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Posts Tagged ‘statistics’

Predicating [the] entire argument on [sex workers] being victims…[is] increasing victimization.  –  Kate D’Adamo

A Tale That Grew in the Telling 

The claim that “child sex trafficking” makes more money than pharmaceuticals, food, tourism, insurance, electronics & others is so absurd it defies sanity:

Texas has ranked number two in the nation, behind California, in reported trafficking cases…Lisa…with Harvest House [has the fucking nerve to pretend she needs anonymity as sex workers do because of the criminalization she promotes]…Lisa [tells masturbatory fantasies about “pimps” abducting girls off the street] and [fantasizes]…“In seven years…You’re so diseased that they don’t need you anymore.  The life expectancy of a trafficked victim is seven to ten years…Child sex trafficking…is the number two money maker in the entire world”…

Girls, Girls, Girls!

[New York City] bartenders are now competing with the strippers…[by] wearing provocative clothing and doing a little shake…they’re distracting patrons from the actual strippers on stage who are much more athletic, more trained and who are doing the job which they were hired to do.  Furthermore, as people who rely on patrons spending money on them, men giving it to the bartenders, who are already being paid and tipped for their service, is taking money out of their pockets…the bartenders are often lighter skinned women who are either racially ambiguous and not Black.  Colorism has affected virtually every other industry, it only makes sense it would show up in the adult entertainment world as well…

So Close and Yet So Far

If you want to write an article supporting sex workers, is it so hard to fucking talk to one of us first so you don’t write stupid garbage?

Laws that prohibit prostitution should be declared unconstitutional…In 2003, in Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a Texas law that made it a crime for consenting adults to engage in private, consensual…sexual activity…Lawrence recognized the importance of sexual activity as an essential part of liberty and explicitly rejected Texas’ argument that it could make a moral judgment that homosexual activity was wrong…This same reasoning explains why laws that prohibit prostitution are unconstitutional.  They, too, restrict what consenting adults do in their bedrooms…For some people, purchasing sex is their only way to engage in sexual activity…If prostitution were legal, it could be regulated.  There could be required health check-ups, protecting health for sellers and buyers.  Trafficking is an enormous problem…Other countries’ experience shows legalization is preferable…There are mandatory inspections…

If this dimwit had bothered to actually do some research he would’ve learned that NOBODY who has actually studied the issue wants legalization, which is just a form of criminalization that creates a two-tiered system because over 90% of sex workers refuse to be monitored like criminals, subjected to insulting “inspections” while amateurs run around spreading STIs, etc.

Uncharted Seas

Though it’s good to see more talk of legalizing polygamy, it’s sad that people are so conformist they feel they need to justify it with “feminism” instead of simply respecting people’s right to make their own choices:

…I am suggesting that polygyny — when a man has multiple wives — might be the answer as long as we see it through a feminist slant…We’re always hearing about a lack of marriageable men…the lack…isn’t just about well-employed college-educated men; it’s that…there may be fewer [“egalitarian”] men around than there are women wanting those kind of men…There are more than a few upsides to a polygamous arrangement that women enter into freely and willingly because it suits their needs…

Skin To Skin

There can never be too many articles on sex workers for the disabled:

…”people with disabilities…feel…really lonely and alienated, as though their sexuality doesn’t get to exist,” said Heather Jarvis of the Safe Harbour Outreach Project…some sex workers refuse to take clients with disabilities, because they…are afraid they’ll inadvertently hurt the client…[but in general] sex workers…mak[e a big difference] in the lives of clients with disabilities…a lot of it is non-judgmental communication…and…plain old companionship…

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

It’s never called “trafficking” when the government or a crony does it:

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma is suing to stop the state’s courts from sending people to “an unpaid labor camp disguised as a rehabilitation center.”  The suit accuses the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Program (DARP) of federal labor violations and human trafficking…Participants…were told the program would be focused on counseling and addiction recovery.  “Instead, these plaintiffs were forced into a human trafficking scheme and remained under threat of prison sentences if they did not…provid[e] hundreds or thousands of hours of unpaid labor to…private corporations, doing such work as welding, plastic product manufacturing, and chicken processing”…any pay they earned from the companies went to DARP…they were fed one bologna sandwich and a Little Debbie cake for lunch and were often expected to make do on that for their entire 12-hour shift of manual labor; and that they were forced to sleep in bedbug-invested barracks and fed chicken from the plant that was unfit to sell…

