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Posts Tagged ‘What Were You All Waiting For?’

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”…

Bottleneck 

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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The police…should…sow trust among the community rather than alienate some…whose actions should not be considered a crime to begin with.  –  Udi Ofer

Saving Them From Themselves

Prosecutors have the magical ability to transform a “child” into an adult, but only for the purpose of wantonly destroying innocent lives:

Austin Yabandith, a 17-year-old from Superior, Wisconsin [was charged with sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation, and possession of child pornography]…after [a school cop found nude] photos of Austin’s 15-year-old girlfriend on his cell phone—as well as a video of the couple having sex…the age of consent in Wisconsin is 18, which means Austin is…under-age, just like the girlfriend he is accused of exploiting.  But Wisconsin’s sex offender laws [allow]…17-year-olds [to] be charged as adults—even though the law considers them to be children and incapable of consenting to sex…In many U.S. jurisdictions, the law permits consensual relationships [between]  underage teens if the [elder] is no more than four years older than the [younger]…Wisconsin is one of a handful of states with no Romeo and Juliet exception…even though it’s perfectly normal for teens to form…relationships with other teens, fall in love, and [have] sex…

And how did the cop “discover” the photos?  By intimidating the boy into “allowing” him to search the phone.

Above the Law  rapist-politician-richard-keenan

He once said, “Dedicating my life to Jesus has changed my life.”

…Richard Keenan, who served as mayor of Hubbard [Ohio] in 2010 and 2011, was indicted [for] eight counts of rape and 12 counts of attempted rape and gross sexual imposition…Keenan pleaded not guilty…but prosecutors said he admitted to sexually assaulting the girl over a three-year period, beginning when she was 4 years old…Keenan confessed…to his wife, a pastor, a social worker and his brother- and sister-in-law…[after] the child told Keenan’s wife about the abuse and she confronted him…he blamed the child for initiating the sex acts and described her as a “willing participant”…

The Shape of the Spoon

The reason why people view sex work as an “unacceptable” risk for women, while simultaneously encouraging us to become cops, join the military, etc:

…Ashley Thomas…the lead author of a recently published study…note that legal norms needn’t follow inaccurate beliefs about risks.  “The fact that many people irrationally fear air travel does not result in air travel being criminalized…Parents are not arrested for bringing their children with them on airplanes.  In contrast, parents are arrested and prosecuted for allowing their children to wait in cars, play in parks, or walk through their neighborhoods without an adult”…The researchers…created a series of surveys asking participants to rate the danger to children left alone in…specific circumstances…The reasons for the parent’s absence were varied randomly…“A mother’s unintentional absence was seen as safer for the child than a mother’s intentional absence for any reason, and a mother’s work-related absence was seen as more dangerous than an unintentional absence, but less dangerous than if the mother left to pursue an illicit sexual affair,” they write.  The same was true for fathers, except that respondents rated leaving for work as posing no greater danger than leaving unintentionally.  Moral disapproval informed beliefs about risks…“People…think that leaving children alone is…immoral and therefore dangerous.  That is, people overestimate the actual danger to children who are left alone by their parents, in order to better support or justify their moral condemnation of parents who do so”…

Pyrrhic Victory

Surveillance beyond the wildest dreams of the Stasi:

Under a new set of rules, the FBI would have the authority to secretly use malware to hack into thousands or hundreds of thousands of computers that belong to innocent third parties and even crime victims…The new plan…is known formally as amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the proposal would allow the government to hack a million computers or more with a single warrant.  If Congress doesn’t pass legislation blocking this proposal, the new rules go into effect on December 1…The government [pretends] it needs this power to investigate a network of devices infected with malware…what’s known as a “botnet”.  But the…amendments…are woefully short on protections for the [privacy]…of innocent Americans…

Micromanagement

I really hate being right all the fucking time:

Over the last decade, collecting DNA from people who are not charged with — or even suspected of — any particular crime has become an increasingly routine practice for police in smaller cities…in Florida…Connecticut, Pennsylvania and North Carolina…While the largest cities typically operate public labs and feed DNA samples into the FBI’s national database, [small] cities…have assembled databases of their own…in partnership with private labs that offer such fast, cheap testing that police can afford to amass DNA even to investigate minor crimes…some…have quietly begun [coercing] people to turn over DNA…during traffic stops…or…chance encounters with police…Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania…pays for the testing…with…money [stolen from citizens]…Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement must have a reasonable suspicion that a person is involved in a crime before requiring a search or seizure.  But the notion of collecting DNA [by coerced “consent”] is still so new that the ground rules remain uncertain.  Who can give such consent and what must they be told about what they’re consenting to?  Who decides how long to keep these samples and what can be done with them?…Automated “Rapid DNA” machines allow police to analyze DNA right at the station in a mere 90 minutes…but…police departments’ private databases…are subject to no state or federal regulation or oversight…

Delightful Conversation 

The stupidity defense:

A man who ran an escort agency…was cleared of any wrongdoing.  Prosecutors proved Candy Girls offered sexual services…The…[various defendants all were found] guilty…[except for] Karl Jackson…[who] left school at 15 with no qualifications and always looked up to his older brother, Leon, who [owned the agency]…When interviewed by police in 2014, he said he ran a “companionship service” and never suspected the girls had sex with clients.  When asked what this involved, he said: “A companion who’s going to sit there and do everything your girlfriend did do, just watch telly and maybe clean your house, I don’t know”…

Wise Investment (#428)

A better monument to the victims would be eradicating the horrible laws that made their murders possible:

After years in the making, a sex worker memorial in Vancouver’s West End [was] unveiled…Friday.  The monument will honour the sex workers who once were part of a flourishing community before being expelled from the area…after a July 1984 Supreme Court injunction by Justice Allan McEachern…During the 1970s and ’80s, the West End was home to a tightly knit, diverse community of sex workers, she says, who kept the area pimp-free…The City of Vancouver has put $28,000 into funding the monument — the same amount it raised in fines against sex workers and consumers during enforcement of its 1982 bylaw…The memorial’s location, at Jervis and Pendrell Streets, marks a convergence of the old sex worker strolls.  It also is in front of St Paul’s Anglican Church, which often offered refuge…

Down Under (#518)

In the US, the government would’ve “helped” by prosecuting her:

A [New Zealand] sex worker’s five-year restraining order has been reinstated after years of harassment from a client that was obsessed with her.  After first paying for her services in 2012, the man began a systematic campaign of harassment when his advances were spurned…The man…would wait for her outside work and hired a private detective…to track down her identity…When she filed for a restraining order, the client went out of his way to protract a course of legal action that was used to “play” with the woman…The man, known in court papers as NR or Mr N, and woman, known as MR, have permanent name suppression and were referred to in court documents as R and M respectively.  The recently-released decision stated that M is allowed to file further evidence, seek reinstatement of indemnity costs and her restraining order for a period of five years has been reinstated…R’s appeals…have been dismissed and he must pay M’s costs…

My First Million (#568)

I hit the 5 million pageview mark just a little after 4:00 UTC last Tuesday, September 13th (a little after 9 PM Monday evening here in Seattle).  Thanks to all the readers who made it happen!
5000000

What Were You All Waiting For? (#654) 

Let’s hope other ACLU chapters start following New Jersey’s lead:

…The Newark Police Department’s 13 arrests on charges related to prostitution over the weekend raise concerns yet again about Newark’s embrace of failed and destructive “Broken Windows” policing strategies.  Using our criminal justice system to harass, arrest and incarcerate consenting adults who agree to exchange sex for money is a poor use of the NPD’s limited resources.  These arrests harm public health by stigmatizing sex workers and making their lives more difficult and dangerous.  These crackdowns harm public safety by stoking fear of police among sex workers…We urge the City to explore harm reduction…and to reject failed approaches of criminalization…Sex work should not be criminalized…

Of Course It Is

Because obviously, the prosecutor couldn’t simply exercise his discretion and decline to press charges:

[Celeste Guap]…remained jailed in Florida…but was offered a plea deal that could hasten her return to California…the assistant state attorney in Martin County, David Lustgarten, said Monday that he is charging Guap with misdemeanor battery.  “The evidence did not lead me to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a felony was committed,” he said.  Lustgarten said he offered a plea bargain to the young woman…

She was allowed to plead “no contest” to the reduced charge, and returned to California on Wednesday while her attorney belched out “sex trafficking” rhetoric.

Mote and the Beam (#672) 

Alas, the victory was short-lived:  “The Supreme Court declined Tuesday to block subpoenas issued to Backpage.com by a Senate committee that is investigating its alleged role in facilitating child sex trafficking…

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An adult who chooses to engage in sexual activity, whether for recreation, procreation or in exchange for something of value, makes a private, individual choice that should not be subject to criminal sanctions.  –  Jeanne LoCicero and Udi Ofer

Something Rotten in Sweden

The 5th installment of the Tits and Sass series “Big Mother is Watching You” profiles notable American proponents of “end demand” and the Swedish model, namely  Rachel Durchslag, Tom DartBeth Klein, Shirley Franklin, Yasmin Vafa and  Dominique Roe-Sepowitz.

A False Dichotomy 

They “see it as a business transaction” because that’s exactly what it is:

…in recent interviews conducted to understand what is driving [migrants] into the hands of human traffickers, it is clear that those involved see the risk they are taking as a business transaction, not a crime.  Malick Traore of Mali…said…“It is even more risky to live in misery in my own home country with a family always having tears in their eyes from hungers…the traffickers…do not call the migrant from their homes, or force them to cross the sea.  It is just an agreement between shipman and client”…Mariam Camara…is a widow with two daughters…[she said] “the criminal is Malian government but not the traffickers.”  Hamidou Thierro…says:  “I do not see those traffickers as criminals, because they are helping the poor migrants who are sacrificing their life to get into Europe to help back their families and plan better life for their children.  The traffickers are not human life protection agent but normal transporter as air plane or train”…

Lawheads just can’t get that normal people don’t really give a shit about their bullshit regulations.

Gorged With Meaning

Just about everything you need to know about this craptastic mixture of the obvious, the pearl-clutching and the dead wrong is that the author interviews the sociopathic narcissist Meghan Murphy instead of one of the many sex workers who write on the subject (such as, oh, ME for example), and approvingly quotes her as saying that raping a sex worker is no big deal.  That, and the fact that it’s named “The New Prostitution Economy” because it pretends that young women trading sex to older men for resources is some kind of new thing.

