human trafficking globally.  The report, which gave Macau a serious “Tier 2” rating…was criticized for its “wrongful conclusions” by Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak…“Findings in the report are not based on fact and involve groundless speculation”…

Against Their Will (#310)

The Philippine government has carried out a weird crusade against “cybersex” since it was criminalized four years ago; some stories cast the sex workers as depraved and some as “victims” or even “children”, so it’s very difficult to discern what the truth might be in a story like this:

A British national was charged…with large-scale human trafficking involving seven women and for having in his possession pornographic materials that he produced and created, with intent to publish and distribute them to online customers…The Prosecutor’s Office also indicted [Wade] Allsopp for cybersex…Two laptops that contained photos of women in different age brackets who were either posing nude or clad in skimpy attires were also found in the scene, along with several sex toys, pieces of lingerie, gadgets, and instruments apparently used for pornography.  The rescued victims…claimed they met Allsopp through Facebook and that he allegedly recruited and offered them a deal where he would assist them in finding foreigner husbands allegedly on the condition that they would submit sexy and nude photos of themselves…[to be] downloaded and viewed in a dating website…

The End of the Beginning

More articles like this, please:

…the sex offender registry…was designed for “sexual predators” who repeatedly preyed on children (at least according to the fears of 1990s policymakers).  The purpose was supposed to be not punishment but prevention.  The theory:  Sexual predators” were unable or unwilling to control their urges, and the government could not do enough to keep them away from children, so the job of avoiding “sexual predators” needed to fall to parents…Twenty years later, the focus on sex crimes has shifted from sexual abuse of children to sexual assault and rape…Yet the…registry is still going strong.  It hasn’t worked as a preventive tool.  Instead, it’s caught up thousands of people in a tightly woven net of legal sanctions and social stigma.  Registered sex offenders are constrained by where, with whom, and how they can live — then further constrained by harassment or shunning from neighbors and prejudice from employers.  Some of the people on the…registry have had their lives ruined for relatively minor or harmless offenses; for example, a statutory rape case in which the victim is a high school grade younger than the offender…

Rubbing Elbows

A nice article on the Desiree Alliance conference, which starts tomorrow in New Orleans, in the local alternative paper:

…This will be the first time the Desiree Alliance convenes in the South…Organizers see the…conference as vital to a region and city with social justice issues that pertain significantly to sex workers.  Local escort Annie Calhoun…[of] SWOP-NOLA…says, “I hope that sex workers of all types from the area are present, and that they see the amazing community of people who are on our side”…What has steadily driven sex workers’ rights before the public eye…is the persistent efforts of sex workers to make their voices heard, their humanity acknowledged and their civil and labor rights honored.  Calhoun believes some of the progress made is, ironically, a response to journalists like New York Times op-ed columnist Nicholas Kristof, “who have built careers on the idea that sex work can be reduced to the idea of big bad men exploiting poor women — a classic evil villain/innocent victim dichotomy”…

Ashley Madison (#571) 

Sweet, sweet schadenfreude:

The parent company of infidelity dating site Ashley Madison, hit by a devastating hack last year, is now the target of a U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigation…the closely held company is spending millions to improve security and looking at payment options that offer more privacy.  But it faces a mountain of problems, including U.S. and Canadian class action lawsuits filed on behalf of customers whose personal information was posted online, and allegations that it used fake profiles to manipulate some customers…An Ernst & Young report…confirmed that Avid used computer programs, dubbed fembots, that impersonated real women, striking up conversations with paying male customers.  Avid shut down the fake profiles in the United States, Canada and Australia in 2014 and by late 2015 in the rest of the world, but some U.S. users had message exchanges with foreign fembots until late in 2015, according to the report…

O, Canada! (#617)

Most of this is the creepy, US-style “sex trafficking hub” bullshit we’ve come to expect from Ontario government, but note this especially nasty little bit of agency-negation:

In many cases of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, trafficked persons may develop “trauma bonds” with their traffickers, and may not view themselves as victims.  As such, human trafficking is believed to be a vastly underreported crime.

How convenient; it basically translates to “anybody we claim is a victim is one, regardless of what she says.”

