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Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’

Even those who mean well are often operating with bullshit information when it comes to figuring out how to help sex workers.  –  Tristan Greene

Where Are the Victims?

In which renting rooms to people in a legal trade is pretended to be a “crime”:

Paul McGrory…sub-let a three bedroom house to prostitutes over a nine month period in 2016…McGrory…charged the women £350 per week for each room…the prosecution [admitted] McGrory was not involved in human trafficking and had not coerced the prostitutes, taken a cut of their earnings or…obtain[ed] clients for the[m, but felt compelled to pontificate that]…”You were not a pimp, but by your activities you have upset the good law abiding people of Argyle Street”…The judge…imposed [60 hours of community service and] three year[s of]…probation…

With Friends Like These…

What kind of warped mind quotes prohibitionist myths while claiming it wants to “help” sex workers?

A recent report from KIRO 7 on sex workers on Seattle’s…Aurora Ave….[gave lip service to] the increased dangers in the profession [created by prohibitionists].  But is there a way the city could actually help?…“Women who experience prostitution have a rate of PTSD that’s twice that of returning war veterans,” [lied prohibitionist] Alisa Bernard…“In a city where we’re going to have safe injection sites, there are not safe places for [street workers] to go to exchange money for sex,” said The Ron and Don Show’s Don O’Neill on KIRO Radio…“I know that kids sometimes become sex slaves.  I know those stories…The johns want to be left alone, and the prostitutes want to be left alone, so why not tax it?…Why not make sure that they are safe?  If they want a way out, why not help them with a way out?”…

The popular myth that sex workers don’t pay taxes is probably one of the most subtly damaging ones.

No Difference 

Statists tell us that the slippery slope is a “fallacy”:

[Ugandan] model and socialite Judith Heard was asked to pay $3,000 in blackmail money to stop her stolen nude selfies being published online…she…didn’t pay up and…her…photos…were [published]…followed by a warrant for her arrest…under Uganda’s Anti-Pornography Act…the Ugandan…Pornography Control Committee (PCC)…issue[s] arrest warrants for…women who[se]…nude pictures and sex tapes [a]re shared online without their consent…PCC chair Annette Kezaabu…[bloviated] “We know that she took this photo privately, but…why did she take it in the first place?…Where do we want to see Uganda in the next 50 years? Do we want to be led by perverts?”…She said the government’s “eventual aim is to have no footage of sex or nudity on TV whatsoever,” and that the committee intends to “go after” pop stars who wear revealing clothing…

Traffic in Nonsense

Since Quickel’s “Vigilante Truckers” got out-competed by “Truckers Against Trafficking”, he apparently decided to rebrand:

The organization Vigilante Truth [cl]aims…sex trafficking…is a growing epidemic in Charlotte…North Carolina…“We’re not law enforcement,” said Bo Quickel, the owner of Vigilante Truth, “we’re just citizens out here trying to [profit from] the [hysteria by spreading myths to] the public”…Quickel…explained [that women are so stupid we can’t take selfies or run a business on our own, so]…“there’s somebody else there taking the picture…and that person’s always going to be a pimp, a trafficker, a handler…none of them get any of the money, so it’s all about forced coercion, fraud, blackmail”…

Even by “sex trafficking” standards, Quickel’s misogyny is outrageous; all of his propaganda presents women as inert vegetables.  Once he even compared us to bottles of laundry detergent.

Virtual Unreality 

Why do “futurists” prefer to make ignorant statements about sex work rather than consulting sex workers?

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Surrey and the University of Oxford [fantasizes] that autonomous cars will usher in…a new paradigm for sex workers…within a few years – a decade, tops…they could provide a safe place for people to be alone in public…there are obvious reasons why sex workers shouldn’t visit client’s homes under most circumstances, or allow them to visit theirs…Driverless cars provide a solution…both the non-participating public and those engaging in sex work could benefit from a paradigm that keeps prostitutes out of seedy motels and off the sidewalks by putting them on the streets, inside warm cars full of security features and snacks…

Though the writer clearly means well (and even quotes yours truly), he’s too caught up in this silly fantasy to see the gaping holes in it.  First, there’s the typical belief that street workers are common, when in fact less than 10% of us work that way (and that number was shrinking before the US government started intentionally destroying advertising venues).  The “obvious reasons” why we “shouldn’t” do outcalls or incalls aren’t “obvious” to either me or the very large number of escorts in the developed world, making this a solution in search of a problem for us.  Robot cars have 27% higher rates of rider motion sickness than human-piloted vehicles, meaning some 6-10% of riders, and there would be no way to be sure that their insides were not full of hidden surveillance devices; in any regime where sex work was not 100% decriminalized, robot cars could lock their doors and transport both sex worker and client to the nearest pigpen.  And though these futurists tout such vehicles as “safer” for sex workers, imagine trying to escape a violent client in an area too small to get out of his grip which is also going at 100 kph down a motorway.  It’s rare that an epigram I choose is so correct, yet so ironic in context.

