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Posts Tagged ‘New Orleans’

Sex workers are better aware than most of the value of sex. – Jerry Barnett

Check Your Premises 

“Sex trafficking” charges are often hurled at anyone who helps an underage sex worker instead of ratting her out to the pigs:

A transgender woman [entrapped by pigs] nearly two years ago was sentenced to at least eight years imprisonment for…[showing] a girl who was 17 at the time of the incident [how to post an online ad].  Ashanti Welton McLean…was [caught in a trap planned by]…the FBI…District Attorney Ben David…[vomited up a lot of sick sex fantasies and then bragged about his part in getting a shitty. draconian law passed]…McLean…was a transgender escort…only involved in sexual services with adults…the 17-year-old…told court officials that “Ms. McLean had no idea what I was doing”…[the prosecutor gleefully crowed that after her]…release…from prison…McLean [will be condemned to the]…sex…offender [registry]…for…30 years…

South of the Border

It’s difficult to be completely sure due to all the “sex trafficking” mumbo-jumbo in this article, but it seems to be saying that Mexico is headed toward a kind of soft decriminalization by getting rid of “avails” laws.  There’s a lot of nonsense about “consensual exploitation”, but the article mentions that Mexico intends to follow UN recommendations, and most UN bureaus other than UNODC recommend decriminalization.  Also, arch-prohibitionists CATW don’t like the change, which almost certainly means it will benefit sex workers.  So…yay?  I’ll let you know when I find a clearer article.

Train Wreck

I’m fascinated by the bizarre & stilted language used in African news articles about sex workers:

There was drama at a famous brothel in…Mombasa…after police disrupted business, leading to unceremonious end that saw clients scamper away without paying…While castigating police for the clumsy raid, the women of easy virtue demanded respect, saying that theirs is a business, just like any other and it was important for police to have some decency during their operations…So embarrassing was the incident that some of the sex workers took to the streets to protest the harassment the following day…[reporting that] police…extort…them of the little money they make, with some demanding [they submit to rape or be arrested]…

The Face of Trafficking

What an actual attempt to abduct women into forced prostitution looks like:

…aspiring pimp Andrew Frey…[was] arrest[ed for trying to abduct two women]…Frey…initially hired the Long Island wo[men]…before attempting to kidnap the[m]…He arranged separate meetings with the women…one in October 2018 and one this July — and then used force to keep them in line as he drove into secluded areas with plans of abduction…“Both separately managed to escape Frey by jumping from his moving vehicle and sustaining injuries in the process…The nature of his conduct … was sufficiently violent that both deemed it a safer option to throw themselves from a moving vehicle in order to escape”…Frey later reached out to both victims [again]…and even attempted to forcibly abduct Jane Doe #1 with a weapon on a second occasion…Frey has a history of violence against sex workers, including one who sought an order of protection after he intentionally slammed his car into her vehicle.  Frey then violated the order by leaving threatening voicemails on the victim’s phone…He was currently charged with attempted sex trafficking…and attempted kidnapping…

An Older Profession Than You May Have Thought (#635)

It’s impossible to state this too often:

The total value of the sex trade could be said to be the value of the net transfer of wealth from men to women…The UK flower industry was worth almost £1bn last year…many are bought…by men for…courtship. What about restaurant meals, hotel rooms, concert tickets, diamonds, taxi fares, cocktails, vacations…?…Historically, what proportion of the silk carried (invariably by men) along the Silk Road found itself worn by the wealthy wives and mistresses of Europe?…The original female industry—the sex trade—was undoubtedly far bigger than any of the other (male-created) industries, because its role was to collect a dividend on all male-led activity. The greater the innovation and diversification of male-run industries, the larger the sex trade became….

The Swedish Pimpocracy (#741) 

As I’ve said for nine years, Sweden has never given a damn about this rape charge; it was simply an excuse to turn Assange over to the US:

…Deputy director of [Swedish] prosecutions Eva-Marie Persson told journalists that the case against Assange had been discontinued…Assange remains [caged in a London] prison…[while] American prosecutors seek…his extradition…for [the “crime” of revealing facts the US didn’t want revealed]…He faces a full extradition hearing…in February 2020, with the inevitable appeal probably being heard…in the second half of next year…

Pyrrhic Victory (#974) 

Why I keep telling you local laws banning facial recognition are feel-good bullshit:

Over the last decade, large police forces…like the Seattle Police Department…have turned to facial recognition technology to…track down [people they want to cage]…and…thousands of pages of…emails…confirm the existence of a massive, secretive network of police departments working together to share these…tools [since]…at least 2016…these departments explicitly tried to keep this…secret from the public…requests in Washington state were made through a [secret] listserv known as FITlist…[Pigs] on the listserv are encouraged to adopt a Fight Club-style directive that precludes group members from discussing [its] existence…One document explicitly says: “Do not mention FITlist in your reports or search warrant affidavits”…Shankar Narayan…of the…ACLU of Washington…says…secret partnerships like these [will] be used to circumvent jurisdictions [like California] that have banned facial recognition technology…[for example,] despite public claims by New Orleans officials that the city’s police do not employ facial recognition…[they] tap…state police to do the job…

