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Posts Tagged ‘pragmatism’

The rescue industry is a deeply misogynistic enterprise which…polices the behaviour of women under the guise of saving us.  –  Eleanor Janega

Real People 

The more sex workers come out like this, the better for everyone:

The people that make the porn that a lot of us watch are sick of you pretending that you’re better than them.  Michele James especially is sick of it.  “We are cast out into the shadows…if I could bring a person who didn’t do sex work on set for a day, for them to see what we actually go through, they would realize it’s a job too and we deserve respect, the same as CEOs, and everybody else who goes to work 9-5.”  James…sees part of her responsibility to the industry she loves is helping to destigmatize the performers who make it…she is passionate about her industry; and she gives exactly zero fucks what you think about that…

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

A…High School student in the Florida Keys is facing 15 years in prison and life as a registered sex offender for continuing to date his 15-year-old girlfriend after he turned 18 in December…numerous people, including the girl’s parents, his parents and two sheriff’s office deputies, [warned] Tucker [that the shamans of the booga-booga gods would be angry he was violating the Shazam magic, but] the two continued to see each other…[and] the girl’s mother [decided to destroy her] relationship [with her daughter by ratting them out to] the…school [pig]…cops [then eavesdropped on a private conversation and congratulated themselves for destroying a young man’s life]…

The Crumbling Dam (#739) 

Seattle’s vocal harm magnification community is still going strong:

[Shilo] Jama has spent his career advocating for drug users.  With his work at the [People’s Harm Reduction Alliance], he runs syringe distribution sites, including a drop-in site in the U District…They have a nurse practitioner on site who prescribes medications like Suboxone, which helps with withdrawal symptoms…Over the years, Jama has helped countless people who use drugs, but his efforts aren’t exactly appreciated by everyone.  In December, flyers featuring a photograph of his face started popping up in the University District and elsewhere in North Seattle…The flyer accuses Jama (who legally changed his last name from Murphy a few years ago to honor the family that raised him) of “enabling and encouraging harmful behavior that has caused many deaths”…The flyer claims that Jama, his organization, and the U District needle distribution site are a danger to the public, but according to public health experts, harm reduction projects like Jama’s do reduce overdose deaths and other public health issues…The flyer also says that the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle City Council are “almost powerless” to prosecute Jama and lists a phone number for the FBI’s Seattle office, encouraging people to call and report him…Jama…suspects [the source] was members of Safe Seattle, an organization that, among other issues, advocates against safe injection sites…

The Notorious Badge (#760)

This does a good job of synopsizing my discomfort with The Deuce:

The Deuce uses its promise to reveal the behind-closed-doors happenings of sex work to argue relentlessly for the regulation and oversight of the industry…it is nervous about the way it represents sex work, anxious to inform but not to titillate.  In pinpointing…sex-work…as a “secret,” however, and then exposing it through a surveillance-cum-safety structure, the show satisfies an intellectual craving for knowledge that echoes the pleasures of pornography…[it] takes care to pat viewers on the back, framing their pleasure as different from that of the porn viewer.  Through gridline-marked shots of pornography in the making, for example, The Deuce allows viewers to indulge in pornographic voyeurism under the guise of cautionary surveillance.  At the same time, it frames their viewing position as a sanctimonious one…

“Regulation and oversight” = “legalization”, which only politicians and cops want.  Sex workers, human rights groups, medical groups and academics who have studied our work all recognize decriminalization, not “regulation” by outsiders, as the best model for everyone.

Checklist (#811)

Despite some pandering to “sex trafficking” beliefs, this isn’t a bad article about “signs of sex trafficking” indocrination:

…every year…ahead of the Super Bowl…anti-prostitution [crusaders]…campaign [to indocrinate]…everyone from hospitality employees to Uber drivers…in…anti-[sex worker propaganda such as the claim that]…as many as 40.3 million people were “in modern slavery in 2016”, up more than 5 million compared to five years ago.  And in 2014, the 35.8 figure rose by 6 million people in just a year…the…figures are so alluringly extreme [because profiteers]…are often under pressure from poli[tician]s into producing overestimated figures…crusades of this nature are not…concerned with accuracy, as appearing to be leading the charge against [consensual sex]…hotel chains like Marriott have been reported as looking out for women travelling alone and sexually provocative clothing as signs of…sex…[work, which makes it clear that] consenting adult sex workers [are]…being targeted…

Unfortunately, Lyft may not be a safe alternative to Uber for much longer:

…we are working to help raise awareness and taking action to prevent human trafficking.  Through partnerships with [prohibitionist] organizations like…Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST), we are [indoctrinating] drivers…on how to spot [escorts] and [rat them out to the pigs]…

Original Sin (#824) 

A new statement from a man who says men who seek consensual sex with women are “criminals with a sick mentality”:

Pope Francis has admitted that clerics have sexually abused nuns, and in one case they were kept as sex slaves…his predecessor, Pope Benedict, was forced to shut down an entire congregation of nuns who were being abused by priests.  It is thought to be the first time that Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by the clergy.  He said the Church was attempting to address the problem but said it was “still going on”…

Rooted in Racism (#854)

More European government humanitarianism to “fight human trafficking”:

…[it has been] two years since Italy, backed by the EU, did a deal to spend tens of millions of euros funding the Libyan coastguard, which intercepts boats heading for Italy and returns refugees and migrants to a war zone…detainees in nine different detention centres…use hidden phones to reveal what’s going on at huge risk to themselves.  EU [politicians] continue to promote the idea that arrivals in Europe  and deaths at sea are dropping.  But…thousands of men, women, and children…speak of going days without food and of drinking toilet water to survive.  Some have stopped speaking, forgotten their families, sit crouched in a corner and wet themselves from trauma…Couples are separated – some of the roughly 640 detained children are held with their mothers, though those over 14 are kept in adult cells…infected detainees are locked with others in a dark room and have been repeatedly left without tuberculosis medication…In October, a 28-year-old Somali set himself on fire…after saying he saw no other way out.  In early January dozens of refugees and migrants, brought by the coastguard to the Libyan port city of Khoms, were forced back to smugglers by Libyan [cops]…[and] now risk torture if they can’t raise an the $5,000 ransom that has already been demanded…

Feminine Pragmatism (#891) 

One day, reporters will get that “People Work To Make Money” is not news:

Increasing numbers of public sector workers are [making the pragmatic decision] to [do] sex work due to austerity measures and welfare cuts…a leading campaigning group…says more women in public sector roles are doing sex work to top up their income due to employers making no allowances for the fact they have children…the organisation, the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), [has] release[d] a new report comparing sex work with other jobs commonly done by women.  The report found sex workers earn significantly more per hour than women working in the other jobs – including those in public sector positions such as nurses and midwives.  Women cited higher wages as their primary reason for entering the sex industry…

