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Brooke Magnanti has released a new, revised edition of her book The Sex Myth, retitled Sex, Lies and Statistics.  This was adapted by Brooke from her afterword (the foreword was written by yours truly), and I hope it will serve to encourage you to buy the book, which demolishes the shoddy garbage prohibitionists hold up in place of actual facts.  And it’s on sale now!

Media are obsessed with promoting a view we would previously have dismissed as Victorian.  There are indeed parallels.  The end of the 19th century and start of the 20th brought new technologies to add to the dissemination of ideas through mass media (much like the Internet today)…with the predictable horror and blame that brought then, just like now.  The political class made some unexpected alliances as a result; again, we see this happening.  Feminism has joined the anti-sex bandwagon in a big way.  Not just by blaming men for inequality between the sexes, but perhaps more profitably and successfully by blaming other women.  Many mainstream feminist critiques gloss over old “man-hating” attitudes and place blame squarely on other women.  Instead of embracing women who challenge convention, the preoccupation is with shooting them down.  On the one hand, we’re told that anyone who believes women and men should have equal rights under the law is a feminist, whether they know it or not.  On the other, we are told that one or another group of women are traitors.  It’s the feminists who have taken up the finger-wagging role of the patriarchy.  Take, for example, this quote by Julie Burchill:  “When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women.”  Advocating the murder of large numbers of women is such a great way to win supporters to the cause, no?

The more you look at the key players behind some of the stories, the more you notice odd pairings.  A group working closely with the anti-gay, anti-abortion US lobbying group using a female MP as the mouthpiece of their opinions on porn.  The well-known feminists signing up to work with far right groups.  Celebrities lending star power to issues they don’t understand at all.  Almost all approaches to these issues fail to consider the diversity of factors involved.  The “Swedish model” of sex work is an example of this.  Lots of hype, not a lot of data on whether paid sex work has stopped or whether anyone’s life has been improved as a result.  Columnists like Joan Smith can gush about jumping in to a cop car to see how the law is panning out, all while ignoring the fact that sex workers repeatedly confirm that the police are their greatest source of harassment, assault, and rape.  Proponents of the Swedish approach mention how “pressure” is ramping up on this topic – pressure that they themselves have generated through unchallenging media coverage.  When in doubt, follow the money.  Over and over again the people fronting these campaigns are connected to industries with vested interests, radical right-wing think tanks, or anti-LGBT lobbyists.  The deputy editor for the New Statesman previously worked at the Mail and is rumoured to have subedited Jan Moir when she wrote a viciously homophobic column about Stephen Gately’s death.  Arch-feminists like Julie Bindel write for staunchly right wing, regressive magazines like the Spectator.  There’s a saying where I come from:  you got to dance with the one who brung you.  I wonder, when everyone gets to the end of their dance cards, what promises feminists have made and what obligations they’ll have to honor.

Before 2009, when I wrote books under a pseudonym about my experiences as a sex worker, there was no small amount of grumbling in the press.  After I won the Guardian Best British Weblog award in 2003, a number of female contributors to that paper signed a letter vowing that if I was commissioned to write for the paper, they would quit.  Yet I continued to believe that if they knew I was real, they would feel differently.  It’s probably not a surprise to you that I was unprepared for what any fool could have predicted would happen.  Since coming out as a former sex worker, I have been criticized for being too middle class, too well educated, too independent.  As if my very existence in sex work was, somehow, unique.  But data across the spectrum of sex work shows this not to be true.  In any case, if I admitted to a drug addiction instead, or had been homeless?  That would have been used to write me off, too.  It is bizarre to read articles by people who’ve never met me attempting to dissect this or that bit of my life.  Some lazy commentators “blame” me for the existence of other call girls, or whatever new student sex worker is uncovered by the tabloids.  As flattering as that is, it is not true.  Prostitution is called “the oldest profession” for a reason.

After a while all such nonsense became background noise.  I assumed the combined forces of feminists and the Rescue Industry had nothing worse up their sleeves.  I was wrong.  When the first edition of this book was published in Britain in 2012, it was embargoed before publication day and available to fewer than 20 people to review.  Journalists who saw the book signed confidentiality agreements.  So it was a great surprise to wake up on the morning of publication slapped with a libel lawsuit from Eaves For Women, the domestic violence charity whose hapless forays into research are touched on in this book.  If their work had been published in academic journals, anyone writing to correct their numbers would have been treated professionally, but this was not academia I was dealing with.  Obviously, I did not write anything about Eaves that could not be verified, and just as obviously, they had not been sent a pre-publication copy of the book by my publisher but had been given one by book reviewer – and Eaves board member – Julie Bindel.  The firm representing Eaves in this lawsuit threat?  The one with Bindel’s wife as a founding partner.  The Eaves claims would have been hilarious if they had not been so ludicrous.  They claimed I “hacked their servers” to get information about their income and expenditures (as with all UK charities, it’s public information available on government websites) and “broken confidentiality agreements” to discuss their research (I looked up their publications from conferences, also available online).  Their arguments depended on evidence so far-fetched it could have served as a bad science example in the book itself.  I later learned this was not the first time this had happened.  Eaves had threatened to sue so many people, so often, they even served legal threats on Bindel’s own employer at the time, the Guardian newspaper for an article by Belinda Brooks-Gordon (Bindel is no longer on Guardian staff, but freelances for them).  The intellectual dishonesty of someone like Bindel, who claims to be “silenced” and a “free speech” advocate yet uses archaic laws to try to silence opposition, is staggering.  Unsurprisingly the threatened suit was without merit and quickly dropped.

Meanwhile, the media feminists of the UK rounded on me.  Julie Burchill wrote one article claiming I was a “sex addict”, another calling me a “human toilet”, and compared me to a convicted (and executed) Nazi war criminal; this was especially offensive as I am of Jewish heritage.  The “feminist” literature magazine that published those last two tidbits claimed they did not know what the words meant.  Sorry, Mslexia, but ignorance is no excuse.  They did not apologize.  One feminist turned up at a talk in Edinburgh to shout to the audience that I was a pedophile and claim my screenshots of the Glasgow City Council’s website (showing how much they paid for anti-strip club consultations) were faked.  Others picketed talks and book signings, sent death threats, and harassed me so frequently by phone that I gave up on carrying a mobile altogether.  They contacted my former editor at the Telegraph in an attempt to get me fired – long after I’d already quit.  Few in journalism seem to care that the people doing this are all a couple of degrees of separation from known anti-LGBT and white supremacist orgs in the US.  All anyone wants is to see the naughty, naughty sex lady be punished.  They don’t care how it’s done or who does it.  This, I was told, was the price of being a sex worker in public.

