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Posts Tagged ‘Seizing Power’

Political opponents of [Backpage] like to imagine that without it, sex trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors would simply cease.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Do As I Say, Not As I Do freddie-lorick

Of course they didn’t accuse him of faking:

Ten men, including a South Carolina police chief, have been arrested in an undercover prostitution sting…Chief Freddie Lorick Sr…told officers he needed medical treatment and was taken to a local hospital. It’s unclear whether he has been released…

An Ounce of Prevention

There have been a few close approaches, but this could be the most promising yet:

British man could become the first person in the world to be cured of HIV using a new therapy designed by a team of scientists from five UK universities…presently the virus is completely undetectable in the man’s blood, although that could be a result of regular drugs.  However if the dormant cells are also cleared out it could represent the first complete cure…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

While the feds actively persecute some sex workers

The federal government is again suing a Mississippi strip club, saying its owner still discriminates against black strippers…Danny’s Downtown Cabaret…managers require African-American strippers to work exclusively at the neighboring Black Diamonds club or pay extra to work at Danny’s.  The suit alleges patrons at Black Diamonds were allowed to grope strippers in a building where air conditioning sometimes didn’t work…

The Pygmalion Fallacy 

This double dose of stupid reminds me of those old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials: “Hey! You got your robot whore fantasy in my blow job cafe fantasy!” “No, you got your blow job cafe fantasy in my robot whore fantasy!

An entrepreneur who hopes to open London’s first “fellatio cafe” has revealed his staff will be made up entirely of sex robots…Bradley Charvet…claims the sex-bots will be programmable to a person’s needs and will soon be seen as “totally normal”…

Shift in the Wind (#131)

An interesting article on getting funding for sex worker rights projects:

As human rights and social justice funders, we try to reach those people who are most marginalized and excluded from services and protection.  Those who are least empowered, least resilient, and hardest hit by inequality.  But one group that ticks all those boxes is systematically excluded from funding opportunities:  sex workers.  Why are not more funders stepping into this gap?  What makes even human rights funders so hesitant to take on the human rights of sex workers?…

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

Future generations will marvel at their ancestors’ deeply weird obsession with female virginity:

An Egyptian MP has called for women to be forced to undergo virginity tests before being admitted to university…Elhamy Agina called on the Minister of Higher Education to issue a mandate requiring him or his officials to enforce the virginity tests…Agina reportedly [said]:  “No one should be upset by this decision.  If you’re upset then that means you’re scared that your daughter is in an ‘urfi’ marriage behind your back.”  Urfi marriages can be entered into without the approval of a bride’s guardian and can only require two witnesses, resulting in a cultural perception among some segments of Egyptian society that they are covert or secret marriages…

Fever Dream

We’re not hearing quite as much of this “highway” bullshit as we used to:

…Chattanooga and Tennessee have become a focal point [sic] in the war against sex trafficking.  The effort has involved not only agencies such as the TBI and local law enforcement, it also has…made its way to Congress with the End Modern Slavery Initiative from Bob Corker, the…U.S. senator from Tennessee and former Chattanooga mayor.  As the geographic intersection of Interstates 75, 24 and 59, Chattanooga provides an easy path for pimps to transport their victims around the Southeast…That’s especially true for traffickers from Atlanta which, in 2014, was ranked as the No. 1 city in the country for sex trafficking…

Seizing Power (#593)

A win for Backpage on one front:

The Supreme Court announced…it has declined to hear an appeal from…Chicago…sheriff [Tom Dart] who was ordered to cease threatening credit card companies about doing business with…Backpage.com.  The justices let stand a lower court order that forbids…Dart from contacting Visa and MasterCard in his effort to [censor] sex [workers’ ability to advertise online]…

However, see “Crying For Nanny” below.

Challenge (#628)

ESPLERP vs. Gascon reaches a court which could potentially do something:

…ESPLERP…filed a brief in the United States Federal Ninth Circuit appealing against the Northern California District Court’s judgement dismissing ESPLERP v Gascon…Maxine Doogan [said]…“[The judge] acknowledged that Lawrence v Texas defined a constitutional right to privacy in individuals’ sexual conduct, and also acknowledged that morality was not a basis to deny that right, but then found flimsy legal arguments to deny that right…“Lawrence v Texas made it clear that governments may not intrude into the private lives of consenting adults by criminalizing their sexual behavior” said Mike Chase, longtime human rights activist…Contributions to support the court case can be submitted through…www.litigatetoemancipate.com

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-christopher-odom

A Spring Hill [Tennessee cop] has been charged with rape and sexual battery…Christopher Odom…pulled two women over for traffic stops on two separate occasions, once in June and again in July, [raping] both adult women…

Crying for Nanny (#659)

It’s difficult to overstate what a huge development this is; the allegations constitute a direct attempt to destroy Section 230 and therefore the entire internet, all so a few megalomaniacal politicians can score a few political points:

State agents raided the Dallas headquarters of…Backpage and arrested Chief Executive Officer Carl Ferrer on Thursday following allegations that adult and child sex-trafficking victims had been forced into prostitution through escort ads posted on the site.  Ferrer…was arrested on a California warrant…[issued by] California Attorney General Kamala Harris…on felony charges of pimping a minor, pimping, and conspiracy to commit pimping….Harris…is running for the U.S. Senate in next month’s election…

Here’s more from super ally Liz Brown.

Dutch Threat (#678) 

Felicia Anna on the “My Red Light” scam:

…I’ve already talked about this project before…the mayor…proposed…that this brothel would be the first brothel without pimps.  A complete bullshit story, since first of all there are very few girls that actually have a pimp…and since this brothel has just as much chance of renting their windows to a girl with a pimp as any other brothel…there are hardly any abuses to begin with, as the numbers from the city of Amsterdam themselves prove…unlike how people (like the mayor for example) often claim…the mayor [is] trying to frame the current brothel owners as the bad guys…so he can have an excuse to close down the other brothels…only 6 sexworkers showed an interest in working in this brothel at all…

Send In the Clowns

As I expected when I wrote yesterday’s column, the clown panic continues to spin out of control:

A Livonia [New York] man was charged with falsely reporting an incident after he allegedly edited a clown image into a photo of [a local] Park…posted it on his Facebook page and then warned people to keep their children out of the park…Hooper…told his Facebook followers “the clown had then run away when he snapped the picture”…Hooper was charged with third-degree falsely reporting an incident…the charge is a misdemeanor…

In New York, making up idiotic stories to frighten the stupid is only a misdemeanor, but in Texas it’s a matter of national security:

..a 14-year-old [Houston] student has been charged…[with] making a terroristic threat.  The student is accused of threatening “to shoot up an HISD school with his clown friends” on social media…”We can’t ignore it,” said HISD Spokesman Jason Spencer. “We [completely lack the adult capacity to control our own actions or use any discretion whatsover]…

Just in case you think my editorialization there is a bit extreme:

…”This clown crap is really getting on my nerves,” [suburban Dallas cop] Latrice Pettaway wrote on Facebook Monday night…”Pop a cap in the first clown you see.  Someone needs to just hit one and the rest of these fools will learn”…police spokesman Shane Kizer said….said shooting people dressed like clowns is “absolutely not” how the department wants the public to respond to viral reports of clowns…

And Utah cops agree with Kizer:  “Police in Orem, Utah would like to make it clear that neither they, nor you, can legally shoot random clowns…

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Adults with critical thinking abilities realize they aren’t entitled to treat other people like characters in a dream sequence.  –  Anonymous

Deadbeats

I can’t emphasize this enough: Don’t try to get freebies from sex workers.  Seriously.