Case Study (#892) 

One day, reporters will get that “people sublet flats” is not news:

A special constable and his Hungarian wife have been jailed for [rent]ing [flats to] women from Hungary [in] a Chelsea apartment block [nicknam]ed “10 Floors of Whores”.  Karl Ring and Ivett Szuda…[arranged sex workers’ travel on] the Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air to fly women into London from Budapest as they made more than £600,000 [over several years] from [subletting flats]…Szuda…[will be locked in a cage] for six and a half years, while Ring…[will be] locked up for four years…the couple [charged sex workers 50% of their fees, a fairly typical rate for brothels]…Judge Robin Johnson [bloviated a lot of pompous, moralistic nonsense about “exploitation”, ignoring the fact that] the sex workers were happy with the arrangement…

Feminine Pragmatism (#896) 

The villains here aren’t imaginary “trafficking rings”; they’re the fucking politicians who force desperate people to deal with criminals to have a chance to escape hell:

Traffickers are targeting desperate young women in Venezuela by flying them to the Costas to [do lucrative, flexible work]…at least 208,000 have fled the crisis-hit country in the hope of a better life in Spain.  Nearly all of those have travelled on official three month tourists visas which are readily available as Venezuela was once a Spanish colony.  However, a flight costs £1,000 which is a fortune in a land where a cup of coffee costs a month’s wages thanks to hyperinflation of 80,000 per cent…This is when the heartless trafficking gangs of Caracas are stepping in and [giving people a chance to escape despite politicians’ efforts to keep them trapped in Venezuela]…SICAR Cat, a religious organisation that pro[fits from hysteria over]…sex trafficking, [pretends these women are ignorant children who don’t know what sex work is, and calls their jobs]…modern day slavery…Venezuela’s economic mix of unemployment, poverty and inflation has created the perfect conditions for [mass emigration] to flourish…

These stories sure sound stupid when the hype is replaced by objective language, don’t they?

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#905)

Indian sex workers are chipping away at the prohibitionists’ agency-negating lies:

…four organisations…have released a report which states that close to 77% women voluntarily return to sex work after their rescue into shelter homes…the National Network for Sex Workers Association (NNSWA) and UMKO, Saheli – HIV/RAIDS Karyakarta Sangh, SANGRAM and Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP), have released a report “Raided – How Anti-Trafficking Strategies Increase Sex Workers’ Vulnerability to Exploitative Practices”…79% of the women documented in the study returned to sex work – “escaping” their rescue from shelter homes, while almost 11% of the women continued to live in these homes…Kusum, President [of the] All India Network of Sex Workers explained the “horrific” condition of shelter homes and why women want to escape it…“There is no food to eat, and when there is food it is insect infested which makes people sick.  No health care to take care of inhabitants…and even if that was provided the stigma that exists towards HIV persons within these homes is bad enough to kill someone well before their time”…the report contests the…present understanding that most women in the flesh trade are trafficked women ‘pushed into prostitution’…These homes manifest an environment of isolation and deprive the women of identity and income…

The Indian media is so thoroughly brainwashed by prohibitionists that even in an article citing statistics debunking prohibitionist mythology, the reporter feels compelled to put the word “escape” (from a literal prison) in scare quotes, and also scare-quotes the word “horrific” (used to describe conditions any decent person would agree are horrific), while omitting scare quotes from the word “rescue” when used to mean “arrest”.  He also uses “live in” to mean “remain imprisoned in”, and “present understanding” to mean “popular myth”.  It’s going to be a long, uphill battle.

Pyrrhic Victory (#906) 

Please, masters, don’t use this tool we made you in exactly the way it was designed to be used“:

Amazon unveiled new proposed guidelines…for any national legislation regulating facial recognition technology…civil rights groups and privacy advocates…criticized Amazon’s Rekognition contracts with law enforcement agencies, [absurdly concentrating on the] point…that the technology has misidentified people of color [rather than recognizing that high accuracy is even worse for privacy]…Amazon…responded [with the lie that]…”In the two-plus years we’ve been offering Amazon Rekognition, we have not received a single report of misuse by law enforcement”…The proposals from Amazon focus mainly on ensuring that law enforcement uses the technology [to surveil citizens more] effectively and without [being less able to identify] minorities.  “New technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse,” Amazon said in [typical tech-geek morally imbecilic fashion]…”Instead, the…[overlords] should be [free to do whatever they like]…and…that the[ir ability to oppress the citizens with the] technology…is continuously enhanced.”  Amazon said any national legislation should ensure facial recognition technology [is profitable for]…Amazon…and…governments [alike]…

A Woman’s Point of View (#912) 

Kaytlin Bailey responds to drama some want to whip up against “Decriminalize Sex Work”:

We are disappointed in [Emily Shugerman’s] editorial choice to focus on Rob Kampia in your February 3rd, 2019 [Daily Beast] article titled, “Rob Kampia Weed Activist With #MeToo Past, Is Now Pushing Sex Work Reform”.  By focusing on Rob’s past instead of our efforts to decriminalize sex work, you reduced a rich and vibrant movement to one man’s conduct.  You have also diminished the contributions of the women on our team, who have devoted decades to this cause in order to center the only man among our directors.  You minimized our accomplishments and our mission by publishing a piece that misrepresents not only our organization but the entire sex worker rights movement…whose voices are historically absent from all media reporting.  Yet, you wrote about Rob…To call our life’s work a “vanity project”…is an insult and a willful misrepresentation of who we are, what we’ve accomplished, and what we’re trying to do.  To suggest that allowing Rob Kampia to use his extensive network of donors and political resources to further our work is a betrayal of the sex worker rights movement is to minimize the diversity and breadth of this work, and to minimize the need for change.  We can focus on Rob, or we can talk about the immense harms of criminalization…

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If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?  –  Catherine Gaffney

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

An upscale New York City eatery has been accused of discriminating against women by a branding executive who wrote a personal essay…saying she was banned from eating at the restaurant’s bar.  Clementine Crawford…didn’t name the establishment in her essay for Drugstore Culture, but later confirmed…that the restaurant is Nello…she…was…informed…that [women are] “no longer permitted to eat” at the bar and “must now sit down at a table”…[because] the “owner had ordered a crackdown on hookers” who he believed preyed on clients at the bar…

A Mound of Filth 

With her husband decomposing, “Cuckoo Clock” McCain is doubling down on her creepy BDSM fantasies:

…the Phoenix Dream Center [makes] a…profit…[from] sex-trafficking [hysteria]…Cindy McCain…[claims] Arizona is a major hub for human trafficking around the world…[and] less than 2 percent of human trafficking victims are ever identified…McCain said her [fantasies of] human traffic started years ago, when she shopped for sari fabric for her daughter in Kolkata, India.  She heard clattering from beneath…She looked down, peering through the floorboards.  “I saw 100 sets of eyes – and they were little girls”…[she] went back to her nice home and…later [added] the [creepy fantasy of 100 prepubescent girls crammed into a basement]…to [her spank bank]…

Broken Record (#506)

The once-thriving competition for silliest “sex trafficking magnet” tall tale has been reduced mostly to pathetic reruns of years-old fantasies:

The North American International Auto Show brings a lot of people to Detroit.  But that’s not the only thing that comes to the city during the annual event.  “During that timeframe, we’re known to have a 280 to 330 percent increase in the number of sex trafficking workers that are in the area,” said Michael Glennon, with the FBI in Detroit …”We’re likely going to have approximately 30 to 40 children that are going to be trafficked just within the greater Detroit area,” he said…

We of course “know” exactly the opposite of this, and the approximate number of “sex trafficked children” in Detroit is much closer to zero than 30.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

The “progressives” have given religious fanatics a powerful censorship tool:  declare anything a “public health crisis” and it can be harassed at will:

A group of Arizona [politicians] have filed a resolution denouncing pornography as a “public health crisis”…[which]…is responsible for a variety of deleterious effects on society and the individual…”and…perpetuates a sexually toxic environment that damages all areas of our society”…

Amusingly, the lone Democratic sponsor of the bill now claims that…

…he accidentally put his name on the resolution when it was among a stack of other bills…”I’m almost embarrassed to say I inadvertently signed that bill,” [Reginald] Bolding said.  He has been working with the bill’s primary sponsor, Representative Michelle Udall, on several other items of legislation, which is how the pornography resolution ended up on his desk.  After Bolding [was exposed] on social media…as a co-sponsor, he had his name removed from the bill…”I’m not even sure about the origins of the bill,” Bolding said…

I can help you with that last one, Mr. Bolding; as this article explains, the “porn as public health crisis” propaganda is a dodge dreamed up by prohibitionist Gail Dines and used by politicians in socially-conservative states as an excuse for censorship.

Unchristian Nation

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

A federal judge…found four women guilty of misdemeanors after they [violated political diktats and] entered a national wildlife refuge along the U.S.-Mexico border to leave water and food for migrants…the…women were aid volunteers for No More Deaths, an advocacy group dedicated to ending the deaths of migrants crossing desert regions near the southern border…Natalie Hoffman…was found guilty of…operating a vehicle inside the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, entering a federally protected wilderness area without a [magical] permit and leaving behind gallons of water and bean cans…[i]n August 2017…Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick …were also charged…Each of the women face up to six months in prison…and a $500 fine…

O, Canada! (#813)

Canadian prohibitionists are still trying desperately to whip up “sex trafficking” hysteria there to US levels:

Human sex trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in Canada, and North Bay women are being enticed to give it a try.  Girls as young as 13 are being promised cash, pampering in hair and nail salons, as well as health and dental care, but it all comes at a cost – a steep one….“Women forced to service their customers 10 times a day. Women are being threatened, beaten, brainwashed and housed in horrible conditions. They’re poorly fed and drugged,” [moaned fetishist] Carolyn Couchie, [with her hand in her pants]…Couchie [fantasized that one] was housed in a basement with no windows for 10 days, only given water to drink, yet forced to perform for her male clients…Couchie said the girls are seen as a lucrative commodity, earning on average $280,000 annually for their handlers…Couchie and [a sow]…offered [their fantasies about] the world of human sex trafficking…[and cops imagining themselves as spies] who infiltrated the game…[in reality] programs like Northern Spotlight [harass and intimidate] sex worker[s by tricking them], and once they gain entry they [infantilize] women [by giving them] a tote bag with [stuff they can easily buy for themselves]…

Elephant in the Parlor (#831) 

“Prostitution” charges are such useful weapons against uppity women:

A Belarusian model who claimed last year that she had evidence of Russian interference in the election of Donald Trump has been arrested upon her arrival in Moscow following deportation from Thailand…Anastasia Vashukevich was detained…on charges of inducement to prostitution along with three people deported alongside her.  Vashukevich, who has been in a Thai prison since February last year, was given a suspended sentence on [January 15th] and ordered to be deported after she pleaded guilty to soliciting and conspiracy along with several co-defendants in a case related to holding a “sex training” seminar…

Spin Doctor

The word for “partnerships” between government and big corporations is “fascism”:

King County Council launched a campaign with several partners to [disseminate propaganda about sex work]…the council…plans to partner with the Port of Seattle, City of Seattle, Sound Transit, Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines for the campaign. [Shahada, King of the Hill]…Washington ranked 13th in the U.S. for most active cases handling human trafficking…Vice-chairman of the council Reagan Dunn…[said] the campaign’s biggest goal was to…drive calls to the national human trafficking hotline…

Naturally that’s the aim, since calls to the “hotline” are the claimed “evidence” to pretend that “sex trafficking” is epidemic.  The more “awareness”, the more calls; fetishists then claim the calls represent “cases”, and feature the numbers in propaganda which increases hysteria & generates more calls. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Changing the Rules

Looks like at least a couple of people at The Hill aren’t asleep at the wheel:

[Politicians]…in the new Congress seem eager to continue a campaign against…the internet…[which] came about in large part because we correctly viewed online intermediaries more like distributors (think bookstores and libraries) than traditional publishers.  But as the Internet evolved, [busybodies] increasingly [resented] this protection …in 2018, Section 230 went from an internet protection law to congressional leverage against “Big Tech” companies.  In a series of hearings last year with various technology executives, Section 230 was blamed for everything from suppression of conservative viewpoints to sex trafficking to the opioid epidemic…these arguments illustrate that many in Congress do not appear to understand how Section 230 works, what it protects, or the potential damage that carving out too many exemptions could do to innovation and free expression online…In the months since SESTA became law, it has become increasingly clear that such carve-outs cannot be contained merely to bad actors.  They have chilling, silencing effects on legitimate and valuable speech…

In case you don’t remember, a previous “opinion contributor” in The Hill (anti-porn group Morality in Media, which recently rebranded to the more authoritative-sounding “National Center on Sexual Exploitation”) put forth the exact bizarre interpretation condemned in this new article as part of an anti-internet, anti-consent, anti-sex, pro-censorship screed.

