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Posts Tagged ‘The Cold Grey Light of Dawn’

This is completely insane and endangers the property rights of anyone in Massachusetts.  –  Dan Alban

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I would agree that offering a woman in Seattle only $40 is indeed attempted sexual exploitation:

A Seattle [cop]…was arrested…[for] sexual exploitation[, released less than 30 minutes later] and [rewarded with a paid vacation]…Randal Woolery…has not [yet] been charged…Sexual exploitation is the [virtue-signaling] term the city of Seattle has adopted [after being paid to do so by a sociopathic billionaire] for the misdemeanor…that’s known as patronizing a prostitute in other Washington jurisdictions…

Droit du Seigneur

Though pimps are not common, a disproportionate number of the ones who do exist are cops:

Wallace Waliczek…is [a New York cop] charged with…promoting [the] prostitution…of his wife, Melissa…who…[was caught in a pig trap]…Waliczek [was] suspended without pay..[from] working [as a screw]…in the Erie County [cage stack]…Mrs. Waliczek’s case…is now pending in Human Trafficking Court in Buffalo…[the DA] says…Melissa Waliczek may have been coerced into [sex work]…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (#824)

It’ll be interesting to see if they quietly muscle power away from him as Pennsylvania is doing to Krasner:

The new San Francisco district attorney has said his office will not prosecute prostitution…public urination…[or] other [so-called] quality-of-life crimes……[such as] blocking a sidewalk and public camping—crimes that can see homeless people charged for sleeping out on the street…It is not clear whether Boudin will follow through with this policy now that he has been elected…

Lack of Evidence (#897) 

Where “rescued” means “arrested” and “safe” means “caged and awaiting deportation”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

…17 people were arrested and are being [caged using the fantasy] of modern slavery…As part of a joint operation with Romanian police called “Operation Kelang”, the raids were executed at 16 addresses in [East London]…as well as four addresses in Romania.  A total of 29…women [the cops have labeled victims]…have been rescued from London addresses and are now safe…

Compare the UK government’s calling arrest “rescue” and jail “safeguarding”, with China’s calling concentraton camps “job training centers”.

Safe Position (#966)

If the Democratic Party were run by people who care about human rights, this would be its official position:

…Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley introduced a resolution calling for an overhaul of the U.S. criminal justice system…includ…ing the death penalty, cash-bail system…minimum sentences…[and] a call to decriminalize sex work…According to Pressley, the resolution is the result of working with more than 20 grassroots organizations and individuals negatively affected by the U.S. legal system…[However,] Pressley [has] endorsed [prohibitionist] Elizabeth Warren for president…[even though] Warren…endorse[s Swedish criminalization]…and…though Pressley was not [yet] in Congress to [support FOSTA]…her website stated as recently as last year that she supported [internet censorship and the banning of sex workers’ advertising]…[Since] the resolution…also calls for the decriminalization of marijuana, addiction, poverty, and migration [it cannot possibly pass Congress and is best understood as Pressley signalling her official position on these subjects]…

A Moral Cancer (#972)

Your “leaders” will use any excuse to further empower cops to rob people:

…Massachusetts [already] has “the worst civil forfeiture laws in the country“…[and now] the Massachusetts House…approved a bill that would ban flavored e-cigarettes, impose a 75 percent excise tax on “electronic nicotine delivery systems” (including e-liquids as well as devices), and authorize [cops to steal] cars driven by [anyone a cop chooses to plant] “untaxed” products [on]…This bill permanently bans “flavored tobacco products,” including menthol cigarettes as well as vaping liquids that taste or smell like anything other than tobacco.  It does not apply to hookah bars or [the bootleg] marijuana vapes [which started the moral panic]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#974) 

When a headline asks a question, the answer is nearly always “no”:

…the Facial Recognition Technology Warrant Act…would require federal officials to get a warrant if they’re going to use facial recognition technology to attempt to track a specific person’s public movements for more than 72 hours.  The bill does not prohibit the use of facial recognition technology to identify people or…to monitor events in real time.  Indeed, it says the authorities can use facial recognition to identify people, even without a warrant, as long as “no subsequent attempt is made to track that individual’s movement in real time or through the use of historical records after the individual has been identified”…The bill also doesn’t stop the feds from accessing or using the hundreds of millions of face pictures they’ve already collected from drivers licenses and passports.  In fact, it specifically gives such use a thumbs-up…

Quiet Genocide

“Xi urged the party to emulate aspects of America’s ‘war on terror’”:

…403 pages of internal documents [leaked to] The New York Times…provide an unprecedented inside view of the continuing [genocidal campaign] in Xinjiang…The [Chinese Communist] party has rejected international criticism of the [concentration] camps and described them as job-training centers that use mild methods to fight Islamic extremism.  But the documents confirm the coercive nature of the crackdown in the words and orders of the very officials who conceived and orchestrated it…Children saw their parents taken away…and crops could not be planted or harvested for lack of manpower…Yet officials were directed to tell people who complained to be grateful for the Communist Party’s help and stay quiet…[about] the…most far-reaching internment campaign since…Mao…[which] expanded rapidly after the appointment in August 2016 of Chen Quanguo, a zealous new party boss for the region…Chen…purg[ed communist] officials suspected of standing in his way, including one county leader who was jailed after quietly releasing thousands of inmates from the camps…There are also references to plans to extend restrictions on Islam to other parts of China…

The Cop Myth (#981)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with mere beating:

[Typical and representative Massachusetts cop] Brian Fanion…[has finally been] charge[d]…with the [murder] of his wife last year, which…he staged as a suicide…Fanion was having an affair…and [didn’t want] to surrender half his pension in…a divorce [so he just shot her and put his gun in her dead hand.  But]…forensic experts found the trajectory of the bullet and other factors made a suicide “impossible”…

Disaster (#986)

As I’ve said repeatedly, FOSTA was a huge miscalculation by prohibitionists:

…sex workers, researchers, journalists, law students and allies met…at Harvard University…to learn…about the ways in which…communities have been organizing and protecting themselves from the threat of mass surveillance and online censoring in the wake of SESTA-FOSTA…The law itself, along with the reactions of the general public, internet platforms and the sex working community, has had a profound impact…on…the entire American political landscape…sex workers have been organizing their communities long before the internet…[but] SESTA-FOSTA has sparked an increase in political involvement [among] sex work[ers]…who may have previously chosen to remain apolitical…

Top Cop (#988)

I really love seeing this monster’s attempted power grab going down the toilet:

Kamala Harris’ campaign is careening toward a crackup.  As the California senator [neglects her duties in Congress] trying to revive her sputtering presidential bid, aides at her fast-shrinking headquarters are deep into the finger-pointing stages.  And much of the blame is being placed on campaign manager Juan Rodriguez…[for accepting his role as second banana to] campaign chair Maya Harris, the candidate’s sister, and [none on the fact that Harris is the most eagerly, sociopathically carceral of all the candidates, including Trump]…one senior Harris official…described the current state of the campaign in blunt terms: “No discipline. No plan. No strategy.”  This account is based on interviews with more than a dozen current and former staffers…granted anonymity to…protect them from re[taliation by their jail-happy boss]…

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It’s a funny sort of justice that lets the government take your stuff and then say you have no recourse because you don’t have that stuff anymore.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Lower Education

Why, how could anyone have predicted this outcome?

