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Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

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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Despite intensive investigations by Immigration New Zealand, no cases of trafficking in the sex industry have been identified to date. 
–  Lynzi Armstrong

Whores and Wives

It’s so nice to see whores portrayed as dangerous seductresses rather than pathetic “victims”:

Police are being asked to probe a Latino prostitution ring which is allegedly being facilitated by immigration officers and a private school in South Trinidad…The request for the probe is coming from the wives of businessmen who are complaining that these Latino sex workers are stealing their husbands away from them…The wives…claim their husbands are spending…up to US$30,000 a month, to fund lifestyles of infidelity with these women.  “These Spanish women coming here and taking away our men with their nastiness and the Government and the police need to seriously send them all back,” said one woman…I don’t know what these women have but they bringing their nasty habits and ruining our sacred marriages and blighting our beds…they have to be caught and sent away for good.  They are breaking up our families”…

As I’ve often said, whores save far more marriages than we ruin.  But better to be thought a homewrecker than a vegetable.

No Fun Shall Be Had

Grown woman with degree pretends to be harmed by a lame Bugs Bunny elevator joke from the ’40s:

“Ladies’ lingerie.”  It was a lame, outmoded joke — the sort of thing you say in a crowded elevator, an artifact of the days of fancy department stores with operators announcing the floor stops…last month in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association…Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory…made the remark after someone in his elevator called out to ask for floor requests.  Simona Sharoni, professor of women’s and gender studies…took offense…”As a survivor of sexual harassment in the academy, I am quite shaken by this incident”…ISA…disciplinary committee…found his elevator remarks “offensive and inappropriate”…Lebow was thus instructed to issue an “unequivocal apology.”  Not surprisingly, he declined…

A grown woman who is “shaken” by something so ridiculous deserves public mockery, not official conciliation.

Droit du Seigneur 

A pretty typical “leader”, really:

A…Kentucky judge has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on human trafficking charges.  Timothy Nolan…[also] pleaded guilty to…other felony sex crimes involving minors…Nolan is…a conservative political activist and worked on President Trump’s campaign in Kentucky…[there were] nearly 20 teen victims, many…under 16…

Surplus Women 

This is going to become much more common due to the ramped-up war on whores:

An Indiana man charged in the killings of seven women who…were among a vulnerable population of drug addicts or prostitutes pleaded guilty to murder charges…to avoid…the death penalty…Darren D. Vann…preyed on those who were disconnected from their families and could not be readily found…Vann [was] sentenced on May 25 to life in prison without the possibility of parole…

Presumption of Guilt (November Updates)

This totalitarian idea won’t die:

A new ordinance in Allentown [Pennsylvania] will require owners of pawn shops and other second-hand retailers to take photographs and collect thumb prints from customers before purchasing or exchanging any merchandise.  They are also required to catalog any inventory purchased and to upload that information (along with the photos and fingerprints) to a police database.  They cannot re-sell anything for 15 days.  The rules were passed last year to make it easier to track stolen items and intercept them before they can be sold again.  But the b…adly written law has swept up all second-hand sellers in the city, including comic book stores, consignment shops, and antiques markets…[these stores will likely have to close or move because]  people who want to buy or sell a used item can simply cross the city lines and do it somewhere else—whether it’s stolen or not…

Finding What Isn’t There

Most of this is just the usual garbage, but there’s one rather amusing point: the conviction of one pimp in “August 2014 [is described]…as a major blow to sex trafficking in the Charleston [South Carolina] area“.  If one guy arrested four years ago is a “major blow” to any crime in a metro area of 750,000 people, that area doesn’t have a problem with that crime.

Banishment

The state says this isn’t a punishment:

For the past four years, dozens of homeless sex offenders have lived in tents in a makeshift encampment along a set of railroad tracks in Hialeah, a city in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.  The residents live in squalid conditions…Rain soaks through the tents, and flies and mosquito populate the residents’ belongings.  Because there isn’t even an outhouse in the area, many of those living there are forced to defecate outside.  Many of the surrounding businesses have complained that they’ve lost customer traffic as a result of the encampment and view the residents as a nuisance…After the story…Miami-Dade’s county commissioners amended an ordinance on public camping to effectively outlaw the encampment this past January, [pretending] public safety and health concerns.  In March, Mayor Carlos Giménez gave those living there 45 days to vacate…if they refuse to leave…police may be able to arrest them on the spot.  The problem is, they have almost nowhere to go…

Just Call Me Nobody

I’m not going to bother quoting this trash, because moronic assertions from “authorities” (usually, as in this case, in horrifically-prohibitionist cities like San Diego) that there’s no such thing as a woman who can make her own sexual decisions is as tired and inane as it is idiotic.  What’s always fun is when literally hundreds of sex workers turn up on social media to condemn the lie.

