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Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

Yesterday was Seattle’s observance of Pride, the annual celebration of the Stonewall riots of June 28th, 1969, in which queer people said “no more” to police violence against them.  But though the riots were started by black trans sex workers & drag sex workers, one wouldn’t know it from the modern celebrations which commemorate their struggle.  In nearly every US city, the celebrations are run and dominated by white, vanilla cisgender people who not only have never done sex work, but in many cases actively work to throw sex workers under the bus.  They seem to care so little for the “T” in “LGBT” that in many cases trans people have established separate (though chronologically adjacent) celebrations, and are so embarrassingly tone-deaf to the continuing struggle of black people that they eagerly invite cops and politicians to participate in the Pride events which purport to honor queer people’s struggle against the very institutions those “authorities” represent.  I might feel differently if those institutions had grown, and become less violent and more accepting of individual rights, but that is nothing like the case; politicians still scheme to marginalize trans people; to shore up a system that exposes black people to brutality, slavery and even murder at the hands of the police; and to persecute sexual freedom by infantilizing sex workers and demonizing our clients, friend and families.  Police inflict violence on black people, rape sex workers and hound our clients, and display a shocking lack of concern for violence against trans people (these effects are multiplied exponentially in the case of black, trans sex workers); and yet, picket-fence queers and Gay, Inc not only think it’s perfectly OK to invite those same pigs to participate in Pride parades, but also in many cases castigate queer people like myself who have the nerve to say out loud that this isn’t acceptable.

Well, here’s my message for Big Gay:  Fuck You.  Fuck your respectability politics and your abandonment of “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” in favor of  “We’re just like you straight folks, right down to getting married, living in the suburbs & sucking the dick of power.”  Fuck your abandonment of queer people who are kinky, nonwhite, non-monogamous, gender-nonconforming, promiscuous, sex working or otherwise uninterested in being nonthreatening to straight vanilla people.  Fuck your completely ignoring the government jihad against sex workers until Rentboy was caught up on it.  Fuck your desire to join the military in order to expand American hegemony over the rest of the world.  Fuck your licking the arseholes of huge fascist corporations who betray every principle the LGBT movement used to stand for because they pay for your fancy Pride parades with money that would’ve been better spent helping queer & trans youth driven out of their homes and into survival sex work; and fuck your eager rimming of politicians who absolve those young people’s families of blame by pretending the reason they’re doing the work is because they were forced into it by imaginary “pimps”.  Fuck your whole picket-fence, big table, might-as-well-be-straight-except-for-where-you-stick-your-dick mentality.  Until you’re ready to stand up for the people who launched the movement which gave you the rights you’re celebrating this week, you’re no better that the representatives of the fascist police state you’ve happily climbed into bed with.  And that is nothing to be proud of.

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People die in these circumstances.  –  Darci Tierney

I saw this video pop up a few days ago; someone decided to compile all of the silly window cameo jokes from the old Batman TV series, and it seemed an apropos feature given Adam West’s recent demise.  The links above it were provided by Tim Cushing (“patience” and “bicycle”), Jillian Keenan (“happens”), Radley Balko  (“partisanism”), Cathy Reisenwitz (“whatsoever”), Kevin Wilson (“game”) , and  Lenore Skenazy (“lucky”).

From the Archives

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“Cashless society” is a euphemism for the “ask-your-banks-for-permission-to-pay society”.  –  Brett Scott

Hooker Humor

As I’ve often said, most jokes about sex workers told by amateurs aren’t at all funny:

I’ve come to the conclusion that comedians, along with the general public, don’t expect sex workers to be present…Why should comics be concerned with using us as a punchline; they wouldn’t think for a single minute that there was a one of “them” in the audience.  No one is wearing fishnet tights and a leopardskin coat with twenties bursting out of her bra…sex workers…are two steps below human beings, one step below women and one step above rats.  If you need confirmation of how mainstream this view has become, have a look at JK Rowling’s ostensibly feminist tweets about how it’s filthily misogynistic to call Theresa May a whore because surely there can be no worse insult… 

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

It’s really funny when a pig buys into myths about what pigs are allowed to do in entrapment scams:

