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Posts Tagged ‘surveillance’

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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GOP leaders put “Fight Human Trafficking” in the title to conceal the bill’s true purpose: to give the government more power to unconstitutionally spy on law-abiding Americans without a warrant.  –  Justin Amash

They Still Don’t Get It

It’s fascinating to watch fanatics parroting nonsense they clearly neither understand nor believe:

When police arrested seven women for engaging in prostitution…they [asked them a bunch of silly questions drawn from prohibitionist fantasy] and let [them]…leave on their own recognizance…the men arrested…were booked at the…Jail in Auburn, their faces and names publicized by police…Police Chief Brian O’Malley [bloviated]…“We’re going after the sex traffickers”…“Obviously, if people stopped buying people, people wouldn’t sell people,” Assistant District Attorney Nathan Walsh said [while masturbating]…His office…has [supposedly] shifted its view over recent years to see sex workers as victims…the crime of engaging in prostitution isn’t punishable by jail time…[but] if someone has been convicted of that crime within a two-year period…jail time is possible…And if a woman were charged with that crime as a first offense and were to violate conditions of her bail, she could be charged with a crime that includes jail time…

So sex workers are victims, but they can be arrested. But they can’t be taken to jail because it isn’t a crime, but if they’re convicted of being victims twice or violating conditions of bail that they pay to be released on their own recognizance from not-jail, they can go to jail.  Got that?

Dysphemisms Galore 

In normal adult language, she ran a low-rent escort service and foolishly neglected to check IDs of applicants:

…Shyniquah Lightner, 26, of Philadelphia, pleaded guilty…to two counts of sex trafficking of a minor…[she] operated a prostitution ring in Philadelphia, and…recruited females to work as prostitutes in this illegal business, and then created Internet advertisements in which she marketed various females as available for purchase for purposes of prostitution…Two of the females Lightner recruited and advertised were minors under 18 years of age…Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross [bloviated that] “A child predator has been brought to justice”…

I quoted as much of this idiocy as I could stomach (giving 17-year-olds a job now qualifies as being a “child predator”), but you can see a lot more at the link if you haven’t eaten recently and want to risk vomiting.

Traffic Circle

“One almost has to admire the chutzpah of officials in Two Harbors, Minnesota (population 3745), who…claim that ‘hunting season…is a key time for traffickers and pimps because it draws…large groups of men into the Northland‘.”

Something new might catch your eye on Highway 61 outside of Two Harbors, a “Dear John” billboard designed to stop local sex trafficking by addressing the demand.  The Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force is behind the sign…[which will] be up for six months, reminding everyone who drives by, including snowmobilers [of the silly fantasy prohibitionists are masturbating to all over the US]…

Though this item more properly belongs in “Under Every Bed” or “Broken Record“, the quote which introduces the item above is from the original “Traffic Circle” five years ago.  Same tiny town, same TV station making the report, same grandiose and economically-impossible claims from self-important “officials” and fanatics.  Five years later.

All-Purpose Excuse

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

A new bill that borrows language from the PATRIOT Act promises to nab human traffickers using the same surveillance techniques that law introduced to catch terrorists…The PATRIOT Act’s spying provisions…proved attractive to law enforcement far beyond their intended scope.  Now, legislators like Rep. Ann Wagner…hope we won’t notice if they feed us the same liberty-poisoning bologna with a new excuse…Wagner’s bill (H.R. 6729)—the deceptively named the “Empowering Financial Institutions to Fight Human Trafficking Act” of 2018—is the latest in a long line of assaults on civil liberties disguised as attacks on the biggest crime panic of the decade, sex trafficking.  Wagner alone brought us the SAVE Act in 2015 and FOSTA in 2018, both of which take aim at online anonymity, web publishing, social media, sex workers, and free speech under the guise of saving children from “modern slavery”…H.R. 6729 would allow financial institutions, federal regulatory bodies, nonprofit organizations, and law enforcement to share customer bank records between them without running afoul of rules regarding consumer privacy and without opening themselves up to lawsuits…and…need not demonstrate that the “sharing was made on a good faith basis”…[this] could go a long way toward not just shuttering individual sex worker bank accounts but facilitating money-laundering charges against any website that…enables communication that connects sex workers and clients…

Down Under (#524)

In the US, the government would’ve “helped” by prosecuting her:

A [New Zealand] man has been ordered to pay a sex worker an extra $300 and hand over the phone he used to record his sexual experience with the woman…the pair met at a Hamilton motel on June 20, via a website which outlined conditions including the banning of video recordings.  Coitus interruptus came when the woman noticed the man’s phone semi-concealed in a jacket and pointed directly at them.  The man denied filming but the woman grabbed the phone, refused to give it back and called the police.  The man admitted he wanted to watch the recording later because he “could not afford to keep paying all the time”…

