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Posts Tagged ‘Whimsical Notions’

We wanted to show the world that we are not the image they have of us.  –  Maria Elena Davila

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Liz Brown tackles the myth that porn has become mostly violent & “misogynistic”:

…the ostensible rise of rough porn is just a symptom of a larger truth: that there’s more porn of all kinds out there.  More female-produced and women-friendly porn.  More lesbian porn aimed at lesbians, not straight men.  More “radical transgender kink.”  More political porn parodies.  More “amateur” porn studios.  More web-camming sites.  More web-savvy women making money on their own websites and social media accounts.  More virtual reality porn and gadgets.  More fetish porn of all sorts.  And so on.  This not only means that there’s more erotic entertainment out there for a diverse range of tastes, it means we see a much more diverse range of people represented in erotic entertainment…

Crying for Nanny

Another attempt to rob a business using “sex trafficking” hysteria as a weapon:

…a…The teen’s lawyers are using Pennsylvania’s human trafficking law to sue the motel where they say their client was sexually exploited, marking the first civil suit under the law since it was enacted in 2014…Lawyers [fantasize] employees at the Roosevelt Inn in northeast Philadelphia knew that a 14-year-old girl was being held against her will for two years.  She was forced to have sex with more than 1,000 men for as little as $50, they said…The lawsuit demands $50,000 in damages…the girl managed to escape and…those responsible…were convicted…[yet] her attorneys…declined to identify her captors, [supposedly] fearing retaliation…prosecutors [fantasize the motel is]…“the epicenter of human trafficking” in the city…“You have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to know that 100 men are showing up over a period of a couple days,” says [shyster] Tom Kline…“You have a cleaning crew that comes into the room and oftentimes finds boxes or waste cans full of use condoms…You can’t have a line of johns out the front door and around the room waiting without them knowing,” Kline said…

So 1000 over 2 years (about 1.4/day) comes to “100 men…over…a couple days”, 1 constitutes a “line out the front door”, 2 condoms makes “a waste can full” and and average of $70/day is enough to pay for a hotel room, food & other expenses and still leave enough profit to justify the kind of risk involved in pimping a minor. Gee, math is hard.

The Last Shall Be First 

Badass woman uses her badassery for justice:

Anti-trans activists in Washington State have been trying to tell cisgender women for more than a year that we ought to be afraid of transgender people using the bathroom.  This is the main marketing behind I-1552, a proposed ballot initiative from anti-trans group Just Want Privacy that attempts to repeal state anti-discrimination protections for trans people and mandate that public schools keep trans students out of bathrooms that correspond with their gender.  But it appears that Just Want Privacy’s latest fear-mongering effort has backfired.  Last week, the group tried to use the story of Kelly Herron…who was allegedly attacked by a man in a Golden Gardens bathroom, to promote their anti-trans ballot measure in a fundraising e-mail and on Facebook.  Unfortunately for Just Want Privacy, Herron has now spoken out against their campaign.  “To the people behind I-1552, I say ‘not today, mutherfuckers,'” Herron said in a public statement…”I refuse to allow anyone to use me…to cause harm and discrimination to others”…Herron was attacked in a public…bathroom on March 5 by Gary Steiner, a 40-year-old registered sex offender from Arizona [who as the picture shows is neither trans nor dressed as a woman to get into the bathroom]…

I saw these sleazy fucks trying to trick people into signing their trash several times last year.

Watershed

To the coming generation, bigotry against sex workers will be as vile as bigotry against queer people is to the young people of today and bigotry vs racial minorities was to the previous generation:

…We can’t forget that those who make decisions about female sex workers’ rights are often powerful, privileged men.  They paternalistically presume to know what’s best for women…[they] quip that “women deserve better” while simultaneously being the ones who oppose legislation funding education, job training, welfare and other programs to uplift poor women…the issue is…also that the mainstream media have seized the narrative around sex work from the workers themselves and failed to include their real concerns…those who claim to be feminists…argue that discussions of sex work disempower women.  But frankly, who gets to define empowerment to women without your same economic privilege and access to education, whose sole means of survival are a profession you would rather turn a blind eye to?…

Whimsical Notions

Wait, you mean healthy young men in an ultra-masculine profession can’t merely be ordered to be asexual?  Who’d have thunk it?

The head of the US Marines has vowed to hold service members accountable for sharing nude photos of their female colleagues online.  Gen Robert Neller promised to change the Marine culture while testifying before a Senate committee.  Last week, reports emerged that current and former Marines were sharing [nude] photos [of women] on Facebook and on message boards, triggering a Navy investigation…The [Facebook] group, which included around 30,000 active and retire male marines, has now been closed down…The Marine Corps has the lowest percentage of female members among the five military services.  Women make up about 7 to 8% of all Marines…

An Example to the West (#544)

A new documentary about the Nicaraguan sex workers accredited by the government as “judicial facilitators”:

In most countries around the world, sex workers are criminalized by police…In…Nicaragua, sex workers are replacing police…French filmmaker Florence Jaugey released a documentary about the Sunflowers of Nicaragua, a woman-led sex worker collective serving as community mediators…In 2009, members of the Sunflowers…began organizing against discrimination and violence within their communities…with the intention of gaining…trust…in order to win mass support for their primary demand:  the judicial integration and unionization of sex workers across the country.  Their strategy worked.  In 2015, Nicaragua’s Supreme Court of Justice asked members of the collective if they wanted to work as judicial facilitators in Managua…Now, the sex workers are accredited and have licenses signed by the Supreme Court of Justice to mediate small conflicts in their communities…The Sunflowers…has also been accepted by the socialist government’s Confederation of Self-Employed Workers, granting them legal union status.  The collective, which aims to organize Nicaragua’s estimated 14,000 sex workers, has recruited 2,300 thus far…

Between the Lines

The amazing Liz Brown, queen of sex worker allies, delivers up a long and thorough takedown of the FBI’s annual “Operation Cross-Country” pogroms, backing up what I’ve been saying for years about these skeevy, prurient, horrifyingly-wasteful intimidation theatrics with facts, statistics and detailed analysis:

…sensationalized montages of footage from the stings, which the FBI has been proudly posting to YouTube since Operation Cross Country launched in 2008…show authorities handcuffing young people, mostly women and girls, and parading them down dim hallways, thick gloved hands gripping skinny arms on either side, or pushing them up against cop cars, the camera lingering on cuffed wrists clasped tightly over baggy jeans or long, bare legs.  The latest iteration of the initiative—Operation Cross Country X—took place across 103 U.S. cities from October 13 to 16…it involved the efforts of 74 federally led Human Trafficking Task Forces, comprised of officers from 55 FBI field offices and more than 400 federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies…the operation identified 82 “children” engaged in prostitution, an average of about 0.88 per city, or one for every five agencies participating.  All were teenagers—mostly 16- and 17-year-olds—and a number of cities where they were found made no simultaneous pimping or sex trafficking arrests…only five men stand accused of federal crimes—with only two accused of crimes against actual minors.  None of these suspects was part of anything even remotely resembling an organized criminal enterprise…

The Lesser of Two Evils (#589) 

Presumably, those who are “outraged” would prefer boys be molested instead:

Lurid accusations of priests involved in sex orgies, porn videos and prostitution have emerged from several parishes in Italy recently, sending shock waves all the way to the Vatican…In…Naples…[Rev. Mario D’Orlando] was recently suspended…over claims he held gay orgies and [paid male sex workers]…In…Padua…Rev. Andrea Contin, is facing defrocking…amid accusations he had up to 30 lovers, some of whom he took to a swingers’ resort in France…One woman…claimed the priest carried sex toys and bondage equipment, prostituted his lovers on wife-swapping websites and also invited other priests from the area to sex parties…

New flash: humans have sexual urges.  Deprive them of socially-sanctioned ways to meet their needs, and they’ll find other ways.  It really is that simple.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#626)

If it happened in a Cambodian brothel, the story is never too shocking for Westerners to believe“:

…Don and Bridget are the founders of Agape International Missions, or AIM, a Christian missionary group on the front lines of the war against child sex trafficking in Cambodia…They have made it their life’s work to stop men…from abusing children…Human trafficking was once endemic in Cambodia…Anecdotal…tales of pimps and profiteers openly selling women and children on the streets are commonplace…According to surveys of sex workers…the number of child prostitutes has reportedly been dropping for years.  Survey estimates once reported nearly 35 percent of Cambodian prostitutes…were minors.  Recent estimates pegged that number closer to 1 to 2 percent…But Don Brewster [pretends] the falling estimates are misleading…

To Molest and Rape 

Try to imagine a non-cop getting just three years for this. Go on, try.

