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Posts Tagged ‘prohibitionist myths’

Sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such.  –  Anja Derungs

Acting and Activism 

Not an article you’d see in the US:

…Celebrities…[such as] Ashton Kutcher, Ricky Martin, Demi Moore, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Emma Thompson have all been extensively involved in [so-called] anti-trafficking campaigns…Recently, comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Meyers starred in a [propaganda video] in support of…new [censorship] legislation in the US to curtail sex work in the name of preventing sex trafficking…Celebrities…bridge the gap between brand and cause ambassador, between hawker and humanitarian.  A clear example of this is Demi Moore’s partnership in 2011 with a jewellery retailer to sell diamond handcuff pendants, with some of the profits going to support the anti-[sex work] foundation established by Moore and her husband at the time, Ashton Kutcher…the presence of movie and television stars at the forefront of awareness campaigns can fuel the expectation that real trafficking victims are just like those we see on television or the big screen…sex slavery…is a popular storyline in entertainment mediaTaken…was a smash hit…spawning two sequels and a television show…Stories of sex trafficking have featured in other movies like The Whistleblower and Trade, and numerous television shows including Criminal Minds, CSIHawaii Five-O, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS: Los Angeles, Without a Trace, and The Wire.  The broad reach of movies and TV means that we are more likely to hear about human trafficking in a fictional context…The lines between entertainment, infotainment and information become blurred, especially when we are told…stories of trafficking by the very people who might play the heroes on screen...

Saving Them From Themselves

Dr. David Ley can always be counted on to speak good sense:

…prosecution of teen sexting suffers from the same disparities as much of our legal system: teens who are Black [or LGBT] may be more likely to face prosecution…Males are more frequently charged than females, even in cases involving mutual sharing of pictures…it is mostly the US that is having this teen sexting panic.  Countries in which social nudity is common and accepted don’t seem to be reacting quite as punitively to these phenomena…Amy Hasinoff, author of Sexting Panic, argues strongly that…child pornography laws need to be updated to be more consistent with age of sexual consent laws:  If you can have sex at age 15 or 16, then you should be able to take or share a naked or sexual image (of yourself) as well.  But she also says that we need to take a better educational approach with teens, teaching them about healthy sexuality and relationships and giving them support and guidance on how to sext safely, not trying to stop them sexting altogether.  In other words, we need to start practicing harm reduction strategies…

Gorged With Meaning

Cracked has fewer pro-sex work articles than it once did, but this one’s excellent:

…”Being alone with a man is being alone with a man,” says Fancy, “and they don’t see a difference between a sugar baby and an escort.  In fact, because it’s the first area of sex work many people start with, the risk is higher because the expectation of screening isn’t really there”…Despite sugar sites’ insistence that “entering the sugar bowl” is all about forming lasting romantic bonds of convenience, the turnover rate for arrangements is high — about two months on average, in Fancy’s experience…Both of our sources recently made the decision to quit sugar dating.  Julia got a promotion at her day job, while Fancy decided that the profit wasn’t worth it compared to traditional escorting and stripping.  “I found the men on the sugaring sites to largely be cheapskates who want to trick young women who are too scared to escort into providing escort services for a fraction of the cost,” she says. “It’s very manipulative, financially”…higher-end escorts tend to charge at least $2,000 for overnight stays.  In her experience, that amount is at the upper end of the monthly  allowances sugar daddies offer — and for escorts, those overnight stays don’t require the devotion, time, and attention that often accompany a sugar arrangement…”I was taking $300-$600 for overnight (sugar) stays!  All just so I could call myself something other than a whore”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

A…Lethbridge [Alberta] school teacher…Dwayne Schnell…pleaded guilty to charges of making and distributing child pornography…Schnell abused his position of trust by taking pictures of eight students…without their knowledge…a psychiatrist said…Schnell has no concept of the harm caused to the children, parents, or the school where he worked….[and] assertions that he suffers from impulse control and addiction issues were “self-deceptive excuses to justify his behaviour”…Schnell…[claims] he has a pornography addiction…

Uncommon Sense (#545)

How countries with healthy ideas about sex react to the Swedish disease:

A campaign to make prostitution illegal in Switzerland is being met with stiff resistance from human rights group.  The Swiss Aids Federation [and] Amnesty International…are among several advocacy groups rallying against the…[crusade, which] was launched by the Women’s Centre in Zurich…and calls for a Swedish-style ban on prostitution…Anja Derungs, spokesperson for the Zurich Equality Office said that “sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such”…Daniel Seiler…of the Swiss AIDS Federation, said that sex work “is the oldest profession in the world” and would not disappear if a ban was in place.  This approach had not worked it Sweden either, where the trade still exists, he noted…The Women’s Centre in Bern also expressed its opposition to the campaign launched by its counterpart in Zurich…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Shaming clients is an exercise in evil fuckery that just won’t die:

The Catalan town of Gavà wants to stamp out [sex workers]…and snitch on those who [enable sex workers to pay their bills and support their children]…by sending fines to their family addresses…”Up until now, the client used to pay the fine (to police) in cash right there and then so that there was no record of the offence”…[anti-sex] Minister Gemma Badia is quoted as saying…As a result, authorities have decided [cops]…should send the fines to clients’ home addresses…Even if the clients were to insist on paying before the fine was posted, they would still receive a letter informing them, and quite possibly their family members, on the settlement of their prostitution case…

The Monsters Are Due (#742) 

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

A 92-year-old man…was thrown to the ground [and] stomped on by strangers on the Fourth of July…in…Los Angeles…Rodolfo Rodriguez [is] a native of Mexico and legal U.S. resident…Laquisha Jones, 30, was arrested…[and] booked for assault with a deadly weapon…Rodriguez had gone out alone for his daily walk, [the victim’s grandson, Erik] Mendoza said…While walking, Rodriguez may have bumped into a small girl, witness Misbel Borjas…said…she [then] saw a woman with the girl push Rodriguez and beat him with a brick.  The woman also told Rodriguez to “go back to your country”…Borjas had been driving by, she said, and wanted to stop, but the woman threatened to hit her car with the brick.  Borjas instead called 911 and took a picture of the woman, which she shared with police and put on social media.  Borjas said a group of men then came down the street, and the woman accused Rodriguez of trying to take the child.  That’s when about three of them also began beating him…Rodriguez…suffered two broken ribs and a broken cheekbone…

Cops and Robbers (#823)

No fad spreads faster than a new way to tyrannize innocent people:

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco announced new initiatives to [harass]…sex [workers]…Deputies will utilize intercept bots to track people who use the Internet to search out [adult consensual sex]…The bots will communicate like a [very stupid and robotic] person, exchanging information such as phone numbers and could even set up meeting locations.  [Pigs]…will [creep] in to lock up the buyer and then go after the person in court…

Guys, it’s extremely easy for men to know which ads are real and which are pig swill: women in real ads will have an established online presence.  Just Google the name, email address, phone number, etc; if there are no other hits on an escort site, other ad sites, Twitter, etc, you’re probably looking at a pig trap.

