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Posts Tagged ‘Safe Targets’

I have the right to choose what I do with my body.  –  Katherine Stone

Safe Targets 

In case you can’t quite figure out what this site is actually for, I’ll spell it out for you.  After Tom Dart’s megalomaniacal assault on Backpage left it unable to take payments except by money order or Bitcoin, many sex workers who weren’t comfortable with adopting the latter opted for the former.  But now that other sociopathic politicians have demonstrated that they won’t even let the law stop their jihad, many sex workers are terrified that their identities will be uncovered by pigs illegally rooting in Backpage’s records in a future raid.  Into this opening have stepped profiteers who, like Dennis Hof, are perfectly happy to charge an exploitative 50% by charging $2 for every $1 worth of “safe Backpage credit” (presumably in bitcoin) that can’t easily be traced back to them.  This is what “law enforcement” means when it claims it wants to “help” sex workers.

Presumption of Guilt (November Updates)

Fascist scum like this will be the first up against the wall after the politicians they worship:

There is $1.38 trillion worth of cash in circulation; $1.08 trillion of this is in the form of $100 bills…that works out to 34 hundreds in circulation for every man, woman, and child in the United States — even though a normal American rarely carries even one…No one knows exactly who has all those large bills because physical cash, by its nature, is hard to track…consequently most C-notes are used for a variety of illicit purposes — tax evasion, drug dealing, bribery, and so forth — both in the United States and overseas.  Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff believes that the solution is to get rid of cash.  In a new book, he argues that abolishing $100, $50, and perhaps even $20 bills will seriously inhibit crime and tax evasion while doing little to hamper legitimate commerce…

Note that the buying power of a $100 bill today is less than that of a $5 bill in 1900.  In Rogoff’s totalitarian fantasy, the government would have total control of virtually all commerce; sex workers and others in the irregular economy would be forced to deal in barter, cryptocurrency or the currencies of less-totalitarian states, which would make life a lot more difficult…presumably the outcome this bootlicker wants.

Gorged With Meaning

“British students are going to extraordinary lengths to fund their studies, including doing lucrative work”.  That’s how extraordinarily dumb this sounds to me:

British students are going to extraordinary lengths to fund their studies, including sex work and drug dealing, as the cost of university continues to rise…one in 10 undergraduates admitted to knowing someone who has turned to drug dealing to earn extra money, and as many as one in 20 said they knew someone who pays for their course by escorting.  Some 17 per cent of students said they considered stripping an acceptable way of funding university life, and one in 25 students surveyed said they were considering looking for a sugar daddy to support them financially…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

Deep self-deception about technology, pearl-clutching about sexuality and offensive ignorance about sex work, all under one roof!

…Goldsmith University in London…is where the International Congress on Love and Sex with Robots is to be held this upcoming December.  The congress was supposed to be held in Malaysia on November 16 but was subsequently banned by the country as it deemed the whole premise as “too extreme”…The session will focus on humanoid robots, robot emotions and personalities, teledildonics (cybersex toys), intelligent electronic sex hardware, entertainment robots and more…Joel Snell…warns that engaging sex with a robot can be addicting…sex therapist Gurpreet Singh says…robots shouldn’t replace humans entirely…Dr. John Danaher believes that sex robots are an excellent replacement to human prostitutes…”They won’t need to ‘fake it’ the same way as human prostitutes.”

Imagination Pinned Down

This ridiculous fantasy is nauseating even by “sex trafficking” standards:

Rachel Pointer…[of] Omaha…[claim’s her neighbor’s] boyfriend raped [her when she was six and] then…started [pimping] her…It wasn’t always the same person selling her.  Pointer said after a few months someone else “took over that role”…It was surprisingly easy for this to happen without anyone noticing…The kids were homeschooled and there weren’t regular doctor appointments.  In other words, there were no outsiders to see what was happening.  The traffickers would tell Rachel to do things like fake an illness and go to bed early, then sneak out her second floor window and climb down a trellis to be sold for sex at night.  “Drugs and alcohol became part of the picture at a very young age, 7, 8, 9-years old,” she explained.  “Cocaine mostly and alcohol..enough to take the edge off and to keep me up and to keep me compliant…this was her life three, four, five times a week.  For 10 years…“When I got older, when I was a teenager, I started not being able to make as much.  I wasn’t as profitable”…The traffickers made one final threat of what would happen to Rachel and her family if she ever said anything, then it was over.  She never heard from them again.  There was no investigation, no charges, no punishment for the men who sold her and those who bought her…

As usual, there are no names and no evidence, and it’s all set conveniently decades in the past.  And nobody bothers to question the blatant, ugly and totally-bizarre lie that there are more adult men who would be interested in fucking a six-year-old than a 16-year-old, nor the absurd premise that nobody would notice a schoolkid was constantly drunk or hopped up on coke.

Whatever They Need To Say (#350)

Three years later, another massive pogrom in Soho, troublingly timed to coincide with similar pogroms all over the world:

Late…on the evening of Thursday, 20 October, [cops with]…sniffer dogs raided six massage parlours in Chinatown and Soho, when their cash registers were full with most of a day’s takings.  Women…were dragged out onto the streets past midnight, before 12 were detained and removed for immigration offences, with a further 6 arrests of maids and other staff members…The Met [pretends]…that the “aim of the operation is to identify, safeguard and remove victims of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and modern slavery offences”…[reporters repeated the propaganda that the arrested] women had been “rescued”…The use of sniffer dogs highlights the absurdity of the Met’s claims to deploy their raids, in the middle of the night, for the protection of women.  Can a sniffer dog tell us if a massage parlour is “utilising trafficked women”?  Can a sniffer dog say if a sex worker is being paid fairly for work, in decent conditions?  No.  In fact, all a sniffer dog can do is to intimidate women and provide evidence for laying charges, which was, of course, the Met’s primary aim all along…The police also saw fit to take away tens of thousands of pounds from workers at the end of a day of seeing clients…

See also “Between the Lines” below.

Little Boxes (#419)

There’s a shorter phrase for “those who believe a woman’s virginity should only be shared for love”; it’s “prudish busybodies”:

At one of Nevada’s…legal brothels, a 20-year-old woman recently signed up…to sell…Her virginity.  Like the brothels themselves, Stone’s choice has been controversial, particularly for those who believe a woman’s virginity should only be shared for love…In 2014, Stone’s family home in Seattle…was destroyed by a fire.  Without insurance, Stone and her family found themselves forced to remain in the scorched property…Brothel tycoon Dennis Hof…agreed to sell Stone’s one-time service…[for] a 50% cut from the profits of the final bid…”People say you are suppose to do it for love,” Stone says…”But…I am doing it because I love my family”…At the moment…[the high] bid is a little over $400,000…While she waits, Stone is still “contracted by Dennis Hof to legally provide services to gentlemen who are seeking experiences” other than intercourse, she says…Even after her virginity is auctioned, Stone says she has no intentions of leaving the ranch. “I anticipate to continue working at the ranch for the next five years,” she says. “I plan to go to law school in the future”…

Under decriminalization, she could’ve stayed here in Seattle; the sex worker community here, including me, would’ve helped her to arrange this and supported her emotionally through the experience without even taking a cut.

Between the Lines

In a very troubling development, the FBI’s “Operation Cross-Country” appears to be spreading to other countries; a few of the articles on the annual pogrom mentioned international operations, and this confirms that:

An impressive number of 28 countries teamed up with Europol to deliver a major blow to organised crime groups involved in trafficking in human beings across the European Union and beyond.  During the operational activities of the EU-wide Joint Action Day (JAD) named Ciconia Alba, one part of the intelligence-led police actions and controls focussed explicitly on [sex workers]…11,161 locations…were [raided]…43,405 persons were [harassed, questioned and/or detained]…and 549 [sex workers were labeled] potential victims…Data gathered during the operations led to the launch of 102 new investigations…Fourteen underage victims were reported.  Overall fifty-two countries and four international organisations were involved…

Yes, over forty-three thousand people were subjected to police violence, all to discover 14 underage sex workers, of whom statistically all but one or two were working of their own choice.  In other words, the operation had a “success rate” of roughly 0.003%.