Moving Pictures 

Another “sex trafficking” hysteria film for future generations to laugh at:

Kate Bosworth is wearing many different hats—actress, of course, producer, photographer and activist, with her eyes set on [harming sex workers, because it’s fashionable in Hollywood]…Bosworth took on a producer role for the upcoming [propaganda] film Nona…[like most prohibitionists,] Bosworth started down this path after a…[distorted] news story [made her think she was an expert]…

Blunt Instrument (#770)

With the demise of Backpage, anti-whore pogroms turn back to low-hanging fruit:

…Backpage was one of the biggest tools for the Tulsa Police Vice Unit to [hunt down]…sex [workers]…now that they can’t set up stings on Backpage, they’ve [turned] to focus…on [pogroms]…at local massage parlors…

Pyrrhic Victory (#814) 

Expect this to spread to the US within just a few years:

At 2017’s [Porthcawl] Elvis festival, impersonators were [harassed by] police…trialling automated facial recognition technology to track down criminals [without consent from anyone who was recorded].  Cameras scanning the public spotted 17 faces that they believed matched those stored in databases.  Ten were correct, and seven people were wrongly identified.  South Wales Police has been testing an automated facial recognition system since June 2017 and has used it in the real-world at more than ten events.  In the majority of cases, the system has made more incorrect matches than the times it has been able to correctly identify a potential suspect..During the UEFA Champions League Final week in Wales last June…92 per cent of matches were incorrect…

Disaster (#829)

We did warn you this wouldn’t stop with sex workers:

Airbnb is running up against local laws that may be prohibited under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—and now it’s fighting back…Airbnb has sued the cities of San Francisco and Santa Monica over ordinances that target not just residents who use these digital platforms…but also the platforms themselves.  “Unfortunately both efforts to enjoin them have resulted in federal district court decisions saying that Section 230 does not shield them”…The Santa Monica case is now before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#838) 

Another twist in the New Zealand migrant sex worker controversy:

New Zealand must repeal its ban on migrant sex workers to ensure the benefits of its decriminalisation model are extended to all sex workers, says…the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective…NZPC co-founder Catherine Healy cited a recent case when contacted by migrant workers requiring support, in which NZPC had to reassure the women that immigration officials were unlikely to be notified by police.  She added that…action is needed to formally protect migrant sex workers so that they can seek support without fearing deportation…Minister for Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway issued a statement outlining his current concerns that overturning the ban might “encourage sex trafficking”…Healy explained that trafficking and abuse experienced by migrant sex workers would be best prevented and addressed by removing the ban, and granting rights to migrants…

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It’s a privilege that [clients] choose us to share their hopes, fears and dreams with.  –  Rachel Wotton

Lack of Evidence

Discrimination against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Landlords in Nairobi…are threatening to smoke out single women from their apartments, claiming that their houses have been turned into sex dens.  The[y]…have now resorted to vetting potential tenants and turning away single women…“We have instructed our agents and caretakers to ensure that female tenants provide proof of marriage or that they have serious boyfriends before they are allowed to live in our apartments,” said one of the landlords…most of have been outwitted by shrewd women who [circumvent] the…[discrimination] process by bringing male companions to pose as husbands during their house-hunting missions…

Long-time readers may remember that similar practices in 19th-century Europe led to the appearance of pimps.  I also find it fascinating that so many ignoramuses seem to think marriage is a magical ward against harlotry.

The Public Eye 

The more out sex workers there are, the harder it will be to ignore us:

In 1995 New South Wales  became…the first place…in the world to decriminalise sex work.  Against a backdrop of the AIDS epidemic and a recommendation to fight police corruption from a royal commission into the state’s police service, sex workers succeeded in lobbying the government for change.  The NSW model is often cited as an example of best-practice, evidence-based regulation.  The state has an estimated 10,000 sex workers and many of them are active globally in law reform, human rights and HIV prevention campaigns.  But 23 years since decriminalisation, how much has changed for sex workers and what does the future hold?  The Guardian spoke to six sex workers about their personal experiences and the diverse nature of the work they do…

Most of y’all will probably recognize at least one or two of these names, especially that of Rachel Wotton, whom I deeply admire and got to meet last month.

