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Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Human trafficking is the new charge du jour.  –  Brian Thompson

Anatomy of a Boondoggle arrested Thai sex workers

Just in case you thought cops raping whores in order to arrest them was mostly a US thing:

…Sa…is from Laos and…[has] been arrested many times, mostly when a police officer who had been her client had informed on her…”They took me out…and…had sex with me.  Next thing I knew I was arrested and sent home”…the superintendent of Udon Thani city police, said the law specifically mentioned that to make an arrest for prostitution…the sex worker has to be caught in the act…Nid is from a Karen hill tribe village and is considered a “star” hostess at a bar in Chiang Mai.  Like Sa, she was “lured” to her arrest by a police officer who was a client…Chantawipa Apisuk, the director of Empower who has been working with sex workers for more than 30 years, said the methods the police used to secure an arrest are unacceptable…in Nid’s case…police produced marked banknotes allegedly handed over to her and a used condom as evidence…

License to Rape

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

A Brooklyn jury…convicted a sexual predator for the rape and robbery of a prostitute while pretending to be a [cop]…Jason Forgetta flashed a fake police badge to a female sex worker who stopped his car…on July 30, 2014…The 26-year-old victim agreed to go with Forgetta to [her incall]…when he told her she was under arrest…Forgetta…shoved the woman against the wall, put a pillow over her head and raped her…[he then] told the woman to take a shower to “wash all the DNA” off…[and] stole her wallet, cellphone and underwear.  As he fled the scene, the woman ran after him and wrote down [his] license plate [number]…Forgetta…was convicted in 2004 for committing the same…crime.  He was sentenced to three years in prison in that case…

Lack of Evidence

This is pretty typical of the level of “evidence” in sex work trials:

A woman accused of running a brothel out of a Baltimore County massage parlor was acquitted of all charges…Di Zhang…was found not guilty…of 15 offenses, including human trafficking and prostitution…”There was very little evidence in the case,” said Zhang’s attorney, Brian Thompson…the state had one witness who worked at the business and claimed Zhang was running it…But when police kept watch at the business for several weeks, they only observed Zhang there once…to drop off some medication for the witness…Thompson said police were targeting Zhang after a previous case…Police wrote in charging documents that Zhang “continues to run illegal massage parlors without fear of the police or court systems”…

The Proper Study

This is, of course, obvious to sex workers, but it’s nice to see academics discovering it:

Most migrant sex workers are satisfied with their working conditions in Australia…Despite growing fears about human trafficking…the vast majority are content to be working in massage parlours and brothels for a satisfactory income, and that there is little evidence of widespread sex slavery.  The Australian Institute of Criminology and the Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) surveyed 594 sex workers across Australia, 412 of whom were migrants. Most were female, with only 17 male and eight transgender respondents…One in five were married; one in three were parents; and while a small number had little to no education, the majority were highly educated. About one third said they did not speak English well…

The Punitive Mindset (#337)

Some countries…make condoms available to prisoners, while others cite security issues, or blanket prohibitions of sex…Even in places where condoms are available, guards sometimes limit distribution as a form of control.  In the medical journal The Lancetresearchers at Johns Hopkins cite this as one factor in the spread of infectious diseases in prisons…at rates far exceeding those in the communities from which they came.  Of more than 10 million incarcerated people in the U.S. alone, 4 percent have HIV, 15 percent have hepatitis C, and 3 percent have active tuberculosis.  These diseases are part of our criminal justice system, then, metered out and sanctioned implicitly by the state.  The penal system is also a primary reason that these diseases can’t be eliminated globally…The scale of the problem is due to the fact that so many people are incarcerated in the first place, which [researcher Chris] Beyrer traces to the war on drugs…

Paint By Numbers po-faced twits folding paper

Even in the world of stupid “sex trafficking” publicity stunts, this one is painfully stupid:

A piece of blue paper folded into the shape of a crane bird is a traditional symbol of origami.  In Japan, it’s believed that 1,000 of those symbolise hope, love, honour, and peace.  It’s also believed that if you have the patience to fold 1,000 pieces, your most desired wish will come true.  UCC student Laura Pauwels’s wish is to bring hope to survivors of and people affected by human trafficking.  And so she’s enlisted the help of Corkonians to make that wish come true — together, they will fold 1,000 blue cranes to make a stand against the illegal act…

Traffic Circle

Here’s a long, thorough debunking of “sex trafficking” hysteria by Brittany Turner of SWOP-Shreveport:

In the past year, local broadcast and print media have covered numerous stories regarding the perils of sex trafficking in Shreveport, without exercising due diligence to accurately assess the reality of this problem or the efficacy of anti-trafficking programs. This coverage often excludes key stakeholders from the conversation: sex workers themselves. Instead, the coverage frequently relies on inaccurate data and anecdotal evidence, corralling those who have chosen to work in the sex industry under the umbrella of “trafficking victims,” effectively silencing the voice of many sex workers…

Devil’s Advocate

As usual, the government’s using someone accused of especially nasty crimes to undermine liberty for everyone:

A Dallas, Texas man accused of prostituting underage girls was secretly ordered by a federal judge to unlock his iPhone using his fingerprint, according to federal court documents that are now unsealed…Experts also warned these demands [will] probably not [be interpreted by cop-worshiping courts as] a breach of the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination…The authorities were unable to access the phone’s contents…[because] if a iPhone [sic] that has been fingerprint enabled has not been used for at least 48 hours, both the password and fingerprint are required to unlock it…Martavious Banks Keys…is charged with one count of sex trafficking of children…He allegedly forced two girls, ages 14 and 15, to have sex with men who paid him $150 a session…One girl told authorities that Keys made her perform anal sex when her vagina was bleeding from abuse…

Counter-Countermeasure

I’m not really sure why this article is discussing a two-year-old study as if it’s new, but I really don’t care.  All that’s important is that more and more mainstream media are presenting information that debunks “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…The results contradict some of the most common stereotypes we have about sex trafficking and sex work.  For example, only 14 percent of female New York respondents said that they worked for a pimp, and in New Jersey that number was just 13 percent including males and females; 47 percent in New Jersey said that they didn’t even know a pimp.  Most reported that they had not been introduced to sex work by a stranger at all, but rather by a family member or family friend, and most said that they were not forced into sex work by any one person, but rather because of a lack of housing, or money, or that they couldn’t get by on low-paying jobs.  The…research also calls into question the narrative of helpless girls and violent pimps who throw them into hotel-brothels…Busting the myths matters, because we pass laws and make policies that don’t help the people who need it most…

