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Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

In…the trafficking framework…sex work becomes a kind of statutory crime, with women as legal children…and questions of consent rendered irrelevant.  –  Lisa Duggan

Coming and Going

Boo fucking hoo:

When Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk was a judge, the cases that upset her the most involved…prostitution.  Hawk said that feeling has carried over into her work as district attorney and her office focuses on “prosecuting…[people and doing anything to] make sure they go to prison”…Last year in Dallas, 62 underage sex trafficking victims were rescued from their pimps, [lied] Deputy Police Chief Vernon Hale.  Dallas County also has several diversion programs to [brainwash sex workers]…One program, dubbed STAR Court, [forces] women [wrongfully persecuted for consensual sex to] go through counseling and drug or alcohol rehabilitation [whether they need it or not].  The goal is to give women an alternative to a criminal lifestyle…The [rescue industry corporation] Mosaic recently released an app…called Operation Compass [which makes it]…convenient…to [rat people out to the pigs]…

In other words, if you have sadfeelz about someone else’s way of making a living you should inform on them so they can be locked up and subjected to psychological torture to “correct” their “criminality”.

Droit du Seigneur 

Peacekeepers“.

The United Nations has been grappling with so many sexual abuse allegations involving its peacekeepers that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently called them “a cancer in our system”…Investigators discovered this month that at least four U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic allegedly paid girls as little as 50 cents in exchange for sex…employees have been accused of 22 other incidents of alleged sexual abuse or sexual exploitation in the past 14 months.  The most recent accusations come in the wake of Ban’s efforts to implement a “zero tolerance” policy for such offenses.  The United Nations maintains nine peacekeeping operations in Africa, employing more than 100,000 people on the continent, and the abuses threaten to erode the organization’s legitimacy.  Other sex-crime cases have occurred in Mali, South Sudan, Liberia and Congo in recent years…

Counterfeit Comfort

That’ll teach them dirty “sex offenders”!

The government may start stamping “sex offender” on the passports of citizens who were convicted of a sex offense against a minor.  Yes, that would include high school seniors who slept with their freshman girlfriends.  The rationale behind the International Megan’s Law is that these people could be traveling for sex-trafficking purposes…There are almost 850,000 Americans on the Sex Offender Registry, up from 750,000 just a few years ago.  About a quarter of them got on the list when they were juveniles themselves, because young people have sex with other young people…The branding…will affect even Americans whose offenses aren’t crimes in the countries they’re trying to visit:  For instance, I have a friend who had sex, once, with a 14-year-old when he was 19.  If he had done this in Austria, Germany, Portugal or Italy, it wouldn’t have been a criminal act at all. The age of consent there is 14.  But here in America he went to prison — for nine years.  He spent his 20s in a cell for one act of consensual sex between two teens, and now that he’s out, he remains on the Sex Offender Registry for life…if my friend’s passport is stamped with “Sex Offender,” any country he approaches will assume he’s a monster trying to get in.  Oddly enough, that country won’t be alerted if a visitor has served time for, say, mugging old ladies

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

If someone stole $100 from a convenience store, would the Times-Picayune refer to the crime as a “quibble”?

A Birmingham, Ala., woman called police after…a man who paid her $100 for a sexual rendezvous…stole back the cash…But Kenner [Louisiana] police wound up busting both for the illegal hookup…Montez Robinson…told [cops] he reached out to Rachel Burma…through her profile…on Backpage…

Forward and Backward

A pilot scheme in Leeds to allow sex workers to ply their trade on the streets without fear of arrest will continue indefinitely after the council announced it had improved the safety of prostitutes and made it easier for them to report crimes.  The scheme…allows prostitutes to work in a “managed area” between 7pm and 7am…The council says the scheme has improved community relations, the safety of sex workers and allowed prostitutes to report incidents of harassment without facing recrimination.  Police in the area will no longer issue cautions or make arrests for soliciting during the working hours specified…A female police officer has also been specially appointed to handle cases involving sex workers and to ensure their safety…

The Pygmalion Fallacy Gloria & robot

Unless they can bruise, heal, cry and exude a certain rare and as-yet-undiscovered pheromone, I’m not remotely interested:

…It wouldn’t take tech as advanced as Gigolo Joe [from the movie A.I.] to pique women’s interest in sexbots.  For one thing, women already use sex toys…women don’t really care whether the toy they’re using to orgasm even faintly resembles the anatomy of a human man…While toys for men, whether Fleshlights or RealDolls, conjure the appearance of an actual woman, women’s toys don’t…Women’s porn viewing habits…tend to be more varied than those of men…there’s a strong argument to be made that…women…are polymorphously perverse, being sexually aroused by far more configurations of bodies than men…a sexbot for women could be vaguely torso-shaped, equipped with vibrating pads and oscillating nubs, and furnished with outlets that would allow for multiple snap-on tools…Maybe make it’s voice-activated so that you could rotate between modes without the tiresome pressing of a button…No fuss.  No muss…And no uncanny valley…this bot could also sidestep the major controversy of sexbots: that of emotional connection…

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake 

Note that the main reason for the strippers’ plight is Washington’s idiotic prudishness:

…The owners of a collection of Washington strip clubs have sued state labor regulators, claiming they’ve been wrongly ordered to pay workers’ compensation to dancers hurt on the job…they claim regulators are trying to “financially break” their businesses.  At issue, in part, is the strippers’ status as club employees.  The women rent space from the clubs, which regard them as independent contractors.  The state Department of Labor & Industries has taken a different view, contending that, at times, dancers are entitled to workers’ comp if they’re injured at the clubs…The economics of Washington state strip clubs are particularly brutal, largely because the alcohol-free clubs draw their income almost exclusively from high-priced soft drinks and the fees paid by dancers.  Strippers pay a large portion of their earnings back to the clubs in a system previously decried by a U.S. attorney for Washington as abusive.  In Seattle, strip clubs have historically been subjected to extreme scrutiny from law enforcement and regulators

Now They Notice

The case against Rentboy isn’t actually any weaker than any other website takedown case; they’re all this weak:

…law-enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors considered this a big, bold police action against a criminal organization.  They threw around phrases like “Internet brothel,” “international online prostitution ring,” and “global criminal enterprise”…This was the beginning of an important and high-profile win for the government in the fight against illegal commercial sex, or so [they]…must have thought.  But things started going badly for the government right away…the raid was vigorously condemned by sexual-freedom and sex-worker advocates…LGBT groups…human-rights and free-speech organizations…and even many media outlets, including The New York Times.  The ACLU and Lambda Legal later initiated a meeting with prosecutors to defend Rentboy’s positive role in the community, which included funding scholarships and other educational projects…After such widespread backlash, the prosecution stalled, so far requesting four delays in the 30-day deadline for indictment.  Though such extended delays are not unusual, as investigators search for further evidence and try to locate cooperating witnesses, no new charges have surfaced in this case…

Bread and Circuses (#573) 

Federal “authorities”, unsatisfied with merely hounding a hardworking woman’s husband to death, humiliate her and lock her in a cage for six months:

A woman who came from a poor family in Thailand became a prostitute in Hawaii through working in the massage industry…Judge Susan Oki Mollway [pretended] she took those circumstances — along with her husband’s suicide — into account when sentencing her to six months in federal prison.  In a deal with prosecutors, [Khemwika] Ernst pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and filing false tax returns…

She only made about $75,000 per year, but prosecutors pretended that’s some huge amount of money so as to paint her as a master criminal.

Still a Child (#574) 

Women are such fragile little flowers that, although men can choose to risk death at 18, it takes us three extra years to mature to the point where we can choose to take off our clothes:  “The New Orleans city council voted unanimously…to ban strip club employees younger than 21 from dancing nude…the new rules do not apply to employees under 21 who are already working as dancers…

Above the Law (#587) 

Why I didn’t report being raped by cops:

For five years, Lindsay F. relived the night she was brutally raped by Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, then a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, over and over again.  She had to recall every detail…whenever investigators asked her to retell her story.  If Lindsay missed a detail or confused the timeline, even after years had passed, they accused her of lying…in her fight for the county to admit liability, Lindsay underwent a humiliating and interminably long process, one that experts in law enforcement misconduct litigation said is commonplace.  Even after Sanchez went to prison — not just for raping Lindsay, but for attempting to coerce another woman into sex under similar circumstances just two days later — the county’s lawyers…spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attacking Lindsay as if she had falsely accused Sanchez…They asked Lindsay about her sexual history:  Had she ever had HPV?  They deposed her friends:  What had Lindsay been wearing the night Sanchez pulled her over?  They even went as far as to hire a gynecology medical expert witness to testify that Lindsay’s vagina had not shown significant signs of trauma

The Widening Gyre (#597)

Another sign of peak panic: mere “sex trafficking” isn’t shocking enough any more, so fetishists are now claiming that “traffickers” are members of some other pariah-group besides being “pimps”:

…Katherine Svoi Symthe said…“All human traffickers are pedophiles, but not all pedophiles are traffickers”…Symthe’s [novel] Unbreakable, The Story of an Unrelenting Spirit, describes in shocking detail her [fantasized] story from the time she was smuggled into the U.S. as an infant to her rescue at age 17…Symthe said many pedophiles also get gratification by torturing their victims…

Too Close To Home

Feminist Whore debunks the King County sheriff’s press conference:

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[Prostitution law] is not about rationality or science or evidence.  It is just about ideology.  –  John Lowman

License to Rape

Cops don’t like it when non-cops poach on what they consider their territory:

