Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘prohibitionist myths’

We should…not…[create] barriers that stop vulnerable people seeking help.  –  Lord Paddick

Follow Your Bliss 

Understand that people like this are the norm in anything that involves prosecuting sexual offenses, and always will be:

A secondary school teacher who [enthusiastically] helped the Metropolitan Police grade indecent images of children was caught on film as he abused a sleeping six year-old boy…Craig Keane…now faces jail after pleading guilty to nine counts of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13.  He has been suspended from both his roles as a teacher and special constable…the victim was asleep while the assault occurred but another child in the same room hid a camera behind the curtain to capture the abuse after becoming concerned about what was happening…

The Widening Gyre sex-trafficking-shirt

Everything is a sign of lurking “sex traffickers”!  EVERYTHING!!!

When 19-year-old Ashley Hardacre left a late shift at the mall…she found what she feared was a trap.  “I…noticed that there was a blue flannel shirt on my windshield,” she wrote later that night on Facebook. “There were two cars near me and one was running so I immediately felt uneasy and knew I couldn’t get out to get it off…I drove over to a place where I was safe and quickly rolled down my window and got the shirt off.”  Hardacre…speculated that the way the shirt had been attached to her wiper was intentional…Hardacre’s post…quickly went viral.  But it’s not the first time people have suspected strange items left under their windshield wipers.  In July last year, a Wisconsin woman wrote that her mother had discovered a fancy jeweled ring on her windshield…“This is exactly how human trafficking and abductions take place,” Savannah Nguyen wrote in the now-removed post…The local police…chief [said]…the department had no evidence linking the ring to a sex trafficking attempt…

You know who else I hear puts things on people’s windshields to abduct them?  Satanists.  Commies too, I’ll bet.

Worse Than I Thought

Mormon politician fantasizes that sex workers “force” cops to rape us:

The [Utah] Senate criminal justice committee approved enhancing penalties for prostitution-related crimes as well as clarifying the definition of prostitution…Bill sponsor…Todd Weiler…said its language adds protection to [lying pigs] who [lie to rape sex workers] while conducting prostitution stings.  “Some of the women involved in this trade…are savvy enough … to force an undercover…to actually touch them, because that’s where the line is currently drawn”…

Checklist

Another ridiculous “study” based purely in the researchers’ sexual fantasies finds that mundane things are actually “signs of sex trafficking”:

Two hundred people are sold for sex every month in Lincoln and another 700 are sold in other parts of [Nebraska]…according to a new report from Creighton University…researchers spent several years [masturbating over] Backpage.com…Crysta Price and Terry Clark, cross-referenced the ads to make sure they weren’t counting one potential victim multiple times [yet couldn’t be bothered to consult even one actual sex worker.  A spokespig oinked that]…there are a number of ways to determine if an ad was made by a trafficker or by someone selling him or herself — including if the picture was taken by someone else, the verbiage used in the post and if the pictures were taken in a hotel room…Twenty-five to 30 percent of the ads researchers studied were posted by adults working independently and not being trafficked.  About 70 percent showed some sign of advertised individuals being underage or controlled by a third party…

I’m sure this is much better wanking material for prohibitionists than the mundane truth: roughly 2% coercion, roughly 3.5% underage (and only 25% of underage advertise online).

Lack of Evidence (#314) 

This will keep happening as long as laws & procedures that stigmatize sex workers are allowed to stand:

A Vancouver man was denied entry into the United States after a US Customs and Border Patrol officer read his profiles on the gay hookup app Scruff and the website BBRT.  The officer suspected the man was a sex worker because he found messages from the man saying he was “looking for loads,” and assumed it meant he was soliciting sex for cash…André, a 30-year-old Vancouver set decorator who declined to give his full name for fear of retaliation from US Customs, describes the experience as “humiliating”…Jon Davidson, legal director of the US LGBT organization Lambda Legal…says…“Their agents need cultural awareness training to not misunderstand that people who simply are leading a normal sex life are not prostitutes.”

Fuck you, Jon Davidson.  If whores’ sex lives aren’t “normal”, neither is yours. But I guess you’ve got your seat at the Big Table, so we don’t matter, right?

Paint By Numbers

Well, at least golf requires skill & activity:

A golf tournament March 31 at Sunset Hills Country Club will benefit The Covering House, which [profits from “sex trafficking” hysteria]…GENTS (Gentlemen Encouraging No Trafficking Society), a volunteer group…is playing host for the tournament…[blah blah] signs…[blah blah] suspect a child is being trafficked…[blah blah] Top 20 human trafficking jurisdictions…[blah blah] 300,000 children…[blah blah] average age of entry is 13…

Whereas this is the usual total inanity:

…Members of Congress, celebrities including Ashton Kutcher, and others…[changed] their profile photo for the End It Movement’s “Shine A Light On Slavery” Day…You don’t have to be in Washington to take part…in…[uploading] red Xs…You can also take a tube of red lipstick, mark an X on your hand, and snap a photo to post…yes-this-is-an-x

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the “End It” yahoos.

Whimsical Notions

Is “the dangerous cycle of prostitution” a used Harley bought with whoring money?

Recently we were exposed to the horrifying phenomenon of soldiers involved in the cycle of prostitution…shocking evidence of male and female soldiers…engaging in prostitution due to severe economic distress.  This phenomenon is a badge of shame for the IDF and the State of Israel…Military service is often a lifeline for boys and girls from all sorts of difficult backgrounds.  The army should set a moral example and act to stamp out prostitution in its midst, work to save these soldiers and recover them…

As far as I can make out, this dude’s pearl-clutching tone is dead serious.  Do you amateurs really believe this kind of shit?  “Shame”?  “Save them”?  “Recover them”?  Seriously?

Legal Is as Legal Does (#440)

The danger of a “tolerated” system: cops can suddenly decide to be intolerant:

A major crackdown on massage parlours and brothels across Adelaide has forced sex workers into risky private work where they are more vulnerable to violence and crime…Police have [exhibited] threatening behaviour during a flurry of raids since September that have resulted in the closure of well-established brothels and sex workers who are too scared to report crimes against them…Sex workers…[who] refused [to give cops their telephone numbers were]…threatened with a home visit.  Police officers…took sex workers’ car registration details, working names, and…told workers they would be arrested unless they left the premises immediately…[managers and] receptionists [are being hit with avails charges] “because they are the ones that handle the money”…

All-Purpose Excuse

“Human trafficking” can mean anything!

President Trump[‘s]…new policies also target unauthorized immigrants who smuggle their children into the country, as happened with Central American children seeking to reunite with parents living in the United States.  Under the new directives, such parents could face deportation or prosecution for smuggling or human trafficking…

Dirty Laundry (#452)

Good for this lady, taking a pompous judge’s attempt to get rid of her & then carrying on as usual:

…Mikaela Niculae…was arrested…last weekend…Ms Niculae had been before Letterkenny District court in June 2014 where she was part of a group of six prostitutes who were given €1,200 by Judge Paul Kelly to fly back to Romania.  The money came from a sum of €5,890 [stolen] by Gardai [from sex workers]…the…Judge…fined [her]…€500 and…order[ed her] mobile phone…[destroyed]…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#586)

This is a good, objective look at sex work in Bangkok; it’s refreshingly free of the usual sadfeelz, judgment and imposition of “sex trafficking” fantasies on the interviews with real sex workers.  I do find it extremely funny that every Western reporter who visits a brothel feels compelled to assure the reader that he didn’t purchase sexual services; honestly, I’d have a lot more respect for one who admitted that he did, as it was demonstrate he was respectful of both the women’s time and profession.