Catastrophic Consequences

After harassing sex workers for the past five years, Scottish police now pretend they want to be “fair”:

Police Scotland is to review thousands of warnings handed out to sex workers in a bid to ensure prostitutes are not being unfairly criminalised.  Warnings…will also be removed from the internal police system after two years as part of a new policy designed to reduce the risk of discrimination…Under the existing system…A range of warnings are “weeded”…after two years, but there is a higher hurdle for sex workers to overcome.  A single warning for a prostitute will be erased from the system after 24 months, but two or more sanctions for the same individual triggers the so-called “40-20” rule.  This means that a person has to be 40 years old or over, and the information would have had to be on record for at least 20 years, before a weed is carried out…The move comes nearly five years after Police Scotland raids on saunas in Edinburgh effectively ended the regulated brothel system in the city…The action is believed to have damaged police relations with sex workers…

“Is believed to have damaged relations”.  Really?  I can’t imagine why hounding people out of safe working conditions, destroying their livelihoods and saddling them with 20-year criminal records would make them unhappy.

Nice While It Lasted

Remember when a person had to actually be found guilty to get a life sentence?

In New York a defendant can be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life based on accusations a jury rejected.  So the state’s highest court ruled last week in a case that illustrates how fear and loathing of sex offenders  lead to results that would be recognized as unjust and illogical in any other context.  Quinn Britton’s 13-year-old niece, identified in court documents as A.B., accused him of raping her during a Thanksgiving Day visit to her grandmother’s home in Brooklyn…when she was 11.  Britton denied any inappropriate behavior, and his mother said A.B. had spent the whole evening watching TV in the living room with her.  The girl’s older brother said she had described a sexual assault to him, but…A.B. told her brother Britton had tried to engage in vaginal intercourse with her but couldn’t because his penis “wouldn’t fit”.  By contrast, she told police Britton had penetrative sex with her for about 10 minutes.  A detective testi[l]ied that Britton had admitted touching, kissing, and performing oral sex on A.B., but he had no recording or written statement to corroborate the confession, which Britton denied making.  The jurors…found Britton guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, based on the allegation that he kissed A.B.’s breasts, but not guilty of three felonies…the judge nevertheless assumed that Britton had committed the felonies and therefore assigned him to risk level two…which triggers lifetime registration…

The reason the judge can get away with this abomination is the loathsome pretense that “sex offender” registration is merely a administrative requirement rather than a penalty.

The Missing Word (#735)

Note that state-sanctioned near-slavery isn’t called “trafficking” herein:

Two Bangladeshi men…have been charged at a Dubai court with human trafficking after they allegedly tried to sell an Indonesian absconding maid…via WhatsApp…They are also facing charges…of running a…prostitution den, facilitating prostitution…and sexual exploitation…the victim…[was] subject to a deportation order…[she] said…”I got in contact with a countrywoman and told her I was not happy at work because the sponsor’s wife was very demanding.  That woman introduced me to another compatriot (a wanted runaway) who promised me a part-time job…The runaway woman told me I would work as a prostitute and that I had to accept as I had no other choice”…

The “sponsors” of such migrant workers hold officially-granted power over them, and often abuse and exploit them because they can have them deported at a whim.  Women who flee the exploitation are treated as criminals (note the terms “absconding” and “runaways”); is it any wonder other nasty characters can take advantage of them?  But only the people they flee to are called “traffickers”, never the well-connected abusers they flee from.

The Punitive Mindset (#804) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is quietly rolling out a pair of new policies that could restrict access to books and communications for the system’s nearly 200,000 prisoners.  The first of the new policies bans all books from being sent into federal facilities from outside sources including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  These retailers are usually the only means by which prisoners can receive books because most facilities reject reading material sent from individuals or small bookstores due to [arbitrary bullshit]…Now, prisoners instead will have to submit a request to purchase books — a limit of five per order — through an ordering system in which they must pay exorbitant prices and don’t have the option to buy cheaper used paperbacks.  In addition, prisoners must pay a 30 percent tax plus shipping cost…Under the new protocol, a book purchased from Amazon for as little as $11.76, with shipping included, could cost more than $26.  The new books policy…has been in effect in [two facilities for months]…and…has resulted in a massive price increase for books as well as months of wait time between orders…

Unchristian Nation 

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

Scott Warren was arrested by Border Patrol agents…just north of the Mexican border, in January…he was indicted by a grand jury in February, on two counts of harboring illegal aliens and one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens…Warren is also one of nine volunteers with No More Deaths, an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, to be hit with federal charges in recent months for leaving water in a remote federal wilderness preserve where migrants routinely disappear and die.  His arrest came just hours after No More Deaths published a report that documents evidence of Border Patrol agents destroying jugs of water that the group leaves for migrants in the desert…

This Means War (#831)

It’s good to see they’re going to fight this:

Backpage.com co-founder Michael Lacey offered his first public comments about allegations of running prostitution ads and money laundering.  “Nonsense!” Lacey said before his attorney added that his client had no further comment.  Lacey, and co-founder James Larkin are scheduled to stand trial Jan. 15, 2020…Five site employees will also stand trial.  Attorneys were given enough time to review an estimated 7 million to 9 million pages of documents about the case…CEO Carl Ferrer, has pleaded guilty to a separate federal conspiracy case in Arizona and state money laundering charges in California.  In addition, [Ferrer] pleaded guilty [in the company’s name] to human trafficking in Texas and in a federal money laundering conspiracy case in Arizona.  Ferrer has agreed to testify against others…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#837) 

I should’ve realized a change like that wouldn’t be a merely administrative one:

Experience in the sex…industry will no longer help would-be immigrants move to New Zealand, it seems.  The recently-hyped addition to the employment list, for visa hopefuls, has vanished from the immigration website…While the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website did not issue any official statement on the development, the agency’s area manager Stephanie Greathead told local media that the removal was done to avoid “further confusion”

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A lot of people…do not want to accept the reality that, for the most part, sex workers are just ordinary women.  –  Jennifer Wright

Surplus Women 

This is going to become much more common due to the ramped-up war on whores:

The three-month-long search for a missing California woman came to a tragic end on the morning of March 25.  Kristen Marti’s body was found by authorities after a lengthy search of Prefumo Canyon, about seven miles west of San Luis Obispo.  Her January 9 disappearance is now considered a murder investigation…When Marti was last seen, she was with an unknown man in a maroon-colored sedan…Marti was “known to frequent hotels” in the San Luis Obispo-area…

Little Boxes (#21)

Long time readers may remember “Fake Internet Girlfriend”:

Every morning I…log into the Tinder account of a 45-year-old man from Texas—a client.  I flirt with every woman in his queue for 10 minutes, sending their photos and locations to a central database of potential “Opportunities”.  For every phone number I get, I make $1.75.  I’m what’s called a “Closer” for the online-dating service ViDA (Virtual Dating Assistants).  Men and women (though mostly men) from all over the world pay this company to outsource the labor and tedium of online dating.  The matches I speak to on behalf of the Texan man and other clients have no idea they’re chatting with a professional…

By the numbers provided, she makes less than $12 an hour maximum. That may be the shittiest-paying sex work ever.

New Excuse

An excellent article by stalwart friend of whores Mark Draughn:

…I’ve long been opposed to all consensual crimes — recreational drugs, gambling, pornography, public drunkenness, vagrancy, homosexuality, food trucks, gun ownership, kink, migration, raw milk, incest, risky sports, transgenderism, loitering, status offenses, braiding hair without a license, whatever — because as long as everybody involved has consented freely and competently…I don’t think it should be a crime.  So I’ve always opposed prostitution laws in theory.  My opposition became somewhat less theoretical a few years ago when I bumped into Maggie McNeill…I became a steady reader of Maggie’s blog, and I began to learn more about the legal issues that concern sex workers in this country…the situation for sex workers seems to be deteriorating, in ways that are sadly familiar to those of us who know the War on Drugs…cops seem to realize that their pearl-clutching over call girls is a dumb waste of police resources, so they’ve tried to recast what they do as fighting a genuine evil.  They’ve hit on the idea of calling everything “sex trafficking,” or even worse, “child sex trafficking”…We’re also starting to see other unpleasant features of the War on Drugs, such as federal funding and inter-agency task forces…I used to get angry whenever I heard of some new atrocity in the War On Drugs, but I was usually able to keep some emotional distance from the worst of it because I didn’t actually know any drug dealers.  It wasn’t personal for me…But when it comes to sex workers, I follow far too many of them on Twitter…I know these people.  And the last few weeks have been pretty bad.  This bullshit is hurting people I know, and they are bitter, hurt, and angry…

Somebody’s Daughter (#434)

Despite FOSTA & the seizure of Backpage (perhaps partly because of them), we’ve definitely passed the watershed on public support for sex worker rights.  It’s now no longer taboo for reporters, columnists and even politicians (!!!) to come out in support of decrim.  Here’s a recent article (in the very mainstream Harper’s Bazaar) which covers arguments readers of this blog will know well, and starts this way:

“But what if it was your daughter?”…Thus goes the common refrain…I do not have a daughter.  But, then, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, the people making this argument do not necessarily have daughters, either.  So, here is a brief list of professions I would not want my fictitious daughter to enter into:  Professionally playing any sport that involves head trauma…Being a war reporter…Any profession that promises people a quick, easy and most likely ineffective way to solve their problems, like hawking untested diet pills…regardless of how I feel about them, my future daughter has a perfect legal right to pursue them.  People are allowed to enter professions that might be unsafe.  People are allowed to enter into professions where their body is seen as a tool of the trade.  People are allowed to enter professions that seem morally questionable.  The only time that isn’t the case is when a woman is having sex as her profession…At least, it isn’t the case in the United States.  There are a great many countries where sex work is legal, such as New Zealand, which decriminalized sex work in 2003…

Eternal Vigilance

The stupidity and evil of politicians is sometimes mind-boggling:

Sex workers in Victoria are under attack as politicians try to [re-criminalize]…“the world’s oldest profession”…the Liberal Party’s Victorian branch will discuss…a motion…by [prohibitionists claiming]…“sexual services have surged into our suburbs in the guise of massage parlours” and “are now closer to our homes and schools than ever before”…the [prohibitionists are] pushing [their party] for the adoption of the “Nordic model”…

Australian politicians can see the success of decriminalization right there in New South Wales, but are still willing to push this evil bullshit to placate prudes with fantasies of sex rays.

