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Posts Tagged ‘prohibitionist myths’

Even those who mean well are often operating with bullshit information when it comes to figuring out how to help sex workers.  –  Tristan Greene

Where Are the Victims?

In which renting rooms to people in a legal trade is pretended to be a “crime”:

Paul McGrory…sub-let a three bedroom house to prostitutes over a nine month period in 2016…McGrory…charged the women £350 per week for each room…the prosecution [admitted] McGrory was not involved in human trafficking and had not coerced the prostitutes, taken a cut of their earnings or…obtain[ed] clients for the[m, but felt compelled to pontificate that]…”You were not a pimp, but by your activities you have upset the good law abiding people of Argyle Street”…The judge…imposed [60 hours of community service and] three year[s of]…probation…

With Friends Like These…

What kind of warped mind quotes prohibitionist myths while claiming it wants to “help” sex workers?

A recent report from KIRO 7 on sex workers on Seattle’s…Aurora Ave….[gave lip service to] the increased dangers in the profession [created by prohibitionists].  But is there a way the city could actually help?…“Women who experience prostitution have a rate of PTSD that’s twice that of returning war veterans,” [lied prohibitionist] Alisa Bernard…“In a city where we’re going to have safe injection sites, there are not safe places for [street workers] to go to exchange money for sex,” said The Ron and Don Show’s Don O’Neill on KIRO Radio…“I know that kids sometimes become sex slaves.  I know those stories…The johns want to be left alone, and the prostitutes want to be left alone, so why not tax it?…Why not make sure that they are safe?  If they want a way out, why not help them with a way out?”…

The popular myth that sex workers don’t pay taxes is probably one of the most subtly damaging ones.

No Difference 

Statists tell us that the slippery slope is a “fallacy”:

[Ugandan] model and socialite Judith Heard was asked to pay $3,000 in blackmail money to stop her stolen nude selfies being published online…she…didn’t pay up and…her…photos…were [published]…followed by a warrant for her arrest…under Uganda’s Anti-Pornography Act…the Ugandan…Pornography Control Committee (PCC)…issue[s] arrest warrants for…women who[se]…nude pictures and sex tapes [a]re shared online without their consent…PCC chair Annette Kezaabu…[bloviated] “We know that she took this photo privately, but…why did she take it in the first place?…Where do we want to see Uganda in the next 50 years? Do we want to be led by perverts?”…She said the government’s “eventual aim is to have no footage of sex or nudity on TV whatsoever,” and that the committee intends to “go after” pop stars who wear revealing clothing…

Traffic in Nonsense

Since Quickel’s “Vigilante Truckers” got out-competed by “Truckers Against Trafficking”, he apparently decided to rebrand:

The organization Vigilante Truth [cl]aims…sex trafficking…is a growing epidemic in Charlotte…North Carolina…“We’re not law enforcement,” said Bo Quickel, the owner of Vigilante Truth, “we’re just citizens out here trying to [profit from] the [hysteria by spreading myths to] the public”…Quickel…explained [that women are so stupid we can’t take selfies or run a business on our own, so]…“there’s somebody else there taking the picture…and that person’s always going to be a pimp, a trafficker, a handler…none of them get any of the money, so it’s all about forced coercion, fraud, blackmail”…

Even by “sex trafficking” standards, Quickel’s misogyny is outrageous; all of his propaganda presents women as inert vegetables.  Once he even compared us to bottles of laundry detergent.

Virtual Unreality 

Why do “futurists” prefer to make ignorant statements about sex work rather than consulting sex workers?

A recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Surrey and the University of Oxford [fantasizes] that autonomous cars will usher in…a new paradigm for sex workers…within a few years – a decade, tops…they could provide a safe place for people to be alone in public…there are obvious reasons why sex workers shouldn’t visit client’s homes under most circumstances, or allow them to visit theirs…Driverless cars provide a solution…both the non-participating public and those engaging in sex work could benefit from a paradigm that keeps prostitutes out of seedy motels and off the sidewalks by putting them on the streets, inside warm cars full of security features and snacks…

Though the writer clearly means well (and even quotes yours truly), he’s too caught up in this silly fantasy to see the gaping holes in it.  First, there’s the typical belief that street workers are common, when in fact less than 10% of us work that way (and that number was shrinking before the US government started intentionally destroying advertising venues).  The “obvious reasons” why we “shouldn’t” do outcalls or incalls aren’t “obvious” to either me or the very large number of escorts in the developed world, making this a solution in search of a problem for us.  Robot cars have 27% higher rates of rider motion sickness than human-piloted vehicles, meaning some 6-10% of riders, and there would be no way to be sure that their insides were not full of hidden surveillance devices; in any regime where sex work was not 100% decriminalized, robot cars could lock their doors and transport both sex worker and client to the nearest pigpen.  And though these futurists tout such vehicles as “safer” for sex workers, imagine trying to escape a violent client in an area too small to get out of his grip which is also going at 100 kph down a motorway.  It’s rare that an epigram I choose is so correct, yet so ironic in context.

