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Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

[Do] they have a deal with the police…or is this simple freelance vigilantism?  –  Laura Agustín

Surplus Women

The same everywhere sex work is at all criminalized:

In light of the death of Nigerian sex worker Eunice Osayande, who was brutally murdered by a 17-year-old client in 2018, an ethnographic study on sex work in the area…was commissioned by the city of Schaerbeek…The sex workers who were interviewed stressed that they faced violence on a regular basis, but especially at night, including robberies and beatings…and people trying to have unprotected sex with them.  The women also spoke of discriminatory attacks, often by young people, and…highlighted that…they are often reluctant to call the police…

Decentralization (#313)

Did you ever wonder why the government stopped harassing bitcoin?

Coinbase will provide [ICE]…with [the] blockchain [surveillance] software…[it] has also provided…to the U.S. Secret Service and [UK] Inland Revenue…Details as to exactly what the ICE wants Coinbase software for are [being hidden]…Last year, Coinbase announced its desire to sell [the same surveillance] tools to…the [DEA] and [IRS]…

If Men Were Angels

Basically the same as a “youth pastor”:

A…California attorney and church leader was sentenced to 40 years…after pleading guilty to molesting young girls…Steven Matlak…[was first] arrested…in 2017…All of [his] victims were under the age of 10, with the youngest being five years old…Matlak…led a Bible study in his home for young members of the First Presbyterian Church…He [tried to claim] sex addiction [as an excuse] for his crimes, but the families did not accept the [attempted responsibility-dodge]…

Rotting Fruit

Presented without comment:

Prince Andrew…’s efforts to avoid facing…[an] American…lawsuit launched against him by…Virginia (Giuffre) Roberts…have now [failed.  British judges] accepted a request…“to formally contact Andrew about the civil proceedings launched in America”…Roberts’ lawyers have complained that Andrew…has thwarted efforts to serve him with the suit…[which] claims that when she was 17…[Jeffrey] Epstein forced her to have sex with Andrew at [Ghislaine] Maxwell’s London townhouse…

Negative Secondary Effects (#1122)

It’s rare for an article on sex work in the UK press to be so free of dysphemisms:

Blackpool Council announced in January th[at]…it planned to phase out lap dancing clubs in order to [protect THE CHILDREN!!!™ from dangerous sex rays]…The existing four clubs would be allowed to continue operating, but once those licences lapse for any reason they would not be renewed.  [Club] operators…[poin]t out [th]at…“The industry will be forced underground and girls will be tempted, if not forced to work…for private bachelor parties”…[without] security…or…”underground clubs or might have to get into more dangerous forms of sex work”…

Predictable Consequences (#1125)

Prohibitionists learned nothing from the Atlanta massacre last March:

In Arizona and across the country, [prohibitionists]…have set up massage parlors as [targets] for sex trafficking [hysteria].  Women [who travel] from China, Korea and other countries…may be [raped by cops pretending to “rescue” them, then caged] in unsanitary conditions [to await deportation].  The Arizona Republic and USA Today are [try]ing [to help cops commit] this…legal[ized abomination]…

Frontpage Confidential featured quotes from activists sharply criticizing this exercise in yellow journalism, directly intended to attract either organized or individual violence against migrant sex workers.

Droit du Seigneur (#1135)

What the people who enforce “sex trafficking” laws are really like:

Larry Allen Clay Jr., the [typical and representative]…police chief of [a] small town [in West Virginia]…is charged with sex trafficking a…17-year-old girl…[by paying her stepmother, Kristen] Naylor-Legg…[$50 to] rape…her…[the prosecutor thought it was super-important to note her rapist was]…wearing his [magic clown costume and]…rap[ed] her [in his pigmobile]…He…[later] told the teen “he could be her sugar daddy”…and [pimp by charging]…other [pigs]…$100 to rape her…

Note how deeply the “journalist” who wrote this buried the identity and responsibility of the actual initiator of this crime; they didn’t even print his picture.