The War Goes On (#831) 

We told you so:

…promoting prostitution…cases, according to [spokespig] John Daggy [of Indianapolis]…have…dried up…[since] the feds closed police’s [easiest site for stings]…Backpage…“We’ve been a little bit blinded lately because they shut Backpage down,” Daggy said…

The melodramatic telling of the arrest of a wannabe “pimp” is especially hilarious.  NB: Every time his name comes up, I remind readers that one of Daggy’s jobs is to make excuses for cops who rape sex workers.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#849) 

It’s fascinating in a train-wreck kind of way to watch the lies spiral out of control:

Fulton County Police Chief Darryl Halbert said 100,000 children become sex trafficking victims in Georgia per year and are mostly runaways between the ages of 12 and 14.  He said the county police department uses surveillance cameras and sting operations to [pretend they’re fighting] the [imaginary] crime…

Yes, that’s a pig oinking that almost 5% of the entire below-18 population of Georgia (something like 30% of the age group mentioned) become “sex slaves” every year.  Even allowing for half “escaping”, that would mean roughly half of the population of Georgia under the age of 30 are now “sex slaves”.  One wonders where they’re all stored, and where the clients to support this massive population all come from.

Welcome To Our World (#853)

Locking pregnant women in cages for “trafficking” themselves.  Had enough yet?

Phnom Penh Municipal Court…charged 33 women with human trafficking after they were detained following a raid on a surrogacy business…last month…[being pregnant in a way politicians don’t like] is illegal and could carry a jail sentence of up to 20 years…Chou Bun Eng, chair of the National Authority Against Human Trafficking, said…“We cannot tell you the place where the women are [locked in cages] because we want to protect their rights and…keep them safe”…

“Keep them safe” and “protect their rights”.  By locking them in cages for 20 years.  For being pregnant.  Feminism!

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I felt that the glitter on the seized cash was compelling evidence.
–  Jude Faccidomo

It Looks Good On Paper

Remember that I’ve been a harsh critic of these do-nothing law for 7 years:

Under Ohio’s safe harbour legislation – and similar laws across all states…[women can] request that criminal charges…accrued while [coerced into prostitution be]…expunged from the public record.  Yet [prohibitionists] across the US are warning that a sudden decision by the Trump administration, effective immediately, to cut all funding for legal representation…means that many other victims will now struggle to get their expungement cases into a courtroom…the American Bar Association, members of Congress, survivors, advocates and law enforcement have called for a reversal of the decision [even though they still support]…deny[ing]…the…legal rights [of sex workers who aren’t poster children for prohibition]…

Far be it from me to say anything good about the orange-utang, but these laws actually help nobody but “perfect victims”; defunding them will change essentially nothing.

With Friends Like These…

If you can’t write a pro-decrim article without saying that you wish whores didn’t exist, don’t write one at all:

…there’s not much that’s more misogynistic than blaming women because they fulfill the needs of men.  It’s all very well to insist that women make this choice because of patriarchy and false consciousness, as some feminists do, and are called “whorephobic” for their pains.  But…feminist theory doesn’t pay the bills.  I’m not pretending that there would be prostitution in my ideal world.  There wouldn’t.  I like neither the idea nor the reality of prostitution.  But I also know that the world isn’t, and can’t be, arranged around what I like…I know as well, or think I know, that “free choice” is merely a concept and that human beings have no more free choice than foxes or dolphins or butterflies.  We have loaded choices, all of them dictated by our upbringing, our finances, our cultural landscape and our genes, in that order…

In my ideal world, hypocritical apologists for feminism like Deborah Orr wouldn’t exist; I like neither the idea nor the reality of them.  But I’m an adult who understands that the concept of an “ideal world” is childish nonsense, and that one whose “ideal world” doesn’t include free choice is a pompous asshat.

See No Evil (#136) 

Seven years in a cage for drawing a fictional character:

Christopher John Czarnik…is serving time on a 2014 plea for the possession and distribution of sexually explicit images of children.  He was then charged again with child porn in prison….[after] guards found a drawing of a young girl engaged in sexual acts with an adult male…Czarnik then showed [screws] more pictures and writings of this own creation.  That was deemed possession and creation of child porn…Czarnik entered a guilty plea with the condition that the legal issue be allowed to be litigated over…”cartoon characters.”  That plea limited the added sentence to seven years…

A Broker in Pillage (#406)

It’s not often a judge rules against cops in favor of a sex worker:

The Miami-Dade Police Department must return nearly $20,000 in cash to a woman after prosecutors admitted that [cops] illegally searched her car and seized several lawfully owned guns…the department will also pay $3,000 in legal fees to Lizmixell Batista, a dancer at the local Cheetah Gentleman’s Club, and her husband, Ras Cates…Batista and Cates were arrested following a traffic stop in May.  [Cops pretended to] smell…marijuana in their car, and a subsequent search turned up six guns, several large bottles of what cops [claimed] to be codeine cough syrup, and nearly $20,000 in cash in Batista’s purse…[cops bragged as though] it [were] a major bust…[but] prosecutors dropped the charges…when body-cam footage showed police didn’t have permission to search the couple’s trunk.  The guns were all legally owned, Cates had a concealed carry license, and no testing had been done on the su[ppos]ed codeine…Batista had explained…why, given her profession, she would be carrying large amounts of cash, but the department initiated a forfeiture case against the money anyway…[pretend]ing it was dope money…

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

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

Yan Liu, originally from China and now a resident of New York City, was charged [in Maine] with engaging in prostitution.  No other people were charged in connection with her arrest, including a man and a woman [imagined] by the motel employee as coercing Liu back into the room, or a client [of hers]…Liu, who does not speak English and communicated with police and court officials through an interpreter, posted a $1,000 cash bail and pleaded not guilty to the charge…but she has been unwilling to [tell] her court-appointed attorney, Merritt Heminway [what he wants to hear]…She did, however, tell him she arrived in the United States last September and has applied for asylum…After a June 27 hearing…Liu and the state filed an agreement that if she remains out of trouble for one year, her case will automatically be dismissed.  She was not required to enter a guilty plea…Destie Hohman Sprague…of the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, [complained that pigs and politicians did not overrule Liu’s agency]…to protect Lui’s safety…But Liu’s defense attorney criticized the district attorney’s office for prosecuting the case at all, contending Liu is a victim of sex trafficking…He speculated the rational [sic] for applying charges was to convince her to identify leaders of a [fantasized] trafficking ring…[the DA bloviated that] prosecuting such cases is sometimes the only mechanism the court system has of [maintaining surveillance] on people who[se agency it wishes to deny]…The [pompous ignoramus who acts as] prosecutor said nearly all women involved in prostitution have been trafficked at some point in their lives…