An NYPD [cop] who raped and sexually abused a 13-year-old girl scored a soft sentence…of only three years in prison — just a year for each attack.  Vladimir Krull…raped the victim in her home and in his car during two separate incidents…Krull…was also convicted of [orally raping] the victim…in June 2014 after a father-daughter breakfast for her eighth-grade class…

Still a Child (#674) 

Despite the pearl-clutching, I actually agree with this:

For nearly 90 years, an uncelebrated New York State law has largely escaped attention, allowing what would seem to be unfathomable in this day and age…child marriages, by the thousands.  Since 1929, New York has allowed children as young as 14 to marry; 14- and 15-year-olds can do so with judicial and parental approval, and 16- and 17-year-olds can marry with mere parental consent…Most states allow 16- and 17-year-olds to marry, and more than two dozen other states have no statutory minimum age at all…Between 2000 and 2010, nearly 3,900 minors were wed in the state, mostly in marriages arranged by parents whose religious or cultural traditions embrace the practice.  State lawmakers and Governor Cuomo are now trying to put an end to so-called child marriages, and have introduced similar bills to end marriage altogether for 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds, joining a number of states from New Jersey to Missouri that are working to change similar laws…

Once all the sex-magic mumbo-jumbo is stripped away, marriage is simply a contract; no more, no less.  It’s illegal for minors to enter into contracts, therefore it should be illegal for them to marry. Q.E.D.  Furthermore, the State forbids even taking pictures of nude minors, yet it allows them to make binding lifelong contracts for sexual services?  Really?

Between the Ears (#674) 

Have a device that connects to the internet? Assume it can be used to spy on you:

Canadian “smart” sex toy manufacturer We-Vibe recently felt the long, hard, stiff arm of the law when it was fined $4 million CAD (about $3 million USD) after it tracked users’ use without their consent.  The money will go to compensate those who bought the device.  Owners of the We-Vibe 4 Plus who used the app are entitled to claim C$10,000 (about $7,500), while those who just bought the vibrator can claim up to $199, less legal fees…This follows a successful class-action lawsuit that was brought before an Illinois federal court…

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We should…not…[create] barriers that stop vulnerable people seeking help.  –  Lord Paddick

Follow Your Bliss 

Understand that people like this are the norm in anything that involves prosecuting sexual offenses, and always will be:

A secondary school teacher who [enthusiastically] helped the Metropolitan Police grade indecent images of children was caught on film as he abused a sleeping six year-old boy…Craig Keane…now faces jail after pleading guilty to nine counts of sexual assault on a child under the age of 13.  He has been suspended from both his roles as a teacher and special constable…the victim was asleep while the assault occurred but another child in the same room hid a camera behind the curtain to capture the abuse after becoming concerned about what was happening…

The Widening Gyre sex-trafficking-shirt

Everything is a sign of lurking “sex traffickers”!  EVERYTHING!!!

When 19-year-old Ashley Hardacre left a late shift at the mall…she found what she feared was a trap.  “I…noticed that there was a blue flannel shirt on my windshield,” she wrote later that night on Facebook. “There were two cars near me and one was running so I immediately felt uneasy and knew I couldn’t get out to get it off…I drove over to a place where I was safe and quickly rolled down my window and got the shirt off.”  Hardacre…speculated that the way the shirt had been attached to her wiper was intentional…Hardacre’s post…quickly went viral.  But it’s not the first time people have suspected strange items left under their windshield wipers.  In July last year, a Wisconsin woman wrote that her mother had discovered a fancy jeweled ring on her windshield…“This is exactly how human trafficking and abductions take place,” Savannah Nguyen wrote in the now-removed post…The local police…chief [said]…the department had no evidence linking the ring to a sex trafficking attempt…

You know who else I hear puts things on people’s windshields to abduct them?  Satanists.  Commies too, I’ll bet.

Worse Than I Thought

Mormon politician fantasizes that sex workers “force” cops to rape us:

The [Utah] Senate criminal justice committee approved enhancing penalties for prostitution-related crimes as well as clarifying the definition of prostitution…Bill sponsor…Todd Weiler…said its language adds protection to [lying pigs] who [lie to rape sex workers] while conducting prostitution stings.  “Some of the women involved in this trade…are savvy enough … to force an undercover…to actually touch them, because that’s where the line is currently drawn”…

Checklist

Another ridiculous “study” based purely in the researchers’ sexual fantasies finds that mundane things are actually “signs of sex trafficking”:

Two hundred people are sold for sex every month in Lincoln and another 700 are sold in other parts of [Nebraska]…according to a new report from Creighton University…researchers spent several years [masturbating over] Backpage.com…Crysta Price and Terry Clark, cross-referenced the ads to make sure they weren’t counting one potential victim multiple times [yet couldn’t be bothered to consult even one actual sex worker.  A spokespig oinked that]…there are a number of ways to determine if an ad was made by a trafficker or by someone selling him or herself — including if the picture was taken by someone else, the verbiage used in the post and if the pictures were taken in a hotel room…Twenty-five to 30 percent of the ads researchers studied were posted by adults working independently and not being trafficked.  About 70 percent showed some sign of advertised individuals being underage or controlled by a third party…

I’m sure this is much better wanking material for prohibitionists than the mundane truth: roughly 2% coercion, roughly 3.5% underage (and only 25% of underage advertise online).

Lack of Evidence (#314) 

This will keep happening as long as laws & procedures that stigmatize sex workers are allowed to stand:

A Vancouver man was denied entry into the United States after a US Customs and Border Patrol officer read his profiles on the gay hookup app Scruff and the website BBRT.  The officer suspected the man was a sex worker because he found messages from the man saying he was “looking for loads,” and assumed it meant he was soliciting sex for cash…André, a 30-year-old Vancouver set decorator who declined to give his full name for fear of retaliation from US Customs, describes the experience as “humiliating”…Jon Davidson, legal director of the US LGBT organization Lambda Legal…says…“Their agents need cultural awareness training to not misunderstand that people who simply are leading a normal sex life are not prostitutes.”

Fuck you, Jon Davidson.  If whores’ sex lives aren’t “normal”, neither is yours. But I guess you’ve got your seat at the Big Table, so we don’t matter, right?

Paint By Numbers

Well, at least golf requires skill & activity:

A golf tournament March 31 at Sunset Hills Country Club will benefit The Covering House, which [profits from “sex trafficking” hysteria]…GENTS (Gentlemen Encouraging No Trafficking Society), a volunteer group…is playing host for the tournament…[blah blah] signs…[blah blah] suspect a child is being trafficked…[blah blah] Top 20 human trafficking jurisdictions…[blah blah] 300,000 children…[blah blah] average age of entry is 13…

Whereas this is the usual total inanity:

…Members of Congress, celebrities including Ashton Kutcher, and others…[changed] their profile photo for the End It Movement’s “Shine A Light On Slavery” Day…You don’t have to be in Washington to take part…in…[uploading] red Xs…You can also take a tube of red lipstick, mark an X on your hand, and snap a photo to post…yes-this-is-an-x

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the “End It” yahoos.

Whimsical Notions

Is “the dangerous cycle of prostitution” a used Harley bought with whoring money?

Recently we were exposed to the horrifying phenomenon of soldiers involved in the cycle of prostitution…shocking evidence of male and female soldiers…engaging in prostitution due to severe economic distress.  This phenomenon is a badge of shame for the IDF and the State of Israel…Military service is often a lifeline for boys and girls from all sorts of difficult backgrounds.  The army should set a moral example and act to stamp out prostitution in its midst, work to save these soldiers and recover them…

As far as I can make out, this dude’s pearl-clutching tone is dead serious.  Do you amateurs really believe this kind of shit?  “Shame”?  “Save them”?  “Recover them”?  Seriously?

