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Posts Tagged ‘shame’

The…carceral feminists[s]…are frightened. This is a culture war. – Nnenna

Business As Usual

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

[Washington DC’s] “Human Trafficking Unit” is…a misnomer…only two percent of [those they]…arrest…[are charged with] human trafficking…The many proponents of D.C.’s decriminalization bill say that violence is endemic in the sex trade, and that policing is the cause of the violence, not the solution…[most] of the violence comes from [cops] themselves…in 2012, [cop] Kenneth Furr was convicted of [attempting to murder] a transgender woman who refused to [submit to rape.  Cops frequently]…rape people while…on the job, [using the excuse] of making an undercover arrest…MPD [claims] they have rules of conduct for prostitution stings [but the evidence shows these are ignored]…

Election Day (#840) 

Marijuana prohibition (in North America, at least) will soon be a thing of the past:

Mexico‘s Senate will vote for a bill to fully legalise marijuana in the next few days…marking a [long-overdue] step towards…removing it as a source of income for [the police and] violent drug gangs…Senator Ricardo Monreal, the leader of…[the majority] party in the upper chamber of congress, said…“The end of the prohibitionist policy is good for the country”…Late last year, the Supreme Court said lawmakers have until 24 October to legalise marijuana, after the high court ruled in several cases that the prohibition of the recreational use of the drug violates the constitution.  Under Mexican law, if the Supreme Court issues the same decision five times, the rulings set a precedent and the court can then order the establishment of a regulatory framework as well as further legal action…

This could be the beginning of a new economic era in Mexico, and if they’re wise they’ll follow it up by legalization of all drugs and a campaign advertising that fact to tourists.

First They Came for the Hookers… (#900)

New items of this type appear under the heading “Permanent Record”:

…28-year-old criminal defence lawyer Nadia Guo found herself thrown into the Canadian public eye [when] a local Toronto news story…outed her as a former escort…[with] the [stage name] “Dawn Lee”…the timing of the story…couldn’t be more conspicuous.  The morning after it dropped, she was due to appear in front of the Law Society of Ontario tribunal to prove she was of “good enough character” to become a lawyer.  This hearing was for reasons that had nothing to do with escorting…mostly…her outspoken social media…comments online about police, crown prosecutors and judges…in spite of the damage…Guo was finally granted her license to practice law [earlier this year]…[and has] used her platform to create a new story for herself, writing about navigating sex worker stigma in the legal world, using Tumblr to challenge how she’s been portrayed in media, signing with a literary agency to write a memoir, and officially starting her own legal practice.  We caught up with Guo to find out how one rebuilds a reputation – and life – after facing the full wrath of public stigma…

Safe Position (#944)

Hearings for the DC decriminalization bill dwarfed similar meetings in NYC:

For more than 14 hours on [October 17th], D.C. officials heard…public testimony about decriminalizing prostitution.  The…measure…would remove criminal penalties for…consenting adults…it would not touch existing prohibitions on sex work involving children, coercion, fraud, abduction, or violence, nor other criminal laws surrounding sexual assault, labor exploitation, or activity involving people under 18.  You might not have guessed that…from listening to…[speeches] from “anti-exploitation” groups that…were rife with refusals to distinguish between voluntary sex work and human trafficking, or between what the bill would actually do…and the detailed tales of trauma they told.  Again and again, nonprofit representatives invoked trafficked children and raped women…The president of…NOW…Toni Van Pelt, [fantasized] that the bill would [legalize kidnapping]…Councilmember David Grosso, who introduced the bill and is now among four sponsors, stressed repeatedly that, if anything, this measure would give police more capacity to handle the sex crimes that should actually be sex crimes…This…earned Grosso—a white man—a number of direct and indirect accusations [that]…he didn’t understand life in black and brown communities…But Grosso only brought forward the legislation after being approached by a coalition of activists…from…DECRIMNOW, [who] are overwhelmingly young D.C. residents of color, many with personal experience in sex work…

Torture Chamber (#964) 

Your government refers to this as “correction”:

Robert Wayne Johnson…[was] grappling with mental illness…[and] couldn’t afford about $2,500 in municipal court fines and fees accumulated over three years for [minor] infractions such as driving without a license…a judge sentenced Johnson to a two-day stint in jail [but] instead…[he was caged without reason] for 52 more days until he killed himself in January 2018…county officials [have no explanation]…Johnson’s death is among the hundreds each year that make suicide the leading cause of death in local jails…in the days before his death, a distraught Johnson tied torn towel strips around his neck in an apparent effort to strangle himself.  That [was ignored]…by staff…on…the day Johnson died, he tied shoelaces around his neck and…later cut his wrists with a razor blade until another detainee took the blade away and alerted [screws who locked him]…in [solitary confinement]…15 minutes [later]…he was [found dead] with his shoelaces wrapped around his neck and tied to the bed frame…

Shift in the Wind (#965)

Pro-decrim articles are even common on conservative sites these days:

…Conservatives don’t have to like it, and they certainly don’t have to view prostitution as moral or acceptable.  But if they want to embrace practical reality over moral idealism and help women, they’ll begrudgingly accept that we must stop waging state-led war on the world’s oldest profession.  Criminalizing prostitution only pushes it underground, making it significantly more dangerous for the women that participate…Decriminalization doesn’t magically make the sex industry a wonderful place to work or eliminate the moral qualms that reasonable people might have with prostitution.  But it does do a great deal to make the trade, which always will exist and always has existed, much safer for everyone involved…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#974)

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

This month, Florida became the first state in the nation requiring sex-trafficking [indoctrin]ation as part of every student’s curriculum…The new policy requires every school district to implement age-appropriate lessons about [how sex is bad and scary and women are too stupid to be allowed to make decisions about it]…Valerie Ellery, the Florida Department of Education’s new Human Trafficking Education Specialist [admitted] “[I am] very grateful we are able to have this rule passed so [I] can [ride this gravy train while it lasts]”…One of the lead proponents for the rule was Selah Freedom, a Sarasota-based…organization that [makes its money via a religious “diversion” program for sex workers that is so unpopular the only way it gets participants is by cops literally forcing or frightening women into it]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#980)

If you aren’t worried about spy planes, how about this?

