Posts Tagged ‘West Virginia’

[Censorship] filter deactivation…would be a frightening form of thought-based surveillance.  –  Camille Fischer

Worse Than I Thought

It’s nice to have the Mouse on the side of right for a change:

Florida lawmakers made headlines last month with a proposal to let people sexually exploited in hotel rooms sue the hotel where the abuse took place.  The bill would have imposed $50,000 to $100,000 in fines on defendants who lose, in addition to any money awarded to the victim…But…the bill’s sponsor yanked the legislation from current consideration…Disney and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association were reportedly lobbying against the bill behind the scenes…the outcome here is undoubtedly a good one.  Allowing the victims of sex trafficking to sue hotels…does nothing to prevent exploitation…or to punish those responsible for it.  It creates enormous incentives for fraud…It creates a new imperative for hotel staff to harass innocent customers and invade their privacy.  It ensures that sex workers will face more arrests…we don’t allow the families of people murdered in hotels to file such suits…And it paves the way for more third parties to be held legally liable for the actions of criminals…

Japanese Prostitution (#601) 

The Japanese government still denies it did this:

Documents and video footage have been found showing massacres of Korean comfort women by the Japanese military shortly before the end of World War II…the city of Seoul and the Seoul National University (SNU) Human Rights Center made public for the first time footage of the aftermath of a massacre of Korean comfort women…This footage flatly contradicts the Japanese government’s denial of the forced mobilization and massacre of the comfort women.  The footage shows a Chinese soldier, apparently on a burial detail, looking at naked corpses and then removing the socks off one of them.  Smoke is rising from one corner of the frame…“It’s blurred out in the version for public release, but the original footage shows corpses missing heads and other body parts, allowing us to infer the cruelty of the events in question,” the research team said…

Bottleneck (#638)

Welcome to our world, ridesharing companies:

This local CBS report from the Windy City asks the worrying question of whether or not traffic congestion is getting worse in their city and if ride-hailing services might be to blame…If a new cab company opened up, purchased a thousand new cars, painted them up and put them on the road, you’d have a thousand new cars hanging around downtown, clustering near common pick-up areas and just cruising.  That would increase traffic.  But Uber drivers use their own vehicles which were already on the road before they started driving for the company.  And they don’t wait around by hotels or train stations.  They pick a central location and park, waiting for the app to offer them a rider…cruising around would waste gas and cut into their bottom line… We rarely heard any of these “traffic congestion” complaints before except for some occasional griping, but look what other items popped up, all in the space of a couple of weeks…if someone wanted to do some digging I’d wager the National Taxi Worker Alliance and state level lobbyist groups like the Virginia Taxicab Association would be good places to start…

Finding What Isn’t There (#778)

The actual number of people arrested (not tried or convicted) for “human trafficking” in Louisiana during this period: 16.

New numbers recently released by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services showed an overall 50 percent increase in human trafficking in the state from 2016 to 2017.  For victims under 18, there was a 77 percent reported jump.  According to the report, there were 681 human trafficking victims in the state in 2017.  Of those victims, over half (356) were under 18.  DCFS…gets the numbers from agencies across the state and more agencies are now reporting, so it is worth noting that’s a possible cause for the increase…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#795) 

Are there still people who believe the French are sexually liberal?

A group of French lawmakers wants a fine of at least 90 euros ($110) for people caught making sexist catcalls as President Emmanuel Macron’s government prepares a sweeping new law targeting sexual [behavior]…proposals…included a fine for “comments, behavior or pressure of a sexist or sexual character” that [cops decide to label] degrading, humiliating, intimidating, hostile or offensive.  Details of how it would be enforced are unclear…

Stalkers in Blue 

I have no doubt that had her kids been absent, this would’ve turned into a rape:

…Patricia Wilson…says [a Tennessee state] trooper, Isaiah Lloyd, pulled her over for not wearing a seat belt in August last year, according to a lawsuit…Lloyd asked her to get out of her car and lift up her camisole and shirt, then felt around her waistline…put his hands in her underwear and touched her buttock and pubic area.  Lloyd ticketed Wilson for not wearing a seat belt — a…violation the DA’s office later dismissed — and she continued on to work…Three hours later, Lloyd pulled her over again, as Wilson’s children — 3 and 8 years old — were in the vehicle.  “We have to stop meeting like this,” Lloyd allegedly said.  He also said he would not give her a ticket for having tinted windows and asked her where she was going…

Not So Easy

New Orleans club owners cover their arses by throwing dancers under the bus:

The Louisiana Office of Alcohol & Tobacco Control has released details of the consent orders reached with nine French Quarter strip clubs after January raids…mandatory [indoctrination] will include twice-yearly sessions…[of sex] trafficking [propaganda even though]…ATC officials have acknowledged there were no human trafficking-related arrests in their raids…The clubs must also begin using “mystery shoppers” to check in on the businesses once a month…to see if any illegal activity is taking place…[surveillance] cameras must also be installed in all public areas, VIP rooms, private rooms and stages.  Recordings from these cameras must be kept for 30 days and “made available to ATC immediately upon request”…the business[es are required] to fire employees or independent contractors [cops decide to accuse of] prostitution or drug sales…Hustler Barely Legal Club and Hunk Oasis, both owned by the same ownership group…are [also] required to [search] the bags of employees, dancers and entertainers at the start of their shift.  They are also required to hire additional [thugs] to “regularly patrol the floor and VIP areas”…

Morality Lessons (#811) 

Moral panic + censorship = profit:

More than 15 state legislatures are considering the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act” (HTPA)…a…[censorship] bill…[which] would…threaten your free speech and privacy in [an]…attempt to block and tax online pornography.  EFF opposed versions of this bill in over a dozen states last year, and the bill failed in all of them.  Now HTPA is back…Device manufacturers would be forced to install “obscenity filters” on cell phones, tablets, computers, and any other Internet-connected devices.  [The censorship software] could only be removed if consumers pay a $20 fee…allow[ing] the government to intrude into consumers’ private lives and restrict their control over their own devices…HTPA…has been introduced in…Hawaii…Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey…New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee…Virginia, West Virginia…and Wyoming…the bill has died in committees in Mississippi and Virginia…[and] senators in New Mexico…pulled back the bill days after EFF raised the alarm…

The Mote and the Beam (#818)

Monkey see, monkey do:

The [UK] National Crime Agency (NCA) claims Google and Facebook are “making profits” from sex trafficking…Ministers are reportedly considering new laws to make internet giants liable when human traffickers use their sites to “pimp” their victims to potential clients…New US laws are set to overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity for sites.  It will make firms liable if they “knowingly assist, support or facilitate” content that leads to trafficking…

Maybe someone should tell the UK media that these laws aren’t even passed, much less “set” to do anything.

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Sex workers…are fed up with being used as pawns…in…a publicity stunt.  –  Valerie Scott

Dirty Amateurs

Amateurs are a menace to public health; they should be licensed and heavily regulated:

A new campaign’s being launched by Public Health England to get more under-25s to use condoms…a survey carried out by PHE and YouGov revealed almost half of 16-24-year-olds have never used a condom with a new partner.  One in 10 of them had never even used one…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

The story is the same the world over:

…The Immoral Traffic Prevention Act 1986, which conflates trafficking and sex trade…and…other laws under the Indian Penal Code…look at trafficking only from the perspective of sex work…people being tricked into or forced into moving for labour related activities in construction, factories etc are left out of the equation…The proposed new anti-trafficking Bill makes small amends.  [sic] But, leaves a lot more to be desired…interestingly, the version of the Bill that was distributed to the stakeholders for feedback is not the version that is with the Cabinet.  So, when the Bill will be introduced in the Parliament in the Winter Session, the chances are that parts of it will come as a shock to various communities that will be affected by it…Sex workers have constantly expressed their opposition to the Bill, claiming that it presupposes that sex work always entails trafficking and can never be voluntary…

End Demand 

The “end demand” strategy carried to its logical conclusion:

21-year-old Creio Chance Bishop did not want his girlfriend dancing at JB’s Gentlemen’s Club in West Virginia.  The jealous boyfriend is facing second-degree arson charges after…he set the exterior of the strip club where his girlfriend worked on fire at 3:30 a.m. on December 13.  The manager…Jim Reed…[said] “It’s stupid.  She’s trying to make a living for herself.  He’s not doing nothing.  She’s paying the bills, from what I understand.”  Bishop fled the crime scene on foot, only making it as far as a Walmart parking lot right across the street before Cabell County Sheriff’s Department deputies detained him…


This brings the toll to 28 this year:

A transgender woman was shot to death in Houston’s Sunnyside neighborhood early Wednesday, Dec. 13…Brandi Seals, 26…is at least the 28th trans person murdered in the U.S. in 2017, the deadliest year on record for the community.  The vast majority of victims, including Seals, have been trans women of color.  Four of the murders have occurred in Texas.  Seals was repeatedly misgendered in a Fox 26 report about her murder, including by a Houston police detective who referred to the victim as “a man in women’s clothing”…

Bait and Switch

If you’re tempted to badge-lick about this, reread the original article of this heading:

A 22-year-old college student at Ohio’s Youngstown State University was arrested after falling for a fictional 15-year-old boy created by local cops…[who] used a phony dating-app profile for…an adult to lure in the student…After chatting, the catfish “revealed” he was [supposedly] 15 years old.  The college student, A.G. (not his full name), indicated he didn’t have a problem with his age.  The conversation eventually turned sexual and A.G. sent the faux boy some nude photos of himself.  It was clear from the exchanges, police [admit], that A.G. was developing feelings for the imaginary teen.  A.G. described him as “my one and only” and talked about being his husband someday.  On December 12…A.G. showed up at what he thought was the boy’s home with homemade chicken alfredo, soda, and lubricant…This a young man who is about 5’7″…weighs 450 pounds…[and] is gay in a part of Ohio where that’s still really difficult sometimes…he…was preyed on by police who pretended to be interested and said exactly what he wanted to hear, even after realizing the emotional attachment he was developing and the potential psychological effect this was having on him.  And now he will likely be branded a sex offender and a pedophile for life.

