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Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

Victimless crime creates the surveillance state.  –  Wendy McElroy

Amazingly Stupid Statements

License to Rape

At least the European media aren’t afraid to apply the word “rape” to the actions of rapist cops:

Hundreds of people took to the streets of a Paris suburb…to denounce police brutality, after a 22-year-old black man was…sodomised with a baton during an arrest last week…One [cop] was charged…with rape, while three others were charged with assault…The man suffered severe anal injuries which required surgery and was also treated for damage to the head and face…The severity of his injuries led a doctor to declare him unfit to work for 60 days…[cops] deny the [obvious evidence] and [pretend] they were targeting lookouts for drug dealers…

Decentralization

Wendy McElroy on bitcoin and consensual crime:

…There are people who use bitcoin to buy “immoral goods” (whatever that means) just as there are people who use cash to do so.  As long as the participants are consenting adults, that’s their business.  Not yours, not mine.  The state is the one who interjects violence and harm when it points a gun at peaceful adults…The attack on bitcoin will be framed…as a way to protect vulnerable and misguided individuals who use their own bodies in “unacceptable” ways.  Or it will unfold as a campaign of resentment against those individuals who do not pay their so-called “fair share” toward maintaining the surveillance state.  A moral attack must be met with moral indignation, not an apology…

Broken Record 

How fetishists are trying to back away from the thoroughly-debunked “Super Bowl sex trafficking” trope without abandoning the larger “gypsy whore” myth:

While there was a considerable increase in the number of [sex work] ads surrounding the Super Bowl, other events like a Memorial Day motorcycle rally in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and various industry conferences had a bigger impact than expected, suggesting that resources devoted to combating the problem of forced prostitution have been misdirected….[“sex trafficking” fetishists fantasize] that traffickers and pimps use online classified services like Backpage.com to advertise their victim’s sexual services…[pigs bizarrely fantasize that] words like “young” and “no pimps” can be indicators that the person in the photo is a trafficking victim…

Imaginary Evils

Since there are virtually no actual “sex trafficking” cases in the UK despite massive, multi-million-pound crusades to discover them, cops keep themselves busy with fantasies of “pimps” lurking behind every ordinary escort ad:

West Midlands Police has confirmed they now [waste] a substantial part of their [time] in [fantasizing about] sex trafficking victims in the region…[based on propaganda from] The Salvation Army…The content of profiles leads to more suspicion…A lot of the prostitutes also claim to be ‘independent’…But [since we know women are too stupid to plan travel or get pictures taken] their profile pictures…[and] the fact they move around the country would…allude to a larger, more organised, illegal operation…

Cops and Robbers

These are the kind of people who call us “bad” women:

…a group of sex workers…operate from one of three houses [in suburban Johannesburg] which were attacked by [a mob which]…marched to their house on [February 5th] and tossed their belongings outside before torching them.  Beds‚ bedding‚ plasma TV sets‚ music systems‚ clothes and money were some of the things that the girls lost in the [unprovoked attack which] locals [rationalized as taking] a stand against what they say are drug dens and brothels run by Nigerian nationals…

Guinea Pigs (#630) 

Maker of fascist surveillance software uses Backpage as a prop for self-fellation:

Marinus Analytics LLC has joined DeliverFund’s International Human Trafficking Analysis Center (iHTAC), a consortium of organizations who’ve partnered to [come up with more ways to profit from hysteria over]…human trafficking…The combined capabilities of Marinus Analytic’s Traffic Jam and DeliverFund’s uniquely qualified personnel allowed [pigs]…to continue [oppressing people] without disruption during the recent Backpage.com’s closure of its adult ads section…

To Molest and Rape child-molester-cop-chris-wilbanks

Lying, tricking someone into doing something wrong, threatening harm to compel behavior…gee, I wonder where he learned to act this way?

A [South Carolina cop] was arrested after federal investigators say that he coerced an 11-year-old girl into sending him a nude picture, then told her to send more naked photographs or he would show the first one to others…Chris Wilbanks…is charged with production of child pornography…[he] posed as a 14-year-old boy nicknamed “Redneck Rick” on social media and talked to the girl, who said she was 12…the girl sent about a dozen pornographic images to Wilbanks and was crying in many of them…

Challenge (#677)

What could be more Orwellian than referring to groups trying to take away women’s rights as “women’s rights groups”?

Two women’s rights organisations are to feature in a High Court challenge to a new law making it illegal for men to pay for sex in Northern Ireland…Space International, a [prohibitionist] group [backed by the nuns who abused women in the infamous Magdalene laundries], and Equality Now, [a group led by a former prosecutor who resigned in disgrace after railroading two innocent black men for rape,] have been granted intervener status in proceedings brought by sex worker Laura Lee…amendments to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act breach [sex workers’] human rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination.  Northern Ireland is currently the only UK region to make the purchase of sex a criminal offence…

The Naked Anthropologist (#701) 

Noah Berlatsky reviews Laura Agustín’s new book:

Laura Agustín’s novel The Three-Headed Dog…argues that the notion of innocent young girls exploited, waiting to be rescued by daredevil Kristofs, is a pernicious myth.  People who cross borders generally do so to find a better life.  They end up doing sex work because it can sometimes be the best option available, especially given prejudiced restrictions placed on immigrant entry and employment…Immigrants are often victimized, but they aren’t solely victims…The Three-Headed Dog doesn’t have an exciting rescue narrative…[it shows] exploitation [as]…a fact of life, a constant backdrop too ubiquitous to be felled with a single punch or raid…

The War Goes On 

We have so many more vocal allies now than we did when I started blogging seven years ago!

Last month, authoritarians…forced Backpage, the world’s second-biggest classified-ads website, to shut down its adult section.  A motley crew of elected officials at all levels of government…bullied Backpage and its executives into getting rid of it, supposedly because they were concerned about people being “sex trafficked”…Of course, as Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown points out, Backpage was already cooperating with law enforcement…something that won them numerous accolades from state and federal cops.  Purely with respect to fighting crime, the government’s victory was somewhere between empty and actively harmful…What’s more, politicians and law enforcement conflate sex trafficking with voluntary prostitution. As…Maggie McNeill has been arguing for years, there are no good data to suggest anything but a tiny fraction of sex workers are trafficked…a lot of prostitutes…used Backpage’s adult section, and the government’s self-indulgent crackdown put their livelihoods at risk…

I Swear To God (#708)

Michelle Chen on how the US tests oppressive tactics abroad before inflicting them domestically:

One of the first policy measures taken by Donald Trump…was reinstating and expanding a piece of presidential policy known as the “Global Gag Rule.”  The policy bars USAID funding for any organization abroad that provides abortions or even presents abortion as a family planning option…In another global campaign to spread “Christian values,” the US government’s long-standing “anti-prostitution pledge” restricts funding from going to any organizations that promote or support sex work.  The oath forces organizations to choose between providing comprehensive services to their constituencies, or cutting back on certain services in order to get US funding…the worst abuses of Washington’s hegemonic power have always taken place in international arenas before creeping inward.  The use of private detention facilities and military contractors in border enforcement and migration detention have been experimental sites for the most exploitative forms of prison profiteering.  It was, after all, the expansion of immigration detention that helped revive the private prison industry across the country, after the traditional prison industry’s profits plateaued after decades of mining black communities to fill its facilities…

Stupor Bowl (#711)

Liz Brown finds the usual total lack of “sex trafficking” at this year’s Super Bowl:

To hear the hysterics tell it, thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of sex-selling women will flock like cockroaches to cities where sports-fans gather, and only some will be there willingly; the rest, including many children, are trucked in by opportunistic pimps and traffickers.  As ample people have pointed out…there’s not a shred of evidence to support this rumor…examinations of actual arrest data in Super Bowl cities shows no corresponding spike in sex trafficking, compelling prostitution, or any other similar charge—despite the verifiable spike in law-enforcement and media attention to the issue…Between the Saturday before the Super Bowl and the Tuesday morning after, no criminal complaints were filed against anyone [in Houston] for sex trafficking, soliciting a minor, pimping, promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, etc…[the rumor is] what people today like to refer to as “fake news,” and the people who propagate it year after year—police departments looking to justify vice stings and asset forfeiture, missionary groups looking to fundraise or justify federal anti-trafficking grants, sensationalist media, and state and national politicians with human-trafficking measures to promote—are not…“abolitionists” but propagandists, plain and simple.