Full of Themselves (#807) 

As I predicted, it looks like Rubmaps may become the new prohibitionist bogeyman to replace Backpage:

Many San Diego Massage parlors are offering [happy endings]…and [yellow journalists] found [what wasn’t hidden:] a public website…[named] “RubMaps” [which] publishes reviews for massage parlors…[there are] 243…listed in San Diego County and, according to the reviews on the website, 173 of those parlors offer sex services…An online company statement [reeks of terror that it will be targeted, parrots “sex trafficking” hysteria and obsequiously promises to lick cop boots]…16 of the 173 parlors that are allegedly offering sex services…are within 1,000 feet of a public school…

Sex rays! Pearl-clutching! Bootlicking! Pretending reviews are a new thing! So much filth in so few words.

Pyrrhic Victory (#814) 

Another step toward the end of privacy, everywhere:

Chinese authorities have begun deploying a new surveillance tool:  “gait recognition” software that uses people’s body shapes and how they walk to identify them, even when their faces are hidden from cameras.  Already used by police on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai, “gait recognition” is part of a push across China to develop artificial-intelligence and data-driven surveillance that is [not] raising [anywhere near enough] concern about how far the technology will go.  Huang Yongzhen, the CEO of Watrix, said that its system can identify people from up to 50 meters…away, even with their back turned or face covered…“Gait analysis can’t be fooled by simply limping, walking with splayed feet or hunching over, because we’re analyzing all the features of an entire body”…Security officials in China’s far-western province of Xinjiang, a region whose Muslim population is already subject to intense surveillance and control, have expressed interest in the software…

Welcome To Our World (#853)

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

The Phnom Penh Municipal Police arrested 15 people related to surrogacy who were together in a house in Sen Sok district.   Eleven of the persons…are surrogate mothers, two cooks for the ladies, and two unspecified men…the detainees were sent to the Anti-Human Trafficking Office for [interrogation]…

Whither Canada? (#860)

Why do journalists with the facts in front of them feel compelled to cede ground to prohibitionist lies?  Why do they keep repeating the blatant lie that Canada’s Swedish Model Plus was “meant to protect sex workers” when we have reams of data, including the clear and on-the-record statements of politicians, that exactly the opposite is true?  This law was not intended to “protect” sex workers; it was intended to exterminate us:

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What we’re seeing is not so much a war on trafficking as a full-on frontal assault against…sex workers.  –  John Blaylock

Buried Truth 

Yet another perfect example of the McNeill Rule:

Norman Goldwasser, by day, is an Orthodox Jewish therapist at Horizon Psychological Services who compares homosexuality to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and misleads clients by claiming that their sexual orientation can be changed with his special brand of quack therapy, which is rejected by every respected medical and mental health association.  By night…he solicits sexual partners on Manhunt, a gay dating App, using the profile “Hotnhairy72”…Goldwasser also had a profile on Bear Nation by the same name…

Moving Pictures 

Another “sex trafficking” hysteria film for future generations to mock:

Doing Money aired tonight on BBC Two as the drama, based on real life events, explored the horrors of sex trafficking happening in the UK…Central character Ana (played by Anca Dumitra) was abducted off of a London street before being taken to Ireland where she was used a sex slave. The first ten minutes of the film saw Ana resisting her captors when they forced a “customer” on her…The story of Ana is based on the lived experiences of a woman who was held as a sex slave for 10 months and trafficked around both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

This is “based on real life events” like Roger Corman’s Vincent Price vehicles of the early ’60s were “based on” Poe stories.

Perquisites (#556)

Should we tell them most adult businesses bill under different names and business-classification codes to avoid bullshit like this?  Naaaaah.

Under Armour Inc. employees received an email earlier this year that upended a longstanding company practice: They could no longer charge visits to strip clubs on their corporate cards.  Over the years, executives and employees of the sports-apparel company, including Chairman and Chief Executive Kevin Plank, went with athletes or co-workers to strip clubs after some corporate and sporting events, and the company often paid for the visits of many attendees…Strip-club visits were symptomatic of practices women at Under Armour found demeaning…

Rough Trade (#682) 

This headline and lede are stigmatizing bullshit:

India’s Supreme Court has ruled that sex-workers have a right to refuse their services and seek redress when [raped]…The ruling came as the court overturned a 2009 Delhi High Court judgment that acquitted four people accused in a 1997 gang rape case.  The four defendants were previously freed on the grounds the victim was “a woman of bad character who indulged in prostitution”.  The Supreme Court restored the trial court’s conviction in the case and ordered that the four people accused must surrender within four weeks to serve the rest of their 10-year sentence…They also said if there was evidence to show that the victim was “habituated to sexual intercourse”, it cannot be inferred that the victim is of “loose moral character”.  The…ruling [also] reverses a 2016 Supreme Court ruling which said that a sex worker cannot file a case alleging rape if their customers refused to pay…

Indian sex workers already had the right to refuse services; what this judgment does is eliminates the “But she was a whore!” defense for rape, which is not at all the same thing.

Signs (#775)

Motel 6 gets some comeuppance for its eager copsucking:

Motel 6 has agreed to pay $7.6 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by a Latino civil rights organization after the motel chain systematically shared guest information with [ICE]…The company will compensate Motel 6 guests who were questioned by ICE or [subjected to] deportation proceedings…[the] practice…le[d] to the arrest of at least 20 undocumented guests in Phoenix…It’s unclear how many…may be eligible for compensation…but…they may be numerous…

There is a similar lawsuit pending in Washington state.

