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Posts Tagged ‘serial killers’

How it is I can give sex away and nobody cares, but as soon as I capitalize on it, it’s a problem?  –  Betty Lynd

Surplus Women 

This is only being investigated because unsolved cases make cops look bad:

With the arrest of a 58-year-old man from Rotterdam the police believe they made their first breakthrough in a cold case investigation into the murders of 85 prostitutes in the 80’s and 90’s…the suspect can definitely be linked to two murders, and possibly to three others as well…The judiciary has evidence against the man for the murders of Berendina Stijger in 1990 and Maria Hofland in 1991.  There are also similarities between these two murders and the murders of Beppie Michels, Mientje Balkom and Jeanet Sip in 1989 and 1999 – four of the five victims’ throats were slit and there were “similar sexual acts”…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

When political activists like Daw Sander Min were imprisoned for their campaigns…they were locked up alongside sex workers criminalised by Myanmar’s harsh laws against prostitution.  Now Sandar Min is an MP and Thuzar Win addresses parliament on behalf of the Sex Workers in Myanmar network, and they’ve joined forces to improve the lives of Burmese people…the women…are adamant that Myanmar’s future wellbeing…depends upon the decriminalisation of prostitution…journalist Thin Lei Win is…finding out how Sandar Min and Thuzar Win are getting on in their bid to amend legislation which dates back 70 years…One young woman, mistaken for a sex worker and imprisoned for six months, says whoever changes the law will get her vote.

Legal Is as Legal Does (#139)

Turkey continues its campaign to close brothels despite their legality:

The registered brothel in Antep [may] be closed due to the reason that it “does not suit Antep”…[politicians] told [the owners of] the brothel that if they “don’t transfer their properties without making any trouble, they would [steal]…the brothel’s land in other ways”…Leyla works and stays at the registered brothel.  She has two children studying in another city.  “How are we going to pay our debts if this place is closed?…They don’t care about us…We are not captives nor slaves here.  We pay our taxes…What are they protecting us from?  If they want to protect, they can buy us a home, grant us early retirement”…some 60 women work at the registered brothel, which…has employees other than sex workers; cafeteria workers, hair cutters, cleaning workers.  So, there are as many as 100 workers in addition to the sex workers…

Torture Chamber

“Having sexual conduct” is an especially clumsy euphemism for “rape”:

A Chatham County Sheriff’s Deputy was arrested…for reportedly having sexual conduct with an inmate…Deputy Jermaine Minor…was terminated, arrested and charged with four counts…

Whither Canada?

Two years into Canada’s vile experiment with the horrible Swedish model, I’m going back to using this subtitle because “A Year Later” no longer makes sense:

As police in Edmonton, Alberta, clamp down on the demand for paid sex with mass “john stings” in the name of protecting women, sex workers and experts say such efforts are ineffective and have already made conditions more dangerous…So far this year, the Edmonton police have carried out one sting a week on average, resulting in 63 arrests…The force [brags] it’s on track to arrest more than 200 johns in 2017, nearly twice the 104 arrests made last year…[Edmonton pigs] recently changed [the] name [of its] vice unit to the human trafficking and exploitation unit, and conducts most of its john stings online by posting fake ads…the vast majority of men caught in the sting are first-time offenders who typically get diverted into so-called “john schools”…Chris Atchison, a sociologist at the University of Victoria…says…john stings typically don’t end up curbing the demand at all, but send it further underground…he’s seen no evidence that “john school” is effective in changing the desires of clients, and they are primarily run by groups that seek to abolish the sex trade — not make women safer.  “These programs are based on a very particular…moral agenda based on misinformation and fear mongering,” he said…

Edmonton has a long history of abusing & dehumanizing sex workers, literally treating them like wild animals.

The Course of a Disease (#634)

One day I hope to see myself described in print as a “rebellious prostitute”:

…sex workers took to the streets of Paris protesting a lack of clientele and poor working conditions…[due to imposition of the Swedish model on] April 13, 2016…the incomes of [many] prostitutes fell sharply, as they had to significantly lower their prices in an attempt to attract more customers…In some extreme cases, girls committed suicide; some were infected with AIDS because for the sake of earning they were forced to agree to any demands made by men.  Also, there have been cases of women being beaten by aggressive and drunken customers…Since the law [was] implemented more than 800 people have been fined…

To Molest and Rape 

He paid an underage sex worker, then pulled a gun on her to steal the cash back, but he’s been charged with “prostitution” rather than rape:

A Washington, D.C., [cop] has been charged with soliciting sex from a 15-year-old…and then robbing her at gunpoint…Chukwuemeka Ekwonna…[hired the] girl…[but after he raped her] Ekwonna pulled out a handgun…[and] demanded his money back…the girl complied and left…Ekwonna faces a number of charges, including armed robbery, assault, prostitution and two counts of third-degree sex offense…Judge Eileen A. Reilly said…that he could pose a “danger to the community”…Ekwonna…[was previously] accused in a civil lawsuit with beating an inmate…at a Washington, D.C., jail [but] the plaintiff settled the lawsuit…

“A danger to the community” is what you inevitably get when you let armed thugs run around doing whatever they like to people without consequences.

Too Close To Home (#701)

Another of the men who claim they want to “protect” Seattle from consensual sex:

A 46-year-old Kent man sued Seattle Mayor Ed Murray…[saying] Murray “raped and molested him” over several years, beginning in 1986 when the man was a 15-year-old high-school dropout…“D.H.” [reported that] Murray sexually abused the crack-cocaine addicted teen on numerous occasions for payments of $10 to $20…the man, now sober for a year, said…he was coming forward as part of a “healing process”…Murray, who is running for re-election this year, [naturally] denied the [accusations]…D.H. is not the first to accuse Murray…of sexual abuse that occurred decades ago…Jeff Simpson and Lloyd Anderson, said they knew Murray when they were growing up in a Portland center for troubled children, and later as teenagers.  They accuse Murray of abusing them in the 1980s when he was in his 20s.  Simpson made the [accusation] as a teen in 1984…[yet Murray’s mouthpiece pretends that] “The…accusations were promoted by extreme right-wing anti-gay activists in the midst of the marriage equality campaign, and were thoroughly investigated and dismissed by both law enforcement [who worked for Murray] authorities and the [lapdog] media”…

Business As Usual (#717) 

Isn’t it weird how defining a non-crime as a “crime” creates all kinds of problems?