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Human trafficking is the new charge du jour.  –  Brian Thompson

Anatomy of a Boondoggle arrested Thai sex workers

Just in case you thought cops raping whores in order to arrest them was mostly a US thing:

…Sa…is from Laos and…[has] been arrested many times, mostly when a police officer who had been her client had informed on her…”They took me out…and…had sex with me.  Next thing I knew I was arrested and sent home”…the superintendent of Udon Thani city police, said the law specifically mentioned that to make an arrest for prostitution…the sex worker has to be caught in the act…Nid is from a Karen hill tribe village and is considered a “star” hostess at a bar in Chiang Mai.  Like Sa, she was “lured” to her arrest by a police officer who was a client…Chantawipa Apisuk, the director of Empower who has been working with sex workers for more than 30 years, said the methods the police used to secure an arrest are unacceptable…in Nid’s case…police produced marked banknotes allegedly handed over to her and a used condom as evidence…

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

A Brooklyn jury…convicted a sexual predator for the rape and robbery of a prostitute while pretending to be a [cop]…Jason Forgetta flashed a fake police badge to a female sex worker who stopped his car…on July 30, 2014…The 26-year-old victim agreed to go with Forgetta to [her incall]…when he told her she was under arrest…Forgetta…shoved the woman against the wall, put a pillow over her head and raped her…[he then] told the woman to take a shower to “wash all the DNA” off…[and] stole her wallet, cellphone and underwear.  As he fled the scene, the woman ran after him and wrote down [his] license plate [number]…Forgetta…was convicted in 2004 for committing the same…crime.  He was sentenced to three years in prison in that case…

Lack of Evidence

This is pretty typical of the level of “evidence” in sex work trials:

A woman accused of running a brothel out of a Baltimore County massage parlor was acquitted of all charges…Di Zhang…was found not guilty…of 15 offenses, including human trafficking and prostitution…”There was very little evidence in the case,” said Zhang’s attorney, Brian Thompson…the state had one witness who worked at the business and claimed Zhang was running it…But when police kept watch at the business for several weeks, they only observed Zhang there once…to drop off some medication for the witness…Thompson said police were targeting Zhang after a previous case…Police wrote in charging documents that Zhang “continues to run illegal massage parlors without fear of the police or court systems”…

The Proper Study

This is, of course, obvious to sex workers, but it’s nice to see academics discovering it:

Most migrant sex workers are satisfied with their working conditions in Australia…Despite growing fears about human trafficking…the vast majority are content to be working in massage parlours and brothels for a satisfactory income, and that there is little evidence of widespread sex slavery.  The Australian Institute of Criminology and the Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) surveyed 594 sex workers across Australia, 412 of whom were migrants. Most were female, with only 17 male and eight transgender respondents…One in five were married; one in three were parents; and while a small number had little to no education, the majority were highly educated. About one third said they did not speak English well…

The Punitive Mindset (#337)

Some countries…make condoms available to prisoners, while others cite security issues, or blanket prohibitions of sex…Even in places where condoms are available, guards sometimes limit distribution as a form of control.  In the medical journal The Lancetresearchers at Johns Hopkins cite this as one factor in the spread of infectious diseases in prisons…at rates far exceeding those in the communities from which they came.  Of more than 10 million incarcerated people in the U.S. alone, 4 percent have HIV, 15 percent have hepatitis C, and 3 percent have active tuberculosis.  These diseases are part of our criminal justice system, then, metered out and sanctioned implicitly by the state.  The penal system is also a primary reason that these diseases can’t be eliminated globally…The scale of the problem is due to the fact that so many people are incarcerated in the first place, which [researcher Chris] Beyrer traces to the war on drugs…

Paint By Numbers po-faced twits folding paper

Even in the world of stupid “sex trafficking” publicity stunts, this one is painfully stupid:

A piece of blue paper folded into the shape of a crane bird is a traditional symbol of origami.  In Japan, it’s believed that 1,000 of those symbolise hope, love, honour, and peace.  It’s also believed that if you have the patience to fold 1,000 pieces, your most desired wish will come true.  UCC student Laura Pauwels’s wish is to bring hope to survivors of and people affected by human trafficking.  And so she’s enlisted the help of Corkonians to make that wish come true — together, they will fold 1,000 blue cranes to make a stand against the illegal act…

Traffic Circle

Here’s a long, thorough debunking of “sex trafficking” hysteria by Brittany Turner of SWOP-Shreveport:

In the past year, local broadcast and print media have covered numerous stories regarding the perils of sex trafficking in Shreveport, without exercising due diligence to accurately assess the reality of this problem or the efficacy of anti-trafficking programs. This coverage often excludes key stakeholders from the conversation: sex workers themselves. Instead, the coverage frequently relies on inaccurate data and anecdotal evidence, corralling those who have chosen to work in the sex industry under the umbrella of “trafficking victims,” effectively silencing the voice of many sex workers…

Devil’s Advocate

As usual, the government’s using someone accused of especially nasty crimes to undermine liberty for everyone:

A Dallas, Texas man accused of prostituting underage girls was secretly ordered by a federal judge to unlock his iPhone using his fingerprint, according to federal court documents that are now unsealed…Experts also warned these demands [will] probably not [be interpreted by cop-worshiping courts as] a breach of the Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination…The authorities were unable to access the phone’s contents…[because] if a iPhone [sic] that has been fingerprint enabled has not been used for at least 48 hours, both the password and fingerprint are required to unlock it…Martavious Banks Keys…is charged with one count of sex trafficking of children…He allegedly forced two girls, ages 14 and 15, to have sex with men who paid him $150 a session…One girl told authorities that Keys made her perform anal sex when her vagina was bleeding from abuse…

Counter-Countermeasure

I’m not really sure why this article is discussing a two-year-old study as if it’s new, but I really don’t care.  All that’s important is that more and more mainstream media are presenting information that debunks “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…The results contradict some of the most common stereotypes we have about sex trafficking and sex work.  For example, only 14 percent of female New York respondents said that they worked for a pimp, and in New Jersey that number was just 13 percent including males and females; 47 percent in New Jersey said that they didn’t even know a pimp.  Most reported that they had not been introduced to sex work by a stranger at all, but rather by a family member or family friend, and most said that they were not forced into sex work by any one person, but rather because of a lack of housing, or money, or that they couldn’t get by on low-paying jobs.  The…research also calls into question the narrative of helpless girls and violent pimps who throw them into hotel-brothels…Busting the myths matters, because we pass laws and make policies that don’t help the people who need it most…

