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Posts Tagged ‘yellow journalism’

I am not sure when being a selfish, misogynistic jerk became a medical disorder.  –  David Ley

Do As I Say, Not As I Do 

When another man pays an underage sex worker, she’s a “sex trafficking victim”.  When a cop does it, she’s an “underage hooker”:

A Bronx cop was busted for having sex with an underage girl and recording their encounters — even after the investigation started and his home had been searched…Raul Olmeda was arraigned on a 67-count indictment…[because] five times between January and April…[he] paid the teen for sex…police found out about them while conducting a sex trafficking investigation…Olmeda’s lawyer, Stuart London, said…”This isn’t numerous underage women.  This is one underage woman, and we don’t know her credibility at all”…

The Daily News changed the last word of the headline after people jumped on them for the language, but you can still see it in the URL.

The Proper Study

It looks like Scott Cunningham has finally done a good one:

In a groundbreaking study, researchers at Baylor and West Virginia universities have found evidence indicating that Craigslist’s erotic advertising site may have prompted a 17 percent decrease in female homicides throughout the United States, principally because sex workers were able to use the free advertising service to move into a safer indoor environments and screen clients more carefully…The study, which has been submitted to a peer-reviewed economics journal, offers…evidence of what sex workers have been saying for years: that having the ability to advertise online for their services allows them to work in safer indoor environments and screen out violent clients.  The new study reinforces previous research showing a decline in sexual violence in regions where prostitution has been legalized or decriminalized…the researchers also did an analysis of how many more police officers would need to be hired to reduce the female homicide rate by the same percentage that Craigslist’s free service apparently did.  They concluded that this would require an additional outlay of 200,832 police officers, costing the U.S. an added $20 billion per year.  “Craigslist, in other words, saved 2,150 female lives at a profoundly lower social cost,” concluded the three authors, Scott Cunningham…Gregory DeAngelo…and John Tripp…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic 

If Weinstein brings down the “sex addiction” scam, he’ll have inadvertently done some good in the world:

…While there’s no official confirmation of where Weinstein is headed or what type of therapy he may be getting, experts…said that…he’s not a sex addict.  And most say there’s no such thing as sex addiction…Holly Richmond…said…”There is no such thing as sex addiction”…[Dr. David] Ley says…“We see this parade of men getting caught…then they claim their behavior is the result of this alleged disorder when we all know these were men who were abusing their power and privilege…after 40 years…there is still no published evidence that this treatment works…This is an exploitative industry that loves to capitalize on these celebrity sex addiction scandals so they can get referrals”…

Yellow Fever

Like the New York Times, the BBC has discarded whatever credibility it once enjoyed:

Basis Yorkshire was set up to support sex workers across Leeds in 1989.  Over that time, we have worked closely with sex workers across the sex industry to provide safety, information and support…We believe the BBC documentarySex, Drugs and Murder; Life in the Red Light Zone has done a great deal of damage to the stereotypes of sex workers in Leeds (and across the country) by portraying the women in a highly sensationalist, voyeuristic way.  The footage often none-to subtly focuses the shot on drug paraphernalia and rubbish in their home, or the area they work in – giving deliberately unpleasant, grubby feel to the program and the women that are featured…The program could have been made about a group of women with complex needs and had the same content – but…[instead] focuses only on women who have severe addiction issues, or on complex, even at times violent, social situations, rather than allowing viewers to see the diversity of women we work with (or indeed the diversity of the lives of the women they chose to film)…

Skin To Skin

A “feminist” calls other women “toilets” for ministering to disabled men:

Men with disabilities are a hugely important group served by sex workers” [tweeted] Amy Alkon…Check out the, paternalism, uh, maternalism [in the response] here, from social psychologist Dina McMillan


All-Purpose Excuse

Meanwhile, Oakland allows cops whose actions DO qualify as “trafficking” under law to get away scot-free:

Following a controversial Aug. 16 raid of a West Oakland home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, Oakland Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick said repeatedly that the operation was part of a criminal human trafficking investigation…but…the raid hasn’t resulted in a single criminal prosecution…the only person arrested, Santos de Leon, is facing civil immigration charges and could be deported..ICE has recently begun to classify the act of providing shelter and other assistance to unaccompanied minors who recently immigrated to the United States as “human trafficking,” and is charging adults, often close family members, with the crime…by providing assistance to ICE for the raid, OPD violated Oakland’s sanctuary city policies…Kirkpatrick made false statements on several occasions — including in emails to city councilmembers, statements at a town hall meeting, and through several OPD press releases — about the raid…The statements included a social media posting from OPD asserting that the arrest was related to “sex trafficking”..and that…victims were rescued by ICE and received services.  But there is no evidence to back up those statements…

Signs 

The dysphemisms are thick in this one:

Students at Quinnipiac University’s law school [who have never done sex work] have [indoctrinated] nearly 1,000 of Connecticut’s hospitality industry workers on how to recognize and report the [mythical] signs of sex trafficking…Taylor Matook [said]…“we have a narrative.”  By [filling the heads of] hospitality workers with [sexual fantasies, prohibitionists]…hope to [create an army of stool pigeons]…to stop…sex [workers from making a living by turning them in to the pigs]…Theresa Leonard…founder of a ministry [fantasizing about] eradicating sex [work] in Connecticut, said…“It’s amazing to me how few women [agree with my claim]…that they were exploited or trafficked”…

The Prudish Giant (#641)

People sometimes ask why I’m not on Facebook:

Leila is a sex worker.  She goes to great lengths to keep separate identities for ordinary life and for sex work, to avoid stigma, arrest, professional blowback, or clients who might be stalkers (or worse).  Her “real identity”—the public one…joined Facebook in 2011.  Her sex-work identity is not on the social network at all; for it, she uses a different email address, a different phone number, and a different name.  Yet earlier this year, looking at Facebook’s “People You May Know” recommendations, Leila…was shocked to see some of her regular sex-work clients.  Despite the fact that she’d only given Facebook information from her vanilla identity, the company had somehow discerned her real-world connection to these people—and, even more horrifyingly, her account was potentially being presented to them as a friend suggestion too, outing her regular identity to them.  Because Facebook insists on concealing the methods and data it uses to link one user to another, Leila is not able to find out how the network exposed her or take steps to prevent it from happening again…When Leila queried secret support groups for sex workers, others said it had happened to them too…

This isn’t new; I first heard about it about a year or so after starting this blog.

