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Posts Tagged ‘The Widening Gyre’

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…

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American police are…obsessed with enforcing exactly which body parts can be massaged and by whom.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Where Are the Victims?

There was no evidence…[of] threat…or any form of…coercion…

Hong Chin, 45, his former partner Li Wei Gao, 44, and lover Ting Li Lu, 47, [brought sex workers] to the UK from China, Hong Kong and Korea…Chin was given a prison term of four years by Judge Philip Katz…[who bloviated a lot of inane nonsense about “bosses” and “conveyor belts” before admitting that] there was no evidence Chin had made women work by threat of forceful use of violence, or any form of physical coercion, but [denied that women are adults capable of choice by adding]: “It seems to me this was a sustained, cynical and organised exploitation of women”…

First They Came for the Hookers…

Just in case you think being a “legal” sex worker protects you from the lies of cops and prudes:

A [ratout] call…chronicled blood splatter, vomit, and undeterminable stains on nearly every surface of a downtown strip club.  The dance poles were filthy with bodily fluids, as were the beds in the secluded VIP rooms upstairs.  The women there had caught warts, scabies, and microbugs…Minneapolis inspectors uncovered soiled pillows and comforters…and…A [single] used condom…inspectors…harvested samples of semen stains from 11 out of 17 businesses.  But rather than crack down, they sought to understand what was happening with the city’s flesh merchants…[a bureaucrat] asked…the University of Minnesota to assist…[under] the [false] impression [that the “research” was not disguised] government surveillance [driven by] the moral preoccupation of [prudes]…social workers could be the city’s [spies in] the clubs…

Strip clubs have tons of problems, including (sometimes) floor goo.  But these derive from the shadowy legal zone in which politicians and cops force them to operate, not vice-versa.

To Molest and Rape 

This week’s rapist cop is a good example of the McNeill Rule:

A retired NYPD [cop]…who was part of a sex crimes unit…[was] arraigned…on more than 80 counts of child sexual abuse… Nicholas McAteer…molested two family members who are not his children for nearly a decade…his victims were 12 and 13 when the abuse began…The…assaults…took place in McAteer’s home while his wife was sleeping and in his unmarked NYPD patrol car, while he worked for a sex crimes unit in Manhattan and its…Bureau [to get cops off when they commit crimes]…

Full of Themselves (#650)

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

Every week, headlines from across the country announce undercover operations, often months long, dedicated to catching and punishing people for offering erotic massages.  And the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are increasingly involved…”Happy endings” have apparently become a matter of national security…In Suffolk County, New York, police just raided an Asian spa based on the neighbors’ suspicions…Colorado cops spent a year investigating Yoshiko Therapy after seeing an ad for the place on Backpage…Phoenix police spent five months investigating a middle-aged woman under suspicion of offering sensual massages from her home…In…Oswego [Illinois], a “long term investigation” into one local spa led to…[arrest] of two middle-aged Chinese women…In San Francisco, city prosecutors have been suing massage parlors out of business if workers there are arrested on prostitution charges.  Landlords of the buildings where they operate are also be sued and fined…Hemet [California] recently went fishing for evidence of prostitution or human trafficking at the city’s massage parlors.  Finding instead small businesses operating exactly as advertised, code-compliance cops issued 44 violations for things like inadequate signage…Rockford, Illinois, found no evidence of human trafficking or prostitution at two local massage parlors but shuttered them anyway…for operating without a…license…A six-week operation in Fresno, California…targeted [a] strip-mall spa…sending undercover cops there multiple times…

The Prudish Giant (#659)

Once Patreon caved to PayPal the first time, this was  inevitable:

Adult content creators are worried they won’t have a safe, viable income source in Patreon anymore…[after] the site…made its [so-called] community guidelines on adult content more strict…the platform is [now] casting too wide of a net about what’s considered “pornographic”…it’s currently very difficult for adult content creators to get paid online, and Patreon has in recent years emerged as one of the main sources of revenue for many…many of them have spent years building up a fanbase of people who support them financially—if they’re kicked off the platform…their livelihoods will be at risk.  A spokesperson for Patreon [lied]…that porn was never officially allowed on Patreon…

Every online giant builds itself on the backs of sex workers, then throws us under the bus in the name of “respectability” once it gets established.

Pyrrhic Victory (#673)

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

…Section 702 [of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)] is set to expire on December 31.  The draft reauthorization…would extend it through 2025…[the] bill…would “allow the CIA, NSA, FBI, and other agencies to search through emails, text messages, and phone calls for information about people in the U.S. without a probable cause warrant from a judge”…in eight…domestic offense categories, including “human trafficking”—a crime U.S. law-enforcement has broadened to include sexual exchange between consenting adults and any aid to undocumented immigrants—and sexting between teens…

Send In the Clowns 

This year’s clown panic was extremely disappointing:

A [South Carolina] man reported seeing a clown with a knife…[on a] road…around 1 a.m….two [cops] responded…[but] were unable to locate anyone dressed as a clown…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#714) 

Say what you like about Playboy; it’s always been in the front on social issues:

Playboy responded to backlash against its first transgender Playmate with a series of tweets comparing recent social media reactions to reader letters about its first black Playmate in 1965…Ines Rau…[became] the first openly transgender person to be named a Playmate.  The move drew criticism from some users on social media…most notably, former porn star and Playboy cover model Jenna Jameson.  “I have a problem with it just like I have a problem with a transgender competing against biological women in sports,”she tweetedPlayboy responded to the backlash with a series of powerful tweets…Caroline Cossey, the first openly transgender woman to appear between the covers of Playboy…[noted] that Hefner’s decision to feature her helped change cultural perceptions of trans people in the 1980s…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#724) 

Once again:  woman-shaped toasters have no “moral code”.  They are objects without minds, rights or feelings:

The sex robot phenomenon looks set to sweep the nation, with prostitutes fearing they will soon be out of work.  Hyper-realistic bots will even be able to fake orgasms and have fully-blown conversations, inventors [fantasize]…Sergi Santos…claims his…[robot] Samantha will be able to tell if [masturbators] are naughty or nice…Santos has claimed that her arousal level will be directly affected by how nice a person is…based on their previous conversations and sessions…

The only prostitutes who “fear they will soon be out of work” from these overgrown Talky Tinas are either very stupid or suffering from some sort of anxiety disorder.