…satellite imagery…resolution keeps improving…[the ability to] identify individuals or license plates from space…[is] not far-off…In just 15 years, we’ve gone from being able to see things the size of 40-inch TVs to those the size of smart tablets.  There are [US] government controls on the resolution of commercially available satellite imagery, but [not on the imagery available to any government.  And even]…current American spy satellites…[have] about 0.10 meters resolution…Drones can be shot out of the sky, yet little can be done to combat or hide from cameras virtually invisible from the ground.  No one consents to being imaged from space…Yet [in]…a…not-so-distant future…we [will be able to] direct very high-resolution satellites to any point on Earth, easily identifying a person’s location or activities.  Who will have access to this data?  The police?  Politicians looking for dirt on their opponents, or angry spouses with a vendetta?  How will this data be used in courts and who can be trusted to interpret it?  The thought of potential misuses is chilling…

Misuse by “authorities” in both the US and under other oppressive regimes is 100% certain, and given that China, Israel and other police states are already selling data and surveillance equipment, no law in any US jurisdiction will be able to keep this power out of the hands of American cops for much longer.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#981) 

This is getting both nastier and more tangled:

…the turmoil surrounding controversial adult website GirlsDoPorn took a sharp turn, when the Department of Justice unsealed details of an FBI investigation against the site’s owners…[which] complicate mainstream coverage of this as a cliché tale of innocent girls from the heartland getting duped by sinister smut-peddlers.  Go through the very strange story of GDP and you will encounter a teen affiliate marketing tycoon, accusations of rape and sexual assault, “uncharged conspirators” rolling on former associates, a remote island paradise full of financial secrets and a conveniently dead lawyer who set up shady companies with names like Bubble Gum Media…In July 2015, [GDP owner Michael Pratt and his associates] began publishing their victims’ personal information ([legal] names, links to social media accounts, hometowns, pictures, etc.) en masse to a website called PornWikileaks.com…[which the following] November…was transferred to an email address belonging to…Pratt.  Turns out PornWikileaks — the infamous website started by the even more infamous adult industry pariah, Donny Long, and which hosted a doxxing and extortion fodder forum against adult models called “Whore Hunting”…was owned by none other than the GirlsDoPorn owner…

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A while back my friend Allena Gabosch asked me to write an essay for a new collection called Sex Positive Now, and a few days ago I received a press release for the book with the request that I share it.  So without further ado:

Allena Gabosch and Jeremy Shub have written Sex Positive Now , a book about sex-positivity.  The book contains essays and interviews by and with sex positive celebrities, activists and educators along with additional content written by Allena and Jeremy.  The book covers topics including the History of Sex-Positive Culture , Sex Negativity, Cultural Taboos about Porn and Sex Work, Health and Emotions, Intimacy, Relationships, Polyamory, Kink, Tantra/Sacred/Taoism, Consent, and Community.  Our goal is to support the change of cultural norms around sexuality and relationships so people have the freedom and permission to be the sexual beings they already are.  Pleasure and joy are vital to our wellbeing and sexual shame is a thing of the past.  People are celebrated for their sexuality, gender, who or how they love.  Consensual sexuality in all of its forms is healthy and life affirming.  People can make conscious choices about their sexuality and relationships.  A few of our 55 contributors include Annie Sprinkle, Janet Hardy, Race Bannon, Susie Bright, Buck Angel and Cunning Minx.  If you want to review and promote the book, free ebooks will be available for review.  You can purchase the book at sexpositivenow.com and the book launch will be in Melbourne and Seattle on 28th Oct.

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[Rachel Moran] is a liar, a bitch and a bully and…was never even a sex worker.  –  Gaye Dalton

R.I.P. Scotty Bowers

Hollywood has its collective head so far up the collective prohibitionist rectum that it has to bend over backward describing an actual pimp as a “male madam” and a “sex fixer” rather than simply admitting that the truth about sex work doesn’t resemble a bad screenplay full of evil “traffickers”, pathetic “victims” and brave “rescuers”:

Scotty Bowers, whose explicit, best-selling 2012 memoir revealed a covert realm of Golden Age Hollywood sexuality, died [on October 13th] of natural causes…He was 96.  The former U.S. Marine and gas station attendant turned erotic fixer to the stars (including, he said, Katharine Hepburn and Rock Hudson) was the subject of an acclaimed 2017 documentary, Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood.  Bowers helped keep the (often queer) secrets of contract players who were bound by morality clauses during the heyday of the studio system…a business he would later describe as sexual matchmaking…notable Hollywood figures were…set up with Bowers’ network of prostitutes — both men and women…

Bottleneck (#542)

Prohibitionists never understand how unhinged they sound to normal people:

For the past four years, [Edmonton, Alberta] has taken a harm-reduction approach to body rub parlours…[breaking a long tradition of abusing and dehumanizing sex workers.]  But at a committee meeting last month, city councillors supported a motion that would pivot sharply away from that model…Susan Holtby, a [violent prohibitionist, vomited out nonsense about]…”We can [forcibly castrate men]…We can have police go in and charge [people for having sex drives or needing to pay their bills]; we can publi[cly shame people] like [puritans have always done].  I think [all of society should obey me as supreme moral authority]”…

Played Out (#577)

Let’s hope Moran discovers the Streisand Effect:

[Prohibitionist shill] Rachel Moran [is suing former sex worker]…Gaye Dalton [in an attempt to silence her for telling the truth about Moran]…on social media…Moran [claims to have] been left in a state of distress after [the truth about her scam came out, because]…“She makes a good living out of free travel and loads of attention out of bullying and persecuting sex workers and that is all she is capable of caring about.  The fact that innocent women are seeing their lives destroyed by her isn’t even on her radar”…Dalton…also [revealed that] SPACE International, an organisation founded by…Moran [with the backing of prohibitionists] in 2012…[is] run by frauds who…sell…out the lives of sex workers…

Check Your Premises (#771)

“Crime”: introducing two people. Sentence: life as a pariah:

Hope Joy Zeferjohn…is serving a nearly six-year sentence in [a cage in Kansas, followed by]…life…on the state sex offender registry…Zeferjohn, now 21…is seeking a pardon…Prosecutors [of course] defend their case against Zeferjohn…Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay [said] “If you give a pass to every [legal minor] who [introduces another legal minor to an adult on Facebook]? I don’t know that society actually wants that to happen”…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#788) 

It’s never called “trafficking” when the government or a crony does it:

Los Angeles courts force roughly 100,000 people [in]to…weeks and even months of [slavery] each year, exposing some of them to exploitative and hazardous working conditions without enjoying basic labor rights and protections…UCLA…researchers analyzing [so-called] community service also found that government departments and [fascist cronies] rely on workers threatened with debts and jail time to complete labor that would otherwise be paid – and that those affected are overwhelmingly people of color…[the extent of the slavery is shocking:] an estimated total of 8m hours…a year, the equivalent of 4,900 paid jobs.  Government agencies receive an estimated 3m hours of [that slave] labor, replacing 1,800 jobs…[the slavery includes] imposed deadlines, and…nearly one in five people sentenced to [this so-called] community service ultimately face a probation violation or arrest warrant as a result…

Stalkers in Blue

Once in a while, there are witnesses to the way cops act toward women:

An off-duty NYPD [cop threatened a waitress with] his gun at a Queens karaoke bar while partying with his sergeant…he…pointed it at a waitress’s head and threatened to shoot her…[if she refused to “]hang out[” with him]…Two of the bar’s waitresses went to the 109th Precinct stationhouse to report what happened, [foolishly] thinking…he [was impersonating a cop]…Hyun Kim…was suspended without pay, as was the sergeant, who was not charged criminally…

Legislators Gone Wild (#854) 

The anti-whore brigade can’t get the people to support them, so they’re trying to make sex workers’ lives miserable:

A proposed amendment to a Nye County ordinance…would forbid Nye County legal prostitutes from leaving brothels for more than six hours within a 10-day period.  Additionally, prostitutes would only be allowed to leave the premises of a brothel between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.  If they failed to follow these rules, they would need re-test for venereal diseases and HIV, which they are already required to do weekly under Nevada law…The proposed changes were decided by a group of…brothel owners…and [politicians to suppress whores and remind them that they]…cannot be trusted…and…are…dirty, disgusting women that have to be kept from the public and be locked up…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#886)

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag:

…Pennsylvania police are [once again trying to frighten ignorant parents with bullshit about people supposedly giving expensive]…drug-laced edibles [to their brats for free].  The Johnstown Police Department [repeated the myth]…on their Facebook page…after [stealing a package of]…”Nerds Rope edibles containing 400mg of THC” while [rooting around in a private home where they had no legitimate business to be]…the department [claimed] “Drug laced edibles are package [sic] like regular candy and may be hard [for illiterates] to distinguish from the real candy”…

Every time the claim of drugs or other tampering with Halloween candy has been made, it turns out to be either an intentional hoax or some nefarious shit by the parents.  Cops will keep this up as long as people let them pretend that adults never like sweet flavors.

Opting Out (#948) 

Any non-politician would have given this up as a bad idea long ago:

…the U.K. government has backtracked on its efforts to implement the [unworkable and repeatedly-delayed] Age Verification scheme that would have compelled anyone who accessed adult websites in the realm to officially verify they were not minors.  Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, released a statement…that the government “has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through our wider online harms proposals and, as a consequence, will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography”…

“Wider online harms proposal” sounds ominous, so I wouldn’t count this as a victory just yet.

Pyrrhic Victory (#976)

When this (soon) arrives in the US, the excuse will be “sex trafficking”:

Picture a world in which the baseline requirement for a new smartphone is a facial recognition test…in China, beginning December 1, that’s the scrutiny to which the country’s over 850 million internet users will be subject, without exception.  The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology [vomited out a bunch of ridiculous excuses, but the real reason is that China is trying to establish a literal panopticon]…A rule imposed by the German interior ministry in 2016 requires that domestic telecoms ask customers for ID cards, foreign passports, or temporary ID papers when they buy a SIM card or a cell phone.  Under French law, carriers must collect identifying information of all users and subscribers of prepaid services…

Loose Cannons (#981)

We’re lucky cops and prosecutors moronically chose to target such a wealthy client:

Lawyers for…Robert Kraft are suing Florida prosecutors…[for] withholding evidence related to prostitution charges faced by the football magnate…[after] the Florida attorney general’s office filed an appeal of a court order that the massage-room video footage of Kraft was inadmissible as evidence.  If they were smart, the state prosecutors would let this one go — and hope everyone forgets the embarrassing, abusive shenanigans law enforcement pulled with their six-month “human trafficking” stakeout…Some have scoffed that of course a rich, powerful, white man like Kraft would employ mighty resources in an attempt to skirt punishment for things those in less privileged positions cannot escape.  But the flip side is that people like Kraft — who have both vast financial resources and sufficient cultural power — are often the only ones non-precarious enough to push back and considered newsworthy enough for coverage…Each week, across the country, women and men are rounded up, thrown in jail, shamed in the press, and saddled with criminal records simply for introducing money into consensual sexual relationships between adults.  But few people care or even notice, and those that do tend to cheer it on…

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This is political prosecution with no evidence.  –  Cliff Yi

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

A review of what looks like a decent book on the reality of sex work in China:

…sex is for sale everywhere in China and deeply embedded in the culture, allowing migrant women to earn a living in large cities and provide companionship to men left alone by unfavourable demographics…Eileen Yuk-ha Tsang explores these aspects of China’s sex industry and more in her new book China’s Commercial Sexscapes. She takes an in-depth look at prostitution in Dongguan…one of China’s sex industry hotspots…Tsang, an associate professor in the department of social and behavioural sciences at the City University of Hong Kong, worked at a bar for several months to gain the trust of sex workers, and her sources eventually open up with stories which are vivid with humanity…Tsang details how sex workers from rural areas see their lives in big cities as modern and sophisticated, and they take pride in being able to support their families living in other provinces such as Sichuan, Guangdong, and Hunan…many find sex work preferable to their former jobs in factories, where they would work 30 days a month, 12 hours a day, in mind-numbing and harsh environments for around 1,600 yuan a month.  In the sex industry, they can earn from five to 50 times that amount, working perhaps three or four days a week.  Tsang also discusses the foreign men who hire Chinese sex workers.  [Unsurprisingly], more than a few end up marrying the women and move them to their home countries…

The Missing Word

They’re bending over backwards to avoid that word:

Maricopa County Assessor Paul D. Petersen has been indicted in an adoption fraud scheme…in addition to being County Assessor for Maricopa County, Petersen is also an adoption lawyer…none of the women who gave birth did anything illegal, and none of the families that adopted children are accused of any crimes…Petersen and [his accomplice Lynwood] Jennet facilitated travel for pregnant women from the Republic of the Marshall Islands to come to Arizona for the purpose of giving a child up for adoption…Petersen [has been charged] with 11 felony offenses, including human smuggling, sale of a child, and communications fraud…Authorities say they were first alerted to the scheme by concerned hospital workers who called a human trafficking tip line…

Bread and Circuses 

So will Newsweek next tell us that some politicians want a $15 minimum hourly “rental” fee, or that some big company has “rented” a new CEO?

A website that allowed…folks to review, rent and…message…escorts has been [stolen] by federal authorities.  Now, those who frequent[ed] IndependentGirls.com [will] look elsewhere…The website…wasn’t just geared for those wishing to buy, rent or even casually view women, but it was also a way for escort agencies to advertise themselves and their clients…

“Buy women”.  Yes, this is an actual supposed adult who apparently believes that it’s possible to purchase slaves on an ordinary review board.  And a supposedly-serious news outlet actually printed that.

If It Were Legal (#560)

While stigma and criminalization exist, this will keep happening:

The account details of the 250 thousand users of Dutch website Hookers.nl…we[re hacked and the]…hacker…is offering [the data] for sale…The website is popular among [both] clients [and] sex workers…The leaked data includes email addresses, user names, IP addresses and passwords.  The passwords are encrypted, but the email addresses are legible…[and some government] names are in the email address used to open an account.  The hacker is offering to sell the data for 300 dollars to any individual who wishes to purchase it…

Dutch Threat (#578)

Dutch authorities keep pretending their ever-narrower bottleneck is intended to help sex workers:

The [Dutch] government is taking extra measures to fight…the sex industry.  Sex workers will soon be required to have a permit to do their job, and the minimum age for sex work will be raised from 18 to 21…the government wants to bring “uniformity” to the rules around sex work in the Netherlands.  Currently…the minimum age varies per municipality, with some maintaining a minimum age of 18 and other 21…The articles that criminalize human trafficking and exploitation in prostitution will be expanded to include the persons “involved” with sex workers who get “financial benefit”.  It will make it illegal to [be a roommate, partner, landlord, etc] of a sex worker that doesn’t have a permit…People within the sex industry have warned that the[se stupid laws] will lead to sex workers going underground and working illegally [as such laws invariably do]…

The Cop Myth

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. How many more don’t admit it?

…In the nineteen-nineties, researchers found that forty-one per cent of male [cops]…admitted that, in the previous year, they’d been physically aggressive toward their spouses, and nearly ten per cent acknowledged choking, strangling, or using—or threatening to use—a knife or a gun.  But there are…no [more recent] empirical studies…[due to] reluctance to fund a study that will bring attention to [the violence intrinsic in policing]…the factors that lead to abuse at home—coercion, authoritarianism, a sense of entitlement to violence—are also present in [public cop behavior]…It should not be surprising that domestic abuse appears to predict excessive use of force—a link that scholars have suggested should [but won’t] alter the way that departments respond to both kinds of aggression.  The Citizens Police Data Project, in Chicago, analyzed the records of Chicago cops between 2000 and 2016 and found that [cops who commit]…domestic abuse received fifty per cent more complaints than their colleagues for using excessive force…one in five [cops actually] arrested for domestic violence…had also been the subject of a federal lawsuit for violating people’s civil rights…

Cooties (#816)

AirBnB “sex trafficking” fantasies are going global:

At the end of September, Airbnb unveiled a new special portal through which [pigs] can [demand private] information about users…The company [snivelled that] the portal will provide [pigs] with a dedicated channel they can use to [root through things that really are none of their business]…short-term rental properties such as those offered via Airbnb…have [long been the subject of cop masturbatory fantasies about]…human trafficking and prostitution…in…so-called “pop-up brothels”…[blah blah]…pimps and gangs…[blah blah] law enforcement agencies…

Even before one reads the article, the word “illicit” is a red flag for puritanical authoritarianism.

