Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Laws don’t pay my bills!  –  unnamed Glasgow street worker

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Laura Lee on the appalling blindness of “authorities”:

…The last victim of Jack the Ripper, [Mary] Kelly’s body was so badly mutilated that she could only be identified by her hair and eyebrows…Fast forward 127 years and we have surely progressed a great deal since then in terms of sex worker safety, right?  Well no, actually.  If anything it’s worse.  Following the removal of the tolerance zone for street prostitution in Edinburgh, crimes against sex workers shot up by 95%.  The reason for that is simple, it became known that the police were no longer there to protect the workers, but rather to harass and arrest them, and their clients.  Let’s make a clear distinction for once and all, many attackers of sex workers are not or will never be “sex buyers”.  They are predators, looking for an easy target, and they know that sex workers are alone, vulnerable and highly unlikely to report an attack to the police…152 sex workers have been murdered since 1990.  How many more Mary Kellys must we have before the penny drops that leaving vulnerable people open to attack is not a good policy?

The Lesser of Two Evils Vatican City

If the Church were sanely-run, this article would be true:

The newest leaked information associated with the Vatileaks scandal states that properties owned by the Vatican along Piazza Barberini and the Italian parliament have now been converted to “massage parlours” and saunas, and their patrons are priests.  The leaked document points to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith…[which] owns and operates numerous properties within Rome.  The properties in question are referred to as “peppercorn rents” and are said to be leased for cheap to “powerful colleagues” of the religious institution…

Check Your Premises

They worked for themselves, but it’s a “ring” and the cops are looking for “pimps”:

Four women have been arrested as part of an alleged prostitution ring operating in Mississippi…Arrested were Anjeni’ Qyanik Moore, 34, of Norfolk, Virginia; Heaven Leigh Nix, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee; Joneka Santrice Burns, 24, of Jackson, Mississippi; and Candace Renee Stewart, 30, of Byhalia, Mississippi…MBI spokesman Warren Strain said the women were working independently and are not believed to be victims of human trafficking.  He declined to say…whether they worked with pimps, citing an ongoing investigation…

Saving Them From Themselves

Lock ’em all up, New York!  Let’s put the entire next generation on the “sex offender” registry!

…17 states have changed their child pornography laws so that teenagers who swap nude photos of themselves with each other are not automatically treated as felons.  One of those states is New York, which makes an exception for images exchanged between people 20 or younger whose ages are no more than five years apart.  In such cases, the “offenders” can avoid criminal charges by undergoing an eight-hour “education reform program” that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying.  Despite that provision, two Long Island teenagers were recently charged with felonies for producing and disseminating a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl…the two boys…are both 14…the boys…were each charged with…disseminating indecent material to minors and promoting a sexual performance by a child…In addition to the two boys who were arrested, 20 students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The cops are happy to serve as an ex’s revenge goons:

A 50-year-old woman…has been sentenced for soliciting prostitution…Marisa Frances Lang pleaded guilty to prostitution in a public place…and to disorderly conduct…Judge Michael A. Fahey…placed Lang on two years of probation.  She was ordered to continue mental health treatment and counseling…and must pay $585 in fines and fees…her ex-husband’s [ratting her out to cops]…led to a sting operation…

Finding What Isn’t There

“Authorities” amazed that an imaginary problem doesn’t materialize in response to their “mandating” that it exists:

…Around the country, pimps…force thousands of…women and girls…into prostitution every day.  Florida has the third highest number of sex trafficking cases…Reformers have argued that prostitutes are victims, not criminals, and more effort should be made to go after human traffickers – the pimps…Despite this new focus, a statewide analysis…found that efforts…to investigate and prosecute sex traffickers have yielded few results…[“rescue” profiteers pretend] the image of the independent prostitute, working for herself and selling sex by choice, is rarely accurate…“I [fantasize] the majority who are in the life have been the victims of trafficking,” said Katariina Rosenblatt, founder of There Is HOPE for Me…

The Widening Gyre 

The “Facebook pimps” myth is one of the silliest of the whole panic:

…Traffickers worldwide are increasingly using social media to contact vulnerable teenagers and sell them into sex work…Once limited to luring victims in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools in their arsenal.  “If just one of them answers … traffickers can make thousands of dollars off that girl very quickly,” said Andrea Powell, founder and director of FAIR Girls…a growing trend in the United States is to use WhatsApp or Snapchat where messages evaporate over time…Europol…said social media and other online technology have not only taken the recruitment and selling process off the streets but also allow traffickers to control victims using remote surveillance…

Here the magical “pimp” mind-control powers are claimed to be exerted via some mumbo-jumbo fantasy technology.Lucy Steigerwald

Shift in the Wind

Lucy Steigerwald presents a pro-decriminalization argument to a conservative audience:

Unfortunately, while the war on one vice dials back, law enforcement and government fight hard against another supposed danger…these days it sure seems as if the hot new thing to swoon over and vow to “do something” about is prostitution.  Worse than that, it’s prostitution-slash-sex trafficking, vaguely hand-waved together as the same thing…the solution to the latter is to legalize the former.  It’s that easy.  Or it could be, if people would do two things: stop filing trafficking with prostitution, and stop pretending that laws against selling and purchasing sex actually prevent people from selling and purchasing sex…Both hand-wringing liberals and worried social conservatives need to realize that some sex workers—perhaps the vast majority—have no need of rescue.  They need their line of work to be taken out of the black-market shadows.  They need to be left alone…We tend to look back with shame and bafflement at the obviously absurd moral panics that have gripped our society, but only after the damage has been done.  We are in the middle of a sex trafficking panic that not only exaggerates the threat that prostitutes pose to the moral fiber of society but, worse still, makes enormous exaggerations about the number of sex-trafficked (mostly) women and children…