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” still adore prohibition of things other than cannabis:

Seattle officials announced…that they have filed a motion to vacate all convictions and drop all charges for marijuana possession for anyone arrested in the city in the past few decades…the proposed move would affect 542 people who have convictions on their records.  “Vacating charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession is a necessary step to correct the injustices of what was a failed war on drugs, [but we’re going to keep pursuing the even more unjust and failed war on consensual sex because we’re hypocrites],” Mayor Jenny Durkan…said in a statement…

An Example to the West (#776) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

Sex workers in Colombia have started a newspaper that is “flying off the shelves”—a rare distinction for any newspaper these days.  La Esquina—which means “The Corner” in English—is made by and for sex workers in Bogotá’s red light district…It’s both distributed as a regular newspaper and, ingeniously, laminated and plastered on the district’s walls for sex workers to read while they wait for clients…The paper was founded last summer by a group of activists and artists…

Tracy Clark-Flory has singlehandedly made Jezebel relevant again.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table is a “stadium”:

Down a dead-end street in a quiet neighborhood south of Dortmund’s city center stands Germany’s first sex doll brothel.  For €80 ($97) an hour, customers can [play with] one of 12 silicone dolls, including one male doll and a model with both breasts and a penis…Evelyn Schwarz …is the founder and owner of Bordoll, which…also [has an actual] brothel and a…BDSM [dungeon]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

I’m so glad silly protectionist whores weren’t able to wreck decrim in New Zealand:

…Under a new plan, would-be immigrants can claim points as skilled sex workers and escorts.  The skill is regarded as providing social companionship in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) list.  In order to meet the criteria of a highly qualified sex worker, would-be migrants will be expected to…have relevant recognized qualifications or have at least three years of work experience in the relevant industry…they would [also] need a formal offer of employment [from a brothel or escort service]…

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FOSTA’s real purpose is making it easier to file lawsuits against online companies, while politicians pat themselves on the back.  –  Ron Wyden

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

A documentary glorifies the prohibitionist shitshow that is New York’s “sex trafficking court”:

…Judge Toko Serita…presides over Queens’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court…where she processes women who have been arrested on charges of prostitution…The women…are offered a choice:  Instead of [being given constitutional due process]…they can [submit to]…a set number of [brainwashing] sessions.  If, in six months, they have not been arrested again, the charges are dropped and the case is sealed…about 80 percent of the women take the [brainwashing] option…[less] than victims, Serita sees them first and foremost as…[objects to be processed.  Filmmaker Stephanie] Wang-Breal…says…in the film’s notes: “Who am I to say she doesn’t have agency, who am I to say what she should be doing with her life?” [and yet she glorifies this grotesque denial of women’s agency anyway]…

Nobody involved in producing this mess stopped to question the court’s assumption that human beings are mere objects to be “processed”.  You know, like in a food processor.

All Shapes and Sizes (#521)

This procedure has come a long way in only three years:

Doctors in the US have performed the world’s first complete penis and scrotum transplant on a former soldier who had his genitals blown off after stepping on a hidden bomb while on tour in the Middle East.  The 14-hour operation performed last month at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, was the most complex and extensive penis transplant ever attempted…The young [man]…received an entire penis, scrotum (without testicles), and partial abdominal wall from a deceased donor…It took a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urology surgeons…The surgery took place on March 26 and nearly a month on doctors seem confident of its success but will continue to monitor the patient’s recovery…

Shame, Shame (#649)

My friend Mark Bennett takes down Texas’ overbroad and mindlessly-draconian “revenge porn” law:

Mark Bennett, the Texas Tornado, took another law down for violating the First Amendment.  This time, it was…the so-called “revenge porn” law.  In Ex parte Jones, the 12th District Court of Appeals…held that the statute was facially unconstitutional.  As has been argued from the day Mary Anne Franks began her efforts to create a criminal revenge porn statute, it clearly implicated the First Amendment’s prohibition against laws infringing on free expression, to which she merely screamed her denials and did her best to deflect by creating a fantasy interpretation of the First Amendment…The State argues…relying upon Franks’ and Danielle Citron’s “legal” arguments…that [such images fall] within a new concept of obscenity, “contextually obscene”.  Except there is no such category outside of their imaginations, nor can anything be found obscene except by a jury…the court noted that the law failed to make any effort to narrow its prohibitions, which was a fundamental tenet of the Franks approach to criminalizing revenge porn lest anyone get away with it…

