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Posts Tagged ‘prohibitionist myths’

When one of the men caught in Seattle’s anti-sex pogroms offered to write about his experience in “john school” (i.e, coerced “re-education” sessions), naturally I accepted.  Also naturally, I gave him a pseudonym to protect him from retaliation by Val Richey and company.

I was mandated to attend the Organization of Prostitution Survivor’s STOP Exploitation class (in other words, “john school”) in Seattle, WA.  It’s well-known that such classes have no actual deterrent effect; the only things they actually achieve are enriching the organizations which hold them, and disseminating radical feminist dogma.  Over the ten weeks I was forced to attend, the most consistent elements of the sessions were the use of fear and shame to induce conformity, and the toxic perpetuation of sex worker stereotypes and tropes.  Indeed, the existence of sex workers is only barely recognized in this course, and when they are mentioned at all it’s as a “privileged minority”; most sex workers are claimed to be “prostituted persons”, passive objects subjected to constant violence and coercion by “pimps”.  Ironically, it’s parasitic organizations like OPS which are the real exploiters of sex workers; they are manipulated through court mandated diversion programs, lied about by professional “Prostitution Survivors”, and oppressed by law enforcement and prosecutors to perpetuate a cycle of violence via the criminalization of sex work.  Sex workers are not even afforded a voice in a “school” that should have been focused on them and their struggles; instead they are extinguished as individuals with free-will to fuel an anti-sex agenda.

The hypocrisy and falsity of STOP are well-represented by its chief facilitator, Peter Qualliotine; his plastic smile and smarmy manner are inadequate cover for the dangerous oppression he helps enable.  The local media has been unfriendly and unbalanced regarding the topic of sex work.  Sex workers are claimed to be “sex slaves” or “victims” and the lies and disinformation promoted by opportunists like Qualliotine and professional “survivors” like Alisa Bernard are accepted without question or the most rudimentary fact-checking, despite the fact that SWOP Seattle is extremely public and it would be the work of only a few minutes for any reporter to get a statement from them about these claims. Interestingly, even Qualliotine himself seems to know there’s something fishy about his claims; though there’s a gleam in his eye when he tells us that he “enthusiastically endorses masturbation!” as an alternative to seeing sex workers, his shoulders slump, his arms are crossed and he looks down at the floor when he claims that decriminalization will never work and that independent sex workers are a very slim minority.  And disturbingly, he brightens up again when discussing Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer (which he does often over the ten weeks).  The fact that Ridgway claimed it was wrong to pay for sex, just as Qualliotine himself claims, is not ever mentioned.

I paid attention as closely as I could because by the third week I realized that I wanted to write this, but it wasn’t easy; when Qualliotine isn’t quoting Melissa Farley’s bogus “statistics” and infantilizing women by claiming they aren’t psychologically able to make their own sexual decisions (because of “PTSD” and “trauma bonding”), he’s regaling his captive audience with the grade-school baseball analogy for sex, talking about “toxic masculinity” and claiming that simply looking at a woman exists on a “Continuum of Sexual Violence” that leads to rape and murder, with paying for sex at about the halfway point.  He also alluded to BDSM, conflating it with domestic violence, and though he branded male-dominant relationships specimens of “male privilege”, he paradoxically also claimed it’s men’s responsibility to end “sexist” sexual interactions (including money for sex) even if a woman prefers them or demands them.  Almost as an afterthought, he added that the cops need to “go after” madams and female escort service owners as well as male “pimps” and clients.  In a session mostly devoted to intimate partner violence, Qualliotine lists public shaming, outing and debt as forms of violence; presumably, the shaming, outing and debt inflicted by police stings don’t count.  It was all so stultifying a number of attendees slept; Qualliotine either didn’t notice or didn’t care.  I assume he gets the same amount of money per warm body from King County whether anyone actually listens to him or not.

Valiant Richey, King County Prosecutor (in other words, Demand Abolition’s local propaganda officer) claims most sex buyers are white and well-to-do, a proposal that promotes the concept of patriarchy.  But that’s not what I saw in these sessions, which are at least half men of color, many evidently working-class; one couldn’t ask for clearer evidence that, as with all prohibition, the consequences of criminalization fall upon the marginalized despite OPS’ claims to the contrary.  Qualliotine is an entitled white man bloviating against entitlement, whiteness and masculinity in order to play the hero and set himself up on a pedestal.  His pretense of personal outrage is so clearly false it’s embarrassing; during one of his rants about whiteness I saw two of the men of color firmly close their eyes, as though they could no longer bear to look upon this vulgar hypocrite.  This isn’t about feminism or justice; it’s about feeding Peter Qualliotine’s ego.  His sense of entitlement is immense; he actually expects attendees to trust him and OPS before even working with them, demanding one-way respect before earning it.  There exists no independent review of this dangerous and banal reductionism; it’s a middle school curriculum produced by an art student that reduces complex life issues to abstract polemic theory with no expectation of producing any effect.  Indeed, it reinforces the very stereotypes that it claims to want to expose.  If the goal of STOP was to make an ally, it failed.  Rights, not rescue; I’ve never believed in it more.

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Julie Bindel, the well-known British “feminist” and prohibitionist, likes to call herself a journalist; however, I can think of a few more apt labels:  Huckster.  Charlatan.  Fruitcake.  And most of all, lazy twit who can’t even keep track of her own lies.  She’s been hawking a new book for a while now, but despite the help of a major UK newspaper giving her plenty of free column-inches in which to vomit out her regurgitated feces, it looks as though it’s going to flop in a big way.  And though I lack the intellectual endurance to even scan her overpriced doorstop, fortunately my friend Brooke Magnanti has far more critical wherewithall than I do, and was happy to volunteer this synopsis so none of y’all have to bother touching it, either.

This week Julie Bindel releases a new text which I have been privileged to see an advance copy of.  Unlike her previous efforts it’s aimed more at a scholarly market than a popular one, with aspirations to be a summary of investigations into sex workers’ organizations.  The newspaper coverage in Britain has been unescapable in the run-up to its release, with Bindel herself penning vicious invectives against sex workers in all the major papers.  Bindel initially crowdfunded the book to the tune of £7000.  Backers could pay £250 for the honor of having lunch with the woman herself (ironic when criminalized sex workers are also often forced to advertise their services as “lunch dates”).  On top of this, the book had an advance from Palgrave, so the punters end up paying twice.  The title, The Pimping of Prostitution, is ironic given anti-sex work crusades demonstrably attract and spend far more money than shoestring operations like rights orgs do; it is offered at an eye-watering $39.99 for the paperback (and an unbelievable $37.99 for the Kindle edition).  But while supporters paid a premium for the content, does the book deliver?