To Molest and Rape rapist cop Tramaine McCray

There’s a short, concise word for “forced to have sex”; funny how reporters can’t seem to remember it when cops are the perpetrators:

[Orange County, Florida sheriff’s deputy] Tramaine McCray was arrested…after a male prostitute said he felt forced to have sex with McCray and feared he would be arrested if he did not…McCray…admitted to having multiple sexual encounters with prostitutes…A second prostitute came forward and said…McCray showed up at his apartment several times and asked for sex, deputies said.  At one point he said McCray said, “I am the police and nobody would believe you over the police.”  During questioning, McCray [admitted to raping]…multiple…male and female prostitutes between March 2014 and June 2015…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#642) 

Dr. Marty Klein on the recent upsurge in anti-porn hysteria:

Marty Klein likens the current moral panic around online porn to the epidemics of fear and suspicion that sprung up around satanic cults in the 1980s, and even around comic books in the 1950s.  Pornography, he argues, is simply a catalogue of human sexual fantasies, and for most people, those fantasies have very little predictive value when it comes to real desire.  The most crucial thing people can do when it comes to protecting their children, according to Klein, is to inform them that porn is fictional…Klein issued a list of porn literacy checkpoints for parents to go over with their kids that includes emphasizing that most people don’t have bodies like porn performers, that many recurring images in porn…are theatrical devices and don’t reflect what many men and women want from sexual encounters, and that most women don’t want violence or rough play during sex.  But he decried common assumptions that watching pornography leads to sex addiction, or cheating, or degrading and abusive treatment of women…

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Having your mugshot plastered to Facebook is not the best advertisement for employability.  –  Tana Ganeva

Gateway Corn on the Cop still

It’s always especially ludicrous when small-town police chiefs try to justify prostitution stings:

The city police department…is publicizing 14 arrests made in a recent prostitution sting to discourage the sex trade within Lebanon [New Hampshire]…“We hope this…sends a message,” Chief Richard Mello [oinked]…“When we post an ad, we are inundated with messages, to the point of it being ridiculous”…Deputy Chief Phil Roberts…[said] in June 2014 that prostitution hasn’t been a “significant” problem in the city…[but] Mello…[pretends] residents are negatively impacted by other behavior associated with prostitution…“It is not just about ‘Leave these adults alone’…there is a direct impact to our community.  Some people don’t understand that.”  Prostitution also is frequently linked to drug activity, he [grunted]…

I agree, Chief Porky; your cartoon police-state tactics are indeed ridiculous.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

Dude, seriously? $60 would’ve been a cheap price to pay for a lesson:

A man who was robbed at gunpoint in Greendale [Indiana] is being charged with Patronizing a Prostitute.  David Wayne Allen…told [cops] that he had met with Kyle W. Bernett…with the intent of paying Bernett for sex.  Allen called police after Bernett robbed him of $60…

Profit from Panic (#40)

Hey, kids! Fight “human trafficking” for fun and profit! Implicate your neighbors! Persecute sex workers! Win big prizes!

Concerned about the atrocities of human trafficking, a small group of Nevada County [California] women founded…“Good Women International” in 2013…Due to its proximity to Canada and Mexico, California is among the top five trafficking states in the country…Good Women International is launching a human trafficking prevention poster campaign…In 2012, the state of California passed a civil code requiring certain businesses to display a [propaganda] poster…When enforced, this law has proven to raise awareness and help law enforcement save enslaved individuals, [claimed] Joanna Britt [without any evidence whatsoever]…All posters will be displayed during a public reception…on Sept. 19, when prizes will be awarded for the top three posters chosen…“We do plan to follow up, to see if businesses are posting the information,” said Britt. “And we will report businesses not in compliance”…

“Due to its proximity to Canada and Mexico” has got to be the best “King of the Hill” excuse yet.  See also the next item below.

Under Every Bed

Marin County isn’t as small as most of the places I feature under this heading, but this is still patently absurd:

Authorities need to work together to crack down on a human sex trafficking problem in Marin that goes mostly unrecognized and underreported, according to [a bunch of self-important ignoramuses]…In a new report — “Marin’s Hidden Sex Trafficking Challenge: It’s Happening In Our Backyard” — the panel [claimed] that sex trafficking…is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world…at least 100,000 child victims…A pimp can earn $150,000 to $200,000 per child annually, exploiting an average of four to six girls per year…the sex-trafficking circuit has come to include Marin because of its proximity to San Francisco, which is one of the nation’s known hubs for the crime…Some Marin gangs have also incorporated sex trafficking into their repertoire because it is lucrative and there is a high demand…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#316)

Given that this campaign previously appeared with exactly the same propaganda & graphics in Chicago, and that both cities are part of the “CEASE Network“, a front for Swanee Hunt’s “Demand Abolition”, this has Hunt’s foul stench all over it:

…officials…launched a new [propaganda campaign] aimed at…shining a light on the realities of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in San Diego County…“The Ugly Truth” campaign grew out of a simple belief:  That…the public [will believe anything it sees on billboards, no matter how ridiculous]…According to a recent study…the average age for entry into sex trafficking is 16 years old….and about 85 percent of sex trafficking is controlled by gangs…The scale of the illicit sex economy is $810 million a year with each trafficker controlling about four victims and making an average of $670,625 per year…

It’s a rare whore who makes $167,000 a year, much less an “average” one.

