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Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

Efforts to abolish sex work…since the 1860s have one thing in common—failure!  –  Paul J. Maginn, Raven Bowen, and Maggie O’Neill

Not So Different

If amateur women weren’t so busy trying to ruin sex workers’ lives, they could learn a lot from us:

…Why don’t more people outside the sex industry organize against the dangers of sexual or intimate abuse in the way that sex workers do?  It’s not because sex workers have more resources or support.  In part, it’s because so many women outside the sex industry still believe that [women] are responsible for the abuses committed against them because they stepped outside of respectable behavior and “should have known better”.  Sex-work communities are often more resilient against these messages…Sex-worker feminism shows us that our safety and freedom should never be conditional, and that we have to come together—on the corner, online, at marches, and beyond—to prevent sexual abuse and resist its insidious effects on us…

Scapegoats 

Why doesn’t this say what kind of animal? A goat? A bitch? A hen? An iguana? A carp? A sea urchin? A cockroach?

A Bossier City [cop]…has been arrested for filming himself having sex with an animal…Terry…Yetman’s residence [was searched for undisclosed reasons, possibly involving domestic violence and]…detectives found pornography involving sexual acts with an animal…The investigation is still open and may result in additional charges [if the cops can figure out what kind of animal is involved]…

Fever Dream (#679)

We’re not hearing quite as much of this “highway” bullshit as we used to:

The newly opened Together Cafe…in Chattanooga…is…dedicated to [harassing sex workers]…Every dollar [of profit after the considerable overhead of cafes]…will go toward [creating prohibitionist propaganda]…Chattanooga has become a focal point…for…sex trafficking because of its geographic intersection of Interstates 75, 24 and 59, which provides an easy path for pimps to transport their victims around the Southeast…the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation [repeats the impossible masturbatory fantasy that] that one in four children who run away will be propositioned by a sex trafficker within 48 hours of leaving home and every year 1.2 million children worldwide are trafficked for sex…the average age of a child sold for six is 13 years

This is not the first coffee shop “rescue” scam we’ve heard of.  Note that the language about Chattanooga, interstate highways and “pimps” is plagiarized verbatim from pig propaganda at least two years old.

The Crumbling Dam (#849)

I’ll be rather pleased if Philadelphia beats the pompous, priggish politicians of Seattle to the punch:

The international law firm DLA Piper has signed on to represent Safehouse — the nonprofit organization attempting to launch a supervised-injection site in Philadelphia — pro bono…the move gives Safehouse some added clout in the legal fight [against federal prohibitionists]…Although Philadelphia’s mayor and district attorney support the opening of a privately funded supervised-injection site, federal authorities have threatened legal action…DLA Piper’s decision to represent Safehouse “demonstrates there’s an ever-increasing group of lawyers who respectfully disagree with the U.S. Attorney’s position,” said Ronda Goldfein…director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania…DLA Piper, which has offices in 40 countries, is also representing the pharmaceutical giant Purdue Pharma…[against a nuisance lawsuit] brought by New Jersey’s attorney general over its marketing of…Oxycontin…

The Widening Gyre (#851)

This article by three academic allies covers a lot of ground, but starts here:

In 2015 British journalist Suzanne Moore wrote a piece lavishing praise on US hip-hop star Nicki Minaj…the…piece…celebrated Minaj’s agency and hypersexuality…[yet] Moore…shudders at the idea that women—especially middle-class women—would engage in real forms of sex work…she…seems to be[lieve] that sex workers come from lower-class backgrounds and lack agency, business acumen and even intellectuality…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#863)

Indian sex workers’ fight against a terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill is drawing international attention:

…Days after it passed in the lower house of India’s Parliament in July, two United Nations experts said the bill leans too heavily on the criminal justice system.  Without more of a “human-rights based and victim-centred approach,” the UN special rapporteurs on human trafficking and modern slavery warned, India “risks further harming already vulnerable individuals”…In major Indian cities like Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Sangli, sex workers are well organised and politically engaged.  Yet no sex worker groups were consulted during the drafting of the legislation…[which like all “sex trafficking” laws] promotes a dangerous idea that everyone in the sex trade is either a victim or a criminal…

The Widening Gyre (#874) 

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

Posts on Facebook are spreading quickly, claiming women are attempting to lure other people into sex trafficking at stores in the Mid-South…Memphis [Tennessee] and Southaven [Mississippi] police…said no one has made any official reports…One woman [claimed] she was shopping at…Walmart…when she was approached by two women inside the store…[who] the[n]…followed her back home…[yet]…she didn’t call police…[an]other post…shows a picture of two women…[and] claims they were trying to lure women into sex trafficking [by] taking pictures [of women, like the poster did]…

The Course of a Disease (#884)

Everyone knows prohibitionists are mathematically illiterate, but I figured they could at least count to ten:

The Knesset is set to pass a landmark law against prostitut[es]  making hiring sex workers a crime…The new law will make Israel the 10th country to institute what is called the “Nordic Model” of [persecuting sex workers]…the law…offers the Justice Ministry the option of instituting other punishments, such as “John Schools,” meant to [indoctri]ate [people in anti-sex propaganda]…The law…[also] budgets NIS 90 million over the next three years for the [brainwashing] of [captured sex workers]…the “Nordic Model” [was] first adopted in Sweden in 1999.  In recent years, others passed similar laws, including Ireland, France, Canada, Norway and some states in the US…

So far, only Sweden, Norway, Iceland, the two Irelands, France and Canada have adopted the Swedish model; that’s seven, plus one is eight.  And no US states have adopted it, though of course that’s among the smaller lies in this authoritarian screed (another claims the average sex worker dies at 46).

