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Posts Tagged ‘The Widening Gyre’

The trade union movement has to decide whether it’s going to back workers…or…police.  –  Laura Watson

Monsters 

The Swedish model protects sex workers!

Last year, France passed [the Swedish model, under the pretense of]…protecting sex workers from prosecution, but…[as sex worker activists predicted] it is simply driving them further underground and exposing them to far more danger.  Transsexual prostitutes who work in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne…are disproportionately affected…

Prudesville 

A new twist in Everett, WA’s absurd “bikini barista” melodrama:

Bikini baristas…are suing [Everett] over its ban on serving “quick service” food and drinks with bare shoulders, midriffs, or upper thighs…a group of seven baristas and one coffee stand owner filed a federal lawsuit alleging a violation of their rights to free expression, privacy, due process, and equal protection…Everett isn’t claiming that the regulations serve any food safety or public health purposes…the point of the dress code is to prevent…baristas from giving customers a peep show for extra cash…Employee violations can lead to fines for business owners, along with a requirement to register for a special license (which the city can deny)…if the owners are judged to have “facilitated” the “lewd conduct,” they can be slapped with a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.  Essentially, Everett has created a crime similar to promoting prostitution—but for facilitating skimpy clothing…

Law of the Instrument (#560)

Picture what you’d think of as “sex trafficking”, then compare it to this:

A St. Louis man who was employed at a high school is facing child pornography and sex trafficking charges after police said he exchanged illicit texts with a 15-year-old male student at the school.  Michael A. West…told the [young man] he could get him an opportunity to make money for performing sexual acts…

Cases are this are why even some not-completely-stupid people believe that “sex trafficking” is increasing; “sex trafficking” charges certainly are.

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Add Dayton, Ohio to the cities mailing blatantly-unconstitutional “Dear John” letters to the registered addresses of vehicles passing through certain neighborhoods:

So far this year, the Dayton police Vice Unit has mailed 18 [threat letters] to the owners of vehicles that were spotted in areas [police claim to be] known for high levels of prostitution.  The letters are supposed to [scare] people [by claiming that wanting sex]…is a “serious offense” that carries potential…deadly disease and other sexually transmitted infections…[often] the recipients are spouses or business owners whose vehicles were in the possession of [others] when [cops decided to stick their noses into others’ business]…

To Molest and Rape 

The US government claims it takes reports of cops raping women seriously…as long as they’re not US cops:

…two U.S. students…were raped by Carabinieri policemen who [took] them home in a patrol car from a nightclub…three patrol cars went to a nightclub to investigate a fight.  Two cars left after calm was restored, but the third remained.  The women…told authorities that the [cops] drove them to their apartment building and raped them…witnesses…confirm[ed] they saw the women enter the patrol car…

Uncommon Sense (#669)

The IWW was the first major union to support sex workers rights, but it won’t be the last:

The GMB and ASLEF have come out in support of the full decriminalisation of sex work in Britain, the first major unions to do so…The unions, which have a combined membership of over 600,000, are calling for the UK to adopt full decriminalisation, similar to the approach adopted by New Zealand, which since 2003 has provided sex workers with legal protections…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#687) 

“Sex robot” hysteria gets ever sillier:

A cybersecurity scientist has issued a bizarre warning that sex robots could one day rise up and kill their owners if hackers can get inside their heads…cybersecurity lecturer Dr. Nick Patterson [fantasized] that the lifelike dolls could end up going all “Terminator” on us…hackers could breach the realistic robots’ inner defenses and catch their owners with their pants down…

Does this idea seem familiar to regular readers?

The Widening Gyre (#735)

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

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation [formerly “Morality in Media”], Washington College, and The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking held a historic press conference…to kick off the first ever symposium on the sexual exploitation harming boys and men.  The government, NGOs, and society at large have overlooked male victims of sexual exploitation, the organizations [pandered]…Haley Halverson…of…the [NCSE fantasized]…that [the] estimated range of male trafficking victims hovers in the hundreds of thousands”…

The NCSE is a fundamentalist Christian anti-porn organization which is also behind the recent tactic of getting conservative states to declare porn a “public health crisis”.

Comfort Zone (#769)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

…”It had been more than 10 years since Gari, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala…had seen his younger brother.  So he was surprised earlier this year when he received a call from a federal government agency telling him his teen brother had emigrated alone from the Central American country to the Arizona-Mexico border…the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…asked Gari to take legal guardianship of his brother….officials [lied]…that it wouldn’t jeopardize his own safety….[but] Gari…was arrested…by federal immigration agents who had used his little brother as bait“…immigration attorney Yazmin Rodriguez…knows at least three other similar cases…ICE [pretends] using children fleeing violence as bait “[is] part of a broader mission to disrupt human trafficking”…

The Mote and the Beam (#773)

The odious Nick Kristof finds it “baffling and perplexing” that internet companies don’t want the internet destroyed by sociopathic politicians on a witch hunt:

Sex traffickers in America have…a…crucial (if secret) ally: Google…organizations it funds have for years been quietly helping Backpage.com, the odious website where most American [passive, vegetable] victims of human trafficking are sold, to battle lawsuits from [ambulance-chasers fantasizing that] children [are] sold there for sex.  Now Google is using its enormous lobbying power in Washington to try to kill bipartisan legislation that would [enable profiteers to sue]…websites that [they claim] promote sex trafficking [or virtually any other federal crime]…as Backpage fights off prosecutors and worries about the legislation, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, Google has emerged as its behind-the-scenes champion…

What I find “baffling and perplexing” is that so few people recognize “One-hand” Kristof’s BDSM masturbatory fantasies about underage girls for what they are.