Torture Chamber (#950)

Just locking hundreds of women in secret dungeons and denyng them lawyers; nothing to see here:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement moved more than 700 women, some of whom have critical medical conditions, out of a Texas detention center in September without giving their lawyers any way of finding them…Starting on Sept. 20, the women being held at the Karnes County Residential Center were sent to other centers around the country so that the facility could be used to detain families.  More than two weeks later, their lawyers from the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) have no idea where the majority of these women are being held, and they can’t find any updated information in ICE’s online detainee tracking system…

A Procrustean Bed (#958) 

These programs to warp women’s minds and indoctrinate them in anti-sex dogma are very popular in Ohio:

A [so-called] diversion program for [sex workers] is spreading to cities around the country. The model has roots in Columbus, Ohio, where a judge decided to [force] women [in]to…[“conversion therapy”] instead of jail…Judge Paul Herbert…[like most modern authoritarians, infantilizes sex workers] as victims of human trafficking…At the start, CATCH was one of only a few such programs in the country.  There are now seven of these [re-education programs]…in Ohio alone…[victims of this system are] subject to drug testing and must show up in court every week for two years [making both normal life and square jobs impossible.  It’s no wonder that fewer]…than 1 in 4 of the women [forced into the scheme] make it to [the end]…

Loose Cannons (#967)

I’m pleased to see yet another big article on the Robert Kraft raids recognizing what a huge scam the whole thing was:

On July 6, 2018, a health inspector named Karen Herzog visited a massage parlor in South Florida for a routine inspection.  She noticed that the spa worker, a young Asian woman, was “dressed provocatively,” spoke “little English,” and appeared “nervous.”  Herzog also noted suitcases, clothes, a fridge full of food, and condoms, all of which, according to the [racist indocrination] she had received, could be signs of human trafficking.  She reported her findings to the Martin County sheriff’s office…[which] launched a…[snoop campaign] into what [they thought they could sell to the media]…as a large-scale prostitution ring engaged in human trafficking…

The “sex trafficking” hysteria is finally dying; unfortunately, the laws it spawned will continue to be used to destroy thousands of lives and eviscerate the internet.

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#971) 

Is there anything the government won’t call “sex trafficking”?

…the U.S. attorney’s office of San Diego charged the owners and one employee of the adult website Girls Do Porn with four counts of sex trafficking…[in] August…another case against the company—a class-action lawsuit representing 22 Jane Does—went to trial after years of hearings, discovery, and strategic delays from the defendants.  The trial was initially planned for February…but delayed for six months when the company’s owner, New Zealand native Michael Pratt, filed for bankruptcy.  “As soon as I bankrupt the business,” Pratt wrote in texts later submitted as evidence, “they are fucked”…The company…conned the plaintiffs and several hundred other young, low-income girls into porn by making false promises that their scenes would not go online.  They claimed the tapes would sell only to private collectors abroad…

This is clearly criminal fraud, but it doesn’t help anyone for the government to roll it into the inflated “sex trafficking” numbers it uses to justify police violence, grotesque violations of civil liberties, and mass censorship.

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Everything cool gets co-opted, and whores have always been the coolest people in the room.  –  Jacq the Stripper

Life Imitates Artifice

It was inevitable that a real pimp would eventually ape prohibitionist wanking fantasies:

A convicted [armed robber] from Detroit faces new charges for allegedly running a prostitution ring that required the prostitutes — one underage — to brand themselves with his name.  Tory Michael Anderson was [also] charged…[with] possession…of child pornography….one [woman] had his first name…tattooed on her neck while  a second…had [it]…on her forehead.  A third woman, only 17, had [it]…tattooed on the side of her face…

The origin of the “branding” myth is the common and very old practice of people getting the names of romantic partners tattooed on their bodies; since prohibitionists deny that most actual pimps really are a kind of partner, they had to characterize this practice as somehow different, leading to the embellishment that the “brand” is tattooed on the face, lip, eyelid, etc.  Presumably this dude heard the tales and assumed that’s how he should behave to be a “real pimp”.

They Still Don’t Get It

I wonder if they realize what they’re admitting here?

The Stanislaus County [California] Sheriff’s Office conducted a sting Sept. 20 that resulted in the arrest of 12 men and several [women the pigs labeled] potential human trafficking victims.  Although the sheriff’s office called it a human trafficking sting in their press release, [spokespig] Joshua Clayton said that the operation was better described as a prostitution sting…[because the terms] prostitution and human trafficking…are…used interchangeably…Paul Durenberger, deputy district attorney for Sacramento County, [fantasized] that…human trafficking could not exist without prostitution and vice versa…

Watershed

We’re way past the watershed now:

Since the passage of FOSTA…conversations about sex workers’ rights and decriminalization have entered into mainstream consciousness…Sex work is becoming more than just acceptable—the rising popularity of sex worker-inspired fashion, aesthetics, and philosophy among millennial women, including those who aren’t sex workers themselves, is sparking a complex dialogue…Like “lesbian chic” in the ’90s, some non-sex working millennial women are adopting sex work as an edgy aesthetic, because being a sex worker—or rather, looking like one—is cool…

For Love

One of Dan Savage’s readers demonstrates why it’s a bad idea to quit sex work for “love”:

…A few months in, I…made the amateur mistake of moving him from customer to boyfriend.  Things went well for a bit but he progressively got less generous. (This is common, I’ve since heard.)  Six months after we met he bought me a car and considered any financial obligations to me “complete”.  We had a discussion about how I was going to get a “regular” job and be in a monogamous relationship with him.  The only problem was, no regular job was enough to support my family.  I struggled and hinted that I needed some help, but he [gave none, so]…I reached out to a former client and he happily started paying me for regular visits again…My boyfriend found out…and insisted I “dump” [my good client]…And I was so dumb and in love that I did…until my older kid needed braces and my younger kid needed glasses and my bills were out of control…[while] my boyfriend was making six figures…After months of going back and forth, he dumped me for good and took back his car…

A Moral Cancer (#583)

Nutritionists aren’t “scientists”, because nutritionism is pseudoscience:

[Busybody bureaucrats] for years have urged Americans to limit consumption of red meat and processed meats because of [crypto-moralism]…but…an international collaboration of researchers produced a series of analyses concluding that the advice…is not…scientific…If there are health benefits from eating less beef and pork, they are…so faint that they can be discerned only when looking at large populations…and are not sufficient to tell individuals to change their meat-eating habits…Already they have been met with fierce criticism by [nutritionists]…

That last line is equivalent to saying that a report in an astronomical journal was “met with fierce criticism by astrologers”.

