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Posts Tagged ‘Mind Reading’

The idea that [no coerced prostitutes] ever indicate their plight to any of the hundreds of thousands of men who make up their clientele, or that if they do none of those men reports it to police, is simply fantastical.  No one with any experience of real live human beings could possibly believe it.  –  Tim Worstall

Think of the Children!

…For the past two decades, parents who’ve lost children in horrible ways have tried to memorialize them in law…But…support for… “apostrophe laws”…is waning…recession…made officials…hesitant to increase costs…from…more prisoners and longer sentences…the drop in the crime rate…made tougher laws…less politically compelling…[and] the lower-hanging fruit has been picked…

Rebecca Williams
Lack of Evidence

A [West Australian] businesswoman claims…police have stopped her repeatedly…in the crackdown on street prostitution.  Rebecca Williams says…officers…[demanded] to know what she was doing and [checked] her identification…”  Of course she’s wholly clueless, protesting that she doesn’t “look like a prostitute”.

Must…resist…snark…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

A [Las Vegas] police officer is facing five counts of soliciting…while he was investigating crimes of prostitution…Investigators followed [Peter] Connell for months and witnessed him…visiting the apartment of Mary Anne Moore, who had previous prostitution arrests…

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

A man…dialed 999 to complain about a prostitute’s looks…[saying] he “wished to report her for breaching the Sale of Goods Act”…Officers…sent…a letter warning him about wasting police time…

The Enlightenment Police

A young Muslim woman miscarried after being attacked by two Parisian champions of women’s rights:  “first [they] tried taking her headscarf off and later cut off her hair…After she screamed out that she was pregnant, one of the attackers started kicking her in the stomach…[shouting] that the veil was no longer acceptable in France…Lorna Dueck

The Crumbling Dam

This article entitled “Faith Groups Oppose Legal Prostitution Because They Care About Women’s Lives” is just the usual collection of sin-and-degradation prohibitionist control freak myths; the comment thread, however, is a thing of beauty.

Mind Reading (November Updates)

Why do so many politicians think sex overrides the Constitution?

Pierce County [Washington] might make it illegal for suspected prostitutes and their customers to attempt to detect undercover officers…by “exposing oneself or asking another to do so; by asking to be touched sexually; or by requesting to touch or touching another sexually”…

Where Are the Protests?

Notice what words we aren’t seeing here:

Agents from the Department of Homeland Security raided [several] 7-Eleven shops in New York and Virginia…Nine store owners and managers have been arrested on charges of harboring and hiring undocumented immigrants…the raids are a part of an investigation into human smuggling, identity theft and money laundering…authorities described the alleged situation as a “modern day plantation system“…

Not To Be Taken Internally

Suyima Torres…[died 10 hours after receiving buttocks injections] at…Cuerpos Health and Aesthetics on April 11…she…was rushed to the hospital…by the center’s owner, Ruth Planas…the Venezuelan doctor who performed the surgery…is thought to have fled the country…Torres died only 16 days after…20-year-old Dailen Garcia, received butt implants from the same facility…[and] was hospitalized …for vision problems and bleeding lungs…Meet the Fokkens

Presents, Presents, Presents!

Reader George sent me a copy of Meet the Fokkens and a gift card, with the suggestion I use it to buy the movie Diamond Men (which I did).  Thank you so much, George!

Above the Law

Texas jailers…”repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates”…[who’ve now] sued Live Oak County and its…jailers Vincent Aguilar, Israel Charles Jr. and Jaime E. Smith…All three…were arrested in August 2010 and charged with sexual assault…Smith and Aguilar are in…prison…”these guards would withhold food and water, engage in physical abuse, restrict privileges and verbally and emotionally abuse the women – even threaten to kill them in order to compel their compliance”…

The Widening Gyre

In which we learn that nail parlors are havens of “sex trafficking”:

…the advocacy group ECPAT estimates 100,000 minors are forced into prostitution or pornography each year — but no one knows how vast the problem is because it’s under reported and underground, said Kathy Maitland of the Michigan Abolitionist project…”It’s the second-largest-growing activity in our country”…She says Michigan is especially vulnerable because of a large agricultural industry…and its location along an international border…Lt. Wendy Reyes…said…”If we had more manpower we…could get online…and find these victims”…trafficking is often linked to online and street prostitution, ethnic restaurants, masseuse businesses, pornography and nail salons…iEmpathize founder Brad Riley…called…the proliferation of pornography…a “super fuel” that promotes trafficking…

Beside the usual rampant illogic, mathematical illiteracy, blatant racism and “King of the Hill” foolishness, you’ve got to love Wendy’s claim that cops need to web surf all day to “find victims”.

