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Posts Tagged ‘sex offender registry’

Jeremy Malcolm is the founder and director of the Prostasia Foundation, the first sex-positive and pro-civil rights child protection organization.  He’s an IT and intellectual property lawyer and consultant, and a member of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum; prior to Prostasia he was Senior Global Policy Analyst at Electronic Frontier Foundation. When he asked me to be on Prostasia’s advisory council I gladly accepted, and when it came time to start getting the word out I naturally offered this space.

As a child, I remember how terrified I was by a rerun of the 1956 movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which the lead character attempts to sound the alarm about a stealth alien invasion of Earth.  In the final scene of the movie, mounting panic overcomes him as realizes that he is too late, and that the vehicles passing him by on the roadside are already carrying the alien pods that contain the seeds of humanity’s doom.  The movie was widely interpreted as a cold war allegory, because it reflected how the public fear of infiltration of the United States by communists had been worked up into such a frenzy by Senator Joseph McCarthy that it empowered the government (for a while) to get away with taking repressive measures in response—measures that would never otherwise have been considered justified outside of wartime.  Although the red scare has passed, the public feeling of creeping terror about existential threats to our society, and the shrewd and calculating management of that feeling, remains part and parcel of contemporary politics today.  So much so, that international relations scholars have a specific a word used to describe what happens when governments manipulate public fear in this way: it’s called securitization.

When a public policy issue is not merely politicized, but securitized, it is constructed in such a way that authorities assert the right to take extraordinary and otherwise impermissible measures in response.  Whatever the issue happens to be—it might be terrorism, ebola, or migration, for instance—if politicians are able to whip up enough hysteria about the threat that it poses to the integrity and long-term survival of a society, concerns about human rights, public debate, and due process can be hand-waved away.  Too much is at stake—our lives, our liberty!  And very often too: our children.  So it is that we often observe this pattern of rhetoric when child protection laws are put forward.  It is quite right that we should do all that we can constitutionally do to protect children from sexual abuse, and that the political process should be a part of this.  It’s also normal that politicians will selectively use the evidence that supports laws that they favor.  But a healthy political process is one in which that evidence is at least open for debate, and in which the effects of proposed laws on our rights and freedoms as a society are carefully scrutinized.  These democratic safeguards are frequently bypassed when it comes to child protection laws, because of how child sexual abuse is securitized, framed as an existential threat that has to be purged from society at any cost.  This construction of the issue transforms Congress from what should be – a sober, deliberative legislative body (a filter for the views of the people, as Alexander Hamilton would have it) – into a mirror of a society in moral panic, willing to accept with a minimum of scrutiny almost any measure that purports to address the problem.

Proponents of such laws know this full well, which is why they invest heavily in fueling and manipulating the moral panic that gives child protection this privileged status in political discourse.  One way in which they do this is by playing on emotions, rather than evidence—and since child protection involves very strong emotions anyway, all that might be needed to push a law over the line might be the performative retelling of the story of the victim chosen to be the law’s public face (Megan’s Law, the template for America’s ubiqituous, although ineffective, sex offender registration laws, is a good example of this).  It was much the same in the case of FOSTA/SESTA too, for which it was a movie about sex trafficking, along with a series of increasingly fever-pitched (if largely fictitious) stories about the commercial child sex trafficking industry, that made the law unassailable against evidence of its flaws.  In the end, all but two Senators voted for a law that has actually made the fight against sex trafficking harder, while also harming sex educators, putting adult sex workers in physical danger, and seeing a rash of privatized censorship sweeping the Internet.  Even aside from these laws’ harmful side-effects, they aren’t even fit for purpose, because the vast majority of sexual offending isn’t a result of child sex trafficking, nor is it committed by those who are already registered sex offenders.  In fact, notwithstanding popular belief to the contrary, most child sex offending isn’t even committed by pedophiles.  That’s not to say that prevention interventions can’t be aimed at these groups, but if that’s where we stop then we are barely scratching the surface of the problem.  Politicians and the public alike rely a lot on the stereotype of the child sexual abuser as a creepy old man hanging around a schoolyard in a van, or the brazen sidewalk pimp with links to organized crime.  Just as the stereotype of the psycho serial killer represents the much larger problem of violence in America, it can be perversely comforting to be able to focus our attention on these sorts of outlying abusers, as it helps us feel that we have a handle on the problem.

What was scariest about Invasion of the Body Snatchers wasn’t the fear an alien might come and kill you or a loved one.  The most terrifying part of the movie (spoiler alert!) was the revelation that your loved one was already an alien, and you didn’t even know it.  The “red scare” was so scary not because of the reds over the ocean, but because of the reds under the bed.  So too, potential child abusers are in every neighborhood, and in many families; they don’t identify (nor would be clinically diagnosed) as pedophiles, and they certainly aren’t going to be prevented from offending by laws aimed at the sex industry or at those who have offended in the past.  It’s a sobering thought.  But the good news is that the scale of the problem doesn’t have to make us feel paralyzed into inaction.  There are things that we can do—it’s just that politicians aren’t going to do them, or at least not for as long as self-righteous morals campaigners and “tough on crime” ideologues control the child protection agenda.  What’s needed is a broader primary sex-positive prevention approach that respects the civil and human rights of all.  Prostasia Foundation is the first child protection organization to simultaneously champion such an approach, while also criticizing laws and policies that while putatively for child protection, are really nothing more than child protection theater.  Formed following the passage of FOSTA/SESTA by a diverse group including child sexual abuse survivors, civil rights campaigners, medical health professionals, and sex industry experts, we are currently crowdfunding with the aim of a full launch next month, and we could use your support.

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Sensationalist buzzwords…put women’s lives at risk.  –  Dulcie Lee

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

In 1917, as World War I raged across the Atlantic, American government officials launched a program aimed at protecting newly-arrived army recruits from acquiring sexually-transmitted infections…police and health officers gained the power to arrest and perform crude physical examinations on anyone (though the people they arrested were almost always women) they “reasonably suspected” of carrying an STI…if a woman was found to be sick, she was sent to a “detention hospital” (or to jail) until she was deemed cured or “reformed”.  Some of those who tested negative for disease were incarcerated anyway, because their alleged promiscuity was deemed a threat to soldiers’ moral hygiene…Sex workers were the prime targets, but so was any woman deemed “suspicious”—which at that time could mean anything from being seen in the company of a soldier to eating alone in a restaurant…Any woman, at any time, could legally be arrested, sexually assaulted, and hauled off to jail with no trial, no lawyer, and no idea when she’d be released.  Those who were imprisoned in detention hospitals were subjected to involuntary medical examinations, inhumane living conditions, and…continuous doses of mercury and arsenic, toxic chemicals which poisoned these women’s bodies while doing absolutely nothing to cure their ills…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

