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Posts Tagged ‘The Scarlet Letter’

Prostitution is that it is one of the few remaining areas of public legislation which is based almost entirely on private morality.  –  Ian O’Doherty

The Scarlet Letter

Interesting how these “experts” don’t criticize “john shaming” when cops & politicians do it:

[Ohio busybodies have]…created a website…where residents can share pictures of men who pick up prostitutes in the area…the site’s creator…[hypocritically] wants to remain anonymous.  He says they are hoping that by exposing “Johns,” the men, the prostitutes and the drug dealers will stay away from their neighborhoods…Law experts…warn there’s evidence that shaming criminals doesn’t stop them from committing crimes.  Instead, they say it often angers them and motivates additional criminal behavior.

Profanation Rural Beauty

A fascinating article on the slow decline of the devadasis in Indian society:

…There was a time when the prostitute was celebrated.  The most beautiful woman in the city was not allowed to marry.  She became the city-bride (nagar-vadhu). She was allowed to choose a lover, but not restrict herself to one…We hear of…courtesans in ancient Hindu, Buddhist and Jain literature.  Known as ganikas, they lived independent lives…In time, these ganikas came to be attached to temples.  They became wives of the enshrined deities, who never get widowed, and who loved all men as containers of the divine seed.  These were the devadasis.  Their images inspired the carvings of beautiful women on temple walls.  They challenged the old monastic orders.  They were part of temple rituals.  But eventually, the priests and the monks stripped the devadasi of her independence and her agency.  Slowly, she was answerable to the men in positions of power…If not attached to a temple, the woman who sold pleasure for a fee became part of a king or nawab’s court, or a community to entertainers, the nats…In a feudal society, that looked down on trade and commerce, that created hierarchy based on purity of vocations, and gender, she was clearly at the bottom.  What little agency she had was taken away from her, first by colonial administrators and later by puritanical freedom fighters, who modelled themselves on monks of yore…

Saving Them From Themselves

If your reason for warning people against a consensual act is that they could face criminal charges, the problem is with the laws, not the act:

The Mexican government has teamed up with several children’s rights organizations to launch a nationwide campaign against “sexting”…The…campaign…has triggered a debate between government officials and internet rights NGOs on whether the practice leads to so-called “sextortion”…and “revenge porn”…the campaign…[is] overly “paternalistic” while laying out a “prohibitionist” strategy…[officials warn] sexting involving minors may be classified as child pornography and can therefore be punishable with up to 7 to 12 years of jail time…The Network in Defense of Digital Rights (R3D) have criticized the anti-sexting campaign for supposedly framing the practice as a “moral problem” while reflecting a “reduced vision of sexuality and its free exercise”…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now 

I’d normally file this one under “Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through“, but this feisty old dude clearly did think it through; he just isn’t afraid of the cops and their stupid shaming tactics:

A 90-year-old man was arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute…Nicholas Salerno of Dennis Port [Massachusetts] paid a local woman $100 [for at outcall] in June…[but] noticed a necklace missing after the woman used a bathroom in his home.  He reported the theft to police, who informed Salerno that he would be charged with soliciting a prostitute.  “I don’t give a [fuck].  I’m 90 years old,” Salerno told officers…The woman, later identified as 48-year-old Karen Proia, was charged with larceny and prostitution…

The Widening Gyre

This unsupported and hysterical assertion reeks of racism:

The trafficking of Nigerian women from Libya to Italy by boat is reaching “crisis” levels, with traffickers using migrant reception centres as holding pens for women who are then collected and forced into prostitution across Europe, the UN’s International Office for Migration (IOM) warns…More than 80% of these women will be trafficked into prostitution…[fantasized] Simona Moscarelli, [prohibitionist propagandist] at the IOM.  “Our indicators are the majority of these women are being deliberately brought in for sexual exploitation purposes.  There has been a big enhancement of criminal gangs and trafficking networks engaging in the sexual exploitation of younger and younger Nigerian girls”…Nigerian women who are entering Italy among migrants on boats from Libya should be immediately…treated as trafficking victims.  Instead of being processed in reception centres, they should be [locked up and brainwashed]…she said…

Gingerbread House

“Secure unit” = “prison”.  Because female sexual “purity” trumps individual rights:

A 16 year old girl who is at high risk of being sexually exploited by men requires to be placed in a secure unit for troubled teenagers, the High Court has heard…the girl had a history of drug and alcohol taking and had been seen in the company of older men as well as getting into cars with different men.  Both her father and those [guarding] her [for the state] had reported the teenager at times having been in possession of relatively large amounts of cash, the source of which she would not reveal and which could not be ascertained…the Child and Family Agency had secured a temporary High Court order allowing it to [imprison] the girl…in a secure unit for troubled girls under 18…the girl had a history of absconding, initially from her family home and then from where she had been [confined] by the Agency…She had refused to fully engage with social workers or avail of counselling services…there were serious concerns about being vulnerable to sexual exploitation…

The Course of a Disease (#510)

Ian O’Doherty with another denunciation of prohibition in Ireland:

…The reality, for anyone who has ever bothered to listen to prostitutes rather than merely lecture them on their moral failings, is that they are like everyone else – they want to be left alone to conduct their business in safety but that safety can never be guaranteed when the participants are automatically criminalised.  But even taking into account the rights or wrongs of the arguments in favour of legalisation, there is one major point which nobody wants to accept – it’s simply nobody else’s business…Even if you removed all the reasons for objection; even if you stopped all trafficking and ensured that all sex workers loved their job and were friends with the clients, the likes of Ruhama would never support it because of their moral judgment…

Moving Pictures 

“Sex trafficking” may be the first truly global moral panic:

Not My Life…is [an] Oscar-nominated film [about] the hidden international industry of human slavery…initially commissioned by Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime…How accountable are traffickers in Argentina?  According to the US State Department…“Argentina is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor.  Argentine women and children, including many from rural areas or northern provinces, are forced into prostitution within the country”…

Welcome to the Future (#587)

It looks like the cops in Northern Ireland are gaining confidence in the prohibitionists’ ability to stall Laura Lee’s challenge to the Swedish model:

The PSNI has arrested six men suspected of buying sex and passed files on a total of 10 men to the Public Prosecution Service…In November the PSNI said that despite making two arrests it had decided not to seek prosecutions – for an unspecified period – in order to “allow time for understanding and awareness” of the new law…Solicitor Ciarán Moynagh, who is representing sex worker Laura Lee in her legal challenge against the new law, said the 10 referrals to the PPS show that the police had insufficient evidence to achieve an overnight charge or standard 28-day charge to court.  “It will be interesting to see whether charges ever arise and if so what type of evidence supports the case,” he added…The PSNI Human Trafficking Unit screened 252 people for trafficking in 2015/16 and recovered 59 potential victims…

“Recovered” is a euphemism for “arrested”.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#630) 

“Sex addiction” is now being used as a defense even for violent sex offenders:

An Army medic charged in his wife’s death will spend over two years in prison after being court-martialed for possessing child pornography and soliciting payment for sex.  Michael Walker pleaded guilty…to solicitation and not guilty to possession of child pornography…Walker said in court that he placed advertisements in September 2014 and was paid for sex multiple times…Defense attorneys argued pornographic images and videos of children found on Walker’s computer were dumped there in a massive file transfer.  They say prosecutors did not prove Walker was the person who accessed the files.  An attorney pushed for leniency, saying Walker is seeking sex addiction treatment…[he] was indicted in November on charges of aiding and abetting and conspiring to commit first-degree murder.  He faces a January trial in civilian court.

One Born Every Minute (#645) Matt Hickey screenshot 8-8-16 at 11.11 AM

Here’s Sydney Brownstone with an update on a sleazy rapist:

…Matt Hickey, the Seattle-based tech journalist recently accused by multiple women of rape and posing as a female porn recruiter online, put out a call [on FetLife] for “sluts” in Las Vegas who are into “being naked, drinking booze, and having fun”…[Hickey, whose FetLife handle is]…4eyez…[said he’s] “going to be living in Vegas for the next few months doing some research”…Hickey…[confirmed via text] that he is…the 4eyez account…[which has since] been deactivated or removed from the site.

