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Posts Tagged ‘robots’

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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The committee didn’t achieve what it had hoped for.  –  Geir Lundestad

Even if you don’t usually watch my featured videos, you really should watch this scene from Stormy Weather (1943), which Fred Astaire called “the greatest dancing he had ever seen on film.”  And if that still isn’t enough to recommend it, maybe I should tell you it was unrehearsed and filmed in one take.  The video was contributed by Jesse Walker, and the links above it by Amy AlkonWalter OlsonFranklin HarrisCarol FentonTim Cushing (x2), and Rick Horowitz, in that order.

From the Archives

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Why shouldn’t a man want sex?  Why shouldn’t a man want intimacy?…Why do we view that as being abusive or predatory?  –  Antonia Murphy

Mythbusters

Six years ago I mocked UK cops for demanding censorship of nude art based on Greek mythology, but now the galleries are doing it themselves:

Manchester Art Gallery has…remov[ed] John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs…from its walls.  Postcards of the painting will be removed from sale in the shop.  The painting was…replaced with a notice explaining that a temporary space had been left “to prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artworks”.  Members of the public have stuck Post-it notes around the notice giving their reaction…Clare Gannaway, the gallery’s curator of contemporary art, [gave her opinion even though the painting is Pre-Rapealite and not contemporary]…The removal itself is [censorship presented as] an artistic act and will feature in a solo show by the artist Sonia Boyce which opens in March…Gannaway [pretended] the removal was not about censorship [despite bloviating a lot of nonsense about “objectification” and the evil “male gaze”]…

Yes, this means that modern people are officially more prudish than Victorians. 

First They Came for the Hookers… (#349)

For those who still pretend government is different from organized crime:

A Harris County judge has ordered the closing of a Houston strip club after [cops raided it] more than 30 [times, alleging] crimes including prostitution…over the past four years.  Judge Fredericka Phillips granted a request from the city to have Fantasy Plaza, a club [which does not pay the required bribes to Houston police], closed…

That’s not just a snarky interposition of my own, by the way; click on the title link.  Houston actually has a program that allows strip clubs to openly pay off cops not to be raided, and Fantasy Plaza is one of the clubs suing the city in federal court to shut the scheme down. But yeah, I’m sure those 30 raids were for serious “crimes”.

Down Under (#410)

New Zealand is moving toward the day when disclaimers like this will no longer be necessary:

Antonia Murphy is…the madam of Whangarei’s The Bach, an enterprise she’s taking pains to describe as an ethical brothel.  “If you start by saying it’s a ­brothel, in my experience people immediately start relating it to violence and gangs and drugs,” Murphy says…This means treating her workers with respect – providing them with condoms, briefing them on their legal rights, paying them at least $150 an hour – and there’s free childcare on site.  “New Zealand seems way ahead of the curve in terms of decriminalisation and yet [because of stigma] much of the sex industry is still bogged down in sort of shady working practices…It’s still not socially accepted and there is still a lot of judgment”…

Whither Canada? (#439)

This challenge is only necessary because the Liberals lied about repealing the law:

Canada’s prostitution laws are being put to the legal test in a London, Ont. courtroom where two people are charged with advertising sexual services, profiting from the sex trade and producing a person to offer sexual services.  The first defence expert witness called in the case, academic Chris Atchison, testified that the new law, often referred to as Bill C-36, makes it less safe for people in the sex trade to do their jobs…Hamad Anwar and Tiffany Harvey…face more than two dozen [prohibition]-related charges each…[after] a bust made by London police at an escort service in November 2015…

Schadenfreude (#561) 

I wonder how much profit they made on survival sex workers’ backs with this scam?

