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Look what I got for show-and-tell today.  –  “Deputy” Ricky Paurus

Amy Winfrey of Making Fiends is back with a new series, and here’s the first episode!  The links above it were provided by Wendy LyonPopehatThaddeus RussellTim CushingPhoenix Calida, and Radley Balko, in that order.

From the Archives

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GOP leaders put “Fight Human Trafficking” in the title to conceal the bill’s true purpose: to give the government more power to unconstitutionally spy on law-abiding Americans without a warrant.  –  Justin Amash

They Still Don’t Get It

It’s fascinating to watch fanatics parroting nonsense they clearly neither understand nor believe:

When police arrested seven women for engaging in prostitution…they [asked them a bunch of silly questions drawn from prohibitionist fantasy] and let [them]…leave on their own recognizance…the men arrested…were booked at the…Jail in Auburn, their faces and names publicized by police…Police Chief Brian O’Malley [bloviated]…“We’re going after the sex traffickers”…“Obviously, if people stopped buying people, people wouldn’t sell people,” Assistant District Attorney Nathan Walsh said [while masturbating]…His office…has [supposedly] shifted its view over recent years to see sex workers as victims…the crime of engaging in prostitution isn’t punishable by jail time…[but] if someone has been convicted of that crime within a two-year period…jail time is possible…And if a woman were charged with that crime as a first offense and were to violate conditions of her bail, she could be charged with a crime that includes jail time…

So sex workers are victims, but they can be arrested. But they can’t be taken to jail because it isn’t a crime, but if they’re convicted of being victims twice or violating conditions of bail that they pay to be released on their own recognizance from not-jail, they can go to jail.  Got that?

Dysphemisms Galore 

In normal adult language, she ran a low-rent escort service and foolishly neglected to check IDs of applicants:

…Shyniquah Lightner, 26, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty…to two counts of sex trafficking of a minor…[she] operated a prostitution ring in Philadelphia, and…recruited females to work as prostitutes in this illegal business, and then created Internet advertisements in which she marketed various females as available for purchase for purposes of prostitution…Two of the females Lightner recruited and advertised were minors under 18 years of age…Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross [bloviated that] “A child predator has been brought to justice”…

I quoted as much of this idiocy as I could stomach (giving 17-year-olds a job now qualifies as being a “child predator”), but you can see a lot more at the link if you haven’t eaten recently and want to risk vomiting.

Traffic Circle

“One almost has to admire the chutzpah of officials in Two Harbors, Minnesota (population 3745), who…claim that ‘hunting season…is a key time for traffickers and pimps because it draws…large groups of men into the Northland‘.”

Something new might catch your eye on Highway 61 outside of Two Harbors, a “Dear John” billboard designed to stop local sex trafficking by addressing the demand.  The Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force is behind the sign…[which will] be up for six months, reminding everyone who drives by, including snowmobilers [of the silly fantasy prohibitionists are masturbating to all over the US]…

Though this item more properly belongs in “Under Every Bed” or “Broken Record“, the quote which introduces the item above is from the original “Traffic Circle” five years ago.  Same tiny town, same TV station making the report, same grandiose and economically-impossible claims from self-important “officials” and fanatics.  Five years later.

All-Purpose Excuse

Whores are not only the new drugs; we’re also the new “terrorism”:

A new bill that borrows language from the PATRIOT Act promises to nab human traffickers using the same surveillance techniques that law introduced to catch terrorists…The PATRIOT Act’s spying provisions…proved attractive to law enforcement far beyond their intended scope.  Now, legislators like Rep. Ann Wagner…hope we won’t notice if they feed us the same liberty-poisoning bologna with a new excuse…Wagner’s bill (H.R. 6729)—the deceptively named the “Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act” of 2018—is the latest in a long line of assaults on civil liberties disguised as attacks on the biggest crime panic of the decade, sex trafficking.  Wagner alone brought us the SAVE Act in 2015 and FOSTA in 2018, both of which take aim at online anonymity, web publishing, social media, sex workers, and free speech under the guise of saving children from “modern slavery”…H.R. 6729 would allow financial institutions, federal regulatory bodies, nonprofit organizations, and law enforcement to share customer bank records between them without running afoul of rules regarding consumer privacy and without opening themselves up to lawsuits…and…need not demonstrate that the “sharing was made on a good faith basis”…[this] could go a long way toward not just shuttering individual sex worker bank accounts but facilitating money-laundering charges against any website that…enables communication that connects sex workers and clients…

Down Under (#524)

In the US, the government would’ve “helped” by prosecuting her:

A [New Zealand] man has been ordered to pay a sex worker an extra $300 and hand over the phone he used to record his sexual experience with the woman…the pair met at a Hamilton motel on June 20, via a website which outlined conditions including the banning of video recordings.  Coitus interruptus came when the woman noticed the man’s phone semi-concealed in a jacket and pointed directly at them.  The man denied filming but the woman grabbed the phone, refused to give it back and called the police.  The man admitted he wanted to watch the recording later because he “could not afford to keep paying all the time”…