To Molest and Rape 

More brave heroes from Washington state, “saving” women:

In a matter of six months in 2014, three Colville [cops] either resigned or were fired.  Two…were accused of sexual misconduct…the third, Rex Newport, pleaded guilty to felony sex crimes…That’s 30 percent of the department — three of 10…in a city of less than 5,000 people…Newport…took a plea deal and served time in prison.  He must register as a sex offender and can no longer work as a cop in Washington state…Jeffry Finer…and…Richard Wall filed a civil lawsuit at the beginning of 2015 and recently agreed to a $230,000 settlement for their clients…[the] attorneys…found that [cops] were routinely unsupervised and allegations of sexual misconduct…were not thoroughly investigated, which…perpetuated a culture of such misconduct…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#663) 

“Sex addiction” is now being used as a defense even for violent sex offenders:

A young man who tackled a heavily pregnant woman off her bike and tried to rape her was addicted to pornography and had violent sexual dreams in the lead-up to the attack…Casey Tennent said he “couldn’t help it” and rambled “I imagined doing it and then dreamt about it, and then did it tonight” when he was arrested after the assault in Melbourne…Tennent was chased off by three men…who were able to surround him, take him down and restrain him in a laneway until police arrived…

Of Course It Is

While Oakland appears to be starting a purification campaign to get rid of cops who deal honestly with whores instead of raping us, Celeste Guap fired her prohibitionist attorney for, apparently, refusing to stop spewing anti-whore bullshit at her (in fact, she didn’t even stop after she was fired).  Fortunately, a competent and less-judgmental defense attorney immediately took her place on the legal team.

Send In the Clowns 

While Canadian “authorities” are so far content to “suggest people do not dress up as clowns and walk around with what is going on,” threatening them with unspecified criminal charges, those in Mississippi have gone totally (and unconstitutionally) ape shit:

A Mississippi county has declared it illegal to dress like a clown, and is threatening to levy $150 fines against anyone caught in a clown costume.  The Kemper County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously [last] Wednesday to implement the ban, which expires the day after Halloween.  It makes it unlawful for anyone of any age to appear in public in a clown costume, clown mask or clown makeup…the measure was passed at the request of Kemper County Sheriff James Moore…

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We are workers, not victims.  –  Lily Hermarratanarapong

Safe TargetsRed Light Legal logo 

Most conversations around legal advocacy for sex workers tend to focus on a handful of big ticket items, like the fight for decriminalization or protecting sex workers from rapist cops…But there are a lot of smaller, and much more mundane, ways that sex workers can benefit from legal representation, whether they’re strippers going through custody battles, former escorts seeking a divorce, or cam girls looking to incorporate.  At long last, there’s an organization dedicated to helping sex workers find culturally competent legal representation–and thanks to the internet, it’s poised to have a pretty serious impact.  Red Light Legal was founded by Kristina Dolgin, a long time sex worker who enrolled in law school in the hopes of finding a way to help out her community.  Since the organization’s inception, the internet’s been integral to its operations: as a way of raising funds, spreading awareness about sex work law issues, and, most essentially, connecting with clients…

License to Rape

Prohibition turns every individual’s body into a “crime scene”:

A Canadian businesswoman…was sexually assaulted by three U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers during a motorcycle trip on May 14.  The three male officers were ostensibly searching her orifices for contraband, which they did not find…The 51-year-old woman…planned to ride with a female friend from Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, to Elmo, Montana.  At the…border crossing, she was questioned by a CBP officer who wondered why she was visiting Elmo, which he described as “Indian country”…three [rapists] searched her motorcycle and her wallet, in which they found a perfectly legal interim motorcycle license that they deemed suspicious.  To resolve their suspicions, they said, she would have to remove her clothing and submit to probing of her anus and vagina…

Dirty Amateurs

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

…a…report…in the Lancet…found that today’s teens are growing up in a world where preventable and treatable health issues, such as HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancy, abound…For women between the ages of 10 and 24, unsafe sex is the fastest-growing risk factor for illness and death worldwide…the report’s researchers observed changes in this group’s health over 23 years.  At first, STIs didn’t even rank as a risk factor for death, but…reached number one by the end of the research period…

Bottleneck

Now just imagine if this was the law, and always available:

…the home addresses of several German sex workers have allegedly been leaked in a customized Google Map…the map…was promoted by [prohibitionist] groups…[and] remained live for several days.  “Publishing their addresses to anyone opens them up to forced outing and violence,” said Fabienne Freymadl of the Professional Association of Erotic and Sexual Services…“They might lose custody of children, lose contact with family and lose any other jobs they hold.”  The map displayed roughly 2,000 German addresses purportedly linked to the sex trade, which is legal in the country but nevertheless carries stigma.  Sex work activists say some of the information on the map was publicly available—like the addresses of legal brothels—but that independent sex workers’ home addresses were included as well…When sex work activists got wind of the map, they quickly mobilized to get it taken down…Those behind the map [pretend] that [no] personal addresses were published…

Held Together With Lies (#447)

Up by 27% from the last nonsense “estimate” less than two years ago:

The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world today.  The Index presents a ranking of 167 countries based on the proportion of the population that is estimated to be in modern slavery…

The number is derived in part by combining completely different phenomena such as prison laborers and sex workers.

Doubling Down

PBS once again demonstrated its prohibitionist bias by presenting an anti-whore propaganda show disguised as a “debate”:

Americans are split on whether prostitution should be legal, according to a new survey from The Marist Poll and PBS TV-series Point Taken.  Forty-nine percent of respondents in the new national poll said prostitution between two consenting adults should be legal, while 44 percent responded that it should be illegal.  Younger respondents were more in favor of legalization, with 58 percent of those under 45 supportive, compared to just 40 percent of those 45 and older.  Men were more in favor of prostitution legalization than women, at 54 percent versus 44 percent.  And Democrats and political independents were much more likely than Republicans to say it should be legal:  52 and 58 percent, versus 35 percent…around 40 percent of those who said prostitution should be illegal also said criminal charges were not appropriate.  And overall, some 63 and 60 percent said selling and buying sex should not yield criminal penalties…The two guests most opposed to decriminalization were a Kings College philosophy professor and a self-described “investor, author, and finance expert,” who cast [a black sex worker and former foster child who started out while underage] as a privileged activist…They came ready with ample…false statistics about the average age of entry into prostitution, the prevalence of sex trafficking in countries where prostitution is legal, and the compassion and prudence of the Nordic Model…”Legalization allows traffickers to hide victims in plain sight, which creates greater trafficking,” insisted the finance expert, against all evidence…

Worse Than I Thought (#532)

Politicians say not enough people’s lives are being destroyed for consensual sex:

…Under the JVTA, the presence of a single sexually-oriented ad posted by someone under 18 could trigger sex-trafficking charges for anyone involved with running the platform.  Rep. Ann Wagner…said…she hopes the Department of Justice (DOJ) will make more use of the advertising clause in the upcoming year…Wagner is just one of 37 legislators calling on the feds to be more [profligate] about using the 2015 federal sex-trafficking law…they stressed…greater focus on catching and prosecuting people who pay for sex…Lawmakers speak of this move as a way to bring justice to bear on “child sex traffickers.”  In reality, it allows for the escalation from misdemeanor solicitation charges to federal or felony human trafficking charges for anyone who offers—knowingly or unknowingly—to pay someone even one day under 18 for sex…And the government need not prove that a sex solicitor “knew the person [selling sex] had not attained the age of 18 years”…There also need not be an actual victim under this approach—an undercover officer posing online as a teenager will do just fine…

Served Cold (#537) 

This fascist group, with its CIA connections, is the most terrifying of all the rescue industry groups, and almost certainly the most dangerous to human rights on a global scale:

“This is a war.  This is a battle”…Mark Stott called the people of Utah County figuratively to arms May 25 at the “Time to Rescue” benefit concert.  Stott is the co-founder of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a [fascist paramilitary] organization dedicated to rescuing women and children from sex trafficking around the world.  Headed by former Homeland Security Special Agent Tim Ballard, the 2-year-old charity [claims to have] rescued almost 600 victims and assisted in the arrest of almost 200 traffickers worldwide…Angela Brady Krois, organizer of the Time to Rescue event, wants to preserve…the innocent dreams of the women and children that are sold and used throughout the world…O.U.R…is in the trenches, infiltrating the sex-trafficking rings worldwide to literally pluck the children from criminals’ grasp…

Note that isn’t metaphorical; these lunatics literally conduct paramilitary operations in sovereign foreign countries that the CIA pressures to play along with them.