Raul Antonio Ramos…could [be imprisoned]…for 50 years to life if he is convicted of [various rape-related felonies after]…he allegedly contacted [a sex worker]…in Anaheim…once inside [her room] he claimed to be a [cop], showed her his security-guard badge and threatened her with arrest if she did not have sex with him…He went on to forcibly rape the woman, using a GoPro video camera to record the entire incident…When Ramos tried to…orally [rape her]…she grabbed his keys and camera and ran out of the hotel room and down the street to a Joe’s Italian Ice shop to report the rape…Joseph Christoph Moore…of Anaheim, is [also] facing charges of  impersonating a cop and fondling two women in separate late November incidents…Moore approached a woman…whipped out a badge…told her to get against a wall, fondled her breasts and buttocks while “searching” her, pulled a handgun out of his waistband and warned her he would shoot her if she screamed.  In the second incident, he is accused of pressing a badge against a woman’s driver-side window, telling her she had expired tags…ordered her against a wall for a pat down and fondled her buttocks and inner thighs several times…Moore…could get life in prison if he is convicted…

Legal Is as Legal Does

Remember, sex work was re-legalized in Taiwan four years ago after ten years of US-style criminalization imposed due to pressure from Washington; however, it’s only “legal” in certain districts, of which none have been designated.  The result:

Authorities…cracked a prostitution ring operating in the Taipei area…officials probed possible links to international human traffickers in China and East Europe…18 people were arrested, including the two suspected leaders — 78-year-old Cheng Tsung-te (程崇德) and a 55-year-old woman surnamed Ku (顧)…Police officials [fantasized that] Cheng is…the “patriarch” of Taiwan’s underground sex trade with decades of insider experience…officials said that some of the alleged call girls were migrant workers from Southeast Asia who were under contract to work as home caregivers, but had run away…

They fled their “contracts” as caregivers to become sex workers, but it’s the latter which is supposedly “exploitative”.

Above the Law James Greene

A pretty typical case in all points:

…M’Leah…Hassan’s attorney Elton Richey claims former Shreveport [Louisiana cop] James Greene raped Hassan in his office in February after she came to the department to report harassing and threatening phone calls by a former boyfriend…The city of Shreveport and SPD are also accused of being negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of Greene…[who] was arrested and charged with abuse of office Feb. 13 and was fired from SPD Feb. 24…”They didn’t actually charge him with sexual assault,” Richey said. “I can’t…imagine the thinking that’s going on there.”  And now, 10 months later, the Caddo Parish District Attorney hasn’t brought the case to trial.  Richey said court dates are being pushed off and rescheduled…

Above the Law (#334)

You may recall that local “authorities” only wanted to charge the rapists with “accepting bribes”:

Two South Florida strippers claim in court that…Broward County [cops raped]…and threatened them after finishing their shift at a popular gentleman’s club…shortly after 4 a.m. on May 24, 2012…the City knew that [Franklin] Hartley and [Thomas] Merenda posed a threat to women, but still kept them on duty…

Traffic Circle

Pro-decriminalization articles are becoming much more common:

…the “rescue industry”…profits off the stigma of sex workers and…[collaborates with] the police, courts, and elected officials.  An instance of this is the ongoing pursuit of sex workers and clients who utilize…BackPage…By shutting down the websites that allow sex workers to manage their own business with a degree of autonomy, it would close a major revenue stream and give way to a return for those who victimize sex workers, the ranks of which have decreased with the rise of the internet…The [Providence] mayor’s call for more BackPage sting operations is especially disingenuous because, by painting all those who utilize the website as human trafficking victims or human traffickers, it creates no gradation or allowance for variety and exercise of constitutionally-protected rights…This type of state violence towards honest workers would be unacceptable in any other industry yet, because sexuality is involved in the equation, all existing norms of decency and respectability are ejected in the name of sensationalism…prohibition…forces sex workers to support the status quo of dissuading co-workers who want to work by any means necessary…After a sex worker is handed over to the rescue industry, they oftentimes find themselves forced into low-wage menial labor and subjected to puritanical ethics that prevent them from private access to the internet, sexual activity outside of marriage, and contact with former associates…

Harm Magnification (#427)

These articles are even more common in Canada:

Prostitution was dominating the headlines in the late 1970s when John Lowman was working on his PhD thesis.  Police raids of nightclubs in Vancouver and massage parlours in Toronto had pushed prostitutes onto the streets and Lowman thought he could use the crackdown on prostitution in his thesis on the impact of police behaviour on crime patterns…Over the decades…Lowman (now a Simon Fraser University criminologist)…found out what happened to prostitutes on the street and described the dangers they face [in] government reports and academic journals.  And he was flabbergasted by the callous indifference among top policy-makers as the number of deaths began to mount…Lowman is edging into retirement, and is still troubled by the abject failure of public policy to protect street prostitutes.  Policy-makers now have the benefit of more than 30 years of research-based evidence from across the country on violence against prostitutes as well as a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that focused on the barriers to safety that were created by the law.  But the provisions of the Criminal Code still compromise the safety of prostitutes…

Not an Addiction (#443)

an unnamed 28-year-old man from Siberia is suing…because he became “addicted” to Fallout 4…he planned to play the game a few nights each week but ended up on a three-week binge that resulted in the loss of his job.  He claims he was so addicted that he couldn’t even make time to eat or sleep.  Oh, and his wife left him.  Now, he is seeking around $7,000…for emotional distress…[saying] that if he knew the game could become so addictive, he…either wouldn’t have bought it or would have saved it until he was on vacation…the case is largely being viewed as a test in Russia as there haven’t been any like it before…such claims aren’t new.  In 2010, Craig Smallwood from Hawaii sued [the] Lineage II maker…after logging more than 20,000 hours in the game…Amazingly enough, Smallwood won his case…

Subtle Pimping (#503) Assassin's Creed image

Positive portrayals of sex workers are becoming more common in video games:

Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s new Jack The Ripper expansion is a compelling if rough-edged remix of the base game that cleverly works in one of history’s most famous killers.  It pulls off another trick, too, going to extraordinary lengths to engender empathy for a group of people who don’t get much of it in video games: prostitutes…

An Example to the West (#544)

In Nicaragua, sex workers have been trained as peer educators in legal matters.  In Mozambique, it’s health matters:

In 2011, [Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)] began distributing condoms and giving lectures about HIV treatment in [Southeast Africa]…So that no person working in the sex industry on the route between Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi has to stop [HIV] treatment when moving to other cities for work, MSF created the Corridor Project, which provides medicine along the way…the project also includes education and awareness training, especially for sex workers…“But we still had a hard time reaching out to sex workers, who were afraid to face our team, due to the severe discrimination that they often suffer here.  We needed someone who was able to create a link between sex workers and Doctors Without Borders [MSF],” says [Humberto] Jassitene [of MSF].  The Peer Educator program…is made up of women who are sex workers at night but double as health workers for MSF during the day…

Checklist (#562)

Everyone’s hurrying to cash in on “sex trafficking” hysteria before the bubble collapses:

…Apps aimed at fighting human trafficking…are emerging as social entrepreneurs attempt to use technology to battle what they see as the forces of evil.  A group of government agencies and private foundations calling themselves Partnership for Freedom has set up a competition with the not-so-catchy name “Rethink Supply Chains” challenge.  What is grabbing attention is $500,000 in prize money that will be awarded for the best technology solutions to combat the use of slave labor…LaborVoices, a Sunnyvale, California-based venture, is entering the challenge with an app that allows workers to [snitch] simply and anonymously using a voice activated smartphone app…Made in a Free World, for example, created the Slavery Footprint app that generates estimates of an individual’s reliance on slave labor from data on trafficked human…the…challenge will pick as many as five finalists next month and award them $20,000 each to build a prototype.  The winner will be announced in April.

Quite Possibly the Most Uptight Nerd Ever (#563)

So a reporter from Vice contacted a couple of escorts who use the German hooker app, Peppr, and interviewed them.  There are no surprises here, but you may find it interesting.

Seizing Power (#597)

Hey Breitbart:  swallowing the government’s “sex trafficking” propaganda makes you its stooges:

…Dart claimed that his effort was part of a crackdown on criminal sex traffickers who “prey on the weak and vulnerable.”  He argued that the use of credit cards in the “violent” sex industry “implies an undeserved credibility and sense of normalcy” to illegal transactions and increases the demand for “women and girls” who are often supplied through “coercion and violence”.  But the announcement outraged so-called “sex workers” across the globe, who said they were losing a convenient way to get paid…

Yes, they actually said “so-called ‘sex workers'”.

Innocence Never Had (#598)

Do these people really imagine that one basket full of ham and bog rolls will convince women to give up their jobs?

A group of volunteers spent their Saturday morning spreading Christmas cheer in Lake Charles [Louisiana]…”We are going to the areas that there is a lot of sex trafficking,” said Shawn Cardin…Founder of “I Am Loved”…[which harasses]…women in the sex trade industry…”We try to love everybody for Christmas,” said Cardin.  They came armed with food like frozen turkeys or ham and fresh fruits.  They also had house baskets filled with simple toiletries…”But more than anything we encourage and uplift these people”…

Also note that for the most part, “sex trafficking” has become nothing more than an especially-ugly dysphemism for sex work.

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[Under universal criminality] the cop becomes a law unto himself, with the ability to criminalize or wholly dehumanize any individual at will.
–  Steve MartinotJason Foster

License to Rape

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

A [Maine] mechanic who pretended to be an undercover [cop] to [rape] prostitutes…will spend more than eight years in prison…Jason Foster was…also sentenced to seven years of suspended prison time…Foster claimed he was just a paying prostitution customer…[he] must also register for life as a sex offender.