Full of Themselves (#831)

Alabama’s “licensed massage therapists” want to be as pompous as California’s:

Massage therapies are a common front for human trafficking, but in Alabama the Massage Therapy Board is very active in fighting back.  “We are probably one of the very few states out of the fifty that have the authority to go and inspect an establishment…So we are pretty much the lead in the nation when it comes to dealing with these kinds of complaints.”  Those fighting traffickers know the best way to stop the process is to take away their means of carrying out their practice…Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office came up with a new law that is designed to fight traffickers…“It’s not too far akin to [sic] what we see in the fortitude [sic] side for criminal cases,” he said…

Presumably, “asset fortitude” is something like the “poignant” smell of marijuana.

Disaster (#873)

The predictable result of non-binding “policies” that leave oppressive laws in place:

Seattle police…this summer returned to routinely arresting and booking sex workers on Aurora Avenue in North Seattle.  While the city has publicly and p[ompous]ly pursued the “demand” side of the sex trade — [except for Asian sex workers, whom they have continued to persecute using racist “sex trafficking” tropes] — the City Attorney’s Office and the Seattle Police Department since 2012 have mostly shied away from [formally] booking [native-born] sex workers themselves, [forc]ing them instead [in]to [useless “diversion” programs that make bourgeois white Seattlites feel good]…But in the face of a sharp spike in the amount of street-based sex work [due to clownish government interference in sex workers’ advertising venues]…and [the discontinuance of payoffs from Swanee Hunt’s “Demand Abolition” scam]…the Seattle Police Department began [persecuting street workers again despite repeated assurances from “officials” that they wouldn’t]…Since July, SPD has made about 120 arrests via sting operations, said [boss pig Mike] Edwards…

The rest is the usual “crime” and “doing something” bullshit and propaganda about the worse-than-useless LEAD “conversion therapy” program.

To Molest and Rape (#890)

Prince George’s County, Maryland is known for rapist cops; this may give you some inkling why:

…Ian G Lucas from the Prince George’s County Police Department and an unnamed [cop] from…Washington DC…[repeatedly] target[ed] transgender [sex workers] and threaten to to [cage] them…unless they [sucked the pig’s dicks]…One woman went to DC’s FOX station with her story, providing…video proof…Multiple women [then] testified in front a grand jury…after being granted immunity.  But…both police forces and the federal prosecutor…shrugged their shoulders…Lucas was [rewarded for the rapes with a paid vacation and given a plea bargain for “solicitation of a prostitute” which wil]…be withdrawn after six months [when] he completes 48 hours of community service.  The charges w[ill] be dismissed [and he will be immunized from further prosecution] and…not be required to register as a sex offender…

All-Purpose Excuse (#923)

Trumpists and anti-Trumpists continue to fight for control of the “sex trafficking” narrative:

The Trump administration abruptly delayed a $13.5 million grant to house human trafficking victims just five days after saying that “non-citizens” could be served by the program.  The program’s funds, which were approved two years ago by multiple federal agencies, are now in limbo with no indication when money will be distributed…The grants were to be dispersed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in collaboration with the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services…On September 4, the funding announcement was updated to “allow recipients [of the funds] to serve non-citizens,” including lawful permanent residents and foreign national victims…Five days later, the grant solicitation was cancelled…DOJ has…asked for the funds back from HUD and…will now run the program itself…

Negative Secondary Effects (#933)

UK judge says only “good” women should be protected by anti-“revenge porn” laws:

Nine strip club performers in the United Kingdom are fighting to stop the publication of an undercover video shot by Not Buying It, a self-described “feminist” anti-sex work organization.  The performers argue that the footage, shot by hired [ex-pigs]…“could infringe their human right to…priva[cy]”…Already, this seems to be proving true…A judge ruled that, against the performers’ wishes, their names will be revealed in court records.  These women…will…be outed as sex workers…because a feminist organization is ostensibly concerned, as the Guardian puts it, “about the exploitation of women.”  Guess it’s OK when self-described feminists are the ones doing the exploiting…

Safe Targets (#953)

Please tell us more about how legalization “protects” sex workers:

A [Singaporean mired in gambling debts named]…Tan Shi Feng…targetted [a] sex worker [for robbery by impersonating a cop], believing that the victim would not report to the police as she…provided [what the state idiotically labels] illegal sexual services…Tan [and two confederates tricked their way into their victim’s flat]…by pretending [Tan was] a genuine customer…They [stole]…$15,000 in cash and an Apple iPhone worth $600 from [her]…

No, he didn’t “cheat” her; he robbed her.  Armed robbery, to be precise, backed up by the threat of state violence.

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We’re not going to sit around and wait to be prosecuted before we fight this law.  –  Skye Wheeler

Real People 

Even shitty and somewhat exploitative sex work doesn’t really resemble prohibitionist fantasies:

Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss’ poignant documentary Lovemobil observes the Nigerian Rita and the Bulgarian Milena as they perform sex work in caravans (trailers) along a German country road.  The young women have escaped difficult economic circumstances in their home countries and are looking to earn money; they feel obligated to send Euros back to their families…they work for Uschi, a tough older woman who keeps them in line and advises them about pricing their services, but also appears to care for them, even as she chides Rita for trying to cheat her out of payments…Lovemobil deliberately keeps the sex acts off camera to focus on the larger issues of globalization, feminism and economic inequality that are part of this fascinating subculture of sex work…

Where Are the Victims?

