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Posts Tagged ‘Neither Addiction nor Epidemic’

There is no “[sex trafficking] marketplace”, but rather all sorts of people selling and buying sex for their own reasons, some of them miserable.  –  Laura Agustín

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

San Diego County may not remove children from their homes and subject them to highly intrusive physical examinations without parental permission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled…The case stems from an April 2010 incident involving Michael and Melissa Mann and their four young children.  The Manns had apparently spanked at least one of the kids with a wooden spoon as a form of punishment…The county [abducted] the children…and [held] them in [custody]…while the parents went to court to regain custody…a doctor performed a 22-step medical exam requiring “blood samples and a gynecological and rectal exam…[including] separat[ing] the labia and look[ing] at the hymen”…County officials did not obtain a court order authorizing these examinations, nor did the parents sign off.  Indeed, the Manns didn’t even know [that]…their kids [had been molested] until one of them said something about it later…

Real People 

Universities are very slowly beginning to turn toward sex worker rights:

…Lady Lola Lightning…a 23-year-old [NYU] sophomore and Salem, Massachusetts native started playing with Periscope just five months ago….[and has] gathered a loyal following as a webcam model…she doesn’t use toys or do too many tricks; she just strips down and has a raw chat with viewers…along with her new job as a stripper in Brooklyn, she is able to pay for her entire tuition and living expenses without support from her family…

Not To Be Taken Internally (First Updates of the Year)

Please, y’all, do NOT let non-doctors inject liquid silicone into your bodies, unless you want to die:

On October 15, 2018, a 28-year-old Australian-born Seattle resident named Jack Chapman, also known as Pup Tank, died…he…was…romantically linked to Dylan Ray Hafertepen, a well-known member of the Dom/sub pup play communities in San Francisco and, later, Seattle…Hafertepen[‘s]…Tumblr (as well as the Tumblr accounts of several of his pups) contained numerous images of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections.  In one picture, Tank’s testicles dangle outside of his basketball shorts, his nuts roughly the size of two dodgeballs…Since World War II, cosmetic surgeons and back-alley “pumpers” have offered liquid silicone injections as a quick and dirty form of plastic surgery…But such injections aren’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures because of adverse reactions.  Sometimes they harden into painful masses that appear like wormy tumors under the skin.  Sometimes the surrounding tissue gets infected…Other times, stray bits can travel through the bloodstream, causing [fatal] embolisms…Numerous articles have discussed trans women who end up disfigured or dead because of silicone injections by unlicensed pumpers.  But few mention the pumpers who offer silicone injections for gay men…Tank died from “silicone embolism syndrome”…[which] led to “pneumonitis”…bleeding in the lungs…and eventually…death…

The article is very long and very detailed, and describes what looks to me like a very abusive BDSM relationship.  But it wasn’t the emotional & psychological abuse which killed Chapman/Tank; it was misuse of a substance which has caused the deaths of many seeking quick, cheap body modification without proper medical safeguards.

The Notorious Badge

Looks like I’m not the only sex worker writing horror with sex worker characters:

Award-winning screenwriter Isa Mazzei did not have a welcoming introduction to the movie industry.  “I’ve…never been more sexually harassed than trying to sell this film in Hollywood,” she [said]…Mazzei, a former cam girl, has written one of the hottest horror movies on this year’s genre festival circuit.  Cam, which will debut on Netflix later this month, drags the audience inside the paranoia and perils of being an internet star.  Her success in creating a believable yet terrifying online dystopia was bolstered by its roots in Mazzei’s real fears, including the risks of being harassed, hacked, doxxed or assaulted…Mazzei had to endure the sleaze of movie execs who believed they could harass and belittle her because of her previous  sex work.  Lots of them asked her to share details from her past life, some suggested she was only credited as the screenwriter as a gimmick to help the pitch, while one owner of a Hollywood agency went so far as to write an alternate ending to the semi-biographical movie that included himself and Mazzei inserted into the script…

No Difference

African campaigns against homosexuality are a lot like US campaigns against sex work:

The governor of…Dar es Salaam…launched an anti-gay crackdown…calling on [collaborators] to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week…homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.  “These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said [governor Paul] Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli.  “Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them”…Anti-homosexual sentiment is rife in Tanzania…and…has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election…AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magafuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies…

Somewhere in the Middle (#425)

Kate Iselin on myths about clients:

…Films and television shows cast clients as either sinister perverts who slither around in the darkness…or drug-addled millionaires looking for more Barbie-lookalikes to fill their yachts with for the weekend…Sure, not every client is perfect.  Some are far from it.  I could share a horror story or two about some who…disregard [hygiene or] boundaries…But clients like these are, thankfully, rare.  The majority of people who visit sex workers — whether they visit strip clubs, brothels, see private workers, or simply download some good, old-fashioned porn — are as normal and average as you and me.  They have jobs, and hobbies, and families, and social lives, just like anyone else…I believe it’s the heavy stigma around sex work that carries over to our clients, too: it makes sense that someone who thinks sex workers are immoral and disgusting would also feel the same about the people who pay to spend time with us…the belief that our clients are bad people is damaging not only to our clients themselves, but to the sex industry as a whole…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

The Drug Enforcement Administration [worked to drum up hysteria over] candy laced with marijuana and methamphetamine this Halloween.  The DEA St. Louis Division says there has been no [actual] threat, but [authoritarians are using the existence] of drug-laced edibles [in states where cannabis is legal to frighten the ignorant]…signs of marijuana or meth-laced candy include unusual wrapping, appearance, unusual colors, odd smell…candy…that is unwrapped or unmarked…

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag. Not a single one.  Every time the claim has been made, it turns out to be either an intentional hoax or some nefarious shit by the parents.

Full of Themselves (#787)

Puritanical language is an intrinsic part of any story about cops raiding massage parlors:

Police have posted notices at 18 massage parlors in Kent [Washington] saying that they will be shut down…after a monthslong [escapade involving vice cops getting happy endings at] businesses that they say were fronts for prostitution…some of the massage-parlor owners and employees have been charged with crimes and…[prosecutors] plan…to bring charges against any customers who engaged in prostitution…many of the businesses…were not licensed by the state and failed to follow regulations to protect the health and privacy of patrons…

“Fronts”.  “Prostitution”.  “Crimes”.  “Engaged in prostitution”.  “Regulations”.  And it’s pretty hilarious to see thugs pretending to give a shit about people’s privacy while simultaneously plotting to destroy their lives.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

It’s good to see “sex addiction” collapsing as an excuse for bad behavior:

A former WAFB employee who secretly recorded two female station employees using the restroom in 2017 was sentenced to four months in prison…Morgan McDermitt…must also register as a sex offender for 15 years. His wife, upon hearing the sentence…ran from the courtroom sobbing…Judge Beau Higginbotham initially sentenced McDermitt…to four years in prison…but then suspended all but four months of the sentence. In July, Higginbotham refused to accept a proposed plea bargain in the case that would have only placed McDermitt on probation…The judge asked McDermitt, who sought sex addiction therapy after his arrest, why he did not seek help before he was caught…

Damned Lies (#866)

