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Posts Tagged ‘Shift in the Wind’

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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Governments who employ [the Swedish] model know exactly what they’re doing and the harm they cause to [sex] workers.  –  Molly Davis

Scientific Detachment

The death of a rather unusual archivist:

Ralph Whittington [who died on August 6 at age 74] worked at the Library of Congress for 36 years…but he was better known for amassing one of the world’s largest collections of pornography…his collection was…a serious academic undertaking…Everything was catalogued and cross-referenced.  Boxes were carefully labeled with the name of a porn star or a thumbnail description…Whittington spent more than $100,000 on his collection and often accepted donations from heirs…In 1999, Mr. Whittington sold most of his materials to the Museum of Sex, a professionally curated institution in New York.  Before three 16-foot trucks hauled away almost 10,000 items in 848 boxes, his house was packed from floor to ceiling…

Damned If You Don’t

Picket-fence queers claim cops aren’t our enemies:

Police have arrested 26 men for cruising for sex in Washington D.C.’s Meridian Hill Park over the past 12 months…[disguised] cops entrapped the men by soliciting sex acts…Police…[call] the [deceptions] investigations…[and claim they] were prompted by public complaints…But…[in reality] the men arrested were propositioned by [disguised, lying cops]…posing as willing participants in a consensual encounter between adults…

A Procrustean Bed (#600)

Finally, some public skepticism about “diversion courts”:

…hundreds of [arrested] sex workers in Sacramento each year [are coerced under threat into]…a court-administered diversion program [but only if they first plead guilty to whatever bullshit the cops make up.  It should come as no surprise that]…RESET court…originated [from] a cop-founded nonprofit…Diversion courts…have…proliferated around the country…But…there is growing scholarly skepticism about whether…[they] are really as “woke” as their supporters claim….the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center broadly criticized these programs for a lack of accountability and a surplus of inconsistency.  Sacramento’s RESET court comes up 19 times in the paper…these programs still treat sex workers like criminals, even while telling the public they’re all victims…RESET enrollees must submit to HIV testing; attend health and wellness classes, group and individual counseling and trauma-based therapy; and make at least three monthly court appearances, where Judge Rockwell offers cookies…For completing the program, the women get expunged records…and Starbucks gift cards…

Yes, the “reward” for completing the program is a “free” cup of coffee.

Choke Point (#603) 

I’m skeptical that they wouldn’t hand-wave a sex exemption into this even if it were broader:

A recent ruling by the California Supreme Court is causing a stir among adult business owners…[and sex workers] who have been discriminated against by the global banking system…but misunderstandings may motivate merchants down a legal dead-end…“The ruling was very narrow,” [said] Larry Walters of FirstAmendment.com…“and limited to whether standing to sue can be established by alleging an intent to use the online services, as opposed to actually entering into a contract for services…The court specifically did not rule on whether a plaintiff can sue for discrimination under California law on the basis of occupation”…For adult merchants hoping that litigation over “equality of access to services” based on this announcement might solve…having their banking services revoked…this ruling provides no clear foothold…

Micromanagement (#731)

I’d really like to be wrong once in a while:

New York City detectives questioning a [12-year-old] boy facing a felony charge last year offered him a McDonald’s soda.  When the boy left, they took the straw and tested it for his DNA…[which] was entered into the city’s genetic database.  To have it removed, the [boy’s] family had to petition a court and file an appeal, a process that took more than a year…The city’s DNA database…now has 82,473 genetic profiles, becoming a…potent tool for [the police state]…that operates with [essentially no]…oversight…A growing number of [pig farms] throughout the country…have amassed genetic databases that operate by their own rules, outside of state and federal guidelines…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#754) 

Will porn companies be the next to face the music for exploiting sex workers?

Mia Khalifa…was…[only] modestly compensated for a brief career that catapulted her into worldwide stardom…[as] the most-searched adult-film star on the planet…[but] she [only] received about $12,000 for about a dozen shoots over three months before she left the industry in early 2015, and never a “penny again”…on Pornhub…she is ranked No. 2 among actor searches…but she does not get any residuals from that site or any others…[in] adult film…there are two options with wildly different compensation paths.  One is the traditional production studio that pays actors as contractors…that is what Khalifa did…another is an independent model that provides a bigger cut and options for residuals…sites such as Pornhub have monetized the infinite loop of the Internet by uploading a stream of videos of actors long after some of them, like Khalifa, have left the business — creating a scenario where adult-film scenes will follow the actors and perhaps outlive them…Three of the top 10 actresses on the site now are either retired or inactive in the business, an industry veteran said, and have little recourse to claim compensation or remove their videos if they are shut out from the revenue…

If Men Were Angels (#864)

“Youth pastors” are as bad as cops:

Paxton Singer…is the youth minister at the Harvest Bible Chapel in Aurora, Illinois.  The church’s bylaws say that…homosexuality and bisexuality are sexual sins…[but] Singer has been making inappropriate advances toward an unnamed 16-year-old boy…Singer also worked at a separate Harvest Bible Chapel campus in Rolling Meadows, Illinois…[w]here…[he] behaved inappropriately toward three other male teens…

Shift in the Wind (#933)

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

In a recent National Review story, Madeleine Kearns…claims [decriminalization] “would make a grave problem worse.”  The premise…relies largely on fear tactics, sprinkled with stories of women who have had bad experiences in the sex industry…But she fails to address how keeping prostitution illegal will help solve any of the problems she targets in her story.  Kearns’ solution is [the Swedish model]…but this policy has failed to work in the various countries where it’s been tried and only perpetuates the problems she illustrates…

Torture Chamber (#950)

I hope they get every last cent they’re asking for, plus punitive damages as well:

…taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million in damages from parents who[se]…children were [abused] while in government custody…dozens of families…separated at the border as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy…are now preparing to sue the federal government, including several who[se]…young children were sexually, physically or emotionally abused in federally funded foster care.  With more than 3,000 migrant children [abducted] from their parents at the border in recent years, many lawsuits are expected, potentially totaling in the billions…[they] are represented by grassroots immigration clinics and nonprofit groups, along with some of the country’s most powerful law firms…

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Their job was not to take my report; their job was to convince me that I was not raped.  –  Jennifer Welch

Life Imitates Artifice

Gee, I wonder where they got this idea?

…three are charged in a human trafficking case after a 16-year-old girl was found in a U-Haul truck in Ohio…a missing person report…[was filed on] Apr. 20…The next day, Cincinnati police…found [her]…she was taken by Michael Nason, Tiffany Cheek and Carl Hickman…Cheek is accused of luring the girl from her home “under false pretenses of being her guardian.”  Nason [raped her]…in the back of the truck…

Besides the obvious imitation of the linked fantasy, I must point out that the time scale – one day – is consisent with other true incidents of abduction…unlike the fantasies of girls “enslaved” by “traffickers” for months or years at a time.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I love it when they feed on their own:

A New Jersey [cop] was accused of attempting to lure and sexually assault a 15-year-old girl…Peter Tuchol, Jr…engaged in online conversations with [other pervert cops role-playing]…as a 15-year-old girl…Police executed a search warrant on Tuchol’s home and seized controlled dangerous substances, specifically anabolic steroids…

If they’re going to start arresting cops for steroid use, there are going to be a LOT of cops in prison.

Little Tin Gods

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

In January, an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle argued that the sheriff’s office should be eliminated throughout California.  “No office is less accountable or more reliable in producing scandal,” wrote the author, Joe Mathews.  Although police chiefs can be fired by mayors or city councils, sheriffs cannot..the incumbent usually has an advantage in elections, regardless of his performance…Though sheriffs have arguably become less important with the rise of city police departments, many of their offices have still grown larger, hiring more people every year…Because most sheriffs derive their authority from state constitutions, eliminating the office requires an amendment that, in most cases, must be approved by voters…[in 2000] Connecticut…voters agreed to pass a constitutional amendment to eliminate the position of sheriff…

Gorged With Meaning (#410) 

How things have changed since Belle Knox was mercilessly harassed:

The whispers wound their way through the hallways of Bear Creek High School in Stockton, Calif.  They said a senior at the school was working in adult entertainment…the Bruin Voice, the [school’s] award-winning…newspaper, whose motto is, “The Voice shall not be silenced!”…knew what to do — a profile of the girl…[who is] 18…editor…Bailey Kirkeby…felt comfortable approaching the target of the rumors because both participated in speech and debate.  The subject agreed to cooperate, even asking that her name be used…The profile…[was] set to be published in the May 3 issue of the newspaper…[and] charts the student’s path into…porn…Now, however…school administrators…are threatening to dismiss the newspaper’s faculty adviser, who was recently named educator of the year by the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists, if she doesn’t submit the article to them for [censorship]…The students are pushing back…and…the faculty adviser, Kathi Duffel, has remained resolute in her refusal to [submit]…the story [for censorship]…“This young woman has quite a story to tell…and we have every right to report it”…

Business As Usual

Buried deep in this story about presidential wannabe Pete Buttigieg’s covering up for violent pigs is the following:

…Two police sources independently recounted to TYT a story of…[cops] murdering a prostitute many years ago and burying her body in nearby Michigan…Other stories, which TYT could not immediately confirm, included rape of sex workers and homeless women, drug dealing, planting evidence, coverups, and more.  One story involved a cop accused of [orally raping] a sex worker…at gunpoint, who was allowed to resign rather than face an investigation…virtually all [sources] reported witnessing or hearing of behavior worse than the [“racist language” and other non-violent] problems Buttigieg cited in his book…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#695) 

You mean physical behavior have stronger effects than pictures?  What a shock!

New research casts doubts on the claim that pornography undermines men’s sexual satisfaction by promoting a preference for porn-like sex.  The findings, which appear in the journal Personal Relationships, provide some preliminary evidence that pornography could in some instances bolster sexual satisfaction by promoting sexual variety…There was no evidence that the desire for porn-like sex was related to reduced sexual satisfaction — but there was a relationship found between increased masturbation and reduced sexual satisfaction…“It’s possible that porn use causes an increase in masturbation, which then causes sexual dissatisfaction. But it is also possible that sexual dissatisfaction causes solitary masturbation, which then results in people seeking out pornography,” [said study author Dan] Miller…Despite the findings of reduced sexual satisfaction among those who frequently watch pornography, most men don’t feel that is has caused significant problems in their lives…

Morality Lessons (#720)

Remember this the next time politicians tell you that the point of anti-porn laws is to “protect children”:

The Department of Justice has been dismissing child pornography cases in order to not reveal information about the software…used as the basis for the charges…the private entities who developed these tools won’t submit them for independent inspection or hand over hardly any information about how they work, their error rates, or other critical information.  As a result, potentially innocent people are being smeared as pedophiles and prosecuted as child porn collectors, while potentially guilty people are going free so these companies can protect “trade secrets”.  The situation suggests some of the many problems that can arise around public-private partnerships in catching criminals and the secretive digital surveillance software that it entails (software that’s being employed for far more than catching child predators)…

Your regular reminder that the term for “public-private partnerships in catching criminals” is “fascism”.

Shift in the Wind (#733)

It’s weird how moral panics can even ensnare people with decent brains.  Angela Keaton pointed out that this article, which reads like an explosion in a Froot Loop factory, was written by a guy who is usually quite sensible and pro-civil liberties; I’m not even going to bother quoting it or playing “Count the Idiocies” because virtually every single sentence contains some lie, myth, wild exaggeration, prohibitionist wanking fantasy or just plain lunacy.  Read it if you like, but if you don’t want your jaw to drop so hard it may become dislodged from your skull, you might want to put a bandage around it like Marley’s ghost.

Whither Canada? (#799)

Given that Canada’s version of the Swedish model bans carrying sex work ads, it will be interesting to see if they go after the billboard company:

High above Portage Avenue near Aubrey Street [in Winnipeg]…stands a billboard with large yellow lettering on a black backdrop, advertising the services of “Sensational Serena,” an escort licensed with the City of Winnipeg…police say they have never before seen an escort or sex worker advertise their services in such an open and public fashion.  Sgt. Rick McDougall…[of] the Winnipeg [vice squad incorrectly]…said…there’s no law against [sex work] advertising…

Negative Secondary Effects (#836)

UK feminists’ latest attack on women’s financial security: releasing revenge porn of women who disagree with them:

In Sheffield and Manchester, men hired by the [soi-disant “Women’s Equality Party”] covertly filmed nude and semi-nude dancers in legal strip clubs. In their self-appointed mission to “save” dancers, the WEP continues to put women’s livelihoods at risk, while ignoring the explicit wishes of the women involved…Filming people…without explicit and direct consent and in clear violation of their right to privacy, is not just immoral — it is unlawful. Sharing…”revenge porn” of naked women, obtained with the explicit aim to undermine and harm them, constitutes harassment and misuse of private information under UK law. We demand that the WEP and its collaborators destroy immediately all footage obtained illegally inside clubs and apologise to the dancers…[who] have made it clear that they don’t need rescuing. They need a dignified workplace where they can earn a living to support themselves and their families…

Lack of Evidence (#838)

Discrimination against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Landlords in Nairobi…are [impotently] threatening to smoke out single women from their apartments…[due to a perceived increase in incall] sex work…Even though some landlords have succeeded, most of have been outwitted by shrewd women who [defeat the discrimination]…by bringing male companions to pose as husbands during their house-hunting missions…but…[misogynistic clients don’t like to see escorts being comfortable, and cheapskates]…are…complaining that all the beautiful women have quit the streets…

To Molest and Rape (#885) 

Know why cops don’t like to investigate rapes?  Professional courtesy:

Unbeknownst to [a rape victim], while [creepy cop Lukasz] Skorzewski was assigned to her case, he was under investigation by the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau for kissing and groping a rape victim whose case he was assigned to investigate…a high percentage [of rape cases in Queens are] closed due to an alleged lack of participation from the accuser or because the rape was unfounded…meaning a false report or complaint that does not fit the definition of a penal law crime…[Queens’ rate] is significantly higher than that of any other borough…NYPD…data show…24.6 percent of rape cases were closed due to an alleged lack of participation from the accuser.  Though some accusers may choose not to go forward with an investigation, the department has used the…“Uncooperative Complainant” classification to close cases even when victims want to pursue their case…a high rate of rape victims not cooperating with the NYPD indicates there may be problems with…the treatment of victims by investigators.  In Manhattan, the police closed nearly 40 percent of all rapes by indicating victims…no longer wished to participate…

Business As Usual (#905) 

Sex workers harmed by cop behavior need to keep suing until every department is buried in lawsuits:

Six women have filed a lawsuit against two Columbus [vice cops]…Steven Rosser and Whitney Lancaster, [report]ing malicious prosecution and abuse of process in violation of the fourth and fourteenth amendments.  The women…were targeted for arrest by Lancaster and Rosser after the general manager of Kahoots fired a bouncer who was [acting as a snitch]…Rosser approached the owner(s) of Kahoots and threatened that if…[the snitch] was not rehired by Kahoots [and given free reign to spy on women]…Rosser would “file a bunch of tickets”…the club eventually rehired the bouncer…[after] a number of [retaliatory] charges were filed against…the women…

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If two people choose to engage in carnal activities, the terms of the encounter should be up to them, not the government.  –  Steve Chapman

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

…KTRK [reporters were]…with [lying pigs]…as they [sexually assaulted Houston women in order to destroy their lives]…The…[cops’ victims] were [then] arrested for prostitution [while reporters gawked & added images of scantily-clothed women to their spank banks.  One of the pigs oinked]…”Most massage parlors we go into are fronts for prostitution and human trafficking [so we really enjoy raping them while fantasizing they’re victims of others besides us]”…”I’m very passionate about [masturbating while thinking of] this”…said Ann Johnson, a [prohibitionist masquerading as a] defense attorney…

Confined and Controlled (#335)

This isn’t intended to increase sex workers’ range of options, but to control us a la Nevada:

Italian…League party leader Matteo Salvini’ [said]…“I would back reopening the ‘closed houses’…taking [sex workers]…off the streets is the right thing to do”…Efforts by previous governments to [criminalize sex work]…or [impose humiliating and unnecessary government]…health [inspections] have failed…

Shift in the Wind (#762)

Pro-decriminalization essays in newspapers are no longer a rarity:

The trafficking victims were mostly underage, held in harsh servitude and forced to spend long hours satisfying the needs of paying customers.  Prostitutes at a massage parlor in Jupiter, Fla.?  No.  An egg farm in Ohio where, federal authorities reported, kids as young as 14 were put to work cutting beaks off chickens and shoveling chicken excrement…in the St. Louis area, “agriculture, landscaping, construction and domestic servitude represented the top industries for forced labor.”  Is a homeowner whose lawn is done by a landscaping crew a monster because some of the workers were trafficked? How would the homeowner know? How would Kraft have known?  But commercial sex carries a stigma that lawn mowing doesn’t.  Anti-prostitution alarmists insist that…only criminal coercion, unconscionable manipulation or poverty could induce anyone to endure such shame.  Plenty of sex workers…disagree.  One of them is Maggie McNeill, whose new documentary is called The War on Whores.  She says, “We all have to make a living. There’s no rational reason for anyone to say that my choices are less valid merely because they involve sex”…

Guinea Pigs (#881) 

First it was supposedly about “terrorists”, then “sex trafficking”, and your business or home is next:

A central component of the recent…massage-parlor [pogroms] was the secret installation of hidden cameras at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.  Now defense attorneys are challenging the legality of this…such surveillance stems from a provision of the PATRIOT Act that was passed [under the pretense that]…the power [would only be used] against possible terrorists.  “But the tactic has spilled over to…other [so-called] crimes”…notes Lisa J. Hurriash at the South Florida Sun Sentinel…Police were able to secretly install the surveillance cameras thanks to a sneak-and-peek warrant…[which] in practice [ha]ve mainly been used in [surveillance] of drug [users]…”sneak and peek warrants are not just being used in exceptional circumstances…but as an everyday investigative tool,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned five years ago…just as…cops and fed[s]…have used anti-terrorism tools to prosecute potheads, they’ve been keen on attacking all prostitution…as “human trafficking,” a federal crime.  Police in Palm Beach and Jupiter counties have been trotting out that claim this time too, although no sex trafficking or forced labor charges have been filed

Damned Lies (#886)

I guess it’s a good thing that Politifact once again debunked the “whores only live 7 years” lie, quoting veteran activist Bella Robinson in the process (its first debunking of the same lie was in May 2015, and quoted yours truly).  I just wish they weren’t so ridiculously timid about it, and that these debunkings were actually reprinted by other sources so we wouldn’t have to hear the same completely-ridiculous claims again and again and again, especially by politicians as support for expanding the police state.

To Molest and Rape (#887) 

In which rape of minors is described as “caregiving”:

Thousands of migrant children…suffered sexual abuse…[at the hands of] U.S. government [actors] over the past four years…over a thousand allegations of sexual abuse against unaccompanied minors [locked in cages by the government]…were reported to federal authorities each fiscal year since 2015.  In total, between October 2014 and July 2018, 4,556 sexual abuse complaints were reported to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)…[which will] not reveal specific information about the [rapists except]…in 178 cases [where]…the Justice Department [reported] adult caregivers at U.S. facilities were reported to have sexually abused migrant minors…California Rep. Lou Correa…accused the Trump administration of a “systematic cover up” [but had nothing to say about the over 2000 rapes that occured during the Obama administration]…Most of the accused [rapist screws, pigs, spooks and paper-pushers mentioned by the DoJ] were immediately removed from duty and some cases were referred to [other pigs]…Some…were terminated, but others were reinstated…

Because abducting, caging & raping kids isn’t “sex trafficking” when the government does it.

Divided We Fall (#902)

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

…in the six months following Southern Decadence, several citations have been issued by the Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control Office (ATC) to multiple LGBTQ+ bars and spaces across New Orleans in an operation that appears similar to [the raids on strip clubs] in 2016 [and early 2018].  The ATC [pretend]s that they are not targeting the LGBTQ+ community, but simply investigating and responding to complaints that have been called into their office [by cops]…at least one Bourbon Street strip club had its license suspended…[plus] two others…in New Orleans East…Michael Musa…[of] the Rawhide Lounge [said]…they received “numerous fines, citations, and imposed regulations on how to operate.”  The Rawhide chose to fight the ATC…whichattempted to persuade The Rawhide into dropping the case or accepting a settlement on the issue…Rawhide declined several settlement offers in the interest of protecting their community…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#903) 

If you think about it, this was a wholly predictable development:

Some adult dancers in Los Angeles say they aren’t getting a fair shake at…strip clubs…The group calls themselves “Soldiers of Pole” and they…want, among other things, fair wages after…a state court ruling changed their status from independent contractors to actual employees.  Now clubs have to pay them an hourly wage but…management is keeping a bigger chunk of their tips, and charging them new fees.  “We no longer should have to pay to work.  We shouldn’t have to pay house fees.  We shouldn’t have to give any sort of percentage of our tips to management or any other employees”…

On Tape

Prohibitionists: “Where on Earth did Trump get the idea that ‘sex trafficking’ victims are transported in trucks with their mouths taped?

Jordan Giddens [fantasizes] he was drugged, assaulted and nearly became a victim of human trafficking back in 2015…Giddens [claims] someone drugged his drink at a Birmingham bar while he was in the restroom…“We pulled up behind a U-Haul…which literally had people with duct taped mouths and their hands behind their back.  And at that point I really started to freak out and realize, okay something is wrong.” Giddens managed to escape [with his super kung-fu powers], but not all are as fortunate.  [His wanking fantasy is promoted by] Sunny Slaughter…a [self-proclaimed] anti-human trafficking expert [who] has [told this and similar tall tales] in several current human trafficking courses for [cops] in Alabama…

Signs (#912)

Dallas Morning News “sex trafficking” propaganda is deeply stupid even by the low standards of US “journalism”:

Pretty Woman…reveals the longstanding complicity of the hospitality industry in the trafficking of sex.  Early in the film, the hotel manager takes Vivian aside and says he is “willing to overlook” the trafficking of sex for “special guests” of the hotel, as long as she dresses “more appropriately”…hotels and motels too often turn a blind eye to sex trafficking.  Sadly, many businesses choose profit over freedom for the thousands of young women and girls…It’s also owners, managers and workers in the transportation industry, including airlines, rental car, limousine and taxi companies and other ride-sharing services…

Don’t be misled by the incredible idiocy of using a Disney adaptation of “Cinderella” as “proof” of anything, nor by the blatant equation of sex work with “slavery”:  this article is paid propaganda for Polaris’ new drive to cajole, trick, shame & manipulate every public-facing industry into acting as a fascist surveillance network intended to curtail the freedom of all women by summoning the pigs to harass us if we dare move about the world as men do.

Safe Position (#918)

A positive article on Decrim NY in Jezebel, which has never been very good on sex work:

…members of Decrim NY hope to leverage a reactive political climate to make New York the first state in the country to successfully enact this kind of reform…Unlike the so-called “Nordic model”…the group is hoping to…decriminaliz[e] the practice entirely…Though even Amnesty International voted to endorse full decriminalization three years ago, reform in America has been [nonexistent]…Anti-[sex worker] organizations invoke ghoulish scenarios and claim decriminalization will make women unsafe…Decrim NY responded to [Kamala] Harris, saying her call for a model that criminalized people who buy sex, particularly following her previous positions…[is] “about political opportunism while still getting to do the dangerous moralizing on sex work that, quite literally, kills people in our country”…There is overwhelming research supporting the idea that police and state interaction with sex workers makes an already vulnerable population even more unsafe, and that laws as they’re currently written, in addition to being absurd and ripe for abuse, facilitate deeply biased practices…

See the next item for more on Harris’ opportunistic lies.

Top Cop (#918)

The hopelessly-square Advocate tries to neuter an excellent anti-Copmala op-ed by slapping a weaselly headline on it:

…headlines [claiming that Kamala Harris supports decriminalizing sex work] are irresponsible and false…Harris has a career-long history of anti-sex worker efforts.  In 2008, Harris advocated against a ballot initiative that would decriminalize sex work in San Francisco, saying, “I think it’s completely ridiculous”…Harris did more than “support” FOSTA/SESTA — she was integral to their passage…and released a statement of victory when they passed…Harris clarifies her stance on prostitution…as…the Nordic model…she sees the act of buying sex as…crime…[on the topic of] Backpage.com…she dramatically repeats the phrase, “They were selling children”…Gay men, in particular, should bristle at th[is] decades-old…argument, which has been used by politicians for decades to strip us of employment and attack our rights.  For Harris, “selling children” is a scare tactic, a buzzword for people who don’t understand much about…sex work…

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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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Sex workers…are human beings who[se]…rights to health, safety, self-determination, and bodily autonomy should not be subject to debate or sacrifice to abstract principles.  –  Green Party proposal

If It Were Legal

I’m willing to bet this was either a findom arrangement or a blackmail fantasy:

The second in command of the Harris County [Texas] Treasurer’s Office is accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from a county credit union to pay a dominatrix who was blackmailing him.  Gregory Lueb was arrested…and charged with felony theft of up to $30,000…Lueb told investigators…the woman eventually demanded money and threatened to tell his wife…

If he’s telling the truth, and if sex work weren’t illegal and stigmatized, he could’ve gone to an established professional instead of some sleazy amateur.

The Punitive Mindset

The need to censor is one of the most twisted of perversions:

A federal judge is considering whether South Dakota’s statewide ban on porn in prisons is constitutional.  The case arose from an inmate, Charles Sisney, who says all sorts of non-pornographic content got caught up in porn prohibition, including a yoga magazine, images of Michaelangelo’s work, and Japanese comics. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South Dakota and the National Coalition have filed briefs in support of Sisney’s case…the parameters of the ban go way beyond adult films, nude images, or other things that most people would consider to be porn.  Prisoners are banned from writing sexually explicit letters or receiving them, and from receiving any visual or written material that’s deemed sexually explicit…

Three Steps Back

In December 2010, New Orleans decided to de facto decriminalize marijuana and prostitution, then it changed its collective mind and recriminalized them.  We’re all familiar with what happened afterward with sex work, but two years ago the city actually went ahead and truly decriminalized weed, with the following results:

…newly released city statistics show that New Orleans police have taken the city’s cannabis decriminalization efforts seriously, and now make arrests in only 1% of minor cannabis incidents.  The New Orleans City Council passed an ordinance two years ago  decriminalizing minor cannabis possession, giving [cops] the discretion to ticket rather than arrest suspects found with small amounts of pot…NOPD has all but eliminated marijuana charges from their protocol, reducing the rate of possession-related arrests from 72% of all police and pot interactions in 2011-2014, to the newly released number of only 1% in the last half of 2016 and first half of 2017…last year saw 5,000 fewer cannabis-related arrests in New Orleans than took place half a decade ago…

And yet they can’t seem to grasp that decriminalizing sex work would have similar benefits.

Stand-Up Guys 

Shift in the Wind

It looks like the Greens are poised to become the second US political party (the Libertarians have held the position for decades) to adopt decriminalization as an official position.  The new position has apparently been approved by Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Utah, and by the party’s Black Caucus, Lavender Greens and Young Greens.  The explanation of the reasons for the change starts like this:

It is the opinion of the authors of this document that the party’s current stance on sex work…is morally indefensible, ideologically incoherent, and politically damaging.  The submitted revisions represent an effort to eliminate derogatory language, move the Green Party’s stated policy prescriptions away from carceral state solutions and more in line with the current thought of human rights groups such as Amnesty International, and…condemn…violence against women without condemning or negating the existence of individual sex workers…

Worse Than I Thought

Anti-whore assholes just keep getting bolder:

California Senate Bill 1204…sponsored by…Patricia Bates…is aimed at broadening the definition of “pandering” within the State of California…to [include anyone] “who arranges, causes, encourages, induces, persuades, or procures another person to be a prostitute”…What does “encourages” mean? If I say to my friend “hey you would make a great prostitute!” – have I just encouraged that person to be a prostitute and therefore I am guilty of the crime of pandering?  What about my free speech rights?  What if my friend who is a prostitute says, “gee I wish I could see a client today because I really need to feed my child/pay my rent but I cannot afford condoms” and I give that person condoms, have I encouraged the act of prostitution?  What if I as a lawyer – give advice to a prostitute…have I just committed pandering?…I would encourage you to contact Senator Patricia Bates office and encourage her to kill her own bill…

The Punitive Mindset (#688) 

Long-time readers know that I’ve been playing Dungeons & Dragons since 1981, and that it’s my all-time favorite game.  I’ve alluded to it many times and even written a few columns touching on it, and though I haven’t played in about 8 years now I’ve recently started thinking about starting up a new game for some friends.  So I quite enjoyed this long-form article about the game, its history and its long record of being attacked by authoritarians for promoting imagination and free thought.  I decided to list it under this category because the article includes a section on prison officials banning the game (because of course they would), which I reported on in the above-linked column.  But really, I just couldn’t pass up calling it to your attention at a time when most of the contents of this blog are darker than any imaginary dungeon, and the real world is dominated by far scarier monsters than any I ever made up for the heroes to defeat.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#787) 

Yes, this is a supposedly sane adult arguing that toasters have “feelings” and can “suffer”, while classifying sex workers as subhuman:

Late in 2017 at a tech fair in Austria, a sex robot was “molested” repeatedly and left in a “filthy” state.  The robot, named Samantha, received a barrage of male attention, which resulted in her sustaining two broken fingers.  This incident confirms worries that the possibility of fully functioning sex robots raises both tantalising possibilities for human desire (by mirroring human/sex-worker relationships), as well as serious ethical questions …there are certain elements of relationships between humans and sex workers that we may not wish to repeat.  But to me, it is the ethical aspects of the way we think about human-robot desire that are particularly key…

Yes, moral retard Victoria Brooks there describes vandalism of a machine as “molestation” and waxes poetic about this object’s “suffering”, while twice in a short section referring to sex workers as things apart from humans.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#792) 

Possibly the most pathetic of all things: a gay male prude:

…how Grindr is affecting gay men….doesn’t look good.  The most common reason users gave for going on the app is that sex feels great and Grindr makes it accessible, right at your fingertips…Neuroscientists have shown that orgasm causes activation of pleasure areas of the brain like the ventral tegmental area while deactivating areas involved with self-control.  And these patterns of activation in men are strikingly similar to what researchers see in the brain of individuals using heroin or cocaine.  So when a neutral action (clicking on Grindr) is paired with a pleasurable response in the brain (orgasm), humans learn to do that action over and over again.  This can be…a setup for addiction…

Disaster

It usually starts with us, but it never, ever stops with us:

…Sex workers are the canaries in the digital coal mine, and SESTA, if it isn’t fought and reversed, is a disaster for all kinds of online speech…It’s no surprise that a bill like this has manifested alongside the #MeToo movement — it challenges what it means to for sex workers to consent, and takes aim at the online speech that acts as evidence that we have…The ambiguously written bill creates what is in effect a special loophole to target the speech of sex workers within the sweeping legal protections given to online speech.  And because marginalized groups often act as Patient Zero for regressive new laws, it will be no surprise when this new approach to censorship eventually spreads across the internet…The difference between what sex workers and their advocates say — that trafficking is a relatively minor issue in their industry — and what anti-sex trafficking legislators believe reflects the country’s long held reluctance to believe women when they tell the truth, especially when it involves sex.  One place where that truth is told daily is the internet communities where sex workers reside in safety and solidarity, and SESTA is designed to break up these communities…

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Radfems…use terms like “sell herself” as though, at the end of the transaction, a woman has sold off a body part.  –  Lauren Rosewarne

Saving Them From Themselves

Apparently Dan Rubinstein has never heard of this thing called “pregnancy”:

…Ronald Lee Love faces a felony child sexual-exploitation charge for exchanging explicit text-messages with someone with whom it would have been legal for him to have had sex.  Love, who lives in Mesa County, Colorado, began corresponding last summer when he was 25 with a 15-year-old girl who lives in New England…he explicitly insisted that their relationship remain digital because he believed physical activity was illegal…In Colorado, however, the age of consent is 15, so long as a sexual partner is not 10 or more years older…Yet authorities in this same state have decided someone…Receiving or possessing sexually-oriented images of someone under age 18…is a felony punishable by one to six years per offense…Local authorities defended their position that sexting is worse than actual sex, contending that…while a real-life sexual liaison might be a one-or limited-time thing, the teen sending Love her photo could “potentially come back to haunt this girl 30 years from now,” said Mesa County District Attorney District Attorney Dan Rubinstein.

Because obviously being saddled with a brat at 15 wouldn’t be NEARLY as bad as the kind of nudie pics that every ordinarily-sexual woman in the developed world has floating around.  Do pigs (I count DAs as part of that species) ever sound as stupid as they do when coming up with moronic rationalizations for moronic laws?

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Heroic Irish “authorities” save a man from getting his kidney transplant paid for:

A 73-year-old Brazilian prostitute…working in a brothel in…Kildare…walked free from court because she planned to return home as soon as the…case was over…She…was running the brothel…to pay for her 40-year-old son’s kidney transplant.  She also wanted to return home to her seriously ill 98-year-old mother…gardai…found just €80 in cash at the property…but…Judge Zaidan…[stole it anyway] and [gave it to Ruhama]…

Irish judges have a long an sadistic history of robbing sex workers and giving the money to those who want us imprisoned in workhouses and our families destroyed.

The Notorious Badge

You know peak hysteria has been reached when a moral panic features in afternoon soaps:

Young and the Restless (Y&R) spoilers for the week of August 7 and 14 reveal that Sharon…finds herself in grave danger while investigating a sex ring in Genoa City…Crystal…claims she is being held against her will by a prostitution ring…[and] is trying to escape from her captors who are following her… Zack is involved in the prostitution ring and…his dating app project with Abby Newman is linked with the operations of the criminal ring.  Abby Newman will soon find out that the dating app she is developing with Zack is part of a sex trafficking operation…

End Demand

Authoritarians would be even more dangerous if they could actually get their shit together:

People convicted of buying sex have, since February, been eligible for a program to [indoctrinate] them [in anti-sex propaganda]…But no one has been sentenced to it yet…[because] Bismarck [North Dakota]…City Attorney Jason Hammes…did not know it existed…”It appears the municipal prosecutors and judges may not be aware of it,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in a letter to city attorneys and municipal judges on July 25…

Watershed

Australia has far more sane feminists than does the US:

While women’s libbers have spent decades fighting to get us dominion over our own bodies, radical feminists have spent almost as long trying to insert caveats.  Apparently there are right and egregiously  wrong ways to use our bodies – more specifically our genitals – particularly when dollars are involved…I not only vehemently disagree with the radfem position, but I view it as fundamentally un-feminist…If feminists aren’t fighting for my right to use my body how I choose, then they’ve dramatically detoured from their mission…

Decentralization (#444)

Remember “titcoin”?

“Lust” is an initial coin offering based on the Ethereum blockchain platform, designed for prostitutes and their customers to exchange money for sexual services.  It uses…anonymity features to escrow funding of the parties and keep their identities private, in order to avoid law-enforcement scrutiny and public shaming.  Leaving aside the thorny moral and social questions raised by the currency’s intended use…the “smart contracts” favor one side of the bargain: the “key has to be scanned later if they make an agreement and meet otherwise the contract gets automatically closed in 48 hours, and the client gets his Etherium tokens back in the wallet”…if the “client” has sex with the worker, and then does not scan her (sic) token, the client gets to have sex, and the worker gets nothing.  Despite high-minded talk about preventing violence against sex-workers, the major threat-model addressed by these smart-contracts is men who don’t feel like they got value for money when having sex, not women who perform sex-for-money and don’t get paid for it…

Despite Cory Doctorow’s pompous pearl-clutching (since when is consensual sex a “thorny moral question” to anyone but authoritarians?) he’s right about the way this would work, which means no sane sex worker will ever use it.  Cash up front, guys, or you get nothing.

Shift in the Wind (#510)

The Adam Smith Institute continues its support of decriminalization with a commentary on a new paper by Ron Weitzer:

…sociologist Ronald Weitzer…gives new insight into the sorry state of the academic literature on these topics.  First on his list of grievances is the unreliability of the data that is often used…[but] Flawed data is just the tip of the iceberg…[often] the authors’ approach to study design also leaves a lot to be desired…”The authors use aggregate national trafficking estimates (which combine labor, sex, and other kinds of trafficking) in their attempt to assess whether legal prostitution makes a difference. This means that there is a gross mismatch between the trafficking figures and prostitution law:  In assessing whether prostitution law is related to the incidence of trafficking, figures on sex trafficking alone should be used, not the totals for all types if trafficking“…A subsequent study by Cho (2016) using a different data source contains another howler…”Without citing any source, Cho claims that ‘prostitution is closely linked to human trafficking because sex trafficking for the purpose of prostitution is the most common form of human trafficking and constitutes the largest fraction of trafficking victims’…This claim is contradicted by the International Labour Organization (ILO)…[which states] ‘Forced commercial sexual exploitation represents 11% of all cases’ of forced labor worldwide“…Weitzer’s paper would be an interesting academic exercise in the perils of low-quality data and poor research methodology, except for the fact that policies being enacted on the basis of [these bad] studies are hurting marginalized women…when it comes to scaremongering stories about sex trafficking epidemics and accompanying calls for the “Nordic Model”, extra caution should be exercised.

Cops and Robbers (#629) 

More vigilantes playing with people’s lives and lying to men in an attempt to steal income from sex workers who may need it to pay rent and feed their children:

A new [chat]bot built by Microsoft employees in their spare time…[was] tested recently in Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington…[it] lurks behind fake online ads…posted by [anti-sex worker profiteers]…and responds to text messages sent to the number listed.  The software initially pretends to be the person in the ad, and can converse about its purported age, body, fetish services, and pricing.  But if a would-be buyer signals an intent to purchase sex, the bot pivots sharply into [prohibitionist propaganda]…”Buying sex from anyone is illegal and can cause serious long term harm to the victim, as well as further the cycle of human trafficking…Details of this incident will be reviewed further and you may be contacted by law enforcement for questioning”…Project Intercept’s lead partner, Seattle Against Slavery, is working with counterparts in 21 other U.S. cities, including Boston and Houston, to deploy the bot more widely…Project Intercept was started in 2012 by two Microsoft employees after seeing a [movie] about sex trafficking…

Given the involvement of the vile SAS and the list of cities involved, methinks Swanee Hunt’s foul reek is all over this.

Lack of Evidence (#696)

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

On July 31, an undercover cop in Columbus, Georgia, invited a 51-year-old woman into his car and offered her $5 for oral sex. When she rebuffed his offer and tried to get out, he arrested the woman for loitering for the purpose of prostitution…a controversial charge commonly used by the Columbus Police Department (CPD) to target those such as homeless women, people who’ve previously been arrested on prostitution charges, or people who don’t meet a [cop’s] standard of gender conformity.  On Sunday morning, CPD officers arrested a 24-year-old homeless woman for allegedly waving at two passing cars from the side of the road…Last summer, 24-year-old C. Williams was arrested while sitting at a bus stop because…Williams was carrying condoms and “dressed as a woman”…the city statute…expressly says evidence of an intent to commit prostitution or sodomy includes the person being “a known prostitute, pimp or sodomist”…

The Widening Gyre (#696) 

Given the number of companies profiting from “sex trafficking” hysteria, it should come as no surprise when individuals start using it for publicity stunts:

British model Chloe Ayling…claims she was held captive for almost a week after being lured to Milan, Italy, for what she was told was a photo shoot.  Her alleged captor, Lukasz Pawel Herba, [supposedly] drugged her and placed her in a large suitcase in a car boot…Ayling was allegedly held hostage for up to six days as her abductors [supposedly a group called “Black Death” with ties to the Russian mafia] tried to sell her as a sex slave…The gang says its victims can be “transported globally” and advertises its activities, saying: “If you wish, we can kidnap a specific target for your needs…The advert claims the abductors “do not sell girls that are terminally ill, pregnant, have STDs or are young mothers”.  It has been suggested the gang let Ms Ayling go after realising she had a two-year-old son…While [sensible] people have raised doubts about her story, her lawyer, Francesco Pesce, said investigators believed her claims…

That cops, whose credulity on the topic of crime knows no bounds, believe the story is an argument against its being true, not for it.  Another is the notion of a gang which has no problem selling women into slavery, yet revere the sanctity of motherhood, and yet another is the fact that Ayling was seen shopping for shoes with her alleged abductor during the time she was supposedly bound to a chest of drawers (?) at a farmhouse.

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