Follow Your Bliss 

Again, don’t think this is unique to Oakland:

When Leneka Pendergrass’ seventeen-year-old daughter…escaped…a pimp…Pendergrass turned to an organization that had previously helped.  She called Patrick Mims…of the Sexually Exploited Minors program at Bay Area Women Against Rape…the lead East Bay nonprofit organization in the state’s Regional Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force…BAWAR works closely with Oakland police…to [indoctrinate] them about child sex trafficking.  And BAWAR employees…accompany Oakland cops on their anti-[sex worker] sting operations…Pendergrass…and Mims frequently texted the first few nights after she and her daughter escaped…Then…less than a week [later]…Mims came to her apartment and they had sex…[this continued for six weeks, then] Mims suddenly stopped responding to her calls and texts…[and] her daughter’s case was no longer a priority for BAWAR.  She felt Mims abused his position of power.  Feelings of confusion and remorse grew intense, she said.  She worried that her access to OPD and the DA was being curtailed, too…Pendergrass also wrote a letter to the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an umbrella organization of rape-crisis centers like BAWAR…nothing ever came of her letter, or the police report…BAWAR…appears to never have acknowledged what happened…Jacqueline Montero

The Public Eye 

It’s always heartening to see a sex worker run for office, especially when she wins:

…Jacqueline Montero…worked as a prostitute for years to feed her children.  Now, after a decade of activism for women’s rights in the Dominican Republic, she hopes to put her life experience to work following her election to the Chamber of Deputies as part of an opposition coalition…The 46-year-old wants to focus on improving opportunities for women, a significant challenge in a country where about 35 percent of households are led by single mothers in poverty…She plans to introduce legislation that would prohibit discrimination against…LGBT, sex workers, people with AIDS and the elderly.  The walls of her office are adorned with diplomas and posters from international conferences dealing with sex work…Activists say the significance of her election transcends her relatively minor legislative position because she will be a powerful voice for largely unrepresented people…

Cops and Condoms (#313)

Remember Bill Gates’ $100,000 grant to develop “the next generation of condom”?  Well, the first results are in:

…After weeding through 953 applications, the foundation awarded grants to 26 applicants.  Among them was Richard Chartoff, a polymer scientist at Oregon State University, who developed an idea for ultra-thin condoms made from polyurethane elastic polymers that respond to body heat and conform to the penis’s shape…the HEX condom,  developed by luxury sex toy company LELO…[features a] “hexagonal net design [which] effectively holds together the condom,” [founder Filip] Sedic explains, “so we were able to make the majority of the condom’s surface very thin without forfeiting strength”…the hexagonal design gripped his penis without squeezing it.  My husband’s sensations were less dulled than usual, too, since it was the thinnest traditionally shaped condom we used…myONE Perfect Fit from ONE Condoms will bring 56 different sizes to the market, allowing men to use a kit…to measure their penis length and width to determine the best size for them…

Devil’s Advocate

This guy seems like a real scumbag…so why isn’t Thailand asking for Norway to extradite him for prosecution there? Do you really want a precedent that people can be prosecuted in one jurisdiction for things they did in another jurisdiction where their actions weren’t illegal?

A 34-year-old Swedish businessman based in Oslo is facing trial in Norway accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl in Thailand for several years – including making her pregnant…the girl…is from a poor family and had started working as a prostitute straight after finishing school…at the age of 14 she gave birth to the baby…DNA records have shown that the man is the child’s biological father…Police launched their investigation after he was arrested for…drugs two years ago.  During a search of his home in Oslo officers found indecent images…and 51 movies showing children being sexually abused.  They also found pictures of the Thai girl…

Guinea Pigs 

This is one of those potpourris of hysteria that could fit into any of several headings, but I think the most important one is yet another surveillance tool for hunting down sex workers:

…Tim Wedge, a Forensics Science professor…in Defiance, Ohio…[created] FAGIN, Facial Analysis to Gain Information Now, a basic crude prototype…[which] is designed to take…pictures of missing children, run it through the facial analysis software by comparing them to pictures in ads for people being sold for sex online, and produce a report whenever there’s a match…Wedge says FAGIN has the possibility of rescuing a shocking amount of victims…800,000 children are reported missing each year.  One in five of them are sex trafficking victims…

Can this “science professor” even do math?  Because the reporter sure can’t.  But more importantly: the same program could also compare pics from ads to, say, a driver’s license database, thus giving cops an escort’s legal name and address.

Aloha, Oy!

Hawaii was the last state to criminalize prostitution, and now it’s become the last state to fully rebrand it as “sex trafficking”:

Hawaii has become the last state in the nation to explicitly ban sex trafficking.  Gov. David Ige signed the bill…[which] makes [acts that were already illegal illegal again], expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation.  “It’s a historic day for Hawaii.  Now, from sea to sea, the United States can say it [criminalized some crimes twice],” said Kris Coffield…[a “sex trafficking” profiteer]…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#622) 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

In honor of International [Whores’] Day, activists marched on Atlantic City on June 3 to call for the decriminalization of sex work…This is a goal the American Civil Liberties Union…strongly supports.  Since 1975, the ACLU has believed that prostitution…should be decriminalized…It’s time to stop sweeping consenting adult sex workers into the criminal justice system.  We need models that protect their rights, their health and their safety…Amnesty International adopted a policy advocating the decriminalization of adult consensual sex work in its efforts to prevent human rights violations.  Amnesty isn’t alone.  They joined the World Health Organization, UNAIDS, Human Rights Watch, the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women, the Global Network of Sex Work Projects and many other…groups in calling for the decriminalization of sex work to stem the abuse, discrimination and violence that too frequently plague the lives of sex workers…

King of the Hill (#623) The Keep

One of the more amusing tropes of this moral panic: labeling a particular street a “hotbed” of sex work or “trafficking”:

For more than three decades now, the corner of Cypress Avenue and Starr Street has been known as one of the old-school New York prostitution hotbeds.  Even as gentrification of the area rapidly progresses, prostitution as a symptom of the “bad old times” continues…Unbeknownst to the owners at the time of the opening, [a bar named] The Keep became somewhat of a local epicenter for…“Operation Losing Proposition,” the goal of which is to lock up johns as they solicit sex from undercover [sows who use]…the bathrooms at The Keep [without permission] to change into their [costumes]…Eli B. Silverman explains that the initiative was designed by CEU attorneys who researched the law that allows for [asset seizure]…In this case, johns’ cars could be seized…the operation has been yielding incredible [profits]…and [Silverman pretends] prostitution has been greatly reduced…the operation has been consistently dubbed a success, but 26 years later, one has to wonder whether the number of arrested johns is the correct indicator of success, or whether the operation opened a bottomless well of meaningless arrests…

To Molest and Rape (#651)

No, you fucking filthy liar, it’s not “unique” and you fucking know it:

Alameda County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Ray Kelly, a former sex crimes investigator who serves as the agency’s spokesman, said several members of his department were investigated but a review showed none had done anything illegal or against policy. Kelly would not say if the deputies had sex with [Celeste Guap]…“This case is unique, and it’s not a good example of the relationships between sex crimes victims and police officers,” he said…

In typical tone-deaf LA Times fashion, the reporter concludes a story about people abusing women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices by praising someone who abuses women under the guise of “rescuing” them from their choices:

…[Sylvia] Vigil…has been preaching to the girls she [condescendingly dehumanizes] as “twilight treasures” since 1982…when she founded the Oakland branch of Victory Outreach…On [a] recent visit to International Boulevard, Vigil shook her head as she watched [a] young woman enter [a client’s] car, said a prayer, then brought her van’s engine to life and hit the gas…As the man in the Cutlass attempted to drive away, Vigil pulled her van in front of his car, blocking him in.  A colleague from the ministry who sat in Vigil’s van held up a Victory Outreach business card and shouted “not tonight” at the man…

Naturally, Vigil didn’t offer to pay the girl for the client she scared away, so the girl probably didn’t eat that night. But I’m sure the knowledge that she had been “saved” from dirty, filthy sex assuaged her hunger.

The End of the Beginning (#653)

Another in an anti-registry series from Vox:

When I first became a public defender, I believed the worst punishment that my clients would face would be time in jail.  Since then, I’ve learned that incarceration is not the…worst…punishment the criminal justice system can impose.  The registration requirements imposed on those convicted of sex offenses are unfairly harsh and punitive…I had always assumed that sex offender registration was limited to those who committed the most egregious and dangerous offenses.  I had also trusted that the Supreme Court was right when, in 2003, it stated that sex offender registration laws are not punishments but merely administrative requirements to protect public safety.  But I realize now that many of my clients would choose…anything to avoid being labeled a sex offender for life…because our current…laws apply an…inhumane one-size-fits-all approach that does not prevent future sex crimes and in fact makes us all less safe…The registration process appears designed to make people fail.  The rules are so complicated that few non-attorneys can keep up with them…

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I could be a slave to the banks for the rest of my life, or I can spend a few years doing this and I could be free.  –  JohannaVillage Voice 5-18-16

Gorged With Meaning

Yes, this is yet another article on student sex workers; what makes it interesting is its “so what?” tone and emphasis on facts over hysteria.  It concentrates on NYU, but it does mention other schools, most notably “Oregon’s Portland State University…the only college in America with a student sex worker outreach program…no one involved [is] permitted to speak publicly…[by order of] the university’s administration…”  The article also quotes veteran activist Norma Jan Almodovar (much to the chagrin of some snotty youngsters who were still in diapers when Norma was already doing activism).