The Red Umbrella (#885) 

As long as sex work is marginalized, sex workers will be targeted for violence:

Alexander Popenkov, who is trained as an MMA fighter, and his wife, Maryana Kayumova, both 25, trolled online sex [worker] ads for victims [to] set…up phony appointments…on victims they [knew would]…be easy targets and vulnerable…Popenkov and Kayumova savagely beat and robbed at least eight women [in Manhattan], most of whom are Russian immigrants…[They] were arrested on charges including burglary and robbery and released on $35,000 bond each.  [Prosecutor] Danbee [Kim] asked [Judge Maxwell] Wiley to hike the defendants’ bail to $500,000, arguing that they had threatened numerous victims to discourage them from coming forward…[but] Wiley [refused because their victims were just whores]…

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They couldn’t have designed a law better to make it less safe.
–  Canadian sex worker

The Proper Study

Academics keep “discovering” what we’ve been saying for decades:

[Street] workers are more likely to suffer poor health, violence and abuse in countries where their trade is criminalised, a major review…from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine…found…sex workers suffering repressive policing – including arrest, imprisonment and extortion by officers – were three times more likely to experience sexual or physical violence from a client and were twice as likely to have HIV or another sexually transmitted infection as those who lived in countries where sex work was tolerated.  Sex workers who fear that they, or their clients, may be picked up by the police are more likely to engage in risky encounters, unable to take the time to talk to a client before getting into a car or negotiate terms in advance…Their health and safety were at risk not only in countries where sex work was [fully] criminalised, but also…[those with] the “Nordic model”…

Imaginary Evils

I don’t know which is more exploitative, the “authorities” who want to deport migrant women, or the “advocates” who want to cram their experiences into the “sex trafficking” paradigm:

A worrying number of vulnerable Chinese women, many of whom are trafficking victims, are being detained under threat of deportation…the women have been picked up in immigration raids on restaurants, brothels and massage parlours…[and] held in detention…with no legal representation or access to interpreters…“These women are…still in fear of their traffickers,” said Natasha Walter, director of Women for Refugee Women…Many of the women do not [claim to be]…victims of trafficking until [they realize it might protect them from deportation]…Shalini Patel…said that late disclosure was…recognised [in “sex trafficking” dogma as a] symptom of trafficking…

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

…The youth director, Dave Hyles, was the son of the charismatic pastor of First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, considered at the time the flagship for thousands of loosely affiliated independent fundamental Baptist churches and universities.  At least [four] teen girls would accuse Hyles of [rape or] sexual [assault], but he never faced charges or even sat for a police interview related to the accusations.  When he got in trouble, Hyles was able to simply move on, from one church assignment to the next…For decades, women and children have faced rampant sexual abuse while worshiping at independent fundamental Baptist churches around the country.  The network of churches and schools has often covered up the crimes and helped relocate the offenders…The Star-Telegram discovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and their affiliated institutions, spanning 40 states and Canada…the number of abused is [probably] far greater because few victims ever come forward…

The Mote and the Beam (#561)

Instead of chasing ambulances, these shysters are chasing the “sex trafficking” bandwagon:

…Among the worst forms of modern day slavery is sex trafficking, a heinous crime that disproportionately affects women and children.  It may even be happening in your city.  Hotels, casinos, resorts, nightclubs, and other [deep-pocketed] establishments [are fantasized by prohibitionists to] play an important role in sex trafficking, because sexual exploitation of trafficking victims often takes place under their roofs…hotels and motels have a financial incentive to look the other way and may not be in a rush to offer the necessary training.  At Morgan & Morgan, we find this unacceptable.  No one should look the other way when it comes to sex trafficking and we want to hold those who enable it accountable for their inaction.  If you are a victim of sex trafficking, we may be able to help.  Contact us today…for a confidential, free discussion.  You may be entitled to compensation…

“Hold accountable” is a euphemism used by authoritarians to mean “persecute under guise of some kind of moralistic rhetoric”.  It’s commonly seen in phrases such as “hold sex buyers accountable”, which means “persecute men for wanting consensual sex”.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#577)

Partly because of their legalized status, strippers are spearheading the movement for sex worker labor rights:

…Bella Vendetta…founded the Western Mass –based advocacy group, Team Clearheels 413, to address issues faced by local dancers…many dancers…are dependent upon club managers’ integrity, which leaves them vulnerable to predators in many of the same ways as are those in the broader sex worker community…exotic dance may be legal, but the social stigma attached to the profession discourages performers from seeking assistance for a number of issues…Vendetta was able to start putting together a loose organization of dancers and advocates to address some of the most immediate needs…

Still a Child (#721) 

Louisiana somehow got a federal court to reverse its own decision striking down a bad law:

Stormy Daniels joined strippers and club workers in a call to repeal a Louisiana law that prevents women between 18 and 20 years old from dancing in clubs, a measure they argue endangers and discriminates against women while failing to combat “trafficking” that its proponents have propped up as a defense for the law…Speakers argued that the creation of another barrier — following club raids that led to forced closures and significant restrictions on dancers — merely limits legal work opportunities for many women and potentially could force others into more dangerous sex work.  New Orleans club workers estimate the rule will impact dozens of dancers in their clubs…the [law was passed] in 2016…After several legal challenges, a three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last month reversed its own decision and decided the state can enforce the law…

Lack of Evidence (#868) 

They were “safeguarded”, no doubt at a “safe house”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Police have busted six suspected brothels and…discovered 16 women who were believed to be working as sex workers and safeguarded them…Police also found 14 women hanging around streets and [demanded they go]…to Changing Lives project, which…[harasses] sex work[ers] as well as [subjecting them to anti-sex propaganda]…women could face court if they ignore the [brainwashing] and are found [walking on public] streets [as though they were real people.  Then a pig oinked a lot of nonsense about]…”the illegal sex trade”…[and fantasized that] “Brothels can be linked to other wider organised crime”…

They “discovered” them, like inanimate objects hidden in a box.  The cop lies in this one are especially egregious, give that the “sex trade” isn’t illegal in the UK, and that massive police operations in the UK have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases.

