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Posts Tagged ‘shame’

Reports’ consistent portrayals of miserable, victimized prostitutes and villainous madams—despite evidence to the contrary—display [prohibitionists’] tireless ideological labors to bring their real-life encounters in line with their…assumptions.  –  Nicolette Severson

Here We Go Again 

Prohibitionism never, ever changes:

…members of the New York Female Moral Reform Society…visited brothels all over New York City [in 1835-36].  They…[pretended they wanted] to learn…why women [did] sex work and [wanted] to sav[e] them from what they considered a grave sin and social ill…[like modern “sex trafficking” fetishists] members of F.M.R.S…assumed that the women didn’t voluntarily decide to become prostitutes, but that they were seduced and trafficked by men who caused their moral downfall…Those preconceived notions were [and still are] false. Prostitutes…enter…sex work because…[it pays better and is more flexible than the sex workers’ other alternatives], and for many, prostitution [i]s a temporary job.  The reformers were shocked at the high-end brothels they visited.  Fitted with refined furnishings and attractive, accommodating women, these brothels were…similar to the homes middle-class women were expected to keep…No wonder, then, that…the F.M.R.S. reformers used [stereotyped] characters to portray sex workers…[so as] to support their own belief that prostitution meant moral decay and internal misery…

The Scarlet Letter

Why do these puritans insist on pretending that the literally prehistoric practice of shaming constitute a “modern” approach to intentionally harming people for wanting consensual sex?

The City of Dayton announced a new initiative…aimed at [harming sex workers]…Called Buyer’s Remorse, the campaign will “modernize” the city’s approach to prostitution…It will make the information of anyone [in]…Dayton to [have consensual] sex “very” public [without due process], Mayor Nan Whaley said…Their names and addresses will added to a[n online] map…

I hope the first few men listed on this site have the sense and resources to sue the city and shut the site down.

Feminine Pragmatism 

Lingerie fetishist offers women a pragmatic avenue of harm reduction:

With the shutdown now likely the longest of its kind in US history, furloughed feds are turning to second jobs, side hustles, and Craigslist sales to make an extra buck.  Now one Virginia resident…asks women who “could use several dollars” to send their undergarments—in return for a whopping $120 a pop…

Of course, the amateurs are as gobsmacked as Depression-era rednecks staring up at a skyscraper for the first time.

Under Every Bed

Population 28,486:

…“Humans are the best commodity that there is,” [a prohibitionist salivated]. “Pimps and stuff will tell you that they don’t have to renew their supply, unlike drugs that they have to keep buying more…The average time a person is sold during the year is 1,000 times.”  Sex trafficking is happening throughout the state of West Virginia and in places like Wheeling…Sheriff Tom Howard [fantasized]…“Be very careful with children because it can happen, unfortunately, with the drug epidemic…Any time you see something that looks like a lot of drug activity, there’s probably some kind of human trafficking going on along with it…It happens all throughout the county”…

These people are like living caricatures of self-important hicks.  The “unlike drugs, people can be sold many times” canard is an excuse to keep persecuting members of “gangs”; see “Traffic Jam” below.

The Course of a Disease (#349) 

The Danes just keep emphasizing their disgust with the Swedish model:

Danish Social Minister Mai Mercado…has revealed that the government is looking into improving conditions for sex workers, decrying the dramatic lack of human rights in this field…sex workers don’t enjoy the same rights as those engaged in other vocations, including the right to unemployment insurance payouts and pensions…”Society demands that everyone pay their taxes, including prostitutes, so I think that we are duty-bound to ensure people have basic rights”…Mercado said…Prostitutes are required to register…as their income is taxable, a situation described by Mercado as “taxation without representation”…Citing the experiences of neighbouring countries which…criminalis[e] the procurement of sex, Mai Mercado argued that accepting prostitution instead of trying to ban it is the right approach.  “We have witnessed Sweden’s experiences.  These are really bad.  There is more violence, more insecurity, and it keeps sinking to the underworld.  There is no need for that”, Mercado said…Among other things, [the new approach] will mean that prostitutes will have the right to enroll in an unemployment insurance fund, be entitled to unemployment benefits and be able to earn a pension…

Traffic Jam (#432)

“Sex trafficking” is another excuse to persecute the same groups as always:

…Some [things the government labels] trafficking are prosecuted more heavily than others…Sex trafficking of a minor…carries a statutory minimum of 10 years…[and] maximum…of life in prison.  [Other things labeled] human trafficking…[such as] forcing people to labor for no pay in domestic service, factories, restaurants and so on — have no mandatory minimum…federal prosecutors have behaved accordingly, prosecuting more than twice as many minor sex-trafficking cases as adult sex-trafficking and labor-trafficking cases combined…57 percent of the defendants in minor sex-trafficking cases are black — compared with 43 percent in adult sex-trafficking cases and only 18 percent in labor trafficking…The average age of a defendant in a minor sex-trafficking case is 31, while it’s 33 and 40 respectively for adult sex- and labor-trafficking cases…76 percent of defendants in minor sex-trafficking cases are male, while that’s true for only 71 percent and 59 percent of adult sex- and labor-trafficking defendants, respectively.  In other words…the [cases labeled as] trafficking…that carr[y] the highest penalties and [are] most likely to be prosecuted — are significantly more likely to be [against defendants who are] young, black and male…

Eternal Vigilance (#682)

Until prohibition is itself outlawed, decriminalization of any consensual activity is at best a temporary respite:

Tight bylaws limiting where brothels can operate in Queenstown and Wanaka have failed to stop the trade, with sex workers instead using “working girl-friendly” hotels and selling sex from homes…prostitution contributes “hugely” to the district’s economy, but those working in the industry continue to be discriminated against, mocked and marginalised.  The Queenstown Lakes District Council…has kept its towns brothel-less through restrictive and “draconian” bylaws since prostitution was decriminalised in 2003…going as far as banning them altogether in a 2008 bylaw.  The council later reviewed the bylaw because it was potentially at odds with the Prostitution Reform Act, but…[it] is still at odds with the Act…[because] brothels are only allowed to operate within a two-block zone in the town centre…They cannot be on ground level or beneath ground level or have signs advertising the business…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#863)