Rescued To Death (#977)

Here’s another Amercan “journalist” who thinks her sadfeelz about sex trump poor women’s right to make a living.  Note her liberal use of scare quotes and her devotion to words like “illegal” (used as a synonym for “wrong”), “exploitation” (used as a synonym for “work”), and “hold accountable” (used as a synonym for “prosecute someone who isn’t a government actor“); note also that most of her “facts” come from rescue industry profiteer ECPAT, one of the most active pushers of “100,000 child sex slaves” propaganda and bogus “checklists” used to justify surveillance of women and minorities in hotels, airplanes and other public places.  She talked to exactly one sex worker, whom she says was underage but admits did not have a pimp; no Philippine sex worker activists were even mentioned despite their previously-sated strong opinions on Westerners writing tragedy porn of this sort about them:  “We really do not care about  ‘patriarchy’, ‘commodification’ and other words they spew.  Those matters don’t bring food on our table nor pay for our rent.  All we are interested in is to work undisturbed“…

To Molest and Rape (#985)

Cops show you what they are all the time; why don’t you believe them?

Bristow, OK…[cop] Bradley Don Goodin…was arrested…and charged with [multiple] counts of…child sexual abuse…[after] the [mother] of one [nine-year-old] victim…walked into a bathroom on Oct. 5 and found Goodin with his hand inside the little girl’s pants…Goodin…threatened to hurt the mother and the child if they told anyone…he [then]…claimed to be applying itch creme to…bug bites [conveniently located in her genital area]…Goodin then [changed his story]…to claim his watch got stuck in the girl’s clothing, which the mother mistook as molestation…The second victim, an 11-year-old girl, told investigators that Goodin had touched her inappropriately more than five times…he has since been [rewarded with a]…paid [vacation]…

Panopticon

The state believes it owns you and you have no right to defend yourself from it:

…the state of Indiana charged a [citizen] with theft for removing a government-owned GPS tracking device from his [vehicle].  This month, the state’s Supreme Court began considering the case…in July 2018…the Warrick County Sheriff’s Office got a warrant to attach a GPS tracking device to Derek Heuring’s car…[after a cop claimed that a snitch told] them…Heuring was…sell[ing] meth…Heuring…discovered and removed it…[so cops got] a warrant to search Heuring’s home and…found methamphetamine and [the GPS tracker]…So Heuring was charged both with drug dealing and with theft of the GPS device…the search…[was] illegal because the police didn’t have probable cause…[for] theft…[and] even if Heuring did [remove] the device…it…wasn’t…labeled as the property of the [pigs]…most important…multiple justices seemed skeptical of the idea that taking a tracking device off your own car amounted to theft…

Disaster (#988)

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

[Busybodies in San Jose absurdly fantasize that] a growing prostitution problem has made them prisoners in their own homes…[blah blah] “kids walking to school and seeing…underwear on the street” [THE HORROR!!!]…[sows role-play as sex workers] to catch the johns…[blah blah] proactive…[blah blah] criminal element…[blah blah] send a strong message…[blah blah] innocent moms…being a target for johns…

There is no bourgeois housewife fantasy funnier than the notion that they are so hot men just can’t keep from propositioning them or that they’ll be stalked by “sex traffickers” in Ikea.

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We shudder to think what [a duck] hyped up on meth would do.
–  Loretto Police Department

Art Neville, the eldest of New Orleans’ own Neville Brothers, died on Monday at the age of 81; like Dr. John, the Nevilles were more an institution than a mere band.  This is my favorite of his songs, recorded with his band The Meters in 1975; you may also remember this hit about a New Orleans whore, which the Meters produced (along with Alan Toussaint) and were the backing band on.  The links above it were provided by Mark Draughn, Franklin Harris, Jesse Walker, Emma Evans, David Wraith, and Brooke Magnanti, in that order.