Morality Lessons (#689)

No, this isn’t the same huge child porn site run by the FBI; this is a different one:

The world’s largest child sexual abuse forum, “Childs Play” is running in the darkweb. [Nowegian newspaper] VG exposed…[that Australian police are] behind the website’s continued operation…Under the supervision of Jon Rouse, detective inspector, and investigator Paul Griffiths, thousands of members have shared photos and videos of children being sexually abused…Some members of the forum got together in person to commit child abuse, which they filmed and shared on the forum…the police deny they are responsible for what was shared on [their own website] while they ran it…

Morality Lessons (#703)

A Utah politician’s bizarre anti-porn antics continue:

For the past 14 years, Utah has made do without a “porn czar.”  The position—officially known as the “Obscenity and Pornography Complaints Ombudsman”—has been vacant since 2003, though it was never officially eliminated.  Now state Sen. Todd Weiler…may revive it, even as the Utah attorney general suggests legislators strike it from the books.  Weiler has been on an anti-porn crusade for several years now.  He’s the architect of a 2016 declaration to declare porn a public health crisis (which passed the state legislature unanimously) and a proposal passed earlier this year to encourage “porn addicts” to sue porn platforms…Weiler “says he became convinced that the obscenity and pornography complaints office may be needed because of an ad campaign attacking Cosmopolitan magazine as illegal porn”…

I kinda hope the “Cosmo is porn” nonsense continues; maybe it’s push the magazine into siding with sex workers.  Weiler is also the dangerous loon who claimed sex workers “force” cops to rape us.

Checklist (#755)

The real purpose of this scheme is to cut sex workers off from the healthcare system:

Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation Assistant Professor Samantha Calvin spoke at the 14th Annual Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference in Ohio last month…Calvin focused on human trafficking in the clinic setting, red flags to look for, questions to ask and what to do if someone is identified…

You may recall that ASU, home of Dominique “Body Fluids” Sepowitz, is a major hotbed of “sex trafficking” propaganda and source of several bogus studies made to order to support both the hysteria and carceral “solutions” to the nonexistent “problem”.

Of Course It Is (#758)

I hope none of you find this even remotely surprising:

Charges that Oakland [pig] Giovanni LoVerde sexually assaulted an underage girl were dismissed…after Alameda County prosecutors dropped the case…Several other Oakland [swine] were not criminally charged in the case, but twelve were disciplined by the department, and four were fired.  Some…still work at OPD despite social media evidence they sexually exploited the girl or ignored signs of wrongdoing…many more Northern California [pigs] were implicated in the sprawling sex crimes scandal, but few have faced criminal prosecution.  The dismissal of the case against LoVerde ends, for now, the Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s effort to prosecute five Oakland cops — three former and two current — as well as a former Contra Costa County sheriff’s deputy and a former Livermore police officer who all exploited the girl…

The Widening Gyre (#778) 

Watching “sex trafficking” hysteria spin out of control is deeply gratifying:

School officials in Ohio are on alert following reports of a drone…at Windemere Community Learning Center in Akron over the weekend..several witnesses [claim to have] heard a voice coming from the drone, attempting to coax the children off the playground”…This bizarre story is not questioned by the media, because whether or not the threat is real, doesn’t matter…of course, the advice given to parents is always the same — just as it has been in all the reports of “near” abductions by sex traffickers at the local store (that never actually occurred): PARENTS, NEVER LET YOUR KIDS OUT OF YOUR SIGHT!…

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When one of the men caught in Seattle’s anti-sex pogroms offered to write about his experience in “john school” (i.e, coerced “re-education” sessions), naturally I accepted.  Also naturally, I gave him a pseudonym to protect him from retaliation by Val Richey and company.

I was mandated to attend the Organization of Prostitution Survivor’s STOP Exploitation class (in other words, “john school”) in Seattle, WA.  It’s well-known that such classes have no actual deterrent effect; the only things they actually achieve are enriching the organizations which hold them, and disseminating radical feminist dogma.  Over the ten weeks I was forced to attend, the most consistent elements of the sessions were the use of fear and shame to induce conformity, and the toxic perpetuation of sex worker stereotypes and tropes.  Indeed, the existence of sex workers is only barely recognized in this course, and when they are mentioned at all it’s as a “privileged minority”; most sex workers are claimed to be “prostituted persons”, passive objects subjected to constant violence and coercion by “pimps”.  Ironically, it’s parasitic organizations like OPS which are the real exploiters of sex workers; they are manipulated through court mandated diversion programs, lied about by professional “Prostitution Survivors”, and oppressed by law enforcement and prosecutors to perpetuate a cycle of violence via the criminalization of sex work.  Sex workers are not even afforded a voice in a “school” that should have been focused on them and their struggles; instead they are extinguished as individuals with free-will to fuel an anti-sex agenda.

The hypocrisy and falsity of STOP are well-represented by its chief facilitator, Peter Qualliotine; his plastic smile and smarmy manner are inadequate cover for the dangerous oppression he helps enable.  The local media has been unfriendly and unbalanced regarding the topic of sex work.  Sex workers are claimed to be “sex slaves” or “victims” and the lies and disinformation promoted by opportunists like Qualliotine and professional “survivors” like Alisa Bernard are accepted without question or the most rudimentary fact-checking, despite the fact that SWOP Seattle is extremely public and it would be the work of only a few minutes for any reporter to get a statement from them about these claims. Interestingly, even Qualliotine himself seems to know there’s something fishy about his claims; though there’s a gleam in his eye when he tells us that he “enthusiastically endorses masturbation!” as an alternative to seeing sex workers, his shoulders slump, his arms are crossed and he looks down at the floor when he claims that decriminalization will never work and that independent sex workers are a very slim minority.  And disturbingly, he brightens up again when discussing Gary Ridgway, the Green River Killer (which he does often over the ten weeks).  The fact that Ridgway claimed it was wrong to pay for sex, just as Qualliotine himself claims, is not ever mentioned.

I paid attention as closely as I could because by the third week I realized that I wanted to write this, but it wasn’t easy; when Qualliotine isn’t quoting Melissa Farley’s bogus “statistics” and infantilizing women by claiming they aren’t psychologically able to make their own sexual decisions (because of “PTSD” and “trauma bonding”), he’s regaling his captive audience with the grade-school baseball analogy for sex, talking about “toxic masculinity” and claiming that simply looking at a woman exists on a “Continuum of Sexual Violence” that leads to rape and murder, with paying for sex at about the halfway point.  He also alluded to BDSM, conflating it with domestic violence, and though he branded male-dominant relationships specimens of “male privilege”, he paradoxically also claimed it’s men’s responsibility to end “sexist” sexual interactions (including money for sex) even if a woman prefers them or demands them.  Almost as an afterthought, he added that the cops need to “go after” madams and female escort service owners as well as male “pimps” and clients.  In a session mostly devoted to intimate partner violence, Qualliotine lists public shaming, outing and debt as forms of violence; presumably, the shaming, outing and debt inflicted by police stings don’t count.  It was all so stultifying a number of attendees slept; Qualliotine either didn’t notice or didn’t care.  I assume he gets the same amount of money per warm body from King County whether anyone actually listens to him or not.