If you’re trying to date or hook up with someone you know from their work in escorting or porn, without paying them, your chances of success are close to zero…It may come as a shock to hear this.  You may feel like sexual attraction is only part of the connection you have with this worker, and that paying would deny the authenticity of that.  Or maybe you think that you are a really good (looking) person and only creepy or unattractive people pay.  Maybe both you and the sex worker are queer and/or have similar politics.  You know sex workers and are down with decriminalization.  There are many reasons you may feel you are exceptional.  You are operating under a basic misunderstanding of who we are and what we are doing…

Lack of Evidence

In which China aspires to be more like the US:

…Condoms have come to play a central role in police activity around sex work. …[cops] stop sex workers on the street, open their bags, and search for condoms; they burst into rooms to look for condoms in wastebaskets, beds, and quilts; and they even remove the trousers of clients in order to find condoms.  Police raid rooms rented by sex workers, as well as bars and massage parlors…Unsurprisingly, the danger of detention for carrying condoms discourages sex workers from using them…

Moloch

Don’t say I didn’t tell you before:

My piece in today’s New York Post will probably surprise folks who think the sex offender registry is filled with middle-aged men arrested for luring kids into white vans with the promise of puppies…But in fact, the most common age that people are charged with a sex offense is 14…because people tend to have sex with people around their own age…And much under-age sex is illegal…Of course, recognizing that young people experiment would require politicians and law enforcement to also recognize that people can do dumb things, even sexual things, and not be irredeemable monsters. Right now, that’s not a big political talking point.  So instead, over one fourth of the people we label “sex offenders” get that name when they themselves are juveniles.  Considering the registry has over 800,000 people on it, we’re talking about more than 200,000 people who get put on the list while they are in middle school or high school…

Above the Law  

Judge orders jury to find an “authority” not guilty of rape.  What a surprise!

…Judge Keenan Johnson directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty of coercion after ruling that the prosecution had not established that complainant had been intimidated.  He stressed that he was making no determination on the truthfulness of either the accused, Andrew Gilmartin…or the complainant Martha Rooney…[who] alleged that the defendant [demanded] oral sex in return for her not being prosecuted for fraud…Gilmartin…was charged with intimidating Ms Rooney with a view to compelling her to do an act which she had a lawful right to abstain from doing…

Broken Record boat race

The “big events” that supposedly attract “sex trafficking” grow ever sillier:

As revelers gather for the Tri-City Water Follies this week…A church-based nonprofit is teaming with Tri-City hoteliers to train staff to recognize and report human trafficking rings that bring minors to town…during special events.  The Stop Under Age Domestic Sex Trafficking Project or SUDS is a five-year effort by Mirror Ministries… “Boat race weekend is our largest weekend. Every hotel is packed,” said Tricia MacFarlan, executive director…

Gingerbread House

Remember, “safe house” is a euphemism for “prison”.  These girls are not allowed to “transition” out until their keepers declare they are:

Freedom Place…[confines] minor girls who had been [arrested for doing sex work]…With Texas reporting the second highest sex trafficking rate in the United States and Houston considered one of its largest hubs…According to [prohibitionist propaganda] nearly all prostitution is involuntary and, legally in Texas, is considered to be the result of coercion for minors…

Calling a prison “Freedom Place” is about as Orwellian a touch as one could imagine.

Dirty Laundry

People need to be frequently reminded of what Ruhama actually is:

The Magdalene Laundries might have closed, but sex workers are not safe from Irish Sisters at all.  The nuns simply regrouped, renamed themselves and are still harming prostitutes…Ruhama does not offer any actual help to sex workers who need help.  Rescue organisations and anti-prostitution NGO’s rarely do,they mostly make money by “raising awareness”, abusing prostitutes, receiving money from governments and providing “education” to health professionals and policy makers.  But it seems they haven’t killed any babies.  Yet.  So, you know, that’s something…

The Prudish Giant (#414)

Note that this was accomplished via the usual whorearchical line-drawing:

…Patreon has been hard at work on behalf of its adult content creators, trying to win back what they lost.  And on July 12, Patreon sent an email to users announcing a PayPal about-face: “We were able to convince PayPal, or more specifically their subsidiary Braintree, that Adult Content creators on Patreon are not a serious risk.  Our content policy, and the nature of subscription payments, means that Adult Content creators on Patreon are less risky than most creators making adult content.”  Patreon’s adult creators, both PayPal and Patreon believe, will generate few chargebacks or fraud allegations, making the financial hazards to the payment processor negligible…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

I’m honestly surprised this has taken so long to catch on.  Note how closely it resembles “sex trafficking” propaganda tactics:

A Texas GOP lawmaker has teamed up with an anti-choice organization to raise awareness about the supposed prevalence of forced or coerced abortion, which critics say is “wildly divorced from reality”…Molly White…[wants cops to intervene]…when [someone claims] a pregnant person is being forced to terminate a pregnancy…Allan Parker, the president of The Justice Foundation, a “Christian faith-based organization” that represents clients in lawsuits related to conservative political causes…alleges that the majority of those who have abortions may be forced or coerced…“I would would say coerced or forced abortion range from 25 percent to 60 percent”…This statistic is found in a 2004 study about abortion and traumatic stress that was co-authored by David Reardon, Vincent Rue, and Priscilla Coleman, all of whom are among the handful of doctors and scientists whose research is often promoted by anti-choice activists…Other research suggests far fewer pregnant people are coerced into having an abortion.  Less than 2 percent of women surveyed in 1987 and 2004 reported that a partner or parent wanting them to abort was the most important reason they sought the abortion, according to a report by the Guttmacher Institute

Full of Themselves (#533) 

I wonder if any of them recognize how pathetic their denials sound to us?

…KT Coates, president of the International Pole Sports Federation…wants to see pole sport included in the Olympics, although she admits that is probably a long way off.  It isn’t yet recognised by SportAccord, the umbrella body for sports federations, but Coates says that is “only around the corner”…There are rules aimed at moving pole sport away from its strip-club shadows – costumes can’t be too skimpy, and there are no sexualised moves (no gyrating, hair flicking or grinding).  “If someone got on stage and did that, the whole crowd would be in shock,” says Coates.  “We’re not embarrassed of our history, it’s just that [pole sport] is a polar opposite.”  Are there competitors here who work in strip clubs?  “No. I don’t know a single one.  These are athletes.  You are not going to get someone who does exotic dance doing the world sports championships – it just does not overlap.  We have the same apparatus, but it’s not the same thing”…

Crying for Nanny (#570)

Pro-censorship morons are still trying to destroy the entire internet:

In the last year, Backpage won two significant victories in battles stemming from adult ads on its online classifieds service.  Now, the losing parties both hope the Supreme Court will review the decisions.  In one case, lawyers for a group of [soi-disant] teen sex-trafficking victims recently took the first step toward asking the Supreme Court to revive a lawsuit accusing Backpage of facilitating crime through the design of its online classifieds site…A second battle involving Backpage that could reach the Supreme Court involves Sheriff Thomas Dart of Cook County, Illinois. Last November, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order prohibiting him from attempting to influence credit card companies to stop working with Backpage…

The Mote and the Beam (#613) 

The answer to the titular question: “Because it doesn’t actually exist as such”.

…a cancer…is metastasizing across the country:  Violent pimps and sex traffickers use online services like Backpage to exploit and profit off of unwilling victims.  To avoid detection, those creating the listings often use code words or phrases.  “New to town,” for example, is typically code for listing a teenager.  According to a recent U.S. Senate subcommittee report, Backpage enables this sort of behavior rather than preventing it.  While Backpage’s terms of of use and guidelines claim that they do not allow for bartering of sex or sexual services, let alone those of children, the committee charges that Backpage does little to prevent it…the subcommittee has subpoenaed the head of the website, Carl Ferrer.  Ferrer has refused to submit to the subpoena, arguing that Backpage is protected under the First Amendment…

This is plenty enough to give you the tone of this exercise in virulent anti-whore yellow journalism.

