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Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

Why don’t the people who support decriminalization work together with those who support legalization to fight criminalization?

The answer to that is simpler than you might think:  it’s because nobody supports legalization.  You may think that’s a bit glib, but it’s basically the truth.  Every sex worker rights organization, human rights organization (including Amnesty International), health organization and academic who has actually made a proper study of sex work agrees that decriminalization (in which sex work is treated as a form of work rather than a type of criminal behavior to be “controlled”, and sex workers are treated as adults with agency rather than broken children to be managed by the state) is the best framework for everyone involved.  Studies from New Zealand and New South Wales demonstrate that the decriminalized sex industry in those places is far healthier than in any place with heavy-handed government “regulation” of women’s sexuality by police.  The number of sex workers who want themselves declared moral imbeciles in need of management by the state is vanishingly small; nearly everyone who supports “legalization” is a politician, cop, moralist or crony who stands to profit from the “legalized” system (such as Nevada brothel owners or the owners of STI testing services).  In other words, the only people who support women being paternalistically treated like imbecilic disease vectors who need others to make decisions about their bodies for them, are those who stand to gain power (including the power to rape women who color outside the lines) or money from such a system.  And many such people, such as Dutch “authorities” and pimps like Dennis Hof, are perfectly happy to spread “sex trafficking” propaganda and other lies in order to ensure that women are denied control over our own sexual and economic behavior.

Does that answer your question about why we can’t work together?

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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

One Size Fits All

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

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

Just Call Me Nobody

Sometimes the ignorance of pigs is utterly mind-boggling:

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

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

Bread and Circuses 

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

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

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

Choke Point (#593) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

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

Part of the Picture (#665)

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

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

Negative Secondary Effects

Welcome to our world, tattoo artists:

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

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

Profit from Panic (#701) 

The infantilization of sex workers is growing ever more absurd:

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

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

Checklist (#783)

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

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

Lack of Evidence (#792) 

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

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

Under Every Bed (#844)

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

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

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

Safe Position 

I’ll be watching this race with interest:

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

Fair-Weather Friends

Oh, what a surprise:

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

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

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

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

The Sky is Falling!

Even by prohibitionist standards, this is hilariously hysterical:

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

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

Watershed

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

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

Theatrics

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

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

Good News, Bad News (#409)

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

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

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

The Face of Trafficking (#646) 

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

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

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

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

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

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

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#833) 

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

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

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

All-Purpose Excuse (#834)

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

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

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

The Real World

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

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

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

Disaster (#852)

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

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

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

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This is bigger than us…it’s a world wide crackdown on freedom of expression.  –  Vex Ashley

Real People 

I suspect this sort of story isn’t all that unusual:

There’s a misconception that sex work only entices clients who are entitled, disrespectful or predatory, yet this wasn’t my experience…phone sex…attracts some of the most struggling and deeply hurt clientele: people with agoraphobia, people with intimacy issues, other sexual assault survivors…as my friendships with my clients continued to progress, I learned I was more like my regulars than I wanted to acknowledge.  My clients and I had arrived on the opposite ends of phone sex — me as a sex worker, and them as a patron — but we sought similar resolutions.  Sex work…was quietly contributing to my healing…I realized I gravitated toward the sex industry in part to reprocess my trauma in an environment that was safe, to redevelop a way to have a healthy connection with men, and to explore my sexuality…

They Still Don’t Get It

This vile farrago of lies appears to be an attempt to slander the good work done by SWOP Behind Bars:

Women in prisons across the US are being recruited by sex traffickers who force them into prostitution on their release…Pimps and sex buyers are locating incarcerated women awaiting a court date by using personal data such as mugshots and bail bonds posted online, or through corrupt bondsmen.  Traffickers are then bailing women out of detention.  Once released, the women are told they must work as prostitutes or have their bond rescinded and be sent back to jail…Diane Checchio, a former prosecutor for the district attorney’s office in Orlando, Florida, said the bail bond system was routinely exploited by traffickers…Once they have identified a potential target inside a prison or jail, traffickers will try to establish a relationship by using letters, phone calls and promises of money and housing when the victim is released.  Prison bank accounts are also used to send money to women, establishing a debt that is used to coerce them into prostitution on their release…Pimp-controlled prostitution is now [fantasiz]ed as one of the most brutal and pervasive forms of human trafficking in the US…

The notion that clients would go to this kind of trouble, when most of them can barely even handle the normal screening and booking process, would be hilarious if it weren’t being used to undermine human rights.