Some helpful figures for countering prohibitionists’ agency-negating lies:

…anti-traffickers often [lie] that the majority of those who sell sex in India are forced or begin when they are underage.  The best available research, however, provides a different picture.  A survey of over 6500 female sex workers in South India aged 15 and above found that the mean age of entrance into sex work was 21.7 years.  The most comprehensive  data set included 3000 sex workers from across the nation.  Of these, 81.59% entered sex work when they were 19 years old or above and 14.53% between 15-18 years.  The Pan India Survey found that across all modes and sites of sex work in India, 79.4% of women entered the trade voluntarily, while 7.1% were forced, 2.8% were sold, and 9.2% were cheated…The term “forced” should only be used in reference to work rendered through physical force, threats, beatings, blackmail, cheating and similarly direct forms of compulsion…If financial urgency were defined as “force”, then the vast majority of the world’s workers would have to be defined as “forced labourers”.  Very few individuals are either entirely free to make unfettered decisions about their means of earning money or are entirely freed from the need to do so…

Business As Usual (#877) 

When a headline asks a question, the answer is almost always “no”:

Stormy Daniels’s July 2018 arrest…by…Columbus [vice pigs]…turned out to be…a pre-planned political stunt by vice detectives — one of whom later bragged about it to colleagues.  Daniels and two others later sued for false arrest.  Then, in August, the [gang] was again in the spotlight because a vice detective [murdered] a sex worker…after…she [resisted his attempt to rape her]…in his unmarked car.  In September, another whistleblower familiar with local strip clubs informed city officials of extortion, selective enforcement and entrapment by the vice [gang], bringing a large package of documents to corroborate the allegations…[then] the chief of the CPD asked the FBI to take over the investigation…and…on September 27, [rapist and murderer] Andrew Mitchell…was [given a paid vacation]…On December 13, the CPD put a third vice detective involved in the sting on desk duty…[and] announced that the vice [gang] will resume limited operations with a “select” [herd] of [pigs], although the FBI probe remains ongoing.  The [gang] will [supposedly] be handling liquor and nuisance complaints at after-hours clubs, instead of spending thousands on drinks and lap dances [while molesting and raping women without consequence]…

Also: “hold accountable” is a moralist shibboleth which means something like “persecute using a moralistic excuse”. It has no place in articles about genuine wrongdoers facing the consequences of their actions.

Monsters (#878) 

Prohibitionists know we’re right about the dangers of criminalization; they just don’t care:

…the [trans sex worker community who work in and around the] sprawling Bois de Boulogne public park in western Paris…has felt considerably less safe since the French government introduced [the Swedish model]…in 2016…as p[redict]ed, clients now regularly ask the women for sex in secluded areas to avoid the police.  In a Médecins du Monde survey conducted with nearly 600 sex workers…63 percent said they have seen their working conditions deteriorate, while 42 percent said they have experienced more violence since the law change…The Paris mayor’s office [even] shut[s] off many of the lights in the park in the evenings as a way to [intentionally increase the danger to sex workers] there…Acceptess-T, an association that advocates on behalf of trans and immigrant sex workers [says] “They are more vulnerable than ever”…

Surplus Women (#896) 

Answer: it’s a rationalization of cop behavior.  Which, admittedly, isn’t easy to tell from serial killer behavior:

Juan David Ortiz, a U.S. Border Patrol agent, pleaded not guilty…to capital murder in the deaths of four women [because they were just whores]…Ortiz [was convinced by government anti-sex propaganda that] it was his duty to clean up the streets of Laredo…so he began picking up alleged sex workers, driving them to remote areas, and then shooting them in the head…Ortiz thought [cops] w[ere]n’t doing enough to stop [adults from having consensual sex] in Laredo, so he believed he was “doing a service” by killing the women…prosecutors are seeking the death penalty because Ortiz’s “vigilante mentality” presents a “future danger to [people who aren’t whores]”…

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All the excitement and hand wringing about [sex robots] was…pointless because [they] just don’t exist.  –  Mark Hay

If Men Were Angels 

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

The head pastor of a Methodist congregation in Orange County [California]…was charged…with two counts of molesting a girl under 14 years old…John Rodgers McFarland…was arrested…Dec. 18…San Diego County prosecutors filed two counts of lewd acts on a child…stem[ming] from incidents in 2012 and 2013…Police in Fountain Valley, where McFarland worked as a pastor at a Methodist church for 26 years, said there is “evidence that McFarland abused other victims during his time as a pastor in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach”…He was the head pastor from 1988 to 2014 at Fountain Valley United Methodist Church, and a pastor at Surf City Church in Huntington Beach from 2009 to 2014…McFarland was also the youth pastor at San Dieguito United Methodist Church in Encinitas from 1978 to 1981…

Backwards into the Future (#425) 

I wonder how long it will be before the US abandons “re-education” for sex workers and clients?

China looks set to abolish a controversial system that lets police arbitrarily detain sex workers and their clients for up to two years without trial for “compulsory education”.  The “detention and re-education for those involved in prostitution” program, which has existed for 27 years, was recommended for abolition…by the Legislative Affairs Commission…scholars, legal practitioners and members of the public…have long lobbied for the change on the grounds such administrative detention is unjust, extrajudicial and particularly punitive.  Sex work will remain punishable …by a penalty of up to 15 days’ detention.  The parallel custody and education system [h]as…[since] 1991…authorized police to force sex workers into various forms of long-term “education” which included morality lessons, written confessions, forced labor and other humiliating activities designed to “remove evil habits”…

Shift in the Wind (#530)

More and more, the media in many countries are siding with sex workers:

On December 17th, sex workers…and…activists from Macedonia held the 11th annual “Red Umbrella March” in Skopje…The Macedonian march was organized by STAR-STAR, the first sex workers collective in the Balkans…participants demand changes to in the Criminal Code which has remained unchanged for three decades since the fall of Communism…with exception to increasing penalties for sex workers…

