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Posts Tagged ‘porn’

Last week, one of my readers told me that several camming platforms ban trans women.  Here’s one example, from My Free Cams.  At first I thought that perhaps these arseholes think that trans women are somehow “dirtier” or more intrinsically sexual than cis women, and therefore banning them would reduce the platform’s exposure due to FOSTA, or that the platform owners are just transphobic douchebags using FOSTA as an excuse to discriminate.  As it later turned out, the policy isn’t a new one, and though my second guess was closer than my first it has nothing to do with FOSTA:  the owners are indeed anti-trans douchebags, but their excuse is the same ugly fantasy used by toilet-law proponents, namely that predatory men might pretend to be trans in order to gain access to women-only spaces.  And though I turned out to be incorrect in my surmise of their motivation, the very fact that I and many others assumed it was FOSTA-related demonstrates not only how jumpy this tyranny has made us, but also how easy it would be for bigots to hide their bigotry behind “concern for commercial viability” or “advice from our legal department” (I’m looking at you, Fetlife).  Furthermore, it demonstrates why I so often say that fascism is much more effective at repression than communism.  Fascist states can pressure businesses to do their dirty work (censorship, discrimination, etc) and then blame the companies for it; “Operation Choke Point” is a perfect example of this.  Government says, “Oh, it’s not our fault those banks & credit card processors cut you off; we just gave them a list of undesirables.  What they did after that was totally their own doing.”  Ditto FOSTA: “Oh, we didn’t force those sites to censor y’all; we just passed a law that says every ambulance-chaser and attention-hungry DA in the country can sue or file charges against them if they don’t.  Nothing to do with us.”  So now sites which aren’t strictly adult-oriented are banishing sex workers, and sites which are strictly adult-oriented are doing bizarre, ugly flip-flops to try to “protect” themselves from disaster by enacting content restrictions that won’t do anything to protect them from the depredations of predatory government, but will certainly harm sex workers.  And as is always the case, it’s the most marginalized people who are feeling it the hardest.

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Today people can’t wait to participate in their own surveillance.
–  Mike Spinney

Moving Pictures 

When a headline asks a question, the answer is nearly always “no”:

…the thriller Traffik…has a horrifying story that revolves around the sex trafficking industry, as it follows an innocent couple who become caught up in a human trafficking ring…The film itself is not a true story, but it was inspired by true events.  The movie’s plot sees a couple…go on a road trip, where they run into a motorcycle gang at a gas station.  The gang have a woman with them who sneaks a cell phone into the [wife’s] purse…in the bathroom.  This leads to the gang, who are connected to a sex trafficking ring, to track down the phone and terrorize the innocent couple.  This event itself is entirely fictional…but the filmmaker drew inspiration from [what he falsely claims are] real life sex trafficking incidents near his home in Northern California

Checklist (#562)

Now you can be a useful idiot and violate strangers’ consent without even using a special app!

If you see someone who may be involved in human trafficking, report it by taking a picture and texting it to 909-ALERT-US (909-253-7887).  Our…face recognition software automatically searches images in online escort ads for the photos provided.  [If a match is identified, local vice squad will be notified]…

It searches online escort ads.  Exclusively.  So much for any pretense that this is abut anything other than persecuting sex workers.

To Molest and Rape 

Anyone surprised by this hasn’t been paying attention:

Authorities have arrested a former [cop] who is suspected of being one of California’s most prolific serial killers and rapists — the Golden State Killer…In the 40 years since the Original Night Stalker began his campaign of terror in Sacramento and moved south through the Bay Area and Santa Barbara and Orange counties, he had remained unidentified [due to his knowledge of police procedure].  Authorities say the attacker, also dubbed the East Area rapist and the Golden State Killer, is responsible for 12 killings, 45 rapes and more than 120 residential burglaries from 1976 to 1986…72-year-old…Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., has been charged by prosecutors…with eight counts of murder.  He is being held without bail…The suspect was a police officer in Auburn during the 1970s but was fired after he was accused of shoplifting…He is suspected of committing some crimes while he was still on the force…

There is one terrifying detail this story omits:

For decades…the DNA of the “Golden State Killer” sat in evidence storage…Whoever the killer was, he apparently was not one of the millions of convicts, offenders and arrestees in the FBI’s national DNA database…police announced that they had…identified Joseph James DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer suspect using an ingenious technique that thrills law enforcement officials and disturbs privacy advocates…they checked the crime scene DNA against one of the genealogy sites that have lately become popular — databases filled with the profiles of people who have volunteered their genetic codes in the hope of discovering their relatives and ancestors…The suspected Golden State Killer was not in this database, either, but it didn’t matter.  A distant relative of his was…and that person’s DNA partially matched evidence related to the serial killer.  Instantly, the pool of suspects shrank from millions of people down to a single family.  Detectives then used traditional investigative techniques to narrow the family members down to one suspect…Familial DNA searches…[have] an 83 percent failure rate [according to] a 2014 British study…

The Widening Gyre (#718) 

Another result of moral panics: evil people using the hysteria to cover their evil:

A West Virginia [woman]…who…claimed her 3-year-old daughter was abducted by sex traffickers was convicted in her murder.  Lena Marie Lunsford Conaway…was found guilty…on charges stemming from the 2011 disappearance of her daughter, Aliayah Lunsford…Her two older daughters reportedly testified that she beat the little girl over the head with a board then put her body in a clothes hamper.  They claimed the mom disposed of Aliayah’s body in a shallow grave in the woods.  The toddler’s remains were never found…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#752) 

A histrionic has-been, an opportunistic shyster and a bunch of C-listers and anti-sex loons:  this is who Gay, Inc chooses to side with against sex workers:

The Los Angeles-based Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking will honor Mira Sorvino, Kate Bosworth, Gloria Allred, Rosanna Arquette, Andra Day and others at the organization’s 20th annual gala…The [paradigm] of human trafficking [has become more popular] in the last couple of decades, and Los Angeles in particular has become a major hub for the [rescue] industry…

Against Their Will (#795) 

It’s good to see this getting more attention lately:

An increasing number of stories…highlight the ugly reality of rescue homes, which [are]…less about rehabilitation and more about forced confinement.  Doubts are now being raised whether [arrested] women and children…can indeed lead a protected life in these homes…

Unfortunately, it’s going to be an uphill climb; even this story about the abuses inflicted by the rescue industry still calls arrest & caging “rescue” and quotes the malignant sociopath Sunitha “100 clients a day” Krishnan, who runs a similar prison herself (a fact not mentioned in this story).

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#804) 

Though this is the least-stupid article about sex robots I’ve ever read that wasn’t written by me, the author still deeply underestimates the level of emotional contact many if not most men want from sex workers:

…I predict that historians of the development of artificial intelligence are going to see sexual gratification as one of the phenomenon’s great motivators.  Evolutionary psychology can give us insight into how sex robots are going to develop and the ramifications they’ll have on society.  Sexbots are usually woman-shaped gynoid machines…because heterosexual men drive the market for sexual products like prostitution and pornography.  Across cultures, men desire more sexual partners, need to know someone for less time before they want to have sex with them, and have lower standards for a sexual liaison than women…Men don’t get pregnant and don’t lactate, and they have smaller, easier-to-produce sex cells than women.  For a man, the cost of producing offspring is cheap…Women impose costs on men to gain sexual access for very good reasons…Pornography and prostitution are popular because they arrive at sexual end goals, or a reasonable facsimile, with more clarity and lower costs than in the mating market.  The complications of courtship are driving improvements in sexual substitutes, like masturbation aids…These substitutes aren’t very good, and yet they are already competing with flesh-and-blood companionship…

No, not really.  I can assure you that no Fleshlight Tina is “competition” for any man who can actually afford a sex worker.  This psychologist is arguing that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”.

