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Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

“Sex addiction”…is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.  –   Angela Mollard

Friday the Thirteenth 

Deviant Ollam, who designed our “McNeill/Matisse 2020” T-shirts, tells hackers why they should support sex workers:

Sex workers face many of the same stigmas that hackers do.  In addition to being misunderstood by the general public so often that they may choose to not even self-identify publicly unless they are in “safe” environments and surrounded by their own kind, the mainstream portrayal of such groups of people is riddled with the most ostentatious and over-blown stereotypes…If we search for the word “hacker” what are we going to see for the results?…Black hoodies and balaclavas everywhere.  The stock image sites are among the worst offenders, as always.  But that’s what editors (and, by extension, their readership) sees in their mind when they hear the word “hacker.”  By and large, we are seen as scary, malicious, and out to cause mayhem.  Let’s try a google image search for “prostitute” now…Is it much of a surprise to anyone that the trope of the “at-risk street walker” is far-and-away the most returned image?…I put it to you that the “prostitutes” in these photos are no more representative of the sex work population than the “hackers” in the earlier images are of our own community…

Enabling Oppression

I’m glad a few people recognize how loathsome it is to use talk of “slavery” to oppose human rights:

…The click bait power of slavery and human trafficking, often encouraged by sensationalist headlines such as “victims branded like cattle”, operates to obscure real problems.  This is tied up with how we label people.  People entering the UK illegally, for example, are characterised as one of two types: either they are seen as undesirable migrants, or else as victims of slavery.  Our use of such labels – “slave”, “trafficking victim”, “refugee”, “migrant” – highlights our need to distinguish between those who deserve protection and those who don’t…the continued use of the idea of slavery to invoke an emotive response…promotes overly simplistic solutions – such as awareness raising campaigns…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Men, women and children took to the streets of Newcastle to make a stand against human trafficking.  With their mouths taped shut, more than 100 people dressed in black walked in single file through the city centre down to the Quayside on Saturday, stopping briefly to make a silent demonstration at the Monument…One of the Newcastle Walk for Freedom organisers, Rachel Jobes…said: “When we say this is a crime that’s happening under our noses we aren’t exaggerating.  We [fantasize] there have been trafficking victims in nail bars, held as slaves in parts of our city and we [masturbate to thoughts of] people…sexually exploited on the streets where we walked”…

Available Weapon

How can people read this and still think prostitution laws are a good idea?

…in Henrico County, Virginia…the number of female inmates at the county jail has more than doubled in the past year…due to…an intensifying police crackdown on sex workers and on people with drug dependence issues…[prosecutor] Michael Feinmel…claims that…these people are a nuisance to the public…or pose an immediate danger to themselves.  But this isn’t true.  Henrico County vice cops go out of their way to arrest these women…They troll online ads, reach out to sex workers pretending to be customers, and rent rooms at local motels where they can lure these women in order to arrest them…They do this under the guise of fighting “human trafficking,” but it’s just punishing women who sell sex…

Moloch (#572)

State actors keep trying to crucify a young man after their first attempt to destroy him failed:

Zach Anderson, the young man…whose harsh punishment for consensual sex with an underage teenager he wrongly believed was 17 made headlines around the country in 2015, has been arrested for violating his probation…He stopped by for dinner at his parents’ home.  His younger brother was present, and incidentally, so was the brother’s friend.  The brother thought this friend was 19 years old, but he turned out to be just 17.  Anderson, unfortunately, is not allowed to have contact with anybody under the age of 18, except his own siblings.  There was one other thing.  Anderson works on the tech team at his local church.  Recently, a 17-year-old girl joined the church staff as an intern.  While Anderson has never met or spoken with her, the fact that they volunteer on separate teams at the church is a violation of his probation, according to officials who issued a warrant for his arrest last week…Possible outcomes range from dismissing the charges to extending probation, putting Anderson on the sex offender registry, sending him to prison, or any combination thereof…

Guinea Pigs (#634) 

Don’t feel left out, amateurs; they’ll get around to you next:

PornHub…uses a tagging system to categorize all its content…But videos already outpace humans’ ability to keep up and tag everything, and so the site is turning to help from software…using facial ID tech not unlike that which Facebook, Amazon, and other media entities apply…There’s nothing illegal about making…from porn…[but] it’s…not a line of work one really discusses in-depth with the neighbors.  Performers, especially amateurs, may well prefer to keep their public, working persona separated from the name and identity they use in private life…[so] this particular use of facial recognition is a privacy disaster in the making…A video that has been uploaded and tagged on PornHub won’t necessarily stay on the service, but will instead travel the internet — and bring the performer’s auto-tagged name along with it.  There’s also the entire challenge of revenge porn…although the site has tried to make it easier for victims to report content and have it removed, it still exists on the site until or unless someone flags it…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t limit themselves to women:

A…Pennsylvania…[cop] will serve no more than two years — and possibly less than one — for [repeat]edly raping two boys and threatening to kill them.  David Turkos…accepted a plea agreement in June on misdemeanor charges…His two victims came forward as teenagers and told police that Turkos began sexually abusing them in 2001, when they were 6 and 4 years old…Turkos threatened to hurt their mother and pets or take away their toys if they revealed the abuse.  One of the boys told police that Turkos choked him and used zip ties to restrain him during the abuse, and…held a hand over his mouth to muffle his screams.  “I hope you die — you’re a piece of crap,” Turkos told one of the boys…Turkos frequently pointed his gun at the brothers to frighten them…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#645)