The Widening Gyre (#871) 

Cops are trying to regain control of the runaway moral panic by releasing even more hysterical exaggeration than the Facebook loons:

Crystal Blanton, [chief propaganda officer] of the Marion County Human Trafficking Task Force, said…”Thousands of people are being human trafficked.  Right here in Marion County and across the state of Florida…it’s the internet…Social media has grown the field of human trafficking.  It’s easier for these traffickers to make contact with victims…There are recruiters, juvenile recruiters in the schools, working with a pimp of some kind, and they are sent out in the schools and given a job to bring other minors on board,” Blanton [panted as she fingered herself frantically]…

A Broker in Pillage (#874)

Here’s more detail on Philadelphia’s scam to steal citizens’ property:

…A forfeiture petition for one property lists one gram of marijuana, a half gram of cocaine and some over-the-counter pills as justification…In one case recently settled in a $3 million class-action lawsuit, Norys Hernandez nearly lost the rowhouse she and her sister owned after police arrested her nephew on drug dealing charges…Another family named in the suit fought to save their house from [cops]…after their son was arrested for selling $40 worth of drugs outside of it…None of the homeowners were themselves accused of committing a crime…The money made off of the seized homes went to buy wish list items ranging from new submachine guns to custom uniform embroidery…at least 11 properties…were sold [directly] to [cops]…looking for a side hustle…the Philadelphia Police Department refuse[s] to disclose any information…and…the DA [claims to have] not kept records of…how many properties were sold…These seizures were notably focused in black and Latino neighborhoods with high rates of poverty…

Pyrrhic Victory (#878) 

This is a type of surveillance the Stasi would recognize:

…the US…DEA…awarded a contract to an American defense company to build a vacuum cleaner for surveillance purposes….Special Services Group, LLC  received a $42,595 contract on November 28 to manufacture a “custom Shop Vac concealment with Canon M50B”…the DEA expects delivery of the spy vacuum on January 01…the DEA [also]  purchased an undisclosed number of secret surveillance cameras that are being disguised as streetlights

Pyrrhic Victory (#882)

TSA’s specific plan is to help DHS build a giant biometric database:

The Transportation Security Administration has set out an alarming vision of pervasive biometric surveillance at airports, which cuts against the right to privacy, the “right to travel” and the right to anonymous association with others.  The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018…included language that…provide[s] implied Congressional endorsement to biometric screening of domestic travelers…TSA…plans to work with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to roll out increased biometric collection and screening for all passengers, including Americans traveling domestically…it provides no strategy for dealing with passengers who are…misidentified…

Whither Canada? (#888)

It’s good to see a prohibitionist forced to admit that Canada’s new prostitution laws were specifically intended to harm sex workers, not “protect” us as prohibitionist propaganda claims:

News reports frequently claim that Canada’s criminal prostitution laws are failing to achieve their goals.  These articles often suggest that the laws were implemented to make sex work saferhealthier and  less risky for those who engage in it.  Despite these…assertions, these outcomes are not what the laws aim to achieve…On Nov. 29, 2018, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice…upheld the constitutionality of these laws…[however,] the Court specifically rejected the applicants’ argument that an objective of PCEPA is to enhance the safety, security and dignity of people involved in sex work…

The Prudish Giant (#896) 

I’m glad people are beginning to realize how dangerous Facebook is to freedom:

FOSTA became law almost entirely because Facebook did an about-face on its position on the law — which only recently was revealed to have happened because COO Sheryl Sandberg decided it was important to appease Congress on something, even against the arguments of Facebook’s own policy team.  As we pointed out at the time, this was Facebook basically selling out the internet…not only will it not help clean up the mess it caused, it’s leaning in on this new puritanical internet that it wants to create…it has…put up a bunch of new guidelines in its “community standards” document, under the head of “sexual solicitation” that ban a wide variety of things from naughty words to expressing a sexual preference…

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The issue with filters starts with the fact that their purpose is to block content.  –  Michael Stabile

They Just Don’t Get It

Pittsburgh-area cops are among the most aggressively ignorant and pompously stupid in the US on the topic of sex work:

Prostitution rings are becoming more sophisticated, and that’s creating new challenges for police…Greensburg police investigators say the internet has [magically transformed into] a vast sea of sex for sale [complete with ships and tentacled hentai monsters]…[unusually stupid pig] Robert Stafford [oinked that]…the sites used to advertise such services…“always seem to be the same website…there always seems to be a drug habit involved”…when [sex workers] are [locked] up [often after being raped by cops], there is a genuine effort to save them from the street and in reality from themselves…

So many dysphemisms, so much bullshit.  “Sophisticated prostitution rings” is the most popular cop excuse for raping sex workers, a practice that Pennsylvania aggressively defends.  As for the bizarre cop fantasy that there is only one ad website, this is the first I’ve heard of it; usually the claim is exactly the opposite, that there are dozens or even hundreds in every city.