The Course of a Disease (#574)

Sometimes the changes are incremental:

In a landmark ruling, a Tel Aviv court declared…that prostitutes working from home or paying rent for a brothel could be acting legally…Judge Itai Hermelin determined the conditions under which operating a brothel is not an offense as part of a trial brought by the state against an establishment in east Tel Aviv.  Hermelin imposed restrictions on the operations of the Tel Aviv brothel.  However, these were subject to the state committing to avoid prosecuting sex workers who use their own apartments or locations that are rented by several women together for the purpose of prostitution, or at a location rented by one woman who then invites other women to share it…This is believed to be the first time a judge in Israel has underscored the freedom of women to engage in prostitution, as well as specifying their rights…He [wrote] “pushing these women onto the street violates their dignity in an unacceptable manner…interpreting the law in a way that criminalizes prostitution taking place in a building is unconstitutional and must be rejected”…the judge noted that the main criticism voiced by the sex workers speaking in court was directed not at their place of employment – which they described as discreet, safe and clean – but at the police.  “The attitude of the police was…degrading and harmful, sometimes bordering on violent abuse…There were repeated descriptions of women being chased out of buildings naked during police raids, with abusive language”…

An Example To the West (#626) 

Thai sex workers just love contradicting prohibitionist who claim they’re “victims”:

…Empower [is] a sex-workers’ rights organisation with an estimated 50,000 members.  Since the group’s founding in 1985, it has fought to improve the working conditions of women in the sex trade in Thailand…(Empower is short for “Education Means Protection Of Women Engaged in Recreation”)…less than 10 percent of sex workers in Thailand are “trafficked”—duped, tricked, or forced into their circumstances…A 2012 research report compiled by Empower details a host of abuses related to treating these women as trafficking victims, including widespread police entrapment, wrongful detention, extortion, invasive medical examinations, and unjust deportation…Empower has pushed the Thai human-rights community to reconsider its reliance on raids, rehab, and criminal prosecution as the go-to approaches to combat trafficking, fundamentally questioning whether the sex industry ought to be deemed illicit.  The organisation has become one of the leading voices in Southeast Asia and throughout the world…

Broken Record (#638) 

Canadian prohibitionists are desperate to cash in before the panic implodes:

The Formula One Grand Prix weekend in Montreal…brings thousands of tourists to the city, with many on the prowl for sex…[prohibitionists] in Quebec launched a campaign…called “Buying Sex is Not a Sport”…Lise Theriault, Quebec’s minister…for the status of women [vomited out the usual prohibitionist garbage]…Montreal as a Canadian “hot spot” for child sex tourism due to its proximity to the U.S. border…The average age of entry into the sex trade…is about 14 or 15…

To Molest and Rape

The people prohibitionists want in control of sex workers:

…A 2008 study in Cape Town showed that nearly half of street-based sex workers surveyed “have been threatened with violence by police”.  12% have been raped by police, and 28% have been asked for sex in exchange for release from custody…

Turning Point (#641)

On May 31st, Dan Savages’s guests included Emily Bazelon of the New York Times and my friend Mistress Matisse, talking about decriminalization.  If you’d like to listen (and why wouldn’t you?) download it here.

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We approached Ruhama expecting to be dealing with a charitable organisation, but what we received was an institution seemingly characterised by paranoia.  –  Julianne Flynn

Think of the Children! 

Few sources of sex rays are as dangerous as the names of body parts:

A West Michigan substitute teacher…had no clue saying the word “vagina” would cost her her job…Allison Wint…said it to…8th graders [while explaining] historical interpretations of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings.  But to school officials, Wint crossed the line–and violated school policy…[that] teachers are required to get advanced approval when discussing any form of reproductive health…

Life Imitates Artifice

Note that this clumsy wannabe “pimp” basically followed a script he learned from anti-whore propaganda:

Andrew Jordan…pleaded not guilty to six felony counts including human trafficking, domestic violence, assault and committing a racially motivated crime…a 23-year-old Los Angeles woman…testified…that she was forced by Jordan to have sex with other men in Long Beach and Los Angeles, and to solicit sex acts from cars passing by.  She told authorities that Jordan monitored her whereabouts and ordered her to send him text messages every time she was picked up and every time she completed an act…He collected the money in between and forced her to stay out until she met a quota…the defendant beat her severely when she broke his rules and called her racially degrading slurs…coerced her into getting a tattoo of his name on her wrist, and controlled all of her personal belongings.  She testified that she was scared to run away as he kept tabs on her by constantly driving up and down the street…It was not until she was in custody that she was able to tell an officer that she was being abused, authorities [claimed]…

Note also that last transparent attempt to use this an an argument that criminalization is good for sex workers; obviously the prosecutors are hoping readers don’t know the maxim that “hard cases make bad law“.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The one good thing about more prostitution stings: more cops getting arrested.  “A Boynton Beach cop caught up in an undercover prostitution sting as a john willing to pay $20 for oral sex [was sacked]…Vintyre Finney…had been on paid [vacation] since Oct. 19…”  Serves the cheap fucker right.  And then there’s this dude:

…Maulia Labarre was arrested by the state Attorney General’s office after an investigation with the Honolulu Police Department and the FBI.  Sources say he tried to bribe a known prostitute by offering to help after an arrest, in exchange for sex.  He allegedly used his computer to get information on the woman and her case…

Where Are the Victims?

OH MY GOD HE PAID THEM SALARIES!!!  WHAT A MONSTER!!!

Sunil Meher, who was arrested from Kolkata airport…for running a sex racket, employed several women by paying them nearly Rs 40,000 ($600) each every month.  Police also strongly suspect his links with international sex ring kingpins in Goa and Delhi…Police…said Meher not only dabbled in sex trade, but was indulged in human trafficking.  He paid hefty amount to girls, who would travel in flights…At least 12 cases were registered against him here since 2009…

The average monthly income in India is approximately Rs 3000.  This fiend was paying his “victims” over 13x what they could’ve made in most other jobs.

Worse Than I Thought

Soon we’ll be hearing about how New Hampshire is a “sex trafficking hub”:

…New Hampshire…has…made it…a…felony “for a person to pay to engage in sexual contact with a person under the age of 18” and require “registration on the sex offender registry” for such individuals…adults having sex with minors is already criminalized in New Hampshire…like it is everywhere in America.  Sex trafficking is also a crime already in New Hampshire, as is prostitution between consenting parties.  So why the need for the new law?  Because duh: under the old rules, an adult who solicits paid sex from a teenager could only be charged as a rapist and a prostitution offender.  Under the new law, they can also be charged as a sex trafficker, thereby triggering more check-marks when tallying up annual human trafficking arrests.  Got to keep feeding that moral panic somehow, don’t we?…The bill would also add paying to watch a sexually-explicit performance by someone under 18 as a form of human trafficking.  This way, if a 17-year-old uses a fake ID to get a job at a strip club, anyone who patronizes that club can also be charged as a sex trafficker…The state has no power to seize the assets of misdemeanor prostitution offenders or statutory rapists, but it has ample leeway to seize the assets of suspected human traffickers.

Monkey Business Gooey

Guys have offered to pay me with dogs and horses, but never a monkey:

…A [bush baby] named Gooey…was reported stolen from the Zany Zoo Pet Store in [Eugene, Oregon]…police found the animal in a hotel room with a prostitute…[who] told detectives she received the monkey from Nathan McClain…owner of Zany Zoo…McClain paid the prostitute in deposit money from the store, as well as donation money…that was supposed to go to Girl Scouts…McClain was arrested twice [recently when cops claimed]…he appeared to be on meth…Gooey…is safe at a nearby animal sanctuary.