…police chief…Michael R. Zeug…of Walnut Grove [Minnesota]…was charged…with attempting to hire a minor for sex…a regional drug task force and a human trafficking task force…[set up a scam in which] Zeug sought to buy sex from someone he believed was a 17-year-old girl, but [was] actually…an agent with the federal Department of Homeland Security [getting off by talking dirty to men]…Amid sexually explicit communication, they asked each other whether they were cops; both said no…Zeug…wanted her to flash her breasts to assure him she was not in law enforcement…

Policing for Profit  

Cops pretend they need asset seizure to “go after drug cartels”:

Police in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs seized $150 million over the past five years…The average estimated value of a seizure was $4,553, while the median value was $1,049.  About three-quarters of all seizures were cash…When these police seizure locations are mapped, it shows that…low-income neighborhoods like the South Side and West Side were more frequently the targets…

Against Their Will (#338)

People moving around a country without government permission is now called “human trafficking”:

With Papua New Guinea currently in the campaign period, there has been a lot of movement of people, cash and goods in most parts of the country…the movement of people in exploitation or trafficking [may happen].  Khalil Omarshah of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), says it is unfortunate that they have not received any reports of human trafficking because they [want] it [to be] an issue…

Choke Point 

It’s nice to see the light bulb go on in someone’s head:

The most important thing about bitcoin, the characteristic the gives the lie to the oft-repeated claim that it’s “a solution in search of a problem,” is…its censorship-resistance…Centralization…creates single points of failure that are vulnerable to political or social pressure…As the world goes digital and physical cash transactions continue to decline…there will likely be a lot more attempts to turn trusted third parties into choke points…in a world where all payments are subject to veto by virtue-signaling middlemen, today’s politically correct social norms could become tomorrow’s dangerous control state…

Comfort Zone (#422) 

Because the US cares so very much about “trafficking victims”:

…in February, as part of the Trump administration’s promised crackdown on immigration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)…gave the government sweeping new authority to detain and deport undocumented immigrants, even those in the middle of applying for protective visas…92,585…survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, and [other] crimes with pending applications face imminent deportation…many undocumented immigrants are withdrawing their applications for protective visas or deciding not to apply at all…For the first fiscal quarter of 2017, from October to December of 2016, the number of received U visa applications decreased by 269 from the same time period in 2015…The agency also approved only 3,021 U visas compared to 9,996 for the same periods…

A Mound of Filth (#617)

Trump wants to enable “Cuckoo Clock” McCain to vomit her poison all over the entire world:

Cindy McCain is expected to be offered a role in President Trump’s State Department…and may hold the title of “U.S. ambassador-at-large for human rights”…McCain is known for working extensively on human rights issues and is part of the McCain Institute Human Trafficking Advisory Council…

Actually, she’s known for working against human rights.  But I guess that distinction is too much for most “journalists” to understand.

Lying Down With Dogs (#623)

Another US-style “prostitution crackdown” in a country the US should be proud to resemble:

…the Tanzanian government arrested 500 suspected sex workers alongside an estimated 300 alleged clients in a police sweep that took place in March 2017…[last year] sex worker communities experienced major arrests and harassment.  1,168 sex workers…were imprisoned…The alarming situation started in 2016 after the government [adopted an aggressively-prohibitionist]…HIV response…[including a] ban…[on] the importation and use of [sexual lubricants]…

Under Every Bed (#666)

Though Seattle is the center of “sex trafficking” hysteria in the Pacific Northwest, Portland make its own bizarre, spastic attempts to get some of the attention:

Students…should have been taught about sex trafficking from a much younger age…The Nest curriculum teaches students about common grooming methods predators use…sexualized media is inescapable…while Portland’s police force is skilled in recognizing and addressing sex crimes, rural areas have needed the most basic training in recent years…[a fetishist said] “if people in [a] community enjoy sex, then, yes, you have sex trafficking going on.”  Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum…explained that state officials were also partnering with truck drivers and truck stops to catch sex trafficking in process on the I-5 corridor…

The most bizarre part is the female FBI agent, Jessica Biehn, who tries to give lip service to sex worker rights while simultaneously referring to strip clubs as “centers of commercial sexual exploitation.”  Biehn pompously declared that going to strip clubs “is not acceptable” [to her and other prudes, presumably], and “warned student panelists not to give business to strip clubs later in life, even for bachelorette parties“. The mind boggles.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