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Officialdom should never have the right to tell grown adults when, how, with whom and for what reason they can have sex.  –  Ella Whelan

Feminine Pragmatism 

The capacity of lawheads for denying reality is nothing short of astonishing:

The [Samoan] Ministry of Health has made it a priority to educate and counsel “commercial sex workers” despite the government downplaying their existence…the number of female sex workers in Samoa was estimated at around 400.  It was also revealed that most women are doing sex work for economic reasons…The…report was rubbished by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi who laughed at claims that poverty and hardship are to blame for the growing number of sex workers in Samoa…

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

A woman who works at a Tulsa massage parlor…has been charged with trying to persuade colleagues to not testify against their employer.  Stefanie Lea Thomas…was charged…with intimidation of a witness…Thomas is the manager…The owner…Willie Charles Whitman, was arrested earlier this month as the result of a…[sting and] charged with two counts of human trafficking…On the night of Whitman’s arrest, he called Thomas from the county jail and told her he “needed the other girls in the shop to go to court and say that he was not human trafficking anyone”…

Of course, he’d have said the same things if he was innocent & simply intelligent enough to realize that the pigs are trying to pin BS “sex trafficking” charges on him, but of course that’s not important now that presumption of innocence is a thing of the past.

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to call this a “correctional institution” and the torturers “correctional officers”:

For 46 hours, Andrew Holland’s legs and arms were shackled to a chair in the San Luis Obispo County jail.  The [helpless human being], who suffered from schizophrenia, was left in his own filth, eating and drinking almost nothing.  He was naked, except for a helmet and mask covering his face and a blanket that slipped off his lap, exposing him to jail staff who passed by his glass-fronted cell.  When he was finally unbound, [screws] dumped him to the floor of a nearby cell.  Within 40 minutes, he [died]…

All-Purpose Excuse

It’s not “erroneous”, which implies an honest mistake; it’s a willful conflation:

…The way police involved in…sting[s] chose to spin their costly efforts to entrap the buyers and sellers of sex is just one more example of how law enforcement and others routinely conflate consensual prostitution with far rarer instances of actual sex trafficking…in [a recent “Operation Cross-Country”]…which cost taxpayers millions of dollars, only six underage prostitutes were found out of a total 85 prostitutes…only 14 “pimps” were arrested and there is no evidence that any of them actually engaged in trafficking according to the legal definition.  It’s not just law enforcement that…[conflates] victimless sex work with trafficking.  Many politicians…and others persist in conflating the two for their own political benefit…

Dating Game

Melissa Petro on her post-sex work dating experiences:

Aside from losing my career in dramatic fashion, dating was one of the toughest parts of being someone with sex work experience.  Whether you’re a dancer or an escort, a porn star or a cam girl, the same questions arise:  how and when to tell the person you’re dating, and then, how to manage their reaction (they always have one).  “Do prostitutes really date and marry?” is an actual question some men ask.  And some men think the answer ought to be no.  Whether our experiences in the industry are positive, negative, or — as they very frequently are — neutral, many people paint all sex workers with the same broad brush.  They’re morally corrupt, or else so emotionally and even physically damaged by their experiences as to be undatable…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#698) 

As regular readers know, “expert sex therapists” have never labelled “sex addiction” a disorder:

In the world of sex therapy, there is no consensus on what constitutes a sex addict…Answers from therapists vary wildly.  And for now, nobody is right and nobody is wrong, as there is no standardized “sex addiction” diagnosis.  This could soon change, and a bitter battle is raging behind the scenes over whether it should change…

No, there is no “bitter battle” among actual, qualified sex therapists; those who wish this imaginary syndrome labeled  a true disorder are opportunists, few with actual qualifications as therapists, who want their pet label officially recognized so they can cash in on insurance. But credulous reporters don’t want to hear that.

Decentralization (#718)

Did you ever wonder why the government stopped harassing bitcoin?

Computer science [bootlickers] at the University of California, Berkeley have developed new tools to identify sex [workers]…making them easier for law enforcement to target and prosecute…The new technique [pretends to]…find…stylistic similarities between ads for sex services posted to sites like Backpage.com…[in order to pretend they’re all posted by] criminal organizations posting multiple ads…Because Backpage is the most used portal for advertising sex services, credit card processors like Visa [were threatened into choking off payment processing by a megalomaniacal Chicago politician]…starting in 2015.  That left Bitcoin as the preferred means of paying for ads.  The Berkeley researchers took advantage of Bitcoin’s public blockchain — a record of all transactions — to identify payments for sex ads…and even to connect them to real-world names…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

I’m really enjoying “grocery store sex trafficking” hysteria:

A creepy trend has been scaring mothers across Sarasota County who say strangers are approaching women in stores and parking lots, asking intrusive questions about their children.  This has…many people panicked on social media…[one hysteric] says two pretend shoppers [no doubt wearing labels that said “pretend shopper”] approached them in the toy aisle…one woman asked strange religious questions while the other was fixated on her daughter…asking direct questions about [her] looks and features…“It just made me even more afraid that they were going to try to grab either just my daughter or both of us”…

Because nobody but a “sex trafficker” ever attempts to be polite by complimenting a child’s looks.

Like Houses

The leading edge of a wedge is often extremely thin:

A bill that will allow homes to be searched without a warrant was passed with overwhelming support by the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Trump—and it happened with no media coverage and very little fanfare.  On the surface, House Joint Resolution 76 looks harmless…However, there is one major red flag buried within the text of the bill that stems from the list of “powers” given to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission, and it violates one of the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution…The text gives the Commission the authority to enter property near the Metro Rail System “without limitation” and without a warrant, for the purpose of “making inspections, investigations, examinations, and testing.”  This clearly goes against the Fourth Amendment…[but] only five Congressmen…voted against it…This is not the first time Congress has quietly passed a bill that will take away some of the most basic rights from law-abiding citizens in the U.S…and while it may only affect the Washington D.C. metro area now, it could be laying the blueprint for future legislation across the country.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#767) 

Bindel is increasingly becoming a transparent laughing stock:

…In framing prostitution as modern slavery, something that holds women captive, Bindel plays on the classic and sexist damsel-in-distress motif.  Yes, in other countries women do not enjoy the same rights as we do in the UK.  But sticking with the country Bindel is based in and writes about in her piece – Britain – there is simply no epidemic of “sex slavery” here.  Prostitution happens, often in unpleasant circumstances, but these women are not chattel; they can make decisions…

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Radfems…use terms like “sell herself” as though, at the end of the transaction, a woman has sold off a body part.  –  Lauren Rosewarne

Saving Them From Themselves

Apparently Dan Rubinstein has never heard of this thing called “pregnancy”:

…Ronald Lee Love faces a felony child sexual-exploitation charge for exchanging explicit text-messages with someone with whom it would have been legal for him to have had sex.  Love, who lives in Mesa County, Colorado, began corresponding last summer when he was 25 with a 15-year-old girl who lives in New England…he explicitly insisted that their relationship remain digital because he believed physical activity was illegal…In Colorado, however, the age of consent is 15, so long as a sexual partner is not 10 or more years older…Yet authorities in this same state have decided someone…Receiving or possessing sexually-oriented images of someone under age 18…is a felony punishable by one to six years per offense…Local authorities defended their position that sexting is worse than actual sex, contending that…while a real-life sexual liaison might be a one-or limited-time thing, the teen sending Love her photo could “potentially come back to haunt this girl 30 years from now,” said Mesa County District Attorney District Attorney Dan Rubinstein.

