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Posts Tagged ‘Thought Control’

The system isn’t in place to help you. It’s in place to keep you where you are.  –  Sophie

Thought Control (#137)

I’ve written on several occasions about arch-censor Fredric Wertham, a prohibitionist busybody who used Melissa Farley-style tactics to lobotomize the comic book industry in the 1950s; here’s a short video (courtesy of Kevin Wilson) showing him in action.

The Course of a Disease (#729)

There is no “debate”; this terrible law was unilaterally imposed by politicians despite vociferous opposition from everyone who is affected by it:

French sex workers have lodged a constitutional challenge to [the Swedish model]…reopening a debate on whether people should be free to [have consensual sex without government interference]…around 30 sex workers backed by nine associations, including [the prestigious Médecins du Monde], went to the Constitutional Council to argue the law infringed their sexual and commercial freedom and made them more vulnerable to attack…the law…[i]s an infringement of “constitutional rights to personal autonomy and sexual freedom, respect of privacy, freedom of contract and freedom to do business”…

The Course of a Disease (#796)

Prohibitionist scum understand that decriminalization is the only moral framework for sex work; that’s why they keep trying to trick people into thinking the Swedish model is decrim:

Rep Kay Khan of [Massachusetts is at it again with]…two [Swedish model] bills…One…n[orm]alizes [the persecution of] young people involved in sex work by [subjecting them to indefinite detention under the pretense of “protecting” them]…the other [pretends] to decriminalize adult sex workers [in order to confuse people into backing a campaign to choke off their income, get them evicted and persecute their families]…The two bills evolved from an earlier bill, HB 3499, which was submitted to to the Massachusetts House and Senate in early 2017…Any step towards decriminalization [would be] a win for sex workers’ rights.  But unfortunately, these bills [are not such a step and intentionally] leave in place statutes, language, funding, and institutional infrastructure which…[enables cops to] aggressively pursue…sex workers…

The Swedish model is NOT a step toward decriminalization; it infantilizes women, demonizes men, and defines consensual sex as “violence against women”.  That is a giant step away from decriminalization.

Signs (#886)

The public seems to have finally noticed that hotels are training their staff to harass women:

…Marriott International said it has reached a goal of training 500,000 hotel workers to spot and [harass sex workers]…Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson [said] “By…[indoctrinat]ing our global workforce to say something if they see something, we are [licking the boots of our masters and] protecting associates and guests [from dangerous sex rays]”…It collaborated with [prohibitionist] anti-[whore] groups ECPAT-USA and Polaris to create the program, which has been translated into 16 languages as well as English so it can be taught to employees throughout the 130 countries in which Marriott does business…

Legislators Gone Wild (#887) 

Oh, what a surprise:

…an annual Campaign and Expense…report filed by the End Trafficking and Prostitution (ETAP) PAC revealed…what appears to have been an outrageous abuse of power and conflict of interest by an elected government official…In December 2017, Reno lawyer Jason Guinasso  filed a public records request with the Lyon County recorder’s office demanding copies of the work card applications submitted to the Lyon County sheriff’s office by professional sex workers at all four of Lyon County’s legal brothels.  He filed the request on letterhead from the law firm at which he works – Hutchison and Steffen – which happens to be owned by then-Nevada Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison, a political opponent of then-Assembly candidate Dennis Hof, who happened to own all four of Lyon County’s legal brothels…my guess is he wanted to make the addresses public in an effort to shame the adult women who were engaged in a legal business he has personal objections to…A couple months later Mr. Guinasso registered “End Trafficking and Prostitution” as a PAC with the Nevada Secretary of State…to place initiatives on the November 2018 ballot to shut down the legal brothels in Nye and Lyon counties – the two counties, not coincidentally, where Mr. Hof owned brothels…On June 7, 2018 the Lyon County Commission voted to place an “advisory question” on the ballot despite Mr. Guinasso’s failure to obtain enough signatures from Lyon County voters to do so himself…[this] was ultimately and overwhelmingly rejected in November by 80 percent of voters…

As we’ve seen before, crap like this is one of the primary reasons sex worker licensing schemes have such abysmally low compliance rates (below 1% in Nevada):  very few women are interested in being on a shaming & stalking list.

Why I Wait (#889)

Another dumb article about a phenomenon that probably doesn’t even exist:

…In her December 2018 cover story for The Atlantic warning that Americans—Millennials in particular—are having “so little sex,” senior editor Kate Julian soberly framed the drop as a “sex recession”.  Drawing from a 2017 study…[and methodologically-poor] evidence from the 2016 General Social Survey…sex for all adults dropped from 62 to 54 times a year, on average…mainly among white, middle-aged, married couples…the fear of a “sex recession” is misdirected.  A drop in sexual encounters from 62 to 54 times per year means that the average adult is still having sex more than once a week.  Current research suggests that having sex more than once a week does not have any positive impact on relationship satisfaction

That’s enough to show you the weaknesses in this turd sandwich, which, while skeptical of the worry, is not at all skeptical of the crap evidence itself.  Regular readers may recall that, as I’ve written on multiple occasions, the GSS is conducted face to face and is a terrible source for any sexual data (such as “have you ever paid for sex?“) because people simply lie about sexual questions.  These surveys don’t find anything about what people are actually doing sexually; what they measure is people’s relative comfort with the question, which is a horse of a different color.  The innate moralism of this article is visible in its assumption that the only important factor in talking about sex is “relationship satisfaction” (because obviously everybody has to pair off in vanilla monogamous amateur couples), not to mention the author’s asinine and moralistic statement that “There’s also a bit of a dark side in framing sex as economic given the realities of sex work“; I suspect this dumb bunny wouldn’t know one of the “realities of sex work” if it sashayed up and kissed her on the nose.

Stupor Bowl (#899) 

There’s very little point in bothering to quote this ridiculous mess because it’s the same garbage we’ve seen countless times: Theresa Flores selling her magical anti-pimp soap (designed to “help” women too stupid to remember the numbers “9-1-1”) and retelling her masturbatory fantasy of ninja pimps who managed to sneak her out of her home to “sell her for sex” every single night for two years without any member of her family ever noticing or any of her teachers wondering why she was falling asleep in class.  Politicians posturing so spasmodically one has to wonder how they don’t dislocate something.  Prohibitionists lovingly drooling over fantasies of enslaved thirteen-year-olds.  The magnification of a few prostitution arrests into an army of invisible “traffickers”.  I’m only mentioning it for two reasons: First, note that the opportunists now wait for mere days before the event in the forlorn hope that we won’t have time to debunk them (they used to start crowing about this idiocy as much as a year ahead); and second, that debunking is now so widespread that a refutation of this foofaraw appeared in the very same paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Disaster (#899)

Tumblr made its bed, and now look who’s lying in it with them:

One month ago, Tumblr made the wildly unpopular decision to ban pornography and adult content from its website.  The move was greeted with outrage…and…critics accused the site of attempting to please larger tech corporations…Tumblr CEO Jeff D’Onofrio, however, maintained that the changes were made to foster a more “inclusive” community…however…the website is currently littered with pages promoting Nazism, white supremacy, ethno-nationalism, and far-right terrorism.  Despite their often flagrant violation of Tumblr’s Community Guidelines, these pages remain largely active and easy to find…

Well, at least Tumblr users are safe from “female-presenting nipples”.

