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Posts Tagged ‘Safe Position’

It’s kind of like the universe conspired for this to happen.  –  Aidan Hill

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Tameika Lovell was retrieving luggage at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport when Customs and Border Protection officers detained her for a…search….[after] a short Jamaica vacation.  Lovell, who is black, had been stopped before, but this time a CBP supervisor began asking questions she hadn’t heard previously.  “Don’t you think you’re spending too much money traveling?”…Inside a secure room…a female CBP officer searched Lovell’s belongings, presumably for illegal drugs, and asked if she was using a tampon or sanitary pad…Lovell replied “no” and complied when told to remove her shoes, lift her arms and spread her legs…the officer squeezed Lovell’s breasts, and, “placed her right hand into [Lovell’s] pants ‘forcibly’ inserting four gloved fingers into plaintiff’s vagina” before parting Lovell’s buttocks “for viewing”…Her case is one of at least 11 since 2011 examined by the Center for Public Integrity…The women who’ve brought these lawsuits, including two minor girls, say CBP…subjected them to indignities — such as strip searches while menstruating and prohibited genital probing — despite finding no contraband.  Four women further allege they were handcuffed and transported to hospitals where, against their will, one underwent a pelvic exam and X-rays.  In one of the cases, the woman…was intravenously drugged at the hospital…

Monsters 

The only positive point here is that local politicians condemned the hatred:

A middle school in Achille, Oklahoma is closed following violent threats by parents on social media against Maddie, a 12-year-old transgender [girl] who…used the girls’ bathroom.  Maddie had been using the staff bathroom at her old school but used the girls’ bathroom at the new school because she wasn’t sure where the staff bathroom was.  She was then accused of peeping under a bathroom stall…[and] the threats began on a private parents’ Facebook group for the school.  The parents called Maddie “it” and “thing”, suggested that her genitalia be mutilated to make her female (“a good sharp knife will do the job real quick”).  One said it was “hunting season on them kind” and said there was “no bag limit”…

Deafening Silence (#427)

A fascinating look at male actor/sex workers in 19th century China:

…the theater was a venue of culture but also an erotic space.  Patrons in particular focused their obsessions on the actors – almost always male – who played the dàn, or lead female role in the performance…There existed an implicit understanding of the theater, and its performers, as sex workers.  It was even assumed in [rape] cases…[where] attackers [got lower sentences for raping sex workers]…Following the fall of the Qing Dynasty, modernizers in the government of the new Republic of China and in the city of Beijing began to issue regulations which they hoped would curtail the brothels and theaters…[but] despite…efforts…to destroy the culture of male prostitution in Beijing, the trade continued into the mid-20th century when even more puritanical…politicians in the post-1949 era would employ drastic measures which pushed most prostitution – male and female – deep into the shadows for the next few decades…

The Public Eye (#439) 

Sex workers who are also performing artists are valuable ambassadors for us:

…Kate McGrew hopes her new stage show will make audiences think, by highlighting the dangers of our new prostitution laws.  The reality TV star, who made her name in the RTE show Connected…plans to hammer home the message in…her new production Hookers Do It Standing Up…“It has serious points, but lots of punchlines, humour, and musings on the experiences and struggles of sex workers, and how bad laws and attitudes affect us”…Under her stage name Lady Grew, the singer, actor and dancer is now taking her campaign to the stage in Dublin Fringe Festival…

Little Boxes (#579)

Being forced by a corporation to have undesired sexual contact with strangers is “team building”, but choosing to have sexual contact with strangers who desire it is a “crime”:

We’ve launched the world’s first “Cuddle a Co-worker” event to provide a unique alternative to the standard team building exercises you’ll normally find…the event lasts an entire working day and involves co-workers cuddling in a “relaxation tent” designed to reduce stress and encourage team bonding…skin on skin contact…promotes Oxytocin and Serotonin release.  Oxytocin has physical and psychological effects on the brain, including influencing social behaviour and emotion, whilst Serotonin is the hormone which allows humans to feel happiness…co-workers will be required to cuddle each other in a variety of different positions and will need to switch partners every two hours – so that you have a chance to bond with everyone…there will also be a group cuddling session, as well as a conflict resolution cuddle session…


Real People (#710)

Here’s a look at the stories of three residents of Casa Xochiquetzal, Mexico City’s home for retired sex workers.  The tales are by turns beautiful and sad, and it would do them an injustice to even attempt to synopsize them here; please read them and remember that these are the women prohibitionists want to demonize as criminals or infantilize as permanent victims.