Valiant Richey, King County Prosecutor (in other words, Demand Abolition’s local propaganda officer) claims most sex buyers are white and well-to-do, a proposal that promotes the concept of patriarchy.  But that’s not what I saw in these sessions, which are at least half men of color, many evidently working-class; one couldn’t ask for clearer evidence that, as with all prohibition, the consequences of criminalization fall upon the marginalized despite OPS’ claims to the contrary.  Qualliotine is an entitled white man bloviating against entitlement, whiteness and masculinity in order to play the hero and set himself up on a pedestal.  His pretense of personal outrage is so clearly false it’s embarrassing; during one of his rants about whiteness I saw two of the men of color firmly close their eyes, as though they could no longer bear to look upon this vulgar hypocrite.  This isn’t about feminism or justice; it’s about feeding Peter Qualliotine’s ego.  His sense of entitlement is immense; he actually expects attendees to trust him and OPS before even working with them, demanding one-way respect before earning it.  There exists no independent review of this dangerous and banal reductionism; it’s a middle school curriculum produced by an art student that reduces complex life issues to abstract polemic theory with no expectation of producing any effect.  Indeed, it reinforces the very stereotypes that it claims to want to expose.  If the goal of STOP was to make an ally, it failed.  Rights, not rescue; I’ve never believed in it more.

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The trade union movement has to decide whether it’s going to back workers…or…police.  –  Laura Watson

Monsters 

The Swedish model protects sex workers!

Last year, France passed [the Swedish model, under the pretense of]…protecting sex workers from prosecution, but…[as sex worker activists predicted] it is simply driving them further underground and exposing them to far more danger.  Transsexual prostitutes who work in Paris’s Bois de Boulogne…are disproportionately affected…

Prudesville 

A new twist in Everett, WA’s absurd “bikini barista” melodrama:

Bikini baristas…are suing [Everett] over its ban on serving “quick service” food and drinks with bare shoulders, midriffs, or upper thighs…a group of seven baristas and one coffee stand owner filed a federal lawsuit alleging a violation of their rights to free expression, privacy, due process, and equal protection…Everett isn’t claiming that the regulations serve any food safety or public health purposes…the point of the dress code is to prevent…baristas from giving customers a peep show for extra cash…Employee violations can lead to fines for business owners, along with a requirement to register for a special license (which the city can deny)…if the owners are judged to have “facilitated” the “lewd conduct,” they can be slapped with a $5,000 fine and a year in jail.  Essentially, Everett has created a crime similar to promoting prostitution—but for facilitating skimpy clothing…

Law of the Instrument (#560)

Picture what you’d think of as “sex trafficking”, then compare it to this:

A St. Louis man who was employed at a high school is facing child pornography and sex trafficking charges after police said he exchanged illicit texts with a 15-year-old male student at the school.  Michael A. West…told the [young man] he could get him an opportunity to make money for performing sexual acts…

Cases are this are why even some not-completely-stupid people believe that “sex trafficking” is increasing; “sex trafficking” charges certainly are.

Social Autoimmune Disorder (#594)

Add Dayton, Ohio to the cities mailing blatantly-unconstitutional “Dear John” letters to the registered addresses of vehicles passing through certain neighborhoods:

So far this year, the Dayton police Vice Unit has mailed 18 [threat letters] to the owners of vehicles that were spotted in areas [police claim to be] known for high levels of prostitution.  The letters are supposed to [scare] people [by claiming that wanting sex]…is a “serious offense” that carries potential…deadly disease and other sexually transmitted infections…[often] the recipients are spouses or business owners whose vehicles were in the possession of [others] when [cops decided to stick their noses into others’ business]…

To Molest and Rape 

The US government claims it takes reports of cops raping women seriously…as long as they’re not US cops:

…two U.S. students…were raped by Carabinieri policemen who [took] them home in a patrol car from a nightclub…three patrol cars went to a nightclub to investigate a fight.  Two cars left after calm was restored, but the third remained.  The women…told authorities that the [cops] drove them to their apartment building and raped them…witnesses…confirm[ed] they saw the women enter the patrol car…

Uncommon Sense (#669)

The IWW was the first major union to support sex workers rights, but it won’t be the last:

The GMB and ASLEF have come out in support of the full decriminalisation of sex work in Britain, the first major unions to do so…The unions, which have a combined membership of over 600,000, are calling for the UK to adopt full decriminalisation, similar to the approach adopted by New Zealand, which since 2003 has provided sex workers with legal protections…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#687) 

“Sex robot” hysteria gets ever sillier:

A cybersecurity scientist has issued a bizarre warning that sex robots could one day rise up and kill their owners if hackers can get inside their heads…cybersecurity lecturer Dr. Nick Patterson [fantasized] that the lifelike dolls could end up going all “Terminator” on us…hackers could breach the realistic robots’ inner defenses and catch their owners with their pants down…

Does this idea seem familiar to regular readers?

The Widening Gyre (#735)

They finally realized they could expand the panic by adding male “sex slaves”:

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation [formerly “Morality in Media”], Washington College, and The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking held a historic press conference…to kick off the first ever symposium on the sexual exploitation harming boys and men.  The government, NGOs, and society at large have overlooked male victims of sexual exploitation, the organizations [pandered]…Haley Halverson…of…the [NCSE fantasized]…that [the] estimated range of male trafficking victims hovers in the hundreds of thousands”…

The NCSE is a fundamentalist Christian anti-porn organization which is also behind the recent tactic of getting conservative states to declare porn a “public health crisis”.

Comfort Zone (#769)

Sometimes the attempt to hide migration control behind the “sex trafficking” narrative is especially apparent:

…”It had been more than 10 years since Gari, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala…had seen his younger brother.  So he was surprised earlier this year when he received a call from a federal government agency telling him his teen brother had emigrated alone from the Central American country to the Arizona-Mexico border…the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services…asked Gari to take legal guardianship of his brother….officials [lied]…that it wouldn’t jeopardize his own safety….[but] Gari…was arrested…by federal immigration agents who had used his little brother as bait“…immigration attorney Yazmin Rodriguez…knows at least three other similar cases…ICE [pretends] using children fleeing violence as bait “[is] part of a broader mission to disrupt human trafficking”…

The Mote and the Beam (#773)

The odious Nick Kristof finds it “baffling and perplexing” that internet companies don’t want the internet destroyed by sociopathic politicians on a witch hunt:

Sex traffickers in America have…a…crucial (if secret) ally: Google…organizations it funds have for years been quietly helping Backpage.com, the odious website where most American [passive, vegetable] victims of human trafficking are sold, to battle lawsuits from [ambulance-chasers fantasizing that] children [are] sold there for sex.  Now Google is using its enormous lobbying power in Washington to try to kill bipartisan legislation that would [enable profiteers to sue]…websites that [they claim] promote sex trafficking [or virtually any other federal crime]…as Backpage fights off prosecutors and worries about the legislation, the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, Google has emerged as its behind-the-scenes champion…

What I find “baffling and perplexing” is that so few people recognize “One-hand” Kristof’s BDSM masturbatory fantasies about underage girls for what they are.

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Brooke Magnanti has released a new, revised edition of her book The Sex Myth, retitled Sex, Lies and Statistics.  This was adapted by Brooke from her afterword (the foreword was written by yours truly), and I hope it will serve to encourage you to buy the book, which demolishes the shoddy garbage prohibitionists hold up in place of actual facts.  And it’s on sale now!