An Example To the West (#626) 

More on EMPOWER’s sex work museum:

…This Is Us tells the history and lives of sex workers in Thailand.  Inside the museum, which displays in one room, visitors can find a dance platform with a metal pole, a minibar, a karaoke machine, a bath tub, condoms, sex toys, a boxing ring and more — all with the stories of how the prostitution industry in Thailand has evolved over the years.  From brothels out of the Ayutthaya period to go-go bars, coyote bars, aab ob nuad (bath houses) and more, this museum collects and displays ideas rather than merely “old stuff”, as the foundation’s director puts it…

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[Prostitution law] is not about rationality or science or evidence.  It is just about ideology.  –  John Lowman

License to Rape

Cops don’t like it when non-cops poach on what they consider their territory:

Raul Antonio Ramos…could [be imprisoned]…for 50 years to life if he is convicted of [various rape-related felonies after]…he allegedly contacted [a sex worker]…in Anaheim…once inside [her room] he claimed to be a [cop], showed her his security-guard badge and threatened her with arrest if she did not have sex with him…He went on to forcibly rape the woman, using a GoPro video camera to record the entire incident…When Ramos tried to…orally [rape her]…she grabbed his keys and camera and ran out of the hotel room and down the street to a Joe’s Italian Ice shop to report the rape…Joseph Christoph Moore…of Anaheim, is [also] facing charges of  impersonating a cop and fondling two women in separate late November incidents…Moore approached a woman…whipped out a badge…told her to get against a wall, fondled her breasts and buttocks while “searching” her, pulled a handgun out of his waistband and warned her he would shoot her if she screamed.  In the second incident, he is accused of pressing a badge against a woman’s driver-side window, telling her she had expired tags…ordered her against a wall for a pat down and fondled her buttocks and inner thighs several times…Moore…could get life in prison if he is convicted…

Legal Is as Legal Does

Remember, sex work was re-legalized in Taiwan four years ago after ten years of US-style criminalization imposed due to pressure from Washington; however, it’s only “legal” in certain districts, of which none have been designated.  The result:

Authorities…cracked a prostitution ring operating in the Taipei area…officials probed possible links to international human traffickers in China and East Europe…18 people were arrested, including the two suspected leaders — 78-year-old Cheng Tsung-te (程崇德) and a 55-year-old woman surnamed Ku (顧)…Police officials [fantasized that] Cheng is…the “patriarch” of Taiwan’s underground sex trade with decades of insider experience…officials said that some of the alleged call girls were migrant workers from Southeast Asia who were under contract to work as home caregivers, but had run away…

They fled their “contracts” as caregivers to become sex workers, but it’s the latter which is supposedly “exploitative”.

Above the Law James Greene

A pretty typical case in all points:

…M’Leah…Hassan’s attorney Elton Richey claims former Shreveport [Louisiana cop] James Greene raped Hassan in his office in February after she came to the department to report harassing and threatening phone calls by a former boyfriend…The city of Shreveport and SPD are also accused of being negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of Greene…[who] was arrested and charged with abuse of office Feb. 13 and was fired from SPD Feb. 24…”They didn’t actually charge him with sexual assault,” Richey said. “I can’t…imagine the thinking that’s going on there.”  And now, 10 months later, the Caddo Parish District Attorney hasn’t brought the case to trial.  Richey said court dates are being pushed off and rescheduled…

Above the Law (#334)

You may recall that local “authorities” only wanted to charge the rapists with “accepting bribes”:

Two South Florida strippers claim in court that…Broward County [cops raped]…and threatened them after finishing their shift at a popular gentleman’s club…shortly after 4 a.m. on May 24, 2012…the City knew that [Franklin] Hartley and [Thomas] Merenda posed a threat to women, but still kept them on duty…

Traffic Circle

Pro-decriminalization articles are becoming much more common:

…the “rescue industry”…profits off the stigma of sex workers and…[collaborates with] the police, courts, and elected officials.  An instance of this is the ongoing pursuit of sex workers and clients who utilize…BackPage…By shutting down the websites that allow sex workers to manage their own business with a degree of autonomy, it would close a major revenue stream and give way to a return for those who victimize sex workers, the ranks of which have decreased with the rise of the internet…The [Providence] mayor’s call for more BackPage sting operations is especially disingenuous because, by painting all those who utilize the website as human trafficking victims or human traffickers, it creates no gradation or allowance for variety and exercise of constitutionally-protected rights…This type of state violence towards honest workers would be unacceptable in any other industry yet, because sexuality is involved in the equation, all existing norms of decency and respectability are ejected in the name of sensationalism…prohibition…forces sex workers to support the status quo of dissuading co-workers who want to work by any means necessary…After a sex worker is handed over to the rescue industry, they oftentimes find themselves forced into low-wage menial labor and subjected to puritanical ethics that prevent them from private access to the internet, sexual activity outside of marriage, and contact with former associates…

Harm Magnification (#427)

These articles are even more common in Canada:

Prostitution was dominating the headlines in the late 1970s when John Lowman was working on his PhD thesis.  Police raids of nightclubs in Vancouver and massage parlours in Toronto had pushed prostitutes onto the streets and Lowman thought he could use the crackdown on prostitution in his thesis on the impact of police behaviour on crime patterns…Over the decades…Lowman (now a Simon Fraser University criminologist)…found out what happened to prostitutes on the street and described the dangers they face [in] government reports and academic journals.  And he was flabbergasted by the callous indifference among top policy-makers as the number of deaths began to mount…Lowman is edging into retirement, and is still troubled by the abject failure of public policy to protect street prostitutes.  Policy-makers now have the benefit of more than 30 years of research-based evidence from across the country on violence against prostitutes as well as a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that focused on the barriers to safety that were created by the law.  But the provisions of the Criminal Code still compromise the safety of prostitutes…

Not an Addiction (#443)

an unnamed 28-year-old man from Siberia is suing…because he became “addicted” to Fallout 4…he planned to play the game a few nights each week but ended up on a three-week binge that resulted in the loss of his job.  He claims he was so addicted that he couldn’t even make time to eat or sleep.  Oh, and his wife left him.  Now, he is seeking around $7,000…for emotional distress…[saying] that if he knew the game could become so addictive, he…either wouldn’t have bought it or would have saved it until he was on vacation…the case is largely being viewed as a test in Russia as there haven’t been any like it before…such claims aren’t new.  In 2010, Craig Smallwood from Hawaii sued [the] Lineage II maker…after logging more than 20,000 hours in the game…Amazingly enough, Smallwood won his case…

Subtle Pimping (#503) Assassin's Creed image

Positive portrayals of sex workers are becoming more common in video games:

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s new Jack The Ripper expansion is a compelling if rough-edged remix of the base game that cleverly works in one of history’s most famous killers.  It pulls off another trick, too, going to extraordinary lengths to engender empathy for a group of people who don’t get much of it in video games: prostitutes…

An Example to the West (#544)

In Nicaragua, sex workers have been trained as peer educators in legal matters.  In Mozambique, it’s health matters:

In 2011, [Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)] began distributing condoms and giving lectures about HIV treatment in [Southeast Africa]…So that no person working in the sex industry on the route between Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi has to stop [HIV] treatment when moving to other cities for work, MSF created the Corridor Project, which provides medicine along the way…the project also includes education and awareness training, especially for sex workers…“But we still had a hard time reaching out to sex workers, who were afraid to face our team, due to the severe discrimination that they often suffer here.  We needed someone who was able to create a link between sex workers and Doctors Without Borders [MSF],” says [Humberto] Jassitene [of MSF].  The Peer Educator program…is made up of women who are sex workers at night but double as health workers for MSF during the day…

Checklist (#562)

Everyone’s hurrying to cash in on “sex trafficking” hysteria before the bubble collapses:

…Apps aimed at fighting human trafficking…are emerging as social entrepreneurs attempt to use technology to battle what they see as the forces of evil.  A group of government agencies and private foundations calling themselves Partnership for Freedom has set up a competition with the not-so-catchy name “Rethink Supply Chains” challenge.  What is grabbing attention is $500,000 in prize money that will be awarded for the best technology solutions to combat the use of slave labor…LaborVoices, a Sunnyvale, California-based venture, is entering the challenge with an app that allows workers to [snitch] simply and anonymously using a voice activated smartphone app…Made in a Free World, for example, created the Slavery Footprint app that generates estimates of an individual’s reliance on slave labor from data on trafficked human…the…challenge will pick as many as five finalists next month and award them $20,000 each to build a prototype.  The winner will be announced in April.

