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Posts Tagged ‘robots’

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

Surplus Women 

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

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

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

Broken Record 

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

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

Under Every Bed

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

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

Bottleneck (#638)

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

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

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

Morality Lessons (#689)

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

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

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

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

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

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

The Course of a Disease (#757)

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

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

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

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

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

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

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

Feminine Pragmatism (#778) 

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

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

The Widening Gyre (#811)

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

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

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

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

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

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

Choke Point (#839) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

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

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

Disaster (#839)

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

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

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Sex work is first and foremost a livelihood strategy.  –  Borislav Gerasimov

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

New Hampshire’s state Supreme Court has upheld a young man’s harsh sentence—which includes lifetime registry on the sex offender list—for propositioning a 15-year-old girl over the internet.  The man, Bailey Serpa, was 18 at the time.  According to New Hampshire law, Serpa would have been guilty of a mere misdemeanor had the two actually had sex. But online solicitation of a minor is considered a felony.  Serpa appealed the sentence on grounds that it was “unconstitutional and grossly disproportional”…Teens expressing sexual interest in each other isn’t weird or abnormal, and it certainly shouldn’t be a crime…

Broken Record

Top this one, “sex trafficking event” hysterics:

Lynne Barletta is the founder of Catch the Wave of Hope, a[n]…organization designed to [spread] human trafficking [hysteria].  She says during the summer, traffickers are at beaches, in malls – anywhere children could be unsupervised…13-year-old girls and 11-year-old boys are the prime target.  The recruiters are the same age…[Fetishists fantasize that] modeling or a summer job is the most popular technique…

Believe it or not, we’ve seen this one before, but both Google and WordPress searches are so poor and non-Boolean that I can’t find the previous claim. I think it was quite early in the blog’s history, prior to 2012, but I might be wrong.

The Widening Gyre 

Observation: homeless camp in woods. Conclusion: sex trafficking!

A homeless veterans advocacy group stumbled upon an abandoned campsite on the night of Tuesday, May 29…Dani Ward, a volunteer, [said]…she thinks it’s a child trafficking camp.  She pointed out children’s clothing, toys, luggage and strollers.  Ward [breathlessly fantasized] that straps tied to trees were used as restraints.  Also described was an underground bunker where they [fantasize] children may have been kept.  [Reporters] toured the site…and noticed structures in the camp were tied together using similar straps that they described as restraints.  The area…where they claim the children may have been kept could also have been used as shelter to get out of the heat or place to sleep…

When you’ve lost local news reporters, your moral panic is dying.

An Example To the West (#343) 

Thai sex worker activists are made of awesome:

Sting operations staged to crack down on human trafficking in the sex industry violate human rights, and lead to stigmatisation and discrimination against women who are working as sex workers of their own volition…Empower Foundation…said that in order to rescue 10 victims of enforced or underage sex workers, on average some 100 innocent women are also arrested. These women suffer distress from violation of their human rights and dignity. The women’s rights group urged the authorities to decriminalise prostitution…as a legal career in order to give them protection and welfare as per labour law, which will also be a sustainable solution to suppress human trafficking in the sex industry…Thanta Laovilawanyakul, Empower Foundation coordinator, said…“Many of them face the charge of adultery and are publicly exposed for working in the sex industry. Even the victims of human trafficking are mistreated…they are detained in an improper detention area for a long period and they are unable to contact their family”…

Property of the State 

Condemning a young man to frequent, horrific seizures is “standing up for a child’s welfare”:

Georgia recognizes cannabis as a treatment for epilepsy and notionally lets certified patients possess up to 20 fluid ounces of “low THC oil”…that contains a…substantial amount of cannabidiol (CBD), the ingredient that reduces seizures.  That privilege is mainly theoretical, however, since there is no legal way to produce or obtain cannabis extract in Georgia.  Given that glaring defect in the state’s medical marijuana law, it is easy to understand why Matthew and Suzeanna Brill let their 15-year-old son, David, smoke cannabis in a desperate attempt to control his epileptic seizures…David was having several seizures a day…and the drugs he was prescribed for his epilepsy did not work.  But after he started smoking marijuana in February, he went more than two months without a seizure…David’s doctors knew why he was suddenly doing so much better, and they did not object.  But his therapist ratted out the Brills, which led to a visit by Twiggs County sheriff’s deputies, who demanded that David stop taking his medicine…The Brills were charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, and Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services took David away.  He has been living in a group home for a month now, away from his parents, his medicine, and the dog that is trained to detect imminent seizures.  His parents are fighting to get him back, a process they say may take as long as a year.  They are trying to raise money to cover their legal expenses on GoFundMe…Twiggs County Sheriff Darren Mitchum defended his department’s handling of the case…[with] “somebody’s got to stand up for the child’s welfare”…

Where Are the Protests? (#578)

Before swallowing this, I suggest you compare it to the “nail parlor slavery” myth, which it resembles even to the point (see title link) of claims of “sex slaves” hidden in the back:

…a shocking investigation reveals that many of the 20,000 hand car washes operating in this country are criminally exploiting workers.  They are typically staffed by immigrants from Eastern Europe who have been trafficked into this country on the promise of paid work – but without immigration papers they find themselves trapped in debt to their new bosses.  Often unable to speak English they are forced to work up to 11 hours a day for as little as £1 an hour, with even those pitiful wages docked to cover the cost of accommodation.  Those who try to quit are threatened with violence and deportation.  The exploitation extends even to putting their health at risk, with ruthless bosses providing little or nothing in the way of safety equipment or protective clothing despite the strong detergents used by many washes.  Latest figures show that about a 10th of the police operations tackling slavery in Britain involve car washes – double the figure of a year before…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#628)

Cops busting kids’ lemonade stands isn’t news any more, but they usually have the law behind them:

Everybody was having a good time on Memorial Day until somebody called the cops on the children selling lemonade to neighbors across the street from a park in Denver…police wasted no time in shutting the lemonade stand down for operating without a permit, putting a good scare into the kids, including the 6-year-old who took off running and the 4-year-old who started crying.  Jennifer Knowles, mother of the two boys, later learned there is no law or policy requiring kids to obtain a license to set up a temporary stand for neighbors…she encouraged her children to set up a lemonade stand…to teach them business and entrepreneurial skills…But if the kids learned anything, it is to not trust police…

Lack of Evidence (#659)

Just in case you thought this particular insanity was over:

…police charged people with both prostitution and possessing an instrument of crime in 100 cases last year in Allegheny County [Pennsylvania].  In 15 of the cases, condoms were an alleged instrument of crime.  In 14 others, police seized condoms as evidence.  In…the remaining cases, people faced instrument-of-crime charges for allegedly using cellphones to set up meetings…Authorit[arians think this is OK because]…filing condom-related charges or using condoms as evidence gives police and judges more leverage to win guilty pleas in prostitution cases and allows [pigs] to [arrest] sex workers…By filing an additional instrument-of-crime charge, a suspect is immediately processed and their fingerprints and photos are stored in a [pig] database.  It ensures police will be aware of their prior criminal history if they [are arrested] elsewhere…

Banishment (#779) 

This Orwellian tyranny is part of how governments are getting around the push to reduce prison populations:

In early September 2015, guards fanned out across Texas…to round up about 200 men, rousing some from bed as early as 3 a.m. and demanding they stuff whatever they wanted to keep into black Hefty bags…The state calls them “sexually violent predators,” men required not only to publicly register their whereabouts but also to participate in a court-ordered monitoring and treatment program meant to cure them of “behavior abnormalities”…most were living in boarding homes and halfway houses…[they] were frisked, loaded onto vans and prison buses and driven hundreds of miles to Littlefield, a remote, sparsely populated corner of the Texas Panhandle, where guards shuffled them into…a prison that had been empty for six years…the men [were forced to] surrender…their IDs, Social Security cards, birth certificates and credit cards, along with cash…Guards dug through the Hefty bags, tossing out all sorts of personal items now considered contraband…But officials at the detention center were adamant:  This wasn’t a prison.  They [demanded] the men…call their [cells] “rooms,” not prison cells…the new inmates couldn’t come and go.  It wasn’t clear when their sentences would end, if ever.  Two and a half years…[later] only five men have been released — four of them to medical facilities where they later died.  State officials claim Texas’ new civil commitment program is designed to rehabilitate the men….[by] stash[ing] them in a for-profit prison…far away from the support services they’ll need if there’s any hope of transitioning back into society — the supposed goal of the facility…

The Cop Myth

Alex Vitale on the development of modern policing:

The first modern police force—the London Metropolitan Police—was established by Sir Robert Peel in 1829.  He developed his ideas about law and order, Alex S. Vitale writes in his book The End of Policing, when he was “managing the British colonial occupation of Ireland and seeking new forms of social control … in the face of growing insurrections, riots, and political uprisings.”  The “Peace Preservation Force” was meant to serve as a less expensive alternative to the British army…Appointed home secretary in 1822…Peel would run the London Metropolitan Police along the same lines…Boston adopted the London model in 1838, and New York established a formal police force in 1844…But well before then, cities in the southern United States, such as New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston, “had paid full-time officers”…charged with preventing slave revolts…The motto “to protect and to serve”—adopted by the Los Angeles Police Department in 1955 and later used by others around the country—has been a highly effective public relations tool for the police, as it obscures the main function of their work, which since its inception has been to act in an adversarial manner toward the wider community…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#784)

Never underestimate the human capacity to obsess about things that don’t exist:

There’s “no evidence that having sex with robots is healthy,” The Washington Post wants you to know.  Similar headlines grace the pages of USA TodayThe VergeCNBC…and many other outlets, sometimes with an added dose of alarmism (“Sex robots could empower pedophiles and sex offenders“) or millennialism (“There’s literally no research proving sex robots are good for society“).  These headlines are all true, more or less, but they omit an important fact: There’s also “literally no research” showing…sex robots unhealthy…There’s just no evidence about sex robots period, because at present they don’t really exist.  The authors of a new article in BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health—the study behind all those headlines—admit as much…

Sex Workers Against Trafficking (#812)

The world’s largest “anti-trafficking” organization recognizes that sex workers are the best guardians against actual coercion in our industry:

In February 2018 the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) published our new report, Sex Workers Organising for Change: Self-representation, community mobilisation and working conditions.  The report documents how organising has enabled sex workers to deal with the on-going stigma and discrimination they face from society and the authorities, and to prevent and address the violence, coercion, and exploitation occurring in the sex industry…At least one sex worker organisation in each country took part: Stella and Butterfly (Canada), Brigada Callejera (Mexico), Hetaira and Genera (Spain), SWEAT and Sisonke (South Africa), SANGRAM and VAMP (India), Empower (Thailand) and New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (New Zealand).  These countries were chosen because they represent different world regions and cultures, span both the global north and global south, and are considered as both countries of origin and destination for migration and trafficking…

Perquisites (#840)

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

Just a week before the World Cup starts, Mexico’s national team is embroiled in scandal…El Tri held a farewell party in Mexico City…the…day the team claimed victory over Scotland…where players were joined by “30 VIP escorts”…Mexican officials won’t sanction players because it took place on their day off…

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A lot of people…do not want to accept the reality that, for the most part, sex workers are just ordinary women.  –  Jennifer Wright

Surplus Women 

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

The three-month-long search for a missing California woman came to a tragic end on the morning of March 25.  Kristen Marti’s body was found by authorities after a lengthy search of Prefumo Canyon, about seven miles west of San Luis Obispo.  Her January 9 disappearance is now considered a murder investigation…When Marti was last seen, she was with an unknown man in a maroon-colored sedan…Marti was “known to frequent hotels” in the San Luis Obispo-area…

Little Boxes (#21)

Long time readers may remember “Fake Internet Girlfriend”:

Every morning I…log into the Tinder account of a 45-year-old man from Texas—a client.  I flirt with every woman in his queue for 10 minutes, sending their photos and locations to a central database of potential “Opportunities”.  For every phone number I get, I make $1.75.  I’m what’s called a “Closer” for the online-dating service ViDA (Virtual Dating Assistants).  Men and women (though mostly men) from all over the world pay this company to outsource the labor and tedium of online dating.  The matches I speak to on behalf of the Texan man and other clients have no idea they’re chatting with a professional…

By the numbers provided, she makes less than $12 an hour maximum. That may be the shittiest-paying sex work ever.

New Excuse

An excellent article by stalwart friend of whores Mark Draughn:

…I’ve long been opposed to all consensual crimes — recreational drugs, gambling, pornography, public drunkenness, vagrancy, homosexuality, food trucks, gun ownership, kink, migration, raw milk, incest, risky sports, transgenderism, loitering, status offenses, braiding hair without a license, whatever — because as long as everybody involved has consented freely and competently…I don’t think it should be a crime.  So I’ve always opposed prostitution laws in theory.  My opposition became somewhat less theoretical a few years ago when I bumped into Maggie McNeill…I became a steady reader of Maggie’s blog, and I began to learn more about the legal issues that concern sex workers in this country…the situation for sex workers seems to be deteriorating, in ways that are sadly familiar to those of us who know the War on Drugs…cops seem to realize that their pearl-clutching over call girls is a dumb waste of police resources, so they’ve tried to recast what they do as fighting a genuine evil.  They’ve hit on the idea of calling everything “sex trafficking,” or even worse, “child sex trafficking”…We’re also starting to see other unpleasant features of the War on Drugs, such as federal funding and inter-agency task forces…I used to get angry whenever I heard of some new atrocity in the War On Drugs, but I was usually able to keep some emotional distance from the worst of it because I didn’t actually know any drug dealers.  It wasn’t personal for me…But when it comes to sex workers, I follow far too many of them on Twitter…I know these people.  And the last few weeks have been pretty bad.  This bullshit is hurting people I know, and they are bitter, hurt, and angry…

Somebody’s Daughter (#434)

Despite FOSTA & the seizure of Backpage (perhaps partly because of them), we’ve definitely passed the watershed on public support for sex worker rights.  It’s now no longer taboo for reporters, columnists and even politicians (!!!) to come out in support of decrim.  Here’s a recent article (in the very mainstream Harper’s Bazaar) which covers arguments readers of this blog will know well, and starts this way:

“But what if it was your daughter?”…Thus goes the common refrain…I do not have a daughter.  But, then, as Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, the people making this argument do not necessarily have daughters, either.  So, here is a brief list of professions I would not want my fictitious daughter to enter into:  Professionally playing any sport that involves head trauma…Being a war reporter…Any profession that promises people a quick, easy and most likely ineffective way to solve their problems, like hawking untested diet pills…regardless of how I feel about them, my future daughter has a perfect legal right to pursue them.  People are allowed to enter professions that might be unsafe.  People are allowed to enter into professions where their body is seen as a tool of the trade.  People are allowed to enter professions that seem morally questionable.  The only time that isn’t the case is when a woman is having sex as her profession…At least, it isn’t the case in the United States.  There are a great many countries where sex work is legal, such as New Zealand, which decriminalized sex work in 2003…

Eternal Vigilance

The stupidity and evil of politicians is sometimes mind-boggling:

Sex workers in Victoria are under attack as politicians try to [re-criminalize]…“the world’s oldest profession”…the Liberal Party’s Victorian branch will discuss…a motion…by [prohibitionists claiming]…“sexual services have surged into our suburbs in the guise of massage parlours” and “are now closer to our homes and schools than ever before”…the [prohibitionists are] pushing [their party] for the adoption of the “Nordic model”…

Australian politicians can see the success of decriminalization right there in New South Wales, but are still willing to push this evil bullshit to placate prudes with fantasies of sex rays.

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” still adore prohibition of things other than cannabis:

Seattle officials announced…that they have filed a motion to vacate all convictions and drop all charges for marijuana possession for anyone arrested in the city in the past few decades…the proposed move would affect 542 people who have convictions on their records.  “Vacating charges for misdemeanor marijuana possession is a necessary step to correct the injustices of what was a failed war on drugs, [but we’re going to keep pursuing the even more unjust and failed war on consensual sex because we’re hypocrites],” Mayor Jenny Durkan…said in a statement…

An Example to the West (#776) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

Sex workers in Colombia have started a newspaper that is “flying off the shelves”—a rare distinction for any newspaper these days.  La Esquina—which means “The Corner” in English—is made by and for sex workers in Bogotá’s red light district…It’s both distributed as a regular newspaper and, ingeniously, laminated and plastered on the district’s walls for sex workers to read while they wait for clients…The paper was founded last summer by a group of activists and artists…

Tracy Clark-Flory has singlehandedly made Jezebel relevant again.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table is a “stadium”:

Down a dead-end street in a quiet neighborhood south of Dortmund’s city center stands Germany’s first sex doll brothel.  For €80 ($97) an hour, customers can [play with] one of 12 silicone dolls, including one male doll and a model with both breasts and a penis…Evelyn Schwarz …is the founder and owner of Bordoll, which…also [has an actual] brothel and a…BDSM [dungeon]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

I’m so glad silly protectionist whores weren’t able to wreck decrim in New Zealand:

…Under a new plan, would-be immigrants can claim points as skilled sex workers and escorts.  The skill is regarded as providing social companionship in the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) list.  In order to meet the criteria of a highly qualified sex worker, would-be migrants will be expected to…have relevant recognized qualifications or have at least three years of work experience in the relevant industry…they would [also] need a formal offer of employment [from a brothel or escort service]…

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Today people can’t wait to participate in their own surveillance.
–  Mike Spinney

Moving Pictures 

When a headline asks a question, the answer is nearly always “no”:

…the thriller Traffik…has a horrifying story that revolves around the sex trafficking industry, as it follows an innocent couple who become caught up in a human trafficking ring…The film itself is not a true story, but it was inspired by true events.  The movie’s plot sees a couple…go on a road trip, where they run into a motorcycle gang at a gas station.  The gang have a woman with them who sneaks a cell phone into the [wife’s] purse…in the bathroom.  This leads to the gang, who are connected to a sex trafficking ring, to track down the phone and terrorize the innocent couple.  This event itself is entirely fictional…but the filmmaker drew inspiration from [what he falsely claims are] real life sex trafficking incidents near his home in Northern California

Checklist (#562)

Now you can be a useful idiot and violate strangers’ consent without even using a special app!

If you see someone who may be involved in human trafficking, report it by taking a picture and texting it to 909-ALERT-US (909-253-7887).  Our…face recognition software automatically searches images in online escort ads for the photos provided.  [If a match is identified, local vice squad will be notified]…

It searches online escort ads.  Exclusively.  So much for any pretense that this is abut anything other than persecuting sex workers.