Fever Dream

It’s like they’re not even trying any more:

Law enforcement officials on all levels – from local to international – are working together to crack down on human trafficking, which is a growing problem…[fetishists] call it “modern day slavery,” and it’s happening right here in East Tennessee…pimps…target young girls…on…social media…Interstate 40 is a convenient corridor for sex traffickers…the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking…[trains] people to recognize victimization…traffickers and pimps employ manipulation…21 of Tennessee’s 95 counties reported at least 16 cases of sex trafficking involving a minor in 2010…

Yes, that’s the same discredited study they’re still quoting despite the fact that it isn’t even supported by the cops’ own records.

Shame, Shame

Here’s a excellent article on the State’s two-faced attitude toward “revenge porn”:

…Sex workers themselves are erased from anti–revenge-porn rhetoric.  Proposed remedies for revenge porn—criminalization of disclosures and liability for third-party websites—fail to address the sex-work stigma that creates repercussions for victims of revenge porn.  When a woman has her Google results bombed with nude photos and fake sex ads, she won’t pass a screening when she tries to get a job—because she’ll be mistaken for a sex worker.  The solution, we conclude, is to remove all possibility of that mistake—rather than to remove what bars a sex worker from getting that job…We propose new criminal statutes and partner with the police, even as the police threaten to post photos of sex workers during “busts” on social media accounts.  These are women who are being locked out of jobs because of nude photos of them on the Internet.  These are women who are being publicly disgraced as sex workers—because they are sex workers…the existence of sex work raises awkward questions about how to define revenge porn, how to understand its harms, and how to most appropriately redress its victims…

Blunt Instrument (#547)

And the gravy train just keeps rolling along:

Victims of human trafficking in Tampa Bay will have more access to legal help thanks to a $600,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant…Some…brothels take the form of what are called massage parlors.  Gulfcoast Legal Services attorney Sophia Lynn Denicolo says they can be hotbeds of human trafficking…

The Public Eye (#557)

Another sex work-positive article in Cosmopolitan.  Hey prohibitionists:  We’re winning.  And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

There are a few rules for dating a sex worker:  don’t compromise their cash flow by driving away their business, never out them to other people without their consent, and don’t expect them to eagerly perform activities they normally get paid to do for free…Ask any sex worker how they maintain their boundaries, and you’re in for a long conversation.  Some people develop a working identity that they keep entirely separate from their real-life persona, and others conflate the two.  Many sex workers desperately want to be out but don’t want to endure the invasive questions, or fear that their housing stability or the custody of their children would be compromised…The hardest boundary I’ve had to confront in my romantic relationships is the line between authentic desire in my work, and the “it’s just work” defense…But the world isn’t black-and-white, and while the vast majority of us are not regularly turned on by our work, real connections can happen with scene partners and genuine fun can be had with clients.  So where’s the line?…

Seizing Power (#574)

I’m adding Judge Posner to the very short list of men who can claim a freebie from me anytime they like:

A federal appeals court has ordered the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to cease lobbying major credit card companies that do business with…Backpage.com…At a hearing on Friday, Judge Richard Posner expressed unease with the notion, presented by the sheriff department attorneys, that Dart’s First Amendment rights protected his individual right to express his displeasure with Backpage to the credit card companies…on the sheriff department’s letterhead…“He can use the office of the sheriff to express any antipathy that he has to anything?” Posner posed to the sheriff’ department attorneys.  “So you’re saying there is no limit?  He can express his opinion on his office stationery on any subject that occurs to him.  What if he doesn’t like pets?  He doesn’t think people should have animals in their house.  He can suggest to everyone they euthanize their pets?”  Dart was also directed by the appeals court to send a copy of the order to Visa and Mastercard and all other recipients of the June 29 letter within 24 hours…

The recording is well worth your time, especially the segment from roughly the 18 minute mark to the 30 minute mark.  Dart’s mouthpiece clearly knows she’s spouting drivel, and the judges keep calling her on it.

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Sex workers will only put up with being misunderstood and harassed and arrested…for so long.  –  Cameryn MooreCynthia Payne

R.I.P. Cynthia Payne

The former brothel owner Cynthia Payne…has died aged 82…She first achieved notoriety in 1978 when police raided a “sex party” at her home in Streatham, south London, that was, in her own words “in full swing…When the case came to court in 1980, I was sent to prison for 18 months…but on appeal, this was reduced to six months and a hefty fine”…In a second trial in 1987, Payne was acquitted of controlling prostitutes…Her colourful life inspired two films, both released in 1987: Wish You Were Here…and Personal Services

The More the Better

thanks…to [the success of] a monthly storytelling event in Manhattan known as “The Red Umbrella Diaries”…sex workers are telling their stories to an even larger audience with the release of a new documentary of the same name…the original storytelling event launched in 2009…[and] was a chance for sex workers to openly share the kinds of stories they had long kept to themselves…Most media about sex work strives to be sexy, says Audacia Ray…but that’s not what the film is about…Ray says she hopes the documentary will “complicate” common notions about sex work…