The Course of a Disease (#652) 

This is a huge move forward for a UK political party:

The Liberal Democrats are likely to adopt as official policy a move to quash all historical sex-work convictions – including brothel-keeping, soliciting business and kerb-crawling.  The move…will be included in a key motion…as part of the party’s wider drive to decriminalise sex work…The party’s home affairs spokesman Lord Paddick said: “As a former police officer I know what works and the current laws around prostitution do not.  They might sound tough but they don’t protect people.  The police should be focusing their resources on…coercion rather than policing consenting adults…it is time for an informed debate on this complex issue and I want my party to be leading that debate”…

I’m so pleased by this I’m not even going to quibble over the ridiculous idea that human rights are subject to “debate”.

Read Full Post »

Every now and then, a take comes along that’s so scorchingly wrong, so unbelievably erratic in its approach to reality, that it feels a bit like sacrilege to think of it as bad journalism.  –  David Meyer Lindenberg

Think of the Children! 

“Authorities” force victims to mouth official propaganda to escape consequences, just as terrorists force hostages to read denunciations at gunpoint.  Both are equally sincere and truthful.

Resa Woodward, 38, said she participated in the [porn] industry more than a decade ago because she was in an abusive relationship with a controlling man….[who] pressured her into sex slavery…She said he booked her for shoots for a little more than one year.  Woodward has been a teacher for 15 years now…[but school] administrators…when the films…[were reported to the school by] an anonymous [informant]…She’s now requesting the Texas Education Agency reconsider her termination…”Do not penalize me for a dark saga in my youth that was not of my making”…

The More the Better 

The idea that a sleep mask, a feather duster and a scalp tingler constitute “sex toys” that need to be distributed in a box marked “18+” makes me roll my eyes so hard it’s painful, and not in a good way.  But I guess they deserve points for trying, and maybe this is a teeny-tiny baby step on a thousand-mile journey toward Western culture actually growing up:

Burger Kings in Israel are giving grown-up customers extra incentive to visit this Valentine’s Day…an “Adults Meal” that includes…”adult toys” in the tamest [sense] possible—nothing you can comfortably insert or battery-operated—just a satin blindfold, a scalp tingler, and a feather tickler…

The Spiral of Absurdity texas-tribune-tinfoil-hat

Jaded as I am, even I was shocked at the incredible cluelessness & stupidity of this one-page hit piece from the Texas Tribune, whose intent actually seems to be to get as much wrong as possible.  The “mistakes” (lies? intentional libel? attempts at satire?) are so basic and obvious it’s almost impossible to believe that none of the FOUR “journalists” (yes, it took four people to produce this one turd, presumably human-centipede style) knew better or even thought for a second, “Hey, maybe we should call an actual sex worker to fact-check this.”  Dave Meyer Lindenberg of Fault Lines has already done a terrific job of mincing it into pieces so small they can practically be inhaled, so I’m not going to duplicate his efforts (especially since he cites me extensively in the process); I am, however, going to reproduce the original here just in case some Tribune editor wakes up and tries to memory-hole this…thing.  And here are a few choice quotes from Dave’s dissection:

…The…article is a case study in the use of framing and omission to achieve an effect.  You’ll look in vain, for example, for a mention of the fact that Backpage won all its court cases…As call girl and sex-workers‘ rights activist Maggie McNeill has been pointing out for years, what data there are suggest underage prostitutes are a tiny subset of sex workers.  What’s more, only a small percentage are forced into the business…[as for] the meat of the article…What fresh hell is this?  What “phrases and symbols?” Is there any factual basis whatever for this assertion, or is the Texas Tribune receiving instruction from a higher plane?…law enforcement and groups claiming to fight sex trafficking have lists of “tells”…these “checklists” include plenty of things so bland as to apply to nearly everyone…things of which entire age groups are guilty…and outright absurdities…This is a paranoid fabrication, on a par with claiming playing a heavy metal record backwards gets you Satanic messages…

As for the piece’s nadir of idiocy, I’m going to have to go with its claim that a two-girl special means “at least one of the girls is underage, and the other is responsible for making sure she goes through with the sex act.”  Watching these people reveal their BDSM wanking fantasies in print is almost embarrassing.

Cops and Robbers (#435)

Cops are upset that the anti-sex hysteria they helped create has encouraged people to follow their example:

…self-proclaimed pedophile hunters set up fake social media profiles, masquerading as vulnerable teens, to…[shame people they decide are] “creeps”…Hundreds of Canadians…have been put in the spotlight when these groups post videos to sites such as Facebook and YouTube.  A handful of them have faced criminal charges…But…their cameras often don’t tell the whole story.  Cases with truly horrifying chats have been lumped in with chats that show no evidence of any sexual intent…In one case a woman who was targeted committed suicide…some of these Creep Catchers have a long history of criminal convictions, with one doing federal prison time…the evidence collected in stings by the Creep Catchers is rarely usable in court, and…the group has interfered with police operations…

Secret Squirrel (#509)

Politicians are shocked, SHOCKED I say, that software used by the police state they support is also being used by abusive fuckheads who don’t have magic costumes and Important Titles:

In a 2015 Women’s Aid survey of 693 women, 29 per cent said they had spyware or GPS locators installed on their phones or computers by a partner or ex.  In 2014, NPR surveyed 70 women’s shelters, finding 85 per cent were working with victims whose abusers tracked them via GPS, or what’s often referred to as “spouseware”…behind such easy-to-use spyware are opportunistic salesmen who’re peddling not just to jealous spouses and paranoid parents for small fees, but whose powerful spying software is also sold to police and intelligence agencies for hundreds of thousands of dollars…the malware used to snoop on terrorists and pedophiles is much the same as that used to control partners in abusive relationships…lawmakers, lawyers and women’s rights activists…[have absurdly] called on the U.S. government to take action [against its own creation, because making something illegal causes it to vanish]…

Sorry, authoritarian arseholes; y’all should’ve thought of this before letting that djinni out of its bottle.

Coming and Going (#592)

If you actually believe that the “authorities” had “no choice” but to jail an underage sex worker, infantilize her & try to brainwash her, then claim they “didn’t want to do it”, you are part of the problem:

Lena was…a…17-year-old [caged] with two dozen women in a single room….with no privacy…Yet [prohibitionists want you to believe that’s “rescue” from her difficult life as an underage sex worker]…[everyone pretends they didn’t] want…Lena in jail — not the Houston police who arrested her, not the district attorney who pursued the case…Texas has just one [disguised prison for underage]…sex [workers, and as usual only those who can be presented as perfect]…victims…[are] accept[ed there.  So to maintain the pretense that they give a shit]…authorities [pretend that locking up minors for being sexual is]…a gamble they call “arrest and recovery”:  arrest them to get them off the street and drop the charges later.  “What options do we have with these girls?” [pontificated] Ana Martinez, a prosecutor in Harris County…”If I dismiss her case, she’s just [not locked in a cage] that night”…

NB: This steaming turd was passed through three of the human centipede segments responsible for the specimen in “The Spiral of Absurdity” above before being plopped onto the plates of Texas Tribune readers.

