Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘The Spiral of Absurdity’

Any invocation of tradition and moral values in support of a law that facially discriminate among classes of people calls for a healthy dose of skepticism on our part.  –  Judge Ilana Rovner

The Swedish Pimpocracy 

Sweden, the feminist Utopia:

Hundreds of allegations of sexual harassment have surfaced in Sweden in recent weeks…In a single day, 4445 women put their names to a petition in Svenska Dagbladet called ‘#medvilkenrätt’ (with what right) which calls for action against harassment and abuse of power within the justice system…One of the women…said that a district prosecutor had harassed her, repeatedly calling and texting her and, when she declined an invitation to dinner, threatening to destroy her career…”In every message, the threats grew more serious, and they began to include threats of assault and violence,” she wrote.  Another woman said that…a retired judge showed her photos of three defendants in a rape case and asked her “which of them I would most like to be raped by”…one woman said a lawyer asked her to collect “all the information on guys, clothes, pictures and so on relating to the plaintiff to show how ‘slutty’ she was”…

The Course of a Disease

Though there’s very little chance of this going anywhere in Latin America, it’s still disturbing to even see this filth appearing there at all:

Three months ago…Columbian legislator…Clara Rojas…began campaigning for new legislation which would fine people who pay for sex with up to $23,000,000 Colombian pesos (around $7,500 US dollars).  This proposal has been strongly condemned by Colombian sex workers, activists and academics…

The Notorious Badge

Just for once, it’d be nice to see a realistic show about sex work instead of these lurid wanking fantasies about teenagers:

Netflix has announced its second Italian original, a scripted series titled Baby, about teen prostitution in Rome.  The eight-episode show is loosely based on a scandal that created a stir in the Italian capital in 2014 when it surfaced that two…high school students…were engaging in part-time prostitution

It’s only “loosely based” because the real story would be much too boring and mundane.

Hall of Shame (#525)

The only person interviewed in this video who comes across as sane and reasonable is my friend Christina.  Bindel ends up sounding like an obsessed lunatic vomiting up moldy propaganda, and Hof’s denials (the author of The Art of the Pimp proclaiming he’s not a pimp despite owning seven brothels) make one wonder whether he’s as stupid as he thinks we are.

And I wish Reason TV would start interviewing more sex worker activists instead of repeatedly returning to Nevada’s deeply-oppressive crony brothel system, which is about as un-libertarian as one can get.

Fallen Idol

This has been an open secret for a while, so I’m unsure why it didn’t break when the James Deen revelations were in the news:

Last June, a woman named Ginger Banks posted a YouTube video that circulated widely among those in the adult entertainment industry…In the 10-minute clip…Banks compiles allegations against Jeremy from all corners of the adult-industry…including stories of everything from indecent exposure, nonconsensual digital penetration and rape…Rolling Stone spoke with more than a dozen women both on and off the record who made such claims against Jeremy, alleging that the famous porn star violated their boundaries, taking advantage of both his status as an industry legend and their status as sex workers as grounds to flout the basic rules of consent…Jennifer Steele…alleges that Jeremy raped her twice, once at a photoshoot and once at his apartment, in December 1997.  “He just kinda keeps going and pretends like you didn’t say anything.”  Jeremy refutes these accusations, claiming that all the interactions he’s had have been consensual.  “These allegations are pure lies or buyers remorse,” Jeremy told Rolling Stone in an emailed statement…

Little Boxes (#748)

Once again, prudishness trumps the Constitution:

To protect public health, safety, and morals, the government has an important interest in preventing women from going topless, a federal appeals court has ruled.  And the importance of keeping lady breasts out of public view overrules any First Amendment or equal protection issues that such a policy raises…Going topless might not be inherently expressive, “but to declare, as a matter of law, that it can never be expressive is the quintessence of throwing out the free-expression baby with the non-expressive-conduct bath water,” Judge Ilana Rovner wrote…The case (Tagami v. City of Chicago) stems from the 2014 ticketing of Sonoko Tagami, who took to the Chicago streets with only opaque body paint over her bare breasts to celebrate “GoTopless Day” that year.  Tagami was issued a $100 citation for violating the city’s ban on public indecency…

The Widening Gyre (#750) 

The “Facebook pimps” myth is one of the silliest of the whole panic:

If there’s new technology that teens are using to communicate, pimps know about it, [fantasizes] special agent Marty Parker, and they’re using it to snare potential victims…”Pretty much every popular social media site out there is being used for recruiting potential victims of sex trafficking”…Where once pimps stalked malls and group homes…now they’re all over the internet.  Social media facilitates ease of communication, for better or for worse, and Parker says it’s made the practice of pimping even easier…

In reality, as regular readers know, social media have made pimps unnecessary to most of the women who formerly employed them.

Lack of Evidence (#763) 

Hey ACLU, if sex work weren’t illegal laws like this would be easily overturned:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has come out against a [politician’s] proposal to outlaw “prostitution-related loitering” in zones to be created [at will] by the Chicago Police Department, saying the plan is vague and could lead to people getting arrested based on how they’re dressed.  Under a plan from…Jason Ervin…the police superintendent could designate zones that are “frequently associated with prostitution-related loitering.”  Police could order people to leave those zones if the [cops fantasize that] they intend to engage in prostitution.  Anyone who returned to the area within eight hours of the police order to leave could be fined up to $500 or sent to prison for up to six months.  ACLU…spokesman Ed Yohnka took a dim view of the proposal, saying in a statement that the language is vague “and seems to encourage police to order people to disperse or even arrest them for what may be innocent and constitutionally protected behavior.”  Yohnka said a similar rule in New York City resulted in police arresting people based on how they were dressed, where they were standing, whether they had money on them or whom they were speaking to…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#789) 

Texas is vying with Washington, Arizona and Florida for the dubious distinction of being the US state which produces the most dangerously delusional “sex trafficking” propaganda:

The Texas Governor’s Criminal Justice Division awarded four separate grants totaling $4.4 million to provide better victim services and criminal prosecution in cases of…sex trafficking…”Violent criminals toss victims into the criminal justice system” [Harris County District Attorney Kim] Ogg said…Houston is the No. 1 city for calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline…Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez [vomited out “end demand” fantasies and the tired idiocy about how]…”No child plans to enter the sex industry when they grow up”…