Negative Secondary Effects

Welcome to our world, cannabusiness:

Every municipality in San Diego County that limits or bans the sale of marijuana has cited public safety as the justification…[then-police chief] Shelley Zimmerman’s testi[lied] in September 2017…[that] 272 police radio calls for “burglaries, robberies, thefts, assaults and shootings, just to name a few,” at medical marijuana dispensaries over a two-and-a-half-year period [constituted] evidence of the kind of activity such facilities invite on a neighborhood…Zimmerman’s [lies] appeared in a memo written by Oceanside Police Chief Frank McCoy to the City Council, which decided — against the recommendations of a subcommittee — not to allow retail shops.  Her remarks were also cited by anti-pot activists in Imperial Beach who helped slow down  marijuana regulations there…Diane Goldstein, a retired Redondo Beach police lieutenant, analyzed the records, which were made available on the city’s website in March.  She concluded that the Police Department’s presentation was “sloppy, unprofessional and based on ideology”…The address listed on more than a quarter of those reports were to neighboring business, not a marijuana facility.  Several of the city’s legal dispensaries existed then — as they still do — within shopping malls or office complexes…

To Molest and Rape (#756) 

Rapist cop escapes consequences for his actions by croaking:

Troy Allen Large…died earlier this year…Large, a…sex-crimes investigator, is accused of using his “position of power to [rape]…female victims of violent crime” and then…coercing them into participating in video-recorded, nude catfights…police officials were aware of the accusations…and [did nothing]…

Saving Them From Themselves (#764)

Adult woman magically turns into “child” via the power of a magical camera:

A Cleveland man who testified in defense of his roommate in a child pornography case admitted on the stand to taking sexually explicit pictures of a…girlfriend…Edward Marrero, 27, said…he took the photos in April 2011…[when] she was 17 years old and he was 20…The age of consent in Ohio is 16 years old, but federal law states it is illegal to create, share or possess sexually-explicit images of anyone under the age of 18…He is now charged with producing child pornography.  If convicted, he faces between 15 and 30 years in federal prison…

“Child” pornography.  Of a consenting woman it was legal for him to fuck, who is now 24 years old.  But it’s to “protect the children”!!!!

Checklist (#796)

The scheme to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system continues:

Last year, 276 [phone calls were made from Georgia by hysterics]…to the National Human Trafficking Hotline…Georgia law requires airports, train stations and emergency rooms to post [magic anti-pimp signs] in public restrooms…[spokespig Brian] Johnston [oinked that] Savannah’s highways and interstates…mak[e[ it easier to move people quickly to another city or another state…St. Joseph’s/Candler [hospital forces]…staff to [attend indoctrination sessions on]…the [mythical] signs…[social worker and fabulist Jessy] McMullan said she already knows it works from a friend who works as an ER nurse in Atlanta and had similar training.  “Within two weeks of the training, she identified two child victims that came through the emergency room…They were reunited with their families.  It gives you chills”…

Urban legends are always said to have happened to a “friend of a friend” (FoF); in this case it’s the supposed patient of an unnamed friend.  So where are the links to the news stories where the pigs grunt about these “child sex trafficking victims” they “rescued”?  Because you know that if this had actually happened it would’ve been big news.

Rooted in Racism (#797)

More European government humanitarianism to “fight human trafficking”:

Operation Sophia, the EU naval operation in the Mediterranean…is helping the Libyan coastguard return migrants to rape, slavery, torture and murder in local camps…Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), citing accounts from its staff in Libya, says…when migrants could not pay for their release having been captured by the authorities, some had their genitals cut off…Others said there had been routine rapes at camps to detain migrants.  MSF says that it sends 50 body bags a week to one camp…“Under the pretence of saving lives and disrupting the business model of smugglers and traffickers, the Libyan coastguard are supported and empowered by EU states to intercept people at sea and send them back to the very conditions they were trying to escape”…

Backwards into the Future (#827) 

Another victory for feminism against jobs for women:

The Dutch brewer Heineken is suspending the use of ‘beer girls’ in Mozambique due to allegations of sexual harassment from customers …NRC Handelsblad…published…research by Partner Africa showing that…there were “revealing short skirts” in…Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda.  It has introduced a new code of practice for its third party partners, who employ the women to sell the beer to bars and restaurants in Africa, including safe working practices and “decent uniforms”…NRC [also] claimed…some prostitutes combined beer promotion with their Heineken work, to get more clients for both.  No evidence of links with prostitution was [provided]…But the Amsterdam-based brand was under pressure from other businesses, including the Global Fund international health organisation, which had suspended its partnership with Heineken and urged it to protect women beer promoters from [gainful employment]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#841)

Where “cutting-edge” is used to mean “hopelessly inaccurate”:

The head of London’s Metropolitan Police force has defended the organization’s ongoing trials of automated facial recognition systems, despite legal challenges and criticisms that the technology is “almost entirely inaccurate”…Police commissioner Cressida Dick said…the public “expect[s]” law enforcement to test such cutting-edge systems…The London force is one of several in the UK…deploy[ing the surveillance system] at public events like concerts, festivals, and soccer matches.  Mobile CCTV cameras are used to scan crowds, and tries to match images of faces to mugshots of wanted individuals…According to data released under the UK’s Freedom of Information laws, 98 percent of the “matches” made by the Metropolitan’s AFR system are mistakes…The Met [claims]…that no individuals have [yet] been arrested because of a false match…

Legislators Gone Wild (#847) 

Evil douchebags trying to criminalize Nevada brothels fall on their faces:

Opponents of legalized prostitution in Nye County had been trying to put the issue to voters in a referendum in November. But county officials said Monday the effort had failed to turn in the required 1,963 signatures. The deadline was [June 29th].  The only recourse for proponents of the brothel elimination measure is to get county commissioners to agree to put it on the ballot…Nye County spokesman Arnold Knightly said the board’s chairman had already indicated he would not bring the item forward…That leaves [prohibitionists] needing at least two other commissioners to call a special meeting…The group had also targeted Lyon County…But the county’s Board of Commissioners decided in June to take a different approach to the issue by placing an advisory question on the ballot in November…ask[ing] voters whether the board should end legalized prostitution in Lyon County…

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Mike Siegel is a professional astronomer who has been one of my online friends for about six years now; he has helped me analyze bad studies and calculate statistics, given me advice on scientific points in some of my stories, and even been featured here as a fiction writer himself.  I’ve also linked to some of his articles, and right now he has an excellent demolition of FOSTA and the evil mindset which spawned it on the group blog Ordinary Times.  He was kind enough to allow me to publish this excerpt, but you really ought to read the whole thing.

