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Posts Tagged ‘Social Autoimmune Disorder’

Sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such.  –  Anja Derungs

Acting and Activism 

Not an article you’d see in the US:

…Celebrities…[such as] Ashton Kutcher, Ricky Martin, Demi Moore, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Emma Thompson have all been extensively involved in [so-called] anti-trafficking campaigns…Recently, comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Meyers starred in a [propaganda video] in support of…new [censorship] legislation in the US to curtail sex work in the name of preventing sex trafficking…Celebrities…bridge the gap between brand and cause ambassador, between hawker and humanitarian.  A clear example of this is Demi Moore’s partnership in 2011 with a jewellery retailer to sell diamond handcuff pendants, with some of the profits going to support the anti-[sex work] foundation established by Moore and her husband at the time, Ashton Kutcher…the presence of movie and television stars at the forefront of awareness campaigns can fuel the expectation that real trafficking victims are just like those we see on television or the big screen…sex slavery…is a popular storyline in entertainment mediaTaken…was a smash hit…spawning two sequels and a television show…Stories of sex trafficking have featured in other movies like The Whistleblower and Trade, and numerous television shows including Criminal Minds, CSIHawaii Five-O, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS: Los Angeles, Without a Trace, and The Wire.  The broad reach of movies and TV means that we are more likely to hear about human trafficking in a fictional context…The lines between entertainment, infotainment and information become blurred, especially when we are told…stories of trafficking by the very people who might play the heroes on screen...

Saving Them From Themselves

Dr. David Ley can always be counted on to speak good sense:

…prosecution of teen sexting suffers from the same disparities as much of our legal system: teens who are Black [or LGBT] may be more likely to face prosecution…Males are more frequently charged than females, even in cases involving mutual sharing of pictures…it is mostly the US that is having this teen sexting panic.  Countries in which social nudity is common and accepted don’t seem to be reacting quite as punitively to these phenomena…Amy Hasinoff, author of Sexting Panic, argues strongly that…child pornography laws need to be updated to be more consistent with age of sexual consent laws:  If you can have sex at age 15 or 16, then you should be able to take or share a naked or sexual image (of yourself) as well.  But she also says that we need to take a better educational approach with teens, teaching them about healthy sexuality and relationships and giving them support and guidance on how to sext safely, not trying to stop them sexting altogether.  In other words, we need to start practicing harm reduction strategies…

Gorged With Meaning

Cracked has fewer pro-sex work articles than it once did, but this one’s excellent:

…”Being alone with a man is being alone with a man,” says Fancy, “and they don’t see a difference between a sugar baby and an escort.  In fact, because it’s the first area of sex work many people start with, the risk is higher because the expectation of screening isn’t really there”…Despite sugar sites’ insistence that “entering the sugar bowl” is all about forming lasting romantic bonds of convenience, the turnover rate for arrangements is high — about two months on average, in Fancy’s experience…Both of our sources recently made the decision to quit sugar dating.  Julia got a promotion at her day job, while Fancy decided that the profit wasn’t worth it compared to traditional escorting and stripping.  “I found the men on the sugaring sites to largely be cheapskates who want to trick young women who are too scared to escort into providing escort services for a fraction of the cost,” she says. “It’s very manipulative, financially”…higher-end escorts tend to charge at least $2,000 for overnight stays.  In her experience, that amount is at the upper end of the monthly  allowances sugar daddies offer — and for escorts, those overnight stays don’t require the devotion, time, and attention that often accompany a sugar arrangement…”I was taking $300-$600 for overnight (sugar) stays!  All just so I could call myself something other than a whore”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

A…Lethbridge [Alberta] school teacher…Dwayne Schnell…pleaded guilty to charges of making and distributing child pornography…Schnell abused his position of trust by taking pictures of eight students…without their knowledge…a psychiatrist said…Schnell has no concept of the harm caused to the children, parents, or the school where he worked….[and] assertions that he suffers from impulse control and addiction issues were “self-deceptive excuses to justify his behaviour”…Schnell…[claims] he has a pornography addiction…

Uncommon Sense (#545)

How countries with healthy ideas about sex react to the Swedish disease:

A campaign to make prostitution illegal in Switzerland is being met with stiff resistance from human rights group.  The Swiss Aids Federation [and] Amnesty International…are among several advocacy groups rallying against the…[crusade, which] was launched by the Women’s Centre in Zurich…and calls for a Swedish-style ban on prostitution…Anja Derungs, spokesperson for the Zurich Equality Office said that “sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such”…Daniel Seiler…of the Swiss AIDS Federation, said that sex work “is the oldest profession in the world” and would not disappear if a ban was in place.  This approach had not worked it Sweden either, where the trade still exists, he noted…The Women’s Centre in Bern also expressed its opposition to the campaign launched by its counterpart in Zurich…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Shaming clients is an exercise in evil fuckery that just won’t die:

The Catalan town of Gavà wants to stamp out [sex workers]…and snitch on those who [enable sex workers to pay their bills and support their children]…by sending fines to their family addresses…”Up until now, the client used to pay the fine (to police) in cash right there and then so that there was no record of the offence”…[anti-sex] Minister Gemma Badia is quoted as saying…As a result, authorities have decided [cops]…should send the fines to clients’ home addresses…Even if the clients were to insist on paying before the fine was posted, they would still receive a letter informing them, and quite possibly their family members, on the settlement of their prostitution case…

The Monsters Are Due (#742) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

A 92-year-old man…was thrown to the ground [and] stomped on by strangers on the Fourth of July…in…Los Angeles…Rodolfo Rodriguez [is] a native of Mexico and legal U.S. resident…Laquisha Jones, 30, was arrested…[and] booked for assault with a deadly weapon…Rodriguez had gone out alone for his daily walk, [the victim’s grandson, Erik] Mendoza said…While walking, Rodriguez may have bumped into a small girl, witness Misbel Borjas…said…she [then] saw a woman with the girl push Rodriguez and beat him with a brick.  The woman also told Rodriguez to “go back to your country”…Borjas had been driving by, she said, and wanted to stop, but the woman threatened to hit her car with the brick.  Borjas instead called 911 and took a picture of the woman, which she shared with police and put on social media.  Borjas said a group of men then came down the street, and the woman accused Rodriguez of trying to take the child.  That’s when about three of them also began beating him…Rodriguez…suffered two broken ribs and a broken cheekbone…

Cops and Robbers (#823)

No fad spreads faster than a new way to tyrannize innocent people:

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco announced new initiatives to [harass]…sex [workers]…Deputies will utilize intercept bots to track people who use the Internet to search out [adult consensual sex]…The bots will communicate like a [very stupid and robotic] person, exchanging information such as phone numbers and could even set up meeting locations.  [Pigs]…will [creep] in to lock up the buyer and then go after the person in court…

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

The War Goes On (#831) 

We told you so:

…promoting prostitution…cases, according to [spokespig] John Daggy [of Indianapolis]…have…dried up…[since] the feds closed police’s [easiest site for stings]…Backpage…“We’ve been a little bit blinded lately because they shut Backpage down,” Daggy said…

The melodramatic telling of the arrest of a wannabe “pimp” is especially hilarious.  NB: Every time his name comes up, I remind readers that one of Daggy’s jobs is to make excuses for cops who rape sex workers.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#849) 

It’s fascinating in a train-wreck kind of way to watch the lies spiral out of control:

Fulton County Police Chief Darryl Halbert said 100,000 children become sex trafficking victims in Georgia per year and are mostly runaways between the ages of 12 and 14.  He said the county police department uses surveillance cameras and sting operations to [pretend they’re fighting] the [imaginary] crime…

Yes, that’s a pig oinking that almost 5% of the entire below-18 population of Georgia (something like 30% of the age group mentioned) become “sex slaves” every year.  Even allowing for half “escaping”, that would mean roughly half of the population of Georgia under the age of 30 are now “sex slaves”.  One wonders where they’re all stored, and where the clients to support this massive population all come from.