To Molest and Rape 

Anyone surprised by this hasn’t been paying attention:

Authorities have arrested a former [cop] who is suspected of being one of California’s most prolific serial killers and rapists — the Golden State Killer…In the 40 years since the Original Night Stalker began his campaign of terror in Sacramento and moved south through the Bay Area and Santa Barbara and Orange counties, he had remained unidentified [due to his knowledge of police procedure].  Authorities say the attacker, also dubbed the East Area rapist and the Golden State Killer, is responsible for 12 killings, 45 rapes and more than 120 residential burglaries from 1976 to 1986…72-year-old…Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., has been charged by prosecutors…with eight counts of murder.  He is being held without bail…The suspect was a police officer in Auburn during the 1970s but was fired after he was accused of shoplifting…He is suspected of committing some crimes while he was still on the force…

There is one terrifying detail this story omits:

For decades…the DNA of the “Golden State Killer” sat in evidence storage…Whoever the killer was, he apparently was not one of the millions of convicts, offenders and arrestees in the FBI’s national DNA database…police announced that they had…identified Joseph James DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer suspect using an ingenious technique that thrills law enforcement officials and disturbs privacy advocates…they checked the crime scene DNA against one of the genealogy sites that have lately become popular — databases filled with the profiles of people who have volunteered their genetic codes in the hope of discovering their relatives and ancestors…The suspected Golden State Killer was not in this database, either, but it didn’t matter.  A distant relative of his was…and that person’s DNA partially matched evidence related to the serial killer.  Instantly, the pool of suspects shrank from millions of people down to a single family.  Detectives then used traditional investigative techniques to narrow the family members down to one suspect…Familial DNA searches…[have] an 83 percent failure rate [according to] a 2014 British study…

The Widening Gyre (#718) 

Another result of moral panics: evil people using the hysteria to cover their evil:

A West Virginia [woman]…who…claimed her 3-year-old daughter was abducted by sex traffickers was convicted in her murder.  Lena Marie Lunsford Conaway…was found guilty…on charges stemming from the 2011 disappearance of her daughter, Aliayah Lunsford…Her two older daughters reportedly testified that she beat the little girl over the head with a board then put her body in a clothes hamper.  They claimed the mom disposed of Aliayah’s body in a shallow grave in the woods.  The toddler’s remains were never found…

The Leading Players in the Field, Not (#752) 

A histrionic has-been, an opportunistic shyster and a bunch of C-listers and anti-sex loons:  this is who Gay, Inc chooses to side with against sex workers:

The Los Angeles-based Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking will honor Mira Sorvino, Kate Bosworth, Gloria Allred, Rosanna Arquette, Andra Day and others at the organization’s 20th annual gala…The [paradigm] of human trafficking [has become more popular] in the last couple of decades, and Los Angeles in particular has become a major hub for the [rescue] industry…

Against Their Will (#795) 

It’s good to see this getting more attention lately:

An increasing number of stories…highlight the ugly reality of rescue homes, which [are]…less about rehabilitation and more about forced confinement.  Doubts are now being raised whether [arrested] women and children…can indeed lead a protected life in these homes…

Unfortunately, it’s going to be an uphill climb; even this story about the abuses inflicted by the rescue industry still calls arrest & caging “rescue” and quotes the malignant sociopath Sunitha “100 clients a day” Krishnan, who runs a similar prison herself (a fact not mentioned in this story).

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#804) 

Though this is the least-stupid article about sex robots I’ve ever read that wasn’t written by me, the author still deeply underestimates the level of emotional contact many if not most men want from sex workers:

…I predict that historians of the development of artificial intelligence are going to see sexual gratification as one of the phenomenon’s great motivators.  Evolutionary psychology can give us insight into how sex robots are going to develop and the ramifications they’ll have on society.  Sexbots are usually woman-shaped gynoid machines…because heterosexual men drive the market for sexual products like prostitution and pornography.  Across cultures, men desire more sexual partners, need to know someone for less time before they want to have sex with them, and have lower standards for a sexual liaison than women…Men don’t get pregnant and don’t lactate, and they have smaller, easier-to-produce sex cells than women.  For a man, the cost of producing offspring is cheap…Women impose costs on men to gain sexual access for very good reasons…Pornography and prostitution are popular because they arrive at sexual end goals, or a reasonable facsimile, with more clarity and lower costs than in the mating market.  The complications of courtship are driving improvements in sexual substitutes, like masturbation aids…These substitutes aren’t very good, and yet they are already competing with flesh-and-blood companionship…

No, not really.  I can assure you that no Fleshlight Tina is “competition” for any man who can actually afford a sex worker.  This psychologist is arguing that “I like what I get” is the same thing as “I get what I like”.

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

Naturally she’s doing this; she’s an intelligent woman:

Stormy Daniels is back in front of the cameras — on a porn set.  Touting what appears to be Daniels’ first released sex scenes since the money scandal  involving her and President Trump surfaced early this year, the porn site Brazzers teased graphic snippets online…They feature Daniels in the upcoming XXX video entitled Stormy’s Secret…

Scapegoats (#831) 

If you don’t understand what this is all about, try looking up “Napoleonic Code”:

In Louisiana, a proposal to strengthen the law against bestiality is facing unexpected opposition from conservative lawmakers who see it as an underhanded move to strike the state’s unconstitutional ban on sodomy.  Creating a new, wide-ranging anti-bestiality law would untangle the offense from the ban on sodomy in Louisiana’s “crime against nature ” statute, prompting some lawmakers to label the measure a sly chess move.  “This bill was written because the far left wants to undermine our other laws that protect family and traditional values”…said Sen. Ryan Gatti…one of 10 senators to vote against the bill…

Remember, this is a law struck down as unconstitutional 15 years ago.