The More the Better (#544)

I’d be much happier with an article doing something like this for escorting, since there are literally thousands of escorts for every Nevada brothel worker.  However, every little bit helps to undermine the “sin and degradation” narrative:

Insatiably curious about what the process for becoming a legal, full-time sex worker might look like, I couldn’t help but wonder how a person even begins to go about working at a place like one of Nevada’s brothels.  Did someone like me have what it takes to become the object of another person’s desire?  Well, one cursory Google search later later, I discovered these places actually have online applications for employment!  And that is how I ended up applying for a job at Sheri’s Ranch…

Property of the State (#640) 

It’s impossible to overstate how important this reversal is:

The Indiana Court of Appeals…overturned the 2015 feticide conviction of Purvi Patel…In a 3-0 ruling, the judges said that the state feticide statute was not intended to apply to abortions, and legal experts said that…it should give Indiana prosecutors pause before bringing similar charges against pregnant women in the future…the court relied heavily on how prosecutors have applied the feticide law in the past, noting that this case was an “abrupt departure” from its typical usage:  cases in which a pregnant woman and her unborn child are the victims of violence…It stopped short of clearing her of any criminal responsibility…upholding a lower-level felony neglect conviction for failing to provide medical care to the baby, who medical experts testified was alive and breathing after birth…

If It Were Legal (#656)

I’m rather skeptical of the claimed disparity here, but at least they’re not pretending the escorts flocked from out of town for the conference:

It’s been a great week for gay escorts in Cleveland…Republican National Convention attendees…are clamoring for their services.  “Business has been way better. I’ve seen 10 clients so far,” one male escort said…Another escort said he had already earned $1,600 since Monday — over six times the amount he usually makes…But ladies of the night weren’t reaping the same benefits…females for hire said they’re making much less money than normal…

To Molest and Rape (#657)

And please don’t think South Africa is any worse than the US in this respect:

More than 400 sex workers reported cases of abuse at the hands of the police between 2011 and 2015, according to a Women’s Legal Centre (WLC) report on cases of physical assault‚ rape‚ harassment and unlawful arres…414 sex workers reported 682 instances of abuse‚ mostly harassment and verbal abuse at the hands of the police.  Almost 20% of those who reported police abuse said they had been physically assaulted and 3% said they had been sexually assaulted…

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All too often [statements about the sex trade are] based on flimsy or out-of-date data, leading to estimates that strain…credulity.  –  Glenn Kessler

The Red Umbrella AIDS conference protest

Rose Moabelo. Shemise Gordon. Sasha Lee Gordon. Thilivhani Mudau. Desiree Murugan. Sinia Pietersen. Anisa Adams. Kleintjie. Thulukanyao.  These are the names of local sex workers who have been murdered‚ without their killers ever being found.  SWEAT‚ an advocacy group‚ wants you to #saytheirnames.  As many of the 18‚000 accredited delegates arrived for their first meeting at the 21st International Aids Conference in Durban…sex workers held placards detailing the stories of murdered colleagues.  [They] wanted to highlight what has changed for sex workers since the last international Aids conference was held in Durban in 2000. “Nothing‚” according to Sally Shackelton‚ director of SWEAT…

Where Are the Victims?

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

A Topeka woman…Shannon Nelson…pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy…[for a] prostitution business.  At times, as many as 20 females were working as prostitutes for the organization.  The leader of the organization rented houses where some of the prostitutes were allowed to live.  The organization used Web sites, social media and cell phones to advertise sexual services and to keep track of prostitutes.  Nelson…posted advertisements for herself and other women on a Web site offering sexual services.  She used cell phones to communicate with Boswell and others in the course of operating the prostitution business…

Leaving the Life

Even when Vice isn’t being directly prohibitionist, it’s no ally; just the very fact that this writer refers to sex work as a “game” (read: “scam”, “dodge”, “hobby”) instead of work says a great deal.  Yes, I know that’s a street term; using it to apply to all sex workers is even more ignorant, not less.  NB: the Gaye Dalton interviewed here is the woman who exposed Rachel Moran’s lies.

Welcome To Our World (#15)

Another rape victim caged to force her participation in the state’s morality play:

A Harris County [Texas] rape victim who was [arrested and jailed]…after she melted down on the witness stand, is suing the prosecutor and the sheriff’s department…Identified as only “Jenny,” the 20-year-old –who has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder — was a key witness in the trial of Keith Hendricks who was eventually given two life terms for rape.  However, on Dec. 8, 2015, she was unable to continue her testimony after breaking down on the stand and running from the courtroom.  Prosecutor Nicholas Socias then [threw a tantrum and had her]…locked up for fear that she wouldn’t return to court at a later date to continue…Jenny was held for a close to month, after being placed with the general population where she was assaulted.  The suit also contends that jail personnel treated her as if she was a convicted criminal instead of a victim…

Shift in the Wind

You know things have changed since the last AIDS conference when this can appear in the Voice of America:

Prostitution…continues to be regarded as immoral [and/or] illegal in most countries.  This has prompted sex workers, activists and lobbyists around the world to intensify their demand for an end to criminalization of their field.  Many of them are attending this year’s International AIDS Conference in Durban, where they argue that continued criminalization of sex work could be worsening the spread of HIV…

That Old Black Magic

I don’t approve of referring to young women as “children”, and I recognize that every culture is different.  And I still find this pretty appalling, especially given the disease factor:

In some remote southern regions of Malawi, it’s traditional for girls to be made to have sex with a paid sex worker known as a “hyena” once they reach puberty.  The act is not seen by village elders as rape, but as a form of ritual “cleansing”…If a man dies, for example, his wife is required by tradition to sleep with [a hyena like Eric] Aniva before she can bury him.  If a woman has an abortion, again sexual cleansing is required…teenage girls, after their first menstruation, are made to have sex over a three-day period, to mark their passage from childhood to womanhood.  If the girls refuse, it’s believed, disease or some fatal misfortune could befall their families or the village as a whole…several girls I meet…express aversion to the ordeal…According to custom, sex with the hyena must never be protected with the use of condoms.  But they say a hyena is hand-picked for his good morals, and therefore cannot be infected with HIV/Aids…The UN estimates that one in 10 of all Malawians carry the virus, so I ask Aniva if he is HIV-positive.  He astounds me by saying that he is – and that he doesn’t mention this to a girl’s parents when they hire him…All of those involved in these rituals are aware that these customs are condemned by outsiders – not just by the church, but by NGOs and the government as well, which has launched a campaign against so-called “harmful cultural practices”.  “We are not going to condemn these people,” says Dr May Shaba, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Gender and Welfare. “But we are going to give them information that they need to change their rituals”…Deeniquia Dodds

Monsters

How about “calling on police” to stop arresting sex workers, period?  “The fatal shooting on July 4 of D.C. transgender woman Deeniquia “Dee Dee” Dodds…has prompted a local LGBT-supportive advocacy group to call on police to end their longstanding practice of arresting trans sex workers…”  Cops shouldn’t be in the business of assessing people’s gender any more than they should be assessing our motives for consensual acts.