The More the Better (TW3 #27)

French footballers Franck Ribery and Karim Benzema go on trial in Paris…accused of paying…Zahia Dehar…for sex in 2008 and 2009…Algerian-born Dehar, now 21, has since become designer Karl Lagerfeld’s muse and protégée, launching her own lingerie line…State prosecutors have requested that the case be dropped, however, arguing the footballers did not know Dehar was a minor…

Follow Your Bliss (TW3 #44)

A…top [TSA] officer…[named Miguel Quinones] was arrested on child pornography charges after items were seized from his locker at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport…”  As explained in the referenced column, the TSA is well-known for attracting pedophiles.

Q & A (TW3 #134)

P411 lilyTwenty-two female escorts were arrested last week during a two-day sting in…Denver…The women were advertising on two websites — DenverBackPage.com and Preferred411.com…” Despite the involvement of the FBI’s lugubriously-named “Innocence Lost” project, note that verified professional adult escorts were targeted via P411; these cops had no illusions they might find “trafficked children”.  In fact, the sting was enabled by one creating a fake profile and then arranging several “coffee dates” with escorts and asking for “OKs”, which the escorts gave in violation of P411 rules; their accounts were suspended for their negligence in enabling predatory monsters to hurt other sex workers.  Ladies, ONLY give OKs to men you actually see behind closed doors; how can you possibly know whether a man is dangerous if you’ve only seen him in public?

Profound Ignorance (TW3 #310)

A scathing demolition of the horrendous “study” which claimed legalized prostitution increases “sex trafficking”, and also of the “sheer implausibility of the claims that 30% of all prostitutes are trafficked…”:

The…scare campaign…over “sex trafficking”…becomes a complete and total mess…because [campaigners confuse]…the transport of unwilling people…into forced prostitution…and…the illegal movement of willing people across borders to enter the sex trade…people from poorer countries…wish to…move…to richer countries.  And such is the system of immigration laws that many of them will be unable to do this legally…

Cathy Reisenwitz also had a few things to say:

The Guardian recently quoted UK solicitor general Oliver Heald QC describing “victims” of trafficking as people who pay a lot of money to escape their home countries and then are forced to pay it back…That’s not slavery, it’s indentured servitude, and it accounts for two-thirds of immigrants to America from the British Isles in the 17th century.  Anti-prostitution and anti-immigration campaigners have  hijacked the term “human trafficking” to describe any instance of a person crossing a border to do sex work…It requires buying into the rather insulting idea that women aren’t capable of choosing to leave their homes and do sex work abroad…once you establish that women aren’t capable of making their own choices, you can justify taking all kinds of rights and liberties away from them…

The End of the Beginning

Corrections officials are refusing to remove a sex offender’s name from the state’s public database, defying [the] order…[of] The Court of Appeals [which] ruled…that [Robert Merle Haines Jr.] should not be named on the…registry because [it] did not exist at the time of his crime and registration would be a form of retroactive punishment, which the Maryland Constitution doesn’t allow.  Corrections officials say federal…requirements prevent them from complying with the ruling…

Meanwhile, in Minnesota:

…Minnesota’s Sex Offender…Task Force…[is] redesigning the…program…each of the state’s 687 committed sex offenders [costs]…about $120,000 a year…with…50 more…each year…The task force came into existence as part of a lawsuit filed by the committed sex offenders, who argue the…program is unconstitutional because…no one is actually treated and released, thereby creating an indefinite incarceration system even after the offenders have served their criminal [sentences]…

Another Small Victory (TW3 #317)

As expected, the “anti-prostitution pledge” was struck down in the SCOTUS.  This is not actually a victory for sex worker rights in the big picture; it was decided wholly on first-amendment grounds and the “allies” were at best ones of convenience.  If you’d like to read more about the details and implications, I recommend Melissa Gira Grant, Popehat and Mike Siegel.

