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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Tall Tales’

I don’t want to put myself out of business as a storyteller; I just want to tell less painful stories.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

Maggie in the Media LiberTea 8-17-14

Here are a couple of conversations I’ve had in the past few weeks; the How We Talk About Sex podcast with Eric Leviton (recorded the morning after I arrived in New York City), and the LiberTea spreecast (recorded last Sunday night within minutes of my arrival from Washington DC).  These are both very loose, informal conversations, about two hours each, with a lot more laughter and joking around than you might be used to from me.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Try not to throw up when you read the name cops gave their entrapment scheme:

…[Florida] police detective…Reno Chevelle Fells resigned…after his arrest at a St. Augustine Beach hotel [after responding] to an online ad offering sex for money…”Operation Summer Lovin'” resulted in 14 arrests…

Law of the Instrument

Another cop helpfully explains that “sex trafficking” is everywhere, that “victims” don’t know that they’re victims and that women are so stupid and passive they have to be “taught” and “coached” to fear and distrust thugs who deceive, molest, chain and cage them. Words fall utterly short.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

[William McDaniel] reported he did not get the sex act he requested as part of his $350 private dance at Sagebrush Sam’s Exotic Dance Club…west of Butte [Montana].  Officers informed him asking an exotic dancer for a sexual gratification is illegal and put him in jail for solicitation of prostitution…

Schadenfreude 

In “Unraveling”, Anne Elizabeth Moore discusses the deep connections between the “rescue” and garment industries (in comic strip form, drawn by Melissa Mendes).  There are also links to other strips in the series.  If you’re ever wondered why “rehabilitation” for sex workers so often seems to involve working in sweatshops, and why Somaly Mam was sponsored by fashion companies, you need to read this.

Scapegoats

An Albuquerque woman was arrested…after…she tried to poison her roommates when they discovered she had been having sex with two German shepherds.  Shari Walters…was…caught…having sex with both her roommates’ dogs…the night after…both roommates noticed their food tasted different…Walters…admitted to putting rubbing alcohol in both roommates’ waters, as well as toilet bowl cleaner in their food…

Above the Law

Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper…Eric Roberts…pulled [a woman] over without probable cause…then…forced the victim to perform sexual acts in his patrol car, before driving to another location where he…raped her…”  But Roberts is just a piker compared to his “brother officer” Daniel Holtzclaw:

…Daniel Ken Holtzclaw, 27, was arrested…on complaints of rape, forcible oral sodomy, sexual battery and indecent exposure…Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said…Holtzclaw stopped women while he was working and forced them to expose themselves, fondled them and in at least one instance [raped] a woman.  Authorities have statements from six victims and expect a statement from a seventh…investigators believe there are additional victims…

The Lion and the Ox

There’s an awful lot of “suppose” and “maybe” here:

…The link between surrogacy and human trafficking is currently under investigation.  It is unequivocal that any child conceived to be sold constitutes a trafficked human…A clause in [UN protocol]…states that “references to slavery and similar practices may include illegal adoption in some circumstances”…it is unlikely, but possible, that the babies or embryos were envisaged for exploitation in the sex industry, on the illegal donor market, for slavery or the labour market.  This, de facto, constitutes a human trafficking case…Exploring links between…surrogacy and illegal adoption…automatically leads to organised crime…we may infer that the children were to be sold into an illegal adoption scheme…Suppose the children were conceived to be enslaved or exploited in the sex industry…

Somebody’s Daughter

Stalwart ally Elizabeth N. Brown on the “Would you want your daughter to be a whore?” fallacy:

…Using his apparent mind-reading powers, [Damon Linker] asserts that no one could honestly be okay with having a child in porn…Linker knows that nearly everyone must feel appalled because… he thought about it and was appalled?  That’s some pretty shaky logic…I would sure as shit rather have a porn star daughter (or son) than one who thinks, as Linker does, that being in porn makes someone “low, base, and degraded”…There’s nothing wrong with having certain expectations for your children…But…Our best laid plans mean jack…Proponents of decriminalization aren’t asking you to become pro prostitution, to encourage your kids to go into sex work, or even to abandon thinking it’s morally wrong, if that’s what you think…All we’re asking is for you to consider that criminalizing prostitution does more harm than good.  If — gasp! horror! disgust! — your daughter did happen to become a sex worker, wouldn’t you want to make it as safe and non-ruinous for her as possible?

Profound Ignorance

The “before the internet most whores were streetwalkers” and “each whore has only one ad” tropes just won’t die no matter how many times we kill them:

…A snapshot as recently as last week found 2,253 individuals advertising sex for sale [in Scotland] on a series of escort and other websites…However, sources stressed numbers have been close to 3,000 in recent months as the market – largely featuring foreign women who move around or are moved around – ebbed and flowed.  The sex trade has moved off the streets in recent years as women working in flats replaced traditional streetwalkers, most of whom were Scots with addiction or debt problems…Detective Chief Inspector Ruth Gilfillan…said she believed “well over 90 per cent” of sex work was now carried out from flats or brothels…

Texas Tall Tales Facebook Pimp

Texas just loves the “Facebook pimps” myth:

…pimps, hiding behind fake identities, increasingly use social media to lure young girls into the trade.  Unscrupulous predators and the popularity of online networking have made it tougher for authorities to crack down on sex trafficking.  Police estimate that 100 adolescents are trafficked every year in Dallas…

The article also claims that the undefined “illicit sex market” in Dallas is worth $99 million (per year? per day? as a purchase price?) and that 1 in 7 (14%) of the “children” reported missing are “probably victims of sex trafficking”…which would be a good trick, since only 0.014% of all “missing children” are abducted by strangers.

Banishment

But officials claim “sex offender” registration isn’t a punishment.

