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Posts Tagged ‘Mumbo Jumbo’

It’s time again for another vivisection of a “sex trafficking” article so breathtakingly stupid, so absolutely and unequivocally unmoored to reality, so completely devoid of the faintest whiff of critical thinking, that it would be a sin to chop it down to a single quote in a news column.  I’ve written before of the increasing infiltration of pure Satanic Panic rhetoric into the “sex trafficking” panic; the latter is merely a new version of the former, but stories like this one make that connection abundantly clear:

During the Nebraska State Fair, traffickers may well bring men and women to Grand Island, planning to profit from those looking for sex.  The total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 may also attract people who enslave sex workers to Central Nebraska.  Those are the thoughts of Melissa Kometscher, who is a human trafficking specialist for the Salvation Army…

Yes, a total eclipse.  On the one hand, we’ve seen “sex trafficking” loons claim that events as innocuous as gem and mineral shows attract “traffickers”, so this is no surprise.  But unless the Salvation Army has some dogma against amateur astronomy that I’m unaware of, one can only include Moronic Melissa is imagining some sort of Satanic connection, like the Sabbat being held in the dark of the moon.  Despite the clear reference in its name, Americans often forget that the Salvation Army is a fundamentalist Christian sect, with all that entails.  And they have both a hatred of whores and a long history of denying our agency; the Sallies played a large hand in inventing the concept of “sex trafficking” almost 140 years ago, and were instrumental in bringing it back in this century.

…People who travel to an event sometimes engage in activities that they wouldn’t try in their own hometowns, Kometscher said.  When they’re out of town, the chances of someone knowing them are much lower…

This is the crux of the fundamentalist mindset:  people will only be moral if they’re terrified of consequences, either from human “authorities” or Divine retribution.  To someone locked in this benighted world view, only constant spying and prying by cops & other busybodies keep ordinary people from raping enslaved children.  It’s a horrible, sick, twisted belief-system, and I’d genuinely feel sorry for those suffering from it if they didn’t use it as an excuse to sic armed thugs on the rest of us.

…those who force people into sex might travel to Grand Island and set up shop at a local motel for a few nights, Kometscher said.  They often publicize their availability on websites, she said…

This is the standard, misogynistic, “women are capable of neither pragmatic sexual decisions nor planning travel” dogma, but I wanted to point out the subtle way Kometscher slides from “such and such might happen” (an absolutely true statement, because anything that doesn’t break the laws of physics could, potentially, theoretically happen) to “such and such happens often”, in this case an absolutely false statement.

…Kometscher is one of three Salvation Army human trafficking specialists in Nebraska…Since starting the job in September, Kometscher has learned a lot of things about…sex trafficking…

She’s an “expert” despite the fact that her training only started 9 months ago.  Obviously she must know more than someone like me, who’s been a whore for over 17 years.

Right now, traffickers target people 12 to 14 years old.  By providing people in that age group, they “make more money,” she said…

Fantasies like this say a lot more about the fantasist that about the people they’re fantasizing about.  I’d find it easy to believe that most people are deeply aroused by being tied up (if I didn’t know better) because I am; what does that say about people who believe that most men are more attracted to 13-year-olds than to adult women?  In fact, the great majority of underage sex workers lie up about their age, and in countries where there are larger numbers of very young sex workers than in the West, many young sex workers take drugs to add curves so as to appear older.  In fact, only a small fraction of men are primarily attracted to girls in the 12-14 age range; it’s called “hebephilia” and it definitely isn’t typical.

…A lot of times, the trafficker starts out as the subject’s boyfriend. They say, “I love you,” without meaning it…

Behold the colossal hubris of the prohibitionist.  They not only feel justified in making judgments about whether other people’s relationships are “real”, but also in making declarative statements about other’s private thoughts.  Nobody says that an abusive boyfriend isn’t “really” a boyfriend, unless the girlfriend is a sex worker.  And if you think that only pimp wannabes tell girls “I love you” without meaning it, I’m afraid you have a rude awakening coming at some point in your future.

…Brainwashing is common in sex trafficking, Kometscher said…

More magical pimp powers at work.  These people have the most fascinating BDSM fantasies.

She’s heard that in Omaha, a trafficker recruited young people at a high school football game.  People lured into the trafficking business will try to persuade their friends…

I hear lots of stupid things, especially in news articles about “sex trafficking”, but I’m not a delusional, sexually repressed fanatic so I don’t believe them without proof.  And what is it with “sex trafficking” fetishists and football games?  The second part is much more insidious; it’s a conflation of a true fact (that most young sex workers learn about it from friends) with the pretense that all young people who do sex work were forced or tricked into it.

…Of those who have been trafficked, 41.5 percent will try suicide at least once…92.2 percent experience violence.  It comes not just from their traffickers, but also from customers.  The violence can take the form of strangulation, forced sex, stabbing, gunshots and cigarette burns…

97.62% of statistics are made up on the spot.  And I must say I’m very disappointed that Kometscher didn’t include being dragged behind a car in her list of things she fantasizes doing to young women while she masturbates.

The victims become confused, Kometscher said.  Traffickers often don’t give them a watch.  Traveling constantly, they don’t know what time it is or what day it is.  They become so disoriented they don’t even know where they are…

Yes, they’re so disoriented and confused that they can’t see the sun, and so brainwashed they’re unable to recognize their home towns while recruiting their friends at high school football games.  And not being able to tell what day it is must make it really difficult to maintain a school schedule.  This is the kind of self-contradictory nonsense that permeates all “sex trafficking” mythologizing; it’s a sign of the deep and intractable credulity of the typical American mind that this isn’t rejected out of hand by the vast majority who encounter it. 

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The unhealthy alliance of medicine and government…blesses all sorts of unjustified limits on liberty.  –  Thomas Szasz

bootlickerEven though I live in the same world as the bootlickers, they are somehow unable to see what’s going on all around them, or else they see it but can’t correlate it.  To them, this news story (for example) appears as something other than an abomination:

…once every three weeks, [Marziya] won’t be working the streets of Qurgon-Teppa as a prostitute…Those days are reserved for the morality classes she was recently enrolled in by local police…to turn…sex workers away from their profession.  The main goal…is to “help these women to get themselves on the right path”…The speakers…lecture…their audience on moral values…

Yes, this is Tajikistan rather than the US, but the US-based website for which the story was written is clearly blind to the mind-boggling hypocrisy of  women being forcibly subjected to “morality lessons” from the police.  You know, the same people who do this kind of thing, also in the name of “morality”:

…Kimberlee Carbone was pulled over by [Pennsylvania] police in November 2013, ostensibly because “she did not apply her turn signal at least 100 feet before the intersection.”  She was then subjected to a degrading five-hour ordeal that included a bogus DUI arrest, a search of her person and her car, a strip search at the county jail, and multiple probings of her anus and vagina at a hospital…Carbone was forced to remove her clothing, “bend over, spread her buttocks, and cough”…two [jailers], April Brightsue and Niesha Savage, [pretended] they saw a plastic bag protruding from her vagina, so they repeatedly instructed her to “prod her personal areas by inserting her fingers into her vagina” in the hope of dislodging the imaginary item.  Then they…[took her] to Jameson Hospital in New Castle for “an internal examination of her body cavities”…the cops found a doctor, Bernard Geiser, who [played along]…Carbone “was restrained to a bed by her wrists and ankles” as Geiser “performed an internal inspection of her vagina and rectum.”  He did not find anything…she was [then] subjected to an involuntary CT scan, which found no foreign objects…[District Attorney Joshua] Lamancusa…told her the ordeal would end “if she helped him by provid[ing] information regarding drug-related activity.”  He also asked her “if she knew what prison felt like.”  The lawsuit says Lamanusca and…cops [David Maiella & Chief Robert Salem] added insult to assault by making “derogatory remarks about her compromised position”…