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said recently that he is shifting the department’s sex [work persecution] tactics, in an effort to [improve PR]…”Like all crime, we can’t just arrest our way out of this problem,” he said.  O’Neill’s new plan, he explained, is to focus on arresting [his way out of the problem while pretending that sex workers are “victims”]…prostitution arrests continue, and this week, O’Neill [pretended to have]… an “open mind” about moving prostitution from the criminal code to the civil code [while simultaneously representing sex workers as dumb animals that need to be forced to accept “help” at gunpoint].  Mayor de Blasio agreed. “I think that the concern at the jump is that if you only have those civil penalties, that it is harder to [pretend sex work is a]…crime”…”I don’t know what movie the mayor is watching,” said Kate Mogulescu, who heads up the Legal Aid Society’s human trafficking advocacy program.  “Please don’t justify arrests by saying we’re helping people”…Her team has argued that not all prostitution is exploitative, and that focusing the narrative on trafficking—suggesting that police sweep in as saviors—has bolstered criminalization all around…

The Notorious Badge (#726)

Never mind; this tells me all I need to know:

Harlots is a lavish 18th-century period drama about dueling houses of ill repute and the ruthless women who run them.  With all the power, lust, and flashes of humanity that we usually associate with male antiheroes, Margaret Wells (Oscar nominee Samantha Morton) and Lydia Quigley (stage and screen legend Lesley Manville) pit their considerable intelligence and stable of girls against each other for control of Georgian-era Soho.  But unlike the fictional liars and feuders currently flooding the Peak TV market, these sex workers aren’t manipulated by men—onscreen or off.  Harlots is the rare show entirely written and directed by women…[the reporter asked] Were you surprised to learn how much power these prostitutes and madams actually had in the 18th century? [And Morton replied]…You know, the sex industry, the sex trade with children, with trafficking—it is a very contemporary, present day issue.  The only difference with this—and this is what made me incredibly sad—is that women seemed to be more in control of the industry back then.  Certainly in Margaret Wells’s house, these women have a choice.  It’s a business…I think that back then women did hold a lot more power in that regard…

Gee, if only there were a way for actresses playing sex workers to talk to real sex workers and find out our reality so they don’t need to make ignorant guesses. You know, maybe a computer-based way for activist sex workers to make themselves publicly available to interact with, like a form of media designed for social interaction…

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We can’t…afford to waste public safety dollars on a problem that doesn’t exist.  –  Springfeld News-Leader editorial board

Surplus Women 

The two “real” women are named, but sex workers are subhuman so “teen hooker” is good enough:

Khalil Wheeler-Weaver, 20, is under investigation for the slaying of a teenage Philadelphia hooker whose burned body was left inside an abandoned building in Orange, N.J…Wheeler-Weaver…is already accused of strangling two other women: Joanne Browne…and…Sarah Butler…

Imagination Pinned Down

She has “big chunks of…memory gone”.  So she just filled the spaces with blatant lies:

Ontario’s first director of its anti-human-trafficking office brings to the job…first-hand insight, [claiming to have] lived through the experience herself.  “I was trafficked at 13,” Jennifer Richardson says…“I actually…have pretty big chunks of my memory gone…When you think of kids at 13, that’s the perfect stage to offend against children in this way…when you look at the stats worldwide, that’s one of the … stats that stays the same, no matter what country you look at the literature in: 13 1/2 is the average age of entry in every country”…

Obviously, among the missing “chunks” are basic arithmetic skills & the ability to read studies.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#30) kissenger

Well, at least this new version doesn’t look as ridiculous as the prototype did:

Kissenger is a rubbery-looking dock that humans put their phones in.  It has a tactile surface they depress with their meat.  The movements are then transmitted in realtime over the internet, so that a replica of them may be experienced by another human…There’s an app that goes with it so the humans can interact on a audiovisual-discursive level at the same time…”High precision force sensors are embedded under the silicon lip to measure the dynamic forces at different parts of your lips during a kiss.  The device sends this data to your phone, which transmits it to your partner over the Internet in real time.  Miniature linear actuators are used to reproduce these forces on your partner’s lips, creating a realistic kissing sensation.  Kissenger provides a two-way interaction just like in a real kiss“…

Skin To Skin

There are a large number of valid criticisms of this lawsuit, most especially the fact that it’s pushing for legalization rather than decriminalization.  But every attack on the edifice of criminalization helps to hasten its eventual collapse:

Russell Greer…has Mobius syndrome, which means he can’t move his eyes from side to side or close his lips…He says he suffers from anxiety and depression, and has found intercourse to be healing…His only choice—other than taking Amtrak or a plane to Nevada…is to illegally pay for sex in Salt Lake City…On Oct. 18, 2016, Greer…filed a lawsuit against city, county and state officials…for violating his constitutional rights by upholding laws that make sex work illegal…But in his quest to legalize prostitution in Utah, Greer stumbles into territory regarding sex-worker rights, arguments over decriminalization and language that highlights just how complex, nuanced and fraught the struggle over privacy and sexual rights continues to be, despite recent landmark legal decisions that opened the door to same-sex marriage and polygamy legalization…

Dark Corners

Keep in mind that despite many huge and expensive raids, the UK has never found more than a single-digit number of cases of genuine exploitation; these are actually just immigration raids cloaked under the pretense of “rescue”:

…97 people have been arrested in the U.K. on suspicion of immigration offences after raids on 280 nail bars in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh…the majority of those arrested [are] Vietnamese nationals.  The [pogrom] also [arrested] people of Mongolian, Ghanaian, Chinese, Nigerian, Pakistani and Indian origin….[as] part of a Home Office…campaign named “Operation Magnify”…targeting [migrant-owned businesses] to “root out illegal working”…[using the excuse of so-called] modern slavery…The Home Office stated that victims of trafficking [of which none were found] will be offered support, while “those who have no right to be in the UK will be removed”…

Traffic Circle

Remember how last Monday I predicted public funds for anti-whore hate groups would start to dry up?

State legislators have…started to [fear-monger] about the dangers of human trafficking in Missouri…[but] such cases are incredibly rare in Springfield…We may feel in our gut that there’s more trafficking going on in Springfield than we know about…but we should understand that our instincts don’t equal facts, and…we’re not a community that can afford to waste public safety dollars on a problem that doesn’t exist…

Paint By Numbers (#593)

On the one hand, I’m disappointed that stupid “sex trafficking” stunts are being recycled. On the other hand…well, see for yourself:

Kyle Pipes wore a thin cotton dress with a blue paisley print pattern.  Pipes, a minister at Eastern Hills Bible Church in Manlius [New York went around in drag]…as part of the national Dressember campaign…[while cross-dressing] Pipes [also fantasizes that] there’s over…30 million people enslaved worldwide…

I guess the dress makes it easier for him to reach under & wank to his “sex slave” fantasy whenever he feels the need.

To Molest and Rape

Once again: If you think it matters whether a cop was wearing his magical clown costume when he raped someone, you are part of the problem:

A Texas [cop] was arrested [for]…repeatedly sexually assaulting his girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter…the mother…discovered that the 13 year old had been texting lewd photos to…Jesus Gonzalez at his request…the girl revealed…that Gonzalez had sex with her more than 20 times between September and mid-December.  Gonzalez told the teen that he wanted to marry her…


“I want to marry you” is an even older line than “I’m going to rescue you”:

A…Vancouver police detective, who in 2015 received a special citation for his work on a sexual exploitation investigation, has been charged with sexual exploitation.  Det. Const. James Fisher was arrested…and faces three counts of sexual exploitation, one count of sexual assault, one count of breach of trust and one count of attempt to obstruct justice…He was the lead investigator in…human trafficking investigation[s]…

It Looks Good On Paper (#677)

This is nothing but a partisan wanking fantasy; what this law actually does is empower the cops to indefinitely detain underage sex workers “for their own protection”:

Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California…teenage girls (and boys) in California will soon be free to have sex in exchange for money without fear of arrest or prosecution.  This terribly destructive legislation was written and passed by the progressive Democrats who control California’s state government…Immunity from arrest means law enforcement can’t interfere with minors engaging in prostitution — which translates into bigger and better cash flow for the pimps.  Simply put, more time on the street and less time in jail means more money for pimps, and more victims for them to exploit…

One Born Every Minute (#681)

I hope this rapist scum is both bankrupted and imprisoned:

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office…filed a most unusual consumer protection lawsuit — charging a Seattle man with running a scheme for nearly a decade where he set up a fake talent agency for adult entertainers in order to trick women into posing nude and having sex with him.  Michael-Jon Matthew Hickey is accused of creating a fictitious business and using deceptive ads with bogus employment offers to find his victims…Hickey offered and advertised commercial services solely for his “own personal gain” and to “satisfy his sexual desires” with no intention of following through on the promised services to help these women find jobs.  Hickey…is charged with numerous violations of the Washington Consumer Protection Act and the Commercial Electronic Mail Act…In October, Hickey was charged with three counts of rape. He’s currently behind bars in the King County Jail in Seattle…

Checklist (#685)

Ladies, please heed my warning against using Uber unless you actually want to be “rescued” into jail:

A teenage girl is [in jail] after an…Uber driver helped rescue her from a suspected sex trafficking ring.  While he didn’t know it at the time, he was taking a young girl, her pimp and another person to a job.  But when they started openly discussing their plans in the car, the driver knew he had to [rat them out to the pigs]…Kevin Avila…picked up three female passengers…“I saw her legs are really long and she was a really young girl,” he said…The conversation turned to the how-tos of solicitation…Avila dropped off his passengers, then called police…He listened in depth and…even know what room they were going to…

Add to our list of “signs of sex trafficking”:  having long legs.  It’s a wonder I’m not “rescued” every time I leave the house.

An Example to the West (#698) 

Can you imagine American feminists criticizing a cop’s anti-whore fantasies?

Vishwas Nangre-Patil…has always been known for being progressive…Which is why his patriarchal misogyny at a recent press conference…came as a shocker [to people who don’t understand what progressivism actually is].  Announcing a crackdown operation against sex workers he wanted to know why they can’t work hard.  “They should be [forced] to make and sell pickles and papads instead of their bodies,” he [bloviated]…An activist [responded]…“Will he be able to match the corporate markets that sell papads and pickles?  And we are not even talking about matching a sex worker’s daily income here.”  All ears sir for your response.  Hopefully you’ll give the patriarchal conservatism a rest…

Power Play (#701)

The author of this article believes in a lot of the “sex trafficking” mythology, but seems to basically understand that going after websites is asinine:

…California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed new criminal charges against Backpage.com [officials]…after a Sacramento judge tossed out earlier pimping charges…While most advertisements posted in the “Escorts” section on Backpage.com likely come from [sex workers, fetishists pretend many]…sex traffickers…are posting others…If Backpage.com closes, the commercial sex advertisements will most likely be displaced to an alternative online platform…this crusade against Backpage.com is futile and could actually further inhibit America’s anti-trafficking efforts…while the majority of current cases may involve Backpage, this could simply be because the website is the primary [site] being used by [pigs to deceive people]…

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Abolitionists have failed to acknowledge the utter mundanity of most sex work.  –  Frankie Mullin

License to Rape

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

…upstate New York school…principal Eric Luther sought [underage student Jane] Doe out…and told her to “go for a walk with him”…two members of the New York State Police were stationed outside the…office…[and] the district superintendent, Robert Finster, [was] in the principal’s office, along with Amy Bird, the principal of the middle school.  Upon learning that other students had accused her of possessing drugs, Doe insisted that the allegations were false…Doe offered to let Luther search her backpack in front of her, but…school officials had a more humiliating search in mind.  Doe had to leave her backpack…while Luther and Bird took her to the nurse’s office…With [school nurse Kelly] Avallone and Bird looking on, Doe…[was forced] to disrobe completely…[and] stand exposed for several minutes…while they inspected her shirt, bra, boots, pants and underwear…Then nurse Avallone allegedly offered to perform a rectal exam…Jane [refused, but]…Avallone…[forced]…her…to…bend over [while she]…pried Jane’s buttocks apart with her hand, exposing Jane’s rectal cavity…Avallone [then] pried apart the opening to Jane’s vagina and shined her flashlight inside…there was absolutely nothing concealed…When Luther returned Doe’s backpack…her belongings were rearranged and…Luther admitted to searching the backpack outside of her presence.  All Luther had to say…was “Stop having your name associated with people with drugs”…

The Red Umbrella 

It’s always great to see good December 17th essays from allies:

…No one “dies of prostitution” any more than they do from domestic partnerships.  That women are killed in prostitution, as in relationships – the sphere in which women are most in danger of male violence – is the result of specific conditions:  misogyny, poverty, racism, stigma.  To claim that sex work is intrinsically violent is to let men off the hook…When deaths occur in other industries (there were 27 in agriculture this year, 43 in construction)…the usual response is to ask how working conditions can be made more secure, not whether the industry should be scrapped.  Of course men don’t need to buy sex, but nor does London need more luxury flats.  These arguments should have no impact on the right of workers to be protected…

Maggie in the Media 

Full of Themselves

Of all the semi-whores, none are as pompous as licensed massage practitioners:

…seven…Kitsap County [Washington massage businesses were defamed]…as suspect by cop-turned consultant Lavon Watson, who has made a new career out of investigating the rising tide of what some call “Illicit Massage Businesses,” or IMBs…They are easily identifiable if one knows what to look for, say those [persecuting]…them.  But they are not easy for authorities to shut down…Their proliferation has blurred the lines in the massage industry, with many legitimate massage practitioners reporting advances by their clients.  Their presence also worries those fighting human trafficking…Massage Network Solutions [is] a group of local therapists that met…with Watson, a retired Redmond police officer and massage therapist himself…while police and prosecutors here have [dumped dirty money into persecuting so-called]…pimps involved in human trafficking, storefronts — licensed by state and local governments to operate — might be furthering sex slavery…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you:

[Reporters for WSB in Atlanta dutifully promoted cop propaganda by accompanying pigs]…as they raided three local strip clubs looking for illegal activity.  [Prior to]…the raid [cops spent public money ogling strippers and getting lapdances for]…about a month-and-a-half to two-months…Sandy Springs police issued nine citations at Flashers, mostly for permit violations, and one for a solicitation for an illicit sexual act…At the Dollhouse…police issued 19 citations…[and] arrested [a dancer]…police issued six citations at Mardi Gras [and]…arrested [another dancer]…

Gingerbread House

The rescue industry is big business:

Phoenix will launch a project next year to convert an apartment complex into supportive housing for victims of human trafficking, an effort city officials [pretend] is the first of its kind in the country.  The City Council…unanimously approved plans for Phoenix Starfish Place, which the city expects will serve primarily sex-trafficking victims.  The project includes buying a vacant affordable rental complex, designing trauma-focused services and providing residents with vouchers to subsidize rent…[prominent “sex trafficking” fetishist & profiteer] Dominique [“Body Fluids”] Roe-Sepowitz…is [involved] with the project…

Shifting the Blame (#33)

Called it.  Four and a half years ago.

Suffolk County’s disgraced former Police Chief James Burke, long suspected of keeping the FBI in the dark about the Gilgo Beach murders, faces a new accusation from a sex worker who says there’s a link between him and the killings…The escort, who according to an affidavit has been in the profession for five years, discussed multiple times she said she partied with Burke in 2011 at an unknown Oak Beach home and engaged in “rough sex”.  Numerous people, prostitutes, and drugs, including cocaine, were at the gatherings, she said, adding that she observed former chief Burke use cocaine at the two parties she’d attended with him present…

“People, prostitutes and drugs”.  Because prostitutes aren’t people?  That kind of thinking is why those bodies ended up on the beach & their murders still haven’t been solved.

