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Posts Tagged ‘The Face of Trafficking’

My body is my business – and it is a money maker.  –  Vera Sidika

Worse Than I Thought

“Human trafficking” has become nothing more than a dysphemism for sex work:

A trio of bills before the [Frederick] County [Maryland] Council [cl]aim to address human trafficking…[one] would require hotels and motels to conduct human trafficking training for new employees, [the second would] hold landlords and tenants liable for criminal charges for [not evicting sex workers on a cop’s say-so] and [the third would] regulate “bodyworks” establishments, which [prohibitionists pretend] are relatively common locations for human trafficking…The landlord and tenant bill would would make it unlawful for any tenant or landlord or property owner to [lease to anyone a cop decides to call]…a potential problem…Prince George’s County has…implemented this bill and has seen success in [evicting] some [sex workers]…the goal of the bill isn’t to punish the landlords, but to get them to [become fascist tools] by evicting the tenants or reporting [them] to police…

Shame, Shame

Instant karma’s gonna get you…

On [May 16th], Sahar Sarid, Thomas Keesee and Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie—three out of four alleged owners of Mugshots.com—were arrested and charged with extortion, money laundering and identity theft…[for] harvest[ing] people’s mug shots and charg[ing] them exorbitant fees to have the photos removed…$399 and up…many people have filed lawsuits against the site…California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said…“Those who can’t afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others.  This is exploitation, plain and simple”..

And yet I don’t see Becerra pushing for a law to make mugshots not public records.  Is that the stench of hypocrisy I smell?

Uncommon Sense (#404)

Beware of male “feminists” who try to stop women from organizing:

Spain’s fiercely anti-prostitution Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was left red in the face…after it emerged a sex workers union was approved by his own administration.  Sex work is…neither illegal nor regulated [in Spain] but Sanchez came to power in June with a strongly feminist agenda promising to fight…women.  “Prostitution in Spain isn’t legal and this government won’t support any organisation that includes this illicit activity,” he tweeted…

Rescued To Death

“Abatement”.  A term used for things, especially nuisances, here applied to people.  But NHI, right?

…[spokespig] Gaetano Caltagirone…announced the initiation of a “Sex Worker Abatement Unit”…Some 20 [cops] applied [for obvious reasons], but only four were selected…the unit has arrested “Johns” — men soliciting prostitutes — as well as pimps.  Any ensnared sex workers, he said, have been offered [brainwashing sessions or else]…This [paternalistic scheme] was modeled after a pilot program in Seattle…This news was, by and large, well-received by the meeting attendees…[but] Tessa Brown, a Mission resident, pinned the rise of street prostitution on the closures of popular personal websites like Backpage…“I just wanted to push back at the idea that all neighbors agree that we should be arresting all sex workers and more clients of sex workers,” Brown said…Another attendee, Aaron Sunshine, chimed in and suggested the police ease up.  “Let’s just leave the sex workers alone,” Sunshine said…

Slowly but surely, we’re getting through to people who aren’t predisposed to bigotry & bootlicking.

The Face of Trafficking 

What an actual attempt to abduct a woman into forced prostitution looks like:

…her former pimp crept up from behind and dropped her with a roundhouse punch.  Two men heaved her into a car trunk and they were off, forcing the woman to claw for her life in the dark as the vehicle careened along crowded city streets…Soon police were in pursuit across the Bay Bridge.  Minutes later the car would slam into a pole in a fiery, fatal wreck.  But before the deadly crash, the woman in the trunk remembered an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that informed viewers about emergency trunk latches.  In her panic, she found her lifeline and escaped from the vehicle as it headed to the bridge…

The Sky is Falling! (#772)

The BBC clutches its pearls and announces that pragmatic dating is bad because it’s “driven by vanity”:

…the exchange of youth and beauty for long-term financial gain, motivated not by hunger but by aspiration, glamorised by social media stars, and often wrapped in the trappings of a relationship.  Older men have always used gifts, status, and influence to buy access to young women.  The sugar daddy has probably been around, in every society, for as long as the prostitute.  So you might ask: “Why even have a conversation about transactional sex in Africa?”  The answer is that in Kenya, and in some other African countries, “sugar” relationships seem to have become both more common and more visible:  what once was hidden is now out in the open – on campuses, in bars, and all over Instagram…

Lower Education (#773)

Ashe Schow debunks the absurd numbers behind the “campus rape crisis” propaganda:

A potential draft of new federal campus sexual assault policies was leaked this week, so expect a new round of false and misleading statistics to be shared by those who claim due process “protects rapists” and “hurts victims”.  Rape and sexual assault are serious offenses, and shouldn’t be watered down to create a narrative that America is somehow the rape capital of the world, nor should we pretend that non-offenses are offenses…I’ve taken down every one of these statistics before — sometimes many, many times — but it’s time to debunk them all in one place…

Schow debunks the “1 in 4” lie (“numbers thousands of times higher than war-torn Congo”), the “serial predator” bogeyman, the “all rape accusations are true” poison, the “universities which report no rapes are lying” libel, and the “1 in 3 men intend to rape” bullshit.  It’s worth reading in its entirety.

To Molest and Rape (#797)

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

[Cops] in the Louisville Metro Police Department’s youth Explorer program…interrogated…a girl who [was the victim]…of sexual abuse [by one of their cronies], took her cell phone and refused to let her parents be present when she was questioned during an out-of-town trip…the head of the program tried to keep the allegations quiet  through what amounted to a bribe — offering to pay the cost of the trip to Atlanta…Louisville Metro P[ig] Brad Schuhmann…sexually abus[ed] the girl from 2008 to 2009…and sought sexual pictures and acts from her.  The abuse [was perpetrated] in [pigmobiles], at Explorer events and through text messages.  The lawsuit was initially filed under seal in Jefferson Circuit Court in October but was moved to federal court earlier this year.  It is among five other similar suits unsealed [on August 30th]…the teen told her parents, who confronted Schuhmann and met with the program’s leader at the time, Lt. Curtis Flaherty.  Schuhmann is under criminal investigation and [was rewarded for the rapes with a] paid [vacation]…

The Widening Gyre (#822)

In which “sex trafficking” hysteria is employed to mask the stench of xenophobia:

Britain is ramping up efforts to [charge people with] sex trafficking of girls…amid [fantasies] that cases uncovered by police are just “the tip of the iceberg” with modern slavery ever-evolving…Britain this week announced a 2 million pound ($2.6 million) scheme to [divert funds to cronies under the excuse of] help[ing] stop at risk children falling into the grip of traffickers and gangs who rape them and force them to move drugs…from cities to rural areas…Britain has been rocked by a series of child sex trafficking and abuse [s]ca[r]es over the past few years, with hundreds of girls [claimed to be] exploited by large gangs..of mainly Asian men…

The Course of a Disease (#850)

We were warned that Israeli whore-censorship was only “part of a wider plan”:

The State Attorney’s office, along with Israeli police, decided…to take severe measures against the practice of lap dances in strip clubs.  The new enforcement intends to eradicate “the activity that in certain circumstances constitutes prostitution”…The police issued a written notice to owners of strip clubs clarifying the new policies…[Prohibitionist] Nitzan Kahana of the Task Force [for Pearl-Clutching smugly bloviated]…“The treatment to root out prostitution in Israel has begun…Strip clubs are a major part of this industry…lap dances, posing for years as ‘an innocent dance’ when it is apparent to all that they are essentially a sexual act of physical contact intending to please customers”…

OH MY GOD WE CAN’T HAVE CUSTOMERS EXPERIENCING PLEASURE!!!  THE HORROR!!!

