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Posts Tagged ‘Profound Ignorance’

Democrats have been using internet sex panics to score political victories since the days of MySpace.  –  A.V. Flox

Rough Trade 

Please be careful out there, ladies:

[Los Angeles] detectives are searching for a serial rapist they say preys on prostitutes.  The suspect [pretends he want to]…pay…but…ends up kidnapping the women, raping them and then dumping them from his vehicle.  The man has struck at least 12 times since January 2014…victims have ranged from 15 to 46 years old…Despite the fact the man’s description has varied, and wildly, police [claim to] believe the one man is responsible for the attacks…

The Swedish Pimpocracy

If you’re raped in Sweden, claim the rapist offered to pay you; THAT, they’ll punish him for:

A Swedish court has acquitted five men accused of [gang] raping a woman and being complicit in her rape in Stockholm suburb Fittja in 2016…Video evidence from CCTV and images from the stairwell where the rape is alleged to have taken place were…used in the trial, as well as witness accounts.  The three men accused of rape acknowledged that they had sex with the woman, but insisted that it was voluntary.  And while it “was been established the woman had injuries after the incident in the form of skin discoloration and scrapes, the origin of or reason for them could not be established” the court’s summary of the trial states…

Profound Ignorance 

Even when economists produce research that supports sex worker rights, it’s riddled with dumb statements:

…Research published in the Review of Economic Studies  found that when prostitution was decriminalised in Rhode Island, sexual violence fell by 30 per cent and female gonorrhoea incidence decreased by more than 40 per cent.  The findings were based on an examination of the impact of a six-year prostitution decriminalisation policy in the state, from 2003 to 2009…Previous research shows that 23 per cent of female sex workers report they have had gonorrhoea, compared to 4.7 per cent for women who have never been paid for sex…the decline in sexual violence was due to a number of factors relating to the decriminalisation of prostitution.  When sex work is legal, prostitution firms are more likely to invest in locks, security cameras and security personnel to reduce the opportunity of premeditated client violence…Decriminalisation also reduces violence by increasing sex workers’ willingness to cooperate with police and reducing opportunities for police corruption.  Currently only 34 per cent of prostitutes who are victims of violence by clients report it to the police…

Manisha Shah is Scott Cunningham’s research partner for the previous version of this study, so seeing the usual Cunningham mistakes isn’t surprising.  Rhode Island decriminalized for almost 30 years, not 6.  Comparing the STI rates of street sex workers (it isn’t nearly 23% lifetime rate in the population of all sex workers) to that of all women – many of whom are in long-term monogamous marriages – produces meaningless results (sexually active amateurs have much higher STI rates than sex workers).  A minority of sex workers work for “firms” of any size (most are independent or work in small associations).  The majority of violence against sex workers is committed by cops, not clients, which is an important reason violence decreases under decrim, but this study ignores it.  And so on, and so on…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

And now there are people who want to reverse the burden of proof in rape cases, which would make escaping this kind of false accusation impossible:

A student has described going through “mental torture” after a rape case against him was thrown out in court because police had [intentionally hidden] more than 40,000 messages from his accuser.  Liam Allan, 22, faced up to ten years in jail charged with six counts of rape and six counts of sexual assault against a young woman over a 14-month period that began when he was 19…Mr Allan claimed it was consensual and [the accuser] was acting maliciously because he refused to see her after he returned to university…The messages showed how she had continually messaged Mr Allan for “casual sex”, said how much she enjoyed it and discussed fantasies of violent sex and rape…The life-changing discovery was made at the 11th hour when a new prosecutor, Jerry Hayes, took over the case one day before the trial began and ordered police to hand over records — including a computer disk that contained 40,000 messages…[police had previously] denied [requests for the messages, claiming] there was nothing of interest in them…detectives had previously told [the prosecutor that] the sexual messages were “too personal” to share…

Banishment

Like all truly oppressive laws, this one is bipartisan:

Oregon is about to enact one of the country’s most draconian, carceral, and unnecessary “public safety” measures.  Beginning on January 1, 2018, certain sex crimes committed in the state will come with a presumptive sentence of life in prison, without the possibility of parole or release…[This] will apply to those convicted of first-degree rapesodomy, or unlawful sexual penetration if they have a prior conviction…for any of these crimes…[or] similar charges…The measure was introduced by Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) and Sen. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) in April 2017.  It was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown in August.  An analysis of the proposed fiscal impact of the legislation found it “could impose significant increases in public defense costs,” estimating cost increases of around $800,000 to $1,350,000 per year…

Shame, Shame 

Once in a while a judge treats a sex worker as a human being:

Being a sex worker does not disqualify you from having a private life, a judge has said, as he granted an injunction to an escort who has been harassed online.  The woman, known as GYH, has been caused considerable distress by online publications about her sex life, physical and mental health…These include allegations that she has HIV/AIDS, which…are untrue.  GYH brought proceedings in London against “persons unknown” as, despite extensive efforts, it has proved impossible to trace any individual who has posted the material…the abuse began in December 2015 after she received a text message from someone claiming to be a student who wished to meet her socially but not pay for her services.  When GYH declined, the conversation deteriorated into abuse.  She also received anonymous phone calls with further abuse.  Posts on a series of websites made allegations that she had spread sexually transmitted diseases, was anorexic and mentally ill…They use both her work name and legal name and also include specific and identifiable information about her and pictures…

Choke Point 

An important article, despite the dumb & tone-deaf jab at libertarians in the end note:

…though it may come as a surprise to a few queers under the umbrella, the masters of political-ascent-via-internet-sex-panic are our political darlings, the Democrats…and they’re still doing it.  Take Kamala Harris.  One of her biggest achievements while she was Attorney General of California came at the expense of sex workers…Harris is a senator now, and we still don’t know how many cops are implicated in the sexual exploitation of a minor…sex worker…this is not the only account of victimization at the hands of police (in case you were wondering why some queers really don’t want police at Pride.  Hey, did you know that transwomen arrested during prostitution stings tend to be misgendered as pimps and johns and charged with human trafficking?  Helps pad the numbers!)…“Real name” policies that have terrorized the trans community?  We can thank Richard Blumenthal…for those…And…all the “adult content” guidelines on him, too…Payment processors and financial institutions getting squeamish about adult content?  Barack Obama was already president when he green-lit the FDIC on the operation to discourage legal businesses  extralegally, but the Cook County sheriff…sure took it to a whole new level

Bread and Circuses 

The time for Playboy to come on board as an active supporter of sex worker rights is long overdue:

…The…campaign [against sex workers] has shut down online advertising venues that sex workers depend on to acquire and screen their clients.  The FBI, the DOJ and Homeland Security launched the raids and closures of websites like Rentboy, Redbook and Backpage…The latest casualty appears to be the Eros Guide—its call center headquarters were raided in Youngstown, North Carolina in early November…These website crackdowns appear to be mere dress rehearsals for a wide-reaching, bipartisan piece of legislation now moving through Congress.  The Senate bill, Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, and the House companion version, Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, both have feel-good titles, but activists argue that these proposed policy changes would have worrisome implications for free speech, and would actually worsen conditions for anyone in the sex trade…

To Molest and Rape 

If this were really a consensual “relationship” as they want us to think, why did the woman report him?

