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Posts Tagged ‘Profit from Panic’

Sex work is a highly complex experience and must not be reduced to sensationalised fictions that do nothing to capture the lives of the very people being depicted.  –  Kate Lister

Profit from Panic 

Nice lady goes to slums and is horrified by poor sex workers; guess why she stayed:

…I set out to write a sex worker diary…out of [lurid] curiosity.  I had heard stories that in Bwaise, a slum in northern Kampala, women were selling themselves for as little as 500 Uganda shillings (US$0.14).  I wanted to get a first-hand view of the situation…Some…questioned my motive…I almost gave up…It was the encouragement I received from [“rescue”] organisations that…propelled me to continue writing.  Not for Sale Uganda…[blathered about “providing] them with alternative dignified work”…Divine Hearts, a Christian organisation…pledged…[to] pay school fees for two of the sex workers’ children…

I would be interested in seeing a comparison of these NGO executives’ salaries with the cost of sending a child to school in Uganda.

The Widening Gyre 

It’s really hilarious that cops are now starting to believe their own wanking fantasies:

Seattle police are investigating a purported prostitution ring said by one escort to service “persons in positions of power” in the city.  Detectives have searched a Capitol Hill home belonging to the suspected pimp…one former escort told investigators the Capitol Hill man named notable Seattle community members as his clients.  Police now have custody of electronic devices and records that may prove that claim…

In other words, a chickenshit pimp brags to somebody to make himself look good, Seattle’s Keystone Kops think they’ve stumbled upon an escort service catering to big wheels, and reporters breathlessly repeat the cops’ fantasies.  If you made this a TV show plot, people would say it was unbelievable.

Fever Dream

Tennessee “authorities” say it isn’t important what sex workers think; we’re “victims” whether we say so or not:

Law enforcement in Tennessee has altered the way it describes prostitution.  Now the preferred language is “sex trafficking”…[even though] big [pogroms]…have yielded few trafficking charges…Josh DeVine, a spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, [denies sex workers’ agency & vomits out a lot of propaganda]…Vanderbilt University professor Jill Robinson sees both sides of the argument, recognizing that it can “be problematic to expand the term so much that it includes everything”…[but she hates whores so she’s happy with policies that infantilize us & deprive us of income]…

Moloch (#342)

Is this enough blood yet? Can we please stop now?

Corey [Walgren] was at lunch…in his high school this past January when he was called into the office.  Waiting for him was the campus dean and a [cop].  They questioned him about what was alleged to be an image on his phone of a consensual sexual encounter with a female classmate, also 16.  The accusation was possession of and possibly sharing “child pornography.”  Evidence strongly suggests that [they threatened him with] being registered as a sexual offender…Only at that point were attempts made to contact his parents.  Corey was told that his mother was on the way to the school, and he was left alone to wait for her.  At some point before she arrived, Corey left…walked a mile and threw himself off of a six-story parking garage.  His death was not instantaneous, but it came before his mother could get to him…the images on the phone were so black that nothing could be seen.  Even though audio of the encounter was discernible, police records indicate that they would not have pressed charges after all…

A pig and a prude though it was a good idea to threaten a boy with a lifetime of ostracism because he had sex with a girl.  I hope the image of his shattered body is indelibly impressed on their brains; I hope it tortures them both until they end it the same way he did.  And I hope this story comes up every time some self-important wanker of a judge declares that the “sex offender” registry isn’t a punishment.

Innocence Never Had

So much fantasy, so many contradictions:

A 17-year-old girl has allegedly been used as bait to ensnare younger girls in a human trafficking ring operating out of [Johannesburg, South Africa]…This is according to the mother of a 14-year-old…girl whom police took from a barber’s shop that allegedly doubled as a brothel…five girls were [supposedly] found drugged…The 17-year-old and the [shop owner] were both arrested and…charged with human trafficking, kidnapping, rape, sexual exploitation and possession of drugs and pornographic material…the 17-year-old…was a “problem child” who had repeatedly run away from home since the age of 15…Prostitutes working in the area are not convinced that…the girls the police have taken from the premises were forced into the trade…

The Monsters Are Due 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

In the last photographs taken of him, Mohammed Naeem is pleading to a group of villagers as blood trickles down from his head.  Half of his body is soaked in red.  His shirt presumably ripped away, and dirt marks on his pants suggest he was kicked repeatedly…Naeem was the last of four people to be beaten to death…by villagers in Sobhapur, [India]…Naeem’s last moments became the face of a string of attacks…triggered by rumours…that child abduction gangs are on the prowl.  Villagers…picked up weapons such as sticks and bats, and were attacking strangers…Two people were killed over similar suspicions earlier in the week.  None of the victims were involved in kidnapping…Naeem and his cattle trader companions were passing through Sobhapur early in the morning on [May 18th when]…Villagers…stopped their SUV, dragged the four people out and tortured them for four hours before killing them…

This is the price of inventing myths to justify controlling other people’s private sexual behavior.

Broken Record (#643) 

Canadian prohibitionists are still desperate to cash in before the panic implodes:

The recruitment of young women in the weeks surrounding Montreal’s Formula 1 weekend isn’t new, according to [prohibitionists]…“We plan to…gather the already-existing information from various organisms [sic] who fight the human trafficking of women and girls,” said [prohibitionist] Cathy Wong…demand is so high during the Grand Prix, that women and girls are brought in from Ontario, and even the U.S…“In the end, it’s prostitution,” said Martine B. Côté, [another prohibitionist]…“You can pay for sexual services just by clicking your fingers”…

I’d like to reassure Martine that A) touring escorts are able to make their own travel plans without having to be “brought in” like cargo; B) escorts already know that what we do is prostitution, but thanks for telling us; and C) I’m afraid it takes just a bit more to pay for sex than just “clicking your fingers”, even if the escort accepts online payments.  But please, let Cathy tell us more about these organisms who “fight sex trafficking”.

Too Close To Home (#664)

This is especially ignorant in Seattle, where nobody can claim they don’t know of any sex workers to consult on the subject:

…as human trafficking rates continue to soar and the demand for paid sex grows…Seattle…decided to adopt the “Nordic Model”…It seems to be working well for Sweden, which has seen a dramatic drop in sex work since the law was implemented in 1999…an overwhelming amount of [sex] workers are poor women with few alternatives…[who] are lured or forced into “the life” through a history of sexual abuse, substance addiction, and severe poverty…the alternative, making prostitution legal, has failed time and time again…

Nearly every single sentence in this pile of shit is wrong; it’s actually quite an achievement.

Send In the Clowns 

Now, this is an interesting twist:

A 29-year-old man was slashed to death in the parking lot of Torchy’s Tacos in downtown Denver…[very early] Tuesday morning.  Witnesses referred to the suspect as a man in “white, clown-type makeup with black streaks on his face…[wearing] a glove with blades on the end of each finger”…the clown-faced man was seen hopping aboard a scooter and riding away into the night.  Shortly thereafter…the attacker…was spotted on a [surveillance]…camera a few blocks away…throwing what looked to be a knife in the bushes…police discovered that knife covered in blood…[the suspect] was subsequently arrested…[and] identified…as…Christian Lee Gulzow, a local death metal vocalist…[who] frequently posts photos and videos of himself wearing makeup and sporting gloves with extended and pointed fingertips—both of which seem to match the descriptions made by the witnesses…

The Notorious Badge (#726)

Kate Lister of Whores of Yore on the background history of the Harlots TV show:

Harlots has gone beyond simply dusting off the tit crushing corsets and has deftly woven historical facts into the warp and weft of this bloomer dropping, gin swilling, cinematic trupenny upright, and I love it.  But, I’m not here to tell you how much fun the show is (and it really is!) I’m here for the history.  Harlots tells a hell of a story, but there is more to consider here than a corseted dose of how’s your father in a sepia filter.  That Harlots so clearly uses historical truth to embellish the show is what really piques my interest…

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Sex workers are literally dying because of [brothelkeeping] law.
–  Wendy Lyon

Whores and Wives

Let’s hope this means Snopes will start doing more to debunk “sex trafficking” lies:

Snopes.com’s founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, are embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce.  He has since remarried, to a former escort and porn actress who is one of the site’s staff members.  They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of “embezzlement” and suggesting he is attempting a “boondoggle” to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Could this bootlicking be any more pompous?

Like many other law enforcement agencies throughout Southern California, Long Beach police have turned their attention to eliminating the scourge of human trafficking…The department formed a task force and vowed to arrest people who profited from and exploited the sex trade…[except] when one of their own officers was accused of trying to exploit the illicit sex trade the department wants to stamp out…William Scott Holder…was arrested last year in a…sting in Corona…[but] remains employed by the department…

Check Your Premises

Remember that these statements are being made by supposedly rational adults who have the power to inflict violence on others at will:

[A confused & self-contradictory propaganda] notice from the Malheur County (Ore.) Sheriff’s Office didn’t [make much sense]…“Victims of sex trafficking and prostitution are forced, coerced and manipulated into this lifestyle against their will…prostitutes…still may be charged no matter what…Because if you don’t charge them, then there’s no incentive to change…we don’t throw them out to the same manager, or pimp, if you will…Most often, they won’t [pretend the cop narrative is true], so you do everything you can to [force] them…to [pretend] that they were or are victims”…[cops pretended that] the 11 men charged with commercial sexual solicitation…responded to decoy ads police placed on “known sex trafficking websites” [even though there is no such thing]…

Profit from Panic 

Three quarters of a million no-strings dollars to spread propaganda & infantilize women:

The Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, was awarded a three-year, $750,000 grant…from the U.S. Department of Justice…The charity’s victim assistance program partners directly with local law enforcement to help human trafficking victims become more independent…”We help them go from not being able to tie their shoes to being independent and able to sustain themselves,” [chief propagandist Chuck] Anderson said…Typical signs that someone may be a victim include signs of physical abuse, tattoos or brand marks, especially ones that say “property of,” and possessing large amounts of cash…

Wait, large amounts of cash?  I though the “pimps” took every penny?  I guess people who can’t tie their shoes can’t count, either.