New Excuse

Sometimes the War on Whores is the War on Drugs rather than its successor:

In Louisiana [last] week, the FBI helped arrest—and publicly ridicule—57 men who responded to fake (adult) prostitution ads.  Meanwhile in North Carolina, DHS has pitched in to help round-up people with small amounts of marijuana or cocaine on them.  Local media described the DHS efforts as a “human trafficking case.”  But the only offenses any suspects were arrested for were drug possession, driving with a revoked license, and parole violations—all state-level offenses, and mostly misdemeanors…no human-trafficking arrests, no children were found, and no victims of sex trafficking were rescued…

End Demand (#574)

It’s good to see articles critical of the “john school” scam appearing in trade publications:

…According to [Tennessee Assistant District Attorney Tammy] Meade, sex workers are women who lack control — women who are exploited by men — rather than women who make an informed, conscious choice to engage in the sex industry…John school is painted as a win-win for men and women alike…However…these programs, along with the narratives of victimization they perpetuate…harm women far more than they help.  The premise of john school and cracking down on “demand” is still driven by the idea that sex work needs to be policed in the first place, which creates barriers to safety and exacerbates stigma…and…there is no evidence to suggest that john schools actually decrease trafficking or prostitution.  Meanwhile, the classes fail to provide concrete resources — such as housing or access to childcare — and alternative job opportunities for the women they are [pre]tended to help…

Soap Opera (#628) 

The idea that Fresno, California, which isn’t on the way to anything else, could possibly be a “major hub” for any kind of business is so utterly stupid one wonders how even cops can believe it:

…Women and children are bought and sold every day in Fresno – online, in street corners, while at school.  They are raped, branded and beaten…Human trafficking casts a shadow on the central San Joaquin Valley, with thousands of victims both female and male, young and old, rich and poor, white, black, Hispanic, Asian.  It’s an industry that thrives on targeting your children.  And…it’s getting worse…High poverty and runaway rates contribute to the problem, as does Fresno’s central location between human trafficking hubs in the Bay Area, Southern California and Las Vegas…

Man, I can practically hear this guy’s fapping to his nasty fantasy; it’s really quite disgusting.

A Procrustean Bed (#651)

The idea that sex workers might be neither criminals nor victims is too much for the tiny, narrow minds of politicians:

…RISE Court, which stands for Resiliency Is Strength and Empowerment…participa[nts] are expected to make their first appearances before San Diego Superior Court Judge Carolyn Caietti…“A lot of kids have this horrible, nightmarish existence, and it’s going to take a lot [of punitive state action] to get them back so they’re going to feel [docile & obedient]” said Robert Trentacosta, presiding judge for the Juvenile Court…The special court is the county’s latest weapon against human trafficking…The court is modeled after a mental health court already in operation…as well as got input [sic] from [prohibitionists]…Trentacosta [masturbated furtively while fantasizing that]…“girls…are so fearful of their pimp [we have to brainwash them]”…[imprisonment] doesn’t necessarily [end] once they turn 18 [and could be indefinite]…

Too Close To Home (#701) 

Seattle’s rapist-in-chief has gone from slandering his victims as mentally ill to actually suing them:

King County Sheriff John Urquhart has filed a defamation lawsuit after a former deputy came forward with [a report] that Urquhart sexually assaulted him in 2014 outside of a Renton restaurant.  Brian Barnes…[reported that] Urquhart touched his crotch outside of the Yankee Grill after the two met for dinner…[local media claimed] Barnes [has]…a long history of…filing complaints and grievances against his superiors…Urquhart…[whose job is to terrorize the citizenry, un-ironically bloviated that] “Barnes has been terrorizing people…he doesn’t like for far too long.  It’s time for Barnes to be held responsible for his actions”…

Capricious Lusts (#720)

Another study shows what’s already been shown over & over again:

A new paper in the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy by Bisschop, Kastoryano, and van der Klaauw looks at the opening and closing of…tippelzones…in 25 Dutch cities.  “Our empirical results show that opening a tippelzone reduces sexual abuse and rape…by a 30–40 percent reduction in the first two years after opening the tippelzone”…Cunningham and Shah studied decriminalization of indoor prostitution in Rhode Island and found very similar results…In addition a working paper by Riccardo Ciacci and María Micaela Sviatschi studies prostitution in New York and also finds that prostitution significantly reduces sex crimes such as rape…

Between the Lines (#784)