Disaster (#865)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

…Coyote…RI…conducted a survey of 262 sex workers between April 14 and May 25, 2018.  Seventy percent…reported that sex work had been their primary source of income before FOSTA and 77 percent…were the sole providers for their families.  Within a week of the laws’ passage, 70 percent noticed a drop in their income, rendering them unable to pay for rent, food, utilities or phone…Sixty percent…now take on less safe clients in order to make ends meet.  Sixty-five percent…reported that someone had tried to threaten, exploit or [rape] them…censorship of sex workers’ content…means that many are turning to street-based sex work…including people who have little to no experience working on the streets…street-based sex work…increases vulnerability to predators, including police…

The Monsters Are Due (#867) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs:

Some residents of [the] small town [of Acatlan] in central Mexico [abducted] two men accused of trying to kidnap children from police custody and burned them to death…A crowd of about 150 people gathered and stormed the jail…then doused the…[men] with an accelerant and burned them [alive]…

In the comments, a witness wrote, “The two men were innocent.  They were drinking in the street and they got arrested.  A small group of people [then] began gossip[ing] that they were kidnapping children…Everything was broadcasted on Facebook Live and the mother of the younger man was watching the stream of her son getting killed.  There are posts of her begging them to stop…

The Widening Gyre (#868) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter. Notice we’re back to Ikea again; apparently “sex traffickers” just can’t resist picking up cheap furniture and enjoying Swedish meatballs while shopping for their “sex slaves”.  I wonder how many abductions it takes to make a furniture store a “hot spot”, and how many women have been abducted from the Covina Ikea in comparison with, say, the Cost Plus in San Dimas or the Ethan Allen in Pasadena?

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It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession.  –  WAVAW Board

The Sky is Falling!

Even by prohibitionist standards, this is hilariously hysterical:

“Sugar daddy” dating sites such as Seeking Arrangement…are aggressively targeting college students — with free premium memberships for signing up under an .edu email plus plenty of assurances that being a “sugar baby” is safe, empowering and profitable.  But sugar babies typically do not, in fact, have control over these relationships, which often turn dangerous and exploitative, [pearl-clutchers whined]…at a “World Without Exploitation Youth Summit” held in Downtown Brooklyn for high school and college students…“Sugaring” almost always involves a coercive exchange of money for sex, the [pearl-clutchers moaned]…even if the coercion is subtle and regardless of the dating website’s promises of “pampering,” “mentoring” and “networking”…“There’s an expectation that the buyer or the sugar daddy can do whatever he wants, so very often we hear there’s extraordinary violence when the door gets shut,” adds Lauren Hersh, national director of World Without Exploitation, a [prohibitionist] group…

This is your regular reminder that Lauren Hersh is a former prosecutor who was forced to resign in disgrace after she was caught trying to railroad two innocent black men for rape.

Watershed

For those who think I’m wrong about sex worker rights having passed the watershed:

As a [rape crisis centre] we always say that systems and perpetrators of violence need to be held accountable.  This is no different when we have enacted harm ourselves…We have taken actions that have caused harm to sex workers, and it is important that we take responsibility for those actions.  In 2008, we produced a position paper on sex work titled “Stepping out of the Binary”.  The paper framed the sex work industry as inherently violent and oppressive…and…conflated sex work with trafficking and exploitation…Our [excuse] was that we critiqued and challenged the sex work industry as a whole, but would not turn away individual sex workers who wanted to access our services.  This position is inherently flawed.  It is not possible to support individuals and also call for the abolition of their profession…We support sex work.  We support the rights of sex workers.  We believe sex workers should have access to the services they need, when they need them…

Theatrics

Though this subtitle is now used for prohibitionist publicity stunts, the original covered this:

…dozens of female workers in Spain’s Huelva region, most of them Moroccan…reported having been harassed, raped, blackmailed, physically assaulted or insulted by their superiors…

Good News, Bad News (#409)

Australian prohibitionists are just as vile as those in the US & UK:

Prostitution legislation is currently being discussed in the Northern Territory…Prostitution affects everyone because…[the private acts of individual women magically inflict] violence against [other] women…Australia’s acceptance of [civil liberties] is becoming embarrassing internationally, as progressive countries move towards [authoritarian regulation]…of [the bodies and lives of] all women.  When it is acceptable for women to [make their own choices]…every woman is devalued [to the state].  The availability of women’s [sexual services for free] creates a sense of entitlement in too many men which inevitably plays out in their day to day interactions with women…

Only in the warped prohibitionist mind could reducing women to mere parts of a collective entity and demanding government control over people’s private lives be characterized as “human dignity”.

The Face of Trafficking (#646) 

Note that even a horrifying case like this doesn’t look anything like the “sex trafficking” myth as prohibitionists tell it:

One of New Zealand’s most sickening criminal cases, just the third conviction for slave trading in the country’s legal history, can now be revealed.  A mother of a teenage daughter has been jailed for six years and 11 months [for pimp]ing her daughter…some 1000 times over a two-year period…as many as five times a day.  The teen…escaped…in November 2016 and fled to police.  Kasmeer Lata, the teen’s mother, was sentenced…for dealing in slaves and receiving earnings from commercial sexual services from an underage person…

While I usually edit items to point out the truth in authoritarian propaganda, in this case I did so to eliminate the lurid language the reporter used to exploit this young woman’s ordeal for clickbait.  Because yellow journalists are just as awful in New Zealand as anywhere else.

Elephant in the Parlor (#828) 

Just in case you forgot about the other sex workers Trump paid off:

…investigators discovered recordings made by Michael Cohen which include a then-candid Donald Trump talking about a payment to…former Playboy model…Karen McDougal [who] previously claimed that she had an affair with Mr. Trump…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#833) 

All the disclaimers won’t stop charlatans from pretending this is their imaginary “sex addiction”:

The World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) list…filed “compulsive sexual behavior disorder” — often [incorrectly] referred to as sex addiction — as an impulse-control disorder…WHO’s new list will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2022, as revisions still need to be made…clinicians…fear that recognizing compulsive sexual behavior disorder would pathologize normal sexual behavior, [said] Dr. Stefanie Carnes…“One of the things WHO did…is say specifically, ‘You can’t make the diagnosis of the compulsive disorder just due to shame or moralistic thoughts and feelings’”…In other words, a diagnosis cannot be made for someone with conservative religious views who frequents pornography sites a few times a month and thus believes that is a problem…the…proposed inclusion characterizes the disorder as “a persistent pattern of failure to control intense, repetitive sexual impulses or urges, resulting in repetitive sexual behavior over an extended period (e.g., six months or more) that causes marked distress or impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”  Carnes…[said] “I have patients who…spend $300,000 on a prostitute”…

Say, Dr. Carnes, would you introduce me to these guys? I’ll take good care of them, I promise.

All-Purpose Excuse (#834)

I hope this finger-pointing keeps up until the hysteria implodes:

…the Trafficking in Persons Report directly references the vulnerability of migrants and children to trafficking without mention of recent U.S. policies that increased family separation and detention.  This dissonance is not new [to this administration], although recent events have been particularly egregious.  Since his inauguration, President Trump has espoused strikingly different — and dramatically inconsistent — approaches to immigration and human trafficking…Despite the administration’s [typical] rhetoric about protecting survivors of trafficking, the brutal fact is that indiscriminate targeting of undocumented immigrants…has sown chaos and fear in immigrant communities.  This makes survivors much less likely to cooperate with [pigs], and more likely to be targeted as victims…on June 28, 2018, USCIS issued a new policy memorandum specifying that any survivor who applies for T visas — and is denied — will be placed in deportation proceedings…

Trumpists: “YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Anti-Trumpists:  “No, YOU’RE helping ‘human traffickers’!”
Me: “LOL, please continue.”