Pyrrhic Victory (#781)

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

The U.S. government is trying to force Facebook…to break the encryption in its popular Messenger app so [pigs and spooks can eavesdrop on private]…conversations…resurrecting the issue of whether companies can be compelled to alter their products to enable surveillance…The previously unreported case in a federal court in California is proceeding under seal, so no filings are publicly available, but…three [whistleblowers reported] that Facebook is contesting the…demand.  The…government [is trying] to hold Facebook in contempt of court for refusing to carry out the surveillance request…If the government prevails…it could…force companies to rewrite other popular encrypted services such as Signal and Facebook’s billion-user WhatsApp…

The Lion and the Ox (#796)

“Sex trafficking” means whatever “authorities” want it to mean:

…a federal judge in Manhattan ruled that former film executive Harvey Weinstein can be sued under a federal sex-trafficking law by an actress who claims he coerced her to have sex in exchange for a movie role that never materialized…Police have not charged Harvey Weinstein with sex trafficking.  But the judge’s ruling means that the civil suit, brought by British actress Kadian Noble, can proceed…Weinstein’s lawyers said they would appeal the decision…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

Welfare recipients are another guinea pig for invasive surveillance methods:

Officials with the Department of Human Assistance, or DHA, in Sacramento, California, have been using license plate readers since 2016 to investigate welfare fraud…DHA violated California state laws dictating that any entity using a license plate database must institute a privacy-and-usage policy that includes regular audits and record keeping…The DHA was using a feature of the license plate reader that collects data about every single vehicle in a particular location, regardless of whether the vehicle belonged to a welfare recipient…and…19 agencies that have been sharing such data with the DHA, including police departments in Texas and Iowa…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#825) 

Texas is replacing Washington and Arizona as the most active producer of “sex trafficking” idiocy:

…Houston…is a known hub for sex trafficking…said Dennis Mark…[of] Redeemed Ministries…As efforts to criminalize prostitution in the city increase, the underground industry is spreading to surrounding areas…he said.  Debi Tengler…[of] Arrow Child and Family Ministries, [which runs a private prison] in Spring, [ludicrously bloviated] “The tighter you squeeze the tube, the more toothpaste squeezes out”…Texas…has the second most of any state…“We…hit…the streets and go…after the prostitutes…and…also online tactics,” [oinked a filthy pig]…Police are also cracking down on brothels disguised as businesses…such as massage parlors and hotels…A December 2016 University of Texas [fantasy claimed]…there were…79,000…juvenile sex trafficking victims [in Texas]…

Disaster (#850)

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

SESTA-FOSTA…received bipartisan support [like most truly awful police-state expansions]…Since the law was passed, there has been a swell of protests, political actions and new forms of grassroots organizing among the American sex worker rights community…Perhaps the highest profile efforts to repeal SESTA-FOSTA emerged on June 28th, when the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit against the federal government…on the grounds of First and Fifth Amendment violations…

There’s more in this article, which also mentions Salazar’s candidacy (see below).

Safe Position (#851)

If the Democratic Party were run by people who care about human rights, this would be its official position:

Julia Salazar, a candidate for the New York state Senate, is doing what [only a minuscule number of] Democratic politicians have done before:  taking sex workers’ rights seriously.  The 27-year-old democratic socialist, who is shaping her policy by consulting the sex work community, is one of the first candidates to…support those workers, including by proposing concrete steps toward decriminalization…Salazar, who is challenging eight-term incumbent Democratic state Sen. Martin Dilan, has centered her campaign around affordable housing and other policy positions championed by the insurgent left.  But her plan to defend sex workers’ rights has energized a community that has been understandably skeptical of electoral politics.  One hundred sex workers and their allies have signed up to attend a canvassing event in the Brooklyn district for Salazar’s campaign on Sunday, ahead of the September 13 primary.  This follows an event earlier this month, when upward of 120 sex workers and activists hosted a pizza party for Salazar…[whose] platform outlines steps toward decriminalization that include an end to raids on massage parlors; working with district attorneys to stop charging sex workers with crimes; and creating a network of optional social services to address workers’ needs, such as housing, child care, syringe access, and…repealing the exemption for sex workers under New York’s rape shield law…

The Widening Gyre (#864) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter; this one’s even funnier than usual to me because it’s from Baton Rouge, roughly 50 miles from where I grew up, a city so cheap and dead it wasn’t even worth keeping an escort service ad posted in the phone book there.  And the mentioned towns are the kind of hick places where the opening of a new auto parts store is the highlight of the season’s social calendar.  One wonders if Kylie and her legion of dumbass retweeters think these “perfume samples” are actually phials of the fabled pimp mind-control philter which will enable them to instantly enslave any hapless girl who whiffs them.

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[Loitering laws are] a way of harassing people and discriminating when you don’t like the way they look.  –  Amy Paulin

One Size Fits All

Calling rape “sex trafficking” is a good way to inflate numbers:

…the man who raped 13-year-old Laura Skelly has not been arrested or charged…when Laura…ran away…from their Fort Lauderdale, Fl., home, the local police didn’t respond to Mary Skelly’s initial plea for help…Laura finally turned up on her mother’s doorstep 10 days later, with a flower tattoo, bruised, beaten and raped…Although Mary provided the Fort Lauderdale police department with the name, date of birth, address, and even the Instagram account of the 22-year-old man who trafficked her daughter…no one…followed up…This doesn’t surprise John Rode, a…private [dick]…who searches for missing and runaway children in south Florida…“Human trafficking is not only…young girls coming out of containers…Girl runs away from home.  A few days later someone takes her in, gets her on drugs, and she’s held against her will.  Now she’s a victim of human trafficking”…

Just Call Me Nobody

Sometimes the ignorance of pigs is utterly mind-boggling:

[Sow] Debra Stiles of the Longview [Texas Pig] Department [fantasized]…”We have girls selling themselves for $10…on websites and social media…I haven’t had one say they are STD free.  They can’t go get the medical help they need…”

Truth:  Streetwalkers have STI rates half those in promiscuous amateurs (such as cops), and escorts have much lower rates than that.  And it’s amateurs who run around saying they’re “disease free”, because it’s a given among sex workers due to our far higher standards.  But even if that weren’t true, is there anyone at all who is such an ignoramus as to believe that literally every member of any group is infected with STIs?

