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Posts Tagged ‘The Widening Gyre’

There are no good numbers on where the problem exists in the first place.  –  Emily Deruy

Cyrano going to the MoonThe most fascinating and infuriating thing about belief is its ability to sustain itself by feeding on nothing other than pure faith.  No matter how little evidence there is for the existence of the cherished notion; no matter how egregiously it violates all the laws of nature, human behavior and math; no matter how ludicrous the very premise is; and no matter how many of its supporting tenets are debunked, the belief just keeps on going, held aloft by nothing other than the feelings it engenders in its adherents.  The “sex trafficking” cult is certainly no exception; its adherents gather together on lawns and highway ramps, engage in their sacred rituals like getting dressed and making paper airplanes, and mumble their profession of faith over and over again.  Cult leaders invent new nonsense “statistics” all the time, but the rank and file just content themselves with reciting the old ones like Ave Marias on a rosary and making obeisance to their sacred 13 totem.  The fact that the cops and “rescue” groups they revere can’t produce even a minuscule fraction of the millions of “victims” who crowd their lurid myths merely strengthens their faith; like Biblical literalists searching for the remains of Noah’s Ark they continue their quixotic crusades to find victims and “pimps”, and they’re never daunted by the fact that the few who turn up aren’t actually very much like the characters in their scriptures.

As I’ve reported over the past few years, the number of public figures who recognize “sex trafficking” as the moral panic it is has been slowly growing over the past couple of years, and responsible journalists like the Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler now routinely debunk the “trafficking” cult’s dogma.  But apparently, Emily Deruy of The Atlantic is not among their number; she just keeps on believing like it’s 2012 and the hysteria is still at its apex, Saint Somaly Mam has not been dethroned, the gypsy whores myth is still unquestioned and “victims” are still being claimed to have dozens or scores of clients a day.  And all this despite the fact that a simple Google search (or a search of The Atlantic’s own archives) would’ve revealed the truth about these fairy tales in mere minutes; here, Emily, let me show you an example, featuring one myth you prominently featured.  The best part?  She quotes it right below mentioning the arch-prohibitionist Polaris Project, who themselves deny the myth on their own website.  Other than that embarrassing oversight, the rest of the article is a pretty typical example of parrot-the-cops, cut-and-paste stenographic journalism of the sort one might find in any local advertising rag, albeit without the sentence fragments and idiosyncratic punctuation; the fact that it’s in a major magazine just underscores how much of a cancer this hysteria has become.

There’s one really interesting thing about the article, though it requires a bit of reading between the lines.  It’s visible in Deruy’s closing line (which appears as today’s epigram) and also in the lede: “Authorities…are finding it increasingly difficult to identify victims and perpetrators of sex trafficking.”  Deruy dutifully repeats the claims of Nevada cops and “rescue” groups, which as I’ve pointed out before are among the most aggressively stupid in the country on this subject, but in fact the inability to find “victims and perpetrators of sex trafficking” isn’t confined to Reno, or even to Nevada; it applies to the entire US, and the reason is simple:  the “sex trafficking” gravy train is the victim of its own outrageous success.  When the panic was young, cultists and cops alike could pretend that there were thousands of “victims” and “pimps” just ripe for the picking in every city, “hub” and hamlet from sea to shining sea, if only the cops had enough money and the populace had enough “awareness” of the “signs of trafficking” to catch them.  But after years of panic and hundreds of millions flushed down the “anti-trafficking” toilet, this is the typical “trafficking” bust:

The Santa Clara County Human Trafficking Task Force reports a busy time during its recent prostitution crackdown prior to Super Bowl 50…42 potential human trafficking victims were contacted during the three weeks leading up to the big game…More than half of the victims were put in direct contact with an advocate or support group and…the task force arrested or cited 30…alleged clients of possible prostitutes…one “girl” was arrested for prostitution and resisting arrest…another “girl” was cited for prostitution…four people were cited for aiding in prostitution, two were cited for loitering with intent for prostitution, one potential victim disclosed other sex crimes and kidnapping, and two human trafficking cases involved a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old from Sacramento which resulted in a human trafficking arrest…one arrest for violation of a domestic violence restraining order and three arrests for other warrants…

Vast amounts of hype, blanketing an entire metropolis with pigs, spooks and g-men, millions wasted, thousands of words of anti-whore propaganda bloviated out, and for what?  21 women were given a phone number, 30 guys were tricked by cops with fake ads, two adult and two underage sex workers were arrested, six other people were arrested on bullshit charges, and four people arrested on warrants.  The other 21 women were essentially just made up; “potential trafficking victims”?  Really?  Yeah, well every sex worker in the Bay Area is a potential police brutality and police rape victim, but I don’t see them counting that statistic.  The one “human trafficking arrest” was for a slightly-older friend of the 17-year-old; in other words she was defined as a “trafficker” because underage sex work is defined as “trafficking”, whether there is coercion or not.  Note how scarce this story is on details; they need some wriggle room so as to redefine this into “86 trafficking arrests” later on.  But even when there are details, they fail to substantiate the narrative:

I read through a case file that…details the ordeal of a 15-year-old girl, diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression, who ran away from her home…[and] soon crossed paths with a man and a woman who lured her to a hotel room. She was photographed and a classified ad, promoting her availability, was posted…men continued to show up at the hotel room, night after night, for nearly a week, until finally her mother was able to find her and secure her freedom…

A mentally ill runaway, found inside a week.  Not a happy teen abducted from her happy home and spirited into the underworld, never to be found again; even the number of clients per day, though probably still exaggerated, is “as many as 11”, a paltry number compared to the grandiose claims common from 2012 to 2014 before they started dropping last year.  And even that is a rare case; this type of report is far more common:

A missing 14-year-old girl from [the Montreal area], who was feared by her mother to have been recruited into a prostitution ring, has been found safe and sound…The girl disappeared Feb. 1 from the group home where she’d been living for the past few weeks…the girl’s  mother…said she…had reason to fear the teenager may have joined a gang or a prostitution ring in Ontario…Police would not say where the girl was, or whom she was with, when they found her…

ghost girlsNaturally they wouldn’t say, but you can bet they’d have been crowing had they “rescued” her from anybody they could’ve remotely pretended was a “pimp”.  After 12 years of panic, thousands of ruined lives, scores of new and even more tyrannical laws, badly-eroded civil liberties and unscrupulous liars enriched on tax dollars and donations from well-meaning naifs, what do the “trafficking victim” hunters have to show for their efforts?  “Potential victims”, jailed sex workers, runaways with hysterical parents, and a few petty thugs.  Yeah, Emily, it’s true that “authorities” can’t find any “victims” to rescue or villains to prosecute.  But it isn’t because “online social media has formed a beautiful platform for trafficking”, or because “pimps” are “experts at evading authorities“, or because “victims…[are] reluctant to say anything negative“, or because “pimps move victims from city to city“, or because “casinos and hotels gain customers from the practice“, or because “pimps are retreating from public view behind apps and websites“; it’s because this whole machinery of deceit, surveillance, violence and incarceration was constructed to battle a phantasm, a constellation of people, organizations and events who never existed in the forms “sex trafficking” cultists so fervently wish to believe they do.