Buried Truth 

Yet another perfect example of the McNeill Rule:

A Columbia University student whose global campaign against rape and sexual abuse of children earned him berths to speak alongside [politicians]…was himself charged…with a series of sex crimes against children…Joel Davis…[faces] a series of sordid allegations, including an admission by Mr. Davis that he had sex with a 13-year-old boy in his New York apartment.  The complaint also outlines text messages Mr. Davis sent undercover F.B.I. agents seeking sexual images of children as young as 2.  “The conduct alleged against Joel Davis is as unfathomable as it is sickening,” [a prosecutor bloviated]…

This is only “unfathomable” to idiots who neither understand psychology nor read the news.  The more any man crusades against a particular sex act, the more likely he is to be a practitioner.

Welcome To Our World (#600)

Welcome to our world, infertile women:

Five people in Cambodia were arrested on charges of human trafficking after the police found 33 pregnant women during a raid on a…[banned] surrogacy operation…Cambodia is one of four Asian countries — along with Thailand, Nepal and India — that have banned commercial surrogacy in recent years.  Experts say the bans have pushed some surrogacy agencies underground while also fueling demand for the practice in other countries, particularly in Eastern Europe, where local regulations are more welcoming.  “Most bans don’t…work”…said Sam Everingham, the founder of Families Through Surrogacy, a nonprofit based in Australia that provides advice and support for people seeking surrogacy arrangements…

Shame, Shame (#649)

“Revenge porn” laws keep getting struck down because their proponents refuse to tailor them narrowly, insisting instead on unconstitutional broadness:

[Censors, prudes and showboaters] blamed [Google] for helping to…kill a [FOSTA-like] bill in New York that would have [allowed opportunists to sue web hosting companies for]…nonconsensual…sexually explicit images [found on their site.  The censors wanted to also expand mass incarceration]…by making the act a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail…[but] the Internet Association, a lobbying group representing Google and other web companies,  stepped in…to [point out to] lawmakers [that] language in the legislation that would have allowed [opportunists] to sue web companies [is unconstitutional and violates section 230 of the CDA]…Mary Anne Franks…began working with Assemblyman Edward Braunstein on New York’s bill back in 2013.  That original version…was…one of the [most mindlessly-draconian revenge porn laws in the country…

Like Houses

Naturally useful idiots are surprised, though this was as predictable as sunrise:

…police in Pennsylvania who are using the state’s hate crime statute…against people who [insult] them.  On Sept. 23, 2016, Robbie Sanderson, a 52-year-old Black man from North Carolina, was arrested for retail theft…During the arrest, Sanderson [correctly] called police “Nazis,” “skinheads” and “Gestapo”…For that, he was charged with a hate crime.  “This is completely ridiculous,” said Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “This is not what the hate crime statute was for.  This is criminalizing pure speech and that violates the First Amendment”…

Does someone need to explain to Mary that all “hate speech” laws criminalize pure speech?

The Prudish Giant (#787)

Once Patreon started caving in to PayPal, this was inevitable:

Adult content creators on crowdfunding site Patreon are facing a sudden spate of suspensions, with many reporting “implied nudity” as the reason their pages are shut down…”We have been ramping up the [censorship] of content on Patreon due to requirements from our payment partners,” a Patreon spokesperson [said]…Sex workers, porn producers and anyone working in the erotic labor trade have [in the past few decades] faced discrimination from payment processors and banks…Patreon set itself up as an alternative home for creators of all kinds to make money doing what they love, but [like PayPal and so many others, they are throwing sex workers under the bus now that they’re successful]…

The Punitive Mindset (#790) 

In which two groups of warring scumbags pretend to be unable to understand that locking human beings in cages tends to induce pathological behavior:

A federal judge refused to dismiss lawsuits from female public defenders and [screws] who claim Cook County, Illinois, inmates have been exposing themselves and masturbating in front of them, a problem they say was exacerbated by a program rewarding detainees with pizza for not engaging in such behavior…the women…alleg[e]…that Dart had created solutions to the problem only to reverse them…[so as to support his] proposed legislation that would [subject] inmates [to more time under Dart’s control] for sexual [behavior]…

Soap Opera (#809)

A functioning police state needs no police:

…Kent Couch, owner of Stop and Go in Bend, Ore., was skeptical that human trafficking was happening in his community.  Then three years ago, he met Nita Belles, founder…of In Our Backyard, a [rescue industry profiteer group]…She asked him to display a [magic] sticker in his store’s bathroom that offers…a toll-free number to call [for women too stupid to remember the numbers “911”]…Couch put the sticker up and covered it with a frame so that it wouldn’t attract graffiti…“A week later, the frame was ripped off the wall and thrown in the garbage and the sticker taken…I hung up a new one, and the frame was again broken and the number scratched out.  So that was a heads-up to me that in fact we do have human trafficking here”…Employees are instructed to alert him if they’ve seen anything suspicious…Recently, a woman came into the store with black-and-blue eyes, making no eye contact and with her hood up.  “We called 911 right away and gave [her] license-plate numbers,” he says…

He put a frame on the sticker because he has a problem with vandalism in his bathroom, so when more vandalism happens that “proves” it’s “sex traffickers”?  And they turn customers into the pigs for having injuries?  Are these people living in reality at all?