Uncommon Sense (#844)

Juno Mac calls for supposedly pro-labor politicians and activists to support sex workers:

…sex work is a form of labour; and we deserve labour rights…even after decriminalisation…we will still face a lack of legal aid funding, weak union powers, and austerity policies that reduce our power to turn down exploitative work…Sex workers want to stand with other workers to challenge these injustices and improve the conditions for all workers.  But we require the basic framework of a legally recognised workplace, and recognition from the Labour movement that we are indeed workers…

Disaster (#857)

As I predicted, the judge denied the injunction; he also dismissed the whole case using the bullshit excuse of “lack of standing”:

…a federal court sided with the government and dismissed Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al. v. United States.  The court did not reach the merits of any of the constitutional issues, but instead found that none of the plaintiffs had standing to challenge the law’s legality.  We’re disappointed and believe the decision is wrong.  For example, the court failed to apply the standing principles that are usually applied in First Amendment cases in which the plaintiffs’ speech is chilled.  The plaintiffs are considering their options for their next steps…

Across the Pond (#862)

Redbridge has a history of harassing sex workers while belching up stupid “crime” rhetoric:

Prostitutes will no longer be allowed to operate anywhere in Redbridge after [the council invented] complaints of noise and condoms left on the street…The new order gives…[cops] the power to hand out on-the-spot fines to disrupt prostitution and soliciting…the council [wants to steal income from sex workers while simultaneously proclaiming them to be] victims.  Cllr Jas Athwal, council leader, said…“By creating a borough-wide zone, a ring of steel, it also means we will deter people seeking sex services from entering Redbridge in the first place”…

I’m sorry if you shot a drink out of your nose when you read a petty politician referring to petty fines as a “ring of steel”.

Dirty Amateurs (#868) 

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

…congenital syphilis, which is passed down from an infected mother to her fetus, has more than doubled since 2013 to hit a 20-year high…Louisiana has the highest rate per capita, with 59 cases reported last year, while California has the highest rates overall, with 281 cases reported in 2017, followed by Texas’s 176…unlike chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are also seeing sharp rises in incidences, syphilis is not rising because of antibiotic resistance; it’s cured by penicillin…But syphilis isn’t [being tested for by] some doctors treating women of reproductive age…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#868) 

At least this dude doesn’t incorrectly call his amusement-device arcades “brothels”:

…”Elijah Rising, a Houston-based [prohibitionist] group…has started a petition on Change.org to ‘Keep Robot Brothels Out Of Houston’“…The owner of KinkySdollS disputes the characterization of his stores as brothels (he says they are more like rent-to-own franchises) and it remains to be seen if in fact Houston, a city famously for relatively light regulation of business, can in fact ban the business under existing laws.  (We might also add that…these dolls are [not] anything close to robots).  There is [also] no reason to believe that increased access to pornography increases sexual crime, a belief that underpins Elijah Rising’s position…In fact, there’s a wealth of evidence supporting the idea that the proliferation of porn over the past few decades is one of the reasons that sexual assaults are declining.  And…recent crackdowns on prostitution, done in the name of ending “sex trafficking,” are…pushing more women onto the streets, a generally less safe situation for all involved…

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The name “Banned Books Week” is far too narrow to encompass everything we should be talking about, and a week is far too limited a time to be talking about it.  –  “The Censor-Moron

As I’ve written several times over the past few years, top-down censorship had become very rare in the US; alas, in just the past year since the last Banned Books Week, it has returned with a vengeance.  The passage of FOSTA, a law which both authorizes direct federal censorship of the internet (by creating a new category of banned speech) and exerts a powerful chilling effect (by an unconstitutionally vague description of what might be included in that category), is the worst example, but it is by no means the only one.  Congress has also conducted an inquisition of Facebook and Twitter over paranoid fantasies and the idiotically-named non-category “fake news”, with several of the inquisitors hinting at the possibility of direct censorship (or as they prefer to call it. “regulation”); the EU has also threatened to censor the social media giants using the excuse of “hate speech”.  In the UK, a member of Parliament actually wants to ban any online discussion that the police cannot eavesdrop on, and in the US cops are demanding the power both to prosecute those who criticize them and to suppress books about police violence; in some prisons, the one area of society completely under police control, “drugs” are being used as an excuse to ban books entirely in favor of expensive e-book readers (that the state gets a cut of, natch) with a very limited library:

Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections is planning to ban free book donations to inmates by mail, claiming that this is a “primary avenue for drugs” to enter prisons.  But the move coincides with a renewed push to get prisoners buying into a pricey prison eBook system…the Prisoners Lit Project and others…said that Pennsylvania prisons’ libraries are underfunded and often inaccessible and [vowed to] challenge…the new policy…The tablet devices hawked by the DOC are bulky and low-end, with tiny low-definition color displays not intended for reading at length, rudimentary hardware and translucent materials to prevent them being used to hide contraband.  They cost $147 plus tax, about three times the price of the only extant consumer device, the $50 Amazon Fire, with similar specifications.  There is no repair service: any problems with the device and you have to buy a new one.  Then prisoners must pay a minimum of $3 each per eBook from the same state-contracted vendor, which offers a list of only 8,500 titles…other states are embarking on similar plans, and they’re likely to meet stiff court challenges…

If this all wasn’t bad enough, consider the UK, which wants to subject people to police violence for the “crime” of wrongthink:

…The latest Orwellian invitation to rat out offensive speakers was issued by the South Yorkshire Police…[who]…took to Twitter to remind people…”In addition to reporting hate crime, please report non-crime hate incidents…like offensive or insulting comments, online, in person or in writing.”  It is chilling that cops, whose only business should be fighting crime, now want to hear about non-crime.  Anyone who has even a sliver of respect for the ideal of liberty, for the right of people to go about their lives without being watched or narked on, should be seriously concerned that cops would want to hear about non-criminal behavior, otherwise known as everyday behavior…This is Stasi territory.  Coppers asking citizens to file reports on things they have read or overheard really should have disappeared from Europe with the fall of the Berlin Wall.  Yet here it still is, this GDR-style instruction to eavesdrop and squeal, though now it’s happening on the other side of the old Iron Curtain…

Though lily-livered fools have been demanding they be “protected” from ideas they don’t like for several years now, it’s terrifying how quickly this terrible idea has moved from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream, and how eagerly jackbooted thugs have seized upon it as yet another way to control the thoughts of the entire population via threats of violence.

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Stand up and act like a lady.  –  “Officer” James Brooks

I first discovered this song when it was performed by Harley Quinn in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series; those of you who remember it from that show may appreciate seeing the original, and those who are unfamiliar with it may want to watch Harley’s version too.  The links above were provided by Franklin HarrisElizabeth N. BrownEmma EvansAmy AlkonPhoenix CalidaTim Cushing, and Emma Evans again, in that order.

From the Archives

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Social morality cannot be used to violate the fundamental rights of even a single individual.  –  Dipak Misra

Maggie in the Media 

Peeping Toms

While the US increases interference into private lives, India goes the other way:

India’s Supreme Court…struck down a colonial-era law that made gay sex punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a landmark victory for gay rights that one judge said would “pave the way for a better future.”  The 1861 law, a relic of Victorian England that hung on long after the end of British colonialism, was a weapon used to discriminate against India’s gay community, the judges ruled in a unanimous decision…the court said sexual orientation was a “biological phenomenon” and that discrimination on that basis violated fundamental rights…

Banishment

I’m sure you feel safer now:

Olivia Munn’s new film, The Predator, is making headlines not just because of its premiere but because Twentieth Century Fox pulled a scene from the film after it was revealed that director Shane Black had cast a registered sex offender to play a small part.  Munn [complained] to the…studio and has now [bragged] about it on social media…Steven Wilder Striegel…pleaded guilty in 2010 to allegations that he attempted to lure a 14 year-old girl into a sexual relationship via the internet…Munn wrote…”excerpts from the arrest affidavit are beyond disturbing and completely contradict Wilder’s version of how he was convicted”…

Try not to throw up when you read all the bootlicking statements about how everything pigs and prosecutors say is unquestionable holy truth.