Universal Criminality

The only flaw in this otherwise-excellent essay is that the author buys into the “pimp” myth:

…around 70% of all prisoners in the US are convicted of victimless crimes…the person charged with a crime has harmed no one.  Some might say they harm themselves, but each individual would have to be involved in any discussion of whether that were true or not.  Regardless, they are thrown in prison…those convicted of victimless crimes are themselves the victims…of the victimless crime law system.  The mythology of imprisonment is that all those in prison are violent offenders, “bad guys” who need to be taken off the streets for the safety and security of the average person.  If 70% of all prisoners are there for victimless crimes, then this is worse than a myth.  It is a malicious lie…

The Widening Gyre

“Sex trafficking terrorists”.  Because one moral panic at a time isn’t enough any more.

There are terrorists in the United States who actively seek victims for their sex trafficking businesses.  According to Shared Hope International, this enterprise is booming.  The market for human beings is profitable…Sex traffickers target children as young as 11 years old.  Moreover, younger boys and girls are also subject to these predators…over 100,000 children…are bought, sold, and rented every year…It is, in fact, considered “a form of modern-day slavery…The terrorists in the U.S. are not only those the media discusses daily, but they are also the sex traffickers who are active in their pursuit of victims.  These terrorists are pimps and they are not always strangers…

Shifting the Blame (#33)

Long-time readers may recall that I said this almost four years ago:

Disgraced former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke…stymied the FBI’s investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial-killings for years…Burke…refused to keep the feds in the loop on the unsolved murders of eight women, a man and a toddler on or near the beach…because he learned he was in the FBI’s cross hairs for assaulting Christopher Loeb…a handcuffed suspect who swiped items from his vehicle— including pornography and sex toys…[Burke] then tried to cover up the assault…Suffolk Police Commissioner Tim Sini announced that the FBI would now play a major role in the Gilgo Beach cold case…

That Old Black Magic

No sillier than the anti-sex propaganda favored by Western charlatans:

A “spiritualist” in Ghana named Mallam Ya Wadudu asserts that tattoos can cause “homosexuality and prostitution”…he said, “The snakes, lions, scorpions, frogs and other animal symbols they put on themselves all have spiritual meanings.  Those who put the symbols on their bodies have to be delivered from the influence of the spirits in the symbols.”  He firmly believes tattooing such symbols onto your body will lead to demonic possession…side effects may include homosexuality, alcoholism, or prostitution…

Drawing Lines

The mental gymnastics on display here would be truly Olympian if they weren’t so wholly clownish:

…Whether or not Sugar dating resembles “prostitution,” this tired argument is outdated and hardly applicable in the modern world.  Not only does it neglect the nuance and idiosyncrasies that exist in the world of Sugar dating, but it also assumes that, in the general population, only two types of intimate relationships exist: ones that include money and ones that do not…the phenomenon of the Girlfriend-Experience (GFE) is an example of the growing similarity and fusion between sexual and marriage markets.  To an onlooker, a GFE in action appears identical to any other dating scenario, but with the added certainty that…sex will be included somewhere in the evening’s antics.  And the woman will be compensated…the [sugar baby]…is more than a sex object – and her Sugar Daddy is more than an ATM.  To call Sugar dating prostitution is to reduce the individuals involved to one-dimensional stereotypes, when life is much more complicated and interesting than that…

Do you think we ought to tell “Sara-Kate” that GFE is a prostitution term?

Saving Them From Themselves (#428) 

Consensual crime laws enable predators, part umpteen:

Police Detective David Edward Abbott, a member of the Northern Virginia-Washington D.C. Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, committed suicide…before law enforcement could arrest him on suspicion of sexually abusing minors.  Abbott…was the detective [who]…sought a warrant to take [a] 17-year-old male…to the hospital, inject him with a drug that would give him an erection, photograph his genitals, and compare the photo with existing pictures of his genitals the police had confiscated from his 15-year-old girlfriend’s phone.  The teen was eventually sentenced to one year of probation…Abbott sued the teen’s lawyer for defamation.  The lawyer, Jessica Foster, remarked to the media that the warrant to take pornographic pictures of her client–to be used as evidence that he was guilty of creating child pornography–was “crazy”…Abbott said the comments caused him severe emotional distress; he claimed he was threatened and called a pedophile…Abbott…had inappropriate contact with two young boys, ages 11 and 13…

Worse Than I Thought (#536)

And you can bet they’re going to get help from civil liberties groups:

Following a First Amendment victory against meddling Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart…Backpage.com is now taking on the federal government.  On December 11, the company filed a civil action against U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, claiming that the…SAVE…Act…is unconstitutionally vague, overbroad, and infringes on First Amendment rights.  The…Act added “advertising” a victim of sexual exploitation to the list of thing that can trigger a sex-trafficking charge, meaning that user-generated ad platforms such as Backpage and Craigslist could find themselves facing the same charges as someone who forces someone else into prostitution—regardless of whether the platform knew anything about the ad.  It also stipulated a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence (up to life imprisonment)…A wide swath of free-speech and civil-liberties advocates opposed the SAVE Act…[warning]  that [its] reach wouldn’t just extend to Backpage but also social media such as Facebook and Twitter, online dating websites, and apps such as Tinder and Grindr…

Bait and Switch (#545)

If you’ll look back at what I’ve previously reported on Grady Judd, I’m sure you can guess what kind of tactics were used to entrap these people so Judd could destroy their lives for his self-aggrandizement:

A five-day human trafficking undercover operation in Polk County netted 95 arrests…The suspects range in age from 15 to 68 years old…Detectives filed 21 felony charges and 111 misdemeanor charges…“We’ve seen firsthand the negative social costs of how prostitution hurts families, children, and communities.  And more often than not, there is a high correlation between other crimes and prostitution,” Polk Sheriff Grady Judd [vomited onto reporters]. “There is also a direct nexus between prostitution and human trafficking, and we are committed to identifying victims of human trafficking and getting them into [brainwashing] programs and out of lives of crime.”

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality (#578)

Because the government can’t find imaginary “sex slave rings”, it creates criminals in order to uphold its narrative:

…FBI agents…devised an undercover operation targeting…individuals…pursuing [an extreme BDSM]…fantasy…four individuals were…willing to pay thousands of dollars for a sex slave…The four…were indicted on human trafficking charges between December 2013 and May 2014.  They all pled guilty, and in September 2015, an Arizona federal judge sentenced them to prison terms ranging from seven to nine years…[Agent Ryan] Blay said…“We didn’t want to wait until there were actual victims.”

It’s a sign of how badly US “justice” has deteriorated that the agent sees nothing wrong with that chilling final statement.

Between the Lines

Here’s a firsthand account of what it’s like to be targeted by an “Operation Cross-Country” sting (video courtesy of Tara Burns):

Fallen Idol

A porn studio has published a performers’ bill of rights in the aftermath of the sexual assault allegations against porn actor James Deen, which have driven the adult industry to reexamine some of the on-set concerns surrounding the issue of performer consent…Angie and Colin Rowntree, long-time adult film veterans who operate sssh.com (a porn for women site) and Wasteland.com (a BDSM site), instituted their studio’s first formalized “On-set Policies And Best Practices” document…Sssh and Wasteland said they are taking their current principles and making them crystal clear for all parties.  According to Angie Rowntree, the document, which is now publicly available on their site, “is going to be an ongoing process” and will evolve as new potential concerns pop up…

Seizing Power (#593)

NPR has parroted government “sex trafficking” propaganda for years, but writing about this issue without mentioning Dart’s smackdown by a federal court is a remarkably revealing display of the organization’s total disregard for the truth:

Across the country, law enforcement is cracking down on sex trafficking of minors by going after online escort ads.  Five years ago, Craigslist was pressured to shut down its adult-services forum.  The new target is Backpage.com — Visa and MasterCard stopped processing transactions with Backpage this summer.  Some in the sex industry are getting around that by using the virtual currency bitcoin.  That’s the latest adaptation by an industry used to getting creative to avoid detection…Cook County Illinois Sheriff Tom Dart called a news conference to announce a victory this summer…Backpage…is fighting back.  It’s suing Sheriff Dart and making its ads free…

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Thanks for your concern but we’d rather have your respect and the right to work how we choose.  –  Thai sex worker

R.I.P. Carol Doda Carol Doda

Carol Doda, who…gained worldwide fame as a topless dancer in the 1960s and ’70s, died Monday of complications related to kidney failure.  She was 78…Doda was…a waitress who go-go danced on top of a piano at the Condor 51 years ago when the club’s publicist, Davey Rosenberg, handed her a Rudi Gernreich topless swimsuit…It was a sensation — the first topless dancing act of widespread note in America.  So many customers packed the club that Ms. Doda spent $1,500 to boost her bust size from 34B to 44DD through silicone injection, which was then a new technique…At the height of her fame, Ms. Doda’s breasts were dubbed “the New Twin Peaks of San Francisco.”  At one point they were insured for $1.5 million with Lloyd’s of London…Doda’s only arrest in the profession came in 1965, when police raided the Condor on indecency charges. She was found not guilty and continued to dance until 1985, when she quit, saying she was never paid enough…

Subtle Pimping

Another example of profiting from sex workers’ images while giving us nothing:

…If you follow independent and/or luxury lingerie brands, chances are you’ve seen an ad showing a woman decadently sprawled in strappy black lingerie…body bathed in red light from an out of frame bulb.  She may be seated in a high-end hotel room, looking wry but effortlessly detached, while a man in a suit stands nearby, frozen in the act of either removing his coat or undoing his tie…these images are all enticing and racy, but it may not have occurred to you that they intentionally allude to the models being sex workers.  Escorts.  Peepshow girls.  Pro-Dommes.  The industry not only benefits from sex workers’ money, it also uses their imagery to peddle product.  This wouldn’t matter if not for the fact that these same brands never want to admit these ties for the sake of appealing to a civilian…public.  Yet, every season, it seems like they push the envelope by co-opting sex work more and more…