Bread and Circuses 

Just a reminder:  I owned an escort service like this one, only smaller:

…Brandon Martin and Tameko Lindo [were arrested] for money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with their ownership and operation of Flawless Escorts, a nationwide [escort service]…Flawless Escorts’ website [was also seized]…U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman [clutched his pearls and spouted a lot of ludicrous dysphemisms about an ordinary business]…HSI [stooge] Angel M. Melendez said:  “In just under four years, these defendants are alleged to have secured more than three thousand hotel bookings”…

In other words, an average of about two a day.  Don’t these idiots realize how stupid they sound?

Choke Point (#593) 

Decriminalization is just the beginning:

A Wellington brothel owner is furious at banks who will not let her open a business account.  Prostitution was decriminalised 15 years ago but that has not put an end to…discrimination…by the banking industry…”We…approached every bank in New Zealand and no one would take it…We’ve got no criminal record, we don’t have a debt to our name … it’s just crazy.”  Another sex worker, who did not want to be named, said she had a similar experience…when trying to open a business account…”They said they didn’t deem it a real occupation”…banks…are not allowed to discriminate against individuals due to occupation, [but] can decline to give credit or products to certain industries…

Part of the Picture (#665)

This article on how men & women respond to porn contains the following important point:

Sometimes people will call porn a “superstimulus” and it is definitely not.  It does not do anything outside of what the body and brain can already generate by itself.  Dopamine increases when you’re watching porn, but only in areas of the brain where it traditionally increases with other types of rewards as well.  Dopamine does spike with cocaine and it does happen with porn, but it happens with a million other things we don’t consider addictive.  There’s nothing that special about it.  It’s just our brain doing its reward thing…For something to be considered an addiction, it has to meet a lot of different criteria, and if it doesn’t meet all of them then it can’t be called an addiction…For instance, if someone has a problem with methamphetamines and you show them a picture of someone using them…their brain…[has] a higher reactivity.  That does not exist for porn.  We tested that in people who thought they were addicted to porn and found that they had a lower response, if anything…

Negative Secondary Effects

Welcome to our world, tattoo artists:

When Ted Legendre purchased a nearly 30-year-old tattoo parlor in LaPlace [Louisiana] a couple years ago, he had no idea he was buying a business that St. John the Baptist Parish would eventually consider legally akin to a sex shop or strip club.  But when the council changed the parish’s zoning rules last year, that’s exactly what happened.  So when Legendre tried to move Tattoos Unlimited…to a more visible spot in a strip mall…he couldn’t get approval to open — even though the parish had given him a green light to renovate the space…The St. John Planning and Zoning Department denied Legendre a permit because any business classified as an “adult use” is not allowed to operate within 1,000 feet of a day care facility…or…numerous other types of buildings in the parish, including churches, community centers or even residences…the new law…effectively ban[s] any “adult use” businesses on the east bank of the parish…

What the story doesn’t say:  95% of the population of St. John Parish lives on the east bank, and the only ways to the west bank are ferries or driving roughly 20 miles to the nearest bridge, then the same distance back on a winding two-lane highway.  Bet you can guess the excuse (hint: see subtitle).

Profit from Panic (#701) 

The infantilization of sex workers is growing ever more absurd:

…victims of human trafficking have to learn skills many people take for granted, including how to eat right…the average age of a child sold for sex is 13 years old…End Slavery is a group that helps rehabilitate and give life skills to survivors of human trafficking…In Tennessee there are around 100 minors trafficked every month…one issue that keeps them from living fulfilling lives is understanding what consists of a proper diet…

The subtitle-linked article claimed “survivors” don’t know how to tie their shoes.

Checklist (#783)

The real purpose of this scheme is to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system:

According to a 2014 survey of about 100 survivors of sex trafficking, 88 percent said that while they were being trafficked they had contact with a health care provider, typically someone in an emergency department…a growing number of hospitals and health care systems…are putting [surveillance] programs in place.  They want to [indoctrinate] staff to [interfere in sex workers lives and report them to the pigs]…nearly 300 staff members at Huntington Hospital and a family clinic have received [indoctrination] in how to spot [sex workers] and [snitch on] them…

Lack of Evidence (#792) 

If sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

An ordinance passed last month by Chicago’s City Council outlawing “prostitution-related loitering” will lead to more arrests of unsuspecting women and transgender people of color, activists said, and is unlikely to stem demand for prostitution.  The ordinance, which passed by unanimous voice vote, allows police to order a person they [claim] is “loitering for the purpose of prostitution” to leave the area for at least eight hours.  If they return, they could face fines ranging from $50 to $500 and up to six months in jail…Responding to [demands] from [prohibitionists]…the final version of the ordinance [cl]aimed to more harshly punish men who buy sex…In a written statement, [bill sponsor Jason] Ervin said…“I…want to punish people for…standing on a public sidewalk”…“It is…our…goal to arrest street prostitutes,” Tina Skahill, general counsel for the Chicago Police Department, told the committee…

Under Every Bed (#844)

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

Robert Leslie, senior deputy attorney general…[for] West Virginia…[bloviated that “sex trafficking”]…involves children…as young as 6…”it’s such an underground economy that we don’t really know exactly how big it is”…Berkeley County…Sheriff Curtis Keller…said…”These pimps or johns, whatever you want to call them, get these women addicted and then, they starting using them as a means of making money…They can even move these women around at will, so it definitely falls in the category of human trafficking,…We get calls about women jumping out of cars or just trying to take off from other people, and to me, that’s a form of what human trafficking includes,” he said [while furtively masturbating behind he podium]…

“Human trafficking” includes women jumping out of cars, says the sheriff, who appears to be confused about different meanings of the word “traffic”.

