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Posts Tagged ‘Universally Criminal updates’

The best way to avoid breaches of sensitive personal data is not to collect and retain such data in the first place.  –  Neema Singh Guliani

Lack of Evidence 

Stigma against sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

Sexual violence is a serious problem across the world, but in the last few years, it has taken a particularly strange form in…Kigoma [Tanzania, where]…scores of women have similar accounts of rapists breaking into their homes, covered in grease.  The first attacks of this kind reportedly occurred around 2014 and have increased ever since.  The attackers – known locally as Teleza, which refers to the fact that they cover themselves in oil – typically break into the homes of women in the night.  They are often armed and threaten violence, sometimes leaving the survivors with life-threatening injuries…Annagrace Rwehumbiza…says…“Initially these men only targeted single women, almost like they wanted to punish them for not adhering to the norms of society by getting married…At some point this changed.  Suddenly even married women were being targeted”…Many who have reported their rapes to the police have been branded as sex workers and not been taken seriously.  It was only when a group of survivors spoke out together in front of the press in 2016 that any action was first taken, though it was only temporary…

Universal Criminality

Ever wondered how bureaucrats came up with over 300,000 “crimes”?

To Molest and Rape (#755) 

Some Louisiana cops prefer to rape by proxy:

A Louisiana sheriff’s deputy…coerc[ed] a woman to perform a sex act on her 1-year-old son…Shaderick Jones…filmed…Iyehesa Todd…[after telling] her he wouldn’t arrest her for an open warrant she had for a traffic ticket if she performed a sexual act on her child…[the victim] has been charged with first-degree rape and…the Department of Children and Family Services [abducted her] child…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#841) 

The only sex workers excluded from New Zealand decrim are migrants:

Seven migrant sex workers have been deported from Dunedin, due to a section of New Zealand law…[which] encourages blackmail and exploitation, and which was last year called into question by the United Nations.  Those seven, along with at least two from Queenstown and 24 from Christchurch forced to leave the country since 2017, were deported due to Section 19 of the Prostitution Reform Act…[which] forbids migrants on temporary visas from engaging in sex work, though it is legal for New Zealand citizens and residents…

Out of Control (#844) 

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A gynecologist who worked nearly 30 years at UCLA’s student health clinic, until retiring last year amid a misconduct investigation, is accused of sexually abusing patients…James Heaps…is charged with…sexual battery by fraud and…sexual exploitation by a physician…

The Prudish Giant (#873)

It usually starts with sex workers, but it never stops with us:

Makenna Kelly, a 13-year-old YouTuber who has attracted over 1.5 million subscribers to her “Life With MaK” ASMR channel, is vowing to quit the platform in protest against what she and her mother say are overly strict content guidelines that have resulted in several of her videos being removed…12 of her ASMR videos have been taken down in the past three months alone…[a video of her eating] honeycomb…attracted over 13.9 million views before it was removed [because a censor at YouTube got an erection from watching it]…ASMR…[is often censored on] YouTube…[because] the content is…viewed by [repressed] people [as] sexual [and YouTube fears that sex rays emitted from “bad thoughts” could magically travel through the internet and somehow “harm”] children…

Pyrrhic Victory (#932)

Remember all those face pics that CBP pretends are “encrypted” and “only kept for a brief time”?

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection…disclosed…that hackers have breached a database of travelers photos and license plates…[but refused] to say how many people…had their images stolen…In light of the fact that the CPB has been building an extensive photo database as part of its growing facial-recognition program, the privacy implications…[are] grave.  “This breach comes just as CBP seeks to expand its massive face recognition apparatus…[to include] social media identifiers,” said American Civil Liberties senior legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani…

Loose Cannons (#939)

In which a four-hour interrogation by armed thugs is downplayed as “urging”:

[Cops lied to a] Chinese masseuse…[claiming they would] give [her] an apartment….food and education [and overrule federal immigration restrictions if she pretended to be]…a human-trafficking victim and [parrot whatever lies cops made up] against [her employers]…Over four hours, the masseuse would [be grilled by] three [cops], two [government-employed] social workers and a [government-employed] translator…The [interrogation was another part of the horrifying behavior of]…Martin County [cops in their effort to frame Chinese businesspeople as international gangsters]…Martin Sheriff William Snyder [is still pretending] the women are trafficking victims [even though they have repeatedly told cops they aren’t.  During the interrogation pigs oinked nonsense about a]…dream job [in addition to shaming and infantilizing an adult woman]…the masseuse [repeatedly told a Mandarin-oinking pig that]…she is not a victim but…is being treated like a criminal…She wants a lawyer…

Luckily for her, this masseuse was raised in a place where very few people are foolish enough to believe cops and other government operatives are on their side.

O, Canada! (#943)

Canadian cops love to harass and intimidate sex workers & call it “help”:

Sex workers and their advocates are criticizing [a recurring] police [intimidation campaign.  This time cops]…are talking to employees of hotels, bars, and other locations about how to identify sex workers and [rat them out to the pigs]…Sandra Wesley…of…Stella…said… “unwanted contact with police only increases [sex workers’] marginalization”…[cops] are also taking detailed notes on employees in strip clubs and massage parlours, including photographing tattoos and piercings…”The pretense that making databases of sex workers and raiding our workplaces and asking every hotel worker and taxi driver to denounce us to police [is intended] to protect us is absurd” said Wesley…

While cops pretend “sex workers…are only interviewed on a voluntary basis, and…given a stamp as an ‘efficient’ way of keeping track of who they’ve spoken to”, the truth (as usual) is much nastier:

…[cops] asked the women questions about their children, stamped their wrists and told them they were creating the database of sex workers…so they can identify them “when they inevitably turn up dead”…Wesley…calls the tactics dehumanizing and dystopian.  [Cops pretend] they’re not keeping [the] database [that they’re creating] and are mostly trying to identify [nonexistent] minors working at strip clubs…

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Increasingly…governments have criminalized more and more behaviors that are part of everyday life, adding harsh fines and possible jail time to misdemeanors and crimes that weren’t punished so harshly or even at all before.  –  German Lopez

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

Remember, cops: raping whores is OK; it’s paying us fairly that isn’t:

…Orange County [Florida] Sheriff Deputy [Mike Asbury] quit while he was under investigation for allegedly paying a prostitute for sex…the woman’s house was…under surveillance…after [nosy] neighbors complained of too many people going in and out…and…took pictures of men going inside the home…Investigators checked the license plate of Asbury’s car and it linked back to the Sheriff’s Office…

Peeping Toms

Trying to turn Lawrence into a “monogamous vanilla gay amateurs only” club:

In Sandy Springs, Georgia…“[a]ny device designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs is obscene material…”  A marital aid shop…[argued] all the way to the 11th Circuit that a ban on sex toys interfered with the right to “[p]rivate, consensual intimacy” provided under the 14th Amendment…Flanigan’s…[tagged] out for a more sympathetic plaintiff mid-way through the process:  “Davenport suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses sexual devices with her husband to facilitate intimacy“…Another plaintiff claimed that he wanted to use sex toys in his artwork…Unfortunately for non-artsy couples and frisky singles in the Sandy Spring area, who doubtless strictly observe the prohibition, the 11th Circuit found that, per its previous opinion, there is no right to buy or sell…In fact, per its 2004 opinion, there is no right to sexual privacy…This is a surprising outlier opinion in a country where even Ted Cruz couldn’t persuade the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to keep a sex toy ban…the 5th Circuit didn’t hesitate to note that Lawrence v. Texas was pretty explicit about letting people be explicit, especially when the law banning “immoral” conduct was only sporadically enforced, suggesting that it was more about making a moral statement than actually fixing any sort of problem…

Droit du Seigneur Richard Silverthorne

Most politicians are a bit more careful when indulging in drugs with hookers:

The mayor of the City of Fairfax [Virginia] was arrested…for distribution of methamphetamine in an uncover sting…Richard “Scott” Silverthorne…was allegedly distributing meth…through a website used to arrange for casual sexual encounters between men…an undercover detective made contact with the…mayor after creating a [fake] profile… “Undercover detectives agreed to meet the suspect for a group sexual encounter in exchange for methamphetamine”…[a news] release said…

It Looks Good On Paper

This is, as we’ve seen before, pure bullshit; only a few sex workers even qualify to be considered for the “safe harbor”, and it’s usually contingent upon her producing a “pimp” to sate the bloodlust of cops and prosecutors…even though, as we well know, very few whores have anyone who could be thrown under the bus even if they wanted to do that.  The so-called “services” these big talkers claim to be able to “connect” people with are just ordinary welfare services anyone could apply for, and the so-called “connection” is rarely more than giving them a phone number.  What I find interesting, though, is the apparent move away from “end demand” tactics, possibly due to low conviction rates but possibly due to something more important such as legal liability from lawsuits from sting victims.  I can’t think of another reason a cop would say something as moronic as “The johns are very reluctant to respond to ads” while simultaneously claiming that “the situation has gotten worse”.

Universal Criminality

This is what happens when cops are allowed to “enforce” laws against acts that hurt nobody:

…low-level offenses can trap someone for life — and even to death — in the criminal justice system…It begins with one ticket or a traffic stop.  But if someone can’t afford to pay that fine, police might try to stop or arrest him or her again to get the person to pay up.  This can lead to someone getting fined again for not paying up the first time.  And again.  And again.  One ticket leads to a vicious cycle that can sink someone for life.  With each of these encounters, someone’s record piles up — giving [cops] more reason, in their view, to stop him or her, because they recognize the person, or perhaps see the person’s record when running a license plate…And with each of these stops, people are exposed to more instances in which a police encounter could go tragically wrong.  And it happens disproportionately to poor people of color.  As those who are already heavily policed, they are the ones who are more likely to catch a cop’s eye if they run a stop sign, fail to signal on a turn, have a broken taillight, or sell untaxed cigarettes…

Scapegoats

Pig invents new excuse for criminalization of sex with goats:

A Georgia man…was arrested and charged with bestiality…for engaging in inappropriate relations with a goat…neighbors of Freddie Wadsworth [ratted him out]…Bestiality “is the single greatest predictor of people who will molest children,” Detective Jeremy Hoffman, of the Fairfax County, Va., Sheriff’s Office [oinked, presenting no evidence whatsoever in support of this fantasy]…

Standard Operating Procedure

{Yawn}.  See me yawning there? Lots of other whores reading this are, too:

Malia Litman of Dallas TX describes herself as a stay-at-home mom…[who] has spent $100,000 suing the U.S. government to turn over 3,900 pages of secret records about widespread sexual abuse and misbehavior by the U.S. Secret Service.  “A culture of ‘wheels up; rings off’ meant even married agents could party on foreign trips…A [sic] agent who missed his flight later showed up drunk with two prostitutes.  He was not disciplined…Agents “engaged” with prostitutes in Amsterdam’s red-light district during an advance team trip…A supervisor took a subordinate to a sex show while on duty…A male agent’s gun was stolen by a male prostitute he solicited online.  The gun was never recovered“…Litman has had to pay $100,000 for the records out of her own pocket because [she is a dingbat]…

Amateurs who read this, be honest with me…does this kind of stuff actually shock y’all?  Seriously?  None of this is even good enough to share in shop-talking sessions.  Except for the stolen gun, this is all pretty typical.

Counterfeit Comfort (#52) Pokemon GO squirtle

New York is obsessed with the fantasy that people condemned to the “sex offender” registry use video games to abduct children:

New York state officials think Pokemon Go might be a great tool for sex offenders to kidnap children—gotta catch ’em all!—and now the governor himself, Andrew Cuomo, is calling for legislation…[which] would prevent sex offenders on parole from playing the game in which animated creatures—from Nintendo’s Pokemon universe—appear on your phone screen while you walk around.  The legislation…also calls upon the game’s creators to eliminate any Pokemon within 100 feet of a registered sex offender’s home…

Stupor Bowl

Yes, August is indeed “before the Super Bowl”.  It’s also before the year 2100, the collapse of human civilization and the heat death of the universe, and this sting is linked about as closely to those events as it is to “sex trafficking” or football:

A prostitution sting at a high-end Houston area hotel has resulted in ten arrests…Constable Alan Rosen…[lied that] the goal was not to make arrests, but rather to highlight the problem of human trafficking and see if his team of [sadistic perverts] could [get publicity]…It’s a huge issue as we get closer to the Super Bowl next year in Houston. That game is one of the busiest days for human trafficking all year, according to [thoroughly debunked prohibitionist propaganda]…Rosen knows he’s not going to rid the world of prostitution…To him, this effort is about [getting himself re-elected by ignorant morons]…

Hard Numbers (#426) 

Exactly like the World Cup two years ago.  Why can’t people learn?

…the expectation of earning more money during the Olympics has been frustrated in Brazil…Prostitution Observatory of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, working with hundreds of prostitutes, estimates that, broadly speaking, the scenario that happened in the World Cup in Brazil 2014 will be repeated…The movement of customers fell by around 15% during the World Cup…and now, many of the local “fast and cheap” brothels are closing their doors during the Games.  According to anthropologist Thaddeus Blanchette…some of the local sex workers are even thinking of going on vacation during the Games…In [Blanchette’s] opinion, there are many prostitutes who end up believing the “expectations inflated by the media” and put much hope that the Olympic Games are a good deal but then find that this is “a myth”…it is also not expected that a large flood of prostitutes from other parts of Brazil will move to Rio, which researchers Prostitution Observatory say is another myth…

Bait and Switch

Whenever you see claims that a sting “caught pedophiles” or is “fighting the demand for child sex trafficking”, refer back to the original article in this heading:

As part of “Operation Someone Like Me” undercover agents posted ads on…Backpage.com, to find people [they could frame for seeking] sex with juveniles, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said…They got 485 responses [yet somehow only arrested…41 [victims]…18 [were] men [the cops successfully tricked]…Also arrested were six women and a juvenile…[the other 16 were]…charged with either patronizing prostitution [or] prostitution…One of the women was [jailed]…

The Course of a Disease (#510)

Because naturally a politician can’t recognize that a consensual activity should just be let alone by the government; that boot has to be on somebody’s neck:

Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan…said he strongly disagreed with criminalisation calls, saying that sex workers should be regulated and subject to regular health checks…“Why would we want to fine somebody or make it a criminal offence for two consenting adults to have sex?…would there not be lonely men out there?  Would there not be men who have a disfigurement or who are disabled?…So, there’s an opportunity for them maybe to pay for it and we’re saying ‘no’!  That’s cruel”…the Sex Workers Alliance Ireland said it was happy that a Government Minister was questioning the “dangerous proposals” contained in the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2014…but [does] not support the type of “overly regulated” legalised sex industry which exists in Germany and the Netherlands…[where] “only the very privileged few workers who can jump through all the hoops and work independently”…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#651)

Slowly but surely, we’re forcing them to listen, and prohibitionists’ responses are showing them for the authoritarians they are:

…messages [from sex workers] came in response to a June article [about an anti-sex work propaganda campaign]…that featured billboards, radio spots, posters and videos aimed at [indoctrinating the public in] sex trafficking [mythology]…The…readers who contacted me about the story told me they were bothered because it was missing voices from sex workers.  Because prostitution is illegal in…California, I didn’t think the…article needed to explore that particular issue.  But the criticism was not lost on me, and the points [Norma Jean Almodovar & Maxine Doogan] raised struck me as worthy of further consideration…Summer Stephan, a chief deputy district attorney, said she has heard the criticism, but she remains proud of the San Diego campaign, which aims to “inform (human trafficking) victims that they are victims”…

Cut. Print.

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The first seats at the table ought to be reserved for those from the sex work community– and everyone else should listen.  –  Benjamin L. Corey

Droit du Seigneur Milton Anthony

Not quite a rapist cop, but bad enough:

An Oklahoma sheriff requested a sexual relationship with one of his female employees in exchange for hiring her husband…Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony at his office [on June 1st]…The female employee’s husband was hired shortly after the sexual contact started, and sexual contact between the sheriff and the employee continued for several months…When the woman tried to end the contact, Anthony allegedly insinuated he would alter her work hours and even fire her and her husband if she did not continue with their agreement.  The woman began saving the sheriff’s texts and recorded a conversation between her and the sheriff in April…

One Born Every Minute

I strongly suspect that these rapists are the same ones discussed in the original of this title:

…a Jane Doe plaintiff sued Internet Brands, parent company of popular networking site Model Mayhem, alleging that the site’s operators had violated California state law by failing to notify Model Mayhem users of the very real risk that they could be targeted by…a pair of…sex offenders that the plaintiff claims Internet Brands had known about for years before they — under the pretense of being a “talent scout” — lured her to Florida, where she was allegedly drugged and raped in Feb. 2011…the pair had been at this scheme for around five years, using Model Mayhem as a hunting ground for victims; not only sexually violating…[them] but then allegedly distributing video of the acts…the plaintiff points to a 2010 lawsuit filed by Internet Brands against the original owners for allegedly failing to disclose the potential for civil suits arising from the activities of these particular rapists…“Posting or emailing such a warning could be deemed an act of publishing information, but [the Communications Decency Act] bars only liability that treats a website as a publisher or speaker of content provided by somebody else,” reads the ruling.  “A post or email warning that Internet Brands generated would involve only content that Internet Brands itself produced”…This ruling…determines that the lawsuit against the company can move forward…

Universal Criminality

That whole “freedom of speech” thing was nice while it lasted:

Lancaster [Pennsylvania] police arrested 13 people after a recent crackdown on prostitution…12 men solicited an undercover Lancaster police officer posing as a prostitute during the sting…Charde Clawges…was charged with obstructing administration of the law because she approached the undercover officer and began yelling that she knew the woman was a police officer.  Police said Clawges and the undercover officer had prior contact…

Worse Than I Thought

“Sex trafficking” laws keep getting broader and scarier:

…advocates against…sex trafficking of minors, are celebrating the passage of [a draconian new Connecticut law]…Public Act No. 16-71 will require [hotels] to keep records of their guests’ receipts and transactions for a minimum of six months after the guest has vacated.  [Indoctrination] programs will be recommended for staff at hotels and motels to learn to identify the signs of human trafficking and report the suspected crimes…The [law] now [requires] a mandatory $2,000 fine for convicted buyers of sex and an automatic $2,000 fine for those who [hire] a sex worker in a motor vehicle…accused buyers…cannot…claim…that they did not know the age of the sex worker to avoid harsher penalties that come with trafficking minors…

Legitimate Outrage

Being an ignoramus is no impediment to a career in politics:

Another Republican lawmaker suggested women and girls are unlikely to become pregnant from rape or incest.  Idaho State Rep. Pete Nielson…expressed his doubts that post-rape pregnancies were medically possible…“It is a logical conclusion that any woman who got pregnant after such a despicable and gruesome act must have, in fact, enjoyed it even on a small scale, which eventually led to the obvious consequences…the brain and our emotions affect our bodies.  So, when a woman gets raped, if she experiences that as a trauma, she doesn’t get pregnant.  And you can say what you want, but when she does get pregnant after such a crime, that undoubtedly means that she liked it at some point, regardless of how strange or unbelievable that sounds.  Medicine and biology don’t lie.  They just don’t.”

Grow the Hell Up! (#139)

The bullshit is so deep in this, you’ll need waders to get through it:

…Up until her 18th birthday, that would have made Lexi a sex slave and the hotel sting her emancipation.  A social worker would have been summoned and the man who booked the room arrested for human trafficking.  But Lexi’s 20 now—too old to rescue unless she asks.  Instead, she’s cited for prostitution…Women and children involved in prostitution are now seen as victims instead of criminals…A vice squad goes after prostitutes.  A human trafficking unit looks for slaves and their captors…San Jose specifically has received annual grants ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 to pay for police overtime pay, cameras, binoculars, night vision monoculars, cellphones and phone number-reset software, body wire and other equipment for undercover ops…When a sting nets an adult instead of a minor, he adds, sometimes they just let them go…Still…commercial sex breaks laws police have sworn to uphold, so they can’t let them walk every time…

Traffic Circle (#429)

Theologian Benjamin Corey is quickly distinguishing himself as one of Christianity’s most outspoken sex worker allies:

…the stories of those in the sex work community are individual, varied, nuanced and complex, and do not line up with some prefabricated narrative where one size fits all…far too many in the anti-trafficking movement are not in dialogue with the sex work community…I hear voices expressing feelings of being silenced, discounted, stigmatized, ignored, and even parented by strangers who think they know what’s best for them– without even knowing them or their individual stories…What is happening today in the anti-trafficking/anti-sex industry movement would be offensive in any other context.  It’s a form of moral colonialism:  “Oh, hey– I’m here, I have moral objections to how you’re living, and I know exactly how your life needs to change without even listening to your story.”  The only reason why it’s tolerated in this context is because of the stigmatization associated with the sex industry– one that is often perpetuated by the very people who claim they want to help…

Dr. Corey’s work also appeared in this blog earlier this year when he debunked the “gypsy whores” myth.

All-Purpose Excuse

When men get caught in some kind of sexual misbehavior, the usual excuse is “sex addiction”.  I really hope “sex trafficking” doesn’t start providing an equivalent excuse for women:

The 15-year-old girl had only been a student at South Fort Myers High School…for two weeks when she went looking for her new crush in the boys’ bathroom.  She’d spent the prior two years in and out of treatment facilities…learning to cope with the horrors of the sex slave industry into which she had been trafficked at age 13.  So when…her crush…asked her for sex…[she] agreed.  But…someone started filming, and over the next hour as many as 25 male students were shown on school surveillance footage passing through the bathroom…Multiple boys had sex with the girl…Sixteen students were disciplined…Though the sex was described as consensual…the girl was not legally old enough to give consent.  And because of her troubled background, the teen’s mother and advocates have said this behavior, called promiscuous by many outraged community members, is actually quite common among sex-trafficking survivors…

Vendetta (#588) 13 billboard

It isn’t just morally-warped billionaires’ money going to vomit anti-whore propaganda all over the landscape, but yours as well:

Not content to spread false sex-work statistics in the media and legislature, Indiana activists and officials have now put up billboard advertisements to promote their anti-fact, anti-prostitution message.  One billboard—emblazoned at the top with “‘She looked 18.’  She’s not”—claims that 13-years-old is “the average age kids are first used in the sex trade.”  Any way you slice it, that’s simply not true: whether we are talking about the average age of entry into prostitution in general or the average age of minors engaging in prostitution, there’s no good evidence to back this assertion and a whole lot to suggest that it’s wrong. Even Polaris Project, arguably the most influential anti-trafficking organization in the United States, says that “this stat is not actually supported by any data“…The misleading ads are made all the more egregious because they’re paid for with taxpayer money.  The billboards were a project of the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force, a group that lists itself on Facebook as a “nonprofit” but is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and headed up by U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.  In addition to billboards, the group’s “Not Buying It” campaign also features ads on city buses and elsewhere…

Book Reviews (#630)

Another good interview with Chester Brown about his new book:

…Brown was last in the public eye in 2011 with Paying for It…a book that generated extreme reactions with its frank and dispassionate treatment of a [controversial] subject…and its advocacy for the rights of sex workers.  “I hadn’t been intending to do any kind of followup (to Paying For It)…I thought I would do a very different book”…Mary Wept Over The Feet of Jesus…is, as planned, a very different book.  Yet it’s a followup too, or at the very least a complementary companion piece.  Going back two thousand years and more in search of the roots of what Brown calls our culture’s “whore phobia,” the new book reinterprets a range of parables and stories from the Old and New Testaments, emerging with a thesis…that “Jesus was arguing that prostitution is a good thing, something that benefits society”…What specifically spurred Brown into writing Mary Wept was an interpretation he read of the enigmatic Parable of the Talents, in which seemingly the least responsible of three slaves entrusted with a master’s fortune – he literally spends his whole stake on prostitutes – gets rewarded…

To Molest and Rape

It’s rare to see a new outlet actually use the word “rape” in reference to a rapist cop:  “An Owenton [Kentucky cop] was arrested [on June 2nd] and charged with first-degree rape…Rufus Shearer…is being held at the Carroll County Detention Center…

Turning Point

Kari Lerum, a UW professor I’ve worked with as an activist, discusses the wrongheadedness of opposition to decriminalization:

…with Amnesty International’s recent unflinching policy recommendation to decriminalize all adult consensual sex work…it is becoming increasingly difficult for naysayers to ignore the well-documented ways that sex workers are harmed by criminalization.  Amnesty’s position is based on many years of empirical research by leading health and human rights researchers, as well as calls by sex workers and advocates…for some individuals, no amount of evidence or logic will change their opinion that sex work is intrinsically wrong.  For them, decriminalizing any form of sex work – including adult consensual encounters – would send the unacceptable message that sex work is a legitimate form of income generation…I ask students to honestly reflect on how their life experiences might shape the way they approach the issue of exchanging sexual services for pay.  At the end of the course I ask students to revisit their feelings.  I have found that when given the opportunity to make space for their feelings and to evaluate the best empirical evidence…most students conclude that adult consensual sex work should be decriminalized…even if they still personally do not “believe” in it…I wish that I could also give this assignment to all policymakers and anti-sex trade activists…

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Sex workers are still most commonly depicted in the mainstream media as victims, pests or, in the odd case, saints.  –  Eurydice Aroney

Think of the Children! Leigh Ann Arthur

That the pictures were stolen is immaterial; she was fired for having a sex life:

A South Carolina high-school teacher may be charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after a student stole her cellphone and distributed partially nude photos from it around the school.  Administrators say she should have password-protected the phone.  The male student grabbed the phone from…Leigh Ann Arthur’s desk while she was making required…rounds between classes…he went through Arthur’s photos, eventually finding some sexually oriented shots that Arthur says she took for her husband.  By the time she returned to the classroom, the student was texting the photos to other students.  According to Arthur, he told her: “Your day of reckoning is coming.”  One might think that the student would at least face disciplinary action…if not criminal charges of some sort.  But thus far, the school has not moved to hold the 16-year-old student accountable at all.  Arthur, however, is another story…she resigned when district officials gave her the choice to do so immediately or start the firing process…More than 1,600 people have signed an online petition created by students…in support of their former teacher…

Rooted in Racism

Mainstream anti-trafficking and abolitionist discourses construct the image of the victim by channelling “white slavery” myths.  Eastern European women (along with other women from the ex-peripheries of global capital) are attributed a central role…Apart from the restrictions faced by most migrants from the former “eastern bloc” in so-called developed states, eastern European migrant sex workers encounter even tougher barriers…Even when legally residing and working, simply owning a Romanian or Russian passport can make female sex workers the target of rescue, detention, and re-socialisation and/or deportation programmes implemented by governmental agencies and carceral NGOs…The imaginary [status] of [these] countries as sources of “forced prostitution”…coincides with a Cold War hangover and…serve to doubly vilify and infantilise European women sex workers…

Peeping Toms

The late Justice Scalia was of course right about this; Lawrence vs. Texas actually overturned all laws against consensual adult sex, including those against prostitution.  But now that picket-fence gays have their seat at the big table, they’re not going to say much while further court decisions attempt to turn Lawrence into a “monogamous vanilla amateurs only” club:

Uh-oh, kinksters:  sex cops could be coming for you next.  According to a new federal court decision, Americans have no constitutional right to engage in consensual BDSM because “sexual activity that involves binding and gagging or the use of physical force such as spanking or choking poses certain inherent risks to personal safety.”  Thus officials could constitutionally ban or regulate such activity in the interest of “the protection of vulnerable persons,” the court held.  In striking down bans on things like sodomy and adultery, U.S. courts have repeatedly said that citizens have a right to engage in whatever sort of consensual sexual activity they choose within the privacy of their own rooms (that is, as long as money isn’t involved).  But federal judges now say that the Constitution “does not prohibit the regulation of BDSM conduct”…

Wise Investment

Every decision like this, in any country, brings us closer to the goal:

…sex workers in Macedonia…have been awarded protection…against the unlawful treatment of the police and the criminal court.  On a November night in 2008, the police carried out [a pogrom]…in which 32 individuals, 23 of whom sex workers, were deprived of liberty.  The police unlawfully detained the sex workers longer than 20 hours in inhuman and degrading conditions…without food, water or any possibility for sanitary hygiene.  Some of them were left without medical help…The following day, all of them were taken for [involuntary STI] testing without any explanation…fourteen (14) sex workers filed a lawsuit…against the…Ministry of Interior…Seven years [later]…the Primary Court…partially granted the lawsuit of the sex workers and again established that…the police action “Suppression of Street Prostitution” violated the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, i.e. violated the…sex workers’ rights…

Universal Criminality

When a cop wants to destroy someone, universal criminality makes it so easy:

A [Florida] sheriff’s deputy was fired and likely will face charges of obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence after he tried to plant [drugs] on a [man cops considered a troublemaker]…Stephen LeBlanc…is accused of persuading a man in [what police call] a known drug neighborhood to help [him]…plant evidence on Thomas Parisi, who LeBlanc in November arrested for spray-painting…“Sex workers are people, too,” and an anti-law enforcement sentiment [on a wall]…LeBlanc then began [stalking] Parisi…to “get him jammed up on more charges,” the sheriff said…

Above the Law 

Just imagine any non-cop getting a deal like this for aggravated rape:

[An] Alabama State Trooper who was…charged with rape and sodomy of an accident victim…has reached a deal with prosecutors that will see him plead guilty to misdemeanor sexual misconduct…Samuel McHenry…put the woman…in his patrol car before [vaginally and anally raping her]…under threat of jail time…McHenry [must] serve six months in the Butler County Jail…in increments at his own discretion…within the next year…pay a $500 fine and restitution, and is ordered not to contact the victim…state law requires he register as a sex offender.

The Birth of a Movement

Yesterday, an English version of Eurydice Aroney’s French radio documentary “The Revolt of the Prostitutes” was broadcast on Australia’s ABC network.  To promote it, she wrote this article on the occupation of the Church of St. Nizier in 1975, the event which gave birth to the international sex worker rights movement.  I was especially touched by this passage:

…Little has changed for these workers since the strike in 1975.  I spoke to…one of the original St Nizier strikers who now works in her van in Gerland.  I asked if she knew that the St Nizier Church occupation was commemorated in Australia and across the world as International Whores’ Day.  “No, I didn’t know that.  Really?” she said. “And in Australia, are there lots of sex workers?  And they aren’t being hassled by the police?”  I told her that no, sex work is decriminalised in NSW…

Traffic Jam (#323)

See the resemblance to the “Satanic Panic” yet?

In the press, it was a “wide-reaching sex-trafficking operation” run by Somali Muslim gangs who forced “girls as young as 12” to sell sex in Minnesota and Tennessee.  In reality, the operation—which led to charges against 30 individuals, sex-trafficking convictions for three, and an eight year legal battle—was a fiction crafted by two troubled teenagers, a member of the FBI’s human-trafficking task force, and an array of overzealous officials…federal prosecuters had no evidence whatsoever to support their “child sex trafficking conspiracy” case outside the seriously flawed testimony of two teenagers, one of whom had “been diagnosed as insane and was off her medication”…The [cop] was…caught lying to the grand jury and lying during a detention hearing, while Doe and the state’s other primary witness were, according to the court, almost entirely “unworthy of belief”…

Size Matters (#337)

Sadly, this was a foregone conclusion:

The leader of the Phoenix Goddess Temple that offered spiritual and touch-based healing services in exchange for donations has been convicted of operating a house of prostitution…Tracy Elise [was pronounced] guilty…on all 22 counts including 12 of money laundering.  She also was convicted of six counts of pandering and one count each of conspiracy to commit illegal control of an enterprise, illegal control of an enterprise, prostitution and operating a house of prostitution…Elise is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8…

Imagine the Sky

The most interesting part of this article for me isn’t the location of historical New York brothels {yawn}, but rather the dogged persistence with which ignoramuses cling to the myth that prostitution was criminalized in the US before the 20th century:

…Sex workers have been operating illegally in New York since before the Revolutionary War.  In the early 19th century, prostitutes worked in Five Points — above present day City Hall Park — and along the East River.  But it wasn’t until the middle of that century that prostitution concentrated in SoHo and formed the city’s first sex district.  While the districts moved northward over time…the manner in which johns found out about the districts remained consistent for decades: cheaply printed guidebooks…patrons needed help finding the city’s illicit brothels that law enforcement mostly turned a blind eye to…

New Excuse

Sometimes politicians’ rhetorical devices are blatantly transparent:

At a hearing on new measures to address human trafficking, California Assemblyman Reggie-Jones Sawyer [said]…”the last time we’ve had this kind of emergency was…the crack-cocaine epidemic.”  Sadly, Sawyer was not referencing the ways in which the current popular panic about sex trafficking and governmental responses to it mirror the outlandish, hysteria-based, and detrimental state approach to the war on drugs.  Rather, Sawyer sees our attention to the “crack-cocaine epidemic” as something we should now strive to emulate…In many, many respects…officials already are treating sex trafficking in the same way they did the drug war.  The dominant legislative response has been increased criminalization of all sorts of commercial sexual activity…

Checklist (#514) 

So about a month ago, this ridiculous air hostess person who’s hawking a book started tweeting nonsense about “sex trafficking” (because her wonderful “signs of trafficking” training makes her an expert, donchaknow).  And she just couldn’t understand why all us mean hookers attacked her when all she wants to do is rescue people!  So she wrote about it, and of course some ass published it:

As a flight attendant, I’ve been trained to spot trafficking in the air…It’s made me take a special interest in the topic, and I was even motivated to speak to my City Council…You…might think human trafficking is a topic we would all agree on. Right? Wrong. I recently learned there are a lot of people who disagree…some sex worker advocates argue we’re creating more victims:  That when I speak out against human trafficking, that I’m contributing to the mass incarceration of sex workers…I met a woman in my neighborhood who works with a nonprofit organization that fights trafficking…so trafficking, in my town of Redondo Beach, has become an off-duty interest for me.  On the drive to my son’s school, we pass 18 massage parlors — in less than two miles.  Every single day I look at these massage parlors, and wonder what might be going on behind those covered up windows surrounded by security cameras…The average person hasn’t had their employer teach them how to stop human trafficking like mine has.  The average person doesn’t have a daily reminder that trafficking is going on in the world the way I do…

Poor Heather; the weight of the world is on her shoulders!  If she doesn’t defend “sex trafficking” victims in Redondo Beach against us bad ol’ whores, who will?

Uncommon Sense (#557)

If any job indicates a need for “counseling”, it’s politician:

…A group of sex workers protested…in Hamburg against a new government bill that would force sex workers to register with the state [every two years or, for women ages 18 to 21, every year] and receive counseling.  The protesters held symbolic “prostitute cards” to illustrate what it would mean for them to be forced to carry with them registration, said Friederike Strack of the Berlin-based consulting center Hydra…

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

License to Rape

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

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

Universal Criminality

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

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

The Widening Gyre

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

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

Shifting the Blame (#33)

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

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

That Old Black Magic

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

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

Drawing Lines

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

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

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

Saving Them From Themselves (#428) 

Consensual crime laws enable predators, part umpteen:

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

Worse Than I Thought (#536)

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

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

Bait and Switch (#545)

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

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

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality (#578)

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

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

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

Between the Lines

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

Fallen Idol

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

Seizing Power (#593)

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

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

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The Olympics are always a chance for hosts to do some moral cleansing, and drive away undesirables by brute force.  –  Scott Long

Saeed MalekpourLying Down With Dogs

The lawyer of a man convicted of building and promoting pornographic websites [in Iran] says a death sentence against his client has been converted to life imprisonment…blogger Saeed Malekpour will spend the rest of his life in jail…”  There aren’t too many other countries barbaric enough to sentence a man to life in a cage for “dirty” pictures, but I can think of at least one other.

The Eye of the Beholder (June Updates)

The [Arkansas] Senate passed a bill…that would ban non-traditional…body art procedures, particularly scarification and dermal implants…

Wise Investment

Pay attention, sex worker activists:

The children of three women who were murdered by Robert Pickton have filed lawsuits against the police and the serial killer…They allege the Vancouver police and the RCMP failed to properly investigate reports of missing women and failed to warn women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside that a serial killer was likely at work, despite having evidence implicating Pickton in the disappearance of sex workers as early as 1997 and 1998…

Surplus Women

The suspicious deaths of two prostitutes…has sparked a major investigation…The bodies of Jill Lyons and Karen Nabors, who both worked as online escorts, were discovered in an apartment building in Vancouver.  Ms Lyons, 45, was discovered dead in her own apartment on August 12…The body of Ms Nabors was discovered on August 25, also in her own apartment, and police…suggest…the 48-year-old was murdered…

shampoo adGullible’s Travels

Another ludicrous mini-panic from the clowns who brought you idosing, jenkem and vodka-soaked tampons:

“Parents, lock up your shower supplies”…is an actual quote from an announcement made…at a middle school just outside of Richmond, VA…of…a new practice called “shamboiling”…where shampoo is brought to a rapid boil and then the fumes are inhaled for a hallucinogenic effect…one thing is certain…shamboiling is catching on quickly and…is potentially deadly…The Sheriff’s department is  urging parents to check their shampoos for [ammonium lauryl sulfate] and to take the necessary precautions to keep these chemicals away from children…

Here’s the debunking on Snopes.

Universal Criminality

A perfect example of how laws against consensual behavior are used by repressive governments to harass those they dislike:

Police have detained a Chinese-American…on suspicion of visiting a sex worker in Beijing as authorities crack down on bloggers.  Charles Xue [AKA Xue Manzi], who has over 12 million followers on Sina Weibo…regularly reposts reform-minded content…Among those questioning the motive behind the arrest was the editor of the state-run Global Times newspaper.  “Cannot rule out the possibility that authorities are arresting Xue Manzi…to give him a hard time,” Hu Xijin wrote…in a blog posting that later disappeared…

Sex, Lies and Busybodies

Yet another “sex trafficking” opportunist exposed:

The founder of…anti-human trafficking NGO Sisha, Steve Morrish, announced…he was stepping down from his position due to a raft of allegations accusing him of financial impropriety…Sisha’s alleged financial problems were revealed publicly…on August 8 in…the Cambodian blog Penhpal.  The posting alleged that money donated to Sisha…“has instead been siphoned off to pay for the NGO’s operating expenses”…

Moloch

Is this idiotic enough yet?  Can we stop now?

A 10-year-old girl…identified as “Ashley,” was charged by police for aggravated sexual assault…[for] playing doctor…a neighbor saw the children and called the mother of a 4-year-old boy…[whom] Ashley was inappropriately touching…Ashley’s mother…was not allowed to sit-in on the 45-minute questioning of her daughter…

Gail Dines threatens Radisson hotels

Gail Dines threatens Radisson hotels

Confined and Controlled

If this were intended to increase sex workers’ range of options, it’s would be fine; however, it’s clearly intended as a confinement system:  “Several communities in Italy have launched a campaign to ban street prostitution and reintroduce brothels, which have been banned since 1958…

Worse Than I Thought

As I predicted last year, the cancer keeps spreading:

…[new] legislation…in North Carolina….increases punishments for sex traffickers, i.e. pimps, as well as for purchasers, i.e. johns.  It also focuses on “treating minors involved in prostitution as the victims they are, instead of criminals,” [the bill’s sponsor] said…”The legislation also offers hope to women who escape a life of prostitution by allowing them…relief to expunge their criminal pasts once they get treatment and help”…[another law] requires pimps to register as sex offenders…

As I’ve explained before, “safe harbor” laws are bullshit that help almost nobody; “treatment” means (usually religious) “re-education”, and a “pimp” means just about anyone prosecutors decide to railroad.

Obfuscation Via Dysphemisms

Tulsa cops continue to justify persecution of adult women by pretending they’re “trafficked”:  “Human trafficking has developed into a booming enterprise in Oklahoma…on a given night,Melissa Ditmore the Vice Unit may deploy undercover police officers to respond to as many as 40 online advertisements posted by ‘escorts’ in preparation for prostitution stings that sometimes uncover cases of human trafficking…”  Note the misplaced scare quotes, around “escorts” rather than “trafficking”.

The Public Eye

Jessica Land interviews Dr. Melissa Ditmore, a prominent academic ally, on her research, The Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work, sex worker projects and organizations, and international issues.

That Old Black Magic

Here’s an interesting article on the connection between harlotry and witchcraft:

…Prostitutes were widely believed to be specialists in erotic magic, especially the use of philtres to sway the feelings of those around them…For example, a woman may resort to a binding spell, to handicap rivals in the trade or lock down a steady client…These women were also sought by those outside the trade for their magical expertise.  Those in troubled marriages might consult a prostitute to concoct a love potion to rekindle the affections of a wayward spouse…

King of the Hill

Most of this CNN story is the usual lurid “sex trafficking” rubbish, but I want to call attention to a fascinating new development:  “king of the hill” stories are now specifically claiming their subjects are the “third-busiest area for sex trafficking in the United States” (see also “Under Every Bed” below) rather than just “one of the busiest” or “in the top ten”.  As usual, the Department of Justice is credited for the “statistic” despite the fact that neither it nor any other agency keeps any kind of state-by-state “trafficking” statistics.  I suspect the “third largest” designation arose through confusion with the claim that “human trafficking is the third-largest criminal enterprise” (though that one’s been upgraded to second), but it will be interesting to see how many claim to be the “third largest” before anyone in the mainstream media starts to awaken.

What the Hell Were You Thinking? (TW3 #135)

A new Irish company named Safe IQ “develops safety products and services for sex workers…and raises awareness of the need for [them] to have the same protections as other workers.”  Here’s its first product:

Ugly Mugs for Android is a [free] mobile phone app that automatically screens incoming and outgoing calls and text messages and alerts the phone user if the…number…is listed in the UglyMugs.ie database…When a sex worker encounters a dangerous person, they [sic] can report the incident to the ugly mug scheme, and a warning will be made available to all sex workers…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (TW3 #312)Indonesian protesters tear down insulting sign

Only a hopeless lawhead could imagine that closing red-light districts will make prostitution go away:

Hundreds of sex workers confronted the mayor of Indonesia’s second-largest city…angrily denouncing the closure of the Klakah Rejo district…The crowd later tore down a “Prostitution-Free Town” billboard erected by officials…”What’s going on?”…the mayor [said]…”We’re trying to help but they are refusing.”  Surabaya is also home to Dolly, reputedly the largest red-light district in South-East Asia.  The mayor said that one and other red-light districts would be closed as the city aimed to be prostitution-free by 2014.

Under Every Bed

Wisconsin is one of “the top three states” for sex trafficking, according to…Michelle Mayefske… Not all prostitution is trafficking. Some women, referred to as “renegades,” simply decide to sell sex and are not controlled or managed by anyone, but “that is very, very rare,” she said…“Gangs are now turning from drugs to human trafficking…[because] drugs can be sold only once and then they’re gone, whereas…a woman or a child can be sold over and over and over…Georgia, California and Wisconsin have the highest rates of sex trafficking in the United States, so we are in the top three”…

1) This is the second time I’ve heard this “renegade” bullshit; neither I nor anyone I asked knows where it comes from.  2) I think Mayefske is extremely confused about the concept of “sale”.  3) She needs to talk to Florida.

Chauvinism

Veteran human rights activist Scott Long argues that activists who compare Russia’s anti-gay purge to the Nazi campaign against Jews are not only wrongheaded, but missing the most obvious comparison:

If Western gay…activists want to know what Putin’s decree will mean in practice:  ask a sex worker…Before every big sporting event, the same rhetoric reverberates:  Prostitutes are going to take over this town…The predictions are nearly always couched as concern for “trafficked” women, but they…come down to…anxieties over nuisances to “normal” neighbors, and…the reputation of the host city…What major sporting events bring is not an “explosion” in prostitution, but an explosion in repression…not in evil Russia, but in liberal Canada and the UK, countries that value human rights, except for sex workers, who aren’t human…Yet in London, few powerful voices opposed the Olympic rollback of sex workers’ freedom — and certainly few LGBT activists…

Deafening Silence

The treatment of sex workers in Cuba, including confinement for the purpose of ‘re-education’, was raised by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women…the…committee said it was “deeply concerned” about Cuba’s reluctance to address the issue of prostitution…” The United States’ confinement and “re-education” of sex workers, however, causes the committee no concern at all.  Funny how that works.

Sold Out

two of the largest and most well funded LGBT rights groups in the US have stayed quiet about Manning…whose revelations about the US Army’s actions epitomize social justice in action…the [silence of the] Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD…has been deafening… the HRC…[has] the financial backing of…Lockheed Martin…Booz Allen Hamilton…[and] Northrop Grumman…GLAAD has…Goldman Sachs…and Verizon…

Coming and Going (TW3 #331)

Kathryn Griffin finger pointingKate Zen takes a long, thorough look at Texas’ “prostitution diversion” program and its founder, Kathryn Griffin; she examines the program’s lack of any of the normal benefits of such schemes, its close relationship to the rescue industry, its pervasive Christian moralism and its ignoring all of the actual reasons women turn to prostitution in favor of a sin and victimization narrative.

Policing for Profit

Federal and state law-enforcement officers poured into Tukwila [Washington]…seizing three motels whose operators are suspected of participating in illegal drugs and prostitution…U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan…said that the three hotels…have accounted for 17 percent of all calls for police services in the past year…investigators believe the owners actively profited from criminal activity…Durkan said…[her] office will…actively use…seizures to force compliance…

Uncommon Sense (Extra Edition)

Though most English-language media is pretending Zurich’s tippelzone scheme is something new, it is nothing of the kind; this article lists a number of other cities in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands with similar setups.

Zurvivor (Extra Edition)

Donald Hill was acquitted…on a charge of [paying]…Alexis Wright, after a judge ruled prosecutors were not able to prove that money was exchanged.  The ruling could affect any additional charges of individuals alleged to have engaged Wright’s services…

HamletOpting Out

An example of why “porn filters” are a spectacularly bad idea:

A man using the British Library’s wi-fi network was denied access to…Hamlet because the text contained “violent content”…the…library said the fault was caused by a newly installed wi-fi service from a third-party provider.  One security expert said the incident highlighted the “dysfunction” of internet filters…Prof Ross Anderson…[said] internet filters were “pointless” and that it was “completely inappropriate” to have one in the British Library…

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Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them.  –  Frederick Douglass

For years I’ve warned that the United States was moving toward a state I call “universal criminality”; as I explained in my column of one year ago today, governments of the late 19th and early 20th centuries realized that the easiest and most subtle means of social control is simply to establish so many complex, broad, vague, mutually contradictory and intrusive laws that every single person is in violation of at least some of them at any given time.  Then when any “authority” from the chief executive down to the lowliest cop wants to teach one of the peons a lesson, all he has to do is find a law to charge him with and the machine then proceeds to grind him up psychologically, financially, politically and often physically.

The process began with the “social purity” laws which criminalized behaviors (such as drinking, prostitution or even masturbation) which were previously considered private.  It then grew during the Great Depression, proliferated in the post-World War II era (mostly under the excuse of “security”), and increased exponentially after the mid-1980s, at which point I began to see the writing on the wall.  There are now so many criminal laws that they are literally uncountable; the last serious attempt to enumerate them was made in 1982, and that failed miserably.  The Department of Justice estimates that there are over 4500 federal “crimes” and over 300,000 regulations with felony-level criminal penalties, and that grows by over 50 new “crimes” and innumerable regulations every year.  And that’s only federal crimes; multiply that number by some other x factor (10-40 perhaps?) to estimate the number of state laws, and roughly 40,000 new state laws went into effect on January 1st.  Then there are county and municipal laws…

Obviously it’s impossible for anyone to know all of these, but “ignorance of the law is no excuse”; the requirement for the prosecution to prove mens rea (criminal intent) was discarded sometime in the ‘90s, and juries are routinely instructed that if the prosecution can prove the facts they must vote to convict even if they believe the defendant did not intend to do anything wrong.  Of course, that only applies to citizens; government actors, including cops, lawyers and even judges, are excused as “acting in good faith” even when a defense attorney can prove that a victim has been charged with something that isn’t a crime, or when the cop or lawyer actively breaks laws himself in order to persecute a victim.  Given all these facts, no one can declare with certainty when the goal of universal criminality in the United States was reached, but it’s probable that it happened sometime in the last decade when politicians again used the excuse of “security” to gut the Bill of Rights, shred the last intact portions of the constitution and establish procedures which enshrined police and other government actors as de facto nobles, a ruling class who are subject to neither laws nor common human decency.

Cops are now allowed to arrest anyone for any reason (including “suspicion”); invade the homes of citizens without cause or warrant; maim or murder them (and their children and pets) without consequence; steal their property (and keep it even if the victim is never charged with a crime); and brutalize, rob and arrest anyone who tries to document the behavior.  Citizen complaints are either ignored or handled with token “investigations” by the same department which is accused of the crimes; these “investigations” invariably result in exoneration of the criminal “officers” or infliction of penalties so minor they constitute a further insult to the victims.  Prosecutors can charge one action or group of actions with any of dozens of charges, and will generally reserve several so if the first trial goes against them, they can use the others to get a new trial for the same offense without violating prohibitions against double jeopardy; even with no reasonable grounds for prosecution they can often continue the process indefinitely until they either “win” or bankrupt and ruin the defendant.  They routinely lie, threaten and withhold exculpatory evidence, because the SCOTUS has granted them absolute immunity from either criminal or civil charges for their actions.  And most judges are either tyrants who ignore the law to enforce their own whims, or bored bureaucrats who let cops and prosecutors get away with whatever they like.  However, if any of these employees of the “justice system” commits a crime, it will be swept under the rug, excused completely or “punished” with a sentence several orders of magnitude less than that with which a private citizen would be inflicted.

Want to know what it’s like to live in a police state?  Look around you.  Like the legendary frog, Americans have remained content to sit in the pot while the temperature has gradually increased, and we’re all well and truly cooking now.  The last of our civil liberties are being stripped away at a frightening rate, Congress is moving to take control of the internet, and the president recently signed legislation giving himself the power to use the military to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial if they own guns, are missing fingers or have more than 7 days’ worth of food in their houses.  The government no longer even pretends to answer to the people:  half of all Americans now recognize it as “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens”, only 5% of Americans believe that Congress is doing a decent job, and a White House spokesman recently declared the majority of Americans who support marijuana legalization to be “extremists”.  If you haven’t yet read Václav Havel’s “The Power of the Powerless” (as featured in my January 7th column), now might be a good time to do so.

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