CORRECTION: The Washington Post published this as if it were a new story, but in actuality it already appeared back in April and I failed to catch the repeat.

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[Pandemic] measures [seem to] constitute the fulfillment of preexisting authoritarian tendencies.  –  J.D. Tuccille

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I hope this makes Swedish criminalization fans extremely uncomfortable:

A…[typical and representative] Toronto [cop]…solicit[ed] a sex…worker…[Travis Houston implicitly threatened her with a gun] and told her that he was a [cop, but instead of submitting she]…demanded that he leave…He was charged with weapons dangerous [sic], obtaining sexual services and mischief [but also rewarded with a paid vacation]…

The More the Better 

Even lurid gawking by creeps at the New York Times can serve the greater purpose of demystifying sex work to squares:

…financial domination [is] a form of B.D.S.M. [sic] that has flourished during the pandemic, when many sex workers and their customers have migrated online because of social distancing..The concept is simple, even if the allure is not immediately self-evident: “finsubs” (short for “financial submissives”) send monetary “tributes” to a financial dominatrix…in exchange for being humiliated and degraded…

Rough Trade (#448) 

Can we not all agree something is wrong without giving the state another excuse for violence?

…antics now considered merely caddish or immoral—like lying to a prospective sex partner about one’s relationship status, social standing, or future intentions—would count as criminal sexual misconduct…[under a] bill…sponsored by [a gaggle of]…New York [politicians which would criminalize sex]…”obtained with…the use of…deception, fraud, concealment or artifice”…Women could be guilty for lying about contraceptive use or menstrual cycles, and men for lying about having a vasectomy.  Trying to win over a date by saying you have a better job than you actually do, live in a nicer place, or went to a better school could become a crime if that date sleeps with you…Someone might try to sue or press charges based on the idea that makeup, Botox, boob jobs, and similar measures to enhance one’s appearance should count as illegal artifice that negates consent.  It also seems likely that people could attempt to use the law against transgender…people…

As I pointed out in the subtitle-linked article, this would make prostitution stings legally rape, but no cop would ever actually be prosecuted for it.  Overbroad laws, no matter how good they may sound to some, are only ever used to increase the power of those who already have it at the expense of those who don’t.

Little Boxes (#865)

Forced sexual contact with strangers is “trust building”, but voluntary sexual contact with strangers is a “crime”:

A former employee of…Panda Express…was required to strip down to her underwear and hug a partially clad co-worker during a “cult-like ritual” at a 2019 training seminar sponsored by the company as a prerequisite to promotion…At the start, attendees were told to sit down and not talk, and were left in isolation for a full hour before a man stormed in, yelling in Spanish and berating them for sitting there and doing nothing…participants were prohibited from using their cellphones, there was no clock in the room and the doors and windows were all covered with black cloth…the woman…was forced to strip down to her underwear under the guise of trust building…while, Alive Seminars staff were openly ogling the women in their state of undress…Attendees…were confined in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation…[and not even allowed] to use the restroom…[even] to throw up…

HIV Cure (#920)

Another silver lining for the COVID pandemic:

new HIV vaccine, based on the Moderna COVID-19 inoculation, has shown a 97% antibody response rate in Phase I clinical trials…If approved, this vaccine could become the first stage of a multi-step strategy to combat HIV and other viral diseases.  The vaccine successfully stimulated the production of rare immune cells needed to generate antibodies against HIV…

Like Houses (#1031)

Government can always be counted on to use any excuse to expand tyranny:

…the…world that is more-policed and less-free than it was a year ago…Protests continued across the U.K. over…a proposed law that would increase police powers…[after a cop] murder[ed] Sarah Everard…[in] France…[t]ens of thousands…protest[ed] legislation that would restrict people from publishing identifiable images of [cops]…police have [brutalized] demonstrators in countries including Belgium, France (again), Greece, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere.  Mounted police in Brussels trampled a woman at an anti-lockdown party, before opening up with water cannon.  In Athens, [a cops beat]…a man…to enforce a…lockdown…”Across the world in 2020, citizens experienced the biggest rollback of individual freedoms ever undertaken by governments during peacetime (and perhaps even in wartime),” [wrote] The Economist…and…at least some countries want to permanently increase the status and power of police…