First They Came for the Hookers…

Regulations on sex work are never intended to “protect” the workers, no matter what politicians claim:

Dancers in Mumbai are apprehensive about new laws that…limit dancers’ ability to earn a decent wage…Varsha Kale…of the bar girls’ union…[says] they have been treated like children and ignored.  The new laws dictate a number of restrictions…[including a] 3 feet high railing separating the dance floor from the seating area [with] at least 5 feet between the railing and the customers…Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis admitted…that the state’s intention…was to ensure that dance bars do not survive.  The new laws also state that dancers must receive a fixed salary and will not be able to directly receive tips…This is a step backwards for dancers, who fought hard to end fixed salaries nearly 20 years ago…

The Lion and the Ox

In the US media, “sex trafficking” is now just a dysphemism for “sex work”:

Fifteen men from 6 different states will likely be prosecuted after being arrested during an undercover sex trafficking mission…by the Portland Police Bureau’s Sex Trafficking Unit.  The mission focused on addressing online sex trafficking…The…15 men contacted undercover police officers to arrange payment for sexual acts…

Try not to laugh too hard at self-important cops calling their pathetic little deception a “mission” as though they were the A-Team or something.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlors are popular targets of “anti-trafficking” pogroms because they’re low-hanging fruit:

…the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management…mission is…allegedly…preparing for and responding to terrorism and natural disasters, so it’s…a joke that its officials are concerning themselves with catching unlicensed massage therapists and people engaging in prostitution…[they] and police…took down four women…all Asian Americans in their early 40s…Each was charged with one count of unlicensed practice of massage therapy.  One of the women was also charged with one count of prostitution…

Backwards into the Future (#334)

Which is to say, the second country in the entire world:

South Africa may become the first African country to decriminalize sex work.  If it does, it will be one of a handful of countries that have fully decriminalized sex work (including New Zealand and New South Wales in Australia)…Currently only Senegal makes some provision for legal sex work and subjects it to regulation…

Opting Out

But it’s not a surveillance measure, no sirree!  Because THE CHILDREN!!!

The [United Kingdom] is going to force…all sites that contain pornographic material…to verify that their users are over 18, forcing them to register their age and potentially even their credit card details…[domestic] sites that don’t comply with the ruling could be banned from advertising or even shut down entirely…the blocks [will] apply…to any [sites] that…would get an 18 rating if they were classified formally…Free speech campaigners and civil liberties experts have repeatedly criticised the Government’s plans…but the Government has repeatedly cited [bogus] research about the availability of porn to children and the damage that it can do…

Cops and Robbers

How barbaric!  This is TOTALLY different from what American cops do:

During the night of 17th to 18th of May, Viacheslav Datsik and his supporters illegally raided a brothel…in St Petersburg where 10 sex workers were working…He broke down the door and under the threat of beating the women working there he forced them to undress completely, and then took them to the police naked.  He managed to carry out an attack on a similar establishment in central St Petersburg, but he was detained by the brothel’s security guards and was taken to the police station.  Datsik has a huge criminal background…and…has been imprisoned several times.  He is a former member of the ultranationalist Slavic Union…and…[intends] to run for the Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg.  If elected, he has promised he will promote laws against sex work.  Datsik believes the penalty for sex work in Russia should be forced labour…Datsik filmed…the…raids and shared these videos with the media…In the past [Datsik has] threatened and raped several sex workers…

The Public Eye (#511)

Here’s a glimpse at the return of the Sex Workers’ Opera:

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#618)

Politicians the world over promise the same evil, impossible things, and stupid people just keep believing them:

Prostitution is heavily frowned upon in [Indonesia but]…there is no specific law that penalises it, with people only facing legal action when acts are associated with other crimes.  The fact that the legal status of prostitution remains a grey area has helped commercial sex to become a big business in cities such as Jakarta and Surabaya…In a bid to stop the flesh trade, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa vowed in February that by 2019 Indonesia will be free from prostitution and all the red-light districts in the country will be shut down…Days after the announcement, Jakarta’s oldest red-light district, called Kalijodo, was demolished.  But that does not seem to have put the brakes on the sex industry.  Many workers from there seem to have just moved, or gone online

Paint By Numbers (#625)

Given the exploitation of “rescued” sex workers in garment-industry sweatshops, the use of fashion shows to promote “sex trafficking” hysteria is particularly loathsome:

During a fashion show..High School senior Hannah Rezabek will showcase a black couture number handcrafted by noted fashion designer Korto Momolu….her outfit…reinforces how a human-trafficking victim feels “tied” to the streets, as reflected by the struggles of victims, even when rescued, to break free from the grip of pimps and prostitution…Rezabek is among 30 students who will serve as models for the Unchained Fashion Show — a different sort of runway event whose message runs far deeper than the latest prints and hottest summer colors…

Monsters (#632) 

Police in Maryland said they have arrested two people in the slaying of…Keyonna Blakeney…Arbra Arnie Bethea, 17…and Keith Christopher Renier, 21…[were charged] with murder…armed robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit armed robbery…Bethea has been charged as an adult…

What Were You All Waiting For? (#638)

Mike Crawford is one of the most eloquent male voices on sex worker rights, and I predict we’ll be hearing a lot more from him:

It seems that after the recent New York Times piece on sex work, those who seek to completely prohibit commercial sexual exchange are concerned they no longer have a stranglehold on the dialogue about sex workers’ lives.  Over the past few days, there have been three pieces attempting to undermine the Times’ article: one from a radical feminist, one from the bastion of journalistic integrity that is the NY Post (written by a correspondent whose primary focus is religion, no less) and then today’s from a representative of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW.)  Today’s piece is a simple continuation of the others; it’s a disjointed combination of appeals to emotion, anecdotal evidence meant to discredit actual studies, flawed statistics, frequently told lies, obfuscation, a blithe dismissal of reality, and an absolute refusal to engage in the core of the argument for the decriminalization of sex work: harm reduction…

To Molest and Rape

I wrote yesterday’s column on Tuesday night, and the very next morning I had another example:

A Walker County [Georgia] deputy was arrested…[fired] because…he sexually assaulted a woman while transporting her from one hospital to another…Wesley Holland…[orally raped the prisoner but Sheriff Steve] Wilson…is [trying to pretend it was] consensual [so as to minimize the deputy’s punishment while pretending to take it seriously]…

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You can only really help people if you respect them.  –  Emily Bazelon

Broken Record pizza girl

Canadian prohibitionists are desperate to cash in before the panic implodes:

…Ernie Allen…[helped to write] a new [wanking fantasy] study…The study refers to increased prostitution, some of it involving minors, during the annual Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal…“During (the Grand Prix) weekend, many adolescent girls run away from youth centres…because their traffickers need them to cater to tourist demand,” the study [fantasizes]…many of the girls are threatened, beaten up and enslaved…Atlanta and Las Vegas are also highlighted in the report.  “These are hub cities, magnet cities where people go for sporting events, for conventions, for trade shows…These are people who travel to a location for another purpose and while there encounter a situation where there’s an opportunity to have sex with a child and they do it…The purchaser doesn’t have to go to a city street. He can shop online for a child for sex from the safety of his home or hotel room”…

I’m disappointed that Ernie didn’t compare these “slave children” to pizza.

Bogeymen

Because women are passive dolls without volition who never make any decision without male coercion:

A New Port Richey [Florida] man is accused of being at the center of a human trafficking ring and targeting some of the most vulnerable women…Clent Ruffin…was already in jail on major drug charges…Melanie Snow, a spokesperson for the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office [claimed] Ruffin would target women in strip clubs…and convince them to come back to his house…then get them hooked on drugs, like heroin, and force them to do sexual favors for his customers…

Obviously, women never decide to take drugs on our own; there’s always some Svengali with magical pimp mind-control powers “getting then hooked”.

Worse Than I Thought

Missouri wants to define escort ads as “sex trafficking”:

The Missouri legislature has passed…a…bill [which] would add advertising sex with trafficking victims to the state’s definition of the crime of trafficking.  Trafficking is a felony punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or 10-years in prison or life, depending on the age of the victim…

Bottleneck

Susan Shepard of Tits and Sass compares the persecution of ridesharing companies to the absurdity of stripper licensing:

…Stripper licensing [in Texas] is, like cab licensing, done on a city or county basis.  There isn’t yet any state-level licensing, although…representative Bill Zedler proposed one in 2013 that would have required strippers to take a training course on human trafficking, and in 2015 a Pennsylvania proposal to create a statewide stripper registry stalled out.  In both cases, the legislators were fairly transparent that they wanted to use the proposed licenses as disincentives…Like most laws around the industry, what is touted as protecting women and children is actually about controlling women’s movements and policing nonwhites.  The licensing process in most jurisdictions only looks for drug- and prostitution-related charges and convictions…a felony—even a homicide charge—isn’t going to disqualify someone from a stripper license, but a mere arrest on one of the specified charges can be enough to prevent the granting of a license even if the applicant was found not guilty…

So Close and Yet So Far

Protip: If you’re writing an article about “feminist” reasons to support decriminalization, do NOT get your definition of it from a prominent prohibitionist who led a successful re-criminalization campaign: “…decriminalization…essentially ‘eliminates all laws’ regulating sex work, according to Professor Donna Hughes at the University of Rhode Island…”  This is a common prohibitionist lie intended to frighten & confuse law-and-order types and progressives who think people shouldn’t be allowed to blow their own noses without some sort of government regulation.  Decriminalization is the removal of criminal laws intended to control or “regulate” sex work, hence that word “decriminalization”.  Hughes’ statement is exactly as true as the statement, “there are no laws regulating food service”; of course there are, but they’re not criminal laws. This is about the highest level of rhetoric of which prohibitionists are capable, yet the naive and ignorant just keep lapping it up.