Full of Themselves (#807) 

As I predicted, it looks like Rubmaps may become the new prohibitionist bogeyman to replace Backpage:

Many San Diego Massage parlors are offering [happy endings]…and [yellow journalists] found [what wasn’t hidden:] a public website…[named] “RubMaps” [which] publishes reviews for massage parlors…[there are] 243…listed in San Diego County and, according to the reviews on the website, 173 of those parlors offer sex services…An online company statement [reeks of terror that it will be targeted, parrots “sex trafficking” hysteria and obsequiously promises to lick cop boots]…16 of the 173 parlors that are allegedly offering sex services…are within 1,000 feet of a public school…

Sex rays! Pearl-clutching! Bootlicking! Pretending reviews are a new thing! So much filth in so few words.

Pyrrhic Victory (#814) 

Another step toward the end of privacy, everywhere:

Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool:  “gait recognition” software that uses people’s body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras.  Already used by police on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai, “gait recognition” is part of a push across China to develop artificial-intelligence and data-driven surveillance that is [not] raising [anywhere near enough] concern about how far the technology will go.  Huang Yongzhen, the CEO of Watrix, said that its system can identify people from up to 50 meters…away, even with their back turned or face covered…“Gait analysis can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire body”…Security officials in China’s far-western province of Xinjiang, a region whose Muslim population is already subject to intense surveillance and control, have expressed interest in the software…

Welcome To Our World (#853)

Locking pregnant women in cages for “trafficking” themselves.  Had enough yet?

The Phnom Penh Municipal Police arrested 15 people related to surrogacy who were together in a house in Sen Sok district.   Eleven of the persons…are surrogate mothers, two cooks for the ladies, and two unspecified men…the detainees were sent to the Anti-Human Trafficking Office for [interrogation]…

Whither Canada? (#860)

Why do journalists with the facts in front of them feel compelled to cede ground to prohibitionist lies?  Why do they keep repeating the blatant lie that Canada’s Swedish Model Plus was “meant to protect sex workers” when we have reams of data, including the clear and on-the-record statements of politicians, that exactly the opposite is true?  This law was not intended to “protect” sex workers; it was intended to exterminate us:

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Welcome to the white man’s world.  –  “Officer” Gregg Bigda

Yet another truly weird video from classic Sesame Street.  The links above it were provided by Jillian KeenanJoe SetyonMistress MatisseRadley BalkoTim Cushing, and Scott Greenfield, in that order.

From the Archives

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Would you ever see Andy Griffith tase an 87-year-old woman?
–  Timothy Douhne

Since I like both Rube Goldberg machines and unusual musical instruments, I just had to share this video.  The links above were provided by Phoenix CalidaMark BennettClarissa,  Franklin HarrisRadley BalkoNattie Roman, and David Ley, in that order.

From the Archives

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This has been a very cleverly designed campaign to end the commercial sex industry.  –  Billie McIntire

Where Are the Victims?

As usual, not even an allegation that he exploited anyone:

An American man has been arrested in a sting operation for allegedly running a online brothel service matching men in northern Thailand with Myanmar sex workers across the border…Kenneth Viggo Albertsen…is behind a website and Facebook page called “Burmese Border Chicks for Hire” that sold sex with Myanmar women for 6,500 baht ($200).  The business brought women to meet clients on the Thai side of the border in Mae Sai, and also offered to “guide” men into Myanmar for sex services…

A Procrustean Bed

Let’s hope this is the start of a new trend:

After just a few years in operation, Delaware’s Human Trafficking Court is shutting down. The court’s rise and fall…shines a light on how trending problems lead to stupid policy…a 2016 report from the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, which found less than a third of people who started the…program actually completed it and that there was “little evidence to suggest the defendants of this court are the subjects” of sex-trafficking enterprises…[delusional prohibitionists] argue that “free will is an illusion”…and they insist the definition of sex-trafficking victim should be expanded to include anyone who exchanges sexual services for money…But…many arrested on prostitution charges didn’t want to declare themselves victims, name names of “traffickers,” enter a months-long state-run “treatment” program, or even leave prostitution in the first place.  And those that were open to state aid with starting a new life could find themselves presented not with practical assistance but things like yoga classes and group counseling

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Because “brothel”:

A husband and wife team who charged clients €200 an hour for sex with them at their Ennis home have escaped jail.  Spanish national, David Navaro…and his Brazilian born wife, Celia Galan…arrived into Ireland from Barcelona in 2015 and a surveillance operation by Gardai was mounted outside the couple’s Ennis home in July 2016 as a result of Garda suspicions that there was a brothel being operated from their home…[since] both have no previous convictions [the] judge…fine[d] each €600…

Little Tin Gods

For those who think Arpaio, Judd & Dart are anomalies:

…[sheriffs have] enormous power…over the lives of local residents. The scope of their dominion varies slightly by county, but is almost always wide-reaching.  Like other police officers, sheriffs can arrest you, serve you a warrant, write you a traffic ticket.  But, depending on the county, they also perform countless other duties, including overseeing discretionary funds, patrolling highways, investigating crimes, and evicting tenants…in most places, sheriffs are also responsible for managing the local jails.  This is particularly important because jails have functionally replaced mental health facilities in America…The extent of a sheriff’s power can [be]…dangerous.  In some California counties, the sheriff even moonlights as the county coroner, an example of how sheriffs’ power obliterates any hope of accountability by the public…the only thing that could really limit the power of the sheriff is the voter.  But that’s not really how it plays out on the ground…As Professor Casey LaFrance told the New Yorker’s Rachel Aviv, “Once you become the sheriff, you’re likely to remain the sheriff until you retire or die”…

Drawing Lines

Most of this is fairly elementary, but it’s always nice to see this kind of point:

…Alison Bass…said it was interesting that other forms of sex work, such as stripping, pornography and being a mistress in exchange for money and power were legal, while sex work involving a straightforward transaction was not.  “What’s the difference between Donald Sterling, the former owner of the Yankee Clippers, who spent millions of dollars on his much younger mistress—bought her a car, an apartment, all this stuff…and someone who has a more straightforward transaction for an evening or an hour? There’s really no difference, but one is legal, perfectly legal, and one is not”…

Prudesville 

If you think the choice of target had nothing to do with the neighboring county’s crusade against them, you haven’t been paying attention:

Police from the southern King County town of Pacific arrested two men…who allegedly confessed to setting fire to a bikini barista stand.  The men, both 19, were booked into King County Jail…and reportedly called themselves “stupid”…about 2:54 a.m. at the Cowgirls Espresso stand…[cops] arrived to find “a large cloud of smoke”…and the smell of gasoline…the south side of the building was damaged.  An Auburn [cop] had already detained two men nearby from a reported car vandalism incident and…they also admitted to setting the Cowgirls blaze…

He Said, She Said (#448) 

Another abusive asshole tries to hide his violence behind BDSM:

Eric Schneiderman, New York’s attorney general, has long [pretended to] be…a…champion of women’s rights, and recently he has become an outspoken figure in the #MeToo movement…Now Schneiderman is facing a reckoning of his own…four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters…accuse Schneiderman of having subjected them to nonconsensual physical violence.  All have been reluctant to speak out, fearing reprisal.  But two of the women, Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam, have talked to The New Yorker on the record, because they feel that doing so could protect other women.  They allege that he repeatedly hit them, often after drinking, frequently in bed and never with their consent…both…sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked.  Selvaratnam says that Schneiderman warned her he could have her followed and her phones tapped, and both say that he threatened to kill them if they broke up with him…

Naturally, actual kinky people are appalled:

…Mistress Matisse called any non-negotiated encounter “ABUSE. End of story”…Ronan Farrow, co-author of the New Yorker story that first revealed the allegations…[said] the accusers made clear “that this was not role-playing…It wasn’t in a gray area at all”…Jillian Keenan, author of the BDSM memoir Sex with Shakespeare…[wrote] “Just as sex without consent is rape, kink without consent doesn’t exist – that’s assault”…

Send In the Clowns 

Dare I hope for a return of “creepy clown” hysteria?

A 19-year-old was arrested…for stabbing her boyfriend not long after she said men should only be used as “human sacrifices”.  Zoe Adams reportedly dressed up as a clown and put a pillow over Kieran Bewick’s face as they were intimate one night. Then she stabbed him five times with a 10-inch knife…Adams described the incident, which resulted in Bewick, 17, having a collapsed lung, as an “overreaction”…She allegedly took pictures after the incident with the caption “Murder is like a bag of chips: you can’t stop after just one”…

A Broker in Pillage (#750)