A Portland [cop]…pleaded guilty to first-degree official misconduct and was sentenced to a year and a half of probation with required community service for having sex on duty with a woman he [supposedly] met responding to a neighborhood noise disturbance call…Christian Robert Berge…[also] agreed to resign from the Portland Police…and surrender his police certification…Multnomah County Chief Deputy District Attorney Don Rees didn’t describe the offense during the brief court hearing…The alleged sexual relationship lasted from mid-August 2015 through this past May…The woman reported the behavior to police recently…

Lack of Evidence (#716) 

Pink News seems to think that if he really were a sex worker, this would be OK:

A gay German national was forced onto a flight to Japan after being refused entry into Australia.  As PrEP tablets and sex toys were found in his luggage, Border Force agents accused the man of coming into the country to engage in sex work…Michael (not his real name) had reportedly been living in Australia for more than two years when he took a week-long trip to Japan after his tourist visa expired…[he] hoped to apply for a partner visa with his boyfriend, Andrew (also not his real name)…Andrew alleged that his boyfriend was profiled by agents for appearing “visibly gay”.  Officials asked him to open his suitcase, where they found PrEP tablets and sex toys.  It is not illegal to bring either of these into Australia for personal use.  Despite this fact, guards…confiscated them and even went through Michael’s phone.  They found text messages on the phone which they have since used as proof that Michael was planning to engage in paid sex work…

The Widening Gyre (#718) 

Teenage sweethearts run away together; fetishists immediately start spinning “sex trafficking” fantasies:

Sex trafficking experts say they believe two missing Humble High School teens, a 14 year old and a 15 year old, may have been lured away from home by sex traffickers…[they were] found safe [on December 19th but] police aren’t releasing any other details.  Ame Carr…[and] Alexander Irizarry-Avila…were in a relationship.  Carr did not leave a note but Irizarry did…“telling [his mother] he’d check in once a week, telling her he’s OK…he said ‘Don’t call the police because it would make it that much harder for me to come home’”…

Business As Usual (#733) 

Michigan cops can no longer get away with openly raping sex workers; now they have to pretend they didn’t, as they do in the other 49 states:

Michigan law will no longer shield police from prosecution for prostitution-related offenses committed while on duty…Michigan was believed to be the last state in the country to give police [explicit] immunity for [raping] prostitutes [before arresting them]…

Rooted in Racism (#795) 

No, this didn’t “veer…close to racial profiling”; it was clear and deliberate racial profiling within government-approved guidelines:

…Brian and Renee Smith…were questioned on arrival at the airport in Phoenix, suspected of being human traffickers for traveling with [their] 16-year-old Asian…adopted daughter, Georgiana…During a flight from Florida to their home in Arizona on December 20, father and Georgiana were seated together, mom and the family’s three other children were not in the same row.  This [inspired]…the Southwest Airlines flight attendant to [have sexual fantasies about] the white man and [young] Asian [woman].  All flight attendants in America are required to receive training in spotting human traffickers under a law passed in 2016…to the Smith family, the experience was humiliating and worrisome, veering close to racial profiling…because Georgiana [is] not Caucasian…

Kudos to Forbes contributor Christina Negroni for recognizing that the “air hostess stops sex trafficking” story floating around for the past few years is bogus.

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Criminalisation…reinforces the idea that sex work is intrinsically wrong.  –  Frankie Mullin

Whore Madonnas

Melissa Petro on the stigma faced by sex workers with children:

…For sex workers, there are no legal protections against discrimination, should we become associated with our current or former occupations.  Current and former sex workers risk losing their housing or being refused service by landlords, property owners, and co-op boards.  Sex workers are…often unable to transition to other work…and…can also lose custody of their children.  Finley Fawn is a cam model…who has been fighting for custody of her six-year-old son since April…In 2008, a tantra provider lost custody of her children to a man with an extensive documented history of domestic violence…in 2013, former sex worker Tanaha Koontz lost custody of her three children to [her] abusive husband…Then there’s the devastating case of Petite Jasmine…Those who view sex work as incompatible with motherhood often [pretend] concern for the children’s safety.  They conflate issues related to poverty with sex work—unstable housing, food insecurity, and erratic incomes, for example—even though sex work can often be the very solution to these economic woes…the only legitimate concern having to do with…a child’s safety is the fact that individuals working in prostitution are still being criminalized, so these women tend to be incarcerated or face arrest, which can mean having their children sent to a relative or taken under the dysfunctional care of the state…

The Red Umbrella 

A plasterer who was besotted with a prostitute recruited a teenager to pour accelerant over her and set her alight…Mohammed Ali Fouani wanted the Korean woman to…give up her job and live with him…

Real People 

Following in the footsteps of Norma Jean Almodovar, a policewoman decides to turn to honest work:

A Melbourne single mother has traded her role as a senior constable with Victoria Police for high-class escorting in an attempt to make a better life for herself.  After spending several “soul-destroying” years in the police force, Heidi…became an escort after being introduced to the industry by a friend…

Part of the Picture

The author is right; “porn addiction” in women really IS “equally damaging” to “porn addiction” in men, because zero equals zero:

…there is so little open discussion about the effects of porn addiction among women that we don’t even have a vocabulary with which to discuss it. And it is an equally important topic…Women become addicted to the dopamine rush associated with porn in the same way as men.  They feel the shame and the isolation that addiction inevitably brings.  The same loss of interest in sex that doesn’t live up to the extreme material they’re watching.  And the same breakdown of their romantic relationships while their minds are elsewhere.  It’s hard to quantify the scale of porn addiction among either sex and there are no official figures, but even by talking to people off the record, the scale of the damage is palpable…

Ell.  Oh.  Ell.Ozzy the sex addict

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Why does it always take so long for people who know anti-sex dogma is bullshit to finally speak up?

Ozzy Osbourne is the latest in a string of people (almost always men) to diagnose themselves as “sex addicts”…the concept of sex addiction has been fabricated by “addictionologists,” the people who claim they have the addiction, and the media.  The concept has rapidly been accepted as truth when there is still no substantive evidence that sex addiction is real…“sex addiction”…[has] become…a blanket term we throw over people whose sexual expression is different from “the norm,” without unpacking the actual behavior(s) or empowering the people involved to take responsibility for their own actions…there is no sound research that supports it and the people promoting it often lack training in sexuality…

Profound Ignorance 

Criminologists aim to prove that economists don’t have a monopoly on painfully stupid assumptions about sex work:

With the sale of sex shifting online, today’s pimps are avoiding police detection by using underground websites, social media, mobile apps and even by hiding their ads on mainstream sites such as Craigslist and Backpage.  In a first-of-its-kind study, criminologists from Michigan State University and Loyola University Chicago interviewed 71 pimps in Atlanta and Chicago to determine how their marketing decisions are influenced by police enforcement…”We found that pimps are exploiting the anonymity that new technology and websites allow,” said Mary Finn, lead author of the study…pimps use their own language, symbols and disingenuous photos to advertise their services and communicate with customers…The pimps were recruited through ads placed on Backpage and paid $60 per interview…

IOW, these dumb bunnies advertised that they’d give $60 to any dude who was willing to call himself a “pimp” and tell tall tales to credulous “researchers”.  What’s most shocking is that these educated doofuses continue to buy into the prohibitionist myth that all whores have “pimps”, when (as I explained to Tracy Clark-Flory) that’s total nonsense:

…Maggie McNeill, a sex worker and writer, argues that pimps have become exceedingly less necessary as the internet has allowed sex workers to advertise themselves…But, she argues, the focus often remains on these third parties because it fits an anti-sex work narrative of coercion…

Monsters

Trans sex worker Hande Kader was last seen getting in her customer’s car about a week ago…Her friends and lover…reported Hande’s disappearance to the police…[who] found a burned trans woman’s body near [Istanbul]…Hande was wearing prosthetics which helped identify her burnt body…

Why I Wait

Always be skeptical of any claim about the sexual habits of the “younger generation”:

…Researchers…are boldly claiming that millennials aged 20-24 are having far less sex than previous generations…15 percent of surveyed millennials in that age range reported having no sexual partners since they turned 18, compared to 6 percent of Generation X people…The authors…offered a variety of explanations for their findings — ranging from the funding of abstinence-only education in schools, to fears about STDs, to the premium placed on good looks on dating apps like Tinder, to popular misconceptions about “millennial hook-up culture” — but there are just as many reasons to be skeptical…the information was gleaned from the General Social Survey (GSS), which…[uses] heteronormative language…Another problem, which the researchers noted in their paper, is that the definition of what constitutes “sex” is left up to the…respondents to decide.  It’s entirely possible that earlier generations unintentionally exaggerated their sex lives by lumping all kinds of sexual activity into the broader umbrella term of “sex”, thus skewing the numbers…

I’ve previously discussed the inadvisability of using the GSS to make any predictions about sexual behavior.