Writers with the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, many of whom launched careers by harassing trans women and sex workers, also got the boot in.  Their assistant editor, Helen Lewis, sits on the board of a charity that is anti-sex work and anti-trans women.  She and other feminists joked on social media when a former partner tried to sue me for reporting his abuse (he later dropped the suit to much less fanfare).  They encouraged Breitbart to run a week-long campaign of harassment and abuse.  They egged on nasty “investigative journalist” Jeremy Duns who made sexual threats against me and my husband.  They examined photos from my escorting days, speculating on whether I was “hot enough” have been a sex worker, and speculating about what diseases I might have.  They circulated a list at public events suggesting that I and others were employed by a shadowy “Pimp Lobby” and financially benefitting from trafficking (if that’s the case, I have yet to receive a paycheck).  The laughable list, compiled by Julie Bindel, included a number of people uninvolved with sex work at all, including an artist who died in 2010, so it’s clear fact-checking is not a valued quality among these people.  The abuse peaked when they outed a trans camgirl whose Twitter account they thought had been written by me.  It wasn’t – but in the process they humiliated a woman who was not yet out to her family.  Their supposed evidence?  We both supported Scottish independence, and both, at different times, used the phrase “snake oil”.  In spite of having got it drastically wrong, no apology to the woman they doxxed was forthcoming.  Why would anyone do this?  In short, to control the narrative.

It would be unthinkable – to most people, anyway – to have a discussion about women’s rights that did not involve any women.  Or a discussion about race that did not include people of color.  But time and again when the topic is sex work, sex workers themselves are not simply ignored, they are actively excluded.  What do sex workers want?  A seat at the table.  To be able to work together for safety.  To report crimes against them without fear of arrest.  For services to be made available that are not dependent on them giving evidence against others.  To not live in fear of deportation or abuse by police.  In short:  they want the same protection under the law that any other worker can expect.  And not only is this what sex workers want, it’s what the evidence supports as best practice.  We’ve seen the benefits of decriminalization in New Zealand, in New South Wales Australia.  We’ve also seen what goes wrong in Sweden, in the Netherlands, and in the US.  International agencies from the WHO to Amnesty agree.  But this evidence-driven support for decrim hasn’t come out of thin air.  Much has been written on the disruptive effects of social media, but this much is true:  if not for the internet, people like me would never have been able to challenge the stereotypes with facts.  Marginalized people with multiple oppressions – black trans sex workers, drug using sex workers – who would otherwise fear being outed, are being taken seriously by a mainstream that otherwise would never have known they existed.  The infantilized victims who need rich white ladies to save them, it turns out, are fully capable adults who can make their own decisions and won’t hesitate to tell you that.  And that makes some folks with vested interests very upset indeed.

What happened to me was not the first nor even worst example.  Entrenched second-wave feminists in media have harassed trans politicians out of their jobs, driven black cultural commentators off of social media, and consistently outed and trashed any sex worker who crosses their paths.  Heaven help you if you happen to belong to more than one of these groups.  They reserve the worst treatment for the most marginalized, secure in the knowledge that society does not care because they told society not to.  The disinformation campaign used to sustain sex myths was a glimpse into a post-truth world where what matters is not what is right, but who can get the most money.  Some of those folks were so threatened by one woman and one book that they tried to bankrupt, discredit, and silence one blogger.  A movement backed by billions of dollars in international grants is so susceptible to people seeing the real data, they will stop at nothing to keep the truth from getting out.  And they are not interested in ethical debate; they demand that their point of view be bowed to in any discussion, even (and especially) if that means keeping the discussion centered on their feelings rather than other people’s right to exist.  They use the media not to understand, but to bludgeon.  They simply do not care if their information is incorrect.  I started off believing that open debate was the best way to win hearts and minds; I ended up realizing that some people will use that to drown out anyone who does not agree with their own intolerant, hate-filled views.  There simply is no way to have a debate with people who characterize you as an “orifice” who “should be dead in a ditch.”  There is no common ground to be found with people who willingly promote your abusers.

And yet, in all the negativity, there are signs of light.  In the years from when I was a sex worker in 2003, since I came out in 2009, and after the first edition of this book in 2012, the ground has rapidly shifted.  When Amnesty International rejected threats from famous feminists and backed the decriminalization of sex work based on the evidence, it was a win for a sex workers’ movement that far predates and will long outlast any one person.  When I gave evidence to UK Parliament in 2016, the MPs – to my surprise – took the suggestions of sex workers on board in their report, rather that listening to entrenched and well-funded special interests.  In Scottish Parliament, Rhoda Grant (who receives funding from the anti-gay, anti-abortion charity Care) has tried three times to introduce criminalization of sex work, and been defeated all three times.  Evidence really does win out from time to time; it might not seem that way in the moment, but things are changing, slowly and surely.  In 2009 and 2012, it felt as if every week brought new abuse from a media obsessed with surfaces instead of content.  So-called progressives shame and reject us, even when sex workers were early supporters of feminism, gay rights, and other movements that have since gained public acceptance on the back of that effort.  In particular, the most marginalized sex workers from black and trans communities were the ones most likely to be erased, people like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, and many more.  Slowly and surely their legacy is being reclaimed, too.  The pendulum of attitudes about sex and sexuality is always in motion.  I hope that in my lifetime the burden of shame felt by so many for so long will be lifted.  With evidence and hard work we can reclaim the narrative – and take back our lives from the playground bullies of shame and fear.

Brooke doesn’t pull any punches in this new, US edition; it’s a vital debunking resource for those who support sex worker rights, and you really, really, REALLY ought to read it!

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[Cops are] notorious for using data out of context or drawing grand conclusions that data ultimately do not support.  –  John Hudak

The Enlightenment Police 

Australia appears much more committed to human rights than Europe:

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has triggered a firestorm around religious freedoms, after wearing a burqa into [the Australian] Parliament, a stunt that has united all sides of politics in condemnation…As senators could be heard groaning and gasping at her entrance, Senate President Stephen Parry confirmed it was Senator Hanson beneath the face covering, while seeming unsure of how to officially respond to the performance…Attorney-General George Brandis showed no hesitation.  When Senator Hanson whipped off the garment with a dramatic flourish…and asked Senator Brandis if the government would join her in banning the burqa, he did not hold back.  “Senator Hanson, no, we will not be banning the burqa,” he said, visibly angry, and looking at one point like he was close to tears… “we all know that you are not an adherent of the Islamic faith…be very, very careful of the offence you may do to the religious sensibilities of other Australians.  We have about 500,000 Australians in this country of the Islamic faith and the vast majority of them are law-abiding good Australians…to ridicule that community, to drive it into a corner, to mock its religious garments is an appalling thing to do”…

Change a Few Words

All prohibitionism is the same:

Government-rooted misinformation has long been central to the very existence of War on Drugs…the Drug War has always been fueled by alleged facts that have no basis in reality…As most state and federal research documenting the impact of legalized marijuana show encouraging results reflecting responsible regulation, one federally funded agency is still producing reports that paint a very different reality.  Reports from High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas [figure heavily in]…anti-legalization campaign[s]…[but] the reports are “garbage”, according to John Hudak, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Brookings Institute who studies (maintaining a neutral position) marijuana legalization…