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

Anthonia Nwaorie says she knew travelers entering the United States with more than $10,000 in cash are legally required to report that fact to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  But the Texas nurse, who was born in Nigeria and became a U.S. citizen in 1994, says she did not realize the same obligation applies to people leaving the United States.  That mistake cost her $41,377, most of which was earmarked for a medical clinic she planned to build in her native country…Because the Justice Department declined to pursue civil forfeiture of the money, CBP was required to return it.  Yet the agency has refused to do so unless Nwaorie signs a waiver forgoing interest on the money, renouncing any legal claims in connection with the seizure, assuming responsibility for claims by third parties, and promising to reimburse the government for any expenses it incurs while enforcing the agreement.  That demand is illegal and unconstitutional, according to a federal class action lawsuit that the Institute for Justice filed…on behalf of Nwaorie and other travelers who have found themselves in the same situation…

Original Sin (#803)

We’re seeing more and more of this in mainstream papers:

…anti-trafficking NGOs…are staunchly religious, and those religious views can have damaging effects…Billie McIntire, a psychotherapist and educator at the Colorado School for Family Therapy, as well as a former sex worker…says that the anti-trafficking movement has been intentionally co-opted by religious institutions, who police prostitution and infringe on the rights of sex workers, using anti-trafficking rhetoric as a ploy to gain sympathy, more members, more money and more ammunition against consensual commercial erotic services…McIntire blasts anti-trafficking organizations that have joined up with movements like Fight the New Drug (an anti-pornography initiative), and have lobbied against national bills to decriminalize prostitution…

Crying for Nanny (#809)

This is even scarier post-FOSTA:

…“Some of the facts of our cases are going to show that not only did some of these hotel facilities or truck stops turn a blind eye, but they actually facilitated the trafficking of these individuals,” attorney Annie McAdams said…“We’re here to disrupt the status quo of the industry”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

License plate readers are a menace to civil rights:

Maryland State Police vehicles have their on-board computer connected to the automatic license plate readers in their patrol cars. These computers are set to flag…out-of-state vehicles with owners that have concealed carry permits…The [cop] can…stop the vehicle and challenge the driver to produce his concealed weapon, for which he has a legal permit IN ANOTHER STATE.  If the driver is found to have a concealed firearm…he has violated Maryland State firearms law.  The person will be arrested and there is a three year minimum sentence.  Having a concealed carry permit in another state [is also claimed as] probable cause for…a search of the…vehicle…IF YOU ARE LEGALLY CARRYING CONCEALED FROM ANOTHER STATE, DO NOT EVEN DRIVE THROUGH MARYLAND. AND IF YOU HAVE A PERMIT FROM ANOTHER STATE, EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT CARRYING, EXPECT TO BE STOPPED…

To Molest and Rape (#817) 

Another pig uses a traumatized woman’s fear as leverage:

…a [cop] in Apex, North Carolina has been accused of coercing a domestic violence survivor into an affair while working on her case…Worth Brown kissed Julia Allgrove against her will after she called police after her estranged and abusive husband repeatedly violated a restraining order she’d taken out to protect herself and their two small children.  A relationship between the victim and the detective developed…he said her husband’s case would be dropped if the relationship was ever revealed…and…that she could lose custody of her children…

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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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They’re good clients, they give good money, better than anybody else.  –  Gabby, Ghanaian sex worker

Subtle Pimping

So many “artists” feel no compunction against exploiting sex workers:

Michael Jacobs, the director of a new virtual reality movie that premiered at SXSW, says that his film aims to give sex workers a voice.  But according to its main and only character, real-life sex worker and indie porn director named Liara Roux, the movie, which currently doesn’t credit her at all, includes nudity and intimate scenes that she didn’t agree to have included in the final film.  GFE…follows an “anonymous escort” as she goes on a date with a client.  Jacobs…[says] it’s a fictional “documentary fantasy” with the goal of “demystifying escort work and bringing a sense of empowerment to escorts…and men.”  Roux, however, says that she never signed a release for the film, and that she felt that it was an exploitative experience.  A spokesperson for SXSW [said]…Jacobs voluntarily pulled the film on [March 15th]…

Beware of people who say they want to “empower you” or “give you a voice”; such pomposity means they think you’re beneath them & have no voice of your own.  It sounds like something a Victorian might say about people in India.