Harm Reduction (#627)

Alas, politicians, being exceptionally stupid creatures, cannot understand that the same principles hold true for all prohibition:

Norway is to become the first Scandinavian country to decriminalise drugs as it focuses on treatment rather than punishment.  The majority of the Norwegian parliament, the Storting, backed the historic shift…and…directed the national government to reform its policies on drugs.  Sveinung Stensland, deputy chairman of the Storting Health Committee, [said]…“It is important to emphasise that we do not legalise cannabis and other drugs, but we decriminalise…those who have a substance abuse problem should be treated as ill, and not as criminals with classical sanctions such as fines and imprisonment”…

Of course, the vast majority of people who use prohibited drugs have no “problem”, and if this new policy forces people into “treatment” it’ll just be another Scandinavian scheme to dress authoritarianism up as social justice.

The Puritan Recrudescence

“Environmental cost” = “public health crisis”.

…Is pornography in the digital era leaving a larger carbon footprint than it did during the days of magazines and videos?…if pornography experts’ estimates are accurate, they suggest a rare scenario where digitization might have increased the overall consumption of porn so much that…people to spend so much time looking at porn that it’s actually worse for the environment…

The Course of a Disease (#634)

It’s good to see Médecins du Monde make this position official:

Médecins du Monde has officially announced its position in favor of the total decriminalization of sex work…adopting a position similar to that of Amnesty International…Dr Françoise Sivignon [said]…”In France, a little more than a year and a half after the adoption of the law aimed at fighting against the prostitution system, we clearly see the deleterious impact of measures adopted…we are witnessing the isolation…of sex workers, their distance from care and prevention structures, as well as increased exposure to sexually transmitted infections and increased violence”…Doctors of the World had already made known its position against the penalization of the customers during the parliamentary debates of the previous years…The organization…explains…[that] criminalization policies are…incompatible with good access to [medical] care or prevention…

To Molest and Rape 

Two more cops, protecting and serving:

Two [Alabama cops]…Jonathan Perry Works…and Brian Edward Walker…were…charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy…[for raping a] mentally incapacitated [woman]…

Whither Canada? (#748)

Articles like this are much more common in Canada, while US media self-destructively cheer censorship:

Recently, the owner of a [Greater Toronto] bar began a campaign against NOW Magazine.  Decals reading “NOW Sells Sex Slaves” have been appearing in parts of Toronto, including on public art.  Letters making false and misleading claims that NOW “facilitates human trafficking” have been sent to many of the magazine’s advertisers and to Chief Federal Prosecutor Morris Pistyner…NOW does not “facilitate human trafficking.”  In fact, quite the opposite.  By publishing the ads of sex workers, NOW facilitates our ability to remain safe and independent.  But religious fundamentalists – and some old-school feminists –  have formed alliances and been quite successful in redefining all sex work as human trafficking.  In their view, all adult women are incapable of making the choice of whom to have sex with if money is involved…

Scrupleless in Seattle (#772)

These guys dodged a bullet, but you may not; STOP going to see unknowns who may be cops!

After more than a hundred people were arrested early September following an eight-day prostitution sting in Bellevue, 61 of those cases have now been dismissed due to [cops’ violation of] Washington state law…Part of the [scheme] included hidden cameras…[but] state law requires two-party consent to record audio conversations…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#778) 

A talking toaster is still a toaster:

In February…I ran an experiment in which I sexually harassed Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Google Home to document how these digital personal servants—whose names and voices are already feminized—peddle stereotypes of female subservience, putting their “progressive” parent companies in a moral predicament.  Now, those findings are being cited in a petition on the social network Care2 asking Apple and Amazon to “reprogram their bots to push back against sexual harassment”…

The idea that words and phrases without sexual motivation shouted at a circuit board constitute “sexual harassment” is like something out of a Monty Python sketch; the fact that people seriously think of this nonsense as a “moral predicament” doesn’t say much for their grasp of reality.