Between the Lines (#788)

Here’s the first propaganda from this year’s “Operation Cross-Country” pogroms:

A human trafficking and prostitution sting in [Houston]…netted 75 arrests…[only 32 were men, 11 of which [cops decided to charge as] pimps…28 were woman [and the other 15 apparently were asexual organisms of some kind]…Sheriff Rand Henderson [bragged] he was “so proud” of [destroying people’s lives for desiring consensual sex or doing honest work for a living]…Henderson [fantasized that]…prostitution has evolved into human trafficking with most of the sex workers being trafficked individuals…

Bread and Circuses (#800) 

The time for men’s magazines to come on board as active supporters of sex worker rights is long overdueHustler‘s December issue contains this very supportive article which quotes Missy Mariposa, Liara Roux, Jessica Raven and Arabelle Raphael, mostly on FOSTA/SESTA but also on decriminalization, the War on Whores and sex worker rights in general.

To Molest and Rape (#830) 

Rapists argue that their rape isn’t rape because they should be held to a “different standard” than decent human beings:

…An…immigration detention center is trying to avoid responsibility for sexual violence within its walls by arguing that the detainee “consented” to sexual abuse.  E.D., an asylum-seeker and domestic violence survivor from Honduras, was sexually assaulted by an employee while she was detained with her 3-year-old child at the Berks Family Residential Center in Pennsylvania. At the time…E.D. was 19 years old…her assailant coerced and threatened her, including with possible deportation, while the defendants stood by and made jokes.  Although the employee pled guilty to criminal institutional sexual assault under Pennsylvania law, the defendants contend that they should not be liable for any constitutional violations.  Their argument rests in part on their [pretense] that the sexual abuse was “consensual” and that they should be held to a different standard because…Berks…is an immigration [prison]…rather than a jail or prison [for citizens]…there were 1,448 [incidents of rape or other] sexual abuse [reported to] ICE between 2012 and March 2018.  In 2017 alone, there were 237 [incidents of rape or other] sexual abuse in immigration [prisons]…

Legislators Gone Wild (#879) 

Prohibitionists trot out the Marxist “false consciousness” excuse when people won’t support their bans:

Groups looking to [ban] prostitution in Nevada [refuse to stop trying to impose their will on]…Lyon County voters [who] reject[ed]…an advisory question to rescind the county’s brothel ordinance.  [Prohibitionist] Brenda Sandquist…said…“The people of Lyon County — this is their normal. It’s that mentality – it’s normal that those brothels are there.  To have them removed could be a little scary…They believe the lie of the brothel myth.  That’s all they know…They just have to become more aware”…

And just for good measure, they got rid of their anti-brothel sheriff, too.

The Widening Gyre (#879)

Cop denials of “sex trafficking” scary tales would be more effective if unaccompanied by recitation of the usual myths:

[Cops] and [other prohibitionists fantasize]…that children and teens in Michigan are sold for sex, but it doesn’t happen the way many think.  The most common myth…is…spread on social media.  Someone [fantasizes about other shoppers]…in a store and goes online…to [share the fantasy.  But cops find this inconvenient to dissemination of their pro-surveillance, pro-censorship myth that prepubescent]…Children are more likely to be targeted inside their own homes…”It’s someone who has [magically teleported] into your house, on your couch or in your kids bedroom via their smart device,” [fantasized sow Jolene] Hardesty…the most common age range for sex trafficking victims is 13- to 16-years-old…[cops also fantasize that criminal cartels have a]…recruitment process [which] spread from social media into schools…[yet] YWCA Jessica Glynn…said…Most of the cases she’s seen involve one victim and one suspect, not a chain of victims…She said the Hollywood portrayal of sex trafficking also makes it difficult to prosecute [sex workers and their associates as] traffickers…

R.I.P. Dennis Hof

Too bad we can’t elect more dead politicians:  “Dennis Hof defeated Democratic educator Lesia Romanov on Tuesday in the race for Nevada’s 36th Assembly District…County officials will appoint a Republican to take his place in the seat…”  As regular readers know, I’m no Hof fan; furthermore, they’re going to negate the benefits of electing a corpse by putting a living windbag in his place.  But wouldn’t it be great if dead politicians were forced to be seated & finish their terms?  All of their votes would automatically count as “no”, and their salaries would go to paying any government debts.  It would be like those towns who elect dogs and cats as mayors.

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The paramilitary, bureaucratic structure [of police] produces a dysfunctional culture.  –  Norm Stamper

It Looks Good On Paper

Another story touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

After first being introduced in 2015, the Pennsylvania General Assembly unanimously passed Safe Harbor legislation that protects minors from being prosecuted for sexual exploitation…The bill…provides immunity to all minors for the crimes of prostitution and obstruction of the highway [and] provides alternatives to delinquency for sexually exploited children who could otherwise be charged with prostitution-related offenses… 

Unless this bill is very different from all the others, what it actually does is to give cops the power to indefinitely detain a minor they label as a “victim” while giving “immunity” only to lily-white “perfect victims” with no criminal record who go through a lengthy and complex expungement process.

