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Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

It was very similar in appearance to narcotics.  –  all-purpose cop excuse

Last week, Winnie Pond sent me this video of a cat watching a horror movie, which is pretty amusing.  The links above it (with the exception of “laugh”) were provided by Tim CushingPopehatScott GreenfieldMyles JackmanEmma Evans, and Savannah Sly, in that order.

From the Archives

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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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The committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.  –  Geir Lundestad

Even if you don’t usually watch my featured videos, you really should watch this scene from Stormy Weather (1943), which Fred Astaire called “the greatest dancing he had ever seen on film.”  And if that still isn’t enough to recommend it, maybe I should tell you it was unrehearsed and filmed in one take.  The video was contributed by Jesse Walker, and the links above it by Amy AlkonWalter OlsonFranklin HarrisCarol FentonTim Cushing (x2), and Rick Horowitz, in that order.

From the Archives

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Well-adjusted people realize that words have different meanings in different contexts.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Mary Magdalene 

No, it isn’t “orthodoxy” that Mary Magdalene was a whore; quite the opposite, in fact:

A new film about Mary Magdalene sets out to refute the commonly held assumption that she was a prostitute redeemed by Christ…A new film, though, flips the script to show Mary in a new light – as an independent free-thinker who…deserves to be considered as an apostle in her own right…This is deeply contentious territory that flies in the face of the commonly accepted orthodoxy that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute…It is a notion that has been perpetuated for centuries – partly thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who had Mary sing about the “many men” she’s “had” in Jesus Christ Superstar…Put all the evidence together and it is easy to conclude that Mary has been the victim of 1,400 years’ worth of character assassination…

Critic Neil Smith’s madonna-whore complex is on full display here; portraying Mary as an “independent free-thinker” is supportive of the idea she was a harlot.  Before the advent of the currently-fashionable “victim” nonsense, we were always seen as independent, uppity women who won’t mind our “place”; in fact, that’s exactly why patriarchal religions dislike us.  But then, I guess we couldn’t expect much from a mind that thinks it makes sense to blame Jesus Christ Superstar (recorded October 1970) for a 1400-year-old tradition.

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Thomas Mowbray didn’t even know Eboni Sanders.  They both lived [in Pittsburgh, PA] in the same…building…In early February 2016, they ran into each other in the laundry room.  Mr. Mowbray claims Ms. Sanders came on to him and that he declined…Twelve days after that, Pittsburgh police charged Mr. Mowbray with indecent assault after Ms. Sanders claimed that he had groped her…The charges marked the beginning of a nightmarish two years in the criminal justice system for Mr. Mowbray…and his girlfriend, Patrese Thompson …Over that time, Pittsburgh police filed six criminal cases against Mr. Mowbray and two against Ms. Thompson — all based on shocking allegations made by Ms. Sanders of gun-toting assailants, assaults, threatening letters and phone calls, stalking, contract killings and knife-wielding attacks…Mowbray spent more than six months in jail.  But on Feb. 22, the last of the cases was withdrawn by…prosecutors.  Police had finally [accepted] what the couple had long insisted — that Ms. Sanders was lying.  Now she is the one facing criminal charges.  “For two years of our lives, this woman has been using the criminal justice system to terrorize us,” Ms. Thompson said…

Too Close To Home

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

Three men arrested in a 2016 prostitution sting in Bellevue are suing King County and Bellevue police for defamation, [explaining that] officials exaggerated their crimes to satisfy a private foundation that provided a grant for the [pogrom]…Keith Emmanuel, Richard Homchick, and Charles Peters…were only charged with second-degree promoting prostitution during the sweep…However, during press conferences and other public appearances, Bellevue Chief Steve Mylett, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and former sheriff John Urquhart made statements that made it seem like the three men had engaged in crimes like rape and human trafficking…Those statements were made, the suit alleges, to satisfy Demand Abolition…[billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt’s] foundation that had given the county a grant to [harass sex workers] and [persecute clients].  Demand Abolition gave the prosecutor’s office a $50,000 grant in 2014…and has continued to give grants each year since.  “Defendants have deliberately conflated that prostitution charge with human trafficking and sex slavery as part of a concerted plan to secure private funding by generating publicity and manipulating media coverage of the arrests,” the suit [states]…To keep the grant, the prosecutor’s office had to meet performance targets…increasing the arrests of [men] by 50 percent…

Full of Themselves (#614)

California produces the most horrifying and racist anti-massage-parlor propaganda, hands down:

Doug Bennett, the founder of Magdalene Hope, a [prohibitionist group]…and his [gang] of [busybodies]…[literally spy on Asian-owned massage businesses,] spending their evenings watching the parlors, [stalking] masseuses after they leave and gathering evidence to pass on to the…[cops]…Massage parlors have been [dysphemized as] “modern-day brothels” and “prostitution rings.”  They are [fantasized] by [“trafficking” fetishists] to be storefronts for a complex network of human traffickers shuffling victims throughout the region, multiple [conspiracy theorists, pigs, white supremacists]…and [other tinfoil-hat wearers] said on and off the record…

Naturally, the California Massage Therapy Council is quoted.  Don’t miss the part about how Bennett and his cronies pray together before literally stalking women late at night, and be sure to click on that link in the first line for a look at one of “Magdalene Hope’s” hilariously-bad propaganda ads.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

What hysteria about “crime” in Italy would be complete without bringing in the Mafia?  This lurid, self-righteous mess should serve as a warning to clients to be careful which “journalists” they talk to; this unethical, pompous fantasist fully admits that the only reason she didn’t out a man she interviewed, despite her promise that she wouldn’t, was that he had a wife and children.  Yet she clearly sees herself as moral while the women who honestly sell sex and keep their clients’ confidences are “degraded victims” and the clients who enable them to earn a living are “rapists” who “keep this lurid business of sex slavery alive”.

Opting Out (#700)

“At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots”:

Twitter and other social media companies have so far refused to engage with the government’s plans to introduce age checks to limit underage access to online pornography…Lord Erroll…who chairs the Digital Policy Alliance (DPA)…admitted the ultimate sanction intended for sites that fail to implement AV is unlikely to be applied to Twitter.  Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Twitter has no rules against the posting of sexually explicit material and hosts many accounts that promote publishers and stars of pornography.  “The challenge with that is if you block Twitter, people will just say this is an overreaction, it’s mad, and it would not go down well in public,” Erroll said…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#737)

India’s pigheaded resistance to decriminalization continues:

On February 28…the Union cabinet approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018…[it] falls into the familiar trap of trying to use criminal law to solve a social problem.  The IPC already criminalises trafficking…The new Bill introduces 15 new offences on top of this, and introduces numerous…ambigu[ous]…clauses…[which] unfairly target…marginalised actors and rely…heavily on criminalisation…It only creates further confusion by introducing existing offences in the new packaging of “aggravated offences”, adding more layers of bureaucracy and complicating enforcement…The Bill…relies on the raid, rescue and rehabilitation model, which…is nothing but victim detention, resulting in the complete loss of liberty for an adult woman.  The rehabilitation process disregards the wishes and choices of the “rescued” person, especially sex workers.  Such a paternalistic approach…ignores the agency of adult women to determine what is good for them…

Torture Chamber (#770) 

The state wants us to call these subhuman monsters “correctional officers”:

Jailhouse video reveals California sheriff’s deputies watching and sometimes laughing as a schizophrenic man who had been strapped naked to a chair for 46 hours writhes on the floor of his cell, loses consciousness and eventually dies…the county [was forced to pay Andrew] Holland’s family $5 million for his death, which a medical examiner determined was caused by a pulmonary embolism…[directly caused by] the [inhumane] restraint chair…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#811)

What terrible “crimes” these “gangsters” are accused of:  not paying licenses.  Assisting migrants.  Illegally subdividing a building.  Doing their employees’ laundry.  The fiends!

A triad-controlled prostitution racket that brought sex workers from Europe, Asia and mainland China into Hong Kong has been broken up in one of the city’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns with the arrest of 75 people…the syndicate had turned 72 subdivided flats into one-woman brothels…four vice establishments and unlicensed massage centres in the same district were also controlled by the gang…the syndicate had its own laundry centre…and supplied towels to sex workers…police arrested 14 men and 61 women…

Overdue

“Fainting-couch feminism” is a brilliant coinage:

…[Massachusetts politician] Michelle DuBois…has been calling for the removal of a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” (so inscribed because it stands opposite a statue of [US Civil War] General Hooker), which she described as an affront to “women’s dignity”…If that isn’t the ultimate in futile, fainting-couch feminism, I’m not sure what is…attitudes like hers—which treat women as excessively fragile beings, and which posit that female “dignity” is diminished by even so slight an association with sex work as walking under a door that says “hooker”—just props up old-fashioned and patriarchal ideas about sex and gender…