Feminine Pragmatism (#896) 

More infantilization of women doing what they must to survive:

…in Guyana…Fiona Hopkinson pleaded not guilty to…charges…that…she trafficked four Venezuelan women for sexual exploitation at the  Diamond Hotel and Night Club…the women, while being questioned by the police, confessed that they were in need of work and Hopkinson had transported them from Venezuela to work as prostitutes…

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Reports’ consistent portrayals of miserable, victimized prostitutes and villainous madams—despite evidence to the contrary—display [prohibitionists’] tireless ideological labors to bring their real-life encounters in line with their…assumptions.  –  Nicolette Severson

Here We Go Again 

Prohibitionism never, ever changes:

…members of the New York Female Moral Reform Society…visited brothels all over New York City [in 1835-36].  They…[pretended they wanted] to learn…why women [did] sex work and [wanted] to sav[e] them from what they considered a grave sin and social ill…[like modern “sex trafficking” fetishists] members of F.M.R.S…assumed that the women didn’t voluntarily decide to become prostitutes, but that they were seduced and trafficked by men who caused their moral downfall…Those preconceived notions were [and still are] false. Prostitutes…enter…sex work because…[it pays better and is more flexible than the sex workers’ other alternatives], and for many, prostitution [i]s a temporary job.  The reformers were shocked at the high-end brothels they visited.  Fitted with refined furnishings and attractive, accommodating women, these brothels were…similar to the homes middle-class women were expected to keep…No wonder, then, that…the F.M.R.S. reformers used [stereotyped] characters to portray sex workers…[so as] to support their own belief that prostitution meant moral decay and internal misery…

The Scarlet Letter

Why do these puritans insist on pretending that the literally prehistoric practice of shaming constitute a “modern” approach to intentionally harming people for wanting consensual sex?

The City of Dayton announced a new initiative…aimed at [harming sex workers]…Called Buyer’s Remorse, the campaign will “modernize” the city’s approach to prostitution…It will make the information of anyone [in]…Dayton to [have consensual] sex “very” public [without due process], Mayor Nan Whaley said…Their names and addresses will added to a[n online] map…

I hope the first few men listed on this site have the sense and resources to sue the city and shut the site down.

Feminine Pragmatism 

Lingerie fetishist offers women a pragmatic avenue of harm reduction:

With the shutdown now likely the longest of its kind in US history, furloughed feds are turning to second jobs, side hustles, and Craigslist sales to make an extra buck.  Now one Virginia resident…asks women who “could use several dollars” to send their undergarments—in return for a whopping $120 a pop…

Of course, the amateurs are as gobsmacked as Depression-era rednecks staring up at a skyscraper for the first time.

Under Every Bed

Population 28,486:

…“Humans are the best commodity that there is,” [a prohibitionist salivated]. “Pimps and stuff will tell you that they don’t have to renew their supply, unlike drugs that they have to keep buying more…The average time a person is sold during the year is 1,000 times.”  Sex trafficking is happening throughout the state of West Virginia and in places like Wheeling…Sheriff Tom Howard [fantasized]…“Be very careful with children because it can happen, unfortunately, with the drug epidemic…Any time you see something that looks like a lot of drug activity, there’s probably some kind of human trafficking going on along with it…It happens all throughout the county”…

These people are like living caricatures of self-important hicks.  The “unlike drugs, people can be sold many times” canard is an excuse to keep persecuting members of “gangs”; see “Traffic Jam” below.

The Course of a Disease (#349) 

The Danes just keep emphasizing their disgust with the Swedish model:

Danish Social Minister Mai Mercado…has revealed that the government is looking into improving conditions for sex workers, decrying the dramatic lack of human rights in this field…sex workers don’t enjoy the same rights as those engaged in other vocations, including the right to unemployment insurance payouts and pensions…”Society demands that everyone pay their taxes, including prostitutes, so I think that we are duty-bound to ensure people have basic rights”…Mercado said…Prostitutes are required to register…as their income is taxable, a situation described by Mercado as “taxation without representation”…Citing the experiences of neighbouring countries which…criminalis[e] the procurement of sex, Mai Mercado argued that accepting prostitution instead of trying to ban it is the right approach.  “We have witnessed Sweden’s experiences.  These are really bad.  There is more violence, more insecurity, and it keeps sinking to the underworld.  There is no need for that”, Mercado said…Among other things, [the new approach] will mean that prostitutes will have the right to enroll in an unemployment insurance fund, be entitled to unemployment benefits and be able to earn a pension…

Traffic Jam (#432)

“Sex trafficking” is another excuse to persecute the same groups as always:

…Some [things the government labels] trafficking are prosecuted more heavily than others…Sex trafficking of a minor…carries a statutory minimum of 10 years…[and] maximum…of life in prison.  [Other things labeled] human trafficking…[such as] forcing people to labor for no pay in domestic service, factories, restaurants and so on — have no mandatory minimum…federal prosecutors have behaved accordingly, prosecuting more than twice as many minor sex-trafficking cases as adult sex-trafficking and labor-trafficking cases combined…57 percent of the defendants in minor sex-trafficking cases are black — compared with 43 percent in adult sex-trafficking cases and only 18 percent in labor trafficking…The average age of a defendant in a minor sex-trafficking case is 31, while it’s 33 and 40 respectively for adult sex- and labor-trafficking cases…76 percent of defendants in minor sex-trafficking cases are male, while that’s true for only 71 percent and 59 percent of adult sex- and labor-trafficking defendants, respectively.  In other words…the [cases labeled as] trafficking…that carr[y] the highest penalties and [are] most likely to be prosecuted — are significantly more likely to be [against defendants who are] young, black and male…

Eternal Vigilance (#682)

Until prohibition is itself outlawed, decriminalization of any consensual activity is at best a temporary respite:

Tight bylaws limiting where brothels can operate in Queenstown and Wanaka have failed to stop the trade, with sex workers instead using “working girl-friendly” hotels and selling sex from homes…prostitution contributes “hugely” to the district’s economy, but those working in the industry continue to be discriminated against, mocked and marginalised.  The Queenstown Lakes District Council…has kept its towns brothel-less through restrictive and “draconian” bylaws since prostitution was decriminalised in 2003…going as far as banning them altogether in a 2008 bylaw.  The council later reviewed the bylaw because it was potentially at odds with the Prostitution Reform Act, but…[it] is still at odds with the Act…[because] brothels are only allowed to operate within a two-block zone in the town centre…They cannot be on ground level or beneath ground level or have signs advertising the business…

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

Some helpful figures for countering prohibitionists’ agency-negating lies:

…anti-traffickers often [lie] that the majority of those who sell sex in India are forced or begin when they are underage.  The best available research, however, provides a different picture.  A survey of over 6500 female sex workers in South India aged 15 and above found that the mean age of entrance into sex work was 21.7 years.  The most comprehensive  data set included 3000 sex workers from across the nation.  Of these, 81.59% entered sex work when they were 19 years old or above and 14.53% between 15-18 years.  The Pan India Survey found that across all modes and sites of sex work in India, 79.4% of women entered the trade voluntarily, while 7.1% were forced, 2.8% were sold, and 9.2% were cheated…The term “forced” should only be used in reference to work rendered through physical force, threats, beatings, blackmail, cheating and similarly direct forms of compulsion…If financial urgency were defined as “force”, then the vast majority of the world’s workers would have to be defined as “forced labourers”.  Very few individuals are either entirely free to make unfettered decisions about their means of earning money or are entirely freed from the need to do so…

Business As Usual (#877) 

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

Stormy Daniels’s July 2018 arrest…by…Columbus [vice pigs]…turned out to be…a pre-planned political stunt by vice detectives — one of whom later bragged about it to colleagues.  Daniels and two others later sued for false arrest.  Then, in August, the [gang] was again in the spotlight because a vice detective [murdered] a sex worker…after…she [resisted his attempt to rape her]…in his unmarked car.  In September, another whistleblower familiar with local strip clubs informed city officials of extortion, selective enforcement and entrapment by the vice [gang], bringing a large package of documents to corroborate the allegations…[then] the chief of the CPD asked the FBI to take over the investigation…and…on September 27, [rapist and murderer] Andrew Mitchell…was [given a paid vacation]…On December 13, the CPD put a third vice detective involved in the sting on desk duty…[and] announced that the vice [gang] will resume limited operations with a “select” [herd] of [pigs], although the FBI probe remains ongoing.  The [gang] will [supposedly] be handling liquor and nuisance complaints at after-hours clubs, instead of spending thousands on drinks and lap dances [while molesting and raping women without consequence]…

Also: “hold accountable” is a moralist shibboleth which means something like “persecute using a moralistic excuse”. It has no place in articles about genuine wrongdoers facing the consequences of their actions.

Monsters (#878) 

Prohibitionists know we’re right about the dangers of criminalization; they just don’t care:

…the [trans sex worker community who work in and around the] sprawling Bois de Boulogne public park in western Paris…has felt considerably less safe since the French government introduced [the Swedish model]…in 2016…as p[redict]ed, clients now regularly ask the women for sex in secluded areas to avoid the police.  In a Médecins du Monde survey conducted with nearly 600 sex workers…63 percent said they have seen their working conditions deteriorate, while 42 percent said they have experienced more violence since the law change…The Paris mayor’s office [even] shut[s] off many of the lights in the park in the evenings as a way to [intentionally increase the danger to sex workers] there…Acceptess-T, an association that advocates on behalf of trans and immigrant sex workers [says] “They are more vulnerable than ever”…

Surplus Women (#896) 

Answer: it’s a rationalization of cop behavior.  Which, admittedly, isn’t easy to tell from serial killer behavior:

Juan David Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, pleaded not guilty…to capital murder in the deaths of four women [because they were just whores]…Ortiz [was convinced by government anti-sex propaganda that] it was his duty to clean up the streets of Laredo…so he began picking up alleged sex workers, driving them to remote areas, and then shooting them in the head…Ortiz thought [cops] w[ere]n’t doing enough to stop [adults from having consensual sex] in Laredo, so he believed he was “doing a service” by killing the women…prosecutors are seeking the death penalty because Ortiz’s “vigilante mentality” presents a “future danger to [people who aren’t whores]”…

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All the excitement and hand wringing about [sex robots] was…pointless because [they] just don’t exist.  –  Mark Hay

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

The head pastor of a Methodist congregation in Orange County [California]…was charged…with two counts of molesting a girl under 14 years old…John Rodgers McFarland…was arrested…Dec. 18…San Diego County prosecutors filed two counts of lewd acts on a child…stem[ming] from incidents in 2012 and 2013…Police in Fountain Valley, where McFarland worked as a pastor at a Methodist church for 26 years, said there is “evidence that McFarland abused other victims during his time as a pastor in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach”…He was the head pastor from 1988 to 2014 at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church, and a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2014…McFarland was also the youth pastor at San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas from 1978 to 1981…

Backwards into the Future (#425) 

I wonder how long it will be before the US abandons “re-education” for sex workers and clients?

China looks set to abolish a controversial system that lets police arbitrarily detain sex workers and their clients for up to two years without trial for “compulsory education”.  The “detention and re-education for those involved in prostitution” program, which has existed for 27 years, was recommended for abolition…by the Legislative Affairs Commission…scholars, legal practitioners and members of the public…have long lobbied for the change on the grounds such administrative detention is unjust, extrajudicial and particularly punitive.  Sex work will remain punishable …by a penalty of up to 15 days’ detention.  The parallel custody and education system [h]as…[since] 1991…authorized police to force sex workers into various forms of long-term “education” which included morality lessons, written confessions, forced labor and other humiliating activities designed to “remove evil habits”…

Shift in the Wind (#530)

More and more, the media in many countries are siding with sex workers:

On December 17th, sex workers…and…activists from Macedonia held the 11th annual “Red Umbrella March” in Skopje…The Macedonian march was organized by STAR-STAR, the first sex workers collective in the Balkans…participants demand changes to in the Criminal Code which has remained unchanged for three decades since the fall of Communism…with exception to increasing penalties for sex workers…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

…a darkening wave of internet censorship…started when Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in March…Long before these laws were passed though, sex workers and advocates spoke out against them, [explaining] that their terms were vague and overreaching and would…decimate the digital platforms that have specifically provided a space for workers to meet, vet clients, and engage in consensual business in an online environment far safer than working on the street…The sex workers’ fears did materialize. Craigslist immediately deleted its Personals section…and Backpage…was seized by the FBI.  Multiple sex work forums disappeared immediately…harming and isolating queer people…Over the past few months alone Recon, a fetish dating site for gay men, saw their Youtube temporarily suspended…Naked Boys Reading saw their Facebook page temporarily banned…In October, Facebook was revealed to be blocking many LGBTQ+ ads as part of its new advertising policy…Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has also appeared to be censoring the queer community with algorithms that, intentionally or otherwise, flag queer content at a higher rate than non-queer content…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

I wish writers would stop these pandering claims that censorship attempts are “well-intentioned”:

…a string of civil lawsuits [has] intended to pin liability on online platforms for allegedly providing material support to terrorists.  Several federal trial courts dismissed such suits [last] year, but some of these cases are on appeal and plaintiffs have filed several new ones.  If these suits are successful…platforms would have little choice to become much more restrictive in what sorts of speech they allow…these cases…threaten the availability of open online forums and Internet users’ ability to access information.  That’s why EFF filed legal briefs in 2018 asking two different federal appellate courts to dismiss material support cases against social media platforms…So far, courts have been quick to toss out these material support lawsuits…As well-intentioned as these cases are, they pose a threat to…online communities…[they] threaten Internet users’ and the platforms’ First Amendment rights…[and] jeopardize one of the Internet’s most important laws, Section 230…

Censorship and prohibition are not, and by their very nature cannot be, “well-intentioned”.  They are attempts to control other people’s minds, bodies and lives and are thus intrinsically evil no matter how they’re excused by authoritarians.