Media are obsessed with promoting a view we would previously have dismissed as Victorian.  There are indeed parallels.  The end of the 19th century and start of the 20th brought new technologies to add to the dissemination of ideas through mass media (much like the Internet today)…with the predictable horror and blame that brought then, just like now.  The political class made some unexpected alliances as a result; again, we see this happening.  Feminism has joined the anti-sex bandwagon in a big way.  Not just by blaming men for inequality between the sexes, but perhaps more profitably and successfully by blaming other women.  Many mainstream feminist critiques gloss over old “man-hating” attitudes and place blame squarely on other women.  Instead of embracing women who challenge convention, the preoccupation is with shooting them down.  On the one hand, we’re told that anyone who believes women and men should have equal rights under the law is a feminist, whether they know it or not.  On the other, we are told that one or another group of women are traitors.  It’s the feminists who have taken up the finger-wagging role of the patriarchy.  Take, for example, this quote by Julie Burchill:  “When the sex war is won prostitutes should be shot as collaborators for their terrible betrayal of all women.”  Advocating the murder of large numbers of women is such a great way to win supporters to the cause, no?

The more you look at the key players behind some of the stories, the more you notice odd pairings.  A group working closely with the anti-gay, anti-abortion US lobbying group using a female MP as the mouthpiece of their opinions on porn.  The well-known feminists signing up to work with far right groups.  Celebrities lending star power to issues they don’t understand at all.  Almost all approaches to these issues fail to consider the diversity of factors involved.  The “Swedish model” of sex work is an example of this.  Lots of hype, not a lot of data on whether paid sex work has stopped or whether anyone’s life has been improved as a result.  Columnists like Joan Smith can gush about jumping in to a cop car to see how the law is panning out, all while ignoring the fact that sex workers repeatedly confirm that the police are their greatest source of harassment, assault, and rape.  Proponents of the Swedish approach mention how “pressure” is ramping up on this topic – pressure that they themselves have generated through unchallenging media coverage.  When in doubt, follow the money.  Over and over again the people fronting these campaigns are connected to industries with vested interests, radical right-wing think tanks, or anti-LGBT lobbyists.  The deputy editor for the New Statesman previously worked at the Mail and is rumoured to have subedited Jan Moir when she wrote a viciously homophobic column about Stephen Gately’s death.  Arch-feminists like Julie Bindel write for staunchly right wing, regressive magazines like the Spectator.  There’s a saying where I come from:  you got to dance with the one who brung you.  I wonder, when everyone gets to the end of their dance cards, what promises feminists have made and what obligations they’ll have to honor.

Before 2009, when I wrote books under a pseudonym about my experiences as a sex worker, there was no small amount of grumbling in the press.  After I won the Guardian Best British Weblog award in 2003, a number of female contributors to that paper signed a letter vowing that if I was commissioned to write for the paper, they would quit.  Yet I continued to believe that if they knew I was real, they would feel differently.  It’s probably not a surprise to you that I was unprepared for what any fool could have predicted would happen.  Since coming out as a former sex worker, I have been criticized for being too middle class, too well educated, too independent.  As if my very existence in sex work was, somehow, unique.  But data across the spectrum of sex work shows this not to be true.  In any case, if I admitted to a drug addiction instead, or had been homeless?  That would have been used to write me off, too.  It is bizarre to read articles by people who’ve never met me attempting to dissect this or that bit of my life.  Some lazy commentators “blame” me for the existence of other call girls, or whatever new student sex worker is uncovered by the tabloids.  As flattering as that is, it is not true.  Prostitution is called “the oldest profession” for a reason.

After a while all such nonsense became background noise.  I assumed the combined forces of feminists and the Rescue Industry had nothing worse up their sleeves.  I was wrong.  When the first edition of this book was published in Britain in 2012, it was embargoed before publication day and available to fewer than 20 people to review.  Journalists who saw the book signed confidentiality agreements.  So it was a great surprise to wake up on the morning of publication slapped with a libel lawsuit from Eaves For Women, the domestic violence charity whose hapless forays into research are touched on in this book.  If their work had been published in academic journals, anyone writing to correct their numbers would have been treated professionally, but this was not academia I was dealing with.  Obviously, I did not write anything about Eaves that could not be verified, and just as obviously, they had not been sent a pre-publication copy of the book by my publisher but had been given one by book reviewer – and Eaves board member – Julie Bindel.  The firm representing Eaves in this lawsuit threat?  The one with Bindel’s wife as a founding partner.  The Eaves claims would have been hilarious if they had not been so ludicrous.  They claimed I “hacked their servers” to get information about their income and expenditures (as with all UK charities, it’s public information available on government websites) and “broken confidentiality agreements” to discuss their research (I looked up their publications from conferences, also available online).  Their arguments depended on evidence so far-fetched it could have served as a bad science example in the book itself.  I later learned this was not the first time this had happened.  Eaves had threatened to sue so many people, so often, they even served legal threats on Bindel’s own employer at the time, the Guardian newspaper for an article by Belinda Brooks-Gordon (Bindel is no longer on Guardian staff, but freelances for them).  The intellectual dishonesty of someone like Bindel, who claims to be “silenced” and a “free speech” advocate yet uses archaic laws to try to silence opposition, is staggering.  Unsurprisingly the threatened suit was without merit and quickly dropped.

Meanwhile, the media feminists of the UK rounded on me.  Julie Burchill wrote one article claiming I was a “sex addict”, another calling me a “human toilet”, and compared me to a convicted (and executed) Nazi war criminal; this was especially offensive as I am of Jewish heritage.  The “feminist” literature magazine that published those last two tidbits claimed they did not know what the words meant.  Sorry, Mslexia, but ignorance is no excuse.  They did not apologize.  One feminist turned up at a talk in Edinburgh to shout to the audience that I was a pedophile and claim my screenshots of the Glasgow City Council’s website (showing how much they paid for anti-strip club consultations) were faked.  Others picketed talks and book signings, sent death threats, and harassed me so frequently by phone that I gave up on carrying a mobile altogether.  They contacted my former editor at the Telegraph in an attempt to get me fired – long after I’d already quit.  Few in journalism seem to care that the people doing this are all a couple of degrees of separation from known anti-LGBT and white supremacist orgs in the US.  All anyone wants is to see the naughty, naughty sex lady be punished.  They don’t care how it’s done or who does it.  This, I was told, was the price of being a sex worker in public.

Writers with the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, many of whom launched careers by harassing trans women and sex workers, also got the boot in.  Their assistant editor, Helen Lewis, sits on the board of a charity that is anti-sex work and anti-trans women.  She and other feminists joked on social media when a former partner tried to sue me for reporting his abuse (he later dropped the suit to much less fanfare).  They encouraged Breitbart to run a week-long campaign of harassment and abuse.  They egged on nasty “investigative journalist” Jeremy Duns who made sexual threats against me and my husband.  They examined photos from my escorting days, speculating on whether I was “hot enough” have been a sex worker, and speculating about what diseases I might have.  They circulated a list at public events suggesting that I and others were employed by a shadowy “Pimp Lobby” and financially benefitting from trafficking (if that’s the case, I have yet to receive a paycheck).  The laughable list, compiled by Julie Bindel, included a number of people uninvolved with sex work at all, including an artist who died in 2010, so it’s clear fact-checking is not a valued quality among these people.  The abuse peaked when they outed a trans camgirl whose Twitter account they thought had been written by me.  It wasn’t – but in the process they humiliated a woman who was not yet out to her family.  Their supposed evidence?  We both supported Scottish independence, and both, at different times, used the phrase “snake oil”.  In spite of having got it drastically wrong, no apology to the woman they doxxed was forthcoming.  Why would anyone do this?  In short, to control the narrative.