In a word:  no.  While advertised as a scholarly work it lacks any academic rigor.  Most of the references are self-citations of privately published reviews written by Bindel and Melissa Farley.  Peer review?  What peer review?  A few debunked statistics are trotted out as well.  There is no content of note here, which is unsurprising given Bindel’s most famous quote is that if given a gun and forced to choose between shooting a pimp and an academic, she would shoot the academic.  Bindel claims to have interviewed 250 people in 40 countries about sex work – by her own admission they are journalist friends of hers, police, and “regular members of the public who knew very little, if anything, about the sex trade”.  If this were a middle school project it would be laughed out of class for its utter lack of quality.  She notes in the acknowledgments that “the other side” trusted her to “represent their words and views fairly”.  Is that so?  She has called legalization and decriminalization the same thing when they are not.  Despite being told many times sex workers support decriminalization, not legalization, Julie is too dishonest to admit this, setting up a straw (wo)man and knocking it down over and over.

She states over and over again that there is a “pro-prostitution lobby”.  Who?  She never exactly says and cannot produce any paper trail.  That is for the simple reason that it is she and her friends who are lobbying politicians, setting up All Party Parliamentary Groups stuffed with MPs who want to see more women imprisoned, and paying for events to try to sway lawmakers to their ideology.  The other side, such as it is, is sex workers unpaid for standing up for their rights, and a handful of front-line organizations trying desperately to make sure any sense is heard in the prohibitionist din.  In any case, the claim she interviewed sex work activists is false; she has not so much interviewed her opponents as hand-selected people uninvolved in activism or sex work.  Why are her lengthy conversations with Peter Tatchell about gay men and the age of consent here, if not to stoke pedophilia fears on the back of homophobia?  Why does she place so much importance on tearing down sociologist Dr Catherine Hakim, whose area of research this is not?  How is politician Keith Vaz’s relationship with male escorts related to violence against women?  A few contextless quotes from Conner Habib and Janet Mock are thrown in to prove – well, it’s not clear what, actually.  It’s a mystery:  a bunch of unconnected hit jobs padding out an otherwise shoddy book.  The rest is a collection of personal anecdotes, old feminists she once met, and so on.  She also details the time in the ’70s she was pen-friends with imprisoned sex worker Emma Humphreys, while dodging the question of why the laws she supports would still put women like Emma in jail.

When discussing sex workers condescension drips from every sentence and it is clear she is used to having the floor to herself.  Unable to take criticism or debate (the launch party for her book at “independent intellectual venue” Conway Hall expressly forbade sex work activists), disgusted by the humans she so profitably claims to save.  Her schtick would be funny if it didn’t have real and damaging repercussions on people’s lives.  But the main takeaway from the book is its desperation.  The money she raised appears to have gone towards an all-expenses-paid international jaunt with only the slenderest of results to show for it.  The text reads less like a new movement and more like a last gasp.  If this is Bindel’s final shot at the history books than let it also be the epitaph for her career.  Here lies prohibition: illogical, illiberal, and entirely without merit.

If you want real scholarship about sex work, including hard-hitting debunking of Bindel’s lies (and those of her cronies), please purchase Brooke’s new book Sex, Lies and Statistics (with a foreword by yours truly).  And until Monday evening, Brooke is donating 100% of the profits from ALL preorders globally to SWOP Behind Bars, the nonprofit organization which specializes in helping the women Bindel and her ilk want to keep locking up in cages.

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The point [of vice laws] is keeping cops busy, giving them a chance to play hero, and letting them seize all the assets they can.  –  Liz Brown

Check Your Premises 

This is why sex workers shouldn’t “debate” prohibitionists; it gives an air of false legitimacy to people who are so stupid and deranged that they make up their own facts, support them with outright lies, then argue that stalking, harassing, humiliating, evicting and impoverishing women is actually “helping” them:

De[ranged politician]…Thangam Debbonaire  [fantasized that]…punishments must remain in place for the “pimps and punters” who “buy and sell other women’s bodies”.  The [ignorant prohibitionist]…was arguing against Niki Adams, a spokeswoman for the English Collective of Prostitutes…Debbonaire said [propaganda] produced by the Police Foundation, a [pig-fellating] think tank, [fantasized] women working in three-quarters of Bristol’s 65 brothels were…coerced, trafficked and forced…she [fantasized that]…“if I’m exploited as a prostitute and someone says, ‘I’m going to pay to have sex with you’ and I then change my mind for whatever reason, and they insist on having their commercial contract fulfilled – which legalising or decriminalising would do – then they are raping me, and I have no choice”…Debbonaire said she supported prostitution continuing to be against the law so that [pigs can rape]…women [instead]…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

The anti-porn loons are completely losing their minds:

Uganda’s pornography detecting machine is said to be coming soon…the machine is said to be able to detect both deleted and current pornographic materials stored on people’s computers in Uganda.  This apparently includes detection and blocking of porn photos, videos or any graphics taken or saved on anyone’s phone, computer or camera…The…machine…cost Uganda’s government $88,000…and is reported to have been developed in South Korea…It is not exactly clear what the porn detector machine actually is, i.e. whether it is a content filtering machine which all ISPs in Uganda will be expected to connect to, or whether it is some of a deep packet inspection system…

She Should Know Better

As I’ve pointed out before, Arianna Huffington is a world-class hypocrite. Despite the fact that she made a tremendous amount of money via her sexual liaisons with men, she allows her rag to host propaganda claiming every other woman who does it is a “victim”.  And now she’s hosting some of the most vile filth I’ve seen in a while; prohibitionists drunk on blood and money have now expanded their claims from the usual “women have no sexual agency” to the much larger “no person has sexual agency”.  And as usual, the silence from Gay, Inc is deafening despite the fact that a very large fraction of gender and sexual minorities have participated in the sex trade from either the selling or buying side, or both.  I’m not going to quote any of this regurgitated feces; suffice to say that the lunatic who wrote it has expanded the “money is a magic mind-control spell” idiocy to a whole new level.