Uncommon Sense (#528) 

Sex workers in Indonesia form an association to fight together:

…the Yogyakarta Women’s Sex Workers Association (Perhimpunan Perempuan Pekerja Seks Yogyakarta, or P3SY)…was formed in 2010, facilitated by the Indonesian Family Planning Association…in Yogyakarta.  It has other branches in places with small communities of sex workers, which are run by the women themselves…the…union was established to deal with the threat of HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases…the community is working with local public health centres (puskesmas) to provide voluntary blood tests and counselling for the sex workers on a quarterly basis…women who test positive [for HIV] can gain access to free antiretroviral drugs provided by the regional government…P3SY…has persuaded almost all of its members to require their clients to wear protection…P3SY gives the women a platform to engage with and lobby the authorities.  Such advocacy proved useful when, in 2012, the authorities threatened to close down Bong Suwung.  P3SY and the PKBI managed to prevent it from happening by holding discussions with the local government…

To Molest and Rape (#797) 

It’s good to see this problem finally getting attention outside of libertarian and sex worker circles:

…US [cops] were charged with forcible rape 405 times between 2005 and 2013.  That’s an average of 45 a year.  Forcible fondling was more common, with 636 instances.  Yet experts say those statistics are, by no means, comprehensive.  Data on sexual assaults by police are almost nonexistent…”It’s just not available at all,” said Jonathan Blanks, a research associate with the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice.  “You can only crowdsource this info”…No one…[can] give an estimate, even ballpark, on how underreported these types of crimes might be…Unions…work hard to protect [cops from the consequences of their crimes]…[as do] some states’ laws…some jurisdictions include nondisclosure agreements in victim settlements.  “The system is rigged to protect [cops] from outside accountability,” Blanks said…for every sexual assault that makes the news, there are almost always more victims — on average, five more.  About half of the victims are [legal minors]…

Standard Operating Procedure (#814)

Remember, what these pearl-clutching loons mean by “predators” is actually “people who bring money into the local economy by hiring local entrepreneurs”:

Time is up for sexual predators in the aid sector, Britain’s development minister said…as she announced new measures to clamp down on sexual abuse and exploitation after a series of scandals…the British government will announce details of a joint initiative with Interpol to stop sexual predators from getting jobs…Revelations earlier this year that Oxfam staff [hired sex workers] in Haiti snowballed into widespread reports of misconduct in the aid sector…

Cooties (#845)

This popular UK cop masturbatory fantasy has crossed the Irish Sea:

Vulnerable women are being exploited and abused in “pop-up brothels” around Dublin…Labour senator…Kevin Humphreys [panted while publicly masturbating]…He ad[mitt]ed that one [so-called “gang” was actually]…two young women [working together for safety as sex workers have explained many times]…

Rooted in Racism (#858)

Note how the myth of Nigerian “sex trafficking” has grown more outlandish as European governments try to keep out black migrants while pretending not to be racist:

A new report by Europol shows that international criminal groups, particularly from Nigeria, are using established trafficking networks and the cover afforded by the migrant crisis to smuggle minors into northern European countries like Ireland for sale into the sex trade and other criminal enterprises…crime networks of “large family clans”…traffic children for the purposes of begging, criminality and sexual exploitation, with those clans operating in multiple countries at any one time and rotating their victims on a regular basis…people engag[e] in the trafficking and exploitation of their own children…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#866) 

Y’all didn’t stand up for professional whores, and now they’re coming for you dabblers:

A Wyoming woman running for city council is defending her panty-selling alter ego, confirming…that she will remain in the race.  Deborah Reno…has sold used panties and “dirty gym shorts” online for the past year.  She’s also seen stripteasing in videos…A handful of [busybodies complained] to other [politicians] following the discovery of what Reno thought was her secret identity.  The candidate said she no longer sells used underwear and has since deleted all her accounts, saying “Mystee is dead.”  Councilwoman Wendy Schuler said…that Reno is probably no longer electable as result…

Disaster (#873)

Morons cheer when a highway is destroyed, then get upset when the traffic goes into side streets:

If you’re wondering why you see so many prostitutes openly working Seattle streets, cops contend you should blame it on City Attorney Pete Holmes [rather than the government’s destruction of their advertising venues].  Cops complain that his office generally refuses to pursue charges against prostitutes.  Consequently, prostitutes are flocking to Seattle from out of town and [poor little piggies] feel powerless to attack the[m]…Some are there willingly, others are forced to by abusive pimps, who also ravage the neighborhoods with drug dealing and petty theft…But cops want to arrest pimps, as they’re often nearby in [an invisible] car waiting for their prostitutes to drop off cash from a client.  Without being able to use jail time as leverage over the prostitutes to turn on their pimps, it’s a futile effort…It could also explain why some sex workers refuse [fingerpainting classes] offered to them by the city [which take up time they could be earning money]…Even if they decided to [rape a few women] they’ll face scrutiny so unrealistically high, it’s not worth it…their complaints return to the Office of Police Accountability, an independent office within the SPD that cops [whine] is over-zealous…

The saddest thing is that Holmes, and probably most Seattle detectives, know this “pimps and hos” and “cleaning up the streets” malarkey is total bullshit, but they’re locked into it due to years of taking Swanee Hunt’s blood money.  “It’s a futile effort,” all right, but not because they can’t arrest sex workers; it’s because these invisible “pimps” don’t actually exist.  Also note the vile and sinister “we could make these whores go away if we didn’t have to follow all these rules.”  You know, the rules that were imposed by the feds because of all the police brutality.