Above the Law 

Sometimes cops even rape other cops:

A [fairly typical cop]…who stole public funds before faking his own murder also abused his position to bully a junior colleague into sex…Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, 52, was mourned as a fallen hero in Lake County, Illinois after he was gunned down by “armed suspects” on the eve of his retirement.  But investigators revealed…that…he…shot himself in the chest and staged the crime scene because he feared his corruption was about to be exposed.  Gliniewicz…embezzled a “five figure sum” from the Explorers youth training scheme and instead spent it on vacations, mortgage payments and adult websites…in 2009 a letter was sent to then then-mayor, Cynthia Irwin…alleging sexual harassment of a dispatcher…he [also racked up]…complaints from bouncers at local bars for being drunk and belligerent, as well as…[raping] Denise Sharpe Gretz, a [policewoman]…on five occasions…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The brave heroes of Washington DC put a stop to the menace of rogue twerkers:

A Las Vegas woman has been arrested for sexual assault after she and a friend twerked up against and groped at a male stranger in a D.C. convenience store.  One of the women also put her arms around him and attempted to kiss him…22-year-old Ayanna Marie Knight…[is] charged with third-degree sexual abuse.  If convicted, Knight could face a fine of up to $25,000 and up to 10 years in prison…”The search for the other woman in the video continues,” DCist reports…the man in the video—a D.C. teacher who wishes to remain anonymous—suggested that the women may have been trying to solicit him for prostitution or steal his wallet, and also that they might have been “men dressed like women”…As a proponent of gender-blind law, I understand…men have as much of a right as women not to be grabbed at by strangers in public.  Yet something about the whole business rubs me the wrong way…we seem to be headed toward a world where there can be zero ambiguity about even the mildest romantic or sexual advance without it being considered sexual assault…

Bottleneck (#135)

The narrower the neck, the more “illegal” sex work there will be:

Playboy.com took a peek into “New York’s underground lap dance parties” recently.  Essentially pop-up strip clubs sans the pole dancing, the parties feature pretty women willing to offer lap-dances and sometimes make-out sessions for $20 a song.  They switch locations around the city to avoid hassle from regulators and law enforcement…The piece goes on to…women working these clubs, strangely fixating on the fact these women are “girl next door” types, more wholesome than your average stripper allegedly is.  It’s the sort of distinction you also see made in pieces about “sugar babies,” and seems to work as a defense mechanism for both women working these gigs and men availing their services…While underground lap-dance clubs in New York City may not be new…New York City has also been cracking down on traditional strip clubs, using zoning and liquor laws to shut them down…These measures have also made it incredibly difficult for new strip clubs to open…

Policing for Profit 

Little Tin Gods

People sometimes ask me why I moved out of Louisiana.

…the names of the [cops] who [murdered] 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis…were released to the public.  It didn’t take long for local press to uncover extensive rap sheets for both officers, which included two indictments for aggravated rape.  Derrick Stafford…also has five pending civil suits against him for various complaints of excessive force, including breaking the arm of a 14-year-old girl on a school bus as well as assaulting and pepper-spraying a 15-year-old boy…Norris Greenhouse Jr…is named in several of the same suits for acting in tandem with Stafford…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#445)

With the exception of a few ideologues, the field of economics has pretty much come over to our side:

Peter Antonioni, co-author of Economics for Dummies…described how…criminalising…clients was akin to the economics of a banking crisis…”if you are in the nice guy category [and paying for sex is criminalised] you are probably not likely to take the risk or at least at some level you are going to be less likely to do so.  That then leaves in the market only the customers that the sex worker would prefer to reject.  Because half of their customers have dropped out of the market they are now under pressure to take anything available.”

Vendetta (#568)

They’re “changing hearts and minds”, all right, but against their tyranny:

City leaders are stepping up their attack on sex buyers in Phoenix in the wake of a prominent billboard campaign that began in July.  “This…is going to be a consistent effort for years and years until [Swanee Hunt’s money runs out]”…Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said…Cindy McCain had been [conspiring] with the Polaris Project, an anti-[sex worker corporation]…Angie Bayless is local coordinator for [Swanee Hunt’s front organization] CEASE…“We are changing hearts and minds about prostitution,” Bayless said…

Pearls Firmly Clutched (#571) 

Tits and Sass interviews Suzy Favor Hamilton:

…I wish that every time I express my pride in my own sexuality, or speak with any degree of positiv[ity] about my experience, about fellow sex workers, or about consensual sex work in general, the public did not immediately go to the “she’s not well” assumption.  Listen, I’ll always be bipolar.  I’ll be manic some days.  I’ll be depressed some days.  I’ll be “off” some days.  But the whole idea that any degree of support I offer for sex work and sex workers means I’m not well is insulting…

Against the Tide

With all the real information about sex workers available, and the receding support for prohibitionism, ignorant, pearl-clutching screeds like this are beginning to seem almost quaint:

…About 80 percent who work in the sex industry aren’t there by choice.  They are coerced.  They are threatened.  They are trafficked…These women are beaten.  Their families are threatened.  Their pimps, who are really their captors, hold their car deeds and immigration status and sometimes their families’ safety hostage.  When they aren’t monsters, they’re manipulators who use affection, love and security to lure women and girls deeper into their dark worlds.  Prostitution is now a crime against humanity, and we’re glad to see law enforcement cracking down on it, the pimps who run it and the johns who perpetrate it…We need to support our legislators who push for even tougher laws to punish pimps keeping the girls captive…