The More the Better 

Sex work is work, and there is no specific “sex worker type”:

…Rosie Renee, a 22-year-old from Queensland, quit her job as a personal trainer to enter the lucrative “camming” industry and decided to share her story to break down sex industry stereotypes.  But after reading comments from critics claiming she needed to “go to school” and that she “can’t possibly be proud”, Ms Renee took to her Facebook page to address them directly.  “I’ve worked harder and have done more than just about any other 22-year-old I know…I built, owned and operated a gym, I’ve managed restaurants, I ran my own cleaning business, I PAID out of pocket to get an education after high school and yes I am proud of what I do because I’ve worked damn hard (I’ve worked harder as a cam girl than I have in even the most hands on vanilla job I ever had)”…

Bogeymen

Remember this next time you hear pigs oinking about how many “pimps” they arrested:

A husband and wife…were arrested.  She was charged with a misdemeanor.  He’s facing a human-trafficking charge and decades in prison.  The case perfectly encapsulates how harsh laws against human trafficking are used to target sex workers’ families, friends, and colleagues who so much as drive them to meet a client.  It also showcases the sexism at work…Neither [Jason] Hicks nor his wife Heather…were involved in anything the average person would think of as sex trafficking; this was just an old-fashioned vice sting…

The Public Eye 

Another sex worker turned performing artist, this one a rapper:

…Chae Buttuh is definitely true to this…HoFi and its sexiness was inspired by a brief time in my life when I escorted.  I don’t escort now, unless I have to.  I hate it…it’s the customer that matters type shit…I’ve been a sugar baby for almost 10 years now…I met my main sugar daddy when I was 18, he was 42.  He fed me, housed me, and  really helped me a lot (He actually funds a lot of my touring)…from the outside it all seems good, but it’s not always.  I’m constantly worrying about when he may just stop and I’m left stranded…I want to be able to survive off my art and quit the sugar baby game…

I Saw My Brain

Your regular reminder that Grady Judd is an utterly loathsome excuse for a human:

A Florida sheriff said…he’ll arrest people with open warrants who seek shelter from Hurricane Irma…”If you go to a shelter for #Irma, be advised: sworn [law enforcement officers] will be at every shelter, checking IDs.  Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office tweeted [last] Wednesday morning as the hurricane hit the Virgin Islands. “If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we’ll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail”…

Just a reminder: most “registered sex offenders” are only guilty of “offenses” like public urination or sexting/having sex with peers while teenaged.  And most “warrants” are for garbage like unpaid fines or missed court appearances; most of those fines are for things like broken tail lights or expired license plates.  For most of my twenties I had warrants on a regular basis, probably about once a year; in much of the US, especially the South, having warrants is almost synonymous with being poor.

Lower Education

Emily Yoffe takes a deep dive down the “campus rape crisis” rabbit hole:

…[Kangaroo courts] were mandated or strongly encouraged by federal rules that govern the handling of sexual assault allegations on campus today.  These rules proliferated during the Obama administration, as did threats of sanctions if schools didn’t follow them precisely…a new attitude about due process—and the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty—has taken hold, one that echoes the infamous logic of Edwin Meese, who…argu[ed] against the Miranda warning.  “The thing is,” Meese said, “you don’t have many suspects who are innocent of a crime.  That’s contradictory.  If a person is innocent of a crime, then he is not a suspect.”  There is no doubt that until recently, many women’s claims of sexual assault were reflexively and widely disregarded—or that many still are in some quarters…But many of the remedies that have been pushed on campus in recent years are unjust to men, infantilize women, and ultimately undermine the legitimacy of the fight against sexual violence…

The Mote and the Beam (#762)

Jeremy Malcolm uses the imminent destruction of the internet by SESTA as the jumping-off point for a broader discussion of censorship in the name of “THE CHILDREN!!!!!

…SESTA will cause significant harm to those who have nothing to do with sex trafficking, impacting free speech and innovation across the Internet.  And this is only the latest in a long line of measures taken in the name of child protection by both governments and private companies that actually have much more sweeping ramifications for users…

The Mote and the Beam (#763)

Now that “sex trafficking” hysteria is endangering the entire internet, the ACLU and other groups have finally decided to pull their thumbs out of their arses and say something:

We, the undersigned human rights and civil liberties organizations, write to convey our significant concern with S.1693, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), which was introduced earlier this week…the approach of SESTA, to create substantial new federal and state criminal and civil liability for the Internet intermediaries that host third-party speech, will lead to increased censorship across the web…These entities – including website operators, email providers, messaging services, search engines, access providers, and more – form the platform on which all online speech depends.  These intermediaries in turn depend on protections from liability for the user-generated speech they host and transmit.  Without this protection, intermediaries would face a potential lawsuit in each one of the thousands, millions, or even billions, of posts, images, and video uploaded to their services every day…

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Brooke Magnanti has released a new, revised edition of her book The Sex Myth, retitled Sex, Lies and Statistics.  This was adapted by Brooke from her afterword (the foreword was written by yours truly), and I hope it will serve to encourage you to buy the book, which demolishes the shoddy garbage prohibitionists hold up in place of actual facts.  And it’s on sale now!

Media are obsessed with promoting a view we would previously have dismissed as Victorian.  There are indeed parallels.  The end of the 19th century and start of the 20th brought new technologies to add to the dissemination of ideas through mass media (much like the Internet today)…with the predictable horror and blame that brought then, just like now.  The political class made some unexpected alliances as a result; again, we see this happening.  Feminism has joined the anti-sex bandwagon in a big way.  Not just by blaming men for inequality between the sexes, but perhaps more profitably and successfully by blaming other women.  Many mainstream feminist critiques gloss over old “man-hating” attitudes and place blame squarely on other women.  Instead of embracing women who challenge convention, the preoccupation is with shooting them down.  On the one hand, we’re told that anyone who believes women and men should have equal rights under the law is a feminist, whether they know it or not.  On the other, we are told that one or another group of women are traitors.  It’s the feminists who have taken up the finger-wagging role of the patriarchy.  Take, for example, this quote by Julie Burchill:  “When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women.”  Advocating the murder of large numbers of women is such a great way to win supporters to the cause, no?

The more you look at the key players behind some of the stories, the more you notice odd pairings.  A group working closely with the anti-gay, anti-abortion US lobbying group using a female MP as the mouthpiece of their opinions on porn.  The well-known feminists signing up to work with far right groups.  Celebrities lending star power to issues they don’t understand at all.  Almost all approaches to these issues fail to consider the diversity of factors involved.  The “Swedish model” of sex work is an example of this.  Lots of hype, not a lot of data on whether paid sex work has stopped or whether anyone’s life has been improved as a result.  Columnists like Joan Smith can gush about jumping in to a cop car to see how the law is panning out, all while ignoring the fact that sex workers repeatedly confirm that the police are their greatest source of harassment, assault, and rape.  Proponents of the Swedish approach mention how “pressure” is ramping up on this topic – pressure that they themselves have generated through unchallenging media coverage.  When in doubt, follow the money.  Over and over again the people fronting these campaigns are connected to industries with vested interests, radical right-wing think tanks, or anti-LGBT lobbyists.  The deputy editor for the New Statesman previously worked at the Mail and is rumoured to have subedited Jan Moir when she wrote a viciously homophobic column about Stephen Gately’s death.  Arch-feminists like Julie Bindel write for staunchly right wing, regressive magazines like the Spectator.  There’s a saying where I come from:  you got to dance with the one who brung you.  I wonder, when everyone gets to the end of their dance cards, what promises feminists have made and what obligations they’ll have to honor.