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One of the biggest challenges facing the anti-trafficking movement today is a near-constant acceptance of baseless, inaccurate, and even grossly exaggerated information.  –  Benjamin Corey

Celebrities Denver Broncos logo

Man is shamed and disgraced for seeking consensual sex:

The Denver Broncos are sending practice squad safety Ryan Murphy home…after he was questioned in a prostitution sting…and released…his brother and a suspected prostitute received citations…“We decided it was best if we continued our preparation for Super Bowl 50 without him,” head coach Gary Kubiak said…Murphy’s status as a practice squad player had not changed, only his participation in Super Bowl week…

Naturally, this humiliation was not enough for “sex trafficking” fetishists:

…The National Center on Sexual Exploitation specifically notes the Murphy situation in…[propaganda] declaring that “the normalized culture of commercial sex is a leading contributor to the spike in sex trafficking during the Super Bowl and other large sporting events…Just days before the Super Bowl, we see a prominent sports figure contributing to the demand for prostitution and sex trafficking,” [whore-hater] Dawn Hawkins [vomited out]…“Prostitution is an inherently exploitive and damaging institution, and is intrinsically linked to sex trafficking”…

Droit du Seigneur 

Notice: not “sex trafficking”.  Cops nearly always get the least-possible charges:

Eduardo Cornejo had been a…[New York cop]…for more than a decade…But investigators…had been tracking his movements for months after an anonymous tipster said Mr. Cornejo was a pimp…[who] had employed at least 10 prostitutes…Cornejo…was charged…with transporting women in interstate commerce to engage in prostitution, a federal offense…

Try not to choke when the FBI stooge says “Police officers, like all public servants, are held to a higher standard.”

Law of the Instrument

Baboons define consensual sex as “trafficking”, then scratch their arses in wonderment when they find an unending stream of “traffickers”:

A monthlong [prostitution] sting ended with the arrest of 46 people…in McLennan County [Texas]…This was the fourth sting in the past year…“It shocked me…” [Chief Ape Parnell] McNamara said. “To think, every sting gets a little bit bigger . . . and it doesn’t seem to stop.”  In the past year, 139 people have been arrested in McLennan County undercover stings….including members of an alleged human trafficking ring…[paid perverts] said they logged hundreds of man- hours in the past month visiting online ads…

Gorged With Meaning

Hey Australia, can the US import some of your journalists?

…some have dubbed [sugar dating]…prostitution.  So?  The only surprise about the news hundreds of…young women are signing up to be spoiled on their own terms by older men is that it’s raising eyebrows at all.  If no one in the arrangement is being exploited or coerced, just where does the problem lie?  These are mature adults; any judgment of their choices says more about the person doing the judging.  This is not sex slavery or sex trafficking, it’s not even a case of desperate girls doing something they feel is degrading just to stay alive.  More than a third of the women who responded to the Seeking Arrangement website survey were of middle or upper middle class (comfortable) status…

Deborah Jeane Palfrey

I’ll just leave this right here:

The former lawyer of Deborah Jeane Palfrey…has filed a motion to allow the release of her escort services’ records, saying they “may contain information relevant to the upcoming presidential election.”  Palfrey [supposedly] committed suicide in 2008 following a racketeering conviction.  Montgomery Blair Sibley, whose legal strategies and motions often included antagonizing opposing counsel and judge…remains under several 2007 restraining orders, which prohibited him from releasing Palfrey’s records.  Sibley won’t say how the records could affect the election…

The Widening Gyre

Observable fact: man talks to young women in public, in broad daylight.  Conclusion:  SEX TRAFFICKING!!!

A case of stranger danger at Catalina High School has administrators taking action.  Two girls said they were approached by the same man near campus a few weeks ago, so a meeting to talk about safety…There have been no new incidents…But with no suspects and no arrests, the school doesn’t want to wait for a third…According to the girls, the man told them he was from Pima Community College and wanted to interview them…Council member Steve Kozachik is worried the man may have been up to something much more sinister.  “It might be…some guy putting the young girls in jeopardy as to being trafficked”…

The Free Speech Mafia Marc Randazza

Marc Randazza, the noted First Amendment lawyer, has written a paper which, I think, would be of interest to many of my readers, especially (but not limited to) those who are yourselves lawyers.  Skeptical?  Here’s the abstract in its entirety:

In the case of intellectual property rights (IPRs), some nations erect barriers to the protection of IPRs on the basis of “morality”.  This paper will examine the implications of morality-based impediments to the enforcement of IPRs and their supportability under international agreements.  There are significant freedom of expression issues to consider when we think about “morality” getting in the way of intellectual property rights.  If that description doesn’t make you run to download it, it manages to include an academic discussion of “Cumfiesta”, “Screw You”, “Nut Sack Ale”, and Japanese porn being stolen in Taiwan.  Beat that.

Stupor Bowl

Given that “sex trafficking” myth is largely derived from evangelical Christian dogma, you’d think they’d listen when a theologian tells them it’s bunk:

…Regardless of who published it, the article is likely to have a shocking headline similar to: “Super Bowl is Largest Human Trafficking Event”, or something to that effect.  However, that claim is completely untrue…Whereas other social movements are often born out of a desire to correct stereotypes and misinformation…the modern anti-trafficking movement…perpetuates misinformation…the annual claim that the Super Bowl will be a major human trafficking event…is simply untrue…this results in increased attention from law enforcement (which is often misdirected and harmful)…most arrests are local sex workers, and…cases of human trafficking can often be counted on one hand…anti-trafficking organizations…[perpetuate] bad data, unproven claims, and harmful stereotypes about trafficking and sex workers…I can’t count the times I’ve heard:  “My city is in the top 5 biggest human trafficking destinations!”, “Did you know the average trafficking victim is 14 years old?”, “90% of sex workers are forced into it!”, or, “Pornography is what’s fueling human trafficking!”…As my therapist often tells me: when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail

The Mote and the Beam (#422)

Buried in this huge mound of bullshit is its astonishingly stupid and imperialistic premise: the author believes the US government can and should criminalize sex work in other countries:

…the State Department…sidesteps the most critical aspect of determining whether nations are truly “making serious and sustained efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex,” as the Trafficking Victims Protection Act mandates.  Punishing those who seek to purchase commercial sex is the one proven indicator of whether a country is making efforts to reduce demand…Enough is enough.  Any national government having the authority to criminalize the purchase of commercial sex should do so.  It’s time for Congress to pass pending legislation sponsored by Rep. Randy Hultgren…that would…require future TIP reports to assess sex-purchase laws when determining whether nations are making serious efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex…

Rhinoceros (#509)

COAST is still pretending that pigs, bureaucrats and other busybodies know more about our profession than we do:

Dwayne Angebrandt…of Homeland Security…put together a public presentation on how to spot the signs of [“sex trafficking”]…a group of strip-club operators.  For years, law enforcement had [pretended] such a group would likely be made up of some of the very people who are quietly selling women into prostitution…But…many of the club operators and their dancers he met were surprisingly clueless [about government propaganda declaring them “pimps” and “victims”]…an unlikely alliance has formed between his agency and a group called Club Organizers Against Sex Trafficking…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#563)

I predict this will be lousy with cops within a few months:

New Yorkers sick of the uncertainties of the urban dating scene can now turn to a new app designed to reduce the complexities of dating to dollars and cents.  Ohlala, a controversial on-demand escort dating  app popular in Germany, is launching its services today in its first American market…Pia Poppenreiter…[describes] her app as one that “connects people to go on instant, paid dates…But what happens on the date is actually a private matter”…The app, which launched in Germany this past August, has already facilitated over 25,000 paid connections…[and] is also adding three new cities (Stuttgart, Cologne and Dusseldorf) to its German market, which already includes Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg…

Ashley Madison (#567) 

If this is real, it’s hilariously pathetic:

Isn’t it creepy when your husband/boyfriend leaves the room for a second, and then a stranger with a mask over his eyes enters it right after, and you’re like, “Whoa! Who are you and what have you done with my husband/boyfriend?!” Because everyone knows that disguises that only cover half your face can fool loved ones into thinking you’re a total stranger, Ashley Madison is offering…the option of a brown or black mask that can be slapped on a profile photo; four levels of photo blurring (for those who can’t use Photoshop themselves); and a black bar that can be placed over a user’s eyes in a photo…It’s unclear whether this is intended to be an actual extra layer of security or someone has been watching too many romantic comedies involving masquerade balls and mixed up identities.