From the Archives

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If two people choose to engage in carnal activities, the terms of the encounter should be up to them, not the government.  –  Steve Chapman

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

…KTRK [reporters were]…with [lying pigs]…as they [sexually assaulted Houston women in order to destroy their lives]…The…[cops’ victims] were [then] arrested for prostitution [while reporters gawked & added images of scantily-clothed women to their spank banks.  One of the pigs oinked]…”Most massage parlors we go into are fronts for prostitution and human trafficking [so we really enjoy raping them while fantasizing they’re victims of others besides us]”…”I’m very passionate about [masturbating while thinking of] this”…said Ann Johnson, a [prohibitionist masquerading as a] defense attorney…

Confined and Controlled (#335)

This isn’t intended to increase sex workers’ range of options, but to control us a la Nevada:

Italian…League party leader Matteo Salvini’ [said]…“I would back reopening the ‘closed houses’…taking [sex workers]…off the streets is the right thing to do”…Efforts by previous governments to [criminalize sex work]…or [impose humiliating and unnecessary government]…health [inspections] have failed…

Shift in the Wind (#762)

Pro-decriminalization essays in newspapers are no longer a rarity:

The trafficking victims were mostly underage, held in harsh servitude and forced to spend long hours satisfying the needs of paying customers.  Prostitutes at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla.?  No.  An egg farm in Ohio where, federal authorities reported, kids as young as 14 were put to work cutting beaks off chickens and shoveling chicken excrement…in the St. Louis area, “agriculture, landscaping, construction and domestic servitude represented the top industries for forced labor.”  Is a homeowner whose lawn is done by a landscaping crew a monster because some of the workers were trafficked? How would the homeowner know? How would Kraft have known?  But commercial sex carries a stigma that lawn mowing doesn’t.  Anti-prostitution alarmists insist that…only criminal coercion, unconscionable manipulation or poverty could induce anyone to endure such shame.  Plenty of sex workers…disagree.  One of them is Maggie McNeill, whose new documentary is called The War on Whores.  She says, “We all have to make a living. There’s no rational reason for anyone to say that my choices are less valid merely because they involve sex”…

Guinea Pigs (#881) 

First it was supposedly about “terrorists”, then “sex trafficking”, and your business or home is next:

A central component of the recent…massage-parlor [pogroms] was the secret installation of hidden cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.  Now defense attorneys are challenging the legality of this…such surveillance stems from a provision of the PATRIOT Act that was passed [under the pretense that]…the power [would only be used] against possible terrorists.  “But the tactic has spilled over to…other [so-called] crimes”…notes Lisa J. Hurriash at the South Florida Sun Sentinel…Police were able to secretly install the surveillance cameras thanks to a sneak-and-peek warrant…[which] in practice [ha]ve mainly been used in [surveillance] of drug [users]…”sneak and peek warrants are not just being used in exceptional circumstances…but as an everyday investigative tool,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned five years ago…just as…cops and fed[s]…have used anti-terrorism tools to prosecute potheads, they’ve been keen on attacking all prostitution…as “human trafficking,” a federal crime.  Police in Palm Beach and Jupiter counties have been trotting out that claim this time too, although no sex trafficking or forced labor charges have been filed

Damned Lies (#886)

I guess it’s a good thing that Politifact once again debunked the “whores only live 7 years” lie, quoting veteran activist Bella Robinson in the process (its first debunking of the same lie was in May 2015, and quoted yours truly).  I just wish they weren’t so ridiculously timid about it, and that these debunkings were actually reprinted by other sources so we wouldn’t have to hear the same completely-ridiculous claims again and again and again, especially by politicians as support for expanding the police state.

To Molest and Rape (#887) 

In which rape of minors is described as “caregiving”:

Thousands of migrant children…suffered sexual abuse…[at the hands of] U.S. government [actors] over the past four years…over a thousand allegations of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors [locked in cages by the government]…were reported to federal authorities each fiscal year since 2015.  In total, between October 2014 and July 2018, 4,556 sexual abuse complaints were reported to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)…[which will] not reveal specific information about the [rapists except]…in 178 cases [where]…the Justice Department [reported] adult caregivers at U.S. facilities were reported to have sexually abused migrant minors…California Rep. Lou Correa…accused the Trump administration of a “systematic cover up” [but had nothing to say about the over 2000 rapes that occured during the Obama administration]…Most of the accused [rapist screws, pigs, spooks and paper-pushers mentioned by the DoJ] were immediately removed from duty and some cases were referred to [other pigs]…Some…were terminated, but others were reinstated…

Because abducting, caging & raping kids isn’t “sex trafficking” when the government does it.

Divided We Fall (#902)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

…in the six months following Southern Decadence, several citations have been issued by the Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Office (ATC) to multiple LGBTQ+ bars and spaces across New Orleans in an operation that appears similar to [the raids on strip clubs] in 2016 [and early 2018].  The ATC [pretend]s that they are not targeting the LGBTQ+ community, but simply investigating and responding to complaints that have been called into their office [by cops]…at least one Bourbon Street strip club had its license suspended…[plus] two others…in New Orleans East…Michael Musa…[of] the Rawhide Lounge [said]…they received “numerous fines, citations, and imposed regulations on how to operate.”  The Rawhide chose to fight the ATC…whichattempted to persuade The Rawhide into dropping the case or accepting a settlement on the issue…Rawhide declined several settlement offers in the interest of protecting their community…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#903) 

If you think about it, this was a wholly predictable development:

Some adult dancers in Los Angeles say they aren’t getting a fair shake at…strip clubs…The group calls themselves “Soldiers of Pole” and they…want, among other things, fair wages after…a state court ruling changed their status from independent contractors to actual employees.  Now clubs have to pay them an hourly wage but…management is keeping a bigger chunk of their tips, and charging them new fees.  “We no longer should have to pay to work.  We shouldn’t have to pay house fees.  We shouldn’t have to give any sort of percentage of our tips to management or any other employees”…

On Tape

Prohibitionists: “Where on Earth did Trump get the idea that ‘sex trafficking’ victims are transported in trucks with their mouths taped?