Dozens of sex offenders who have satisfied their sentences in New York…are being held in prison beyond their release dates because of a new interpretation of a state law that…restricts many sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school.  Those unable to find such accommodations often end up in homeless shelters.  But in February…[“authorities” proclaimed] the 1,000-foot restriction also extended from homeless shelters, making most of them off limits…in New York City…only 14 of the 270 shelters…have been deemed eligible to receive sex offenders.  But with [these] often filled to capacity, the state has opted to keep certain categories of sex offenders in custody…Some have begun filing habeas corpus petitions…demanding to be released…The state’s [pretense] is that it has the legal authority to continue holding [them]…because they are largely subject to post-release supervision by the state…[such as] unannounced home visits…as well as restrictions on Internet use and interactions with minors…

Under Every Bed 

As in the Chanel Island of Jersey, population < 100,000:  “Jersey Police…are investigating a sex trafficking ring.  The force say they have received information about a growing sex trade in the island, with women potentially being trafficked and exploited…

Monsters

The parents of an eight-year-old beat “every inch” of him, until he was dead, because he played with dolls…Pearl Fernandez, 30, and Isauro Aguirre, 34, beat their son Gabriel…“for eight straight months”, and he was “tortured more severely than many prisoners of war”…According to statements given by his two siblings, he was forced to eat cat faeces and rotten spinach and was not allowed to use the toilet…He was beaten with a metal hanger, a belt buckle and lost multiple teeth when he was hit with a bat…

Lower Education 

Northern Illinois University is restricting students’ access to certain websites.  For their own good, of course…Students who attempt to visit an unauthorized site through the campus network are redirected to a creepy “Web Page Access Warning”…[which] one student reported…to Reddit after he received a warning for trying to access the Westboro  Bapist Church’s Wikipedia page…NIU cites “common sense, decency, ethical use, civility, and security,” as its various rationales for…[trying] to dissuade students from visiting websites deemed harmful by administrators…

web page censorship threat

Mumbo Jumbo

When an article is this shockingly stupid, it’s hard to decide how to file it.  Is the most important factor the hilarious “Harvard of sex trafficking” label, or the use of the word “literally” to describe something that isn’t literal?  Is it a woman’s changed, then recanted, then re-sworn testimony being described as “her true story” because it agrees with prosecutors’ claims?  Is it yet another woman being caged to compel her testimony?  I was tempted to give precedence to the statements made by “trafficking expert” Donna Sabella, who said that domestic violence is “like” domestic violence (yep); that “prostitution…often results in arrested development — young women with the social or emotional age of someone 12 or 13”; and that “trafficking…has become somewhat normalized through…music, pimp costumes and shows like Pimp My Ride“.  But I eventually decided that it had to be Milwaukee cop Dawn Jones’ claim that “girls are…property of one pimp or another” but can change this supposed “ownership” to a new pimp by “looking one in the eye”.  It is unclear whether the magical “ownership”-changing force proceeds from the eye of the whore or the “pimp”.

Gorged With Meaning (TW3 #409)

Pamela Stubbart is a libertarian who resigned from an organization called Young Voices because it allowed Belle Knox, who is also a libertarian, to join.  While I totally support the right of any person to associate or disassociate with others as she sees fit, and to like or dislike people (including me) or activities (including mine) as her psyche dictates, I do rather wish she hadn’t laced her resignation letter with prudishness draped in faux-reason.  Anyhow, Cliterati writer Slut O’Crat has penned an in-depth look at what’s wrong with Stubbart’s behavior, and more generally at the weird aversion some sex worker activists have to many sex workers’ wholly-natural and eminently-predictable embrace of libertarian ideas.

Worse Than I Thought (Traffic Updates)

the [Arkansas] Task Force for the Prevention of Human Trafficking…presented findings and recommendations to the Judiciary Committee…It…[wants] to add human trafficking convictions to those requiring registration as a sex offender.  Other recommendations include posting a hotline number at all rest stops, state parks, and schools with grades 6-12.  This is an extension of legislation already passed which requires the hotline number to be posted at sexually oriented businesses and truck stops…

A Whore in Church (TW3 #433) Patrick Johnson

[After] bare-breasted women…marched in front of the New Beginnings Ministries church in [Ohio]…Patrick Johnson…of the anti-abortion group Personhood Ohio, responded…by asking Ohioans to call the legislature in support of banning “all public nudity in the state,” according to WSYX.  “I am sick that women can legally bare their breasts to children and to married men against their will in Ohio…what they did was an offense to God, was an offense to the public morality, and the legislature should act to criminalize what they did”…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The proposed new law to “protect” German sex workers is very, very bad:

…the underlying spirit of this bill appears to be the perception of sex work as a social evil the government cannot rid society of and feels therefore obligated to impose regulations on it to such an extent where completely adhering to them is rendered virtually impossible, which in turn will enable law enforcement agencies to persecute sex workers and operators of prostitution businesses.  Hence, the title of this bill is utterly misleading and an insult to sex workers fighting for equal rights under the law…the bill will not protect sex workers, but instead…aims to protect society from the imaginary evil of prostitution…

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I think most of us are shocked to find out that people are actually buying…little girls.  They’re…paying for these girls who are then dressed up…to sell them.  –  Jerry Peyton

Secret Squirrel

Clueless cop claims extending the police state into private homes can “protect” your offspring from “sex trafficking”, when it actuality it creates the sort of oppressive environment teens rebel against or flee from:

[Florida] sheriff Susan Benton is launching a local effort to educate the public…deputies will be making personal visits to local pediatrician offices, hospital emergency rooms, shopping malls and other places frequented by youth, distributing posters and other materials…[about] the ways they may become victims of human trafficking…Some of the tips for parents…include…[knowing] your child’s screen names and passwords…[checking] Internet history and [controlling] sites your children have access to…[and forcing them to sign] a pledge…of their commitment to online safety…

Since when do teens “frequent” hospital ERs and pediatricians’ offices?