"The Ionian Dance" by Sir Edward John Poynter (1895) was recently rediscovered after being "lost" since 1915. It depicts a scene from ancient Pompeii.

“The Ionian Dance” by Sir Edward John Poynter (1895) was recently rediscovered after being “lost” since 1915. It depicts a scene from ancient Pompeii.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #318)

If anyone really believes this is anything but an attempt to save face, I have some lovely beachfront property for sale:

For the first time, the State Department on Wednesday declared China and Russia among the worst offending countries…a designation that will lead to sanctions against both…the…2013 report on Trafficking in Persons (TIP)…officially downgraded China, Russia, and Uzbekistan to the lowest possible rating…along with Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Sudan, and Zimbabwe…

What If They Threw a Party and Nobody Came? (TW3 #321)

The prevalence of dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus…has dropped by half among teenage girls in recent years, a striking measure of success for a vaccine…that was introduced only in 2006…The magnitude of the decline…surprised…experts because only about a third of teenage girls in the United States have [received]…the full course of three doses.  By comparison, vaccination rates in…Denmark…Britain [and]…Rwanda…[have] reached 80 percent…

Deafening Silence

When this happens in India, it’s a media circus; in Sweden…{cricket sounds}:  “Six teenage boys aged 15 to 17 were convicted on Friday after raping a 15-year-old girl in…Stockholm…The case was the third…gang rape to take place in the Stockholm area…this year…

The Mills of the Gods

Despite the annoying visuals and a few clumsy phrases in the first third, this is an excellent argument against prohibition of sex work.

Where are the Victims? (TW3 #322)

A novel attempt to use New York State’s sex trafficking law…ended with mixed results…as the men were convicted…of promoting prostitution and of money laundering, but…acquitted of…sex trafficking…The law defines trafficking based on the methods the pimps use to control the prostitutes, rather than whether the prostitutes view themselves as victims…prosecutors…presented an expert to testify that women working as prostitutes are often not aware that they are victims.  But three of the women themselves  testified for the defense…and…were upset…at the…[suggestion] they were not to be believed…

Consider for a moment the incredibly dangerous precedent a prosecution victory would have set; state “experts” would be allowed to define any person as a victim in any crime regardless of that person’s viewpoint.

Zurvivor

The owner of a Lawrence [Massachusetts] massage parlor coerced employees to perform sex acts on…customers, some of whom were videotaped without the clients’ knowledge…Authorities said Barron used the videotapes to blackmail employees to keep working for her…”  Dear ethically-challenged sex business owners:  Stop videotaping clients, you moron.  See, there’s this thing called “evidence”…

Pimping the Pimp

More egregious use of “pimp” mythology to justify Nevada’s draconian “sex trafficking” law:

Because of their age, they will have difficulty working inside most [hotels].  For most, that means hitting the streets under the eye of a pimp and more experienced prostitutes.  And the more they must rely on the pimp, the more difficult it is to pry them from his clutches…So when Assembly Bill 67 surfaced…earlier this year, the police welcomed it as a way to send a message to pimps that there would be a higher price to pay for running young girls…

Once again:  teens don’t turn to sex work because a “pimp” abducts them from their loving families, and 84% of them have never as much as met one.

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Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.  –  Paulo Freire

One new item, ten updates and two meta-updates.

The President’s Nanny

On Tuesday the AP published the terribly sad story of Evie, a transgender woman who was little “Barry” Obama’s nanny when his family lived in Indonesia from 1969-1971.  “When the family left…things started going downhill.  She moved in with a boyfriend…three years later…she became a sex worker…soldiers often…loaded them into trucks, and brought them to a field where they were kicked, hit and otherwise abused.”  After one especially brutal raid in 1985 in which a friend was beaten to death, Evie went back to dressing as a man, found solace in religion and now at 66 “says she’s just waiting to die.”  She only recently realized that the US president was her old charge, and says she’s proud:  “Now when people call me scum…I can just say:  ‘But I was the nanny for the President of the United States!‘”  The White House had no comment.