Still a Child (#646) 

Louisiana politicians destroy the jobs of scores of women with the stroke of a pen.  To “protect” them, of course:

When a state law banning exotic dancers under 21 was passed, many believed some of the ones already performing at strip clubs would be grandfathered into the law…But state police [decided] that will not happen.  Dancers under 21 have until Oct. 1 to get offstage.  State troopers met with club managers [to threaten them]…If club owners are found with dancers under 21, penalties are strict…[politicians pretend] the move will ultimately reduce human trafficking and drug and alcohol abuse…Police [pretend] an undercover sting is something they want to avoid doing, but would go that route if a club is in violation.

A Procrustean Bed (#661)

Prosecutors claim that sex workers are both victims and criminals simultaneously:

Under California law, anyone under age 18 who is engaged in prostitution is considered a sex-trafficking victim, regardless of whether any force or coercion is involved.  Yet teens in the sex trade can also be charged under state law with committing prostitution.  California legislators are trying to change this…but the measure has run into opposition from law enforcement officials, who say that arresting victims is integral to saving them…the California District Attorneys Association, which says that without the threat of criminal sanctions, victims won’t have enough incentive to testify against people the state would like to lock-up as pimps…

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The criminalisation of sex workers should…end.  –  MP Keith Vaz

Japanese Prostitution

I’d be a lot more inclined to believe this as reported if A) it were in a more credible publication than the LA Times; and B) it didn’t quote a “sex trafficking” NGO:

Japan’s pornography industry has come under greater scrutiny after Tokyo Metro Police arrested executives of a well-known talent agency on suspicion of coercing an actress to engage in sex on camera.  Human rights groups had been calling for action for months.  Police announced…they had arrested the president of Marks Japan and two others on suspicion that they forced a woman into appearing in adult films by threatening to punish her financially…the Tokyo-based advocacy group Human Rights Now issued a report…charging that Japan’s pornography industry…violated the human rights of women and girls by blackmailing them…into work they didn’t want to do.  Shihoko Fujiwara…of…Lighthouse: Center for Human Trafficking Victims, said…her group had received more than 100 complaints regarding forced participation in porn — and that the industry uses tactics similar to human traffickers…

Reaction Formation ElSurveillance

This guy claims to be “religious”, so he’s spending a lot of time gawking at escort websites & then defacing them:

A religiously-motivated hacker using the title “ElSurveillance” has defaced nearly 40 websites that offer escort services and claims to be on the verge of leaking data on 100,000 registered users…ElSurveillance, who claims on social media to be from Morocco…asserted…”I strongly believe that our bodies are gifted from Allah (God) to us to look after and not to destroy.  I always hated the idea of people selling their bodies for money which it gives a chance for the escort agencies to take advantage of these people who are in need”…

License to Rape

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

…police in South Dakota have resorted to using catheters to extract urine samples from uncooperative [DUI] suspects.  This procedure, while endorsed by the state’s top prosecutor, has been decried by critics as a potential violation of suspects’ constitutional rights…police performing the procedure don’t even anesthetize them beforehand…Courtney Bowie, legal director for ACLU South Dakota[said]…“It would be completely improper for people to place a catheter on an individual of the opposite gender…That would border on an unlawful assault, battery or rape.”

The cops are practicing medicine without a license, literally shoving tubes up people’s genitals, and the most the ACLU will say is that it’s a “potential” violation that “borders” on assault or rape, but only if the attacker were of the opposite sex.  Because obviously, rapists never rape victims of their own sex, and even if they did it would be “proper”.

The Proper Study

This actually looks like a fairly decent study, but I can’t help being amused by the reporter’s apparent belief that many clients being married is some kind of surprise:

Almost half of men who paid for sex are in a relationship, including marriage…a quarter earned more than €60,000 a year…The findings are based on an online survey of 446 men as well as a smaller number of face-to-face interviews…the vast majority of respondents used the services of internet-advertised “escorts”…46.1% said they had bought sex a few times a year while almost 31% said they paid for sex once or twice a month.  Just under 3% said they paid for sex every week.  While some men reported paying for sex due to lack of self-confidence and shyness around women, others said…“they were living in ‘sexless’ or ‘loveless’ marriages with no physical contact, or because their relationship with their partners had broken down…Some respondents stated that sex with a sex worker is the easier, but also a ‘more honest’ and safer option than affairs or one-night stands…They worry about the possible negative effects of selling sex and state that they would not pay for sex with somebody who appears coerced or forced.  This constitutes a stark contradiction to the image painted in the public discourse…where clients are described as sexual predators who do not care whether the person they pay for sex is an independent sex worker or a victim of trafficking.”

Surplus Women 

And her police record is important…why, exactly?

…Anchorage police found [Jacqueline] Goodwin’s body in a Subaru after it crashed into a light pole…they charged the driver…Benjamin Wilkins, with murder, kidnapping, sexual assault, tampering with evidence and DUI…they…don’t know how long Wilkins had been driving around with the body…Goodwin’s past was riddled with…convictions related to drugs and prostitution…Wilkins…has a history of charges for driving violations…

A False Dichotomy (The Beat Goes On)

You’d think that Australian journalists would have the sense to go to Scarlet Alliance for commentary on sex work, but you’d be wrong; they lap up the noxious idiocy vomited out by “rescue” fetishists, just as they do in the US:

Dan…[is] an undercover rescue worker, searching for underage girls and trafficking victims…we talk of the girls he has seen rescued and the men who travel to Thailand to purchase them…research has shown Australian men to be among the largest contributors to sex tourism in southeast Asia…“These men…they’ve all got the same story…They think coming to Thailand for sex is going to fill a void in their lives…then they realise that the lifestyle they’ve chosen is empty and meaningless”…It’s easy to understand the emotional toll that such work takes on rescue workers…like Dan…“When we first meet…[the girls] they hate themselves…these girls were raped and abused”…Dan feels deeply for each of these girls, and his voice is often drenched with emotion as he talks about the damage done to young women at the hands of men looking to satisfy their own lust…“The more men that have had sex with them, the harder it is and the less worth they feel”…Dan can’t help but feel sadness for the men he meets…“They’re hurting men, they’re lost men, they’re men who’ve made decisions that have set them on a path of destruction”…Dan…understands that sex tourists need help to overcome their addictions — which in some cases, are killing them…

Boo hoo hoo, the clients are victims too!  And the “rescue” fetishists!  We’re ALL victims of evil, evil sex!

The Widening Gyre

Ever wonder where all those supposed “sex trafficking victims” are?

Due to the NYPD not updating their missing person’s list, City Councilman Andy King of The Bronx [negligently claimed] that 14 Bronx girls were missing since July of 2014 and [fantasized] that they were smuggled into a prostitution ring.  NYPD and family members of the formerly missing girls came forward and stared that 11 of the 14 girls had been found or had returned home…publications like the Daily News and New York Magazine, ran with the story without verifying the details…

The Scarlet Letter (#576) Susan Kang Schroeder

Why does a publication named Vice insist on publishing so much twisted, ignorant, anti-whore propaganda?  This collection of prohibitionist lies, mostly from a prosecutor, reads like something one would find on a prohibitionist website:

Susan Kang Schroeder, prosecutor…for…Orange County [California, vomits out all kind of disgusting filth and writer Cole Kazdin eagerly licked it up]…public shaming is part of a larger program to prosecute sex trafficking…by limiting the supply of men willing to purchase sex…Southern California…draws a lot of sex traffickers…Most prostitutes…have a pimp and are trafficked.  Very few are working as free agents…Some traffickers have social media pages…and they complain to each other, posting, “Don’t go to Orange County, they have a task force”…Schroeder says decriminalization…would backfire because then the DA wouldn’t be able to go after the traffickers.  She says that many men who traffic women over 18 also have underage girls they force to work for them…Some of the girls are as young as 13…some have been “branded” by the men who traffic them: their names are tattooed on the girls’ faces…

Can’t you just hear Schroeder’s Hitachi going while she recounts her sick fantasies?  Someone needs to be locked up, shamed, and put on a “sex offender” registry, all right, but it isn’t sex workers’ clients; it’s perverts like Schroeder.  And please, Ms. Kazdin, if there are “sex traffickers” with social media pages, please share them; I for one would love to see that.