The More the Better (#544)

I’d be much happier with an article doing something like this for escorting, since there are literally thousands of escorts for every Nevada brothel worker.  However, every little bit helps to undermine the “sin and degradation” narrative:

Insatiably curious about what the process for becoming a legal, full-time sex worker might look like, I couldn’t help but wonder how a person even begins to go about working at a place like one of Nevada’s brothels.  Did someone like me have what it takes to become the object of another person’s desire?  Well, one cursory Google search later later, I discovered these places actually have online applications for employment!  And that is how I ended up applying for a job at Sheri’s Ranch…

Property of the State (#640) 

It’s impossible to overstate how important this reversal is:

The Indiana Court of Appeals…overturned the 2015 feticide conviction of Purvi Patel…In a 3-0 ruling, the judges said that the state feticide statute was not intended to apply to abortions, and legal experts said that…it should give Indiana prosecutors pause before bringing similar charges against pregnant women in the future…the court relied heavily on how prosecutors have applied the feticide law in the past, noting that this case was an “abrupt departure” from its typical usage:  cases in which a pregnant woman and her unborn child are the victims of violence…It stopped short of clearing her of any criminal responsibility…upholding a lower-level felony neglect conviction for failing to provide medical care to the baby, who medical experts testified was alive and breathing after birth…

If It Were Legal (#656)

I’m rather skeptical of the claimed disparity here, but at least they’re not pretending the escorts flocked from out of town for the conference:

It’s been a great week for gay escorts in Cleveland…Republican National Convention attendees…are clamoring for their services.  “Business has been way better. I’ve seen 10 clients so far,” one male escort said…Another escort said he had already earned $1,600 since Monday — over six times the amount he usually makes…But ladies of the night weren’t reaping the same benefits…females for hire said they’re making much less money than normal…

To Molest and Rape (#657)

And please don’t think South Africa is any worse than the US in this respect:

More than 400 sex workers reported cases of abuse at the hands of the police between 2011 and 2015, according to a Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) report on cases of physical assault‚ rape‚ harassment and unlawful arres…414 sex workers reported 682 instances of abuse‚ mostly harassment and verbal abuse at the hands of the police.  Almost 20% of those who reported police abuse said they had been physically assaulted and 3% said they had been sexually assaulted…

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Every inmate can obviously state that he is uncomfortable in jail.
–  Dean Flippo

This week’s video is a very, very strange short absurdist horror operetta; I have no other description for it, but it was contributed by Jesse Walker (who also provided “Pokemon Gothic”).  The links above it are from Tim Cushing (“boo”, “expected” and “together”), Wendy Lyon (“Sweden”), Walter Olson (“headline”), Jillian Keenan (“cost”), and Mistress Matisse (“Cassandra”).

From the Archives

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Anti-prostitution advocates…incorrectly portray the global sex workers’ rights movement as dominated by Western, white, middle-class, cisgender women…as a way of dismissing the movement as “non-representative.”  –  Chi Adanna Mgbako

License to Rape Joseph Stanton

Good riddance to bad rubbish:

Joseph Raymond Stanton…was arrested on June 29…[for] the rapes of two prostitutes and the attempted rape of a third…In each case…Stanton…passed himself off as a…[cop] and lured the victims to his car.  He then drove them to a secluded location and raped them.  One of the women was able to escape before he could [rape] her…Stanton posted bail and was released…the day after his release [cops] found him dead in what appeared to be a suicide…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying them fairly that isn’t:

Four Montreal police officers who work with informants have been arrested…Fayçal Djelidi…is facing nine charges, including perjury, attempting to obstruct justice, breach of trust by a public officer and obtaining sexual services for consideration…David Chartrand…was charged with two counts of perjury and two counts of attempting to obstruct justice…Two more officers were also arrested and are being questioned by Montreal police…Djelidi…is alleged to have communicated with unknown persons with the aim of procuring sexual services for himself in exchange for payment…

An Example To the West

Chi Adanna Mgbako on sex worker activism in Africa:

…In the past 10 years or so, sex worker activism has exploded throughout Africa, and there are now sex-worker-led organizations in African countries as diverse as Botswana, Cameroon, DRC, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, and many more.  In Kenya alone, there are now over 80 sex-worker-led collectives.  All of these groups are advocating for their right to work, to access de-stigmatized health care, and to live free from violence and discrimination.  It’s also important to note that outside of formal civil society actors like sex-worker-led NGOs, sex workers informally organize and resist criminalization by supporting each other financially, socially, and emotionally in their local communities.  This informal activism is an indispensable part of movement building…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

Kate Iselin gets it, though four years after I did:

…The scenario that gives rise to the demand for android sex workers reads like a great big “told you so” fantasy of anyone involved in anti-sex work campaigning…It’s a creepy, shallow rendering of the nightmare portrait of sex work we’re too-often sold:  An industry that we worry dehumanises women can only be saved by, in this case, literally replacing humans with what amounts to an almost-sentient Fleshlight.  The idea that a robot brothel can solve all of our problems is naïve at best, and deeply ignorant at worst.  What assumptions does one need to make about our clients to suggest that they would be just as happy – or happier – penetrating chrome steel instead of receiving the touch of a human?…the “any hole’s a goal” mentality presumed in the [notion] overlooks the vast reasons one may have for seeing a sex worker: loneliness, curiosity, sexual or emotional unfulfilment, desire, the want for a certain skillset, or perhaps simply the need to be touched by a new and unfamiliar pair of hands…Plus, it’s telling – and hurtful – that little to no consideration is given to the skills of the sex worker.  I know myself and the service I provide well, and there is no possible way that the warmth of my body and the skill of my touch could be unnoticably replaced by an android…

Damned If You Don’t

But picket-fence queers say cops aren’t our enemies:

On July 4, police made sweeps and arrests at a gay beach in New York City, much to the surprise of beachgoers.  At the far corner of Jacob Riis Park—a gay beach that has been a notorious LGBT safe haven for decades…police descended unannounced…gay Brooklyn photographer Krys Fox…stood with a towel wrapped around his waist…Suddenly, the towel loosened and dropped.  Before Fox could refasten it around his waist, he was tackled to the ground by a squad of police.  Fox told the Daily Dot that police had dominated the gay beach all day—”on horses, in uniform, undercover”—and were “everywhere.”  But he didn’t expect to be arrested, he said, because he hadn’t done anything wrong…those who…were [there]…noted that police targeted the gay section of the beach specifically, stating that there were no police on the rest of the beach…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s kind of refreshing to read an article which portrays us as depraved monsters rather than pathetic victims:

…Police raided a Warsaw [Indiana] massage parlor…next door to Kevin Love’s home.  He said he knew something suspicious was happening for about three years now…The two women were arrested after police found evidence related to prostitution, tax evasion and corrupt business practices.  Love said he often saw two women walking around the neighborhood in the evening…”just like any normal person would get out and go for a walk”…Love…is just relieved it is over.  “There are children on back further in the neighborhood, and they don’t need to be around something like that,” he said…

Bait and Switch

One can always assume there’s a wide gap between what actually happened and what the cops claim happened:

Aren Lindquist…has been sentenced to 25 years at Montana State Prison with 20 years suspended…[he was tricked by a fake] online ad for an escort service called “Barely Legal 18.”  [Cops told] the respondents…that no 18-year-olds were available and they had the option of having sex with a 15-year-old or a 12-year-old…

Another Fine Mess

Reporters never get tired of pretending that ordinary sex work practices are new and novel:

…at least 60 prostitutes from China [are] advertising their services online and operating in condominiums and apartments in Geylang…Instead of relying on pimps and brothel keepers, the women post suggestive photos of themselves and ask those interested to contact them on mobile phones directly.  These freelance prostitutes enter Singapore on tourist visas and typically work for up to one month…

A Procrustean Bed (#440) Judge Paul Herbert

It’s enough to make one vomit:

…These weekly court sessions are the core of a special probation program for victims of sex trafficking in Columbus. [Judge] Herbert started the program—known as CATCH (Changing Attitudes to Change Habits)—in 2009.  Women arrested on prostitution charges in Columbus can opt into this program – where they get safe housing, counseling, and close supervision instead of jail time.  Nearly all are in recovery from addiction.  As he moves through the docket, Herbert calls each defendant by her first name…”He said we’re going to love you until you can love yourself. And…I see something in you that you can’t see yet”…

King of the Hill (#537)

It looks like they’ve scaled back the claims about Charlotte, North Carolina’s “hub” status, maybe because the kids they’re trying to scare with it are smarter than the adults who believe this crap:

Starting this fall, sex trafficking will be addressed in seventh and eighth-grade classrooms across Charlotte…Director of Present Age Ministries Hannah Arrowood [said] “Charlotte is actually the number one city in the state of North Carolina for human trafficking”…Five-hundred new ads are posted soliciting sex in Charlotte every day…many of the women in the ads are not women at all, but rather trafficked teenagers and young girls…forced to have sex with multiple men…

Checklist (#593)

Because there aren’t enough real “victims” to go around, the rescue industry creates fake ones:

Catherine Pisha…is…an actor learning how to portray a [stereotype of a] human trafficking victim.  Pisha works at the University of Vermont’s Clinical Simulation Lab…[and] helps health care professionals improve the quality of their care by being a human guinea pig…Edith Klimoski…writes the scripts for these actors…Studies show that anywhere between 50 percent and 80 percent of human trafficking victims will come in contact with someone in the medical community during the time they’re being trafficked…

The Public Eye (#609)

Laura Lee braves the hostile waters of Mumsnet:

…One of the most infuriating strands to the current feminist discourse around sex work is the assertion that we are abused, or even raped, every time we sell sex.  That statement is injurious and grossly insulting to those who have survived abuse and rape, and it also strips sex workers of our agency.  As much as we campaign for the right to say “yes”, we absolutely reserve the right to say “no”.  I detest the use of the word “empowerment” in any debate on sex work.  My job is no more empowering than anyone else’s; it allows me to support my family and pay my bills.  But as a community, there is no doubt that we are more empowered to say “no” when we are permitted to work together for safety…

Uncommon Sense (#619)

the upcoming German law…will enforce mandatory registration of sex workers nationwide.  The law pretends to fight human trafficking…Forced registration through obligatory counselling includes the evaluation of one’s mental status by a state authority and implies sex workers…are perceived as irresponsible, mentally incapable beings…Our very own whore ID will be a state-issued document including our picture; our profession (that is “prostitute”, as the word “sex worker” is a bit too modern for the German state), our real name and address…In order to get it we will be forced to visit a state body and undergo counselling…You read that right: a functionary will decide in a compulsory talk if you have the marbles in your brain to be a sex worker…

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An adult who chooses to engage in sexual activity, whether for recreation, procreation or in exchange for something of value, makes a private, individual choice that should not be subject to criminal sanctions.  –  Jeanne LoCicero and Udi Ofer

Something Rotten in Sweden

The 5th installment of the Tits and Sass series “Big Mother is Watching You” profiles notable American proponents of “end demand” and the Swedish model, namely  Rachel Durchslag, Tom DartBeth Klein, Shirley Franklin, Yasmin Vafa and  Dominique Roe-Sepowitz.

A False Dichotomy 

They “see it as a business transaction” because that’s exactly what it is:

…in recent interviews conducted to understand what is driving [migrants] into the hands of human traffickers, it is clear that those involved see the risk they are taking as a business transaction, not a crime.  Malick Traore of Mali…said…“It is even more risky to live in misery in my own home country with a family always having tears in their eyes from hungers…the traffickers…do not call the migrant from their homes, or force them to cross the sea.  It is just an agreement between shipman and client”…Mariam Camara…is a widow with two daughters…[she said] “the criminal is Malian government but not the traffickers.”  Hamidou Thierro…says:  “I do not see those traffickers as criminals, because they are helping the poor migrants who are sacrificing their life to get into Europe to help back their families and plan better life for their children.  The traffickers are not human life protection agent but normal transporter as air plane or train”…

Lawheads just can’t get that normal people don’t really give a shit about their bullshit regulations.