To Molest and Rape (#1127)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative New Jersey cop] and [known lecher has been] sexually assaulting a [girl] for five years, starting when she was 15…Tyrone Rolls…was charged…with sexual assault [but also rewarded with a paid vacation.  As usual, “authorities” are weirdly fixated on whether]…he was [wearing his magical clown costume while committing the rapes]…The [victim finally gathered the courage to] report…Rolls [after he slapped her]…and knocked her to the ground…

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I make way more money per hour playing a professor in the dungeon than being one in real life.  –  Mistress Snow

Aggressive Ignorance

In Florida, you can now get a “certification” in racist, misogynistic propaganda:

Florida State University has launched a new certification in human trafficking prevention and intervention…to [indoctrin]ate [authoritarians in the approved]…human trafficking [propaganda]…the Tallahassee Police Department [recently] charged over 170 people [with various misdemeanors it pretended were linked together]…into a sex trafficking network…[authoritarians and profiteers] who seek to get the certification can use what they learn and apply it to…[profiting from the] crim[inalization of consensual acts and inventing propaganda]…just like [the cops did with] this one…

Buried Truth

I think we have enough evidence to start calling this “McNeill’s Law”:

An anti-LGBTQ+ Hungarian politician has resigned from the European Parliament after being caught in what’s being described as an orgy involving 25 men.  József Szájer, who has spoken proudly of writing a ban on same-sex marriage into Hungary’s constitution, acknowledged…that he had been at what he called a “house party”…in Brussels…[which was] raided [using the excuse of] violation of Belgium’s COVID-19 restrictions, banning gatherings of more than four people.  Szájer was caught “shimmying down a drainpipe” in an attempt to escape police…He had no identifying documents with him and had drugs in his backpack…[but] was released with a warning after [cops] escorted him home and he produced his diplomatic passport.  Police, however, “have opened a case against those present for violating lockdown rules, as well as against Szájer for possession of drugs”…

Shame, Shame

The state believes it’s OK for its operatives to dox you, but not vice-versa:

French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party agreed…to completely rewrite a draft plan that would have c[riminaliz]ed the…shar[ing of] images identifying [violent cops], after large protests over the weekend against police violence…More than 133,000 people, including 46,000 in Paris alone, demonstrated against the draft bill and in favour of free speech…The rallies followed the publication of video footage of a Black man being beaten up by three [cops] inside his own music studio…Macron…branded [the evidence] “shameful” for France [and therefore tried to prevent it happening not by controlling the pigs, but by criminalizing the act of revealing it]…Article 24…[would have] made it a crime – punishable by a year in prison and a 45,000 euro ($54,000) fine – to share [pictures of cops] with an “obvious intention to harm” [as determined by authoritarian bureaucrats]…

Imaginary Evils (#737)

Remember, huge police operations have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases anywhere in the UK:

[Cops fantasize that] nearly 100…woman were [magically] trafficked into Scotland and forced into prostitution despite the ­lockdown restrictions…Fil Capaldi, head of Police Scotland’s National Human Trafficking Unit said: “[Pimps are magical ninjas who can walk through walls and pull screaming children through computer monitors, so naturally they have no trouble with travel restrictions]…Slavery is not a thing of the past, it’s happening in every local authority throughout ­Scotland…When ­international borders open up again, we will see a spike in trafficking”…he said Covid rules may have helped the traffickers keep their vile trade hidden…

So “sex trafficking” increases under restrictions, and it also increases when there are no restrictions.  It’s easy to make contradictory statements when nobody expects you to provide even the most rudimentary evidence of anything you say.