I Saw My Brain

Another pogrom in the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

More than 100 people, including [a bureaucrat]…were arrested in a six-day [pogrom]…in Polk County…the [persecution] was aimed at people who either advertised sexual services online or responded to prostitution ads online….[lying sows] posted fake online ads, and male [rapist pigs] responded to ads posted online by others…

Choke Point (#610)

It looks like there’s a new payment processor, PervoutPay, which promises to be sex work friendly.  Of course, all their ad copy I’m seeing is about porn, and this testimonial from Lance Hart has a strong whiff of whorearchy:  “We offer a legitimate service that is legal, yet we ask our customers to lie about what they are paying for…That has to make the customers feel at least a little weird(er) about paying us…like this is some kind of back alley deal.  PervOutPay is a big step forward in legitimizing sex work…”  Note the equation of “legal” and “legitimate”, which is bullshit; my business is as “legitimate” as Hart’s despite its illegality.  So what about it, PervoutPay?  Are you going to screw over escorts who try your service, or are you truly interested in “legitimizing sex work”?

To Molest and Rape pervert-cop-jason-miller

Serial sex offender let off easy, later assaults teen boy. Guess his profession:

Jason Miller was a New Jersey cop when he was caught on his dash cam pulling male motorists over to show them his penis, unzipping his pants to give them a close-up view of his genitals before walking back to his car without writing any citations…turning off his dash cam to allow himself to shove his genitals in their faces without it being recorded.  But there were times he forgot to turn the camera off, which led to his arrest after the department received two anonymous tips…He…struck a plea deal to avoid serving jail time or having to register as a sex offender…He was also forced to resign and forbidden to ever work as a New Jersey cop again.  On [December 15th]…he…was arrested again; this time for following a 16-year-old boy into a Burger King bathroom and sexually assaulting him…Miller claims the teen came onto him…

Utter Cluelessness

Just because we can’t find “victims” doesn’t mean the “problem” isn’t “overwhelming”.  Pizza!  Words With Friends!  EVERYBODY PANIC!!!

Aimee Schroeder…starts her day [t]rolling through listings on Backpage.com.  Her task is to pinpoint which Twin Cities ads are selling…children…for sex.  Photographs of girls…with bruised bodies and the track marks of drug use tip her off to possible sex-trafficking crimes…Schroeder keeps an eye out for small hands and children’s clothing…Imran Ali [is] the Washington County assistant attorney who is heading up the county’s year-old effort to [profit from hysteria over]…sex trafficking…because Washington County is a hub for major highway connections, sex work is often headquartered there…Pete Orput [fantasized while secretly touching himself].  “I can order up a human being to come to my house and sell her body to me, and then I can order a pizza — and I’ll bet the gal beats the pizza to my door”…Victims can get sucked into trafficking a number of ways, including through…”Words With Friends”…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#687) 

This is what a moral panic looks like:

Aoshilong, a Chinese clothing manufacturer that sells its line on Amazon, produces leggings for little girls in various prints…According to a December 12 story from WFTX…in Fort Myers, Florida, that was uncritically repeated by many other outlets, “the pants are covered with marijuana leaves”…an…anti-drug activist [vomited out]…”Anything that normalizes marijuana with kids is child abuse”…which is more plausible:  that a Chinese manufacturer of decidedly mainstream clothing made leggings for little girls printed with marijuana leaves…or that a few hyperventilating cannabiphobes mistook Japanese maple leaves for marijuana leaves?…

Opting Out (#694)

For those of you who still insist I’m an alarmist:

Last month, the UK moved forward with the latest version of its ridiculous “Digital Economy Bill” which will put in place mandatory porn filtering at the ISP level — requiring service providers to block access to sites that don’t do an age verification check.  But it was at least somewhat vague as to which “ISPs” this covered.  The bill has moved from the House of Commons over to the House of Lords, and apparently we now have at least something of an answer — and it’s that social media sites like Twitter and Facebook will be covered by this regulation…The debate over regulating Twitter got pretty silly pretty fast.  At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots…

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You can’t change your life [after a prostitution arrest], because you got people who just want to ride around and randomly take people to jail for nothing.  –  Erika Elias

Think of the Children! 

“Concerned parents” is a euphemism for “busybodies”:

A [gang] of [busybodies pretend] their quality of life is being affected after [one of them] discovered a business selling adult services was operating in their street…The owner of the house, Nigel Sanders, said…”I have a girlfriend who is a professional dominatrix, she comes to visit me in Exeter and on some occasions she may have found it convenient to see someone for services in…the [house]”…[one of the busybodies] said it made her feel uncomfortable that [people were having consensual sex close to where the products of other consensual sex acts were living]…

Lack of Evidence

As long as these laws exist, all women are vulnerable to persecution by cops:

Erika Elias…was waiting for a ride outside a Columbus, Georgia, trailer-park last month when a local [cop]…spotted her.  Because Elias had been been picked up for prostitution nearby previously, and the neighborhood is one where cops regularly make prostitution arrests…Ryan Vardman…arrested [her] for “loitering for the purposes of prostitution” and [she] now faces nearly two months in county jail…The criteria for this crime is entirely subjective: does a cop think you look like someone selling sex?…sleazebag-cop-michael-e-moore

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

“…Toledo [cop]…Michael E. Moore, Sr…was indicted by a…grand jury on two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of compelling prostitution…[after he] paid for sex with a girl, who was at the time between 13 and 14…”

A War for Peace

Femen’s main purpose seems to be the generation of irony from hypocrisy:

The founder of the Canadian chapter of…FEMEN…Kseniya Chernyshova was arrested in midtown Manhattan on Nov. 11…[for] “sexual intercourse in exchange for $300”…The Ukrainian-born Chernyshova…has been trying to [stop other] women [from making money the same way she does]…

Surplus Women 

Why can’t reporters write about the murders of sex workers without lurid bullshit?

It has been 10 years since a suspected serial killer prowling the streets of Atlantic City claimed Molly Dilts, 20, and three other women, Kim Raffo, 35, Barbara Breidor, 42, and Tracy Ann Roberts, 23.  The women, whose lives had unraveled under the weight of drug addiction, worked as prostitutes in the shadow of the resort’s neon-lit casinos.  Over five weeks, the killer took them one by one, dumping their bodies in a brackish, trash-strewn drainage canal…The killings spawned lurid headlines around the nation for months…Before drugs took hold of their lives, the four…were mothers and daughters…

A man who implies that sex workers can’t be “mothers and daughters”, and who apparently views women as only having worth in our relationships to others, has the nerve to call similar reporting on the same subject “lurid”.

The Widening Gyre

It’s fascinating to see fetishists convincing themselves their fantasies are real:

New details are emerging about the kidnapping of Northern California mom Sherri Papini, who was able to provide basic descriptions of the two Spanish-speaking women she says abducted her. Authorities say the motive for the kidnapping is still unknown, but one private investigator says there are signs that sex trafficking could be involved.

Another caption below this piece claims Papini was “branded”, which as longtime readers know is total bullshit.  This smells to me like a troubled woman looking for attention by faking her own “sex trafficking” abduction.  The “Spanish-speaking women” seem kin to the imaginary dark-skinned men usually featured in such hoaxes.

Train Wreck

It looks like Kenyan articles about sex workers can be just as weirdly stupid as Nigerian ones:

The increasing number of commercial sex workers touting for business at the Central Business District in Nakuru during the day is scaring away potential investors and customers…the Nakuru Business Association [pretends]…that the twilight girls some who are under age, strategically position themselves outside business premises disrupting human traffic to shops…The commercial sex workers are now considered as a big hindrance to normal operation of business in the city…

So now “disrupting human traffic” is a bad thing?  Please tell this to the “end demand” people.

