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Posts Tagged ‘United Kingdom’

FOSTA/SESTA…proved that the government can successfully confuse the public by using scary but vapid words like “sex trafficking” and enact a law to wreak havoc with the internet.  –  Scott Greenfield

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

This guy’s too pathetic to make it as a sex worker; he should’ve stayed a cop:

A [cop] from Sussex, England has been sacked after being caught…Using his sick days to moonlight as a male prostitute…Chief Constable Giles York…said it wasn’t the actual prostituting that got [Richard] Holder fired, but rather how it affected his performance as a detective.  York accused Holder of a “pattern of disruptive behavior that has been on the verge of criminal at times” and says he struggled with “under performance”…Holder is the second Sussex Police officer to have been discovered moonlighting as a prostitute in less than two years.  In 2016, constable Daniel Moss was let go for doing sex work while he was on sick leave.  And in in 2015, Inspector Lee Lyons was fired after admitting he contacted prostitutes he met while on duty…

The More the Better 

The more people see “mommy whores” like this, the more they’ll realize harlotry is mundane:

…Jordyn Smith…has held a variety of jobs — from serving as a cocktail waitress to being an exotic dancer — to offset the costs of raising her teenage daughter.  Currently…the Las Vegas, Nev. resident is…employed…Through a website called WhatsYourPrice, Smith is being paid to go on dates and maintain [what she absurdly claims are] platonic relationships with men…It’s…fairly similar to Seeking Arrangement…or…being a prostitute, [but like most halfway whores] Smith insists that this process is different because of…legality…

I really wish these dumbasses would stop trying to pretend there’s no sex involved in their sex work, though; nobody believes them so it just makes them look stupid and dishonest.

Where Are the Protests? (#415)

It’s not “trafficking” when that would be inconvenient for a government:

Two Vietnamese men who were smuggled into Ireland to work in a cannabis grow house containing nearly €1.8m of [plants] have been jailed for two-and-a-half years.  One of the men travelled to Ireland in a shipping container and thought he would be working on a farm, while the other thought he would be working as a chef…Ngog Toan Vu…and Thang Nguen Van…each pleaded guilty to one count of cultivating cannabis without a licence…[after an “investigation”] had concluded that neither man was a victim of human trafficking…

Choke Point (#610)

Because we’re choked out of the mainstream financial system, a lot of adult businesses are forced to use dodgy payment processors:

Choice Bank Ltd. told accountholders…that it has been forced into a “liquidity-constrained position” and has suspended all withdrawals from deposit accounts, as well as other outbound payment activities.  Choice Bank, the card issuer for several adult payment solutions, said that as it progresses through its current position, “the bank is confident that all its depositors, cardholders and creditors will be kept whole”…the Belize City financial institution maintains a strong balance sheet with total equity including paid up capital and accumulated retained earnings in excess of $26 million…and statutory liquidity ratio of 74.59 percent…

To Protect and Serve (#628)

A rare victory for sex workers over pigs:

Nearly five years after the first of a series of police raids on San Diego strip clubs, a federal judge…ruled that a Municipal Code section allowing such “inspections” is illegal…Still to be decided: Whether the city broke Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures…The court didn’t rule on damages — how much money the dancers get…A trial on damages is expected, though…

To Molest and Rape 

From the same “authorities” who claim they want to “protect women” from consensual sex:

A woman held at an immigration detention center in Washington state…was raped by a medical worker…Another woman…[was] maced…at an immigration detention center in Florida.  Then…[a pig] sat on her…[with] his “erect penis on her butt”…[and his cronies] filmed her as she showered to wash off the mace…a man…[was] threatened…with deportation after he refused to [suck an agent’s cock]…Many other women and men held in immigration detention across the country reported routine searches that turned into groping and fondling…and threatened with retaliation if they spoke up…These…are just a sample of hundreds of complaints of sexual…abuse in immigration detention obtained by The Intercept in response to a public records request…The reports…include 1,224 complaints filed between 2010 and September 2017…But in earlier responses, officials…indicated that the office received some 33,000 complaints between 2010 and 2016 alleging a wide range of abuses in immigration detention…sexual assault and harassment in immigration detention are not only widespread but systemic, and enabled by an agency that regularly fails to hold itself accountable…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#656)

Liz Hilton of Empower on “rescue raids” in Thailand:

…Entrapment operations have increased and sometimes the operations can go on for up to three months, while they try to collect evidence.  These are followed by raids, and this raid was 50 armed soldiers at least to catch 22 little women.  They must feel very brave…It’s one stop shopping.  They can raid for trafficking but then use a prostitution law, immigration law, migrant worker act – you can even do some drug testing if you like, or claim money laundering.  We once were in a raid they even got them for playing music that has a copyright…

The End of the Beginning (#718)

Another setback in getting rid of these tyrannical and unconstitutional laws:

…the Illinois Supreme Court upheld a state law banning sex offenders from public parks, overturning a 2017 appeals court ruling that deemed the statute “unconstitutional on its face because it bears no reasonable relationship to protecting the public.”  The seven members of the higher court unanimously disagreed…In reaching that conclusion, the justices relied on alarming claims about recidivism among sex offenders, even while acknowledging that the claims have been discredited.  The decision, written by Justice Mary Jane Theis, shows how fear overrides logic in dealing with sex offenders and how toothless “rational basis” review can be, allowing legislators not only to draw their own judgments but to invent their own facts…

Too Close To Home (#825) 

Since judges have become the handmaidens of prosecutors, this is no surprise:

A King County Superior Court judge has ruled that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office did not have a conflict of interest with a national anti-prostitution group when prosecutors pursued charges against men arrested in the shutdown of a popular sex work reviewing website, The Review Board (TRB)…lawyers for one of these men, Charles Peters, asked that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s office be disqualified from pursuing his case…because of a conflict of interest…But…Judge John Chun found that Peters’ lawyers did not prove…that the Prosecuting Attorney’s relationship with Demand Abolition “materially limit[ed] the prosecutor’s ability to make judgments free from improper influences”…Impartiality is not required for prosecutors under Washington State law…

Censor Chic (#827)

Fascism allows for an indirect form of censorship just as effective as direct suppression:

The idea of the government swooping in with rules, limitation, potential prosecutions, isn’t good for business.  Even if they can be eventually thwarted by courts protecting their rights, they will be tied up in litigation for years, at great expense, and party to misinformation campaigns to make them look like the bad guys…What we did to Backpage…we can do to you, Zuck.  Nice platform you have there.  It would be a shame if anything happened to it.  And every government wants its own piece of control.  California believes it should be in charge of the internet, while Germany…”requires companies to remove hate speech from their platforms within 24 hours or face potentially crippling fines“…much of what constitutes hate speech in Germany is speech critical of its government and officials…every SJW…will be sucked into supporting it, much as their fellow emotionalists found SESTA acceptable because it used the terrifying “sex trafficking” sales pitch to confuse the useful idiots and obscure its greater significance…Can the government get away with…pressuring platforms to self-censor upon threat of intervention?  They already have, with the public’s blessing.

This Means War

The US thinks it has the right to war on all sex workers, even those in other countries like Canada:

When the U.S. government shut down Backpage…sex workers in Toronto — who used the site to advertise — started calling a local advocacy group in a panic.  “People are frantic,” said Monica Forrester, who works for Maggie’s Toronto…“Because they have mortgages…and now their main source of income is gone, so they’re really scrambling”…sex workers who were used to finding clients through Backpage ads may feel pushed into working the streets of Toronto…

And New Zealand:

New Zealand sex workers are already feeling the impact of an online sex work forum being shut down…Many sex workers have spoken out against the shutdown, saying it will make the industry more dangerous for those who rely on these forums for support and safety…Backpage was used quite widely in New Zealand by those who couldn’t afford to list ads on escort directory New Zealand Girls…

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Last week was one of those ones where I just could not get caught up, no matter how hard I tried.  I can’t quite put my finger on the reason; I didn’t have an unusually-high number of work hours or anything like that, and I wasn’t traveling or doing an excessive number of errands  So I suppose it must’ve just been the general chaos resulting from FOSTA and the Backpage shutdown, including fielding lots of communications from worried ladies and clients and trying to decide how to protect this blog (y’all will be glad to know it’s all backed up and I’m currently working with a generous reader to figure out how to re-domicile it in a country which isn’t willing to lobotomize itself in a vain attempt to get rid of whores).  But for whatever reason, I ended the week in no better a position writing-wise than when I started, which is actually quite irritating to me given that I’m leaving tonight for Los Angeles and won’t be home until Saturday.  Which reminds me:  the dates for my trip to the UK are May 17th to 30th, and though I won’t have a lot of free time I can probably squeeze a few dates in.  So if you’d like to see me, let me know and I’ll see what we can do.  Anyhow, I’m hoping to manage this week a little better than last, but I don’t think it’s likely I’ll be treated to seeing a cartoon version of myself this week.  Oh, well, one can’t have everything.

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The major purpose of [FOSTA] is to…punish anyone who…engages in sex work.  –  Steven Thrasher

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

A Toledo [cop] was issued a summons…during a prostitution sting at a Columbus area hotel…Mack Collins…was not arrested…

Gullible’s Travels

I reckon the panic industry’s been too busy with Trump, guns, opiates and “sex trafficking” to come up with as many dumb “teen fad” panics as they used to:

…educators are warning about a “condom challenge” being spread online by YouTube videos and social media…The challenge involves  snorting an unwrapped condom up one nostril, then pulling the condom from the throat out the mouth…Snorting a condom up your nose not only poses a choking hazard but also puts you at risk for allergic reactions and infections…women [who] accidentally swallow…condoms [can] developing ailments ranging from pneumonia to appendicitis…The condom snorting challenge may eclipse the most recent viral video fad among teenagers, which involved eating brightly colored Tide Pods

Yeah, I’m sure this is going to be so much more popular than video games.

Bogeymen

Five years in prison for talking to someone online:

A Brockton man who recruited women online for prostitution, including an undercover police officer, was sentenced to five years in state prison for human trafficking…Shakwaan Simpkins…had “used a website with the express purpose of recruiting a woman to engage in prostitution,” District Attorney Marian Ryan said…

That’s all he did: talked to a pig on the internet.  Five years in a cage, at a cost to the taxpayers higher than if he were sent to Harvard.  I’m sure the good puritans of Massachusetts feel safer now that this evil texter is locked up.

Censor Chic

Corporations are becoming the favored tool of censors:

Earlier this month, the European Commission published a new [diktat] demanding that internet companies remove…content flagged to them in less than an hour — or face legislation forcing them to do so….Google and other big tech companies still publish transparency reports, but they now seems to serve a different purpose:  to convince authorities in Europe and elsewhere that the internet giant is serious about [censorship on bureaucratic demand]…The more takedowns it can show, the better…Expect additional “transparency” designed to underline Google’s own [internally-generated censorship]…the…report does not yet include a full accounting for YouTube…But Google has hinted it will soon produce a dedicated report for the video sharing site.  When and if it does, it promises to show not thousands but millions of annual takedowns, many for copyright violations, but also many for breaking “community rules”…The pace of private sector censorship is astounding — and it’s growing exponentially…

All-Purpose Excuse (#718)

Fans of the Democratic party need to remember their team did half the work of creating this lunacy:

Roseanne Barr was under attack this weekend for supporting President Trump’s efforts to end human trafficking.  CNN and other MSM media outlets claimed Barr’s tweet supporting the President’s efforts relied on a conspiracy theory while dismissing President Trump’s efforts. Roseanne was right.  Our analysis shows that arrests for human trafficking were up 150% in 2017 and are on track to be up nearly 500% in 2018 over 2016 numbers…

Actually, she’s not right; click on the title for Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s analysis of these bogus numbers, which come from the tinfoil-hat “Pizzagate” crows of which Barr is a member.  However, I must point out that given the vague definition of “human trafficking”, it’s easy for any executive to increase “human trafficking” arrests by simply ordering cops and prosecutors to charge basically everyone they arrest in prostitution, immigration or immigrant-labor stings with “human trafficking”.  Given Trump’s ICE pogroms, I’m surprised it has only gone up by 500%.

Eternal Vigilance (#732)

Puritans are still upset about the fact that some women are comfortable paying our rent (and other expenses) with sex:

…Renting rooms for sexual favours is seen as a growing menace by [busybodies], and a byproduct of a housing crisis where young people are unable to find somewhere to live without spending exorbitant sums.  The [so-called] problem has become particularly marked in university towns, where young women are targeted by rogue landlords.  But while then justice secretary David Lidington last year said such offers may breach the Sexual Offences Act, there is frustration that more is not being done.  “Since last year, there has not been a single arrest, let alone a conviction, let alone anybody actually going to jail for it,” says [politician] Peter Kyle…[who] has consistently called for landlords who offer accommodation in exchange for sex to be prosecuted [for upsetting Kyle’s delicate fee-fees]…

Backwards into the Future (#778) 

Note that the headline blames the girls rather than the busybodies who want them unemployed:

The Global Fund is pulling out of a controversial partnership with Heineken but not for the reason most cited by critics.  [Crypto-moralists]  had been blasting…the Global Fund…for backing a partnership with Heineken to “fight infectious diseases in Africa.”  Some activists said it was [better for people to die of malaria than]…to align with a product that can be detrimental to people’s health…The Global Fund  shrugged off that criticism for weeks.  The plan was for Heineken to use its extensive logistics and communications expertise to help the Fund deliver medical supplies.  Now the Fund says it’s suspending the deal not out of concern for the people who drink too much Heineken but…because of “the company’s use of female beer promoters in ways that expose them to sexual exploitation and health risks”…for more than a decade [anti-sex groups have moaned about]…the exploitation of “beer girls” in Southeast Asia, including women working to boost sales of Heineken in bars in Cambodia.  Also known as “promotion girls,” these (primarily young) women encourage male customers to order a particular brand of beer.  The women earn relatively low wages, often survive off tips and…[often] moonlight as sex workers…

Cooties (#811)

Cops trying to draw others into their “sex slave” fantasies are a more dangerous version of time-wasters who call whores to masturbate to the sound of our voices:

Human traffickers [are fantasized to] be putting up sex workers in Cumbrian bed-and-breakfast businesses before moving them on to pop-up brothels…[cops pretend] that “a significant” proportion of illegal moving of people nationally is being carried out under the guise of tourism…[cops] urged business bosses and the public to [spy on their fellow citizens]…Detective Superintendent Lesley Hanson said…”We [masturbate to the fantasy] that pop-up brothels are set up across the county and there are victims forced into prostitution”…

To Molest and Rape (#814) 

Seeing this one power being taken from cops is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless:

Maryland is among 35 states that lack laws prohibiting police from [raping] those they arrest…New York’s legislature recently voted to change its law…Brooke Lierman…wants to make the same change in Maryland.  Her bill to do that has passed the House.  She told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee…that she was moved to push for the change after reading reports about women who were raped while in police custody [and the rapists get away with it by claiming it was consensual]…

Disaster

Now they notice.  Good going, Gay, Inc!

…More people should care about sex workers’ rights.  But if you think none of this applies to you because you’re not queer or into kink or sex work, think again: the US Congress wants to further regulate sex by way of the internet, and most people’s modern sex lives interact with the internet.  Craigslist shut down its entire personal section because of the overreaching congressional desire to control sex work.  And there’s no reason Congress couldn’t similarly intimidate Tinder or Grindr to remove you or shut down entirely as it has Craigslist…the real sex panic is not due to feminism run amok, but due to the patriarchal, homophobic, transantagonistic, theocratic desire of the US Congress to control sex workers – and, by extension, to smother the sexual desires of any of us who don’t want to conform to their puritanical ways.

Here are a few more of those in that “any of us” category:

…Another website taken offline was Pounced.org, a dating site for “furries” – or devotees of anthropomorphic animal characters who like to dress in costumes…“with limited resources and a small volunteer staff, our risk for operating the site has now significantly increased…if someone posts an ad looking to exchange sex…and we don’t catch it, is that facilitating prostitution?”…Microsoft…issued a change to its terms of service which will ban “offensive language”…from its services, including Skype…YourDominatrix.com ended all US listings, with a note saying it was “due to a recent bill passed by Congress”…the escort forums on “Hung Angels” shut down…VerifyHim, a site devoted to helping sex workers stay safe by screening their clients, also removed its discussion forums…On Twitter, sex workers…were passing around safety tips and “self-censoring” advice for the new era, while others were converting to secure email accounts and offshore internet hosting sites…

Morality Lessons (#826) 

Looks like at least one dangerous censor-moron is on his way out:

New revelations about the man who authored trendy anti-porn and digital censorship legislation has killed its chances in…Rhode Island…and may doom it…in the 17 other states with similar proposals…Chris Sevier…sometimes called [his brainchild] the “Elizabeth Smart Law”…[but] Smart recently demanded that Sevier stop using her name…It’s a bad legal month all around for Sevier, who had sued in federal court for the right to marry his laptop…A federal judge in Utah threw out the case…The whole fiasco isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of how a lot of state officials approach the lawmaking process.  At minimum, you’d think someone…would put a smidge of effort into finding out basic background about the people whose whims they’re attempting to enable into law…

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It was very similar in appearance to narcotics.  –  all-purpose cop excuse

Last week, Winnie Pond sent me this video of a cat watching a horror movie, which is pretty amusing.  The links above it (with the exception of “laugh”) were provided by Tim CushingPopehatScott GreenfieldMyles JackmanEmma Evans, and Savannah Sly, in that order.

From the Archives

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Well-adjusted people realize that words have different meanings in different contexts.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Mary Magdalene 

No, it isn’t “orthodoxy” that Mary Magdalene was a whore; quite the opposite, in fact:

A new film about Mary Magdalene sets out to refute the commonly held assumption that she was a prostitute redeemed by Christ…A new film, though, flips the script to show Mary in a new light – as an independent free-thinker who…deserves to be considered as an apostle in her own right…This is deeply contentious territory that flies in the face of the commonly accepted orthodoxy that Mary of Magdala was a prostitute…It is a notion that has been perpetuated for centuries – partly thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, who had Mary sing about the “many men” she’s “had” in Jesus Christ Superstar…Put all the evidence together and it is easy to conclude that Mary has been the victim of 1,400 years’ worth of character assassination…

Critic Neil Smith’s madonna-whore complex is on full display here; portraying Mary as an “independent free-thinker” is supportive of the idea she was a harlot.  Before the advent of the currently-fashionable “victim” nonsense, we were always seen as independent, uppity women who won’t mind our “place”; in fact, that’s exactly why patriarchal religions dislike us.  But then, I guess we couldn’t expect much from a mind that thinks it makes sense to blame Jesus Christ Superstar (recorded October 1970) for a 1400-year-old tradition.

The Truth About “The Truth About…”

Another of those nonexistent false sexual assault accusations:

Thomas Mowbray didn’t even know Eboni Sanders.  They both lived [in Pittsburgh, PA] in the same…building…In early February 2016, they ran into each other in the laundry room.  Mr. Mowbray claims Ms. Sanders came on to him and that he declined…Twelve days after that, Pittsburgh police charged Mr. Mowbray with indecent assault after Ms. Sanders claimed that he had groped her…The charges marked the beginning of a nightmarish two years in the criminal justice system for Mr. Mowbray…and his girlfriend, Patrese Thompson …Over that time, Pittsburgh police filed six criminal cases against Mr. Mowbray and two against Ms. Thompson — all based on shocking allegations made by Ms. Sanders of gun-toting assailants, assaults, threatening letters and phone calls, stalking, contract killings and knife-wielding attacks…Mowbray spent more than six months in jail.  But on Feb. 22, the last of the cases was withdrawn by…prosecutors.  Police had finally [accepted] what the couple had long insisted — that Ms. Sanders was lying.  Now she is the one facing criminal charges.  “For two years of our lives, this woman has been using the criminal justice system to terrorize us,” Ms. Thompson said…

Too Close To Home

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

Three men arrested in a 2016 prostitution sting in Bellevue are suing King County and Bellevue police for defamation, [explaining that] officials exaggerated their crimes to satisfy a private foundation that provided a grant for the [pogrom]…Keith Emmanuel, Richard Homchick, and Charles Peters…were only charged with second-degree promoting prostitution during the sweep…However, during press conferences and other public appearances, Bellevue Chief Steve Mylett, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, and former sheriff John Urquhart made statements that made it seem like the three men had engaged in crimes like rape and human trafficking…Those statements were made, the suit alleges, to satisfy Demand Abolition…[billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt’s] foundation that had given the county a grant to [harass sex workers] and [persecute clients].  Demand Abolition gave the prosecutor’s office a $50,000 grant in 2014…and has continued to give grants each year since.  “Defendants have deliberately conflated that prostitution charge with human trafficking and sex slavery as part of a concerted plan to secure private funding by generating publicity and manipulating media coverage of the arrests,” the suit [states]…To keep the grant, the prosecutor’s office had to meet performance targets…increasing the arrests of [men] by 50 percent…

Full of Themselves (#614)

California produces the most horrifying and racist anti-massage-parlor propaganda, hands down:

Doug Bennett, the founder of Magdalene Hope, a [prohibitionist group]…and his [gang] of [busybodies]…[literally spy on Asian-owned massage businesses,] spending their evenings watching the parlors, [stalking] masseuses after they leave and gathering evidence to pass on to the…[cops]…Massage parlors have been [dysphemized as] “modern-day brothels” and “prostitution rings.”  They are [fantasized] by [“trafficking” fetishists] to be storefronts for a complex network of human traffickers shuffling victims throughout the region, multiple [conspiracy theorists, pigs, white supremacists]…and [other tinfoil-hat wearers] said on and off the record…

Naturally, the California Massage Therapy Council is quoted.  Don’t miss the part about how Bennett and his cronies pray together before literally stalking women late at night, and be sure to click on that link in the first line for a look at one of “Magdalene Hope’s” hilariously-bad propaganda ads.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

What hysteria about “crime” in Italy would be complete without bringing in the Mafia?  This lurid, self-righteous mess should serve as a warning to clients to be careful which “journalists” they talk to; this unethical, pompous fantasist fully admits that the only reason she didn’t out a man she interviewed, despite her promise that she wouldn’t, was that he had a wife and children.  Yet she clearly sees herself as moral while the women who honestly sell sex and keep their clients’ confidences are “degraded victims” and the clients who enable them to earn a living are “rapists” who “keep this lurid business of sex slavery alive”.

Opting Out (#700)

“At least one person noted that the UK was at risk of looking like idiots”:

Twitter and other social media companies have so far refused to engage with the government’s plans to introduce age checks to limit underage access to online pornography…Lord Erroll…who chairs the Digital Policy Alliance (DPA)…admitted the ultimate sanction intended for sites that fail to implement AV is unlikely to be applied to Twitter.  Unlike Instagram and Facebook, Twitter has no rules against the posting of sexually explicit material and hosts many accounts that promote publishers and stars of pornography.  “The challenge with that is if you block Twitter, people will just say this is an overreaction, it’s mad, and it would not go down well in public,” Erroll said…

For Those Who Think Legalization is a Good Idea (#737)

India’s pigheaded resistance to decriminalization continues:

On February 28…the Union cabinet approved the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018…[it] falls into the familiar trap of trying to use criminal law to solve a social problem.  The IPC already criminalises trafficking…The new Bill introduces 15 new offences on top of this, and introduces numerous…ambigu[ous]…clauses…[which] unfairly target…marginalised actors and rely…heavily on criminalisation…It only creates further confusion by introducing existing offences in the new packaging of “aggravated offences”, adding more layers of bureaucracy and complicating enforcement…The Bill…relies on the raid, rescue and rehabilitation model, which…is nothing but victim detention, resulting in the complete loss of liberty for an adult woman.  The rehabilitation process disregards the wishes and choices of the “rescued” person, especially sex workers.  Such a paternalistic approach…ignores the agency of adult women to determine what is good for them…

Torture Chamber (#770) 

The state wants us to call these subhuman monsters “correctional officers”:

Jailhouse video reveals California sheriff’s deputies watching and sometimes laughing as a schizophrenic man who had been strapped naked to a chair for 46 hours writhes on the floor of his cell, loses consciousness and eventually dies…the county [was forced to pay Andrew] Holland’s family $5 million for his death, which a medical examiner determined was caused by a pulmonary embolism…[directly caused by] the [inhumane] restraint chair…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#811)

What terrible “crimes” these “gangsters” are accused of:  not paying licenses.  Assisting migrants.  Illegally subdividing a building.  Doing their employees’ laundry.  The fiends!

A triad-controlled prostitution racket that brought sex workers from Europe, Asia and mainland China into Hong Kong has been broken up in one of the city’s biggest anti-vice crackdowns with the arrest of 75 people…the syndicate had turned 72 subdivided flats into one-woman brothels…four vice establishments and unlicensed massage centres in the same district were also controlled by the gang…the syndicate had its own laundry centre…and supplied towels to sex workers…police arrested 14 men and 61 women…

Overdue

“Fainting-couch feminism” is a brilliant coinage:

…[Massachusetts politician] Michelle DuBois…has been calling for the removal of a statehouse sign that reads “General Hooker Entrance” (so inscribed because it stands opposite a statue of [US Civil War] General Hooker), which she described as an affront to “women’s dignity”…If that isn’t the ultimate in futile, fainting-couch feminism, I’m not sure what is…attitudes like hers—which treat women as excessively fragile beings, and which posit that female “dignity” is diminished by even so slight an association with sex work as walking under a door that says “hooker”—just props up old-fashioned and patriarchal ideas about sex and gender…

Cops and Robbers (#813)

As I surmised, this sleazy attempt to hurt sex workers’ income is bankrolled by billionaire sociopath Swanee Hunt:

[Pigs trying to harm sex workers] are using cyber-based “patrols” to [harass potential clients]…[in] Los Angeles…Working in partnership with Demand Abolition, a [vanity project] focused on eradicating [sex workers]…sheriff’s deputies post ads to make contact with would-be buyers.  Once phone contact is made, detectives identify themselves as members of the [vice squad]…advise the caller that solicitation is a crime and offer referrals to sex addiction treatment.  Investigators also use electronic “bots” to send [propaganda] text messages to buyers…During the first month of operations this year, nearly 1,900 conversations took place with potential sex buyers which prompted more than 30,000 text warnings designed to disrupt [sex workers’ business]…

Guinea Pigs (#818) 

Every New Orleanian knows that cockroaches can’t stand sunlight:

[After] The Verge reported the existence of a six-year predictive policing collaboration between the New Orleans Police Department and Palantir Technologies…which…was unknown to the public and key members of the city council prior to publication…outgoing…Mayor Mitch Landrieu…[said] his office would not renew its pro bono contract with Palantir, which has been extended three times since 2012…The mayor did not respond to repeated requests for comment from…media since news of the partnership broke.  There is also potential legal fallout from the revelation…[which was not included in] discovery evidence [for a number of criminal trials]…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

When an incredibly bad law skates through a legislature, follow the money:

FOSTA…offer[s] a powerful incentive for online platforms to police the speech of users and advertisers.  A perceived violation of a state’s anti-trafficking laws could lead to authorities seeking civil or criminal penalties, or a barrage of lawsuits.  So, why are movie studios involved at all in this debate?  Hollywood is lobbying for laws that will force online intermediaries to shut down user speech.  That’s what they’ve been seeking since practically the beginning of the Internet…For legacy software and entertainment companies, breaking down [Section 230] is another road to a controlled, filtered Internet—one that looks a lot like cable television.  Without safe harbors, the Internet will be a poorer place—less free for new ideas and new business models.  That suits some of the gatekeepers of the pre-Internet era just fine…An Internet that’s policed by “copyright bots” is what major film studios and record have advocated for more than a decade now…

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[The sex] industry is filled with strong, smart, very business-savvy women.  –  Lynn Comella

The Notorious Badge 

Though the headline links this to Stormy Daniels’ current newsworthiness, it’s actually a brief look at women in porn:

Thomas…Edison’s 1896 creation capturing [actress May] Irwin and actor John C. Rice doing something naughty caused a nationwide uproar as newspaper editorials declared the end of American morality and called for police action in theaters that dared to show the 18-second flick…“The Kiss” is now part of the Library of Congress’s catalogue…By today’s standards, of course, May Irwin wouldn’t qualify as a porn star.  A vaudeville actress, she channeled the infamy of “The Kiss” into a lucrative stage and silent film career…Gloria Leonard started out as a bond trader on Wall Street in the 1960s.  She left to go into public relations, then jumped to a film company that went under in 1974.  She was an unemployed, single mom when she decided to give acting a shot…the first role she snagged in 1974 was in a porn flick…that…led to a 10-year career in front of the camera, until she became a director, then editor of a nudie magazine.  There, she came up with an idea to increase circulation by teasing upcoming features with recordings in sultry voices…and the phone sex industry was born…Annie Sprinkle, who had her first experience with porn as a ticket-taker at a Tucson, theater showing Deep Throat in 1972, became a top-grossing actress in the 1980s…she turned the industry upside-down with her gonzo, feminist take on porn.  She produced educational videos and held workshops and created porn for women…“Porn is one place where women — the performers — get paid more, double, even triple what men are paid”…

Dirty Laundry

Your periodic reminder of the evil, psychopathic behavior of the organizations behind prohibitionist group Ruhama:

A survivor of the Magdalene laundries who bore a daughter after being raped by a priest…still bears the emotional and physical scars of the horrific abuse she suffered at the hands of sadistic nuns more than 70 years ago.  Mary Merritt…now aged 87, was born in a Dublin workhouse and never met her mother.  She was sent to a Sisters of Mercy orphanage…at the age of two for 14 years where she was whipped by a nun across the hips and back for no reason…But that was nothing compared to the horrors awaiting her when she turned 16 and was sent to the High Park Magdalene laundry for stealing apples.  Aside from working as a virtual slave, she was left blind in her right eye from the toxic material in the laundries and was later raped by a priest after trying to run away…she was stripped of all dignity – even her name – before learning she was pregnant with the priest’s child.  After giving birth to her daughter at the age of 23, she was sent to St Patrick’s Mother and Baby Home…for a year where she was granted just half an hour a day to see her daughter…She was then sent back to the Magdalene laundry…where…her daughter [was] adopted out without her permission while she worked as a virtual slave for another three years…She eventually managed to track down her daughter Carmel 40 years after she was born…

Torture Chamber

Just in case you thought screws restricted their petty sadism to the prisoners:

A transgender woman who tried to visit her incarcerated brother [reports] Louisiana prison [guards] ordered her to remove her underwear and told her she would have to reveal her genitalia before she could leave the facility.  The woman…says in a lawsuit filed [last week] that [screws] insisted on searching her vehicle after she refused to remove her pants and underwear…The suit says guards stopped China from entering the…prison last September after a body screening machine detected an “unknown object” in her pants…

Broken Record (#708) 

Quite possibly the stupidest “sex trafficking” story of the year so far:

“Young women are historically vulnerable to sexual…exploitation as a part of…spring break”…[fantasized] Haley Halverson…[of] the National Center on Sexual Exploitation…“Some young women could even fall prey to sex traffickers in this environment.”  It’s also important to recognize that male spring breakers who participate in the commercial sex industry, whether that’s strip clubs or purchasing people in prostitution, could be perpetuating the modern-day sexual slavery market…“The conditions surrounding spring break — such as a large influx of males, the celebratory atmosphere, high alcohol consumption, and having money to spend — can create an increased demand for sex trafficking,” she [fantasized].  “[Propaganda] from [Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz at] the Arizona School of Social Work [claimed] that any large event…becomes a desirable location for a sex trafficker to bring their victims”…

Most 10-to-a-room frat boys can’t even afford to hire a hooker for an hour, much less “purchase a person” (which would run into the tens of thousands, all factors considered).  And if all those girls are supposedly being “pressured” into giving sex away, how the hell is anybody supposed to sell it there?  Illogic doesn’t just run through this story; it gallops.

The Widening Gyre (#786)

There’s a xenophobic stink of the “blood libel” about this story and its treatment:

Up to 1,000 children could have suffered in Britain’s worst known abuse scandal…The rape hell of vulnerable young girls in one town – Telford – went on for a shocking 40 years…Girls as young as 11 have been lured from their families to be drugged, beaten and raped in an epidemic that, say victims, is still ongoing…Despite similar high-profile cases in Rochdale and Rotherham, authorities in Telford ­repeatedly failed to stamp out a network of abusers…Council staff viewed abused and trafficked children as “prostitutes” instead of victims…Authorities failed to keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of “racism”…

Opting Out (#810) 

UK politicians aren’t happy that people see their surveillance scheme for what it is:

The UK Government is to delay the introduction of age checks for pornographic websites…to the end of 2018.  The move has been welcomed by privacy campaigners who claim such a process would be an infringement of personal data…[which] would risk personal information being hacked and leaked, such as who watches gay porn and lesbian porn…[anti-censorship lawyer] Myles Jackman…said the delay was an admission that ministers had failed to understand the implications of the age capture…“the privacy risk was so severe that if all that data were hacked they would never be taken seriously again when it came to holding private citizens’ data, whether covertly or otherwise”…

Sex Workers Against Trafficking (#812)

If every “anti-trafficking” organization were like GAATW, there would be no “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Workers and workers association in different sectors, such as domestic work, fisheries or agriculture, are considered the experts in reducing exploitation and trafficking in their industry.  However, when it comes to the sex industry, sex workers and the organisations working with them, are rarely consulted in the development of anti-trafficking measures.  As a result, the anti-trafficking community has alienated a crucial ally that can dramatically improve efforts to prevent trafficking and identify cases of trafficking in the sex industry…the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women…conducted  research which documented the strategies that sex worker organisations employ to prevent and address violence, coercion and exploitation in the sex industry, including instances of human trafficking…All of them respond to women’s needs by providing person-centred, holistic, and non-judgemental support…they listen, advise, intervene and refer women, as dictated by their individual needs…Despite this important work, sex worker organisations remain…vilified by the anti-trafficking community…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

How to prop up a massive and turgid conglomeration of myths, lies and ignorance: don’t talk to anyone who actually knows anything about the subject:

Ivanka Trump…host[ed] a roundtable at the White House…to discuss controversial sex trafficking legislation that has created a rift in the tech industry…Those attending the meeting include [only politicians and representatives of huge companies.  The politicians are only those]…pushing bills that would…[gut] Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which essentially gives internet platforms immunity from liability for content posted by third parties…cutting into Section 230 will damage the legal framework that allows for free speech online and hurt smaller internet companies by forcing them to pour resources into scouring their sites for [criminalized] content…

Elephant in the Parlor (#820)

I’m quite enjoying this whole saga:

[Stormy Daniels] offered…to return $130,000 she received from Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer in 2016 for agreeing not to discuss the alleged relationship.  In exchange…[she] seeks an end to her deal to keep quiet…she…would then be allowed to “(a) speak openly and freely about her prior relationship with the President and the attempts to silence her and (b) use any publish any text messages, photos and/or videos…that she may have in her possession, all without fear of retribution and legal liability for damages”…The offer puts the president and [his lawyer]…in a challenging position.  If they agree…[Daniels] can speak openly about not only the sexual relationship…but also about…[the] “hush money”…If they reject the offer, they could be seen as effectively acknowledging the existence of a continuing effort to keep [Daniels] silent…

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Now is the moment for celebrities to give up the fantasy of saving “Jane Doe” and do the hard work of seeing and listening to people in the sex trades as fully formed, complex individuals who have actual names.  –  Alana Massey

Here We Go Again 

Here’s an interesting biography of Anthony Comstock, the deeply-deranged, self-loathing pervert behind the previous American crusade against “obscenity” and “pornography”.  Given that we’re currently deeply immersed in a very similar crusade (though driven this time by many pathological prudes rather than one), this two-year-old article might offer some insights which could prove useful…though I think it’s fascinating how moderns writing about such things (another example is “white slavery” hysteria) in smug or condemnatory tones never seem able to connect the Victorian campaigns to their modern counterparts.

Wise Investment 

Everyone harmed by prostitution laws needs to keep suing over them:

SWARM and ECP congratulate the three [UK] women who last week won in court the right not to reveal their criminal convictions for prostitution to prospective employers.  The women have multiple convictions for soliciting or loitering under the Street Offences Act, and their records will be amended to filter out these convictions…ECP and SWARM …[insist] that criminal records for prostitution should be fully expunged.  Under [this] court ruling the police will still have access to the information that someone has been convicted for soliciting…

Wise Investment (#428)

Evil laws and policies cause tremendous harm; here’s what happens when they’re repealed:

Increasing understanding of the mistakes of the past—and the violent impacts of taking action based on moral or ideological assumptions about sex workers and their lives—has changed the way sex work is viewed and monitored in Vancouver…police created a sex work enforcement guidelines policy, which clearly stated that adult consensual sex work would no longer be a priority…The City of Vancouver also adopted a policy of non-enforcement through their sex work response guidelines, which states explicitly that sex work is not a bylaw violation…The net result…has been de facto decriminalization of sex work in the city of Vancouver…Not only are crimes against sex workers being reported more often…but…there have been no murders of sex workers in Vancouver since 2009…

The Puritan Recrudescence

Though the silly notion that ejaculation saps a man’s vitality is a very old one, the even sillier “porn as abuse” belief is of recent vintage:

The [manager of the] Kansas City Royals [forced players to attend] a [propaganda session] for minor-league players…[organized by] anti-porn group “Fight the New Drug“…[which pretends] it is not religiously affiliated…general manager Dayton Moore is [obsessed with] the issue, and [though] the [supposed] goal is for players to be zeroed in on their performance for games…Moore [has in the past vomited out a lot of nonsense to reporters such as]…“pornography…what that does to the minds of players and the distractions, and how that leads to…abuse of women”…

The notion that healthy, physically-active young men can simply be ordered to be asexual was first imposed on the military by politicians, but now appears to be spreading.

Agony Aunt (#666) 

“Dear Prudence” gives good advice to a gay man whose lover has a sugar mama:

You don’t seem to have much of an issue with the arrangement qua arrangement if you’ve met her several times, enjoyed her company, and taken money from her yourself.  Your jealousy isn’t centered around the connection your boyfriend shares with his patron; it’s that his job requires significant emotional and romantic output on his part, and you want to make some space in your relationship where the two of you connect on a romantic rather than a merely domestic level…it’s very much worth talking about, especially if you make it clear that you’re not trying to discourage him from continuing with his patronage and that you support his work…

Pyrrhic Victory (#691) 

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

After the prosecution of a California doctor revealed the FBI’s ties to a Best Buy Geek Squad computer repair facility in Kentucky, new documents released to EFF show that the relationship goes back years.  The records also confirm that the FBI has paid Geek Squad employees as informants…The relationship potentially circumvents computer owners’ Fourth Amendment rights.  The documents…show that Best Buy officials have enjoyed a particularly close relationship with the agency for at least 10 years…Geek Squad employees were financially rewarded for finding child pornography.  Such a bounty would likely encourage Geek Squad employees to actively sweep for suspicious content…

Elephant in the Parlor (#815)  

Powerful men never learn that whores aren’t afraid of them:

…Trump’s lawyer is trying to silence adult-film star Stormy Daniels, obtaining a secret restraining order in a private arbitration proceeding and warning that she will face penalties if she publicly discusses a relationship with the president…The new pressure on Daniels…comes a day after she filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles court alleging that a nondisclosure agreement she made to keep quiet about an “intimate” relationship with Trump is invalid because he never signed it…[the] lawsuit says that Trump attorney Michael Cohen — who brokered the agreement…during the presidential campaign — attempted to “intimidate” [Daniels] and “shut her up” by initiating what it calls a “bogus arbitration proceeding” against her in Los Angeles on Feb. 27…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Teen Vogue and now Allure…it’s so heartening to see so many women’s fashion & beauty magazines recognizing that they owe their very existence to whores, and speaking up:

…FOSTA…[and] SESTA …target websites…that enable people in the sex trades to do their work safely and independently…[in a celeb-heavy PSA with Seth Meyers, Amy Schumer, and others] Schumer calls [Section 230] a “stupid loophole” [in the Communications  Decency Act]…Both those in the sex trade and those with any understanding of free online expression consider this so-called “stupid loophole” a “core pillar of Internet freedom” and the “most important law in Internet history.” The bills that would alter it have been roundly condemned by advocates for trafficking victims and survivors of trafficking, as well as by those willingly in the industry who would be at greater risk for exploitation in the absence of online platforms that allow them to share information…the PSA [is]…based [on]…the premise…that right this second and in your own hometown, it is totally possible to go online and buy a child for sexual slavery — that it’s “as easy as ordering a pizza,” according to Schumer.  I put this claim to the test…via a set of searches on Backpage that have likely landed me on an FBI watch list.  Not one lousy “kid”, “minor”, “teen”, or “child” was available for purchase.  Meanwhile, Domino’s is at my house within 21 minutes of me placing an order…It is almost as if perpetrators of human trafficking aren’t really all that likely to advertise using photos of shackled minors…

Morality Lessons (#819) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

Rhode Island has joined a host of other states in considering an irrational measure to regulate online porn by charging consumers a $20 access fee.  But the Rhode Island bill actually beats others like it in terrible and unconstitutional requirements…the Rhode Island bill wouldn’t just block overtly sexual content but anything deemed “patently offensive,” too–even though there’s no clear definition of this term…It would also require devices to automatically block “any hub that facilitates prostitution”—again, not a legal or well-defined category of content…device makers would also have to “ensure that all child pornography and revenge pornography is inaccessible” on their products…If it were that easy to stop the spread of child porn, companies would be doing it already…

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