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#563)

So a reporter from Vice contacted a couple of escorts who use the German hooker app, Peppr, and interviewed them.  There are no surprises here, but you may find it interesting.

Seizing Power (#597)

Hey Breitbart:  swallowing the government’s “sex trafficking” propaganda makes you its stooges:

…Dart claimed that his effort was part of a crackdown on criminal sex traffickers who “prey on the weak and vulnerable.”  He argued that the use of credit cards in the “violent” sex industry “implies an undeserved credibility and sense of normalcy” to illegal transactions and increases the demand for “women and girls” who are often supplied through “coercion and violence”.  But the announcement outraged so-called “sex workers” across the globe, who said they were losing a convenient way to get paid…

Yes, they actually said “so-called ‘sex workers'”.

Innocence Never Had (#598)

Do these people really imagine that one basket full of ham and bog rolls will convince women to give up their jobs?

A group of volunteers spent their Saturday morning spreading Christmas cheer in Lake Charles [Louisiana]…”We are going to the areas that there is a lot of sex trafficking,” said Shawn Cardin…Founder of “I Am Loved”…[which harasses]…women in the sex trade industry…”We try to love everybody for Christmas,” said Cardin.  They came armed with food like frozen turkeys or ham and fresh fruits.  They also had house baskets filled with simple toiletries…”But more than anything we encourage and uplift these people”…

Also note that for the most part, “sex trafficking” has become nothing more than an especially-ugly dysphemism for sex work.

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[Under universal criminality] the cop becomes a law unto himself, with the ability to criminalize or wholly dehumanize any individual at will.
–  Steve MartinotJason Foster

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

A [Maine] mechanic who pretended to be an undercover [cop] to [rape] prostitutes…will spend more than eight years in prison…Jason Foster was…also sentenced to seven years of suspended prison time…Foster claimed he was just a paying prostitution customer…[he] must also register for life as a sex offender.

Universal Criminality

The only flaw in this otherwise-excellent essay is that the author buys into the “pimp” myth:

…around 70% of all prisoners in the US are convicted of victimless crimes…the person charged with a crime has harmed no one.  Some might say they harm themselves, but each individual would have to be involved in any discussion of whether that were true or not.  Regardless, they are thrown in prison…those convicted of victimless crimes are themselves the victims…of the victimless crime law system.  The mythology of imprisonment is that all those in prison are violent offenders, “bad guys” who need to be taken off the streets for the safety and security of the average person.  If 70% of all prisoners are there for victimless crimes, then this is worse than a myth.  It is a malicious lie…

The Widening Gyre

“Sex trafficking terrorists”.  Because one moral panic at a time isn’t enough any more.

There are terrorists in the United States who actively seek victims for their sex trafficking businesses.  According to Shared Hope International, this enterprise is booming.  The market for human beings is profitable…Sex traffickers target children as young as 11 years old.  Moreover, younger boys and girls are also subject to these predators…over 100,000 children…are bought, sold, and rented every year…It is, in fact, considered “a form of modern-day slavery…The terrorists in the U.S. are not only those the media discusses daily, but they are also the sex traffickers who are active in their pursuit of victims.  These terrorists are pimps and they are not always strangers…

Shifting the Blame (#33)

Long-time readers may recall that I said this almost four years ago:

Disgraced former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke…stymied the FBI’s investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial-killings for years…Burke…refused to keep the feds in the loop on the unsolved murders of eight women, a man and a toddler on or near the beach…because he learned he was in the FBI’s cross hairs for assaulting Christopher Loeb…a handcuffed suspect who swiped items from his vehicle— including pornography and sex toys…[Burke] then tried to cover up the assault…Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini announced that the FBI would now play a major role in the Gilgo Beach cold case…

That Old Black Magic

No sillier than the anti-sex propaganda favored by Western charlatans:

A “spiritualist” in Ghana named Mallam Ya Wadudu asserts that tattoos can cause “homosexuality and prostitution”…he said, “The snakes, lions, scorpions, frogs and other animal symbols they put on themselves all have spiritual meanings.  Those who put the symbols on their bodies have to be delivered from the influence of the spirits in the symbols.”  He firmly believes tattooing such symbols onto your body will lead to demonic possession…side effects may include homosexuality, alcoholism, or prostitution…

Drawing Lines

The mental gymnastics on display here would be truly Olympian if they weren’t so wholly clownish:

…Whether or not Sugar dating resembles “prostitution,” this tired argument is outdated and hardly applicable in the modern world.  Not only does it neglect the nuance and idiosyncrasies that exist in the world of Sugar dating, but it also assumes that, in the general population, only two types of intimate relationships exist: ones that include money and ones that do not…the phenomenon of the Girlfriend-Experience (GFE) is an example of the growing similarity and fusion between sexual and marriage markets.  To an onlooker, a GFE in action appears identical to any other dating scenario, but with the added certainty that…sex will be included somewhere in the evening’s antics.  And the woman will be compensated…the [sugar baby]…is more than a sex object – and her Sugar Daddy is more than an ATM.  To call Sugar dating prostitution is to reduce the individuals involved to one-dimensional stereotypes, when life is much more complicated and interesting than that…

Do you think we ought to tell “Sara-Kate” that GFE is a prostitution term?

Saving Them From Themselves (#428) 

Consensual crime laws enable predators, part umpteen:

Police Detective David Edward Abbott, a member of the Northern Virginia-Washington D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, committed suicide…before law enforcement could arrest him on suspicion of sexually abusing minors.  Abbott…was the detective [who]…sought a warrant to take [a] 17-year-old male…to the hospital, inject him with a drug that would give him an erection, photograph his genitals, and compare the photo with existing pictures of his genitals the police had confiscated from his 15-year-old girlfriend’s phone.  The teen was eventually sentenced to one year of probation…Abbott sued the teen’s lawyer for defamation.  The lawyer, Jessica Foster, remarked to the media that the warrant to take pornographic pictures of her client–to be used as evidence that he was guilty of creating child pornography–was “crazy”…Abbott said the comments caused him severe emotional distress; he claimed he was threatened and called a pedophile…Abbott…had inappropriate contact with two young boys, ages 11 and 13…

Worse Than I Thought (#536)

And you can bet they’re going to get help from civil liberties groups:

Following a First Amendment victory against meddling Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart…Backpage.com is now taking on the federal government.  On December 11, the company filed a civil action against U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, claiming that the…SAVE…Act…is unconstitutionally vague, overbroad, and infringes on First Amendment rights.  The…Act added “advertising” a victim of sexual exploitation to the list of thing that can trigger a sex-trafficking charge, meaning that user-generated ad platforms such as Backpage and Craigslist could find themselves facing the same charges as someone who forces someone else into prostitution—regardless of whether the platform knew anything about the ad.  It also stipulated a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence (up to life imprisonment)…A wide swath of free-speech and civil-liberties advocates opposed the SAVE Act…[warning]  that [its] reach wouldn’t just extend to Backpage but also social media such as Facebook and Twitter, online dating websites, and apps such as Tinder and Grindr…

Bait and Switch (#545)

If you’ll look back at what I’ve previously reported on Grady Judd, I’m sure you can guess what kind of tactics were used to entrap these people so Judd could destroy their lives for his self-aggrandizement:

A five-day human trafficking undercover operation in Polk County netted 95 arrests…The suspects range in age from 15 to 68 years old…Detectives filed 21 felony charges and 111 misdemeanor charges…“We’ve seen firsthand the negative social costs of how prostitution hurts families, children, and communities.  And more often than not, there is a high correlation between other crimes and prostitution,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd [vomited onto reporters]. “There is also a direct nexus between prostitution and human trafficking, and we are committed to identifying victims of human trafficking and getting them into [brainwashing] programs and out of lives of crime.”

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality (#578)

Because the government can’t find imaginary “sex slave rings”, it creates criminals in order to uphold its narrative:

…FBI agents…devised an undercover operation targeting…individuals…pursuing [an extreme BDSM]…fantasy…four individuals were…willing to pay thousands of dollars for a sex slave…The four…were indicted on human trafficking charges between December 2013 and May 2014.  They all pled guilty, and in September 2015, an Arizona federal judge sentenced them to prison terms ranging from seven to nine years…[Agent Ryan] Blay said…“We didn’t want to wait until there were actual victims.”

It’s a sign of how badly US “justice” has deteriorated that the agent sees nothing wrong with that chilling final statement.

Between the Lines

Here’s a firsthand account of what it’s like to be targeted by an “Operation Cross-Country” sting (video courtesy of Tara Burns):

Fallen Idol

A porn studio has published a performers’ bill of rights in the aftermath of the sexual assault allegations against porn actor James Deen, which have driven the adult industry to reexamine some of the on-set concerns surrounding the issue of performer consent…Angie and Colin Rowntree, long-time adult film veterans who operate sssh.com (a porn for women site) and Wasteland.com (a BDSM site), instituted their studio’s first formalized “On-set Policies And Best Practices” document…Sssh and Wasteland said they are taking their current principles and making them crystal clear for all parties.  According to Angie Rowntree, the document, which is now publicly available on their site, “is going to be an ongoing process” and will evolve as new potential concerns pop up…

Seizing Power (#593)

NPR has parroted government “sex trafficking” propaganda for years, but writing about this issue without mentioning Dart’s smackdown by a federal court is a remarkably revealing display of the organization’s total disregard for the truth:

Across the country, law enforcement is cracking down on sex trafficking of minors by going after online escort ads.  Five years ago, Craigslist was pressured to shut down its adult-services forum.  The new target is Backpage.com — Visa and MasterCard stopped processing transactions with Backpage this summer.  Some in the sex industry are getting around that by using the virtual currency bitcoin.  That’s the latest adaptation by an industry used to getting creative to avoid detection…Cook County Illinois Sheriff Tom Dart called a news conference to announce a victory this summer…Backpage…is fighting back.  It’s suing Sheriff Dart and making its ads free…

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There are no reliable statistics on which Sheriff Dart could base a judgment that sex trafficking has been increasing in the United States.  –  Richard Posner

Surplus Women 

Why do reporters either focus on or try to entirely avoid saying a crime victim was a sex worker?

A Missouri man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a woman he allegedly met on Facebook…Stassie Greer also faces charges of first-degree robbery and two counts of armed criminal action in the death of 25-year-old Sharae Bradford…she was shot in the head.  Money and a cellphone were taken.  Court documents say Greer arranged through social media to meet Bradford at the apartment to have sex in exchange for money…video surveillance helped lead police to Greer, and Bradford’s phone was found at his home.  Bradford was a single mother with a 6-year-old daughter.

Small Choice

Imagine the headline “Many NK defectors resort to better-paying jobs in South“:

A considerable number of female defectors from North Korea have become sex workers here after experiencing difficulties adjusting to life in the South…KBS…aired a program…about the plight of some 40 to 50 female defectors who work at…coffee shops that illegally sell sex…The women said that they used to work at normal companies or work as waitresses in restaurants after they defected, but their monthly salaries of some 1.3 to 1.7 million won was not enough to maintain their livelihood and support their family members left behind in the North.  “It is much better to earn some 3 to 4 million won here,” a woman told the program…

Checklist

Proving that stupidity & gullibility are no barriers to becoming a physician, two gynecologists wrote an exceedingly dumb and inflammatory article about – you guessed it – “signs” of “sex trafficking”, in which they suggest their fellows should waste their valuable time asking patients about their tattoos and prying into their privacy instead of actually treating their gynecological complaints.  Among the “signs” they list: “Often, there may not be a concrete sign at all – just the counter-transference of a feeling…of…sadness throughout your conversation“…Yes, “sadness” is now considered evidence of “sex trafficking”.

Leviathan

Any government so big, sluggish and cumbersome that it does this, is too big to be allowed to exist:

A militant who fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan and has been held without charge at Guantanamo Bay for 13 years was largely the victim of mistaken identity, according to U.S. defense officials.  Mustafa Abd-al-Qawi Abd-al-Aziz al-Shamiri was captured in 2002 and believed to be an al Qaeda facilitator or courier, and trainer…”We now judge that these activities were carried out by other known extremists” with similar names or aliases, the profile of the Yemeni detainee dated Sept. 25 added…

I Spy

Cathy Reisenwitz interviewed sex workers for their tips on maintaining privacy:

There are lots of reasons a sex worker might need to keep their sex worker identity separate from the rest of their lives.  Society is still extremely anti-sex-worker…in a custody dispute an allegation that a mother is engaging in sex work will prejudice a judge against her and may result in her losing even unsupervised visitation rights.  Even without a custody fight, Child Protective Services can take your children because you engage in sex work…And forget some forms of future employment if you’re out as a sex worker.  You will never, ever be allowed to work with children if you’ve ever engaged in any sex work.  And, last but not least, there’s always the remote threat of criminal prosecution…no matter what you do, there is a point at which enough skill, money, and time will reveal everything you want to keep secret.  So your only hope is to make it more difficult to hack you than it is rewarding.  These tips will keep your difficulty level higher than default…

Paint By Numbers

Why bother doing anything extraordinary to “fight sex trafficking”, when you can just get dressed in the morning?