Unclean Situation

A good article on Ruhama, the Magdalene nuns’ new front; here’s the best part:

…the Good Shepherd Sisters received more than €14.4 million from the Health Service Executive between 2006 and 2011.  More recent funding data was difficult to obtain and nowhere in their website are there any links to their levels of funding…Martha McGuire, the Communications and Policy Officer of Ruhama [claims] Ruhama…”is not led or in any way dictated by ‘church teaching’”…Ruhama subsequently attempted to withdraw their statements and said we would no longer be allowed to print them…Email correspondence between McGuire and Sarah Benson, Ruhama’s CEO, were inadvertently forwarded to The University Times Magazine.  One particularly telling line between the two says: “I reckon once it goes to print we can criticise such attacks as ‘pimp-thinking’.”  This shows Ruhama are so concerned with tightening its control of the thinking around this industry that it blames anyone who dares to question that power.  By simply asking the question, “Does Ruhama separate itself from the Church’s sexual teaching?”, Ruhama were willing to tarnish the reputation of another person and publicly declare them an advocate of pimp-related activities…

Checklist

Sex workers: Uber now wants its drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs.  I suggest you start using Lyft instead:

…an event [celebrated] a new partnership between Uber and ECPAT-USA to combat sex trafficking…Uber officially signed the voluntary ECPAT “code” that provides guidelines for travel and tourism companies to aid in the fight against sex slavery and sex tourism.  Uber is the first company in the “sharing economy” to sign the pledge….and…has already laid out initial steps the company will take to address trafficking including…[updating their] driver resources pages with information on how to identify possible trafficking victims…

Under Every Bed

The only thing interesting about this tired rehash of lurid masturbatory fantasies is the way the number of clients per day has now dropped back down into the realm of the possible:

…Monica Miller…shared her own [lurid fantasy] with the audience—of coming from a broken home, falling into one vulnerable situation after another before she was trafficked on the streets of Minneapolis.  Miller…[fantasized] “The johns who bought me, I wasn’t human to them, I was an object to them”…Miller said if she were to perform five sex acts a day—which she [pretended] was a low number—that equated to 1,820 sex acts in a year.  “I’m just going to be real here. That’s 1,820 rapes”…She said the idea that when a woman turns 18 years old, working in the sex trade suddenly becomes a choice rather than a forced act is a false notion…Miller said the only way we as a society can progress toward the elimination of sex trafficking is by [masturbating to these fantasies] together…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Because “Prince’s only sister set to inherit his estate” isn’t a good enough headline for the Mail:

The woman who stands to receive $800 million from Prince’s death: Purple-haired former crack-addict prostitute sister is set to inherit singer’s estate in absence of will – along with catalog of unreleased music…The vast fortune accumulated by Prince over the course of his music career is likely to go to his only sister if the singer failed to leave behind a will. Tyka Nelson, 55, will be awarded Prince’s estate under Minnesota state law as his closest living relative. She and her brother were close in recent years after a difficult stretch in their relationship when Tyka was struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine and prostituting herself to support her two young sons…Prince has an approximate net worth of $300 million, which does not include the millions his estate is set to make in the coming weeks from the increased sale of merchandise and music or the money the singer received when he signed a deal agreeing to stream all his music on Tidal. His music catalog meanwhile is worth over $500 million according to Prince’s first manager Owen Husney, due in large part to the fact that unlike other artists he owned both his master recordings as well as his own music publishing. Prince also has a large collection of unreleased music, which Husney believes may include an album he made with jazz great Miles Davis…

Frequently Told Lies

One can never have too many resources debunking “sex trafficking” garbage; this one is from the English Collective of Prostitutes, and has citations and footnotes.

Safe Targets (#452)

Here’s Tara Burns again, demonstrating how the only people ever charged with “sex trafficking” in Alaska are sex workers themselves:

…when I made a public records request…every single person to have been charged with sex trafficking was an alleged prostitute who was charged with prostitution of herself in the very same case in which she was charged with sex trafficking…arrested…[sex workers are] ordered to give [money from their] earnings to the Municipality of Anchorage, in violation of the Municipality’s own law against accepting money from a prostitute…Trying to locate evidence of the evil men [cops] claimed were taking all the money from sex workers, I made a request of the Anchorage prosecutor for all charges filed under Anchorage’s municipal codes in 2013 and 2014.  There were no charges against anyone for transporting a prostitute, having a place of prostitution, accepting money from a prostitute, etc.  The only people who had been charged were 34 sex workers and 22 clients…

Lower Education (#625)

First they came for the students, and I said nothing because I was no longer a student…

Adults may soon find their sex lives regulated to the point where nearly every sexual encounter is defined as rape unless neither party reports the activity.  The American Law Institute will vote in May on whether to adopt a model penal code that would make “affirmative consent” the official position of the organization.  Affirmative consent — or “yes means yes” — policies have already been adopted by many colleges and universities, and have been passed as law in California and New York…a female former prosecutor…called the draft “really disturbing.”  A group of concerned members within ALI even circulated an opposition letter, signed by dozens of members, that detailed the dangers of pushing affirmative consent on the general public (not that it’s a good policy for college students, either)…The policies…require [people] to engage in a question-and-answer session each time they engage in any kind of sexual activity…[and thus] shift the burden of proof onto [the] accused…[who] has to prove a crime didn’t occur rather than an accuser proving a crime did occur, as is the norm in civilized society…From the moment any physical contact is about to be made, one person must begin asking for permission.  “May I touch you here?”  “May I kiss you?”  “May I kiss you here?” and the like would all be required questions under such policies.  Activists can try and “make affirmative consent sexy” all they want, but no one has sex this way, and I can guarantee you the activists don’t ask all those questions either, which would make them rapists under these policies…

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The only issue is that the people having sex are consenting to it and anything else is an arbitrary moral judgement which no one has the right to make.  –  Stephanie Farnsworth

The Rescuers

Harassing streetwalkers to scare away their clients has become a popular “Christian” pastime:

Valerie Carter…has been prowling some of the toughest highways in Richmond, Virginia…for the past eight years.  She and her “streetwalking ministry” volunteers look for women and girls caught up in the local sex trade……they…pray with the women, hug them, give them a list of resources to help them get out of the trade.  They keep the visits short to avoid putting the women at risk of beatings from their pimps…Carter says. “No one dreamed about being in this kind of business.”  But they are in it, most of them unwillingly.  Someone else makes money by exploiting them, whether it’s a pimp or a trafficker…

Acting and Activism Amal Clooney

Apparently, she’s less human rights lawyer and more Hollywood propagandist these days:

Amal Clooney took her first trip to Dallas to…[speak] before a sold-out crowd at the annual New Friends New Life luncheon…The event raised more than $1 million for the anti-trafficking organization, which [claims to] offer…counseling, housing and other services to 1,400 formerly trafficked teens and women every year…

In actuality, the “services” this organization “offers” are the usual things: feel-good bullshit like art therapy and a photocopied list of government welfare programs.

Droit du Seigneur 

I just love watching them eat their own:

Federal prosecutors…have indicted two DEA employees for moonlighting as strip club owners and then purportedly lying about it to their bosses…Special Agent David Polos and Greg Glover, a telecommunications specialist, have been charged with conspiracy and making false statements in connection with the forms they submitted to renew their national security clearances…Polos and Glover conspired to conceal their ownership of the New Jersey strip joint, “Twins Go-Go Lounge”, and that Polos also failed to disclose an “intimate relationship” with one of its foreign dancers that lasted for months…the government [alleges]…prostitution, drug use, employment of illegal immigrants, and running the club during “DEA business hours”…

Divided We Fall

Go, Stephanie Farnsworth!

The fact that many LGBT people end up in sex work is an issue often overlooked rather conveniently by many activists and charities.  Sex work is still talked about in moralizing terms, and the…image of the LGBT world in recent campaigns has been that of white cisgender gay people in long term relationships, often with children…The heart of the demand for LGBT rights is the idea that all people should be granted autonomy over their lives and bodies, that anyone should be allowed to sleep with who they choose and that it only concerns the people in the relationship and not the government or bigots…People enter into sexual relationships for all kinds of reasons.  It is rarely a fairytale of two people falling in love.  Sometimes it is for fun, but many engage in [transactional] sex…or…to shut their partner up.  The list is endless and every reason is valid…It is simply hypocritical for LGBT activists to fight for bodily autonomy but deny it to sex workers, and given the huge numbers of people within the community who engage in sex work it also throws a lot of LGBT people under the bus…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Norman Ochs is facing charges for allegedly hiring prostitutes…The 76-year-old was charged…with four crimes.  Each misdemeanor count carries up to a 93-day jail sentence…

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit and the sex workers, nearly always immigrants, can easily be pressured to “co-operate” or be deported:

…federal law enforcement has rebranded as a sort of national ministry for vice prevention…Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigators and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials conducted a widespread raid on Korean massage parlors in New York City, which the feds allege were…fronts for commercial sexual activity…11 massage-parlor owners were…charged with conspiracy to launder money and to violate the federal Travel Act…informants…who…[are] “cooperating with law enforcement in the hope of receiving a more lenient sentence”…[say] the alleged prostitution…was not being forced upon the staff.  Any money earned from such endeavors was split between workers and business owners, and workers were free to come and go as they pleased…Nonetheless, the indictment refers to the massage parlors as “commercial sex trafficking businesses”…