Jordan Giddens [fantasizes] he was drugged, assaulted and nearly became a victim of human trafficking back in 2015…Giddens [claims] someone drugged his drink at a Birmingham bar while he was in the restroom…“We pulled up behind a U-Haul…which literally had people with duct taped mouths and their hands behind their back.  And at that point I really started to freak out and realize, okay something is wrong.” Giddens managed to escape [with his super kung-fu powers], but not all are as fortunate.  [His wanking fantasy is promoted by] Sunny Slaughter…a [self-proclaimed] anti-human trafficking expert [who] has [told this and similar tall tales] in several current human trafficking courses for [cops] in Alabama…

Signs (#912)

Dallas Morning News “sex trafficking” propaganda is deeply stupid even by the low standards of US “journalism”:

Pretty Woman…reveals the longstanding complicity of the hospitality industry in the trafficking of sex.  Early in the film, the hotel manager takes Vivian aside and says he is “willing to overlook” the trafficking of sex for “special guests” of the hotel, as long as she dresses “more appropriately”…hotels and motels too often turn a blind eye to sex trafficking.  Sadly, many businesses choose profit over freedom for the thousands of young women and girls…It’s also owners, managers and workers in the transportation industry, including airlines, rental car, limousine and taxi companies and other ride-sharing services…

Don’t be misled by the incredible idiocy of using a Disney adaptation of “Cinderella” as “proof” of anything, nor by the blatant equation of sex work with “slavery”:  this article is paid propaganda for Polaris’ new drive to cajole, trick, shame & manipulate every public-facing industry into acting as a fascist surveillance network intended to curtail the freedom of all women by summoning the pigs to harass us if we dare move about the world as men do.

Safe Position (#918)

A positive article on Decrim NY in Jezebel, which has never been very good on sex work:

…members of Decrim NY hope to leverage a reactive political climate to make New York the first state in the country to successfully enact this kind of reform…Unlike the so-called “Nordic model”…the group is hoping to…decriminaliz[e] the practice entirely…Though even Amnesty International voted to endorse full decriminalization three years ago, reform in America has been [nonexistent]…Anti-[sex worker] organizations invoke ghoulish scenarios and claim decriminalization will make women unsafe…Decrim NY responded to [Kamala] Harris, saying her call for a model that criminalized people who buy sex, particularly following her previous positions…[is] “about political opportunism while still getting to do the dangerous moralizing on sex work that, quite literally, kills people in our country”…There is overwhelming research supporting the idea that police and state interaction with sex workers makes an already vulnerable population even more unsafe, and that laws as they’re currently written, in addition to being absurd and ripe for abuse, facilitate deeply biased practices…

See the next item for more on Harris’ opportunistic lies.

Top Cop (#918)

The hopelessly-square Advocate tries to neuter an excellent anti-Copmala op-ed by slapping a weaselly headline on it:

…headlines [claiming that Kamala Harris supports decriminalizing sex work] are irresponsible and false…Harris has a career-long history of anti-sex worker efforts.  In 2008, Harris advocated against a ballot initiative that would decriminalize sex work in San Francisco, saying, “I think it’s completely ridiculous”…Harris did more than “support” FOSTA/SESTA — she was integral to their passage…and released a statement of victory when they passed…Harris clarifies her stance on prostitution…as…the Nordic model…she sees the act of buying sex as…crime…[on the topic of] Backpage.com…she dramatically repeats the phrase, “They were selling children”…Gay men, in particular, should bristle at th[is] decades-old…argument, which has been used by politicians for decades to strip us of employment and attack our rights.  For Harris, “selling children” is a scare tactic, a buzzword for people who don’t understand much about…sex work…

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Mardi Gras 2019


Maybe the places where many of y’all live don’t observe it, but I still do. So Happy Mardi Gras, dear readers!

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Speaking for myself and my…Jamaican family, we wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from [Kamala’s] travesty.  –  Donald Harris

Rough Trade 

Cops wait a year to arrest a dangerous, violent serial rapist.  Guess why?