Legal Is as Legal Does (#440)

The danger of a “tolerated” system: cops can suddenly decide to be intolerant:

A major crackdown on massage parlours and brothels across Adelaide has forced sex workers into risky private work where they are more vulnerable to violence and crime…Police have [exhibited] threatening behaviour during a flurry of raids since September that have resulted in the closure of well-established brothels and sex workers who are too scared to report crimes against them…Sex workers…[who] refused [to give cops their telephone numbers were]…threatened with a home visit.  Police officers…took sex workers’ car registration details, working names, and…told workers they would be arrested unless they left the premises immediately…[managers and] receptionists [are being hit with avails charges] “because they are the ones that handle the money”…

All-Purpose Excuse

“Human trafficking” can mean anything!

President Trump[‘s]…new policies also target unauthorized immigrants who smuggle their children into the country, as happened with Central American children seeking to reunite with parents living in the United States.  Under the new directives, such parents could face deportation or prosecution for smuggling or human trafficking…

Dirty Laundry (#452)

Good for this lady, taking a pompous judge’s attempt to get rid of her & then carrying on as usual:

…Mikaela Niculae…was arrested…last weekend…Ms Niculae had been before Letterkenny District court in June 2014 where she was part of a group of six prostitutes who were given €1,200 by Judge Paul Kelly to fly back to Romania.  The money came from a sum of €5,890 [stolen] by Gardai [from sex workers]…the…Judge…fined [her]…€500 and…order[ed her] mobile phone…[destroyed]…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#586)

This is a good, objective look at sex work in Bangkok; it’s refreshingly free of the usual sadfeelz, judgment and imposition of “sex trafficking” fantasies on the interviews with real sex workers.  I do find it extremely funny that every Western reporter who visits a brothel feels compelled to assure the reader that he didn’t purchase sexual services; honestly, I’d have a lot more respect for one who admitted that he did, as it was demonstrate he was respectful of both the women’s time and profession.

The Course of a Disease (#652) 

This is a huge move forward for a UK political party:

The Liberal Democrats are likely to adopt as official policy a move to quash all historical sex-work convictions – including brothel-keeping, soliciting business and kerb-crawling.  The move…will be included in a key motion…as part of the party’s wider drive to decriminalise sex work…The party’s home affairs spokesman Lord Paddick said: “As a former police officer I know what works and the current laws around prostitution do not.  They might sound tough but they don’t protect people.  The police should be focusing their resources on…coercion rather than policing consenting adults…it is time for an informed debate on this complex issue and I want my party to be leading that debate”…

I’m so pleased by this I’m not even going to quibble over the ridiculous idea that human rights are subject to “debate”.

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In Sweden…the fact that [sex workers] are more vulnerable is considered a success.  –  Luca Stevenson

R.I.P. Charles GatewoodCharles Gatewood

Famed photographer, videographer and cultural anthropologist Charles Gatewood passed away peacefully [on April 28th]…at San Francisco General Hospital.  The prolific 73-year-old was known as the “anthropologist of the forbidden” for his exploration of subcultures like BDSM, body modification, fringe fetishes and more.  Gatewood photographed numerous celebrities…and…worked on assignment for [major] publications…Among his more erotic works, Gatewood produced Tales of Submission and his photos were also frequently exhibited…A memorial service is currently being scheduled to be held at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco…

Rough Trade 

Oscar Luis Urbina was…charged with rape as King County prosecutors contend he brutally raped [a sex worker] at his home.  Investigators took a DNA sample from Urbina as part of that investigation.  Now, prosecutors contend that DNA test solved another violent sexual assault that saw a 25-year-old woman bitten, beaten and raped…on April 13, 2014…

License to Rape

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

A New Jersey man was convicted…of impersonating a [pig] and raping two prostitutes on the Las Vegas Strip…Mark Picozzi…somehow sneaked into a room not registered in his name on the 32nd floor of The Cosmopolitan and called the Las Vegas Dream Girls escort agency…After the woman arrived, Picozzi…told her he was with the police…and…raped…[her]…as she left the hotel…she was arrested [by an actual pig on bullshit charges]…and [since] she had [nothing to lose she reported the rape]…another woman…contacted police after seeing news coverage of the allegation against Picozzi…[and] told police Picozzi arranged a date with her on Jan. 18, 2014…then claimed he was a police officer before [orally raping] her…and [stealing] $2,000 from her safe…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I really love it when they feed on each other:

…[Los Angeles school cop] Mauricio Edgardo Estrada..surrendered to federal authorities following his indictment…by a…grand jury…[on] charges…[of] attempted sex trafficking of a child and use of the Internet to induce a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.  The case against Estrada is the result of an undercover operation by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force…[Estrada replied to a fake] Craigslist advertisement…and subsequently engaged in a series of text messages with a [cop pretending to be]…a 15-year-old girl…

Surplus Women 

Call me cynical, but I wonder what these prosecutors and cops would’ve said about Ashley Masi if she had been arrested instead of murdered:

Daniel Tejeda might have thought Ashley Masi didn’t matter, but to the 30-plus family, friends, prosecutors and Providence police on hand…to see him be found guilty of strangling her to death, she sure did…Tejeda…[murdered] Masi, an escort and mother of three…by pulling a zip-tie so tightly around her neck that its diameter shrunk by more than three inches…prosecutor…Daniel Carr Guglielmo…called Tejeda “the face of danger to prostitutes. “A prostitute dies … Who cares?…Maybe that’s what the defendant thought.  Who cares?”…

The Course of a Disease

A basic primer on the fight for sex worker rights, focusing on France and Belgium:

…on 6 April, the French National Assembly, not without difficulty, adopted the Scandinavian model of [criminalization]…Whilst many [prohibitionists]…rejoiced…the move…represents a real threat for sex workers.  As denounced by the French sex workers’ union, the STRASS, in a declaration co-signed by around a hundred associations, including Médecins du Monde and the French human rights league, LDH, these workers risk finding themselves being driven underground and into danger…In Sweden and Norway, where this model has been in place for several years, the results are not as encouraging as the governments would have us believe…

Above the Law  

If only there were a short, specific word for the cumbersome phrase “coerced into having sex”:

A lawsuit by 10 women says they were coerced into having sex while they were inmates at a jail in southwestern Michigan…the federal lawsuit…names Berrien County and four current or former sheriff’s deputies who worked at the jail…two of the deputies resigned and one was fired after an investigation started in September into misconduct by jail employees while they were off-duty.  The fourth deputy named in the lawsuit remains employed by the department…

Let’s see; it should be more specific than the umbrella phrase “sex crimes”:

…Santa Clara police Sgt. Thomas Leipelt…was sentenced to 45 days in jail and will have to register as a sex offender after being convicted of exposing himself in front of his girlfriend’s co-worker…San Mateo County Sheriff’s Deputy Galen Underwood was [convicted of]…molesting a female relative…for 6 years, starting when she was 11.  Underwood…was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison plus 38 years…

Oh, I know just the word!

[Memphis cop] Michael Smith…has been arrested and indicted for raping a…woman…on April 16…at a parking garage.  The victim was leaving the Purple Haze night club…and…part of the [rape]…was caught on security camera footage…

Gee, I wonder why the mainstream media won’t use it when the criminals are cops?

Buried Truth 

In 2003, Dennis Hastert urged Congress to “Put repeat child molesters into jail for the rest of their lives”:

Former House speaker Dennis Hastert…was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison…for a bank fraud case linked to allegations he sexually abused teen boys more than 30 years ago.  Federal Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert, 74, a “serial child molester” and…also fined Hastert $250,000 and sentenced him to two years of supervised release after leaving prison.  Hastert must register as a sex offender…Hastert…admitted for the first time [molesting] some athletes when he was a high school wrestling coach in Illinois before he began a political career that saw him become the top Republican in Congress…Zachary Fardon, the U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, said…Hastert would have faced more serious charges for sex abuse had the statutes of limitation for the criminal sexual misconduct not expired years ago…

Hastert is best known for the so-called “Hastert Rule”, but I’d like to remind you of the McNeill Rule:  “Any man who crusades against any sex act is almost certainly a practitioner.”