Comfort Zone (#320)

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

…Carrying out orders…to combat human trafficking…the first raiding team…roped in 20 Myanmar construction workers…the migrants were all charged with entering and staying in [Thailand] illegally.  A second team…raided a Korean barbeque buffet (moo kata) restaurant…where they arrested five more Mynamar nationals accused of working in the kitchen…[and] a Chinese shop nearby [where they] arrested a Chinese [shopkeeper and her] “assistant”, in addition to a Vietnamese woman found tending to a fruit stall in front of the shop.  All eight aliens were charged with doing forbidden work without permit.  The Vietnamese national was also charged with entering and staying in the kingdom illegally…

Gingerbread House (#332)

This is what “rescue” looks like:

Underage human trafficking victims are sometimes housed in juvenile detention centers because…Contra Costa County [California lacks]…victim housing, a county civil grand jury found…”Such bookings allow authorities to keep (sex trafficking victims) under protective custody, away from their exploiters,” the report says. “It also provides probation and [a religious NGO]…time to assess the situation and to [force] these youth [into] therapy and social services…Once in juvenile hall, most victims…are uncooperative and ultimately released back to their next of kin, where they will likely walk back to their exploiters”…

No, once they’re released they’re walking away from their exploiters.

Not What They Expected

Cops are so used to the media mindlessly parroting their “sex trafficking” propaganda, that the widespread negative reaction to this pogrom must’ve been very surprising to them:

Texas law enforcement officers have heroically “saved” dozens of “sex trafficking victims” by putting them in jail and plastering their mugshots on Facebook…the McLennan police department carried out a sting operation…netting 56 arrests (and 61 arrest warrants overall).  They pitched the sting as a way to bust sex traffickers and help their victims.  But as Reason points out…the majority of arrests were of adult women and a handful of men alleged to be their pimps, not underage victims or women pressed into sex work against their will…it’s not clear how throwing [women] in jail will help [them] “escape” sex work if they want to.  US jails are not exactly an efficient route to professional advancement….Sheriff Parnell McNamara [bragged]…“Putting criminals in jail is our favorite pastime.”  Police also availed themselves of [$4500 in] cash and [some quantity of] drugs during this selfless endeavor…

And here’s The Young Turks on the story:

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

There aren’t many genuine cases of coercion like this, so naturally opportunists are going to exploit it to sell their brand:

On January 16, 2016, a trucker noticed something odd…while at a…truck stop outside of Richmond, Virginia…Kevin Kimmel…called the police…Aldair Hodza…and Laura Sorensen…have been charged with human trafficking.  The victim was found starved, disheveled and had  evidence of extreme physical abuse, sexual abuse — and torture……Truckers Against Trafficking…trains truck drivers to recognize signs…of…sex trafficking…right in front of us at truck stops, massage parlors, hotels, salons…There are an estimated 20.9 million victims of human slavery…An estimated $150 billion is made by human traffickers…[fetishist] Tony Talbott…[repeated the common shibboleth] “You can sell a kilo of Heroin once; You can sell a 13-year-old girl 20 times a night, 365 days a year”…

A Procrustean Bed (#600)

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

Sex workers are fighting to do away with parts of a California bill that…would give…[cops power] over whether sex workers are either arrested or referred to social services, and could put sex workers at risk of [even more] police exploitation.  Rachel West with US PROStitutes Collective said, “The Oakland police scandal…has exposed just how problematic this is.”  The bill…would establish Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, pilot programs in California…[sponsors pretend] the bill would allow [cops] to direct people with low-level offenses to treatment programs in lieu of arrest.  But sex workers and their allies, who aim to one day have prostitution decriminalized altogether, are rejecting the bill’s language and say they want legislators to remove any mention of sex workers from the bill.  “It treats sex work not as a job but as a disease and sex workers not as workers but as offenders in need of treatment and rehabilitation,” West said.  The Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA…argues that the bill invites [cops] to take on the role of social worker…and…could harm sex workers if transparent police misconduct mechanisms are not in place…

Still a Child (#620) 

It’s really gratifying to see sex workers rebelling against paternalistic bullshit:

Dozens of New Orleans strip-club dancers descended on City Hall…June 28…to reclaim their voices.  City planners…had set about crafting rules that could put hundreds of people out of work without seeking out the opinions from those who stand to lose their livelihoods…Contrary to what some would have the commission believe, “we can think and make decisions for ourselves,” said Stephanie Montgomery, a 10-year veteran of the industry…The City Planning Commission…recently…[opined] that the city should reduce the number of clubs…and limit them to the commercial stretch of Bourbon Street between Iberville and St. Ann streets…The city could further limit the numbers by allowing only one club per block in the district.  That would cap the number of possible clubs at seven, less than a third the number in operation today.  Dozens of dancers spoke for more than two hours in defense of their industry.  When they were finished, at least one commissioner was ready to reject the staff report out of hand.  Commissioner Nolan Marshal III, who is set to take over the chairman’s seat, said the staff had not done enough to consult with the women who work in the industry. “The study was clearly shaped by people who don’t understand the industry”, he said…

To Molest and Rape

In what other profession would raping a woman result in a “sentence” of nine YEARS of paid vacation?

…Manuel Avila, a Paterson, New Jersey, cop…[orally raped a prisoner] in 2007…A few days [after]…a city psychiatrist had ruled [him]…unfit [for duty] and recommended that he retire.  Instead, police officials decided to reassign him for six months to a duty that didn’t involve carrying a weapon, at which point he would reach 20 years of service…Avila was acquitted of criminal charges…in 2010.  The city settled a civil lawsuit with his [victim] in 2011, agreeing to pay her $710,000.  But somehow, the police department’s internal investigation persisted through early 2016…Avila had collected about $900,000 in income for doing nothing.  With Avila’s pay, the settlement with his accuser, and legal fees, the city has spent about $1.9 million on this case…Avila will retire, receive around $85,000 in “accrued money owed” for things like vacation and sick days, and may be eligible for lifetime medical benefits and pension payments.

To Molest and Rape (#646)

The Oakland affair just keeps getting worse:

The young woman at the center of a scandal shaking multiple California police departments has revealed new and damning facts about the situation.  Celeste Guap…claims to have had sex with more than 30 Bay Area police officers in exchange for cash, tips about upcoming prostitution stings, and protection from prosecution.  Things allegedly started when she was still a minor and met Oakland [cop] Brendan O’Brien in the course of fleeing an abusive pimp…she celebrated her 18th birthday by traveling to Puerto Rico, where she found herself alone in a “rough area” and called O’Brien for help.  He didn’t pick up.  She threatened to expose him for sleeping with her when she was still 17 and, when he still didn’t respond, she did it, sending a text to a commanding officer at OPD detailing her relationship with O’Brien and several other OPD officers.  She then sent a screenshot of the text to O’Brien.  A few hours later, [he] committed suicide…if my colleague had killed himself after being threatened with exposure by a teen sex worker, my impulse would be, at least, to avoid her.  OPD officers, however, thought otherwise.  Not only did those alerted to O’Brien and Guap’s relationship not report it, they began allegedly contacting Guap—the daughter of an OPD dispatcher—for sex themselves.  Guap…turned over an array of cell phone records to various departments to corroborate her claims…While all of this was happening…the Oakland and Alameda County police departments were very public crusaders against prostitution

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Mike Crawford is a sex worker, sex workers’ rights activist, and occasional writer.  He tweets about sex work and social issues, and occasionally posts pictures of whatever record he happens to be listening to at the moment.

It’s All Greek to Me

Sex work is a female-dominated field, so much so that the existence of male sex workers is often omitted entirely in any discussion of the topic.  I hope that offering some perspective on being a male sex worker  will not only be informative, but will also highlight the very troubling, highly-gendered way common arguments and tactics are used to advance the prohibitionist agenda.

There is less stigma associated with being a male provider

Mike CrawfordThis should hardly be shocking as there simply is no “fallen man” trope to link to male prostitution.  Sure, sex addiction has become the new go-to for men to hide behind when they’re [often literally] caught with their pants down, but the thought that sex could truly “ruin” a man is laughable in all but the most fundamentalist of circles.  No matter how much organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD attempt to whitewash the LGBT image, sex workers have a long and rich history in our culture.  Sex workers were instrumental in the Stonewall Riots; we marched in the first Pride parades; Go-Go boys have long been a fixture in our bars; we even have a unique vocabulary dedicated to the various types of sex workers and clients.  As a percentage of our total population, more of us have also participated in sex work – even if informally – often as a means of survival when abandoned by parents after we’ve come out.  In general, sex work in LGBT culture isn’t a shameful secret; it’s a fact of life.  That having been said, because sex work continues to be viewed in a very heteronormative way, the unique needs of LGBT providers are often left unconsidered.  Whether it’s outreach services or policy discussions, LGBT sex workers continue to be underserved and often unrepresented.