Against Their Will (#795)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

Yang Song fell four stories onto a sidewalk in Flushing, Queens on the night of November 25th…while [fleeing] police…attempting to arrest her for allegedly engaging in sex work…Hai Song, Yang’s younger brother…and his 65-year-old mother, Yumei Shi…are haunted by details she shared with them over the phone this year.  Yang described being sexually assaulted by a man who flashed a badge and gun and claimed to be an undercover cop, they say.  Yang also told them that the police [pressured] her to become a [snitch] this fall…“I hope to know the truth,” Shi [said via]…a translator.  “We want to know whether this was a retaliation from the police and they forced her to die”…While the police [claim] that they were not in the room when Yang jumped…both Hai and Shi insist that she would not kill herself…they are left with the stories Yang shared with them about her life in Flushing — and of the police she…[was] harassed and intimidated by…

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In the rush to “save” people, little attention is paid to sex workers swept into…prison and a lifetime of punishment.  –  Victoria Law

Lack of Evidence

Hey amateurs, you want to avoid being profiled as sex workers?  Fight for decrim so persecution of this sort is illegal:

…There just seems to be something about a woman that takes care of her appearance being by herself in certain locations that rubs people up the wrong way.  As though it is completely out of the question that she could be in a luxury hotel by herself as a result of her own  successes…As though a woman wearing makeup couldn’t possibly have an interest in history, culture, and world issues…I have received plenty of lecherous looks from males thinking that I was on sale, and disapproving looks from females about my lack of self-respect.  To feel eyes burning into you, silently judging you because of this untrue and ignorant assumption is probably one of the most humiliating feelings in the world…and almost makes you feel ashamed as if you were actually there soliciting…

But no, it’s much better to draw pathetic lines between yourself and sex workers, and to bloviate about how insulting it is to be mistaken for one of us.

Much Ado About Nothing

Reporter makes poor attempt to hide his envy under a veneer of pearl-clutching:

A firm offering X-rated holidays has brazenly advertised packages featuring orgies with prostitutes on a ‘”drug friendly” Colombian island.  Two videos advertising the resort show men arriving for unlimited sex, drugs and alcohol…On the second day of the four-day sex fest clients will have half an hour with 16 women at once – and organisers say customers will be able to find their “true self”…

Celebrities (#31) 

Breaking news!  Las Vegas shooter ate food the day of his crime!

A US official has said investigators believe the Las Vegas shooter may have hired a prostitute in the days before the shooting, and they are interviewing other call girls as they look for clues into his motive…The official said a note containing a series of numbers was found on a nightstand in Paddock’s room at the Mandalay Bay hotel after the shooting…

Mass shooters are always men.  20% of men hire sex workers at least occasionally. So why is this news?

Bogeymen (#317)

Why you should be wary of talk about “going after pimps”:

The Netherlands…new prostitution policy will include a pimp ban, criminalizing any pimp without a license…Some news…are reporting that…”illegal pimps” will not just be fined, but even will get jail time…the list of people that could be considered “people who financially profit from prostitutes without a license” is very long.  For example, my bookkeeper financially profits from prostitutes, and he doesn’t have a prostitution license.  Or for example my mother, whom I frequently send money to, to support her…chauffeurs who drive around escort girls…security guys, who protect prostitutes from harm, they also don’t have a prostitution license…there are a lot of people who profit from prostitutes financially without a license.  But that doesn’t make them bad people.  In fact, many of these people help us.  But that just might be exactly the plan…to make our work much more difficult…

Sex Rays

Because sex rays can piggyback on radio waves, obviously!  “Seattle radio host Mitch Levy put out a statement…about leaving his job with KJR Radio…[after being] arrested in a prostitution sting in September…”  If every man who ever paid for sex were forced to quit his job, the entire economy would collapse.

Out of Control (#410) 

What is wrong with doctors who do this shit?  It’s not like they can’t afford escorts:

Already in jail on 11 criminal sex charges, a New Mexico psychiatrist and the medical center where he worked face a civil lawsuit from 12 women who say he forced them to discuss their sex lives and perform sex acts on him under the guise of therapy…Dr. Alan Emamdee…was charged with six counts of criminal sexual penetration, five counts of criminal sexual contact, and denied bond…Plaintiff T.T.B. says that Emamdee told her he could help her regain custody of her children if she would give him oral sex, which she did.  “He told T.T.B. that he would withhold medications and would negatively impact her custody proceedings if she did not continue to comply with his demands”…After she refused his request to meet him at a hotel for sexual intercourse…Emamdee “wrote a note indicating T.T.B. had reverted to…dissociative identity disorder, negatively impacting her custody proceedings.”  Some of his requests were bizarre…

Moving Pictures (#564) 

One day, “sex trafficking” propaganda flicks may be cult favorites like Reefer Madness:

The movie Trafficked follows the [fictional] story of three young girls from India, Nigeria, and American who are trafficked and try to escape…[has-been] actress Anne Archer…spoke at this year’s Human Trafficking Summit as a…[propaganda mouthpiece]…“It’s written by [“sex trafficking” profiteer]…Siddharth Kara…who [fantasizes]…that there are…46 million slaves in the world today, generating profits that exceed $150 billion per year for their exploiters…That’s more than Nike, Google, and Starbucks combined”…