Naturally, Carbone is suing, and naturally, a judge has already dismissed the majority of her claims.  I hope this other woman fares better, though I sincerely doubt she will because “sex trafficking”:

A Minnesota woman who spent four years in jail after she was accused of participating in a sex trafficking ring has filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Paul and a key police investigator…Hamdi Ali Osman [reports that]…Heather Weyker framed [her] as the “madam” in the sex ring of mostly Somali-American immigrants and refugees…in 2010.  Last month, a federal judge reversed convictions for several people…after concluding that Weyker was repeatedly caught lying, and that the sex trafficking claims by…the alleged victims…were fictitious…Osman…and other inmates spent 23 hours a day locked in their cells…for four years and on home arrest for two years…She’s also suing three unnamed supervisors who…allowed Weyker to continue fabricating facts…

I’ll be very surprised if Weyker and the other monsters involved in this suffer any consequences at all; the function of modern judges is to lend a veneer of legitimacy to the arbitrary brutality of “authorities”, while shielding them from the consequences of their behavior:

A Cook County judge…cleared a…[cop] of the sexual assault of a colleague’s young daughter, convicting him instead of misdemeanor battery…[and ordering him] to undergo up to two years of sex offender counseling…Judge Charles Burns [pretended] prosecutors had failed…to prove…that Dennis Barnes fondled the girl for his own sexual arousal…The girl was 9 at the time of the…assault in [which]…he…reached into her shorts and attempted to sexually assault her…When her mother entered the room, the girl began crying and told her what had happened.  “(Barnes) told the victim that he was her mother’s boss,” Assistant State’s Attorney Tracy Senica told the judge. “And…she didn’t scream because she didn’t want to get her mom into trouble”…

I suspect the prosecutors in that case weren’t trying any harder than they absolutely had to in order to maintain the illusion that they weren’t all on the same side; take this other prosecutor, for example:

Stuart Dunnings III…remains a crafty lawyer already planning for what will likely be a plea bargain on multiple prostitution and pandering charges.  For those with resources…the “seeking treatment” tactic is widely practiced as a way to lessen fines or jail time…For Dunnings, establishing an “I’m in treatment defense” is no less calculating than his very public get-tough on prostitution proclamations…One of the oddities in this case…is the ease with which Dunnings has managed to delay court proceedings so that he can seek out treatment.  Prosecutors usually aren’t so willing to let [defendants] enroll in programs to buttress their defense…The very notion of sex-addiction treatment has a hollow ring.  Unlike drug, alcohol and even gambling, sex addiction seems more a punch line than a serious condition…

Though that reporter does seem to get that “sex addiction” is bogus, he spouts the usual anti-whore nonsense and seems remarkably naive about the way “authorities” all scratch each others’ backs while slamming everyone else as hard as they can.  He also misses the bigger picture, the way in which the medical and psychiatric bureaucracies have become part of the machinery of oppression, in what dissident psychiatrist Thomas Szasz referred to as the “therapeutic state”.  Doctors and hospitals assist pervert cops in sexually violating people on the grounds that they might be using substances the State has decided are not permitted.  Sex crimes are redefined as psychopathologies, allowing the well-connected to substitute “treatment” for prison while simultaneously providing an excuse for indefinite detention of the marginalized; meanwhile ordinary, non-problematic sexual behaviors are defined as both crimes and pathologies, thereby allowing the state to choose between various control strategies as it pleases.  One of the most terrifying ways in which this is being done is by redefining behaviors once considered “vices”, “crimes” or “moral turpitude” into “public health issues”, allowing religious fanatics to don the white coats of doctors and disguise their Puritanism as something akin to epidemiology.  So while just about everyone recognizes this as absolute barking madness:

A Christian author is warning women that “masturbation is a direct path to Satan.”  Mack Major of Eden Decoded wrote on Facebook that “too many Christian women are losing their salvation because they masturbate…Dildos and all of those other sex toys have been used for thousands of years in demonic sex rituals…those sex toys are an open portal between the demonic realm and your own life”…Another post…warned…“The danger in masturbating is that one could inadvertently summon a sex demon…And once that demon attaches, it…will drive you to masturbate, even when you don’t want to.  You’ll be hit with urges to play with yourself so powerful that only an orgasm will allow you some temporary relief”…

…most don’t recognize this lunacy from Gail Dines as the exact same “sin, degradation and possession” rhetoric dressed up in modern psychobabble:

…As the evidence piles up, a coalition of academics, health professionals, educators, feminist activists and caregivers has decided that they can no longer allow the porn industry to hijack the physical and emotional well-being of our culture…Culture Reframed, an organization I founded and currently chair, is pioneering a strategy to address porn as the public health crisis of the digital age…if porn is not discussed in a research-based, age-appropriate sexual health curriculum, its effects will surely show up as sexual harassment, dating violence and inadvertent “child pornography” on students’ phones.  Pornography can cause lifelong problems if young people are not taught to distinguish between exploitative porn sex and healthy, safe sex.  As the research shows, porn is not merely a moral nuisance and subject for culture-war debates.  It’s a threat to our public health.

Note that Dines doesn’t disavow the idea of porn as sinful (“a moral nuisance”); in fact, it’s central to her narrative.  Dines, like other authoritarians, wants human sexuality to be defined as both a moral and a psychiatric/medical problem, so the police state can feel thoroughly justified in violently subjecting individuals to whatever “therapy” or “morality lessons” it wishes in order to “correct” them.

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Arrest is not a service and it doesn’t help people.  –  Tara Burns

Sales Pitch

The indispensable Wendy Lyon has for several years been looking at Swedish police reports which reveal the truth about the country’s much-ballyhooed “model”; the most recent one contains this bomb:

…On page 43, we find what may be the single most heinous thing I’ve ever read about this law. Discussing penalties (and why the doubling of them doesn’t seem to have worked as well as expected, although of course that’s not stated in so many words) the report says:  “classification of the offence by several severity levels could bring more disadvantages for the fight against [sex work]…Police…fear that graduation would lead to resources being exclusively devoted to crimes considered more reprehensible and that the investigation of the crime of purchase of sexual services would therefore not be prioritised“…One of the arguments that has been made against the introduction of this law in Ireland is that it would divert resources away from serious offences (like actual trafficking and exploitation) because the police would need to use those resources going after just any man who pays for sex.  So, here the Swedish police are confirming that that’s exactly what they want it to do.  As with the increase in stigma against sex workers, the reduced ability of the police to focus on “more reprehensible” crimes against them is a feature, not a bug of the law

Rooted in Racism

Danish prohibitionists claim sex work is “spreading”.  You know, like a disease:

There are now so many foreign women working as prostitutes in Copenhagen that the sex trade has expanded beyond its traditional locales in the city and into more visible and tourist-packed areas, [prohibitionists claim]…“When it spreads this much, there is clearly not enough being done to fight prostitution and to help these women, who are controlled by organizers in their home countries,” [bloviated] Sisse Marie Welling of the Socialist People’s Party…[prohibitionist] Kira West…said that most of the prostitutes…come from either Nigeria or Eastern Europe.  They are often brought to Denmark by financial backers who they then need to pay off…