The money is in catering to male clients

From porn to prostitution, the best way to make a living as a man in sex work is almost invariably by catering to a male client base; there’s a reason straight hustlers have been around forever, and there’s a reason straight guys perform in gay-for-pay porn.  Whether it’s the result of socialization, arousal and desire patterns, concerns for physical safety, or – my guess – a combination of all three, most women don’t purchase sex.  More and more women are viewing porn, however, so I’m interested to see how this dynamic might shift in the future.

The logistics are a bit … different

The proverbial money shot is pretty aptly named when it comes to male sex work.  Whether you’re in the penetrative or receptive role (or both, or neither) on a call, your clients most likely want the full show.  When coupled with the need to maintain a steady erection, let’s just say the performance pressure can be fairly intense.  A certain, now ubiquitous, little blue pill can often provide the assistance needed to get the job done, but one can build an immunity to these meds over time so that’s an ongoing consideration.  Our clients’ desire for us to climax is also a natural limitation on the number of bookings most of us can do in a day.  True, occasionally you can fake it, but more often than not, you can’t – no 76 clients per week for me.

Male sex workers are not immune to abuse

I’m a small guy: 28” waist and weighing in at a whopping 140 pounds fully clothed.  When people contemplate sex worker safety, they understandably tend to view it in a gendered way.  The reality for me – and really all male sex workers – is that we’re vulnerable too.  This isn’t because sex work is inherently dangerous (it’s not); rather it’s because criminalization means that if we’re victimized, we’re unable to report the incident to law enforcement without implicating ourselves in a crime.  Potential abusers are aware of this dynamic and, consequently, they often target sex workers for exploitation or violence precisely because they know the offense is likely to go unreported.  Like women engaged in sex work, male providers need the harm reduction benefits associated with decriminalization too.

No one is trying to rescue us (not that I’m complaining)

I have a Google Alert set up for stories related to sex work; every day I receive a reminder that I could be arrested at a moment’s notice for trying to do my job.  While that’s not an unrealistic fear, the vast majority of arrests for the actual act of prostitution are of women.  Data on male sex work is hard to come by; most sources that capture statistics by sex only report using the catchall “prostitution related offenses” making it impossible to parse out if male offenders are being charged as clients, facilitators, or workers.  That said, at least one study validates the common knowledge that women are much more likely to be arrested for prostitution than men.  The rescue industry is also entirely unconcerned with male sex workers.  Men are coerced into commercial sex (though, just like women, they’re far likelier to be trafficked into another sector) and forced into prostitution, but you’ll rarely hear even the most cursory acknowledgement of that fact; this is unsurprising if you understand the very gendered, often racist narratives used by these organizations to raise the funds necessary to keep themselves in business.

We’re an inconvenient reality for prohibitionists

no data foundMoral scolds who wish to completely prohibit commercial sex generally fall into two categories: the family values crowd (often religious fundamentalists) and radical, carceral feminists.  Fundamentalists rarely attempt to make any form of coherent argument against sex work, preferring to bully others into submission through sheer force of moral authority.  It’s trickier, however, for radical feminists who often do attempt to use pseudo-logic to advance their agenda.  In their limited, dated, heteronormative view, all sex work is the exploitation of women by men – women are “prostituted” by some invisible hand that apparently strips them of their agency and personhood in the process.  Correspondingly, all sex work is damaging, both at an individual and a social level; for the individual, it is demeaning and destructive, for society, it is a perpetuation of the patriarchy that feeds male entitlement to women’s bodies.  Setting aside for a moment all of the troubling implications of that world view, you can easily see how the very existence of male sex workers is problematic.  After all, as a male I’m an instrument of the patriarchy, but as a whore, I’m a victim.  Am I simultaneously the victimizer and the victimized?  Am I actually feeding male entitlement to male bodies?

Superficial differences in the experiences of sex working women and men aside, the broader context in which our rights are debated and our work is policed reveals much about the real beliefs and motivations behind the ongoing stigmatization and criminalization of sex work.   If these efforts are really about “rescuing” people “from the life” why are male sex workers not targeted by the rescue industry and law enforcement in their quest to offer their unique brand of “assistance?”  In rare instances such as the Rentboy raid where male sex work is targeted, why is the dialogue framed as cracking down on vice rather than saving victims?  The answer lies in a new social conservatism – one perpetuated by fundamentalists and inexplicably embraced by radical feminists.  This trend is as infantilizing as it is paternalistic; it tells women they can’t possibly really choose to enter into sex work while making no such claims about sex working men.  It maintains that sex work is inherently abusive – that it is the paradigmatic manifestation of male exploitation of women – yet offers no explanation of how this dynamic applies when men purchase sex from other men.  It can’t adequately address the very existence of male sex work because it is nothing more than classist concern trolling, a Victorian ethos repackaged in Post-Structuralist, radical feminist bullshit and marketed to the masses by the likes of Lena Dunham; anyone who truly believes in the full equality of women and men should reject it roundly.