Saving Them From Themselves

Go ahead, Colorado; prosecute all of them.  Put an entire generation on the “sex offender” registry.  Surely that’ll teach ’em to not be sexual:

Authorities in Colorado are investigating widespread sharing of hundreds of nude pictures at a high school…Officials in Cañon City say an unspecified “number of students” — both boys and girls — exchanged nude photos of themselves…The district said it received anonymous tips about the alleged sexting…and that it has turned the investigation over to the Cañon City Police Department.  Police are looking at whether adults were involved, or if any of the photos were coerced…officials are warning parents that students apparently used apps to hide the photos on their phones.  District Attorney Dan May [bloviated] that having nude pictures of minors could be considered child pornography — regardless of whether the picture is of oneself or someone else.  He said teens caught could also be put through a diversion program instead…

Change a Few Words

Another move away from prohibitionism:

Mexico’s Supreme Court…ruled that individuals should have the right to grow, possess, and consume marijuana…the court…concluded that the right to “free development of the personality” includes the freedom to engage in recreational activities, subject to restrictions “necessary to protect health and public order.”  In the court’s view, the damage caused by consumption and noncommercial production of marijuana is not “of such gravity as to warrant an absolute ban.”  The court was responding to a lawsuit brought by activists who asked COFEPRIS, the national agency in charge of regulating drugs, for permission to use marijuana.  When COFEPRIS said no, the applicants challenged the its decision in the courts.  According to The New York Times, the Supreme Court’s ruling applies only to the cannabis consumers who brought the case.  “For legal marijuana to become the law of the land…the justices…will have to rule the same way five times, or eight of the 11 members of the full court will have to vote in favor”…

Above the Law 

This week’s rapist cop cost Los Angeles taxpayers $6.15 million:

…the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agreed to a payment of $6.15 million to a woman who was raped by an on-duty sheriff’s deputy…The rapist is Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, who was sentenced to nine years in prison last year.  He admitted to the rape as well as another instance of offering a bribe of sexual activity to a different woman.  He is also to register as a sex offender.  The incident took place…on September 22, 2010…Lindsay F…was stopped by Sanchez who [claimed]…she was driving under the influence of alcohol and had a suspended license…Sanchez offered not to arrest her in return for sexual favors, but she refused…so he drove her down a distant dirt road…and…forced her to have oral, vaginal and anal sex with him against the hood of his patrol car.  Then he…asked Lindsay to give him her phone number in case he wanted to “mess around” again…

Red in Tooth and Claw

Just a reminder of how nasty Mother Nature really is:

…some male spiders lop off parts of females’ genitalia to prevent [them] from mating again, a new study says.  The behavior, which guarantees that the male will father all of her offspring, is the first to suggest that males evolve behaviors to maim external parts of the female genitalia…A male spider delivers its sperm via pedipalps, a pair of leg-like appendages near its mouth that latch onto the female’s scapus from above and below…the L. jeskovi pedipalp grasps and twists the scapus as the male dismounts, snipping it off as if with scissors.  Without this crucial handle, other males can’t grasp the female at all, preventing her from having another sexual partner.  It’s a twist on the typical arachnid battle of the sexes.  Many female spiders have sex with multiple males but fertilize their eggs with only one suitor’s sperm.  This competition has prompted some species’ males to take drastic action, such as castrating themselves to plug the females’ reproductive tract.  In this case, however, “males have found a very clever means to prevent females from remating without mutilating themselves…Female spiders can store viable sperm for years, so having only one sexual partner might not hamper their fertility…

Stupor Bowl

Stories like this are much more common now:

The Winnipeg Working Group for Sex Workers’ Rights is speaking out against claims that a major sporting event will increase “sex trafficking” in their city.  In the lead up to the Grey Cup…government officials have set up over $45,000 CAD worth of funds to combat “human trafficking” in Winnipeg.  The funds will be used to set up a phone hotline and an awareness campaign called Buying Sex is Not a Sport…the Winnipeg Working Group has organised to counter these claims. “Despite media hype and police enthusiasm, there was no evidence that large sporting events increase trafficking for prostitution,” they wrote in their press release on October 29, 2015…

If Men Were Angels

The inevitable result of people being given power over others:

Settlement talks are set to begin in the Baltimore City public housing sex for repairs scandal.  So far, 11 women have joined the federal lawsuit…in which housing maintenance employees are accused of demanding sex before repairing deplorable, even life-threatening, conditions inside public housing apartments.  Eleven women say they were forced to live with dangerous mold, no heat and rodent infestations, all because they rejected maintenance men’s advances.  “We uncovered a union investigation, which found many, many more victims,” said attorney Cary Hansel…[who] says some housing officials were aware of the allegations and did nothing…

Welcome to the Future (#543)

“Swedish model” propaganda pretends that women are “decriminalized” under the law; look at the proportion of arrests here:

Police in Northern Ireland have arrested the first person under the new laws that [claim to] target the buyers of sex.  During a [raid on] a brothel…police arrested [one] man for paying for sexual services…and…three females…for keeping a brothel…The new legislation…aims to mirror the so-called Swedish model…

Naked Truth (#544) Loubna Abidar

Whore stigma affects amateur women, too:

The star of a film on sex work in Morocco…was savagely beaten in Casablanca last week, sparking an outcry on social media over social taboos that activists say can be enforced by violence.  Loubna Abidar, who portrays a Marrakech sex worker in Much Loved…said police and hospital workers refused to help her.  Instead they humiliated her, she said…

Uncharted Seas (#552)

It’s only a matter of time now:

…in Brazil…three women have defied deeply conservative trends…and wider traditional mores by celebrating a polyamorous civil union.  The happy trio, who reportedly have shared a bed for years and say they want to raise a child, took an oath of love…in the presence of…notary public Fernanda de Freitas Leitao.  “This union is not just symbolic,” because it defines “how they intend to have children,” attorney Leitao said…The union is not a formal marriage, because under Brazilian law that would be bigamy.  Neither are they automatically allowed to declare joint income or join a healthcare plan for spouses.  But the civil union is still a big step…”If they seek these rights before a court, they could obtain them — and I think they will,” Leitao said…

Eternal Vigilance (#563)

Twenty years of successful decriminalization in New South Wales is threatened by politicians:

A new police unit should be established to stamp out organised crime and exploitation in the NSW sex industry, a parliamentary inquiry…[recommended]…the…committee…[proposed] the biggest overhaul of the NSW sex industry in more than two decades with police receiving “greater powers” to enter premises and monitor illegal activity.  Police background checks will also form part of a revised license approval process…The reforms are…criticised by sex [workers] who [point out that] police were stripped of such powers, and the industry decriminalised, in the mid-’90s because of corruption…

The Mother Learns From Her Children (#586)

After years of moralistic ideology prevailing over evidence, and policy being formed about, but not with, sex workers…the English Collective of Prostitutes’ (ECP) event in the House of Commons…saw sex workers and their allies, including politicians from all of the main parties, presenting compelling evidence in favour of decriminalising sex work.  Also this week, the Sex Worker Open University (SWOU) are holding four days of conferences, workshops, parties and even a sex worker film festival.  Next week MSP Jean Urquhart’s Bill to decriminalise sex work in Scotland will be launched in the Scottish Parliament…Until recently…sex workers and allies were forced to focus their energies on constantly putting out the fires instigated by those driven by radical feminist or fundamentalist Christian ideology.  Just a year ago MPs were voting on an attempt by…Fiona McTaggart to shoehorn the criminalisation of the purchase of sex into a bill about something entirely different…[backed by] the All Party Parliamentary Group on Prostitution and the Global Sex Trade…They still manage to waste Parliamentary time pushing their ideology…but…the mood has changed so significantly that they are no longer seen as a substantial threat, just a strange club where self-described radical feminists and evangelical Christians come together to dream about creating a moral utopia at whatever cost…

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Social policies do not have to be so dumb.  –  Laura Agustín

The Scarlet Letter

This article is so stupidly evil it’s almost fascinating:

A plan to publicly shame those who solicit sex with minors moved forward…with a draft ordinance covering Los Angeles County expected next week…Don Knabe has been pushing for a “shame campaign” since late last year…the…ordinance that would provide for the publication of names and booking photos of those convicted of soliciting prostitution or loitering with intent to solicit prostitution…Sheila Kuehl…questioned the practice of arresting people for loitering with intent, saying she thought the allegation amounted to “mind reading”…The Los Angeles Times editorial board, when Knabe first made his proposal, called the plan “anachronistic” and said it amounted to “sensationalism”…

Parable Kesha

Noah Berlatsky with another analogy for the absurdity of prohibition:

Should young women be allowed to enter the music industry?  That seems like a preposterous question.  But consider:  Kesha…filed a lawsuit against her former producer Dr. Luke…alleging that he had sexually, physically, and mentally abused her for a decade…Kesha’s lawsuit also alleges that Sony music refused to take steps to stop the abuse, and even covered up for it…The situation is not rare; producers and managers like Phil Spector and Ike Turner have physically and mentally abused their artists for years…Shouldn’t there be laws in place to prevent women from entering an industry such as this where they can be abused and harmed?  It should be clear why this is a bad idea.  Heavy-handed restrictions on women would hurt women, not protect them.  To make it illegal for women to be musicians and pop stars would be abusive and unfair in itself…And yet, when it comes to sex work, restricting women’s options in the name of “protecting” them is suddenly seen as reasonable, logical, and necessary…

Saving Them From Themselves

How many more kids’ lives have to be destroyed before we stop the cops?

