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Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’

If giving water to someone dying of thirst is illegal, what humanity is left in the law of this country?  –  Catherine Gaffney

Lack of Evidence 

Persecution of sex workers invariably affects other women as well:

An upscale New York City eatery has been accused of discriminating against women by a branding executive who wrote a personal essay…saying she was banned from eating at the restaurant’s bar.  Clementine Crawford…didn’t name the establishment in her essay for Drugstore Culture, but later confirmed…that the restaurant is Nello…she…was…informed…that [women are] “no longer permitted to eat” at the bar and “must now sit down at a table”…[because] the “owner had ordered a crackdown on hookers” who he believed preyed on clients at the bar…

A Mound of Filth 

With her husband decomposing, “Cuckoo Clock” McCain is doubling down on her creepy BDSM fantasies:

…the Phoenix Dream Center [makes] a…profit…[from] sex-trafficking [hysteria]…Cindy McCain…[claims] Arizona is a major hub for human trafficking around the world…[and] less than 2 percent of human trafficking victims are ever identified…McCain said her [fantasies of] human traffic started years ago, when she shopped for sari fabric for her daughter in Kolkata, India.  She heard clattering from beneath…She looked down, peering through the floorboards.  “I saw 100 sets of eyes – and they were little girls”…[she] went back to her nice home and…later [added] the [creepy fantasy of 100 prepubescent girls crammed into a basement]…to [her spank bank]…

Broken Record (#506)

The once-thriving competition for silliest “sex trafficking magnet” tall tale has been reduced mostly to pathetic reruns of years-old fantasies:

The North American International Auto Show brings a lot of people to Detroit.  But that’s not the only thing that comes to the city during the annual event.  “During that timeframe, we’re known to have a 280 to 330 percent increase in the number of sex trafficking workers that are in the area,” said Michael Glennon, with the FBI in Detroit …”We’re likely going to have approximately 30 to 40 children that are going to be trafficked just within the greater Detroit area,” he said…

We of course “know” exactly the opposite of this, and the approximate number of “sex trafficked children” in Detroit is much closer to zero than 30.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#795)

The “progressives” have given religious fanatics a powerful censorship tool:  declare anything a “public health crisis” and it can be harassed at will:

A group of Arizona [politicians] have filed a resolution denouncing pornography as a “public health crisis”…[which]…is responsible for a variety of deleterious effects on society and the individual…”and…perpetuates a sexually toxic environment that damages all areas of our society”…

Amusingly, the lone Democratic sponsor of the bill now claims that…

…he accidentally put his name on the resolution when it was among a stack of other bills…”I’m almost embarrassed to say I inadvertently signed that bill,” [Reginald] Bolding said.  He has been working with the bill’s primary sponsor, Representative Michelle Udall, on several other items of legislation, which is how the pornography resolution ended up on his desk.  After Bolding [was exposed] on social media…as a co-sponsor, he had his name removed from the bill…”I’m not even sure about the origins of the bill,” Bolding said…

I can help you with that last one, Mr. Bolding; as this article explains, the “porn as public health crisis” propaganda is a dodge dreamed up by prohibitionist Gail Dines and used by politicians in socially-conservative states as an excuse for censorship.

Unchristian Nation

Government thugs continue their crusade against Christian charity:

A federal judge…found four women guilty of misdemeanors after they [violated political diktats and] entered a national wildlife refuge along the U.S.-Mexico border to leave water and food for migrants…the…women were aid volunteers for No More Deaths, an advocacy group dedicated to ending the deaths of migrants crossing desert regions near the southern border…Natalie Hoffman…was found guilty of…operating a vehicle inside the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, entering a federally protected wilderness area without a [magical] permit and leaving behind gallons of water and bean cans…[i]n August 2017…Oona Holcomb, Madeline Huse and Zaachila Orozco-McCormick …were also charged…Each of the women face up to six months in prison…and a $500 fine…

O, Canada! (#813)

Canadian prohibitionists are still trying desperately to whip up “sex trafficking” hysteria there to US levels:

Human sex trafficking is the fastest-growing crime in Canada, and North Bay women are being enticed to give it a try.  Girls as young as 13 are being promised cash, pampering in hair and nail salons, as well as health and dental care, but it all comes at a cost – a steep one….“Women forced to service their customers 10 times a day. Women are being threatened, beaten, brainwashed and housed in horrible conditions. They’re poorly fed and drugged,” [moaned fetishist] Carolyn Couchie, [with her hand in her pants]…Couchie [fantasized that one] was housed in a basement with no windows for 10 days, only given water to drink, yet forced to perform for her male clients…Couchie said the girls are seen as a lucrative commodity, earning on average $280,000 annually for their handlers…Couchie and [a sow]…offered [their fantasies about] the world of human sex trafficking…[and cops imagining themselves as spies] who infiltrated the game…[in reality] programs like Northern Spotlight [harass and intimidate] sex worker[s by tricking them], and once they gain entry they [infantilize] women [by giving them] a tote bag with [stuff they can easily buy for themselves]…

Elephant in the Parlor (#831) 

“Prostitution” charges are such useful weapons against uppity women:

A Belarusian model who claimed last year that she had evidence of Russian interference in the election of Donald Trump has been arrested upon her arrival in Moscow following deportation from Thailand…Anastasia Vashukevich was detained…on charges of inducement to prostitution along with three people deported alongside her.  Vashukevich, who has been in a Thai prison since February last year, was given a suspended sentence on [January 15th] and ordered to be deported after she pleaded guilty to soliciting and conspiracy along with several co-defendants in a case related to holding a “sex training” seminar…

Spin Doctor

The word for “partnerships” between government and big corporations is “fascism”:

King County Council launched a campaign with several partners to [disseminate propaganda about sex work]…the council…plans to partner with the Port of Seattle, City of Seattle, Sound Transit, Alaska Airlines and Delta Airlines for the campaign. [Shahada, King of the Hill]…Washington ranked 13th in the U.S. for most active cases handling human trafficking…Vice-chairman of the council Reagan Dunn…[said] the campaign’s biggest goal was to…drive calls to the national human trafficking hotline…

Naturally that’s the aim, since calls to the “hotline” are the claimed “evidence” to pretend that “sex trafficking” is epidemic.  The more “awareness”, the more calls; fetishists then claim the calls represent “cases”, and feature the numbers in propaganda which increases hysteria & generates more calls. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Changing the Rules

Looks like at least a couple of people at The Hill aren’t asleep at the wheel:

[Politicians]…in the new Congress seem eager to continue a campaign against…the internet…[which] came about in large part because we correctly viewed online intermediaries more like distributors (think bookstores and libraries) than traditional publishers.  But as the Internet evolved, [busybodies] increasingly [resented] this protection …in 2018, Section 230 went from an internet protection law to congressional leverage against “Big Tech” companies.  In a series of hearings last year with various technology executives, Section 230 was blamed for everything from suppression of conservative viewpoints to sex trafficking to the opioid epidemic…these arguments illustrate that many in Congress do not appear to understand how Section 230 works, what it protects, or the potential damage that carving out too many exemptions could do to innovation and free expression online…In the months since SESTA became law, it has become increasingly clear that such carve-outs cannot be contained merely to bad actors.  They have chilling, silencing effects on legitimate and valuable speech…

In case you don’t remember, a previous “opinion contributor” in The Hill (anti-porn group Morality in Media, which recently rebranded to the more authoritative-sounding “National Center on Sexual Exploitation”) put forth the exact bizarre interpretation condemned in this new article as part of an anti-internet, anti-consent, anti-sex, pro-censorship screed.

Feminine Pragmatism (#896) 

More infantilization of women doing what they must to survive:

…in Guyana…Fiona Hopkinson pleaded not guilty to…charges…that…she trafficked four Venezuelan women for sexual exploitation at the  Diamond Hotel and Night Club…the women, while being questioned by the police, confessed that they were in need of work and Hopkinson had transported them from Venezuela to work as prostitutes…

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In the minds of the regulate-and-incarcerate crowd, it is much better to treat unsolicited butt or genital sightings with the same intensity as we do matters of national security.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot has reached Spain:

The Spanish government is proposing a spate of new legal measures to [persecute] prostitut[es].  These include penalizing clients who solicit for sex and punishing landlords who make properties available to sex workers.  Further measures would also look to prosecute [people cops decide to label] traffickers…and…decriminalizing [sex workers, even though they are not currently criminalized]…Sex work is…neither illegal nor regulated [in Spain] but Prime Minister Sanchez came to power in June with a strongly [misogynist] agenda and promising to fight the e[mployment and sexual autonomy] of women…

Traffic Jam (#694) 

24 years of state-inflicted torture finally end for the San Antonio 4:

…Judge Catherine Torres-Stahl handed out orders…expunging the records of Elizabeth Ramirez…Cassandra Rivera…Kristie Mayhugh …and Anna Vasquez…all government agencies that house information on criminal charges, indictments, arrests or convictions related to the cases in which the women were found innocent must seal or destroy the records.  The women consistently maintained their innocence from that day 24 years ago when Ramirez’s nieces, then ages 7 and 9, accused the women of brutalizing them while on a weekend visit…After the women served nearly 15 years in prison, one of the nieces publicly recanted.  She said family members upset that her aunt had come out as a lesbian told her to lie.  So did her father, who…was upset that Ramirez had spurned his advances…it was also shown that [bogus] science helped support the charge…each of them…[has] receive[d] state compensation of about $80,000 for each year they were imprisoned — a little more than $1 million apiece…

Too Close To Home (#760)

Another exercise in cop-fellation and myth-regurgitation masquerading as journalism:

…Charles Peters…[of] the self-titled “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”…was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine after a jury convicted him in October of nine counts of second-degree promoting prostitution.  Peters…is appealing his conviction…[and free on] $75,000 bond while his appeal is pending…

Though she didn’t write that moronic headline (“Ringleader”?  Who the fuck uses that word with a straight face any more? Has the editor been watching ’30s gangster movies?), Sara Jean Green still needs to be ashamed of herself for this garbage, especially considering that I know for a fact she has the phone numbers of several prominent Seattle sex workers (including mine).  Prohibitionists claim what I do for money is “demeaning”, but I don’t have to infantilize peaceful women, demonize peaceful men, or lionize violent thugs.

Check Your Premises (#809)

Despite some conciliatory language and ground-ceding, this is a good article:

…the Tucson Weekly accessed a spreadsheet of all [Southern Arizona “sex trafficking”] investigations in the three years since the beginning of the grant and found 10 people who were convicted of trafficking and related crimes.  Out of 516 investigations…[only] 23 people were categorized as arrested for trafficking…of those 23…[only] 14 were [actually] charged with trafficking [or] other sex crimes…Of the 14…10 people were convicted or took plea deals, three have ongoing court cases and one committed suicide after being released on bail…[only] two cases resemble the mainstream narrative of a…[woman] forced to commit commercial sex acts against her will…In one case, a drunk, 71-year-old registered sex-offender in a wheelchair persistently and crudely offered a 14-year-old girl money for sexual favors at a bus stop…In another case, a man offered to pay three 15-year-old boys and one girl to [perform] sex acts in front of him.  Some of the cases involve runaways…In other cases, the…[so-called] trafficker [was the sex worker’s] friend or boyfriend…The spreadsheet indicates 52 misdemeanor arrests related to prostitution or not having an escort license…

Traffic in Nonsense (#831)

Anti-whore indoctrination has wholly infested the US trucking industry:

…Kendis Paris…of Truckers Against Trafficking…is one member of the 15-person Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation in October.  The group’s goal is to develop strategies for [encouraging truck drivers to snitch on sex workers]…The committee includes leaders of [rescue industry] organizations…[anti-whore propagandists] and representatives of the trucking, bus, rail, aviation, maritime and port industries…Truckers Against Trafficking leads [indoctrination] programs and distributes [propaganda] materials to various sectors of the industry…About 40 states have adopted aspects of Truckers Against Trafficking’s [indoctrination] model.  The group has worked with [pigs] who give [propaganda] wallet cards to truck drivers…

Imaginary Victims (#839)

Even by despicable modern US standards, this is an incredibly evil ruling:

A woman who was 16 when she killed a Nashville man who [assaulted] her…must serve at least 51 years in prison before she’s eligible for release, according to the Tennessee Supreme Court…The court’s five justices were unanimous in their decision against Brown, who was convicted of killing a…[client] in 2004 when he [roughed her up and]…she feared he would kill her…Brown argues her sentence is unconstitutional, citing a 2012 opinion by the US Supreme Court that said mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile offenders violate the US Constitution…

Brown’s only chance now is the outgoing Tennessee governor, who can pardon her and commute her sentence.

Shame, Shame (#853)

New York just won’t stop trying to subject nude-pic-posters to police violence:

Under [New York politician Joseph] Borrelli’s measure, it would be a misdemeanor offense “to send an unsolicited sexually explicit video or image to another person with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm such other person,” punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.  Sexually explicit means anything showing “genitals, pubic area or anus of any person”…It’s already illegal for adults to send sexually explicit images to minors…[and] already illegal…to harass someone, stalk them, or threaten them.  So sending sexually explicit images “with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm” could already be prosecuted under another statute, provided there actually is evidence of harassing or threatening intent.  What that leaves us with is basically a way for anyone to press charges against anyone who sends them a sexualized image…The measure would provide plenty of opportunity for jilted lovers to get even with criminal charges…The opportunity is also ripe for abuse against sex workers who advertise online, whether by those who enjoy harassing them for sport (as with last week’s so-called ThotAudit), by customers who feel slighted, or by law enforcement…

A Broker in Pillage (#858)

With any luck, SCOTUS will shut down this extortion scheme and others like it:

A Detroit woman [named Crystal Sisson] is suing Wayne County, Michigan, after police [stole] her car [because she bought] $10 worth of [legal] marijuana…[from] a [licensed] Detroit medical marijuana dispensary…the sheriff’s deputies cited her for “illegally occupying a place where controlled substances are sold” and seized her 2015 Kia Soul…To get her car back, Sisson had to pay the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office $1,200 to settle the forfeiture case, a typical practice in the county…the Supreme Court is currently considering a similar asset forfeiture case, Timbs v. Indiana, that revolves around the case of Tyson Timbs, whose Land Rover, worth $41,000, was seized after he sold two grams of heroin to a [narc]…Court watchers strongly suspect the Supreme Court will incorporate the Eighth Amendment, making the Excessive Fines clause apply to states.  Sisson is only one of hundreds of Wayne County residents who’ve been surveilled, pulled over, had their car [stolen], and been forced to pay out more than $1,000 to get it back, all for visiting legal, state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries…

Banishment (#870) 

Caging people permanently, without trial or sentence:

…William Welsh has a number of convictions for child molestation and sexual abuse dating back to 1979.  In 2011 he was no longer in custody, having served his required prison and probationary sentences. He was, however, required to register on Oregon’s Sex Offender Registry because of his prior convictions.  When he traveled to Belize in 2011 and failed to update the address listed on his registration, he was charged, and pled guilty, to violating…registration requirements – a felony – and he was sentenced to 673 days in prison.  A few weeks prior to his release, the Attorney General designated him a “sexually dangerous person”; the reviewing court agreed, and he was [indefinitely] committed…In 2016, however, his conviction (for having failed to update his registration) was vacated, after the Supreme Court, in US v. Nichols, 136 S.Ct. 113, held that SORNA did not require a person to update his registration when he was traveling to a foreign country.  So he petitioned for a release from custody, arguing that because he had not lawfully been “in custody” of the Bureau of Prisons…he could not, lawfully, have been subject to the commitment proceeding for “sexually dangerous persons” in the first place.  But his request for release was denied, first by the federal district court and then by the 4th Circuit

Surplus Women (#873) 

Let’s play a game:  Is this a rationalization of cop behavior or serial killer behavior?

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been charged with capital murder after telling investigators he killed four female sex workers because he considered them worthless and that he thought he was doing something good for his Texas border city…[the] prosecutor said…he will seek the death penalty if Juan David Ortiz is found guilty…

Feminine Pragmatism (#892) 

Dreams“. How old is the imbecile who writes this shit? Eight?

…Escalona was one of at least 41 Venezuelan women murdered abroad from February 2017 to this November.  They had fled Venezuela’s economic turmoil. They left their homeland with dreams.  Some were forced into prostitution.  All met death…

No.  These women weren’t “following dreams” like refugees from a fucking Hallmark card; they were trying to survive by fleeing a collapsing socialist dictatorship.  They were not naive children like so many American women; they were adults who had to take risks thanks to authoritarians criminalizing their pragmatic choice to cross borders to work.  And since criminalization attracts criminals, sometimes they lost those gambles.  The villains here aren’t imaginary “trafficking rings”; they’re the fucking politicians who force desperate people to deal with criminals to have a chance to escape hell.

Disaster (#893)

I’m not sure how much this will help, but it certainly can’t hurt:

…the new platform Tribunus has allowed web users to weigh in on critical issues when petitions and digital comments are no longer viable steps.  On Tribunus’ simple site, US residents can contact legislators directly by placing a phone call, sending them a fax, or — if their fax machine is turned off — quickly sending them a paper letter instead.  Tribunus’ creator, a Bay Area programmer who asked to be identified as Michael, said he first launched the platform to help defeat a legal measure threatening California sex workers (successfully, after protests and hundreds of letters).  Later on, he added pages addressing immigrant family separation and net neutrality…

The Prudish Giant (#895) 

Facebook turns the dial on its anti-sex “standards” up to 11:

Facebook just…adopted…new “sexual solicitation” rules…[that] ban “implicit sexual solicitation”including the use of sexual slang, the solicitation of nude images, discussion of “sexual partner preference,” and even expressing interest in sex…the new policy [even] bars “vague suggestive statements, such as ‘looking for a good time tonight’”…discussion of sexual exploitation is allowed, but discussion of consensual, adult sex is taboo.  That’s a classic censorship model: speech about sexuality being permitted only when sex is presented as dangerous and shameful…such…rules can incentivize abuse from…bad actors…[including] state actors…This process gives the user no meaningful opportunity to appeal a bad decision.  Given the rules’ focus on sexual interests and activities, it’s easy to imagine who would be the easiest targets:  sex workers…[and] members of the LGBTQ community…

From the way these rules are worded, they seem to even ban bland statements like “I’m lesbian” (which is “expressing sexual partner preference”).

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You deserve that child to be injured.  –  some creepy old busybody

Last week on Twitter there was a larger-than-usual number of belligerent amateurs making weird claims about how it’s somehow “exploitation” to charge men for sex, but not to give sex away to them for free; naturally I and many other sex workers were mocking them as the fools they are.  In the process Nattie Roman tweeted this video of a pivotal scene from Baby Face, which you should definitely read my review of and then go watch.  I’m featuring it because I love the scene, and also so I can find it next time I want to tweet it myself.  The links above it were provided by Tim CushingAmy AlkonCharles HillFurrygirl, Amy Alkon again, and Joe Setyon, in that order.

From the Archives

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When we come back, we come back stronger.  –  Kristen DiAngelo

Surplus Women 

Politicians won’t even wait for a whore’s body to be cold before launching vile attacks on her community:

Just a few hours before the march…in memory of [Eunice, a Nigerian sex worker] who was mortally stabbed on…5 June, the Committee of Brussels’s Alhambra District…speaks…in favor of…prostitution tolerance zones…and of a building complex to shelter…prostitutes’ shop windows…The Alhambra Committee [claims] that it is not against prostitution, but rather against the disturbance it causes in a residential district…“We can accept several independent prostitutes ‘working’ in the neighborhood, but it is difficult not to notice the Rumanian-Bulgarian-Albanian-Hungarian mafia installed on our streets since 2005″…the…Committee…[also stated] that they are favorable to police control of clients…[and] denounces the fact that [activists are against this ghetto because]…prostitutes without official papers could not work there…

Dehumanization, racism, end demand garbage, scare quotes around “working” and a bottleneck to keep “dirty foreigners” out.  They didn’t even include her name, just called her “a prostitute”.  But they’re not against sex work, no sir!

Broken Record 

Hysteria is like a disease; it spreads among friend & foe alike:

Even though prostitution is illegal in Russia, there are around three million regular sex workers in the country, according to activist group Silver Rose.  Until recently, the group says, the police had turned a blind eye to the practice or taken kickbacks.  But with hundreds of thousands of tourists descending on Russia for the World Cup, the authorities are [purging as “authorities” always do before such events]…this means frequent raids on well-known prostitution sites…Despite the authorities’ efforts, though, [prohibitionists fantasize] that the relaxed visa regime introduced to simplify travel to Russia during the tournament is encouraging illegal trafficking of women.  As Yulia Siluyanova of Alternativa, a Moscow-based [prohibitionist] organization, put it, “The World Cup is a gift for traffickers”…

Under Every Bed

Is it just me, or are “sex trafficking is EVERYWHERE!” articles beginning to sound very tired?

Some Central Texans are taking a stand against sex trafficking…the T.S.O.Y., Texas Save Our Youth organization, held a meeting…to [indoctrinate] the public…[in bogus] statistics, [fantasies] of trafficking and warning signs like strategically placed tattoos…The U.S. is the number one producer and consumer of sex trafficking in the world, and Texas is in the top three states in the country.

Bottleneck (#638)

“Licensing” is one of the ways governments try to surreptitiously ban things:

The state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums…to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution.  Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, have reportedly shut down to avoid prosecution.  Reuters reports: Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to $900 for a license.  Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below $900 a year.  Digital activists say the law is part of a crackdown on dissent and free speech…Government officials [pretend] the new rules are aimed at tackling hate speech and other online crimes, including cyberbullying and pornography

Does that list of “crimes” justifying censorship sound familiar?

Morality Lessons (#689)

In which the FBI running an actual child porn site is called “law enforcement ingenuity”:

…we spearhead and coordinate massive nationwide and international operations to disrupt and destroy child exploitation networks….these…are most successful only when we can rely on our close partnerships with the many federal, state, local, tribal, and non-governmental partners here today.  Operation Pacifier was a prime example.  In that case, we…[took over] a highly sophisticated, global enterprise on the dark web called “Playpen,” where users exchanged tens of thousands of postings relating to the sexual abuse of children – even, revoltingly, children as young as infants and toddlers.  Operation Pacifier was a model of law enforcement ingenuity.  Agents identified and seized the “Playpen” server, which gave the FBI a very short window of time to [keep running it as normal]…to identify site users…

Your regular reminder that the word for a “partnership” between political and corporate interests is “fascism”.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#743) 

Another sighting of the “sex trafficking” fetishist who masturbates to the fantasy that emojis in low-rent escort ads are part of some mysterious pimp “code”:

“Human trafficking is a business,” said Jessica Whitney, “where people are treated as inventory”…Whitney [fantasizes] that traffickers use certain language and emojis (symbols) to appeal to certain buyers.  They market the girls — by age, race, skin color, “new in town” (i.e. limited time only) — as a retailer positions its products.  In fact, victims are often forced to write their own customized ads.  The [fantasy] doesn’t relent…

The Course of a Disease (#757)

Israeli prohibitionists ladle FOSTA slop on top of an already-bad anti-whore bill:

The state is petitioning the courts to remove five Israeli prostitution websites from the internet…[clients careless enough to be] caught [in pig stings] within three years of the first offense will pay doubled the original fine, according to the draft legislation…[Injustice Minister Ayelet] Shaked had decided that customers would be pursued through administrative rather than criminal enforcement: the offender would not be considered a criminal with a criminal record…The minister [bloviated] that the draft bill fining customers is…part of a wider plan she intends to bring before government in the months to come…Meanwhile…the Knesset approved a bill banning advertisement of prostitutes…for the first time, the prohibition will apply to the printing shop that printed the ad…offending internet sites and phone numbers involved in promoting prostitution services could be blocked…

Surprised how fast mass censorship is taking hold? We did warn you.

Devil’s Advocate (#761) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

The U.S. House approved a ban…on the importation and trafficking of anatomically correct child sex dolls…that [perverts wrongly claim] “normalize sex between adults and minors…These dolls can be programmed to simulate rape. The very thought makes me [excited]” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte…“Once an abuser tires of practicing on a doll, it’s a small step to move on to a child”…[fantasized bill sponsor] Dan Donovan…The proposal [imagines] the…dolls…“can resemble actual children”…Goodlatte [pretended to be] “distraught” that…child sex dolls even exist…“Customers can order bespoke dolls, providing pictures of specific children they would like the doll to resemble.  They can indicate a preferred facial expression such as sadness or fear”…

Even in the world of anti-sex propaganda, this bill and article are egregious.  They express psychologically-illiterate fantasies and scare-claims in declarative sentences, and make assertions that are not only untrue, but calculated to demonize the buyers of such dolls (eg, the last sentence).  I also remind you of the McNeill Rule.

Feminine Pragmatism (#778) 

One day, reporters will get that “People Work To Make Money” is not news:

…in Colombia’s border city of Cucuta…Venezuelan sex workers…now [do a fairly ordinary job] to support themselves and their families…About 672,000 Venezuelans have crossed into neighbouring Colombia alone, both legally and illegally, since 2015…The exodus from the oil-rich country is the largest migration of people in South America’s recent history, and it shows little signs of abating.  For some, sex work is [a reasonable, practical] option…

The Widening Gyre (#811)

Lenore Skenazy is doing great work reporting on these absurd “sex trafficking” panics:

Here’s [a] mom’s Facebook post:  “we are driving home from Cincinnati and got off at a rest stop for a quick bathroom break.  Just my daughter and I went inside…some lady who appeared to be on something, was trying to talk to my daughter…I heard…her say “the little girl” [to another woman]…As we leave I passed both women and the one that I originally saw had changed clothes and started to leave…I then made a dead sprint to the car, threw my daughter in and locked doors.  Once we were safely in car I noticed 3 men standing in front of a gold minivan with all the doors open…I have this terrible feeling that had I not been aware…my daughter may have been taken from me“…stranger danger is so rare that even the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children…has asked people to stop using the term.  And David Finkelhor, head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, told me he had heard of no children ever abducted from their parents in public for sex trafficking purposes…A media organization uncritically promoting this hysteria is…reckless journalism…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#834) 

Lewis & her friends are fools; what they want is legalization & protectionism, and they’re not going to like it if they get it:

[A small group of] New Zealand sex workers have written an open letter…asking for the election of a Minister of Prostitution.  The letter also rejects the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (NZPC) as the representative organisation of sex workers here, and attacks the collective’s support for illegal sex workers.  The letter by Hamilton sex worker Lisa Lewis carries 25 other names…In an unlikely alliance, the letter was written with the help of [conservative Christian group] Family First…Lewis said… “Prostitution needs to be governed in New Zealand.  If there is a legislation, there should be a Minister.”  The letter claimed migrants coming on temporary visas to work as prostitutes were “taking money off legal sex workers, not paying tax and going home with the money …NZPC’s current focus is legalising internationals to be allowed to provide commercial sexual services here in New Zealand and no legal New Zealand sex worker wants this”…Family First is highly critical of the Prostitution Reform Act and is calling for a Nordic model…

I am reminded of the fable, “The Frogs Who Desired a King”.

Choke Point (#839) 

Useful idiots are unable to understand how precedent works:

Several gun-related businesses were suddenly — and without warning — disrupted in recent weeks when Intuit stopped processing credit card payments because phone and internet sales were gun-related…Some of the payments stopped didn’t even involve firearms, but simply T-shirts and coffee mugs and gun safety classes…As a result, the businesses had to scramble to track down customers to get them pay their bills after Intuit credited back to customers’ accounts the purchases — even if the T-shirt was already shipped or the class already taken…

It always starts with a politically-unpopular group like sex workers or gun owners, but never stops there.

Disaster (#839)

I’ve never seen anything galvanize public support for sex workers like FOSTA has:

After…SESTA-FOSTA…organizing around sex workers has been reinvigorated with a new urgency.  The legislation…cripples sex workers’ ability to work safely online.  It’s merely the latest example in an unbroken history of harmful anti-sex work laws.  But at a time when activism…is all the more crucial…SESTA-FOSTA…[is] silencing and criminalizing the very organizing and advocacy that would help sex workers stay safe and fight persecution, even chilling journalists’ efforts to cover these issues…In one poignant example of how these laws harm advocacy, the Desiree Alliance Conference — the largest U.S. gathering addressing human, labor, and civil rights for workers in the sex industry — announced that it will not take place this year due to fears surrounding SESTA-FOSTA…

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It’s a wonder they lived to tell the tale.  A car.  A mumbler. More than one person in the parking garage at once.  It is all just overwhelming.  –  Lenore Skenazy

Feminine Pragmatism 

Anyone surprised by this knows nothing about women:

…Gabriel Sánchez rattled off the previous jobs of the women who now [work] at his [brothel] for $25 an hour.  “We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer…All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.”  And all of them came from Venezuela.  As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse amid food shortages, hyperinflation and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country.  Those with the means have gone to places like Miami, Santiago and Panama.  The less fortunate find themselves walking across the border into Colombia looking for a way, any way, to keep themselves and their families fed…But with jobs scarce, many…women are turning to the world’s oldest profession to make ends meet…

Socialism, the way of the future.

Finding What Isn’t There

As I keep saying over and over and over:

Human trafficking arrests are almost nonexistent in most states, according to the FBI’s newly released U.S. crime statistics for 2016…Florida reported 105 investigations into human-trafficking offenses in 2016 but zero human trafficking arrests…Nevada worked on 140 human-trafficking investigations but made only 40 arrests on trafficking charges.  Louisiana looked into 123 potential cases of human trafficking but only arrested 16 people for it…this report only includes arrests recorded by state and local law enforcement on human trafficking charges, which allows us to look beyond police propaganda about what they’re doing and see what it is they’re actually doing….the data do little to support the idea that the U.S. is experiencing unprecedented levels of labor and sex trafficking or that we are in the midst of some sort of “modern slavery” epidemic.  This is probably why you don’t see UCR trafficking statistics quoted in congressional reports, “awareness” materials, or law enforcement statements to the media on the topic…

Backwards into the Future (#629) 

Zimbabwean sex workers demonstrate their clout:

…sex workers in Chiredzi, a small sugar cane growing town in south-eastern Zimbabwe, have forced the reopening of Chigarapasi beer hall, the country’s largest, after threatening to stage a week-long naked vigil at the entrance in protest over its closure.  The beer hall…was closed early this year [after] the…Chiredzi council…[claimed] the bar was no longer making a profit – much to the surprise of…sex workers whose livelihood depends on [it]…

Public Service Announcement (#669)

If your candidate’s campaign can be derailed by the peccadilloes of a virtual stranger, you have a shitty candidate:

Anthony Weiner is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday in a sexting scandal that some blame for Hillary Clinton’s presidential loss.  The former New York congressman faces up to 27 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor…by having illicit contact with a 15-year-old girl, including asking her to “sexually perform” for him in conversations on Skype and Snapchat…

Also: the word “illicit” makes anyone who uses it sound like a pearl-clutching schoolmarm.

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

Because nothing makes authoritarians lose their shit faster than sex:

…Chinese company Taqu (or “Touch” in English)…launch[ed] their “Shared Girlfriend” app online, which allowed users to rent a silicone sex doll for a daily fee of 298 yuan (US$45.15) or 1,298 yuan per week…news of the service quickly went viral…Two days after its 14 September launch in Beijing, the authorities shut the service down after…a police investigation [called the rental] it to be a “vulgar act that disrupts social order“…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

These “close encounters” with near sex-traffickers are like alien abductions.  They are shared wildly — gleefully — by people seemingly thrilled to know this horrible scourge is out there…This latest story, from Reno, involves a mom and dad who noticed every detail about a night that sounds outrageously ordinary.  They passed by some people they didn’t know!  They went into the parking garage and there was a car — with people in it!  They felt scared for their kids and compelled to write a Facebook post warning people everywhere about this terrible thing that…didn’t happen…I, too, walked outside last night and literally every single person I encountered may have “possibly” been involved in a child sex trafficking ring.  Each and every person I saw might “possibly” have also been a Satanist.  Or the owner of a Segway they’re trying to get rid of.  Or been related to the Royal Family…there’s no way to say they AREN’T sex traffickers.  So it’s best to just assume they are…”Holland…described [one man] as looking disheveled and wearing a bodyguard-type earpiece“…I’m sure that “bodyguard type earpiece” couldn’t possibly be an earbud.  It is so much more likely that the man was being commanded from Sex Trafficking HQ than listening to Beyonce…

Saving Them From Themselves (#735)

Lowered penalties for teen sexting may sound like a step in the right direction, but in actuality they simply encourage prosecutors to file more charges for behavior that isn’t even criminal in the first place:

Ohio state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would ban sexting between teenagers, potentially turning thousands of ordinary young Ohioans into sex offenders…Legislators could instead amend state statute to exempt teens exchanging pics between themselves, and people a few years over 18 texting with those a few years younger, from laws that treat them as child-porn producers and consumers.  Prosecutors could decline to bring these charges against sexting minors, and schools could decline to hand these cases over to cops.  Instead, this bill would create the new misdemeanor crime of “possession of sexually explicit digital material”…by anyone under age 21…So sexting teenagers might not get labeled child pornographers, but they could still wind up with a criminal record or, at the very least, a lot of court dates and a bullshit DARE-style class on how sexting will ruin their lives.  Worse yet, the legislation doesn’t actually change the state’s child pornography laws.  If it passes, prosecutors can still bring child porn charges against minors…or…use the threat of that charge to coerce kids to consent to searches, take plea deals on the lesser charge, and so on.  The sexting offense would simply be an additional tool at authorities’ disposal…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#759) 

The concept that men can’t tell the difference between a hunk of plastic and a woman insults all humans:

A sex robot with a “resistance setting” that allows men to simulate rape should be banned…[says anti-sex] lawyer…Kate Parker, who…warned the “uniquely sinister” technology normalised sexual assault…

Beware of authoritarians who disguise their deeply pathological need to control others’ sexuality by using words like “normalize” to describe sexual fantasies which are already so normal they’re almost vanilla.  For a deeper analysis of why this woman’s beliefs are deeply offensive, see also “Vile Insinuation“.

The Course of a Disease (#772)

It took a few weeks for Irish prohibitionists to figure out how to celebrate the increase in violence vs sex workers directly resulting from their laws without revealing their sociopathy to everyone:

More sex workers have reported rapes to gardai since new laws on prostitution laws were introduced, a [prohibitionist] group has claimed…Sarah Benson, head of Ruhama, which [persecutes sex workers]…said she is hopeful the laws make a positive difference…

Lower Education (#773)

Go on, keep telling me how the slippery slope is a “fallacy”:

Gov. Jerry Brown of California is poised to sign a worrisome bill that…explicitly applies to children in public kindergarten, elementary and high schools.  So a first grader could face dire consequences if found to have committed an act of “sexual violence,” which is broadly defined to include any “physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person” without their consent.  California lawmakers quickly passed the bill last week after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced on Sept. 7 that she will roll back the [due-process-banning] guidelines set forth by the Obama administration in 2011…[which] have led to bad outcomes…In case after case, young men were expelled on the basis of allegations that they were not allowed to challenge by seeing the evidence against them or cross-examining witnesses…Put aside for a moment whether a 6-year-old is capable of forming the intent to commit a sexual assault when she plants kisses on an unenthusiastic classmate, or whether it makes sense to bring sexual assault charges against an eighth grader who hugs the girl he has a crush on but who does not reciprocate his feelings.  Put aside for a moment whether school administrators should be branding children sexual assailants even if they are 49.99 percent sure the allegations are not true…Heavy-handed disciplinary policies fall disproportionately on students of color.  Because of the stereotypes associated with them, including the noxious but persistent trope that black males are inherently sexually predatory, black kids are presumed guilty…

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I’m just not right in the head.  –  Michael Lane

You’ve probably heard by now that rock and roll legend Chuck Berry died last Saturday at the age of 90; you’ve probably also seen video of him at the height of his popularity in the late ’50s, but whether you have or haven’t you’ll probably enjoy this performance of “Roll Over Beethoven”.  The links above it are from Jason Kuznicki (“serve”), Popehat (“paradise”), Ally Fogg (“rape”), Radley Balko  (“exposed”), and Tushy Galore (“friends”).

From the Archives

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I can’t breathe.  –  Darius Robinson

A couple of nights ago I was reminded of this Sesame Street video, in which the Muppets teach children about tolerance toward the diversity of human sexual response.  The links above it are from Popehat (“faking”), Tim Cushing (“Batman”, “pulp” and “12”), Franklin Harris (“paradise”), Mike Siegel (“rescue”), Grace  (“jailers”), and Radley Balko (“confirm” and “donuts”).

From the Archives

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