Even for someone as jaded as I am, the sight of a pig (DAs are just highfalutin’ pigs) proclaiming that “violent criminals” are actually the ones responsible for the state’s war on consensual behavior is pretty revolting.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#789) 

It’s rather satisfying watching the “sex addiction” myth implode in real time:

…a closer look at the evidence yields little proof that an unhealthy obsession with sex is comparable to an addiction to drugs or alcohol.  Sex-addiction therapists argue that their patients experience symptoms of withdrawal and risk-taking…much like substance addicts…Yet these reports are largely anecdotal.  Studies have yet to prove that people who feel they have a problem with sex or porn regularly increase the time they spend consuming it, or move on to more “extreme” stuff.  As for withdrawal symptoms, people sometimes feel anxious or distressed when they abstain from this behaviour, but these are not analogous to the symptoms of substance addicts, which are often physiologically profound and medically serious…Keith Humphreys, a Stanford psychiatrist…is sceptical of the idea that you can be addicted to things – like food and sex – that we are hard-wired to consume in order to survive.  “You don’t need to invoke an unusual pathological explanation for why human beings eat and why they have sex, because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be here,” says Humphreys.  Substances like heroin, by contrast, not only more dramatically hijack our brain’s pleasure pathways but also inspire behaviour that threatens people’s survival, so an addictive process is necessary to explain our attachment to them…

Read Full Post »

[How] can you treat something that doesn’t exist?  –  Dana Dovey

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying us fairly that isn’t:

A [Tennessee cop]…has pleaded guilty in a sexual misconduct case…Ralph Cline, Jr…paid to have sex while on duty and inside his unmarked police vehicle…

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

She lost the support of her family at age 16…and…turned to sex work for survival.  But Diane…Rodríguez did not expect to make history years later as the first trans woman elected to Ecuador’s National Assembly.  “Being a public figure comes at a price,” [said] Rodríguez, who is now also a psychologist…she has recently received death threats as a legislator.  “But I see that cost is a sacrifice for younger generations so that they don’t have to suffer the same experiences that I have to suffer through now.”  Her experience of being discriminated against as a trans woman has motivated her on a lifelong journey from activism to politics…

Bread and Circuses 

As of last night, the site is still running normally, so I’m not sure what the feds are up to this time:

Eros-Guide’s call center was raided today in a seizure that’s likely to keep going through the night…the raid at company offices in Youngsville, N.C., was conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which executed a warrant on alleged “cross-border illegal activity”…the search warrant is sealed in federal court…[but] no one has been arrested…

It’s possible that this is a way for the Gestapo to get info so they can establish a huge surveillance net on sex workers, or the first step in a pogrom of unprecedented scale, or simply the way to get information they think will help them get Swiss authorities to shut down Eros, which is domiciled & hosted in Switzerland and is therefore not subject to US law.  Only time will tell.

Welcome To Our World (#439)

Wanna ban a consensual activity?  Find a problem case to shill for you so you can pretend problems are common:

Commercial surrogacy…can be messy and complicated.  Backed by the anti-surrogacy group The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network, [Jessica Allen]…tells…her extraordinary story…Not only were Mike and Max not identical — they had completely different DNA from one another.  Mike appeared to be an Asian child, and was Liu and her husband’s biological baby.  But Max, half-white and half African-American, belonged to me and my now-husband, Wardell Jasper…in an extremely rare medical incident called superfetation, we had gotten pregnant naturally, despite using condoms, after the in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle during which Mr. and Mrs. Liu’s embryo was transferred into my uterus…Not once during the pregnancy did any of the medical staff provided by the agency say that the babies were in separate sacs.  As far as we were concerned, the transferred embryo had split in two and the twins were identical…Omega [the surrogacy agency] contacted me to say the Lius expected between $18,000 and $22,000 as compensation…a caseworker from the agency lined up parents to adopt him and “absorb” the money we owed the Lius…We spent $3,000 on an attorney, and there was a lot of strained negotiation between us, our lawyer and Omega.  It was an uphill battle, but the agency finally reduced the “fee” we owed the Lius to zero…

Stupor Bowl (#511)

“Video Vigilante” Brian Bates is no friend of sex workers, but he’s also hostile to “sex trafficking” mythology:

Once again the annual nationwide publicity stunt orchestrated by the FBI, called Operation Cross Country XI, made its way to Oklahoma…during the four-day sting, 15 female prostitutes and five “sex traffickers” were [arrested]…FBI [claims]…”the primary goal is…the recovery of children”…[but] not a single child was…rescued locally…The FBI also claims their goal is to “take traffickers off the street.”  However, history has proven that virtually all of the “traffickers” that are arrested end up being charged with misdemeanor crimes…The FBI has continuously labeled the women involved in prostitution as “victims”, yet every year they target those same victims…[and] charge…[them] with life altering felonies…

To Molest and Rape 

It’s good to see a rapist cop specifically designated as currently working instead of wrongly called a “former” cop:

A serving police officer has been charged with raping a 13-year-old girl.  Cheshire constable Ian Naude…was remanded in custody after…an incident reported on 3 November in Crewe…

The Spiral of Absurdity (#715) 

The War on Whores, like the War on Drugs, is as much a jobs program as it is a campaign to extend universal criminality:

Earlier this year, the Tribune’s “Sold Out” series examined how state policies…failed to help child sex-trafficking victims.  Since then, lawmakers set aside a budget increase of more than $500 million for the foster care system and the governor’s office approved new funds for trafficking prevention initiatives — including the state’s first-ever director of human trafficking and child exploitation…Kim Grabert…

You may recall that the “series” mentioned in the text was an exercise in BDSM wanking fantasies, including the claim that all duos include at least one underage girl and the bizarre idea that “pimps” have some kind of legal authority.

The Head of a Pin

Is that the author’s name, or a description of what he’s doing while typing this fantasy one-handed?

Nearly half of the victims of modern slavery in the UK are sex workers.  Ed Cumming hears “Hannah’s” harrowing tale…Hannah doesn’t know how long she was forced to work as a prostitute, being shuttled around the capital to meet men with strange accents…“Victims of this crime are relentlessly abused and repeatedly raped,” [pants politician] Kevin Hyland…With the help of the Salvation Army and Women’s Aid, she is rebuilding her life…

“Strange accents” sums up what this is really about, as does the fact that this story was given to the media by the Salvation Army, which has no compunction against making up lurid fantasies to promote its anti-sex agenda.