Uncommon Sense (#844)

Juno Mac calls for supposedly pro-labor politicians and activists to support sex workers:

…sex work is a form of labour; and we deserve labour rights…even after decriminalisation…we will still face a lack of legal aid funding, weak union powers, and austerity policies that reduce our power to turn down exploitative work…Sex workers want to stand with other workers to challenge these injustices and improve the conditions for all workers.  But we require the basic framework of a legally recognised workplace, and recognition from the Labour movement that we are indeed workers…

Disaster (#857)

As I predicted, the judge denied the injunction; he also dismissed the whole case using the bullshit excuse of “lack of standing”:

…a federal court sided with the government and dismissed Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States.  The court did not reach the merits of any of the constitutional issues, but instead found that none of the plaintiffs had standing to challenge the law’s legality.  We’re disappointed and believe the decision is wrong.  For example, the court failed to apply the standing principles that are usually applied in First Amendment cases in which the plaintiffs’ speech is chilled.  The plaintiffs are considering their options for their next steps…

Across the Pond (#862)

Redbridge has a history of harassing sex workers while belching up stupid “crime” rhetoric:

Prostitutes will no longer be allowed to operate anywhere in Redbridge after [the council invented] complaints of noise and condoms left on the street…The new order gives…[cops] the power to hand out on-the-spot fines to disrupt prostitution and soliciting…the council [wants to steal income from sex workers while simultaneously proclaiming them to be] victims.  Cllr Jas Athwal, council leader, said…“By creating a borough-wide zone, a ring of steel, it also means we will deter people seeking sex services from entering Redbridge in the first place”…

I’m sorry if you shot a drink out of your nose when you read a petty politician referring to petty fines as a “ring of steel”.

Dirty Amateurs (#868) 

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

…congenital syphilis, which is passed down from an infected mother to her fetus, has more than doubled since 2013 to hit a 20-year high…Louisiana has the highest rate per capita, with 59 cases reported last year, while California has the highest rates overall, with 281 cases reported in 2017, followed by Texas’s 176…unlike chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are also seeing sharp rises in incidences, syphilis is not rising because of antibiotic resistance; it’s cured by penicillin…But syphilis isn’t [being tested for by] some doctors treating women of reproductive age…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#868) 

At least this dude doesn’t incorrectly call his amusement-device arcades “brothels”:

…”Elijah Rising, a Houston-based [prohibitionist] group…has started a petition on Change.org to ‘Keep Robot Brothels Out Of Houston’“…The owner of KinkySdollS disputes the characterization of his stores as brothels (he says they are more like rent-to-own franchises) and it remains to be seen if in fact Houston, a city famously for relatively light regulation of business, can in fact ban the business under existing laws.  (We might also add that…these dolls are [not] anything close to robots).  There is [also] no reason to believe that increased access to pornography increases sexual crime, a belief that underpins Elijah Rising’s position…In fact, there’s a wealth of evidence supporting the idea that the proliferation of porn over the past few decades is one of the reasons that sexual assaults are declining.  And…recent crackdowns on prostitution, done in the name of ending “sex trafficking,” are…pushing more women onto the streets, a generally less safe situation for all involved…

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What is trafficking, anyway?  –  Kanchan, an Indian sex worker

Against Their Will 

What kind of “rescuers” lock the “victims” they “rescue” in a cage?

Police in Kenya rescued 21 young Nepalese women during a raid on two strip clubs in…Nairobi…”the…girls…had been trafficked to Kenya for exploitation,” [pigs] wrote on…Twitter…Images of the operation…showed three young women dressed in brightly coloured blouses hiding their faces as they were [dragged] away…”We are holding the 21 girls and three other local suspects.  We are probing their links to international human trafficking rings”…

Dirty Amateurs

Another effect of France’s jihad against sex workers: “French health authorities are warning the general public to use protection and get tested after their latest findings suggest chlamydia and gonorrhoea cases in the country tripled between 2012 and 2016…”  Pay close attention to the timing.  When “authorities” increase persecution of sex workers and clients, men are more afraid to buy sex from competent professionals, and instead turn to careless, filthy amateurs; this is the result.