Profit from Panic 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists’ ignorance is exceeded only by their delusions of grandeur:

…marketing professor Tammy Crutchfield is passionate about fighting sex trafficking in Middle Georgia.  She said parents should be wary of their younger daughters’ older boyfriends…[who will] lure the girls into prostitution…”All you have to do is get on Backpage and see how many young girls are offered,” [salivated] Crutchfield, who teaches a yearlong capstone marketing course based on Traffick Jam, a student organization that [indoctrinates] high school students…[in] sex trafficking [propaganda]…The group…created its own brand to market…T-shirts and jewelry…Their goal is to establish similar Traffick Jam groups on college campuses across the country…

Challenge

How convenient for the State:

A court case that would have tested the right of sex workers to offer services together…to protect themselves has collapsed after a police officer refused to give evidence.  Three women appeared before a crown court after the brothel they had run together in Greater Manchester was raided in July 2011.  Jane Young, Deborah Daniels and Catherine McGarr had all been charged with keeping a brothel and faced up to seven years in jail if they were found guilty…the women were planning to argue that under the Human Rights Act it was against the rights of sex workers not to allow them to work together in safety…[but] DC Philip Anderson, who had brought the case against the women, [claimed he] would not be able to give evidence…due to his “worsening health”…

Mumbo Jumbo Casper the pimp

Oooooh, it’s a SPOOOOOOKY hub!

…human trafficking is what Angels of Hope founder Cristina Scarpellini calls a “ghost crime,” for its hidden nature and the slipperiness of its largely male perpetrators.  “It’s so hard to prosecute, because the girl is your evidence — and try keeping the girl all the way up until trial,” she says…the victims also become ghosts to their family members…disappearing without a trace…”I deal with a lot of young girls who will tell me they’ve been approached to be sold” she says…Sudbury is even “a hub” for human trafficking…trafficked girls and their oppressors will often “ask for a hotel room near an exit, so they can make a quick escape if they have to”…a girl who is naive or needy will simply be swayed by a Svengali…

In case you missed the reference, there’s the “magical pimp mind control” again in the last sentence there.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#342)

Eyes gouged out for insolence, moms selling daughters to pimps, girls showered with maggots — if it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe.  These tales, all propagated by fundraising charities in Cambodia, depict the nation’s sex trade as an otherworldly hellscape…most of these women aren’t so clueless and weak, says…Heidi Hoefinger…an anthropologist and Berkeley College professor who’s spent more than a decade befriending, interviewing and, at times, living with women who work in Cambodia’s hostess bars…Her research has produced a counter-narrative that is strikingly different from the “trauma porn”…churned out by fundraisers…[like the now-disgraced] Somaly Mam…one of the more authoritative studies, published in 2011 by the United Nations’  top human trafficking agency, estimated only 1,058 sex trafficking cases in Cambodia; 127 were underage. (An estimate from Somaly Mam’s foundation? A whopping 40,000 Cambodian “sex slaves”)…

An Example To the West (#343) 

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Chantawipa Apisuk is tired of hearing…that…”free sex” with [a] lover is morally better than an encounter with a professional sex worker.  But to Apisuk, it’s all just sex, whether money exchanges hands or not…For three decades, Apisuk has challenged conventional beliefs about the sex industry.  Through educational services and international summits, Empower provides support to the 250,000 women estimated to work in Thailand’s…sex trade without pressuring them to leave it.  One day, Apisuk hopes to see sex work treated with the same respect as other professions…Now, she has opened This Is Us, an appointment-only museum that celebrates Thailand’s centuries-old reputation as a hub for brothels.  Housed in an innocuous building on the outskirts of Bangkok, it “brings a different perspective to the issue of sex work”…

Not for Everybody (#411)

Even most women who really were coerced into sex work know criminalization is horrible:

The reason why trafficking works so well is because there are no resources that could exist to help victims out of their situation.  It is majorly fear and conditioning that traps [them]…Telling a sex worker they are naive to their own exploitation feels like another way to assert control over them and dismiss their autonomy.  It can’t help them…Nordic model supporters…think victims of trafficking are silent and that they have a right to be our voice, saying criminalisation is best for us and that it’s what we would want…they really couldn’t be more wrong.  My experiences have been treated with much more sensitivity and respect by sex worker rights activists than those opposing them…I’m pro-legalisation on a political and personal level.  I know that for traffickers, it would be really, really bad for business, and I’d love to see how fast their empire would crumble…

Habitable Room

Molly Smith debunks Swedish model proponents’ claims that their pet tyranny “decriminalizes” sex workers:

…the…Irish…”Swedish Model” Bill omitted to decriminalise soliciting…the most clear and direct form of criminalisation that sex workers in Ireland are subject to.  Then, in January 2016, [Justice Minister Frances] Fitzgerald amended her Bill to increase the penalties for [solicitation, yet]…A press release from CATW…lauded Irish policymakers for…“decriminalizing prostituted individuals”…In Scotland…Trish Godman [used Swedish rhetoric]…while launching a Bill titled Criminalisation of the Purchase and Sale of Sex [bold mine]…MSP Rhoda Grant attempted…to introduce…a Bill presented as the Nordic Model….[which] did not include repeal of the soliciting law…

Sex Rays (#549) 

Sex Work is Work (#575)

Tara Burns with a guide on reporting about “sex trafficking”:

…Words mean things.  Sex trafficking is a legal term with many different definitions in different states and countries.  The legal term has become confused with the common mainstream usage—which tends to involve people being forced into prostitution—and this has led to a lot of confusion all around.  As journalists, our job is to be precise with language and provide accurate information to the public.  When reporting on sex trafficking, or sex trafficking cases, consider describing what has been alleged or what the statute the person is being charged with actually says—because it rarely refers to people being forced into prostitution…

Too Close To Home

The Seattle Times continues its revolting badge-licking; though this reporter seems to be struggling to be more fair, the story is still full of nauseating cop pontification like this:

“I haven’t seen a lot of people who are not damaged in this life,” [a vice pig vomited out]. “If you’ve got prostitution, you’ve got drug dealing.  And if you’ve got those two things, you’ve definitely got gang activity, and that fuels other crimes.  It’s all connected.”

Because clearly, the first word anyone thinks of when they meet me is “damaged”, and my drug-dealing is well-known.  The most revolting part?  Somebody in this story is part of a violent criminal “gang”, all right, but it ain’t the whores.

Saving Them From Themselves (#613)

A Colorado bill that would reduce the criminal penalties for teenagers who exchange nude images of each other has run into opposition from critics who say it still treats such behavior too harshly.  Under current law, consensual sexting involving anyone younger than 18 qualifies as “sexual exploitation of a child“, a felony that triggers registration as a sex offender and a penalty of up to six years in prison, even for teenagers who take and send pictures of themselves.  H.B. 1058 would make underage sexting a misdemeanor known as “misuse of electronic images by a juvenile,” punishable by three to 12 months in jail, with no registration requirement.  Although that sounds like a big improvement, lighter penalties are apt to encourage prosecution, and it is not clear why this sort of activity should be treated as a crime at all.  In Kansas, where the state Senate last month approved a similar bill, its chief sponsor explicitly argues that it will lead to more prosecution…

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“Show us your humanity!” is more belittling and damaging than “Show us your tits!”  –  Conner Habib

Think of the Children! Rafe Esquith

Because ordinary English words can emit sex rays, too!