Follow Your Bliss

[The] co-founder of a [“sex trafficking” NGO]…is charged with child rape [and] has fled to Nepal…Dhan Pun…is the co-founder, with his wife, of Women’s Prevention and Protection Center Nepal Foundation…[he] is accused of routinely assaulting a teenage relative from 2010 to 2012 while he lived in Seattle…

Finding What Isn’t There

We don’t have any ‘sex trafficking’ cases, but we know they must be around because we have an interstate highway.  End demand!  Children!  Asians!  Backpage!  23 skidoo!”

Even though Batesville is mentioned in the Cincinnati Backpage Report…law enforcement officials say no recent arrests…have been made…The [“trafficking” NGO] director wanted area residents to realize sex trafficking “is a demand-driven situation…[which] only happens because there are customers…who want to pay for commercial sex, sometimes with children”…[a cop] predicted the crime could happen here in the future…“the I-74 corridor creates a lot of our problems”… gem show trafficking foolishness

Broken Record

This may be the most hilariously absurd iteration of the “gypsy whores” myth yet:

A local advocacy group will be using a dramatic display to protest sex trafficking at major Gem, Mineral, and Fossil showcase sites…Jerry Peyton…of Sold No More…said big events like the Gem and Mineral show attracted sex traffickers from around the country into Tucson…To raise awareneness, the group planned to set up a life sized doll box…[containing] a young girl, representing a victim of human trafficking…Beth Jacobs…who was held as a sex slave from age of 16 to 22 said…”pimps” typically took the girls to big events around the country like conventions, and the World series.  Jacobs said events like the Gem and Mineral show brought back some dark memories for her…

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

They admit to having no data at all and can’t be bothered to even define the crime, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to increase the penalties and condemn even more people to the barbaric “sex offender” registry:

…Oklahoma…lawmakers have introduced about a dozen bills that were drafted by the Bureau of Narcotics.  Among other things, they would…increase prison time for human trafficking and require those convicted…to register as sex offenders…Oklahoma’s problem with human trafficking stems partly from its location at the crossing of several major interstates, but…there is little or no data…because it’s not a crime easily tracked and is severely underreported because victims fear retaliation…

Letting cops write the laws; what could possibly go wrong?

Learning Curve

Here’s the meat of a story you may have heard just after the Super Bowl:

…A 10-month investigation that targeted sex trafficking at Super Bowl XLVIII resulted in the rescue of 25 child prostitutes and the arrest of roughly 45 “pimps”…in New Jersey, federal investigators said…investigators did not find any links between the traffickers and organized crime.  Most of the suspects were either members of trafficking rings who traveled to New Jersey…or offenders who normally operate in the area…

Look at it carefully:  this had nothing to do with the Super Bowl or “trafficking”.  It’s just a harvest of local small-time pimps the cops knew about since last April (“travelled to New Jersey” is meaningless in an area where four states are so close together one could drive through all of them in a couple of hours), but saved until game time to shore up a lucrative but crumbling myth.

Texas Tall Tales (TW3 #310)

A megalomaniac imagines that her new social media site will not only wipe out all others, but also create a universal surveillance state in which nobody can ever hide from Big Brother…and that this would be a good thing:

…on…social media sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Instagram and Twitter…girls are being lured with photos and videos describing a life of luxury and once tempted, threatened into prostitution by gang members…“pimps” or “panderers” use social media sites…to reach out to potential victims…hide behind a false persona…and no one may be the wiser until it is too late…As Flocks.com becomes integrated into school systems nationwide, hiding behind a false profile or impersonating someone else will be a thing of the past…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314) Amy Hamilton trafficking hoax

A poster appealing for help finding “missing” six-year-old girl Amy Hamilton has been shared thousands of times on social media – despite being a racist hoax by…the…group Britons against Left-Wing Extremism (BALE)…the Croydon Advertiser revealed that there was no Amy Hamilton, and that Daily Bale editor Steven Sodholmy believed he was “raising awareness… about the harsh reality of Asian grooming gangs”…

Original Sin (TW3 #321)

Laila Mickelwait…of…Exodus Cry…was the keynote speaker at this year’s Celebrating Life Unity Breakfast…sponsored by the Pro-Family pillar of Patriots United at D’Andrea Banquets in Crystal Lake [Illinois]…“To abolish (trafficking), we have to abolish prostitution and we have to abolish porn,” she said…

Gingerbread House (TW3 #332)

Gee, d’you think?

…One new [Florida] idea is a proposition mandating that rescued victims from sex trafficking be involuntarily admitted to the hospital…Some, however, believe…this…will do more harm than good.  Lawanda Ravoira…of the Weaver Policy Center…said…this…could “have serious unintended consequences”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #336)

Because there aren’t enough real “child sex trafficking victims” to go around, the fetishists often have to make do with “hypothetical” ones:  “14-year-old Jenna was the first to speak…following a presentation of The Making of a Girl, an intimate…video journey of a hypothetical preteen girl as she faces a life of sexual exploitation.  Jenna spoke of a smooth-talking sex trafficker who would lure…children into a life on the street…”  Except that her own story gives the lie to that:  nobody “lured” her away from home, because she admits to running away by her own volition.  And here’s another one entitled “International Boulevard”, which breathlessly informs us that “girls as young as 8 years old and younger are being trafficked into the sex trade industry.  Here in the U.S., between 300,000 and 400,000 children are at risk every day.”  How long before we hear “300,000 8-year-olds a day are trafficked”?  Oh, and Oakland is “ground zero” for “child sex trafficking”; I’ll count that as a “King of the Hill” entry.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #339)

The Daily Fail is trying to close the gap from the now-typical “50 clients per day” to Sunitha Krishnan’s high-lunacy mark of 100:  “…Carmen…was forced into sex slavery at…14…the depraved pimp forced her to have sex with as many as 60 men in one day…

Innocence Never Had

pizza girl

The language would-be “rescuers” use to describe arrested sex workers is very instructive:

Efforts are underway to open [Louisiana’s] first rehabilitation home for underage, female sex trafficking victims…Beth Salcedo, the director of…the future “Free Indeed Home”…said…“We want to be able to…watch them transform from a caterpillar to a butterfly…From a piece of coal…to a diamond”…the Salcedos want to raise awareness of…the fact that children anywhere can be snatched into sex slavery…by meeting strangers…through the Internet.  “You can get a little girl now quicker than you can get a pizza”…

The “pizza” meme may end up being the funniest one of the entire hysteria.