Topping from the Bottom

Amateurs publish another public bad date list; Katie Herzog uses that as springboard to discuss Stephen Elliott:

…Elliott said that his behavior both in and outside the bedroom can be both atypical and unprofessional…A longtime friend of his told me that Elliot (who, as a child, was a ward of the state and lived in group homes) was “raised by wolves” and has “zero boundaries”.  He’s the kind of guy who will talk about sex in front of your grandma.  It’s easy to see how his behavior could be construed as—or could be—sexual harassment…

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Dennis Hof, owner of half of the brothels in Nevada, died early Tuesday morning, apparently of natural causes; he was 72.  I have never hidden my deep dislike for the man, who is still the only male member of my Hall of Shame; that dislike is inextricably bound up with my deep dislike for the exploitative fascist system which made him both wealthy and infamous (and it’s impossible to say which of those he relished more).  The state of Nevada, as I’ve written before,

…is [no] more whore-friendly than any other American state…unless one considers a poultry factory-farmer to be a “friend” of chickens…[it] allow[s] a small number of politically-connected cronies to run brothel ranches (switching from one kind of livestock to another) out in the desert far from human habitation (so the “sex rays” from diseased harlots don’t contaminate real people)…like a collection of mummified monsters and pickled curiosities in a roadside tourist trap, and to harshly persecute any who dare show themselves in town.

Now, it’s absolutely true that there would be nothing immoral about the Nevada system as long as whores had a free choice whether to work there or not; furthermore, the restrictions of the Nevada system are largely state-imposed and not the fault of Hof or other brothel owners.  I’ve never worked in one of the Nevada brothels myself because I refuse to submit to being treated like a criminal, so I have no firsthand experience in what Hof was like as a boss (and the varying opinions I’ve heard from women who have basically average out to “he was no worse than the others”).  So my revulsion has nothing to do with the brothel system itself or what he was like as an employer, but rather with his opportunistic promotion of “sex trafficking” hysteria (which he privately admitted to me that he knew to be bullshit), the “dirty whore” myth, and the notion that women are too stupid, weak and incompetent to be trusted to manage our own sexual behavior.  I was also disgusted by his deep hypocrisy (claiming to be a libertarian while participating in a crony system, supporting Donald Trump, cuddling up to the vile Joe Arpaio, and revering the word “legal” as though it were a cultic totem) and his relentless and distasteful self-promotion.

That having been said, it’s also true that Hof’s participation in the reality series Cathouse probably served to demystify at least one kind of sex work to hundreds of thousands of people; that his businesses provided jobs to hundreds of sex workers and support staff; and that regardless of my personal opinion of him, he was liked and even loved by many of his employees, business contacts and others, including several people (such as my friend Christina Parreira and 1st amendment powerhouse Marc Randazza) I like and respect very much.  Furthermore, though some of the recent attacks on Nevada brothels were obviously retribution for his political activity, others had nothing to do with him personally and his notoriety and local popularity may have helped fend them off; now that he’s dead the whore-haters may redouble their efforts, and there’s no telling what effect Nevada’s deeply weird licensing laws may have on the fate of many, many people’s livelihoods.

There are people I know who are celebrating his death, and others who are mourning it; personally, I’m glad we won’t have to endure his signal-boosting of prohibitionist lies, but I’m also worried about the future of the women who work in brothels in general and his brothels in particular.  In short, Hof was a complex, often maddening man in life, and his death has left a situation that’s equally complex and maddening.

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[Politicians] who insisted they were [censoring escort ads] to save women’s lives…have only served to put more women in potentially mortal danger.  –  Mike Masnick

Bad Girls 

This wasn’t a very wise thing to do, but cops being humiliated is always funny:

To the rest of the world, Ali Sheppard is a [pig], but to prostitute Taquanna Lawton, he was just “a trick”…Lawton…was arraigned for stealing the cop’s Jeep and gun when he ran off to an ATM so he could pay for her services…[she said] she and Sheppard may have done business before…Lawton is charged with grand larceny…Her attorney Paul Giovanniello said Lawton has mental health and substance abuse issues and the full story of what happened between her and Sheppard has not been told…Sheppard has been suspended without pay for 30 days and is facing disciplinary charges

The More the Better

Anything that helps demystify sex work is a good thing:

…Lia Holmgren…[is an] intimacy coach [who]…thinks a little power play can benefit a relationship.  “Once you open your mind to [BDSM], you will open your mind to other things in the relationship”…In her Chelsea office, she charges clients up to $500 for 90-minute intimacy counseling sessions.  There, she helps couples open the lines of communication about having submissive or dominant roles in the bedroom…to improve their sex lives and bring them closer…Before she started counseling couples two years ago…[she] was a professional dominatrix…Her résumé also includes stripping and organizing sex parties, as well as…vanilla…work in real estate…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Several high school girls…claimed a male student sexually assaulted them because they “just don’t like him”…neither [the school nor the state] punished the young women at all.  Now the boy’s parents, Michael J. and Alicia Flood, are suing the parents of the five girls and the Seneca Valley School District in Pennsylvania over their son’s treatment…One of the girls decided…in October 2017 “she would do anything to get [the boy] expelled” so she accused him of sexually assaulting her at the pool [where he worked as a lifeguard the previous summer].  A friend of [hers] who worked at the pool, Megan Villegas, claimed she was present during the assault…the boy was charged with indecent assault and…agreed to a consent decree that allowed him to avoid admitting guilt and required him to stay out of trouble for six months while on probation…in March 2018, a friend of the first accuser, identified only as C.S., claimed the boy entered her house without her permission and sexually assaulted her.  Two more friends, identified as E.S. and H.R., backed up her claim.  In April, the accused student was charged with another indecent assault, criminal trespass, and simple assault.  He was expelled and arrested and identified as a threat to his community. He spent nine days in a juvenile detention center and then placed on house arrest…In May, three of the girls admitted they lied, but it took until August 30 for Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger to dismiss the second accusation, and until September 10 to close the charges related to the first accusation…