Divided We Fall (#672)

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

…a darkening wave of internet censorship…started when Congress passed the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) in March…Long before these laws were passed though, sex workers and advocates spoke out against them, [explaining] that their terms were vague and overreaching and would…decimate the digital platforms that have specifically provided a space for workers to meet, vet clients, and engage in consensual business in an online environment far safer than working on the street…The sex workers’ fears did materialize. Craigslist immediately deleted its Personals section…and Backpage…was seized by the FBI.  Multiple sex work forums disappeared immediately…harming and isolating queer people…Over the past few months alone Recon, a fetish dating site for gay men, saw their Youtube temporarily suspended…Naked Boys Reading saw their Facebook page temporarily banned…In October, Facebook was revealed to be blocking many LGBTQ+ ads as part of its new advertising policy…Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has also appeared to be censoring the queer community with algorithms that, intentionally or otherwise, flag queer content at a higher rate than non-queer content…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

I wish writers would stop these pandering claims that censorship attempts are “well-intentioned”:

…a string of civil lawsuits [has] intended to pin liability on online platforms for allegedly providing material support to terrorists.  Several federal trial courts dismissed such suits [last] year, but some of these cases are on appeal and plaintiffs have filed several new ones.  If these suits are successful…platforms would have little choice to become much more restrictive in what sorts of speech they allow…these cases…threaten the availability of open online forums and Internet users’ ability to access information.  That’s why EFF filed legal briefs in 2018 asking two different federal appellate courts to dismiss material support cases against social media platforms…So far, courts have been quick to toss out these material support lawsuits…As well-intentioned as these cases are, they pose a threat to…online communities…[they] threaten Internet users’ and the platforms’ First Amendment rights…[and] jeopardize one of the Internet’s most important laws, Section 230…

Censorship and prohibition are not, and by their very nature cannot be, “well-intentioned”.  They are attempts to control other people’s minds, bodies and lives and are thus intrinsically evil no matter how they’re excused by authoritarians.

Disaster 

It’s good to see so many journalists recognizing how dangerous the War on Whores has become.  This Forbes article on “The 9 Most Important Sex Trends Of 2018” includes the following:

…FOSTA-SESTA…opens internet platforms to liability for…user-generated content, creating a major legal risk for sites used to facilitate sex work…[and] adds to the popular, yet false, conflation of sex work with sex trafficking…The law has led to the shutdown of a number sites, groups, and forums sex workers used to facilitate their operations…[and] share safety information…and…has also…accelerated a wave of sexual censorship online…FOSTA-SESTA “is causing major havoc,” argues [sexologist Jill] McDevitt, for “anyone who uses the internet to read, research, or express themselves sexually in any way”…[experts] are worried that Twitter, the last major bastion of sexual speech online, may fall to this wave of censorship in the new year…

Imaginary Victims (#864) 

As I’ve pointed out many times, “safe harbor” laws only protect “perfect victims”, not real ones:

The Summit County Juvenile Court in Ohio didn’t follow the law when it allowed a 15-year-old girl who was a human trafficking victim to be tried as an adult in the robbery and murder of the man who trafficked her, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled…The high court, however, upheld the girl’s conviction and sentence to prison for the rest of her life…[claiming] Alexis Martin couldn’t prove that the judge’s decision to bind her over to adult court would have changed if the juvenile court had [actually followed the “safe harbor” law as it was required to do]…

Gorged With Meaning (#877)

Ignoring student sex workers would be fine; the problem is that universities are actively harming them:

Universities must stop ignoring the plight of a growing number of students turning to sex work and should start offering non-judgemental support, campaigners demand.  Students and experts have accused institutions of “simply burying their heads in the sand” over the issue…many universities are…actively blocking groups trying to support students involved in sex work.  In one case a student…sex work[er] was evicted from her home and threatened with expulsion by her university…The English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP)…have fought a number of cases recently where universities have threatened to throw out students if they do not stop doing sex work…

The Course of a Disease (#884)

Israeli prohibitionists are trying to criminalize all sex work:

The Knesset approved the first reading of a bill limiting the Israeli access to…sites presenting adult-related materials…the bill demands web-service providers to send a message to house-holds with internet access asking if they wish to have such sites blocked or not…Should they decline the offer they will be asked to provide personal information [which will then be shared with the government] proving that they are adults and are the ones paying for the service…The Knesset also approved adopting the Nordic Model…which…is…a state intervention on people’s right’s and bodies as well as a criminaliz[ation of] human activity that will be very hard to prevent…

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The carpet was just pulled out underneath us.  –  Tammy Marie Kruwell

Oops

300 texts does not equate to 300 men, since many guys send a barrage:

A Michigan woman says hundreds of men solicited her for sex within just a couple days…because her number ended up on an escort [advertising] website…Her phone holds nearly 300 texts and some voicemails from men looking for attention.  Susan said she didn’t even know most of the sexual lingo in the texts…one of the texts referenced a website called “Skip the Games”…the family emailed the site administrator numerous times and asked them to take the number down.  They had no success [until they copied a TV station in]…on an email…

First They Came for the Hookers… 

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you from the lies of cops and prudes:

The Providence [Rhode Island] Board of Licenses revoked the [Foxy Lady] strip club’s licenses [less than a week before Christmas because] Providence Police arrested three dancers at the club last week [for refusing to give pigs sex]…at least 200…employees are suddenly out of work…Mayor Jorge Elorza [slandered] the club [claiming it was] running a “full-on prostitution ring”.  The attorney for the club, Fausto Anguilla, has [pointed out that] police…never proved that sex was occurring inside the club’s private rooms.  Several dancers…[told reporters] management at the club is strict with its no-prostitution rules, and cut ties with dancers who were caught having sex in the private rooms…

Torture Chamber 

Our government refers to this as “correction”:

A [privately-owned prison for] juvenile [prisoners]…in northern Minnesota is accused of failing to stop the sexual abuse of minors in its care, according to two federal lawsuits…[which] detail two separate [coercive] sexual relationships between teenage girls and employees dating back to 2014, both resulting in criminal convictions…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#412) 