Dutch Threat (#763) 

A rare victory for sex workers against “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Window brothel operators almost got completely buried by the new Red Light District rules and regulations implemented by the city of Amsterdam.  “We had to inspect if the ladies were washing their sex-toys with the right disinfectant and if the perishable date of their condoms wasn’t lapsed.  It drove us crazy”.  The entrepreneurs went to court and…three (female) judges [agreed that the rules]…hurt…sex workers…Monique rents out three windows in Amsterdam’s Red Light District…[she] wasn’t allowed to leave the neighbourhood if the ladies were working according to the strict regulations.  “I had to be on the scene within 12 minutes…Visiting my old mom in Amsterdam Noord (North) or visiting a physiotherapist in between was out of the question.  Even a quick run to the supermarket for some groceries had me stressing, terrified that I would break the Red Light District rules and lose my permit”…

Signs (#766) 

“Signs of trafficking” idiocy spreads to Dutch pigs:

All community [cops] are to receive training in recognising the signs of human trafficking as part of the new Dutch government’s anti-[sex work] drive…[they] will learn how to look for signs of exploitation when investigating crimes…

The Mote and the Beam (#780) 

Bad laws disproportionately harm small businesses, just as they do poor and marginalized individuals:

A trade group representing giants of Internet business from Facebook to Microsoft has just endorsed a “compromise” version of…SESTA…The Internet Association doesn’t represent the Internet—it represents the few companies that profit the most off of Internet activity…Amazon and eBay would be able to absorb the increased legal risk under SESTA.  They would likely be able to afford the high-powered lawyers to survive the wave in lawsuits against them.  Small startups, including would-be competitors, would not.  It shouldn’t pass our attention that the Internet giants are now endorsing a bill that will make it much more difficult for newcomers ever to compete with them.  IA also doesn’t represent…the marginalized voices who’ll be silenced as platforms begin to over-rely on automated filters (filters that will doubtless be offered as a licensed service by large Internet companies)…It’s shameful that a small group of lobbyists with an agenda of censorship have presented themselves to lawmakers as the unanimous experts in sex trafficking.  It’s embarrassing that it’s worked so well…

The Prudish Giant (#783)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users.  Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.  Shadow contact information has been a known feature of Facebook for a few years now.  But most users remain unaware of its reach and power.  Because shadow-profile connections happen inside Facebook’s algorithmic black box, people can’t see how deep the data-mining of their lives truly is, until an uncanny recommendation pops up…Take a look at all the possible information associated with a contact on your phone.  Then consider the accumulated data your phone is carrying about various people, whether lifelong friends or passing acquaintances…If you agree to share your contacts, every piece of contact data you possess will go to Facebook, and the network will then use it to try to search for connections between everyone you know, no matter how slightly—and you won’t see it happen…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#784) 

It’s a shame that this is what it took to bring down the “sex addiction” scam:

This week Kevin Spacey reportedly checked into a sex addiction rehabilitation program in Arizona following a series of accusations that he sexually harassed several men and at least one minor…Spacey is the most recent celebrity to have checked into rehab following reports of sexual misconduct…Sex addiction has been turned down for classification as a mental health condition by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the official classification of mental health disorders in the US, on several occasions.  In addition, the American Association of Sexual Education Counselors and Therapists also released a statement…that…“sex addiction” or “porn addiction” should not be classified as mental health conditions…“It’s clear at this point that it [sex addiction] does not look like an addiction,” [said] Nicole Prause, a psychologist who studies human sexual behavior…the best predictor of being called a sex addict is either having a conservative religious background or getting caught cheating…

Read Full Post »

Most [sex workers] are very well-informed about the conditions of factory work, and they know they’re not interested.  –  Ding Yu

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

Another hysteria-free look at sex work in East Asia:

In the 1990s, if you were a young woman in any Chinese city, everyone from waiters to taxi drivers would call you “xiaojie”.  Ten years later, the once-ubiquitous term had become a euphemism for female sex workers…Though prostitution was outlawed in China in 1949, it has proven to be an extensive and resilient industry.  Chinese economist Yang Fan has estimated that up to 20 million people are engaged in some form of sex work…Ding Yu is an associate professor of sociology…[who] has spent more than 10 years researching the lives of female sex workers in…Macau, Hong Kong, and the…province of Guangdong…while academics and advocates often insist that sex work should be considered a form of labor, many xiaojie understand their role differently — and in fact delight in the ways their lives diverge from women laborers….”Within the community, many don’t especially like or understand the term ‘sex worker’ and prefer the term xiaojie…because they feel the…term “sex worker” reduces all their work to sex, which doesn’t…accurately represent the diverse forms of emotional work and entertainment that they’re engaged in; rather, it highlights the one part that’s stigmatized…

See No Evil

What a belief in sympathetic magic looks like:

New York State Senator Chris Jacobs has proposed a law that would prohibit any person serving time for a sex offense against a minor from “possessing a depiction of any minor.”  Taken literally, the text of the bill makes it a crime for such a person to receive a wallet photo of his own kid…Will security guards be expected to confiscate every picture—and drawing—of a kid?  Is a holiday card with baby angels contraband?  Would prisoners have to snip Robin out of their Batman comic books?  And how would this make anyone even one bit safer?…

Broken Record 

This is kinda like the Super Bowl of basketball, right?

A new human trafficking task force…stressed the upcoming NBA Finals, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from out of town, creates heightened concerns.  “Anytime we have an abnormal gathering of a large number of people…human trafficking goes up”, [panted] Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine [while fingering himself].  “The predators come in”…

Cops and Robbers

This may not have been intended as a vigilante action, but I’m not sure what else it could have been:

A man wearing body armor and a mask backed a tractor-trailer through the gate of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch and crashed it into the front door…Brian Brandt…was arrested and faces charges of assault with a deadly weapon, property destruction and possession of stolen property…The crash happened just after 4 a.m….Brothel owner Dennis Hof said [nobody]…inside at the time [was] hurt…Hof said…he did not know Brandt and none of the people working at the brothel did…

To Molest and Rape 

Wanna molest teen girls without serious consequences?  Just become a cop:

A…Houston…[cop] was facing 20 years in prison after he was charged with two counts of indecency with a 14-year-old student…at a local middle school [where he worked].  But after pleading guilty to a lesser charge, his sentencing was surprising light — five years probation, which will be erased from his record if he fulfills the terms, and not having to register as a sex offender…Jacob Ryan Delgadillo…pleaded guilty to having an improper relationship…

Backwards into the Future (#639)

Virtually no government “commission” will ever suggest taking power away from government:

A report by the SA Law Reform Commission is expected to recommend continued criminalisation of sex workers when it is unveiled today.  Former deputy health minister Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, now director of [the prohibitionist] group Embrace Dignity, said…”We know the…report…recommends continued criminalisation of both the buying and selling of sex with diversions…”

Traffic Jam (#680)

Remember what happened the last time Minnesota-based “authorities” claimed they had busted a “sex trafficking gang”?