Checklist

Fetishist admits her “information” is bullshit, yet teaches it anyway:

Sex trafficking in the United States is a “hidden epidemic”…an [opportunist]…told Longview [Texas patsies]…during a workshop.  “No one is an expert in this yet,” said Traffick911 Director of Programs Lindsey Speed…”as soon as we learn the way pimps do their business, they change it up”…Speed [fantasized about]…sex trafficking and how people can spot signs of potential victims…Speed offered up [nonsense] statistics about the industry…

Traffick911 is a coalition of Christian groups best known for claiming that their imaginary bogeymen can be chased away by saying prayers over highways.

Unintentional Hilarity Pokemon GO squirtle

Quite possibly the stupidest prohibitionist argument of the year:

Pokemon Go is a game in which you capture little monsters inside balls and trade them for candy or use them to fight other Pokemon to gain points…But, as with prostitution, when you look more closely at Pokemon Go, you see a nastier side.  In the game, I lure and drug beautiful little wild animals in their natural environment to calm them for capture, then bombard them with ever stronger Pokeballs in which I eventually confine them…I put Pokemon in my collection, inspect their vital statistics and, if it suits me, sell them to an authority figure (the Professor, a wise old white man) in return for candy.  Or I may keep them, send them to battle others and get them hurt in the process.  Like a pimp lures and (sometimes literally) captures a woman in prostitution and then rents her out to men to control and enjoy…

Yes, she’s actually comparing living adult women to imaginary cartoon monsters and apparently implying that “pimps” have magical entrapment abilities.  Also, some clients refer to seeing sex workers as “The Hobby”, not “The Game”. But prohibitionists never let actual facts contaminate their bizarre, sex-hating beliefs.

Imaginary Evils (#348)

A deep look at the Maoist cult whose members were at first called “slaves” by the media:

When Aravindan Balakrishnan was growing up, in Kerala…his mother often warned him not to curse people when he was angry…she believed that her eldest son possessed occult powers, and nicknamed him Black Tongue; later, as an adult, Balakrishnan would boast that he could set people aflame by looking at them.  He was a good student, and won a British Council scholarship…to study at the London School of Economics…By 1967, Balakrishnan had suspended his studies at the university and joined the Communist Party of England.  He…later…persuaded a small group of people—including Chanda Pattni, a classmate from Tanzania, whom he later married—to follow him.  Together, they founded their own party, the Workers’ Institute of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought…Eventually, they moved in to a communal house in Clapham, South London…Balakrishnan enforced control by encouraging rivalries among the women and keeping them financially dependent.  He warned them that if they strayed, an invisible machine would punish them.  He called it JACKIE, an acronym of Jehovah, Allah, Christ, Krishna, and the Immortal Easwaran—the last of these being a scholar and spiritual teacher from Kerala.  If any of the women tried to flee, Balakrishnan said, JACKIE would zap them with lasers.  If they had disloyal thoughts, JACKIE would make the household appliances go haywire…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#574)

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

Dozens of teachers gathered in [California]…to learn about how to [indoctrinate]…students in fifth to eleventh grades [in “sex trafficking” propaganda].  Tiffany Lavoie, a [fetishist, lied that]…”The average age of a victim of human trafficking in the United States is eleven to fourteen years old.  Some studies say fifteen…my mom trafficked me from the age of three until I was 13″…Lavoie said her goal is not to scare kids about strangers…

Bullshit; that’s exactly her goal.  And more importantly, to scare their parents & “authorities” so she can keep making money off of this moral panic.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now (#693)

Liz Brown has discovered a rather revolting pattern in US vice cops’ recent behavior:

One disturbing new trend I’ve noticed of late is undercover cops posing not just as vanilla sex-buyers or women looking to get cash for sex but as prostitution clients with unusual kinks or women demanding payment in things like cheeseburgers.  Then, after a sex worker or would-be client is arrested by undercover officers, the police—and the media segments that parrot them—are sure to highlight the more…mockable and attention-grabbing…elements of the bust…In [one] case, they set up a sting wherein sex workers advertising online were asked to oblige an undercover cop’s fetish request, which involved gummy worms in some way.  But the gummy-worm fetish part has no bearing on whether the elements of the crime of prostitution are satisfied, so it’s hard to see why [cops] would include it but for their own amusement or to ensure that the sting would be irresistible to the press afterward (or both)…

The Widening Gyre (#694)

I’m glad this happened; it isn’t until moral panics start disrupting the lives of the well-connected that they finally end:

A man who said he was investigating a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a pizza place fired an [“assault rifle”] inside the Washington, D.C., restaurant on Sunday…Edgar Maddison Welch…was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon…the pizza place has been hammered by thousands of threats and bizarre, unsubstantiated tales about child sex trafficking online for weeks…two women, who declined to give their names, [were found] banging on the patio…in late November.  The women were looking for the alleged tunnels used to traffic children.  “All of this is an underground tunnel that…transport them back and forth so they can can do these rituals,” said one of them. “They are putting a lot of curses and spells over the city”…

The tie-in to the Satanic Panic makes it even better.

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There is no thought that a person should be able to have which lands them in jail.  –  Brian Shuster

Surplus Women 

Rolling Stone manages to do an entire article on serial killers who target sex workers without bothering to mention the reason so many do:  the criminalization that forces us to operate in the shadows:

The Killing Season, A&E’s upcoming documentary series about…unsolved murders of prostitutes…starts by looking into the Long Island Serial Killer investigation…but…is not just about LISK…the show…found there are likely many, many more predators who have been able to keep their killings sprees unnoticed.  “These guys aren’t getting away with murder because they are such geniuses,” [filmmaker Rachel] Mills tells Rolling Stone. “They have identified the perfect victims.  They know that those are the types of people that maybe they should go after because they don’t leave as much of a trace as a soccer mom who posts on Facebook”…families of…victims…[have] a hard time convincing law enforcement to take their concerns seriously…

Peeping Toms (#331)

Cops just love their “crackdowns” against queers, but in the current environment of tolerance they’re having to get more creative with their excuses:

Toronto police are helping residents…take back a park that has allegedly been used as a place for sexual activity at all times of the day.  Police said…they have laid 89 charges, mainly bylaw infractions, against 72 people…to clean up Marie Curtis Park…[cops], during their “plain clothes enforcement,” were solicited for sex in the park.  At other times, officers witnessed open sexual activity or men soliciting other men…police [pretend they] are not targeting any one particular group….[but] ninety-five per cent of those charged are men…the community wants the park to be a family friendly place where adults and children can enjoy the outdoors without fear of witnessing sexual acts.  There have also been complaints about litter left behind, including condoms…

Note the close resemblance to typical excuses for “stings” vs sex workers (including public sex and discarded condoms), the similarity of tactics and the typical dehumanizing language such as “take back” and “clean up”.