Where are the Victims? (#325)

We’re so lucky to have cops qualified to diagnose us as “victims” no matter what we may think:

Blackburn [Lancashire] Police…said despite the best efforts of officers, both victims found at the property refused to provide statements to confirm they had been trafficked…Det Sgt Tony Atkins…said…“This intervention resulted in the safeguarding of the two females, who, although not making complaints as victims, clearly were, but could not see it”…

I hope Atkins fails to see one of the 4000 holes in his vicinity, and falls into it.

Whimsical Notions

Retired Gen. Charles C. Krulak, a former commandant of the U.S. Marines and president of Birmingham-Southern College, is calling on the next president of the United States to ramp up spending on fighting human trafficking…Krulak complains in a CNN op-ed that “each year the federal government dedicates less than $150 million to combating human trafficking—compared to $30.5 billion for the War on Drugs.”  Considering that the War on Drugs is now roundly viewed as one of biggest boondoggles in U.S. history—a fiscal and humanitarian disaster of such scope that even conservative Republicans and many former Drug Warriors can’t deny that it’s not working—I’m not sure why that’s supposed to serve as an endorsement.  But consider this one more clue that America’s war on human trafficking—which in practice is seldom more than a war on adults consenting to commercial sex—is indeed the next target of all that displaced Drug War effort…Citing the same bad statistics that have routinely been debunked by myriad sources, Krulak announces the launch of Generation Freedom.  This coalition of more than 70 organizations has come together to [lobby] for greater “financial investment [in the rescue industry] by the U.S. government”…

Cops and Robbers

Another sleazebag takes it upon himself to persecute strangers for consensual sex:

Amit Prakash…had no idea what [he and his brother] were getting themselves into.  The prostitution.  The johns.  The pimps…For decades, human trafficking has existed in a shadowy world.  That has started to change, though, as authorities at all levels of government have taken up the issue, shining a light on it, even as solutions to stop people from being bought and sold and forced into work as prostitutes have remained largely elusive…As criminal enterprises go, it’s growing faster than the drug trade…women start in the sex trade as teenagers, forced into prostitution by their fathers, brothers or uncles.  Others are coerced by their boyfriends…Prakash says he is determined to find a way stop prostitution – not just at a single hotel, but at hotels and motels throughout the Sacramento region…“The goal isn’t to go after the girls,” he said. “The goal is to go after the guys. The johns. We want to let them know we’re watching you”…Security guards are a must.  So are cameras, preferably ones that cover every inch of a property, so workers can see if unregistered guests enter rooms…Prakash also is a big advocate of…a universal Do Not Rent list…

Guinea Pigs 

Even when the perpetrators are loser guys rather than cops and other government actors, new surveillance weapons are usually used against sex workers first:

The developers behind “FindFace”, which uses facial recognition software to match random photographs to people’s social media pages on Vkontakte, say the service is designed to facilitate making new friends [by stalking them]…On April 9…users of the Russian imageboard “Dvach” (2chan) launched a campaign to [out]…actresses who appear in pornography.  After identifying these women with FindFace, Dvach users shared archived copies of their Vkontakte pages, and spammed the women’s families and friends with messages informing them about the discovery.  The effort also targeted women registered on the [escort] website “Intimcity”…The [losers] behind the doxing campaign say their motivation is moral outrage, claiming that women in the sex industry are “corrupt and deceptive.”  (Tellingly, Dvach users also complained that such women typically ignore the kind of men who make up Dvach’s audience)…

Vendetta (#607)

Another group of technically competent but woefully naive kids is exploited by the police state to attack sex workers:

Human Trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that enslaves nearly 21 million people around the world.  Reliable data remains a major challenge at the heart of anti-human trafficking efforts…Our inaugural ATHackathon will create innovative tools to track & analyze data related to trafficking…

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There’s something deeply troubling about taking a person who’s at ease with her past and turning her into a victim.  –  Wendy Lyon

Think of the Children! 

An angry mother was horrified to learn she has booked a family break in a hotel the same weekend a swingers party is being held.  The woman believes it is inappropriate for the “Halloween fancy dress” bash to be held at the luxury Silver Springs Moran Hotel in Cork [on Halloween weekend]…

Lack of Evidence

It’s not only cops who think that believing a woman is a whore is grounds for assaulting her:

A [South African] swimming school owner and well-known cyclist was arrested…after he…beat up a…domestic worker in broad daylight…then excused his behaviour by saying he had believed she was a prostitute…Cynthia Joni, 44…was on her way to work…on October 2 when a…man leapt from his car and slapped her repeatedly, then threw her to the ground, without any explanation…Her…attacker was later identified as…Tim Osrin…a…member of the neighbourhood’s “security committee” [who] lives close to where the incident took place…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

The investigator leading the probe into the Secret Service’s 2012 prostitution scandal quietly resigned…after he was implicated in a prostitution entanglement of his own…David Nieland was observed entering and leaving a building that was under surveillance as part of a [sting]…in Broward County, Fla.  Authorities later interviewed a prostitute who identified Nieland in a photo and said he had paid her for sex…Jian Ghomeshi title card

He Said, She Said

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation dismissed Jian Ghomeshi…as host of the cultural affairs show Q…Ghomeshi…claimed he was fired due to…his [BDSM] sexual behaviour…[and says] he’s been hounded by false allegations from an ex-girlfriend…The Toronto Star reported…that three women have made allegations of violent, non-consensual  assaults…[and] a former employee of the CBC claimed [he]…sexually harassed [her]…his lawyers announced…that he intends to sue the CBC for $50-million…

Subtle Pimping

Naturally, they don’t speak up for sex workers or donate any of the money to our cause:

Stephanie Berger…co-founded the Poetry Brothel with Nicholas Adamski in 2008…They concocted the idea of a turn-of-the-century bordello – historically the realm of artists and miscreants – where writers could present their work in a more vibrant, visceral setting.  They would dress up, invent alter egos, and sell not their bodies but their poems…“Sex work and poetry are two of the oldest professions,” says Berger.  “Both are incredibly intimate acts that explore love, fantasy and the underside of people”…

Decentralization

what…has Titcoin done to be adult-industry friendly, other than insert “Tit” into its name?…For Titcoin to be desirable to sex workers, it’d need to feel like it was offering certain advantages that Bitcoin wasn’t.  It would need to embrace the community of sex workers who are discriminated against by the mainstream financial system, not just try to make money off of them…

One Born Every Minute

Two teenage boys from Norway…posted…fake advertisements on a website offering escort services.  The ads offered sex with women in exchange for gift vouchers which had to be purchased in advance via the website.  The crafty duo were set to net 150,000 kroner ($22,600) before the website owners became suspicious and alerted the police…

Saving Them From Themselves

a Michigan Sheriff’s Department has gotten itself involved in…sexting…[cops have] already confiscated 31 phones…investigations will continue to turn up even more phones, containing more evidence, and so on, until… well, until what, exactly?…at some point, an arbitrary line will be drawn to end the investigation…High school students…may find themselves facing child pornography charges…

See No Evil Tony the Tiger

One of the most ludicrous prosecutions to arise from [the UK’s “extreme porn”] law was the infamous “tiger porn” case, in which Andrew Holland was prosecuted for possessing a video of…a woman having sex with a tiger…When the case finally reached court, the judge requested that the video be played with sound – something the police hadn’t thought of doing. During the scene, the “tiger” turned to the camera and said “that’s grrrrreat!”…It’s clear that police and CPS training doesn’t include the skills to distinguish between a real tiger and a pretend one.  Holland was acquitted.  But during the legal process, he had been branded a sex offender, experienced vigilante attacks, and been prevented from seeing his daughter for a year.  He suffered a heart attack during this time…

Scapegoats

[Jerald Hill,]  the president…of a Missouri Baptist conference center is out of a job after [cops]…arrested him for allegedly arranging to have sex with [an undercover police] dog…on Craigslist…

End Demand

A municipal lawmaker in [St Petersburg, Russia] has drafted a bill introducing heavy fines for the clients of prostitutes, but they’ll be forgotten if client agrees to marry the sex worker…In the explanatory note attached to the bill Galkina [pretends that the Swedish model works as advertised]…