Disaster

Since the UK is becoming a colony of the US, this “monkey see, monkey do” was inevitable:

Ministers…[came] under intense pressure from a [prohibitionist] group of MPs this week to follow the US by banning…[sex work advertising] websites amid [repetitious and unsupported claims] that they are enabling a huge growth in sexual exploitation and the trafficking of women to the UK for profit.  Members of the all-party group on prostitution have secured a parliamentary debate during which they will demand that the Home Office acts to [criminalize] websites such as Vivastreet and Adultwork [if they remain on UK soil]…

India and Israel have also introduced FOSTA copycat laws.  Gee, it’s almost like governments don’t like the open internet.

Too Close To Home (#830) 

A pet judge isn’t going to be able to make this scandal go away:

King County…Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (“KCPAO”) entered into a funding agreement with an organization called Demand Abolition that channels funds from the Hunt Alternatives family foundation…KCPAO and other local law enforcement agencies have garnered a great deal of positive publicity in the past few years for…saying that they are aggressively tackling sex trafficking.  In reality, their efforts target buyers of sex who purchase from adult consensual sex workers…Why did Satterberg describe this as sex trafficking when there was no evidence of trafficking? Don’t prosecutors have to follow rules and be careful about how they describe arrestees’ alleged criminal conduct in the media? (Short answer: yes)…Public records show that [Val] Richey made a sustained effort to…push the tactic of targeting sex buyers.  He also encouraged a shift in how prosecutors handled defendants’ cases after arrest, halting the diversion that they typically offered to first-offender buyers and instead imposing fines and fees while requiring enrollment in a buyer intervention course (that just so happened to be offered by an organization that also received funding by Demand Abolition).  Richey also worked closely with Demand Abolition and with consultants hired by Demand Abolition throughout the time he received grant funding, including to craft communications efforts that deliberately conflated adult consensual sex work and trafficking…

To Molest and Rape (#846) 

Oregon’s just full of rapist cops lately:

Michael Goff, a parking [cop] for the City of Newport, was [arrested]…a day after…Newport police sergeant [Brad Purdon] was [also] arrested  on sex abuse charges…involving the same [underage] victim…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#850) 

Total number of frogs in Lisa Lewis’ self-destructive chorus: 3.

…By presenting…Lisa Lewis as the voice of sex workers, [The New Zealand Herald] allowed a nuanced issue to be hijacked by a small group with an axe to grind.  It claimed that New Zealand sex workers rejected the NZPC’s support of migrant sex workers, based solely on a letter written by Lewis, signed by two other sex workers and backed by a member of Family First — an organisation that routinely attacks the rights of sex workers…Of the hundreds of escorts in my community…not one shares Lisa Lewis’ vitriol towards migrant workers and the NZPC.  The claim that her 25 signatures (the majority of which…come from non-sex workers) is somehow an accurate summation of the 4000 plus sex workers currently active in New Zealand would be laughable if it wasn’t so harmful…The NZPC are not advocating importing hundreds of sex workers to flood the market and take “money off legal sex workers”, as Lewis’ letter claims.  They are simply supporting the human rights of foreign workers and upholding their safety and agency within the industry…

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When we come back, we come back stronger.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Surplus Women 

Politicians won’t even wait for a whore’s body to be cold before launching vile attacks on her community:

Just a few hours before the march…in memory of [Eunice, a Nigerian sex worker] who was mortally stabbed on…5 June, the Committee of Brussels’s Alhambra District…speaks…in favor of…prostitution tolerance zones…and of a building complex to shelter…prostitutes’ shop windows…The Alhambra Committee [claims] that it is not against prostitution, but rather against the disturbance it causes in a residential district…“We can accept several independent prostitutes ‘working’ in the neighborhood, but it is difficult not to notice the Rumanian-Bulgarian-Albanian-Hungarian mafia installed on our streets since 2005″…the…Committee…[also stated] that they are favorable to police control of clients…[and] denounces the fact that [activists are against this ghetto because]…prostitutes without official papers could not work there…

Dehumanization, racism, end demand garbage, scare quotes around “working” and a bottleneck to keep “dirty foreigners” out.  They didn’t even include her name, just called her “a prostitute”.  But they’re not against sex work, no sir!