…We are in the midst of War on Sex Work that is largely becoming a replacement for the War on Drugs…A war on sex work would be difficult given that about half of Americans think prostitution should be legal.  And so this war has built on a tissue of falsehoods to claim that it is actually a war on “sex trafficking”.  We are constantly being told — by politicians, by the media and by the entertainment industry — that there is a national crisis of sex trafficking and specifically a crisis of child sex trafficking.  But the evidence to support this claim, when you dig into it even a little bit, turns out to be a ziggurat of garbled statistics, junk social science and outright lies.  My friend Maggie McNeill has devoted an entire page to debunking claims that are so common and oft-repeated, they are taken as gospel: that the average age at which a woman enters sex work is 13 (it’s mid-20’s); that there are 300,000 child sex slaves in the US (there are at most a few hundred), that sex trafficking and consensual sex work are inextricably linked (they aren’t); that the Super Bowl or other big events are magnets for sex traffickers (not at all).  It goes without saying that forced sexual servitude is an abomination…but if that’s what you’re concerned about, it seems like a good first step would be to decriminalize sex work for adults, as organizations like Amnesty International have advocated.  Doing so would free up law enforcement resources to work the real problem rather than being devoted entirely to routine prostitution busts.

Let’s illustrate that with one example: about every year, the federal government runs a program called Operation Cross Country — a vast multi-agency operation to crack down on “sex trafficking”, at the end of which they will claim to have rescued something on the order a hundred underage sex slaves (which alone should tell us that we do not have anywhere close to 300,000 of them).  Elizabeth Nolan Brown has done amazing work sifting through the propaganda and found that these operations typically arrest over a thousand consenting adults.  Mixed in with those adults are usually a few dozen to a hundred underage sex workers, but most of these are doing it not because of enslavement but because they have run away or been thrown out of their homes).  The operations also arrest a couple of hundred “pimps” but these are often people whose pimping consists of driving their girlfriend to an incall or processing credit card payments…

…I have seen how the case for prohibition is supported by lies…[which is] what has drawn me into this debate so keenly.  It offends me as a scientist…FOSTA was ostensibly proposed to allow the federal government to crack down on online sex trafficking.  This promise was predicated, like most of the War on Sex Work, on dubious stats.  Sex workers vehemently opposed it but their voices were drowned out by supporters misrepresenting the law and celebrities making bizarre claims like ordering a sex slave was as easy as ordering a pizza…Sex Worker rights advocates, digital freedom advocates and libertarians made dire predictions about what was going to happen…So what has happened over the last three months?  Exactly what was feared…and as the weeks have rolled on, it has become painfully and immediately obvious that FOSTA has made things far far worse for sex workers…what FOSTA has done…[is] just as bad as the sex worker advocates warned us it would be…

…wars on sin have often engaged in what I call “harm enhancement” (as opposed to “harm reduction”).  During the War on Drugs, we banned the sale of certain chemicals to Colombia that were used to facilitate drug manufacturing; the result was drugs that had carcinogens in them, which politicians hoped would persuade people to stop using them.  A similar controversy erupted over paraquat pot, herbicides sprayed on marijuana that found that their way into people’s lungs.  During prohibition, industrial alcohols were deliberately poisoned in an effort to stop people from drinking them.  And there is little doubt that the War on Sex Work has frequently seen increased danger as a deterrent.  In many states, a woman simply having condoms on her is considered evidence of prostitution.  Sex workers have reported being pulled over by cops and watching them poke holes in condoms.  The closure of MyRedBook and Rentboy and Backpage did little to stop sex work but plenty to prevent sex workers from screening out dangerous clients.  When a movement engages in policy after policy designed to increase the danger, I think it it reasonable to assume that it is deliberate…this even goes beyond sex work, however.  Our political class has long had a hatred for Section 230 of the CDA, which they see as protecting speech they don’t like.  The last year has been filled with attacks on Facebook and other social media for allowing “fake news” to percolate (the effect of which is very unclear).  The effects of this bill go even beyond the impact on sex workers, bad as that has been.  It is the camel’s nose in the tent of undermining Section 230 and turning the internet into a “safe”, controlled, gated, milquetoast community.  And what better way to get the camel’s nose in the tent than through “solving” a vastly exaggerated crisis?…

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of women less “oppressed” than sex workers.  –  Sharanya Gopinathan

Saving Them From Themselves

Pigs shouldn’t be “investigating” sexting at all, but at least this is a start:

The Nashua, New Hampshire, police received word in May that 10 or 20 students at Bishop Guertin High School had been snapping and swapping sexts.  But then, rather than arresting these kids for making child porn, or threatening to register them as sex offenders, the police did something outrageously reasonable.  They opted not to charge any of them…

Worse Than I Thought

Virginia passes law to indefinitely detain the associates & loved ones of sex workers:

…the law…adds four offenses…to the list of crimes in which [innocent people accused of crimes] can be denied bail…[including] Receiving money from the earnings of a prostitute…[politician] Michael Mullin…was the chief patron of the bill.  He’s a prosecutor…[who says] he has seen people make bond, then post bail for sex workers and take them out of town…

Rough Trade (#345) 

Not as bad as calling rape “theft of services”, but bad enough:

Sex workers in Spain have protested the acquittal of three men accused of raping a sex worker.  24 hours after being arrested, the three men accused of rape had been released…The men denied the rape “because the woman is a prostitute”…The woman told the court she already knew the men, and that they gave her a strong tranquilizer which left her in an incapacitated state.  She underwent medical tests the next day which confirmed that an assault had taken place.  The judge released the men with charges of sexual abuse, but not rape, which means lesser punishment…

To Molest and Rape 

A typical hero cop, bravely protecting and serving:

A Texas sheriff’s deputy…sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl and threatened the child’s undocumented mother with deportation if she reported the abuse…Jose Nunez…is a [screw in San Antonio]…the victim’s mother took her daughter to a local fire station for help.  He was charged with super aggravated sexual assault of a child, a class one felony that carries a minimum 25-year sentence…the girl and her mother are relatives of the [rapist]…

Taking the child to a fire station rather than a pigpen was an absolutely brilliant move on the mother’s part.