Too Close To Home (#742)

Ugly regurgitated sexual fantasies from a sexual predator with the Washington State Rape Department:

Carlos Rodriguez…pursues [adults for private sexual acts using the excuse of]…juvenile sex trafficking…Since August 2015, Rodriguez and his two detectives have conducted eight undercover sting operations…and [arrested] 22 [underage sex workers they labeled as]…victims…”People order girls like they order pizza,” he [panted while fingering himself furtively]…”it’s everywhere…It could be right next door…Somebody is being abused right now…I can [take] some heroin…Ecstasy or pills, methamphetamine, and…once [the trip is over], it’s gone.  It’s used up.  When [I masturbate to thoughts of] a child, that’s a reusable commodity.  I can [fantasize about] that over and over, and I still have it…So, when [I] think about it [while masturbating, I]…don’t have to worry about [any] other [fantasy material]…”

The Mote and the Beam (#777)

Some companies are willing to destroy the internet to secure a temporary business advantage:

…Manus Cooney…Chairman of the Board of NCMEC…basically lists every…big Hollywood/legacy copyright player as a [lobbying] client.  Viacom, Time Warner, the Authors Guild, Comcast (owners of NBC Universal), the Copyright Alliance, the Music First Coalition (an RIAA front group), Random House, Reed Elsevier, SoundExchange (an RIAA spinoff), Songwriters Guild of America, and others…Hollywood really wants SESTA to pass for a variety of reasons, nearly all of them focused on its weird visceral hatred of one company:  Google…the Sony Pictures hack a few years back revealed the existence of Project Goliath — in which the various Hollywood studios colluded to try to support doing anything to harm Google.  The key part of the Project Goliath strategy was to convince…state Attorneys’ General to target Google for basically anything bad found on the internet…including counterfeit pharmaceuticals, sex trafficking and, of course, copyright infringement…That flopped, in large part because of CDA 230, which protects sites from the actions of third parties.  Now, along comes SESTA, whose entire point is to punch a giant hole in CDA 230, such that if a site is used to “facilitate” trafficking, the site suddenly loses its immunity.  Another key point in SESTA: saying that claims brought by states Attorneys General are no longer immune from action under CDA 230. Hmmmmmm…

The Widening Gyre (#785) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

Several posts about a human trafficking ring in Tulsa are making rounds on Facebook, but Tulsa Police say the rumors are untrue.  One of those posts got more than 2,500 shares…One of the posts even says police confirmed it.  Police say this is untrue…Some of the posts also talk about people approaching children, asking them to get into their vehicles.  While this may have happened, Sgt. Todd Evans says it doesn’t amount to child sex trafficking…

Cooties (#786) 

Understand what this actually is:  a cop non-consensually using sex workers as props in a public recitation of his BDSM masturbation fantasy:

Men who [hire] sex workers in pop-brothels operated by [imaginary] crime gangs are committing rape, Cornwall’s most senior police officer has [fantasized]…The [fantasy of a] sex den epidemic in Cornwall first [became popilar among cops]…in July 2016, and…[cops exploit sex workers in theses fantasies by slandering them as] not technically consenting…

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SESTA…is an invitation to drive an awful lot of important speech from the Internet.  –  Cathy Gellis

If It Were Legal

The only reason this was necessary was because of idiotic laws against sex businesses:

…Helena Berkyova, 29, pretended customers were paying for gourmet food including king crab soup and soufflé when she charged them for [escort] services.  She set up sham catering firm Fine Dining Catering Services to conceal the illegal operation…Berkyova pleaded guilty to conspiracy to manage or assist in the management of brothels, keeping a brothel for prostitution, and money laundering…Berkyova [was s sex worker]…before moving up to management…She admitted managing the brothels between January 2013 and October 2015, raking in around £350,000 from paying customers…

Only a twit who’s never owned or run a business would think £350,000 (about $460,000) over a three-year period constitutes “raking it in”.

So Close and Yet So Far

When anyone not a sex worker uses the term “decriminalization”, read carefully:

…it is easy [for very stupid people who know nothing about economics and black markets] to assume that decriminalizing prostitution will embolden sex traffickers and increase victimization…Research I conducted for my book…shows that decriminalization of sex work is an evidenced-based approach to combating sex trafficking…Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal; it just empowers victims to come forward…I’ve gone to “the track” in the District, where women are sold for sex on the street…

“Decriminalizing sex work does not make prostitution legal” is total bullshit; of course it does, it just doesn’t make it legalized (i.e., subjected to a repressive regulatory regime or bound in so many special laws it might as well still be illegal).  Note also the agency-negating phrase, “women are sold for sex”, which no sex worker advocate would use.  I smell a supporter of the Swedish model, which is often dishonestly represented as decriminalization by its proponents due to the false claim that it “decriminalizes” sex workers (which it actually doesn’t).

Under Every Bed (#350)

I just can’t help laughing every time “authorities” pretend that North Dakota is a “sex trafficking hub”:

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp [vomited out a lot of stupid anti-sex propaganda]…at [a] panel hosted by the University of North Dakota Law School…Thomasine Heitkamp, a social work professor at UND and Sen. Heitkamp’s sister, recently completed a study on domestic, dating and sexual violence in the Bakken oil fields.  She said the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking during the study was stunning…Sen. Heitkamp said legislators need to take on Backpage.com, and other sites [she fantasizes as being] known for sex trafficking and called the Communications Decency Act a “barrier”…

A politician calls a law intended to protect people from government tyranny a “barrier”.  Yes, it is, and we need many more such barriers.  Also, what the fuck does “the amount of concerns heard about sex trafficking” actually mean?

If Men Were Angels 

I wonder what fraction of his rhetoric is directed toward “perverts”?

…72-year-old Garry Evans, pastor of Baptist Temple in Rushville [Indiana], is accused of molesting several girls in his congregation…a three-year-old girl reported…that Evans lured her into his office with the promise of candy, then pulled his pants down and made her touch his genitals.  He then told her not to tell anyone what happened.  After the investigation into Evans’ behavior began…another mother brought her five- and seven-year-old daughters to police.  Both girls told investigators that Evans had forced his hands down their pants when they were alone with him in his office…

Harm Magnification (#612)

Naturally, because it’s politicians’ job to cause harm, not reduce it:

The Lawrence County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning opted to discontinue its contract with Indiana Recovery Alliance to operate a needle exchange program…the program is free to the county…but…[the county] prosecutor [vomited out evil crap about how] she could not support a program that facilitates…the illegal use of drugs…[two politicians] remained silent…[one of them, Rodney] Fish [suggested drug users]…”pray and…turn from their wicked ways”…[the other evil fuckhead, Dustin] Gabhart [vomited out]…“I don’t like the get-out-of-jail card for paraphernalia.  To me, those…make us a sanctuary…for addicts”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#649)

I always feel dirty when prohibitionists salivate over their masturbatory fantasies in public:

A [rogue’s gallery] of state and local lawmakers in San Diego…[fantasized publicly about] young military men and…sex trafficking in California…[they fantasized that] eight thousand to 11,000 victims are trafficked in San Diego County every year, an $810 million business, according to a [bogus] 2016 study…[politician Juan] Vargas [masturbated openly to the fantasy that] gangs have moved from selling drugs to selling people…[while politician Xavier] Becerra [drooled while saying]…prosecutors must struggle to over[throw] internet privacy laws that make extremely difficult to prosecute [consenting adults for private sexual behavior]…[he also sexually fantasized in public about] girls who are 12 or 13 years old.  Maggy Krell…a…prosecutor…[cackled about] going after…hotels and motels [to enrich the state using the excuse of “sex trafficking”]…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#695)

Pearl-clutching is both funnier and sadder when a young man does it:

If not for its debaucherous reputation, you might not blink an eye passing the Fuji Building.  From the outside, it looks no different to the skyscrapers that surround it…But inside tells a different story:  Eighteen floors of “one woman brothels”…Signs on the doors read “welcome”, or “wait” in various languages… Strange anime cartoons accompany the messages…“The Fuji Building may be full of prostitutes, but so long as each individual flat can be shown to be a separate unit from all the rest — that it has its own water connection, electricity meter and no one else can access it — it is above board”…the scourge of human trafficking [is] “bubbling beneath the surface of the Hong Kong sex scene”…who’s really in charge?…Terrifying stuff.

Buildings are terrifying! Or is it young women? Sex? Anime cartoons?

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#714)

Indonesia is trying to criminalize all sex outside of marriage:

…Indonesia…is in the midst of a two-year crack down on sexuality and gender rights; last week, police arrested 58 people in a raid on a “gay sauna” in Jakarta, some of whom now face 10 years in prison.  Human rights defenders protecting the community have been threatened, attacked, slandered and threatened with death.  Sex worker rights defenders say their night-time profession multiplies the threats they receive as activists…Sex work regulations in Yogyakarta are vague.  “Flattery,” “seduction with words, gestures, signs” or other indications that one plans to “carry out indecent acts” are all criminal.  The regulations say sex work will “reduce a person’s honor” and conflict with Indonesian values…Workers who speak up for one another during the day are often the ones targeted by police at night…

Cooties (#766) 

Despite the popularity of this masturbatory fantasy with UK cops, not one has ever been found:

MPs investigating the sex trade…launched [an inquiry] into organised crime gangs using temporary addresses to sexually exploit women…Police issued warnings to holiday let owners…that their properties were at risk of being used as pop-up brothels.  The cross-party group will [attempt to shore up a narrative so cops can harass and persecute]…vulnerable women.  [Politician] Gavin Shuker…said…“It is vital that we uncover how these criminals operate – and how we stop them”…

I know it’s hard to tell through the layers of “sex slave” fantasy and women’s agency negation, but what they’re actually talking about are rentals used by touring escorts and those who don’t want to risk “pimping” charges by splitting the cost of a long-term rental with friends.

The Mote and the Beam (#771)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Harris County has filed a lawsuit against [a] Motel 6 [location, claiming]…the motel is a nuisance and has failed to abate criminal activity…The lawsuit said, “Officers have made numerous arrests for prostitution at this location as well as arrests for possession of illegal drugs, weapons, and violent crime.”  The lawsuit [demands]…Motel 6 maintain surveillance video, install and maintain electronic gates, prohibit cash only customers and hourly rates for stay…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Lenore Skenazy compares “sex trafficking” moral panic to an older form of bigotry-spawned hysteria:

…Facebook posts about fiends snatching innocent children are eerily reminiscent of an older, more pernicious scare:  a corrosive lie called the “blood libel,” in which Jews during medieval times were said to be killing Christian children and using their blood to make matzah…medieval scholar Emily Rose…describes the most famous blood libel of all:  the 1475 abduction and murder of a young Italian boy, Simon of Trent.  A Jew was accused of killing him for his blood.  It was not the first such story, but this one spread like wildfire thanks to a brand new social medium: print.  Posters and poems disseminated the allegations…Across the continent, people started claiming that a Christian child had been murdered by a Jew in their town, too.  “Most of these kids didn’t even exist,” Rose says, “and if they did exist, they weren’t killed.”  But that didn’t stop the stories from catching on.  And the people repeating them were no longer just plain peasants in a two-bit town…Today’s panicked moms probably don’t see themselves playing a role that goes back centuries.  But the only thing new is the medium they’re using to spread fear.

The Mote and the Beam (#780)

Just in case you think it’s only sex workers who will be harmed by SESTA:

…”ICE has recently re-defined the crime of human trafficking to include assistance, like housing and employment, that adults provide to juveniles who come to the United States without their parents.  In many cases, the adults being investigated and charged are close relatives of the minors who are supposedly being trafficked“…SESTA is drafted with language that…[allows] the government, both federal and state…to come after the platforms hosting any and all speech related to the assistance of immigrants, if any and all assistance can be considered trafficking.  The scope of what they could target is enormous: tweets warning about plain-clothed ICE agents at courthousessearch engine results for articles indicating whether evacuation centers will be checking immigration status, online ads for DACA enrollment assistance, or even discussion about sanctuary cities…If SESTA passes, platforms will either have to presumptively censor all such online speech, or risk prosecution by any government or state entity…

Between the Lines (#784)

“Operation Cross Country” is well-known for reinforcing the “sex trafficking” narrative by omitting figures for adult sex workers arrested, charging male sex workers as “pimps”, and listing arrested 16- and 17-year-old sex workers as “rescued children”.  But their most vile trick is abducting sex workers’ children, then claiming they were “rescued” or, even worse, “recovered”:  “An 18-month-old child was recovered in Baton Rouge and the child’s mother was arrested amid an FBI-led sex trafficking sweep that recovered 84 children and netted 120 trafficking suspects nationwide“…The word “recovered” refers to someone getting back something that rightfully belongs to them; for cops to use it about someone’s child is a blatant statement that the State views all children as its property.