Before 2009, when I wrote books under a pseudonym about my experiences as a sex worker, there was no small amount of grumbling in the press.  After I won the Guardian Best British Weblog award in 2003, a number of female contributors to that paper signed a letter vowing that if I was commissioned to write for the paper, they would quit.  Yet I continued to believe that if they knew I was real, they would feel differently.  It’s probably not a surprise to you that I was unprepared for what any fool could have predicted would happen.  Since coming out as a former sex worker, I have been criticized for being too middle class, too well educated, too independent.  As if my very existence in sex work was, somehow, unique.  But data across the spectrum of sex work shows this not to be true.  In any case, if I admitted to a drug addiction instead, or had been homeless?  That would have been used to write me off, too.  It is bizarre to read articles by people who’ve never met me attempting to dissect this or that bit of my life.  Some lazy commentators “blame” me for the existence of other call girls, or whatever new student sex worker is uncovered by the tabloids.  As flattering as that is, it is not true.  Prostitution is called “the oldest profession” for a reason.

After a while all such nonsense became background noise.  I assumed the combined forces of feminists and the Rescue Industry had nothing worse up their sleeves.  I was wrong.  When the first edition of this book was published in Britain in 2012, it was embargoed before publication day and available to fewer than 20 people to review.  Journalists who saw the book signed confidentiality agreements.  So it was a great surprise to wake up on the morning of publication slapped with a libel lawsuit from Eaves For Women, the domestic violence charity whose hapless forays into research are touched on in this book.  If their work had been published in academic journals, anyone writing to correct their numbers would have been treated professionally, but this was not academia I was dealing with.  Obviously, I did not write anything about Eaves that could not be verified, and just as obviously, they had not been sent a pre-publication copy of the book by my publisher but had been given one by book reviewer – and Eaves board member – Julie Bindel.  The firm representing Eaves in this lawsuit threat?  The one with Bindel’s wife as a founding partner.  The Eaves claims would have been hilarious if they had not been so ludicrous.  They claimed I “hacked their servers” to get information about their income and expenditures (as with all UK charities, it’s public information available on government websites) and “broken confidentiality agreements” to discuss their research (I looked up their publications from conferences, also available online).  Their arguments depended on evidence so far-fetched it could have served as a bad science example in the book itself.  I later learned this was not the first time this had happened.  Eaves had threatened to sue so many people, so often, they even served legal threats on Bindel’s own employer at the time, the Guardian newspaper for an article by Belinda Brooks-Gordon (Bindel is no longer on Guardian staff, but freelances for them).  The intellectual dishonesty of someone like Bindel, who claims to be “silenced” and a “free speech” advocate yet uses archaic laws to try to silence opposition, is staggering.  Unsurprisingly the threatened suit was without merit and quickly dropped.

Meanwhile, the media feminists of the UK rounded on me.  Julie Burchill wrote one article claiming I was a “sex addict”, another calling me a “human toilet”, and compared me to a convicted (and executed) Nazi war criminal; this was especially offensive as I am of Jewish heritage.  The “feminist” literature magazine that published those last two tidbits claimed they did not know what the words meant.  Sorry, Mslexia, but ignorance is no excuse.  They did not apologize.  One feminist turned up at a talk in Edinburgh to shout to the audience that I was a pedophile and claim my screenshots of the Glasgow City Council’s website (showing how much they paid for anti-strip club consultations) were faked.  Others picketed talks and book signings, sent death threats, and harassed me so frequently by phone that I gave up on carrying a mobile altogether.  They contacted my former editor at the Telegraph in an attempt to get me fired – long after I’d already quit.  Few in journalism seem to care that the people doing this are all a couple of degrees of separation from known anti-LGBT and white supremacist orgs in the US.  All anyone wants is to see the naughty, naughty sex lady be punished.  They don’t care how it’s done or who does it.  This, I was told, was the price of being a sex worker in public.

Writers with the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, many of whom launched careers by harassing trans women and sex workers, also got the boot in.  Their assistant editor, Helen Lewis, sits on the board of a charity that is anti-sex work and anti-trans women.  She and other feminists joked on social media when a former partner tried to sue me for reporting his abuse (he later dropped the suit to much less fanfare).  They encouraged Breitbart to run a week-long campaign of harassment and abuse.  They egged on nasty “investigative journalist” Jeremy Duns who made sexual threats against me and my husband.  They examined photos from my escorting days, speculating on whether I was “hot enough” have been a sex worker, and speculating about what diseases I might have.  They circulated a list at public events suggesting that I and others were employed by a shadowy “Pimp Lobby” and financially benefitting from trafficking (if that’s the case, I have yet to receive a paycheck).  The laughable list, compiled by Julie Bindel, included a number of people uninvolved with sex work at all, including an artist who died in 2010, so it’s clear fact-checking is not a valued quality among these people.  The abuse peaked when they outed a trans camgirl whose Twitter account they thought had been written by me.  It wasn’t – but in the process they humiliated a woman who was not yet out to her family.  Their supposed evidence?  We both supported Scottish independence, and both, at different times, used the phrase “snake oil”.  In spite of having got it drastically wrong, no apology to the woman they doxxed was forthcoming.  Why would anyone do this?  In short, to control the narrative.

It would be unthinkable – to most people, anyway – to have a discussion about women’s rights that did not involve any women.  Or a discussion about race that did not include people of color.  But time and again when the topic is sex work, sex workers themselves are not simply ignored, they are actively excluded.  What do sex workers want?  A seat at the table.  To be able to work together for safety.  To report crimes against them without fear of arrest.  For services to be made available that are not dependent on them giving evidence against others.  To not live in fear of deportation or abuse by police.  In short:  they want the same protection under the law that any other worker can expect.  And not only is this what sex workers want, it’s what the evidence supports as best practice.  We’ve seen the benefits of decriminalization in New Zealand, in New South Wales Australia.  We’ve also seen what goes wrong in Sweden, in the Netherlands, and in the US.  International agencies from the WHO to Amnesty agree.  But this evidence-driven support for decrim hasn’t come out of thin air.  Much has been written on the disruptive effects of social media, but this much is true:  if not for the internet, people like me would never have been able to challenge the stereotypes with facts.  Marginalized people with multiple oppressions – black trans sex workers, drug using sex workers – who would otherwise fear being outed, are being taken seriously by a mainstream that otherwise would never have known they existed.  The infantilized victims who need rich white ladies to save them, it turns out, are fully capable adults who can make their own decisions and won’t hesitate to tell you that.  And that makes some folks with vested interests very upset indeed.

