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Posts Tagged ‘Michigan’

The individual cannot bargain with the State.  The State recognizes no coinage but power: and it issues the coins itself.  –  Ursula K. Leguin

Prince was a far more accomplished and talented musician than even most of his fans realized, and behind the flamboyant stage persona was a very real, generous and complex person.  This video, shared with me by Ivan Dragomiloff, is footage of the artist in 1990, guiding his band through a rehearsal of Gershwin’s “Summertime”.  The links above it were provided by ClarissaConner HabibRadley BalkoTushy GalorePopehatTim Cushing, and Kat Murti, in that order.

From the Archives

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Democrats have been using internet sex panics to score political victories since the days of MySpace.  –  A.V. Flox

Rough Trade 

Please be careful out there, ladies:

[Los Angeles] detectives are searching for a serial rapist they say preys on prostitutes.  The suspect [pretends he want to]…pay…but…ends up kidnapping the women, raping them and then dumping them from his vehicle.  The man has struck at least 12 times since January 2014…victims have ranged from 15 to 46 years old…Despite the fact the man’s description has varied, and wildly, police [claim to] believe the one man is responsible for the attacks…

The Swedish Pimpocracy

If you’re raped in Sweden, claim the rapist offered to pay you; THAT, they’ll punish him for:

A Swedish court has acquitted five men accused of [gang] raping a woman and being complicit in her rape in Stockholm suburb Fittja in 2016…Video evidence from CCTV and images from the stairwell where the rape is alleged to have taken place were…used in the trial, as well as witness accounts.  The three men accused of rape acknowledged that they had sex with the woman, but insisted that it was voluntary.  And while it “was been established the woman had injuries after the incident in the form of skin discoloration and scrapes, the origin of or reason for them could not be established” the court’s summary of the trial states…

Profound Ignorance 

Even when economists produce research that supports sex worker rights, it’s riddled with dumb statements:

…Research published in the Review of Economic Studies  found that when prostitution was decriminalised in Rhode Island, sexual violence fell by 30 per cent and female gonorrhoea incidence decreased by more than 40 per cent.  The findings were based on an examination of the impact of a six-year prostitution decriminalisation policy in the state, from 2003 to 2009…Previous research shows that 23 per cent of female sex workers report they have had gonorrhoea, compared to 4.7 per cent for women who have never been paid for sex…the decline in sexual violence was due to a number of factors relating to the decriminalisation of prostitution.  When sex work is legal, prostitution firms are more likely to invest in locks, security cameras and security personnel to reduce the opportunity of premeditated client violence…Decriminalisation also reduces violence by increasing sex workers’ willingness to cooperate with police and reducing opportunities for police corruption.  Currently only 34 per cent of prostitutes who are victims of violence by clients report it to the police…

Manisha Shah is Scott Cunningham’s research partner for the previous version of this study, so seeing the usual Cunningham mistakes isn’t surprising.  Rhode Island decriminalized for almost 30 years, not 6.  Comparing the STI rates of street sex workers (it isn’t nearly 23% lifetime rate in the population of all sex workers) to that of all women – many of whom are in long-term monogamous marriages – produces meaningless results (sexually active amateurs have much higher STI rates than sex workers).  A minority of sex workers work for “firms” of any size (most are independent or work in small associations).  The majority of violence against sex workers is committed by cops, not clients, which is an important reason violence decreases under decrim, but this study ignores it.  And so on, and so on…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

And now there are people who want to reverse the burden of proof in rape cases, which would make escaping this kind of false accusation impossible:

A student has described going through “mental torture” after a rape case against him was thrown out in court because police had [intentionally hidden] more than 40,000 messages from his accuser.  Liam Allan, 22, faced up to ten years in jail charged with six counts of rape and six counts of sexual assault against a young woman over a 14-month period that began when he was 19…Mr Allan claimed it was consensual and [the accuser] was acting maliciously because he refused to see her after he returned to university…The messages showed how she had continually messaged Mr Allan for “casual sex”, said how much she enjoyed it and discussed fantasies of violent sex and rape…The life-changing discovery was made at the 11th hour when a new prosecutor, Jerry Hayes, took over the case one day before the trial began and ordered police to hand over records — including a computer disk that contained 40,000 messages…[police had previously] denied [requests for the messages, claiming] there was nothing of interest in them…detectives had previously told [the prosecutor that] the sexual messages were “too personal” to share…

Banishment

Like all truly oppressive laws, this one is bipartisan:

Oregon is about to enact one of the country’s most draconian, carceral, and unnecessary “public safety” measures.  Beginning on January 1, 2018, certain sex crimes committed in the state will come with a presumptive sentence of life in prison, without the possibility of parole or release…[This] will apply to those convicted of first-degree rapesodomy, or unlawful sexual penetration if they have a prior conviction…for any of these crimes…[or] similar charges…The measure was introduced by Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Sen. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) in April 2017.  It was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown in August.  An analysis of the proposed fiscal impact of the legislation found it “could impose significant increases in public defense costs,” estimating cost increases of around $800,000 to $1,350,000 per year…

Shame, Shame 

Once in a while a judge treats a sex worker as a human being:

Being a sex worker does not disqualify you from having a private life, a judge has said, as he granted an injunction to an escort who has been harassed online.  The woman, known as GYH, has been caused considerable distress by online publications about her sex life, physical and mental health…These include allegations that she has HIV/AIDS, which…are untrue.  GYH brought proceedings in London against “persons unknown” as, despite extensive efforts, it has proved impossible to trace any individual who has posted the material…the abuse began in December 2015 after she received a text message from someone claiming to be a student who wished to meet her socially but not pay for her services.  When GYH declined, the conversation deteriorated into abuse.  She also received anonymous phone calls with further abuse.  Posts on a series of websites made allegations that she had spread sexually transmitted diseases, was anorexic and mentally ill…They use both her work name and legal name and also include specific and identifiable information about her and pictures…