It’s good to see fact checkers demolishing politicians’ grandiose claims about Backpage:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton…[claimed to have] “shut down the world’s largest human trafficking marketplace”…The Texas attorney general’s office helped shut down the Backpage website, which is what another Paxton ad says.  However, the federal government led the shutdown and officials in other states pitched in.  Significantly too, we otherwise landed no confirmation that the Backpage site, which profited from ads about sex, also was the world’s largest trafficking marketplace–a classification that experts found dubious and unverifiable.  All told, we rate this statement Mostly False…

Suppression

This is especially important because other states are trying the same scam:

…Pennsylvania [prisons will]…allow…book orders to resume through a new centralized processing center…The [censorship plan] was…[pretended] to eliminate drug smuggling into the prisons, [when in actuality all contraband comes in via screws]…[Chief Screw] John Wetzel said the new procedure was a response to criticisms by book-donation groups…The new policy…allows family and friends to order books to be shipped directly from publishers or bookstores to a secure processing center in Bellefonte, Pa., where staff will screen books five days per week.  It also enables inmates to place orders directly from a hard-copy catalog…the book-donation groups still have concerns about how the new process will play out, including how the [prison system] will ensure the packages reach the inmates who requested them, intact with all supplemental materials…Sean Damon of Amistad Law Project, which led protests over the book prohibition…[is] not satisfied, as other new security measures — including the scanning and surveillance of incoming mail, and the photocopying of inmate legal mail — remain in place…

Traffic Jam (#877)

Remember that “threat” a Hawaiian prohibitionist claimed to have received from “pimps”?

The recent publication of a hyperbolic study that purported to show an “astronomical” level of demand for sex workers in the Hawaii was punctuated by…Police…respond[ing] to a call regarding a purported threat of physical violence against [prohibitionist politician] Khara Jabola-Carolus…police concluded that there had been no physical threat…[what actually happened was that during] a conference call…one [prohibitionist claimed to]…hav[e] received a…text message [from Dominique Roe-Sepowitz which in turn claimed] that…some person or persons were “trying to get Jabola-Carolus fired”…

Signs (#878) 

Another state mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

A state mandate now aims to [harass] sex [workers] in Minnesota through the state’s hotel industry.  The law requires all hotel and motel employees to be [indoctrinated] in [anti-whore propaganda].  The training must be completed by Nov. 28.  After that date, all new employees must be [indoctrinated] within 90 days of hire…the signs to look for [include] guest[s traveling light]…or [with their children]…“There might be signs in the room – for example, that they…request extra sheets and extra towels, [and enjoy their privacy]” said Minnesota [prohibitionist]…Beatriz Menanteau…

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Women are always in need of things and these nowadays men, they like to get but they don’t like to give.  –  Shauna Chyn

Rough Trade 

He has a sex addiction and has been going through a 12-step program“.  For serial rape.

Thomas Walter Oliver [was] convicted…[for] raping or sexually attacking 11 women and teenage girls over a nine-year span….and…sentenced…to 30 years in prison.  Oliver was acquaintances or friends with many of his victims.  He met one on the dating site Tinder.  Another was a neighbor.  He met another at a music festival.  Three were working in the sex industry.  Six were younger than 18…

Lack of Evidence 

A pretty typical level of “evidence” for allegations of prostitution:

This decision…by the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court starts as so many qualified immunity cases do…”On May 22, 2014, [Brittany] Harris, along with her mother, father and older sister, went out for dinner…their minivan was stopped by [cops using the pretext of]…an obstructed license plate“…Brittany asked to go to the restroom after she and her family had spent more than an hour being detained by six squad cars…She was accompanied by [a sow called] Kimberly Klare, who…”secured Harris’s hands behind her back…placed her hands under Harris’s brassiere and pinched the girl’s breasts, causing bruising…Klare told her that…a previous suspect at that location had ‘stuffed needles in her bra’ and because…'[y]ou have the look of a junkie whore’.  But Klare found no drugs…or other contraband…[cops] also noticed that Harris’s father had…’tools, like screwdrivers and wrenches’…[in the vehicle, and that this somehow constituted ‘evidence’] that Harris’s mother was engaged in drug activity“…

Feminine Pragmatism 

Misogynists and cheapskates hate it when women encourage younger women to know their worth:

Shauna Chyn said she doesn’t understand why people are in their feelings about the content of her new single, “Suicidal”…[in which she]…encourages women to “collect” monetary advances…before getting intimate with a man…Chyn said she is tired of hearing women lament that when relationships end, they are left with nothing but memories.  “As women, we go through a lot with these men, and den nuff time dem just get up and leave. If a man a go leave, yuh must can have something to show for it.  Make dem spoil yuh before you give dem yuh thing,” she added.  She added that she is aware her message will not be met with open arms, but said she could[n’t] care less as her concern is to get women to see their worth and not be fooled…she…then made it clear that she has no issues with prostitutes.  She said as far as she is concerned, they are earning an honest bread.  “Dem nah rob and kill people, dem a hustle dem own just like anybody else…dem have kids and bills to take care of like anybody else”…

Surplus Women 

Yet another rapist/murderer cop.  But go on, tell me how we’re supposed to trust their “help”:

…Juan David Ortiz is a nine-year veteran of U.S. Customs and Border Protection…[who is] facing at least four murder convictions after…his fifth would-be victim escaped and [found a state trooper]…all of the women targeted by Ortiz worked as prostitutes [and the fifth woman knew two of the others, which caused her to become suspicious]…After being interrogated, Ortiz confessed to the four-known murders…[plus] aggravated assault and kidnapping…Two of Ortiz’s admitted victims were discovered alongside Interstate 35 in a rural, northwestern patch of Webb County [near Laredo, Texas]…the third and fourth victims were discovered…[last] Saturday…The investigation…began after Melissa Ramirez…was found dead on September 4 near an intersection…[then on September 13th] Claudine Anne Luera was found fatally wounded near that same intersection…

Aggressive Ignorance (#403)

Another “sex trafficking study” reaches the stunning conclusion that hotels tend to cluster along highways:

Sex [workers whom cops prey upon to charge with “trafficking” are most often arrested in]…poor and urban neighborhoods near highways and cheap motels, according to researchers at Texas State University …[prohibitionists] Deborah Mletzko, Lucia Summers and Ashley N. Arnio found Austin, Texas’ “hottest cluster” of sex trafficking [arrests] in the north end of the city, where a major interstate highway intersects two other major roads and is adjacent to a [stroll]…Not clear, however, is the [work’s] connection to poverty…

This one also contains the shocking revelation that poor people tend to rent cheaper hotels, yet the “researchers” can’t understand why poor people work.  I am not making this up; read it yourself.

Don’t Take My Word For It (#541)

Anything a reporter wants to increase hysteria about is perpetually “on the rise”:

The significantly understudied practice of female sex tourism…can be…exploitative [and] abusive…but far too often, it goes unaddressed…Wealthy, predominantly white Western women travel—primarily to once-colonized nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa—to visit male prostitutes, often much younger in age…more than half a million women engaged in sex-based travel between 1980 and 2005…Even without direct cash exchange, varying forms of “payment”—clothing, meals, shelter, gifts—reveal the relationship is a glorified business transaction…

When prudes clutch their pearls over the pragmatic sexual arrangements made by young women, it’s just tiresome.  But when they do it over the same kind of arrangements made by young men, it’s hilarious.