Counterfeit Comfort

We certainly can’t have those dirty pedos helping each other to stay off the “sex offender” registry:

…the online “virtuous pedophile” community…[is] a network of both adults and youth who are attracted to children but are committed to never, ever acting on those attractions.  They are pedophiles, but they aren’t child molesters…there are few outlets for…non-offending pedophiles to find support.  In the U.S., therapists are obligated to [rat out] their clients to authorities if they think there is a chance the client will abuse a child…just disclosing the attraction can be a risk…online [communities are] one of the few places pedophiles can anonymously discuss their problems.  These forums aren’t places to trade kiddie porn or solicit sex (there are strict rules against this); they are places where pedophiles can talk honestly about how to deal with their attractions and exist in a society that views them as subhuman.  But…[their] message boards and forums have been targeted and shut down by hackers, and [last] week, an online community…with over 400 members was shut down by Discord, the company that hosted their server…”for violations of our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines”…

Monsters 

Yellow journalists assist cops to protect and serve crime victims:

A transgender woman was found dead [on July 19th] at an Orlando apartment complex…her body…had signs of trauma…Sasha Garden…was a sex worker…many in the community are worried after Garden’s death and the murders of three transgender woman in Jacksonville this year…[local activist] Montrese Williams says Orange County deputies came to her house around 7:30 a.m. for her help identifying Garden…”As soon as I opened the door, I get, ‘I hear a bunch of transvestites stay here.’ I had to let them know, I’m a transgender woman and I’m the only one that stays here”…Despite Montrese Williams telling deputies that Sasha Garden was a trans woman, in the official report they described her as a 27-year-old man from Jacksonville, who “was wearing a wig and was dressed as a female.”  Naturally…Orlando television stations followed suit with headlines that described her with phrases like a “man in a wig” (WESH) or a “man dressed as a woman” (WFTV)…

Profound Mental Disabilities (#512) 

Another case of the state using sex work as “evidence” of mental disability:

London [Ontario] police [claimed a 20-year-old woman called “C.S.”] was imprisoned by a human trafficker, and forced into selling sex…Amy Dykes…was charged in July 2015…But…Superior Court Justice Alissa Mitchell acquitted the accused woman on all charges.  Her ruling speaks to the [state’s desire to deny the power of]…consent…[to] disabled adults…[and the] danger…[of the] narrative about…rescuing sex workers…The Crown alleged that Dykes forced C.S. into prostitution and controlled her with threats and by taking her disability payments, cell phone and bank card…[cops discovered] C.S. [in an “Operation Northern Spotlight” sting and pretended]…that C.S…was not fully aware of her situation…But [another cop]…had taken a different view of C.S., when he’d met her a month earlier…Although C.S. seemed naive, she showed a level of independence by…using her own debit card in front of him, and spoke well of [Dykes]…Other testimony and evidence showed C.S. could look after herself, bought her children toys and clothes, maintained a bank account, paid her share of the rent, cooked, maintained a cell phone, and kept up with friends on Facebook and texts and in person.  C.S. has…[the] intelligence…of a child aged eight to 11, but is not a child in terms of life experience and accomplishments…“There is no evidence to support a finding that [C.S.] was incapable of providing her voluntary agreement to work as a prostitute…C.S. was adamant (with the [sting pigs]) that she had no interest in being rescued.  Their discussion was lengthy and…C.S. remained steadfast…[until the cops’ continuing pressure caused her to] fear…she might find herself in trouble with the law if she did not agree she was the victim,” Mitchell said…

Rhinoceros (#611)

COAST isn’t mentioned here, but this is the same sort of insulting, patronizing bullshit they peddle, pretending that pigs, bureaucrats and other busybodies know more about our profession than we do:

Shane Harrington…wants his employees to know what to watch for to make sure his clubs aren’t the target of traffickers.  “If there’s an entertainer who’s like [“I have bills”]…that’s a sign,” Stephanie Olson said.  Olson, the CEO of the “Set Me Free” project, is against sex…Her passion drove her to share her [propaganda]…So, she teamed up with Club Omaha to [indoctrinate] employees…Harrington, the nude dance club operator, said his club gets a bad rap and part of this [indoctrin]ation is to [virtue signal]…

Held Together With Lies (#648)

Looks like “Walk Free Foundation” got tired of its old wanking fantasy, so they inflated it:

[Propaganda] on modern slavery around the world [now claims] that the number of slaves in developed nations…is much higher than previously [pretended].  The Global Slavery Index is published annually by the Walk Free Foundation…In its new report, Walk Free Foundation is still using the 40.3 million figure, but says that [inflation of] its [fantasy] mean it [now pretends] country-level figures [are higher] than ever before:  it now [claims] that in the United States 403,000 people — or 1 in every 800 — are living in modern slavery, seven-times higher than it previously believed.  In the UK, it [claims] there are 136,000 slaves, almost 12-times higher than previous figures.  The numbers contrast with UK government’s [already-inflated] estimate that there were between 10,000 and 13,000 potential victims of modern slavery in the UK in 2013.  There is no equivalent government figure for the US…Walk Free Foundation [claims] the reason for the dramatic increases in its slavery estimates for some countries is that the latest report uses far more data sources than previously…

Click on the subtitle link to see how “Walk Free” comes up with these ridiculous “slavery” numbers.