Cops and Robbers

The result of stigma, encouraged by criminalization:

“Dirty whores.” “You should be put on fire.” So shouted the 100-strong mob as it surrounded the house of a group of women, thought to be sex workers, in Belfast on Friday 29th July…Since the video went online, sex workers have come out of the woodwork sharing similar stories says Lucy Smith, who run National Ugly Mugs Ireland (NUM)…”Another woman came forward last week and talked about how she’d been beaten up in the street by a gang,” Smith says…Carmen…worked briefly in Belfast last year.  She…found her flat surrounded by a mob of 30 or 40 people…”They broke the glass of our window with eggs.  They were shouting things like ‘£10 prostitute’ and telling us to go home”…Attacks of this kind happen across the UK and Ireland…In east London, sex workers frequently report having objects and insults hurled at them from cars.  In Edinburgh, sex workers have been surrounded and followed.  In Birmingham, since the beginning of this month, sex workers have twice reported having bottles and urine thrown at them from a car.  In some cases, sex workers have had bones broken before the police arrive…

Choke Point 

Fascism in action:

My wife, Carla Sinclair, is editor of Wink Books…she used Paypal to pay Ben Marks his fee for reviewing a photo book…called Castro’s Cuba: An American Journalist’s Inside Look at Cuba 1959-1969.  Carla included a message to Ben in the Paypal transaction, which read, “Hi Ben – Your Castro’s Cuba review is up!  Thanks so much!  Carla.”  As soon as she pressed the send button, she got a pop-up message on the PayPal site that informed her that the payment was being held for review…an email [later] arrived from PayPal. It turns out, the problem arose because Carla’s message included the forbidden word “Cuba” (and/or possibly “Castro”)…

Whore Detection

Another violent cop, another black woman profiled as a sex worker:

…a Washington, DC [cop pinned] a black woman to his patrol car, leaving her feet dangling while he [called] her “a prostitute”.  [Fortunately the attack was captured on video]…by Twitter user @macandcheeks…and…city authorities have…opened an investigation into the incident…the…woman…named Shadon…is…a schoolteacher…she and others at the bus stop were standing up to a man who was harassing another woman when the police intervened…

Rooted in Racism (#577)

Sweden’s “liberal reputation” is bullshit:

…Liberian [football] player Andrew Nagbe is currently in a detention centre awaiting [deportation]…the 22-year-old…was arrested by migration officials at the Stockholm Pride festival at the end of July…Nagbe was taking part in the…events with his boyfriend [when] he was detained…He had originally travelled to Sweden on trial with Swedish third-tier team Umeå FC before plying his trade at a string of lower league teams…It is still illegal to be openly gay in Liberia…“In prison I’ll be beaten and raped every day until I am released and leave the country again. Everyone I know in Liberia knows I am gay now, so they won’t hold back,” he added…The Swedish migration service [pretends] that Nagbe…[is not] gay and that [the danger]…if he returns home [is] not verifiable.  Only by presenting new evidence will Nagbe be able to appeal the ruling…

What a Week! (#656)

So much for “negative secondary effects”:

Do strip clubs bring down property values?…Surveying 317,056 residential sales in Seattle between Jan. 1, 2000, and Dec. 31, 2013, researchers found little evidence strip clubs influenced the prices of nearby homes.  This, note authors Taggert Brooks of UW-La Crosse and Brad Humphreys and Adam Nowak of WVU, runs counter to common arguments underpinning local governments’ rights to restrict strip clubs, which typically hold that such establishments have negative “secondary effects,” including a downward pull on property values…“There was nothing we picked up that was really significant in any way, shape, or form,” says Dr. Nowak.

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Some people like to paint.  Some people like to dance.  Some people like to express themselves in an erotic way.  –  Sharron Cooks

Social Construction of Eunuchs

Sweden has been systematically working to emasculate its men for a generation, yet wonders why Swedes are having less sex:

…Swedish…Health Minister Gabriel Wikström said in the 20 years since the last survey into the country’s sexual habits, newspapers have been reporting that Swedes are having less sex…The aim of the new survey is to find out if that is true — and if so, why.  Wikström said…“sex is not, and never has been, a purely private matter.  Sex is also a matter of [public] health, and from that perspective, a political issue”…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now piss doll

…that police “investigated” this “sexual assault”:

Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s police…responded to a call reporting an alleged sexual assault by a toy and didn’t arrest or shoot a single person in the process.  “A woman’s husband said she was sexually assaulted when she was squirted with water from a toy at a hibachi restaurant.  The woman, Isabelle Lassiter, and her husband, James Lassiter, called the police but refused to file charges when they arrived…”  The alleged perpetrator of the “sexual-style assault” was a plastic toy in the shape of a little boy used to entertain children at Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse.  When the toy’s pants are pulled down, it squirts water in a manner Isabelle Lassiter found completely inappropriate for her “minor children and grandchildren” to witness…Unfortunately for the Lassiters, it appears the toy and the chef who introduced it to Ms. Lassiter at Wasabi won’t face any charges, as Tennessee’s statute on “sexual battery” requires the “sexual contact” in question be “for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification”…

They Still Don’t Get It

This pompous ass seems committed to braying out of both sides of her maw:

…Unfortunately, a typical “rescue” is muddied by the erroneous criminalization, failed service provision, and revictimization of human trafficking survivors, as well as the infrequent conviction of their offenders.  I became acutely aware of this reality after working with a victim…”Jessica”.  I rescued her from her trafficker on Aug. 21, 2015, after witnessing him abusing her in front of a suburban mall in the middle of the afternoon in Virginia.  She had been victimized on and off for fifteen years, having been shot in the leg, raped, beaten, and mentally abused…Despite having served on two different anti-trafficking task forces and having nearly a decade of experience in the anti-trafficking field, it was extremely difficult for me to find adequate services for “Jessica”…she ended up moving between domestic violence shelters (some with bed bugs), a mental health facility, hotels paid for from the discretionary funds of anti-trafficking organizations, and homeless shelters….law enforcement wasn’t able to incapacitate her trafficker, so about six months after her initial rescue, she was revictimized.  Given the trauma bond that often exists between victims and offenders, it is common for sex trafficking survivors to return to their victimizer, especially when adequate services are absent…

Her “trafficker” was “abusing her in front of a suburban mall in the middle of the afternoon”, and this presumably middle-aged woman “rescued” her?  How, pray tell?  Did she rope the “trafficker” with her magic lasso?  Pick the girl up bodily & fly off with her in her invisible plane, leaving the villain shaking his fist?  Why were the police unable to “incapacitate” someone who supposedly committed a violent crime in front of (presumably) a dozen witnesses or more?  And note the insidious “trauma bond” concept here again, which is nothing but psychobabble intended to negate the agency of women who make decisions of which “authorities” and “feminists” disapprove.