Because obviously being saddled with a brat at 15 wouldn’t be NEARLY as bad as the kind of nudie pics that every ordinarily-sexual woman in the developed world has floating around.  Do pigs (I count DAs as part of that species) ever sound as stupid as they do when coming up with moronic rationalizations for moronic laws?

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Heroic Irish “authorities” save a man from getting his kidney transplant paid for:

A 73-year-old Brazilian prostitute…working in a brothel in…Kildare…walked free from court because she planned to return home as soon as the…case was over…She…was running the brothel…to pay for her 40-year-old son’s kidney transplant.  She also wanted to return home to her seriously ill 98-year-old mother…gardai…found just €80 in cash at the property…but…Judge Zaidan…[stole it anyway] and [gave it to Ruhama]…

Irish judges have a long an sadistic history of robbing sex workers and giving the money to those who want us imprisoned in workhouses and our families destroyed.

The Notorious Badge

You know peak hysteria has been reached when a moral panic features in afternoon soaps:

Young and the Restless (Y&R) spoilers for the week of August 7 and 14 reveal that Sharon…finds herself in grave danger while investigating a sex ring in Genoa City…Crystal…claims she is being held against her will by a prostitution ring…[and] is trying to escape from her captors who are following her… Zack is involved in the prostitution ring and…his dating app project with Abby Newman is linked with the operations of the criminal ring.  Abby Newman will soon find out that the dating app she is developing with Zack is part of a sex trafficking operation…

End Demand

Authoritarians would be even more dangerous if they could actually get their shit together:

People convicted of buying sex have, since February, been eligible for a program to [indoctrinate] them [in anti-sex propaganda]…But no one has been sentenced to it yet…[because] Bismarck [North Dakota]…City Attorney Jason Hammes…did not know it existed…”It appears the municipal prosecutors and judges may not be aware of it,” Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in a letter to city attorneys and municipal judges on July 25…

Watershed

Australia has far more sane feminists than does the US:

While women’s libbers have spent decades fighting to get us dominion over our own bodies, radical feminists have spent almost as long trying to insert caveats.  Apparently there are right and egregiously wrong ways to use our bodies – more specifically our genitals – particularly when dollars are involved…I not only vehemently disagree with the radfem position, but I view it as fundamentally un-feminist…If feminists aren’t fighting for my right to use my body how I choose, then they’ve dramatically detoured from their mission…

Decentralization (#444)

Remember “titcoin”?

“Lust” is an initial coin offering based on the Ethereum blockchain platform, designed for prostitutes and their customers to exchange money for sexual services.  It uses…anonymity features to escrow funding of the parties and keep their identities private, in order to avoid law-enforcement scrutiny and public shaming.  Leaving aside the thorny moral and social questions raised by the currency’s intended use…the “smart contracts” favor one side of the bargain: the “key has to be scanned later if they make an agreement and meet otherwise the contract gets automatically closed in 48 hours, and the client gets his Etherium tokens back in the wallet”…if the “client” has sex with the worker, and then does not scan her (sic) token, the client gets to have sex, and the worker gets nothing.  Despite high-minded talk about preventing violence against sex-workers, the major threat-model addressed by these smart-contracts is men who don’t feel like they got value for money when having sex, not women who perform sex-for-money and don’t get paid for it…

Despite Cory Doctorow’s pompous pearl-clutching (since when is consensual sex a “thorny moral question” to anyone but authoritarians?) he’s right about the way this would work, which means no sane sex worker will ever use it.  Cash up front, guys, or you get nothing.

Shift in the Wind (#510)

The Adam Smith Institute continues its support of decriminalization with a commentary on a new paper by Ron Weitzer:

…sociologist Ronald Weitzer…gives new insight into the sorry state of the academic literature on these topics.  First on his list of grievances is the unreliability of the data that is often used…[but] Flawed data is just the tip of the iceberg…[often] the authors’ approach to study design also leaves a lot to be desired…”The authors use aggregate national trafficking estimates (which combine labor, sex, and other kinds of trafficking) in their attempt to assess whether legal prostitution makes a difference. This means that there is a gross mismatch between the trafficking figures and prostitution law:  In assessing whether prostitution law is related to the incidence of trafficking, figures on sex trafficking alone should be used, not the totals for all types if trafficking“…A subsequent study by Cho (2016) using a different data source contains another howler…”Without citing any source, Cho claims that ‘prostitution is closely linked to human trafficking because sex trafficking for the purpose of prostitution is the most common form of human trafficking and constitutes the largest fraction of trafficking victims’…This claim is contradicted by the International Labour Organization (ILO)…[which states] ‘Forced commercial sexual exploitation represents 11% of all cases’ of forced labor worldwide“…Weitzer’s paper would be an interesting academic exercise in the perils of low-quality data and poor research methodology, except for the fact that policies being enacted on the basis of [these bad] studies are hurting marginalized women…when it comes to scaremongering stories about sex trafficking epidemics and accompanying calls for the “Nordic Model”, extra caution should be exercised.