Imagination Pinned Down kazaam-poster

Another example of how people’s memories can be rewritten by others:

…[many people]…recall…a movie called Shazaam…in the early Nineties …the movie starred the American stand-up comedian Sinbad…as an incompetent genie who granted wishes to two young children…[some claim] detailed scene-by-scene recollections of the film…hundreds of Redditors…have used the popular social news site to discuss their memories of Shazaam.  Together they have scoured the internet to find evidence that the movie existed but each has repeatedly come up empty-handed.  Sinbad himself has even taken to Twitter to deny that he ever played such a role…It all began in 2009 [when] an anonymous individual took to…Yahoo! Answers to pose its users a simple question. “Do you remember that…movie in the early 90s where sinbad the…comedian played a genie?”…it took another two years for somebody else to ask about it again online…last year…things took [off on Reddit]…In 1996, the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal played a genie who helped a young boy find his estranged father in a commercially unsuccessful film…[named] Kazaam

The Naked Anthropologist

Dr. Laura Agustín is back with a novel dramatizing the problems faced by migrants:

European borders are the gates of Hell, lurked over by hounds of police and organized crime…illegal migrants and smugglers are outsiders doing whatever it takes to make good, often by selling sex…In the realm of undocumented migration, knuckling under to thugs can be the sensible alternative to drowning at sea, and putting up with rotten jobs preferable to pointless lives back home…The Three-Headed Dog is international mystery in a downward-spiralling scenario for human mobility…

With Friends Like These…

You might be forgiven for thinking that an article which starts out like this would be pro-decriminalization:

Jamie Rosseland…remembers the day her mugshot and charge were published in a Jacksonville newsletter [ironically] called the Victim’s Advocate as part of a column called “Shame, Shame, Shame”…those publications fuel a stigma against women who are arrested for prostitution…

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong; the rest is a typical “whores are mindless victims” mess which quotes (among others) arch-prohibitionist Pete Holmes, the Seattle city attorney paid to lap up Swanee Hunt’s “end demand” vomit and puke it out again all over reporters.

The Mote and the Beam (#332)

Once the courts waver in slapping down attempts to destroy legal protections, it won’t be long before the vultures start circling:

The families of three fatally shot victims [from the Pulse nightclub in Orlando]…filed a lawsuit against Google, Twitter and Facebook…[pretending] the tech companies provided “material support” for the radicalization of Islamic State (ISIS)-inspired shooter Omar Mateen…The suit [pretends]…all three tech giants…”knowingly and recklessly” [chose not to censor]…accounts associated [by unnamed “authorities”] with ISIS…and allowed the extremist group “to use its social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds, and attracting new recruits”…

The most dangerous part of the suit is that Mateen, an adult, was magically “radicalized” against his will by these mind-control messages; i.e., they paint a disturbed murderer as the passive victim of hypnotic rays beamed through the internet.  Sound familiar?  This is what happens when you allow a precedent to be established that people are passive victims of anyone who can be “othered”, especially when the so-called villains are multi-billion dollar corporations who may be bullied into paying up because it’s cheaper in the long run than fighting these nuisance suits.

Soap Opera (#520) 

Just when you thought the “anti-pimp personal hygiene products” trope couldn’t get any stupider:

…America and Penelope, “The CyberCode Twins,” are developing Beacon of Hope…once activated, [it] can give authorities real-time updates on victims’ whereabouts.  The trackers are embedded into tampons and pads, which would be available from dispensers at highway rest stops, gas stations and casinos.  At the press of a button, a woman in trouble could get a tracker tampon and carry it in her purse or pocket…Beacon of Hope is part of a larger movement to show how tech can be used more broadly to combat…human trafficking…

To Molest and Rape rapist-pig-barrett-boeker

Once again: if you think it matters whether a costumed rapist was “on duty” or not at the time of the rape, you are part of the problem:

An assistant warden at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola…[committed] rape inside the prison walls.  Barrett Boeker…was charged with one count of second-degree rape…and [arrested]…[Boeker committed] the rape [while off duty]…on Nov. 30 at [his] home on Angola property…the…victim was “not an inmate”…

Traffic Circle (#675)

Wendy Lyon demonstrates that criminalization of sex workers via “brothel keeping” laws is not a mere police & prosecutorial misuse of such laws, but an intended use from the beginning:

…Supporters of the [Swedish model]…regularly insist…that [it]…“decriminalises” [sex workers]…On the rare occasions they’re pressed on it, they usually witter on about how this law is “intended to punish pimps”…that the law is…aimed at…sex workers themselves…can be proven clearly enough just by looking at how the law is actually used in real life…nearly all the reported prosecutions [in Ireland] have in fact been of sex workers, not of anyone managing…them…Go back to the original debates over the 1993 Act and you see very clearly that sex worker prosecutions are a feature, not a bug, of the brothel-keeping law – which was intended to address the public nuisance factor of brothels…it was clearly envisaged by the law, at the time it was introduced, that a sex worker would be prosecuted under it – even in her own home, if she allowed someone else to sell sex there.  This is not a law about pimps…

Too Close To Home (#682)

This is a man who claims he wants to “protect” women, and portrays the men we choose to have sex with as “sexual predators”:

New documents in an ongoing lawsuit against the King County Sheriff’s Department [reveal] that…Sheriff John Urquhart told investigators in his department to ignore a woman who [reported that] Urquhart raped her…[in] 2002…numerous people were made aware of the [report]…a deputy also complained that Urquhart and the woman had an affair but…the sheriff didn’t want that complaint documented.  Urquhart denies the allegations, [claiming] the woman [is mentally ill]…

That last is no surprise; Urquhart thinks women aren’t mentally competent to understand which sexual acts are consensual & which aren’t.

Power Play (#698)

Still think you don’t live in a police state?

Never let it be said that Kamala Harris gives up after being told her totally bogus legal crusade is totally bogus.  She’s now filed brand new charges against the execs who run Backpage.com — despite having the very same lawsuit thrown out a few weeks ago…Harris…knows that she has no legal basis for arresting the execs behind Backpage…because three years ago she signed a letter whining about how she had no legal authority to arrest Backpage because it’s (rightly) protected by Section 230 of the CDA…The press release from Harris claims that the reason for the new charges is that she’s “uncovered new evidence” but that’s a load of hogwash.  The new charges still include bogus “pimping” charges, but now also have a bunch of [bogus] “money laundering” charges as well…

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frontier-daysEven after all these years reporting on the moronic garbage vomited forth by cops, politicians, “rescue” profiteers and other prohibitionists, I’m sometimes still flabbergasted by the incredible density with which these idiocies can be packed into one story.  Here’s a recent example from Cheyenne, Wyoming  (population approximately 60,000), which like so many small US cities is desperate to cash in on “sex trafficking” hysteria, with unintentionally-hilarious results.  Instead of breaking up the article with my comments as I usually do, I’m just going to post a version edited down to highlight the stupidest parts, with footnotes below.

The market for paid sex acts here isn’t just during Cheyenne Frontier Days1…prostitution is an ongoing issue in Cheyenne, and it appears to have gone unaddressed for decades2…“One of the things we wanted to show during Frontier Days was whether or not it was associated with the Frontier Days traffic”…District Attorney Jeremiah Sandburg said… “all of the johns were local; most of the girls were local…We didn’t have anybody that appeared to be coming in associated with Frontier Days”3…he came away [from a sting] shocked by what he saw4…“the amount of criminal activity going on just a few blocks from this courthouse on an otherwise bright, sunny evening with a lot of people around”5…Cheyenne Police Chief Brian Kozak said…“We…need…to try to rescue women or adolescents and juveniles (from the sex trade)6…when you pull up Cheyenne (on sex trade websites), you can just see there is definitely a problem here that we need to address”7…Kozak said local hotel operators approached him, concerned about the crime prostitution was bringing into the community8, and he also learned from the FBI and Denver law enforcement that with intensified enforcement down there, pimps have been moving their sex workers into other areas9, 10…with less enforcement…“Our police officers here in the Cheyenne Police Department have had more training in human trafficking than the FBI agents have had,” he said11…The chief said… “it’s kind of relaxed, because we don’t want to place any trauma on the potential victim”12…John A. Cruz Jr., 23…[was accused] of offering to pay an undercover agent $150 to have sex with a fictitious 12-year-old boy described in an online advertisement as “young and eager”13…Even though no children have been rescued from sex trafficking in Cheyenne, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening here14…“Definitely you could tell from the traffic online that there is some desire here to have sex with a minor, which is disgusting and definitely something we want to intervene in,” Kozak said15…it’s extremely difficult to get prostitutes to disclose whether they’re involved in sex trafficking, but most are and are just too fearful of their pimps to speak up16…Sandburg said… “once you build that rapport with them, they’re more likely to…open up to you about the fact that they are part of sex trafficking”17…Sandburg said the image of the “happy hooker,” or someone like the character portrayed by Julie [sic] Roberts in Pretty Woman, is much rarer now than people might think or realize18…Most times, a woman’s pimp has something they’re holding over the woman’s head…“The mother has no idea where her child is, and she is told by the pimp that she has to go do these sex acts for money, and if she doesn’t cooperate, she doesn’t get to see her kid”19…women might get to a point where they appear to be independent, willing operators…but there’s likely a pimp somewhere taking his cut20…“So it’s important for the public to realize that even though she might appear to be the ‘happy hooker,’ as it were, there’s very likely a pimp someplace, and he’s got a lot of control over her,” he said21…the Zonta Club of Cheyenne posted flyers in restrooms with contact information for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center22…Misti Fisher…said…“We live off of two highways”23…Fisher said she’s not convinced the women arrested in Cheyenne’s stings are, in fact, willing operators.  “How do we really know that?” she asked24…Zonta currently is accepting entries for its third annual art contest to raise awareness of human trafficking25…Another group trying to raise awareness of human trafficking in Wyoming…is…called Gifts of Grace.  The group has put together a special screening of a documentary…“The Abolitionists” follows a group of former CIA agents as they rescue children trapped within child sex slavery26…CEO Tyler Schwab…[said] “Wyoming should care about child sex trafficking because it is modern-day slavery, and it is happening closer than you think”27

27 items is quite a tally for a long-but-not-unusually-so specimen of modern yellow journalism.  Not all of the items are idiocies; some are flat-out abominations, but in the interest of clarity I’ll count them together.

1) Gypsy whores!

2) Have these people never heard the phrase “the world’s oldest profession”?

3) The capacity of politicians to pretend that being proven wrong actually means they were right is a kind of nauseating marvel.

4) An adult man “shocked” by the existence of streetwalkers needs to be confined in a rest home for his own good.

5) Only a few blocks from the courthouse! OMG, SEX RAYS!!!  EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!!

6) Where “rescue” = “arrest”.

7) When one defines ordinary activity as “crime”, it magically becomes a “problem”.

8) Because whores carry criminals in our trunks & leave them behind when we go.

9) Adult women are far too stupid to drive the 100 miles from Denver to Cheyenne on our own.

10) Am I the only one who finds the juxtaposition of dysphemisms like “pimps” and “johns” with polite terms like “sex workers” hilarious, especially in an article which repeatedly denies that sex work is work?cheyenne-cattle-drive

11) If country-boy coppers in a cowtown like Cheyenne really have more hours of training than FBI agents, that sounds suspiciously like a boondoggle to me.