A Broker in Pillage (#791)

The quaint non-“law enforcement” term for this is “blackmail”:

Under Michigan law, Stephen Nichols was supposed to get a “prompt” court hearing to challenge the forfeiture of his car, which police…[stole] in 2015 because he was driving it without valid insurance…Nichols still hasn’t had his day in court…[he] and two other plaintiffs filed a federal class-action lawsuit…[because] Wayne County police and prosecutors seize residents’ property and force them to wait months, sometimes years, for a hearing…the delays violate the 14th Amendment right to due process.  In addition, Wayne County prosecutors offer to settle cases out of court for $900, leaving owners to choose between getting their vehicle back quickly…or shelling out even more money for a lawyer and waiting months to get their means of transportation back…The two other named plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Adam and Ryan Chappell, are a father and son…the younger Chappell was borrowing his dad’s car one day in July 2016 when Wayne County sheriff’s deputies saw him pull into a medical marijuana dispensary in Detroit.  The cops pulled him over as he left and [stole] the car.  No [legal medical] marijuana was recovered from the car, and no criminal charges were filed in the case…Chappell’s car was one of hundreds [stolen] by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office for visiting a [perfectly legal business]…

Between the Ears (#791) 

Any internet-connected device can be used to spy on you:

…Lovense [sex] toys can already be controlled remotely using an app, but now Alexa voice commands will activate them too…anyone with a Lovense toy and the Lovense Remote app will be able to simply update the app to use the feature…Asking [Alexa] to make you “smile” will result in a less powerful buzz than asking to “moan,” or even “scream”…Alexa will also be able to sync your toy to a Spotify account, making it buzz along to the music…

Think I’m paranoid? Check the subtitle; Lovense has already been caught doing it.

Rooted in Racism (#797)

“Repatriation” is the fashionable euphemism for “deportation”:

What to do about illegal migration from Africa into Europe?  The EU’s repatriation programme seems at first like a great idea [to racists who don’t want black people in Europe]…we persuade them [at gunpoint] to go back home and help them to remake their lives there.  The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has coughed up £125 million for the scheme and about 25,000 migrants have already taken part, most heading home to west and central Africa…60 per cent of all illegal Nigerian migrants to Europe [travel by way of Benin]…in the 1980s, a group of local women went as guest workers to Italy, and came back to their hometown rich after becoming prostitutes.  Word spread of their success, and so people-smuggling networks were set up that thrive to this day…The city now has a huge red-light district with many families knowingly sending their daughters into prostitution abroad.  Malign local juju cults have been revived by the smuggling gangs, who make their clients undergo secret rituals of obedience.  The most feared deity, a vengeful slave goddess called Ayelala, is now nicknamed “the patron saint of sex traffickers“…For all the opportunities on offer, what the [deported] migrants mostly felt was a sense of failure.  The people smugglers’ ticket had often cost their family its life savings.  Returning meant all that effort and money had been wasted…

Though the reporter clearly understands that these people are migrating of their own free will to make a better life for themselves, he still can’t resist the urge to demonize their religion and infantilize them by pretending they are passive objects to be “trafficked”.  Follow the links for previous examples of the same bigotry.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#846)

Sex worker rights activists are fighting India’s terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill:

A number of social workers, sex workers, lawyers, child rights and trans rights activists have…spoken out against the anti-trafficking bill…drafted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development…if enacted [it] will further marginalise vulnerable communities…activists…met [with the Minister] to discuss a petition…containing comments from 30 civil society organisations and 247 activists and lawyers, and endorsed by over 4,000 sex workers across the country …The bill conforms to a rescue-rehabilitation approach and…adult sex worker…rights would be completely negated if it is enacted…The bill…asserts that “the consent of the victim is immaterial in the determination of the offence of trafficking”…

Under Every Bed (#850)

Notice how tired and perfunctory “sex trafficking is EVERYWHERE!” articles are beginning to sound?

…Central Texas…is a focus for human trafficking because of its proximity to the southern border, Interstate 35 and its strong demand for labor, UnBound Director Susan Peters said.  UnBound…It has recently worked with the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office on several trafficking cases, including at local massage parlors where [cops pretend] women were…forced to offer sex acts for money…

Disaster (#850)

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

…women and advocates…speaking on Native America Calling, a live call-in program dedicated to issues specific to Native communities, charged that the so-called FOSTA-SESTA legislation has made life more…dangerous…for sex workers—and has left Native American women especially vulnerable…Becki Jones, a sexual health educator for Planned Parenthood…and a member of the Diné tribe…said…FOSTA-SESTA’s restrictions on commercial sex sites effectively removed sex workers ability to “screen for particular clients that might be super violent.”  By shutting down what amounted to protective online resources for sex workers, the measures in effect closed off a source of networking and mutual aid…sex work deserves legal protection and must be de-stigmatized…

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It was very heavy handed — and it was meant to send a message.  –  Michael Eymer

I like unusual song covers, but this video is just plain weird.  The links above it were provided by Clarissa, Amy AlkonJesse WalkerMike ChaseCharles HillFranklin Harris, and Mistress Matisse, in that order.