Choke Point 

An important article, despite the dumb & tone-deaf jab at libertarians in the end note:

…though it may come as a surprise to a few queers under the umbrella, the masters of political-ascent-via-internet-sex-panic are our political darlings, the Democrats…and they’re still doing it.  Take Kamala Harris.  One of her biggest achievements while she was Attorney General of California came at the expense of sex workers…Harris is a senator now, and we still don’t know how many cops are implicated in the sexual exploitation of a minor…sex worker…this is not the only account of victimization at the hands of police (in case you were wondering why some queers really don’t want police at Pride.  Hey, did you know that transwomen arrested during prostitution stings tend to be misgendered as pimps and johns and charged with human trafficking?  Helps pad the numbers!)…“Real name” policies that have terrorized the trans community?  We can thank Richard Blumenthal…for those…And…all the “adult content” guidelines on him, too…Payment processors and financial institutions getting squeamish about adult content?  Barack Obama was already president when he green-lit the FDIC on the operation to discourage legal businesses  extralegally, but the Cook County sheriff…sure took it to a whole new level

Bread and Circuses 

The time for Playboy to come on board as an active supporter of sex worker rights is long overdue:

…The…campaign [against sex workers] has shut down online advertising venues that sex workers depend on to acquire and screen their clients.  The FBI, the DOJ and Homeland Security launched the raids and closures of websites like Rentboy, Redbook and Backpage…The latest casualty appears to be the Eros Guide—its call center headquarters were raided in Youngstown, North Carolina in early November…These website crackdowns appear to be mere dress rehearsals for a wide-reaching, bipartisan piece of legislation now moving through Congress.  The Senate bill, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, and the House companion version, Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, both have feel-good titles, but activists argue that these proposed policy changes would have worrisome implications for free speech, and would actually worsen conditions for anyone in the sex trade…

To Molest and Rape 

If this were really a consensual “relationship” as they want us to think, why did the woman report him?

A Portland [cop]…pleaded guilty to first-degree official misconduct and was sentenced to a year and a half of probation with required community service for having sex on duty with a woman he [supposedly] met responding to a neighborhood noise disturbance call…Christian Robert Berge…[also] agreed to resign from the Portland Police…and surrender his police certification…Multnomah County Chief Deputy District Attorney Don Rees didn’t describe the offense during the brief court hearing…The alleged sexual relationship lasted from mid-August 2015 through this past May…The woman reported the behavior to police recently…

Lack of Evidence (#716) 

Pink News seems to think that if he really were a sex worker, this would be OK:

A gay German national was forced onto a flight to Japan after being refused entry into Australia.  As PrEP tablets and sex toys were found in his luggage, Border Force agents accused the man of coming into the country to engage in sex work…Michael (not his real name) had reportedly been living in Australia for more than two years when he took a week-long trip to Japan after his tourist visa expired…[he] hoped to apply for a partner visa with his boyfriend, Andrew (also not his real name)…Andrew alleged that his boyfriend was profiled by agents for appearing “visibly gay”.  Officials asked him to open his suitcase, where they found PrEP tablets and sex toys.  It is not illegal to bring either of these into Australia for personal use.  Despite this fact, guards…confiscated them and even went through Michael’s phone.  They found text messages on the phone which they have since used as proof that Michael was planning to engage in paid sex work…

The Widening Gyre (#718) 

Teenage sweethearts run away together; fetishists immediately start spinning “sex trafficking” fantasies:

Sex trafficking experts say they believe two missing Humble High School teens, a 14 year old and a 15 year old, may have been lured away from home by sex traffickers…[they were] found safe [on December 19th but] police aren’t releasing any other details.  Ame Carr…[and] Alexander Irizarry-Avila…were in a relationship.  Carr did not leave a note but Irizarry did…“telling [his mother] he’d check in once a week, telling her he’s OK…he said ‘Don’t call the police because it would make it that much harder for me to come home’”…

Business As Usual (#733) 

Michigan cops can no longer get away with openly raping sex workers; now they have to pretend they didn’t, as they do in the other 49 states:

Michigan law will no longer shield police from prosecution for prostitution-related offenses committed while on duty…Michigan was believed to be the last state in the country to give police [explicit] immunity for [raping] prostitutes [before arresting them]…

Rooted in Racism (#795) 

No, this didn’t “veer…close to racial profiling”; it was clear and deliberate racial profiling within government-approved guidelines:

…Brian and Renee Smith…were questioned on arrival at the airport in Phoenix, suspected of being human traffickers for traveling with [their] 16-year-old Asian…adopted daughter, Georgiana…During a flight from Florida to their home in Arizona on December 20, father and Georgiana were seated together, mom and the family’s three other children were not in the same row.  This [inspired]…the Southwest Airlines flight attendant to [have sexual fantasies about] the white man and [young] Asian [woman].  All flight attendants in America are required to receive training in spotting human traffickers under a law passed in 2016…to the Smith family, the experience was humiliating and worrisome, veering close to racial profiling…because Georgiana [is] not Caucasian…

Kudos to Forbes contributor Christina Negroni for recognizing that the “air hostess stops sex trafficking” story floating around for the past few years is bogus.

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Your language is disgusting.  –  unnamed racist woman

One of my favorite musicians has just released a new Christmas album, and here’s her performance of one of my favorite Christmas carols!  The links above the video were provided by Radley BalkoAmy AlkonMike SiegelAlejandroTim CushingAdjective Girl and Radley again, in that order.