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Why should it be illegal to sell something that you can give away for free?  –  Judge Consuelo Callahan

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through 

The idea that this constitutes “slavery” is almost as stupid as calling the cops was:

Kansas police arrested a man…and charged him with human trafficking, among other crimes…Joseph Stevenson Glenn…allegedly offered young homeless women a place to stay, then plied them with drugs until he received sexual favors, thus creating a cycle of sexual servitude…Glenn [precipitated] his own arrest by calling police and telling them that an unwanted guest was banging on his door…[cops] discovered drugs in plain view, along with two young girls who later were found to be homeless…[cops] allegedly found an assortment of illegal drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and meth….[plus] paraphernalia and scales to weigh the drugs…

The Enlightenment Police

This was inevitable; politicians everywhere are obsessed with regulating women’s bodies:

This week, Quebec banned people working in public service or using public services from wearing veils or any sort of facial covering, the first such ban in North America, one echoing “burqa ban” policies  passed across Europe.  Ushered in by Quebec’s Liberal Party as a way to “foster social cohesion” and “religious neutrality”…the law largely takes aim at Muslim women who veil their faces in public….women  can apply for exemptions—essentially a special license to wear a burqa or niqab that they would have to display to public officials…Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, called it “an unnecessary law with a made-up solution to an invented problem.  We don’t have hordes of women in niqabs trying to access or work in public services”…

Pyrrhic Victory

When an Eastern totalitarian state isn’t much more repressive than the “free” ones of the West, the world is in trouble:

[In] Kashgar…growing a beard can get you reported to the police.  So can inviting too many people to your wedding, or naming your child  Muhammad or Medina.  Driving or taking a bus to a neighboring town, you’d hit checkpoints where armed police officers might search your phone for banned apps like Facebook or Twitter, and scroll through your text messages to see if you had used any religious language.  You would be particularly worried about making phone calls to friends and family abroad.  Hours later, you might find police…knocking at your door and asking questions that make you suspect they were listening in the whole time…China, which has already deployed the world’s most sophisticated internet censorship system, is building a surveillance state in Xinjiang…that uses both the newest technology and human policing to keep tabs on every aspect of citizens’ daily lives.  The region is home to a Muslim ethnic minority called the Uighurs, who China has blamed for forming separatist groups and fueling terrorism.  Since this spring, thousands of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities have disappeared into so-called political education centers…

First They Came for the Hookers…

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

Bourbon Street has become an epicenter of the New Orleans sex trade, according to a yearlong investigation by…The Times-Picayune.  [Pig] records…and interviews with dozens of officials, club representatives, human trafficking experts and trafficking victims reveal how a patchwork of strip clubs featuring private rooms have continued to be plagued by prostitution and drug use…Bourbon Street has become a playground for pimps – the kingpins of a brutal and sadistic underworld that hides in plain sight…Even when authorities have compiled evidence that pimps on Bourbon are exploiting women, recruiting new sex trafficking victims and more recently using the women to rob customers, the sex trade has continued to fester…Covenant House [claims]…dozens of women – some younger than 18 – have reported falling victim to trafficking and sexual exploitation in clubs…there has been no evidence that clubs knowingly employed dancers who were victims of human trafficking [but prohibitionists fantasize]…the trafficking opportunity arises from a constant presence of pimps…

I don’t think I have to tell you just how much reeking bullshit this is. Yes, things have changed since Katrina, but not this much.  When I remind you that Covenant House was also behind the defeated law to ban women under 21 from working as strippers, and tell you that a number of New Orleans “officials” harbor really stupid fantasies of making Bourbon Street “family friendly”, does the picture become more clear?

If Men Were Angels 

A few more cases like this may spell the beginning of the end for the “sex addiction” scam:

A therapist accused of sexually assaulting a former juvenile patient numerous times at a youth treatment center told the girl that “he was a sex addict”…Jason Scott Calder…[manipulated the girl] from March until June…During one therapy session, Calder had the girl take off her clothes, but told her he couldn’t touch her…”Things progressed rather quickly and the therapist suggested they go for a walk up in the mountains alone for their next therapy session…the therapist would have special therapy sessions with her late into the night.  He would call her at the treatment facility to discuss, ‘keeping their story straight, when he was off shift'”…Other staff members noticed the late therapy sessions and mountain walks, which he did not do with any other female patient, and he was soon fired…

The Last Shall Be First (#625) 

The politicians knew this would happen; they don’t care because the law was nothing more than political theater intended to win votes:

Transgender people would be allowed to use public restrooms in North Carolina that match their gender identity under a settlement agreement filed [last] Wednesday that aims to resolve the federal lawsuit over the state’s widely criticized bathroom law…North Carolina has been mired in litigation about transgender rights since Republican lawmakers enacted a law in 2016 that restricted bathroom choice in state-run buildings to the sex on people’s birth certificates rather than their gender identity.  A measure passed in March rescinded the so-called bathroom bill…but activists said transgender people still faced discrimination under the new law, which left state lawmakers in control of bathroom policies…

To Molest and Rape 

Sex workers know this is cops’ idea of “community support”:

A police community support officer raped and sexually assaulted women he met while investigating crimes…Orhan Yigit…paraded naked in front of a victim of domestic violence, asked her for sexual favours in return for help to escape her marriage and [then raped] her…another [woman] who [foolishly] answered the door to him dressed in a nightie was “cuddled”, kissed on the shoulder and inappropriately touched…[he repeatedly raped] a third woman [and gained her silence by threatening her with information]…he discovered…by doing illegal checks on the police computer…

The Widening Gyre (#699)

Moral panics never end until they start harming middle-class white women:

Alex McDaniel, a writer for the blog Magnolia State Live, tweets a lot…usually it’s for laughs…a couple weeks ago, after tweeting about her son using the potty and the funny things he said, she added: “3-year-old for sale. $12 or best offer.”  Which kicked off a human trafficking investigation…”They told me an anonymous male tipster called Mississippi’s child abuse hotline days earlier to report me for attempting to sell my 3-year-old son, citing a history of mental illness that probably drove me to do it…The most hellish week of my life [followed]…All because enough people believed I was actually trying to sell my son on Twitter for $12″…with the help of an attorney, McDaniel got the charges dropped within days.  Not everyone is as lucky.