The Widening Gyre (#663)

The deeply-racist “Nigerian sex slaves” wanking fantasy has crossed the Alps:

Hundreds of Nigerian women have been trafficked into Paris as sex workers, lured by the promise of a new life only to find themselves in a cycle of abuse and exploitation…The women are physically branded with scars that identify them back in Nigeria as cursed women…there’[s] been a nearly 600-percent increase in potential sex trafficking victims arriving in Europe through Italy since 2014 and 80% of them were Nigerian…police [fantasize] that most of the women who work at the Bois de Vincennes are slaves…[prohibitionists claim] the women who walk these streets are [magically] getting younger and that their apparent freedom is a [magical] illusion…[because] they have [magically] lost their identity…

Given all the childish claims of magic (zombie “sex slaves” who grow ever-younger while cloaked with spells of illusion), this one could’ve just as well been filed under “Mumbo Jumbo“.  These fantasies appear to have been invented to shore up a campaign to deport as many Nigerians as possible using claims of a “prostitution ring”, “money laundering” and the “Nigerian mafia”.

Stalkers in Blue

Interesting buried detail: she’s a cop herself.  Birds of a feather

A former Woodland [police]woman who accused [another cop] of abusing his police power to stalk, threaten and improperly investigate her has settled her lawsuit against him for $275,000…Jody Wattier…lost custody of her children, aged 9 and 10, and had to rebuild her life because officer Brad Gillaspie orchestrated a campaign of intimidation and slander against her while she was divorcing her husband, who was Gillaspie’s friend…Woodland…[Washington]’s insurer will pay the settlement…An investigation…recommended charges of malicious mischief and telephone harassment against Wattier, but the city prosecutor declined to file them…Wattier, who has remarried and lives in Tacoma while working in the state Attorney General’s office, was a [cop] herself in North Plains, Oregon.  She said she resigned from the department in June 2015 after talking to her chief about how the investigations into her had complicated her job…the Woodland police department knew Gillaspie was a problem…[he had] a history of inappropriate…behavior…such as…taking a juvenile female’s phone into his office and viewing her private, sexually explicit photographs.  Afterwards, [other cops] began locking up cell phones so Gillaspie couldn’t access them…

Checklist (#852) 

It looks like that mind-bogglingly absurd claim that 4% of the world’s population per decade magically vanish without anyone noticing wasn’t just a typo or a one-time idiocy.  Liz Brown snapped this pic of an ad from “Airline Ambassadors” in an inflight magazine, and there it is again:  68,000 per day, which comes to the “almost 500,000 per week” claimed in Forbes back in June.  Even for “sex trafficking” profiteers, this claim goes beyond the ridiculous to the completely unhinged; are these people really unable to multiply at a 9-year-old’s level, or do they simply know that the average American is too stupid to perform the calculation and/or too intellectually lazy to bother?  After all, this is the same organization which begs for funds using that dopey “air hostesses vs. pimps” story which the press repeated endlessly without bothering to check the news archives (which show no “sex trafficker” apprehended at SFO in 2011).  Note also that whoever darkened the hand with Photoshop to achieve a subtly racist effect left the thumb white.

Legislators Gone Wild (#868) 

Still believe that Nevada politicians are pro-sex work?

In an article published…[by] Reuters…Lyons County Sheriff Al McNeil charged that Dennis Hof…was implicated in “immigration violations” regarding some of the prostitutes working at Hof’s brothels, and even claimed that an investigation conducted by his office in concert with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) found “indications of possible human trafficking” among the sex workers…There’s just one problem: It’s McNeil and his office whose job it is to vet all of the women wishing to work in brothels, to make sure that they are citizens or lawful permanent residents with green cards, and after doing their due diligence in vetting the women, to issue licenses to them to work in the brothels…

Naturally, the lying douchebags at Morality in Media used this as an excuse to attack decriminalization, moronically claiming that Hof is a proponent of it despite the obvious fact that he absolutely is not, and in fact vomits out “sex trafficking” propaganda at every opportunity so as to argue against decriminalization on the grounds that whores are too stupid and incompetent to be allowed to work outside of brothels.