Safe Position 

I’ll be watching this race with interest:

…public defender Daron Morris…is challenging [incumbent prosecutor Dan] Satterberg on…the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office[‘s persecution of]…sex work…Morris is supported by the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Seattle…[and] supports decriminalizing prostitution…Satterberg…said he…support[s harassing]…sex workers…through violence and coercion…Morris has also criticized the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for accepting grant money from an anti-prostitution group called Demand Abolition.  He said the group was allowed too much influence over county policy, requiring certain statements to the press…

Fair-Weather Friends

Oh, what a surprise:

…a whistleblower…inside the Columbus Police Department…[revealed that] the arrest of Stormy Daniels…[was] pre-planned days before she ever arrived in town…the…whistleblower…contacted the [Fayette] Advocate with numerous emails between several high-ranking Columbus police detectives and vice [cops].  Inside the emails are news clippings discussing Daniels’ planned appearance in Columbus, pictures of Daniels with President Donald Trump, videos of her dancing, and even a map to the club where she would be performing, all sent days before she would pull into town…The bulk of the emails…are from the…account of Detective Shana Keckley…one of the lead-arresting [pigs] the night that the “sting” operation went down…“The emails definitely show that the police lied about it being a prostitution and human trafficking mission,” the whistleblower said…

While I’m pleased at the tipoff, I must point out that this whisteblower is still a cop, and perfectly happy to participate in using consensual “crimes” to destroying the lives of non-famous people who aren’t politically useful.

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

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

In many parts of the world, [frogs] are…beginning to accept the use of facial recognition technology to [boil them]…the Lockport City School District in New York plans to [install such a surveillance system]…In light of the [school] shooting…[hysteria of] recent years, parents…might vote to allow it…[but] schools [will certainly]…track students across the campus, profile them, and…collect and store the data…then trade them with the government…the New York Civil Liberties Union has asked the state’s education department to ban the technology from schools, saying it would “have a chilling effect on school climate…Lockport…views students as potential criminals who must have their faces scanned wherever they go,” said Stefanie Coyle, Education Counsel and John Curr III, Director, NYCLU.  The two…further pointed out that [when] the databases linked up to the system include those used for immigration enforcement, it could make [sensible] parents of immigrant students afraid to send their children to school…

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The government needs to get the fuck out of our bedrooms.  –  Cris Sardina

Under Every Bed

It’s almost like these people have never actually been to central Kentucky:

Human Trafficking is considered modern-day slavery and is widespread in Central Kentucky, where adults and children are being bought, sold and smuggled.  It…is the second-largest criminal enterprise in the world…“Any adult or child can fall prey to the manipulative recruitment and grooming tactics of traffickers,” said Attorney General Andy Beshear…This is worsened by Kentucky’s proximity to the I-75 corridor, where victims can be transported quickly to other states under the radar.  “When we talk about the crime of human trafficking, people often think of…people following people around Walmart or Target attempting a kidnapping,” said Robyn Diez d’Aux, a human trafficking advocate with Catholic Charities…

The Widening Gyre (#317)

Remember the Froot Loop who claimed pop stars cause “sex trafficking”?  Nicki Minaj says “hold my beer”:

“Maybe I was naïve, but I didn’t realize how many girls were modern-day prostitutes,” Nicki Minaj recently said in an interview with Elle Magazine.  “Whether you’re a stripper, or whether you’re an Instagram girl—these girls are so beautiful and they have so much to offer.  But I started finding out that you give them a couple thousand dollars, and you can have sex with them….It’s just sad that they don’t know their worth…And it makes me sad that maybe I’ve contributed to that in some way.”  Nicki, Nicki, Nicki.  Girl.  Why do you look down on sex workers?  You’re literally imitating one…For all intents and purposes, Nicki Minaj is at least sex worker adjacent.  She uses her body as a sexual prop, undergoing intensive cosmetic surgery to create a hyper-sexualized body…in order to sell hyper-sexualized music.  She’s…selling a sexual performance that relies on her sexuality just as much as it does the music.  Kinda like a stripper…It’s as if she’s just awoken from a deep coma in which her body and career were the handiwork of Norman Bates’ mother…

See, ladies, giving sex away for free is “knowing your worth”, but charging for it isn’t.  Thanks for clearing that up, Nicki!