The Real World

Despite some highly exaggerated claims about the prevalence of serious mental illness among sex workers, this article recognizes criminalization as a major cause of stress:

Sex workers already operate at the social and economic margins.  SESTA-FOSTA makes it increasingly difficult for them to advertise and screen clients safely, deeply cutting into their incomes and threatening their livelihoods…The conflation of consensual sex work with trafficking, abuse, moral decrepitude, and shame is as pervasive as is it is lacking nuance…Mental health providers must wade through social discourse thick with misinformation to be effective allies to sex workers in their practice.  Scholars and practitioners alike propose harmful and stigmatizing models of understanding sex work…Although sensationalist media outlets frequently use sex trafficking as a boogeyman to encourage tougher policing of sex work, research from New Zealand, Australia, and Spain shows that decriminalizing sex work has made the industry safer…In the wake of SESTA-FOSTA, sex workers are scared that they won’t be able to provide for themselves and their families…

Pyrrhic Victory (#851) 

Hey, Seattle!  Get your kids into the facial recognition database before they even hit puberty, and help the government to analyze how people’s faces change with time, so nobody can EVER escape surveillance!

RealNetworks, the Seattle company best known for pioneering streaming media…will offer a new facial recognition technology, called SAFR, for free to K-12 schools to help upgrade their on-site [surveillance] systems.  SAFR can be used with the same cameras that traditional surveillance systems to recognize students, staff, and people visiting schools…in addition to security, the tool can also help with [normalization of constant surveillance] and [the school-to-prison pipeline]…

Disaster (#852)

Woodhull, et al’s request for a preliminary injunction vs FOSTA is a thing of beauty, and even if you don’t really understand legalese you should read it, because most of it is in plain English and its arguments are solid.  Reading it for yourself is the only way you can fully grasp what a crock of shit the judge’s inaction was:

A federal judge on Thursday tabled a motion brought by the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and four other plaintiffs, who are suing to stop the government from enforcing…FOSTA…Judge Richard Leon…made no ruling on Woodhull’s request for a preliminary injunction that would stop the law from remaining in effect until the group’s lawsuit…is decided. Nor did he announce a date when he would issue a ruling.  According to one account from inside the courtroon, Leon “sounded skeptical” that the law had actually caused harm to the plaintiffs in the case…

Basically, the judge wants time to try to think of the proper legal wording for “Yes, I know this law is blatantly unconstitutional, but I’m not gonna be the one to issue an injunction on it because whores”.

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Nothing has appeared in the last couple of years to make [sex trafficking] estimates…more scientific than they were 10 years ago.  –  David Finkelhor

Rough Trade 

The reporter seems to be trying to hide what happened here:

…a Butte man was found not guilty of raping a woman in Missoula [Montana] in June 2015…Nicholas James Dolson…[met a sex worker via] Craigslist seeking sex.  After the pair engaged in consensual vaginal intercourse, Dolson [anally raped her]…she…told him to stop but…he didn’t.  Dolson [then] left [without paying her]…The day after their encounter, Dolson sent the woman a text message that [admitted he] had planned to have sex with her twice…and…leave [without paying].  Dolson…[pretended] what had happened between him and the woman had been consensual…[even though] he hadn’t…paid for their encounter as the two of them had discussed…

Hooters, Japanese Style

It isn’t quite the same thing, but close enough considering the human aesthetics are the main attraction:

…The Amrita restaurant, which is set to open in Tokyo, has said that anyone 15kg above the average weight for their height will not be allowed to dine.  The restaurant…will ask guests to check in their clothes and put on paper underwear when they arrive.  Anyone who is thought to be above the average weight for their height will be weighed and ejected if deemed to be overweight…[spokeswoman] Miki Komatsu…[said] “If fat people are allowed in it could be miserable for some guests…We are aiming for a sort of Roman aesthetic, like the beautiful paintings you see in museums.”  People with tattoos are also banned from the restaurant and diners are asked not to “cause a nuisance” by touching or talking to other guests.

Scapegoats

Anyone who thinks that a dog has to be “forced” to lick any part of a human body has never spent much time around dogs:

In a surprising decision from Canada’s Supreme Court, the country’s top judges ruled that forcing a dog to perform oral sex is not, in fact, bestiality and therefore not necessarily illegal…The case…involves an unnamed man, accused of forcing the family dog to perform oral sex on his underage daughter.  The man was convicted of a litany of sexual offences in relation to the abuse, and sentenced to 14 years in jail.  On one charge of bestiality, however, he was acquitted on appeal…His lawyers contended that…the charge, which carries no formal definition in the Criminal Code, was linked to “buggery”…and therefore required penetration.  The [prosecution]…argued that…any sexual contact with animals [is] wrong, abusive, and illegal…Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, a backbench MP…[predictably reacted by introducing] C-246, which would explicitly ban all sexual activity between man and animal…

Pyrrhic Victory

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

Motherboard used public records requests to extract 3,000+ pages of court docs…which revealed the full extent of the Mounties’ secret use of Stingrays…the fake cellular towers that let cops covertly track whole populations by tricking their phones into revealing information about them…in the USA, their manufacturers collaborated with federal law enforcement to swear local cops to secrecy, going so far as to drop cases rather than reveal the use of Stingrays, and, in a few known cases, lying to judges.  Feds even raided local cops and stole all documents related to Stingrays before they could be entered into evidence.  But even by those standards, the RCMP’s use of Stingrays is breathtakingly broad and out-of-control…They not only routinely use Stingrays to surveil regions in a radius of up to 2km…but…also retained this data indefinitely, creating permanent surveillance databases that recorded the locations and activities (including the calls) of literally millions of Canadians who had never come under any suspicion for any crime…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#314)

A huge victory for the adult video industry:

In a big victory for the Free Speech Coalition, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals…vacated and remanded a lower court’s July 2013 ruling that held that performer record-keeping for adult entertainment producers are constitutional…The 3rd Circuit…held that the inspection provisions of the statutes are facially unconstitutional under the 4th Amendment…

Eternal Vigilance

Even where sex work is legal, whore stigma is an ever-present danger:

A [political] candidate has quit after it emerged he owns a [suburban Melbourne] brothel called Paradise Playmates.  Taiwan-born massage therapist John Min-Chiang Hsu resigned as the Liberal Party candidate for the Victorian seat of Calwell after his ties to the brothel were revealed…Hsu also owns a company called Beautiful Life Natural Therapies, which runs three Melbourne massage establishments:  CBD Massage, Five Star Massage and Sabaydee Thai Massage Day Spa.  It’s believed at least Sabaydee offers sexual services because it appears on a review website for sex work…Hsu…has denied owning the brothel but was unable to explain why company records show it is registered to a man with the same name, address and date of birth as him…

The Face of Trafficking 

Note that even a horrifying case like this doesn’t look anything like the “sex trafficking” myth as prohibitionists tell it:

…April Corcoran…handed over her 11-year-old daughter to a drug dealer for sex in exchange for…heroin…The alleged dealer is Shandell Willingham, who recorded some of the sex acts on video…[and] faces charges of rape, gross sexual imposition…[child porn] and human trafficking.  He’s already been convicted of drug crimes…The charges…to which [Corcoran] pleaded are enough to put her in prison for the rest of her life…