Monsters 

Though the reporter couldn’t resist mentioning a past criminal charge, at least NBC refrained from publishing her mugshot:  “…a transgender woman who may have been working as a prostitute…Keyonna Blakeney…was found dead, with trauma to the upper body, in a [hotel in] Montgomery County [Maryland]…

Cops and Robbers Adam LaRoche

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

Adam LaRoche is a 36-year-old who played Major League baseball for 12 seasons before causing a ruckus by retiring earlier this year…the first baseman, a conservative Christian, “spent 10 days in November in Southeast Asian brothels, wearing a hidden camera and doing undercover work to help rescue underage sex slaves”…LaRoche…[and] Milwaukee Brewers pitcher…Blaine Boyer… “tried to determine the age of the girls…and identify their bosses”…

Safe Targets (#512)

My friend Tara Burns, still doggedly fighting for sex workers in Alaska, with the help of Maxine Doogan of ESPLERP:

…What Burns and Maxine Doogan really want is for prostitution to be decriminalized.  That’s the mission of the advocacy group they started, Community United for Safety and Protection (CUSP)…[but in the meantime] they’re after the next best thing:  improved safety and protection for those in Alaska’s sex industry and equal protection as citizens under the law…The two women…stayed in Juneau the entire legislative session, pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 21…[which] grants prostitutes immunity for prosecution when they come forward as a victim or witness of a violent crime…

Doubling Down

This is mostly just ignorant cheerleading for a do-nothing law, but it contains a repetition of the moronic statement, “It is estimated that here in the United States more than 100,000 children are victims of human sex trafficking each year.”  For an analysis of what that would actually look like in the real world, click on the subtitle above.  I reckon it’s a good thing Aleeshia Carroll is majoring in social work, because basic math is obviously far out of her grasp.

The Widening Gyre (#616)

Misinterpreting ordinary interactions is common at the height of a moral panic:

The propaganda-created panic over sex trafficking in your own backyard!!!! has claimed yet another victim…Amanda Kalidy…was shopping at Target [in Edmond, OK] with her 4-year-old daughter when another young girl began following them and repeatedly asking her daughter for candy.  Kalidy says she asked the other child where her mom was, but the girl, who looked about 9 years old, did not answer.  Later the girl offered her daughter some gum.  That’s when Kalidy noticed a “strange” man nearby.  Obviously, the only explanation for the situation is that the man wanted to steal Kalidy’s daughter so he could sexually exploit her and was using this other child as bait…She reported the incident to a Target manager, who allegedly told her that that’s “what [sex traffickers] do is target places like Target.”  For the record, there have been zero reported cases of sex traffickers kidnapping children from Target in the history of the United States…

The Public Eye (#618)

Color me unsurprised:

The Las Vegas Madam: The Escorts, The Clients, The Truth is the tell-all memoir of Jami Rodman, the madam who came to fame by employing…Suzy Favor Hamilton...this book was…written more to play to outsiders’ expectations than to advocate for the people Rodman worked with…What really got to me, though, wasn’t the manner in which Rodman chose which stories to tell, focusing on titillating accounts such as nonconsent roleplays gone wrong and customers with pedophilic ageplay fetishes.  It was her disdainful attitude toward other sex workers and the industry…the book certainly doesn’t foster sex worker solidarity, nor does it paint a nuanced picture of escorts…At one point, Rodman cites statistics from [Melissa Farley‘s] “Prostitution Research”, a site which is heavily affiliated with rescue industry organizations…it became painfully clear to me that she was buying into the flawed statistics, salacious reporting, and misleading accounts of the wider industry put forward by abolitionists rather than trusting her own sex work experiences and those of the many women she worked with whose lives stand in direct contrast to prohibitionist tropes.  It’s funny that she quotes a website which would label her a trafficker…

Traffic Jam (#619)

Of course, even if Weyker and the department lose, the money won’t come out of their pockets. But the more lawsuits against the cops, the better:

A dozen or more people who say they were harmed by a discredited sex trafficking case soon could be suing the St. Paul Police Department and Sgt. Heather Weyker, according to the attorney representing…Yassin Abdirahman Yusuf [who] is seeking $20 million in damages for the more than four years he spent in jail on sex trafficking charges based on exaggeration and lies…[Attorney Robert] Bennett said he has another nine or 10 people preparing to sue, and other lawyers have several more.  Earlier this month, Hamdi Ali Osman…filed the first suit arising from the dismissed charges, seeking $12 million…

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The [only Super Bowl-related] surge was in cops and busybodies looking for something to do.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Safe Targets

In the US, the victim would’ve been arrested as well:

A woman and her two accomplices, who tried to blackmail a sex worker and extort money from her customer, were arrested by [Hyderabad] police…Moina Nayeeda…established a fake NGO…and…went to the house of Sabha, a sex worker…and told her that she was in financial trouble and want to make some money by prostitution.  Then Sabha arranged a customer one Jaheer…Nayeeda came to Sabha’s place along with her brother Sohail and some others…After entering the house, Nayeeda closed the doors with the customer inside and shouted loudly about the illegal acts going on there.  Nayeeda’s brother Sohail and others rushed to the house and threatened the owner of the house and the client saying they were from an NGO and would file a complaint against their illegal activities…

Barbie

This article contains no new info, but it’s of interest for the selection of Lilli cartoons:  “So it turns out Barbie’s original design was based on a German adult gag-gift escort doll named Lilli.  That’s right, she wasn’t a dentist or a surgeon, an Olympian gymnast, a pet stylist or an ambassador for world peace. And she certainly wasn’t a toy for little girls…Lilli cartoons

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

WTF, Vice?  Seriously?  You’re back to spreading “sex trafficking” myths again?  Make up your minds whose side you’re on, you sleazebags:

There are 20-30 million victims of human trafficking living in the world today.  These modern slaves cost an average $90-a-head…human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry, generating profits of around $32 billion each year…This January was National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month…we asked three organizations fighting trafficking about how things have progressed over the last few years, as well as what steps we can take to actually eradicate the practice…

This is your periodic reminder that one of the big wheels at Equality Now, one of the orgs included here, is a former prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after she was caught railroading innocent men for rape.

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

I’m not sure who’s stupider:  the idiots who claim that porn will replace whores, or this moron who claims that porn increases our business:

A Utah state senator is taking a stand against pornography, blaming skin flicks for creating a “sexually toxic environment,” increasing the demand for prostitution and ruining families.  Sen. Todd Weiler…is…asking that the state recognize that porn is creating a public health hazard…The politician [fantasized]…that porn was more addictive than powerful drugs, and the public needed to start seeing adult films as a national epidemic.  “I have read books and I have experts tell me pornography is more difficult to overcome than cocaine,” he said…He said he hopes to shift the public opinion on [pictures he doesn’t like] the same way it has on cigarettes…”These are scientific facts, just like global warming”…

A presume he envisions an anti-porn firewall around Salt Lake City, or something.