Cops and Robbers (#813)

As I surmised, this sleazy attempt to hurt sex workers’ income is bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

[Pigs trying to harm sex workers] are using cyber-based “patrols” to [harass potential clients]…[in] Los Angeles…Working in partnership with Demand Abolition, a [vanity project] focused on eradicating [sex workers]…sheriff’s deputies post ads to make contact with would-be buyers.  Once phone contact is made, detectives identify themselves as members of the [vice squad]…advise the caller that solicitation is a crime and offer referrals to sex addiction treatment.  Investigators also use electronic “bots” to send [propaganda] text messages to buyers…During the first month of operations this year, nearly 1,900 conversations took place with potential sex buyers which prompted more than 30,000 text warnings designed to disrupt [sex workers’ business]…

Guinea Pigs (#818) 

Every New Orleanian knows that cockroaches can’t stand sunlight:

[After] The Verge reported the existence of a six-year predictive policing collaboration between the New Orleans Police Department and Palantir Technologies…which…was unknown to the public and key members of the city council prior to publication…outgoing…Mayor Mitch Landrieu…[said] his office would not renew its pro bono contract with Palantir, which has been extended three times since 2012…The mayor did not respond to repeated requests for comment from…media since news of the partnership broke.  There is also potential legal fallout from the revelation…[which was not included in] discovery evidence [for a number of criminal trials]…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

When an incredibly bad law skates through a legislature, follow the money:

FOSTA…offer[s] a powerful incentive for online platforms to police the speech of users and advertisers.  A perceived violation of a state’s anti-trafficking laws could lead to authorities seeking civil or criminal penalties, or a barrage of lawsuits.  So, why are movie studios involved at all in this debate?  Hollywood is lobbying for laws that will force online intermediaries to shut down user speech.  That’s what they’ve been seeking since practically the beginning of the Internet…For legacy software and entertainment companies, breaking down [Section 230] is another road to a controlled, filtered Internet—one that looks a lot like cable television.  Without safe harbors, the Internet will be a poorer place—less free for new ideas and new business models.  That suits some of the gatekeepers of the pre-Internet era just fine…An Internet that’s policed by “copyright bots” is what major film studios and record have advocated for more than a decade now…

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Imagine…saying that domestic violence victims need to be arrested because they’re too morally damaged to know what’s good for them.  –  Tara Burns

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Boo hoo hoo, the poor widdle piggie CWIED because he got caught!

A police officer breaks down in tears after being arrested on suspicion of blackmail as part of an investigation to weed out corrupt cops.  DC Gareth Suffling is led away in handcuffs after he was found to have accessed a blackmail victim’s details on his police computer to find out his address before the victim reported he was being blackmailed…[the] married man [was] sent a letter threatening to tell his family he had received oral sex from a sex worker unless he pays the blackmailer £1000.  The letter also contained photos of the man visiting the sex worker…

Moloch 

Naturally, there are people opposed to this, because THE CHILDREN!!!!

A Kansas state legislator has proposed a bill that would decriminalize consensual sexual contact between kids under the age of 14…the state’s draconian laws…currently criminalize sexual contact up to age 16…The bill is partly inspired by the ordeal of Randy Masten, whose 14-year-old son was charged with a felony for engaging in mutual, consensual kissing and touching with a 13-year-old girl…”The charges were later dropped.  Masten…spent nearly $13,000 on an attorney and never found out why the case went away…his son and the girl were 55 days apart in age.  ‘What if we did not have the means to defend our son?  An overzealous DA…could have destroyed my son’s life and wrecked the lives of my wife and myself as well’, Masten said“…

Watershed

Articles like this one are now becoming quite common:

…sex workers are challenging…misleading and harmful efforts to link prostitution to sex trafficking.  “People have used this moral panic, this idea that there is a trafficking epidemic, to create so much funding and so much policy that now they’re being pressured to show the evidence”…said Tara Burns, researcher and founding member of the Community United for Safety and Protection (CUSP)…“That’s where we see police arresting [prostitutes] for sex trafficking themselves, just so they can get those sex trafficking numbers up, and match the moral panic they’ve created”…

Policing for Profit

When victims have nothing to steal, cops profit from them by fucking up their lives instead:

Moving in on what [they claimed] to be a crack deal, [two cops planted] two packets, which turned out to contain little more than a residue of the drug.  Two men — [claimed] to be the buyer and the seller — were arrested, but the charges against one of the men were eventually dismissed.  What the [cops] did get that day was more than 20 hours in overtime for hauling in and processing the men…as much as $1,400 in extra pay…four of the [cops] involved…fac[e] accusations that they detained one of the men, Hector Cordero, simply to increase their income.  If any of the [four] are found liable, another trial will be scheduled, one that could represent the biggest challenge to New York policing practices since stop-and-frisk.  The second trial would examine the broader question of whether the city’s [cops] habitually use false arrests to bolster their pay.  Accusations about the practice — known as “collars for dollars” — have dogged the department for decades.  The Mollen Commission’s 1994 report about police corruption, which used the term, detailed the various and devious overtime schemes that have been used…

Torture Chamber 

I can tell you exactly how high it goes, but you won’t like or accept the answer:

S[even screws]…have been charged with sexually abusing female inmates, some for more than a decade, at a…prison in Pennsylvania…The seven men created a culture of fear and [rape] inside the Lackawanna County Prison in Scranton, using their positions of power over the inmates to [rape] them…in cells and utility closets…The sexual abuse was common and widely known within the prison, where guards alerted one another if supervisors were approaching while they were [raping their victims]…Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general, said…“This was not one rogue prison guard…Whenever you see this kind of scope, whenever you see this kind of pervasive culture that was allowed to exist, you have to wonder how far up the chain this goes”…

Eternal Vigilance

Even in Australia, where one state has decrim and it’s frequently talked about in others, prohibitionists keep trying to spread their lies:

Respect and the peak national sex worker organisation, the Scarlet Alliance, are calling on every state and territory to follow the example of New South Wales, which repealed laws against prostitution…But legitimacy is vehemently opposed by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women Australia (CATWA).  Spokeswoman Dr Meagan Tyler…says decriminalisation does not recognise [what she fantasizes are] prostitution’s systemic harms and imbedded inequalities…

False Witness 

Just in case you thought stuff like this ended with the Satanic Panic:

Gabby Sones…along with a nephew and two nieces—all of them between the ages of four and eight—had [been led by cops, prosecutors, “child protection” bureaucrats and other malignant busybodies to support a] made[-up] series of accusations that rocked their community.  They’d claimed that Gabby’s parents, Jimmy and Sheila, as well as five other local adults, had committed a series of depraved, almost incomprehensible sex crimes.  The defendants, the children [were led to] testif[y], had set up a “sex kindergarten” in a trailer outside Tyler [Texas].  Then the adults [fantasized that the Sones & the others] had put the children on a stage at a swingers club in nearby Mineola, where the kids were drugged and forced to dance and have sex with one another…“Mineola Child Sex Ring: ‘Indescribable Acts,’ ” blared the Tyler Morning Telegraph.  Across the country, people read in Newsweek about the case…A war would rage for eight years, pitting children against parents, social workers against cops, and one district attorney against another.  But above all else, it would pit a woman named Margie Cantrell, a lifelong [busybody] and de[lusional pathological liar]…against a group of people portrayed [by “authorities”] as redneck deviants.  In 2008 and 2010, based on the [coerced] testimony of Gabby and the other children, four of the defendants were put on trial and sentenced to prison for life.  As a young child, Gabby had…accepted whatever [cops] told her.  But she was an intelligent kid, curious and hardheaded, and the older she got, the more she tried to make sense of what she’d supposedly been through.  As a teenager, the questions in her mind became more difficult to suppress.  The stories just didn’t add up…

In this case, several of the victims of the witch hunt managed to escape without their lives being entirely destroyed, and Gabby is working to clear their names.  But until our “justice” system renounces its sick obsession with doing anything, even pretending that impossible nonsense is credible, in order to score “convictions” by destroying people’s lives, this is going to keep happening over and over and over.

Prudesville (#794) 

Stays like this always favor the party with more money and power, in this case the city:

The city of Everett, Washington, has filed an appeal after a federal judge ruled in favor of bikini baristas, who sued the city over new dress code ordinances that ban bare skin…the baristas’ lawsuit has been put on hold as the city appeals the judge’s decision in December to extend an injunction, preventing the city from enforcing its two laws. The judge last month agreed to stay the case as the appeal proceeds…

Lest you forget, Everett’s argument for its law is “women who dress like sluts are asking to be raped”.

