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Posts Tagged ‘witchcraft’

They’re good clients, they give good money, better than anybody else.  –  Gabby, Ghanaian sex worker

Subtle Pimping

So many “artists” feel no compunction against exploiting sex workers:

Michael Jacobs, the director of a new virtual reality movie that premiered at SXSW, says that his film aims to give sex workers a voice.  But according to its main and only character, real-life sex worker and indie porn director named Liara Roux, the movie, which currently doesn’t credit her at all, includes nudity and intimate scenes that she didn’t agree to have included in the final film.  GFE…follows an “anonymous escort” as she goes on a date with a client.  Jacobs…[says] it’s a fictional “documentary fantasy” with the goal of “demystifying escort work and bringing a sense of empowerment to escorts…and men.”  Roux, however, says that she never signed a release for the film, and that she felt that it was an exploitative experience.  A spokesperson for SXSW [said]…Jacobs voluntarily pulled the film on [March 15th]…

Beware of people who say they want to “empower you” or “give you a voice”; such pomposity means they think you’re beneath them & have no voice of your own.  It sounds like something a Victorian might say about people in India.

Checklist (#542)

The places “authorities” demand their magical anti-pimp posters be displayed demonstrate their origin in puritanism:

As part of a sharpened campaign to combat human trafficking, North Carolina [pigs & prohibitionists]…have urged people to [spy on each other and rat others out to the pigs]…A law adopted in 2017…requires the signs to be placed in liquor stores.  Other states such as California, Texas and Oregon have taken similar actions targeting liquor stores because [dirty sex] people…might be more likely to be in a liquor store than somewhere like a post office or some other public space [where good people go]…

The Course of a Disease (#583) 

Cop says he’s “hamstrung” because he can’t arrest people who aren’t doing anything illegal:

[Vermont politician] Peter Fagan…introduced a bill…that would have expanded the definition of prostitution, closing a loophole that [pigs oink] has stymied efforts to [harass consenting adults] in the state.  However, Fagan said…that bill missed the…deadline…Matthew Prouty of the Rutland City Police said that Vermont’s prostitution law is [specific] …which has hamstrung [attempts to persecute owners and patrons of] massage parlors.  “My probable cause can’t be a purchaser who says they had a ‘happy ending’ because that isn’t illegal,” he said [following by grunting a lot of bizarre nonsense like] “Any time you have a drug market, you have a sex market…There are very, very few people that are making a living and not being coerced…That is [my perverted masturbatory fantasy] of it”…

Broken Record (#631)

Farm machinery still causes “sex trafficking”!  And strip clubs!  And sex stores!

Arriving…for her stint as a guest speaker for a human trafficking symposium, Summer Dickerson easily spotted a strip club and sex store in Oak Grove.  “You know y’all have a problem here,” [said] Dickerson, a [delusional prohibitionist]…Attorney General Andy Beshear kicked off the symposium, speaking about the state’s efforts to combat human trafficking…[by running a prostitution] sting during this year’s National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville…

To Molest and Rape 

Rapist cops don’t only target women:

A Chicago [cop] was…charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault and official misconduct.  The…victim was a man suspected in a misdemeanor whom Carlyle Calhoun and another [cop] were assigned to guard at St. Bernard Hospital on Feb. 3…as the victim was shackled to a bed, the [molester cop] sucked the man’s toes, grabbed his penis and took a photo of the victim as he tried to use a portable urinal.  Once the two were in a bathroom, Calhoun…”performed oral sex on the victim…The victim repeatedly asked the defendant to stop and tried to convince him that his misbehavior would be discovered”…

The Sky is Falling! (#772)

Just in case you thought blaming whores for epidemics went out sometime before the invention of indoor toilets:

…36 percent of the adults in Vulindlela [South Africa] are [HIV] positive, as are about 60 percent of the women aged 25 to 40.  Although HIV infection rates have stabilized globally, hundreds of thousands of South Africans are infected every year; more than 7 million live with the virus in their bodies…the HIV prevalence among adolescent girls is roughly five times greater than that of boys…researchers have concluded that the high rate of infections here—among both sexes—is driven in part by [sugar] relationships…

Because obviously, what the writer smugly calls “egalitarian” sex magically protects people from infection.

The Spiral of Absurdity (#792) 

This hodgepodge of racist, sexist, anti-sex nonsense seems to be trying to fit in every single “sex trafficking” trope:

The Katy [Texas, population 14,000] area is contributing to what Gov. Greg Abbott calls a statewide health crisis of human trafficking…A December 2016 University of Texas at Austin report says 313,000 people were trafficked in Texas in 2016, 79,000 of whom were children [without anyone noticing].  Kelly Litvak, [another mathematically-illiterate prohibitionist]…said there is evidence of brothels and trafficking along the I-10 corridor…12-14 years of age…social media…lure them…recovery of victims…human trafficking’s grip…children can be recruited into sex work…the horror…[fetishist] Vanessa Forbes…said she knows of at least 11 brothels…staffed by women of Asian descent who are forced into prostitution…They are often in strip malls and disguised as…nail spas…Women trafficked for sex…are…delivered [in plain cardboard boxes] to people responding to online ads…A narcotic can be sold once and…a prostitute can be sold multiple times per day…76 percent of money for sex transactions processed online…mentally conditioned through abuse and coercion to defend their pimps in court…

This was ostensibly written by an adult man with a university degree.