Paint By Numbers

“Anti-trafficking” publicity stunts are growing ever more bizarre:

“Today we’re out here putting the red sand out,” said Jana Grabenstein…who spearheaded the…movement…to bring awareness to human trafficking in Grand Island [Nebraska]…”It’s here.  We need to protect our kids, our families, our friends.  Anyone can fall victim to it and you know we just need to stop it,” she said.  More than 100 bags of red sand were spread around G.I…”When we saw it, the first thing I said was, ‘This has to be something the Salvation Army heavily gets involved in,’” said Deny Cacy…

Another Fine Mess

Why idiocies like “mid-range prostitution is new” and “it used to be hard for whores to find clients” infuriate me so much:  they keep getting repeated over and over and over by reporters who can’t be bothered to do proper research:

…Mid-range prostitution is a relatively new market, enabled by technology.  Before the internet, it was hard for escorts to find customers: They had to either walk the streets searching for customers (the lower end of the market), rely on word-of-mouth, or work with agencies…“Before the internet, agencies provided the steady flow of clients and screening, but their capacity was capped,” Baylor University economist Scott Cunningham said.  Soon after Craigslist launched in 1995, US escorts quickly started marketing directly to customers online.  This newfound ability to advertise on the internet grew the market…because more women and men could work independently…

Because obviously, all those ads in the BACK PAGES (see what I did there?) of alternative newspapers didn’t exist.  And brothels?  Hotel & casino girls?  Nope!  They didn’t exist at all!

Traffic Circle (#569)

Glenn Kessler does it again:

…a new study, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice…concluded that the total number of juveniles in the sex trade in the United States was about 9,000 to 10,000.  To be cautious, given the limitations in the data, the study said that range could be as low as 4,500 or as high as 21,000.  The study also found that about 15 percent of the children relied on a pimp and that the average age of entry into the sex trade was 15.8 years.  Both figures are in line with other careful studies…

Regular readers may recall that my estimate of the number of underage US sex workers was 16,000, with 10% involved with a pimp; these new figures are not far from those at all.

All-Purpose Excuse (#608)

“Sex trafficking” is a convenient excuse for any tyranny:

Senator John McCain…equated encryption to child pornography and human trafficking…[and] threatened Apple CEO Tim Cook…McCain…stated that if Congress doesn’t mandate law enforcement access to encrypted communications, lawmakers were “de facto” helping child pornographers and human traffickers…Encryption has been the Senator’s pet obsession for quite some time.  Last November, he expressed that he wanted to outlaw any kind of encryption technology that the US government can’t crack…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#616)

Seoul is adopting ever-sleazier tactics to please its masters in Washington:

Police…in Korea…have…started targeting landlords…[by charging them with] aiding prostitution.  Since last year, police have been making landlords responsible for prostitution venues that operate on their property…Due to this shift in police policy, landlords have been [evicting sex workers from] their buildings…

To Molest and Rape (#643)

A fine example of how the criminalization supported by feminists “protects” sex workers:

There’s a [cop] in Cape Town notorious among the city’s sex workers…he devotes most of his time to making their lives a living hell.  Two weeks ago…he and his police pals rounded up a group of eight sex workers and put them in the back of a van.  They drove to the city’s main river and…gave them three options: either we throw you in the river, you suck our dicks or we’ll arrest you and bang you up…one of the women pushed into the river made a phone call…to the only people she trusted to get her justice: a team of five former sex workers trained as paralegals…The paralegal team…is lodging a formal complaint about the river incident with the deputy minister of police and the independent police investigation unit.  They are pushing for the dismissal of the officer in question, who has a toxic track record of bullying and violence against sex workers going back to 2012, including allegations of rape and attempted murder…

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The GSI…is not an index of global slavery, but rather of global hypocrisy.  –  Julia Davidson & Sam Okyere

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

A young U.S. citizen is suing the federal government after she said she was taken in handcuffs by border officers to a Nogales [Arizona] hospital for a body cavity search — which found nothing — and then billed for the procedure.  Ashley Cervantes…crossed into Mexico on foot on a Saturday morning in October 2014 to have breakfast at a restaurant where she often eats.  On returning, she presented border officials with her birth certificate and state identification card…they accused…[her] of possessing drugs…she was handcuffed to a chair, had several dogs sniff her, and eventually taken into a separate room where she was patted down and asked to squat so female investigators could visually inspect her.  All…without her consent or a warrant…a request to call her mother was denied…Cervantes was taken in handcuffs to Holy Cross Hospital where the doctor probed her anus and vagina…No drugs ever were found…and…[she] was released after about seven hours…They even billed her parents for the “treatment” for $575…

A seven-hour rape, after which the rapists bill the victim for their “services”.  But this isn’t a police state.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do Robert Moore

When will these cops learn?  RAPING a whore is OK; it’s only paying her that’s an issue:

[Prison guard] Robert Moore, who…[was] arrested in December on what was at the time referred to as a “prostitution related crime,” was arrested yet again…for engaging/ soliciting for the purpose of prostitution…Moore…[was] “found…with the prostitute with her clothes partially off and a crack pipe in her pocket.  The woman told police…she and Moore read the Bible and talked about having intercourse…Officers say they found a wrapper and condom; Moore told them he put a condom on, but never intended on having sex“…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea

Some people think prostitution should be legal but “heavily regulated”; here’s an example of what that looks like in action, from India:

On 13 June, the Department of Telecommunications ordered internet service providers to block nearly 240 websites offering escort services.  The diktat came out of the blue, without any attendant statement from the government…In July last year, the Centre had tried to ban 857 pornographic websites, ostensibly to protect our countrymen (and women) from “immoral” influences on the internet.  That initiative came to nought, and the government backtracked, following a huge public and social media outcry against its attempt to police not just the internet, but also the private lives and sexual habits of citizens…However, the directive to black out…escort services shows that a year down the line, the government is unwavering in its resolve to censor the internet at will…in the interest of upholding its own ideas of public morality…when the state is in no position to ban prostitution – under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, buying and selling of sex is not illegal – why is it trying to take up cudgels against…escort services?…The government’s repeated attempts to police the internet and ferret out and ban its so-called corrupting elements are at once absurd and sinister…

Backwards into the Future

This is a bit of a head-scratcher; I’m not sure how working for free could be considered a “protest”:

Sex Workers in South Africa decided to offer free services as a protest intended to force President Jacob Zuma to address the needs of young people in the Rainbow nation…the special service [ran] for 24 hours across the country [on June 16th] to mark South Africa’s Youth Days…

Pyrrhic Victory

Definitely not a police state, no sirree:

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has successfully convinced a federal judge to block the disclosure of where the bureau has attached surveillance cams on Seattle utility poles…this privacy dispute highlights a powerful and clandestine tool the authorities are employing across the country to snoop on the public—sometimes with warrants, sometimes without…The deployment of such video cameras appears to be widespread.  What’s more, the Seattle authorities aren’t saying whether they have obtained court warrants to install the surveillance cams…

What a Week! (#26)

You know that “negative secondary effects” bullshit?