Judd Not, Lest Ye Be Judded

I’m always glad to see this wannabe savior get egg on her face:

Ashley…Judd’s…anti-trafficking activism [ignorantly and intentionally]…conflate[s] sex trafficking and sex work.  Judd also serves on the advisory council of Demand Abolition…[after a series of ugly anti-sex worker tweets last week] Judd’s social media was quickly inundated with criticism, causing Judd to double down on her anti-sex work platform…writing…I believe body invasion is indeed inherently harmful…Buying sex…commodifies…girls and women’s orfices [sic]”…Unsurprisingly, real-life sex workers took issue with Judd’s numerous…assertions…@BrookeBrou was a vocal participant in the thread, tweeting, “You are harming people with your ignorant ideas about what sex work actually is”…Brou…explained that, “I find [Ashley Judd’s] posts rendering a SW to her orifices incredibly disgusting…What is apparent is that Ashley Judd is not only misguided, but also simple-minded…it looks like Ashley lacks the cognitive ability to fully grasp the complexity of…SW voices and experiences”…

That weird sci-fi “body invasion” nonsense was invented by Gloria Steinem; this isn’t the first time Judd has incompetently parroted it.

Backwards Into the Future (June Updates)

A strip club defeats part of a stupid “sin density” law:

In New Jersey, clubs and restaurants that do not have licenses to sell alcoholic beverages may nevertheless allow customers to bring beer or wine to consume on the premises.  But they [we]re not allowed to tell customers about that option…until…a federal judge ruled that a state ban on advertising BYOB policies violates the First Amendment…Stiletto, a strip club in Atlantic City…[has no] liquor license…[because] strip clubs that feature total nudity are not allowed to have [one]…New Jersey offered no [defense to the club’s suit other]…than boilerplate about “protect[ing] the health, safety, and welfare of the people…through the promotion of temperance.”  It did not explain how letting people know they can bring their own beer and wine is more likely to promote intemperance than advertising the sale of alcoholic beverages, as businesses with liquor licenses routinely do…

Scapegoats (#15) 

Six and a half years after I first heard the tale, and 15 years after it is supposed to have happened, the story of the “prostitute” orangutan named Pony gets enough detail to tip my opinion from “probably not true” to “probably at least partly true”.  This version of the story actually has the name of a Danish conservationist, Lone Droscher-Nielsen, who cared for Pony after she was rescued from a village near a palm-oil plantation in Indonesia; the story talks about a “brothel” but other details seem to indicate that she was the pet of the whole village, and that the men who paid to fuck her appear to have viewed the experience as a novelty.  It’s in The Sun, which is not exactly known for journalistic rigor; however, there are pictures of the ape and quotes from the conservationists explaining the rehabilitation process.  My guess?  Basically true but embellished to increase luridness.

Monsters 

This could also be filed under “Torture Chamber”, but I suspect she was targeted for being trans:

A transgender woman who died [after being caged by] Immigration and Customs Enforcement…was likely physically abused [by screws]…and died after several days of severe, untreated dehydration.  Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez…died on May 25…[from] “severe complications of dehydration superimposed upon HIV infection”…the…autopsy…also found evidence of physical abuse, with “deep bruising” on her hands and abdomen, evidence of blunt-force trauma “indicative of blows, and/or kicks, and possible strikes with blunt object”…as well as extensive hemorrhaging on [her]…wrists, which…[a]re “typical of handcuff injuries”…

If Men Were Angels 

Most rapes by clergymen are much more subtle:

A former pastor…kidnapped three women and [raped] two…Thomas Bruce…had a history of going on social media rants against “gun-free zones”…[he] posed as a customer of a Catholic Supply store in [Missouri]…When he saw that there were two female employees and one female customer in the store, Bruce…forced the three women to go with him into a back room at gunpoint…he ordered them to strip and “perform…sexual acts on him”…One of the women, Jamie Schmidt refused to give in to his demands, and Bruce…killed her with a shot to the head.  This prompted the other two women to begin complying with his requests, and Bruce eventually fled…

Grow the Hell Up! (#644)

Sometimes “sex trafficking” bullshit is too much for even politicians to pretend to believe. The Dallas Morning News printed this “editorial”:

A [pig leader masturbated while fantasizing that]…a person trapped into “the life”…is left with little hope and no sense of what it means to trust another person, experience joy, or even know friendship.  It is gratifying then to know that this week the Dallas Police Department will…unveil…a new strategy…to [persecute peaceful adults using the excuse of]…human sex trafficking…On November 28, the department is relaunching its vice unit, which was disbanded last year amid an internal investigation…a new philosophy…will [lock up sex workers and call that]…serving the victims…those who [are labeled] trafficked will face prosecution [anyway]…[blah blah] those who traffic in the sale of human flesh…

While on the same day, the same paper printed this:

…The Dallas Police Department’s beleaguered vice unit will soon be back in action after a year off the streets.  But the…details were a little murky to some members of the [city] council’s Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee…members…wanted to know how the department’s new approach differed from the unit’s previous iteration — and why the vice unit was disbanded in the first place…Police Chief U. Renee Hall in November 2017 disbanded the vice unit amid what she called “serious issues”.  Since then, she has given few specific details about what those issues were [except vague statements about]…policy violations, accounting discrepancies…and a general lack of accountability.  But [the names of cops]…accused of violations [are still being hidden and there have been no]…criminal charges…The [old vice pigs]…will not be returning to the unit…council members said police officials were still too vague in their descriptions of both the problems and the [supposed] solutions…

Whore Madonnas (#734) 

An interview with a pregnant sex worker:

Sex work is arguably the single most stigmatized profession in the world.  Add pregnancy and motherhood…and that stigma increases one-hundred fold.  Last year, when Summer Sebastian announced that she would be working at the Bunny Ranch…throughout her pregnancy, it made for international headlines.  [Maxine] Holloway hasn’t even given birth yet and she’s already been harassed online by people saying that she’s harming her future child.  I visited Holloway at her home in Oakland, California to talk about pregnancy fetishes, mommy role-play, and the stigma of doing sex work while pregnant…

Opting Out (#822) 

UK politicians have been forced to delay their ridiculous censorship scheme again:

For the past year and a half, the UK government has been promising…a nationwide age verification system that would require would-be porn consumers to demonstrate their adulthood before accessing adult content…A few years ago, the country attempted to block adult sites at the ISP level, requiring users to opt in to access adult content…[of course the censorship software] ended up blocking far more than just porn.  The Digital Economy Act…puts the onus on [websites], who must comply with the policy or risk getting banned by major payment processors.  Yet…the age verification system’s rollout — which was initially scheduled for this past spring — was postponed yet again, as [politicians] continued to grapple with the [impossibility] of creating a system that [censors content for people under 18] without [blocking]…other sex-related content…Since the dawn of the internet, tech companies have promised [censorious] parents an easy way to [maintain] their children’s [ignorance about sex]…while allowing them to freely browse the [rest] of the internet…however, these porn blockers aren’t nearly as…effective as advertised, largely because figuring out what is and is not pornography is rarely a simple matter.  Apple’s recently launched…parental controls…produced results that were inconsistent at best…innocent items like a search for a dulce de leche recipe wound up blocked, as did numerous sex education sites.  Teen Vogue’s entire site wound up blocked, as did sites offering assistance to queer youth…

Disaster (#865)

Even the perennially-obtuse Rolling Stone recognizes that FOSTA has galvanized sex worker activism:

…It wasn’t until the passage of the so-called Online Trafficking bill SESTA-FOSTA last spring that many workers began to [participate in activism]…not just to oppose the bill but also to support sex work decriminalization efforts more broadly…Christa Daring, the executive director of [SWOP-USA, says]…“SESTA-FOSTA didn’t make prostitution any more illegal than it was before, but it…really threw into stark contrast the amount of criminalization that people were facing”…“Now you have coalitions rising of people who care about criminal justice and racial justice and immigration issues all working together,” says [activist Lola] Balcon…“I’ve never seen sex workers begin organizing in the way they did following SESTA-FOSTA,” says activist Siouxsie Q. “Enough was enough”…

End Demand (#872)

At least one journalist at the Graun appears to get it:

…Under the guise of “anti-trafficking” efforts, police practices in northern California and a new federal law have broadly affected adult sex workers both online and in the streets.  The result…is…increased violence and suffering for the very women whom lawmakers [pretend] they are rescuing.  There have been two such anti-“human trafficking” sting operations in Sacramento this year, most recently in August, in which [sows role-play sex workers]…16 men were arrested for soliciting…police also arrested 25 women for “loitering with intent to commit prostitution” or “disorderly conduct”…[spokespigs] insisted the women’s arrests were separate from the stings, even though some happened on the same day and location…But Alix Lutnick, a researcher with RTI International…said that there is growing recognition that john stings don’t actually help victims…The crackdown, in a state that pre[t]en[d]s [to be] a progressive leader in social justice and women’s rights, has come at a time in which sex work is being aggressively criminalized across the US…Democrats in California have spearheaded the [persecution]…Kamala Harris, a rising star in the party, fought for the shutdown of Backpage.com…when she was the state’s top prosecutor…For one woman caught up in the [recent] arrests, police cited as evidence that she was wearing a “lace bralette”, “shorts” and “flip flops” and was carrying four “unused condoms”.  Despite the “trafficking” label, the stings have led to no trafficking charges.  [A] Sacramento [spokespig admitted]…the stings were [really] about punishing “males who were trying to pick up prostitutes”…

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Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Two days before the last Links column posted, author and screenwriter William Goldman, best known for The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid passed away.  But I wasn’t about to elbow that news into the same column as Stan Lee’s obituary; losing two master storytellers in one week was already bad enough without cheating one of them of his proper respect.  The links above the video (which I think you’ll agree is an appropriate choice) were provided by Mike SiegelPhoenix CalidaFranklin HarrisThaddeus RussellDavid Ley, and Kevin Wilson, in that order.

From the Archives

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What we’re seeing is not so much a war on trafficking as a full-on frontal assault against…sex workers.  –  John Blaylock

Buried Truth 

Yet another perfect example of the McNeill Rule:

Norman Goldwasser, by day, is an Orthodox Jewish therapist at Horizon Psychological Services who compares homosexuality to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and misleads clients by claiming that their sexual orientation can be changed with his special brand of quack therapy, which is rejected by every respected medical and mental health association.  By night…he solicits sexual partners on Manhunt, a gay dating App, using the profile “Hotnhairy72”…Goldwasser also had a profile on Bear Nation by the same name…

Moving Pictures 

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

Doing Money aired tonight on BBC Two as the drama, based on real life events, explored the horrors of sex trafficking happening in the UK…Central character Ana (played by Anca Dumitra) was abducted off of a London street before being taken to Ireland where she was used a sex slave. The first ten minutes of the film saw Ana resisting her captors when they forced a “customer” on her…The story of Ana is based on the lived experiences of a woman who was held as a sex slave for 10 months and trafficked around both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

This is “based on real life events” like Roger Corman’s Vincent Price vehicles of the early ’60s were “based on” Poe stories.

