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Archive for the ‘The Dark Side’ Category

Is it legal in New York City to meet a professional at a short-stay motel for the purposes of a BDSM session? The only sexual activity contemplated would be masturbation by me while naked.

There’s little point in concerning yourself with whether a consensual sex act is “legal” or not, because cops can and will arrest anyone they think they can get away with arresting, whether the supposed act they’re arresting someone for is legal, illegal, or nothing more than a product of their own sick imaginations.  The only relatively certain way to avoid arrest any time you step out of your front door is to avoid cops; when sex is involved, that means contracting with an established professional.  If you see someone with a long and proven professional history, you’re as safe as you are doing just about anything else involving sex (and much safer than doing the same thing with an amateur) regardless of the diktats of power-hungry busybodies; if you try to see someone without a reputation, there’s no way to guarantee it isn’t a cop and you won’t end up in the paper under a headline that screams “SEX TRAFFICKING!” regardless of whether you did anything any sane person would consider wrong or criminal.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Some escorts in my area insist I pay with an Ebay gift card instead of cash because they believe that this will protect them from prosecution if I am a cop.  Is that true?

Nothing protects anyone from prosecution; prosecutors can basically do anything they like, and pretending otherwise is just whistling past the graveyard.  As the expression goes, “you can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride”.  A competent lawyer might be able to use various things as part of a defense to win a dismissal or “not guilty” verdict, but cops can arrest anyone they like without any valid reason, and since the invention of plea bargaining, prosecutors have no reason not to file charges against anyone (except violent cops, of course).  The only relatively-sure way to avoid prosecution is not to end up in a room with a fantasy role-playing cop in the first place; from the escort’s side that means good screening practices, and from the client’s side that means sticking to established providers with good reputations.  There are no magic words, practices or talismans that will ward off the evil of state violence any better than carrrying a rabbit’s foot or making the sign of the cross.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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As I’ve pointed out many times in the past, women are more likely than men to support the violent policing of other women’s sexualities; were it not for this fact, it would be very difficult indeed for even the staunchest patriarchy to effectively enforce laws intended to keep women in line.  In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the “aunts” are women who collaborate with the religious dictatorship to control other women, and in fact Atwood has said that the novel is (among other things) a critique of the kind of “feminism” whose adherents are only too happy to police other women (some of her “aunts” are even depicted as former feminists).  In the real world, such women – those who are willing to sell out their own gender by assisting a violent patriarchy to oppress them – can be found in every form of prohibitionism, but the most self-deluded of their ilk are probably female cops who belong to “vice” gangs.  And that’s why I have absolutely no sympathy for the women involved in this ugly mess:

…Several high-ranking Harris County [Texas cops]…sexually assault[ed] and harass[ed] their female colleagues under the guise of stopping human trafficking.  In a new federal lawsuit, [several of these] women…accuse [boss cops] Alan Rosen…Chris Gore…and…Shane Rigdon of having “molested and traumatized” them in…prostitution stings…Rosen, Gore, and Rigdon are the [ring]leaders of the department’s federally funded human trafficking unit…”an opportunity for notoriety and media attention”…[which] considers entrapping sex workers…to be the main part of its mission.  The unit[‘s underlying propaganda claims]…that most sex workers are forced into it and if you only arrest enough of them, someone will give up “their sex traffic business handlers”…Liz Gomez, Marissa Sanchez, and Felecia McKinney…were selected for…“bachelor party” prostitution stings [that] soon grew into a booze-fueled playground for sexual exploitation in which young, untrained [women] were subject to disgusting abuse…the Harris County District Attorney’s Office…[knew] about this abuse for months, but…refused to take any action and rebuffed anyone who complained…[plaintiffs] spoke up about their abuse…but…were ridiculed by their commanders, retaliated against by their abusers, and quietly reassigned to less prestigious duties.  In addition, Jacquelyn Aluotto, a “human trafficking advocate” employed by the county (and the fourth plaintiff in this suit) spoke up about went what on as part of these undercover operations and was fired the day after giving an interview to the office’s Internal Affairs division…