Surplus Women 

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) mourns the death and honours the memory of Tammy Le…[who] was found dead early morning on January 23rd at a hotel in Hamilton [Ontario]…Following the murders of Jiali Zhang and Evelyn Bumatay Castillo, she is the third Asian sex worker in Hamilton and Mississauga to be murdered within the past two years.  Violence against Asian sex workers is a direct result of repressive laws and a climate of hatred towards sex workers and sex work…Since December…six sex workers – also members of Butterfly – have been arrested, detained or deported.  Sex workers with legal immigration status have been charged and harassed arbitrarily by city police.  These conditions encourage sex workers to work and live in isolation and to avoid mainstream services and protections.  They encourage a targeting of migrant sex workers and create a climate of impunity for predators who are aware of the vulnerabilities migrant sex workers face because of criminalization and their risk of deportation…

See No Evil 

A slight glimmer of sanity in the totally mad world of “child pornography” prosecution:

Jack Weinstein, a federal judge in New York City who for years has criticized penalties for…child pornography as excessively rigid and harsh, was recently called upon to sentence a man who had pleaded guilty to possessing two dozen photos and videos.  The federal sentencing guidelines recommended a prison term of six-and-a-half to eight years.  Instead Weinstein sentenced the defendant—identified by his initials, R.V.—to time served (five days), a fine, and seven years of supervised release.  “The applicable structure does not adequately balance the need to protect…juveniles…against the need to avoid excessive punishment, with resulting unnecessary cost to defendants’ families and the community, and the needless destruction of defendants’ lives,” Weinstein wrote in a 98-page explanation of his reasons for departing so dramatically from the guidelines…

They Still Don’t Get It

This truly bizarre article uses the arrest of two petty thieves who also did sex work as a springboard to launch into…well, see for yourself:

Chloe Marie Schutz…and Cynthia Leshay Reichow…were arrested Tuesday and charged with burglary.  Reichow was also charged with prostitution…prostitution in Idaho pale in comparison to neighboring states — in 2010, Utah reported 414 arrests for prostitution, Nevada documented 3,738 and Idaho reported 13…In September, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of three girls who sued Backpage.com after they were sold as prostitutes on the site*…More than 70,000 people are arrested for prostitution each year in the U.S., costing taxpayers an estimated $200 million.  Seventy percent are female prostitutes and madams, 20 percent are male prostitutes and pimps, and just 10 percent are johns, or clients.  About 40 percent of prostitutes are former child prostitutes who were illegally forced into the profession through human trafficking**…Sgt. Bryan Lovell…said drug use is common…[and fantasized that]…runaway girls…are pimped out and then dumped off in eastern Idaho…

*No, it didn’t.  **No, they aren’t.

Feeding On Their Own

Much more of this, please:

Migrant children in the government’s care were placed in U.S. homes and left vulnerable to human trafficking due to sometimes nonexistent screening by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a congressional report…HHS failed to run background checks on the adults in the sponsors’ households, failed to visit sponsors’ homes and failed to realize some sponsors were accumulating multiple unrelated children, which can be a sign of human trafficking.  Some lawmakers contend that the government weakened its child-protection policies as it was overwhelmed by tens of thousands of children crossing the border…HHS officials declined to fully answer many of the senators’ questions…saying they did not have the legal authority from Congress to follow up on the children…

Monsters Monica Loera

The nation’s first reported murder of a transgender person in 2016 is…Monica Loera of Austin [Texas]…Loera…was…reportedly involved in sex work…In the wake of her death, Loera was misgendered by both police and the media, referred to by masculine pronouns and her birth name…

Stupor Bowl

I figured I’d wind up this year’s “trafficking bowl” coverage with a couple of debunkings; the first one is from J.D. Tucille & quotes me directly:

…That term–not “prostitution,” but “trafficking”—is a deliberate choice, selected to confuse people…44 percent [of Americans now] favor…legalization of prostitution…That’s up from 38 percent…in 2012…Opponents of commercial sex find themselves on the wrong side of shifting public opinion, so they pull a little rhetorical sleight of hand to get around that inconvenient word “consensual”…”Coercion is much rarer than ‘trafficking’ fetishists pretend it is,” insists Reason contributor and former call girl Maggie McNeill.  “The term ‘trafficking’ is used to describe many different things along a broad spectrum running from absolutely coercive to absolutely not coercive, yet all of them are shoehorned into a lurid, melodramatic and highly-stereotyped narrative.”  Evidence for McNeill’s take is apparent in the difficulty authorities often have in convincing the trafficking “victims” they rescue that they’re in need of heroic intervention into their lives…And government officials and anti-trafficking activists are poised to rescue a wave of such trafficking “victims” when the Super Bowl comes to town.  Once they convince them that they’re victims, that is…

The other, from Dr. Marty Klein, (perhaps unintentionally) paraphrases me without attribution:

…Simple economics would explain why event-specific trafficking rarely happens: it makes no sense for traffickers to spend huge amounts of money dragging victims across the country, housing them, advertising for business, and charging reduced rates to undercut local prostitutes, all for a single weekend of illicit income—in a place crawling with law enforcement…

Check Your Premises (#422)

Under Swedish-flavored criminalization, underage boys are claimed to have more sexual agency than adult women of any age:

Visalia [California] police, working with the FBI…arrested eight suspected female prostitutes, along with their suspected pimp — a 17-year-old Fresno boy.  The women…range in age from 18 to 47…the teenage boy…[was] described as a pimp and “one of the main players in this operation”…some of the women appeared to be victims of human trafficking…they didn’t want to engage in prostitution but “they’re being forced by pimps to go that route”…the women were arrested [anyhow] because…they reportedly broke the law…

Consider that both these cops and the reporter parroting this idiocy are supposedly rational adults.

Eternal Vigilance

Until prohibition is itself outlawed, decriminalization of any consensual activity is at best a temporary respite:

The Labour Party’s “shock, horror” response to the exposure of a growing sex-for-rent trend amongst some landlords and tenants is ironic given Labour was [pivotal in achieving decriminalization in New Zealand]…says [an anti-sex worker] group…Stop Demand Foundation…notes that [politician Ruth] Dyson and her colleagues have been avid supporters of decriminalising and destigmatising the sale and purchase of sexual services…Stop Demand…supports the Nordic model of prostitution…and…notes that if New Zealand had followed the Nordic model…these landlords could be prosecuted [for consensual sexual arrangements]…

Choke Point (#593) 

Lux Alptraum on financial discrimination vs sex businesses:

…frustrated with the high rate of chargebacks related to porn sites (…likely due to shame-induced buyer’s remorse on the part of porn consumers), Visa and MasterCard made the decision to classify adult sites as “high risk,” and require anyone hoping to process payments for adult content to pay an upfront registration fee, plus annual renewal every year after…this might seem like nothing more than an annoying additional expense, one easily borne by any successful business.  But in practice, it provided payment processors with a license to discriminate against anyone working in sex—even in situations that have nothing to do with their work.  Shortly after the Visa/MasterCard announcement, PayPal announced that it would no longer be processing payments for anyone tied to sex…dig into the TOS of virtually any popular digital payment platform, and…you’ll find some sort of ban on adult content and services…There are mainstream payment processors are slightly more adult friendly…but oftentimes these processors are obscure, complicated to use, and much shadier than their competitors.  It can be difficult to get a client to connect their bank account to a payment platform they’ve never heard of, and it’s hard to feel comfortable using a service that could easily shut down overnight, taking whatever money that might be owed to you with them as they cut and run…

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Social policies do not have to be so dumb.  –  Laura Agustín

The Scarlet Letter

This article is so stupidly evil it’s almost fascinating:

A plan to publicly shame those who solicit sex with minors moved forward…with a draft ordinance covering Los Angeles County expected next week…Don Knabe has been pushing for a “shame campaign” since late last year…the…ordinance that would provide for the publication of names and booking photos of those convicted of soliciting prostitution or loitering with intent to solicit prostitution…Sheila Kuehl…questioned the practice of arresting people for loitering with intent, saying she thought the allegation amounted to “mind reading”…The Los Angeles Times editorial board, when Knabe first made his proposal, called the plan “anachronistic” and said it amounted to “sensationalism”…

Parable Kesha

Noah Berlatsky with another analogy for the absurdity of prohibition:

Should young women be allowed to enter the music industry?  That seems like a preposterous question.  But consider:  Kesha…filed a lawsuit against her former producer Dr. Luke…alleging that he had sexually, physically, and mentally abused her for a decade…Kesha’s lawsuit also alleges that Sony music refused to take steps to stop the abuse, and even covered up for it…The situation is not rare; producers and managers like Phil Spector and Ike Turner have physically and mentally abused their artists for years…Shouldn’t there be laws in place to prevent women from entering an industry such as this where they can be abused and harmed?  It should be clear why this is a bad idea.  Heavy-handed restrictions on women would hurt women, not protect them.  To make it illegal for women to be musicians and pop stars would be abusive and unfair in itself…And yet, when it comes to sex work, restricting women’s options in the name of “protecting” them is suddenly seen as reasonable, logical, and necessary…

Saving Them From Themselves

How many more kids’ lives have to be destroyed before we stop the cops?