Property of the State (#451)

One of the sleaziest legal dodges this year:

A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals…vacated a lower court decision striking Wisconsin’s “cocaine mom” law, also known as a “personhood” law, [using the excuse that] the case was now moot because the woman challenging the law had moved out of state…Under the law, social workers can begin [Star Chamber] legal proceedings in which a court can appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the fetus in the legal proceedings against the pregnant person.  If that person is found to be a substantial threat to the fetus, the state can involuntarily detain them and subject them to involuntary medical treatment…In 2014, Tamara Loertscher  voluntarily sought medical help for depression and a severe thyroid condition that resulted in Loertscher experiencing debilitating lethargy.  Loertcher had begun to self-medicate with marijuana and methamphetamine as this condition took hold.  When she suspected she was pregnant, Loertscher disclosed this information to health-care workers who first confirmed Loertscher’s pregnancy then immediately reported her to…authorities, who initiated legal proceedings against her…the court appointed a guardian for Loertscher’s fetus but denied Loertscher counsel…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#506)

Remember 110 clients in one day? How about 182 a day for 15 years?

Kat Lee, 32, from Manchester, has spent 15 years working as a legal “out-call” escort but says the work was lonely, often dangerous and led to drink problems that resulted in her having her stomach pumped.  Now Kat – who was lured into the job by a photographer when she was still a teen – says people turn to prostitution for the wrong reasons and she would welcome a ban.  She said: “I worked (as an escort) from when I was 18 until I was in my 30s, I must have seen over a million clients…

To Molest and Rape 

Seattle doesn’t want anyone to know what this rapist looks like:

A jury found a former Seattle Police Department sergeant guilty…of four counts related to the rape and molestation of his two older daughters.  Daniel Amador…routinely raped his older daughter, A.B., about five times a week and also molested his younger daughter, C.A…The rapes began when [A.B.] was about 9 years old and continued until she was in college…

If anyone can find me a face shot of this disgusting pile of feces wrapped in human skin, please send it along.

Broken Record (#750)

Omaha has only one event it can pretend to be a “sex trafficking” magnet, and uses it every year:

The College World Series brings excitement to baseball fans…”We know 900 individuals are bought and sold in a month – multiple times,” [fantasized the drooling] Meghan Malik…[of] Women’s Fund of Omaha…Some possible warning signs from victims include [shyness and adults with their kids]…

Original Sin (#803)

There’s something very appropriate about an article full of lies & propaganda opening with a misattribution:

One of my favorite quotes is by Albert Einstein – “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”  That’s why I was drawn to working for Voices for Florida…Florida ranks 3rd in the country for the prevalence of human trafficking.  In 2016, 356 child victims of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) were verified in Florida…

That quote isn’t from Einstein; it’s from Rita Mae Brown.  And as I’ve explained before, there is no comparative ranking of states for “human trafficking”.

Standard Operating Procedure (#814)

Charity barred from bringing money into poor country because white ladies are offended:

Oxfam GB has been banned from operating in Haiti permanently in the wake of revelations about..the charity’s employees….[hired] sex workers while in the country after the January 2010 earthquake that left more than 220,000 people dead…Oxfam will continue to operate in Haiti through its Italian, Spanish and Quebecois affiliate members [who are obviously all celibate and never, ever hire local people to provide any service whatsoever].  Oxfam’s projects in the Caribbean country help 750,000 people through work on reconstruction and development projects…

To Molest and Rape (#843) 

It’s rare that politicians’ tendency toward “monkey see, monkey do” actually works for good:

Louisiana just became the 19th state to make it illegal for cops to [rape] individuals arrested or in custody…It’s the latest in a wave of states acting on the issue since a high-profile case in New York brought it to national attention last fall [after sex workers have talked about it for years, but have been ignored].  Prior to the New York case, about 15 states had similar laws on the books…

Pyrrhic Victory (#844) 

Are the hoi-polloi finally waking up to how “cool” technology is used to expand the police state?

Amazon received an unexpected delivery [on June 18th] when community leaders dropped off four big boxes of signatures urging the company to stop selling image recognition technology to law enforcement agencies.  Activists representing faith groups, immigrants, and labor held a press conference at Amazon’s iconic Spheres in Seattle.  The event is part of an ongoing effort to get Amazon to stop providing police with its Rekognition software.  On [June 15th], nearly 20 groups of Amazon shareholders sent a letter asking the company to stop the practice…For weeks, the American Civil Liberties Union has been urging Amazon not to sell Rekognition to police…ACLU organized the event at Amazon’s headquarters…Amazon is not commenting on the petition but one of the company’s AI executives, Matt Wood, [falsely claimed that]…“There has been no reported law enforcement abuse of Amazon Rekognition”, [completely ignoring cops’ use of the technology to persecute sex workers]…

Safe Position

No, this isn’t a “turning point”; that title goes to the sea change which told politicians it was a safe move:

…close to 200 sex workers and their allies attended a town hall in Brooklyn, New York, to hear Democratic Congressional candidate Suraj Patel and a panel of sex workers and activists discuss the sex workers’ rights movement.  It’s the first known town hall to include sex workers in U.S. political history.  Patel’s campaign and Survivors Against SESTA organized the event…Patel is one of very few Democrat politicians to speak out against [FOSTA/SESTA] and openly support sex workers’ advocacy.  Prominent [authoritarian] Democrats and presidential hopefuls Elizabeth Warren…Bernie Sanders…and Kamala Harris…as well as Patel’s opponent in the New York primary, Carolyn Maloney…supported the anti-sex [worker] legislation [knowing full well] it would…[harm] sex workers…