The Course of a Disease (#637) 

This is not “decriminalization” as some sources are reporting; note that it still leaves the door open for the horror of client criminalization.  But I’m cautiously optimistic, as the committee rejected a lot of prohibitionist lies out of hand:

The criminalisation of sex workers in England and Wales should come to an end, a cross-party committee of influential MPs has recommended…the home affairs select committee…said the Home Office should immediately change existing legislation so that soliciting is no longer an offence and brothel-keeping laws allow sex workers to share premises…the Home Office should legislate to delete previous convictions and cautions for prostitution from the record of sex workers, to make it easier for them to move into other forms of work should they wish to do so.  It added, however, that those who use brothels to control or exploit sex workers should continue to be prosecuted.  With regards to changing the laws on buying sex, the inquiry will continue, and the committee will seek further evidence on the impacts of recently introduced laws in Northern Ireland and France, as well the model of regulation used in New Zealand…

To Molest and Rape 

If this is the way cops treat other cops, what hope do whores have?

In a lawsuit…Miami-Dade Police Officer Krystal Spence says her supervisor…Anthony Collins…routinely made lewd comments to her, grabbed her face multiple times and kissed her, followed her into the women’s bathroom, emailed Spence’s mother asking to date her daughter, and at one point trapped her in his office and touched her [vulva]…as early as 2011, she told her sergeant, Terry Williams, that Collins was making her feel uncomfortable.  Williams “never addressed the situation”…Instead, she claims the harassment only got worse…On November 1, 2014, Spence says the incident was reported to the department’s Professional Compliance Bureau — Spence claims Internal Affairs told her “not to discuss the case”…[and] actively tried to “undermine” her complaint…in order to prevent [her] from contacting the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission or trying to sue…

In Texas, the victims of rapist cops are at least offered food, if not actual help:

According to a pending lawsuit, a woman who was sexually assaulted by a La Joya [Texas cop] while in custody was offered a taco instead of medical assistance after his supervisors watched the surveillance video….after “Autumn Renee” was booked and brought to her cell, [Felipe Santiago Peralez III] “began an all-night invasion” of her body…Peralez assaulted [her] for hours with his fingers and hands…[orally raped] her…and left her with severe bruises.  According to a report from the Texas Rangers, Peralez is seen “engaging” with the victim 49 times while she was in custody…Peñitas [cop] Elizabeth Garza…tried to silence the victim with threats, telling her that “she should forget all about the incident and go on with her life, because ‘people come up missing all the time in the valley’.”  Peralez was arrested a year later, after Texas Ranger Robert Garcia got wind of the assault and got his hands on the incriminating surveillance video…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

It’s good to see all this coming out, but I hope people don’t get the idea that this is unique to Oakland:

Rory Keller-Dean, [a sex worker] who was trying to keep her boyfriend’s car from being impounded, said…she was forced to perform oral sex on [Gary] Romero and six other Oakland [pigs].  “I thought I was gonna be dead.  I thought they were gonna kill me…But then he hands me the keys to the Cadillac and tells me goodbye and not to say a damn thing.”  Keller-Dean, who sued and was awarded $350,000 by the city, said that night in 1997 started two years of forced sex with Romero while he was on duty.  In 2002, after the settlement, then Deputy City Attorney Barbara Parker said the city’s internal investigation corroborated many of Keller-Dean’s claims.  Romero denied the allegations throughout, calling the sex consensual.  Although she has tried to put her past behind her, Keller-Dean decided to share her story to support Celeste Guap…

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[Louisiana] has rendered consent…into an utterly meaningless concept.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Social Autoimmune Disorder

Remember when busybodies actually had to spy on people in person?

CCTV cameras have been installed to catch kerb crawlers at a notorious prostitution hot spot in Southall…Hounslow Council has teamed up with police to crack down on kerb crawlers…attempting to pay for sex around Hayes Road…Warning letters have been sent to 63 kerb crawlers frequenting Hayes Road, who were identified from their licence plates.  The council [pretends] it is targeting the potential customers as part of efforts to safeguard women involved in prostitution, some of whom are believed to be trafficking victims…

Is there any sane person with a three-digit IQ who actually believes that the best way to “safeguard” someone is to starve her and render her homeless?

The Scarlet Letter

In the US media, “sex trafficking” is now just a dysphemism for “sex work”:

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has a [masturbatory fantasy about] men who buy sex.  “This is a shameful, dirty secret that they hope to keep,” he [salivated], “… resulting in children that are being subjected to sex trafficking, adults being trapped in slavery”…So-called “john-shaming” isn’t a new concept.  Cities have shamed for years, but to varying results.  With the internet, it’s a little easier now to [indulge in due-process free shaming]…Caroline Lasecki…of Outagamie County’s task force…said her views on publicly identifying johns changed after she sat in on multiple stings and saw how frequently the purchasers of commercial sex ended up being men with wives and children…”That’s what made me have a change in heart — thinking of how this would publicly humiliate their spouses or their children,” said Lasecki…”Most communities that have done this keep doing it,” said [Swanee Hunt’s lapdog] Michael Shively, a [data-fabricator] whose [public dole]-funded site, Demand Forum, [disseminates “end demand” propaganda]…

Uncommon Sense

It’s so funny to watch prudes’ heads explode over something so banal:

a Swiss firm…plans to offer oral sex to customers while they wait for their lattes…Bradley Charvet of Facegirl, an escort agency based in Geneva…wants to add something extra to sex trade in Switzerland…Charvet envisages male patrons ordering coffee and sex workers from the menu, with the entire transaction lasting 10 minutes and costing 60 Swiss francs (€55), making the coffee the most expensive in the city.  Representatives of anti-prostitution groups have expressed their concern with the proposed café.  Grégoire Théry, who represents the French organisation “Mouvement du Nid” said that the business, which would see men choosing sex worker from a list on an iPad, effectively decriminalises pimping…

Gingerbread House

Religious fanatics isolate women they hate and denigrate at a remote cabin in order to brainwash them; state and reporters think this is perfectly OK:

Rick and Pat Freeland have [isolated] hundreds of troubled girls and women at their log cabin refuge deep in the Rocky Mountains…they will only take two victims…at a time…[women labeled as] survivors of sex trafficking can be among the most difficult crime victims to [brainwash], often resisting [“help”], refusing to see themselves as victims and returning to their traffickers…they can be smart, manipulative and deceptive…to…anyone who tries to [force them into brainwashing in the guise of] help…The Freelands’ sprawling home could hold more but “as damaged as they are, it just doesn’t work”…The average age of girls drawn into the U.S. commercial sex industry is 12 years, according to the Department of Justice…The couple receive women and girls who have been [remanded] from an array of organizations and agencies…Sex trafficking may include prostitution, pornography, exotic dancing, stripping and live sex shows…Pat Freeland described the trafficking victims she has met as chameleons, skilled at acting and saying what is needed to survive….untangling the…tentacles of their traffickers is painstaking work…

What will future historians make of the sick culture that produced this twisted, dehumanizing belief system?

Paint By Numbers 

Just do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, and declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”.  Stupid people will believe you and give you money:

From the time it took you to read this sentence, a young girl vanished from her home…as a slave in the sex trade…there are more human slaves in existence today than at any other point in the history of the world…The A21 campaign…[fantasizes] that only 1-2% of victims will ever be rescued…A Los Angeles-based non-profit has found a unique way to help trafficking victims heal…She Is uses the power of dance and movement as a form of therapy to empower women to know they are loved and valued and deserve to be treated with respect…the organization is set to release a documentary about the work they do…with their dance workshops.  The team have launched an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign which has a couple of weeks left to raise $35,000 to finish the production…

First They Came for the Hookers…(#421)

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you:

Phoenix police served a search warrant…to a strip club under suspicion for prostitution.  The Sunset Strip…was raided by police around 7 a.m…[damaging] parts of the building and…[shutting] down University Avenue [and other nearby businesses] for some time…at least five people were [detained] and questioned by police.  None of them appeared to be underage, officers said.  No word on how many people were officially arrested or if the owner will face charges.