Summary:  “When we agreed to trick other people into cages with face-eating leopards, we didn’t know the leopards would eat our faces!” said Gomez, Sanchez, McKinney, and Aluotto.  Waaah, waaaah, waaah.  Liz Brown goes into the whole disgusting scam with her usual thoroughness, so I advise you to follow the link and read it all yourself.  Female vice cops and other violent prohibitionists like to imagine that there are two different kinds of women, “good” and “bad”, which are self-evidently as different as chalk and cheese, so it’s a rude awakening for them when they realize that the difference, such as it is, isn’t as obvious as puritans like to pretend; if it were, there would be no need for elaborate scams intended to tell the sheep from the goats, and no women getting harassed or even arrested for “prostitution” on the basis of “evidence” such as being alone in public; wearing high-heeled boots or skinny jeans; owning lingerie; possessing condoms or cell phones; being trans, black, or Asian; and of course “looking like a whore“.  Unfortunately, far too many women refuse to accept this until the fronts of their heads are being chewed off by vicious animals they intended to sic on others.

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All too often, human tragedies are wholly predictable.  Busybodies, control freaks, and social engineers, in and out of government, create an elaborate propaganda narrative around people and things they want to control, and then some weak-brained individual or gang (usually young, male, and maladjusted), with or without magic government costumes, go out and inflict violence on strangers (usually minorities of one kind or another and often female) using that propanda narrative as an excuse and framework.  Then those with blood on their hands start victim-blaming or otherwise pointing fingers at others, while politicians use the tragedy as an excuse to increase state power and violence, and the hopelessly clueless wring their hands and cry, “How did this happen?”  This formula, with few variations, has repeated itself throughout history on a smaller or larger scale.  Sometimes the tragedy is so awful the instigators are hoist with their own petard and public opinion turns against them and in favor of the people they’ve worked so hard to demonize, but more often the dimwits continue to believe the opportunists’ lies and the violence simply grows more deadly and general.

The tragedy at hand exploded on Tuesday of last week at three Asian massage parlors in greater Atlanta:

[Robert Aaron Long] targeted th[ree massage] businesses because he had “issues” with sexual addiction and had been planning to commit more shootings before he was captured…Long…targeted businesses that he had been to before…A total of eight people were killed and another was injured…The shooting began just before 5 p.m…at Young’s Asian Massage…Two Asian women, one white woman and one white man were killed inside the spa.  Another man…was walking out of the store next door when he was hit by a bullet.  He was rushed to the hospital…[Long] then drove into the city of Atlanta, where he…killed [three people] at Gold Spa and one…at Aromatherapy…all four [of those] were Asian women…Long was on his way to Florida to carry out more shootings [presumably at other parlors he had previously patronized, but his]…family [recognized him from publicized surveillance images]…and [gave cops his phone number so they]…were able to track his phone…and…[stop him by ramming his] car…Long [has already] confessed to the shootings…[saying] he blames the massage parlors for providing an outlet for his [imagined] addiction to sex…[he] said…he wanted to “eliminate the temptation”…

Of course, politicians, cops, and others who have promoted hysteria around sexuality in general and paid sex in particular for this entire century so far don’t want you to think too hard about their role in spreading the manure that this evil took root in, so they’re trying to frame the attacks as based in race-hatred rather than the obvious (he didn’t shoot up nail parlors & Asian restaurants) and self-admitted motive of whore-hatred.  Lest you are tempted to give that narrative even a particle of credence:

Robert Long…had attended rehab for sex addiction and felt extreme guilt about his sexual urges, two former roommates said…Long has…[admitted] he committed the shootings because he [imagines he] has a “sex addiction” and wanted to eliminate his temptation…Tyler Bayless…spent months living with Long in an Atlanta halfway house named Maverick Recovery [a year ago]…He said Long was being treated for [so-called] sex addiction and felt an overwhelming sense of guilt over visiting massage parlors “for explicitly sexual activity…[which] he…[called] ‘relapses’…He would have a deep feeling of remorse and shame and say he needed to return to prayer and to return to God”…Bronson Lillemon, a second former housemate of Long’s, echoed Bayless’ account…Both housemates [said] that they never heard Long use racist language and had no knowledge that he ever visited racist message boards online…