Comfort Zone (#769)

Given the scare quotes, it seems at least some UK reporters are no longer buying the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative:

Ten Romanian women [claimed by police] to have been trafficked for sex work have been “rescued” in raids across Glasgow and Edinburgh…[cops] found no suspects at [another] flat but [arrested] three young women [pretended] to be victims of trafficking…

Whatever They Need To Say (#826)

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of all kinds of sex workers:

New York…[dancers are concerned] that the number of strip clubs in town could contract from about 20 to less than eight if the city starts enforcing a ruling made last year…After a years-long court battle, a Manhattan judge ruled last year that strip clubs can no long­er operate under the so-called 60-40 rule, which allowed the[m]…in otherwise restricted zones as long as 60 percent of the club was used for “non-adult” entertainment, such as a restaurant…That has left some clubs scrambling to expand to new locations not [currently] in residential areas [until the city capriciously rezones the new areas as well]…

Normally, my edits are to condense meandering prose or eliminate euphemisms and prevarication; this time they’re mostly to remove puerile tee-hee-hee terms like “jiggle joints”.

Disaster (#844)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

Prostitution is taking-off along Aurora Avenue [in Seattle] again…and [busybodies] are demanding [a final solution] to…the spike in [what they absurdly call] sex trafficking…since online [advertising] services like backpage.com got shut down…Neighbors call it a scourge.  Prostitutes are [working to make a living during normal work hours]…and business owners said they are feeling the brunt…One suggestion was to do more to penalize motel operators who [book rooms to paying customers]…Police said one of the big challenges is building cases against…pimps…who [don’t actually exist]…In July, a diversion program also [claimed] to steer prostitutes off the streets and get them long-term help [yet didn’t offer to pay their bills]…

It’s because stupid people have been taught to believe that productive work is “criminal activity” controlled by shadowy “pimps” which can be magically eradicated by thuggish threats, authoritarian “penalties”, and moralistic “help”, that this happened in the first place; when politicians shut down inexpensive and accessible advertising, only a complete imbecile could fail to understand that the sex workers who used that advertising will now have to advertise in another way, such as by walking the streets.

The Prudish Giant (#853)

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

In June, China banned and excised videos of sound effects while  claiming to cleanse its internet of pornography. YouTube had already demonetized the genre in a sex panic; now PayPal is banning people for life and holding individuals’ funds…ASMR community websites are now warning all creators to avoid PayPal…Capitalizing on entrenched and easily exploitable anti-sex policies by internet giant payment processors and a new internet sex panic ushered in by FOSTA, 8chan trolls have started a campaign to mass-report attractive women who make ASMR videos…ASMR…[is] a genre of videos where the creator makes sound effects in a variety of scenarios that are geared toward evoking a sense-memory of tingling sensations from the back of the head.  If anyone ever played with your hair and you felt a funny but calming shiver, you get the idea.  The performance artists in these videos do things to create sounds like playing with hair, brushing microphones with makeup brushes, chewing ice and lots of other things…It may sound weird, but it’s quite popular — especially with people combating anxiety and insomnia…

False Target (#864)

Austria doubles down on using gay stereotypes to deport refugees:

Austria has rejected the asylum claim of an Afghan national who claims to be fleeing persecution for being homosexual after not being able to find any gay pornography on his mobile phone…The…reject[ion]…letter [stated]…“It is extremely unlikely that you are in actual communication with other men with no photos (resulting from chats) on your mobile phone…There should be interest here…in pornographic material of homosexuals, at least from favourited sites on the Internet”…The case comes after two other…asylum seekers were rejected by the BFA, including an Iraqi who was rejected because the agency found him too “girlish” in his behaviour and an 18-year-old Afghan who was rejected for not acting gay enough in his clothing or mannerisms…Austria has…focused on increasing deportations of failed asylum seekers with figures released in June revealing a 36 percent increase in deportations compared to 2017…

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[Loitering laws are] a way of harassing people and discriminating when you don’t like the way they look.  –  Amy Paulin

One Size Fits All

Calling rape “sex trafficking” is a good way to inflate numbers:

…the man who raped 13-year-old Laura Skelly has not been arrested or charged…when Laura…ran away…from their Fort Lauderdale, Fl., home, the local police didn’t respond to Mary Skelly’s initial plea for help…Laura finally turned up on her mother’s doorstep 10 days later, with a flower tattoo, bruised, beaten and raped…Although Mary provided the Fort Lauderdale police department with the name, date of birth, address, and even the Instagram account of the 22-year-old man who trafficked her daughter…no one…followed up…This doesn’t surprise John Rode, a…private [dick]…who searches for missing and runaway children in south Florida…“Human trafficking is not only…young girls coming out of containers…Girl runs away from home.  A few days later someone takes her in, gets her on drugs, and she’s held against her will.  Now she’s a victim of human trafficking”…

Just Call Me Nobody

Sometimes the ignorance of pigs is utterly mind-boggling:

[Sow] Debra Stiles of the Longview [Texas Pig] Department [fantasized]…”We have girls selling themselves for $10…on websites and social media…I haven’t had one say they are STD free.  They can’t go get the medical help they need…”

Truth:  Streetwalkers have STI rates half those in promiscuous amateurs (such as cops), and escorts have much lower rates than that.  And it’s amateurs who run around saying they’re “disease free”, because it’s a given among sex workers due to our far higher standards.  But even if that weren’t true, is there anyone at all who is such an ignoramus as to believe that literally every member of any group is infected with STIs?

Bread and Circuses 

Just a reminder:  I owned an escort service like this one, only smaller:

…Brandon Martin and Tameko Lindo [were arrested] for money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with their ownership and operation of Flawless Escorts, a nationwide [escort service]…Flawless Escorts’ website [was also seized]…U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman [clutched his pearls and spouted a lot of ludicrous dysphemisms about an ordinary business]…HSI [stooge] Angel M. Melendez said:  “In just under four years, these defendants are alleged to have secured more than three thousand hotel bookings”…

In other words, an average of about two a day.  Don’t these idiots realize how stupid they sound?

Choke Point (#593) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

A Wellington brothel owner is furious at banks who will not let her open a business account.  Prostitution was decriminalised 15 years ago but that has not put an end to…discrimination…by the banking industry…”We…approached every bank in New Zealand and no one would take it…We’ve got no criminal record, we don’t have a debt to our name … it’s just crazy.”  Another sex worker, who did not want to be named, said she had a similar experience…when trying to open a business account…”They said they didn’t deem it a real occupation”…banks…are not allowed to discriminate against individuals due to occupation, [but] can decline to give credit or products to certain industries…

Part of the Picture (#665)

This article on how men & women respond to porn contains the following important point:

Sometimes people will call porn a “superstimulus” and it is definitely not.  It does not do anything outside of what the body and brain can already generate by itself.  Dopamine increases when you’re watching porn, but only in areas of the brain where it traditionally increases with other types of rewards as well.  Dopamine does spike with cocaine and it does happen with porn, but it happens with a million other things we don’t consider addictive.  There’s nothing that special about it.  It’s just our brain doing its reward thing…For something to be considered an addiction, it has to meet a lot of different criteria, and if it doesn’t meet all of them then it can’t be called an addiction…For instance, if someone has a problem with methamphetamines and you show them a picture of someone using them…their brain…[has] a higher reactivity.  That does not exist for porn.  We tested that in people who thought they were addicted to porn and found that they had a lower response, if anything…