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

Naturally she’s doing this; she’s an intelligent woman:

Stormy Daniels is back in front of the cameras — on a porn set.  Touting what appears to be Daniels’ first released sex scenes since the money scandal  involving her and President Trump surfaced early this year, the porn site Brazzers teased graphic snippets online…They feature Daniels in the upcoming XXX video entitled Stormy’s Secret…

Scapegoats (#831) 

If you don’t understand what this is all about, try looking up “Napoleonic Code”:

In Louisiana, a proposal to strengthen the law against bestiality is facing unexpected opposition from conservative lawmakers who see it as an underhanded move to strike the state’s unconstitutional ban on sodomy.  Creating a new, wide-ranging anti-bestiality law would untangle the offense from the ban on sodomy in Louisiana’s “crime against nature ” statute, prompting some lawmakers to label the measure a sly chess move.  “This bill was written because the far left wants to undermine our other laws that protect family and traditional values”…said Sen. Ryan Gatti…one of 10 senators to vote against the bill…

Remember, this is a law struck down as unconstitutional 15 years ago.

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FOSTA’s real purpose is making it easier to file lawsuits against online companies, while politicians pat themselves on the back.  –  Ron Wyden

A Procrustean Bed (#502)

A documentary glorifies the prohibitionist shitshow that is New York’s “sex trafficking court”:

…Judge Toko Serita…presides over Queens’s Human Trafficking Intervention Court…where she processes women who have been arrested on charges of prostitution…The women…are offered a choice:  Instead of [being given constitutional due process]…they can [submit to]…a set number of [brainwashing] sessions.  If, in six months, they have not been arrested again, the charges are dropped and the case is sealed…about 80 percent of the women take the [brainwashing] option…[less] than victims, Serita sees them first and foremost as…[objects to be processed.  Filmmaker Stephanie] Wang-Breal…says…in the film’s notes: “Who am I to say she doesn’t have agency, who am I to say what she should be doing with her life?” [and yet she glorifies this grotesque denial of women’s agency anyway]…

Nobody involved in producing this mess stopped to question the court’s assumption that human beings are mere objects to be “processed”.  You know, like in a food processor.

All Shapes and Sizes (#521)

This procedure has come a long way in only three years:

Doctors in the US have performed the world’s first complete penis and scrotum transplant on a former soldier who had his genitals blown off after stepping on a hidden bomb while on tour in the Middle East.  The 14-hour operation performed last month at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, was the most complex and extensive penis transplant ever attempted…The young [man]…received an entire penis, scrotum (without testicles), and partial abdominal wall from a deceased donor…It took a team of nine plastic surgeons and two urology surgeons…The surgery took place on March 26 and nearly a month on doctors seem confident of its success but will continue to monitor the patient’s recovery…

Shame, Shame (#649)

My friend Mark Bennett takes down Texas’ overbroad and mindlessly-draconian “revenge porn” law:

Mark Bennett, the Texas Tornado, took another law down for violating the First Amendment.  This time, it was…the so-called “revenge porn” law.  In Ex parte Jones, the 12th District Court of Appeals…held that the statute was facially unconstitutional.  As has been argued from the day Mary Anne Franks began her efforts to create a criminal revenge porn statute, it clearly implicated the First Amendment’s prohibition against laws infringing on free expression, to which she merely screamed her denials and did her best to deflect by creating a fantasy interpretation of the First Amendment…The State argues…relying upon Franks’ and Danielle Citron’s “legal” arguments…that [such images fall] within a new concept of obscenity, “contextually obscene”.  Except there is no such category outside of their imaginations, nor can anything be found obscene except by a jury…the court noted that the law failed to make any effort to narrow its prohibitions, which was a fundamental tenet of the Franks approach to criminalizing revenge porn lest anyone get away with it…

The Peril 

The hypocrisy of politicians sometimes defies belief:

Jack Johnson…became the first black heavyweight boxing champion after defeating Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia, in 1908.  Two years later, he defended his title against boxer James J. “Jim” Jeffries, who…was referred to as the “great white hope” by racist…fans who wanted him to…take back the heavyweight crown for whites…Jeffries lost the fight…[but] what racism could not do to Johnson in the boxing ring, it found other ways to accomplish.  Johnson was convicted in 1913 of violating the Mann Act…the Justice Department…argued that Johnson’s relationship with a white woman was a “crime against nature”…criminalization of sex work in the US is rooted in racism, and modern campaigns do little to mask that lineage…The “white slavery” campaign of the early 1900’s…led directly to the enactment of the federal Mann Act, (a.k.a. the White Slave Traffic Act), in 1910.  “[O]nce prohibition of sex work was in place,” writer Maggie McNeill has noted, “it was enforced disproportionately against poor people and ethnic minorities, especially black people, just as all prohibitionist laws are.”  As Andrew Glass wrote for Politico, the first person prosecuted under the Mann Act…was Jack Johnson…That Donald Trump should look to a pardon for Johnson in the same month he signed…FOSTA…into law, is bitterly ironic…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#666) 