Updates

Celebrities (August 20th, 2010)

English football star Louis Saha explains why footballers prefer escorts to amateurs: “…women are the greatest temptation…a young player…can quickly be taken in, seduced by the girl who will cash in with a kiss-and-tell to the newspapers.  So it’s hard to know who to trust and you become paranoid where women are concerned.  Some players therefore prefer to use escorts.”  This confused a writer at Deadspin, who apparently cannot comprehend that an indiscreet whore is soon an unemployed one.

Election Day (November 2nd, 2010)

Though activists have been trying for decades to call attention to the insanity of allowing cops to use condoms as “evidence of prostitution”, and a bill to ban the practice was introduced into the New York state legislature several years ago, the light bulb appears to have just gone on for the mainstream media.  The Daily Kos and The Atlantic both noted that though the asinine policy is widespread, New York is the first state where a legislator had the sense to introduce a bill to prevent it.  Both stories mention that Human Rights Watch will release a report on American “condom possession” policies in July, and both interviewed representatives of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition,  whose link was recently added to the “Organizations & Allies” box on the right.  NCHRC has also asked me to call attention to their video on sex worker violence prevention, and I’m happy to do so.

License To Rape (November 16th, 2010)

One would expect a publication named Reason to oppose criminalization of sex work, and one would not be disappointed; here’s its coverage of a hooker-raping cop:

A New Mexico state trooper is on paid administrative leave after being arrested…for coercing prostitutes to have sex with him. Timothy Carlson first came to the attention of the Albquerque PD…when they caught him in his car with a prostitute…Why he wasn’t arrested then is a mystery…[after] a nearly year-long investigation…[he was caught]…with a prostitute…[who was] a confidential informant…[she told investigators] Carlson threatened to arrest her if she didn’t sleep with him…[He] faces extortion, bribery, public corruption and rape charges.  Advocates of decriminalizing prostitution often point out that sex workers suffer appalling violence and extortion at the hands of…law enforcement officers…

The story also links several other “isolated” incidents.

Coming and Going (February 10th, 2011)

Davidson County [Tennessee] Sheriff Dacron Hall…[said] “If you weigh out what happens here – the police time, the arrest, the booking, all of this…what’s the net effect?…the criminalization of this process is very expensive,” he said.  “I’m just not sure it can’t be done in other ways.”  If you think county streetwalker stings are expensive, how about this?  “…[The case against] Anna Gristina was…built from a five-year-long investigation by a Manhattan district attorney’s office unit…[involving] hundreds of hours of surveillance…Minors were involved in some of the encounters Gristina arranged, the prosecutor said…”  Of course they had to add the bit about minors (which is almost certainly a lie) to avoid the inevitable questions like why the hell the average New Yorker should approve of this multi-year, multimillion dollar boondoggle.

Backlash (March 22nd, 2011)

It’s truly sad that actions of American cops in the three previous items are nearly indistinguishable from those of South African cops:

…Cape Town sex [workers say]…it was a regular occurrence for police to herd together sex workers at night and strip them naked before throwing them into their vans.  They would then take photos to “identify them in case they go missing”.  It was not uncommon for the sex workers to be pepper-sprayed, even on their private parts…In a recent study conducted by the Women’s Legal Centre (WLC), 12 percent of Cape Town’s sex workers reported having been raped by police, 46 percent threatened by police, and 28 percent forced into sexual favours by police…National police spokesman Vishnu Naidoo said…“It (sex work) is a crime…In the handling of these cases, it’s often misconstrued as harassment”…

Well, Naidoo’s statement certainly clears that up!  The police are allowed to beat, rape and pepper-spray prostitutes, so it’s “official handling” rather than harassment, and that makes it OK.

Mind Reading (June 1st, 2011)

More on the suit against Utah’s “acting sexy” law:

A federal judge excused Salt Lake City’s police chief from a lawsuit filed by escort services…Utah’s attorney general remains a defendant.  Utah law…[was amended] last year…to include any person who performs acts such as exposing or touching themselves…[which] the escort services argued…[criminalizes stripping]…Andrew McCullough, who is representing [the services]…said [an] escort already has been arrested under the amended law…[after] an undercover officer “tried everything he could…[to trick her, then] arrested her anyway…for touching herself…”  State lawyers argued that people can be charged…only if they use those gestures as a sign they’re willing to engage in sex for money…

It takes a special mixture of balls and stupidity to defend unconstitutional laws with tautology.