Say what you like about Larry Flynt, but he’s a dedicated foe of tyranny:

…Larry Flynt is offering “up to $10 million” to anyone who produces information that leads to President Donald Trump’s impeachment and removal from office.  He lays out the offer in a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#671)

I may soon need to come up with a heading for stories that combine “sex addiction” nonsense with “sex robot” nonsense:

…sex experts say vibrators–no matter how technologically advanced they become—will never surpass human intercourse.  What’s more, they say any addiction to automated sex is downright impossible.  “The term addiction is often misused,” Dr. Kat Van Kirk…says…”A true addiction would mean the behavior would negatively affect the person’s day-to-day life…and using it to the exclusion of intimate live partner play.”  She says there’s “absolutely no research” to indicate vibrators’ addictive properties…Nicolette Heidegger…said that her clients often raise the question—a result of our collective 21st century fear that sex dolls…could one day replace actual intimacy…between humans…But “the fact of the matter is that there is no empirical data to support the claim that you can become physiologically or biologically addicted to a sex toy”…

The Maze of Consent

Attempts by “authorities” to negate the consent of adult women via psychobabble won’t stop with sex workers:

Forced into sex with large groups of strangers, stripped of their freedom and ferried from house to house by their controlling pimps, the story of how a group of vulnerable young women were turned into modern day slaves is brutal and uncompromising…thanks to the efforts of Greater Manchester Police officers the women were eventually freed and the gang who had trafficked them jailed…Why had these women – alone, afraid and forced into degrading and unsafe sex…never tried to escape their pimps?…police in Manchester turned to a leading expert in trauma to help them understand.  His report…paints a bleak picture in which the victims of the case were portrayed as being “brainwashed” into “childlike dependency” through controlling behaviour…Dr Michael Korzinski…[fantasized that] “Trafficking robs the victim of the most basic modes of relating to reality”…

Between the Lines (#782)

The Unsinkable Liz Brown looks at this year’s “Operation Cross Country”:

The FBI just wrapped up its 11th annual “Operation Cross Country,” a massive multi-day vice sting conducted under the guise of stopping sexual predators…The media will largely lap up this sensationalist pageantry, as it has in previous years.  And once again, everyone will ignore the real victims of Operation Cross Country: the vulnerable women and girls tricked, frightened, robbed, detained, arrested, incarcerated, and otherwise mistreated by police and federal agents as part of this sick charade that claims to help them…[they] have any money they have on then taken by the cops…may spend days in jail (and away from families or day jobs) before even going to court…have their names and mugshots plastered all over local news and online (sometimes in conjunction with degrading details and comments from cops); and…face court fees, fines, and a criminal record…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#783) 

If you get caught paying for sex, you may be charged with “sex trafficking”.  But cops?

In an Oakland case…most were let off the hook, including three…whose cases were dismissed last week…NYPD [cop]…Raul Olmeda was indicted this week for allegedly paying a teen girl to have sex with him on multiple occasions and filming the sexual activity…Denver Police Department…[cop] Zachery Phillips…was recently given a 15-day suspension without pay after admitting to an encounter with a sex worker…The woman…was…charged with prostitution and possession of a controlled substance…in Cleveland…Mark Reilly is back on the job after spending 10 days in jail for paying for sex…In Vermont, police dispatcher Earl Benway was charged with paying for oral sex and leaking information to the sex worker he paid…And, finally, Abraham Flores Galvan…in Tunnel Hill, Georgia…was caught in his own colleagues’ sting operation [last] Thursday.  Galvan responded to an online ad posted by [wanker cops pretending]…to be a teenager under age 18…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#783) 

Weinstein has inadvertently made it possible to publicly attack “sex addiction” as malarkey:

…I am not a sex addict but my attendance at an SLAA meeting was part of a six-week investigation I undertook into sex addiction for a British newspaper.  Posing as a PR girl who went out several times a week to pick up men, I sought help via a psychotherapist, a phone counsellor and one of the world’s most reputable rehab clinics.  My conclusion?  That “sex addiction” — the malady Harvey Weinstein claims is responsible for his deplorable behaviour — is a steaming pile of quackery invoked by those unwilling to take responsibility for their actions…

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I am not sure when being a selfish, misogynistic jerk became a medical disorder.  –  David Ley

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

When another man pays an underage sex worker, she’s a “sex trafficking victim”.  When a cop does it, she’s an “underage hooker”:

A Bronx cop was busted for having sex with an underage girl and recording their encounters — even after the investigation started and his home had been searched…Raul Olmeda was arraigned on a 67-count indictment…[because] five times between January and April…[he] paid the teen for sex…police found out about them while conducting a sex trafficking investigation…Olmeda’s lawyer, Stuart London, said…”This isn’t numerous underage women.  This is one underage woman, and we don’t know her credibility at all”…

The Daily News changed the last word of the headline after people jumped on them for the language, but you can still see it in the URL.