Moving Pictures 

In what could be a metaphor for the modern world, an ignoramus who knows nothing about either filmmaking or sex work sets out to make a film about “sex trafficking”:

Danielle Rose, 25, took it upon herself to expose the ugly truth that it happens in her native Brooklyn.  Her first documentary, In Our Backyard, depicts the unspoken world of sex trafficking through the emotional stories of recent survivors and the work of advocates fighting to end this form of modern-day slavery.  A senior at Sarah Lawrence College, having never used a camera before, Rose set out to make a documentary film about it.  She invested all her savings into the film and enlisted her friends and family to help her…Rose [said]…”my mom, who was a caterer, was friends with someone at the Brooklyn DA’s office and they got in touch with her to donate food for an anti-trafficking event…I knew nothing about using a camera but I started going out and filming…The subjects it touches upon are sex buyers, pimp culture, the music we listen to, and Backpage.com”…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#596)

This just keeps getting stupider with every iteration:

…Professor Noel Sharkey said he believes teenagers could lose their virginity to android sex dolls…and…warned that the robots may have damaging consequences for society…he insisted that robotic dolls could have as big an impact as online porn in the sex industry…”Sex robots are accessible now and certainly [will be common] within the next 10 years.  I think there will be an age limit.  Certainly there should be, but if your dad or mum had one, you could sneak in and use it…It’s not a problem having sex with a machine.  But what if it’s your first time, your first relationship?  What do you think of the opposite sex then…It will…stop…people forming relationships with normal people”…

Still a Child (#620) 

Naturally, Baton Rouge couldn’t let itself be out-pruded by New Orleans:

Louisiana strip clubs will be barred from hiring dancers under the age of 21, under a new law…Bill sponsor…Ronnie Johns…[pretends] the provision will help to fight human trafficking…Debate was briefly derailed by a proposal from…Rep. Kenny Havard…suggesting strippers should be between 21 and 28 years old and less than 160 pounds.  The amendment drew strong criticism.  Havard called it a joke about overregulation…

To Molest and Rape

The proportions of this scandal are staggering. Look how many Magic Angels of Safety* participated in raping an underage sex worker:

At [the] press conference announcing the departure of Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent, Mayor Libby Schaaf…told a room full of reporters that Whent was resigning for “personal reasons”.  The mayor said it had nothing to do with a scandal involving rookie police officers who sexually exploited a minor, or the suspicious death of a police officer’s wife and his subsequent suicide…But the mayor and other city officials are either not being forthright about the extent of OPD officer misconduct…at least fourteen Oakland Police officers, three Richmond Police officers, and four Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies had sex with the girl who goes by the [stage] name Celeste Guap…who…said she slept with cops as a form of protection [from arrest]…

*Credit Mistress Matisse

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#641) 

It’s so good to see “sex trafficking” lies now being attacked from multiple directions:

…The 1,000-victim figure comes from a questionable study commissioned by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and published in 2010…The…FBI…[labeled] an average of 15 [minors as] victims of sex trafficking in Toledo each year, between 2005 and 2009.  The study’s authors took that 15-per-year figure and applied it to all girls ages 12 through 17 in the state of Ohio…[yielding] an estimate of 202 girls per year.  Then, the commission multiplied 202 by five, because a University of Toledo study claimed that each sex trafficking victim they interviewed knew an average of five more underaged minors “not known to law enforcement, but who were engaging in the sex trade”…

No Moss

Rolling Stone is trying to cover its collective arse (or rather, that of whatever drunk editor approved the publication of a piece of anti-sex propaganda from a government stooge) by publishing a rebuttal from Amnesty International  featuring those stupid things called “facts”.  It’s too late, Rolling Stone; you’ve flushed whatever credibility you had down the anti-sex toilet.  But maybe you can reinvent yourself as a magazine for fascist bootlickers and authoritarian apologists.

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Tracy’s community…turned away from her in an inane focus on protecting the look of the gates rather than the garden that thrives beyond them.  –  Maya Yonika

Couples David & Jenni Heckendorf

A disabled Australian couple gets help from a sex worker:

…a…fall had long-lasting consequences on Jenni’s health generally and on our sex lives.  Her prolonged and mostly unsuccessful recovery resulted in Jen having further reduced mobility in and out of bed.  It meant we had to take extreme care not to touch or bump her foot…We tried different toys and different positions without joy.  Two years after the fall we were at a point where we had to make a decision to either give up on enjoying sex or to investigate the possibility of allowing a third person into our bed…we arranged for sex worker, Joanne, to begin working with us.  With each visit we had to remind ourselves that she wasn’t there to make “love” to us.  Rather, in the same way that our support staff ensure that we remain in good physical health – by showering, feeding, and dressing us – Joanne helps us to maintain good sexual health…we successfully approached the ACT government to extend the funding of our disability care support to cover these conjugal support services.  In December 2015, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) agreed that, in our situation, a modest allowance for conjugal support service would be reasonable and necessary…

Lack of Evidence

It appears to me that the cops have no actual evidence:

A North Augusta [South Carolina] woman has been arrested on multiple charges of Prostitution.  Kristen Perry…was arrested [April 6th and]…is facing 21 charges of Sex/Prostitution 1st Offense.  She is accused of placing ads on Backpage.com between December 2015 and February 2016 offering sex for money…The ads contained sexually suggestive photos and language…The ads were accompanied by a phone number confirmed to belong to Perry…The IP address from which the ads were posted was traced back to her residence…

A good lawyer should be able to beat this easily; if anyone knows her please ask her to call me (email me for the number).  I definitely want to help her if possible.  Arresting escorts based solely on ads is an extremely dangerous precedent that cannot be allowed to stand.

Where Are the Victims?

There weren’t any actual victims, but we just have to cage people, because SEEWEEUSS UFFENSE!

Chunjie Wang…of…Dublin…organised four brothels…for seven months..[in] 2011…Judge Melanie Greally noted the case did not involve the trafficking or exploitation of prostitutes…but…said the seriousness of the offence meant a custodial sentence was unavoidable and sentenced Wang to 18 months imprisonment…

It Looks Good On Paper

Adult sex trafficking victims who get caught working as prostitutes could receive immunity from prostitution under a new Nebraska law…Nebraska already provides legal immunity to juvenile sex trafficking victims…”  Except that as I’ve explained many times, these laws are nothing but Potemkin villages, empty legal husks designed to please the ignorant while actually sparing virtually nobody from the injustice system:

…Wisconsin…advocacy groups…want to pass what is known as “safe harbor” legislation, which prohibits prosecuting individuals under 18 for prostitution…Republican legislators who fear it will hinder law enforcement’s ability to intervene and help trafficking victims…Minors can complete a program or other requirements in exchange for a dismissal of the charge, or they can admit to charges but assert they were being trafficked at the time…Proponents believe that by refusing to prosecute minors, law enforcement will be able to establish trust and gain access to information that will allow them to more successfully prosecute traffickers…Custody may also be necessary to ensure the child does not return to his or her trafficker…

Translation of that last part: “Authorities” want to be able to lock up minors indefinitely and subject them to coercive interrogation tactics in order to prosecute others in their place.