Some media outlets appear to understand that this is about sex work rather than broad racism or misogyny, but want to shift the blame for creating Long’s sick weltanschauung from their aggressively-promoted mythology to the victims; this strategy is so utterly vile I’m not even going to quote it, but here are three examples, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Washington Post, and the arch-prohibitionist New York Times.  Instead, here are quotes from three articles by people who actually know what they’re talking about:

Cathy Reisenwitz:

…By perpetuating the myth of sex addiction and conflating sex work with sex trafficking the anti…sex worker movement has convinced men that they’re not responsible for their behavior and that sex workers…aren’t deserving of basic human dignity…“The modern sex addiction dialogue doesn’t encourage people to understand, accept and manage their sexual desires,” Dr. David Ley said of the attack. “Instead, it teaches people to hate”…By pushing the sex addiction myth, anti-sex worker, Evangelical groups like ExodusCry, [Morality in Media], and Polaris teach men that they aren’t in control of their sexuality.  Rather…the[y]…teach people, especially men, to feel ashamed of and hate both their own sexuality and the people and media they find sexually arousing.  They teach men to blame sex workers for their own feelings and behavior…Polaris, for example, spends millions pushing racist stereotypes.  Their express purpose is to use state violence to deprive Asian massage owners and workers of their businesses and jobs…

Tracy Quan:

…Despite my Asian background, I find [Long’s] disavowal of racism strangely credible.  Like a lot of people, I’ve experienced bias and ethnic profiling, but I’ve also been a sex worker, and I have encountered more prejudice, more name-calling, more fear, anger and hostility in connection with my sex work than regarding my race…Mainstream Americans, including many Asian Americans, are quick to blame racism yet unready to discuss an older hatred — what my French friends call “la putophobie” (a term more pleasing to the eye than the clunky compound “whorephobia”).  It’s the last acceptable form of hate speech…Speculation about the spas…is fed by prejudice.  Amplified by so-called antitrafficking voices, this prejudice is dangerously toxic.  Fueled by religious fanaticism and illiberal forms of feminism, by punitive laws and tabloid headlines, this bias breeds self-loathing in young men who should be learning how to nurture, not extinguish, the varieties of human connection…

Religion writer Chissy Stroop:

…The moment I read that [Long] was the son of a youth pastor who told police he had a “sex addiction”…According to [psychologist Joshua] Grubbs…“conservative religious values are strongly linked to feelings of sex addiction…men…interpret normal sexual urges as pathological and then act on them in ways that they find to be problematic”…In evangelical…churches and…schools, discussions of sex are usually steeped in purity culture…a complex of beliefs and practices associated with an unhealthy fear of sexuality and intense pressure to remain…sexually inexperienced…before marriage…victims of…sexual assault in evangelical communities are often blamed for “tempting” the perpetrators…

I’ll leave the last word for Red Canary Song, the Asian sex worker organization; if you feel moved to donate to help the victims’ families, you can find links to do so at their website.  There’s also an NPR interview here, and as usual, further updates will appear in subsequent news columns under this heading.

…We are concerned that many of those calling for action in this moment have and will continue to endorse violence towards Asian sex workers [and] massage workers…We reject the call for increased policing in response to this tragedy…[and] rising anti-Asian violence…Policing has never been an effective response to violence because the police are agents of white supremacy.  Policing has never kept sex workers or massage workers or immigrants safe.  The criminalization and demonization of sex work has hurt and killed countless people — many at the hands of the police both directly and indirectly…Asian massage workers are harmed by the criminalization of sex work, regardless of whether they engage in it themselves.  Decriminalization of sex work is the only way that…anyone criminalized for their survival and/or livelihood will ever be safe…

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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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The times when those slain by the evil policies of the police state were simply left to rot in the shadows are over.  –  “The Body Count