It would be unthinkable – to most people, anyway – to have a discussion about women’s rights that did not involve any women.  Or a discussion about race that did not include people of color.  But time and again when the topic is sex work, sex workers themselves are not simply ignored, they are actively excluded.  What do sex workers want?  A seat at the table.  To be able to work together for safety.  To report crimes against them without fear of arrest.  For services to be made available that are not dependent on them giving evidence against others.  To not live in fear of deportation or abuse by police.  In short:  they want the same protection under the law that any other worker can expect.  And not only is this what sex workers want, it’s what the evidence supports as best practice.  We’ve seen the benefits of decriminalization in New Zealand, in New South Wales Australia.  We’ve also seen what goes wrong in Sweden, in the Netherlands, and in the US.  International agencies from the WHO to Amnesty agree.  But this evidence-driven support for decrim hasn’t come out of thin air.  Much has been written on the disruptive effects of social media, but this much is true:  if not for the internet, people like me would never have been able to challenge the stereotypes with facts.  Marginalized people with multiple oppressions – black trans sex workers, drug using sex workers – who would otherwise fear being outed, are being taken seriously by a mainstream that otherwise would never have known they existed.  The infantilized victims who need rich white ladies to save them, it turns out, are fully capable adults who can make their own decisions and won’t hesitate to tell you that.  And that makes some folks with vested interests very upset indeed.

What happened to me was not the first nor even worst example.  Entrenched second-wave feminists in media have harassed trans politicians out of their jobs, driven black cultural commentators off of social media, and consistently outed and trashed any sex worker who crosses their paths.  Heaven help you if you happen to belong to more than one of these groups.  They reserve the worst treatment for the most marginalized, secure in the knowledge that society does not care because they told society not to.  The disinformation campaign used to sustain sex myths was a glimpse into a post-truth world where what matters is not what is right, but who can get the most money.  Some of those folks were so threatened by one woman and one book that they tried to bankrupt, discredit, and silence one blogger.  A movement backed by billions of dollars in international grants is so susceptible to people seeing the real data, they will stop at nothing to keep the truth from getting out.  And they are not interested in ethical debate; they demand that their point of view be bowed to in any discussion, even (and especially) if that means keeping the discussion centered on their feelings rather than other people’s right to exist.  They use the media not to understand, but to bludgeon.  They simply do not care if their information is incorrect.  I started off believing that open debate was the best way to win hearts and minds; I ended up realizing that some people will use that to drown out anyone who does not agree with their own intolerant, hate-filled views.  There simply is no way to have a debate with people who characterize you as an “orifice” who “should be dead in a ditch.”  There is no common ground to be found with people who willingly promote your abusers.

And yet, in all the negativity, there are signs of light.  In the years from when I was a sex worker in 2003, since I came out in 2009, and after the first edition of this book in 2012, the ground has rapidly shifted.  When Amnesty International rejected threats from famous feminists and backed the decriminalization of sex work based on the evidence, it was a win for a sex workers’ movement that far predates and will long outlast any one person.  When I gave evidence to UK Parliament in 2016, the MPs – to my surprise – took the suggestions of sex workers on board in their report, rather that listening to entrenched and well-funded special interests.  In Scottish Parliament, Rhoda Grant (who receives funding from the anti-gay, anti-abortion charity Care) has tried three times to introduce criminalization of sex work, and been defeated all three times.  Evidence really does win out from time to time; it might not seem that way in the moment, but things are changing, slowly and surely.  In 2009 and 2012, it felt as if every week brought new abuse from a media obsessed with surfaces instead of content.  So-called progressives shame and reject us, even when sex workers were early supporters of feminism, gay rights, and other movements that have since gained public acceptance on the back of that effort.  In particular, the most marginalized sex workers from black and trans communities were the ones most likely to be erased, people like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P Johnson, and many more.  Slowly and surely their legacy is being reclaimed, too.  The pendulum of attitudes about sex and sexuality is always in motion.  I hope that in my lifetime the burden of shame felt by so many for so long will be lifted.  With evidence and hard work we can reclaim the narrative – and take back our lives from the playground bullies of shame and fear.

Brooke doesn’t pull any punches in this new, US edition; it’s a vital debunking resource for those who support sex worker rights, and you really, really, REALLY ought to read it!

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The federal government has no more business telling an adult where and how they can make their money than it does telling an adult where and how they can worship, study or spend.  –  Austin Petersen

Out of Control

People who deny this obvious fact are more interested in promoting an agenda than protecting society:

…There have been countless jokes and observations made about the root problem with political psychopaths being sexual frustration…problems are more complicated than any amount of sex could solve; but there’s also a trend…to dismiss the very idea of sexual frustration as a motivation for human behavior…It could very well be a coincidence that Richard Spencer has a mail-order bride, that David Duke has been divorced since 1984, that Steve Bannon and Rush Limbaugh have three divorces each, and that the twice-divorced Donald Trump does not sleep in the same bedroom as his current wife…There might be no pattern whatsoever to James Alex Fields Jr., Dylan Storm Roof, and Timothy McVeigh all being “confirmed bachelors” up to the date of their ghastly crimes…no woman should ever feel obligated to nanny some neurologically-dysfuctional pickle-polisher incapable of even quarter-ass effort at productivity.  Their answer is hookers…How is it an improvement for someone to not break the law or a taboo when they turn themselves to a public nuisance at best in the process of legal and moral obedience?  Why should the insipid lie of “there being someone for everyone” continue to be propagated in the face of such overwhelming evidence to the contrary?…

Pyrrhic Victory

When I was young, we were told one of the reasons communist countries were bad was that they had tightly-controlled borders:

Some senators are looking to…[implement] a host of new incursions into travelers’ and visitors’ privacy.  Cyrus Farivar of Ars Technica “outed” the not-yet-introduced bill — titled “Building America’s Trust Act” [wtf] — since the supporting lawmakers have yet to formally announce their plans to make the US a worse country to live in, much less visit…more surveillance, more boots on the ground, and green lights for law enforcement agencies located anywhere within 100 miles of the nation’s borders…as well as walls, levees, fences…The law calls for the program to be put in place at all high traffic ports of entry (including major airports) within two years…Customs authorities will also be given power to demand biometric info from visa applicants and DNA will be collected from all detained immigrants, whether or not they’re criminally charged…From there, the law adds other politically-charged stipulations, like an entire subsection entitled “Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act”.  Also of note: the bill would allow law enforcement to seize everything from cash to bitcoins if they’re suspected to be “criminal proceeds”…[and] strips away any mens rea protection from accusations of money laundering…