Choke Point (#603) 

Much more of this, please:

If you or your company had an active PayPal account frozen or terminated between April 19, 2006, and Nov. 5, 2015, you may eligible for a settlement payment of up to $440 per account.  In the five-year-old class action case of Zepeda v. PayPal, both parties have agreed to a settlement with regards to…improper account holds PayPal placed on some of its customers.  PayPal recently released a notice of settlement, directing users to AccountHoldSettlement.com to file a claim and learn more about the case itself.  A May 10 deadline has been set…PayPal and its partner at the time, eBay…placed inappropriate holds or reserves on sellers’ funds…PayPal has denied all allegations but has agreed to the terms of the settlement to “avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial.”

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In…the trafficking framework…sex work becomes a kind of statutory crime, with women as legal children…and questions of consent rendered irrelevant.  –  Lisa Duggan

Coming and Going

Boo fucking hoo:

When Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk was a judge, the cases that upset her the most involved…prostitution.  Hawk said that feeling has carried over into her work as district attorney and her office focuses on “prosecuting…[people and doing anything to] make sure they go to prison”…Last year in Dallas, 62 underage sex trafficking victims were rescued from their pimps, [lied] Deputy Police Chief Vernon Hale.  Dallas County also has several diversion programs to [brainwash sex workers]…One program, dubbed STAR Court, [forces] women [wrongfully persecuted for consensual sex to] go through counseling and drug or alcohol rehabilitation [whether they need it or not].  The goal is to give women an alternative to a criminal lifestyle…The [rescue industry corporation] Mosaic recently released an app…called Operation Compass [which makes it]…convenient…to [rat people out to the pigs]…

In other words, if you have sadfeelz about someone else’s way of making a living you should inform on them so they can be locked up and subjected to psychological torture to “correct” their “criminality”.

Droit du Seigneur 

Peacekeepers“.

The United Nations has been grappling with so many sexual abuse allegations involving its peacekeepers that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently called them “a cancer in our system”…Investigators discovered this month that at least four U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic allegedly paid girls as little as 50 cents in exchange for sex…employees have been accused of 22 other incidents of alleged sexual abuse or sexual exploitation in the past 14 months.  The most recent accusations come in the wake of Ban’s efforts to implement a “zero tolerance” policy for such offenses.  The United Nations maintains nine peacekeeping operations in Africa, employing more than 100,000 people on the continent, and the abuses threaten to erode the organization’s legitimacy.  Other sex-crime cases have occurred in Mali, South Sudan, Liberia and Congo in recent years…

Counterfeit Comfort

That’ll teach them dirty “sex offenders”!

The government may start stamping “sex offender” on the passports of citizens who were convicted of a sex offense against a minor.  Yes, that would include high school seniors who slept with their freshman girlfriends.  The rationale behind the International Megan’s Law is that these people could be traveling for sex-trafficking purposes…There are almost 850,000 Americans on the Sex Offender Registry, up from 750,000 just a few years ago.  About a quarter of them got on the list when they were juveniles themselves, because young people have sex with other young people…The branding…will affect even Americans whose offenses aren’t crimes in the countries they’re trying to visit:  For instance, I have a friend who had sex, once, with a 14-year-old when he was 19.  If he had done this in Austria, Germany, Portugal or Italy, it wouldn’t have been a criminal act at all. The age of consent there is 14.  But here in America he went to prison — for nine years.  He spent his 20s in a cell for one act of consensual sex between two teens, and now that he’s out, he remains on the Sex Offender Registry for life…if my friend’s passport is stamped with “Sex Offender,” any country he approaches will assume he’s a monster trying to get in.  Oddly enough, that country won’t be alerted if a visitor has served time for, say, mugging old ladies

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

If someone stole $100 from a convenience store, would the Times-Picayune refer to the crime as a “quibble”?

A Birmingham, Ala., woman called police after…a man who paid her $100 for a sexual rendezvous…stole back the cash…But Kenner [Louisiana] police wound up busting both for the illegal hookup…Montez Robinson…told [cops] he reached out to Rachel Burma…through her profile…on Backpage…

Forward and Backward

A pilot scheme in Leeds to allow sex workers to ply their trade on the streets without fear of arrest will continue indefinitely after the council announced it had improved the safety of prostitutes and made it easier for them to report crimes.  The scheme…allows prostitutes to work in a “managed area” between 7pm and 7am…The council says the scheme has improved community relations, the safety of sex workers and allowed prostitutes to report incidents of harassment without facing recrimination.  Police in the area will no longer issue cautions or make arrests for soliciting during the working hours specified…A female police officer has also been specially appointed to handle cases involving sex workers and to ensure their safety…

The Pygmalion Fallacy Gloria & robot

Unless they can bruise, heal, cry and exude a certain rare and as-yet-undiscovered pheromone, I’m not remotely interested:

…It wouldn’t take tech as advanced as Gigolo Joe [from the movie A.I.] to pique women’s interest in sexbots.  For one thing, women already use sex toys…women don’t really care whether the toy they’re using to orgasm even faintly resembles the anatomy of a human man…While toys for men, whether Fleshlights or RealDolls, conjure the appearance of an actual woman, women’s toys don’t…Women’s porn viewing habits…tend to be more varied than those of men…there’s a strong argument to be made that…women…are polymorphously perverse, being sexually aroused by far more configurations of bodies than men…a sexbot for women could be vaguely torso-shaped, equipped with vibrating pads and oscillating nubs, and furnished with outlets that would allow for multiple snap-on tools…Maybe make it’s voice-activated so that you could rotate between modes without the tiresome pressing of a button…No fuss.  No muss…And no uncanny valley…this bot could also sidestep the major controversy of sexbots: that of emotional connection…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Note that the main reason for the strippers’ plight is Washington’s idiotic prudishness:

…The owners of a collection of Washington strip clubs have sued state labor regulators, claiming they’ve been wrongly ordered to pay workers’ compensation to dancers hurt on the job…they claim regulators are trying to “financially break” their businesses.  At issue, in part, is the strippers’ status as club employees.  The women rent space from the clubs, which regard them as independent contractors.  The state Department of Labor & Industries has taken a different view, contending that, at times, dancers are entitled to workers’ comp if they’re injured at the clubs…The economics of Washington state strip clubs are particularly brutal, largely because the alcohol-free clubs draw their income almost exclusively from high-priced soft drinks and the fees paid by dancers.  Strippers pay a large portion of their earnings back to the clubs in a system previously decried by a U.S. attorney for Washington as abusive.  In Seattle, strip clubs have historically been subjected to extreme scrutiny from law enforcement and regulators

Now They Notice

The case against Rentboy isn’t actually any weaker than any other website takedown case; they’re all this weak:

…law-enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors considered this a big, bold police action against a criminal organization.  They threw around phrases like “Internet brothel,” “international online prostitution ring,” and “global criminal enterprise”…This was the beginning of an important and high-profile win for the government in the fight against illegal commercial sex, or so [they]…must have thought.  But things started going badly for the government right away…the raid was vigorously condemned by sexual-freedom and sex-worker advocates…LGBT groups…human-rights and free-speech organizations…and even many media outlets, including The New York Times.  The ACLU and Lambda Legal later initiated a meeting with prosecutors to defend Rentboy’s positive role in the community, which included funding scholarships and other educational projects…After such widespread backlash, the prosecution stalled, so far requesting four delays in the 30-day deadline for indictment.  Though such extended delays are not unusual, as investigators search for further evidence and try to locate cooperating witnesses, no new charges have surfaced in this case…

Bread and Circuses (#573) 

Federal “authorities”, unsatisfied with merely hounding a hardworking woman’s husband to death, humiliate her and lock her in a cage for six months:

A woman who came from a poor family in Thailand became a prostitute in Hawaii through working in the massage industry…Judge Susan Oki Mollway [pretended] she took those circumstances — along with her husband’s suicide — into account when sentencing her to six months in federal prison.  In a deal with prosecutors, [Khemwika] Ernst pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and filing false tax returns…

She only made about $75,000 per year, but prosecutors pretended that’s some huge amount of money so as to paint her as a master criminal.

