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Posts Tagged ‘Subtle Pimping’

(There’s) little [government] interest in the importance of consent and choice.  –  Martin Drago

Dirty Whores (#44)

Here’s an interesting article about how the UK’s horrible Contagious Disease Acts – laws which infringed on human rights so severely they actually inspired English church ladies to fight on the side of whores for a while – affected the landscape of sex work in India, with special attention to Calcutta.  While the article does get some things wrong (as is nigh-universal among articles about sex work written by amateurs), most of the errors are minor and the author appears pretty solidly on the side of the whores, even to the point of describing how 19th-century whore stigma is still alive and harming Indian sex workers to this day via other vestiges of British colonial law.

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Shannon Maley [of Airdrie, Scotland] had a…vendetta against a 20-year-old man with learning disabilities who was dating her sister.  She barely knew him, yet claimed he sexually assaulted her and her friends.  Maley then created multiple social media accounts under the young man’s name and sent herself disturbing and threatening messages in order to frame him.  She has since pleaded guilty to “perverting the course of justice and also to harassing witnesses”…Maley’s messages to herself included threats “to set you on fire and watch you burn alive”…Maley had apparently intimidated her friends into making accusations against [the young man] as well.  One of those friends eventually admitted that…he…had not sexually assaulted her and that Maley had harassed her and tried to influence their testimony…Maley’s story unraveled after she accused [her victim] of sending a threatening message while he was in prison without access to the Internet…

A Modest Proposal (#527)

Women make pragmatic decisions to survive!  Other cultures have different sexual and marital traditions than white Europeans do!  The age of consent varies from country to country!  Clergymen often believe religious law trumps civil law!  Islamic laws are usually pretty shitty toward women!  Lots of men are exploitative fuckwads who take advantage of naive young women!  Laws don’t stop people from exploiting each other!  Opportunists will use unpopular laws as excuses to make money!  And the BBC is on it!

The Widening Gyre (#735)

Nigerian sex trafficking juju mafia terrorists.  I am not making this up:

Stockholm police [are trying to spread hysteria about]…the “Black Ax”, [which they claim is] a Nigerian criminal gang connected to drug trafficking and prostitution involving illegal migrants…The Nigerian mafia is…[fantasized by racist Europeans] to use juju, a Nigerian equivalent of voodoo, to force migrants to become drug traffickers or prostitutes. This [racist fantasy] has been [claimed]…in…Italy…where…earlier this year…police [fantasized]…that the influence of terrorist groups like Boko Haram was spreading among mafia members…

I especially love that the Swedish police are clearly right at home on Breitbart.

Check Your Premises (#809)

Yes, this really is as stupid and evil as it seems at first glance:

[Pigs oinked that] many of the women arrested…in a [prostitution sting] in [Houston] are likely victims.  Many are asking why they were arrested if they are victims themselves.  “They’ve been brainwashed, they’ve been threatened, they’ve been physically abused,” [oinked spokespig] John Wall [while making furtive movements in his pants pockets]…“Certainly we know there are women who choose a life of prostitution, but more often than not…women are prostituted,” s[lurped copsucker] Rania Mankarious…[who] said it’s up to a district attorney to decide if a prostitution suspect is actually a sex-trafficking victim [because women are much too stupid to know that for ourselves]…Trafficking [fetishists] said many times the victims are unwilling to cooperate with [disguised predators who hunt, rape and cage them]…“’It’s going to be better,’ ‘You won’t have to do this much longer,’” are things pi[g]s tell their victims…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#817) 

Another slap on the wrist for a sexually-entitled cop:

A [typical and representative] NYPD cop [who hired] a 15-year-old prostitute [on at least ten occasions] and record[ed] their [sessions, plea-bargained]…felony rape and sex abuse charges [down to]…official misconduct and witness tampering…Raul Olmeda…refused to admit that he knew his victim…in…photos…found on his computer and cellphone.  Nor would he identify his bedroom and living room furniture, which were in the photos [and because he’s a cop, his self-evidently false denials were enough]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#899)

You know how wannabe “civil liberties advocates” keep bleating that the main problem with facial recognition systems are that they’re less acurate on dark-skinned people?  Yeah, about that:

In July, Google admitted it has employees pounding the pavement in a variety of US cities, looking for people willing to sell their facial data for a $5 gift certificate…But…a Google contractor may be using some questionable methods to get those facial scans, including targeting groups of homeless people and tricking college students who didn’t know they were being recorded…a contracting agency named Randstad sent teams to Atlanta explicitly to target homeless people and those with dark skin, often without saying they were working for Google, and without letting on that they were actually recording people’s faces…

Subtle Pimping (#903)

Yet another “virtual reality” game based on lies about us, this one intended to teach pigs racist fantasies about Asian sex workers:

A team of Cal Poly students is using virtual reality to [lick cop boots and endanger sex workers]…”We’re building a…[racist fantasy of an Asian] massage parlor in virtual reality to [indoctrinate pigs into misinterpreting even the most innocuous]…things [as ‘evidence’ of ‘crime’]” said Marco Zuniga…he researched [prohibitionist propaganda]…as he developed the VR [game instead of talking to sex workers]…“What do massage parlors even look like?”…he asked himself [moronically, instead of actually going to find out]…The [game] has other object[s] for its [players to find, just like players of other video games can] find [magic potions, creatures to enlave, and other fantasy treatures]…

The Crumbling Dam (#917)

Those who gain power from opioid hysteria aren’t going to like this:

A judge has ruled that a Philadelphia nonprofit group’s plan to open the first [public] site in the U.S. where people can use…opioids under medical supervision does not violate federal drug laws, delivering a major setback to Justice Department lawyers who launched a legal challenge to block the [life-saving] facility.  U.S. District Judge Gerald McHugh ruled…that…”The ultimate goal of Safehouse’s proposed operation is to reduce drug use, not facilitate it,” McHugh wrote in…the first legal decision about whether supervised injection sites can be legally permissible under U.S. law…”The Department of Justice remains committed to preventing…drug [users] from [accessing basic harm reduction],” said Bill McSwain, U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Pennsylvania…

A Broker in Pillage (#935)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

The city of Chicago says retired grandmother Allie Nelson owes it $6,000 in fines and fees after [it stole] her car…in 2017, even though the criminal case that led to [the seizure]…was dismissed, and even though she wasn’t driving her car, or even in the state…Nelson was in fact…in Houston, recuperating from cancer treatment, when she got a call from a family member saying [cops had stolen] her car…[when they] found her granddaughter’s boyfriend driving [it], allegedly along with some marijuana…Nelson is also one of two named plaintiffs added this week to a class-action lawsuit challenging Chicago’s [extortion scam, which]…violates residents’ guarantee of due process, as well as protections against excessive fines and unreasonable seizures, under both the Illinois and U.S. constitutions…