Torture Chamber (#656)

Despite current posturing by Democrats, abuse of migrants has been a bipartisan policy for quite a while:

…[young people] at an immigration detention facility…were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells…They were included in a federal civil rights lawsuit with a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino youths held for months or years at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center [in Virginia.  Boys]…as young as 14 said the guards there stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads…The incidents described in the lawsuit occurred from 2015 to 2018, during both the Obama and Trump administrations.  Many…were sent there after U.S. immigration authorities accused them of belonging to violent gangs…But a top manager at the Shenandoah center said during a recent congressional hearing that the [young people] did not appear to be gang members and were suffering from mental health issues resulting from trauma that happened in their home countries — problems the detention facility is [totally un]equipped to treat…Virginia ranks among the worst states in the nation for wait times in federal immigration courts, with an average of 806 days before a ruling…

An Example To the West (#715)

In India, mainstream feminists support sex worker rights and prohibitionists are a crank minority who can be individually called out:

The women and child development minister of Karnataka, Jayamala, has instructed her department’s officials to henceforth refer to all sex workers as “damanitra mahila”…the Kannada term for “oppressed women”…The strides sex workers have managed to make over the last twenty years…are by no means an easy feat.  Sex workers have made truly remarkable achievements, like collectivising and organising under the uniquely dangerous circumstances they live and work in, thanks to a tangle of Victorian laws, carrying out their work with agency and ingenuity while protecting themselves from goondas [hired thugs], police, and misguided do-gooders.  They have also played a crucial role in implementing a roster of remarkable socio-political and legal changes for themselves in the face of shocking persecution, all in just two decades.  These are simply not  achievements a singularly oppressed group of people could pull off.  And now that these strides have indeed been made, and continue to be made, where do we get off calling these women, of all women, oppressed?…This pushes back [their] struggle for the rights of sex workers by decades; for dignity and rights rather than pity and victimhood…

Dutch Threat (#789) 

Dutch authorities’ attempts to Disnify De Wallen are failing:

Amsterdam has not succeeded in its efforts to clean up the city’s red light district…The old city centre still contains a “monoculture” of tourist shops and low-value cafes and bars…nor have officials been able to [find any of the] human trafficking and forced prostitution [prohibitionists fantasize about]…Project 1012 had two main ambitions; to replace cannabis cafes and souvenir shops with restaurants and galleries and to [persecute]…sex [workers] by closing brothels and stepping up [harassment]…Nevertheless, the “desired economic upswing” has not happened.  Officials may have closed 48 coffeeshops but they have been replaced by waffle shops and mini supermarkets.  And the combination of rising property prices and tourism has created a great deal of unhappiness among locals and local businesses…the closure of more than 100 brothel windows and [harassment of] brothel owners have not led to [the discovery of fantasized]…human trafficking…

Checklist (#812) 

Just in case you didn’t think you were spied on enough in airports:

This week…about 500,000 people globally – 75% them women and children – will be abducted or lured into a life of prostitution and/or slave labor.  And perhaps as many as 300,000 of them will be transported this month to their new, horrible living and working conditions aboard a commercial airliner.  That’s why the world’s airlines have launched a global awareness and industry-wide training program called #EyesOpen…aim[ed at indoctrinating] flight attendants, gate agents and other airline personnel [in anti-whore propaganda]…

So Forbes is not only claiming that half a million people a week (ie 26 million per year, or 4% of the entire world’s population every decade) magically vanish without anyone noticing, but also that 300,000 is 60% of 2 million (500,000/week x 4).  And people trust this magazine to give them financial advice?

Disaster (#832)

FOSTA is so blatantly unconstitutional this is bound to win; I just hope it’s quick:

Two human rights organizations, a digital library, an activist for sex workers, and a certified massage therapist have filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to block enforcement of FOSTA, the new federal law that silences online speech by forcing speakers to self-censor and requiring platforms to censor their users.  The plaintiffs are represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Davis, Wright Tremaine LLP, Walters Law Group, and Daphne Keller.  In Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States, the plaintiffs argue that FOSTA is unconstitutional, muzzling online speech that protects and advocates for sex workers and forces well-established, general interest community forums offline for fear of criminal charges and heavy civil liability for things their users might share…plaintiff[s include] the Woodhull Freedom Foundation…Human Rights Watch…and…The Internet Archive…

License to Rape (#836)

“When the bad guys at Rikers are the guards”, meaning “always”:

…about 50 of the 800 women [caged] at [Rikers Island] at any one time are being sexually victimized by staff — which puts [it] among the top-12 worst jails in the country.  Rikers’ reputation as a brutally Darwinian, scandal-ridden “torture island”, where people who can’t afford bail spend months — and occasionally years — awaiting trial, has been well documented….Although it’s part of the same story of corruption and violence, sexual assault and harassment at Rikers’ women’s facility has received relatively little attention…

Comfort Zone (#844)

Sometimes they don’t even bother with the “sex trafficking” excuse any more:

Police detained 35 foreign nationals suspected of prostitution during a raid at a hotel and bar in central Trinidad…ten men and 25 women, were held…while police suspect they were all engaged in prostitution, they could not charge them for that offence as no one was caught in the act.  Instead, the foreigners, who are from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Guyana, Grenada and Jamaica, were charged for various immigration offences including overstaying their time and entering the country illegally…

All-Purpose Excuse (#846)

Trump’s saying stuff like this will hasten the collapse of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…President Trump [claimed] that the media is enabling human trafficking at the southern border during a speech to a small business group in Washington.  “They are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe”…he said, citing no real evidence.  He also [claimed] that human traffickers are using children as “a ticket to getting into the country” and as “passports”.  As is often the case with Trump’s statements, it’s unclear exactly what he meant or how these alleged human traffickers are supposed to be using these kids.  Regardless, it’s the latest in a long line of dubious attempts to tie social and political controversies to human trafficking using weak or non-existent evidence.  [Father]land Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen echoed the president’s hysteria…saying, “We do not have the luxury of pretending that all individuals coming to this country as a family unit are in fact a family”…

Legislators Gone Wild (#847) 

Ron Weitzer debunking prohibitionist bullshit:

…legal prostitution is not a crazy, fringe idea.  In fact, the American public is much more sympathetic to the idea of it than is commonly believed.  Recent national polls show…support for legalizing prostitution increased from 38 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2015 and 49 percent in 2016.  And legalization bills have been recently introduced in Hawaii, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C.  Anti-prostitution activists claim that legalizing prostitution will increase sex trafficking.  This notion defies all logic.  Organized crime thrives where an activity is criminalized and clandestine, not where goods and services are lawfully exchanged.  The history of alcohol and drug prohibition offers overwhelming proof of this…UNLV…research shows that brothel workers are generally satisfied with their working conditions, do not consider themselves victims, rarely experience altercations with customers, have freedom to choose the kinds of services they provide and are working in healthy conditions…

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It’s time to set aside childish things, and start dealing with one another like grownups.  –  “Childish Things

A friend of my family’s once said, “Maggie was born adult.”  Just about everyone who knew me (with the exception of my mother) felt that way to one degree or another, and I can remember being frustrated with what I perceived as childishness in the greater world from a very young age.  For example, I can remember being extremely annoyed with commercials during kid-TV programming (such as Saturday morning cartoons) claiming that some mundane task like tooth-brushing needed to be “fun”.  Even at that tender age, I understood that it wasn’t necessary for every single thing in the world to be “fun”; some things just need to be done whether they’re “fun” or not.  I had a similar reaction to the “condoms are sexy” campaign of the ’80s:  No, condoms are not sexy; in fact, they’re really kind of nasty.  But until something better comes along, they are necessary whether they’re “sexy” or “fun” or not, and anyone who would eschew a reliable protection against contagious disease because it isn’t “sexy” is a childish imbecile and a danger to himself and others (see also “consent is sexy“).