Welcome To Our World (#853)

Locking pregnant women in cages for “trafficking” themselves.  Had enough yet?

Phnom Penh Municipal Court…charged 33 women with human trafficking after they were detained following a raid on a surrogacy business…last month…[being pregnant in a way politicians don’t like] is illegal and could carry a jail sentence of up to 20 years…Chou Bun Eng, chair of the National Authority Against Human Trafficking, said…“We cannot tell you the place where the women are [locked in cages] because we want to protect their rights and…keep them safe”…

“Keep them safe” and “protect their rights”.  By locking them in cages for 20 years.  For being pregnant.  Feminism!

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The courts, instead of keeping our lawmakers honest, have instead opted to craft ostensibly thoughtful and well-reasoned opinions allowing the legislature to do whatever ridiculous and often horrible things pop into their heads.  –  Matt Brown

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#12)

Criminalization always makes sex work conditions shittier:

…the International Labor Organization interviewed…sex workers…and local authorities in Vietnam, and strongly suggested that the country do something about the occupational safety and health risks that come with the industry.  Most workers had casual jobs before they chose to enter the sex industry, after considering it a better option.  Out of the 73 workers surveyed, only one reported to having been deceived into selling sex, but many workers had their movements controlled by employers and some had their identity papers held…According to the workers, conditions would be better in well-maintained, expensive bars, discotheques, spas, massage parlors and restaurants, while brothels and cheap cafés, restaurants, karaoke bars and parlors are dirty and do not guarantee security and safety.  However, no matter where they work, there is always the threat of violence and police raids, especially for women working on the streets…

Too Young To Know

Despite the emphasis on asinine dysphemisms like “resorting to sex work” and “selling their body” [sic], at least this article understands that young people nearly always sell sex out of necessity, and not because they’re abducted by bogeyman “pimps”:

Teenagers in America are resorting to sex work because they cannot afford food, according to a study…by the Urban Institute…Evidence of teenage girls turning to “transactional dating” with older men is likely to cause particular alarm…The consistency of the findings across gender, race and geography was a surprise…Teens would overwhelmingly prefer to earn money through a formal job but prospects for youth employment are extremely limited…

The two red flags I see here are 1) the Urban Institute has produced shoddy sex work studies in the recent past; and 2) the study seems to rely more heavily on anecdotes told by teens about other, unidentified teens, rather than on reports given by teens about their own behavior.

Still a Child 

It’s shocking & saddening to see how low the journalistic standards of PBS and the New York Times have dropped:

An exposé on the shocking number of girls who continue to be forced into marriage in the United States will air…as part of a two-part special for PBS NewsHour….“This is a story so few know is happening right down their street,” [Gayle] Lemmon [said]…in an email…Among the stories featured will be that of a New Jersey girl named Jada, whose father brought her with him to live in Saudi Arabia.  At the age of 12, her father decided to marry her off…he…forced her to walk on his right side while they were together in public — so other Saudi men would know that she was for sale.  Apparently, it’s a cultural signal there.  Another woman…is Nina, a 33-year-old Michigan woman, who said she was seeking an annulment because she had been married against her will at the age of 19.  The case is perhaps the first of its kind in the U.S., and could shape future legal precedent…Nina…talks about [how] sex with her “husband” came to feel like imprisonment and tantamount to rape…

“Right down their street” sounds like something borrowed from “sex trafficking” hysteria, which this whole story resembles. “Apparently, it’s a cultural signal…” “Apparently“?  Didn’t y’all bother to fucking find out, like by consulting an expert on Saudi culture?  And as for Nina, last I checked, 19 was not considered a “child” anywhere in the US, at least not yet.  I’m certainly sympathetic to women who may feel economically trapped in a bad marriage, or feel unable to leave due to threats of violence, but this seems to be conflating adult women with 12-year-old girls, and that’s an extremely dangerous road for self-respecting women to be allowing our culture & media to follow without speaking up.

Policing for Profit 

This excuse is pathetic, even by cop standards:

NYPD brass testified before the…City Council…that it has no idea how much money it [steals] from citizens each year…and an attempt to collect the data would crash its computer systems…NYC councilmember Ritchie Torres introduced legislation this year that would require annual reports from the police department about how much money it [steals], but at Thursday’s hearing, the NYPD said it has no technologically feasible way to track [thefts that were]…not [challenged by the rightful owners in court]…Bronx Defenders…is suing the NYPD for public records on its asset forfeiture program, which rakes in millions in seized cash and property…every year.  According to the scant records Bronx Defenders did manage to get back, the NYPD reported more than $6 million in revenue in 2013 from seized cash, forfeitures, and property sold at auction, and it had a balance of more than $68 million in seized currency in any given month of that year…the vast majority of [stolen] assets are simply forfeited…after the…property owner fails to go through the burdensome and Byzantine process of trying to retrieve them by the deadline…

Nice While It Lasted

Now that the precedent’s firmly established, you’re going to see an increasing number of laws that presume guilt:

In Arizona, the legislature…decided to define sexual abuse and molestation of a child in such a way that intentionally or knowingly touching the genitals or anus of a child or the breast of a female younger than fifteen is a felony.  That should come as no surprise to anyone who is remotely familiar with Arizona, as the one thing the legislature is good at is passing the broadest and most Draconian criminal laws they can imagine…thanks to the Supreme Court of Arizona’s opinion in State v. Holle, the terms of the statute are to be applied literally…the defense that there was no sexual motivation is one the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence…the court justifies making every parent in Arizona a sex offender tasked with proving his or her innocence should a prosecutor decide to ruin his or her life with charges…

Vendetta (Traffic Updates)

More anti-sex violence and attempted brainwashing funded by the sociopathic Swanee Hunt:

[Boston] is stepping up efforts to shame prostitution customers — including the prospect of sending them off to “john school” to [indoctrinate them in the religion of] human trafficking.  It’s all part of a police [fantasy that they can] reduce the online sex trade in the city by 20 percent over the next year…Police are set to receive a $30,000 grant from Demand Abolition…

Between the Ears (#545) 

Have a device that connects to the internet? Assume it can be used to spy on you:

…in a class-action lawsuit representing…tens of thousands of users, [an] Illinois woman has…[sued] sex-toy company Standard Innovation.  She accuses the company, which is based in Ottawa, Canada, of consumer fraud, unjust enrichment, intrusion upon seclusion, and violating the Federal Wiretap Act and the Illinois Eavesdropping Statute…The woman reportedly bought her We-Vibe Rave for $130 in May and proceeded to use it several times before learning via a Defcon hacking convention talk…that her extremely personal usage was being scrutinized for marketing purposes by its maker…the toy can connect to a smartphone for such activities as adjusting vibration type…and intensity…not to mention allowing someone else to be at the controls from afar…

The Widening Gyre (#545) sex-trafficking-flyer

I guess that “outside agency” never heard of Snopes:

The Boys and Girls Club in Chico [California] was notified…about a suspicious job flyer…Devon Saul says these flyers are raising some serious questions.  “For very minimal work it does through [sic] up a red flag to say okay what’s the catch…It promises great pay. 60, 80, 100 dollars a day.  Great trips, great gifts and bonuses and things like that”…His concerns were solidified when an outside agency in Tehama County notified then non-profit that this may be a sex trafficking scam…the club decided education on human trafficking was needed for staff…

Actually, it says $60 to $100 a week, which is about $12-$20 a day; not exactly a fortune.  But I guess we can’t expect literacy from a man who mixes metaphors so egregiously and thinks that if two people are both hysterical, that “solidifies” their fantasies.  And I guess it’s too much to expect these people to actually call the number to investigate what it’s about instead of jumping at their own shadows.

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

I encourage residents to use public computers to report every police car and other official vehicle they can find:

Oakland is…introducing a website…[where busybodies can report] the license plate numbers of suspected johns’ vehicles and describe the specific activity they witnessed.  The sightings are uploaded to the police, who will send a letter to the address where the vehicle is registered…The predecessor…was a program called Dear John, introduced in 2013, which allowed residents to fill out a form that they submitted to the police.  That program generated more than 300 “Dear John” letters mailed to the owners of the vehicles spotted by residents…[cops pretend that] there had been no signs of false reporting in [that] program…

The crowning hypocrisy?  This is Oakland.