The Proper Study

It looks like Scott Cunningham has finally done a good one:

In a groundbreaking study, researchers at Baylor and West Virginia universities have found evidence indicating that Craigslist’s erotic advertising site may have prompted a 17 percent decrease in female homicides throughout the United States, principally because sex workers were able to use the free advertising service to move into a safer indoor environments and screen clients more carefully…The study, which has been submitted to a peer-reviewed economics journal, offers…evidence of what sex workers have been saying for years: that having the ability to advertise online for their services allows them to work in safer indoor environments and screen out violent clients.  The new study reinforces previous research showing a decline in sexual violence in regions where prostitution has been legalized or decriminalized…the researchers also did an analysis of how many more police officers would need to be hired to reduce the female homicide rate by the same percentage that Craigslist’s free service apparently did.  They concluded that this would require an additional outlay of 200,832 police officers, costing the U.S. an added $20 billion per year.  “Craigslist, in other words, saved 2,150 female lives at a profoundly lower social cost,” concluded the three authors, Scott Cunningham…Gregory DeAngelo…and John Tripp…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

If Weinstein brings down the “sex addiction” scam, he’ll have inadvertently done some good in the world:

…While there’s no official confirmation of where Weinstein is headed or what type of therapy he may be getting, experts…said that…he’s not a sex addict.  And most say there’s no such thing as sex addiction…Holly Richmond…said…”There is no such thing as sex addiction”…[Dr. David] Ley says…“We see this parade of men getting caught…then they claim their behavior is the result of this alleged disorder when we all know these were men who were abusing their power and privilege…after 40 years…there is still no published evidence that this treatment works…This is an exploitative industry that loves to capitalize on these celebrity sex addiction scandals so they can get referrals”…

Yellow Fever

Like the New York Times, the BBC has discarded whatever credibility it once enjoyed:

Basis Yorkshire was set up to support sex workers across Leeds in 1989.  Over that time, we have worked closely with sex workers across the sex industry to provide safety, information and support…We believe the BBC documentarySex, Drugs and Murder; Life in the Red Light Zone has done a great deal of damage to the stereotypes of sex workers in Leeds (and across the country) by portraying the women in a highly sensationalist, voyeuristic way.  The footage often none-to subtly focuses the shot on drug paraphernalia and rubbish in their home, or the area they work in – giving deliberately unpleasant, grubby feel to the program and the women that are featured…The program could have been made about a group of women with complex needs and had the same content – but…[instead] focuses only on women who have severe addiction issues, or on complex, even at times violent, social situations, rather than allowing viewers to see the diversity of women we work with (or indeed the diversity of the lives of the women they chose to film)…

Skin To Skin

A “feminist” calls other women “toilets” for ministering to disabled men:

Men with disabilities are a hugely important group served by sex workers” [tweeted] Amy Alkon…Check out the, paternalism, uh, maternalism [in the response] here, from social psychologist Dina McMillan


All-Purpose Excuse

Meanwhile, Oakland allows cops whose actions DO qualify as “trafficking” under law to get away scot-free:

Following a controversial Aug. 16 raid of a West Oakland home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said repeatedly that the operation was part of a criminal human trafficking investigation…but…the raid hasn’t resulted in a single criminal prosecution…the only person arrested, Santos de Leon, is facing civil immigration charges and could be deported..ICE has recently begun to classify the act of providing shelter and other assistance to unaccompanied minors who recently immigrated to the United States as “human trafficking,” and is charging adults, often close family members, with the crime…by providing assistance to ICE for the raid, OPD violated Oakland’s sanctuary city policies…Kirkpatrick made false statements on several occasions — including in emails to city councilmembers, statements at a town hall meeting, and through several OPD press releases — about the raid…The statements included a social media posting from OPD asserting that the arrest was related to “sex trafficking”..and that…victims were rescued by ICE and received services.  But there is no evidence to back up those statements…

Signs 

The dysphemisms are thick in this one:

Students at Quinnipiac University’s law school [who have never done sex work] have [indoctrinated] nearly 1,000 of Connecticut’s hospitality industry workers on how to recognize and report the [mythical] signs of sex trafficking…Taylor Matook [said]…“we have a narrative.”  By [filling the heads of] hospitality workers with [sexual fantasies, prohibitionists]…hope to [create an army of stool pigeons]…to stop…sex [workers from making a living by turning them in to the pigs]…Theresa Leonard…founder of a ministry [fantasizing about] eradicating sex [work] in Connecticut, said…“It’s amazing to me how few women [agree with my claim]…that they were exploited or trafficked”…

The Prudish Giant (#641)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Leila is a sex worker.  She goes to great lengths to keep separate identities for ordinary life and for sex work, to avoid stigma, arrest, professional blowback, or clients who might be stalkers (or worse).  Her “real identity”—the public one…joined Facebook in 2011.  Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name.  Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s “People You May Know” recommendations, Leila…was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.  Despite the fact that she’d only given Facebook information from her vanilla identity, the company had somehow discerned her real-world connection to these people—and, even more horrifyingly, her account was potentially being presented to them as a friend suggestion too, outing her regular identity to them.  Because Facebook insists on concealing the methods and data it uses to link one user to another, Leila is not able to find out how the network exposed her or take steps to prevent it from happening again…When Leila queried secret support groups for sex workers, others said it had happened to them too…

This isn’t new; I first heard about it about a year or so after starting this blog.