So Close and Yet So Far

It’s sad that even people who support decriminalization feel the need to promote myths, lies & insulting tropes:

…The Department of Health and Human Services says that almost 200,000 transactions are made annually in the United States in which minors are sold for sex…Missouri…has distinguished itself for its hard fight against this evil practice, creating a task force dedicated to eliminating trafficking from the state…But…we must consider whether in our zeal to purge the problem, we haven’t inadvertently created an environment in which this kind of market can flourish…This is what happens when the government tries to legislate an individual’s choices.  We made the same mistake just over a century ago with Prohibition.  In both cases, the government was simply trying to defend the innocent victims…But the resulting prohibition didn’t — and doesn’t — work.  Then, just as now, prisons were clogged with otherwise innocent people who made a personal choice that didn’t hurt others and didn’t deserve to be incarcerated.  Then, just as now, government expenditures skyrocketed in an attempt to enforce these laws.  And then, just as now, outlawing certain activities created an underground that veiled the activities and made them far more dangerous…outlawing prostitution makes it impossible to control the spread of STIs, with their lifelong physical and emotional consequences…The solution…is…give adults the freedom to make their own choices about what they do with their own bodies…

I get that this dude is a politician and so has to dick-stroke potential voters.  But the obsequious fawning to authoritarians about “government was simply trying to defend the innocent victims”, as nauseating as it is, would be bearable had he omitted pernicious lies about every single adult man in America paying to rape “child sex slaves” every week and whores being vectors of disease.  I invite Mr. Petersen to contact me, and I’ll be happy to fill him in on the facts so future editorials are free of disinformation.

Subtle Pimping (#330)

More scumbags profiting from sex workers by promoting lies that harm us:

A new game is in development that will be used to combat the [magically & infinitely] growing problem of sex trafficking…Missing: The Complete Saga is set in rural India, where [prohibitionists pretend] thousands of girls and women are captured and forced into sex work every year…While the original Missing took the form of a top-down point and click story, the new game is a 3D role-playing adventure that follows the life of an Indian village girl called Champa…[prohibitionist] Leena Kejriwal…and her team are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund development.  Proceeds from sales of the game will go towards creating [brainwashing] programs and [prisons] for girls who…[are arrested by] police raids.  In the game, Champa is targeted by sex traffickers who want to take her to one of India’s fast-growing cities…in real life, Champa would likely fail to escape the [magical] traffickers, who [are omnipotent and nigh-omnipresent]…The game is…also an attempt to [indoctrinate] boys, and to [make them feel guilty for being sexual while teaching them the misogynistic lie that sexual women are operating under a]…total lack of agency…

Torture Chamber 

The State wants us to refer to these evil thugs as “correctional officers”:

Two former prison guards in Florida who were members of the Ku Klux Klan have been convicted of plotting to kill a black inmate in retaliation for a scuffle with another guard who also belonged to the [non-state-sanctioned] hate group.  A jury…found David Elliot Moran and Charles Thomas Newcomb guilty of conspiracy to commit first degree murder after they were caught discussing their plans with an FBI informant…The third guard, Thomas Jordan Driver…pleaded guilty in March to one count of conspiracy to commit first degree murder and was sentenced to four years in prison…

Choke Point (#511) 

This makes the end of “Operation Choke Point” official, after two and a half years of retreat:

…In a letter to Rep. Robert Goodlatte…chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd called Operation Choke Point “a misguided initiative” and confirmed that DOJ was closing those investigations, Politico reported…Boyd is understating the degree to which Operation Choke Point was unlawful and just plain creepy…Choke Point began as an extension of the Obama administration’s Financial Fraud Task Force, but the dragnet investigation was never given proper statutory authority by either the administration or Congress.  In fact, details about Operation Choke Point were deliberately withheld from Congress at first…Targets…often didn’t have any idea why their bank accounts were being frozen or closed…

Need I point out that an oppression which was started by a memo and ended by a memo can easily be re-started by another memo?  Since “Choke Point” was never declared unconstitutional by a court nor officially banned by a law, there’s nothing to stop future tyrants from simply bringing it back.

Buttons, Bags & Banknotes (#550)

The only interesting thing about Julie Bindel is the way that the media refuses to recognize her as a broken-down one-trick pony, despite the fact that virtually every article she writes is dedicated to advancing the prohibitionist wanking fantasy of an all-powerful “pimp lobby”.  Bindel has written on virtually no other topic for more than three years; you can take a look at this new article (intended to drum up support for her upcoming book on – you guessed it – the so-called “pimp lobby”) if you want, but it’s the same agency-denying, paranoid-ranting reheated feces she’s been serving up for years.  Proceed at risk of your own boredom and/or nausea.

The War Goes On (#712) 

It won’t be much longer before no reasonable and educated person believes in “sex trafficking”, but of course the damage has already been done:

…Backpage…has been lied about by politicians for so long that many smart and otherwise savvy people seem to think the site is run by sexual-slavery-loving sociopaths.  Anyone under that misguided impression—and anyone seeking to push back against it—should check out some new research published in the Wake Forest Law Review.  In…”The Virtue of Unvirtuous Spaces,” Notre Dame Law School lecturer Alex F. Levy explores similarities between the Progressive Era’s pageantry around “white slavery” and the modern-day activists against the alleged “epidemic” of U.S. sex trafficking…In the late 19th and early 20th century, the focal point of this symbolic fighting was the dance hall.  Now it’s online venues such as the classified ad sites Craigslist and Backpage.  Levy finds that both campaigns are “pageantry:  a kind of theater designed to satisfy people’s need to identify and fight bad guys without regard to nuance or long-term outcome”…

Total Eclipse of the Brain 

Liz Brown ridicules the “solar eclipse sex trafficking” nonsense:

…What, you might wonder, is the theory here?  Will sex traffickers be emboldened by the extra bit of darkness?  Do they get extra aggressive depending on lunar phases?…In Kentucky, Allyson Cox Taylor, head of the state’s Office of Child Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention, suggested that “people who weren’t trafficking before may decide…this is an opportunity to make money.”  Apparently she thinks finding and forcing others to do your bidding is something that people just up and decide one day to do on a whim.  In Bend, Oregon, several pre-eclipse seminars focused on how locals could spot the incoming sex traffickers…[including] “poker chips passing hands.”  Eclipse-pegged sex-trafficking warnings have also shown up…in Ohio, in Wyoming, and in Nebraska…a few…suggest that sex traffickers will be lurking in the dark, waiting to snatch up children who get separated from their parents for even a few minutes.  (In the midst of all this, however, behold the rarest of rare occurences: TV news and local police in Portland teaming up to announce that “they have no reason to suspect there would be a surge in human sex trafficking in the metro area”)…

Business As Usual (#757) 

Even though there’s nothing here which wasn’t already covered in earlier articles on the topic (including mine), it’s good to see so many young “feminist” writers taking interest in the issue:

…In Alaska, as in every other U.S. state, it is currently legal for [cops and informants]…to [molest]…individuals [they want to accuse of a crime.  Some states prohibit]…penetration [on paper, though not in practice].  Victims have recounted being threatened into [submitting to rape]…or finding themselves in legal trouble after providing sexual favors to a man presumed to be a client, but who is actually a cop…In many…spaces online, [sex workers]…have recounted the horror they face at the hands of police…In February, [Alaska state] Representative Matt Claman…introduced House Bill 112, which would close the loophole allowing [cops]…to [rape]…anyone under police investigation.  Current Alaska law only classifies [rape of]…a suspect…as illegal once a person has been arrested…

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In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.  –  Allan Gatt

Rooted in Racism 

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

Defend Europe, an anti-immigrant group that attempts to disrupt humanitarian search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea, recently chartered a boat that was stopped in a Cyprus port, where several members were arrested for forging documents and engaging in potential human trafficking…members were stopped in and deported from a sea port in the self-declared Turkish state of Northern Cyprus…after spending two days in detention for document forgery and potential human trafficking of 20 Sri Lankan nationals who were aboard the C-Star, the campaign’s ship…Refugee Rights Association advocate Faika Pasha…[said] some of the Sri Lankans on board reported having paid a trafficker to be taken to Italy and confirmed that five Sri Lankans remained in Cyprus to claim asylum…

Change a Few Words

This hasn’t any more chance of passing than that sex work decrim bill in New Hampshire, but it’s a sign of how much things are shifting:

Senator Cory Booker…introduced legislation that ends federal marijuana prohibition…The Marijuana Justice Act would…Remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act…Cut federal funding for state law enforcement and prison construction if a state disproportionately arrests and/or incarcerates low-income individuals and/or people of color for marijuana offenses…Prevent deportations of individuals for marijuana offenses…Provide for a process of expungement [and resentencing] for marijuana offenses at the federal level…

Shift in the Wind

Pro-decriminalization essays in newspapers are no longer a rarity:

…this Swedish model strips women of agency and autonomy and regards men as morally superior to women because they remain culpable for their decisions, whereas women are not…People who cry crocodile tears over prostitution and claim that it demeans sex workers seem to ignore the countless office workers, electricians, plumbers, janitors and garbage collectors who…work…out of sheer necessity to provide for their families. How is their job any less demeaning than sex work and, more pertinently, why is sex work demeaning in the first place?…the people making these accusations are ashamed of their own bodily functions…Pathology is not determined by what some find offensive…sex workers are the only women who are honest about female sexuality and about the real standing relationship between men and women at any time in history…

Lower Education

Funny how the mantra of “Believe women!” goes out the window when a woman says something contrary to feminist dogma:

…Zoe Katz, the captain of USC’s women’s tennis team, is accusing the university of not only ignoring her protestations that her boyfriend Matt Boermeester didn’t assault her, but threatening her for speaking up.  Boermeester, a redshirt junior kicker, was suspended from USC in February after a neighbor [claimed to have seen] the football player…assault Katz a month earlier.  That claim was repeated to a coach and then to the university Title IX office…The following “six-month”…inquiry took the form of “repeated interrogations” plagued by “agendas, intimidation and falsehoods,” Katz wrote in a two-page statement…The allegations closely resemble those made in a lawsuit against Colorado State University–Pueblo by athlete Grant Neal, who was found responsible for rape after his girlfriend, an athletics staffer, said their sex was consensual…

All Wet

When a “study” claims only an impossibly-tiny fraction of men pay for sex, you can safely dismiss it as pure garbage:

…University of Minnesota researchers for the first time have studied the demand for commercial sex in Minnesota and who the typical client is.  A 121-page report…uses a national study to estimate that 26,000 Minnesota men — 1 percent of the state’s men — may have purchased sex in the past year, while 380,000 men — 14 percent — have done so at least once…Researchers, who combed through court records and media reports and interviewed more than 150 experts statewide, found that most sex buyers in Minnesota seek quick and anonymous sex with young-looking girls or women…

Yes, these idiots are claiming that the average sex worker subsists on three clients per year (and that’s not even counting all the “trafficked children”).  But then, what can one expect from a “study” that doesn’t bother to interview the people being studied, but instead just records the wanking fantasies of cops & other prohibitionists?

Signs

COSWAC mocks the absurdity of “signs of sex trafficking” in hotels:

…according to a checklist provided to hotel employees by the Department of Homeland Security, I displayed at least three “general indicators” of human trafficking…Few or no personal items when checking in…The same person reserving multiple rooms…“Do Not Disturb” sign used constantly.  Oh, and the fellow activist who paid for my hotel room?  They hosted get-togethers in their suite throughout the weekend…another red flag: “Constant flow of men into a room at all hours”…several…are so vague or subjective that…[they] could lead to invasions of privacy and false accusations…

Original Sin (#713) 

The Pope continues to recklessly promote “sex trafficking” hysteria:

Human trafficking is “brutal, savage and criminal,” Pope Francis said…“I want to call everyone to make a commitment to seeing that this perverse plague, a modern form of slavery, is effectively countered”…After reciting the Angelus with thousands of people gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis asked them to join him in praying a “Hail Mary” so that Jesus’ mother would “support the victims of trafficking and convert the hearts of traffickers”…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality (#722)

As the hysteria collapses, you’re going to see this happening much more often:

Cambodia’s premier Hun Sen…ordered a Christian [rescue industry group]…to be shut down, after it featured in a recent CNN report that…featured three girls who were [supposedly] rescued from the sex trade by Agape International Missions (AIM)…American pastor Don Brewster [has repeatedly refused to accept studies that show only a small number of Cambodian sex workers are now minors, and] was quoted [to that effect on CNN]…Hun Sen and [others pointed out that]…an early version of CNN’s online report…described the girls as Cambodian, when in fact they either spoke Vietnamese or Khmer with a thick Vietnamese accent.  CNN later removed the word Cambodian from their headline…

The Mote and the Beam (#728)

The censors who want the internet destroyed are at it again:

…the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017…would amend the Communications Decency Act in order to hold websites liable for “publishing information designed to facilitate sex trafficking.”  It was introduced…by Sen. Rob Portman…and…sponsored by a bipartisan group of 19 senators…The Internet Association, which represents Silicon Valley giants like Facebook, Twitter and Amazon, said…that the act would unfairly make companies responsible for what third parties publish on their sites…Sen. Ron Wyden…[said] “Section 230…is…the legal basis for all of social media and it has been vital to the expansion of affordable internet access throughout the country…This proposal takes a wrecking ball to that foundation without so much as a committee hearing.  It is yet another example of the technical ignorance of Congress threatening the jobs, lives and economic opportunities of millions of Americans.”

Total Eclipse of the Brain 

I have a strong feeling that this will be the nadir of the “gypsy whore” myth:

Cheyenne police say the solar eclipse passing over Wyoming on August 21 could be a hotbed for sex trafficking…Sgt. Tim Meyrick [fantasized that] “In this region, a pimp will make approximately $1,000/day per girl”…[while] Kevin Malatesta [masturbated while drooling] “…prostitution…has a much darker side to it”…

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The cops are the villains of this story, not the heroes.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

Torture Chamber 

It’s unusual to see them actually use the word “rape” in this context:

A deputy jailer at Hardin County [Kentucky] jail has been arrested after…inmate Amanda Chambers [reported] that Deputy Stephen Renfrow provided her with tobacco dip in exchange for sex…He was arrested on Friday and is facing charges for rape, promoting contraband, and official misconduct…

If it was a true “exchange” as the story suggests, why did Chambers report him, and why the charge of rape?  It seems more likely he raped her and then gave her the tobacco in an attempt to bribe her into silence.