We haven’t seen this concentration of ludicrous claims in a couple of years now:

Nearly 300,000 youth in the U.S. are at risk of being sexually exploited…“Human trafficking is an issue anywhere with a freeway and motels,” said Santa Maria Police Lt. Paul Van Meel…“sex trafficking is second only to gun trafficking and drug trafficking, but guns and drugs are one-time sales.  A woman can be sold over and over again. There are young girls having to service 30 or 35 men a day. It’s just horrific,” said Santa Maria Mayor Alice Patino.  California is one of the top four human trafficking destinations in the country…the Central Coast has been identified as a natural transit corridor for trafficking activity between Los Angeles and San Francisco…Yleana Velasco, victim advocate with the County of Santa Barbara…[said] “Within 48 hours of a youth running away, a trafficker will approach them”…then romance them into the trafficking lifestyle…There is apparently no lower age limit for child sexual exploitation. Van Meel said…he’s seen children as young as 8…

LOL at “trafficking lifestyle”, another silly construction like “sex trafficking world” or “sex trafficking trade”.  Have these people been hiding under rocks?  I haven’t seen some of these claims in years; maybe they didn’t get their copy of the updated 2018 propaganda manual?

Counterfeit Comfort

Another fruit of the poisonous lie that “sex offender” registration isn’t punishment:

…the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously ruled that defendants need not be informed that pleading guilty to certain sex crimes will subject them to lifetime GPS monitoring because that requirement is not a punishment.  In reaching that conclusion, the court relied on a widely cited but fictitious recidivism estimate as well as the familiar but dubious assumption that a state’s asserted interest in promoting public safety justifies the burdens and restrictions it imposes on sex offenders long after they have completed their sentences.  Under  Wisconsin law, people convicted of serious sex offenses involving minors are required to wear GPS transmitters on their ankles for the rest of their lives unless they leave the state, become permanently incapacitated, or successfully petition a court for relief after 20 years. The Department of Corrections reviews tracking data every night and receives alerts whenever an offender leaves an “inclusion area,” enters an “exclusion area,” or tampers with his GPS device. Malfunctions and signal loss that cause erroneous alerts can lead to arrest, jail, and loss of employment…GPS tracking conspicuously marks anyone who wears it as someone to be shunned, feared, despised, and perhaps worse…

Broken Record 

Low-population areas come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

…the…South Carolina…rape crisis center says the target age for sex trafficking is 12 to 14 years old…[fantasist] Ashely Hoshihara Cruz [claims]…according to a study done by Carnegie Mellon University [with its crystal ball], the problem will spike during Memorial Day weekend.  “The super bowl used to be the single most sporting even that had the most sex trafficking, but Myrtle Beach bike week has far surpassed that.  How many kids sneak out during these events trying…to see the bikes and hang out and party they’re easy targets”…

Stand back, World Cup!  Step aside, Super Bowl!  Make way, Olympics!  The new “sex trafficking” Mecca is Myrtle Beach Bike Week!

Dirty Laundry

The “Good Shepherd Sisters” were one of the two orders behind Ireland’s horrific Magdalene laundries, now doing business as the anti-sex work gang Ruhama:

Good Shepherd Sister Winifred Doherty, who is her religious congregation’s representative to the United Nations, observed that sex trafficking, “a debasement of the human person,” is “rooted in the structure of society, and more so today.”  The “social acceptance of the prostitution of women and girls” includes the benign label of sex worker.  “Prostitution is neither sex nor work,” Sister Doherty told the inaugural Shine the Light conference at the U.S. Capitol May 15…

A woman who has never had sex and never had to support herself with work has the nerve to lecture others about what sex and work are.  Truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

A Load of Farley (#570)

Farley’s going to keep hawking this same snake oil until she croaks:

Prostitution is harmful to the women in Nevada’s legal brothels.  It is also harmful to Nevada’s communities.  It’s time to end legal prostitution in Nevada…In order to better [bullshit people about] the impact of Nevada legal prostitution on college-aged men and on the community, University of Nevada, Reno Professor Mary Stewart, Kyle Smith and I did some research on UNR students’ attitudes toward prostitution, women and rape.  We asked students at other U.S. universities the same questions and then compared them.  We found out that more often than other U.S. students, the Reno students were active sex trade consumers.  They went to strip clubs more often, and they went to both legal and illegal brothels more often…In contrast to students from other parts of the United States where prostitution is illegal, the UNR students were more accepting of sexual violence against not just women in prostitution but against non-prostituting women as well…

Yes, Farley says cops raping whores is OK because criminalization “sends a message” that sex is bad.

The Course of a Disease (#637) 

Swedish model fanatics just won’t stop trying to impose their filth on the UK:

…a self-appointed group of MPs, that got together for the sole purpose of lobbying for the criminalisation of sex workers’ clients, conduct Inquiry and recommend the criminalisation of clients!  No surprise there then…In Ireland, reported incidences of violent crime against sex workers have risen by almost 50%…In France, a two-year evaluation of the law…found 42% of sex workers are more exposed to violence and 38% have found it increasingly hard to demand use of condom.  In Norway…despite claims that sex workers have been decriminalised, forced evictions, prosecutions and increased stigma are prevalent with migrant workers particularly targeted…As for Sweden, the poster child for laws criminalising clients: 63% of sex workers said the law has created more prejudice…plus, there is “no convincing empirical evidence that the law has resulted in a decline in sex work in Sweden, which was the law’s principal ambition”…

To Molest and Rape 

What kind of “friend” rapes your daughter while staying at your house?  Oh, right, cop “friends”:

A Los Angeles [cop] was charged…with sexually assaulting a teen girl while he was staying at her parents’ house in Torrance…Kenneth Collard, 51, faces three counts of lewd act upon a child and one count of sexual penetration by foreign object…Collard is friends with the 13-year-old girl’s parents…the victim is the daughter of another LAPD [cop]…Collard wound up staying with his coworker after friends told him not to drive back to his home in Riverside at the end of an evening of [getting drunk]…He then…entered the victim’s bedroom in the middle of the night that night…and sexually assaulted her…

Cooties (#811)

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

Hundreds of pop-up brothels are springing up across the country…Crimestoppers have launched a campaign to try and stem their supposedly indomitable rise…Local papers are running stories on how to tell if a pop-up brothel has been set up on your street.  The rate at which this latest buzzword has taken over discussions of the sex industry has left little time to dissect what it actually means.  In reality, the phrase is useless at best, and dangerous at worst.  A brothel is any premises that is used by more than one person for the purposes of prostitution…Pop up, it turns out, is just another word for temporary…So pop-up brothels are literally just temporary brothels.  And as the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) admitted last year, there is desperately little data on the phenomenon, so generalisations about the nature of pop-up brothels and the people who work in them are mere speculation…