Dozens of [survival sex workers were kick out of a shelter the day after the Super Bowl]…a long-term residential facility…called Breaking Free…typically require[s women to submit to indoctrination]…to stay there but for the 10 days leading to the Super Bowl, Breaking Free [staged a publicity stunt in which they provided] emergency shelter.  The NFL Super Bowl Host Committee, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Catholic Benedictine Sisters and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet, among other organizations, footed the bill to help Breaking Free buy beds, food and emergency provisions…”What a heartbreak to tell the women they can’t spend the night here” said Terry Forliti, Breaking Free’s executive director…”My fear is they fall back into the life, when we have tried so hard to offer an exit strategy”…

“Exit strategy” my high-priced arse.  Breaking Free is well known as a money-hungry profiteer group more concerned with milking the unfortunate than helping them; three years ago its own employees reported it to its funding agencies for “misuse of funds, property, and services and…staff misconduct”…

That Old Black Magic (#714)

The descent of “sex trafficking” hysteria into self-parody continues unabated:

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said it has engaged some local witchdoctors in Benin, Edo as ambassadors in fighting human trafficking in [Nigeria]…The Director General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donli…said investigations revealed that some local witch doctors were involved or used in the [migration] of persons to Europe.  “When we gathered these witchdoctors recently to [indoctrinate] them [with anti-migration propaganda European countries are paying us to disseminate], they were shocked”…

O, Canada! (#733)

Canadian prohibitionists are trying desperately to whip up “sex trafficking” hysteria there to US levels:

If you ask most Canadians, they’d say…this isn’t the kind of place where men and women entrap teenagers, then move them from city to city, buying and selling them as modern-day sex slaves…But Canada is exactly that kind of place….[prohibitionists fantasize] there are thousands of them…The average age at which exploitation begins is 13; the average age of rescue, if a girl is rescued at all, is 17…[prohibitionist] Shae Invidiata…[fantasizes] “One girl in Canada can make a pimp $300,000 a year”…[hysteria has] gotten to the point where, last February, the Edmonton Police Service changed the name of its Vice unit…to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit [so they could cash in]…The youngest victim they’ve rescued so far was 13…

It’s rare that a propaganda piece is so idiotic that it contradicts itself within a couple of paragraphs; how can the average and youngest “victim” both be 13?

First They Came for the Hookers… (#752) 

Sorry, but I have no sympathy for someone who leaves a job inflicting violence consensually for one where she can inflict it non-consensually:

A New Jersey sheriff’s officer has lost her job because she previously appeared in bondage films as a dominatrix…Kristen Hyman…was [supposedly] terminated for lying about her prior work on her application, [but]…she would not have made it into the academy had she been honest about her past.  The sheriff’s office characterized Hyman’s activities, which took place roughly from 2010 through 2012, as conduct unbecoming for a public employee…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#756)

This might be the first of these apps to actually consult sex workers:

A new app…is dubbing itself the Airbnb of sex work…“Gfendr”…developed in Montreal, has attracted 700 users since its launch [three] weeks ago…[it] allows sex workers to list their services and rate clients.  In turn, clients can search for sex workers based on their preferences and chat with their chosen service provider about location and price ahead of time.  Sex workers can flag difficult or dangerous clients, helping others avoid unsafe situations in the future.  Vancouver sex-worker advocacy group PACE said the founders of the app reached out to them and other groups across the country ahead of the launch and asked for feedback…Co-developer Melissa Desrochers says she and her partner have built the app without funding. Once there are more users, sex workers will be able to pay to promote their services in search results…[but since] current laws…say buying sex and helping advertise are illegal…the police might use the app to gather information on sex workers and clients…Gfendr only requires a phone number or email to register, and Desrocher assures that this and all other identifying information is encrypted by an outside company, so even she doesn’t have access to it…

Decentralization (#764)

Good grief, another titcoin?

Leah Callon-Butler wants to revolutionise the sex and adult industries using cryptocurrency.  Alongside her four co-founders she’s helping develop a new cryptocurrency called Intimate which will operate as a digital payment option for adult or sexual products, services or offerings…

Signs (#766) 

Yet another reason never to call the fucking cops:

When Jodi Gaylord answers…911 calls at the emergency dispatch center in Vancouver [Washington], details can raise red flags.  She asks herself, “Could this be a sex trafficking situation?”…Gaylord was just one dispatcher in four groups who…were [indoctrin]ated on the subject by [prohibitionists]…

IOW, that call you make to rat out your neighbor could end with a SWAT team smashing down your door and murdering your dog because some dumbass with no critical thinking skills imagines you “raised a red flag”.