Police in a Pennsylvania school district have charged at least three kids—one of them just 11 years old—with distributing sexually explicit pictures of other minors.  They…face juvenile detention, expulsion, and a variety of other life-altering consequences.  This is somehow in their best interests—and the interests of kids everywhere—authorities claim…The levelling of charges…should not be viewed as some low-cost precondition to keeping kids safe, but a horrible, life-derailing consequence in and of itself…But we live in a country where paranoid delusions about safety provide cover for police to enforce absurd laws that make life miserable for kids…

Surplus Women 

Kenyan police are investigating the murders of 10 women working as prostitutes, a record number of attacks in one month that has led to fears of a serial killer…campaigners have called on the government to legalise prostitution and offer proper protection to vulnerable women.  The police commander in the town of Nakuru, where four bodies were found, said an intense manhunt was under way…Hassan Barua said security had been improved in the area, but would not comment on whether one suspect was wanted for multiple murders…

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

Because they are?

When the issue of sex workers in Thailand is brought up, any discussion is usually characterized with words of “exploitation”, “coercion”, and “human trafficking”.  However…Some…girls…[feel] that sex work [is] a means of emancipating themselves economically…A prevailing attitude…[is] that they feel better being paid for the sex they provide, rather than providing sex to a husband in a dead end relationship that they get nothing for.  This was most prevalent in those who had been married before…Some even talk about providing sex as helping clients with a basic need…What was most common with those sex workers who had been prudent financially, was a satisfaction with their career as a sex worker…

The Mother Learns From Her Children

Sex worker rights activists from around the world will join researchers and experts to present evidence to parliament in support of the decriminalisation of sex work.  The day-long symposium, organised by the English Collective of Prostitutes and hosted by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, is an opportunity for parliamentarians and the public to sidestep the charged emotion of international debates on the nature of sex work and hear crime-related, humanitarian, and public health analyses from leading academics and campaigners…The symposium will compare the outcomes of Sweden’s criminalisation of the buying of sex with the full decriminalisation model that has flourished in New Zealand…activists from Thailand, Taiwan, Canada and South Africa will explain how criminalisation, rescue and rehabilitation programs have affected sex workers there.  Rachel West, an American sex worker rights activist, will explore how a recent surge in anti-trafficking policing has disproportionately affected black sex workers and their clients…

The Lion and the Ox

Laura Agustín on the uselessness of the term “human trafficking”:

…There are young people now who have grown up surrounded by campaigning against trafficking, unaware there is conflict about how to define the term.  Some want to dedicate energy to combating what is figured as a modern social evil.  Some compare themselves with 19th-century anti-slavery advocates and feel outraged that anyone would question what they are doing…after…the idea of trafficking began its ascent…we who were interested in migration, sex work and labour policy realised it was useless for gaining equity or rights…the assumption is this human mobility to work is fomented by criminals who use force and coercion against their victims…Behind this over-simplification and over-focus on sex lie real social inequalities and oppressions:  migration policies that favour middle- and upper-class jobs, out-of-date notions of the formal economy and productive labour, young people who want to get away from home, job-seekers willing to take risks to make more money, laws that make commercial sex illegal, laws that make sweatshops illegal and…more.  To lump all this under a single term simply disappears the array of different situations, encourages reductionism and feeds into a moralistic agenda of Good and Evil…

King of the Hill (#421)

“The Harvard of sex trafficking” has now morphed into “The Harvard of pimp school”.  Or was it really the other way around?  Does it really matter, when both phrases are utterly ludicrous?

Milwaukee has become “the Harvard of pimp school” and Wisconsin is a hub of human trafficking, a [self-declared] expert has said in the wake of an FBI sting last month in which nine adolescents were [arrested]…meaning Milwaukee is tied with Las Vegas for the third highest number of young people [arrested]…Denver topped the list, with 20…and Detroit was next with 19.  Over the past four years, however, Milwaukee has consistently ranked among the top five cities in the nation for [arrests of underage sex workers]…

If Men Were Angels

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together:

A…Houston mother of two says she was raped in her hospital bed by a doctor…she reported the rape to nurses who responded with cold skepticism.  She had to wait nearly two years for police to collect the alleged attacker’s DNA and make an arrest.  And now…Dr. Shafeeq Sheikh…may get off scot-free in civil court.  And Texas law may entitle her to only modest compensation from Sheikh’s employer at the time of the rape, the prestigious Baylor College of Medicine…Baylor doctors staff Ben Taub, which is a public hospital owned by Harris County.  The doctor isn’t the only one who can deploy the “government unit” shield.  Baylor lawyers have successfully argued that the college itself can be construed as a government entity and is entitled to the same protections a county institution would enjoy…Baylor can argue it is immune to the claim altogether…and…the Texas Supreme Court has ruled that rape in some circumstances is covered by medical malpractice laws…Gillian Anderson looking stupid again

Acting and Activism (Traffic Updates) 

Anderson’s right at home in a movie based on ridiculous, exaggerated conspiracy theories:

Gillian Anderson wasn’t expecting to appear in the movie Sold.  The actress, known for her role on The X-Files, had initially been approached by…director Jeffrey Brown…about just being part of the film’s campaign.  She immediately said yes because she felt passionate about…sex trafficking…”High school students go missing and they are…forced into prostitution where there is violence and they don’t get paid for being a sex slave…And they get brainwashed into being a part of a community and they are terrified for their lives to escape”…

Safe Targets (#452)

Tara Burns, Maxine Doogan and two others on “sex trafficking” in Alaska:

…Last year a woman dialed 911 in Anchorage and reported that she had been a victim of sex trafficking.  When the [cops]…decided to follow up with her they…traveled to where she was working as an independent escort and…posed as a customer to book an appointment with her and meet her in a sexual context.  Then [they] placed her in handcuffs, threatened her with felony charges, and told her nobody would be able to “actually” love her as she was.  In response to a…complaint about this incident, the Department of Public Safety explained that this is a common “strategy of building rapport” with victims…

Vendetta (#518)

Oakland City Council Takes Stand Against Sex Workers“.  Seriously.

On October 20…[Oakland, California] endorsed…The “CEASE Network”…a project of Demand Abolition, a Boston-based program dedicated to “eradicating the illegal commercial sex industry” by going after “demand.”  That means targeting clients…Demand Abolition is a program of Hunt Alternatives, the foundation of Swanee Hunt…the daughter of…oil tycoon H.L. Hunt…The groups fund law enforcement and public media campaigns and advocate for stronger legal penalties…when police agencies and district attorneys broadly target demand, they end up wasting resources on arrests and prosecutions that further criminalize adult sex workers and their clients…the Demand Abolition approach…[threatens] marginalized workers in the sex industry.  That was a concern of government officials in San Francisco, which last year ended a brief partnership with Demand Abolition after facing a backlash from…sex workers…

End Demand (#576)

My friend Savannah Sly is quoted extensively in this article about the fascist BEST program:

…a new public-private coalition that aims to have sites like backpage.com blocked in…workplaces…free speech advocates and…sex workers…are critical of the BEST Employer Alliance’s methods, warning that it errors on the side of censorship and endangers sex workers…If third-party Web hosting were akin to aiding in criminal activity, then Facebook and Twitter would quickly cease to exist…By pressuring credit card companies to divest, and now by pressuring employers to block the site en masse, the anti-Backpage set hopes to slowly choke the site out of its users…Savannah Sly, the director of…SWOP…said…”This painting of all clients as pedophiles reminds me of how we use to paint all homosexual men as pedophiles…If you shut down Backpage adult listings…You’re denying thousands and thousands of workers who need money.  And if you shut down all of Backpage, you’re punishing hundreds of thousands of people who want access to roommate listings, sale items, general classifieds…all for the crimes of a very, very small few”…

In fact, I’m relatively sure she was riding in my car while giving this interview.

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Some believe the limbs are more potent if the victims scream during amputation.

This week, Paramount Pictures uploaded 150 movies to YouTube, including the one below (which was one of my favorites as a child).  This was called to my attention by Violet Blue; the links above the video were provided by Police Misconduct  (“faking”), Lucy Steigerwald (“911” and “horror”), Claudia Cristophe (“Gilgamesh”),  Clarkhat (“together” and “obedience”), and Popehat (“interact”).

From the Archives

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It’s not like prostitution is ever going to go away, or it would have gone by now.  –  Suzanne Harrington

R.I.P. Christopher Lee Christopher Lee

Lee strode like a titan through the favorite movies of my life; he starred in four of the movies I’ve listed as among my favorites, and pops up in various places in other columns as well (search his name and see).  So though he isn’t a sex industry figure, he joins others such as Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson and Carmine Infantino whose influence on the landscape of my fancy cannot possibly be credited enough.  Rest in peace, Sir Christopher, though I won’t be at all surprised if you’re still observed stalking about foggy London streets in a cape from time to time.

Lack of Evidence

This will continue for as long as our work is criminalized:

A Tempe bar issued a public apology…to a transgender woman whose claims of discrimination by workers ignited an online firestorm…bar manager Rob Tasso said Briana Sandy, 55, should not have been asked to leave…”We welcome all kinds of people in this business.  We have many gay customers, we have transgender performers.  In no way did we ever mean to discriminate against you”…Tasso…pointed out that Tempe Tavern…neighbors an adult bookstore.  “Unfortunately, there’s a male prostitution problem that’s around here that’s unique to our situation”…

In other words, “We welcome all kinds of people, but prostitutes aren’t people.”

It Looks Good On Paper

The asinine dysphemism “prostitution ring” (used to mean one underage sex worker, her boyfriend and his mother) is bad enough, but the real story here is that Washington is one of the states with so-called “safe harbor” laws, which are hawked as “protecting the victims” by blaming their “crime” of consensual sex on a pimp instead of the arrested girl.  But as I’ve written before, the laws only apply to lily-white “perfect victims” with no prior arrests who are willing to rat out a supposed “pimp”; the great majority of underage whores have neither a pimp nor a spotless arrest record, and just go to jail like any other victim of the police.  The idea that listening in on a teenager’s jailhouse phone call like a nosy parent picking up the extension constitutes some sort of brilliant detective work, however, is a great moment in badge-licking.