Monsters 

This brings the toll to 19 so far this year:

Vontashia Bell, an 18-year-old transgender woman was fatally shot multiple times in Shreveport, Louisiana, on August 30…Later that day, Dejanay Stanton’s body was found in an alley on Chicago’s South Side…Like Bell, Stanton had been shot to death…In Philadelphia, police are looking for the person or persons behind the murder of Shantee Tucker, a 30-year-old trans woman who was found shot in the back [on August 29th]…With their deaths, there have now been 19 known killings of transgender or nonbinary people this year, with 13 of them being black

Whither Canada? (#813)

A new challenge is only necessary because Liberals lied about repealing the law:

Across Canada, sex workers are still regularly being charged with crimes because of their profession.  Their clients, too, are being targeted by police…Canada’s new laws…have only made things worse…Bill C-36, came into effect in 2014 under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, and it was opposed by all opposition parties at the time, including Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, who contended that the legislation was unconstitutional and failed to comply with th[e] Supreme Court ruling [which decriminalized sex work].  During the 2015 federal election campaign, Trudeau vowed to undo or fix various criminal justice reforms brought in by his predecessor, painting the Tories’ tough-on-crime agenda as heartless and damaging…But now—three years after the Liberals won a majority government, four years after C-36 came into force, five years after the Supreme Court ruled that Canada’s long-standing prostitution laws were unconstitutional…any plans for reform appear to have stalled…After years of patience with the Liberals, sex workers are beginning to speak out again…A constitutional challenge to the Harper-era laws is facing a Charter challenge in a London, Ont. courtroom, which promises to extend into years of further legal wrangling.  The Pivot Legal Society, an intervenor in the Bedford case…[is] considering another challenge…

Pyrrhic Victory (#854)

The problem with facial recognition isn’t that it’s inaccurate, which would give victims a way to fight it legally.  The problem is that it won’t stay inaccurate for much longer:

Sixteen states let the FBI use face recognition technology to compare the faces of suspected criminals to their driver’s license and ID photos…at least 26 states allow [in-state pigs] to run or request [such] searches…Roughly 50 percent of American adults have their photos searched this way — meaning that 117 million adults are included in law enforcement face recognition networks…But critics question the…[use of] software which is known for problems with accuracy — especially in…people of color…At a time when artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly [sold to the deeply stupid] as a tool to keep us safe, experts are beginning to sound the alarm…for privacy…Clare Garvie, an associate with the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law [points out that] other police investigative tools — such as wiretaps and fingerprints — are heavily regulated, requiring a judge to issue a warrant for use.  But only a handful of state laws touch on face recognition…Garvie compares the presence of police video cameras enabled with face recognition technology on every corner to the act of a [pig rooting] through a protest demanding to see identification of everyone…face recognition cameras do the same thing — while capturing faces and identifying people remotely and in secret…

Full of Themselves (#860)

Let’s hope this attempt to harass Asian massage parlors out of business harms licensed masseuses even more:

Coralville and Iowa City joined the growing number of local city governments in passing ordinances that target…massage parlors since the Iowa Legislature gave cities the ability to regulate requirements last year.  [Prohibitionists pretend] human trafficking in massage parlors is an issue in Iowa City…

As long as politicians can successfully draw lines between adult businesses and others, they will continue to.

Business As Usual (#868) 

Rapists and murders say they want to “regain public trust” by not raping and murdering as much for the next few weeks:

Columbus Division of Police is temporarily suspending routine vice operations in part to regain public trust in light of two high-profile [abuses of power by] vice [cops] in the last 45 days.  The vice [pen], which includes about 20 [pigs], will spend the next 28 days providing command staff with information on how [raids] are conducted, Deputy Chief Tim Becker said…On July 11, vice [cops] arrested adult film actress Stormy Daniels and two other women following Daniels’ performance at the Sirens strip club…City Attorney Zach Klein…said he would no longer prosecute cases involving inappropriate touching by dancers.  Becker also issued a memo…barring vice and narcotics [pigs] from [rooting] into strip clubs without a specific complaint and permission from Becker or Chief Kim Jacobs…On Aug. 23, [disguised pig] Andrew Mitchell…[murdered] 23-year-old Donna Castleberry while he was [trying to rape her]…Mitchell…had a citizen complaint filed against him less than a week before the [murder]…During the 28-day vice review, only the “most critical” vice cases will be investigated, Becker said…

What, pray tell, constitutes a “vital” intrusion of armed thugs into people’s consensual acts?  Because that’s exactly what “vice” policing is.

The Widening Gyre (#870) 

Cops are trying to regain control of the runaway moral panic by releasing even more hysterical exaggeration than the Facebook loons:

You may have seen the Facebook posts…A young woman fears being followed by “strange” men, in the store or the parking lot…she believes that she was being followed as part of an attempt to kidnap her for a human trafficking sex ring.  However, local authorities say, the posts are reinforcing a common misconception:  real life bogeymen waiting in parking lots, snatching young women off the street and forcing them to have sex with others.  Unfortunately, the truth is far worse: a human trafficker can be anyone you know…And victims of human trafficking can be anyone — human trafficking victims look just like you or me, a child or an adult…

Hide under your bed!  Trust no one!  Don’t form personal relationships!  “Sex traffickers” are EVERYWHERE!!!!!!