I Saw My Brain (#725)

Yet another pogrom in the pocket police-state that is Polk County, Florida:

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office [victimized] 277 [people] in a weeklong undercover sting [using] human trafficking [as a pretext for harassing people involved in]…online prostitution, which the agency is calling “Operation No Tricks, No Treats.”…51 were arrested on charges of advertising as prostitutes online, 209 under suspicion of soliciting undercover detectives posing as prostitutes and 17 under suspicion of deriving proceeds from prostitution…

O, Canada! (#755)

The outcry against the grotesque “Operation Northern Spotlight” is growing:

Newfoundland and Labrador groups are adding their voice to a national chorus calling for an end to a sting operation targeting sex [workers]…Heather Jarvis, project coordinator of the Safe Harbour Outreach Project (S.H.O.P.) [spoke against]…Operation Northern Spotlight…which…involves [cops] posing as potential clients…”These women are being lied to by police,” she said.  “They come to a hotel room expecting to meet a client and expecting to gain income…and instead are met with a team of [cops] who [interrogate] them.  They feel very condescended to, they feel incredibly frightened”…Sex worker advocacy groups in British Columbia and Ontario have also asked for the operation to end…

Challenge (#769)

During oral arguments before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges…ESPLERP attorney Louis Sirkin stressed that the case “is not about sex trafficking, it’s not about the abuse of women, and it’s not about the abuse of minors.  It is about consenting adults that voluntary want to work in the sex for hire industry.”  Dozens of civil rights, public health, and LGBTQ groups have filed briefs in support of ESPLERP’s challenge, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern and Northern California, the California Women’s Law Center, the anti–sex trafficking group Children of the Night, the First Amendment Lawyers Association, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, the Woodhull Freedom Foundation, and Lambda Legal…Judge Carlos Bea suggested that the state’s arguments for why it could ban prostitution also would allow California to ban one-night stands…The U.S. District Court that heard ESPLERP’s challenge last year [pre]tended that only “intimate personal relationships,” not purely sexual ones, were protected from state interference per the Supreme Court’s 2003 ruling in Lawrence [but] Sirkin pointed out…that, in fact, the men who had been arrested in Lawrence were not in an ongoing relationship.  He said that the fundamental right implicated here, as in Lawrence, concerns sexual privacy…

The Widening Gyre (#774)

Once they expanded the panic by adding male “sex slaves”, it was inevitable they’d get to transwomen:

Spanish police said…that they had broken up a ring that was forcing young transvestites and transsexuals into prostitution, including at least one minor.  Police [claimed]…a man and a woman [were]…forcing the youths into selling their bodies at a Madrid flat where they were kept against their will.  “They were controlled 24 hours a day, lived jammed into small rooms and their exploiters forced them to pay abusive prices for any food, drink or product which they consumed,” police [claimed]…they…did not say how many prostitutes had been freed…saying only that one of them was just 17 years old…

One man and one woman guarded multiple captives in a single flat 24 hours a day? Really?

The Widening Gyre (#783) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

Despite a Canton man’s claims that his wife and daughter were nearly abducted from a Michigan…Target store for human trafficking purposes last month, township police say his story doesn’t appear credible.  The man made the claim in a Facebook live video over the weekend…in [which] he said he was trying to bring awareness about human trafficking…he said.  “This is a real, real thing going on in Michigan.  We are the No. 2 state for human trafficking and it’s happening all over”…

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I am not sure when being a selfish, misogynistic jerk became a medical disorder.  –  David Ley

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

When another man pays an underage sex worker, she’s a “sex trafficking victim”.  When a cop does it, she’s an “underage hooker”:

A Bronx cop was busted for having sex with an underage girl and recording their encounters — even after the investigation started and his home had been searched…Raul Olmeda was arraigned on a 67-count indictment…[because] five times between January and April…[he] paid the teen for sex…police found out about them while conducting a sex trafficking investigation…Olmeda’s lawyer, Stuart London, said…”This isn’t numerous underage women.  This is one underage woman, and we don’t know her credibility at all”…

The Daily News changed the last word of the headline after people jumped on them for the language, but you can still see it in the URL.

The Proper Study

It looks like Scott Cunningham has finally done a good one:

In a groundbreaking study, researchers at Baylor and West Virginia universities have found evidence indicating that Craigslist’s erotic advertising site may have prompted a 17 percent decrease in female homicides throughout the United States, principally because sex workers were able to use the free advertising service to move into a safer indoor environments and screen clients more carefully…The study, which has been submitted to a peer-reviewed economics journal, offers…evidence of what sex workers have been saying for years: that having the ability to advertise online for their services allows them to work in safer indoor environments and screen out violent clients.  The new study reinforces previous research showing a decline in sexual violence in regions where prostitution has been legalized or decriminalized…the researchers also did an analysis of how many more police officers would need to be hired to reduce the female homicide rate by the same percentage that Craigslist’s free service apparently did.  They concluded that this would require an additional outlay of 200,832 police officers, costing the U.S. an added $20 billion per year.  “Craigslist, in other words, saved 2,150 female lives at a profoundly lower social cost,” concluded the three authors, Scott Cunningham…Gregory DeAngelo…and John Tripp…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

If Weinstein brings down the “sex addiction” scam, he’ll have inadvertently done some good in the world:

…While there’s no official confirmation of where Weinstein is headed or what type of therapy he may be getting, experts…said that…he’s not a sex addict.  And most say there’s no such thing as sex addiction…Holly Richmond…said…”There is no such thing as sex addiction”…[Dr. David] Ley says…“We see this parade of men getting caught…then they claim their behavior is the result of this alleged disorder when we all know these were men who were abusing their power and privilege…after 40 years…there is still no published evidence that this treatment works…This is an exploitative industry that loves to capitalize on these celebrity sex addiction scandals so they can get referrals”…

Yellow Fever

Like the New York Times, the BBC has discarded whatever credibility it once enjoyed:

Basis Yorkshire was set up to support sex workers across Leeds in 1989.  Over that time, we have worked closely with sex workers across the sex industry to provide safety, information and support…We believe the BBC documentarySex, Drugs and Murder; Life in the Red Light Zone has done a great deal of damage to the stereotypes of sex workers in Leeds (and across the country) by portraying the women in a highly sensationalist, voyeuristic way.  The footage often none-to subtly focuses the shot on drug paraphernalia and rubbish in their home, or the area they work in – giving deliberately unpleasant, grubby feel to the program and the women that are featured…The program could have been made about a group of women with complex needs and had the same content – but…[instead] focuses only on women who have severe addiction issues, or on complex, even at times violent, social situations, rather than allowing viewers to see the diversity of women we work with (or indeed the diversity of the lives of the women they chose to film)…

Skin To Skin

A “feminist” calls other women “toilets” for ministering to disabled men:

Men with disabilities are a hugely important group served by sex workers” [tweeted] Amy Alkon…Check out the, paternalism, uh, maternalism [in the response] here, from social psychologist Dina McMillan


All-Purpose Excuse

Meanwhile, Oakland allows cops whose actions DO qualify as “trafficking” under law to get away scot-free:

Following a controversial Aug. 16 raid of a West Oakland home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said repeatedly that the operation was part of a criminal human trafficking investigation…but…the raid hasn’t resulted in a single criminal prosecution…the only person arrested, Santos de Leon, is facing civil immigration charges and could be deported..ICE has recently begun to classify the act of providing shelter and other assistance to unaccompanied minors who recently immigrated to the United States as “human trafficking,” and is charging adults, often close family members, with the crime…by providing assistance to ICE for the raid, OPD violated Oakland’s sanctuary city policies…Kirkpatrick made false statements on several occasions — including in emails to city councilmembers, statements at a town hall meeting, and through several OPD press releases — about the raid…The statements included a social media posting from OPD asserting that the arrest was related to “sex trafficking”..and that…victims were rescued by ICE and received services.  But there is no evidence to back up those statements…

Signs 

The dysphemisms are thick in this one:

Students at Quinnipiac University’s law school [who have never done sex work] have [indoctrinated] nearly 1,000 of Connecticut’s hospitality industry workers on how to recognize and report the [mythical] signs of sex trafficking…Taylor Matook [said]…“we have a narrative.”  By [filling the heads of] hospitality workers with [sexual fantasies, prohibitionists]…hope to [create an army of stool pigeons]…to stop…sex [workers from making a living by turning them in to the pigs]…Theresa Leonard…founder of a ministry [fantasizing about] eradicating sex [work] in Connecticut, said…“It’s amazing to me how few women [agree with my claim]…that they were exploited or trafficked”…

The Prudish Giant (#641)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Leila is a sex worker.  She goes to great lengths to keep separate identities for ordinary life and for sex work, to avoid stigma, arrest, professional blowback, or clients who might be stalkers (or worse).  Her “real identity”—the public one…joined Facebook in 2011.  Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name.  Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s “People You May Know” recommendations, Leila…was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.  Despite the fact that she’d only given Facebook information from her vanilla identity, the company had somehow discerned her real-world connection to these people—and, even more horrifyingly, her account was potentially being presented to them as a friend suggestion too, outing her regular identity to them.  Because Facebook insists on concealing the methods and data it uses to link one user to another, Leila is not able to find out how the network exposed her or take steps to prevent it from happening again…When Leila queried secret support groups for sex workers, others said it had happened to them too…

This isn’t new; I first heard about it about a year or so after starting this blog.

Morality Lessons (#689)

No, this isn’t the same huge child porn site run by the FBI; this is a different one:

The world’s largest child sexual abuse forum, “Childs Play” is running in the darkweb. [Nowegian newspaper] VG exposed…[that Australian police are] behind the website’s continued operation…Under the supervision of Jon Rouse, detective inspector, and investigator Paul Griffiths, thousands of members have shared photos and videos of children being sexually abused…Some members of the forum got together in person to commit child abuse, which they filmed and shared on the forum…the police deny they are responsible for what was shared on [their own website] while they ran it…

Morality Lessons (#703)

A Utah politician’s bizarre anti-porn antics continue:

For the past 14 years, Utah has made do without a “porn czar.”  The position—officially known as the “Obscenity and Pornography Complaints Ombudsman”—has been vacant since 2003, though it was never officially eliminated.  Now state Sen. Todd Weiler…may revive it, even as the Utah attorney general suggests legislators strike it from the books.  Weiler has been on an anti-porn crusade for several years now.  He’s the architect of a 2016 declaration to declare porn a public health crisis (which passed the state legislature unanimously) and a proposal passed earlier this year to encourage “porn addicts” to sue porn platforms…Weiler “says he became convinced that the obscenity and pornography complaints office may be needed because of an ad campaign attacking Cosmopolitan magazine as illegal porn”…

I kinda hope the “Cosmo is porn” nonsense continues; maybe it’s push the magazine into siding with sex workers.  Weiler is also the dangerous loon who claimed sex workers “force” cops to rape us.

Checklist (#755)

The real purpose of this scheme is to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system:

Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation Assistant Professor Samantha Calvin spoke at the 14th Annual Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference in Ohio last month…Calvin focused on human trafficking in the clinic setting, red flags to look for, questions to ask and what to do if someone is identified…

You may recall that ASU, home of Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz, is a major hotbed of “sex trafficking” propaganda and source of several bogus studies made to order to support both the hysteria and carceral “solutions” to the nonexistent “problem”.

Of Course It Is (#758)

I hope none of you find this even remotely surprising:

Charges that Oakland [pig] Giovanni LoVerde sexually assaulted an underage girl were dismissed…after Alameda County prosecutors dropped the case…Several other Oakland [swine] were not criminally charged in the case, but twelve were disciplined by the department, and four were fired.  Some…still work at OPD despite social media evidence they sexually exploited the girl or ignored signs of wrongdoing…many more Northern California [pigs] were implicated in the sprawling sex crimes scandal, but few have faced criminal prosecution.  The dismissal of the case against LoVerde ends, for now, the Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s effort to prosecute five Oakland cops — three former and two current — as well as a former Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy and a former Livermore police officer who all exploited the girl…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

School officials in Ohio are on alert following reports of a drone…at Windemere Community Learning Center in Akron over the weekend..several witnesses [claim to have] heard a voice coming from the drone, attempting to coax the children off the playground”…This bizarre story is not questioned by the media, because whether or not the threat is real, doesn’t matter…of course, the advice given to parents is always the same — just as it has been in all the reports of “near” abductions by sex traffickers at the local store (that never actually occurred): PARENTS, NEVER LET YOUR KIDS OUT OF YOUR SIGHT!…

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It’s a wonder they lived to tell the tale.  A car.  A mumbler. More than one person in the parking garage at once.  It is all just overwhelming.  –  Lenore Skenazy

Feminine Pragmatism 

Anyone surprised by this knows nothing about women:

…Gabriel Sánchez rattled off the previous jobs of the women who now [work] at his [brothel] for $25 an hour.  “We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer…All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.”  And all of them came from Venezuela.  As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse amid food shortages, hyperinflation and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country.  Those with the means have gone to places like Miami, Santiago and Panama.  The less fortunate find themselves walking across the border into Colombia looking for a way, any way, to keep themselves and their families fed…But with jobs scarce, many…women are turning to the world’s oldest profession to make ends meet…

Socialism, the way of the future.