12) Because tricking, brutalizing, threatening & caging people for their work isn’t traumatizing.

13) For the truth about how these “fictitious minor” stings actually work, please see “Bait and Switch“.  Note the age of the cops’ victim, a young gay man who was probably seeking the company of a peer.

14) “Even though no aliens have been seen landing in Cheyenne, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening here.”

15) Where “intervene in” actually means “invent”; see #13 above.

16) This is a popular, self-reinforcing, misogynistic lie; whatever a woman says is declared to be a falsehood inspired by fear of a nonexistent “pimp” who is never found.  Because we’ve been known since Biblical times as timid, delicate creatures, you know.

17) Cops and prosecutors are so delusional that they actually believe they can “build rapport” with sex workers by spying on us, deceiving us, wasting our time, terrorizing us, driving our clients away, and generally disrupting our income.  And that once they do so, we’ll confirm their wanking fantasies of “pimps” and “sex slaves”.

18) Admit it; you knew Pretty Woman was going to be mentioned in here.  But we got a bonus; they refer to The Happy Hooker as well!

19) Some cops aren’t satisfied with the existing myths, and invent some of their own as they go along.  This is the first time I’ve heard this one, but I bet it won’t be the last because others will parrot it.

20) The “invisible pimp” trope is one of the most insidiously insulting and misogynistic, because A) it’s impossible to prove a negative, and B) it wouldn’t matter if such a person existed in the first place.

21) This is Shitbag Sandburg’s attempt to negate the testimony of countless sex workers by convincing the Incredibly Stupid that every last one of us, including me, have a “pimp” hidden away somewhere “controlling” our actions while Sandburg masturbates furiously thinking about it.

22) Another iteration of the “magical bathroom sanctuary” trope.

23) Highways cause sex trafficking!  End demand for them!

24) Fisher is clearly unacquainted with the concept “burden of proof“.

25) But of course it is.

26) That would be this one about a really scary paramilitary organization with CIA connections.

27) No sermon in the “sex trafficking” cult is complete without a recitation of the Profession of Faith.

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Wearing pumps is now considered code for…“Help, I’m a sex traffic victim being made to sell my body for sex.”  –  Carmen Barika

Profit from Panic dirty-overpriced-jeans

Buying These Jeans Will Help Stop Human Trafficking.”  No, it won’t, but it’ll make these opportunists wealthier:

“It started with myself and my wife…watching the movie Taken“…[said] James Bartle, founder of Outland Denim…”We spent the next few years bringing girls in and training them…We started as a not for profit business and we were able to grow to five girls, but we then realised it was nearly impossible to get beyond that, so we changed our model to a profit for purpose business…Since then we have grown to having 29 local seamstresses over there and two other Cambodian staff”…

Too Young To Know

This judge apparently thinks it’s her job to convince a young sex worker that she’s a victim:

A court in Rome has handed down an unusual penalty to the client of an underage prostitute, ordering him to buy her 30 books on the theme of women’s dignity…including novels by Virginia Woolf, Anne Frank’s diary and the poems of Emily Dickinson…Judge Paola Di Nicola [was apparently annoyed that]…the teenager…used [her earnings] to “buy new clothes and the latest mobile phones”…“the judge favoured a remedy that would [convince] the young girl to [believe] the real ‘damage’ that she had suffered was damage to her dignity as a woman”…

Under Every Bed

I’m not going to try to quote any of this massive garbage fire, an accumulation of most of the currently-popular myths and bogus “statistics” on “sex trafficking”, every one of which has been repeatedly debunked.  But given that this website belongs to the National Conference of State Legislatures, i.e. a collusion of money-grubbing, power-hungry politicians from every state in the US, that is hardly surprising; lies are a proven way to shore up prohibitionist police-state regimes.

Dysphemisms Galore 

Threatening the peace.”  Seriously.

Lahore…is housing at least 1,906 “safe heavens” [sic] in the three categories of crime, posing a potential threat to the peace…Of them, 1,123 dens deal in drug selling, 318 in prostitution and 465 in gambling…a senior police official…said the consolidated data on the hateful crime surfaced for the first time…a non-stop crackdown under a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards these notorious crimes would help bring peace to the city…Similarly, out of total 330 hate spots, the Saddar Division is housing 47 gambling, 78 prostitution and 205 drug selling dens…

Innocence Never Had

Because “children” are merely inanimate objects who can’t move from one place to another without being carried by “pimps”:

…Anjelique…[is a] troubled 12-year-old…[who ran] away from home…Police ended up finding Anjelique but they didn’t bring her back to her mother.  Instead they dropped her off at Alameda County Social Services’ assessment center in Hayward…Anjelique made friends with a teenage girl…who took her to a nearby motel…where the family says she first got lured into the sex-trafficking pipeline…even though the county keeps the assessment center’s location a secret, pimps know exactly where it is and could potentially use children inside to recruit others…Anjelique’s grandmother is convinced exploiters are lurking in the shadows.  “So you think there are pimps that are waiting outside the assessment center?” we asked her…

This would be hilarious if it weren’t being used as an excuse to destroy lives.

New Excuse

Sometimes the two “wars” blur into one:

A joint investigation into human trafficking in Ocean City [New Jersey] concluded…with three [simple] prostitution arrests…[cops stole] over 270 Baggies of heroin…a small amount of marijuana, $350 in currency, a 2011 Honda Odyssey mini-van, five cell phones and a police-style baton…Each of the suspects was offered victim services…

A Year Later

Ricochet is running a series on the effects of Canada’s new anti-whore laws:

…With Bill C-36 now law, sex workers are struggling…customers are pushing for more incall services at more private locations to avoid police detection.  More than 75 per cent of the inquiries I now receive want to meet at my home…I’m considering forsaking my safety in order to pay the bills.  In recent months I’ve broken my own rule about never meeting a client in an 18-wheeler truck…The rationale behind the criminalization of clients seems to be that causing clients to feel bad about purchasing sex will deter their desires and end sex work.  It doesn’t work that way.  It only makes sex workers and clients more creative as we both try to find ways to not get caught…

Uncommon Sense (#557)

Because whores are morons whose lives and businesses must be micromanaged by governments:

German politicians have approved a law making it illegal to have sex with prostitutes without using a condom, among other regulations on the sex trade…Anyone attempting to open a commercial premises for prostitution will undergo checks attempting to crack down on the involvement of gangs, traffickers and criminals…Prostitutes must also register with local authorities, gaining a certificate that must be renewed every two years, and attend an annual health “advice” session…

In other words, the number of whores working illegally will skyrocket as soon as this goes into effect; no licensing regime in the world has higher than a 10% compliance rate.

Vendetta (#607)

Another way to destroy lives, funded by the sociopathic Swanee Hunt:

Cook County’s Tom Dart, the prostitution-obsessed sheriff…has found a new way to threaten people’s privacy, screw over sex workers, and grow the police state.  The latest Dart-led initiative involves creating a national database of prostitution customers, using solicitation-arrest data submitted by cops through a phone app.  Demand Abolition…reported on Sheriff Dart’s new plot in a late-August post crowing that “1,300 sex buyers—a record—were arrested across 18 states in just one month” of Dart’s National John Suppression Initiative.  Now, the sheriff is using data from that sting to start a national database of people arrested for soliciting prostitution.  You know, for research purposes…This is thanks to a new app that streamlines the logging of prostitution arrest information….developed at a January “social justice hackathon”, in which a hundred or so techies were presided over by a team of anti-prostitution zealots from across the country…During the last John Suppression Initiative, cops logged info from 80 percent of all arrests into the database…

Cops and Condoms (#654)

WARNING:  Lelo Hex condoms are NOT safe!

As I looked through the press-kit Lelo sent me, I was faced with a distressing image. An animated GIF of a stretched-out Hex being repeatedly poked with a pin.  Lelo was showcasing a feature of their new condom, which was still latex by the way, that you could poke a hole in it without breaking the it in any noticeable way.  Read that again.  This is an advertised design feature…While it sucks to have a condom break, the way in which they break acts as, whether intentionally or not, a red flag system.  The shattering of the condom means you know that your barrier has failed and that you now need to take steps to address the situation- emergency contraception, STI testing, post-exposure STI prophylaxis…whatever an instance of exposure means to you.  The manner in which Hex fails, however, means the sex act can be completed and there be no sign that there was a breach of security…

The Widening Gyre (#670) 

This example of “grocery store sex trafficking” lunacy resulted in cop harassment of three people:

This past spring I was cornered in the parking lot of the Whole Foods on Veterans Memorial Boulevard in Metairie by two [cops].  They said they’d received a 911 call from an anonymous caller who — after observing my father and me eating breakfast biscuits at the Chick-fil-A up the street and then watching as I was dropped off in front of the Whole Foods several miles down the road (yeah, he had followed us) — somehow surmised I was a part of a prostitution/sex-trafficking ring…The…stalker…I mean, caller…had also identified my father and some guy parked nearby, whose license plates he had taken time to record, as a part of the suspected ring…Consequently, the three of us spent the next 20 to 30 minutes standing in the parking lot with…five surrounding police cars…waiting to be cleared from any salacious, solicitous, unwholesome “ho-dom,” all the while wondering how three people grocery shopping at Whole Foods could have induced such an “unsolicited,” inconvenient misunderstanding…

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Having your mugshot plastered to Facebook is not the best advertisement for employability.  –  Tana Ganeva

Gateway Corn on the Cop still

It’s always especially ludicrous when small-town police chiefs try to justify prostitution stings:

The city police department…is publicizing 14 arrests made in a recent prostitution sting to discourage the sex trade within Lebanon [New Hampshire]…“We hope this…sends a message,” Chief Richard Mello [oinked]…“When we post an ad, we are inundated with messages, to the point of it being ridiculous”…Deputy Chief Phil Roberts…[said] in June 2014 that prostitution hasn’t been a “significant” problem in the city…[but] Mello…[pretends] residents are negatively impacted by other behavior associated with prostitution…“It is not just about ‘Leave these adults alone’…there is a direct impact to our community.  Some people don’t understand that.”  Prostitution also is frequently linked to drug activity, he [grunted]…

I agree, Chief Porky; your cartoon police-state tactics are indeed ridiculous.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

Dude, seriously? $60 would’ve been a cheap price to pay for a lesson:

A man who was robbed at gunpoint in Greendale [Indiana] is being charged with Patronizing a Prostitute.  David Wayne Allen…told [cops] that he had met with Kyle W. Bernett…with the intent of paying Bernett for sex.  Allen called police after Bernett robbed him of $60…

Profit from Panic (#40)

Hey, kids! Fight “human trafficking” for fun and profit! Implicate your neighbors! Persecute sex workers! Win big prizes!

