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Posts Tagged ‘The War Goes On’

The first thing that [repressive regimes] try to do is control the communications network.  –  Margaret Atwood

As veteran journalist A.J. Liebling once observed, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”  So when media conglomerates started buying up all the presses in the 1980s, censorious politicians were probably very happy: when 90% of the media in a country is owned by only five mega-corporations who are all part of the fascist establishment, it’s very easy to control the message.  No wonder they were so disappointed when the internet derailed that concentration process by making literally anybody with time and a high-school level of technical savvy into a publisher.  By 1996 perceptive control freaks were already trying to strangle the infant internet in its cradle via the Communications Decency Act, only to be thwarted when a few politicians with a particle of actual decency managed to smuggle Section 230 into what was intended to be a massive censorship law, and courts struck down all of its censorship provisions within a year.  Naturally, the Puritans never abandoned their sick dream of censoring the internet, and in just a few years they had created “sex trafficking” hysteria, a resurrection of the moribund Satanic Panic using parts recycled from the “white slavery” hysteria of a century before; the synthetic moral panic caught on, and less than 20 years later the busybodies and thought-controllers had what they wanted:  a means of bringing the most powerful tool for the dissemination of information ever created completely under government control.  Where bogeyman tales of devil worshipers and “terrorists” had failed, kinky fantasies of millions of 13-year-old “sex slaves” chained to radiators and raped by literally every single adult male in the US finally succeeded:  the useful idiots gave politicians the power to “protect” them from nonexistent bogeymen by destroying the laws which restrained government censorship, and handing control of the internet to cops, politicians and a few powerful corporate members of the fascist oligarchy.

Every totalitarian movement needs a bogeyman, and since the few escort service owners and small-time pimps the inquisitors were able to lock in cages were insufficient to sustain the required level of mindless hysteria, Backpage was chosen for that role after Craigslist took a dive.  Unfortunately for legions of busybodies, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were veteran newsmen of the old-time free speech variety, who insisted on defeating every single attempt to destroy them.  So naturally, the government simply changed the rules (egregiously violating the Constitution in the process) to make it impossible for them to win again, and hedged its bets by literally stealing everything they owned, setting a trial so far in the future anything that was missed in the raid would be used up, and even trying to deprive their victims of legal counsel.  But they’re not going down silently; Frontpage Confidential, the inheritor of Lacey & Larkin’s journalistic legacy, has been covering their fight, and last week Tom Finkel (formerly one of the duo’s top editors) delivered this broadside; he tells me they will soon publish an essay from Lacey himself, which I’ve been privileged to see a preliminary draft of.  Stay tuned, because no matter how this goes we need to remember that some things are worth fighting for, even against implacable and obscenely-powerful enemies who will do anything to win.

 

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Apparently after reading the introduction to an Econ 101 textbook, many…believe the best way to eliminate the supply of sex trafficking victims is to end the demand for paid sex.  –  Eric Sprankle

The Course of a Disease (#344)

Indian sex workers often use Durga Puja as an occasion to protest tyranny:

A street graffiti dedicated to the life and struggle of the sex workers was unveiled by a Durga Puja organiser in…Kolkata…The graffiti, painted on a 300 [foot] stretch of road [near Sonagachi]…tells the tale of hardships and the circumstances that force a woman…into the flesh trade…soil from a brothel is an essential ingredient for the making of a Durga idol…”We are really happy that such a theme has been taken up by the puja committee depicting our lives and struggles,” Santana Das of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee said…

Don’t Call It Trafficking 

Remember, this isn’t “human trafficking”, but consensual sex is:

…one foster family’s initially successful attempt to win full custody of [a child abducted by ICE pigs]…reveals what could happen to some of the infants, children and teens taken from their families at the border…this year.  The “zero-tolerance” crackdown ended in June, but hundreds of children remain in detention, shelters or foster care and U.S. officials [have arbitrarily declared that] more than 200 are not eligible for reunification or release.  Federal officials [claim] they are reuniting families…but an Associated Press investigation…identified holes in the system that allow state court judges to grant custody of migrant children to American families — without notifying their parents.  And today, with hundreds of those mothers and fathers deported thousands of miles away, the risk has grown exponentially…

Also note: this policy did not originate with Trump; it’s been going on under every president since the ’80s.

Torture Chamber (#421) 

Cops can be fired for consensual sex, but not for torturing people to death:

A former [screw] is set to lose his job as a cop after it was revealed he was hired despite locking a mentally ill prisoner in a scalding hot shower until he died.  Roland Clarke only resigned…two years after he forced Darren Rainey into the shower…in 2012…Clarke was never charged with a crime and…[almost immediately] began working as a [pig] for the Miami Gardens Police Department…Now, thanks to a new report from the Miami New Times, the city…is trying to get [rid of]…Clarke, who has racked up a number of violations…[for being] “distasteful”…[including] repeatedly visiting a woman…at her home while…on duty…

In the US, a pig can be as dangerously violent and psychopathic as he wants, as long as he does it tastefully.  For another violent uniformed psychopath from Miami, see “To Molest and Rape” below.

Traffic Jam (#534)

Schools are rewarded for “finding” what the government wants found:

Social media is increasingly being exploited to contact, recruit and sell children for sex, according to a study by The University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.  The study, which was [commissioned] by the Ohio Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Commission, [spins tales about] how traffickers quickly target and connect with vulnerable children on the Internet through social media…Through a series of 16 in-depth interviews…with…[cops], judges, [rescue profiteers, prohibitionists], and [corrupt academics]…the [fantasies] outline…how [authoritarians fantasize about people having sex with teens]…The [so-called] experts…identities are not being released…

WTF? Interviewing 16 anonymous pigs, prohibitionists and profiteers about their masturbatory fantasies about sex workers is not anything remotely like a “study”.  But the government doesn’t care as long as the “researchers” come to the correct conclusions, and Ohio is one of the states whose “educational institutions” are sufficiently corrupt for the task (others include Pennsylvania and Arizona).