Lewis & her friends are naive fools; what they’re asking for is legalization & protectionism, and they’re not going to like it if they get it:

New Zealand sex workers are furious that foreign prostitutes who come on temporary visas can advertise their services here despite it being illegal for them to work.  High profile escort Lisa Lewis is one of several who have taken their complaints to Immigration New Zealand…calling for a harsher stance against migrant sex workers…She wants INZ to shift its focus from just deporting migrant sex workers to punish [advertising venues] that profit from helping the promotion of these illegal sex workers.  Lewis said the increase in number of foreign prostitutes coming over has hit local sex workers in the pocket…

Permanent Record

Note that other states have similar (if less broad) laws, and that the tendency toward such penalties is increasing:

Currently in both Maryland and Tennessee, a criminal past — or even just being accused of a crime — often stands between people and a job.  This is because many occupational licensing laws prevent ex-offenders from being able to obtain a license for the jobs they seek…these restrictions aren’t targeted at people whose criminal history relates to their desired career; instead, they can serve as blanket bans for those hoping to enter hundreds of professions including plumbing, cosmetology and interior design.  By prohibiting wide swaths of people from licensure, these boards aren’t protecting health and safety — they’re just making it more likely these individuals will remain unemployed and unable to support themselves or their families…in some cases, people need only to be accused of a crime — not even convicted of it — for the board to deny them a license.  Many of these bans are also permanent…In one instance in Tennessee…a woman convicted for prostitution over a decade ago learned she couldn’t become a radiation therapist…

I’m going to start using this heading for the many cases of people who lose their jobs due to a history of sex work; they currently appear under the overbroad “First They Came for the Hookers…”

All-Purpose Excuse (#794)

In this confused mess, a lawyer complains that anti-immigrant actions “hurt efforts to stop human trafficking”, even though “human trafficking” is a dysphemism used to demonize immigration:

If Trump truly cared about victims of human trafficking, he would put an end to his ongoing assault on immigrants.  Statistics on the number of victims of human trafficking are notoriously unreliable because of widespread [ov]erreporting…Since Trump assumed the presidency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has used the fight against human trafficking as justification for its crackdown on undocumented immigrants.  ICE arrests have surged by more than 40 percent…[which] has aggravated the fear of coming forward among undocumented victims of human trafficking, undermining the U.S. government’s own efforts to tackle the problem…

In other words, “Trump’s crackdown on migration is interfering with existing attempts to prevent migration”.

Disaster

Here’s another article about FOSTA, which despite many good points expended so much effort in licking prohibitionist arseholes it nearly made me vomit.  Since there are plenty of good articles which denounce censorship and promote human rights without sucking the dick of power, there’s not a lot of reason to bother with this one; however, if you feel compelled you’ll see this “journalist” ceding ground to prohibitionists and otherwise making ignorant, unhelpful statements all over the place.  It starts in the lede, which proclaims that FOSTA was “a rare moment of bipartisan agreement”, a deeply stupid statements which ignores that the two main US parties have never disagreed on prohibition as a principle at any point in the past century, and that literally every single anti-sex work bill of the past two decades has had nearly-unanimous bipartisan support.  The article misstates the case against Backpage, repeats prohibitionist lies, characterizes third parties as “pimps & traffickers”, downplays the breadth of opposition to internet censorship with phrases like “some argue”, and even claims that “FOSTA was pitched with a very specific (and noble) goal in mind”; apparently author Kate Knibbs believes that censorship, denial of human rights, and negating the agency and consent of half a million women are “noble”.  I certainly don’t.