Where Are the Protests? (December 3rd, 2011)

“Hello, Mr. Kristof; we thought you’d like to report on a trafficked slave who was held right here in New York!  What’s that?  No, there was no sex involved…Mr. Kristof?  Hello?  Hellooooo…?”

A wealthy New York woman is facing criminal charges…[for] keeping an illegal immigrant as an indentured servant and forcing her to live in a closet for nearly six years.  Documents posted on the Smoking Gun allege that Annie George, 39, and her now-deceased husband, Mathai Kolath George, hired an illegal immigrant [identied as V.M.] from the Indian state of Kerala…[promising her] about $1,000 a month in wages to…care [for] the Georges’ four young children [and perform] household duties in the mansion…instead…V.M. received 85 cents an hour, working 17-hour days, seven days a week, over the 67 months she was kept inside the George residence…Annie George…[faces] charges of encouraging and inducing an illegal alien to reside in the U.S…

So a middle-class independent escort with a six-figure income is a “trafficked slave”, but a woman lured from India under false pretenses, paid starvation wages and locked in a closet at night is an “indentured servant” in a “forced labor situation”.  Furthermore, the escort’s legal husband could be imprisoned for decades and robbed of everything he owns for the “crime” of “human trafficking”, but someone who actually held someone captive is only charged with “encouraging an illegal alien”.  Nice.

Scapegoats (January 26th, 2012)

The Daily Mail published mug shots of the three “conspirators”, but had to settle for a stock photo of the “victim”:

A husband, his wife and her lover have been charged with conspiracy to commit bestiality after using Craigslist to find a dog for the wife to have sex with.  Shane Walker and his wife Sarah Dae, who describe themselves as swingers in an open marriage, were arrested [with her lover Robert Aucker] after an undercover sting operation…The two men were to watch while Sarah Dae had sex with the dog…Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio…wrote to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster after the arrest of two people for using the website to solicit dogs for sex.  Arpaio asked for closer monitoring of the site, but said after the latest arrest:  “I remain extremely disappointed in the leadership at Craigslist.com for refusing to do what they can to stop this.  While they aren’t doing anything to stop it, I will continue to enforce all animal cruelty laws.”

This is the same sheriff who didn’t bother to investigate over 400 sex crimes  reported to his office, including 32 child molestations (some of the victims as young as 2).  But I’m sure the parents of those molested kids will agree that it’s much more important for the sheriff’s office to pester businessmen and set up elaborate “sting” operations in order to perform the vital state function of preventing dogs from screwing air hostesses…oops, I mean “enforcing animal cruelty laws”.

Good News, Bad News (February 18th, 2012)

American politicians, afflicted as they are with Puritanism and a medieval “law and order” mentality, can almost be forgiven for their incredible stupidity on prostitution issues.  But Western Australia has several examples of successful legal models right next door, yet has descended into “trafficking hysteria” and may even succumb to the Swedish disease, as explained in this email from a WA politician:

…the Government’s proposed legislation will…greatly reduce the legality and visibility of prostitution…[via] the ‘Swedish model’ of targeting clients and brothel owners…If we actually wish to tackle trafficking in Western Australia, then this bill is our best hope…Any other approach will only serve to increase the elements of organized crime in prostitution and only perpetuate many more victims…

New South Wales and Queensland beg to differ about “any other approach” increasing “organized crime”…

A Whore in Church (January 10th, 2012)

Reverend Lia Scholl has advocated for sex workers for more than 10 years and is currently on the board of the Red Umbrella Project in New York.  She recently wrote an excellent essay entitled “Church and Sex Work”  which argues that churchgoers should not merely refrain from fighting prostitution or trying to rescue prostitutes, but should actively welcome sex workers in their community.  Please read it in its entirety; we definitely need more people like Reverend Lia!