On Tape

Trump has finally made it acceptable to question “sex trafficking” porn, at least when he spreads it:

…Trump[‘s]…human trafficking hyperbole is barely distinguishable  from the melodramatic “modern slavery” narratives put forth regularly by Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, Hillary Clinton, and others during their tenure in power.  Or the stories stories spun by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) during her time as California attorney general.  And none of those stories were any less out of touch with reality…Ye[t]…CNN—which has rarely met a fact-free sex-trafficking melodrama it wouldn’t publish uncritically—ran an article titled “Experts: Trump’s tape-bound women trafficking claim is misleading“…and…at Vox, Dara Lind…reports that a top Border Patrol official emailed agents last week seeking information to back up the president’s claims…Seeking post-hoc justification for wild human trafficking claims is also a bad habit that predates Trump.  For many years, numbers spread by Justice Department and administration officials were more or less made up out of thin air, as The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler has pointed out. (See also: “The War on Sex Trafficking Is the New War on Drugs“)…

Top Cop

Another look at the odiousness of the police-state operative Hillary fans have anointed as their savior:

…any Democratic women who reject the feminist label would kill her campaign before it even started.  This may be why it’s especially galling that all four [female] candidates signed a piece of legislation that is making life harder and more dangerous for some of society’s most vulnerable women…SESTA/FOSTA, which was widely advertised by its proponents as a way to fight human trafficking.  What the legislation, which was co-sponsored by Sens. [Kamala] Harris and [Kirsten] Gillibrand, actually did was amend the Communications Decency Act, which, until last year, prohibited websites from being held liable for content posted by the site’s users…prominent sex-work marketplaces either shut down voluntarily, like Craigslist’s Casual Encounters section, or, like Backpage, were seized and shut down by the Feds. This is exactly what Harris intended…“from my earliest days as a prosecutor, I’ve led the fight against Backpage and other sex [work advertising] platforms”…There was one group…that has roundly condemned SESTA/FOSTA, and that’s the group most impacted by it: sex workers…

The article, by Katie Herzog of The Stranger, includes interviews with me, my friend Sophie and other sex workers.

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Some people like to paint.  Some people like to dance.  Some people like to express themselves in an erotic way.  –  Sharron Cooks

Social Construction of Eunuchs

Sweden has been systematically working to emasculate its men for a generation, yet wonders why Swedes are having less sex:

…Swedish…Health Minister Gabriel Wikström said in the 20 years since the last survey into the country’s sexual habits, newspapers have been reporting that Swedes are having less sex…The aim of the new survey is to find out if that is true — and if so, why.  Wikström said…“sex is not, and never has been, a purely private matter.  Sex is also a matter of [public] health, and from that perspective, a political issue”…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now piss doll

…that police “investigated” this “sexual assault”:

Murfreesboro, Tennessee’s police…responded to a call reporting an alleged sexual assault by a toy and didn’t arrest or shoot a single person in the process.  “A woman’s husband said she was sexually assaulted when she was squirted with water from a toy at a hibachi restaurant.  The woman, Isabelle Lassiter, and her husband, James Lassiter, called the police but refused to file charges when they arrived…”  The alleged perpetrator of the “sexual-style assault” was a plastic toy in the shape of a little boy used to entertain children at Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse.  When the toy’s pants are pulled down, it squirts water in a manner Isabelle Lassiter found completely inappropriate for her “minor children and grandchildren” to witness…Unfortunately for the Lassiters, it appears the toy and the chef who introduced it to Ms. Lassiter at Wasabi won’t face any charges, as Tennessee’s statute on “sexual battery” requires the “sexual contact” in question be “for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification”…

They Still Don’t Get It

This pompous ass seems committed to braying out of both sides of her maw:

…Unfortunately, a typical “rescue” is muddied by the erroneous criminalization, failed service provision, and revictimization of human trafficking survivors, as well as the infrequent conviction of their offenders.  I became acutely aware of this reality after working with a victim…”Jessica”.  I rescued her from her trafficker on Aug. 21, 2015, after witnessing him abusing her in front of a suburban mall in the middle of the afternoon in Virginia.  She had been victimized on and off for fifteen years, having been shot in the leg, raped, beaten, and mentally abused…Despite having served on two different anti-trafficking task forces and having nearly a decade of experience in the anti-trafficking field, it was extremely difficult for me to find adequate services for “Jessica”…she ended up moving between domestic violence shelters (some with bed bugs), a mental health facility, hotels paid for from the discretionary funds of anti-trafficking organizations, and homeless shelters….law enforcement wasn’t able to incapacitate her trafficker, so about six months after her initial rescue, she was revictimized.  Given the trauma bond that often exists between victims and offenders, it is common for sex trafficking survivors to return to their victimizer, especially when adequate services are absent…

Her “trafficker” was “abusing her in front of a suburban mall in the middle of the afternoon”, and this presumably middle-aged woman “rescued” her?  How, pray tell?  Did she rope the “trafficker” with her magic lasso?  Pick the girl up bodily & fly off with her in her invisible plane, leaving the villain shaking his fist?  Why were the police unable to “incapacitate” someone who supposedly committed a violent crime in front of (presumably) a dozen witnesses or more?  And note the insidious “trauma bond” concept here again, which is nothing but psychobabble intended to negate the agency of women who make decisions of which “authorities” and “feminists” disapprove.

Whatever They Need To Say

Sometimes the land grabs are more subtle, even if reporters’ language isn’t:

The East London Strippers Collective (ELSC) is an ethical organisation of strippers and lap dancers in London and the UK…[who] seek to challenge societal attitudes towards strip clubs by creating their own working conditions and empowering dancers.  [An event called]…RIP Shoreditch…will [take] place at 6pm on 14 August, with a funeral procession beginning in Rivington Street and ending at Red Gallery…they’re commemorating their favourite strip club – The White Horse – closing down after 38 years due to gentrification…Stacey Clare, co-founder of the ELSC [says]…this sort of thing is partly due to political and economic changes…”Gentrification is seeing so many genuinely alternative venues and spaces pushed out of East London, replaced by a sanitised homogeneous zone for the privileged”…It is, she says, “almost unbearable to work as a stripper nowadays” because of…licensing legislation that rigidly restricts the industry from growing or developing…

The Public Eye 

Let’s hope many more reporters learn to feel ashamed of their attempts to shame sex workers:

At this year’s Democratic National Convention…Pennsylvania activist Sharron Cooks was one of 28 openly transgender delegates and two trans women-of-color delegates.  She’s also a former sex worker.  Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, it’s this last bit that The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Jenice Armstrong chose to focus on…insinuating that having a former sex-worker as a Democratic delegate was somehow at odds with the party nominating its first female presidential candidate.  Cooks, founder and chief executive of the nonprofit Making Our Lives Easier…handled the situation with grace…[but] the Inquirer columnist…kept pressing Cooks for more details about her past work.  It’s only after the delegate evades her farther that the writer begins to “feel dirty” about her line of questioning…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#35)

Republican candidate vows to “crack down” on porn. In other news, Pope announces he’s Catholic:

Donald Trump will crack down on internet pornography if elected president, vowing to appoint a commission to examine its “harmful public health impact”…the promise…is part of “The Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge” from the group Enough Is Enough…The anti-porn commitment means he promises to “uphold the rule of law by aggressively enforc[ing] existing federal laws to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online, including the federal obscenity laws, child pornography laws, sexual predation laws and the sex trafficking laws”…

Profound Ignorance 

Why do economists always make such dumb assumptions when studying sex work?