Signs (#771)

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

A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers announced Monday, Jan. 29 they would introduce legislation during the coming 2018 session designed to help prevent sex trafficking in Minnesota through education…“There are people who are trained to manipulate you, to coerce you, to persuade you they’re your boyfriend…This is the curriculum we hope to have schools teach and will warn girls against”…

Cops and Robbers (#794)

These were first used in Seattle, but monkey-cop see, monkey-cop do.  Especially when both gangs of monkeys are on the same billionaire sociopath’s payroll:

Technology has opened a new door for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Tom Dart says it’s not clear yet what they’ll do with it.  It’s software that can respond by text to people who are looking on-line to pay for sex…In a roughly 30-day period that just wrapped up, 2,500 people engaged with the bots.  Around 65 percent of them stayed with the text exchange until they agreed on a price.  Then, the would-be sex buyers got a…sort of a “scared straight” message meant to deter any future endeavors…

And judging by the amount of work I and my friends have had in Seattle since summer, no, they don’t deter business.  But I’m sure you’d already guessed that; cops don’t like to crow about surveillance tricks (such as Stingrays) that actually work.

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I believe my goldfish is having an affair with my oven mitt.
–  Lenore Skenazy, mocking “sex trafficking” hysteria

Follow Your Bliss 

The naive believe the government propaganda that “child predators” are creepy dudes who hang out at playgrounds; in reality, they are largely people in positions of authority over their preferred targets:

A[n]…administrator on Bradford Safeguarding Children Board has been jailed for five years for a series of sex offences involving young boys.  Heathcliffe Bowen…was convicted of six offences which happened between 2013 and 2015.  Judge Jonathan Durham Hall…said Bowen…was a “predatory paedophile”…[who] had a “deep and entrenched interest” in underage boys and said he had “never shown any shame or remorse”…

Profound Mental Disabilities (#562)

Naturally, my skepticism about this case was wholly warranted:

A legal fight has reached the end of the line between a Florida dominatrix and a former client who claimed she drained his bank account and credit cards of more than $500,000 and took over ownership of his townhouse.  Orange County, Fla., Judge Keith White recently ruled in favor of Goddess Jude, who was sued by client Alex Abrams, granting her motion to dismiss and paving the way for her to recoup legal costs of defending herself.  Abrams…alleged that Goddess Jude should have been found liable for civil theft, unjust enrichment and conversion, as well of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly persons because he was above 60 years old when he first called on for her services…he…opened new joint financial accounts…and made her an authorized user on his credit card accounts…[then] transferred a…townhouse worth $100,000 to her.  After an apparent change of heart and claims of dementia, Abrams sought to recoup all the material assets he had given her…In November, a judge made a ruling…dismissing Abrams claims against Goddess Jude entirely — after Abrams and his attorney, who later withdrew from the case, failed to attend several depositions…A court hearing…over recovery of attorney’s fees and court-imposed sanctions has been set for March…

To Molest and Rape 

Typical cop engaging in typical and representative cop behavior:

The Bexar County [San Antonio, Texas] Sheriff’s Office…arrested a county deputy on an aggravated sexual assault of a child charge…[jailer] Clayton Saunders was placed on administrative leave…and a no-contact order was issued.  Further investigation led his formal arrest on [January 27th]…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

At a town hall meeting last summer, members of Toronto’s gay community, worried that a serial killer was operating in their midst, warned that the city’s sex workers might be particularly at risk.  That fear proved prescient…Dean Lisowick, a common face in the Gay Village and long-time sex worker, is believed to be the last known victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur…[who] is also facing four other charges of first-degree murder for the deaths of Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan and Soroush Mahmudi…

Checklist (#702)

Ladies, please stop using Uber.  They are training drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs:

Uber wants its drivers to [spy on passengers and]…to alert [cops] if they [suspect a passenger is a sex worker]…over the past few years, Uber has enlisted its drivers in local and regional efforts to [persecute sex workers]…But the new initiative…targets all 750,000 active U.S. drivers and eventually will expand to other countries…Among Uber’s partners in the U.S. initiative are The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children[Asstoon Kutcher’s vanity project] Thorn, and The McCain Institute…whose efforts to [hound sex workers to death] are led by [anti-human rights crusader “Cuckoo Clock”] McCain

