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Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’

Sexual assault by [cops]…is…the second most frequently reported form of police misconduct, after excessive force.  –  Andrea Ritchie

The Course of a Disease

Prohibitionist scum understand that decriminalization is the only moral framework for sex work; that’s why they keep trying to trick people into thinking the Swedish model is decrim:

Prostitution would [not] be decriminalized in Massachusetts under a bill that Rep. Kay Khan hopes will [choke off sex workers’ income by criminalizing]…people who buy sex and those who [assist] sex workers…it would not legalize the illicit sex trade.  [Sex workers with incalls, or who have any contact with other sex workers] and [clients who provide their income] would remain criminals under the legislation…Khan [fantasizes that consensual]…sex…fosters some unspeakable crimes…

The Notorious Badge 

Hollywood recognizes that prior to the First World War, sex workers were businesswomen who did the work because it was lucrative and flexible:

In Netflix’s Godless…Callie Dunn (Tess Frazer) is one of maybe 50 women who live in La Belle, a town almost entirely populated by women…the men of the town died in a mining accident, leaving the wives to operate the town all on their own.  Callie is the resident school teacher, and a nascent love interest for Mary Agnes (Merritt Wever).  She’s also the richest woman in town because she used to be a sex worker…After the accident…her place of work closed.  Lack of men will do that to brothel…In the lawless west (the show takes place in Colorado and New Mexico), there’s not much a woman could do to earn her own money.  Even Mary Agnes, the widow of the town’s late mayor, is at a loss for funds.  But Callie is sitting pretty on almost $20,000 (almost half a million in today’s dollars)…”Let me take care of you,” Callie begs Mary Agnes in the third episode.  She reveals her impressive savings and offers to run away with Mary Agnes.  When Mary Agnes looks surprised, Callie responds, “Don’t you know?  Whores are always the richest people in town”…

Unfortunately, it also believes we all magically turned into pathetic victims about 100 years ago.

The Lion and the Ox

“Sex trafficking” means whatever “authorities” want it to mean:

Investigations into the many alleged sexual assaults by Harvey Weinstein are now underway all over the world, with the NYPD, the LAPD, the Beverly Hills Police, and UK law enforcement all looking into possible acts of rape, harassment, and other forms of misconduct.  Now…the former producer and his namesake company are facing claims of sex trafficking…actress Kadian Noble is alleging that “Harvey Weinstein was able to force or coerce Kadian into sexual activity…because of his promise of a film role and use of his influence on her behalf” — despite having no intention of following through on those promises…“Harvey Weinstein…offer[ed] her something of value, knowing that he would use this offer as a means to defraud, force, or coerce her into a sexual encounter”…

Scapegoats (#49)

If he’d done this two years ago he’d have been safer than if he’d had consensual sex with a human:

An elderly man has been convicted of sexually assaulting a horse in a stable north of Stockholm.  The owner raised the alarm after discovering someone had entered the stable during the night.  Police found the man hiding under refuse bags…a security camera in the stable caught evidence which led to the conviction.  He was sentenced to fines for trespassing and for breaching Sweden’s Animal Protection Act. Few have been convicted of breaching the act since it was brought in last year…

Policing for Profit

Does any sane person still believe cops’ pretense that this is about anything other than profit?

…the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office [claims] Phil Parhamovich was moved during a traffic stop last March to donate $91,800, his life savings, to the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation to help it wage the war on drugs.  Parhamovich’s version is rather more plausible:  He says state police took his money after pressuring him to sign a “waiver” that circumvented even the limited protections offered by Wyoming’s civil asset forfeiture law…Parhamovich is in state court, trying to get his money back with help from the Institute for Justice, which argues that Wyoming’s roadside waivers are a thin disguise for highway robbery.  Parhamovich, a Wisconsin musician, was on his way to a gig in Salt Lake City on March 13 when a state trooper, Jeramy Pittsley, pulled him over on Interstate 80 in Laramie County [using the pretext that he had] fail[ed] to buckle his seat belt.  The stop turned into an interrogation…and [search in which] they found $91,800 inside a speaker cabinet.  The cops were so excited by their discovery that they high-fived each other.  The windfall also apparently made them forget that there was no trace of the drugs that Pittsley’s dog supposedly had detected…

Apparently the judge is sane, because he ordered the state to return the entire sum to Parhamovich.