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Because our political class believes in myths, not solid evidence, they keep creating policies directed at an imaginary bogeyman, not real criminals.  –  Jenny Heineman & Brooke Wagner

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

A MILLION!!!!!

La Porte County [Indiana] Prosecutor John Espar [fed ludicrous propaganda to] local residents at First Baptist Church on human trafficking…He [lied that] the rate of sex crimes spiked between 1998 and 2007 with the growing popularity of Internet usage, which gave offenders access to children…to whom they did not have access previously…As many as one million children are exploited for commercial sex annually…children who become victims typically do so between the ages of 12 and 14…“So many of these (sex) workers, even if they’re not realizing it at this point in their lives, are still victims of exploitation”…

The Proper Study

Ric Curtis, who headed the Jon Jay study, is still debunking prohibitionist lies:

As they crack down on sex workers and pass outrageous new laws, our politicians and moral crusaders make some bold claims: Hundreds of thousands of children…at an average age of 13…is any of this true?…from 2012 to 2014, we spent nine months walking a [stroll] in Las Vegas…We handed out condoms and other harm-reduction material…The primary investigator, Ric Curtis, designed the study based on his experience collecting data from other “hard to reach” populations…The study had several teams collecting data in major cities across the US that had been dubbed as “hubs of sex trafficking”…after interviewing 949 people across 6 cities…[we found] the assumptions that inform government policy on sex workers are merely myths.  And those myths are easily disproved once you bother to get the data, which we did…In our subsample of youth under the age of 18…engaged in survival sex…24%…had a pimp…liberally defined as someone with whom the respondent shared their earnings…one young woman’s experience stood out as representative …Rena, who was 16 at the time of the interview, laughed when we asked if she had a pimp. She tipped her head toward one of her friends.  “That’s my pimp,” Rena giggled.  She was an 18-year-old woman who helped Rena use the internet to get clients and was herself engaged in survival sex. The two young women pooled their money together to meet their shared living expenses…Rena’s friend could be considered a sex trafficker under the current legal regime…

Droit du Seigneur 

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do  exist are cops:

Police are choosing to allow brothels to operate providing they create a safe environment for women, one former detective – now a brothel owner – has told the BBC…Despite it being illegal to operate a brothel in England and Wales – although not illegal to buy and sell sex – Karl says he has no moral qualms about breaking the law because he does not agree with it, and he says he is not exploiting the women who work for him…

The Widening Gyre 

New York is way behind cities like Seattle, Phoenix & Houston in promoting the hysteria:

Inside a handsome brick building on a tree-lined street near Brooklyn’s Prospect Park lay one of the city’s dirtiest secrets…two 16-year-old girls were allegedly being kept inside as sex slaves…the teens’ captors forced them to strip to their underwear, pose for Backpage.com ads and have sex with up to 10 johns a day…thousands of sex slaves being trafficked under the noses of New York City residents every day…[vice cop] Jim Klein [said]…“It’s modern-day slavery”…the average victim is…as young as 12…“One guy kept [a girl] in a dog cage because she wasn’t cooperating”…a…14-year-old…was found locked in a closet surrounded by pots of urine…

Original Sin

Welcome back to the 16th century:

Priests attending an annual exorcism conference in Rome are set to discuss whether pornography has a demonic influence.  Over 250 priests and theologians as well as criminologists and psychologists from 51 countries have gathered at the week-long Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation conference…attendees will discuss the prevalence of pornography in modern society, and consider if it is a “modern cultural phenomenon of an evil that harms people,” and to what extent it may have what he described as a demonic influence…

Imagination Pinned Down (#551)

Stereotypic conformation in progress:

Jessa Dillow Crisp has spent the better part of the last decade learning who she is…as a child victim of human trafficking.  Now, she works to help others who are or have been in the same situation.  She is co-founder and executive director of Bridgehope…As a child…in…Canada, Crisp was abused and sold into the sexual human trafficking sector by her family…she would eventually be sold to a circuit operating in the United States…“during the 2010 Winter Olympics, it was…sadistic pain and horrific evil.”  Clarksville Police Chief Mark Palmer said that he sees more sex trafficking in the way of consensual sex workers, not forced abusers…during large events like Thunder Over Louisville or the Kentucky Derby…her identity was also stripped away by her abusers, who controlled where she went, what she ate, how she sat, how she talked…Some of the signs are behavioral, like having a…phone, the connection to [a partner]…styles of dress that [busybodies claim] are way beyond their years…

Most professional “survivors” don’t last long; it’ll be interesting to see if this one graduates to including classic elements like brutal clients and being dragged behind a car.