Concerned about the atrocities of human trafficking, a small group of Nevada County [California] women founded…“Good Women International” in 2013…Due to its proximity to Canada and Mexico, California is among the top five trafficking states in the country…Good Women International is launching a human trafficking prevention poster campaign…In 2012, the state of California passed a civil code requiring certain businesses to display a [propaganda] poster…When enforced, this law has proven to raise awareness and help law enforcement save enslaved individuals, [claimed] Joanna Britt [without any evidence whatsoever]…All posters will be displayed during a public reception…on Sept. 19, when prizes will be awarded for the top three posters chosen…“We do plan to follow up, to see if businesses are posting the information,” said Britt. “And we will report businesses not in compliance”…

“Due to its proximity to Canada and Mexico” has got to be the best “King of the Hill” excuse yet.  See also the next item below.

Under Every Bed

Marin County isn’t as small as most of the places I feature under this heading, but this is still patently absurd:

Authorities need to work together to crack down on a human sex trafficking problem in Marin that goes mostly unrecognized and underreported, according to [a bunch of self-important ignoramuses]…In a new report — “Marin’s Hidden Sex Trafficking Challenge: It’s Happening In Our Backyard” — the panel [claimed] that sex trafficking…is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world…at least 100,000 child victims…A pimp can earn $150,000 to $200,000 per child annually, exploiting an average of four to six girls per year…the sex-trafficking circuit has come to include Marin because of its proximity to San Francisco, which is one of the nation’s known hubs for the crime…Some Marin gangs have also incorporated sex trafficking into their repertoire because it is lucrative and there is a high demand…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#316)

Given that this campaign previously appeared with exactly the same propaganda & graphics in Chicago, and that both cities are part of the “CEASE Network“, a front for Swanee Hunt’s “Demand Abolition”, this has Hunt’s foul stench all over it:

…officials…launched a new [propaganda campaign] aimed at…shining a light on the realities of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in San Diego County…“The Ugly Truth” campaign grew out of a simple belief:  That…the public [will believe anything it sees on billboards, no matter how ridiculous]…According to a recent study…the average age for entry into sex trafficking is 16 years old….and about 85 percent of sex trafficking is controlled by gangs…The scale of the illicit sex economy is $810 million a year with each trafficker controlling about four victims and making an average of $670,625 per year…

It’s a rare whore who makes $167,000 a year, much less an “average” one.

Comfort Zone (#320)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

…Carrying out orders…to combat human trafficking…the first raiding team…roped in 20 Myanmar construction workers…the migrants were all charged with entering and staying in [Thailand] illegally.  A second team…raided a Korean barbeque buffet (moo kata) restaurant…where they arrested five more Mynamar nationals accused of working in the kitchen…[and] a Chinese shop nearby [where they] arrested a Chinese [shopkeeper and her] “assistant”, in addition to a Vietnamese woman found tending to a fruit stall in front of the shop.  All eight aliens were charged with doing forbidden work without permit.  The Vietnamese national was also charged with entering and staying in the kingdom illegally…

Gingerbread House (#332)

This is what “rescue” looks like:

Underage human trafficking victims are sometimes housed in juvenile detention centers because…Contra Costa County [California lacks]…victim housing, a county civil grand jury found…”Such bookings allow authorities to keep (sex trafficking victims) under protective custody, away from their exploiters,” the report says. “It also provides probation and [a religious NGO]…time to assess the situation and to [force] these youth [into] therapy and social services…Once in juvenile hall, most victims…are uncooperative and ultimately released back to their next of kin, where they will likely walk back to their exploiters”…

No, once they’re released they’re walking away from their exploiters.

Not What They Expected

Cops are so used to the media mindlessly parroting their “sex trafficking” propaganda, that the widespread negative reaction to this pogrom must’ve been very surprising to them:

Texas law enforcement officers have heroically “saved” dozens of “sex trafficking victims” by putting them in jail and plastering their mugshots on Facebook…the McLennan police department carried out a sting operation…netting 56 arrests (and 61 arrest warrants overall).  They pitched the sting as a way to bust sex traffickers and help their victims.  But as Reason points out…the majority of arrests were of adult women and a handful of men alleged to be their pimps, not underage victims or women pressed into sex work against their will…it’s not clear how throwing [women] in jail will help [them] “escape” sex work if they want to.  US jails are not exactly an efficient route to professional advancement….Sheriff Parnell McNamara [bragged]…“Putting criminals in jail is our favorite pastime.”  Police also availed themselves of [$4500 in] cash and [some quantity of] drugs during this selfless endeavor…

And here’s The Young Turks on the story:

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

There aren’t many genuine cases of coercion like this, so naturally opportunists are going to exploit it to sell their brand:

On January 16, 2016, a trucker noticed something odd…while at a…truck stop outside of Richmond, Virginia…Kevin Kimmel…called the police…Aldair Hodza…and Laura Sorensen…have been charged with human trafficking.  The victim was found starved, disheveled and had  evidence of extreme physical abuse, sexual abuse — and torture……Truckers Against Trafficking…trains truck drivers to recognize signs…of…sex trafficking…right in front of us at truck stops, massage parlors, hotels, salons…There are an estimated 20.9 million victims of human slavery…An estimated $150 billion is made by human traffickers…[fetishist] Tony Talbott…[repeated the common shibboleth] “You can sell a kilo of Heroin once; You can sell a 13-year-old girl 20 times a night, 365 days a year”…

A Procrustean Bed (#600)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of politicians:

Sex workers are fighting to do away with parts of a California bill that…would give…[cops power] over whether sex workers are either arrested or referred to social services, and could put sex workers at risk of [even more] police exploitation.  Rachel West with US PROStitutes Collective said, “The Oakland police scandal…has exposed just how problematic this is.”  The bill…would establish Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, pilot programs in California…[sponsors pretend] the bill would allow [cops] to direct people with low-level offenses to treatment programs in lieu of arrest.  But sex workers and their allies, who aim to one day have prostitution decriminalized altogether, are rejecting the bill’s language and say they want legislators to remove any mention of sex workers from the bill.  “It treats sex work not as a job but as a disease and sex workers not as workers but as offenders in need of treatment and rehabilitation,” West said.  The Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA…argues that the bill invites [cops] to take on the role of social worker…and…could harm sex workers if transparent police misconduct mechanisms are not in place…

Still a Child (#620) 

It’s really gratifying to see sex workers rebelling against paternalistic bullshit:

Dozens of New Orleans strip-club dancers descended on City Hall…June 28…to reclaim their voices.  City planners…had set about crafting rules that could put hundreds of people out of work without seeking out the opinions from those who stand to lose their livelihoods…Contrary to what some would have the commission believe, “we can think and make decisions for ourselves,” said Stephanie Montgomery, a 10-year veteran of the industry…The City Planning Commission…recently…[opined] that the city should reduce the number of clubs…and limit them to the commercial stretch of Bourbon Street between Iberville and St. Ann streets…The city could further limit the numbers by allowing only one club per block in the district.  That would cap the number of possible clubs at seven, less than a third the number in operation today.  Dozens of dancers spoke for more than two hours in defense of their industry.  When they were finished, at least one commissioner was ready to reject the staff report out of hand.  Commissioner Nolan Marshal III, who is set to take over the chairman’s seat, said the staff had not done enough to consult with the women who work in the industry. “The study was clearly shaped by people who don’t understand the industry”, he said…

To Molest and Rape

In what other profession would raping a woman result in a “sentence” of nine YEARS of paid vacation?

…Manuel Avila, a Paterson, New Jersey, cop…[orally raped a prisoner] in 2007…A few days [after]…a city psychiatrist had ruled [him]…unfit [for duty] and recommended that he retire.  Instead, police officials decided to reassign him for six months to a duty that didn’t involve carrying a weapon, at which point he would reach 20 years of service…Avila was acquitted of criminal charges…in 2010.  The city settled a civil lawsuit with his [victim] in 2011, agreeing to pay her $710,000.  But somehow, the police department’s internal investigation persisted through early 2016…Avila had collected about $900,000 in income for doing nothing.  With Avila’s pay, the settlement with his accuser, and legal fees, the city has spent about $1.9 million on this case…Avila will retire, receive around $85,000 in “accrued money owed” for things like vacation and sick days, and may be eligible for lifetime medical benefits and pension payments.

To Molest and Rape (#646)

The Oakland affair just keeps getting worse:

The young woman at the center of a scandal shaking multiple California police departments has revealed new and damning facts about the situation.  Celeste Guap…claims to have had sex with more than 30 Bay Area police officers in exchange for cash, tips about upcoming prostitution stings, and protection from prosecution.  Things allegedly started when she was still a minor and met Oakland [cop] Brendan O’Brien in the course of fleeing an abusive pimp…she celebrated her 18th birthday by traveling to Puerto Rico, where she found herself alone in a “rough area” and called O’Brien for help.  He didn’t pick up.  She threatened to expose him for sleeping with her when she was still 17 and, when he still didn’t respond, she did it, sending a text to a commanding officer at OPD detailing her relationship with O’Brien and several other OPD officers.  She then sent a screenshot of the text to O’Brien.  A few hours later, [he] committed suicide…if my colleague had killed himself after being threatened with exposure by a teen sex worker, my impulse would be, at least, to avoid her.  OPD officers, however, thought otherwise.  Not only did those alerted to O’Brien and Guap’s relationship not report it, they began allegedly contacting Guap—the daughter of an OPD dispatcher—for sex themselves.  Guap…turned over an array of cell phone records to various departments to corroborate her claims…While all of this was happening…the Oakland and Alameda County police departments were very public crusaders against prostitution

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Arrest is not a service and it doesn’t help people.  –  Tara Burns

Sales Pitch

The indispensable Wendy Lyon has for several years been looking at Swedish police reports which reveal the truth about the country’s much-ballyhooed “model”; the most recent one contains this bomb:

…On page 43, we find what may be the single most heinous thing I’ve ever read about this law. Discussing penalties (and why the doubling of them doesn’t seem to have worked as well as expected, although of course that’s not stated in so many words) the report says:  “classification of the offence by several severity levels could bring more disadvantages for the fight against [sex work]…Police…fear that graduation would lead to resources being exclusively devoted to crimes considered more reprehensible and that the investigation of the crime of purchase of sexual services would therefore not be prioritised“…One of the arguments that has been made against the introduction of this law in Ireland is that it would divert resources away from serious offences (like actual trafficking and exploitation) because the police would need to use those resources going after just any man who pays for sex.  So, here the Swedish police are confirming that that’s exactly what they want it to do.  As with the increase in stigma against sex workers, the reduced ability of the police to focus on “more reprehensible” crimes against them is a feature, not a bug of the law