Out of Control (#410) 

Doctors aren’t the only medical professionals who throw their careers away for this stupid shit:

Former [Pennsylvania] nurse James Close will spend up to four years in prison and 20 years on probation for secretly filming female patients, including one underage girl…Judge Wallace H. Bateman also ordered him to…sexual offender and sex addiction treatment…

Above the Law (#418) 

Just a reminder that this behavior is intrinsic to policing, not an isolated incident limited to the US:

A Canadian tourist who was…rape[d] by French police…has spoken out for the first time about the night she was attacked…Emily Sponton has decided to waive her anonymity to give her account of the night of April 22nd 2014 when, after meeting three French police at the Galway Irish pub she was…gang rape[d by them] at the nearby Paris police HQ…Sponton said she had been drinking with the three [pigs] who had been regaling her with stories of their work…[they] offered to give her a tour of the building but once there Sponton says they tried to force her to drink large amount of whisky…”when I refused to do what they wanted…they smashed my face against the desk”…She…was raped several times…[and] later found lying on the street outside the police HQ…On [medical] examination she was found to have bruises and lesions in the genital area.  She immediately filed a complaint for rape before heading home to Canada…two [were] finally set to face trial on charges of gang rape…after Sponton had won her appeal to see the case brought back to court after judges initially threw it out last year…One of the [pigs claimed the rape was]…”consensual” [as rapist pigs nearly always do]…

Paint By Numbers (#593) 

Given the lack of imagination displayed by “sex trafficking” fetishists, I reckon it’s predictable that they keep recycling their stupid stunts:

…Started in 2013, the Dressember foundation is a [profiteering] organization…dedicated to [profiting from]…human trafficking [hysteria]….Those willing to take the more popular approach will opt in by wearing a dress every day of December.  Others, who may not have many dresses to wear or who may be a bit more warm-blooded, can still help out by donating to the cause.  All of the money donated goes toward [persecuting sex workers]…

The Rape Question (#602) 

I’m honestly amazed the dumb “rape is asexual” dogma is still popular:

There are reasons why nobody would tell a child “look only to the left when crossing the street because people are nice and swerve out the way for you” or “don’t wear your seatbelt because nothing will happen to you.”  The unfortunate reality is that simply changing our ideas about the world doesn’t actually change the world…in the case of sexual assault, coercion, and rape, omitting crucial pieces of the puzzle (like biological constraints) in understanding these heinous acts could prove to be detrimental…this blank slate version of human nature is riddled with holes…what we’ve seen is a tacit acceptance of the crime when it is committed by “one of our own” and harsh condemnation when it is someone from “the other side” doing it…social role theorists want us to believe that there is a utopian world just beyond our grasp that somehow males and capitalism prevent us from achieving…understanding biology is important in helping us deter sexual violence and why ignoring it could prove to be dangerous…

Pyrrhic Victory (#609)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

“Oklahoma has finalized a deal with a Massachusetts company to use license-plate scanners to catch uninsured drivers, and the firm expects to issue 20,000 citations a month starting as early as next year.  The program…involves setting up automated high-speed cameras on highways around the state to detect uninsured vehicles and mailing their owners a citation with a fine of $184“…[besides] the mass collection of plate/location data…Gatso USA will receive more than 40% of the revenue…The company hopes to make more than $1.6 million a month…”It will be overseen by the District Attorneys Council rather than law enforcement, and the state’s 27 district attorneys’ offices are expected to receive millions of dollars in citation revenue a year”...

To Molest and Rape 

It’s good to see this problem getting attention outside of libertarian and sex worker circles:

…as we furiously unpack the prevalence of sexual assault across many industries, the reality of police sexual misconduct has not found its way into these discussions.  That’s a tragedy, because it happens so frequently…One study found that a [cop] is caught in an act of sexual misconduct every five days — and those are just the ones who are caught…national research…show[s] that almost a quarter or more of cases of police sexual assault involve minors…

Fever Dream (#742)

Reporters & prohibitionists are apparently too stupid to understand that when you misrepresent a consensual-crime misdemeanor a person didn’t even actually commit as a serious, violent felony, it’s going to be hard to get a conviction:

Over the past year [TBI has] conducted about a dozen undercover stings and charged more than 200 men…[in one] sting conducted in Nashville in 2016…TBI charged 34 men…27 of them had their cases dismissed and [expunged after paying for the “john school” the prohibitionists wanted, yet they’re not happy that an unproven misdemeanor charge isn’t enough to destroy the lives of the accused]…”Having all these charges expunged sends a very, very clear message that we’re not serious,” [prohibitionist & profiteer Cathy] Gurly said…Assistant District Attorney Tammy Meade…[pointed out] that…these cases are difficult to prosecute because the victims aren’t real, they’re actually undercover agents…