Whatever They Need To Say

Sometimes the land grabs are more subtle, even if reporters’ language isn’t:

The East London Strippers Collective (ELSC) is an ethical organisation of strippers and lap dancers in London and the UK…[who] seek to challenge societal attitudes towards strip clubs by creating their own working conditions and empowering dancers.  [An event called]…RIP Shoreditch…will [take] place at 6pm on 14 August, with a funeral procession beginning in Rivington Street and ending at Red Gallery…they’re commemorating their favourite strip club – The White Horse – closing down after 38 years due to gentrification…Stacey Clare, co-founder of the ELSC [says]…this sort of thing is partly due to political and economic changes…”Gentrification is seeing so many genuinely alternative venues and spaces pushed out of East London, replaced by a sanitised homogeneous zone for the privileged”…It is, she says, “almost unbearable to work as a stripper nowadays” because of…licensing legislation that rigidly restricts the industry from growing or developing…

The Public Eye 

Let’s hope many more reporters learn to feel ashamed of their attempts to shame sex workers:

At this year’s Democratic National Convention…Pennsylvania activist Sharron Cooks was one of 28 openly transgender delegates and two trans women-of-color delegates.  She’s also a former sex worker.  Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, it’s this last bit that The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong chose to focus on…insinuating that having a former sex-worker as a Democratic delegate was somehow at odds with the party nominating its first female presidential candidate.  Cooks, founder and chief executive of the nonprofit Making Our Lives Easier…handled the situation with grace…[but] the Inquirer columnist…kept pressing Cooks for more details about her past work.  It’s only after the delegate evades her farther that the writer begins to “feel dirty” about her line of questioning…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#35)

Republican candidate vows to “crack down” on porn. In other news, Pope announces he’s Catholic:

Donald Trump will crack down on internet pornography if elected president, vowing to appoint a commission to examine its “harmful public health impact”…the promise…is part of “The Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge” from the group Enough Is Enough…The anti-porn commitment means he promises to “uphold the rule of law by aggressively enforc[ing] existing federal laws to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online, including the federal obscenity laws, child pornography laws, sexual predation laws and the sex trafficking laws”…

Profound Ignorance 

Why do economists always make such dumb assumptions when studying sex work?

A new study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, examined the link between a prostitute’s age and the price she charges…Kitae Sohn…used prostitutes’ earnings to address a much broader scientific question, one that applies not only to paid sexual exchanges, but to everyday concerns that many of us obsess about at some point in our lives: What does the opposite sex actually find attractive in a partner?…Men do not have unrestrained choice in whom they marry or date, but they do get to choose whether or not to pay a prostitute for sex, and the amount they are willing to pay reveals something about what they most prefer…Sohn’s sample was very large, including 8,560 prostitutes from 15 different cities in Indonesia.  As Sohn notes, Indonesia provides an ideal place to examine this issue, because prostitution is “quasi-legal”…the government…keeps official records on prostitutes’ income alongside incomes from other professions…When it comes to hiring the short-term services of a prostitute, men pay the most for women between the late teens and early twenties.  Between the ages of 25 and 35, the price men are willing to pay for a prostitute drops precipitously…For each increase of a year in age, a prostitute’s hourly wage decreases 4.5 percent…Sohn argues that: “evolution influenced all humans, so we expect that future research will find similar results in other countries.”  Supporting Sohn’s argument, the age preferences found in this research are quite consistent with findings using other methods in other societies around the world…

Because obviously Indonesia being both an Asian and a Muslim society could have no possible cultural impact on preferences.  And obviously, all women tell the truth about their income to government busybodies.  And all whores work by the hour.  And all income is in the form of reportable wages.  And…I think you get the picture.  All other things being equal, most men do indeed prefer a younger-looking sex partner…and all other things are not equal, not by a long shot.

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Cory Bolduc wants men to fight sex trafficking, grow beards and buy his beard butter…He handcrafts beard butters from his Winnebago [Illinois] home and sells them online and at the Rockford City Market, and 12 percent of all proceeds go to Freedom Firm, a nonprofit that fights the sex trade in India.  But Bearded Republic isn’t just about men’s grooming or charity, it’s about challenging men to take responsibility for their personal appearance and also [meddle in the lives] of others…the “beard movement” is redefining the modern man to be an empowered individual who expresses his individuality and lives by a moral code…

Stupor Bowl

Minnesota desperately tries to cash in on “sex trafficking” hysteria before it vanishes completely:

Law enforcement officials are bracing for a surge in internet sex trafficking when Minnesota hosts the 2018 Super Bowl…[they] anticipate hundreds of women and girls will be sold for sex around the time of the game…”There’s no doubt that when you have an increased amount of individuals congregating…you are going to have an increase in crime committed.  It’s naive to assume it wouldn’t be,” Washington County major crimes prosecutor Imran Ali said.  Before the Super Bowl…another major sporting event is drawing people to Minnesota — the 2016 Ryder Cup…Already at work is a task force…alarmed by sex trafficking ads spreading on internet sites. Authorities said more juveniles are being forced into the sex trade because the internet has expanded the market…”They’re targeting those that are mentally ill, are chemically dependent,” Ali said…Some experts argue the idea that Super Bowls attract a large commercial sex trade is a myth…

Despite the efforts of sociopathic “authorities” to convince the public that all sex workers are mentally ill addicts, we’re winning the narrative; note the decrease in gypsy whores from 40,000 to mere hundreds, and the now-obligatory disclaimer (though this one tries to dismiss our facts as mere opinion).

Counterfeit Comfort (#420) Jason Vukovich

At least this maniac didn’t manage to kill any of his victims, which doesn’t make the government any less culpable in these assaults:

…Jason Vukovich…is accused of tracking down [three] men on [Alaska’s] online sex offender registry, going to their homes and [attacking] them [with a hammer]…over three nights in late June…[in each case] the attacker called [the victim] by his name and explained he was there because [the victim] was on the sex offender list…If convicted, Vukovich could face 35 years total for the combined crimes…

Thought Control (Traffic Updates) 

Amazon isn’t a library, but given its prominence this is still a censorship attempt:

Books that teach readers step by step how to control women and make money are readily available for anyone to buy on Amazon.  Now an Albuquerque group is working to change that.  As part of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, a local coalition of churches and non-profits started a petition…asking Amazon to stop selling a group of books they claim teaches people how to become a human trafficker…With the I-40 corridor, experts say the metro can become a hot spot for this type of crime.  Christine Barber [is clutching her pearls over]…titles…such as Organized Game, Pimps: The Raw TruthHow To Get A Woman To Pay You…and How To Get A Fat Girl To Pay You…”a pimp is a human trafficker,” Barber [panted]…she had a booklet pointing out other “pimp” products sold on Amazon…like an air freshener or a pimp gnome…She said she’s not asking Amazon to stop selling all “pimp” related products, rather specifically to stop selling the “how-to” books that go into graphic detail about human trafficking tactics…

The worst part is that these morons have now given free publicity to idiotic “pimp”, “Game” and PUA books.

The Public Eye (#439) 

I’m not sure what “awards” there are for whores outside of porn, but I’m always happy to see well-spoken and “out” sex workers like Charlotte Rose appearing on podcasts.  ‘Nuff said, methinks.

