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Posts Tagged ‘Pyrrhic Victory’

Forcing us into the closet makes it easier for prohibitionists to make up stories about our lives.  –  Liara Roux

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

A bizarre claim even by the low standards of anti-porn nuts and gun-grabbers:

Rep. Diane Black…who is running for governor of Tennessee…raised the issue of gun violence in schools and why it keeps happening.  “Pornography,” she said.  “It’s available on the shelf when you walk in the grocery store.  Yeah, you have to reach up to get it, but there’s pornography there…All of this is available without parental guidance.  I think that is a big part of the root cause”…Beyond naughty movies, Black said school shootings are on the rise because of the “deterioration of the family,” mental illness and violent movies…

Like most things claimed to be “on the rise” by hysterics, school shootings aren’t.  But what I want to know is, where are these grocery stores that stock porn on shelves near the front door?  I’m guessing they’re probably located in the same towns where one can “order a child for sex like a pizza“.

Perquisites

Are amateurs really so sheltered that this sort of thing shocks them?

…Alene Anase was asked by her employer Alpha Omega Winery to serve guests as part of a charity cruise on the San Francisco Bay.  But what she expected to be a routine shift serving wine turned into a nightmare…The guests aboard the yacht that night — described in her 2016 lawsuit as 25 of the Napa Valley-based winery’s top investors, all men — were openly using what appeared to be cocaine and “drawing straws” for which sex worker to hire…Anase alleges that on the Aug. 12, 2015 cruise she could hear sexual activity happening in the yacht’s bedrooms and witnessed men “fondling and suckling” sex workers’ breasts — some [of whom Anase fantasized] to be “too young to consent”…

Surplus Women 

Twelve days after the decomposed body of a woman aged around 30 was found packed in a drum in Shivaji Nagar, the police…claimed to have solved the murder case.  A 60-year-old man has been arrested while his wife is wanted in the case…the arrested accused, Babu Bhagwan Patel…has confessed to his role.  The woman, identified only as Meena, was a commercial sex worker from Dadar…

Coming Out

Liara Roux on coming out:

…I almost started crying.  I was so worried I would lose my sister, who I loved so dearly.  I was shocked when she told me:  “I’m glad you’re happy!  I’m glad you found a job that works for you!”…She asked a couple questions about my job…My sister has always been incredibly thoughtful like this.  I remember coming out to her as queer and how excited and happy for me she had been about that too…I told her not to tell Mom…I come from an extremely religious, conservative family—house full of kids and fire and brimstone.  I’ve always lived my life in extreme and unusual ways and it scares her…There’s so much I haven’t told her because whenever I try to, I freeze.  I was worried if I came out to her while living with her that she and my father would have sent me to gay conversion camp or that they would kick me out of the house and I would be homeless, which had happened to some of my friends.  I like to think that she would have accepted me, but I don’t know…

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only five months for this?

A[n Oregon cop] was sentenced…to 150 days in jail and five years probation for having sex with an underage girl and soliciting sexual contact from [her] online…Daniel Kerbs…was held…on 13 child sex crimes, including six counts of third-degree sodomy, six counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child…

Droit du Seigneur (#691) 

Do we really want rapists to eschew condoms so they can avoid federal charges?

…Federal prosecutors said William Whitley’s conduct affected interstate commerce because…the condoms he used [to rape] a 14-year-old girl [were made out of state]…Prosecutors often cite guns made outside a state to support federal charges.  Condom use is [a wholly predictable following of established precedent]…a federal sex trafficking charge has a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, while the minimum at the state level would be six years…

Saving Them From Themselves (#778)

Naturally, politicians had to make this bad law even worse before passing it:

…members of the [Ohio] House Criminal Justice Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill to ban teen sexting, even for…teenagers who are [18 and therefore] legally adults…Teens found guilty of sexting could be sentenced to [re-education]…but judges would be free to overlook this program, and minors with previous sex-related offenses on their records would not be eligible.  Outside the diversion program, a sexting charge could lead to…eight hours of community service—a light punishment that the bill’s supporters have brandished to make their proposal more palatable.  But…the real harm comes from saddling these kids with criminal records for the rest of their lives…The bill’s sponsors have argued that theirs is a compassionate plan because it gives prosecutors an option to avoid charging teen sexters with more serious child pornography charges.  But there’s nothing requiring the state’s cops to crack down on teen sexting to begin with, and…prosecutors could use their discretion to not bring child porn charges…instead, they’re simply adding on another possible charge for law enforcement to slap onto texting teens…

All-Purpose Excuse (#783)

I feel so much schadenfreude at watching the government’s own moral panic come back to bite it:

…Steven Wagner, the acting assistant secretary of [Health & Human Services] Administration for Children and Families, faced a barrage of questions…over why HHS does not track unaccompanied minors who fail to appear at their immigration court hearings.  The agency has faced increased scrutiny following a scathing 2016 report…that found it failed to protect unaccompanied minors from traffickers and other abuses…In 2014, at least 10 trafficking victims, including eight minors, were discovered during a raid…[according to the movie]  Trafficked in America, HHS had released several minors to the traffickers…Between October and December 2017…the agency was unable to locate almost 1,500 out of the 7,635  minors that it attempted to reach — or about 19 percent.  Over two dozen had run away, according to Wagner, who said the agency did not have the capacity to track them down…

Rooted in Racism (#800) 

Another case of deliberate racial profiling by thanks to government-approved guidelines:

…Lindsay Gottlieb…was flying home [to California] from Denver when a Southwest agent asked her to prove she was the mother of her [biracial] baby.  Gottlieb said she showed her son’s passport, but the agent wasn’t satisfied and demanded a birth certificate [because obviously everyone carries those around with them]…The agent eventually let her family check in, but Gottlieb turned to Twitter to get the airline’s attention.  She tweeted: “I’m appalled that after approximately 50 times flying with my one-year-old son, ticket counter personnel told me I had to ‘prove’ that he was my son, despite having his passport.  She said because we have different last names.  My guess is because he has a diff. skin color”…

Although this coverage doesn’t mention it, I think everyone reading this knows why airline personnel are being trained to racially profile travelers.  Every agent and air hostess wants to be the next big hero for catching a “sex trafficker”.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#823)

The stench of FOSTA is all over India’s terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill:

…there appear to be several issues with overbroad or vague language…that could lead to a deleterious effect on the Freedom of Expression…section 39(2)…mandates punishment even for a vaguely defined action or actions that may not actually be connected to the trafficking of a person.  In other words, the provision doesn’t require any of the actions to be connected to trafficking in their intent or even outcome, but only in potential connection to the outcome…The excessively wide scope of this badly drafted provision leaves it prone to abuse…Even the electronic publicizing of an academic study on trafficking could fall under the provision as it currently reads…Similarly, any of our vast number of self-appointed moral guardians could also pull within this provision any artistic work that they may personally find offensive or ‘obscene’…Section 41…[criminalizes] “Whoever distributes, or sells or stores” [information claimed to leads to “trafficking”]…the infrastructure of the electronic/digital world requires 3rd party intermediaries to handle information…As it is not feasible, desirable or even practically possible for intermediaries to verify the legality of every bit of data that gets transferred or stored by the intermediary, “safe harbours” are provided in law for intermediaries, protecting them from liability of the information being transmitted through them…If intermediaries are not granted this protection, it puts them in the unenviable position of having to monitor un-monitorable amounts of data, and face legal action for the slip-ups that are bound to happen regularly…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#831) 

As long as any part of sex work is criminalized, cops will have power over sex workers:

Some Victorian sex workers say that working under the licensing framework…is even worse than working in places that totally outlaw sex work because of the extreme complexity of the laws.  Jules Kim from…Scarlet Alliance says [that in Queensland and Victoria] sex…workers are subject to unwarranted “surveillance and entrapment”…Examples include police calling workers to request services considered illegal within those states, such as condomless oral or threesomes, and then laying charges if the worker agrees…Such entrapment can disproportionately affect marginalised workers, such as migrant workers with limited English, who may not know what they are agreeing to.  In Western Australia and South Australia, where most forms of sex work are deemed illegal, police may use the fact that someone had condoms as “evidence” that they were working…

Imaginary Evils (#833)

Calling this “sex trafficking” lets the government steal property:

The Justice Department is moving in to target two [houses in Brooklyn]…where sex trafficking and branding allegedly took place.  Court documents filed by the Eastern District Court in Brooklyn are to forfeit and condemn two properties allegedly used by Keith Raniere and his victims…in connection with Raniere’s [NXIVM] cult…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844) 

That didn’t take long, did it?