After being taken out of his classroom for two months, a famous Los Angeles teacher, Rafe Esquith, is filing a claim against the L.A. Unified School District…Esquith…was removed from the classroom and put on paid leave…while the district investigates him for misconduct…[because] he made a joke to his class that prompted a complaint from another teacher…that if the class couldn’t raise enough money for their Shakespeare play then they might have to perform some of it naked, like the king in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn…Superintendent Ramon Cortines [said] that the inquiry includes “serious issues that go beyond the initial investigation”…Esquith is well-known and renowned globally. H e is the recipient of the president’s National Medal of Arts and is the only K-12 teacher to receive that award.  Many of his books, such as Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, are bestsellers…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

You know a jurisdiction is deeply immersed in “end demand” mania when it starts devouring its own and makes grandiose claims:

A former police chief, an attorney and six other area men are facing gross misdemeanor charges of soliciting prostitution…following a sting…Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted…said the operation…is the first step toward uncovering the major players in sex trafficking in the Brainerd lakes area…

The idea that a Backpage sting could “uncover the major players” in anything is so hilariously stupid it’s almost unbelievable.  But down in Florida, it’s a bit different:

A woman is facing a felony prostitution charge after she was found in a hotel room with a Tallahassee Police Department sergeant…Afton Chewning…was found with 49-year-old TPD Sgt. Brian Davis in a Days Inn motel room…Davis turned himself in…on a misdemeanor charge of solicitation…[and] has filed a plea of not guilty…

Felony for her, misdemeanor (which he’ll certainly escape) for him.  Nice.

Check Your Premises

The fact that one of the “traffickers” really did rape and abuse one woman doesn’t change the incoherence of this first part of the article:

Four sex traffickers who brought more than 50 Hungarian women into the country and sold them as part of their highly lucrative vice empire…in…London are facing years behind bars.  Most of the victims came into the country voluntarily to work in the sex industry, promoted themselves on adult websites and kept half of their earnings…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

This story on another creepy facial-recognition surveillance tool contains the following incredible claim: “In the United States, more than 800,000 children are reported missing every year, and nearly half end up living on the streets. Seventy percent will become sex trafficking victims, most within their first 72 hours of living on the street…

Surplus Women 

Chillicothe, Ohio…has crept…into headlines…[as] the place where women go missing and wash up dead.  In little over a year, at least six women have disappeared from the town of only 21,000.  Four of their bodies have been found, almost all of them dumped in creeks or streams flowing away from the town…Most of them were hooked on drugs, and many moonlighted as prostitutes to fund their addictions…Some of them even knew one another.  The similarities between the victims and the crime scenes have Chillicothe terrified that a serial killer is on the loose…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

In a new book, Sex Addiction: A Critical History, New Zealand academics Barry Reay, Nina Attwood and Claire Gooder claim that porn addiction is mythical; a product of “social opportunism, diagnostic amorphism, therapeutic self-interest and popular cultural endorsement”.  Reay argues that there’s little scientific basis for the classification of porn use as an addiction.  Instead, our sex-negative culture, click-bait media and flourishing therapy industry have combined to create a fanciful and frightening condition…

Above the Law Micah Meurer

An Amarillo [Texas cop] was fired…after investigators determined he had…sexually assaulted her…[the] woman reported…Micah Meurer…had sexually assaulted her in her…home…

Chauvinism

Conner Habib has written year’s best essay about prohibition so far:

I’ll refer to anti-sex-work and anti-porn campaigners here…as “anti-sex bigots”…because sex is what makes sex work so special for them.  Sex makes this line of work a singular profession, mystically distinguished from other jobs.  But…there is no substance to their arguments.  Their tactics are strung together not with understanding or data, but with hate.  Their bigotry is visceral, and their goals are clear:

1. Distort and destroy consent.

2. Create a framework of good vs. evil.

3. Cherry-pick voices.

4. Play the victim while holding the power.

5. Create apocalyptic urgency.

This list might sound like an exaggeration to outsiders.  To sex workers, it’s exhaustingly and overwhelmingly familiar…

Mumbo Jumbo

Apparently it isn’t just whores who have the power to grant demons “permission”:

Pat Robertson…told a woman her son’s “hatred and mental issues” might be brought on by demons, which in turn were brought on because she brought a Ouija board home one time.  “You can open the door to demons…There was one lady I heard about who was demon-possessed [because]…she had gone to an X-rated movie and done all these sex things”…

Challenge (#402) 

Tits and Sass has a pretty good rundown of the key players in the recriminalization of sex work in Rhode Island.  Well worth your time on the principle of “Know thine enemy”.

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

At least Canadian media have the sense to put “rescue” in scare quotes:

Windsor police “rescued” two sex workers from harmful situations as part of a provincewide investigation into the sex trade…On June 17-18, human trafficking and vice units from more than 20 different police services across Ontario investigated whether sex workers were involved in human trafficking or exploitation…This latest investigation was the third phase of Operation Northern Spotlight, which is designed to open up lines of communication between police and sex workers…

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#423)

Bindel can’t possibly be as delusional as she pretends to be; her slipshod list of “pimp lobby” members proves that.  So what is she really up to?

Julie Bindel is…now raising money for a book she’s writing, to…“outline the emergence of a powerful lobby — the sex workers’ rights movement — that works in favour of a total decriminalisation of the sex industry”…Bindel’s project is…part of anti-sex-work eradicationists’ ongoing drive to paint all sex workers speaking out for their rights as pimps and punters in disguise.  (A reporter who attended one of Bindel’s talks at a Stop Porn Culture conference last year wrote that her “presentation on ‘the politics of the sex industry’” was “a succession of tabloid-style personal attacks on pro-sex industry activists, academics, escorts, and performers, complete with photos seemingly lifted without permission from their social-media profiles”)…

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Sex workers are…the sacrificial offering that people outside of the industry are willing to make in an attempt to attain an impossible state of societal purity.  –  Clay NikiforukClay Nikiforuk

The Red Umbrella 

This excellent December 17th column by Clay Nikiforuk only came to my attention this week:

…Canadian law…C-36 [supporters]…talk of wanting to “end demand” for sexual services, and I wonder what that could mean.  Is there a lab somewhere cooking up a pill to end cravings for intimacy?  Or maybe an army of attractive sex robots are being programmed as we speak?  Ending demand seems like an imaginary Conservative wonderland, and no one wants to talk about the fact that it doesn’t exist and thus no one has any idea of how to get there.  In the meantime, prostitution abolitionists are content with an approach that…will result in nothing but violence against a marginalized group if these heinous laws are enforced…[prohibitionist] language suggests that sex workers are things to be purchased rather than lucid, valuable people who make choices, among others, to market and sell services…no sex worker sells their body.  They are not passive ragdolls, slaves for the enjoyment of ravenous perverts, as the pornographic imagination might wish to believe…they are complex and complete people who have their own stories and are part of communities.  They cannot be sacrificed for a supposedly feminist ideal that wishes to ignore, silence, and erase them…

A Narrow View

Ask yourself:  if the operators of “rescue homes” really have the best interests of “rescued” sex workers at heart, why must they invariably deny these women’s agency and reduce them to passive, doll-like creatures to be done to?