The Public Eye (#596)

Another theatrical production by sex workers designed to debunk prohibitionist BS about our lives:

London’s Young Vic…[is featuring] a new play, See Me Now, the cast of which are all current or former sex workers, and whose content is made up entirely of their stories…See Me Now…is…a collaboration between the performers, writer Molly Taylor and director Mimi Poskitt.  It was inspired, in part, by conversations Poskitt had with a friend who volunteered at a sex work support project…Performers were recruited via outreach projects across the capital and come from a range of backgrounds; outdoor, indoor and independent sex work are all represented.  Some have second jobs, others survive solely through sex work.  Performers are male, female and trans.  However certain experiences unite everyone…

Lying Down With Dogs (#625) 

All the most enlightened, free countries have US-style anti-sex worker “crackdowns”:

[Hanoi] is aiming to bust up to 500 cases of illegal sex work in 2017, more than twice the number usually seen in past years…hundreds of hair salons and massage parlors will be inspected regularly.  The goal is to [destroy the lives of] 500 [human beings to “send a message”]…authorities last year identified more than 5,500 businesses offering so-called “sensitive” services.  Most of them are registered as hair salons, bars or massage parlors but also provide illegal sex services.  The city also plans to [force]…sex workers [into menial]…jobs…

Spotlight (#683) asstoon-strikes-again

I wonder if Asstoon will ever get professional help for his delusions of grandeur?

[Last] Wednesday, actor Ashton Kutcher testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on behalf of Thorn, an anti-sex [worker]…organization he co-founded with Demi Moore.  Thorn’s main project is Spotlight, a cloud-based data-collection and analysis tool that purportedly helps police find sex traffickers.  According to Kutcher…the app—funded by the McCain Foundation—has helped save more than 6,000 U.S. sex-trafficking victims, including 2,000 minors, in the past 12 months.  But…in government fiscal-year 2015, the FBI identified around 672 adult and child victims of sex or labor trafficking.  The FBI opened 802 human-trafficking investigations (resulting in 453 convictions) that year, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) opened 1,034 sex- or labor-trafficking investigations (and got 51 sex-trafficking convictions).  In addition, Uniform Crime Reporting data from the states indicates that 744 investigations into state-level sex-trafficking offenses were opened in 2015…even if we count all cases separately, we’re looking at a total of 2,580 investigations into sex or labor trafficking—5,725 less cases than Thorn allegedly helped identify in a one-year period…How can Kutcher’s group have helped in dramatically more sex-trafficking investigations than were actually opened across America?…

The Course of a Disease (#686)

Another patient succumbs to the Swedish disease:

[On] February 15th…the Republic of Ireland voted in favour of…the criminalisation of clients as well as [increasing] the penalty for sex workers working together for safety.  The Bill also allows the authorities to [steal] the earnings of sex workers as “proceeds of crime”.  [Though sold to the very stupid]…as a tool to promote gender equality and help rescue sex workers [from their own choices], the Bill…does not include any provision that would offer support to sex workers wanting or forced to stop selling sexual services…

An Example To the West (#710)

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

In her recent piece, Sex work or slavery?: Why human rights discourse is no longer a tool for liberation, Nandita Haksar bases her entire argument on the faulty premise that “almost all women who have been in prostitution call it slavery”.  Haksar has chosen to…ignore…the National Network of Sex Workers Statement that was signed by more than 2,000 sex workers from seven states in India.  She discounts their agency and contradicts the feminism that supposedly drives her arguments – isn’t a deep respect for the choices and autonomy of all women at the core of what it means to be a feminist?…What Haksar fails to understand is that it is the State that is failing its citizens…The health and safety of sex workers is undermined by the continued criminalisation of sex workers, their clients and the organisation of their work, as well as the repressive use of other kinds of laws…

Business As Usual (#711) 

These rapist pigs are the same ones politicians keep urging sex workers to “trust” because of imaginary “pimps”:

On September 1, 2016, “Sunny” Kimnam gave a massage and a hand-job to an undercover police informant.  Since that day, she has been incarcerated, and faces likely deportation to Korea.  Kimnam’s story is far from unique.  Tucked in tales of “human trafficking investigations” and massage-parlor prostitution busts across the U.S., you’ll find that these efforts are almost always aided or led by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents…[or] ICE…Since January 1…DHS has been involved in at least a dozen massage-parlor raids, arresting at least 26 people.  Twenty-three of these arrests were women, all Asian and mostly in their 50s.  None were found to be involved in human trafficking, but they were arrested on charges such as prostitution, promoting prostitution, and giving an unlicensed massage…Even legal permanent residents—i.e. “green card” holders—can be “removed” if found to be sex workers.  Under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, legal immigrants who have not been naturalized as citizens can become deportable for a variety of reasons, including…crimes of “moral turpitude”—a nebulous concept defined at various points in immigration law as “conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals”…

Read Full Post »

I’m going to assume most of you, even those with English degrees, are unfamiliar with the term “counter word”.  It’s a linguistic term; a counter word is a word or phrase with no current intrinsic meaning, which is used to signal one’s membership in the in-group who use that word.  “Counter” in this sense means a counter used in a game, such as a poker chip; it has no actual value outside of the game, but it is used to participate in the game.  Two examples from my younger days both came from television commercials for hamburger chains; one was from this 1992 commercial for Rally’s:

The ad was so popular that soon everyone (at least on the Gulf Coast) was running around yelling “Cha-ching!” at every available opportunity.  At first it was mostly used appropriately, as a way of saying something was expensive (“I paid $100 for these sneakers.” “Whoa, cha-ching!”) but it soon turned into an exclamation of victory or appreciation for an insult (something like the way people use “Oh, snap!” now), and within months, due to somehow becoming associated with the New Orleans Saints football team, it meant nothing at all; it was just something people would randomly exclaim to show that they were “cool” and in on the joke.  At the nadir of this absurdity, a local used car dealer actually exclaimed “Cha-ching!” at the end of one of his television commercials, apparently unaware that to anyone who remembered the original ad he was implying that his autos were badly overpriced!  The other example, which perhaps more of you may recognize, was from a 1984 Wendy’s ad:

As with “cha-ching!” it didn’t take “Where’s the beef?” long to go from an expression people used to mean something like, “What’s going on?” or “Are you kidding me?” to signifying nothing more than, “Hey, I’ve heard other people saying this, aren’t I cool?”  This isn’t a phenomenon of my lifetime; soon after the turn of the 20th century the phrase “23 skidoo!” went from meaning something like “let’s make tracks” or “scram!” to meaning, as in the other examples, essentially nothing; it was printed on buttons and pennants and people would shout it at each other in greeting as they did with “Cha-ching” over 80 years later.