We’ve heard so many stories lately about the frankly horrifying degree to which facial recognition leads to tracking or privacy invasions.  But a startup specializing in AI is instead leveraging facial recognition technology to [rat sex workers out to the cops]…Marinus Analytics…program called Traffic Jam…builds a database of images, phone numbers, and location data which can help identify [sex workers]…It scrapes the websites every few minutes, meaning even ads which are deleted or changed is [sic] still usable…The company last year added a feature to Traffic Jam called Facesearch, which combs through online photographs and identifies specific [sex workers]…Amazon’s Rekognition software is the technology behind the facial recognition…Rekognition is also being used by law enforcement for other…surveillance purposes.  While that usage has some ethical dilemmas which other experts in the field have pointed out, the usage of the software to find [sex workers]…feels far more noble [to the dangerously ignorant]…

The gullibility of this reporter is nothing short of alarming; notice how eagerly she sucks the dick of “sex trafficking” propagandists even though she clearly understands the danger of mass surveillance, then proceeds to make excuses for the surveillance based in swallowing the propaganda.

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Creating a…registry of strippers is not going to help stop exploitation.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Under Every Bed

The confused babble spouted by “officials” in low-population states is truly stupefying:

Assistant US Attorney General Andy Cogar, co-chair of the West Virginia Human Trafficking Taskforce, said one of the challenges…“is the learning curve we have with law enforcement…because they are on the front lines, but it’s also a cultural learning curve that we have to go through when it comes to sex trafficking…They blur those lines between sex trafficking and prostitution, and so there is a tendency— because…prostitutes are written off as almost subhuman at times. There’s a lack of concern or credibility that’s ascribed to sex trafficking victims because they are written off often times as just lowly prostitutes…We have to break through that and have a much more nuanced understanding of what prostitution is frankly.  But also, and more importantly, the various ways that sex trafficking can manifest itself or that it is manifested”…

This guy actually sounds like he almost gets it, but his brain is too mired in “sex trafficking” propaganda and cop “NHI” doctrine that he can’t quite close the circle.

Saving Them From Themselves (#428) 

Yeah, destroy their lives!  That’ll teach ’em not to have sexual feelings, you betcha!

Police are investigating as many as a dozen teenagers at two separate schools in Falls Church, Virginia, as part of an ever-widening sexting inquiry.  Police seized five cell phones and have recovered multiple “explicit images” that students shared with each other…Virginia police have a history of pursuing teen sexting cases with misguided zealotry…It’s well worth asking, then, whether the police should really be in the business of collecting sexually explicit images of teenagers as part of an effort to hold them criminally accountable…

The Last Shall Be First (#624)

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

…Jazmina Saavedra, who is running for a House seat in California, accused a transgender woman of invading her privacy as she live streamed herself challenging the woman in a public restroom in Los Angeles.  “I’m trying to use the ladies’ room and there is a man here claiming that he is a lady,” Saavedra said in the Facebook Live video, filming just outside the bathroom stall in a Denny’s restaurant…

Cops and Robbers (#632) 

The rescue industry provides many opportunities for wealthy white folks to play cowboy:

Christian rock frontman David Zach of the band Remedy Drive recounts some of the chilling experiences he’s had while undercover as a covert operative to help rescue teenage girls trapped in sex trafficking rings in Asia and Latin America.  While serving undercover over the past four years, Zach has spent most of his time undercover in brothels and red light districts searching for evidence of sex trafficking.  Zach teamed up with Matt Parker, founder of the anti-[sex work] organization The Exodus Road…

To Molest and Rape 

Why he wasn’t charged with rape isn’t at all “unclear” to me:

A cop…offered to drive a sexual assault victim home but instead took her to a motel and raped her.  John Nissen…was charged with official misconduct, tampering with a witness and theft by deception over the incident…Why…he…was not charged with rape was unclear…the victim gave an interview at the Hillview, Kentucky, police station about the initial rape.  Nissen agreed to take her home…[but actually] took her to…[a] hotel…[where he] demand[ed] oral sex from the woman and then rap[ed] her…Afterwards…he…[told her] she should move to a different jurisdiction and not pursue her rape case…Nissen’s own department became suspicious of his actions when reading the incident report and handed it over to the Kentucky State Police to investigate…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#662)

Summer Stephan has for years touted her personal animus against whores as “concern”:

Interim [San Diego] DA Summer Stephan, who’s running for election in June, doesn’t see any meaningful difference between sex work, or prostitution, and sex trafficking.  In doing so, she and other prosecutors in California conflate sex trafficking with sex work and are confusing the public in…an attempt to inspire moral outrage…Anti-trafficking laws that conflate sex work with sex trafficking have forced sex workers into “safe houses” and rehabilitation programs against their will…During a two-year study with sex workers, I observed that sex workers felt comfortable working cooperatively with police officers when the police opted not to arrest sex workers and to treat sex work as if it were decriminalized.  Similar findings have been observed in New Zealand…The conflation of sex work and sex trafficking…reduces…women…into a victim status in order to comply with a notion of womanhood tied to sexual purity that is compliant with dominant morality.  A woman who chooses to take an alternative, often difficult path, for her family by becoming a sex worker is dismissed as a victim incapable of the choice…We need a district attorney who would build partnerships with sex workers so they feel comfortable coming forward to the district attorney’s office when they observe genuine human trafficking without fearing more prosecutions, not one who judges their choices…

Bottleneck (#728) 

There are so many reasons sex worker licensing is a bad idea:

…Palm Beach County is the only local government in South Florida to license strippers…[under the pretense of] stop[ping] the exploitation of minors…But…Issuing a government ID creates a…public record.  “They’re creating a registry of strippers” said Elizabeth Nolan Brown… “They’re opening up these dancers to having their information revealed to people”…Stalkers.  Zealots.  Violent ex-partners.  Spouses in a child custody battle.  Potential employers…because of the stigma attached to stripping, there are lots of reasons they may want to keep that information private…

Comfort Zone (#769)

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

Migrant victims of crime are being handed over to [UK] immigration enforcement officials by police when they report crimes…There are fears the disclosure could discourage migrant victims of crime from coming forward, although the Home Office [lied] it would support vulnerable migrants “regardless of their immigration status…Victims of crime must be treated first and foremost as victims,” a spokesperson [lied]…

Uncommon Sense (#774)

The IWW was the first major union to support sex workers rights, but it won’t be the last:

At its 2018 Annual Conference, IWW Branch delegates from across Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England were asked to consider a motion presented by our members to publicly state its commitment to the full decriminalisation of sex work and a full pardon for any sex workers convicted under existing legislation…the motion was passed unanimously…