Business As Usual (#824)

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

…a third of…sex workers who say they have been raped or sexually assaulted by police, according to a new report by Sonke Gender Justice and Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce  (SWEAT).  Sex workers also frequently reported that they experienced other forms of violence and even torture at the hands of police including being beaten with sjamboks or the butts of guns as well as being tasered…Almost six out of every 10 surveyed workers had been arrested an average of four times, most of whom paid a fine before being released.  But many workers allege their arrests were unlawful or occurred while they were off duty, for instance while out shopping, visiting friends or sitting by the side of the road…

Spotlight (#828) 

Like a who’s who of delusional busybodies:

In 2009, Ashton Kutcher co-founded what would later become Thorn, a non-profit dedicated to [exploiting a moral panic]…to [win publicity for a has-been actor]…Cindy McCain, a leading voice in the [anti-human rights movement]…speaks with Kutcher about Thorn’s progress and what remains to be done to [suppress consensual sex]…The discussion is introduced by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota

Disaster (#832)

If this is the best the prohibitionists can do, FOSTA won’t last very long:

a condescending and infuriating essay on The Hill…attacked the work of those on the ground scrambling for survival in the wake of this disastrous legislation, questioned opponents’ status as survivors and attempted to muddy the waters around our on the ground impact research and reporting…”rather than trying to meaningfully understand the legal impact of SESTA/FOSTA, self-proclaimed ‘sex worker advocates’ have used the flurry of misinformation to their advantage, perpetuating a false narrative about the law’s supposed effects…”  Why is sex worker advocates in quotes?  Why mention they’re “self-proclaimed”…Instead of addressing the actual impact they say we’re not “meaningfully understanding”…they just condescendingly paste the text of the bill…[which] is not really about sex trafficking…this bill doesn’t say anything about [force or coercion]…It just says “promote or facilitate [prostitution]”.  What does that mean?  No one knows!  Which is why sites that deal with sexual education and even personal non-commercial dating have been hit…

Bottleneck (#844) 

I’m pretty damned sick of politicians representing their schemes to ruin sex workers’ lives as attempts to “help” us:

[Michigan] State Rep. Leslie Love…[is] the lead sponsor of a package of bills that would license and regulate adult entertainment businesses and their employees and dancers…The bills would establish licenses, fees and regulations for strip clubs, managers, employees and dancers; set guidelines for design requirements in the clubs…set the age limit for dancers at 21 and older, and require that posters [misrepresenting sex work as] human trafficking are placed in the locker rooms of the businesses…

Regular readers are already aware of what a terrible idea stripper licensing is, and this adds several paternalistic “regulations” on top of that.

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Despite intensive investigations by Immigration New Zealand, no cases of trafficking in the sex industry have been identified to date. 
–  Lynzi Armstrong

Whores and Wives

It’s so nice to see whores portrayed as dangerous seductresses rather than pathetic “victims”:

Police are being asked to probe a Latino prostitution ring which is allegedly being facilitated by immigration officers and a private school in South Trinidad…The request for the probe is coming from the wives of businessmen who are complaining that these Latino sex workers are stealing their husbands away from them…The wives…claim their husbands are spending…up to US$30,000 a month, to fund lifestyles of infidelity with these women.  “These Spanish women coming here and taking away our men with their nastiness and the Government and the police need to seriously send them all back,” said one woman…I don’t know what these women have but they bringing their nasty habits and ruining our sacred marriages and blighting our beds…they have to be caught and sent away for good.  They are breaking up our families”…

As I’ve often said, whores save far more marriages than we ruin.  But better to be thought a homewrecker than a vegetable.

No Fun Shall Be Had

Grown woman with degree pretends to be harmed by a lame Bugs Bunny elevator joke from the ’40s:

“Ladies’ lingerie.”  It was a lame, outmoded joke — the sort of thing you say in a crowded elevator, an artifact of the days of fancy department stores with operators announcing the floor stops…last month in San Francisco at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association…Richard Ned Lebow, a professor of political theory…made the remark after someone in his elevator called out to ask for floor requests.  Simona Sharoni, professor of women’s and gender studies…took offense…”As a survivor of sexual harassment in the academy, I am quite shaken by this incident”…ISA…disciplinary committee…found his elevator remarks “offensive and inappropriate”…Lebow was thus instructed to issue an “unequivocal apology.”  Not surprisingly, he declined…

A grown woman who is “shaken” by something so ridiculous deserves public mockery, not official conciliation.

Droit du Seigneur 

A pretty typical “leader”, really:

A…Kentucky judge has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on human trafficking charges.  Timothy Nolan…[also] pleaded guilty to…other felony sex crimes involving minors…Nolan is…a conservative political activist and worked on President Trump’s campaign in Kentucky…[there were] nearly 20 teen victims, many…under 16…

Surplus Women 

This is going to become much more common due to the ramped-up war on whores:

An Indiana man charged in the killings of seven women who…were among a vulnerable population of drug addicts or prostitutes pleaded guilty to murder charges…to avoid…the death penalty…Darren D. Vann…preyed on those who were disconnected from their families and could not be readily found…Vann [was] sentenced on May 25 to life in prison without the possibility of parole…

Presumption of Guilt (November Updates)

This totalitarian idea won’t die:

A new ordinance in Allentown [Pennsylvania] will require owners of pawn shops and other second-hand retailers to take photographs and collect thumb prints from customers before purchasing or exchanging any merchandise.  They are also required to catalog any inventory purchased and to upload that information (along with the photos and fingerprints) to a police database.  They cannot re-sell anything for 15 days.  The rules were passed last year to make it easier to track stolen items and intercept them before they can be sold again.  But the b…adly written law has swept up all second-hand sellers in the city, including comic book stores, consignment shops, and antiques markets…[these stores will likely have to close or move because]  people who want to buy or sell a used item can simply cross the city lines and do it somewhere else—whether it’s stolen or not…

Finding What Isn’t There

Most of this is just the usual garbage, but there’s one rather amusing point: the conviction of one pimp in “August 2014 [is described]…as a major blow to sex trafficking in the Charleston [South Carolina] area“.  If one guy arrested four years ago is a “major blow” to any crime in a metro area of 750,000 people, that area doesn’t have a problem with that crime.