Welcome To Our World (#584)

The New York Times apologizes for libeling nail salons, kind of:

In the wake of an exhaustive three-part series by Reason‘s Jim Epstein, New York Times‘ Public Editor Margaret Sullivan has acknowledged that the paper’s May expose of the nail salon industry “went too far” in its claims…alas…she defends the Times‘ slowness to respond to Epstein’s criticism by legitimating epistemic closure of the worst kind:  “Until now, The Times has not responded…because they think the magazine, which generally opposes regulation, is reporting from a biased point of view.”  That’s a pretty amazing admission that the Times will do whatever it can to avoid uncomfortable scrutiny.  Yes, Reason is explicitly libertarian…What that has to do with factual assertions and a very clear, step-by-step refutation of Nir’s account, remains unclear…a Times reporter can have “admirable intentions in speaking for underpaid or abused workers” and the Times‘ public editor can be “glad” to see her colleagues “take on situations in which the poor and voiceless are exploited.”  But when Reason‘s Epstein suggests that illegal immigrants—who are certainly among the poorest and most voiceless souls in America—have a right to improve their lives through hard work, well, that’s just really problematic…

The More the Better (#585) 

The amazing Tara Burns interviews Margaret Cho:

…The burning question on pretty much all the sex workers’ minds was whether (or how) Cho would help us achieve decriminalization and basic human rights.  “I don’t know,” Cho told me when I asked. “I was one, not a great one, but I was around a community for many, many years far after my short career was over.  I loved the sex worker community.  That’s my family…I think that they need to be protected and it should be legalized so that law enforcement protects them.  I’m in the process of learning about what needs to be done.  Fortunately there are a lot of people who can help me learn and talk about it in a more educated way”…

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A prison might be defined as any place you’ve been put into against your will and can’t get out of, and where you are entirely at the mercy of the authorities, whoever they may be.  –  Margaret Atwood

Bad Jobs

You’ll notice that sex workers are immune to most of these factors:

People often like to groan about how their job is “killing” them.  Tragically, for some groups of people in the U.S., that statement appears to be true.  A new study by researchers at Harvard and Stanford has quantified just how much a stressful workplace may be shaving off of Americans’ life spans.  It suggests that the amount of life lost to stress varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

There are about 40,000 girls aged 13-17 in San Diego; this “study” claims that 30% of them become “victims of sex trafficking” every year:

A new study released by the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University revealed that the dark and secret world of sex trafficking in San Diego is the second largest underground economy locally after drugs…sex trafficking is an estimated $810 million-a-year industry and it is run mostly by gangs.  The study revealed that as many as 11,773 become victims to human trafficking in San Diego alone on a yearly basis…Victims are primarily underage…The study was funded by the Department of Justice, and found that more than 100 gangs are involved in the local sex trafficking operations…next to schools, other recruitment hot spots include:  trolley and bus stops, house parties, social media, tattoo parlors, churches, malls…about 1,776 victims/survivors come in contact with law enforcement…

That last is larger than the total number of “sex trafficking victims” that have ever been identified as such in the entire US.

With Folded Hands

Margaret Atwood on the asininity of giving away freedom for “security”:

…Governments know our desire for safety all too well, and like to play on our fears.  How often have we been told that this or that new rule or law or snooping activity on the part of officialdom is to keep us “safe”?  We aren’t safe, anyway:  many of us die in weather events – tornados, floods, blizzards – but governments, in those cases, limit their roles to finger-pointing, blame-dodging, expressions of sympathy or a dribble of emergency aid.  Many more of us die in car accidents or from slipping in the bathtub than are likely to be done in by enemy agents, but those kinds of deaths are not easy to leverage into panic…

Above the Law Patrick Quinn coercive cop

Sometimes sexually-exploitative cops stop short of rape:

In August Patrick Quinn, a 27-year-old…Texas [cop]…pulled over a driver and [claimed he] spotted marijuana paraphernalia in her car.  He told her he would not arrest her if she would let him lick her feet or give him her underwear.  He…was [fired and] sentenced to a year in jail…

Parting of the Ways

Peter Barbey is wasting no time as the new owner of the Village Voice.  Per an interview with [the] Wall Street Journal…he’s nixed the thought of changing the print edition size, pitched to staff the concept of special themed inserts and decided it’s time for a major ad dollar shift:  “Barbey plans to get rid of escort ads, a racy fixture of many an alt-weekly.  ‘Adult women can be escorts, that’s fine with me’, Mr. Barbey said, ‘but it’s not the kind of advertising that fits where we want go’.