Out of Control (#782) 

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A University of Southern California gynecologist was allowed to continue practicing for many years, despite multiple complaints of misconduct…The complaints against George Tyndall date back to the 1990s and include allegations of inappropriately photographing students’ genitals, making sexualized commentary about patients’ bodies, and explicitly referencing sexual intercourse while inserting his fingers into patients’ vaginas.  Some of the most unsettling accusations come from nurses and medical assistants—sometimes known as chaperones—who witnessed his exams firsthand.  Tyndall, who resigned last summer, has denied the accusations and outrageously speculated that…“chaperones reported him because they had trouble reaching orgasm and were jealous of young patients with tighter pelvic muscles.”  Let us pause for a moment to let that shit sink in: This gentleman argues that he is being set up by old ladies who wish they had tighter vaginas…

Elephant in the Parlor (#835)

I absolutely love Stormy Daniels’ honesty about her whoredom:

…Stormy Daniels…has become a political Rorschach test.  Women thank her at the grocery store for inspiring them to speak up, sharing their personal #MeToo stories.  Conspiracy theorists call her the “Deep State’s Plan B” if the multiple Russia investigations fail to bring down Trump…[others] hail…her as a saving grace that might lead to impeachment…The only person who sees Stormy’s story as not political is Stormy herself.  “I’m fine with women coming up to me and saying, ‘You’ve inspired me’.  That’s great.  But I’m quick to point out that’s not my story,” she says.  “I suck dick for a living.  Nobody wants to know what I think about the wall or health care…it’s my job and my service to society to be an entertainer.  Yes, my version of being an entertainer happens to be a porn star, which makes it even more important: I am an escape from reality”…

Disaster (#839)

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

Some 60 residents…said over and over that prostitution [in San Francisco’s Mission district] has never been worse, and they made it clear to District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen and Mission Captain Gaetano Caltagirone that their official efforts have been too slow and ineffective…By the end of the night, Ronen and Caltagirone vowed to redouble their efforts to abate the sex work that has long operated on Shotwell Street…They were even receptive to almost unanimous support from the [useful idiots] to [establish a curfew on] certain parts of Shotwell and Capp streets on Friday and Saturday…residents…said the efforts had failed to abate a booming prostitution ring operating outside their doorsteps…

It’s because stupid people have been taught to believe in fantasies like “prostitution rings” that this happened in the first place; when politicians shut down inexpensive and accessible advertising, only a complete imbecile could fail to understand that the sex workers who used that advertising will now have to advertise in another way, such as by walking the streets.

Pyrrhic Victory (#841)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

Amazon…has developed a powerful and dangerous new facial recognition system and is actively helping governments deploy it.  Amazon calls the service “Rekognition”…[it] can identify, track, and analyze people in real time and recognize up to 100 people in a single image…[by] scan[ning] information it collects against databases featuring tens of millions of faces…Amazon is [specifically] marketing Rekognition for government surveillance…say[ing] Rekognition can be used to identify “people of interest“, raising the possibility that those labeled suspicious by governments — such as undocumented immigrants or Black activists — will be seen as fair game for Rekognition surveillance…

Because this story is on the ACLU website, naturally it doesn’t mention that the people who will be first spied upon by this software are sex workers.

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Despite intensive investigations by Immigration New Zealand, no cases of trafficking in the sex industry have been identified to date. 
–  Lynzi Armstrong

Whores and Wives

It’s so nice to see whores portrayed as dangerous seductresses rather than pathetic “victims”:

Police are being asked to probe a Latino prostitution ring which is allegedly being facilitated by immigration officers and a private school in South Trinidad…The request for the probe is coming from the wives of businessmen who are complaining that these Latino sex workers are stealing their husbands away from them…The wives…claim their husbands are spending…up to US$30,000 a month, to fund lifestyles of infidelity with these women.  “These Spanish women coming here and taking away our men with their nastiness and the Government and the police need to seriously send them all back,” said one woman…I don’t know what these women have but they bringing their nasty habits and ruining our sacred marriages and blighting our beds…they have to be caught and sent away for good.  They are breaking up our families”…

As I’ve often said, whores save far more marriages than we ruin.  But better to be thought a homewrecker than a vegetable.

No Fun Shall Be Had

Grown woman with degree pretends to be harmed by a lame Bugs Bunny elevator joke from the ’40s:

“Ladies’ lingerie.”  It was a lame, outmoded joke — the sort of thing you say in a crowded elevator, an artifact of the days of fancy department stores with operators announcing the floor stops…last month in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association…Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory…made the remark after someone in his elevator called out to ask for floor requests.  Simona Sharoni, professor of women’s and gender studies…took offense…”As a survivor of sexual harassment in the academy, I am quite shaken by this incident”…ISA…disciplinary committee…found his elevator remarks “offensive and inappropriate”…Lebow was thus instructed to issue an “unequivocal apology.”  Not surprisingly, he declined…

A grown woman who is “shaken” by something so ridiculous deserves public mockery, not official conciliation.

Droit du Seigneur 

A pretty typical “leader”, really:

A…Kentucky judge has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on human trafficking charges.  Timothy Nolan…[also] pleaded guilty to…other felony sex crimes involving minors…Nolan is…a conservative political activist and worked on President Trump’s campaign in Kentucky…[there were] nearly 20 teen victims, many…under 16…

Surplus Women 

This is going to become much more common due to the ramped-up war on whores:

An Indiana man charged in the killings of seven women who…were among a vulnerable population of drug addicts or prostitutes pleaded guilty to murder charges…to avoid…the death penalty…Darren D. Vann…preyed on those who were disconnected from their families and could not be readily found…Vann [was] sentenced on May 25 to life in prison without the possibility of parole…

Presumption of Guilt (November Updates)

This totalitarian idea won’t die:

A new ordinance in Allentown [Pennsylvania] will require owners of pawn shops and other second-hand retailers to take photographs and collect thumb prints from customers before purchasing or exchanging any merchandise.  They are also required to catalog any inventory purchased and to upload that information (along with the photos and fingerprints) to a police database.  They cannot re-sell anything for 15 days.  The rules were passed last year to make it easier to track stolen items and intercept them before they can be sold again.  But the b…adly written law has swept up all second-hand sellers in the city, including comic book stores, consignment shops, and antiques markets…[these stores will likely have to close or move because]  people who want to buy or sell a used item can simply cross the city lines and do it somewhere else—whether it’s stolen or not…

Finding What Isn’t There

Most of this is just the usual garbage, but there’s one rather amusing point: the conviction of one pimp in “August 2014 [is described]…as a major blow to sex trafficking in the Charleston [South Carolina] area“.  If one guy arrested four years ago is a “major blow” to any crime in a metro area of 750,000 people, that area doesn’t have a problem with that crime.

Banishment

The state says this isn’t a punishment:

For the past four years, dozens of homeless sex offenders have lived in tents in a makeshift encampment along a set of railroad tracks in Hialeah, a city in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.  The residents live in squalid conditions…Rain soaks through the tents, and flies and mosquito populate the residents’ belongings.  Because there isn’t even an outhouse in the area, many of those living there are forced to defecate outside.  Many of the surrounding businesses have complained that they’ve lost customer traffic as a result of the encampment and view the residents as a nuisance…After the story…Miami-Dade’s county commissioners amended an ordinance on public camping to effectively outlaw the encampment this past January, [pretending] public safety and health concerns.  In March, Mayor Carlos Giménez gave those living there 45 days to vacate…if they refuse to leave…police may be able to arrest them on the spot.  The problem is, they have almost nowhere to go…

Just Call Me Nobody

I’m not going to bother quoting this trash, because moronic assertions from “authorities” (usually, as in this case, in horrifically-prohibitionist cities like San Diego) that there’s no such thing as a woman who can make her own sexual decisions is as tired and inane as it is idiotic.  What’s always fun is when literally hundreds of sex workers turn up on social media to condemn the lie.