Pyrrhic Victory (#946)

As I keep saying, it’s already far too late to stop this tyranny:

France is poised to become the first European country to use facial recognition technology to give citizens a [supposedly] secure digital identity — whether they want it or not.  Saying it wants to make the state more efficient [like Communist China, the]…government is pushing through plans to roll out an ID program, dubbed Alicem, in November…the program breaches the European rule of consent and a privacy group is challenging it in France’s highest administrative court…France [lies that] the ID system won’t be used to keep tabs on residents…[and pretends] the facial recognition data collected will be deleted when the enrollment process is over…the app [clearly] violates Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, which makes free choice mandatory…Authorities say the security of Alicem is at the “highest, state level”.  Yet in April, Robert Baptiste, a hacker who goes by Elliot Alderson on Twitter, was able to access one of the government’s “highly secure” apps within 75 minutes…

Pyrrhic Victory (#961)

Where “public safety” is used to mean “accessibility to government snooping”:

Attorney General Bill Barr, along with officials from the United Kingdom and Australia, is set to publish an open letter to…Mark Zuckerberg asking [Facebook] to delay plans for end-to-end encryption across its messaging services until it can guarantee the added privacy does not reduce [what the politicians absurdly label] public safety…the letter raises concerns that…encryption i[s a mathematical process which]…will prevent [government busybod]ies from [spying on people in the same way it prevents other malware]…The letter calls on Facebook to prioritize [government snooping even though that will also enable non-government snooping]…

Little Boxes (#975)

The puritans are already arguing a federal court ruling doesn’t apply to them:

Tilli Buchanan and her husband had been installing insulation in their garage, and had stripped off their clothes just inside their home to get the itchy materials off their skin.  She was topless when her stepchildren bounded down the stairs…but Buchanan told them they shouldn’t treat her differently because she was a woman…But [the children’s biological mother found out and reported her to pigs, who]…filed criminal charges…of lewdness involving a child…If convicted, Buchanan could…[be condemned to] the sex offender registry for the next 10 years…her attorney Randy Richards plans to ask a judge to find that Utah’s lewdness statute is unconstitutional because it discriminates against women…her husband was also in the same state of undress and is not charged…the…10th Circuit Court…which includes Utah [recently made the incredibly-obvious ruling that laws which single women out for]…condemn[ation]…as…child sex offender[s discriminate]…on the basis of sex…But…prosecutors argued…that…Utah’s lewdness statute [prohibiting only female toplessness somehow] does not discriminate on the basis of gender [and that even if it did that would be a good thing]…

Grown adults are trying to destroy a woman’s life for getting undressed to shower in her own home, and using public funds to argue that a clearly-discriminatory law isn’t discriminatory, but the US isn’t a police state, no sirree.

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These sites, these actors, these directors, these writers cannot keep using us, our bodies, and our stories to line their pockets while simultaneously refusing to support us and our needs.  –  Adrie Rose

Sex Work is Work

This could potentially be useful in winning the support of bureaucrats:

…gaining allies within governments remains a challenge…despite calls for decriminalisation by a number of international human rights organisations…and several United Nations agencies.  One of the biggest difficulties has been the…conflation of sex work with trafficking, which is linked to the belief that sex work is inherently immoral.  This [ignorant] view of sex work has shaped national policies for decades, pushing the industry outside the formal labour market and the scope of national labour laws and international standards.  However…the International Labour Organization (ILO) released a study on Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW)…[which] contains twelve dimensions of unacceptability…unacceptability in sex work manifests where these twelve dimensions occur, but the work itself is not treated as inherently unacceptable.  Used well, this framework could be a way for sex worker rights advocates to argue for the inclusion of sex work under national labour law systems…

Pyrrhic Victory (#615)

All too often, evil arrives cloaked in the mantle of expediency:

[China’s] major tech city, Shenzhen…recently debuted a new system which allows people over the age of 60 to register for free subway rides, using their face as their ticket.  This…is also being experimented with in other cities including Jinan, Shanghai and Nanjing…[he excuse is] to speed up passengers moving through the barriers to get to platforms, as well as prevent fraud…

Under Every Bed (#734)

So much for the claimed “increase in sex trafficking in Montana”:

The FBI has cut in half the time its human trafficking agent in Montana will spend on [persecuting sex workers.  “Rescue” profiteer]…Penny Ronning…called the change “a blow” to anti-[sex worker] efforts in Montana…the decision…comes as the state brings on board two new [pigs] dedicated full-time to [harassing Asian massage businesses]…

Cooties (#797) 

Belgian cops have sadfeelz that AirBnB “sex trafficking” fantasies aren’t popular on their side of the Channel:

Sex workers in Bruges are renting rooms through…Airbnb for work, in what local authorities say is the start of a rising trend to “keep an eye on”…landowners who notice or suspect their properties are being used for sex work are encouraged to report them.  Failing to do so could put them at risk of being prosecuted for pimping…

Fallen Idol (#911)

This was a wise move on Stagliano’s part:

…Evil Angel [has] published its docu-porn Consent, which was originally slated to co-star James Deen, who has been accused of abuse by multiple women…following the numerous allegations against Deen, the company decided to stop working with him, but earlier this year, owner John Stagliano…[said] Evil Angel was welcoming Deen back…in a film…featur[ing] explicit sex alongside documentary-style footage exploring women’s agency within rough porn scenes.  Deen was cast after a woman performer asked to work with him for the film…[but] when the film finally hit the company’s site on Monday, there was no James Deen to be found…Evil Angel filmed a scene between Deen and Casey Calvert, the performer who requested to work with him, as well as an interview with Lily LaBeau, one of Deen’s accusers…Ultimately, all that footage was left on the cutting room floor.  (The film does, however, feature two other male performers who have been accused of on-set boundary violations)…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#922)

Seattle sex workers are pushing back on the narrative that destroying Asian masseuse’s livelihood constitutes “help”:

Last month, dozens of community members gathered…at Seattle City Hall to discuss consequences of the large-scale police raids on 11…”Asian” massage parlors back in February.  The months-long sting operation resulted in the “rescue” of 26 Chinese-speaking women…According to Elene Lam…this kind of rescue narrative misconstrues the nuanced realities of the sex industry…Lam is an expert at the Toronto-based organization Butterfly, a support and advocacy group for Asian and migrant sex workers. The event…called Rescue Hurts, was organized by API Chaya and other local advocacy initiatives to correct misinformation around sex work and to propose alternative solutions that do not rely on state or police intervention…