Gorged With Meaning

Just about everything you need to know about this craptastic mixture of the obvious, the pearl-clutching and the dead wrong is that the author interviews the sociopathic narcissist Meghan Murphy instead of one of the many sex workers who write on the subject (such as, oh, ME for example), and approvingly quotes her as saying that raping a sex worker is no big deal.  That, and the fact that it’s named “The New Prostitution Economy” because it pretends that young women trading sex to older men for resources is some kind of new thing.

Follow Your Bliss 

Again, don’t think this is unique to Oakland:

When Leneka Pendergrass’ seventeen-year-old daughter…escaped…a pimp…Pendergrass turned to an organization that had previously helped.  She called Patrick Mims…of the Sexually Exploited Minors program at Bay Area Women Against Rape…the lead East Bay nonprofit organization in the state’s Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force…BAWAR works closely with Oakland police…to [indoctrinate] them about child sex trafficking.  And BAWAR employees…accompany Oakland cops on their anti-[sex worker] sting operations…Pendergrass…and Mims frequently texted the first few nights after she and her daughter escaped…Then…less than a week [later]…Mims came to her apartment and they had sex…[this continued for six weeks, then] Mims suddenly stopped responding to her calls and texts…[and] her daughter’s case was no longer a priority for BAWAR.  She felt Mims abused his position of power.  Feelings of confusion and remorse grew intense, she said.  She worried that her access to OPD and the DA was being curtailed, too…Pendergrass also wrote a letter to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an umbrella organization of rape-crisis centers like BAWAR…nothing ever came of her letter, or the police report…BAWAR…appears to never have acknowledged what happened…Jacqueline Montero

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

…Jacqueline Montero…worked as a prostitute for years to feed her children.  Now, after a decade of activism for women’s rights in the Dominican Republic, she hopes to put her life experience to work following her election to the Chamber of Deputies as part of an opposition coalition…The 46-year-old wants to focus on improving opportunities for women, a significant challenge in a country where about 35 percent of households are led by single mothers in poverty…She plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit discrimination against…LGBT, sex workers, people with AIDS and the elderly.  The walls of her office are adorned with diplomas and posters from international conferences dealing with sex work…Activists say the significance of her election transcends her relatively minor legislative position because she will be a powerful voice for largely unrepresented people…

Cops and Condoms (#313)

Remember Bill Gates’ $100,000 grant to develop “the next generation of condom”?  Well, the first results are in:

…After weeding through 953 applications, the foundation awarded grants to 26 applicants.  Among them was Richard Chartoff, a polymer scientist at Oregon State University, who developed an idea for ultra-thin condoms made from polyurethane elastic polymers that respond to body heat and conform to the penis’s shape…the HEX condom, developed by luxury sex toy company LELO…[features a] “hexagonal net design [which] effectively holds together the condom,” [founder Filip] Sedic explains, “so we were able to make the majority of the condom’s surface very thin without forfeiting strength”…the hexagonal design gripped his penis without squeezing it.  My husband’s sensations were less dulled than usual, too, since it was the thinnest traditionally shaped condom we used…myONE Perfect Fit from ONE Condoms will bring 56 different sizes to the market, allowing men to use a kit…to measure their penis length and width to determine the best size for them…

Devil’s Advocate

This guy seems like a real scumbag…so why isn’t Thailand asking for Norway to extradite him for prosecution there? Do you really want a precedent that people can be prosecuted in one jurisdiction for things they did in another jurisdiction where their actions weren’t illegal?

A 34-year-old Swedish businessman based in Oslo is facing trial in Norway accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in Thailand for several years – including making her pregnant…the girl…is from a poor family and had started working as a prostitute straight after finishing school…at the age of 14 she gave birth to the baby…DNA records have shown that the man is the child’s biological father…Police launched their investigation after he was arrested for…drugs two years ago.  During a search of his home in Oslo officers found indecent images…and 51 movies showing children being sexually abused.  They also found pictures of the Thai girl…

Guinea Pigs 

This is one of those potpourris of hysteria that could fit into any of several headings, but I think the most important one is yet another surveillance tool for hunting down sex workers:

…Tim Wedge, a Forensics Science professor…in Defiance, Ohio…[created] FAGIN, Facial Analysis to Gain Information Now, a basic crude prototype…[which] is designed to take…pictures of missing children, run it through the facial analysis software by comparing them to pictures in ads for people being sold for sex online, and produce a report whenever there’s a match…Wedge says FAGIN has the possibility of rescuing a shocking amount of victims…800,000 children are reported missing each year.  One in five of them are sex trafficking victims…

Can this “science professor” even do math?  Because the reporter sure can’t.  But more importantly: the same program could also compare pics from ads to, say, a driver’s license database, thus giving cops an escort’s legal name and address.

Aloha, Oy!

Hawaii was the last state to criminalize prostitution, and now it’s become the last state to fully rebrand it as “sex trafficking”:

Hawaii has become the last state in the nation to explicitly ban sex trafficking.  Gov. David Ige signed the bill…[which] makes [acts that were already illegal illegal again], expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation.  “It’s a historic day for Hawaii.  Now, from sea to sea, the United States can say it [criminalized some crimes twice],” said Kris Coffield…[a “sex trafficking” profiteer]…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#622) 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

In honor of International [Whores’] Day, activists marched on Atlantic City on June 3 to call for the decriminalization of sex work…This is a goal the American Civil Liberties Union…strongly supports.  Since 1975, the ACLU has believed that prostitution…should be decriminalized…It’s time to stop sweeping consenting adult sex workers into the criminal justice system.  We need models that protect their rights, their health and their safety…Amnesty International adopted a policy advocating the decriminalization of adult consensual sex work in its efforts to prevent human rights violations.  Amnesty isn’t alone.  They joined the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and many other…groups in calling for the decriminalization of sex work to stem the abuse, discrimination and violence that too frequently plague the lives of sex workers…