…authorities…announced federal sex-trafficking conspiracy charges against 21 people, part of what they described as one of the most elaborate and extensive sex-trafficking operations they had seen.  The operation had gone on for at least eight years, netted tens of millions of dollars, and involved hundreds of women…“The women did not have freedom of movement and, until they paid off their bondage debts, were modern-day sex slaves,” an indictment unsealed on Thursday in Federal District Court in Minnesota said…

The “authorities” admit the women were willing to do sex work; what they don’t admit is that any exploitation this “ring” engaged in was only made possible by the criminalization of sex work and the difficulty of legally migrating to the US.  In other words, this isn’t a lurid tale of “sex slaves”; it’s a warning against prohibition and other bad laws.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#715) 

“Sex trafficking” fetishists are still masturbating to the fantasy that emojis in low-rent escort ads are part of some mysterious pimp “code”:

Child sex traffickers are using emoji symbols such as smiley faces to lure young victims…the symbols are found all over websites such as Backpage.com, where pimps are reportedly known to sell girls and boys as young as 12 and 13 years old for sex.  Masters student Jessica Whitney…and her professor Murray Jenney figured out the emoji code.  They said the cherry symbol means virgin.  The number of roses implies the price and an airplane means new in town.  A crown symbol indicates a girl or boy is under house arrest and the growing heart emoji let’s [sic] the buyer know the girl or boy is childlike and still has some growing to do…

Their interpretations of these symbols say a lot more about their sexual fantasies than they do about the ads.  Why, for example, would a “pimp” want to tell a client (“buyer”) that an escort is “under house arrest” (whatever that means; are they imagining “pimps” as some kind of legal authority)?  Do they think that men would find that somehow appealing?  What that tells me is that Whitney & Jenney do, which is disturbing to say the least.  The whole thing reminds me of cop masturbatory fantasies that Pedobear or plush toys with heart symbols on them are “pedophile” symbols used to lure children.

The Widening Gyre (#738)

Are most people such hopeless bootlickers that they can’t grasp what “denounce & cooperate” means?

Ivanka Trump met…with a group of African women in Rome who were trafficked into prostitution rings…Trump asked the 10 African women for suggestions on what the U.S. government…can do to help others like them…The women…praised an Italian law that allows trafficked persons to receive residency permits if they denounce their traffickers and cooperate with investigative authorities…

Some human rights groups, even in the UN, are very concerned about laws that incentivize claiming to be a “victim” and ratting out others in exchange for favors like residency permits.  These laws allow prohibitionists to pad their statistics & prop up a narrative which would otherwise have little to support it.

Policing for Profit (#738) 

I can’t help but think this is vindictive prosecution.”  No!!!

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office filed criminal charges against marijuana business owner James Slatic…two weeks after a judge ordered it to return more than $100,000 it had seized from Slatic and his family…prosecutors accused Slatic and five other employees of his business, Med-West, of illegally manufacturing and distributing hash oil to Colorado.  Slatic and the others face 12 counts of manufacturing a controlled substance, exporting more than 4 grams of concentrated marijuana, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and money laundering…

Notice the bullshit charges “conspiracy” and “money laundering”, added to increase potential sentences so prosecutors can force a plea deal which will almost certainly involve all or most of the money they stole.

Read Full Post »

Every now and then, a take comes along that’s so scorchingly wrong, so unbelievably erratic in its approach to reality, that it feels a bit like sacrilege to think of it as bad journalism.  –  David Meyer Lindenberg

Think of the Children! 

“Authorities” force victims to mouth official propaganda to escape consequences, just as terrorists force hostages to read denunciations at gunpoint.  Both are equally sincere and truthful.

Resa Woodward, 38, said she participated in the [porn] industry more than a decade ago because she was in an abusive relationship with a controlling man….[who] pressured her into sex slavery…She said he booked her for shoots for a little more than one year.  Woodward has been a teacher for 15 years now…[but school] administrators…when the films…[were reported to the school by] an anonymous [informant]…She’s now requesting the Texas Education Agency reconsider her termination…”Do not penalize me for a dark saga in my youth that was not of my making”…

The More the Better 

The idea that a sleep mask, a feather duster and a scalp tingler constitute “sex toys” that need to be distributed in a box marked “18+” makes me roll my eyes so hard it’s painful, and not in a good way.  But I guess they deserve points for trying, and maybe this is a teeny-tiny baby step on a thousand-mile journey toward Western culture actually growing up:

Burger Kings in Israel are giving grown-up customers extra incentive to visit this Valentine’s Day…an “Adults Meal” that includes…”adult toys” in the tamest [sense] possible—nothing you can comfortably insert or battery-operated—just a satin blindfold, a scalp tingler, and a feather tickler…

The Spiral of Absurdity texas-tribune-tinfoil-hat

Jaded as I am, even I was shocked at the incredible cluelessness & stupidity of this one-page hit piece from the Texas Tribune, whose intent actually seems to be to get as much wrong as possible.  The “mistakes” (lies? intentional libel? attempts at satire?) are so basic and obvious it’s almost impossible to believe that none of the FOUR “journalists” (yes, it took four people to produce this one turd, presumably human-centipede style) knew better or even thought for a second, “Hey, maybe we should call an actual sex worker to fact-check this.”  Dave Meyer Lindenberg of Fault Lines has already done a terrific job of mincing it into pieces so small they can practically be inhaled, so I’m not going to duplicate his efforts (especially since he cites me extensively in the process); I am, however, going to reproduce the original here just in case some Tribune editor wakes up and tries to memory-hole this…thing.  And here are a few choice quotes from Dave’s dissection:

…The…article is a case study in the use of framing and omission to achieve an effect.  You’ll look in vain, for example, for a mention of the fact that Backpage won all its court cases…As call girl and sex-workers‘ rights activist Maggie McNeill has been pointing out for years, what data there are suggest underage prostitutes are a tiny subset of sex workers.  What’s more, only a small percentage are forced into the business…[as for] the meat of the article…What fresh hell is this?  What “phrases and symbols?” Is there any factual basis whatever for this assertion, or is the Texas Tribune receiving instruction from a higher plane?…law enforcement and groups claiming to fight sex trafficking have lists of “tells”…these “checklists” include plenty of things so bland as to apply to nearly everyone…things of which entire age groups are guilty…and outright absurdities…This is a paranoid fabrication, on a par with claiming playing a heavy metal record backwards gets you Satanic messages…

As for the piece’s nadir of idiocy, I’m going to have to go with its claim that a two-girl special means “at least one of the girls is underage, and the other is responsible for making sure she goes through with the sex act.”  Watching these people reveal their BDSM wanking fantasies in print is almost embarrassing.