Big Sister

The Swedish model is based in xenophobia, and it shows in rhetoric designed to rationalize its failure:

Ever greater numbers of tourists in Iceland…are feeding into the market for prostitution…Snorri Birgisson of the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police [pretends] “It is usually foreigners visiting Iceland for a short time”…It is [fantasized] that prostitutes who come to Iceland are “managed” by somebody and transported from country to country…

The Last Shall Be First 

One battle in the bathroom wars has just ended.  Or maybe a truce has been hammered out for the time being.  The U.S. 4th Circuit Court has ruled in favor of a female-to-male trans student who was banned from using his school’s boys bathroom…the…Court, whose rulings also cover North Carolina (site of a contentious new law covering similar issues)…has ordered the lower court to hear his discrimination lawsuit…Go here to read recent Reason musings on North Carolina’s new bathroom law…I’m willing to bet the farm that even within a few years, if not sooner, we will all look back on the absolute panic evinced over the issue of unisex bathrooms and wonder just what the fuck we were all smoking…

Above the Law  

Roanoke [Virginia cop Francisco Alberto Duarte] is awaiting trial on a felony count of forcible sodomy“, and in Louisiana, “A Calcasieu Parish sheriff’s deputy has been fired [and criminally charged] after he was accused of inappropriately touching a woman…Cody Onxley…called the woman and went to her house under false pretenses.

Broken Record

Farm machinery causes “sex trafficking”!

…[cops] have also found victims at this year’s National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and expect to find others at the Kentucky Derby…traffickers…stay mobile, moving victims from city to city to major sporting and entertainment events…truckers are getting the word out through the national campaign Truckers Against Trafficking, with an event this weekend at the Kentucky Exposition Center…the truckers…are in a position to spot victims at convenience stores and truck stops, popular spots for traffickers…

Under Every Bed

It’s weirdly fascinating to watch small cities insist that they’re just as infested with bogeymen and imaginary victims as cities with much larger populations:

…slavery…still exists.  Even in Spokane.  The reasons for this, [prohibitionists pretend], include Washington having an international border and a large seaport [and] many diverse immigrant communities…Because of the I-90 corridor, Spokane gets a lot of traffic and homeless in the area…former madam Cheryl Larson [lied that]…one girl could make $10,000 in a weekend during Bloomsday…

Note the racism, interstate highway nonsense and outlandish claims about income.  That article ends with an appeal for amateur surveillance, as does this one:

…[Cops] in Springfield say the western Massachusetts city is beginning to see a noticeable rise in human trafficking…Jamie Bruno spoke before the Springfield Violence Prevention Task Force…to [pretend] that human trafficking has become a problem in the city and is expanding…Bruno says it’s pivotal that parents are aware of what their children are doing with friends…

Business As Usual

I smell a rat.  What probably happened here is that some cop raped a sex worker in a particularly violent and/or loathsome way and they’re trying to paper it over with a “policy”:

…Cleveland Police have been told to temporarily stop making prostitution arrests…[because] the Department is suddenly developing a new policy.  The memo says, “All prostitution (sex for money) related Vice enforcement shall cease immediately…Advise your Detectives under no circumstances shall they have a suspected prostitute get into a vehicle with them or have any physical contact with…Police…We are formulating a policy that will cover procedures for these types of details”…

Remember, the actual policies don’t make a difference because even when raping whores is expressly forbidden, cops just do it anyway and then claim they didn’t.

All-Purpose Excuse

It’s especially good for money grabs:

Nine hundred police officers have taken part in a raid on one of Germany’s biggest brothels in Berlin, making six arrests over alleged human trafficking and tax fraud.  The operation follows months of investigation into the Artemis brothel…[whose] managers are accused of evading some €17.5m (£14m; $19.7m) in social security payments since 2006.  Prosecutors allege that staff at Artemis were forced to pretend to be self-employed to avoid the payments…

In case you’re bad at math, that’s 150 cops per arrest, ten times the number NOPD used to arrest me.

The Face of Trafficking

What a large-scale, organized forced prostitution scheme actually looks like:

In a case involving 75 female victims, Syrian women who were promised well-paid jobs in restaurants and hotels in Lebanon were locked up upon arrival in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution.  Some of the women reported being forced to have sex with up to 20 clients a day, and those that refused to work as prostitutes were repeatedly raped and tortured until they submitted…On March 27, Lebanese security forces raided the hotels, detaining eight guards and setting the women free from the Chez Maurice and Silver Hotel in Maamelteine.  The three-story Chez Maurice had the look of a prison, with bars on the balconies and windows, and a whip lying visible on one of the guards’ tables.  The health ministry has also sealed a clinic belonging to gynecologist Riad al-Alam, who authorities say performed abortions for the trafficked women who got pregnant.  The women have said they were not allowed to leave the clinic except to have an abortion…

Remember, fetishists pretend this sort of thing is common worldwide, even where there isn’t social chaos precipitated by war.

Size Matters (#619)

An excellent essay on the Tracy Elise case:

…Five years ago, Tracy was…the [focus] of a six-month long undercover prostitution investigation of what was then known as the Tantric Temple of Phoenix Arizona.  [Cops] fully armed with riot gear and machine guns, raided the space and arrested Elise along with several other women…Tracy was thrown into jail without trial for the following two years, her bail set at a million dollars…Tracy’s case is inexorably woven into some of the most pressing and cutthroat social biases of our day when it come to sex and relationship.  These biases hold us so powerfully within their grip that if one so much appears to cross the line, we’re perfectly content to quietly dismiss a woman like Tracy while she faces a potentially lifelong jail sentence…the…need to belong innately necessitates an “other”… that thing that separates “me” from “them”…as news of the Phoenix raids came to light, the bulk of western Tantrics, in order to uphold their personal ideals and image, turned away from Tracy and her case.  A woman who calls herself a “Tantric master” even spoke out against Tracy on a major news channel in her effort to “protect Tantra’s name”…

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There are no good numbers on where the problem exists in the first place.  –  Emily Deruy

Cyrano going to the MoonThe most fascinating and infuriating thing about belief is its ability to sustain itself by feeding on nothing other than pure faith.  No matter how little evidence there is for the existence of the cherished notion; no matter how egregiously it violates all the laws of nature, human behavior and math; no matter how ludicrous the very premise is; and no matter how many of its supporting tenets are debunked, the belief just keeps on going, held aloft by nothing other than the feelings it engenders in its adherents.  The “sex trafficking” cult is certainly no exception; its adherents gather together on lawns and highway ramps, engage in their sacred rituals like getting dressed and making paper airplanes, and mumble their profession of faith over and over again.  Cult leaders invent new nonsense “statistics” all the time, but the rank and file just content themselves with reciting the old ones like Ave Marias on a rosary and making obeisance to their sacred 13 totem.  The fact that the cops and “rescue” groups they revere can’t produce even a minuscule fraction of the millions of “victims” who crowd their lurid myths merely strengthens their faith; like Biblical literalists searching for the remains of Noah’s Ark they continue their quixotic crusades to find victims and “pimps”, and they’re never daunted by the fact that the few who turn up aren’t actually very much like the characters in their scriptures.

As I’ve reported over the past few years, the number of public figures who recognize “sex trafficking” as the moral panic it is has been slowly growing over the past couple of years, and responsible journalists like the Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler now routinely debunk the “trafficking” cult’s dogma.  But apparently, Emily Deruy of The Atlantic is not among their number; she just keeps on believing like it’s 2012 and the hysteria is still at its apex, Saint Somaly Mam has not been dethroned, the gypsy whores myth is still unquestioned and “victims” are still being claimed to have dozens or scores of clients a day.  And all this despite the fact that a simple Google search (or a search of The Atlantic’s own archives) would’ve revealed the truth about these fairy tales in mere minutes; here, Emily, let me show you an example, featuring one myth you prominently featured.  The best part?  She quotes it right below mentioning the arch-prohibitionist Polaris Project, who themselves deny the myth on their own website.  Other than that embarrassing oversight, the rest of the article is a pretty typical example of parrot-the-cops, cut-and-paste stenographic journalism of the sort one might find in any local advertising rag, albeit without the sentence fragments and idiosyncratic punctuation; the fact that it’s in a major magazine just underscores how much of a cancer this hysteria has become.