Disaster 

It’s good to see so many journalists recognizing how dangerous the War on Whores has become.  This Forbes article on “The 9 Most Important Sex Trends Of 2018” includes the following:

…FOSTA-SESTA…opens internet platforms to liability for…user-generated content, creating a major legal risk for sites used to facilitate sex work…[and] adds to the popular, yet false, conflation of sex work with sex trafficking…The law has led to the shutdown of a number sites, groups, and forums sex workers used to facilitate their operations…[and] share safety information…and…has also…accelerated a wave of sexual censorship online…FOSTA-SESTA “is causing major havoc,” argues [sexologist Jill] McDevitt, for “anyone who uses the internet to read, research, or express themselves sexually in any way”…[experts] are worried that Twitter, the last major bastion of sexual speech online, may fall to this wave of censorship in the new year…

Imaginary Victims (#864) 

As I’ve pointed out many times, “safe harbor” laws only protect “perfect victims”, not real ones:

The Summit County Juvenile Court in Ohio didn’t follow the law when it allowed a 15-year-old girl who was a human trafficking victim to be tried as an adult in the robbery and murder of the man who trafficked her, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled…The high court, however, upheld the girl’s conviction and sentence to prison for the rest of her life…[claiming] Alexis Martin couldn’t prove that the judge’s decision to bind her over to adult court would have changed if the juvenile court had [actually followed the “safe harbor” law as it was required to do]…

Gorged With Meaning (#877)

Ignoring student sex workers would be fine; the problem is that universities are actively harming them:

Universities must stop ignoring the plight of a growing number of students turning to sex work and should start offering non-judgemental support, campaigners demand.  Students and experts have accused institutions of “simply burying their heads in the sand” over the issue…many universities are…actively blocking groups trying to support students involved in sex work.  In one case a student…sex work[er] was evicted from her home and threatened with expulsion by her university…The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)…have fought a number of cases recently where universities have threatened to throw out students if they do not stop doing sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#884)

Israeli prohibitionists are trying to criminalize all sex work:

The Knesset approved the first reading of a bill limiting the Israeli access to…sites presenting adult-related materials…the bill demands web-service providers to send a message to house-holds with internet access asking if they wish to have such sites blocked or not…Should they decline the offer they will be asked to provide personal information [which will then be shared with the government] proving that they are adults and are the ones paying for the service…The Knesset also approved adopting the Nordic Model…which…is…a state intervention on people’s right’s and bodies as well as a criminaliz[ation of] human activity that will be very hard to prevent…

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Facial recognition…will turn members of the public into walking ID cards.  –  Silkie Carlo

The Red Umbrella 

As tourists shopped for Christmas gifts in the brightly lit Westlake Center, sex worker and performance artist Vee Chattie sat half-naked in the rain on a towel…[covered in] fake blood…poured…from a vessel marked “FOSTA-SESTA“…A few bicycle cops rode up to make sure they weren’t actually bleeding.  A passerby asked if they were okay.  Another stopped by to voice his agreement…these Seattleites showed more human concern for Chattie than many show for sex workers on a regular basis.  It was effective performance art…

Real People 

A good profile of veteran trans & sex worker rights activist Ceyenne Doroshow:

…As a Black trans woman I see progress, but not that much…we have a government fighting against our very existence…Are we gonna go back to the Stonewall days where you need to have on two male articles [of clothing]?…I will never go back to those times, I’m sorry.  When I had to be Eddie Morales, it was for survival.  When I had to do sex work, it was definitely survival.  Because even working a part-time job for a non-profit where I’m saving lives was not paying me enough to sustain in life…And we’re still seeing that today in not-for-profits.  We’re being tokenized…We can systematically turn people off when we let a government ordain what femininity looks like, what women’s rights looks like, what protection looks like…

Above the Law  

Even being related to a cop may be enough:

Rape and sodomy charges against the son of Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton were dismissed by a…grand jury…Patrick Melton…[raped the drunk] victim on July 7 at his residence on University Avenue in Lexington [Kentucky]…The woman…tried to squirm, push and kick Melton…[and] multiple witnesses confirmed the victim’s statements that she was intoxicated and passed out prior to the [rape]…

Watershed

When the magazine founded by Gloria “Body Invasion” Steinem publishes an anti-Swedish model article, the handwriting is on the wall for “feminist” prohibitionism:

…the “Nordic Model”…is often touted as a compromise between the criminalization or decriminalization of sex work, and one that decreases prosecution against sex workers—but, like all criminalization approaches to the regulation of sex work, the Nordic Model is underpinned by a moralistic framing of sex work that is inherently harmful, to sex workers and to society at-large…it applies an oversimplified macro-economic framing of supply and demand to an industry that consists of fundamentally discrete, personal and often isolated or irregular interactions.  December 17 is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers—and we’re demanding an end to “End Demand”.  Here are three reasons why…

Japanese Prostitution (#435) 

More accurate headline: “Enjo kosai girls get better at protecting themselves from busybodies”:

More than half of youths involved in [what is now labeled] child prostitution in Japan’s three biggest metropolitan areas last year had shown no signs of delinquency, attending schools normally and having never had criminal records, a survey shows.  The finding suggests it has been increasingly difficult for parents and teachers to detect a change in the attitude of juveniles, the National Police Agency said…[yet still insisted on describing them as]…victimized…[even though] most…were involved in [sex work]…for financial reasons, with 84.5 percent saying they wanted “money for leisure and other activities,” while 5.7 percent and 2.6 percent pointed to “living expenses” and “tuition,” respectively.  Other reasons included “out of curiosity” and “invited by friends”…

“Compensated dating” has existed in Japan for decades, but Japanese “authorities” have only started imposing a “crime and victimization” narrative on the activity within this decade.

The Prudish Giant (#789)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Facebook gave more than 150 companies, including Microsoft, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon, and Yahoo, unprecedented access to users’ personal data…[the] New York Times…obtained hundreds of pages of Facebook documents, generated in 2017, that show that the social network considered these companies business partners and effectively exempted them from its privacy rules.  Facebook allowed Microsoft’s search engine Bing to see the names of nearly all users’ friends without their consent, and allowed Spotify, Netflix, and the Royal Bank of Canada to read, write, and delete users’ private messages, and see participants on a thread.  It also allowed Amazon to get users’ names and contact information through their friends, let Apple access users’ Facebook contacts and calendars even if users had disabled data sharing, and let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts “as recently as this summer,” despite publicly claiming it had stopped sharing such information a year ago…

The article then goes on to list the denials & prevarications of Facebook and many of its “partners”.