King of the Hill (#623) The Keep

One of the more amusing tropes of this moral panic: labeling a particular street a “hotbed” of sex work or “trafficking”:

For more than three decades now, the corner of Cypress Avenue and Starr Street has been known as one of the old-school New York prostitution hotbeds.  Even as gentrification of the area rapidly progresses, prostitution as a symptom of the “bad old times” continues…Unbeknownst to the owners at the time of the opening, [a bar named] The Keep became somewhat of a local epicenter for…“Operation Losing Proposition,” the goal of which is to lock up johns as they solicit sex from undercover [sows who use]…the bathrooms at The Keep [without permission] to change into their [costumes]…Eli B. Silverman explains that the initiative was designed by CEU attorneys who researched the law that allows for [asset seizure]…In this case, johns’ cars could be seized…the operation has been yielding incredible [profits]…and [Silverman pretends] prostitution has been greatly reduced…the operation has been consistently dubbed a success, but 26 years later, one has to wonder whether the number of arrested johns is the correct indicator of success, or whether the operation opened a bottomless well of meaningless arrests…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

No, you fucking filthy liar, it’s not “unique” and you fucking know it:

Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ray Kelly, a former sex crimes investigator who serves as the agency’s spokesman, said several members of his department were investigated but a review showed none had done anything illegal or against policy. Kelly would not say if the deputies had sex with [Celeste Guap]…“This case is unique, and it’s not a good example of the relationships between sex crimes victims and police officers,” he said…

In typical tone-deaf LA Times fashion, the reporter concludes a story about people abusing women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices by praising someone who abuses women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices:

…[Sylvia] Vigil…has been preaching to the girls she [condescendingly dehumanizes] as “twilight treasures” since 1982…when she founded the Oakland branch of Victory Outreach…On [a] recent visit to International Boulevard, Vigil shook her head as she watched [a] young woman enter [a client’s] car, said a prayer, then brought her van’s engine to life and hit the gas…As the man in the Cutlass attempted to drive away, Vigil pulled her van in front of his car, blocking him in.  A colleague from the ministry who sat in Vigil’s van held up a Victory Outreach business card and shouted “not tonight” at the man…

Naturally, Vigil didn’t offer to pay the girl for the client she scared away, so the girl probably didn’t eat that night. But I’m sure the knowledge that she had been “saved” from dirty, filthy sex assuaged her hunger.

The End of the Beginning (#653)

Another in an anti-registry series from Vox:

When I first became a public defender, I believed the worst punishment that my clients would face would be time in jail.  Since then, I’ve learned that incarceration is not the…worst…punishment the criminal justice system can impose.  The registration requirements imposed on those convicted of sex offenses are unfairly harsh and punitive…I had always assumed that sex offender registration was limited to those who committed the most egregious and dangerous offenses.  I had also trusted that the Supreme Court was right when, in 2003, it stated that sex offender registration laws are not punishments but merely administrative requirements to protect public safety.  But I realize now that many of my clients would choose…anything to avoid being labeled a sex offender for life…because our current…laws apply an…inhumane one-size-fits-all approach that does not prevent future sex crimes and in fact makes us all less safe…The registration process appears designed to make people fail.  The rules are so complicated that few non-attorneys can keep up with them…

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I think when people give money to the city to help the homeless they fully anticipate that’s what those funds will be used for.  –  Cathy Alderman

Are you surprised to see the Links column appearing on a Friday?  You should be, because it’s only happened twice before, both over three years ago.  But it was either that or post the Guest column on a Friday (which I didn’t want to do) or the news columns only two days apart (which I also didn’t want to do), so here it is.  Besides, I don’t want y’all to get too complacent.  The video is of a piece of music that really wowed me when it came up on my Pink Panther Pandora station one night while I was not anything like sober, but I don’t think you need to be in that state to appreciate it.  The links above it are from Cathy Reisenwitz (“children”),  Tim Cushing (“government” and “protect”), Amy Alkon (“ground”), and Lucy Steigerwald (“together”).

From the Archives

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The criminalisation of sex workers should…end.  –  MP Keith Vaz

Japanese Prostitution

I’d be a lot more inclined to believe this as reported if A) it were in a more credible publication than the LA Times; and B) it didn’t quote a “sex trafficking” NGO:

Japan’s pornography industry has come under greater scrutiny after Tokyo Metro Police arrested executives of a well-known talent agency on suspicion of coercing an actress to engage in sex on camera.  Human rights groups had been calling for action for months.  Police announced…they had arrested the president of Marks Japan and two others on suspicion that they forced a woman into appearing in adult films by threatening to punish her financially…the Tokyo-based advocacy group Human Rights Now issued a report…charging that Japan’s pornography industry…violated the human rights of women and girls by blackmailing them…into work they didn’t want to do.  Shihoko Fujiwara…of…Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims, said…her group had received more than 100 complaints regarding forced participation in porn — and that the industry uses tactics similar to human traffickers…

Reaction Formation ElSurveillance

This guy claims to be “religious”, so he’s spending a lot of time gawking at escort websites & then defacing them:

A religiously-motivated hacker using the title “ElSurveillance” has defaced nearly 40 websites that offer escort services and claims to be on the verge of leaking data on 100,000 registered users…ElSurveillance, who claims on social media to be from Morocco…asserted…”I strongly believe that our bodies are gifted from Allah (God) to us to look after and not to destroy.  I always hated the idea of people selling their bodies for money which it gives a chance for the escort agencies to take advantage of these people who are in need”…

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

…police in South Dakota have resorted to using catheters to extract urine samples from uncooperative [DUI] suspects.  This procedure, while endorsed by the state’s top prosecutor, has been decried by critics as a potential violation of suspects’ constitutional rights…police performing the procedure don’t even anesthetize them beforehand…Courtney Bowie, legal director for ACLU South Dakota[said]…“It would be completely improper for people to place a catheter on an individual of the opposite gender…That would border on an unlawful assault, battery or rape.”