There are a number of similarly-idiotic words used to influence the intellectually immature, and I despise all of them.  The odious word “deserve” is used to sell luxuries and deny basic human rights; “privilege” is used to subtly excuse and shift the blame for tyranny; “fairness” is used as an excuse for entitlement; “love” is reduced to the temporary neurochemical derangement we wrongly call “romantic love”, and represented as the only valid reason for sex or marriage (when actually it’s just about the worst reason for engaging in either); and prohibitionists use moronic phrases like “selling their bodies“, “the commodification of sex is sad“, and “no little girl dreams of growing up to be a prostitute” as excuses for inflicting violence on adults for engaging in consensual sex.  “Dreams”.  Seriously.  And yet these people, who actually believe the fantasies of undeveloped minds should be given the same weight as actual facts in adult discussions, are not only treated as grown adults, but actually deferred to as though this pablum constituted valid logical argument.  See also “follow your dreams”, possibly the most inane, naive, and – dare I say it? – privileged bit of non-advice ever to adorn a bumper sticker, right alongside such wisdom of the ages as “Baby on Board” and “Virginia is for lovers”.  But it doesn’t stop there, oh no; as I wrote in “Childish Things“,

Worse and more foolish still is the belief that a nonhuman thing, either material or immaterial, can be “bad”…too many [people]…imagine that plant matter or technological devices can be intrinsically evil; that certain words or images can be literally harmful…that the mere action of taking a photograph of a naked person…is intrinsically inimical; that certain forms of human interaction can mystically harm the participants even if they freely choose to engage in the activity and suffer no physical damage; that magical vestments or talismans can grant power over other people or absolve the wearer of moral culpability for his actions; that official pronouncements from anointed leaders can make things vanish; and even that being given a spell-scroll of one variety can make a “dangerous” action into a beneficial one, while being given a different kind of rune-inscribed parchment can make an innocuous action evil…

All this arrant, primitive stupidity make me want to vomit.  Human beings have the right to control our own bodies & lives regardless of motive, whether anybody “loves” or “dreams” or “deserves” whatever, or whether or not our actions are “fun” for us or anyone else.

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The government needs to get the fuck out of our bedrooms.  –  Cris Sardina

Under Every Bed

It’s almost like these people have never actually been to central Kentucky:

Human Trafficking is considered modern-day slavery and is widespread in Central Kentucky, where adults and children are being bought, sold and smuggled.  It…is the second-largest criminal enterprise in the world…“Any adult or child can fall prey to the manipulative recruitment and grooming tactics of traffickers,” said Attorney General Andy Beshear…This is worsened by Kentucky’s proximity to the I-75 corridor, where victims can be transported quickly to other states under the radar.  “When we talk about the crime of human trafficking, people often think of…people following people around Walmart or Target attempting a kidnapping,” said Robyn Diez d’Aux, a human trafficking advocate with Catholic Charities…

The Widening Gyre (#317)

Remember the Froot Loop who claimed pop stars cause “sex trafficking”?  Nicki Minaj says “hold my beer”:

“Maybe I was naïve, but I didn’t realize how many girls were modern-day prostitutes,” Nicki Minaj recently said in an interview with Elle Magazine.  “Whether you’re a stripper, or whether you’re an Instagram girl—these girls are so beautiful and they have so much to offer.  But I started finding out that you give them a couple thousand dollars, and you can have sex with them….It’s just sad that they don’t know their worth…And it makes me sad that maybe I’ve contributed to that in some way.”  Nicki, Nicki, Nicki.  Girl.  Why do you look down on sex workers?  You’re literally imitating one…For all intents and purposes, Nicki Minaj is at least sex worker adjacent.  She uses her body as a sexual prop, undergoing intensive cosmetic surgery to create a hyper-sexualized body…in order to sell hyper-sexualized music.  She’s…selling a sexual performance that relies on her sexuality just as much as it does the music.  Kinda like a stripper…It’s as if she’s just awoken from a deep coma in which her body and career were the handiwork of Norman Bates’ mother…

See, ladies, giving sex away for free is “knowing your worth”, but charging for it isn’t.  Thanks for clearing that up, Nicki!

Property of the State (#451)

One of the sleaziest legal dodges this year:

A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals…vacated a lower court decision striking Wisconsin’s “cocaine mom” law, also known as a “personhood” law, [using the excuse that] the case was now moot because the woman challenging the law had moved out of state…Under the law, social workers can begin [Star Chamber] legal proceedings in which a court can appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the fetus in the legal proceedings against the pregnant person.  If that person is found to be a substantial threat to the fetus, the state can involuntarily detain them and subject them to involuntary medical treatment…In 2014, Tamara Loertscher  voluntarily sought medical help for depression and a severe thyroid condition that resulted in Loertscher experiencing debilitating lethargy.  Loertcher had begun to self-medicate with marijuana and methamphetamine as this condition took hold.  When she suspected she was pregnant, Loertscher disclosed this information to health-care workers who first confirmed Loertscher’s pregnancy then immediately reported her to…authorities, who initiated legal proceedings against her…the court appointed a guardian for Loertscher’s fetus but denied Loertscher counsel…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#506)

Remember 110 clients in one day? How about 182 a day for 15 years?

Kat Lee, 32, from Manchester, has spent 15 years working as a legal “out-call” escort but says the work was lonely, often dangerous and led to drink problems that resulted in her having her stomach pumped.  Now Kat – who was lured into the job by a photographer when she was still a teen – says people turn to prostitution for the wrong reasons and she would welcome a ban.  She said: “I worked (as an escort) from when I was 18 until I was in my 30s, I must have seen over a million clients…

To Molest and Rape 

Seattle doesn’t want anyone to know what this rapist looks like:

A jury found a former Seattle Police Department sergeant guilty…of four counts related to the rape and molestation of his two older daughters.  Daniel Amador…routinely raped his older daughter, A.B., about five times a week and also molested his younger daughter, C.A…The rapes began when [A.B.] was about 9 years old and continued until she was in college…

If anyone can find me a face shot of this disgusting pile of feces wrapped in human skin, please send it along.