…a 31-year-old [Dublin] tradesman…imprisoned, stripped, beat…and [raped a sex worker], who escaped out a window and ran naked onto a main road, where she flagged down a taxi…he al[so] pulled clumps of hair out of a second prostitute’s head and raped her, as well as robbing both women.  Judge Bryan Smyth [gave him]…bail [anyhow.  The first attack took place]…in June, 2016…and…the second…in [sic] February 4, 2018…

Amsterdam

Note that this positive article appeared on CNN, one of the major pushers of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Amsterdam…isn’t as liberal for sex workers as many believe.  Sex work has been legal in some form in the Netherlands since 1830, but it was recognized as a legal profession in 1988.  In 2000, a law made the job subject to municipal regulation, requiring a license to operate and following certain rules set by a municipality…so each can differ.  For example, they can decide how many licenses to give out…The only places that have decriminalized sex work are New Zealand and the state of New South Wales in Australia.  In both places, sex work is not penalized through punitive laws, and regulation are premised on worker health and safety, as with any other profession…The reform in New Zealand…reduced violence against sex workers, increased their comfort in reporting abuse to the police and improved police attitudes toward sex workers, according to the country’s Ministry of Justice.  Research also showed that decriminalization in New Zealand resulted in sex workers being better able to refuse clients and insist on condom use. One study showed that decriminalization has the potential to reduce discrimination as well as denials of justice…

To Molest and Rape 

It’s rare and surprising to see the acts of a rapist cop actually called “rape”:

A…Wilmington [Delaware cop]…was charged with second-degree rape at the conclusion of a four-month [attempt at a cover-up]…Thomas R. Oliver Jr…on October 16, 2018…pulled up alongside a woman and told her to get into the front seat of the vehicle.  Oliver exposed himself to the woman, and told her she had active warrants for her arrest, but he would allow her to leave if she [sucked his disgusting pig dick]…Oliver grabbed the victim by the head and [orally raped her]…

The End of the Beginning (#772) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

“Sex offenders are not second-class citizens,” writes U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins in a recent decision overturning two provisions of the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act (ASORCNA)…The lead plaintiff…pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure in the early 1990s, when he was living in Wisconsin.  He received a six-month suspended sentence for each charge and was not required to register as a sex offender, even after moving to Alabama in 1994.  But 14 years later, Alabama expanded its registry, forcing Doe to comply with ASORCNA’s numerous demands and restrictions under threat of imprisonment.  Among other things, that meant his driver’s license was marked with the phrase “CRIMINAL SEX OFFENDER” in bold red letters…Judge Watkins ruled that Alabama’s branding of registered sex offenders’ identification cards is a form of compelled speech prohibited by the First Amendment…Another aspect of Alabama’s “debilitating sex-offender scheme” is a requirement that people in the registry report “email addresses or instant message addresses or identifiers used”…”An offender must report to the police every time he connects to a Wi-Fi spot at a new McDonald’s, every time he uses a new computer terminal at a public library…Every time he walks into a new coffee shop, he must determine whether opening his laptop is worth the hassle of reporting”…the demand for information about online activity applied to…the…plaintiffs even though their offenses had nothing to do with the internet or children…

Lack of Evidence (#805)

All cops or prosecutors will need to do to get around this law is say the magic words “sex trafficking”:

San Francisco’s [largely-cosmetic] policy protecting sex workers is now being pitched on the state level.  California Sen. Scott Wiener…introduce[d] legislation Monday that would prevent law enforcement from arresting and charging sex workers who come forward as victims or witnesses to serious crimes [unless they decide to charge the sex workers with “trafficking” instead].  The proposed law, SB233, would also prevent [cops] from using condoms as probable cause to arrest a sex worker…Wiener said…“We want to [fool]…sex workers [in]to feel[ing] safe in reporting crimes”…

San Francisco, which as the article states first enacted this “policy”, took only two months to get around it by declaring a “sex trafficking” exception and forming a vice squad specifically intended to “abate” sex workers.  You know, like a disease.

Overdue

Another example of our culture’s obsession with form over substance:

They used chopped-up chalk as fake crack cocaine and cloaked their white skin in blackface makeup.  Then the two [pigs] hit the streets of Baton Rouge, hoping to fool interested drug buyers in the predominantly black neighborhood into believing they were dealers.  “Not only do they not know we’re cops — they don’t even know we’re white!” then-Detective Frankie Caruso told the Advocate newspaper in 1993, the year the undercover blackface operation took place.  Now, 26 years later, the Baton Rouge Police Department is apologizing for the tactics after a police yearbook photo of the two disguised cops surfaced, marking the latest blackface scandal to ensnare authority figures and the first this year involving undercover police…

They’re not apologizing for intentionally destroying lives, or for specifically targeting black people for something that shouldn’t even be illegal; nope, they’re just apologizing because they did so inappropriately.