Cooties (#811)

AirBnB knows very well there’s no “sex trafficking” going on, because sex workers rent the spaces under their own individual profiles.  But this makes good publicity for the very stupid:

Airbnb said…it would invest in new technology to crack down on modern slavery [in order to capitalize on fantasies]…that traffickers are turning its properties into “pop-up brothels” to sexually exploit [passive, doll-like] women and girls.  Airbnb…has teamed up with anti-[sex worker profiteers] Polaris to [indocrinate] its employees, develop new [means of spying on AirBnB users] and [rat suspected sex workers out to] the police…

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Bills don’t evaporate when clubs shut down.  –  Reese Piper

R.I.P. Laura Lee 

In the eight years I’ve been writing obituaries for people important to the demimonde, I’ve never before had to write one for a personal friend.  It is with a heavy heart that I announce the untimely passing of Laura Lee, a titan of sex work activism, who left us without warning Wednesday morning.  Matisse and I were informed Wednesday night, but asked not to say anything until Laura’s daughter was ready to make a public announcement, which she did late Thursday:  “My mum unfortunately passed away on Wednesday 7th February 2018.  She asked me to let you all know that she was so grateful for everyone’s support.  I ask you to continue all of your amazing campaign work in her honour.  I’m so proud of all my mum accomplished in her tragically short life.  My family have asked for complete privacy at this difficult time.  Much love & power to you all!”  In respect for the wishes of my late friend and her family, this is all I can say for now, but I’m starting to collect information to write a proper harlotography for her soon. Rest well, sweet lady, and Aphrodite bless thee.

Sex Workers Against Trafficking

GAATW is the largest “anti-trafficking” organization which recognizes that sex workers are the best guardians against real (as opposed to prohibitionist-imagined) coercion:

Sex worker rights organisations are creatively responding to violence, exploitation and other abuses within the sex industry, including instances of human trafficking, according to a new report published by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, Sex Workers Organising for Change: Self-representation, community mobilisation and working conditions.  The report is based on research conducted with sex worker organisations in…Canada, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, India, Thailand and New Zealand.  It highlights cases where sex workers, or sex worker organisations, learnt of situations where a woman was experiencing violence, working under unacceptable conditions, or was brought to the industry through force or deception…sex workers resolved the issue…by providing advice and referral to other organisations, negotiating with the brothel owner/madam, chasing the pimp out of their area, or gathering money to help the woman return home.  Despite this important work, sex worker rights organisations are largely unrecognised and even vilified by the anti-trafficking community…

Gorged With Meaning

Both sugar babies and sugar sites are heavily invested in pretending sugar dating isn’t sex work:

Brook Urick approves every piece published on Let’s Talk Sugar, a lifestyle site aimed at sugar babies…[which] is the media arm of SeekingArrangement.com…It may sound strange that sugar dating is attempting to reshape itself into a lifestyle brand.  But if you’re familiar with this scene, and familiar with Seeking Arrangement’s legal treatise, you’re well aware of the motives at play.  Prostitution is illegal in most of America.  Dates that come bundled with a suggested donation?  Not quite…Anything that portrays the sugar community as a niche cultural curiosity with an entire lexicon of inscrutable customs, taboos, and salutations, helps the company’s case that sugar dating is fundamentally detached from sex work.  Seeking Arrangement’s refusal to genuinely engage with the rest of the adult industry has earned mixed reactions from other, self-acknowledged sex workers.  Bobbi Besos, a prostitute who works at the Bunny Ranch in Las Vegas, recently penned a blog post on the brothel’s website—”Sugar Dating: Let’s Stop Sugar-Coating Prostitution“—arguing that the sugar scene’s quasi-legal standing meant that Seeking Arrangement can recuse itself from anything dangerous, coercive, or otherwise destructive that happens over the course of the transactional encounters they help facilitate…

Original Sin

Casual sex causes “sex trafficking”!

During a speech to pastors in Kansas City in December, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley linked the [supposed] problem of sex trafficking to the sexual revolution of the 1960s.  Hawley, the top Republican prospect to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in November…[fantasized] “We have a human trafficking crisis…because people are willing to purchase women…like commodities…The sexual revolution has led to exploitation of women on a scale that we would never have imagined, never have imagined…the false gospel of ‘anything goes’ ends in this road of slavery”…

Missourians have a choice of one lying prohibitionist control freak or another.  Lovely.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes 

UK feminists win another battle against the employment of women:

…Formula One’s “grid girls”…will find themselves unemployed as of next season.  They are the latest battleground in what has ultimately been a long-fought [prohibitionist] war, which has, at various times, seen arguments about the Sun’s Page 3, Kim Kardashian’s nude selfies, dancers in music videos [etc]…These women are sexually objectified, the argument goes…[and] they send the wrong message to young girls and women…For an argument that is ostensibly about work…any analysis of labour itself is conspicuously missing…Working conditions…would seem a better place to start than sweeping moral judgments on the type of work itself…

Why I Wait

Seeming paradoxes arise when ignoramuses equate marriage rates and childbirth rates with rates of sex-having:

Deaths now outpace births, marriage is plummeting, and young people aren’t having sex.  The media are calling it sekkusu shinai shokogun, or “celibacy syndrome”—an alarming trend that has the Japanese government funnelling tax dollars into speed dating and matchmaking services over fears of an impending economic collapse.  But in a neon-lit pocket of Tokyo’s Shibuya district, BDSM equipment, mirrored ceilings, vibrating beds, and condom vending machines paint a different reality.  Welcome to Love Hotel Hill, where Japan’s sex industry is flourishing…It’s estimated that more than half of sex in Japan occurs in love hotels…There are more than 30,000…in the country, and hundreds in Tokyo alone.  With increasing life expectancies, the rising age of marriage, and high population density, multigenerational households are ubiquitous.  When married couples live in close quarters with elderly parents and children, love hotels offer a practical alternative to thin-walled Japanese homes where privacy is scarce…Discretion is a love hotel’s most important commodity—they often feature secret entrances, covered garages, and disposable license plate covers.  Patrons can make cash-only transactions with clerks stationed behind opaque screens to guarantee anonymity.  Others have sophisticated automated systems…

“Sex trafficking” hysteria is being used as an excuse to make it increasingly difficult for US hotels to offer their patrons similar anonymity.

Amsterdam (#530)

What are they going to do to tourists who won’t turn?  Arrest them?

Guided tours in Amsterdam’s red light district must ensure tourists turn their backs to windows and not photograph prostitutes.  These new measures…aim to lessen the number of tourists visiting the oldest parts of the city…The new rules also ban tours with drugs or alcohol and tighten up the “conditions for bike and Segway tours”…Guided tours will also have to end before 11 p.m. and tourists will not be allowed to stand in bridges or in front of store entrances during working hours…Tour companies that do not respect the new rules…will be heavily fined…

Lack of Evidence (#546)

Remember how New York City claimed doubling the size of its vice squad would magically “help” sex workers?  Here’s what the extra vice pigs are doing:

…Raquel is a 23-year-old trans woman from the Bronx, who [was arrested by plainclothes cops for walking down the street]…it wasn’t until she arrived at the 25th Precinct…that she learned she was being charged with prostitution, along with four other trans women arrested that night.  A police report [lies] that she agreed to perform oral sex…These arrests occurred against the backdrop of an NYPD [propaganda campaign claiming they would] arrest fewer people on prostitution charges and focus vice resources on arresting men who buy and traffic sex…The announcement won praise from [prohibitionists]…Sonia Ossorio, president of the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women, called [harassing sex workers and cheating them of income] a “big step toward combating this form of modern-day slavery”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#710)

California now has its own annual anti-whore pogrom:

More than 500 [people] were arrested…56 [of them were sex workers “authorities” claimed]…were rescued during a statewide [pogrom labeled with the Orwellian moniker]…Operation Reclaim and Rebuild…[only] 11 [of the sex workers were underage]…Among the 510 [men] arrested, 30 [were labeled] suspected traffickers and 178 [were labeled] “johns”…

Checklist (#753) 

Just in case you didn’t think you were spied on enough in airports:

If you pass through the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, you may see new signs asking people to be on the lookout for sex trafficking.  Delta Airlines and the airport have [collaborated] with the Super Bowl and [prohibitionist profiteers] Polaris to [raise hysteria about] the [non-]issue…Delta has also [indoctrinated] thousands of its employees [in racial profiling techniques] to [harass passengers]…

The Course of a Disease (#796)

American politicians increasingly use Swedish-scented rhetoric in futile attempts to disguise the stench of tyranny:

Legislation just introduced in the [Pennsylvania] state House would tackle a key [PR issue] identified by [prohibitionists] seeking to improve the way [they are seen by the public]…[sex workers are] arrested while the customers [are less so.  Prohibitionists lie, claiming that]…a little more than half of victims of human trafficking are being used for sex work [when actually it’s less than 10%], according to the [prohibitionist] group Equality Now [which is led by disgraced prosecutor Lauren Hersh, who resigned in disgrace after she was caught trying to railroad two innocent black men for rape]…