Negative Secondary Effects

Welcome to our world, tattoo artists:

When Ted Legendre purchased a nearly 30-year-old tattoo parlor in LaPlace [Louisiana] a couple years ago, he had no idea he was buying a business that St. John the Baptist Parish would eventually consider legally akin to a sex shop or strip club.  But when the council changed the parish’s zoning rules last year, that’s exactly what happened.  So when Legendre tried to move Tattoos Unlimited…to a more visible spot in a strip mall…he couldn’t get approval to open — even though the parish had given him a green light to renovate the space…The St. John Planning and Zoning Department denied Legendre a permit because any business classified as an “adult use” is not allowed to operate within 1,000 feet of a day care facility…or…numerous other types of buildings in the parish, including churches, community centers or even residences…the new law…effectively ban[s] any “adult use” businesses on the east bank of the parish…

What the story doesn’t say:  95% of the population of St. John Parish lives on the east bank, and the only ways to the west bank are ferries or driving roughly 20 miles to the nearest bridge, then the same distance back on a winding two-lane highway.  Bet you can guess the excuse (hint: see subtitle).

Profit from Panic (#701) 

The infantilization of sex workers is growing ever more absurd:

…victims of human trafficking have to learn skills many people take for granted, including how to eat right…the average age of a child sold for sex is 13 years old…End Slavery is a group that helps rehabilitate and give life skills to survivors of human trafficking…In Tennessee there are around 100 minors trafficked every month…one issue that keeps them from living fulfilling lives is understanding what consists of a proper diet…

The subtitle-linked article claimed “survivors” don’t know how to tie their shoes.

Checklist (#783)

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

According to a 2014 survey of about 100 survivors of sex trafficking, 88 percent said that while they were being trafficked they had contact with a health care provider, typically someone in an emergency department…a growing number of hospitals and health care systems…are putting [surveillance] programs in place.  They want to [indoctrinate] staff to [interfere in sex workers lives and report them to the pigs]…nearly 300 staff members at Huntington Hospital and a family clinic have received [indoctrination] in how to spot [sex workers] and [snitch on] them…

Lack of Evidence (#792) 

If sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

An ordinance passed last month by Chicago’s City Council outlawing “prostitution-related loitering” will lead to more arrests of unsuspecting women and transgender people of color, activists said, and is unlikely to stem demand for prostitution.  The ordinance, which passed by unanimous voice vote, allows police to order a person they [claim] is “loitering for the purpose of prostitution” to leave the area for at least eight hours.  If they return, they could face fines ranging from $50 to $500 and up to six months in jail…Responding to [demands] from [prohibitionists]…the final version of the ordinance [cl]aimed to more harshly punish men who buy sex…In a written statement, [bill sponsor Jason] Ervin said…“I…want to punish people for…standing on a public sidewalk”…“It is…our…goal to arrest street prostitutes,” Tina Skahill, general counsel for the Chicago Police Department, told the committee…

Under Every Bed (#844)

The confused babble spouted by “officials” in low-population states is truly stupefying:

Robert Leslie, senior deputy attorney general…[for] West Virginia…[bloviated that “sex trafficking”]…involves children…as young as 6…”it’s such an underground economy that we don’t really know exactly how big it is”…Berkeley County…Sheriff Curtis Keller…said…”These pimps or johns, whatever you want to call them, get these women addicted and then, they starting using them as a means of making money…They can even move these women around at will, so it definitely falls in the category of human trafficking,…We get calls about women jumping out of cars or just trying to take off from other people, and to me, that’s a form of what human trafficking includes,” he said [while furtively masturbating behind he podium]…

“Human trafficking” includes women jumping out of cars, says the sheriff, who appears to be confused about different meanings of the word “traffic”.

Safe Position 

I’ll be watching this race with interest:

…public defender Daron Morris…is challenging [incumbent prosecutor Dan] Satterberg on…the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office[‘s persecution of]…sex work…Morris is supported by the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Seattle…[and] supports decriminalizing prostitution…Satterberg…said he…support[s harassing]…sex workers…through violence and coercion…Morris has also criticized the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for accepting grant money from an anti-prostitution group called Demand Abolition.  He said the group was allowed too much influence over county policy, requiring certain statements to the press…

Fair-Weather Friends

Oh, what a surprise:

…a whistleblower…inside the Columbus Police Department…[revealed that] the arrest of Stormy Daniels…[was] pre-planned days before she ever arrived in town…the…whistleblower…contacted the [Fayette] Advocate with numerous emails between several high-ranking Columbus police detectives and vice [cops].  Inside the emails are news clippings discussing Daniels’ planned appearance in Columbus, pictures of Daniels with President Donald Trump, videos of her dancing, and even a map to the club where she would be performing, all sent days before she would pull into town…The bulk of the emails…are from the…account of Detective Shana Keckley…one of the lead-arresting [pigs] the night that the “sting” operation went down…“The emails definitely show that the police lied about it being a prostitution and human trafficking mission,” the whistleblower said…

While I’m pleased at the tipoff, I must point out that this whisteblower is still a cop, and perfectly happy to participate in using consensual “crimes” to destroying the lives of non-famous people who aren’t politically useful.

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

When a headline asks a question, the answer is almost always “no”:

In many parts of the world, [frogs] are…beginning to accept the use of facial recognition technology to [boil them]…the Lockport City School District in New York plans to [install such a surveillance system]…In light of the [school] shooting…[hysteria of] recent years, parents…might vote to allow it…[but] schools [will certainly]…track students across the campus, profile them, and…collect and store the data…then trade them with the government…the New York Civil Liberties Union has asked the state’s education department to ban the technology from schools, saying it would “have a chilling effect on school climate…Lockport…views students as potential criminals who must have their faces scanned wherever they go,” said Stefanie Coyle, Education Counsel and John Curr III, Director, NYCLU.  The two…further pointed out that [when] the databases linked up to the system include those used for immigration enforcement, it could make [sensible] parents of immigrant students afraid to send their children to school…

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It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession.  –  WAVAW Board

The Sky is Falling!

Even by prohibitionist standards, this is hilariously hysterical:

“Sugar daddy” dating sites such as Seeking Arrangement…are aggressively targeting college students — with free premium memberships for signing up under an .edu email plus plenty of assurances that being a “sugar baby” is safe, empowering and profitable.  But sugar babies typically do not, in fact, have control over these relationships, which often turn dangerous and exploitative, [pearl-clutchers whined]…at a “World Without Exploitation Youth Summit” held in Downtown Brooklyn for high school and college students…“Sugaring” almost always involves a coercive exchange of money for sex, the [pearl-clutchers moaned]…even if the coercion is subtle and regardless of the dating website’s promises of “pampering,” “mentoring” and “networking”…“There’s an expectation that the buyer or the sugar daddy can do whatever he wants, so very often we hear there’s extraordinary violence when the door gets shut,” adds Lauren Hersh, national director of World Without Exploitation, a [prohibitionist] group…

This is your regular reminder that Lauren Hersh is a former prosecutor who was forced to resign in disgrace after she was caught trying to railroad two innocent black men for rape.