To Molest and Rape 

Never let them anywhere near your kids, either:

…cops Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts…are charged with felony sex offenses for allegedly abusing Scouts in a program for youths interested in law enforcement …a…mother’s statement…support[s] allegations in a lawsuit filed by another former Explorer that the police department tried to cover up sexual misconduct in the program…Curtis Flaherty…[who] was commander of both the Explorer program and the Public Integrity Unit, which [works to cover up police misconduct, called the mother and told her to keep quiet after]…Betts…sent inappropriate text messages to her daughter and attached “half-dressed” and sexually suggestive pictures of himself…

Between the Lines (#741)

It’s fitting that the first we hear of this year’s “Operation Cross-Country” is from economically-depressed West Virginia, where pervert cops and FBI thugs ganged up to ruin the lives of women for trying to survive:

Five women were arrested on misdemeanor prostitution charges [on October 5th and 6th] in Harrison County as part of an annual nationwide FBI initiative…Operation Cross Country [is a nationwide anti-consensual sex pogrom held] each autumn [under the pretense of “rescuing”] underage victims of prostitution…

Check Your Premises (#771)

The real result of “sex trafficking” laws:

…after more than seven years behind bars, 32-year-old LeeAnn walked out of federal prison.  But she’s not a free woman — she will spend the rest of her life on the sex offender registry.  Her crime?  Letting a girl shower in her mother’s apartment, giving her a clean change of clothes and holding the girl’s $40 while she had sex with a man in another room.  These are normal actions in the daily life of sex workers trying to keep themselves and each other safe.  But the girl turned out to be 14 and, in the eyes of the federal government, these acts constitute sex trafficking of a minor.  It didn’t matter that the girl had told LeeAnn that she was 17.  It also didn’t matter that LeeAnn, who was addicted to various drugs and also engaged in sex work, never made money from the girl’s actions…19-year-old Hope Joy Mae Zeferjohn…was sentenced to 71 months in prison for aggravated human trafficking of a minor…[because] she introduced the 14 year old to 26-year-old Anthony Long…It…didn’t matter that the younger teen had never actually met Long and that no commercial sex had taken place.  Zeferjohn was charged with nine felonies…

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Being lonely is hardly a crime.  –  Jake Adelstein

The Rescuers 

Harassing streetwalkers to scare away their clients has become a popular rescue industry pastime:

Friday afternoon, a group called “Code Red” gathered their efforts to stop prostitution throughout the Bay Area and across the country.  “We love people and we know sometimes you just have to keep working and working because they are going to come,” said Sylvia Vigil, who…spent hours out on the streets of Oakland looking for sex workers.  She says she saw ten girls out there and tried to reach as many of them as she could…The girls were all invited to a special dinner Friday night and from there Operation Code Red will offer them places to stay in recovery homes.

“Love” = “pathologically need to control”.  “Reach” = “steal income from”. “All invited…offer them places” = the girls were all too smart to walk into that trap, so nobody actually showed up.

It Looks Good On Paper

Another story credulously touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

Ohio…Senate Bill 4…would allow trafficking victims to apply to have records removed of some guilty convictions, dismissed charges or findings of not guilty…prosecuting attorneys…successfully pushed for changes that require the person seeking expungement of…felonies to [somehow] prove the degree of duress they were under…

Surplus Women 

Cops threaten and harass sex workers, yet believe we’ll come to them when we need help:  “…a prostitute was found stabbed to death in her north London flat…[on] May 29…Detectives have warned other sex workers in the capital to be “extra vigilant” as they hunt the killer…

Elephant in the Parlor 

Quite possibly the most ridiculous excuse any politician has ever used:

On May 22, the Yomiuri Shimbun…alleged that [Japanese politician Kihei] Maekawa frequented a shady dating bar…for a few years until around the end of last year.  The article implied that many of the women who come to the bar…offer sex for money…At a news conference on May 25, Maekawa admitted he used to go to a dating bar but said he went there to talk to the women and learn about poverty in the country…after watching a TV documentary that said many women going to such bars are barely getting by.  “Sometimes I had meals with women and gave them some pocket money,” Maekawa said.  “Talking to them, I have learned that child poverty is connected to the poverty of women”…

Can we please all grow up now and recognize that it’s not merely normal but common for men to pay for sex, and that many women accept money for sex either directly or indirectly?