Banishment

The state says this isn’t a punishment:

For the past four years, dozens of homeless sex offenders have lived in tents in a makeshift encampment along a set of railroad tracks in Hialeah, a city in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.  The residents live in squalid conditions…Rain soaks through the tents, and flies and mosquito populate the residents’ belongings.  Because there isn’t even an outhouse in the area, many of those living there are forced to defecate outside.  Many of the surrounding businesses have complained that they’ve lost customer traffic as a result of the encampment and view the residents as a nuisance…After the story…Miami-Dade’s county commissioners amended an ordinance on public camping to effectively outlaw the encampment this past January, [pretending] public safety and health concerns.  In March, Mayor Carlos Giménez gave those living there 45 days to vacate…if they refuse to leave…police may be able to arrest them on the spot.  The problem is, they have almost nowhere to go…

Just Call Me Nobody

I’m not going to bother quoting this trash, because moronic assertions from “authorities” (usually, as in this case, in horrifically-prohibitionist cities like San Diego) that there’s no such thing as a woman who can make her own sexual decisions is as tired and inane as it is idiotic.  What’s always fun is when literally hundreds of sex workers turn up on social media to condemn the lie.

Moving Pictures 

Another “sex trafficking” hysteria film for future generations to laugh at:

Kate Bosworth is wearing many different hats—actress, of course, producer, photographer and activist, with her eyes set on [harming sex workers, because it’s fashionable in Hollywood]…Bosworth took on a producer role for the upcoming [propaganda] film Nona…[like most prohibitionists,] Bosworth started down this path after a…[distorted] news story [made her think she was an expert]…

Blunt Instrument (#770)

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

…Backpage was one of the biggest tools for the Tulsa Police Vice Unit to [hunt down]…sex [workers]…now that they can’t set up stings on Backpage, they’ve [turned] to focus…on [pogroms]…at local massage parlors…

Pyrrhic Victory (#814) 

Expect this to spread to the US within just a few years:

At 2017’s [Porthcawl] Elvis festival, impersonators were [harassed by] police…trialling automated facial recognition technology to track down criminals [without consent from anyone who was recorded].  Cameras scanning the public spotted 17 faces that they believed matched those stored in databases.  Ten were correct, and seven people were wrongly identified.  South Wales Police has been testing an automated facial recognition system since June 2017 and has used it in the real-world at more than ten events.  In the majority of cases, the system has made more incorrect matches than the times it has been able to correctly identify a potential suspect..During the UEFA Champions League Final week in Wales last June…92 per cent of matches were incorrect…

Disaster (#829)

We did warn you this wouldn’t stop with sex workers:

Airbnb is running up against local laws that may be prohibited under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—and now it’s fighting back…Airbnb has sued the cities of San Francisco and Santa Monica over ordinances that target not just residents who use these digital platforms…but also the platforms themselves.  “Unfortunately both efforts to enjoin them have resulted in federal district court decisions saying that Section 230 does not shield them”…The Santa Monica case is now before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#838) 

Another twist in the New Zealand migrant sex worker controversy:

New Zealand must repeal its ban on migrant sex workers to ensure the benefits of its decriminalisation model are extended to all sex workers, says…the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective…NZPC co-founder Catherine Healy cited a recent case when contacted by migrant workers requiring support, in which NZPC had to reassure the women that immigration officials were unlikely to be notified by police.  She added that…action is needed to formally protect migrant sex workers so that they can seek support without fearing deportation…Minister for Immigration Iain Lees-Galloway issued a statement outlining his current concerns that overturning the ban might “encourage sex trafficking”…Healy explained that trafficking and abuse experienced by migrant sex workers would be best prevented and addressed by removing the ban, and granting rights to migrants…

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It’s a privilege that [clients] choose us to share their hopes, fears and dreams with.  –  Rachel Wotton

Lack of Evidence

Discrimination against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Landlords in Nairobi…are threatening to smoke out single women from their apartments, claiming that their houses have been turned into sex dens.  The[y]…have now resorted to vetting potential tenants and turning away single women…“We have instructed our agents and caretakers to ensure that female tenants provide proof of marriage or that they have serious boyfriends before they are allowed to live in our apartments,” said one of the landlords…most of have been outwitted by shrewd women who [circumvent] the…[discrimination] process by bringing male companions to pose as husbands during their house-hunting missions…

Long-time readers may remember that similar practices in 19th-century Europe led to the appearance of pimps.  I also find it fascinating that so many ignoramuses seem to think marriage is a magical ward against harlotry.

The Public Eye 

The more out sex workers there are, the harder it will be to ignore us:

In 1995 New South Wales  became…the first place…in the world to decriminalise sex work.  Against a backdrop of the AIDS epidemic and a recommendation to fight police corruption from a royal commission into the state’s police service, sex workers succeeded in lobbying the government for change.  The NSW model is often cited as an example of best-practice, evidence-based regulation.  The state has an estimated 10,000 sex workers and many of them are active globally in law reform, human rights and HIV prevention campaigns.  But 23 years since decriminalisation, how much has changed for sex workers and what does the future hold?  The Guardian spoke to six sex workers about their personal experiences and the diverse nature of the work they do…

Most of y’all will probably recognize at least one or two of these names, especially that of Rachel Wotton, whom I deeply admire and got to meet last month.

Catastrophic Consequences

After harassing sex workers for the past five years, Scottish police now pretend they want to be “fair”:

Police Scotland is to review thousands of warnings handed out to sex workers in a bid to ensure prostitutes are not being unfairly criminalised.  Warnings…will also be removed from the internal police system after two years as part of a new policy designed to reduce the risk of discrimination…Under the existing system…A range of warnings are “weeded”…after two years, but there is a higher hurdle for sex workers to overcome.  A single warning for a prostitute will be erased from the system after 24 months, but two or more sanctions for the same individual triggers the so-called “40-20” rule.  This means that a person has to be 40 years old or over, and the information would have had to be on record for at least 20 years, before a weed is carried out…The move comes nearly five years after Police Scotland raids on saunas in Edinburgh effectively ended the regulated brothel system in the city…The action is believed to have damaged police relations with sex workers…

“Is believed to have damaged relations”.  Really?  I can’t imagine why hounding people out of safe working conditions, destroying their livelihoods and saddling them with 20-year criminal records would make them unhappy.

Nice While It Lasted

Remember when a person had to actually be found guilty to get a life sentence?

In New York a defendant can be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life based on accusations a jury rejected.  So the state’s highest court ruled last week in a case that illustrates how fear and loathing of sex offenders  lead to results that would be recognized as unjust and illogical in any other context.  Quinn Britton’s 13-year-old niece, identified in court documents as A.B., accused him of raping her during a Thanksgiving Day visit to her grandmother’s home in Brooklyn…when she was 11.  Britton denied any inappropriate behavior, and his mother said A.B. had spent the whole evening watching TV in the living room with her.  The girl’s older brother said she had described a sexual assault to him, but…A.B. told her brother Britton had tried to engage in vaginal intercourse with her but couldn’t because his penis “wouldn’t fit”.  By contrast, she told police Britton had penetrative sex with her for about 10 minutes.  A detective testi[l]ied that Britton had admitted touching, kissing, and performing oral sex on A.B., but he had no recording or written statement to corroborate the confession, which Britton denied making.  The jurors…found Britton guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, based on the allegation that he kissed A.B.’s breasts, but not guilty of three felonies…the judge nevertheless assumed that Britton had committed the felonies and therefore assigned him to risk level two…which triggers lifetime registration…

The reason the judge can get away with this abomination is the loathsome pretense that “sex offender” registration is merely a administrative requirement rather than a penalty.