First They Came for the Hookers…

This is mostly typical “sex trafficking” garbage, but there are a couple of interesting points; one is the claim that there are “25,000 victims” in Chicago, due of course to highways but also because of all the farming that goes on within city limits (“large agriculture…base”).  But the other is an expansion of the increasingly-popular lie that all commercial sex involves “sex trafficking”:

…FBI agents…called for more public exposure to the “Johns”…who keep demand high.  They strongly suggested [censoring] the words ‘Gentleman’s Club” and…plastering their faces on the front pages of newspapers.  Public humiliation, they said, does make a huge difference.  The problem “will stop…if men stop buying sex”…a stronger…ordinance…makes it more difficult for adult bookstores, strip clubs and other sexually-themed entertainment to set up shop…Social media…is the number one tool of traffickers…

The Widening Gyre 

Several sex worker activists recently decided to…[take] the online Human Trafficking course offered by Ohio State University’s Social Work program…The…discussion…was “about 99.99% about forcing women to stop doing sex work.”  There was little or no moderation, with students up or down voting each other’s posts similarly to the way Reddit users do.  The instructor, Dr. Jacquelyn Meshelemiah…rarely interacted with students and never corrected misinformation… “Several of the students have claimed that they’d immediately turn…a prostitute into the police ‘for their own good’,” one student commented…the first person to be banned from the course for offering information was Dr. [Thaddeus] Blanchette…a professor and well-known trafficking researcher…

With Friends Like These…

Please, Roman Kalinowski, become a prohibitionist; if your attempt to hurt us is as totally wrong as your attempt to “help”, it’ll be a great pro-decrim argument:

World governments and the state of Hawai‘i need to accept the sale of sex between consenting adults and treat it like any other industry…Prostitution is profitable because…the demand for paid sex far exceeds the supply of sex workers.  There are high costs associated with kidnapping, secretly transporting and forcing people against their will into prostitution.  If legal…it would no longer be economically feasible to hold sex slaves…Hawai‘i [is] the only state in America which allows undercover police to penetrate sex workers…Registering with the government…has made the trade safer [in legalization regimes]…Legalizing prostitution would benefit everyone involved except for the pimps and madams currently exploiting workers…

Banishment

These types of procedures are very common in Swedish-flavored regimes:

By unanimous vote…Oakland [California granted itself]…the power to evict sex workers “associated” with a property—and to require their landlords to do the same…the city can go after the landlord for not taking action against a tenant “after being apprised by the City that the tenant has engaged in illegal activity”…The bill does not describe the burden of proof the city needs…Nor does [it] stipulate…whether this evidence is to be shared with the tenant…[nor] set forth any protections for due process.  The bill does not require that charges or a warrant be brought against a tenant [and]…there’s no clear definition for what “engaging” in illegal…activities…means…

Give Them an Inch…

European anti-migration policies grow steadily more horrible:

Seven Tunisian fishermen [are] on trial in Sicily…for the crime of rescuing 44 migrants from certain death in the sea.  They are accused of aiding and abetting illegal immigration.  If convicted, they face…[up to] 15 years in jail…Among [those rescued] were two children and 11 women – two of them pregnant and one elderly…The true object of the trial, it is suspected, is to dissuade fishermen from doing their duty…other…fishermen…recently beat migrants attempting to get into their boat with sticks, forcing them into the water where several drowned.  No action was taken against them…

License to Rape (TW3 #337) 

A reporter recently informed me that Los Angeles Times reporters are officially forbidden to refer to the acts of rapist cops with the word “rape”, as in this story of the sentencing of a monster we’ve seen before:  “[Rapist vice cop Jose Jesus Perez] was sentenced…to 25 years in federal prison for forcing prostitutes to have sex with him while he was in uniform…Perez blamed the stress from his job…[and] said he was a sex addict…

Whimsical Notions

U.S. Forces Korea has banned servicemembers from buying drinks for workers in “juicy bars,” which have long been suspected of involvement in prostitution and human trafficking.  While the military has maintained a zero-tolerance policy toward prostitution, buying drinks in exchange for female company was not strictly prohibited…[until] Oct. 15…

Train Wreck (TW3 #407)

Commercial sex workers in Abuja have reportedly been given a 2-day ultimatum to leave the city…Authorities have also threatened to punish individuals who patronize the sex workers with a death sentence…These stringent measures were said to have been formulated by Secretary for Social Development, Blessing Onuh, after she visited several locations that experience high sex trafficking activity…

The Public Eye (TW3 #410)

Belle Knox writes about how her story was used as the basis for an episode of Law and Order: SVU, a show not exactly known for an enlightened attitude toward sex workers.  Miraculously, this was what the writer of the episode told Belle:  “You, and others, have made the case that sex work is legitimate professional work, a potentially empowering choice individuals should be able to make without repercussions or stigmatization.  Other students who’ve done pornography have not survived the harassment that followed.  We wanted to tell their stories, too.

Rescued To Death

Another excellent essay from Wendy Lyon:

…the…“woman-protective anti-abortion argument” [is] a strategic shift away from the foetus fetishism that has traditionally defined the right-to-life movement…At the same time…[there’s] a new anti-sex work campaign led by women who describe themselves as “survivors”…The idea that regret is…a reason to legally constrain women’s actions is conceptually flawed, paternalistic and degrading.  It’s grounded in age-old sexist nonsense about women needing choices to be made for us…women who don’t regret their abortion or sex work threaten to undermine the effectiveness…of those who do; thus, they must be silenced, discredited, or worse still, recruited…[by] persuading them that they were traumatised all along and didn’t know it…

Bottleneck (TW3 #443) 

a federal judge in [Washington state] issued a temporary injunction to block the release of…licenses, which include dancers’ stage and legal names…and photos …the man who requested the info, David Van Vleet, said his request was for “the public good” and he had merely wanted to “pray for those dancers by name”…A final decision will be issued December 15…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #443)

if there’s one thing on which Northern Ireland’s divided politicians can always be sure to agree it’s the regulation and control of women’s bodies.  All for their own good, of course.  That’s why the Northern Ireland Assembly has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a ban on the purchase of sex…when radical feminists and religious fundamentalists join forces, facts tend to go out the window, often with dangerous consequences for those they seek to “save”…The Police Service of Northern Ireland has long made it clear that…such a law would be unworkable…But…enforcement was never the point …campaigners….seek the satisfaction of a symbolic victory:  the ability to declare our shores closed to prostitution…[just as] anti-abortion activists like to proclaim Ireland free of abortion…

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Sex work is part of the human story.  Accepting and embracing sex work…should be our humane, as well as our pragmatic, approach to the reality of our human lives.  –  Richard Horton and Pamela Das

Rough Trade

Two [Frankfurt] men were sentenced…to long prison terms for raping and abusing two prostitutes…A 34-year-old has…ten years and three months…[while] his 33-year-old accomplice was sentenced to eight years and three months…

License to Rape

Two American paratroopers stationed at a US military base in Italy have been arrested for allegedly beating, raping and robbing a pregnant Romanian prostitute…The suspects…agreed to pay…But after the three reached a secluded area, they allegedly decided to get what they wanted for free.  The two…beat up and raped the prostitute…for…three hours…then…left [her]…in the…field…and made off with her purse…

Lying Down With Dogs

From Vietnam:

…the People’s Committee has asked the National Assembly to…[increase] the…penalties on sex buyers and publicly naming them in the local community and…[to replace] the words “sexual intercourse” with “sexual satisfaction” [in the law] in order to cover behavior causing sexual arousal and the sex trade of homosexuals…

Saving Them From Themselves

The UK continues its drive to become a colony of the US:

Police have warned teenagers of the risks that…”sexting”, can pose to their safety, with the possibility they could wind up on the sex offenders’ register.  Several teenagers have already been cautioned over the practice…and police have stressed the risk that sexting poses to teens’ future welfare, as well as their criminal record…

Schadenfreude 

I don’t think I’ll ever tire of seeing rescue industry figures exposed as frauds:

…Lady Katerine Nastopka…was surprised to see [reporters] at her fundraiser for the Rescue Children From Human Trafficking Foundation…In 2011, she made national headlines when she called herself a “Countess”…[and] claimed she had a connection to the famous Guggenheim family of New York.  Police arrested her and two others on charges of fraud for lying about the connection.  As part of a plea deal, she promised the court she would never use the Guggenheim name again…Nastopka…agreed to [speak to reporters but]…the interview never happened because [she] ran away…none of [the politicians she claimed as members of her board of directors]…know anything about [it]…

The Sky is Falling!