From the Archives

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Sexual assault by [cops]…is…the second most frequently reported form of police misconduct, after excessive force.  –  Andrea Ritchie

The Course of a Disease

Prohibitionist scum understand that decriminalization is the only moral framework for sex work; that’s why they keep trying to trick people into thinking the Swedish model is decrim:

Prostitution would [not] be decriminalized in Massachusetts under a bill that Rep. Kay Khan hopes will [choke off sex workers’ income by criminalizing]…people who buy sex and those who [assist] sex workers…it would not legalize the illicit sex trade.  [Sex workers with incalls, or who have any contact with other sex workers] and [clients who provide their income] would remain criminals under the legislation…Khan [fantasizes that consensual]…sex…fosters some unspeakable crimes…

The Notorious Badge 

Hollywood recognizes that prior to the First World War, sex workers were businesswomen who did the work because it was lucrative and flexible:

In Netflix’s Godless…Callie Dunn (Tess Frazer) is one of maybe 50 women who live in La Belle, a town almost entirely populated by women…the men of the town died in a mining accident, leaving the wives to operate the town all on their own.  Callie is the resident school teacher, and a nascent love interest for Mary Agnes (Merritt Wever).  She’s also the richest woman in town because she used to be a sex worker…After the accident…her place of work closed.  Lack of men will do that to brothel…In the lawless west (the show takes place in Colorado and New Mexico), there’s not much a woman could do to earn her own money.  Even Mary Agnes, the widow of the town’s late mayor, is at a loss for funds.  But Callie is sitting pretty on almost $20,000 (almost half a million in today’s dollars)…”Let me take care of you,” Callie begs Mary Agnes in the third episode.  She reveals her impressive savings and offers to run away with Mary Agnes.  When Mary Agnes looks surprised, Callie responds, “Don’t you know?  Whores are always the richest people in town”…

Unfortunately, it also believes we all magically turned into pathetic victims about 100 years ago.

The Lion and the Ox

“Sex trafficking” means whatever “authorities” want it to mean:

Investigations into the many alleged sexual assaults by Harvey Weinstein are now underway all over the world, with the NYPD, the LAPD, the Beverly Hills Police, and UK law enforcement all looking into possible acts of rape, harassment, and other forms of misconduct.  Now…the former producer and his namesake company are facing claims of sex trafficking…actress Kadian Noble is alleging that “Harvey Weinstein was able to force or coerce Kadian into sexual activity…because of his promise of a film role and use of his influence on her behalf” — despite having no intention of following through on those promises…“Harvey Weinstein…offer[ed] her something of value, knowing that he would use this offer as a means to defraud, force, or coerce her into a sexual encounter”…

Scapegoats (#49)

If he’d done this two years ago he’d have been safer than if he’d had consensual sex with a human:

An elderly man has been convicted of sexually assaulting a horse in a stable north of Stockholm.  The owner raised the alarm after discovering someone had entered the stable during the night.  Police found the man hiding under refuse bags…a security camera in the stable caught evidence which led to the conviction.  He was sentenced to fines for trespassing and for breaching Sweden’s Animal Protection Act. Few have been convicted of breaching the act since it was brought in last year…

Policing for Profit

Does any sane person still believe cops’ pretense that this is about anything other than profit?

…the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office [claims] Phil Parhamovich was moved during a traffic stop last March to donate $91,800, his life savings, to the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation to help it wage the war on drugs.  Parhamovich’s version is rather more plausible:  He says state police took his money after pressuring him to sign a “waiver” that circumvented even the limited protections offered by Wyoming’s civil asset forfeiture law…Parhamovich is in state court, trying to get his money back with help from the Institute for Justice, which argues that Wyoming’s roadside waivers are a thin disguise for highway robbery.  Parhamovich, a Wisconsin musician, was on his way to a gig in Salt Lake City on March 13 when a state trooper, Jeramy Pittsley, pulled him over on Interstate 80 in Laramie County [using the pretext that he had] fail[ed] to buckle his seat belt.  The stop turned into an interrogation…and [search in which] they found $91,800 inside a speaker cabinet.  The cops were so excited by their discovery that they high-fived each other.  The windfall also apparently made them forget that there was no trace of the drugs that Pittsley’s dog supposedly had detected…

Apparently the judge is sane, because he ordered the state to return the entire sum to Parhamovich.

Out of Control (#410) 

Doctors aren’t the only medical professionals who throw their careers away for this stupid shit:

Former [Pennsylvania] nurse James Close will spend up to four years in prison and 20 years on probation for secretly filming female patients, including one underage girl…Judge Wallace H. Bateman also ordered him to…sexual offender and sex addiction treatment…

Above the Law (#418) 

Just a reminder that this behavior is intrinsic to policing, not an isolated incident limited to the US:

A Canadian tourist who was…rape[d] by French police…has spoken out for the first time about the night she was attacked…Emily Sponton has decided to waive her anonymity to give her account of the night of April 22nd 2014 when, after meeting three French police at the Galway Irish pub she was…gang rape[d by them] at the nearby Paris police HQ…Sponton said she had been drinking with the three [pigs] who had been regaling her with stories of their work…[they] offered to give her a tour of the building but once there Sponton says they tried to force her to drink large amount of whisky…”when I refused to do what they wanted…they smashed my face against the desk”…She…was raped several times…[and] later found lying on the street outside the police HQ…On [medical] examination she was found to have bruises and lesions in the genital area.  She immediately filed a complaint for rape before heading home to Canada…two [were] finally set to face trial on charges of gang rape…after Sponton had won her appeal to see the case brought back to court after judges initially threw it out last year…One of the [pigs claimed the rape was]…”consensual” [as rapist pigs nearly always do]…

Paint By Numbers (#593) 

Given the lack of imagination displayed by “sex trafficking” fetishists, I reckon it’s predictable that they keep recycling their stupid stunts:

…Started in 2013, the Dressember foundation is a [profiteering] organization…dedicated to [profiting from]…human trafficking [hysteria]….Those willing to take the more popular approach will opt in by wearing a dress every day of December.  Others, who may not have many dresses to wear or who may be a bit more warm-blooded, can still help out by donating to the cause.  All of the money donated goes toward [persecuting sex workers]…

The Rape Question (#602) 

I’m honestly amazed the dumb “rape is asexual” dogma is still popular:

There are reasons why nobody would tell a child “look only to the left when crossing the street because people are nice and swerve out the way for you” or “don’t wear your seatbelt because nothing will happen to you.”  The unfortunate reality is that simply changing our ideas about the world doesn’t actually change the world…in the case of sexual assault, coercion, and rape, omitting crucial pieces of the puzzle (like biological constraints) in understanding these heinous acts could prove to be detrimental…this blank slate version of human nature is riddled with holes…what we’ve seen is a tacit acceptance of the crime when it is committed by “one of our own” and harsh condemnation when it is someone from “the other side” doing it…social role theorists want us to believe that there is a utopian world just beyond our grasp that somehow males and capitalism prevent us from achieving…understanding biology is important in helping us deter sexual violence and why ignoring it could prove to be dangerous…

Pyrrhic Victory (#609)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

“Oklahoma has finalized a deal with a Massachusetts company to use license-plate scanners to catch uninsured drivers, and the firm expects to issue 20,000 citations a month starting as early as next year.  The program…involves setting up automated high-speed cameras on highways around the state to detect uninsured vehicles and mailing their owners a citation with a fine of $184“…[besides] the mass collection of plate/location data…Gatso USA will receive more than 40% of the revenue…The company hopes to make more than $1.6 million a month…”It will be overseen by the District Attorneys Council rather than law enforcement, and the state’s 27 district attorneys’ offices are expected to receive millions of dollars in citation revenue a year”...

To Molest and Rape 

It’s good to see this problem getting attention outside of libertarian and sex worker circles:

…as we furiously unpack the prevalence of sexual assault across many industries, the reality of police sexual misconduct has not found its way into these discussions.  That’s a tragedy, because it happens so frequently…One study found that a [cop] is caught in an act of sexual misconduct every five days — and those are just the ones who are caught…national research…show[s] that almost a quarter or more of cases of police sexual assault involve minors…

Fever Dream (#742)

Reporters & prohibitionists are apparently too stupid to understand that when you misrepresent a consensual-crime misdemeanor a person didn’t even actually commit as a serious, violent felony, it’s going to be hard to get a conviction:

Over the past year [TBI has] conducted about a dozen undercover stings and charged more than 200 men…[in one] sting conducted in Nashville in 2016…TBI charged 34 men…27 of them had their cases dismissed and [expunged after paying for the “john school” the prohibitionists wanted, yet they’re not happy that an unproven misdemeanor charge isn’t enough to destroy the lives of the accused]…”Having all these charges expunged sends a very, very clear message that we’re not serious,” [prohibitionist & profiteer Cathy] Gurly said…Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade…[pointed out] that…these cases are difficult to prosecute because the victims aren’t real, they’re actually undercover agents…

Checklist (#783)

The real purpose of this scheme is to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system:

Advanced Periodontics & Implantology…[of] Michigan, organized a seminar for dentists and hygienists on the topic “Human Trafficking”…Michigan Public Health Code and Administrative rules require all dentists to complete training in identification of human trafficking victims…

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Why should it be illegal to sell something that you can give away for free?  –  Judge Consuelo Callahan

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through 

The idea that this constitutes “slavery” is almost as stupid as calling the cops was:

Kansas police arrested a man…and charged him with human trafficking, among other crimes…Joseph Stevenson Glenn…allegedly offered young homeless women a place to stay, then plied them with drugs until he received sexual favors, thus creating a cycle of sexual servitude…Glenn [precipitated] his own arrest by calling police and telling them that an unwanted guest was banging on his door…[cops] discovered drugs in plain view, along with two young girls who later were found to be homeless…[cops] allegedly found an assortment of illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and meth….[plus] paraphernalia and scales to weigh the drugs…

The Enlightenment Police

This was inevitable; politicians everywhere are obsessed with regulating women’s bodies:

This week, Quebec banned people working in public service or using public services from wearing veils or any sort of facial covering, the first such ban in North America, one echoing “burqa ban” policies  passed across Europe.  Ushered in by Quebec’s Liberal Party as a way to “foster social cohesion” and “religious neutrality”…the law largely takes aim at Muslim women who veil their faces in public….women  can apply for exemptions—essentially a special license to wear a burqa or niqab that they would have to display to public officials…Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, called it “an unnecessary law with a made-up solution to an invented problem.  We don’t have hordes of women in niqabs trying to access or work in public services”…

Pyrrhic Victory

When an Eastern totalitarian state isn’t much more repressive than the “free” ones of the West, the world is in trouble:

[In] Kashgar…growing a beard can get you reported to the police.  So can inviting too many people to your wedding, or naming your child  Muhammad or Medina.  Driving or taking a bus to a neighboring town, you’d hit checkpoints where armed police officers might search your phone for banned apps like Facebook or Twitter, and scroll through your text messages to see if you had used any religious language.  You would be particularly worried about making phone calls to friends and family abroad.  Hours later, you might find police…knocking at your door and asking questions that make you suspect they were listening in the whole time…China, which has already deployed the world’s most sophisticated internet censorship system, is building a surveillance state in Xinjiang…that uses both the newest technology and human policing to keep tabs on every aspect of citizens’ daily lives.  The region is home to a Muslim ethnic minority called the Uighurs, who China has blamed for forming separatist groups and fueling terrorism.  Since this spring, thousands of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities have disappeared into so-called political education centers…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you:

Bourbon Street has become an epicenter of the New Orleans sex trade, according to a yearlong investigation by…The Times-Picayune.  [Pig] records…and interviews with dozens of officials, club representatives, human trafficking experts and trafficking victims reveal how a patchwork of strip clubs featuring private rooms have continued to be plagued by prostitution and drug use…Bourbon Street has become a playground for pimps – the kingpins of a brutal and sadistic underworld that hides in plain sight…Even when authorities have compiled evidence that pimps on Bourbon are exploiting women, recruiting new sex trafficking victims and more recently using the women to rob customers, the sex trade has continued to fester…Covenant House [claims]…dozens of women – some younger than 18 – have reported falling victim to trafficking and sexual exploitation in clubs…there has been no evidence that clubs knowingly employed dancers who were victims of human trafficking [but prohibitionists fantasize]…the trafficking opportunity arises from a constant presence of pimps…

I don’t think I have to tell you just how much reeking bullshit this is. Yes, things have changed since Katrina, but not this much.  When I remind you that Covenant House was also behind the defeated law to ban women under 21 from working as strippers, and tell you that a number of New Orleans “officials” harbor really stupid fantasies of making Bourbon Street “family friendly”, does the picture become more clear?

If Men Were Angels 

A few more cases like this may spell the beginning of the end for the “sex addiction” scam:

A therapist accused of sexually assaulting a former juvenile patient numerous times at a youth treatment center told the girl that “he was a sex addict”…Jason Scott Calder…[manipulated the girl] from March until June…During one therapy session, Calder had the girl take off her clothes, but told her he couldn’t touch her…”Things progressed rather quickly and the therapist suggested they go for a walk up in the mountains alone for their next therapy session…the therapist would have special therapy sessions with her late into the night.  He would call her at the treatment facility to discuss, ‘keeping their story straight, when he was off shift'”…Other staff members noticed the late therapy sessions and mountain walks, which he did not do with any other female patient, and he was soon fired…

The Last Shall Be First (#625) 

The politicians knew this would happen; they don’t care because the law was nothing more than political theater intended to win votes:

Transgender people would be allowed to use public restrooms in North Carolina that match their gender identity under a settlement agreement filed [last] Wednesday that aims to resolve the federal lawsuit over the state’s widely criticized bathroom law…North Carolina has been mired in litigation about transgender rights since Republican lawmakers enacted a law in 2016 that restricted bathroom choice in state-run buildings to the sex on people’s birth certificates rather than their gender identity.  A measure passed in March rescinded the so-called bathroom bill…but activists said transgender people still faced discrimination under the new law, which left state lawmakers in control of bathroom policies…

To Molest and Rape 

Sex workers know this is cops’ idea of “community support”:

A police community support officer raped and sexually assaulted women he met while investigating crimes…Orhan Yigit…paraded naked in front of a victim of domestic violence, asked her for sexual favours in return for help to escape her marriage and [then raped] her…another [woman] who [foolishly] answered the door to him dressed in a nightie was “cuddled”, kissed on the shoulder and inappropriately touched…[he repeatedly raped] a third woman [and gained her silence by threatening her with information]…he discovered…by doing illegal checks on the police computer…

The Widening Gyre (#699)

Moral panics never end until they start harming middle-class white women:

Alex McDaniel, a writer for the blog Magnolia State Live, tweets a lot…usually it’s for laughs…a couple weeks ago, after tweeting about her son using the potty and the funny things he said, she added: “3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.”  Which kicked off a human trafficking investigation…”They told me an anonymous male tipster called Mississippi’s child abuse hotline days earlier to report me for attempting to sell my 3-year-old son, citing a history of mental illness that probably drove me to do it…The most hellish week of my life [followed]…All because enough people believed I was actually trying to sell my son on Twitter for $12″…with the help of an attorney, McDaniel got the charges dropped within days.  Not everyone is as lucky.

I Saw My Brain (#725)

Yet another pogrom in the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office [victimized] 277 [people] in a weeklong undercover sting [using] human trafficking [as a pretext for harassing people involved in]…online prostitution, which the agency is calling “Operation No Tricks, No Treats.”…51 were arrested on charges of advertising as prostitutes online, 209 under suspicion of soliciting undercover detectives posing as prostitutes and 17 under suspicion of deriving proceeds from prostitution…

O, Canada! (#755)

The outcry against the grotesque “Operation Northern Spotlight” is growing:

Newfoundland and Labrador groups are adding their voice to a national chorus calling for an end to a sting operation targeting sex [workers]…Heather Jarvis, project coordinator of the Safe Harbour Outreach Project (S.H.O.P.) [spoke against]…Operation Northern Spotlight…which…involves [cops] posing as potential clients…”These women are being lied to by police,” she said.  “They come to a hotel room expecting to meet a client and expecting to gain income…and instead are met with a team of [cops] who [interrogate] them.  They feel very condescended to, they feel incredibly frightened”…Sex worker advocacy groups in British Columbia and Ontario have also asked for the operation to end…

Challenge (#769)

During oral arguments before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges…ESPLERP attorney Louis Sirkin stressed that the case “is not about sex trafficking, it’s not about the abuse of women, and it’s not about the abuse of minors.  It is about consenting adults that voluntary want to work in the sex for hire industry.”  Dozens of civil rights, public health, and LGBTQ groups have filed briefs in support of ESPLERP’s challenge, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern and Northern California, the California Women’s Law Center, the anti–sex trafficking group Children of the Night, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, and Lambda Legal…Judge Carlos Bea suggested that the state’s arguments for why it could ban prostitution also would allow California to ban one-night stands…The U.S. District Court that heard ESPLERP’s challenge last year [pre]tended that only “intimate personal relationships,” not purely sexual ones, were protected from state interference per the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence [but] Sirkin pointed out…that, in fact, the men who had been arrested in Lawrence were not in an ongoing relationship.  He said that the fundamental right implicated here, as in Lawrence, concerns sexual privacy…

The Widening Gyre (#774)

Once they expanded the panic by adding male “sex slaves”, it was inevitable they’d get to transwomen:

Spanish police said…that they had broken up a ring that was forcing young transvestites and transsexuals into prostitution, including at least one minor.  Police [claimed]…a man and a woman [were]…forcing the youths into selling their bodies at a Madrid flat where they were kept against their will.  “They were controlled 24 hours a day, lived jammed into small rooms and their exploiters forced them to pay abusive prices for any food, drink or product which they consumed,” police [claimed]…they…did not say how many prostitutes had been freed…saying only that one of them was just 17 years old…

One man and one woman guarded multiple captives in a single flat 24 hours a day? Really?