Feminine Pragmatism (#970) 

It’s good to see that the media are beginning to grasp this:

More than half of all college professors are now “adjuncts”: part-time freelance instructors who…have the same PhDs as their tenured and full-time colleagues, but who get paid low amounts on a per-course basis, with few or no benefits and little job security.  Typically, adjuncts (also known as “contingent faculty”) string together gigs at multiple colleges, which pay an average of $3,984 per course…So, many adjunct professors now find themselves needing to find significant side-work to stay afloat…Last December, Mistress Snow…wrote a personal essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education, entitled “I Told My Mentor I Was a Dominatrix: She Rescinded Her Letter of Recommendation.”  The summer before the article came out, she found herself without a teaching gig—which is common for adjuncts…[so] she w[ent]…back [to] the sex trade…

Social Distancing (#1055)

So many “enlightened” countries still believe that disease is caused by “sin”:

On September 26, 2020 the Government of Ontario closed down strip clubs without warning or consulting strippers.  At the same time, other similar businesses such as bars continued to be allowed to operate.  Strippers are not demanding we be given exceptional treatment…we only want to be treated fairly.  This means being consulted about the implementation of prevention and other occupational health and safety measures at our workplaces, rather than government officials assuming we are vectors of disease that pose particular risk to public health…

Social Distancing (#1082)

Another example of how “lockdowns” cause far more harm than good:

…In sub-Saharan Africa, 16 countries have an HIV prevalence rate greater than 37 per cent among sex workers.  “To ignore HIV prevention and sex workers during an emergency is self-defeating,” said Innocent Modisaotsile…[of] the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.  “New infections and demands for ARV treatment will burden the health system.”  COVID-19 has brought hardships to sex workers in Africa…in terms of loss of income, police crackdowns, exclusion from social protection schemes, and increased violence…in the past two decades Kenya’s robust HIV prevention and care programme has reduced HIV prevalence among sex workers significantly…[via] drop-in centres (DICs) that provide safe spaces, healthcare and peer support…[but] under the lockdown [police roadblock are preventing sex workers from accessing the centres]…

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The very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.  –  Adolf Hitler, via the Kentucky State Police

Sean Connery died on Halloween, but I wasn’t about to stack his obit on top of The Amazing Randi’s.  I’ve also grown tired of dead YouTube links, so I picked a tribute from a channel that in my experience doesn’t often get censored.  The links above it were provided by Kevin Wilson, Mike Siegel, Radley Balko, Jesse Walker, Tim Cushing, and Cop Crisis (x2), in that order.

From the Archives

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If there was a real problem we would know.  –  Maxime Maes

Japanese Prostitution (#410)

The Japanese get very touchy when anyone memorializes their victims:

Because of the “considerable strain on German-Japanese relations”, the Department of Roads and Green Space Management in…Berlin demanded the removal of a sculpture called “Peace Statue” by October 14th.  The bronze statue, which symbolizes a Korean [“comfort woman”] in World War II, was erected on September 28 by [a private] organization [named] Korea Verband…on a street corner in the Moabit district…

The Lesser of Two Evils (#722) 

Maybe the Church should delineate acceptable ways for priests to meet their sexual needs:

The Archdiocese of New Orleans has removed and burned the altar…of Sts. Peter and Paul church in Pearl River after a priest was caught filming sex acts on the altar with two women.  Archbishop Gregory Aymond…called Rev. Travis Clark’s acts “demonic…I am infuriated by his actions…and…will consecrate a new altar”…Clark was arrested for obscenity, along with the two women involved, because their sex acts were…visible [to a trespassing parishioner who peered into the window]

Men’s fantasies get more extreme when they’re deprived of sex.  It really is that simple, but people prefer to imagine otherwise.