Perquisites (#556)

Should we tell them most adult businesses bill under different names and business-classification codes to avoid bullshit like this?  Naaaaah.

Under Armour Inc. employees received an email earlier this year that upended a longstanding company practice: They could no longer charge visits to strip clubs on their corporate cards.  Over the years, executives and employees of the sports-apparel company, including Chairman and Chief Executive Kevin Plank, went with athletes or co-workers to strip clubs after some corporate and sporting events, and the company often paid for the visits of many attendees…Strip-club visits were symptomatic of practices women at Under Armour found demeaning…

Rough Trade (#682) 

This headline and lede are stigmatizing bullshit:

India’s Supreme Court has ruled that sex-workers have a right to refuse their services and seek redress when [raped]…The ruling came as the court overturned a 2009 Delhi High Court judgment that acquitted four people accused in a 1997 gang rape case.  The four defendants were previously freed on the grounds the victim was “a woman of bad character who indulged in prostitution”.  The Supreme Court restored the trial court’s conviction in the case and ordered that the four people accused must surrender within four weeks to serve the rest of their 10-year sentence…They also said if there was evidence to show that the victim was “habituated to sexual intercourse”, it cannot be inferred that the victim is of “loose moral character”.  The…ruling [also] reverses a 2016 Supreme Court ruling which said that a sex worker cannot file a case alleging rape if their customers refused to pay…

Indian sex workers already had the right to refuse services; what this judgment does is eliminates the “But she was a whore!” defense for rape, which is not at all the same thing.

Signs (#775)

Motel 6 gets some comeuppance for its eager copsucking:

Motel 6 has agreed to pay $7.6 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by a Latino civil rights organization after the motel chain systematically shared guest information with [ICE]…The company will compensate Motel 6 guests who were questioned by ICE or [subjected to] deportation proceedings…[the] practice…le[d] to the arrest of at least 20 undocumented guests in Phoenix…It’s unclear how many…may be eligible for compensation…but…they may be numerous…

There is a similar lawsuit pending in Washington state.

Between the Lines (#788)

Here’s the first propaganda from this year’s “Operation Cross-Country” pogroms:

A human trafficking and prostitution sting in [Houston]…netted 75 arrests…[only 32 were men, 11 of which [cops decided to charge as] pimps…28 were woman [and the other 15 apparently were asexual organisms of some kind]…Sheriff Rand Henderson [bragged] he was “so proud” of [destroying people’s lives for desiring consensual sex or doing honest work for a living]…Henderson [fantasized that]…prostitution has evolved into human trafficking with most of the sex workers being trafficked individuals…

Bread and Circuses (#800) 

The time for men’s magazines to come on board as active supporters of sex worker rights is long overdueHustler‘s December issue contains this very supportive article which quotes Missy Mariposa, Liara Roux, Jessica Raven and Arabelle Raphael, mostly on FOSTA/SESTA but also on decriminalization, the War on Whores and sex worker rights in general.

To Molest and Rape (#830) 

Rapists argue that their rape isn’t rape because they should be held to a “different standard” than decent human beings:

…An…immigration detention center is trying to avoid responsibility for sexual violence within its walls by arguing that the detainee “consented” to sexual abuse.  E.D., an asylum-seeker and domestic violence survivor from Honduras, was sexually assaulted by an employee while she was detained with her 3-year-old child at the Berks Family Residential Center in Pennsylvania. At the time…E.D. was 19 years old…her assailant coerced and threatened her, including with possible deportation, while the defendants stood by and made jokes.  Although the employee pled guilty to criminal institutional sexual assault under Pennsylvania law, the defendants contend that they should not be liable for any constitutional violations.  Their argument rests in part on their [pretense] that the sexual abuse was “consensual” and that they should be held to a different standard because…Berks…is an immigration [prison]…rather than a jail or prison [for citizens]…there were 1,448 [incidents of rape or other] sexual abuse [reported to] ICE between 2012 and March 2018.  In 2017 alone, there were 237 [incidents of rape or other] sexual abuse in immigration [prisons]…

Legislators Gone Wild (#879) 

Prohibitionists trot out the Marxist “false consciousness” excuse when people won’t support their bans:

Groups looking to [ban] prostitution in Nevada [refuse to stop trying to impose their will on]…Lyon County voters [who] reject[ed]…an advisory question to rescind the county’s brothel ordinance.  [Prohibitionist] Brenda Sandquist…said…“The people of Lyon County — this is their normal. It’s that mentality – it’s normal that those brothels are there.  To have them removed could be a little scary…They believe the lie of the brothel myth.  That’s all they know…They just have to become more aware”…

And just for good measure, they got rid of their anti-brothel sheriff, too.

The Widening Gyre (#879)

Cop denials of “sex trafficking” scary tales would be more effective if unaccompanied by recitation of the usual myths:

[Cops] and [other prohibitionists fantasize]…that children and teens in Michigan are sold for sex, but it doesn’t happen the way many think.  The most common myth…is…spread on social media.  Someone [fantasizes about other shoppers]…in a store and goes online…to [share the fantasy.  But cops find this inconvenient to dissemination of their pro-surveillance, pro-censorship myth that prepubescent]…Children are more likely to be targeted inside their own homes…”It’s someone who has [magically teleported] into your house, on your couch or in your kids bedroom via their smart device,” [fantasized sow Jolene] Hardesty…the most common age range for sex trafficking victims is 13- to 16-years-old…[cops also fantasize that criminal cartels have a]…recruitment process [which] spread from social media into schools…[yet] YWCA Jessica Glynn…said…Most of the cases she’s seen involve one victim and one suspect, not a chain of victims…She said the Hollywood portrayal of sex trafficking also makes it difficult to prosecute [sex workers and their associates as] traffickers…

R.I.P. Dennis Hof

Too bad we can’t elect more dead politicians:  “Dennis Hof defeated Democratic educator Lesia Romanov on Tuesday in the race for Nevada’s 36th Assembly District…County officials will appoint a Republican to take his place in the seat…”  As regular readers know, I’m no Hof fan; furthermore, they’re going to negate the benefits of electing a corpse by putting a living windbag in his place.  But wouldn’t it be great if dead politicians were forced to be seated & finish their terms?  All of their votes would automatically count as “no”, and their salaries would go to paying any government debts.  It would be like those towns who elect dogs and cats as mayors.