Rooted in Racism

Danish prohibitionists claim sex work is “spreading”.  You know, like a disease:

There are now so many foreign women working as prostitutes in Copenhagen that the sex trade has expanded beyond its traditional locales in the city and into more visible and tourist-packed areas, [prohibitionists claim]…“When it spreads this much, there is clearly not enough being done to fight prostitution and to help these women, who are controlled by organizers in their home countries,” [bloviated] Sisse Marie Welling of the Socialist People’s Party…[prohibitionist] Kira West…said that most of the prostitutes…come from either Nigeria or Eastern Europe.  They are often brought to Denmark by financial backers who they then need to pay off…

Profit from Panic 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists’ ignorance is exceeded only by their delusions of grandeur:

…marketing professor Tammy Crutchfield is passionate about fighting sex trafficking in Middle Georgia.  She said parents should be wary of their younger daughters’ older boyfriends…[who will] lure the girls into prostitution…”All you have to do is get on Backpage and see how many young girls are offered,” [salivated] Crutchfield, who teaches a yearlong capstone marketing course based on Traffick Jam, a student organization that [indoctrinates] high school students…[in] sex trafficking [propaganda]…The group…created its own brand to market…T-shirts and jewelry…Their goal is to establish similar Traffick Jam groups on college campuses across the country…

Challenge

How convenient for the State:

A court case that would have tested the right of sex workers to offer services together…to protect themselves has collapsed after a police officer refused to give evidence.  Three women appeared before a crown court after the brothel they had run together in Greater Manchester was raided in July 2011.  Jane Young, Deborah Daniels and Catherine McGarr had all been charged with keeping a brothel and faced up to seven years in jail if they were found guilty…the women were planning to argue that under the Human Rights Act it was against the rights of sex workers not to allow them to work together in safety…[but] DC Philip Anderson, who had brought the case against the women, [claimed he] would not be able to give evidence…due to his “worsening health”…

Mumbo Jumbo Casper the pimp

Oooooh, it’s a SPOOOOOOKY hub!

…human trafficking is what Angels of Hope founder Cristina Scarpellini calls a “ghost crime,” for its hidden nature and the slipperiness of its largely male perpetrators.  “It’s so hard to prosecute, because the girl is your evidence — and try keeping the girl all the way up until trial,” she says…the victims also become ghosts to their family members…disappearing without a trace…”I deal with a lot of young girls who will tell me they’ve been approached to be sold” she says…Sudbury is even “a hub” for human trafficking…trafficked girls and their oppressors will often “ask for a hotel room near an exit, so they can make a quick escape if they have to”…a girl who is naive or needy will simply be swayed by a Svengali…

In case you missed the reference, there’s the “magical pimp mind control” again in the last sentence there.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#342)

Eyes gouged out for insolence, moms selling daughters to pimps, girls showered with maggots — if it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe.  These tales, all propagated by fundraising charities in Cambodia, depict the nation’s sex trade as an otherworldly hellscape…most of these women aren’t so clueless and weak, says…Heidi Hoefinger…an anthropologist and Berkeley College professor who’s spent more than a decade befriending, interviewing and, at times, living with women who work in Cambodia’s hostess bars…Her research has produced a counter-narrative that is strikingly different from the “trauma porn”…churned out by fundraisers…[like the now-disgraced] Somaly Mam…one of the more authoritative studies, published in 2011 by the United Nations’  top human trafficking agency, estimated only 1,058 sex trafficking cases in Cambodia; 127 were underage. (An estimate from Somaly Mam’s foundation? A whopping 40,000 Cambodian “sex slaves”)…

An Example To the West (#343) 

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Chantawipa Apisuk is tired of hearing…that…”free sex” with [a] lover is morally better than an encounter with a professional sex worker.  But to Apisuk, it’s all just sex, whether money exchanges hands or not…For three decades, Apisuk has challenged conventional beliefs about the sex industry.  Through educational services and international summits, Empower provides support to the 250,000 women estimated to work in Thailand’s…sex trade without pressuring them to leave it.  One day, Apisuk hopes to see sex work treated with the same respect as other professions…Now, she has opened This Is Us, an appointment-only museum that celebrates Thailand’s centuries-old reputation as a hub for brothels.  Housed in an innocuous building on the outskirts of Bangkok, it “brings a different perspective to the issue of sex work”…

Not for Everybody (#411)

Even most women who really were coerced into sex work know criminalization is horrible:

The reason why trafficking works so well is because there are no resources that could exist to help victims out of their situation.  It is majorly fear and conditioning that traps [them]…Telling a sex worker they are naive to their own exploitation feels like another way to assert control over them and dismiss their autonomy.  It can’t help them…Nordic model supporters…think victims of trafficking are silent and that they have a right to be our voice, saying criminalisation is best for us and that it’s what we would want…they really couldn’t be more wrong.  My experiences have been treated with much more sensitivity and respect by sex worker rights activists than those opposing them…I’m pro-legalisation on a political and personal level.  I know that for traffickers, it would be really, really bad for business, and I’d love to see how fast their empire would crumble…

Habitable Room

Molly Smith debunks Swedish model proponents’ claims that their pet tyranny “decriminalizes” sex workers:

…the…Irish…”Swedish Model” Bill omitted to decriminalise soliciting…the most clear and direct form of criminalisation that sex workers in Ireland are subject to.  Then, in January 2016, [Justice Minister Frances] Fitzgerald amended her Bill to increase the penalties for [solicitation, yet]…A press release from CATW…lauded Irish policymakers for…“decriminalizing prostituted individuals”…In Scotland…Trish Godman [used Swedish rhetoric]…while launching a Bill titled Criminalisation of the Purchase and Sale of Sex [bold mine]…MSP Rhoda Grant attempted…to introduce…a Bill presented as the Nordic Model….[which] did not include repeal of the soliciting law…

Sex Rays (#549) 

Sex Work is Work (#575)

Tara Burns with a guide on reporting about “sex trafficking”:

…Words mean things.  Sex trafficking is a legal term with many different definitions in different states and countries.  The legal term has become confused with the common mainstream usage—which tends to involve people being forced into prostitution—and this has led to a lot of confusion all around.  As journalists, our job is to be precise with language and provide accurate information to the public.  When reporting on sex trafficking, or sex trafficking cases, consider describing what has been alleged or what the statute the person is being charged with actually says—because it rarely refers to people being forced into prostitution…

Too Close To Home

The Seattle Times continues its revolting badge-licking; though this reporter seems to be struggling to be more fair, the story is still full of nauseating cop pontification like this:

“I haven’t seen a lot of people who are not damaged in this life,” [a vice pig vomited out]. “If you’ve got prostitution, you’ve got drug dealing.  And if you’ve got those two things, you’ve definitely got gang activity, and that fuels other crimes.  It’s all connected.”

Because clearly, the first word anyone thinks of when they meet me is “damaged”, and my drug-dealing is well-known.  The most revolting part?  Somebody in this story is part of a violent criminal “gang”, all right, but it ain’t the whores.

Saving Them From Themselves (#613)

A Colorado bill that would reduce the criminal penalties for teenagers who exchange nude images of each other has run into opposition from critics who say it still treats such behavior too harshly.  Under current law, consensual sexting involving anyone younger than 18 qualifies as “sexual exploitation of a child“, a felony that triggers registration as a sex offender and a penalty of up to six years in prison, even for teenagers who take and send pictures of themselves.  H.B. 1058 would make underage sexting a misdemeanor known as “misuse of electronic images by a juvenile,” punishable by three to 12 months in jail, with no registration requirement.  Although that sounds like a big improvement, lighter penalties are apt to encourage prosecution, and it is not clear why this sort of activity should be treated as a crime at all.  In Kansas, where the state Senate last month approved a similar bill, its chief sponsor explicitly argues that it will lead to more prosecution…

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[Human trafficking laws] are criminalising decency.  –  Lisbeth Zornig

A False Dichotomy 

The monolith is crumbling; this was in International Business Times:

According to…opponents of sex work decriminalisation, there are basically two types of women involved in selling sex: a small but vocal minority of…”sex workers” who entered the industry out of choice, and a much larger number of “prostituted women” who were coerced or forced by financial necessity.  Anyone who offers a public opinion on the sex industry based on their own personal experience is assumed to belong to the former category.  Even having an awareness of the policy debate is seen as evidence a sex worker is middle-class, educated and therefore unrepresentative of most women in the industry.  As such, their opinions can be ignored.  It’s argued that the silent, suffering majority don’t have the resources, capacity or inclination to argue about legislation, so other people must speak on their behalf.  This is a rather convenient solution to the dilemma faced by decriminalisation opponents: the majority of sex workers who do speak out strongly disagree with them…this supposed dichotomy between unrepresentative, autonomous sex workers and silent prostitution victims is a rhetorical sleight of hand.  In reality, freedom of choice is rarely an all or nothing sort of thing…Campaigning organisations…smeared by Nordic model advocates as representing a “pimp lobby” – are [largely] made up of women who…sell sex because it’s the least bad course of action available to them…

Rooted in Racism

Sometimes “trafficking” just means “bringing in brown people“:

A high-profile Danish campaigner for children’s rights was prosecuted…under people trafficking laws, shining a spotlight once more on the country’s crackdown on asylum, as Scandinavian countries compete to make themselves unattractive destinations for refugees.  Lisbeth Zornig, the country’s former children’s ombudsman and a well-known author, was fined DKr22,500 (£2,328) – the maximum demanded by the prosecutor…for allowing a family of Syrians to hitch a ride with her to Copenhagen.  Her husband was fined the same amount for taking the family into his home for coffee and biscuits, and then driving them to the railway station, where he bought them tickets to Sweden.  “This was a political trial, using me and my husband to send a strong message: don’t try to help refugees,” Zornig said…

Droit du Seigneur Jermaine Dunbar

Do you think any non-cop would merely have lost his job, rather than being criminally charged?

A [Connecticut cop] was fired after an investigation found he was linked to a sex trafficking operation…Jermaine Dunbar…broke several department policies including improper associations, truthfulness, conduct unbecoming to an officer, neglect of duty and insubordination…two suspects [were] arrested for various charges including narcotics, illegal weapons possession, promoting prostitution and human trafficking…one of the suspects is Dunbar’s family member and another is a friend…Dunbar was at the…home where two 16-year-old girls were given drugs and having sex with men.  One girl said she had sex with Dunbar but…he…was not criminally charged…

Saving Them From Themselves

The United States, a shining example of liberty to the world:

Police [in Thailand] are gathering evidence to bring criminal charges against those who posted a video clip of two students having sex on a teacher’s desk in a school classroom…the patents have accused their children’s friends of posting the video…anyone caught posting obscene material on the internet can be imprisoned for up to five years…

See No Evil

Are the Japanese the only people left on Earth who can tell fantasy from reality?