Moving Pictures 

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

Kate Bosworth is wearing many different hats—actress, of course, producer, photographer and activist, with her eyes set on [harming sex workers, because it’s fashionable in Hollywood]…Bosworth took on a producer role for the upcoming [propaganda] film Nona…[like most prohibitionists,] Bosworth started down this path after a…[distorted] news story [made her think she was an expert]…

Blunt Instrument (#770)

With the demise of Backpage, anti-whore pogroms turn back to low-hanging fruit:

…Backpage was one of the biggest tools for the Tulsa Police Vice Unit to [hunt down]…sex [workers]…now that they can’t set up stings on Backpage, they’ve [turned] to focus…on [pogroms]…at local massage parlors…

Pyrrhic Victory (#814) 

Expect this to spread to the US within just a few years:

At 2017’s [Porthcawl] Elvis festival, impersonators were [harassed by] police…trialling automated facial recognition technology to track down criminals [without consent from anyone who was recorded].  Cameras scanning the public spotted 17 faces that they believed matched those stored in databases.  Ten were correct, and seven people were wrongly identified.  South Wales Police has been testing an automated facial recognition system since June 2017 and has used it in the real-world at more than ten events.  In the majority of cases, the system has made more incorrect matches than the times it has been able to correctly identify a potential suspect..During the UEFA Champions League Final week in Wales last June…92 per cent of matches were incorrect…

Disaster (#829)

We did warn you this wouldn’t stop with sex workers:

Airbnb is running up against local laws that may be prohibited under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—and now it’s fighting back…Airbnb has sued the cities of San Francisco and Santa Monica over ordinances that target not just residents who use these digital platforms…but also the platforms themselves.  “Unfortunately both efforts to enjoin them have resulted in federal district court decisions saying that Section 230 does not shield them”…The Santa Monica case is now before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#838) 

Another twist in the New Zealand migrant sex worker controversy:

New Zealand must repeal its ban on migrant sex workers to ensure the benefits of its decriminalisation model are extended to all sex workers, says…the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective…NZPC co-founder Catherine Healy cited a recent case when contacted by migrant workers requiring support, in which NZPC had to reassure the women that immigration officials were unlikely to be notified by police.  She added that…action is needed to formally protect migrant sex workers so that they can seek support without fearing deportation…Minister for Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway issued a statement outlining his current concerns that overturning the ban might “encourage sex trafficking”…Healy explained that trafficking and abuse experienced by migrant sex workers would be best prevented and addressed by removing the ban, and granting rights to migrants…

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A lot of people under 18…are only considered “trafficked” because the law says so.  –  Raani Begum

Capricious Lusts

Some people can’t seem to understand that while sex workers can help men to manage their sexual frustration, there is nothing we can do once they grow to believe they’re entitled to free sex and go down the twisted “incel” rabbit hole.  I think Dan Savage does a good job of explaining that difference here:

…Sexual deprivation can make a person miserable, even suicidal…and, as a society, we seem fine with that.  People who can’t get sex are often told that…no one has ever dropped dead as a result of being deprived of sex.  (Loneliness, however, can hasten death; it may be a greater risk factor for early death than smoking or obesity)…sexually deprived people…who…identify as incels…[don’t] feel…depressed or blam[e] themselves…[they] are filled with rage and blame…women…And when an incel with social or mental health issues—issues that doubtless contributed to his being an “involuntarily celibate” in the first place—violently attacks women (men are often killed too), the online incel breaks into cheers…I don’t think throwing sex workers at violent, deranged incels will solve the violent, deranged incel problem.  Our culture has to change in enormous ways to solve this problem…men have to stop being socialized to believe they’re entitled to women’s bodies…adults who do sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals) and adults who hire adults doing sex work of their own free will shouldn’t be stigmatized (or treated like criminals).  The former cultural transformation will solve the “incel” problem; the latter will solve the problem of sexual deprivation, i.e. involuntary celibacy…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Once again:  coalitions of fundamentalist anti-sex groups are in no way “surprising”:

If you had told radical feminist and [writer for SWERF/TERF rag Feminist Current] Natasha Chart five years ago that she would be fired from her advocacy job for objecting to the prostitution of minors, she wouldn’t have believed…She opted to speak with The Christian Post…”because…there is a significant and influential portion of…mainstream human rights activist community that…believes…youth sex work[ers]…should [not be raped and caged by cops]”…Chart is a former Jehovah’s Witness…no one is served when trusted civil society institutions utilize their clout…to quietly further a “pimping agenda“…If this goes unaddressed it is only a matter of time before the sex industry is considered “respectable” enough to emerge from the shadows and begin openly sponsoring a political caucus, as is the case in the Netherlands and Australia…

Yes, this is a Christian publication masturbating at very great length about the “pimp lobby” and approvingly quoting Meghan Murphy.

Seizing Power (#679)

Can we please stop pretending that Dart’s actions are anything other than a power & money grab?

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart wants [to profit from]…a recent plea deal [by Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer]…Dart filed a motion…asking [a]…Judge…to require Backpage.com LLC and its attorneys to pay the county for its legal fees in connection with a legal battle that dates back to 2015, when the Dallas-based online classified advertising site obtained a preliminary injunction blocking the sheriff’s office from [threatening] credit card companies [to force them to stop] processing payments for the site…

Broken Record (#733)

Prohibitionists just can’t stop beating this dead horse:

Three local groups are hosting an outreach event to warn the community about the dangers and reality of human trafficking during the Kentucky Derby…If you spot [any of these] red flag[s, report the person to the cops]…Hotel guests with little luggage…”Do Not Disturb” sign used constantly on a hotel room door…Housekeeping services refused for many days…Adults with…cell phones…A person is vague about his/her profession…

Can you imagine these phone calls? “Hi, Officer Porky, I’d like to report a man with a cell phone who told me to mind my own business…”

License to Rape (#806)

US prisons are hotbeds of rape in every form:

Jeannette Reynoso dreaded visiting her husband at…Rikers Island…She knew she would wait hours to be processed, go through several metal detectors and be subjected to a search by dogs sniffing for drugs and weapons.  But she never thought she would be…naked and in tears before two [screws raping her using the excuse of searching]…her body cavities for contraband…When she [resisted the supposed search]…the [screws] threatened to cancel her visits for 45 days…[among other violations] the [screw]…violently inserted two fingers into her anus…she was menstruating at the time…The search Ms. Reynoso described is prohibited in city jails.  In state and federal prisons, strip searches of visitors are permitted with consent, but not cavity checks…Elias Husamudeen, the president of the [Porcine Propaganda Perpetrators]…[mocked] the [reports made] by the women in the lawsuits and [claimed that]…“People are coming in with weapons in their vaginas, up their anus and in baby bottles”…

Because every woman I know can fit a 0.44 magnum in her pussy and a knife up her arse, at the same time.