Still a Child (#574) 

Women are such fragile little flowers that, although men can choose to risk death at 18, it takes us three extra years to mature to the point where we can choose to take off our clothes:  “The New Orleans city council voted unanimously…to ban strip club employees younger than 21 from dancing nude…the new rules do not apply to employees under 21 who are already working as dancers…

Above the Law (#587) 

Why I didn’t report being raped by cops:

For five years, Lindsay F. relived the night she was brutally raped by Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, then a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, over and over again.  She had to recall every detail…whenever investigators asked her to retell her story.  If Lindsay missed a detail or confused the timeline, even after years had passed, they accused her of lying…in her fight for the county to admit liability, Lindsay underwent a humiliating and interminably long process, one that experts in law enforcement misconduct litigation said is commonplace.  Even after Sanchez went to prison — not just for raping Lindsay, but for attempting to coerce another woman into sex under similar circumstances just two days later — the county’s lawyers…spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking Lindsay as if she had falsely accused Sanchez…They asked Lindsay about her sexual history:  Had she ever had HPV?  They deposed her friends:  What had Lindsay been wearing the night Sanchez pulled her over?  They even went as far as to hire a gynecology medical expert witness to testify that Lindsay’s vagina had not shown significant signs of trauma

The Widening Gyre (#597)

Another sign of peak panic: mere “sex trafficking” isn’t shocking enough any more, so fetishists are now claiming that “traffickers” are members of some other pariah-group besides being “pimps”:

…Katherine Svoi Symthe said…“All human traffickers are pedophiles, but not all pedophiles are traffickers”…Symthe’s [novel] Unbreakable, The Story of an Unrelenting Spirit, describes in shocking detail her [fantasized] story from the time she was smuggled into the U.S. as an infant to her rescue at age 17…Symthe said many pedophiles also get gratification by torturing their victims…

Too Close To Home

Feminist Whore debunks the King County sheriff’s press conference:

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[Under universal criminality] the cop becomes a law unto himself, with the ability to criminalize or wholly dehumanize any individual at will.
–  Steve MartinotJason Foster

License to Rape

Cops raping sex workers is so ubiquitous, non-cop rapists often pose as cops to facilitate the crime:

A [Maine] mechanic who pretended to be an undercover [cop] to [rape] prostitutes…will spend more than eight years in prison…Jason Foster was…also sentenced to seven years of suspended prison time…Foster claimed he was just a paying prostitution customer…[he] must also register for life as a sex offender.

Universal Criminality

The only flaw in this otherwise-excellent essay is that the author buys into the “pimp” myth:

…around 70% of all prisoners in the US are convicted of victimless crimes…the person charged with a crime has harmed no one.  Some might say they harm themselves, but each individual would have to be involved in any discussion of whether that were true or not.  Regardless, they are thrown in prison…those convicted of victimless crimes are themselves the victims…of the victimless crime law system.  The mythology of imprisonment is that all those in prison are violent offenders, “bad guys” who need to be taken off the streets for the safety and security of the average person.  If 70% of all prisoners are there for victimless crimes, then this is worse than a myth.  It is a malicious lie…

The Widening Gyre

“Sex trafficking terrorists”.  Because one moral panic at a time isn’t enough any more.

There are terrorists in the United States who actively seek victims for their sex trafficking businesses.  According to Shared Hope International, this enterprise is booming.  The market for human beings is profitable…Sex traffickers target children as young as 11 years old.  Moreover, younger boys and girls are also subject to these predators…over 100,000 children…are bought, sold, and rented every year…It is, in fact, considered “a form of modern-day slavery…The terrorists in the U.S. are not only those the media discusses daily, but they are also the sex traffickers who are active in their pursuit of victims.  These terrorists are pimps and they are not always strangers…

Shifting the Blame (#33)

Long-time readers may recall that I said this almost four years ago:

Disgraced former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke…stymied the FBI’s investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial-killings for years…Burke…refused to keep the feds in the loop on the unsolved murders of eight women, a man and a toddler on or near the beach…because he learned he was in the FBI’s cross hairs for assaulting Christopher Loeb…a handcuffed suspect who swiped items from his vehicle— including pornography and sex toys…[Burke] then tried to cover up the assault…Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini announced that the FBI would now play a major role in the Gilgo Beach cold case…

That Old Black Magic

No sillier than the anti-sex propaganda favored by Western charlatans:

A “spiritualist” in Ghana named Mallam Ya Wadudu asserts that tattoos can cause “homosexuality and prostitution”…he said, “The snakes, lions, scorpions, frogs and other animal symbols they put on themselves all have spiritual meanings.  Those who put the symbols on their bodies have to be delivered from the influence of the spirits in the symbols.”  He firmly believes tattooing such symbols onto your body will lead to demonic possession…side effects may include homosexuality, alcoholism, or prostitution…

Drawing Lines

The mental gymnastics on display here would be truly Olympian if they weren’t so wholly clownish:

…Whether or not Sugar dating resembles “prostitution,” this tired argument is outdated and hardly applicable in the modern world.  Not only does it neglect the nuance and idiosyncrasies that exist in the world of Sugar dating, but it also assumes that, in the general population, only two types of intimate relationships exist: ones that include money and ones that do not…the phenomenon of the Girlfriend-Experience (GFE) is an example of the growing similarity and fusion between sexual and marriage markets.  To an onlooker, a GFE in action appears identical to any other dating scenario, but with the added certainty that…sex will be included somewhere in the evening’s antics.  And the woman will be compensated…the [sugar baby]…is more than a sex object – and her Sugar Daddy is more than an ATM.  To call Sugar dating prostitution is to reduce the individuals involved to one-dimensional stereotypes, when life is much more complicated and interesting than that…

Do you think we ought to tell “Sara-Kate” that GFE is a prostitution term?

Saving Them From Themselves (#428) 

Consensual crime laws enable predators, part umpteen:

Police Detective David Edward Abbott, a member of the Northern Virginia-Washington D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, committed suicide…before law enforcement could arrest him on suspicion of sexually abusing minors.  Abbott…was the detective [who]…sought a warrant to take [a] 17-year-old male…to the hospital, inject him with a drug that would give him an erection, photograph his genitals, and compare the photo with existing pictures of his genitals the police had confiscated from his 15-year-old girlfriend’s phone.  The teen was eventually sentenced to one year of probation…Abbott sued the teen’s lawyer for defamation.  The lawyer, Jessica Foster, remarked to the media that the warrant to take pornographic pictures of her client–to be used as evidence that he was guilty of creating child pornography–was “crazy”…Abbott said the comments caused him severe emotional distress; he claimed he was threatened and called a pedophile…Abbott…had inappropriate contact with two young boys, ages 11 and 13…

Worse Than I Thought (#536)

And you can bet they’re going to get help from civil liberties groups:

Following a First Amendment victory against meddling Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart…Backpage.com is now taking on the federal government.  On December 11, the company filed a civil action against U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, claiming that the…SAVE…Act…is unconstitutionally vague, overbroad, and infringes on First Amendment rights.  The…Act added “advertising” a victim of sexual exploitation to the list of thing that can trigger a sex-trafficking charge, meaning that user-generated ad platforms such as Backpage and Craigslist could find themselves facing the same charges as someone who forces someone else into prostitution—regardless of whether the platform knew anything about the ad.  It also stipulated a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence (up to life imprisonment)…A wide swath of free-speech and civil-liberties advocates opposed the SAVE Act…[warning]  that [its] reach wouldn’t just extend to Backpage but also social media such as Facebook and Twitter, online dating websites, and apps such as Tinder and Grindr…

Bait and Switch (#545)

If you’ll look back at what I’ve previously reported on Grady Judd, I’m sure you can guess what kind of tactics were used to entrap these people so Judd could destroy their lives for his self-aggrandizement:

A five-day human trafficking undercover operation in Polk County netted 95 arrests…The suspects range in age from 15 to 68 years old…Detectives filed 21 felony charges and 111 misdemeanor charges…“We’ve seen firsthand the negative social costs of how prostitution hurts families, children, and communities.  And more often than not, there is a high correlation between other crimes and prostitution,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd [vomited onto reporters]. “There is also a direct nexus between prostitution and human trafficking, and we are committed to identifying victims of human trafficking and getting them into [brainwashing] programs and out of lives of crime.”