Safe Position

Though these legislative “studies” are useless, perhaps they’ll normalize the topic:

Bella Robinson…and her organization, COYOTE – RI, are working with Brown University and advocating for a new bill…sponsored by Rep. Anastasia Williams [which] proposes a commission to study the health and safety impact of sex work laws.  “Crackdowns against sex workers…[are because] we prioritize [religious] morals over the safety of people involved in the sex industry,” said Meghan Peterson, a Brown University researcher…one prominent opponent…is Donna Hughes, [architect of the]…[re-]criminalization [of sex work] in 2009…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#868) 

At least they’re not calling this an “escort service”:

…the advertising for Doll Next Door brings a host of questions about how this latest trend in sexual services will be regulated in Edmonton, if at all…the service offers customers the choice of a two-hour booking or overnight rental with one of five doll models…the doll is then sent in discreet packaging to the customer’s home or a specified hotel…Kelly Jenny, a sex therapist at Insight Psychological, said she can see the benefits associated with sex dolls, but says they can also be used [as magical transformation devices] to objectify women

Pyrrhic Victory (#894) 

More on Amazon’s campaign to end privacy forever:

…Amazon…Ring products come with access to a social app called Neighbors that allows customers to not just to keep tabs on their own property, but also to share [accusations]…with the rest of the block…Forming decentralized 19th-century vigilance committees with 21st-century technology has been a toxic move, as shown by apps like…Nextdoor, which tends to foster lively discussions about nonwhite people strolling through various suburbs.  But Ring stands alone as…an avowed attempt to merge 24/7 video, ubiquitous computer sensors, and facial recognition, and deliver it to local police on a platter.  It’s no surprise then that police departments from Bradenton, Florida, to Los Angeles have leapt to “partner” with Ring…

Just a reminder that the word for such authoritarian corporate/government “partnerships” is “fascism”.

The Prudish Giant (#895)

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

For years, King Cake Snob…has used visitor feedback to choose the best king cakes in various categories in the lead up to Mardi Gras.  So…the site decided to build some interest with a sponsored Facebook post…featuring ten tiny plastic king cake babies — all of which were, as usual, in the buff.  However, though the image remains up, Facebook decided to flag it as ineligible for a paid “sponsored” post…“This ad isn’t running because it includes an image or video depicting excessive skin or nudity…This kind of material is sensitive in nature”…

Top Cop

Copmala tried to sell her dad’s heritage for political coin, and he’s not happy:

United States (US) presidential hopeful Kamala Harris faced scathing criticisms from her father for attributing her support for the legalisation of marijuana to her…heritage.  “Half my family is from Jamaica, are you kidding me?” Kamala Harris responded when asked if she smoked marijuana during an interview…Donald Harris has “categorically” disassociated himself and his family from “this travesty” and slammed his daughter for stereo-typing her heritage for political gain.  “My dear departed grandmothers as well as my deceased parents must be turning in their grave right now to see their family’s name, reputation and proud Jamaican identity being connected…with the fraudulent stereotype of a pot-smoking joy seeker…in the pursuit of identity politics”…Harris [said]…

Legislators Gone Wild (#909) 

This story just keeps getting uglier and filthier:

Former Lyon County Sheriff Al McNeil was the largest campaign contributor to the End Trafficking and Prostitution political action committee before the 2018 election, campaign finance records show.  McNeil made contributions totaling $1,499.  Each of McNeil’s two contributions were under $1,000, which avoided mandatory reporting before the election under state campaign finance law…

Worse Than I Thought (#914)

Condemning consenting adults to the “sex offender” registry is the latest “monkey see, monkey do” fad:

Pennsylvania…[politician] Kim Ward wants…a change to state law that would require those convicted of [any sex work related “crime”]…to the…sex offender…[registry]…

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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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Stormy Daniels is…not speaking out because it’s fun or a great career move.  –  Savannah Sly

One Size Fits All

This is almost three years old, but it’s too good to pass up:

Many children in west Africa are brought up in households belonging to people other than their own parents.  There is a long tradition of fostering, yet in many cases the practice is now [claimed] to constitute “trafficking” or “modern slavery” because the children involved are put to work during their stay.  This makes little sense, yet the terminology of “human trafficking” and its consequences—namely that the “traffickers” involved should be prosecuted—has remained in vogue since at least 2000 with the support of European and American funding.  This has almost certainly caused more harm than good…ideas and methods imported from Europe and North America…have sought to prevent children from working away from home, rather than to protect children from harm regardless of where they live and whether they were at work or school.  This approach fails to adapt to the realities of childhood in west Africa and the practicalities of growing up in villages with little infrastructure…

Pyrrhic Victory

Toward the end of privacy, everywhere:

…the CLOUD Act…was never reviewed or marked up by any committee in either the House or the Senate.  It never received a hearing.  It was robbed of a stand-alone floor vote because Congressional leadership decided, behind closed doors, to attach this un-vetted, unrelated data bill to the $1.3 trillion government spending bill…All the bill requires now is the president’s signature…Because of this…U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize…your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online…without a warrant and with few restrictions…the CLOUD Act…will…Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people’s communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant…Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge…Allow the U.S. president to enter “executive agreements” that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws…Allow foreign police to collect someone’s data without notifying them about it…Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it’s a U.S. person’s or not, no matter where it is stored…

Whatever They Need To Say

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

Gentrification is often seen as an organic process that cities undergo.  Jeremiah Moss, the author of the book and blog Vanishing New York … says, “Gentrification was originally defined as the process by which working-class neighborhoods are changed into middle-class neighborhoods by the middle-class who buy homes there…Now we’re dealing with something much larger and more destructive — what I refer to as hyper gentrification which is not an organic process.  It’s the government stepping in with policies and zoning to remake the city for the upper classes.  In order to that, outlaws have to be removed, including sexual outlaws.  So adult businesses have to go…The hyper-gentrified city must be safe, friendly, and welcoming for tourist families and major corporations”…Shutting down adult businesses was on the top of [New York] Mayor Giuliani’s list throughout his terms.  Giuliani claimed strip clubs, peep shows, and x-rated video stores were “corrosive institutions” that contaminated neighborhoods and prevented “legitimate businesses” from prospering…

Blunt Instrument 

“Sex trafficking” is such a convenient weapon to use against adult businesses:

The Milwaukee Common Council voted not to renew the license of a…night club [using] sex trafficking [claims].  The vote came after…neighborhood [complaints that]…the owner of Tatou Ultra Pub…planned to renew the club’s license and then sell the business to VLive, a nationwide chain of strip clubs…aldermen were warned that the city attorney’s office could have trouble defending the city in court if aldermen failed to renew the license…residents [pretended] Tatou had contributed to loud noise and reckless driving in the area…[yet] there…were no recent police records documenting any nuisance activity at the club…

Under Every Bed

Population 36,000:

The Westerville [Ohio] community is learning how to spot signs of human trafficking after police busted a local massage parlor for prostitution.  [Cops pretend] they’ve seen an increase in human trafficking in the area…”It’s not the stereotypical human trafficking we’re used to.  A lot of these ladies can come and go, but they are threatened to stay in that environment,” Chief [Pig] Morbitzer [fantasized while playing pocket pool]…”One we shut down for prostitution reasons, one we cited for taxation reasons and one that was trying to open up was prohibited because of zoning code issues”…a…community meeting was hosted by the [pigs, a “diversion” program protecting its funding]…The Salvation Army, and [another rescue industry group]…

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 7 already this year:

[A trans woman was murdered] in Baton Rouge, LA…Amia Tyrae Berryman…was 28 years old.  Her body was found at…a…motel…with gunshot injuries…local media stating WBRZ…misgendered her

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

The next generation of sex worker security apps:

A new security application, Artemis’ Umbrella, has been developed for sex workers in Finland, and can be used anywhere in the world.  The app alerts a trusted contact when sex workers are in trouble, and uses location services to track the smart phone…it is possible to alert a pre-arranged friend if something like a customer meeting goes wrong and needs help.  The alarm can be triggered via the alarm button or via the timer (the alarm will be triggered if the function is not shut down in time).  Both alerts will also include the person’s location information…the application was…tested…in both Helsinki and Mumbai…

Morality Lessons (#783)

“The National Center on Sexual Exploitation” is the new self-aggrandizing name for pro-censorship fanatics Morality in Media:

…After collaborative dialogue with NCOSE, Walmart will remove Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines at 5,000 stores across the country. Protecting minors from the sexually explicit material that Cosmopolitan embodies and perpetuates has been a long-time priority of NCOSE

Agenda

Is this dumbass for real?

…I am pretty disappointed in the modern high-priced prostitutes of today.  They have no sense of honor and ethics…I do think that at one time in history there were professional prostitution ethics, where whatever happened between a man and his paid companion, there was the security of keeping things private.  In today’s world there seems to be no honor between a man and his contractual relationship between him and his paid companion…There is no honor among the profession…What’s the world coming to when you can’t trust a whore anymore?…

I can almost believe this ignorant weed’s claim that he’s never paid for sex, because he seems to know even less about whores than the average prohibitionist.  Besides his obviously-wrong-on-its-face central theme, he makes totally backward assertions like “Solon, the great Athenian legislator, was the first to actually legalize prostitution…”  No, you idiot, Solon was the first to try to criminalize prostitution.  Where do morons like this get this shit?  Do they literally look in the toilet and say, “Hey, that looks good, I’ll use it as a ‘fact’ in my next essay”?  WTF?  Why does every fuckwad think five minutes on Google make him an expert in my profession?  But I guess I’d better stop now, before I infuriate myself.