Pyrrhic Victory (#810) 

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

In cities across the country, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations agents can mine local police reports using COPLINK, a data program little known outside law enforcement circles…The software ingests local police databases, allowing users to map out people’s social networks and browse data that could include their countries of origin, license plate numbers, home addresses, alleged gang membership records, and more…[“authorities” pretend] these databases and analytic tools helps ICE…tackle serious crimes, like child pornography and [the catchall] money laundering.  But…ICE…agents are also involved in questionable immigration enforcement actions nationwide…

Watershed (#815)

When stuffy NBC News publishes an article which openly calls for decriminalization, you know things are changing:

…the true targets of the [so-called] war on trafficking have been the marginalized, low income consensual sex workers whose livelihoods and ability to stay safe have long been dependent on the resources being scrubbed from the internet in the name of ending trafficking…It’s likely that these [“sex trafficking”] laws will be challenged in court and eventually overturned…Even the Department of Justice has said [FOSTA] could…be found to be unconstitutional…But while overturning these bills in court would be a good first step, it’s not enough.  As long as consensual sex work is treated as functionally indistinct from abusive, forced or coercive situations, our laws will continue to punish some of the vulnerable people we claim to want to protect.  Criminalizing and aggressively cracking down on all sex work pushes consensual sex workers underground and into unsafe environments…and…does little to discourage or combat people who profit from coercing others…In contrast, decriminalization…allows…sex workers to more openly and thus safely conduct business…A wide range of groups including Amnesty InternationalFreedom Network USAGlobal Alliance Against Traffic in WomenHuman Rights WatchUNAIDSWorld Health OrganizationInternational Women’s Health Coalition and numerous sex worker advocacy and support groups have thrown their support behind…decriminalization…

Negative Secondary Effects (#817)

Normally, the pretended “secondary effects” are concrete things, not silly nebulosities:

[Prohibitionists] have been granted a judicial review against Sheffield’s strip club licensing policy in a move that could…have significant implications for other councils considering strip club licences.  It could force them to take into account the [imaginary] impact on women and gender equality, rather than just the wellbeing of [actual people like the dancers who these prohibitionists want unemployed]…

Funny how nobody is crusading against businesses that employ mostly men on grounds of “gender equality”.  Don’t men have an equal “right” to be forced out of high-paying work to appease prudish lunatics?

Disaster (#832)

Judging by the breadth of responses from all over the political map, FOSTA may have been a serious miscalculation on the part of the government:

“What the new law does is it allows the FBI and law enforcement and individuals to sue platforms of any kind online for third-party hosts and content,” Barb Brents, a professor of sociology at UNLV, told KNPR…She explained that platforms like Craigslist and Backpage…are simply platforms for information and couldn’t be held responsible for what people posted on that format.  But under the new law, people can sue them for what other people post…Brents said there is no real evidence that real traffickers are using those sites, but the sites are used by consensual sex workers.  With them shut down or otherwise threatened…sex workers are losing an important screening mechanism…

And here’s a good introduction to FOSTA and its related tyrannies:

…Hillary Clinton would have signed it, too.  It…has had an overwhelming bipartisan majority…FOSTA-SESTA does nothing but places liability on online platforms by asking them to tackle an enormous “real world”/not online problemFOSTA-SESTA spooks online platforms into pre-emptively censoring free speech for fear of criminal liability, which has all sorts of horrible consequences for free speech…You can no longer share “explicit and vulgar content” on any Microsoft product, which means that no longer allowed to do anything sexual with anyone on their platforms, regardless…if…paid or unpaid…Here is an incomplete list of products and institutions that discriminate or ban sex work or adult products

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Stormy Daniels is…not speaking out because it’s fun or a great career move.  –  Savannah Sly

One Size Fits All

This is almost three years old, but it’s too good to pass up:

Many children in west Africa are brought up in households belonging to people other than their own parents.  There is a long tradition of fostering, yet in many cases the practice is now [claimed] to constitute “trafficking” or “modern slavery” because the children involved are put to work during their stay.  This makes little sense, yet the terminology of “human trafficking” and its consequences—namely that the “traffickers” involved should be prosecuted—has remained in vogue since at least 2000 with the support of European and American funding.  This has almost certainly caused more harm than good…ideas and methods imported from Europe and North America…have sought to prevent children from working away from home, rather than to protect children from harm regardless of where they live and whether they were at work or school.  This approach fails to adapt to the realities of childhood in west Africa and the practicalities of growing up in villages with little infrastructure…

Pyrrhic Victory

Toward the end of privacy, everywhere:

…the CLOUD Act…was never reviewed or marked up by any committee in either the House or the Senate.  It never received a hearing.  It was robbed of a stand-alone floor vote because Congressional leadership decided, behind closed doors, to attach this un-vetted, unrelated data bill to the $1.3 trillion government spending bill…All the bill requires now is the president’s signature…Because of this…U.S. and foreign police will have new mechanisms to seize…your private emails, your online chats, your Facebook, Google, Flickr photos, your Snapchat videos, your private lives online…without a warrant and with few restrictions…the CLOUD Act…will…Enable foreign police to collect and wiretap people’s communications from U.S. companies, without obtaining a U.S. warrant…Allow foreign nations to demand personal data stored in the United States, without prior review by a judge…Allow the U.S. president to enter “executive agreements” that empower police in foreign nations that have weaker privacy laws than the United States to seize data in the United States while ignoring U.S. privacy laws…Allow foreign police to collect someone’s data without notifying them about it…Empower U.S. police to grab any data, regardless if it’s a U.S. person’s or not, no matter where it is stored…

Whatever They Need To Say

Gentrification is one of the most common motivations for persecution of all kinds of sex workers:

Gentrification is often seen as an organic process that cities undergo.  Jeremiah Moss, the author of the book and blog Vanishing New York … says, “Gentrification was originally defined as the process by which working-class neighborhoods are changed into middle-class neighborhoods by the middle-class who buy homes there…Now we’re dealing with something much larger and more destructive — what I refer to as hyper gentrification which is not an organic process.  It’s the government stepping in with policies and zoning to remake the city for the upper classes.  In order to that, outlaws have to be removed, including sexual outlaws.  So adult businesses have to go…The hyper-gentrified city must be safe, friendly, and welcoming for tourist families and major corporations”…Shutting down adult businesses was on the top of [New York] Mayor Giuliani’s list throughout his terms.  Giuliani claimed strip clubs, peep shows, and x-rated video stores were “corrosive institutions” that contaminated neighborhoods and prevented “legitimate businesses” from prospering…

Blunt Instrument 

“Sex trafficking” is such a convenient weapon to use against adult businesses:

The Milwaukee Common Council voted not to renew the license of a…night club [using] sex trafficking [claims].  The vote came after…neighborhood [complaints that]…the owner of Tatou Ultra Pub…planned to renew the club’s license and then sell the business to VLive, a nationwide chain of strip clubs…aldermen were warned that the city attorney’s office could have trouble defending the city in court if aldermen failed to renew the license…residents [pretended] Tatou had contributed to loud noise and reckless driving in the area…[yet] there…were no recent police records documenting any nuisance activity at the club…

Under Every Bed

Population 36,000:

The Westerville [Ohio] community is learning how to spot signs of human trafficking after police busted a local massage parlor for prostitution.  [Cops pretend] they’ve seen an increase in human trafficking in the area…”It’s not the stereotypical human trafficking we’re used to.  A lot of these ladies can come and go, but they are threatened to stay in that environment,” Chief [Pig] Morbitzer [fantasized while playing pocket pool]…”One we shut down for prostitution reasons, one we cited for taxation reasons and one that was trying to open up was prohibited because of zoning code issues”…a…community meeting was hosted by the [pigs, a “diversion” program protecting its funding]…The Salvation Army, and [another rescue industry group]…

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 7 already this year:

[A trans woman was murdered] in Baton Rouge, LA…Amia Tyrae Berryman…was 28 years old.  Her body was found at…a…motel…with gunshot injuries…local media stating WBRZ…misgendered her

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (#603)

The next generation of sex worker security apps:

A new security application, Artemis’ Umbrella, has been developed for sex workers in Finland, and can be used anywhere in the world.  The app alerts a trusted contact when sex workers are in trouble, and uses location services to track the smart phone…it is possible to alert a pre-arranged friend if something like a customer meeting goes wrong and needs help.  The alarm can be triggered via the alarm button or via the timer (the alarm will be triggered if the function is not shut down in time).  Both alerts will also include the person’s location information…the application was…tested…in both Helsinki and Mumbai…

Morality Lessons (#783)

“The National Center on Sexual Exploitation” is the new self-aggrandizing name for pro-censorship fanatics Morality in Media:

…After collaborative dialogue with NCOSE, Walmart will remove Cosmopolitan magazine from checkout lines at 5,000 stores across the country. Protecting minors from the sexually explicit material that Cosmopolitan embodies and perpetuates has been a long-time priority of NCOSE

Agenda

Is this dumbass for real?