King of the Hill (TW3 #347)

Though the media is still woefully credulous regarding most “sex trafficking” mythology, a few slightly-less-yellow journalists are beginning to question the more obviously-absurd claims:

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn recently…said…”25% of human trafficking victims are located in Texas”…a spokeswoman…told us…that the senator relied on an undated “fact sheet” from the…Concerned Women of America…attributing [the claim]…to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…An…official [from “trafficking” NGO Children At Risk tried to justify the lie with bullshit, while another claimed that] states [other than Texas] are under-estimating trafficking victims…All told, this claim shakes out as incorrect and ridiculous. Pants on Fire!

It’s That Time Again (TW3 #348)

The detachment of these people from reality is truly astonishing:

…as Minnesota is making its own bid for a Super Bowl, Sen. Amy Klobuchar wants the NFL to consider…efforts to thwart the sex trafficking of minors that often accompany such major events…In a recent meeting with senior NFL officials, Klobuchar…was joined by Cindy McCain…who…thinks the NFL should make strong anti-trafficking laws a criterion for any city getting the Super Bowl…The acceptance of prostitution is somewhat ingrained in the United States, said Lauren Martin…[of] the University of Minnesota…“We have hundreds of years of cultural experience that this is a victimless crime between two consenting adults,” Martin said…

Yes, she’s claiming that the only major Western country which directly criminalizes the sale of sex, and probably has the most anti-whore pogroms of any country, has an “ingrained acceptance of prostitution.”

Under Every Bed (TW3 #350)

Nationalized media:  promoting the official narrative, one sensationalized tale at a time:

…the Bakken oil field…workforce is well-paid and…predominantly male.  Ask people who live there, and it doesn’t take long before you start hearing about a rise in prostitution…Scan the North Dakota section of…Backpage.com and you’ll find pages of postings from female escorts…Bryan Lockerby…of…the Montana Department of Justice…says…”Seventy percent of the women that have gotten into prostitution started at the age of 13 to 14, when they were recruited by pimps”…

Because the idea that women can choose to migrate for good money just like men can is abhorrent to weak, insecure men like Lockerby; the “pimp” narrative helps them pretend men are always in control of sex.

Traffic Jam (TW3 #403) Dominique Roe-Sepowitz

There’s some creepy stuff buried in this otherwise-typical “gypsy whores” idiocy:

…the…organized sex trade…can range from a handful of pimps working together to major cartels trafficking women across several states, according to Dominique Roe-Sepowitz…major gangs are known to be deeply involved…keeping the women moving is a common tactic to avoid law enforcement, said Roe-Sepowitz…Super Bowls are an especially lucrative stopping point…Praescient will be using a data analytics platform initially funded by the Central Intelligence Agency…[which] can collate large volumes of data…and identify relationships that a human analyst might miss…

Step 1:  Pretend sex workers are always controlled by “gangs”, “pimps”, etc.  Step 2:  Pretend that touring is “trafficking” and motivated by the desire to “avoid law enforcement” instead of straightforward economic motives.  Step 3:  Find an ethically-bankrupt academic to invent “research” to support it.  Step 4:  Use spook-designed surveillance to round up sex workers for looting and permanent consignment to the growing underclass.  Step 5:  Cash in.

O, Canada! (TW3 #405)

Organizations representing sex workers throughout the country are condemning a recent police operation targeting human trafficking, contending that it will drive the sex trade further underground and away from safety.  On Jan. 22 and Jan. 23…police…across Canada participated in Operation Northern Spotlight…Several sex worker organizations — Big Susie’s, Sex Professionals of Canada (SPOC), Sex Workers Action Group Kingston, Stepping Stone, Maggie’s:  The Toronto Sex Workers Action Group and Stella, l’amie de Maimie — released a joint statement on Jan. 29 denouncing “police activities that use deception and intimidation”…officers posed as clients to book appointments with indoor sex workers.  Several officers then showed up at the workers’ doors, demanding entry…Once inside, officers “bombard” the workers with personal questions and search the premises…

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If we [can’t] get the prohibition on sex work repealed, we [will] never end up hanging on to our abortion rights…it’s the same piece of property.  –  Margo St. James

Amsterdam

Dutch “authorities” narrow the bottleneck again and will no doubt be surprised when illegal prostitution increases:  “The city of Amsterdam…will raise the legal age of prostitutes from 18 to 21 and…close brothels during the early morning hours…Amsterdam says it wants to decrease the number of sex workers…to fight crime generated by prostitution…

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Yet another example of what real sex slavery looks like:

A sex worker who was…held hostage for two…days broke her legs and back when she jumped out a sixth-floor window…Benjamin Gaston and Johnny Jackson have been charged with kidnapping and raping the…woman…Gaston…stole her cellphone, money and identification…hit her and held a pillow over her face, telling her, “You’re…working for me and making me money.”  The next day, [she] was taken to another apartment…where there were six or seven additional men waiting to have sex with her, including Jackson…The woman tried to escape…by using her jacket as a rope…[but] fell to the ground…Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya (c 1820)

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I just love it when they feed on one another.  In Stockholm, “Police…were surprised…to find that a man they had arrested for buying sex from a prostitute was the duty prosecutor to whom they were obliged to report the crime…”, and in New York, “Officer Luis Gutierrez…was on duty when he allegedly offered a prostitute money…[but she] was an undercover cop…

Decentralization

Bitcoin is now the world’s best-performing currency:

…The number of coins in circulation grows very slowly–there are about 10.8 million…now, and that will increase to 21 million by 2140…growth…[can’t] keep up with demand and so the value of the currency [grows]…The U.S. dollar value of a Bitcoin is up from…$4.87 [a year ago]…to $31.09 today.  It has appreciated by over 100% from the end of 2012 alone, when the quoted price was $13.48…And it’s also going mainstream, reports in the Guardian and Forbes  suggest…

The Forbes article reports that “Silicon Valley Bank…and…Coinlab….will [soon] allow North America-based…users to directly convert money from dollars to bitcoin, without having to pay the hefty transaction fees associated with transferring money abroad…

Against Their Will

Spanish police were puzzled when thirty Romanian whores they “rescued from exploitation by a network of pimps” immediately returned to work; “none of [them] asked for protection or availed themselves of assistance…to return to their country” despite police claims of beatings and debt bondage.  Meanwhile, Filipino “authorities” continued their weird crusade against “cybersex”:  “…police raided…[an] alleged…cybersex den…[and] rescued 12 [young men]…“They referred to themselves as ‘chatters’ because they chat online…as they perform sexual acts in front of the web cam,” said…officer…Romano Cardiño…

Peeping Toms

Dennis Green admits he offered another man $20…for sex…[but his] defense…could have a far-reaching impact…legalizing prostitution in Ohio…Scott Nazzarine, Green’s public defender…believes there’s no way what Green did can be deemed a crime in today’s society.  He compares it to other acts that at one time were illegal – premarital sex, the sale of sex toys, abortion, contraception…but now are legal, protected rights…“It’s about privacy rights and constitutional rights and the government’s intrusion into them…Any justification for prostitution laws is just a pretext for morality”…

Nazzarine is of course totally right and the judges know it, but I don’t think this is the case that will do the job because there’s still too much hypocrisy afoot.  Still, this won’t be the last one, and eventually individual rights must triumph just as they have in other sexual matters.

We Told You So

Who victimizes sex workersThe Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women is the only large “anti-trafficking” organization which fights the use of bogus statistics and conflation of sex work with exploitation; it’s calling for papers for its Anti-Trafficking Review on the topic “Following the Money: Spending on Anti-Trafficking” …“Lacking is analysis of…anti-trafficking funds – where they come from, who they go to, what they are meant to do, what they actually achieve, and indeed whether they are needed.”  Two of the suggested topics are analysis of the motives behind “anti-trafficking” funding and questioning ties to law enforcement.

An Ounce of Prevention

A baby…who got immediate treatment now has no detectable [HIV] in her blood…within 30 hours of birth…she…got a cocktail of three drugs at a dose normally reserved for more advanced cases…There is still virus in [her] body.  But…it doesn’t seem to be able to spread from one cell to another…[or damage her] immune system…

The Law of Averages

Emi Koyama exposes journalists who knew the falsity of the “average age of debut in prostitution is 13” myth for three years, yet kept repeating it anyhow:  “While I was glad to see that The Oregonian now officially acknowledges that there is no basis for this…everything…Janie Har…wrote…was already in my three-year old blog post…[written after] I first read the claim…in [Oregonian reporter Elizabeth] Hovde’s column…” Emi details her July 2010 correspondence with Hovde, in which the reporter acknowledged her analysis but made excuses rather than issuing a retraction.  Then finally, last Saturday,

The Oregonian acknowledges that the claim is baseless! (But why is it rated “half-truth”…and why did they not mention any other study that contradict 12-14 claim?)  I have a feeling that Janie Har read my blog post…she mentions the same Shared Hope report and points out the same problems…If she did read my blog, why did she not speak with me or give me credit…The Oregonian had the opportunity to stop perpetuating the myth for almost three years, and yet failed to do so as recently as this January.Secret Lives  While Janie Har’s column is to be commended, The Oregonian and Hovde need to take responsibility for their part in the falsehood…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

While I was in New York last week, Secret Lives and A Natural History of Rape arrived as gifts from reader “M”.  Thank you very much, both for the books and the good wishes!

Little Boxes

When Melissa King [aged out of] the Delaware foster care system at 18, she did some porn, entered some pageants, and enrolled in college…Last November, King was crowned Miss Delaware Teen USA…[but] she gave up her crown after an explicit video…surfaced on an amateur porn website…Now she’s being publicly shamed by former friends and international news organizations…Pageants and porn are…two sides of a very thin sexual boundary.  And for a young, pretty girl who’s strapped for cash…only one of [them offers it] up-front…

Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant continues a strong run of good articles with “Unpacking the Sex Trafficking Panic” in Contemporary Sexuality, the newsletter of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).  When sex-worker-penned items criticizing a popular narrative appear under the imprimatur of a relatively-conservative organization, it’s clear the tide has begun to turn.  Also, here’s a good interview with veteran activist Tracy Quan by Caty Simon on Tits and Sass; I promise, I’m not just linking it because it mentions me.Margo St. James in Washington

The Birth of a Movement

In this interview with Bitch magazine, Margo St. James discusses the beginning of the sex worker rights movement, how the neofeminists turned mainstream feminism against us, “sex trafficking” hysteria and the future of sex worker activism.

Coming Out

Dear Prudence” gives what I think is a reasonable response to an unconsciously-bigoted man wondering if he should “out” a sex worker friend to his other friends.  Unfortunately, the graphics give the impression that the woman goes around looking like a Hollywood streetwalker when in reality, the uptight questioner’s issue is that she looks just like any other woman.

Much Ado About Nothing (TW3 #44)

An escort who appeared on a video claiming that Sen. Robert Menendez…paid her for sex has told Dominican authorities that she was instead paid to make up the claims and has never met or seen the senator…a local lawyer had approached her and a fellow escort and asked them to help frame Menendez…That lawyer has in turn identified a second Dominican lawyer who he said gave the woman a script and paid her to read the claims aloud…

Texas Tall Tales

Facebook PimpThe “Facebook pimps” myth just keeps growing and growing, which really isn’t a surprise since it combines three of the moral panics du jour: “sex trafficking”, gangs and the evil, evil internet.  This sort of thing has been happening for as long as there have been exploitative men and naive, sheltered girls with romantic delusions; it’s not a “trend”, not limited to Facebook and not an international conspiracy.  CNN also fails to understand that three cases in a country of 300 million do not an epidemic make, and that 18 isn’t “underage”.