There’s one really interesting thing about the article, though it requires a bit of reading between the lines.  It’s visible in Deruy’s closing line (which appears as today’s epigram) and also in the lede: “Authorities…are finding it increasingly difficult to identify victims and perpetrators of sex trafficking.”  Deruy dutifully repeats the claims of Nevada cops and “rescue” groups, which as I’ve pointed out before are among the most aggressively stupid in the country on this subject, but in fact the inability to find “victims and perpetrators of sex trafficking” isn’t confined to Reno, or even to Nevada; it applies to the entire US, and the reason is simple:  the “sex trafficking” gravy train is the victim of its own outrageous success.  When the panic was young, cultists and cops alike could pretend that there were thousands of “victims” and “pimps” just ripe for the picking in every city, “hub” and hamlet from sea to shining sea, if only the cops had enough money and the populace had enough “awareness” of the “signs of trafficking” to catch them.  But after years of panic and hundreds of millions flushed down the “anti-trafficking” toilet, this is the typical “trafficking” bust:

The Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Task Force reports a busy time during its recent prostitution crackdown prior to Super Bowl 50…42 potential human trafficking victims were contacted during the three weeks leading up to the big game…More than half of the victims were put in direct contact with an advocate or support group and…the task force arrested or cited 30…alleged clients of possible prostitutes…one “girl” was arrested for prostitution and resisting arrest…another “girl” was cited for prostitution…four people were cited for aiding in prostitution, two were cited for loitering with intent for prostitution, one potential victim disclosed other sex crimes and kidnapping, and two human trafficking cases involved a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old from Sacramento which resulted in a human trafficking arrest…one arrest for violation of a domestic violence restraining order and three arrests for other warrants…

Vast amounts of hype, blanketing an entire metropolis with pigs, spooks and g-men, millions wasted, thousands of words of anti-whore propaganda bloviated out, and for what?  21 women were given a phone number, 30 guys were tricked by cops with fake ads, two adult and two underage sex workers were arrested, six other people were arrested on bullshit charges, and four people arrested on warrants.  The other 21 women were essentially just made up; “potential trafficking victims”?  Really?  Yeah, well every sex worker in the Bay Area is a potential police brutality and police rape victim, but I don’t see them counting that statistic.  The one “human trafficking arrest” was for a slightly-older friend of the 17-year-old; in other words she was defined as a “trafficker” because underage sex work is defined as “trafficking”, whether there is coercion or not.  Note how scarce this story is on details; they need some wriggle room so as to redefine this into “86 trafficking arrests” later on.  But even when there are details, they fail to substantiate the narrative:

I read through a case file that…details the ordeal of a 15-year-old girl, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression, who ran away from her home…[and] soon crossed paths with a man and a woman who lured her to a hotel room. She was photographed and a classified ad, promoting her availability, was posted…men continued to show up at the hotel room, night after night, for nearly a week, until finally her mother was able to find her and secure her freedom…

A mentally ill runaway, found inside a week.  Not a happy teen abducted from her happy home and spirited into the underworld, never to be found again; even the number of clients per day, though probably still exaggerated, is “as many as 11”, a paltry number compared to the grandiose claims common from 2012 to 2014 before they started dropping last year.  And even that is a rare case; this type of report is far more common:

A missing 14-year-old girl from [the Montreal area], who was feared by her mother to have been recruited into a prostitution ring, has been found safe and sound…The girl disappeared Feb. 1 from the group home where she’d been living for the past few weeks…the girl’s  mother…said she…had reason to fear the teenager may have joined a gang or a prostitution ring in Ontario…Police would not say where the girl was, or whom she was with, when they found her…

ghost girlsNaturally they wouldn’t say, but you can bet they’d have been crowing had they “rescued” her from anybody they could’ve remotely pretended was a “pimp”.  After 12 years of panic, thousands of ruined lives, scores of new and even more tyrannical laws, badly-eroded civil liberties and unscrupulous liars enriched on tax dollars and donations from well-meaning naifs, what do the “trafficking victim” hunters have to show for their efforts?  “Potential victims”, jailed sex workers, runaways with hysterical parents, and a few petty thugs.  Yeah, Emily, it’s true that “authorities” can’t find any “victims” to rescue or villains to prosecute.  But it isn’t because “online social media has formed a beautiful platform for trafficking”, or because “pimps” are “experts at evading authorities“, or because “victims…[are] reluctant to say anything negative“, or because “pimps move victims from city to city“, or because “casinos and hotels gain customers from the practice“, or because “pimps are retreating from public view behind apps and websites“; it’s because this whole machinery of deceit, surveillance, violence and incarceration was constructed to battle a phantasm, a constellation of people, organizations and events who never existed in the forms “sex trafficking” cultists so fervently wish to believe they do.

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I support sex workers because I was one…it’s a job that’s needlessly shunned by society when frankly we should be worshiped.  –  Margaret Cho

Where Are the Protests? 

Note that absolutely none of the “human trafficking” cases mentioned in this story involve prostitution:

…the West Midlands branch of Hope for Justice has rescued 82 people so far this year.  Many of those were unknown to police…few cases of modern slavery have gone through the criminal justice system.  Only 130 cases that involved human trafficking were successfully prosecuted in 2014-15, representing just one prosecution for every 100…victims [claimed by fetishists]…

That last statement is roughly equivalent to my claiming to be a millionaire, but the bank will only let me have 1% of my money.

Higher Education

A website which purported to connect students with internships in every industry functioned in that manner for five years, from June of 2010.  But at some point after August 1st of this year, the site was taken over by some sort of scammer who planned to use it to exploit wannabe sex workers by offering to “teach them the trade” via an “internship program”.  In other words, a crooked escort service or group of services was trying to trick newbie whores into working for them for free.  Once the sex worker community got ahold of the link and started tweeting it around, the site vanished at some point in the last few days.

The More the Better Margaret Cho

She’s been all over Twitter since, interacting with and following outspoken sex workers:

Margaret Cho…opened up about her former life as a sex worker to her thousands of Twitter followers Thursday, saying of herself and her fellow sex workers: “we were tough and proud…Sex work is simply work.  For me it was honest work.  I was a sex worker when I was young.  It was hard but well paid.  There’s no shame in it”…

Scapegoats

[Connecticut] resident Timothy T. Cutcher denies having sex with dogs or any of his relatives.  However, the 23-year-old man told the Reflector it’s true he’s addicted to sex…Cutcher said he’s “borderline mentally disabled”…

No, it isn’t true, because there is no such thing as “sex addiction”.