…A student accused of sexual assault and subject to an unlawful, unconstitutional adjudication process filed a motion seeking class-action certification in his pre-existing lawsuit against Michigan State University.  Rather than seeking to void the results only of his own flawed adjudication, he’s now seeking to void every adjudication where accused students were punished “without first being afforded a live hearing and opportunity for cross examination.”  This new motion comes after a wave of cases across the country that have invalidated and reversed the results of campus kangaroo courts — and these rulings are coming from judges across the political/judicial spectrum.  In California…judges issued rulings that effectively halted proceedings in 75 campus sexual-misconduct cases, while California universities reworked their processes…the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals joined dozens of other courts in ruling that university processes should face exacting legal scrutiny…

Torture Chamber

In case you thought screws restricted their petty sadism to the prisoners:

In May…the Jackson County Detention Center In Kansas City, Missouri, with no warning to local attorneys, instituted a new [humiliation] policy that requires all visitors, including inmates’ attorneys, to pass through a metal detector…underwire bras are setting it off…instead of simply using a wand to determine what is setting off the alarm…the [cage stack] is refusing to let visiting women pass through until…their bras…come off…An even more draconian policy was implemented in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 2018:  Visitors were given only two chances to pass the metal detector — and women were required to wear a bra under prison rules…A Maryland jail was sued [for similar reasons] in 2011…[in the current case] when women (and, later, men) complained about a policy they found unnecessary, humiliating and sexist, they were met with gaslighting, false solutions, accusations of privilege, stonewalling and, finally, retaliation.  And this was against attorneys, who by definition are well positioned to fight back…

That Old Black Magic (#501)

West African “penis stealing” hysteria has spread to East Africa:

A…man in Likoni, Mombasa, plans to travel to neighbouring Tanzania to seek the help of a famed witchdoctor…after an elderly sex worker allegedly cast a spell on him, which has seemingly rendered his sex organ useless, at least in the bedroom…Isaac Karisa…refused to pay an elderly prostitute he had spent a night with…[because] he was too drunk to accomplish the task and fell into a deep slumber after less than five minutes…Karisa refused to part with the thousand shillings he had promised and instead fished out a Sh200 note…A scuffle ensued, with the woman mumbling gibberish and hurling incantations, aimed at jinxing the man…

I can’t decide whether the phrase “night nurse” is clever or silly, but ladies in the global South, PLEASE start charging these bozos in advance!

Law of the Instrument (#774)

Picture what you’d think of as “sex trafficking”, then compare it to this:

A new legal filing accuses prominent political activist and donor Ed Buck of violating federal human trafficking laws when he allegedly supplied an airline ticket to a man who flew to Los Angeles from Texas and died inside Buck’s West Hollywood apartment.  The [filing bloviates that]…Buck…”knowingly utilized interstate commerce…for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts”…[in the real world] Moore’s death was…[the result of] an accidental methamphetamine overdose…

Cases are this are why even some not-completely-stupid people believe that “sex trafficking” is increasing; “sex trafficking” charges certainly are.

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (#824)

No one person can undo an entire system of fascist tyranny:

…Pennsylvania [politicians] have quietly muscled power away from reformist District Attorney Larry Krasner, passing new legislation giving authority to the state’s attorney general to prosecute certain firearms violations in Philadelphia — and nowhere else in the state.  The provision will expire in two years, or just after Krasner’s first term ends…The bill was passed…with no public awareness.  Even some of the [politicians] who voted for it say they [were more clueless than usual]…The maneuver…is the most significant legislative pushback to date against the new movement by criminal justice reformers to focus on seizing the power of the prosecutor…to decide when to bring charges and, critically, when not to.  The new law means that even if Krasner decides to exercise the latter power and not bring charges, the police could go directly to the attorney general to pursue the case regardless…

Prudesville (#828) 

A federal appeals court accepts Everett’s argument that “women who dress like sluts cause rape”:

…a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals…vacated U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman’s 2017 decision that placed an injunction on a city ordinance requiring “quick-service facility” workers to wear, at minimum, shorts and a tank top…The ordinances will now go into effect as the decision is sent back down to a lower court….Everett [politicians] praised the court’s ruling, claiming that…”[sluts in bikinis cause rape]”…

Safe Position (#859)

If Rantz read my blog he’d know this stopped being a “fringe position” over a year ago:

[Seattle city] council candidate Tammy Morales announced on Twitter that she would like to decriminalize sex work in Seattle.  She’s not the only candidate…if Morales lands on the Council with activists incumbents Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant, we may very well have to waste our time debating this fringe position…Mark Solomon, Former crime prevention coordinator with the Seattle Police Department, [also supports decrim, as does]…Chris Peguero…

Sawant has somehow managed to convince a number of people that she is pro-sex worker, but she is a socialist (a group which has always opposed sex work) and flat-out refused to meet with sex workers when she ran the last time.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if, with a pro-decrim member on the council, Sawant publicly espouses the Swedish model.

Unsafe for Human Consumption

Everybody knows cops are stupid, but this is a new level of idiocy:

…Given how difficult it is to absorb fentanyl through the skin (which is why the companies that make…fentanyl patches for pain treatment rely on patented technology that took years to develop), the likelihood that [histrionic pigs who accidentally touched some] were actually feeling the narcotic’s effects is approximately zero…[a local news station reporting on such a porcine fantasy] consulted a [soi-disant] drug treatment specialist…who proceeded to [bloviate]…”Someone…who enters a room with a person who’s having an issue with fentanyl could become addicted to it instantly [emphasis added]”…there is no such thing as instant addiction.  Addiction is a gradual process through which people become strongly attached to an experience that provides pleasure or emotional relief…patients who take prescribed opioids, including fentanyl, for pain relief rarely become addicted to them.  So even if [a pack of porkers]…somehow absorbed enough fentanyl to experience its psychoactive effects (say, by accidentally injecting themselves with a loaded syringe found at the scene), they would not become addicted to it unless they liked those effects enough to repeatedly seek them out…

After her accident, Jae was on IV fentanyl for two weeks and didn’t show the slightest signs of addiction afterward.  But as we all know, cops are delicate little pansies who can be so terrified by the sight of a black teenager running away from them that they are uncontrollably compelled to empty an entire clip into his back.  So I guess the idea that they could become “instantly addicted” by touching a person with the drug in his system isn’t so farfetched after all.

Dangerous Speech (#917)

The government keeps contradicting itself in its haste to crucify the former owners of Backpage:

…the 9th Circuit considered claims [last] week that federal prosecutors have improperly seized…money and property and used dirty tricks to prevent the courts from making things right…the feds have seized “26 real properties (some purchased before Backpage… ever existed), 89 bank accounts, and 268 domain names” from the defendants, their family members, and associated entities.  Prosecutors also seized money held in trusts by the defendants’ lawyers, jeopardizing defendants’ ability to afford defense counsel…Under the twisted rules of civil asset forfeiture, the government can take money and property from those accused of wrongdoing before actually proving any wrongdoing, so long as there is “probable cause” to believe the assets were used in or derived from criminal activity.  But for assets related to…First Amendment–protected activities…the government…must first show that the speech in question is not constitutionally protected.  Prosecutors [pretend]…that all the assets it seized were derived from the operation of Backpage, that all ads on Backpage were illegal, and that this is self-evidently true…and…that there were no free speech issues…since Backpage had already been…sold by Lacey and Larkin in 2015…[yet] prosecutors [also] argue that defendants never really did let the company go…

Out of Control (#932)

Spooge-based sexual assaults are growing worse:

…Justin Schneider…admitted that he had [choked a woman until she passed out, then] masturbated onto her….[and] ejaculated on her face.  But he was not charged with sexual assault.  As a first-time offender, he accepted a deal to plead guilty to just a single count of second-degree assault, and he walked out of the courtroom a free man…prosecutors…never brought [a sexual assault charge]…because…In Alaska, sexual assault has a very narrow definition…because Schneider touched only his own genitals but didn’t touch Lauren’s or force her to touch his, his actions didn’t qualify as sexual assault…Alaska lawmakers last month voted to close what has been dubbed the “Schneider loophole.”  But out of 54 US states and territories, 44 of these jurisdictions, including [Washington], do not have a legislated definition of sexual contact that explicitly mentions contact with semen…

Torture Chamber (#950)

And the incidents we hear about are only a fraction of the ones that happen:

…[screws] mistreated migrant children [caged] in Arizona…[one of them molested] a 15-year-old-girl from Honduras…[he] put his hands inside her bra, pulled down her underwear and groped her…in front of other [pigs]…a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy [reported screws] took the mats out of their cell in retaliation for complaints from him and others about the taste of the water and food…accounts…include reports of verbal threats, physical altercations…[and] sexual abuse…

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Removing all references to sex trafficking will hurt our ability to grab reporters’ attention.  –  Sydney Asbury of “Demand Abolition”

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn 

It’s been a long time since I’ve used this heading, but an even longer time since we’ve seen anything like this:

…lifelong civil rights attorney Larry Krasner was elected in a landslide…to become the new district attorney of Philadelphia…and…He’s doing something I’ve never quite seen before in present-day politics…keeping his word…In his first week on the job, he fired 31 prosecutors…because they weren’t committed to the changes he intended to make…Next, Krasner…release[d] a list of 29 [bad cops]…that…had lied…filed false reports, used excessive force, driven drunk, and burgled…but nothing is as essential and revolutionary as the internal five-page guiding document of new policies that Krasner sent to his staff…The first sentence says it all:  “These policies are an effort to end mass incarcerations and bring balance back to sentencing”…Krasner immediately instructs prosecutors to stop prosecuting marijuana possession regardless of the weight…[and] to stop charging …with any paraphernalia crimes…to stop charging sex workers that have fewer than three convictions with any crime and drop all current cases against sex workers who also fit that description.  All sex workers with three or more convictions are to be referred to Dawn Court…a…diversion…program created in 2010…Krasner instructed prosecutors to stop the wide-ranging practice of beginning plea deals with the highest possible sentencing and instead, begin those plea deals at the bottom end of the available range…Krasner instructed his prosecutors to now add up and justify the exact costs of every single person sentenced to a crime in Philadelphia…Stating that it costs between $42,000 and $60,000 per year to incarcerate a person, he reminded the prosecutors that the…annual cost of incarceration…is…more per year than the beginning salary of teachers, police officers, firefighters, social workers, addiction counselors, and even prosecutors in his office…

Pyrrhic Victory

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

In at least four investigations last year…Raleigh [North Carolina] police used search warrants to demand Google accounts not of specific suspects, but from any mobile devices that veered too close to the scene of a crime…These warrants often prevent the technology giant for months from disclosing information about the searches not just to potential suspects, but to any users swept up in the search…[“authorities” pretend] the practice is a natural evolution of criminal investigative techniques.  They [lie] that, by seeking search warrants, they’re carefully balancing civil rights with public safety [because most of the public is too stupid to know about the horrible “third-party doctrine”].  Defense attorneys and privacy advocates…are…[concerned about] how law enforcement turns to Google’s massive cache of user data, especially without a clear target in mind.  And they’re concerned about the potential to snag innocent users, many of whom might not know just how closely the company tracks their every move…

Under Duress 

The New York Times finally discovers what marginalized people have always known:

An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City [cop’s] testimony was…untrue…[they lie] about the whereabouts of guns…They…barge…into apartments and conduct…searches, only to testify otherwise later… they…give…firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness…No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish…In many instances, the motive for lying was…to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops.  In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people…with trumped-up evidence…

Bogeymen

Read this ludicrous exercise in pearl-clutching, then the item under the same heading two items down:

…illicit prostitution businesses are thriving in a surprising place: the legitimate corporate world.  And, we’ve found that the inequities of that world…contribute to that sex trade…we interviewed 44 pimps…in Chicago…fewer than half…fit the pop culture stereotype of a pimp.  The other half did not: a full third had four-year college degrees, primarily in business administration…and most…were white.  In addition to their pimping work, nearly half worked in legitimate companies, not in massage parlors or erotica businesses…these illegal businesses grew directly from the misogynistic culture of the legitimate ones that housed them.  Some became pimps after learning of demand for paid sex through informal bantering about sexual conquests over lunch or beers with the bros.  Half of the pimps started out as customers of sex workers, and several arranged “entertainment” for business clients as part of their job…

Huffington Post needs to exercise more diligence on its contributors; these two fantasists [44 interviews of self-proclaimed “pimps” in one city is not anything like a representative sample] have been recycling this same bogeyman tale on the strength of their supposed academic credentials for years.

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (#314)

The only sex workers exploited in New Zealand are those who were intentionally excluded from decriminalization in order to appease prohibitionists:

Migrant prostitutes working illegally on temporary visas are “terrified” they will be deported if they report exploitative pimps and abusive clients…In the past year, 136 migrants suspected of coming here to carry out sex work were denied entry into New Zealand…Sex work is the only occupation migrants on temporary visas are not legally allowed to take up…However, migrants who have entered the country on temporary work, visitor, holiday or international student visas and work as prostitutes are being forced to carry out sexual acts without protection and often work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week…They would not speak to police because they would be deported…

Bogeymen (#317)

I’m glad to see Bruckert has expanded her study into a book:

“The sex industry, like mainstream businesses, rarely depends exclusively on clients and workers to operate efficiently and safely,” professor Chris Bruckert [said]…”Contrary to prevailing stereotypes that portray third parties [like pimps] as inherently abusive and controlling, these workers fulfill important roles and provide vital services.”  Bruckert and her team of researchers conducted interviews with 75 pimps — or “third-party” workers, as she prefers to call them — as well as 52 sex workers for her new book Getting Past ‘the Pimp’: Management in the Sex Industry…Bruckert said little research has been conducted on the role of pimps in the industry, adding that many people’s opinions are based on stereotypes…Most of the third-party workers Bruckert’s team spoke to were women — both surprising and understandable, she said, since the industry is female-dominated and the line between sex work and management is thin…

Torture Chamber

The PREA is just feel-good nonsense as long as screws have absolute power over their victims:

…the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)…frequently fails to either address or eliminate sexual abuse.  In jails and prisons across the country, incarcerated people are subject to sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff.  If they report these assaults, they risk retaliation, including greater violence…”Prisons are the worst distillation of toxic masculinity,” said Alan Mills [of the Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC)]…”It’s all about inflicting punishment on people.  It’s about the use of force in order to force compliance to an arbitrary set of rules.  It’s about dehumanizing people.  It’s not surprising that this translates to harassment and abuse”…

Business As Usual

It’s the same everywhere our work is even partially criminalized:

Sex workers in South Africa will be arrested at least four times and will spend an average of 40 hours in custody if they are charged…one third of sex worker arrests never make it to a police station or courthouse‚ instead often ending in sex workers being abused by police or forced to pay bribes.  These were just some of the findings of The Policing of Sex Work In South Africa survey compiled by NGO’s Sonke Gender Justice and the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT)…Advocacy officer at Sonke Donna Evans said that the most shocking thing to emerge from the report was the extreme levels of violence at the hands of police that were reported by sex workers.  “They were extremely disturbing and included incidents of torture‚ assault‚ rape and even permanent disability‚” Evans said…

Original Sin (#762) 

I guess this makes sense coming from a man who imagines condoms to be weapons of mass destruction:

Pope Francis asked forgiveness…for all Christians who buy sex from women, saying men who frequent prostitutes are criminals with a “sick mentality” who think that women exist to be exploited.  “This isn’t making love.  This is torturing a woman.  Let’s not confuse the terms,” Francis insisted…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

At least Wyoming had the sense to vote this nonsense down:

A Wyoming bill that would have recognized porn as a “public health crisis” failed in the 2018 session of the state Legislature…HJ1 was typical of various “public health crisis” bills that have made their way across the nation.  Wyoming’s bill, introduced by…Lars O. Lone, would have made official language stating porn increases the demand for sex trafficking, impacts brain development and functioning, diminishes the interest of young men in getting married and creates infidelity, among other [evidence-free] statements.  Another porn bill…sponsored by Lone, failed to win support, as well.  HB 127 would have ordered the installation of porn blocking software on all computers sold in the state to prevent the viewing of “obscene” material as defined by the state Attorney General’s office…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#811) 

SAVE THE TOASTERS!!!!

French activists are campaigning to shut down a new “sex doll brothel” on the grounds that it degrades women—and silicone.  Or something…Xdolls is registered as a gaming center, which makes sense if you consider doll-sex a form of escapist make-believe or wish-fullfilment akin to playing Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto.  But Paris Council communists and other activists argue that Xdolls amounts to a brothel, which are illegal in France.  Nicolas Bonnet Oulaldj, head of the Paris council’s communist group…compared the business to “prostitution” and the owner to “a pimp.”  Sounds like someone just started watching Westworld.  The rhetoric only gets more extreme from there.  Lorraine Questiaux, spokesperson for the anti-sex work organization Mouvement du Nid…[said] “It’s a place…where you rape a woman”…You can’t rape a non-sentient silicone doll any more than you can rape a vibrator or a Fleshlight…but apparently not even lifeless dolls are immune to…rescue attempts…

I’m so glad Tracy Clark-Flory is writing again; I’ve missed her good sense.

Disaster

The fallout will continue until there’s some legal action against this horrific law:

…SESTA’s passage by the U.S. Senate has had an immediate chilling effect on those working in the adult industry…stories of a fallout are being heard, with adult performers finding their content being flagged and blocked…escort site [Cityvibe]…suddenly becoming “not available,” Craigslist shutting down its “personals” sections and Reddit closing down some of its communities, among other tales.  SESTA…targets scores of adult sites that consensual sex workers use to advertise their work.  And now, before SESTA reaches President Trump’s desk for his guaranteed signature, those sites are scrambling to prevent themselves from being charged under sex trafficking laws.  “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing an immediate chilling effect on protected speech,” industry attorney Lawrence Walters [said]…”This was predicted as the likely impact of the bill, as online intermediaries over-censor content in the attempt to mitigate their own risks.  The damage to the First Amendment appears palpable”…

Too Close To Home (#823)

It’s great to see a spotlight on this ugly scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

There is no mention in [propaganda about Seattle’s high-profile sex work stings] of the fact that [prosecutor Val] Richey’s work was handsomely supported by Demand Abolition, a nonprofit group whose stated mission is to end demand for sex work by going after buyers, or that the cost of some of his travels around the country has been defrayed by the same group.  Nor is there any mention of the fact that Demand Abolition, in exchange for providing approximately $191,667 in funding to the King County prosecutor’s office over four years, asked Seattle-area law enforcement to carry out regular arrests and prosecutions of buyers…As part of signed agreements for the funding, Richey and other law enforcement officials in King County were required to frame the activities of sex buyers and men involved with The Review Board as sex trafficking…even though there was no evidence of trafficking…and…none of the men arrested…were charged with trafficking — only with promoting prostitution…

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Sex trafficking is…the crime du jour.  –  Judge Toni Messina

R.I.P. Christine Keeler 

Christine Keeler, the former model at the centre of the Profumo affairhas died aged 75, her family and a close friend have said.  Keeler, then a teenage model and showgirl, became famous for her role in the 1963 scandal…when she had an affair with the Tory cabinet minister John Profumo and a Russian diplomat at the same time at the height of the cold war…Keeler’s son, Seymour Platt…[said] she died on [December 4th]…She had been ill for several months…from…COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).  A major BBC series revisiting the scandal is due to start filming next year.  Keeler, who had been living under the name of Sloane for many years, was briefly married twice, both marriages ending in divorce.  She had two sons – James from her first marriage, and Seymour from her second – and a granddaughter..

Lack of Evidence

Name one other “crime” that gets this kind of treatment on nothing more than a busybody’s say-so:

Why should cops bother with investigations and due process when they can rely on anonymous tips and social shaming?…Larksville, Pennsylvania…police are bragging to local news that they bullied a woman out of town after a neighbor suggested she might be a sex worker…[because] here were too many cars pulling up to a local apartment building and too many men getting out of them…Based on that one tip, Chief John Edwards went straight to Facebook to post a warning notice…”‘ALLEGED’ prostitution” is taking place “in an apartment in or near the 200 block of Vine Street…I and my officers will provide you with a never-ending stream of police activity.”  He also said the cops would talk to “all the neighbors in the area” and instruct them “use video and photography to document” the comings and goings on the street.  Then Larksville police—still without talking to anyone at the allegedly suspicious apartment or conducting due diligence of their own—went to the street in question, put physical copies of the warning on any vehicles in the area, and handed them out to people door-to-door…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn

The truth about “sex trafficking” dawns in the mind of a judge:

…sex trafficking…laws are so expansively written that even if a woman voluntarily agrees to be photographed in scant attire in response to an escort ad but later changes her mind, the person who took the pictures could be convicted of sex trafficking for threatening to post the ad without her permission…I tried a case recently where the court found that a Backpage ad was enough to convict my client of sex trafficking in New York even though all of the acts relating to the sex trafficking charge occurred in New Jersey…I was told by Bella Robinson, founder of Coyoteri.org…that sex workers are more fearful of police who jail them than Johns.  Cops can arrest them, take their money, threaten to take their kids, and [rape them]…

Rooted in Racism

Deportation is euphemized as “sending migrants home”, ignoring the fact that if they wanted to be there they wouldn’t have endured such terrible hardships to leave in the first damned place:

The United Nations migration agency plans to fly 15,000 more migrants home from detention centres in Libya before year-end in the wake of shocking reports of rampant migrant abuse and squalid and overcrowded conditions at these facilities [in which they are detained after “authorities” stop them from migrating to Europe, where they actually want to go]…Libya in recent weeks has witnessed a drastic increase in the numbers of migrants [imprisoned] in detention centres – from a usual range of 5,000 to 6,000 to over 15,000…IOM is also scaling up its reintegration support for the migrants in countries of origin and will be working on addressing the root causes of migration, as well as increasing our programming to [force them to stay where they came from]…

Imaginary Victims (#344)

Like Sara Kruzan before her, prohibitionists never gave a shit about imprisoned underage sex worker Cyntoia Brown until they realized they could make political coin from her:

Twenty-nine-year-old Cyntoia Brown has been locked up in a Tennessee prison for 13 years, after she was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in the killing of a man who hired her as a prostitute when she was 16…Brown…was a [cognitively impaired] runaway who was raped, abused and forced into prostitution by a man known as “Kut Throat.”  She will be eligible for parole after she turns 69…Brown’s case re-entered the spotlight this month after a group of celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna and Snoop Dogg posted their support on social media with the hashtag, #FreeCyntoiaBrown.  An online petition urging Tennessee’s governor to consider clemency for Brown has garnered more than 4,000 signatures…Each year, more than 1,000 [legal minors] are arrested for prostitution in the U.S…Advocates say that in many cases those children are the true victims, and argue Brown’s case should be reconsidered under new “safe harbor” laws that [pretend to] protect trafficked minors from criminal charges [but in actuality only help “perfect victims”, not girls like Brown]…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#346)

While US politicians are marching along with a witch hunt:

…Senator Millicent Omanga has criticised members of Nairobi County Assembly over plans to pass a motion outlawing commercial sex work.  The senator termed the move impulsive and unfair…[and she] challenged the MCAs to provide alternative sources of livelihood for the commercial sex workers before condemning them…At the same time, atheists have come out in defence of commercial sex workers and…threatened to take action against the MCAs if they do not rescind the motion…Atheists in Kenya say the choice to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money is a private and should not be considered a crime, and that prostitution should be recognised as a form of trade…

The Public Eye (#589)

Despite the glaring absence of any escorts, it’s good to see a sex work-positive article in Glamour:

…The real stories of webcam models, dominatrices, and porn stars are often very different from the tropes we see in flashy (and often irresponsible) headlines about sexdrugs, and crime.  In fact, plenty of sex workers truly love what they do.  Glamour spoke to 15 women who work in different facets of the sex industry—porn performers, dominatrices, and cam models—about their choices to enter the business.  Even beyond the financial freedom and the ability to travel that their career paths afford, many of them emphasized how they use their platforms to draw attention to social causes, highlight the contributions of marginalized communities, and help destigmatize sex…

Served Cold (#737) 

This megalomaniac’s antics are growing so bizarre and disturbing that even prohibitionists are starting to see it:

When Operation Underground Railroad founder Tim Ballard looks at the latest artwork by conservative political painter Jon McNaughton, he gets emotional.  Painted into The Underground Railroad are Ballard and his wife, depicted carrying children they helped rescue from sex trafficking…the artwork’s historical figures, including Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln…are flanked by figures whom the painter refers to as “contemporary abolitionists” or “slave stealers”: Ballard’s friends and supporters, ranging from Tony Robbins and Glenn Beck to Utah Rep. Mia Love.  Art curators and Mormon black activists, though, are offended by the painting…“I would call it the epitome of the white savior complex,” says Mica McGriggs…Anthropologist Bradley H. Kramer…[says it’s] culturally clueless…to not realize depicting “white dudes rescuing black people” — under the title of “The Underground Railroad” — would be offensive…“It’s…like a parody of the white savior narrative…It steals the imagery and the power of the Underground Railroad narrative and transforms it into this Trumpian fantasy of brave, powerful white dudes rescuing black people from their squalor”…

Moving Pictures (#782) 

I’m sorry, but I find this both funny and satisfying:

Ashley Judd led a cast of what would turn out to be dozens of actresses in accusing Harvey Weinstein of decades of sexual harassment and abuse…[but] an indie drama she starred in, Trafficked …is itself at the center of its own fierce debate regarding…its casting process….producers quietly removed its director, Will Wallace, from the project during postproduction over a disagreement involving the depiction of rape.  And…one actress, Sanchita Malik…contacted SAG-AFTRA the day after attending [a casting] session…May 20, 2015, to convey her displeasure.  (She subsequently filed a lengthy written grievance with the actors’ union.)  In the statement…Malik [reported]…an extended exercise in which male counterparts…were coached to replicate harassment and assault…the scenario played out with her hair pulled, neck licked, body pushed against a wall and a fellow actor simulating rape…producers Conroy Kanter and Siddharth Kara…insist her characterization of the events involves “a significant embellishment and exaggeration of the level of intensity, crudeness and physicality of the casting session”…

A description of a work session involved “significant embellishment and exaggeration of the level of…crudeness”…Really?  Do tell?  Hmm, that somehow sounds familiar…

Cooties (#787) 

It looks like this popular cop masturbatory fantasy has made it across the Channel:

Three men have been arrested in Paris for…their roles in pimping out women for sex work in several apartments…rented out through…Airbnb…The key suspect…has a previous conviction for procurement.  He took 50 percent of the money the women earned…

He “took” 50%; in other words his cut was 50%, same as Nevada brothels.  Try calculating sometime how much of each dollar you earn for your company you get to keep; you’ll find it’s well below 50%.

Too Close To Home (#788) 

Does anyone believe the prosecutor would’ve made the same decision is the accused weren’t a politician?

The Snohomish County Prosecutor…[decided] not to file sexual assault charges against Sheriff John Urquhart…accused by a former deputy of groping him after dining together in 2014 at a Renton restaurant.  The Renton Police Department…recommended…charges of indecent liberties or assault with sexual motivation…The allegations were handled by independent police and prosecutors to [support the pretense of] avoid[ing] conflicts of interest.  Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe…[claimed] that even if the accuser’s accounts were true, the actions alleged did not meet the criteria for indecent liberties…

To Molest and Rape (#795)

What kind of sick fuck enrolls their daughter in a program specifically intended to groom them into members of a gang of violent thugs?

…[When] a…young woman…[was] found her dead of suicide on Nov. 2, 2015…detectives…found one of their own [ilk] suspiciously close to the death. [Francisco] Olmos…had been outside her house even before she was found dead.  While the girl’s father called 911, Olmos asked to used the girl’s phone..[but actually]…deleted…texts and Snapchats [the girl had exchanged with him]…On [November 30th], police arrested Olmos on charges of obstruction of justice and computer trespass…Olmos knew the young woman through Indianapolis police department’s Explorer program, which trains teenagers for careers in law enforcement…In the hours before the young woman’s death, Olmos tried calling her 16 times.  He left 10 text messages and two Snapchat messages…“Answer me you can’t do this to me AGAIN,” reads one of Olmos’ Snapchat messages shortly after the phone call…The girl didn’t answer.  “How can you ignore me like I’m just one of them,” Olmos messaged four minutes later…Two minutes later:  “You can’t do this to me you can’t.  I’m headed to your house right now”…After several more unanswered messages and several hours, Olmos sent a final missive. “I don’t know what the point of ignoring me is,” he wrote. “You make me feel like this is really all my fault…I need to talk to you it’s urgent”…When detectives tried to access the young woman’s iPhone, they found it password protected, raising the question of how Olmos placed a call from the device.  When an investigator asked the young woman’s parents for the passcode, both insisted that the device had not been password protected…Police sent the device to Cellebrite, a firm notorious for helping law enforcement hack into locked cellphones…They found what looked like a sloppy coverup.  Olmos and the young woman had texted 177 times between Oct. 31 and Nov. 2, when she died…

For more on the “police explorer” rape trap for underage girls, see below.