To Molest and Rape 

Another woman raped by cops answers headline: “Almost certainly.”

A woman who was…raped by a [cop] said much of which she recalled from that night was “blurry,” but that at one point she woke up and “he was on top of me”…an acquaintance…[drove] her [home from a bar] because she wasn’t in a condition to drive…[Erich] Fritz pulled the man over…and arrested him for operating while intoxicated…Fritz [then] took her to…a hotel room [and raped her]…

Turning Point

Tina Horn uses the New York Times Magazine cover story as a jumping-off point for an article entitled “10 Reasons Decriminalizing Sex Work Is A Feminist Issue“.  And though I think there are much better arguments to be made than most of these, every little bit helps and it’s great to see the number of articles like this one ever increasing.

Too Close To Home (#672)

Read Liz Brown’s fantastic expose, then understand that this is talking about the same events through an anti-sex filter:

The men didn’t know that Hillman, the man they had invited into their elite circle, was actually an undercover detective.  Law enforcement is beginning to take notice of so-called “John boards” — review sites where customers rate prostitutes.  The men busted in this Seattle group earlier this year exposed a secretive world where online sex buyers are treading on a whole new level of criminal behavior…Hillman wrote fake reviews and was invited to join a subgroup that called itself “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”…The League attracted the attention of law enforcement not because its members bought a lot of sex, but because of how they worked together…After six months of undercover surveillance, law enforcement closed in.  They busted eight brothels.  A dozen Korean women were offered human trafficking victim services and released…

Hillman didn’t write “fake reviews”; he paid and wrote reviews just like the others, which (considering he used the acts to harm us) makes him a serial rapist.  And no, those women weren’t “offered” anything, nor were they “released”, because the cops never got their filthy hands on them; they were tipped off and fled.  But because that would ruin the narrative of “exploited victims”, this story was invented so the “authorities” could look benevolent to ignoramuses.  Also note this story doesn’t bother to mention the ruined lives and the suicide this ham-fisted pogrom left in its ugly wake.

Of Course It Is (#673)

I hope she gets every damned penny:

…a lawsuit was filed against the city of Oakland [by] attorneys for Jasmine Abuslin, formerly known as Celeste Guap…her attorneys expect to file similar suits against other jurisdictions involved in this sex scandal.  So far, only two [cops] have been formally charged…

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[Louisiana] has rendered consent…into an utterly meaningless concept.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Social Autoimmune Disorder

Remember when busybodies actually had to spy on people in person?

CCTV cameras have been installed to catch kerb crawlers at a notorious prostitution hot spot in Southall…Hounslow Council has teamed up with police to crack down on kerb crawlers…attempting to pay for sex around Hayes Road…Warning letters have been sent to 63 kerb crawlers frequenting Hayes Road, who were identified from their licence plates.  The council [pretends] it is targeting the potential customers as part of efforts to safeguard women involved in prostitution, some of whom are believed to be trafficking victims…

Is there any sane person with a three-digit IQ who actually believes that the best way to “safeguard” someone is to starve her and render her homeless?

The Scarlet Letter

In the US media, “sex trafficking” is now just a dysphemism for “sex work”:

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has a [masturbatory fantasy about] men who buy sex.  “This is a shameful, dirty secret that they hope to keep,” he [salivated], “… resulting in children that are being subjected to sex trafficking, adults being trapped in slavery”…So-called “john-shaming” isn’t a new concept.  Cities have shamed for years, but to varying results.  With the internet, it’s a little easier now to [indulge in due-process free shaming]…Caroline Lasecki…of Outagamie County’s task force…said her views on publicly identifying johns changed after she sat in on multiple stings and saw how frequently the purchasers of commercial sex ended up being men with wives and children…”That’s what made me have a change in heart — thinking of how this would publicly humiliate their spouses or their children,” said Lasecki…”Most communities that have done this keep doing it,” said [Swanee Hunt’s lapdog] Michael Shively, a [data-fabricator] whose [public dole]-funded site, Demand Forum, [disseminates “end demand” propaganda]…

Uncommon Sense

It’s so funny to watch prudes’ heads explode over something so banal:

a Swiss firm…plans to offer oral sex to customers while they wait for their lattes…Bradley Charvet of Facegirl, an escort agency based in Geneva…wants to add something extra to sex trade in Switzerland…Charvet envisages male patrons ordering coffee and sex workers from the menu, with the entire transaction lasting 10 minutes and costing 60 Swiss francs (€55), making the coffee the most expensive in the city.  Representatives of anti-prostitution groups have expressed their concern with the proposed café.  Grégoire Théry, who represents the French organisation “Mouvement du Nid” said that the business, which would see men choosing sex worker from a list on an iPad, effectively decriminalises pimping…

Gingerbread House

Religious fanatics isolate women they hate and denigrate at a remote cabin in order to brainwash them; state and reporters think this is perfectly OK:

Rick and Pat Freeland have [isolated] hundreds of troubled girls and women at their log cabin refuge deep in the Rocky Mountains…they will only take two victims…at a time…[women labeled as] survivors of sex trafficking can be among the most difficult crime victims to [brainwash], often resisting [“help”], refusing to see themselves as victims and returning to their traffickers…they can be smart, manipulative and deceptive…to…anyone who tries to [force them into brainwashing in the guise of] help…The Freelands’ sprawling home could hold more but “as damaged as they are, it just doesn’t work”…The average age of girls drawn into the U.S. commercial sex industry is 12 years, according to the Department of Justice…The couple receive women and girls who have been [remanded] from an array of organizations and agencies…Sex trafficking may include prostitution, pornography, exotic dancing, stripping and live sex shows…Pat Freeland described the trafficking victims she has met as chameleons, skilled at acting and saying what is needed to survive….untangling the…tentacles of their traffickers is painstaking work…

What will future historians make of the sick culture that produced this twisted, dehumanizing belief system?

Paint By Numbers 

Just do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, and declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”.  Stupid people will believe you and give you money:

From the time it took you to read this sentence, a young girl vanished from her home…as a slave in the sex trade…there are more human slaves in existence today than at any other point in the history of the world…The A21 campaign…[fantasizes] that only 1-2% of victims will ever be rescued…A Los Angeles-based non-profit has found a unique way to help trafficking victims heal…She Is uses the power of dance and movement as a form of therapy to empower women to know they are loved and valued and deserve to be treated with respect…the organization is set to release a documentary about the work they do…with their dance workshops.  The team have launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign which has a couple of weeks left to raise $35,000 to finish the production…

First They Came for the Hookers…(#421)

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you:

Phoenix police served a search warrant…to a strip club under suspicion for prostitution.  The Sunset Strip…was raided by police around 7 a.m…[damaging] parts of the building and…[shutting] down University Avenue [and other nearby businesses] for some time…at least five people were [detained] and questioned by police.  None of them appeared to be underage, officers said.  No word on how many people were officially arrested or if the owner will face charges.