Not So Easy

A rare victory for sex workers:

In a striking victory for [sex workers]…a divided New Orleans City Council shot down a proposal…to cap the number of Bourbon Street strip clubs…The council voted 4-3 against the limit after hearing from numerous dancers who called…police raids…a threat to their livelihoods and their freedom of expression…[proposal sponsor] Stacy Head…[lied] that the limit was no more than a routine move to rein in some of the excesses associated with crowded, high-traffic businesses, rather than an attack on adult entertainment…the…vote means strip clubs will be allowed to operate unencumbered once a temporary ban on new ones lifts in May…

Note that all three politicians who voted to infantilize women & destroy their livelihood were themselves women.

The Widening Gyre (#811) 

It’s hilarious watching the cops trying to regain control of a runaway moral panic:

Several Facebook posts have gone viral in [Colorado] detailing scary situations where human traffickers tried to lure new victims at popular shopping centers…“As far as we know, no.  It’s not real.  It seems like a hoax,” Thornton police Sgt. Ernie Lucero said. “Just sharing it just because [some “authority” says it’s real] doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always fact”…The posts are convincing to [ignorant] social media users.  They have been shared thousands of times, causing [stupid] people to worry about public safety…

That Old Black Magic (#813) 

Remember this next time prohibitionists try to blame migration on African religions:

On March 9, Oba Ewuare II, the traditional ruler of the kingdom of Benin, in southern Nigeria, put a voodoo curse on anyone who abets illegal migration within his domain.  At the same time, he revoked the curses that leave victims of trafficking afraid that their relatives will die if they go to the police or fail to pay off their debt.  Before being smuggled into Europe, women and girls in the area, which falls in present-day Edo State, [agree] to sign a contract with the [smugglers] who finance their journey…The agreement is sealed with a…juju, ritual…The oba has authority over all the spiritual priests in the Benin kingdom (not to be confused with the West African country of Benin)…What the oba has done is likely to be more effective than anything the international anti-trafficking community has managed to do after millions of dollars and many years…over 90 percent of the thousands of women [who migrate] from Nigeria to Europe to work as prostitutes are coming from Edo…in the early 1980s women there started traveling to Italy to trade in gold and beads, and “saw a thriving market in prostitution”…[they told other women, and those women’s choices to risk migration for a chance at success are now being branded] human trafficking…

Standard Operating Procedure (#817)

Bullshit-free headline: “How UN Staff are Helping Local Economies”:

Despite the UN’s “zero tolerance policy”, sexual exploitation continues in South Sudan…Last month, the U.N. recalled a 46-member Ghanaian peacekeeping police unit…following allegations of members of the unit [paying for services] with locals.  The action of the U.N. in this case will provide “interesting insight into whether or not the [U.N.] secretary-general is serious about sexual abuse,” [bloviated prohibitionist] Peter Gallo…Gabby [a sex worker in Juba] works three or four nights a week and can make up to $200 a night from one international aid worker or U.N. staff client, she said — an evening that often includes dinner, drinks, and a fully paid hotel room.  This is in stark contrast to her South Sudanese clients, many of whom don’t pay at all and sometimes turn violent…

Elephant in the Parlor (#822)

Though most people are focusing on the sex, the real story here is that she was threatened with violence:

Stormy Daniels…revealed the details of an alleged affair with President Donald Trump, telling Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes that she felt threatened into remaining silent…Daniels said she feared for her and her family’s safety, and opted to sign a nondisclosure agreement instead of going public and cashing in for more money…“I didn’t even negotiate, I just quickly said yes to this…strict contract…and what most people will agree with me extremely low number”…in July 2006 at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe…Trump said during their initial encounter in his hotel room that she reminded him of his daughter Ivanka…she instructed Trump to pull down his pants so that she could spank him with a magazine, which featured his face on the cover.  “So he turned around and pulled his pants down a little—you know had underwear on…I just gave him a couple swats,” Daniels said…Later…she and Trump had unprotected sex.  She said that even though she did not want to have sex with him…it was entirely consensual…[because] Trump…kept dangling the possibility of signing her as a contestant on The Apprentice…[and] she viewed it as a potential “business deal”…Four years later, Daniels says she was physically threatened after [Trump’s lawyer] Cohen found out that she had tried to tell her story to a celebrity gossip magazine…she was in a parking lot with her infant daughter when a man approached her and said, “That’s a beautiful little girl.  It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom…Leave Trump alone.  Forget the story”…

Too Close To Home (#824)

Sydney Brownstone has more on Seattle’s evil scheme to sell human lives to a sociopathic billionaire:

…lawyers representing men caught in a sex work review website sting showed up in King County Superior Court with an unusual and bold request: to disqualify the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office from prosecuting their cases…thousands of documents show…the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office collaborated with the Massachusetts-based Demand Abolition, including…strategies for dealing with reporters and sex worker advocates…in 2018–after the World Health Organization and Amnesty International have endorsed research and policies showing that decriminalizing sex work, including buying sex, actually keeps sex workers safer—King County’s involvement with Demand Abolition raises questions about why prosecutors are still increasingly criminalizing…sex work…

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Why shouldn’t a man want sex?  Why shouldn’t a man want intimacy?…Why do we view that as being abusive or predatory?  –  Antonia Murphy