Metaupdates

Acting and Activism in June Updates (Part Two) (June 3rd, 2011)

The bizarre competition between various jurisdictions claiming to be the most important source, destination or route for “human trafficking” has a new entrant, which insists that it’s all three simultaneously:

…“The 2011 Trafficking in Persons report notes that Zimbabwe is a source, transit and destination for human trafficking…” said [International Organisation for Migration (IOM) spokeswoman Folen Murapa]…[she] said although the magnitude…was difficult to ascertain due to the clandestine nature of the phenomenon, government recognised the problem and is currently in the process of tabling…a bill…Murapa said anyone could be a victim of trafficking regardless of nationality, sex, age and profession…

Everybody panic!  You never know when those “traffickers” will jump out of a tree and traffick you away somewhere, but by golly a law will stop it dead.  And though we haven’t seen any evidence of it, a bunch of foreign politicians on the other side of the planet wrote it in a report, so it must be true!

A Moral Cancer in That Was the Week That Was (#3) (February 11th, 2012)

Not only is cheese not really bad for you…

…[A new study]…found those who regularly have dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt score better in tests of mental ability than people who never, or rarely, consume dairy products.  It follows another US study…[which] found that older people with higher levels of beneficial fats in their blood had less brain shrinkage typical of the Alzheimer’s disease…our mental functions depend heavily on a good supply of fat.  Our brain is composed of 60 percent fat. The brain cells are insulated by sheaths of myelin composed of 75 percent fat…[which] needs to be replaced constantly…

One Year Ago Today

Check Your Premises” examines the nonsense which arises from following the underlying premises of “consensual crime” laws to their logical conclusions.

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When truth is no longer free, freedom is no longer real: the truths of the police are the truths of today.  –  Jacques Prévert

Three more dispatches from the War on Whores.

…And Always Know Where Your Towel Is (November 17th, 2010)

SWOP suggests that “every hooker…develop a ‘Don’t Panic’ plan she can give to friends in case she is arrested.  The idea is that if a woman knows her kids, pets, house, etc are being taken care of while she is delayed for hours after the arrest, she is less likely to panic and let the cops take advantage of her.”  Well, technology marches on, and according to this October 12th article from CNET some clever fellow has decided to automate the process:

Imagine you’re in New York…peacefully protesting…to curb excessive influence of big business…on U.S. laws and policy.  You’re holding up a sign declaring your heartfelt beliefs and chanting a bit with some of your fellow demonstrators when, all of a sudden–bam!  The cops slap the cuffs on you, with the intention of carting you off to the nearest police station.  Meanwhile, your friends and family are at home completely clueless about your situation.  Enter I’m Getting Arrested, a creative Android app that…was inspired by a similar incident.  It lets you quickly notify your family, friends, and crack legal team (if you have one) of your situation with a single tap of your finger.  Just initially enter a custom message and some SMS-ready numbers to contact in the event of your arrest.  Then, as you’re about to be corralled into the back of a squad car, fire the app up and long-press the bull’s-eye for 2 seconds.  From there, you can rest assured that your message will be sent to the appropriate contacts…

Clearly, this could be useful for whores as well, though I’m not sure an entrapped girl would be able to get her hands on her smartphone quickly enough before the pigs snatched it away from her.  Perhaps a mark II version could include a timer that fires off the panic message unless a code is entered by a certain time, thus foiling the sadistic “you’ll get your call later” game.

Where Are the Victims?  (May 14th, 2011)

Considering the economic and social collapse of Detroit (which has lost 60% of its population in the last 30 years), one would think its “authorities” would have better things to do than persecute hookers.  But for that to happen, they’d have to have sense and a moral center, which they don’t.  So instead they keep wasting tremendous amounts of money, resources and manpower to persecute people for having parties, as reported in the October 14th Macomb Daily:

…Three men have been named in federal indictments accusing them of setting up events [at bowling alleys] where male customers could engage in “meet-and-greet” [events with] prostitutes who would then take them to hotels for sex for cash.  The alleys, the owners say, are unfairly being singled out and had no knowledge of what went on after those who rented their party rooms left the premises.  David Kilvington, Steven Thompson and Mark Leblanc are charged with creating websites to lure customers to the sex parties, according to a complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court in Detroit…A cover charge of $20 at the door allowed guests inside to meet up to 72 prostitutes — or “service providers” — for the purposes of later having sex.  The prostitutes were expected to give “donations” to the prostitution organizers of between $100 and $1,000 for the events…While the bowling centers may have served as staging areas for the alleged prostitution ring, the owners of the locations say nothing untoward occurred at the alleys…[which] have meeting rooms that can be booked by anybody, and are glass-walled and what goes on can be seen by everybody at the lanes, the owners say…FBI agents were alerted to the operation by the mother of a 17-year-old escort who sent an email to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office claiming her daughter was lured to the operation by promises of money and drugs in exchange for sexual favors.  The mother provided information because she feared for her daughter’s life and was concerned other women would become involved, according to the message contained in court records.  Over the course of three years, federal investigators used confidential informants, an electronic paper trail and PayPal records to build a case against the suspects…The case was investigated by the Violent Crime Squad in the Detroit division of the FBI…