It’s mildly amusing to watch a self-declared “sex trafficking expert” fail to comprehend that the reason the conviction rate for “pimps” is so low is that the FBI & cops are mostly just making up lies about sex workers and our friends, associates and partners:

In the latest nationwide human trafficking sting known as Operation Cross Country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation [labeled] 120 [people as] child sex traffickers and [arrested or abducted] 84 [legal minors]…behind the headlines, the reality is much different than what the public is led to believe….[people] arrested [as] human traffickers are rarely convicted for these crimes.  Charges are often dropped [for lack of evidence] or offenders accept plea bargains…one [so-called]…rescue…victim…was placed in a juvenile detention center, where she was sodomized by two inmates with a toothpaste tube.  She was later held in detention as a material witness until she gave her testimony at trial.  Therapy was not provided because “she didn’t avail herself”…Stories of arrests are quickly shared with the media, leading [self-professed “experts”]…to…be[lieve]…in…a…human trafficking scourge…

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I am not sure when being a selfish, misogynistic jerk became a medical disorder.  –  David Ley

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

When another man pays an underage sex worker, she’s a “sex trafficking victim”.  When a cop does it, she’s an “underage hooker”:

A Bronx cop was busted for having sex with an underage girl and recording their encounters — even after the investigation started and his home had been searched…Raul Olmeda was arraigned on a 67-count indictment…[because] five times between January and April…[he] paid the teen for sex…police found out about them while conducting a sex trafficking investigation…Olmeda’s lawyer, Stuart London, said…”This isn’t numerous underage women.  This is one underage woman, and we don’t know her credibility at all”…

The Daily News changed the last word of the headline after people jumped on them for the language, but you can still see it in the URL.

The Proper Study

It looks like Scott Cunningham has finally done a good one:

In a groundbreaking study, researchers at Baylor and West Virginia universities have found evidence indicating that Craigslist’s erotic advertising site may have prompted a 17 percent decrease in female homicides throughout the United States, principally because sex workers were able to use the free advertising service to move into a safer indoor environments and screen clients more carefully…The study, which has been submitted to a peer-reviewed economics journal, offers…evidence of what sex workers have been saying for years: that having the ability to advertise online for their services allows them to work in safer indoor environments and screen out violent clients.  The new study reinforces previous research showing a decline in sexual violence in regions where prostitution has been legalized or decriminalized…the researchers also did an analysis of how many more police officers would need to be hired to reduce the female homicide rate by the same percentage that Craigslist’s free service apparently did.  They concluded that this would require an additional outlay of 200,832 police officers, costing the U.S. an added $20 billion per year.  “Craigslist, in other words, saved 2,150 female lives at a profoundly lower social cost,” concluded the three authors, Scott Cunningham…Gregory DeAngelo…and John Tripp…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

If Weinstein brings down the “sex addiction” scam, he’ll have inadvertently done some good in the world:

…While there’s no official confirmation of where Weinstein is headed or what type of therapy he may be getting, experts…said that…he’s not a sex addict.  And most say there’s no such thing as sex addiction…Holly Richmond…said…”There is no such thing as sex addiction”…[Dr. David] Ley says…“We see this parade of men getting caught…then they claim their behavior is the result of this alleged disorder when we all know these were men who were abusing their power and privilege…after 40 years…there is still no published evidence that this treatment works…This is an exploitative industry that loves to capitalize on these celebrity sex addiction scandals so they can get referrals”…

Yellow Fever

Like the New York Times, the BBC has discarded whatever credibility it once enjoyed:

Basis Yorkshire was set up to support sex workers across Leeds in 1989.  Over that time, we have worked closely with sex workers across the sex industry to provide safety, information and support…We believe the BBC documentarySex, Drugs and Murder; Life in the Red Light Zone has done a great deal of damage to the stereotypes of sex workers in Leeds (and across the country) by portraying the women in a highly sensationalist, voyeuristic way.  The footage often none-to subtly focuses the shot on drug paraphernalia and rubbish in their home, or the area they work in – giving deliberately unpleasant, grubby feel to the program and the women that are featured…The program could have been made about a group of women with complex needs and had the same content – but…[instead] focuses only on women who have severe addiction issues, or on complex, even at times violent, social situations, rather than allowing viewers to see the diversity of women we work with (or indeed the diversity of the lives of the women they chose to film)…

Skin To Skin

A “feminist” calls other women “toilets” for ministering to disabled men:

Men with disabilities are a hugely important group served by sex workers” [tweeted] Amy Alkon…Check out the, paternalism, uh, maternalism [in the response] here, from social psychologist Dina McMillan