…This month isn’t just December, for some, it’s Dressember…a call, not only to wear a dress for 31 days in a row, but to give attention and funds to [rescue industry group] the International Justice Mission…Participants in Dressember are looking for sponsors who will donate funds…Wearing dresses is a tribute to the dignity of women…There will also be a 24 hour Stand for Freedom at Fountain Mall…

Choke Point 

Here’s Violet Blue on the federal campaign to suppress sex businesses by pressuring financial institutions to choke off our air:

For nearly a decade, PayPal, JPMorgan Chase, Visa/MasterCard, and now Square, have systematically denied or closed accounts of small businesses, artists and independent contractors whose business happens to be about sex.  These payment processing authorities have also coerced websites to cease featuring sexual content under threat of service withdrawal, all while blaming ambiguous rules or pressure from one another…a federal appeals court ruled that pressuring credit card companies…to stop doing business with speech-protected websites violates their First Amendment rights…and in June, the FDIC clarified that it’s against the rules for businesses like PayPal, Chase and Square to refuse business or close accounts based on “high risk” assessments related to human sexuality.  But it may not be enough to stop what’s become an entrenched pattern of systematic discrimination by payment processors…Redlining, outlawed in 1968, is the practice of refusing to do business with…applicants from “high risk” neighborhoods who are otherwise completely qualified.  Since the 1930s, actual maps with red lines were used by banks to demarcate black and hispanic neighborhoods…To redline a community was to cut it off from equal financial access, rights and opportunities….there are no literal lines on a map here, but it appears there are virtual ones around an entire section of the internet.  So let’s call this “weblining”…

Welcome to the Future radicalization leaflet

The party will be very displeased if your children question diktats, comrade:

Child protection officials [in the UK] been criticised after warning parents that young people who take issue with government policy or question what they are told in the media may have been radicalised by extremists.  A leaflet drawn up by a…child safeguarding board warns that “appearing angry about government policies, especially foreign policies” is a sign “specific to radicalisation…showing a mistrust of mainstream media reports and a belief in conspiracy theories” could be a sign that children are being groomed by extremists…

Sexcrime

[Last December the UK’s new] Audio Visual Media Services regulations (AVMS) banned sex acts that were deemed morally damaging or life-threatening, including strangulation, face-sitting and fisting.   Spanking beyond what was deemed to be a gentle level, humiliation, full bondage and restraint…female ejaculation, and depictions of non-consensual sex were also forbidden…Campaigners slammed the rules as subjective, and said they unfairly targeted women…Myles Jackman, a UK-based obscenity lawyer, warned that the ban would pose an unnecessary trade barrier to beleaguered UK pornography producers.  It is now clear their fears were founded…customers with “tastes that are not mainstream enough to fit with the draconian limits of the new regulations” have simply taken their business to overseas websites and producers…

The Public Eye (#532)

A short profile of Laura Lee:

…When she is not working as a dominatrix, she offers her services as a “standard” sex worker to the terminally ill and physically disabled…Lee is also working to change society’s “polarised” perception of sex workers.  While there are glamorous escorts who jet around the world and curb-crawling girls battling addiction, she says the truth is far more boring. “Seventy per cent of sex workers right now are mothers working from flats quite discreetly…You could be standing in a queue…next to a sex worker and you wouldn’t know it”…

Checklist (#542)

Strip clubs and massage parlors in Orange County [Florida] will be required next year to post…signs displaying the hotline for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center…Florida ranks behind only California and Texas in the number of reported human-trafficking cases in the U.S., a [myth] cited by state legislators who passed a law requiring warnings signs in rest areas, truck stops, airports and emergency rooms…Adult entertainment clubs and massage parlors are [fantasized to be] venues that tend to serve as recruitment centers for human traffickers…

Stupor Bowl (#581)

It’s really kind of pathetic to watch the crippled remains of the “gypsy whores” myth gasping for air:

Santa Clara County officials launched a campaign…calling on the public to be on the lookout for human trafficking victims…The campaign will feature ads on…Valley Transportation Agency buses, bus shelters and light-rail vehicles with images provided through the National Human Trafficking Resource Center…The campaign comes ahead of Super Bowl 50…on Feb. 7…“These large events have a tragic consequence of attracting and increasing human trafficking,” VTA general manager Nuria Fernandez said…“I’m really confident that with the county working together, we’re going to find more victims in our area”…Supervisor Cindy Chavez said…

Cindy sounds almost ecstatic about the fantasy of tens of thousands of sexually enslaved children.

Seizing Power (#589)

Cathy Reisenwitz on Backpage’s win against Swanee Hunt crony Tom Dart:

…the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals told…Dart…that his misplaced fear of sex work doesn’t trump…free speech…The lawsuit describes a man obsessed with censoring adult-oriented ads.  Dart spent six years harassing Visa and Mastercard with threatening letters demanding they stop doing business with Backpage…Judge Posner…wrote…“A public official who tries to shut down an avenue of expression of ideas and opinions through ‘actual or threatened imposition of government power or sanction’ is violating the First Amendment…Actually, as explained in an amicus curiae brief filed by the Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project, citing voluminous governmental and academic studies, there are no reliable statistics on which Sheriff Dart could base a judgment that sex trafficking has been increasing in the United States”…

Yes, an important federal judge just officially declared that “sex trafficking” hysteria is bullshit.  And here’s Glenn Greenwald on some of the larger implications of the case:

…Beyond the positive outcome in this specific case — What kind of person would become sheriff of Chicago and then choose to spend his time worrying about adult sex ads? — the…ruling is crucial for protecting free speech rights generally.  That’s because corrupt public officials have realized that they can abuse their power to pressure corporations to “suffocate” private actors whom they dislike but who are breaking no laws.  The most notorious, most dangerous case was in late 2010, when Joe Lieberman blatantly abused his power as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to implicitly threaten and coerce companies like Amazon to terminate website hosting and payment processing services to WikiLeaks…That quickly led other companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and PayPal, to terminate credit card processing for the group, driving them close to bankruptcy.  In other words, Joe Lieberman almost completely destroyed a media and political organization group he disliked not through prosecution but with nothing more than thuggish threats to the companies that serviced it…This new ruling…highlights how dangerous such extra-judicial pressure campaigns can be, and makes them much more difficult by clearly ruling them to be unconstitutional…

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Laws don’t pay my bills!  –  unnamed Glasgow street worker

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Laura Lee on the appalling blindness of “authorities”:

…The last victim of Jack the Ripper, [Mary] Kelly’s body was so badly mutilated that she could only be identified by her hair and eyebrows…Fast forward 127 years and we have surely progressed a great deal since then in terms of sex worker safety, right?  Well no, actually.  If anything it’s worse.  Following the removal of the tolerance zone for street prostitution in Edinburgh, crimes against sex workers shot up by 95%.  The reason for that is simple, it became known that the police were no longer there to protect the workers, but rather to harass and arrest them, and their clients.  Let’s make a clear distinction for once and all, many attackers of sex workers are not or will never be “sex buyers”.  They are predators, looking for an easy target, and they know that sex workers are alone, vulnerable and highly unlikely to report an attack to the police…152 sex workers have been murdered since 1990.  How many more Mary Kellys must we have before the penny drops that leaving vulnerable people open to attack is not a good policy?

The Lesser of Two Evils Vatican City

If the Church were sanely-run, this article would be true:

The newest leaked information associated with the Vatileaks scandal states that properties owned by the Vatican along Piazza Barberini and the Italian parliament have now been converted to “massage parlours” and saunas, and their patrons are priests.  The leaked document points to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith…[which] owns and operates numerous properties within Rome.  The properties in question are referred to as “peppercorn rents” and are said to be leased for cheap to “powerful colleagues” of the religious institution…

Check Your Premises

They worked for themselves, but it’s a “ring” and the cops are looking for “pimps”:

Four women have been arrested as part of an alleged prostitution ring operating in Mississippi…Arrested were Anjeni’ Qyanik Moore, 34, of Norfolk, Virginia; Heaven Leigh Nix, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee; Joneka Santrice Burns, 24, of Jackson, Mississippi; and Candace Renee Stewart, 30, of Byhalia, Mississippi…MBI spokesman Warren Strain said the women were working independently and are not believed to be victims of human trafficking.  He declined to say…whether they worked with pimps, citing an ongoing investigation…

Saving Them From Themselves

Lock ’em all up, New York!  Let’s put the entire next generation on the “sex offender” registry!