Above the Law (#405)

Once in a while a rapist cop gets his comeuppance:

A former Lake County [Florida] sheriff’s deputy convicted of [raping] a woman during a traffic stop on New Year’s Day 2014 has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.  Matthew Donnelly was sentenced [November 8th] and his attorney filed an appeal the same day…

Torture Chamber (#407)

What happens when government stops obsessively prohibiting things and treats prisoners like human beings:

While the UK and much of the world struggles with overcrowded prisons, the Netherlands has the opposite problem.  It is actually short of people to lock up.  In the past few years 19 prisons have closed down and more are slated for closure next year…Fewer than 10% [of Dutch prisoners] return…after their release.  In England and Wales, and in the United States, roughly half of those serving short sentences reoffend within two years, and the figure is often higher for young adults…A decade ago the Netherlands had one of the highest incarceration rates in Europe, but it now claims one of the lowest – 57 people per 100,000 of the population, compared with 148 in England and Wales…police…have shifted their focus away from drugs and…judges often use alternatives to prison such as community service orders, fines and electronic tagging…Angeline van Dijk, director of the prison service in the Netherlands, says jail is increasingly used for those who are too dangerous to release, or for vulnerable offenders who need the help available inside…critics…[pretend there are criminals hiding all over who haven’t been caught] and…many of…van Dijk’s staff are not happy about the lack of people to lock up…

The Public Eye (#449) 

Tyranny By Consensus (#528)

This isn’t the first time Weinstein’s been accused of financial shenanigans:

…The Free Speech Coalition…is taking aim at Weinstein and his nonprofit over…improper political spending.  FSC filed a formal complaint…charging that Weinstein’s spending push related to promoting measures such as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, an anti-development initiative designed to curb building in Los Angeles, has been dubious…[and] constitutes a breach of the Internal Revenue Service’s requirements for an organization to maintain non-profit status, since much of the spending is not directly related to AHF’s own AIDS-related mandate…AHF has…spent in excess of $10 million on local ballot measures and lobbying…[and] almost $20 million on statewide ballot measures…while continuing to receive government grants and not paying taxes on pharmacy sales…[of] over $800 million annually…

Guinea Pigs (#623) 

Palantir is the same company which is helping cops spy on sex workers:

California’s secretive gang database, with information on hundreds of thousands of predominantly black and Latino men, uses a controversial overlay of…data analysis and surveillance technologies…they are being employed by law enforcement without public use policies or privacy safeguards beyond the database’s own rules.  The 19-year-old CalGang database has relied on facial recognition technology at least since the mid-2000s…Yet facial recognition, so imprecise that the Federal Bureau of Investigation accepts an error rate of up to 20 percent, is even more inaccurate when used to identify African Americans…at least one jurisdiction was allowed to employ a powerful dataset-linking program created by Palantir Technologies, a Pentagon contractor, and indicate that the CalGang Executive Board has considered using social media mining software…intelligence [is gathered] from stops by police, such as pulling someone over for a traffic violation or jaywalking.  Any information collected during those stops and uploaded into CalGang, including photos of an individual’s face…people [are] classified as gang-affiliated based on flimsy evidence, record keeping [is] sloppy and gang intelligence [has] been used for employment background checks in violation of federal law and CalGang’s own policies…

Change a Few Words (#625)

It’s good to see more and more doctors attacking the drug war:

Richard A. “Red” Lawhern, Ph.D. is a long-time advocate…for chronic pain patients…”Over the past 20 years, I have interacted with thousands of pain sufferers…In many of these people, prescription opioids have made the difference between total disablement or death by suicide, versus at least a marginal quality of life and function…During the last two years, I have increasingly heard from patients who are being subjected to a systematic campaign of medication denial and personal stigmatization by the mainstream medical establishment.     Patients who have been successfully and responsibly managed for years on prescription opioids are now being labeled as addicts and denied renewal of medication…Doctors are being driven out of pain management…by an over-zealous witch hunt headed by the…DEA…the most prevalent causes of opioid deaths are street heroin, a flood of imported fentanyl from China and Mexico, and the diversion of stolen or fraudulently obtained prescription opioids…Chronic pain patients did not cause the “overdose epidemic”…a quarter or fewer of overdose victims have a current medical prescription for pain relievers…

Virtual Unreality 

Prudes will turn anything related to sex into a problem:

Realistic sex robots are still a very long ways away — but realistic virtual reality sex has already arrived…we are already hearing about the potential for virtual sexual assault.  Last month, Jordan Belamire shared a now-viral story of getting groped during a multi-player VR video game, which she said “felt real, violating”…[prudes are freaking out about simulated] sexual encounters with [nonexistent electronic images designed to look like] children…[fetishists imagine] VR sex will become so technologically advanced that it is actually preferable to real world sex.  Kathleen Richardson…is…director of The Campaign Against Sex Robots…but she’s also [judgmental] about the nearer-term reality of virtual reality sex.  She believes that things like VR, and sex robots, encourage us to see other humans as property and decrease our empathy…The issue of acting out sexual assault on a purely computer-generated character is…fundamentally not all that unlike the sometimes hysterical worries that have come up with past technological advances — whether it be cybersex in AOL chatrooms, the proliferation of internet porn, or the advent of swipe-based dating…there is no evidence [violent video games] lead to real world criminal behavior…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#635)

It’s interesting to see how much more critical mainstream media in the British Isles can be about anti-porn hysteria:

…a study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin was mentioned as evidence that porn causes changes in consumers’ brains…the researchers actually concluded that they could not prove if the people in their study had this type of brain before their exposure to porn, or if porn was responsible for changing the brain.  To generalise about this small-scale study of 64 Danish men is disingenuous…and the experience of men cannot be said to be exactly the same as the experience of women…It was also stated that there is research to show that women in porn are abused and mistreated, however…there is no large-scale, longitudinal research done with porn performers.  The closest to this was the Griffith study in 2013 which asked 177 female performers about their history of sexual abuse and their levels of self-esteem.  They reported lower levels of childhood sexual abuse and higher rates of self-esteem, social support, sexual satisfaction, and spirituality compared to the control group of non-porn performers…a statistic…claimed porn receives 30,000 hits a second –  but…comes from a Christian website that campaigns against porn…YouTube…receives a billion views a day…PornHub received just over 4 billion hits for the whole year.  PornHub also [reports] the average viewing time worldwide is about ten minutes each visit.  We must also ask how much time people spend watching Hollywood films, social media, or Netflix, and what kind of content they are consuming on there…

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When the government shuts down sites like Rentboy, they’re really taking away tools for folks to be safe.  –  Becky Barryte

Dirty Amateurs

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

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a recent spike in STIs such as chlamydia (up nearly 6 percent since 2014), gonorrhea (up nearly 13 percent) and syphilis (up 19 percent) among young people…between the ages of 15 and 24…A 2015 CDC study found that condom use among sexually active high schoolers dropped from 63 percent in 2003 to 57 percent in 2015.  A study that same year by Skyn condoms found that 48 percent of millennials use condoms “never” or “rarely”…

Surplus Women 

Good riddance to bad rubbish:

A man serving a life sentence for killing three prostitutes in their one-woman brothels in 2008 hanged himself in…[a Hong Kong] Prison…on Thursday morning.  Nadeem Razaq…a Hong Kong resident of Pakistani origin, was found hanging with his pullover tied to the bars of his single-person cell at about 6.44am…

“One-woman brothels” are a fiction of the lawhead mind; what they mean are “incalls”.