All-Purpose Excuse

Meanwhile, Oakland allows cops whose actions DO qualify as “trafficking” under law to get away scot-free:

Following a controversial Aug. 16 raid of a West Oakland home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said repeatedly that the operation was part of a criminal human trafficking investigation…but…the raid hasn’t resulted in a single criminal prosecution…the only person arrested, Santos de Leon, is facing civil immigration charges and could be deported..ICE has recently begun to classify the act of providing shelter and other assistance to unaccompanied minors who recently immigrated to the United States as “human trafficking,” and is charging adults, often close family members, with the crime…by providing assistance to ICE for the raid, OPD violated Oakland’s sanctuary city policies…Kirkpatrick made false statements on several occasions — including in emails to city councilmembers, statements at a town hall meeting, and through several OPD press releases — about the raid…The statements included a social media posting from OPD asserting that the arrest was related to “sex trafficking”..and that…victims were rescued by ICE and received services.  But there is no evidence to back up those statements…

Signs 

The dysphemisms are thick in this one:

Students at Quinnipiac University’s law school [who have never done sex work] have [indoctrinated] nearly 1,000 of Connecticut’s hospitality industry workers on how to recognize and report the [mythical] signs of sex trafficking…Taylor Matook [said]…“we have a narrative.”  By [filling the heads of] hospitality workers with [sexual fantasies, prohibitionists]…hope to [create an army of stool pigeons]…to stop…sex [workers from making a living by turning them in to the pigs]…Theresa Leonard…founder of a ministry [fantasizing about] eradicating sex [work] in Connecticut, said…“It’s amazing to me how few women [agree with my claim]…that they were exploited or trafficked”…

The Prudish Giant (#641)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Leila is a sex worker.  She goes to great lengths to keep separate identities for ordinary life and for sex work, to avoid stigma, arrest, professional blowback, or clients who might be stalkers (or worse).  Her “real identity”—the public one…joined Facebook in 2011.  Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name.  Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s “People You May Know” recommendations, Leila…was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.  Despite the fact that she’d only given Facebook information from her vanilla identity, the company had somehow discerned her real-world connection to these people—and, even more horrifyingly, her account was potentially being presented to them as a friend suggestion too, outing her regular identity to them.  Because Facebook insists on concealing the methods and data it uses to link one user to another, Leila is not able to find out how the network exposed her or take steps to prevent it from happening again…When Leila queried secret support groups for sex workers, others said it had happened to them too…

This isn’t new; I first heard about it about a year or so after starting this blog.

Morality Lessons (#689)

No, this isn’t the same huge child porn site run by the FBI; this is a different one:

The world’s largest child sexual abuse forum, “Childs Play” is running in the darkweb. [Nowegian newspaper] VG exposed…[that Australian police are] behind the website’s continued operation…Under the supervision of Jon Rouse, detective inspector, and investigator Paul Griffiths, thousands of members have shared photos and videos of children being sexually abused…Some members of the forum got together in person to commit child abuse, which they filmed and shared on the forum…the police deny they are responsible for what was shared on [their own website] while they ran it…

Morality Lessons (#703)

A Utah politician’s bizarre anti-porn antics continue:

For the past 14 years, Utah has made do without a “porn czar.”  The position—officially known as the “Obscenity and Pornography Complaints Ombudsman”—has been vacant since 2003, though it was never officially eliminated.  Now state Sen. Todd Weiler…may revive it, even as the Utah attorney general suggests legislators strike it from the books.  Weiler has been on an anti-porn crusade for several years now.  He’s the architect of a 2016 declaration to declare porn a public health crisis (which passed the state legislature unanimously) and a proposal passed earlier this year to encourage “porn addicts” to sue porn platforms…Weiler “says he became convinced that the obscenity and pornography complaints office may be needed because of an ad campaign attacking Cosmopolitan magazine as illegal porn”…

I kinda hope the “Cosmo is porn” nonsense continues; maybe it’s push the magazine into siding with sex workers.  Weiler is also the dangerous loon who claimed sex workers “force” cops to rape us.

Checklist (#755)

The real purpose of this scheme is to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system:

Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation Assistant Professor Samantha Calvin spoke at the 14th Annual Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference in Ohio last month…Calvin focused on human trafficking in the clinic setting, red flags to look for, questions to ask and what to do if someone is identified…

You may recall that ASU, home of Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz, is a major hotbed of “sex trafficking” propaganda and source of several bogus studies made to order to support both the hysteria and carceral “solutions” to the nonexistent “problem”.