Cops and Robbers (#629) 

More vigilantes playing with people’s lives and lying to men in an attempt to steal income from sex workers who may need it to pay rent and feed their children:

A new [chat]bot built by Microsoft employees in their spare time…[was] tested recently in Seattle, Atlanta, and Washington…[it] lurks behind fake online ads…posted by [anti-sex worker profiteers]…and responds to text messages sent to the number listed.  The software initially pretends to be the person in the ad, and can converse about its purported age, body, fetish services, and pricing.  But if a would-be buyer signals an intent to purchase sex, the bot pivots sharply into [prohibitionist propaganda]…”Buying sex from anyone is illegal and can cause serious long term harm to the victim, as well as further the cycle of human trafficking…Details of this incident will be reviewed further and you may be contacted by law enforcement for questioning”…Project Intercept’s lead partner, Seattle Against Slavery, is working with counterparts in 21 other U.S. cities, including Boston and Houston, to deploy the bot more widely…Project Intercept was started in 2012 by two Microsoft employees after seeing a [movie] about sex trafficking…

Given the involvement of the vile SAS and the list of cities involved, methinks Swanee Hunt’s foul reek is all over this.

Lack of Evidence (#696)

As long as these laws exist, all women are vulnerable to persecution by cops:

On July 31, an undercover cop in Columbus, Georgia, invited a 51-year-old woman into his car and offered her $5 for oral sex. When she rebuffed his offer and tried to get out, he arrested the woman for loitering for the purpose of prostitution…a controversial charge commonly used by the Columbus Police Department (CPD) to target those such as homeless women, people who’ve previously been arrested on prostitution charges, or people who don’t meet a [cop’s] standard of gender conformity.  On Sunday morning, CPD officers arrested a 24-year-old homeless woman for allegedly waving at two passing cars from the side of the road…Last summer, 24-year-old C. Williams was arrested while sitting at a bus stop because…Williams was carrying condoms and “dressed as a woman”…the city statute…expressly says evidence of an intent to commit prostitution or sodomy includes the person being “a known prostitute, pimp or sodomist”…

The Widening Gyre (#696) 

Given the number of companies profiting from “sex trafficking” hysteria, it should come as no surprise when individuals start using it for publicity stunts:

British model Chloe Ayling…claims she was held captive for almost a week after being lured to Milan, Italy, for what she was told was a photo shoot.  Her alleged captor, Lukasz Pawel Herba, [supposedly] drugged her and placed her in a large suitcase in a car boot…Ayling was allegedly held hostage for up to six days as her abductors [supposedly a group called “Black Death” with ties to the Russian mafia] tried to sell her as a sex slave…The gang says its victims can be “transported globally” and advertises its activities, saying: “If you wish, we can kidnap a specific target for your needs…The advert claims the abductors “do not sell girls that are terminally ill, pregnant, have STDs or are young mothers”.  It has been suggested the gang let Ms Ayling go after realising she had a two-year-old son…While [sensible] people have raised doubts about her story, her lawyer, Francesco Pesce, said investigators believed her claims…

That cops, whose credulity on the topic of crime knows no bounds, believe the story is an argument against its being true, not for it.  Another is the notion of a gang which has no problem selling women into slavery, yet revere the sanctity of motherhood, and yet another is the fact that Ayling was seen shopping for shoes with her alleged abductor during the time she was supposedly bound to a chest of drawers (?) at a farmhouse.

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My business was…illegal, but it shouldn’t have been.  –  Jeffrey Hurant

Safe Targets 

Naturally; they can steal more money from whores, and we don’t shoot back:

…Scotland Yard has been…threatening to prosecute women who work in brothels rather than pursue an armed gang of robbers who have been repeatedly targeting premises used for sex work…The shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer…has written to the Metropolitan police in support of one of the victims…who is a constituent of his…Starmer said letters sent by the Met threatening women with prosecution…“could make it more difficult to stay in touch with victims of violent crimes”…The Met denies there is evidence of connected attacks on brothels and [pretends] that criminalising prostitutes is not a priority…

Rooted in Racism

Sometimes “trafficking” just means “bringing in brown people“:

A huge human trafficking ring that has been flying hundreds of Iranian migrants, some as young as five, into Britain has been smashed…The alleged leader of the criminal gang was detained at Heathrow as he tried to escape justice by flying to Brazil.  Another 14 gang members were held in Malaga…more than 200 people a year had been smuggled by the gang for around 10 years…Europol said the gang had run a “perfectly structured” criminal operation in which each migrant was charged around £22,000 and provided with accommodation, transfers and flights.  There was no immediate information from the Home Office about how many Iranians have managed to enter Britain illegally or whether any of those detained have been removed from the country…

Notice the use of “ring” as dysphemism for “business”, and “gang members” as dysphemisms for “employees”; note also the pretense that just because a business violates stupid laws makes it somehow surprising that it’s well-run.  Nobody would consider it newsworthy that an ordinary travel agency had only 200 customers a year; if anything, that qualifies as a rather small business.  Note also the phrase “as young as five”, borrowed from “sex trafficking” propaganda; why are we supposed to be shocked that people moving to another country would take their children along? Personally, I think it’d be more newsworthy if they left them behind.

Dutch Threat 

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

Amsterdam’s policy that prostitutes must share personal information with brothel owners, is in violation of the Personal Data Protection Act, the court in Amsterdam ruled…The court was dissatisfied with Amsterdam’s policy on various points, especially on the intake conversation brothel operators have to have with prostitutes before they start working there.  The municipality made this intake conversation obligatory in 2013, with the idea that operators will notice [magical] signals of human trafficking during the talk…The intake forms also contain information about the sexual life of the sex worker and operators must store these forms and present them during inspections…

Policing for Profit

Almost nobody still believes cops’ pretense that this is about anything other than profit:

…Adrienne Chapa was arrested [in Minneapolis] and spent a few days in jail before she went home to Las Vegas…[but] the Hennepin County attorney’s office filed a lawsuit to keep [her] money through [legalized robbery]…It took two years to resolve the legal cases, and $21,000 is finally getting distributed [among various pigpens]…Minnesota legislators outlawed civil forfeiture in 2014…[but Chapa eventually plead guilty on condition that the conviction will be erased in two years]…her attorney, Avery Appelman, said seizing the cash was a “large motivating factor” for her prosecution and that police use forfeited property as a “slush fund”…

What’s that word for men who use force to take money that a woman earns via prostitution?