Disaster (#869)

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

Before FOSTA became law, plenty of experts in the space tried to warn everyone that a bill that was frequently promoted as being necessary to help “save the lives” of vulnerable women…would actually put more lives at risk.  And we’ve already had…evidence to support that this prediction was entirely accurate.  Various law enforcement officials have been complaining that it’s now more difficult to catch sex traffickers.  And, now the Associated Press has a big article looking at the impact of FOSTA and it’s not pretty.  The closing down of various online forums for sex workers has driven more sex workers into the street, where their lives are at significantly higher risk…

Disaster (#876)

Good news about the FOSTA challenge:

…attorneys for the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, and other Plaintiffs appealed the ruling…dismissing the FOSTA case for lack of standing. Joining in the appeal are The Internet Archive, Human Rights Watch, Jesse Maley, and Eric Koszyk.  The case will now be considered by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeal…Ricci Levy, President…of…Woodhull [said]…“This law is a clear First Amendment violation…We’re in this for the long haul and you can count on us to continue to fight illogical and unconstitutional laws, like FOSTA, which hamper our mission and restrict free expression.”  The District Court never reached the constitutional issues, instead deciding that the Plaintiffs were not sufficiently impacted by the law in order to justify a legal challenge.  However, each Plaintiff demonstrated how its activities were affected once the law went into effect…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#876) 

Despite the hilarity of the hysteria, at least politicians correctly classified the dolls as “arcade games”:

The Houston City Council voted to change city rules [to] effectively ban the use of sex [dolls] in shops…The owner of Kinky Dolls sex robot shop in Toronto announced weeks ago that he would open a second shop in Houston…[In response, politicians] hastily changed [a] city ordinance [to prohibit] customers…touch[ing] a [doll] inside a store…[the] ordinance deal[s] with “arcade” games, which in this case, the [dolls were] classified as.  The ordinance does not stop the sale of the [dolls], it just stops the use of them for [masturbation] in [retail stores.  Council member Greg Travis lied that]…”We’re not legislating morality”…

The Widening Gyre (#878)

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

[Hysteria over] women’s encounters with [people they fantasize are involved in] sex trafficking and kidnapping [has] surged on social media and have left some students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln feeling unsafe…John Backer said the University Police has received multiple calls from people concerned about the [fantasy].  “Sex traffickers gain the trust of their victims, it usually doesn’t happen spontaneously”…Polaris, a [prohibitionist group] that strives to [profit from the moral panic over] human trafficking, [fantasizes] that traffickers often target women by promising a high-paying job, a loving relationship or new and exciting opportunities…

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Vanesa was murdered; the state is complicit.  –  protest chant in Paris

Subtle Pimping

Every damned internet company has profited from sex workers without even giving us credit:

…the porn and adult entertainment industries, and the women whose work built them, were one of the earliest to provide real-time credit card verification, establishing a precedent for models of e-commerce other industries would adopt later on.  Sex workers…essentially created, adopted, and inspired many of the technologies later co-opted by tech corporations and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs long before they reached the mainstream, and continue to do so.  However, [they]…rarely receive proper credit for their contributions…

Finding What Isn’t There

I can tell you why these cases aren’t being pushed, Susan, but it’s going to make you sad:

After [cheerleading for] local [cop] efforts to [persecute people using the excuse of] human trafficking, a [prohibitionist] is questioning why recent prostitution cases are seemingly sitting idle in the district attorney’s office…Susan Peters, executive director of [“rescue” profiteer] UnBound…[says] McLennan County Sheriff’s Office detectives have made about 330…arrests of alleged sex buyers since March 2015, but records show prosecutors have not taken action on [almost] any…many of the recent arrests stem from a December 2017 raid in which sheriff’s deputies [stole] video [from] surveillance systems in two massage parlors that [cops fantasize] women [were] forced to work at…Although it is unclear if video evidence in the massage parlor cases will be admissible in court, a total of 18 men have been arrested on prostitution charges since authorities started trying to identify [them]…

Counterfeit Comfort (#40) 

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

Janice M. Bellucci, executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws…plans to file suit against Calimesa, California, challenging its Halloween ordinance  [which]…forbids registrants…from decorating their home with Halloween decorations; mandates they leave all exterior or decorative lighting off from 4 to 11:59 p.m. [on Halloween]; and forbids them from answering the door to trick-or-treaters.  In August, Bellucci sent letters to five California cities, including Calimesa, urging them to repeal their Halloween restrictions by Sept. 28 or face litigation.  So far, Temecula has repealed its ordinance, and Lancaster is taking steps to do the same…The state of Missouri has a rule similar to the one that Bellucci fought in Simi Valley, requiring registrants on Halloween to post a sign at their home stating, “No candy or treats at this residence”…The California…Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, mandates that registrants who are on parole must remain indoors from 5 to 10 p.m. during which time they can open the door only to respond to law enforcement.  They must turn off all exterior lights, and…homeless parolees are required to spend the curfew hours in [jail]…New York…requires that the roughly 3,000 parolees convicted of sex crimes remain indoors at home on Halloween…until 6 the next morning…[and] are not allowed to have…candy in their possession…

Signs (#783) 

California mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

Two new California laws will require workers in certain industries to go through [indoctrination in] human trafficking [fantasies]…The laws are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, with training to be complete by 2020 for hotel and motel workers and by 2021 for transit workers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

The next time you drive past one of those road signs with a digital readout showing how fast you’re going…it may…be capturing your license plate data…the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of “multiple” trailer-mounted speed displays “to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms”…the DEA has hired a small machine shop in California, and another in Virginia, to conceal the readers within the signs…primarily along the southwest border region, and the country’s northeast and southeast corridors…

Disaster (#832)

Please, prohibitionists, force more deep-pocketed giants like Facebook to fight your evil:

A Texas woman, claiming that she was raped, beaten and sex trafficked at the age of 15 by a pimp who posed as a Facebook “friend,” has filed suit against the social network, alleging its executives knew minors were being lured into the sex trade on their platform…

Texas especially loves the “Facebook pimps” myth.