Note the bizarre, stilted language used to describe a very ordinary-sounding escort service:

Jessica Nesbitt [of Chicago was]…charged with [various pompously-named]…prostitution [“crimes”]…for…own[ing] and operat[ing] a company called Kink Extraordinaires, which employed several individuals who engaged in prostitution…Nesbitt advertised prostitution services on multiple websites…and…also emailed her clients invitations to paid sex and fetish parties…In addition to activity in Chicago, Nesbitt arranged for herself and her employees to perform acts of prostitution in California, Washington, D.C., Florida, Indiana, Nevada, and Wisconsin…

Dirty Laundry (#452)

At least this judge gave the stolen money to someone other than Ruhama:

Money [stolen] by Laois gardai from [two sex workers was]…donated to two local charities by the court…the two [sensibly fled] and have not returned…Judge Catherine Staines directed that €3,410 got to the Laois Domestic Abuse Service, and around €1300 go to the Garda Youth Diversion Projects…

To Molest and Rape

Just another typical, representative cop:

A Miami-Dade [screw]…has been charged with raping a woman he was supposed to be supervising while she was on house arrest.  Yulian Gonzalez…paid regular visits to the alleged victim’s home during the course of his work as a case manager…Gonzalez threatened to issue a violation of her house arrest and send her back to jail if she did not [submit to rape]…Gonzalez rented a room at the Nexx Motel…and drove the woman there in his [pigmobile]…so as not to set off any alarms, Gonzalez tampered with the woman’s ankle monitor…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#754) 

I love seeing prohibitionists hoist with their own petard:

report compiled by the Department of Justice has revealed that the [Swedish model]…in Northern Ireland is not fit for purpose…“This report…shows that there has not been a decrease in demand for sex work since the introduction of client criminalisation…in 2015,” [said] Kate McGrew…”Instead, we have seen an increase in sex trafficking by 26%…In the north, it led to massive increase in advertising (on one site alone over 1700 new ads) and demand (in one jurisdiction by 134%) and a 200% increase threatening behaviour in clients.  In the south, it led to an increase in violent crime against sex workers by 92%“…

Once the government started defining all third parties as “sex traffickers” and then passed a law whose natural consequence would be increased reliance on such parties, naturally “sex trafficking” by their definition increased.  And since prohibitionists pretended the intent of their anti-whore law was to “fight sex trafficking”, they now have no choice but to admit the law was a “failure”.  Oops.

Little Boxes (#792)

A federal court finally recognizes what should’ve been obvious years ago:

Fort Collins, Colorado, decided not to continue its challenge to a federal court’s decision that a ban on going topless in the city amounts to unconstitutional discrimination…The city decided not to appeal the decision…after [wast]ing hundreds of thousands of [public] dollars on the legal battle already…[this] effectively legalizes [female toplessness] in the six states covered by the 10th Circuit court…Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming…

Given that the 7th Circuit ruled exactly the opposite two years ago (see subtitle link), a SCOTUS showdown is now inevitable.

The Mote and the Beam (#900)

This is much worse than the typical government propaganda such as “DARE”:

…the FBI is launching its #StopSextortion [propaganda] campaign to [convince parents] and schools [that teenage sexting is a]…growing problem [called] sextortion…[affecting] kids…as young as seven or eight…The [FBI wants parents to believe that peer “sexting” is actually the product of an adult] extortionist [who] finds children and teens on social media [to]…convince…to send a naked photo—and…the[n]…telling the child that he will send the photo to friends and family or post online…the extortionist continues to threaten while escalating demands, which can include…sex acts…

The FBI is intentionally representing a rare crime as the norm so as to give the federal government power over teen sexting.  If you thought FOSTA and the drug war were great, you’re going to love the “war on sextortion”.

Disaster (#935)

News about the FOSTA challenge:

Human Rights Watch and four other plaintiffs…present[ed] arguments on September 20 against the dismissal of their challenge to a…law that imposes criminal liability for online speech about sex work…FOSTA…’s language is [so] broad and vague, it could prevent sex workers and others from writing about sex work and posting about critically important health and safety issues, and it would restrict organisations like Human Rights Watch from effectively reporting on and advocating for the decriminalisation of sex work…FOSTA has [already] endangered [sex workers because]…websites that made it easier for sex workers to screen clients and to sell sex in safer locations have stopped sex workers from posting.  The co-plaintiffs in the case with Human Rights Watch are the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, the Internet Archive, and individuals Alex Andrews and Eric Koszyk.  The lower court [incorrectly] dismissed the case [a year ago]…without addressing the substantive claims, on the [pretense] that plaintiffs faced no imminent risk of prosecution…[but] in cases involving free expression, the appropriate lens is whether speech will be unconstitutionally burdened or chilled…

A Moral Cancer (#972)

Authoritarian idiots respond to deaths from a black market product by dramatically expanding the black market:

Walmart said…that it would stop selling e-cigarettes at its stores in the United States, dealing a new blow to the vaping industry as [hysteria] mount[s] over the health risks of [black market] products [which have nothing to do with the banned e-cigarettes]…The decision…comes amid a [dumpster fire full] of new [moral panic] about the potential health risks of [black market THC cartridges] that has [inspired prohibitionists to]…increas[e the danger by banning completely different currently-legal] products…

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We…help…people…learn to integrate their sexuality into their whole self, rather than separating it from the rest of their life.  –  David Ley

Part of the Picture (#23)

Dr. David Ley vs. the childish belief that pictures of sex are magic:

Max Bennet…[of] Stripchat…and Dr David Ley…teamed up to give the customers of the camming website help on sexual struggles and shame…Max [said]…“Nearly 40% of our users experience a deep connection with the models, or are able to access a fantasy that may not be available in reality.  By bringing doctors like Dr David Ley on to speak with users, it alleviates some of that shame and conflict, and offers them a way to integrate this…with their relationships”…Dr David [has] discovered that…“many users worry…that it is infidelity and could negatively affect their relationships…Sexual shame is the real enemy to intimacy, and that’s what these sessions are trying to address”…

Scrambled Eggs (#311)