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

“LEGAL ‘NYMPH’,” blared the front page of [the December 13thToronto Sun. “Law student faces good character hearing over double life as an escort.”  Except — as the story about prospective lawyer Nadia Guo made clear near its top — what the headline described was not the case at all…No one complained about her escort job.  Instead, the complaints made to the Law Society of Ontario concerned Guo’s conduct as an articling student in the latter half of 2015…the piece by courts reporter Sam Pazzano…[also revealed her stage name], “Dawn Lee”…the Sun ran a correction to its front-page headline [the next day]…But Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno ran her own piece …that led with Guo’s sex work, printed her work name in its first sentence, and expressed apparent surprise and disappointment that the Law Society chose not to [persecute] her…for [doing work to pay for school]…

Traffic Jam (#680)

Looks like Minnesota’s second attempt to imprison a bunch of migrants as “sex traffickers” fared better than its first:

A federal jury in St. Paul has convicted all five people charged with conspiring to traffic hundreds of Thai women for sex…nearly three dozen other [people were charged]…all but five [made] plea…[bargains]…Prosecutors said victims, some of whom testified during the trial, were misled as to how much they truly owed and were threatened if they tried to leave the business…U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald described the case as one of the largest trafficking networks ever dismantled…

I’d be a lot more inclined to believe there was serious exploitation here if we hadn’t heard all this before, especially the practically-impossible claims of client numbers.  Remember, migrant sex workers are far less likely to be deported if the agree to sing the state’s song, so there’s no real way to know how much of this is true and how much hype.

The Mote and the Beam (#776)

Just in case you though FOSTA was as bad as it would get:

…Congress…authorized a [bipartisan] national [crusade to] arrest…sex [workers’ clients] and approved the use of secret wiretaps in misdemeanor prostitution cases…as part of the massive “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act“…through a secret vote of the sort civil libertarians have long opposed…based on the false idea that customers of…adult sex workers [magically] drive demand for minors.  All state and local cops, prosecutors, and judges are to be [encouraged]…to [steal the] asset[s of sex workers and clients]…In addition, Congress “clarif[ies] that commercial sexual exploitation is a form of gender-based violence,” whatever that means…The House…passed the bill via “voice vote,” a process under which there’s neither a record of how members voted, whether they were present for a vote, nor how many total members actually voted…One provision essentially creates a new federal crime initiative by directing resources and money to fight “sextortion”…

Lack of Evidence (#859) 

If sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

Jessica, a 23-year-old transgender woman living in Queens…[was arrested on] July 8…and charged…with “loitering for the purpose of engaging in a prostitution act”…[the “evidence” cops listed was that she] was wearing “a mini skirt and a blouse which showed cleavage”…Loitering arrests increased more than 180 percent between January and October…last year…More than half of the…arrests occurred in Queens, where attorneys say they’re concentrated in…immigrant-heavy neighborhoods…This increase in loitering arrests follows a class action lawsuit backed by the Legal Aid Society of New York that challenges the constitutionality of New York’s law on loitering for the purposes of prostitution…recent loitering complaints noted that defendants were wearing “black cowboy boots” and “light blue short [sic], a red tank top and tan sandals”…

See also “Business As Usual” below.

Rescued To Death (#869)

“Abatement”.  A term used for inhuman things, especially nuisances:

A new unit that San Francisco police created to [harass sex workers]…is facing opposition from advocates…the Sex Workers Abatement Unit…has resulted in an uptick in the number of sex workers who have been arrested in the Mission…[and reinforces] a hostile environment where “women are forced into more isolated, unfamiliar areas where attacks are more likely…sex workers who are victims of violence are intimidated and running from police,” [Rachel] West [of US PROS] said.  West argued that the unit undermines a police policy from last December that [supposedly] prevents sex workers who are the victims of certain crimes from being arrested for performing sex work.  The policy [gives lip service to the fact] that “the criminalization of sex work is one of the primary barriers to reporting violence to law enforcement”…

I’ve spoken out against these hollow “policies” before; they are not binding and can be reversed as easily as they were granted.  They’re not a serious effort to respond to sex workers’ concerns; they’re just meant to shut us up.

Business As Usual (#895)

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

Mariatu was 15 years old when her widowed mother died and she ended up sleeping rough on the streets of Freetown where she fell into commercial sex work.  Not long after, she was arrested for “loitering” and, unable to pay a police bribe, spent six months in an adult jail.  Now 22, she is desperate to escape a life marked by suffering, violence and exploitation and is appealing to the state to provide more support to Sierra Leone’s sex workers who are stigmatised by society and suffer unfair treatment at the hands of the legal system.  She spoke to the Guardian before the online launch of a documentary to mark the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers which…examines their treatment by [cops]…who…exploit…them for sex and money…

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With all the legitimately pressing problems facing America today, it’s astonishing that anyone could earnestly advocate for more obscenity prosecutions.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Above the Law  …

We’re so lucky to have these brave heroes to protect us from refugees:

Police in Alpine, Texas, have charged a National Guardsman stationed near the Mexico border with sexual assault after…he drunkenly tried to rape a woman in a hotel.  Luis Ontiveros…is accused of assaulting…[another] member of the National Guard…[who] had…thrown up from drinking too much…He took her clothes off before she was able to get out of the hotel room…and knocked on the hotel room door next to hers, telling the man who answered that Ontiveros had tried to rape her…

A Mound of Filth (#506)

More “sex slave” fantasies from Dominique “Body Fluids” Roe-Sepowitz:

The latest numbers from the FBI show in 2017 Arizona was third in the nation for human trafficking offenses…[Ignorant prohibitionists fantasize] it is impacting people from all walks of life.  “It is anybody.  Businessmen, junkies from the street, anybody looking for sex,” said an [anonymous prohibitionist]…Dominique Roe-Sepowitz is an associate professor [who makes a living stoking “sex trafficking” hysteria by making up fake statistics.]…”In Arizona, we [claim] we have about 250 kids a year and about 800 adults a year [involved in sex trafficking],” [she] said…She [moaned and put her hand down her pants while fantasizing that]…traffickers are creative and calculating when targeting their victims…It happens through social media, in public buildings and parks and even in front of schools.  “They’re going to find that child wherever they are”…