Cops and Robbers (#435)

Cops are upset that the anti-sex hysteria they helped create has encouraged people to follow their example:

…self-proclaimed pedophile hunters set up fake social media profiles, masquerading as vulnerable teens, to…[shame people they decide are] “creeps”…Hundreds of Canadians…have been put in the spotlight when these groups post videos to sites such as Facebook and YouTube.  A handful of them have faced criminal charges…But…their cameras often don’t tell the whole story.  Cases with truly horrifying chats have been lumped in with chats that show no evidence of any sexual intent…In one case a woman who was targeted committed suicide…some of these Creep Catchers have a long history of criminal convictions, with one doing federal prison time…the evidence collected in stings by the Creep Catchers is rarely usable in court, and…the group has interfered with police operations…

Secret Squirrel (#509)

Politicians are shocked, SHOCKED I say, that software used by the police state they support is also being used by abusive fuckheads who don’t have magic costumes and Important Titles:

In a 2015 Women’s Aid survey of 693 women, 29 per cent said they had spyware or GPS locators installed on their phones or computers by a partner or ex.  In 2014, NPR surveyed 70 women’s shelters, finding 85 per cent were working with victims whose abusers tracked them via GPS, or what’s often referred to as “spouseware”…behind such easy-to-use spyware are opportunistic salesmen who’re peddling not just to jealous spouses and paranoid parents for small fees, but whose powerful spying software is also sold to police and intelligence agencies for hundreds of thousands of dollars…the malware used to snoop on terrorists and pedophiles is much the same as that used to control partners in abusive relationships…lawmakers, lawyers and women’s rights activists…[have absurdly] called on the U.S. government to take action [against its own creation, because making something illegal causes it to vanish]…

Sorry, authoritarian arseholes; y’all should’ve thought of this before letting that djinni out of its bottle.

Coming and Going (#592)

If you actually believe that the “authorities” had “no choice” but to jail an underage sex worker, infantilize her & try to brainwash her, then claim they “didn’t want to do it”, you are part of the problem:

Lena was…a…17-year-old [caged] with two dozen women in a single room….with no privacy…Yet [prohibitionists want you to believe that’s “rescue” from her difficult life as an underage sex worker]…[everyone pretends they didn’t] want…Lena in jail — not the Houston police who arrested her, not the district attorney who pursued the case…Texas has just one [disguised prison for underage]…sex [workers, and as usual only those who can be presented as perfect]…victims…[are] accept[ed there.  So to maintain the pretense that they give a shit]…authorities [pretend that locking up minors for being sexual is]…a gamble they call “arrest and recovery”:  arrest them to get them off the street and drop the charges later.  “What options do we have with these girls?” [pontificated] Ana Martinez, a prosecutor in Harris County…”If I dismiss her case, she’s just [not locked in a cage] that night”…

NB: This steaming turd was passed through three of the human centipede segments responsible for the specimen in “The Spiral of Absurdity” above before being plopped onto the plates of Texas Tribune readers.

The Public Eye (#596)

Another theatrical production by sex workers designed to debunk prohibitionist BS about our lives:

London’s Young Vic…[is featuring] a new play, See Me Now, the cast of which are all current or former sex workers, and whose content is made up entirely of their stories…See Me Now…is…a collaboration between the performers, writer Molly Taylor and director Mimi Poskitt.  It was inspired, in part, by conversations Poskitt had with a friend who volunteered at a sex work support project…Performers were recruited via outreach projects across the capital and come from a range of backgrounds; outdoor, indoor and independent sex work are all represented.  Some have second jobs, others survive solely through sex work.  Performers are male, female and trans.  However certain experiences unite everyone…

Lying Down With Dogs (#625) 

All the most enlightened, free countries have US-style anti-sex worker “crackdowns”:

[Hanoi] is aiming to bust up to 500 cases of illegal sex work in 2017, more than twice the number usually seen in past years…hundreds of hair salons and massage parlors will be inspected regularly.  The goal is to [destroy the lives of] 500 [human beings to “send a message”]…authorities last year identified more than 5,500 businesses offering so-called “sensitive” services.  Most of them are registered as hair salons, bars or massage parlors but also provide illegal sex services.  The city also plans to [force]…sex workers [into menial]…jobs…

Spotlight (#683) asstoon-strikes-again

I wonder if Asstoon will ever get professional help for his delusions of grandeur?

[Last] Wednesday, actor Ashton Kutcher testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on behalf of Thorn, an anti-sex [worker]…organization he co-founded with Demi Moore.  Thorn’s main project is Spotlight, a cloud-based data-collection and analysis tool that purportedly helps police find sex traffickers.  According to Kutcher…the app—funded by the McCain Foundation—has helped save more than 6,000 U.S. sex-trafficking victims, including 2,000 minors, in the past 12 months.  But…in government fiscal-year 2015, the FBI identified around 672 adult and child victims of sex or labor trafficking.  The FBI opened 802 human-trafficking investigations (resulting in 453 convictions) that year, while Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) opened 1,034 sex- or labor-trafficking investigations (and got 51 sex-trafficking convictions).  In addition, Uniform Crime Reporting data from the states indicates that 744 investigations into state-level sex-trafficking offenses were opened in 2015…even if we count all cases separately, we’re looking at a total of 2,580 investigations into sex or labor trafficking—5,725 less cases than Thorn allegedly helped identify in a one-year period…How can Kutcher’s group have helped in dramatically more sex-trafficking investigations than were actually opened across America?…

The Course of a Disease (#686)