Broken Record (#750)

Omaha has only one event it can pretend to be a “sex trafficking” magnet, and uses it every year:

The College World Series brings excitement to baseball fans…”We know 900 individuals are bought and sold in a month – multiple times,” [fantasized the drooling] Meghan Malik…[of] Women’s Fund of Omaha…Some possible warning signs from victims include [shyness and adults with their kids]…

Original Sin (#803)

There’s something very appropriate about an article full of lies & propaganda opening with a misattribution:

One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein – “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  That’s why I was drawn to working for Voices for Florida…Florida ranks 3rd in the country for the prevalence of human trafficking.  In 2016, 356 child victims of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) were verified in Florida…

That quote isn’t from Einstein; it’s from Rita Mae Brown.  And as I’ve explained before, there is no comparative ranking of states for “human trafficking”.

Standard Operating Procedure (#814)

Charity barred from bringing money into poor country because white ladies are offended:

Oxfam GB has been banned from operating in Haiti permanently in the wake of revelations about..the charity’s employees….[hired] sex workers while in the country after the January 2010 earthquake that left more than 220,000 people dead…Oxfam will continue to operate in Haiti through its Italian, Spanish and Quebecois affiliate members [who are obviously all celibate and never, ever hire local people to provide any service whatsoever].  Oxfam’s projects in the Caribbean country help 750,000 people through work on reconstruction and development projects…

To Molest and Rape (#843) 

It’s rare that politicians’ tendency toward “monkey see, monkey do” actually works for good:

Louisiana just became the 19th state to make it illegal for cops to [rape] individuals arrested or in custody…It’s the latest in a wave of states acting on the issue since a high-profile case in New York brought it to national attention last fall [after sex workers have talked about it for years, but have been ignored].  Prior to the New York case, about 15 states had similar laws on the books…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844) 

Are the hoi-polloi finally waking up to how “cool” technology is used to expand the police state?

Amazon received an unexpected delivery [on June 18th] when community leaders dropped off four big boxes of signatures urging the company to stop selling image recognition technology to law enforcement agencies.  Activists representing faith groups, immigrants, and labor held a press conference at Amazon’s iconic Spheres in Seattle.  The event is part of an ongoing effort to get Amazon to stop providing police with its Rekognition software.  On [June 15th], nearly 20 groups of Amazon shareholders sent a letter asking the company to stop the practice…For weeks, the American Civil Liberties Union has been urging Amazon not to sell Rekognition to police…ACLU organized the event at Amazon’s headquarters…Amazon is not commenting on the petition but one of the company’s AI executives, Matt Wood, [falsely claimed that]…“There has been no reported law enforcement abuse of Amazon Rekognition”, [completely ignoring cops’ use of the technology to persecute sex workers]…

Safe Position

No, this isn’t a “turning point”; that title goes to the sea change which told politicians it was a safe move:

…close to 200 sex workers and their allies attended a town hall in Brooklyn, New York, to hear Democratic Congressional candidate Suraj Patel and a panel of sex workers and activists discuss the sex workers’ rights movement.  It’s the first known town hall to include sex workers in U.S. political history.  Patel’s campaign and Survivors Against SESTA organized the event…Patel is one of very few Democrat politicians to speak out against [FOSTA/SESTA] and openly support sex workers’ advocacy.  Prominent [authoritarian] Democrats and presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren…Bernie Sanders…and Kamala Harris…as well as Patel’s opponent in the New York primary, Carolyn Maloney…supported the anti-sex [worker] legislation [knowing full well] it would…[harm] sex workers…

Lack of Evidence (#848)

Another small but important victory for sex workers:

Allegheny County [cops] will no longer criminalize condoms in prostitution-related cases, the department superintendent said…Coleman McDonough…[admitted] that [cops] can still file possession charges based on cellphones, which are often categorized as instruments of crime…Activist groups — including the burgeoning Pittsburgh chapter of the Sex Worker Outreach Project — mobilized and began calling for the police and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. to end the practice…PJ Sage [of SWOP Pittsburgh] said the group will remain dedicated to changing the practice of possession of instrument of crime charges relating to cellphones…

Disaster (#850)

Another casualty of the War on Whores:

The Desiree Conference…is regarded as the most important gathering of its kind for sex workers and allies.  [But] Due to FOSTA/SESTA enactments, our leadership made the decision that we cannot put our organization and our attendees at risk,” Desiree Alliance announced  on its website…Cris Sardina, director at the Desiree Alliance…said… “Even something as simple as hotel hospitality potentially alerting local police to suspicious people or behavior could put a group of 500 activists and sex works at major risk”…Even a workshop on how to advertise online could be [misrepresented by cops] as an intention to traffic a sex worker, so even the most tame of the conference activities could be up for legal scrutiny…

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When we come back, we come back stronger.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Surplus Women 

Politicians won’t even wait for a whore’s body to be cold before launching vile attacks on her community:

Just a few hours before the march…in memory of [Eunice, a Nigerian sex worker] who was mortally stabbed on…5 June, the Committee of Brussels’s Alhambra District…speaks…in favor of…prostitution tolerance zones…and of a building complex to shelter…prostitutes’ shop windows…The Alhambra Committee [claims] that it is not against prostitution, but rather against the disturbance it causes in a residential district…“We can accept several independent prostitutes ‘working’ in the neighborhood, but it is difficult not to notice the Rumanian-Bulgarian-Albanian-Hungarian mafia installed on our streets since 2005″…the…Committee…[also stated] that they are favorable to police control of clients…[and] denounces the fact that [activists are against this ghetto because]…prostitutes without official papers could not work there…

Dehumanization, racism, end demand garbage, scare quotes around “working” and a bottleneck to keep “dirty foreigners” out.  They didn’t even include her name, just called her “a prostitute”.  But they’re not against sex work, no sir!

Broken Record 

Hysteria is like a disease; it spreads among friend & foe alike:

Even though prostitution is illegal in Russia, there are around three million regular sex workers in the country, according to activist group Silver Rose.  Until recently, the group says, the police had turned a blind eye to the practice or taken kickbacks.  But with hundreds of thousands of tourists descending on Russia for the World Cup, the authorities are [purging as “authorities” always do before such events]…this means frequent raids on well-known prostitution sites…Despite the authorities’ efforts, though, [prohibitionists fantasize] that the relaxed visa regime introduced to simplify travel to Russia during the tournament is encouraging illegal trafficking of women.  As Yulia Siluyanova of Alternativa, a Moscow-based [prohibitionist] organization, put it, “The World Cup is a gift for traffickers”…

Under Every Bed

Is it just me, or are “sex trafficking is EVERYWHERE!” articles beginning to sound very tired?

Some Central Texans are taking a stand against sex trafficking…the T.S.O.Y., Texas Save Our Youth organization, held a meeting…to [indoctrinate] the public…[in bogus] statistics, [fantasies] of trafficking and warning signs like strategically placed tattoos…The U.S. is the number one producer and consumer of sex trafficking in the world, and Texas is in the top three states in the country.