Checklist (#783)

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

Advanced Periodontics & Implantology…[of] Michigan, organized a seminar for dentists and hygienists on the topic “Human Trafficking”…Michigan Public Health Code and Administrative rules require all dentists to complete training in identification of human trafficking victims…

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There’s a reason why all these teenagers went home that night.
–  Marco Proano

If nothing tips you off, you probably won’t be able to figure out what this video was intended to advertise until the product appears onscreen; it was contributed by Brooke Magnanti, and the links above it by Nun Ya (“Washington”), Radley Balko (“skeleton”),  Adjective Girl (“Facebook”), Patrick Nonwhite (“criminality”), and Tim Cushing  (everything else).

From the Archives

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It happened again a few days ago:  a local police department (this time in Laredo, Texas) thought it would be cute and heartwarming to pull motorists over, lights flashing, and give them some kind of gift, this time Thanksgiving turkeys.  Other police departments have pulled similar stunts over the past few years, usually but not always at holidays; the gifts have included Christmas presents for their kids, $100 bills, gift cards, ice cream, “good driving” tickets and probably several other things I can’t think of at the moment.  Have you ever watched one of the videos that are almost inevitably released after these stunts?  Despite the carefully cherry-picked and curated results, it’s still possible to notice that some of these people are confused and nervous, and that their laughter is more often the product of released tension or emotional shock than it is healthy joy.  Sometimes the news coverage is honest and reports that some of the victims of these mind games are angry and refuse the “gifts”, but most sources obediently give the cops the publicity they’re looking for by parroting their saccharine statements about how they want to give back to the community, build trust, etc.  But behind the smiles and fake goodwill lies the truth:  that these are nothing but vulgar publicity stunts dreamed up by tone-deaf sociopaths without the slightest clue how upsetting and stressful it is to be pulled over by a pig, or even worse,  by puerile sadists who think it’s funny to pull practical jokes on people who might potentially experience genuine terror from these sophomoric schemes.  If you’re a middle-class white person who’s never had a bad experience with a cop, or known anyone who did, you may be tempted to wonder what the harm is in this; you may figure I’m overreacting (certainly several bootlickers on Twitter did).  But for a lot of people those flashing lights don’t signal a temporary annoyance or slight financial hit; they represent at best the beginning of an ordeal which will inflict serious or even catastrophic financial hardship on them, and could possibly end in prison, the loss of their vehicles and/or jobs and potentially years of legal difficulties.  At worst, a police stop can result in robbery, rape or – if the victim is black – death.  And what do you think would happen if one of these practical jokers smelled weed, or noticed a totally legal firearm, in the car during this “fun” stop?  Life-destroying charges and possibly even being gunned down.  What a clever joke, hardy-har-har.

Others have written about the legal, constitutional and civil-rights issues raised by these sadistic games, but instead I’m going to ask that you try looking at them as what they are:  consent violations, not so very different from the other consent violations powerful men feel entitled to inflict on others.  These cops are using people without their consent as props in a propaganda show, and whatever “compensation” they give is the sucker doctors used to give kids for enduring shots.  If you can’t see this, let me ask you how you’d feel if an armed cop pulled you over and then asked to hug you, or to take you out on a date, or to marry him?  Don’t you feel like the situation is just an itsy-bitsy bit psychologically coercive?  Because I’ve actually been in the second situation, and I’ll tell you this:  when an armed cop pulls you over at 2 AM (albeit alongside a busy interstate highway), tells you how beautiful you are and then asks you for a date, it doesn’t feel like a compliment or a request; it feels like a demand.  And the fact that he’s twice your size and in possession of several deadly weapons and has the ability to destroy your entire life on a whim, turns that demand into a threat.  I honestly don’t recall what I said to get out of the situation, but given that this happened only a few years after I was actually raped by cops, you can probably guess how relieved I was when he took “no” for an answer and let me drive away.  Just like the victims of these “generous cop” scams are.

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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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Seeing the gossamer threads underlying space-time helped me understand that “fun” is an illusion anyway.  –  Bryan Wassel

I don’t find most of these College Humor videos very funny, but this one made me giggle a few times.  The links above it were provided by Amy Alkon (“does”),  Wendy Lyon (“Utopia”), Mike Riggs (“laws”), Walter Olson (“layer”), Tim Cushing  (“nutritionism”), and Radley Balko (“understand”).