Lack of Evidence (#678) 

As long as these laws exist, all women are vulnerable to persecution by cops:

…New York Penal Law Section 240.37 has criminalized loitering in a public place by anyone the police determine is present for the purpose of prostitution.  “Purpose” is not defined…thus the reason for one’s presence is ultimately decided by the opinions of arresting officers…A woman may be surveilled, searched, and detained, in part because an officer takes issue with her clothing…pre-printed affidavits…include “indications of prostitution,” such as:  the defendant was standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand; the defendant was carrying money or “sexual paraphernalia”; the defendant was with someone known to have been previously arrested for prostitution-related offenses…The…N.Y.P.D…Patrol Guide…offers no objective criteria on what attire is suspect, thus failing citizens the ability to anticipate how their fashion could establish cause for their arrest…From 2012 through 2015, nearly 1,300 individuals were arrested in New York City under the law…85 percent of them were black or Latina.  According to a class-action lawsuit filed September 30, 2016 by the Legal Aid Society of New York…transgender women are especially victimized…

Now They Notice (#680)

It’s sick and sad how, after an initial show of calculated outrage, Gay, Inc abandoned him to the government:

A federal judge…sentenced Rentboy.com founder Jeffrey Hurant to a six-month prison term…Federal authorities [had] already [stolen] about $1.5 million that they claim was laundered money from Hurant’s company…[but] did not pursue a seizure of $101,000 from Hurant’s personal bank account…the…judge…also fined him $7,500.  After sentencing, Hurant told reporters…that…sex work between adults should be decriminalized and destigmatized…

Backwards into the Future (#743)

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

…the South African Law Reform Commission chose fiction over facts…After taking two decades to draft its final report, it has recommended the continued full criminalisation of consensual adult sex work…The commission also included a last-minute secondary option of [The Swedish model]…These recommendations were made despite mounting evidence that shows that the full decriminalisation of sex work is the most effective and respectful model to ensure improved access to health, justice and support services for sex workers…We have had this apartheid-era model in South Africa for a long time now.  What have the results been?  High levels of violence and abuse, stigma and discrimination when sex workers attempt to access basic services, and high rates of new HIV infections…And this violence is most often committed by police officers, as illustrated by a review by the Women’s Legal Centre of cases reported between 2011 and 2015.  Of the abuse reported to the centre by sex workers, more than 60% of cases identified the police as perpetrators…

The Widening Gyre (#756) 

I am so enjoying watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control of the “authorities”:

A Facebook post [reporting] illegal immigrants are trying to kidnap young girls for human trafficking…[states] Mentor [Ohio] Police are aware…that men are sitting in parked cars in…parking lots…Police [claim] they have received no reports of any human trafficking or related suspicious behavior.  Police also [allege] they’ve reached out to security at Great Lakes Mall and the mall has not received any reports…

The War Goes On (#757) 

If Backpage is so awful, why do politicians need lies to attack it?

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley claimed he has “new evidence” showing that the classifieds site “Backpage has directly and actively promoted illegal sex trafficking.”  But the only thing new is Hawley’s level of desperation and deceit…Among the “new” evidence…is a January report from the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.  Despite the senators having access to all of the internal Backpage data and hosting a theatrical in-person inquiry, they found nothing sufficient to spur a criminal investigation or any charges.  Hawley also submitted the transcript of an audio recording seized from Philippines company Avion, in which an Avion employee contacts a London sex worker…A state attorney general cannot attempt to prosecute foreign contractors for ads created and posted in foreign countries.  And it is legal for Backpage contractors to generate adult ads abroad, where the rules governing web-publishing platforms and legal liability for content vary (and prostitution in certain forms may be legal).  Hawley’s actions here should be seen for what they are: a sneaky attempt to build credibility in his illegal crusade…

The Mote and the Beam (#762) 

The Unsinkable Liz Brown with more on the censors who want to destroy the internet in the name of “fighting sex trafficking”:

…The underlying reason why no one’s been able to pin criminal charges on Backpage isn’t a “loophole” in federal law that lets Backpage knowingly profit from human trafficking but the fact that the evidence doesn’t support claims that it does so.  If it did, Section 230 would be irrelevant, and Backpage execs could be charged under a number of laws—including one 2015 law crafted for just this purpose. The Stop Advertising Victims of Sexual Exploitation Act specifically prohibits the knowing advertisement of sex trafficking victims, under threat of a 10-year mandatory minimum prison sentence…Section 230 doesn’t apply to content that a platform has itself created “in whole or part,” nor to one that…”is directly involved” in the alleged crime.  But a website operator “who edits user-created content… retains his immunity for any illegality in the user-created content”…If Backpage is more like the first category, it’s already punishable under criminal statutes and subject to civil claims.  If it’s only the former, than opening up Backpage to criminal charges and civil payouts opens up all of the internet to the same…

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The cops are the villains of this story, not the heroes.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Torture Chamber 

It’s unusual to see them actually use the word “rape” in this context:

A deputy jailer at Hardin County [Kentucky] jail has been arrested after…inmate Amanda Chambers [reported] that Deputy Stephen Renfrow provided her with tobacco dip in exchange for sex…He was arrested on Friday and is facing charges for rape, promoting contraband, and official misconduct…

If it was a true “exchange” as the story suggests, why did Chambers report him, and why the charge of rape?  It seems more likely he raped her and then gave her the tobacco in an attempt to bribe her into silence.

Case Study

Is it sexist of me to wonder why men seem to be pearl-clutching even more than women these days?