Bottleneck (#638)

“Licensing” is one of the ways governments try to surreptitiously ban things:

The state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums…to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution.  Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, have reportedly shut down to avoid prosecution.  Reuters reports: Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a license.  Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below $900 a year.  Digital activists say the law is part of a crackdown on dissent and free speech…Government officials [pretend] the new rules are aimed at tackling hate speech and other online crimes, including cyberbullying and pornography

Does that list of “crimes” justifying censorship sound familiar?

Morality Lessons (#689)

In which the FBI running an actual child porn site is called “law enforcement ingenuity”:

…we spearhead and coordinate massive nationwide and international operations to disrupt and destroy child exploitation networks….these…are most successful only when we can rely on our close partnerships with the many federal, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental partners here today.  Operation Pacifier was a prime example.  In that case, we…[took over] a highly sophisticated, global enterprise on the dark web called “Playpen,” where users exchanged tens of thousands of postings relating to the sexual abuse of children – even, revoltingly, children as young as infants and toddlers.  Operation Pacifier was a model of law enforcement ingenuity.  Agents identified and seized the “Playpen” server, which gave the FBI a very short window of time to [keep running it as normal]…to identify site users…

Your regular reminder that the word for a “partnership” between political and corporate interests is “fascism”.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

Another sighting of the “sex trafficking” fetishist who masturbates to the fantasy that emojis in low-rent escort ads are part of some mysterious pimp “code”:

“Human trafficking is a business,” said Jessica Whitney, “where people are treated as inventory”…Whitney [fantasizes] that traffickers use certain language and emojis (symbols) to appeal to certain buyers.  They market the girls — by age, race, skin color, “new in town” (i.e. limited time only) — as a retailer positions its products.  In fact, victims are often forced to write their own customized ads.  The [fantasy] doesn’t relent…

The Course of a Disease (#757)

Israeli prohibitionists ladle FOSTA slop on top of an already-bad anti-whore bill:

The state is petitioning the courts to remove five Israeli prostitution websites from the internet…[clients careless enough to be] caught [in pig stings] within three years of the first offense will pay doubled the original fine, according to the draft legislation…[Injustice Minister Ayelet] Shaked had decided that customers would be pursued through administrative rather than criminal enforcement: the offender would not be considered a criminal with a criminal record…The minister [bloviated] that the draft bill fining customers is…part of a wider plan she intends to bring before government in the months to come…Meanwhile…the Knesset approved a bill banning advertisement of prostitutes…for the first time, the prohibition will apply to the printing shop that printed the ad…offending internet sites and phone numbers involved in promoting prostitution services could be blocked…

Surprised how fast mass censorship is taking hold? We did warn you.

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

The U.S. House approved a ban…on the importation and trafficking of anatomically correct child sex dolls…that [perverts wrongly claim] “normalize sex between adults and minors…These dolls can be programmed to simulate rape. The very thought makes me [excited]” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte…“Once an abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to a child”…[fantasized bill sponsor] Dan Donovan…The proposal [imagines] the…dolls…“can resemble actual children”…Goodlatte [pretended to be] “distraught” that…child sex dolls even exist…“Customers can order bespoke dolls, providing pictures of specific children they would like the doll to resemble.  They can indicate a preferred facial expression such as sadness or fear”…

Even in the world of anti-sex propaganda, this bill and article are egregious.  They express psychologically-illiterate fantasies and scare-claims in declarative sentences, and make assertions that are not only untrue, but calculated to demonize the buyers of such dolls (eg, the last sentence).  I also remind you of the McNeill Rule.

Feminine Pragmatism (#778) 

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

…in Colombia’s border city of Cucuta…Venezuelan sex workers…now [do a fairly ordinary job] to support themselves and their families…About 672,000 Venezuelans have crossed into neighbouring Colombia alone, both legally and illegally, since 2015…The exodus from the oil-rich country is the largest migration of people in South America’s recent history, and it shows little signs of abating.  For some, sex work is [a reasonable, practical] option…

The Widening Gyre (#811)

Lenore Skenazy is doing great work reporting on these absurd “sex trafficking” panics:

Here’s [a] mom’s Facebook post:  “we are driving home from Cincinnati and got off at a rest stop for a quick bathroom break.  Just my daughter and I went inside…some lady who appeared to be on something, was trying to talk to my daughter…I heard…her say “the little girl” [to another woman]…As we leave I passed both women and the one that I originally saw had changed clothes and started to leave…I then made a dead sprint to the car, threw my daughter in and locked doors.  Once we were safely in car I noticed 3 men standing in front of a gold minivan with all the doors open…I have this terrible feeling that had I not been aware…my daughter may have been taken from me“…stranger danger is so rare that even the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…has asked people to stop using the term.  And David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, told me he had heard of no children ever abducted from their parents in public for sex trafficking purposes…A media organization uncritically promoting this hysteria is…reckless journalism…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

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

[A small group of] New Zealand sex workers have written an open letter…asking for the election of a Minister of Prostitution.  The letter also rejects the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) as the representative organisation of sex workers here, and attacks the collective’s support for illegal sex workers.  The letter by Hamilton sex worker Lisa Lewis carries 25 other names…In an unlikely alliance, the letter was written with the help of [conservative Christian group] Family First…Lewis said… “Prostitution needs to be governed in New Zealand.  If there is a legislation, there should be a Minister.”  The letter claimed migrants coming on temporary visas to work as prostitutes were “taking money off legal sex workers, not paying tax and going home with the money …NZPC’s current focus is legalising internationals to be allowed to provide commercial sexual services here in New Zealand and no legal New Zealand sex worker wants this”…Family First is highly critical of the Prostitution Reform Act and is calling for a Nordic model…

I am reminded of the fable, “The Frogs Who Desired a King”.

Choke Point (#839) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

Several gun-related businesses were suddenly — and without warning — disrupted in recent weeks when Intuit stopped processing credit card payments because phone and internet sales were gun-related…Some of the payments stopped didn’t even involve firearms, but simply T-shirts and coffee mugs and gun safety classes…As a result, the businesses had to scramble to track down customers to get them pay their bills after Intuit credited back to customers’ accounts the purchases — even if the T-shirt was already shipped or the class already taken…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there.

Disaster (#839)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

After…SESTA-FOSTA…organizing around sex workers has been reinvigorated with a new urgency.  The legislation…cripples sex workers’ ability to work safely online.  It’s merely the latest example in an unbroken history of harmful anti-sex work laws.  But at a time when activism…is all the more crucial…SESTA-FOSTA…[is] silencing and criminalizing the very organizing and advocacy that would help sex workers stay safe and fight persecution, even chilling journalists’ efforts to cover these issues…In one poignant example of how these laws harm advocacy, the Desiree Alliance Conference — the largest U.S. gathering addressing human, labor, and civil rights for workers in the sex industry — announced that it will not take place this year due to fears surrounding SESTA-FOSTA…

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