From the Archives

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[How] can you treat something that doesn’t exist?  –  Dana Dovey

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying us fairly that isn’t:

A [Tennessee cop]…has pleaded guilty in a sexual misconduct case…Ralph Cline, Jr…paid to have sex while on duty and inside his unmarked police vehicle…

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

She lost the support of her family at age 16…and…turned to sex work for survival.  But Diane…Rodríguez did not expect to make history years later as the first trans woman elected to Ecuador’s National Assembly.  “Being a public figure comes at a price,” [said] Rodríguez, who is now also a psychologist…she has recently received death threats as a legislator.  “But I see that cost is a sacrifice for younger generations so that they don’t have to suffer the same experiences that I have to suffer through now.”  Her experience of being discriminated against as a trans woman has motivated her on a lifelong journey from activism to politics…

Bread and Circuses 

As of last night, the site is still running normally, so I’m not sure what the feds are up to this time:

Eros-Guide’s call center was raided today in a seizure that’s likely to keep going through the night…the raid at company offices in Youngsville, N.C., was conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which executed a warrant on alleged “cross-border illegal activity”…the search warrant is sealed in federal court…[but] no one has been arrested…

It’s possible that this is a way for the Gestapo to get info so they can establish a huge surveillance net on sex workers, or the first step in a pogrom of unprecedented scale, or simply the way to get information they think will help them get Swiss authorities to shut down Eros, which is domiciled & hosted in Switzerland and is therefore not subject to US law.  Only time will tell.

Welcome To Our World (#439)

Wanna ban a consensual activity?  Find a problem case to shill for you so you can pretend problems are common:

Commercial surrogacy…can be messy and complicated.  Backed by the anti-surrogacy group The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, [Jessica Allen]…tells…her extraordinary story…Not only were Mike and Max not identical — they had completely different DNA from one another.  Mike appeared to be an Asian child, and was Liu and her husband’s biological baby.  But Max, half-white and half African-American, belonged to me and my now-husband, Wardell Jasper…in an extremely rare medical incident called superfetation, we had gotten pregnant naturally, despite using condoms, after the in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle during which Mr. and Mrs. Liu’s embryo was transferred into my uterus…Not once during the pregnancy did any of the medical staff provided by the agency say that the babies were in separate sacs.  As far as we were concerned, the transferred embryo had split in two and the twins were identical…Omega [the surrogacy agency] contacted me to say the Lius expected between $18,000 and $22,000 as compensation…a caseworker from the agency lined up parents to adopt him and “absorb” the money we owed the Lius…We spent $3,000 on an attorney, and there was a lot of strained negotiation between us, our lawyer and Omega.  It was an uphill battle, but the agency finally reduced the “fee” we owed the Lius to zero…

Stupor Bowl (#511)

“Video Vigilante” Brian Bates is no friend of sex workers, but he’s also hostile to “sex trafficking” mythology:

Once again the annual nationwide publicity stunt orchestrated by the FBI, called Operation Cross Country XI, made its way to Oklahoma…during the four-day sting, 15 female prostitutes and five “sex traffickers” were [arrested]…FBI [claims]…”the primary goal is…the recovery of children”…[but] not a single child was…rescued locally…The FBI also claims their goal is to “take traffickers off the street.”  However, history has proven that virtually all of the “traffickers” that are arrested end up being charged with misdemeanor crimes…The FBI has continuously labeled the women involved in prostitution as “victims”, yet every year they target those same victims…[and] charge…[them] with life altering felonies…

To Molest and Rape 

It’s good to see a rapist cop specifically designated as currently working instead of wrongly called a “former” cop:

A serving police officer has been charged with raping a 13-year-old girl.  Cheshire constable Ian Naude…was remanded in custody after…an incident reported on 3 November in Crewe…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#715) 

The War on Whores, like the War on Drugs, is as much a jobs program as it is a campaign to extend universal criminality:

Earlier this year, the Tribune’s “Sold Out” series examined how state policies…failed to help child sex-trafficking victims.  Since then, lawmakers set aside a budget increase of more than $500 million for the foster care system and the governor’s office approved new funds for trafficking prevention initiatives — including the state’s first-ever director of human trafficking and child exploitation…Kim Grabert…

You may recall that the “series” mentioned in the text was an exercise in BDSM wanking fantasies, including the claim that all duos include at least one underage girl and the bizarre idea that “pimps” have some kind of legal authority.

The Head of a Pin

Is that the author’s name, or a description of what he’s doing while typing this fantasy one-handed?