Finding What Isn’t There

As I keep saying over and over and over:

Human trafficking arrests are almost nonexistent in most states, according to the FBI’s newly released U.S. crime statistics for 2016…Florida reported 105 investigations into human-trafficking offenses in 2016 but zero human trafficking arrests…Nevada worked on 140 human-trafficking investigations but made only 40 arrests on trafficking charges.  Louisiana looked into 123 potential cases of human trafficking but only arrested 16 people for it…this report only includes arrests recorded by state and local law enforcement on human trafficking charges, which allows us to look beyond police propaganda about what they’re doing and see what it is they’re actually doing….the data do little to support the idea that the U.S. is experiencing unprecedented levels of labor and sex trafficking or that we are in the midst of some sort of “modern slavery” epidemic.  This is probably why you don’t see UCR trafficking statistics quoted in congressional reports, “awareness” materials, or law enforcement statements to the media on the topic…

Backwards into the Future (#629) 

Zimbabwean sex workers demonstrate their clout:

…sex workers in Chiredzi, a small sugar cane growing town in south-eastern Zimbabwe, have forced the reopening of Chigarapasi beer hall, the country’s largest, after threatening to stage a week-long naked vigil at the entrance in protest over its closure.  The beer hall…was closed early this year [after] the…Chiredzi council…[claimed] the bar was no longer making a profit – much to the surprise of…sex workers whose livelihood depends on [it]…

Public Service Announcement (#669)

If your candidate’s campaign can be derailed by the peccadilloes of a virtual stranger, you have a shitty candidate:

Anthony Weiner is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday in a sexting scandal that some blame for Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss.  The former New York congressman faces up to 27 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor…by having illicit contact with a 15-year-old girl, including asking her to “sexually perform” for him in conversations on Skype and Snapchat…

Also: the word “illicit” makes anyone who uses it sound like a pearl-clutching schoolmarm.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

Because nothing makes authoritarians lose their shit faster than sex:

…Chinese company Taqu (or “Touch” in English)…launch[ed] their “Shared Girlfriend” app online, which allowed users to rent a silicone sex doll for a daily fee of 298 yuan (US$45.15) or 1,298 yuan per week…news of the service quickly went viral…Two days after its 14 September launch in Beijing, the authorities shut the service down after…a police investigation [called the rental] it to be a “vulgar act that disrupts social order“…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

These “close encounters” with near sex-traffickers are like alien abductions.  They are shared wildly — gleefully — by people seemingly thrilled to know this horrible scourge is out there…This latest story, from Reno, involves a mom and dad who noticed every detail about a night that sounds outrageously ordinary.  They passed by some people they didn’t know!  They went into the parking garage and there was a car — with people in it!  They felt scared for their kids and compelled to write a Facebook post warning people everywhere about this terrible thing that…didn’t happen…I, too, walked outside last night and literally every single person I encountered may have “possibly” been involved in a child sex trafficking ring.  Each and every person I saw might “possibly” have also been a Satanist.  Or the owner of a Segway they’re trying to get rid of.  Or been related to the Royal Family…there’s no way to say they AREN’T sex traffickers.  So it’s best to just assume they are…”Holland…described [one man] as looking disheveled and wearing a bodyguard-type earpiece“…I’m sure that “bodyguard type earpiece” couldn’t possibly be an earbud.  It is so much more likely that the man was being commanded from Sex Trafficking HQ than listening to Beyonce…

Saving Them From Themselves (#735)

Lowered penalties for teen sexting may sound like a step in the right direction, but in actuality they simply encourage prosecutors to file more charges for behavior that isn’t even criminal in the first place:

Ohio state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban sexting between teenagers, potentially turning thousands of ordinary young Ohioans into sex offenders…Legislators could instead amend state statute to exempt teens exchanging pics between themselves, and people a few years over 18 texting with those a few years younger, from laws that treat them as child-porn producers and consumers.  Prosecutors could decline to bring these charges against sexting minors, and schools could decline to hand these cases over to cops.  Instead, this bill would create the new misdemeanor crime of “possession of sexually explicit digital material”…by anyone under age 21…So sexting teenagers might not get labeled child pornographers, but they could still wind up with a criminal record or, at the very least, a lot of court dates and a bullshit DARE-style class on how sexting will ruin their lives.  Worse yet, the legislation doesn’t actually change the state’s child pornography laws.  If it passes, prosecutors can still bring child porn charges against minors…or…use the threat of that charge to coerce kids to consent to searches, take plea deals on the lesser charge, and so on.  The sexting offense would simply be an additional tool at authorities’ disposal…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#759) 

The concept that men can’t tell the difference between a hunk of plastic and a woman insults all humans:

A sex robot with a “resistance setting” that allows men to simulate rape should be banned…[says anti-sex] lawyer…Kate Parker, who…warned the “uniquely sinister” technology normalised sexual assault…

Beware of authoritarians who disguise their deeply pathological need to control others’ sexuality by using words like “normalize” to describe sexual fantasies which are already so normal they’re almost vanilla.  For a deeper analysis of why this woman’s beliefs are deeply offensive, see also “Vile Insinuation“.

The Course of a Disease (#772)

It took a few weeks for Irish prohibitionists to figure out how to celebrate the increase in violence vs sex workers directly resulting from their laws without revealing their sociopathy to everyone:

More sex workers have reported rapes to gardai since new laws on prostitution laws were introduced, a [prohibitionist] group has claimed…Sarah Benson, head of Ruhama, which [persecutes sex workers]…said she is hopeful the laws make a positive difference…

Lower Education (#773)

Go on, keep telling me how the slippery slope is a “fallacy”:

Gov. Jerry Brown of California is poised to sign a worrisome bill that…explicitly applies to children in public kindergarten, elementary and high schools.  So a first grader could face dire consequences if found to have committed an act of “sexual violence,” which is broadly defined to include any “physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person” without their consent.  California lawmakers quickly passed the bill last week after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Sept. 7 that she will roll back the [due-process-banning] guidelines set forth by the Obama administration in 2011…[which] have led to bad outcomes…In case after case, young men were expelled on the basis of allegations that they were not allowed to challenge by seeing the evidence against them or cross-examining witnesses…Put aside for a moment whether a 6-year-old is capable of forming the intent to commit a sexual assault when she plants kisses on an unenthusiastic classmate, or whether it makes sense to bring sexual assault charges against an eighth grader who hugs the girl he has a crush on but who does not reciprocate his feelings.  Put aside for a moment whether school administrators should be branding children sexual assailants even if they are 49.99 percent sure the allegations are not true…Heavy-handed disciplinary policies fall disproportionately on students of color.  Because of the stereotypes associated with them, including the noxious but persistent trope that black males are inherently sexually predatory, black kids are presumed guilty…

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The work you do does not give you dignity; the dignity comes from you.  –  Elena Reynaga

Counterfeit Comfort

The Notorious Badge

An unusual portrayal of sex work in cinema:

…the 1918 silent film The Yellow Ticket…follows Lea, a young Jewish woman who lives in the Warsaw Ghetto.  Hoping to study medicine at a university in St. Petersburg, Lea is forced to register as a sex worker, receiving a “yellow ticket” as proof of her status as a prostitute, or else she will go to prison for being Jewish.  Posing as the deceased Christian sister of her former tutor, Lea reluctantly lives these dual lives until a classmate discovers her at the brothel and she tries to commit suicide…