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

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

…in the United States, Rep. Dan Donovan…introduced legislation to ban [child-shaped sex] dolls, in a bill named Curbing Realistic Exploitative Electronic Pedophilic Robots, otherwise known as the CREEPER Act…some [actual experts] suggest…dolls could be used to deter the real-life fulfillment of pedophilic urges…[but politicians and other prohibitionists pretend human sexual impulses are learned and can be eliminated via threats of violence] Donovan [claims] “Once a child sex abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to an innocent child…[puritans pretend] these dolls reinforce, normalize, and encourage pedophilic behavior”…

Elephant in the Parlor (#825)

Ken White explains the latest wrinkle in the Stormy Daniels case:

…Conventional wisdom is that federal courts are better for the defense and more likely to enforce arbitration agreements.  However, federal judges move faster and abide by deadlines and rules more closely, and are substantially less tolerant of bullshit than state judges.  If substantial portions of your defense are premised on bullshit and delay, don’t remove to federal court…the main issue is whether the nondisclosure agreement [is]…enforceable.  If [so]…Trump…could conceivably get a gag order against Clifford and get massive damages against her for breaching the confidentiality agreement, and could do so through a private arbitration proceeding instead of in public…

It’s complicated, so you’ll need to read the whole thing.

Disaster (#831)

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:

The US’ latest attempt to silence sex workers…has begun to chill free speech across the internet.  A number of websites have had to either shut down or actively distance themselves from the notion that they support sex work. And the problem is only going to get worse as time goes on…It’s not just…adults-only websites and platforms that are now having to crack down on discussions of sex.  Microsoft and Google have moved to alter their terms of service…and…not even private discussions are safe…Microsoft…claim[ed] the right to examine your content…[and] Google is purging adult content from private Drive accounts…sex workers are attempting to protect themselves against the bill by building platforms beyond the reach of American authorities….Red Umbrella Hosting…offers judgment-free, anonymous and sex-worker-friendly hosting.  Then there is Switter…launched in response to FOSTA-SESTA and Twitter’s alleged shadowbanning practices.  In a few short weeks, it has already acquired nearly 23,000 followers…

But it didn’t take long for Switter to feel the government’s boot:

[Last] Wednesday,  Cloudflare terminated its content delivery network services for…the weeks-old Switter…Cloudflare has confirmed…that the company terminated service to Switter because of FOSTA, but also said it’s “a very bad law”…When [Switter] organizers…reached out to Cloudflare for explanation, they were met with a vague notice  that Switter violated the company’s Terms of Service…Switter moved to a new content delivery network and is still up, but Cloudflare’s decision to terminate service was jarring…Cloudflare, historically, has been a vocal supporter of the open internet…

And here’s a heads up from a confidential source: the sleazebags behind FOSTA are butthurt that everyone sees their tyranny for what it is and they’re preparing for a major PR offensive to convince people that censorship isn’t censorship.  The first of it started on Sunday.

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Sex workers…are human beings who[se]…rights to health, safety, self-determination, and bodily autonomy should not be subject to debate or sacrifice to abstract principles.  –  Green Party proposal

If It Were Legal

I’m willing to bet this was either a findom arrangement or a blackmail fantasy:

The second in command of the Harris County [Texas] Treasurer’s Office is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a county credit union to pay a dominatrix who was blackmailing him.  Gregory Lueb was arrested…and charged with felony theft of up to $30,000…Lueb told investigators…the woman eventually demanded money and threatened to tell his wife…

If he’s telling the truth, and if sex work weren’t illegal and stigmatized, he could’ve gone to an established professional instead of some sleazy amateur.

The Punitive Mindset

The need to censor is one of the most twisted of perversions:

A federal judge is considering whether South Dakota’s statewide ban on porn in prisons is constitutional.  The case arose from an inmate, Charles Sisney, who says all sorts of non-pornographic content got caught up in porn prohibition, including a yoga magazine, images of Michaelangelo’s work, and Japanese comics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota and the National Coalition have filed briefs in support of Sisney’s case…the parameters of the ban go way beyond adult films, nude images, or other things that most people would consider to be porn.  Prisoners are banned from writing sexually explicit letters or receiving them, and from receiving any visual or written material that’s deemed sexually explicit…

Three Steps Back

In December 2010, New Orleans decided to de facto decriminalize marijuana and prostitution, then it changed its collective mind and recriminalized them.  We’re all familiar with what happened afterward with sex work, but two years ago the city actually went ahead and truly decriminalized weed, with the following results:

…newly released city statistics show that New Orleans police have taken the city’s cannabis decriminalization efforts seriously, and now make arrests in only 1% of minor cannabis incidents.  The New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance two years ago  decriminalizing minor cannabis possession, giving [cops] the discretion to ticket rather than arrest suspects found with small amounts of pot…NOPD has all but eliminated marijuana charges from their protocol, reducing the rate of possession-related arrests from 72% of all police and pot interactions in 2011-2014, to the newly released number of only 1% in the last half of 2016 and first half of 2017…last year saw 5,000 fewer cannabis-related arrests in New Orleans than took place half a decade ago…

And yet they can’t seem to grasp that decriminalizing sex work would have similar benefits.