Cooties

Please reread my teaser from the item above:

For two weeks, Arianna Travaglini…tried to book an Airbnb rental for an upcoming trip to Baltimore…but hosts weren’t responding to her messages.  When she clicked the “Instant Book” button, she kept getting error messages…[then] she received an email notifying her that her account had been disabled…[without] explanation…But Travaglini thinks she knows why she’d been banned: She does sex work under the persona Andre Shakti, and the two names can be easily linked with a quick online search…Travaglini has used Airbnb for over two years, under her legal name, and says she’s only ever gotten positive reviews from her hosts.  “I have always used the website for leisure, vacation-related travel—never worked out of the location, never advertised that my other persona was going to be at the location,” she said.  Travaglini also emphasizes that the sex work she does is strictly legal—she performs in pornography and works as a dominatrix…But again, never at an Airbnb rental…

Guinea Pigs 

Ladies, please stop putting hotel-room selfies in your ads immediately:

Molly Hackett…and…Jane Quinn…worked with a development team involving Washington University to roll out a new free smart phone app called Traffick Cam.  It’s designed to allow the public to help police [arrest sex workers]…The app allows hotel guests to enter information about where they’re staying, including the hotel name and room number.  They can also upload four pictures of their room…Quinn said, “Try to capture the pictures or lamps or other décor items”…[pigs] across the U.S. can then cross-reference with hotel photos [in sex workers’ ads]…to see if there are any similarities using…image analysis…The hope is the app will cut down on the amount of time police need to try and [arrest a sex worker before she leaves the hotel]…To date, the app has more than one million hotel photos…

Most of the “sex trafficking apps” we’ve seen before have been little other than silly wankery or ways to snitch to cops without dialing a phone.  But this one is a means of enlisting useful idiot to build a mass surveillance database, and as such threatens the liberty and privacy of millions who have never sold sex.

Full of Themselves (#535)

What is it about massage parlors that brings the puritans out of the woodwork?

The [Rhode Island] General Assembly has passed legislation…that enables…municipalities to regulate unlicensed massage parlors and services within its borders in response to illegal sex trafficking operations disguised as massage parlors…“Pawtucket cannot be a safe haven for businesses involved in sex-trafficking,” [bloviated]  Representative Tobon…“This legislation will protect the children and families of Pawtucket, it will protect the victims of sex-trafficking trapped in these businesses…I have heard from hundreds of massage therapists who want a clearer distinction between their legitimate massage businesses and…massage parlors who have brought ill-repute to the industry…I am confident that this legislation will [magically] end the…exploitation of women”…

These politicians are so full of hot air, I’d love to see one popped with a pin.

Signs

I often wonder what fraction of people who spout this rubbish are actually stupid enough to believe it:

Many of the 28 hotels in…Jacksonville [North Carolina] are now [collaborating with the pigs]…which caused the number of…arrests to rise…Prostitution and human trafficking go hand-in-hand with many other illegal activities…Sgt. Dale Silance…[oinked that] prostitution…doesn’t always look like it does on television…Mug shots of Jacksonville arrestees were compared with Julia Roberts…It’s a red flag if there are too many people going in and out of one room…A woman…at [one]…hotel…was overly…friendly with the staff and guests…red flag actions included guests who ask to visit room 112 but only know the woman as “Velvet” or “Cupcake,” Silance said to the [apelike hooting] of others in the room…Refusing maid service for days on end could be a clue that something is transpiring that the occupants of that room prefer to keep hidden from hotel view.  “If they don’t want you in their room, normally there’s something going on,” Silance [belched]…

So friendliness and a desire for privacy are now “signs” of “sex trafficking”.

Sexual Predators (#637)

Cops are “excited and jazzed up” to trick people and destroy their lives:

…the Ramsey County [Minnesota] attorney’s office has trained more than 3,000 [cops and bureaucrats]…in [turning consensual sex into] sex-trafficking cases and [sex workers into] victims…“These officers right now, they are really excited and jazzed up about doing john stings and doing everything they can to ensure that they have the [politically correct] mindset in dealing with [sex workers]”…Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said…“This is about [forcibly classifying sex workers as] victims of human trafficking,” said St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell…

To Molest and Rape 

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever:

The Orangeburg County [South Carolina] Sheriff’s Office has fired a deputy after…he [orally raped her under threat of arresting her boyfriend]…the woman reported the incident to 911 immediately after it happened on June 12…the deputy was one of two who responded to a domestic violence call…involving the woman and her boyfriend.  As the boyfriend was outside with the other deputy in a patrol car, the accused deputy…forced her into a back bedroom, where he [raped her]…Sheriff Leroy Ravenell…has not…released [the rapist’s name]…

Amazing how hard it is for reporters to use a simple word like “rape”.  And since the sheriff is hiding this rapist’s identity, I’m sure he won’t mind if I post his picture in place of the rapist’s.

Still a Child (#646) 

A “sex trafficking” fetishist told a bunch of Louisiana politicians “that the state’s I-10 and I-20 corridors are pipelines for human trafficking and there is still legislative work to be done in order to diminish this criminal enterprise.”  But rather than take the necessary step of shutting down these dangerous “pipelines” to protect The ChildrenTM, the state decided to create EVEN MORE “children” to “protect”:

…What the new law actually does is declare all 18- to 20-year-old sex workers as de facto trafficking victims, even if they’re working 100 percent willingly and independently…anyone who works with or helps young-adult sex workers—a friend who gives them a ride, escort agency owners, other sex workers, and their clients—[is]…guilty of the crime of human trafficking.  And not knowing the age of the “victim” is no defense.  Those convicted must register as sex offenders and spend a minimum of 15 years in prison.  The law, which takes effect August 1, allows for a maximum sentence of up to 50 years…The law not only declares young people’s agency inauthentic and their consent null, it [also declares] mens rea…utterly meaningless.  It doesn’t matter if you have gotten explicit consent.  It doesn’t matter if the person you’re paying is an adult woman.  The state has decided that you are a human trafficker, and that’s that…

IOW, because I had employees in that age range, my home state has just retroactively declared me a “sex trafficker” worthy of decades in prison and a lifetime of “sex offender” registration.  Is this enough yet?  Can we stop this insanity now?

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Anything with “sex” in the vicinity will gather news crews like pyros to a dumpster fire.  –  Tim Cushing

Puritan shamingIt’s probably almost impossible for anyone under the age of 30 or so to conceive of how different the United States I grew up in was from the US of today.  That’s true in many ways and on many levels, but for right now I just want to look at one of them: the way Americans have lost so many of the gains made in the so-called Sexual Revolution, and returned to a Puritanism more vicious and repressive than we’ve experienced in centuries.  Because while it’s absolutely true that sexual variation is recognized and tolerated to a much greater degree than it has been for most of this country’s history, it is equally true that the moralists and censors now have far more terrifying tools of surveillance and a greater capacity to inflict violence than those possessed by any of their spiritual ancestors since the Dawn of Man.  And while people who were shamed or persecuted for their sexual behavior in the past might be able to pull up stakes and start a new life somewhere else where nobody knew them, in the Information Age every transgression is eternal and indelible;  furthermore, self-appointed guardians of the public morals are always looking for new ways to ensure that absolutely no one can escape their snooping or whatever scarlet letters they’ve been branded with.