From the Archives

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Removing all references to sex trafficking will hurt our ability to grab reporters’ attention.  –  Sydney Asbury of “Demand Abolition”

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn 

It’s been a long time since I’ve used this heading, but an even longer time since we’ve seen anything like this:

…lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide…to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia…and…He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics…keeping his word…In his first week on the job, he fired 31 prosecutors…because they weren’t committed to the changes he intended to make…Next, Krasner…release[d] a list of 29 [bad cops]…that…had lied…filed false reports, used excessive force, driven drunk, and burgled…but nothing is as essential and revolutionary as the internal five-page guiding document of new policies that Krasner sent to his staff…The first sentence says it all:  “These policies are an effort to end mass incarcerations and bring balance back to sentencing”…Krasner immediately instructs prosecutors to stop prosecuting marijuana possession regardless of the weight…[and] to stop charging …with any paraphernalia crimes…to stop charging sex workers that have fewer than three convictions with any crime and drop all current cases against sex workers who also fit that description.  All sex workers with three or more convictions are to be referred to Dawn Court…a…diversion…program created in 2010…Krasner instructed prosecutors to stop the wide-ranging practice of beginning plea deals with the highest possible sentencing and instead, begin those plea deals at the bottom end of the available range…Krasner instructed his prosecutors to now add up and justify the exact costs of every single person sentenced to a crime in Philadelphia…Stating that it costs between $42,000 and $60,000 per year to incarcerate a person, he reminded the prosecutors that the…annual cost of incarceration…is…more per year than the beginning salary of teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers, addiction counselors, and even prosecutors in his office…

Pyrrhic Victory

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

In at least four investigations last year…Raleigh [North Carolina] police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime…These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search…[“authorities” pretend] the practice is a natural evolution of criminal investigative techniques.  They [lie] that, by seeking search warrants, they’re carefully balancing civil rights with public safety [because most of the public is too stupid to know about the horrible “third-party doctrine”].  Defense attorneys and privacy advocates…are…[concerned about] how law enforcement turns to Google’s massive cache of user data, especially without a clear target in mind.  And they’re concerned about the potential to snag innocent users, many of whom might not know just how closely the company tracks their every move…

Under Duress 

The New York Times finally discovers what marginalized people have always known:

An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City [cop’s] testimony was…untrue…[they lie] about the whereabouts of guns…They…barge…into apartments and conduct…searches, only to testify otherwise later… they…give…firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness…No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish…In many instances, the motive for lying was…to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops.  In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people…with trumped-up evidence…

Bogeymen

Read this ludicrous exercise in pearl-clutching, then the item under the same heading two items down:

…illicit prostitution businesses are thriving in a surprising place: the legitimate corporate world.  And, we’ve found that the inequities of that world…contribute to that sex trade…we interviewed 44 pimps…in Chicago…fewer than half…fit the pop culture stereotype of a pimp.  The other half did not: a full third had four-year college degrees, primarily in business administration…and most…were white.  In addition to their pimping work, nearly half worked in legitimate companies, not in massage parlors or erotica businesses…these illegal businesses grew directly from the misogynistic culture of the legitimate ones that housed them.  Some became pimps after learning of demand for paid sex through informal bantering about sexual conquests over lunch or beers with the bros.  Half of the pimps started out as customers of sex workers, and several arranged “entertainment” for business clients as part of their job…

Huffington Post needs to exercise more diligence on its contributors; these two fantasists [44 interviews of self-proclaimed “pimps” in one city is not anything like a representative sample] have been recycling this same bogeyman tale on the strength of their supposed academic credentials for years.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (#314)

The only sex workers exploited in New Zealand are those who were intentionally excluded from decriminalization in order to appease prohibitionists:

Migrant prostitutes working illegally on temporary visas are “terrified” they will be deported if they report exploitative pimps and abusive clients…In the past year, 136 migrants suspected of coming here to carry out sex work were denied entry into New Zealand…Sex work is the only occupation migrants on temporary visas are not legally allowed to take up…However, migrants who have entered the country on temporary work, visitor, holiday or international student visas and work as prostitutes are being forced to carry out sexual acts without protection and often work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week…They would not speak to police because they would be deported…

Bogeymen (#317)

I’m glad to see Bruckert has expanded her study into a book:

“The sex industry, like mainstream businesses, rarely depends exclusively on clients and workers to operate efficiently and safely,” professor Chris Bruckert [said]…”Contrary to prevailing stereotypes that portray third parties [like pimps] as inherently abusive and controlling, these workers fulfill important roles and provide vital services.”  Bruckert and her team of researchers conducted interviews with 75 pimps — or “third-party” workers, as she prefers to call them — as well as 52 sex workers for her new book Getting Past ‘the Pimp’: Management in the Sex Industry…Bruckert said little research has been conducted on the role of pimps in the industry, adding that many people’s opinions are based on stereotypes…Most of the third-party workers Bruckert’s team spoke to were women — both surprising and understandable, she said, since the industry is female-dominated and the line between sex work and management is thin…