Broken Record 

Hysteria is like a disease; it spreads among friend & foe alike:

Even though prostitution is illegal in Russia, there are around three million regular sex workers in the country, according to activist group Silver Rose.  Until recently, the group says, the police had turned a blind eye to the practice or taken kickbacks.  But with hundreds of thousands of tourists descending on Russia for the World Cup, the authorities are [purging as “authorities” always do before such events]…this means frequent raids on well-known prostitution sites…Despite the authorities’ efforts, though, [prohibitionists fantasize] that the relaxed visa regime introduced to simplify travel to Russia during the tournament is encouraging illegal trafficking of women.  As Yulia Siluyanova of Alternativa, a Moscow-based [prohibitionist] organization, put it, “The World Cup is a gift for traffickers”…

Under Every Bed

Is it just me, or are “sex trafficking is EVERYWHERE!” articles beginning to sound very tired?

Some Central Texans are taking a stand against sex trafficking…the T.S.O.Y., Texas Save Our Youth organization, held a meeting…to [indoctrinate] the public…[in bogus] statistics, [fantasies] of trafficking and warning signs like strategically placed tattoos…The U.S. is the number one producer and consumer of sex trafficking in the world, and Texas is in the top three states in the country.

Bottleneck (#638)

“Licensing” is one of the ways governments try to surreptitiously ban things:

The state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums…to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution.  Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, have reportedly shut down to avoid prosecution.  Reuters reports: Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a license.  Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below $900 a year.  Digital activists say the law is part of a crackdown on dissent and free speech…Government officials [pretend] the new rules are aimed at tackling hate speech and other online crimes, including cyberbullying and pornography

Does that list of “crimes” justifying censorship sound familiar?

Morality Lessons (#689)

In which the FBI running an actual child porn site is called “law enforcement ingenuity”:

…we spearhead and coordinate massive nationwide and international operations to disrupt and destroy child exploitation networks….these…are most successful only when we can rely on our close partnerships with the many federal, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental partners here today.  Operation Pacifier was a prime example.  In that case, we…[took over] a highly sophisticated, global enterprise on the dark web called “Playpen,” where users exchanged tens of thousands of postings relating to the sexual abuse of children – even, revoltingly, children as young as infants and toddlers.  Operation Pacifier was a model of law enforcement ingenuity.  Agents identified and seized the “Playpen” server, which gave the FBI a very short window of time to [keep running it as normal]…to identify site users…

Your regular reminder that the word for a “partnership” between political and corporate interests is “fascism”.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

Another sighting of the “sex trafficking” fetishist who masturbates to the fantasy that emojis in low-rent escort ads are part of some mysterious pimp “code”:

“Human trafficking is a business,” said Jessica Whitney, “where people are treated as inventory”…Whitney [fantasizes] that traffickers use certain language and emojis (symbols) to appeal to certain buyers.  They market the girls — by age, race, skin color, “new in town” (i.e. limited time only) — as a retailer positions its products.  In fact, victims are often forced to write their own customized ads.  The [fantasy] doesn’t relent…

The Course of a Disease (#757)

Israeli prohibitionists ladle FOSTA slop on top of an already-bad anti-whore bill:

The state is petitioning the courts to remove five Israeli prostitution websites from the internet…[clients careless enough to be] caught [in pig stings] within three years of the first offense will pay doubled the original fine, according to the draft legislation…[Injustice Minister Ayelet] Shaked had decided that customers would be pursued through administrative rather than criminal enforcement: the offender would not be considered a criminal with a criminal record…The minister [bloviated] that the draft bill fining customers is…part of a wider plan she intends to bring before government in the months to come…Meanwhile…the Knesset approved a bill banning advertisement of prostitutes…for the first time, the prohibition will apply to the printing shop that printed the ad…offending internet sites and phone numbers involved in promoting prostitution services could be blocked…

Surprised how fast mass censorship is taking hold? We did warn you.

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

The U.S. House approved a ban…on the importation and trafficking of anatomically correct child sex dolls…that [perverts wrongly claim] “normalize sex between adults and minors…These dolls can be programmed to simulate rape. The very thought makes me [excited]” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte…“Once an abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to a child”…[fantasized bill sponsor] Dan Donovan…The proposal [imagines] the…dolls…“can resemble actual children”…Goodlatte [pretended to be] “distraught” that…child sex dolls even exist…“Customers can order bespoke dolls, providing pictures of specific children they would like the doll to resemble.  They can indicate a preferred facial expression such as sadness or fear”…

Even in the world of anti-sex propaganda, this bill and article are egregious.  They express psychologically-illiterate fantasies and scare-claims in declarative sentences, and make assertions that are not only untrue, but calculated to demonize the buyers of such dolls (eg, the last sentence).  I also remind you of the McNeill Rule.