Beyoncé Karungi, a 35-year-old campaigner…is in hospital following [a] horrific attack.  The activist had recently penned an article on surviving in Uganda as a trans sex worker, an occupation that can be dangerous and occasionally deadly.  After recieving several hate threats, she went into hiding.  When she emerged, she was attacked by a group of five unknown men.  She sustained several serious facial and bodily injuries…This is not the first time Beyoncé has been attacked…one time police undressed her, took her bag, money and phone and then cut her hair to make her “masculine”…

Frequently Told Lies

The title is “Feminism’s Sex Work Problem“, but this thorough article contains a large section debunking the usual lies prohibitionists employ:

I’m not going to make the pro-decriminalization case here.  Others have made it far more eloquently than I could…However, there are some elephants in the room that simply have to be addressed before a real conversation can occur.  These are mistruths that seem to have become cemented as fact through sheer force of mindless repetition, and unfortunately they severely derail any objective discussion of sex work…

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

Las Vegas police will pay more than $80,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who said officers detained her for two hours in The Cosmopolitan after falsely accusing her of being a prostitute.  A federal judge wrote that the case showed…prostitution sweeps in casinos were overly broad and threatened people’s constitutional rights.  Chentile Goodman was released without charge after the 2011 incident and filed a lawsuit later that year…

The Camel’s Nose (#504)

Meet CISA, formerly known as CISPA, AKA SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed the Senate today by a vote of 74 to 21.  A different version passed the House earlier in the year, so they’re going to have to conference to hammer out differences.  Retail business interests supported the legislation.  Major Internet and tech firms like Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Twitter…opposed it…”CISA…allows companies to monitor users and share their information with the government without a warrant, while offering a backdoor that circumvents any laws that might protect users’ privacy“…Attempts to add amendments to narrow the bill’s focus all failed…The Sunlight Foundation…notes that CISA creates a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act…”That means if they overstep and share the wrong information — as this bill seems to intend — the public won’t know, and even if it did, it would have no legal recourse…CISA guarantees the public will have no ability to see what information is going from companies to the government“…

What Were You All Waiting For? Richard Branson

I’m glad Richard Branson is speaking out against criminalization, but I wish he’d talk to sex workers so as to avoid gaffes like this:

…There are good Catholic countries like Chile that have legalised prostitution.  And I know its very controversial.  Most people would put their arms up in horror.  But by legalising it, they got rid of the pimps.  The girls are monitored properly to make sure that they are healthy, to make sure they can come forward if they’ve got a problem.  And they believe a lot of the illegal trafficking of young girls has gone away…

Now They Notice

One of the more loathsome uses of asset seizure:  stealing all of the victim’s bank accounts so he can’t pay for a legal defense.

Things aren’t looking good for rentboy.com…The company’s bank accounts containing millions of dollars were frozen and its website was seized by Homeland Security…Now, the company is selling its office supplies and furniture on Craigslist in an effort to raise money to pay for its mounting legal fees…Some of these “goodies” include glass desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and video monitors.  Other items for sale include cables, software, books, magazines, artwork, lamps, a copy machine, and “a lot of special, one of a kind rentboy.com ephemera”…

Seizing Power (#574)

The Cato institute supports sex workers’ right to advertise:

Prior restraints—legal prohibitions on disseminating information before publication—are an odious burden on the freedom of expression and come with a “heavy presumption” against their constitutionality.  Indeed, they are so disfavored in the law as to be virtually impossible to obtain outside of wartime.  Informal prior restraints—government pressure without formal sanction—are even more unconstitutional than formal ones, as the Supreme Court noted in Bantam Books v. Sullivan(1963)…But that strong precedent didn’t stop…Thomas Dart and his crusade against Backpage…As Cato, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project point out in our amicus brief before that court, Dart’s claimed “epidemic” of sex trafficking has evaded any sort of empirical verification for over two decades.  Indeed, State Department data indicate that the opposite may be true.  Nevertheless, Sheriff Dart, along with a new-age Baptist-and-bootleggers coalition matching the religious right and radical feminists, have raised the human-trafficking bugaboo to rally against prostitution—mimicking the drug war and all of its worst legal mechanisms…

Welcome To Our World (#578)

Here’s the first part of an in-depth look at how the New York Times callously maligned an entire industry – one that, like sex work, provides income for undocumented migrants with little money to squander on bureaucratically-imposed startup costs:

Sarah Maslin…Nir’s coverage broadly [mischaracterized] the nail salon industry, [and] several of the men and women she spoke with say she misquoted or misrepresented them.  In some cases, she interviewed sources without translators despite their poor English skills.  When her sources’ testimonies ran counter to her narrative, she omitted them altogether.  The second article lent the Times’ imprimatur to unproven theories, while committing science journalism’s cardinal sin of highlighting alarmist anecdotes that aren’t representative of systematic research.  If it hadn’t had real-world consequences, the series—and subsequent attempt by Nir and her editors to parry criticism—wouldn’t be worth such intense scrutiny.  But the day after the first article appeared in the print edition of the Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo…announced a new multi-agency task force to inspect nail salons…The rush to legislate based solely on the Times’ shoddy reporting has hurt the industry.  New nail salons, “which used to open every week in New York,” have stopped appearing…Salons once provided a steady source of jobs for undocumented immigrants; now many owners say they’ll hire only legal workers who’ve completed an occupational licensing program because they’re afraid of getting in trouble…

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I always believed you had to do something wrong to be arrested.
–  Joy McFarlin

I couldn’t let Halloween pass without at least one horror short; I hope you like this one.  The links above it are from Radley Balko (“traveling”, “pretext” and “never”),  Jillian Keenan  (“women”), Mistress Matisse (“capitalism”), Nun Ya  (“magnets”, “colors” and “yard”), Popehat (“fuck you”), Jesse Walker (“homeopaths”), and  Tushy Galore (“cheese”).

From the Archives

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Some believe the limbs are more potent if the victims scream during amputation.