If you’re wondering why I’m bringing this up now, it’s because the phrase “human trafficking” has become nothing more than a political counter word.  In the ’90s, it was generally used to mean the smuggling of people across borders in defiance of immigration restrictions, but by the turn of the century governments and anti-immigration groups had subtly twisted it to mean only exploitative smuggling practices (which they of course represented as all of them), and it didn’t take long for the exploitative labor situations migrants often ended up in to be rolled into the term.  Prohibitionists started representing all migrant sex work as a form of “human trafficking”, and the US government soon obligingly negated the agency of all underage sex workers by defining them as “human trafficking victims” whether they actually migrated, were coerced or were treated in any way which could even tangentially intersect the previously-understood meaning of the term “trafficking”.  Certainly, the shift in meaning of the term “drug trafficking” from meaning “drug smuggling” to mere “drug selling” is parallel and probably intertwined with this broadening and thinning of the meaning of “human trafficking”, but the latter became far more nebulous than the former ever did; by 2012 I had identified 23 different meanings of the phrase “human trafficking”, 11 of the phrase “trafficking victim” and 12 of the slur “human trafficker”.  In the past five years those related phrases have become broader and far more vague, and are applied willy-nilly to anyone and anything “authorities” or prohibitionists want to restrict, censor, spy on, interfere in, attempt to ban, or inflict violence upon.

“Human trafficking” (and especially “sex trafficking”) have become nothing but authoritarian counter words; they have lost their original meanings as surely as “23 skidoo” and “Where’s the beef?” did.  I therefore call upon all activists, allies, and well-meaning people in the so-called “anti-trafficking” movement (and yes, there are some, such as GAATW) to stop using the term unless there is no other alternative.  If you mean “exploitative labor conditions”, say that.  If you mean “forced prostitution”, say that.  If you mean “underage survival sex”, say that.  If you mean “smuggling undocumented migrants”, say that.  A phrase used to mean everything means nothing at all, and a phrase that means nothing isn’t a useful term for serious adults; it’s a fad for the immature and silly.

Read Full Post »

This has given me a fear of women.  –  Zachary

Saving Them From Themselves

Who cares if a kid’s life is destroyed?  We need to “send a message”!

Zachary, now 19, is in jail awaiting sentencing for five pictures his teenage girlfriend sent him of herself in her underwear.  He faced a choice between a possible (though unlikely) maximum sentence of 350 years in prison, or lifetime on the sex offender registry as a “sexually violent offender”—even though he never met the girl in person…a month after Zachary turned 18, the girl sent him five pictures of herself in her underwear.  Her face was not visible, nor were her private parts…Zachary was arrested and charged with 20 felonies, including indecent liberties with a minor, using a computer to propose sex, and “child porn reproduce/transmit/sell,” even though he did not send or sell the pictures to anyone…the pictures came to light because [the girl foolishly trusted]…a counselor…[who betrayed her] to…the police…

Soap Opera pono-soap

The hucksters who hawk anti-pimp personal hygiene products are always pompous and self-aggrandizing, but this one’s a full-blown megalomaniac:

Kathy Xian didn’t start Pono Soaps to be just a health and beauty venture…[her] Hawaii-based…Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery (PASS) [works to harm sex workers and their clients]…PASS is responsible for the passage of 14 anti-[sex worker] state laws…She [fantasizes] that before that the laws, prostitution was “almost legal” in the state…In contrast to its image as a paradise, Xian said that Hawaii is a hub of human trafficking… “Because of its location”…

The idea that sex work was “almost legal” in Hawaii until recently will certainly come as a surprise to Hawaiian sex workers, who for years have been actively hunted by cops with explicit legal permission to rape them.  Also, since as we all know interstate highways are the main cause of “sex trafficking”, one wonders how Hawaii has any at all.

So Close and Yet So Far

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

Few people grow up dreaming of being a prostitute…Prohibitionists look at sex workers’ rates of disease and likelihood of being sexually assaulted — and, understandably, want to help…black-market prostitutes are less likely to get screened for sexually transmitted infections lest they alert doctors to their illegal professional activities…criminalizing prostitution makes sex trafficking more likely.  One widely recognized consequence of prohibition is the formation of…large criminal enterprises with monopoly power…Prohibition does nothing to help [sex workers] exit the industry or provide them with education or other skills…

Blunt Instrument

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

[Rockford, Illinois] plans to [persecute]…massage parlors…some of the people involved in these businesses are being abused sometimes even young children [fantasizes]…Venita Hervey…The new law would give the city the power to shut down massage businesses that are involved in illegal activity without a valid license…

Wait, so Rockford issues licenses for illegal activity?

Sex Rays

Sex rays could be harmful to sick people!

The Sun newspaper has publicly outed a newly-qualified nurse as a former gay porn star – for absolutely no reason whatsoever.  The article…publishes the name, age and hospital that the young man works at, as well as his picture…patients or staff…were unaware of his background until The Sun chose to investigate the “story”…As well as publishing images taken from the man’s…adult films, the tabloid appears to have sent photographers to the man’s home to take undercover photos of him taking out the bins…

Devil’s Advocate

Nobody wants to admit that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

Canada and Australia now have both reported charging men with breaking child pornography laws for possession of child sex dolls…the purpose of child porn laws is to protect children from being harmed in the production of child porn (where the images are themselves evidence of abuse)…With child sex dolls, however, there is no actual victim being protected, and it does not matter whether there is a market for latex dolls.  Although it is very reasonable to conclude that the consumers purchasing sex dolls are genuinely attracted to children, there is no evidence to indicate that sex doll owners are at an elevated level of risk to go on to commit crimes that do involve a victim…Men who are attracted to children have no healthy outlet for their sex drives, and it will be that way for their entire lives.  For someone who did not ask to be pedophilic and who cannot have romantic and sexual relationships like the rest of us, the only outlet they have is masturbation.  For society to hamper even that, to me, is cruel when it is in the absence of a demonstrated societal benefit.

The Public Eye (#444)

While the makers of the Law and Order: SVU episode based on Miriam’s story asked for her input, Lifetime didn’t even bother to ask her permission:

Before Lifetime agreed to make a movie called From Straight A’s to XXX, inspired by the true story of a Duke University freshman who moonlighted as a porn star to pay for college, the network had one condition.  “[They] only wanted to do it if we told the story in such a way that it was not just about a salacious story,” said executive producer Sheri Singer…the film…is also a scathing indictment of skyrocketing college tuition prices – and it has a lot to say about the double standards of men who watch pornography and then shame the women who star in it…While Singer’s team reached out to Miriam multiple times, they received no response.  So Singer and the screenwriter, Anne-Marie Hess [just did it anyway without her consent]…Singer is pleased with the movie’s perspective, especially given that it had female executive producers, a female screenwriter, a female director…and a female star…

Because it’s so “feminist” to proceed with exploiting someone just because you didn’t get an explicit “no”.  One wonders how Singer and all her “feminist” cronies would feel if some dude they didn’t even know just went ahead and fucked them because they didn’t answer when he asked for sex?