Fortunately, a growing number of journalists have begun to awaken to the presence of the black pall that has descended over what was once described as “The Land of the Free”, and while it’s much too late for those who have already joined the obscenely-long roll call of victims of the Anti-Sex police state, recognition of a problem is the first step toward solving it.  The pendulum must eventually swing the other way, and perhaps articles like this one from The Week are among the first signs that we’re reaching the top of the arc:

…It is…remarkable how deranged so many of us seem to become as soon as sex is invoked in a public dispute…moralistic grandstanding drives public argument and policymaking when it comes to sex.  The porn panic...is a prominent example.  But it’s hardly the only one…

We’ll come back to that article presently, but let’s look for a minute at what The Atlantic had to say about the most egregious example of that porn panic, Utah’s recent embrace of Gail Dines’ crypto-moralistic scheme to disguise a Puritanical censorship regime in “public health” rhetoric:

…Gail Dines…wrote a column that spread widely: “Is Porn Immoral? That Doesn’t Matter: It’s a Public-Health Crisis”.  The divisive proclamation was occasioned by a bill passed last month in Utah…[which itself solipsistically] traces back to Dines…In 2013, Dines traveled to Reykjavik, where she met with Iceland’s Ministers of health and welfare amid [the] country’s campaign to ban pornography.  The move would have put the liberal state…in the company of Saudi Arabia and the countries where gender disparities are greatest.  But it made sense to many as a matter of public health…

Regular readers will recognize this sentence as the product of a mind befuddled by the “left-right” fallacy; a totalitarian state is a totalitarian state, and Iceland’s carceral “feminism” is as much a religion as Saudi Arabia’s Islam.  But I digress:

…In 2015, [Dines] returned her focus to the U.S., relaunching an advocacy group based in Boston with the new mission to “eradicate porn’s harms because porn has quickly escalated into an overlooked public health crisis”…at an anti-pornography summit…she reached an unlikely confederate, a Republican state senator from Utah named Todd Weiler…[who’s in league with] a Utah-based group called Fight the New Drug…The group denies a formal affiliation with the Mormon church, though…its founders are all Mormon, and its facts rely on claims from Mormon author Donald Hilton’s He Restoreth My Soul…

Again, there’s absolutely nothing “unlikely” about an alliance between two anti-sex, pro-censorship ideologues who prefer to hide their moralism under bogus studies and cargo-cult “science”; it would be exceedingly unlikely for these two not to team up.  But for some reason many people are wedded to the ahistorical notion that evangelical feminists and evangelical Christians are “opposed” to one another, and they keep professing shock when the world fails to conform to their fantasies.  Anyhow, let’s return to that article from The Week:

…sexual assaults are being handled on college campuses…by  establishing offices to oversee the creation and enforcement of regulations…covering every imaginable form of sexual or quasi-sexual conduct, ensuring that in all cases such conduct conforms to legalistic norms of consent…The result is a supremely creepy combination of liberalism, Puritanism, and the infrastructure of a police state.  In addition to stifling free speech and the free exchange of ideas on campus, such regulations go well beyond punishing bad behavior to require a transformation in the way people relate to one another at an individual level.  Ruling common forms of flirtation and seduction out of bounds, they aim to remake romantic and sexual interactions on the model of contractual negotiations among business partners…

If you think he’s exaggerating there, take a look at this article from Reason:

Colorado State University-Pueblo [expelled] a male athlete…after he was [declared] responsible for sexually assaulting a female trainer…[who] never accused him of wrongdoing, and said repeatedly that their relationship was consensual.  She even stated, unambiguously, “I’m fine and I wasn’t raped”…The athlete’s lawsuit against CSUP…argues that the university not only deprived him of fundamental due process rights, but also denied sexual agency to an adult woman…The student-athlete, Grant Neal, has named the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights as a co-defendant.  OCR’s Title IX guidance…”encourages male gender bias and violation of due process right during sexual misconduct investigations”…Neal’s expulsion…stemmed from his…relationship with a female student and athletic trainer, Jane Doe…Sexual relationships between athletes and trainers are frowned upon…Neal [gave]…Doe a hickey…[which] was…noticed by another trainer, described as the “Complainant” in the lawsuit.  When confronted, Doe confessed to the Complainant that she and Dean had engaged in sex.  According to the lawsuit, the Complainant “presumed” this sex was nonconsensual, and reported it to the director of the athletic training program…Doe told another administrator, “Our stories are the same and he’s a good guy.  He’s not a rapist, he’s not a criminal, it’s not even worth any of this hoopla!”…[but] the predetermined outcome for Neal was a guilty verdict…

As I and other sex worker activists have repeatedly pointed out, a society which does not respect a woman’s “yes” cannot be trusted to respect her no either; the latter is demonstrated about twice a week in this blog, and the former is at the heart of the War on Whores:flush the johns

The criminal justice system theoretically operates on a presumption of innocence.  An arrest booking is hardly an indicator of guilt, but try telling that to millions of people who believe being accused is no different than being found guilty by a jury.  Everyone knows this presumption of guilt exists, despite it being wholly contrary to the basis of our justice system.  Cops know this best.  A high-profile bust is as good as a guilty verdict.  So it’s no surprise that they’ve increasingly turned to the greatest shaming mechanism known to man: the internet.  In a long, detailed and disturbing piece for the New Republic, Suzy Khimm examines law enforcement’s infatuation with harnessing the internet to prey upon the public’s continual presumption of guilt…Prostitution stings are a favorite.  You can easily tell it’s a victimless crime because none of the parties involved receive any privacy protections from law enforcement.  Being swept up in one of these stings means seeing your name and face splashed across a variety of news outlets while the fine print (“all arrestees are innocent until proven guilty”) is relegated to the end of the coverage, if it’s mentioned at all…This country’s Puritanical approach to sex has long been the focus of law enforcement shaming efforts.  It’s not enough to simply arrest and charge customers and sex workers. An effort must be made to uphold the stigma…

In the US, government at all levels has always been at war with human nature, including sex.  But as I said at the beginning, “authorities” now wield weapons beyond the wildest wanking fantasies of their Puritan forebears.  And if they aren’t stopped, those weapons will not be restricted to use against male sexuality of which “feminists” disapprove, nor even to just women who cater to or enjoy that sexuality; they will be turned to use against everyone, and by the time useful idiots like Gail Dines realize that means her as well, it will be much too late.

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When sexual minorities burned, we burned together.  –  Jillian Keenan

Aversions

It’s not just many pros who dislike oral sex; some amateurs don’t either:

…While 91 percent of women perform oral on their male partners, only 79 percent of men perform oral on their female partners.  But…the discrepancy…has a lot to do with the fact that some women just don’t want to receive oral sex…I had orgasms a handful of times while receiving oral sex, but considering how rare it had been over the years…I finally decided to come clean with my partners…

The author lists 11 reasons, of which I’m with her on 2-7 and 11.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

More “questionable” than being a vice cop?

A Seattle [cop] has been placed on paid leave [after]…he…was found, in his off-duty time, to be frequenting the Dancing Bare on Aurora Avenue…which was the target of a vice operation related to alleged prostitution activities…he…was not arrested and has not been accused of a crime.  He is under investigation after he was found to be “hanging around” the club and engaging in questionable conduct…

Cognitive Impairment tasteless Israeli sculpture

“Artists” claim that if a woman puts her phone number on a card, a fragment of her being is transferred to the card, and anything done to it happens to her.  I am not making this up:

…A 10-foot-high vagina sculpture was installed on a Tel Aviv thoroughfare…Artists Sasha Kurbatov and Vanane Borian crafted the giant vulva from cards that advertise sex work services.  A 50-foot trail of the same type of cards leads to the work…Hundreds of brothels operating illegally in Tel Aviv are reportedly responsible for the cards strewn about city sidewalks…“All the fragments of women that are on the floor, people are stepping on them, they see it, and there is no longer any value to it,” [said] Borian…”A woman simply loses all value and becomes an object, not even a complete object”…

But symbolizing the totality of a woman with a grotesque, cartoonish sculpture of a twat isn’t dehumanizing, no sirree.

The Scarlet Letter

A good, thorough article on the use of shaming tactics against sex workers’ clients:

…Tapping into the new power of the internet, along with our very old obsession with transgressive sex…officials hope to wield the fear of public judgment in the name of the public good, arguing that prostitution is linked to far more serious crimes than we ever thought.  But by taking punishment out of the hands of law enforcement and placing it in the hands of the public, whose emotions and reactions lie beyond their control, shaming campaigns can also be messy and unpredictable.  And the resulting stigma can last indefinitely…

The article pays especial attention to the horrendous “Flush the Johns” debacle.

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical 

So very many people completely bereft of the capacity for rational thought:

By buying a plush toy with a heart on it, Tampa mom Nicole O’Kelly unwittingly alerted predators that her little girl “is ready to be traded for sex”…correspondent Melanie Michael told viewers that the toy, a pink stuffed truck recently purchased at a Monster Jam event, “held a sick secret; a disgusting calling card for creeps. The heart on the toy was a symbol for pedophiles”…While presenting  no evidence whatsoever that the toy was made to be, or perceived as, some kind of secret signaling device, the reporter interviewed the toy-buying mom, who seemed as distraught as if her child had narrowly escaped a windowless van…Detective Anthony Bassone…said the hearts are used for girls while a separate symbol with triangles targets boys…

The Widening Gyre

The Facts“.  Seriously.