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Kathleen Turner as Charles BingA few days ago, Mistress Matisse called readers’  attention to this really dumb article about a television  show I’ve never seen.  Now, I didn’t give a shit about Friends back when everyone was talking about it, and I certainly don’t give a shit about it now; I’m sure you can therefore guess how infinitesimal my level of interest was in an article belaboring the totally obvious point that a show that went off the air twelve years ago (thank you, IMDb) doesn’t perfectly fit modern ideas of political correctness.  But I was very interested (read: deeply disgusted but totally unsurprised) by this quote from Ray Bradford, the “director of entertainment media” for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), discussing an episode of the show in which Kathleen Turner played the drag-queen father of one of the characters:  “When I looked at Kathleen Turner’s character, there was nothing tragic about it. It was not a story line depicting her as a killer or a psychopath or a sex worker or anything like that.”  Read that again if you need to.  Yes, that’s a media mouthpiece for a very large and respected gay rights group, specifically one whose mission is to combat harmful stereotypes, openly defaming sex workers by speaking of us in the same breath as killers and psychopaths.  Now, you know, I’m not saying Bradford is evil; I’m not trying to depict him as a murderer or a child molester or a queer or anything like that.  But one would expect that someone whose job description involves talking to the public about slurs against sexual minorities would, I don’t know, refrain from using slurs against sexual minorities maybe?

One might indeed expect that if one hadn’t been paying attention for the past couple of decades, that is.  When Friends first debuted, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” was a common gay rights chant.  But by the time the show was cancelled a decade later, the movement had undergone a dramatic transformation.  Leathermen, stone butches, drag queens, kinky queers, transpeople, HIV patients and sex workers were slowly and gradually ushered back into the closet so vanilla picket-fence gay men and lesbians who wanted to get married, adopt kids and/or join the military could say to the Establishment, “Look, we’re just like you!” and thereby attract corporate donors to Pride parades and “marriage equality” drives that are perfectly happy to demonize polygamists, kinksters, whores and others who aren’t so interested in begging the government to license their sexuality.  Wait your turn, we were told; don’t worry, we’ll get around to you.  Except that once middle-class white mostly-monogamous gay men & lesbians won their place at the big table, what happened?  Whitewashing Stonewall, which was started by black transwomen and drag sex workers.  Siding with the fascist establishment against a transwoman who exposed government wrongdoing.  Participating in the demonization of “sex offenders”.  Vomiting out “it’s illegal” as an argument against sex work, though gay sex was illegal in many states only 13 years ago.  Pretending that promiscuous stranger sex isn’t a major part of the lives of many queer men.  Forgetting that sex workers were the only partners available to many closeted gay men for much of the 20th century.  Promoting anti-whore crusades to cash in on rescue industry dollars.  Ignoring anti-queer persecution which doesn’t affect bourgeois gays.

Gay, Inc has thrown sex workers and other “undesirables” under the bus for over a decade now; in their view, the “rainbow” only properly has three colors (and they ain’t too sure about that third one).  The Rentboy raid was the direct result of this bigotry; had the GLBT “community” devoted its energies to securing the basic rights of all sexual minorities instead of wasting them in trying to force Christian fundamentalists to bake fucking overpriced cakes for their fucking bourgeois weddings, we’d be well on the way to decriminalization by now.  Ray Bradford and GLAAD aren’t anomalies; they’re typical of what passes for “gay rights” organizations these days.  And principled GLBT folk should take their vile, disgusting, hateful, bigoted attitude as a wake-up call.

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

The Red Umbrella 

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

Droit du Seigneur

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

Bell, Hook and Kettle

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

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

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

Legal Is as Legal Does

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

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

Profit from Panic 

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

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

Blunt Instrument

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

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

Monsters 

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

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#407)

SCIENCE!!!

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


Property of the State 

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

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

Now They Notice

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

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

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

Uncommon Sense (#572)

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

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

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#592)

Well, gee, this is SO MUCH better:

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

Fallen Idol

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

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

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Someday we may look back at this era the way we now think about (alcohol) Prohibition: a failed experiment that was indefensible in principle.  –  Douglas HusakWar Machine

Rough Trade 

How are there actually still attorneys clueless enough to use this “defense”?