Pyrrhic Victory (#898)

All too often, evil arrives cloaked in the mantle of expediency:

…Clear’s vision for its fingerprint, iris-scanning, and facial recognition business goes beyond kiosks in airports or sports areas — it wants to be a holistic identity verification platform, covering more intimate moments in our everyday lives.  The company has already amassed troves of personal data on its customers, especially for Clear customers who use the service to buy concessions and enter sports stadiums…in return for cutting to the front of the line unimpeded, customers handing over vast swaths of biometric and travel data…When the company verifies a person’s identity, whether that be to enter an airport, a stadium, or buy a beer at a concession stand, Clear is affirming that they are who they say they are.  Right now, this verification process means priority access to an airport or stadium security [theater] line as a trusted Clear member.  But in the future…Clear plans to be the company that verifies your identity every time you would have swiped a credit card, shown your ID at a door, or handed over a health insurance card…

Guinea Pigs (#968) 

In case you had forgotten that banks are actively looking for whores to rat out to the pigs:

…a study of hundreds of professionals working in anti-money laundering, risk and fraud roles across financial, business, banking and insurance industries reveals shocking gaps in their capabilities.  More than 80 per cent [fantasize] that money laundering is currently happening in their customers’ transactions but two in five aren’t confident they can [tell dirty whore money from righteous people’s money]…more than one in 10 financial institutions still don’t have an a[pproved set of tricks for stealing clients’ money under color of law]…despite it being a legal requirement.  Even if they do, just one in five in-house experts are confident they can [detect the sex rays from whore money]…

The Clueless Leading the Hysterical (#982)

There has literally never been a case of a kid getting drugged candy in his trick-or-treat bag:

A man was arrested…after police [stopped his car on an invented pretext, got permission from a dog to rip his car apart, then] found hundreds of pounds of THC-infused candy during [their rooting]…

It’s interesting that neither cop nor yellow journalist tried to use this as an excuse to spread Halloween hysteria; maybe they’re waking up to the fact that nobody is going to give expensive cannabis edibles (which can cost $2 to $3 or more per piece) to strangers’ brats for free.

To Molest and Rape (#1066)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

…on September 3, 2019…a 14-year-old girl was visiting [Missouri cop Joshua] Skaggs and his wife…[when] she was awoken around 5 a.m. by Skaggs touching her bare chest…her shirt had been pulled over her bra, and the light from Skagg’s cell phone had been turned on…possibl[y to]…take…a photo of her…[in another assault, a]…13-year-old was visiting Skaggs’ home in July of 2019…she woke up…[to find him] lifting the waistband to her pants in an attempt to get inside them.  Both girls…were terrified of telling anyone because Skaggs was a cop and he would try to hurt them…Skaggs denied one incident and [claimed] the [other was somehow] an accident…he…should have done a minimum of 5 years for each of the charges…[but the judge gave him a mere] 60 days in jail…

Social Distancing (#1080)

Once in a while, whores win a small victory:

The Council of State has overturned a ban on street prostitution [imposed o]n Brussels-City…by mayor Philippe Close…[because] a municipality does not have the authority to order such a ban, which can only be done by a regional or federal authority.  The Council of State is the legal body which deals with cases questioning the legality of the decisions of all levels of government.  Normally, governments also submit their legislative proposals for scrutiny before they become law…[but] Close [rushed the proclamation through using the excuse]…of…coronavirus…

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Pleasure can never be free.  –  Moroccan saying

Surplus Women

Your regular reminder: this isn’t confined to the US:

On 9 April, sex worker and activist Robyn Montsumi was arrested on a drug charge…in Cape Town.  A few days later she died in [what cops claim was]…suicide by hanging…artist Clinton Osbourn…created a life-size portrait of Montsumi…laminated it and put it up on a pole near the Mowbray police station…

Osbourn is hopelessly naive if he thinks cops will be “haunted” by a portrait of one of their victims; if they had consciences, they wouldn’t commit the crimes they regularly revel in committing.