Every year on this day, sex workers around the world gather to mourn our dead, but this year, the observance will be different in two very important ways.  You can probably guess the first:  Most of the gatherings are likely to be virtual ones, as people choose to physically isolate themselves to ward off disease.  The second, however, is far more important:  in the two years since the passage of the massive anti-sex censorship law FOSTA, attention and support for sex worker rights has grown dramatically among the general public, the media, and even the parasitic hangers-on who proclaim themselves “leaders”.  Increasingly-punitive laws engendered by “sex trafficking” hysteria and the general worldwide rise in authoritarianism, aggravated by pandemic-driven desperation, have produced the effect desired by prohibitionists:  dramatically increased violence against sex workers.  Most governments have added insult to injury by cutting those they know to be sex workers out of their pandemic relief programs, and even as the “sex trafficking” panic implodes those who have used it as an excuse for violence have redoubled their efforts.  Nor has the shift to online forms of sex work (again, driven by the pandemic) allowed sex workers to escape this violence:  sociopathic fanatics such as the creeps from Morality in Media and Exodus Cry, in collusion with sociopathic profiteers like Nicholas Kristof, have succeeded in cutting off revenue from the sex workers who sold their content on Pornhub, just as they did with Backpage, and it’s unlikely they will stop there.  But sex workers are no longer dying in the shadows, unnoticed and unmourned; social media has given us a megaphone, and FOSTA has galvanized those of our community who never considered organizing before to do so in numbers far too large to ignore.  Yes, there are still far too many (including the arch-prohibitionists who recently won the US presidential election) who want sex workers silent, invisible, and preferably caged, enslaved, or dead.  And they still hold tremendous power, and have been handed terrifying weapons over the past decade by a gullible public quaking in fear of imaginary bogeymen.  But they can no longer commit their atrocities in the dark as they once could.  As I’ve said before, we’re in the part where it gets worse before it gets better.  But now, many more people than ever before are watching, and increasing numbers of them do not at all like what they see.

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Though I’ve been a Trekkie since childhood, I had never seen all of Deep Space Nine until recently.  The reason is simple: the series premiered in January 1993 and was midway through its third season when my first husband left me without warning.  My life was thrown into turmoil and it took two years for me to get it straight again, during which time money was much too tight for the relative extravagance of cable TV.  So though I saw all of the first two seasons, half of the third, and occasional episodes (at friends’ houses or via borrowed videocassettes) of the fourth and fifth seasons, I got rather lost due to the complex story arcs and decided not to see any more individual episodes until I could rewatch the whole show from the beginning.  I gave Grace the complete series on DVD for Christmas about a decade ago, but still never got around to viewing it until this year, after I moved to Sunset as my primary residence.  As I watched, I soon found that I agree with many reviewers’ opinion that the series is the best of all the Star Trek sequel series; though it was a direct spinoff of The Next Generation I find it very much superior to its parent, not only because of its greater consistency, better writing, and relief from the pressure of being THE Star Trek show of its decade, but also because it discarded the moral oversimplification which (unfortunately) permeates most of The Next Generation in favor of a universe full of greys in which few characters were either moral paragons or cardboard villains.

This realistic portrayal of the ethical tangle that is real life was on full display in a 6th-season episode we watched a couple of weeks ago, “Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night“.  In it, Major Kira Nerys discovers that her mother, whom she believed to have died in a concentration camp during her planet’s half-century-long occupation by the militaristic Cardassians, actually survived for seven years after the very young Nerys had last seen her…as a “comfort woman” claimed by the Cardassian governor, Gul Dukat.  At first, Kira (who started the series as a morally rigid, almost puritanical character, and only slowly grew to accept that real life rarely resembles such abstractions) refuses to believe that her sainted mother could have been guilty of collaboration horizontale, then as she explores the truth (with the help of a mysterious alien device which grants her visions of the past), she instead becomes terribly angry with her mother for literally sleeping with the enemy.  But as the vision goes on, she realizes that her mother’s position as the governor’s mistress not only resulted in better living conditions for herself, but also for her husband and children, who might otherwise have died in a labor camp.  By the end of the episode she has not forgiven her mother, but has come to accept that she did what she thought best for her family, just as Nerys herself had to make hard choices (including becoming a terrorist) in her own struggle to survive the occupation.

The episode is not a highly rated one; perhaps the topic is too uncomfortable for many viewers, especially in these neo-Victorian times.  But as a sex worker and hard-nosed pragmatist, I deeply appreciated the show’s willingness to recognize that sex work, even under duress, can almost never be fit into a pat narrative of villain and victim, and its repeated depiction (in this episode and many others) of war as a filthy business from which nobody emerges entirely clean.