The sex industry…has long been perceived and regulated as a “dirty and disorderly” feature of residential communities.  The stereotypical, and unfair, view of sex workers is that they are vectors of disease and social contagions; it’s a moral hangover from the Victorians…[which] is reflected in the regulation and marginalisation of sex work by…government policies to dark and secluded areas of cities…and police forces periodically engage in “clean-up” campaigns that seek to purge local areas of sex work…[these] strategies tend to be based not on science, but on a small number of complaints from a vocal minority who assert particular moral agendas.  Such raids are generally justified by the media and local authorities on the basis that locals, especially women and children, need to be protected from the harmful effects of “sleaze”…Research by Phil Hubbard and colleagues, Penny Crofts, Sarah Kingston, and Emily Cooper…suggests that sex work contributes to residential communities in much more complex ways than is commonly portrayed in the media…

Gingerbread House

“Residential farm” = “doing menial agricultural labor for their keep”.  But hey, at least they won’t be having dirtydirty sex:

For women escaping the sex trafficking industry, opportunities to start over new are slim, and places they can go to heal fully are even fewer.  Such is the mission of Sacred Roots Farm, which aims to be “a place of holistic healing”…The nonprofit’s eventual aim is to build a residential farm for those women and their children.  Founder Sam Haupt…began researching the issue and learned Atlanta is a known hub of trafficking and sex exploitation

Whatever They Need To Say

Cops openly admit being lazy fascists; the public just stays asleep:

California’s Costa Mesa Police Department arrested more people on prostitution-related charges in the first four months of 2016 than it did in all of the preceding five years…Police say this is thanks to a conscious decision to refocus a special investigations unit away from busting gang leaders, career criminals, and drug dealers and toward people involved in the sex trade…A long-term drug investigation could eat up hours of work from a half-dozen detectives…Arresting sex workers, however, is easy…But there may be an additional motive for the new focus:  the city wants to get rid of several small motels and replace them with condo and apartment buildings.  The hotels attract a lot of vice crimes…and policing them is a drain on public safety resources, city leaders complain.  Rather than reconsidering the need to obsess over these activities in the first place, officials want the hotels to go away to make room for higher-end residential housing…more profitable in terms of taxes to the city…

Profound Ignorance 

The only parts of this that aren’t profoundly ignorant are the ones that are profoundly obvious:

Sex workers aren’t only found on the street corners of big cities…the first-ever…research survey in Ontario…has assessed the social and health needs of rural sex workers…Researcher Stacey Hannem said the…project began in 2014 when she was approached by a group of social and health service providers [whom]…sex workers didn’t feel comfortable [with because]…the…providers would often try to [coerce] sex workers [to] exit the industry, when that wasn’t…what they wanted…”There is less street-based work but more of this kind of mid-range, everyday escorting,” [Hannem] said…rural sex workers usually find their clients through online advertising, and it often involves much more travel than urban work…when the garaphic designer doesn't read the story

I’ve got news for you, Stacey; mid-range everyday escorts who advertise online are the norm everywhere, so there aren’t dramatically more of them in rural areas than in cities.  An added level of stupidity: look at the picture CBC chose to illustrate a story about how there are fewer street workers in country towns.

Blunt Instrument

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

…Between 2014 and 2015, 45 [Sacramento] businesses were cited for prostitution-related offenses, sexual battery and multiple violations of the county codes that govern massage establishments…Twenty-one…had their licenses revoked in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015—more than five times the previous year’s number…these operations…cause more harm than good.  “I can’t tell you how many of these people may want another job, but taking away their job doesn’t do that,” said Kristen DiAngelo…political and legal responses are often sold as cracking down on exploitation and human trafficking…But, at least locally, authorities say there is no connection between illicit massage parlors and human trafficking….“This does not address abuse,” DiAngelo said. “It’s all a game. And it’s a political game”…

Held Together With Lies (#643)

How “Walk Free Foundation” comes up with those ridiculous “slavery” numbers:

Walk Free has just released its 2016 Global Slavery Index…announcing that there are 45.8 million slaves in the world today…Walk Free doesn’t claim that slavery only exists where people are held in shackles.  Rather, it extends the concept to include people threatened with violence when attempting to leave a given situation or tied by debt to a particular employer.  When it comes to children, Walk Free includes even those who are paid for their labour and who are not necessarily subject to violence or debt, but who are nonetheless counted as “slaves” simply because they are under the age of 18…if Walk Free…is willing to expand the concept of “slavery” in these ways, then why stop here  Take “forced and early marriage”…consensual marriages also become violent and oppressive.  Furthermore, because women often lack legal or financial access to divorce, and/or face stigma and penury as divorced women or single mothers, the many millions who suffer domestic violence are frequently unable to “walk away” from their abusive husbands.  So why don’t these wives also appear as “slaves” in Walk Free’s index?  Equally, we might ask, if it is the absence of consent to a lifelong relationship rather than the actual presence of violence in that relationship that makes “forced and early marriage” a proxy for slavery, then why isn’t the “forced and early motherhood” experienced by women and girls in countries which restrict or deny access to abortion also “modern slavery”?…

Policing for Profit (#645) 

Politicians, being slightly smarter than cops on average, must have realized how obvious this was and are now trying to make themselves look good:

A bipartisan group of legislators and advocacy groups are asking Gov. Mary Fallin to order a stop to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s use of mobile scanners capable of [stealing] money loaded onto prepaid debit cards…Deployment of the scanners comes at a time when civil asset forfeiture has come under criticism in Oklahoma…

The governor has complied with the request, but only until they can put the public back to sleep:

…She says she wants to suspend use of the devices until a clear policy for using the new technology can be developed by the Department of Public Safety.  She says taking the time will help educate the public and “calm the fears of the motoring public”…

Traffic Circle (#647)

It’s so nice when bogus “sex trafficking” bullshit is called out in the mainstream media:

…The [Indiana] task force…launched its effort with billboards emblazoned with the key statistical warning — “13 is the average age kids are first used in the sex trade”…But even child advocates say it’s not true.  It’s cooked up data.  In fact, it’s been debunked for several years…The Fact Checker at the Washington Post…gave this “fact” a pants-on-fire special trophy…The statistic was based on “pretty slim research” and makes little sense, [Glenn] Kessler wrote.  If 13 is the average age for entering the sex trade, then there have to be children under age 11 offsetting those becoming sex workers at age 16 or 17.  A 2008 study of sexually exploited kids in New York City found the average entry age is about 15, but the researchers warned that even that data is fuzzy, too…

When I pointed out to Glenn that these people were still misinterpreting the average age of debut for underage workers as the average for all workers, he flew into action and added an extra note to his re-debunking.  Because that’s the kind of thing people who actually care about facts do!