A St. Louis charity will open a home next year where a small group of women who are trying to escape from a cycle of prostitution and prison can rebuild their lives.  Christine McDonald has spent months visiting prisons searching for women…[to] be the first residents of the 10,000-square-foot home being opened by Magdalene St. Louis.  The women will live there two years and will have access to free food, health care, counseling and job training…director…Tricia Roland-Hamilton…said many people believe these women choose a life of prostitution, but they don’t…

The Widening Gyre 

An escort is murdered, and cops immediately pimp her corpse to promote their crusade by declaring her a “victim of sex trafficking”:

A Vancouver woman found murdered inside her…Portland hotel…was a victim of sex trafficking, according to…Police…Ashley Renee Benson’s…body was found in a stairway at the Double Tree [sic] Hotel…Benson’s family [said]…they didn’t know Benson was a sex trafficking victim until they heard it on the news…they didn’t notice anything different about Benson when they saw her on Christmas Day, just 21 hours before she was found dead…

The reason the family didn’t know she was a “victim” is because she wasn’t.

Checklist bingo prostitution

Baltimore hotels would be required to train their staffs to recognize signs of forced prostitution under proposed legislation that also would prohibit rooms from being rented for less than half a day.  City Councilman James B. Kraft said the anti-human trafficking bill is necessary to combat an “international plague”…[because] Baltimore …[is near] Interstate 95…Hotel staff may recognize individuals who frequently rent rooms…The victims may eat all their meals inside the room and only…pay in cash…

Original Sin

It’s unusual to see an evangelical break with the party line on “trafficking”, but refreshing to be cast as a powerful witch instead of a helpless “victim”:

…why it is that only clients should be criminalised, but not the prostitute?  The question that must be asked is who the victim is and who is the predator…Modern society generally deems the prostitute to be “hurt” or “harmed” because she is used by clients…This is a dangerous half-truth.  The prostitute is the woman of Proverbs 7 who is brash, rebellious, sly, and of a wicked bitter tongue…She victimises even strong men through her sexual immorality and wicked flattering words…While she may indeed be used by others for sexual gratification, she is a predator…Prostitutes are harlots – they seduce unsuspecting men who do not know about the moral dangers of indulging in sexual immorality…

Original Sin (#321)

Another self-proclaimed “authority” helpfully explains that porn causes “sex trafficking”:

…sex trafficking and exploitation exist…even [in] Utah…social media and easy global access have made it more simplistic [sic] for criminals to entice targets…young men and women…are more exposed than ever [due to online flirting]…chat rooms are still…the weapon of choice for criminals…Sgt. Jason Randall…[fantasizes about] minors being forced to engage in sexual acts…on pornographic…websites…Randall said he believes pornography is at the source of all the exploitation problems…“Pornography is just like drugs.  People can dabble in it and never get addicted to it.  But some people — it’s just taking that first hit of meth, and then they’re hooked…There’s no question that there’s a correlation between pornography and sex offenses”…

Highlight of the story:  a bureaucrat named Tammy Atkin wisely pronounces that nobody grows up and then makes a statement about what she’d like to do when she is 12.

Welcome To Our World (#327)

Fifteen people have been arrested in Beijing in connection with a prostitution ring which used websites to connect young mothers with men who paid to be breastfed by them…Wet nurses that serve adults are paid $2,600, nearly four times the monthly average…

Mumbo Jumbo

Sometimes the connection between “sex trafficking” hysteria and the Satanic panic is subtle, and other times…well, see for yourself:

Traffic Circle

It’s a small development, especially considering that the publication is Reason and the author is steadfast ally Elizabeth Nolan Brown; however, it’s still fantastic to see “Sex Trafficking Hysteria” as a heading in a national magazine article that treats both the hysteria itself and the bullshit used to promote it as what they are rather than deferentially pretending that there’s any doubt at all, as even most skeptical articles do.

Shame, Shame (TW3 #348)

“Cyber Civil Rights Initiative” is a front organization for Mary Anne Franks:

Illinois became the latest state to criminalize “revenge porn,” crafting what its creators hope will become a model for federal legislation…The…law…will punish offenders with one to three years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.  “We believe [revenge porn] is a form of sexual assault,” [figurehead sponsor] Scott Drury [said]… “You could be someone working at Burger King, and now you’re a sex object.”  Carrie Goldberg…of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, which [wrote] the Illinois law [downplayed valid concerns about the unintended consequences of the vague, overbroad legislation]…

Property of the State

Note how the police state uses the mere existence of a sex worker’s child as an excuse to proclaim consensual sex a “felony”:

A woman was arrested for promoting prostitution while her 2-year-old was at daycare…Trishta Daniels [was ratted out by hotel employees and ambushed by cops upon] leaving her room…Police [abducted] the child and [trafficked her to] the Department of Children’s Services…

That Old Black Magic (#422)

West African “penis stealing” hysteria, now with whores!

A 23-year-old woman, Uche Agunta, who works as a prostitute confessed that her gang specialises in cutting off victims’ manhood during sex…[she] had har­vested about seven [penises] be­fore she was arrested…her method is to lure men into sex…and at the height of ecstasy, she would sneak out razor blade and cut off her partner’s manhood…for money rituals…

Follow Your Bliss (#424) White Slaves of Chinatown

There’s something profoundly perverse about many of the “grim truth behind prostitution”…articles…Rescue stories read like erotica, but they sensationalise sex workers’ lives at their expense and commodify the experiences of actual victims.  They are obsessed with how many penises in filthy surroundings and rape by their stepfather and forced abortions and getting peed on and condomless blowjobs.  While sex workers and sex work activists want to talk about human rights, international law, respecting the agency of other adults and stopping violence, rescue fetishists get all flushed as they emphasise that thousands of women get raped with objects and are forced to drink buckets of sperm and they get tattoos so everyone can see they are a whore…The rescue industry exploits others for financial gain, which is morally reprehensible, but their non-consensual use of vulnerable women for their perverse sexual preferences is a grim truth about the rescue industry that really nobody is telling you…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

As I predicted, this trope is becoming much more common:

Darlene Pawlik…was…sold into prostitution…before she reached legal adulthood…[she] found herself sold hundreds of times, bought by local businessmen, a city councilman, and a candidate for sheriff..[when she] found herself pregnant…[she] faked an abortion so she could leave the lifestyle.  She reached a new home and began a new, restored life and eventually became a nurse, business owner, married mother of 5 children, and pro-life advocate…

All conveniently far in the past and without names or evidence, natch.

Backwards into the Future (#439)

Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!