You Were Warned

This decision is necessary to prevent a cascade of predatory lawsuits that would make the tobacco & breast implant lawsuits look reasonable and moderate in comparison:

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has tentatively sided with tech company Salesforce in a civil lawsuit brought by 90 women who claim they were sexually exploited.  The suit is the first of its kind since…FOSTA…As a large business-to-business software company, Salesforce counted Backpage among its clients. [Ambulance-chasers]…allege that Backpage…enabled them to be trafficked for sex.  But Backpage [and its assets were] seized by the U.S. government last year, making [a lawsuit against it unprofitable]…hence, lawyers got to work targeting Salesforce…lawyers…led [their clints] astray, big time, while marking a new low in attempts to assign legal liability to internet companies for their users’ actions and words…[because] under a large body of legal precedent, Salesforce would be unequivocally shielded by Section 230 in this case…

Japanese Prostitution (#930)

This is still a hit-button issue in Japan:

…Miki Dezaki…ma[d]e a documentary…[asking] why…a small but vocal group of politically influential conservatives still fervently dispute [sic] internationally accepted accounts of Japan’s…sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of Korean women and others in military brothels during World War II.  He explored in detail the conservatives’ case that the so-called comfort women were in fact paid prostitutes…Dezaki…concluded that the conservatives were “revisionists,” and used terms like “racism” and “sexism” to characterize some of their claims.  Now, five of them are suing him for defamation…[the] official 1993 Japanese government apology to the comfort women….has been a festering wound for…[nationalists] including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who have insisted that the Korean women were not sex slaves because there is no proof that they were physically forced…

The Notorious Badge (#934)

Twitter welcomes fake sex workers while working to silence real ones:

Hustlers…has been mired in controversy since the early production phase.  The living inspiration for the lead role…is reportedly considering suing the production company for misrepresenting her…and using her life story without compensation …Jennifer Lopez and fiance Alex Rodriguez have been accused of going to strip clubs for “research” and paying dancers a pittance for their time…Show Palace, the club…where much of Hustlers was filmed, has attracted criticism for closing its doors for a week of filming, giving dancers and staff little notice and no back pay…But the most ridiculous, bordering on the outright absurd, aspect of the film…was the marketing campaign…#TweetYourHustle….Women across the country began chiming in with stories of their…“hustles”…but there was no evidence of…sex workers.  There were no pictures of strip clubs or dressing rooms, no pictures of porn production sets, no pictures of in-call hotel rooms or AirBnB’s from escorts.  There was nothing from the community that put Hustlers on the map…

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Is this going to school or going to prison?  –  anonymous Chinese citizen

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

I’ve been waiting for this shoe to drop:

Lawsuits alleging improper classification of workers and a recent California Supreme Court labor law ruling are impacting…adult dancers in San Francisco, many of whom once relied on daily cash payouts to survive…dancers, previously considered independent contractors, now are walking out of club doors with biweekly employee paychecks and not with cash in hands after their shifts end.  The move to convert adult dancers to employee status is causing an exodus…[from] those establishments…BSC Management…operates the majority of adult clubs in San Francisco…According to Axel Sang, BSC’s marketing director…“The BSC-managed clubs now have matching payroll taxes, unemployment compensation, workman’s compensation, Healthy San Francisco costs, Affordable Care Insurance costs and San Francisco sick leave pay for several hundred new employee entertainers in addition to the hourly wage”…Sang estimated that 200 dancers have quit their jobs since the policy change to paychecks…

Blunt Instrument (#596)

Due to their visibility, massage parlors are taking the brunt of the “sex trafficking” hysteria in smaller cities:

…the New Port Richey [Florida] City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance that would ban bathhouses in the city…[in an attempt to strangle] massage parlors…The ordinance would ban any establishment that’s not a medical facility from [letting water touch] clients.  Anyone who violates the law would be fined up to $500 for each violation and possibly imprisoned for up to 60 days…

Subtle Pimping (#802) 

Yet another scumbag profits from the criminalization of sex work by basing a game on lies about us:

Billy Cain…started searching for a way to use virtual reality technology — or VR — to [profit from] people…[by promoting hysteria] about sex trafficking…Texas has been a hub for…human trafficking [hysteria] for [a] decade…[one typically disgusting masturbatory fantasy claims] 79,000 children are being sex trafficked in Texas at any given moment…[in] his sex trafficking [sex fantasy] simulation…people put on a special pair of goggles to [roleplay an imaginary] 13-year-old girl who fell victim to trafficking.  In “Trapped: VR Detective Story”, players see where the girl is being held and interact with objects to [flesh out the fantasy prior to masturbation]…players will learn…who is most vulnerable to being trafficked — anyone.  Anywhere.  From any background…

TRAFFICKERS ARE EVERYWHERE!  THEY’RE WAITING TO GET YOU!  EVERYBODY PANIC, THEN BUY MY GAME!

Overdue

Collapsing empires are obsessed with form over substance:

“We’ve made a conscious effort in TSA … to use floppy ear dogs,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske told the Washington Examiner…”We find the passenger acceptance of floppy ear dogs is just better…Doesn’t scare children”…in the last year, 80 percent of dogs purchased by TSA…were…breeds…[with] droopy ears…which are deemed less intimidating…

Yes, the people who literally grope children’s genitals claim they’re worried that dogs will frighten them.

Choke Point (#850) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

…a death metal/black metal record label has shut down in the wake of PayPal pulling out support for processing purchases, along with the creditors at Visa and MasterCard because the company was labeled as “high risk”, “promoting hatred”, “promoting violence”, and “promoting hate speech”…Elegy Records, a label that hosted all sorts of death metal music since 1996…[has closed due to] the inability to sign with a normal credit processor due to being…classified as “high risk” by the banks and credit processors, which meant that he was effectively blacklisted from the banking industry…the only way to accept payments from customers was…via cash or money orders.  For online businesses it’s not possible to operate without some sort of banking institution, or credit card processing since all purchases are made electronically…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there.