Stupor Bowl (#811)

Prohibitionists are trying to subvert our debunking of the gypsy whores myth by pretending the reason there’s no surge is that the “demand” for “victims” is always sky-high:

[Prohibitionist profiteer] Bob Rodgers [said] “The Super Bowl doesn’t cause sex trafficking…Conferences and conventions, like so many we have in Atlanta, don’t cause sex trafficking.  It is already occurring in every metro Atlanta county and it will still be happening when the Super Bowl leaves”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#871)

The biggest problem with this ridiculous failure rate is that it won’t stay inaccurate for much longer:

London cops have been slammed for using unmarked vans to test controversial and inaccurate automated facial recognition technology on Christmas shoppers…in…Soho, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester Square…the tech will be attached to vans and run for eight hours on each day…In May, a Freedom of Information request from Big Brother Watch showed the Met’s facial recog had a 98 per cent false positive rate…a subsequent request found that 100 per cent of the so-called matches since May have been incorrect.  A recent report from Cardiff University questioned the technology’s abilities in low light and crowds – which doesn’t bode well for a trial in some of the busiest streets in London just days before the winter solstice…

Disaster (#895) 

Never forget that “filter” is merely a euphemism for “censor”:

According to Tumblr, its new adult content ban doesn’t effect [sic] images of “female-presenting nipples” that involve medical situations, are related to political speech, or appear in artwork.  Tumblr itself, however, apparently can’t come up with four examples of [nipple pictures]…its porn filter actually allows…Tumblr’s staff account published a message  aimed at “clarify[ing]” the new policy…[including] a gif providing several examples of nudity that is “still permitted within our policy”…but…when Gizmodo posted the gif to Tumblr ourselves, it was immediately flagged as a potential violation and hidden by the…filter.  When the images…were uploaded individually, two of the four examples…were similarly flagged and hidden…In recent days, the platform has allegedly flagged a picture of a finger, historical bus photos, and Great British Bake-Off gifs…

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In the minds of the regulate-and-incarcerate crowd, it is much better to treat unsolicited butt or genital sightings with the same intensity as we do matters of national security.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot has reached Spain:

The Spanish government is proposing a spate of new legal measures to [persecute] prostitut[es].  These include penalizing clients who solicit for sex and punishing landlords who make properties available to sex workers.  Further measures would also look to prosecute [people cops decide to label] traffickers…and…decriminalizing [sex workers, even though they are not currently criminalized]…Sex work is…neither illegal nor regulated [in Spain] but Prime Minister Sanchez came to power in June with a strongly [misogynist] agenda and promising to fight the e[mployment and sexual autonomy] of women…

Traffic Jam (#694) 

24 years of state-inflicted torture finally end for the San Antonio 4:

…Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl handed out orders…expunging the records of Elizabeth Ramirez…Cassandra Rivera…Kristie Mayhugh …and Anna Vasquez…all government agencies that house information on criminal charges, indictments, arrests or convictions related to the cases in which the women were found innocent must seal or destroy the records.  The women consistently maintained their innocence from that day 24 years ago when Ramirez’s nieces, then ages 7 and 9, accused the women of brutalizing them while on a weekend visit…After the women served nearly 15 years in prison, one of the nieces publicly recanted.  She said family members upset that her aunt had come out as a lesbian told her to lie.  So did her father, who…was upset that Ramirez had spurned his advances…it was also shown that [bogus] science helped support the charge…each of them…[has] receive[d] state compensation of about $80,000 for each year they were imprisoned — a little more than $1 million apiece…

Too Close To Home (#760)

Another exercise in cop-fellation and myth-regurgitation masquerading as journalism:

…Charles Peters…[of] the self-titled “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”…was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine after a jury convicted him in October of nine counts of second-degree promoting prostitution.  Peters…is appealing his conviction…[and free on] $75,000 bond while his appeal is pending…

Though she didn’t write that moronic headline (“Ringleader”?  Who the fuck uses that word with a straight face any more? Has the editor been watching ’30s gangster movies?), Sara Jean Green still needs to be ashamed of herself for this garbage, especially considering that I know for a fact she has the phone numbers of several prominent Seattle sex workers (including mine).  Prohibitionists claim what I do for money is “demeaning”, but I don’t have to infantilize peaceful women, demonize peaceful men, or lionize violent thugs.

Check Your Premises (#809)

Despite some conciliatory language and ground-ceding, this is a good article:

…the Tucson Weekly accessed a spreadsheet of all [Southern Arizona “sex trafficking”] investigations in the three years since the beginning of the grant and found 10 people who were convicted of trafficking and related crimes.  Out of 516 investigations…[only] 23 people were categorized as arrested for trafficking…of those 23…[only] 14 were [actually] charged with trafficking [or] other sex crimes…Of the 14…10 people were convicted or took plea deals, three have ongoing court cases and one committed suicide after being released on bail…[only] two cases resemble the mainstream narrative of a…[woman] forced to commit commercial sex acts against her will…In one case, a drunk, 71-year-old registered sex-offender in a wheelchair persistently and crudely offered a 14-year-old girl money for sexual favors at a bus stop…In another case, a man offered to pay three 15-year-old boys and one girl to [perform] sex acts in front of him.  Some of the cases involve runaways…In other cases, the…[so-called] trafficker [was the sex worker’s] friend or boyfriend…The spreadsheet indicates 52 misdemeanor arrests related to prostitution or not having an escort license…

Traffic in Nonsense (#831)

Anti-whore indoctrination has wholly infested the US trucking industry:

…Kendis Paris…of Truckers Against Trafficking…is one member of the 15-person Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation in October.  The group’s goal is to develop strategies for [encouraging truck drivers to snitch on sex workers]…The committee includes leaders of [rescue industry] organizations…[anti-whore propagandists] and representatives of the trucking, bus, rail, aviation, maritime and port industries…Truckers Against Trafficking leads [indoctrination] programs and distributes [propaganda] materials to various sectors of the industry…About 40 states have adopted aspects of Truckers Against Trafficking’s [indoctrination] model.  The group has worked with [pigs] who give [propaganda] wallet cards to truck drivers…

Imaginary Victims (#839)

Even by despicable modern US standards, this is an incredibly evil ruling:

A woman who was 16 when she killed a Nashville man who [assaulted] her…must serve at least 51 years in prison before she’s eligible for release, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court…The court’s five justices were unanimous in their decision against Brown, who was convicted of killing a…[client] in 2004 when he [roughed her up and]…she feared he would kill her…Brown argues her sentence is unconstitutional, citing a 2012 opinion by the US Supreme Court that said mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders violate the US Constitution…

Brown’s only chance now is the outgoing Tennessee governor, who can pardon her and commute her sentence.