Vietnam will not see prostitution as a legitimate profession…[said] Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam…[he also pretended] that anti-prostitution measures [could somehow be considered]…human rights protection…The [repetition of political dogma]…came in response to a number of opinions from…officials who suggested that sex work should be legalized in Vietnam as it serves an essential need of people and such legalization would help improve the management of sex workers…

Subtle Pimping (#445)

Jin Ohashi…is being questioned for his unethical way of taking photos [of]…Thai sex workers who don’t even know their photos were exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography…[Ohashi has] fondly and proudly talked about how he pretended to be a regular tourist and sneaked his camera into the brothels, where cameras are strictly prohibited.  He talked about his bravery of doing so against his local coordinator’s warning.  He even said, without the slightest nuance of guilt, that sex workers got panicked when his camera flashed and ran about trying to hide from him…the attitude shown by Ohashi indicates the less-than-human views he holds of the Thai sex workers…in [a] 2007 interview [he said]  sleeping dogs by the roadside and those girls had the same tension… whatever that means…Sandra

Monkey Business (#449) 

An orangutan named Sandra has become the first non-human animal recognized as a person in a court of law.  The Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights…had asked Argentine courts recognize the 28-year-old great ape’s right to freedom from unjust imprisonment…if the zoo does not challenge the decision within 10 working days, Sandra will be sent to a sanctuary in Brazil…The decision may have ramifications for other great apes.  In the United States, a group called the Nonhuman Rights Project is currently seeking similar rights for four privately-owned chimpanzees in New York state…

Banishment (#452)

Predictable as sunrise:

Timothy Poole, the…registered [sex offender who won the Florida] lottery…is being sued by two alleged victims who say he owes them for pain, suffering and psychological damages.  The two are brothers who were 5 and 9 years old at the time of the abuse in 1996…Their attorneys…are seeking a court order to freeze Poole’s [assets] until the proceedings are over because Poole may “squander, hide or otherwise dispose of assets”…

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I don’t want to put myself out of business as a storyteller; I just want to tell less painful stories.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

Maggie in the Media LiberTea 8-17-14

Here are a couple of conversations I’ve had in the past few weeks; the How We Talk About Sex podcast with Eric Leviton (recorded the morning after I arrived in New York City), and the LiberTea spreecast (recorded last Sunday night within minutes of my arrival from Washington DC).  These are both very loose, informal conversations, about two hours each, with a lot more laughter and joking around than you might be used to from me.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Try not to throw up when you read the name cops gave their entrapment scheme:

…[Florida] police detective…Reno Chevelle Fells resigned…after his arrest at a St. Augustine Beach hotel [after responding] to an online ad offering sex for money…”Operation Summer Lovin'” resulted in 14 arrests…

Law of the Instrument

Another cop helpfully explains that “sex trafficking” is everywhere, that “victims” don’t know that they’re victims and that women are so stupid and passive they have to be “taught” and “coached” to fear and distrust thugs who deceive, molest, chain and cage them. Words fall utterly short.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

[William McDaniel] reported he did not get the sex act he requested as part of his $350 private dance at Sagebrush Sam’s Exotic Dance Club…west of Butte [Montana].  Officers informed him asking an exotic dancer for a sexual gratification is illegal and put him in jail for solicitation of prostitution…

Schadenfreude 

In “Unraveling”, Anne Elizabeth Moore discusses the deep connections between the “rescue” and garment industries (in comic strip form, drawn by Melissa Mendes).  There are also links to other strips in the series.  If you’re ever wondered why “rehabilitation” for sex workers so often seems to involve working in sweatshops, and why Somaly Mam was sponsored by fashion companies, you need to read this.

Scapegoats

An Albuquerque woman was arrested…after…she tried to poison her roommates when they discovered she had been having sex with two German shepherds.  Shari Walters…was…caught…having sex with both her roommates’ dogs…the night after…both roommates noticed their food tasted different…Walters…admitted to putting rubbing alcohol in both roommates’ waters, as well as toilet bowl cleaner in their food…

Above the Law

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper…Eric Roberts…pulled [a woman] over without probable cause…then…forced the victim to perform sexual acts in his patrol car, before driving to another location where he…raped her…”  But Roberts is just a piker compared to his “brother officer” Daniel Holtzclaw:

…Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 27, was arrested…on complaints of rape, forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery and indecent exposure…Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said…Holtzclaw stopped women while he was working and forced them to expose themselves, fondled them and in at least one instance [raped] a woman.  Authorities have statements from six victims and expect a statement from a seventh…investigators believe there are additional victims…

The Lion and the Ox

There’s an awful lot of “suppose” and “maybe” here:

…The link between surrogacy and human trafficking is currently under investigation.  It is unequivocal that any child conceived to be sold constitutes a trafficked human…A clause in [UN protocol]…states that “references to slavery and similar practices may include illegal adoption in some circumstances”…it is unlikely, but possible, that the babies or embryos were envisaged for exploitation in the sex industry, on the illegal donor market, for slavery or the labour market.  This, de facto, constitutes a human trafficking case…Exploring links between…surrogacy and illegal adoption…automatically leads to organised crime…we may infer that the children were to be sold into an illegal adoption scheme…Suppose the children were conceived to be enslaved or exploited in the sex industry…

Somebody’s Daughter

Stalwart ally Elizabeth N. Brown on the “Would you want your daughter to be a whore?” fallacy:

…Using his apparent mind-reading powers, [Damon Linker] asserts that no one could honestly be okay with having a child in porn…Linker knows that nearly everyone must feel appalled because… he thought about it and was appalled?  That’s some pretty shaky logic…I would sure as shit rather have a porn star daughter (or son) than one who thinks, as Linker does, that being in porn makes someone “low, base, and degraded”…There’s nothing wrong with having certain expectations for your children…But…Our best laid plans mean jack…Proponents of decriminalization aren’t asking you to become pro prostitution, to encourage your kids to go into sex work, or even to abandon thinking it’s morally wrong, if that’s what you think…All we’re asking is for you to consider that criminalizing prostitution does more harm than good.  If — gasp! horror! disgust! — your daughter did happen to become a sex worker, wouldn’t you want to make it as safe and non-ruinous for her as possible?

Profound Ignorance

The “before the internet most whores were streetwalkers” and “each whore has only one ad” tropes just won’t die no matter how many times we kill them:

…A snapshot as recently as last week found 2,253 individuals advertising sex for sale [in Scotland] on a series of escort and other websites…However, sources stressed numbers have been close to 3,000 in recent months as the market – largely featuring foreign women who move around or are moved around – ebbed and flowed.  The sex trade has moved off the streets in recent years as women working in flats replaced traditional streetwalkers, most of whom were Scots with addiction or debt problems…Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Gilfillan…said she believed “well over 90 per cent” of sex work was now carried out from flats or brothels…

Texas Tall Tales Facebook Pimp

Texas just loves the “Facebook pimps” myth:

…pimps, hiding behind fake identities, increasingly use social media to lure young girls into the trade.  Unscrupulous predators and the popularity of online networking have made it tougher for authorities to crack down on sex trafficking.  Police estimate that 100 adolescents are trafficked every year in Dallas…

The article also claims that the undefined “illicit sex market” in Dallas is worth $99 million (per year? per day? as a purchase price?) and that 1 in 7 (14%) of the “children” reported missing are “probably victims of sex trafficking”…which would be a good trick, since only 0.014% of all “missing children” are abducted by strangers.

Banishment

But officials claim “sex offender” registration isn’t a punishment.

Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York…are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that…restricts many sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.  Those unable to find such accommodations often end up in homeless shelters.  But in February…[“authorities” proclaimed] the 1,000-foot restriction also extended from homeless shelters, making most of them off limits…in New York City…only 14 of the 270 shelters…have been deemed eligible to receive sex offenders.  But with [these] often filled to capacity, the state has opted to keep certain categories of sex offenders in custody…Some have begun filing habeas corpus petitions…demanding to be released…The state’s [pretense] is that it has the legal authority to continue holding [them]…because they are largely subject to post-release supervision by the state…[such as] unannounced home visits…as well as restrictions on Internet use and interactions with minors…

Under Every Bed 

As in the Chanel Island of Jersey, population < 100,000:  “Jersey Police…are investigating a sex trafficking ring.  The force say they have received information about a growing sex trade in the island, with women potentially being trafficked and exploited…

Monsters

The parents of an eight-year-old beat “every inch” of him, until he was dead, because he played with dolls…Pearl Fernandez, 30, and Isauro Aguirre, 34, beat their son Gabriel…“for eight straight months”, and he was “tortured more severely than many prisoners of war”…According to statements given by his two siblings, he was forced to eat cat faeces and rotten spinach and was not allowed to use the toilet…He was beaten with a metal hanger, a belt buckle and lost multiple teeth when he was hit with a bat…

Lower Education 

Northern Illinois University is restricting students’ access to certain websites.  For their own good, of course…Students who attempt to visit an unauthorized site through the campus network are redirected to a creepy “Web Page Access Warning”…[which] one student reported…to Reddit after he received a warning for trying to access the Westboro  Bapist Church’s Wikipedia page…NIU cites “common sense, decency, ethical use, civility, and security,” as its various rationales for…[trying] to dissuade students from visiting websites deemed harmful by administrators…

web page censorship threat

Mumbo Jumbo

When an article is this shockingly stupid, it’s hard to decide how to file it.  Is the most important factor the hilarious “Harvard of sex trafficking” label, or the use of the word “literally” to describe something that isn’t literal?  Is it a woman’s changed, then recanted, then re-sworn testimony being described as “her true story” because it agrees with prosecutors’ claims?  Is it yet another woman being caged to compel her testimony?  I was tempted to give precedence to the statements made by “trafficking expert” Donna Sabella, who said that domestic violence is “like” domestic violence (yep); that “prostitution…often results in arrested development — young women with the social or emotional age of someone 12 or 13”; and that “trafficking…has become somewhat normalized through…music, pimp costumes and shows like Pimp My Ride“.  But I eventually decided that it had to be Milwaukee cop Dawn Jones’ claim that “girls are…property of one pimp or another” but can change this supposed “ownership” to a new pimp by “looking one in the eye”.  It is unclear whether the magical “ownership”-changing force proceeds from the eye of the whore or the “pimp”.

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #409)

Pamela Stubbart is a libertarian who resigned from an organization called Young Voices because it allowed Belle Knox, who is also a libertarian, to join.  While I totally support the right of any person to associate or disassociate with others as she sees fit, and to like or dislike people (including me) or activities (including mine) as her psyche dictates, I do rather wish she hadn’t laced her resignation letter with prudishness draped in faux-reason.  Anyhow, Cliterati writer Slut O’Crat has penned an in-depth look at what’s wrong with Stubbart’s behavior, and more generally at the weird aversion some sex worker activists have to many sex workers’ wholly-natural and eminently-predictable embrace of libertarian ideas.

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates)

the [Arkansas] Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking…presented findings and recommendations to the Judiciary Committee…It…[wants] to add human trafficking convictions to those requiring registration as a sex offender.  Other recommendations include posting a hotline number at all rest stops, state parks, and schools with grades 6-12.  This is an extension of legislation already passed which requires the hotline number to be posted at sexually oriented businesses and truck stops…

A Whore in Church (TW3 #433) Patrick Johnson

[After] bare-breasted women…marched in front of the New Beginnings Ministries church in [Ohio]…Patrick Johnson…of the anti-abortion group Personhood Ohio, responded…by asking Ohioans to call the legislature in support of banning “all public nudity in the state,” according to WSYX.  “I am sick that women can legally bare their breasts to children and to married men against their will in Ohio…what they did was an offense to God, was an offense to the public morality, and the legislature should act to criminalize what they did”…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The proposed new law to “protect” German sex workers is very, very bad:

…the underlying spirit of this bill appears to be the perception of sex work as a social evil the government cannot rid society of and feels therefore obligated to impose regulations on it to such an extent where completely adhering to them is rendered virtually impossible, which in turn will enable law enforcement agencies to persecute sex workers and operators of prostitution businesses.  Hence, the title of this bill is utterly misleading and an insult to sex workers fighting for equal rights under the law…the bill will not protect sex workers, but instead…aims to protect society from the imaginary evil of prostitution…

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We never encountered any [people tortured in brothels], and we certainly looked for it…I think [sex trafficking fetishists have] been watching too many movies.  –  Thomas Steinfatt

Maggie in the Media

While in San Diego last Sunday I appeared on the Edge of Chaos podcast, which is now available; I was also interviewed for Reason TV the previous Friday, but that will take a few weeks to edit so watch this space.

Feminine Pragmatism

Women do whatever they need to do to survive in a worker’s paradise:

[Venezuelan] prostitutes more than double their earnings by moonlighting as currency traders…they are the foreign exchange counter for sailors in a country where buying and selling dollars in the streets is a crime — and prostitution isn’t…The bolivar has fallen to 71 to the dollar from 23 on the black market…[but] the official exchange rate…is 6.3 bolivars per dollar.  The dollar shortage is turning Venezuela into a two-tier society similar to the Soviet Union and Cuba…those with access to dollars such as prostitutes, tour agents, airport taxi drivers and expatriates are able to shield themselves from inflation by trading their greenbacks at ever higher rates.  Those who can’t are seeing their living standards decline…

Parable

Another spot-on sex work comparison:

…What if…the government legislated that piano teachers couldn’t…advertise…hanging out at houses of piano would be evidence you were illegally living off the avails of piano lessons…learning piano would be a crime, and so the piano teachers would operate in the dangerous shadows…some piano teachers might need to switch careers, but a police record won’t get them there, and…there are people adept and inclined and happy to teach piano…“But,” I hear some say, “why would a guy need professional piano lessons anyway?  It disgusts me.  Doesn’t he have a friend who can teach him piano?”…

Schadenfreude Chong Kim

Another “sex trafficking survivor”  bites the dust:

…Chong Kim whom [sic] has claimed to be a survivor of human trafficking is not…after thorough investigation into her story, people, records and places, as well as, [sic] many interviews with producers, publishers and…organizations, we found no truth…In fact, we found a lot of fraud, lies, and the most horrifically capitalizing [sic]…several other organizations…have [also] been defrauded by Chong collecting money in their name…

Follow Your Bliss

Yasmin Nair is on the same page as I am about Kristof:

…Nicholas Kristof’s collected work on sex trafficking constitutes a masturbatory text…there’s a pornographic impulse at its heart, a sexual fantasy about dark-skinned women and children being raped by sexual predators on the dirt floors of basements, until the white saviour smashes the door down to save them.  I don’t decry fantasy, but it’s about time we started to name Kristof’s fables of sex and rescue for what they are: Trafficking porn.  And it’s about time we started to openly question whether Kristof isn’t in fact actually projecting some of his own sexual fantasies onto helpless women across the world; little else helps to explain his excessive desire to probe…into the intimate details of his subjects’ lives…

Above the Law

FBI reports make rape sound humdrum and almost accidental:  “…Bryan Robert Benson pleaded guilty…to a civil rights offense for sexually assaulting a woman while transporting her to jail…Benson pulled into a parking lot….and engaged in intercourse with her against the police car without her consent…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (TW3 #12)

Sex workers who quit the trade will become eligible for low-interest loans this month of up to VND20 million (US$940)…But the scheme beneficiaries apparently don’t buy its efficiency…loan applicants must  produce certification from high-ranking commune-level authorities  that they have given up sex work….most young sex workers earn…more than VND30 million a month…[so] VND20 million is…unlikely to convince anyone to leave the business…

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Joyce Arthur pointed me to this amusing “future story” in a Canadian newspaper:

A Nova Scotia man is suing a pleasure provider after the sexbot he rented behaved erratically during their night together…Andy Smith is suing for $100,000 in damages he alleges were made to his vehicle when the sex worker began pounding the windshield with her fists and slashed the hood of his vehicle…BestSexEver (BSE)…is countersuing Smith, claiming that he disrespected the sexbot by ignoring her programmed suggestions for best sexual positions in a vehicle, and speaking rudely about robots in general…A witness at the scene said a naked Smith jumped from his vehicle and started yelling obscenities at the sexbot…

A follow-up story imagines sexbots demanding the right to unionize.