…I am pretty disappointed in the modern high-priced prostitutes of today.  They have no sense of honor and ethics…I do think that at one time in history there were professional prostitution ethics, where whatever happened between a man and his paid companion, there was the security of keeping things private.  In today’s world there seems to be no honor between a man and his contractual relationship between him and his paid companion…There is no honor among the profession…What’s the world coming to when you can’t trust a whore anymore?…

I can almost believe this ignorant weed’s claim that he’s never paid for sex, because he seems to know even less about whores than the average prohibitionist.  Besides his obviously-wrong-on-its-face central theme, he makes totally backward assertions like “Solon, the great Athenian legislator, was the first to actually legalize prostitution…”  No, you idiot, Solon was the first to try to criminalize prostitution.  Where do morons like this get this shit?  Do they literally look in the toilet and say, “Hey, that looks good, I’ll use it as a ‘fact’ in my next essay”?  WTF?  Why does every fuckwad think five minutes on Google make him an expert in my profession?  But I guess I’d better stop now, before I infuriate myself.

Morality Lessons (#820) 

It looks like Chris Sevier, the anti-porn fanatic behind the “mandatory porn filter” bills now making the rounds of US state legislatures, is about to do a massive pratfall:

Elizabeth Smart sent a cease-and-desist letter to prevent her name from being used to push a Rhode Island bill that would require a $20 fee to view pornography online…It is one of several similar bills pushed by Chris Sevier, who says the bill would protect children…Sevier said he chose Smart’s name as a tagline for the bill…[until he was] told…Smart was potentially pursuing legal action, [after which he claimed] the…name had been given to the [bill] by lawmakers…his website…specifically refers to [it] as “the Elizabeth Smart law”…[fellow anti-porn fanatics Morality in Media] has slammed Sevier for falsely claiming the[y]…supported his work…Earlier this month, a federal judge in Utah threw out Sevier’s lawsuit trying to target same-sex marriage by saying he should be allowed to marry his laptop…

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with Sevier, here’s an article from last year:

…Sevier has a warrant out for his arrest in Tennessee for failure to appear at criminal contempt proceedings….[arising from failure] to pay child support and violat[ing] a restraining order…[stemming] from Sevier’s 2011 arrest and  conviction for assaulting his father-in-law…Sevier’s baby was also injured in the altercation…Sevier claims that the Human Trafficking Prevention Act was hatched in part due to the horrors he saw as a volunteer in Asian countries, where he was “physically fighting human trafficking” as a rescue worker with an organization called Orphan Secure…[but] the president of Orphan Secure, Ronaldo Lopez…said that Sevier’s time with the group…amounted to a few broken promises…Despite repeatedly claiming he can legally practice law in two states, official records suggest Sevier is not licensed to practice law anywhere…a petition against him for ethical violations was pending in 2011 when the court temporarily inactivated his license based on a mental disability…

Not So Easy (#821)

A deeper look at the sleazy lies politicians are using to destroy women’s jobs:

…The raids seem…connected to New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s  new vision of Bourbon Street as a family-friendly tourist destination, a vain attempt to gentrify one of the country’s most legendary red light districts as it approaches its 300th anniversary.  This vision…has the mark of Christian moralizing that has recently taken on new potency.  In October, Mayor Landrieu hired conservative Christian lawyer Scott Bergthold, whose Chattanooga-based law firm has a reputation for targeting strip clubs across the country.  The mayor also appointed a few key people to put together a study on trafficking, including councilperson Kristin Palmer, a longtime opponent of strip clubs; and Jim Kelly of Covenant House, part of a chain of nonprofit, Catholic-affiliated homeless shelters…The Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force says in its official documents that it’s targeting trafficking, but…they use words like prostitution and trafficking interchangeably, and they don’t recognize a categorical difference…[though an attempt at capping the number of strip clubs failed 4-3 in the City Council] clubs…must operate under new regulations.  Dancers are no longer allowed to twerk (defined as a “simulation of sex” per the state lewd act law), fondle their own breasts, or have exposed nipples; these are now defined as “lewd and lascivious conduct.”  Club managers must…post anti-trafficking posters from…Club Operators Against Sex Trafficking (COAST).  COAST is in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security; the posters encourage workers to report abuse to a number which goes directly to ICE…if you’re an undocumented immigrant, there’s no guarantee  your rescue won’t also include deportation

Disaster

Even bootlicking Time seems to grasp that something bad has happened:

…The decision by Craigslist to stop hosting personal ads came as a preemptive move after Congress passed [FOSTA]…a sweeping piece of legislation intended to [harm sex workers]…The legislation targets websites that “promote or facilitate” prostitution, even in jurisdictions where prostitution is legal; individuals operating those sites face up to ten years in prison…The bill’s ambiguous terms threaten to impugn not only Craigslist, but any website or forum that accommodates discussion of the sex trade…these sites are crucial to [sex workers’] safety: they provide the community with a platform to share information about dangerous clientele (known as “bad date lists”) and other occupational hazards.  Advocates for these communities have also argued that eliminating the sex trade’s online presence will in fact make cases of actual human trafficking harder to identify…

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

I’m proud to see my dear friend Savannah Sly in Teen Vogue, which is turning into an important ally:

…Given how she’s described her situation, it makes sense that Stormy Daniels would sign a nondisclosure agreement…in exchange for $130,000…Many people (particularly sex workers and mothers) may do the same thing in the hopes of making a situation go away.  Also, the odds that a porn star would be believed (or treated with respect) by the public are slim to none.  Society callously condones the slut-shaming, misogyny, and discrimination that sex workers regularly suffer.  Regardless of how we try to sanitize and make palpable our professions, sex workers are seen as irresponsible “sluts” who deserve what we get, even when we’re murdered.  Porn stars, who are some of the most visible sex workers, suffer intense volumes of hate mail, doxing, stalking, and online bullying simply because they’re brazen enough to be publicly and commercially sexual…

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Removing all references to sex trafficking will hurt our ability to grab reporters’ attention.  –  Sydney Asbury of “Demand Abolition”

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn 

It’s been a long time since I’ve used this heading, but an even longer time since we’ve seen anything like this:

…lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide…to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia…and…He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics…keeping his word…In his first week on the job, he fired 31 prosecutors…because they weren’t committed to the changes he intended to make…Next, Krasner…release[d] a list of 29 [bad cops]…that…had lied…filed false reports, used excessive force, driven drunk, and burgled…but nothing is as essential and revolutionary as the internal five-page guiding document of new policies that Krasner sent to his staff…The first sentence says it all:  “These policies are an effort to end mass incarcerations and bring balance back to sentencing”…Krasner immediately instructs prosecutors to stop prosecuting marijuana possession regardless of the weight…[and] to stop charging …with any paraphernalia crimes…to stop charging sex workers that have fewer than three convictions with any crime and drop all current cases against sex workers who also fit that description.  All sex workers with three or more convictions are to be referred to Dawn Court…a…diversion…program created in 2010…Krasner instructed prosecutors to stop the wide-ranging practice of beginning plea deals with the highest possible sentencing and instead, begin those plea deals at the bottom end of the available range…Krasner instructed his prosecutors to now add up and justify the exact costs of every single person sentenced to a crime in Philadelphia…Stating that it costs between $42,000 and $60,000 per year to incarcerate a person, he reminded the prosecutors that the…annual cost of incarceration…is…more per year than the beginning salary of teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers, addiction counselors, and even prosecutors in his office…

Pyrrhic Victory

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

In at least four investigations last year…Raleigh [North Carolina] police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime…These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search…[“authorities” pretend] the practice is a natural evolution of criminal investigative techniques.  They [lie] that, by seeking search warrants, they’re carefully balancing civil rights with public safety [because most of the public is too stupid to know about the horrible “third-party doctrine”].  Defense attorneys and privacy advocates…are…[concerned about] how law enforcement turns to Google’s massive cache of user data, especially without a clear target in mind.  And they’re concerned about the potential to snag innocent users, many of whom might not know just how closely the company tracks their every move…

Under Duress 

The New York Times finally discovers what marginalized people have always known:

An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City [cop’s] testimony was…untrue…[they lie] about the whereabouts of guns…They…barge…into apartments and conduct…searches, only to testify otherwise later… they…give…firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness…No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish…In many instances, the motive for lying was…to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops.  In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people…with trumped-up evidence…

Bogeymen

Read this ludicrous exercise in pearl-clutching, then the item under the same heading two items down:

…illicit prostitution businesses are thriving in a surprising place: the legitimate corporate world.  And, we’ve found that the inequities of that world…contribute to that sex trade…we interviewed 44 pimps…in Chicago…fewer than half…fit the pop culture stereotype of a pimp.  The other half did not: a full third had four-year college degrees, primarily in business administration…and most…were white.  In addition to their pimping work, nearly half worked in legitimate companies, not in massage parlors or erotica businesses…these illegal businesses grew directly from the misogynistic culture of the legitimate ones that housed them.  Some became pimps after learning of demand for paid sex through informal bantering about sexual conquests over lunch or beers with the bros.  Half of the pimps started out as customers of sex workers, and several arranged “entertainment” for business clients as part of their job…

Huffington Post needs to exercise more diligence on its contributors; these two fantasists [44 interviews of self-proclaimed “pimps” in one city is not anything like a representative sample] have been recycling this same bogeyman tale on the strength of their supposed academic credentials for years.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (#314)

The only sex workers exploited in New Zealand are those who were intentionally excluded from decriminalization in order to appease prohibitionists:

Migrant prostitutes working illegally on temporary visas are “terrified” they will be deported if they report exploitative pimps and abusive clients…In the past year, 136 migrants suspected of coming here to carry out sex work were denied entry into New Zealand…Sex work is the only occupation migrants on temporary visas are not legally allowed to take up…However, migrants who have entered the country on temporary work, visitor, holiday or international student visas and work as prostitutes are being forced to carry out sexual acts without protection and often work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week…They would not speak to police because they would be deported…

Bogeymen (#317)

I’m glad to see Bruckert has expanded her study into a book:

“The sex industry, like mainstream businesses, rarely depends exclusively on clients and workers to operate efficiently and safely,” professor Chris Bruckert [said]…”Contrary to prevailing stereotypes that portray third parties [like pimps] as inherently abusive and controlling, these workers fulfill important roles and provide vital services.”  Bruckert and her team of researchers conducted interviews with 75 pimps — or “third-party” workers, as she prefers to call them — as well as 52 sex workers for her new book Getting Past ‘the Pimp’: Management in the Sex Industry…Bruckert said little research has been conducted on the role of pimps in the industry, adding that many people’s opinions are based on stereotypes…Most of the third-party workers Bruckert’s team spoke to were women — both surprising and understandable, she said, since the industry is female-dominated and the line between sex work and management is thin…

Torture Chamber

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)…frequently fails to either address or eliminate sexual abuse.  In jails and prisons across the country, incarcerated people are subject to sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff.  If they report these assaults, they risk retaliation, including greater violence…”Prisons are the worst distillation of toxic masculinity,” said Alan Mills [of the Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC)]…”It’s all about inflicting punishment on people.  It’s about the use of force in order to force compliance to an arbitrary set of rules.  It’s about dehumanizing people.  It’s not surprising that this translates to harassment and abuse”…

Business As Usual

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

Sex workers in South Africa will be arrested at least four times and will spend an average of 40 hours in custody if they are charged…one third of sex worker arrests never make it to a police station or courthouse‚ instead often ending in sex workers being abused by police or forced to pay bribes.  These were just some of the findings of The Policing of Sex Work In South Africa survey compiled by NGO’s Sonke Gender Justice and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…Advocacy officer at Sonke Donna Evans said that the most shocking thing to emerge from the report was the extreme levels of violence at the hands of police that were reported by sex workers.  “They were extremely disturbing and included incidents of torture‚ assault‚ rape and even permanent disability‚” Evans said…

Original Sin (#762) 

I guess this makes sense coming from a man who imagines condoms to be weapons of mass destruction:

Pope Francis asked forgiveness…for all Christians who buy sex from women, saying men who frequent prostitutes are criminals with a “sick mentality” who think that women exist to be exploited.  “This isn’t making love.  This is torturing a woman.  Let’s not confuse the terms,” Francis insisted…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

At least Wyoming had the sense to vote this nonsense down:

A Wyoming bill that would have recognized porn as a “public health crisis” failed in the 2018 session of the state Legislature…HJ1 was typical of various “public health crisis” bills that have made their way across the nation.  Wyoming’s bill, introduced by…Lars O. Lone, would have made official language stating porn increases the demand for sex trafficking, impacts brain development and functioning, diminishes the interest of young men in getting married and creates infidelity, among other [evidence-free] statements.  Another porn bill…sponsored by Lone, failed to win support, as well.  HB 127 would have ordered the installation of porn blocking software on all computers sold in the state to prevent the viewing of “obscene” material as defined by the state Attorney General’s office…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

SAVE THE TOASTERS!!!!

French activists are campaigning to shut down a new “sex doll brothel” on the grounds that it degrades women—and silicone.  Or something…Xdolls is registered as a gaming center, which makes sense if you consider doll-sex a form of escapist make-believe or wish-fullfilment akin to playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.  But Paris Council communists and other activists argue that Xdolls amounts to a brothel, which are illegal in France.  Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, head of the Paris council’s communist group…compared the business to “prostitution” and the owner to “a pimp.”  Sounds like someone just started watching Westworld.  The rhetoric only gets more extreme from there.  Lorraine Questiaux, spokesperson for the anti-sex work organization Mouvement du Nid…[said] “It’s a place…where you rape a woman”…You can’t rape a non-sentient silicone doll any more than you can rape a vibrator or a Fleshlight…but apparently not even lifeless dolls are immune to…rescue attempts…

I’m so glad Tracy Clark-Flory is writing again; I’ve missed her good sense.