The cops are practicing medicine without a license, literally shoving tubes up people’s genitals, and the most the ACLU will say is that it’s a “potential” violation that “borders” on assault or rape, but only if the attacker were of the opposite sex.  Because obviously, rapists never rape victims of their own sex, and even if they did it would be “proper”.

The Proper Study

This actually looks like a fairly decent study, but I can’t help being amused by the reporter’s apparent belief that many clients being married is some kind of surprise:

Almost half of men who paid for sex are in a relationship, including marriage…a quarter earned more than €60,000 a year…The findings are based on an online survey of 446 men as well as a smaller number of face-to-face interviews…the vast majority of respondents used the services of internet-advertised “escorts”…46.1% said they had bought sex a few times a year while almost 31% said they paid for sex once or twice a month.  Just under 3% said they paid for sex every week.  While some men reported paying for sex due to lack of self-confidence and shyness around women, others said…“they were living in ‘sexless’ or ‘loveless’ marriages with no physical contact, or because their relationship with their partners had broken down…Some respondents stated that sex with a sex worker is the easier, but also a ‘more honest’ and safer option than affairs or one-night stands…They worry about the possible negative effects of selling sex and state that they would not pay for sex with somebody who appears coerced or forced.  This constitutes a stark contradiction to the image painted in the public discourse…where clients are described as sexual predators who do not care whether the person they pay for sex is an independent sex worker or a victim of trafficking.”

Surplus Women 

And her police record is important…why, exactly?

…Anchorage police found [Jacqueline] Goodwin’s body in a Subaru after it crashed into a light pole…they charged the driver…Benjamin Wilkins, with murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, tampering with evidence and DUI…they…don’t know how long Wilkins had been driving around with the body…Goodwin’s past was riddled with…convictions related to drugs and prostitution…Wilkins…has a history of charges for driving violations…

A False Dichotomy (The Beat Goes On)

You’d think that Australian journalists would have the sense to go to Scarlet Alliance for commentary on sex work, but you’d be wrong; they lap up the noxious idiocy vomited out by “rescue” fetishists, just as they do in the US:

Dan…[is] an undercover rescue worker, searching for underage girls and trafficking victims…we talk of the girls he has seen rescued and the men who travel to Thailand to purchase them…research has shown Australian men to be among the largest contributors to sex tourism in southeast Asia…“These men…they’ve all got the same story…They think coming to Thailand for sex is going to fill a void in their lives…then they realise that the lifestyle they’ve chosen is empty and meaningless”…It’s easy to understand the emotional toll that such work takes on rescue workers…like Dan…“When we first meet…[the girls] they hate themselves…these girls were raped and abused”…Dan feels deeply for each of these girls, and his voice is often drenched with emotion as he talks about the damage done to young women at the hands of men looking to satisfy their own lust…“The more men that have had sex with them, the harder it is and the less worth they feel”…Dan can’t help but feel sadness for the men he meets…“They’re hurting men, they’re lost men, they’re men who’ve made decisions that have set them on a path of destruction”…Dan…understands that sex tourists need help to overcome their addictions — which in some cases, are killing them…

Boo hoo hoo, the clients are victims too!  And the “rescue” fetishists!  We’re ALL victims of evil, evil sex!

The Widening Gyre

Ever wonder where all those supposed “sex trafficking victims” are?

Due to the NYPD not updating their missing person’s list, City Councilman Andy King of The Bronx [negligently claimed] that 14 Bronx girls were missing since July of 2014 and [fantasized] that they were smuggled into a prostitution ring.  NYPD and family members of the formerly missing girls came forward and stared that 11 of the 14 girls had been found or had returned home…publications like the Daily News and New York Magazine, ran with the story without verifying the details…

The Scarlet Letter (#576) Susan Kang Schroeder

Why does a publication named Vice insist on publishing so much twisted, ignorant, anti-whore propaganda?  This collection of prohibitionist lies, mostly from a prosecutor, reads like something one would find on a prohibitionist website:

Susan Kang Schroeder, prosecutor…for…Orange County [California, vomits out all kind of disgusting filth and writer Cole Kazdin eagerly licked it up]…public shaming is part of a larger program to prosecute sex trafficking…by limiting the supply of men willing to purchase sex…Southern California…draws a lot of sex traffickers…Most prostitutes…have a pimp and are trafficked.  Very few are working as free agents…Some traffickers have social media pages…and they complain to each other, posting, “Don’t go to Orange County, they have a task force”…Schroeder says decriminalization…would backfire because then the DA wouldn’t be able to go after the traffickers.  She says that many men who traffic women over 18 also have underage girls they force to work for them…Some of the girls are as young as 13…some have been “branded” by the men who traffic them: their names are tattooed on the girls’ faces…

Can’t you just hear Schroeder’s Hitachi going while she recounts her sick fantasies?  Someone needs to be locked up, shamed, and put on a “sex offender” registry, all right, but it isn’t sex workers’ clients; it’s perverts like Schroeder.  And please, Ms. Kazdin, of there are “sex traffickers” with social media pages, please share them; I for one would love to see that.

The Course of a Disease (#637) 

This is not “decriminalization” as some sources are reporting; note that it still leaves the door open for the horror of client criminalization.  But I’m cautiously optimistic, as the committee rejected a lot of prohibitionist lies out of hand:

The criminalisation of sex workers in England and Wales should come to an end, a cross-party committee of influential MPs has recommended…the home affairs select committee…said the Home Office should immediately change existing legislation so that soliciting is no longer an offence and brothel-keeping laws allow sex workers to share premises…the Home Office should legislate to delete previous convictions and cautions for prostitution from the record of sex workers, to make it easier for them to move into other forms of work should they wish to do so.  It added, however, that those who use brothels to control or exploit sex workers should continue to be prosecuted.  With regards to changing the laws on buying sex, the inquiry will continue, and the committee will seek further evidence on the impacts of recently introduced laws in Northern Ireland and France, as well the model of regulation used in New Zealand…

To Molest and Rape 

If this is the way cops treat other cops, what hope do whores have?