Of Course It Is (#758)

I hope none of you find this even remotely surprising:

Charges that Oakland [pig] Giovanni LoVerde sexually assaulted an underage girl were dismissed…after Alameda County prosecutors dropped the case…Several other Oakland [swine] were not criminally charged in the case, but twelve were disciplined by the department, and four were fired.  Some…still work at OPD despite social media evidence they sexually exploited the girl or ignored signs of wrongdoing…many more Northern California [pigs] were implicated in the sprawling sex crimes scandal, but few have faced criminal prosecution.  The dismissal of the case against LoVerde ends, for now, the Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s effort to prosecute five Oakland cops — three former and two current — as well as a former Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy and a former Livermore police officer who all exploited the girl…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

School officials in Ohio are on alert following reports of a drone…at Windemere Community Learning Center in Akron over the weekend..several witnesses [claim to have] heard a voice coming from the drone, attempting to coax the children off the playground”…This bizarre story is not questioned by the media, because whether or not the threat is real, doesn’t matter…of course, the advice given to parents is always the same — just as it has been in all the reports of “near” abductions by sex traffickers at the local store (that never actually occurred): PARENTS, NEVER LET YOUR KIDS OUT OF YOUR SIGHT!…

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It’s a wonder they lived to tell the tale.  A car.  A mumbler. More than one person in the parking garage at once.  It is all just overwhelming.  –  Lenore Skenazy

Feminine Pragmatism 

Anyone surprised by this knows nothing about women:

…Gabriel Sánchez rattled off the previous jobs of the women who now [work] at his [brothel] for $25 an hour.  “We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer…All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.”  And all of them came from Venezuela.  As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse amid food shortages, hyperinflation and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country.  Those with the means have gone to places like Miami, Santiago and Panama.  The less fortunate find themselves walking across the border into Colombia looking for a way, any way, to keep themselves and their families fed…But with jobs scarce, many…women are turning to the world’s oldest profession to make ends meet…

Socialism, the way of the future.

Finding What Isn’t There

As I keep saying over and over and over:

Human trafficking arrests are almost nonexistent in most states, according to the FBI’s newly released U.S. crime statistics for 2016…Florida reported 105 investigations into human-trafficking offenses in 2016 but zero human trafficking arrests…Nevada worked on 140 human-trafficking investigations but made only 40 arrests on trafficking charges.  Louisiana looked into 123 potential cases of human trafficking but only arrested 16 people for it…this report only includes arrests recorded by state and local law enforcement on human trafficking charges, which allows us to look beyond police propaganda about what they’re doing and see what it is they’re actually doing….the data do little to support the idea that the U.S. is experiencing unprecedented levels of labor and sex trafficking or that we are in the midst of some sort of “modern slavery” epidemic.  This is probably why you don’t see UCR trafficking statistics quoted in congressional reports, “awareness” materials, or law enforcement statements to the media on the topic…

Backwards into the Future (#629) 

Zimbabwean sex workers demonstrate their clout:

…sex workers in Chiredzi, a small sugar cane growing town in south-eastern Zimbabwe, have forced the reopening of Chigarapasi beer hall, the country’s largest, after threatening to stage a week-long naked vigil at the entrance in protest over its closure.  The beer hall…was closed early this year [after] the…Chiredzi council…[claimed] the bar was no longer making a profit – much to the surprise of…sex workers whose livelihood depends on [it]…

Public Service Announcement (#669)

If your candidate’s campaign can be derailed by the peccadilloes of a virtual stranger, you have a shitty candidate:

Anthony Weiner is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday in a sexting scandal that some blame for Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss.  The former New York congressman faces up to 27 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor…by having illicit contact with a 15-year-old girl, including asking her to “sexually perform” for him in conversations on Skype and Snapchat…

Also: the word “illicit” makes anyone who uses it sound like a pearl-clutching schoolmarm.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

Because nothing makes authoritarians lose their shit faster than sex:

…Chinese company Taqu (or “Touch” in English)…launch[ed] their “Shared Girlfriend” app online, which allowed users to rent a silicone sex doll for a daily fee of 298 yuan (US$45.15) or 1,298 yuan per week…news of the service quickly went viral…Two days after its 14 September launch in Beijing, the authorities shut the service down after…a police investigation [called the rental] it to be a “vulgar act that disrupts social order“…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