Cops just can’t let go of the truly stupid wanking fantasy that drug dealers want to throw away valuable merchandise by giving it to penniless brats:

…Police outside of Houston confiscated nearly $1 million worth of methamphetamine…all 600 pounds of which came in the form of brightly-colored lollipops…According to HCSO Lt. Ruben Diaz, whoever was making the pops was likely trying to target children…many of them were molded into a variety of kid-friendly colors and shapes, including butterflies, flowers, Yoda’s head, and the Batman logo…”Even if they were not sold directly to a child, what if these lollipops were dropped anywhere in the neighborhood?” Diaz [panted while touching himself]…”A child picking them up is going to see them and think it’s regular candy”…

Please, Mr. Diaz, find me even one single instance of a child ever being poisoned by drug-infused candy carelessly dropped on the ground by a dealer.  Go on, I’m sure you can do it since this is such a likely danger.

Stupor Bowl (#713)

It’s disgusting to see so much money wasted on debunked bullshit:

A group of [prohibitionist busybodies]…unveiled plans…to [profit from] sex trafficking [hysteria during] next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis…[the scheme includes] billboards spreading [propaganda] to [ramped-up pogroms]…Terry Williams of the Women’s Foundation [said] “We’re excited the Super Bowl is coming here so we can [make a helluva lot of money from this panic]”…Minnesota’s plan — estimated to cost about $1 million — is unique in that it’s bringing together private and public sectors…

The one-word expression for “bringing together private and public sectors”, especially to suppress human rights, is “fascism”.

Business As Usual (#717) 

The NYPD’s newest sleazy tactic in its campaign to strangle sex workers’ business, evict them from their homes and deport them if possible:

The NYPD has a new weapon in its battle against sex traffickers — [fanatical] civilian women armed only with [closed minds] and [anti-sex dogma].  Female [rescue group] workers are now going…into city massage parlors suspected of being brothels to talk with the mostly immigrant women who work there and try to [trick them into custody]…The initiative stems from a recent city push to [destroy sex workers’ income and get them evicted from their homes]…rather than throwing them behind bars.  But prostitutes are afraid of speaking to authorities after years of arrests.  So…[the rescue] group[s]…began going out with NYPD vice teams to help [trick the sex workers]…

The Widening Gyre (#737)

Remember how I predicted 5 years ago that “sex trafficking” hysteria would spin out of control as its end drew near?

…For years, U.S. police have been using tall tales about an American “sex trafficking epidemic” to scare citizens into giving up civil liberties (or at least offering up the rights of sex workers and their clients)…But now the narrative is getting away from them.  So sure are Americans (despite all evidence) that sophisticated criminals are waiting to snatch up our girls and women at every opportunity that people are now inventing sex-trafficking rings of their own…and berating police for not taking action.  The latest example comes from Glendale, WI, where local police had to fend off rumors that “girls as young as 12 are being snatched up from two local malls and sold into prostitution rings”…

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Rarely on this side of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea are we blessed with propaganda so divorced from the surly bonds of reality that it sails upward, ever upward, into the realm of surrealism.
–  C.J. Ciaramella

The past few weeks have been rather dry in the interesting link department; I reckon it’s because the clowns performing on the national stage are even more buffoonish than usual, and their pratfalls are taking attention away from murderous cops, the weird behavior of Floridians and the like.  But there was a sudden upswing in sex work stories last week, so we’ll see where this goes.  The video is just here to make Grace smile (it was her birthday last Wednesday); she also provided the first link, and the others above the video are from Popehat (“Gygax”),  Tushy Galore (“NONE”), Eddie J Cunningham (“ill”), Radley Balko (“together”), and Wendy Lyon (“functions”).