Watershed

For those who think I’m wrong about sex worker rights having passed the watershed:

As a [rape crisis centre] we always say that systems and perpetrators of violence need to be held accountable.  This is no different when we have enacted harm ourselves…We have taken actions that have caused harm to sex workers, and it is important that we take responsibility for those actions.  In 2008, we produced a position paper on sex work titled “Stepping out of the Binary”.  The paper framed the sex work industry as inherently violent and oppressive…and…conflated sex work with trafficking and exploitation…Our [excuse] was that we critiqued and challenged the sex work industry as a whole, but would not turn away individual sex workers who wanted to access our services.  This position is inherently flawed.  It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession…We support sex work.  We support the rights of sex workers.  We believe sex workers should have access to the services they need, when they need them…

Theatrics

Though this subtitle is now used for prohibitionist publicity stunts, the original covered this:

…dozens of female workers in Spain’s Huelva region, most of them Moroccan…reported having been harassed, raped, blackmailed, physically assaulted or insulted by their superiors…

Good News, Bad News (#409)

Australian prohibitionists are just as vile as those in the US & UK:

Prostitution legislation is currently being discussed in the Northern Territory…Prostitution affects everyone because…[the private acts of individual women magically inflict] violence against [other] women…Australia’s acceptance of [civil liberties] is becoming embarrassing internationally, as progressive countries move towards [authoritarian regulation]…of [the bodies and lives of] all women.  When it is acceptable for women to [make their own choices]…every woman is devalued [to the state].  The availability of women’s [sexual services for free] creates a sense of entitlement in too many men which inevitably plays out in their day to day interactions with women…

Only in the warped prohibitionist mind could reducing women to mere parts of a collective entity and demanding government control over people’s private lives be characterized as “human dignity”.

The Face of Trafficking (#646) 

Note that even a horrifying case like this doesn’t look anything like the “sex trafficking” myth as prohibitionists tell it:

One of New Zealand’s most sickening criminal cases, just the third conviction for slave trading in the country’s legal history, can now be revealed.  A mother of a teenage daughter has been jailed for six years and 11 months [for pimp]ing her daughter…some 1000 times over a two-year period…as many as five times a day.  The teen…escaped…in November 2016 and fled to police.  Kasmeer Lata, the teen’s mother, was sentenced…for dealing in slaves and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services from an underage person…

While I usually edit items to point out the truth in authoritarian propaganda, in this case I did so to eliminate the lurid language the reporter used to exploit this young woman’s ordeal for clickbait.  Because yellow journalists are just as awful in New Zealand as anywhere else.

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

Just in case you forgot about the other sex workers Trump paid off:

…investigators discovered recordings made by Michael Cohen which include a then-candid Donald Trump talking about a payment to…former Playboy model…Karen McDougal [who] previously claimed that she had an affair with Mr. Trump…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#833) 

All the disclaimers won’t stop charlatans from pretending this is their imaginary “sex addiction”:

The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list…filed “compulsive sexual behavior disorder” — often [incorrectly] referred to as sex addiction — as an impulse-control disorder…WHO’s new list will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022, as revisions still need to be made…clinicians…fear that recognizing compulsive sexual behavior disorder would pathologize normal sexual behavior, [said] Dr. Stefanie Carnes…“One of the things WHO did…is say specifically, ‘You can’t make the diagnosis of the compulsive disorder just due to shame or moralistic thoughts and feelings’”…In other words, a diagnosis cannot be made for someone with conservative religious views who frequents pornography sites a few times a month and thus believes that is a problem…the…proposed inclusion characterizes the disorder as “a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges, resulting in repetitive sexual behavior over an extended period (e.g., six months or more) that causes marked distress or impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”  Carnes…[said] “I have patients who…spend $300,000 on a prostitute”…

Say, Dr. Carnes, would you introduce me to these guys? I’ll take good care of them, I promise.

All-Purpose Excuse (#834)

I hope this finger-pointing keeps up until the hysteria implodes:

…the Trafficking in Persons Report directly references the vulnerability of migrants and children to trafficking without mention of recent U.S. policies that increased family separation and detention.  This dissonance is not new [to this administration], although recent events have been particularly egregious.  Since his inauguration, President Trump has espoused strikingly different — and dramatically inconsistent — approaches to immigration and human trafficking…Despite the administration’s [typical] rhetoric about protecting survivors of trafficking, the brutal fact is that indiscriminate targeting of undocumented immigrants…has sown chaos and fear in immigrant communities.  This makes survivors much less likely to cooperate with [pigs], and more likely to be targeted as victims…on June 28, 2018, USCIS issued a new policy memorandum specifying that any survivor who applies for T visas — and is denied — will be placed in deportation proceedings…

Trumpists: “YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Anti-Trumpists:  “No, YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Me: “LOL, please continue.”

The Real World

Despite some highly exaggerated claims about the prevalence of serious mental illness among sex workers, this article recognizes criminalization as a major cause of stress:

Sex workers already operate at the social and economic margins.  SESTA-FOSTA makes it increasingly difficult for them to advertise and screen clients safely, deeply cutting into their incomes and threatening their livelihoods…The conflation of consensual sex work with trafficking, abuse, moral decrepitude, and shame is as pervasive as is it is lacking nuance…Mental health providers must wade through social discourse thick with misinformation to be effective allies to sex workers in their practice.  Scholars and practitioners alike propose harmful and stigmatizing models of understanding sex work…Although sensationalist media outlets frequently use sex trafficking as a boogeyman to encourage tougher policing of sex work, research from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain shows that decriminalizing sex work has made the industry safer…In the wake of SESTA-FOSTA, sex workers are scared that they won’t be able to provide for themselves and their families…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

Hey, Seattle!  Get your kids into the facial recognition database before they even hit puberty, and help the government to analyze how people’s faces change with time, so nobody can EVER escape surveillance!

RealNetworks, the Seattle company best known for pioneering streaming media…will offer a new facial recognition technology, called SAFR, for free to K-12 schools to help upgrade their on-site [surveillance] systems.  SAFR can be used with the same cameras that traditional surveillance systems to recognize students, staff, and people visiting schools…in addition to security, the tool can also help with [normalization of constant surveillance] and [the school-to-prison pipeline]…

Disaster (#852)

Woodhull, et al’s request for a preliminary injunction vs FOSTA is a thing of beauty, and even if you don’t really understand legalese you should read it, because most of it is in plain English and its arguments are solid.  Reading it for yourself is the only way you can fully grasp what a crock of shit the judge’s inaction was:

A federal judge on Thursday tabled a motion brought by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and four other plaintiffs, who are suing to stop the government from enforcing…FOSTA…Judge Richard Leon…made no ruling on Woodhull’s request for a preliminary injunction that would stop the law from remaining in effect until the group’s lawsuit…is decided. Nor did he announce a date when he would issue a ruling.  According to one account from inside the courtroon, Leon “sounded skeptical” that the law had actually caused harm to the plaintiffs in the case…

Basically, the judge wants time to try to think of the proper legal wording for “Yes, I know this law is blatantly unconstitutional, but I’m not gonna be the one to issue an injunction on it because whores”.