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality (#578)

Because the government can’t find imaginary “sex slave rings”, it creates criminals in order to uphold its narrative:

…FBI agents…devised an undercover operation targeting…individuals…pursuing [an extreme BDSM]…fantasy…four individuals were…willing to pay thousands of dollars for a sex slave…The four…were indicted on human trafficking charges between December 2013 and May 2014.  They all pled guilty, and in September 2015, an Arizona federal judge sentenced them to prison terms ranging from seven to nine years…[Agent Ryan] Blay said…“We didn’t want to wait until there were actual victims.”

It’s a sign of how badly US “justice” has deteriorated that the agent sees nothing wrong with that chilling final statement.

Between the Lines

Here’s a firsthand account of what it’s like to be targeted by an “Operation Cross-Country” sting (video courtesy of Tara Burns):

Fallen Idol

A porn studio has published a performers’ bill of rights in the aftermath of the sexual assault allegations against porn actor James Deen, which have driven the adult industry to reexamine some of the on-set concerns surrounding the issue of performer consent…Angie and Colin Rowntree, long-time adult film veterans who operate sssh.com (a porn for women site) and Wasteland.com (a BDSM site), instituted their studio’s first formalized “On-set Policies And Best Practices” document…Sssh and Wasteland said they are taking their current principles and making them crystal clear for all parties.  According to Angie Rowntree, the document, which is now publicly available on their site, “is going to be an ongoing process” and will evolve as new potential concerns pop up…

Seizing Power (#593)

NPR has parroted government “sex trafficking” propaganda for years, but writing about this issue without mentioning Dart’s smackdown by a federal court is a remarkably revealing display of the organization’s total disregard for the truth:

Across the country, law enforcement is cracking down on sex trafficking of minors by going after online escort ads.  Five years ago, Craigslist was pressured to shut down its adult-services forum.  The new target is Backpage.com — Visa and MasterCard stopped processing transactions with Backpage this summer.  Some in the sex industry are getting around that by using the virtual currency bitcoin.  That’s the latest adaptation by an industry used to getting creative to avoid detection…Cook County Illinois Sheriff Tom Dart called a news conference to announce a victory this summer…Backpage…is fighting back.  It’s suing Sheriff Dart and making its ads free…

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If you won’t honor people’s boundaries, you don’t belong anywhere near another human being, much less on a porn set.  –  Cyd Nova

Finding What Isn’t There

There are thousands of pimps and ‘sex slaves’, we swear!  We’re just not allowed to investigate them!

According to [Delhi] police, prostitution rackets prevail…because there are orders for local police not to carry out raids under the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act without enough evidence and permission from senior officers.  The orders were issued by senior officers at Delhi Police headquarters after regular complaints of corruption and harassment of sex workers by policemen.  “The order has come to the aid of pimps”…says a [cop]…“Prostitution involving foreign women is not only rampant…but seems to be flourishing with the support of authorities.  While many are willing…there are also those who have been tricked into the trade”…says [a prohibitionist]…Police and NGOs [imagine] that Uzbekistan…[is] one of the preferred countries for these gangs.  It is also [imagined] that women from the country are managed by women of Uzbek origin settled in India for many years…[another cop fantasizes that] “The money…is paid to the pimp.  The…money never goes to [the sex workers]”…police [imagine] there must be around 2,000 women from [other] countries working in the capital…

The Widening Gyre baby box

Observation: Naive woman makes an ill-considered Craigslist post.  Conclusion: A worldwide conspiracy abducting pregnant women to steal their babies.

Georgia mother Elaine Sunwoo Williams was worried that her baby-crazy 14-year-old daughter would go and get herself knocked up.  So, assuming someone must have a spare baby lying around, Williams posted an ad on Craigslist…[asking] new mothers with unwanted babies to drop them off…at the Williams residence, where she and her daughter would “provide a loving home”…Once the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office was tipped off to the ad, they arrested both Williams and her daughter, charging each with…a felony…If convicted, [Williams] faces up to 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine…An NBC Atlanta broadcast warned viewers that baby selling is “part of human trafficking“…NBC also quotes Louise Shelly, author of the book Human Trafficking, claiming that “human traffickers are increasingly trafficking pregnant women for their newborns”…Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office is asking Homeland Security to help it find people who emailed Williams offering to sell their babies so that they can be charged with human trafficking…

Worse Than I Thought

This is the result of draconian “sex trafficking” laws: sex workers threatened with decades in prison for being in the company of slightly younger sex workers:

…20-year-old Tayari Meadows was facing a sentence up to life in prison.  But…the prosecution and defense…reached a plea deal to release Meadows…on three years probation.  Meadows pleaded guilty under…an Alford Plea where she disputes…the facts presented by prosecutors but admits guilt in participating in a prostitution operation.  Her agreement requires her to testify against [accused pimp] Jackson Fleming…Meadows [served] only the 8 months she’s been in jail since being arrested in April…As part of her probation, Meadows is not allowed to have any contact with the teenage girl who…was found with her in a…motel room when Meadows was arrested…

“Only” 8 months locked in a cage for the “crime” of being with another person.

Dirty Laundry

We should all consider the fact that on many Christmas Days…many women were locked up as slaves in Magdalene laundries, far from family and friends.”

Ruhama, a [religious group] that [exploits sex worers]…has published a new report on the extent of the situation…the group’s CEO Sarah Benson said:  “We should all consider the fact that this Christmas Day while most of us settle down to a meal with loved ones, many women will be in brothels around the country, far from family and friends”…Last month…RTÉ [broadcast a fantasy about]…gangs…[moving] women…around brothels all over the country…Ruhama is calling for [more money so they can continue to profit from] prostitution and [the hysteria over] sex trafficking…

Checklist

“If you see something, say something”, UK style:

People in Essex are being urged to look out for signs of human trafficking and modern slavery as they go about their daily lives…the county’s deputy police and crime commissioner warned that “hidden harms” such as slavery…[and] child sexual exploitation…needed tackling head-on…everyone has a part to play in identifying and tracking down covert crimes – not just Essex Police officers.  He claimed if residents looked into suspicious situations, hidden harms would come to light…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s hard to believe this was written by an adult in 2015:

A Peabody [Massachusetts] brothel and drug den was operating behind the suburban facade of a six-bedroom house…before authorities swooped in and arrested six people…Dawn Spurr…is charged with two counts of drug possession, being the keeper of a noisy and disorderly house and trafficking in persons for sexual servitude…“I am extremely pleased…with [snitches]…assisting with the riddance of such types of despicable acts,” Peabody police Chief Thomas M. Griffin said…

The Missing Word

That word doesn’t appear in this article, but notice that everything magically becomes “dark” and “sinister” when sex is involved:

Sexual servitude is arguably the most egregious worker violation of foreign workers in this country…a joint taskforce including the Fair Work Ombudsman and Border Force, has raided five karaoke bars in two cities, Perth and Melbourne…[following] allegations of wage fraud, sham contracting and sexual slavery of female hosts…Australians are becoming increasingly horrified by the level of exploitation of foreign workers in this country…it is undermining the economic fabric of the country…[and] robbing the Australian Taxation Office of hundreds of millions of dollars a year…

That last line is, of course, the government’s real concern.