Mythbusters

Six years ago I mocked UK cops for demanding censorship of nude art based on Greek mythology, but now the galleries are doing it themselves:

Manchester Art Gallery has…remov[ed] John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs…from its walls.  Postcards of the painting will be removed from sale in the shop.  The painting was…replaced with a notice explaining that a temporary space had been left “to prompt conversations about how we display and interpret artworks”.  Members of the public have stuck Post-it notes around the notice giving their reaction…Clare Gannaway, the gallery’s curator of contemporary art, [gave her opinion even though the painting is Pre-Rapealite and not contemporary]…The removal itself is [censorship presented as] an artistic act and will feature in a solo show by the artist Sonia Boyce which opens in March…Gannaway [pretended] the removal was not about censorship [despite bloviating a lot of nonsense about “objectification” and the evil “male gaze”]…

Yes, this means that modern people are officially more prudish than Victorians. 

First They Came for the Hookers… (#349)

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

A Harris County judge has ordered the closing of a Houston strip club after [cops raided it] more than 30 [times, alleging] crimes including prostitution…over the past four years.  Judge Fredericka Phillips granted a request from the city to have Fantasy Plaza, a club [which does not pay the required bribes to Houston police], closed…

That’s not just a snarky interposition of my own, by the way; click on the title link.  Houston actually has a program that allows strip clubs to openly pay off cops not to be raided, and Fantasy Plaza is one of the clubs suing the city in federal court to shut the scheme down. But yeah, I’m sure those 30 raids were for serious “crimes”.

Down Under (#410)

New Zealand is moving toward the day when disclaimers like this will no longer be necessary:

Antonia Murphy is…the madam of Whangarei’s The Bach, an enterprise she’s taking pains to describe as an ethical brothel.  “If you start by saying it’s a ­brothel, in my experience people immediately start relating it to violence and gangs and drugs,” Murphy says…This means treating her workers with respect – providing them with condoms, briefing them on their legal rights, paying them at least $150 an hour – and there’s free childcare on site.  “New Zealand seems way ahead of the curve in terms of decriminalisation and yet [because of stigma] much of the sex industry is still bogged down in sort of shady working practices…It’s still not socially accepted and there is still a lot of judgment”…

Whither Canada? (#439)

This challenge is only necessary because the Liberals lied about repealing the law:

Canada’s prostitution laws are being put to the legal test in a London, Ont. courtroom where two people are charged with advertising sexual services, profiting from the sex trade and producing a person to offer sexual services.  The first defence expert witness called in the case, academic Chris Atchison, testified that the new law, often referred to as Bill C-36, makes it less safe for people in the sex trade to do their jobs…Hamad Anwar and Tiffany Harvey…face more than two dozen [prohibition]-related charges each…[after] a bust made by London police at an escort service in November 2015…

Schadenfreude (#561) 

I wonder how much profit they made on survival sex workers’ backs with this scam?

Dozens of [survival sex workers were kick out of a shelter the day after the Super Bowl]…a long-term residential facility…called Breaking Free…typically require[s women to submit to indoctrination]…to stay there but for the 10 days leading to the Super Bowl, Breaking Free [staged a publicity stunt in which they provided] emergency shelter.  The NFL Super Bowl Host Committee, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Catholic Benedictine Sisters and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet, among other organizations, footed the bill to help Breaking Free buy beds, food and emergency provisions…”What a heartbreak to tell the women they can’t spend the night here” said Terry Forliti, Breaking Free’s executive director…”My fear is they fall back into the life, when we have tried so hard to offer an exit strategy”…

“Exit strategy” my high-priced arse.  Breaking Free is well known as a money-hungry profiteer group more concerned with milking the unfortunate than helping them; three years ago its own employees reported it to its funding agencies for “misuse of funds, property, and services and…staff misconduct”…

That Old Black Magic (#714)

The descent of “sex trafficking” hysteria into self-parody continues unabated:

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said it has engaged some local witchdoctors in Benin, Edo as ambassadors in fighting human trafficking in [Nigeria]…The Director General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donli…said investigations revealed that some local witch doctors were involved or used in the [migration] of persons to Europe.  “When we gathered these witchdoctors recently to [indoctrinate] them [with anti-migration propaganda European countries are paying us to disseminate], they were shocked”…

O, Canada! (#733)

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

If you ask most Canadians, they’d say…this isn’t the kind of place where men and women entrap teenagers, then move them from city to city, buying and selling them as modern-day sex slaves…But Canada is exactly that kind of place….[prohibitionists fantasize] there are thousands of them…The average age at which exploitation begins is 13; the average age of rescue, if a girl is rescued at all, is 17…[prohibitionist] Shae Invidiata…[fantasizes] “One girl in Canada can make a pimp $300,000 a year”…[hysteria has] gotten to the point where, last February, the Edmonton Police Service changed the name of its Vice unit…to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit [so they could cash in]…The youngest victim they’ve rescued so far was 13…

It’s rare that a propaganda piece is so idiotic that it contradicts itself within a couple of paragraphs; how can the average and youngest “victim” both be 13?