The Widening Gyre (#783) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

Despite a Canton man’s claims that his wife and daughter were nearly abducted from a Michigan…Target store for human trafficking purposes last month, township police say his story doesn’t appear credible.  The man made the claim in a Facebook live video over the weekend…in [which] he said he was trying to bring awareness about human trafficking…he said.  “This is a real, real thing going on in Michigan.  We are the No. 2 state for human trafficking and it’s happening all over”…

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“Sex addiction”…is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.  –   Angela Mollard

Friday the Thirteenth 

Deviant Ollam, who designed our “McNeill/Matisse 2020” T-shirts, tells hackers why they should support sex workers:

Sex workers face many of the same stigmas that hackers do.  In addition to being misunderstood by the general public so often that they may choose to not even self-identify publicly unless they are in “safe” environments and surrounded by their own kind, the mainstream portrayal of such groups of people is riddled with the most ostentatious and over-blown stereotypes…If we search for the word “hacker” what are we going to see for the results?…Black hoodies and balaclavas everywhere.  The stock image sites are among the worst offenders, as always.  But that’s what editors (and, by extension, their readership) sees in their mind when they hear the word “hacker.”  By and large, we are seen as scary, malicious, and out to cause mayhem.  Let’s try a google image search for “prostitute” now…Is it much of a surprise to anyone that the trope of the “at-risk street walker” is far-and-away the most returned image?…I put it to you that the “prostitutes” in these photos are no more representative of the sex work population than the “hackers” in the earlier images are of our own community…

Enabling Oppression

I’m glad a few people recognize how loathsome it is to use talk of “slavery” to oppose human rights:

…The click bait power of slavery and human trafficking, often encouraged by sensationalist headlines such as “victims branded like cattle”, operates to obscure real problems.  This is tied up with how we label people.  People entering the UK illegally, for example, are characterised as one of two types: either they are seen as undesirable migrants, or else as victims of slavery.  Our use of such labels – “slave”, “trafficking victim”, “refugee”, “migrant” – highlights our need to distinguish between those who deserve protection and those who don’t…the continued use of the idea of slavery to invoke an emotive response…promotes overly simplistic solutions – such as awareness raising campaigns…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Men, women and children took to the streets of Newcastle to make a stand against human trafficking.  With their mouths taped shut, more than 100 people dressed in black walked in single file through the city centre down to the Quayside on Saturday, stopping briefly to make a silent demonstration at the Monument…One of the Newcastle Walk for Freedom organisers, Rachel Jobes…said: “When we say this is a crime that’s happening under our noses we aren’t exaggerating.  We [fantasize] there have been trafficking victims in nail bars, held as slaves in parts of our city and we [masturbate to thoughts of] people…sexually exploited on the streets where we walked”…

Available Weapon

How can people read this and still think prostitution laws are a good idea?

…in Henrico County, Virginia…the number of female inmates at the county jail has more than doubled in the past year…due to…an intensifying police crackdown on sex workers and on people with drug dependence issues…[prosecutor] Michael Feinmel…claims that…these people are a nuisance to the public…or pose an immediate danger to themselves.  But this isn’t true.  Henrico County vice cops go out of their way to arrest these women…They troll online ads, reach out to sex workers pretending to be customers, and rent rooms at local motels where they can lure these women in order to arrest them…They do this under the guise of fighting “human trafficking,” but it’s just punishing women who sell sex…

Moloch (#572)

State actors keep trying to crucify a young man after their first attempt to destroy him failed:

Zach Anderson, the young man…whose harsh punishment for consensual sex with an underage teenager he wrongly believed was 17 made headlines around the country in 2015, has been arrested for violating his probation…He stopped by for dinner at his parents’ home.  His younger brother was present, and incidentally, so was the brother’s friend.  The brother thought this friend was 19 years old, but he turned out to be just 17.  Anderson, unfortunately, is not allowed to have contact with anybody under the age of 18, except his own siblings.  There was one other thing.  Anderson works on the tech team at his local church.  Recently, a 17-year-old girl joined the church staff as an intern.  While Anderson has never met or spoken with her, the fact that they volunteer on separate teams at the church is a violation of his probation, according to officials who issued a warrant for his arrest last week…Possible outcomes range from dismissing the charges to extending probation, putting Anderson on the sex offender registry, sending him to prison, or any combination thereof…

Guinea Pigs (#634) 

Don’t feel left out, amateurs; they’ll get around to you next:

PornHub…uses a tagging system to categorize all its content…But videos already outpace humans’ ability to keep up and tag everything, and so the site is turning to help from software…using facial ID tech not unlike that which Facebook, Amazon, and other media entities apply…There’s nothing illegal about making…from porn…[but] it’s…not a line of work one really discusses in-depth with the neighbors.  Performers, especially amateurs, may well prefer to keep their public, working persona separated from the name and identity they use in private life…[so] this particular use of facial recognition is a privacy disaster in the making…A video that has been uploaded and tagged on PornHub won’t necessarily stay on the service, but will instead travel the internet — and bring the performer’s auto-tagged name along with it.  There’s also the entire challenge of revenge porn…although the site has tried to make it easier for victims to report content and have it removed, it still exists on the site until or unless someone flags it…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t limit themselves to women:

A…Pennsylvania…[cop] will serve no more than two years — and possibly less than one — for [repeat]edly raping two boys and threatening to kill them.  David Turkos…accepted a plea agreement in June on misdemeanor charges…His two victims came forward as teenagers and told police that Turkos began sexually abusing them in 2001, when they were 6 and 4 years old…Turkos threatened to hurt their mother and pets or take away their toys if they revealed the abuse.  One of the boys told police that Turkos choked him and used zip ties to restrain him during the abuse, and…held a hand over his mouth to muffle his screams.  “I hope you die — you’re a piece of crap,” Turkos told one of the boys…Turkos frequently pointed his gun at the brothers to frighten them…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#645)

Say what you like about Larry Flynt, but he’s a dedicated foe of tyranny:

…Larry Flynt is offering “up to $10 million” to anyone who produces information that leads to President Donald Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.  He lays out the offer in a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#671)

I may soon need to come up with a heading for stories that combine “sex addiction” nonsense with “sex robot” nonsense:

…sex experts say vibrators–no matter how technologically advanced they become—will never surpass human intercourse.  What’s more, they say any addiction to automated sex is downright impossible.  “The term addiction is often misused,” Dr. Kat Van Kirk…says…”A true addiction would mean the behavior would negatively affect the person’s day-to-day life…and using it to the exclusion of intimate live partner play.”  She says there’s “absolutely no research” to indicate vibrators’ addictive properties…Nicolette Heidegger…said that her clients often raise the question—a result of our collective 21st century fear that sex dolls…could one day replace actual intimacy…between humans…But “the fact of the matter is that there is no empirical data to support the claim that you can become physiologically or biologically addicted to a sex toy”…

The Maze of Consent

Attempts by “authorities” to negate the consent of adult women via psychobabble won’t stop with sex workers:

Forced into sex with large groups of strangers, stripped of their freedom and ferried from house to house by their controlling pimps, the story of how a group of vulnerable young women were turned into modern day slaves is brutal and uncompromising…thanks to the efforts of Greater Manchester Police officers the women were eventually freed and the gang who had trafficked them jailed…Why had these women – alone, afraid and forced into degrading and unsafe sex…never tried to escape their pimps?…police in Manchester turned to a leading expert in trauma to help them understand.  His report…paints a bleak picture in which the victims of the case were portrayed as being “brainwashed” into “childlike dependency” through controlling behaviour…Dr Michael Korzinski…[fantasized that] “Trafficking robs the victim of the most basic modes of relating to reality”…

Between the Lines (#782)

The Unsinkable Liz Brown looks at this year’s “Operation Cross Country”:

The FBI just wrapped up its 11th annual “Operation Cross Country,” a massive multi-day vice sting conducted under the guise of stopping sexual predators…The media will largely lap up this sensationalist pageantry, as it has in previous years.  And once again, everyone will ignore the real victims of Operation Cross Country: the vulnerable women and girls tricked, frightened, robbed, detained, arrested, incarcerated, and otherwise mistreated by police and federal agents as part of this sick charade that claims to help them…[they] have any money they have on then taken by the cops…may spend days in jail (and away from families or day jobs) before even going to court…have their names and mugshots plastered all over local news and online (sometimes in conjunction with degrading details and comments from cops); and…face court fees, fines, and a criminal record…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#783) 

If you get caught paying for sex, you may be charged with “sex trafficking”.  But cops?

In an Oakland case…most were let off the hook, including three…whose cases were dismissed last week…NYPD [cop]…Raul Olmeda was indicted this week for allegedly paying a teen girl to have sex with him on multiple occasions and filming the sexual activity…Denver Police Department…[cop] Zachery Phillips…was recently given a 15-day suspension without pay after admitting to an encounter with a sex worker…The woman…was…charged with prostitution and possession of a controlled substance…in Cleveland…Mark Reilly is back on the job after spending 10 days in jail for paying for sex…In Vermont, police dispatcher Earl Benway was charged with paying for oral sex and leaking information to the sex worker he paid…And, finally, Abraham Flores Galvan…in Tunnel Hill, Georgia…was caught in his own colleagues’ sting operation [last] Thursday.  Galvan responded to an online ad posted by [wanker cops pretending]…to be a teenager under age 18…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#783) 

Weinstein has inadvertently made it possible to publicly attack “sex addiction” as malarkey:

…I am not a sex addict but my attendance at an SLAA meeting was part of a six-week investigation I undertook into sex addiction for a British newspaper.  Posing as a PR girl who went out several times a week to pick up men, I sought help via a psychotherapist, a phone counsellor and one of the world’s most reputable rehab clinics.  My conclusion?  That “sex addiction” — the malady Harvey Weinstein claims is responsible for his deplorable behaviour — is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions…

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Arresting our way out of the problem is not the solution.  –  David Grosso

Who Did Your Tits? 