The Last Shall Be First (#38)

Pakistan surpasses the US in at least one area of civil rights:

Pakistan’s Parliament is poised to pass the nation’s first law recognizing transgender people as equal citizens and laying out penalties for discrimination and violence against them…The  Transgender Persons Protection of Rights bill…has the support of all the major political parties [and] is expected to pass easily in Parliament in the coming weeks…The draft law gives…anyone whose gender identity or expression “differs from the social norms and cultural expectations based on the sex they were assigned at the time of their birth” the right to identify as a transgender person and enjoy the same rights as other men and women in Pakistan…

Skin To Skin (#313)

This seems to be the same case as in the earlier news item, but it’s worth revisiting:

At 93, Roger’s libido is far from fading.  He might have dementia and live in a nursing home but he has an active sex life, thanks to the care and support of his children, his nursing home professionals and a woman called Emma…who…visits Roger monthly…They laugh together, talk about things that were once important in Roger’s life, they touch each other and they have sex…Emma said the nursing home staff understood the important role sex workers played in the lives of people with dementia.  “They roll out the red carpet for me, because they know the profound nature of this service and what it really means for this client,” she said…

Monsters 

When “diversion” programs are subject to prosecutorial discretion:

In December 2015…a video was posted online featuring a Black woman on the New York City subway arguing with a man and a woman…then lunging at them with an object in her hand.  Days later, Merci Chrisette turned herself in.  There was no record of what sparked the apparent outburst…For the tabloids, it was all a juicy story—and one they were quick to frame about Chrisette’s transgender identity…Nobody…even required medical care as a result of the incident…[but] Chrisette is set to go to trial later this fall for a host of charges related to the incident…Because she has a conviction for a previous felony assault…Chrisette…could face as many as seven years behind bars…Since 2002, people with serious mental illnesses…have been potential candidates for Brooklyn’s Mental Health Court…Chrisette, who has previously been diagnosed with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and agoraphobia with panic disorder…has not yet been allowed to plead into the court—a reality she and her supporters worry may be influenced by how she’s perceived as a trans woman of color…

Traffic Circle

Criticism of “anti-trafficking” propaganda from inside the “anti-trafficking” ranks:

…progress against human exploitation has been painfully slow, despite the vast investment of political capital, resources and expertise…Few public figures speaking on this issue have resisted the temptation to cite trafficking statistics that are at best unverifiable and at worst demonstrably false.  The anti-trafficking community as a whole has been unconscionably silent about the shoddy research methodologies that regularly produce the wildly varying numbers on which it so heavily relies…Presenting our data as better than it really is smacks of hubris and overreach.  It also risks validating interventions that can only pretend to be evidence-based…

Property of the State (#436)

Texas comes up with some of the sleaziest, most underhanded anti-abortion tricks of any state:

On Tuesday, August 15, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 214…[which] mandates abortion coverage be removed from all private, state-offered, and Affordable Care Act insurance plans and sold as a separate — and unprecedentedly specific — policy.  What this means in theory is that people who want to be covered in the event that they need an abortion will have to purchase extra insurance for it.  In practice, it means insurance companies may simply stop covering the procedure altogether, the profitability of an “abortion-only” add-on being questionable at best.  As with many such laws, the…stated purpose is to “prevent those with moral, religious and philosophical objections from having to pay for the procedure”…Governor Abbott…did not say what Texans who want to subsidize abortions via group health plans are supposed to do, or what religious groups with objections to other legal medical procedures should do to avoid funding them…

Broken Record (#534) 

They’re literally recycling “gypsy whore” tall tales now:

…hoards [sic] of people will be in [Las Vegas] for the much anticipated Mayweather- McGreggor bout at the MGM Grand.  Police will also be looking for illegal activity, including prostitution…One person who [prrtends to] know…first hand [sic] is former sex worker Annie Lobert.  She now runs…[Liars] for Jesus and Destiny House, a [rescue industry scam]…How big is the take on fight weekend?  Lobert said, “I would normally make $5 thousand a night, Fight Night $15 thousand, $10 thousand, $20 thousand”.  But what isn’t talked about she says, are the victims; girls and boys sometimes trafficked here from other countries, many lured from Clark County schools, and quite a few underage.  The only event bigger than Fight Night may be The Super Bowl…

The subject of a 14-year-old moral panic in full swing “isn’t talked about”.

Tyranny By Consensus (#608) 

Looks like LA still isn’t done beating this very dead horse:

We are deeply troubled by the vote today by the Board of Supervisors to approve a Measure B permit structure drafted by those without any knowledge of the adult industry, and over the objections of the performers it [claims] to protect…Anyone filming adult content in Los Angeles is now required to pay a $1671 health permit fee, undergo sexual health training, and mandate that performers wear condoms.  Anyone who fails to comply with those strictures faces $1000 fine, and up to six months in jail.  Despite having five years to formulate a plan and work with stakeholders, the Department of Public Health submitted the proposal to the Board of Supervisors just over a month ago, without consulting performers or alerting the industry to the opportunity to provide public comment.  This is not surprising — Dr. Ferrer, the new head of the Department of Public Health, sat after the proceedings with AHF, the controversial organization that put Measure B on the ballot…Dr. Ferrer ignored performers when they attempted to make public comment, and performers were heckled and shouted at by members of the AHF contingent.  One performer was called a whore.  Make no mistake: like Measure B, this vote was done based on bias and ignorance, an attempt by moralists to punish an already stigmatized minority…

Of Course It Is (#674)

I hope she gets every damned penny:

[Celeste Guap]…has filed a lawsuit against one of the [police departments whose cops exploited her]…She…had sexual encounters with four Richmond [cops] in exchange for protection from arrest and tipoffs to prostitution operations…a fifth [cop] fondled her.  Several…face criminal charges…

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

Saving Them From Themselves

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

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

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

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

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

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

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

The Notorious Badge

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

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

End Demand

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

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

Watershed

Australia has far more sane feminists than does the US:

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

Decentralization (#444)

Remember “titcoin”?