First They Came for the Hookers… (#752) 

Sorry, but I have no sympathy for someone who leaves a job inflicting violence consensually for one where she can inflict it non-consensually:

A New Jersey sheriff’s officer has lost her job because she previously appeared in bondage films as a dominatrix…Kristen Hyman…was [supposedly] terminated for lying about her prior work on her application, [but]…she would not have made it into the academy had she been honest about her past.  The sheriff’s office characterized Hyman’s activities, which took place roughly from 2010 through 2012, as conduct unbecoming for a public employee…

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#756)

This might be the first of these apps to actually consult sex workers:

A new app…is dubbing itself the Airbnb of sex work…“Gfendr”…developed in Montreal, has attracted 700 users since its launch [three] weeks ago…[it] allows sex workers to list their services and rate clients.  In turn, clients can search for sex workers based on their preferences and chat with their chosen service provider about location and price ahead of time.  Sex workers can flag difficult or dangerous clients, helping others avoid unsafe situations in the future.  Vancouver sex-worker advocacy group PACE said the founders of the app reached out to them and other groups across the country ahead of the launch and asked for feedback…Co-developer Melissa Desrochers says she and her partner have built the app without funding. Once there are more users, sex workers will be able to pay to promote their services in search results…[but since] current laws…say buying sex and helping advertise are illegal…the police might use the app to gather information on sex workers and clients…Gfendr only requires a phone number or email to register, and Desrocher assures that this and all other identifying information is encrypted by an outside company, so even she doesn’t have access to it…

Decentralization (#764)

Good grief, another titcoin?

Leah Callon-Butler wants to revolutionise the sex and adult industries using cryptocurrency.  Alongside her four co-founders she’s helping develop a new cryptocurrency called Intimate which will operate as a digital payment option for adult or sexual products, services or offerings…

Signs (#766) 

Yet another reason never to call the fucking cops:

When Jodi Gaylord answers…911 calls at the emergency dispatch center in Vancouver [Washington], details can raise red flags.  She asks herself, “Could this be a sex trafficking situation?”…Gaylord was just one dispatcher in four groups who…were [indoctrin]ated on the subject by [prohibitionists]…

IOW, that call you make to rat out your neighbor could end with a SWAT team smashing down your door and murdering your dog because some dumbass with no critical thinking skills imagines you “raised a red flag”.

Signs (#771)

Americans disapprove of teaching kids about sex, but they’re all for filling their heads with stupid anti-sex propaganda:

A bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers announced Monday, Jan. 29 they would introduce legislation during the coming 2018 session designed to help prevent sex trafficking in Minnesota through education…“There are people who are trained to manipulate you, to coerce you, to persuade you they’re your boyfriend…This is the curriculum we hope to have schools teach and will warn girls against”…

Cops and Robbers (#794)

These were first used in Seattle, but monkey-cop see, monkey-cop do.  Especially when both gangs of monkeys are on the same billionaire sociopath’s payroll:

Technology has opened a new door for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and Sheriff Tom Dart says it’s not clear yet what they’ll do with it.  It’s software that can respond by text to people who are looking on-line to pay for sex…In a roughly 30-day period that just wrapped up, 2,500 people engaged with the bots.  Around 65 percent of them stayed with the text exchange until they agreed on a price.  Then, the would-be sex buyers got a…sort of a “scared straight” message meant to deter any future endeavors…

And judging by the amount of work I and my friends have had in Seattle since summer, no, they don’t deter business.  But I’m sure you’d already guessed that; cops don’t like to crow about surveillance tricks (such as Stingrays) that actually work.

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Your language is disgusting.  –  unnamed racist woman

One of my favorite musicians has just released a new Christmas album, and here’s her performance of one of my favorite Christmas carols!  The links above the video were provided by Radley BalkoAmy AlkonMike SiegelAlejandroTim CushingAdjective Girl and Radley again, in that order.

From the Archives

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In folklore, fantasy literature and occult thought, it’s possible to conjure beings from spiritual realms or other planes of existence or whatever to appear before one by various means, usually some sort of spell.  In the case of truly powerful and malevolent entities, it might be as simple as saying the being’s name (hence the phrase “speak of the Devil”), but usually there are conditions that have to be met – a sacrifice or some such – in order for the invocation to work.  Well, I’m neither an angel nor a succubus, but in response to a number of requests over the past couple of weeks I’m going to provide you with a not-so-mystic formula which will enable you to summon me to your city.  Normally, the process would involve contacting me via email, offering me a booking or bookings totaling up to the round-trip travel time to wherever it is, and then paying a deposit on that time; for example, it’s a four-hour flight each way to Chicago, so I’d need eight hours of work to justify travel.

Now, I recognize that a booking that long might be outside of the budget of many of you, but while I’m hawking my new book, The Forms of Things Unknown, I have an alternative means of summoning me anywhere in the US (and maybe other countries later, but we’ll talk about that when it materializes).  All you need to do is this:  contact a local bookstore or bookstores to find out if they’d like me to do a reading, and how much advance notice they need.  Then figure out a venue for me to do some kind of talk – for a university, a women’s group, a sex worker rights or libertarian group, etc – and talk to whoever you need to get a general idea of how to set that up.  Then contact me so we can agree on some tentative dates, and set up the events firmly.  Finally, arrange for a place for me to stay while in your city…and poof, I’ll magically fly through the air on the appointed day and appear at the events you’ve set up, and you can book a normal-length appointment for me instead of having to shell out for a long one.  I know this may seem like a lot of work, but am I not worth it?  Some folks in Chicago evidently thought so, because I’m heading there Wednesday; I’ve also spoken to sponsors in Washington DC and Tampa, Florida.  What have you got to lose?  Make a few phone calls at no cost to yourself, exercise your planning skills and summon the Whore of Babylon without all that seal-breaking and goat-sacrificing rigmarole.  You’ll be glad you did.