The Punitive Mindset dungeon-by-aaron-klug

Given the petty vindictiveness of US prison officials, I’m amazed that any of them allow this:

…Sterling…is…a maximum security prison 130 miles northeast of Denver…every afternoon, half a dozen inmates gather around a table in the common room to join forces against imaginary foes in a…game of Dungeons and Dragons…Dice…aren’t allowed…so the inmates…use a set of 20 playing cards to make “rolls”…most of the guards…tolerate the game, even looking on with bemused curiosity and asking questions…Some even go so far as to encourage it…However, over the years, there has been the occasional guard who read sinister motives into the game…Back in 2004, at Waupun [prison] in Wisconsin, inmates were banned from playing D&D, and Dungeon Master, Kevin T. Singer’s, gaming materials were confiscated, including a 96-page handwritten manuscript outlining a campaign he was developing…Singer sued the prison, claiming the seizure and ban violated his free speech and due process rights.  At the trial, Captain Bruce C. Muraski, the prison’s security supervisor and also the man responsible for the confiscation, attempted to justify the prison’s decision.  He testi[l]ied that role-playing games like D&D “promote competitive hostility, violence, and addictive escape behavior, which can compromise not only the inmate’s rehabilitation and effects of positive programming, but endanger the public and jeopardize the safety and security of the institution.”  Singer appealed the decision and six years later, it escalated to the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.  There, Singer presented testimony to show that D&D—and roleplaying games in general—were effective tools for rehabilitating inmates, yet the appeals court upheld the ban…

Legal Is as Legal Does 

Why sex workers keep telling you that legalization isn’t much better than criminalization:

…at the end of 2014 Holbeck [in Leeds] was thrust into the limelight by a trial scheme: the UK’s first “managed prostitution zone”…Elsewhere in the UK, while selling sex is legal, soliciting is not.  In the managed area, however, this law no longer applies between 7PM and 7AM.  The basic premise is that, as long as you’re over 18 – police may ask to see ID – you can work as a sex worker without fear of arrest.  On Friday the 21st of October, however, the truce appears to have broken.  Women working in the area were shocked as police and UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials poured out of vans and cars and began to round up whoever they could find.  Anyone from outside the UK…found themselves detained and questioned…six women, all from EU countries, were taken straight to Yarl’s Wood and are now waiting to be deported.  Others have been given 30 days to provide paperwork proving their legitimacy to stay in the UK…

Another Fine Mess

This one’s more of a mess than usual; though it starts with the usual “OMG whores use the internet!” it quickly devolves into nonsense about sexbots, then veers off into idiotic prohibitionist claims like “Because there’s such high demand for [commercial] sex, that is what is creating sex trafficking, because a majority of people don’t want to go into commercial sex work willingly…because there’s this gap in supply, trafficking victims are filling that gap…”  If that were true, sex workers wouldn’t be working as hard as we do to attract clients and I wouldn’t be posting fucking specials.  The truth is that it’s a rare whore who has enough clients these days, and if prohibitionists’ moronic claims about clients they attack “generating demand” were true, we’d all be a lot wealthier.

Drawing Lines (#446)

Marc Randazza explains once again why attempts to prosecute porn as prostitution are doomed to fail:

…The industry has threatened to leave California, en masse, if [the mandatory condom bill] does pass.  Those who support the measure…claim that the industry can’t leave….[because] the only states where you can shoot porn legally are California and New Hampshire…I finally got sick enough of hearing this stupid shit that I wrote a law review article on it:  This will explain to you why porn is not prostitution, and why you can shoot anywhere in America.  It also tells you a bit about the Condom Wars…Download it, read it, study it, and tell the next idiot who tells you that you can only shoot porn in CA and NH that they’re full of shit.  Or, the next time someone asks “why isn’t porn prostitution?” explain this shit to them — because I’m sick of explaining it.

Shifting the Blame (#597)

Though the article doesn’t mention it, Burke was the man who derailed the hunt for the Long Island Killer:

The once popular and swaggering chief of the Suffolk County Police Department, James Burke, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison…for a series of misdeeds that began after a duffel bag belonging to him was stolen from his [truck]…The duffel bag contained pornography and sex toys.  Its disappearance in December 2012 set Mr. Burke off on a furious effort to find the thief, teach him a lesson, recover the bag and make sure the episode stayed quiet.  It did not.  Mr. Burke’s efforts at a cover-up set in motion a scandal that reverberated through Long Island politics…

Public Service Announcement (#669)

Admit it; you knew he’d claim to be a “sex addict”:

…serial sexter Anthony Weiner has checked into a sex addiction clinic…days after [his]…texting jolted the presidential race.  Weiner has dropped out of sight after an FBI investigation into his latest sexting scandal led the feds to reopen a probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#679) 

I had a feeling he’d extend this fantasy nonsense to his Swiss endeavor as well:

A Swiss café offering robot sex services to accompany your hot drink wants to open in Geneva by the end of the year.  Owner Bradley Charvet…had originally planned to employ sex workers to entertain clients, but legal issues meant he now wanted to use high-tech robots [that do not actually exist]…[because] Geneva’s department of security and economy told Le Matin “paid-for sexual services are banned in public establishments under the law on catering and the sale of drinks.”  Charvet…[pretends] he’s in talks with a U.S. sex robot manufacturing company to buy several “lifelike robot-women” for a cost ranging between $1,800-$3,000…

talky-tinaIf you can’t quite see how absurd this all is, read the next item below.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#685) 

This is what robo-fetishist David Levy was fantasizing about when he claimed “sex robots” will be available next year:  “Fifteen grand…as of next year…will get you a talking sex doll with heated genitals….physical responses to touch, verbal capabilities allowing them to speak in sultry voices…and synthetic skin…”  IOW, a cross between an adult-sized Talky Tina and a fleshlight.  Not what I’d consider competition.

The Course of a Disease (#686)

A very interesting development in Ireland:

Sex workers have called for a new law making it illegal to pay for sex to be reconsidered after several TDs raised concerns about its impact on vulnerable women.  The Sexual Offences Bill includes an amendment criminalising the purchase of sex…[which] would make sex workers’ lives more dangerous by driving the trade underground.  The legislation was criticised by Amnesty International, the World Health Organisation, HIV Ireland, the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland…

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This is an important article by my friend Mistress Matisse, cross-posted from Medium.

Notorious MGGIt’s ironic that journalist Melissa Gira Grant decided to write an article on how media attention can cause chaos in someone’s life, because in the life of a West Virginia woman named Heather, Melissa Gira Grant has become an agent of exactly that sort of chaos.

It began late last summer, when serial killer Neal Falls contacted Heather through her escort ad, and when they met, he tried to murder her. Heather fought back against Neal Falls and killed him. In doing so, she removed a dangerous predator from the world. Charleston police say she almost certainly saved the lives of other women Neal Falls would have gone on to kill.

At some point, a few weeks after the attack (she does not specify when), Grant says she came to Heather’s house and spoke with her. A lot of reporters came to Heather’s door after the attack, and many of them were vague about details such as to exactly what publication they wrote for, or when any piece they wrote about her would be published.

Fast forward to March 30th, almost seven months later, when Grant published a meandering and somewhat confusing Buzzfeed story about Heather. Part of it touches on the sex worker community’s peer outreach to Heather and our ongoing support for her. Grant portrays our efforts as problematic, and singles me out in particular as having questionable motivations for offering Heather my friendship. Bafflingly, she also chooses to spotlight the voices of three other people who, while they only had contact with Heather briefly, caused her further distress in that time: Kathy Brown, Laura Gandee, and a man known as Nostra-Thomas Koenig, aka Charles de Koenig. Brown and Gandee’s behavior towards Heather could be described as “well-intentioned but coercive”. Koenig, on the other hand, was openly controlling and abusive to Heather from the start, and quickly escalated into public harassment and threats aimed at not only Heather, but at the group of sex worker/activists who were supporting her, and all sex workers in general.