Torture Chamber

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)…frequently fails to either address or eliminate sexual abuse.  In jails and prisons across the country, incarcerated people are subject to sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff.  If they report these assaults, they risk retaliation, including greater violence…”Prisons are the worst distillation of toxic masculinity,” said Alan Mills [of the Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC)]…”It’s all about inflicting punishment on people.  It’s about the use of force in order to force compliance to an arbitrary set of rules.  It’s about dehumanizing people.  It’s not surprising that this translates to harassment and abuse”…

Business As Usual

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

Sex workers in South Africa will be arrested at least four times and will spend an average of 40 hours in custody if they are charged…one third of sex worker arrests never make it to a police station or courthouse‚ instead often ending in sex workers being abused by police or forced to pay bribes.  These were just some of the findings of The Policing of Sex Work In South Africa survey compiled by NGO’s Sonke Gender Justice and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…Advocacy officer at Sonke Donna Evans said that the most shocking thing to emerge from the report was the extreme levels of violence at the hands of police that were reported by sex workers.  “They were extremely disturbing and included incidents of torture‚ assault‚ rape and even permanent disability‚” Evans said…

Original Sin (#762) 

I guess this makes sense coming from a man who imagines condoms to be weapons of mass destruction:

Pope Francis asked forgiveness…for all Christians who buy sex from women, saying men who frequent prostitutes are criminals with a “sick mentality” who think that women exist to be exploited.  “This isn’t making love.  This is torturing a woman.  Let’s not confuse the terms,” Francis insisted…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

At least Wyoming had the sense to vote this nonsense down:

A Wyoming bill that would have recognized porn as a “public health crisis” failed in the 2018 session of the state Legislature…HJ1 was typical of various “public health crisis” bills that have made their way across the nation.  Wyoming’s bill, introduced by…Lars O. Lone, would have made official language stating porn increases the demand for sex trafficking, impacts brain development and functioning, diminishes the interest of young men in getting married and creates infidelity, among other [evidence-free] statements.  Another porn bill…sponsored by Lone, failed to win support, as well.  HB 127 would have ordered the installation of porn blocking software on all computers sold in the state to prevent the viewing of “obscene” material as defined by the state Attorney General’s office…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

SAVE THE TOASTERS!!!!

French activists are campaigning to shut down a new “sex doll brothel” on the grounds that it degrades women—and silicone.  Or something…Xdolls is registered as a gaming center, which makes sense if you consider doll-sex a form of escapist make-believe or wish-fullfilment akin to playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.  But Paris Council communists and other activists argue that Xdolls amounts to a brothel, which are illegal in France.  Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, head of the Paris council’s communist group…compared the business to “prostitution” and the owner to “a pimp.”  Sounds like someone just started watching Westworld.  The rhetoric only gets more extreme from there.  Lorraine Questiaux, spokesperson for the anti-sex work organization Mouvement du Nid…[said] “It’s a place…where you rape a woman”…You can’t rape a non-sentient silicone doll any more than you can rape a vibrator or a Fleshlight…but apparently not even lifeless dolls are immune to…rescue attempts…

I’m so glad Tracy Clark-Flory is writing again; I’ve missed her good sense.

Disaster

The fallout will continue until there’s some legal action against this horrific law:

…SESTA’s passage by the U.S. Senate has had an immediate chilling effect on those working in the adult industry…stories of a fallout are being heard, with adult performers finding their content being flagged and blocked…escort site [Cityvibe]…suddenly becoming “not available,” Craigslist shutting down its “personals” sections and Reddit closing down some of its communities, among other tales.  SESTA…targets scores of adult sites that consensual sex workers use to advertise their work.  And now, before SESTA reaches President Trump’s desk for his guaranteed signature, those sites are scrambling to prevent themselves from being charged under sex trafficking laws.  “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing an immediate chilling effect on protected speech,” industry attorney Lawrence Walters [said]…”This was predicted as the likely impact of the bill, as online intermediaries over-censor content in the attempt to mitigate their own risks.  The damage to the First Amendment appears palpable”…

Too Close To Home (#823)

It’s great to see a spotlight on this ugly scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

There is no mention in [propaganda about Seattle’s high-profile sex work stings] of the fact that [prosecutor Val] Richey’s work was handsomely supported by Demand Abolition, a nonprofit group whose stated mission is to end demand for sex work by going after buyers, or that the cost of some of his travels around the country has been defrayed by the same group.  Nor is there any mention of the fact that Demand Abolition, in exchange for providing approximately $191,667 in funding to the King County prosecutor’s office over four years, asked Seattle-area law enforcement to carry out regular arrests and prosecutions of buyers…As part of signed agreements for the funding, Richey and other law enforcement officials in King County were required to frame the activities of sex buyers and men involved with The Review Board as sex trafficking…even though there was no evidence of trafficking…and…none of the men arrested…were charged with trafficking — only with promoting prostitution…

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I believe my goldfish is having an affair with my oven mitt.
–  Lenore Skenazy, mocking “sex trafficking” hysteria