There are two brothels operating…[in an apartment building]…each containing several “sex workers”.  They advertise their services openly on websites.  Clients pick a woman from a menu of hundreds and make a phone call to get directions…A garda familiar with the case confirms there are several brothels operating out of apartment complexes in the area, as well as “pop-up” brothels in the local hotel.  He says there is little that can be done unless they witness cash been handed over…Street prostitution still exists but the vast majority of prostitution is now advertised on the internet.  Ruth Breslin of Ruhama, an organisation [that persecutes sex workers]…estimates there are no more than 70 prostitutes working on the streets in Dublin…“Women are moved around an awful lot in the indoor trade because the market is all about new girls. Buyers are often not interested in going back to the same woman,” Breslin says…

Scare quotes for a job title.  Advertising being described as “open” as though there were another way for it to be effective.  Can you imagine a site featuring ads for physicians or lawyers being described as a “menu”?  Ruhama interviewed instead of sex workers.  Women described as passive objects who “are moved” rather than being able to move themselves. And it goes on from there…

Moving Pictures 

Salon’s definition of “everyone” excludes all people who actually know anything about sex work, or have critical thinking skills and access to Google:

“It’s all a lie. It’s all a big lie.”  That’s how director Josie Swantek Heitz, her face stunned and expressionless as she leans against a wall, informs director/cinematographer Dave Adams that they have been hoodwinked.  This discovery occurs moments into the intro of their film The Wrong Light…[first intended to be a fakumentary] about trafficked girls in the stateless Hill Tribe communities that border Northern Thailand.  After this initial confusion…we are suddenly plunged headlong into the world of Mickey Choothesa and COSA (Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia), a [rescue profiteering] organization…A half hour in, the film flips to include an intricately woven fiction that fooled everyone, including both filmmakers, the producers, a slew of international donors, a parade of interns, and even foreign correspondent Adam Ramsey…It is as though the [fantasy] of witnessing pretty girls being trafficked…[turns moralists on so much that they]…open…their…wallets without further investigation…

Readers with long memories will remember that I debunked COSA in this blog five and a half years ago.

Theatrics (#549)

People who can’t admit their kinks unknowingly display them to the world:

The group ‘Yet She Rise’ hopes people will see their human trafficking displays this weekend in [Chicago’s] Wicker Park and feel uncomfortable…there is a box with two child actors inside it, tape over their mouths and wrists.  “In a box, you know, roped and tied, with tape across their mouth, just to show how [sexy], and how [arousing], this situation is,” sa[livate]d Lamar Flowers, who’s with the organization…

This is at least the fourth iteration we’ve seen of this same inane stunt.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

Italy sends its navy to stop brown people from coming into the country; everyone pretends it isn’t racist:

Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni…announced…that the Italian navy would be patrolling with Libyan ships just off the Libyan coastline…to curb human trafficking and [turn] migrants back…to Libya…Italy has already threatened to stop allowing boats carrying rescued migrants to dock in Italian ports…Most of the migrants are from African countries, and many try to travel on to France…However, the border is being policed by French officials.  Migrants who are caught are sent back to Italy.  Austria has announced that it too will close its border with Italy if the number of migrants starts to rise…The interior ministry has…announced that it will reinforce repatriation programs…

“Repatriation” is the currently-fashionable euphemism for “deportation”.

Power Play (#701)

The only part of this I disagree strongly with is Petro’s conciliatory statement that “There are lots of good reasons to root for Kamala Harris”:

…Like racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all the rest, casual whorephobia and anti-sex work sentiment and views — even among so-called progressives — is endemic…The latest and most vivid example of this is the growing popularity of superstar Democrat Kamala Harris…[who] has been called a “liberal hero” and a “rising star” in the party…There are lots of good reasons to root for Kamala Harris…But the fact that Harris was an active force behind a campaign that endangered the lives of sex workers makes it understandably difficult for people with experiences in the sex trades to throw her our support…

No, there are no good reasons to root for Harris; she’s a corrupt, self-serving, two-faced demagogue who, in addition to her anti-whore campaigns, participated in political cover-ups and actively campaigned against prison reform because, she claims, California needs the slave labor prisoners are forced to do.  She is a vile, loathsome monster even by the standards of politicians, and that’s saying something.

Devil’s Advocate (#723) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

A surge in the number of seizures of child-like sex dolls by border officers has led investigators to identify dozens of previously unknown suspected paedophiles.  The…dolls…are a “relatively new phenomenon” in the UK and should be criminalised, said Hazel Stewart [a sex cop]…those who order them can be prosecuted under a specific charge of importing an indecent or obscene article…[but] it is not illegal to own a child sex doll…Stewart said: “I think it’s got to be through the full range of this criminality, from manufacturer to sale, to import, to possess – the full range.  And we need to make sure it’s future-proofed in case there is the introduction of…sex robots”…

I’m sure you guessed this would merge with the sex robot hysteria.

The War Goes On (#731) 

Prohibitionists just don’t realize how obvious their masturbation to the “pimp” fantasy is, bless their little hearts:

For pimps and prostitutes, gift cards have become a currency to pay for sex ads on Backpage.com, anti-prostitution activists say…Credit card companies [were illegally threatened into cutting off] business with the website two years ago.  People could still buy Backpage ads, but it became more difficult:  They had to mail in checks or use complicated digital currencies like bitcoin.  But now, Backpage has begun accepting gift cards from major retailers…that means a pimp could walk into any local grocery store and pick up a convenient, untraceable way to pay the site to post ads selling women…[prohibitionists publicly masturbate to the fantasy that] Backpage’s new payment system will make it easier to sell vulnerable girls online…

What’s also fascinating is the number of anti-sex women who insist that other women are far too stupid to do anything as simple as pay for an online service by themselves, without an all-powerful male doing it for them.

Too Close To Home (#760)

Liz Brown on the warped thought patterns of Seattle prosecutor Val Richey:

In Seattle, sex must be a “leisure activity” for both parties or it’s nonconsensual, according to…Val Richey—a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County…”What you have is someone paying this person essentially to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes,'” Richey [said]…”these women, as a leisure activity, are not looking to have sex with 10 guys in a day. They’re doing it for the money.”  By that logic, anyone who wouldn’t perform their job without remuneration is a victim of labor trafficking!  But Richey is “adamant”…that what Korean sex workers…”were doing could not be called consensual because they were being paid”…

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The law shouldn’t stipulate that we’re not allowed to make [personal] choices.  –  Sharon Jennings

Property of the State 

Remember that there have been similar cases in the US, and ever-harsher laws are being passed on the subject:

A woman in El Salvador who became pregnant as a result of rape has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after the death of her stillborn child…Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz became pregnant at the age of 18 but was not aware of it because ”she menstruated regularly”…On 6 April 2016 the teenager felt a severe pain in her stomach and went to the bathroom where she fainted with the pain…The baby…was stillborn but prosecutors argued that it could not be proven the child didn’t die shortly after the birth…

As I’ve pointed out before, this reversal of the burden of proof is becoming more common in sexual matters in the US as well.