That Old Black Magic (#552)

Though this “academic” writer downplays the usual casting of Nigerian sex workers as ignorant victims of superstition, she’s still happy to portray them as helpless pawns rather than adults making difficult decisions under stressful circumstances:

Discussions about human trafficking between Africa and Europe are frequently blurred by generalisations about villainous traffickers and their naïve young victims who have been misled into prostitution.  But the world of sex trafficking is far more complex…several studies have shown that Nigerian sex trafficking rings are dominated by women, known as madams, and use of black magic rituals…But…two [other dynamics] are important.  The first is the active role that extended families play…the second is the fact that women themselves are nowadays increasingly aware of the work that awaits them, even though they cannot imagine how brutal and miserable it actually is.  The lack of research has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the much more complex reality of the circumstances under which victims fall into the hands of traffickers…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#580) playboy-march-april-2017

Gee, who could’ve predicted this?

No-nudes were apparently not good news at Playboy…The 63-year-old legendary men’s magazine is bringing back nude models in its upcoming issue — one year after banning naked photos in an effort to boost circulation and attract more mainstream advertisers.  That effort obviously has failed…

Not Worth the Paper

The Arizona anti-sex freakshow travels to Las Vegas:

A newly released study paints a picture of a violent and thriving sex trafficking industry in Las Vegas, with a majority of victims identified as children..Arizona State University…researchers…[claim to have]  identified 247 known victims in 2014, most of them younger than 18 years old…Randy Carter…[fantasizwes that] at 8 years old [he was shared by]…four pimps…Dr. Dominique Roe-Sepowitz [drooled while fantasizing about]…”a person who cut the cord off a hair straightener and…whipped the victim until she was in a coma.  We saw a lot of sexual assaults…knocking out teeth…breaking bones”…Cindy McCain [is in cahoots with her]…[Las Vegas] Vice [pigs want everyone to rat sex workers out to them]…

So “Cuckoo Clock” McCain and “Body Fluids” Sepowitz want you to believe that Vegas is so lousy with pimps they’ve been reduced to sharing one kid with broken bones & no teeth between them.  But our clients are the ones they want to pretend are sick.

The Rape Question (#630) 

Because just not being ashamed of one’s sexuality is too hard:

We live in an age of hacked celebrity nudes, leaked sex tapes, and revenge porn…Rumuki, now available through the App Store, allows users to film, encrypt and keep under digital lock and key their “most intimate moments”.  The idea is that your videos are safe from hackers, leaks, and spurned exes…Let’s say a couple wants to make a sex tape.  They both download Rumuki and then sync up with each other’s accounts.  Then, one of them uses the app to film a video with their partner.  The video is encrypted and saved on each partner’s smartphone…[it] cannot be watched by either party unless they have permission from their partner.  Permission can only be given for a one-time playback, and it expires in a week.  Without that permission, the video remains encrypted and cannot be played…The video may be on their device, but it’s encrypted, so they can’t post it to the internet.  A user can also revoke permission or delete the video at any point…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#639)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

…Early last year, 34 white doves and multiple bunches of coloured balloons were released into the air to the beat of traditional Papuan drums when Indonesia’s Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa announced an [absurd] plan — to eliminate prostitution from the 17,500-island nation by 2019.  Parawana…has become the face of the Government’s attempted move to bring in a five-year penalty for all sex outside of marriage…She has also said those caught visiting sex workers will have their faces published on social media…the main tool — the growls, creaks and crashes of the bulldozer.  68 red-light districts across the archipelago nation have been razed so-far…some of the girls from the bulldozed area had simply gone to other clubs, some were working on street corners…To date, no sex workers are known to have voluntarily joined the Government’s program to retrain them in poor-paying menial jobs…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#653) 

Yes, this is actually a mainstream US newspaper giving space to a priest claiming that porn comes from “the depths of Hell”:

…Growing up is a difficult process, fraught with all sorts of emotional turmoil that tempt young men to look toward pornography for relief.  Once the seeking of relief becomes habitual…the necessary experiences that boys require to become men are often thwarted…Today this affects more of our young men than we can count…and the effects are never neutral…First exposure most often occurs during adolescence, when the brain is still forming and very impressionable by graphic images…Porn comes from the depths of hell, and is calculated to destroy the characters of young men before they even have a chance to grow into a healthy sense of who they are and what they can become.  Once your mind becomes pornified…You lose any higher sense of self, and your relationships become distorted…

One would think a newspaper would know “pornified” isn’t an actual word with any real scientific meaning.

Read Full Post »

We cannot…be blind to the very real harms posed by exposing all sorts of innocent people to unnecessary scrutiny from…authorities.  –  Liz Brown

Advice for Clients

It’s always good to see different sex workers’ perspectives on this topic:

With the exception of the occasional inconsiderate asshole, most people know how to behave at the shops, the hairdressers, or when they’re catching an Uber.  They know not to skip the line, to tip, and not to barf all over the backseat.  But a lot of people don’t know how you’re supposed to behave when you visit a sex worker…it’s only fair that you try and be polite and considerate.  But what are the dos and don’ts?  Can you ask a sex worker to lower the going rate for a blowjob because you’re such a loyal customer?  And exactly how handsy can you get when you have a half-naked stripper grinding on your lap?…

No Other Option

An important observation from Mark Draughn:

…one item on [COSWAC’s] Myths vs. Facts page caught my attention…MYTH: Clients are pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships…someone needs to address the motives of the people promoting this myth.  People who say things like this aren’t just making an academic observation; they’re arguing that sex work should be (or remain) outlawed because of these kinds of clients.  And that’s an ugly argument…Why should it matter that some clients are “pathetic losers who can’t get dates or sustain meaningful relationships”?  Does that mean they should never have sex?  That they should never experience pleasurable physical intimacy, never touch a woman, because they lack the confidence or charisma to charm a woman into bed?  Keeping them from hiring sex workers isn’t protecting women from predators.  It’s just sentencing people with personality disorders to a life without intimacy…

Real People 

Though this article is padded with the usual ignorant bloviation from moralists who have never done or even studied sex work, it starts with the stories of several sex workers from Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan:

Despite the traditional mentality prevalent in the Caucasus, sex work is not uncommon, especially for women who find themselves in dead end situations.  Although well known, the rights of sex workers and their issues are rarely discussed in any of the three countries in the South Caucasus…journalists…decided to gain a better understanding of the topic by directly asking sex workers questions related to their lives.  What forces women into sex work?  What are the risks?  How does society perceive them?  What are their rights?  The following interviews are the result of their inquiries…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do murderous-sociopath-cop-frankie-bybee

A cop is a cop, even when he’s a sex worker.  But this one is unusually sociopathic even for a cop:

…Sarasota County deputy Frankie Bybee…received more than $100,000 over the years from a woman named Elinor Jarvis in exchange for…sex…Jarvis contacted investigators after learning [Bybee] had been arrested for attempting to kill a 79-year-old woman by entering her home, mounting her and shoving prescription pills down her throat before leaving her car running in her garage with the door open in the hope she would die of carbon monoxide poisoning.  Bybee was trying to make it look like a suicide.  But Marcia Sohl survived the encounter…Bybee met Sohl in October when she called the…Sheriff’s Office for help, transporting her to the hospital and praying with her to gain her trust and confidence.  He also agreed to care for her Yorkshire in exchange for $1,000, even texting her a photo of himself with the dog to show that it was safe.  But then he sold the dog on Craig’s List [sic]…he wrote checks from the woman’s account to himself and children for $65,000…On December 28, he sent an email to the woman’s doctor from her email address, pretending that she had “suicidal implications,” which led to the woman being involuntary committed for evaluation in a treatment facility…the IP address originated from his home…Nevertheless, a judge…reduced his bail from $900,000 to $250,000…And Sohl’s dog has since been returned.