Broken Record 

“Gypsy whores” idiocy with a revolting new Swedish-Canadian police-state flavor:

…Grand Prix weekend…is the busiest time of year for escorts in Montreal.  This year, local police are warning tourists that they may spend more time in jail than at the racetrack if caught trying to buy sexual services…Chief Insp. Johanne Paquin…said a specialized squad will be on patrol in strip clubs, hotels, motels and massage parlours, as well as on all the sites in the city related to the Grand Prix festivities…Canada’s new prostitution laws…”give us more tools in our tool box,” Paquin said…Hobby Lobby

The Widening Gyre

If cops don’t want people spreading stupid rumors, they need to stop spreading such rumors themselves first:

Lest you need any further indication that sex trafficking has become a genuine Moral Panic, I bring you the tale of Emily Stringer…[who] was shopping at…Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma City when she noticed “a middle aged lady” following her around the craft store.  Stringer “stuck with (her) instinct” and left abruptly, calling local police afterward to report the incident.  “The policeman said that this is unfortunately a common thing,” Stringer posted in a subsequent Facebook warning.  “They are abducting people for sex trafficking.”  Except…. of course not.  There have been no cases of anyone, of any age, being stalked and abducted by sex traffickers at Hobby Lobby or any other Oklahoma City chain store.  Outlets from Snopes to The Washington Post tore holes in Stringer’s story, and the Oklahoma City police even distanced themselves from the apocryphal anecdote—but…Stringer’s sex-trafficking warning had received 147,000 shares. The police rebuttal, meanwhile, was shared less than 500 times

That Old Black Magic

The “juju sex slaves” myth just keeps going like a battered zombie:

Spanish National Police announced on Monday that they broke up a ring of human traffickers who used juju voodoo and animal sacrifices to coerce women into prostitution…The traffickers had put the women through a juju voodoo ritual that used the victims’ finger nails or public hair and involved animal sacrifice in front of idols in a temple in order to “guarantee that the women complied with everything they demanded, under threat of death to them and their families”.  Juju…has commonly been used to drive Nigerian women into sex trafficking…by exploiting the women’s fears of the powerful “magic”…

A few points of interest:

  • Most people in Spain practice Catholicism, a sect in which a woman can undergo a ritual involving sacred rings and magic water in front of idols in a temple in order to guarantee that she be bound to obey one man under threat of eternal torture by demons in a pit of damned fire.
  • There is no such thing as “juju voodoo”; Voodoo is a New-World syncretism of Catholicism and traditional African religion which is practiced in neither Nigeria nor Spain.
  • The readers of this article are being asked to believe without evidence in the word of “authorities” that powerful and unseen evil forces are lurking about to abduct their children unless they give these “authorities” greater power over their lives.

But obviously, Europeans and Americans are so much more sophisticated than the superstitious women who can be controlled by “magic”.

It’s Different Because It Involves Sex, Part Umpteen (#43)

Pole dancing is artistic expression — but lap dancing is not, a…[New York] judge has ruled…“There is a stage for the performers illuminated by spotlights; a dressing room for the dancers, who, at times, wear an array of different costumes; (and) tables and seating that are oriented towards the stage to focus audience attention on the performances;” and featured “choreographed dances,” [Judge] Pinto wrote…But the…more lucrative private dances were another story.  The auditor “credibly testified that in his 10 or 15 visits to Nite Moves over the course of years he purchased one or two private dances a night.  He said the private dances were very similar…He admitted he was not an expert in choreography but did not think what he experienced in the private dance was choreographed”…

Watershed

It’s so nice to see a few public intellectuals actually saying this:

…prostitution [has] been around as long as humanity itself, but…we don’t talk about it…Either it’s something glamorously Belle du Jour-ish, all swanning around five star hotels earning more cash per horizontal hour than the rest of us do in a vertical week, or it’s trafficked slaves, drugged and abused and held against their will in conditions so appalling we cannot bear to even think about it.  But what if in between these two extremes there’s a more mundane middle ground?…it’s a job.  It’s work…Dr Jane Pitcher…interviewed 36 self employed prostitutes…and…found that they all worked indoors, chose their own hours and clients, and set their own rates of pay.  None had been coerced into the work, and many were registered as self-employed.  They had good relationships with their clients.  It was far from the glamour/misery dichotomy…The obvious solution is to decriminalise all sex work, making it safer, more regulated, and not driven underground…

Umpteen Thousand People Can’t Be Wrong (#513)

Control freaks just can’t get that the Swedish model is unwelcome in Scotland:

The End Prostitution Now campaign…will call on the Scottish public, MSPs, charities and public bodies, to put pressure on the Scottish Government to [impose the Swedish model]…The campaign launch coincides with Labour MSP Rhoda Grant’s announcement yesterday of her amendments to the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill…She said…“I fear that if Scotland does not follow [Northern Ireland], it could become a haven for sex traffickers moving out of Northern Ireland“…

Fortunately, Grant’s attempt to circumvent the parliamentary process was immediately quashed.

The Course of a Disease (#515)

Activist Molly Smith on the problems with the Swedish model:

…Instead of focusing on creating bureaucratic hoops for sex workers to jump through, decriminalization prioritizes sex workers’ safety and health…While sex workers are not prosecuted simply for selling sex under the Swedish model, various laws continue to be used against them in punitive ways.  “Operation Homeless,” the memorably-named Norwegian police initiative, evicted people suspected of selling sex—a law aimed at “pimps,” but used against sex workers’ landlords…People who claim sex workers are “decriminalized” under the Swedish model tend to be…feminist…yet it’s hard to imagine the same feminists would consider abortion “decriminalized” if people suspected of seeking abortions were subject to deportation and extra-judicial (yet perfectly legal) eviction.  In fact, Sweden’s policymakers are remarkably open about the extent to which the law is supposed to harm people who sell sex.  The head of Sweden’s anti-trafficking unit told a journalist last year, “of course the law has negative consequences for women in prostitution, but that’s also some of the effect that we want to achieve”…

A Year Later (#515)

NO NO NO! This is absolutely awful!

…Under the old law, SNUG regularly partnered with Edmonton Police Service to run operations in which sex workers were taken into custody.  But instead of pressing charges, women were brought to SNUG offices, given some food and offered services.  When the law changed, police weren’t able to charge sex workers anymore and SNUG lost a crucial outreach opportunity…

Subjecting sex workers to violence in order to “outreach” to them is an absolutely terrible, dehumanizing, agency-negating idea; what next, shooting them with tranquilizer darts and RF tagging them for study?Primates of Park Avenue

Housewife Harlotry (#540)

Welcome to our world, New York housewives:

…is Primates of Park Avenue, an exposé on the moneyed mommies of Manhattan, really true?…Author Wednesday Martin…claims in the memoir to have spent six years “doing field work” with her two kids on the Upper East Side…But Martin only lived there for three years, with one kid, and mentions stores and services that didn’t exist, calling into question the scenes and ­behaviors she describes…Primates includes eyebrow-raising anecdotes, such as the claim that some women receive yearly “wife bonuses.”  After readers expressed doubt, Martin backpedaled, telling New York magazine:  “I don’t necessarily think it’s a trend or widespread.  It was just one of the many strange-seeming cultural practices that some women told me about.”  Although the book includes no such disclaimer and is advertised as a “memoir,” Martin [said] she “telescoped certain parts of the narrative in order to protect the privacy of friends, neighbors, associates and family.”  That “telescoping” seems to have moved events that happened in different neighborhoods and put them on the Upper East Side…

Traffic Circle (#544)

Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post “Fact Checker”, continues to hammer at “sex trafficking” myths:

…if you think about it for half a minute, [the “average debut at 13”] statistic makes little sense…if it is the “average,” then for all those who entered trafficking at age 16 or 17, there have to be nearly equivalent numbers who entered at age 9 or 10.  But no one seriously believes that.  Upon investigation, this claim crumbles to dust…FBI spokesmen say this is not their figure.  The Justice Department also says it is not a DOJ figure…Yet somehow this figure lives on in the echo chamber of Washington discourse.  The worst example we found was a Department of Homeland Security pamphlet for school administrators that boldly displayed both the claim about 300,000 children and the average age of 13.  It listed two sources:  The Department of Justice and the congressionally mandated Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  But the DOJ reference was to another opinion article that cited the Estes/Weiner report, not an official DOJ finding.  And the CMEC fact sheet referred to a report by Shared Hope International…which in turn relied on…the same Estes/Weiner report…in the end the source of the data is the same discredited and out-of-date academic paper.  It would be amusing if it were not so sad…The Washington Post and other news organizations also failed by allowing [the] claim to be published as an actual fact…This is a Four-Pinocchio statistic and should no longer be cited.