Above the Law 

A few hundred down, tens of thousands to go:

…In a yearlong investigation of sexual misconduct by U.S. law enforcement, The Associated Press uncovered about 1,000 officers who lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sodomy and other sexual assault; sex crimes that included possession of child pornography; or sexual misconduct such as propositioning citizens or having consensual but prohibited on-duty intercourse.  The number is unquestionably an undercount because it represents only those officers whose licenses to work in law enforcement were revoked, and not all states take such action.  California and New York — with several of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies — offered no records because they have no statewide system to decertify officers for misconduct.  And even among states that provided records, some reported no officers removed for sexual misdeeds even though cases were identified via news stories or court records…

Yellow Fever

Alison Bass on the yellow journalism which permeates coverage of sex work:

When it comes to the coverage of sex work or trafficking, the mainstream media seems to forget a basic journalistic principle — the need to get their facts straight…anti-trafficking groups have spread grossly inaccurate and inflated statistics about the number of women and children being trafficked for paid sex in the United States…[Gloria] Steinem…points to the Nordic Model “as being the only system that seems to work for women in the trade.”  In fact, the opposite is true…sex workers themselves say that the…decriminalized model that New Zealand adopted in 2003 is a much more successful approach…why [do] otherwise respectable media drop their journalistic standards when reporting on the sex trade…Is it because they’re so desperate to be politically correct…or is it because the mere mention of women’s sexuality sends normally methodical journalists into a tizzy of sensationalistic misinformation?…

The Lion and the Ox

As I predicted almost 4 year ago, we’ve now reached the point where a mainstream publication can feature an article like this:

…”Trafficking”…is less a clear-cut crime than a call to moral panic.  The vagueness of the definition allows or even encourages governments, organizations, and researchers to claim that there are tens of millions of trafficking victims worldwide on the basis of little more than hyperbolic guesses…the term “sex trafficking”…seems to have been developed by anti-prostitution feminists in the 1990sto describe the migration of women from the collapsing Soviet Union to the United States…Obama also uses the term to refer to children pressed into military service and agricultural laborers forced to work under poor conditions or without pay…the term…often is used to refer to cases in which there is no migration at all…in practice, trafficking does not mean “modern-day slavery.”  Nor does it mean being transported across borders for purposes of sexual exploitation.  Instead, it usually refers to one or more of the following:  being underage and selling sex; illegally immigrating; being subjected to any kind of forced labor or abusive labor practices; engaging in consensual sex work…

Capricious Lusts

The author of this piece fails to link the relevant statistics, so even though what he’s saying is generally true in essence, there’s no way to know if the correlation is as close and unmistakable as is claimed here:

…In October of 2014 the Seattle police department implemented the “Buyer Beware” program…he rate of rape shot up 150% compared to October 2013.  November 2014 the rate of rape shot up 225% compared to November 2013.  December 2014 the rate of rape shot up 80% compared to December 2013.  Statistics for 2015 are not yet available…The rape rate from January 2013 to September 2013 compared to the rape rate from January 2014 to September 2014 were nearly identical with the rate in 2014 being up a slight 4% for the nine month period.  Once the “Buyer Beware” program was implemented in October and the correlating jump in rape for the final three months of 2014, the final three months of 2014 compared to the final three months of 2013, the rape rate was up 151%.   That brought the year over year rate up 28%…

Coming and Going (#335)

Here’s a long, thorough look at Kathryn Griffin and her “prostitution diversion” scam in Houston:

…Griffin is currently under fire from sex worker and human rights advocates who say her tough-love, one-size-fits-all approach is flawed and fails to respect basic human dignity.  People who are arrested for prostitution are not necessarily poor and dependent on drugs, and so-called “rescue-and-recovery” operations that lump sex workers in with victims of sex trafficking have lead to human rights abuses across the globe.  Many activists say Griffin’s habit of thrusting her clients into the limelight…isn’t just manipulative, it’s dangerous…Kamylla claims she never offered [an undercover cop] sexual intercourse, but she could not afford a lawyer.  She called [the 8 Minutes] team…and…asked if they could help her with legal representation.  Instead of connecting Kamylla with an attorney, they connected her with…Griffin…At the time, Adrian Garcia was the sheriff of Houston, and in April he resigned to run for mayor of Houston.  Sex worker activists began connecting the dots on social media.  It turned out that Griffin has Garcia to thank for her program in the Houston jail, along with its $40,000 annual budget.  The activists dug up photos of Griffin and Garcia appearing in public together and were outraged to discover via social media that Griffin’s We’ve Been There Done That participants, many of whom were once held in Garcia’s jail, were asked to volunteer for Garcia’s campaign, and posed with him for photos wearing their organization’s T-shirt.  “Adrian Garcia is basically arresting himself this little army of free labor,” [said] one activist…Sex worker activists obtained audio recordings from some of the meetings that Kamylla attended, and the content made them furious.  In one recording, which is posted on YouTube, Griffin insists that a criminal is a criminal, and criminals hurt people, so even anyone who has “prostituted” even “one time” must admit that they share common ground with rapists and even Charles Manson…

Business As Usual (#442)

She declined the officer’s request“.  Badge-lickers are nauseatingly obsequious, even when they’re talking about a savage would-be rapist:

A shocking video…captures the moment a [cop] brutally beats a mother on the street after “she refused to perform a sex act on him”.  In the clip, Weerasinghe Arachchilage Kanthilatha, a sex worker from Ratnapuara, Sri Lanka, is seen being struck repeatedly…She can be heard screaming out in pain as she lies on the ground…[P.P. Thissera] threatened to “teach her a lesson” before returning a few days later and attacking her with [his] baton.  The incident occurred in September 2014 and caused a public outcry…Kanthilatha and her lawyer have filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court, citing violation of her rights…

Guinea Pigs 

Yet another software package designed to sell whores out to the cops:

A San Diego State University professor and graduate student have developed [software]…that they believe could help law enforcement identify human trafficking victims…[it] can browse though thousands of Internet ads for “escorts” and finding potential victims through certain key words, phrases or other indicators….Murray Jennex…said the knowledge management system he and graduate student Marisa Hultgren developed could be a potential tool for [targeting sex workers for arrest]…“We’re looking for things that indicate young people,” Jennex said. “Things like, ‘Barely legal, fresh, college freshman”…The system they developed also searches for indicators that a person is being confined, such as ads that stipulate in-calls only, meaning a client must come to a specific place.  The system also searches for signs that a victim is being moved from town to town…Posts that suggest an escort is “open minded” and “willing to try anything” also could indicate somebody is being coerced by a trafficker…

So basically sex workers in their early twenties, or who don’t have cars, or who tour, or who do fetish work, are all “trafficking victims”.  The ignorance involved here is truly staggering.

The Face of Trafficking (#567)

Another case of what really happens when a wannabe “pimp” abducts a girl:

An East Bay rapper has been charged with human trafficking and sexually abusing a minor over a period of several weeks, and could spend the next 20 years in prison if convicted.  Joshua Richard Durham…goes by the stage name “Five Hunnet”…Police started investigating the case after the alleged victim — a female runaway who is [16] years old — told her family that Durham had been soliciting her…from Aug. 1 through Aug. 11…[and again] from Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 Durham continued to traffic the girl…and also forced her to perform oral sex on him during that time…

As usual: no cartel, no interstate travel, and victim got away in a very short time. This is absolutely nothing like the myths.  The story has one horrifying element, though: “Some of his lyrics contain references to pimping, and members of the District Attorney’s Office reportedly instructed…police to listen to Durham’s lyrics for potential evidence…”  Can you imagine what crimes the pigs could discover “evidence” for in my fiction?

Here’s what Tara Burns had to say about another highly-publicized recent case:

The public hears about trafficking most frequently in made-up, sensational movies and fundraising tall tales…Did you think sex trafficking was people being forced into prostitution?  That hardly ever happens — if for no other reason than that the customers would freak out…in #TheStory, which Zola has clarified is “based on a true story“, sex trafficking happened when Jessica lied and told her they were just going to dance and the guy was just her roommate (fraud in recruitment).  Women like Zola have been charged with conspiracy to traffick just for posting ads on the Internet…Sex trafficking in real life and the courtroom is so different from sex trafficking on TV that no one even recognizes it…

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Any act that would not be illegal if no money changed hands is not a crime just because money changes hands.  –  Mistress Matisse

R.I.P. Grace Bellavue Grace Bellavue

The prominent Australian sex worker and activist, Grace Bellavue, died on Sunday.  I’m told she wrote her own obituary some time ago, and I’ll publish it in its entirety as soon as it can be located; in the meantime, this profile  and this account of how she came out to her family may give you some vague idea of what this extraordinary woman – one of the first in Australia to risk legal and social consequences by showing her face as an activist – was like, and why she will be sorely missed.