Just imagine…You’re glad to be home.  You crawl into bed and wrap yourself in your favorite blanket…Suddenly, a rustling in the next room jolts you awake…A bag is thrown over your head.  You’re carried away…No one knows where you are.  You have no hope of rescue.  You’ve vanished…The average age of a modern day slave is 12 years old…

These moronic tripe is full of “facts” like “traffickers profit $150 billion a year” though “the average price of a slave is less than that of a new cell phone”.  Obviously, these “facts” don’t include any math.

Worse Than I Thought

Keep in mind, all this requires is the “testimony” of a lying cop out to score arrests:

People who purchase illicit sex in South Carolina could soon be placed on the sex offender registry and pay stiffer fines…[blah blah “end demand”] the…bill…includes…stiffer consequences…for those soliciting sex from people who are “profoundly mentally disabled”…

This kind of tyranny is contagious; right next door in Georgia:

A bill…would go after the pimps and the people who pay for prostitution…It would…[make] solicitation a felony upon a second conviction…[and] put…twice-convicted customers on the state’s sex offender registry…

Want a good laugh? Look at the masthead of the TV station printing this bootlicking filth.

Checklist

There’s so very much stupidity here, but I guess the main thing is the “signs”:

Victims of human trafficking often can be the children in classrooms who frequently act up, who show abrupt changes in behavior and are picked up from school by a man who isn’t a family member…Rep. Ann Wagner [fantasized] that the victims are “hiding in plain sight”…St. Louis is one of the most active human trafficking locations in the country…schools are increasingly targets for recruitment…Students might wind up at a party with a friend whose boyfriend is a predator, or be enticed with expensive clothes or cellphones…”it could happen overnight,” said [“trafficking” fetishist] Jenee Littrell…It is estimated that at least 100,000 children across the United States are sexually exploited annually…But the real numbers may be significantly higher.  The average age of children who fall victim to human trafficking is 12 to 14 years old

Frequently Told Lies

It’s so good to see debunking spreading to the mainstream press:

…police do…dramatic busts…because of widely believed myths about sex work, which endlessly echo back and forth between policy and pop culture.  The politicians and activists who perpetuate these myths believe they’re saving people, but only through careful examination of the facts can governments begin to reduce the violence and marginalization that sex workers suffer.  Here are three myths in particular that impact legislation and enforcement (and help keep those harmful stereotypes alive in our heads).  Myth 1. The average age of entry into sex work is between 12 and 14…Myth 2….sex trafficking is the most common form of [coerced labor]…Myth 3. “Target the demand” works…

Feet of Clay (#416)extra-stupid kristof

The buffoonish Nick Kristof is up on his anti-Backpage hobby horse again, and as usual he’s not too concerned with the truth:

…we as a society are complicit…by allowing a popular website called Backpage.com to be used to arrange child rape…Backpage…has about 80 percent of the U.S. market for online sex ads in America, mostly for consenting adults but many also for women who are forcibly trafficked or for underage girls…Children in at least 47 states have been sold on Backpage…If there were a major American website openly selling heroin or anthrax, there would be an outcry.  Yet we Americans tolerate a site like Backpage.com that is regularly used to peddle children…

It’s interesting that Kristof mentioned anthrax, given his major role in destroying a man’s career over paranoid delusions about it.

Challenge (#615)

A legal bid to overturn the ban on paying for sex in Northern Ireland is being partly funded by an escort website.  Sex worker Laura Lee is leading the High Court challenge.  She was questioned about her financial support by members of the Home Affairs Committee…Ms Lee…said…”a lot of the sex workers that advertise on [Escort Ireland] put pressure on them to support me and said it was only fair, since they make money from the industry, that they should support my efforts of keeping our industry safe.”

Too Close To Home (#618)

Seattle Times‘ bootlicking editor Thanh Tan is at it again, characterizing my friends and me as heartless liars for countering her nauseating masturbatory fantasies about “sex slave children” with actual facts:

…Though no one knows exactly how much of the local sex trade involves consenting adults or coerced individuals, a 2008 study estimated hundreds of youths are bought and sold every night in the Seattle area.  In recent years, police and sheriff’s deputies…have shifted their focus…to targeting the patrons responsible for rising demand.  A coalition of sex workers and their allies have taken to social media recently to argue vehemently against this approach.  They say criminalization is unfair to them and their clients.  They are proud of what they do and reject a host of studies that have tried to estimate the age range and number of people being trafficked.  Most concerning is the tendency in some of these online tirades to downplay or ignore the widespread harm suffered within the same industry by far less-privileged people.  Disturbingly, there is a lack of compassion for the children getting caught or forced into the trade…

I do like the powerful graphic of a brutal, thuggish-looking cop standing guard over “rescued” sex workers; one can almost see him considering which woman he’s going to rape next.  Good work, Seattle Times!

Peeping Toms (#619)

Jillian Keenan schools ignoramus judges:

According to a new federal district court decision, the Constitution “does not prohibit the regulation of BDSM conduct.” In other words, the precedent implied by bans on anti-sodomy and anti-adultery laws—that adults have a constitutional right to freedom of noncommercial intimate conduct—doesn’t protect us…The court rejected the idea that Lawrence v. Texas might protect other sexual minorities…because “there is no basis to conclude that [BDSM]…is deeply rooted in … history.”  Excuse me?…BDSM, without question, has a “deeply rooted” history…there are references to BDSM throughout historical literature: Robert Dixon, Thomas Middleton, John Fletcher, and William Shakespeare all referred to sadomasochism in their work. A fresco from approximately 490 BC in the aptly-named Etruscan “Tomb of the Whipping” even depicts two men flogging a woman in an erotic context…the court…also argued that…because straights have long despised gay people, they have a special interest in legal protection…All consenting adults have the right to intimate lives that are free from government interference.  It’s a shame that the court refused to recognize that—and a shame that the ruling attempts to draw lines around Lawrence v. Texas to divide “protect[ed]”sexual minorities from unprotected ones.  Such divisions are, to steal the court’s language, not “deeply rooted” in history…

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Social policies do not have to be so dumb.  –  Laura Agustín

The Scarlet Letter

This article is so stupidly evil it’s almost fascinating:

A plan to publicly shame those who solicit sex with minors moved forward…with a draft ordinance covering Los Angeles County expected next week…Don Knabe has been pushing for a “shame campaign” since late last year…the…ordinance that would provide for the publication of names and booking photos of those convicted of soliciting prostitution or loitering with intent to solicit prostitution…Sheila Kuehl…questioned the practice of arresting people for loitering with intent, saying she thought the allegation amounted to “mind reading”…The Los Angeles Times editorial board, when Knabe first made his proposal, called the plan “anachronistic” and said it amounted to “sensationalism”…

Parable Kesha

Noah Berlatsky with another analogy for the absurdity of prohibition:

Should young women be allowed to enter the music industry?  That seems like a preposterous question.  But consider:  Kesha…filed a lawsuit against her former producer Dr. Luke…alleging that he had sexually, physically, and mentally abused her for a decade…Kesha’s lawsuit also alleges that Sony music refused to take steps to stop the abuse, and even covered up for it…The situation is not rare; producers and managers like Phil Spector and Ike Turner have physically and mentally abused their artists for years…Shouldn’t there be laws in place to prevent women from entering an industry such as this where they can be abused and harmed?  It should be clear why this is a bad idea.  Heavy-handed restrictions on women would hurt women, not protect them.  To make it illegal for women to be musicians and pop stars would be abusive and unfair in itself…And yet, when it comes to sex work, restricting women’s options in the name of “protecting” them is suddenly seen as reasonable, logical, and necessary…

Saving Them From Themselves

How many more kids’ lives have to be destroyed before we stop the cops?