What happened to me was not the first nor even worst example.  Entrenched second-wave feminists in media have harassed trans politicians out of their jobs, driven black cultural commentators off of social media, and consistently outed and trashed any sex worker who crosses their paths.  Heaven help you if you happen to belong to more than one of these groups.  They reserve the worst treatment for the most marginalized, secure in the knowledge that society does not care because they told society not to.  The disinformation campaign used to sustain sex myths was a glimpse into a post-truth world where what matters is not what is right, but who can get the most money.  Some of those folks were so threatened by one woman and one book that they tried to bankrupt, discredit, and silence one blogger.  A movement backed by billions of dollars in international grants is so susceptible to people seeing the real data, they will stop at nothing to keep the truth from getting out.  And they are not interested in ethical debate; they demand that their point of view be bowed to in any discussion, even (and especially) if that means keeping the discussion centered on their feelings rather than other people’s right to exist.  They use the media not to understand, but to bludgeon.  They simply do not care if their information is incorrect.  I started off believing that open debate was the best way to win hearts and minds; I ended up realizing that some people will use that to drown out anyone who does not agree with their own intolerant, hate-filled views.  There simply is no way to have a debate with people who characterize you as an “orifice” who “should be dead in a ditch.”  There is no common ground to be found with people who willingly promote your abusers.

And yet, in all the negativity, there are signs of light.  In the years from when I was a sex worker in 2003, since I came out in 2009, and after the first edition of this book in 2012, the ground has rapidly shifted.  When Amnesty International rejected threats from famous feminists and backed the decriminalization of sex work based on the evidence, it was a win for a sex workers’ movement that far predates and will long outlast any one person.  When I gave evidence to UK Parliament in 2016, the MPs – to my surprise – took the suggestions of sex workers on board in their report, rather that listening to entrenched and well-funded special interests.  In Scottish Parliament, Rhoda Grant (who receives funding from the anti-gay, anti-abortion charity Care) has tried three times to introduce criminalization of sex work, and been defeated all three times.  Evidence really does win out from time to time; it might not seem that way in the moment, but things are changing, slowly and surely.  In 2009 and 2012, it felt as if every week brought new abuse from a media obsessed with surfaces instead of content.  So-called progressives shame and reject us, even when sex workers were early supporters of feminism, gay rights, and other movements that have since gained public acceptance on the back of that effort.  In particular, the most marginalized sex workers from black and trans communities were the ones most likely to be erased, people like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, and many more.  Slowly and surely their legacy is being reclaimed, too.  The pendulum of attitudes about sex and sexuality is always in motion.  I hope that in my lifetime the burden of shame felt by so many for so long will be lifted.  With evidence and hard work we can reclaim the narrative – and take back our lives from the playground bullies of shame and fear.

Brooke doesn’t pull any punches in this new, US edition; it’s a vital debunking resource for those who support sex worker rights, and you really, really, REALLY ought to read it!

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Our justice system considers a reasonable and compassionate solution sentencing a child under the coercion of a pimp to nearly six years in prison for online chatting.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Saving Them From Themselves

A fairly typical abomination, but with an extra racist component:

…Levar Allen is an award-winning wrestler, football and basketball player [in Bossier City, Louisiana] who has never had problems with police until now.  [17-year-old] Levar exchanged naked pictures with a 16-year-old classmate…she sent Levar a nude video and then he sent her one in return…But Levar is black…she [is] a white girl and they live…in a racist area.  Her parents called the police when they discovered the video.  Naturally, the police arrested Levar and charged him with contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile and possession of child pornography…

Schadenfreude 

In other news, a bear was discovered shitting in the woods:

A Swedish NGO, Love and Hope (formerly LoveNepal) in Nepal collected donations from Swedish people based on false claims of “saving children from brothels” and posting photographs on social media of three girls they claimed to be sex workers…Håkan Gabrielsson, from the charity organisation Out of Ashes based in Nepal described this post as “purely fantasy”…the photos used…are the same photos he showed…[to] one of the founders of LoveNepal [in 2009]…the pictures have been used nonconsensually, and that the accompanying story has been made up to solicit donations.  Hannah Badi, a Nepalese woman who has spoken out about her experiences with the charity, said the charity often uses fake stories to elicit emotions and money…[she] said Mikael [Alfven of Love and Hope] coached her to lie about her background to make a “better story” to increase donations.  When she shared her story for the first time, she says Mikael told her “this is not enough, this is not a strong story.”  He…encouraged her to talk about sex slavery in brothels and to cry when talking about the Badi people…

US prohibitionists refer to this kind of lying as “reframing experiences”.

Something Rotten in Sweden (#44)

It’s nice to see at least a few reporters waking up:

…local authorities [fantasize about]…Sacramento County’s underground sex economy…39 people were arrested during “Operation: Hot Spots” on August 16…A narrative [was] quickly [concocted] about why the operation took place and what it supposedly accomplished.  “[blah blah blah]…fighting human trafficking by targeting sex buyers”…District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said…“[blah blah blah] send a…message that purchasing sex from trafficking victims will not be tolerated in our community.”  And yet, nearly two weeks later…the…alleged johns aren’t the ones facing criminal charges.  A 20-year-old black woman is…While the horrors of human trafficking draw big talk from elected officials and donation-seeking nonprofits, the ones who most often end up in handcuffs are women…

Uncommon Sense (#345)

Though it genuflects to ugly myths, I think this is a step in the right direction:

The German brothel owners’ association, BSD, has made a bid to introduce “controlled quality, transparency and service” to the country’s sex industry with the launch of a “seal of approval” for brothels…BSD said that the purpose of the seal was to “counter the general vilification and many false conceptions about the structures and working procedures” in brothels…The seal…requires owners to sign a pledge to oppose violence, forced prostitution and crime, and to provide fair, responsible and hygienic working conditions…The owners also have to prove that all the prostitutes are self-employed and working voluntarily, and can decide which customers they want to serve and which services they want to provide…

Halfway Whores (#439)

Though the numbers are of course exaggerated to make it more lurid, the story itself is a huge yawn:

A young model has claimed prostitution is rife within the fashion industry after she was offered cash to sleep with wealthy men…Jazz Egger, who recently turned 20, makes the extraordinary claim that “big agencies” and “established models” are involved in seedy underground dealings, with young women paid up to $2million (£1.54million) to spend the night with male clients.  Shockingly, Jazz claims she was even told that two young supermodels who have become household names have “spent time” with men for money in order to get ahead in their career…

Signs

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

…human traffickers…lurk on places like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and SnapChat…”This can happen to any child; it doesn’t matter what family they come from,” said [profiteer] Shea Rhodes…the best way for schools to prevent trafficking is to have experts in the field come in to give presentations to the girls 13 years of age and up, since they are the most vulnerable to trafficking…School personnel should go through a similar training as well to be better prepared to identify trafficking…the…signs being [sic]…Having new clothes and belongings that the student hasn’t always been able to afford…Wearing clothes that are oversexualized…Sleeping in class…Changes in school attendance…Cutting class…An older boyfriend…

Sleeping in class?  Older boyfriend?  Obviously I was “trafficked” even in high school!  Here are previous examples of dopey “sex traffcking education” programs.