Rough Trade 

A King County Superior Court judge sentenced [Christopher Beck] to 33 1/3 years in prison…for raping three women — two of them sex workers — over 15 days in March 2014…should he be released, Beck will be required to register as a sex offender for life…defense attorney Walt Peale said…each victim “contributed significantly to the crime being committed” by engaging in illegal sex work…[in reality] Beck is a serial rapist who terrorized women he specifically targeted because he thought they wouldn’t report the rapes to police and if they did, that no one would believe them…Beck didn’t pay any of the women…

Profit from Panic 

Listed below are job openings in non-profit organizations and for-profit (FP) companies that are fighting human trafficking.”  I’m sure it won’t surprise you to see that most of them are in either PR or finance.

The Public Eye

Here’s a profile of Denver’s Domina Elle:

I like to call myself an adult play facilitator.  The type of work I do is much broader than just BDSM or fetishistic type stuff.  I specialize in helping people to open this part of their sexual selves, and be playful and creative.  That’s one reason I love balloons.  It’s a very friendly catalyst.  It’s erotic and playful, and yet it’s not as scary as some of the other stuff when you start looking at BDSM…

Cuckoo Advertising

Uber-sleaze Dennis Hof is another master of tricking gullible reporters into printing his ads for free as “news items”:

…the owner of Nevada’s Bunny Ranch…announced a new perk for his…employees:  He will match their student loan payments 100% for two months, up to the amount they make as prostitutes at the ranch.  Brothel owner Dennis Hof says he was inspired by the growing number of debt-laden college students he’s seen turning to sex work as a fast way to pay off their loans.  His offer covers payments for education at any two- or four-year university…

The Privilege Paradigm

I’m part of a nascent but growing movement within the left to question the efficacy of current left political and rhetorical tactics, particularly concerning the privilege frame…[it] is a deeply limited way to look at the world, and at times it leads to perverse consequences.  To see the way in which they can really screw up political analysis, check out this Daily Kos piece by Shaun King…The question for people like King…is whether or not they really want to oppose mass incarceration and our current police state.  Because that edifice is so powerful, and so deeply embedded into our system, that it will take a genuinely unified front to oppose it.  That means not siding with the police…What’s the priority?  Scoring the purely rhetorical point of identifying privilege?  Or actually transforming the system that hurts so many poor people and people of color?

Frequently Told Lies

Eithne Crow explains the problems with common responses to prohibitionist propaganda:

When someone is telling you that you don’t know your own life or your own experiences, that you don’t know what you do or don’t consent to, and they’re making no attempt to hide their revulsion – asking invasive questions and telling you that you’re damaged and a liar and a victim – it’s hard to keep it all together.  The implication that we’re dirty, disgusting and desperate draws on a narrative so firmly established, institutionalised and legitimised by nearly everything in our culture that sometimes it’s hard to keep swimming against the tide…I still see these narratives of empowerment versus exploitation being perpetuated all over the place. and I think we need to start saying to each other: “I see you, and I understand that your back’s against the wall and that’s really hard, but when we’re trying to demand rights and you say ‘I like my job’, what does that mean for people who don’t?”…

Another Fine Mess

No, Rhode Island didn’t “accidentally” decriminalize prostitution.  But maybe Georgia did:

In Georgia, it is an absolute defense to a charge of prostitution that the defendant was being sexually trafficked….but the law is so broad that virtually any…prostitute can make a credible claim to being trafficked.  Coercion can mean threats of “bodily harm,” but it can also mean “threatening to expose… information… that if revealed would tend to subject to…. ridicule,” “providing a controlled substance,” or “threatening financial harm.”  So a prostitute who accepts crack cocaine…meets all the elements of the statute…Or let’s say a prostitute…asks the john for $40, and the john declines, saying it will be either $30 or nothing.  Now there’s a threat of financial harm.  Deception is even broader.  It can include promising a benefit…then not delivering.  Or “[c]reating or confirming another’s impression of an existing fact or past event which is false and which the accused knows or believes to be false”…Arguably, [this] might even apply to police officers making undercover busts…

Little Boxes (#504)

It looks like the “cuddlers” are competing with masseuses to see who can come up with the most pompous rationalizations of why they aren’t sex workers:

…To help [pretend that it’s]…an…industry with no connection to prostitution, the therapeutic massage industry emphasizes training and certification.  Most states have massage therapy licensing boards that regulate practitioners. To obtain a license typically takes at least 500 hours of supervised, in-class training…Such requirements help reinforce the [notion] that massage therapy is a skilled discipline practiced by experienced professionals who possess genuine medical knowledge and hard-to-acquire skills…Along with the training costs, some states or municipalities impose additional fees [and legal restrictions] on therapeutic massage businesses…But if professional cuddling attempts to go this route, an obvious issue arises.  “There’s only so much information you can give on teaching cuddling versus massage,” says Evan Carp…

Guinea Pigs Female Head with biometric facial map

Note Facebook’s half-assed “correction” near the bottom of the original:

…New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Facebook engineers will help his office use “innovative data and analytical methods” to combat online child sex operations…Facebook declined to further provide details, but a likely guess is the project will draw on Facebook’s massive database of “faceprints” to identify victims who appear in the sex ads…law enforcement agencies could cross-check images of their faces to discover their identities—and possibly pictures of the people who are controlling them…

What Were You All Waiting For?

Another pro-decrim article, this one quoting Mistress Matisse:

…In August, Amnesty International voted that the best policy to protect sex workers is the full decriminalization of consensual sex work…the recommendation…served as a mainstream wake-up call about the dangers of the current legislation in the U.S…Current laws regarding sex work can be seen as the criminalization of an exchange between consenting adults.  However, Nevada is currently the only state in the U.S. that allows for the legal exchange of sexual service, legalizing prostitution in regulated brothels (as opposed to decriminalization, as argued for by most sex work activists)…

The Face of Trafficking (#567)

This is what really happens when a wannabe “pimp” abducts a girl:

[On October 5th, Alabama] Police received a call from family members of a 14-year-old saying she wasn’t where she was supposed to be and was missing.  Moments later, an anonymous caller told police a girl about that same age was being used as a prostitute inside a residence…“After talking with the parties there, we located the juvenile,” explained Tuscumbia Police Chief Tony Logan…[he] said there were drugs and money exchanged to have sexual contact with the 14-year-old girl in a back bedroom…Rashard Ricks, has been charged with human trafficking…Jerrin Donley is charged with rape…

Broken Record (#575) 

The descent of “sex trafficking” hysteria into self-parody continues unabated:

…The New Colossus is a…group in Sioux Falls that raises awareness about…human trafficking…[they] say here in South Dakota there’s two times a year when there’s a spike in trafficking – during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and the [pheasant] hunting season….[which] brings the problem into rural communities…[Polly] Dean says some of the girls being trafficked…are from reservations in the state, but also from places like Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee.  While people will be keeping an eye out for birds…The New Colossus want everyone to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity as well…Some of the things people should look for are women who appear in multiple locations…

That’s right, women moving around in public (instead of staying in the home, presumably) are inherently suspicious.

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