Dutch Threat 

The Dutch seem determined to slowly throttle sex work to death:

…The leader of our Christian Party…wants to make it illegal to pay for the services of a sex worker when you should have been able to know she’s a victim of exploitation.  “For example, when she’s working from a cellar somewhere, bruised, with two big Bulgarian guys at the door”…Politicians often paint this picture of the perfect victim…many fall into a semi-pornographic style when describing their fantasies…In the last couple of years, over half of legal working places for prostitutes have been closed.  Brothels are shut down, windows are closed, and no new licences to work are given to anyone…Those who still work from a licenced location are harassed by police, their workplaces broken into, their homes smashed up and their belongings taken.  They are subject to random semi-arrests, where they’re put into police vans and taken to the station for questioning because they’re suspected of being a victim…Many hotels no longer accept escorts or try to keep them out.  Renting an apartment to work from is all but impossible, and working from home means your landlord can kick you out.  So voluntary workers are pushed into basements and sheds and caravans.  Regular security companies will not work with prostitutes…So if you’re working from a shed somewhere and you want some big guys to keep you safe, you’re forced to work with people who will do it.  You know, off the record.  Two big Bulgarian guys, perhaps.  And there you have it: the girl working from a shed with two big guys at the door…

Dysphemisms Galore 

It’s like they’re competing to see who can write the most cop-fellatory article imaginable:

Nothing shocks Sgt. Torrey Kennedy anymore…“We’re going after John’s [sic] and pimps, and calling them what they are — pedophiles and sex offenders,” he says…“Finding sex trafficking in Atlanta is easier than shooting fish in a barrel”…inviting CBS46 on a wild and exclusive ride into the city’s naked underbelly, teeming with predators…Thousands of women in Atlanta are sold for sex every day, including an estimated 200-300 underage girls a month…Kennedy straps on a bullet proof vest, and we head to a shopping center to join his backup; a squad of patrol cars circle a giant dumpster and hatch a plan take out the human trash…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#410)

Anyone who is “shocked” by this should probably consider moving to a remote farm without television or internet:

A female garda has allegedly been accused of working as an escort in her spare time…after gardai at a Dublin station allegedly received a tip-off…Gardai are allegedly probing whether the woman in question only started working as a call girl in the last two months.  If the claims are true, she will be facing the sack…A garda representative source also confirmed that they are aware of the shocking claims…

A Procrustean Bed (#502) Portrait of Love by Molly Crabapple (2016)

Molly Crabapple profiles a woman who fought New York’s agency-denying “trafficking courts”:

…Love…had once been a sex worker…but by the time she was arrested on the charge that brought her to the courtroom, she was out of the business and pursuing a degree as a surgical technician.  The problem was, the cops still knew her face, and…figured she was…an easy stat-padding arrest.  They snatched her, threw her in a cell, then charged her with misdemeanor prostitution…Love…demanded a trial…the prosecutor offered no hard proof any crime had been committed.  Instead he had only her prostitution record and an undercover officer’s word…the judge declared her not guilty.  Love wasn’t content just to prove her innocence.  She…hired an attorney to sue the city for false arrest.  The case was settled out of court for $15,000, and, exactly a year after the initial trial, in November 2015, Love had the money in hand…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Though this editorial is a bit too accepting of “end demand” rhetoric, it’s a good counter to the Seattle Times‘ nauseating bootlicking & pompous prohibitionism:

The title of a powerful feature published in The New York Times Magazine on Sunday posed the question: “Should Prostitution Be a Crime?”  Reporter Emily Bazelon spoke with dozens of sex workers around the world, including several from Seattle, to draw a nuanced portrait of the underground sex economy…Many of Bazelon’s subjects (much like Amnesty International and the Human Rights Watch) want to decriminalize sex work.  She describes the health benefits of removing criminal sanctions from in New Zealand and part of Australia, achieved without any discernible increase in the overall sex trade.  She lists the harms that well-intentioned crusaders have wrought upon their rescue targets.  She details the unholy alliance between the Christian right and…“carceral feminists” to turn the abolition of sold sex into a moral crusade.  She describes an influential abolitionist casually dismissing sex workers’ very capacity for consent. And she raises questions about…the extent to which violence and coercion influence people’s choices about whether to do sex work…

End Demand (#576)

KIRO, you have my phone number; next time call it before printing this kind of ludicrous garbage:

…the Washington Technology Industry Association…has teamed up with [fascist organ] Businesses Ending Slavery & Trafficking to try and eliminate sex trafficking in the tech industry…“It’s predominantly white men exploiting women of color” [lied] Michael Schutzler of the WTIA…Schutzler said 75 percent of sex trafficking transactions happen at about 2 p.m., and 62 percent of prostituted people meet clients on company property…

Since “trafficking” is used to mean “sex work” these days, just let the absurdity of this claim sink in; I can assure you that there is no way anything like even 6% of outcalls are to clients’ offices, and not even restaurants do 75% of their business in such a narrow window. Yet idiots lap up this shit like a dog eating its own vomit.

Checklist (#599)

Why do people just accept these ridiculous made-up numbers?

A new app tracks vulnerable girls in India and Bangladesh so nonprofits can help prevent trafficking and child marriage…Girl Power…has already helped save more than 200 girls from being exploited, NDTV reported.  Community facilitators and teachers are given tablets or Android phones, which have the app installed, and are tasked with registering young girls in 20 villages…

“Maggie McNeill’s providing a sexual outlet to frustrated husbands has already saved over 2000 marriages, Maggie McNeill reported.”  That statement is exactly as credible as the one in the story, and based on exactly the same type of “evidence”.

Under Every Bed (#631)

Spokane guys, please be careful; your local cops are on a fanatical crusade targeting YOU:

…Local law enforcement and federal agents teamed up for what is called, [sic] Operation Cross Country…It is a problem that…unfortunately exists in the Spokane area…FBI leaders said they are currently looking into participating in the operation again in 2016 to help rescue even more victims.  Before the operation in 2015, the FBI brought [pigs] over from Seattle from the Child Exploitation Task Force to [indoctrinate pigs] in the Inland Northwest on the [newest popular anti-whore propaganda]…

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If you criminalise buying sex, the prostitute knows she becomes the evidence.  –  Brooke Magnanti

Whore Madonnas

South Africa is another country with awesome sex worker activists:

Mothers for the Future is an initiative of the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT).  It provides support groups, outreach and home visits.  Mothers discuss difficulties such as domestic violence, child grants, and the challenges that they face when their children are targeted as a result of their mother’s work.  Duduzile Dlamini, the programme coordinator, says that some mothers even have their children taken away from them by social services and that their children, like their mothers, are criminalised…Porcia, who is a member of Mothers for the Future, has two children and…makes donations to the church from the money that she earns as a sex worker.  Sometimes she is arrested on a Friday night and kept at the police station for the whole weekend.  Her children are then at home alone and without any food…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Guys, please do your research, and let the pigs hunt each other:

Dayton Police arrested ten men for solicitation….[including] Todd Pultz of the North Hampton Police Department…“if you are sworn to uphold the law the last thing you want to do is break it, especially in this fashion” [oinked a spokespig]…“These women have sex hundreds of times–that’s hundreds of men that could be infected and take it back to their family”…

“Especially in this fashion”, as opposed to acceptable crimes like robbery, rape, mayhem and murder.

Droit du Seigneur 

Sometimes “authorities” prefer to rape vulnerable men instead:

An East Arkansas judge accused of trading sex with defendants in exchange for reduced sentences is resigning after…sexually explicit photos [were] recovered from his computer…District Judge Joe Boeckmann was…accused of having sex with defendants…[and] demanding [they] take sexually explicit photos…the photos also depicted evidence the young men had been paddled and…the judge…was instructed not to destroy the paddle depicted in the photos…investigators believe…the judge’s sexual misconduct extended to more than 30 years ago to his time as a deputy prosecuting attorney…in…one scenario…Boeckmann took [a young man] to the courthouse after hours, forced him to strip inside the district courtroom, put him in handcuffs and took naked pictures of him in the courtroom.  The man said Boeckmann paid him $50 and told him “case dismissed” at the conclusion of the photo shoot…

See No Evil

All censorship seems this futile and ridiculous to me:

…New regulations mean that live-streaming sites must monitor all their output round-the-clock to ensure nothing untoward is going on, keeping an eye out for any “erotic” banana-eating…wearing stockings and suspenders while hosting a live stream is now also forbidden.  The move is the authorities’ latest attempt to clamp down on “inappropriate and erotic” online content…that “harms social morality” …such sites are attracting more and more users in China…News of the banana ban has prompted thousands of users to chime in on Chinese social media…”How do they decide what’s provocative when eating a banana?”…”Can male live-streamers still eat them?”…”They will all start eating cucumbers, and if that’s no good, yams”…

Above the Law  

Anyone who actually believes that a rape is worse if a cop commits it “in uniform”, “on duty” or “on police property” is part of the problem:  “A [Newark, New Jersey cop] was charged with sexually assaulting a woman on police property…Kenneth Gaulette…[raped] the…woman…Nov. 29, 2015…”  And that problem is far more extensive than “authorities” want you to know:

The young victim of a [rapist cop]…in Kern County, California, has settled a civil lawsuit for $1m, marking the second violent misconduct case the beleaguered sheriff’s office has settled in just five days…a Guardian investigation…identified law enforcement in the county as the deadliest in the US and revealed a program of attempted cash payoffs to vulnerable women who had been [raped] by Kern County deputies…Gabriel Lopez in March 2013…forced the young woman to strip naked…and then [raped] her [mere hours after arresting her] boyfriend at the same house…another…young woman Lopez was convicted of [raping] accepted a cash payment of $5,000 from the sheriff’s office…

Hall of Shame

Outing a famous non-prohibitionist client just to make money?  Instant ticket to my Hall of Shame:

While the debate over the UK gagging order preventing publication of the identity of an A-list actor who allegedly slept with an escort continues, Sydney-based sex worker Amanda Goff said…Helen Wood, the prostitute who claims she was paid $380 for sexual services with the British thespian, “committed the number one crime…An escort never talks about names…It has ruined someone’s life…The details she gave to the press about what they did in bed is appalling.  Why would she do that?  How can she sleep at night?”…

The Schizoid State

If a woman under 18 chooses to be a whore she’s automatically a victim because she’s a “child”, but if she helps someone else to do it she’s a “criminal” because she’s old enough to know better.  Yet she still can’t be named because she’s a “child”. Got that?

Toronto police say they have charged a 17-year-old girl after a 16-year-old girl was forced into the sex trade last year.  [Cops] allege the suspect…introduced the victim to two men, who told her she could make a lot of money working for them…Police allege the victim was “controlled through intimidation and threats,” and forced to work in the sex trade.  The 17-year-old suspect allegedly took photos of the victim in various states of undress and posted them on backpage.com…She cannot be identified per the terms of the Youth Criminal Justice Act…

The Widening Gyre

Fact: woman with drug problem goes missing.  Conclusion: sex trafficking!

For the last six months, Michael Fusaro, 33, has repeatedly traversed a shadowy criminal underworld, all in the hopes of finding his 27-year-old sister, Jamie Nastali…Fusaro was convinced his sister…was being held by human traffickers based on one of the last conversations he had with her late last year.  Nastali, who Fusaro acknowledges has a drug problem, called him with a cloak-and-dagger story of being kidnapped and taken to San Diego…[on May 7th] his sister…was [arrested and jailed]…for drug and identity theft charges…Fusaro said he believes there may also be a prostitution charge…[but] no prostitution offense shows up on her booking record…[prohibitionist] Dianne Amato…said…“One of the biggest misconceptions is that women who are 24, 25, 26 years old are adults”…

Obviously the belief that adult women are not adults is “feminist”.