Nearly half of the victims of modern slavery in the UK are sex workers.  Ed Cumming hears “Hannah’s” harrowing tale…Hannah doesn’t know how long she was forced to work as a prostitute, being shuttled around the capital to meet men with strange accents…“Victims of this crime are relentlessly abused and repeatedly raped,” [pants politician] Kevin Hyland…With the help of the Salvation Army and Women’s Aid, she is rebuilding her life…

“Strange accents” sums up what this is really about, as does the fact that this story was given to the media by the Salvation Army, which has no compunction against making up lurid fantasies to promote its anti-sex agenda.

Dutch Threat (#763) 

A rare victory for sex workers against “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Window brothel operators almost got completely buried by the new Red Light District rules and regulations implemented by the city of Amsterdam.  “We had to inspect if the ladies were washing their sex-toys with the right disinfectant and if the perishable date of their condoms wasn’t lapsed.  It drove us crazy”.  The entrepreneurs went to court and…three (female) judges [agreed that the rules]…hurt…sex workers…Monique rents out three windows in Amsterdam’s Red Light District…[she] wasn’t allowed to leave the neighbourhood if the ladies were working according to the strict regulations.  “I had to be on the scene within 12 minutes…Visiting my old mom in Amsterdam Noord (North) or visiting a physiotherapist in between was out of the question.  Even a quick run to the supermarket for some groceries had me stressing, terrified that I would break the Red Light District rules and lose my permit”…

Signs (#766) 

“Signs of trafficking” idiocy spreads to Dutch pigs:

All community [cops] are to receive training in recognising the signs of human trafficking as part of the new Dutch government’s anti-[sex work] drive…[they] will learn how to look for signs of exploitation when investigating crimes…

The Mote and the Beam (#780) 

Bad laws disproportionately harm small businesses, just as they do poor and marginalized individuals:

A trade group representing giants of Internet business from Facebook to Microsoft has just endorsed a “compromise” version of…SESTA…The Internet Association doesn’t represent the Internet—it represents the few companies that profit the most off of Internet activity…Amazon and eBay would be able to absorb the increased legal risk under SESTA.  They would likely be able to afford the high-powered lawyers to survive the wave in lawsuits against them.  Small startups, including would-be competitors, would not.  It shouldn’t pass our attention that the Internet giants are now endorsing a bill that will make it much more difficult for newcomers ever to compete with them.  IA also doesn’t represent…the marginalized voices who’ll be silenced as platforms begin to over-rely on automated filters (filters that will doubtless be offered as a licensed service by large Internet companies)…It’s shameful that a small group of lobbyists with an agenda of censorship have presented themselves to lawmakers as the unanimous experts in sex trafficking.  It’s embarrassing that it’s worked so well…

The Prudish Giant (#783)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users.  Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.  Shadow contact information has been a known feature of Facebook for a few years now.  But most users remain unaware of its reach and power.  Because shadow-profile connections happen inside Facebook’s algorithmic black box, people can’t see how deep the data-mining of their lives truly is, until an uncanny recommendation pops up…Take a look at all the possible information associated with a contact on your phone.  Then consider the accumulated data your phone is carrying about various people, whether lifelong friends or passing acquaintances…If you agree to share your contacts, every piece of contact data you possess will go to Facebook, and the network will then use it to try to search for connections between everyone you know, no matter how slightly—and you won’t see it happen…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#784) 

It’s a shame that this is what it took to bring down the “sex addiction” scam:

This week Kevin Spacey reportedly checked into a sex addiction rehabilitation program in Arizona following a series of accusations that he sexually harassed several men and at least one minor…Spacey is the most recent celebrity to have checked into rehab following reports of sexual misconduct…Sex addiction has been turned down for classification as a mental health condition by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the official classification of mental health disorders in the US, on several occasions.  In addition, the American Association of Sexual Education Counselors and Therapists also released a statement…that…“sex addiction” or “porn addiction” should not be classified as mental health conditions…“It’s clear at this point that it [sex addiction] does not look like an addiction,” [said] Nicole Prause, a psychologist who studies human sexual behavior…the best predictor of being called a sex addict is either having a conservative religious background or getting caught cheating…

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It was a bit like an end-of-days scenario.  –  Brett Stones

As so often happens these days, the best Halloween videos appear too late to be shared before Halloween; this is the first of Walt Disney’s classic Silly Symphonies cartoons, with animation & music by two greats who later worked for Warner Brothers, Ub Iwerks and Carl Stalling.  It was suggested by Skye, and the links above it by Tim CushingCathy ReisenwitzPopehatRadley BalkoDavid LeyKevin Williamson, and Ed Krayewski, in that order.

From the Archives

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