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We await a thundering so great
That it shatters stars
That it awakens fate
To save us from a void of eternal scars.
  –  Abdurehim Imin Parach

Not for Everybody (#626)

Women who had a bad time in sex work are exploited by prohibitionists, but some wake up:

…when I came across the “survivor” movement…it was like coming home.  I finally felt able to share my experiences honestly and without feeling judged…I accepted what I was told about the Nordic Model; that it was a framework which supported women and punished the perpetrators.  And all buyers were perpetrators.  I was encouraged to share and re-share and share again my trauma experiences (for no compensation, of course) to the point that I was a quivering wreck, angry at the world and thoroughly believed that women were doomed without the passing of a Sex Buyer Law, and anyone who said otherwise was part of the Big Pimp Conspiracy.  Looking back it felt a little like joining a cult.  I was saved!  And I had a responsibility to save others.  I’m mortified, now, at the way I ignored the efforts of those who patiently tried to show me the documented evidence…

Worse Than I Thought (#711)

A perfect storm of stupidity, sex fantasy and authoritarian violence:

…senate candidate Bill Hagerty [publicly shared his sexual fantasies about] human trafficking…in Tennessee…[after vomiting up a lot of nonsense about] roadways…and…proximity to Atlanta…[then reciting the shahada and dehumanizing sex workers as a] growing epidemic…[he called for increased censorship of] the internet…and…[claimed] that [sex work]…”is one of the most atrocious crimes, and the death penalty should absolutely be considered for these criminals”…

Worse Than I Thought (#737)

“Human trafficking” has become nothing more than a dysphemism for sex work:

The Odessa City Council will consider…an…ordinance…that is aimed at tightening [the noose] on sex…[workers]…The ordinance will…extend…the distance a sexually oriented business can be from a school or church from 600 feet to 1,500 feet….[and] require those businesses to add [magical anti-pimp]…signs in Spanish…the ordinance [also] includes a rule…[that strippers]…who…have an overdue balance on a utility bill like water or gas [due to lack of work during virus panic] may be denied th[e] permit [the city demands they have in order] to work [and pay the overdue bill]…

Neither Addiction Nor Epidemic (#855) 

I suppose it only makes sense to excuse an imaginary “offense” with an imaginary “disorder”:

A top NHS chest doctor who used a hospital computer to view…pornography [w]as [slapped] with a 12-month suspension [during a respiratory disease epidemic because sex rays.  He might have received an even more ridiculous penalty had he not placated the puritans by]…checking himself into a sex addiction clinic.  Professor Peter Davies…viewed [the porn]…at work [because] his wife put an anti-[porn] filter on his computer at home.  The world-renowned expert on tuberculosis…[claimed] he had been addicted to pornography since he was 18 years old [even though there is no such thing as “pornography addiction”]…

Quiet Genocide

How China tries to keep the genocide quiet:

China’s government considers…the Uighur ethnic minority to be “terrorists” and “separatists.”  It has imprisoned them on a mass scale and has turned Xinjiang into one of the world’s most tightly controlled police states.  As a result, many Uighurs have fled to Turkey, which they have traditionally viewed as a refuge and an advocate for their rights.  Now, many Uighurs in Istanbul…fear China is pressuring Turkey to threaten them.  [Abdurehim Imin] Parach…was targeted after he published [Breathing in Exile,] a book of poetry describing China’s oppression of Uighurs…The book came out in December 2018…and…two months later…Turkish [cops] arrested him…and sent [him] to [a] deportation center…for [three] months [before releasing him without explanation]…One Uighur activist in Turkey…has counted at least 200 such detentions since January 2019, while a lawyer…has assisted more than 400 Uighurs arrested in the past year…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#998) 

“Sex trafficking” now means whatever authoritarians want it to mean:

Sen. Ben Sasse…demanded Attorney General William P. Barr investigate adult video giant Pornhub for allegedly facilitating human trafficking [by which he apparently means GirlsDoPorn’s release of material it told performers would not be available online]…in a [written sex fantasy he referred to the women victimized by GirlsDoPorn as]…”exploit[ed] children”…[meanwhile] anti-[sex worker] activist Laila Mickelwait [of the religious pro-censorship group Exodus Cry] launched a petition to [censor] the website and [unconstitutionally persecute] its executives…