The Missing Word (#735)

Note that state-sanctioned near-slavery isn’t called “trafficking” herein:

Two Bangladeshi men…have been charged at a Dubai court with human trafficking after they allegedly tried to sell an Indonesian absconding maid…via WhatsApp…They are also facing charges…of running a…prostitution den, facilitating prostitution…and sexual exploitation…the victim…[was] subject to a deportation order…[she] said…”I got in contact with a countrywoman and told her I was not happy at work because the sponsor’s wife was very demanding.  That woman introduced me to another compatriot (a wanted runaway) who promised me a part-time job…The runaway woman told me I would work as a prostitute and that I had to accept as I had no other choice”…

The “sponsors” of such migrant workers hold officially-granted power over them, and often abuse and exploit them because they can have them deported at a whim.  Women who flee the exploitation are treated as criminals (note the terms “absconding” and “runaways”); is it any wonder other nasty characters can take advantage of them?  But only the people they flee to are called “traffickers”, never the well-connected abusers they flee from.

The Punitive Mindset (#804) 

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

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is quietly rolling out a pair of new policies that could restrict access to books and communications for the system’s nearly 200,000 prisoners.  The first of the new policies bans all books from being sent into federal facilities from outside sources including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  These retailers are usually the only means by which prisoners can receive books because most facilities reject reading material sent from individuals or small bookstores due to [arbitrary bullshit]…Now, prisoners instead will have to submit a request to purchase books — a limit of five per order — through an ordering system in which they must pay exorbitant prices and don’t have the option to buy cheaper used paperbacks.  In addition, prisoners must pay a 30 percent tax plus shipping cost…Under the new protocol, a book purchased from Amazon for as little as $11.76, with shipping included, could cost more than $26.  The new books policy…has been in effect in [two facilities for months]…and…has resulted in a massive price increase for books as well as months of wait time between orders…

Unchristian Nation 

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

Scott Warren was arrested by Border Patrol agents…just north of the Mexican border, in January…he was indicted by a grand jury in February, on two counts of harboring illegal aliens and one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens…Warren is also one of nine volunteers with No More Deaths, an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, to be hit with federal charges in recent months for leaving water in a remote federal wilderness preserve where migrants routinely disappear and die.  His arrest came just hours after No More Deaths published a report that documents evidence of Border Patrol agents destroying jugs of water that the group leaves for migrants in the desert…

This Means War (#831)

It’s good to see they’re going to fight this:

Backpage.com co-founder Michael Lacey offered his first public comments about allegations of running prostitution ads and money laundering.  “Nonsense!” Lacey said before his attorney added that his client had no further comment.  Lacey, and co-founder James Larkin are scheduled to stand trial Jan. 15, 2020…Five site employees will also stand trial.  Attorneys were given enough time to review an estimated 7 million to 9 million pages of documents about the case…CEO Carl Ferrer, has pleaded guilty to a separate federal conspiracy case in Arizona and state money laundering charges in California.  In addition, [Ferrer] pleaded guilty [in the company’s name] to human trafficking in Texas and in a federal money laundering conspiracy case in Arizona.  Ferrer has agreed to testify against others…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#837) 

I should’ve realized a change like that wouldn’t be a merely administrative one:

Experience in the sex…industry will no longer help would-be immigrants move to New Zealand, it seems.  The recently-hyped addition to the employment list, for visa hopefuls, has vanished from the immigration website…While the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website did not issue any official statement on the development, the agency’s area manager Stephanie Greathead told local media that the removal was done to avoid “further confusion”

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FOSTA/SESTA…proved that the government can successfully confuse the public by using scary but vapid words like “sex trafficking” and enact a law to wreak havoc with the internet.  –  Scott Greenfield

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

This guy’s too pathetic to make it as a sex worker; he should’ve stayed a cop:

A [cop] from Sussex, England has been sacked after being caught…Using his sick days to moonlight as a male prostitute…Chief Constable Giles York…said it wasn’t the actual prostituting that got [Richard] Holder fired, but rather how it affected his performance as a detective.  York accused Holder of a “pattern of disruptive behavior that has been on the verge of criminal at times” and says he struggled with “under performance”…Holder is the second Sussex Police officer to have been discovered moonlighting as a prostitute in less than two years.  In 2016, constable Daniel Moss was let go for doing sex work while he was on sick leave.  And in in 2015, Inspector Lee Lyons was fired after admitting he contacted prostitutes he met while on duty…

The More the Better 

The more people see “mommy whores” like this, the more they’ll realize harlotry is mundane:

…Jordyn Smith…has held a variety of jobs — from serving as a cocktail waitress to being an exotic dancer — to offset the costs of raising her teenage daughter.  Currently…the Las Vegas, Nev. resident is…employed…Through a website called WhatsYourPrice, Smith is being paid to go on dates and maintain [what she absurdly claims are] platonic relationships with men…It’s…fairly similar to Seeking Arrangement…or…being a prostitute, [but like most halfway whores] Smith insists that this process is different because of…legality…

I really wish these dumbasses would stop trying to pretend there’s no sex involved in their sex work, though; nobody believes them so it just makes them look stupid and dishonest.

Where Are the Protests? (#415)

It’s not “trafficking” when that would be inconvenient for a government:

Two Vietnamese men who were smuggled into Ireland to work in a cannabis grow house containing nearly €1.8m of [plants] have been jailed for two-and-a-half years.  One of the men travelled to Ireland in a shipping container and thought he would be working on a farm, while the other thought he would be working as a chef…Ngog Toan Vu…and Thang Nguen Van…each pleaded guilty to one count of cultivating cannabis without a licence…[after an “investigation”] had concluded that neither man was a victim of human trafficking…

Choke Point (#610)

Because we’re choked out of the mainstream financial system, a lot of adult businesses are forced to use dodgy payment processors:

Choice Bank Ltd. told accountholders…that it has been forced into a “liquidity-constrained position” and has suspended all withdrawals from deposit accounts, as well as other outbound payment activities.  Choice Bank, the card issuer for several adult payment solutions, said that as it progresses through its current position, “the bank is confident that all its depositors, cardholders and creditors will be kept whole”…the Belize City financial institution maintains a strong balance sheet with total equity including paid up capital and accumulated retained earnings in excess of $26 million…and statutory liquidity ratio of 74.59 percent…

To Protect and Serve (#628)

A rare victory for sex workers over pigs:

Nearly five years after the first of a series of police raids on San Diego strip clubs, a federal judge…ruled that a Municipal Code section allowing such “inspections” is illegal…Still to be decided: Whether the city broke Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures…The court didn’t rule on damages — how much money the dancers get…A trial on damages is expected, though…

To Molest and Rape 

From the same “authorities” who claim they want to “protect women” from consensual sex:

A woman held at an immigration detention center in Washington state…was raped by a medical worker…Another woman…[was] maced…at an immigration detention center in Florida.  Then…[a pig] sat on her…[with] his “erect penis on her butt”…[and his cronies] filmed her as she showered to wash off the mace…a man…[was] threatened…with deportation after he refused to [suck an agent’s cock]…Many other women and men held in immigration detention across the country reported routine searches that turned into groping and fondling…and threatened with retaliation if they spoke up…These…are just a sample of hundreds of complaints of sexual…abuse in immigration detention obtained by The Intercept in response to a public records request…The reports…include 1,224 complaints filed between 2010 and September 2017…But in earlier responses, officials…indicated that the office received some 33,000 complaints between 2010 and 2016 alleging a wide range of abuses in immigration detention…sexual assault and harassment in immigration detention are not only widespread but systemic, and enabled by an agency that regularly fails to hold itself accountable…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#656)

Liz Hilton of Empower on “rescue raids” in Thailand:

…Entrapment operations have increased and sometimes the operations can go on for up to three months, while they try to collect evidence.  These are followed by raids, and this raid was 50 armed soldiers at least to catch 22 little women.  They must feel very brave…It’s one stop shopping.  They can raid for trafficking but then use a prostitution law, immigration law, migrant worker act – you can even do some drug testing if you like, or claim money laundering.  We once were in a raid they even got them for playing music that has a copyright…

The End of the Beginning (#718)

Another setback in getting rid of these tyrannical and unconstitutional laws:

…the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a state law banning sex offenders from public parks, overturning a 2017 appeals court ruling that deemed the statute “unconstitutional on its face because it bears no reasonable relationship to protecting the public.”  The seven members of the higher court unanimously disagreed…In reaching that conclusion, the justices relied on alarming claims about recidivism among sex offenders, even while acknowledging that the claims have been discredited.  The decision, written by Justice Mary Jane Theis, shows how fear overrides logic in dealing with sex offenders and how toothless “rational basis” review can be, allowing legislators not only to draw their own judgments but to invent their own facts…

Too Close To Home (#825) 

Since judges have become the handmaidens of prosecutors, this is no surprise:

A King County Superior Court judge has ruled that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office did not have a conflict of interest with a national anti-prostitution group when prosecutors pursued charges against men arrested in the shutdown of a popular sex work reviewing website, The Review Board (TRB)…lawyers for one of these men, Charles Peters, asked that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office be disqualified from pursuing his case…because of a conflict of interest…But…Judge John Chun found that Peters’ lawyers did not prove…that the Prosecuting Attorney’s relationship with Demand Abolition “materially limit[ed] the prosecutor’s ability to make judgments free from improper influences”…Impartiality is not required for prosecutors under Washington State law…

Censor Chic (#827)

Fascism allows for an indirect form of censorship just as effective as direct suppression:

The idea of the government swooping in with rules, limitation, potential prosecutions, isn’t good for business.  Even if they can be eventually thwarted by courts protecting their rights, they will be tied up in litigation for years, at great expense, and party to misinformation campaigns to make them look like the bad guys…What we did to Backpage…we can do to you, Zuck.  Nice platform you have there.  It would be a shame if anything happened to it.  And every government wants its own piece of control.  California believes it should be in charge of the internet, while Germany…”requires companies to remove hate speech from their platforms within 24 hours or face potentially crippling fines“…much of what constitutes hate speech in Germany is speech critical of its government and officials…every SJW…will be sucked into supporting it, much as their fellow emotionalists found SESTA acceptable because it used the terrifying “sex trafficking” sales pitch to confuse the useful idiots and obscure its greater significance…Can the government get away with…pressuring platforms to self-censor upon threat of intervention?  They already have, with the public’s blessing.

This Means War

The US thinks it has the right to war on all sex workers, even those in other countries like Canada:

When the U.S. government shut down Backpage…sex workers in Toronto — who used the site to advertise — started calling a local advocacy group in a panic.  “People are frantic,” said Monica Forrester, who works for Maggie’s Toronto…“Because they have mortgages…and now their main source of income is gone, so they’re really scrambling”…sex workers who were used to finding clients through Backpage ads may feel pushed into working the streets of Toronto…

And New Zealand:

New Zealand sex workers are already feeling the impact of an online sex work forum being shut down…Many sex workers have spoken out against the shutdown, saying it will make the industry more dangerous for those who rely on these forums for support and safety…Backpage was used quite widely in New Zealand by those who couldn’t afford to list ads on escort directory New Zealand Girls…

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 It’s not a human thing to do—just take this entire community and completely strip them of safe places to…work.  –  Wills de Vogelaere

Banishment

Because obviously his sex rays might harm sick children:

…at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin…staff prevented Stuart Yates, a 49-year-old man on the sex offender registry, from visiting his severely ill son Kahlil, age 9, who was crying and begging him to visit…”In 1998, Yates pleaded guilty to…inappropriately touch[ing] a 15-year-old babysitter…Yates says he took a plea in the case, thinking he would serve six months in prison.  Instead, a judge handed down a five-year sentence….[and registration] as a sex offender for life…Yates is now suing the hospital to be let back inside“…In the face of a lawsuit, the hospital relented in part, and will permit Yates to visit three times a week, for two hours, under supervision.  But the visits must be approved 24 hours in advance, meaning that if the boy wakes up feverish or…takes a turn for the worse, his dad will not be able to hurry to his side…

Backwards into the Future (#540)

Only the authoritarian mind is so twisted it thinks decriminalization of consensual sex is “complicated”:

Vietnamese officials have expressed their concerns about the complicated nature of recognizing prostitution as a job…figures from the International Labor Organization (ILO) suggest that there are nearly 101,300 sex workers…in Vietnam…“Sex workers should have the right to make a living, contribute to society, and enjoy welfare in terms of healthcare and education,” said Cao Van Thanh, vice head of the Social Evil Prevention Department…at a recent meeting in Hanoi…Tran Van Dat, vice head of the Department of General Affairs on Legislative Development…said prostitution should be considered a legitimate profession…

Though they’re commies and therefore need to bloviate about disease and “regulation”, it’s still startling how much more enlightened these politicians’ views are than those in the backward US.