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[Jessica] McGraa’s death has prompted many to ask how we have created a climate in which sex workers call anyone but the police.  –  Frankie Mullin

Lying Down With Dogs

Melissa Ditmore on Russia’s terrible anti-whore policies:

Russian President Vladimir Putin…half [joked]…that…Russian sex workers are “of course the best in the world”…but…Russia’s regressive policies on sex work, LGBTQ people, and sex education are counter to good health.  LGBTQ people are stigmatized and discriminated against and face grave violence, sex work is prohibited, the most effective HIV prevention strategies for people who use drugs are against the law, and comprehensive sexuality education is not offered in schools…

The Mote and the Beam

Liz Brown was the only non-prohibitionist invited to appear on this Al Jazeera show; in this article she discusses the incredible ignorance of the other panelists, who call for more laws without even knowing what the current ones say.

An Example To the West

Two thousand signatures:

The National Network of Sex Workers has released a statement challenging the conference being organised by the “The Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution International”…The statement has been signed by over 2000 sex workers in India who reject the conflation of trafficking with sex work, and the conflation of sex work with violence.  It calls for…an end to the use of morality to stigmatise and discriminate against sex workers…

Broken Record 

The broadest “gypsy whore” claim ever:

a new report from 2016 [redefines criteria to claim that] the number of human trafficking cases in [Florida] doubled in the last year…Florida’s reputation as a tourist destination means traffickers respond to the demand for sex tourism by trafficking victims to the state during tourist season…[prohibitionist] Bethany Gilot [publicly fantasized about]…the prevalence of sex tourism in the region…

I Swear To God

And yet “feminists” were perfectly happy when it was sex workers’ rights which were the forbidden topic:

Donald Trump signed [an] executive order…reinstating a ban on international aid…to nonprofits that provide abortions or promote information on them, regardless of what other services they offer…A…group of more than 100 public health, women’s issues, and civil liberties organizations have already issued a statement opposing the return of…”the global gag rule”…[the policy is very much like] the anti-prostitution pledge…[which] stipulated that no grant money could be used…to “provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution”…

That Old Black Magic

I’m not sure which aspect of this is the stupidest:

A woman accused of trafficking a Nigerian woman into the country and forcing her to work as a prostitute has claimed that the alleged victim was having an affair with her husband…The complainant previously told a jury that she underwent a “voodoo process” in Nigeria during which she swore she would not report the alleged trafficker, Joy Imasogie…once in Ireland she had to have sex with up to 10 men a day to pay off a €50,000 “debt”…arising from her being brought to Ireland…Imasogie said sometimes the woman would come to her house to do her hair in exchange for food but denied making her work as a prostitute…she…also claimed the mother of the alleged victim was using voodoo to take her husband away from her but “did not succeed”…

Monsters 

A 26-year-old Detroit man…[shot] a transgender woman in the face after paying her for sex.  Jason Lamar Hogan was charged…with [attempted murder]…She escaped and got treatment at Grace Hospital…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is urging you to drop an F-bomb.  No, not the swear word.  In this case, F stands for Friend…They’re using memes with a very serious message.  It’s something we don’t like to think is happening in our community: kids forced to be sex slaves.  But Florida is one of the top three states for human trafficking…Ken Gibson from the Crisis Center…says…“It’s little kids…who are being targeted by pimps”…

Checklist (#542)

Can this reporter actually be so credulous as to believe it takes 20 cops to check to see if a strip club is displaying the magical scrolls demanded by Florida politicians?

There was no dancing when deputies and code enforcement officers were at a strip joint called Icon.  Except for the 20 or so officials, the club was nearly vacant…But the deputies didn’t mind the empty stage, as they were there to ensure that the club was in compliance with a new county ordinance requiring anti-human trafficking signs in adult entertainment establishments…

The nauseating sound of bootlicking is deafening.

Perquisites (#582) 

Yawning.

…University of Louisville…director of basketball operations Andre McGee hired strippers and prostitutes as a way of gaining favor with high school recruits from 2010 to 2014.  The scandal broke wide open in 2015, when Katina Powell, who was in charge of organizing the women to bring to campus, published a book detailing the racket, titled Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen…

Surplus Women (#614) 

It will never be completely safe for any sex worker, or really any woman, to call the cops.  But we need to give the cops far fewer excuses to force interaction with sex workers:

Jessica…McGraa’s death sent waves of horror through the sex work community across the UK.  As an independent worker, advertising online, she was part of one of the fastest-growing sectors of the industry.  Her story was close to home for thousands of people working in similar circumstances.  How many of them would have called the police?…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-evan-cramer

Once again: if you think it matters whether a rapist cop was “on duty” at the time of the rape, you are part of the problem:

Evan Cramer…pulled [a woman] over…for a minor traffic violation…[he said] she had multiple warrants out for her arrest and said she could avoid jail time if she [submitted to rape]…Cramer…then…[forced] the [woman] into his cruiser and [drove] her to a vacant lot where…he [raped her]…The woman then went to the hospital and reported the [rape]…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#705) 

Though this is mostly just the usual idiocy, note that “children” is defined as “people under 26”.