To Molest and Rape 

Yes, I understand the legal arguments. And no, putting extraordinary restrictions on people who have as much power as cops do is not remotely unfair or unconstitutional, considering that the institution of professional policing itself rests on very questionable constitutional ground:

A divided Ohio Supreme Court…declared unconstitutional a law that made it illegal for [cops] to have sex with minors simply on the basis of their profession.  The court ruled 4-3 that the law arbitrarily added police to a ban on professionals having sex with minors that includes people with authority over children such as teachers or coaches…At issue was the 2012 conviction of…Matthew Mole, who…[raped] a 14-year-old boy…

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The GSI…is not an index of global slavery, but rather of global hypocrisy.  –  Julia Davidson & Sam Okyere

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

A young U.S. citizen is suing the federal government after she said she was taken in handcuffs by border officers to a Nogales [Arizona] hospital for a body cavity search — which found nothing — and then billed for the procedure.  Ashley Cervantes…crossed into Mexico on foot on a Saturday morning in October 2014 to have breakfast at a restaurant where she often eats.  On returning, she presented border officials with her birth certificate and state identification card…they accused…[her] of possessing drugs…she was handcuffed to a chair, had several dogs sniff her, and eventually taken into a separate room where she was patted down and asked to squat so female investigators could visually inspect her.  All…without her consent or a warrant…a request to call her mother was denied…Cervantes was taken in handcuffs to Holy Cross Hospital where the doctor probed her anus and vagina…No drugs ever were found…and…[she] was released after about seven hours…They even billed her parents for the “treatment” for $575…

A seven-hour rape, after which the rapists bill the victim for their “services”.  But this isn’t a police state.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Robert Moore

When will these cops learn?  RAPING a whore is OK; it’s only paying her that’s an issue:

[Prison guard] Robert Moore, who…[was] arrested in December on what was at the time referred to as a “prostitution related crime,” was arrested yet again…for engaging/ soliciting for the purpose of prostitution…Moore…[was] “found…with the prostitute with her clothes partially off and a crack pipe in her pocket.  The woman told police…she and Moore read the Bible and talked about having intercourse…Officers say they found a wrapper and condom; Moore told them he put a condom on, but never intended on having sex“…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea

Some people think prostitution should be legal but “heavily regulated”; here’s an example of what that looks like in action, from India:

On 13 June, the Department of Telecommunications ordered internet service providers to block nearly 240 websites offering escort services.  The diktat came out of the blue, without any attendant statement from the government…In July last year, the Centre had tried to ban 857 pornographic websites, ostensibly to protect our countrymen (and women) from “immoral” influences on the internet.  That initiative came to nought, and the government backtracked, following a huge public and social media outcry against its attempt to police not just the internet, but also the private lives and sexual habits of citizens…However, the directive to black out…escort services shows that a year down the line, the government is unwavering in its resolve to censor the internet at will…in the interest of upholding its own ideas of public morality…when the state is in no position to ban prostitution – under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, buying and selling of sex is not illegal – why is it trying to take up cudgels against…escort services?…The government’s repeated attempts to police the internet and ferret out and ban its so-called corrupting elements are at once absurd and sinister…

Backwards into the Future

This is a bit of a head-scratcher; I’m not sure how working for free could be considered a “protest”:

Sex Workers in South Africa decided to offer free services as a protest intended to force President Jacob Zuma to address the needs of young people in the Rainbow nation…the special service [ran] for 24 hours across the country [on June 16th] to mark South Africa’s Youth Days…

Pyrrhic Victory

Definitely not a police state, no sirree:

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has successfully convinced a federal judge to block the disclosure of where the bureau has attached surveillance cams on Seattle utility poles…this privacy dispute highlights a powerful and clandestine tool the authorities are employing across the country to snoop on the public—sometimes with warrants, sometimes without…The deployment of such video cameras appears to be widespread.  What’s more, the Seattle authorities aren’t saying whether they have obtained court warrants to install the surveillance cams…

What a Week! (#26)

You know that “negative secondary effects” bullshit?

The sex industry…has long been perceived and regulated as a “dirty and disorderly” feature of residential communities.  The stereotypical, and unfair, view of sex workers is that they are vectors of disease and social contagions; it’s a moral hangover from the Victorians…[which] is reflected in the regulation and marginalisation of sex work by…government policies to dark and secluded areas of cities…and police forces periodically engage in “clean-up” campaigns that seek to purge local areas of sex work…[these] strategies tend to be based not on science, but on a small number of complaints from a vocal minority who assert particular moral agendas.  Such raids are generally justified by the media and local authorities on the basis that locals, especially women and children, need to be protected from the harmful effects of “sleaze”…Research by Phil Hubbard and colleagues, Penny Crofts, Sarah Kingston, and Emily Cooper…suggests that sex work contributes to residential communities in much more complex ways than is commonly portrayed in the media…

Gingerbread House

“Residential farm” = “doing menial agricultural labor for their keep”.  But hey, at least they won’t be having dirtydirty sex:

For women escaping the sex trafficking industry, opportunities to start over new are slim, and places they can go to heal fully are even fewer.  Such is the mission of Sacred Roots Farm, which aims to be “a place of holistic healing”…The nonprofit’s eventual aim is to build a residential farm for those women and their children.  Founder Sam Haupt…began researching the issue and learned Atlanta is a known hub of trafficking and sex exploitation

Whatever They Need To Say

Cops openly admit being lazy fascists; the public just stays asleep:

California’s Costa Mesa Police Department arrested more people on prostitution-related charges in the first four months of 2016 than it did in all of the preceding five years…Police say this is thanks to a conscious decision to refocus a special investigations unit away from busting gang leaders, career criminals, and drug dealers and toward people involved in the sex trade…A long-term drug investigation could eat up hours of work from a half-dozen detectives…Arresting sex workers, however, is easy…But there may be an additional motive for the new focus:  the city wants to get rid of several small motels and replace them with condo and apartment buildings.  The hotels attract a lot of vice crimes…and policing them is a drain on public safety resources, city leaders complain.  Rather than reconsidering the need to obsess over these activities in the first place, officials want the hotels to go away to make room for higher-end residential housing…more profitable in terms of taxes to the city…

Profound Ignorance 

The only parts of this that aren’t profoundly ignorant are the ones that are profoundly obvious:

Sex workers aren’t only found on the street corners of big cities…the first-ever…research survey in Ontario…has assessed the social and health needs of rural sex workers…Researcher Stacey Hannem said the…project began in 2014 when she was approached by a group of social and health service providers [whom]…sex workers didn’t feel comfortable [with because]…the…providers would often try to [coerce] sex workers [to] exit the industry, when that wasn’t…what they wanted…”There is less street-based work but more of this kind of mid-range, everyday escorting,” [Hannem] said…rural sex workers usually find their clients through online advertising, and it often involves much more travel than urban work…when the garaphic designer doesn't read the story

I’ve got news for you, Stacey; mid-range everyday escorts who advertise online are the norm everywhere, so there aren’t dramatically more of them in rural areas than in cities.  An added level of stupidity: look at the picture CBC chose to illustrate a story about how there are fewer street workers in country towns.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

…Between 2014 and 2015, 45 [Sacramento] businesses were cited for prostitution-related offenses, sexual battery and multiple violations of the county codes that govern massage establishments…Twenty-one…had their licenses revoked in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015—more than five times the previous year’s number…these operations…cause more harm than good.  “I can’t tell you how many of these people may want another job, but taking away their job doesn’t do that,” said Kristen DiAngelo…political and legal responses are often sold as cracking down on exploitation and human trafficking…But, at least locally, authorities say there is no connection between illicit massage parlors and human trafficking….“This does not address abuse,” DiAngelo said. “It’s all a game. And it’s a political game”…