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The assumption made by [neofeminists] is that sex workers are blind automatons, blithely wandering from one rape to the next, too blinded by the overwhelming glare of the “male gaze” and too fuzzy and confused in their stupid whore brains to differentiate between consensual sex and a violent, unwanted encounter.  –  Clare Bowden

Acting and Activism 

Tits and Sass does a good guide to the most loudmouthed and ridiculous Hollywood “sex trafficking” fetishists, including Susan Sarandon, Meg Ryan, Ashton Kutcher, Jada Pinkett-Smith and of course Mira Sorvino.rapist-murderer cop Richard J Aguirre

Surplus Women 

The only reason this cop is on trial for the rape and murder of a sex worker 30 years ago is that he just couldn’t give up the habit:

Shortly after Richard J. Aguirre appeared in court…in his Franklin County rape case…he…was arrested by Spokane police for the murder of a prostitute in 1986…The one time Officer of the Year and 27-year veteran of the force in Pasco has been charged…with first-degree murder…bail is set at $500,000…Aguirre voluntarily submitted DNA during the recent rape investigation and the sample…matched…DNA recovered from the [earlier case]…police interviewed Lawrence Cole, who grew up with Aguirre…The two men apparently frequented bars and strip clubs and solicited prostitutes at least once…After a night of drinking, Cole reported that Aguirre said he “hit a woman” and “choked her”…And when Aguirre walked away “he thought she was still moving.”  Detectives investigating the case determined it was likely [Ruby] Doss and her killer got into a struggle inside a manure pit after they had sex…She ran more than 250 feet before she was hit in the back of the head and forehead with an object.  [She]…was then strangled and the suspect returned to the pit to hide her fur coat, wig and earrings…

Follow Your Bliss (#38)

A [former underage sex worker]…says a lawyer who was supposed to take her to a shelter for abused girls instead raped her at a posh Dallas hotel…a lawsuit filed by the girl’s mother…alleges that Michael Harssema was…“employed and/or volunteering for Traffick 911,” an anti-trafficking organization…Traffick 911 officials deny any connection with Harssema…

Train Wreck (#48)

Looks like Nigeria’s getting into the “asset forfeiture” racket, too:

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Special Task Team on City Cleaning and Management in Abuja has arrested 3,000 commercial sex workers in the last 90 days…[they] have been handed over to the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) for prosecution and rehabilitation.  The task team also arrested 2,534 street hawkers and beggars…and…impounded 4,790 commercial motorcycles, 883 [motor tricycles], 645 unpainted commercial vehicles and 84 illegal commercial buses…

The More the Better (#135)

As is so often the case in articles about brothels, this one dips into grotesquery.  Even so, it makes a few interesting points about how brothels like Sheri’s Ranch are still thriving while other, less competitive ones are dying off.

Monsters 

A teenager in India was allegedly forced to have sex with his own mother in an effort to “cure” him of being gay, Gay Star News reports.  According to LGBT Collective, a gay rights group in Telangana…there are more and more reports of “corrective rapes” being carried out by members of the victims’ own families.  Often families will handpick a cousin to carry out the act…

An Example to the West (#331)

Nicaragua’s Supreme Court has made sex workers official representatives of the government and the judicial system.  A pilot group of 18 sex workers have been provided with technical and legal training to try to manage the most common conflicts that arise in their line of work…The vice president of the Nicaraguan Judicial System, Marvin Aguilar…[said] “We are the only country in the world that treats sex workers as ‘judicial facilitators’…We do not put them in prison for the sexual work.  There are countries close to Nicaragua in which sex workers are sought after like any other criminal so to be sent to prison.”

Naked Truth (#346) Much Loved

A prostitution-themed film from Morocco that had its premiere at…Cannes…in May has set off a furor there…the government last week banned the movie from theaters, the female stars received death threats and a male actor was attacked with a knife…Much Loved, by…Nabil Ayouch, includes scenes of prostitutes in Marrakesh partying, speaking raunchy Arabic and servicing wealthy Saudi clients…The movie became the subject of protests outside Parliament in Rabat and of heated discussions on social networks in Morocco and France.  Conservative Muslims view Much Loved as scandalous.  Moderate Moroccans are offended that the film’s dark portrayal of their country was shown at a prestigious international film festival…

Catastrophic Consequences (#407) 

MSP Jean Urquhart speaks up for sex workers again:

…When the highly successful tolerance zones for street prostitution were abolished in Edinburgh…sex workers reported a 95% increase in violence over 12 months…it is hard to understand how…threatening the key witnesses to trafficking and coercion – the clients – with a sex-crime record if they come forward would help with investigating and prosecuting [sex trafficking]…There is little evidence that the criminalisation of clients even achieves its proponents’ aim of reducing demand for sex work…What sex workers tell us would actually protect them would be to ensure their labour rights, including the right to work in a shared premises, to eliminate stigma and discrimination against sex workers, and to decriminalise sex work.

New Excuse

Elizabeth Brown on the War on Whores as replacement for War on Drugs:

…the “War on Sex Trafficking” that the federal government is waging will fail, just as the “War on Drugs” has failed…just as giving local police and prosecutors an urgent mandate to fight drugs led mostly to the prosecution of low-level drug users and dealers rather than big-time drug traffickers, the fight against sex trafficking—plus federal funding to do so, contingent on arrests and convictions—sets up perverse incentives to treat everyday prostitution as sex trafficking.  All over the country, we’re now seeing what would have been deemed “vice” work reframed as human trafficking stings.  And who gets swept up in these stings?  Willing, adult sex workers.  Their would-be patrons.  Petty pimps…under the new banner of human trafficking even relatively minor crimes related to sex work can come with serious felony status, a sex offender registry requirement and a mandatory minimum prison term…

Held Together With Lies (#447)

It’s difficult to believe that anyone could take this idiocy, which only starts with that “35.8 million slaves” nonsense, seriously.  Oliver Twist!  “Potential victims”!  Nail salons!  Unfortunately, all this foolishness is used to justify something very serious: mass incarceration.

…the Modern Slavery Act…[increased] maximum custodial sentences…from 14 years to life and offenders with prior convictions for very serious sexual or violent offences face automatic life sentences. “It gives law enforcement more flexibility, more powers”…Home Office minister Karen Bradley says the government has “succeeded” in putting modern slavery at the top of the agenda and is “determined to eradicate it”…

Traffic Circle (#542)

Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post “Fact Checker”, continues to hammer at “sex trafficking” myths:

…The sex trade is an underground industry, so on what basis would the revenues from the trafficking of children…in the United States be calculated so precisely…as $9.8 billion?…a…graphic posted on the Internet by Shared Hope International…says it…[came from] a 2005 International Labour Organization report…But that report contains no mention of a $9.8 billion figure for…the United States…only a broad estimate of about $13 billion…for “forced commercial sexual exploitation” for 36 industrialized countries (of which the U.S. represents about 30 percent of the population).  ILO officials say they have never given a breakdown by country…it…is…a fantasy, unconnected to any real data…One could certainly say that the underground sex trade in the United States likely is worth more than a billion dollars, but it would be a serious mistake to conflate that with human trafficking…

Welcome to the Future (#543)

trafficking is being used as a flimsy justification to stigmatise sex workers…Trying to stay as inconspicuous as possible means that these women are forced to take unnecessary risks with their safety, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will be victims of a violent crime.  When this point was raised to the Justice Committee by Laura Lee…she was wilfully humiliated, effectively called a pimp, threatened with legal action, told to have sex with disabled people for free and otherwise completely disregarded…

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If a woman is to be believed when she asserts that she did not consent to sex, it follows that she must be believed when she asserts that she did.  –  Pandora Blake and Niki Adams

The Red Umbrella 

A lady suspected to be a prostitute has been beaten by a client…in Accra [Ghana].  According to reports, the unknown young man picked the lady up…and they had a sexual marathon…The man then suggested they go to his house…to finish off the business…but…instead of receiving her wage for the job, she received severe beatings from her client.  Her screams drew the attention of neighbours who came to her rescue…the young man is insisting he never had sex with her…

Dirty Amateurs

Anything that increases the number of amateurs having amateur sex (such as criminalizing sex work) invariably increases the STI rate:

The Rhode Island Department of Health…released data…showing that the rates of HIV and several other STDs are increasing…from 2013 to 2014…The number of infectious syphilis cases increased by 79%…The number of gonorrhea cases increased by 30%…The number of newly-identified HIV cases increased by nearly 33%…The increase has been attributed to…high-risk behaviors that have become more common in recent years…[including] using social media to arrange casual and often anonymous sexual encounters, having sex without a condom…and having sex while under the influence of drugs or alcohol…

Don’t Take My Word For It

This sounds interesting on its face, but keep in mind how abysmally bad most sex work research is; note the small sample and highly questionable methodology.

Women are buying more sex than ever before, according to new research…[which] found that women who pay for sex come from all ages [and] backgrounds and it appears that one of the main reason for the transaction is they lack the time for a relationship.  Researchers…spoke to 21 escorts and are now seeking female customers to continue their study.  The study…found that advertisement profiles of men rose from 5,246 in 2010 to 15,732 this year.  Female profiles rose from 11,056 to 28,614 over the same period…

Under Every Bed 

Grodd

Though most of this is the usual hilarious pearl-clutching hysteria, note the sinister propaganda that “drug dealers are shifting to sex trafficking”; in other words, “authorities” are just using a new excuse to target the same victims they always have:

…Panelists at a forum…told a full room at Beloit Public Library…that human trafficking takes place, even in Beloit [Wisconsin, population 37,000]…“We have drug dealers shifting over to human trafficking as their crime of choice,” said Milwaukee County Prosecutor Christopher Ladwig…Sgt. Theresa Janick of the Milwaukee Police Department has worked undercover in the Sensitive Issues Unit that includes prostitution…“The average age for girls entering into human sex trafficking is 12…”The gorilla pimp…beats on his own chest”…Guns and more violent problems are all wrapped up into one giant crime scene…“Pimps…use mind control”…Detective Joe Cassioppi of the Beloit Police Department [made up] a local case of sex trafficking in which a mother of three was first victimized by an online trafficker in Ohio, then began victimizing her own children…Cassioppi said the mother in this case is now serving 30 years in prison [but presented no names or links to the story]…

My favorite bit is the pimp gorilla with mind-control powers.