Not So Easy

Prohibitionists are learning the hard way that the wind is shifting:

With more than 200 strip club workers and advocates filling a makeshift meeting room inside the Rosenwald Center’s gym Feb. 6, the New Orleans City Planning Commission (CPC) rejected parts of a plan from the New Orleans City Council to limit the number of strip clubs on Bourbon Street.  The CPC instead followed recommendations from its staff that call for a “soft cap” of 14 clubs, rather than a harder cap limiting clubs to one per block face, as the City Council had proposed…The CPC’s recommendations now head [back] to the City Council…The CPC…said in its report…that it “has not found a direct causality between the number of [Adult Live Performance Venues, or ALPVs] in the [Vieux Carre Entertainment District] and crime”…

That last line is a reference to the thoroughly-disproven dogma of “negative secondary effects“, which claims that sex rays emanating from sexual businesses damage the brains of bystanders, forcing them to commit crimes. 

But while the staid Times-Picayune promotes this ludicrous fantasy and worse:

…[Politicians] have been relying on Times-Picayune investigative series to stoke fears that strip clubs are hotbeds for trafficking…the piece [is]…riddled with more holes than a New Orleans paved road…its authors consistently equate exotic dancing and prostitution with “trafficking”…moreover, the Times-Picayune denies actually having uncovered a pervasive trafficking problem, explaining in the first part of the series that “there has been no evidence that clubs knowingly employed dancers who were victims of human trafficking”…the paper’s gripe with the clubs appears entirely based on the [fantastic] premise that “[s]ome pimps are known to require women under their control to dance in clubs”…

…competing news media are coming out on the sex workers’ side, and the Advocate even gave column space to stripper Reese Piper:

Stripping allows people to not just survive, but thrive, with flexible hours, high earning potential, and a low bar of entry.  When I graduated college, I had more than $80,000 in debt.  Dancing eased that burden…I am also autistic — a disability that makes it difficult to hold down a traditional job…it’s our right to work without fear just like everyone else…

Stupor Bowl (#811)

The real reason the government keeps pushing the thoroughly-debunked “Super Bowl sex trafficking” myth:

Guests at this year’s Super Bowl game in Minneapolis can expect cops, checkpoints, and security theater everywhere, in no small part thanks to the myth that the Super Bowl is a mass sex-trafficking event…”sex trafficking” gives federal and local authorities an excuse for posting police anywhere and everywhere people are gathering—and for enlisting citizens as spies, too…We’re transforming Minneapolis into a police state to…crack down on an issue that almost everyone admits is imaginary…Even crony charity groups that spread all sorts of sex-trafficking misinformation found this myth too easily debunkable to keep repeating.  Pretty much the only folks who haven’t gotten the memo that Super Bowl sex-trafficking panic is bunk are the law-enforcement agents who benefit from promoting it…

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All logic and reason supports the notion that decriminalization…would serve society better than continuing to force the industry to operate in black markets.  –  Gill Sperlein

Bad Girls 

How to be a stupid, greedy whore:

Two women have been arrested and charged by the Guardia Civil for blackmail and threatening behaviour after they extracted over 90,000 euros from a [Spanish]…man [who] paid one of the women…for sex…she [then began] threatening…[to tell] his wife…he is understood to have given the woman two cars and over 90,000 euros in cash…[before he] finally chose to denounce the situation to the San Miguel Guardia Civil…

Whore Madonnas 

A former sex worker has written a children’s book:

As I started pursuing courses in sociology and anthropology, I started thinking more about representation, and how I knew all these women who were sex workers and mothers, but they were hardly ever represented in popular culture…even self- proclaimed progressive people think that sex work is antithetical to having children.  Or that if we do have children, our work is so reprehensible that we should protect our children from knowledge of it.  And this has really harmful consequences for sex workers and for their kids…So, I wanted to provide better images of sex workers who are also mamas.  That was the main inspiration behind How Mamas Love Their Babies.  I could have written a book specifically about a mama who is a sex worker, I suppose.  But instead, I decided to show sex working mothers as one of the many kinds of working mothers…

Lack of Evidence

Think anti-whore policies don’t affect you?  Think again:

A New Jersey man is now on the hook for promoting prostitution after buying multiple gift cards from a CVS Pharmacy…Craig Nakonechny had “repeatedly” entered and exited the store and ultimately purchased several gift cards.  This was somehow enough to trigger a call to the police (it’s not clear from whom) and a visit from Officer Anthony Gardner.  When Gardner arrived, Nakonechny’s car was still parked in the CVS parking lot and he was seated inside…Then Nakonechny—who has done nothing thus far except purchase several gift cards from CVS and return to his car—allegedly just offered up the fact that he planned to take the gift cards and exchange them directly for sex…it’s hard to buy someone basically blurting out to a cop, “hey, I’m going to take this totally mundane purchase here and use it to engage in illegal activity!”…this wouldn’t be the first time Gardner has gone after someone on dubious premises.  In 2016, the city settled for $60,000 in a false arrest and excessive force suit  stemming from a traffic stop by Gardner in 2012…

The Mote and the Beam

The “progressive” New York Times publishes a racist, police-state-worshiping op-ed from Jeff Sessions’ henchman.  But please, tell me how the two political parties are completely different:

Too many cities in the United States are infested with criminal gangs.  In 2015, the F.B.I. estimated that more than one million members of approximately 33,000 gangs prey upon American neighborhoods.  The gangs have one thing in common: They commit violent crimes that terrorize our communities.  And gangs increasingly rely on sex trafficking to support themselves…President Trump has declared this National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month…The F.B.I. leads the Justice Department’s law enforcement efforts against human trafficking, with support from trafficking prosecutors and coordinators from our program to fight child pornography…

Whither Canada? (#729)

Edmonton has a long history of abusing & dehumanizing sex workers:

Edmonton [Alberta] police say they will broaden their use of social media as part of an “aggressive'” online campaign to [harass sex workers]…Being lured into the sex trade [by magical ninja pimps with mind-control powers] can happen to anyone, said [prohibitionist] Amy Wilson…[pig mouthpiece Scott] Pattison [ludicrously oinked that pigs lying to women is]…”about building…trust with workers in an effort to keep them safe”…Wilson said [women are so stupid they can’t book travel themselves, so] a high number of out-of-province sex workers could be an indication of a possible human trafficking network in the province, where pimps try to disorient women by sending them from one place to the next…

The End of the Beginning (#740) 

Perhaps we may soon see the end of the egregious lie that the “sex offender” registry isn’t a punishment:

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to a recent state court ruling that determined part of Pennsylvania’s sex offender registration law was unconstitutional.  The high court denied a petition from the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office to review a July decision from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that found the state’s current sex offender registration law was punishment and thus could not be imposed retroactively…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#785) 

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you:

New Orleans police and state officials suspended the alcohol permits of four French Quarter strip clubs after raids…found “multiple violations,” officials [claimed]…But…an advocacy organization for those working at the clubs said the operation was a waste of resources that put employees in jeopardy and forced them to undress in front of male officers…Officials suspended the permits of Dixie Divas on Iberville Street and Temptations, Scores and Rick’s Sports Bar on Bourbon Street…The raids were condemned Saturday by Michelle Rutherford, a civil rights lawyer working with the Bourbon Association of Responsible Entertainers…“It’s unfortunate that sensationalized claims of sex trafficking in the clubs have turned NOPD and the ATC into political pawns,” Rutherford said in an email.  “As with prior raids, not a single trafficking victim was uncovered”…during the raid, [cops] put employees at risk by reading out their full names in front of customers as the workers provided their identification…male [cops leered at dancers]…in the dressing room as the women changed, despite loud protests from the women…[cops also] made several derogatory references suggesting all the dancers were drug users…

Full of Themselves (#807) 

When the word “illicit” is used to describe sex, you can safely assume you’re reading prohibitionist propaganda:

Hundreds of illicit massage parlors in our area are involved in human trafficking, according to a new report…[from the anti-sex worker group] Polaris…The report [fantasizes] that more than 9,000 illicit massage parlors…are actually fronts for human trafficking…and [are] creating a total revenue of approximately $2.5 billion a year.  Of the 9,000 businesses, 700 are operating in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware…

Challenge (#807)

The next step in the ESPLERP challenge:

Counsel for the ESPLER Project have vowed to ask for a rehearing in an appellate case decided last week that upheld the constitutionality of California’s prostitution statute.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected the contention that states are precluded from criminalizing prostitution based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas…ESPLER Project…will be filing a request for rehearing en banc, or in front of the full court, by its deadline, Thursday, Feb. 1…

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