Shame, Shame (#853)

New York just won’t stop trying to subject nude-pic-posters to police violence:

Under [New York politician Joseph] Borrelli’s measure, it would be a misdemeanor offense “to send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm such other person,” punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.  Sexually explicit means anything showing “genitals, pubic area or anus of any person”…It’s already illegal for adults to send sexually explicit images to minors…[and] already illegal…to harass someone, stalk them, or threaten them.  So sending sexually explicit images “with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm” could already be prosecuted under another statute, provided there actually is evidence of harassing or threatening intent.  What that leaves us with is basically a way for anyone to press charges against anyone who sends them a sexualized image…The measure would provide plenty of opportunity for jilted lovers to get even with criminal charges…The opportunity is also ripe for abuse against sex workers who advertise online, whether by those who enjoy harassing them for sport (as with last week’s so-called ThotAudit), by customers who feel slighted, or by law enforcement…

A Broker in Pillage (#858)

With any luck, SCOTUS will shut down this extortion scheme and others like it:

A Detroit woman [named Crystal Sisson] is suing Wayne County, Michigan, after police [stole] her car [because she bought] $10 worth of [legal] marijuana…[from] a [licensed] Detroit medical marijuana dispensary…the sheriff’s deputies cited her for “illegally occupying a place where controlled substances are sold” and seized her 2015 Kia Soul…To get her car back, Sisson had to pay the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office $1,200 to settle the forfeiture case, a typical practice in the county…the Supreme Court is currently considering a similar asset forfeiture case, Timbs v. Indiana, that revolves around the case of Tyson Timbs, whose Land Rover, worth $41,000, was seized after he sold two grams of heroin to a [narc]…Court watchers strongly suspect the Supreme Court will incorporate the Eighth Amendment, making the Excessive Fines clause apply to states.  Sisson is only one of hundreds of Wayne County residents who’ve been surveilled, pulled over, had their car [stolen], and been forced to pay out more than $1,000 to get it back, all for visiting legal, state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries…

Banishment (#870) 

Caging people permanently, without trial or sentence:

…William Welsh has a number of convictions for child molestation and sexual abuse dating back to 1979.  In 2011 he was no longer in custody, having served his required prison and probationary sentences. He was, however, required to register on Oregon’s Sex Offender Registry because of his prior convictions.  When he traveled to Belize in 2011 and failed to update the address listed on his registration, he was charged, and pled guilty, to violating…registration requirements – a felony – and he was sentenced to 673 days in prison.  A few weeks prior to his release, the Attorney General designated him a “sexually dangerous person”; the reviewing court agreed, and he was [indefinitely] committed…In 2016, however, his conviction (for having failed to update his registration) was vacated, after the Supreme Court, in US v. Nichols, 136 S.Ct. 113, held that SORNA did not require a person to update his registration when he was traveling to a foreign country.  So he petitioned for a release from custody, arguing that because he had not lawfully been “in custody” of the Bureau of Prisons…he could not, lawfully, have been subject to the commitment proceeding for “sexually dangerous persons” in the first place.  But his request for release was denied, first by the federal district court and then by the 4th Circuit

Surplus Women (#873) 

Let’s play a game:  Is this a rationalization of cop behavior or serial killer behavior?

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been charged with capital murder after telling investigators he killed four female sex workers because he considered them worthless and that he thought he was doing something good for his Texas border city…[the] prosecutor said…he will seek the death penalty if Juan David Ortiz is found guilty…

Feminine Pragmatism (#892) 

Dreams“. How old is the imbecile who writes this shit? Eight?

…Escalona was one of at least 41 Venezuelan women murdered abroad from February 2017 to this November.  They had fled Venezuela’s economic turmoil. They left their homeland with dreams.  Some were forced into prostitution.  All met death…

No.  These women weren’t “following dreams” like refugees from a fucking Hallmark card; they were trying to survive by fleeing a collapsing socialist dictatorship.  They were not naive children like so many American women; they were adults who had to take risks thanks to authoritarians criminalizing their pragmatic choice to cross borders to work.  And since criminalization attracts criminals, sometimes they lost those gambles.  The villains here aren’t imaginary “trafficking rings”; they’re the fucking politicians who force desperate people to deal with criminals to have a chance to escape hell.

Disaster (#893)

I’m not sure how much this will help, but it certainly can’t hurt:

…the new platform Tribunus has allowed web users to weigh in on critical issues when petitions and digital comments are no longer viable steps.  On Tribunus’ simple site, US residents can contact legislators directly by placing a phone call, sending them a fax, or — if their fax machine is turned off — quickly sending them a paper letter instead.  Tribunus’ creator, a Bay Area programmer who asked to be identified as Michael, said he first launched the platform to help defeat a legal measure threatening California sex workers (successfully, after protests and hundreds of letters).  Later on, he added pages addressing immigrant family separation and net neutrality…

The Prudish Giant (#895) 

Facebook turns the dial on its anti-sex “standards” up to 11:

Facebook just…adopted…new “sexual solicitation” rules…[that] ban “implicit sexual solicitation”including the use of sexual slang, the solicitation of nude images, discussion of “sexual partner preference,” and even expressing interest in sex…the new policy [even] bars “vague suggestive statements, such as ‘looking for a good time tonight’”…discussion of sexual exploitation is allowed, but discussion of consensual, adult sex is taboo.  That’s a classic censorship model: speech about sexuality being permitted only when sex is presented as dangerous and shameful…such…rules can incentivize abuse from…bad actors…[including] state actors…This process gives the user no meaningful opportunity to appeal a bad decision.  Given the rules’ focus on sexual interests and activities, it’s easy to imagine who would be the easiest targets:  sex workers…[and] members of the LGBTQ community…

From the way these rules are worded, they seem to even ban bland statements like “I’m lesbian” (which is “expressing sexual partner preference”).

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

They Just Don’t Get It

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

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

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

Judd Not, Lest Ye Be Judded

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

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

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

Backwards Into the Future (June Updates)

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

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

Scapegoats (#15) 

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

Monsters 

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

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

If Men Were Angels 

Most rapes by clergymen are much more subtle:

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

Grow the Hell Up! (#644)

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

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

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

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

Whore Madonnas (#734) 

An interview with a pregnant sex worker:

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

Opting Out (#822) 

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

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

Disaster (#865)

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

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

End Demand (#872)

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

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

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