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

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

Shift in the Wind (#510)

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

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

Cops and Robbers (#629) 

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

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

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

Lack of Evidence (#696)

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

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

The Widening Gyre (#696) 

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

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

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

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Sex is what begins our lives and death is what ends it.  They’re two sides of the same coin.  –  Carla Valentine

Recognition

A marriage made in heaven:

A 52-year-old man in…Katy [Texas]…saw the profile of a new 28-year-old [sex worker.  He booked her]…for 2 hours…[for] $150…[haggled] down from her [rate] of $200.  Guests…in adjoining rooms called to report a disturbance…after the woman arrived…and found that the client was…her husband of…17 years…[she] was actually the man’s 49-year-old wife…

License to Rape

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

…Anthony Jones of Jacksonville, Florida…requested a date from an online escort service and promised to pay US$200…Shortly after the prostitute arrived…Jones said he was an FBI agent and that if she did not [submit to his raping her]…she would be arrested.  When the woman complained, Jones called an accomplice on the phone who was working from a script…Jones also pointed to a smoke detector in the bedroom and said the woman was being monitored by a hidden camera.  Afterward, the prostitute told her roommate…and the two realised she had been scammed.  They then went to Jones’ residence to collect the money.  A heated argument that followed led to a police intervention…the accomplice…was a young woman who knew she was part of a scam but did not know Jones was trying to [commit rape]…the young woman – the mother of Jones’ child – had lost both her parents in a car accident and received a settlement of about US$35,000…from the insurance company.  Jones lied and told her he was an investment adviser and that he owned fast food restaurants and would invest the money for her…

The Swedish Pimpocracy 

If Sweden really gave a damn about these rape charges, it would simply have made a public pledge not to turn Assange over to the US:

Sweden has decided to drop the rape investigation into Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.  Top prosecutor Marianne Ny said his arrest warrant was being revoked as it was impossible to serve him notice…Assange…has lived in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012.  He fears extradition to Sweden would lead to extradition to the US where he is wanted over leaks.  Ecuador has called on the UK to allow him safe passage out of the country.  However, police in London said they would still be obliged to arrest him if he left…[because he] still faced the lesser charge of failing to surrender to a court, an offence punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine…the UK [will not admit that]…it has received an extradition request from the US…[but] new US Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the arrest of Mr Assange would be “a priority”

Public Service Announcement 

Sending dick pics to a stranger is a bad idea; sending dick pics to a stranger claiming to be < 18 is an incredibly bad idea.  But this is epic:

A…Secret Service officer was sentenced to 20 years in prison…for sending [dick pics]…to underage girls — while he was on duty at the White House.  Lee Robert Moore…was [arrested after]…he sent indecent materials, including a picture of himself, to [a cop pretending to be]…a teenage girl…After his arrest, investigators learned that Moore had sent sexually explicit messages and images of himself to real underage girls in Florida, Texas and Missouri…Moore must also register as a sex offender…for the rest of his life.

The Day of the Dead

Fear of death hampers enjoyment of life:

Ambitious technocrats may predict a deathless future, but as the world stands now, we’re all going to die.  This leaves us humans with the same two options we’ve had since we emerged from the evolutionary mire:  Fear the final shuffling of our mortal coils, or embrace the inevitability that we’ll all be one with the dirt.  Fortunately, there are people out there who can help ease your mind about the whole “one day you’ll be dead” thing.  One of those people is Carla Valentine, whose job as an anatomical pathologist, technical curator at Barts Pathology Museum, and author of The Chick and the Dead, has more than prepared her to come face to face with the inevitable end.  In her book…she weaves together corpse science and her intimate involvement with the “death industry” with the vital lesson about dying she’s learned over the years…”I think that when people face this idea of their mortality…they tend to live a better life…that’s been backed up by psychological studies…I think it’s because it demystifies it…it’s better to face the reality of it.  Then it’s not so scary anymore“…

Cardboard Cutouts

Prohibitionists can’t accept that sex workers are capable of choice, so partners are demonized into “loverboy pimps” in their propaganda:

The police and various healthcare institutions in Amsterdam are [conspiring] to [control those they declare] the victims of so-called loverboys…Loverboy is what the Netherlands calls a pimp that seduces fragile girls into a sexual relationship.  They then convince the girl to have sex with other men usually friends, and then push them into illegal prostitution…A loverboy can earn about 300 thousand euros per year by forcing a girl into prostitution…some aid givers believe that loverboys are part of larger criminal organizations…Amsterdam’s new joint approach will experiment with new methods, such as [deceiving women with a pig disguised as a normal person]…to win trust [via trickery]…

I wish I knew some of these girls who make €300,000/year; maybe they’d share their secret with me.

The Public Eye (#538)

The San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival, launched in 1999, recognizes and honors diverse sex workers, prostitutes, dancers, porn performers and others who have been integral members of arts communities throughout history.  The Festival opens on May 19th, continuing through May 28th

To Molest and Rape 

“Engaging in oral sex with a female inmate” sounds so much nicer than “forcing a caged woman to suck his cock”:

A…Jackson County [Mississippi] deputy pleaded guilty…[orally raping a caged woman]…Bradley Scott Davis…admitted to engaging in oral sex with a female inmate for two weeks in June while he was on duty at the Jackson County jail.  Davis is facing up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both.  He must also register as a sex offender…A second…deputy, Johnathan Jenkins…was arrested…along with Davis [on the same charges but]…has pleaded not guilty…

Dysphemisms Galore (#705) 

Where “inside” is used to mean “in the fantasies of busybodies peering from outside”:

Daniel Farias didn’t realize how bad things had gotten until his business was broken into…“It seemed like a scene from The Walking Dead…There were people everywhere.  And by people, I mean prostitutes, drug dealers…. It was insane.  I had never seen anything like it.”  All night Farias kept vigil, watching out the broken window as a parade of people dealt in sex and drugs, some openly peeing on the street.  Lake Street’s reputation for prostitution and drugs isn’t new.  But in the last few years, it’s reached fever pitch.  Neighbors…describe finding condoms everywhere and witnessing sex acts in cars, alleys, and behind bushes…[puppeteer] Corrie Zoll…[said] “Now that I have a year under my belt of seeing it, it’s obvious how sophisticated these operations are”…women…walk against traffic, making eye contact with drivers…Mary Brown…counted nearly 30 women regularly working her block…

Honestly, I find the “whore as degraded criminal” trope a welcome change from “whore as spineless, pathetic, innocent victim” dogma.  Too bad they both include the “whores are rape victims with daddy issues & drug problems” masturbatory fantasy, though the idea that walking along a stroll constitutes a “sophisticated operation” is both ridiculous and taken directly from the propaganda cops use to justify raping sex workers.

Between the Lines (#722)

Liz Brown dives into the ugly facts about federal vice pogroms:

…one of the last things FBI Director James Comey did in office was testify before the Senate Judiciary Hearing about the agency’s “programs and priorities for the coming year”—including Operation Cross Country, the annual FBI-led prostitution roundup that I covered in Reason’s March issue.  Publicized as an attack on child sex-trafficking, Operation Cross Country (OCC) mainly targets adult sex workers and their would-be clients.  And according to Comey, last year’s bust yielded nearly double the number of prostitution arrests as Reason previously estimated…Operation Cross Country 10…yielded just 10 federal indictments as of May 2017, and only three cases involving any actual juveniles.  In those cases, none of the victims—two 17-year-old girls and one 15-year-old girl—allege abduction, abuse, threats, forcible detainment, or other mistreatment of any kind…Meanwhile, police and FBI agents arrested 996 “adult prostitution subjects”…332 times as many sex workers arrested in the stings as people indicted on federal charges involving a minor…Comey…failed to say how many prostitution arrests have been made throughout Operation Cross Country overall.  But…If we assume arrests in years where we are missing data mirror the previous operation’s tally…we wind up with something like 6,227 prostitution arrests…the FBI and Homeland Security also help with similar local stings all year long…

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What you probably know about human trafficking is horseshit.
–  Laura Lemoon

Lack of Evidence

A teenage girl riding in a car now constitutes “evidence” of “sex trafficking”:

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking after a car transporting a 17-year-old girl was stopped in Preston…the…girl, who is from Romania, is now [in jail]…

Against Their Will

Sunitha Krishnan is a fanatic & compulsive liar who claims all sex workers are “victims” who are “raped by a hundred men a day.”  Is it any wonder that a person who quotes her as an “authority” finds sex workers’ desire for individual rights “surprising”?