Deafening Silence

“Rectification” is a particularly horrifying euphemism:

Beijing Police has ordered six entertainment venues to suspend trading for rectification after being found involved with alleged prostitution and gambling…[this] is the first major raid…in the Chinese capital this year…police has clamped down 68 criminal groups and captured more than 600 criminals charged with prostitution…

Policing for Profit 

At least they’re not pretending that this money is being paid “back” to anyone:

A brothel madam who earned a fortune running an Edinburgh prostitution racket has agreed to hand over £1m.  Margaret Paterson, 62, was jailed for five years in 2013…The crown brought an action to seize any crime profits from Paterson and a…settlement [has] been reached in the case…

Opting Out

Now, this is an interesting development:

…A leaked EU document showed that David Cameron’s approach to online pornography – have it banned by default and make people opt in – has not been viewed in positive terms in Brussels…with the EU reportedly considering making the PM’s plan illegal.  Instead, the European officials would opt for a system that allows pornography by default with users, then being able to opt into a deal where the ISP blocks such content.  The user would also be able to back out of the agreement with the ISP at any time…It [would] at least partially…[ease] the burden on ISPs who have had to deal with numerous issues thanks to the Tory government’s blanket approach…

Fever DreamTBI logo

You may remember the TBI’s bogus “sex trafficking report” from several years ago:

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced results of a week-long operation to…identify potential victims of trafficking, arrest those seeking to purchase illicit sex, and learn more about the specific nuances of this type of crime…Governor Bill Haslam signed…a…law giving TBI original jurisdiction over investigations of human trafficking [and]…the state legislature approved funding for four Special Agents, who will exclusively investigate human trafficking cases…the TBI and Vanderbilt University partnered on in-depth studies to better understand the scope of human trafficking in Tennessee…

The idea that cops are interested in the “nuances” of sex work is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has ever been involved in it in any capacity.

Original Sin (#407)

I’m sick of hearing otherwise-reasonable people declare that the use of violence to suppress consensual adult behavior is something that’s up for “debate”:

Last week the New Statesman organised a debate on “buying and selling sex”…this debate was not about sex workers with different experiences trying to find common ground.  It was not about propping up a flawed binary between “happy hooker” and “helpless victim” (categories that are both used to silence sex workers who speak up).  And it wasn’t a stimulating academic conversation exploring ideological difference.  Sex work is a survival strategy used by real people…The campaign to criminalise clients, and the industry devoted to “rescuing” sex workers from their chosen source of income, is a moralistic crusade with financial and ideological connections to fundamentalist Christianity…Many of the organisations [involved]…oppose gay marriage, sex outside marriage, and abortion.  For example, the [APPG]…choose as its secretariat Care, a notorious Christian charity which sponsored conferences promising to [“cure”] gay people…During the debate, panelist Fiona Broadfoot showed her colours when she claimed that since clients were criminalised in Sweden, the country had become “less sexually deviant” because there was less prostitution.  Are we really going back to the days when consenting sex between adults, in this case where payment is involved, is labelled deviant?…

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Sex work is neither contagious nor a pathology.  –  Eva Gantz

Whores and Wives

I’m usually a very empathetic person, but I just can’t feel anything but pity for women who insist on willfully misunderstanding male sexuality, the nature of intimacy and the escort-client relationship despite ample materials that explain these online.  And you know what?  If this kind of maudlin schlock weren’t used to justify state violence while far-more-dangerous amateur cheating gets a free pass, I still might even manage to dredge up a teacupful of sympathy:

Contrary to popular belief, they come from all walks of life…Nor are they all lonely men seeking solace; many have partners and are in long-term relationships or marriages…Numerous academic studies and articles have explored the demographics of punters and sex workers, the horrors of trafficking, and the merits or otherwise of decriminalising prostitution.  But almost no attention has been paid to the partners of men who visit prostitutes…a growing number of…women…who discover their partner has been sleeping with prostitutes…are left feeling horribly isolated, with nowhere to turn…most of the men I spoke to…claimed feelings of undiminished love [for their wives].  Understandably, such hollow declarations neither reassured the women, nor repaired their sense of shame, grief and rejection.  Because there can be little as shocking as discovering that your trusted partner is paying for sex behind your back…

Lack of Evidence

Wild Guessing

Another marketing firm hard at work creating bogus prohibitionist “studies”:

…the NSPCC and ChildLine released the results of a survey suggesting that a tenth of 12- to 13-year-olds fear they are “addicted” to pornography.  Within days, the government had announced a new policy on internet restriction, justified in part by these statistics.  However, the NSPCC has been called out over the fact that these claims are alarmingly flimsy…The company that carried out the NSPCC-commissioned survey is a group called OnePoll, which specialises in generating “news angles and exposure for your brand”.  OnePoll is part of South West News Service (SWNS), a media group that offers “heartbreaking, random and shocking” content.  OnePoll was behind a recent survey revealing that “20% of people believe that smoking has improved their career opportunities”.  This one was commissioned by an E-cigarette company.  A poll commissioned during National Ferry Fortnight for Discover Ferries – which had just “invested heavily in improved seating” – revealed that travellers really hate aircraft seats.  You get the picture…

Don’t Take My Word For It

I realize one can’t expect quality journalism from YourTango, but this article entitled “I Went Undercover To See If A Girl Could Get Happy Ending Massage” is painfully dumb; from the author’s describing massage parlors as “a mixture of truth and urban legend that captivates male imaginations” [WTF?] to the eminently-predictable pomposity of licensed masseuses in the comment thread, the whole thing is a kiddie-train wreck.  Proceed at your own risk.

Broken Record 

Even the most ridiculous iterations of “gypsy whore” myth now contain disclaimers way down at the bottom:

With the biggest convention ever to hit Nashville — more than 70,000 members of the National Rifle Association are here this weekend for their annual meeting — law enforcement officials have prepared for what some see as the scourge of such large, male-dominated gatherings…Little data exists on the prevalence of trafficking.  Law enforcement often fails to categorize prostitutes who are voluntarily committing crimes separately from individuals who are being trafficked, under the duress of handlers.  As such, experts say there is little reliable data to prove or disprove that trafficking has spiked during large conventions or sports gatherings…

Note that the reporter’s tiny mind cannot conceive of pragmatic sex as being other than a “crime”, whether compelled or voluntary.

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#312) APNSW anti-sweatshop logo

If people’s minds weren’t befuddled by prohibitionist idiocy, they wouldn’t be so confused by wholly predictable outcomes like this:

…Sex Workers…[in Zambia] show…no desire to abandon their…trade saying it gives them quick money to sustain their welfare as opposed to skills such as tailoring which take long for them to earn money…Agness Ng’andu…explained that her organisation had invested heavily in…sewing machines which are presently not being utilised…

Legal Is As Legal Does (#337)

Sex work is as legal in Christchurch as anywhere in New Zealand, but some would love it to be otherwise:

Christchurch street sex workers say not having access to basic toilet facilities while working makes them feel like “scum”.  Toilets near Manchester St have long been a contentious subject…plans [to install some] were thwarted by nearby residents…The nearest are…locked at night.  Women have to ask clients to drop them at toilets at service stations, or go behind bushes.  Auckland University…professor…Tracey McIntosh said the lack of facilities reinforced to sex workers that they are “seen as a blight on the city scape”…

Sex Rays

Tech and sex work have an uneasy relationship that traces back through decades…Sex work is seen as something to be kept as far away from women in tech as possible…I recently attended a meetup for women in digital currency…a woman [there]…told me casually, as if it were the most obvious conclusion in the world, “the underlying reason for gender discrimination in tech is porn.  That’s the root of it all.”  My face must have given me away, because she prompted, “don’t you agree?”  No.  No, I don’t agree in the slightest.  For one, the assessment reduces the incredibly complex issues of meritocracy, privilege, and misogyny into an oversimplified sound bite.  This view is every bit as reactionary as a conservative desire to regulate female sexuality…Even just the proximity of association with sex workers is too much to be borne…the…argument rests on the idea that if women in tech are viewed even in the same space as porn performers men will instantly see them as porn stars, too.  Not only does this insult the intelligence of men, but it also furthers the idea of sex work as contagion.  “Don’t get too close, or it might rub off on you”…

Moving Pictures

Maybe it’s just my peculiar sense of humor, but I find this weird mixture of lurid “sex trafficking” fantasy and technical-magazine writing terribly funny:

…More than three million women and children are slaves today.  In the dramatic narrative film, Don’t Look Away, the subject of sex trafficking—modern day slavery—is addressed head on.  Exploring the alltoocommon [sic] story of a young woman enslaved through tactics exploiting social networks, Don’t Look Away exposes the fertile hunting ground stalked by predators in the human trafficking trade…Don’t Look Away was filmed on location in Central Florida…The company consisted of over 20 crew members, 9 principal cast members and dozens of extras…Don’t Look Away was shot by…Michael Minock with the new VariCam 35 4K camera/recorder, provided by Panasonic…“We have an amazing opportunity to use our gifts and passions to forward the fight on sex trafficking,” said producer/writer/law student, Alex Couch…“If we can start caring for the victims more, we will be better equipped in our efforts to punish the real perpetrators of this horrific crime.”  Most of the film’s grip and lighting gear was generously provided by The Art Institute of Jacksonville…The color grading is being done by Daniel Parker at Myjive in Charlotte, NC…

Not Your Rescue Project (#526) 

Sydney sex worker Tilly Lawless posted a photo of herself smiling on Instagram with the hashtag #facesofprositution…[in] response to an article on the…website Mamamia…[which] presented images of bruised, emaciated, drug-addicted sex workers…in the days that followed sex workers from all over the world shared photos of themselves under the hashtag—in some cases outing themselves as sex workers for the first time—to protest against the stereotype that sex workers are intrinsically victims who need saving…

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