Morality Lessons (#820) 

It looks like Chris Sevier, the anti-porn fanatic behind the “mandatory porn filter” bills now making the rounds of US state legislatures, is about to do a massive pratfall:

Elizabeth Smart sent a cease-and-desist letter to prevent her name from being used to push a Rhode Island bill that would require a $20 fee to view pornography online…It is one of several similar bills pushed by Chris Sevier, who says the bill would protect children…Sevier said he chose Smart’s name as a tagline for the bill…[until he was] told…Smart was potentially pursuing legal action, [after which he claimed] the…name had been given to the [bill] by lawmakers…his website…specifically refers to [it] as “the Elizabeth Smart law”…[fellow anti-porn fanatics Morality in Media] has slammed Sevier for falsely claiming the[y]…supported his work…Earlier this month, a federal judge in Utah threw out Sevier’s lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop…

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Sevier, here’s an article from last year:

…Sevier has a warrant out for his arrest in Tennessee for failure to appear at criminal contempt proceedings….[arising from failure] to pay child support and violat[ing] a restraining order…[stemming] from Sevier’s 2011 arrest and  conviction for assaulting his father-in-law…Sevier’s baby was also injured in the altercation…Sevier claims that the Human Trafficking Prevention Act was hatched in part due to the horrors he saw as a volunteer in Asian countries, where he was “physically fighting human trafficking” as a rescue worker with an organization called Orphan Secure…[but] the president of Orphan Secure, Ronaldo Lopez…said that Sevier’s time with the group…amounted to a few broken promises…Despite repeatedly claiming he can legally practice law in two states, official records suggest Sevier is not licensed to practice law anywhere…a petition against him for ethical violations was pending in 2011 when the court temporarily inactivated his license based on a mental disability…

Not So Easy (#821)

A deeper look at the sleazy lies politicians are using to destroy women’s jobs:

…The raids seem…connected to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s  new vision of Bourbon Street as a family-friendly tourist destination, a vain attempt to gentrify one of the country’s most legendary red light districts as it approaches its 300th anniversary.  This vision…has the mark of Christian moralizing that has recently taken on new potency.  In October, Mayor Landrieu hired conservative Christian lawyer Scott Bergthold, whose Chattanooga-based law firm has a reputation for targeting strip clubs across the country.  The mayor also appointed a few key people to put together a study on trafficking, including councilperson Kristin Palmer, a longtime opponent of strip clubs; and Jim Kelly of Covenant House, part of a chain of nonprofit, Catholic-affiliated homeless shelters…The Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force says in its official documents that it’s targeting trafficking, but…they use words like prostitution and trafficking interchangeably, and they don’t recognize a categorical difference…[though an attempt at capping the number of strip clubs failed 4-3 in the City Council] clubs…must operate under new regulations.  Dancers are no longer allowed to twerk (defined as a “simulation of sex” per the state lewd act law), fondle their own breasts, or have exposed nipples; these are now defined as “lewd and lascivious conduct.”  Club managers must…post anti-trafficking posters from…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking (COAST).  COAST is in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security; the posters encourage workers to report abuse to a number which goes directly to ICE…if you’re an undocumented immigrant, there’s no guarantee  your rescue won’t also include deportation

Disaster

Even bootlicking Time seems to grasp that something bad has happened:

…The decision by Craigslist to stop hosting personal ads came as a preemptive move after Congress passed [FOSTA]…a sweeping piece of legislation intended to [harm sex workers]…The legislation targets websites that “promote or facilitate” prostitution, even in jurisdictions where prostitution is legal; individuals operating those sites face up to ten years in prison…The bill’s ambiguous terms threaten to impugn not only Craigslist, but any website or forum that accommodates discussion of the sex trade…these sites are crucial to [sex workers’] safety: they provide the community with a platform to share information about dangerous clientele (known as “bad date lists”) and other occupational hazards.  Advocates for these communities have also argued that eliminating the sex trade’s online presence will in fact make cases of actual human trafficking harder to identify…

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

I’m proud to see my dear friend Savannah Sly in Teen Vogue, which is turning into an important ally:

…Given how she’s described her situation, it makes sense that Stormy Daniels would sign a nondisclosure agreement…in exchange for $130,000…Many people (particularly sex workers and mothers) may do the same thing in the hopes of making a situation go away.  Also, the odds that a porn star would be believed (or treated with respect) by the public are slim to none.  Society callously condones the slut-shaming, misogyny, and discrimination that sex workers regularly suffer.  Regardless of how we try to sanitize and make palpable our professions, sex workers are seen as irresponsible “sluts” who deserve what we get, even when we’re murdered.  Porn stars, who are some of the most visible sex workers, suffer intense volumes of hate mail, doxing, stalking, and online bullying simply because they’re brazen enough to be publicly and commercially sexual…

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