They Still Don’t Get It

This is a mass of stupidity even by “sex trafficking” standards, but this paragraph is representative:

…“Maryland is a hot spot of trafficking. It’s that simple,” says Maryland [spokesow]…Deborah Flory…“That’s because of I-95, I-70, and BWI Airport, and the mix of wealth and poverty, which is one of the things that makes young women vulnerable.”  Traffickers, aka pimps, are familiar with the laws in each state and know there are weaker penalties in Maryland than elsewhere, including the possibility of a misdemeanor charge for trafficking someone age 18 or older, Flory says…“They can make more money than dealing drugs—$200,000 a year off of one girl—and it’s easier because they don’t have to re-up with cocaine or heroin.  They sell the same ‘product’ over and over again”…

The number of myths, tropes & lies in just that short passage is impressive.

Paint By Numbers

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

Pet clothing company Lulu & Robbie is showing its support for the United Nations’ Blue Heart Campaign against human trafficking.  One of Lulu & Robbie’s four new styles…features the campaign’s official…“Blueheart tartan, whose colours and lines symbolise the collective heartbeat of victims of human trafficking”…

I write fantasy, and yet I couldn’t make up anything so totally ridiculous.

Devil’s Advocate

This dude has very poor judgment and might even be a rapist.  But this sets a really dangerous precedent:

…Cody Herrera…19…pleaded guilty to statutory rape with a 14-year-old girl…prosecutors said that he could face additional charges for allegedly videotaping sexual acts with a 17-year-old…Herrera received probation and the judge prohibited him from having “sexual relations” outside of marriage as a probation condition…Banning “sexual relations” without defining the term does not…tell a person what conduct violates the condition…“sexual relations” can mean anything from phone sex to intercourse…Rather than wondering if a kiss is a violation, probation officers should be able to devote themselves to better things like helping a defendant get a job…or mental health treatment…suppose kissing isn’t a violation, but intercourse is.  Should an unmarried probationer who has consensual intercourse be imprisoned?  The costs are enormous. It’s not just $20,000 to $30,000 in annual expenses.  If the probationer is employed, he gets removed from the work force – and it is plenty hard for convicts to get jobs…

Original Sin (#449) st-josephine-bakhita

The Pope continues to recklessly promote “sex trafficking” hysteria:

As human trafficking continues to be a supremely important issue during Pope Francis’ pontificate…St. Josephine Bakhita, enslaved during her own childhood, has emerged as a patron not only for her home country of Sudan, but for all victims of trafficking.  St. Josephine was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of 7, undergoing immense suffering throughout her adolescence before discovering the faith in her early 20s…Feb. 8, St. Josephine’s feast day, marks the third international day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking…

Down Under (#567)

Even Kiwis who are prudish & judgy about sex work have to admit decriminalization is a success:

Prostitution was made legal in New Zealand 14 years ago, a move which some hoped, or feared, would remove the stigma from those who buy or sell sex.  That has not happened…it…is…safer for the community because safe sex practices could more easily be promoted to an industry that would otherwise continue to operate outside the law.  To that extent the legislation is said to have made a difference but it has not removed the stigma.  Not many prostitutes want their occupation generally known.  Few if any parents would want their daughter or son to grow up to be a sex worker…Selling sex, or buying it, need not be illegal for society to register its contempt for the commodification of the human body…legalisation has not done the harm its opponents feared.  It has simply made a sad industry safer.

Challenge (#679)

Let’s hope more legal sex work businesses come on board:

Fetish site RetailClips.com has pledged a percentage of profits from its site to help the Erotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research (ESPLER) Project’s court case that seeks to legalize prostitution in California.  Maxine Doogan…said she hopes that RetailClip’s promise to share in profits will “inspire others in the larger erotic industry to recognize our common ground and join the fight…In the current climate, where government is coming after a whole range of adult industry players, we really need to support each other — to not only protect but also to expand sexual privacy and sexual freedoms for everyone,” Doogan said.  Donald Kaiser, founder of Black Murk Entertainment, the operator of the newly launched RetailClips, said that ESPLER Project’s court case is crucial for the adult entertainment biz as a whole…

Stupor Bowl (#704)

It’s almost sad to see these losers trying to cash in with debunked bullshit a year ahead of time:

Hennepin County…is expected later this month to approve hiring specialized staff members in the county attorney’s and sheriff’s offices to address a growing number of sex trafficking cases, especially before next year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis…Metro area prosecutors and police agencies anticipate that hundreds of women and girls will be sold on the sex market during Super Bowl 2018

Crying for Nanny (#705)

Just in case you thought we’d seen the last of futile attempts to wring a profit from anti-Backpage propaganda:

A new federal lawsuit in Orlando is the latest legal effort to shut down [the already-censored] social media website Backpage.com [over fantasies] that it encourages and profits from sex trafficking.  A…[prohibitionist] organization, Florida Abolitionist, is behind the suit….it…is one of several groups in the area that are working to [profit from] sex trafficking [hysteria]…

Checklist (#711) 

You know that absurd “air hostesses vs pimps” bullshit that was making the rounds last week?

…There was no follow-up on where the alleged trafficker had come from, what happened to him after the flight—arrest? prosecution? prison?…Fedrick’s 2011 experience didn’t just happen into the 2017 media by accident.  Her story is part of a campaign from Airline Ambassadors International, who…used the myth of a sports-related sex trafficking boom to permeate the Super Bowl news-cycle.  AAI was founded in the 1990s by Nancy Rivard, and the bulk of its efforts long revolved around providing adult escorts to children traveling for medical procedures.  But beginning in 2009, the agency began a serious shift toward human-trafficking [profiteering]…the…alleged…incident received little public attention in 2011.  While the news that year is full of stories about a man arrested at the San Francisco International Airport for wearing baggy pants, plus stories about local efforts to stop sex trafficking, none mention a human trafficker apprehended at a Bay Area airport that year.  The San Francisco Police Department’s (SFPD) web archives turn up similarly scant results.  And nothing fitting the description is mentioned in a statewide 2012 report about successful anti-trafficking efforts in the previous year.  When the Super Bowl was held in San Francisco, in 2016, the airport teamed up with Airport Ambassadors International and others…None of the materials…mention any previous trafficking busts at the airport based on flight-attendant tips…

Read Full Post »

Though I’ve been aware of Whoretography for some time, the release of her e-magazine inspired me to ask her to contribute a guest column and she graciously obliged me.  I encourage you to explore her website, to buy a copy of her e-magazine and to help support the project via GoFundMe.

whoretography1I am addicted to photography; it’s a lifelong obsession of mine that began as a 2-year-old with the death of my father.  When you lose a parent as a baby, the only connection you can form with that parent is through imagery.  The last photograph before his death, the only one of us together, him proudly sitting on his 1970s motorbike.  His death sparked my purpose in life.  Now I am a documentary photographer, masters student, sex worker & activist interested in challenging the victim-centered nature of sex worker imagery on-line and how photography is instrumental the online sale of sex.  I know my father would be proud of me.