Checklist (#542)

The places “authorities” demand their magical anti-pimp posters be displayed demonstrate their origin in puritanism:

As part of a sharpened campaign to combat human trafficking, North Carolina [pigs & prohibitionists]…have urged people to [spy on each other and rat others out to the pigs]…A law adopted in 2017…requires the signs to be placed in liquor stores.  Other states such as California, Texas and Oregon have taken similar actions targeting liquor stores because [dirty sex] people…might be more likely to be in a liquor store than somewhere like a post office or some other public space [where good people go]…

The Course of a Disease (#583) 

Cop says he’s “hamstrung” because he can’t arrest people who aren’t doing anything illegal:

[Vermont politician] Peter Fagan…introduced a bill…that would have expanded the definition of prostitution, closing a loophole that [pigs oink] has stymied efforts to [harass consenting adults] in the state.  However, Fagan said…that bill missed the…deadline…Matthew Prouty of the Rutland City Police said that Vermont’s prostitution law is [specific] …which has hamstrung [attempts to persecute owners and patrons of] massage parlors.  “My probable cause can’t be a purchaser who says they had a ‘happy ending’ because that isn’t illegal,” he said [following by grunting a lot of bizarre nonsense like] “Any time you have a drug market, you have a sex market…There are very, very few people that are making a living and not being coerced…That is [my perverted masturbatory fantasy] of it”…

Broken Record (#631)

Farm machinery still causes “sex trafficking”!  And strip clubs!  And sex stores!

Arriving…for her stint as a guest speaker for a human trafficking symposium, Summer Dickerson easily spotted a strip club and sex store in Oak Grove.  “You know y’all have a problem here,” [said] Dickerson, a [delusional prohibitionist]…Attorney General Andy Beshear kicked off the symposium, speaking about the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking…[by running a prostitution] sting during this year’s National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A Chicago [cop] was…charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and official misconduct.  The…victim was a man suspected in a misdemeanor whom Carlyle Calhoun and another [cop] were assigned to guard at St. Bernard Hospital on Feb. 3…as the victim was shackled to a bed, the [molester cop] sucked the man’s toes, grabbed his penis and took a photo of the victim as he tried to use a portable urinal.  Once the two were in a bathroom, Calhoun…”performed oral sex on the victim…The victim repeatedly asked the defendant to stop and tried to convince him that his misbehavior would be discovered”…

The Sky is Falling! (#772)

Just in case you thought blaming whores for epidemics went out sometime before the invention of indoor toilets:

…36 percent of the adults in Vulindlela [South Africa] are [HIV] positive, as are about 60 percent of the women aged 25 to 40.  Although HIV infection rates have stabilized globally, hundreds of thousands of South Africans are infected every year; more than 7 million live with the virus in their bodies…the HIV prevalence among adolescent girls is roughly five times greater than that of boys…researchers have concluded that the high rate of infections here—among both sexes—is driven in part by [sugar] relationships…

Because obviously, what the writer smugly calls “egalitarian” sex magically protects people from infection.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#792) 

This hodgepodge of racist, sexist, anti-sex nonsense seems to be trying to fit in every single “sex trafficking” trope:

The Katy [Texas, population 14,000] area is contributing to what Gov. Greg Abbott calls a statewide health crisis of human trafficking…A December 2016 University of Texas at Austin report says 313,000 people were trafficked in Texas in 2016, 79,000 of whom were children [without anyone noticing].  Kelly Litvak, [another mathematically-illiterate prohibitionist]…said there is evidence of brothels and trafficking along the I-10 corridor…12-14 years of age…social media…lure them…recovery of victims…human trafficking’s grip…children can be recruited into sex work…the horror…[fetishist] Vanessa Forbes…said she knows of at least 11 brothels…staffed by women of Asian descent who are forced into prostitution…They are often in strip malls and disguised as…nail spas…Women trafficked for sex…are…delivered [in plain cardboard boxes] to people responding to online ads…A narcotic can be sold once and…a prostitute can be sold multiple times per day…76 percent of money for sex transactions processed online…mentally conditioned through abuse and coercion to defend their pimps in court…

This was ostensibly written by an adult man with a university degree.

Not So Easy

A rare victory for sex workers:

In a striking victory for [sex workers]…a divided New Orleans City Council shot down a proposal…to cap the number of Bourbon Street strip clubs…The council voted 4-3 against the limit after hearing from numerous dancers who called…police raids…a threat to their livelihoods and their freedom of expression…[proposal sponsor] Stacy Head…[lied] that the limit was no more than a routine move to rein in some of the excesses associated with crowded, high-traffic businesses, rather than an attack on adult entertainment…the…vote means strip clubs will be allowed to operate unencumbered once a temporary ban on new ones lifts in May…

Note that all three politicians who voted to infantilize women & destroy their livelihood were themselves women.