Disaster

The fallout will continue until there’s some legal action against this horrific law:

…SESTA’s passage by the U.S. Senate has had an immediate chilling effect on those working in the adult industry…stories of a fallout are being heard, with adult performers finding their content being flagged and blocked…escort site [Cityvibe]…suddenly becoming “not available,” Craigslist shutting down its “personals” sections and Reddit closing down some of its communities, among other tales.  SESTA…targets scores of adult sites that consensual sex workers use to advertise their work.  And now, before SESTA reaches President Trump’s desk for his guaranteed signature, those sites are scrambling to prevent themselves from being charged under sex trafficking laws.  “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing an immediate chilling effect on protected speech,” industry attorney Lawrence Walters [said]…”This was predicted as the likely impact of the bill, as online intermediaries over-censor content in the attempt to mitigate their own risks.  The damage to the First Amendment appears palpable”…

Too Close To Home (#823)

It’s great to see a spotlight on this ugly scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

There is no mention in [propaganda about Seattle’s high-profile sex work stings] of the fact that [prosecutor Val] Richey’s work was handsomely supported by Demand Abolition, a nonprofit group whose stated mission is to end demand for sex work by going after buyers, or that the cost of some of his travels around the country has been defrayed by the same group.  Nor is there any mention of the fact that Demand Abolition, in exchange for providing approximately $191,667 in funding to the King County prosecutor’s office over four years, asked Seattle-area law enforcement to carry out regular arrests and prosecutions of buyers…As part of signed agreements for the funding, Richey and other law enforcement officials in King County were required to frame the activities of sex buyers and men involved with The Review Board as sex trafficking…even though there was no evidence of trafficking…and…none of the men arrested…were charged with trafficking — only with promoting prostitution…

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Now is the moment for celebrities to give up the fantasy of saving “Jane Doe” and do the hard work of seeing and listening to people in the sex trades as fully formed, complex individuals who have actual names.  –  Alana Massey

Here We Go Again 

Here’s an interesting biography of Anthony Comstock, the deeply-deranged, self-loathing pervert behind the previous American crusade against “obscenity” and “pornography”.  Given that we’re currently deeply immersed in a very similar crusade (though driven this time by many pathological prudes rather than one), this two-year-old article might offer some insights which could prove useful…though I think it’s fascinating how moderns writing about such things (another example is “white slavery” hysteria) in smug or condemnatory tones never seem able to connect the Victorian campaigns to their modern counterparts.

Wise Investment 

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

SWARM and ECP congratulate the three [UK] women who last week won in court the right not to reveal their criminal convictions for prostitution to prospective employers.  The women have multiple convictions for soliciting or loitering under the Street Offences Act, and their records will be amended to filter out these convictions…ECP and SWARM …[insist] that criminal records for prostitution should be fully expunged.  Under [this] court ruling the police will still have access to the information that someone has been convicted for soliciting…

Wise Investment (#428)

Evil laws and policies cause tremendous harm; here’s what happens when they’re repealed:

Increasing understanding of the mistakes of the past—and the violent impacts of taking action based on moral or ideological assumptions about sex workers and their lives—has changed the way sex work is viewed and monitored in Vancouver…police created a sex work enforcement guidelines policy, which clearly stated that adult consensual sex work would no longer be a priority…The City of Vancouver also adopted a policy of non-enforcement through their sex work response guidelines, which states explicitly that sex work is not a bylaw violation…The net result…has been de facto decriminalization of sex work in the city of Vancouver…Not only are crimes against sex workers being reported more often…but…there have been no murders of sex workers in Vancouver since 2009…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Though the silly notion that ejaculation saps a man’s vitality is a very old one, the even sillier “porn as abuse” belief is of recent vintage:

The [manager of the] Kansas City Royals [forced players to attend] a [propaganda session] for minor-league players…[organized by] anti-porn group “Fight the New Drug“…[which pretends] it is not religiously affiliated…general manager Dayton Moore is [obsessed with] the issue, and [though] the [supposed] goal is for players to be zeroed in on their performance for games…Moore [has in the past vomited out a lot of nonsense to reporters such as]…“pornography…what that does to the minds of players and the distractions, and how that leads to…abuse of women”…

The notion that healthy, physically-active young men can simply be ordered to be asexual was first imposed on the military by politicians, but now appears to be spreading.

Agony Aunt (#666) 

“Dear Prudence” gives good advice to a gay man whose lover has a sugar mama:

You don’t seem to have much of an issue with the arrangement qua arrangement if you’ve met her several times, enjoyed her company, and taken money from her yourself.  Your jealousy isn’t centered around the connection your boyfriend shares with his patron; it’s that his job requires significant emotional and romantic output on his part, and you want to make some space in your relationship where the two of you connect on a romantic rather than a merely domestic level…it’s very much worth talking about, especially if you make it clear that you’re not trying to discourage him from continuing with his patronage and that you support his work…

Pyrrhic Victory (#691) 

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years.  The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants…The relationship potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.  The documents…show that Best Buy officials have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years…Geek Squad employees were financially rewarded for finding child pornography.  Such a bounty would likely encourage Geek Squad employees to actively sweep for suspicious content…

Elephant in the Parlor (#815)  

Powerful men never learn that whores aren’t afraid of them:

…Trump’s lawyer is trying to silence adult-film star Stormy Daniels, obtaining a secret restraining order in a private arbitration proceeding and warning that she will face penalties if she publicly discusses a relationship with the president…The new pressure on Daniels…comes a day after she filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles court alleging that a nondisclosure agreement she made to keep quiet about an “intimate” relationship with Trump is invalid because he never signed it…[the] lawsuit says that Trump attorney Michael Cohen — who brokered the agreement…during the presidential campaign — attempted to “intimidate” [Daniels] and “shut her up” by initiating what it calls a “bogus arbitration proceeding” against her in Los Angeles on Feb. 27…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Teen Vogue and now Allure…it’s so heartening to see so many women’s fashion & beauty magazines recognizing that they owe their very existence to whores, and speaking up:

…FOSTA…[and] SESTA …target websites…that enable people in the sex trades to do their work safely and independently…[in a celeb-heavy PSA with Seth Meyers, Amy Schumer, and others] Schumer calls [Section 230] a “stupid loophole” [in the Communications  Decency Act]…Both those in the sex trade and those with any understanding of free online expression consider this so-called “stupid loophole” a “core pillar of Internet freedom” and the “most important law in Internet history.” The bills that would alter it have been roundly condemned by advocates for trafficking victims and survivors of trafficking, as well as by those willingly in the industry who would be at greater risk for exploitation in the absence of online platforms that allow them to share information…the PSA [is]…based [on]…the premise…that right this second and in your own hometown, it is totally possible to go online and buy a child for sexual slavery — that it’s “as easy as ordering a pizza,” according to Schumer.  I put this claim to the test…via a set of searches on Backpage that have likely landed me on an FBI watch list.  Not one lousy “kid”, “minor”, “teen”, or “child” was available for purchase.  Meanwhile, Domino’s is at my house within 21 minutes of me placing an order…It is almost as if perpetrators of human trafficking aren’t really all that likely to advertise using photos of shackled minors…

Morality Lessons (#819) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

Rhode Island has joined a host of other states in considering an irrational measure to regulate online porn by charging consumers a $20 access fee.  But the Rhode Island bill actually beats others like it in terrible and unconstitutional requirements…the Rhode Island bill wouldn’t just block overtly sexual content but anything deemed “patently offensive,” too–even though there’s no clear definition of this term…It would also require devices to automatically block “any hub that facilitates prostitution”—again, not a legal or well-defined category of content…device makers would also have to “ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible” on their products…If it were that easy to stop the spread of child porn, companies would be doing it already…

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