…17 states have changed their child pornography laws so that teenagers who swap nude photos of themselves with each other are not automatically treated as felons.  One of those states is New York, which makes an exception for images exchanged between people 20 or younger whose ages are no more than five years apart.  In such cases, the “offenders” can avoid criminal charges by undergoing an eight-hour “education reform program” that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying.  Despite that provision, two Long Island teenagers were recently charged with felonies for producing and disseminating a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl…the two boys…are both 14…the boys…were each charged with…disseminating indecent material to minors and promoting a sexual performance by a child…In addition to the two boys who were arrested, 20 students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The cops are happy to serve as an ex’s revenge goons:

A 50-year-old woman…has been sentenced for soliciting prostitution…Marisa Frances Lang pleaded guilty to prostitution in a public place…and to disorderly conduct…Judge Michael A. Fahey…placed Lang on two years of probation.  She was ordered to continue mental health treatment and counseling…and must pay $585 in fines and fees…her ex-husband’s [ratting her out to cops]…led to a sting operation…

Finding What Isn’t There

“Authorities” amazed that an imaginary problem doesn’t materialize in response to their “mandating” that it exists:

…Around the country, pimps…force thousands of…women and girls…into prostitution every day.  Florida has the third highest number of sex trafficking cases…Reformers have argued that prostitutes are victims, not criminals, and more effort should be made to go after human traffickers – the pimps…Despite this new focus, a statewide analysis…found that efforts…to investigate and prosecute sex traffickers have yielded few results…[“rescue” profiteers pretend] the image of the independent prostitute, working for herself and selling sex by choice, is rarely accurate…“I [fantasize] the majority who are in the life have been the victims of trafficking,” said Katariina Rosenblatt, founder of There Is HOPE for Me…

The Widening Gyre 

The “Facebook pimps” myth is one of the silliest of the whole panic:

…Traffickers worldwide are increasingly using social media to contact vulnerable teenagers and sell them into sex work…Once limited to luring victims in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools in their arsenal.  “If just one of them answers … traffickers can make thousands of dollars off that girl very quickly,” said Andrea Powell, founder and director of FAIR Girls…a growing trend in the United States is to use WhatsApp or Snapchat where messages evaporate over time…Europol…said social media and other online technology have not only taken the recruitment and selling process off the streets but also allow traffickers to control victims using remote surveillance…

Here the magical “pimp” mind-control powers are claimed to be exerted via some mumbo-jumbo fantasy technology.Lucy Steigerwald

Shift in the Wind

Lucy Steigerwald presents a pro-decriminalization argument to a conservative audience:

Unfortunately, while the war on one vice dials back, law enforcement and government fight hard against another supposed danger…these days it sure seems as if the hot new thing to swoon over and vow to “do something” about is prostitution.  Worse than that, it’s prostitution-slash-sex trafficking, vaguely hand-waved together as the same thing…the solution to the latter is to legalize the former.  It’s that easy.  Or it could be, if people would do two things: stop filing trafficking with prostitution, and stop pretending that laws against selling and purchasing sex actually prevent people from selling and purchasing sex…Both hand-wringing liberals and worried social conservatives need to realize that some sex workers—perhaps the vast majority—have no need of rescue.  They need their line of work to be taken out of the black-market shadows.  They need to be left alone…We tend to look back with shame and bafflement at the obviously absurd moral panics that have gripped our society, but only after the damage has been done.  We are in the middle of a sex trafficking panic that not only exaggerates the threat that prostitutes pose to the moral fiber of society but, worse still, makes enormous exaggerations about the number of sex-trafficked (mostly) women and children…

Fever Dream

It’s like they’re not even trying any more:

Law enforcement officials on all levels – from local to international – are working together to crack down on human trafficking, which is a growing problem…[fetishists] call it “modern day slavery,” and it’s happening right here in East Tennessee…pimps…target young girls…on…social media…Interstate 40 is a convenient corridor for sex traffickers…the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking…[trains] people to recognize victimization…traffickers and pimps employ manipulation…21 of Tennessee’s 95 counties reported at least 16 cases of sex trafficking involving a minor in 2010…

Yes, that’s the same discredited study they’re still quoting despite the fact that it isn’t even supported by the cops’ own records.

Shame, Shame

Here’s a excellent article on the State’s two-faced attitude toward “revenge porn”:

…Sex workers themselves are erased from anti–revenge-porn rhetoric.  Proposed remedies for revenge porn—criminalization of disclosures and liability for third-party websites—fail to address the sex-work stigma that creates repercussions for victims of revenge porn.  When a woman has her Google results bombed with nude photos and fake sex ads, she won’t pass a screening when she tries to get a job—because she’ll be mistaken for a sex worker.  The solution, we conclude, is to remove all possibility of that mistake—rather than to remove what bars a sex worker from getting that job…We propose new criminal statutes and partner with the police, even as the police threaten to post photos of sex workers during “busts” on social media accounts.  These are women who are being locked out of jobs because of nude photos of them on the Internet.  These are women who are being publicly disgraced as sex workers—because they are sex workers…the existence of sex work raises awkward questions about how to define revenge porn, how to understand its harms, and how to most appropriately redress its victims…

Blunt Instrument (#547)

And the gravy train just keeps rolling along:

Victims of human trafficking in Tampa Bay will have more access to legal help thanks to a $600,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant…Some…brothels take the form of what are called massage parlors.  Gulfcoast Legal Services attorney Sophia Lynn Denicolo says they can be hotbeds of human trafficking…

The Public Eye (#557)

Another sex work-positive article in Cosmopolitan.  Hey prohibitionists:  We’re winning.  And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

There are a few rules for dating a sex worker:  don’t compromise their cash flow by driving away their business, never out them to other people without their consent, and don’t expect them to eagerly perform activities they normally get paid to do for free…Ask any sex worker how they maintain their boundaries, and you’re in for a long conversation.  Some people develop a working identity that they keep entirely separate from their real-life persona, and others conflate the two.  Many sex workers desperately want to be out but don’t want to endure the invasive questions, or fear that their housing stability or the custody of their children would be compromised…The hardest boundary I’ve had to confront in my romantic relationships is the line between authentic desire in my work, and the “it’s just work” defense…But the world isn’t black-and-white, and while the vast majority of us are not regularly turned on by our work, real connections can happen with scene partners and genuine fun can be had with clients.  So where’s the line?…

Seizing Power (#574)

I’m adding Judge Posner to the very short list of men who can claim a freebie from me anytime they like:

A federal appeals court has ordered the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to cease lobbying major credit card companies that do business with…Backpage.com…At a hearing on Friday, Judge Richard Posner expressed unease with the notion, presented by the sheriff department attorneys, that Dart’s First Amendment rights protected his individual right to express his displeasure with Backpage to the credit card companies…on the sheriff department’s letterhead…“He can use the office of the sheriff to express any antipathy that he has to anything?” Posner posed to the sheriff’ department attorneys.  “So you’re saying there is no limit?  He can express his opinion on his office stationery on any subject that occurs to him.  What if he doesn’t like pets?  He doesn’t think people should have animals in their house.  He can suggest to everyone they euthanize their pets?”  Dart was also directed by the appeals court to send a copy of the order to Visa and Mastercard and all other recipients of the June 29 letter within 24 hours…

The recording is well worth your time, especially the segment from roughly the 18 minute mark to the 30 minute mark.  Dart’s mouthpiece clearly knows she’s spouting drivel, and the judges keep calling her on it.