Follow Your Bliss 

The naive believe the government propaganda that “child predators” are creepy dudes who hang out at playgrounds; in reality, they are largely people in positions of authority over their preferred targets:

A[n]…administrator on Bradford Safeguarding Children Board has been jailed for five years for a series of sex offences involving young boys.  Heathcliffe Bowen…was convicted of six offences which happened between 2013 and 2015.  Judge Jonathan Durham Hall…said Bowen…was a “predatory paedophile”…[who] had a “deep and entrenched interest” in underage boys and said he had “never shown any shame or remorse”…

Profound Mental Disabilities (#562)

Naturally, my skepticism about this case was wholly warranted:

A legal fight has reached the end of the line between a Florida dominatrix and a former client who claimed she drained his bank account and credit cards of more than $500,000 and took over ownership of his townhouse.  Orange County, Fla., Judge Keith White recently ruled in favor of Goddess Jude, who was sued by client Alex Abrams, granting her motion to dismiss and paving the way for her to recoup legal costs of defending herself.  Abrams…alleged that Goddess Jude should have been found liable for civil theft, unjust enrichment and conversion, as well of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly persons because he was above 60 years old when he first called on for her services…he…opened new joint financial accounts…and made her an authorized user on his credit card accounts…[then] transferred a…townhouse worth $100,000 to her.  After an apparent change of heart and claims of dementia, Abrams sought to recoup all the material assets he had given her…In November, a judge made a ruling…dismissing Abrams claims against Goddess Jude entirely — after Abrams and his attorney, who later withdrew from the case, failed to attend several depositions…A court hearing…over recovery of attorney’s fees and court-imposed sanctions has been set for March…

To Molest and Rape 

Typical cop engaging in typical and representative cop behavior:

The Bexar County [San Antonio, Texas] Sheriff’s Office…arrested a county deputy on an aggravated sexual assault of a child charge…[jailer] Clayton Saunders was placed on administrative leave…and a no-contact order was issued.  Further investigation led his formal arrest on [January 27th]…

Divided We Fall (#672)

Why does Gay, Inc never speak up for sex worker rights until it’s too late?

At a town hall meeting last summer, members of Toronto’s gay community, worried that a serial killer was operating in their midst, warned that the city’s sex workers might be particularly at risk.  That fear proved prescient…Dean Lisowick, a common face in the Gay Village and long-time sex worker, is believed to be the last known victim of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur…[who] is also facing four other charges of first-degree murder for the deaths of Andrew Kinsman, Selim Esen, Majeed Kayhan and Soroush Mahmudi…

Checklist (#702)

Ladies, please stop using Uber.  They are training drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs:

Uber wants its drivers to [spy on passengers and]…to alert [cops] if they [suspect a passenger is a sex worker]…over the past few years, Uber has enlisted its drivers in local and regional efforts to [persecute sex workers]…But the new initiative…targets all 750,000 active U.S. drivers and eventually will expand to other countries…Among Uber’s partners in the U.S. initiative are The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children[Asstoon Kutcher’s vanity project] Thorn, and The McCain Institute…whose efforts to [hound sex workers to death] are led by [anti-human rights crusader “Cuckoo Clock”] McCain

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

If this is a “brothel”, then a room with a foosball table in it is a “stadium”:

France’s first ever sex doll brothel has been opened in Paris and it has three silicone sex dolls ready for…rent…France changed its laws in 2016 to make paying for sex illegal, but the laws didn’t say anything about paying for sex with a silicone doll…The official XDolls site advertises that it has three different dolls on offer – Lily, Sofia, and Kim – complete with pictures of each.  The whole operation is shrouded in secrecy.  In fact, the official website doesn’t even offer an address for the brothel – other than to say it’s “somewhere in the 14th arrondissement” of Paris.  To find the location, would-be customers have to pay for a session with a doll, which comes at a cost of €89 for an hour, €149 for two hours, and €19 for the optional virtual reality addition…

Morality Lessons (#730) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

…a new bill being proposed in Virginia…would [try to] lock all pornographic sites from your phones and computers, and the only way to [legally] unlock them is to pay the state $20…[politicians] who proposed the bill [pretend] that by making pornography less accessible on the internet it will reduce the amount of human trafficking…

The huckster behind this legislation [is an]…anti-porn crusader named Chris Sevier who tried to marry his computer in protest of same-sex marriage, was released early from an Iraq tour for mental-health issues, sued Apple over the dissolution of his marriage, and has been charged with harassing a teen girl as well as country singer John Rich.”