A reporter breathlessly asks if dating sites have a “prostitution problem“, in other words if sex workers use them to advertise.  You know, like sex workers have been using personal ads to advertise for as long as such things have existed.  But poor little Caitlin seems to imagine that the practice only started with “the advent of Craigslist”, and furthermore that large numbers of professional escorts will waste their time going on dates without first ascertaining whether money is forthcoming.  Her ignorance is so pronounced that it merely comes across as cute rather than deeply insulting when she suggests that it’s sex workers who need (presumably compulsory) “safe-sex education” rather than her fellow amateurs.

A Broker in Pillage

…the US Embassy in Pretoria…announced that the Department of Justice was conducting a workshop to teach South African law enforcement the practice of civil forfeiture…civil forfeiture is anti-democratic, and allows law enforcement agencies in the executive branch to attain some degree of independence from civilian or democratic oversight…foreign partnerships in law enforcement investigations allow the DOJ the ability to use worldwide NSA dragnet surveillance to find and acquire targets for asset forfeiture, particularly under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

An Example To the West

retired sex workers in Zimbabwe have opened a prostitution consultancy…to help young women protect themselves from being taken advantage of.  Lima Mankarankara (65) said they teach the new sex workers about the industry and how it works.  They also teach them how to handle clients…pizza girl

The Widening Gyre

I have a mental bet with myself about how silly these “slavery” claims will get before the end of the panic.  Bonus meme: pizza!

…Newspaper Expressen reported earlier this week that human traffickers had gone from “just” selling sex to selling women as lifelong slaves.  The newspaper’s sources said the cost for a slave…is €2,000 ($2680).  For 700 kronor ($100) one can rent a couple of girls for a day, for cooking, cleaning, or anything else…”It’s like ordering a pizza,” Per Hjort, a Stockholm detective, [said]…

King of the Hill

Most of this is the typical masturbatory filth (including the vile claim that most men who pay for sex are pedophiles), but it does include a link to the DoJ fantasy “report” which produced the infamous “top 13 child sex trafficking hubs” list: Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Dallas, Detroit, Tampa, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, New York, Washington, Las Vegas and St. Louis.  I do not believe these are intended to be in order of magnitude, so I’ll just count them as “top 13” claims. Lancet sex work infographic

Shift in the Wind (TW3 #44)

The biggest news story of the week was the release of a World Health Organization report calling for total decriminalization of both drugs and sex work; it was accompanied by this reiteration of The Lancet‘s support for our position:

Sex work must be decriminalised if the world is to stand a chance of controlling the AIDS pandemic, say scientists contributing to a series of research papers in the Lancet medical journal.  Sex workers…are subject to repression, violence and abuse…at the hands of those who are supposed to uphold the law, according to the series of seven research papers presented at the International AIDS Conference…decriminalisation of sex work…across all settings…would reduce HIV infections by 33% to 46% over the next decade…

Original Sin (TW3 #321)

Neofeminist rhetoric and pop “addiction” charlatanry has now been completely incorporated into evangelical Christian beliefs about sexual “sin” to form a fully-developed “sex trafficking” religion:

Opposition to sex trafficking is almost universal…But many also…believe pornography production and distribution is a “victimless crime.”  They don’t connect the dots that lead from pornography directly to sex trafficking.  Pornography is a powerful stimulant that can actually alter brain patterns, creating addiction…Our sexualized culture, with its constant sexual portrayal of women, affects not only boys and men but girls and women, too.  Mass-marketing advertising campaigns directed at young girls seem to dictate that they must dress and act like prostitutes to be valued…girls increasingly view themselves as objects in a process called “sexual self-objectification.”  One result is today’s epidemic of “sexting”…Catherine Mackinon says that consuming pornography is an “experience of bought sex and thus it creates a hunger to continue to purchase and objectify, and act out what is seen.”  Pornography, she says, is “advertising for trafficking”…

Pimping the Pimp

Nevada “authorities” continue to use ridiculous “pimp” myths to enrich themselves and increase their power:

…A bill which would provide more resources for victims of human trafficking passed in the House of Representatives…Metro Police’s Vice Section rescued 91 women from the slave trade last year and 148 the year before.  The legislation could have an impact on men who trap these women. The prosecution of pimps wouldn’t be possible without the rehabilitation of survivors…The bill accesses millions of dollars for non-profits, who apply for money to serve homeless, runaway victims of severe trafficking…

Presumably, “rescued from the slave trade” actually means “arrested and caged for consensual sex”, because all the police departments in the entire country don’t discover anything like 91 coerced prostitutes per year.  And “serving victims” seems to mean “locking up whores indefinitely until they agree to participate in kangaroo courts.”

Number Puzzle (TW3 #324)

Cathy Reisenwitz spoke to some German sex workers:

…Germany’s decision to legalize prostitution not only helped sex workers, but actually decreased the number of human trafficking victims…According to the data, violence against sex workers is down, while sex workers’ quality of life is up…From 2001…to 2011, cases of sex-based human trafficking shrank by 10 percent…The mean age of a sex worker in Germany is 31.  Besides not being supported by data, the claim that legalizing prostitution increased human trafficking also defies common-sense economics…sex slang

Nasty Words (Extra Edition) 

The guy who did the massive Timeglider charts of slang terms for genitalia has unveiled three new ones: slang for sexual intercourse, for oral and anal sex, and for orgasm, bodily fluids and contraception.  Because he could.

Whimsical Notions

A group of former prostitutes has filed a lawsuit against the South Korean government seeking more than $1.2 million in compensation, alleging that it exercised significant control over their activities…The women worked in special government-designated areas near U.S. military bases beginning in the late 1950s…[the regime included] mandatory testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and women who were infected were sent to government-run camps…[where] their human rights were violated…It is thought to be the first such legal action taken by women — now elderly, but known as “western princesses” during their youth — who once worked in brothels that catered primarily to U.S. troops…in the decades after the Korean War…

Catastrophic Consequences

SCOT-PEP…exposed proposals from Police Scotland to impose unannounced “welfare visits” on sex workers who work from home…”Operation Lingle”…includes a programme of increased online surveillance of suspected sex workers, a clear violation of the civil liberties both of sex workers and the general public.  Members of the public will also be asked to speculate about which of their neighbours might be a sex worker and report them to the police, despite the fact that selling sex remains legal in Scotland…

As you may recall, we’ve seen this tactic before in Canada.

King of the Hill (All Traffick, All the Time)

Having his ridiculous numerical claims debunked multiple times in the national media hasn’t stopped Texas politician John Cornyn from making more of them:

Child sex trafficking has historically had a huge effect on the current immigration crisis in the U.S., and according to two Texas congressmen…hundreds of thousands of victims [have been] identified…”At least 700,000 people were reported as victims of international trafficking each year, 14,500-17,500 of which are women and children who are trafficked specifically into the United States”…

To Protect and Serve (TW3 #413)

Since their local case was dismissed, they took it to the feds:

…30 strippers are suing the San Diego police department after cops…forced…[them] to pose “nearly nude” for photos taken by members of the police department’s vice squad…approximately 10 officers detained the women for nearly an hour without a warrant or probable cause, and…cops made “arrogant and demeaning comments” while “ordering the women to pose in various positions and expose body parts so that the police could ostensibly photograph their tattoos”…Police department spokesperson Lt. Kevin Mayer described the raids and photos as a “routine” part of the city’s permit to regulate establishments with nudity…and…is meant to deter the women from engaging in “illegal acts”…

The Public Eye (TW3 #423) Land of Smiles poster

This is a refreshing change:

The phrase “human trafficking” conjures thoughts of sex slaves.  Most people mentally picture oppressed and exploited women…chained to a life of prostitution from which they must be freed…Erin Kamler…[traveled] to Thailand…and…found that things are not that simple…she discovered a world where politics and morality trumped human rights…feeling the need to educate the masses, Kamler…wrote a musical about Thailand’s anti-trafficking movement.  The Los Angeles premiere of Land of Smiles will run Wednesday-Saturday, July 23-26, at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, before heading to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August…[in] the story…Emma…arrives in Thailand an abolitionist wanting to “rescue” all the sex workers.  After speaking with Lipoh, who is being held at a detention center following a raid of the brothel where she worked, Emma begins to question what “rescued” really means…

Nice While It Lasted

Like hell it doesn’t:

New Zealand’s second-largest political party wants to reverse the burden of proof in rape cases if it gets into power, making defendants prove their innocence…Andrew Little, the Labour Party’s justice spokesman, has outlined plans for a monumental shift in the justice system…he said…”This approach does not contradict the fundamental principle that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty”…

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Prostitutes…will be forced to continue to hide…because even if they are not risking arrest, their clients are.  And their survival depends on their clients.  –  Tim Leicester

The Lesser of Two Evils

A rabbi makes an argument familiar to students of medieval Catholicism:

Britain should…[legalize] brothels and…[implement] basic controls over safety and hygiene…without monitoring activities too closely and thereby discouraging usage of them…It may be more messianic to want to end the sex trade altogether, but perhaps it is more religious to seek to channel it safely.