On February 16 this year, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held a deliberation on the topic of women’s rights in Japan….[including] a proposal that sales of video games and manga depicting sexual violence be banned… Would [this] prohibition…help bring about more respect for women’s rights in Japan?  Our answer…is a resounding “No”…Fictional sexual violence in manga and video games does not actually violate people’s human rights, so prohibiting these media in order to preserve women’s rights would be meaningless…

The Widening Gyre

Can you hear the sound of fapping while you read this guy’s words?

Keith Bickford…of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office…[fantasized aloud] about the gruesome realities of sex slavery in our own backyards…“Some of the girls…were having sex with someone…20 to 25 times a day…that could be a lot of horrible things happening to these children…“In [Bickford’s] mind, it’s ‘You’re mine for an hour or half-hour, so I can do whatever I want to,’ ” he explained of [his own] brutal mentality…Pimps target areas where they know children hang out most.  This can be the shopping mall, the park and even where we tend to think they are most safe – at school…“I think the youngest, I believe who was in Georgia, was about 8 or 9,” he [fantasized]…

I’ll bet he doesn’t even wait until he gets home after one of his “talks” to wank; probably does it in the men’s room right there.

An Example To the West (#133)

South Korea’s court battle over US-encouraged sex work criminalization begins:

…The anti-sex trade laws have caused many negative, allegedly unintended consequences.  According to a 2012 UN report, “police crackdowns from 2004-2009 resulted in [the] arrest of approximately 28,000 sex workers, 150,000 clients, and 27,000 sex business owners”, and 65,621 arrests were reported for 2009 alone…Police raids are often carried out very violently, and in November 2014, a 24-year old single mother died after jumping out of a motel room to escape arrest by an undercover police officer posing as client.  In stark contrast to their usual reporting, most Korean media remained distinctively silent about the case.  The continued repression has forced an increasing number of sex workers to work underground, resulting in lower incomes, poorer working conditions, and an increase in violence perpetrated against them.  Sex workers worry more about police raids than about screening their clients…

Peep
Profit from Panic (#406) 

I’ve often pointed out how the “sex trafficking” narrative is getting increasingly out of control.  This “artist” uses sewing machines to “evoke the image of countless hours of soul crushing labor“, blissfully ignorant of the fact that such labor is the exact type “rescued” sex workers are usually forced into:

Small circular viewing holes expose the faces of hundreds of children, each symbolizing a stolen childhood.  The art piece, “Peep,” sheds light on the shadowy human trafficking industry in peep show style…Created by Bay Area artist Jonathan Fung, “Peep” draws attention to the often overlooked issue…[through] a metaphor for the commodification of human beings…Tens of millions of people are kidnapped and forced into labor and sex slavery to meet the needs of the…human trafficking industry…thriving in the Bay Area, which FBI named one of the top 13 destinations for child sex trafficking…more and more people are forced into ruthless modern day slavery every day.  Human trafficking remains a growing trend and shows no signs of stopping…

“No signs of stopping!”  My goodness!  Soon there won’t be enough free people to buy all these “modern-day slaves”!

The Widening Gyre (#444) 

Higher education in the US is dead:

…a group of OSU-Tulsa students is trying to tackle [“sex trafficking”]…and a new course helps train them to identify and save victims…Their professor, Dr. Denni Blum…teamed up with [cops & rescue industry profiteers]…to make this class possible…Oklahoma has seen 168 reported cases of human sex trafficking over the last three years – 50 of them were children.  Experts say traffickers target girls between 12 and 14, and once pulled into the sex trade their life expectancy is only seven years…

I can see I’ll have to address this in my OSU Tulsa video lecture this year.

All Wet

Given the recurrence of the low “ever paid” fraction here (and the impossible equivalence of “ever been paid”), I don’t think we can trust the other findings very much, either:

In a new nationwide poll from YouGov, six percent of respondents said they have been paid for sex in the past, and seven percent have paid someone else for sex.  Men and women were equally likely to have accepted payment for sex, but just one percent of the women said they had paid for it themselves, while 12 percent of the men said as much…

Rotting Fruit

Ask yourself: Is this the language that would’ve been used for this same situation 20 years ago?

…venture capitalist Michael Goguen admitted in court papers…that, yes, he paid the first $10 million of a $40 million contract to the woman he had a sexual relationship with for 13 years…but, no, she was never his “sexual slave” and he only agreed to sign the unusual contract because he worried about a “shakedown” featuring “false and libelous claims” of abuse.  But then Goguen failed to pay up.  Some $30 million remains on the contract today.  Both sides agree on that, at least.  And so now…Amber Laurel Baptiste, has gone to court…Baptiste’s breach of contract lawsuit…accused Goguen of “sexually, physically and emotionally” abusing her.  She alleged that she endured the treatment because Goguen promised to free her from the human traffickers holding her in perpetual debt…Goguen admitted that they had an unusual sex life, but he claims it was entirely consensual…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

On Friday, the Cranston [Rhode Island] Police Department issued a news release announcing the results of a sting operation that, in its own words, was aimed at “targeting human traffickers, specifically those victimizing juveniles”…no fewer that eight law enforcement agencies were involved in this operation…[which] led to only one arrest for trafficking and one arrest for pandering.  Instead, the biggest result of the operation appears to have been the arrest of fourteen “johns”…and fourteen other people for prostitution…By humiliating and charging johns for seeking consensual sex and by giving prostitutes arrest records in the name of “helping” them, these operations misleadingly purport to crack down on human trafficking, when their major effect is just to make the lives of prostitutes more difficult and dangerous, driving sex work even deeper into the shadows…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#621)

I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I’m skeptical about anything the Seattle PD says about victimized sex workers:

One day after a Seattle police officer was…pulled from duty for his conduct at a local strip club, King County prosecutors filed pimping charges against the club’s manager and owner.  Prosecutors [claim] Dancing Bare owner Jerry A. Woodhead and manager Michael “Mickey” Woodhead were caught in a sting operation…Police…used at least two informants.  [A] detective said the investigation uncovered prostitution and drug use at the club, and showed that dancers were prostituting themselves to pay “house dues” to the Woodheads…The detective said the Woodheads were considering increasing the amount of money “collected for the prostitution” so they could earn more themselves…

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Many use their hands, others use their brains.  We use our vaginas to work.  –  Mónica Lencina

The Red Umbrella 

Katherine Koster of SWOP published this list of “17 Facts About Sexual Violence and Sex Work” as a lead-up to December 17th.   Most of my readers are probably familiar with all or at least most of these already, but it’s important to remind the general public; furthermore, it’s good to see that Huffington Post seems to be slowly distancing itself from anti-whore propaganda and is publishing a lot more pro-sex-worker-rights articles in the past year or so.Mark Benavides

Droit du Seigneur

a…client of Mark H. Benavides, a San Antonio lawyer, accused Benavides of having sex with her in an empty room in the Bexar County Courthouse during her intoxication manslaughter trial.  Benavides claimed that she was lying and upset because she was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge…after the first victim spoke up, others came forward.  The first was a prostitute who said that after their first encounter in 2005, he offered his services as a lawyer.  She…always paid for his legal services with sex, never with money.  She stopped in 2012, and Benavides reminded her that he had videotape of their sexual encounters.  Another victim said that she met Benavides repeatedly for sex…[because she] was afraid that if she refused, Benavides would, based on his good relationship with the judge, hurt her case.  The final victim did not have money to pay Benavides, so he had her meet him every Tuesday at a motel.  When she didn’t show one time, he went to court and withdrew the attorney bond he had posted for her, which resulted in her being arrested…Benavides was arrested and charged with three counts of Compelling Prostitution…[which is] much easier to prove [than rape]…

Bell, Hook and Kettle

Though the reporter of course believes in the Salvation Army’s propaganda and doesn’t think to investigate the truth about the religious group’s anti-whore and anti-queer crusades, this puff piece contains some useful statistics:

…fliers featuring people’s mouths sealed with duct tape have gone up on targeted street corners and inside women’s restrooms — one of the few places where victims of sex trafficking might find privacy…82 cents of every dollar dropped into the kettle goes to helping people in need.  The holiday fundraising campaign generates nearly 70 percent of the funds used to provide services year-round…

There’s no telling what fraction of that 82% goes to hate campaigns, but you can bet it’s substantial.

Legal Is as Legal Does

Despite the moronic headline, this isn’t a bad article:

Ammar, the Argentinean union of prostitutes…set up a tent in front of Congress to request a new law that would allow them to access the same benefits enjoyed by other independent workers…Argentinean law does not ban prostitution. Each province, however, regulates it differently. In most cases, regulation is so rigorous that offering sexual services is virtually forbidden. For example, in San Juan…public…offer [of] sex services…[can be penalized by] up to 20 days in prison.More often than not, the legislation that is [pretended] to protect sex workers has the opposite effect…The prevailing government view…is to [pretend that] all sex workers [are] victims of human trafficking….

Profit from Panic 

Can you imagine a real “pimp” putting as much thought into it as these people put into their BDSM fantasies?

With the holiday’s [sic] right around the corner, you might be searching for that perfect, unique gift that give’s [sic] back to your local community.  Emily Mahoney and Lauren Carpenter are producing…handcrafted jewelry…that is…helping to end human trafficking in Tennessee…The women started Branded Collective, a collection of metal cuffs and jewelry, a few years ago.  Twenty-five percent of the proceeds…goes to…End Slavery Tennessee…Each cuff is “branded” with a little initial of the woman who helped to make it, and with a number.  Many victims of human trafficking are branded with tattoos or numbers. “Branding is a way of depersonalizing the human…and identifying them as…something you can buy and sell that’s disposable”…said Emily.  You can visit their website to read the story of the survivor that branded your one of a kind cuff…

Blunt Instrument

Attention, useful idiots: making it easier for cops to get search warrants is never a good idea, even if they pretend it’s to “fight” something you dislike:

Houston’s City Council passed…an ordinance that aims to help [cops close down]…massage establishments…that may be a front for prostitution…[by expanding] the legal definition of a massage establishment.  The change will allow the [cops to raid any place they declare a massage establishment]…”[Blah blah blah] human trafficking,” explained Minal Patel Davis, special advisor to the mayor on human trafficking…The change…will also make it easier for [cops to get rubber-stamped] search warrants…

Monsters 

[A] trans woman…lost her life in…Istanbul [on December 2nd]…Alev…was stabbed in her heart by a man who approached her as a client…police called on a couple of her friends for further investigation…There was another transphobic hate crime ten days ago in…Istanbul.  The victim was a young trans woman…[named] Nilay…[who] was stabbed several times and strangled with a bathrobe cord…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#407)

SCIENCE!!!