Welcome To Our World (#15)

Another rape victim caged to force her participation in the state’s morality play:

…in June 2015, Angela Cardinal was led into an Edmonton courtroom handcuffed and in leg shackles…She was not the accused, but rather a victim — called to testify at a preliminary hearing after she was savagely attacked and sexually assaulted by a notorious sexual predator…Cardinal was forced to spend a total of five nights in [jail]…during her testimony…Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley was appalled when…told…of Cardinal’s treatment…she has…formed a special committee to look at the case to review policies, with an eye to making what she calls “aggressive changes”…


No, they aren’t “forced” to work without a license; in every place where sex work is legalized, the vast majority prefer not to be registered by politicians and “supervised” by pigs.  Just look at the headline and tone of this article and you may understand why:

In Singapore, prostitution is legal, but [related activities are not]…The government regulates prostitution…but nevertheless illegal sex workers saturate the industry…There are an estimated 1,000…licensed sex workers in Singapore…Yet thousands more choose – or are forced – to work without a license.  Unable to access the same protection the state offers licensed workers, illegal sex workers will either work from massage or beauty parlours or…set up a profile online…Dr. Thein Than Win explains, “In the licensed brothels, everything is in place: mandatory health screenings, condoms.  But for the illegal sex workers…there are no [compulsory government-ordained restrictions]…As police stepped up their efforts by increasing surveillance…and…lawmakers [banned online advertising]…sex workers used websites hosted outside of Singapore to circumvent it…

Pyrrhic Victory (#139)

Some readers implied I was a crank when I predicted this exact development four years ago:

After the Freddie Gray riots in 2015, Baltimore residents began noticing small planes circling the city.  As reporters later uncovered, Baltimore Police had quietly begun using a “wide-area surveillance” system, which deploys Cessna planes to constantly record the movements of an entire metro area.  Police never bothered to tell the public they were using the invasive technology, which had been developed by the U.S. Air Force…Now Miami-Dade Police are quietly trying to deploy the same system.  In a county document posted online Tuesday, MDPD revealed the force has applied for Department of Justice funds to begin using wide-area surveillance (WAS) tools throughout the county…Civil liberty groups say they have major concerns about police using such a system, especially without telling the public about it…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

I’m surprised this has taken so long to catch on, given the considerable overlap between anti-whore & anti-abortion busybodies:

There are only 13 states in the U.S. where it is possible for a minor to obtain an abortion without either notifying or explicitly receiving permission from either one or both parents.  For those who get pregnant in such states there is the option of continuing the pregnancy, finding a judge…willing to grant a judicial bypass…or [traveling]…to one of the few states that allows minors unrestricted…abortion…In 2006…the Child Custody Protection Act was proposed…[to make] crossing the borders a crime…it…died in committee a few times since then, but now it has once more reared its head…Ohio Senator Rob Portman reintroduced the Child Custody Protection Act in May, putting the restriction back on the table as a means of allegedly combating human sex trafficking.  “Human traffickers and child molesters don’t want parents involved in abortion decisions, so they take underage girls across state lines for abortions to avoid laws in the victim’s home state,” writes the conservative news site OneNewsNow

Are you satisfied, feminists?  Helping the anti-sex loons spread their “sex trafficking” myth sure was a good strategy, wasn’t it?

Soap Opera (#553) 

I wonder where Theresa Flores will get a real job once “sex trafficking” hysteria collapses?

…Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution…gathered a couple of dozen volunteers in Arlington, Virginia…to…deliver…[bars of magic anti-pimp soap] to hotels and motels around the D.C. Metro area…S.O.A.P. Founder Theresa Flores [claims she] recently received a text message from someone…[who was saved by] one of these [soap bars]…The volunteers…also gave…hotels…a list of warning signs for desk clerks to watch out for, and also photos of missing girls…Flores [also claimed she happened to be] around when a photo of a missing girl put in the hands of a desk clerk [happened to be someone in the hotel that specific clerk had checked in]…

Flores’ entire shtick derives from TV cop shows, right down to the convenient coincidences.

What Were You All Waiting For? 

The ACLU still has a long way to go if it wants to help sex workers:

…For sex workers…[prohibitionists’] view of “help” is paternalistic.  Most of us probably don’t think much about sex workers, and when we do, we tend to immediately assume the worst stereotypes…Criminalizing sex work just allows the dark side to flourish.  When sex-work is driven underground, victims of violence and exploitation feel the need to hide…Sex workers facing criminal sanction are less likely to report rape and violence committed by their customers, and they are more likely to take risks like unprotected sex when they operate entirely outside the law.  If we were really concerned with protecting [those]…who engage in sex work, we would set up a legitimate legal framework in which they could operate…

Eli Baumwell clearly needs some education; legalization (which is what he’s advocating here) doesn’t really work because in the same paternalism he himself says doesn’t work, and the chief danger we face isn’t violent customers but violent cops who lose no power over sex workers under the legalization model he’s advocating.  But this very flawed effort is still better than the ACLU’s long silence on sex worker rights.