I bought my first camera when I was 12 and I have never been without one since; even when I was homeless for 18 months, I refused to sell my last camera.  My mother evidently thought photography was just a phase adolescent girls go through, because I was not permitted to study photography at secondary school; I went on to graduate with an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Genetics, Post Graduate in Criminology and a Graduate Diploma in Small Business Management.  I put photography to one side in this period, prioritising an institutionally-defined career in criminal justice, and I moved countries; I sold and traded cameras to pay rent, tuition and one-way tickets to London and Paris.  Finally, in April 2005, I followed my passion and become a full-time photographer; I also started as a sex worker the very same day.  And because photography is so ingrained in my psyche, I eventually managed to make sex work about photography too.  I simply refused to follow the photographic rules which dictated that in order to sell sex, I must photograph myself naked or semi-naked and bent over a table clutching my tits.  So, to stand out from the blowjob crowd in an industry that demanded the use of photography, I said no to selfies and soft porn boudoir imagery and instead harnessed the power of pop culture and iconic imagery to sell the essence of the girlfriend experience.  My reasoning was simple; I am not selling my body, so why do you need photographs of my body?  This initial rebellion against sex industry photographic expectations kick-started my fascination with the role photography plays in the online transaction of sex.

whoretography0212 years later, I am now an award winning published photographer, a sex worker and a master’s student undertaking research in sex work activism through the Whoretography project.   It’s difficult to pinpoint where exactly Whoretography began, but it was somewhere between realising I was in the business of a photographic conspiracy in which my camera was acting as an agent for the falsehood of couple cohesion and intimacy, and the idea of documenting paid-for sexual intimacy as the antidote to the visual falsehoods of wedding photography.  Whoretography sits nicely at the intersection of images, technologies, society and the sex worker rights movement.  It’s the first academic, ethnographic and creative platform dedicated solely to understanding the role photography plays in sex work via self-publishing as an artistic practice.  The objectives frame a body of creative work that takes the form of a collection of soon to be published photo and artist books, zines and the recently launched Whoretography E – Magazine.  My visual activism is about exploring a set of research questions through a mixed methodology approach designed to challenge the prevailing ideology of sex-work and to present to the viewer an alternative perception of the industry and its participants.  I wish to stop the over-simplification of the lives of cis, trans and non-binary sex workers, and to challenge current imagery that encourages the sense that the only way of interpreting the lives of sex workers is to see them as ripe for “rescue”.  This narrow and particular visual representation of male oppression reproduces a politics of pity that is embedded in the visual representation of sex workers; it suggests only pity makes sense as a political, social and cultural response.

I work within the photographic genre of found imagery, with other peoples’ photographic material and written documents.  The material for Whoretography is sourced using cyberethnographic methods; however, online interactions alone are insufficient to develop a deep understanding of the visuals of the sex worker online community.  So I’ve conducted offline research consisting of qualitative interviews with internet based sex workers, and their customers in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States of America.  Found photography allows for an editorial style in which I can act as both as editor and author; this is not common when working with sex work imagery.  Standard approaches to visually representing sex workers include photo-voice, wherein sex workers themselves create the photographs (typically of their workspaces), and photo-essay; the publishing world is awash with photo essays that, for example, take a sneaky look inside brothels.  I wanted to avoid these visual clichés.  Working with found images means constructing new narratives from seemingly unconnected photographs to provoke critical dialogue about sex work and present an alternative view of sex work.  It allows me to take the discussion of sex worker imagery from the realms of the sex work community and place it in the wider community.  Fundamental to this goal is deconstructing the visual vocabulary of sex work imagery online to investigate the overarching questions, “Is it possible to reclaim the word ‘whore’ through creative practice as research?” and “What role does photography play in contemporary online sexual consumption?”  I have an interest in ensuring photography is relevant in the fight for the full decriminalisation of sex work.  We must celebrate the fact that sex workers are now image makers; we must challenge the exclusion of sex workers from online visual spaces; and we must talk about the posthumous humiliation of sex workers via the standard practice of releasing morgue photos.  The prohibitionist war on sex work is underpinned by their belief that their photographic rhetoric is photographic truth, and we must name the game when it comes to the middle-class masses being in an uproar about the apparent gentrification of sex work via some mythical photoshop gentrification tool.

whoretography03I wonder if I have made this article sound too clinical and academic, but it has not been an easy two years.  I have an overwhelming sadness for some of what I have seen; people’s understanding of sex work is based on a carefully constructed visual lie.  The media are in cahoots with exclusionary bullies to peddle that lie, and it bloody royally pisses me off that middle-class feminists seek to deny sex workers access to the digital revolution and visual online spaces.  I undertook a Master’s Degree because I was seeking a better theoretical understanding of my craft, and in stepping away from weddings I unwittingly stumbled across my life’s photographic purpose.  I am committed to setting up a visual activist platform and sex work-positive publishing house.  I have amassed over 20,000 images and a lot of what I have seen makes me cry.  I have seen child abuse victims marketed as teen sex workers; prohibitionists create rescue images with a tonal quality reminiscent of colonial missionaries “saving the natives from themselves”; the publication and subsequent outing of sex workers by newspapers; the dire consequences of the pixilated face in propelling stigma; and the shaming of sex workers as a police tactic to help in the gentrification of up and coming hipster neighbourhoods.  The way people have weaponised the camera as a tool of violence against sex workers is in marked contrast to the way we use the camera as an agent for couple cohesion in wedding photography.  I am on a mission to shift the political landscape of sex work by forcing people to understand its visual landscape.  Photography is currently used to silence the intentions, actions and feelings of sex workers and to make their lives more precarious; we need to change this, and I hope you will help me to make this happen.

Read Full Post »

Victimless crime creates the surveillance state.  –  Wendy McElroy

Amazingly Stupid Statements

License to Rape

At least the European media aren’t afraid to apply the word “rape” to the actions of rapist cops:

Hundreds of people took to the streets of a Paris suburb…to denounce police brutality, after a 22-year-old black man was…sodomised with a baton during an arrest last week…One [cop] was charged…with rape, while three others were charged with assault…The man suffered severe anal injuries which required surgery and was also treated for damage to the head and face…The severity of his injuries led a doctor to declare him unfit to work for 60 days…[cops] deny the [obvious evidence] and [pretend] they were targeting lookouts for drug dealers…

Decentralization

Wendy McElroy on bitcoin and consensual crime:

…There are people who use bitcoin to buy “immoral goods” (whatever that means) just as there are people who use cash to do so.  As long as the participants are consenting adults, that’s their business.  Not yours, not mine.  The state is the one who interjects violence and harm when it points a gun at peaceful adults…The attack on bitcoin will be framed…as a way to protect vulnerable and misguided individuals who use their own bodies in “unacceptable” ways.  Or it will unfold as a campaign of resentment against those individuals who do not pay their so-called “fair share” toward maintaining the surveillance state.  A moral attack must be met with moral indignation, not an apology…