It Looks Good On Paper (#736)

What these “safe harbor” laws actually do is empower the cops to indefinitely  detain underage sex workers in “safe locations”, i.e. euphemized jails:

[Underage sex workers whom “authorities” deign to label] child sex trafficking victims would no longer be criminally charged for prostitution offenses under a proposed bill introduced this session in the [Washington] state House of Representatives…[cops] would be required to bring minors to one of…two “receiving centers,” or another safe location — instead of booking youth into detention for prostitution offenses…the proposed bill stops short of decriminalizing prostitution for minors, maintaining [cops’] ability to arrest youth [who don’t submit to rape or otherwise displease the pigs]…“But we’re not expecting that (the youth) would be put in handcuffs,” [lied] Val Richey, a senior deputy prosecutor in King County, who [relies on voter ignorance to advance his schemes]…

Stupor Bowl (#765)

Prohibitionists are trying to subvert our debunking of the gypsy whores myth by pretending the reason there’s no surge is that the “demand” for “victims” is  always sky-high:

As the Twin Cities prepares to host Super Bowl LII, planning has long been underway to address any accompanying uptick in prostitution or sex trafficking.  While people elsewhere have made claims that the Super Bowl is the biggest time for sex trafficking, a University of Minnesota report noted “the Super Bowl does not appear to have the largest impact.”  Different types of events — such as trade shows, holiday weekends and other sporting events — also generate an increase…with the public’s attention on the Super Bowl, those who work to help trafficked people in Minnesota are seizing the opportunity to get the word out about an issue that endures year-round…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#786) 

Under a “legalization” regime, sex workers are still persecuted using idiotic and arbitrary nonsense like “illegally subdividing a building”:

Police have arrested nearly 100 suspected sex workers…in one of Hong Kong’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns, raiding a building where flats had been illegally subdivided into more than 100 cubicles converted into brothel rooms…[they arrested] two women from Ukraine, one from Kazakhstan, 13 from Thailand and 59 female visitors from the mainland…at least two [criminal]…syndicates had arranged for the 99 suspects to work and provide sex services in the “one-woman” brothels…

Cooties (#787) 

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:

Sex workers…are behind…”pop-up brothels”…[they] tour the country and work out of short-term rental accommodation…For sex workers, there’s no manager taking a cut of their earnings like there is in a conventional brothel.  For clients, there’s no walking through the doors of a known brothel.  When [a sex worker] decides where she’s going, she either gets in touch with…friends she’s worked with in the past, or she gets in touch with other sex workers via private internet forums, looking for people who might be up for joining her on a trip…the pair then hire an apartment together for a long weekend…Then, they’ll use social media to find new clients in the area…Once they’ve got clients, they set up a rota (or work as a “duo” offering threesomes)…

Shame, Shame (#798) 

A culture more worried about the sexual applications of this than about the government’s ability to fabricate evidence with it is a culture overdue for collapse:

The grosser parts of the internet have a new trick: Using machine learning and AI to swap celebrities’ faces onto porn performers’.  The result?  Fake celebrity porn seamless enough to be mistaken for the real thing…And now that someone has made an app—drastically lowering the technical threshold would-be creators have to clear— it’s presumably about to become much more prevalent.  For reasons that are eye-poppingly obvious, these videos…are terrible…It’s a new frontier for nonconsensual pornography and fake news alike…And…If you live in the United States and someone does this with your face, the law can’t really help you.  To many [privileged] people on the internet [who have nothing more important to worry about], especially women, this looks a whole lot like the end times.  “I share your sense of doom,” [said pro-censorship activist] Mary Anne Franks

The Widening Gyre (#801) 

I love Lenore Skenazy’s snarky treatment of these absurd stories:

A worried South Bend [Indiana] mother thought two men might be trying to abduct her daughter at a local store. [Who cares? End of story.]  Police investigated it as a suspicious persons report.  [Because it wasn’t an attempted crime.]  Haley Craig says…“Was just at the T.J.Maxx in Mishawaka and there were men in there who attempted to steal Eva.  I believe there were multiple men inside the store who were in on it together. [And I believe my goldfish is having an affair with my oven mitt.]…Police can’t confirm the mom’s fears of an attempted abduction, but they say it’s still a worrisome situation. [No it’s not.]  What Craig said she experienced inside of T.J. Maxx definitely sounds scary. A strange man comes up to her and starts bombarding her with questions. [“Definitely scary” indeed. Never have I been spoken to by a strange person, EVER.]…“[He was] trying to divert my attention away from my daughter”…Craig said. [Because the easiest way to snatch a child is in public, indoors, steps from its mom, who, distracted by questions about the price of Progresso Lentil Soup, doesn’t notice her child is being dragged screaming down the aisle, past the customers and cashiers, into a parking lot filled with people, and off to sex traffic land]

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I’m glad that Sessions is attorney general.  –  Chuck Grassley

As those of you who remember my very old story “Greek God” may have guessed, I dearly loved The Muppet Show and bought the three seasons of it that were released before Disney decided to do what it did to several other series, namely not release the last two seasons.  This video, from the unreleased fifth season, features a very young Debbie Harry, whom I had a huge crush on at the time this first aired.  The links above it were provided by Mike SiegelTim CushingElizabeth N. BrownAdjective GirlDavid Ley, and Jesse Walker, in that order.

From the Archives

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