…Prajwala…headed by Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, is [a prison compound in which] hundreds of women and girls [abducted by cops] from brothels around India [are locked up for brainwashing]…The facility, funded by several [wealthy white prohibitionists], is surrounded by 20-foot high walls with barbed wire atop; its address is not publicly listed.  Dr. Krishnan explained that this level of security was needed [to keep] the women [imprisoned there from escaping with the help of friends outside]…What is surprising is that a number of women wanted to go back to their previous life as a prostitute…

It Looks Good On Paper

Another bullshit story touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws that allow “perfect victims” to expunge their records of prostitution charges after going through the hell that is the US “justice” system:

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee…signed into…law…a bill that…allows victims of human trafficking to clear prostitution convictions, even if the person convicted has been found guilty of committing other crimes…the “new measure states any motion filed to vacate a prostitution conviction must prove ‘by a preponderance of the evidence’ that the applicant’s conviction, along with any other crimes committed, was a result of being a ‘victim of trafficking, promoting prostitution in the first degree or promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor’”…

The Mote and the Beam

Two stinking piles of filth want to cut sex workers off from the banking system:

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren…and Marco Rubio…introduced legislation to aid financial institutions in identifying and reporting instances of [sex work]…so that offenders can be prosecuted…The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act would direct federal banking regulators to work with law enforcement and financial institutions to combat the use of the financial system for [sex work]…The bill would further increase collaboration between law enforcement and experts in financial crimes by adding financial intelligence and regulatory officers to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and require the Task Force to…strengthen anti-money laundering programs…

Divided We Fall (#427)

Though Gay, Inc pointedly ignores the connection between queerdom & sex work, some Canadian writers refuse to follow suit:

…[In] conversion therapy…psychiatrists would attempt to suppress same-sex behaviour…by redirecting it toward the heterosexual norm.  In other words, the dominant culture sought to impose itself on sexual expression deemed morally objectionable…”John school” has now replaced conversion therapy as a form of state-sanctioned brainwashing that attempts to label purchased sex as a repugnant, unnatural vice…john school engages in psychological repression…Ottawa Citizen…editor Tyler Dawson accurately refers to these therapy sessions as “creepy re-education nights run by the Salvation Army”…For anti-prostitution activists, it’s not enough that johns change their behaviour: they must also change their preferences.  Men are told not only that their sexual choices are wrong, but that no “normal” adult would engage in this kind of depravity…advocates of john school continue to stigmatize paid sex between consenting heterosexual adults in private in the same way that the state once stigmatized sex between consenting homosexual adults in private…

Cardboard Cutouts

Liz Brown discusses “Why Is Everyone So Willing to Believe ‘Fake News’ About Sex Trafficking?”

All Wet

Better headline: “Korean Men More Honest About Sex Buying Than Western Men“:

More than half of Korean men have paid for sex at least once in their life, a government report showed…Nearly 26 percent of them had engaged prostitutes in the past year and did so 8.46 times per year on average.  The majority of men who had paid for sex, or 53.8 percent, first did so when they were aged between 20 and 24, followed by those aged 25-29 (27.6 percent), 30-34 (10.2 percent) and those under 20 (3.9 percent)…According to a survey of 174 sex workers, 75.6 percent of them were in their 30s.  Nearly 48 percent of prostitutes first turned to prostitution in their 20s, while nearly 22 percent began as teenagers…

Fallen Idol

Serial rapist & consent violator James Deen is trying to reframe himself as a protector of children:

…In the last 10 years we have had more free pornography at your fingertips than ever before, to a point where people are no longer learning about sexuality…This is something that is made for a purpose, this is not an example of what sex is, this is people having sex for entertainment…Now, a child, an 11-year-old child, anyone at any age could go to a myriad of places on the internet and be exposed to endless amounts of content…8- or 9-year-olds are not able to properly process what this is.  Especially when it’s not just, “Here are two people kissing and some standard sex.”  It’s some crazy stuff.  And I think now that people…are…seeing these examples, regularly, for years and years and years, of what they believe to be sex…

Droit du Seigneur (#641) 

It’s been an astounding week for abuses of power and sexual violence committed by state agents“:

…In New York City alone, one former cop is on trial for running for running a prostitution ring, another was sentenced to federal prison for soliciting child pornography from mothers he met online, and three others have been indicted on suspicion of trading gun permits for sex, travel, and cash…in…Atlanta, Georgia…arrests continue in a police take-down of two escort services…that also ensnared Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Christopher Quinn in January.  Quinn was caught on camera paying for and having sex with a woman who worked for one of the escort agencies….[in] the U.S. territory of Guam…Paul John Santos…was found guilty this week of criminal sexual conduct, bribery, and official misconduct after threatening to arrest a sex worker if she didn’t have sex with him…The judge sentenced him to 21 years.  That sort of punishment for sex-predator cops is rare…In Memphis, Tennessee, Sergeant Erskine Caldwell…was reported to Internal Affairs by his fellow officers after they spotted him several times with a known sex-worker in his patrol car…Caldwell had harassed her until she complied with his sexual demands…

Just Another Day in America

A Truthout article echoes what I said in the original of this title:

“Our collective focus on police shootings overshadows the reality of what is going on for women on a daily basis,” said Jacqueline Robarge of Power Inside…”The way the police engage women, especially Black women and sex workers, creates a culture of violence.  The police use a variety of tactics, including harassment, physical and sexual violence, medical neglect in police custody”…The DOJ investigation prompted by [Freddie] Gray’s killing revealed a number of instances in which Baltimore police officers extorted sex from women they alleged were engaged in prostitution or drug-related activities.  The women’s complaints were poorly and partially investigated, if at all, with little or no consequences for the officers involved…a 2014 study by Johns Hopkins University found that 6 percent of…Baltimore [sex workers] had been [raped by cops]…within a given month.  In Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, I summarize the sizeable body of research revealing that the police sexual violence found by the DOJ in Baltimore, and committed by now infamous Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, is alarmingly commonplace across the country…

Pimps Ahoy 

The rescue industry is nasty from every angle:

…Cisgender men, trans folks and anyone who is gender-nonconforming are not going to receive help from these organizations because they don’t fit the stereotype of the sex-trafficking victim in a way that lets these “rescuers” be rescuers.  The involvement of government in the suppression and oppression of trafficking survivors also cannot be overlooked…government sanctioning of the maltreatment and exploitation of trafficking survivors is an example of how the current…rescue system is allowed to proliferate…An astonishing 80 percent of survivors who go into [one particular Midwest] shelter end up getting kicked out with a “red dot” status, which means they can’t come back or even engage in any other services…Amber Paulina of Seattle…shares…how two church elders, with no experience or education, opened a residential facility for trafficked girls.  She was forced to call the executive director “Mom” and her husband “Dad” — they called all the girls their “daughters”…Amber was grilled about her masturbation habits and was forced to write book reports on “famous” survivors like Rachel Lloyd.  “I made bracelets for five bucks a pop that were flipped over at nine bucks a pop en masse at anti-trafficking events and at local boutiques.  All material donated.  ‘Made by trafficking survivor’ bracelets.  All the time.  For money.  Unpaid,” Amber says…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now (#696) 

Another case in which a filthy vice pig tricks a desperate survival sex worker with an offer of money plus food so as to ensure public ridicule by the bootlicking press:

Florida [pigs] have charged a [desperately poor] woman with prostitution after she agreed to perform a sex act on an undercover detective for $25 and chicken McNuggets…Alex Direeno was being held…without bond at the Manatee County Jail on charges of prostitution, possession of drug paraphernalia and on outstanding warrants…It’s unclear whether Direeno has retained an attorney.

“Retained an attorney”?  Really?  With what currency?  The $25 they promised her, then stole as “evidence”?

The War Goes On (#711) 

The profound stupidity of lawheads is a marvel to behold:

[Sleazy] vice [pigs] in Metro Atlanta say Backpage.com is still a marketplace for prostitution, despite the fact that Backpage removed its adult escort section…in January…[stenographer] Mark Winne spent days [masturbating while following] the DeKalb County…Vice Unit and [is parroting cop propaganda about] how Backpage is still the go-to website for sex trafficking…[Head] Vice [pig] Curtis Williams told Winne that ads for prostitution…simply moved to elsewhere on the site…Winne…asked [one of the cops’ victims], “How come you turned down that officer’s offer of help?”  “Cause I don’t want it!” She said…

“Offer of help”.  Is Winne a grown man and university graduate?  This is the level of critical thinking I’d expect from someone who still believes in the Easter Bunny.

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There are about 200 stranger kidnappings in the U.S. every year.  Your kid is more likely to get killed by lightning.  –  Marty Klein

Check Your Premises

A judge lectures young sex workers with myths about the “danger” of sex work while actively working to destroy their lives for the “crime” of agreeing to consensual sex:

Three college students in Florida were [brutalized by pigs after tricking them into meeting]…at a ritzy Miami hotel…Maury Noun, 21, is [accused] of pimping out 19-year-old Samara Charlotin and 23-year-old Acacia Friedman…The detective offered Noun $10,000 to have sex with both Charlotin and Friedman.  Noun [stupidly] consented…telling the cop that he would have to pay extra for unprotected sex.  [Pigs]…arrested them as soon as they arrived…and…arraigned on a slew of prostitution charges…Charlotin was also charged with drug possession…Charlotin told Judge Mindy Glazer that she’s pursuing a degree in biology…”You’re a smart girl, if you want to live to see age 20, you need to find a new line of employment,” Glazer [pompously pontificated]…

I wonder when Miami cops will start arresting college football players so Judge Dipshit can lecture them about finding a different line of work if they want to make it to 20 without brain damage?

Saving Them From Themselves

Poor, helpless little piggies; they HAVE TO stick their snouts into young people’s personal lives and then destroy them.  It’s not their fault, they’re robots without discretion or free will!

The Polk County [North Carolina] Sheriff’s Office has had 12 cases in the last year and three months at Polk County Middle School and high school…where students were charged with criminal acts for sharing pictures and videos…Capt. B.J. Bayne said cell phones are the cause of most of the charges and since there’s really not a crime that fits juveniles, the charges have to be related to adult porn charges.  “The goal is to correct the issue, not punish the issue,” Bayne said. “We really have a good team trying to get these kids educated [by traumatizing them & giving them a criminal record]”…

Gorged With Meaning

When sex is involved, a poison pen letter is considered proof:

The Coastal Carolina cheerleading team has been suspended after being accused of engaging in prostitution…[in] an anonymous letter mailed to…University President Dave DeCenzo, alleging that the cheerleaders were engaging in prostitution, buying alcohol for minors and paying others to do their homework…

Scorched Earth 

NCMEC is among the most dangerous of the anti-sex organizations due to its shameless hiding of its agenda behind “protecting children”:

…NCMEC—The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…[has] for decades…told parents to fear “stranger danger,” and instructed them to transmit this fear to their kids…By conflating “missing” and “exploited,” they have panicked Americans into thinking the average child is “at risk” of being kidnapped.  By talking about “children” they conflate the experiences of five-year-olds and 17-year-olds.  According to their own website, over 90% of “missing” teens are not “missing,” they have run away…over 3/4 of…[them] from institutions like foster homes…By expanding the definition of “sex trafficking” to include every sex worker…they have successfully convinced Americans that huge numbers of Americans are sex trafficked.  It’s a lie.  NCMEC can’t document even a half-dozen cases of women forced to act in porn, but they’ve planted the idea that porn actresses are trafficked…NCMEC champions government stings in adult chatrooms where adults roleplay age games, pursuing adults for thought crimes that harm no one…actual child molesters don’t look for kids in adult chatrooms…NCMEC also champions Amber Alert, an enormous waste of money and…resources [whose]…main accomplishment is to terrify…parents.  Similarly, NCMEC favors punitive, counter-productive sex offender laws and registries—which includes putting children on these registries when they mistreat (“molest”) their peers…

See also “Who Watches the Watchmen?” below.