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We are workers, not victims.  –  Lily Hermarratanarapong

Safe TargetsRed Light Legal logo 

Most conversations around legal advocacy for sex workers tend to focus on a handful of big ticket items, like the fight for decriminalization or protecting sex workers from rapist cops…But there are a lot of smaller, and much more mundane, ways that sex workers can benefit from legal representation, whether they’re strippers going through custody battles, former escorts seeking a divorce, or cam girls looking to incorporate.  At long last, there’s an organization dedicated to helping sex workers find culturally competent legal representation–and thanks to the internet, it’s poised to have a pretty serious impact.  Red Light Legal was founded by Kristina Dolgin, a long time sex worker who enrolled in law school in the hopes of finding a way to help out her community.  Since the organization’s inception, the internet’s been integral to its operations: as a way of raising funds, spreading awareness about sex work law issues, and, most essentially, connecting with clients…

License to Rape

Prohibition turns every individual’s body into a “crime scene”:

A Canadian businesswoman…was sexually assaulted by three U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers during a motorcycle trip on May 14.  The three male officers were ostensibly searching her orifices for contraband, which they did not find…The 51-year-old woman…planned to ride with a female friend from Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, to Elmo, Montana.  At the…border crossing, she was questioned by a CBP officer who wondered why she was visiting Elmo, which he described as “Indian country”…three [rapists] searched her motorcycle and her wallet, in which they found a perfectly legal interim motorcycle license that they deemed suspicious.  To resolve their suspicions, they said, she would have to remove her clothing and submit to probing of her anus and vagina…

Dirty Amateurs

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

…a…report…in the Lancet…found that today’s teens are growing up in a world where preventable and treatable health issues, such as HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancy, abound…For women between the ages of 10 and 24, unsafe sex is the fastest-growing risk factor for illness and death worldwide…the report’s researchers observed changes in this group’s health over 23 years.  At first, STIs didn’t even rank as a risk factor for death, but…reached number one by the end of the research period…

Bottleneck

Now just imagine if this was the law, and always available:

…the home addresses of several German sex workers have allegedly been leaked in a customized Google Map…the map…was promoted by [prohibitionist] groups…[and] remained live for several days.  “Publishing their addresses to anyone opens them up to forced outing and violence,” said Fabienne Freymadl of the Professional Association of Erotic and Sexual Services…“They might lose custody of children, lose contact with family and lose any other jobs they hold.”  The map displayed roughly 2,000 German addresses purportedly linked to the sex trade, which is legal in the country but nevertheless carries stigma.  Sex work activists say some of the information on the map was publicly available—like the addresses of legal brothels—but that independent sex workers’ home addresses were included as well…When sex work activists got wind of the map, they quickly mobilized to get it taken down…Those behind the map [pretend] that [no] personal addresses were published…

Held Together With Lies (#447)

Up by 27% from the last nonsense “estimate” less than two years ago:

The 2016 Global Slavery Index estimates that 45.8 million people are subject to some form of modern slavery in the world today.  The Index presents a ranking of 167 countries based on the proportion of the population that is estimated to be in modern slavery…

The number is derived in part by combining completely different phenomena such as prison laborers and sex workers.

Doubling Down

PBS once again demonstrated its prohibitionist bias by presenting an anti-whore propaganda show disguised as a “debate”:

Americans are split on whether prostitution should be legal, according to a new survey from The Marist Poll and PBS TV-series Point Taken.  Forty-nine percent of respondents in the new national poll said prostitution between two consenting adults should be legal, while 44 percent responded that it should be illegal.  Younger respondents were more in favor of legalization, with 58 percent of those under 45 supportive, compared to just 40 percent of those 45 and older.  Men were more in favor of prostitution legalization than women, at 54 percent versus 44 percent.  And Democrats and political independents were much more likely than Republicans to say it should be legal:  52 and 58 percent, versus 35 percent…around 40 percent of those who said prostitution should be illegal also said criminal charges were not appropriate.  And overall, some 63 and 60 percent said selling and buying sex should not yield criminal penalties…The two guests most opposed to decriminalization were a Kings College philosophy professor and a self-described “investor, author, and finance expert,” who cast [a black sex worker and former foster child who started out while underage] as a privileged activist…They came ready with ample…false statistics about the average age of entry into prostitution, the prevalence of sex trafficking in countries where prostitution is legal, and the compassion and prudence of the Nordic Model…”Legalization allows traffickers to hide victims in plain sight, which creates greater trafficking,” insisted the finance expert, against all evidence…

Worse Than I Thought (#532)

Politicians say not enough people’s lives are being destroyed for consensual sex:

…Under the JVTA, the presence of a single sexually-oriented ad posted by someone under 18 could trigger sex-trafficking charges for anyone involved with running the platform.  Rep. Ann Wagner…said…she hopes the Department of Justice (DOJ) will make more use of the advertising clause in the upcoming year…Wagner is just one of 37 legislators calling on the feds to be more [profligate] about using the 2015 federal sex-trafficking law…they stressed…greater focus on catching and prosecuting people who pay for sex…Lawmakers speak of this move as a way to bring justice to bear on “child sex traffickers.”  In reality, it allows for the escalation from misdemeanor solicitation charges to federal or felony human trafficking charges for anyone who offers—knowingly or unknowingly—to pay someone even one day under 18 for sex…And the government need not prove that a sex solicitor “knew the person [selling sex] had not attained the age of 18 years”…There also need not be an actual victim under this approach—an undercover officer posing online as a teenager will do just fine…

Served Cold (#537) 

This fascist group, with its CIA connections, is the most terrifying of all the rescue industry groups, and almost certainly the most dangerous to human rights on a global scale:

“This is a war.  This is a battle”…Mark Stott called the people of Utah County figuratively to arms May 25 at the “Time to Rescue” benefit concert.  Stott is the co-founder of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a [fascist paramilitary] organization dedicated to rescuing women and children from sex trafficking around the world.  Headed by former Homeland Security Special Agent Tim Ballard, the 2-year-old charity [claims to have] rescued almost 600 victims and assisted in the arrest of almost 200 traffickers worldwide…Angela Brady Krois, organizer of the Time to Rescue event, wants to preserve…the innocent dreams of the women and children that are sold and used throughout the world…O.U.R…is in the trenches, infiltrating the sex-trafficking rings worldwide to literally pluck the children from criminals’ grasp…

Note that isn’t metaphorical; these lunatics literally conduct paramilitary operations in sovereign foreign countries that the CIA pressures to play along with them.

The Course of a Disease (#574)

Sometimes the changes are incremental:

In a landmark ruling, a Tel Aviv court declared…that prostitutes working from home or paying rent for a brothel could be acting legally…Judge Itai Hermelin determined the conditions under which operating a brothel is not an offense as part of a trial brought by the state against an establishment in east Tel Aviv.  Hermelin imposed restrictions on the operations of the Tel Aviv brothel.  However, these were subject to the state committing to avoid prosecuting sex workers who use their own apartments or locations that are rented by several women together for the purpose of prostitution, or at a location rented by one woman who then invites other women to share it…This is believed to be the first time a judge in Israel has underscored the freedom of women to engage in prostitution, as well as specifying their rights…He [wrote] “pushing these women onto the street violates their dignity in an unacceptable manner…interpreting the law in a way that criminalizes prostitution taking place in a building is unconstitutional and must be rejected”…the judge noted that the main criticism voiced by the sex workers speaking in court was directed not at their place of employment – which they described as discreet, safe and clean – but at the police.  “The attitude of the police was…degrading and harmful, sometimes bordering on violent abuse…There were repeated descriptions of women being chased out of buildings naked during police raids, with abusive language”…

An Example To the West (#626) 

Thai sex workers just love contradicting prohibitionist who claim they’re “victims”:

…Empower [is] a sex-workers’ rights organisation with an estimated 50,000 members.  Since the group’s founding in 1985, it has fought to improve the working conditions of women in the sex trade in Thailand…(Empower is short for “Education Means Protection Of Women Engaged in Recreation”)…less than 10 percent of sex workers in Thailand are “trafficked”—duped, tricked, or forced into their circumstances…A 2012 research report compiled by Empower details a host of abuses related to treating these women as trafficking victims, including widespread police entrapment, wrongful detention, extortion, invasive medical examinations, and unjust deportation…Empower has pushed the Thai human-rights community to reconsider its reliance on raids, rehab, and criminal prosecution as the go-to approaches to combat trafficking, fundamentally questioning whether the sex industry ought to be deemed illicit.  The organisation has become one of the leading voices in Southeast Asia and throughout the world…