Above the Law (#434)

One down, tens of thousands to go:

…Oklahoma City [cop] Daniel Holtzclaw has been found guilty of multiple counts of rape…as well as sexual battery, procuring lewd exhibition, and forcible oral sodomy…His 36 charges ranged from stalking and indecent exposure to forcible sodomy…he was found guilty of 18…Holtzclaw deliberately chose women he thought were unlikely to be believed — black women with criminal records from an impoverished neighborhood…

Whore Detection

Prostitution laws harm all women, but especially black and transgender women:

…There are a lot of situations that may warrant calling 911.  But seeing a transgender person is not one of them.  But that’s exactly what a hotel manager in West Des Moines, Iowa, did when Meagan Taylor and her friend, both Black transgender women, checked into the hotel…on their way to a funeral…the ACLU…[has] obtained the audio recording of the 911 call…the caller complains that they are…“two males, but they’re dressed as females with ‘male IDs’ and ‘dressed a little over the top.’”  Even the dispatcher is somewhat incredulous that this would prompt anyone to call 911.  She questions why the caller is suspicious and the caller explains, that “I just want to make sure they’re not hookers”…

Served Cold 

Doesn’t anybody else think it’s a bit horrifying that the US is conducting military raids in other countries it’s not at war with?

An international law enforcement operation culminated…with the arrests of 6 individuals involved in sex trafficking and the [arrest] of 36 sex trafficking victims, including 11 minors.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Attaché Office covering the Andean region and the Peruvian National Police (PNP) conducted the binational law enforcement operation…The rescued victims are all Peruvian and one is as young as 4 years old…This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator…HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity…

“As young as 4 years old”?  What the fuck does that mean?  A person could literally be any age above 4 and that statement would still be true.

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

Because big strong men have to “rescue” weak, stupid women from our choices:

In January, Ohio will become the first state to require prospective truckers to be trained to spot warning signs for human trafficking before they get licensed.  Training will consist of materials provided by…Truckers Against Trafficking…“the goal…is driving human trafficking out of Ohio, because it’s going to be too dangerous for the bad guys to work here,” [a rather silly and pompous cop said]…the training program is based on guidelines first set up in Iowa to mobilize truckers to combat human trafficking…5.5 million children worldwide are victims of sex trafficking…

Welcome To Our World (#588)

This is really rather pathetic:

Somebody at the New York Times has repeatedly edited reporter Sarah Nir’s Wikipedia page to defend her controversial exposé of the nail salon industry and attack her critics…One of the 20 anonymous edits to Nir’s Wikipedia entry — since removed — dismissed the criticism as “minor controversies from right wing and Libertarian outlets, as well as several protests from salon owners unwilling to abide by the new laws created…in the wake of the story.”  Another edit blasted Richard Bernstein, who attacked Nir’s reporting in the New York Review of Books, as “a white salon owner and…author of a widely-panned book that highly sexualized Asian women.”  Besides the edits from the New York Times IP address, there were six from California last summer when Nir was on the West Coast. Another seven were from an AT&T mobile IP address…

Fallen Idol

Cyd Nova on the relief sex workers feel at being generally believed for once:

…For the survivors of James Deen whose stories are told and untold; for the sex workers whose perpetrators used the stigmatized environment of the profession to prey on their vulnerabilities; for the sex workers who have been assaulted and then continued to work, sometimes with the same person who assaulted them, because at that moment that was what they had to do to survive; this news cycle has been hell…I’ve never seen such public furor around the assaults of sex workers.  It’s left everyone I know drained thinking, talking, or reading about it. Waiting to see what direction the narrative will take—will the news coverage continue to slant in favor of the survivors?  What will the consequences be for Deen after the scandal of this story is dusted over by another?…Although I’d always hoped that someone would out him publicly, I understood why, for a long time, no one did.  I’ve been a sex worker for 13 years and have performed in or produced porn for most of that time…Building an illusion of blanket positivity about your job is not only about being a good porn star, it’s about building armor against a society that wants you to be damaged…

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Silly men…thought they were better than me…[but] I was smarter than all of them.  I made them pay the few coins that they had on my softness of my body.  –  Gladys, grandmother of Rachel Almeida

Real People My Grandma the Sex Worker

A young woman tells how she discovered her grandmother had been a sex worker:

…”I don’t want you to take sides, Rachel, but your mom’s family isn’t what you think it is.  They’ve lied to you.  Your grandma was a prostitute, and that’s how she met your grandpa.”  And that’s how my dad broke the news to me that my grandmother was a sex worker, and that my “childhood was a lie”(his words).  My initial reaction was that of a fairly-mature-but-still-naïve 16 year old: “Wow, Grandma was a hooker”…I didn’t feel disgusted or betrayed; I…thought it was badass and I wanted to be like her.  I tried to probe my dad about the details of the huge family secret he just revealed—very clearly only to spite my mother—but he said that was all he knew.  My dad kept holding his head in his hands, repeatedly saying, “You’d just never expect it; she doesn’t look like a prostitute,” as if sex workers even wear some kind of easily identifiable uniform…Seven years on from my parents’ divorce, I called my grandmother, Gladys, to talk about her past…I refused to let my Dad have the final say in her life story and what she’s been through.  When she picked up the phone, I could tell she was nervous to speak to me about this…She’s 82 now and lives a long way from appointment-only brothels of Caracas.  Down the phone, she told me her story with the same authority and confidence she had back then.  “If men have the right to pay for sex without judgment,” Grandma told me, “then women also have the right to make sex their career”…

Sales Pitch

The Swedish model has virtually eliminated prostitution in Sweden!

At least six teenagers who were living at a centre for vulnerable young women are reported to have sold sex, with staff doing little to intervene despite being aware of their actions.  Prostitution has been part of everyday life at the centre in Södertälje, south of Stockholm, for several years…Neighbours also reported spotting cars picking the teenagers up late at night…

Checklist

After Arizona and Washington, Florida is the state most hysterically tyrannical over “sex trafficking”:

A local nonprofit organization, Wings of Shelter, conducted a presentation in front of nearly 50 healthcare professionals…They taught them how to identify the signs of trafficking and how to treat the young victims they find in the schools…They said between 100,000 to 300,000 girls under the age of 18 are victims in the United States every year…the majority of these victims will visit a school nurse due to an injury sustained while trafficking…the three most obvious  physical signs are long sleeves, tattoos, and malnourishment.  The long sleeves are used to hide the marks of abuse and the tattoos may represent ownership in the form of a man’s name or a Chinese symbol…

That “long sleeves” bit comes straight from a Golden Age Wonder Woman comic book.

The Widening Gyre (#348)

Los Angeles’ response to “sex trafficking” is, as one might expect, increased police brutality:

A new human trafficking task force in the Valley has arrested several pimps and dozens of “Johns” in sting operations in the last two weeks…The LAPD Operation-Valley Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force was created to address the “massive influx of human trafficking cases”…said [cop mouthpiece] Marc Evans…“We have a large influx of hard-core gang members that are buying and selling girls on the streets in the form of prostitution”…the task force has [also]…issued 155 traffic citations and [stolen] 10 vehicles, he said. Evans [would] not say how many prostitutes had been arrested…In 2013, 1,077 prostitution victims were arrested by Los Angeles Police Department…

The cops’ idiotically convoluted language is so hard to follow that the reporter accidentally writes the truth by stating that the so-called “victims” (i.e. sex workers) were arrested instead of using one of the usual lies, “rescued” or “recovered”.