An article by Tracy Clark-Flory points out that “The petition itself links to TraffickingHub.com, a site…which prominently quotes Gail Dines…this is not a “nonpartisan” petition, but rather an abolitionist project…

You Were Warned (#1007)

We told you so, over and over and over again:

Imagine an Internet where the law required every message sent to be read by government-approved scanning software.  Companies that handle such messages wouldn’t be allowed to securely encrypt them, or they’d lose legal protections that allow them to operate…The so-called EARN IT bill, sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham…and Richard Blumenthal…will strip Section 230 protections away from any website that doesn’t follow a list of “best practices,” meaning those sites can be sued into bankruptcy.  The “best practices” list will be created by a government commission, headed by Attorney General Barr, who has made it very clear he would like to ban encryption, and guarantee [pigs and spooks]…access…to any digital message…[but] because they didn’t put the word “encryption” in the bill, they…insist it doesn’t affect encryption…the bill…would create a 19-person commission that’s completely controlled by the Attorney General and [pigs, spooks and professional busybodies such as]…NCMEC…[which has already] made it clear…[they] believe…online services should be made to [spy on all communications]…report what they find in the messages to NCMEC; and be held legally responsible for the content of messages sent by others…The Commission won’t be a body that seriously considers policy; it will be a vehicle for creating a law enforcement wish list…

Out of Control (#1021)

Sex workers know how to protect each other, but “authorities” want to keep us from doing it:

…online databases are vital for sex workers’ safety, but they’re moving further and further underground in the wake of the so-called SESTA/FOSTA law…that…criminalizes anything they do, even posting about work online.  The database that figured into [rapist client Dr. Manish] Gupta’s case requires users to pay for membership, is hard to join without an invitation and…now requires lengthy verification.  It’s one of a handful of closed-door screening sites that not only protect sex workers but, as the Gupta case shows, can be crucial for securing arrests.  “People are more hesitant to use them now because they don’t want to be accused of promoting prostitution,” said Phoenix Calida from [SWOP-USA]…“That’s how predators are able to continue for so long.  There were complaints lodged about this person being a bad date a couple of years before the person who went to the police was assaulted”…The investigation ramped up in late 2019 after a sex worker victims’ advocate began collating accounts of women who’d been drugged, raped, and videotaped by Gupta…there were 20 different victims in Gupta’s videos…the FBI’s Cleveland Office said they hope media coverage of Gupta’s arrest will encourage more victims to come forward.  “We want to remind them that they can contact the FBI anonymously,” she said…

DO NOT trust the FBI!  They will collect all of your information to hold for future use.  If you have information about Gupta you wish to share, contact a lawyer to help you negotiate that; do not call or e-mail them directly!

Social Distancing

This is going to hurt a lot of sex workers:

…gentlemen’s club…proprietors [in Jamaica] have been bracing for the hammer to fall soon on their regular…operations, but for now at least, lap dances are still en vogue, despite the spreading threat of the coronavirus…”We hear that they might close us down by Monday…how the girls dem a go mek money if dem caan give lap dances?…When wi close down, all our dancers may just start go do independent sex work, and that is more dangerous for them to be on the streets, so we ah gwaan watch and wait,” stated [on]e club manager…the virus is a serious financial…worry.  Prostitutes, dancers and other categories of sex workers are already feeling the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak directly…