A new study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, examined the link between a prostitute’s age and the price she charges…Kitae Sohn…used prostitutes’ earnings to address a much broader scientific question, one that applies not only to paid sexual exchanges, but to everyday concerns that many of us obsess about at some point in our lives: What does the opposite sex actually find attractive in a partner?…Men do not have unrestrained choice in whom they marry or date, but they do get to choose whether or not to pay a prostitute for sex, and the amount they are willing to pay reveals something about what they most prefer…Sohn’s sample was very large, including 8,560 prostitutes from 15 different cities in Indonesia.  As Sohn notes, Indonesia provides an ideal place to examine this issue, because prostitution is “quasi-legal”…the government…keeps official records on prostitutes’ income alongside incomes from other professions…When it comes to hiring the short-term services of a prostitute, men pay the most for women between the late teens and early twenties.  Between the ages of 25 and 35, the price men are willing to pay for a prostitute drops precipitously…For each increase of a year in age, a prostitute’s hourly wage decreases 4.5 percent…Sohn argues that: “evolution influenced all humans, so we expect that future research will find similar results in other countries.”  Supporting Sohn’s argument, the age preferences found in this research are quite consistent with findings using other methods in other societies around the world…

Because obviously Indonesia being both an Asian and a Muslim society could have no possible cultural impact on preferences.  And obviously, all women tell the truth about their income to government busybodies.  And all whores work by the hour.  And all income is in the form of reportable wages.  And…I think you get the picture.  All other things being equal, most men do indeed prefer a younger-looking sex partner…and all other things are not equal, not by a long shot.

Paint By Numbers

Do whatever it was you were going to do anyway, but declare that you’re doing it to “fight sex trafficking”; stupid people will believe you and give you money:

Cory Bolduc wants men to fight sex trafficking, grow beards and buy his beard butter…He handcrafts beard butters from his Winnebago [Illinois] home and sells them online and at the Rockford City Market, and 12 percent of all proceeds go to Freedom Firm, a nonprofit that fights the sex trade in India.  But Bearded Republic isn’t just about men’s grooming or charity, it’s about challenging men to take responsibility for their personal appearance and also [meddle in the lives] of others…the “beard movement” is redefining the modern man to be an empowered individual who expresses his individuality and lives by a moral code…

Stupor Bowl

Minnesota desperately tries to cash in on “sex trafficking” hysteria before it vanishes completely:

Law enforcement officials are bracing for a surge in internet sex trafficking when Minnesota hosts the 2018 Super Bowl…[they] anticipate hundreds of women and girls will be sold for sex around the time of the game…”There’s no doubt that when you have an increased amount of individuals congregating…you are going to have an increase in crime committed.  It’s naive to assume it wouldn’t be,” Washington County major crimes prosecutor Imran Ali said.  Before the Super Bowl…another major sporting event is drawing people to Minnesota — the 2016 Ryder Cup…Already at work is a task force…alarmed by sex trafficking ads spreading on internet sites. Authorities said more juveniles are being forced into the sex trade because the internet has expanded the market…”They’re targeting those that are mentally ill, are chemically dependent,” Ali said…Some experts argue the idea that Super Bowls attract a large commercial sex trade is a myth…

Despite the efforts of sociopathic “authorities” to convince the public that all sex workers are mentally ill addicts, we’re winning the narrative; note the decrease in gypsy whores from 40,000 to mere hundreds, and the now-obligatory disclaimer (though this one tries to dismiss our facts as mere opinion).

Counterfeit Comfort (#420) Jason Vukovich

At least this maniac didn’t manage to kill any of his victims, which doesn’t make the government any less culpable in these assaults:

…Jason Vukovich…is accused of tracking down [three] men on [Alaska’s] online sex offender registry, going to their homes and [attacking] them [with a hammer]…over three nights in late June…[in each case] the attacker called [the victim] by his name and explained he was there because [the victim] was on the sex offender list…If convicted, Vukovich could face 35 years total for the combined crimes…

Thought Control (Traffic Updates) 

Amazon isn’t a library, but given its prominence this is still a censorship attempt:

Books that teach readers step by step how to control women and make money are readily available for anyone to buy on Amazon.  Now an Albuquerque group is working to change that.  As part of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, a local coalition of churches and non-profits started a petition…asking Amazon to stop selling a group of books they claim teaches people how to become a human trafficker…With the I-40 corridor, experts say the metro can become a hot spot for this type of crime.  Christine Barber [is clutching her pearls over]…titles…such as Organized Game, Pimps: The Raw TruthHow To Get A Woman To Pay You…and How To Get A Fat Girl To Pay You…”a pimp is a human trafficker,” Barber [panted]…she had a booklet pointing out other “pimp” products sold on Amazon…like an air freshener or a pimp gnome…She said she’s not asking Amazon to stop selling all “pimp” related products, rather specifically to stop selling the “how-to” books that go into graphic detail about human trafficking tactics…

The worst part is that these morons have now given free publicity to idiotic “pimp”, “Game” and PUA books.

The Public Eye (#439) 

I’m not sure what “awards” there are for whores outside of porn, but I’m always happy to see well-spoken and “out” sex workers like Charlotte Rose appearing on podcasts.  ‘Nuff said, methinks.

To Molest and Rape 

Yes, I understand the legal arguments. And no, putting extraordinary restrictions on people who have as much power as cops do is not remotely unfair or unconstitutional, considering that the institution of professional policing itself rests on very questionable constitutional ground:

A divided Ohio Supreme Court…declared unconstitutional a law that made it illegal for [cops] to have sex with minors simply on the basis of their profession.  The court ruled 4-3 that the law arbitrarily added police to a ban on professionals having sex with minors that includes people with authority over children such as teachers or coaches…At issue was the 2012 conviction of…Matthew Mole, who…[raped] a 14-year-old boy…

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 Young ladies are being grabbed off bus stops and forced into prostitution…and it’s happening in our own back yard.  –  Sharee Sanders Gordon

Acting and Activism Scully confused

Another entry in the clueless celebrity division of “sex trafficking” fetishism:

Hollywood actress Gillian Anderson says the growing problem of human trafficking must no longer be ignored, and hopes her new film [Sold] about a young Nepali girl sold as a sex slave will highlight the horrors of the trade…Anderson…rose to fame playing Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files

Remember, kids, an actor doesn’t actually have to be skeptical or rational to play a rational, skeptical character on TV.  But really, Anderson’s right at home in a story based on ridiculous, exaggerated conspiracy theories, so I guess it makes sense.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

This otherwise-typical collection of “sex trafficking” tropes contains an interesting inflation; prohibitionist politician Jeffrey Chiesa claimed that his favorite masturbatory fantasy “is most likely to occur at large stadiums or arenas with a steady stream of events”…in other words, he’s claiming that the so-called “trafficking” occurs at the stadium itself, merely than in the host city.  It’ll be interesting to see if this particular absurdity catches on.