This Means War (#830) 

Megalomaniacal US rulers believe they have the right to disrupt the lives of millions all over the world:

Before New Zealand Cracker – a classifieds website used by sex workers – was shut down by the FBI, Wellington woman Sarah (not her real name) says she received at least five enquiries from clients each day.  Now, she is lucky to receive two a week through other advertising platforms.  “It has totally ruined our lives”…the FBI seiz[ure of]…Backpage.com…[has produced] a global and profound disruption of the sex work industry, including in countries like New Zealand, where prostitution is legal.  New Zealand Cracker was one of the many subsidiary sites Backpage.com hosted around the world.  For more than a decade it was at the heart of New Zealand’s sex work industry – offering businesses and sex workers a cheap, effective way of connecting with clients.  Its closure has, without warning, taken livelihoods away, leaving workers without the resources to operate their businesses or, in some cases, survive…

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Stormy Daniels is…not speaking out because it’s fun or a great career move.  –  Savannah Sly

One Size Fits All

This is almost three years old, but it’s too good to pass up:

Many children in west Africa are brought up in households belonging to people other than their own parents.  There is a long tradition of fostering, yet in many cases the practice is now [claimed] to constitute “trafficking” or “modern slavery” because the children involved are put to work during their stay.  This makes little sense, yet the terminology of “human trafficking” and its consequences—namely that the “traffickers” involved should be prosecuted—has remained in vogue since at least 2000 with the support of European and American funding.  This has almost certainly caused more harm than good…ideas and methods imported from Europe and North America…have sought to prevent children from working away from home, rather than to protect children from harm regardless of where they live and whether they were at work or school.  This approach fails to adapt to the realities of childhood in west Africa and the practicalities of growing up in villages with little infrastructure…

Pyrrhic Victory

Toward the end of privacy, everywhere:

…the CLOUD Act…was never reviewed or marked up by any committee in either the House or the Senate.  It never received a hearing.  It was robbed of a stand-alone floor vote because Congressional leadership decided, behind closed doors, to attach this un-vetted, unrelated data bill to the $1.3 trillion government spending bill…All the bill requires now is the president’s signature…Because of this…U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize…your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online…without a warrant and with few restrictions…the CLOUD Act…will…Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people’s communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant…Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge…Allow the U.S. president to enter “executive agreements” that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws…Allow foreign police to collect someone’s data without notifying them about it…Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it’s a U.S. person’s or not, no matter where it is stored…

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of all kinds of sex workers:

Gentrification is often seen as an organic process that cities undergo.  Jeremiah Moss, the author of the book and blog Vanishing New York … says, “Gentrification was originally defined as the process by which working-class neighborhoods are changed into middle-class neighborhoods by the middle-class who buy homes there…Now we’re dealing with something much larger and more destructive — what I refer to as hyper gentrification which is not an organic process.  It’s the government stepping in with policies and zoning to remake the city for the upper classes.  In order to that, outlaws have to be removed, including sexual outlaws.  So adult businesses have to go…The hyper-gentrified city must be safe, friendly, and welcoming for tourist families and major corporations”…Shutting down adult businesses was on the top of [New York] Mayor Giuliani’s list throughout his terms.  Giuliani claimed strip clubs, peep shows, and x-rated video stores were “corrosive institutions” that contaminated neighborhoods and prevented “legitimate businesses” from prospering…

Blunt Instrument 

“Sex trafficking” is such a convenient weapon to use against adult businesses:

The Milwaukee Common Council voted not to renew the license of a…night club [using] sex trafficking [claims].  The vote came after…neighborhood [complaints that]…the owner of Tatou Ultra Pub…planned to renew the club’s license and then sell the business to VLive, a nationwide chain of strip clubs…aldermen were warned that the city attorney’s office could have trouble defending the city in court if aldermen failed to renew the license…residents [pretended] Tatou had contributed to loud noise and reckless driving in the area…[yet] there…were no recent police records documenting any nuisance activity at the club…

Under Every Bed

Population 36,000:

The Westerville [Ohio] community is learning how to spot signs of human trafficking after police busted a local massage parlor for prostitution.  [Cops pretend] they’ve seen an increase in human trafficking in the area…”It’s not the stereotypical human trafficking we’re used to.  A lot of these ladies can come and go, but they are threatened to stay in that environment,” Chief [Pig] Morbitzer [fantasized while playing pocket pool]…”One we shut down for prostitution reasons, one we cited for taxation reasons and one that was trying to open up was prohibited because of zoning code issues”…a…community meeting was hosted by the [pigs, a “diversion” program protecting its funding]…The Salvation Army, and [another rescue industry group]…

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 7 already this year:

[A trans woman was murdered] in Baton Rouge, LA…Amia Tyrae Berryman…was 28 years old.  Her body was found at…a…motel…with gunshot injuries…local media stating WBRZ…misgendered her

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

The next generation of sex worker security apps:

A new security application, Artemis’ Umbrella, has been developed for sex workers in Finland, and can be used anywhere in the world.  The app alerts a trusted contact when sex workers are in trouble, and uses location services to track the smart phone…it is possible to alert a pre-arranged friend if something like a customer meeting goes wrong and needs help.  The alarm can be triggered via the alarm button or via the timer (the alarm will be triggered if the function is not shut down in time).  Both alerts will also include the person’s location information…the application was…tested…in both Helsinki and Mumbai…

Morality Lessons (#783)

“The National Center on Sexual Exploitation” is the new self-aggrandizing name for pro-censorship fanatics Morality in Media:

…After collaborative dialogue with NCOSE, Walmart will remove Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines at 5,000 stores across the country. Protecting minors from the sexually explicit material that Cosmopolitan embodies and perpetuates has been a long-time priority of NCOSE

Agenda

Is this dumbass for real?

…I am pretty disappointed in the modern high-priced prostitutes of today.  They have no sense of honor and ethics…I do think that at one time in history there were professional prostitution ethics, where whatever happened between a man and his paid companion, there was the security of keeping things private.  In today’s world there seems to be no honor between a man and his contractual relationship between him and his paid companion…There is no honor among the profession…What’s the world coming to when you can’t trust a whore anymore?…

I can almost believe this ignorant weed’s claim that he’s never paid for sex, because he seems to know even less about whores than the average prohibitionist.  Besides his obviously-wrong-on-its-face central theme, he makes totally backward assertions like “Solon, the great Athenian legislator, was the first to actually legalize prostitution…”  No, you idiot, Solon was the first to try to criminalize prostitution.  Where do morons like this get this shit?  Do they literally look in the toilet and say, “Hey, that looks good, I’ll use it as a ‘fact’ in my next essay”?  WTF?  Why does every fuckwad think five minutes on Google make him an expert in my profession?  But I guess I’d better stop now, before I infuriate myself.

Morality Lessons (#820) 

It looks like Chris Sevier, the anti-porn fanatic behind the “mandatory porn filter” bills now making the rounds of US state legislatures, is about to do a massive pratfall:

Elizabeth Smart sent a cease-and-desist letter to prevent her name from being used to push a Rhode Island bill that would require a $20 fee to view pornography online…It is one of several similar bills pushed by Chris Sevier, who says the bill would protect children…Sevier said he chose Smart’s name as a tagline for the bill…[until he was] told…Smart was potentially pursuing legal action, [after which he claimed] the…name had been given to the [bill] by lawmakers…his website…specifically refers to [it] as “the Elizabeth Smart law”…[fellow anti-porn fanatics Morality in Media] has slammed Sevier for falsely claiming the[y]…supported his work…Earlier this month, a federal judge in Utah threw out Sevier’s lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop…

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Sevier, here’s an article from last year:

…Sevier has a warrant out for his arrest in Tennessee for failure to appear at criminal contempt proceedings….[arising from failure] to pay child support and violat[ing] a restraining order…[stemming] from Sevier’s 2011 arrest and  conviction for assaulting his father-in-law…Sevier’s baby was also injured in the altercation…Sevier claims that the Human Trafficking Prevention Act was hatched in part due to the horrors he saw as a volunteer in Asian countries, where he was “physically fighting human trafficking” as a rescue worker with an organization called Orphan Secure…[but] the president of Orphan Secure, Ronaldo Lopez…said that Sevier’s time with the group…amounted to a few broken promises…Despite repeatedly claiming he can legally practice law in two states, official records suggest Sevier is not licensed to practice law anywhere…a petition against him for ethical violations was pending in 2011 when the court temporarily inactivated his license based on a mental disability…