Finding What Isn’t There (#559)

Michigan has decided to increase its “sex trafficking” numbers by inventing imaginary “victims”:

One hundred and twenty-three missing Michigan minors were [supposedly] found during a one-day “sex trafficking operation”…[but actually] only three of the minors are even suspected of having been involved in prostitution…What’s more, all but four of the “missing children” were not actually missing.  In the remaining [119] cases, minors were listed in a police database as missing but had since been found or returned home on their own…Many were (homeschooled)…Some were runaways…Nothing in the U.S. Marshals report on the operation makes mention of any arrested kidnappers, “traffickers”, or other adults involved in endangering or exploiting any of the missing minors that were identified…

The Punitive Mindset (#600) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

A new policy has put Pennsylvania prisoners’ communications under intense surveillance in the [pretense] of stopping contraband drugs [which are in reality smuggled in by screws for a price]…all incoming mail would be sent to a private company in Florida, Smart Communications, for scanning into a searchable database.  Prisoners would then receive photocopies of the incoming mail—and the originals would be shredded.  The DOC has also banned prisoners from receiving books from vendors…Instead, prisoners will have the option of paying for ebooks via [substandard] tablets that cost over $147 each…the Amistad Law Project…said the new policy will most likely result in self-censorship…and…has effectively ended mailed communication between lawyers and their clients because they cannot guarantee confidentiality…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Government thinks it can make any statement true simply by declaring it in a law:

…when I dug…into SF 2554, what I found wasn’t a law which links porn to human trafficking, but an embedded assumption that the two are fundamentally linked…being introduced into an existing state law by…changes to statutory language…the bill…adds “possession of pornographic work involving minors” and “harmful materials; dissemination and display to minors prohibited” to a list of crimes which the Minnesota government requires specified governmental and nongovernmental agencies to report on…In other words, what this law does to “link” pornography to human trafficking simply is to declare such a link exists

Unsurprisingly, the law was written by a religious anti-porn group.

To Molest and Rape 

Do I really need to say, “Don’t date one, either”?

Before a Miami-Dade [SWAT pig] was [arrested for] molesting a young girl, he was [given a pass by] his own department…[for] beat[ing] and abus[ing] his…lovers…two…women [reported that] Braulio Gonzalez [was] exceedingly jealous and pointed weapons at them, threatening their lives…he choked [one of them] and head-butted her so hard it broke her nose…[he] threw a bottle of whiskey at [anot]her and broke her arm.  A third woman also complained…about his…abuse…and [the department ruled he] had not followed proper procedure [in abusing her]…in [the latest totally]…related case…Gonzalez [was charged] with armed kidnapping and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child…[after] a young girl told a psychologist that Gonzalez fondled her repeatedly when she was between 8 and 10 years old…pointed a gun at her head and threatened to kill a relative unless she [submitted]…His domestic [violence was] well-known within the department…

The Widening Gyre (#703)

I really hope abusers keep using “sex trafficking” to justify their abuse:

…21-year-old…Whitney Harris made the long flight to India to meet 20-year-old Pulkit Monga, a man she’d connected with online two years prior.  “I left to India to meet my friend and to get away from my abusive mother and grandmother who have mentally and emotionally abused me all my life,” Harris [said]…The family…first had a Christian minister in the city of Amritsar “intercept” her and then came to collect her themselves 10 days later…Harris’ mother Destiny and father Brett met Monga’s hospitable parents who took them to holy sites and restaurants — all while “slandering” [their hosts] behind their backs…Harris agreed to buy a return plane ticket to assuage their concerns, but before she was able to book it, “her mother allegedly sent a letter to the local Indian police claiming that Pulkit was a rapist, had drugged their daughter and was a sex trafficker”…After Harris and the Mongas were interrogated by police, the young woman’s family conspired with people from the local Christian church to get her to the airport and out of the country…Harris refused to see her parents upon arrival back home in Alabama — and is working to reunite with Monga as soon as she can…

Pyrrhic Victory (#849)

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.  But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.”

…the Law Enforcement Data Service, a new super-database for [UK] police…would combine the current Police National Computer…and the Police National Database (PND)…with others at a later date.  It would include sensitive information on victims and on people unrelated to or cleared of wrongdoing.  The UK government has accepted that large amounts of data on the super-database would have nothing to do with crime, and intends to open up access to other organisations, such as the UK Border Force…the actions of the Home Office…have been repeatedly ruled unlawful in various cases regarding unlawful retention of surveillance or biometric data…the proposed database…contents would never expire or be removed – and the police have admitted that various types of data it has no legal right to hold will be transferred to the new database too…

Dangerous Speech

The government keeps making up new rules in its war on thought:

Federal prosecutors in the Backpage case appear to be employing a strangulation strategy:  Swipe the defendants’ money, then go after their lawyers…federal prosecutors…[tried] to disqualify a team of First Amendment lawyers from…Davis Wright Tremaine…[while] a federal judge in California has yet to rule on motions in which the defendants have challenged the asset seizures…on First Amendment grounds…Davis Wright’s First Amendment duo of Robert Corn-Revere and Jim Grant have successfully defended Backpage and its former owners from criminal and civil claims arising from adult advertising that appeared on the website.  Invoking both the First Amendment and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996…Davis Wright has rebuffed criminal indictments, overturned adverse rulings on appeal, and nullified laws in three states, in cases involving allegations that Backpage promoted prostitution…and/or sex trafficking…Lacey and Larkin sold their interests in Backpage to CEO Carl Ferrer in 2015, but Davis Wright continued to represent Backpage and all three men.  Six days after seizing Backpage, the government revealed that it had secretly flipped Ferrer…Davis Wright has since withdrawn from representing Ferrer and Backpage…government attorneys argued that Davis Wright can no longer continue to represent [Lacey & Larkin]…because to do so would violate Arizona’s rules of professional conduct for lawyers, which forbid attorneys from representing clients whose interests are adverse to a former client…But defense lawyers pointed out that Ferrer had waived all attorney-client privilege in his deal with the government, and additionally, that he’d previously signed three joint defense agreements with Lacey and Larkin, allowing Davis Wright to remain as counsel if Ferrer withdrew from the pact…[in another example of misconduct] the government supplied the defense with 10.5 million documents in “an unusual format”…requir[ing] the use of special software that could result in up to $800,000 in costs, not including the hours that attorneys will have to devote to making sense of the information…

Though the judge seemed cowed by prosecutors, he nonetheless ruled against the attempt to disqualify the attorneys not on constitutional rounds, but rather on the grounds that prosecutors willfully ignored Ferrer’s waiver of privilege.