Lack of Evidence (#848)

Another small but important victory for sex workers:

Allegheny County [cops] will no longer criminalize condoms in prostitution-related cases, the department superintendent said…Coleman McDonough…[admitted] that [cops] can still file possession charges based on cellphones, which are often categorized as instruments of crime…Activist groups — including the burgeoning Pittsburgh chapter of the Sex Worker Outreach Project — mobilized and began calling for the police and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. to end the practice…PJ Sage [of SWOP Pittsburgh] said the group will remain dedicated to changing the practice of possession of instrument of crime charges relating to cellphones…

Disaster (#850)

Another casualty of the War on Whores:

The Desiree Conference…is regarded as the most important gathering of its kind for sex workers and allies.  [But] Due to FOSTA/SESTA enactments, our leadership made the decision that we cannot put our organization and our attendees at risk,” Desiree Alliance announced  on its website…Cris Sardina, director at the Desiree Alliance…said… “Even something as simple as hotel hospitality potentially alerting local police to suspicious people or behavior could put a group of 500 activists and sex works at major risk”…Even a workshop on how to advertise online could be [misrepresented by cops] as an intention to traffic a sex worker, so even the most tame of the conference activities could be up for legal scrutiny…

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Fucking over sex workers is a way [Democrats] can be bipartisan.
– Sean McElwee

Life Imitates Artifice

Prohibitionist tactics remain the same no matter what they’re trying to prohibit:

Members of Congress…held a press conference…to announce a letter signed by 56 GOP lawmakers calling for investigations into a report from discredited anti-choice group Live Action Network accusing Planned Parenthood of covering up child sexual abuse…[this] follows a familiar game plan, including coordination between an anti-choice activist group and Republican lawmakers.  This round of attacks come as the Trump administration looks to reinstate a…restriction blocking federal family planning funds from organizations that provide abortion services in the same location as Title X-funded services…The Live Action report…includes discredited and extensively edited “sting” footage originally reported in 2008 and 2011…

This laudatory article from Christian Post has a bit more meat:

Laura J. Lederer, president of Global Centurion…[fantasized] that abortions and the sex trade are “inextricably linked.”   She recently conducted a study…in which the findings revealed that approximately 30 percent the trafficking victims surveyed reported multiple abortions.  Traffickers would routinely threaten their lives and beat them if they became pregnant, Lederer said.  One survivor whose abuse was especially brutal at the hands of her trafficker “said that she had 17 abortions over the time she was trafficked, all of them at the same clinic”…

I’m honestly surprised that the “forced sex trafficking abortions” myth didn’t become more popular, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore and anti-abortion activism.

Moloch 

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

…18-year-old Mariea Starr…[of] Waynesboro, Pennsylvania…was caught by another student allegedly performing oral sex on a boy in a school stairwell…Because Starr had turned 18 two months before the incident and the boy she allegedly engaged in oral sex with…was [16, school pig Matthew Gordon]…charged [Starr] with…felony unlawful contact with minors which carries a Tier II sex offender designation…for 25 years, including being photographed by Pennsylvania State Police twice a year…Gordon brought the case without oversight from the district attorney’s office or school district administration because in Pennsylvania [pigs have absolute power to inflict charges on students]…Franklin County District Attorney Matthew Fogal…reduced the charges against Starr to open lewdness.  She was sentenced to 12 months’ probation and will not be placed on the registry.  Nonetheless, Starr will graduate from high school with a criminal record, which will significantly affect her educational and job opportunities…Starr is far from the only student that Gordon…has [fed] into the criminal justice system…

Dirty Laundry

And yet the Times supports the evil of Ruhama, the Magdalene orders’ rebranding:

…220 survivors of Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries convened for a state-sponsored meeting in Dublin…The laundries were filled not only with “fallen women” — prostitutes, women who became pregnant out of marriage or as a result of sexual abuse and those who simply failed to conform — but also orphans and deserted or abused children…The Magdalene Laundries were part of an interlocking system of orphanages, industrial schools, “mother and baby homes” for unwed mothers and church-run institutions in which Ireland…confined…At least 10,000 women and girls…between independence from Britain in 1922 and the closing of the last one in 1996…

The Spiral of Absurdity 

Why do reporters repeat this egregious nonsense without fact-checking?

A sting on the sex-trafficking trade in metro Atlanta netted dozens of arrests and the rescue of dozens of children forced into sexual servitude, the FBI announced…Operation Safe Summer was a collaborative effort between the FBI’s Atlanta field office and 38 law enforcement agencies…The sting ended with nearly 160 children rescued, including one as young as 3 years old, and nearly 150 arrests, convictions or sentences…

Really?  If cops had really discovered 160 kids being held hostage, this would be international news, not a minor local story.  Looks to me like some mouthpiece repeated the number of arrests as the number of “rescued children”.

Between the Ears (#407)

Velvet Swing is the first female sex aid that actually works:

…it’s not exactly surprising that [Mistress Matisse] ended up in the cannabis industry…It’s even less surprising that her first product is a weed lube, called Velvet Swing.  While weed lube—rightly touted as the first truly effective female sex aid—is nothing new, Velvet Swing is the first water-soluble version.  Which kind of means it’s the first one that really qualifies for the term weed lube.  Oil-based lubricants are…not condom safe, meaning that products like Foria or Bond Sensual Oil are effectively restricted to people in monogamous partnerships…

And naturally, Matisse uses the interview to wake up pot-business folks to sex worker rights.