Sexual Predators (#449)

Police chief decides to destroy a few lives to give bored cops some fun:

…Terre Haute [Indiana] Police…Chief Ed Tompkins…[used a] sting…[to arrest five people as] “a way to give the detectives something different to do other than work property crimes, arsons and burglaries”…The objective of Operation Back Page to Front Page was…to…make an arrest.  Detecting human trafficking was also a goal…

Repeat Offenders (#563) bra drive

Why do prohibitionists who want to “rescue” sex workers invariably push them into menial garment-related work?

University of Georgia students…Emily Wilhoit…and Joshua Dunn…to support their first annual bra drive for Free The Girls.  The…drive…brought in 1,239 bras…Free The Girls is a nonprofit organization based out of Denver, whose mission is to “provide jobs to survivors of sex trafficking in developing countries by helping them set up micro enterprises selling bras”…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

This would’ve been better without her moral signalling at the beginning, but still:

The rationale for making prostitution illegal while protecting the filming and selling of pornography as protected speech under the First Amendment eludes me.  Morally I’m opposed to both, but criminalizing one and not the other hurts people more than it helps and lacks intellectual cohesion.  But who cares what I think?  The question is, what do the candidates think?  While Americans have been fixated on the surreal primary contests between Republican and Democratic gladiators, a huge international movement has been heating up that touches upon the lives of millions and millions of people and involves billions and billions of dollars…Next month the board of Amnesty International is slated to approve its final policy in support of the full decriminalization of consensual sex work…And Amnesty is not alone; other groups, including the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Foundation, are on board…

Eternal Vigilance (#587)

Decriminalization in New South Wales is safe for now:

The Baird government has rejected a call to more strictly regulate brothels through licensing and a specialist police unit, arguing it would recriminalise prostitution and put the health of sex workers at risk…A government response…rejects the inquiry’s call for a special police unit, similar to that which exists in Victoria, to be created to ensure brothels are licensed, comply with planning laws and don’t have foreign nationals working in violation of their visas.  The licensing of brothel managers has also been rejected on the advice of NSW Health.  Minister for Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, said: “Introducing a licensing regime for brothels may drive more operators underground, which could adversely affect the health and protection of sex workers. The evidence from other jurisdictions is that licensing simply doesn’t work”…

The Course of a Disease (#606) 

My friend Brooke Magnanti schools politicians on their latest attempt to persecute adults for wanting sex:

The criminalisation of payment for sex would dissuade sex workers from reporting violence against them, Brooke Magnanti…has told a group of MPs…looking into the way prostitution is dealt with in legislation…Magnanti appeared alongside Paris Lees, a journalist and equality campaigner who has also previously been a sex worker.  Both were critical of the witnesses the select committee had called to question as part of the inquiry. “Of the four sex workers you’ve spoken [to] face to face, three of us aren’t doing it any more…Who are the people who should have been asked here instead of us?  People from the Sex Worker Open University, people from the English Collective of Prostitutes, current sex workers.  They weren’t asked because me and Paris come with great media platforms, we bring attention, so you can tick a box and say we spoke to some ex-sex workers”…Both witnesses…warned against trusting reduced crime statistics from countries such as Sweden and Northern Ireland…“Part of the problem with statistics being currently produced by Sweden is they don’t have statistics [from] before the law came into place,” Magnanti said…“When you look at the countries most affected by trafficking such as India, Cambodia, which also have very strong sex worker-led organisations, the percentage of people who are actively trafficked are comfortably under 5%”…

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[Human trafficking laws] are criminalising decency.  –  Lisbeth Zornig

A False Dichotomy 

The monolith is crumbling; this was in International Business Times:

According to…opponents of sex work decriminalisation, there are basically two types of women involved in selling sex: a small but vocal minority of…”sex workers” who entered the industry out of choice, and a much larger number of “prostituted women” who were coerced or forced by financial necessity.  Anyone who offers a public opinion on the sex industry based on their own personal experience is assumed to belong to the former category.  Even having an awareness of the policy debate is seen as evidence a sex worker is middle-class, educated and therefore unrepresentative of most women in the industry.  As such, their opinions can be ignored.  It’s argued that the silent, suffering majority don’t have the resources, capacity or inclination to argue about legislation, so other people must speak on their behalf.  This is a rather convenient solution to the dilemma faced by decriminalisation opponents: the majority of sex workers who do speak out strongly disagree with them…this supposed dichotomy between unrepresentative, autonomous sex workers and silent prostitution victims is a rhetorical sleight of hand.  In reality, freedom of choice is rarely an all or nothing sort of thing…Campaigning organisations…smeared by Nordic model advocates as representing a “pimp lobby” – are [largely] made up of women who…sell sex because it’s the least bad course of action available to them…

Rooted in Racism

Sometimes “trafficking” just means “bringing in brown people“:

A high-profile Danish campaigner for children’s rights was prosecuted…under people trafficking laws, shining a spotlight once more on the country’s crackdown on asylum, as Scandinavian countries compete to make themselves unattractive destinations for refugees.  Lisbeth Zornig, the country’s former children’s ombudsman and a well-known author, was fined DKr22,500 (£2,328) – the maximum demanded by the prosecutor…for allowing a family of Syrians to hitch a ride with her to Copenhagen.  Her husband was fined the same amount for taking the family into his home for coffee and biscuits, and then driving them to the railway station, where he bought them tickets to Sweden.  “This was a political trial, using me and my husband to send a strong message: don’t try to help refugees,” Zornig said…

Droit du Seigneur Jermaine Dunbar

Do you think any non-cop would merely have lost his job, rather than being criminally charged?

A [Connecticut cop] was fired after an investigation found he was linked to a sex trafficking operation…Jermaine Dunbar…broke several department policies including improper associations, truthfulness, conduct unbecoming to an officer, neglect of duty and insubordination…two suspects [were] arrested for various charges including narcotics, illegal weapons possession, promoting prostitution and human trafficking…one of the suspects is Dunbar’s family member and another is a friend…Dunbar was at the…home where two 16-year-old girls were given drugs and having sex with men.  One girl said she had sex with Dunbar but…he…was not criminally charged…

Saving Them From Themselves

The United States, a shining example of liberty to the world:

Police [in Thailand] are gathering evidence to bring criminal charges against those who posted a video clip of two students having sex on a teacher’s desk in a school classroom…the patents have accused their children’s friends of posting the video…anyone caught posting obscene material on the internet can be imprisoned for up to five years…

See No Evil

Are the Japanese the only people left on Earth who can tell fantasy from reality?

On February 16 this year, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women held a deliberation on the topic of women’s rights in Japan….[including] a proposal that sales of video games and manga depicting sexual violence be banned… Would [this] prohibition…help bring about more respect for women’s rights in Japan?  Our answer…is a resounding “No”…Fictional sexual violence in manga and video games does not actually violate people’s human rights, so prohibiting these media in order to preserve women’s rights would be meaningless…

The Widening Gyre

Can you hear the sound of fapping while you read this guy’s words?

Keith Bickford…of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office…[fantasized aloud] about the gruesome realities of sex slavery in our own backyards…“Some of the girls…were having sex with someone…20 to 25 times a day…that could be a lot of horrible things happening to these children…“In [Bickford’s] mind, it’s ‘You’re mine for an hour or half-hour, so I can do whatever I want to,’ ” he explained of [his own] brutal mentality…Pimps target areas where they know children hang out most.  This can be the shopping mall, the park and even where we tend to think they are most safe – at school…“I think the youngest, I believe who was in Georgia, was about 8 or 9,” he [fantasized]…

I’ll bet he doesn’t even wait until he gets home after one of his “talks” to wank; probably does it in the men’s room right there.

An Example To the West (#133)

South Korea’s court battle over US-encouraged sex work criminalization begins:

…The anti-sex trade laws have caused many negative, allegedly unintended consequences.  According to a 2012 UN report, “police crackdowns from 2004-2009 resulted in [the] arrest of approximately 28,000 sex workers, 150,000 clients, and 27,000 sex business owners”, and 65,621 arrests were reported for 2009 alone…Police raids are often carried out very violently, and in November 2014, a 24-year old single mother died after jumping out of a motel room to escape arrest by an undercover police officer posing as client.  In stark contrast to their usual reporting, most Korean media remained distinctively silent about the case.  The continued repression has forced an increasing number of sex workers to work underground, resulting in lower incomes, poorer working conditions, and an increase in violence perpetrated against them.  Sex workers worry more about police raids than about screening their clients…

Peep
Profit from Panic (#406) 

I’ve often pointed out how the “sex trafficking” narrative is getting increasingly out of control.  This “artist” uses sewing machines to “evoke the image of countless hours of soul crushing labor“, blissfully ignorant of the fact that such labor is the exact type “rescued” sex workers are usually forced into:

Small circular viewing holes expose the faces of hundreds of children, each symbolizing a stolen childhood.  The art piece, “Peep,” sheds light on the shadowy human trafficking industry in peep show style…Created by Bay Area artist Jonathan Fung, “Peep” draws attention to the often overlooked issue…[through] a metaphor for the commodification of human beings…Tens of millions of people are kidnapped and forced into labor and sex slavery to meet the needs of the…human trafficking industry…thriving in the Bay Area, which FBI named one of the top 13 destinations for child sex trafficking…more and more people are forced into ruthless modern day slavery every day.  Human trafficking remains a growing trend and shows no signs of stopping…

“No signs of stopping!”  My goodness!  Soon there won’t be enough free people to buy all these “modern-day slaves”!

The Widening Gyre (#444) 

Higher education in the US is dead:

…a group of OSU-Tulsa students is trying to tackle [“sex trafficking”]…and a new course helps train them to identify and save victims…Their professor, Dr. Denni Blum…teamed up with [cops & rescue industry profiteers]…to make this class possible…Oklahoma has seen 168 reported cases of human sex trafficking over the last three years – 50 of them were children.  Experts say traffickers target girls between 12 and 14, and once pulled into the sex trade their life expectancy is only seven years…

I can see I’ll have to address this in my OSU Tulsa video lecture this year.