Forward and Backward (#604)

UK politicians don’t like policies that oppose their harm magnification agenda:

…Leeds Council [is considering]…closure of the Leeds ‘managed zone’, in which sex workers are able to solicit for business in a designated area without fear of arrest…Regulation via zoning is not ideal but any solution which increases safety for sex workers, allows them to report crimes and brings down the number of arrests is important.  Working without fear of arrest means sex workers aren’t running from the police are more able to use basic safety measures like working in close proximity to each other and sharing information about clients…outreach charity Basis Yorkshire [says]…97% of sex workers are now willing to report crimes to the police, compared with just 7% before the scheme launched.  There has been a dramatic uptake in engagement with health and support services…

For over a year now, the Leeds red light district has been the subject of a smear campaign by prohibitionists, with the help of the BBC.

Welcome to the Future (#607)

“Immigrant Council of Ireland” is the deceptive name of one of the most vile prohibitionist organizations in Europe:

Police across Europe should be given the resources to spy on…sex workers’ homes to prevent prostitution, a report has said.  The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) was one of six organisations to examine laws on sex work and trafficking across Europe.  The group’s Disrupt Demand report called for more [police violence vs. sex workers and clients]…and [more] “surveillance operations on indoor locations”…

Most news coverage of this “report” tries to make it sound like a study, when in fact it’s just a collection of prohibitionist fantasies and demands with no new material of any kind.

The Puritan Recrudescence

The natural result of widespread kowtowing to the heckler’s veto:

…Nina Hartley went to University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to give an optional lecture to students…about STI testing, the importance of consent, and the potential pitfalls of learning about sex from porn.  The talk was soberly titled, “Fantasy vs. Reality: A critical view of adult media.”  There were no explicit images or videos, just an informational Powerpoint slide.  And yet, of course, conservative media outlets are losing their shit over it, because a porn star (who is also a sex educator and activist) spoke with our kids (who are actually legal adults) about fucking (but really much more).  Hartley was invited to speak by Joe Gow, the chancellor of the university…with…$5,000 from Gow’s office fund, as opposed to with state tax dollars…sensationalistic headlines…desperately attempted to turn it into a tawdry sex scandal…Then Fox News jumped into the fray.  The outcry was such that Gow felt the need to pen an op-ed in the La Crosse Tribune…in [which]…he…agreed to personally compensate the university for Hartley’s $5,000 appearance fee…[and] book…a speaker from Fight the New Drug, a [Mormon-backed prohibitionist organization]…infamous for using bad scienceshoddy data, and alarmist first-person stories to demonize pornography…

Count the Idiocies

Since this is suburban Seattle, I could’ve done this one stoned:

Sex trafficking is happening in plain sight in Snohomish County1, according to nurse practitioner Paula Newman-Skomski2.  “It’s most visible is along Highway 99,” she said.3  This past weekend [Operation Cross-Country] found 13 female victims of sex trafficking – two of the victims are juveniles4. No arrests were made.  The FBI said the victims were offered referrals to a variety of resources.5…”Every year we identify 40 to 45 juveniles involved in the trafficking trade here in Snohomish County,” said Newman-Skomski.6…”…easily transported up and down the I-5 corridor.”7  It is the kind of illegal activity the FBI focused on when it shut down Backpage.com8…Peoria Home in Everett…is a two-year, residential recovery program for women 18 and over who have been exploited through sex trafficking and prostitution.  It opened in April9

1 No, it isn’t. If it were cops would be crowing about it.
2 Whom nobody around here has ever heard of before.
3 No, Those are street workers.
4 No, they got 13 bites in a sting; the fact that they didn’t arrest them could mean several different things.
5 Such as finger-painting classes and the number of the welfare office.
6 No, they don’t; that would represent some 20% of all sex workers in Greater Seattle.  Underage sex workers represent only about 3-4% of all sex workers.
7 Interstates cause sex trafficking!
8 No, it isn’t.
9 “Rescue” profiteers are utterly shameless.

Why I Wait (#812)

Most of this article is the usual garbage: equating dating with sex, pointedly ignoring commercial sex, pretending that people answer surveys on stigmatized subjects honestly, etc.  But there was one paragraph which contained some possible clues to the reasons any actual decrease (however small) might exist:

…it might be a consequence of…surging anxiety rates, of psychological frailty, of widespread antidepressant use…of environmental estrogens leaked by plastics [and soy products], of dropping testosterone levels…of helicopter parents…of sleep deprivation, of obesity…

In my estimation, the most likely candidate for this supposed decline is the ongoing culture war on sex, which discourages people from being honest about their sexuality (especially activity involving sex workers).  In other words they aren’t really having less sex; they’re just admitting it less.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#815) 

Regular readers will recognize Alberta’s article as completely unmoored from reality:

There’s been a “total abandonment of pornography as a battleground in America’s culture war,” writes Politico reporter Tim Alberta in “How the GOP Gave Up on Porn“.  He couldn’t be more wrong.  The flashpoints have shifted certainly since the 1970s and ’80s, when Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority teamed with second-wave feminists to take on Playboy and Hustler.  And social conservatives’ embrace of President Donald Trump does present a stark contrast to earlier eras…But such hypocrisy should not be mistaken for a radical repositioning of Republican dogma on “obscenity”…it was just two years ago that Republicans added language to their official party platform that declared porn “has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions“…Last year, Republicans in at least a dozen state legislatures introduced measures to ban porn access for anyone who wouldn’t pay a $20 fine…But never mind reality.  Fresh from declaring that there’s been no recent Republican action against porn because he doesn’t personally remember it, Alberta gets right to theorizing about why…

See No Evil (#854) 

Prosecutors want to cage a man for twenty years for drawings of fictional characters:

…a Rapid City, South Dakota, man was charged in federal district court with…Possession of Obscene Visual Representations of the Sexual Abuse of Children…Andrew Hallock…pleaded not guilty to the charges…[which carry] a mandatory minimum of 5 years up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine…The charges [derive from] Hallock…possessing…sexually explicit drawings and cartoons of minors…The investigation is being conducted by the I[maginary] Crimes Against [Imaginary] Children Taskforce…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#885)

Politicians send thugs to violently assault women to advance vain Disnification campaign:

Police and military personnel [brutalized] and detained 53 Laotians–50 women and three girls who were allegedly employed as sex workers–during raids on karaoke bars in southern Thailand’s Narathiwat province…Authorities could not find and arrest the bar owners during the raids, but they were…[threatening] the…sex workers…[with] prosecut[ion] for prostitution [to intimidate as many of them as possible into claiming to be “trafficking victims”]…

No Difference (#886)

Tanzania ramps up its pogroms against gay men:

International human rights organisations have condemned…the harassment and arrest of gay men in Tanzania, following comments from a government official on plans to establish a task force to identify, track down and arrest people suspected of being gay…ten men were arrested on suspicion of being gay on…Zanzibar after members of the public [ratted] them [out] to police.  They are being held…with[out] charge…for allegedly conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony, and the police reported they found the men sitting in pairs “two by two”

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I don’t often do sequels to previous guest columns, but I thought y’all might want to see this update from “John Seattle”; if you haven’t read his column on Seattle’s “john school” yet, you probably should before reading this one.

Last year, Maggie was very kind to publish my response to Peter Qualliotine’s STOP Exploitation classes.  It was written before I had completed the series of classes; the final session ended with Qualliotine giving a pep rally-esque speech in which he asked, “Are you with me?  Will you stop buying sex?”  This question was met with a long, drawn out silence broken only by my giggling when I realized what had happened.  At the time I felt as if I had thoroughly rejected the toxic messaging of his class, but that was not as simple as it seemed.  It was Wendy Zukerman’s Science VS podcast episode entitled “Sex Addiction: Are They Faking It?” that gave me insight to the need to understand better the damaging impacts of shame.  According to the podcast, the truth about sexual addiction (one of the many toxic messages Qualliotine dispenses) is that no scientific evidence supports its existence; what some believe to be sex addiction is the feeling of shame, which is why belief in “sex addiction” is strongly correlated with religious beliefs that sexuality is sinful.

The “sex addiction” myth is thus very useful for someone who is trying to shame others out of their sexuality.  In a local article, Qualliotine was described as someone who “sees patronizing prostitutes as part of a continuum of…behaviors that includes sexual harassment, domestic violence, and rape.”  Through psychological manipulation Qualliotine’s message is that “the core of who and what you are as a person is that of a harasser, abuser, and rapist.”  What he calls “education” is actually based on sex-shaming in order to change behavior, a social conformity strategy very much like the thoroughly-discredited “conversion therapy” is supposed to “cure” gay people.  And even though it doesn’t accomplish what its purveyors claim, subconsciously this toxic messaging lingers, causing emotional damage and isolation in its victims that manifest in harmful ways, such as social anxiety, and despair.

There are a lot of reasons for people to have sex, and none are wrong as long as all partners give consent and treat each other ethically.  Undoing the damage caused by the lie that this is not so, that outsiders have the right to impose rules on other adults, is harder than one might think, but there are resources available; Dr. David Ley, Lola Davina, and Maggie are just a few of the writers who helped me to start the process.  But the first step is to recognize the damage done by sexual shaming even in people who intellectually know better.

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If America had a civil death penalty, putting people on sex registries would be it.  –  Guy Hamilton Smith

Elephant in the Parlor 

The idea that politicians paying for sex is “unprofessional” tells me these people are living in a fantasy world:

…Westminster’s first code of conduct…introduced after a sex harassment scandal in parliament, ban MPs from paying for sex while…engaged in any activity connected with their role as an MP, whether in the UK or abroad…The new complaints and grievance policy states: “Although it might not be illegal to pay for sex, in line with best practice it is considered unprofessional, inappropriate and a breach of the behaviour code”…

A Broker in Pillage

Watch for the definition of “unexplained” to expand dramatically over the next decade or two:

Criminals who can’t explain how they got their money will be [robbed] under a national scheme that allows the government to sweep up their assets.  A Senate committee unanimously recommended the “unexplained wealth” legislation be passed…despite concerns being raised by the Law Council and Civil Liberties Australia.  The legislation will force people convicted of crimes to prove that their wealth was derived from legitimate sources, rather than the onus being on prosecutors to establish that it came from the proceeds of crime…Banks will be forced to hand over any information they have on the unexplained wealth of a convicted client.  The Police Federation has been lobbying for the…scheme for more than a decade…

Election Day (#332)

How many political scandals must Davis embroil herself in to get her name in the news again?

Kristin Davis, also known as the “Manhattan Madam”, will testify before a grand jury in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation…Davis [previously] met with Mueller’s team…It is not clear what the focus of that interview was or how Davis may fit into the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential coordination between Trump associates and the Russian government.  But investigators have been very interested in Roger Stone, with whom Davis has a close personal relationship and has worked for in the past…

Everything Old is New Again

This absurd Victorian language is even funnier because it’s meant to be dead serious:

…It’s not a profession.  It’s not about the sex, and there’s certainly no erotic aspects about these encounters.  It’s purely a financial interaction, business deals that involve blood, sweat, tears and semen…women wait…for dark to descend.  Then the hunters begin to approach…Slowly they cruise by, headlights blinding the women as they search for their prey.  The hunters feel a sense of control as they strip the victims of their dignity, their humanity…

I was also tickled to see a link to this previous article about the “dangerous cycle of prostitution”, which is presumably a used Harley bought with whoring money.  After that one I wrote, “As far as I can make out, this dude’s pearl-clutching tone is dead serious.  Do you amateurs really believe this kind of shit?”