Stand-Up Guys 

Shift in the Wind

It looks like the Greens are poised to become the second US political party (the Libertarians have held the position for decades) to adopt decriminalization as an official position.  The new position has apparently been approved by Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Utah, and by the party’s Black Caucus, Lavender Greens and Young Greens.  The explanation of the reasons for the change starts like this:

It is the opinion of the authors of this document that the party’s current stance on sex work…is morally indefensible, ideologically incoherent, and politically damaging.  The submitted revisions represent an effort to eliminate derogatory language, move the Green Party’s stated policy prescriptions away from carceral state solutions and more in line with the current thought of human rights groups such as Amnesty International, and…condemn…violence against women without condemning or negating the existence of individual sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought

Anti-whore assholes just keep getting bolder:

California Senate Bill 1204…sponsored by…Patricia Bates…is aimed at broadening the definition of “pandering” within the State of California…to [include anyone] “who arranges, causes, encourages, induces, persuades, or procures another person to be a prostitute”…What does “encourages” mean? If I say to my friend “hey you would make a great prostitute!” – have I just encouraged that person to be a prostitute and therefore I am guilty of the crime of pandering?  What about my free speech rights?  What if my friend who is a prostitute says, “gee I wish I could see a client today because I really need to feed my child/pay my rent but I cannot afford condoms” and I give that person condoms, have I encouraged the act of prostitution?  What if I as a lawyer – give advice to a prostitute…have I just committed pandering?…I would encourage you to contact Senator Patricia Bates office and encourage her to kill her own bill…

The Punitive Mindset (#688) 

Long-time readers know that I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons since 1981, and that it’s my all-time favorite game.  I’ve alluded to it many times and even written a few columns touching on it, and though I haven’t played in about 8 years now I’ve recently started thinking about starting up a new game for some friends.  So I quite enjoyed this long-form article about the game, its history and its long record of being attacked by authoritarians for promoting imagination and free thought.  I decided to list it under this category because the article includes a section on prison officials banning the game (because of course they would), which I reported on in the above-linked column.  But really, I just couldn’t pass up calling it to your attention at a time when most of the contents of this blog are darker than any imaginary dungeon, and the real world is dominated by far scarier monsters than any I ever made up for the heroes to defeat.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#787) 

Yes, this is a supposedly sane adult arguing that toasters have “feelings” and can “suffer”, while classifying sex workers as subhuman:

Late in 2017 at a tech fair in Austria, a sex robot was “molested” repeatedly and left in a “filthy” state.  The robot, named Samantha, received a barrage of male attention, which resulted in her sustaining two broken fingers.  This incident confirms worries that the possibility of fully functioning sex robots raises both tantalising possibilities for human desire (by mirroring human/sex-worker relationships), as well as serious ethical questions …there are certain elements of relationships between humans and sex workers that we may not wish to repeat.  But to me, it is the ethical aspects of the way we think about human-robot desire that are particularly key…

Yes, moral retard Victoria Brooks there describes vandalism of a machine as “molestation” and waxes poetic about this object’s “suffering”, while twice in a short section referring to sex workers as things apart from humans.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Possibly the most pathetic of all things: a gay male prude:

…how Grindr is affecting gay men….doesn’t look good.  The most common reason users gave for going on the app is that sex feels great and Grindr makes it accessible, right at your fingertips…Neuroscientists have shown that orgasm causes activation of pleasure areas of the brain like the ventral tegmental area while deactivating areas involved with self-control.  And these patterns of activation in men are strikingly similar to what researchers see in the brain of individuals using heroin or cocaine.  So when a neutral action (clicking on Grindr) is paired with a pleasurable response in the brain (orgasm), humans learn to do that action over and over again.  This can be…a setup for addiction…

Disaster

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…Sex workers are the canaries in the digital coal mine, and SESTA, if it isn’t fought and reversed, is a disaster for all kinds of online speech…It’s no surprise that a bill like this has manifested alongside the #MeToo movement — it challenges what it means to for sex workers to consent, and takes aim at the online speech that acts as evidence that we have…The ambiguously written bill creates what is in effect a special loophole to target the speech of sex workers within the sweeping legal protections given to online speech.  And because marginalized groups often act as Patient Zero for regressive new laws, it will be no surprise when this new approach to censorship eventually spreads across the internet…The difference between what sex workers and their advocates say — that trafficking is a relatively minor issue in their industry — and what anti-sex trafficking legislators believe reflects the country’s long held reluctance to believe women when they tell the truth, especially when it involves sex.  One place where that truth is told daily is the internet communities where sex workers reside in safety and solidarity, and SESTA is designed to break up these communities…

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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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