Cooties

Please reread my teaser from the item above:

For two weeks, Arianna Travaglini…tried to book an Airbnb rental for an upcoming trip to Baltimore…but hosts weren’t responding to her messages.  When she clicked the “Instant Book” button, she kept getting error messages…[then] she received an email notifying her that her account had been disabled…[without] explanation…But Travaglini thinks she knows why she’d been banned: She does sex work under the persona Andre Shakti, and the two names can be easily linked with a quick online search…Travaglini has used Airbnb for over two years, under her legal name, and says she’s only ever gotten positive reviews from her hosts.  “I have always used the website for leisure, vacation-related travel—never worked out of the location, never advertised that my other persona was going to be at the location,” she said.  Travaglini also emphasizes that the sex work she does is strictly legal—she performs in pornography and works as a dominatrix…But again, never at an Airbnb rental…

Guinea Pigs 

Ladies, please stop putting hotel-room selfies in your ads immediately:

Molly Hackett…and…Jane Quinn…worked with a development team involving Washington University to roll out a new free smart phone app called Traffick Cam.  It’s designed to allow the public to help police [arrest sex workers]…The app allows hotel guests to enter information about where they’re staying, including the hotel name and room number.  They can also upload four pictures of their room…Quinn said, “Try to capture the pictures or lamps or other décor items”…[pigs] across the U.S. can then cross-reference with hotel photos [in sex workers’ ads]…to see if there are any similarities using…image analysis…The hope is the app will cut down on the amount of time police need to try and [arrest a sex worker before she leaves the hotel]…To date, the app has more than one million hotel photos…

Most of the “sex trafficking apps” we’ve seen before have been little other than silly wankery or ways to snitch to cops without dialing a phone.  But this one is a means of enlisting useful idiot to build a mass surveillance database, and as such threatens the liberty and privacy of millions who have never sold sex.

Full of Themselves (#535)

What is it about massage parlors that brings the puritans out of the woodwork?

The [Rhode Island] General Assembly has passed legislation…that enables…municipalities to regulate unlicensed massage parlors and services within its borders in response to illegal sex trafficking operations disguised as massage parlors…“Pawtucket cannot be a safe haven for businesses involved in sex-trafficking,” [bloviated]  Representative Tobon…“This legislation will protect the children and families of Pawtucket, it will protect the victims of sex-trafficking trapped in these businesses…I have heard from hundreds of massage therapists who want a clearer distinction between their legitimate massage businesses and…massage parlors who have brought ill-repute to the industry…I am confident that this legislation will [magically] end the…exploitation of women”…

These politicians are so full of hot air, I’d love to see one popped with a pin.

Signs

I often wonder what fraction of people who spout this rubbish are actually stupid enough to believe it:

Many of the 28 hotels in…Jacksonville [North Carolina] are now [collaborating with the pigs]…which caused the number of…arrests to rise…Prostitution and human trafficking go hand-in-hand with many other illegal activities…Sgt. Dale Silance…[oinked that] prostitution…doesn’t always look like it does on television…Mug shots of Jacksonville arrestees were compared with Julia Roberts…It’s a red flag if there are too many people going in and out of one room…A woman…at [one]…hotel…was overly…friendly with the staff and guests…red flag actions included guests who ask to visit room 112 but only know the woman as “Velvet” or “Cupcake,” Silance said to the [apelike hooting] of others in the room…Refusing maid service for days on end could be a clue that something is transpiring that the occupants of that room prefer to keep hidden from hotel view.  “If they don’t want you in their room, normally there’s something going on,” Silance [belched]…

So friendliness and a desire for privacy are now “signs” of “sex trafficking”.

Sexual Predators (#637)

Cops are “excited and jazzed up” to trick people and destroy their lives:

…the Ramsey County [Minnesota] attorney’s office has trained more than 3,000 [cops and bureaucrats]…in [turning consensual sex into] sex-trafficking cases and [sex workers into] victims…“These officers right now, they are really excited and jazzed up about doing john stings and doing everything they can to ensure that they have the [politically correct] mindset in dealing with [sex workers]”…Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said…“This is about [forcibly classifying sex workers as] victims of human trafficking,” said St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell…

To Molest and Rape 

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

The Orangeburg County [South Carolina] Sheriff’s Office has fired a deputy after…he [orally raped her under threat of arresting her boyfriend]…the woman reported the incident to 911 immediately after it happened on June 12…the deputy was one of two who responded to a domestic violence call…involving the woman and her boyfriend.  As the boyfriend was outside with the other deputy in a patrol car, the accused deputy…forced her into a back bedroom, where he [raped her]…Sheriff Leroy Ravenell…has not…released [the rapist’s name]…

Amazing how hard it is for reporters to use a simple word like “rape”.  And since the sheriff is hiding this rapist’s identity, I’m sure he won’t mind if I post his picture in place of the rapist’s.

Still a Child (#646) 

A “sex trafficking” fetishist told a bunch of Louisiana politicians “that the state’s I-10 and I-20 corridors are pipelines for human trafficking and there is still legislative work to be done in order to diminish this criminal enterprise.”  But rather than take the necessary step of shutting down these dangerous “pipelines” to protect The ChildrenTM, the state decided to create EVEN MORE “children” to “protect”:

…What the new law actually does is declare all 18- to 20-year-old sex workers as de facto trafficking victims, even if they’re working 100 percent willingly and independently…anyone who works with or helps young-adult sex workers—a friend who gives them a ride, escort agency owners, other sex workers, and their clients—[is]…guilty of the crime of human trafficking.  And not knowing the age of the “victim” is no defense.  Those convicted must register as sex offenders and spend a minimum of 15 years in prison.  The law, which takes effect August 1, allows for a maximum sentence of up to 50 years…The law not only declares young people’s agency inauthentic and their consent null, it [also declares] mens rea…utterly meaningless.  It doesn’t matter if you have gotten explicit consent.  It doesn’t matter if the person you’re paying is an adult woman.  The state has decided that you are a human trafficker, and that’s that…

IOW, because I had employees in that age range, my home state has just retroactively declared me a “sex trafficker” worthy of decades in prison and a lifetime of “sex offender” registration.  Is this enough yet?  Can we stop this insanity now?

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Many use their hands, others use their brains.  We use our vaginas to work.  –  Mónica Lencina

The Red Umbrella 

Katherine Koster of SWOP published this list of “17 Facts About Sexual Violence and Sex Work” as a lead-up to December 17th.   Most of my readers are probably familiar with all or at least most of these already, but it’s important to remind the general public; furthermore, it’s good to see that Huffington Post seems to be slowly distancing itself from anti-whore propaganda and is publishing a lot more pro-sex-worker-rights articles in the past year or so.Mark Benavides

Droit du Seigneur

a…client of Mark H. Benavides, a San Antonio lawyer, accused Benavides of having sex with her in an empty room in the Bexar County Courthouse during her intoxication manslaughter trial.  Benavides claimed that she was lying and upset because she was sentenced to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge…after the first victim spoke up, others came forward.  The first was a prostitute who said that after their first encounter in 2005, he offered his services as a lawyer.  She…always paid for his legal services with sex, never with money.  She stopped in 2012, and Benavides reminded her that he had videotape of their sexual encounters.  Another victim said that she met Benavides repeatedly for sex…[because she] was afraid that if she refused, Benavides would, based on his good relationship with the judge, hurt her case.  The final victim did not have money to pay Benavides, so he had her meet him every Tuesday at a motel.  When she didn’t show one time, he went to court and withdrew the attorney bond he had posted for her, which resulted in her being arrested…Benavides was arrested and charged with three counts of Compelling Prostitution…[which is] much easier to prove [than rape]…

Bell, Hook and Kettle

Though the reporter of course believes in the Salvation Army’s propaganda and doesn’t think to investigate the truth about the religious group’s anti-whore and anti-queer crusades, this puff piece contains some useful statistics:

…fliers featuring people’s mouths sealed with duct tape have gone up on targeted street corners and inside women’s restrooms — one of the few places where victims of sex trafficking might find privacy…82 cents of every dollar dropped into the kettle goes to helping people in need.  The holiday fundraising campaign generates nearly 70 percent of the funds used to provide services year-round…

There’s no telling what fraction of that 82% goes to hate campaigns, but you can bet it’s substantial.

Legal Is as Legal Does

Despite the moronic headline, this isn’t a bad article:

Ammar, the Argentinean union of prostitutes…set up a tent in front of Congress to request a new law that would allow them to access the same benefits enjoyed by other independent workers…Argentinean law does not ban prostitution. Each province, however, regulates it differently. In most cases, regulation is so rigorous that offering sexual services is virtually forbidden. For example, in San Juan…public…offer [of] sex services…[can be penalized by] up to 20 days in prison.More often than not, the legislation that is [pretended] to protect sex workers has the opposite effect…The prevailing government view…is to [pretend that] all sex workers [are] victims of human trafficking….