All Wet

Given the recurrence of the low “ever paid” fraction here (and the impossible equivalence of “ever been paid”), I don’t think we can trust the other findings very much, either:

In a new nationwide poll from YouGov, six percent of respondents said they have been paid for sex in the past, and seven percent have paid someone else for sex.  Men and women were equally likely to have accepted payment for sex, but just one percent of the women said they had paid for it themselves, while 12 percent of the men said as much…

Rotting Fruit

Ask yourself: Is this the language that would’ve been used for this same situation 20 years ago?

…venture capitalist Michael Goguen admitted in court papers…that, yes, he paid the first $10 million of a $40 million contract to the woman he had a sexual relationship with for 13 years…but, no, she was never his “sexual slave” and he only agreed to sign the unusual contract because he worried about a “shakedown” featuring “false and libelous claims” of abuse.  But then Goguen failed to pay up.  Some $30 million remains on the contract today.  Both sides agree on that, at least.  And so now…Amber Laurel Baptiste, has gone to court…Baptiste’s breach of contract lawsuit…accused Goguen of “sexually, physically and emotionally” abusing her.  She alleged that she endured the treatment because Goguen promised to free her from the human traffickers holding her in perpetual debt…Goguen admitted that they had an unusual sex life, but he claims it was entirely consensual…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Is the ACLU finally beginning to do the right thing, at long last?

On Friday, the Cranston [Rhode Island] Police Department issued a news release announcing the results of a sting operation that, in its own words, was aimed at “targeting human traffickers, specifically those victimizing juveniles”…no fewer that eight law enforcement agencies were involved in this operation…[which] led to only one arrest for trafficking and one arrest for pandering.  Instead, the biggest result of the operation appears to have been the arrest of fourteen “johns”…and fourteen other people for prostitution…By humiliating and charging johns for seeking consensual sex and by giving prostitutes arrest records in the name of “helping” them, these operations misleadingly purport to crack down on human trafficking, when their major effect is just to make the lives of prostitutes more difficult and dangerous, driving sex work even deeper into the shadows…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do (#621)

I’m sure you’ll forgive me if I’m skeptical about anything the Seattle PD says about victimized sex workers:

One day after a Seattle police officer was…pulled from duty for his conduct at a local strip club, King County prosecutors filed pimping charges against the club’s manager and owner.  Prosecutors [claim] Dancing Bare owner Jerry A. Woodhead and manager Michael “Mickey” Woodhead were caught in a sting operation…Police…used at least two informants.  [A] detective said the investigation uncovered prostitution and drug use at the club, and showed that dancers were prostituting themselves to pay “house dues” to the Woodheads…The detective said the Woodheads were considering increasing the amount of money “collected for the prostitution” so they could earn more themselves…

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Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god, to equate its many acts of evil…with the greater good of a plan that none of us asked to be a part of.  –  Brittney Cooper

R.I.P. Madame Claude

Fernande Grudet, who under the name Madame Claude operated a deluxe [escort service] in Paris in the 1960s and ’70s…died on [December 26th] in Nice…She was 92…“Two things in life sell,” she once said. “Food and sex. And I was not meant to be a chef”…Ms. Grudet zeroed in on “failed models and actresses, the ones who just missed the cut,” [said] high-society columnist Taki Theodoracopulos…Only one in 20 candidates made the grade.  Requirements included beauty — plastic surgery could be arranged — poise and a familiarity with history, literature and current events.  Also, talent in bed…assessed by…male acquaintances who took candidates for a trial run and reported back to her…Many of her “Claude girls” went on to find success in film, fashion or business.  Quite a few married rich clients…[her clients] included John F. Kennedy, the shah of Iran, Muammar el-Qaddafi, Gianni Agnelli, Moshe Dayan, Marc Chagall, Rex Harrison and King Hussein of Jordan…

Here We Go Again

Maybe someone should tell them the AJWS supports decrim?

…the National Council of Jewish Women…and its members are…still trying to end…sex trafficking, just as their foremothers had done…Liz Robbins…[of] the New York Times…[wrote] a piece…last year about a human trafficking court in Queens…Lori Cohen…learned about the “white slave trade” in the 1890s to 1930s, which resulted in the trafficking of thousands of young Jewish women from Eastern European shtetls to the Americas on false promises of marriage or employment.  In 1910, she discovered, an estimated 900 Jewish women were sold for sex in Philadelphia…

For those who don’t realize: literally no reputable historian believes the “white slave trade” was anything other than a moral panic.

Real Men Support Sex Worker Rights

What’s that, Asstoon?  “Real men don’t buy girls”, you say?  Oh, my:

Ashton Kutcher…was seen last week ducking out of a Thai massage parlour…women employed at the Ancient Therapy Massage Parlour in LA offer sexual favours after a massage.  There is no suggestion Ashton…engaged in any of these acts.  But our investigator visited the shop later and was offered sexual favours…

Is there a single male prohibitionist who doesn’t enjoy whatever he crusades to deny to others?

Sales Pitch

Remember, kids, the Swedish model eliminates “human trafficking”!

…98 cases of suspected human trafficking have been brought to the southern regional police division’s attention in 2015 – up by 700 percent on the year before when 14 incidents were reported…Most of the cases involve people driving others across the Öresund bridge connecting Denmark to Sweden…While some are believed to be the victims of organized smugglers taking advantage of vulnerable people and charging copious amounts of money for fake travel documents, others are helped by friends or relatives – who could also be charged with human trafficking…

Blasphemy

I find this essay somewhat myopic and disorganized, not to mention needlessly clannish and sectarian; however, at its core it contains the important truth that America’s fascist statism is indeed a religion:

We all saw Sandra Bland’s penultimate moments, being bullied and violated for failure to signal a lane change…before threatening to “light her up” with his taser, he never really gave a reason for pulling her over.  It is probable that he didn’t have one, other than the making of revenue…one of the young Black [Lives Matter] activists…spoke to me of the stress of her first arrest, of the feelings of disempowerment at having the state be in control of your body, of the feelings of disorientation and lack of concept of time in a jail cell, of the feelings of hopelessness such conditions induce…Because grand jury proceedings are secret, we have no idea what happened to Sandra Bland.  And if Waller County has [its] way, we never will…no police department in America is worthy of trust, or of the benefit of the doubt.  Sandra Bland’s death is just one more worm at the rotten core of the theology of one bad apple.  It is a theology and not merely an ideology because Americans have been taught to treat the state like a god…It is amazing how comfortable we are nailing innocent bodies to the cross of the unjust American imperialist justice system…

Saving Them From Themselves

Don’t be fooled; the only reason cops aren’t charging these kids is because their numbers are so great it would cause an uproar:

…Michigan…state police, after uncovering “a massive sexting scandal” involving “200 nude and semi-nude pictures” of female high school students…are not planning to charge the teenagers with producing, possessing, and distributing child pornography, offenses that carry penalties of up to four years in prison per image….[and] registration as a sex offender…Sgt. Jason Wickstrom…said that when some of the girls’ parents demanded criminal charges against the boys, “I told them, ‘We could go after these boys, but then your daughter is going to be charged too.’ That is the way that it would have to be”…

Surplus Women 

Daria Pionko…was found [severely injured] in…Leeds in the early hours [of] December 23…Police…were called to the scene by a friend of the woman, who reported the attack.  She was taken to Leeds General Infirmary by ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time later…Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson…said:  “We are treating this woman’s death as murder and a full investigation has been launched…the victim was a sex worker and the incident has taken place in the managed [red light] area”…a 38-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident…but [police] insist they are keeping an open mind about the case.

The Last Shall Be First Chris Christie bloviating

Anti-trans people just can’t get their minds out of the toilet:

Republican presidential wannabe Chris Christie may have just come up with the single weirdest argument I’ve heard about where transgender kids should go to the bathroom…”I don’t think we should be making life more confusing for our children…Think about those kids in Los Angeles who…had their entire district closed because of a threat.  Think about what they felt like the next day when they went back to school.  Did they feel completely comfortable, did they feel like they were safe?…every place in America is a potential target for terrorism…children learn better, grow up better, mature better when they live in a safe and secure and loving environment…we want our kids not to have to decide which bathroom they get to go in…And not to be subject to the embarrassment that could come with going in a bathroom where somebody maybe doesn’t agree that they should be in there or not,” Christie said.  So trans kids shouldn’t get to pick which bathrooms they use because they might be embarrassed, and also TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM TERRORISM.  Um…thanks for the thoughts, Governor…

A Procrustean Bed (#339)

Sacramento classifies women as passive objects without agency, then pretends it doesn’t:

…An acronym for “Reducing Sexually Exploited & Trafficked”, RESET is a diversion court that allows adult sex workers to exchange misdemeanor criminal charges for programs that, if completed, dismiss the charges…the program created an incentive [for cops] to keep it supplied with participants…Prostitution arrests in the county…[steeply increased] last year…a 45-percent increase over 2013…RESET requires participants to plead guilty before they can participate, which irks advocates at the Urban Justice Center and Sex Workers Outreach Project.  But court officers [pretend] the guilty plea [sends a message]…Unlike an earlier version that [more obviously exploited sex workers by charging] participants $250 a pop…RESET is free and doesn’t require participants to say they were trafficked, which can be a sticking point for sex workers who don’t want victimhood thrust upon them…

Their “reward” for completing the program?  A “free” cup of coffee.  I am not making this up.

The Punitive Mindset (#414) 

If there’s anything narrower and meaner than the mind of a prison official, I’m not sure what it might be:

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire…and the law firm Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson…filed a federal lawsuit on…behalf of a prisoner’s mother and three-year-old son challenging the constitutionality of a mail policy…that prohibits prisoners from receiving greeting cards, picture postcards, and drawings in the mail.  This policy violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution…The policy applies to all “drawings” or “other depictions”, all “greeting cards”, and all “postcards from particular locations or featuring any type of printed design, picture, or depiction.”  The ban includes Christmas cards, as well as prayer cards with pre-printed images often sent to individual prisoners by religious organizations…[prison officials pretend that] the new policy was put in place to prevent drugs like Suboxone from being smuggled into the state’s prisons through the mail…

Welcome To Our World (#439)

Recognize the rhetoric?