Another patient succumbs to the Swedish disease:

[On] February 15th…the Republic of Ireland voted in favour of…the criminalisation of clients as well as [increasing] the penalty for sex workers working together for safety.  The Bill also allows the authorities to [steal] the earnings of sex workers as “proceeds of crime”.  [Though sold to the very stupid]…as a tool to promote gender equality and help rescue sex workers [from their own choices], the Bill…does not include any provision that would offer support to sex workers wanting or forced to stop selling sexual services…

An Example To the West (#710)

In India, mainstream feminists support sex worker rights and prohibitionists are a crank minority who can be individually called out:

In her recent piece, Sex work or slavery?: Why human rights discourse is no longer a tool for liberation, Nandita Haksar bases her entire argument on the faulty premise that “almost all women who have been in prostitution call it slavery”.  Haksar has chosen to…ignore…the National Network of Sex Workers Statement that was signed by more than 2,000 sex workers from seven states in India.  She discounts their agency and contradicts the feminism that supposedly drives her arguments – isn’t a deep respect for the choices and autonomy of all women at the core of what it means to be a feminist?…What Haksar fails to understand is that it is the State that is failing its citizens…The health and safety of sex workers is undermined by the continued criminalisation of sex workers, their clients and the organisation of their work, as well as the repressive use of other kinds of laws…

Business As Usual (#711) 

These rapist pigs are the same ones politicians keep urging sex workers to “trust” because of imaginary “pimps”:

On September 1, 2016, “Sunny” Kimnam gave a massage and a hand-job to an undercover police informant.  Since that day, she has been incarcerated, and faces likely deportation to Korea.  Kimnam’s story is far from unique.  Tucked in tales of “human trafficking investigations” and massage-parlor prostitution busts across the U.S., you’ll find that these efforts are almost always aided or led by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents…[or] ICE…Since January 1…DHS has been involved in at least a dozen massage-parlor raids, arresting at least 26 people.  Twenty-three of these arrests were women, all Asian and mostly in their 50s.  None were found to be involved in human trafficking, but they were arrested on charges such as prostitution, promoting prostitution, and giving an unlicensed massage…Even legal permanent residents—i.e. “green card” holders—can be “removed” if found to be sex workers.  Under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, legal immigrants who have not been naturalized as citizens can become deportable for a variety of reasons, including…crimes of “moral turpitude”—a nebulous concept defined at various points in immigration law as “conduct that is considered contrary to community standards of justice, honesty or good morals”…

Read Full Post »

Tattooing of [“trafficking” victims doesn’t]…make much sense outside of sadistic, pornographic fantasy.  –  Julia Davidson

Check Your Premises

Any teen who won’t behave in the way most adults want to manipulate her into behaving, must be being manipulated by another adult:

It took nearly two decades for Smith to realize she…was a victim of child sex trafficking.  “I was what they call a ‘willing victim’,” she said…the media and advocacy organizations depict child sex trafficking as an issue that involves physically abused or helpless children.  But “just being a teenager” is a predisposition factor…Smith said she’s a strong advocate for kids who insist they want to live the way they’ve been manipulated by an adult into living…

Above the Law Grant Carruth

an Amite [Louisiana] police officer accused of sexually assaulting women after deceiving them online has been arrested…Grant Carruth…faces…counts of…kidnapping…aggravated rape…sexual battery and…theft…he…identified himself as a narcotics officer, handcuffed them and said they were being arrested…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Note the liberal use of dysphemisms, and the pretense that gross proceeds equal net profit:

A…woman was [sentenced] to…10 years in state prison for operating a prostitution ring in…New Jersey…Deanna Ruiz…pleaded guilty to racketeering…over a 15-year-period, she collected millions of dollars…[and] booked more than 6,000 hotel rooms at a cost of $1.087 million…she created several sham companies and used them to launder the money…and…commit tax and unemployment…

How, pray tell, does one “commit tax and unemployment”?

Broken Record

A grassroots advocacy group is trying to raise awareness about increased demands for paid sex during the Pan Am Games…Buying Sex Is Not A Sport…is…faith-based…The link between increased sex trafficking and large sporting events has been a controversial one that is not clearly agreed upon by experts…

Wrong; the experts have declared these “faith-based” claims total fabrications.

The Widening Gyre

They finally realized they could expand the panic by adding male “sex slaves”:

Viktor Berki…Gabor Acs and Andras Janos Vass [ran]…Never Sleep, Inc. [which] involved slaves — who did not speak English and barely got to sleep…Three of the victims…rescued in South Florida were first promised that they would earn thousands of dollars as escorts.  But…they were forced to perform sex acts in front of a webcam and engage in prostitution for 18 to 20 hours a day…

Soap Opera

It’s hard to pick one “sex trafficking” trope that’s stupider than all others, but barcode tattoos are definitely in the running:

People traffickers are believed to have marked their victims with symbolic tattoos to assert their ownership over “assets” that can be sold for thousands of pounds…The victims have been “branded like cattle” – a practice commonly seen worldwide for women in the sex trade – to show that they were aged over 18, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said…One Romanian woman – who was whipped and held against her will in Spain – had been tattooed with a bar code and a sum of money that investigators believed was the amount that she would have to earn before the gang…would release her…The NCA said the extent to which tattoos were used was not known…barcode tattoo

The extent is very well known:  one single case, the one (from 2012) mentioned above.  And as I pointed out at the time, it was “…an example of life imitating artifice because these absurd tales have been circulated…for at least six years now.”  Dr. Julia Davidson explains just how stupid this trope actually is:

…If thugs were criminally coercing someone into prostitution, why would they care whether she was 17 or 18 years old?  Conversely, if they were supplying women to managers of establishments that would only accept…over 18, why would those managers be satisfied by a tattoo, as opposed to identity documents…if tattooing were actually common practice…  victim identification would be a far simpler matter…

The Public Eye

Sex workers were among the first not directly involved with the Ferguson protests to spread the word on social media; others like cam girl Sasha Pain are doing even more than that:

…she and two friends…[are] filming protests and sharing them with her audience…Pain…won’t stop working just because she’s on the road.  When she has an Internet connection in Ferguson, she’ll make sex tapes and donate proceeds from videos to buy supplies to protect protesters from tear gas…”Everything that I make while I’m here that I don’t need to feed myself, the people I’m with and over my bills is going toward buying food for protesters and gas masks”…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake

Portland…strip-club dancers are working…with lobbyists, legislators, and social workers to draft a new set of…regulations slated to hit the House floor…in…February…Generally, laws that regulate strip clubs and other sex industry businesses are handed down from the top by legislators, with little input from the people most directly affected…Whether because of stigmas related to…sex work…or a prevailing misconception that most…sex workers are victims of trafficking, there are very few, if any, legislative precedents that show adult entertainment professionals actually being asked to weigh in…

Checklist

Writer cannot conceive that the reason more people don’t notice “sex trafficking” is that it doesn’t exist on anything like the scale it’s purported to:

…airline employees are now being trained to…carefully watch for…unusual activity…such as when kids don’t answer questions or avoid eye contact when addressed.  Other telltale signs might be bruising…or a ravenous appetite…victims…sometimes have been at the mercy of their traffickers for so long they see themselves not as women being pimped out for sex but as girlfriends helping their boyfriend pay the bills…sex trafficking spikes around the Super Bowl…If you see something say something…

Cops and Condoms (TW3 #313)

The sheer wrongness of this cannot be overstated.

Dysphemisms Galore 

Korean officials only persecute sex workers in order to please their masters in Washington:

…since the implementation of the 2004 Special Law on Prostitution…the number of red-light districts…has decreased nationwide, from 69 in 2002 to 44 last year.  But…the prostitution industry has actually grown…[and]  transformed to avoid the confines of the law…pimps posing as ordinary citizens scour the streets to find potential customers…Transformed prostitution businesses have doubled over the past three years as traditional brothels have decreased, swelling to 4,706 in 2013, up from 2,068 in 2010…

The phrase “pimps posing as ordinary citizens” is both hilarious and telling.

Ad Absurdum

Because obviously, “victims” always go around bragging about their “abuse”:

Two teachers at the same Louisiana high school have been charged in the sex abuse of the same male student…Shelley Dufresne, 32, and Rachel Respess, 24, both teach at Destrehan High School in St. Charles Parish….an unnamed source…implied that the victim was involved in a threesome with the teachers…at Respess’ apartment after a…football game [on] Sept. 12, and that…the…student had been “bragging to other students that he was having a sexual relationship with teachers”…

A Procrustean Bed (TW3 #339)

For the past year Red Umbrella Project has studied New York’s “trafficking courts”, which define all sex workers as “victims”; to absolutely nobody’s surprise, the majority of those arrested are minorities, and in Brooklyn a stunning 94% of women arrested for “loitering for the purpose of prostitution” (in other words, “looking like a whore”) are black.  Since Melissa Gira Grant,  Noah Berlatsky and Michelle Chen all went into the findings in detail, I’ll just refer you to those articles. Samantha Azzopardi

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #346)

Samantha Azzopardi, 26, who was found wandering the streets of Dublin last fall, led Irish police to believe that she was a 14-or 15-year-old sex-trafficking victim from eastern Europe…Now…[she] has shown up in Alberta…claiming that her name was Aurora Hepburn, that she was 14 and that she had been the victim of an abduction, sexual assault and torture…Calgary police became suspicious after learning of [the Irish] case…Azzopardi has been charged with public mischief…an offense punishable by up to five years in prison…

The Spiral of Absurdity

Houston is bound and determined to win this pissing contest, no matter how ludicrous the claims it has to make:

Houston is a hub for…sex trafficking…[due to its] size, port location and ethnic diversity…a three-month analysis of ads posted on backpage.com…[found] a higher number of ads per person than were posted for Manhattan and northern New Jersey during this year’s Super Bowl…

This is equivalent to concluding that Houston has more people who are morbidly obese than New York because it has more billboards for barbecue restaurants.

Above the Law (TW3 #407)

For those who think I make too big a deal about the euphemisms prosecutors and reporters use for rape by cops:  “Sorrento, Louisiana police chief Earl Theriot pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting an unconscious woman and then lying about it to the FBI…Theriot managed to escape jail time…taking just a $2,500 fine and 2 years probation…”  Think he’d have escaped that easily if his crime had been called what it was? Theresa May, arch-censor

Opting Out (TW3 #408)

The other shoe drops:

Britain’s…Home Secretary Theresa May [said]…that if re-elected next year, the [Conservative] party will introduce civil powers to disrupt people who “spread poisonous hatred” even within the law…police could apply for a court order to disrupt “harmful activity” by restricting an individual’s movements, preventing them from speaking in public or stopping them publishing articles online…

Which views are “harmful” to be determined by the government, of course.

Imaginary Crises (TW3 #410) 

the rate of forcible rapes in 2012 was estimated at 52.9 per 100,000 female inhabitants…Assuming that all…women are uniformly at risk, this means the…probability that an American woman is raped in her lifetime is 2.6 percent and in college 0.2 percent — 5 to 100 times less than the estimates broadcast by the media and public officials…

Forward and Backward (TW3 #415)

…the District of Columbia Council voted…to repeal the District’s  “Prostitution Free Zones” law as well as the “Drug Free Zones” law that it was based on…Although a largely symbolic gesture, since the police have already acknowledged not using the zones for the past two years…the debate over the bill shows the importance of removing laws targeting sex workers, and those profiled as such…

The Missing Word

Despite the fact that the exploitation is clearly laid out here, the magic word appears only once, saying that a sting involved “only a tiny piece of the trafficking industry”.  One can only surmise that because the smugglers only threatened to sell their “client” to a brothel (a threat made credible by the moral panic), the New York Times figures it isn’t a “real” case of “trafficking”.

Schadenfreude (TW3 #424) 

Just a few highlights of this expose of “sex trafficking” fraud Chong Kim’s lies:

…Chong Kim [was] convicted by a Minnesota judge for stealing money from a human-trafficking survivor…She is…on probation…as a result…Chong Kim walks with a cane, which she told me was an injury suffered from her days of sexual slavery…she actually had that disability since she was seven years old, and up until at least 2005, she collected Social Security checks for it…she…frequently claims that she was living in Texas when she got sold into sexual slavery in 1994…she was actually a junior in high school in…Minnesota…The…1994…Yearbook clearly contains a photo of Chong Kim…her…social security number is linked to multiple people…

Uncommon Sense (TW3 #433)

The myths that circulate about German prostitution legislation are a perfect example of how lies and misconceptions become accepted as ‘truths’ if only they are repeated often enough.”  In this short article Matthias Lehmann debunks lies including “the 2002 Act legalized prostitution”, “brothel owners can force sex workers to perform certain acts”, “Job Centres can force job seekers to take up sex work” and “sex trafficking has increased under the law”.