Profit from Panic 

Can you imagine a real “pimp” putting as much thought into it as these people put into their BDSM fantasies?

With the holiday’s [sic] right around the corner, you might be searching for that perfect, unique gift that give’s [sic] back to your local community.  Emily Mahoney and Lauren Carpenter are producing…handcrafted jewelry…that is…helping to end human trafficking in Tennessee…The women started Branded Collective, a collection of metal cuffs and jewelry, a few years ago.  Twenty-five percent of the proceeds…goes to…End Slavery Tennessee…Each cuff is “branded” with a little initial of the woman who helped to make it, and with a number.  Many victims of human trafficking are branded with tattoos or numbers. “Branding is a way of depersonalizing the human…and identifying them as…something you can buy and sell that’s disposable”…said Emily.  You can visit their website to read the story of the survivor that branded your one of a kind cuff…

Blunt Instrument

Attention, useful idiots: making it easier for cops to get search warrants is never a good idea, even if they pretend it’s to “fight” something you dislike:

Houston’s City Council passed…an ordinance that aims to help [cops close down]…massage establishments…that may be a front for prostitution…[by expanding] the legal definition of a massage establishment.  The change will allow the [cops to raid any place they declare a massage establishment]…”[Blah blah blah] human trafficking,” explained Minal Patel Davis, special advisor to the mayor on human trafficking…The change…will also make it easier for [cops to get rubber-stamped] search warrants…

Monsters 

[A] trans woman…lost her life in…Istanbul [on December 2nd]…Alev…was stabbed in her heart by a man who approached her as a client…police called on a couple of her friends for further investigation…There was another transphobic hate crime ten days ago in…Istanbul.  The victim was a young trans woman…[named] Nilay…[who] was stabbed several times and strangled with a bathrobe cord…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#407)

SCIENCE!!!

…Last year, the Journal of Religion and Health published an article linking schizophrenia to demonic possession based on the claims of a single faith healer.  Now, they’ve published new research…which claims that consuming…sexual media may have “a negative impact on learning second language vocabulary.”  Want to learn German? Better avoid sexy music videos and denim commercials, the study suggests.  “Aside from dire consequences in the afterlife, viewing sexual media can have a detrimental effect on human learning and memory in this life,” it concludes.  Yakup Çetin, the study’s author and a foreign language education professor at Faith University in Istanbul…[said] he…”[finds his own] study objective”…the [sexual material]  included the trailer for the Pitt-Jolie action flick Mr. & Mrs. Smith, the music video for “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias, and a television commercial for Mavi Jeans…


Property of the State 

Prison sentences for these women can be as much as 40 years“:

The Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court has reinstated the country’s total ban on abortion, including cases in which a pregnant woman’s life is at risk.  [Last December] Dominican President Danilo Medina approved measures decriminalizing abortion in cases of rape, incest, and fetal deformity, as well as situations where the mother’s life would be endangered by carrying the pregnancy to term.  The reforms were set to take effect December 19, 2015.  But religious and socially conservative groups appealed, arguing in court that the country’s constitution protects the rights of “unborn children” from the moment of conception…the country’s total abortion ban puts girls and women at risk by prompting pregnant women to visit black-market abortion doctors and forcing them to give birth even when it’s physically  dangerous…Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras also ban abortion in all circumstances…

Now They Notice

I find articles which pretend that Rentboy was fundamentally different from sites on which female escorts advertize to be utterly infuriating, especially when they strongly imply that male sex workers are entrepreneurs while women like me are passive victims:

…Arrangements made through Rentboy were between consenting adults. David Bimbi, professor of health sciences…drew a clear distinction between this business and other illegal activities.  According to Bimbi, many of the arguments against sex work — that it promotes pimping, sex trafficking and exploits minors — “fly out the window” when it comes to Rentboy, which was a site where adults self-advertised to other adults.”  Recently, Meryl Streep, Lena Dunham, Rashida Jones and other celebrities joined with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women to decry Amnesty International’s proposed recommendation to decriminalize sex work.  The coalition claimed Amnesty’s proposal would “advocate the legalization of pimping.”  Rentboy, Bimbi said, is a completely different situation…Since the raids, many sex workers have organized to battle sex worker stigma…

Danny Cruz and Conner Habib try to set writer Mathew Rodriguez straight, but he seems to think gay dudes just invented sex worker rights in the past few months.

Uncommon Sense (#572)

Sonja Dolinsek on the awfulness of German prostitution law “reform”:

After two years of negotiations, the German Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth shared its second draft of a new prostitution law…the 2002 law, widely decried as “legalizing prostitution” and blamed for an increase in human trafficking, has never been fully implemented.  But that hasn’t stopped politicians and the media from loading blame for the supposed catastrophic state of sex workers in Germany onto these three paragraphs – using the law to score easy points with the public.  Few in Germany or abroad questioned the idea that the law had led to an explosion of human trafficking…But nobody bothered to fact-check the claim of increased trafficking.  If they had, they would have found that that sex work had been legal long before 2002, and that human trafficking has actually been steadily decreasing…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#592)

Well, gee, this is SO MUCH better:

…The “John letters motion” was approved by the city council…and LAPD officers can presumably start recording license plate numbers and sending letters to the registered owners’ homes immediately.  But the media got one thing wrong: there’s no plan to use automated license plate readers to scan every license plate that goes through the neighborhood to shoot the drivers scarlet letters.  And…Los Angeles is not the only city to have this idea…But even without the Orwellian license plate reader element, there are legitimate concerns around guilt premised on an idling car…

Fallen Idol

Melissa Gira Grant interviewed a number of porn actors & actresses on the James Deen affair:

…That chorus of voices that followed Stoya’s shook the porn industry…and now the public is hearing…about the particular structural problems the porn industry contends with, and the persistent and pernicious idea that sex workers are by definition unrapeable…Arabelle Raphael…said…“A lot of people knew…And some people had really good experiences with him, but that doesn’t mean anything.”  Performers let each other know what they had heard about Deen…two people [previously told her to]…put James Deen on your ‘no’ list” – the performers she would not do scenes with…eight other women have also gone public. Tori Lux, Ashley Fires, Amber Rayne, Kora Peters, Nicki Blue, Lily LaBeau, and a woman writing as T.M., all say Deen has assaulted them, too. In the aftermath of those allegations, Deen’s career is crumbling…

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Someday we may look back at this era the way we now think about (alcohol) Prohibition: a failed experiment that was indefensible in principle.  –  Douglas HusakWar Machine

Rough Trade 

How are there actually still attorneys clueless enough to use this “defense”?

The mixed martial arts fighter who calls himself War Machine said in court…that it would be impossible for him to have raped his ex-girlfriend because she was a porn star.  He then went on to blow an “offensive” kiss to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth…the nonsensical defense ploy which War Machine — born Jonathan Koppenhaver — used during his trial [was in answer to]…34 criminal counts ranging from sexual assault to attempted murder…Christy Mack…was left with “a blowout fracture of her left eye and several other broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places” after the attack…defense attorney Brandon Sua said that Mackinday’s career in adult films constituted consent and that her job instilled in her “the desire, the preference, the acceptability towards a particular form of sex activities that were outside of the norm.”  The sexual assaults Mackinday charges Koppenhaver with, said Sua, were a consensual part of their relationship…Judge Elissa Cadish told Sua that she failed to see how a person’s choice of profession could determine their constant and ongoing consent to sex…

Think of the Children! 

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep stopping us from making money in other jobs?