Bait and Switch

Entrapment so blatant even a judge couldn’t swallow it:

…In 2014…Skagit County [Washington] detective Theresa Luvera…posted a sex solicitation on Craigslist’s casual encounters…Craigslist’s rules required all participants to be 18+. something that has undermined sex stings in the past…After some online exchanges between the detective and the defendant, the detective claimed she is underage (“almost 15 but waaay advanced”).  Even further in…the detective brought up money-for-sex.  At every step along the way but the end, the defendant seemingly made it clear he was seeking free sex with a female adult.  Eventually the defendant shows up at the designated rendezvous point baitwith the requested items…The trial court dismissed the prosecution because the “State engaged in outrageous misconduct in violation of a defendant’s due process right to fundamental fairness”…Now that Craigslist has shut down its personals section, I’m not clear where law enforcement will conduct its online sex stings…

The Crumbling Dam (#709)

Alas, Seattle “officials” think harm reduction principles only apply to drug use:

Seattle’s efforts to find a location for its…supervised injection site has turned up nothing, and now the mayor’s office is looking to go mobile.  Jeff Sakuma…point person in finding a site…[said] there are no city or county-owned buildings that meet the criteria…the $2 million the council had set aside is to low to purchase an existing building or buy land and build…a private party that could partner with the city to allow the use of their property as an injection site, “could be subject to seizure by the federal government”…As an alternative…Seattle & King County would purchase a recreation[al] vehicle and remodel it…The mobile [unit] would park either on the street or in a parking lot near a facility that would provide space for a reception area, a waiting area, restroom storage and utility space…

Worse Than I Thought (#745)

Another shitty law specifically designed to harm sex workers:

Phoenix is ramping up the penalties for [adult consensual sex] as part of the city’s ongoing effort to curb [adult consensual sex].  The City Council voted…to fine individuals convicted of soliciting sex workers $2,000 for a second offense, $2,250 for a third offense and $2,500 for each additional conviction. The mandatory fines will be in addition to jail sentences of 15-180 days.  “If we catch you … we’re going to make it as unpleasant for you as we possibly can and I don’t feel bad about that at all,” said Councilman Jim Waring, chair of the Phoenix [anti-consensual sex] Task Force…

The Widening Gyre (#764) 

Yeahno.  This still smells like a publicity stunt gone wrong:

British model Chloe Ayling has thanked those who “believed in me from the beginning” after a Polish man was jailed for kidnapping her.  Lukasz Herba held Chloe Ayling captive for six days in a farmhouse near Turin in Italy, after abducting her during what she thought would be a photo shoot last July.  He was arrested after releasing her at the British consulate, and has now been sentenced to 16 years and nine months in jail…Ayling…has always insisted she has told the truth about her captivity.  She told police she never tried to escape because she was terrified and believed Herba’s threats that he was part of a bigger criminal gang that was watching her constantly…

Pyrrhic Victory (#836)

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is quietly building what will likely become the largest database of biometric and biographic data…in the United States. The agency’s new Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology (HART) database will include multiple forms of biometrics—from face recognition to DNA, data from questionable sources, and highly personal data on innocent people.  It will be shared with federal agencies outside of DHS as well as state and local law enforcement and foreign governments…HART will chill and deter people from exercising their First Amendment protected rights to speak, assemble, and associate…face recognition makes it possible to identify and track people in real time, including at lawful political protests and other gatherings.  Other data DHS is planning to collect—including information about people’s “relationship patterns” and from officer “encounters” with the public—can be used to identify political affiliations, religious activities, and familial and friendly relationships.  These data points are also frequently colored by conjecture and bias…

Blunt Instrument (#841)

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

Three indictments were unsealed…alleging massage parlors in Topeka and Lawrence were fronts for prostitution…Five people were charged in federal grand jury indictments alleging prostitution businesses generated millions of dollars in revenue.  Charges included conspiracy, interstate racketeering, bank fraud and money laundering…

Note the way pigs try to make this seem like a big-time cartel by throwing around terms like “millions”; any business that doesn’t gross at least $1 million over a five-year period is probably failing.

Safe Position

If the Democrats were smart, they’d adopt this as their official platform:

…when it comes to the rights of…sex workers…elected Democrats still overwhelmingly side with the religious right and consistently fail to consult the people most affected by their policies…Now, however, a small but growing group of…candidates are heeding the outrage of their constituents and have turned against laws that make it harder for sex workers to safely practice.  At least three Democrats running in competitive House primaries are currently campaigning on their opposition to SESTA/FOSTA, legislation that passed in April and holds websites criminally liable for any [claims of] sex trafficking that occurred on their pages…the bill effectively shut down the websites that were the safest venues for sex workers to ply their trade.  Following its passage, Backpage.com and the personals section of Craigslist immediately folded.  Their collapse has already prompted many sex workers to return to the streets, where conditions are much more dangerous…

Lack of Evidence (#848)

The recrudescence of a public health nightmare:

…If you believe that all prostitutes are forced into it against their will…then prostitutes are victims.  If you believe it’s possible that it’s just a transaction between consenting adults, then it shouldn’t be a crime at all.  If you’re just a prude determined to tell other people how to conduct their sex lives in accordance with your sniffling sensibilities, then it doesn’t matter…As advocates like Maggie McNeill have made clear, there are women who choose prostitution as their occupation without shame or excuse.  This is what they choose to do, and they don’t give a damn about your Victorian mores.  You don’t have to like it, but…the demand exists and always has, and despite your sniffling, it’s not going away.  But is the answer to force prostitutes, and their customers, to risk the choice between contracting a loathsome, if not deadly, disease or enhance their time in jail?  That’s what Allegheny County is trying to do…the possession of condoms means the difference between a summons and a custodial arrest…

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The fact that [a politician] doesn’t believe that there’s such a thing as a voluntary sex worker means she doesn’t live in reality.
–  Genevieve Jones-Wright

Politicians like to represent themselves as “leaders”, but in reality they’re usually followers.  Any politician who wants to win support must, by necessity, espouse beliefs popular enough with the electorate to actually get elected; he must therefore follow ideas that have already gained support rather than proposing new ones.  In other words, though politicians like to imagine themselves as rainmakers, they are really barometers.  That’s one of the reasons the very few US politicians to come out in favor of sex worker rights over the past few decades have either failed to win office or else were forced to abandon their principles for the sake of political expediency.  So it’s both exciting and telling to see so many politicians now supporting decriminalization or at least opposing increased criminalization; when Amnesty International came out in favor of decrim I declared that we had passed the watershed moment in the war for our rights, and obviously a number of politicians must agree with me because they’ve realized that, while sex worker rights may still not be a popular position, it’s at least a safe one for a reform-minded candidate to adopt.

One of the few exceptions to my initial statement is Elizabeth Edwards of New Hampshire; only a few months after Amnesty announced its policy, and before any other politician had even commented on it, she introduced a bill to decriminalize prostitution in New Hampshire.  And while the Good Old Boys network has choked the bill so far, Edwards has vociferously defended sex worker rights on Twitter and even attended a Whores’ Day rally last Saturday.  If there were more politicians like her and David Grosso of Washington DC, I might not be so cynical about the profession.  But even though the others who have popped up in the past few months may not have been as bold, the fact that there are so many of them is heartening.  Genevieve Jones-Wright failed to unseat the machine-backed Summer Stephan as District Attorney for San Diego, but the fact that she dared to run specifically against Stephan’s vile prohibitionism speaks volumes.  Perhaps Daron Morris (like Jones-Wright a public defender) may have better luck defeating Seattle’s disgusting prosecutor Dan Satterburg:

Morris criticized Satterberg for accepting $140,000 worth of grant money from Demand Abolition, an anti-prostitution organization that advocates for more prosecutions of men who purchase sex.  As former  Stranger staff writer Sydney Brownstone reported in March, Satterberg’s office wrote in its grant application that it would seek to increase arrest of sex buyers by 50 percent…Morris…believes Demand Abolition’s approach ignores the input of sex workers.  “Saying to a woman, ‘I’m deciding that you can never be free. I’m deciding that you can never be un-coerced in sex work,’ that’s just not the right approach,” he said…

Suraj Patel, running in New York for the US Congress, has strong words about FOSTA:

Earlier this year, Congress passed a deeply irresponsible and dangerous bill known as SESTA/FOSTA, which…has rolled back internet freedoms and inflicted deep damage on already-marginalized communities, putting lives at risk while setting the fight against trafficking back decades.  Sloppy legislating is nothing new from lawmakers who don’t listen to the communities that their policies impact, but SESTA/FOSTA is an especially terrible law that has been sharply condemned by anti-trafficking organizations, civil rights groups, and even the federal anti-trafficking prosecutors who would have to enforce it…SESTA/FOSTA has actually put sex workers in danger; some are already reporting that pimps are capitalizing on their new vulnerability  now that websites like Backpage have shuttered…This bill is only the continuation of our country’s policies profiting off the mass incarceration of already vulnerable people…

And in Washington, DC, David Grosso has forced other politicians to actually talk about decrim:

…In October 2017, David Grosso, an at-large D.C. council member,  drafted a decriminalization measure …[which] would make the District of Columbia the first municipality in the United States to decriminalize  prostitution…discussion surrounding Grosso’s legislation has grown.  Recently, candidates responded to a questionnaire from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA)…which included a question about the measure.  D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser…seeking re-election, refused to provide a definitive answer about her position…Bowser’s Democratic-primary opponents—James Butler and Earnest Johnson—were split…Butler opposes the legislation, while Johnson supports it…Martin Moulton, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for…mayor…not only supports decriminalization efforts but believes in expunging the records of non-violent sex workers and customers…Ed Lazare…a candidate for D.C. Council Chair, also responded in support of Grosso’s legislation…several other candidates, including…council member Anita Bonds…support…Grosso’s decriminalization effort…

Obviously, these are just a very few reasonable voices in a vast mob of witch-hunters, but the fact that there are any at all – and that the mainstream media is not mocking or ignoring them – marks a vast change from the political landscape of only three years ago.  We still have a very long and tough road ahead, but at least now it’s tending generally downhill.

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