This week, Paramount Pictures uploaded 150 movies to YouTube, including the one below (which was one of my favorites as a child).  This was called to my attention by Violet Blue; the links above the video were provided by Police Misconduct  (“faking”), Lucy Steigerwald (“911” and “horror”), Claudia Cristophe (“Gilgamesh”),  Clarkhat (“together” and “obedience”), and Popehat (“interact”).

From the Archives

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Equating the temporary, paid provision of sexual services to the “buying and selling of human beings”…only makes sense if you also think paying your hairdresser, landscaper, and barista are forms of slavery.
–  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

I don’t think this is as much a “subculture” as it is a few isolated psychos inspired and encouraged by “sex trafficking” hysteria, and perhaps in some cases even created by it:

In March 2014, Steven Currence gave undercover agents a grand tour of the dungeon hidden inside his Montana home.  The subterranean hellhole contained a heavy wooden cross…The walls were covered in whips, chains, and torture devices.  Currence boasted of blacking out the windows to dash any hopes of escape…One kidnapped woman would sleep in the basement torture chamber, while the other would be chained to his bed—with a chain long enough to reach the bathroom…Currence believed he would soon purchase the women from the agents, who posed as human traffickers…the feds cuffed him two months later when he traveled to Arizona to buy two women at what he believed was a slave auction…he was one of four men nabbed in an FBI sting operation targeting an extreme slice of the human trafficking underworld: people seeking sexual and domestic slaves…The goal was to find any victims who might need to be rescued. “We didn’t find any victims…but the market is definitely there”…

If the market is “definitely there”, why didn’t they find any victims?

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

Gary Mariner, the son of a one-time…police chief, used his dead father’s badge and a gun to intimidate a prostitute in Portland last month into [submitting to rape]…Mariner…picked up the 25-year-old [woman] in his car…and told her, “It’s not (your) lucky day,” as he showed her the…badge…He allegedly told the woman that he had been called back from retirement to work for the Maine State Police as part of a special prostitution unit…

Real People 

The title and lede say it all: “Escorts describe first day at work in Reddit thread that dispels misconceptions about sex work…The vast majority on the thread describe their experiences as positive”.  Naturally, this surprises stupid people despite the fact that women like me have been saying exactly the same thing forever.

Higher Education

An Italian porn actor and director is starting an academy to teach aspiring adult film actors and actresses the tricks of the trade…Rocco Siffredi…will document his training in the reality show, Universita del Porno to air in Italy…Classes will be in session on the set of “Siffredi Hard Academy,” in which the porn veteran will instruct a group of 21 hopefuls on different techniques and tactics on how to be a believeable porn actor on screen…

The Course of a Disease

One can never have too many anti-Swedish model editorials:

…the Nordic approach has been packaged as “progressive” and “woman-friendly”.  However, it is completely untenable on three grounds:  first, the evidence of Sweden’s “success” at stopping prostitution is deeply suspect; second, the dangers to women’s health and well-being are ignored; and third, “gender equality” becomes an imposition on people’s rights, namely, those established through contractual agreements…Prohibitionists have lauded the act’s achievements, claiming that it has reduced prostitution…deterred male clients and changed societal attitudes toward prostitution.  In reality, however, sex workers in Sweden have begun using other means to find clients, and vice versa…Sweden’s claim of “successfully” decreasing the demand for sexual services appears highly unlikely since it is impossible to monitor every transaction or sexual encounter…

Above the Law 

Fake rapist cops like the one in “License to Rape” above are often convicted; real ones usually aren’t:

A South Florida cop accused of raping a woman at gunpoint while on duty was acquitted…after a jury determined she had asked for it and was merely acting out a fantasy by allowing the cop to penetrate her as she bent over the hood of his car.  After all, defense attorneys argued, the woman had posed for a photo back in high school where she bent over the hood of a car with her hands behind her back in a “strikingly similar position” to how…Stephen Maiorino…raped her…it is not clear how the photo was even admitted as evidence…Maiorino [claimed] the sex was consensual.  And his attorneys said that he even gave her his business card, indicating that he wanted to continue having sex with her.  They also said that because he did not bother cleaning up the DNA evidence from his uniform after they had sex – or try to hide the used condom later found at the scene – then it was obviously consensual.  However, the woman denies receiving his business card and said she was afraid for her life…

So Close and Yet So Far

I guess Dick Cady is pretty credible, for what he is:

The veteran journalist who co-authored a book filled with explosive allegations against the University of Louisville men’s basketball program said…that the escort he wrote with is “pretty damn credible.”  Dick Cady, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist based in Indianapolis, insisted that Katina Powell — a Louisville prostitute who claims a former Louisville staff member paid thousands of dollars and gave game tickets to her and other escorts…to provide sexual services to players and recruits — “never tried to back down or amplify or gussy something up…Every time we hit her with a new question or an explanation, she came through…I thought she was pretty damn credible for what she was”…

Dutch Threat

What’s Dutch for “bottleneck effect”?