To Molest and Rape (#796) 

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

…police frequently target marginalized people with sexual violence.  That includes young women and girls, women of color, transgender women, sex workers, homeless women, women with mental illness, undocumented women, women who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, women with disabilities, and low-income women…police presence in schools…allows [cops]…to…abuse searches, harass girls in the hallways, and even sexually assault them…40 percent of police sexual misconduct cases involved teenagers and 34 percent happened during a traffic stop….[cops also] exploit young women…through Police Explorer programs…[and] sexually assault female high school interns in ride-alongs…a case of sexual misconduct by a police officer crop[s] up every five days.  And according to a 2013 study, 41 percent of police sexual violence cases were committed by repeat-offending [cops]…some…move across jurisdictions and keep their certificate despite their history of sexual violence, in what is known as the “officer shuffle”…

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Who needs misogynists when you describe women engaged in sex work as “objects” whose humanity “can be forgotten”?  –  Maddie Collier

R.I.P. Ray Harryhausen

The greatest special-effects artist of all time has passed away at the age of 92.  His movies are among my all-time favorites, and no digital creature has ever entertained me as much as Ray’s masterful puppetry still does.  And even though he’s been retired for 32 years, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the world will be just a little less magical without him.

Bad Girls

[An] unnamed 14-year-old used his iPad to find…Dareka R. Brooks through a website used for sexual hookups…believing [her] to be a sex worker, [he] invited her to his…home, [where she]…pepper-sprayed the boy and made off with his piggy bank and the…iPadBrooks was tracked down a short time later…and arrested after she used the iPad…Brooks was charged with armed robbery…[but] the…boy will not face charges for solicitation.

I suspect the cops’ “kindness” means the boy’s family is well-connected.

Halfway Whores

Dr. Laura Agustín on “Good-time girls and other non-professionals taking money for sex“:

Formalised money-sex exchanges get the attention and conflict…lots of other exchanges are ignored, a line is drawn between commercial and non-commercial sex.  But that line is imaginary.  Many people who expect to be compensated for their company will never call themselves sex workers or escorts…

Lack of Evidence

A Colorado woman was convicted of prostitution for answering a personal ad; after trying to talk her into having sex in a parking lot, a disguised cop “shoved a fistful of cash in front of her face and issued a command: ‘TAKE IT!’…Moments later, the car was surrounded [by] ‘Guns and guys in black with masks on’…the prosecution focused on the word ‘roses’ in the Craigslist ad…”  Maybe if this sort of thing starts to happen more often, amateurs will start to wake up to the fact that anti-whore laws harm everyone.

William ColemanMy Body, My Choice (Holiday Leftovers)

[For] five years…[William Coleman has been] force-fed…Starving himself…is the only way he has to…protest his conviction.  Not eating is his only available free speech act…He and his lawyer have gone to court to stop the force-feedings, but a judge ruled against him in March…Coleman is…[not at] Guantánamo…where a mass hunger strike of 100 prisoners has brought…force-feeding to American newspapers, if not American consciences…but…in Connecticut…Guantánamo is not an anomaly.  Prisoners…are routinely and systematically force-fed every day…force-feedings…are considered torture by most of the world’s medical and governing bodies…yet most media outlets continue to portray feeding tube use as a “complex ethical debate.”  It’s not.  Competent prisoners go on hunger strike because they have something to say and no other way to say it.  Prison officials choose not to hear — and silence them with tubes…

Check Your Premises

A Hialeah [Florida] police sergeant…Tomas Muñoz…has been suspended with pay after being…charged with cocaine possession and carrying drug paraphernalia…he told reporters…“I met a girl — she happens to have a pimp, and we fell in love…And he doesn’t let her be free.  This came about because he set the whole thing up.”

He “doesn’t let her be free”, except to fuck cops.  For free.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

American’s mathematical illiteracy goes clear up to the White House, whose spokesman recently claimed that almost 4% of school-age American girls have become “child sex slaves” since the beginning of the panic a decade ago.  Also of note:  since the government was unable to shut down Backpage via unconstitutional censorship demands, it is now claiming that it intentionally gave up trying.

The Proper Study

Another step in the right direction:

Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group) have announced…a new journal devoted to the study of pornography.  Porn Studies, to be edited by Professor Feona Attwood of Middlesex University and Dr Clarissa Smith of the University of Sunderland, will be the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic and their cultural, economic, historical, institutional, legal and social contextsSaradha

One Born Every Minute

Thousands of sex workers in Sonagachi have lost their lifelong savings…in Ponzi schemes…”about [30 million rupees] has been lost”…[said] Bharati [of Durbar Mahila Samanaya Committee]…Till 2004-05…sex workers [only] deposited their earnings and took loans…[at] Usha Bank…but…7-8 agents [who] were sacked by [the] Bank…continued to operate in the red light area.  “Sex workers were easily trapped because the agents were well known to them or were their relatives…” [said a bank officer]…Bharati says, “We…repeatedly issued warnings…But you can’t stop anyone…hell bent to invest her hard earned money in schemes promising much higher returns.”  The Durbar has recently launched a massive awareness programme…

Workers’ Paradise vs. Gold Diggers

 …Dongguan…has a population of about 7 million and a reputation as the Chinese capital of sex…Between 500,000 and 800,000 people – some 10 per cent of Dongguan’s migrant population – are in some way employed in the world’s oldest profession…[including] 300,000 sex workers…[but] authorities are now…trying to push prostitution off Dongguan’s streets with a crackdown…

Where Are the Protests?

Note that the word “trafficking” is entirely absent:

A company within Sweden’s home care services…mistreated migrant workers by making false promises about work conditions…Hassan…said that his official job offer stated that he would be employed full-time by…TPS Vårdteam…with a monthly wage of 26,500 kronor ($4,000)…”In the beginning I didn’t get any work at all…Then I had to work seven days a week….[for] only…8,000 kronor per month”…the company had not paid in any taxes at all for Hassan…

End demand for home health care!

Obfuscation via Dysphemisms

Tulsa, Oklahoma’s sleazy war on whores reaches a new level of evil:

Tulsa police have…charged 23 individuals under a state law that permits a felony to be filed when a person suspected of prostitution is arrested within 1,000 feet of a church or school.  “It’s just a nightmare,” said defense attorney, Charles Kania…a “scarlet letter on their foreheads that follows them forever”…The felony charges are part of a stepped-up effort by police to get tough on prostitution…Sgt. Todd Evans said…”Most of Tulsa is within a thousand feet of a church or school”…[and] police have sometimes opted to book individuals under another statute that makes it a felony to utilize a computer to violate any state law…

Active Blessing
All the Difference

Active Blessing Uganda…[promised that children] would get an education and live a better life…instead [they were] denied basic rights and exploited…76 children, aged between four and 16 years, have been rescued from the alleged human traffickers…the children are malnourished…do domestic work…in return for food and when they fall sick…are not cared for…the parents [were]…always prevented…from visiting…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (TW3 #49)

On May 22, the American Psychiatric Association will release the…DSM-5…[practicing psychotherapist] Gary Greenberg, one of the book’s biggest critics, claims these disorders aren’t real — they’re invented…The Book of Woe: The Making of the DSM and the Unmaking of Psychiatry is his exposé of the business behind the creation of the new manual…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (TW3 #137)

A powerful statement from Filipino sex workers:

…Being poor in the Philippines…means…no matter how much you believe things to be wrong you must believe it to be right when the rich, your master (amo)…[says] so…That…[is] why it was not difficult for the feminist (abolitionists) to appropriate our voices and to start…speaking for themselves in our name…For years, we could only stand , mouths gagged, as we watched our new “amos” build their careers speaking for other underprivileged and “mindless” women in their list who they claim do not have the ability to speak for themselves…We…do not understand the arrogance by which they have anointed themselves our saviors…what we want is save ourselves from them instead…we really do not care about  “patriarchy”, “commodification” and other words they spew.  Those matters don’t bring food on our table nor pay for our rent.  All we are interested in is to work undisturbed…It is time to tell the world that only sex workers [can] speak for sex workers…

Held Together With Lies (TW3 #316)Eurotrafficking

Wendy Lyon does her usual thorough job ripping apart a bogus study:

Last month saw the publication of the EU’s first Trafficking in Human Beings report, which…is (properly) littered with disclaimers…Unfortunately…the press release…[went] for the handy soundbite…so we’ve been deluged with headlines like “Human trafficking increased by 18%” when…the report doesn’t show it did any such thing…if all the statistics were accepted as readily as the “18% increase” has been, it would be a little bit inconvenient for some…Contrary to what we’re constantly told by the anti-trafficking movement, the most recent figures make it hard to discern any link between trafficking and the legal status of sex work.  The Dutch rate is very high, but the Cyprus rate is higher – and Cyprus has much stricter laws than the Netherlands…Romania, where sex work itself is illegal, is nearly as high.  Hungary (legal), Portugal (legal) and Lithuania (illegal) are tied for last.  Austria and Germany are also relatively low – in fact, Germany and Sweden are tied, at 0.8 per 100,000.  And the German rate has remained more or less constant over the three years surveyed, while Sweden’s has quadrupled…But sex workers’ rights advocates shouldn’t leap on those figures, either, because truthfully the whole report is pretty hopelessly undermined by its methodological weaknesses…

Monsters

Sometime…[in] April, an Ohio transgender woman was…stabbed repeatedly and then tied to a concrete block and cast into a pond.  She was left with no clothes below the waist, perhaps to shame her…But…insensitive stories by the local press…[wrote] about [her] as if she were a bizarre spectacle, not a victimized human being…the Cleveland Plain Dealer…used a mugshot of [Cemia] Acoff instead of the other readily available photos…the [headline which now reads]…“Oddly dressed body found in Olmsted Township identified,” originally said “oddly dressed man,” (you can see it in the url; it was changed after readers and activists protested)…the story [also] refers to her as Carl Acoff (her birth name) and uses a male pronoun...[a follow-up] story…details what she was wearing…lists old petty “crimes”…[and refers to the] hormones [she was carrying as] “dangerous drugs”…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #317)

Maddie Collier’s response to Rakhi “pop stars cause sex trafficking” Kumar is well worth reading in its entirety, but here’s a sample:

…The anti-sex trafficking cause is already thick with moral panic, misinformation, and ill-informed, PR-boosting celebrity activists, and you’re cluttering the already-diminished discourse with further nonsense….[which spawns] attitudes and policies that actively harm sex workers.  You are ignoring the freely-available  perspectives and requests of real-life sex workers because they interfere with your romantic notion of the Prostituted Woman as a forlorn, passive victim who needs to be saved.  If you engage with sex workers before you form a view on what’s oppressing them, you might find that criminalisation and stigma are higher-priority concerns than mythical drug-dealing pimps wielding persuasive charm and Beyoncé’s hotpants…

Anatomy of a Boondoggle (TW3 #317)

The newest excuse for police rape of sex workers is that Asian massage parlors are “sophisticated”:

…an undercover police officer…[repeatedly paid for sex] over five months…in a fight against prostitution and human trafficking.  Officers say such methods led to…[their raiding] two businesses [and] arresting…four alleged prostitutes and two alleged pimps.  But the methods…were criticized…by legal…experts and women’s advocates as excessive, unnecessary and misapplied…prostitutes can be arrested and charged in Indiana as soon as an agreement to pay for a sex act is made…Plus…if the women indeed had been…working…against their will, the sex acts they performed on the officer only contributed to their humiliation, exploitation and degradation…Aaron Dietz, head of the…Task Force…which conducted the nine-month sting, said…the sophisticated nature of the prostitution ring required officers to take more extreme measures…Dietz and others wanted to emphasize that it was not a pleasurable experience for the officer, but entirely necessary.  “No one…really wants to go into these…It’s something that’s ethically and morally very trying, so I’d do anything to keep guys out of there.”

You’d do anything?  Then how about advocating for decriminalization, you fucking filthy liar?

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I was not the only one who left crying after being pressed to talk in detail about our…sexual experiences and desires…some of the audio we provided could have sounded like it belonged in a porn, rather than in a critique of it.  –  Beth Brigham

Pennsylvania Gypsy Camp in Oley Township by Mary Leisz (1927)Don’t Buy It

Melissa Gira Grant on how the “gypsy whores” myth directly harms sex workers:

…the modern sex worker is believed to follow a…migratory path…the World Cup, the Grand Prix, the  Super Bowl – all supposedly draw thousands of women offering paid sex.  It’s…the kind of thing you could imagine in a dusty smut book, or serving as winky fodder for escort agencies and strip clubs in their seasonal marketing….we were told that during the 2012 Olympics, London was to be “flooded” with prostitutes, and that for the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, the city would host a “dark underworld” of illicit sex-for-sale. Like all fantasies, the “roving sporting sex workers” trope [is] mostly harmless…until seized upon by those who find it…politically useful…in London…police raided brothels, arrested sex workers, and threatened them with further arrest if they returned to their neighborhoods…A similar pattern…played out in New Orleans in the days before the Super Bowl…Fox News had a camera crew follow a team of volunteers as they attempted to rescue “sex slaves” from streets and strip clubs…With nearly any woman…a potential target…it may be a minor miracle that the New Orleans police department has reported only eight arrests…

Backward, Turn Backward

I can’t even imagine living in the looking-glass world prohibitionists inhabit:

…a survey by the Immigrant Council of Ireland has found…that by far the biggest fear about paying for sex was not that they would be caught but that they would have a bad experience or contract a disease…Of the 58 punters [who answered]…16 (27.5%) said they had [at some point changed their minds after meeting the prostitute]…“six stated…the person appeared controlled, five…because the person appeared unhappy, four…because the person appeared too young, two…because the person appeared unwilling, while two…because the person appeared intimidated, ‘hurt or injured’,”…Denise Charlton…said…“We have now heard from the buyers themselves that such laws would be a deterrent…We know too that the image of the happy, independent hooker which is being portrayed by those opposed to new laws is not the reality; 24% of buyers reconsidered a transaction because they believed the women and girls involved were controlled, unhappy, too young, unwilling, or intimidated.”

Beside the fact that 58 self-selected people is too small a sample to “conclude” anything, the figures suggest exactly the opposite of what Charlton claims.  Only 27% have ever in their lives encountered such a girl (not 27% of all encounters); furthermore, their refusal testifies against the myth that men will eagerly hire coerced women, and finally the option of reporting those situations to the police would be closed by client criminalization, which is precisely the opposite of the stated goal of “protecting” sex workers.

