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Posts Tagged ‘underage’

We approached Ruhama expecting to be dealing with a charitable organisation, but what we received was an institution seemingly characterised by paranoia.  –  Julianne Flynn

Think of the Children! 

Few sources of sex rays are as dangerous as the names of body parts:

A West Michigan substitute teacher…had no clue saying the word “vagina” would cost her her job…Allison Wint…said it to…8th graders [while explaining] historical interpretations of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings.  But to school officials, Wint crossed the line–and violated school policy…[that] teachers are required to get advanced approval when discussing any form of reproductive health…

Life Imitates Artifice

Note that this clumsy wannabe “pimp” basically followed a script he learned from anti-whore propaganda:

Andrew Jordan…pleaded not guilty to six felony counts including human trafficking, domestic violence, assault and committing a racially motivated crime…a 23-year-old Los Angeles woman…testified…that she was forced by Jordan to have sex with other men in Long Beach and Los Angeles, and to solicit sex acts from cars passing by.  She told authorities that Jordan monitored her whereabouts and ordered her to send him text messages every time she was picked up and every time she completed an act…He collected the money in between and forced her to stay out until she met a quota…the defendant beat her severely when she broke his rules and called her racially degrading slurs…coerced her into getting a tattoo of his name on her wrist, and controlled all of her personal belongings.  She testified that she was scared to run away as he kept tabs on her by constantly driving up and down the street…It was not until she was in custody that she was able to tell an officer that she was being abused, authorities [claimed]…

Note also that last transparent attempt to use this an an argument that criminalization is good for sex workers; obviously the prosecutors are hoping readers don’t know the maxim that “hard cases make bad law“.

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The one good thing about more prostitution stings: more cops getting arrested.  “A Boynton Beach cop caught up in an undercover prostitution sting as a john willing to pay $20 for oral sex [was sacked]…Vintyre Finney…had been on paid [vacation] since Oct. 19…”  Serves the cheap fucker right.  And then there’s this dude:

…Maulia Labarre was arrested by the state Attorney General’s office after an investigation with the Honolulu Police Department and the FBI.  Sources say he tried to bribe a known prostitute by offering to help after an arrest, in exchange for sex.  He allegedly used his computer to get information on the woman and her case…

Where Are the Victims?

OH MY GOD HE PAID THEM SALARIES!!!  WHAT A MONSTER!!!

Sunil Meher, who was arrested from Kolkata airport…for running a sex racket, employed several women by paying them nearly Rs 40,000 ($600) each every month.  Police also strongly suspect his links with international sex ring kingpins in Goa and Delhi…Police…said Meher not only dabbled in sex trade, but was indulged in human trafficking.  He paid hefty amount to girls, who would travel in flights…At least 12 cases were registered against him here since 2009…

The average monthly income in India is approximately Rs 3000.  This fiend was paying his “victims” over 13x what they could’ve made in most other jobs.

Worse Than I Thought

Soon we’ll be hearing about how New Hampshire is a “sex trafficking hub”:

…New Hampshire…has…made it…a…felony “for a person to pay to engage in sexual contact with a person under the age of 18” and require “registration on the sex offender registry” for such individuals…adults having sex with minors is already criminalized in New Hampshire…like it is everywhere in America.  Sex trafficking is also a crime already in New Hampshire, as is prostitution between consenting parties.  So why the need for the new law?  Because duh: under the old rules, an adult who solicits paid sex from a teenager could only be charged as a rapist and a prostitution offender.  Under the new law, they can also be charged as a sex trafficker, thereby triggering more check-marks when tallying up annual human trafficking arrests.  Got to keep feeding that moral panic somehow, don’t we?…The bill would also add paying to watch a sexually-explicit performance by someone under 18 as a form of human trafficking.  This way, if a 17-year-old uses a fake ID to get a job at a strip club, anyone who patronizes that club can also be charged as a sex trafficker…The state has no power to seize the assets of misdemeanor prostitution offenders or statutory rapists, but it has ample leeway to seize the assets of suspected human traffickers.

Monkey Business Gooey

Guys have offered to pay me with dogs and horses, but never a monkey:

…A [bush baby] named Gooey…was reported stolen from the Zany Zoo Pet Store in [Eugene, Oregon]…police found the animal in a hotel room with a prostitute…[who] told detectives she received the monkey from Nathan McClain…owner of Zany Zoo…McClain paid the prostitute in deposit money from the store, as well as donation money…that was supposed to go to Girl Scouts…McClain was arrested twice [recently when cops claimed]…he appeared to be on meth…Gooey…is safe at a nearby animal sanctuary.

Unclean Situation

A good article on Ruhama, the Magdalene nuns’ new front; here’s the best part:

…the Good Shepherd Sisters received more than €14.4 million from the Health Service Executive between 2006 and 2011.  More recent funding data was difficult to obtain and nowhere in their website are there any links to their levels of funding…Martha McGuire, the Communications and Policy Officer of Ruhama [claims] Ruhama…”is not led or in any way dictated by ‘church teaching’”…Ruhama subsequently attempted to withdraw their statements and said we would no longer be allowed to print them…Email correspondence between McGuire and Sarah Benson, Ruhama’s CEO, were inadvertently forwarded to The University Times Magazine.  One particularly telling line between the two says: “I reckon once it goes to print we can criticise such attacks as ‘pimp-thinking’.”  This shows Ruhama are so concerned with tightening its control of the thinking around this industry that it blames anyone who dares to question that power.  By simply asking the question, “Does Ruhama separate itself from the Church’s sexual teaching?”, Ruhama were willing to tarnish the reputation of another person and publicly declare them an advocate of pimp-related activities…

Checklist

Sex workers: Uber now wants its drivers to spy on us and rat us out to the pigs.  I suggest you start using Lyft instead:

…an event [celebrated] a new partnership between Uber and ECPAT-USA to combat sex trafficking…Uber officially signed the voluntary ECPAT “code” that provides guidelines for travel and tourism companies to aid in the fight against sex slavery and sex tourism.  Uber is the first company in the “sharing economy” to sign the pledge….and…has already laid out initial steps the company will take to address trafficking including…[updating their] driver resources pages with information on how to identify possible trafficking victims…

Under Every Bed

The only thing interesting about this tired rehash of lurid masturbatory fantasies is the way the number of clients per day has now dropped back down into the realm of the possible:

…Monica Miller…shared her own [lurid fantasy] with the audience—of coming from a broken home, falling into one vulnerable situation after another before she was trafficked on the streets of Minneapolis.  Miller…[fantasized] “The johns who bought me, I wasn’t human to them, I was an object to them”…Miller said if she were to perform five sex acts a day—which she [pretended] was a low number—that equated to 1,820 sex acts in a year.  “I’m just going to be real here. That’s 1,820 rapes”…She said the idea that when a woman turns 18 years old, working in the sex trade suddenly becomes a choice rather than a forced act is a false notion…Miller said the only way we as a society can progress toward the elimination of sex trafficking is by [masturbating to these fantasies] together…

Dysphemisms Galore 

Because “Prince’s only sister set to inherit his estate” isn’t a good enough headline for the Mail:

The woman who stands to receive $800 million from Prince’s death: Purple-haired former crack-addict prostitute sister is set to inherit singer’s estate in absence of will – along with catalog of unreleased music…The vast fortune accumulated by Prince over the course of his music career is likely to go to his only sister if the singer failed to leave behind a will. Tyka Nelson, 55, will be awarded Prince’s estate under Minnesota state law as his closest living relative. She and her brother were close in recent years after a difficult stretch in their relationship when Tyka was struggling with an addiction to crack cocaine and prostituting herself to support her two young sons…Prince has an approximate net worth of $300 million, which does not include the millions his estate is set to make in the coming weeks from the increased sale of merchandise and music or the money the singer received when he signed a deal agreeing to stream all his music on Tidal. His music catalog meanwhile is worth over $500 million according to Prince’s first manager Owen Husney, due in large part to the fact that unlike other artists he owned both his master recordings as well as his own music publishing. Prince also has a large collection of unreleased music, which Husney believes may include an album he made with jazz great Miles Davis…

Frequently Told Lies

One can never have too many resources debunking “sex trafficking” garbage; this one is from the English Collective of Prostitutes, and has citations and footnotes.

Safe Targets (#452)

Here’s Tara Burns again, demonstrating how the only people ever charged with “sex trafficking” in Alaska are sex workers themselves:

…when I made a public records request…every single person to have been charged with sex trafficking was an alleged prostitute who was charged with prostitution of herself in the very same case in which she was charged with sex trafficking…arrested…[sex workers are] ordered to give [money from their] earnings to the Municipality of Anchorage, in violation of the Municipality’s own law against accepting money from a prostitute…Trying to locate evidence of the evil men [cops] claimed were taking all the money from sex workers, I made a request of the Anchorage prosecutor for all charges filed under Anchorage’s municipal codes in 2013 and 2014.  There were no charges against anyone for transporting a prostitute, having a place of prostitution, accepting money from a prostitute, etc.  The only people who had been charged were 34 sex workers and 22 clients…

Lower Education (#625)

First they came for the students, and I said nothing because I was no longer a student…

Adults may soon find their sex lives regulated to the point where nearly every sexual encounter is defined as rape unless neither party reports the activity.  The American Law Institute will vote in May on whether to adopt a model penal code that would make “affirmative consent” the official position of the organization.  Affirmative consent — or “yes means yes” — policies have already been adopted by many colleges and universities, and have been passed as law in California and New York…a female former prosecutor…called the draft “really disturbing.”  A group of concerned members within ALI even circulated an opposition letter, signed by dozens of members, that detailed the dangers of pushing affirmative consent on the general public (not that it’s a good policy for college students, either)…The policies…require [people] to engage in a question-and-answer session each time they engage in any kind of sexual activity…[and thus] shift the burden of proof onto [the] accused…[who] has to prove a crime didn’t occur rather than an accuser proving a crime did occur, as is the norm in civilized society…From the moment any physical contact is about to be made, one person must begin asking for permission.  “May I touch you here?”  “May I kiss you?”  “May I kiss you here?” and the like would all be required questions under such policies.  Activists can try and “make affirmative consent sexy” all they want, but no one has sex this way, and I can guarantee you the activists don’t ask all those questions either, which would make them rapists under these policies…

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Tracy’s community…turned away from her in an inane focus on protecting the look of the gates rather than the garden that thrives beyond them.  –  Maya Yonika

Couples David & Jenni Heckendorf

A disabled Australian couple gets help from a sex worker:

…a…fall had long-lasting consequences on Jenni’s health generally and on our sex lives.  Her prolonged and mostly unsuccessful recovery resulted in Jen having further reduced mobility in and out of bed.  It meant we had to take extreme care not to touch or bump her foot…We tried different toys and different positions without joy.  Two years after the fall we were at a point where we had to make a decision to either give up on enjoying sex or to investigate the possibility of allowing a third person into our bed…we arranged for sex worker, Joanne, to begin working with us.  With each visit we had to remind ourselves that she wasn’t there to make “love” to us.  Rather, in the same way that our support staff ensure that we remain in good physical health – by showering, feeding, and dressing us – Joanne helps us to maintain good sexual health…we successfully approached the ACT government to extend the funding of our disability care support to cover these conjugal support services.  In December 2015, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) agreed that, in our situation, a modest allowance for conjugal support service would be reasonable and necessary…

Lack of Evidence

It appears to me that the cops have no actual evidence:

A North Augusta [South Carolina] woman has been arrested on multiple charges of Prostitution.  Kristen Perry…was arrested [April 6th and]…is facing 21 charges of Sex/Prostitution 1st Offense.  She is accused of placing ads on Backpage.com between December 2015 and February 2016 offering sex for money…The ads contained sexually suggestive photos and language…The ads were accompanied by a phone number confirmed to belong to Perry…The IP address from which the ads were posted was traced back to her residence…

A good lawyer should be able to beat this easily; if anyone knows her please ask her to call me (email me for the number).  I definitely want to help her if possible.  Arresting escorts based solely on ads is an extremely dangerous precedent that cannot be allowed to stand.

Where Are the Victims?

There weren’t any actual victims, but we just have to cage people, because SEEWEEUSS UFFENSE!

Chunjie Wang…of…Dublin…organised four brothels…for seven months..[in] 2011…Judge Melanie Greally noted the case did not involve the trafficking or exploitation of prostitutes…but…said the seriousness of the offence meant a custodial sentence was unavoidable and sentenced Wang to 18 months imprisonment…

It Looks Good On Paper

Adult sex trafficking victims who get caught working as prostitutes could receive immunity from prostitution under a new Nebraska law…Nebraska already provides legal immunity to juvenile sex trafficking victims…”  Except that as I’ve explained many times, these laws are nothing but Potemkin villages, empty legal husks designed to please the ignorant while actually sparing virtually nobody from the injustice system:

…Wisconsin…advocacy groups…want to pass what is known as “safe harbor” legislation, which prohibits prosecuting individuals under 18 for prostitution…Republican legislators who fear it will hinder law enforcement’s ability to intervene and help trafficking victims…Minors can complete a program or other requirements in exchange for a dismissal of the charge, or they can admit to charges but assert they were being trafficked at the time…Proponents believe that by refusing to prosecute minors, law enforcement will be able to establish trust and gain access to information that will allow them to more successfully prosecute traffickers…Custody may also be necessary to ensure the child does not return to his or her trafficker…

Translation of that last part: “Authorities” want to be able to lock up minors indefinitely and subject them to coercive interrogation tactics in order to prosecute others in their place.

Big Sister

The Swedish model is based in xenophobia, and it shows in rhetoric designed to rationalize its failure:

Ever greater numbers of tourists in Iceland…are feeding into the market for prostitution…Snorri Birgisson of the Reykjavik Metropolitan Police [pretends] “It is usually foreigners visiting Iceland for a short time”…It is [fantasized] that prostitutes who come to Iceland are “managed” by somebody and transported from country to country…

The Last Shall Be First 

One battle in the bathroom wars has just ended.  Or maybe a truce has been hammered out for the time being.  The U.S. 4th Circuit Court has ruled in favor of a female-to-male trans student who was banned from using his school’s boys bathroom…the…Court, whose rulings also cover North Carolina (site of a contentious new law covering similar issues)…has ordered the lower court to hear his discrimination lawsuit…Go here to read recent Reason musings on North Carolina’s new bathroom law…I’m willing to bet the farm that even within a few years, if not sooner, we will all look back on the absolute panic evinced over the issue of unisex bathrooms and wonder just what the fuck we were all smoking…

Above the Law  

Roanoke [Virginia cop Francisco Alberto Duarte] is awaiting trial on a felony count of forcible sodomy“, and in Louisiana, “A Calcasieu Parish sheriff’s deputy has been fired [and criminally charged] after he was accused of inappropriately touching a woman…Cody Onxley…called the woman and went to her house under false pretenses.

Broken Record

Farm machinery causes “sex trafficking”!

…[cops] have also found victims at this year’s National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and expect to find others at the Kentucky Derby…traffickers…stay mobile, moving victims from city to city to major sporting and entertainment events…truckers are getting the word out through the national campaign Truckers Against Trafficking, with an event this weekend at the Kentucky Exposition Center…the truckers…are in a position to spot victims at convenience stores and truck stops, popular spots for traffickers…

Under Every Bed

It’s weirdly fascinating to watch small cities insist that they’re just as infested with bogeymen and imaginary victims as cities with much larger populations:

…slavery…still exists.  Even in Spokane.  The reasons for this, [prohibitionists pretend], include Washington having an international border and a large seaport [and] many diverse immigrant communities…Because of the I-90 corridor, Spokane gets a lot of traffic and homeless in the area…former madam Cheryl Larson [lied that]…one girl could make $10,000 in a weekend during Bloomsday…

Note the racism, interstate highway nonsense and outlandish claims about income.  That article ends with an appeal for amateur surveillance, as does this one:

…[Cops] in Springfield say the western Massachusetts city is beginning to see a noticeable rise in human trafficking…Jamie Bruno spoke before the Springfield Violence Prevention Task Force…to [pretend] that human trafficking has become a problem in the city and is expanding…Bruno says it’s pivotal that parents are aware of what their children are doing with friends…

Business As Usual

I smell a rat.  What probably happened here is that some cop raped a sex worker in a particularly violent and/or loathsome way and they’re trying to paper it over with a “policy”:

…Cleveland Police have been told to temporarily stop making prostitution arrests…[because] the Department is suddenly developing a new policy.  The memo says, “All prostitution (sex for money) related Vice enforcement shall cease immediately…Advise your Detectives under no circumstances shall they have a suspected prostitute get into a vehicle with them or have any physical contact with…Police…We are formulating a policy that will cover procedures for these types of details”…

Remember, the actual policies don’t make a difference because even when raping whores is expressly forbidden, cops just do it anyway and then claim they didn’t.

All-Purpose Excuse

It’s especially good for money grabs:

Nine hundred police officers have taken part in a raid on one of Germany’s biggest brothels in Berlin, making six arrests over alleged human trafficking and tax fraud.  The operation follows months of investigation into the Artemis brothel…[whose] managers are accused of evading some €17.5m (£14m; $19.7m) in social security payments since 2006.  Prosecutors allege that staff at Artemis were forced to pretend to be self-employed to avoid the payments…

In case you’re bad at math, that’s 150 cops per arrest, ten times the number NOPD used to arrest me.

The Face of Trafficking

What a large-scale, organized forced prostitution scheme actually looks like:

In a case involving 75 female victims, Syrian women who were promised well-paid jobs in restaurants and hotels in Lebanon were locked up upon arrival in two hotels north of Beirut and forced into prostitution.  Some of the women reported being forced to have sex with up to 20 clients a day, and those that refused to work as prostitutes were repeatedly raped and tortured until they submitted…On March 27, Lebanese security forces raided the hotels, detaining eight guards and setting the women free from the Chez Maurice and Silver Hotel in Maamelteine.  The three-story Chez Maurice had the look of a prison, with bars on the balconies and windows, and a whip lying visible on one of the guards’ tables.  The health ministry has also sealed a clinic belonging to gynecologist Riad al-Alam, who authorities say performed abortions for the trafficked women who got pregnant.  The women have said they were not allowed to leave the clinic except to have an abortion…

Remember, fetishists pretend this sort of thing is common worldwide, even where there isn’t social chaos precipitated by war.

Size Matters (#619)

An excellent essay on the Tracy Elise case:

…Five years ago, Tracy was…the [focus] of a six-month long undercover prostitution investigation of what was then known as the Tantric Temple of Phoenix Arizona.  [Cops] fully armed with riot gear and machine guns, raided the space and arrested Elise along with several other women…Tracy was thrown into jail without trial for the following two years, her bail set at a million dollars…Tracy’s case is inexorably woven into some of the most pressing and cutthroat social biases of our day when it come to sex and relationship.  These biases hold us so powerfully within their grip that if one so much appears to cross the line, we’re perfectly content to quietly dismiss a woman like Tracy while she faces a potentially lifelong jail sentence…the…need to belong innately necessitates an “other”… that thing that separates “me” from “them”…as news of the Phoenix raids came to light, the bulk of western Tantrics, in order to uphold their personal ideals and image, turned away from Tracy and her case.  A woman who calls herself a “Tantric master” even spoke out against Tracy on a major news channel in her effort to “protect Tantra’s name”…

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What if a different attitude about pornography were the “alternative to pornography”?  –  Tina Horn

Rough Trade Brandon Cole Reed

I suspect they have the right guy this time:

King County prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old Kent man with three counts of rape, and Seattle police continue to investigate…in connection with five more sexual assaults, all involving women working as prostitutes on Aurora Avenue North.  Brandon Cole Reed was arrested…one day after prosecutors dismissed a second-degree-rape charge against…Andrew Tatum, who was arrested in February…[for] the rapes Reed is now suspected of committing…Reed “picks up prostitutes on Aurora Avenue, drives to a nearby location, and then rapes them, by brandishing a knife, threatening to hurt or kill them, handcuffing them or brandishing mace,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Carla Carlstrom wrote…Reed was 11 and his brother was 12 in 1995 when they dragged a 12-year-old girl into their house…and took turns raping her…[they] were found guilty of second-degree rape…and sentenced to 21 to 28 weeks in juvenile detention…Both were required to register as sex offenders for 15 years…Reed was also convicted in 2009 of second-degree malicious mischief for throwing rocks and damaging his ex-girlfriend’s car after she refused to get back together with him…

Lying Down With Dogs

This interactive map characterizes countries according to 11 different legal approaches to laws regarding prostitution, and 9 different legal characteristics, for the most complex and accurate analysis of the subject yet.  Please bookmark!

Check Your Premises 

I realize that idiots don’t actually understand what the word “average” means, but one would think they at least know it doesn’t mean “absolute minimum”:

The Canadian Women’s Foundation says…the average age for new recruits was 13…A 14-year-old at the centre of a human trafficking case is among the youngest girls allegedly forced into prostitution…in decades…Staff Sgt. Darrell Gaudet said…such cases are rare…in…more than 20 years, Gaudet said he has dealt with four cases of 14-year-olds…[and one] 13…

Moloch

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

Police arrested a Longwood, Florida, 12-year-old girl for pinching a male classmate’s butt…Breana Evans has been charged with misdemeanor battery and was temporarily placed in juvenile detention.  Everybody involved…thinks the arrest is an overreaction…except the boy’s mom, who alerted police and demanded that they prosecute…police [pretend] that…they had no choice but to arrest Breana…[who] will have to complete community service, submit to drug tests, and [endure indoctrination sessions].  If she does all those things, the charges will eventually be dismissed…

Pity the poor “authorities”, who had “no choice”.  Because “prosecutorial discretion” is only for cops who rape or murder people, not for kids being kids.

The Last Shall Be First

Potty obsession is rotting politicians’ brains:

Fayetteville [Arkansas] councilman John La Tour is being accused of confronting a woman he assumed was transgender and threatening to wave his penis at her at a crowded restaurant…After the incident, a manager apparently asked La Tour to leave [the] restaurant…According to a Facebook post by…Gavin Smith: “la tour [sic]…[demanded my friend] pick a gender declaiming loudly that he couldn’t tell if she was a man or a woman.  She is not transgendered and does not in any way present any ambiguity about gender in any way.  She’s a woman.  He then explained that he was a man and could prove it by dropping his pants and showing his penis”…La Tour subsequently [pretended] he’d merely asked the woman — who is employed at the restaurant — to dance…

Above the Law  

Probably a longer sentence than he would’ve received in the US:

Derren Tomlinson, 44, with the West Mercia Police department was sentenced to 11 years in prison this week for…raping a girl under 13-years-old, sexual assault on a child, and bestiality.  His offensively short sentence is likely due to the fact that he was a [cop]…The department found out…after looking through his phone which revealed a number of photos showing him raping a child…[and] engaging in sexual intercourse with a dog…

Prudish Pedants

Steinem’s been peddling this malarkey since 1978, and I’ve been mocking it since at least 1984:

…one of the most vocal proponents of [the] damaging dichotomy [between “bad porn” and “good erotica”] is feminist icon Gloria Steinem.  And every time I hear her or someone else trot out this tired trope, I recoil—because it is indicative of our culture’s persistent stigmatization of sex work, classist attitudes about sexual morality, and suppression of healthy sexual expression.  It’s a dichotomy that demands to be not only challenged, but dismantled…Steinem has been repeating some version of this baseless definition game since 1978, when she published the Ms. magazine article, “Erotica and pornography: Do You Know the Difference?”  The answer to this question is:  No, we don’t, Gloria, because neither you nor anyone else has ever managed to provide a useful or convincing distinction…

Gingerbread House

And how does the judge plan to “keep” these “children” in the “safe house” to endure “therapy”?  Oh, yeah:

There are more than 3,000 minors in [Nevada’s] juvenile justice system, and many are victims of human trafficking.  “For…10 years, I’ve been advocating…for a safe house for our sexually exploited youth,” said Judge William Voy…”We have to identify better which kids really need to be locked up…with the kids who don’t”…the state needs a therapeutic…secured facility to keep these children.  He said if the state doesn’t get this kind of facility it risks losing the kids to the streets all over again…

So Close and Yet So Far

This article could’ve been so much better; it quotes a number of sex workers, including my close friend Savannah Sly and my acquaintances Chelsea Lane & Jill Brenneman.  It presents some pretty good arguments, and talks about Amnesty’s research.  But it also quotes prohibitionists, repeats bad data, confuses legalization and decriminalization, does not discuss the failure of the Swedish model, and sets up a false equivalence between those who want to be free to make their own choices and those who want to control others’ choices with state violence (as though they were two equal sides in an academic “debate”).  It’s also mind-numbingly boring; I sincerely doubt anyone will read the whole thing.  I know I couldn’t.

Hard Numbers (#340)

Whores in the so-called “developing world” are so much better at activism than those of us in the US:

…Gabriela Leite and Lourdes Barreto founded the Brazilian Network of Prostitutes (BNP) in the mid 1980s in response to police violence in the red light districts where they worked…The BNP earned seats at the policy-making table and was fundamental in developing peer-led HIV prevention initiatives.  Their partnership with the country’s National AIDS Programme gained international attention in 2005 when Brazil refused more than $40 million in US funds because USAID…demanded that organisations receiving funds condemn prostitution…[Prohibitionism] gained strength in Brazil at the start of the new millennium, fuelled by moral panic and by the growth of carceral feminism…and Christian conservatism…The prostitutes’ movement has responded with a two-prong strategy: on the one hand, it is engaging in street politics, guerrilla theatre, and practical initiatives; on the other, it is entering the forums and institutions that sprung up around human trafficking…

He Said, She Said (#448)

A lot of people are going to be really unhappy about this:

The chorus outside Old City Hall hit its peak once a judge acquitted former CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi on all charges of sexual assault and choking, the outraged shouts of “I believe survivors” reverberating off the courthouse steps and in more than 10,000 posts online…Ontario Court of Justice Judge William Horkins said he simply could not trust the three complainants, given their shifting memories and evidence that at times strayed into outright lies…he said the 5,000 messages exchanged between actress Lucy DeCoutere and another complainant sounded like they could be plotting to ruin the former broadcaster… “Ms. DeCoutere and S.D. considered themselves to be a ‘team’ and the goal was to bring down Mr. Ghomeshi”…As Crown prosecutor Michael Callaghan stood in front of a stand of microphones giving reporters his reaction, a topless female protester jumped in front of him, yelling “Ghomeshi guilty!” knocking over the stand.  Police tackled the woman to the ground and took her back inside the courthouse as she struggled and kicked the door.  She was handcuffed by police and led into the back of a police cruiser…

As a woman who’s endured several rapes myself, I understand the anger.  But what do the protesters actually want, for the state to be able to convict people on shoddy evidence?  I simply can’t side with people who believe that locking up as many people as possible to prevent some bad guys getting away with crimes is a good idea.  The carceral state is a far greater threat than any one rapist, or even than all unconvicted rapists put together.

False Witness

Anyone who understands the dynamics of group psychology should already have known this:

You would think securing a conviction against a suspected criminal would have to be helped if all the witnesses…independently identify the same culprit.  But new…research suggests that unanimity of witnesses should trigger a warning that perhaps police have the wrong person…the probability of a large number of people all agreeing in [difficult observation] circumstances [is] small…the error rate among [crime] witnesses…[is] around 47 per cent.  “So if…20 people all agree it is the same guy you should be now more suspicious of their agreement,” [lead researcher Professor Derek Abbott] said.  Their modelling showed even with just a 1 per cent error rate, confidence in a police line-up result would decrease after three unanimous identifications…

If you don’t understand this, please take the time to read my paper, “Mind-witness Testimony“.

Moving Pictures 

You know you’re living in a fascist state when there’s a whole industry glamorizing government actors who use violence to suppress consensual activity:

[US deportation agent] Keith Owens…[was featured in a] television series, Web of Lies…The episode [inanely] titled “Stolen Youth”…aired on March 2…being involved in this documentary is in line with his commitment to combating human trafficking…“This film will definitely wake the public up in regards to human trafficking that should be named modern-day slavery,” Owens said.  “These predators take possession of [their victims], and force and coerce people to do things they don’t want to do”…

You mean, like cops and other government agents do? Or do you mean a different kind of taking possession of people and forcing & coercing them to do things they don’t want to do?

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[Human trafficking laws] are criminalising decency.  –  Lisbeth Zornig

A False Dichotomy 

The monolith is crumbling; this was in International Business Times:

According to…opponents of sex work decriminalisation, there are basically two types of women involved in selling sex: a small but vocal minority of…”sex workers” who entered the industry out of choice, and a much larger number of “prostituted women” who were coerced or forced by financial necessity.  Anyone who offers a public opinion on the sex industry based on their own personal experience is assumed to belong to the former category.  Even having an awareness of the policy debate is seen as evidence a sex worker is middle-class, educated and therefore unrepresentative of most women in the industry.  As such, their opinions can be ignored.  It’s argued that the silent, suffering majority don’t have the resources, capacity or inclination to argue about legislation, so other people must speak on their behalf.  This is a rather convenient solution to the dilemma faced by decriminalisation opponents: the majority of sex workers who do speak out strongly disagree with them…this supposed dichotomy between unrepresentative, autonomous sex workers and silent prostitution victims is a rhetorical sleight of hand.  In reality, freedom of choice is rarely an all or nothing sort of thing…Campaigning organisations…smeared by Nordic model advocates as representing a “pimp lobby” – are [largely] made up of women who…sell sex because it’s the least bad course of action available to them…

Rooted in Racism

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

A high-profile Danish campaigner for children’s rights was prosecuted…under people trafficking laws, shining a spotlight once more on the country’s crackdown on asylum, as Scandinavian countries compete to make themselves unattractive destinations for refugees.  Lisbeth Zornig, the country’s former children’s ombudsman and a well-known author, was fined DKr22,500 (£2,328) – the maximum demanded by the prosecutor…for allowing a family of Syrians to hitch a ride with her to Copenhagen.  Her husband was fined the same amount for taking the family into his home for coffee and biscuits, and then driving them to the railway station, where he bought them tickets to Sweden.  “This was a political trial, using me and my husband to send a strong message: don’t try to help refugees,” Zornig said…

Droit du Seigneur Jermaine Dunbar

Do you think any non-cop would merely have lost his job, rather than being criminally charged?

A [Connecticut cop] was fired after an investigation found he was linked to a sex trafficking operation…Jermaine Dunbar…broke several department policies including improper associations, truthfulness, conduct unbecoming to an officer, neglect of duty and insubordination…two suspects [were] arrested for various charges including narcotics, illegal weapons possession, promoting prostitution and human trafficking…one of the suspects is Dunbar’s family member and another is a friend…Dunbar was at the…home where two 16-year-old girls were given drugs and having sex with men.  One girl said she had sex with Dunbar but…he…was not criminally charged…

Saving Them From Themselves

The United States, a shining example of liberty to the world:

Police [in Thailand] are gathering evidence to bring criminal charges against those who posted a video clip of two students having sex on a teacher’s desk in a school classroom…the patents have accused their children’s friends of posting the video…anyone caught posting obscene material on the internet can be imprisoned for up to five years…

See No Evil

Are the Japanese the only people left on Earth who can tell fantasy from reality?

On February 16 this year, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held a deliberation on the topic of women’s rights in Japan….[including] a proposal that sales of video games and manga depicting sexual violence be banned….Would [this] prohibition…help bring about more respect for women’s rights in Japan?  Our answer…is a resounding “No”…Fictional sexual violence in manga and video games does not actually violate people’s human rights, so prohibiting these media in order to preserve women’s rights would be meaningless…

The Widening Gyre

Can you hear the sound of fapping while you read this guy’s words?

Keith Bickford…of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office…[fantasized aloud] about the gruesome realities of sex slavery in our own backyards…“Some of the girls…were having sex with someone…20 to 25 times a day…that could be a lot of horrible things happening to these children…“In [Bickford’s] mind, it’s ‘You’re mine for an hour or half-hour, so I can do whatever I want to,’ ” he explained of [his own] brutal mentality…Pimps target areas where they know children hang out most.  This can be the shopping mall, the park and even where we tend to think they are most safe – at school…“I think the youngest, I believe who was in Georgia, was about 8 or 9,” he [fantasized]…

I’ll bet he doesn’t even wait until he gets home after one of his “talks” to wank; probably does it in the men’s room right there.

An Example To the West (#133)

South Korea’s court battle over US-encouraged sex work criminalization begins:

…The anti-sex trade laws have caused many negative, allegedly unintended consequences.  According to a 2012 UN report, “police crackdowns from 2004-2009 resulted in [the] arrest of approximately 28,000 sex workers, 150,000 clients, and 27,000 sex business owners”, and 65,621 arrests were reported for 2009 alone…Police raids are often carried out very violently, and in November 2014, a 24-year old single mother died after jumping out of a motel room to escape arrest by an undercover police officer posing as client.  In stark contrast to their usual reporting, most Korean media remained distinctively silent about the case.  The continued repression has forced an increasing number of sex workers to work underground, resulting in lower incomes, poorer working conditions, and an increase in violence perpetrated against them.  Sex workers worry more about police raids than about screening their clients…

Peep
Profit from Panic (#406) 

I’ve often pointed out how the “sex trafficking” narrative is getting increasingly out of control.  This “artist” uses sewing machines to “evoke the image of countless hours of soul crushing labor“, blissfully ignorant of the fact that such labor is the exact type “rescued” sex workers are usually forced into:

Small circular viewing holes expose the faces of hundreds of children, each symbolizing a stolen childhood.  The art piece, “Peep,” sheds light on the shadowy human trafficking industry in peep show style…Created by Bay Area artist Jonathan Fung, “Peep” draws attention to the often overlooked issue…[through] a metaphor for the commodification of human beings…Tens of millions of people are kidnapped and forced into labor and sex slavery to meet the needs of the…human trafficking industry…thriving in the Bay Area, which FBI named one of the top 13 destinations for child sex trafficking…more and more people are forced into ruthless modern day slavery every day.  Human trafficking remains a growing trend and shows no signs of stopping…

“No signs of stopping!”  My goodness!  Soon there won’t be enough free people to buy all these “modern-day slaves”!

The Widening Gyre (#444) 

Higher education in the US is dead:

…a group of OSU-Tulsa students is trying to tackle [“sex trafficking”]…and a new course helps train them to identify and save victims…Their professor, Dr. Denni Blum…teamed up with [cops & rescue industry profiteers]…to make this class possible…Oklahoma has seen 168 reported cases of human sex trafficking over the last three years – 50 of them were children.  Experts say traffickers target girls between 12 and 14, and once pulled into the sex trade their life expectancy is only seven years…

I can see I’ll have to address this in my OSU Tulsa video lecture this year.

All Wet

Given the recurrence of the low “ever paid” fraction here (and the impossible equivalence of “ever been paid”), I don’t think we can trust the other findings very much, either:

In a new nationwide poll from YouGov, six percent of respondents said they have been paid for sex in the past, and seven percent have paid someone else for sex.  Men and women were equally likely to have accepted payment for sex, but just one percent of the women said they had paid for it themselves, while 12 percent of the men said as much…

Rotting Fruit

Ask yourself: Is this the language that would’ve been used for this same situation 20 years ago?

…venture capitalist Michael Goguen admitted in court papers…that, yes, he paid the first $10 million of a $40 million contract to the woman he had a sexual relationship with for 13 years…but, no, she was never his “sexual slave” and he only agreed to sign the unusual contract because he worried about a “shakedown” featuring “false and libelous claims” of abuse.  But then Goguen failed to pay up.  Some $30 million remains on the contract today.  Both sides agree on that, at least.  And so now…Amber Laurel Baptiste, has gone to court…Baptiste’s breach of contract lawsuit…accused Goguen of “sexually, physically and emotionally” abusing her.  She alleged that she endured the treatment because Goguen promised to free her from the human traffickers holding her in perpetual debt…Goguen admitted that they had an unusual sex life, but he claims it was entirely consensual…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

On Friday, the Cranston [Rhode Island] Police Department issued a news release announcing the results of a sting operation that, in its own words, was aimed at “targeting human traffickers, specifically those victimizing juveniles”…no fewer that eight law enforcement agencies were involved in this operation…[which] led to only one arrest for trafficking and one arrest for pandering.  Instead, the biggest result of the operation appears to have been the arrest of fourteen “johns”…and fourteen other people for prostitution…By humiliating and charging johns for seeking consensual sex and by giving prostitutes arrest records in the name of “helping” them, these operations misleadingly purport to crack down on human trafficking, when their major effect is just to make the lives of prostitutes more difficult and dangerous, driving sex work even deeper into the shadows…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#621)

I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I’m skeptical about anything the Seattle PD says about victimized sex workers:

One day after a Seattle police officer was…pulled from duty for his conduct at a local strip club, King County prosecutors filed pimping charges against the club’s manager and owner.  Prosecutors [claim] Dancing Bare owner Jerry A. Woodhead and manager Michael “Mickey” Woodhead were caught in a sting operation…Police…used at least two informants.  [A] detective said the investigation uncovered prostitution and drug use at the club, and showed that dancers were prostituting themselves to pay “house dues” to the Woodheads…The detective said the Woodheads were considering increasing the amount of money “collected for the prostitution” so they could earn more themselves…

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Vice cops are…clowns…[whose] idea of entertainment is depriving people of their liberty and livelihoods…then inviting people…to watch the show.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Check Your Premises

They’re literally just making this garbage up now:

Janice Figueroa and Nathaniel Lee Thompson are now facing human trafficking and prostitution charges…[for bringing] this 17 year old girl across state lines…”one of the traffickers is a 19 year old girl…she didn’t just one day wake up and decide she wanted to start selling another woman,” [vomited] Melissa Yao…[prohibitionist in a group called] The Samaritan Women…”We’re the fourth destination country in the world.  Meaning we’re the fourth most popular place for people to travel to to participate in sexual exploitation…there is study after study that has shown there is a direct correlation between pornography and sexual exploitation because you start to view another human being as a commodity instead of an actual person…There is an expectation within your first week of working at a strip club that you will participate in some type of prostitution.  Otherwise you cannot work there,” Yao said…

Above the Law  

Because every woman “consensually” gives head to whatever random cop stops her on the highway:

A [Georgia] Sheriff’s deputy has been fired after a Valentine’s Day incident during a traffic stop…[he] pulled over a woman for a speeding violation…[then] again about 4-5 miles down the road.  The deputy turned off his camera and [orally raped the woman]…The woman reported the incident was not consensual.  The deputy says it was consensual…

It can take literally years for these “investigations” to lead to charges:rapist cop Marty Rainey

A rural Missouri sheriff’s deputy was a predator with a badge, sexually abusing four women and luring an underage girl into prostitution…Marty Rainey…resigned under fire from the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Office in 2012 after a mental health counselor claimed Rainey and a buddy had engaged in some suspect sexual relations with one of the counselor’s clients.  He was finally charged in January 2015…after other women came forward with horror stories of coercion, abuse and rape…a woman…described a long-running nightmare in a civil lawsuit filed last year…[she said] Rainey got her phone number and address in 2012 when she contacted the sheriff’s office…Rainey called the woman 87 times and sent her 1,288 text messages, many of which were sexually explicit…he threatened to arrest her husband on bogus charges if she didn’t sleep with him.  Rainey, wearing his deputy uniform, eventually picked her up and took her to a motel, where…he drugged her, laid his pistol on a nightstand with the barrel facing her and…[raped] her…

Stand-Up Guys 

This is a very uneven article marred by false equivalencies, but its central point is true:

Jeremy Corbyn is about to find out what happens when you take a stance on sex work…The response of those who believe in banning prostitution is ferocious and highly personal.  He will be told he has betrayed women, that he supports pimps, that he doesn’t care about trafficking and human slavery.  Labour’s parliamentary meeting tonight is expected to see Harriet Harman, Caroline Flint, Jess Phillips and others attack Corbyn for [saying]…he wants to decriminalise the sex industry…Corbyn…used to support the Nordic model…His shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, is a long-time supporter of sex worker rights, and will be urging him to stand firm…The attack started the moment his words were reported…

Broken Record

This is impossible to parody, because the reality is so ludicrous:

As the City of Austin prepares for the thousands of people expected in town for the South by Southwest Interactive, Film and Music Festivals, police are preparing for a spike in crimes.  “You see a lot of these female escorts doing this not of their own volition.  They’re underaged minors, they’ve been put into a position where they have no choice. These guys will take them and literally go from city to city, post ads in the classified, have a hotel room,” [fantasized]…Steve Deaton, head of the Organized Crime Division…

Monkey Business

Occasionally, chimps throw rocks in displays of strength to establish their position in a community.  But what we discovered…was a repeated activity with no clear link to gaining food or status…We…found many more sites where trees had similar markings and in many places piles of rocks had accumulated inside hollow tree trunks…We found the same mysterious behaviour in small pockets of Guinea Bissau, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire but nothing east of this…The behaviour could be part of a male display…If some trees produce an impressive bang, this could accompany or replace feet drumming in a display…On the other hand, it could be more symbolic than that – and more reminiscent of our own past.  Marking pathways and territories with signposts such as piles of rocks is an important step in human history…maybe we found the first evidence of chimpanzees creating a kind of shrine that could indicate sacred trees…

Watershed

More and more women who identify as feminists now support sex workers:

As the signatories of this manifesto, we – women’s rights, feminist, and sex workers’ rights organisations and collectives – express our support for sex workers’ self-determination and the recognition of sex work as work…we ask all feminists to concentrate their resources on including and amplifying sex workers’ voices in the movement and to stop promoting legal frameworks that have been shown to be detrimental to sex workers’ rights.  We call for a feminist movement that…is inclusive of trans people and sex workers.  Our criminal justice systems are oppressive, and therefore we do not see increased policing, prosecution, and imprisonment as the only solution to violence against women…

Under Every Bed

Most of this is just the typical small-city cop “sex trafficking” puffery and “gang” propaganda, but this bit was pretty jaw-dropping: “…the Spokane Police Department created a unit dedicated to fighting human trafficking…and have decided to pull a detective from the Major Crimes Unit to work specifically on these cases…” Because obviously, investigating murder, rape and armed robbery isn’t as fun or profitable as ruining people’s lives for seeking consensual sex.blue hair

Paint By Numbers

Tired of hard stuff like standing, getting dressed & making paper airplanes?  Just sit still instead!

…human trafficking…is getting some support in southern Wisconsin…woman [sic]…are now trying a new do’, blue [hair] extensions, the color for human trafficking awareness…college roommates Camille Guenther and Rachel Eckmann created Beautiful Blue 2016 and have joined forces with Cuttin’ Up salon for the cause…they say spreading the message, right now, is more important than donations…

Innocence Never Had

Laws are more important than people:

In Bloomington, Indiana, a 14-year-old girl was arrested…on prostitution charges after texting older men and offering sex for a fee…Bloomington detectives began looking into the case after a woman reported seeing texts from the girl, who had claimed to be 17, on her husband’s phone…Under federal and some state laws, teens selling sexual services are defined as “sex trafficking victims” whether they’re working for/with anybody or not…law-enforcement agents are more than willing to refer to 17-year-old as “child victims” and charge anyone in their vicinity with human trafficking.  But while it’s refreshing (if surprising) to see police…acknowledge that teen girls do have agency and avoid the typical sex-trafficking scaremongering…Couldn’t cops have simply talked to the girl’s guardians?  How will she possibly be helped by having a criminal record…

Bread and Circuses

The unsinkable Liz Brown does it again:

A Houston-area prostitution sting with the inexplicable name “Operation Traveling Circus” led to more than 400 arrests in the first two months of 2016…Like most vice stings disguised as victim-centered investigations, this “traveling circus” featured the identification of no actual sex-trafficking victims and zero arrests of human traffickers.  But the January 4 through Feburary 26 operation did yield hundreds of men who sought to pay what they thought was a willing, adult sex worker for company.  To spin this as somehow related to sex trafficking, officials trotted out the much-debunked idea that sporting events are catnip to human-traffickers…Making men afraid to pay for prostitution now is simply an effort to deprive these mythical future sex traffickers of their client base, officials explained…Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman [lied that pigs]…had to arrest [sex workers]…so those selling sex on their own could be prosecuted, while victims would have the charges dropped and gain access to some sort of nebulous social services…more than 200 of the 400 people arrested were “johns” who tried to solicit sex from an undercover officer…It’s unclear if the rest of the arrests were of sex workers or not.  These sorts of stings frequently lead to arrests for things like outstanding warrants, drug possession, or unauthorized gun possession, as well…

Above the Law (#591)

A British social justice campaigner has flown from London to Australia to confront a former police spy who deceived her into having a two-year relationship and is now involved in directing police training courses in Australia.  Helen Steel…tracked down John Dines after spending years piecing together clues to uncover his real identity.  It was the first time Steel had contacted the former undercover officer after he disappeared from her life more than two decades ago claiming to be having a mental breakdown…he was resettled in Australia by British police who feared Steel was on the verge of finding him…

Still a Child (#604) 

Giving fanatics what they want only encourages them to want more:

New Orleans…City Council…could move to set a cap on the number of strip clubs allowed to operate in the city.  In the meantime, the Planning Commission is considering the imposition of a soft moratorium on new…clubs on Bourbon Street, the only zoning district where strip clubs…didn’t need special permission from the City Council in order to open…Robert Watters, owner of Rick’s Cabaret…said that, although he’s always nervous about government attempts to legislate morality, he thinks there are enough clubs in the area already…Jim Kelly…of…Covenant House…[fantasizes that] strip clubs…can act as recruiting grounds for pimps…Kelly successfully lobbied the City Council in January to raise the minimum age for dancers to 21…

It’s disgusting how often sex business owners like Watters and Dennis Hof side with prohibitionists in order to more effectively line their own pockets.

Under Review

The British press, partying like it’s 1999 and nobody’s heard of escort reviews yet:

Call girls and rentboys openly offer themselves for sex online, while customers leave seedy reviews of the services on offer. ..Seedy websites list the services available from vice girls and even give their hourly rate.  The Paisley Daily Express has seen X-rated pages that are filled with pictures of scantily-clad sex workers, with details of how to arrange a meeting.  Local punters even use the Trip Advisor-style portals on the sites…to give star-rated reviews of the men and women they bed…perverts even discuss the parking amenities…

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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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If you want to reduce abuse, you need to find a way to hack the system that increases the power of marginalized people, not of the police.
–  Noah Berlatsky

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea

Remember, sex work is legal but “regulated” in India.  Here’s what that looks like:

…police abuse and bad laws live on despite decades of evidence of the harm being done to millions of Indian women…[who] are arrested under charges of “possession of condoms”, or even on false charges of “possession of narcotics”…(They) are rounded up at the end of the month when the target for petty/minor offences are not met…Some [cops] are known…to be self-avowed crusaders against “prostitutes”.  Instead of protecting these women from…criminal elements, the police adds its own violence and abuse to that of other criminals…whether [under] the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986, or the myriad “vagrancy” and “public indecency” acts commonly used against them…[police] “victimise the women,” doubling their “exploitation and extortion”…

It Looks Good On Paper

It’s not “surprising” in the least; as I’ve explained repeatedly, only very rare “perfect victims” are helped by so-called “safe harbor” laws:

…Latesha Clay…was sentenced to prison for up to 20 years…Clay, whose name was inexplicably released by local press despite her status as a minor, had been offered up as bait in a Backpage post advertising sex with the underage girl.  When the clients showed up at a Motel 6…they were met by an adult male, Trayvin Donnell Lewis, who used a realistic-looking airsoft gun to drive the clients to an ATM and rob them…However, Clay herself fits every guideline for qualifying as a trafficking victim just by virtue of being underage and [advertising] online for sex.  According to the Justice Department’s federal definition of sex trafficking, a person under 18 engaging in prostitution (even the mere “offering” of sex for sale) is automatically considered a trafficking victim regardless of whether a pimp or client used “force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion, or any combination of those means, to cause the minor to engage in a commercial sex act”.  When the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA) was signed into law in 2015, many advocates [imagined] the federal government [would] increase protections for underage…teens…in the sex industry…That’s why Clay’s prison sentence, rather than the kind of support and treatment outlined by the JVTA, is surprising…

Tyranny By Consensus 

Los Angeles County and the porn industry are at “a stalemate” over a mandatory condom requirement, according to criminal and constitutional lawyer Paul Cambria Jr…”Measure B”…was approved by L.A. voters in 2012, and has been embroiled in legal challenges ever since…Both a U.S. district court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Vivid’s argument that the condom law violates the First Amendment…But…affirmed the lower court’s decision to enjoin several key provisions…including stipulations that noncompliant production companies could have their permits taken away and a provision related to searches and seizures…The state can still go after filmmakers under California’s occupational safety rules, however…the agency’s heart doesn’t seem to be in enforcement…Karen Fuller Tynan…who specializes in adult-industry cases…helped one client settle with the agency for $685—down from an initial attempt to fine the company more than $20,000 for “lack of barrier protection” in a film scene.  She also represented porn company Evil Angel…they went to trial, and half way through the first morning in court the agency dropped all charges related to condoms…

The Public Eye

This interview with retired madam Jami Rodman is overblown & sensationalized, as such interviews tend to be when the interviewed sex worker was connected to some kind of scandal.  But the more the public sees us as real people, the harder it will be to keep the “sex trafficking” lie afloat.

Bottleneck

How Laws Regulating Sex Work Ignore Workers Themselves” is another good example of the stupid, evil laws created by amateurs to “regulate” sex workers, justified under the excuse of “protecting” us from our own choices.  Click to open the image at right, then click again to enlarge.

Checklist

Fellow librarians: this is bullshit.  It is a serious breach of your professional ethics to support the surveillance state against patrons:

…More than 800 staff members at all of San Diego’s 36 library locations recently received training on how to spot sex trafficking victims, how to start a conversation with them, and ultimately how to steer them to the appropriate resources for help…Local law enforcement statistics show an alarming rise in sex…trafficking cases.*  San Diego is one of the top 10 worst cities in America for human trafficking**, and…it is the second most lucrative industry in the region, right behind drug trafficking.^  “It’s a big problem with gangs,” said [library director Misty] Jones. “Gangs are actually trafficking people more so than trafficking drugs now”^^…

*  No, they don’t.   **No, it isn’t.
^ No, it isn’t.        ^^No, they aren’t.

Opting Out

New Zealand bureaucrat imagines he can stop people from seeing online porn he doesn’t like, despite the fact that Australia abandoned a similar censorship scheme as unworkable:

…deputy chief censor Jarred Mullen detailed the harm that [he pretends] increasingly extreme pornography that can cause, and outlined some possible steps towards regulating it.  These steps could include an ISP level ban, where pornography viewers have to “opt in” to viewing pornographic content, similar to that of the United Kingdom’s…Current censorship law…already bans certain types of pornography, including [BDSM & scat]…Censors also look at whether the pornography “degrades or dehumanises or demeans any person,” but this does not necessarily result in a ban.  The censor’s office reviews every DVD released in New Zealand, as well as anything customs seize at the border, but their control over online market is essentially non-existent…

All-Purpose Excuse

in California…an elected official [is] attempting to use the latest law-and-order magic words—”human trafficking“—to push for mandatory decryption on smart phones…Jim Cooper wants to order smartphone manufacturers to be capable of decrypting and providing access to their products on demand…Cooper [bloviated]…”We’re going after…people who are doing bad and evil things.  Human trafficking trumps privacy, no ifs, ands, or buts about it“…

Moving Pictures 

Yet another ridiculous “sex trafficking” fakumentary:

…Filmmaker Gunther Meisse II teamed up with…Mark Lovely to create a…30-minute documentary on human trafficking, “Shadow in the Heartland”…The pair hope to [sell] the documentary…to schools throughout the state so teachers can show it in…schools where it can be seen by young people who are most vulnerable to human trafficking…In 2013, Ohio ranked fifth among all states for calls to the Nation Human Trafficking Hot Line.  Each year an estimated 1,078 Ohio children become victims…

Stupor Bowl (#601)

This is the typical “Super Bowl sex trafficking” story now; it debunks the specific gypsy whore myth while still accepting the greater “sex trafficking” myth:

Media briefs screamed into inboxes, blaring in all caps that the Super Bowl is NOT the largest human trafficking event in the world.  But…officials from the D.A.’s office and City Hall took the mic at Boeddeker Park to declare human trafficking an invisible scourge that haunts us 365 days a year…It’s hard to say how what began as an urban legend became the animus for ad campaigns and undercover stings involving everyone from local police departments to the FBI to the Department of Homeland Security…The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women reported that in 2008, 2009, and 2011, local law enforcement observed “no increases in sex work-related arrests” during the Super Bowl…judging by statistics, San Francisco is a hub of the global trade in humans.  The city has the 13th-highest number of child sex trafficking cases in the country…Many victims are shuttled through brothels, massage parlors, and other underground channels, while some are never counted at all…

But because the rescue industry can see the end of the hysteria is coming, it’s really trying to milk this Super Bowl for everything it can get:

…Traffickers from all over the nation and local traffickers already here are believed to gravitate toward the thousands of fans in town for the game.  Lisa Blanchard, executive director of the Grateful Garment Project, believes a sizable number of girls and boys trapped in the sex trade will be arrested or detained, enough to persuade her to organize Sunday’s backpack-stuffing event…”We’re already a hot spot…so when you bring in a big event like the Super Bowl, common sense tells you there will be an increase.”  Her…group assembled two dozen or so volunteers…to fill 165 backpacks with several items, including fleece pants and sweatshirts, underwear, socks, toiletries, flashlights and books — memoirs by people who survived the illicit trade.  Blanchard said the youths would need the clothing and items because they’re dressed “scarcely, almost naked,” when they’re [arrested]…by police…

The idea that “trafficking” fanatics arrive at their beliefs by anything remotely involving common sense is hilarious, but it may not be as funny as this:

The Archdiocese of New Orleans is calling on all Catholics to take a stand against human trafficking.  They want people to fast from social media on February 1…“the…day of Prayer and Awareness coincides well with two major events that cause a spike in human trafficking activity:  the Super Bowl (February 7) and, locally, Mardi Gras (February 9),” the Archdiocese said…Barbarella orgasmatron

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#605) 

You almost have to feel sorry for geeks, wanking to their ludicrous fantasies of a day when they only have to pay once for sex instead of every time.  But really, the idea that computers or highfalutin’ 3D goggles could ever replace actual women is deeply misogynistic at best, and misanthropic at worst:

…The world’s oldest profession is under attack from the newest…VR displays video through screens that strap to your face and create lifelike scenes…[Nevada brothel] Sheri’s Ranch has taken notice of the changes shaking the porn industry and is worried they could be bad for business…Demand for sex might be a constant, but how people go about getting it done has changed.  These days, they’re not paying for it like they used to. In 1948, 69 percent of American men reported having at least one experience with a prostitute, according to a study by The Kinsey Institute.  By the 1990s, that fell to as little as 15 percent…

No, it didn’t.  Honestly, repeatedly refuting this bullshit gets exhausting.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#605)

Contrary to a…report by CNBC, picked up by numerous other media outlets, Penthouse is not shutting down its print magazine.  According to [managing director] Kelly Holland…the magazine is launching a digital edition, [but] that will be a companion to, not a replacement for, its print publication…

Vendetta (#607)

Noah Berlatsky on Swanee Hunt’s HackTrafficking4Good scheme:

…the righteous, adrenalin-fueled approach to battling sex trafficking isn’t likely to help much of anyone.  The statistics on the site are grossly exaggerated and confused.  The claim that hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of sex trafficking is based on what the Washington Post calls “nonsense facts,” and the 12-14 year age of entry is similarly dubious.  In fact, the whole narrative that pimps are systematically kidnapping children and forcing them into sexual slavery doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.  Most underage people…engage in survival sex because they are fleeing abusive situations at home…not because they are in the thrall of criminal gangs.  The vision of noble hackers helping police to swoop in and save exploited women is dear to the hearts of anti-prostitution groups like conference sponsor Demand Abolition.  But it’s also fanciful—not least because police are in fact one of the chief dangers faced by sex workers…But the HackTrafficking4Good conference doesn’t see law enforcement as a potential threat.  Instead, the conference is focused on helping police with surveillance…

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