Genetic Fallacy

Yet another example of judges ignoring a law’s unconstitutionality on the grounds that those challenging it have not been sufficiently harmed by it:

The Supreme Court…[dismissed] a challenge to a…federal law that allows…interception of electronic communications…[on the grounds] that the lawyers, journalists and human rights organizations that brought the suit cannot prove they have been caught up in the surveillance and thus may not challenge [it]…the 5 to 4 ruling did not touch on…constitutionality…and challengers said it will be almost impossible now to get that issue before a court…

Profound Ignorance (TW3 #51)

An even more thorough refutation of the moronic prohibitionist claim that sex is somehow different from every other human activity:

The assumption that liberal prostitution laws lead to an increase in human trafficking is refuted.  On the contrary…since…liberalisation, there has been more police activity but…significantly less suspects, convicts and victims.  That’s…an indicator that…disentanglement of prostitution from criminal environments is increasingly successful.” – Volker Beck, MP…“In the year 2000…[German officials] registered…926 victims.  In the year 2011, there were 640.  This equates to a decrease of just under 31 per cent.  If one compares the figures…in 2003 [a year after the prostitution law was passed] and 2011, one sees a certifiable decline of just above 48 per cent”…The…German government thus refutes the claim by Neumayer, Cho and Dreher  that legalised prostitution increases human trafficking…

Déjà Vu (TW3 #135)

More evidence of the evangelical Christian basis for “sex trafficking” mythology and a look inside the perverted minds of prohibitionists:

In the fight against sex trafficking, the Church needs to address the root causes – the ideas…that break the linkage sex has to love, responsibility and children, [said] Lisa Thompson…of…the Salvation Army…Thompson asked [her audience] not [to] divorce…sex trafficking from…prostitution [because]…all prostitution dehumanizes women…”God did not create any woman for the purpose…that she be a cum receptacle.  God did not create the female to be a human being that [johns] are basically masturbating into…sex was never intended to be a job, so let’s not use the language of ‘sex work'”…

That Thompson had to deny that sex work is work is a very good sign indeed.

Caring Professionals

lone red umbrellaI have long held that professional sex workers need to develop a code of ethics just as other professions have, not only for moral reasons but in order to push back against “authorities” who think they are more qualified than we are to set standards for work they’ve never done.  So I was pleased to hear that the Australian Sex-Positive Sex Industry Association (ASPaSIA) is working on just such a code, and I’ll report on it at full length once it’s finalized later this month.

Unclean Situation (TW3 #138)

Labour TD, Eamonn Maloney, said he did not accept the [claims] in the report on the [Magdalene] laundries…“They…made lots of money,” he said…adding that most commercial laundries in the 1940s and 1950s closed because of competition from the Magdalenes.  “Not only has the church as yet to apologise for their role in operating these prisons, they do also have a role…in compensating people,” he said…The Government has so far refused to say what contribution, if any, it will seek from the orders…

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If we are going to call attacks on reproductive and sexual rights a “war on women,” then let’s talk about a war on women that has actual prisoners and a body count.  –  Melissa Gira Grant

Thomas LoweThe Biggest Whores

Res ipsa loquitur:

Minnesota’s Supreme Court last week barred attorney Thomas P. Lowe from practicing law for at least the next 15 months after it was revealed that he was billing a client for sex.  Lowe…was approached in August 2011 by an acquaintance who asked him to represent her in a divorce.  Their…relationship soon evolved into a sexual one, but…Lowe…[billed] the woman for [all] the time they spent [together, including] having sex…[after] Lowe…[dumped her] the woman… attempted to commit suicide and was hospitalized…Lowe was previously on probation for purchasing cocaine from a client…

The second lawyer isn’t nearly as bad, though still terribly unprofessional:

A public defender…is facing charges after allegedly exchanging texts with an undercover cop who he thought was a prostitute, and then trying to exchange sex for legal representation.  Christopher Hollander…allegedly sent a text message to a phone formerly used by a prostitute [but now in possession of a cop who] Hollander met…in a hotel room…The two discussed the phony prostitute’s alleged legal trouble.  When the officer asked “How much is it going to cost me” for the legal services, Hollander started to caress her hand…then allegedly began trying to kiss and hug the officer, and told her he had two condoms…

Lawyers, if you want to propose exchange of services just say so; real hookers appreciate honesty, not some clumsy attempt at seduction.

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality

Ed Bagley has accepted a bargain in which he pleaded guilty to having sex with his supposed “victim” while she was underage, in return for prosecutors dropping all other charges (despite their insistence that he “swear” that the other accusations are true).  The one is bad enough; it can carry a 20-year sentence, and several of the other “conspirators” (as the state labels them) will also get very hefty sentences.

Something Rotten in Sweden (December Updates)

Remember, prostitution has never been illegal in Canada; these men were arrested for the “crime” of talking about it in public, which demonstrates the importance of taking this kind of power totally out of cops’ hands:  “Ottawa police swept the city’s downtown core…in an effort to find, charge and re-educate men looking for prostitutes…They arrested 15 men, 13 of whom escaped charges and will attend ‘john school’…a partnership with the Salvation Army…”  Please note the Orwellian term “re-educate”.

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawnsex work flow chart by Anne Johnsen

Looks like the Philippines is moving toward British-type legalization (erroneously called “decriminalization”):  “The Department of Social Welfare and Development…has endorsed a bill…which would decriminalize prostitution but punish those who control and profit from…[it, repealing] clauses…which punish ‘women who, for money, engage in sexual intercourse, or lascivious conduct’…

It Looks Good On Paper

Another bit of feel-good legislation which capitalizes on hype but will actually help virtually nobody, due to its basis in fantasy:  “A bill filed in the Oklahoma Legislature…would erase the prostitution records of human trafficking victims…[who] average…12 to 14 years old…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

This article has so much to recommend it:  Dr. Brooke Magnanti debunks “porn addiction”, describing the “studies” which claim to support it as “poorly conducted surveys on a level of market research, not science.”  In the process, she also quotes Dr. Marty Klein and lampoons both Cosmopolitan and Naomi “Stopped Clock” Wolf, all in less than a thousand well-chosen words.