…[Russian] MP Yelena Mizulina, known for her staunch [anti-abortion] stance, has proposed…a law that would equate intermediary services in surrogacy to human trafficking and punish it with 10 years in prison…The senator emphasized that the only people who would face punishment under her bill were…those who arrange the process of surrogate childbirth and receive money for their services.  Surrogate children, their biological parents and women who give birth will all be treated as crime victims…“We are calling to put the commercial component of this phenomenon under strict control,” she emphasized. “As soon as the services of surrogate mothers became available in Europe, criminal groups immediately appeared there and started recruiting women from Hungary, Moldova and the UKThis is a scary form of human trafficking and one of the obvious threats to mankind“…The future bill isn’t Mizulina’s first attempt to introduce surrogacy regulation in Russia.  In April 2014, she prepared another draft that banned hired surrogate mothers [and] made it obligatory for biological parents to get an agreement from a special medical commission…and…[perform] the necessary medical procedures…in state-owned clinics…

Under Every Bed (#520) 

Nobody would believe North Dakota was a “hub”, so now they’re calling it a “funnel”:

…Under a “john school” law that takes effect Friday, judges can sentence those convicted of hiring someone for sex to attend an offender [re-]education program to [be forced to endure propaganda] about the [mythical] harmful effects of the commercial sex industry.  It was among a raft of bills…aimed at curbing sex trafficking in North Dakota, where an oil boom has attracted pimps hoping to cash in on a thriving economy full of male workers flush with disposable income…Sen. Mac Schneider [bloviated]…“If there was no demand for the illicit services offered by sex traffickers…there would be no sex trafficking here”…The concept for North Dakota’s john school came from the Offenders Prostitution Program run by the St. Paul, Minn.-based [rescue industry] group Breaking Free…Terry Forliti, a [shill]…who works as systems analyst for Breaking Free…said…“North Dakota has been a huge funnel for sex trafficking for years”…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

This isn’t the first time the Open Society Foundation has backed sex worker rights, but it is (to my knowledge) the first time it has openly backed an anti-criminalization campaign:

George Soros, the billionaire investor…is supporting a campaign by…Sex Workers Alliance Ireland against [the Swedish model]…he…[has long funded] campaigns on issues like immigration reform and drug legalisation…[including] an estimated $80 million on the cannabis legalisation effort over a 20 year period…the Soros-chaired Open Society Foundation…has long supported organisations…that are governed by sex workers, like the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe and the Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network…

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Someday we may look back at this era the way we now think about (alcohol) Prohibition: a failed experiment that was indefensible in principle.  –  Douglas HusakWar Machine

Rough Trade 

How are there actually still attorneys clueless enough to use this “defense”?

The mixed martial arts fighter who calls himself War Machine said in court…that it would be impossible for him to have raped his ex-girlfriend because she was a porn star.  He then went on to blow an “offensive” kiss to Chief Deputy District Attorney Jacqueline Bluth…the nonsensical defense ploy which War Machine — born Jonathan Koppenhaver — used during his trial [was in answer to]…34 criminal counts ranging from sexual assault to attempted murder…Christy Mack…was left with “a blowout fracture of her left eye and several other broken bones in her face, two missing teeth, a lacerated liver, broken ribs and serious bruising in several places” after the attack…defense attorney Brandon Sua said that Mackinday’s career in adult films constituted consent and that her job instilled in her “the desire, the preference, the acceptability towards a particular form of sex activities that were outside of the norm.”  The sexual assaults Mackinday charges Koppenhaver with, said Sua, were a consensual part of their relationship…Judge Elissa Cadish told Sua that she failed to see how a person’s choice of profession could determine their constant and ongoing consent to sex…

Think of the Children! 

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep stopping us from making money in other jobs?

A federal appeals court has ruled against a former porn star turned math tutor, saying he doesn’t have a free speech right to hang a sign advertising his tutoring business at three [Florida] schools…David Mech paid $1,750 to advertise his “Happy/Fun Math Tutor” business in 2010, but the School District of Palm Beach County removed the signs in 2013 after learning that Mech was a porn star who acted under the name Dave Pounder…the 11th U.S. District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision that the signs are not considered free speech, but “government speech”…Since the banners were hung on school fences, the court opined that government property is “often closely identified in the public mind with the government unit that owns the land”…

Coming and Going

One of the most aggressive campaigns of sex worker persecution in the entire US gets even worse:

In roughly six weeks following Houston Police Department’s Vice Division’s announcement that it was changing its tactics for policing prostitution in the city, 30 individuals have been arrested and charged with felony prostitution.  Almost 100 more have been handed misdemeanor charges.  Several others have been charged with promotion of prostitution…[vice pig] Dan Harris…described a new [tactic for harassing sex workers by charging them with more serious crimes.  He described this as] “Let’s work smarter, not harder”…

Law of the Instrument

Rescue industry & “authorities” invent a ludicrously-broad definition of “sex trafficking”, spread panic over it, then pretend it means something when people claim to see it everywhere:

So far this year, the [Connecticut] department [of Children and Families] has received more than 80 referrals of possible victims of human trafficking in the state, said Tammy Sneed…“There is a direct correlation with an increase in training and an increase in referrals,” Sneed said, referring to the amount of training now available for law enforcement agencies to identify victims of sex trafficking…

Don’t Take My Word For It

It’s good to see more in the media on the reality of male sex work:

Christopher said prostitution wasn’t a career he dreamt of pursuing as a child but that it was a decision he wasn’t ashamed of making.  “A lot of people…think sex workers are all drug addicts or messed up people, but a lot of us just do it because we get satisfaction out of the work and make good money while doing it…I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I’ll keep doing it as along as people keep booking me.”  He said there was less demand for male sex workers than women but that the industry was easier on men.  “I think it’s even easier for male sex workers than women because there’s less stigma and its more of an even playing field in terms of strength so you’re less likely to be taken advantage of…I’ve never been attacked or robbed or anything like that.  Women sex workers have always been visible…but…now [men are] out and proud all over the internet and just as accessible and visible”…

Change a Few Words

I think it’s a serious moral wrong to send people to prison for the recreational use of drugs…What we need is a total decriminalization of drug use…Everyone agrees it is seriously unjust to punish people in the absence of very good reasons to do so…it’s wrong to punish people just to get them not to do something bad.  That principle would allow us to punish overeating, smoking, failing to exercise, and lots of other activities that virtually no one proposes to punish.  Most crimes we punish (murder, rape, robbery) do serious harm to other people.  Almost all people who do drugs at most harm only themselves…We should not subject tens of millions of Americans to punishment because of bad effects that materialize in only a small subset of cases.  In addition, threats of punishments don’t do much to deter drug use.  Most drug users don’t believe they’ll be caught, and they are right…longitudinal studies indicate that health and life expectancy of the roughly half of all Americans who have used drugs (with the exception of tobacco) is virtually identical to that of the half of Americans who have not…the consequences of punishment are worse than whatever harm the drugs are likely to have caused…

Profit from Panic sex trafficking T shirt

Is Rand Paul still claiming to be a kind of libertarian?

During this holiday season, we are undertaking a modest effort to raise awareness and money to fight human trafficking.  We worked with a gifted designer to create a simple but elegant t-shirt that brings home a message of hope…the sale is supporting survivors of human trafficking in two ways:  first, the campaign will donate its share of every shirt purchase to Braking Traffik, a charity that protects women…from human trafficking.  Second, the campaign is partnering with To The Market…to source a limited supply of these t-shirts from a factory that employs women formerly trapped in sex slavery and gives them a new life…

Under Every Bed 

I picture this dysphemism-spewing idiot as shouting in a kind of fit, spraying spittle everywhere:

…Alabama is a nexus for the [sex] trade…the highly organized pipeline…connection to the ring [is] horrendous…The victims were referred to and marketed like meat…[pogroms are] a much needed salvo to combat an evil that simmers, mostly invisibly, beneath the surface of civilized life.  Sex trafficking entraps as many as 200,000 victims nationwide at any time. Atlanta’s interstate corridors make the Southeast, including Alabama, prime real estate for traffickers…Obvious gaps that must be addressed include tougher laws to attack sex-trafficking crimes from the “demand” side – meaning harsher penalties for johns who solicit sex.  For starters, solicitation of a prostitute should be a felony charge, not just a misdemeanor.  Requiring that convicted johns register as sex offenders would also discourage demand…young victims can escape the trafficking hellhole…

On second though, maybe the body fluid he’s spraying isn’t spittle.

Shame, Shame

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is preparing for an en banc hearing on whether there is a privacy interest inherent in mugshots, or whether they are simply public records that can be obtained with an FOIA request.  For the most part, mugshots have been considered public records. This has led to a shady mugshot-posting cottage industry, as well as an equally-shady mugshot-removal cottage industry…Despite the nation’s justice system being built on the presumption of innocence, a large percentage of the population views “arrested and charged” as being no different than “found guilty.”  (Federal law enforcement databases — used for background checks — reinforce this perception by entering arrested persons’ info when booking, but routinely failing to remove it when charges are dropped or the person is found innocent)…this case involves a federal law enforcement agency and the indictment of three local [cops]…the [DOJ’s]…ultimate goal is to obtain the final say on the release of booking photos via a wholly internal process…Siding with members of the public who have been tarnished by this guilt-by-association also means siding with an agency seeking yet another way to withhold public records from the public.  Siding with the Detroit Free Press means…allowing a whole host of dubious “entrepreneurs” to use public perception against private citizens to extract fees for the removal of booking info…

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#347)

The EFF steps up to do the ACLU’s job:

A Los Angeles City Hall proposal to send “john letters” to the owners of cars seen in areas known for prostitution has drawn criticism from a California civil liberties group…The letters would be written to discourage those who were soliciting prostitutes from returning to the area while posing no harm to those who were there for legitimate reasons, Councilwoman Nury Martinez [pretended]…The collection of license plate data is opposed by the…Electronic Frontier Foundation…[which] has an ongoing lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department over the issue…other cities have used “john letters” to combat prostitution.  In some communities, residents are encouraged to [snitch]…Some [badge-lickers] praised the proposal in Los Angeles…

Drawing Lines 

It’s so nice to see this from the other side of that imaginary line:

…we vintage enthusiasts have a problem:  We often celebrate imagery created by sex workers of old, while stigmatizing…the sex workers of today…we’re building this community…on the backs of women whom we then nakedly disclaim.  I’m unsettled by the preponderance of pinup photographers who yearn for a time “when sexy was classy,” of dancers who assure us that burlesque is “an art form […] it’s not sleazy“, and of vintage enthusiasts who congratulate us on looking “so cute, and not at all slutty” (as I’ve been told on more than one occasion). These types of statements are simultaneously whorephobic   …and gratingly ahistorical.  No, Bettie Page and co. weren’t “classy” sex workers.  They were sex workers, full stop.  I’ve seen many a modern pinup reap the benefits of blushing “tee-hee” sexuality without acknowledging its origins in the “filthy whores” before her.  Because that’s what Bettie and Mae and Marilyn were, in the eye of much of the public.  Marilyn Monroe posed fully nude.  Bettie Page made fetish porn.  Mae West was arrested and imprisoned for an “indecent” Broadway play.  Bikini model Kiki Hakansson was condemned by the Pope himself.  Even the red lipstick endemic to today’s pinup girls was once the domain of the harlot

Feminine Pragmatism (#553) 

Young Greek women are selling sex for the price of a sandwich as six years of painful austerity have pushed the European country to the financial brink…a new study…which compiled data on more than 17,000 sex workers operating in Greece, found that…sex on sale in Greece is some of the cheapest…in Europe…when the economic crisis began…the going rate…was 50 euros ($53)…now, it’s fallen to as low as two euros ($2.12) for a 30-minute session…

What Were You All Waiting For? 