The Mote and the Beam (#728) 

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Motel 6 has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the city of Los Angeles alleging that the chain’s management allowed one of its locations to be used as a hub for human trafficking and gang activity…Motel 6 agreed to pay $250,000 to settle the suit…the Los Angeles city attorney [pretends] that the money would be used to [magically] deter human trafficking…The settlement requires the motel to post signs about human trafficking in its lobby, hire security guards and ask guests to show photo identification when checking in.

Check Your Premises (#730)

The real result of “sex trafficking” laws:

A Kansas teen who messaged a friend about getting into prostitution with her was sentenced to 71 months in prison for aggravated human trafficking of a minor—even though the girl herself was a minor at the time and operating under the influence of a coercive and violent older man.  Hope Zeferjohn, now 19…will be subject to lifetime court supervision, registration as a sex offender, and a permanent ban on carrying a firearm…

Full of Themselves (#765)

Indian journalists are even more brainlessly credulous of cop lies than American ones are:

Close to 10 days after a crackdown on an international sex racket involving high-end spas, 34 women from Thailand  who were rescued by…police, said they want to return to their country…[and] did not wish to continue staying at a local rescue home where they were being kept…A petition is likely to be moved soon seeking permission for their return to Thailand.  After this, a local court will take a decision regarding the same…

There’s a word for a place people are kept against their will, and it isn’t “home”.  Nor can the act of confining a person to such a place against her will be considered “rescue” in any but the most warped of minds.

Broken Record (#768) 

Is anyone so stupid they can’t grasp that when the pigs are actively engaged in stings, arrests rise?

Las Vegas police saw a spike in prostitution arrests this past weekend as fight-enthusiasts flocked to the city to watch Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor square off…118 prostitution-related arrests were made between Friday and Sunday…In contrast, the first weekend of August had just 34 of these arrests…

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The satanic panic…reached a fever pitch…and like most hysterias, it thereafter died away.  –  Keith Hampton

Rough Trade

In the US, the victims would’ve been arrested when they reported the attacks:

Two brothers who threatened and raped sex workers in violent attacks in Canberra…will each spend at least five years behind bars…Ahmed Al Abbasi…and his younger brother Mohammad Alabbasi…pleaded guilty to offences arising from two terrifying ordeals against three sex workers…in early 2016.  One…was dragged into a bedroom, stripped of her clothes, threatened with a knife and raped [by] Ahmed…his brother also showed up [and orally raped her incall mate]…The men fled when two people arrived at the door to help.  In the second attack…Ahmed raped the woman…[after] his brother had driven him [there]…

Harm Reduction

Dan Savage answers a letter from a young woman who regrets cutting off contact with her father for getting caught in a prostitution sting:

…It is possible for someone to be a good dad and a shitty husband.  The good dad you knew your dad to be?  That wasn’t a lie.  It was one of your father’s truths.  That he failed as a husband and hurt your mom—with an assist from laws criminalizing sex work—is another of your father’s truths.  You don’t say why your dad was seeking sex outside the marriage, PH, and I can’t imagine that was a conversation you wanted to have with your dad in your mid-teens—and it may not be one you ever want to have.  But it’s possible your parents’ marriage was more complicated than you know.  (“The victim of an affair is not always the victim of the marriage,” as Esther Perel says)…

To Protect and Serve

The cops took two months to “investigate” a massage parlor. I wonder how many hand jobs that was?

A two-month investigation by Reedley [California] police resulted in a prostitution arrest at a massage parlor…assisted by the Fresno Police Department’s vice unit…Jiang Bing…was cited and released from police custody following her arrest…

Dirty Amateurs

Even though the facts here clearly specify that the disease is spreading among drug users and gang members, the reporter feels compelled to blame sex workers anyhow (without any cited evidence for that):

Syphilis…is returning [in Oklahoma City] and around the country…Syphilis has led [health officials] to members of 17 gangs; to drug dealers; to prostitutes, pimps and johns; and to their spouses and lovers, all caught in the disease’s undertow…in February, a prison inmate tested positive.  In interviews, he listed 24 sex partners — some his own, others the so-called pass-around girls for gangs, usually in exchange for heroin or methamphetamine.  Contact information from the Entertainment Manager, as he called himself, pointed the way to a syphilis spread that, by March, led health officials to declare an outbreak, one of the largest in the country…

Follow Your Bliss 

Yet another example of the McNeill Rule:

A…[cop] and karate instructor pled guilty…to multiple charges of sex crimes…Bruce Arlie Harvey of Reva, Virginia was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force prior to his arrest.  “Harvey abused his positions of trust…to sexually exploit two of his female karate students beginning when each was approximately 13 years old,” said acting United States Attorney Rick A. Mountcastle.  “This case shows that child predators”…flock to jobs that put them in close contact with kids [or give them power over people, such as police work]…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Funny how even when the real reason is clear, “authorities” and reporters prefer to blame sex workers instead:

…The Französisches Gymnasium highschool lies on a sidestreet of the German capital’s notorious Kurfürstenstraße.  The street is…also the center of the city’s street prostitution scene.  Prostitutes can be seen soliciting clients at all hours of the day there.  A build-up of discarded condoms and syringes, as well as excrement, were evidence that the school grounds were being used in unsavory ways.  “There were always complaints about unscrupulous characters including prostitutes walking shamelessly and illegally into school grounds even during the day,” the district school inspector Carsten Spallek [said]…City officials spent 57,000 euros ($67,000) to build a fence to keep such characters off school grounds…Residential developments are increasingly pushing sex workers out of the areas they used to ply their trade, forcing the business into the sidestreets…district coordinator Michael Klinnert [said] “The women have no stations to wash themselves…And they relieve themselves wherever they please”…In 2016 the German parliament, the Bundestag, passed legislation that further [imposed bottlenecks on] sex work in a bid to [force more sex workers onto the street]…

The Immunity Syndrome (#666)