Pyrrhic Victory (#857) 

Where US schools are soon headed:

In China’s latest quest to build an all-seeing surveillance state, schools…in…one of China’s poorest provinces…are now required to wear…uniforms…embedded with electronic chips that track their movements…[they] keep track of the exact times that students leave or enter the school…an[d]…facial-recognition equipment stationed at the school entrance can match a student’s face with the chip embedded in the uniform…The chips…can activate an alarm when the sensor detects that a student has fallen asleep in class…

Pyrrhic Victory (#884) 

While activists and Amazon’s own shareholders & employees were asking for the company not to support fascism, Bezos was doing this:

The FBI is piloting…Amazon Rekognition…as a means to sift through mountains of video surveillance footage the agency routinely collects…While Amazon is now a significant supplier of technology to the government…[and] includes the CIA and Defense Department as customers—it is less clear how its facial recognition software is being used in the [police state]…the company pitched the software to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials last summer, a move that has…Amazon employees asking questions.  The company does not list any federal clients on its customer page, and currently only identifies as a customer one local law enforcement agency, the Washington County Sheriff Office…[yet]…the city of Orlando recently began a second pilot of…[the] software…

Imaginary Victims (#896) 

The Cyntoia Brown case has attracted attention to the cases of other underage sex workers who killed abusive clients:

…Chrystul Kizer, 18, is charged with first-degree homicide, arson and auto theft for the June 5 shooting death of Randall Volar III.  She was 17 when Volar was killed…he had been shot twice, and that the fire to the house appeared to have been set…Investigators said…Volar had paid for an Uber driver to bring Kizer from Milwaukee to his home…she initially denied knowing Volar, but later told police that “he (Volar) helped her with money and places to stay”…she reportedly confessed, saying “she got upset and was tired of Volar touching her” and that she had shot him…before his death Volar was under investigation by the Kenosha Police Department for sexual conduct with underage girls.  In a motion to compel discovery…[her lawyer stated] “The defense believes that the discovery in this case suggests that Ms. Kizer acted in self-defense”…

First They Came for the Hookers… (#900) 

It’s rare that judges side with sex workers against the government:

Imagine a symphony orchestra barred by the state from performing again because a musician was [accused of selling] marijuana to a colleague backstage…In Providence, Rhode Island…it happened to a strip club called the Foxy Lady.  On Dec. 19, the Providence Board of Licenses voted to permanently shut down the…[club] after police arrested three employees [and accused them of prostitution]…By doing so, the board threw more than 200 people out of work less than a week before Christmas.  Within days, the state Department of Business Regulation quickly restored the club’s liquor license, but the Foxy Lady’s owners were required by law to petition the state Supreme Court to regain its entertainment license…the state Supreme Court agreed to issue a stay, allowing the club to reopen for now, but the threat of future closure remains…

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Vanesa was murdered; the state is complicit.  –  protest chant in Paris

Subtle Pimping

Every damned internet company has profited from sex workers without even giving us credit:

…the porn and adult entertainment industries, and the women whose work built them, were one of the earliest to provide real-time credit card verification, establishing a precedent for models of e-commerce other industries would adopt later on.  Sex workers…essentially created, adopted, and inspired many of the technologies later co-opted by tech corporations and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs long before they reached the mainstream, and continue to do so.  However, [they]…rarely receive proper credit for their contributions…

Finding What Isn’t There

I can tell you why these cases aren’t being pushed, Susan, but it’s going to make you sad:

After [cheerleading for] local [cop] efforts to [persecute people using the excuse of] human trafficking, a [prohibitionist] is questioning why recent prostitution cases are seemingly sitting idle in the district attorney’s office…Susan Peters, executive director of [“rescue” profiteer] UnBound…[says] McLennan County Sheriff’s Office detectives have made about 330…arrests of alleged sex buyers since March 2015, but records show prosecutors have not taken action on [almost] any…many of the recent arrests stem from a December 2017 raid in which sheriff’s deputies [stole] video [from] surveillance systems in two massage parlors that [cops fantasize] women [were] forced to work at…Although it is unclear if video evidence in the massage parlor cases will be admissible in court, a total of 18 men have been arrested on prostitution charges since authorities started trying to identify [them]…

Counterfeit Comfort (#40) 

It’s good to see so many challenges to these medieval laws:

Janice M. Bellucci, executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws…plans to file suit against Calimesa, California, challenging its Halloween ordinance  [which]…forbids registrants…from decorating their home with Halloween decorations; mandates they leave all exterior or decorative lighting off from 4 to 11:59 p.m. [on Halloween]; and forbids them from answering the door to trick-or-treaters.  In August, Bellucci sent letters to five California cities, including Calimesa, urging them to repeal their Halloween restrictions by Sept. 28 or face litigation.  So far, Temecula has repealed its ordinance, and Lancaster is taking steps to do the same…The state of Missouri has a rule similar to the one that Bellucci fought in Simi Valley, requiring registrants on Halloween to post a sign at their home stating, “No candy or treats at this residence”…The California…Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, mandates that registrants who are on parole must remain indoors from 5 to 10 p.m. during which time they can open the door only to respond to law enforcement.  They must turn off all exterior lights, and…homeless parolees are required to spend the curfew hours in [jail]…New York…requires that the roughly 3,000 parolees convicted of sex crimes remain indoors at home on Halloween…until 6 the next morning…[and] are not allowed to have…candy in their possession…

Signs (#783) 

California mandates indoctrinating hotel workers into being anti-whore snitches:

Two new California laws will require workers in certain industries to go through [indoctrination in] human trafficking [fantasies]…The laws are scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, with training to be complete by 2020 for hotel and motel workers and by 2021 for transit workers…

Pyrrhic Victory (#810)

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

The next time you drive past one of those road signs with a digital readout showing how fast you’re going…it may…be capturing your license plate data…the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of “multiple” trailer-mounted speed displays “to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms”…the DEA has hired a small machine shop in California, and another in Virginia, to conceal the readers within the signs…primarily along the southwest border region, and the country’s northeast and southeast corridors…

Disaster (#832)

Please, prohibitionists, force more deep-pocketed giants like Facebook to fight your evil:

A Texas woman, claiming that she was raped, beaten and sex trafficked at the age of 15 by a pimp who posed as a Facebook “friend,” has filed suit against the social network, alleging its executives knew minors were being lured into the sex trade on their platform…

Texas especially loves the “Facebook pimps” myth.

Torture Chamber (#852)

The “concerns” and crocodile tears of these kids’ jailers remind me of prohibitionists who say they want to “rescue” sex workers by locking us in cages:

In shelters from Kansas to New York, hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night…and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new [prison]:  a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.  Until now, most undocumented children being held by federal immigration authorities had been housed in private foster homes or shelters, sleeping two or three to a room.  They received formal schooling and regular visits with legal representatives assigned to their…cases.  But in the rows of sand-colored tents in Tornillo, Tex., children in groups of 20, separated by gender, sleep lined up in bunks.  There is no school…Access to legal services is limited.  These midnight voyages are playing out across the country, as the federal government struggles to find [cages] for more than 13,000 [imprisoned] migrant children — the largest population ever — whose numbers have increased more than fivefold since last year.  The average length of time…in custody has nearly doubled over the same period, from 34 days to 59…

Prisoners, especially those government wants to dehumanize, are often shipped off in the middle of the night like this to facilities in the middle of deserts, so as to confuse and disorient them and make escape more difficult.