The mixed martial arts fighter who calls himself War Machine said in court…that it would be impossible for him to have raped his ex-girlfriend because she was a porn star.  He then went on to blow an “offensive” kiss to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth…the nonsensical defense ploy which War Machine — born Jonathan Koppenhaver — used during his trial [was in answer to]…34 criminal counts ranging from sexual assault to attempted murder…Christy Mack…was left with “a blowout fracture of her left eye and several other broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places” after the attack…defense attorney Brandon Sua said that Mackinday’s career in adult films constituted consent and that her job instilled in her “the desire, the preference, the acceptability towards a particular form of sex activities that were outside of the norm.”  The sexual assaults Mackinday charges Koppenhaver with, said Sua, were a consensual part of their relationship…Judge Elissa Cadish told Sua that she failed to see how a person’s choice of profession could determine their constant and ongoing consent to sex…

Think of the Children! 

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep stopping us from making money in other jobs?

A federal appeals court has ruled against a former porn star turned math tutor, saying he doesn’t have a free speech right to hang a sign advertising his tutoring business at three [Florida] schools…David Mech paid $1,750 to advertise his “Happy/Fun Math Tutor” business in 2010, but the School District of Palm Beach County removed the signs in 2013 after learning that Mech was a porn star who acted under the name Dave Pounder…the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision that the signs are not considered free speech, but “government speech”…Since the banners were hung on school fences, the court opined that government property is “often closely identified in the public mind with the government unit that owns the land”…

Coming and Going

One of the most aggressive campaigns of sex worker persecution in the entire US gets even worse:

In roughly six weeks following Houston Police Department’s Vice Division’s announcement that it was changing its tactics for policing prostitution in the city, 30 individuals have been arrested and charged with felony prostitution.  Almost 100 more have been handed misdemeanor charges.  Several others have been charged with promotion of prostitution…[vice pig] Dan Harris…described a new [tactic for harassing sex workers by charging them with more serious crimes.  He described this as] “Let’s work smarter, not harder”…

Law of the Instrument

Rescue industry & “authorities” invent a ludicrously-broad definition of “sex trafficking”, spread panic over it, then pretend it means something when people claim to see it everywhere:

So far this year, the [Connecticut] department [of Children and Families] has received more than 80 referrals of possible victims of human trafficking in the state, said Tammy Sneed…“There is a direct correlation with an increase in training and an increase in referrals,” Sneed said, referring to the amount of training now available for law enforcement agencies to identify victims of sex trafficking…

Don’t Take My Word For It

It’s good to see more in the media on the reality of male sex work:

Christopher said prostitution wasn’t a career he dreamt of pursuing as a child but that it was a decision he wasn’t ashamed of making.  “A lot of people…think sex workers are all drug addicts or messed up people, but a lot of us just do it because we get satisfaction out of the work and make good money while doing it…I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I’ll keep doing it as along as people keep booking me.”  He said there was less demand for male sex workers than women but that the industry was easier on men.  “I think it’s even easier for male sex workers than women because there’s less stigma and its more of an even playing field in terms of strength so you’re less likely to be taken advantage of…I’ve never been attacked or robbed or anything like that.  Women sex workers have always been visible…but…now [men are] out and proud all over the internet and just as accessible and visible”…

Change a Few Words

I think it’s a serious moral wrong to send people to prison for the recreational use of drugs…What we need is a total decriminalization of drug use…Everyone agrees it is seriously unjust to punish people in the absence of very good reasons to do so…it’s wrong to punish people just to get them not to do something bad.  That principle would allow us to punish overeating, smoking, failing to exercise, and lots of other activities that virtually no one proposes to punish.  Most crimes we punish (murder, rape, robbery) do serious harm to other people.  Almost all people who do drugs at most harm only themselves…We should not subject tens of millions of Americans to punishment because of bad effects that materialize in only a small subset of cases.  In addition, threats of punishments don’t do much to deter drug use.  Most drug users don’t believe they’ll be caught, and they are right…longitudinal studies indicate that health and life expectancy of the roughly half of all Americans who have used drugs (with the exception of tobacco) is virtually identical to that of the half of Americans who have not…the consequences of punishment are worse than whatever harm the drugs are likely to have caused…

Profit from Panic sex trafficking T shirt

Is Rand Paul still claiming to be a kind of libertarian?