A federal appeals court has ruled against a former porn star turned math tutor, saying he doesn’t have a free speech right to hang a sign advertising his tutoring business at three [Florida] schools…David Mech paid $1,750 to advertise his “Happy/Fun Math Tutor” business in 2010, but the School District of Palm Beach County removed the signs in 2013 after learning that Mech was a porn star who acted under the name Dave Pounder…the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision that the signs are not considered free speech, but “government speech”…Since the banners were hung on school fences, the court opined that government property is “often closely identified in the public mind with the government unit that owns the land”…

Coming and Going

One of the most aggressive campaigns of sex worker persecution in the entire US gets even worse:

In roughly six weeks following Houston Police Department’s Vice Division’s announcement that it was changing its tactics for policing prostitution in the city, 30 individuals have been arrested and charged with felony prostitution.  Almost 100 more have been handed misdemeanor charges.  Several others have been charged with promotion of prostitution…[vice pig] Dan Harris…described a new [tactic for harassing sex workers by charging them with more serious crimes.  He described this as] “Let’s work smarter, not harder”…

Law of the Instrument

Rescue industry & “authorities” invent a ludicrously-broad definition of “sex trafficking”, spread panic over it, then pretend it means something when people claim to see it everywhere:

So far this year, the [Connecticut] department [of Children and Families] has received more than 80 referrals of possible victims of human trafficking in the state, said Tammy Sneed…“There is a direct correlation with an increase in training and an increase in referrals,” Sneed said, referring to the amount of training now available for law enforcement agencies to identify victims of sex trafficking…

Don’t Take My Word For It

It’s good to see more in the media on the reality of male sex work:

Christopher said prostitution wasn’t a career he dreamt of pursuing as a child but that it was a decision he wasn’t ashamed of making.  “A lot of people…think sex workers are all drug addicts or messed up people, but a lot of us just do it because we get satisfaction out of the work and make good money while doing it…I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I’ll keep doing it as along as people keep booking me.”  He said there was less demand for male sex workers than women but that the industry was easier on men.  “I think it’s even easier for male sex workers than women because there’s less stigma and its more of an even playing field in terms of strength so you’re less likely to be taken advantage of…I’ve never been attacked or robbed or anything like that.  Women sex workers have always been visible…but…now [men are] out and proud all over the internet and just as accessible and visible”…

Change a Few Words

I think it’s a serious moral wrong to send people to prison for the recreational use of drugs…What we need is a total decriminalization of drug use…Everyone agrees it is seriously unjust to punish people in the absence of very good reasons to do so…it’s wrong to punish people just to get them not to do something bad.  That principle would allow us to punish overeating, smoking, failing to exercise, and lots of other activities that virtually no one proposes to punish.  Most crimes we punish (murder, rape, robbery) do serious harm to other people.  Almost all people who do drugs at most harm only themselves…We should not subject tens of millions of Americans to punishment because of bad effects that materialize in only a small subset of cases.  In addition, threats of punishments don’t do much to deter drug use.  Most drug users don’t believe they’ll be caught, and they are right…longitudinal studies indicate that health and life expectancy of the roughly half of all Americans who have used drugs (with the exception of tobacco) is virtually identical to that of the half of Americans who have not…the consequences of punishment are worse than whatever harm the drugs are likely to have caused…

Profit from Panic sex trafficking T shirt

Is Rand Paul still claiming to be a kind of libertarian?

During this holiday season, we are undertaking a modest effort to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking.  We worked with a gifted designer to create a simple but elegant t-shirt that brings home a message of hope…the sale is supporting survivors of human trafficking in two ways:  first, the campaign will donate its share of every shirt purchase to Braking Traffik, a charity that protects women…from human trafficking.  Second, the campaign is partnering with To The Market…to source a limited supply of these t-shirts from a factory that employs women formerly trapped in sex slavery and gives them a new life…

Under Every Bed 

I picture this dysphemism-spewing idiot as shouting in a kind of fit, spraying spittle everywhere:

…Alabama is a nexus for the [sex] trade…the highly organized pipeline…connection to the ring [is] horrendous…The victims were referred to and marketed like meat…[pogroms are] a much needed salvo to combat an evil that simmers, mostly invisibly, beneath the surface of civilized life.  Sex trafficking entraps as many as 200,000 victims nationwide at any time. Atlanta’s interstate corridors make the Southeast, including Alabama, prime real estate for traffickers…Obvious gaps that must be addressed include tougher laws to attack sex-trafficking crimes from the “demand” side – meaning harsher penalties for johns who solicit sex.  For starters, solicitation of a prostitute should be a felony charge, not just a misdemeanor.  Requiring that convicted johns register as sex offenders would also discourage demand…young victims can escape the trafficking hellhole…

On second though, maybe the body fluid he’s spraying isn’t spittle.

Shame, Shame

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is preparing for an en banc hearing on whether there is a privacy interest inherent in mugshots, or whether they are simply public records that can be obtained with an FOIA request.  For the most part, mugshots have been considered public records. This has led to a shady mugshot-posting cottage industry, as well as an equally-shady mugshot-removal cottage industry…Despite the nation’s justice system being built on the presumption of innocence, a large percentage of the population views “arrested and charged” as being no different than “found guilty.”  (Federal law enforcement databases — used for background checks — reinforce this perception by entering arrested persons’ info when booking, but routinely failing to remove it when charges are dropped or the person is found innocent)…this case involves a federal law enforcement agency and the indictment of three local [cops]…the [DOJ’s]…ultimate goal is to obtain the final say on the release of booking photos via a wholly internal process…Siding with members of the public who have been tarnished by this guilt-by-association also means siding with an agency seeking yet another way to withhold public records from the public.  Siding with the Detroit Free Press means…allowing a whole host of dubious “entrepreneurs” to use public perception against private citizens to extract fees for the removal of booking info…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#347)

The EFF steps up to do the ACLU’s job:

A Los Angeles City Hall proposal to send “john letters” to the owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution has drawn criticism from a California civil liberties group…The letters would be written to discourage those who were soliciting prostitutes from returning to the area while posing no harm to those who were there for legitimate reasons, Councilwoman Nury Martinez [pretended]…The collection of license plate data is opposed by the…Electronic Frontier Foundation…[which] has an ongoing lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over the issue…other cities have used “john letters” to combat prostitution.  In some communities, residents are encouraged to [snitch]…Some [badge-lickers] praised the proposal in Los Angeles…

Drawing Lines 

It’s so nice to see this from the other side of that imaginary line:

…we vintage enthusiasts have a problem:  We often celebrate imagery created by sex workers of old, while stigmatizing…the sex workers of today…we’re building this community…on the backs of women whom we then nakedly disclaim.  I’m unsettled by the preponderance of pinup photographers who yearn for a time “when sexy was classy,” of dancers who assure us that burlesque is “an art form […] it’s not sleazy“, and of vintage enthusiasts who congratulate us on looking “so cute, and not at all slutty” (as I’ve been told on more than one occasion). These types of statements are simultaneously whorephobic   …and gratingly ahistorical.  No, Bettie Page and co. weren’t “classy” sex workers.  They were sex workers, full stop.  I’ve seen many a modern pinup reap the benefits of blushing “tee-hee” sexuality without acknowledging its origins in the “filthy whores” before her.  Because that’s what Bettie and Mae and Marilyn were, in the eye of much of the public.  Marilyn Monroe posed fully nude.  Bettie Page made fetish porn.  Mae West was arrested and imprisoned for an “indecent” Broadway play.  Bikini model Kiki Hakansson was condemned by the Pope himself.  Even the red lipstick endemic to today’s pinup girls was once the domain of the harlot

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

Young Greek women are selling sex for the price of a sandwich as six years of painful austerity have pushed the European country to the financial brink…a new study…which compiled data on more than 17,000 sex workers operating in Greece, found that…sex on sale in Greece is some of the cheapest…in Europe…when the economic crisis began…the going rate…was 50 euros ($53)…now, it’s fallen to as low as two euros ($2.12) for a 30-minute session…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Since universities have been hotbeds of neofeminism, this could be a huge development if more schools follow suit:

On Wednesday 25th November, Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) passed…a motion…resolving “to support and campaign for the full decriminalisation of sex work” and “campaign against any attempt to introduce the Nordic model”…The motion…also included a resolution “to campaign particularly for the rights of student sex workers”…as well as offer support to any student who comes out privately as a sex worker…the…motion…comes off the back of a move by Amnesty International…to urge decriminalisation of prostitution worldwide…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on October 27th; I have modified it slightly for time references and to fit the format of this blog.