From the Archives

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Whorephobia is part of…the assumption that some people’s lives are worth more than others.  –  Anne Sexton

Rough Trade 

I have zero faith in the magical protective powers of “restraining orders”, nor do I believe this thug was actually innocent of rape:

A man has been found guilty of assaulting a sex worker in Gloucester.  Georgian Huzdup…kicked and punched the female victim…[who] was helped by two men who came to her aid during the attack in the early hours of 13 August last year.  Huzdup…was issued with a two-year restraining order after serving five months in prison on remand…he was found guilty of assault but not guilty of a count of rape…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying us fairly that isn’t:

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation started investigating…Donald Bonds…after learning…he had paid to have sex on two occasions…He was booked into jail but released on a $10,000 bond.  Bonds is currently suspended without pay…

Note that for major, dangerous crimes like consensual sex, cops are suspended without pay; for minor indiscretions like aggravated rape or gunning kids down in the street, they’re suspended with pay.

Watershed

We’re seeing ever-more columns like this from women who identify as feminists:

Women who are not in the business of commodified sex are drip-fed the idea that sex workers are not “like us”.  They are dismissed as “skanks” or “trash”.  Often they are treated condescendingly as victims without agency…rarely are we encouraged to respect them.  Sex workers are seen as the ultimate “other”.  They are a blank canvas for our fantasies and our fears.  Their voices are silenced and their histories erased or rewritten…

Subtle Pimping (#330)

It was inevitable that somebody would come up with an anti-whore video featuring a fake game:

Beacon of the Freed proudly launches its “Buying Sex is not a Game” campaign, intended to raise awareness among the general public and visiting tourists of the often-invisible, but devastating, consequences of sexual exploitation…This [asinine] video, filmed in the style of a popular television program…will…be circulated through Facebook, YouTube and various partners…Beacon of the Freed [pretends it] is not taking a stance in the debate on prostitution…[yet wildly exaggerates the prevalence of coercion in sex work to scare clients away, thus robbing sex workers of income]…

“Sexual exploitation” is a popular prohibitionist dysphemism for “sex work”.

Opting Out (#441)

May has been pushing internet censorship since she was home secretary:

A lot of people have trashed through the sheer incompetence and audacity of trying to “regulate” the Internet by “eliminating safe spaces”, as PM May advocates…Glyn Moody has highlighted how it will destroy the British software industry.  Caleb Chen writes about a new government-controlled Internet in the UK…Cory Doctorow has completely torn apart the nonsense of “regulating the internet” over at Boing Boing; he notes that not only wouldn’t it work, but the cost of trying is prohibitive, essentially requiring sending Britain back to steam power days…Theresa May is…pushing a package that introduces censorship of pornography on the Internet, and is justifying it as absolutely necessary to fight terrorism.  She is even doing this with a straight face, apparently serious…

Traffic in Nonsense (#595)

Another state requires anti-whore indoctrination for licensing:  “[Kansas] unanimously approved Senate Bill 40 to…require…applicants for a commercial driver’s license to receive training in identifying and responding to potential incidents of human trafficking…

Amateur Night

Kudos to Dan Savage for giving this advice to a heavily scarred, sexually traumatized young man:

Hire a sex worker.  It’ll allow you to separate your anxieties about finding a romance and companionship from your anxieties about being sexually inexperienced.  A kind, indulgent, competent sex worker can relieve you of your virginity and help restore—or instill—confidence in your dick’s ability to get and stay hard in the presence of another human being.  Be totally honest…about your inexperience and your concerns.  If you get the sense during negotiations—which should be brief and to-the-point—that the woman you’re talking to is impatient or uncaring, thank her for her time and start over.  There are kind, caring, compassionate sex workers out there…

Utter Cluelessness

Future cultural historians will wonder why “sex trafficking” hysterics were so obsessed with pizza:

“It’s just as easy as ordering a pizza, to order a person.”  These haunting words, spoken by a [pig seeking more power]…encapsulate a fragment of [the colossal dishonesty of government and gullibility of people who swallow ots propaganda]…human trafficking has become one of the fastest growing businesses of organized crime in the world…approximately 100,000 American citizens may be victims of trafficking within the United States.  It’s happening in our backyard: Ohio ranks number five in the nation for the most human trafficking cases…

This imbecile literally strings together as many stupid “sex trafficking” tropes as he can in one place, then labels this regurgitated nonsense “haunting”.