Monsters (#866) 

No, it’s almost wholly to blame. As we warned it would be.

Vanesa Campos…was shot and killed as thieves tried to rob her client, who survived….her…death…is proof of the growing dangers [sex workers] face since [the French] Parliament [imposed the Swedish model]…clients now demand to have sex in out of the way places, where the police are unlikely to be patrolling.  “Girls are now forced to hide and promise their clients that the police won’t find them,” said Giovanna Rincon, a former sex worker and transgender activist who leads the organization Acceptess-Transgenres.  “Today, they work in places where we, the old guard working at the Bois de Boulogne, would never have set foot”…

The Widening Gyre (#874) 

I love that Christian religious nuts, who started the “sex trafficking” hysteria in the first place, are now being accused of being “traffickers” themselves:

Two West Texas girls are [spreading hysteria] after what they described as a scary encounter at a Walmart in San Angelo…The students say they were approached by strangers inside the store late at night and invited to a Bible study…”They asked us if we were Christians and if we read the Bible, things like that…She started telling us Jesus was the sun and Moses was the moon, just things that didn’t sound right to us.”  One of the girls Googled some of the [statements] as the conversation continued, and [naturally] she [believed]…”… the first article that came up [which] said ‘Korean sex trafficking college campuses’.”…The girls say they went and found a store manager to tell them [that people were talking to them]…and a Walmart employee escorted them to their vehicles so they could…leave [without the danger of others talking to them]…There have been cases in other cities where members of the “God the Mother” church have been [fantasized to be] sex traffickers while trying to recruit members…

All-Purpose Excuse (#876)

Whores are not only the new drugs; we’re also the new “terrorism”:

Ann…Wagner’s little-heralded [recycling and expansion of the PATRIOT Act], known as the Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act, quietly passed the House [last] Wednesday—sailing through without much attention as the Brett Kavanaugh hearing occupied the media and public [atten]tion.  The bill, HR 6729, passed by a 297-124 vote, with 202 Republicans voting in favor and only 29 against.  Democrats who voted were split equally 95-95…

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They’re good clients, they give good money, better than anybody else.  –  Gabby, Ghanaian sex worker

Subtle Pimping

So many “artists” feel no compunction against exploiting sex workers:

Michael Jacobs, the director of a new virtual reality movie that premiered at SXSW, says that his film aims to give sex workers a voice.  But according to its main and only character, real-life sex worker and indie porn director named Liara Roux, the movie, which currently doesn’t credit her at all, includes nudity and intimate scenes that she didn’t agree to have included in the final film.  GFE…follows an “anonymous escort” as she goes on a date with a client.  Jacobs…[says] it’s a fictional “documentary fantasy” with the goal of “demystifying escort work and bringing a sense of empowerment to escorts…and men.”  Roux, however, says that she never signed a release for the film, and that she felt that it was an exploitative experience.  A spokesperson for SXSW [said]…Jacobs voluntarily pulled the film on [March 15th]…

Beware of people who say they want to “empower you” or “give you a voice”; such pomposity means they think you’re beneath them & have no voice of your own.  It sounds like something a Victorian might say about people in India.

Checklist (#542)

The places “authorities” demand their magical anti-pimp posters be displayed demonstrate their origin in puritanism:

As part of a sharpened campaign to combat human trafficking, North Carolina [pigs & prohibitionists]…have urged people to [spy on each other and rat others out to the pigs]…A law adopted in 2017…requires the signs to be placed in liquor stores.  Other states such as California, Texas and Oregon have taken similar actions targeting liquor stores because [dirty sex] people…might be more likely to be in a liquor store than somewhere like a post office or some other public space [where good people go]…

The Course of a Disease (#583) 

Cop says he’s “hamstrung” because he can’t arrest people who aren’t doing anything illegal:

[Vermont politician] Peter Fagan…introduced a bill…that would have expanded the definition of prostitution, closing a loophole that [pigs oink] has stymied efforts to [harass consenting adults] in the state.  However, Fagan said…that bill missed the…deadline…Matthew Prouty of the Rutland City Police said that Vermont’s prostitution law is [specific] …which has hamstrung [attempts to persecute owners and patrons of] massage parlors.  “My probable cause can’t be a purchaser who says they had a ‘happy ending’ because that isn’t illegal,” he said [following by grunting a lot of bizarre nonsense like] “Any time you have a drug market, you have a sex market…There are very, very few people that are making a living and not being coerced…That is [my perverted masturbatory fantasy] of it”…

Broken Record (#631)

Farm machinery still causes “sex trafficking”!  And strip clubs!  And sex stores!

Arriving…for her stint as a guest speaker for a human trafficking symposium, Summer Dickerson easily spotted a strip club and sex store in Oak Grove.  “You know y’all have a problem here,” [said] Dickerson, a [delusional prohibitionist]…Attorney General Andy Beshear kicked off the symposium, speaking about the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking…[by running a prostitution] sting during this year’s National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A Chicago [cop] was…charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and official misconduct.  The…victim was a man suspected in a misdemeanor whom Carlyle Calhoun and another [cop] were assigned to guard at St. Bernard Hospital on Feb. 3…as the victim was shackled to a bed, the [molester cop] sucked the man’s toes, grabbed his penis and took a photo of the victim as he tried to use a portable urinal.  Once the two were in a bathroom, Calhoun…”performed oral sex on the victim…The victim repeatedly asked the defendant to stop and tried to convince him that his misbehavior would be discovered”…

The Sky is Falling! (#772)

Just in case you thought blaming whores for epidemics went out sometime before the invention of indoor toilets:

…36 percent of the adults in Vulindlela [South Africa] are [HIV] positive, as are about 60 percent of the women aged 25 to 40.  Although HIV infection rates have stabilized globally, hundreds of thousands of South Africans are infected every year; more than 7 million live with the virus in their bodies…the HIV prevalence among adolescent girls is roughly five times greater than that of boys…researchers have concluded that the high rate of infections here—among both sexes—is driven in part by [sugar] relationships…

Because obviously, what the writer smugly calls “egalitarian” sex magically protects people from infection.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#792) 

This hodgepodge of racist, sexist, anti-sex nonsense seems to be trying to fit in every single “sex trafficking” trope:

The Katy [Texas, population 14,000] area is contributing to what Gov. Greg Abbott calls a statewide health crisis of human trafficking…A December 2016 University of Texas at Austin report says 313,000 people were trafficked in Texas in 2016, 79,000 of whom were children [without anyone noticing].  Kelly Litvak, [another mathematically-illiterate prohibitionist]…said there is evidence of brothels and trafficking along the I-10 corridor…12-14 years of age…social media…lure them…recovery of victims…human trafficking’s grip…children can be recruited into sex work…the horror…[fetishist] Vanessa Forbes…said she knows of at least 11 brothels…staffed by women of Asian descent who are forced into prostitution…They are often in strip malls and disguised as…nail spas…Women trafficked for sex…are…delivered [in plain cardboard boxes] to people responding to online ads…A narcotic can be sold once and…a prostitute can be sold multiple times per day…76 percent of money for sex transactions processed online…mentally conditioned through abuse and coercion to defend their pimps in court…

This was ostensibly written by an adult man with a university degree.