There are likely more than 313,000 victims of labor and sex trafficking in Texas, and roughly a fourth of them are children and people under the age of 26 who have been forced into prostitution…[fetishists] from…University of Texas…[pretend these wild exagerrations represent] “a conservative understatement of the prevalence of human trafficking in Texas”…

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Sex workers are…the sacrificial offering that people outside of the industry are willing to make in an attempt to attain an impossible state of societal purity.  –  Clay NikiforukClay Nikiforuk

The Red Umbrella 

This excellent December 17th column by Clay Nikiforuk only came to my attention this week:

…Canadian law…C-36 [supporters]…talk of wanting to “end demand” for sexual services, and I wonder what that could mean.  Is there a lab somewhere cooking up a pill to end cravings for intimacy?  Or maybe an army of attractive sex robots are being programmed as we speak?  Ending demand seems like an imaginary Conservative wonderland, and no one wants to talk about the fact that it doesn’t exist and thus no one has any idea of how to get there.  In the meantime, prostitution abolitionists are content with an approach that…will result in nothing but violence against a marginalized group if these heinous laws are enforced…[prohibitionist] language suggests that sex workers are things to be purchased rather than lucid, valuable people who make choices, among others, to market and sell services…no sex worker sells their body.  They are not passive ragdolls, slaves for the enjoyment of ravenous perverts, as the pornographic imagination might wish to believe…they are complex and complete people who have their own stories and are part of communities.  They cannot be sacrificed for a supposedly feminist ideal that wishes to ignore, silence, and erase them…

A Narrow View

Ask yourself:  if the operators of “rescue homes” really have the best interests of “rescued” sex workers at heart, why must they invariably deny these women’s agency and reduce them to passive, doll-like creatures to be done to?

A St. Louis charity will open a home next year where a small group of women who are trying to escape from a cycle of prostitution and prison can rebuild their lives.  Christine McDonald has spent months visiting prisons searching for women…[to] be the first residents of the 10,000-square-foot home being opened by Magdalene St. Louis.  The women will live there two years and will have access to free food, health care, counseling and job training…director…Tricia Roland-Hamilton…said many people believe these women choose a life of prostitution, but they don’t…

The Widening Gyre 

An escort is murdered, and cops immediately pimp her corpse to promote their crusade by declaring her a “victim of sex trafficking”:

A Vancouver woman found murdered inside her…Portland hotel…was a victim of sex trafficking, according to…Police…Ashley Renee Benson’s…body was found in a stairway at the Double Tree [sic] Hotel…Benson’s family [said]…they didn’t know Benson was a sex trafficking victim until they heard it on the news…they didn’t notice anything different about Benson when they saw her on Christmas Day, just 21 hours before she was found dead…

The reason the family didn’t know she was a “victim” is because she wasn’t.

Checklist bingo prostitution

Baltimore hotels would be required to train their staffs to recognize signs of forced prostitution under proposed legislation that also would prohibit rooms from being rented for less than half a day.  City Councilman James B. Kraft said the anti-human trafficking bill is necessary to combat an “international plague”…[because] Baltimore …[is near] Interstate 95…Hotel staff may recognize individuals who frequently rent rooms…The victims may eat all their meals inside the room and only…pay in cash…

Original Sin

It’s unusual to see an evangelical break with the party line on “trafficking”, but refreshing to be cast as a powerful witch instead of a helpless “victim”:

…why it is that only clients should be criminalised, but not the prostitute?  The question that must be asked is who the victim is and who is the predator…Modern society generally deems the prostitute to be “hurt” or “harmed” because she is used by clients…This is a dangerous half-truth.  The prostitute is the woman of Proverbs 7 who is brash, rebellious, sly, and of a wicked bitter tongue…She victimises even strong men through her sexual immorality and wicked flattering words…While she may indeed be used by others for sexual gratification, she is a predator…Prostitutes are harlots – they seduce unsuspecting men who do not know about the moral dangers of indulging in sexual immorality…

Original Sin (#321)

Another self-proclaimed “authority” helpfully explains that porn causes “sex trafficking”:

…sex trafficking and exploitation exist…even [in] Utah…social media and easy global access have made it more simplistic [sic] for criminals to entice targets…young men and women…are more exposed than ever [due to online flirting]…chat rooms are still…the weapon of choice for criminals…Sgt. Jason Randall…[fantasizes about] minors being forced to engage in sexual acts…on pornographic…websites…Randall said he believes pornography is at the source of all the exploitation problems…“Pornography is just like drugs.  People can dabble in it and never get addicted to it.  But some people — it’s just taking that first hit of meth, and then they’re hooked…There’s no question that there’s a correlation between pornography and sex offenses”…

Highlight of the story:  a bureaucrat named Tammy Atkin wisely pronounces that nobody grows up and then makes a statement about what she’d like to do when she is 12.