The Missing Word

Two brothers in…South Carolina are facing charges that they treated a mentally handicapped black employee like a slave for years…two Charleston attorneys filed a civil suit on behalf of Christopher Smith, who worked at the J&J Cafeteria…for 23 years, but was hideously abused and exploited from 2010 to 2014…[by] Ernest J…and…Bobby Paul Edwards…Smith worked at the Edwards brothers’ business for more than two decades, but it was when Bobby took over as manager in 2010 that Smith’s situation turned ugly.  Smith was…savagely beaten with a frying pan, hot tongs, butcher knives, belt buckles and fists.  He worked 18-hour shifts Monday through Saturday and 11-hour shifts on Sundays with no breaks, receiving little pay.  His total wages for each year added up to less than $3,000…When he wasn’t at work, Smith lived in a filthy, cockroach-infested apartment owned by the Edwards brothers…

Policing for Profit (#446) 

In New Mexico, civil forfeiture is big business…Albuquerque alone brings in more than $1 million through civil forfeiture every year.  Police and prosecutors seize all this property without convicting anyone of a crime—and then keep the property for their own use…This business..came to the public’s attention in late 2014, when an attorney charged with overseeing one city’s forfeiture programs described civil forfeiture as a “gold mine” and property seized through civil forfeiture as “little goodies”.  The resulting wave of public outrage brought landmark legislation, as the state legislature voted unanimously to abolish civil forfeiture…But cities across New Mexico are refusing to follow the law.  In Albuquerque, police and prosecutors…have even announced plans to purchase a new, bigger parking lot to hold all the cars they expect to seize—a parking lot that will be paid for through civil forfeiture…New Mexico Senators…Lisa Torraco and Daniel Ivey-Soto…have joined with the Institute for Justice to enforce the Forfeiture Reform Law…A decision forcing Albuquerque to follow the law will have implications across the state and even across the country…

A Year Later Jody Wilson Raybould

Fleur de Lit is a lot more optimistic than I am; I hope she’s right:

…our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has appointed Jody Wilson-Raybould, an aboriginal woman…his justice minister…Wilson-Raybould says she’s been in discussions about Bill C-36 – which the Liberals have promised to repeal – and that in moving forward, “the safety of the workers is fundamentally important”…I am optimistic about this, specifically about [her] use of the word “workers”…

Traffic in Nonsense (#508)

The rhetoric is ridiculous, but even stupid snitches are dangerous:

…a fleet of truck drivers…are leading the charge in exposing the criminals behind these acts and in freeing victims…pimps often bring their victims to rest areas where they present the girls as willing sex workers, according to…Polaris Project [propaganda]…truck drivers, in many cases, have become [informants]…for authorities…seeking to [harass sex workers]…One group in particular, Truckers Against Trafficking, has already [indoctrinated] about 170,000 drivers in [anti-sex worker propaganda]…

Full of Themselves (#535)

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

…Massage parlors that offer services well beyond backrubs are not unique to New Orleans…[they] have proliferated in the United States in recent years, expanding their foothold beyond the country’s coastal metropolises.  Though almost universally regarded by law enforcement as shady, the establishments have proved resistant to regulation…the New Orleans Police Department has sharply curtailed vice investigations as officers grapple with huge backlogs of emergency calls…officials said they are confident that erotic massage parlors remain a barely veiled front for prostitution…online [client] forums have been highlighted on social media in recent months by an organization called Lady Trieu, which has…also has posted photos of the cars of alleged johns parked in front of some of the businesses in an attempt to shame them…James Kelly…of Covenant House…said…“It’s degrading of women.  This is a lack of respect.  This isn’t something that you just dismiss”…The federal interest in erotic massage parlors typically hinges on whether investigators can prove the masseuses are being forced to sell their bodies against their will…

The “sex trafficking” rhetoric sprinkled into articles like this isn’t even enough to disguise the true motivations that drive the writers, cops and “activists”:  prudishness, control-freakishness and plain old ugly racism.

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#558)

the All India Network of Sex Workers (AINSW), and other organisations are now…filing a petition before [the Supreme Court hears] a petition for [forcing] sex workers…[into brainwashing camps run] by anti-[sex worker] NGO Prajwala, set to be heard on December 9…“Sex workers…should be accepted and be able to live without stigma,” explains Amit Kumar, an AINSW national coordinator.  India has over three million sex workers but while they are increasingly accepted, they face ‘administrative problems’, says Kumar.  “When police raid a brothel or a sex worker’s house, they smash everything…they arrest every woman and ruin everyone’s lives”…Dr Jana, chief adviser to the Kolkata-based Usha Multipurpose Co-operative Society Ltd…says few women get into sex work because of coercion…

Between the Lines

And don’t think this is atypical:

During [the last “Operation Cross-Country”]…in Virginia, FBI and local [cops]…allegedly nabbed 12 “pimps“…along with the recovery of three “child sex trafficking victims”…two of the…suspects [were] released without charges…And…[another] was…only charged with gun and drug possession…two are juveniles.  And what about the three “children” police “rescued?”  One, a 16-year-old who was allegedly coerced into selling sex…went to police on her own accord…another…age 17, was willingly working in prostitution when she was arrested by police…In the course of this year’s OCC, the FBI helped Virginia vice squads arrest at least 30 people for prostitution, drug possession, and other non-violent or petty offenses…[such as] marijuana possession…driving on a suspended license…providing a false ID…outstanding warrant…and…providing false information to the police…

Now They Notice (#584)

Supporters of Rentboy need to do more than just protest; they’re going to need to literally put their money where their mouths are, because the government stole all of the money Rentboy could have used for its legal defense:

Staffers at a gay escort web site that was raided and shut down in August are trying to hammer out plea deals with prosecutors…Calling it a “digital Stonewall,” gay activists blasted the raid as a needless invasion of people’s private sexual lives and demanded that the raps be dropped.  Protesters — including several escorts who advertised on the site — massed outside of the Brooklyn federal courthouse after the arrests to voice their objections…

Little Tin Gods (#588)

None of this surprises me even one tiny bit:

For years, people in the tiny Louisiana town of Marksville watched the feud between their mayor and local judge like some kind of daytime soap opera…Then came the Nov. 3 shooting that killed a 6-year-old boy…Why in the world, residents ask, were deputy marshals — whose main job is serving court papers for the judge — out there chasing cars and shooting up suspects?  How did one of the deputies — who had been charged twice for aggravated rape and racked up a string of lawsuits accusing him of using excessive force — even get hired?  And how did a speck of a town like Marksville wind up with a shadow police force on its streets?…For years in Marksville, the marshal has been a local bus driver, Floyd Voinche Sr., who carried out his duties with one full-time employee and one part-timer…But sometime in the past two months, that changed…Voinche’s office bought two used police cruisers, hired several part-time deputies, and started patrolling the streets and issuing tickets like regular city police…Voinche has refused to explain his actions…citing a Louisiana law that empowers deputy marshals “in making arrests and preserving the peace”…

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Laws don’t pay my bills!  –  unnamed Glasgow street worker

Five Women in Whitechapel 

Laura Lee on the appalling blindness of “authorities”:

…The last victim of Jack the Ripper, [Mary] Kelly’s body was so badly mutilated that she could only be identified by her hair and eyebrows…Fast forward 127 years and we have surely progressed a great deal since then in terms of sex worker safety, right?  Well no, actually.  If anything it’s worse.  Following the removal of the tolerance zone for street prostitution in Edinburgh, crimes against sex workers shot up by 95%.  The reason for that is simple, it became known that the police were no longer there to protect the workers, but rather to harass and arrest them, and their clients.  Let’s make a clear distinction for once and all, many attackers of sex workers are not or will never be “sex buyers”.  They are predators, looking for an easy target, and they know that sex workers are alone, vulnerable and highly unlikely to report an attack to the police…152 sex workers have been murdered since 1990.  How many more Mary Kellys must we have before the penny drops that leaving vulnerable people open to attack is not a good policy?

The Lesser of Two Evils Vatican City

If the Church were sanely-run, this article would be true:

The newest leaked information associated with the Vatileaks scandal states that properties owned by the Vatican along Piazza Barberini and the Italian parliament have now been converted to “massage parlours” and saunas, and their patrons are priests.  The leaked document points to the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith…[which] owns and operates numerous properties within Rome.  The properties in question are referred to as “peppercorn rents” and are said to be leased for cheap to “powerful colleagues” of the religious institution…

Check Your Premises

They worked for themselves, but it’s a “ring” and the cops are looking for “pimps”:

Four women have been arrested as part of an alleged prostitution ring operating in Mississippi…Arrested were Anjeni’ Qyanik Moore, 34, of Norfolk, Virginia; Heaven Leigh Nix, 23, of Memphis, Tennessee; Joneka Santrice Burns, 24, of Jackson, Mississippi; and Candace Renee Stewart, 30, of Byhalia, Mississippi…MBI spokesman Warren Strain said the women were working independently and are not believed to be victims of human trafficking.  He declined to say…whether they worked with pimps, citing an ongoing investigation…

Saving Them From Themselves

Lock ’em all up, New York!  Let’s put the entire next generation on the “sex offender” registry!