Since universities have been hotbeds of neofeminism, this could be a huge development if more schools follow suit:

On Wednesday 25th November, Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) passed…a motion…resolving “to support and campaign for the full decriminalisation of sex work” and “campaign against any attempt to introduce the Nordic model”…The motion…also included a resolution “to campaign particularly for the rights of student sex workers”…as well as offer support to any student who comes out privately as a sex worker…the…motion…comes off the back of a move by Amnesty International…to urge decriminalisation of prostitution worldwide…

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A prison might be defined as any place you’ve been put into against your will and can’t get out of, and where you are entirely at the mercy of the authorities, whoever they may be.  –  Margaret Atwood

Bad Jobs

You’ll notice that sex workers are immune to most of these factors:

People often like to groan about how their job is “killing” them.  Tragically, for some groups of people in the U.S., that statement appears to be true.  A new study by researchers at Harvard and Stanford has quantified just how much a stressful workplace may be shaving off of Americans’ life spans.  It suggests that the amount of life lost to stress varies significantly for people of different races, educational levels and genders, and ranges up to nearly three years of life lost for some groups…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling

There are about 40,000 girls aged 13-17 in San Diego; this “study” claims that 30% of them become “victims of sex trafficking” every year:

A new study released by the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University revealed that the dark and secret world of sex trafficking in San Diego is the second largest underground economy locally after drugs…sex trafficking is an estimated $810 million-a-year industry and it is run mostly by gangs.  The study revealed that as many as 11,773 become victims to human trafficking in San Diego alone on a yearly basis…Victims are primarily underage…The study was funded by the Department of Justice, and found that more than 100 gangs are involved in the local sex trafficking operations…next to schools, other recruitment hot spots include:  trolley and bus stops, house parties, social media, tattoo parlors, churches, malls…about 1,776 victims/survivors come in contact with law enforcement…

That last is larger than the total number of “sex trafficking victims” that have ever been identified as such in the entire US.

With Folded Hands

Margaret Atwood on the asininity of giving away freedom for “security”:

…Governments know our desire for safety all too well, and like to play on our fears.  How often have we been told that this or that new rule or law or snooping activity on the part of officialdom is to keep us “safe”?  We aren’t safe, anyway:  many of us die in weather events – tornados, floods, blizzards – but governments, in those cases, limit their roles to finger-pointing, blame-dodging, expressions of sympathy or a dribble of emergency aid.  Many more of us die in car accidents or from slipping in the bathtub than are likely to be done in by enemy agents, but those kinds of deaths are not easy to leverage into panic…

Above the Law Patrick Quinn coercive cop

Sometimes sexually-exploitative cops stop short of rape:

In August Patrick Quinn, a 27-year-old…Texas [cop]…pulled over a driver and [claimed he] spotted marijuana paraphernalia in her car.  He told her he would not arrest her if she would let him lick her feet or give him her underwear.  He…was [fired and] sentenced to a year in jail…

Parting of the Ways

Peter Barbey is wasting no time as the new owner of the Village Voice.  Per an interview with [the] Wall Street Journal…he’s nixed the thought of changing the print edition size, pitched to staff the concept of special themed inserts and decided it’s time for a major ad dollar shift:  “Barbey plans to get rid of escort ads, a racy fixture of many an alt-weekly.  ‘Adult women can be escorts, that’s fine with me’, Mr. Barbey said, ‘but it’s not the kind of advertising that fits where we want go’.

Monsters 

Beyoncé Karungi, a 35-year-old campaigner…is in hospital following [a] horrific attack.  The activist had recently penned an article on surviving in Uganda as a trans sex worker, an occupation that can be dangerous and occasionally deadly.  After recieving several hate threats, she went into hiding.  When she emerged, she was attacked by a group of five unknown men.  She sustained several serious facial and bodily injuries…This is not the first time Beyoncé has been attacked…one time police undressed her, took her bag, money and phone and then cut her hair to make her “masculine”…

Frequently Told Lies

The title is “Feminism’s Sex Work Problem“, but this thorough article contains a large section debunking the usual lies prohibitionists employ:

I’m not going to make the pro-decriminalization case here.  Others have made it far more eloquently than I could…However, there are some elephants in the room that simply have to be addressed before a real conversation can occur.  These are mistruths that seem to have become cemented as fact through sheer force of mindless repetition, and unfortunately they severely derail any objective discussion of sex work…

Wise Investment (#440)

Much more of this, please:

Las Vegas police will pay more than $80,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by a woman who said officers detained her for two hours in The Cosmopolitan after falsely accusing her of being a prostitute.  A federal judge wrote that the case showed…prostitution sweeps in casinos were overly broad and threatened people’s constitutional rights.  Chentile Goodman was released without charge after the 2011 incident and filed a lawsuit later that year…

The Camel’s Nose (#504)

Meet CISA, formerly known as CISPA, AKA SOPA, alias PIPA, née COICA:

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) passed the Senate today by a vote of 74 to 21.  A different version passed the House earlier in the year, so they’re going to have to conference to hammer out differences.  Retail business interests supported the legislation.  Major Internet and tech firms like Google, Apple, Yahoo, and Twitter…opposed it…”CISA…allows companies to monitor users and share their information with the government without a warrant, while offering a backdoor that circumvents any laws that might protect users’ privacy“…Attempts to add amendments to narrow the bill’s focus all failed…The Sunlight Foundation…notes that CISA creates a new exemption from the Freedom of Information Act…”That means if they overstep and share the wrong information — as this bill seems to intend — the public won’t know, and even if it did, it would have no legal recourse…CISA guarantees the public will have no ability to see what information is going from companies to the government“…

What Were You All Waiting For? Richard Branson

I’m glad Richard Branson is speaking out against criminalization, but I wish he’d talk to sex workers so as to avoid gaffes like this:

…There are good Catholic countries like Chile that have legalised prostitution.  And I know its very controversial.  Most people would put their arms up in horror.  But by legalising it, they got rid of the pimps.  The girls are monitored properly to make sure that they are healthy, to make sure they can come forward if they’ve got a problem.  And they believe a lot of the illegal trafficking of young girls has gone away…

Now They Notice

One of the more loathsome uses of asset seizure:  stealing all of the victim’s bank accounts so he can’t pay for a legal defense.

Things aren’t looking good for rentboy.com…The company’s bank accounts containing millions of dollars were frozen and its website was seized by Homeland Security…Now, the company is selling its office supplies and furniture on Craigslist in an effort to raise money to pay for its mounting legal fees…Some of these “goodies” include glass desks, chairs, filing cabinets, and video monitors.  Other items for sale include cables, software, books, magazines, artwork, lamps, a copy machine, and “a lot of special, one of a kind rentboy.com ephemera”…

Seizing Power (#574)

The Cato institute supports sex workers’ right to advertise:

Prior restraints—legal prohibitions on disseminating information before publication—are an odious burden on the freedom of expression and come with a “heavy presumption” against their constitutionality.  Indeed, they are so disfavored in the law as to be virtually impossible to obtain outside of wartime.  Informal prior restraints—government pressure without formal sanction—are even more unconstitutional than formal ones, as the Supreme Court noted in Bantam Books v. Sullivan (1963)…But that strong precedent didn’t stop…Thomas Dart and his crusade against Backpage…As Cato, Reason Foundation, and DKT Liberty Project point out in our amicus brief before that court, Dart’s claimed “epidemic” of sex trafficking has evaded any sort of empirical verification for over two decades.  Indeed, State Department data indicate that the opposite may be true.  Nevertheless, Sheriff Dart, along with a new-age Baptist-and-bootleggers coalition matching the religious right and radical feminists, have raised the human-trafficking bugaboo to rally against prostitution—mimicking the drug war and all of its worst legal mechanisms…

Welcome To Our World (#578)

Here’s the first part of an in-depth look at how the New York Times callously maligned an entire industry – one that, like sex work, provides income for undocumented migrants with little money to squander on bureaucratically-imposed startup costs:

Sarah Maslin…Nir’s coverage broadly [mischaracterized] the nail salon industry, [and] several of the men and women she spoke with say she misquoted or misrepresented them.  In some cases, she interviewed sources without translators despite their poor English skills.  When her sources’ testimonies ran counter to her narrative, she omitted them altogether.  The second article lent the Times’ imprimatur to unproven theories, while committing science journalism’s cardinal sin of highlighting alarmist anecdotes that aren’t representative of systematic research.  If it hadn’t had real-world consequences, the series—and subsequent attempt by Nir and her editors to parry criticism—wouldn’t be worth such intense scrutiny.  But the day after the first article appeared in the print edition of the Times, Gov. Andrew Cuomo…announced a new multi-agency task force to inspect nail salons…The rush to legislate based solely on the Times’ shoddy reporting has hurt the industry.  New nail salons, “which used to open every week in New York,” have stopped appearing…Salons once provided a steady source of jobs for undocumented immigrants; now many owners say they’ll hire only legal workers who’ve completed an occupational licensing program because they’re afraid of getting in trouble…

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