There’s a long US tradition of harmful policies that fly in the face of evidence:

…a few years ago, Congress began to shift funding for sex education to focus on evidence-based outcomes, letting effectiveness determine which programs would get money.  But…the Trump administration recently canceled funding for 81 projects that are part of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, saying grants would end in June 2018, two years early — a decision made without consulting Congress…

Challenge (#679)

ESPLERP vs. Gascon reaches a court which could potentially do something:

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has slated oral arguments for mid-October in ESPLER Project’s challenge to California’s prostitution law…Earlier this year, industry attorneys D. Gill Sperlein and H. Louis Sirkin asked the appeals panel to toss a lower court’s judgment, remand the case to the lower court and declare the anti-prostitution law unconstitutionality.  In the appeal, ESPLER Project also is seeking a permanent injunction…

That Old Black Magic (#714)

Europeans just adore the masturbatory fantasy of helpless Nigerian women enslaved by black magic:

Policia Nacional have busted an international sex trafficking ring operating out of Malaga and Benidorm.  Some 25 people were arrested…Some 16 [sex workers] were [also arrested]…The ring…was present at every stage of the journey of the trafficked sex slaves…The investigation began when agents of the Madrid Asylum and Refuge Office detected [with their magic powers] two young Nigerian women suspected of being victims of trafficking…The victims were forced to submit to various voodoo rituals to “ensure their absolute fidelity”…

Stupor Bowl (#749) 

A lot of reporters are still masturbating to this thoroughly-debunked fantasy:

Minnesota authorities and…profit[eer] organizations are [spreading propaganda about an imaginary] criminal sexual enterprise that has taken hold of the state.  These new efforts are intended to increase programs focused on “keeping teens out of the sex trade” and stopping…prostitution customers…Minneapolis…[is] the host of Super Bowl 2018.  The annual U.S. event attracts…“a small surge in sex trafficking”…The Super Bowl plan led by the anti-sex-trafficking committee is set to work together with…“Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale,” a campaign aimed at [profiting from]…sex-traffic [hysteria]…by [spreading anti-sex propaganda]…

Absolute Corruption (#751) 

At last, a very small measure of justice for Fran & Dan Keller:

Texas will pay $3.4 million to a couple who were wrongfully imprisoned for more than two decades on prosecutors’ [fantasies] that they sexually abused children as part of satanic rituals at a day care they operated…The Kellers were freed in 2013 after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals found a doctor was mistaken in determining there was physical evidence of assault…the doctor himself also recanted it…[and] the alleged victim…acknowledged having no memory of being abused…The determination of outright innocence made Dan Keller, 75, and Fran Keller, 67, each eligible for $80,000 in compensation for every year they were wrongfully imprisoned.  They’ll also receive a matching annuity that provides annual payments of 5 percent interest for as long as they’re alive…

Checklist (#755)

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

Nurses, social workers and [cops] are being [indoctrinated in ways to brand sex workers as]…victims of human trafficking…Some 180 frontline public sector staff in London have attended [indoctrination] sessions over the past two months designed to [fill their heads with ridiculous & meaningless] clues.  They will be expected to return to their organisations and [indoctrinate] colleagues…people [will now be harangued rather than helped by staff]…in particular in maternity units…

Comfort Zone (#765)

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

A…Border Force team at Glasgow Airport has returned almost 100 [migrants]…to their home countries since last November [using the excuse that they were supposedly “potential victims”]…of modern-day slavery or sexual exploitation…Some…were [not even] going into the sex industry…some [were sex workers]…in the country to make better money…more than 250 were Romanians and less than 50 were male…

The rest is a nauseating exercise in cop masturbatory fantasy and pretending that women are mindless, helpless vegetables.

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The federal government has no more business telling an adult where and how they can make their money than it does telling an adult where and how they can worship, study or spend.  –  Austin Petersen

Out of Control

People who deny this obvious fact are more interested in promoting an agenda than protecting society:

…There have been countless jokes and observations made about the root problem with political psychopaths being sexual frustration…problems are more complicated than any amount of sex could solve; but there’s also a trend…to dismiss the very idea of sexual frustration as a motivation for human behavior…It could very well be a coincidence that Richard Spencer has a mail-order bride, that David Duke has been divorced since 1984, that Steve Bannon and Rush Limbaugh have three divorces each, and that the twice-divorced Donald Trump does not sleep in the same bedroom as his current wife…There might be no pattern whatsoever to James Alex Fields Jr., Dylan Storm Roof, and Timothy McVeigh all being “confirmed bachelors” up to the date of their ghastly crimes…no woman should ever feel obligated to nanny some neurologically-dysfuctional pickle-polisher incapable of even quarter-ass effort at productivity.  Their answer is hookers…How is it an improvement for someone to not break the law or a taboo when they turn themselves to a public nuisance at best in the process of legal and moral obedience?  Why should the insipid lie of “there being someone for everyone” continue to be propagated in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary?…

Pyrrhic Victory

When I was young, we were told one of the reasons communist countries were bad was that they had tightly-controlled borders:

Some senators are looking to…[implement] a host of new incursions into travelers’ and visitors’ privacy.  Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica “outed” the not-yet-introduced bill — titled “Building America’s Trust Act” [wtf] — since the supporting lawmakers have yet to formally announce their plans to make the US a worse country to live in, much less visit…more surveillance, more boots on the ground, and green lights for law enforcement agencies located anywhere within 100 miles of the nation’s borders…as well as walls, levees, fences…The law calls for the program to be put in place at all high traffic ports of entry (including major airports) within two years…Customs authorities will also be given power to demand biometric info from visa applicants and DNA will be collected from all detained immigrants, whether or not they’re criminally charged…From there, the law adds other politically-charged stipulations, like an entire subsection entitled “Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act”.  Also of note: the bill would allow law enforcement to seize everything from cash to bitcoins if they’re suspected to be “criminal proceeds”…[and] strips away any mens rea protection from accusations of money laundering…

So Close and Yet So Far

It’s sad that even people who support decriminalization feel the need to promote myths, lies & insulting tropes:

…The Department of Health and Human Services says that almost 200,000 transactions are made annually in the United States in which minors are sold for sex…Missouri…has distinguished itself for its hard fight against this evil practice, creating a task force dedicated to eliminating trafficking from the state…But…we must consider whether in our zeal to purge the problem, we haven’t inadvertently created an environment in which this kind of market can flourish…This is what happens when the government tries to legislate an individual’s choices.  We made the same mistake just over a century ago with Prohibition.  In both cases, the government was simply trying to defend the innocent victims…But the resulting prohibition didn’t — and doesn’t — work.  Then, just as now, prisons were clogged with otherwise innocent people who made a personal choice that didn’t hurt others and didn’t deserve to be incarcerated.  Then, just as now, government expenditures skyrocketed in an attempt to enforce these laws.  And then, just as now, outlawing certain activities created an underground that veiled the activities and made them far more dangerous…outlawing prostitution makes it impossible to control the spread of STIs, with their lifelong physical and emotional consequences…The solution…is…give adults the freedom to make their own choices about what they do with their own bodies…

I get that this dude is a politician and so has to dick-stroke potential voters.  But the obsequious fawning to authoritarians about “government was simply trying to defend the innocent victims”, as nauseating as it is, would be bearable had he omitted pernicious lies about every single adult man in America paying to rape “child sex slaves” every week and whores being vectors of disease.  I invite Mr. Petersen to contact me, and I’ll be happy to fill him in on the facts so future editorials are free of disinformation.