Nearly three years ago I wrote an essay entitled “Social Autoimmune Disorder”, in which I compared modern society’s persecution of sex workers to a disease “in which the body’s protective systems turn from attacking pathogens and other invaders to attack some portion of its own tissues instead”:

The bodies of societies sometimes also develop such syndromes; the systems which were meant to protect society from invaders or other troublesome organisms are instead turned against some of its own systems, sometimes even vital systems.  And just as in biological autoimmune disorders, those who are affected most are usually women…one…[example] is the continuing persecution of prostitutes in England and the United States, despite the obvious social function we serve…

macrophages killing cancer cellIn the past few decades police, especially in the United States and countries over which it has a powerful influence, have gone from primarily fighting those who harm the body of society (violent criminals) to primarily attacking the body itself (ordinary citizens accused of violating any of the countless laws against nonviolent, consensual behavior).  And when these infected police departments attack the mechanisms society has evolved to channel its libido, the metaphor folds back upon itself:  the figurative disease may result in the spread of literal disease.

Many of the persistent myths about sex work are exactly the opposite of the truth.  For example, prohibitionists often claim that pornography and stripping increase “violence against women”, when in fact the prevalence of rape, child molestation, domestic violence and other social ills decreases with the increased availability of, and decreased stigma against, porn and other forms of sex work.  Another looking-glass claim is that whores spread disease; in fact, the incidence of every kind of sexually-transmitted infection in developed nations is much higher in the sexually-active portion of the general population than it is among prostitutes, and only 3-5% of all STIs can be traced to either side of a paid sex transaction…which is to say that over 95% of them come from unpaid sex.  The reasons for this should be obvious: sex workers have a vested interest in keeping ourselves clean and we enter into relations calculatedly rather than in the heat of passion or as the result of inebriation, so we scrupulously use condoms while a great many amateurs (especially those under 25 and above 50) do not.

In a sanely-run world, sex workers would be held up as examples of how to have an active sex life while protecting oneself from the potential dangers thereof…but no part of this world is sanely-run.  Instead, sex workers are widely stigmatized where we aren’t outright criminalized, and the tools we use to protect ourselves are labeled “prostitution paraphernalia” in the diseased minds of the police.  In many places (including most of the United States), cops steal sex workers’ condoms and represent them as “evidence of prostitution”; the obvious effect of this is to discourage the use of condoms among everyone likely to be harassed by police, professional or not, thus resulting in a public health nightmare.  Unfortunately, the concept of harm reduction is completely alien to those who are obsessed with conformity, “law and order”, arbitrary rules and “sending messages”; they are wholly unable to recognize that their precious laws pose a clear and present danger to society, and therefore endeavor to enforce compliance even when the facts are directly before them.

sauna raidNor is this self-destructive behavior limited to countries where it is well-established by precedent; even in places where officials have by some miracle been made to see the wisdom of harm reduction policies, the police can be counted on to act in ways which endanger everyone unless they are forcibly restrained from doing so.  Scotland provides a perfect example: until recently, the country had eight different police forces; but when they were all brought under one umbrella, prohibitionist fanatics from Glasgow got in control,  and in only a few short months have done their level best to wreck the system of tolerated brothels which has kept Edinburgh sex workers safe for decades.  But in late October, they unveiled their crowning idiocy:

…Police chiefs [sent]…a letter…[asking] the city council to add new conditions to licences, including that “no items of a sexual nature will be permitted on the premises”…[HIV group the Terrence Higgins Trust and sex worker organisation Scot-Pep savaged the proposal, which they said would ruin decades of sexual health education]…A recent report by the World Health Organisation…read: “Condoms should never be considered to be evidence of sex work, either in official laws or through unofficial law-enforcement practices, and condoms should never be confiscated from sex workers”…[and] MSP Margo MacDonald said…“this…makes the police look…rather amateurish”…

The police, who were obviously unprepared for such strong resistance, backpedaled furiously:  “Police Scotland does not advocate the banning of condoms…at no point do the recommendations make reference to the banning of condoms…”  Pull the other one, gents; only the hopelessly gullible could believe that you didn’t intend the purposefully-vague “items of a sexual nature” to include condoms.  Fortunately, the council proved somewhat less credulous than they might have been, only allowing themselves to be bullied out of cancelling the licenses of six out of the thirteen saunas; the other seven were renewed without the foolish and dangerous restrictions demanded by the police.  It seems unlikely that this will deter their attempts to harass sex workers into hiding for very long, however; remember that the violent raids to which the saunas were subjected in recent months came despite the fact that their licenses were duly renewed last year.  Unless the burgeoning power of police to victimize peaceful people is radically amputated, it must eventually result in catastrophic consequences for any society so afflicted…and as I have warned many times before, though such consequences always start with sex workers or other marginalized groups, they never end with us.

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Denying that sex work is work means…talking over the very people who are most knowledgeable about their industry.  –  Tara Msiska

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Methinks Mr. Hendricks typed this one-handed:

…David Hendricks [said]…”we see…torture that we would see at a POW camp…the tattooing of victims…sends a message to other pimps, ‘This is my property’…”  Hendricks went onto explain that every facet of a…trafficking [victim’s life] is controlled, including if they can eat, when they can return home, and who they can communicate with.  A growing sector of the sex workers in Long Beach—largely affiliated with gangs…are usually in a group of about a half-dozen women under one dominating male, who then requires a set amount of dollars to be made per female, typically in the range of $500 to $700 per day…

A False Dichotomy

Take a look at the claims above, and compare with the reality:  “The 24-year-old Hungarian woman [willingly worked but]…when she told Istvan Toth she wanted to return to Hungary he…threatened her, causing her to fear for her family’s safety.  So she began recording conversations and taking photographs, and…confided in two of her clients,The Weird who offered to pay for her to stay in a hostel…”  So much for barcode tattoos, evil clients and “controlled communication”.

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received Christopher Lee’s Omnibus of Evil as a late birthday present (delayed in customs) from Kevin Wilson, and The Weird as an early Christmas present from Daz.  Thank you both so much!

Because We Say So (TW3 #19)

Remember those low-caste Nepalese women who were criminalized at the urging of prohibitionists in order to “save” them?

…The government-pledged alternative livelihood programme…was never implemented…Badi women continue to work as sex workers.  Many of them go to India…“If the government cannot provide us jobs, education and health services then it could at least lift the ban on prostitution,” said Soni Badi, adding that they would vote [for] the candidate ready to legalise…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #36)

If only American celebrities were so principled:

The singer Antoine brought together over seventy [French] celebrities around a “simple statement to moderate tone…Without condoning or promoting prostitution, we reject the criminalization of…prostitutes and those who use their services, and ask to open a real debate without ideological bias…Why does the Special Committee…include so many abolitionists?  Why do they not consider…prostitutes’ choice?…It is time to give them the same rights as other workers”…

Here’s more criticism of the proposed law from Reason and Al-Jazeera.

Hard Numbers (TW3 #37)

on June 14, 2012, Rio’s…Police…rounded up prostitutes, staff and the owner [of Centaurus, and]…seized $150,000 in cash…police filmed the raid, threatening to leak the footage to the local media thereby exposing the women’s identities unless they handed over more money.  Thaddeus Blanchette, an anthropologist who has documented prostitution in Rio since 2004, is not surprised by this.  “Blackmail accompanying raids is not uncommon,” he reveals.  “It is one of the reasons why I am skeptical of using the police as neutral agents in the combating of trafficking.”  Centaurus was one of over 20 popular sex venues to be shut down in the period surrounding the Rio+20 Conference…Raids continue…as Brazil steps up its image-cleansing campaign ahead of the World Cup…despite the fact that exchanging sex for money is legal in Brazil and prostitution has been recognized as an official occupation…since 2002…

King of the Hill

Texas is so angry at claims it’s behind Georgia, California and New York in “sex trafficking” that it’s unveiled a new strategy to ensure its #1 position: claiming a bogus fraction of all “sex trafficking victims” rather than a mere ranking:

With an estimated 25 percent of the nation’s sex trafficking victims hailing from the Lone Star State, Texas [congressmen] John Cornyn and…Ted Poe led an effort…to punish “Johns” as harshly as “pimps”…proposed legislation…would impose penalties of 15 years to life on convicted customers…of sex slaves younger than 14 years old…Poe…[claimed] 300,000 sex trafficking cases [are] prosecuted each year….the proposal would [net the government] $15 million…a year from convicted traffickers’ seized assets and fines…

gold star for effortThere haven’t even been 300,000 “trafficking” prosecutions in the entire world since the panic started a decade ago; of course the reporter couldn’t be bothered to fact-check that.  An Illinois politician is also on the bandwagon, but all he can say is that his state is “a hub”, which is pretty pathetic if you ask me.  Still, he did inflate 3% to 33% and 14% to 62%, and insert a bogus “safe harbor” provision into the bill, so I suppose we should award him a little gold star for effort.