Nikki Sixx's girlfriend, Courtney BinghamGirls, Girls, Girls!

Of all the media one would expect to be least likely to side with puritans against a business persecuted for supposedly “corrupting public morals”, a rock music radio station has got to be pretty high on the list.  Though the article itself is dry enough, the wording and scare quotes in the headline and lede amply demonstrate the editor’s attitude:  “Lawsuit Claims Dancing in a Topless Bar ‘Improves the Self Esteem’ of the Stripper – seeks to have San Antonio’s strict new strip club law thrown out, also claims stripping is a ‘socially fulfilling experience’.”  It gets much worse; the station appears to have some close association with Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue…author of the titular song celebrating strippers.

A Whore in Church

The most interesting part of this article about sex workers in Malawi wearing hijab to attract Muslim customers is not the mere fact of it (which would simply be an example of the clipboard effect), but rather the fallacious notion (expressed both in text and comments) that a whore cannot be Muslim (or “truly” Christian either).  Also worthy of note is the author’s reversal of the usual feminist complaint that not covering up leads to “objectification”; this only goes to show that the real issue such women have is not some imaginary harm to women, but rather heterosexuality itself.

Above the Law

[Las Vegas] police officer John Norman is going to prison for two years…after pleading guilty to…coercing women to expose their breasts after stopping them on the road…Once Norman is released from prison, he will have to register as a sex offender…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #13)

Once again, Canadian government prohibitionists are trying to convince the courts that dangerous, repressive laws which deny sex workers’ agency are actually intended to “protect” them:

Hundreds of shadowy body rub parlours operated by exploitative pimps…are operating on the outskirts of Toronto, the Ontario Crown warns in a court document…[urging] the Supreme Court of Canada to let police keep the powers they have to protect female sex workers, who are often cowed into submissive silence…However, a group of prostitutes who have successfully challenged the ban through two levels of court accuse…Crown lawyers of scaremongering.  In the decision under appeal, the Ontario Court of Appeal invalidated the…prohibition on keeping a brothel…[and] granted prostitutes the right to…hire staff to protect them…the…court is scheduled to hear the…challenge in June…

Melissa Gira Grant
Naked Truth

Melissa Gira Grant’s “The War on Sex Workers” appears in this month’s print edition of Reason; though regular readers will already be familiar with much of the ground she covers, it never hurts to revisit it.  More importantly, for an unrepentant sex worker to have the opportunity to discuss the neofeminist war on whores in a national magazine (albeit a libertarian one) is a sign that this issue is beginning to move into the mainstream.

Imagination Pinned Down

This article entitled “Sex, Lies and Audiotapes” is 12 years old, but is an excellent look at how “fantastic tales of sexual abuse” are instilled into the minds of the vulnerable, and why radical feminists were largely to blame for “sex abuse” hysteria and the Satanic Panic; it is thus still topical as background for the new guise of those moral panics, “sex trafficking”.

Shift in the Wind

Though it may be difficult to recognize for sex workers in the US, British Isles and any place else strongly affected by “trafficking” hysteria, 2012 actually saw net gains for sex workers; Cheryl Overs reviews the high points (without neglecting to mention the low ones) in “A Good Year for Red Umbrellas”.

Texas Tall Tales

Texans aren’t the only ones who can tell tall tales about new technology being used by “human traffickers” to “entrap innocent girls”:

…Mobile phone recharge shops have been reportedly taking advantage of innocent girls who approach them for recharge coupons and give their numbers.  The employees/owners of the shop or their friends call the girls…develop friendships and later misuse them…ruining the girls’ lives…human [traffickers in]…Kundapur…are said to be running a mobile recharge outlet…the accused lure the girls with jobs and then use them for their own ends.  Later, the girls are allegedly blackmailed and trapped, and their escape route is closed…apart from flesh trade, a drugs network is also interwoven in the racket…

Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

As expected, a UK judge has ruled that the case of Mark Kennedy, the cop who was allowed to trick women into sex in order to spy on them, will be heard in a Star Chamber proceeding.  What was unexpected was that he would say what Kennedy did was OK because James Bond does it:

James Bond is the most famous fictional example of a member of the intelligence services who used relationships with women to obtain information…[such] fictional accounts…lend credence to the view that the intelligence and police services have for many years deployed both men and women officers to form personal relationships of an intimate sexual nature…in order to obtain information or access.

James Bond meets Pussy GaloreAs Heresy Corner points out, “James Bond isn’t just ‘fiction’, it’s escapist fantasy…[which] doesn’t ‘lend credence’ to anything…and Mark Kennedy’s ‘targets’ weren’t exotic Russian agents with a handbag full of nuclear secrets and the sexual etiquette of a praying mantis…nor were they dangerous international terrorists intent on blowing up airports or shopping malls.  They were…largely peaceful activists engaged primarily in democratic dissent, however misguided or naive…

Buried Truth

Remember Lisa Biron, the anti-gay lawyer who “transported a teen girl…to Ontario …and coerced her into engaging in sexual acts with another person”?  It turns out the girl was 14, there were two men, and Biron also had sex with her.  Oh, and one more thing:  the girl was her own daughter.  She was convicted of child porn charges on the 11th.