Case Study

Is it sexist of me to wonder why men seem to be pearl-clutching even more than women these days?

There are two brothels operating…[in an apartment building]…each containing several “sex workers”.  They advertise their services openly on websites.  Clients pick a woman from a menu of hundreds and make a phone call to get directions…A garda familiar with the case confirms there are several brothels operating out of apartment complexes in the area, as well as “pop-up” brothels in the local hotel.  He says there is little that can be done unless they witness cash been handed over…Street prostitution still exists but the vast majority of prostitution is now advertised on the internet.  Ruth Breslin of Ruhama, an organisation [that persecutes sex workers]…estimates there are no more than 70 prostitutes working on the streets in Dublin…“Women are moved around an awful lot in the indoor trade because the market is all about new girls. Buyers are often not interested in going back to the same woman,” Breslin says…

Scare quotes for a job title.  Advertising being described as “open” as though there were another way for it to be effective.  Can you imagine a site featuring ads for physicians or lawyers being described as a “menu”?  Ruhama interviewed instead of sex workers.  Women described as passive objects who “are moved” rather than being able to move themselves. And it goes on from there…

Moving Pictures 

Salon’s definition of “everyone” excludes all people who actually know anything about sex work, or have critical thinking skills and access to Google:

“It’s all a lie. It’s all a big lie.”  That’s how director Josie Swantek Heitz, her face stunned and expressionless as she leans against a wall, informs director/cinematographer Dave Adams that they have been hoodwinked.  This discovery occurs moments into the intro of their film The Wrong Light…[first intended to be a fakumentary] about trafficked girls in the stateless Hill Tribe communities that border Northern Thailand.  After this initial confusion…we are suddenly plunged headlong into the world of Mickey Choothesa and COSA (Children’s Organization of Southeast Asia), a [rescue profiteering] organization…A half hour in, the film flips to include an intricately woven fiction that fooled everyone, including both filmmakers, the producers, a slew of international donors, a parade of interns, and even foreign correspondent Adam Ramsey…It is as though the [fantasy] of witnessing pretty girls being trafficked…[turns moralists on so much that they]…open…their…wallets without further investigation…

Readers with long memories will remember that I debunked COSA in this blog five and a half years ago.

Theatrics (#549)

People who can’t admit their kinks unknowingly display them to the world:

The group ‘Yet She Rise’ hopes people will see their human trafficking displays this weekend in [Chicago’s] Wicker Park and feel uncomfortable…there is a box with two child actors inside it, tape over their mouths and wrists.  “In a box, you know, roped and tied, with tape across their mouth, just to show how [sexy], and how [arousing], this situation is,” sa[livate]d Lamar Flowers, who’s with the organization…

This is at least the fourth iteration we’ve seen of this same inane stunt.

The Widening Gyre (#663)

Italy sends its navy to stop brown people from coming into the country; everyone pretends it isn’t racist:

Italy’s prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni…announced…that the Italian navy would be patrolling with Libyan ships just off the Libyan coastline…to curb human trafficking and [turn] migrants back…to Libya…Italy has already threatened to stop allowing boats carrying rescued migrants to dock in Italian ports…Most of the migrants are from African countries, and many try to travel on to France…However, the border is being policed by French officials.  Migrants who are caught are sent back to Italy.  Austria has announced that it too will close its border with Italy if the number of migrants starts to rise…The interior ministry has…announced that it will reinforce repatriation programs…

“Repatriation” is the currently-fashionable euphemism for “deportation”.

Power Play (#701)

The only part of this I disagree strongly with is Petro’s conciliatory statement that “There are lots of good reasons to root for Kamala Harris”:

…Like racism, homophobia, transphobia, and all the rest, casual whorephobia and anti-sex work sentiment and views — even among so-called progressives — is endemic…The latest and most vivid example of this is the growing popularity of superstar Democrat Kamala Harris…[who] has been called a “liberal hero” and a “rising star” in the party…There are lots of good reasons to root for Kamala Harris…But the fact that Harris was an active force behind a campaign that endangered the lives of sex workers makes it understandably difficult for people with experiences in the sex trades to throw her our support…

No, there are no good reasons to root for Harris; she’s a corrupt, self-serving, two-faced demagogue who, in addition to her anti-whore campaigns, participated in political cover-ups and actively campaigned against prison reform because, she claims, California needs the slave labor prisoners are forced to do.  She is a vile, loathsome monster even by the standards of politicians, and that’s saying something.

Devil’s Advocate (#723) 

Your periodic reminder that a child-shaped toaster is still a toaster:

A surge in the number of seizures of child-like sex dolls by border officers has led investigators to identify dozens of previously unknown suspected paedophiles.  The…dolls…are a “relatively new phenomenon” in the UK and should be criminalised, said Hazel Stewart [a sex cop]…those who order them can be prosecuted under a specific charge of importing an indecent or obscene article…[but] it is not illegal to own a child sex doll…Stewart said: “I think it’s got to be through the full range of this criminality, from manufacturer to sale, to import, to possess – the full range.  And we need to make sure it’s future-proofed in case there is the introduction of…sex robots”…

I’m sure you guessed this would merge with the sex robot hysteria.

The War Goes On (#731) 

Prohibitionists just don’t realize how obvious their masturbation to the “pimp” fantasy is, bless their little hearts:

For pimps and prostitutes, gift cards have become a currency to pay for sex ads on Backpage.com, anti-prostitution activists say…Credit card companies [were illegally threatened into cutting off] business with the website two years ago.  People could still buy Backpage ads, but it became more difficult:  They had to mail in checks or use complicated digital currencies like bitcoin.  But now, Backpage has begun accepting gift cards from major retailers…that means a pimp could walk into any local grocery store and pick up a convenient, untraceable way to pay the site to post ads selling women…[prohibitionists publicly masturbate to the fantasy that] Backpage’s new payment system will make it easier to sell vulnerable girls online…

What’s also fascinating is the number of anti-sex women who insist that other women are far too stupid to do anything as simple as pay for an online service by themselves, without an all-powerful male doing it for them.

Too Close To Home (#760)

Liz Brown on the warped thought patterns of Seattle prosecutor Val Richey:

In Seattle, sex must be a “leisure activity” for both parties or it’s nonconsensual, according to…Val Richey—a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for King County…”What you have is someone paying this person essentially to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes,'” Richey [said]…”these women, as a leisure activity, are not looking to have sex with 10 guys in a day. They’re doing it for the money.”  By that logic, anyone who wouldn’t perform their job without remuneration is a victim of labor trafficking!  But Richey is “adamant”…that what Korean sex workers…”were doing could not be called consensual because they were being paid”…

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