Traffic Circle (#876)

It’s wonderful that so many academic allies are debunking the hysteria:

…a billboard…in Two Harbors, Minnesota [became] the latest example of the ad nauseam awareness campaigns…that perpetuate the moral panic surrounding sex trafficking by conflating it with sex work.  The billboard warns “johns” to “end the demand” because “we’re someone’s children” and includes a police lineup photo of a chef, physician, a snowmobiler, a flannel-clad “every man,” and a college graduate, which could be used as an album cover for a Village People cover band.  Given that the billboard also features an ominous photo of two people in hoodies sitting with their backs turned, it left many wondering what it’s trying to communicate…maybe passing motorists will get the general gist that northern Minnesotans need to end the demand for sex trafficking because trafficking affects “someone’s children”…The Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force celebrated the billboard’s unveiling, stating that the installation was the “fulfillment of a 4-5 year dream.”  Not to piss on anyone’s parade, but a billboard, in Two Harbors, was not only someone’s dream, but took 4 to 5 years to fulfill?  I guess if you dream to reach the stars, you’ll at least land 20 feet above Highway 61…

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We’re faced with 60,000 arrivals across the Mediterranean into a continent of half a billion people, the richest continent in the world, and it’s portrayed as an emergency.  –  Filippo Grandi

Bad Girls 

I hope they never catch her; this is admirably badass:

Police in the Milwaukee suburb of Cudahy…pulled over a speeder on Aug. 9.  But when they did a background check on the name that she gave them, Latoya Watson, it came up as the alias of Laquita Watson, 27, who was wanted for prostitution and contempt of court…[when the pigs tried to arrest] Watson…she took off, driving up to 80 mph through residential streets and swerving into oncoming traffic.  Watson then made her way to Highway 794, made two illegal U-turns and hit 108 mph when other units joined in the pursuit.  Watson then exited back onto local roads and continued driving at 90 mph and got away as police gave up the chase out of a concern for safety…citations were…mailed to her last known address for driving without a valid license, insurance or seat belt, speeding, and both obstructing and fleeing from an officer.  A district attorney will also consider a reckless endangerment charge and a new warrant for her arrest…

Absolute Corruption

Only one major victim of the Satanic panic is still in prison:

On January 23, 2014, the Florida Parole Commission sent Frank Fuster a letter informing him that, owing to a recent policy change, it had determined that his initial interview was scheduled for March 2134.  No, that isn’t a misprint.  His first parole hearing is scheduled in 120 years.  And this for a crime that, by any fair reading of the evidence, not only did Fuster not commit but never even happened.  Thirty-three years ago, Fuster, along with his young wife, Ileana, was convicted of sexually abusing children at his suburban Florida home, where Ileana provided day care.  He is the last person charged in the mass sex-abuse-in-day-care scares that made headlines from the 1980s to the mid ’90s to remain in prison…therapist-induced repressed “memories” of incest destroyed thousands of families — the day-care cases…are morality tales in reverse:  The perpetrators ride high on the backs of their victims.  Janet Reno went on to become attorney general.  In a hideous distortion of the truth, Bill Clinton in nominating Reno hailed her record of protecting children.  Scott Harshbarger, who prosecuted the Amiraults, rode that case to become attorney general of Massachusetts.  The accusing families cleaned up.  In the Fuster case, they collected over $5 million in out-of-court settlements from the deep-pocketed Arvida Corporation (owned by Disney), the developer of [the subdivision where the Fusters lived]…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#651)

Actually, the suburbs are safer now than they have been for a century, but the public will believe anything it sees on billboards, no matter how ridiculous:

An edgy public service campaign is coming to a billboard near you…Emmy Myers says…in her early 20s, she became involved with a man who eventually…became her trafficker…She says the FBI helped her get away and start over.  Now Myers runs Lacey’s Hope Project, [a prohibitionist group] that [spreads]…sex trafficking [propaganda].  Her new public service campaign will send the message that sex trafficking is not just an issue in big cities…”we want to focus on the suburbs because there are so many [suckers who believe this fantasy there]” said Myers.  She said the best thing parents can do is talk with their children about sex-trafficking, and look for signs

This lame recitation of the “sex trafficking” Shahada is as “edgy” as a balloon.

Rooted in Racism (#797)

A UN official finally admits what I’ve been pointing out for years:

The 1951 refugee convention, which protects the basic human rights of refugees and asylum seekers, is at risk of “collapsing” or being “fatally weakened” if the toxic rhetoric from rich nations towards migrants continues, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said…Filippo Grandi warned that the political response to the refugee crisis was allowing “abuses of human rights to be carried out unchecked, unmonitored and uncontained”.  These flaws in the system continue to be exploited by smugglers and criminal groups who [help] people fleeing war and conflict…

Not So Easy

There is no “debate”; this scheme is supported only by politicians and developers:

The French Quarter is not the first place many Americans think of as a family tourist destination. For more than a century, it has offered a more risqué kind of leisure…But [Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser] believes the city, which attracted a record 10.9 million visitors last year, has reached a “critical point” in its struggle to maintain [what politicians call] public safety in the quarter. His prescription: turning the French Quarter into a state park to make it more “family friendly”. “We don’t want to attract only people who want to drink daiquiris or go to a strip club,” Nungesser said. “We want to attract families from all over the world.” The idea appears to be a nonstarter because it would require cooperation with the city, and New Orleans…mayor…LaToya Cantrell, has said she has no interest in ceding control of the center of the city’s $7.5-billion tourism industry…the proposal…has raised long-standing fears about attempts to sanitize the historic district and prompted plenty of ridicule from locals…Lyn Archer, a stripper who represents the Bourbon Alliance of Responsible Entertainers, fears Bourbon Street could eventually become the kind of “historical” site where workers dress up in period clothing to simulate traditional trades and read diaries to tourists.  “Is this our future?” she said. “To perform under a facade of the past for the amusement of visitors?”…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#813)

Another idiotic “Uber for escorts” app developed without consulting sex workers:

A self-described “Uber of escorting”…app isn’t impressing sex workers, who have raised concerns about the cryptocurrency platform’s security and lack of transparency.  PinkDate matches sex workers with clients, who can pay for services with crypto such as bitcoin or monero.  The startup, still in beta, has raised $1 million through its initial coin offering (ICO).  However, escorts involved in the project have already complained about its security and the risk of meeting unvetted clients, with one anonymous sex worker telling CoinDesk the system is “too pimp-like and not safe to use.”  The company said its clients will also be asked to give identification, but sex workers fear they won’t be adequately cross-referenced with industry blacklists…The app takes a substantial cut of 20 percent of the sex workers’ earnings.  A similar company, SpankChain charges 5 percent.  PinkDate’s founders are anonymous, yet escorts are expected to upload their government ID and Twitter accounts to sign up…The company’s former president Sarah Stevens was a sex worker, but she said she left PinkDate because of concerns about its business model…

Full of Themselves (#831)

Remember, choosing a massage professional certified by the California Massage Therapy Council is your only protection against “criminals using massage as a front for sex crimes”:

A [certified] massage therapist who operated businesses in Folsom and Orangevale has been convicted of sexually assaulting three women at his businesses…Thomas Self worked as a [certified] massage therapist at multiple locations and specialized in massaging athletes throughout the Sacramento region…In the summer of 2015…Self…sexually assaulted [a patient] with his fingers…A little under a year later, in March 2016, Self sexually assaulted a second woman with his fingers during a massage session…That August, Self sexually assaulted a third woman who he was reportedly helping train to become a massage therapist…A search on the California Massage Therapy Council shows that Self was…suspended [until] April 22, 2017…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#837) 