Not So Easy

A rare victory for sex workers:

In a striking victory for [sex workers]…a divided New Orleans City Council shot down a proposal…to cap the number of Bourbon Street strip clubs…The council voted 4-3 against the limit after hearing from numerous dancers who called…police raids…a threat to their livelihoods and their freedom of expression…[proposal sponsor] Stacy Head…[lied] that the limit was no more than a routine move to rein in some of the excesses associated with crowded, high-traffic businesses, rather than an attack on adult entertainment…the…vote means strip clubs will be allowed to operate unencumbered once a temporary ban on new ones lifts in May…

Note that all three politicians who voted to infantilize women & destroy their livelihood were themselves women.

The Widening Gyre (#811) 

It’s hilarious watching the cops trying to regain control of a runaway moral panic:

Several Facebook posts have gone viral in [Colorado] detailing scary situations where human traffickers tried to lure new victims at popular shopping centers…“As far as we know, no.  It’s not real.  It seems like a hoax,” Thornton police Sgt. Ernie Lucero said. “Just sharing it just because [some “authority” says it’s real] doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always fact”…The posts are convincing to [ignorant] social media users.  They have been shared thousands of times, causing [stupid] people to worry about public safety…

That Old Black Magic (#813) 

Remember this next time prohibitionists try to blame migration on African religions:

On March 9, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional ruler of the kingdom of Benin, in southern Nigeria, put a voodoo curse on anyone who abets illegal migration within his domain.  At the same time, he revoked the curses that leave victims of trafficking afraid that their relatives will die if they go to the police or fail to pay off their debt.  Before being smuggled into Europe, women and girls in the area, which falls in present-day Edo State, [agree] to sign a contract with the [smugglers] who finance their journey…The agreement is sealed with a…juju, ritual…The oba has authority over all the spiritual priests in the Benin kingdom (not to be confused with the West African country of Benin)…What the oba has done is likely to be more effective than anything the international anti-trafficking community has managed to do after millions of dollars and many years…over 90 percent of the thousands of women [who migrate] from Nigeria to Europe to work as prostitutes are coming from Edo…in the early 1980s women there started traveling to Italy to trade in gold and beads, and “saw a thriving market in prostitution”…[they told other women, and those women’s choices to risk migration for a chance at success are now being branded] human trafficking…

Standard Operating Procedure (#817)

Bullshit-free headline: “How UN Staff are Helping Local Economies”:

Despite the UN’s “zero tolerance policy”, sexual exploitation continues in South Sudan…Last month, the U.N. recalled a 46-member Ghanaian peacekeeping police unit…following allegations of members of the unit [paying for services] with locals.  The action of the U.N. in this case will provide “interesting insight into whether or not the [U.N.] secretary-general is serious about sexual abuse,” [bloviated prohibitionist] Peter Gallo…Gabby [a sex worker in Juba] works three or four nights a week and can make up to $200 a night from one international aid worker or U.N. staff client, she said — an evening that often includes dinner, drinks, and a fully paid hotel room.  This is in stark contrast to her South Sudanese clients, many of whom don’t pay at all and sometimes turn violent…

Elephant in the Parlor (#822)

Though most people are focusing on the sex, the real story here is that she was threatened with violence:

Stormy Daniels…revealed the details of an alleged affair with President Donald Trump, telling Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes that she felt threatened into remaining silent…Daniels said she feared for her and her family’s safety, and opted to sign a nondisclosure agreement instead of going public and cashing in for more money…“I didn’t even negotiate, I just quickly said yes to this…strict contract…and what most people will agree with me extremely low number”…in July 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe…Trump said during their initial encounter in his hotel room that she reminded him of his daughter Ivanka…she instructed Trump to pull down his pants so that she could spank him with a magazine, which featured his face on the cover.  “So he turned around and pulled his pants down a little—you know had underwear on…I just gave him a couple swats,” Daniels said…Later…she and Trump had unprotected sex.  She said that even though she did not want to have sex with him…it was entirely consensual…[because] Trump…kept dangling the possibility of signing her as a contestant on The Apprentice…[and] she viewed it as a potential “business deal”…Four years later, Daniels says she was physically threatened after [Trump’s lawyer] Cohen found out that she had tried to tell her story to a celebrity gossip magazine…she was in a parking lot with her infant daughter when a man approached her and said, “That’s a beautiful little girl.  It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom…Leave Trump alone.  Forget the story”…

Too Close To Home (#824)

Sydney Brownstone has more on Seattle’s evil scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

…lawyers representing men caught in a sex work review website sting showed up in King County Superior Court with an unusual and bold request: to disqualify the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office from prosecuting their cases…thousands of documents show…the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office collaborated with the Massachusetts-based Demand Abolition, including…strategies for dealing with reporters and sex worker advocates…in 2018–after the World Health Organization and Amnesty International have endorsed research and policies showing that decriminalizing sex work, including buying sex, actually keeps sex workers safer—King County’s involvement with Demand Abolition raises questions about why prosecutors are still increasingly criminalizing…sex work…

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There is no “Truckers Against Trafficking Truckers” to help me safely return to the freedom and independence of sex work.  –  Kelly Michaels

Backfire

Pathetic “sex trafficking” fetishists are recycling an old failed propaganda campaign to convince men that it’s “cool” to let anti-sex lunatics control their sex lives, to infantilize women, and to empower the pigs to spy on people even more than they already do and to persecute them for seeking consensual sex.  It would be hilarious if it weren’t a direct threat to the sexual freedom and civil liberties of every adult in the world.