The Peril 

The hypocrisy of politicians sometimes defies belief:

Jack Johnson…became the first black heavyweight boxing champion after defeating Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, in 1908.  Two years later, he defended his title against boxer James J. “Jim” Jeffries, who…was referred to as the “great white hope” by racist…fans who wanted him to…take back the heavyweight crown for whites…Jeffries lost the fight…[but] what racism could not do to Johnson in the boxing ring, it found other ways to accomplish.  Johnson was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act…the Justice Department…argued that Johnson’s relationship with a white woman was a “crime against nature”…criminalization of sex work in the US is rooted in racism, and modern campaigns do little to mask that lineage…The “white slavery” campaign of the early 1900’s…led directly to the enactment of the federal Mann Act, (a.k.a. the White Slave Traffic Act), in 1910.  “[O]nce prohibition of sex work was in place,” writer Maggie McNeill has noted, “it was enforced disproportionately against poor people and ethnic minorities, especially black people, just as all prohibitionist laws are.”  As Andrew Glass wrote for Politico, the first person prosecuted under the Mann Act…was Jack Johnson…That Donald Trump should look to a pardon for Johnson in the same month he signed…FOSTA…into law, is bitterly ironic…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#666) 

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

New Zealand sex workers are furious that foreign prostitutes who come on temporary visas can advertise their services here despite it being illegal for them to work.  High profile escort Lisa Lewis is one of several who have taken their complaints to Immigration New Zealand…calling for a harsher stance against migrant sex workers…She wants INZ to shift its focus from just deporting migrant sex workers to punish [advertising venues] that profit from helping the promotion of these illegal sex workers.  Lewis said the increase in number of foreign prostitutes coming over has hit local sex workers in the pocket…

Permanent Record

Note that other states have similar (if less broad) laws, and that the tendency toward such penalties is increasing:

Currently in both Maryland and Tennessee, a criminal past — or even just being accused of a crime — often stands between people and a job.  This is because many occupational licensing laws prevent ex-offenders from being able to obtain a license for the jobs they seek…these restrictions aren’t targeted at people whose criminal history relates to their desired career; instead, they can serve as blanket bans for those hoping to enter hundreds of professions including plumbing, cosmetology and interior design.  By prohibiting wide swaths of people from licensure, these boards aren’t protecting health and safety — they’re just making it more likely these individuals will remain unemployed and unable to support themselves or their families…in some cases, people need only to be accused of a crime — not even convicted of it — for the board to deny them a license.  Many of these bans are also permanent…In one instance in Tennessee…a woman convicted for prostitution over a decade ago learned she couldn’t become a radiation therapist…

I’m going to start using this heading for the many cases of people who lose their jobs due to a history of sex work; they currently appear under the overbroad “First They Came for the Hookers…”

All-Purpose Excuse (#794)

In this confused mess, a lawyer complains that anti-immigrant actions “hurt efforts to stop human trafficking”, even though “human trafficking” is a dysphemism used to demonize immigration:

If Trump truly cared about victims of human trafficking, he would put an end to his ongoing assault on immigrants.  Statistics on the number of victims of human trafficking are notoriously unreliable because of widespread [ov]erreporting…Since Trump assumed the presidency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has used the fight against human trafficking as justification for its crackdown on undocumented immigrants.  ICE arrests have surged by more than 40 percent…[which] has aggravated the fear of coming forward among undocumented victims of human trafficking, undermining the U.S. government’s own efforts to tackle the problem…

In other words, “Trump’s crackdown on migration is interfering with existing attempts to prevent migration”.

Disaster

Here’s another article about FOSTA, which despite many good points expended so much effort in licking prohibitionist arseholes it nearly made me vomit.  Since there are plenty of good articles which denounce censorship and promote human rights without sucking the dick of power, there’s not a lot of reason to bother with this one; however, if you feel compelled you’ll see this “journalist” ceding ground to prohibitionists and otherwise making ignorant, unhelpful statements all over the place.  It starts in the lede, which proclaims that FOSTA was “a rare moment of bipartisan agreement”, a deeply stupid statements which ignores that the two main US parties have never disagreed on prohibition as a principle at any point in the past century, and that literally every single anti-sex work bill of the past two decades has had nearly-unanimous bipartisan support.  The article misstates the case against Backpage, repeats prohibitionist lies, characterizes third parties as “pimps & traffickers”, downplays the breadth of opposition to internet censorship with phrases like “some argue”, and even claims that “FOSTA was pitched with a very specific (and noble) goal in mind”; apparently author Kate Knibbs believes that censorship, denial of human rights, and negating the agency and consent of half a million women are “noble”.  I certainly don’t.