Not So Easy (#821)

A deeper look at the sleazy lies politicians are using to destroy women’s jobs:

…The raids seem…connected to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s  new vision of Bourbon Street as a family-friendly tourist destination, a vain attempt to gentrify one of the country’s most legendary red light districts as it approaches its 300th anniversary.  This vision…has the mark of Christian moralizing that has recently taken on new potency.  In October, Mayor Landrieu hired conservative Christian lawyer Scott Bergthold, whose Chattanooga-based law firm has a reputation for targeting strip clubs across the country.  The mayor also appointed a few key people to put together a study on trafficking, including councilperson Kristin Palmer, a longtime opponent of strip clubs; and Jim Kelly of Covenant House, part of a chain of nonprofit, Catholic-affiliated homeless shelters…The Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force says in its official documents that it’s targeting trafficking, but…they use words like prostitution and trafficking interchangeably, and they don’t recognize a categorical difference…[though an attempt at capping the number of strip clubs failed 4-3 in the City Council] clubs…must operate under new regulations.  Dancers are no longer allowed to twerk (defined as a “simulation of sex” per the state lewd act law), fondle their own breasts, or have exposed nipples; these are now defined as “lewd and lascivious conduct.”  Club managers must…post anti-trafficking posters from…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking (COAST).  COAST is in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security; the posters encourage workers to report abuse to a number which goes directly to ICE…if you’re an undocumented immigrant, there’s no guarantee  your rescue won’t also include deportation

Disaster

Even bootlicking Time seems to grasp that something bad has happened:

…The decision by Craigslist to stop hosting personal ads came as a preemptive move after Congress passed [FOSTA]…a sweeping piece of legislation intended to [harm sex workers]…The legislation targets websites that “promote or facilitate” prostitution, even in jurisdictions where prostitution is legal; individuals operating those sites face up to ten years in prison…The bill’s ambiguous terms threaten to impugn not only Craigslist, but any website or forum that accommodates discussion of the sex trade…these sites are crucial to [sex workers’] safety: they provide the community with a platform to share information about dangerous clientele (known as “bad date lists”) and other occupational hazards.  Advocates for these communities have also argued that eliminating the sex trade’s online presence will in fact make cases of actual human trafficking harder to identify…

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

I’m proud to see my dear friend Savannah Sly in Teen Vogue, which is turning into an important ally:

…Given how she’s described her situation, it makes sense that Stormy Daniels would sign a nondisclosure agreement…in exchange for $130,000…Many people (particularly sex workers and mothers) may do the same thing in the hopes of making a situation go away.  Also, the odds that a porn star would be believed (or treated with respect) by the public are slim to none.  Society callously condones the slut-shaming, misogyny, and discrimination that sex workers regularly suffer.  Regardless of how we try to sanitize and make palpable our professions, sex workers are seen as irresponsible “sluts” who deserve what we get, even when we’re murdered.  Porn stars, who are some of the most visible sex workers, suffer intense volumes of hate mail, doxing, stalking, and online bullying simply because they’re brazen enough to be publicly and commercially sexual…

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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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It’s weird how some people can look at an issue and, though they come to one more or less right conclusion, do so by such a totally wrong route, with emphasis on all the wrong things and coming to several wrong conclusions, it’s almost as though they might as well be on the wrong side because there’s no telling what all the ramifications of their logical, factual and moral errors might be in the future.  And forget trying to neatly classify such a mess under one news heading.  Take a look at this goofy pearl-clutching:

Deepfake porn”, which involves using artificial intelligence software to swap faces in pornographic videos, is quickly emerging as a troubling new method of sexual exploitation…videos do not always fall neatly into existing legal prohibitions, and free speech concerns may prevent new laws from specifically restricting such material.  As a result, the job of policing this obviously harmful content has fallen on private companies who host the servers and platforms where deepfakes are hosted and traded. Reddit and Pornhub, for example, both have announced that they will not allow deepfakes and have started deleting them.  Researchers are studying ways to use automated image-processing to detect faked videos…But new legislation could get in the way of these anti-deepfake efforts.  The House of Representatives passed…FOSTA…There’s no question that sex trafficking is a problem that demands powerful solutions.  But FOSTA’s solution is also troubling.  Traditionally, websites that allow outside users to post messages or information, like Craigslist and Facebook, do not share legal responsibility if the outside users post illegal or improper content, unless the website actually had a hand in making the content.  The worst case scenario is that, to avoid having “knowledge” of sex trafficking, Internet services will stop content-moderation entirely…[because] a mistake in content-moderation could land them in court…People are, sadly, remarkably good at coming up with awful uses of new technology: deepfake porn, fake news, cyberbullying, revenge porn, you name it.  The gatekeepers of the Internet need to be adept to quickly tackle these difficult problems as they arise.  Public pressure on internet companies is necessary to push those companies to do everything they can…The right way for Congress to get internet companies to deal with serious online problems like sexual abuse is, counterintuitively, to leave those companies alone…

It’s no surprise that this potpourri of prudishness comes from Vice, a company which despite its provocative name has a long history of being unable to decide whether it supports human rights and sexual freedom, or prohibitionism and pearl-clutching.  As I’ve pointed out before, the fact that realistic porn cartoons are the worst use for this technology these bird-brains can conceive of is a sign of a culture overdue for collapse.  The idea of, say, cops manipulating a body cam video to make it look as though a black man they murdered had pulled a gun on the cop, doesn’t even enter their sheltered little minds.

But that’s just the start of this exercise in arse-backwardness; next we’re told that a lack of moderation is a “worst-case scenario”, as though trolls had the magic power to crawl through the intertubes to throttle people and were only stopped by the valiant efforts of moderators looking to censor “bad words”.  There are lots of sites that apply little to no comment moderation, and the sky doesn’t fall; normal people just learn not to dip into such cesspools.  Nor does this delicate little flower of a think-tanker (who apparently lacks even the poor excuse of a degree in “womyn’s studies”) stop there; oh no!  When his theme demands a list of “awful uses of new technology”, does he include mass surveillance, people being outed by both cops and Facebook, the violent policing of consensual adult sexuality, the outsourcing of censorship to private corporations and other truly dangerous expansions of the police state?  Nope; the worst things he can think of are name-calling and embarrassing pics.  And the idea that it’s “counterintuitive” that totalitarian government creates more problems than it solves is one that could only emerge from the mind of a statist who learned history from a pop-up book.

But the worst element of all, which I see in a lot of articles far better-written and more firmly grounded in reality than this writer could even imagine, is this gem: “There’s no question that sex trafficking is a problem that demands powerful solutions.”  No, fucking NO!!!  There ARE questions, plenty of them.  “Sex trafficking” as depicted in the propaganda, an international criminal conspiracy of vast size and susceptible to suppression by government “wars” (including mass surveillance, censorship and brutalization of peaceful adults), does not exist.  STOP CEDING GROUND TO PROHIBITIONISTS.  This is why they keep winning; spineless ninnies keep validating their evidence-free fantasies.  It’s like watching people line up to be lobotomized.  Imagine if Churchill had regularly said things like, “We agree that the Jews are a pestilence who need to be exterminated, but Mr. Hitler’s well-meaning strategy will not accomplish that.”  Holy crap, people!  THERE IS NO EVIDENCE FOR THESE FANTASIES, and plenty to show they’re myths.  STOP ACTING LIKE THERE IS A CRISIS that doesn’t exist.  We can’t win vs prohibitionists while good but weak people keep pretending their sick wanking fantasies of legions of gang-raped toddlers are true.  It isn’t enough to say, “Oh, there’s this horrible crisis but x law or strategy is the wrong way to fight it.”  NO.  Fucking no.  There is no fucking crisis in the first place, and until all sane and decent people admit that, the war on adult consensual sex will never, ever stop.

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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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