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I often get questions from women who are interested in becoming sex workers.  Sometimes they have specific questions, but more often they want general advice; you can find past questions like this in my Mentoring tag, or on my “Previously Asked Questions” page under “Mentoring”.  But while I was answering last week’s question I realized that I cannot in good conscience continue to advise young American women to enter full-service sex work (i.e. escorting or other forms of prostitution) at all until “sex trafficking” hysteria has imploded and the ramped-up persecution of sex workers, our clients, our loved ones and our associates has at last died down.  Every day I read stories of women being raped, beaten, humiliated, locked in cages and even murdered by cops who claim either that they’re “rescuing” us or “abating” us (like a disease).  Every day I receive communications from time-wasters and psychos, and read other ladies’ complaints of similar incidents.  Every few weeks another advertising site or escort service falls victim to a high-profile pogrom, and a constant stream of new surveillance weapons are deployed against us (and this doesn’t even count the shockingly-invasive amounts of information websites like Eros are demanding as a condition of carrying escorts’ ads).  On top of all that, I myself keep advising gentlemen to stick to contacting well-known and well-established providers, and to avoid unknowns; that’s excellent advice for them, but very bad for new ladies just getting into the business.  And while the vast majority of clients are probably unaware of my advice, it would be pretty shitty of me to help women get into the business while simultaneously warning men to avoid them.  No, I’m afraid that for the duration of the moral panic I’ll have to limit myself to helping those who’ve already crossed the Rubicon, while suggesting that those who haven’t consider taking up a branch of sex work that hasn’t been criminalized…yet.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I’m an 18 year old virgin, barely making ends meet at my dishwashing job; I’m interested in making money with my body.  I’ve thought about stripping but I don’t think I have the body for it and I have self harm scars on my thighs; maybe porn or escorting might be another avenue to explore.  Would it be a good selling point that I’m a virgin?  How would I go about advertising that?

Since stripping and porn performing are more visual than escorting, you may be right about the latter being a better path for you than the former two.  I wouldn’t worry too much about the scars if I were you; I have some fairly noticeable scarring on my left arm, and I know a lady with pronounced Cesarean section scars, and both of us are quite popular escorts.  There are three things in your letter, however, which do concern me and you should consider them deeply before attempting to pursue sex work.

The first is your youth:  while 18 is of legal age and I’ve known some ladies (including me) who did sell sex at that age, the ongoing hysteria over “child sex trafficking” has made being so young a liability rather than an asset.  Advertising sites are going to subject you to extra scrutiny, webcrawling programs run by the government and its prohibitionist cronies will flag you for increased surveillance, and your local cops and/or the FBI may even target you for “rescue” (i.e. arrest and use as a propaganda subject) in one of their pogroms if they decide you might be underage or vulnerable.

The second is your use of the phrase “make money with my body”, which to me indicates you’ve absorbed some harmful myths about sex work.  What you’re doing now is making money with your body; unless commercial dishwashing is very different from the home variety, it doesn’t exactly require a lot of mental work.  Escorting, on the other hand, requires considerable emotional labor; creating ads, screening clients and building a brand also require a great deal of head work.  It may be that you’re up to the challenge; since I know nothing about you I can’t say.  But even some very bright people don’t really like expending the kind of mental and emotional energy necessary to succeed as an escort, especially in these times of vanishing advertising sites and increased screening difficulty.

The third is your virginity.  You didn’t say where you live, but your spelling and word use seem American to me.  So unless you’re planning to go abroad, the only way to openly sell your virginity without bringing down hordes of authoritarians attempting to “save” you from a sensible decision (because you’re supposed to give your virginity for free to some stupid, penniless boy who may inflict an STI or worse, a pregnancy, on you) is to make a deal with a Nevada brothel to market that, and they’ll take 50%.  Furthermore, none of the high-profile virginity sales of the past few years have gone well, which rather makes skeptical of the whole concept in the 21st century (though it worked well in the 19th and early 20th).  Furthermore, I don’t think it’s an especially good idea for a young woman who doesn’t even know how she’s going to feel about sex with men to try to make a living at it from square one.

My advice to you is this:  get a bit of sexual experience under your belt (no pun intended) before considering any kind of in-person sex work.  Try doing phone sex (there are some services such as Niteflirt which are quite popular) and see if you like that, then maybe move onto camming.  Do some research and talk to sex workers, and then after you’ve been doing the not-in-person stuff for a while you can try dipping into escorting if you still want to.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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