South of the Border (TW3 #49)

The creation of “sex trafficking rings” from people who used to be called “illegal aliens” continues, complete with childish “code names”, bombastic rhetoric, exaggerated numbers and infantilization of sex workers:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the results of a lengthy investigation called Operation Dark Night.  It looked into a sex trafficking ring stretching from Florida to Georgia to North and South Carolina…women…were forced into prostitution and traded like slaves in various cities for about a week at a time…11 victims were rescued and 40 customers called Johns were also taken into custody.  Investigators say the women were forced to perform up to 30 sex acts per day…

Like most “trafficking” articles, this one contains the Profession of Faith:  “…‘its a bigger issue than many people thought,’ said Joan Garcia-Melendez…‘Human trafficking is a very hidden crime’…Authorities say this is a wakeup call as to how widespread sex trafficking has become…”  But what will happen to those poor “victims” who were “rescued”?  The BBC says what the American story won’t: “Those who were illegal in the country would be deported.”

Q & A (January 2013)

Wisconsin danger zoneI mentioned that “the only time [verification services] fail is…when some idiot fails to stick to the plan, gets caught in a sting and then ransoms his worthless hide by giving the busybodies his login info so they can pop several girls before the service gets wise.”  One of my readers supplied more details:  there were several instances, all in the Appleton/Oshkosh area of Wisconsin, and P411 removed those entire cities from the site as a precaution and directly warned all the ladies who might be targeted.  Apparently cops in Little Rock, Arkansas have also attempted the same thing, though less successfully.

Perverse Incentives

Susie Bright on how perverse prosecutorial incentives spawn abominations:

Twice in my career I’ve been asked to serve as an expert witness on the defense team of an obscenity trial…the defendants were low-hanging fruit…targeted because of their…vulnerability…The Justice Department [bags] obscenity law trophies by going after the poor, the suicidal, the insane, the cognitively impaired— because that’s the way they rack up numbers and status.  That’s the way they fuel their careers…not by taking on constitutional issues, or injustice, or fat cats who believe they’re above the law…They find someone who’s drooling, or depressed, or friendless— and then throw the book at them.  It doesn’t take long because the “defendant-target” is overmatched…

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They tell tall tales in Texas!
They love to stretch the truth.
They have an appetite for hype;
They learn it in their youth.

They tell tall tales in Texas!
They lie so easily.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the tales
From true reality.
  –  Sharon Warner

The tall tale is an old and venerable tradition in folklore which is chiefly characterized by exaggeration; the art of the “whopper” lies in telling a ridiculous story so convincingly that the more gullible members of one’s audience may actually fall for it.  This is what chiefly distinguishes it from the three other major forms of folklore:  fabliaux and jokes are understood by both teller and listener to be fiction; fairy tales are accepted literally by children and symbolically by adults; and legends are believed both by teller and listener.  The tall tale is most common among largely-male groups on the frontiers of civilization, and can be understood at least in part as a game or contest; the teller is in a way intellectually “wrestling” with his listeners, trying to defeat their skepticism with his yarn-spinning ability.  But just as there’s a huge moral difference between horseplay and physical assault, so there is a vast gulf between tales of Pecos Bill and the outrageous lies Texas politicians and cops routinely tell; the former are good-natured and intended to amuse, while the latter are serious attempts to exert harmful control over unwilling victims.  Obviously, politicians and cops everywhere are well-known for their habitual practice of deceit, but in most places they at least try to make their lies believable; in Texas, however, they seem to enjoy stretching the truth far past the breaking point, as if to test just how much the credulous public will allow them to get away with.

There are numerous examples, such as Texas politicians’ repeated attempts to install creationism in its schools or their insistence that every single person convicted in Texas courts or executed in its prisons is truly guilty (to the point of attempting to cover up evidence to the contrary).  And thought the “gypsy whore” myth has reared its moronic head on every continent but Antarctica in the past decade, Texas “authorities” embraced it with a fervor their counterparts in Indianapolis and London could not hope to match, and even had the colossal gall to insist that the reason no such strumpet invasion materialized was due to their “precautions”.  Furthermore, while officials in other places hasten to change the subject when the subject of their failed “predictions” arises, in Texas they just keep telling the same old tall tale:

Austin police are partnering with local non-profits to fight an expected rise in human trafficking during Formula 1 weekend.  It’s a crime that grows anytime Austin has an influx of visitors…[police are] unsure how many trafficking victims they will rescue during F1, but the department is preparing for a busy week.  “It could be one victim.  It could be 200,” said APD Victim Services Supervisor Dolores Laparte-Litton.  Human trafficking is also known as modern day slavery, underage prostitution and sexual exploitation.  Four out of five victims are U.S. citizens.  Up to 300,000 girls between 11 and 17 are lured into the sex industry every single year, according to the U.S. Department of Justice…Sex trafficking was a huge problem at the Super Bowl in Dallas in 2011.  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott called it the single largest human trafficking event in the United States.

In case you don’t recall, the total extent of this “huge problem” was one wannabe pimp who was inspired by the hype.  But neither blatant falsehood nor demographic absurdities can stop those tall-tale-tellin’ Texans, who apparently also compete to see who can tie the largest number of moral panics together in one yarn:

…Police in Texas today are warning that girls are being lured into prostitution by gang members trolling their social media profiles.  According to San Antonio Police Detective George Segura, gangs look for girls on Facebook who are showing off a bit too much skin, and are possibly seeking attention.  Gang members then approach the girls on Facebook, befriend them, and convince them to meet up in person.  No one is too young to be exploited — police say girls as young as 12 are being recruited.  The sex trade is big business for gangs…[who] “can easily make hundred [sic] of thousands of dollars per girl, per year”…

So let’s see, we’ve got white slavery, the internet and gangs, and this hat trick is then embellished with slut-shaming, the old “average age of entry” myth and the relatively new “all whores dependably make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year” one.  This stuff is as absurd as Davy Crockett’s killing a bear when he was three years old or Bigfoot Wallace defeating forty-two Comanches with hickory nuts; no adult brain in proper working order could believe such rubbish.  Unfortunately, “common sense” is an oxymoron, and the average person is generally willing to accept any tale, no matter how ludicrous, as long as it’s told by someone with a title.

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