Morality Lessons (#689)

No, this isn’t the same huge child porn site run by the FBI; this is a different one:

The world’s largest child sexual abuse forum, “Childs Play” is running in the darkweb. [Nowegian newspaper] VG exposed…[that Australian police are] behind the website’s continued operation…Under the supervision of Jon Rouse, detective inspector, and investigator Paul Griffiths, thousands of members have shared photos and videos of children being sexually abused…Some members of the forum got together in person to commit child abuse, which they filmed and shared on the forum…the police deny they are responsible for what was shared on [their own website] while they ran it…

Morality Lessons (#703)

A Utah politician’s bizarre anti-porn antics continue:

For the past 14 years, Utah has made do without a “porn czar.”  The position—officially known as the “Obscenity and Pornography Complaints Ombudsman”—has been vacant since 2003, though it was never officially eliminated.  Now state Sen. Todd Weiler…may revive it, even as the Utah attorney general suggests legislators strike it from the books.  Weiler has been on an anti-porn crusade for several years now.  He’s the architect of a 2016 declaration to declare porn a public health crisis (which passed the state legislature unanimously) and a proposal passed earlier this year to encourage “porn addicts” to sue porn platforms…Weiler “says he became convinced that the obscenity and pornography complaints office may be needed because of an ad campaign attacking Cosmopolitan magazine as illegal porn”…

I kinda hope the “Cosmo is porn” nonsense continues; maybe it’s push the magazine into siding with sex workers.  Weiler is also the dangerous loon who claimed sex workers “force” cops to rape us.

Checklist (#755)

The real purpose of this scheme is to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system:

Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation Assistant Professor Samantha Calvin spoke at the 14th Annual Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference in Ohio last month…Calvin focused on human trafficking in the clinic setting, red flags to look for, questions to ask and what to do if someone is identified…

You may recall that ASU, home of Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz, is a major hotbed of “sex trafficking” propaganda and source of several bogus studies made to order to support both the hysteria and carceral “solutions” to the nonexistent “problem”.

Of Course It Is (#758)

I hope none of you find this even remotely surprising:

Charges that Oakland [pig] Giovanni LoVerde sexually assaulted an underage girl were dismissed…after Alameda County prosecutors dropped the case…Several other Oakland [swine] were not criminally charged in the case, but twelve were disciplined by the department, and four were fired.  Some…still work at OPD despite social media evidence they sexually exploited the girl or ignored signs of wrongdoing…many more Northern California [pigs] were implicated in the sprawling sex crimes scandal, but few have faced criminal prosecution.  The dismissal of the case against LoVerde ends, for now, the Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s effort to prosecute five Oakland cops — three former and two current — as well as a former Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy and a former Livermore police officer who all exploited the girl…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

School officials in Ohio are on alert following reports of a drone…at Windemere Community Learning Center in Akron over the weekend..several witnesses [claim to have] heard a voice coming from the drone, attempting to coax the children off the playground”…This bizarre story is not questioned by the media, because whether or not the threat is real, doesn’t matter…of course, the advice given to parents is always the same — just as it has been in all the reports of “near” abductions by sex traffickers at the local store (that never actually occurred): PARENTS, NEVER LET YOUR KIDS OUT OF YOUR SIGHT!…

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So today is Friday the 13th again; as longtime readers know, it’s the day I ask people who aren’t themselves sex workers to stand up for us.  As I wrote back in January:

…I’ve given many suggestions for how to do that over the past seven years, but this year I’m going to be a little more specific about the help I’d like you to give, and it’s twofold.  First, very simply, is to give sex workers money; we had an extremely rough autumn [2016] thanks to the quadrennial national madness, and every sex worker and organization is hurting right now.  The second way, if you’re American, is to call your senator or representative (especially your senator) to say how displeased you are about the persecution of adult sex workers and clients.  You won’t get to talk to the politician, but their office staffs are usually quite small so a few dozen phone calls in one day on the same subject will make an impression on the staff, and that may get through to the politician in a report…

Things have grown even worse since then; the pogroms are getting worse and more frequent, and the US Congress has come up with  veritable deluge of horrible anti-whore laws, not the least of which is SESTA (which could, in addition to harming sex workers and clients, destroy the entire internet as we know it…and no, that isn’t hyperbole).  Though the sex trafficking hysteria is dying, moral panics get worse as they collapse, and even after the panic is history the tyrannical laws it engendered will still be there for “authorities” to destroy lives with, just as the 20th-century criminalization laws lasted for decades after the demise of the “white slavery” hysteria which spawned them.  If you have an internet platform or the freedom to speak on the subject, you might take a look at this list of suggestions for arguments you can make; you won’t get to say any of that out to a politician’s secretary, but swaying members of the general public is important, too.  And I can’t possibly emphasize enough how important your donations are for me, for other activists, for sex worker organizations like SWOP, SWOP Behind Bars and ESPLERP, and even for individual sex workers you might choose to book an appointment with today (if you like, you can even tell ’em I inspired you to contact them).  Please give generously, speak out, and otherwise use this occasion to let sex workers know that you’re on our side against the millions of thugs and fanatics lined up against us.