Welcome To Our World (#327)

Fifteen people have been arrested in Beijing in connection with a prostitution ring which used websites to connect young mothers with men who paid to be breastfed by them…Wet nurses that serve adults are paid $2,600, nearly four times the monthly average…

Mumbo Jumbo

Sometimes the connection between “sex trafficking” hysteria and the Satanic panic is subtle, and other times…well, see for yourself:

Traffic Circle

It’s a small development, especially considering that the publication is Reason and the author is steadfast ally Elizabeth Nolan Brown; however, it’s still fantastic to see “Sex Trafficking Hysteria” as a heading in a national magazine article that treats both the hysteria itself and the bullshit used to promote it as what they are rather than deferentially pretending that there’s any doubt at all, as even most skeptical articles do.

Shame, Shame (TW3 #348)

“Cyber Civil Rights Initiative” is a front organization for Mary Anne Franks:

Illinois became the latest state to criminalize “revenge porn,” crafting what its creators hope will become a model for federal legislation…The…law…will punish offenders with one to three years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine.  “We believe [revenge porn] is a form of sexual assault,” [figurehead sponsor] Scott Drury [said]… “You could be someone working at Burger King, and now you’re a sex object.”  Carrie Goldberg…of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, which [wrote] the Illinois law [downplayed valid concerns about the unintended consequences of the vague, overbroad legislation]…

Property of the State

Note how the police state uses the mere existence of a sex worker’s child as an excuse to proclaim consensual sex a “felony”:

A woman was arrested for promoting prostitution while her 2-year-old was at daycare…Trishta Daniels [was ratted out by hotel employees and ambushed by cops upon] leaving her room…Police [abducted] the child and [trafficked her to] the Department of Children’s Services…

That Old Black Magic (#422)

West African “penis stealing” hysteria, now with whores!

A 23-year-old woman, Uche Agunta, who works as a prostitute confessed that her gang specialises in cutting off victims’ manhood during sex…[she] had har­vested about seven [penises] be­fore she was arrested…her method is to lure men into sex…and at the height of ecstasy, she would sneak out razor blade and cut off her partner’s manhood…for money rituals…

Follow Your Bliss (#424) White Slaves of Chinatown

There’s something profoundly perverse about many of the “grim truth behind prostitution”…articles…Rescue stories read like erotica, but they sensationalise sex workers’ lives at their expense and commodify the experiences of actual victims.  They are obsessed with how many penises in filthy surroundings and rape by their stepfather and forced abortions and getting peed on and condomless blowjobs.  While sex workers and sex work activists want to talk about human rights, international law, respecting the agency of other adults and stopping violence, rescue fetishists get all flushed as they emphasise that thousands of women get raped with objects and are forced to drink buckets of sperm and they get tattoos so everyone can see they are a whore…The rescue industry exploits others for financial gain, which is morally reprehensible, but their non-consensual use of vulnerable women for their perverse sexual preferences is a grim truth about the rescue industry that really nobody is telling you…

Worse Than I Thought (#433)

As I predicted, this trope is becoming much more common:

Darlene Pawlik…was…sold into prostitution…before she reached legal adulthood…[she] found herself sold hundreds of times, bought by local businessmen, a city councilman, and a candidate for sheriff..[when she] found herself pregnant…[she] faked an abortion so she could leave the lifestyle.  She reached a new home and began a new, restored life and eventually became a nurse, business owner, married mother of 5 children, and pro-life advocate…

All conveniently far in the past and without names or evidence, natch.

Backwards into the Future (#439)

Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!

Vietnam will not see prostitution as a legitimate profession…[said] Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam…[he also pretended] that anti-prostitution measures [could somehow be considered]…human rights protection…The [repetition of political dogma]…came in response to a number of opinions from…officials who suggested that sex work should be legalized in Vietnam as it serves an essential need of people and such legalization would help improve the management of sex workers…

Subtle Pimping (#445)

Jin Ohashi…is being questioned for his unethical way of taking photos [of]…Thai sex workers who don’t even know their photos were exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography…[Ohashi has] fondly and proudly talked about how he pretended to be a regular tourist and sneaked his camera into the brothels, where cameras are strictly prohibited.  He talked about his bravery of doing so against his local coordinator’s warning.  He even said, without the slightest nuance of guilt, that sex workers got panicked when his camera flashed and ran about trying to hide from him…the attitude shown by Ohashi indicates the less-than-human views he holds of the Thai sex workers…in [a] 2007 interview [he said]  sleeping dogs by the roadside and those girls had the same tension… whatever that means…Sandra

Monkey Business (#449) 

An orangutan named Sandra has become the first non-human animal recognized as a person in a court of law.  The Association of Officials and Lawyers for Animal Rights…had asked Argentine courts recognize the 28-year-old great ape’s right to freedom from unjust imprisonment…if the zoo does not challenge the decision within 10 working days, Sandra will be sent to a sanctuary in Brazil…The decision may have ramifications for other great apes.  In the United States, a group called the Nonhuman Rights Project is currently seeking similar rights for four privately-owned chimpanzees in New York state…

Banishment (#452)

Predictable as sunrise:

Timothy Poole, the…registered [sex offender who won the Florida] lottery…is being sued by two alleged victims who say he owes them for pain, suffering and psychological damages.  The two are brothers who were 5 and 9 years old at the time of the abuse in 1996…Their attorneys…are seeking a court order to freeze Poole’s [assets] until the proceedings are over because Poole may “squander, hide or otherwise dispose of assets”…

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Even when we understand that memories can be altered, or even fabricated…the truth is difficult to accept; after all, our memories certainly seem permanent, and we might like to believe that things we have forgotten have merely been mislaid, like old VHS tapes consigned to a box at the back of a closet and covered with old clothes.  –  “Mind-witness Testimony