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Sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such.  –  Anja Derungs

Acting and Activism 

Not an article you’d see in the US:

…Celebrities…[such as] Ashton Kutcher, Ricky Martin, Demi Moore, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Emma Thompson have all been extensively involved in [so-called] anti-trafficking campaigns…Recently, comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Meyers starred in a [propaganda video] in support of…new [censorship] legislation in the US to curtail sex work in the name of preventing sex trafficking…Celebrities…bridge the gap between brand and cause ambassador, between hawker and humanitarian.  A clear example of this is Demi Moore’s partnership in 2011 with a jewellery retailer to sell diamond handcuff pendants, with some of the profits going to support the anti-[sex work] foundation established by Moore and her husband at the time, Ashton Kutcher…the presence of movie and television stars at the forefront of awareness campaigns can fuel the expectation that real trafficking victims are just like those we see on television or the big screen…sex slavery…is a popular storyline in entertainment mediaTaken…was a smash hit…spawning two sequels and a television show…Stories of sex trafficking have featured in other movies like The Whistleblower and Trade, and numerous television shows including Criminal Minds, CSIHawaii Five-O, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS: Los Angeles, Without a Trace, and The Wire.  The broad reach of movies and TV means that we are more likely to hear about human trafficking in a fictional context…The lines between entertainment, infotainment and information become blurred, especially when we are told…stories of trafficking by the very people who might play the heroes on screen...

Saving Them From Themselves

Dr. David Ley can always be counted on to speak good sense:

…prosecution of teen sexting suffers from the same disparities as much of our legal system: teens who are Black [or LGBT] may be more likely to face prosecution…Males are more frequently charged than females, even in cases involving mutual sharing of pictures…it is mostly the US that is having this teen sexting panic.  Countries in which social nudity is common and accepted don’t seem to be reacting quite as punitively to these phenomena…Amy Hasinoff, author of Sexting Panic, argues strongly that…child pornography laws need to be updated to be more consistent with age of sexual consent laws:  If you can have sex at age 15 or 16, then you should be able to take or share a naked or sexual image (of yourself) as well.  But she also says that we need to take a better educational approach with teens, teaching them about healthy sexuality and relationships and giving them support and guidance on how to sext safely, not trying to stop them sexting altogether.  In other words, we need to start practicing harm reduction strategies…

Gorged With Meaning

Cracked has fewer pro-sex work articles than it once did, but this one’s excellent:

…”Being alone with a man is being alone with a man,” says Fancy, “and they don’t see a difference between a sugar baby and an escort.  In fact, because it’s the first area of sex work many people start with, the risk is higher because the expectation of screening isn’t really there”…Despite sugar sites’ insistence that “entering the sugar bowl” is all about forming lasting romantic bonds of convenience, the turnover rate for arrangements is high — about two months on average, in Fancy’s experience…Both of our sources recently made the decision to quit sugar dating.  Julia got a promotion at her day job, while Fancy decided that the profit wasn’t worth it compared to traditional escorting and stripping.  “I found the men on the sugaring sites to largely be cheapskates who want to trick young women who are too scared to escort into providing escort services for a fraction of the cost,” she says. “It’s very manipulative, financially”…higher-end escorts tend to charge at least $2,000 for overnight stays.  In her experience, that amount is at the upper end of the monthly  allowances sugar daddies offer — and for escorts, those overnight stays don’t require the devotion, time, and attention that often accompany a sugar arrangement…”I was taking $300-$600 for overnight (sugar) stays!  All just so I could call myself something other than a whore”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

A…Lethbridge [Alberta] school teacher…Dwayne Schnell…pleaded guilty to charges of making and distributing child pornography…Schnell abused his position of trust by taking pictures of eight students…without their knowledge…a psychiatrist said…Schnell has no concept of the harm caused to the children, parents, or the school where he worked….[and] assertions that he suffers from impulse control and addiction issues were “self-deceptive excuses to justify his behaviour”…Schnell…[claims] he has a pornography addiction…

Uncommon Sense (#545)

How countries with healthy ideas about sex react to the Swedish disease:

A campaign to make prostitution illegal in Switzerland is being met with stiff resistance from human rights group.  The Swiss Aids Federation [and] Amnesty International…are among several advocacy groups rallying against the…[crusade, which] was launched by the Women’s Centre in Zurich…and calls for a Swedish-style ban on prostitution…Anja Derungs, spokesperson for the Zurich Equality Office said that “sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such”…Daniel Seiler…of the Swiss AIDS Federation, said that sex work “is the oldest profession in the world” and would not disappear if a ban was in place.  This approach had not worked it Sweden either, where the trade still exists, he noted…The Women’s Centre in Bern also expressed its opposition to the campaign launched by its counterpart in Zurich…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Shaming clients is an exercise in evil fuckery that just won’t die:

The Catalan town of Gavà wants to stamp out [sex workers]…and snitch on those who [enable sex workers to pay their bills and support their children]…by sending fines to their family addresses…”Up until now, the client used to pay the fine (to police) in cash right there and then so that there was no record of the offence”…[anti-sex] Minister Gemma Badia is quoted as saying…As a result, authorities have decided [cops]…should send the fines to clients’ home addresses…Even if the clients were to insist on paying before the fine was posted, they would still receive a letter informing them, and quite possibly their family members, on the settlement of their prostitution case…

The Monsters Are Due (#742) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

A 92-year-old man…was thrown to the ground [and] stomped on by strangers on the Fourth of July…in…Los Angeles…Rodolfo Rodriguez [is] a native of Mexico and legal U.S. resident…Laquisha Jones, 30, was arrested…[and] booked for assault with a deadly weapon…Rodriguez had gone out alone for his daily walk, [the victim’s grandson, Erik] Mendoza said…While walking, Rodriguez may have bumped into a small girl, witness Misbel Borjas…said…she [then] saw a woman with the girl push Rodriguez and beat him with a brick.  The woman also told Rodriguez to “go back to your country”…Borjas had been driving by, she said, and wanted to stop, but the woman threatened to hit her car with the brick.  Borjas instead called 911 and took a picture of the woman, which she shared with police and put on social media.  Borjas said a group of men then came down the street, and the woman accused Rodriguez of trying to take the child.  That’s when about three of them also began beating him…Rodriguez…suffered two broken ribs and a broken cheekbone…

Cops and Robbers (#823)

No fad spreads faster than a new way to tyrannize innocent people:

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco announced new initiatives to [harass]…sex [workers]…Deputies will utilize intercept bots to track people who use the Internet to search out [adult consensual sex]…The bots will communicate like a [very stupid and robotic] person, exchanging information such as phone numbers and could even set up meeting locations.  [Pigs]…will [creep] in to lock up the buyer and then go after the person in court…

Guys, it’s extremely easy for men to know which ads are real and which are pig swill: women in real ads will have an established online presence.  Just Google the name, email address, phone number, etc; if there are no other hits on an escort site, other ad sites, Twitter, etc, you’re probably looking at a pig trap.

The War Goes On (#831) 

We told you so:

…promoting prostitution…cases, according to [spokespig] John Daggy [of Indianapolis]…have…dried up…[since] the feds closed police’s [easiest site for stings]…Backpage…“We’ve been a little bit blinded lately because they shut Backpage down,” Daggy said…

The melodramatic telling of the arrest of a wannabe “pimp” is especially hilarious.  NB: Every time his name comes up, I remind readers that one of Daggy’s jobs is to make excuses for cops who rape sex workers.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#849) 

It’s fascinating in a train-wreck kind of way to watch the lies spiral out of control:

Fulton County Police Chief Darryl Halbert said 100,000 children become sex trafficking victims in Georgia per year and are mostly runaways between the ages of 12 and 14.  He said the county police department uses surveillance cameras and sting operations to [pretend they’re fighting] the [imaginary] crime…

Yes, that’s a pig oinking that almost 5% of the entire below-18 population of Georgia (something like 30% of the age group mentioned) become “sex slaves” every year.  Even allowing for half “escaping”, that would mean roughly half of the population of Georgia under the age of 30 are now “sex slaves”.  One wonders where they’re all stored, and where the clients to support this massive population all come from.