This Means War (#830) 

Megalomaniacal US rulers believe they have the right to disrupt the lives of millions all over the world:

Before New Zealand Cracker – a classifieds website used by sex workers – was shut down by the FBI, Wellington woman Sarah (not her real name) says she received at least five enquiries from clients each day.  Now, she is lucky to receive two a week through other advertising platforms.  “It has totally ruined our lives”…the FBI seiz[ure of]…Backpage.com…[has produced] a global and profound disruption of the sex work industry, including in countries like New Zealand, where prostitution is legal.  New Zealand Cracker was one of the many subsidiary sites Backpage.com hosted around the world.  For more than a decade it was at the heart of New Zealand’s sex work industry – offering businesses and sex workers a cheap, effective way of connecting with clients.  Its closure has, without warning, taken livelihoods away, leaving workers without the resources to operate their businesses or, in some cases, survive…

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FOSTA/SESTA…proved that the government can successfully confuse the public by using scary but vapid words like “sex trafficking” and enact a law to wreak havoc with the internet.  –  Scott Greenfield

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

This guy’s too pathetic to make it as a sex worker; he should’ve stayed a cop:

A [cop] from Sussex, England has been sacked after being caught…Using his sick days to moonlight as a male prostitute…Chief Constable Giles York…said it wasn’t the actual prostituting that got [Richard] Holder fired, but rather how it affected his performance as a detective.  York accused Holder of a “pattern of disruptive behavior that has been on the verge of criminal at times” and says he struggled with “under performance”…Holder is the second Sussex Police officer to have been discovered moonlighting as a prostitute in less than two years.  In 2016, constable Daniel Moss was let go for doing sex work while he was on sick leave.  And in in 2015, Inspector Lee Lyons was fired after admitting he contacted prostitutes he met while on duty…

The More the Better 

The more people see “mommy whores” like this, the more they’ll realize harlotry is mundane:

…Jordyn Smith…has held a variety of jobs — from serving as a cocktail waitress to being an exotic dancer — to offset the costs of raising her teenage daughter.  Currently…the Las Vegas, Nev. resident is…employed…Through a website called WhatsYourPrice, Smith is being paid to go on dates and maintain [what she absurdly claims are] platonic relationships with men…It’s…fairly similar to Seeking Arrangement…or…being a prostitute, [but like most halfway whores] Smith insists that this process is different because of…legality…

I really wish these dumbasses would stop trying to pretend there’s no sex involved in their sex work, though; nobody believes them so it just makes them look stupid and dishonest.

Where Are the Protests? (#415)

It’s not “trafficking” when that would be inconvenient for a government:

Two Vietnamese men who were smuggled into Ireland to work in a cannabis grow house containing nearly €1.8m of [plants] have been jailed for two-and-a-half years.  One of the men travelled to Ireland in a shipping container and thought he would be working on a farm, while the other thought he would be working as a chef…Ngog Toan Vu…and Thang Nguen Van…each pleaded guilty to one count of cultivating cannabis without a licence…[after an “investigation”] had concluded that neither man was a victim of human trafficking…

Choke Point (#610)

Because we’re choked out of the mainstream financial system, a lot of adult businesses are forced to use dodgy payment processors:

Choice Bank Ltd. told accountholders…that it has been forced into a “liquidity-constrained position” and has suspended all withdrawals from deposit accounts, as well as other outbound payment activities.  Choice Bank, the card issuer for several adult payment solutions, said that as it progresses through its current position, “the bank is confident that all its depositors, cardholders and creditors will be kept whole”…the Belize City financial institution maintains a strong balance sheet with total equity including paid up capital and accumulated retained earnings in excess of $26 million…and statutory liquidity ratio of 74.59 percent…

To Protect and Serve (#628)

A rare victory for sex workers over pigs:

Nearly five years after the first of a series of police raids on San Diego strip clubs, a federal judge…ruled that a Municipal Code section allowing such “inspections” is illegal…Still to be decided: Whether the city broke Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures…The court didn’t rule on damages — how much money the dancers get…A trial on damages is expected, though…

To Molest and Rape 

From the same “authorities” who claim they want to “protect women” from consensual sex:

A woman held at an immigration detention center in Washington state…was raped by a medical worker…Another woman…[was] maced…at an immigration detention center in Florida.  Then…[a pig] sat on her…[with] his “erect penis on her butt”…[and his cronies] filmed her as she showered to wash off the mace…a man…[was] threatened…with deportation after he refused to [suck an agent’s cock]…Many other women and men held in immigration detention across the country reported routine searches that turned into groping and fondling…and threatened with retaliation if they spoke up…These…are just a sample of hundreds of complaints of sexual…abuse in immigration detention obtained by The Intercept in response to a public records request…The reports…include 1,224 complaints filed between 2010 and September 2017…But in earlier responses, officials…indicated that the office received some 33,000 complaints between 2010 and 2016 alleging a wide range of abuses in immigration detention…sexual assault and harassment in immigration detention are not only widespread but systemic, and enabled by an agency that regularly fails to hold itself accountable…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#656)

Liz Hilton of Empower on “rescue raids” in Thailand:

…Entrapment operations have increased and sometimes the operations can go on for up to three months, while they try to collect evidence.  These are followed by raids, and this raid was 50 armed soldiers at least to catch 22 little women.  They must feel very brave…It’s one stop shopping.  They can raid for trafficking but then use a prostitution law, immigration law, migrant worker act – you can even do some drug testing if you like, or claim money laundering.  We once were in a raid they even got them for playing music that has a copyright…

The End of the Beginning (#718)

Another setback in getting rid of these tyrannical and unconstitutional laws:

…the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a state law banning sex offenders from public parks, overturning a 2017 appeals court ruling that deemed the statute “unconstitutional on its face because it bears no reasonable relationship to protecting the public.”  The seven members of the higher court unanimously disagreed…In reaching that conclusion, the justices relied on alarming claims about recidivism among sex offenders, even while acknowledging that the claims have been discredited.  The decision, written by Justice Mary Jane Theis, shows how fear overrides logic in dealing with sex offenders and how toothless “rational basis” review can be, allowing legislators not only to draw their own judgments but to invent their own facts…

Too Close To Home (#825) 

Since judges have become the handmaidens of prosecutors, this is no surprise:

A King County Superior Court judge has ruled that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office did not have a conflict of interest with a national anti-prostitution group when prosecutors pursued charges against men arrested in the shutdown of a popular sex work reviewing website, The Review Board (TRB)…lawyers for one of these men, Charles Peters, asked that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office be disqualified from pursuing his case…because of a conflict of interest…But…Judge John Chun found that Peters’ lawyers did not prove…that the Prosecuting Attorney’s relationship with Demand Abolition “materially limit[ed] the prosecutor’s ability to make judgments free from improper influences”…Impartiality is not required for prosecutors under Washington State law…

Censor Chic (#827)

Fascism allows for an indirect form of censorship just as effective as direct suppression:

The idea of the government swooping in with rules, limitation, potential prosecutions, isn’t good for business.  Even if they can be eventually thwarted by courts protecting their rights, they will be tied up in litigation for years, at great expense, and party to misinformation campaigns to make them look like the bad guys…What we did to Backpage…we can do to you, Zuck.  Nice platform you have there.  It would be a shame if anything happened to it.  And every government wants its own piece of control.  California believes it should be in charge of the internet, while Germany…”requires companies to remove hate speech from their platforms within 24 hours or face potentially crippling fines“…much of what constitutes hate speech in Germany is speech critical of its government and officials…every SJW…will be sucked into supporting it, much as their fellow emotionalists found SESTA acceptable because it used the terrifying “sex trafficking” sales pitch to confuse the useful idiots and obscure its greater significance…Can the government get away with…pressuring platforms to self-censor upon threat of intervention?  They already have, with the public’s blessing.

This Means War

The US thinks it has the right to war on all sex workers, even those in other countries like Canada:

When the U.S. government shut down Backpage…sex workers in Toronto — who used the site to advertise — started calling a local advocacy group in a panic.  “People are frantic,” said Monica Forrester, who works for Maggie’s Toronto…“Because they have mortgages…and now their main source of income is gone, so they’re really scrambling”…sex workers who were used to finding clients through Backpage ads may feel pushed into working the streets of Toronto…

And New Zealand:

New Zealand sex workers are already feeling the impact of an online sex work forum being shut down…Many sex workers have spoken out against the shutdown, saying it will make the industry more dangerous for those who rely on these forums for support and safety…Backpage was used quite widely in New Zealand by those who couldn’t afford to list ads on escort directory New Zealand Girls…

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I can’t breathe.  –  Johnnie Rush

Apparently, there was a live all-star performance of Jesus Christ Superstar in New York last Sunday evening, and Alice Cooper played King Herod.  I’d love to see more of the show, but for now you can savor this video.  The links above it were provided by Rick Horowitz, except for “happens” (via Furrygirl), “authorities” (via Mistress Matisse), and “flagrantly” (via Tim Cushing).

From the Archives

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