Broken Record

On a really big tour bus with 40,000 seats, plus a Cadillac for the pimps:

Texas ranks second only to California…[in] human trafficking, according to the FBI.  Right now, San Antonio is in the national spotlight…[because of] the Spurs…”The sexual trafficking rings…are attracted to San Antonio,” said…Michelle Lee… “They travel much like a band would travel”…

See No Evil (TW3 #41)

Residents of wealthy Old Westbury, N.Y…[are] concerned…that a millionaire neighbor will plop a 33-foot, painted bronze sculpture of a beyond-naked pregnant woman with an exposed fetus on his front lawn…

It Looks Good On Paper (TW3 #311)

18 months for whores, 8 hours for clients. Yeah, that’s fair.

Los Angeles police…announced plans…for a prostitution crackdown…The city is working with the Mary Magdalene Project…to provide an 18-month course to help prostitutes find another career.  Those arrested on suspicion of soliciting prostitutes may be given a chance to attend an 8-hour “John’s School.”

Under Every Bed 

IT’S EVERYWHERE, IT’S EVERYWHERE!!!!!  In Missoula, Montana (population circa 69,000):

…pimps are often former drug dealers…[ignoramus Guy Baker said] “I have an ounce of cocaine and I sell it for a gram.1  I get my money but I lose my product.  But with a human…it’s a re-usable commodity2…[a cop arresting a sex worker is] their knight in shining armor”3…Baker says 77% of adult prostitutes were lured into the sex trade when they were juveniles4.

and in La Crosse, Wisconsin (pop c. 52,000):

It can happen in Internet chat rooms, private parties and even at home…Stopping the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children…was sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration…and other local groups…organizers hope to draw attention to sex trafficking…of children in the La Crosse area…[ignoramus Alan Krok said] “The exploiter’s teaching them that the police are the bad guys”3

and even in Cheboygan, Michigan (pop c. 5000):

Theresa Flores…was talking about the growing…practice of human sex trafficking…According to recent estimates by the  FBI5, approximately 293,000 American youth are at risk of being trafficked…students were “dumbfounded” that…trafficking could happen so close to home…Malls are popular locations…along with any major gathering of people like the North American International Auto Show…girls…said…it made [them] scared6 because [they] go to the mall often…

1If these dudes were trading an entire ounce of coke (28.35 grams) for a gram, it’s no wonder they couldn’t make any money at it.
2Standard gang-flavored “trafficking” rhetoric these days.
3Cops trying desperately to pretend they aren’t the bad guys in prohibition.
4Bogus stat pulled totally out of his arse, and smells like it.
5Actually, a bad 13-year-old guess from Estes & Weiner.
6Exactly the point

Cuckoo Advertising

Will these “reporters” never wake up?

A new survey conducted by Ashley Madison…[asked] 105,000 of its members…about their religious affiliation…one in four…who responded described themselves as “born again” Evangelist Christians.  Catholics comprised the next largest group at 22.75 percent, followed by Protestants (22.7 percent)…

Mumbo Jumbo

Here’s the magical pimp mind-control philter again:

…800,000…victims are added each year…Anti-Trafficking signs are posted in seven different languages in rest stop bathrooms along Interstate-90…“They just keep them so drugged that they don’t even know what’s happening to them,” said AmberDawn McCall, who was…was born into the world of human trafficking…[and] trapped…until the age of six…every child is a target, and traffickers…look for kids at places where no one is watching…

And in this one, we learn that “By just saying hello, a human trafficker can know whether or not a young boy or girl is worth pursuing as a victim…

Innocence Never Had

The truth about “child sex trafficking”:

The media warns readers about violent pimps stealing girls from malls, but most victims’ stories are very different…I was a teen trafficking victim, and my experience reflects much of the research that’s been done…When my dad pimped me out during the Clinton era, the state called his crime “sexual abuse of a minor.”  When the cops decided to try to “rescue” me when I was 15, they pressured the state to take custody of me…[though] I had been living independently and with friends for years…Most of my foster-home stints lasted less than a week…I was lucky.  Other teens have been raped and pimped in foster care…Within a few months, the state had run out of foster homes for me, so they dumped me in a youth shelter…my caseworker…[stole] my money, saying that I would probably spend [it] on drugs…

Please, please read this in its entirety.

Stupor Bowl

The Bay Area tries desperately to cash in on the “gypsy whore” myth before it collapses completely:

As football fans wait…for Super Bowl…in February 2016…officials and advocates are bracing for what they expect to be a perfect storm for human trafficking during that game…The last Super Bowl held in the region was in 1985…human trafficking may have been occurring but was not quite identified as prevalent as it is today…

Choke Point 

Possible good news:

The House of Representatives passed an amendment…to stop all federal funding to…Operation Choke Point…“This is a major victory for consumers, law-abiding businesses, and anyone who believes in due process and restraint of government encroachment,” said the Community Financial Services Association of America…“Our banking system…[should]  not…police customers or make judgments about the political popularity of businesses”…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #422)

Sonja Dolinsek on the harm caused by the “gypsy whores” myth in Brazil:

…human trafficking and its connection to sports events have been discussed since the World Cup 2006 in Germany.  Big and costly media campaigns warned of the rising problem…not only [were] media estimates of…victims for both South Africa and Germany…exactly the same (40,000 people), but…after both events, there was no evidence…many of the migrant sex workers who had arrived in Germany hoping to earn more money left earlier because business did not increase as they had expected.  The same was true for South Africa…the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW)…criticised the…uncritical…reporting…as counter-productive and even harmful…the way human trafficking is represented resembles more a myth than…reality…

The Roof Caves In

Last Saturday, Kristof the Rat turned on his “hero” and downplayed his pivotal role in enabling her depredations on Cambodian sex workers:  “I wrote one column about her life story in 2008 after her autobiography was published in the U.S., and made several references to her after that, most recently in 2011…”  Kristof’s numerous columns on Mam, his “live tweeting” of one of her brothel pogroms, his spending a large fraction of his Half the Sky catechism on her…all would be flushed down the memory hole if he had his way, though the readers aren’t having it (see the comments) and neither is at least one editor of Kristof’s own newspaper.  Kristof wants to pretend that he was no more gullible than others, that everyone shares his credulity and his perverse need to impose his Gorean BDSM fantasies onto the lives of real women; he states “we were all hoodwinked” despite the fact that Cambodian sex worker activists have been documenting Mam’s lies and abominations for years.  He also wants people to keep believing in the “sex trafficking” mythology he’s been so instrumental in building, but that’s starting to unravel, too:

…willing sex workers who had been rounded up off the street during a police raid and…confined…for months as purported victims…[were] instructed by [Somaly Mam] to tell foreign visitors they had been trafficked…Although [her personal] stories…have now been widely scrutinised in the media, less examined have been Mam’s frequent embellished statements about the scale and nature of sex trafficking in Cambodia.  The term “trafficking” has become trendy…in the Western world…but it leaves out a whole spectrum of complex choices and negotiations, and often erases women’s agency entirely…

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