He probably just thought he was in a “sex doll brothel”:  “A man has been arrested after reportedly being caught having sex with a dead body at a Memphis hospital.  The suspect has been identified as Cameron Wright, a security guard at St. Francis Hospital…

The War Goes On (#855) 

All the oinking about how hard it is for poor widdle piggies to persecute sex workers since the feds shut down Backpage is hilarious:

Authorit[arian]s trying to [victimize consenting adults for] buying sex…have long depended on Craigslist and Backpage, where an online personal ad could be viewed from anywhere in the world and elicit any number of responses at a given time.  But police and [other prohibitionists] across the state and nation are scrambling to [escape the pile of shit they helped create by censoring] both sites…earlier this year, displacing sex [worker advertising] onto mobile apps, obscure websites and foreign-owned sites that aren’t beholden to U.S. [witch hunters]…[Minnesota pigs] charged at least 29 men between late July and early August with a variety of [prostitution-related] crimes…The dating site Plenty of Fish and an app called Skout were each used to catch one suspect.  The mobile app Grindr was used in three arrests…

Be careful, amateurs; your failure to oppose pogroms against pros has resulted in the pigs rooting around in dating apps for victims.  I hope you enjoy the world your silence helped to create.

The Monsters Are Due (#856) 

The ugliest part of a peak moral panic: lynch mobs.  Note that similar fake “child abduction” videos are being used to foment hysteria in the US.

This summer in India, two dozen innocent people died at the hands of mobs convinced that they were meting out justice to kidnappers.  One was a software engineer beaten to death after giving chocolates to children outside a school.  One was a 65-year-old woman who got lost on a trip to a temple with her family and stopped to ask for directions.  All five travelers were stripped naked and beaten with fists, sticks and iron rods…fear of strangers is far more dangerous than strangers themselves.  The panic began in April when a video that appears to show a child being scooped off the street by two men on a motorcycle went viral.  The video was originally created in Pakistan as a public service announcement to teach parents to watch their children more closely.  The end of the clip showed the child returned by the “kidnappers” who held up a sign:  “It takes but a moment to snatch a child off the streets of Karachi.”  But that wasn’t what millions of Indians saw on WhatsApp.  In the doctored Indian version, that ending was cut off, so the child never reappears…

Little Boxes (#865) 

I’m not sure which is more ludicrous, prohibitionists’ insistence that this is prostitution, or cuddlers’ insistence that it isn’t:

Lady Colin Campbell left Good Morning Britain presenters gobsmacked with a shocking outburst…during a debate on [compulsory] cuddling in the workplace…The socialite and former I’m A Celebrity star…appeared…alongside Lindsay Meadows, a “cuddle therapist” who charges her clients £45 an hour for hugs.  Lady Colin wasn’t convinced by her job title, comparing it to prostitution and said that those who pay to be hugged by her have “moral and psychological problems”.  GMB host Ranvir Singh was clearly baffled…and her jaw visibly dropped…

Lady Colin Campbell is remarkably prudish and insensitive, given her own personal history as an intersex person.

The Widening Gyre (#865) 

Here’s another entry in the “sex trafficking” scare story invasion of Twitter; it’s even more hilarious than the previous two.  This dumbass lost track of her car, and rather than recognize that she imagines every guy in the parking lot is party of a sinister conspiracy which broke into her car, hot-wired it and moved it to a different part of the parking lot, then put everything back as it was, presumably to confuse her, but then didn’t follow through on abducting her, the “sex trafficking” expert AND the little girl, because REASONS.

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Elizabeth Nolan Brown is the queen of whore allies.  For the past several years she has relentlessly pursued every item she can find about sex work and the “sex trafficking” hysteria that authoritarians are using to persecute us, drilling down to the truth and splattering the propaganda that most mainstream journalists eagerly swallow whole while making “nom nom nom” noises.  But every so often she writes something huge, like her exposé of the facts behind the 2016 takedown of Seattle’s The Review Board.  And this week she released another such piece:  a thorough look at what I recently called “Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin[‘s]…long, strange trip from student antiwar activists to props in the government’s manufactured ‘sex trafficking’ hysteria.”  The article is what this piece in Politico could’ve been had the reporter been more interested in getting at the truth than in demonstrating how much of the dick of power he could get down without gagging.  It deserves to be read in its entirety, but here are a few excerpts to tease it:

…Lacey and Larkin, ages 69 and 70, respectively, are confined by court order to Maricopa County and stuck wearing homing devices under their pant legs to ensure it…Their confinement will last through 2020, when their trial is scheduled.  Their bank accounts have already been seized. “Everything has been brutal,” says Larkin.  Both men argue that the case against them is politically motivated and that current stalling on the state’s part is designed to force a plea.  But “they’re going to have to win this in court,” says Lacey, “and we don’t think they can.  And our lawyers don’t think they can.”  Officially, Larkin, Lacey, and several of their former colleagues were accused of money laundering, conspiracy, and violating the Travel Act, which says local crimes become federal business when they cross state lines.  But in the court of public opinion, you’ll hear that they were complicit in facilitating underage prostitution as the founders and former owners of the now-shuttered classified ad website Backpage…

…Neither Lacey nor Larkin is accused of directly participating in any sexual exchange or of having knowledge about any particular crimes advanced through the platform.  In fact, law enforcement sources have over the years consistently applauded Backpage for its help making cases against predators and locating runaway teens.  The story of their arrest, then, is better understood as one of near-religious fervor, government greed, and political retribution, in which an escalating panic over commercial sex coincided with a booming online publishing platform.  “We didn’t go looking for this fight,” says Lacey, whose knuckles are tattooed with the words HOLD FAST.  “But we didn’t back away from it either”…

…Neither Lacey nor Larkin expected serious trouble.  New Times “had personals from day one,” says Larkin. “We’ve had adult advertising from 1970.”  Initially, the relationship between Backpage and law enforcement agents was cordial and cooperative.  Ads that directly indicated underage or forced prostitution were blocked and reported to NCMEC and law enforcement, as were posts deemed suspicious or likely to contain images of someone under 21, the legal threshold for missing children.  Backpage lawyers gave tutorials at national police conferences on how to work with Backpage records staff for investigative purposes, and management met with NCMEC monthly.  CEO Carl Ferrer also testified in sexual exploitation cases, and Backpage staff were described by authorities as quick and cooperative in responding to records subpoenas—around 100 per month by 2011.  Statements from a wide array of officials highlight the site’s value to investigators in solving cases, often noting how much more helpful it was than other web forums…

…”This is the biggest speech battle in America right now,” Lacey adds.  “The First Amendment isn’t about protecting the rights of the McLaughlin Group to speak their mind on television.  This is specifically what the fuck it’s about.  Unpopular speech.  Dangerous speech.  Speech that threatens the norm.  Not only do we have that right, our readers have that right.  The [Backpage] posters have that right…We spent 40 years doing journalism, groundbreaking journalism, and they want to take all that away,” he says—because “they don’t like who exercised their constitutional rights to use our advertising platform”…

What are you waiting for?  Go read it already!