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The big story right now is of course the COVID-19 virus, and in addition to all the events and crowd-based businesses either shutting themselves down or being forced to shut down by governments, there’s lots of talk of practicing “social distancing”, in other words physically distancing oneself from other people in order to reduce the risk of transmission.  Naturally, this is emboldening all the puritans to declare that this aspect of the epidemic is a good thing, because touching other people is sinful unsanitary anyhow; it’s also inspiring a great deal of talk about “paid sick leave”, which totally ignores the 8% of Americans who own their own small businesses (including many sex workers) and the 10% of Americans who work as independent contractors (including most of the sex workers who don’t fall into the other category).  When people stay away from small businesses (or the government forces them to shut) for more than a few days, you know what often happens?  They go out of business.  And when there’s no work for independent contractors for similar reasons, you know what happens?  Their bills don’t get paid.  And I guarantee you there won’t be any “bailouts” for them, either, unlike big fascist banks and manufacturing concerns.  For sex workers who have already endured over a decade of persecution and two years of actual censorship, not to mention repeated attempts to choke off our income and steal our bank accounts, and who are now at the beginning of a hotly-contested presidential election year (which is always bad for business), this could not possibly have come at a worse time.  Some will try to get square jobs (assuming they can pass dystopian “background checks”), while others will attempt to switch to camming and other no-physical-contact sex work, a market which is already completely saturated due to full-service workers shifting to it to escape the aforementioned persecution and censorship.  But many others will simply grow more desperate, while sociopaths try to take advantage of them by haggling their prices down or demanding unprotected intercourse.

Whenever women talk about awful male behavior within earshot of men, they are sure to be accosted by weenies making the wholly unnecessary assertion that “Not all men…” blahbitty blah blah blah.  Well, dudes, now is your chance to prove that you’re one of the “nice guys” y’all insist are the rule rather than the exception.  If you’ve cancelled a session with a sex worker because you’re engaging in “social distancing”, how about sending her the money anyhow?  If you’ve got the money to buy sex from her, you have the money to help her in a time of need.  Or how about asking your favorites if they offer phone sex or Skype sessions so you can do business with each other despite “distancing”?  If you absolutely must have tit for tat, how about scheduling a session for sometime in April and paying in advance?  And if you have a sugar arrangement, maybe it’s time to give your sugar baby a raise.  (I’m not even going to try to appeal to self-appointed “rescuers” because we all know they’re pathological liars crammed as full of shit as a backed-up sewer line, and their idea of “rescue” is rape followed by confinement in cages or sweatshops.)

This is going to be an incredibly bad year for a very large fraction of sex workers, at least as bad as ’08 and possibly worse; if you profess to care about women, and you’re not one of those contractors or small business owners who are in the soup with us, now is the time to put your money where your mouth is.  The only upside to this mess that I can see is that it seems to have at least temporarily supplanted “sex trafficking” hysteria in the media, and bourgeois white women are too busy shopping for cases of hand sanitizer to accuse random brown people (or the drivers of white vans) of being “traffickers”.  But even if this really is a sign of the end of that long moral panic, sex workers need to make it through the year financially before they can enjoy the respite.

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Have you noticed that it’s getting much more common for police departments and/or bootlicking journalists to hide the images of rapist cops?  Because I sure have.  Oh, it has happened at least occasionally since police departments have enabled rapists (in other words, for as long as they’ve existed), but in the past year it has become increasingly difficult to find pictures of rapist cops online until after they’re convicted, and sometimes even then.  I first noticed the increase in the problem when out-of-control Columbus, Ohio, vice pig Andrew Mitchell, a serial rapist of sex workers, murdered Donna Dalton when she struggled against his attempt to rape her in August, 2018; the vice gang chose to describe the crimes as an “unauthorized prostitution investigation” and hid Mitchell’s picture until he was finally charged less than a year ago.  The only reason we had a picture earlier was that Donna’s family got ahold of pics and distributed them on social media.  Since then, I’ve seen a number of cases:  Ian G Lucas of Prince George’s County, Maryland; Richard Edward Sotelo of Imperial County, CaliforniaDavid Kwiecien of El Paso; Neil Halttunen of Springfield, Oregon; ICE thug Wilfredo Rodriguez; and TSA goon Johnathon Lomeli, among others, have all had their pictures suppressed by “authorities” so that women who might encounter these dangerous predators will not be able to recognize them.  I’ve been using the pictures of their bosses (police chiefs, sheriffs, etc) in place of rapists’ pictures when unavailable, but what I’d really like is a way to pull these guys’ pics out of police websites or databases so I can share them when the simpering media won’t.  I know that I have a lot of readers who are hackers, IT guys and others who are cleverer than I am when it comes to this kind of stuff; if any of y’all has an idea of how to find rapist cops’ pictures when Google can’t (legally, of course), I’d be very grateful if you’d share it.

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