These “close encounters” with near sex-traffickers are like alien abductions.  They are shared wildly — gleefully — by people seemingly thrilled to know this horrible scourge is out there…This latest story, from Reno, involves a mom and dad who noticed every detail about a night that sounds outrageously ordinary.  They passed by some people they didn’t know!  They went into the parking garage and there was a car — with people in it!  They felt scared for their kids and compelled to write a Facebook post warning people everywhere about this terrible thing that…didn’t happen…I, too, walked outside last night and literally every single person I encountered may have “possibly” been involved in a child sex trafficking ring.  Each and every person I saw might “possibly” have also been a Satanist.  Or the owner of a Segway they’re trying to get rid of.  Or been related to the Royal Family…there’s no way to say they AREN’T sex traffickers.  So it’s best to just assume they are…”Holland…described [one man] as looking disheveled and wearing a bodyguard-type earpiece“…I’m sure that “bodyguard type earpiece” couldn’t possibly be an earbud.  It is so much more likely that the man was being commanded from Sex Trafficking HQ than listening to Beyonce…

Saving Them From Themselves (#735)

Lowered penalties for teen sexting may sound like a step in the right direction, but in actuality they simply encourage prosecutors to file more charges for behavior that isn’t even criminal in the first place:

Ohio state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban sexting between teenagers, potentially turning thousands of ordinary young Ohioans into sex offenders…Legislators could instead amend state statute to exempt teens exchanging pics between themselves, and people a few years over 18 texting with those a few years younger, from laws that treat them as child-porn producers and consumers.  Prosecutors could decline to bring these charges against sexting minors, and schools could decline to hand these cases over to cops.  Instead, this bill would create the new misdemeanor crime of “possession of sexually explicit digital material”…by anyone under age 21…So sexting teenagers might not get labeled child pornographers, but they could still wind up with a criminal record or, at the very least, a lot of court dates and a bullshit DARE-style class on how sexting will ruin their lives.  Worse yet, the legislation doesn’t actually change the state’s child pornography laws.  If it passes, prosecutors can still bring child porn charges against minors…or…use the threat of that charge to coerce kids to consent to searches, take plea deals on the lesser charge, and so on.  The sexting offense would simply be an additional tool at authorities’ disposal…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#759) 

The concept that men can’t tell the difference between a hunk of plastic and a woman insults all humans:

A sex robot with a “resistance setting” that allows men to simulate rape should be banned…[says anti-sex] lawyer…Kate Parker, who…warned the “uniquely sinister” technology normalised sexual assault…

Beware of authoritarians who disguise their deeply pathological need to control others’ sexuality by using words like “normalize” to describe sexual fantasies which are already so normal they’re almost vanilla.  For a deeper analysis of why this woman’s beliefs are deeply offensive, see also “Vile Insinuation“.

The Course of a Disease (#772)

It took a few weeks for Irish prohibitionists to figure out how to celebrate the increase in violence vs sex workers directly resulting from their laws without revealing their sociopathy to everyone:

More sex workers have reported rapes to gardai since new laws on prostitution laws were introduced, a [prohibitionist] group has claimed…Sarah Benson, head of Ruhama, which [persecutes sex workers]…said she is hopeful the laws make a positive difference…

Lower Education (#773)

Go on, keep telling me how the slippery slope is a “fallacy”:

Gov. Jerry Brown of California is poised to sign a worrisome bill that…explicitly applies to children in public kindergarten, elementary and high schools.  So a first grader could face dire consequences if found to have committed an act of “sexual violence,” which is broadly defined to include any “physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person” without their consent.  California lawmakers quickly passed the bill last week after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Sept. 7 that she will roll back the [due-process-banning] guidelines set forth by the Obama administration in 2011…[which] have led to bad outcomes…In case after case, young men were expelled on the basis of allegations that they were not allowed to challenge by seeing the evidence against them or cross-examining witnesses…Put aside for a moment whether a 6-year-old is capable of forming the intent to commit a sexual assault when she plants kisses on an unenthusiastic classmate, or whether it makes sense to bring sexual assault charges against an eighth grader who hugs the girl he has a crush on but who does not reciprocate his feelings.  Put aside for a moment whether school administrators should be branding children sexual assailants even if they are 49.99 percent sure the allegations are not true…Heavy-handed disciplinary policies fall disproportionately on students of color.  Because of the stereotypes associated with them, including the noxious but persistent trope that black males are inherently sexually predatory, black kids are presumed guilty…

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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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