Sex workers without brothel licenses will soon risk a prison sentence of up to six months…the Act Regulating Prostitution (WRP)…[will] criminalize all sex workers without a license, including independent prostitutes and camgirls/camboys. This is the first time that the Netherlands has criminalized sex workers…Many prostitutes are willing to work legally, but…because municipalities refuse to issue permits to them, more and more sex workers choose to work without a permit, often from their own homes.  The WRP considers these…brothel owners (operators) without a permit and allows them to be punished as such…


Nope, no hate here:

A transgender woman…was attacked by a group of men before being fatally shot…Police are treating the case as a homicide — not a hate crime — though that could change as the investigation continues…[Kiesha] Jenkins was jumped by five to six men, physically assaulted, then shot in the back…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#555) 

Take a good, hard look at who the “feminists” are in bed with:

The anti-porn activists at Morality in Media, recently rechristened the “National Center on Sexual Exploitation” (NCOSE), are launching a coordinated attack on human-rights organization Amnesty International (AI) for its support of decriminalizing prostitution…It’s also urging supporters to email, tweet at, and otherwise contact AI with the message: No Amnesty for Pimps…In NCOSE’s ideal world, protecting the “human rights or persons in prostitution” would involve throwing them, their employers, and their customers in prison…When not trying to diminish the human rights of sex workers, NCOSE also enjoys chastising the Department of Justice for not enforcing federal obscenity laws more aggressively, accusing shitty erotica of normalizing domestic violence, and calling out the American Library Association as a conduit for sexual exploitation…

Welcome To Our World (#559)

I’m awaiting apologies from those of you who doubted me:

…New York City nail salon owners and employees mobbed The New York Times’ office in protest of the paper’s coverage of their industry…Reporter Sarah Maslin Nir said she wanted to highlight the pervasive worker exploitation she [claimed] took place in the city’s Asian nail salons…New York authorities had been on a crusade since at least year to regulate nail salons more tightly…Nir’s article provided the impetus and public support enabling the city to do just that.  But you know who hasn’t been so psyched about the new worker “protections?”  The people who actually work at nail salons.  Because of citations and new regulations, some salons have been forced to close, costing the women who worked there their jobs.  Because of rules mandating extra pay for overtime work, manicurists saw hours cut back…

Business As Usual (#566)

Rapists sue because their names were revealed, thus warning potential victims:

Three [vice pigs] whose names were made public after prostitution busts at massage parlors are suing the city, county and state.  The [rapists]…claim that data on undercover officers is private and the defendants violated the Minnesota Data Practices Act…The prostitution busts got media attention when they were dismissed…after the judges said the [cops] went too far when they [raped] the [sex workers].  The police department has since suspended its use of undercover details in massage parlors.  The lawsuit says that since the [rapists’] names were disclosed, [they] and their families have received negative comments and have suffered “stress, anxiety, and emotional damage.”  [They] have also been harassed at work and their reputations have been damaged, the lawsuit claims…one of the [rapists] has been shamed because of [his committing rape] and “has been excluded from the ability to practice his religion [because rape is a sin]”…

FYI, the suppressed names of the three rapists are Steven Lecy, Christopher Reiter and Abubakar Muridi.

Where Are the Protests? (#576)

Well, that didn’t take long:

Motorists visiting car washes across North Wales are being “offered sex” by migrant gangs using them as a front for brothels…Such incidents are [claimed] to have occurred at three garages across the region with migrant workers allegedly inviting drivers to “go inside” and see two waiting women.  The head of a task force set up to crack down on human trafficking and modern-day slavery said there was a risk vulnerable people…could be targeted by unscrupulous traffickers who would force them into sex work…

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Registration is a pretext to persecution.  –  Matthias Lehmann

Check Your Premises

Res ipsa loquitur:  “Police officers in central Florida say they’ve rescued eight women from a prostitution trafficking ring…the eight women were charged with various sex crimes…

Legal Is as Legal Does

As is typical for outsiders, this reporter just doesn’t get it:

In Hong Kong, as in England and Wales, the buying and selling of sex is not illegal, but brothel keeping, organising prostitution, living off the earnings of prostitution and soliciting in a public place all are…The police have certainly focused more on human trafficking and the evils of the sex trade…sex workers from elsewhere…must expect strict enforcement action, there will often be cases when they can be given an immunity from prosecution in return for testifying against their pimps and traffickers, who, after all, are the real villains…By and large, Hong Kong’s approach to sex work is aligned with Amnesty International’s policy…

His “realistic” legalization in Hong Kong is not “aligned” in any way with decriminalization, and still allows cops to harass sex workers at will.Vanity Fair February 1994

The More the Better

Here’s an interesting listicle of 7 famous people who did sex work in their youths; it includes Maya Angelou, Roseanne Barr, Rupert Everett, Kathleen Hanna, Amanda Palmer, Dee Dee Ramone and Malcolm X.  Hanna & Palmer were strippers, but the other five were all prostitutes; it’s a damned shame that Barr has turned prohibitionist in the last few years, but Everett did exactly the opposite.

A Whore in Church 

The internet allows extreme specialization:

…Sprinkling one’s erotica with its fair share of Yiddish and Hebrew takes a fair bit of ingenuity and chutzpah—especially when the person behind the sexy prose is not only an Orthodox Jewish woman but one committed to following halacha, a collection of Jewish religious laws…But Shosha Pearl (not her real name) has been writing specifically frum (a term to describe religiously observant Jews) erotica since 2012—and has never found it in conflict with being an Orthodox Jew…

Broken Record 

Much of the “sex trafficking” hysteria has descended into self-parody:

Not everything is fun and games with the start of the Kern County Fair.  Advocates against human trafficking say, during this time there an increase in prostitution and soliciting…the big annual event draws in traffickers and customers…

King of the Hill

Every so often, “Cuckoo Clock” McCain skitters out of her nest in Arizona to vomit poison on some other state:

This scourge is especially evident in Ohio…one of the worst regions in the U.S. for sex trafficking…1,000 juveniles are forced into the sex trade each year in Ohio…There is no such thing as a child prostitute.  We must call child sex trafficking what it really is: rape…The charges for the buyers of child sex should be statutory rape, child endangerment, or sexual assault of a minor – charges that “johns” are now rarely arrested for…

And you know why?  Because “child” prostitution is actually quite rare.  Only about 3.5% of sex workers are under 18, and the great majority of that already-small segment are either 16 or 17.