Subtle Pimping (#330)

More scumbags profiting from sex workers by promoting lies that harm us:

A new game is in development that will be used to combat the [magically & infinitely] growing problem of sex trafficking…Missing: The Complete Saga is set in rural India, where [prohibitionists pretend] thousands of girls and women are captured and forced into sex work every year…While the original Missing took the form of a top-down point and click story, the new game is a 3D role-playing adventure that follows the life of an Indian village girl called Champa…[prohibitionist] Leena Kejriwal…and her team are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development.  Proceeds from sales of the game will go towards creating [brainwashing] programs and [prisons] for girls who…[are arrested by] police raids.  In the game, Champa is targeted by sex traffickers who want to take her to one of India’s fast-growing cities…in real life, Champa would likely fail to escape the [magical] traffickers, who [are omnipotent and nigh-omnipresent]…The game is…also an attempt to [indoctrinate] boys, and to [make them feel guilty for being sexual while teaching them the misogynistic lie that sexual women are operating under a]…total lack of agency…

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to refer to these evil thugs as “correctional officers”:

Two former prison guards in Florida who were members of the Ku Klux Klan have been convicted of plotting to kill a black inmate in retaliation for a scuffle with another guard who also belonged to the [non-state-sanctioned] hate group.  A jury…found David Elliot Moran and Charles Thomas Newcomb guilty of conspiracy to commit first degree murder after they were caught discussing their plans with an FBI informant…The third guard, Thomas Jordan Driver…pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to commit first degree murder and was sentenced to four years in prison…

Choke Point (#511) 

This makes the end of “Operation Choke Point” official, after two and a half years of retreat:

…In a letter to Rep. Robert Goodlatte…chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd called Operation Choke Point “a misguided initiative” and confirmed that DOJ was closing those investigations, Politico reported…Boyd is understating the degree to which Operation Choke Point was unlawful and just plain creepy…Choke Point began as an extension of the Obama administration’s Financial Fraud Task Force, but the dragnet investigation was never given proper statutory authority by either the administration or Congress.  In fact, details about Operation Choke Point were deliberately withheld from Congress at first…Targets…often didn’t have any idea why their bank accounts were being frozen or closed…

Need I point out that an oppression which was started by a memo and ended by a memo can easily be re-started by another memo?  Since “Choke Point” was never declared unconstitutional by a court nor officially banned by a law, there’s nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#550)

The only interesting thing about Julie Bindel is the way that the media refuses to recognize her as a broken-down one-trick pony, despite the fact that virtually every article she writes is dedicated to advancing the prohibitionist wanking fantasy of an all-powerful “pimp lobby”.  Bindel has written on virtually no other topic for more than three years; you can take a look at this new article (intended to drum up support for her upcoming book on – you guessed it – the so-called “pimp lobby”) if you want, but it’s the same agency-denying, paranoid-ranting reheated feces she’s been serving up for years.  Proceed at risk of your own boredom and/or nausea.

The War Goes On (#712) 

It won’t be much longer before no reasonable and educated person believes in “sex trafficking”, but of course the damage has already been done:

…Backpage…has been lied about by politicians for so long that many smart and otherwise savvy people seem to think the site is run by sexual-slavery-loving sociopaths.  Anyone under that misguided impression—and anyone seeking to push back against it—should check out some new research published in the Wake Forest Law Review.  In…”The Virtue of Unvirtuous Spaces,” Notre Dame Law School lecturer Alex F. Levy explores similarities between the Progressive Era’s pageantry around “white slavery” and the modern-day activists against the alleged “epidemic” of U.S. sex trafficking…In the late 19th and early 20th century, the focal point of this symbolic fighting was the dance hall.  Now it’s online venues such as the classified ad sites Craigslist and Backpage.  Levy finds that both campaigns are “pageantry:  a kind of theater designed to satisfy people’s need to identify and fight bad guys without regard to nuance or long-term outcome”…

Total Eclipse of the Brain 

Liz Brown ridicules the “solar eclipse sex trafficking” nonsense:

…What, you might wonder, is the theory here?  Will sex traffickers be emboldened by the extra bit of darkness?  Do they get extra aggressive depending on lunar phases?…In Kentucky, Allyson Cox Taylor, head of the state’s Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention, suggested that “people who weren’t trafficking before may decide…this is an opportunity to make money.”  Apparently she thinks finding and forcing others to do your bidding is something that people just up and decide one day to do on a whim.  In Bend, Oregon, several pre-eclipse seminars focused on how locals could spot the incoming sex traffickers…[including] “poker chips passing hands.”  Eclipse-pegged sex-trafficking warnings have also shown up…in Ohio, in Wyoming, and in Nebraska…a few…suggest that sex traffickers will be lurking in the dark, waiting to snatch up children who get separated from their parents for even a few minutes.  (In the midst of all this, however, behold the rarest of rare occurences: TV news and local police in Portland teaming up to announce that “they have no reason to suspect there would be a surge in human sex trafficking in the metro area”)…

Business As Usual (#757) 

Even though there’s nothing here which wasn’t already covered in earlier articles on the topic (including mine), it’s good to see so many young “feminist” writers taking interest in the issue:

…In Alaska, as in every other U.S. state, it is currently legal for [cops and informants]…to [molest]…individuals [they want to accuse of a crime.  Some states prohibit]…penetration [on paper, though not in practice].  Victims have recounted being threatened into [submitting to rape]…or finding themselves in legal trouble after providing sexual favors to a man presumed to be a client, but who is actually a cop…In many…spaces online, [sex workers]…have recounted the horror they face at the hands of police…In February, [Alaska state] Representative Matt Claman…introduced House Bill 112, which would close the loophole allowing [cops]…to [rape]…anyone under police investigation.  Current Alaska law only classifies [rape of]…a suspect…as illegal once a person has been arrested…

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