Broken Record 

Low-population areas come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

Fargo [North Dakota] police arrested two men as part of a two-day sting…[during] the annual Big Iron Farm Show…[spokesow Junell] Krabbenhoft [oinked that]…“Any major event, anything that’s going to draw people to the area,” could attract potential buyers…

An Example to the West (#316) 

The areas Americans dismiss as the “third world” are far ahead of the US in sex worker rights:

…sex workers [are] campaign[ing] for an International Labour Organization (ILO) resolution establishing the right to self-employed sex work, with a view to it being included in the individual legislations of Latin American countries, given that, although sex work is not explicitly penalised in many countries of the region, it is criminalised in many ways…they managed, after five years of failed attempts, to secure a thematic hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).  The demands presented included the recognition of sex work, that the relevant authorities in each state intervene to end the impunity surrounding crimes against sex workers, and measures to tackle the institutional violence they suffer…The IACHR…“urged member states to design public policies and regulations that protect the human rights of sex workers…and…put an end to the stigmatisation and discrimination to which they are subjected”…

Traffic Circle (#431)

It’s so nice to see an article in which migrant African sex workers are treated as adults with agency rather than passive, childlike “victims”:

Bar girls and sex workers have a visible presence in Pattaya [Thailand].  Women and girls from neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar have made up a large slice of the sex worker demographic for as long as people can recall…Among the most recent round of newcomers are some women from Africa…Last week Pattaya City police arrested 12 women from Uganda…A Cambodian sex worker…[said] she came to the city to earn a living five years ago.  Pattaya improved her life, she says, and she wants to remain there for as long as possible…”Back at home, I can’t even earn 10% of what I am earning here.  I notice a lot more black girls these days but none of us get intimidated by this.  After all, we also came here to find an opportunity to make a better living”…

SWOP Behind Bars

A good article with a horrible headline: sex work is work, not an “offense”:

SWOP Behind Bars…provides a community and concrete aid [to incarcerated sex workers] when they’re released, from clothing and shoes to stamped envelopes, notebooks and hygiene products.  In a new program, the women also get cellphones…Connecting women to resources quickly after leaving prison is crucial.  “When you’re in prison and you get out and you don’t have any money, you’re almost forced back into sex work.  Which may not be where these women want to be, because it does put them at risk for rearrest,” [SBB founder Alex] Andrews said.  She calls this “state-sponsored trafficking”.  Women are cut off from their families and released without resources for finding jobs, getting an education or pursuing a GED.  Sex work is effectively the only way many of them have to make money…Finding cheap, reliable phone service nationwide has been tricky, Andrews says.  Many services aren’t set up to allow people to purchase phones for others, and she’d like to buy 90 days of service at a time, rather than the usual 30-day package.  Most women coming out of prison aren’t in a position to start paying for their own phone after only a month on the outside.  For the moment, Andrews has settled on Straight Talk, a program that’s offered through Wal-Mart and gets good service even in rural areas.  SWOP can send out refurbished iPhone 5S with 30 days of service for around $100 each.  The organization is accepting donations of used smart phones to help expand the program and lower costs…

To Molest and Rape 

“Former prison transport officer” = “pig who was actively employed when he raped women at gunpoint”:

A federal grand jury…returned a two-count indictment against Eric Scott Kindley…for crimes related to his sexual assault of a woman in his custody, and using his firearm in furtherance of the assault…Kindley was indicted on June 29, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, for committing similar offenses related to sexual assaults he committed on a different woman in his custody…These indictments stem from Kindley’s arrest in Stockton, California, on June 1, 2017…Kindley operated Group 6, LLC doing business as Special Operations Group, a company that local jails throughout the country hire to transport individuals who have been arrested on out-of-state warrants…In each instance, the victim was handcuffed and restrained, and taken to secluded locations where Kindley [raped] her…Kindley threatened each victim with his firearm and warned her that…no one will believe her…

Send In the Clowns 

This year’s “creepy clown” panic is off to a good start:

An Ohio man who tried to discipline his 6-year-old daughter by chasing her around in a clown mask has been charged after she ran screaming to a stranger’s apartment…Vernon Barrett Jr. donned a clown mask and began chasing his young daughter outside their apartment…the frightened child ran to a female stranger’s car nearby, jumped inside and said she was being chased by a clown…That woman later told police that the man wearing the clown mask pulled the child out of her car.  Unsure of what was happening, the woman called 911…the child [then] ran into the adjacent apartment of…Dion Santiago…[who] grabbed his firearm and fired a shot out of his window…

The Mote and the Beam (#748)

Liz Brown exposes more horrific laws that destroy civil rights under the pretext of “fighting sex trafficking”:

…two significant expansions of federal power…passed the Senate unanimously…Under these new measures, the FBI and immigration agents as well as state and local police can secretly wiretap suspected sex workers, or those who associate with them.  The wiretapping authority…includ[es] consenting adults on any side of a commercial sexual exchange.  The bills call for a new national strategy to reduce “demand” for prostitution, order all U.S. attorneys offices be trained on treating the sex trade as “a form of gender-based violence”…[ban] federal funds [from] any nonprofit that helps people who profit off sex and…broaden…the term “criminal street gang” [to] capture any five or more sex workers traveling together…[the bills provide] a pretext for ICE and Homeland Security Investigations to join in small-town prostitution stings and massage-parlor raids across America…[another] bill (S.1312) gives the attorney general power to file a civil suit against anyone suspected of…planning to commit “any action that constitutes or will constitute” a violation of various federal statutes…This…could allow the feds to preemptively shut down websites, search engines, social apps, browsers, encryption services, or brick-and-mortar businesses because criminals (broadly defined) might communicate there…The new TVPA will also make fighting…”sextortion”…an invitation for the federal government to get involved in teen sexting cases…

The Widening Gyre (#763) 

I am so enjoying watching “authorities” forced to deny the “sex trafficking” propaganda they helped spread:

Looks like the Roseville, California, police department got a little fed up with social media posts going on about local “sex trafficking kidnappers” and “suspicious people.”  And so it came out with this amazing document on its Facebook page…”kidnapping by strangers is a rare crime in the United States.  Stranger abductions of children are so frightening and so unusual that when they do happen, they make national news…children taken by strangers or slight acquaintances represent only one-hundredth of 1 percent (.01%) of all missing children…The Roseville Police Department has never taken a report of anyone being kidnapped by a stranger and forced into the sex trade…We…found no evidence that human traffickers were [at shopping malls] recruiting strangers“…

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