If you haven’t yet read my research paper, “Mind-witness Testimony”, you really ought to; it expands at much greater length and in much greater detail on the themes I discussed in “Imagination Pinned Down” and “I Disbelieve It!”, mocked in “Mulberry Street” and mentioned in passing in “Traffic Jam”, “The Swedish Cult”, “That Old Black Magic”, “Mumbo Jumbo” and many other places.  The Reader’s Digest version is:

…The human mind doesn’t passively record events as a camera does; memory is an active and dynamic process which retains information by fitting it into schemata, mental frameworks which shape our thinking and give meaning to perceptions…The same psychological mechanism which causes us to find pictures in Rorschach’s inkblots also causes us to fit memories into the complex web of schemata by which we interpret the world.  And just as we ignore those topological elements of a cloud or inkblot which do not fit the meaning our minds have imposed upon it, so do we forget or distort elements of a memory which fail to conform to the schema in which we have embedded it, or even invent elements which were not in reality present, but which the schema predicts should be…The human mind often completely fabricates memories in order to impose conformity with one’s weltanschauung.  One simple example involves police lineups:  people will often identify the man whom police imply (subtly or overtly) is their preferred suspect because they believe police to be expert assessors of guilt who would never implicate someone falsely, and this schema of police authority and infallibility actually shapes their memories, sometimes to the point of identifying a person who is later proven to look absolutely nothing like the actual criminal…

Lancashire witchesIn witch hunts of both the classic and modern varieties, hypersuggestible people such as children, the mentally ill, the emotionally needy or the severely traumatized can be induced to “remember” all sorts of fantastic things which are not even physically possible, much less grounded in actual events; when they repeat these “memories” in court (or in front of audiences hungry for “sex trafficking” narratives) they are not lying in the strict sense, but merely playing back a script that was written into their memories by processes such as suggestion, group polarization, stereotypic conformation, guided imagination, abusive interrogation tactics and others discussed in my paper.  Though the concept of “recovered memory” has been discredited and most reasonably-well-informed people understand its role in driving the Satanic panic, few have yet connected the dots to recognize “sex trafficking” narratives as produced by the same processes.  However, as the public begins to recognize the fallibility of human memory, it’s inevitable that outlandish, evidence-free stories such as those told by Somaly Mam, Chong Kim and Theresa Flores will be treated with greater skepticism.  And though it’s a slow process, that knowledge is indeed growing; witness, for example, this treatment of a new resurgence of the “Satanic cult abuse” myth:

…two [Scottish] charities…Break the Silence and…Izzy’s Promise, believe satanic [sic] abuse to be rife in Scotland and that it has been for decades.  They say children are forced to take part in satanic [sic] rituals involving the sacrifice of babies and the making of snuff movies….it appears highly likely that…these claims are based upon “recovered memories”.  As I have written in the past in these pages, the use of various dubious techniques…aimed at recovering allegedly repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse can often produce detailed and horrific false memories.  In fact, there is a consensus among scientists studying memory that traumatic events are more likely to be remembered than forgotten, often leading to posttraumatic stress disorder…The sad truth is that we have been here before.  [Satanic fantasies of the early ’90s]…were remarkably similar to those now…

Nor is the skepticism limited to a few reporters discussing horror stories any sane person could recognize as false:

Memory, as experts have been trying to teach judges and jurors, does not function like an iPhone camera recording. Memories can not only be deleted; they can be altered or invented without you even realizing it, as shown in a study published last year in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, which involved 861 U.S. soldiers enrolled in a survival school.  As part of training, they endured abusive interrogations.  Afterward, many were shown a photo of someone who looked nothing like their interrogator, and interviewers insinuated that the person depicted was the culprit.  Eighty-four percent of the soldiers misidentified their interrogators after being misled, and some also remembered weapons or telephones that never existed.  An extensive body of research with similar findings has become increasingly perplexing for the nation’s judicial systems, leading the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to release a sweeping report last month calling for an overhaul of how the courts and law enforcement deal with one of the most powerfully persuasive pieces of evidence that can sway a jury:  eyewitness identification.  Research has shown that leading questioning or suggestive behavior by psychiatrists, police or acquaintances, as well as accounts in the media, can result in “planting” false memories in the mind of a witness.  In some cases, this can lead witnesses to believe they saw incidents that never occurred…Unsettling as it might be to admit it, the mind is really a muddle of distorted memory associations, further complicated by the distracting details of the moment.  For most of our country’s judicial history, this understanding has been largely absent from courtrooms, but a string of shocking cases across the world over the past three decades has ushered in debate, discussion and, finally, the revamping of…laws on the issue…

Belief in the infallibility of memories, especially traumatic memories, is deeply ingrained, and prosecutors will not be happy about the replacement of easily-manipulated crime victim testimony with more indelible and objective forms of evidence.  But sooner or later, the facts must win and eyewitness testimony uncorroborated by physical evidence will be tossed into the rubbish-bin of history along with trial by ordeal and, one would hope, confessions obtained by torture.  Moral panics will periodically bedevil humanity for at least another several thousand years, but perhaps our children’s children will no longer have to endure trials and laws based on nothing but the incredible and unsubstantiated narratives of self-professed victims. Salem accusation

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