In a lawsuit…Miami-Dade Police Officer Krystal Spence says her supervisor…Anthony Collins…routinely made lewd comments to her, grabbed her face multiple times and kissed her, followed her into the women’s bathroom, emailed Spence’s mother asking to date her daughter, and at one point trapped her in his office and touched her [vulva]…as early as 2011, she told her sergeant, Terry Williams, that Collins was making her feel uncomfortable.  Williams “never addressed the situation”…Instead, she claims the harassment only got worse…On November 1, 2014, Spence says the incident was reported to the department’s Professional Compliance Bureau — Spence claims Internal Affairs told her “not to discuss the case”…[and] actively tried to “undermine” her complaint…in order to prevent [her] from contacting the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission or trying to sue…

In Texas, the victims of rapist cops are at least offered food, if not actual help:

According to a pending lawsuit, a woman who was sexually assaulted by a La Joya [Texas cop] while in custody was offered a taco instead of medical assistance after his supervisors watched the surveillance video….after “Autumn Renee” was booked and brought to her cell, [Felipe Santiago Peralez III] “began an all-night invasion” of her body…Peralez assaulted [her] for hours with his fingers and hands…[orally raped] her…and left her with severe bruises.  According to a report from the Texas Rangers, Peralez is seen “engaging” with the victim 49 times while she was in custody…Peñitas [cop] Elizabeth Garza…tried to silence the victim with threats, telling her that “she should forget all about the incident and go on with her life, because ‘people come up missing all the time in the valley’.”  Peralez was arrested a year later, after Texas Ranger Robert Garcia got wind of the assault and got his hands on the incriminating surveillance video…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

It’s good to see all this coming out, but I hope people don’t get the idea that this is unique to Oakland:

Rory Keller-Dean, [a sex worker] who was trying to keep her boyfriend’s car from being impounded, said…she was forced to perform oral sex on [Gary] Romero and six other Oakland [pigs].  “I thought I was gonna be dead.  I thought they were gonna kill me…But then he hands me the keys to the Cadillac and tells me goodbye and not to say a damn thing.”  Keller-Dean, who sued and was awarded $350,000 by the city, said that night in 1997 started two years of forced sex with Romero while he was on duty.  In 2002, after the settlement, then Deputy City Attorney Barbara Parker said the city’s internal investigation corroborated many of Keller-Dean’s claims.  Romero denied the allegations throughout, calling the sex consensual.  Although she has tried to put her past behind her, Keller-Dean decided to share her story to support Celeste Guap…

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You are not a citizen of a democracy but the subject of a carceral state, just waiting to be cataloged.  –  Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Tony Sellers

Usually, if I miss an item while it’s current and only hear about it months later, I’ll leave it alone.  But since this has been such a banner year for sexual misbehavior by cops, I want to feature every one I can find.  So when Tits & Sass featured this roundup of such items recently, I just couldn’t leave the one item I had missed behind:  “[After being entrapped in a sting Houston cop] Tony James Sellers…was charged with prostitution.  He was [given a paid vacation while officials bloviated about ‘ending demand’ and sex rays]…

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Once again, actual figures disprove the hysteria:

A new Department of Justice study shows that the crime parents obsess about the most—the abduction and murder of a child by stranger—is less likely than ever…in…2011…105…occurred, but only 8% ended in murder.  In 1997, by contrast, 40% did.  Today, children kidnapped by a stranger have a 92% chance of making it home…thanks to cell phones, GPSing and security cameras.  So what of the other big fears of our age, like the fear of children being abducted by strangers they meet on the internet?  The study found only one victim of such a crime.  Okay, well how about all the sex trafficking?  The study found that 16-18 girls were kidnapped for that purpose…Well, are kids at least being stolen by pedophile rings?  The DOJ found zero cases of this happening.  How about stolen by Satanists?  Zero again.  What’s more, the report also found that the victim profile most of us have in our heads—young moppets on their way to school—does not match with reality…The most common victims are girls aged 12 to 17, with sexual assault being the biggest motive…

Saving Them From Themselves

Once in a while an insanely-broad law is defeated:

The Minnesota Court of Appeals just struck down a key part of the state’s law concerning sexual communication with minors…[which]  criminalized conduct that falls far short of solicitation.  For example, the court noted, “a music video producer [who] creates a video with sexually explicit depictions or lyrics” could be found guilty under the law if he or she uploads the video to YouTube and someone under age 16 sees it.  So too could the producer of a film depicting sexual content or the writer of young-adult fiction that includes a sex scene…any communication with a child “relating to or describing sexual conduct,” even without trying to solicit them for real-world activity, is also a felony if it is done with “the intent to arouse”…”distributing any material, language, or communication, including a photographic or video image, that relates to or describes sexual conduct to a child or someone the person reasonably believes is a child” is a felony…

Note that the last provision criminalizes sex education.

The Schizoid State

So he’s a “pimp” because male, but a “child” because 17, and his same-age “victim” is obviously helpless because she’s female and therefore a moral imbecile even though they’re the same age.  Got all that?

A [Las Vegas] High School dropout is now an accused pimp…The 17-year-old is accused of running a prostitution ring…with two accomplices.  The victims — girls ages 15, 16 and 17 — were delivered to houses and hotels to sell sex for $100 or $200…The teen’s identity is not being revealed because his case is currently being handled in juvenile court…[but] Judge Frank Sullivan…[decided]…to charge the teen as an adult…[because] the district attorney’s office [said] the case is as serious as it gets…[despite] the teen’s history of…psychiatric and drug abuse issues…if convicted [he] could face life in prison…

Having sex is “as serious as it gets”.  Much worse than, say, murder, torture or kidnapping.