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Humans have been exchanging sex for money and goods for thousands of years.  No act of government will end the practice.  –  Adam Sullivan

Counterfeit Comfort

How does government fight imaginary high recidivism rates?  By enacting policies designed to dramatically magnify the social isolation that increases recidivism, of course!

An Ohio [man] who spent three years in jail for a sex crime with an 18-year-old [woman] is not allowed to live with or write to his son, 14, because the boy is a minor.  He is also not allowed to talk to him on the phone or even possess a photo of him.  Now the dad has filed a federal lawsuit claiming these parole conditions are unconstitutional …his crime wasn’t with a male or a minor.  And yet, under Ohio’s five year mandatory “post-release control,” he cannot visit his son without [supervision] by a parole officer, whom he must pay. Unemployed, the dad can’t afford a visit.  And the rules say that even during a supervised visit, he would not be allowed to hug his son…”he is forbidden from moving back to the family home or having any contact with his son. He could not send his son a card or call him on his 14th birthday“…

Creating the Crisis

More accurate headline: “How Romania Became a Prohibitionist Bogeyman”:

Berlin…residents [use their magic mind-reading powers to declare that migrant sex workers] from Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine….did not have the German sex industry on their minds when they [supposedly] imagined [childish fantasies about] bright futures for themselves in the EU, just as Romania did not envisage prostitution becoming one of its leading “exports” after it joined the EU in 2007.  But official statistics from Germany and some other EU member states show that Romanian nationals represent a significant portion of sex workers in these countries.  “When talking about sex trafficking, Romania is [fantasized] as one of the trend setters in Europe, next to Albania,” [proclaimed] Silvia Martis Tabusca, an international law professor specializing in migration…

Torture Chamber

What our government calls a “correctional facility”:

…in the El Paso County Jail in Colorado, [sow] Sandra Rincon was celebrated with a tiara, a “princess” plate, and a cake with the number “50” on top.  The number…referred to the number of times she had used force against prisoners, ranging from handcuffing to punching and kicking.  She was the winner of what one of the county [screws] called a “fight club,” crowning whoever used force most often as the champion.  The “fight club” competition was uncovered in the course of a lawsuit filed by civil rights attorney Darold Killmer…[for] excessive force against his client, Philippa McCully…the county settled McCully’s case for $675,000.  The uncovering of the “fight club” did lead to an investigation, but [as always] that investigation  fell far short of being genuine…There were…no demotions, no transfers, [no criminal charges] or dock of pay for anyone involved…[Let’s hope] the county’s dismissal of the “fight club” as simply bad judgment…exacerbates the distrust between the community and [the count’s hired thugs]…[and even] further erode it…

Whither Canada?

Why does this journalist feel compelled to cede ground to prohibitionist lies?

When Canada decided to tackle prostitution by adopting “end demand” laws, it was supposed to make sex work safer and healthier.  But precisely the opposite has happened, according to new research presented at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam…Researchers from both Canada and France found that…the Nordic model, or “end demand” approach – actually made life worse for sex workers by pushing the trade further into the shadows, making it more difficult to negotiate prices and condom use, and making it less likely that workers would access health services…Elena Argento…a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, studied 854…sex workers…Hélène Le Bail, a researcher at Sciences Po CERI in Paris, said the “end demand” approach was supposed to be more progressive but France has seen the same problems as Canada…Her research, which involved 691 sex workers, showed that “end demand” laws have resulted in an “acute increase in socioeconomic vulnerability”…and [contrary to the sale pitch] sex workers are still more likely to be arrested and fined than their clients…

No, Canada’s Swedish model law was not “supposed to make sex work safer and healthier”; like all versions of the Swedish filth, it was specifically intended to make sex work more dangerous:

Full of Themselves (#630)

It’s good to see at least a few masseuses recognizing that they need to stand with sex workers rather than getting in bed with pigs and prohibitionists:

[Politicians] in several Iowa communities are considering moves to [harass]…massage businesses…[that pigs claim] are selling illegal sex services, and some [pompous] massage therapists say they give the industry a bad reputation.  [Prohibitionists pretend] their main concern…is…sex trafficking…However, [prohibitionists intentionally] conflat[e]…human trafficking with…sex work…“We act as though people with vaginas should not be choosing when or why they have sex and who they have it with.  Effectively it’s saying that they couldn’t possibly make decisions about their own bodies,” said Jaime Nevins, an Iowa City licensed massage therapist and an advocate for sex workers’ rights.  Nevins…[told] Iowa City [politicians]…“It’s like you can’t really be against [the proposed regulations] or you’ll be pro-sex trafficking, or perceived as that”…Bans on sex work are…similar to drug and alcohol restrictions.  Prohibition inevitably leads to underground markets..Violence thrives in secrecy…

Rough Trade (#769)

As I’ve mentioned many times, US sex workers are arrested for being raped:

…a 30-year-old woman…was [drugged and] raped and then “dumped out” near a [Nashville gas] station…several calls [reported] a [woman]…walking in the middle of the road crying, and possibly intoxicated…staff at the [gas] station had come to the aid of the woman in distress, [but by contrast]…the…police [protected and served her by arresting]…her…for public intoxication, though they clearly note in documents that she had no smell of alcohol, but was likely under the influence of an unknown drug…[then after] she admitted that…she [is a sex worker]…she was taken directly to booking, without any testing of the drugs in her system, any rape kit done, or even knowing if she was drugged by the man, or took the drugs willingly…then charged…with prostitution…

Paint By Numbers (#784)

WTF, Teen Vogue?  You’ve been doing so well, and now you publish “sex trafficking” nonsense, complete with taped mouths and red Xs?

There are different estimates of the number of victims in the world today, but virtually all [prohibitionists] agree that it’s in the millions…there are many…sources [of propaganda] to help you learn more [nonsense you can use to harm sex workers by]…calling or texting the National Human Trafficking Hotline when you [imagine] signs of human trafficking, or [supporting] anti-[sex] legislation…whatever your background and interests, you can [make up] unique [publicity stunts or just mindlessly participate…in…[deeply stupid herd activities like standing around on lawns, getting dressed or drawing] a red X

Pyrrhic Victory (#785)

Tyranny always starts with despised minorities, but it never stops with them:

[Western journalists visiting] the city of Kashgar in westernmost China…are [harassed by police]…we’re being tailed by some eight people and three cars…The minute we strike up conversation with anyone, officials appear and start interrogating them…Nowhere in the world, not even in North Korea, is the population monitored as strictly as it is in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region…Oppression has…worsened massively in recent months…Beijing has…turned Xinjiang into a security state that is extreme even by China’s standards…With around 500 [government thugs]…for every 100,000 inhabitants, the police presence will soon be almost as tight as it is in neighboring Tibet…cameras illuminat[e] every street all over the region, from the capital Urumqi to the most remote mountain village.  Iris scanners and WiFi sniffers are in use in stations, airports and at the ubiquitous checkpoints…an “integrated joint operations platform”…stores further data on the populace — from consumer habits to banking activity, health status and indeed the DNA profile of every single inhabitant of Xinjiang…The government has built up a grid of hundreds of re-education camps.  Tens of thousands of people have disappeared into them in recent months.  [Expert on China Adrian] Zenz estimates the number to be closer to hundreds of thousands…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#820) 

Porn is abuse of women!