I’ve been naked with literally thousands of men over the past 18 years, and I’m here to tell you that 99% of men who claim they don’t like implants are full of shit:

…I still reach for the ubiquitous term “fake boobs” even though I don’t consciously think of them as unreal…advertising tends to prefer “breast augmentation”, a term that…avoids the undesirable connotation of falsity in favor of the language of personal improvement.  Doctors increasingly promise natural looks, feels and shapes…the idea of the “natural woman” is a powerful one.  There’s a whole genre of “natural” porn, which typically refers to women with unshaved armpits and no apparent body modifications.  But…is going to the gym unnatural?…Dyeing your hair?…tattoos or piercings?…The existence of “no-makeup makeup” looks — creating the illusion of facial nudity but concealing blemishes, adding glow and so on — should be evidence enough that what we crave isn’t true naturalness, whatever that means, but our idea of what we should look like…We want to be able to congratulate women on looking “so natural” when they’re wearing $200 worth of makeup…

License to Rape

This will continue for as long as prohibition does:

The Georgia sheriff who authorized intrusive pat downs for hundreds of students at Worth County High School earlier this year was indicted for sexual battery, false imprisonment, and violating his oath of office.  Authorities will issue a warrant for Jeff Hobby’s arrest later this week…Two deputies were also indicted…they groped male and female students, touching them inappropriately during the completely pointless search.  No drugs were found on any of the 900 boys and girls subjected to the pat downs…

Saving Them From Themselves

How dare they interfere with the pigs’ “right” to destroy their students’ lives?

…Two members of the leadership team at a charter school in [New Orleans] were arrested Tuesday on allegations they failed to [rat out students to the cops] about their discovery of video clips allegedly showing a student being forced to perform oral sex on a group of her peers in a bathroom…New Orleans police booked Nicole Kusmirek…and Shayla Shane…on counts of possessing child pornography as well as [refusing] to [delegate their judgment to the pigs] despite being required to do so…An attorney for both women, Nandi Campbell, said…her clients’ actions…actually prevented children from being able to go on social media and share a video of the incident…”For NOPD to charge these teachers with possession of pornography is the most obscene thing I’ve seen since I’ve been doing this work,” said Campbell…

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

…attorney…Nicole Pittman…has been defending children [from sex-crime accusations]…for 12 years, and says there are…several thousand juveniles on the sex offender registry in the State of Michigan.  Some…[are] on the autism spectrum or struggling with disabilities, but most judges have refused to make exceptions, citing what Pittman describes as a “one size fits all” policy…”Most times with children there is no sexual [motivation]…the moment the touching looks sexual, though, society labels them pedophiles”…Minors are not listed publicly on the sex offender registry, but they’re forbidden from attending school because that’s where children congregate.  Once they turn 18, most states require them to register on the public sex offender list with an identifying photo…”There’s a lot of homelessness and depression [because people can’t get jobs],” Pittman explains. “We have a whole new generation of victims on this law.”  Pittman has interviewed 500 registered kids.  While only some were on the autism spectrum, she says all of them have been victims of abuse…

Amnesty At Last (#564)

Grosso has consistently pursued this course for over two years now:

Will Washington, D.C. buck national trends and actually take a stand for sex-worker rights and safety?  It will if politician David Grosso gets his way.  The at-large councilmember has just introduced a bill to decriminalize prostitution in the District…The “Reducing Criminalization to Promote Public Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2017” would amend D.C.’s criminal code to make both the selling and the buying of sex legal.  It’s co-sponsored by At-large Councilmember Robert White.  Unlike moves by Canada and many Western European countries, the D.C. plan would not attempt to regulate sex work by setting up red-light districts, providing for brothel permits, or similar schemes…

What’s In a Name? (#572)

Though I’m not personally bothered by the word “prostitute” (though I do think it’s ugly and legalistic), I understand that many of my sisters feel differently:

…Language is fluid and malleable; it drives social attitudes, rather than simply expressing them.  So what is being reinforced when we use the word “prostitute”, and why is it important?…”Prostitute” first crops up in English in 1530 as a verb meaning to sexually dishonour yourself…And…the word has been linked to a state of dishonour ever since…‘Prostitute’ is not a neutral term and it never has been.  It’s a word burdened with considerable historical and cultural baggage.  Lizzie Smith argued, “the term ‘prostitute’ does not simply mean a person who sells her or his sexual labour, but brings with it layers of ‘knowledge’ about worth, drug status, childhood, integrity, personal hygiene and sexual health”…

Morality Lessons 

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

Four…Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) operatives face federal corruption and conspiracy charges after…engaging in all sorts of shady behavior, from selling drugs themselves to lying under oath, falsifying records, falsely identifying drug suspects, accepting bribes, and stealing cash and other property from the people they arrested.  In at least one instance, their behavior led to someone being wrongly imprisoned for more than two years…special agent Chad Scott…and…task force [cops] Rodney Gemar, Karl Newman, and Johnny Domingue—worked with the DEA’s New Orleans Division…

Pyrrhic Victory (#765)

The word for collaboration between government & private industry to control people is “fascism”:

…U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd…Prime Minister Theresa May, and leaders in other countries have been fighting to force…social media platforms, app makers, and other tech companies to make it easier for officials to access private conversations on demand…Rudd said she doesn’t understand how encryption works but knows that it can keep the government from accessing data it wants, so Something Must Be Done…It’s particularly telling that Rudd wants to make this a debate about how she’s being mocked even as she yet again fails to show any actual concern about the security of citizen data.  She’s being mocked for a reason (as is Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who responded to the encryption debate by saying the laws of mathematics are subservient to the laws of Australia)…

The Mote and the Beam (#773)

Want to know why “sex trafficking” hysteria is so pervasive?  Follow the money:

…a group calling itself the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE)…run[s] the website “End Sexual Exploitation”…[they] are strong supporters of SESTA…the true mission of NCSE isn’t to end sex trafficking… but to rid the world of the “public health crisis of pornography.”  You see, NCSE began its life in 1962 as Morality in Media, and was a reaction to a ridiculous moral panic over “pornographic material” being left outside of a school…The group has insisted that porn is a “public health crisis” and has worked to get states to declare it as such.  It also posts a Dirty Dozen list of organizations that it needs to shame for “perpetuating sexual exploitation“…They include the American Library Association and Amnesty International on this year’s list…They…claim that libraries have been turned into “a XXX space that fosters child sexual abuse.”  It put Amnesty on the list because Amnesty dares to call sex workers “sex workers” rather than prostitutes…

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