The Immunity Syndrome (#666)

Partisanism is like a form of self-lobotomy, and Trump’s brand of it is like ice-pick self-lobotomy:

Donald Trump has appointed another foe of evidence-based health information to the Department of Health and Human Services. Valerie Huber, a longtime leader of abstinence-only education advocacy groups, will be the chief of staff to the assistant secretary of health…Research from Case Western Reserve University found that the programs Huber ran in [Ohio] contained “false and misleading information” about abortion, contraceptives, and sexually transmitted infections, in addition to perpetuating “destructive, inaccurate gender stereotypes” and presenting “religious convictions as scientific fact.”  One curriculum said that teenagers who have sex before marriage should “be prepared to die”…

Pimps Ahoy 

Small rescue industry profiteers learn the value of slave labor from their larger mentors:

[Houston “rescue” profiteer] A 2nd Cup…received [a] donation of $100,000, a financial boost that will help launch a coffee and culinary work program for human trafficking survivors…The Reliant Gives donation will go toward a new holistic program that provides important skills for survivors, from resume writing and interview techniques to customer service and financial training, as well as barista, roasting, and culinary skills to help rebuild their lives through [menial] employment…

Cooties (#721)

Despite the popularity of this fantasy with UK cops, not one has ever been found:

A campaign has been launched to highlight the growing problem of women being used as sex slaves within “pop-up brothels” around Yorkshire…these brothels can be used to house women against their will, with many suffering abuse in the most inhumane conditions…They are often privately rented flats or houses, but budget hotels or holiday properties are also sometimes used…

Though it’s hard to recognize through the layers of cop masturbatory fantasy, what they’re actually talking about is ordinary sex workers using AirBnB rentals.

Broken Record (#743) 

It’s fascinating to watch the way prohibitionists contort facts so as to support their fantasies:

…Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine became the latest in a long line of public officials to declare that large public events bring…a spike in human trafficking…a claim that researchers have [repeatedly disproven]…Despite the spike in reported incidents through the hotline…there was no significant increase in human trafficking arrests in…Ohio last year…the number of [people labeled as] victims…actually dropped…But [prohibitionists claim that doesn’t mean anything because]…the vast majority of human trafficking [is magically] undetect[able]…they [fantasize about] human trafficking rings that [somehow can never be found]…

Hard Numbers (#744)

Can y’all send a delegation to talk to the ABA?  Pretty please?

The Law Society of South Australia has voiced its support for a bill to decriminalise sex work in the state…Leah Marrone of the Law Society…told the select committee that compromise was not appropriate for this particular bill…“It has to be full decriminalisation to achieve the objects of what it is set out for,” Ms Marrone said…“Decriminalisation will improve the health, protection and safety of workers in this industry who deserve it, and it is the principal means by which their safety and their workplace rights can be assured,” said David Caruso, the president of the Law Society of SA…

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Being lonely is hardly a crime.  –  Jake Adelstein

The Rescuers 

Harassing streetwalkers to scare away their clients has become a popular rescue industry pastime:

Friday afternoon, a group called “Code Red” gathered their efforts to stop prostitution throughout the Bay Area and across the country.  “We love people and we know sometimes you just have to keep working and working because they are going to come,” said Sylvia Vigil, who…spent hours out on the streets of Oakland looking for sex workers.  She says she saw ten girls out there and tried to reach as many of them as she could…The girls were all invited to a special dinner Friday night and from there Operation Code Red will offer them places to stay in recovery homes.

“Love” = “pathologically need to control”.  “Reach” = “steal income from”. “All invited…offer them places” = the girls were all too smart to walk into that trap, so nobody actually showed up.

It Looks Good On Paper

Another story credulously touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

Ohio…Senate Bill 4…would allow trafficking victims to apply to have records removed of some guilty convictions, dismissed charges or findings of not guilty…prosecuting attorneys…successfully pushed for changes that require the person seeking expungement of…felonies to [somehow] prove the degree of duress they were under…

Surplus Women 

Cops threaten and harass sex workers, yet believe we’ll come to them when we need help:  “…a prostitute was found stabbed to death in her north London flat…[on] May 29…Detectives have warned other sex workers in the capital to be “extra vigilant” as they hunt the killer…

Elephant in the Parlor 

Quite possibly the most ridiculous excuse any politician has ever used:

On May 22, the Yomiuri Shimbun…alleged that [Japanese politician Kihei] Maekawa frequented a shady dating bar…for a few years until around the end of last year.  The article implied that many of the women who come to the bar…offer sex for money…At a news conference on May 25, Maekawa admitted he used to go to a dating bar but said he went there to talk to the women and learn about poverty in the country…after watching a TV documentary that said many women going to such bars are barely getting by.  “Sometimes I had meals with women and gave them some pocket money,” Maekawa said.  “Talking to them, I have learned that child poverty is connected to the poverty of women”…

Can we please all grow up now and recognize that it’s not merely normal but common for men to pay for sex, and that many women accept money for sex either directly or indirectly?