…Patricia Hill, 69, of Jefferson County, Arkansas, has been charged with the capital murder of her husband, 65-year-old Frank Hill..Mrs  Hill…said she confronted her husband in the shed after she “disagreed with her husband’s purchase of video pornography via the television guide, which she cancelled upon discovering the purchase but Mr Hill managed to place a subsequent order”…After her husband refused to leave [his own home as] she [demanded]…Patricia Hill went back inside the home to arm herself with a .22 caliber pistol.  She then returned to the shed and…shot him in the leg and head…Hill confirmed that that there had never been any physical altercations between her and her husband prior to the night of the shooting…

If anything is a “public health crisis”, it’s violent prohibitionism.

This Means War

Though this article about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin has some good information on their long, strange trip from student antiwar activists to props in the government’s manufactured “sex trafficking” hysteria, it buys into that hysteria far too much to be read without an entire carton of salt, especially when it promotes the government-friendly view that the pair were no longer “real” journalists (a claim anyone who’s ever talked to Lacey in particular for more than about half an hour knows is 9944/100% pure bullshit).  Look also for the subtle pearl-clutching, complete with scare quotes around ordinary words, like, “On deadline days for escort ads, the offices of New Times publications filled with young women wearing skimpy outfits and too much perfume…I witnessed firsthand this weekly parade of ‘escorts’ at two papers owned by Lacey and Larkin...”

Rooted in Racism (#846) 

An especially egregious case of deliberate racial profiling by government-approved guidelines:

Three Hawaiian Airlines flight attendants are [bizarrely] being hailed as heroes after they [harassed] a group of [travelers that they had racist sex fantasies about]…Flight attendant Wesley Hirata [claimed] he sensed something wasn’t right [because] an older Asian man [was traveling with two white women and their younger sister] from Los Angeles to Honolulu.  Hirata [conspired with] other flight attendants who [interrogated] the [women] – revealing that one of them was [a legal minor] and all three had the same name [as one would expect of unmarried sisters]…The attendants informed the captain [that there was a family on board] and [somehow decided this was grounds for snitching to the pigs] in Honolulu.  Upon arrival in Hawaii the group was questioned by local police, who referred the case to the FBI…[who] soon established [that the sisters were indeed sisters]…and the man was a…[family friend] travelling…with them [and not a sinister Fu Manchu-like character out of these bigots’ racist sex fantasies]…

Choke Point (#850) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

…Bank of America customer[s] might be getting questions about…citizenship status and even have…accounts frozen with no warning.  KCTV…photographer…Josh Collins…received a mailer claiming to be sent by Bank of America that asked for personal information and citizenship information.  However, he has been a Bank of America customer for 20 years and was born a U.S. citizen, so he figured it could be a scam and that the bank would follow up if it was legitimate.  The next thing he knew, his accounts were frozen without notice…The bank representative told Collins…his…“cards ha[d] been lost or stolen.”  That was not true…They eventually unfroze Collins’ accounts, but not before sending an email notifying him all of his automatic bill payment accounts were wiped out…the bank explained that…they would be asking this of all their customers…Bank of America [blamed]…”law” [for the harassment]…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers, gun owners or migrants, but never stops there.

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Sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such.  –  Anja Derungs

Acting and Activism 

Not an article you’d see in the US:

…Celebrities…[such as] Ashton Kutcher, Ricky Martin, Demi Moore, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Emma Thompson have all been extensively involved in [so-called] anti-trafficking campaigns…Recently, comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Meyers starred in a [propaganda video] in support of…new [censorship] legislation in the US to curtail sex work in the name of preventing sex trafficking…Celebrities…bridge the gap between brand and cause ambassador, between hawker and humanitarian.  A clear example of this is Demi Moore’s partnership in 2011 with a jewellery retailer to sell diamond handcuff pendants, with some of the profits going to support the anti-[sex work] foundation established by Moore and her husband at the time, Ashton Kutcher…the presence of movie and television stars at the forefront of awareness campaigns can fuel the expectation that real trafficking victims are just like those we see on television or the big screen…sex slavery…is a popular storyline in entertainment mediaTaken…was a smash hit…spawning two sequels and a television show…Stories of sex trafficking have featured in other movies like The Whistleblower and Trade, and numerous television shows including Criminal Minds, CSIHawaii Five-O, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS: Los Angeles, Without a Trace, and The Wire.  The broad reach of movies and TV means that we are more likely to hear about human trafficking in a fictional context…The lines between entertainment, infotainment and information become blurred, especially when we are told…stories of trafficking by the very people who might play the heroes on screen...

Saving Them From Themselves

Dr. David Ley can always be counted on to speak good sense:

…prosecution of teen sexting suffers from the same disparities as much of our legal system: teens who are Black [or LGBT] may be more likely to face prosecution…Males are more frequently charged than females, even in cases involving mutual sharing of pictures…it is mostly the US that is having this teen sexting panic.  Countries in which social nudity is common and accepted don’t seem to be reacting quite as punitively to these phenomena…Amy Hasinoff, author of Sexting Panic, argues strongly that…child pornography laws need to be updated to be more consistent with age of sexual consent laws:  If you can have sex at age 15 or 16, then you should be able to take or share a naked or sexual image (of yourself) as well.  But she also says that we need to take a better educational approach with teens, teaching them about healthy sexuality and relationships and giving them support and guidance on how to sext safely, not trying to stop them sexting altogether.  In other words, we need to start practicing harm reduction strategies…

Gorged With Meaning

Cracked has fewer pro-sex work articles than it once did, but this one’s excellent:

…”Being alone with a man is being alone with a man,” says Fancy, “and they don’t see a difference between a sugar baby and an escort.  In fact, because it’s the first area of sex work many people start with, the risk is higher because the expectation of screening isn’t really there”…Despite sugar sites’ insistence that “entering the sugar bowl” is all about forming lasting romantic bonds of convenience, the turnover rate for arrangements is high — about two months on average, in Fancy’s experience…Both of our sources recently made the decision to quit sugar dating.  Julia got a promotion at her day job, while Fancy decided that the profit wasn’t worth it compared to traditional escorting and stripping.  “I found the men on the sugaring sites to largely be cheapskates who want to trick young women who are too scared to escort into providing escort services for a fraction of the cost,” she says. “It’s very manipulative, financially”…higher-end escorts tend to charge at least $2,000 for overnight stays.  In her experience, that amount is at the upper end of the monthly  allowances sugar daddies offer — and for escorts, those overnight stays don’t require the devotion, time, and attention that often accompany a sugar arrangement…”I was taking $300-$600 for overnight (sugar) stays!  All just so I could call myself something other than a whore”…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

Blaming bad behavior on an imaginary “addiction” is the opposite of accepting responsibility:

A…Lethbridge [Alberta] school teacher…Dwayne Schnell…pleaded guilty to charges of making and distributing child pornography…Schnell abused his position of trust by taking pictures of eight students…without their knowledge…a psychiatrist said…Schnell has no concept of the harm caused to the children, parents, or the school where he worked….[and] assertions that he suffers from impulse control and addiction issues were “self-deceptive excuses to justify his behaviour”…Schnell…[claims] he has a pornography addiction…

Uncommon Sense (#545)

How countries with healthy ideas about sex react to the Swedish disease:

A campaign to make prostitution illegal in Switzerland is being met with stiff resistance from human rights group.  The Swiss Aids Federation [and] Amnesty International…are among several advocacy groups rallying against the…[crusade, which] was launched by the Women’s Centre in Zurich…and calls for a Swedish-style ban on prostitution…Anja Derungs, spokesperson for the Zurich Equality Office said that “sex work is like any other kind of work and should be treated as such”…Daniel Seiler…of the Swiss AIDS Federation, said that sex work “is the oldest profession in the world” and would not disappear if a ban was in place.  This approach had not worked it Sweden either, where the trade still exists, he noted…The Women’s Centre in Bern also expressed its opposition to the campaign launched by its counterpart in Zurich…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Shaming clients is an exercise in evil fuckery that just won’t die:

The Catalan town of Gavà wants to stamp out [sex workers]…and snitch on those who [enable sex workers to pay their bills and support their children]…by sending fines to their family addresses…”Up until now, the client used to pay the fine (to police) in cash right there and then so that there was no record of the offence”…[anti-sex] Minister Gemma Badia is quoted as saying…As a result, authorities have decided [cops]…should send the fines to clients’ home addresses…Even if the clients were to insist on paying before the fine was posted, they would still receive a letter informing them, and quite possibly their family members, on the settlement of their prostitution case…

The Monsters Are Due (#742) 

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

A 92-year-old man…was thrown to the ground [and] stomped on by strangers on the Fourth of July…in…Los Angeles…Rodolfo Rodriguez [is] a native of Mexico and legal U.S. resident…Laquisha Jones, 30, was arrested…[and] booked for assault with a deadly weapon…Rodriguez had gone out alone for his daily walk, [the victim’s grandson, Erik] Mendoza said…While walking, Rodriguez may have bumped into a small girl, witness Misbel Borjas…said…she [then] saw a woman with the girl push Rodriguez and beat him with a brick.  The woman also told Rodriguez to “go back to your country”…Borjas had been driving by, she said, and wanted to stop, but the woman threatened to hit her car with the brick.  Borjas instead called 911 and took a picture of the woman, which she shared with police and put on social media.  Borjas said a group of men then came down the street, and the woman accused Rodriguez of trying to take the child.  That’s when about three of them also began beating him…Rodriguez…suffered two broken ribs and a broken cheekbone…

Cops and Robbers (#823)

No fad spreads faster than a new way to tyrannize innocent people:

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco announced new initiatives to [harass]…sex [workers]…Deputies will utilize intercept bots to track people who use the Internet to search out [adult consensual sex]…The bots will communicate like a [very stupid and robotic] person, exchanging information such as phone numbers and could even set up meeting locations.  [Pigs]…will [creep] in to lock up the buyer and then go after the person in court…

Guys, it’s extremely easy for men to know which ads are real and which are pig swill: women in real ads will have an established online presence.  Just Google the name, email address, phone number, etc; if there are no other hits on an escort site, other ad sites, Twitter, etc, you’re probably looking at a pig trap.

The War Goes On (#831) 

We told you so:

…promoting prostitution…cases, according to [spokespig] John Daggy [of Indianapolis]…have…dried up…[since] the feds closed police’s [easiest site for stings]…Backpage…“We’ve been a little bit blinded lately because they shut Backpage down,” Daggy said…

The melodramatic telling of the arrest of a wannabe “pimp” is especially hilarious.  NB: Every time his name comes up, I remind readers that one of Daggy’s jobs is to make excuses for cops who rape sex workers.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#849) 

It’s fascinating in a train-wreck kind of way to watch the lies spiral out of control:

Fulton County Police Chief Darryl Halbert said 100,000 children become sex trafficking victims in Georgia per year and are mostly runaways between the ages of 12 and 14.  He said the county police department uses surveillance cameras and sting operations to [pretend they’re fighting] the [imaginary] crime…

Yes, that’s a pig oinking that almost 5% of the entire below-18 population of Georgia (something like 30% of the age group mentioned) become “sex slaves” every year.  Even allowing for half “escaping”, that would mean roughly half of the population of Georgia under the age of 30 are now “sex slaves”.  One wonders where they’re all stored, and where the clients to support this massive population all come from.

Welcome To Our World (#853)

Locking pregnant women in cages for “trafficking” themselves.  Had enough yet?

Phnom Penh Municipal Court…charged 33 women with human trafficking after they were detained following a raid on a surrogacy business…last month…[being pregnant in a way politicians don’t like] is illegal and could carry a jail sentence of up to 20 years…Chou Bun Eng, chair of the National Authority Against Human Trafficking, said…“We cannot tell you the place where the women are [locked in cages] because we want to protect their rights and…keep them safe”…

“Keep them safe” and “protect their rights”.  By locking them in cages for 20 years.  For being pregnant.  Feminism!

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It’s a privilege that [clients] choose us to share their hopes, fears and dreams with.  –  Rachel Wotton

Lack of Evidence

Discrimination against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Landlords in Nairobi…are threatening to smoke out single women from their apartments, claiming that their houses have been turned into sex dens.  The[y]…have now resorted to vetting potential tenants and turning away single women…“We have instructed our agents and caretakers to ensure that female tenants provide proof of marriage or that they have serious boyfriends before they are allowed to live in our apartments,” said one of the landlords…most of have been outwitted by shrewd women who [circumvent] the…[discrimination] process by bringing male companions to pose as husbands during their house-hunting missions…

Long-time readers may remember that similar practices in 19th-century Europe led to the appearance of pimps.  I also find it fascinating that so many ignoramuses seem to think marriage is a magical ward against harlotry.

The Public Eye 

The more out sex workers there are, the harder it will be to ignore us:

In 1995 New South Wales  became…the first place…in the world to decriminalise sex work.  Against a backdrop of the AIDS epidemic and a recommendation to fight police corruption from a royal commission into the state’s police service, sex workers succeeded in lobbying the government for change.  The NSW model is often cited as an example of best-practice, evidence-based regulation.  The state has an estimated 10,000 sex workers and many of them are active globally in law reform, human rights and HIV prevention campaigns.  But 23 years since decriminalisation, how much has changed for sex workers and what does the future hold?  The Guardian spoke to six sex workers about their personal experiences and the diverse nature of the work they do…

Most of y’all will probably recognize at least one or two of these names, especially that of Rachel Wotton, whom I deeply admire and got to meet last month.

Catastrophic Consequences

After harassing sex workers for the past five years, Scottish police now pretend they want to be “fair”:

Police Scotland is to review thousands of warnings handed out to sex workers in a bid to ensure prostitutes are not being unfairly criminalised.  Warnings…will also be removed from the internal police system after two years as part of a new policy designed to reduce the risk of discrimination…Under the existing system…A range of warnings are “weeded”…after two years, but there is a higher hurdle for sex workers to overcome.  A single warning for a prostitute will be erased from the system after 24 months, but two or more sanctions for the same individual triggers the so-called “40-20” rule.  This means that a person has to be 40 years old or over, and the information would have had to be on record for at least 20 years, before a weed is carried out…The move comes nearly five years after Police Scotland raids on saunas in Edinburgh effectively ended the regulated brothel system in the city…The action is believed to have damaged police relations with sex workers…

“Is believed to have damaged relations”.  Really?  I can’t imagine why hounding people out of safe working conditions, destroying their livelihoods and saddling them with 20-year criminal records would make them unhappy.

Nice While It Lasted

Remember when a person had to actually be found guilty to get a life sentence?

In New York a defendant can be forced to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life based on accusations a jury rejected.  So the state’s highest court ruled last week in a case that illustrates how fear and loathing of sex offenders  lead to results that would be recognized as unjust and illogical in any other context.  Quinn Britton’s 13-year-old niece, identified in court documents as A.B., accused him of raping her during a Thanksgiving Day visit to her grandmother’s home in Brooklyn…when she was 11.  Britton denied any inappropriate behavior, and his mother said A.B. had spent the whole evening watching TV in the living room with her.  The girl’s older brother said she had described a sexual assault to him, but…A.B. told her brother Britton had tried to engage in vaginal intercourse with her but couldn’t because his penis “wouldn’t fit”.  By contrast, she told police Britton had penetrative sex with her for about 10 minutes.  A detective testi[l]ied that Britton had admitted touching, kissing, and performing oral sex on A.B., but he had no recording or written statement to corroborate the confession, which Britton denied making.  The jurors…found Britton guilty of second-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor, based on the allegation that he kissed A.B.’s breasts, but not guilty of three felonies…the judge nevertheless assumed that Britton had committed the felonies and therefore assigned him to risk level two…which triggers lifetime registration…

The reason the judge can get away with this abomination is the loathsome pretense that “sex offender” registration is merely a administrative requirement rather than a penalty.

The Missing Word (#735)

Note that state-sanctioned near-slavery isn’t called “trafficking” herein:

Two Bangladeshi men…have been charged at a Dubai court with human trafficking after they allegedly tried to sell an Indonesian absconding maid…via WhatsApp…They are also facing charges…of running a…prostitution den, facilitating prostitution…and sexual exploitation…the victim…[was] subject to a deportation order…[she] said…”I got in contact with a countrywoman and told her I was not happy at work because the sponsor’s wife was very demanding.  That woman introduced me to another compatriot (a wanted runaway) who promised me a part-time job…The runaway woman told me I would work as a prostitute and that I had to accept as I had no other choice”…

The “sponsors” of such migrant workers hold officially-granted power over them, and often abuse and exploit them because they can have them deported at a whim.  Women who flee the exploitation are treated as criminals (note the terms “absconding” and “runaways”); is it any wonder other nasty characters can take advantage of them?  But only the people they flee to are called “traffickers”, never the well-connected abusers they flee from.

The Punitive Mindset (#804) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is quietly rolling out a pair of new policies that could restrict access to books and communications for the system’s nearly 200,000 prisoners.  The first of the new policies bans all books from being sent into federal facilities from outside sources including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  These retailers are usually the only means by which prisoners can receive books because most facilities reject reading material sent from individuals or small bookstores due to [arbitrary bullshit]…Now, prisoners instead will have to submit a request to purchase books — a limit of five per order — through an ordering system in which they must pay exorbitant prices and don’t have the option to buy cheaper used paperbacks.  In addition, prisoners must pay a 30 percent tax plus shipping cost…Under the new protocol, a book purchased from Amazon for as little as $11.76, with shipping included, could cost more than $26.  The new books policy…has been in effect in [two facilities for months]…and…has resulted in a massive price increase for books as well as months of wait time between orders…

Unchristian Nation 

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

Scott Warren was arrested by Border Patrol agents…just north of the Mexican border, in January…he was indicted by a grand jury in February, on two counts of harboring illegal aliens and one count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens…Warren is also one of nine volunteers with No More Deaths, an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, to be hit with federal charges in recent months for leaving water in a remote federal wilderness preserve where migrants routinely disappear and die.  His arrest came just hours after No More Deaths published a report that documents evidence of Border Patrol agents destroying jugs of water that the group leaves for migrants in the desert…

This Means War (#831)

It’s good to see they’re going to fight this:

Backpage.com co-founder Michael Lacey offered his first public comments about allegations of running prostitution ads and money laundering.  “Nonsense!” Lacey said before his attorney added that his client had no further comment.  Lacey, and co-founder James Larkin are scheduled to stand trial Jan. 15, 2020…Five site employees will also stand trial.  Attorneys were given enough time to review an estimated 7 million to 9 million pages of documents about the case…CEO Carl Ferrer, has pleaded guilty to a separate federal conspiracy case in Arizona and state money laundering charges in California.  In addition, [Ferrer] pleaded guilty [in the company’s name] to human trafficking in Texas and in a federal money laundering conspiracy case in Arizona.  Ferrer has agreed to testify against others…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#837) 

I should’ve realized a change like that wouldn’t be a merely administrative one:

Experience in the sex…industry will no longer help would-be immigrants move to New Zealand, it seems.  The recently-hyped addition to the employment list, for visa hopefuls, has vanished from the immigration website…While the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) website did not issue any official statement on the development, the agency’s area manager Stephanie Greathead told local media that the removal was done to avoid “further confusion”

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