The Widening Gyre (#811) 

It’s hilarious watching the cops trying to regain control of a runaway moral panic:

Several Facebook posts have gone viral in [Colorado] detailing scary situations where human traffickers tried to lure new victims at popular shopping centers…“As far as we know, no.  It’s not real.  It seems like a hoax,” Thornton police Sgt. Ernie Lucero said. “Just sharing it just because [some “authority” says it’s real] doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always fact”…The posts are convincing to [ignorant] social media users.  They have been shared thousands of times, causing [stupid] people to worry about public safety…

That Old Black Magic (#813) 

Remember this next time prohibitionists try to blame migration on African religions:

On March 9, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional ruler of the kingdom of Benin, in southern Nigeria, put a voodoo curse on anyone who abets illegal migration within his domain.  At the same time, he revoked the curses that leave victims of trafficking afraid that their relatives will die if they go to the police or fail to pay off their debt.  Before being smuggled into Europe, women and girls in the area, which falls in present-day Edo State, [agree] to sign a contract with the [smugglers] who finance their journey…The agreement is sealed with a…juju, ritual…The oba has authority over all the spiritual priests in the Benin kingdom (not to be confused with the West African country of Benin)…What the oba has done is likely to be more effective than anything the international anti-trafficking community has managed to do after millions of dollars and many years…over 90 percent of the thousands of women [who migrate] from Nigeria to Europe to work as prostitutes are coming from Edo…in the early 1980s women there started traveling to Italy to trade in gold and beads, and “saw a thriving market in prostitution”…[they told other women, and those women’s choices to risk migration for a chance at success are now being branded] human trafficking…

Standard Operating Procedure (#817)

Bullshit-free headline: “How UN Staff are Helping Local Economies”:

Despite the UN’s “zero tolerance policy”, sexual exploitation continues in South Sudan…Last month, the U.N. recalled a 46-member Ghanaian peacekeeping police unit…following allegations of members of the unit [paying for services] with locals.  The action of the U.N. in this case will provide “interesting insight into whether or not the [U.N.] secretary-general is serious about sexual abuse,” [bloviated prohibitionist] Peter Gallo…Gabby [a sex worker in Juba] works three or four nights a week and can make up to $200 a night from one international aid worker or U.N. staff client, she said — an evening that often includes dinner, drinks, and a fully paid hotel room.  This is in stark contrast to her South Sudanese clients, many of whom don’t pay at all and sometimes turn violent…

Elephant in the Parlor (#822)

Though most people are focusing on the sex, the real story here is that she was threatened with violence:

Stormy Daniels…revealed the details of an alleged affair with President Donald Trump, telling Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes that she felt threatened into remaining silent…Daniels said she feared for her and her family’s safety, and opted to sign a nondisclosure agreement instead of going public and cashing in for more money…“I didn’t even negotiate, I just quickly said yes to this…strict contract…and what most people will agree with me extremely low number”…in July 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe…Trump said during their initial encounter in his hotel room that she reminded him of his daughter Ivanka…she instructed Trump to pull down his pants so that she could spank him with a magazine, which featured his face on the cover.  “So he turned around and pulled his pants down a little—you know had underwear on…I just gave him a couple swats,” Daniels said…Later…she and Trump had unprotected sex.  She said that even though she did not want to have sex with him…it was entirely consensual…[because] Trump…kept dangling the possibility of signing her as a contestant on The Apprentice…[and] she viewed it as a potential “business deal”…Four years later, Daniels says she was physically threatened after [Trump’s lawyer] Cohen found out that she had tried to tell her story to a celebrity gossip magazine…she was in a parking lot with her infant daughter when a man approached her and said, “That’s a beautiful little girl.  It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom…Leave Trump alone.  Forget the story”…

Too Close To Home (#824)

Sydney Brownstone has more on Seattle’s evil scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

…lawyers representing men caught in a sex work review website sting showed up in King County Superior Court with an unusual and bold request: to disqualify the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office from prosecuting their cases…thousands of documents show…the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office collaborated with the Massachusetts-based Demand Abolition, including…strategies for dealing with reporters and sex worker advocates…in 2018–after the World Health Organization and Amnesty International have endorsed research and policies showing that decriminalizing sex work, including buying sex, actually keeps sex workers safer—King County’s involvement with Demand Abolition raises questions about why prosecutors are still increasingly criminalizing…sex work…

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Removing all references to sex trafficking will hurt our ability to grab reporters’ attention.  –  Sydney Asbury of “Demand Abolition”

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn 

It’s been a long time since I’ve used this heading, but an even longer time since we’ve seen anything like this:

…lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide…to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia…and…He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics…keeping his word…In his first week on the job, he fired 31 prosecutors…because they weren’t committed to the changes he intended to make…Next, Krasner…release[d] a list of 29 [bad cops]…that…had lied…filed false reports, used excessive force, driven drunk, and burgled…but nothing is as essential and revolutionary as the internal five-page guiding document of new policies that Krasner sent to his staff…The first sentence says it all:  “These policies are an effort to end mass incarcerations and bring balance back to sentencing”…Krasner immediately instructs prosecutors to stop prosecuting marijuana possession regardless of the weight…[and] to stop charging …with any paraphernalia crimes…to stop charging sex workers that have fewer than three convictions with any crime and drop all current cases against sex workers who also fit that description.  All sex workers with three or more convictions are to be referred to Dawn Court…a…diversion…program created in 2010…Krasner instructed prosecutors to stop the wide-ranging practice of beginning plea deals with the highest possible sentencing and instead, begin those plea deals at the bottom end of the available range…Krasner instructed his prosecutors to now add up and justify the exact costs of every single person sentenced to a crime in Philadelphia…Stating that it costs between $42,000 and $60,000 per year to incarcerate a person, he reminded the prosecutors that the…annual cost of incarceration…is…more per year than the beginning salary of teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers, addiction counselors, and even prosecutors in his office…

Pyrrhic Victory

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

In at least four investigations last year…Raleigh [North Carolina] police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime…These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search…[“authorities” pretend] the practice is a natural evolution of criminal investigative techniques.  They [lie] that, by seeking search warrants, they’re carefully balancing civil rights with public safety [because most of the public is too stupid to know about the horrible “third-party doctrine”].  Defense attorneys and privacy advocates…are…[concerned about] how law enforcement turns to Google’s massive cache of user data, especially without a clear target in mind.  And they’re concerned about the potential to snag innocent users, many of whom might not know just how closely the company tracks their every move…

Under Duress 

The New York Times finally discovers what marginalized people have always known:

An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City [cop’s] testimony was…untrue…[they lie] about the whereabouts of guns…They…barge…into apartments and conduct…searches, only to testify otherwise later… they…give…firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness…No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish…In many instances, the motive for lying was…to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops.  In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people…with trumped-up evidence…

Bogeymen

Read this ludicrous exercise in pearl-clutching, then the item under the same heading two items down:

…illicit prostitution businesses are thriving in a surprising place: the legitimate corporate world.  And, we’ve found that the inequities of that world…contribute to that sex trade…we interviewed 44 pimps…in Chicago…fewer than half…fit the pop culture stereotype of a pimp.  The other half did not: a full third had four-year college degrees, primarily in business administration…and most…were white.  In addition to their pimping work, nearly half worked in legitimate companies, not in massage parlors or erotica businesses…these illegal businesses grew directly from the misogynistic culture of the legitimate ones that housed them.  Some became pimps after learning of demand for paid sex through informal bantering about sexual conquests over lunch or beers with the bros.  Half of the pimps started out as customers of sex workers, and several arranged “entertainment” for business clients as part of their job…

Huffington Post needs to exercise more diligence on its contributors; these two fantasists [44 interviews of self-proclaimed “pimps” in one city is not anything like a representative sample] have been recycling this same bogeyman tale on the strength of their supposed academic credentials for years.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (#314)

The only sex workers exploited in New Zealand are those who were intentionally excluded from decriminalization in order to appease prohibitionists:

Migrant prostitutes working illegally on temporary visas are “terrified” they will be deported if they report exploitative pimps and abusive clients…In the past year, 136 migrants suspected of coming here to carry out sex work were denied entry into New Zealand…Sex work is the only occupation migrants on temporary visas are not legally allowed to take up…However, migrants who have entered the country on temporary work, visitor, holiday or international student visas and work as prostitutes are being forced to carry out sexual acts without protection and often work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week…They would not speak to police because they would be deported…

Bogeymen (#317)

I’m glad to see Bruckert has expanded her study into a book:

“The sex industry, like mainstream businesses, rarely depends exclusively on clients and workers to operate efficiently and safely,” professor Chris Bruckert [said]…”Contrary to prevailing stereotypes that portray third parties [like pimps] as inherently abusive and controlling, these workers fulfill important roles and provide vital services.”  Bruckert and her team of researchers conducted interviews with 75 pimps — or “third-party” workers, as she prefers to call them — as well as 52 sex workers for her new book Getting Past ‘the Pimp’: Management in the Sex Industry…Bruckert said little research has been conducted on the role of pimps in the industry, adding that many people’s opinions are based on stereotypes…Most of the third-party workers Bruckert’s team spoke to were women — both surprising and understandable, she said, since the industry is female-dominated and the line between sex work and management is thin…

Torture Chamber

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)…frequently fails to either address or eliminate sexual abuse.  In jails and prisons across the country, incarcerated people are subject to sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff.  If they report these assaults, they risk retaliation, including greater violence…”Prisons are the worst distillation of toxic masculinity,” said Alan Mills [of the Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC)]…”It’s all about inflicting punishment on people.  It’s about the use of force in order to force compliance to an arbitrary set of rules.  It’s about dehumanizing people.  It’s not surprising that this translates to harassment and abuse”…