Watershed

Because of the neofeminist lie that having sex for pragmatic reasons magically harms women’s infantile, subhuman brains, it’s especially important that women be making arguments like this:

Economists are obsessed with markets…yet the sex trade has for too long been left to operate with virtually no official support or recognition.  And sex workers have therefore been left vulnerable to exploitation…from the authorities.  The usual justification for brushing the sex trade under the carpet is that the sale of sex is “immoral”…However, there is a logical inconsistency with the way that we think about consensual prostitution – a largely female trade – compared with the male-dominated spheres of soldiering and boxing – all of which come at significant risk to the body and the brain.  As Barbara Einhorn, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Sussex, wrote in a 2016 letter to The Guardian, “prostitution and soldiering are arguably the oldest professions. While doubts about their legitimacy are understandable, both provide a service that society appears to need.  Yet one is heroised, the other vilified.”  As a society, we are also…completely comfortable with people in effect pimping their brains.  If you have high-level numerical or literacy skills, it is fine to work long hours, for example, at a multinational bank or law firm.  But if you’re born with a great body and are able to hone your erotic skills, it is seen as animalistic and shameful to make money from those “assets”…And since women have traditionally been seen as inferior, it has been assumed that making money from the female-associated body is less respectable than making it from the male-associated brain…

Who Watches the Watchmen? (#649)

Once again, actual figures disprove the hysteria:

…American children today are no more likely to be kidnapped than they were decades ago, and much more likely to be returned safely when they are…there were just 105 “stereotypical kidnappings” in America between late 2010 and late 2011, the last period for which we have data.  (For reference, there were about 73.9 million children in America that year.)  Just 65 of these kidnappings were committed by strangers.  Less than half involved the abduction of a child under age 12.  Only 14 percent of cases were still open after one week, and 92 percent of victims were recovered or returned alive…The Department of Justice (DOJ) defines stereotypical kidnappings as those in which 1) the victim is under 18-years-old, 2) the kidnapper is either a stranger or a “slight acquaintance”, 3) the abduction involves moving the victim at least 20 feet or detaining them for at least one hour, and 4) the victim is either held for ransom, transported at least 50 miles, detained overnight, held with an intent to keep permanently, or killed…DOJ defines slight acquaintance as someone the child or their family have known for less than six months, someone they’ve known for longer than six months but see less than once per month, or someone who might be recognizable to a child or their parents but not known by name.  In one…case…a 16-year-old girl ran away to live with an adult boyfriend, who is defined as a “slight acquaintance” because she had only been seeing him a few months.  So the number of stereotypical kidnappings that the general public would consider stereotypical is actually lower than the feds’ estimate…

Dutch Threat (#678)

Even if PROUD supports this, I’m still skeptical of the subtext:

…project My Red Light…enables prostitutes to determine their own work routine…while offering more protection from the pressures and abuses inflicted by intermediaries.  Fourteen windows…in the Red Light District are expected to come into operation in May…If the initiative proves to be a success, the business model may be expanded to other Dutch cities.  Yvette Lurs, president of the Dutch Union for Sexworkers (PROUD), supports the project.  “It would be great if sex workers had more opportunities to open their own brothels,” she says…the spokesman for My Red Light, Richard Bouwman, says that its main goal is to “empower sex workers and, more specifically, to give them the support and the knowledge to run their own business”…

…which most sex workers already do, so why pretend the opposite?

Finding What Isn’t There (#710)

You’d think a business news site could understand that hysterical phone calls don’t correlate meaningfully with actual events.  And you’d be wrong:

Reports of domestic human trafficking continued to increase in 2016, jumping 35 percent over 2015, according to a report released…by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and the Polaris Project…Due to the [imaginary] nature of the crime, authorities and academics alike [are free] to [wildly exaggerate] the scope of the problem.  One source of quantifiable information about [the level of] trafficking [hysteria] in the U.S. is a hotline set up in 2007 by Polaris, an anti-[sex work] organization…it’s unclear whether the rise of an online sex market over the last twenty years has increased the sex trade, or just made it more visible.  In previous decades, sex work was [understood by rational people]…to be a “victimless crime”…but that perception has changed, thanks in large part to [propaganda promoted] by [anti-sex] groups, and now a sex worker is more likely to be [fantasized] as a trafficking victim…

Property of the State (#719) 

If I lived in one of these fanatical “all your uteri belong to us” states & my ability to have children wasn’t already decades in the past, I’d get myself sterilized immediately:

An Iowa state representative…[said] women who miscarry after 20 weeks of pregnancy should be forced to carry their dead fetuses [until the mothers die of septicemia]…During a hearing…which would clear the way for a state ban on abortions after the 20-week mark…Shannon Lundgren…[said] “This bill wasn’t written for the intent to protect or govern on the side of the woman.  It was written to save babies’ lives, giving the choice and being the voice of those babies”…

Between the Lines (#722)

Moralistic control freak clutches her pearls and screeches that facts are evil once somebody says “THE CHILDREN!!!

…in an article for…Reason magazine, Elizabeth Nolan Brown takes the FBI to task for [its annual pogroms vs consenting adults]…Brown declares the FBI’s yearly Operation Cross Country investigation expensive and ineffective and says they do not rescue a significant enough number of underage victims to justify the cost…Her main complaint, however, is that…the FBI is functioning as a “national vice squad,” arresting more adults on charges stemming from prostitution activities than finding underage trafficking victims…Brown continues by asserting that underage youth who are not being forced by a trafficker into selling sex do not need to be rescued and should not be [locked in cages and brainwashed]…

The rest denies the agency of sex workers, quotes the usual absurd myths and Farley’s made-up BS, etc.

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Shouldn’t we help [sex workers] instead of further marginalising them?  –  Christina Cannon

The Red Umbrella 

Because NHI is so feminist:

Last week, we were treated to the release of the trailer for Rough Night, a female-led buddy comedy that sees Scarlett Johannson, Kate McKinnon, Illana Glazer, Zoe Kravitz, and Jillian Bell team up for a wild bachelorette weekend.  The girls drink, go dancing, take photos with selfie sticks, and hire a stripper.  Yay!  And then they accidentally kill him.  Not yay.  And then, for reasons as-yet-unknown to the audience, they arrange his dead body in a sex swing before hanging him out of the sunroof of a Jeep, driving him shirtless through a busy street, and – I can’t believe I’m about to write what I’m about to write – making jokes about his corpse’s erection.  Decidedly not yay…

Elephant in the Parlor 

Politicians hiring male sex workers isn’t much less common than their hiring female ones:

[Oklahoma] State Senator Ralph Shortey…was discovered at a Super 8 in Moore…with an unidentified boy under the age of 18…police have recommended the politician be charged with soliciting a minor for prostitution, prostitution within 1000 feet of a church and transporting someone for prostitution.  The exact age of the boy involved is unclear. Police have said that he is a juvenile, though the age of consent in Oklahoma is 16…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Given that dancers win every one of these suits, the old strip club business model is a dead duck:

Attorneys in Denver have filed a national lawsuit against a chain of strip clubs.  The class action suit accuses PT’s Show Club, PT’s All Nude, Diamond Cabaret, La Boheme and The Penthouse Club of exploiting their exotic dancers.  The…suit…involves hundreds of dancers in 20 strip clubs across eight states…Mari Newman, the attorney who filed the suit, said that the company’s lack of fair compensation for the dancers’ work is illegal…

Watershed

Even in Ireland, the truth is dawning on many feminists:

Gillian Wylie…and Eilis Ward…state that they are “weary” after several years of fighting the perceived definition of sex work in Ireland…“We did a piece of research…on the…extent of trafficking for sexual exploitation of women into Ireland”, explains Wylie….the number of people being trafficked in Ireland was being quoted as being in the hundreds.  Wylie and Ward’s “rigorous piece of research” came up with a figure of 76…For both women, a critical turning point in their opinions on sex work came from talking to people involved in the industry.  When met with a roomful of sex workers, Ward listened as they explained that they “didn’t consider themselves to be victims of violence”…and this limiting definition “didn’t capture the reality of their work”…

Not To Be Taken Internally (#325)

Ladies, please don’t let people who aren’t doctors inject who-knows-what into your butts:

On the internet, she goes by the name Vanessa Luna, starring in porn videos that highlight her ample rear end…she used her real name, Ruth Planas, to…operat[e]…an unlicensed clinic in a West Miami-Dade strip mall…Cuerpos Health and Aestheticwas shuttered after…Suyima Torres, died following a botched butt lift performed there.  Prosecutors have charged Jose Robusto, a purported medical doctor in Venezuela, who they believe injected Torres with illegal and dangerous liquid silicone at the facility.  But nearly a year after his arrest, authorities have been unable to build a case against clinic owner Planas, who claimed no injections were ever done at the business.  Planas insisted she only used the clinic to sell cosmetic products, pitch Herbalife nutritional supplements and, a couple times a week, perform on live X-rated web videos…witnesses say that Planas arranged and helped carry out illegal cosmetic surgeries there…Robusto…is awaiting trial for manslaughter, one of many high-profile cases involving botched cosmetic surgeries in South Florida — a hub for sham doctors who offer cheap cosmetic procedures performed in homes, warehouses and pseudo clinics.  Just last week, a Miami man was arrested after police said he gave butt injections to a woman who wound up in the hospital because of the procedure…

If Men Were Angels

Is anyone actually still surprised when this happens?

Ottawa police have laid four new charges against a retired Catholic priest in connection with alleged sexual assaults at two local churches in the 1960s.  Rev. Barry McGrory, 82, has been charged with two counts of indecent assault on a male, and two counts of gross indecency…McGrory was first arrested in November in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy in the 1960s…the Archdiocese of Ottawa…settled out of court with two women who said they were abused as adolescents by McGrory in the 1970s…One of the victims was paid $300,000 in one of the largest settlements of its kind in the history of the Ottawa diocese.  In an interview last year, McGrory said he was a sex addict…

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong (#546)

Prohibitionist Scottish politicians exhume the rotting corpse of the “Scottish model” (ie the Swedish model) yet again:

…SNP members [backed] a motion for a Scottish model for [oppressing sex workers]…MSP Ash Denham proposed the motion, based…on the Nordic model of [prohibition]…Denham [drooled]…that “a girl who enters prostitution at 14 will service the sexual demands of more than 4000 men before she’s old enough to drive a car”…Christina Cannon, who is standing to be an SNP councillor…argued against the model, and told delegates to be mindful of the motion in front them…Women in the trade, she argued, were opposed to the criminalisation of the purchase of sex, pointing delegates to a consultation held when Labour’s Rhoda Grant put forward a similar proposal in 2012…

Property of the State (#561) 

Still another abomination from Alabama:

…new moms in Alabama…[are subjected to] hospital drug tests [without their permission] after birth and [the results are] passed along to police.  Dozens of women have been charged with felony chemical endangerment of a child since 2006 for using marijuana during pregnancy…Although Alabama isn’t the only state with laws against drug use during pregnancy, its prosecutors have been the most zealous – bringing charges against hundreds of women, even those with low levels of THC and no criminal history.  State lawmakers [recklessly passed] the chemical endangerment law in 2006 [supposedly] to protect children from exposure to chemicals and fumes from home-based meth-labs…[but] prosecutors immediately began applying it to women who used drugs during pregnancy, a practice that increased after being upheld by the Alabama State Supreme Court in 2013…

Bell, Hook and Kettle (#615)

There’s a word for collaboration between government and private corporations; it’s “fascism”:

…Philadelphia’s Special Victim’s Unit…[has] joined forces with Federal Homeland Security investigations, the FBI, the Salvation Army, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the District Attorney on a new task force charged with cracking down on sex trafficking, thanks to a $1.3 million federal grant…Investigators…[pretend to] work hard to get young women out of the sex trade and on a better path in life.  The Salvation Army plays a vital role in helping women break the vicious cycle of sex trafficking…

Is that anything like “the dangerous cycle of prostitution“?

To Molest and Rape

“Errors”.  You know, like turning a blind eye to cops raping teens:

Louisville’s mayor announced that he has asked the FBI to investigate…the…sexual abuse of children in the police department’s Youth Explorer program.  Mayor Greg Fischer also said he had hired former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey to review an investigation conducted by Louisville Metro Police and determine whether “errors were made,” including by police Chief Steve Conrad…A lawsuit…on behalf of a former scout identified as N.C. charges that his alleged rape by Officers Kenneth Betts and Brandon Wood was “concealed” by department officials.  Betts and Wood are accused of sexually assaulting the former scout from 2011 through 2013 and recording the incidents to make porn…

Leaving the Life (#657)

This is a lot better than Vice‘s last article on leaving sex work:

…sex workers are able to…pick up transferable skills that they can use in their future careers.  Few sex workers stay in the industry for their whole working lives, and they leave for diverse reasons—often returning for short or extended stints from time to time…Raven Bowen of the University of York [said]…”If people get pregnant or fall in love, they often leave right away.  Middle-class sex workers might be able to make a plan when they transition out—dabble in some square jobs, then gradually leave.”  Another common motivator is a child approaching their teenage years…Rarest of all are [those]…who…settle down with a client, although Bowen [says] this isn’t unheard of…Many sex workers view the industry as a short-term stepping stone to a…straight…career, and aim to retire from sex work when they’ve amassed enough money to fund tuition or open a small business…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#688) 

This is what robo-fetishists want you to believe will take my job soon:

Sergi Santos…wants to make sure robotic sex dolls…enjoy the sex as much as the humans ― or at least act like they do.  The Barcelona-based engineer has just created a sex doll named “Samantha,” who…responds when the user touches her hands and hips by saying positive statements like “I love this” and “Nice and gentle” in a singsong voice…she is programmed to want romance first, then get comfortable before getting sexual.  “The…final objective of the sexual mode is to give her an orgasm,” said Santos…Santos is now selling Samantha…for around $5,374…

One Born Every Minute (#717) 

I’d be much happier if the money went to Hickey’s victims instead of the State:

Things are not looking good for Matt Hickey.  The former tech journalist, who is currently being held in King County jail on four separate charges of second-degree rape, failed to respond to the Attorney General Office’s lawsuit against his fake porn scam.  As a result…Judge Ken Schubert issue[d] a ruling finding that Hickey did, indeed, scam at least six women by pretending to be a fake female porn recruiter online since 2006; Schubert also ruled that Hickey owes the state $300,000 in penalties that represent 150 violations of state consumer protection laws…[and] must pay $32,201 in court fees…

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