The hard truth is: sex workers (and sex worker’s rights activists) expect biased treatment from journalists who have no ties to the sex work community. But people could be forgiven for thinking Melissa Gira Grant was different. In her past, she did sex work herself, and since then she’s written extensively on sex workers’s rights. She uses that position to get insider-information about sex worker-centered stories as they develop. She watches such journalism closely and often critiques it in a territorial manner, calling such stories “her beat”.

Grant focuses exclusively on the weeks immediately following the attack, but she does not present a sharp timeline. Here is how the first stages of sex worker rights activists community’s outreach to Heather occurred.

The attack on Heather occurred July 18th.

July 29th, I talked to Kathy Brown and Laura Gandee, and also to the man calling himself Nostra-Thomas Koenig/Charles de Koenig, who were doing the already-existing fundraiser.

On July 31st, I talked to Heather personally for the first time. I was the third member of the sex work community to have direct contact with her.

Around Aug 2nd, desperate because money raised by Gandee, Brown and Koenig was not being released to her for rent and utilities, Heather asked sex work activist Tara Burns to set up a Crowdrise fundraiser that she could have direct and sole control over. A group of sex worker/activists coalesced to promote Heather’s fundraiser and offer her support: Tara Burns, Meg Munoz, Marisa Anne, Lily Fury, and myself. Kristen D’Angelo had also reached out to Heather in this time and was in frequent contact with our group.

On Aug 5th, an article was published in Cosmopolitan about Heather’s fundraiser, and the sex worker community outreach to her. “Meg Vallee Munoz, a former sex worker and co-founder of Abeni, an organization that offers individuals with experiences in the sex trades practical services and holistic support, is the spokeswoman for the new campaign.”

So for Melissa Gira Grant to say “Seattle dominatrix Mistress Matisse…led her own effort to help Heather” is incorrect. Grant either didn’t bother to research this, or she excluded these activists from the narrative for reasons of her own.

But more trouble arose in August, when Koenig began posting extremely abusive statements about Heather, and about sex workers in general, on the Facebook page he made about Heather. He began harassing and threatening her. He said repeatedly that anyone who contributed to Heather’s fundraiser instead of his would be arrested, and that Heather herself would be too. There was an article documenting this on Tits and Sass. (This article also documents the incident of Brown and Gandee calling the police to force Heather to see them.)

Upon getting Heather’s agreement, and after discussion of the group of SW/activists, I went to West Virginia on August 3rd and spent four days with Heather, to offer her coercion-free support. On this visit, we accomplished the following: we negotiated that Brown, Gandee, and Koenig would turn over all funds collected to her immediately. We opened a bank account (in Heather’s name only) that linked to her fundraiser, so that all funds would be transferred directly to her. We also bought her a new phone. During this period, I observed Koenig constantly harassing and threatening Heather and her mother by phone, and I related this to Maryclaire Akers, assistant prosecuting attorney for Kanawha County, who agreed to contact Koenig and warn him off.

In Grant’s presentation of the narrative, these behaviors are somehow suspicious. I think that says more about how she approaches Heather than how I do. There are many kinds of predators in the world, but they all have one thing in common: predators take, they don’t give. Neal Falls was a predator of the most extreme variety. Nostra-Thomas Koenig was a different type of predator in Heather’s life. But what about Melissa Gira Grant? Grant came into Heather’s life to get something of value to herself and her career. She gave nothing whatsoever to Heather. She certainly did not offer her friendship or support. At no time has she donated to Heather’s fundraiser, or promoted it using her platform. One might say that she could not have done so before she published her story, for fear of seeming to display journalistic bias. But she hasn’t done so since the article was published, either.

The other feature of predators is: they don’t get consent for what they do. There’s a lot of good discussion of what the word consent means, and who can give clear, fully informed, and unimpaired consent. I myself am a strong believer that consent in any interaction is crucial, and that the person who has the most control over the situation is morally bound to make absolutely sure they have fully-informed consent at all times. Consent cannot be assumed by silence, and it can be revoked at any point in the process. Melissa Gira Grant did not have Heather’s consent to publish their interview.

You may think, “But the question of consent doesn’t apply to someone who gives an interview to the media.” I would say perhaps it doesn’t apply to someone who has power equal to (or even greater than) the journalist, and who has put themselves forward to the press. For example, someone running for public office has given blanket consent to being asked questions, and to be quoted in ways that may or may not reflect what they think they said.

Heather SaulHeather is not such a person. She is a private individual, leading a quiet life, who was thrust into the spotlight because she was the victim of a terrible crime. Heather had never dealt with the media before the attack. I think it highly likely that when Grant approached Heather, she mentioned the names of sex workers who’d already befriended her, in order to gain Heather’s trust and make the visit seem more like friendly outreach, not an actual interview. Once Grant left her house that day, Heather was never given any further say over where, when, or how her words would be used.

After such a violent attack, a victim could be in a state of emotional and intellectual shock for weeks, and Heather was. Grant clearly describes Heather’s intense post-traumatic stress symptoms. She also notes that Heather was injured in the accident and has impaired movement, and that she’s in pain. So she knew that Heather was in shock, injured, in pain, and thus probably taking pain medication. No one can give meaningful, informed consent in that situation. To ignore that, and make use of someone’s extreme fragility and media inexperience like that is breathtakingly predatory.

Grant also knew that Heather was battling an addiction issue. Notice: Heather chose not to speak of it to Grant — Grant calls this “talking around it” — so Grant tells us about it in through the words of her abusers, with their shaming and stigmatization of her. This is what troubles me the most about this article: Melissa Gira Grant gives a platform to Heather’s known abusers. Nostra-Thomas Koenig harassed, insulted, and threatened Heather and her mother both online and by phone for months. His voice has absolutely no place in this article. To have him quoted talking about Heather’s life is intensely re-traumatizing to her.

Reporting the opinions of Laura Gandee and Kathy Brown is also highly questionable. They literally called the police to force Heather to see them. That’s a blatant abuse of social power. Why are the opinions of these people being reported as if they had value? And why would Grant then juxtapose non-violent peer outreach with the actions of an abuser and two carcerally-inclined ladies? To call this a false equivalency is to do it far too much justice. This article lends credence and legitimacy to the non-consensual brands of “help” that for Heather, ranged from controlling and coercive all the way to violent.

In that way, Heather’s experience is unfortunately not unique. For a sex worker who wants to exit the industry, especially women as isolated as Heather, there is almost no non-violent peer support available. Many anti-sex workers openly support the idea that arresting sex workers is a good way to get them services and protection — but statistically, police are the worst perpetrators of violence against sex workers, and being arrested makes any situation worse, not better. Grant does not go quite so far, but she does lend authority to the idea that sex workers offering non-coercive peer support to other sex workers is something to be viewed with suspicion, and discouraged. This is not acceptable to the sex work community.

I navigate consent for a living, and judging by the quotes of mine she pulled from another story, perhaps Grant took exception to my comparison of how that’s done within a BDSM scene to how I practice obtaining consent when I do outreach? Regardless of how you frame it, you either have someone’s consent or you don’t, and there are very clear steps that must be taken if you get this wrong. Heather has made her statement. Now Melissa Gira Grant needs to acknowledge that she violated Heather’s consent. She needs to take total responsibility for how her actions re-traumatized Heather. She needs to reach out to Heather, publicly, apologize to her, and do whatever Heather feels is appropriate to atone for her violation. Only then can she ethically continue to report on sex worker issues.

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