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So last week NBC News tweeted this vile, disgusting example of primitive leader-worship so obsequious it may make you vomit; everyone involved in this, or who thinks it’s wonderful, deserves to be ruled by fucking emperors again.  The childish need for all-powerful, superhuman heroes to tell you what to do is exactly what put Trump in power.  It’s exactly why the US is busily engaged in murdering people all over the world.  It’s why you’re groped before you can get on an airplane.  It’s why cops are murdering innocent people in the street without any repercussions whatsoever.  It’s why you no longer have the civil rights so many fought so hard for.  It’s why the US cages five times as many people as civilized countries do.  It’s why you have Gestapo asking for your fucking papers every time you turn around.  THIS; naked fascist authoritarianism.  And you know what?  I totally wouldn’t care if it didn’t affect me.  You are a free individual who has the absolute right to bow and scrape before an inhuman monster merely because she has a vagina if that’s what you like; go for it.  The problem is that you want to drag me along with you and I DO NOT CONSENT.  I don’t consent to authoritarians and fascists spying on me, robbing me, and threatening me with violence every time I try to do anything they don’t like.  I don’t consent to having my life, my sexuality, my substance use and even my fucking food intake monitored by “authorities” or “experts”.  And I don’t give a shit whether those control freaks have penises, vaginas, both or neither.  Evil is evil, tyranny is tyranny, and I DO NOT CONSENT, now or ever. 

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Instead of raising children in an adult world…we prefer to live much of our lives in a make-believe children’s world.  –  Hugh Hefner

R.I.P. Hugh Hefner 

The founder and embodiment of Playboy magazine died a week ago today at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles; he was 91.  Love him, hate him or indifferent to him, it’s undeniable that Hefner and his magazine were among the most important driving forces of the sexual revolution and, to a lesser but still important degree, of the popularization of liberal (in the original sense of the word) political ideas such as LGBT rights; in a world where homosexuality was illegal Hef published Charles Beaumont’s “The Crooked Man“, and years before Roe v Wade he was bankrolling abortion rights activism.  Naturally, he was despised by narrow-minded feminists who think that a woman can be sexy or intellectual but never both (despite his support of female authors and thinkers), and he was even controversial among sex workers (including yours truly) for his rather odd home life with his playmate “girlfriends”, but by most accounts he was an ethical businessman whose legacy of support for both his contributors and for individual rights would have been more universally lauded had his magazine and life not featured sex in such a central role.

An Enormous Big Nothing

More hysterics who can’t tell the difference between adults and children:

The headline reads Spanish brothel’s “back to school” party sparks outrage in Andalusia.  El Bosque is a legal club de alterne where sex workers drink, dance and chat with customers with the option to retire to private rooms for paid sex.  The party-poster was called an incitement to paedophilia…despite the obvious age of women (and their clothing) in the poster.  The club’s owner removed the posters and cancelled the party…

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

In 2016, Americans were infected with more than 2 million new cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia, the highest number of these sexually transmitted diseases ever reported…the…CDC’s…annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report shows that more than 1.6 million of the new cases were from chlamydia, 470,000 were from gonorrhea and nearly 28,000 cases were primary and secondary syphilis…While all of these can be cured by antibiotics, many [amateurs] go undiagnosed and untreated…When you include herpes and more of the dozens of diseases which can be transmitted sexually but which are not tracked, the CDC estimates there are more than 20 million new cases of STDs in the United States each year.  At least half occur in young [amateurs] ages 15 to 24…

The Lion and the Ox

Talking is now defined as “sex trafficking”:

Two people were arrested…after using Snapchat to recruit a woman into prostitution…she was contacted in January by [her] friend…Wynter Fowler…[who] told her that she “was pretty and could make a lot of money” if she moved to Las Vegas to work as an exotic dancer and escort…Fowler[‘s]…boyfriend, Ezekiel Gilbert…persuaded [the complainant] to work as a prostitute for him…she said Gilbert threatened her when she tried to quit in February…he…bragged that he “had already gotten away with murder” before…Gilbert [had been previously] arrested in Texas after an escort was shot and killed, but was later acquitted…Police arrested Gilbert and Fowler on Sept. 12…Both were booked…on sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking…

I can think of several better, less tyrannical things to charge the thoroughly-nasty Gilbert with than simply talking to someone.

So Close and Yet So Far

A good little article despite a truly stupid statement in the third sentence:

I am not a pimp or a trafficker.  I am neither a rape apologist nor someone who excuses violence against women.  I do not believe men have a right to buy sex, or that anyone, of any gender, should be forced to sell sex.  One might have thought these things go without saying, and yet they are examples of some of the vitriol levied at us – those that advocate for the decriminalisation of the sex industry.  In recent weeks…establishment media has provided…an “everywhere-you-turn” kind of platform…to anti-prostitution feminists.  Julie Bindel does, after all, have a new book to publicise. Underpinning the arguments of many anti-prostitution feminists is the idea that the purchase of sex ought to be criminalised and sex workers [cast] as victims of male violence.  They argue we should be doing more to eradicate the sex industry and rescue the sex workers within it…

Of course men have the right to buy sex from someone offering to sell it, just as women (or men) have the right to sell it.  Any claim to the contrary reflects the irrational and authoritarian mindset of a prohibitionist.