Feminine Pragmatism (#778) 

One day, reporters will get that “People Work To Make Money” is not news:

…in Colombia’s border city of Cucuta…Venezuelan sex workers…now [do a fairly ordinary job] to support themselves and their families…About 672,000 Venezuelans have crossed into neighbouring Colombia alone, both legally and illegally, since 2015…The exodus from the oil-rich country is the largest migration of people in South America’s recent history, and it shows little signs of abating.  For some, sex work is [a reasonable, practical] option…

The Widening Gyre (#811)

Lenore Skenazy is doing great work reporting on these absurd “sex trafficking” panics:

Here’s [a] mom’s Facebook post:  “we are driving home from Cincinnati and got off at a rest stop for a quick bathroom break.  Just my daughter and I went inside…some lady who appeared to be on something, was trying to talk to my daughter…I heard…her say “the little girl” [to another woman]…As we leave I passed both women and the one that I originally saw had changed clothes and started to leave…I then made a dead sprint to the car, threw my daughter in and locked doors.  Once we were safely in car I noticed 3 men standing in front of a gold minivan with all the doors open…I have this terrible feeling that had I not been aware…my daughter may have been taken from me“…stranger danger is so rare that even the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…has asked people to stop using the term.  And David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, told me he had heard of no children ever abducted from their parents in public for sex trafficking purposes…A media organization uncritically promoting this hysteria is…reckless journalism…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

Lewis & her friends are fools; what they want is legalization & protectionism, and they’re not going to like it if they get it:

[A small group of] New Zealand sex workers have written an open letter…asking for the election of a Minister of Prostitution.  The letter also rejects the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) as the representative organisation of sex workers here, and attacks the collective’s support for illegal sex workers.  The letter by Hamilton sex worker Lisa Lewis carries 25 other names…In an unlikely alliance, the letter was written with the help of [conservative Christian group] Family First…Lewis said… “Prostitution needs to be governed in New Zealand.  If there is a legislation, there should be a Minister.”  The letter claimed migrants coming on temporary visas to work as prostitutes were “taking money off legal sex workers, not paying tax and going home with the money …NZPC’s current focus is legalising internationals to be allowed to provide commercial sexual services here in New Zealand and no legal New Zealand sex worker wants this”…Family First is highly critical of the Prostitution Reform Act and is calling for a Nordic model…

I am reminded of the fable, “The Frogs Who Desired a King”.

Choke Point (#839) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

Several gun-related businesses were suddenly — and without warning — disrupted in recent weeks when Intuit stopped processing credit card payments because phone and internet sales were gun-related…Some of the payments stopped didn’t even involve firearms, but simply T-shirts and coffee mugs and gun safety classes…As a result, the businesses had to scramble to track down customers to get them pay their bills after Intuit credited back to customers’ accounts the purchases — even if the T-shirt was already shipped or the class already taken…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there.

Disaster (#839)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

After…SESTA-FOSTA…organizing around sex workers has been reinvigorated with a new urgency.  The legislation…cripples sex workers’ ability to work safely online.  It’s merely the latest example in an unbroken history of harmful anti-sex work laws.  But at a time when activism…is all the more crucial…SESTA-FOSTA…[is] silencing and criminalizing the very organizing and advocacy that would help sex workers stay safe and fight persecution, even chilling journalists’ efforts to cover these issues…In one poignant example of how these laws harm advocacy, the Desiree Alliance Conference — the largest U.S. gathering addressing human, labor, and civil rights for workers in the sex industry — announced that it will not take place this year due to fears surrounding SESTA-FOSTA…

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Sex work is first and foremost a livelihood strategy.  –  Borislav Gerasimov

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

New Hampshire’s state Supreme Court has upheld a young man’s harsh sentence—which includes lifetime registry on the sex offender list—for propositioning a 15-year-old girl over the internet.  The man, Bailey Serpa, was 18 at the time.  According to New Hampshire law, Serpa would have been guilty of a mere misdemeanor had the two actually had sex. But online solicitation of a minor is considered a felony.  Serpa appealed the sentence on grounds that it was “unconstitutional and grossly disproportional”…Teens expressing sexual interest in each other isn’t weird or abnormal, and it certainly shouldn’t be a crime…

Broken Record

Top this one, “sex trafficking event” hysterics:

Lynne Barletta is the founder of Catch the Wave of Hope, a[n]…organization designed to [spread] human trafficking [hysteria].  She says during the summer, traffickers are at beaches, in malls – anywhere children could be unsupervised…13-year-old girls and 11-year-old boys are the prime target.  The recruiters are the same age…[Fetishists fantasize that] modeling or a summer job is the most popular technique…

Believe it or not, we’ve seen this one before, but both Google and WordPress searches are so poor and non-Boolean that I can’t find the previous claim. I think it was quite early in the blog’s history, prior to 2012, but I might be wrong.