Police in a Pennsylvania school district have charged at least three kids—one of them just 11 years old—with distributing sexually explicit pictures of other minors.  They…face juvenile detention, expulsion, and a variety of other life-altering consequences.  This is somehow in their best interests—and the interests of kids everywhere—authorities claim…The levelling of charges…should not be viewed as some low-cost precondition to keeping kids safe, but a horrible, life-derailing consequence in and of itself…But we live in a country where paranoid delusions about safety provide cover for police to enforce absurd laws that make life miserable for kids…

Surplus Women 

Kenyan police are investigating the murders of 10 women working as prostitutes, a record number of attacks in one month that has led to fears of a serial killer…campaigners have called on the government to legalise prostitution and offer proper protection to vulnerable women.  The police commander in the town of Nakuru, where four bodies were found, said an intense manhunt was under way…Hassan Barua said security had been improved in the area, but would not comment on whether one suspect was wanted for multiple murders…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

Because they are?

When the issue of sex workers in Thailand is brought up, any discussion is usually characterized with words of “exploitation”, “coercion”, and “human trafficking”.  However…Some…girls…[feel] that sex work [is] a means of emancipating themselves economically…A prevailing attitude…[is] that they feel better being paid for the sex they provide, rather than providing sex to a husband in a dead end relationship that they get nothing for.  This was most prevalent in those who had been married before…Some even talk about providing sex as helping clients with a basic need…What was most common with those sex workers who had been prudent financially, was a satisfaction with their career as a sex worker…

The Mother Learns From Her Children

Sex worker rights activists from around the world will join researchers and experts to present evidence to parliament in support of the decriminalisation of sex work.  The day-long symposium, organised by the English Collective of Prostitutes and hosted by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, is an opportunity for parliamentarians and the public to sidestep the charged emotion of international debates on the nature of sex work and hear crime-related, humanitarian, and public health analyses from leading academics and campaigners…The symposium will compare the outcomes of Sweden’s criminalisation of the buying of sex with the full decriminalisation model that has flourished in New Zealand…activists from Thailand, Taiwan, Canada and South Africa will explain how criminalisation, rescue and rehabilitation programs have affected sex workers there.  Rachel West, an American sex worker rights activist, will explore how a recent surge in anti-trafficking policing has disproportionately affected black sex workers and their clients…

The Lion and the Ox

Laura Agustín on the uselessness of the term “human trafficking”:

…There are young people now who have grown up surrounded by campaigning against trafficking, unaware there is conflict about how to define the term.  Some want to dedicate energy to combating what is figured as a modern social evil.  Some compare themselves with 19th-century anti-slavery advocates and feel outraged that anyone would question what they are doing…after…the idea of trafficking began its ascent…we who were interested in migration, sex work and labour policy realised it was useless for gaining equity or rights…the assumption is this human mobility to work is fomented by criminals who use force and coercion against their victims…Behind this over-simplification and over-focus on sex lie real social inequalities and oppressions:  migration policies that favour middle- and upper-class jobs, out-of-date notions of the formal economy and productive labour, young people who want to get away from home, job-seekers willing to take risks to make more money, laws that make commercial sex illegal, laws that make sweatshops illegal and…more.  To lump all this under a single term simply disappears the array of different situations, encourages reductionism and feeds into a moralistic agenda of Good and Evil…

King of the Hill (#421)

“The Harvard of sex trafficking” has now morphed into “The Harvard of pimp school”.  Or was it really the other way around?  Does it really matter, when both phrases are utterly ludicrous?

Milwaukee has become “the Harvard of pimp school” and Wisconsin is a hub of human trafficking, a [self-declared] expert has said in the wake of an FBI sting last month in which nine adolescents were [arrested]…meaning Milwaukee is tied with Las Vegas for the third highest number of young people [arrested]…Denver topped the list, with 20…and Detroit was next with 19.  Over the past four years, however, Milwaukee has consistently ranked among the top five cities in the nation for [arrests of underage sex workers]…

If Men Were Angels

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

A…Houston mother of two says she was raped in her hospital bed by a doctor…she reported the rape to nurses who responded with cold skepticism.  She had to wait nearly two years for police to collect the alleged attacker’s DNA and make an arrest.  And now…Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh…may get off scot-free in civil court.  And Texas law may entitle her to only modest compensation from Sheikh’s employer at the time of the rape, the prestigious Baylor College of Medicine…Baylor doctors staff Ben Taub, which is a public hospital owned by Harris County.  The doctor isn’t the only one who can deploy the “government unit” shield.  Baylor lawyers have successfully argued that the college itself can be construed as a government entity and is entitled to the same protections a county institution would enjoy…Baylor can argue it is immune to the claim altogether…and…the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that rape in some circumstances is covered by medical malpractice laws…Gillian Anderson looking stupid again

Acting and Activism (Traffic Updates) 

Anderson’s right at home in a movie based on ridiculous, exaggerated conspiracy theories:

Gillian Anderson wasn’t expecting to appear in the movie Sold.  The actress, known for her role on The X-Files, had initially been approached by…director Jeffrey Brown…about just being part of the film’s campaign.  She immediately said yes because she felt passionate about…sex trafficking…”High school students go missing and they are…forced into prostitution where there is violence and they don’t get paid for being a sex slave…And they get brainwashed into being a part of a community and they are terrified for their lives to escape”…

Safe Targets (#452)

Tara Burns, Maxine Doogan and two others on “sex trafficking” in Alaska:

…Last year a woman dialed 911 in Anchorage and reported that she had been a victim of sex trafficking.  When the [cops]…decided to follow up with her they…traveled to where she was working as an independent escort and…posed as a customer to book an appointment with her and meet her in a sexual context.  Then [they] placed her in handcuffs, threatened her with felony charges, and told her nobody would be able to “actually” love her as she was.  In response to a…complaint about this incident, the Department of Public Safety explained that this is a common “strategy of building rapport” with victims…

Vendetta (#518)

Oakland City Council Takes Stand Against Sex Workers“.  Seriously.

On October 20…[Oakland, California] endorsed…The “CEASE Network”…a project of Demand Abolition, a Boston-based program dedicated to “eradicating the illegal commercial sex industry” by going after “demand.”  That means targeting clients…Demand Abolition is a program of Hunt Alternatives, the foundation of Swanee Hunt…the daughter of…oil tycoon H.L. Hunt…The groups fund law enforcement and public media campaigns and advocate for stronger legal penalties…when police agencies and district attorneys broadly target demand, they end up wasting resources on arrests and prosecutions that further criminalize adult sex workers and their clients…the Demand Abolition approach…[threatens] marginalized workers in the sex industry.  That was a concern of government officials in San Francisco, which last year ended a brief partnership with Demand Abolition after facing a backlash from…sex workers…

End Demand (#576)

My friend Savannah Sly is quoted extensively in this article about the fascist BEST program:

…a new public-private coalition that aims to have sites like backpage.com blocked in…workplaces…free speech advocates and…sex workers…are critical of the BEST Employer Alliance’s methods, warning that it errors on the side of censorship and endangers sex workers…If third-party Web hosting were akin to aiding in criminal activity, then Facebook and Twitter would quickly cease to exist…By pressuring credit card companies to divest, and now by pressuring employers to block the site en masse, the anti-Backpage set hopes to slowly choke the site out of its users…Savannah Sly, the director of…SWOP…said…”This painting of all clients as pedophiles reminds me of how we use to paint all homosexual men as pedophiles…If you shut down Backpage adult listings…You’re denying thousands and thousands of workers who need money.  And if you shut down all of Backpage, you’re punishing hundreds of thousands of people who want access to roommate listings, sale items, general classifieds…all for the crimes of a very, very small few”…

In fact, I’m relatively sure she was riding in my car while giving this interview.

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My not existing is more important to [prohibitionists] than my safety.
–  Tara Burns

Rough Trade 

Tara Burns offers a personal account of how criminalization harms sex workers:

…the FBI brought Operation Cross Country to Alaska…arresting 10 customers near Anchorage…Out in my cabin…I didn’t hear about the sting…until I got to town to work and learned that two of my regular customers had been arrested…Fear of the FBI had spread…and…I had only one client scheduled. I…had an inquiry from a new client…he was a clusterfuck of red flags.  But I felt desperate, so I told him to come on over…I didn’t blame this guy for taking advantage of the opportunity offered to him by a legal system that condones my rape.  I blamed the system that told him women like me could be raped with impunity.  I blamed the system that scared away good clients and left me with this…

Safe Targets

The reporter blames the advertising venue, and the cops blame the victims.  God forbid anybody blame either the rapists or the prohibitionist laws that made their victims vulnerable:

Fernando Sandel…Isaiah Rivera…and Joey Cruz…were detained [for the rape and robbery of three sex workers]…the women were…sprayed in the face with Mace or another debilitating substance, or placed in a precarious position — before being raped and subsequently robbed of cash or other valuables…representatives for Backpage.com could not be reached…a spokesman for the Police Department said, “You run the risk of meeting anybody when you engage in that kind of activity.”