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There is no “[sex trafficking] marketplace”, but rather all sorts of people selling and buying sex for their own reasons, some of them miserable.  –  Laura Agustín

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

San Diego County may not remove children from their homes and subject them to highly intrusive physical examinations without parental permission, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled…The case stems from an April 2010 incident involving Michael and Melissa Mann and their four young children.  The Manns had apparently spanked at least one of the kids with a wooden spoon as a form of punishment…The county [abducted] the children…and [held] them in [custody]…while the parents went to court to regain custody…a doctor performed a 22-step medical exam requiring “blood samples and a gynecological and rectal exam…[including] separat[ing] the labia and look[ing] at the hymen”…County officials did not obtain a court order authorizing these examinations, nor did the parents sign off.  Indeed, the Manns didn’t even know [that]…their kids [had been molested] until one of them said something about it later…

Real People 

Universities are very slowly beginning to turn toward sex worker rights:

…Lady Lola Lightning…a 23-year-old [NYU] sophomore and Salem, Massachusetts native started playing with Periscope just five months ago….[and has] gathered a loyal following as a webcam model…she doesn’t use toys or do too many tricks; she just strips down and has a raw chat with viewers…along with her new job as a stripper in Brooklyn, she is able to pay for her entire tuition and living expenses without support from her family…

Not To Be Taken Internally (First Updates of the Year)

Please, y’all, do NOT let non-doctors inject liquid silicone into your bodies, unless you want to die:

On October 15, 2018, a 28-year-old Australian-born Seattle resident named Jack Chapman, also known as Pup Tank, died…he…was…romantically linked to Dylan Ray Hafertepen, a well-known member of the Dom/sub pup play communities in San Francisco and, later, Seattle…Hafertepen[‘s]…Tumblr (as well as the Tumblr accounts of several of his pups) contained numerous images of their engorged scrotums, dramatically increased in size due to liquid silicone injections.  In one picture, Tank’s testicles dangle outside of his basketball shorts, his nuts roughly the size of two dodgeballs…Since World War II, cosmetic surgeons and back-alley “pumpers” have offered liquid silicone injections as a quick and dirty form of plastic surgery…But such injections aren’t approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for cosmetic procedures because of adverse reactions.  Sometimes they harden into painful masses that appear like wormy tumors under the skin.  Sometimes the surrounding tissue gets infected…Other times, stray bits can travel through the bloodstream, causing [fatal] embolisms…Numerous articles have discussed trans women who end up disfigured or dead because of silicone injections by unlicensed pumpers.  But few mention the pumpers who offer silicone injections for gay men…Tank died from “silicone embolism syndrome”…[which] led to “pneumonitis”…bleeding in the lungs…and eventually…death…

The article is very long and very detailed, and describes what looks to me like a very abusive BDSM relationship.  But it wasn’t the emotional & psychological abuse which killed Chapman/Tank; it was misuse of a substance which has caused the deaths of many seeking quick, cheap body modification without proper medical safeguards.

The Notorious Badge

Looks like I’m not the only sex worker writing horror with sex worker characters:

Award-winning screenwriter Isa Mazzei did not have a welcoming introduction to the movie industry.  “I’ve…never been more sexually harassed than trying to sell this film in Hollywood,” she [said]…Mazzei, a former cam girl, has written one of the hottest horror movies on this year’s genre festival circuit.  Cam, which will debut on Netflix later this month, drags the audience inside the paranoia and perils of being an internet star.  Her success in creating a believable yet terrifying online dystopia was bolstered by its roots in Mazzei’s real fears, including the risks of being harassed, hacked, doxxed or assaulted…Mazzei had to endure the sleaze of movie execs who believed they could harass and belittle her because of her previous  sex work.  Lots of them asked her to share details from her past life, some suggested she was only credited as the screenwriter as a gimmick to help the pitch, while one owner of a Hollywood agency went so far as to write an alternate ending to the semi-biographical movie that included himself and Mazzei inserted into the script…

No Difference

African campaigns against homosexuality are a lot like US campaigns against sex work:

The governor of…Dar es Salaam…launched an anti-gay crackdown…calling on [collaborators] to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups to begin next week…homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania, with same-sex acts between men punishable by a maximum life sentence.  “These homosexuals boast on social networks,” said [governor Paul] Makonda, a fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli.  “Give me their names,” he demanded. “My ad hoc team will begin to get their hands on them”…Anti-homosexual sentiment is rife in Tanzania…and…has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election…AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magafuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies…

Somewhere in the Middle (#425)

Kate Iselin on myths about clients:

…Films and television shows cast clients as either sinister perverts who slither around in the darkness…or drug-addled millionaires looking for more Barbie-lookalikes to fill their yachts with for the weekend…Sure, not every client is perfect.  Some are far from it.  I could share a horror story or two about some who…disregard [hygiene or] boundaries…But clients like these are, thankfully, rare.  The majority of people who visit sex workers — whether they visit strip clubs, brothels, see private workers, or simply download some good, old-fashioned porn — are as normal and average as you and me.  They have jobs, and hobbies, and families, and social lives, just like anyone else…I believe it’s the heavy stigma around sex work that carries over to our clients, too: it makes sense that someone who thinks sex workers are immoral and disgusting would also feel the same about the people who pay to spend time with us…the belief that our clients are bad people is damaging not only to our clients themselves, but to the sex industry as a whole…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

The Drug Enforcement Administration [worked to drum up hysteria over] candy laced with marijuana and methamphetamine this Halloween.  The DEA St. Louis Division says there has been no [actual] threat, but [authoritarians are using the existence] of drug-laced edibles [in states where cannabis is legal to frighten the ignorant]…signs of marijuana or meth-laced candy include unusual wrapping, appearance, unusual colors, odd smell…candy…that is unwrapped or unmarked…

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag. Not a single one.  Every time the claim has been made, it turns out to be either an intentional hoax or some nefarious shit by the parents.

Full of Themselves (#787)

Puritanical language is an intrinsic part of any story about cops raiding massage parlors:

Police have posted notices at 18 massage parlors in Kent [Washington] saying that they will be shut down…after a monthslong [escapade involving vice cops getting happy endings at] businesses that they say were fronts for prostitution…some of the massage-parlor owners and employees have been charged with crimes and…[prosecutors] plan…to bring charges against any customers who engaged in prostitution…many of the businesses…were not licensed by the state and failed to follow regulations to protect the health and privacy of patrons…

“Fronts”.  “Prostitution”.  “Crimes”.  “Engaged in prostitution”.  “Regulations”.  And it’s pretty hilarious to see thugs pretending to give a shit about people’s privacy while simultaneously plotting to destroy their lives.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

It’s good to see “sex addiction” collapsing as an excuse for bad behavior:

A former WAFB employee who secretly recorded two female station employees using the restroom in 2017 was sentenced to four months in prison…Morgan McDermitt…must also register as a sex offender for 15 years. His wife, upon hearing the sentence…ran from the courtroom sobbing…Judge Beau Higginbotham initially sentenced McDermitt…to four years in prison…but then suspended all but four months of the sentence. In July, Higginbotham refused to accept a proposed plea bargain in the case that would have only placed McDermitt on probation…The judge asked McDermitt, who sought sex addiction therapy after his arrest, why he did not seek help before he was caught…

Damned Lies (#866)

It’s good to see fact checkers demolishing politicians’ grandiose claims about Backpage:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton…[claimed to have] “shut down the world’s largest human trafficking marketplace”…The Texas attorney general’s office helped shut down the Backpage website, which is what another Paxton ad says.  However, the federal government led the shutdown and officials in other states pitched in.  Significantly too, we otherwise landed no confirmation that the Backpage site, which profited from ads about sex, also was the world’s largest trafficking marketplace–a classification that experts found dubious and unverifiable.  All told, we rate this statement Mostly False…

Suppression

This is especially important because other states are trying the same scam:

…Pennsylvania [prisons will]…allow…book orders to resume through a new centralized processing center…The [censorship plan] was…[pretended] to eliminate drug smuggling into the prisons, [when in actuality all contraband comes in via screws]…[Chief Screw] John Wetzel said the new procedure was a response to criticisms by book-donation groups…The new policy…allows family and friends to order books to be shipped directly from publishers or bookstores to a secure processing center in Bellefonte, Pa., where staff will screen books five days per week.  It also enables inmates to place orders directly from a hard-copy catalog…the book-donation groups still have concerns about how the new process will play out, including how the [prison system] will ensure the packages reach the inmates who requested them, intact with all supplemental materials…Sean Damon of Amistad Law Project, which led protests over the book prohibition…[is] not satisfied, as other new security measures — including the scanning and surveillance of incoming mail, and the photocopying of inmate legal mail — remain in place…

Traffic Jam (#877)

Remember that “threat” a Hawaiian prohibitionist claimed to have received from “pimps”?

The recent publication of a hyperbolic study that purported to show an “astronomical” level of demand for sex workers in the Hawaii was punctuated by…Police…respond[ing] to a call regarding a purported threat of physical violence against [prohibitionist politician] Khara Jabola-Carolus…police concluded that there had been no physical threat…[what actually happened was that during] a conference call…one [prohibitionist claimed to]…hav[e] received a…text message [from Dominique Roe-Sepowitz which in turn claimed] that…some person or persons were “trying to get Jabola-Carolus fired”…

Signs (#878) 

Another state mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

A state mandate now aims to [harass] sex [workers] in Minnesota through the state’s hotel industry.  The law requires all hotel and motel employees to be [indoctrinated] in [anti-whore propaganda].  The training must be completed by Nov. 28.  After that date, all new employees must be [indoctrinated] within 90 days of hire…the signs to look for [include] guest[s traveling light]…or [with their children]…“There might be signs in the room – for example, that they…request extra sheets and extra towels, [and enjoy their privacy]” said Minnesota [prohibitionist]…Beatriz Menanteau…

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I got a rock.  –  Charlie Brown

As usual, I don’t find any good Halloween videos until it’s too late to feature them before Halloween.  I’ve actually featured this one before, back in 2012, but at that time it was only available on the Funny or Die site and couldn’t be embedded; thanks to Franklin Harris for bringing this YouTube copy to my attention.  The links above it were provided by Tim CushingPopehatWalter OlsonNun Ya, Tim Cushing again and ACLU.

From the Archives

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