Business As Usual

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

Sex workers in South Africa will be arrested at least four times and will spend an average of 40 hours in custody if they are charged…one third of sex worker arrests never make it to a police station or courthouse‚ instead often ending in sex workers being abused by police or forced to pay bribes.  These were just some of the findings of The Policing of Sex Work In South Africa survey compiled by NGO’s Sonke Gender Justice and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…Advocacy officer at Sonke Donna Evans said that the most shocking thing to emerge from the report was the extreme levels of violence at the hands of police that were reported by sex workers.  “They were extremely disturbing and included incidents of torture‚ assault‚ rape and even permanent disability‚” Evans said…

Original Sin (#762) 

I guess this makes sense coming from a man who imagines condoms to be weapons of mass destruction:

Pope Francis asked forgiveness…for all Christians who buy sex from women, saying men who frequent prostitutes are criminals with a “sick mentality” who think that women exist to be exploited.  “This isn’t making love.  This is torturing a woman.  Let’s not confuse the terms,” Francis insisted…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

At least Wyoming had the sense to vote this nonsense down:

A Wyoming bill that would have recognized porn as a “public health crisis” failed in the 2018 session of the state Legislature…HJ1 was typical of various “public health crisis” bills that have made their way across the nation.  Wyoming’s bill, introduced by…Lars O. Lone, would have made official language stating porn increases the demand for sex trafficking, impacts brain development and functioning, diminishes the interest of young men in getting married and creates infidelity, among other [evidence-free] statements.  Another porn bill…sponsored by Lone, failed to win support, as well.  HB 127 would have ordered the installation of porn blocking software on all computers sold in the state to prevent the viewing of “obscene” material as defined by the state Attorney General’s office…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

SAVE THE TOASTERS!!!!

French activists are campaigning to shut down a new “sex doll brothel” on the grounds that it degrades women—and silicone.  Or something…Xdolls is registered as a gaming center, which makes sense if you consider doll-sex a form of escapist make-believe or wish-fullfilment akin to playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.  But Paris Council communists and other activists argue that Xdolls amounts to a brothel, which are illegal in France.  Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, head of the Paris council’s communist group…compared the business to “prostitution” and the owner to “a pimp.”  Sounds like someone just started watching Westworld.  The rhetoric only gets more extreme from there.  Lorraine Questiaux, spokesperson for the anti-sex work organization Mouvement du Nid…[said] “It’s a place…where you rape a woman”…You can’t rape a non-sentient silicone doll any more than you can rape a vibrator or a Fleshlight…but apparently not even lifeless dolls are immune to…rescue attempts…

I’m so glad Tracy Clark-Flory is writing again; I’ve missed her good sense.

Disaster

The fallout will continue until there’s some legal action against this horrific law:

…SESTA’s passage by the U.S. Senate has had an immediate chilling effect on those working in the adult industry…stories of a fallout are being heard, with adult performers finding their content being flagged and blocked…escort site [Cityvibe]…suddenly becoming “not available,” Craigslist shutting down its “personals” sections and Reddit closing down some of its communities, among other tales.  SESTA…targets scores of adult sites that consensual sex workers use to advertise their work.  And now, before SESTA reaches President Trump’s desk for his guaranteed signature, those sites are scrambling to prevent themselves from being charged under sex trafficking laws.  “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing an immediate chilling effect on protected speech,” industry attorney Lawrence Walters [said]…”This was predicted as the likely impact of the bill, as online intermediaries over-censor content in the attempt to mitigate their own risks.  The damage to the First Amendment appears palpable”…

Too Close To Home (#823)

It’s great to see a spotlight on this ugly scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

There is no mention in [propaganda about Seattle’s high-profile sex work stings] of the fact that [prosecutor Val] Richey’s work was handsomely supported by Demand Abolition, a nonprofit group whose stated mission is to end demand for sex work by going after buyers, or that the cost of some of his travels around the country has been defrayed by the same group.  Nor is there any mention of the fact that Demand Abolition, in exchange for providing approximately $191,667 in funding to the King County prosecutor’s office over four years, asked Seattle-area law enforcement to carry out regular arrests and prosecutions of buyers…As part of signed agreements for the funding, Richey and other law enforcement officials in King County were required to frame the activities of sex buyers and men involved with The Review Board as sex trafficking…even though there was no evidence of trafficking…and…none of the men arrested…were charged with trafficking — only with promoting prostitution…

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