Fallen Idol

Not a good move on Deen’s part:

Porn star James Deen has blocked the distribution of a documentary that addresses rape allegations against him, according to a lawsuit filed by the film’s director.  Maria Demopoulos alleges Deen thwarted the film’s distribution…by [stealing] the signed releases from her producer’s office…Demopoulos was hired by Deen’s company, Seven Sins, to direct the documentary in 2015…She was on track to complete a director’s cut…when Deen’s ex-girlfriend, Stoya [and a dozen other women]…accused him of rape…Her producer and a Showtime executive agreed that the film…would have to be re-edited to address the new claims…The producers screened the second version for Deen on July 30, 2016.  He had some requests for changes, but his overall reaction appeared to be positive…However, three months later Deen appeared unannounced at the producer’s…office…and Deen persuaded a production assistant to turn over a binder of signed releases…Deen also asked a post-production staffer for the footage from the film, but the staffer recognized him and refused…Deen then walked out with the binder.  Without the original releases, Demopoulos says the film cannot be shown at film festivals or aired on Showtime…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#599)

In 2011, sex work was re-legalized in Taiwan after ten years of US-style criminalization imposed due to pressure from Washington; however, the pressure has not been relieved, so Taiwanese police still harass sex workers thus:

A total of nine foreign women [whom cops pretend were] forced into prostitution in Taiwan have been [arrested] by Taipei police…during which the alleged mastermind behind the gang was also arrested…The [women] are currently [imprisoned] by…prosecutors…[cops fantasize] the gang…use[d magical] drugs to [mind] control the women, forcing them into prostitution…adding that the [police’s female] victims also included…foreign migrant workers [fleeing from exploitative but legal work contracts]…

Backwards into the Future (#629)

Adult man wearing a costume mansplains professionals’ own job to them:

…Justice Martin Makonese [dismissed a suit by sex worker rights activists in Zimbabwe] which sought an order interdicting police from interfering with [protest] marches…[the judge bizarrely claimed that Zimbabwe is] “an open and democratic society” [while spewing out the following censorious asshattery]…”It is a trade devoid of moral values and is demeaning…if this court allows prostitutes to parade, promote and glorify their trade, other groups…will be encouraged to promote perverse acts…”

The moron then claimed that for sex workers to demand basic human rights further stigmatizes us.

To Molest and Rape 

STOP SAYING “FORMER” COP.  He was not a “former” cop when he committed the rapes:

A…Horry County [South Carolina] police detective [who]…sexually assault[ed] crime victims insists he will reject a plea deal…Allen Large…[raped] multiple women and [sexually assaulted]…the victims of cases he was supposed to be investigating.  Some of those women are rape and domestic violence victims…Large also faces civil lawsuits from women who have accused him of sexual assault and harassment.  Two of those cases have been [paid off]…

Hard Numbers (#744)

A promising start:  “A bill to decriminalise sex work in South Australia has passed the Upper House…13-8…The bill will now be debated in the Lower House before a conscience vote by MPs…

Cooties (#747)

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

Crime busters are bidding to free sex slaves from pop-up brothels springing up in Cambridge…many of which house…victims of human trafficking…against their will…women [are] being used as sex slaves within these brothels, with many suffering abuse in the most inhumane conditions…

Though it’s hard to recognize through the layers of cop masturbatory fantasy, what they’re actually talking about is ordinary sex workers using AirBnB rentals.

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#751)

A politician describes my flexible, lucrative job as “undesirable”.  I hope she can hear me laughing:

…Online platform Rendevu has been downloaded by over 2,000 people since launching in Scotland last month and allows users to [book services from sex workers] at the click of a button.  But…[attention-seeking] politician…Sandra White…[said] “It’s quite worrying; it’s like a takeaway menu.  You just get the app, then phone it up and get to take away an escort.  Depending on what the escort is asked to do, it’s really quite disturbing that anyone can access it.  It makes this ‘undesirable’ type of work so available to anyone”…Australian entrepreneur Reuben Coppa founded Rendevu in 2015 and believes the app is a “game changer” for providing a safe space for sex workers…

I’m not sure whose ignorance is more astonishing, Miss “It’s like pizza!” or Mr. “Sex workers had no ability to advertise before my dumb app!”

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#755)

This is another article on that same ridiculous exercise in “sex robot” navel-gazing that we saw in Wednesday’s news column, but it contains this jaw-droppingly stupid rationalization of why the speaker’s personal discomfort with pedophiles owning child-shaped sex toys should trump the obvious benefits of giving people with such desires a harmless way to satisfy their needs:

“Imagine treating racism by letting a bigot abuse a brown robot.  Would that work? Probably not,” Patrick Lin, director of the ethics and emerging sciences group at California Polytechnic State University, told the Responsible Robotics researchers.  “If expressing racist feelings is a cure for them, then we wouldn’t see much racism in the world.”

Yes, this psychological illiterate is actually espousing the dangerous and discredited belief that sexual desires are learned responses, like bigotry.  Presumably he also believes in gay conversion therapy, “john school” and “just say no”, since those harmful brainwashing programs also rely on the belief that psychosexual needs can be “unlearned” or “gotten over”.  Obviously, expressing queer or kinky feelings isn’t a cure for them either, so we should just ban all non-procreative sex, including sex toys that aren’t shaped like anything identifiable.

The Widening Gyre (#755) 

I am so enjoying watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control of the “authorities”:

The Brown County [Wisconsin] Sheriff’s Office is investigating a sex trafficking complaint after a local woman posted on social media about [her fantasy]…In a Facebook post, a mother [pretends] two men were discussing how much money they could get for one of her daughters while watching the children play at a park…[even most “sex trafficking” profiteers admit] that children are [not] randomly kidnapped from parks or pools or shopping malls…Authorities…urge people to [let them control the narrative]…

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Police, perplexingly, think that [stings are] a trust-building exercise.  –  Alison Clancey

Check Your Premises

Young women are passive, doll-like “children” without will or volition until a prosecutor points his magical finger at them, transforming them instantly into evil adult “pimps”:

Two days after turning eighteen, a California woteen [sic] was sentenced to 13 years in prison for human trafficking of younger girls.  Jelinajane Bedrijo Almario…was tried as an adult…Detective Richard Pontecorvo…[fantasized while masturbating that] “These people are great at locating kids with low self-esteem…these pimps are ruining these kids’ lives at an early age”…

“Woteen”?  I’m guessing he started with “teen” and then meant to change it to “woman” so as to create an apparent age gap & thereby demonize Almario more thoroughly.  Oops!