Torture Chamber (#852)

The “concerns” and crocodile tears of these kids’ jailers remind me of prohibitionists who say they want to “rescue” sex workers by locking us in cages:

In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night…and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new [prison]:  a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.  Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been housed in private foster homes or shelters, sleeping two or three to a room.  They received formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their…cases.  But in the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks.  There is no school…Access to legal services is limited.  These midnight voyages are playing out across the country, as the federal government struggles to find [cages] for more than 13,000 [imprisoned] migrant children — the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year.  The average length of time…in custody has nearly doubled over the same period, from 34 days to 59…

Prisoners, especially those government wants to dehumanize, are often shipped off in the middle of the night like this to facilities in the middle of deserts, so as to confuse and disorient them and make escape more difficult.

Monsters (#866) 

No, it’s almost wholly to blame. As we warned it would be.

Vanesa Campos…was shot and killed as thieves tried to rob her client, who survived….her…death…is proof of the growing dangers [sex workers] face since [the French] Parliament [imposed the Swedish model]…clients now demand to have sex in out of the way places, where the police are unlikely to be patrolling.  “Girls are now forced to hide and promise their clients that the police won’t find them,” said Giovanna Rincon, a former sex worker and transgender activist who leads the organization Acceptess-Transgenres.  “Today, they work in places where we, the old guard working at the Bois de Boulogne, would never have set foot”…

The Widening Gyre (#874) 

I love that Christian religious nuts, who started the “sex trafficking” hysteria in the first place, are now being accused of being “traffickers” themselves:

Two West Texas girls are [spreading hysteria] after what they described as a scary encounter at a Walmart in San Angelo…The students say they were approached by strangers inside the store late at night and invited to a Bible study…”They asked us if we were Christians and if we read the Bible, things like that…She started telling us Jesus was the sun and Moses was the moon, just things that didn’t sound right to us.”  One of the girls Googled some of the [statements] as the conversation continued, and [naturally] she [believed]…”… the first article that came up [which] said ‘Korean sex trafficking college campuses’.”…The girls say they went and found a store manager to tell them [that people were talking to them]…and a Walmart employee escorted them to their vehicles so they could…leave [without the danger of others talking to them]…There have been cases in other cities where members of the “God the Mother” church have been [fantasized to be] sex traffickers while trying to recruit members…

All-Purpose Excuse (#876)

Whores are not only the new drugs; we’re also the new “terrorism”:

Ann…Wagner’s little-heralded [recycling and expansion of the PATRIOT Act], known as the Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act, quietly passed the House [last] Wednesday—sailing through without much attention as the Brett Kavanaugh hearing occupied the media and public [atten]tion.  The bill, HR 6729, passed by a 297-124 vote, with 202 Republicans voting in favor and only 29 against.  Democrats who voted were split equally 95-95…

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I don’t often do sequels to previous guest columns, but I thought y’all might want to see this update from “John Seattle”; if you haven’t read his column on Seattle’s “john school” yet, you probably should before reading this one.

Last year, Maggie was very kind to publish my response to Peter Qualliotine’s STOP Exploitation classes.  It was written before I had completed the series of classes; the final session ended with Qualliotine giving a pep rally-esque speech in which he asked, “Are you with me?  Will you stop buying sex?”  This question was met with a long, drawn out silence broken only by my giggling when I realized what had happened.  At the time I felt as if I had thoroughly rejected the toxic messaging of his class, but that was not as simple as it seemed.  It was Wendy Zukerman’s Science VS podcast episode entitled “Sex Addiction: Are They Faking It?” that gave me insight to the need to understand better the damaging impacts of shame.  According to the podcast, the truth about sexual addiction (one of the many toxic messages Qualliotine dispenses) is that no scientific evidence supports its existence; what some believe to be sex addiction is the feeling of shame, which is why belief in “sex addiction” is strongly correlated with religious beliefs that sexuality is sinful.

The “sex addiction” myth is thus very useful for someone who is trying to shame others out of their sexuality.  In a local article, Qualliotine was described as someone who “sees patronizing prostitutes as part of a continuum of…behaviors that includes sexual harassment, domestic violence, and rape.”  Through psychological manipulation Qualliotine’s message is that “the core of who and what you are as a person is that of a harasser, abuser, and rapist.”  What he calls “education” is actually based on sex-shaming in order to change behavior, a social conformity strategy very much like the thoroughly-discredited “conversion therapy” is supposed to “cure” gay people.  And even though it doesn’t accomplish what its purveyors claim, subconsciously this toxic messaging lingers, causing emotional damage and isolation in its victims that manifest in harmful ways, such as social anxiety, and despair.

There are a lot of reasons for people to have sex, and none are wrong as long as all partners give consent and treat each other ethically.  Undoing the damage caused by the lie that this is not so, that outsiders have the right to impose rules on other adults, is harder than one might think, but there are resources available; Dr. David Ley, Lola Davina, and Maggie are just a few of the writers who helped me to start the process.  But the first step is to recognize the damage done by sexual shaming even in people who intellectually know better.

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