Oh look, another man says women shouldn’t be compensated for services men can’t perform because we’re too stupid to make decisions about our own bodies:

Proponents of a proposed law allowing women to be paid to donate their eggs for research [point out that]…research subjects in other fields can get paid…men can get paid for donating sperm….[and] it’s legal for women to be paid for eggs to assist couples undertaking fertility treatments.  But it’s illegal for researchers to compensate women for their eggs…[politician] Autumn Burke…[revived] this idea…[after] Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill by former [politician] Susan Bonilla…in 2013, [bloviat]ing [misogynistically and self-righteously]…“Not everything in life is for sale, nor should it be“…Burke’s bill, Assembly Bill 922, passed the Assembly without a single “no” vote in May…so it’s likely to pass the Senate handily.  Gov. Gavin Newsom thus may be the only person standing in the way of its becoming law…[Like sex work,] this…would [give] California women, especially low-income women who may [welcome]…the compensation, [a way to make money that isn’t dependent on subjugation to men, so] he should kill it…

Though he hastens to distance himself from them, this writer’s arguments were mostly formulated by an anti-abortion group which opposes the bill for predictable reasons.

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

A [prisoner of the state of] Florida…with a history of epilepsy says he was beaten and thrown in solitary confinement for seven months after he involuntarily bit a [screw]…while having a seizure…Dean Higgins…suffered a grand mal seizure last September…[and] while the guards tried to restrain Higgins—an improper way to handle someone having a seizure—he bit one of the[m] on the arm…he was then beaten and…[locked] in…a tiny cell….[where] raw sewage would seep in…at times a number of inches deep…in addition to having epilepsy, Higgins is also on the autism spectrum…

Pyrrhic Victory (#922)

The dystopian future of Minority Report has arrived:

…In early July, the FBI posted a solicitation notice for a “Social Media Alerting Subscription,” which would “acquire the services of a company to proactively identify and reactively monitor threats to the United States and its interests through a means of online sources.”  The request singles out Twitter, Facebook, Instagram “and other social media platforms” for snooping.  Essentially, the FBI is looking for companies to build a tool to comb through…social media posts and pinpoint possible threats ahead of time.  Think of it like a meme-illiterate Facebook-stalking precog from Minority Report…this system could empower the Red Flag law ideas that have since gained prominence.  This kind of “proactive identification” could allow [cops] to target and even disenfranchise social media users whose posts may have been [intentionally or not] misinterpreted…

You Were Warned

Yes, I’m going to say “I told you so”, because I’ve been telling you so for nine years now:

FOSTA [turned] the internet…into a more exclusionary place almost overnightInternet companies became significantly more restrictive in their treatment of sexual speech…The law also threw important harm reduction activities into a legal gray area…Congress failed to listen to the people it was removing from the internet, and put them in more danger as a result…The entire history of censorship shows that it magnifies existing imbalances in society, sometimes intentionally…there are many, many stories of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter taking down important work to document human rights violations under their anti-extremism policies.  Politicians…routinely treat Section 230 as a handout to tech companies — or a “gift,” as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) recently put it…Let’s not forget that Facebook and other big internet companies actively lobbied for FOSTA, a law that made it considerably more difficult for a startup ever to unseat Facebook…Section 230 isn’t a gift to big internet companies.  It’s a gift to rural LGBTQ teenagers who depend every day on the safety of their online communities.  It’s a gift to activists around the world using the internet to document human rights abuses.  It’s a gift to women who rely on dating apps to meet people more safely

Think of the Children! (#936)

Obviously this sex-ray contaminated money would have “sexualized” their patients!

Mount Sinai Health System said on Friday that it will make a charitable contribution equivalent to the money it received from…Jeffrey Epstein.  The money will go to an organization focused on p[ersecu]ting [sex workers]…and toward the health system’s own program Sexual Assault and Violence intervention program, which provides immediate treatment and counseling to sexual assault survivors.  The hospital did not say how much money was donated by the disgraced financier…

Loose Cannons (#949)

If this is happening to this rich, prominent man, with access to the best lawyers…what happens to the rest of us?

One of the women arrested in the [Robert Kraft massage parlor] case…pleaded no contest…to misdemeanor charges, leaving only one of the women arrested yet to take a plea in the case.  Qing Hua Zhang…pleaded no contest to engaging in prostitution and use of a structure or conveyance for prostitution.  The most serious charge — racketeering — was dropped…

Yellow Fever (#956) 

Another hodgepodge of idiotic lies, myths, wild exaggerations, wanking fantasies and long-debunked propaganda was shoveled into a column by Business Insider and represented as “journalism”; apparently they’re tying to go in the clickbait direction taken by The Hill.  This one uses the term “trafficking” no fewer than 21 times in a not-very-long article and presents a misogynistic weltanschauung in which women can be either passive “victims” or malevolent “perpetrators” but never anything else, making the Shazam-style leap without passing through any of the complex human behavior between due to “weaponization” and “normalization” by powerful, Svengali-like men.  A by-no-means-exhaustive list of dysphemisms from this trash includes “offenders”, “ring”, “traffickers”, “cult”, “slaves”, “lifestyle”, “abusers”, “groomed”, and my favorite, “sexual pyramid scheme”.  If you want an article on this topic written by an actual adult who understands concepts like “facts” and “agency”, here you go.

Across the Pond (#964)

UK cops are increasingly using the jolly, kumbaya word “team” to mean “vice squad”:

Police are [raid]ing residential properties believed to be used for sex work…to [spy on] what is happening behind closed doors…potential [targets are determined by snitching]…from local residents…[chief swine] Paul Whitehouse [oinked that intimidating people and violating their privacy is a means of]…”gaining their trust and confidence…We [don’t find enough women to harass on the street anymore]…so now we can pick [on] the off-street work[ers]…We do not want to criminalise the females.  We are looking at [pinning] criminality on a[ny available] third party”…

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