Broken Record 

Small cities come up with the most ludicrous concepts for supposed “gypsy whore” magnets:

Tourism and hospitality industry leaders will be meeting with the [Grand Rapids, Michigan] chapter of Women at Risk International (WAR)…to [spread propaganda about]…human trafficking…Michigan is one of the leading states for human trafficking…Between 100,000 and 300,000 underage girls are sold for sex in the United States every year…And, when there are…major events like ArtPrize…cases often soar.  The conference will [subject] tourism and hospitality professionals to [propaganda claiming consensual sex]…is bad for business [and encouraging them to rat out their guests to the pigs]…

Paint By Numbers (#551)

Fanatics are running out of stupid “sex trafficking awareness” stunts, so they’re recycling old ones:

A group of three recent University of Texas graduates are…cycling their way from Seattle to San Diego, to raise awareness of the sex trafficking crisis in our own neighborhoods.  Sara Belmer, Savannah Lovelace, and Grace Pfeffer are the…members of Pedal the Pacific.  They refer to themselves as “hilariously un-athletic girls” who are [spreading tired decades-old fantasies]…about the very real [masturbatory fantasy] of human trafficking…

To Molest and Rape 

Some cops prefer to rape by proxy:

…Maria Joseph [reported]…that Ville Platte [Louisiana] Marshall Deputy Arthur Phillips forced her to have sex with another man…Joseph [was asked to go for a ride]…with Phillips [and agreed] because she “assumed it was a date”…Phillips brought Joseph to his apartment, and then “called a couple of friends…‘Chris’ and ‘Ike,’ to come over and visit.”  After asking his friends if they had any money, Phillips then proceeded to “[demand Joseph]…touch Chris”…after “she told the men she didn’t do prostitution,” Phillips “proceeded to physically push Joseph onto Chris…[then] told her to give Chris oral sex and to do it for daddy”…later…he…[forced her] to have sex with [another man named] Joe while [he] watched”…

Do I really need to say “don’t go on a date with a cop, either”?  Why are people so naive?

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#646)

It’s fascinating how much energy these fetishists expend on something that doesn’t exist:

…In a report on the growing market in sex robots, the Foundation for Responsible Robotics [fantasized that] rapidly advancing technologies have already led to the creation of “android love dolls” [even though they actually haven’t]…robots raise complex issues that should be considered by policymakers and the public, the report said…including whether use of such devices should be encouraged in sexual therapy clinics, for sex offenders, or for people with disabilities…Noel Sharkey…said it was difficult to predict how far or fast the market would grow…[but pearl-clutchers pretend] that allowing people to live out their darkest fantasies with robots would have a pernicious effect on societal norms…

O, Canada! (#683)

Another chapter in this grotesque campaign to intimidate sex workers:

Sex-worker advocates are calling on police in British Columbia to stop participating in a…[scam] that sees [cops] pose as prospective clients and arrange dates in efforts to [intimidate] sex workers [into leaving the trade]…They…show up at the agreed-upon location…to [try to browbeat] the sex worker [into agreeing with their pretense that] she is working under coercion…advocates…call the operation deceptive, and say it erodes the already precarious relationship between law enforcement and the sex-work community…sex workers who have been targeted in these operations have described the events as frightening and traumatic…

Traffic Circle (#702)

Some cops just can’t stick with the “all whores are victims” program:

Escambia County [Florida pigs] have arrested 17 people in a two-day prostitution sting…Col. Robert Quinata [oinked that] operations such as this don’t stop prostitution in the county, but serve as a reminder to other offenders that police are aware [that human beings have sex]…he said…Escambia County doesn’t have a sex trafficking problem…as they don’t often find prostitutes working against their will…ECSO periodically uses undercover operations to target sex workers…and will continue to do so…to send a message…

Checklist (#732)

Clearly, critical thinking skills are not a prerequisite for passing nursing school:

…As president of the Emergency Nurses Association, I am calling for nationally consistent policies and clear protocols for identifying victims of human trafficking, and mandatory training of all emergency department personnel.  Those who work in healthcare, particularly in emergency departments, often encounter human trafficking victims.  Yet [we have no actual proof of that claim]…Florida and Michigan now require human trafficking training as part of their healthcare licensing processes…There are physical clues, like certain scars, markings or tattoos like the barcode I [claim to have seen, yet have no proof of]…their captors exert…[magical mind] control over victims…

Remember, there has only been ONE actual case of a barcode tattoo, in Spain in 2012, and that one was a case of life imitating art. Yet this woman claims to have actually seen one, and produces no proof.  This is exactly as credible as an Elvis sighting.

Full of Themselves (#746)

Massage parlor licensing is widely touted as a way to “fight prostitution”, despite not actually working:

A new Indiana law could [magically] bring an end to [sex work]…Massage therapists must now get a license…This October, seven central Indiana businesses were raided after [cops tricked] women [into] performing sexual acts…The Indiana attorney general’s office said the incidence of human trafficking tips quadrupled over the past two years…Not just anyone can get a license — you must be at least 18; go through 500 hours of training from an accredited school and pass a criminal background check, and exam…

The Widening Gyre (#749) 

I am so enjoying watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control of the “authorities”:

The Dubuque [Iowa] Police Department is scrambling to correct a story about an alleged abduction that got warped after it circulated through social media…on Saturday, June 24, a woman and her 8-year-old daughter were at Kennedy Mall when [the woman claims] an unknown female [of indeterminate species] began conversing with the girl, offering to buy her a gift of her choice in the store…The mother [says she] took the girl away from the unknown female and left the area…the…story was posted on social media where it was embellished and widely spread…

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