Misdirection (TW3 #40)

[American] public schools—even ones that teach comprehensive sex education—invite religious abstinence speakers to come in…and…spread [disinformation]…one…said, “If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you” and claimed she could tell which teenagers are promiscuous by looking at them…she also asserts that the HPV vaccine “only works on virgins”…[another] said…that if a guy gets sperm anywhere near a girl’s vagina, it will turn into a “little Hoover vacuum” and she will become pregnant…

Parasites

More anti-guest-post-spammer genius from Popehat:

…[Teaching] children…to love and cherish and squeal over ponies…is like teaching [them] that whirling sawblades taste like Strawberry Quik…Children love games, particularly video games with eerie bug-eyed avatars and art styles out of the methadone nightmares of Japanese pornographers, so…in…our proposed dress-up game — tentatively titled PONIES LAUGH WHILE THEY KILL EVERYONE YOU LOVE…players could choose amongst different outfits suitable for a post-pony-apocalypse, including gnawed tatters, wretched tear-stained shifts, and gowns slick and dark with the blood of their cherished grandparents…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #51) Alyssa Brame

no criminal charges [will] be filed in the death of Alyssa Brame, who was arrested…for allegedly offering to perform a sex act…for $40 and died of alcohol poisoning in a jail cell.  The five [Massachusetts cops] who [arrested]…her…claimed she did not appear…overly intoxicated, but by the time she was taken to the police station she couldn’t walk on her own, and cops there debated whether she was too drunk to be accused of offering sex for money…

Little Boxes (TW3 #135)

Another example of the “limited hours for massage parlors” fad:

…”We’ve been able to identify in excess of 200 victims of human trafficking…in the massage parlors”…said Sgt. Curt Chastain…the new ordinance would…[force them] to provide a…license from the California Massage Therapy Council…it would also limit hours of operation from 7am to 9pm, prohibit doors from being locked during business hours and require visibility from the street into the massage parlor…

The City of Fresno claims to have “identified” more “sex trafficking victims” than several huge operations were able to find in the entire United Kingdom.

Science!

Another claim that disasters cause harlotry:

…an aide to…Britain’s international development secretary…said…”After previous emergencies…we have seen an increase in…the trafficking of girls”…after the earthquake in Haiti…sexual abuse and exploitation were widespread…because women and girls could not obtain the goods and services they needed to survive…during the 2011 drought in…Africa, families married off daughters…as young as nine to pay their dowries…before their livestock died…

So we have the conflation of survival sex with rape and child marriage, all boxed up together and tied with a “trafficking” ribbon.

Big Sister (Extra Edition)

The lawyer…for the…champagne club…closed…on suspicion of procurement of prostitution…has accused the Reykjavík police of entrapment…police reportedly spent ISK 800,000…in champagne and time with the women and offered them money and cocaine in return for sex but to no avail…

Remember, taking money for sex isn’t illegal in Iceland, but offering money is.  So the cops broke the law and spent $6,600 (€4,900) trying to entrap women into doing something that isn’t illegal.Daily Mail 11-18-13 (cheering for censorship)

Opting Out

Husbands who like to watch pornography on the internet will have to confess to their wives and ask for permission, David Cameron said today.  Under Tory “moral guidelines”, people who want to view pornography…will need to actively “opt-in” with their internet service providers…It is not just pornography…but also…material related to alcohol, drugs, smoking, and politically extremist material – in what many are describing as the Great Firewall of Britain…politicians and civil servants will decide what is pornography and…what political views are “extremist”…In order to push…censorship, Cameron has continually conflated…child pornography with legal adult material…[despite the fact that child porn is] shared on the “dark web”…and therefore…this erosion of digital freedoms will have no effect on the very problem it is being proposed to solve…

The worst part about loathsome ideas, though, is that politicians learn from one another:  “Joy Smith hopes to emulate…David Cameron’s web censor plan…and…is…suggesting a great Canadian internet filter…

Bad Girls (TW3 #339)

When will guys learn cheating hookers is a really bad idea?  And when will hookers learn to get the money up front?

…a…[Malaga] man…went to a…brothel…[and] decided to engage in an orgy with three prostitutes…[Afterward] the women demanded €70 each…but the man refused to pay one of them…[she then] pulled out a knife and slashed the man’s genitalia…“Everything went well but doctors told me I was very close to dying or being impotent for the rest of my life…”

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #341)

Another example of the real and ugly motive behind the Swedish model’s pretense of “protecting” women:  “The mayor of Oslo has called on the Norway’s new government to look at making prostitution illegal, after women were reported to be selling sex outside the parliament building…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (TW3 #342)

In Sanford, Florida, police are already sending…notices…[to] owners of cars that cops see ‘lingering in areas known for prostitution.’   The goal here isn’t to arrest would-be Johns…[but] to embarrass these guys should their wives open the letters.  That gets a lot easier with license plate scanners…”  And as Radley Balko explains, it gets much worse from there. San Antonio 4

Traffic Jam (TW3 #343)

The San Antonio Four are free at last:

Three women who served more than a decade in prison for allegedly molesting two girls were set…free…after…recent scientific advances undermined medical testimony pivotal to their convictions.  Kristie Mayhugh, Cassandra Rivera and Elizabeth Ramirez were…released on bond…pending a decision…on whether to grant them a new trial.  If that happens, the…District Attorney…will decline to prosecute them, and their convictions would be overturned…

The fourth, Anna Vasquez, was already out on parole.

Across the Pond (TW3 #343)

Delusional Scottish officials imagine that raiding saunas will force dirty whores to take menial jobs:  “A job club for sauna workers is being launched – to help women find work…the…proposal…is designed to cater [to] an expected flood of women away from the industry…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #345)

Another criticism of “sex ray” idiocy:

…For every…case…in…the press, there are many [former sex workers] who are fired…without us ever hearing about it…people…have been fired for camming, pro-domming, stripping and] phone sex [work]…people…[don’t list] sex work…on their CVs…because employers…don’t see sex work as work…by firing people for previous or current sex work, employers are making them unemployable, and actually forcing them to return to the very industry they have moral scruples against…

The More the Better (TW3 #345)

This follow-up to Business Insider’s quasi-review of Sheri’s Ranch is about as awful and tone-deaf as it’s possible for an anti-criminalization article to be; it leads off with the usual “heavily regulated” garbageArizona's tenacious laws against sex workers that (as regular readers know) never works as intended, continues with the vile “whores are too stupid and criminal to take care of their own health without being forced to by their betters” trope, and even throws in a “rent out their bodies” for good measure.  But at least they’re trying, and I suppose that’s something.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #346)

By the time last week’s TW3 had posted, Al-Jazeera had censored the article which was harshly critical of Arizona’s horrible treatment of sex workers; it was later replaced with this puff piece dishonestly back-dated to pretend it was the original.  Fortunately, nothing ever completely vanishes from the internet; I found a cached copy of the original and took this screenshot of it for posterity.  I guess it’s one thing to criticize bad data and a wholly different thing to question a police state, unless it’s France.

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