Standard Operating Procedure

It’s funny to me that most people are so naive they don’t realize this stuff is totally par for the course:

Three high-ranking officers in the NYPD acted as “cops on call” for two deep-pocketed de Blasio donors — as long as their “elves” plied them with gifts and bankrolled a highflying lifestyle that included hookers, free hotels and expensive meals.  Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector James Grant and Sgt. David Villanueva were arrested…in a far-reaching bribery scandal that has also snared longtime correction officers union leader Norman Seabrook…the cops acted as a “private police force” in exchange for gifts, bribes and perks worth more than $100,000…

The sex worker connection is described in more detail here:

A high-ranking NYPD official and another cop had sex with a prostitute…dressed as a flight attendant on…[a] 2014 excursion to Las Vegas…on a private plane…paid for by Jona Rechnitz, a real-estate investor being investigated by the FBI for allegedly providing gifts to police in exchange for favors…one of the officers [was] Deputy Inspector James Grant…Michael Milici, the other cop, is on modified duty…

Backwards Into the Future (#137)

These are the people prohibitionists think should be in charge of “protecting” sex workers:

Once, when I was meeting with a sex workers’ group in a brothel in Kenya, the women there got a call that one of their members had been found, dumped near a river with deep cuts on her face, hands, and thighs.  The woman had been [arrested] the night before…Her fellow sex workers had gone to the police station to bail her out but couldn’t find her.  When they picked her up…they learned she had been gang raped by the police, who then left her in the woods where she was accosted by street boys, who raped and beat her again.  The sex workers attempted to report the incident but were threatened with arrests of their own…

Shame, Shame

After a brief lull, politicians are once again trying to impose even more broad and mindlessly-draconian “revenge porn” laws on unsuspecting internet users:

The…ACLU…and [other free speech groups urged]…Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to veto a new measure meant to deal with “revenge porn” and “sextortion”…”unlike the laws of virtually every other state on this subject,” the Rhode Island measure does “not require a photo’s dissemination to cause harm to any person or even be intended to cause harm in order to violate the law”…The new legislation, passed earlier this month, prohibits posting sexually explicit photos without the subject’s [direct] permission…The legislation also bans “sextortion”…Rhode Island already criminalizes extortion.  But…the new “sextortion” charge…could…be added to regular extortion and/or revenge porn charges to give prosecutors an extra carceral edge…

Amazingly, the governor actually vetoed the law for its blatant unconstitutionality.

Blood on the Sand

This looks like another case in which everyone involved is awful:

A woman and her attorneys have been charged with secretly videotaping her having sex with a former CEO of Waffle House, and using the recording to try to extort millions of dollars from him…Mye Brindle, John Butters and David Cohen were indicted…in…Atlanta…Butters and Cohen tried to force [Joe] Rogers to pay millions of dollars to prevent the recording from being released…a…spokesman for Brindle’s attorneys…said the indictment sends a “chilling message” to victims of sexual abuse and those seeking help to attain justice…Brindle filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Rogers in 2012…[accusing] Rogers of forcing her to perform sex acts with him to keep her job despite her protests for nearly 10 years.  Rogers has acknowledged having consensual sexual encounters with Brindle, but has accused her of making false statements against him.  Court findings showed the covertly recorded video didn’t imply that Rogers forced the woman to do anything she didn’t want to…

Nice While It Lasted

The SCOTUS has more or less just demolished what little was left of the Fourth Amendment.  The following is a quote from Justice Sotomayor’s scathing dissent, which would’ve been the quote of the week except for its length:

…Do not be soothed by the opinion’s technical language:  This case allows the police to stop you on the street, demand your identification, and check it for outstanding traffic warrants—even if you are doing nothing wrong…If the officer discovers a warrant for a fine you forgot to pay, courts will now excuse his illegal stop and will admit into evidence anything he happens to find by searching you after arresting you on the warrant…Although many Americans have been stopped for speeding or jaywalking, few may realize how degrading a stop can be when the officer is looking for more…this case tells everyone, white and black, guilty and innocent, that an officer can verify your legal status at any time.  It says that your body is subject to invasion while courts excuse the violation of your rights…

Broken Record (#559) 

Irish iterations of the “gypsy whore” myth are the silliest and most hilarious ones:

Irish fans partying in French cities during Euro 2016 have been met by an army of sex workers brought from Eastern Europe and Africa for the month-long football tournament.  Football fans…have reported being propositioned…by women who have been forced to travel to France by criminal gangs determined to cash in on the tournament…Aside from health concerns, fans have also been warned of blackmail attempts by some sex trade workers, who have been ordered by pimps to secretly take photos and videos of their clients…[which are] then sold on to criminal gangs which specialise in blackmail and extortion…

Monsters (#566) 

You may remember that this was the case in which the cops claimed they didn’t know if it was hate-motivated:

A Kansas City man has been charged in the death of a transgender woman he intentionally ran over several times and left to die…Witnesses told the police that…they saw Tamara Dominguez got into a truck with 29-year-old Luis Sanchez.  But she soon exited the vehicle and slammed the door before walking away.  That’s when Sanchez reportedly gunned the engine and repeatedly ran over Dominguez, who died from injuries sustained in the attack…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#584)

San Diego has slowly grown into a major hotbed of “sex trafficking” hysteria, but it’s still surprising that none of these “authorities” is able to recognize this ludicrous masturbatory fantasy for what it is:

A federal report on sex trafficking in San Diego has revealed a vast underground industry worth more than $800m annually…Sex trafficking…involves some 110 gangs just in San Diego County, dubbed one of 13 hot spots for child sex trafficking in the US…“The study will provide a lot of new information to those seeking to end modern slavery,” said John Picarelli…between 3,000 and 8,000 victims enter the clutches of the sex-trafficking industry every year…The average age to begin selling sex is 15, and 50% of women arrested for prostitution have at some point been forced into it, the study found…pimps were typically earning around $670,000 a year…

To Molest and Rape

Sometimes they feed on their own:

A parking enforcement officer has accused three Toronto police officers of raping her vaginally, orally, and possibly anally…Leslie Nyznik…Joshua Cabero…and Sameer Kara…pleaded not guilty to sexual assault…The complainant told police she knew the three officers and was invited out for a “rookie night” by Kara in January 16, 2015…[after drinking a while] they went back to [a] hotel room…[where] she felt very drunk and laid down…she was immobilized and unable to speak.  She…remembers Nyznik inserting his penis into her mouth and that one of the men took her jeans off.  She recalled being penetrated vaginally…and that the two men may have switched places…When she woke up…Kara was asleep beside her and she grabbed her clothes and went home, where she vomited and passed out in her bathroom.  The following day, she had a rape kit examination at Scarborough Grace Hospital, during which a nurse found evidence of anal penetration…she didn’t remember being anally penetrated, but recalled one of the officers asking “should I fuck her in the ass?”…

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