Full of Themselves (#650)

Massage parlor licensing is widely touted as a way to “fight prostitution”; let’s see how that actually works:

Last month, Venice [Florida] police arrested three women for prostitution after raiding three massage parlors…[all three] still have “clear and active” massage therapy licenses issued by the DOH…all three have prior histories of prostitution arrests or convictions…Spotty enforcement and regulation of sex crimes in the massage profession happen all the time…Until 2015, the DOH operated on the honor system by requiring massage therapists to report their own arrests.  Now there is fingerprinting, that in theory, will automatically catch arrests of licensees for prostitution and other crimes…[the DOH] insists the state’s $6.5 million a year massage regulatory program that You Paid For is doing well…

I love it when authoritarian busybodies feed on each other.

Storyville (#697)

Some parts of the American west tolerated prostitution long after it was criminalized in the rest of Puritanland:

…When the discovery of gold and silver turned [Wallace, Idaho]…into the center of the mining universe, men moved [there]…by the thousands…Dr. Heather Branstetter….has literally written the book on the history of the sex trade here…”The madams contributed so much in anonymous ways that people don’t know about,” Dr. Brantsetter explained.  “They would leave money at the grocery store for people who couldn’t afford food.”  Many in Wallace say they don’t remember ever having to do a school fundraiser; what they needed was always provided.  In 1972, the state of Idaho no longer allowed cities to legalize prostitution.  But…in Wallace, it was [tolerated as long as] madams…follow[ed police] regulations, like not hiring local girls and keeping the women off the streets in their off hours.  But, over time, the [mining] industry declined.  By the mid-1980’s, only a few houses were left.  The AIDS epidemic…shut down [the last one]…in 1988…

The Widening Gyre (#738)

Still more infantilization of migrant Nigerian sex workers:

Although no fewer than 1, 594 illegal migrants from Nigeria have so far returned from Libya from January through May this year, many more are still stranded outside the country, having been deceived of a better life by traffickers, so said a representative from International Organisation for Migration (IOM)…Dr. Nahashon Thuo…Mrs. Winnie Aideyan, said…“There is nothing wrong with travelling, but people need to travel the correct way.”  Aideyan called on Nigerian youth to stop illegal migration, stressing, “Women need to be empowered so they will not be tempted by these traffickers”…

Because “empowered” women will obey self-appointed nannies and only travel in the “correct”, government-approved way, sitting with folded hands until they get permission. Naturally.

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After a thorough investigation I have concluded that there are no creepy killer homicidal clowns in Rolla, Missouri.  I did hear about a mime stuck in a box though that may still need assistance.  –  Adam Meyer

clowns-irresponsibly-tweeted-by-tennessee-copsProving once again that it’s impossible to overestimate the extent to which hysteria will spread, the Great Clown Panic of 2016 absolutely exploded this week.  Less than 24 hours after “Clowning Around” was published, I had so many new clown stories that they would have dominated any single news column, and I was afraid if I divvied them up between news columns I’d soon start to fall behind and end up publishing them weeks late.  So here’s another full column of clown madness, and perhaps now I’ll be able to keep up.  I’m really impressed with the rate this is growing; is it wrong of me to wish that clown hysteria would overtake & replace “sex trafficking” hysteria?

Schools in Reading [Ohio] canceled classes Friday after a woman reported being attacked by a clown overnight…just hours after Colerain Township police arrested a junior high school student on charges related to an online clown-related threat…The woman told police the clown told her: “I should just kill you now” and “students and teachers (will) wish they were never born at the junior and senior high school today”…Reading schools superintendent said the homecoming parade and game will go on Friday as scheduled.  The homecoming dance will still take place on Saturday, and there will be extra police at all events…

Naturally, once clown hysteria started to spread, enterprising young people started using it as a way of getting days off from school.  And just as naturally, moronic adults have responded by utterly losing their shit:

…several [Austin, Texas] schools have investigated social media threats made by people dressed as clowns against the schools or claims of clown sightings on campus….Police Chief Eric Mendez described the kind of threats he’s seeing: “Some of the threats can be ‘we’ll be at your campus on this date or at this time, we’re going to be there to do harm to people, we’re going to be there to kidnap people.’”  Mendez says they can’t [react like rational humans]…and have responded by beefing up security around campus….police are enlisting the help of the Austin Regional Intelligence Center, trained at tracking down terroristic threats…

This being 21st-century America, what used to be called “stupid kids being stupid” is now called “terrorism”.