…17 states have changed their child pornography laws so that teenagers who swap nude photos of themselves with each other are not automatically treated as felons.  One of those states is New York, which makes an exception for images exchanged between people 20 or younger whose ages are no more than five years apart.  In such cases, the “offenders” can avoid criminal charges by undergoing an eight-hour “education reform program” that covers the dangers of sexting and cyberbullying.  Despite that provision, two Long Island teenagers were recently charged with felonies for producing and disseminating a 10-second video showing one of them having sex with a girl…the two boys…are both 14…the boys…were each charged with…disseminating indecent material to minors and promoting a sexual performance by a child…In addition to the two boys who were arrested, 20 students were suspended for receiving the video on their cellphones…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

The cops are happy to serve as an ex’s revenge goons:

A 50-year-old woman…has been sentenced for soliciting prostitution…Marisa Frances Lang pleaded guilty to prostitution in a public place…and to disorderly conduct…Judge Michael A. Fahey…placed Lang on two years of probation.  She was ordered to continue mental health treatment and counseling…and must pay $585 in fines and fees…her ex-husband’s [ratting her out to cops]…led to a sting operation…

Finding What Isn’t There

“Authorities” amazed that an imaginary problem doesn’t materialize in response to their “mandating” that it exists:

…Around the country, pimps…force thousands of…women and girls…into prostitution every day.  Florida has the third highest number of sex trafficking cases…Reformers have argued that prostitutes are victims, not criminals, and more effort should be made to go after human traffickers – the pimps…Despite this new focus, a statewide analysis…found that efforts…to investigate and prosecute sex traffickers have yielded few results…[“rescue” profiteers pretend] the image of the independent prostitute, working for herself and selling sex by choice, is rarely accurate…“I [fantasize] the majority who are in the life have been the victims of trafficking,” said Katariina Rosenblatt, founder of There Is HOPE for Me…

The Widening Gyre 

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

…Traffickers worldwide are increasingly using social media to contact vulnerable teenagers and sell them into sex work…Once limited to luring victims in the street, traffickers can now message thousands of people through Instagram, Facebook, Kik, Tagged and Twitter, with WhatsApp and Snapchat some of the latest tools in their arsenal.  “If just one of them answers … traffickers can make thousands of dollars off that girl very quickly,” said Andrea Powell, founder and director of FAIR Girls…a growing trend in the United States is to use WhatsApp or Snapchat where messages evaporate over time…Europol…said social media and other online technology have not only taken the recruitment and selling process off the streets but also allow traffickers to control victims using remote surveillance…

Here the magical “pimp” mind-control powers are claimed to be exerted via some mumbo-jumbo fantasy technology.Lucy Steigerwald

Shift in the Wind

Lucy Steigerwald presents a pro-decriminalization argument to a conservative audience:

Unfortunately, while the war on one vice dials back, law enforcement and government fight hard against another supposed danger…these days it sure seems as if the hot new thing to swoon over and vow to “do something” about is prostitution.  Worse than that, it’s prostitution-slash-sex trafficking, vaguely hand-waved together as the same thing…the solution to the latter is to legalize the former.  It’s that easy.  Or it could be, if people would do two things: stop filing trafficking with prostitution, and stop pretending that laws against selling and purchasing sex actually prevent people from selling and purchasing sex…Both hand-wringing liberals and worried social conservatives need to realize that some sex workers—perhaps the vast majority—have no need of rescue.  They need their line of work to be taken out of the black-market shadows.  They need to be left alone…We tend to look back with shame and bafflement at the obviously absurd moral panics that have gripped our society, but only after the damage has been done.  We are in the middle of a sex trafficking panic that not only exaggerates the threat that prostitutes pose to the moral fiber of society but, worse still, makes enormous exaggerations about the number of sex-trafficked (mostly) women and children…

Fever Dream

It’s like they’re not even trying any more:

Law enforcement officials on all levels – from local to international – are working together to crack down on human trafficking, which is a growing problem…[fetishists] call it “modern day slavery,” and it’s happening right here in East Tennessee…pimps…target young girls…on…social media…Interstate 40 is a convenient corridor for sex traffickers…the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking…[trains] people to recognize victimization…traffickers and pimps employ manipulation…21 of Tennessee’s 95 counties reported at least 16 cases of sex trafficking involving a minor in 2010…

Yes, that’s the same discredited study they’re still quoting despite the fact that it isn’t even supported by the cops’ own records.

Shame, Shame

Here’s a excellent article on the State’s two-faced attitude toward “revenge porn”:

…Sex workers themselves are erased from anti–revenge-porn rhetoric.  Proposed remedies for revenge porn—criminalization of disclosures and liability for third-party websites—fail to address the sex-work stigma that creates repercussions for victims of revenge porn.  When a woman has her Google results bombed with nude photos and fake sex ads, she won’t pass a screening when she tries to get a job—because she’ll be mistaken for a sex worker.  The solution, we conclude, is to remove all possibility of that mistake—rather than to remove what bars a sex worker from getting that job…We propose new criminal statutes and partner with the police, even as the police threaten to post photos of sex workers during “busts” on social media accounts.  These are women who are being locked out of jobs because of nude photos of them on the Internet.  These are women who are being publicly disgraced as sex workers—because they are sex workers…the existence of sex work raises awkward questions about how to define revenge porn, how to understand its harms, and how to most appropriately redress its victims…

Blunt Instrument (#547)

And the gravy train just keeps rolling along:

Victims of human trafficking in Tampa Bay will have more access to legal help thanks to a $600,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant…Some…brothels take the form of what are called massage parlors.  Gulfcoast Legal Services attorney Sophia Lynn Denicolo says they can be hotbeds of human trafficking…

The Public Eye (#557)

Another sex work-positive article in Cosmopolitan.  Hey prohibitionists:  We’re winning.  And there’s not a damned thing you can do about it.

There are a few rules for dating a sex worker:  don’t compromise their cash flow by driving away their business, never out them to other people without their consent, and don’t expect them to eagerly perform activities they normally get paid to do for free…Ask any sex worker how they maintain their boundaries, and you’re in for a long conversation.  Some people develop a working identity that they keep entirely separate from their real-life persona, and others conflate the two.  Many sex workers desperately want to be out but don’t want to endure the invasive questions, or fear that their housing stability or the custody of their children would be compromised…The hardest boundary I’ve had to confront in my romantic relationships is the line between authentic desire in my work, and the “it’s just work” defense…But the world isn’t black-and-white, and while the vast majority of us are not regularly turned on by our work, real connections can happen with scene partners and genuine fun can be had with clients.  So where’s the line?…

Seizing Power (#574)

I’m adding Judge Posner to the very short list of men who can claim a freebie from me anytime they like:

A federal appeals court has ordered the Cook County Sheriff’s Department to cease lobbying major credit card companies that do business with…Backpage.com…At a hearing on Friday, Judge Richard Posner expressed unease with the notion, presented by the sheriff department attorneys, that Dart’s First Amendment rights protected his individual right to express his displeasure with Backpage to the credit card companies…on the sheriff department’s letterhead…“He can use the office of the sheriff to express any antipathy that he has to anything?” Posner posed to the sheriff’ department attorneys.  “So you’re saying there is no limit?  He can express his opinion on his office stationery on any subject that occurs to him.  What if he doesn’t like pets?  He doesn’t think people should have animals in their house.  He can suggest to everyone they euthanize their pets?”  Dart was also directed by the appeals court to send a copy of the order to Visa and Mastercard and all other recipients of the June 29 letter within 24 hours…

The recording is well worth your time, especially the segment from roughly the 18 minute mark to the 30 minute mark.  Dart’s mouthpiece clearly knows she’s spouting drivel, and the judges keep calling her on it.

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