Welcome To Our World (#15)

Another rape victim caged to force her participation in the state’s morality play:

…in June 2015, Angela Cardinal was led into an Edmonton courtroom handcuffed and in leg shackles…She was not the accused, but rather a victim — called to testify at a preliminary hearing after she was savagely attacked and sexually assaulted by a notorious sexual predator…Cardinal was forced to spend a total of five nights in [jail]…during her testimony…Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley was appalled when…told…of Cardinal’s treatment…she has…formed a special committee to look at the case to review policies, with an eye to making what she calls “aggressive changes”…

Bottleneck 

No, they aren’t “forced” to work without a license; in every place where sex work is legalized, the vast majority prefer not to be registered by politicians and “supervised” by pigs.  Just look at the headline and tone of this article and you may understand why:

In Singapore, prostitution is legal, but [related activities are not]…The government regulates prostitution…but nevertheless illegal sex workers saturate the industry…There are an estimated 1,000…licensed sex workers in Singapore…Yet thousands more choose – or are forced – to work without a license.  Unable to access the same protection the state offers licensed workers, illegal sex workers will either work from massage or beauty parlours or…set up a profile online…Dr. Thein Than Win explains, “In the licensed brothels, everything is in place: mandatory health screenings, condoms.  But for the illegal sex workers…there are no [compulsory government-ordained restrictions]…As police stepped up their efforts by increasing surveillance…and…lawmakers [banned online advertising]…sex workers used websites hosted outside of Singapore to circumvent it…

Pyrrhic Victory (#139)

Some readers implied I was a crank when I predicted this exact development four years ago:

After the Freddie Gray riots in 2015, Baltimore residents began noticing small planes circling the city.  As reporters later uncovered, Baltimore Police had quietly begun using a “wide-area surveillance” system, which deploys Cessna planes to constantly record the movements of an entire metro area.  Police never bothered to tell the public they were using the invasive technology, which had been developed by the U.S. Air Force…Now Miami-Dade Police are quietly trying to deploy the same system.  In a county document posted online Tuesday, MDPD revealed the force has applied for Department of Justice funds to begin using wide-area surveillance (WAS) tools throughout the county…Civil liberty groups say they have major concerns about police using such a system, especially without telling the public about it…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

I’m surprised this has taken so long to catch on, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore & anti-abortion busybodies:

There are only 13 states in the U.S. where it is possible for a minor to obtain an abortion without either notifying or explicitly receiving permission from either one or both parents.  For those who get pregnant in such states there is the option of continuing the pregnancy, finding a judge…willing to grant a judicial bypass…or [traveling]…to one of the few states that allows minors unrestricted…abortion…In 2006…the Child Custody Protection Act was proposed…[to make] crossing the borders a crime…it…died in committee a few times since then, but now it has once more reared its head…Ohio Senator Rob Portman reintroduced the Child Custody Protection Act in May, putting the restriction back on the table as a means of allegedly combating human sex trafficking.  “Human traffickers and child molesters don’t want parents involved in abortion decisions, so they take underage girls across state lines for abortions to avoid laws in the victim’s home state,” writes the conservative news site OneNewsNow

Are you satisfied, feminists?  Helping the anti-sex loons spread their “sex trafficking” myth sure was a good strategy, wasn’t it?

Soap Opera (#553) 

I wonder where Theresa Flores will get a real job once “sex trafficking” hysteria collapses?

…Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution…gathered a couple of dozen volunteers in Arlington, Virginia…to…deliver…[bars of magic anti-pimp soap] to hotels and motels around the D.C. Metro area…S.O.A.P. Founder Theresa Flores [claims she] recently received a text message from someone…[who was saved by] one of these [soap bars]…The volunteers…also gave…hotels…a list of warning signs for desk clerks to watch out for, and also photos of missing girls…Flores [also claimed she happened to be] around when a photo of a missing girl put in the hands of a desk clerk [happened to be someone in the hotel that specific clerk had checked in]…

Flores’ entire shtick derives from TV cop shows, right down to the convenient coincidences.

What Were You All Waiting For? 

The ACLU still has a long way to go if it wants to help sex workers:

…For sex workers…[prohibitionists’] view of “help” is paternalistic.  Most of us probably don’t think much about sex workers, and when we do, we tend to immediately assume the worst stereotypes…Criminalizing sex work just allows the dark side to flourish.  When sex-work is driven underground, victims of violence and exploitation feel the need to hide…Sex workers facing criminal sanction are less likely to report rape and violence committed by their customers, and they are more likely to take risks like unprotected sex when they operate entirely outside the law.  If we were really concerned with protecting [those]…who engage in sex work, we would set up a legitimate legal framework in which they could operate…

Eli Baumwell clearly needs some education; legalization (which is what he’s advocating here) doesn’t really work because in the same paternalism he himself says doesn’t work, and the chief danger we face isn’t violent customers but violent cops who lose no power over sex workers under the legalization model he’s advocating.  But this very flawed effort is still better than the ACLU’s long silence on sex worker rights.

Full of Themselves (#650)

Massage parlor licensing is widely touted as a way to “fight prostitution”; let’s see how that actually works:

Last month, Venice [Florida] police arrested three women for prostitution after raiding three massage parlors…[all three] still have “clear and active” massage therapy licenses issued by the DOH…all three have prior histories of prostitution arrests or convictions…Spotty enforcement and regulation of sex crimes in the massage profession happen all the time…Until 2015, the DOH operated on the honor system by requiring massage therapists to report their own arrests.  Now there is fingerprinting, that in theory, will automatically catch arrests of licensees for prostitution and other crimes…[the DOH] insists the state’s $6.5 million a year massage regulatory program that You Paid For is doing well…

I love it when authoritarian busybodies feed on each other.

Storyville (#697)

Some parts of the American west tolerated prostitution long after it was criminalized in the rest of Puritanland:

…When the discovery of gold and silver turned [Wallace, Idaho]…into the center of the mining universe, men moved [there]…by the thousands…Dr. Heather Branstetter….has literally written the book on the history of the sex trade here…”The madams contributed so much in anonymous ways that people don’t know about,” Dr. Brantsetter explained.  “They would leave money at the grocery store for people who couldn’t afford food.”  Many in Wallace say they don’t remember ever having to do a school fundraiser; what they needed was always provided.  In 1972, the state of Idaho no longer allowed cities to legalize prostitution.  But…in Wallace, it was [tolerated as long as] madams…follow[ed police] regulations, like not hiring local girls and keeping the women off the streets in their off hours.  But, over time, the [mining] industry declined.  By the mid-1980’s, only a few houses were left.  The AIDS epidemic…shut down [the last one]…in 1988…

The Widening Gyre (#738)

Still more infantilization of migrant Nigerian sex workers:

Although no fewer than 1, 594 illegal migrants from Nigeria have so far returned from Libya from January through May this year, many more are still stranded outside the country, having been deceived of a better life by traffickers, so said a representative from International Organisation for Migration (IOM)…Dr. Nahashon Thuo…Mrs. Winnie Aideyan, said…“There is nothing wrong with travelling, but people need to travel the correct way.”  Aideyan called on Nigerian youth to stop illegal migration, stressing, “Women need to be empowered so they will not be tempted by these traffickers”…

Because “empowered” women will obey self-appointed nannies and only travel in the “correct”, government-approved way, sitting with folded hands until they get permission. Naturally.

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This bill would effectively end all police liability.  –  Robert Phillips

I laughed out loud several times at this very funny Doctor Who parody that Franklin Harris called to my attention a few weeks ago; he also gave us “RIP”.  The other links above the video are from Radley Balko (“welcome” and “state”),  ManCrack (“Florida”), Furrygirl (“upset”), and Walter Olson (“visible”).

From the Archives

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