Uncommon Sense (#602)

Once again, myths and agency denial convince Switzerland to narrow the bottleneck for legal sex work:

FIZ, a Swiss NGO specialising in…women’s migration issues…thought that it was very important…that people actually talk about…severe forms of exploitation…the human trafficking framework…has negative effects on other groups of migrant women, and…has turned out to be a framework that is actually a lot about controlling the movement of migrant women, controlling the work of migrant women.  We see this very clearly with sex workers…

Spotlight (#721) 

Asstoon says he’s not just a savior, but an actual messiah:

I have a hard time talking about this issue without being emotional…If you don’t do something about it, then who are you?  It can happen to anyone…Traffickers prey on people…If you look at the place where these [passive, agency-less vegetables] are sold online, its right next to a car, or a sofa or a used bicycle…We basically take a victim, that otherwise is just a posting online, and we turn them into a human being…

Yes, that’s Kutcher claiming to be a literal god who can turn an inanimate object into a human being.

To Molest and Rape (#794)

It’s even easier to get away with rape when you’re literally in bed with the prosecutor:

A Brooklyn prosecutor was caught having an affair with one of the NYPD cops [who raped] a handcuffed teenager…Assistant District Attorney Nicole Manini…is under investigation for potentially violating professional conduct rules…Manini’s illicit relationship with [rapist cop] Richard Hall…was uncovered when investigators with her office reviewed his cellphone records as part of the rape case…Michael David, the lawyer representing Hall’s [victim], said he plans to use the…affair…in his client’s pending civil rights suit against Hall, [rapist cop Eddie] Martins and the city…

The Scarlet Letter (#798)

Who needs the cops to out HIV+ people when dating apps can do it for them?

The gay dating app Grindr says it will stop sharing the HIV status of its users with other companies.  Grindr made the decision…after first defending the practice, which involved sending user profile information — including HIV status and test dates — to two companies called Apptimize and Localytics.  They test the performance of Grindr’s products…

Prudesville (#816) 

Everett expands its argument beyond “women who dress like sluts are asking to be raped”:

After a federal judge ruled against the city of Everett for banning “bikini baristas” from wearing G-strings and pasties, Everett has decided to continue fighting against baristas’ partial nudity…city attorneys stress—while trying to support a ban on butt cleavage—how easy it is to understand the terms of Everett’s ban on “bottom one half of the anal cleft” and “more than one-half of the part of the female breast located below the top of the areola.”  One of the reasons Judge Marsha Pechman blocked the ban was because she ruled those rules were too vague to stand up in court.  She indicated that the argument that the ban limited freedom of expression on the basis of gender was also likely to succeed…

Disaster

Sex workers set up our own social network, just in case we’re censored from Twitter:

…a group of sex workers have apparently attempted to set up their own social network, called Switter.  It’s a Mastodon Instance (Mastodon being the fairly well known open source decentralized social networking platform that allows anyone to set up an individual “instance”)…The stated reasons for Switter are to prepare for the possibility of Twitter banning accounts of sex workers and to have more control over their social media space.  As I write this, the site claims to have about 12,000 signed up users…

And we’re not just fighting a defensive war this time:

Upstart blockchain-based adult outfit, SpankChain, launched an offensive…dubbed “WTFOSTA,” calling for sex workers to expose any politician who’s procured their services and subsequently voted in favor of the recently passed SESTA/FOSTA measure criminalizing web platforms deemed to foster sex trafficking.  The specific bid to the sex worker community, as posted on official campaign site wtfosta.com, is as follows: “We are offering $25,000 to each of the first 10 sex workers who come forward with hard evidence of any politician who voted YES on FOSTA/SESTA engaging their services”…

Cops and Robbers (#823)

Honest headline: “NYPD Creeps Threaten Lonely Men”:

…NYPD [pigs get their jollies]…by planting fake ads and sending [threatening] texts to those looking [for human companionship]…Police have posted phony listings on sites like Backpage.com for years, but always waited until the [victim] showed up and then arrested him. “Advertisements are posted by the NYPD and you won’t know which ads are from us” the [threat lies]…

Actually, it’s extremely easy for men to know which ads are real and which are pig swill: women in real ads will have an established online presence.  Just Google the name, email address, phone number, etc; if there are no other hits on an escort site, other ad sites, Twitter, etc, you’re probably looking at a pig trap.

Elephant in the Parlor (#825) 

Unfortunately, in our post-factual era this doesn’t help as much as it once did:

As Trump’s presidency drags on — having blown past tarnished and into deep, dark ignominy — receipts have become vitally important…Karen McDougal kept receipts.  The former Playboy model’s handwritten notes chronicle an alleged affair in 2006.  These non-coy notes —”we got naked + had sex” — were published in the New Yorker.  A White House rebuttal —”more fake news“— crashed on the shoals of receipts.  Stormy Daniels kept receipts.  The adult-film actress has a copy of the nondisclosure agreement that she signed, and Trump didn’t, requiring her to keep silent about her alleged Trump tryst, on pain of larcenous fines…Nastya Rybka, a Belarussian escort, also kept receipts……she…claims to have audio receipts that show Russian meddling in the U.S. election.  She’s seeking asylum in the U.S. in return for telling all…

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If you’re not supporting the way people are surviving, you’re not supporting their survival.  –  Kate D’Adamo

Here We Go Again 

As I’ve been saying for the past 14 years:

The notion that prostitution…is a form of slavery…[is] a reprise of the Progressive Era [hysteria]…of the early 20th century, when a burgeoning national media, led by McClure’s magazine, established the “white slave trade” as an urgent and widespread peril facing the nation.  The ensuing moral crusade led to “formal responses on both the local and federal levels, including the election of anti-trafficking candidates to governmental office; the proliferation of commissions to study white slavery and vice…the formation of special vice units…the passage of…legislation [such] as the Mann Act…and the expansion of the Bureau of Investigations [the precursor to the FBI]”…according to Gretchen Soderlund, author of Sex Trafficking, Scandal, and the Transformation of Journalism… “White slavery was largely a cultural myth for understanding sex work,” wrote social-work researcher Nicole Bromfield…“White slavery”…linked a moral crusade with the vilification of immigrants — especially nonwhite immigrants — who were painted as pimps and slavers.  Women of color who did sex work were dismissed as “voluntary” prostitutes, unworthy of redemption or rescue.  As for white women, their innocence might be presumed but their consent was considered irrelevant…

License to Rape

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

Men are impersonating [cops] and using the broad powers of the job to sexually assault women…[because cops], too, have a long track record of committing sexual violence against women…experts say…not enough police departments are taking the issue seriously.  “It’s so troubling when we hear about these cases,” said Alex Vitale, author of The End of Policing, which includes a chapter about sex work…“a significant proportion of [sex workers] have had interactions with police that involved demands for sex or other kinds of abuse, so sex workers are going to be particularly wary to challenge a [cop]”…

Banishment

Actually, I think this is a good thing; the more people are subjected to this evil tyranny, the more will realize that nobody should be:

…[Politicians] have long justified sex offender registries as a way to notify people about potentially dangerous neighbors or acquaintances, while critics say they fail to prevent crime and create a class of social outcasts.  Over the years, several states have expanded their registries to add [people convicted] of other crimes, including kidnapping, assault, and murder.  Tennessee added animal abuse.  Utah added white collar crimes.  A few states considered but abandoned plans for hate crime and domestic abuse registries.  At least five states publicly display methamphetamine producers.  But Kansas went furthest, adding an array of lesser drug crimes; roughly 4,600 people in the state are now registered as drug offenders…[pigs pretend] that the registry helps keep track of people who may commit new offenses and cautions the public to avoid potentially dangerous areas and individuals…Kansas legislature is currently considering a bill proposed by the state’s sentencing commission that would remove drug offenders from the registry.  “It is a drain on resources with no science, studies, or data to justify it,” defense lawyer Jennifer Roth told [politicians] at an early February hearing…

Under Every Bed

This is just the same old “interstate highway” nonsense, but the fact that it’s Alabama makes it even funnier:

A multi-billion-dollar industry is taking east Alabama by storm…“It’s a $150 billion worldwide industry…the target age is 12-14″…[hebephilic fantasist] Maryhelen Kirkpatrick said…“Because you all are so close to Atlanta there ’s a lot of trafficking that happens here”…easy interstate access provides a hot spot for predators in our area to lure victims away…“These…kids have no idea who they are talking to until it’s too late,” Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes said…“Sex trafficking is a huge issue that is getting bigger, bigger, and bigger almost by the day”…

Doesn’t Hughes sound like he’s wanking and about to jizz on himself? “It’s getting bigger…BIGGER…BIGGER…oooh yeah!”

If Men Were Angels 

“Pastors” are nearly as bad as cops:

“Sexual immorality” was the reason cited when longtime Pastor Ken Engelking resigned in January from Morning Star Community Church in Salem [Oregon].  Four women had come forward…with allegations against Engelking, two other former church staff members and a member of an affiliated church…the women chronicled accusations of an abusive, adulterous relationship involving Engelking, and sexual assault and rape by three other men over more than 20 years, including as recently as 2010…the women said they were silenced by Nelson and other church leaders, pressured to not report what happened to them or do anything that could tarnish Morning Star’s image…the…church board [included a cop and a politician]…

Censor Chic

Though this isn’t awful, every article Wired prints about sex work contains an inexcusable amount of misinformation:

While some sex-work directory sites do still exist online, the 2014 federal takedown of popular web hub RedBook [sic] hastened a shift that was already in the offing: sex workers taking their marketing into their own hands via social media..But…all of it is strictly against platforms’ rules regarding sexual content, which are loosely based on United States prostitution law.  And…workers’ accounts are often shut down without warning or explanation, even when their content never ventures into explicit territory.  So they’re feeling more than a little betrayed by the platforms they feel they helped create…

Some sites still exist”?  MyRedBook (not “Redbook”) spoken of without mentioning Rentboy, Backpage or TRB?  Platform rules based on “prostitution law”?  WTF, Wired?  Could you, like, talk to some sex workers before making the moronic assertion that Instagram is “the only place to connect” with good clients?

Guest Columnist:  Andrea Werhun 

Another peek at Andrea and her book, Modern Whore:

Former escort Andrea Werhun, 28, says she was determined to destigmatise sex work, and show that it is a job like any other.  The Canadian writer recounts sleeping with obese, unattractive and foul-smelling clients, taking part in a threesome and being raped on the job…She even says she actively enjoyed having sex with an 80-year-old man.  “It’s a reasonable option for a certain kind of person, especially if you have strong boundaries…If you’re just desperate for the money, it could eat you alive.”  Werhun, whose book contains a practical “how-to” guide for would-be escorts, says she thought it was “important to show the full picture” and recount her worst encounters as well as the best…

I think it’s hilarious how much amateurs fixate on our clients’ attractiveness, then have the nerve to talk about “objectification” and similar nonsense.

Fallen Idol (#792)

More allegations of sexual abuse in the porn industry:

Porn actors Leigh Raven and Riley Nixon have released a more than hour-long YouTube video detailing two different incidents of alleged abuse on adult sets.  They say both events took place during shoots with the male performer Rico Strong, and for a director known as Just Dave.  Their accusations include misleading booking practices, excessive face-slapping and choking, and boundary violations.  In Raven’s case, the shoot in question took place earlier in the week of March 6.  Raven says she has filed a police report and undergone a medical evaluation…Nixon’s allegation concerns a shoot that happened in early January; she came forward with her account only in response to Raven’s claims, which were initially aired in a cryptic tweet on [March 8th]…

Lack of Evidence (#805)

Two months.  That’s all it took for San Francisco to figure out a way to harass sex workers that gets around its “policy”:

San Francisco District Attorney [and former police chief] George Gascón is asking new Mayor Mark Farrell to let him install a Human Trafficking Unit in his office, a proposal that gained the support of a key women’s group in the city…“While a 2017 study…found that 58 percent of all defendants in federal human trafficking cases operated as part of an organized criminal group, San Francisco has not identified, investigated or prosecuted any criminal organizations involved in human trafficking,” said Gascón’s proposal.  A trafficking unit would help the D.A.’s office “more effectively identify and prosecute…traffickers, and disrupt criminal organizations that drive trafficking”…

For those who still don’t get it, I present these translations from the Porcish:  “sex trafficking” = “sex work”; “criminal organizations” = “sex workers who know each other in any capacity”; “women’s group” = “authoritarians with vaginas”.

Not So Easy

A stripper lays some inconvenient truths on New Orleans:

Since 2015’s Halloween strip club raids, the count of such clubs in the Vieux Carre in New Orleans has gone from 23 to 14…Adverse zoning, contact and distance laws, discriminatory legislation by age and gender, undercover surveillance and overt police raiding are part of a feedback loop that entrenches itself in the public imagination, spurred on by the concept of “trafficking”…used as a euphemism for “prostitution”…[which] was extrapolated into any gesture or conversation “lewd” enough to be construed as an “ask”. No actual sex acts were documented, no “victims of trafficking” or underage workers were found.  The ATC charged the clubs for women touching their own bodies…[the state has hired] adultbusinesslaw.com …backed by Christian Right activist organizations, this firm’s sole purpose is to eradicate adult businesses…The “secondary negative effects” method has been shown, over and over, to be rife with un-empirical data and unethical ways of collecting it, yet it continues to re-emerge…Bergthold’s cases, when they reach federal court, are routinely thrown out for violating the First (and often the Fifth and Fourteenth) amendment.  Meanwhile, his targets are buckling under the time and money involved in defending against his bottomlessly funded attacks…

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