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

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

France’s first ever sex doll brothel has been opened in Paris and it has three silicone sex dolls ready for…rent…France changed its laws in 2016 to make paying for sex illegal, but the laws didn’t say anything about paying for sex with a silicone doll…The official XDolls site advertises that it has three different dolls on offer – Lily, Sofia, and Kim – complete with pictures of each.  The whole operation is shrouded in secrecy.  In fact, the official website doesn’t even offer an address for the brothel – other than to say it’s “somewhere in the 14th arrondissement” of Paris.  To find the location, would-be customers have to pay for a session with a doll, which comes at a cost of €89 for an hour, €149 for two hours, and €19 for the optional virtual reality addition…

Morality Lessons (#730) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

…a new bill being proposed in Virginia…would [try to] lock all pornographic sites from your phones and computers, and the only way to [legally] unlock them is to pay the state $20…[politicians] who proposed the bill [pretend] that by making pornography less accessible on the internet it will reduce the amount of human trafficking…

The huckster behind this legislation [is an]…anti-porn crusader named Chris Sevier who tried to marry his computer in protest of same-sex marriage, was released early from an Iraq tour for mental-health issues, sued Apple over the dissolution of his marriage, and has been charged with harassing a teen girl as well as country singer John Rich.”

It Looks Good On Paper (#736)

What these “safe harbor” laws actually do is empower the cops to indefinitely  detain underage sex workers in “safe locations”, i.e. euphemized jails:

[Underage sex workers whom “authorities” deign to label] child sex trafficking victims would no longer be criminally charged for prostitution offenses under a proposed bill introduced this session in the [Washington] state House of Representatives…[cops] would be required to bring minors to one of…two “receiving centers,” or another safe location — instead of booking youth into detention for prostitution offenses…the proposed bill stops short of decriminalizing prostitution for minors, maintaining [cops’] ability to arrest youth [who don’t submit to rape or otherwise displease the pigs]…“But we’re not expecting that (the youth) would be put in handcuffs,” [lied] Val Richey, a senior deputy prosecutor in King County, who [relies on voter ignorance to advance his schemes]…

Stupor Bowl (#765)

Prohibitionists are trying to subvert our debunking of the gypsy whores myth by pretending the reason there’s no surge is that the “demand” for “victims” is  always sky-high:

As the Twin Cities prepares to host Super Bowl LII, planning has long been underway to address any accompanying uptick in prostitution or sex trafficking.  While people elsewhere have made claims that the Super Bowl is the biggest time for sex trafficking, a University of Minnesota report noted “the Super Bowl does not appear to have the largest impact.”  Different types of events — such as trade shows, holiday weekends and other sporting events — also generate an increase…with the public’s attention on the Super Bowl, those who work to help trafficked people in Minnesota are seizing the opportunity to get the word out about an issue that endures year-round…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#786) 

Under a “legalization” regime, sex workers are still persecuted using idiotic and arbitrary nonsense like “illegally subdividing a building”:

Police have arrested nearly 100 suspected sex workers…in one of Hong Kong’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns, raiding a building where flats had been illegally subdivided into more than 100 cubicles converted into brothel rooms…[they arrested] two women from Ukraine, one from Kazakhstan, 13 from Thailand and 59 female visitors from the mainland…at least two [criminal]…syndicates had arranged for the 99 suspects to work and provide sex services in the “one-woman” brothels…

Cooties (#787) 

It looks like at least some UK reporters are realizing that so-called “pop-up brothels” are just ordinary, mundane escort touring incalls rather than the tools of “sex trafficking” from cop wanking fantasies:

Sex workers…are behind…”pop-up brothels”…[they] tour the country and work out of short-term rental accommodation…For sex workers, there’s no manager taking a cut of their earnings like there is in a conventional brothel.  For clients, there’s no walking through the doors of a known brothel.  When [a sex worker] decides where she’s going, she either gets in touch with…friends she’s worked with in the past, or she gets in touch with other sex workers via private internet forums, looking for people who might be up for joining her on a trip…the pair then hire an apartment together for a long weekend…Then, they’ll use social media to find new clients in the area…Once they’ve got clients, they set up a rota (or work as a “duo” offering threesomes)…

Shame, Shame (#798) 

A culture more worried about the sexual applications of this than about the government’s ability to fabricate evidence with it is a culture overdue for collapse:

The grosser parts of the internet have a new trick: Using machine learning and AI to swap celebrities’ faces onto porn performers’.  The result?  Fake celebrity porn seamless enough to be mistaken for the real thing…And now that someone has made an app—drastically lowering the technical threshold would-be creators have to clear— it’s presumably about to become much more prevalent.  For reasons that are eye-poppingly obvious, these videos…are terrible…It’s a new frontier for nonconsensual pornography and fake news alike…And…If you live in the United States and someone does this with your face, the law can’t really help you.  To many [privileged] people on the internet [who have nothing more important to worry about], especially women, this looks a whole lot like the end times.  “I share your sense of doom,” [said pro-censorship activist] Mary Anne Franks

The Widening Gyre (#801) 

I love Lenore Skenazy’s snarky treatment of these absurd stories:

A worried South Bend [Indiana] mother thought two men might be trying to abduct her daughter at a local store. [Who cares? End of story.]  Police investigated it as a suspicious persons report.  [Because it wasn’t an attempted crime.]  Haley Craig says…“Was just at the T.J.Maxx in Mishawaka and there were men in there who attempted to steal Eva.  I believe there were multiple men inside the store who were in on it together. [And I believe my goldfish is having an affair with my oven mitt.]…Police can’t confirm the mom’s fears of an attempted abduction, but they say it’s still a worrisome situation. [No it’s not.]  What Craig said she experienced inside of T.J. Maxx definitely sounds scary. A strange man comes up to her and starts bombarding her with questions. [“Definitely scary” indeed. Never have I been spoken to by a strange person, EVER.]…“[He was] trying to divert my attention away from my daughter”…Craig said. [Because the easiest way to snatch a child is in public, indoors, steps from its mom, who, distracted by questions about the price of Progresso Lentil Soup, doesn’t notice her child is being dragged screaming down the aisle, past the customers and cashiers, into a parking lot filled with people, and off to sex traffic land]

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Everyone has to have a first time.  –  Michael Diebold

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

It’s so nice to watch them feeding on their own:

Yet another [pig] has been  caught up in a child-sex sting conducted by his colleagues…Michael Diebold—chief of police for the small Western Pennsylvania town of Leechburg—was arrested after arranging a sexual tryst with [a cop] he [should have known] was [not] a 14-year-old girl…Diebold was not initially seeking an underage companion; his ad [on Kik] sought an adult female for a consensual dom/sub relationship.  But the chief was apparently undeterred when the “woman” who responded said she was actually just 14 years old and in the eight grade. “Everyone has to have a first time,” Diebold allegedly responded…

N.B.: Western Pennsylvania cops rape sex workers before arresting them even more frequently than is typical in the U.S.

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

Ireland has witnessed a surge in sexually transmitted diseases with the peak transmission period of the Christmas and New Year party season still to report…rates of all major STIs have dramatically increased from 2012-2016…there has been an increase in detection of HIV (+51%), Syphilis (+11%), Gonorrhea (+53%), Chlamydia (+10%) and Herpes (+21%)…

Scapegoats 

I don’t think ‘ve ever seen the word “molest” used in this context before:

…an [Alabama] man is…accused with [sic] molesting a horse…18-year-old Daniel Bennett was caught in the horse’s stable…The…owner of the…horse, a 20-year-old mare named Polly, told investigators she suspected the horse’s stall had been tampered with several times throughout December…

Unlike a certain fellow Alabamian, I guess Daniel likes older ladies.

Whatever They Need To Say

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

December saw another raid on a sex workers’ workplace in Tel Aviv, with 11 people arrested on charges of running a “prostitution ring”…The majority of those arrested are [charged with] money laundering and evading millions of shekels in taxes.  Hebrew media reports have been sensationalist…Over the last year, the district surrounding the central bus station has been targeted for increased raids, and many argue this is related directly to gentrification of the area.  There is an increased police presence, and landlords have taken to increasing rents at rapid speeds and evicting people they suspect to be sex workers…many of whom have been based in the area for decades…

Standard Operating Procedure

If only amateurs realized how common this sort of thing is:

Eager to please the young leader of a promising potential ally in the Middle East, the CIA enlisted the help of billionaire Howard Hughes’s longtime fixer to find women for Jordan’s King Hussein…during his spring 1959 trip to the United States…[the arrangement] likely turned into a relationship between Hussein and B-movie actress Susan Cabot that may have produced the son who eventually beat Cabot to death in 1986…the agency used private investigator Robert Maheu, a former FBI agent, to find “female companionship” for the 23-year-old King during his trip to Los Angeles…The document refers only to a “foreign head of state” but the timeline included in the memo corresponds to the times Hussein was in the United States…

Dysphemisms Galore 

One day, “People who need money do lucrative work to get it!” will be recognized as the non-story it is:

As homelessness mounts…a growing number of young men are selling sex online.  [Manchester’s] male sex workers often use websites like Craigslist to advertise to clients…And…”survival sex” is becoming increasingly common amongst the hundreds of young men selling their bodies…Many…have recently been released from prison…Charity workers say they can look unremarkable, making it difficult to identify [them for targeted “rescue” persecution]…

The Punitive Mindset (#600) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

Hours after…ACLU…accused it of censorship, New Jersey prison officials rolled back a ban on Michelle Alexander’s influential critique of mass incarceration, The New Jim Crow…State prison systems ban thousands upon thousands of books…Texas, one of the most censorious prison systems in the nation, bans roughly 10,000 publications, including  The Color PurpleWhere’s Waldo?, and John Pfaff’s Locked In, another book on mass incarceration.  It does, however, allow Mein Kampf.  Just last week, new rules went into effect at three New York prisons banning care packages that aren’t purchased through one of five approved vendors…NYC Books Through Bars, a volunteer group that sends free books to inmates across the country…wrote in a letter last week to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that…”The approved vendors’ catalogs are currently limited to the following books: five romance novels, fourteen bibles and other religious texts, twenty-­four drawing or coloring books, twenty-­one puzzle books, eleven guitar, chess, and how-­to books, one dictionary, and one thesaurus.  No books that help people learn to overcome addictions…no…literature…No texts that help provide skills essential to finding and maintaining work after release“…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#604) 

Nope.  The primary customers for male sex robots, like the primary customers for male sex workers, will also be male:

…Matt McMullen, CEO of Realbotix…[said] he is aiming to release a male [sexbot]…which he is yet to name…Dr Cathy O’Neil [fantasizes]…that sex robots could rending men obsolete…Dr David Levy [fantasized] male [robots]…could be more popular than sex toys such as vibrators and dildos.  He [moronically stated] “I’m sure women will find robots equally appealing as men”…

O, Canada! (#785)

After you read this prohibitionist propaganda, follow the title link back for the truth about the recently-renamed “Operation Northern Spotlight”:

…They’re called vice probes, or door knocks.  London [Ontario]’s human trafficking unit was formed in early 2016, and uses [deceiving sex workers] as a way to [force contact with] women they [claim] might need help…[cops] pore over advertisements posted on popular websites advertising sex work, looking for [fantasized] signs of trafficking — women who move around frequently, look very young, are branded in some way, such as a tattoo, or who have few restrictions about the sex work they offer…

The Mote and the Beam (#798)

I’m afraid this might be too little, too late:

Craigslist has hired its first federal lobbyists…from the law firm Sidley Austin LLP, including former Rep. Rick Boucher…The hires…were prompted by a pair of sex trafficking bills that has galvanized opposition from web companies [because]…they threaten the legal framework underlying the [internet]…the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act…would make it easier for prosecutors and [profiteers]…to go after…Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that gives broad legal protections for web platforms from content posted by their users…The legislation also appeared to prompt the popular forum site Reddit to hire its first federal lobbyists

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I will eat Mum on Christmas Day.  –  Debra Parsons

Add to your list of Maggie’s weird little personality quirks: I love Rube Goldberg machines.  Always have, ever since childhood; I was very fond of the game “Mousetrap”, and loved such gimmicks in cartoons.  So naturally I’m kind of a sucker for elaborate domino layouts like this one (and it’s seasonal)!  The links above it were provided by Tim Cushing (“oops”), Eddie J Cunningham (“does”),  Maura Alwyen (“again”), Elizabeth N. Brown (“whatsoever” and “court”), Adjective Girl (“ago”), and Ed Krayewski (“bystander”).

From the Archives

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