See No Evil 

It’s both fascinating and horrifying to watch a culture lobotomize itself:

An elementary school in…Utah fired an art teacher [for showing his students art]…One parent even called the police, accusing the teacher of showing the students pornography.  The saga began when Mateo Rueda had fifth and sixth grade students do a color study exercise…Rueda had students go to the library and look through art books and boxes of postcards so they could select which paintings best exemplified the color relationships they had been studying.  That’s when Rueda realized that some of the postcards, which…had been in the library long before he started teaching there, included some nude paintings, including Iris Tree by Amedeo Modigliani, François Boucher’s Brown Odalisque, and The Valpincon Bather by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres…He…then went through the pack to remove paintings he thought were inappropriate.  Still, he explained to the students that nudity in art is normal…Some students…expressed discomfort with the paintings and Rueda allegedly encouraged them to discuss things with their parents.  But some of the parents then proceeded to complain to the school, which fired Rueda on Dec. 8…

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Two similar cases in just a few weeks:

Danny Kay…will greet the New Year as a free man after being convicted of a rape that was based on altered evidence submitted by the alleged victim.  His freedom is due not to police work but the work of his sister in law Sarah Maddison…[who] found…that the police used [Facebook] messages that were misleadingly edited by the woman and that the real messages directly contradicted her claims.  The police revealed an utter incompetence in the investigation and the prosecutors have expressed no intent in looking at possible charges against the woman who is accused of changing the meaning of the messages from exculpatory to incriminating…Archived versions of the original messages found by Maddison showed not only a consensual relationship but a desire to continue the relationship…

Banishment

Do these idiots think everyone in a crowded shelter will be contaminated by sex rays?

Our eastern and northern states, preparing for snow, ice, and plummeting temperatures, also prepare their ready-made speeches: “Sex offenders will not be allowed”…A Christian ministry in Alabama, not often a state that must prepare for sub-freezing weather, says that it “wants to make sure no one is without shelter Sunday” when the temperatures are expected to drop drastically…“The ministry will be taking in anyone who wants to escape the cold”…It is not until the last paragraph that we are told, “…sex offenders will not be allowed to stay because of children”…What about “sex offenders” who have children?  What about “sex offenders” who ARE children?…

Case Study

A sow seeks her 15 minutes by spinning tragedy-porn for her audience’s masturbatory pleasure:

…PCSO Jacqui Fairbanks…has been [harassing] the women in Hessle Road, Hull for a decade…“Some of these women have come from backgrounds of child abuse, both physical and sexual…Quite a number suffer from mental health problems and there are issues of trafficking and coercion by pimps and boyfriends…But the biggest issue is drugs and many of these women are on the streets to pay for theirs and their partner’s next fix.  One woman had a baby and, within half an hour, was back out on the streets. That’s how desperate some of these women are…Our problem is that these women will not come and deal with us.  Their self-esteem is so low that they [would rather do productive work than let us force them into menial labor for a fraction of the income]”…

All-Purpose Excuse

As if this weren’t already bad enough, take a look at the government’s excuse for flushing what little is left of the Fourth Amendment:

In the summer of 2014, Terrence Byrd was driving a rental car on an interstate highway in Pennsylvania.  His fiancée had rented it, and he was using it with her permission.  But he was not listed on the rental agreement as an authorized driver.  A state trooper, David Long, [tailed] Mr. Byrd and…[later] testified that Mr. Byrd had aroused his suspicion by holding the steering wheel as driving instructors recommend…and by sitting far back in his seat…Because Mr. Byrd was not listed as an authorized driver, Trooper Long said he was free to search the car without Mr. Byrd’s consent.  He found body armor and 49 bricks of heroin in the trunk.  After a judge refused to suppress the evidence, Mr. Byrd was convicted of federal drug charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Next week, the Supreme Court will consider whether privacy rights turn on the fine-print contracts signed by the more than 115 million people who rent cars every year…In a brief supporting the federal government, 15 states said criminals often used cars rented by others to transport drugs, victims of human trafficking and unauthorized immigrants…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#580) 

Predictable in the current Neo-Victorian climate:

…Playboy Enterprises Inc.’s controlling shareholder—private-equity firm Rizvi Traverse—is in talks to acquire the 35% stake Mr. Hefner left in trust to his heirs…the company says it is doubling down on efforts to make money from brand partnerships and licensing deals built around the Playboy name, ethos and bunny logo, with increasingly less focus on its editorial roots.  “We want to focus on what we call the ‘World of Playboy’ which is so much larger than a small, legacy print publication,” said Ben Kohn, a managing partner at Rizvi who took over as Playboy Enterprises’ chief executive in May 2016.  “We plan to spend 2018 transitioning it from a media business to a brand-management company”…

Naked Truth (#601)

Elizabeth Nolan Brown presents her picks for the best sex work writing of the year:

…Traditional media is not known for its nuanced and accurate portrayals of erotic industries, but more than a few fair accounts managed to slip through the mainstream cracks this year, in the form of both commentary and original reporting.  Meanwhile, sex-worker blogs, platforms like Medium, and indie press outlets have continued to allow current and former sex workers to tell their own stories.  I hope [this] list…provides some idea of the awesome breadth of sex worker experiences in 2017, the outlets and writers capturing them, and the devastating toll that current cultural panic and government policy responses are taking on people in a range of “adult” occupations and circumstances…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t limit themselves to any particular group of victims:

A former auxiliary cop [reports] her two NYPD bosses teamed up to pressure her for sex in the back of a police van.  The complaint…comes just a few months after two other city cops [violent]ly raped a [handcuffed] teen in their NYPD van…Huma Ayyaz…was targeted by…Andrew Thaler and…Rohnit Singh…because she comes from a conservative Pakistani Muslim family and they assumed she wouldn’t risk her reputation by speaking out…

Subtle Pimping (#767)

India has more that its share of scumbags profiting from sex workers by promoting harmful lies:

The Missing Public Art Project and Awareness Campaign exists [to profit by exploiting sex workers…Missing: The Complete saga is a role-playing game for PC where you play as a trafficking victim…It’s meant to capture the hopelessness of sex trafficking victims.  In order to do so, it’s being intentionally designed to feel unfair…

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Once [the cops] put you in that [sex worker] box…they don’t care.  –  unnamed victim of Oluwatobi Boyede

Bad Girls 

I don’t know who this chick is, and none of the Seattle whores I’ve talked to do either.  But we all know the “oral sex” thing is bullshit:

An escort was arrested on accusations she shot a Washington state man in the head because she thought he was bad at oral sex – and she wasn’t sure how to tell him.  Marissa Wallen, 21, allegedly admitted to shooting her 36-year-old client at his North Everett home last month…she then stole the victim’s wallet, left him for dead and went on a $12,000 shopping spree…Wallen told a detective that the man was “performing oral sex wrong and she did not know how to tell him that” so she grabbed a gun and shot him…He was found alive but unresponsive on Oct. 24, three days after he was shot, when his employer asked police to perform a welfare check…

In recent years, cops have developed a nasty game of tricking sex workers into saying or doing weird things so the story is more sensational.