If the women had been maids who advertised in the Yellow Pages, would the Times have tried to contact the phone company for comment, and would the cop mouthpiece have helpfully vomited out “You run the risk of meeting anybody when you engage in that kind of activity”?

Godwin’s Law

I resisted this at first because, well, Godwin’s Law!  But when everyone started to praise it I succumbed, and found it extremely funny and well-done.

A Procrustean Bed

What actually happened here is anybody’s guess; prosecutors had a narrative to uphold, and used threats and promises to get everyone involved to pretend it’s true:

Ricky T. Wallace…of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, was sentenced…to 12 years in federal prison for trafficking a 17-year-old[woman]…for the purposes of commercial sexual activity…he also brought a 20-year-old woman from the Boston area to Rhode Island where she was directed to pose in photographs that were posted on Backpage.com and then offered for commercial sexual activity…Two co-defendants in this matter, Kemont Bowie…and Raechyl Spooner…are scheduled to be sentenced in September…

The women are treated as though they were volitionless dolls, picked up and passively “trafficked” in the trunk of a car.

Pyrrhic Victory

Older readers will remember that when we were kids, one of the reasons communism was bad was that communist countries didn’t allow their people to travel freely:

Canadians who travel to regions of the world that are hotbeds of Islamic terrorism could be prosecuted under legislation that would be enacted under a re-elected Conservative government…The…government has already made it a crime to leave Canada with the aim of taking part in terrorist activities.  This new measure would go further, criminalizing the act of travel to specific countries.  “There is absolutely no right in this country to travel to an area under the governance of [people we label as] terrorists.  That is not a human right,” [Stephen Harper] told supporters…

Traffic Jam 

Huffington Post asked a prohibitionist, a legalization proponent and my friend Mistress Matisse about “sex trafficking”; here’s what Matisse had to say:

…There [is] not…a hugely widespread problem in the US of people being forced to have sex for money…The terrifying numbers and statistics quoted by anti-traffickers have been debunked over and over.  “Sex trafficking” is the boogeyman of our day, just as ritual Satanic child abuse was in the 80’s and 90’s.  So saying “I’m an anti-sex trafficker” simply means “I’m anti-sexwork.”  Nonetheless, the myth of “sex trafficking” is a very useful idea…the Rescue Industry…get lots of money from government grants and private donations.  The myth of widespread, organized sex trafficking also dovetails neatly with America’s love affair with mass incarceration…So police, politicians, and Rescue Industry NGO’s work hard to conflate sex work with “sex trafficking”, because it suits their purposes…

The Widening Gyre 

Lock up your children!  Sex traffickers are EVERYWHERE!!!

Pedophilia in the U.S. is “unprecedented” and has reached an almost “epidemic level,” according to…FBI…[bureaucrat] Joseph Campbell.  Although the FBI rescued 600 children* last year, the FBI believes that tens of thousands of children are still being sexually exploited.  Hundreds of children are sold every night for sex, the BBC reported in a [scare story]…”The level of pedophilia is just unprecedented right now,” Campbell said…”it just seems to be almost an at epidemic level”…Women from the East Coast to the Midwest tell “frighteningly similar and horrific stories,” reported the BBC…

As I explained in “Mind-witness Testimony“, the striking similarity of “sex trafficking” accounts is an argument against their veracity, not for it.

*Translation: “arrested a couple of hundred underage sex workers and abducted the children of hundreds of adult sex workers”.

Available Weapon

As long as these laws are on the books, cops can use them against any woman they like:

In March 2012…several [pigs] stormed into a…spa and arrested a woman…[they performed an] invasive strip [on her and stole] thousands of dollars…the woman, Min Liu, was soon charged with prostitution…the woman’s employer…Bin Cheng [is] the wife of J. Robert Port…investigations editor at The Times Union of Albany…Port accused the police of targeting his wife’s business in retaliation for a series of articles…that called into question the tactics and practices of an Albany County sheriff’s drug unit…Ms. Cheng…was not at the spa during the raid, nor was she ever charged with any crime, but the implication [was] that she was involved in nefarious activities…A…judge in Albany last month dismissed the charge…against Ms. Liu, after county prosecutors concluded that the case should be dropped “in the interest of justice”…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#418)Ohlala

I’ve got news for you, Pia:  we don’t want our market disrupted, and the power is already in our hands; that’s why we can charge.

Last year, Berlin-based entrepreneur Pia Poppenreiter created Peppr, an app that connected clients to sex workers…[but] the booking process didn’t really facilitate “on-demand”…[also] escorts…preferred more control over their profiles.  Poppenreiter killed the service and went back to square one, consulting heavily with the women who work in the industry to find out what might actually work:  “Because I still believe after all that this market needs be disrupted”…Today she launches the new concept, Ohlala, in Berlin first but with an English language rollout soon…A key aspect is this is that the old tradition of women being “picked” by men is turned on its head and puts the power back in the hands of the women… If Ohlala is successful it could remove the middle-men from the escort business entirely…

You mean middlemen like Poppenreiter & Company?  Or some imaginary other kind of middleman?

Eternal Vigilance

Because prohibitionists are determined to cut off sex workers’ noses to spite their own faces:

…Hornsby Shire Council, one of several Sydney councils that has employed undercover investigators to try to close down “illegal” brothels, says the NSW government is better placed to license and regulate such premises…Janelle Fawkes…of the Scarlet Alliance…said decriminalisation had been highly successful in NSW and it was only councils calling for changes.  “This is about some councils shirking responsibility to implement decriminalisation and to do their part of what is a very effective whole-of-government model of regulation…NSW has reaped the benefits of decriminalisation over the last 20 years and there will be widespread outcry by the health sector if it is…replaced on a whim to appease councils who refuse to work within the intent of the laws”…

Yellow Fever (#509) 

Remember “trafficking town”?  Not to be outdone, Al-Jazeera wants us to believe in a whole “sex trafficking” country:

…in…Romania…most teenage girls…as young as 13 — have long quit school, with many disappearing into the realm of sex trafficking…one-third of Romania’s trafficking victims are underage girls…According to ADPARE, a [rescue industry] group…fueling the problem is the region’s emergence as a sex industry destination…Since its 2007 accession to the EU, Romania has become a major sex market in Europe — a development that can be seen…in online advertising of Romanian erotic massage parlors…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#510)

Seattle politicians just keep doubling down:  “Human rights? What are those?”

…Decriminalization supports the very root of sex trafficking…the demand for commercial sex.  By chilling the demand for sex buying, we chill the economic incentives for sex trafficking.  Sex buying [magically] causes harm — we must have no illusions about that.  The vast majority of women in prostitution are physically assaulted by the men who buy them — one study showed 86 percent.  The women are 18 times more likely to be murdered, and their death rate is 200 times higher.  An estimated 90 percent of prostituted people worldwide are pimped.  Proponents of decriminalization suggest that “sex work” is just another form of labor.  In fact, it is exploitation of the worst kind…

Debut at 13, “Our children are at risk”, hundreds of “child sex slaves”, “pimps”, etc; you get the idea.  The most shockingly appalling statement is that “decriminalization [is a]…failed experiment”, which is about as blatant a lie as it’s possible to make.

Repeat Offenders (#535) 

Why is it that prohibitionists who want to “rescue” sex workers invariably push them into menial garment-related work, like laundering or sewing?

…Sex worker support centre St Kilda Gatehouse is ramping up the sewing classes it has run for two years, teaching sex workers to hand stitch, mend and style garments…Andie Patchett said the informal and encouraging environment had been empowering for the women wanting to exit the industry…Ms Patchett said the classes were “a bridge” out of the sex industry…As an incentive to complete the program the women will be given an essential piece of sewing and craft equipment at the end of each week, in the hope they will graduate with a complete sewing kit and machine…

In the 19th century, sewing provided such a meager living that seamstresses nearly always supplemented the work with prostitution; indeed, “seamstress” was often a euphemism for “whore”.  Yet in an age of cheap, mass-produced garments, these fanatics expect women to support themselves by sewing?  Completely delusional.

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