Broken Record (#638) 

Canadian prohibitionists are desperate to cash in before the panic implodes:

The Formula One Grand Prix weekend in Montreal…brings thousands of tourists to the city, with many on the prowl for sex…[prohibitionists] in Quebec launched a campaign…called “Buying Sex is Not a Sport”…Lise Theriault, Quebec’s minister…for the status of women [vomited out the usual prohibitionist garbage]…Montreal as a Canadian “hot spot” for child sex tourism due to its proximity to the U.S. border…The average age of entry into the sex trade…is about 14 or 15…

To Molest and Rape

The people prohibitionists want in control of sex workers:

…A 2008 study in Cape Town showed that nearly half of street-based sex workers surveyed “have been threatened with violence by police”.  12% have been raped by police, and 28% have been asked for sex in exchange for release from custody…

Turning Point (#641)

On May 31st, Dan Savages’s guests included Emily Bazelon of the New York Times and my friend Mistress Matisse, talking about decriminalization.  If you’d like to listen (and why wouldn’t you?) download it here.

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This is what a sex panic looks like.  – Mireille Miller-Young

Backlash

Whenever South African sex workers make some advance toward rights, you can be sure the cops will soon arrive to “teach them a lesson”:

Last week…police arrived at a field in Pretoria West known as “The Bush” and told sex workers they were there to get rid of them…Sex workers said about 100…cops arrived in two buses and told them that they “were a disgrace to schoolchildren” and they were there to “clean up” the area…This harassment has been going on since November…despite Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa saying in March that sex workers were “entitled to dignity”…[last] Wednesday the shacks in which they entertain their clients were burned down and condoms destroyed…SWEAT and Sisonke alleged that the metro police were ordered by Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa to “clean up the site”.  Blessing Manale, the mayor’s spokesman, did not respond to requests for comment…

Surplus Women 

The [New Zealand] Prostitutes Collective will increase its presence in Christchurch…after the body of a sex worker was found…Renee Duckmanton, who was 22, was found…on…[the] night [of May 15th…it [is] not yet known if Ms Duckmanton’s work is connected to her death…[she] suffered burns and her death is being treated as a homicide…

The More the Better

This is a cute article on sex workers’ ideas of what a perfect brothel would look like.  But what makes it most interesting to me isn’t the content of the suggestions, but rather the fact that articles like this are seeing the light of day.  Hey, prohibitionists: We’re winning.  And there ain’t a damned thing you can do about it.

Blunt Instrument

Another asinine “crackdown” on massage parlors, using the usual excuse:

The Salt Lake County Council amended a business ordinance recently in the hopes of cracking down on the illegal sex trade…Under the old ordinance, if a contractor was found in violation of a criminal act, like prostitution, their license would be revoked.  Now, under the new amendment, authorities also revoke the business owner’s license…therapists, and the businesses they work for, can also be cited if they’re not licensed…[cops also] say they’re hoping the legislature [increases criminal penalties for sex workers]…

Under Every Bed

These articles aren’t even funny any more; they’re just pathetically stupid:

…sex trafficking…[is] happening in Louisiana — on a much larger scale than most people realize — and Caddo is among the parishes with the highest number of…victims recovered…according to Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services…only East Baton Rouge parish…and Orleans parish…had more…The state serves as a hub for sex trafficking mainly because of its interstates — particularly I-20 and I-49, according to FBI Senior Resident Agent Chris Cantrell…

Among other idiocies: a “child advocacy center” un-ironically calling itself “Gingerbread House“, as if completely oblivious to the meaning of the phrase.

Monsters 

another trans woman [has] been murdered and…misgendered in death. And again, it’s a Black trans woman who’s been murdered. This time it was 32-year-old…Mercedes Successful, who was found shot to death on [May 15th] in a [Florida] parking lot…

Paint By Numbers

Why just stand around, when you can HIKE to “raise awareness”?

On May 29, those who are hiking can also help a great cause by taking part in the fourth annual Tread on Trafficking hosted by Love 146…from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., the group will have a table set up where hikers can come and register or even just ask questions about what Love 146 is all about.  Love 146 is an organization…that cares for survivors of child sex trafficking, and protects youth all around the globe…

Property of the State (#527) 

This case horrifies me more than almost any other of this century:

…Purvi Patel was…the first woman in the U.S. to be convicted and sentenced on “feticide” charges for ending her own pregnancy.  Patel says she had a miscarriage.  When she arrived, bleeding, at a hospital near South Bend, her doctor called the police on her.  The state of Indiana charged her with both feticide for allegedly inducing an abortion, and child neglect for allegedly having a premature baby and then allowing the baby to die — an inconsistent and contradictory set of charges.  On May 23, Ms. Patel’s case [came] up for an appeal.  And all of us who care about reproductive rights had better be paying attention, because…permitting a person to be charged based on the outcome of the pregnancy could mean requiring people to prove that a miscarriage or a stillbirth was unintentional.  This is a terribly slippery slope…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#611)

I’m going to cut straight to the meat of this article about whether escorting will survive dating apps:

…even with the rise of Tinder, and readily available casual sex, escorting isn’t likely to go anywhere.  Sex work isn’t solely about paying for sexual experiences; it’s about paying for a clearly defined relationship where the boundaries and expectations are out on the table.  Articles about the “dating apocalypse” supposedly fueled by Tinder and the like offer an argument for the continued appeal of escorting.  Though hookup culture superficially achieves the same goal, at least on the demand side, it brings with it a potential for emotional messiness and mismatched expectations that truly transactional sex work neatly avoids…

Size Matters (#619)

On the sentencing of Tracy Elise:

Her sentence is 4.5 years and she is receiving credit for the time she has already served…which is roughly 10 months.  She is not receiving credit for the year and a half she was on house arrest…With programs and “early kick-out” she will serve between 2-2.5 years.  We will know what her estimated release date is in about a month.  We are filing appeals, and will be filing a sentence of stay to get Tracy out for appeals, but this process takes time (6 months to a year)…

Morality Lessons

A powerful takedown of “porn is a public health crisis” nonsense:

Is pornography a public-health crisis?  Of course not.  While it is not surprising to see the Utah legislature unanimously declare it one…what remains shocking is the perceived legitimacy of anti-porn activists, despite the profound unreliability and inconsistency of their hyperbolic claims…How has a movement based on such shaky theoretical ground succeeded in a massive campaign to convince the public that sexually explicit media is responsible for an epidemic of sexualized violence against women and children; the rise of a zombie army of emotionally robbed and sexually desensitized men; and the explosion of an underworld of prostitutes trafficked directly from porn sets to street corners across the nation?  This is not real…Gail Dines…and her…claims are not just far-reaching, they are dangerous…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#633)

Letting cops get away with rape is OK, but we just CAN’T let them have consensual sex!

…Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office sergeant let a Boynton Beach police officer caught on camera soliciting sex from an undercover officer go free…Oscar Cardenas told deputies…to let…Vintyre Finney…go free — even after deputies had handcuffed and detained him…

Turning Point

In which NSWP counters the absurd prohibitionist arguments which have appeared in response to the New York Times Magazine piece:

…Branding the decriminalisation of third parties as an attempt to “legalise pimps and brothel keeping” undermines sex workers in their struggle for labour rights and justice…sex workers can be employees, employers, or independent workers and participate in a range of other work-related relationships with third parties, for example paying someone to drive them to appointments or do their advertising.  Third party laws…increase…sex workers vulnerability to HIV transmission…[and] expose…sex workers to unsafe working environments…The police use third party laws to harass sex workers and limit their access to services and support by targeting other parties, such as landlords…Sex workers themselves can be prosecuted if they work together using third party laws…The children or partners of sex workers can be prosecuted as third parties, for living of the earnings of a sex worker…

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I could be a slave to the banks for the rest of my life, or I can spend a few years doing this and I could be free.  –  JohannaVillage Voice 5-18-16

Gorged With Meaning

Yes, this is yet another article on student sex workers; what makes it interesting is its “so what?” tone and emphasis on facts over hysteria.  It concentrates on NYU, but it does mention other schools, most notably “Oregon’s Portland State University…the only college in America with a student sex worker outreach program…no one involved [is] permitted to speak publicly…[by order of] the university’s administration…”  The article also quotes veteran activist Norma Jan Almodovar (much to the chagrin of some snotty youngsters who were still in diapers when Norma was already doing activism).

First They Came for the Hookers…

Regulations on sex work are never intended to “protect” the workers, no matter what politicians claim:

Dancers in Mumbai are apprehensive about new laws that…limit dancers’ ability to earn a decent wage…Varsha Kale…of the bar girls’ union…[says] they have been treated like children and ignored.  The new laws dictate a number of restrictions…[including a] 3 feet high railing separating the dance floor from the seating area [with] at least 5 feet between the railing and the customers…Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis admitted…that the state’s intention…was to ensure that dance bars do not survive.  The new laws also state that dancers must receive a fixed salary and will not be able to directly receive tips…This is a step backwards for dancers, who fought hard to end fixed salaries nearly 20 years ago…

The Lion and the Ox

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

Fifteen men from 6 different states will likely be prosecuted after being arrested during an undercover sex trafficking mission…by the Portland Police Bureau’s Sex Trafficking Unit.  The mission focused on addressing online sex trafficking…The…15 men contacted undercover police officers to arrange payment for sexual acts…

Try not to laugh too hard at self-important cops calling their pathetic little deception a “mission” as though they were the A-Team or something.

Blunt Instrument

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

…the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management…mission is…allegedly…preparing for and responding to terrorism and natural disasters, so it’s…a joke that its officials are concerning themselves with catching unlicensed massage therapists and people engaging in prostitution…[they] and police…took down four women…all Asian Americans in their early 40s…Each was charged with one count of unlicensed practice of massage therapy.  One of the women was also charged with one count of prostitution…

Backwards into the Future (#334)

Which is to say, the second country in the entire world:

South Africa may become the first African country to decriminalize sex work.  If it does, it will be one of a handful of countries that have fully decriminalized sex work (including New Zealand and New South Wales in Australia)…Currently only Senegal makes some provision for legal sex work and subjects it to regulation…

Opting Out

But it’s not a surveillance measure, no sirree!  Because THE CHILDREN!!!

The [United Kingdom] is going to force…all sites that contain pornographic material…to verify that their users are over 18, forcing them to register their age and potentially even their credit card details…[domestic] sites that don’t comply with the ruling could be banned from advertising or even shut down entirely…the blocks [will] apply…to any [sites] that…would get an 18 rating if they were classified formally…Free speech campaigners and civil liberties experts have repeatedly criticised the Government’s plans…but the Government has repeatedly cited [bogus] research about the availability of porn to children and the damage that it can do…

Cops and Robbers

How barbaric!  This is TOTALLY different from what American cops do:

During the night of 17th to 18th of May, Viacheslav Datsik and his supporters illegally raided a brothel…in St Petersburg where 10 sex workers were working…He broke down the door and under the threat of beating the women working there he forced them to undress completely, and then took them to the police naked.  He managed to carry out an attack on a similar establishment in central St Petersburg, but he was detained by the brothel’s security guards and was taken to the police station.  Datsik has a huge criminal background…and…has been imprisoned several times.  He is a former member of the ultranationalist Slavic Union…and…[intends] to run for the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg.  If elected, he has promised he will promote laws against sex work.  Datsik believes the penalty for sex work in Russia should be forced labour…Datsik filmed…the…raids and shared these videos with the media…In the past [Datsik has] threatened and raped several sex workers…

The Public Eye (#511)

Here’s a glimpse at the return of the Sex Workers’ Opera:

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#618)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

Prostitution is heavily frowned upon in [Indonesia but]…there is no specific law that penalises it, with people only facing legal action when acts are associated with other crimes.  The fact that the legal status of prostitution remains a grey area has helped commercial sex to become a big business in cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya…In a bid to stop the flesh trade, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa vowed in February that by 2019 Indonesia will be free from prostitution and all the red-light districts in the country will be shut down…Days after the announcement, Jakarta’s oldest red-light district, called Kalijodo, was demolished.  But that does not seem to have put the brakes on the sex industry.  Many workers from there seem to have just moved, or gone online

Paint By Numbers (#625)

Given the exploitation of “rescued” sex workers in garment-industry sweatshops, the use of fashion shows to promote “sex trafficking” hysteria is particularly loathsome:

During a fashion show..High School senior Hannah Rezabek will showcase a black couture number handcrafted by noted fashion designer Korto Momolu….her outfit…reinforces how a human-trafficking victim feels “tied” to the streets, as reflected by the struggles of victims, even when rescued, to break free from the grip of pimps and prostitution…Rezabek is among 30 students who will serve as models for the Unchained Fashion Show — a different sort of runway event whose message runs far deeper than the latest prints and hottest summer colors…

Monsters (#632) 

Police in Maryland said they have arrested two people in the slaying of…Keyonna Blakeney…Arbra Arnie Bethea, 17…and Keith Christopher Renier, 21…[were charged] with murder…armed robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery…Bethea has been charged as an adult…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#638)

Mike Crawford is one of the most eloquent male voices on sex worker rights, and I predict we’ll be hearing a lot more from him:

It seems that after the recent New York Times piece on sex work, those who seek to completely prohibit commercial sexual exchange are concerned they no longer have a stranglehold on the dialogue about sex workers’ lives.  Over the past few days, there have been three pieces attempting to undermine the Times’ article: one from a radical feminist, one from the bastion of journalistic integrity that is the NY Post (written by a correspondent whose primary focus is religion, no less) and then today’s from a representative of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW.)  Today’s piece is a simple continuation of the others; it’s a disjointed combination of appeals to emotion, anecdotal evidence meant to discredit actual studies, flawed statistics, frequently told lies, obfuscation, a blithe dismissal of reality, and an absolute refusal to engage in the core of the argument for the decriminalization of sex work: harm reduction…

To Molest and Rape

I wrote yesterday’s column on Tuesday night, and the very next morning I had another example:

A Walker County [Georgia] deputy was arrested…[fired] because…he sexually assaulted a woman while transporting her from one hospital to another…Wesley Holland…[orally raped the prisoner but Sheriff Steve] Wilson…is [trying to pretend it was] consensual [so as to minimize the deputy’s punishment while pretending to take it seriously]…

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