The Widening Gyre 

Observation: homeless camp in woods. Conclusion: sex trafficking!

A homeless veterans advocacy group stumbled upon an abandoned campsite on the night of Tuesday, May 29…Dani Ward, a volunteer, [said]…she thinks it’s a child trafficking camp.  She pointed out children’s clothing, toys, luggage and strollers.  Ward [breathlessly fantasized] that straps tied to trees were used as restraints.  Also described was an underground bunker where they [fantasize] children may have been kept.  [Reporters] toured the site…and noticed structures in the camp were tied together using similar straps that they described as restraints.  The area…where they claim the children may have been kept could also have been used as shelter to get out of the heat or place to sleep…

When you’ve lost local news reporters, your moral panic is dying.

An Example To the West (#343) 

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Sting operations staged to crack down on human trafficking in the sex industry violate human rights, and lead to stigmatisation and discrimination against women who are working as sex workers of their own volition…Empower Foundation…said that in order to rescue 10 victims of enforced or underage sex workers, on average some 100 innocent women are also arrested. These women suffer distress from violation of their human rights and dignity. The women’s rights group urged the authorities to decriminalise prostitution…as a legal career in order to give them protection and welfare as per labour law, which will also be a sustainable solution to suppress human trafficking in the sex industry…Thanta Laovilawanyakul, Empower Foundation coordinator, said…“Many of them face the charge of adultery and are publicly exposed for working in the sex industry. Even the victims of human trafficking are mistreated…they are detained in an improper detention area for a long period and they are unable to contact their family”…

Property of the State 

Condemning a young man to frequent, horrific seizures is “standing up for a child’s welfare”:

Georgia recognizes cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy and notionally lets certified patients possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil”…that contains a…substantial amount of cannabidiol (CBD), the ingredient that reduces seizures.  That privilege is mainly theoretical, however, since there is no legal way to produce or obtain cannabis extract in Georgia.  Given that glaring defect in the state’s medical marijuana law, it is easy to understand why Matthew and Suzeanna Brill let their 15-year-old son, David, smoke cannabis in a desperate attempt to control his epileptic seizures…David was having several seizures a day…and the drugs he was prescribed for his epilepsy did not work.  But after he started smoking marijuana in February, he went more than two months without a seizure…David’s doctors knew why he was suddenly doing so much better, and they did not object.  But his therapist ratted out the Brills, which led to a visit by Twiggs County sheriff’s deputies, who demanded that David stop taking his medicine…The Brills were charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, and Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services took David away.  He has been living in a group home for a month now, away from his parents, his medicine, and the dog that is trained to detect imminent seizures.  His parents are fighting to get him back, a process they say may take as long as a year.  They are trying to raise money to cover their legal expenses on GoFundMe…Twiggs County Sheriff Darren Mitchum defended his department’s handling of the case…[with] “somebody’s got to stand up for the child’s welfare”…

Where Are the Protests? (#578)

Before swallowing this, I suggest you compare it to the “nail parlor slavery” myth, which it resembles even to the point (see title link) of claims of “sex slaves” hidden in the back:

…a shocking investigation reveals that many of the 20,000 hand car washes operating in this country are criminally exploiting workers.  They are typically staffed by immigrants from Eastern Europe who have been trafficked into this country on the promise of paid work – but without immigration papers they find themselves trapped in debt to their new bosses.  Often unable to speak English they are forced to work up to 11 hours a day for as little as £1 an hour, with even those pitiful wages docked to cover the cost of accommodation.  Those who try to quit are threatened with violence and deportation.  The exploitation extends even to putting their health at risk, with ruthless bosses providing little or nothing in the way of safety equipment or protective clothing despite the strong detergents used by many washes.  Latest figures show that about a 10th of the police operations tackling slavery in Britain involve car washes – double the figure of a year before…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#628)

Cops busting kids’ lemonade stands isn’t news any more, but they usually have the law behind them:

Everybody was having a good time on Memorial Day until somebody called the cops on the children selling lemonade to neighbors across the street from a park in Denver…police wasted no time in shutting the lemonade stand down for operating without a permit, putting a good scare into the kids, including the 6-year-old who took off running and the 4-year-old who started crying.  Jennifer Knowles, mother of the two boys, later learned there is no law or policy requiring kids to obtain a license to set up a temporary stand for neighbors…she encouraged her children to set up a lemonade stand…to teach them business and entrepreneurial skills…But if the kids learned anything, it is to not trust police…

Lack of Evidence (#659)

Just in case you thought this particular insanity was over:

…police charged people with both prostitution and possessing an instrument of crime in 100 cases last year in Allegheny County [Pennsylvania].  In 15 of the cases, condoms were an alleged instrument of crime.  In 14 others, police seized condoms as evidence.  In…the remaining cases, people faced instrument-of-crime charges for allegedly using cellphones to set up meetings…Authorit[arians think this is OK because]…filing condom-related charges or using condoms as evidence gives police and judges more leverage to win guilty pleas in prostitution cases and allows [pigs] to [arrest] sex workers…By filing an additional instrument-of-crime charge, a suspect is immediately processed and their fingerprints and photos are stored in a [pig] database.  It ensures police will be aware of their prior criminal history if they [are arrested] elsewhere…

Banishment (#779) 

This Orwellian tyranny is part of how governments are getting around the push to reduce prison populations:

In early September 2015, guards fanned out across Texas…to round up about 200 men, rousing some from bed as early as 3 a.m. and demanding they stuff whatever they wanted to keep into black Hefty bags…The state calls them “sexually violent predators,” men required not only to publicly register their whereabouts but also to participate in a court-ordered monitoring and treatment program meant to cure them of “behavior abnormalities”…most were living in boarding homes and halfway houses…[they] were frisked, loaded onto vans and prison buses and driven hundreds of miles to Littlefield, a remote, sparsely populated corner of the Texas Panhandle, where guards shuffled them into…a prison that had been empty for six years…the men [were forced to] surrender…their IDs, Social Security cards, birth certificates and credit cards, along with cash…Guards dug through the Hefty bags, tossing out all sorts of personal items now considered contraband…But officials at the detention center were adamant:  This wasn’t a prison.  They [demanded] the men…call their [cells] “rooms,” not prison cells…the new inmates couldn’t come and go.  It wasn’t clear when their sentences would end, if ever.  Two and a half years…[later] only five men have been released — four of them to medical facilities where they later died.  State officials claim Texas’ new civil commitment program is designed to rehabilitate the men….[by] stash[ing] them in a for-profit prison…far away from the support services they’ll need if there’s any hope of transitioning back into society — the supposed goal of the facility…

The Cop Myth

Alex Vitale on the development of modern policing:

The first modern police force—the London Metropolitan Police—was established by Sir Robert Peel in 1829.  He developed his ideas about law and order, Alex S. Vitale writes in his book The End of Policing, when he was “managing the British colonial occupation of Ireland and seeking new forms of social control … in the face of growing insurrections, riots, and political uprisings.”  The “Peace Preservation Force” was meant to serve as a less expensive alternative to the British army…Appointed home secretary in 1822…Peel would run the London Metropolitan Police along the same lines…Boston adopted the London model in 1838, and New York established a formal police force in 1844…But well before then, cities in the southern United States, such as New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston, “had paid full-time officers”…charged with preventing slave revolts…The motto “to protect and to serve”—adopted by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1955 and later used by others around the country—has been a highly effective public relations tool for the police, as it obscures the main function of their work, which since its inception has been to act in an adversarial manner toward the wider community…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#784)

Never underestimate the human capacity to obsess about things that don’t exist:

There’s “no evidence that having sex with robots is healthy,” The Washington Post wants you to know.  Similar headlines grace the pages of USA TodayThe VergeCNBC…and many other outlets, sometimes with an added dose of alarmism (“Sex robots could empower pedophiles and sex offenders“) or millennialism (“There’s literally no research proving sex robots are good for society“).  These headlines are all true, more or less, but they omit an important fact: There’s also “literally no research” showing…sex robots unhealthy…There’s just no evidence about sex robots period, because at present they don’t really exist.  The authors of a new article in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health—the study behind all those headlines—admit as much…

Sex Workers Against Trafficking (#812)

The world’s largest “anti-trafficking” organization recognizes that sex workers are the best guardians against actual coercion in our industry:

In February 2018 the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) published our new report, Sex Workers Organising for Change: Self-representation, community mobilisation and working conditions.  The report documents how organising has enabled sex workers to deal with the on-going stigma and discrimination they face from society and the authorities, and to prevent and address the violence, coercion, and exploitation occurring in the sex industry…At least one sex worker organisation in each country took part: Stella and Butterfly (Canada), Brigada Callejera (Mexico), Hetaira and Genera (Spain), SWEAT and Sisonke (South Africa), SANGRAM and VAMP (India), Empower (Thailand) and New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (New Zealand).  These countries were chosen because they represent different world regions and cultures, span both the global north and global south, and are considered as both countries of origin and destination for migration and trafficking…

Perquisites (#840)

Are amateurs really so sheltered that this sort of thing shocks them?