Banishment

Remember:  these people have already served their sentences:

Scores of sex offenders ordered to live on a secluded island in Washington state say the often-cloudy, brown water there is making them sick…About 200 [inmates] of the Special Commitment Center have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the facility is…forcing them to drink contaminated water that causes stomach pain and skin rashes and has been blamed for unexplained deaths.  The executive who oversees the center [claims] the water [which he needn’t drink] turns brown…when the pipes are flushed, and…the cloudiness is only an aesthetic effect that causes no harm.  But…Department of Health records shows that the water has repeatedly exceeded standards for various chlorine-related chemicals and has been cited for violations dating back to 2006…a former [treatment] plant operator told health officials in 2015 that the water’s cloudiness readings were being manipulated to make the water look cleaner than it was…The Special Commitment Center [imprisons]…sex offenders…[that] the state convinced a judge…were too dangerous to be released…

The Sky is Falling! (#415)

The Francophone world seems to be in especially deep denial about compensated dating:

Belgian ministers have said they will take legal action in an attempt to force a [sugar dating] website…to remove…adverts near the country’s universities.  Trucks bearing large posters promoting Rich Meet Beautiful…have appeared on the outskirts of campuses in Brussels in recent days…the Norwegian company behind the website says it hopes to recruit 300,000 Belgian registrations by the end of 2018…The site, however, has been accused of encouraging prostitution and playing on the financial insecurity of the young [by offering them an option to get out of financial insecurity.  Two pearl-clutching ministers]…have declared they intend to launch a criminal proceeding against the firm for inciting debauchery and prostitution, and to force the suspension of its campaign on public order grounds…

Feminine Pragmatism (#518) 

This isn’t “remarkable” or even “unusual”; women have done part-time sex work to supplement meager earnings at least since Roman times:

…after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.  She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch…when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction.  “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad”…Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness…

Under Review (#733)

Escort advertising is already illegal in Ireland, which is why Irish sex workers have such limited advertising options:

The government is being urged [by prohibitionists] to ban a website that facilitates the advertising of prostitution services – and invites customers to review the women they hire…Over 7,000 [ignorant busybodies] have now signed a petition urging the Department of Justice to step in and [magically] remove the website [despite its being hosted in Spain] and ban others like it [again, but magically this time so the sex rays can’t cross into Irish cyberspace]…

I Saw My Brain (#773)

Authoritarian idiots will probably keep re-electing this lunatic no matter how much his antics cost them:

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd garnered widespread scorn for blathering and boasting on social media, threatening to arrest people with outstanding warrants if they sought public shelter while Hurricane Irma battered Florida…Now Judd has been hit with a lawsuit for allegedly denying entry to a man seeking shelter, saying he had to go through a background check first…Judd [doubled down on his moronic rhetoric, claiming the man] wasn’t denied shelter…[but] offered accommodations in jail…

Wise Investment (#775)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

One year later, cases from the Euro Spa sting of June 2016 are still slowly making their way through Seattle’s Municipal Court.  Some men…have pled guilty to “sexual exploitation,” the city’s recently modified term for the misdemeanor of patronizing a prostitute.  Others have requested trials…But one accused john—we’ll call him John—adopted a different legal strategy…John’s lawyer, Bob Goldsmith, filed a motion in July challenging City Attorney Pete Holmes…[who] directed prosecutors to rule out pre-trial diversion…[and] instead…push for guilty pleas that will result in a criminal record…Holmes…[pretends] the policy…will reduce prostitution overall [and imagines that would be a good thing]…Anita Khandelwal, policy director for the Department of Public Defense, called Holmes’ tactic on sexual exploitation charges “unusual and illegal”.  While johns are often cast as sexual predators by law enforcement and the media, Khandelwal says the clients her office sees are “incredibly poor and marginalized and caught up in police stings.”  She added, “Mr. Holmes’ statement that criminalizing buyers results in changed behavior is not supported by the evidence.  The war on drugs did not reduce drug use but it filled prisons”…

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When you’ve been a sex worker for as long as I have, you begin to notice that the stigma against us isn’t just limited to cops, anti-sex fundamentalists, politicians, Puritans, busybodies and the Great Unwashed who swallow every lie they’re spoon-fed by all of those other groups; it extends to many, many people who should know better.  The ACLU, which in former times even stood up for the rights of despised groups like Nazis and the KKK, largely remains silent on the topic of sex work; oh, they’ll throw us a bone now and again, like a low-effort editorial, an amicus brief in a case somebody else is struggling to pay for, or the signing of a group letter in opposition to an insanely anti-whore law which just happens to create fallout that will hurt good people and not just dirty whores.  But most of the time, despite decriminalization being part of the group’s official platform since 1975, when an ACLU member opens her mouth on the subject in public it’s to vomit out prohibitionist shit like “people don’t choose to become prostitutes” that they need to have their faces forcibly rubbed in until they learn better.  The rest of the time, they’re too busy with Very Important Issues like the “right” of wealthy white queers to force bigots to bake $500 cakes for their displays of conspicuous consumption, or the “right” of women to beat, rob & murder people with impunity by putting on a magic costume.  But when it comes to the actual civil rights of people to have consensual sex and do the work of their choice without interference from armed thugs trying to stalk, entrap, rob, rape, brutalize and cage them, and otherwise destroy their lives?  Crickets.