Held Together With Lies (#643)

How “Walk Free Foundation” comes up with those ridiculous “slavery” numbers:

Walk Free has just released its 2016 Global Slavery Index…announcing that there are 45.8 million slaves in the world today…Walk Free doesn’t claim that slavery only exists where people are held in shackles.  Rather, it extends the concept to include people threatened with violence when attempting to leave a given situation or tied by debt to a particular employer.  When it comes to children, Walk Free includes even those who are paid for their labour and who are not necessarily subject to violence or debt, but who are nonetheless counted as “slaves” simply because they are under the age of 18…if Walk Free…is willing to expand the concept of “slavery” in these ways, then why stop here  Take “forced and early marriage”…consensual marriages also become violent and oppressive.  Furthermore, because women often lack legal or financial access to divorce, and/or face stigma and penury as divorced women or single mothers, the many millions who suffer domestic violence are frequently unable to “walk away” from their abusive husbands.  So why don’t these wives also appear as “slaves” in Walk Free’s index?  Equally, we might ask, if it is the absence of consent to a lifelong relationship rather than the actual presence of violence in that relationship that makes “forced and early marriage” a proxy for slavery, then why isn’t the “forced and early motherhood” experienced by women and girls in countries which restrict or deny access to abortion also “modern slavery”?…

Policing for Profit (#645) 

Politicians, being slightly smarter than cops on average, must have realized how obvious this was and are now trying to make themselves look good:

A bipartisan group of legislators and advocacy groups are asking Gov. Mary Fallin to order a stop to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s use of mobile scanners capable of [stealing] money loaded onto prepaid debit cards…Deployment of the scanners comes at a time when civil asset forfeiture has come under criticism in Oklahoma…

The governor has complied with the request, but only until they can put the public back to sleep:

…She says she wants to suspend use of the devices until a clear policy for using the new technology can be developed by the Department of Public Safety.  She says taking the time will help educate the public and “calm the fears of the motoring public”…

Traffic Circle (#647)

It’s so nice when bogus “sex trafficking” bullshit is called out in the mainstream media:

…The [Indiana] task force…launched its effort with billboards emblazoned with the key statistical warning — “13 is the average age kids are first used in the sex trade”…But even child advocates say it’s not true.  It’s cooked up data.  In fact, it’s been debunked for several years…The Fact Checker at the Washington Post…gave this “fact” a pants-on-fire special trophy…The statistic was based on “pretty slim research” and makes little sense, [Glenn] Kessler wrote.  If 13 is the average age for entering the sex trade, then there have to be children under age 11 offsetting those becoming sex workers at age 16 or 17.  A 2008 study of sexually exploited kids in New York City found the average entry age is about 15, but the researchers warned that even that data is fuzzy, too…

When I pointed out to Glenn that these people were still misinterpreting the average age of debut for underage workers as the average for all workers, he flew into action and added an extra note to his re-debunking.  Because that’s the kind of thing people who actually care about facts do!

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It’s important that we look at data and try to shed our assumptions about what we expect and actually pay attention to what the data is actually telling us.  –  Emily Kennedy

It’s been a while since I demolished a bogus anti-whore study, and one of these days I may get around to doing it again.  But today I’m going to do the next best thing, which is to demolish a mainstream article about an anti-whore study and mock its utterly ridiculous assumptions…of which it has many, despite today’s epigram being pulled from the very end of the article.  But writer Emmanuelle Saliba isn’t shy; she starts with the stupid from the very first line:

It’s long been debated whether the Super Bowl is the biggest single driver of sex trafficking in the U.S…

My Little PonyNo, actually it hasn’t; a conflict between actual facts and a myth which flies in the face of such facts, including data collected by the believers themselves, cannot be dignified by the word “debate”.  One might as well speak of a “debate” between those who say My Little Pony is a kid’s show and toy franchise, and those who claim it’s a depiction of real beings and events.

…the focus on football’s marquee event may be disguising the extent to which other major public gatherings and events contribute to the problem, according to a first-of-its-kind study…which…examined patterns in more than 32 million online personals ads published around the time of 33 major public events in the U.S. and Canada since October 2011.  By identifying “new-to-town” or “first-appearance” ads for female escorts and related services, the researchers sought to determine what percentage of the ads appeared to be linked to sex trafficking…

This not only isn’t “first-of-its-kind”, it’s been done to death.  Every clueless economist and opportunistic “sex trafficking” academic in the country imagines they can cull mystical information from escort ads like a gypsy reading tea leaves, and the magical algorithms are all based on the half-witted assumptions that A) the claims made in escort ads are truthful; B) that every escort has only one ad; and C) that “pimps” write and place the ads because whores are much too stupid to advertise or plan tours for ourselves.  Since none of those is true except in a minority of cases, any methodology based on them is approximately as valuable as the paper hanging from a roll next to your toilet.  And any “study” based on that methodology is approximately as valuable as the matter that paper is intended to remove.

The results found that while there was a considerable increase in the number of such ads surrounding the Super Bowl, other events like a Memorial Day motorcycle rally…and various industry conferences had a bigger impact than expected, suggesting that resources devoted to combating the problem of forced prostitution have been misdirected…

We’ve been telling these idiots that their efforts are misdirected for over a decade now, but never mind that.

“It is possible that lawmakers, researchers, law enforcement and first responders who overcommit to Super Bowl are missing other events or occurrences of large-scale activity related to sex trafficking,” said Emily Kennedy, one of the report’s researchers…Previous research has shown that traffickers and pimps use online classified services like Backpage.com to advertise their victim’s sexual services…

No, “research” has shown no such thing; prohibitionist propaganda has repeatedly claimed it, but the actual evidence is that coerced prostitution is a phenomenon representing a single-digit percentage of sex workers.  Of course, cops and other profiteers won’t accept that because it’s much more lucrative to pretend otherwise:

To the untrained eye these ads are nothing more than escorts looking to offer services.  But to law enforcement agents, keywords like “young” and “no pimps” can be indicators that the person in the photo is a trafficking victim rather that someone who knowingly entered the illicit trade.

OthelloRead that again, slowly.  Once a cop is “trained” (i.e. indoctrinated), any word in any ad can be an “indicator”.  When the only tool you have is a hammer, every pic in a hooker ad is really the person who placed the ad, and “no pimp” means “pimp”.  I’m also reliably informed by “sex trafficking experts” that “mature” means “underage”, “downtown” means “suburbs” and “no drama” means the escort and her “pimp” will entertain you with a performance of the climactic scene of Othello.

One previous study surrounding the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey concluded that more than 83.7 percent of the ads screened likely involved sex trafficking victims, including 5 percent who were minors…

That would be this ridiculous farce by Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz, which Saliba claimed didn’t exist back in the first sentence of this fiasco.  Sepowitz, like Kennedy, found exactly what she was paid to find:  lots and lots of “trafficked sex slaves”, despite the dearth of such creatures in the real world.  The way they do it is simple: design a “study” to find whatever it is they want to find, and then ignore all data that tends to disprove the hypothesis:

…one finding from the study was especially puzzling.  Data showed that the biggest unexpected increase in ad activity during the study period occurred on May 23, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, when the incidence of “new-to-town” sex ads skyrocketed even though there was no major event occurring in the city.  Kennedy said researchers had no explanation for the spike, but “hope to tease out some of these things” in a future study.  In the meantime, Kennedy said she hopes the study will open eyes about the extent of sex trafficking in the U.S…

Sure, honey, and I hope the fact that you just blew off a finding that invalidated your methodological assumptions will “open eyes” about the junk science used to invent big, scary numbers about the “extent of sex trafficking in the U.S.”  But I’m not holding my breath.