Broken Record 

How fetishists are trying to back away from the thoroughly-debunked “Super Bowl sex trafficking” trope without abandoning the larger “gypsy whore” myth:

While there was a considerable increase in the number of [sex work] ads surrounding the Super Bowl, other events like a Memorial Day motorcycle rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and various industry conferences had a bigger impact than expected, suggesting that resources devoted to combating the problem of forced prostitution have been misdirected….[“sex trafficking” fetishists fantasize] that traffickers and pimps use online classified services like Backpage.com to advertise their victim’s sexual services…[pigs bizarrely fantasize that] words like “young” and “no pimps” can be indicators that the person in the photo is a trafficking victim…

Imaginary Evils

Since there are virtually no actual “sex trafficking” cases in the UK despite massive, multi-million-pound crusades to discover them, cops keep themselves busy with fantasies of “pimps” lurking behind every ordinary escort ad:

West Midlands Police has confirmed they now [waste] a substantial part of their [time] in [fantasizing about] sex trafficking victims in the region…[based on propaganda from] The Salvation Army…The content of profiles leads to more suspicion…A lot of the prostitutes also claim to be ‘independent’…But [since we know women are too stupid to plan travel or get pictures taken] their profile pictures…[and] the fact they move around the country would…allude to a larger, more organised, illegal operation…

Cops and Robbers

These are the kind of people who call us “bad” women:

…a group of sex workers…operate from one of three houses [in suburban Johannesburg] which were attacked by [a mob which]…marched to their house on [February 5th] and tossed their belongings outside before torching them.  Beds‚ bedding‚ plasma TV sets‚ music systems‚ clothes and money were some of the things that the girls lost in the [unprovoked attack which] locals [rationalized as taking] a stand against what they say are drug dens and brothels run by Nigerian nationals…

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

Maker of fascist surveillance software uses Backpage as a prop for self-fellation:

Marinus Analytics LLC has joined DeliverFund’s International Human Trafficking Analysis Center (iHTAC), a consortium of organizations who’ve partnered to [come up with more ways to profit from hysteria over]…human trafficking…The combined capabilities of Marinus Analytic’s Traffic Jam and DeliverFund’s uniquely qualified personnel allowed [pigs]…to continue [oppressing people] without disruption during the recent Backpage.com’s closure of its adult ads section…

To Molest and Rape child-molester-cop-chris-wilbanks

Lying, tricking someone into doing something wrong, threatening harm to compel behavior…gee, I wonder where he learned to act this way?

A [South Carolina cop] was arrested after federal investigators say that he coerced an 11-year-old girl into sending him a nude picture, then told her to send more naked photographs or he would show the first one to others…Chris Wilbanks…is charged with production of child pornography…[he] posed as a 14-year-old boy nicknamed “Redneck Rick” on social media and talked to the girl, who said she was 12…the girl sent about a dozen pornographic images to Wilbanks and was crying in many of them…

Challenge (#677)

What could be more Orwellian than referring to groups trying to take away women’s rights as “women’s rights groups”?

Two women’s rights organisations are to feature in a High Court challenge to a new law making it illegal for men to pay for sex in Northern Ireland…Space International, a [prohibitionist] group [backed by the nuns who abused women in the infamous Magdalene laundries], and Equality Now, [a group led by a former prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after railroading two innocent black men for rape,] have been granted intervener status in proceedings brought by sex worker Laura Lee…amendments to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act breach [sex workers’] human rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination.  Northern Ireland is currently the only UK region to make the purchase of sex a criminal offence…

The Naked Anthropologist (#701) 

Noah Berlatsky reviews Laura Agustín’s new book:

Laura Agustín’s novel The Three-Headed Dog…argues that the notion of innocent young girls exploited, waiting to be rescued by daredevil Kristofs, is a pernicious myth.  People who cross borders generally do so to find a better life.  They end up doing sex work because it can sometimes be the best option available, especially given prejudiced restrictions placed on immigrant entry and employment…Immigrants are often victimized, but they aren’t solely victims…The Three-Headed Dog doesn’t have an exciting rescue narrative…[it shows] exploitation [as]…a fact of life, a constant backdrop too ubiquitous to be felled with a single punch or raid…

The War Goes On 

We have so many more vocal allies now than we did when I started blogging seven years ago!

Last month, authoritarians…forced Backpage, the world’s second-biggest classified-ads website, to shut down its adult section.  A motley crew of elected officials at all levels of government…bullied Backpage and its executives into getting rid of it, supposedly because they were concerned about people being “sex trafficked”…Of course, as Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, Backpage was already cooperating with law enforcement…something that won them numerous accolades from state and federal cops.  Purely with respect to fighting crime, the government’s victory was somewhere between empty and actively harmful…What’s more, politicians and law enforcement conflate sex trafficking with voluntary prostitution. As…Maggie McNeill has been arguing for years, there are no good data to suggest anything but a tiny fraction of sex workers are trafficked…a lot of prostitutes…used Backpage’s adult section, and the government’s self-indulgent crackdown put their livelihoods at risk…

I Swear To God (#708)

Michelle Chen on how the US tests oppressive tactics abroad before inflicting them domestically:

One of the first policy measures taken by Donald Trump…was reinstating and expanding a piece of presidential policy known as the “Global Gag Rule.”  The policy bars USAID funding for any organization abroad that provides abortions or even presents abortion as a family planning option…In another global campaign to spread “Christian values,” the US government’s long-standing “anti-prostitution pledge” restricts funding from going to any organizations that promote or support sex work.  The oath forces organizations to choose between providing comprehensive services to their constituencies, or cutting back on certain services in order to get US funding…the worst abuses of Washington’s hegemonic power have always taken place in international arenas before creeping inward.  The use of private detention facilities and military contractors in border enforcement and migration detention have been experimental sites for the most exploitative forms of prison profiteering.  It was, after all, the expansion of immigration detention that helped revive the private prison industry across the country, after the traditional prison industry’s profits plateaued after decades of mining black communities to fill its facilities…

Stupor Bowl (#711)

Liz Brown finds the usual total lack of “sex trafficking” at this year’s Super Bowl:

To hear the hysterics tell it, thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of sex-selling women will flock like cockroaches to cities where sports-fans gather, and only some will be there willingly; the rest, including many children, are trucked in by opportunistic pimps and traffickers.  As ample people have pointed out…there’s not a shred of evidence to support this rumor…examinations of actual arrest data in Super Bowl cities shows no corresponding spike in sex trafficking, compelling prostitution, or any other similar charge—despite the verifiable spike in law-enforcement and media attention to the issue…Between the Saturday before the Super Bowl and the Tuesday morning after, no criminal complaints were filed against anyone [in Houston] for sex trafficking, soliciting a minor, pimping, promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, etc…[the rumor is] what people today like to refer to as “fake news,” and the people who propagate it year after year—police departments looking to justify vice stings and asset forfeiture, missionary groups looking to fundraise or justify federal anti-trafficking grants, sensationalist media, and state and national politicians with human-trafficking measures to promote—are not…“abolitionists” but propagandists, plain and simple.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »