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Posts Tagged ‘Welcome to the Future’

With all the legitimately pressing problems facing America today, it’s astonishing that anyone could earnestly advocate for more obscenity prosecutions.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Above the Law  

We’re so lucky to have these brave heroes to protect us from refugees:

Police in Alpine, Texas, have charged a National Guardsman stationed near the Mexico border with sexual assault after…he drunkenly tried to rape a woman in a hotel.  Luis Ontiveros…is accused of assaulting…[another] member of the National Guard…[who] had…thrown up from drinking too much…He took her clothes off before she was able to get out of the hotel room…and knocked on the hotel room door next to hers, telling the man who answered that Ontiveros had tried to rape her…

A Mound of Filth (#506)

More “sex slave” fantasies from Dominique “Body Fluids” Roe-Sepowitz:

The latest numbers from the FBI show in 2017 Arizona was third in the nation for human trafficking offenses…[Ignorant prohibitionists fantasize] it is impacting people from all walks of life.  “It is anybody.  Businessmen, junkies from the street, anybody looking for sex,” said an [anonymous prohibitionist]…Dominique Roe-Sepowitz is an associate professor [who makes a living stoking “sex trafficking” hysteria by making up fake statistics.]…”In Arizona, we [claim] we have about 250 kids a year and about 800 adults a year [involved in sex trafficking],” [she] said…She [moaned and put her hand down her pants while fantasizing that]…traffickers are creative and calculating when targeting their victims…It happens through social media, in public buildings and parks and even in front of schools.  “They’re going to find that child wherever they are”…

Forward and Backward (#604)

UK politicians don’t like policies that oppose their harm magnification agenda:

…Leeds Council [is considering]…closure of the Leeds ‘managed zone’, in which sex workers are able to solicit for business in a designated area without fear of arrest…Regulation via zoning is not ideal but any solution which increases safety for sex workers, allows them to report crimes and brings down the number of arrests is important.  Working without fear of arrest means sex workers aren’t running from the police are more able to use basic safety measures like working in close proximity to each other and sharing information about clients…outreach charity Basis Yorkshire [says]…97% of sex workers are now willing to report crimes to the police, compared with just 7% before the scheme launched.  There has been a dramatic uptake in engagement with health and support services…

For over a year now, the Leeds red light district has been the subject of a smear campaign by prohibitionists, with the help of the BBC.

Welcome to the Future (#607)

“Immigrant Council of Ireland” is the deceptive name of one of the most vile prohibitionist organizations in Europe:

Police across Europe should be given the resources to spy on…sex workers’ homes to prevent prostitution, a report has said.  The Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) was one of six organisations to examine laws on sex work and trafficking across Europe.  The group’s Disrupt Demand report called for more [police violence vs. sex workers and clients]…and [more] “surveillance operations on indoor locations”…

Most news coverage of this “report” tries to make it sound like a study, when in fact it’s just a collection of prohibitionist fantasies and demands with no new material of any kind.

The Puritan Recrudescence

The natural result of widespread kowtowing to the heckler’s veto:

…Nina Hartley went to University of Wisconsin-La Crosse to give an optional lecture to students…about STI testing, the importance of consent, and the potential pitfalls of learning about sex from porn.  The talk was soberly titled, “Fantasy vs. Reality: A critical view of adult media.”  There were no explicit images or videos, just an informational Powerpoint slide.  And yet, of course, conservative media outlets are losing their shit over it, because a porn star (who is also a sex educator and activist) spoke with our kids (who are actually legal adults) about fucking (but really much more).  Hartley was invited to speak by Joe Gow, the chancellor of the university…with…$5,000 from Gow’s office fund, as opposed to with state tax dollars…sensationalistic headlines…desperately attempted to turn it into a tawdry sex scandal…Then Fox News jumped into the fray.  The outcry was such that Gow felt the need to pen an op-ed in the La Crosse Tribune…in [which]…he…agreed to personally compensate the university for Hartley’s $5,000 appearance fee…[and] book…a speaker from Fight the New Drug, a [Mormon-backed prohibitionist organization]…infamous for using bad scienceshoddy data, and alarmist first-person stories to demonize pornography…

Count the Idiocies

Since this is suburban Seattle, I could’ve done this one stoned:

Sex trafficking is happening in plain sight in Snohomish County1, according to nurse practitioner Paula Newman-Skomski2.  “It’s most visible is along Highway 99,” she said.3  This past weekend [Operation Cross-Country] found 13 female victims of sex trafficking – two of the victims are juveniles4. No arrests were made.  The FBI said the victims were offered referrals to a variety of resources.5…”Every year we identify 40 to 45 juveniles involved in the trafficking trade here in Snohomish County,” said Newman-Skomski.6…”…easily transported up and down the I-5 corridor.”7  It is the kind of illegal activity the FBI focused on when it shut down Backpage.com8…Peoria Home in Everett…is a two-year, residential recovery program for women 18 and over who have been exploited through sex trafficking and prostitution.  It opened in April9

1 No, it isn’t. If it were cops would be crowing about it.
2 Whom nobody around here has ever heard of before.
3 No, Those are street workers.
4 No, they got 13 bites in a sting; the fact that they didn’t arrest them could mean several different things.
5 Such as finger-painting classes and the number of the welfare office.
6 No, they don’t; that would represent some 20% of all sex workers in Greater Seattle.  Underage sex workers represent only about 3-4% of all sex workers.
7 Interstates cause sex trafficking!
8 No, it isn’t.
9 “Rescue” profiteers are utterly shameless.

Why I Wait (#812)

Most of this article is the usual garbage: equating dating with sex, pointedly ignoring commercial sex, pretending that people answer surveys on stigmatized subjects honestly, etc.  But there was one paragraph which contained some possible clues to the reasons any actual decrease (however small) might exist:

…it might be a consequence of…surging anxiety rates, of psychological frailty, of widespread antidepressant use…of environmental estrogens leaked by plastics [and soy products], of dropping testosterone levels…of helicopter parents…of sleep deprivation, of obesity…

In my estimation, the most likely candidate for this supposed decline is the ongoing culture war on sex, which discourages people from being honest about their sexuality (especially activity involving sex workers).  In other words they aren’t really having less sex; they’re just admitting it less.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#815) 

Regular readers will recognize Alberta’s article as completely unmoored from reality:

There’s been a “total abandonment of pornography as a battleground in America’s culture war,” writes Politico reporter Tim Alberta in “How the GOP Gave Up on Porn“.  He couldn’t be more wrong.  The flashpoints have shifted certainly since the 1970s and ’80s, when Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority teamed with second-wave feminists to take on Playboy and Hustler.  And social conservatives’ embrace of President Donald Trump does present a stark contrast to earlier eras…But such hypocrisy should not be mistaken for a radical repositioning of Republican dogma on “obscenity”…it was just two years ago that Republicans added language to their official party platform that declared porn “has become a public health crisis that is destroying the lives of millions“…Last year, Republicans in at least a dozen state legislatures introduced measures to ban porn access for anyone who wouldn’t pay a $20 fine…But never mind reality.  Fresh from declaring that there’s been no recent Republican action against porn because he doesn’t personally remember it, Alberta gets right to theorizing about why…

See No Evil (#854) 

Prosecutors want to cage a man for twenty years for drawings of fictional characters:

…a Rapid City, South Dakota, man was charged in federal district court with…Possession of Obscene Visual Representations of the Sexual Abuse of Children…Andrew Hallock…pleaded not guilty to the charges…[which carry] a mandatory minimum of 5 years up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine…The charges [derive from] Hallock…possessing…sexually explicit drawings and cartoons of minors…The investigation is being conducted by the I[maginary] Crimes Against [Imaginary] Children Taskforce…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#885)

Politicians send thugs to violently assault women to advance vain Disnification campaign:

Police and military personnel [brutalized] and detained 53 Laotians–50 women and three girls who were allegedly employed as sex workers–during raids on karaoke bars in southern Thailand’s Narathiwat province…Authorities could not find and arrest the bar owners during the raids, but they were…[threatening] the…sex workers…[with] prosecut[ion] for prostitution [to intimidate as many of them as possible into claiming to be “trafficking victims”]…

No Difference (#886)

Tanzania ramps up its pogroms against gay men:

International human rights organisations have condemned…the harassment and arrest of gay men in Tanzania, following comments from a government official on plans to establish a task force to identify, track down and arrest people suspected of being gay…ten men were arrested on suspicion of being gay on…Zanzibar after members of the public [ratted] them [out] to police.  They are being held…with[out] charge…for allegedly conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony, and the police reported they found the men sitting in pairs “two by two”

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They want to give rapist policemen more power over sex workers.  –  Waiting Girl

The Red Umbrella 

A [man] who robbed a sex worker at knifepoint in her own home has been jailed for eight years.  Richard Ansell, 25, made an appointment to visit the woman at her house…Soon after arriving, he pulled out a 10″ knife from the inside of his jacket and demanded money…

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

It’s amazing how little their arguments have changed in 54 years.

It Looks Good On Paper

Noah Berlatsky on underage sex workers:

…Most domestic minors in the sex industry are not kidnapping victims.  They’re [teenagers] who have fallen out with their parents (often because they are gay or trans)…and…sell sex to survive.  And the biggest danger they face is not from organized rings of predatory criminals, but from the police.  That’s one of the central insights in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: Beyond Victims and Villains, a new book by…Alexandra Lutnick…[who] told me…that…“young people experience violence more often from law enforcement officials than from any other group.”  In the worst cases, this violence takes the form of physical and sexual assault…The legal system itself is abusive…between 2000 and 2009 arrests of minors for prostitution and related vice charges rose by 8.5 percent.  Lutnick found that even in places where minors have technically been decriminalized, young people are arrested for what is essentially a prostitution offense; police find something else to charge them with, like loitering, disturbing the peace, or even lying about their age…Young people are supposedly arrested for their own good, to remove them from the influence of pimps and from their own dangerous choices.  But…arresting young people means that they are less likely to be able to get jobs and education, which means that they have even fewer options other than selling sex…

Above the Law 

This isn’t the only brutality police chiefs ignore, which makes the “misogyny” explanation pure bullshit:

…recent investigations suggest it’s not uncommon for…[cops] to sexually assault, abuse and harass female civilians…While media exposés in recent months have highlighted the pervasiveness of police sexual misconduct, the problem isn’t new — and few departments appear to be doing anything to address it.  In 2011, the International Association of Chiefs of Police…produced a series of recommendations designed to change a culture that the IACP noted may encourage some officers to sexually abuse, harass and assault those they’re sworn to protect.  But…only three departments of 20 surveyed appear to have taken any of the recommended steps for curbing sexual misconduct…departments put themselves at risk of expensive lawsuits by not having policies in place, putting taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in payouts.  And…a broken system of laws and background checks [allows cops]…accused of sexual misconduct to get jobs in departments where new allegations would later surface, including rape…

The real reason isn’t “male-dominated police culture” or any of this crap; it’s that absolute power corrupts absolutely, and cops rarely if ever face any consequences even for murder, much less rape.

Capricious Lusts (#37)

As we’ve seen before, Bollywood is actually pretty sex work-friendly even if the Indian government isn’t:

When a TV journalist asked a popular Bollywood actress whether she was “lowering the level of the fine art of cinema” because she used to act in porn movies, the interview went viral and many Indians jumped to her defense…Sunny Leone, a Canadian-born former porn actress of Indian origin, has been able to build a whole new reputation — and fan base.  After the interview aired over the weekend on a television news channel…the criticism was immediate and widespread.  Leone…has seamlessly journeyed from her porn-star past to a stint on a TV reality show to a successful career in the Indian film industry.  She has acted in a murder thriller, a horror movie and an upcoming sex comedy.  But…Bhupendra Chaubey…peppered her with aggressive questions about her past as “a porn queen”…Leone answered the questions calmly, insisting that she had no regrets and that she did not find anything “vulgar” or “wrong” with her former line of work…she said: “I don’t have any horror stories – I wasn’t abused, I wasn’t beaten, I wasn’t molested”…

Vendetta

Swanee Hunt’s latest campaign to ruin the lives of whores and clients alike is one of her most twisted yet; it tricks young people into aiding the police state by lying to them about imaginary “victims” and “exploiters”:

With the sex-for-hire trade increasingly shifting to the Internet, a Cambridge advocacy group brought together dozens of high-tech volunteers for a series of weekend workshops aimed at giving law enforcement new tools to combat human trafficking.  Tasked with developing software programs and apps for everything from monitoring John chat rooms, compiling Top 100 lists of prostitution customers and promoters and enabling police to record real-time arrest information on their cellphones…as part of an initiative run by…Demand Abolition…

But the prohibitionists no longer control the whole narrative; the media are increasingly listening to sex workers:

Sex workers around the world are expressing outrage about a tech event…called #hacktrafficking4good after its namesake hashtag…it included participants from MIT who came together to develop…surveillance tools that could help [cops]…“identify” and “disrupt” the online market…But sex workers and activists…bashed the project on Twitter, called it patronizing and said the effort made sex workers more vulnerable to abuse…Some, including Boston’s Sex Workers Outreach Project, also accused police of being more dangerous to sex workers than clients.  Data from the National Blacklist site, where sex workers post warnings about clients to avoid, backs up that claim.  It shows that Boston police are one of the local sex workers community’s greatest concerns.  Several local listings warn against [pigs]…asking for unprotected sex and trying to entrap sex workers…hack trafficking protest

Case Study

Dysphemisms and gawking abound in UK articles about sex work:

This mousy-looking Fife housewife helped run a sex-for-sale empire that straddled Scotland.  Ana Calder, 36, built a thriving vice business with her boyfriend, recruiting women from Brazil to sell their bodies in a dozen brothels in eight towns and cities across the country. They took a cut of the women’s earnings and raked in more than £150,000 before they were caught…The couple searched the internet for [Brazilian sex workers]…and encouraged them to come and work in Scotland…Undercover police…saw…condoms and…checked that the women were safe…

Mind Over Matter

Ruchira Gupta wants women like me banned by law from ever having sex:

Ruchira Gupta…[of “rescue” profiteer group Apne Aap repeated a long-debunked prohibitionist lie about Germany]…”a woman who had applied for a job…was [given] a job in a brothel…she…was taken off the social security benefit because she had refused the job that she was given!”…Gupta [bloviated that]…There is a difference between “welcome sex” and “consensual sex”.  I used this term because consent can be obtained under many different circumstances, like marriage, employment and power relations.  But in “welcome sex”, the woman wants the sex which then becomes all about participation and collaboration rather than domination…it becomes about mutual pleasure rather than one person’s pleasure…

Out of Control (#410) 

If he had simply paid to enact this fantasy, he’d still have a career:

A prominent doctor at Mt. Sinai Hospital is accused of heavily sedating a 22-year-old patient with morphine and then ejaculating on her face while she was semi-conscious.  Dr. David H. Newman, who has reportedly given lectures on the importance of improving the patient-doctor bond, has not been arrested or charged…

Prudesville

How much longer can this absurd melodrama continue?

An Olympia man may get a $45,000 check from the city of Everett to settle a case about public records requests for surveillance videos showing bikini baristas engaging in illegal activity…West filed a lawsuit after police denied his request for the…videos in 2014.  As part of the settlement, West offered not to publish any of the videos unless they contain images of public officials engaged in misconduct.  The videos were part of a 2013 investigation into public corruption and prostitution at bikini espresso stands in Everett and other areas of Snohomish and King counties…

Bread and Circuses (#533) 

Translation: “Landlady railroaded for allowing whores to work on her property“:

The madam of a brothel that operated in Houston’s East End for years was sentenced to life in federal prison…for her role as the leader of an international sex-trafficking ring that forced women and girls into prostitution.  Hortencia “Tencha” Medeles, 70, was convicted during a trial last year…Houston is a major hub for sex trafficking due to its size, proximity to the border and large immigrant population.  The ring was built on the backs of women and teenagers who were smuggled into the United States from Mexico and Central American by smooth talking pimps who promised them love and marriage.  When they got to Houston, however, they were beaten, raped and threatened that they as well as their families back home would be killed if they did not perform or tried to escape…

Given her age, it’s likely she’ll die in prison before her conviction is reversed after the end of the moral panic.

Welcome to the Future (#543)

All prohibitionists are liars, but Irish ones may be the most egregious:

…“Women are just like pawns in the whole structure of it,” said Linda Latham of The Women’s Health Project…rape, violence and forced criminality is a common experience…Not all sex workers are duped or coerced into the lifestyle – however evidence suggests the majority are.  Statistics indicate 98%…Denise Charlton…with The Immigrant Council of Ireland stated:  “Almost without exception the women…have been trafficked…We call for much-needed action to stop the pimps and traffickers”…

The most fascinating lie here: 98% is actually the fraction of sex workers who are not coerced.

Above the Law (#591)

An undercover [cop]…proposed to an activist and lived with her for 18 months…The previously unknown case will place fresh pressure on [Scotland Yard], which last year was forced to apologise to seven women who had similar relationships.  The woman…told BBC Newsnight she was a victim of “psychological torture”…[She] was friends with a group of left-wing political activists…who are thought to have been the target for long-term infiltration…the relationship…lasted from 2002 to 2004…

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There are no reliable statistics on which Sheriff Dart could base a judgment that sex trafficking has been increasing in the United States.  –  Richard Posner

Surplus Women 

Why do reporters either focus on or try to entirely avoid saying a crime victim was a sex worker?

A Missouri man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a woman he allegedly met on Facebook…Stassie Greer also faces charges of first-degree robbery and two counts of armed criminal action in the death of 25-year-old Sharae Bradford…she was shot in the head.  Money and a cellphone were taken.  Court documents say Greer arranged through social media to meet Bradford at the apartment to have sex in exchange for money…video surveillance helped lead police to Greer, and Bradford’s phone was found at his home.  Bradford was a single mother with a 6-year-old daughter.

Small Choice

Imagine the headline “Many NK defectors resort to better-paying jobs in South“:

A considerable number of female defectors from North Korea have become sex workers here after experiencing difficulties adjusting to life in the South…KBS…aired a program…about the plight of some 40 to 50 female defectors who work at…coffee shops that illegally sell sex…The women said that they used to work at normal companies or work as waitresses in restaurants after they defected, but their monthly salaries of some 1.3 to 1.7 million won was not enough to maintain their livelihood and support their family members left behind in the North.  “It is much better to earn some 3 to 4 million won here,” a woman told the program…

Checklist

Proving that stupidity & gullibility are no barriers to becoming a physician, two gynecologists wrote an exceedingly dumb and inflammatory article about – you guessed it – “signs” of “sex trafficking”, in which they suggest their fellows should waste their valuable time asking patients about their tattoos and prying into their privacy instead of actually treating their gynecological complaints.  Among the “signs” they list: “Often, there may not be a concrete sign at all – just the counter-transference of a feeling…of…sadness throughout your conversation“…Yes, “sadness” is now considered evidence of “sex trafficking”.

Leviathan

Any government so big, sluggish and cumbersome that it does this, is too big to be allowed to exist:

A militant who fought for the Taliban in Afghanistan and has been held without charge at Guantanamo Bay for 13 years was largely the victim of mistaken identity, according to U.S. defense officials.  Mustafa Abd-al-Qawi Abd-al-Aziz al-Shamiri was captured in 2002 and believed to be an al Qaeda facilitator or courier, and trainer…”We now judge that these activities were carried out by other known extremists” with similar names or aliases, the profile of the Yemeni detainee dated Sept. 25 added…

I Spy

Cathy Reisenwitz interviewed sex workers for their tips on maintaining privacy:

There are lots of reasons a sex worker might need to keep their sex worker identity separate from the rest of their lives.  Society is still extremely anti-sex-worker…in a custody dispute an allegation that a mother is engaging in sex work will prejudice a judge against her and may result in her losing even unsupervised visitation rights.  Even without a custody fight, Child Protective Services can take your children because you engage in sex work…And forget some forms of future employment if you’re out as a sex worker.  You will never, ever be allowed to work with children if you’ve ever engaged in any sex work.  And, last but not least, there’s always the remote threat of criminal prosecution…no matter what you do, there is a point at which enough skill, money, and time will reveal everything you want to keep secret.  So your only hope is to make it more difficult to hack you than it is rewarding.  These tips will keep your difficulty level higher than default…

Paint By Numbers

Why bother doing anything extraordinary to “fight sex trafficking”, when you can just get dressed in the morning?

…This month isn’t just December, for some, it’s Dressember…a call, not only to wear a dress for 31 days in a row, but to give attention and funds to [rescue industry group] the International Justice Mission…Participants in Dressember are looking for sponsors who will donate funds…Wearing dresses is a tribute to the dignity of women…There will also be a 24 hour Stand for Freedom at Fountain Mall…

Choke Point 

Here’s Violet Blue on the federal campaign to suppress sex businesses by pressuring financial institutions to choke off our air:

For nearly a decade, PayPal, JPMorgan Chase, Visa/MasterCard, and now Square, have systematically denied or closed accounts of small businesses, artists and independent contractors whose business happens to be about sex.  These payment processing authorities have also coerced websites to cease featuring sexual content under threat of service withdrawal, all while blaming ambiguous rules or pressure from one another…a federal appeals court ruled that pressuring credit card companies…to stop doing business with speech-protected websites violates their First Amendment rights…and in June, the FDIC clarified that it’s against the rules for businesses like PayPal, Chase and Square to refuse business or close accounts based on “high risk” assessments related to human sexuality.  But it may not be enough to stop what’s become an entrenched pattern of systematic discrimination by payment processors…Redlining, outlawed in 1968, is the practice of refusing to do business with…applicants from “high risk” neighborhoods who are otherwise completely qualified.  Since the 1930s, actual maps with red lines were used by banks to demarcate black and hispanic neighborhoods…To redline a community was to cut it off from equal financial access, rights and opportunities….there are no literal lines on a map here, but it appears there are virtual ones around an entire section of the internet.  So let’s call this “weblining”…

Welcome to the Future radicalization leaflet

The party will be very displeased if your children question diktats, comrade:

Child protection officials [in the UK] been criticised after warning parents that young people who take issue with government policy or question what they are told in the media may have been radicalised by extremists.  A leaflet drawn up by a…child safeguarding board warns that “appearing angry about government policies, especially foreign policies” is a sign “specific to radicalisation…showing a mistrust of mainstream media reports and a belief in conspiracy theories” could be a sign that children are being groomed by extremists…

Sexcrime

[Last December the UK’s new] Audio Visual Media Services regulations (AVMS) banned sex acts that were deemed morally damaging or life-threatening, including strangulation, face-sitting and fisting.   Spanking beyond what was deemed to be a gentle level, humiliation, full bondage and restraint…female ejaculation, and depictions of non-consensual sex were also forbidden…Campaigners slammed the rules as subjective, and said they unfairly targeted women…Myles Jackman, a UK-based obscenity lawyer, warned that the ban would pose an unnecessary trade barrier to beleaguered UK pornography producers.  It is now clear their fears were founded…customers with “tastes that are not mainstream enough to fit with the draconian limits of the new regulations” have simply taken their business to overseas websites and producers…

The Public Eye (#532)

A short profile of Laura Lee:

…When she is not working as a dominatrix, she offers her services as a “standard” sex worker to the terminally ill and physically disabled…Lee is also working to change society’s “polarised” perception of sex workers.  While there are glamorous escorts who jet around the world and curb-crawling girls battling addiction, she says the truth is far more boring. “Seventy per cent of sex workers right now are mothers working from flats quite discreetly…You could be standing in a queue…next to a sex worker and you wouldn’t know it”…

Checklist (#542)

Strip clubs and massage parlors in Orange County [Florida] will be required next year to post…signs displaying the hotline for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center…Florida ranks behind only California and Texas in the number of reported human-trafficking cases in the U.S., a [myth] cited by state legislators who passed a law requiring warnings signs in rest areas, truck stops, airports and emergency rooms…Adult entertainment clubs and massage parlors are [fantasized to be] venues that tend to serve as recruitment centers for human traffickers…

Stupor Bowl (#581)

It’s really kind of pathetic to watch the crippled remains of the “gypsy whores” myth gasping for air:

Santa Clara County officials launched a campaign…calling on the public to be on the lookout for human trafficking victims…The campaign will feature ads on…Valley Transportation Agency buses, bus shelters and light-rail vehicles with images provided through the National Human Trafficking Resource Center…The campaign comes ahead of Super Bowl 50…on Feb. 7…“These large events have a tragic consequence of attracting and increasing human trafficking,” VTA general manager Nuria Fernandez said…“I’m really confident that with the county working together, we’re going to find more victims in our area”…Supervisor Cindy Chavez said…

Cindy sounds almost ecstatic about the fantasy of tens of thousands of sexually enslaved children.

Seizing Power (#589)

Cathy Reisenwitz on Backpage’s win against Swanee Hunt crony Tom Dart:

…the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals told…Dart…that his misplaced fear of sex work doesn’t trump…free speech…The lawsuit describes a man obsessed with censoring adult-oriented ads.  Dart spent six years harassing Visa and Mastercard with threatening letters demanding they stop doing business with Backpage…Judge Posner…wrote…“A public official who tries to shut down an avenue of expression of ideas and opinions through ‘actual or threatened imposition of government power or sanction’ is violating the First Amendment…Actually, as explained in an amicus curiae brief filed by the Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project, citing voluminous governmental and academic studies, there are no reliable statistics on which Sheriff Dart could base a judgment that sex trafficking has been increasing in the United States”…

Yes, an important federal judge just officially declared that “sex trafficking” hysteria is bullshit.  And here’s Glenn Greenwald on some of the larger implications of the case:

…Beyond the positive outcome in this specific case — What kind of person would become sheriff of Chicago and then choose to spend his time worrying about adult sex ads? — the…ruling is crucial for protecting free speech rights generally.  That’s because corrupt public officials have realized that they can abuse their power to pressure corporations to “suffocate” private actors whom they dislike but who are breaking no laws.  The most notorious, most dangerous case was in late 2010, when Joe Lieberman blatantly abused his power as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to implicitly threaten and coerce companies like Amazon to terminate website hosting and payment processing services to WikiLeaks…That quickly led other companies, including Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and PayPal, to terminate credit card processing for the group, driving them close to bankruptcy.  In other words, Joe Lieberman almost completely destroyed a media and political organization group he disliked not through prosecution but with nothing more than thuggish threats to the companies that serviced it…This new ruling…highlights how dangerous such extra-judicial pressure campaigns can be, and makes them much more difficult by clearly ruling them to be unconstitutional…

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Thanks for your concern but we’d rather have your respect and the right to work how we choose.  –  Thai sex worker

R.I.P. Carol Doda Carol Doda

Carol Doda, who…gained worldwide fame as a topless dancer in the 1960s and ’70s, died Monday of complications related to kidney failure.  She was 78…Doda was…a waitress who go-go danced on top of a piano at the Condor 51 years ago when the club’s publicist, Davey Rosenberg, handed her a Rudi Gernreich topless swimsuit…It was a sensation — the first topless dancing act of widespread note in America.  So many customers packed the club that Ms. Doda spent $1,500 to boost her bust size from 34B to 44DD through silicone injection, which was then a new technique…At the height of her fame, Ms. Doda’s breasts were dubbed “the New Twin Peaks of San Francisco.”  At one point they were insured for $1.5 million with Lloyd’s of London…Doda’s only arrest in the profession came in 1965, when police raided the Condor on indecency charges. She was found not guilty and continued to dance until 1985, when she quit, saying she was never paid enough…

Subtle Pimping

Another example of profiting from sex workers’ images while giving us nothing:

…If you follow independent and/or luxury lingerie brands, chances are you’ve seen an ad showing a woman decadently sprawled in strappy black lingerie…body bathed in red light from an out of frame bulb.  She may be seated in a high-end hotel room, looking wry but effortlessly detached, while a man in a suit stands nearby, frozen in the act of either removing his coat or undoing his tie…these images are all enticing and racy, but it may not have occurred to you that they intentionally allude to the models being sex workers.  Escorts.  Peepshow girls.  Pro-Dommes.  The industry not only benefits from sex workers’ money, it also uses their imagery to peddle product.  This wouldn’t matter if not for the fact that these same brands never want to admit these ties for the sake of appealing to a civilian…public.  Yet, every season, it seems like they push the envelope by co-opting sex work more and more…

Saving Them From Themselves

Go ahead, Colorado; prosecute all of them.  Put an entire generation on the “sex offender” registry.  Surely that’ll teach ’em to not be sexual:

Authorities in Colorado are investigating widespread sharing of hundreds of nude pictures at a high school…Officials in Cañon City say an unspecified “number of students” — both boys and girls — exchanged nude photos of themselves…The district said it received anonymous tips about the alleged sexting…and that it has turned the investigation over to the Cañon City Police Department.  Police are looking at whether adults were involved, or if any of the photos were coerced…officials are warning parents that students apparently used apps to hide the photos on their phones.  District Attorney Dan May [bloviated] that having nude pictures of minors could be considered child pornography — regardless of whether the picture is of oneself or someone else.  He said teens caught could also be put through a diversion program instead…

Change a Few Words

Another move away from prohibitionism:

Mexico’s Supreme Court…ruled that individuals should have the right to grow, possess, and consume marijuana…the court…concluded that the right to “free development of the personality” includes the freedom to engage in recreational activities, subject to restrictions “necessary to protect health and public order.”  In the court’s view, the damage caused by consumption and noncommercial production of marijuana is not “of such gravity as to warrant an absolute ban.”  The court was responding to a lawsuit brought by activists who asked COFEPRIS, the national agency in charge of regulating drugs, for permission to use marijuana.  When COFEPRIS said no, the applicants challenged the its decision in the courts.  According to The New York Times, the Supreme Court’s ruling applies only to the cannabis consumers who brought the case.  “For legal marijuana to become the law of the land…the justices…will have to rule the same way five times, or eight of the 11 members of the full court will have to vote in favor”…

Above the Law 

This week’s rapist cop cost Los Angeles taxpayers $6.15 million:

…the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to a payment of $6.15 million to a woman who was raped by an on-duty sheriff’s deputy…The rapist is Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, who was sentenced to nine years in prison last year.  He admitted to the rape as well as another instance of offering a bribe of sexual activity to a different woman.  He is also to register as a sex offender.  The incident took place…on September 22, 2010…Lindsay F…was stopped by Sanchez who [claimed]…she was driving under the influence of alcohol and had a suspended license…Sanchez offered not to arrest her in return for sexual favors, but she refused…so he drove her down a distant dirt road…and…forced her to have oral, vaginal and anal sex with him against the hood of his patrol car.  Then he…asked Lindsay to give him her phone number in case he wanted to “mess around” again…

Red in Tooth and Claw

Just a reminder of how nasty Mother Nature really is:

…some male spiders lop off parts of females’ genitalia to prevent [them] from mating again, a new study says.  The behavior, which guarantees that the male will father all of her offspring, is the first to suggest that males evolve behaviors to maim external parts of the female genitalia…A male spider delivers its sperm via pedipalps, a pair of leg-like appendages near its mouth that latch onto the female’s scapus from above and below…the L. jeskovi pedipalp grasps and twists the scapus as the male dismounts, snipping it off as if with scissors.  Without this crucial handle, other males can’t grasp the female at all, preventing her from having another sexual partner.  It’s a twist on the typical arachnid battle of the sexes.  Many female spiders have sex with multiple males but fertilize their eggs with only one suitor’s sperm.  This competition has prompted some species’ males to take drastic action, such as castrating themselves to plug the females’ reproductive tract.  In this case, however, “males have found a very clever means to prevent females from remating without mutilating themselves…Female spiders can store viable sperm for years, so having only one sexual partner might not hamper their fertility…

Stupor Bowl

Stories like this are much more common now:

The Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers’ Rights is speaking out against claims that a major sporting event will increase “sex trafficking” in their city.  In the lead up to the Grey Cup…government officials have set up over $45,000 CAD worth of funds to combat “human trafficking” in Winnipeg.  The funds will be used to set up a phone hotline and an awareness campaign called Buying Sex is Not a Sport…the Winnipeg Working Group has organised to counter these claims. “Despite media hype and police enthusiasm, there was no evidence that large sporting events increase trafficking for prostitution,” they wrote in their press release on October 29, 2015…

If Men Were Angels

The inevitable result of people being given power over others:

Settlement talks are set to begin in the Baltimore City public housing sex for repairs scandal.  So far, 11 women have joined the federal lawsuit…in which housing maintenance employees are accused of demanding sex before repairing deplorable, even life-threatening, conditions inside public housing apartments.  Eleven women say they were forced to live with dangerous mold, no heat and rodent infestations, all because they rejected maintenance men’s advances.  “We uncovered a union investigation, which found many, many more victims,” said attorney Cary Hansel…[who] says some housing officials were aware of the allegations and did nothing…

Welcome to the Future (#543)

“Swedish model” propaganda pretends that women are “decriminalized” under the law; look at the proportion of arrests here:

Police in Northern Ireland have arrested the first person under the new laws that [claim to] target the buyers of sex.  During a [raid on] a brothel…police arrested [one] man for paying for sexual services…and…three females…for keeping a brothel…The new legislation…aims to mirror the so-called Swedish model…

Naked Truth (#544) Loubna Abidar

Whore stigma affects amateur women, too:

The star of a film on sex work in Morocco…was savagely beaten in Casablanca last week, sparking an outcry on social media over social taboos that activists say can be enforced by violence.  Loubna Abidar, who portrays a Marrakech sex worker in Much Loved…said police and hospital workers refused to help her.  Instead they humiliated her, she said…

Uncharted Seas (#552)

It’s only a matter of time now:

…in Brazil…three women have defied deeply conservative trends…and wider traditional mores by celebrating a polyamorous civil union.  The happy trio, who reportedly have shared a bed for years and say they want to raise a child, took an oath of love…in the presence of…notary public Fernanda de Freitas Leitao.  “This union is not just symbolic,” because it defines “how they intend to have children,” attorney Leitao said…The union is not a formal marriage, because under Brazilian law that would be bigamy.  Neither are they automatically allowed to declare joint income or join a healthcare plan for spouses.  But the civil union is still a big step…”If they seek these rights before a court, they could obtain them — and I think they will,” Leitao said…

Eternal Vigilance (#563)

Twenty years of successful decriminalization in New South Wales is threatened by politicians:

A new police unit should be established to stamp out organised crime and exploitation in the NSW sex industry, a parliamentary inquiry…[recommended]…the…committee…[proposed] the biggest overhaul of the NSW sex industry in more than two decades with police receiving “greater powers” to enter premises and monitor illegal activity.  Police background checks will also form part of a revised license approval process…The reforms are…criticised by sex [workers] who [point out that] police were stripped of such powers, and the industry decriminalised, in the mid-’90s because of corruption…

The Mother Learns From Her Children (#586)

After years of moralistic ideology prevailing over evidence, and policy being formed about, but not with, sex workers…the English Collective of Prostitutes’ (ECP) event in the House of Commons…saw sex workers and their allies, including politicians from all of the main parties, presenting compelling evidence in favour of decriminalising sex work.  Also this week, the Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) are holding four days of conferences, workshops, parties and even a sex worker film festival.  Next week MSP Jean Urquhart’s Bill to decriminalise sex work in Scotland will be launched in the Scottish Parliament…Until recently…sex workers and allies were forced to focus their energies on constantly putting out the fires instigated by those driven by radical feminist or fundamentalist Christian ideology.  Just a year ago MPs were voting on an attempt by…Fiona McTaggart to shoehorn the criminalisation of the purchase of sex into a bill about something entirely different…[backed by] the All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade…They still manage to waste Parliamentary time pushing their ideology…but…the mood has changed so significantly that they are no longer seen as a substantial threat, just a strange club where self-described radical feminists and evangelical Christians come together to dream about creating a moral utopia at whatever cost…

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The assumption made by [neofeminists] is that sex workers are blind automatons, blithely wandering from one rape to the next, too blinded by the overwhelming glare of the “male gaze” and too fuzzy and confused in their stupid whore brains to differentiate between consensual sex and a violent, unwanted encounter.  –  Clare Bowden

Acting and Activism 

Tits and Sass does a good guide to the most loudmouthed and ridiculous Hollywood “sex trafficking” fetishists, including Susan Sarandon, Meg Ryan, Ashton Kutcher, Jada Pinkett-Smith and of course Mira Sorvino.rapist-murderer cop Richard J Aguirre

Surplus Women 

The only reason this cop is on trial for the rape and murder of a sex worker 30 years ago is that he just couldn’t give up the habit:

Shortly after Richard J. Aguirre appeared in court…in his Franklin County rape case…he…was arrested by Spokane police for the murder of a prostitute in 1986…The one time Officer of the Year and 27-year veteran of the force in Pasco has been charged…with first-degree murder…bail is set at $500,000…Aguirre voluntarily submitted DNA during the recent rape investigation and the sample…matched…DNA recovered from the [earlier case]…police interviewed Lawrence Cole, who grew up with Aguirre…The two men apparently frequented bars and strip clubs and solicited prostitutes at least once…After a night of drinking, Cole reported that Aguirre said he “hit a woman” and “choked her”…And when Aguirre walked away “he thought she was still moving.”  Detectives investigating the case determined it was likely [Ruby] Doss and her killer got into a struggle inside a manure pit after they had sex…She ran more than 250 feet before she was hit in the back of the head and forehead with an object.  [She]…was then strangled and the suspect returned to the pit to hide her fur coat, wig and earrings…

Follow Your Bliss (#38)

A [former underage sex worker]…says a lawyer who was supposed to take her to a shelter for abused girls instead raped her at a posh Dallas hotel…a lawsuit filed by the girl’s mother…alleges that Michael Harssema was…“employed and/or volunteering for Traffick 911,” an anti-trafficking organization…Traffick 911 officials deny any connection with Harssema…

Train Wreck (#48)

Looks like Nigeria’s getting into the “asset forfeiture” racket, too:

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Special Task Team on City Cleaning and Management in Abuja has arrested 3,000 commercial sex workers in the last 90 days…[they] have been handed over to the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) for prosecution and rehabilitation.  The task team also arrested 2,534 street hawkers and beggars…and…impounded 4,790 commercial motorcycles, 883 [motor tricycles], 645 unpainted commercial vehicles and 84 illegal commercial buses…

The More the Better (#135)

As is so often the case in articles about brothels, this one dips into grotesquery.  Even so, it makes a few interesting points about how brothels like Sheri’s Ranch are still thriving while other, less competitive ones are dying off.

Monsters 

A teenager in India was allegedly forced to have sex with his own mother in an effort to “cure” him of being gay, Gay Star News reports.  According to LGBT Collective, a gay rights group in Telangana…there are more and more reports of “corrective rapes” being carried out by members of the victims’ own families.  Often families will handpick a cousin to carry out the act…

An Example to the West (#331)

Nicaragua’s Supreme Court has made sex workers official representatives of the government and the judicial system.  A pilot group of 18 sex workers have been provided with technical and legal training to try to manage the most common conflicts that arise in their line of work…The vice president of the Nicaraguan Judicial System, Marvin Aguilar…[said] “We are the only country in the world that treats sex workers as ‘judicial facilitators’…We do not put them in prison for the sexual work.  There are countries close to Nicaragua in which sex workers are sought after like any other criminal so to be sent to prison.”

Naked Truth (#346) Much Loved

A prostitution-themed film from Morocco that had its premiere at…Cannes…in May has set off a furor there…the government last week banned the movie from theaters, the female stars received death threats and a male actor was attacked with a knife…Much Loved, by…Nabil Ayouch, includes scenes of prostitutes in Marrakesh partying, speaking raunchy Arabic and servicing wealthy Saudi clients…The movie became the subject of protests outside Parliament in Rabat and of heated discussions on social networks in Morocco and France.  Conservative Muslims view Much Loved as scandalous.  Moderate Moroccans are offended that the film’s dark portrayal of their country was shown at a prestigious international film festival…

Catastrophic Consequences (#407) 

MSP Jean Urquhart speaks up for sex workers again:

…When the highly successful tolerance zones for street prostitution were abolished in Edinburgh…sex workers reported a 95% increase in violence over 12 months…it is hard to understand how…threatening the key witnesses to trafficking and coercion – the clients – with a sex-crime record if they come forward would help with investigating and prosecuting [sex trafficking]…There is little evidence that the criminalisation of clients even achieves its proponents’ aim of reducing demand for sex work…What sex workers tell us would actually protect them would be to ensure their labour rights, including the right to work in a shared premises, to eliminate stigma and discrimination against sex workers, and to decriminalise sex work.

New Excuse

Elizabeth Brown on the War on Whores as replacement for War on Drugs:

…the “War on Sex Trafficking” that the federal government is waging will fail, just as the “War on Drugs” has failed…just as giving local police and prosecutors an urgent mandate to fight drugs led mostly to the prosecution of low-level drug users and dealers rather than big-time drug traffickers, the fight against sex trafficking—plus federal funding to do so, contingent on arrests and convictions—sets up perverse incentives to treat everyday prostitution as sex trafficking.  All over the country, we’re now seeing what would have been deemed “vice” work reframed as human trafficking stings.  And who gets swept up in these stings?  Willing, adult sex workers.  Their would-be patrons.  Petty pimps…under the new banner of human trafficking even relatively minor crimes related to sex work can come with serious felony status, a sex offender registry requirement and a mandatory minimum prison term…

Held Together With Lies (#447)

It’s difficult to believe that anyone could take this idiocy, which only starts with that “35.8 million slaves” nonsense, seriously.  Oliver Twist!  “Potential victims”!  Nail salons!  Unfortunately, all this foolishness is used to justify something very serious: mass incarceration.

…the Modern Slavery Act…[increased] maximum custodial sentences…from 14 years to life and offenders with prior convictions for very serious sexual or violent offences face automatic life sentences. “It gives law enforcement more flexibility, more powers”…Home Office minister Karen Bradley says the government has “succeeded” in putting modern slavery at the top of the agenda and is “determined to eradicate it”…

Traffic Circle (#542)

Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post “Fact Checker”, continues to hammer at “sex trafficking” myths:

…The sex trade is an underground industry, so on what basis would the revenues from the trafficking of children…in the United States be calculated so precisely…as $9.8 billion?…a…graphic posted on the Internet by Shared Hope International…says it…[came from] a 2005 International Labour Organization report…But that report contains no mention of a $9.8 billion figure for…the United States…only a broad estimate of about $13 billion…for “forced commercial sexual exploitation” for 36 industrialized countries (of which the U.S. represents about 30 percent of the population).  ILO officials say they have never given a breakdown by country…it…is…a fantasy, unconnected to any real data…One could certainly say that the underground sex trade in the United States likely is worth more than a billion dollars, but it would be a serious mistake to conflate that with human trafficking…

Welcome to the Future (#543)

trafficking is being used as a flimsy justification to stigmatise sex workers…Trying to stay as inconspicuous as possible means that these women are forced to take unnecessary risks with their safety, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will be victims of a violent crime.  When this point was raised to the Justice Committee by Laura Lee…she was wilfully humiliated, effectively called a pimp, threatened with legal action, told to have sex with disabled people for free and otherwise completely disregarded…

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In its moral simplicity and willingness to exploit its subjects, [Hot Girls Wanted] ends up resembling the genre it aims to expose.  –  Susan Shepard

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

A [Merseyside, England] police sergeant [named David Gibson] has been charged with misconduct after allegedly engaging in a sexual act with a prostitute while on duty…

The Pro-Rape Coalition Ava Taylor

Hot Girls Wanted…looks at five young women who were recruited off of Craigslist by an “agent” in Miami, Florida named Riley from Hussie Models.  It was directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, whose previous documentary Sexy Baby, looked at an alleged cultural shift in the sexual landscape that, the women claim, was caused by adult entertainment…Writing in Vice, Susan Elizabeth Shepard notes that the team’s new film is actually an exercise in offering “unexamined statements and vague intimations about how doing porn harms women and watching it warps men”…one of the documentary’s subjects, ex-performer Ava Taylor …oozed a sense of entitlement…she wanted to make money and get famous fast…the dressed down and bespectacled Ava…claims to be out of sex work…[she] is angry and combative, hurling blame at producers, her agent, and even the testing system for adult performers.  On one of her Twitter accounts, she has repeated how glad she is to be out, and moving on with her life…However…two months after Hot Girls Wanted premiered, Ava was back in Los Angeles shooting brand new porn scenes…[she also] currently offers escort services online…

It Looks Good On Paper

The national “safe harbor” law is just as useless and dishonest as the state ones:

The average sex-trafficking victim is a 13-year-old girl, often forced into the illicit business against her will and fed illegal drugs to keep her tethered to her pimp.  These children need housing, education, jobs and hope for a future — not a criminal rap sheet, says U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar…President Obama signed a law championed by Klobuchar that…creates financial incentives for states to pass laws that ensure minors sold for sex aren’t prosecuted, but are instead treated as victims…

Wise Investment

The latest hit to companies who are actively anti-sex industry is a lawsuit against the payment processor Square.  Xbiz reports that attorney William McGrane is taking them to court with the claim that the 27 business categories in…“Prohibited Businesses” are being discriminated against and having their civil rights violated under the policy.  According to McGrane, the majority of the types…listed are either too vague to be valid or are legal businesses, making it illegal for Square to discriminate against them…

Policing for Profit

When the cops raided Ginnifer Hency’s home in Smiths Creek, Michigan…”they took everything,” she told state legislators…including TV sets, ladders, her children’s cellphones and iPads, even her vibrator.  They found six ounces of marijuana and arrested Hency for possession with intent to deliver, “even though I was fully compliant with the Michigan medical marijuana laws”…Hency, a mother of four with multiple sclerosis, uses marijuana for pain relief based on her neurologist’s recommendation.  She also serves as a state-registered caregiver for five other patients…[the] judge dismissed the charges against her.  But when she asked about getting back her property… “The prosecutor came out to me and said, ‘Well, I can still beat you in civil court.  I can still take your stuff’…the Michigan House Judiciary Committee [is] considering several bills that would make this sort of legalized larceny more difficult…Annette Shattuck, another medical marijuana patient…was [robbed of]…bicycles, her husband’s tools, a lawn mower, a weed whacker, her children’s Christmas presents, cash (totaling $85) taken from her daughter’s birthday cards, the kids’ car seats and soccer equipment, and vital documents such as driver’s licenses, insurance cards, and birth certificates…

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Another jurisdiction officially classifies women as passive objects without agency:

[Chicago] officials have launched a new alternative program for men and women charged with prostitution…the new court would help connect the women – and sometimes men – connect with social services so they can turn away from prostitution…“and turn their lives around”…Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli said, instead of prosecution, defendants will get mostly treatment and help from social service agencies. “They will learn how to break their pasts, and cut all ties with those who have abused them, or dragged them into living lives of desperation”…

The Roof Caves In

The US government knew about the now-infamous deceptions and malpractice within organisations run by Somaly Mam for years prior to the media exposés…last year.  Even so, Washington continued to see her as a “positive force in the anti-trafficking effort”, despite evidence that medical care at her shelters was not available and that her…NGO, Afesip, had “mismanaged” funds…A cable titled Somaly Mam Under Microscope sent to the State Department from the embassy in Phnom Penh on May 8, 2012, shows that the embassy suspected as early as 2006 that a key claim repeated by Mam over the years – that her daughter was abducted in 2006 in revenge for an Afesip raid on a Phnom Penh brothel in 2004 – was false…

Welcome to the Future

News media used to just report news; now they allow propagandists to make bogus predictions of disaster:

From 1 June, it will be illegal to pay for sex in Northern Ireland…The Immigrant Council of Ireland and…Turn Off The Red Light…will…call for similar laws to come into force in the south immediately…[because]  counties south of the border will become “more attractive for pimps, traffickers and thugs”…

And then gin up fake “statistics” to support their own predictions:

Pimps and prostitutes are moving into the border counties as a crackdown on the sex trade in Northern Ireland comes into force, campaigners have warned. There has been more than a 50 per cent rise in online sex trade activity in counties Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and Louth in recent weeks, according to a study by the Immigrant Council of Ireland…Brian Killoran…of the ICI…said the Border counties now face being used as a “safe haven” for sex traders in the absence of a similar ban by the Dublin government. “The initial indications are that those who run prostitution have been feeling the heat of Northern Ireland’s new laws even before they came into force and have been switching their operations to the south”…

Yes, they’re actually claiming the laws had effects reaching into the future.

Monkey Business (#449) 

More than a year after the starting fight for legal personhood for the research chimpanzees Hercules and Leo, the apes and their lawyers got their day in court…A decision could set a precedent for challenging…the captivity of other chimpanzees—and perhaps other species…New York assistant attorney general Christopher Coulston…argued that [the judge] was bound by the previous decisions of two appellate courts, which had ruled that other Nonhuman Rights Project chimps didn’t qualify for habeas corpus…Both those decisions are controversial.  In one, judges decided that habeas corpus didn’t apply because the chimp would be transferred from one form of captivity to another—in this case, a sanctuary.  But illegally-held human prisoners have been released to mental hospitals, and juveniles into the care of guardians.  In the other appeals court decision, judges declared that chimps are not legal persons because they can’t fulfill duties to human society.  But that rationale arguably denies personhood to young children and mentally incapacitated individuals, as several high-profile legal scholars…pointed out…

Moving Pictures just as truthful as Jurassic Park

Because “trafficking” means anything we want it to mean!

Ed Smart…visited east Idaho…to attend a screening of a documentary about child sex trafficking…“When Elizabeth was abducted do we think of her being enslaved?…She absolutely was…she was assaulted once twice a day for almost every day of the nine months she was gone.”  Smart is now on a mission to rescue children from sex trafficking.  He’s working with Operation Underground Railroad….“Any time you have a resort area more than likely trafficking is going on there.  Any time there’s a big sporting event in the United States you can believe trafficking is going on.”  Operation Underground Railroad  has produced a new documentary called The Abolitionists.  It shows investigators rescuing endangered children and going after the adult perpetrators around the world…

Vendetta (#518)

It’s hard to tell the worst part of this “end demand” propaganda.  Is it the bullshit claim that women aren’t being arrested because they’re forced into “re-education” rather than jail?  The badge-licking description of cops hunting down people seeking to engage in consensual sex?  The Orwellian euphemism “recovering a victim” used to mean “arresting a woman”?  The cop bragging about how many women he’s arrested?  The pervasive denial of female agency?  The description of a prosecutor as a “defense attorney”?  Or the fact that neither warped billionaire Swanee Hunt (the architect of the fascist program Seattle is participating in) nor her “CEASE Network” front organization are mentioned at all, even though she paid for the policy change with grants?

Guinea Pigs 

What can one conclude about an article on “data analysis” that begins with mathematically-illiterate bullshit?

The average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is 14.  The kind of profit a pimp can expect to make on a child prostitute each year is $150,000.  Child trafficking operations spend about $45 million a year advertising their services on literally thousands of sites and millions of pages…Two computer science professors, Pedro Szekely and Craig Knoblock…have developed a new search tool  intended to…turn advertising against human traffickers.  The work is being funded by Memex, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program aimed at developing the next generation of search technologies…The tool they’ve created combs through escort ads; downloads all relevant pages, including the ones those ads link to; discovers connections, folds the data into a repository; and provides query and analysis functionality to enable searching by law enforcement users…Currently, the database contains content from 50 million Web pages and 2 billion records; it’s growing at the rate of about 5,000 Web pages per hour…

Another Fine Mess (#527)

Why are amateurs so surprised that sex workers use ordinary business tools?

…in Zimbabwe…many people in the informal economy make use of [a South African cell phone payment service named] EcoCash and sex workers are no exception, with some carrying multiple phones.  “If I’ve got 20, 30 or 50 bucks and I’m not going to use it, I will put it in EcoCash,” says Ncube.  “Even if someone steals my bag, I will open my mobile wallet tomorrow and the money will still be there”…Officials…express surprise at the swift integration of mobile money.  Jessie Majome, a former deputy minister of women’s affairs, says…“Wow. Hi-tech sex work.  I’m struck how early they’ve adapted to that”…

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This essay first appeared in Cliterati on October 26th; I have modified it slightly to fit the format of this blog.

As long-time readers know, I’m very fond of science fiction and fantasy; the difference between the two is that the latter describes a world which (by our understanding of the laws of the universe) could not actually exist, while the former describes a world which could but does not (at least yet).  As some have pointed out, though, the term “science fiction” is really too limited; very often the world described in such a story differs from our own not due to some scientific discovery or technical development, but in a social or cultural way.  For this reason, some writers and critics prefer the term “speculative fiction”, which broadens the genre to include things like alternate-history stories; my tale “For I Have Sinned”, for example, imagines what our modern world might be like had the Catholic Church won the Crusades and successfully suppressed the Protestant Reformation.  The story is an example of a type called a dystopia; while a “Utopia” is a fictional world better than our own1984 (at least in the writer’s estimation), a dystopia is one that is worse.  But just as the traditional science fiction of yesterday (e.g. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Destination Moon) can become the science fact of today, so can what was once the stuff of dystopian speculation become the true and horrible political reality.

The process is usually very gradual, just as technological development is; a poisonous idea becomes established in one place and spreads to others, expanding in scope once it’s in place.  The wicked Swedish model of prostitution law, which defines women as moral imbeciles and men as their evil oppressors, is sold to the delusional, the misandrist and the ignorant as a means of “protecting” women from dirty, bad sex, and though it has been repeatedly beaten back in England and Scotland it has now taken root in Northern Ireland:

The Northern Ireland Assembly has voted by 81 to 10 in favour of making it a crime to pay for sex…Northern Ireland is the first part of the UK to vote in favour of the measure.  There is still some way to go before the bill becomes law, but the prospect of a ban on paying for sex in Northern Ireland has taken a significant step forward…Opponents included Justice Minister David Ford who claimed it would be difficult to enforce…

“Difficult to enforce” is an understatement; the US has criminalized both the buying and selling of sex for a century now, and though only a tiny fraction of all such transactions are caught by police it takes “sting” operations and other violations of civil liberties to accomplish it.  In other words, even if you believe that stopping consensual behavior is somehow a good thing, prohibition can’t actually accomplish that.  It does, however, provide a useful excuse for the construction of a vast police state; “protecting children from porn” was the rationale for establishing the UK’s internet censorship regime, but it’s now being extended to allow suppression of any viewpoint of which “authorities” disapprove.  Nor will they be content with merely silencing such people:

People found guilty of Internet “trolling” in Britain could be jailed for up to two years…following a number of high-profile cases of abusive and threatening behaviour on Twitter.  Justice Secretary Chris Grayling…[said] “This is a law to combat cruelty — and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob”…last month a man was jailed for 18 weeks for what prosecutors described as “a campaign of hatred” against a [politician].  “These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life…” Grayling said.  “That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence”…The government proposes to amend two existing laws to extend the maximum jail term and also the time limit for prosecutions, from six months to three years…

I edited this item to remove the cases politicians are using to win the support of the thoughtless and focus on their real motive: shielding politicians from criticism.  Thoughtcrime is now a very real offense in Britain; perhaps you read about this case:

Robul Hoque…[was convicted for] his collection of Japanese Manga or Anime-style images alone…His barrister Richard Bennett said:  “These are not what would be termed as paedophilic images.  These are cartoons”…Police found the images when they seized Hoque’s computer…none were of real people.  They were classified as prohibited images as they depicted young girls, some in school uniforms…exposing themselves or taking part in sexual activity…Six years ago he was prosecuted for having “Tomb Raider-style” computer-generated pictures of fictional children…

That’s right, he was convicted for having drawings of a taboo subject.  Drawings.  And pay attention to that line about how they found the forbidden doodles, because their power to search you for “evidence” (or any other excuse) is increasing all the time:

Registered gun owners in the United Kingdom are now subject to unannounced visits to their homes under new guidance that allows police to inspect firearms storage without a warrant.  The new policy from the British Home Office went into effect Oct. 15…Britain’s gun owners were subject to the home visits before the update, but the inspection had to be conducted with prior notice…the Association of Chief Police Officers [claimed] the revamped guideline does not grant police any new powers…ACPO is also encouraging [informants] to call a new Crimestoppers hotline to report any [people they want harassed by police]…The Home Office is [pretending] that legitimate guns could easily be stolen and wind up in the hands of terrorists…

Of course, guns aren’t the only things which terrorists might use; knives, household chemicals, cars, computers, money…why, the list is endless!  Clearly the police need the power to “inspect the storage” of those things in private homes, without warning or warrant.  And if the owners aren’t home when they arrive, well, in the interests of national security the police should clearly be given the power to let themselves in, and if the place gets ransacked in the process you can be sure those in charge will dismiss any claims the householders make with the assurance that proper procedures were followed.

time machineAll of us are time travelers, and though the process is both slow and unidirectional, it inevitably brings us into a world very different from the one where we started.  Unfortunately, we cannot merely hop into the TARDIS and return to the past or visit a different future if we don’t like the one in which we find ourselves; we are stuck there, like it or not.  Tyrannies don’t materialize without warning overnight, nor are they usually imposed from outside any more; the world around us is a prison we have allowed the powerful to build, stone by stone and bar by bar.  They capitalized on our fears, our intolerance, our greed, our envy, our laziness and our wrath, and though we could have stopped them many times over we were always more concerned with what other people were saying, doing or thinking, and thus handed our self-proclaimed “leaders” the weapons they needed to dominate us all.  Welcome to the future, and if you think all the things I described above are hunky-dory just wait until the inexorable action of legal precedent brings your face under the boot next.

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