An Example To the West (#133)

But not, unfortunately, despite the orders of Seoul’s masters in Washington:

…A…rally and march, marking the 11th anniversary of Korea’s anti-prostitution statute, was organized by the Hanteo National Union, which represents some 15,000 sex workers and business people in red-light districts.  Sehee Jang…said that her group…“focuses on abolishing the prostitution ban”…When South Korea made prostitution a punishable offense in 2004, the decision reversed many decades of de facto (if unreliable) decriminalization…Now, according to Korea’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, “prevention, protection and prosecution” are the correct approach to prostitution, despite contrary recommendations from public health experts and human rights groups…

Traffic Jam (#318)

How many moronic prohibitionist plays can the market bear?

…Part social commentary, part experiment, The Game will enlist the help of five male volunteers for each night of its run.  The men in question have no idea what they will be asked to do by the play’s cast members…what the volunteers can expect is to re-enact scenarios that have come directly from the experiences of Irish sex workers.  [Grace] Dyas’s objective, she says, is to give the audience pause to consider their own views on sex work in Ireland, for better or worse…”The men are here to redress misogyny and give a voice to these women’s stories”…Dyas and her cast have spent weeks immersed in both sides of the story…she says…“Maybe you have to legislate to protect the most vulnerable people, and maybe the right to sell sex is trumped, ultimately, by the right not to sell sex”…

The phrase “both sides” is prohibitionist code for “Swedish model”.

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Another jurisdiction officially classifies women as passive objects without agency:

Indianapolis…plans to create a prostitution court…police will still arrest the men and women who engage in prostitution…[bureaucrat] Julie Fidler [said]…”They need mental health counseling…if we are ever to get them out of the life”…”People think it’s just about punishment,” said Sgt. John Daggy…Experts say more than 70 percent of women who engage in prostitution have been sexually molested as children…

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.

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

Michelle Chen takes another look at the prohibitionist shitshow that is New York’s “sex trafficking court”:

Jenna Torres was about to start college on the day she was arrested for prostitution.  Then she became a criminal…a lawyer…urged her to plead guilty and participate in the city’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court (HTIC) system…“I never agreed to the things they charged me of, but they arrested me anyway.”  And she agreed to cop a plea and attend court-mandated “treatment” sessions in exchange for having the charges dismissed.  But the criminal procedure cost her more than she imagined.  After cycling through holdings, which left her hospitalized with a urinary-tract infection that Torres attributes to the unsanitary facilities, she wended her way through a few weeks of mandatory counseling sessions…[classes were]…made nearly impossible by her court intervention.  She scrambled between court dates and counseling sessions…By the time she “graduated” from the program, she had dropped school…the city’s scheme to divert sex workers from the criminal-justice system has often further criminalized them, by treating all people arrested for prostitution as one-dimensional victims—presuming that they are undeserving or incapable of asserting power or self-determination over their labor or their bodies…red umbrella ball

Sex Work is Work (#507)

It looks like Huffington Post is slowly turning away from prohibitionism as the wind changes direction; here’s a recent article by Katherine Koster of SWOP offering “a few tips to the media about how to ethically report on sex work“.  The list includes “Stop publishing the mugshots, full names and addresses of people arrested for prostitution”, “Check your source’s stats and research”, “Ask questions, especially about race, class and collateral damage”, “Use multiple sources, and don’t omit relevant information and/or counterpoints”, “Quote people involved in the sex trade, and publish letters and op-eds by current and former sex workers”, and “Stop mis-gendering sex workers, and stop relying on racist and sexist stereotypes”.

Marching Up Their Own Arses (#537)

Three of the five sex workers who publicly alleged that A&E reality series 8 Minutes lied to them filed a lawsuit against the network and Relativity Media…The show purported to help sex workers leave “the life,” but…the show never delivered on its promises, which they said included assistance with employment, housing, and medical needs…Kamylla, Gina, and Jazzy claim breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, negligent misrepresentation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.  In addition, Gina and Jazzy claim invasion of privacy; although she was filmed for the series, no episode with Kamylla was ever broadcast…

A Load of Farley (#570)

Mark Draughn wonders what it would matter if Farley’s latest nonsense claims were true:

…The moral and ethical aspects of specific actions should not be confused with the general moral and ethical tendencies of the individuals who perform them…A bad person doing good things doesn’t make the good things bad…asking whether clients of prostitutes have good attitudes toward women is missing the point.  Prostitution is labor if the women get paid and choose to do it of their own free will, it’s abuse if the women get abused, and if the women are forced into it, it’s rape and human trafficking.  We don’t need to do social surveys to get this right. What we need to do is make sure that sex workers are free to choose, and then we need to trust that they will make the best choices about who they accept as clients.

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