Police in a Pennsylvania school district have charged at least three kids—one of them just 11 years old—with distributing sexually explicit pictures of other minors.  They…face juvenile detention, expulsion, and a variety of other life-altering consequences.  This is somehow in their best interests—and the interests of kids everywhere—authorities claim…The levelling of charges…should not be viewed as some low-cost precondition to keeping kids safe, but a horrible, life-derailing consequence in and of itself…But we live in a country where paranoid delusions about safety provide cover for police to enforce absurd laws that make life miserable for kids…

Surplus Women 

Kenyan police are investigating the murders of 10 women working as prostitutes, a record number of attacks in one month that has led to fears of a serial killer…campaigners have called on the government to legalise prostitution and offer proper protection to vulnerable women.  The police commander in the town of Nakuru, where four bodies were found, said an intense manhunt was under way…Hassan Barua said security had been improved in the area, but would not comment on whether one suspect was wanted for multiple murders…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

Because they are?

When the issue of sex workers in Thailand is brought up, any discussion is usually characterized with words of “exploitation”, “coercion”, and “human trafficking”.  However…Some…girls…[feel] that sex work [is] a means of emancipating themselves economically…A prevailing attitude…[is] that they feel better being paid for the sex they provide, rather than providing sex to a husband in a dead end relationship that they get nothing for.  This was most prevalent in those who had been married before…Some even talk about providing sex as helping clients with a basic need…What was most common with those sex workers who had been prudent financially, was a satisfaction with their career as a sex worker…

The Mother Learns From Her Children

Sex worker rights activists from around the world will join researchers and experts to present evidence to parliament in support of the decriminalisation of sex work.  The day-long symposium, organised by the English Collective of Prostitutes and hosted by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, is an opportunity for parliamentarians and the public to sidestep the charged emotion of international debates on the nature of sex work and hear crime-related, humanitarian, and public health analyses from leading academics and campaigners…The symposium will compare the outcomes of Sweden’s criminalisation of the buying of sex with the full decriminalisation model that has flourished in New Zealand…activists from Thailand, Taiwan, Canada and South Africa will explain how criminalisation, rescue and rehabilitation programs have affected sex workers there.  Rachel West, an American sex worker rights activist, will explore how a recent surge in anti-trafficking policing has disproportionately affected black sex workers and their clients…

The Lion and the Ox

Laura Agustín on the uselessness of the term “human trafficking”:

…There are young people now who have grown up surrounded by campaigning against trafficking, unaware there is conflict about how to define the term.  Some want to dedicate energy to combating what is figured as a modern social evil.  Some compare themselves with 19th-century anti-slavery advocates and feel outraged that anyone would question what they are doing…after…the idea of trafficking began its ascent…we who were interested in migration, sex work and labour policy realised it was useless for gaining equity or rights…the assumption is this human mobility to work is fomented by criminals who use force and coercion against their victims…Behind this over-simplification and over-focus on sex lie real social inequalities and oppressions:  migration policies that favour middle- and upper-class jobs, out-of-date notions of the formal economy and productive labour, young people who want to get away from home, job-seekers willing to take risks to make more money, laws that make commercial sex illegal, laws that make sweatshops illegal and…more.  To lump all this under a single term simply disappears the array of different situations, encourages reductionism and feeds into a moralistic agenda of Good and Evil…

King of the Hill (#421)

“The Harvard of sex trafficking” has now morphed into “The Harvard of pimp school”.  Or was it really the other way around?  Does it really matter, when both phrases are utterly ludicrous?

Milwaukee has become “the Harvard of pimp school” and Wisconsin is a hub of human trafficking, a [self-declared] expert has said in the wake of an FBI sting last month in which nine adolescents were [arrested]…meaning Milwaukee is tied with Las Vegas for the third highest number of young people [arrested]…Denver topped the list, with 20…and Detroit was next with 19.  Over the past four years, however, Milwaukee has consistently ranked among the top five cities in the nation for [arrests of underage sex workers]…

If Men Were Angels

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

A…Houston mother of two says she was raped in her hospital bed by a doctor…she reported the rape to nurses who responded with cold skepticism.  She had to wait nearly two years for police to collect the alleged attacker’s DNA and make an arrest.  And now…Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh…may get off scot-free in civil court.  And Texas law may entitle her to only modest compensation from Sheikh’s employer at the time of the rape, the prestigious Baylor College of Medicine…Baylor doctors staff Ben Taub, which is a public hospital owned by Harris County.  The doctor isn’t the only one who can deploy the “government unit” shield.  Baylor lawyers have successfully argued that the college itself can be construed as a government entity and is entitled to the same protections a county institution would enjoy…Baylor can argue it is immune to the claim altogether…and…the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that rape in some circumstances is covered by medical malpractice laws…Gillian Anderson looking stupid again

Acting and Activism (Traffic Updates) 

Anderson’s right at home in a movie based on ridiculous, exaggerated conspiracy theories:

Gillian Anderson wasn’t expecting to appear in the movie Sold.  The actress, known for her role on The X-Files, had initially been approached by…director Jeffrey Brown…about just being part of the film’s campaign.  She immediately said yes because she felt passionate about…sex trafficking…”High school students go missing and they are…forced into prostitution where there is violence and they don’t get paid for being a sex slave…And they get brainwashed into being a part of a community and they are terrified for their lives to escape”…

Safe Targets (#452)

Tara Burns, Maxine Doogan and two others on “sex trafficking” in Alaska:

…Last year a woman dialed 911 in Anchorage and reported that she had been a victim of sex trafficking.  When the [cops]…decided to follow up with her they…traveled to where she was working as an independent escort and…posed as a customer to book an appointment with her and meet her in a sexual context.  Then [they] placed her in handcuffs, threatened her with felony charges, and told her nobody would be able to “actually” love her as she was.  In response to a…complaint about this incident, the Department of Public Safety explained that this is a common “strategy of building rapport” with victims…

Vendetta (#518)

Oakland City Council Takes Stand Against Sex Workers“.  Seriously.

On October 20…[Oakland, California] endorsed…The “CEASE Network”…a project of Demand Abolition, a Boston-based program dedicated to “eradicating the illegal commercial sex industry” by going after “demand.”  That means targeting clients…Demand Abolition is a program of Hunt Alternatives, the foundation of Swanee Hunt…the daughter of…oil tycoon H.L. Hunt…The groups fund law enforcement and public media campaigns and advocate for stronger legal penalties…when police agencies and district attorneys broadly target demand, they end up wasting resources on arrests and prosecutions that further criminalize adult sex workers and their clients…the Demand Abolition approach…[threatens] marginalized workers in the sex industry.  That was a concern of government officials in San Francisco, which last year ended a brief partnership with Demand Abolition after facing a backlash from…sex workers…

End Demand (#576)

My friend Savannah Sly is quoted extensively in this article about the fascist BEST program:

…a new public-private coalition that aims to have sites like backpage.com blocked in…workplaces…free speech advocates and…sex workers…are critical of the BEST Employer Alliance’s methods, warning that it errors on the side of censorship and endangers sex workers…If third-party Web hosting were akin to aiding in criminal activity, then Facebook and Twitter would quickly cease to exist…By pressuring credit card companies to divest, and now by pressuring employers to block the site en masse, the anti-Backpage set hopes to slowly choke the site out of its users…Savannah Sly, the director of…SWOP…said…”This painting of all clients as pedophiles reminds me of how we use to paint all homosexual men as pedophiles…If you shut down Backpage adult listings…You’re denying thousands and thousands of workers who need money.  And if you shut down all of Backpage, you’re punishing hundreds of thousands of people who want access to roommate listings, sale items, general classifieds…all for the crimes of a very, very small few”…

In fact, I’m relatively sure she was riding in my car while giving this interview.

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If we believe what we’ve heard, the sight of a female breast, either inadvertent or deliberate, immediately transforms men into raving sexual predators who rush to the nearest restroom and kidnap children.
–  Bob Stephens

The Scarlet Letter

It looks like Vice is slowly ditching the anti-whore bullshit and supporting our rights:

…Montreal sex worker support group Stella…says that…law enforcement’s crackdown on johns forces sex workers into isolation.  An environment where clients are trying to avoid police means sex workers are more likely to meet up with johns in dangerous areas, or get into cars without properly negotiating their terms…Client shaming isn’t a new tactic:  In the US, police have taken to sharing johns’ mugshots on Facebook or with the media…or they…send them letters that would be opened by their loved ones…

Public Service Announcement Jud McMillin

Are politicians actually stupider than other people, or does it just seem that way?