Feminine Pragmatism

Layal has…turned to sex work in [Beirut] to support her two children…“I don’t have any products to sell…I have myself to sell, and I’d much rather earn my money [like that] than I would begging on the street”…Layal says her Iraqi husband…sends her a monthly allowance from Baghdad, but…it’s not enough to cover her $900 rent…and allow her to send money to her family back in Syria.  He has no idea his wife is supplementing their income with prostitution …“A woman should never depend on anyone else for money, even her husband,” she says defiantly…

A Procrustean Bed

Note the assumption that there is always a “trafficker” hiding somewhere:

[Massachusetts’] new human trafficking law has been on the books since early last year, but Bristol County has not charged anyone and Plymouth County has brought charges against one man…[law sponsor] Mark C.W. Montigny…said the problem of human trafficking exists everywhere…and…the attitude that it doesn’t happen here is part of the problem…Law enforcement should use cases involving johns and prostitutes “to go up the ladder” and identify and prosecute the trafficker, he said…

Marching Up Their Own Arses
Slave Hunter

Remember Chris Baughman, the Las Vegas cop claiming to be an “expert” on “pimps”?  Pay especial note to the “magical pimp” trope:

[MSNBC’s]…new series, Slave Hunter: Freeing Victims of Human Trafficking…reveals…what happens behind closed doors in the sex trafficking underworld.  The series highlights the…work of human rights advocate, Aaron Cohen and his partner, former Las Vegas vice detective, Chris Baughman…MSNBC’s cameras follow Cohen and Baughman as they…identify trafficked women via on-line ads and then arrange to meet them in New York City hotel rooms with Cohen posing as a potential john.  When the women are open to help, Cohen and Baughman…[help] them to escape their bonds and build a new life…other times, the trafficked women sadly succumb to the powers of their “pimp”…

We can only hope this blows up in NBC’s face the way To Catch a Predator  eventually did.  Hey, guys, do you know the word for men like you who prey on women in order to enrich and aggrandize themselves?  Oops.

An Example to the West

over 1,500 sex workers…[voted in Delhi on] December 4…thanks to an enrollment drive by the state election commission…over 80 per cent [of] sex workers [are now registered]…”We all will vote…for the person who will fulfill our long-pending demands,” Munni Begum…of GB Road Sex Workers Association…said…

And in Mysore:

…Ashodaya Samithi…is…a powerful collective…of 336 members…[and] a network of volunteers operating in six districts of Karnataka.  It reaches out to 8,000 sex workers through its different initiatives…such as providing knowledge of legal and human rights…running drop-in-centres, operation of a crisis management unit, a restaurant…and a training academy predominantly run by members …they also offer HIV and STI testing facilities, counselling and free condoms…90 percent of sex workers in Mysore have been contacted monthly, 70 percent…visit…drop in centres regularly and 65 percent have become consistent condom users.  Ashodaya Samithi has successfully reduced STI prevalence within three years…

The Power of Myth

As I’ve explained before, even cases which could credibly be called “trafficking” rarely fit the myth:

…Since Australia introduced tough laws to crack down on trafficking a decade ago…eight of 15 people…convicted…were…female…migrants, born in the same…country as their victims and typically from similar…socio-economic backgrounds.  Most…involved…[debt-bonded] Thai women…[and] three…had reportedly been victims…themselves…[none] were involved in “high-end organised crime”…

Mythbusters

Eight common migration myths debunked, including “Migration is on the increase”, “Strict border controls reduce irregular migration”, and “Migrants take jobs that would otherwise go to natives.”Thompson & Hurd

The Widening Gyre

The words “sex trafficking” and “pimp” do not appear in this story; however, I think we all know what was going through these cops’ sick minds:

Houston Police have refused to explain why they took a 13-year-old white girl from her two black guardians…and [gave] her [to]…Child Protective Services.  Landry Thompson’s mother had signed notarized papers giving dance instructor Emmanuel Hurd full guardianship over her during a trip from Oklahoma to Houston…Thompson, Hurd and another dance instructor had stopped at a gas station…when they were surrounded by police cars…All three told the police the same story, but…“They still put handcuffs on me and it really scared me”…Thompson [said]…At first officials…demanded that the mother fly to Houston to get her daughter, but 11 hours later, the girl was released back into [Hurd’s] custody…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #28)

The French parliament has backed part of a bill that imposes a 1,500 euro (£1,250) fine on anyone paying for sex…Protests…took place outside the National Assembly in Paris as the debate took place…

The Course of a Disease (TW3 #47) Sidse Babett Knudsen as fictional Danish Prime Minister Birgitte Nyborg in Borgen

The Danes weren’t just satisfied with rejecting the tyrannical Swedish model; they also dramatized the events in a political television show:

…in the internet age, it is simply not good enough to pretend to be speaking for a “voiceless” group, as the surprised politicians learned in Borgen…Sadly, the biggest fiction…was the bit when the politician found herself impressed and moved by the voices of sex work activists…frighteningly few people in power have been willing to listen…

First They Came for the Hookers… (TW3 #132)

For those who still pretend government is different from organized crime:

…Houston Mayor Annise Parker…cut a deal with a group of strip clubs allowing them to…operate freely in exchange for an annual tax of $1 MILLION!…According to [a Houston Chronicle] article, “The city…has reached a settlement…that would halt enforcement of the three-foot rule and allow dancers to be fully topless in exchange for an annual $1 million donation to help combat human trafficking”…for those who have not completely removed the wool from their eyes, this is what is known…as a…shakedown.  But wait, only 16 clubs were included…so where does that leave the 50+ other strip clubs that have been purposely excluded from this deal?…I would venture…that…vice raids and harassment at these other clubs…will increase tremendously…the Mayor…herself…all but said that the other clubs will now be more routinely targeted…

Another, more obsequious blog reversed the roles by calling the deal “Houston’s dance with the devil” and breathlessly informed its readers that “Houston…has long been regarded as the nation’s hub of human trafficking”; I’d call that a claim for the #1 spot, wouldn’t you?