Law of the Instrument

The need to see all transactional sex as coercive is a mental illness:

The Gucci handbag often gives her away.  Along with the expensive lingerie, the sex toys, the designer watch and the multiple iPhones.  But the dead giveaway is the tattoo, often of the pimp’s street name, marked on the back of her neck or the inside of her wrist.*  Sometimes, there is another woman in the hotel room known as the “bottom bitch” who is in charge of…ensuring the working girl hustles seven days a week and has sex with up to 15 men a day…young girls…are being trafficked by pimps…having sex with countless men and never seeing a dollar of their earnings**.  Everyone agrees they are victims…The girls are often beaten to keep them in line and some are fed drugs to get them addicted…[usually they] are hostile and refuse help, often suffering from Stockholm syndrome…

**See “The Widening Gyre” below.
*Except for the money they use to buy the Gucci handbags, expensive lingerie, designer watches and multiple iPhones, of course.

Maier’s Law

When the facts don’t fit the theory

…South Carolina…investigators are looking…for…indicators that [arrested masseuses] were involved in a larger-scale human-trafficking operation…the women…specifically told authorities they weren’t [coerced].  One…drove a BMW and another a Mercedes, and each explained to authorities that “this was just their job”…but the…case does share some similarities with many recent cases…that have been described as human trafficking.  From Colorado to Michigan and from Alabama to the Carolinas, dozens of…trafficking rings have been uncovered.  Many times, the businesses are masquerading as…massage parlors, but they offer no licensed therapists…

The obtuseness of both cops and reporter is almost Pythonesque.

The Law of Averages 13 cult

This particular myth-element has grown so large, it has become a cultic totem:

April Bentley…stood alongside more than 50 volunteers …on the steps of the Milwaukee Central Library to promote the campaign dubbed  “Unlucky Thirteen,” which…is meant to call attention to sex trafficking …through the number 13 — the average age a person starts being trafficked for sex…

As is typical, Bentley’s experiences supposedly took place decades in the past…much too long ago to actually check on.

Profit from Panic

Notice that none of those supposed activities actually produce any concrete, measurable results that might have to be reported to investors:

Through EPCAT USA, the leading anti-trafficking policy organization…the travel industry is taking an active role against sex tourism…with continued support ECPAT USA can continue fighting for these child victims of exploitation. A gift of $50, $100, $250 or any amount will be used to…advocate for improved…laws…Raise awareness that children are being commercially sexually exploited…Equip…students to fight this problem…[and] collaborate with ECPAT affiliates around the world…

The Widening Gyre

There’s a PhD dissertation in examining the absurdities people will believe without any proof whatsoever if they’re part of a moral panic:

Sharee Sanders Gordon…an…attorney in Los Angeles, said…One middle school…is having a serious problem with prostitution…“Young ladies are being grabbed off bus stops and forced into prostitution…and it’s happening in our own back yard”…According to Gordon, a pimp in San Diego County brands his girls with tattoos inside their mouths, as if they were property.  The branding is all part of the pimps’ indoctrination process…

Worse Than I Thought

However horrible a fad law is already, Louisiana politicians can figure out a way to make their version worse:

Governor Jindal signed four bills into law that will crack down on human trafficking in Louisiana…HB 1025…[creates] the crime of “unlawful purchase of commercial sexual activity” and…expands the definition of “racketeering activity” to include pornography involving juveniles [and] computer-aided [violation of any prostitution law]…It…[also permits] the court to seize…personal property…HB 569…[establishes]…human trafficking courts…HB 1105 …requires posting of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline in outpatient abortion facilities.  Often perpetrators of human trafficking force women and children to undergo abortions so that the victims can continue working in the industry…HB 1262…requires that, prior to undergoing an…abortion, a woman must be provided with information on coerced abortions and human trafficking…

Yes, the first law defines any sex worker who advertises on the internet and any client who contacts her via the internet as a gangster.  Note also the increasing connection between “sex trafficking” hysteria and abortion restrictions, which activists have been predicting for several years now.

Thought Control would-be censor Andrea Lavigne

Grosse Pointe Park [Michigan] residents demanded that the Metro Times be banned in the city and in libraries…[the excuses] went beyond typical complaints about obscenity when some charged the…tabloid’s advertisers with promoting human trafficking…the editor…countered that [sex work] ads are no more sexually explicit than many of the books on public library shelves.  And she said that complaints about sex trafficking should be taken to police, not to librarians…officials…[insisted] that constitutional freedom-of-speech guarantees would trigger a lawsuit…The…Library Board…then voted…to stack the Metro Times out of sight…Patrons…will have to ask for copies from now on…

King of the Hill

Forget about states or even cities; a New York politician claims he can place the “epicenter” of “sex trafficking” on one particular street:

…Sen. Jose Peralta…said…“Roosevelt Avenue is a mecca of human trafficking in Queens and throughout the five boroughs…[gangs] are participating in bringing women from all over the world…right to Roosevelt Avenue…It’s really a hub and epicenter of human trafficking”…

Checklist

This article includes the following telltale indicators of “sex trafficking”:

Warning signs include sleeping bags in nail salons…or workers who appear exceptionally young…a young girl might refer to an older man as her…”daddy”…Other signs might be security measures…[such as] barbed wire inside a fence or bars covering the insides of windows…

The Widening Gyre (TW3 #314) Tracy Dean

A young woman leaves home after telling friends that she was in some kind of trouble; naturally, all possible explanations are instantly discarded in favor of the panic du jour:

A 17-year-old Washington girl missing for the last [month] left a chilling message in her journal…”If you’re reading this, I’m either missing or dead”…Authorities fear she’s become a victim of human trafficking…The blue-eyed brunette left behind her cellphone, ID, bank cards and the eyeglasses she needs to see…”She had been telling some people for a while that she was involved in something, that she was in over her head, that she was scared. But they couldn’t get any more information than that out of her,” [said] her…mother, Lynda Jorgenson…

Dysphemisms Galore

Cops and prosecutors do their best here to make a perfectly ordinary escort service, much like the one I owned, seem like a sinister and nefarious criminal conspiracy; of course, any sex worker or client can tell this was written by a pompous clown:

Investigators say [Amber Batts, who is] accused of sex trafficking to roughly 800 clients in [Alaska] maintained a slick website and multiple payment methods — which led straight to her bank account [as opposed to where?]…“The website advertises for escort services…and is organized into different sections, including a…‘providers’ (listing the women being trafficked)…the Blog section… describes a sexual encounter for money.”  The material on the website also included advice for patrons of the sex trafficking ring…

Profit from Panic (TW3 #321)

Other countries teach their young people math and science; we indoctrinate ours in ridiculous myths and teach boys to demonize their own sexuality:

…20 [high school] seniors…watched a documentary about child sex trafficking and wanted to do something about it…The students…visited with a [cop] who specializes in [persecuting sex workers] and talked with [a politician]…”Harsher punishments for johns,” said Ben Prewitt.  “If there were harsher punishments, the demand would go down”…Prewitt wanted [paying for sex] to be a felony with a requirement to be registered as a sex offender…the average age of a victim is 16 with some as young as 8…Jeff Goode said he used to live behind three strip clubs…and saw some of the ugliness surrounding the places…

That “as young as 8” is popping up often now; look for the focus to shift to that number soon.

Schadenfreude (TW3 #322) Paul Libri

More of this, please:

…Tim Taylor of the Metro Atlanta Human Trafficking Task Force…isn’t Tim Taylor.  His real name is Paul Michael Libri.  He has a criminal record and currently faces trial for impersonating a police officer…Libri…is seen as a pest by police officers – someone in the way when they are trying to solve trafficking cases…

Long Spoon

These people are NOT allies!

…anti-human-trafficking advocates raised concern about the arrests of adult females [in FBI raids]…even adult women in the sex trade likely began as trafficked children…“The vast majority of those people…are currently victims, or they have been victims,” said Lauren Hersh…Traffickers and pimps subject their victims to a process called  “seasoning,” involving rape and forced drug use to break down the woman who is to be sold…

Lauren Hersh is a prosecutor who resigned in disgrace for railroading men for rape; she’s a sleazy prohibitionist whose most recent scheme involved trying to set up fake sex worker organizations to lobby for imposition of the Swedish model.  Also note the latest “trafficking” fantasy-term no actual sex worker ever heard of.

Vendetta

There’s never a shortage of politicians willing to lick Swanee Hunt’s arse:

The city of Boston has launched an initiative to reduce demand for prostitution…by going after the men who buy sex…Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the program…at a [prohibitionist circle-jerk]…Boston…is partnering with Demand Abolition…to develop and implement campaigns…to disrupt the commercial sex industry…

A Mound of Filth

It’s hard to imagine how this article could be more fellatory:

…Young women who used to be dismissed as bad-girl prostitutes are now recognized as victims…That’s where Arizona is now, as police, prosecutors and courts look for realistic ways to deal with people whose histories left wounds and unspeakable scars…Making the effort to identify victims of sexual trafficking among minors arrested for…other crimes is part of the new paradigm…Gov. Jan Brewer gets credit for naming a task force…to look into how little girls become merchandise in the sex trade…Take a moment to savor this shining example of public officials doing absolutely the right thing.

Nice While It Lasted

How can the perpetrators of this violent GFE “circuit” hope to outwit a genius who can violate the Law of Conservation of Energy at will?

In an effort to combat prostitution and sex trafficking, California’s Oakland police department is engaging in…public humiliation…On a new website, the department lists the mug shots of alleged pimps and johns, along with their names, dates of birth and charges…Kevin Wiley…describes Oakland as “the hub of the West for child prostitution.”  Oakland and Eastern counterpart Atlanta, he says, tend to be entry points into “the circuit,” a human-trafficking ring that cycles victims around the country…Prostitution is becoming more…closely associated with shootings, homicides and the illegal drug market…“We don’t have a lot of resources,” he says. “But the ones we have, we dedicate 110%”…

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[Mary Anne] Franks couldn’t care less who is turned into a felony sex offender, as long as some variation of her pet law is enacted, the hated men go down along with the innocent, and she gets credit for it. – Scott Greenfield

The Red Umbrella

A [Filipino man]…fell to his death while trying to evade police arrest…for allegedly beating up a [sex worker]…the  man [hired] her…and…they had sex [but he] started to beat her after she refused to take [methamphetamine]…

The Mote and the Beam

Here’s a long, confused article on the latest attempt to destroy the internet in the name of “protecting children”.  Among its other lovely features:  it would criminalize advertising “illegal sex” on the internet.  The article is packed with the usual asinine claims (including the ludicrous assertion that 82% of all prostitution advertising is on Backpage) but does state that the proposed law is basically similar to the ones that judges keep striking down as unconstitutional.  You’d think they’d learn, but why bother?  The consequences don’t fall on them.  Politicians are like stupid kids egging somebody’s house:  it only takes them a short time and very little effort to “send a message”, but the mess they leave behind takes others a very long time to clean up.

Moloch

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is weighing whether it’s constitutional to force all juvenile sex offenders to sign up with the state sex offender registry…Pennsylvania law requires  anyone 14…or older who is convicted of [a sex crime]…to register for life…they can petition for removal…only after 25 years, and only if they’ve had no subsequent offenses, even of a non-sexual nature…

John Warhurst
Above the Law

Note that this particular rapist cop works for the same department that wanted to “live tweet” a prostitution sting:  “John Warhurst [was arrested] for sixteen…sex offenses…[including] rape…Warhurst is a Prince George’s County Police Officer…”  In a rather odd twist, his wife was also arrested on similar charges.

Broken Record

If you though a gem and mineral show as “sex trafficking” magnet was ridiculous

…twice a year High Point triples in size with crowds numbering more than 80,000 people…[for] the weeklong Furniture Market…[which] draws more people than any other event in North Carolina.  Unfortunately, with any large crowd there comes the opportunity for anonymity, and sex traffickers are all too eager to take advantage…

What kind of mind calls anonymity “unfortunate”?

The Widening Gyre

Lawheads are willing to shut down a city to stop consensual behavior, but can’t even conceive that maybe their stupid laws are the real problem:

[Cincinnati] police…[have installed] concrete road blocks all along McMicken Avenue…While most agree something must be done to stop human trafficking…some say stopping traffic all together [sic] isn’t the answer…officials plan to keep the closures in place for…three months…[and] are…considering other drastic measures…like publishing the names of people convicted of prostitution related crimes, notifying their spouses and increasing fines…

Thought Controldaily beating

Here’s an excellent article on how the amazing diversity of the Golden Age of comics was destroyed by the repressive Comics Code Authority, a sort of self-lobotomization performed to save the industry from Congressional censorship after Frederic Wertham’s witch hunt:

…Distributors agreed not to carry comic books that didn’t abide by the Code, making it functionally as effective as law…independent women, and people of color, and all sorts of stories that didn’t fit with the compulsory patriotism and cop-worship of the 1950s, essentially vanished from comics for decades…What was left didn’t interest adults nearly as much, and comics slowly began to become less ubiquitous and more associated with pasty adolescent boys…

Little Boxes (TW3 #40)

An American medical student is auctioning off her virginity…Using the alias “Elizabeth Raine” and operating a blog entitled, Musings of a Virgin Whore, the 28-year-old…said she is willing to submit to a medical examination or polygraph as proof to the winning bidder…[and will consummate]…in Australia [to]…circumvent…American prostitution laws…Raine says she does not care about being labeled a prostitute…and…while she does not advocate prostitution she supports [its] “decriminalization and destigmatization”…She has promised to donate 35 percent of the auction proceeds to a charity “that brings education to women in developing countries”…

Caring Professionals

When they’re not infantilizing sex workers and demonizing our clients, they’re doing the exact opposite:

A disabled British retiree has ended up in court after he punched a council official who stopped him from seeing a prostitute.  Alan Thipthorpe, 88, was furious after he was prevented from seeing…Terri-Lee Pearce…[who] had regularly visited his care home.  Swindon council…stopped the visits because [they accused Pearce] of fleecing him out of his life savings…An angry Thipthorpe said…he should be able to spend the money how he wanted…


Under Every Bed

A “sex trafficking” cluck lectures us about the importance of word order, but apparently isn’t too concerned with number agreement:  “There is no such thing as children prostitutes, they are prostituted children who can be found in…any neighborhood and any town.”  Whenever I read something like this, I hear the voices from Chickenman crying “It’s everywhere, it’s everywhere!”

The Pro-Rape Coalition (TW3 #316)

There cannot be a complete ban on Internet pornography in [India]…the government has told the Supreme Court…the…servers…are…quite often located in foreign countries, where such publication is permissible…even if a website is blocked, the same content can be hosted on a different server, may be in a different country, within a few seconds…

Birth of a Movement (TW3 #323)

a few hundred women [marched] down a busy commercial street in Mexico City during a May Day demonstration…to highlight the rights of sex workers… members of la Brigada Callejera (“the Streetwalkers Brigade”)…emphasized that…marchers were in the sex trade of their own free will…Mexico City’s government is currently attempting to redevelop La Merced and close down various hotels that it [pretends] are involved in trafficking…

Magic Formulae

A Minnesota law firm posted a page busting the common myths I’ve often written about, such as the notion that there are certain things cops can’t do or that one is safe if one has some kind of payment ritual.  I’d really like to see more whore-friendly entities posting information like this.

Acting and Activism (Extra Edition)

Another empty-headed actress attacks the less-privileged branches of our shared profession with stupid lies and moronic myths:

Jada Pinkett Smith…[is working on] a CNN documentary…about…sex trafficking.  Jada…had her eyes opened wide by two strippers who made clear to her that strip clubs in Atlanta, ground zero for the sex trafficking industry —are a gateway to…slavery…

Little Tin GodsLTG Ed Brown

Sheriff Ed Brown considers himself to be the owner of every human being…in North Carolina’s Onslow County – but he counsels his subjects not to worry, for his is a benevolent dictatorship administered by quasi-divine people endowed with transcendent wisdom…in [an ad] for his re-election campaign  [Brown wrote] “Those in the law enforcement profession have complete power over you, your life, your family, your loved ones, your rights, your freedom, your future and everything precious to life”…After the ad prompted criticism…Brown objected that his words were misunderstood…Brown apparently can [also] command the very elements themselves to surrender valuable secrets that remain inaccessible to lesser men.  While investigating the murder of…Maria Lauterbach, the Sheriff didn’t bother to collect shoeprints, choosing instead to conduct a forensic investigation using a divining rod made from a coat hanger

Sex Rays

…For months, Amazon has been deleting the wish lists of porn performers, models, and other…adult [entertainers]…Often, Amazon will cite “inappropriate” use of the wish list, such as it being used for “bartering” purposes…even when…there is no real evidence to that effect…Amazon has also deleted adult entertainers’ wish lists on the grounds that they include “inappropriate” items, such as adult toys or DVDs, despite the fact that Amazon offers these products…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #344)

New York City has agreed to pay $450,000 to settle a lawsuit…by a man who said he was falsely arrested on a prostitution charge outside a Manhattan adult video store…Robert Pinter…says the settlement was a victory for 40 or so men…targeted [because cops] believed [them] to be gay…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #345)

So much for “Sin City”:

…the [Las Vegas] Police co-sponsored [a] “Choose Purity” event…to show young girls what can happen when they don’t wait until marriage to have sex…Typically four things:  sexual assault, gangs, drugs and prostitution.  Avoid sex and avoid those perils, [organizer Regina] Coward said…The room of about 125 parents and children watched recorded interviews with a pimp and prostitutes, learned modern-day slavery exists in the form of the sex trade, and saw grisly images of…a woman who’d lost limbs in a methamphetamine lab explosion and a man who’d had his face partially gnawed off by a meth user…The monologues concluded with each girl getting on a gurney and into a body bag…

Shame, Shame (TW3 #348)

When Mary Anne Franks began her Jihad against revenge porn, it was pointed out that…her law would also criminalize the revelation of Anthony Wiener’s dangerous selfie…Franks adamantly denied her law suffered from significant…deficiencies.  But quietly, while no one was looking, the law morphed to include a…“Sydney Leathers exception”…even though few people know or care who Sydney Leathers is…Then came the viral twit…of a woman whose model plane strayed off course…and some snarky lawyer pointed out that anyone who retwitted it may well have committed a crime under Franks’ law.  Deniers strained to contend that could never happen,  convincing no one.  But it didn’t take long before…Arizona [enacted]…its…revenge porn…law…The crime went from misdemeanor to felony…and it has no “Anthony Wiener Sydney Leathers exception”…The sound you hear is Mary Anne Franks applauding as Crazy Joe Arpaio rounds up as many people…as he can find…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #352) letter from Njong

Stephanie Wilson was reaching for a receipt inside a paper shopping bag from Saks Fifth Avenue when she found a letter pleading, “HELP HELP HELP”…from a man who…made the bag while being unfairly held in a Chinese prison factory…The note…was signed Tohnain Emmanuel Njong and was accompanied by a small passport-photo sized color picture… DNAinfo New York…located…Njong…who…said he had been teaching English in…Shenzhen when he was arrested in May 2011 and [wrongly] charged with fraud…he was forced to work long days in a factory, starting at 6 a.m. and continuing as late as 10 p.m…in December 2013…he…was put on a plane back to Cameroon…relatives…had believed him to be dead…

Whither Canada? (TW3 #415) 

Can you imagine this in an American paper?

…the government is leaning heavily towards the…Nordic model…as featured in [Joy Smith’s] Tipping Point report…Smith starts with a pre-conceived notion that presumes something which is simply not true, but is rather a sop to her own sensibilities…Eliminate prostitution?  With a law?…Maybe if Smith jumps up and down, holds her breath until she turns blue, and wishes really, really hard that’ll happen.  But I doubt it…

Best part:  the author’s an ex-cop.

All About the Men

Heather Berg’s criticism of Katha Pollitt’s ninnyish “OMG, men might see WHORES!!!1!!” essay from early last month makes the same point I made in “Dilemmas”: workers are not responsible for the moral failings (real or imaginary) of those who employ them.

…By making sex work exceptional, analyses like [these] ask us to forget that the wage system functions precisely by compelling us to work…If only everyone who opposes forcing people to work under threat of poverty and homelessness would join the struggle for a guaranteed annual income…the nature of a product is irrelevant to how we should theorize, legislate, or organize the labor involved in producing it.  Workers are not socially accountable for whatever may come from their work.  To accept otherwise encourages the over-identification with work that management finds so efficient in getting us to do more for less.  It allows capital to extract not only time, but also ethical responsibility from workers…

Though Berg’s view proceeds from a Marxist background and mine from a classical liberal one, we agree on both this subject and on the advisability of a guaranteed income.

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I was not the only one who left crying after being pressed to talk in detail about our…sexual experiences and desires…some of the audio we provided could have sounded like it belonged in a porn, rather than in a critique of it.  –  Beth Brigham

Pennsylvania Gypsy Camp in Oley Township by Mary Leisz (1927)Don’t Buy It

Melissa Gira Grant on how the “gypsy whores” myth directly harms sex workers:

…the modern sex worker is believed to follow a…migratory path…the World Cup, the Grand Prix, the  Super Bowl – all supposedly draw thousands of women offering paid sex.  It’s…the kind of thing you could imagine in a dusty smut book, or serving as winky fodder for escort agencies and strip clubs in their seasonal marketing….we were told that during the 2012 Olympics, London was to be “flooded” with prostitutes, and that for the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, the city would host a “dark underworld” of illicit sex-for-sale. Like all fantasies, the “roving sporting sex workers” trope [is] mostly harmless…until seized upon by those who find it…politically useful…in London…police raided brothels, arrested sex workers, and threatened them with further arrest if they returned to their neighborhoods…A similar pattern…played out in New Orleans in the days before the Super Bowl…Fox News had a camera crew follow a team of volunteers as they attempted to rescue “sex slaves” from streets and strip clubs…With nearly any woman…a potential target…it may be a minor miracle that the New Orleans police department has reported only eight arrests…

Backward, Turn Backward

I can’t even imagine living in the looking-glass world prohibitionists inhabit:

…a survey by the Immigrant Council of Ireland has found…that by far the biggest fear about paying for sex was not that they would be caught but that they would have a bad experience or contract a disease…Of the 58 punters [who answered]…16 (27.5%) said they had [at some point changed their minds after meeting the prostitute]…“six stated…the person appeared controlled, five…because the person appeared unhappy, four…because the person appeared too young, two…because the person appeared unwilling, while two…because the person appeared intimidated, ‘hurt or injured’,”…Denise Charlton…said…“We have now heard from the buyers themselves that such laws would be a deterrent…We know too that the image of the happy, independent hooker which is being portrayed by those opposed to new laws is not the reality; 24% of buyers reconsidered a transaction because they believed the women and girls involved were controlled, unhappy, too young, unwilling, or intimidated.”

Beside the fact that 58 self-selected people is too small a sample to “conclude” anything, the figures suggest exactly the opposite of what Charlton claims.  Only 27% have ever in their lives encountered such a girl (not 27% of all encounters); furthermore, their refusal testifies against the myth that men will eagerly hire coerced women, and finally the option of reporting those situations to the police would be closed by client criminalization, which is precisely the opposite of the stated goal of “protecting” sex workers.

Blasphemy

This must-read profile of neofeminist anti-porn crusader Gail Dines by her ex-disciple Beth Brigham paints a chilling portrait of the brainwashing that goes on in “women’s studies” programs; the similarity to narratives from survivors of other cults is unmistakable, and Brigham’s observation that much of the prohibitionist myth of pimp “recruitment” and “exploitation” of girls more accurately resembles their own behavior is spot on.

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic

Tracy Clark-Flory can always be counted on to debunk sex hysteria; here’s a short but sweet entry on “sex addiction”:

…“Inventing Sex: The Short History of Sex Addiction”…published in the March issue of the journal Sexuality & Culture, isn’t an objective scientific study.  It’s a paper by cultural historians at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, that attempts to document the growth of the concept of sex addiction…the paper’s pull-no-punches thesis [is]:  “We argue that this strange, short history of social opportunism, diagnostic amorphism, therapeutic self-interest, and popular cultural endorsement is marked by an essential social conservatism–sex addiction has become a convenient term to describe disapproved sex.Soiled Doves  Many of these points should be familiar, especially if you read my piece on sex addiction’s critics…

Presents, Presents, Presents!

This week I received a copy of Soiled Doves, a short history of prostitution in the American West, from Elisabeth Whispers.  Thank you, Elisabeth!

Backwards Into the Future (TW3 #6)

The Push to Decriminalise Sex Work in Kenya” is a discussion paper from an African think tank which “explores the dangers associated with sex work, the protest movement in Kenya to decriminalise it, and the potential benefits of decriminalisation.”  I’m sure you can guess what conclusion it reaches.

Useful Idiots

Wisconsin expands its police state:

Efforts to collect DNA samples would expand to include any adult or juvenile arrested on a felony charge — and anyone convicted of a crime — under a budget proposal Gov. Scott Walker announced…Walker also announced plans…to allow GPS monitoring of certain people receiving first-time restraining orders who are found to be at higher-risk to cause serious harm…and…[an] increase for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force to add five employees to investigate child sex trafficking and sexual exploitation of children…Walker’s plans to expand DNA collection…raised the ire of civil liberties advocates…

CISPAIf politicians had any sense, they would wait for the outcome of trials involving similar laws before wasting millions on a program that might be recognized as illegal.

The Camel’s Nose (TW3 #16)

CISPA—the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act…would have effectively [required]…private-sector businesses to hand ordinary citizen data…to the U.S. government in order to thwart primarily cyber…[or] terrorist attacks.  This, as you might expect, caused an uproar among the online community…the White House…threatened to veto the bill…But now…two separate reports…suggest CISPA could be heading back to the Congressional table…[and] President Obama…[has also issued] his own executive order

The Pygmalion Fallacy

Upcoming erotic game Custom Maid 3D will be bundled with a very special controller…Ju-C Air…is a wireless masturbation toy that will respond and react in real time to your stroke speed and depth, making this motion control of a very particular sort.  Those motions will also cause the in-game characters to react accordingly, too, with different characters reacting, um, differently…Ju-C Air…also has an analog stick and an action button as well as a right and a left click…[so]Ju-C Air players don’t even have to take their hands off their penis while playing…

Pyrrhic Victory

Wendy McElroy on “Is America a Police State Yet?”:

If you need to ask the question, then the answer is “yes”. But that is a glib response and I do not feel glib about America’s slide through the nine rings of political hell.  A police state is generally defined as a totalitarian government that exerts extreme and pervasive social, political and economic control over peaceful citizens…[it] maintains…control through the pervasive surveillance of peaceful citizenry, through a vast number of laws with draconian enforcement, and by converting rights into privileges that can be withheld…This describes America.  Surveillance of daily life has soared; even the Supreme Court has consistently expanded the “right” of police to perform warrantless searches.  A vast array of laws now dictate the minutia of life, from what you may not eat to the light bulbs you may not use as well products you must buy…A special police force called the Department of Homeland Security…functions without transparency or accountability.  Travel, formerly a right, is now a privilege granted by government agents at their whim…The difference between America and a communist regime lay in its institutional protection of the individual against the state.  That difference no longer exists.

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #27)

A southern Chinese province has stopped sending prisoners to labor camps, becoming the first in the country to take steps to phase out the much-criticized system…Yunnan’s top law enforcement official Meng Sutie announced…that the province will no longer send people to labor camps on the grounds of threatening national security, petitioning by causing unrest and smearing the image of officials…and…is suspending…sentences for people charged with other offenses, such as drug use and prostitution…

Worse Than I Thought

As I’ve previously explained, any totalitarian law which passes nowadays will invariably be used as the model for similar laws in other jurisdictions:

…Nevada Sex Trafficking Bill AB67 [redefines]…Pandering…and…Living from earnings of prostitute…as “sex trafficking,” thus carrying harsher penalties and requiring registration as a sex offender…Does [this] include…family members supported by…a woman working legally in a Nevada brothel?  Pages 27-28 redefine terms so broadly as to apply to most consensual adult relationships, including marriage…“‘Prostitution’ means engaging in, agreeing to or offering to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee, monetary consideration or other thing of value…‘Sexual conduct’ means…any intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or any object manipulated or inserted by a person into the genital or anal openings of the body of a person…”  Is a medical doctor a prostitute for accepting money for a gynecological exam?  Is the husband who drove his pregnant wife to the doctor a sex trafficker?…

Grafton Street, Dublin c. 1900Dirty Laundry

This article is two years old, but it’s an interesting short history:

Monto, in the heart of Dublin…was once the biggest…red-light district in Europe.  Celebrated in song and story, it was where Leopold Bloom went for sexual humiliation and where a young Edward VII was said to have gone for some high-end thrills…At its height…1,600 women worked in Monto…but…within only a few years of the foundation of the State and the accession to power of the Roman Catholic church…War was declared on Monto.  The new Catholic state stormed into action and a force of gardai…raided Monto at midnight on March 12, 1925, and literally threw the women working there out on to the street and into the Church-run slave-labour laundries…

Thought Control

New findings on Fredric Wertham, the fanatic who whipped up a moral panic over comic books and almost destroyed the industry in the early ‘50s:

…Wertham’s personal archives…show that the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general “played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics,” according to an article by Carol Tilley, published in a recent issue of Information and Culture: A Journal of History.  “Lots of people have suspected for years that Wertham fudged his so-called clinical evidence…but there’s been no proof,” Tilley said. “My research is the first definitive indication that he misrepresented and altered children’s own words about comics.”  Wertham died in 1981 [but] his archives…weren’t made widely available to researchers until the spring of 2010…

This sort of prohibitionist behavior is already very familiar to regular readers.

That Old Black Magic

The “Juju sex slaves” myth just keeps on going like a zombie; the most telling aspect of the narrative is the way it clearly links “sex trafficking” hysteria to the Satanic Panic, much as the Swedish Könskriget cult does.

Presents, Presents, Presents! (TW3 #50)

Eric Berkowitz , author of Sex and Punishment, on Reason TV:

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (TW3 #134)

Filipino sex worker rights advocates call for true decriminalization rather than the legalization erroneously labeled as such by politicians:

…An NGO called “Women Hookers Organizing For Their Rights and Empowerment (WHORE) is treading the thorny path toward government recognition of this history-old job…[an advocate called] Tex said…there are about 500,000 sex workers in the country…“But we are not going for decriminalizing sex workers while criminalizing clients like the Swedish model…It didn’t even work there”…

The article is much better than the propaganda pushed by American journalists; it shows that opponents support criminalization of women and mentions UN support for decriminalization.

Due Consideration

Looks like the US isn’t the only regime using this concept:

The Queensland police union is calling for tougher laws to send risk-taking pregnant women into safe houses in an effort to monitor their behaviour…[saying] the rights of an unborn child should be considered ahead of the mother…Union president Ian Leavers says the state should be able to intervene in cases where children are at risk of foetal alcohol syndrome and drug addictions…

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The problem is really simple.  You either close down a house of prostitution or you leave it open.  You can’t satisfy both those who want it open and those who want it closed.  –  Fredric Wertham

Banned Books Week is usually the last week of September, but for some reason I’ve been unable to ascertain it is being held in the first week of October this year; it thus started yesterday and ends this coming Saturday.  And though, as I said in last year’s column on the subject, “I’m usually pretty skeptical of ‘Official Whatchamacallit Week’ type things…I find the idea of a week specifically dedicated to reading books which busybodies want to stop people from reading to be irresistibly subversive.”  Last year I specifically discussed book-banning and listed the most-challenged books of 2010; four of them (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Brave New World, The Hunger Games series and What My Mother Doesn’t Know) were back on 2011’s list, where they were joined by the Internet Girls series by Lauren Myracle, The Story of Life on the Golden Fields series by Kim Dong Hwa, My Mom’s Having a Baby by Dori Hillestad Butler, the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, the Gossip Girl series by Cecily Von Ziegesar and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  But this year, I’d rather talk briefly about the defective mind of the would-be censor, and how we as a culture have made it easier for him to get his way.

First of all, let’s make one thing clear:  the urge to censor is a mental illness.  No normal person wants to control what other people think, and no sane person could believe that he can control what anyone else thinks.  Only a psychotic believes that he can be directly affected by the thoughts inside another person’s brain, yet time and again would-be censors attempt to circumvent the principles of liberty and individual rights by claiming exactly that; somehow, we are asked to believe, what individuals see and think can magically affect others and is therefore subject to the same sort of restrictions as violent actions are.

In earlier times, it was enough to say that books, pictures or thoughts were “sinful”, because people imagined “evil” as some sort of tangible thing that could affect everyone around it (presumably via invisible “evil rays”).  And though that sort of booga-booga nonsense would be laughed out of the conversation now if expressed directly, it still sells quite well as long as it’s expressed indirectly by referring to unproven “negative secondary effects” or burbling inane and incomprehensible neofeminist drivel about how all women are as mystically interconnected as a hydra’s heads.  And of course, just about anything (no matter how repressive and totalitarian) can be sold to the Great Unwashed if it’s depicted as being intended to “protect” children, with “protect” in this case being interpreted to mean “lock into a permanent passive and vegetative state”.  Young people, we are told, can somehow be “harmed” by encountering ideas and concepts that they are “not ready for”, like the protagonist of an H.P. Lovecraft story driven mad by the blasphemous cosmic truths he discovers in some forbidden eldritch tome.  Foremost among these “dangerous” truths are supposed to be facts about the functions of their own bodies, but considering that many of our laws declare that they don’t actually own those bodies until they’re 18, I suppose it all makes a kind of twisted sense once one accepts the outlandish initial premise.

Of course, demands to censor some content don’t even need these sorts of perverse mental gymnastics; those who wish to ban criticism of any given group need only point to the actions of some violent psycho who attacked a member of that group, then pretend that he was “incited” to the violence by the criticism; minority groups are the biggest perpetrators of this odious censorship tactic, but more recently politicians and religious fanatics have adopted it as well and fearful Europeans and Americans are listening.  The problem with these people is that they fail to comprehend the principle of legal precedent; once one exception to free speech is made (whether for “obscenity”, “violent rhetoric”, “hate speech”, flag burning, Holocaust denial or whatever), it’s that much easier to make another exception, and another, and another…

The important thing to remember when listening to any demand for censorship is that no matter what excuse the censor presents to attain his goal, he is ultimately lying.  It’s not really about “public safety”, or the “children”, or “community standards”, or whatever else he may claim; it’s about the fact that his leaky mind is unable to keep unwelcome thoughts out, so he demands that society do it for him.  Fredric Wertham was a child psychiatrist who wrote Seduction of the Innocent, an attack on comic books in which he made the sort of claims which have since become de rigueur for anyone trying to censor music, movies, television, video games, the internet, etc:  namely, that the “bad” item harms children and/or adolescents by giving them “bad thoughts” they wouldn’t otherwise have in their “innocent” Rousseauian state.  Wertham’s book triggered the Kefauver Hearings which eventually resulted in over 15 years of stifling self-censorship under the repressive Comics Code, but this did not satisfy him; nothing less than a total ban on all comic books would have.  My epigram is from “It’s Still Murder: What Parents Still Don’t Know About Comics Books”, a rant published in the April 9th, 1955 Saturday Review of Books (and quoted in an excellent article on the subject recently published on the website of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund);  I chose it because it reveals not only Wertham’s real thought processes, but those of any prohibitionist.  Set aside for a minute the absurdity of comparing comics to a brothel and recognize what he’s saying here:  to the prohibitionist, it doesn’t matter if a brothel has no negative effects on its neighborhood; it doesn’t matter how it’s run or whether its employees and customers are happy; and it doesn’t even matter if he never goes there, doesn’t know anyone else who goes there and never even sees it.  Just the very fact that it exists upsets him, and nothing short of its closure will satisfy him.  This is why it’s impossible to negotiate with censors or to cede even the most insignificant-seeming patch of ground to them:  they will view any compromise not as an end result, but as the first step toward their eventual goal of a total ban on whatever it is they don’t want to think about.

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