Most of this is the typical filth vomited out by cops and prosecutors (party organizers “lured customers”, the mother “feared for her daughter’s life” from a bunch of middle-aged businessmen at a bowling alley, etc), but there are a few points of interest, not the least of which is that the “violent crime squad” is so idle that it could devote three years to busting a bunch of guys for organizing social events for consenting adults (I’d lay good odds that “17-year-old escort” is some kind of red herring).  The lesson to be learned here?  In these days of gigantic FBI boondoggles, “meet and greet” events are not a good idea; that many fat ducks in one pond presents far too tempting a target for the shotguns.

Mind Reading (June 1st, 2011)

Remember that Utah law that made it illegal to “act sexy”, and how when it was challenged as criminalizing normal female behavior its sponsor insisted it would only be used against “real” prostitutes, as determined by the super-duper psychic mind probe powers of cops?  Well, obviously Florida believes its cops have that power as well, because they’re trying to criminalize not only acting sexy, but strolling, waving and asking “are you a cop?”:

Hillsborough County authorities are looking for ways to make it easier for authorities to arrest suspected prostitutes…[by] passing a law making it illegal to participate in activities that signal an intent to sell sex.  Potentially illegal activities would include “strolling” along public rights of way while waving to or trying to stop passing motorists, or repeatedly entering different vehicles for short periods of time.  Touching oneself in a provocative manner could also be grounds for arrest.  The ordinance would also seek to thwart suspected prostitutes and their customers from trying to identify undercover officers.  It would make it illegal for the suspected prostitute or customer to ask someone if they are a law enforcement officer.  It would also be illegal to ask someone to prove they aren’t an officer by asking them to expose themselves.  Today, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies rely on state laws that typically require an undercover officer to get a prostitute or customer to agree to exchange sex for money before making an arrest…

Wait, you mean right now somebody actually has to break the law before being arrested for breaking it?  Well, we can’t have that!  But just in case you think the ignorance of these “authorities” only extends to the U.S. Constitution, Commission Chairman Al Higginbotham (who obviously fancies his position magically grants him a degree in sociology in addition to super psychic powers) has a message for you:

While he said he holds no expectation that the measure will end prostitution, he rejected characterizations that it is a victimless crime.  He cited statistics showing many prostitutes are teenagers, are often victims of violence and tend to abuse drugs.  “This is no story about a pretty woman,” Higginbotham said.

Obviously, Mr. Higginbotham thinks the best way to help drug-addicted teenage crime victims is to arrest them for walking down the street or asking questions; I suspect the ACLU is of a different opinion.

One Year Ago Today

Meretrices and Prostibulae” is a glossary of the many, many different kinds of whores who lived and did business in Imperial Rome.

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Distinctions drawn by the mind are not necessarily equivalent to distinctions in reality.  –  Thomas Aquinas

Why do so many modern people imagine themselves to be mind readers?  It used to be that we understood that telepathy, if it exists at all, is a rare talent; scientists have tried to measure it and writers of science fiction have used it as a plot device, but nobody has yet succeeded in conclusively proving its existence.  And because the wiser leaders of the past understood this, they developed laws which basically said that when the individual or the state accuses someone of wrongdoing, the accuser must present proof rather than guesses; claims of preternatural knowledge of the thoughts of others have been disallowed in Western courts of law since at least the 18th century.  But in the past few decades, that’s all changed; the rise of identity politics and pop psychology has convinced the chronically paranoid, the hopelessly narcissistic and the borderline megalomaniacal that they have the ability to know what’s going on in the heads of others with the same level of certainty as that provided by scientific or documentary evidence.  And though at one time courts, journalists and most other educated people would have scoffed at such claims, that is no longer true.