Welcome To Our World (#853)

Locking pregnant women in cages for “trafficking” themselves.  Had enough yet?

Phnom Penh Municipal Court…charged 33 women with human trafficking after they were detained following a raid on a surrogacy business…last month…[being pregnant in a way politicians don’t like] is illegal and could carry a jail sentence of up to 20 years…Chou Bun Eng, chair of the National Authority Against Human Trafficking, said…“We cannot tell you the place where the women are [locked in cages] because we want to protect their rights and…keep them safe”…

“Keep them safe” and “protect their rights”.  By locking them in cages for 20 years.  For being pregnant.  Feminism!

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If you really care about us, just listen to us.  –  Christina Parreira

Droit du Seigneur 

This is one of those rare instances where a rapist really was a “former” cop:

…a former [New Jersey] cop…[was] charged with trafficking a teen girl for sex…James Keenan [was] released on home confinement and the custody of a relative…[he] most recently lived in Vancouver, Washington [and] was arrested April 11 in Hazlet on federal charges of sex trafficking of a child, attempted sex trafficking of a child and attempted enticement…police in Beaverton, Oregon…and the Federal Bureau of Investigation had been looking into him for a month…When agents went to arrest Keenan, they learned he had [fled] the West Coast…Keenan worked for the Middletown Township Police Department for…26 years…[and] retired in 2016…

Surplus Women 

Unfortunately, this will happen much more often now until a replacement for Backpage appears:

A manhunt continue[s]…for the savage killer of Brandy Odom, 26, whose…dismembered remains were…discovered strewn across…132 acres [of Brooklyn’s Canarsie Park]…Detectives trying to retrace her activities in the hours before she was carved up reviewed surveillance video from around the park in hopes of spotting a suspect…Odom was possibly strangled before the fugitive killer hacked up the corpse…Odom…was…a…hairdresser who…had no…history of problems with the law…[except] one arrest for loitering with suspicions of prostitution in 2012…Her mother was adamant that her daughter wasn’t involved in any illegal activity…

It’s sad to watch the mother forced to disavow “illegal activity”, as though being a sex worker would mean her daughter deserved to be literally butchered.

Elephant in the Parlor 

Yeah, she was a “slave”; I’m sure she was chained up & actually owned in a legal sense:

A Florida politician busted…on prostitution-related charges, allegedly fed and housed a married couple in exchange for being allowed to have sex twice a week with the woman — who claimed…she was kept as a “sex slave.”  Exotic dancer Valerie Surette claimed that…Nick Nicholson…“begged” her last year to “move in and have sex with him,” offering her “very large sums of money” in return…Surette said she eventually agreed to the alleged arrangement — which also included her [husband] Kendel Surette [living] in [Nicholson’s] home…Nicholson paid the couple $100 to have sex with Surrette on Tuesdays and $200 on Saturdays…But things got increasingly worrisome, she [said], claiming the pol made her engage in uncomfortable or painful sex acts that wasn’t part of the deal…

In other words, she made a bad deal and stupidly decided to call in the pigs rather than just ending it like an adult.  Sounds to me like these three assholes deserved each other.

Imaginary Evils (#348)

This sounds like a pretty typical cult; are we now going to retroactively label all of them “sex trafficking”?

Allison Mack…best known for a role in the TV series Smallville…entered a plea of not guilty to sex trafficking and forced labor charges which carry mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years and could lead to life in jail…senior members of an alleged cult known as Nxivm…[were allegedly] instrumental in forcing new recruits to conform to the sexual demands of leader Keith Raniere.  The government alleges that so-called Nxivm “slaves” were forced to starve; ordered to remain celibate; and held down as Raniere’s initials were branded below their hips with a cauterizing pen…

Legislators Gone Wild (#409) 

Every so often the Nevada brothels are threatened by zealots, often making these same dumb claims about stigma:

…The group calling itself “No Little Girl” is petitioning to close the legal brothels in Lyon County, and remove the livelihood of hundreds of women…they make claims that…prostitution is inherently violence against women…[and] cite…data that either has been debunked or has nothing to do with legal prostitution.  The handful of individuals that submitted the petition represent faith-based organizations, and seem to be more concerned with pushing their specific moral agenda…The group suggests that large tech companies won’t move to the county…because of the…brothels, but…Lance Gilman, owner of the Mustang Ranch…helped bring Tesla to Nevada.  The massive Tesla Gigafactory is located seven miles from the Mustang Ranch…Concerning the safety of women in the brothels, the website cites Melissa Farley…

The Immunity Syndrome (#747)

This outcome was obvious once Trump appointed Huber to HHS:

The Trump administration will shift federal funding aimed at reducing teen pregnancy rates to programs…that [push] abstinence [propaganda upon] teens instead of [actual] sex ed…The Obama administration mostly awarded TPP grants to organizations that taught comprehensive sex education, which…[nonetheless was forced by federal law to include propaganda promoting] abstinence.  But the Trump administration has been shifting toward [pure] abstinence programs since hiring…Valerie Huber, the chief of staff for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, which oversees the TPP program.  Prior to coming to HHS, Huber led Ascend, a national abstinence [propaganda] group…

The Immunity Syndrome (#757)

The last attempt to start hysteria over this also involved exactly three cases:

A man in the UK who caught the world’s “worst-ever” case of super-gonorrhoea has been cured…He picked up the superbug having sex with [an amateur] in South East Asia…It was the first-ever case of the infection being incurable with first choice antibiotics, but now two similar cases have been reported in Australia…The main antibiotic treatment – a combination of azithromycin and ceftriaxone – failed to treat the disease…he has since been [successfully] treated with ertapenem

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Charlatans who profit from the “sex addiction” myth are fighting hard to keep the gravy train rolling:

…sex addiction…[is] a vice masquerading as a pathology, an excuse dressed up as an illness.  It’s not a condition that is recognised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM], the bible of the American Psychiatric Association.  There are no physical symptoms of withdrawal, as there are with…[actual] addiction…However, [charlatans] in the field speak of a growing sexual addiction “pandemic” that a mixture of shame and misunderstanding has kept hidden.  Paula Hall…[claims] the publicity surrounding recent high-profile scandals has been detrimental to an understanding of what she [pretends] is a very real and growing problem…Hall insists the debate about whether or not sex addiction is [real]…misses the point…

Ever notice how people who profit from these scams (the War on Drugs being a good example) never bow out quietly and save face?  Nope, they just keep doubling down, so now this neurologically absurd concept is no longer just an epidemic, but a pandemic!  You know, like the Black Death.