Just a week before the World Cup starts, Mexico’s national team is embroiled in scandal…El Tri held a farewell party in Mexico City…the…day the team claimed victory over Scotland…where players were joined by “30 VIP escorts”…Mexican officials won’t sanction players because it took place on their day off…

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If you’re a regular reader you’ve probably noticed that I’m fond of metaphors, and I’ve used a number of different ones over the years to describe the way public opinion about sex work has been slowly changing.  I’ve used the cycle of day and night, shifting winds, and crossing a watershed, but today I’m going to return to one I first used almost three years ago, the turn of the tide.  I rather like that image right now because, like the tide, the apparently-sudden shift seems to have surprised those unable to read the signs I’ve been telling you about for quite a while now.  The turning started when Amnesty International announced its support for decriminalization, but most prohibitionists were unable to read that and so encouraged the US government in what is beginning to look like a fatal overstep, the awful FOSTA censorship law which is designed to gut the internet in its haste to force sex workers back into the shadows under the pretense of fighting “sex trafficking”.

I call it an overstep because it’s fairly clear that its proponents had no idea it would not silence sex workers, but rather amplify our voices instead; US sex workers have finally begun to come out in unprecedented numbers to fight for our rights:

…over 300 sex workers and allies gathered…in downtown Oakland for International Whores Day…The rally’s focus on FOSTA shows just how dramatically the legislation has shifted the sex work debate…the rally mobilized hundreds of sex workers—in the past…events like this might have drawn only 15 people.  “People are hungry, people have lost their screening tools,” said Hunter [Leight].  “They’re coming out because they’re desperate, they’re stressed, and they’re under attack”…

in other words, FOSTA has finally made US sex workers aware that we’re being backed into a corner, and that we are at war.  For decades US sex workers, pushed into the shadows by criminalization, have been afraid to mobilize to the same levels as our sisters in the majority of the world, where our work is at least legal (albeit heavily stigmatized and persecuted by cops); these new laws have forced American whores to understand that our enemies will not stop until we’re dead, and that our only alternative is to fight back.  And we’re not alone; the mainstream media are finally beginning to notice us, and it’s no longer politically fatal for politicians to support sex worker rights.  But perhaps one of the most telling signs of how much the tide has turned came last week from Down Under; Australia and New Zealand aren’t all that different from the US culturally, though they stayed with the British Empire instead of breaking away as the US did.  And since they’re more advanced than the mother country in the area of sex worker rights, we got to see this

Named in [New Zealand’s] twice-year allotment of knighthoods…is life-long advocate and founding member of the nation’s prostitutes’ collective, Catherine Healy, who has been made a dame companion for her services to the rights of sex workers…While working as a school teacher in the ’80s, Dame Catherine signed up for a receptionist job at a brothel to earn extra money for travel.  She was the collective’s national coordinator by the end of the decade.  She built the group into an internationally-recognised organisation, becoming the country’s leading voice for sex worker rights, health and education and eventually organised the charge towards decriminalisation of prostitution in 2003…

And this:

Julie Bates laughs at the way she instinctively responded when the emblem of the Crown bobbed up on an email in her inbox a few weeks ago.  “I thought ‘Oh my God, what have I done now?’” It’s been 23 years since the sex industry was decriminalised in NSW, and still,  sometimes, “the only thing you expect first thing in the morning is a knock on the door from the cops…that kind of trauma and instinct still sits with you, no matter how many years ago it was.”  The email, however, bore good news: the 68-year old becomes an officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Queen’s Birthday honours, recognising the work she’s done over decades to champion the rights of sex workers and mobilise the sex industry against the spread of HIV/AIDS…

Naturally, the prohibitionists are furious, but they’re as helpless against this as sea creatures washed up on the beach are to stop the retreating tide.  For US politicians and staid Commonwealth governments to feel comfortable supporting something, that thing must already have considerable public support.  The prohibitionists put all of their hopes into “sex trafficking” hysteria, and as that hysteria dries up – in part due to their own incredible overconfidence and total lack of restraint in inventing absurd numbers and outrageous lies – they’re going to find themselves abandoned in the dirt and slowly dying of neglect as the rest of humanity leaves them behind.

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