…Last year, the Journal of Religion and Health published an article linking schizophrenia to demonic possession based on the claims of a single faith healer.  Now, they’ve published new research…which claims that consuming…sexual media may have “a negative impact on learning second language vocabulary.”  Want to learn German? Better avoid sexy music videos and denim commercials, the study suggests.  “Aside from dire consequences in the afterlife, viewing sexual media can have a detrimental effect on human learning and memory in this life,” it concludes.  Yakup Çetin, the study’s author and a foreign language education professor at Faith University in Istanbul…[said] he…”[finds his own] study objective”…the [sexual material]  included the trailer for the Pitt-Jolie action flick Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the music video for “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias, and a television commercial for Mavi Jeans…


Property of the State 

Prison sentences for these women can be as much as 40 years“:

The Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court has reinstated the country’s total ban on abortion, including cases in which a pregnant woman’s life is at risk.  [Last December] Dominican President Danilo Medina approved measures decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape, incest, and fetal deformity, as well as situations where the mother’s life would be endangered by carrying the pregnancy to term.  The reforms were set to take effect December 19, 2015.  But religious and socially conservative groups appealed, arguing in court that the country’s constitution protects the rights of “unborn children” from the moment of conception…the country’s total abortion ban puts girls and women at risk by prompting pregnant women to visit black-market abortion doctors and forcing them to give birth even when it’s physically  dangerous…Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras also ban abortion in all circumstances…

Now They Notice

I find articles which pretend that Rentboy was fundamentally different from sites on which female escorts advertize to be utterly infuriating, especially when they strongly imply that male sex workers are entrepreneurs while women like me are passive victims:

…Arrangements made through Rentboy were between consenting adults. David Bimbi, professor of health sciences…drew a clear distinction between this business and other illegal activities.  According to Bimbi, many of the arguments against sex work — that it promotes pimping, sex trafficking and exploits minors — “fly out the window” when it comes to Rentboy, which was a site where adults self-advertised to other adults.”  Recently, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, Rashida Jones and other celebrities joined with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women to decry Amnesty International’s proposed recommendation to decriminalize sex work.  The coalition claimed Amnesty’s proposal would “advocate the legalization of pimping.”  Rentboy, Bimbi said, is a completely different situation…Since the raids, many sex workers have organized to battle sex worker stigma…

Danny Cruz and Conner Habib try to set writer Mathew Rodriguez straight, but he seems to think gay dudes just invented sex worker rights in the past few months.

Uncommon Sense (#572)

Sonja Dolinsek on the awfulness of German prostitution law “reform”:

After two years of negotiations, the German Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth shared its second draft of a new prostitution law…the 2002 law, widely decried as “legalizing prostitution” and blamed for an increase in human trafficking, has never been fully implemented.  But that hasn’t stopped politicians and the media from loading blame for the supposed catastrophic state of sex workers in Germany onto these three paragraphs – using the law to score easy points with the public.  Few in Germany or abroad questioned the idea that the law had led to an explosion of human trafficking…But nobody bothered to fact-check the claim of increased trafficking.  If they had, they would have found that that sex work had been legal long before 2002, and that human trafficking has actually been steadily decreasing…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#592)

Well, gee, this is SO MUCH better:

…The “John letters motion” was approved by the city council…and LAPD officers can presumably start recording license plate numbers and sending letters to the registered owners’ homes immediately.  But the media got one thing wrong: there’s no plan to use automated license plate readers to scan every license plate that goes through the neighborhood to shoot the drivers scarlet letters.  And…Los Angeles is not the only city to have this idea…But even without the Orwellian license plate reader element, there are legitimate concerns around guilt premised on an idling car…

Fallen Idol

Melissa Gira Grant interviewed a number of porn actors & actresses on the James Deen affair:

…That chorus of voices that followed Stoya’s shook the porn industry…and now the public is hearing…about the particular structural problems the porn industry contends with, and the persistent and pernicious idea that sex workers are by definition unrapeable…Arabelle Raphael…said…“A lot of people knew…And some people had really good experiences with him, but that doesn’t mean anything.”  Performers let each other know what they had heard about Deen…two people [previously told her to]…put James Deen on your ‘no’ list” – the performers she would not do scenes with…eight other women have also gone public. Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, Amber Rayne, Kora Peters, Nicki Blue, Lily LaBeau, and a woman writing as T.M., all say Deen has assaulted them, too. In the aftermath of those allegations, Deen’s career is crumbling…

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Someday we may look back at this era the way we now think about (alcohol) Prohibition: a failed experiment that was indefensible in principle.  –  Douglas HusakWar Machine

Rough Trade 

How are there actually still attorneys clueless enough to use this “defense”?

The mixed martial arts fighter who calls himself War Machine said in court…that it would be impossible for him to have raped his ex-girlfriend because she was a porn star.  He then went on to blow an “offensive” kiss to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth…the nonsensical defense ploy which War Machine — born Jonathan Koppenhaver — used during his trial [was in answer to]…34 criminal counts ranging from sexual assault to attempted murder…Christy Mack…was left with “a blowout fracture of her left eye and several other broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places” after the attack…defense attorney Brandon Sua said that Mackinday’s career in adult films constituted consent and that her job instilled in her “the desire, the preference, the acceptability towards a particular form of sex activities that were outside of the norm.”  The sexual assaults Mackinday charges Koppenhaver with, said Sua, were a consensual part of their relationship…Judge Elissa Cadish told Sua that she failed to see how a person’s choice of profession could determine their constant and ongoing consent to sex…

Think of the Children! 

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep stopping us from making money in other jobs?

A federal appeals court has ruled against a former porn star turned math tutor, saying he doesn’t have a free speech right to hang a sign advertising his tutoring business at three [Florida] schools…David Mech paid $1,750 to advertise his “Happy/Fun Math Tutor” business in 2010, but the School District of Palm Beach County removed the signs in 2013 after learning that Mech was a porn star who acted under the name Dave Pounder…the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision that the signs are not considered free speech, but “government speech”…Since the banners were hung on school fences, the court opined that government property is “often closely identified in the public mind with the government unit that owns the land”…

Coming and Going

One of the most aggressive campaigns of sex worker persecution in the entire US gets even worse:

In roughly six weeks following Houston Police Department’s Vice Division’s announcement that it was changing its tactics for policing prostitution in the city, 30 individuals have been arrested and charged with felony prostitution.  Almost 100 more have been handed misdemeanor charges.  Several others have been charged with promotion of prostitution…[vice pig] Dan Harris…described a new [tactic for harassing sex workers by charging them with more serious crimes.  He described this as] “Let’s work smarter, not harder”…

Law of the Instrument

Rescue industry & “authorities” invent a ludicrously-broad definition of “sex trafficking”, spread panic over it, then pretend it means something when people claim to see it everywhere:

So far this year, the [Connecticut] department [of Children and Families] has received more than 80 referrals of possible victims of human trafficking in the state, said Tammy Sneed…“There is a direct correlation with an increase in training and an increase in referrals,” Sneed said, referring to the amount of training now available for law enforcement agencies to identify victims of sex trafficking…

Don’t Take My Word For It

It’s good to see more in the media on the reality of male sex work:

Christopher said prostitution wasn’t a career he dreamt of pursuing as a child but that it was a decision he wasn’t ashamed of making.  “A lot of people…think sex workers are all drug addicts or messed up people, but a lot of us just do it because we get satisfaction out of the work and make good money while doing it…I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I’ll keep doing it as along as people keep booking me.”  He said there was less demand for male sex workers than women but that the industry was easier on men.  “I think it’s even easier for male sex workers than women because there’s less stigma and its more of an even playing field in terms of strength so you’re less likely to be taken advantage of…I’ve never been attacked or robbed or anything like that.  Women sex workers have always been visible…but…now [men are] out and proud all over the internet and just as accessible and visible”…

Change a Few Words

I think it’s a serious moral wrong to send people to prison for the recreational use of drugs…What we need is a total decriminalization of drug use…Everyone agrees it is seriously unjust to punish people in the absence of very good reasons to do so…it’s wrong to punish people just to get them not to do something bad.  That principle would allow us to punish overeating, smoking, failing to exercise, and lots of other activities that virtually no one proposes to punish.  Most crimes we punish (murder, rape, robbery) do serious harm to other people.  Almost all people who do drugs at most harm only themselves…We should not subject tens of millions of Americans to punishment because of bad effects that materialize in only a small subset of cases.  In addition, threats of punishments don’t do much to deter drug use.  Most drug users don’t believe they’ll be caught, and they are right…longitudinal studies indicate that health and life expectancy of the roughly half of all Americans who have used drugs (with the exception of tobacco) is virtually identical to that of the half of Americans who have not…the consequences of punishment are worse than whatever harm the drugs are likely to have caused…

Profit from Panic sex trafficking T shirt

Is Rand Paul still claiming to be a kind of libertarian?

During this holiday season, we are undertaking a modest effort to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking.  We worked with a gifted designer to create a simple but elegant t-shirt that brings home a message of hope…the sale is supporting survivors of human trafficking in two ways:  first, the campaign will donate its share of every shirt purchase to Braking Traffik, a charity that protects women…from human trafficking.  Second, the campaign is partnering with To The Market…to source a limited supply of these t-shirts from a factory that employs women formerly trapped in sex slavery and gives them a new life…

Under Every Bed 

I picture this dysphemism-spewing idiot as shouting in a kind of fit, spraying spittle everywhere:

…Alabama is a nexus for the [sex] trade…the highly organized pipeline…connection to the ring [is] horrendous…The victims were referred to and marketed like meat…[pogroms are] a much needed salvo to combat an evil that simmers, mostly invisibly, beneath the surface of civilized life.  Sex trafficking entraps as many as 200,000 victims nationwide at any time. Atlanta’s interstate corridors make the Southeast, including Alabama, prime real estate for traffickers…Obvious gaps that must be addressed include tougher laws to attack sex-trafficking crimes from the “demand” side – meaning harsher penalties for johns who solicit sex.  For starters, solicitation of a prostitute should be a felony charge, not just a misdemeanor.  Requiring that convicted johns register as sex offenders would also discourage demand…young victims can escape the trafficking hellhole…

On second though, maybe the body fluid he’s spraying isn’t spittle.