During this holiday season, we are undertaking a modest effort to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking.  We worked with a gifted designer to create a simple but elegant t-shirt that brings home a message of hope…the sale is supporting survivors of human trafficking in two ways:  first, the campaign will donate its share of every shirt purchase to Braking Traffik, a charity that protects women…from human trafficking.  Second, the campaign is partnering with To The Market…to source a limited supply of these t-shirts from a factory that employs women formerly trapped in sex slavery and gives them a new life…

Under Every Bed 

I picture this dysphemism-spewing idiot as shouting in a kind of fit, spraying spittle everywhere:

…Alabama is a nexus for the [sex] trade…the highly organized pipeline…connection to the ring [is] horrendous…The victims were referred to and marketed like meat…[pogroms are] a much needed salvo to combat an evil that simmers, mostly invisibly, beneath the surface of civilized life.  Sex trafficking entraps as many as 200,000 victims nationwide at any time. Atlanta’s interstate corridors make the Southeast, including Alabama, prime real estate for traffickers…Obvious gaps that must be addressed include tougher laws to attack sex-trafficking crimes from the “demand” side – meaning harsher penalties for johns who solicit sex.  For starters, solicitation of a prostitute should be a felony charge, not just a misdemeanor.  Requiring that convicted johns register as sex offenders would also discourage demand…young victims can escape the trafficking hellhole…

On second though, maybe the body fluid he’s spraying isn’t spittle.

Shame, Shame

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is preparing for an en banc hearing on whether there is a privacy interest inherent in mugshots, or whether they are simply public records that can be obtained with an FOIA request.  For the most part, mugshots have been considered public records. This has led to a shady mugshot-posting cottage industry, as well as an equally-shady mugshot-removal cottage industry…Despite the nation’s justice system being built on the presumption of innocence, a large percentage of the population views “arrested and charged” as being no different than “found guilty.”  (Federal law enforcement databases — used for background checks — reinforce this perception by entering arrested persons’ info when booking, but routinely failing to remove it when charges are dropped or the person is found innocent)…this case involves a federal law enforcement agency and the indictment of three local [cops]…the [DOJ’s]…ultimate goal is to obtain the final say on the release of booking photos via a wholly internal process…Siding with members of the public who have been tarnished by this guilt-by-association also means siding with an agency seeking yet another way to withhold public records from the public.  Siding with the Detroit Free Press means…allowing a whole host of dubious “entrepreneurs” to use public perception against private citizens to extract fees for the removal of booking info…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#347)

The EFF steps up to do the ACLU’s job:

A Los Angeles City Hall proposal to send “john letters” to the owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution has drawn criticism from a California civil liberties group…The letters would be written to discourage those who were soliciting prostitutes from returning to the area while posing no harm to those who were there for legitimate reasons, Councilwoman Nury Martinez [pretended]…The collection of license plate data is opposed by the…Electronic Frontier Foundation…[which] has an ongoing lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over the issue…other cities have used “john letters” to combat prostitution.  In some communities, residents are encouraged to [snitch]…Some [badge-lickers] praised the proposal in Los Angeles…

Drawing Lines 

It’s so nice to see this from the other side of that imaginary line:

…we vintage enthusiasts have a problem:  We often celebrate imagery created by sex workers of old, while stigmatizing…the sex workers of today…we’re building this community…on the backs of women whom we then nakedly disclaim.  I’m unsettled by the preponderance of pinup photographers who yearn for a time “when sexy was classy,” of dancers who assure us that burlesque is “an art form […] it’s not sleazy“, and of vintage enthusiasts who congratulate us on looking “so cute, and not at all slutty” (as I’ve been told on more than one occasion). These types of statements are simultaneously whorephobic   …and gratingly ahistorical.  No, Bettie Page and co. weren’t “classy” sex workers.  They were sex workers, full stop.  I’ve seen many a modern pinup reap the benefits of blushing “tee-hee” sexuality without acknowledging its origins in the “filthy whores” before her.  Because that’s what Bettie and Mae and Marilyn were, in the eye of much of the public.  Marilyn Monroe posed fully nude.  Bettie Page made fetish porn.  Mae West was arrested and imprisoned for an “indecent” Broadway play.  Bikini model Kiki Hakansson was condemned by the Pope himself.  Even the red lipstick endemic to today’s pinup girls was once the domain of the harlot

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

Young Greek women are selling sex for the price of a sandwich as six years of painful austerity have pushed the European country to the financial brink…a new study…which compiled data on more than 17,000 sex workers operating in Greece, found that…sex on sale in Greece is some of the cheapest…in Europe…when the economic crisis began…the going rate…was 50 euros ($53)…now, it’s fallen to as low as two euros ($2.12) for a 30-minute session…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Since universities have been hotbeds of neofeminism, this could be a huge development if more schools follow suit:

On Wednesday 25th November, Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) passed…a motion…resolving “to support and campaign for the full decriminalisation of sex work” and “campaign against any attempt to introduce the Nordic model”…The motion…also included a resolution “to campaign particularly for the rights of student sex workers”…as well as offer support to any student who comes out privately as a sex worker…the…motion…comes off the back of a move by Amnesty International…to urge decriminalisation of prostitution worldwide…

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