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Archive for February 22nd, 2021

I recently saw this young woman’s story on Twitter, and immediately asked if she would be willing to retell it in a guest column; even most people who support sex worker rights don’t really understand the extent of the ugliness and depravity of what cops and their prohibitionists co-conspirators call “rescue”.  I’m also very concerned to see that these FBI stings violate a lot of our safety indicators; they’ve clearly figured out how to subvert our procedures, clearly demonstrating that, as I’ve said many times, these pogroms are specifically intended to harm us no matter what their copaganda claims

I was arrested 2 years ago in one of the FBI’s “Operation Cross Country” stings.  I was really inexperienced and working for an agency at the time, and there probably wasn’t much screening done (if any).  The appointment was booked a week in advance, unlike local cop stings where the appointments are often rushed and same day; it was for a couple, which is also unusual for a sting, and they made adjustments to the appointment date.  When I arrived, I parked on the street and was alarmed to see 4 cop cars drive past me, stop about a block behind me, and then pull into the parking garage.  I called the agency and told them about it, but they told me to go in anyway; this is not to put all of the blame on them, because I really should have just listened to my gut and left (as I would if something similar happened today).  But I had only $25 in my bank account and a $600 bill the next day, so I felt I had no choice but to go against my better judgement.

I met the couple outside of the apartment complex; there was almost nobody else around, and I later learned that this was a newer complex that the owners were allowing them to run stings out of before any actual tenants moved in.  The woman hugged me and we went upstairs; she was an excellent actress, which helped to mislead me even though the guy was acting a bit weird, such as hesitating when I asked them what they did for work.  There were boxes everywhere in the apartment, and they claimed they had just moved in.  We sat down, and they handed me the money and started asking questions like “What is included with the rate?”, “Will you eat me out while he is fucking you?”, and “How much of a cut does your agency take?”  I now know better than to answer such questions, but as I said I was inexprienced at the time.  After the questions the woman excused herself, and the guy asked if I wanted water; suddenly the door opened and 5 or 6 cops came in, and before I knew it my hands were in handcuffs.  They started aggressively interrogating me, asking me where I had put the money and how I got there, asking for the passcode to my phone, and threatening that they were going to impound my car.  Meanwhile the woman was patting me down, supposedly checking for a weapon.  I was in a state of shock, but I remember wondering why the fuck there were so many cops there when I was just a single woman that had no chance of taking them down; months later, after watching Maggie’s The War on Whores (which I recommend you check out), I realized that they are just there for the show.  And what a show:  I was having a full on panic attack, crying, and although I was luckily not naked yet, it was completely humiliating.  I distinctly remember some of them lounging on the couch while I was panicking.

They hustled me out, and two of them took me to a car in the parking garage while I remained handcuffed.  I was then driven to the police station, where there were snacks laid out and clothes to change into; I think this is rare and solely due to the FBI being involved.  There was also a “human trafficking advocate” there for me to speak to; she was of no help whatsoever, but at least she was nice.  The cops tried talking to me, saying they wanted to catch me specifically because I looked so young; I don’t show my face in ads, so this didn’t make any sense.  But I wasn’t giving them the information they wanted, so the FBI agents tried to interview me and the woman asked what would ever compel me to “sell my body” and put myself in a dangerous position.  Then the county cops came back in, told me they wouldn’t be recording (I realized this was a red flag), and asked me why I didn’t just get a job as a substitute teacher to make money (???) and if I do this for the “sexual thrill”.  Later, they asked me about my relationship with my dad and told me they were keeping my (really expensive) iPhone as “evidence”.  The whole time the kept referring to my escorting as “pimping myself out” and “self-pimping”.  It made no sense.

I was really lucky in that I had a friend to lend me cash for bail and a lawyer.  Since I was a first time “offender” I got a “human trafficking” pretrial diversion; I had to take a class and promise I would never do sex work again, and if I had been arrested again for anything while out on bail the diversion would have been out the window.  The cops later asked a few questions through my lawyer; they were really, really interested in whether or not I had a P411 or Eccie account, or if any of my clients did; they flat-out told me they wanted to take over client accounts so as to book providers with them.   Because of this, I will NOT see anyone with only P411 and no further info; I know for a fact these accounts get compromised, because cops will offer a plea deal to clients or providers that hand them over.  I also won’t go to personal residences anymore unless they’re an established client, and I have learned to trust my gut; I saw the cop cars that day, yet ignored my instincts and paid for it.  Thousands in bail, lawyer fees, and pretrial diversion fees, and at the end of the day I still couldn’t pay my bills and couldn’t work either.  But it could’ve been much worse:  one other woman I knew had a driver and a child waiting in the car for her, and the cops charged her driver with “sex trafficking” and gave her child to CPS.

I hope nobody reading this ever has to endure what I did, but if you do please don’t talk to police except to ask to speak to a lawyer, and to make it clear you’re invoking your right to remain silent.  I know it seems like common sense, but when you’re having a panic attack or sitting in an interrogation room, they will try anything to get you to talk. They will lie, ask stupid or silly questions, and do anything to use your words against you.  Cops are not your friends; no matter how many snacks and “victim advocates” they put in front of you, at the end of the day they are just trying to lock up as many people as possible.

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