As I mentioned in my review of Silverglate’s Three Felonies a Day, federal prosecutors in the United States no longer bother to provide evidence of mens rea (criminal intent); the very fact that the prohibited actions (whatever they might be) were performed is considered proof that the accused intentionally broke the law.  Those accused of crimes used to be referred to by police and reporters as “suspects” (thus indicating the presumption of innocence); nowadays they’re called by the ugly word “perps”, short for “perpetrators” (thus indicating the presumption of guilt).  “Sexual harassment” laws and codes require courts to analyze the hidden mental states behind otherwise-innocuous acts, and “hate crime” laws officially grant prosecutors the power to read the minds of those accused of violent crimes in order to punish them above and beyond the penalty determined by their objective actions, for the “crime” of having a normal (if ugly) human emotion.  Nor are officials the only ones who claim telepathic powers; those who embrace victimhood are always quick to point the finger and shout “racism!” or “sexism!” or “homophobia!” at those who say things they don’t want to hear, even if those things happen to be true.  Even in today’s climate of intellectual repression the truth has not yet been banned, so those who wish to suppress that truth seek to criminalize the motivation instead, and claim to be empowered with the ability to discern that motivation with crystal clarity.

Of course, this is nothing new for whores; we’re long-used to police accusing us of crimes without any proof whatsoever, though in the past they at least troubled themselves to lie or to pretend that ordinary objects and actions constitute “evidence”.  But now the Utah legislature aims to free police of the inconvenience of having to make things up by criminalizing “acting sexy”, as detailed in this May 20th AP story:

Two escort services have filed a federal lawsuit to halt a Utah solicitation law they fear could lead to the arrest of strippers or escorts who are simply acting sexy.  Utah defines solicitation as a person agreeing to sex in exchange for money.  A new law that went into effect this month broadened the definition to include any person who indicates through lewd acts, such as exposing or touching themselves, that they intend to exchange sex for money…Andrew McCullough, an attorney representing the escort services…said the law is so broad that it could allow police to arrest licensed employees of sexually oriented businesses, such as escort services or strip club dancers, for doing their job.  The expanded law includes language that makes a person exposing their genitals or touching themselves sexually an indication that they are offering sex.  Those acts are legal in Utah for private strippers.  “Most girls who touch their breasts are not telling you they’re open for sex,” the attorney said.  McCullough said the law is “virtually identical” to one struck down by a federal judge as unconstitutional in 1988.  The Utah law could be used by police to hassle businesses protected by the First Amendment, McCullough said.  For example, he said a semi-nude dancer at a strip club could be arrested for “suggestively thrusting.”  [Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris] Burbank said officers would not target anyone who is not a prostitute…

As if it’s not bad enough that normal female behavior is criminalized (technically I’d be in danger just walking down the street in Utah, since I’ve been told numerous times that almost everything I do is sexy), the discretion as to what constitutes “sexy” is left entirely up to the cop.  But the police chief promises that not a single one of the paragons of virtue under his command will ever, ever charge women with breaking this law even if they do…unless of course, those women are prostitutes.  But wait, doesn’t the law define any woman who acts that way as a prostitute?  Shhh, go back to sleep; you weren’t supposed to notice that.  What Chief Burbank actually means is that this law won’t be used alone, but rather only after a cop determines that a woman is a prostitute through use of his Super Psychic Mind Probe power; the law is just to provide a convenient excuse in court since mind-reading isn’t technically recognized under Utah law.

But as so often happens with these prohibitionist stories, the reporter saves the best for last:  “The intent is to target prostitutes, especially underage ones who are forced into the sex trade and trained to evade arrest, [law sponsor Jennifer] Seelig said.  The arrest would be the first step in helping them get off the streets.”  How can the state justify literally forcing girls into prison cells as somehow “better” than other unidentified parties allegedly “forcing” them into the sex trade, especially when the act of trying to evade arrest would seem to indicate that the “victims” prefer the latter to the former?  Why, because deep down they really want the state’s “help”, that’s why.  And how does Seelig know this?  By reading their minds, of course.

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