Gateway

Leave it to the authoritarian mentality to imagine a link between sex work and barroom brawls:

…the Arctic Ranger…pub was at the centre of an investigation into claims a group of Hungarian women were being forced to work as prostitutes inside the bar…no one was prosecuted [but]…the claims [were used as grounds]…for closing the pub in June 2013 [anyway].  A licensing committee hearing was told the pub had become almost lawless after a spate of violent attacks…problems included…a victim suffering injuries to his eye and nose…[and] a fractured jaw…a [cop] suffering leg injuries after being struck by a thrown glass…a woman being assaulted…A fight involving 20 people…a man having his head stamped on…

Surplus Women 

Cops threaten and harass sex workers, and disbelieve us when we try to give them information, then they disclaim responsibility when this happens:

A London [Ontario] sex worker says she warned police someone could die after she was choked, sexually assaulted and held against her will in the home of [Oluwatobi Boyede, who is] now accused of murder.  But police didn’t believe her…and as a result…a second woman was assaulted and a third is dead.  “I told them everything.  They did nothing,” she said…“The cops treated me like I brought it on myself…They didn’t charge him.  They treated me like a piece of shit…They did not want to hear what I was saying.  What happened to the second girl and (homicide victim) Josie Glenn didn’t have to happen.”  Her story may be the most damning indictment of police as questions grow about how…they approach violence against women, especially sex workers…

The Sky is Falling!

I find it difficult to believe that so many women made it through university without knowing anyone who did some kind of sex work:

The student debt crisis in the US has gotten so bad, there’s a growing group of young women…who are taking an unconventional approach to paying for college.  Through…websites like SeekingArrangement, Sugar Babies…partner up with wealthy, often older, men who want to spend money on them.  Some 2.5 million Sugar Babies identified as students in 2016 on SeekingArrangement.com…Sugar Babies go to dinners, attend events, or accompany their Sugar Daddy, or daddies, on trips.  In some cases, they provide companionship or foster a mentor-mentee relationship.  In other situations, the terms of the agreement include physical intimacy…

“Unconventional”?  Really?  Young women having sex with older men in exchange for support is practically the definition of “conventional”.  If anything, it’s the pretense that this is something new and unusual that is “unconventional”.

A Broker in Pillage (#508)

The quaint non-“law enforcement” term for this is “blackmail”:

Denver cab driver Semere Fremichael got caught up in an undercover prostitution sting.  He was innocent—he thought she wanted a ride, not sex for pay—and was acquitted by a judge.  His taxi, however, got taken for a rough ride.  Denver’s Fox affiliate has an excellent two-part investigation showing how the city attorney’s office is using civil asset forfeiture to cash in by snatching vehicles…for…low-level crimes…even when their owners aren’t convicted.  In 2016, Denver made more than $2.4 million, seizing more than 1,800 vehicles…Denver put the screws to Fremichael…offering him a civil version of a plea deal:  He could get the car back in 30 days if he gave them $1,000.  Or he could demand a civil hearing.  If he lost, it would cost him $6,000 and he could lose the car for a year.  He took the deal, and says he probably lost an additional $2,500 because he couldn’t use his cab for a month, even though he committed no crime…

Subtle Pimping (#587)

When it comes to profiting from sex workers’ images while giving us nothing, fashion designers are among the worst offenders:

…The very prevalence of [stereotyped sex worker] images, overworked as they may be, is a testament to their durability…the clothes we wear, or might like to wear, owe a very real debt to the world’s most ancient profession.  “Fashion…is influenced by hookers,” said Anna Terrazas, costume designer of The Deuce.  “It’s not the other way around”…“There is an untold history of the relationship between sex workers and fashion,” said Rebecca Arnold, a fashion historian…working women routinely took up what their respectable contemporaries shunned as too showy, tasteless or new…

The Prudish Giant (#703) 

Facebook can’t even follow its own “standards”:

Facebook has blocked the sale of a pack of Christmas cards featuring a robin redbreast because of its “sexual” and “adult” nature.  The artist, Jackie Charley, said she “could not stop laughing” when she discovered the reason the social media company would not approve the product…The bird…was one of three designs painted by Charley of animals in the snow…The others were a stag and a squirrel…Charley said she was sent the message: “It looks like we didn’t approve your item because we don’t allow the sale of adult items or services”…Charley said…“There’s obviously nothing in the images themselves which is inappropriate.  Similarly, there were no ‘trigger’ words used in the cards’ descriptions that I’m aware of.  For instance, the robin card was simply called ‘Robin’, not ‘Robin Redbreast’ as some people have wondered”…she [has] not had any direct response from Facebook, but the interest generated from the gaffe had led to a lifting of the initial ban…

A Woman’s Point of View (#706) 

Don’t get too excited that the New Hampshire legislature is “Establishing a committee to study decriminalizing sex work“; one of the sponsors has made comments in which the unmistakable stench of the Swedish rot is clearly present.  But we’ll see.

Between the Ears (#722) 

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

…a Reddit user pointed out that Hong Kong-based sex toy company Lovense’s remote control vibrator app…recorded a use session without their knowledge.  An audio file lasting six minutes was stored in the app’s local folder.  The user says he or she gave the app access to the mic and camera but only to use with the in-app chat function and to send voice clips on command — not constant recording when in use.  Other users confirmed this app behavior, too.  A user claiming to represent Lovense responded and called this recording a “minor bug” that only affects Android users.  Lovense also says no information or data was sent to the company’s servers, and that this audio file exists only temporarily.  An update issued [last week] should fix the bug…

The Mote and the Beam (#789)

Another probable casualty of the War on Whores:

…The Wikipedia we know today simply would not exist without Section 230.  User-driven projects could not thrive if websites were subject to greater liability for user content, and certainly could not be supported by a small nonprofit organization like the Wikimedia Foundation.  For that reason, we have…serious concerns about…SESTA and other amendments to Section 230.  That’s why our Executive Director emphasized Section 230’s importance for Wikipedia’s hundreds of thousands of volunteer contributors in a recent campaign by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and why we submitted a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee expressing the importance of Section 230 for the Wikimedia projects.  The current bill does not reflect the careful balance that preserves small, nonprofit community projects like Wikipedia…

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