And then there’s Gay, Inc, my term for the coalition of powerful organizations that have been instrumental in winning rights for queer people.  One would think, given that a very large fraction of sex workers are GLBT in one way or another; that more than 10% of transwomen admit to having done sex work (the real number is probably much higher); that in the early days of gay rights transactional sex was not only accepted, but celebrated; that before the ’90s many closeted gay men’s only sexual outlet was with sex workers; that even a very large fraction of female sex workers are lesbian or bisexual; and that the fucking riots which started the whole fucking gay rights movement in the first goddamned place were started by black trans sex workers, that Gay, Inc would be not only duty-bound but enthusiastic to support sex worker rights.  And one would be wrong; with the exception of a short-lived, chauvinistic and breathtakingly ignorant explosion of anger after the Rentboy raid, picket-fence gay boys and buttoned-up-to-the-neck lesbians have devoted all their energy and money to causes most gender and sexual minorities don’t give a flying fuck about, such as government-issued fucking licenses; the “right” to be a pig, screw or grunt; corporate sponsorship of “Pride parades” that cost enough to feed a small impoverished nation for a month; or the “right” to force bigots to bake the aforementioned overpriced cakes (one wonders what kind of unexamined privilege is necessary to trust eating food prepared by someone who hates you and is only complying at virtual gunpoint).  Oh, and let’s not forget the “right” to send the pigs after streetwalkers who dare to enter their gentrified neighborhoods; you know, the same pigs that used to raid their fucking nightclubs, back when they used to go to nightclubs to pick up guys (including, oh yeah, rentboys & hustlers).  The “leaders” of Gay Inc even openly compare sex workers to “killers or psychopaths”, and participate in the demonization of our clients.

And then there are “feminists”, whose idea of supporting women’s rights is infantilizing us, getting us evicted from our homes and killing us by slow starvation, when they’re not openly advocating for us to be murdered.  And I don’t just mean the mainstream ones, who have always been religious fundamentalists since the beginning; I mean whitebread feminists like Jill Filipovic with no real agenda intellectually more complex than the average Sex and the City episode.

To be sure, there are yellow, lily-livered followers in all of these groups who absolutely know that it’s wrong to persecute people for consensual sex; some of them were even given a little bit of the courage they otherwise totally lack by the announcement of Amnesty International’s backing of decriminalization.  But until the majority of the members of these groups grow a spine and start standing up for what they absolutely know in their hearts to be right, their deafening silence is just as damaging to us as are the cops and the laws which enable their depredations.

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It’s a wonder they lived to tell the tale.  A car.  A mumbler. More than one person in the parking garage at once.  It is all just overwhelming.  –  Lenore Skenazy

Feminine Pragmatism 

Anyone surprised by this knows nothing about women:

…Gabriel Sánchez rattled off the previous jobs of the women who now [work] at his [brothel] for $25 an hour.  “We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer…All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.”  And all of them came from Venezuela.  As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse amid food shortages, hyperinflation and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country.  Those with the means have gone to places like Miami, Santiago and Panama.  The less fortunate find themselves walking across the border into Colombia looking for a way, any way, to keep themselves and their families fed…But with jobs scarce, many…women are turning to the world’s oldest profession to make ends meet…

Socialism, the way of the future.

Finding What Isn’t There

As I keep saying over and over and over:

Human trafficking arrests are almost nonexistent in most states, according to the FBI’s newly released U.S. crime statistics for 2016…Florida reported 105 investigations into human-trafficking offenses in 2016 but zero human trafficking arrests…Nevada worked on 140 human-trafficking investigations but made only 40 arrests on trafficking charges.  Louisiana looked into 123 potential cases of human trafficking but only arrested 16 people for it…this report only includes arrests recorded by state and local law enforcement on human trafficking charges, which allows us to look beyond police propaganda about what they’re doing and see what it is they’re actually doing….the data do little to support the idea that the U.S. is experiencing unprecedented levels of labor and sex trafficking or that we are in the midst of some sort of “modern slavery” epidemic.  This is probably why you don’t see UCR trafficking statistics quoted in congressional reports, “awareness” materials, or law enforcement statements to the media on the topic…

Backwards into the Future (#629) 

Zimbabwean sex workers demonstrate their clout:

…sex workers in Chiredzi, a small sugar cane growing town in south-eastern Zimbabwe, have forced the reopening of Chigarapasi beer hall, the country’s largest, after threatening to stage a week-long naked vigil at the entrance in protest over its closure.  The beer hall…was closed early this year [after] the…Chiredzi council…[claimed] the bar was no longer making a profit – much to the surprise of…sex workers whose livelihood depends on [it]…

Public Service Announcement (#669)

If your candidate’s campaign can be derailed by the peccadilloes of a virtual stranger, you have a shitty candidate:

Anthony Weiner is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday in a sexting scandal that some blame for Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss.  The former New York congressman faces up to 27 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor…by having illicit contact with a 15-year-old girl, including asking her to “sexually perform” for him in conversations on Skype and Snapchat…

Also: the word “illicit” makes anyone who uses it sound like a pearl-clutching schoolmarm.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

Because nothing makes authoritarians lose their shit faster than sex:

…Chinese company Taqu (or “Touch” in English)…launch[ed] their “Shared Girlfriend” app online, which allowed users to rent a silicone sex doll for a daily fee of 298 yuan (US$45.15) or 1,298 yuan per week…news of the service quickly went viral…Two days after its 14 September launch in Beijing, the authorities shut the service down after…a police investigation [called the rental] it to be a “vulgar act that disrupts social order“…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

These “close encounters” with near sex-traffickers are like alien abductions.  They are shared wildly — gleefully — by people seemingly thrilled to know this horrible scourge is out there…This latest story, from Reno, involves a mom and dad who noticed every detail about a night that sounds outrageously ordinary.  They passed by some people they didn’t know!  They went into the parking garage and there was a car — with people in it!  They felt scared for their kids and compelled to write a Facebook post warning people everywhere about this terrible thing that…didn’t happen…I, too, walked outside last night and literally every single person I encountered may have “possibly” been involved in a child sex trafficking ring.  Each and every person I saw might “possibly” have also been a Satanist.  Or the owner of a Segway they’re trying to get rid of.  Or been related to the Royal Family…there’s no way to say they AREN’T sex traffickers.  So it’s best to just assume they are…”Holland…described [one man] as looking disheveled and wearing a bodyguard-type earpiece“…I’m sure that “bodyguard type earpiece” couldn’t possibly be an earbud.  It is so much more likely that the man was being commanded from Sex Trafficking HQ than listening to Beyonce…

Saving Them From Themselves (#735)

Lowered penalties for teen sexting may sound like a step in the right direction, but in actuality they simply encourage prosecutors to file more charges for behavior that isn’t even criminal in the first place:

Ohio state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban sexting between teenagers, potentially turning thousands of ordinary young Ohioans into sex offenders…Legislators could instead amend state statute to exempt teens exchanging pics between themselves, and people a few years over 18 texting with those a few years younger, from laws that treat them as child-porn producers and consumers.  Prosecutors could decline to bring these charges against sexting minors, and schools could decline to hand these cases over to cops.  Instead, this bill would create the new misdemeanor crime of “possession of sexually explicit digital material”…by anyone under age 21…So sexting teenagers might not get labeled child pornographers, but they could still wind up with a criminal record or, at the very least, a lot of court dates and a bullshit DARE-style class on how sexting will ruin their lives.  Worse yet, the legislation doesn’t actually change the state’s child pornography laws.  If it passes, prosecutors can still bring child porn charges against minors…or…use the threat of that charge to coerce kids to consent to searches, take plea deals on the lesser charge, and so on.  The sexting offense would simply be an additional tool at authorities’ disposal…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#759) 

The concept that men can’t tell the difference between a hunk of plastic and a woman insults all humans:

A sex robot with a “resistance setting” that allows men to simulate rape should be banned…[says anti-sex] lawyer…Kate Parker, who…warned the “uniquely sinister” technology normalised sexual assault…

Beware of authoritarians who disguise their deeply pathological need to control others’ sexuality by using words like “normalize” to describe sexual fantasies which are already so normal they’re almost vanilla.  For a deeper analysis of why this woman’s beliefs are deeply offensive, see also “Vile Insinuation“.

The Course of a Disease (#772)

It took a few weeks for Irish prohibitionists to figure out how to celebrate the increase in violence vs sex workers directly resulting from their laws without revealing their sociopathy to everyone:

More sex workers have reported rapes to gardai since new laws on prostitution laws were introduced, a [prohibitionist] group has claimed…Sarah Benson, head of Ruhama, which [persecutes sex workers]…said she is hopeful the laws make a positive difference…

Lower Education (#773)

Go on, keep telling me how the slippery slope is a “fallacy”:

Gov. Jerry Brown of California is poised to sign a worrisome bill that…explicitly applies to children in public kindergarten, elementary and high schools.  So a first grader could face dire consequences if found to have committed an act of “sexual violence,” which is broadly defined to include any “physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person” without their consent.  California lawmakers quickly passed the bill last week after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Sept. 7 that she will roll back the [due-process-banning] guidelines set forth by the Obama administration in 2011…[which] have led to bad outcomes…In case after case, young men were expelled on the basis of allegations that they were not allowed to challenge by seeing the evidence against them or cross-examining witnesses…Put aside for a moment whether a 6-year-old is capable of forming the intent to commit a sexual assault when she plants kisses on an unenthusiastic classmate, or whether it makes sense to bring sexual assault charges against an eighth grader who hugs the girl he has a crush on but who does not reciprocate his feelings.  Put aside for a moment whether school administrators should be branding children sexual assailants even if they are 49.99 percent sure the allegations are not true…Heavy-handed disciplinary policies fall disproportionately on students of color.  Because of the stereotypes associated with them, including the noxious but persistent trope that black males are inherently sexually predatory, black kids are presumed guilty…

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