The controversial House Majority Leader in Indiana…resigned suddenly on Tuesday after a sexually compromising video was sent to all of the people on his “Contacts” list…After news of the mass-texting began to circulate, Representative Jud McMillin (R) claimed that his “phone was stolen in Canada and out of my control for about 24 hours. I have just been able to reactivate it under my control. Please disregard any messages you received recently. I am truly sorry for anything offensive you may have received.”  But his…defense apparently didn’t convince many of his “Contacts”…and so Tuesday night he released a statement in which he said that the “time is right for me to pass the torch and spend more time with my family”…McMillin has crusaded to “protect the integrity of the institution of marriage,” but the Advocate reported that the woman on the video he texted was not, in fact, his wife…

Scapegoats 

Are the sex rays produced by bestiality different from other sex rays?

[A Queensland] woman who was filmed having sex with a dog is appealing her conviction after she lost her blue card to work with children.  The woman…answered a Craigslist ad in 2013 from a man looking for a woman willing to perform sex acts online.  The pair had ­intercourse and she briefly had sex with the man’s dog…She pleaded guilty to bestia­lity…and received two years’ probation…the Queensland Court of Appeal was…told the conviction should not be recorded because it was manifestly excessive…

End Demand

The term for a symbiotic relationship between government and big business is “fascism”.

…[Members of] Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking (BEST)…have agreed to block websites where sex is advertised, update personnel policies and make it clear to employees that [their private sex lives are subject to their employers’ control]…King County…[and] the city of Seattle [are]…founding member[s]…With an estimated 27,000 buyers soliciting online sex through 130 different websites in King County every day, it wasn’t hard to deduce that a sizable number were likely on the clock and using work phones and computers to browse ads and connect with women and girls in the sex trade, [prosecutor Val] Richey said.  He said court cases and [interviews with a few prohibitionists]…bolster that supposition.  The BEST Employers Alliance is an extension of the county’s two-year, Buyer Beware program launched a year ago to increase the risk of arrest for men through street-level stings and undercover operations.  “No other jurisdiction in the country has tried this [collusion] with employers to [control private behavior]”…said Richey’s boss, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg…

King of the Hill

Remember, Feinstein thinks that the way to keep people “safe” is to spy on them and destroy their civil liberties:

Senator Dianne Feinstein…applauded the Department of Justice’s $1.5 million grant to the Los Angeles County Sheriff and Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) to create a new task force to investigate and prosecute [sex workers]…California is one of the top four destination states for trafficking victims and they are moved throughout California at an alarming rate…

Where Are the Protests? (#51)

It’s growing!

…“car wash slavery” has become a major problem in the UK and other European countries in recent years.  Romanian gangs have been…trafficking men from their country into other parts of Europe and putting them to “work” in car wash businesses…Gangs can establish themselves on vacant lots which they rent for insignificant amounts of money and set up business with minimal outlay.  If the businesses attract attention from the authorities, they can be shut down with no losses incurred and re-established immediately in other locations at little cost.  Those familiar with the growing phenomenon say…scenarios to trap victims are fabricated by gang members…The victims’ passports are retained by their minders-cum-gang enforcers…

Hollow Claims

No, there aren’t a “growing number” of prohibitionists in Germany; they’re just being given more airtime due to the prevalence of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

…former prostitute Huschke Mau has joined a politician and a social worker to found a new anti-prostitution organization – Sisters e. V. – to help prostitutes out of the sex trade…Hydra Berlin…already offers counseling for prostitutes – including, but not limited to those who want to get out…Sisters [is] a kind of missionary service that “rescues” prostitutes, working from a premise of moral judgment that closes the group to a broad range of sex workers…Sisters…volunteer supporters [are]…women…[who] think prostitution is terrible…”Anyone who wants to do something against prostitution can come to us” [said Mau]…

Little Boxes (#138)

A recent “Free the Nipple” rally in Springfield, Missouri, elicited swift action from the city—but not in the direction activists were hoping for.  Rather, the Springfield City Council voted that women should actually cover up more of their breasts in public than was previously required.  The new indecent exposure law prohibits women from showing too much of the sides and bottom of the breasts—aka “underboob”…The issue was contentious among city officials, passing the city council by just 5-4.  Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens voted against it, condemning proponents’ claim that keeping women’s breasts hidden is necessary so as not to encourage sexual assault…But the new law’s instigator, Councilman Justin Burnett, said it was important for protecting the city’s “family-friendly image” and ensuring “the safety of the most vulnerable among us.”  It is unclear who Burnett thinks is made unsafe by the public presence of underboob…

Under Every Bed 

This is jaw-droppingly stupid even by Washington state standards:

…”I have never seen nothing [sic] worse than I have in Snohomish County,” Charlotte said. “It’s all over…it’s constant”…forensic nurse Paula Newman-Skomski…[is] motivated by her own past of sexual abuse…[and] her daughter was kidnapped…for four hours…she’s specially trained to do things like…advocate for victims of sexual abuse and slavery…”Just being a teenager puts girls at risk for being…coerced into trafficking by pimps…A lot of times you won’t see the girls with their…pimps or controllers”…

Remember, this comes from the home of the infamous crusade against coffee stands.

Policing for Profit 

Anyone who thinks £166,000 ($250,000) a year is some tremendous amount for a small business is an ignoramus:

Mark Cass…registered his business…with the local authority and employed six staff who…[used] time sheets in order to keep track of their busy schedules…Cass netted an average of £166,000 a year and…[employed] his brother as a…manager…police are trying to [steal his] assets…[including] his £47,000 home…a BMW car worth £4,000…[and] £87,499 [in other assets.  The cops want Cass] rendered homeless…[carless] and unable to work…The prosecution [admitted] that [his employees] were not under duress, not corrupted and not imprisoned…Exotic Thai was [such] a popular place to work [that] Cass got calls from Thai girls in London asking for jobs…

In other words, he was a rather ordinary businessman running a rather ordinary business, but the cops want to steal his moderate middle-class assets because sex.

Catastrophic Consequences

Glasgow is the center of official anti-whore sentiment in Scotland:

Glasgow is to be named a White Ribbon City in recognition of the work it does to tackle violence against women…[including] the End Prostitution Now campaign, Sixteen Days of Action, the Routes Out of Prostitution project, the Trafficking Alliance Raising Awareness (TARA) project and ASSIST, the support project linked to Glasgow’s domestic abuse court…

Catastrophic Consequences (#430)

This sleazy tactic has spread from Canada to Scotland to England:

A pioneering new tactic could be launched in Cambridge to rescue sex slaves from city brothels…police are considering visiting brothels…to talk to sex workers to discover if they are consenting or have been trafficked and exploited by brothel keepers.  Police hope to both rescue the women from modern-day slavery as well as gain information about gangs operating in the city’s sex trade.  Detective Chief Inspector Lorraine Parker…said…”We would make regular visits to make sure a sex worker is not being forced and exploited and offer them support as well as refer them to agencies that can help”…

Because unannounced intimidation visits from cops are just so helpful to sex workers.

New Excuse (#568)

Have I told y’all yet today that I love Liz Brown?  This was Reason‘s cover story this month:

…Lawmakers touted harsher penalties for drug offenses. The war on drugs raged. New task forces were created. Civilians were trained how to “spot” drug traffickers in the wild, and students instructed how to rat out drug-using parents. Politicians spoke of a drug “epidemic” overtaking America, its urgency obviously grounds for anything we could throw its way.  We know now how that all worked out.  The tactics employed to “get tough” on drugs ended up entangling millions in the criminal justice system, sanctioning increasingly intrusive and violent policing practices, worsening tensions between law enforcement and marginalized communities, and degrading the constitutional rights of all Americans. Yet even as the drug war’s failures and costs become more apparent, the Land of the Free is enthusiastically repeating the same mistakes when it comes to sex trafficking. This new “epidemic” inspires the same panicked rhetoric and punitive policies the war on drugs did—often for activity that’s every bit as victimless…

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