Lower Education (TW3 #438) 

the University of Michigan’s…policy on sexual violence…says:  “Examples…include…criticizing the partner sexually [and]…withholding sex and affection“…this policy suggests that under some circumstances, a partner is entitled to sex…there theoretically exists at the University of Michigan some circumstances in which not consenting to sex is against the rules.  This is utterly unconscionable, and, frankly, insane…

Sold Out (TW3 #438)

Facebook…[has backed off of its] “real-name” crackdown on drag queens and performers…and…apologized to all those whom they’ve offended.  Though the exact policy changes remain TBA, a source…says Facebook is planning to revert to a “preferred name” policy instead…

Read Full Post »

Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it.  –  Václav Havel

High AnxietyFor several years now, I’ve been pointing out examples of the increasingly-bizarre claims of “sex trafficking” hysterics; regular readers have watched the claimed numbers of “sex slaves” rise along with their supposed number of clients and their pretended income, while at the same time their “average age” has dropped and the imagined abuses to which they are subjected have become ever more horrifying.  It is the natural tendency of rumors to grow in absurdity, and moral panics only collapse when the myths become too ridiculous for the average person to believe any longer; every time a claim ratchets up to a new level more people become skeptics, and the process continues until the number of True Believers drops below the critical mass required to sustain mass hysteria.  Every new inflation of the myth is therefore a good thing, because every one hastens the day when the whole thing collapses.

There was a perfect example of this just over a week ago, but the path to it began back in 2001 with the publication of Estes & Weiner’s “The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S., Canada and Mexico”.  In this farrago of breathless nonsense they claimed that somewhere between 100,000 and 300,000 “children” (a category that to the authors includes both adolescents and adults below 21) were currently “at risk” for “sexual exploitation”.  Their idea of “risk factors” included things like having access to a car and living within a short drive of either the Canadian or Mexican border, and their definition of “sexual exploitation” included stripping, consensual homosexual relations and merely viewing porn.  In fact, they considered “sex trafficking” to be the rarest form of exploitation; in 2011, Estes estimated the number of legal minors actually abducted into “sex slavery” as “very small…We’re talking about a few hundred people.”  But by that time, his “estimate” had taken on a life of its own:  in the course of ten years “all people under 21” became “children”, “at risk” became “currently involved”, “having some sort of sexual contact with older people” morphed into “coerced prostitution”, “at any given time” grew into “per year”, and the estimate was usually quoted at the high end.  By 2011 we were seeing nonsense like “100,000 – 300,000 children between the ages of 12 and 14 years old are victims of the child sex trade in this country” or “100,000 American children are…sold into a life of sex slavery every year”, and by last year it was usually something like “300,000 children at an average age of 13”.

But in November, this meme underwent the strangest metamorphosis yet.  Texas congressman Ted Poe, eager to boast of the power of government to destroy people’s lives, stated not that there were 300,000 sex trafficking victims per year, but rather 300,000 sex trafficking prosecutions per year…quite a different claim.  And, I might add, an unwise one; while the usual nonsense is supported by hand-waving about how “trafficking is a hidden crime” (therefore we don’t need to prove any of our statements about it), prosecutions are official proceedings for which records are kept.  Had the news media in this country not degenerated into the slave-parrots of government this would have immediately been fact-checked, but instead the opposite happened;Ted Poe on Friday the 22nd the Dallas Morning News published an editorial which repeated Poe’s error, further distorting it to “In Houston alone, about 300,000 sex trafficking cases are prosecuted each year.”  It proved one of the tipping-points I mentioned in the first paragraph, something so absurd that no rational person could believe it.  And as a result, even people outside the sex worker rights sphere took note and wrote about it.  The story was first mentioned on Twitter by Dr. Laura Agustín, and I pointed out that the number is 1/7 of the population of Houston.  The next morning Amy Alkon published a column on it:

…[including] uncaught…[sex traffickers] on top of the 300,000…suggests that a vast segment of Houston’s population…maybe 25 percent…is engaged in…sex trafficking…a Bureau of Justice Statistics report…[states that there were only] 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking…between January 2008 and June 2010…Hey, Dallas Morning News…should we send over a math teacher and the Jaws of Life to help pull your staffers’ heads out of their asses?…

Walter Olson soon linked that post, and then Texas criminal defense lawyer Mark Bennett blew the claim to smithereens:

…accord­ing to Texas Office of Court Admin­is­tra­tion sta­tis­tics, 2,650 new felony cases…and 5,819 new mis­de­meanor cases were filed in Har­ris County in 2012…So the total of all new cases…is nowhere near the 300,000 sex traf­fick­ing cases asserted by the Dal­las Morn­ing News.  Accord­ing to the Har­ris County Dis­trict Clerk’s web­site, there hasn’t been a pros­e­cu­tion for sex trafficking in Hous­ton since 2010.  But when peo­ple say “sex traf­fick­ing,” they may mean “com­pelling pros­ti­tu­tion.”  There have been two compelling-prostitution cases filed in Har­ris County this year.  Not 300,000.  Two…

On Sunday, the News “corrected” the story, but I’ve become more diligent lately and had already secured the screengrab I linked above.  Then on Monday, Techdirt made sure it got national attention:

Editorials written in support of legislation are prone to conjuring up hysterical…numbers…But the…writer should at least make sure the numbers being used don’t immediately prompt incredulous laughter from any reader with a couple of functioning brain cells…[the claim] that Houston prosecutes nearly 900 sex traffickers a day…365 days a year…has since been removed…

The article extensively quotes Bennett’s analysis, including a reference (and links) to yours truly; it also links Alkon’s post.  I’d have been happier if an even bigger media outlet picked it up from Techdirt, but one can’t have everything.

Of course, this is just one incident, and it isn’t even on most people’s radar.  But the good news is, it doesn’t have to be.  Because it isn’t an isolated incident; it’s part of a trend which will be producing many more equally-egregious idiocies in the coming year.  Every one of them will wake up more people, and soon every one will lead to articles like the ones above.  And in about three more years by my prediction (and I see no reason to revise it yet), the bubble will implode and the busybodies will all move on to worrying about the next big bogeyman.

Read Full Post »