…a 13-year-old girl in Virginia and a 14-year-old boy in Houston have been charged with crimes related to recent reports of scary clowns…the girl asked a person posing as a clown on social media to kill one of her teachers…[and] has been charged with one count of threatening to kill by electronic message…the boy used the image of a clown to threaten a school. He is charged with making a terroristic threat…

And it’s not only cops, but also people one would think would know better:

Philadelphia police say they have identified a 13-year-old girl who made so-called “clown threats” toward local schools…the girl told them this was a “prank” committed with a friend at her school, and she never had any intent to harm anyone…”She should pay for what she did.  She should be punished,” said [a moral retard apparently interviewed at random by local news media]…Frank Farley, a psychology professor at Temple University, says a new line has been drawn when it comes to what’s considered an innocent prank.  “I don’t think pranks that threaten lives are innocent anymore.  This nation in 9/11 was invaded from the outside, and we’ve had terrorist incidents since then”…

Apparently, Dr. Farley is attempting to establish his expertise in psychopathology by demonstrating that he himself is a sociopath and therefore knows whereof he speaks.  One has to wonder if he’s related to another sociopathic psychologist of the same name.  But this article doesn’t stop with academic police-state apologists; it also reports that cops in New Jersey have blamed the hysteria on a fictional “movie production” which nobody else seems to have heard of.  And naturally, cops in the vicinity of St. Louis, Missouri can’t pass up an opportunity to use their “concerns” as an excuse to threaten more people, especially kids:

In response to clown-related threats…some area school districts are adding to their security presence…Pevely Police Capt. Tony Moutray said…when police responded to one report of a clown sighting, they encountered armed “clown-hunters” who had heard about the sighting on social media…He’s planning to step up police [intimidation tactics] on Halloween…

If there really are idiots setting themselves up as “clown hunters”, there’s good reason for actual clowns to be concerned:

…In Johnstown, Pennsylvania…”members of the Classic Clowns Club have been alarmed by news reports in which police have asked anyone who sees a clown to call 911.  The troupe members often travel in costume, and worry that…someone [will] notice…a van full of clowns and call…the police”…In Oakland, Maryland, the Times-News informs us, members the Ali Ghan Shrine Club’s clown unit are “giv[ing] some thought about laying low for a while.” The Shriner-clowns are still doing daytime events, but they have withdrawn from one nighttime parade and are thinking about dropping out of another.clown-free-zone

But as so often happens, the only truly dangerous clowns are the police:

The scare has reached the point when police agencies—in this case, the Tennessee Highway Patrol—are tweeting things like this: “THP says watch for clowns trying to lure children in to the woods. They are possibly predators. Call 911…“…no one since this scare began has corroborated a single account of a clown trying to lure a kid anywhere…they said they were “promoting awareness”… In Putnam County, Florida, the sheriff’s office [posted the picture at right]…on Facebook…In Paw Paw, West Virginia…Police Chief James F. Cummings posted notices around town [saying]…”If someone sees you dressed like this they have the right to defend themselves…if you run around in a clown suit, you should probably expect for citizens to beat you (for their own protection), then get arrested by police”…

But while most cops in the country are only too happy to use clown hysteria as an excuse to threaten and arrest people or at least swagger around and pretend to be important, one single detective (Adam Meyer of Rolla, Missouri) actually took the time to investigate local reports, and didn’t even feel compelled to inflict violence on the hoaxers or otherwise “send a message” by destroying their lives:

I spoke with a young man…who claimed that he was assaulted by the crazy creepy clowns…he told me that he lied…He quickly admitted that he had not been assaulted, stabbed, threatened, mean mugged or even given a stern talking to by any clown whatsoever.  He had not seen a clown, creepy or not, of any kind…I ended up tracking down the young aspiring cinematographers, who will remain nameless…the person who made the recording…introduced me to the clown who was in the video.  Needless to say, I survived the encounter…They’re both just normal guys who were playing a joke on [some] girls…

Given that I’m writing this on Monday evening and you’re reading it on Friday, don’t be at all surprised if you see more reports under this heading tomorrow, and next Wednesday, and…

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I will never try to go out and try to do anything nice for anyone again.  –  Ken Cronkhite

I probably should’ve posted this video last week, but I already had something there & it honestly didn’t occur to me to switch them.  Given the reaction to this sophomoric ad online, I would say it’s still too soon for this kind of humor.  The video was provided by Nun Ya, and the links above it by Mike Siegel (“fascism”),  Popehat (“reason” & “drunk”), Mistress Matisse (“queen”), Radley Balko (“hate”),  Lucy Steigerwald (“OD”), Emma Evans (“flirt”), Molly Crabapple (“doctor”), Jesse Walker (“clown”), and Scott Greenfield (“gypsy”).

From the Archives

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“Equal access” gets us what we wanted all along.  –  Jerry Falwell

As anyone with half a brain and the most rudimentary understanding of legal precedent could’ve predicted, After School Satan clubs for grammar school kids are now a thing; see their promotional video below, courtesy of Eric Sprankle.  The links above it were provided by Lucy Steigerwald (“vindication”), Radley Balko  (“911”), Wendy Lyon (“Sweden”), Thaddeus Russell (“tickets”), Tim Cushing  (“Cassandra”), and Dave Krueger (“dog”).

From the Archives

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