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The text of Eden folded seamlessly into the curriculum of U.S.-based anti-sex trafficking efforts with its images of taped mouths, chained wrists risen toward the heavens, “in our own backyard” and “stolen innocence” messages, and the idea that the average age of sex trafficked girls in the U.S. is age 13.  –   Kari Lerum

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

The only interesting thing about this tired rehash is that its fake numbers aren’t nearly as absurd as usual:

In 2010, there were 50,000 victims of human trafficking identified, with many more still being forced to…sell sex. But even the experts admit, the number of victims is difficult to quantify and largely unknown…Of…eight human trafficking cases, [Louisiana] prosecutors…[managed to win] only one [conviction]…

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (#134)

One of the women who is suing the police after discovering that her former boyfriend was an undercover…[cop] has found a tracking device in her car…The woman – known as Lily – had a two-year relationship with Mark Kennedy without knowing his real identity.  She is part of a group of women taking legal action against the police for the emotional trauma they suffered after forming intimate relationships with men who were later revealed to be spies…the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung reported that a tracking device – wrapped in tape – was found near a wheel of her car…while she was at a conference…in Spain to discuss surveillance and censorship…

Profit from Panic 

The rescue industry is getting so successful it now has mergers and acquisitions:  “The Elizabeth Smart Foundation and Operation Underground Railroad have announced that they will now be working hand-in-hand in a joint effort to save children by merging the two organizations…

Worse Than I Thought

The [Utah] Legislature passed a bill…that would clarify that a person is guilty of prostitution not only when engaging in sexual activity with another for money but also for trade of goods…

Profound Ignorance 

Another astonishingly-stupid “study” produces predictably-stupid results:

Researchers with Mount Royal University and The Hindsight Group…[released] findings from a survey of men who were ordered to attend…“John schools”…66%…watched online pornography by the age of 15…67%…viewed online sites before venturing out to purchase sexual encounters…58%…said the Internet has made it more difficult for them to quit paying for sex…they’ve laid the groundwork for further investigation into prevention models that curb the demand for sex trade workers…

monkeysFor those who know nothing about the social sciences, here are a couple of hints: a “captive audience” is going to produce badly skewed results, and assuming the conclusion before the data is even recorded isn’t very likely to result in anything resembling actual data.

Diary of a Sad Man

In the coming weeks, the UK will see what must be a legal first – someone suing for libel over claims that they are not a former prostitute.  The development has come in the legal drama surrounding Dr Brooke Magnanti, who…[wrote] under the nom de plume “Belle de Jour” about her secret life as a £300-an-hour call girl, and her ex-lover Owen Morris…The adventures of Belle de Jour spawned the long-running TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper.  But in 2013, Morris – known as “The Boy” in Magnanti’s book The Intimate Adventures of a Call Girl– claimed she had lied about her history as an escort and sued for defamation and breach of privacy.  Morris claims that…his career has been damaged by the…revelation of her true identity…Magnanti is now counter-suing.  She claims that Morris’ assertions that she was never a prostitute are defamatory to her reputation…

Schadenfreude (#429) 

An in-depth analysis of how Eden and its ilk harm sex workers:

Does it matter when popular stories about “sex trafficking” are based on half-truths, junk science, and/or religious beliefs?…it is critical that we face the consequences of stories told in the name of rescuing girls and women…many individuals still derive most of their knowledge about human trafficking from sensationalistic media stories about so-called “sex trafficking….Hollywood action-adventure characterizations of victims and villains are deployed; complex structural problems are squeezed into personal morality tales; and the stories are then used by anti-sex work politicians and activists to justify heightened forms of criminal punishment.  While the stories may have popular appeal, evidence suggests that more criminalization actually hurts all sex workers across the continuum of privilege and oppression…

An Example To the West (#504)

A campaign by Thai authorities to crack down on human trafficking has led to the arrests…of…as many as 150 refugees and asylum seeker…Pakistan-based media and some Christian groups say the number may be as many as several hundred.  Among those arrested were people fleeing religious persecution and sectarian violence in Pakistan…

The Mote and the Beam (#510)

It’s interesting to compare coverage of the same “sex trafficking” story from two different media outlets. The Christian Science Monitor tells us:

…the women of the Senate…decided to take on the “despicable, vile issue of human trafficking”…Sex trafficking crosses party lines…the House passed a dozen, bipartisan anti-trafficking bills…about 300,000 American children are at risk of being trafficked…it can happen to anyone.  The average age is 11 to 14 years old…[cop] Michael Ferjak…[denied the agency of adult women and said] “We must…stop thinking that a 14-year-old can actually [think]”…

While in Reason, Noah Berlatsky writes:

According to the logic of many lawmakers, those engaged in prostitution are always victims.  And once you have victims, you need victimizers—people who can be heroically beaten back by courageous law enforcement personnel.  Generally, the victimizers are identified as sex traffickers or pimps.  But a bill from Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) targets another popular bete noire:  classified advertisers…the hope seems to be that negative publicity will cause the site’s owners to shutter Backpage, or at least its “adult” listings section…Kirk’s website throws around numerous frightening and dubious statistics, such as a claim that 300,000 children are “at risk of being trafficked for sex in the United States” every year…The implication, of course, is that the Internet makes prostitution more dangerous and exploitive.  But is it really less safe for women to advertise online than (as one obvious alternative) to work on the street?…

Profound Mental Disabilities (#512) Alissa Afonina

Though the court’s statements and the media coverage of the story both came across as “doing sex work is evidence of brain damage”, Alissa Afonina doesn’t see it that way:

My brain injury is supported by far more than just the sexual symptoms, which is all the media decided to focus on…I have brain scans, countless assessments and [a] history of behavior that is totally congruent with my type of brain injury…I worked…because making that amount of money felt good and I wanted to save as much as I could…

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If sex has no value, how can prostitution be illegal?  –  Beaufort Observer

The Biggest Whores

Quite possibly the stupidest statement ever made about sex:

North Carolina government officials who are having secret sex with lobbyists need fear no more:  The state’s ethics commission has decided such illicit relationships are completely fine…The opinion…essentially says that…Sex has no value…and so it doesn’t need to be disclosed…In an editorial published under the headline “Has the State Ethics Commission made prostitution legal in North Carolina?” the Beaufort Observer denounced the…idea that sex has no monetary value….[and] suggested that the latter idea may lead to the legalization of prostitution…

Surplus Women 

Dominick Everson admitted to police that he hired Ezrhea Danyell Cherry…[and claimed he] paid [her] before…sex…[but when] he pulled out “a wad of money” to tip [her, she] pulled a gun on him and told him to give it up.  Everson [claims]…he [then] pulled a gun of his own and opened fire, striking the woman once in the front and three times in the back.  He then fled from the scene in Cherry’s car…During a different interview, Everson told authorities that he didn’t kill the woman at all, and that another man [did]…When prosecutors pressed Everson about why the gun supposedly carried by Cherry wasn’t found, Everson replied that the police had not done a thorough enough investigation.

Gorged With Meaning

The idea that men paying for women’s company is “unconventional” is so naive it’s hilarious:

A controversial website is connecting…men with young women for cash…is it safe?  Is it even legal?…the average sugar baby receives about $3,000 in monthly allowances…legal analyst Gil Soffer…says this is a legal grey area…It’s fulfilling unconventional needs in a 21st century way.