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A prison might be defined as any place you’ve been put into against your will and can’t get out of, and where you are entirely at the mercy of the authorities, whoever they may be.  –  Margaret Atwood

Bad Jobs

You’ll notice that sex workers are immune to most of these factors:

People often like to groan about how their job is “killing” them.  Tragically, for some groups of people in the U.S., that statement appears to be true.  A new study by researchers at Harvard and Stanford has quantified just how much a stressful workplace may be shaving off of Americans’ life spans.  It suggests that the amount of life lost to stress varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

There are about 40,000 girls aged 13-17 in San Diego; this “study” claims that 30% of them become “victims of sex trafficking” every year:

A new study released by the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University revealed that the dark and secret world of sex trafficking in San Diego is the second largest underground economy locally after drugs…sex trafficking is an estimated $810 million-a-year industry and it is run mostly by gangs.  The study revealed that as many as 11,773 become victims to human trafficking in San Diego alone on a yearly basis…Victims are primarily underage…The study was funded by the Department of Justice, and found that more than 100 gangs are involved in the local sex trafficking operations…next to schools, other recruitment hot spots include:  trolley and bus stops, house parties, social media, tattoo parlors, churches, malls…about 1,776 victims/survivors come in contact with law enforcement…

That last is larger than the total number of “sex trafficking victims” that have ever been identified as such in the entire US.

With Folded Hands

Margaret Atwood on the asininity of giving away freedom for “security”:

…Governments know our desire for safety all too well, and like to play on our fears.  How often have we been told that this or that new rule or law or snooping activity on the part of officialdom is to keep us “safe”?  We aren’t safe, anyway:  many of us die in weather events – tornados, floods, blizzards – but governments, in those cases, limit their roles to finger-pointing, blame-dodging, expressions of sympathy or a dribble of emergency aid.  Many more of us die in car accidents or from slipping in the bathtub than are likely to be done in by enemy agents, but those kinds of deaths are not easy to leverage into panic…

Above the Law Patrick Quinn coercive cop

Sometimes sexually-exploitative cops stop short of rape:

In August Patrick Quinn, a 27-year-old…Texas [cop]…pulled over a driver and [claimed he] spotted marijuana paraphernalia in her car.  He told her he would not arrest her if she would let him lick her feet or give him her underwear.  He…was [fired and] sentenced to a year in jail…

Parting of the Ways

Peter Barbey is wasting no time as the new owner of the Village Voice.  Per an interview with [the] Wall Street Journal…he’s nixed the thought of changing the print edition size, pitched to staff the concept of special themed inserts and decided it’s time for a major ad dollar shift:  “Barbey plans to get rid of escort ads, a racy fixture of many an alt-weekly.  ‘Adult women can be escorts, that’s fine with me’, Mr. Barbey said, ‘but it’s not the kind of advertising that fits where we want go’.

Monsters 

Beyoncé Karungi, a 35-year-old campaigner…is in hospital following [a] horrific attack.  The activist had recently penned an article on surviving in Uganda as a trans sex worker, an occupation that can be dangerous and occasionally deadly.  After recieving several hate threats, she went into hiding.  When she emerged, she was attacked by a group of five unknown men.  She sustained several serious facial and bodily injuries…This is not the first time Beyoncé has been attacked…one time police undressed her, took her bag, money and phone and then cut her hair to make her “masculine”…

Frequently Told Lies

The title is “Feminism’s Sex Work Problem“, but this thorough article contains a large section debunking the usual lies prohibitionists employ:

I’m not going to make the pro-decriminalization case here.  Others have made it far more eloquently than I could…However, there are some elephants in the room that simply have to be addressed before a real conversation can occur.  These are mistruths that seem to have become cemented as fact through sheer force of mindless repetition, and unfortunately they severely derail any objective discussion of sex work…

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

Las Vegas police will pay more than $80,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who said officers detained her for two hours in The Cosmopolitan after falsely accusing her of being a prostitute.  A federal judge wrote that the case showed…prostitution sweeps in casinos were overly broad and threatened people’s constitutional rights.  Chentile Goodman was released without charge after the 2011 incident and filed a lawsuit later that year…

The Camel’s Nose (#504)

Meet CISA, formerly known as CISPA, AKA SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed the Senate today by a vote of 74 to 21.  A different version passed the House earlier in the year, so they’re going to have to conference to hammer out differences.  Retail business interests supported the legislation.  Major Internet and tech firms like Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Twitter…opposed it…”CISA…allows companies to monitor users and share their information with the government without a warrant, while offering a backdoor that circumvents any laws that might protect users’ privacy“…Attempts to add amendments to narrow the bill’s focus all failed…The Sunlight Foundation…notes that CISA creates a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act…”That means if they overstep and share the wrong information — as this bill seems to intend — the public won’t know, and even if it did, it would have no legal recourse…CISA guarantees the public will have no ability to see what information is going from companies to the government“…

What Were You All Waiting For? Richard Branson

I’m glad Richard Branson is speaking out against criminalization, but I wish he’d talk to sex workers so as to avoid gaffes like this:

…There are good Catholic countries like Chile that have legalised prostitution.  And I know its very controversial.  Most people would put their arms up in horror.  But by legalising it, they got rid of the pimps.  The girls are monitored properly to make sure that they are healthy, to make sure they can come forward if they’ve got a problem.  And they believe a lot of the illegal trafficking of young girls has gone away…

Now They Notice

One of the more loathsome uses of asset seizure:  stealing all of the victim’s bank accounts so he can’t pay for a legal defense.

Things aren’t looking good for rentboy.com…The company’s bank accounts containing millions of dollars were frozen and its website was seized by Homeland Security…Now, the company is selling its office supplies and furniture on Craigslist in an effort to raise money to pay for its mounting legal fees…Some of these “goodies” include glass desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and video monitors.  Other items for sale include cables, software, books, magazines, artwork, lamps, a copy machine, and “a lot of special, one of a kind rentboy.com ephemera”…

Seizing Power (#574)

The Cato institute supports sex workers’ right to advertise:

Prior restraints—legal prohibitions on disseminating information before publication—are an odious burden on the freedom of expression and come with a “heavy presumption” against their constitutionality.  Indeed, they are so disfavored in the law as to be virtually impossible to obtain outside of wartime.  Informal prior restraints—government pressure without formal sanction—are even more unconstitutional than formal ones, as the Supreme Court noted in Bantam Books v. Sullivan (1963)…But that strong precedent didn’t stop…Thomas Dart and his crusade against Backpage…As Cato, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project point out in our amicus brief before that court, Dart’s claimed “epidemic” of sex trafficking has evaded any sort of empirical verification for over two decades.  Indeed, State Department data indicate that the opposite may be true.  Nevertheless, Sheriff Dart, along with a new-age Baptist-and-bootleggers coalition matching the religious right and radical feminists, have raised the human-trafficking bugaboo to rally against prostitution—mimicking the drug war and all of its worst legal mechanisms…

Welcome To Our World (#578)

Here’s the first part of an in-depth look at how the New York Times callously maligned an entire industry – one that, like sex work, provides income for undocumented migrants with little money to squander on bureaucratically-imposed startup costs:

Sarah Maslin…Nir’s coverage broadly [mischaracterized] the nail salon industry, [and] several of the men and women she spoke with say she misquoted or misrepresented them.  In some cases, she interviewed sources without translators despite their poor English skills.  When her sources’ testimonies ran counter to her narrative, she omitted them altogether.  The second article lent the Times’ imprimatur to unproven theories, while committing science journalism’s cardinal sin of highlighting alarmist anecdotes that aren’t representative of systematic research.  If it hadn’t had real-world consequences, the series—and subsequent attempt by Nir and her editors to parry criticism—wouldn’t be worth such intense scrutiny.  But the day after the first article appeared in the print edition of the Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo…announced a new multi-agency task force to inspect nail salons…The rush to legislate based solely on the Times’ shoddy reporting has hurt the industry.  New nail salons, “which used to open every week in New York,” have stopped appearing…Salons once provided a steady source of jobs for undocumented immigrants; now many owners say they’ll hire only legal workers who’ve completed an occupational licensing program because they’re afraid of getting in trouble…

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