To Molest and Rape 

Would any non-cop have gotten only probation for this?

Madison County [Alabama cop] Roland Campos pleaded guilty to a [molesting a young girl]…and was sentenced to a year’s probation.  Campos…must also [register as a] Sex Offender…the judge suspended the jail term and ordered Campos to serve a year’s probation…Campos was arrested in August 2017 after a middle school student…told a school official Campos had sexually abused her…

Monsters (#730) 

The US only prosecutes people for sex worker “propaganda”, which is obviously completely different:

The first minor has been found guilty of Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” laws.  Maxim Neverov was found guilty of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” despite being only 16-years-old himself.  The teenager from Biysk was fined 50,000 rubles on 7 August for publishing photos on social network site Vkontakte [Russian Facebook]…the teenager was not allowed to consult a lawyer.  This led him to refuse to testify…

Banishment (#798)

Another good essay by Guy Hamilton Smith on the torture the US hides under the euphemism “registration”:

…Recently, a major court decision lambasted registries as ineffective at promoting public safety, while noting that they rendered those on them “moral lepers” who are forced to reside at the margins of society on the sole basis of a conviction.  Another decision, currently on appeal in the…10th Circuit…called registries cruel and unusual punishments in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution — an almost unheard-of legal conclusion for American courts to reach outside of death penalty litigation…in my view, it is the right one.  I know, because of the nearly million people on America’s sex offense registries, I am one of them.  In describing his experiences with solitary confinement — a practice widely regarded as torture — Nelson Mandela concluded that there is nothing more dehumanizing than isolation from human connection…Being labeled a sex offender, you carry your solitary with you, in your heart, and in your mind…The indelible electronic mark you carry threatens to turn your own thoughts against you, unless and until you can find a way outside of the prison your own mind begins to construct for you.  Until then, you die slowly, suffocating in shame.  I have written more fully about my story and experiences elsewhere, but I have spent the last eleven years living on America’s sex registry.  More than simply punishment, in my opinion, it is most fairly characterized as torture…

Laura Lee, Sex Work Stigma, and the Limits of #MeToo

Looks like Olaf isn’t going to be able to hush this up as he wanted to:

Gardaí have reopened an investigation into a complaint made by [the late] Laura Lee…friends of Ms Lee have been contacted by officers reopening an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.  Ms Lee, a law graduate, had made a statement to gardaí in Dublin about the…incident last November.  [Accused rapist Olaf Tyaransen] has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.  The garda investigation was closed when Ms Lee died of undisclosed causes this year at the age of 44 but gardaí are now in the process of taking statements again…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#858)

Indian sex workers’ fight against a terrible new “anti-trafficking” bill is drawing international attention:

…“No one has forced me to do this…it pays better than being a maid or factory worker,” said Sanjana Murali…“But with this law, if the police raid a kotha [brothel], I will be taken into police custody and sent to a rehabilitation clinic.  What about my freedom to choose?…If the state thinks I should be ‘rescued’ and trained to sew clothes or make papar (papadams) to survive, it is wrong.  That kind of work will never pay enough”…When MP Shashi Tharoor raised this point in parliament, he was assured by minister for women Maneka Gandhi that the bill would not target voluntary sex workers.  “That’s just her word,” said Dr Smarajit Jana of the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee…“Why isn’t there a single sentence in the bill stating that?  All the bill does is empower the police to harass sex workers and disempower the women themselves.”  Jana said…that most…sex workers…are…the “heads” of their extended families.  Their income pays for food, rent, a relative’s illness, and the school fees of their children, and those of their siblings…“When you put them into a rehabilitation clinic, who is going to look after their children?”…the bill is based on paternalistic assumptions about rescuing sex workers…no…organisation was consulted in the drafting of the bill, even though sex workers are well organised…

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It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession.  –  WAVAW Board

The Sky is Falling!

Even by prohibitionist standards, this is hilariously hysterical:

“Sugar daddy” dating sites such as Seeking Arrangement…are aggressively targeting college students — with free premium memberships for signing up under an .edu email plus plenty of assurances that being a “sugar baby” is safe, empowering and profitable.  But sugar babies typically do not, in fact, have control over these relationships, which often turn dangerous and exploitative, [pearl-clutchers whined]…at a “World Without Exploitation Youth Summit” held in Downtown Brooklyn for high school and college students…“Sugaring” almost always involves a coercive exchange of money for sex, the [pearl-clutchers moaned]…even if the coercion is subtle and regardless of the dating website’s promises of “pampering,” “mentoring” and “networking”…“There’s an expectation that the buyer or the sugar daddy can do whatever he wants, so very often we hear there’s extraordinary violence when the door gets shut,” adds Lauren Hersh, national director of World Without Exploitation, a [prohibitionist] group…

This is your regular reminder that Lauren Hersh is a former prosecutor who was forced to resign in disgrace after she was caught trying to railroad two innocent black men for rape.

Watershed

For those who think I’m wrong about sex worker rights having passed the watershed:

As a [rape crisis centre] we always say that systems and perpetrators of violence need to be held accountable.  This is no different when we have enacted harm ourselves…We have taken actions that have caused harm to sex workers, and it is important that we take responsibility for those actions.  In 2008, we produced a position paper on sex work titled “Stepping out of the Binary”.  The paper framed the sex work industry as inherently violent and oppressive…and…conflated sex work with trafficking and exploitation…Our [excuse] was that we critiqued and challenged the sex work industry as a whole, but would not turn away individual sex workers who wanted to access our services.  This position is inherently flawed.  It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession…We support sex work.  We support the rights of sex workers.  We believe sex workers should have access to the services they need, when they need them…

Theatrics

Though this subtitle is now used for prohibitionist publicity stunts, the original covered this:

…dozens of female workers in Spain’s Huelva region, most of them Moroccan…reported having been harassed, raped, blackmailed, physically assaulted or insulted by their superiors…

Good News, Bad News (#409)

Australian prohibitionists are just as vile as those in the US & UK:

Prostitution legislation is currently being discussed in the Northern Territory…Prostitution affects everyone because…[the private acts of individual women magically inflict] violence against [other] women…Australia’s acceptance of [civil liberties] is becoming embarrassing internationally, as progressive countries move towards [authoritarian regulation]…of [the bodies and lives of] all women.  When it is acceptable for women to [make their own choices]…every woman is devalued [to the state].  The availability of women’s [sexual services for free] creates a sense of entitlement in too many men which inevitably plays out in their day to day interactions with women…

Only in the warped prohibitionist mind could reducing women to mere parts of a collective entity and demanding government control over people’s private lives be characterized as “human dignity”.