Due Consideration

I must admit, this one shocked even me:

…a pregnant Italian mother flew to England for a two-week…training course…she had…a panic attack when she couldn’t find the passports for her two daughters, who were with her mother back in Italy.  She called the police, who arrived…when she was on the phone to her mother…who explained [to cops] that her daughter was probably over-excited because she suffered from a “bipolar” condition and hadn’t been taking her medication…The police…[took] her to…a psychiatric hospital [where]…she was restrained…[and] sectioned under the Mental Health Act…five weeks later she was…strapped down and forcibly sedated, and when she woke up hours later, found she was in a different hospital and that her baby had been removed by caesarean section while she was unconscious and taken…by social workers.  She was…[then deported] to Italy without her baby…[who was] placed for adoption…Polaris King of the Hill

Number Puzzle (TW3 #324) 

Matthias Lehmann debunks more prohibitionist lies:

Re…“Germany is having second thoughts on legalized prostitution”…Alice Schwarzer’s… book and her appeal against prostitution have been widely criticized for using entirely unreliable data.  The counter-appeal…has been signed by numerous experts, including counseling centers for sex workers and victims of human trafficking as well as social scientists, social workers and sex workers themselves…a majority of the German public has consistently shown not to support a move to roll back the…law…

Number Puzzle (TW3 #326)

I don’t think many sex workers are unhappy about this:  “Germany’s biggest political parties have agreed to ban so-called flat-rate sex offered by some brothels…they view as exploitative the special offers…where men can have unlimited sex for 100 euros ($136)…

R.I.P. Petite Jasmine

In Sweden, sex workers are considered “unfit parents”; child molesters, on the other hand

A Swedish man convicted for molesting a five-year-old girl…has been [allowed] to adopt a child of his own…the man…has been found guilty of more than 90 crimes, mostly different types of fraud…and was also suspected of raping a…teenage girl…the…social affairs committee…found that his risk of relapse was…low…but…members were not given access to…details about his…sex crime…[and] there were no supporting documents to back up the assessment…

Dutch Threat (TW3 #334)

Utrecht city council has agreed [on] a new location for…prostitutes, five months after the licences for most of the…floating brothels were withdrawn…because of concerns the boat owners were involved in human trafficking…The prostitutes, some of whom had attempted to take over the boats themselves, will be relocated to a new location with 162 workspaces…The city is also introducing a minimum age of 21…and…in order to prevent a monopoly…owners will only be given three-year licences for no more than 20% of the windows.

Under Every Bed (TW3 #335)

I take back anything nice I’ve said about Al-Jazeera and “sex trafficking” mythology; this example of the new “gang” myth-motif (complete with the magic mind-control philter and confusion about the meaning of the verb “to sell”) is as bad as anything in the American media:

Washington DC…gangs are prostituting underage girls…Prosecutors say the pimps gave their victims drugs…to keep them submissive… “[prostitutes] can be considered a ‘reusable resource’…if you’re going to deal marijuana or cocaine; you use it up, you have to find another source or supply”…

The article does admit that “relatively little is known about the overall nature or extent of juvenile prostitution in the United States,” but of course that never stops prohibitionists from making grandiose pronouncements.

A War for Peace (TW3 #336) Femen at Artemis

Oh, the irony:

…Femen staged a topless protest outside one of Germany’s biggest brothels, as part of a campaign promoting [the Swedish model]…The women chanted “Go rape yourselves” and…briefly scuffled with the club staff…before being led away by police…Femen held a similar protest in Amsterdam earlier this month…Femen leader Inna Shevchenko said…”Prostitution is not a women’s industry, it’s a business controlled by men”…

Absolute Corruption (TW3 #336)

Still more victims of the Satanic panic released from prison:

Fran and Dan Keller…[were] released after 21 years in prison…The case…was part of national hysteria over alleged sexual abuse with Satanic overtones…therapists were subsequently criticized for having implanted the bizarre allegations into the minds of children…[Defense attorney Keith] Hampton…has vowed to work to completely exonerate the Kellers…

Whimsical Notions

Think this would’ve happened if legal, professional whores were available to soldiers?  “Female soldiers at Fort Hood [Texas] testified…that they were recruited for a prostitution ring set up by a sergeant involved in the sexual assault and harassment program…

Something Rotten in Sweden (TW3 #345)

This might make sense if selling sex were a bona fide criminal act, AND if nearly all clients only paid once in their lives:

…public defender Edgar Lin [had] filed motions to dismiss the two counts against Alexis L. Smith…99 percent of…arrested [clients]…never faced criminal charges, while 40 percent of the prostitutes were criminally charged…The discrepancy formed the basis of Lin’s argument that his client’s right to equal protection had been violated…But…Judge Mark McGinnis ruled that the patrons and prostitutes are not similarly situated, because the prostitutes…have ongoing criminal activity, while the johns typically only commit a single crime…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #348)

Another lurid, dysphemism-laden article on Brazilian sex work; this one conflates child, underage and adult prostitution, plays a shell game with agency, blames sex workers for the sadistic actions of police and has a faint Swedish odor in places.  All in all, a truly noxious mixture.

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Perhaps one day our culture will grow up enough to stop trying to tell adult women what we can do with our bodies and adult men what they can do with adult women, but in the meantime military men…will continue to seek us out despite the whimsical notions of those who think Nature can be controlled by legislation.  –  Maggie McNeill

PentagonSome of the worst of all lawheads, those most wedded to the farcical concept that reality can be shaped by the declarations of authorities and most detached from the actual consequences such declarations may have, exist in the rarefied atmosphere of high-level military command.  Even politicians have to be somewhat concerned about the consequences of their decisions, at least when those consequences are apparent to those they rule; after all, if things get bad enough they can be voted out of office.  But military commanders can only be removed from above, not from below; so as long as they please their own masters (which at the very top, means the political establishment), they can count on a long and distinguished career no matter how miserable the troops are or how much morale damage, physical and psychological harm, and  friction with allies their orders may cause.  Moreover, while a politician cannot readily insulate himself from the complaints of those harmed by his ill-considered diktats, it is only too easy for the Top Brass to shut themselves off from the troops and to ignore their responsibility for the results of their stupidity and shortsightedness.

The prevailing belief in the United States is that sex is unnatural.  Now, if asked, most who aren’t totally steeped in religious fanaticism will say the opposite, that sex is normal and natural.  But they don’t actually believe this; what they believe is that children are born “pure” and asexual, and remain so indefinitely until they are “sexualized” by outside contamination which ruins their sacred “innocence”.  Furthermore, they believe that even adults deprived of external sexual imagery or interaction will remain relatively uninterested in sex until such time as the government declares it’s acceptable for them to have it, and that sex without a government license is always harmful to women unless it’s completely buried inside a childish romantic fantasy.   The average American believes that “illicit” (i.e. unlicensed) sex is not only “harmful” in some way he cannot adequately explain, but also excites desire in some way that “good” sex does not, leading to “addiction”, “exploitation”, “negative secondary effects”  and other vague bugaboos for which not the slightest proof exists in reality.  Of course, regular readers know the opposite is true; porn and readily-available prostitution decrease rape and other social ills rather than increasing them, and men deprived of sexual stimulation become erratic and unhealthy  rather than lapsing into a docile, effeminate and celibate state.

A well-run military establishment would recognize that if there really is an “epidemic” of sexual assaults within the corps, the way to solving it is not to embrace moronic feminist assertions that “rape is caused by rage, not lust”, nor to “crack down” on assaults as though servicemen were unruly children in need of being “scared straight”.  No, Toru Hashimoto was right (though he seems unable to grasp the whole “consent” thing); military men do need “legal facilities for releasing sexual energy” in order to avoid problems which in extreme cases can grow into violence.  Unfortunately, the US military establishment is not well-run, and the Pentagon is far more concerned with promoting the government’s current political agenda than with the health and well-being of the troops, and so we get idiocy like this:

The U.S. military is cracking down on troops who support businesses connected to human trafficking, blocking airmen from spending money at so-called “juicy bars” and reminding all personnel of the prevalence of the problem businesses around bases in South Korea.  Leaders in the region have issued a series of directives to remind troops that prostitution and human trafficking are illegal…the three-star general in charge of the 7th Air Force in South Korea issued a stern warning…that…“Airmen…shall not provide money or anything of value to an employee or establishment…for the primary purpose of obtaining…company or companionship”…The prohibitions include paying fees to play darts, pool or other entertainment or buying a drink or a souvenir in exchange for an employee’s company …“disreputable establishments” near Air Force bases…take advantage of people, usually young women, and force them to work in bars.  The employees are subjected to debt bondage and forced to sell themselves as “companions”…

juicy bar protestOf course, we know the truth about this so-called “force”, and understand that for the military to deny these young women the right to make a living by the most lucrative means available to them   keeps them in poverty and may, like “end demand” schemes everywhere, force them into worse situations.  This destructive and wrongheaded policy helps nobody but the politicians who wish to pander to the whimsical notions of fanatics, but harms a great many people:  the young men deprived of an outlet for their natural sexual urges; the young women in host countries deprived of the best means of income available to them; the other young men and women subjected to sexual assault by those whose judgment and self-control has been eroded by a policy no less inhumane than starving them and depriving them of shelter; the businesses cheated of income from a large segment of the population in their areas; and the lower-echelon officers and NCOs who will be blamed for the damage caused by the refusal of their superiors to face reality.

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