Blasphemy

This must-read profile of neofeminist anti-porn crusader Gail Dines by her ex-disciple Beth Brigham paints a chilling portrait of the brainwashing that goes on in “women’s studies” programs; the similarity to narratives from survivors of other cults is unmistakable, and Brigham’s observation that much of the prohibitionist myth of pimp “recruitment” and “exploitation” of girls more accurately resembles their own behavior is spot on.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Tracy Clark-Flory can always be counted on to debunk sex hysteria; here’s a short but sweet entry on “sex addiction”:

…“Inventing Sex: The Short History of Sex Addiction”…published in the March issue of the journal Sexuality & Culture, isn’t an objective scientific study.  It’s a paper by cultural historians at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, that attempts to document the growth of the concept of sex addiction…the paper’s pull-no-punches thesis [is]:  “We argue that this strange, short history of social opportunism, diagnostic amorphism, therapeutic self-interest, and popular cultural endorsement is marked by an essential social conservatism–sex addiction has become a convenient term to describe disapproved sex.Soiled Doves  Many of these points should be familiar, especially if you read my piece on sex addiction’s critics…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received a copy of Soiled Doves, a short history of prostitution in the American West, from Elisabeth Whispers.  Thank you, Elisabeth!

Backwards Into the Future (TW3 #6)

The Push to Decriminalise Sex Work in Kenya” is a discussion paper from an African think tank which “explores the dangers associated with sex work, the protest movement in Kenya to decriminalise it, and the potential benefits of decriminalisation.”  I’m sure you can guess what conclusion it reaches.

Useful Idiots

Wisconsin expands its police state:

Efforts to collect DNA samples would expand to include any adult or juvenile arrested on a felony charge — and anyone convicted of a crime — under a budget proposal Gov. Scott Walker announced…Walker also announced plans…to allow GPS monitoring of certain people receiving first-time restraining orders who are found to be at higher-risk to cause serious harm…and…[an] increase for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to add five employees to investigate child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children…Walker’s plans to expand DNA collection…raised the ire of civil liberties advocates…

CISPAIf politicians had any sense, they would wait for the outcome of trials involving similar laws before wasting millions on a program that might be recognized as illegal.

The Camel’s Nose (TW3 #16)

CISPA—the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act…would have effectively [required]…private-sector businesses to hand ordinary citizen data…to the U.S. government in order to thwart primarily cyber…[or] terrorist attacks.  This, as you might expect, caused an uproar among the online community…the White House…threatened to veto the bill…But now…two separate reports…suggest CISPA could be heading back to the Congressional table…[and] President Obama…[has also issued] his own executive order

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Upcoming erotic game Custom Maid 3D will be bundled with a very special controller…Ju-C Air…is a wireless masturbation toy that will respond and react in real time to your stroke speed and depth, making this motion control of a very particular sort.  Those motions will also cause the in-game characters to react accordingly, too, with different characters reacting, um, differently…Ju-C Air…also has an analog stick and an action button as well as a right and a left click…[so]Ju-C Air players don’t even have to take their hands off their penis while playing…

Pyrrhic Victory

Wendy McElroy on “Is America a Police State Yet?”:

If you need to ask the question, then the answer is “yes”. But that is a glib response and I do not feel glib about America’s slide through the nine rings of political hell.  A police state is generally defined as a totalitarian government that exerts extreme and pervasive social, political and economic control over peaceful citizens…[it] maintains…control through the pervasive surveillance of peaceful citizenry, through a vast number of laws with draconian enforcement, and by converting rights into privileges that can be withheld…This describes America.  Surveillance of daily life has soared; even the Supreme Court has consistently expanded the “right” of police to perform warrantless searches.  A vast array of laws now dictate the minutia of life, from what you may not eat to the light bulbs you may not use as well products you must buy…A special police force called the Department of Homeland Security…functions without transparency or accountability.  Travel, formerly a right, is now a privilege granted by government agents at their whim…The difference between America and a communist regime lay in its institutional protection of the individual against the state.  That difference no longer exists.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #27)

A southern Chinese province has stopped sending prisoners to labor camps, becoming the first in the country to take steps to phase out the much-criticized system…Yunnan’s top law enforcement official Meng Sutie announced…that the province will no longer send people to labor camps on the grounds of threatening national security, petitioning by causing unrest and smearing the image of officials…and…is suspending…sentences for people charged with other offenses, such as drug use and prostitution…

Worse Than I Thought

As I’ve previously explained, any totalitarian law which passes nowadays will invariably be used as the model for similar laws in other jurisdictions:

…Nevada Sex Trafficking Bill AB67 [redefines]…Pandering…and…Living from earnings of prostitute…as “sex trafficking,” thus carrying harsher penalties and requiring registration as a sex offender…Does [this] include…family members supported by…a woman working legally in a Nevada brothel?  Pages 27-28 redefine terms so broadly as to apply to most consensual adult relationships, including marriage…“‘Prostitution’ means engaging in, agreeing to or offering to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee, monetary consideration or other thing of value…‘Sexual conduct’ means…any intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal openings of the body of a person…”  Is a medical doctor a prostitute for accepting money for a gynecological exam?  Is the husband who drove his pregnant wife to the doctor a sex trafficker?…

Grafton Street, Dublin c. 1900Dirty Laundry

This article is two years old, but it’s an interesting short history:

Monto, in the heart of Dublin…was once the biggest…red-light district in Europe.  Celebrated in song and story, it was where Leopold Bloom went for sexual humiliation and where a young Edward VII was said to have gone for some high-end thrills…At its height…1,600 women worked in Monto…but…within only a few years of the foundation of the State and the accession to power of the Roman Catholic church…War was declared on Monto.  The new Catholic state stormed into action and a force of gardai…raided Monto at midnight on March 12, 1925, and literally threw the women working there out on to the street and into the Church-run slave-labour laundries…

Thought Control

New findings on Fredric Wertham, the fanatic who whipped up a moral panic over comic books and almost destroyed the industry in the early ‘50s:

…Wertham’s personal archives…show that the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general “played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics,” according to an article by Carol Tilley, published in a recent issue of Information and Culture: A Journal of History.  “Lots of people have suspected for years that Wertham fudged his so-called clinical evidence…but there’s been no proof,” Tilley said. “My research is the first definitive indication that he misrepresented and altered children’s own words about comics.”  Wertham died in 1981 [but] his archives…weren’t made widely available to researchers until the spring of 2010…

This sort of prohibitionist behavior is already very familiar to regular readers.

That Old Black Magic

The “Juju sex slaves” myth just keeps on going like a zombie; the most telling aspect of the narrative is the way it clearly links “sex trafficking” hysteria to the Satanic Panic, much as the Swedish Könskriget cult does.

Presents, Presents, Presents! (TW3 #50)

Eric Berkowitz , author of Sex and Punishment, on Reason TV:

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (TW3 #134)

Filipino sex worker rights advocates call for true decriminalization rather than the legalization erroneously labeled as such by politicians:

…An NGO called “Women Hookers Organizing For Their Rights and Empowerment (WHORE) is treading the thorny path toward government recognition of this history-old job…[an advocate called] Tex said…there are about 500,000 sex workers in the country…“But we are not going for decriminalizing sex workers while criminalizing clients like the Swedish model…It didn’t even work there”…

The article is much better than the propaganda pushed by American journalists; it shows that opponents support criminalization of women and mentions UN support for decriminalization.

Due Consideration

Looks like the US isn’t the only regime using this concept:

The Queensland police union is calling for tougher laws to send risk-taking pregnant women into safe houses in an effort to monitor their behaviour…[saying] the rights of an unborn child should be considered ahead of the mother…Union president Ian Leavers says the state should be able to intervene in cases where children are at risk of foetal alcohol syndrome and drug addictions…

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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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