Whither Canada? (#810)

To their credit, the Young Liberals have been pushing for repeal of Canada’s version of the Swedish model since the law first passed:

…the current Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, which prohibits the purchasing of sex, does little to protect sex workers and instead pushes them to work underground and in dangerous conditions; the current prohibition of buying consensual sex…creates a climate that makes sex workers unlikely to work with the police and be involved with more serious crimes; BE IT RESOLVED​ the Liberal Party of Canada repeal the 2014 Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, begin a consultation period with those in the sex work industry and advocacy groups, and move to decriminalize consensual sex work, and the purchase of said sex work, for those over the age of 18…

If this resolution passes and the Liberals stay in power, this could be a huge step forward for sex worker rights.

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Sex workers…are human beings who[se]…rights to health, safety, self-determination, and bodily autonomy should not be subject to debate or sacrifice to abstract principles.  –  Green Party proposal

If It Were Legal

I’m willing to bet this was either a findom arrangement or a blackmail fantasy:

The second in command of the Harris County [Texas] Treasurer’s Office is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a county credit union to pay a dominatrix who was blackmailing him.  Gregory Lueb was arrested…and charged with felony theft of up to $30,000…Lueb told investigators…the woman eventually demanded money and threatened to tell his wife…

If he’s telling the truth, and if sex work weren’t illegal and stigmatized, he could’ve gone to an established professional instead of some sleazy amateur.

The Punitive Mindset

The need to censor is one of the most twisted of perversions:

A federal judge is considering whether South Dakota’s statewide ban on porn in prisons is constitutional.  The case arose from an inmate, Charles Sisney, who says all sorts of non-pornographic content got caught up in porn prohibition, including a yoga magazine, images of Michaelangelo’s work, and Japanese comics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota and the National Coalition have filed briefs in support of Sisney’s case…the parameters of the ban go way beyond adult films, nude images, or other things that most people would consider to be porn.  Prisoners are banned from writing sexually explicit letters or receiving them, and from receiving any visual or written material that’s deemed sexually explicit…

Three Steps Back

In December 2010, New Orleans decided to de facto decriminalize marijuana and prostitution, then it changed its collective mind and recriminalized them.  We’re all familiar with what happened afterward with sex work, but two years ago the city actually went ahead and truly decriminalized weed, with the following results:

…newly released city statistics show that New Orleans police have taken the city’s cannabis decriminalization efforts seriously, and now make arrests in only 1% of minor cannabis incidents.  The New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance two years ago  decriminalizing minor cannabis possession, giving [cops] the discretion to ticket rather than arrest suspects found with small amounts of pot…NOPD has all but eliminated marijuana charges from their protocol, reducing the rate of possession-related arrests from 72% of all police and pot interactions in 2011-2014, to the newly released number of only 1% in the last half of 2016 and first half of 2017…last year saw 5,000 fewer cannabis-related arrests in New Orleans than took place half a decade ago…

And yet they can’t seem to grasp that decriminalizing sex work would have similar benefits.

Stand-Up Guys 

Shift in the Wind

It looks like the Greens are poised to become the second US political party (the Libertarians have held the position for decades) to adopt decriminalization as an official position.  The new position has apparently been approved by Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Utah, and by the party’s Black Caucus, Lavender Greens and Young Greens.  The explanation of the reasons for the change starts like this:

It is the opinion of the authors of this document that the party’s current stance on sex work…is morally indefensible, ideologically incoherent, and politically damaging.  The submitted revisions represent an effort to eliminate derogatory language, move the Green Party’s stated policy prescriptions away from carceral state solutions and more in line with the current thought of human rights groups such as Amnesty International, and…condemn…violence against women without condemning or negating the existence of individual sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought

Anti-whore assholes just keep getting bolder:

California Senate Bill 1204…sponsored by…Patricia Bates…is aimed at broadening the definition of “pandering” within the State of California…to [include anyone] “who arranges, causes, encourages, induces, persuades, or procures another person to be a prostitute”…What does “encourages” mean? If I say to my friend “hey you would make a great prostitute!” – have I just encouraged that person to be a prostitute and therefore I am guilty of the crime of pandering?  What about my free speech rights?  What if my friend who is a prostitute says, “gee I wish I could see a client today because I really need to feed my child/pay my rent but I cannot afford condoms” and I give that person condoms, have I encouraged the act of prostitution?  What if I as a lawyer – give advice to a prostitute…have I just committed pandering?…I would encourage you to contact Senator Patricia Bates office and encourage her to kill her own bill…

The Punitive Mindset (#688) 

Long-time readers know that I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons since 1981, and that it’s my all-time favorite game.  I’ve alluded to it many times and even written a few columns touching on it, and though I haven’t played in about 8 years now I’ve recently started thinking about starting up a new game for some friends.  So I quite enjoyed this long-form article about the game, its history and its long record of being attacked by authoritarians for promoting imagination and free thought.  I decided to list it under this category because the article includes a section on prison officials banning the game (because of course they would), which I reported on in the above-linked column.  But really, I just couldn’t pass up calling it to your attention at a time when most of the contents of this blog are darker than any imaginary dungeon, and the real world is dominated by far scarier monsters than any I ever made up for the heroes to defeat.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#787) 

Yes, this is a supposedly sane adult arguing that toasters have “feelings” and can “suffer”, while classifying sex workers as subhuman:

Late in 2017 at a tech fair in Austria, a sex robot was “molested” repeatedly and left in a “filthy” state.  The robot, named Samantha, received a barrage of male attention, which resulted in her sustaining two broken fingers.  This incident confirms worries that the possibility of fully functioning sex robots raises both tantalising possibilities for human desire (by mirroring human/sex-worker relationships), as well as serious ethical questions …there are certain elements of relationships between humans and sex workers that we may not wish to repeat.  But to me, it is the ethical aspects of the way we think about human-robot desire that are particularly key…

Yes, moral retard Victoria Brooks there describes vandalism of a machine as “molestation” and waxes poetic about this object’s “suffering”, while twice in a short section referring to sex workers as things apart from humans.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Possibly the most pathetic of all things: a gay male prude:

…how Grindr is affecting gay men….doesn’t look good.  The most common reason users gave for going on the app is that sex feels great and Grindr makes it accessible, right at your fingertips…Neuroscientists have shown that orgasm causes activation of pleasure areas of the brain like the ventral tegmental area while deactivating areas involved with self-control.  And these patterns of activation in men are strikingly similar to what researchers see in the brain of individuals using heroin or cocaine.  So when a neutral action (clicking on Grindr) is paired with a pleasurable response in the brain (orgasm), humans learn to do that action over and over again.  This can be…a setup for addiction…

Disaster

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…Sex workers are the canaries in the digital coal mine, and SESTA, if it isn’t fought and reversed, is a disaster for all kinds of online speech…It’s no surprise that a bill like this has manifested alongside the #MeToo movement — it challenges what it means to for sex workers to consent, and takes aim at the online speech that acts as evidence that we have…The ambiguously written bill creates what is in effect a special loophole to target the speech of sex workers within the sweeping legal protections given to online speech.  And because marginalized groups often act as Patient Zero for regressive new laws, it will be no surprise when this new approach to censorship eventually spreads across the internet…The difference between what sex workers and their advocates say — that trafficking is a relatively minor issue in their industry — and what anti-sex trafficking legislators believe reflects the country’s long held reluctance to believe women when they tell the truth, especially when it involves sex.  One place where that truth is told daily is the internet communities where sex workers reside in safety and solidarity, and SESTA is designed to break up these communities…

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