The Face of Trafficking (#646) 

Note that even a horrifying case like this doesn’t look anything like the “sex trafficking” myth as prohibitionists tell it:

One of New Zealand’s most sickening criminal cases, just the third conviction for slave trading in the country’s legal history, can now be revealed.  A mother of a teenage daughter has been jailed for six years and 11 months [for pimp]ing her daughter…some 1000 times over a two-year period…as many as five times a day.  The teen…escaped…in November 2016 and fled to police.  Kasmeer Lata, the teen’s mother, was sentenced…for dealing in slaves and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services from an underage person…

While I usually edit items to point out the truth in authoritarian propaganda, in this case I did so to eliminate the lurid language the reporter used to exploit this young woman’s ordeal for clickbait.  Because yellow journalists are just as awful in New Zealand as anywhere else.

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

Just in case you forgot about the other sex workers Trump paid off:

…investigators discovered recordings made by Michael Cohen which include a then-candid Donald Trump talking about a payment to…former Playboy model…Karen McDougal [who] previously claimed that she had an affair with Mr. Trump…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#833) 

All the disclaimers won’t stop charlatans from pretending this is their imaginary “sex addiction”:

The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list…filed “compulsive sexual behavior disorder” — often [incorrectly] referred to as sex addiction — as an impulse-control disorder…WHO’s new list will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022, as revisions still need to be made…clinicians…fear that recognizing compulsive sexual behavior disorder would pathologize normal sexual behavior, [said] Dr. Stefanie Carnes…“One of the things WHO did…is say specifically, ‘You can’t make the diagnosis of the compulsive disorder just due to shame or moralistic thoughts and feelings’”…In other words, a diagnosis cannot be made for someone with conservative religious views who frequents pornography sites a few times a month and thus believes that is a problem…the…proposed inclusion characterizes the disorder as “a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges, resulting in repetitive sexual behavior over an extended period (e.g., six months or more) that causes marked distress or impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”  Carnes…[said] “I have patients who…spend $300,000 on a prostitute”…

Say, Dr. Carnes, would you introduce me to these guys? I’ll take good care of them, I promise.

All-Purpose Excuse (#834)

I hope this finger-pointing keeps up until the hysteria implodes:

…the Trafficking in Persons Report directly references the vulnerability of migrants and children to trafficking without mention of recent U.S. policies that increased family separation and detention.  This dissonance is not new [to this administration], although recent events have been particularly egregious.  Since his inauguration, President Trump has espoused strikingly different — and dramatically inconsistent — approaches to immigration and human trafficking…Despite the administration’s [typical] rhetoric about protecting survivors of trafficking, the brutal fact is that indiscriminate targeting of undocumented immigrants…has sown chaos and fear in immigrant communities.  This makes survivors much less likely to cooperate with [pigs], and more likely to be targeted as victims…on June 28, 2018, USCIS issued a new policy memorandum specifying that any survivor who applies for T visas — and is denied — will be placed in deportation proceedings…

Trumpists: “YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Anti-Trumpists:  “No, YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Me: “LOL, please continue.”

The Real World

Despite some highly exaggerated claims about the prevalence of serious mental illness among sex workers, this article recognizes criminalization as a major cause of stress:

Sex workers already operate at the social and economic margins.  SESTA-FOSTA makes it increasingly difficult for them to advertise and screen clients safely, deeply cutting into their incomes and threatening their livelihoods…The conflation of consensual sex work with trafficking, abuse, moral decrepitude, and shame is as pervasive as is it is lacking nuance…Mental health providers must wade through social discourse thick with misinformation to be effective allies to sex workers in their practice.  Scholars and practitioners alike propose harmful and stigmatizing models of understanding sex work…Although sensationalist media outlets frequently use sex trafficking as a boogeyman to encourage tougher policing of sex work, research from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain shows that decriminalizing sex work has made the industry safer…In the wake of SESTA-FOSTA, sex workers are scared that they won’t be able to provide for themselves and their families…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

Hey, Seattle!  Get your kids into the facial recognition database before they even hit puberty, and help the government to analyze how people’s faces change with time, so nobody can EVER escape surveillance!

RealNetworks, the Seattle company best known for pioneering streaming media…will offer a new facial recognition technology, called SAFR, for free to K-12 schools to help upgrade their on-site [surveillance] systems.  SAFR can be used with the same cameras that traditional surveillance systems to recognize students, staff, and people visiting schools…in addition to security, the tool can also help with [normalization of constant surveillance] and [the school-to-prison pipeline]…

Disaster (#852)

Woodhull, et al’s request for a preliminary injunction vs FOSTA is a thing of beauty, and even if you don’t really understand legalese you should read it, because most of it is in plain English and its arguments are solid.  Reading it for yourself is the only way you can fully grasp what a crock of shit the judge’s inaction was:

A federal judge on Thursday tabled a motion brought by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and four other plaintiffs, who are suing to stop the government from enforcing…FOSTA…Judge Richard Leon…made no ruling on Woodhull’s request for a preliminary injunction that would stop the law from remaining in effect until the group’s lawsuit…is decided. Nor did he announce a date when he would issue a ruling.  According to one account from inside the courtroon, Leon “sounded skeptical” that the law had actually caused harm to the plaintiffs in the case…

Basically, the judge wants time to try to think of the proper legal wording for “Yes, I know this law is blatantly unconstitutional, but I’m not gonna be the one to issue an injunction on it because whores”.

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