These articles all contain quotes from “experts” pontificating on the obvious:

…“I absolutely think this is prostitution,” says Laura Killinger, a…former prosecutor…“They have sugar-coated this type of prostitution so that it seems so much more socially acceptable…As a prosecutor, I wanted to take legal action against this activity…but it would take tremendous resources…to make…a misdemeanour case”…

Above the Law 

Sometimes “authorities” completely get away with serial rape:

A prison doctor in New Mexico sexually assaults inmates with rectal exams for everything from tooth pain to toenail fungus, seven inmates claim in lawsuits…Dr. Mark Walden regularly performed “digital rectal exams” for no legitimate medical reason, sometimes without wearing gloves, and fondled them inappropriately…When…asked the doctor…”claimed he was milking the plaintiff’s prostate and other medically nonsensical responses”…wardens and prison staff knew about the sexual assaults but did nothing to stop them…complaints and reports…were either ignored, “lost,” or met with retaliation…

And sometimes they only mostly get away with it:rapist cop Jonathan Bleiweiss

A…Florida [cop] has admitted to [raping] undocumented immigrants…Jonathan Bleiweiss…pleaded guilty to…14 counts of armed false imprisonment, 15 counts of battery and four counts of stalking.  However, he avoided all of the charges with [the word] “sex” in them…and as such will not be required…to register as a sex offender…

Profound Ignorance

Clueless academic makes stupid, ignorant statements about sex work; Elizabeth N. Brown calls him on them:

…In a new Iowa Law Review article, “Prostitution 3.0“, University of Colorado law professor Scott Peppet…[lays] out the myriad benefits of a “technology-enabled sex market” as well as the legal barriers that “inhibit prostitution-related innovation” in America…the legal climate prevents innovation that could make the industry safer and more socially acceptable, and then this danger and stigma is used to justify continued prohibition…Unfortunately, Peppet’s ultimate vision here is “legalizing Prostitution 3.0 while criminalizing the purchase of sex outside of Prostitution 3.0’s parameters”—which seems far from the lofty liberalism and freedom-of-contract ideas Peppet pays lip service to…It’s a vision that seems predicated on a strange sort of techno-utopian statism, and a disappointing one for those of us who believe prostitution problems stem from black markets and state interference.  In a nice response article…Scott Cunningham and Todd D. Kendall argue similarly, writing that “most of the social problems associated with prostitution are not inherent to the industry, but they are the logical result of the prohibition itself, a conclusion supported by the fact that other, similar, markets not subject to a prohibition experience few of the problems associated with prostitution”…

So Close and Yet So Far

If you’re going to argue against bad sex work laws, it’s probably best if you eschew language like this:

Selling sex is clearly not a job many people would care to have…If you criminalize the pimps, then it means women cannot be compelled into selling their bodies for sex, right?  Wrong…Some prostitutes will be people who freely choose to engage in prostitution; many, however, “have no meaningful choice…Whether because of financial desperation, drug addictions, mental illness, or compulsion from pimps, they often have little choice but to sell their bodies for money”…The new laws…do not protect women from violent johns…

Blunt Instrument

Three massage parlors were shut down in Lomita [California using the excuse of]…exploitation of women and human trafficking.  Although no violations of that nature were found, each business was cited for poor record keeping on matters [of red tape]…Fines could cost the businesses thousands of dollars.  They will remain closed until they [fork over the tribute]…Deputies [pretended that]…the operation [was] in response to complaints from residents…

Shame, Shame

Tracy Clark-Flory interviewed sex workers, including me, for this article on police body cameras:

…Naming and shaming…has a long history in sex work policing.  Police departments have routinely published sex worker photos in local newspapers…”I can’t help but wonder what would have been done with the footage had such a camera been rolling at the time of my arrest,” says Maggie McNeill, who was caught in a sex work sting in 2005…”The potential for shaming is staggering, especially given that sex workers are very often nude or nearly so when the police spring the trap—I was…It’s one of the reasons stings so often employ such huge mobs of cops—15 in my case—when two or three would do…The mentality in play is like a low-level version of a gang rape, a group of thugs bonding over sexual humiliation of a woman…I have absolutely no doubt that particularly juicy video clips will end up in cops’ private collections to be traded between them, even if some authority decides that such clips will not be publicly released,” she says…Audacia Ray…of the…Red Umbrella Project…is worried about body cameras being “used as a tool to shame people who are being arrested…police often make sexual or degrading comments at women as they are arresting them”…”We have strong concerns about what malicious third-party content producers might do with records of police encounters,” said Matt Kellegrew, the lead staff attorney for Red Light Legal…”My worst fear is some type of sex-worker-shaming-meets-Cops-style slander/shock videos popping up”…

Drawing Lines Sheri's Ranch

a press release…from…Sheri’s Ranch, a licensed brothel in Nevada…was…incredibly vile, self-serving (even by PR standards) and stigmatizing to sex workers…We’re used to seeing efforts to deride and harm sex workers, and ugly, flagrant whorephobia, from radical feminist and anti-sex nut jobs like Melissa Farley and Gail Dines, but this one came from a business…that profits off the efforts of sex workers…“We’re concerned that sugar dating websites, platforms promoting prostitution and operating without interference from law enforcement, may one day negatively impact our legal prostitution business.”  This is what our friend Maggie McNeill calls “badge-licking”.  What sex worker on the planet — and what individual citizen, for that matter — thinks that increased interference in their lives or business by law enforcement is a good thing?  While, I give them points for honesty on the “we’re concerned” this will hurt our business bit, the whole thing sounds as though Sheri’s is trying to smear its  competition.  And by “competition” we mean, other sex workers…

Deafening Silence (#415)

End result of prohibitionism: more women are pushed into sex work:

The sex industry that once thrived in Dongguan [China]…has now scurried underground after the hammering of official raids and crackdowns seeking to eradicate the industry last year…Shops and parlors closed down; people were arrested by the hundreds…though places which once provided sex services were forced to close and all the businesses attached to them [were] damaged…sex workers remain…and work at home…[or on] the streets…some female residents who used to work at the region’s bars or catering businesses that failed to survive have become sex workers “for the better pay”…

BDSM (#505)

Just in case you think BDSM isn’t still heavily stigmatized, take a look at this remarkably stupid, impressively ignorant hate-screed:

Dr. Miriam Grossman…[says that] Fifty Shades of Grey teaches your daughter that pain and humiliation are erotic, and your son, that girls want a guy who controls, intimidates and threatens…The first thing you’ll hear from advocates of BDSM is that consent makes it all A-Okay.  That’s bullshit, folks.  Domestic violence shelters are filled to the gills with women who deluded themselves into thinking that intimacy involved consent to being abused…Somewhere along the way, it ends up like the bonding with one’s captor that occurs in Stockholm Syndrome…Young people…especially females, grossly underestimate the effect of sexual activity on their emotions…Men who habitually indulge in BDSM can also end up thinking that a woman’s “consent” to be abused excuses every abusive thing they might say or do to her…indulgence in…BDSM acts as an addictive drug.  It can render such men incapable of any sex that is not BDSM…

Harm Reduction (#506)

Another wake-up call to wives:

Monogamy is against most men’s biological nature.  But nest-building and settling down with one primary woman to raise a family is not.  He’s chosen you, not me.  He might see me as more fun, vivacious or sexual, but he sees you as the best candidate for wife, mother and life companion.  He takes you seriously; not me…he…would rather seek out a willing mistress than rock the boat with you by expressing his frustration at your loss of interest in sex…I’m basically a young, good-looking version of a therapist…[whom] he gets to fuck…

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