Shame, Shame

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is preparing for an en banc hearing on whether there is a privacy interest inherent in mugshots, or whether they are simply public records that can be obtained with an FOIA request.  For the most part, mugshots have been considered public records. This has led to a shady mugshot-posting cottage industry, as well as an equally-shady mugshot-removal cottage industry…Despite the nation’s justice system being built on the presumption of innocence, a large percentage of the population views “arrested and charged” as being no different than “found guilty.”  (Federal law enforcement databases — used for background checks — reinforce this perception by entering arrested persons’ info when booking, but routinely failing to remove it when charges are dropped or the person is found innocent)…this case involves a federal law enforcement agency and the indictment of three local [cops]…the [DOJ’s]…ultimate goal is to obtain the final say on the release of booking photos via a wholly internal process…Siding with members of the public who have been tarnished by this guilt-by-association also means siding with an agency seeking yet another way to withhold public records from the public.  Siding with the Detroit Free Press means…allowing a whole host of dubious “entrepreneurs” to use public perception against private citizens to extract fees for the removal of booking info…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#347)

The EFF steps up to do the ACLU’s job:

A Los Angeles City Hall proposal to send “john letters” to the owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution has drawn criticism from a California civil liberties group…The letters would be written to discourage those who were soliciting prostitutes from returning to the area while posing no harm to those who were there for legitimate reasons, Councilwoman Nury Martinez [pretended]…The collection of license plate data is opposed by the…Electronic Frontier Foundation…[which] has an ongoing lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over the issue…other cities have used “john letters” to combat prostitution.  In some communities, residents are encouraged to [snitch]…Some [badge-lickers] praised the proposal in Los Angeles…

Drawing Lines 

It’s so nice to see this from the other side of that imaginary line:

…we vintage enthusiasts have a problem:  We often celebrate imagery created by sex workers of old, while stigmatizing…the sex workers of today…we’re building this community…on the backs of women whom we then nakedly disclaim.  I’m unsettled by the preponderance of pinup photographers who yearn for a time “when sexy was classy,” of dancers who assure us that burlesque is “an art form […] it’s not sleazy“, and of vintage enthusiasts who congratulate us on looking “so cute, and not at all slutty” (as I’ve been told on more than one occasion). These types of statements are simultaneously whorephobic   …and gratingly ahistorical.  No, Bettie Page and co. weren’t “classy” sex workers.  They were sex workers, full stop.  I’ve seen many a modern pinup reap the benefits of blushing “tee-hee” sexuality without acknowledging its origins in the “filthy whores” before her.  Because that’s what Bettie and Mae and Marilyn were, in the eye of much of the public.  Marilyn Monroe posed fully nude.  Bettie Page made fetish porn.  Mae West was arrested and imprisoned for an “indecent” Broadway play.  Bikini model Kiki Hakansson was condemned by the Pope himself.  Even the red lipstick endemic to today’s pinup girls was once the domain of the harlot

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

Young Greek women are selling sex for the price of a sandwich as six years of painful austerity have pushed the European country to the financial brink…a new study…which compiled data on more than 17,000 sex workers operating in Greece, found that…sex on sale in Greece is some of the cheapest…in Europe…when the economic crisis began…the going rate…was 50 euros ($53)…now, it’s fallen to as low as two euros ($2.12) for a 30-minute session…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Since universities have been hotbeds of neofeminism, this could be a huge development if more schools follow suit:

On Wednesday 25th November, Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) passed…a motion…resolving “to support and campaign for the full decriminalisation of sex work” and “campaign against any attempt to introduce the Nordic model”…The motion…also included a resolution “to campaign particularly for the rights of student sex workers”…as well as offer support to any student who comes out privately as a sex worker…the…motion…comes off the back of a move by Amnesty International…to urge decriminalisation of prostitution worldwide…

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Once you’ve been arrested for prostitution…that is a stigma that will stick to you for the rest of your life.  –  Norma Jean Almodovar

All in the Family

I sometimes wonder how my life would’ve been different had I had the sense to lie:

What lies do people tell if they work in the sex industry?  For starters, it depends on exactly what they do…An escort named Jane (I’ve changed the names of everyone in this story) tells everyone she’s a real estate agent.  It fits all the data, and also explains why her income is variable…Agency escorts have a different set of challenges, mostly surrounding the “call on” system.  When an escort calls on at an agency, it means that they are dressed and ready to work; if they get a booking, they pledge to arrive to the call within an agreed-upon amount of time…Strippers have a different set of challenges…Jill works in a dominatrix parlor, and her hours are ten to six, Monday through Friday. Equipment is stored at the Midtown studio…Her babysitter thinks she works in HR…

Follow Your Bliss Nathaniel Schlueter

A man involved with helping sex trafficking victims was arrested…during an undercover prostitution sting…Nathaniel Schlueter was arrested by an undercover officer…[whom he] offered $30 in exchange for sexual favors….Schlueter served on the board of directors for The Refuge Ranch, which helps teenage women who have rescued from sex trafficking…

A Moral Cancer (Metaupdates)

Why do people still listen to “nutritionists”?

Bacon, sausage and other processed meats are now ranked alongside cigarettes and asbestos as known carcinogens, the World Health Organization announced…a…scientific panel examined more than 800 epidemiological studies…to…[classify] “consumption of processed meat as ‘carcinogenic to humans’ on the basis of sufficient evidence for colorectal cancer”…Red meat carries a slightly lower risk…but is still “probably carcinogenic to humans.”  Aside from the “strong mechanistic evidence” related to colorectal cancer, the “consumption of red meat was also positively associated with pancreatic and with prostate cancer.  As a main line of evidence, the group cites one study from 2011…

For the source of that 2011 study, click on the subtitle.

BDSM (#30)

A “cult”.  Because mentioning their sex practices wasn’t quite lurid enough.

Three members of a reported “master-slave” sex cult were convicted…of murdering [Brittany Killgore]…Marine Staff Sgt. Louis Perez, 49, Dorothy Grace Maraglino, 40, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 28, were convicted of torturing and murdering…Killgore “for their own sadistic pleasure,” Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick Espinoza [claimed]…Killgore was not a part of the cult, which enjoyed bondage, whipping, spanking, cutting, sadism and masochism…Without knowing the three had a “sex dungeon” in their rented home, Killgore had agreed to go on a dinner cruise with Perez in exchange for his helping her move…

Image Enhancement

That the Nevada brothel segment of the sex industry is in decline is not news:

…The Love Ranch epitomizes the sorry state of the industry….there are currently just 17 brothels employing around 300 prostitutes in the state. That’s down from 30 brothels in 2009…“These brothels are really a relic of the past,” a state senator told the LA Times. “The urban areas have an appetite to abolish them.  And given the state’s rapid urbanization, there’s really little popular support left for these businesses”…

That senator is full of shit; 66% of Nevada voters believe they should be legal everywhere in the state.  But just in case you think this is really a serious economic issue, consider that those 300 licensed prostitutes represent less than 1% of Nevada’s estimated whore population.

Paint By Numbers

Why ride a bike or stand around on lawns or off-ramps when you can just sit?

The CNN Freedom Project has been shining a spotlight on the horrors of modern slavery, but now we need your help.  We want you to join our #FlyToFreedom campaign to help fight slavery.  The Freedom Project’s symbol is a paper plane…so we’re asking you to:

1) Make a paper plane.
2) Write a pledge on the plane — something you’re going to do to help fight modern slavery.
3) Show us your plane and pledge on social media using the hashtag #FlyToFreedom.
4) Nominate two friends to do the same by tagging them in your social media post.

O, Canada! (All Traffick, All the Time)

Women continue to have bills despite cops’ intimidation attempt:

Twelve Nova Scotia sex-trade workers were [targeted by] a national RCMP [intimidation campaign]…Operation Northern Spotlight [tricked]…11 women and one man in Nova Scotia…[a pig mouthpiece had the audacity to describe the intimidation attempt as] “a fostering and nurturing conversation”…[but fortunately] “they chose to continue their [work]”…

If Men Were Angels

An Idaho college’s former financial aid director has been sentenced to 107 days in jail for charges related to offering students financial aid in exchange for sex…Joseph Bekken…[also got] three years of probation and a $10,000 fine…Bekken advertised on Craigslist for several semesters while working for Northern Idaho College, saying he would provide scholarship money in exchange for sex…

Business As Usual

Though some people refuse to accept this, every sex worker knows it:

…the majority of National Blacklist posts address other issues entirely—things like time-wasters, stalkers and thieves.  But it’s remarkable that  sex workers using a resource describing itself as the “world’s largest bad client database and escort safety tool” seem more concerned about warning each other about police officers than the dangers from which law enforcement is ostensibly meant to protect them…A 2002  study in Chicago found that 24 percent of street-based female sex workers who said they were raped identified a police officer as the perpetrator, and one-fifth of other forms of sexual violence against these women were attributed to police.  A study by the Sex Worker’s Project of the Urban Justice Center found that 16 percent of indoor sex workers surveyed reported having been “involved in sexual situations with the police,” and 14 percent reported experiencing police violence…

Profit from Panic (#448) Scrap Force

How transparent does this have to be before people see it?

Kids are the heroes in a new mobile game [from] Naked Sky Entertainment…and their virtual adventures will provide funds to help children around the world escape from the horrors of human trafficking.  Love146…will receive 14.6 percent of the profits that come out of the new mobile game “Scrap Force”…

The Course of a Disease (#449) 

Cop says it’s “wrong” that he isn’t allowed to arrest people who aren’t doing anything illegal:

…Sgt Neil Radford, the head of Nottingham’s prostitution task force, said:  “On the street, the law allows you to deal with people who are purchasing sex.  But there is no equivalent legislation for off-street work.  If somebody goes into a brothel to purchase sex…he isn’t committing any offence at all.  That’s wrong and we have to be able to do something about it”…

Naked Truth (#544) 

An Egyptian actress…has ignited a nationwide controversy for suggesting that Egyptian men would benefit from watching more pornography.  In fact, she’s facing jail time. Entissar…told a TV audience…that “These films are useful for men, especially those who have no pre-marriage sex experience.”  But beyond what men might be able to learn about sex from such films, Entissar thinks that, “Everyone should be free in watching porn films if they want”…”This is a call for debauchery and depravity,” according to one unhappy cleric quoted in the press…A group called “Who Loves Egypt?” was unhappy enough…to take her court for “inciting debauchery.”  The charge carries a one-year prison term…

Against the Tide

It’s kind of sad to watch Kristoff pathetically flailing about against the inexorable departure of the sea that nourishes him:

…Plenty of well-meaning people back Amnesty International’s proposal for full decriminalization of the sex trade…Yet in practice, approaches similar to Amnesty’s have ended up simply empowering pimps.  And while under these proposals human trafficking would remain illegal, the police would no longer have a reason to raid brothels…

For comparison: “Plenty of well-meaning people back the 21st amendment, yet in practice similar approaches have ended up simply empowering bootleggers.  And while under these proposals poisoned liquor would remain illegal, the police would no longer have a reason to raid speakeasies…”

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