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now

Police closed off the Longport area of Canterbury for several hours…following a report of…a woman [o]n the property…armed [thugs] were s[ent in while]…a police helicopter hover[ed] overhead…a woman in her 50s [w]as [th]en arrested on suspicion of immigration offences…[cops claim] the address may have been used as a brothel…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

Raymond Rodio III…was [sentenced to 9.5 years for]…charges including sex trafficking and promoting prostitution.  After he completes his prison sentence, Rodio must register as a sex offender…“sex dungeon…sex slavery,” Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini [drooled, claiming that]…Rodio recruited women through social media, got them hooked on heroin or crack cocaine and forced them to have sex with men in the basement…Rodio operated the ring for about four years, victimized more than 20 women and forced some to use a bucket instead of a toilet…Rodio’s parents may have known “something untoward” was going on, but not necessarily that their son was running a prostitution ring…They were not charged with a crime…

A “ring” with only one member?  Were the 20 “victims” in one basement, or did he only have one “slave” at a time (and if they could quit, how were they “slaves”?)  And the parents somehow had no idea?  Reeeeeeeeeeally now.

Lower Education (#778)

California seems determined to completely eliminate due process in rape cases:

[California] Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed…[a law] to ensure California colleges and universities [deny due]…process [to] all students [accused of] sexual assault…in direct response to the Trump administrations’ attempts [to roll back the due-process-banning “guidelines” set forth in the infamous “Dear Collague” letter of 2011]…SB 493 will require state-funded colleges and universities to [refuse the protections enshrined in] common [law for centuries, despite the fact that minority students are disproportionately the subjects of rape allegations which lack the evidence to be supported in actual court]…On May 6…Education Secretary Betsy DeVos released new federal Title IX regulations that require schools to allow direct cross-examination of [accusers as in any other US criminal case], and would…raise the standard of evidence [back] from…preponderance of the evidence…to “clear and convincing” evidence, which is [still much lower than the burden of proof in other criminal cases.  Many]…lawsuits have already been filed challenging [expulsions and other punishments obtained under] the [Obama-era] Title IX regulations, including [75 in California alone and] a [class-action] lawsuit [against Michigan State University]

Naked Truth (#956)

Despite attempts to infantilize them as “victims”, Moroccan women know better:

…one of th[e] things that girls learn in Moroccan society…is [to]…enforce [a cost] when establishing almost any love and/or sexual bond with boys, and something that…married and divorced women tend to hold…[arranged] marriages…coexist…with the criminalization of [any] sexual relations outside of marriage…Consequently, there is a market for intimacy in which enjoyment is negotiated…the French-Moroccan anthropologist Mériam Cheikh has dedicated a doctoral thesis…[to] “the girls who go out”…the elegant euphemism [used] to designate prostitution practices, both professional and [casual]…the audacity in Cheikh’s research…is to…conclude that, in reality, the negotiations of sexuality are nothing more than a scale in the continuum of the bond between men and women that also includes marriage

Social Distancing (#1035)

Some of us have been saying this since March:

On 23 March, Boris Johnson locked down the [UK]…It would last for three weeks, he said, and it had one simple aim: to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by Covid cases.  Six months on…A quarter of the population is still under lockdown.  The rest of us are living under the most stringent social rules in living memory…Riot police are violently shutting down anyone who protests against this new authoritarianism…And…we are heading for the largest recession on record, with millions of jobs on the line…arbitrary rules are introduced by government decree…people can be fined for visiting loved ones…ministers make statements about who we can hug…there is serious talk of Christmas being cancelled…why did we shift from temporarily protecting the NHS from a spike in Covid to protecting all people from ever catching the virus?…how come you can gather in groups larger than six at work but not in a pub?…those of us…who have taken a critical approach…are often caricatured as not taking Covid-19 seriously…but…one of the key problems with a society-wide lockdown was precisely that it distracted society’s focus from the more targeted policies required to protect…the elderly and the vulnerable…It increasingly seems that the…freezing of economic life, the tight control of social life, and the halting of certain health services…could prove more harmful than the disease itself…

Social Distancing (#1045)

Like its neighbor the Netherlands, Belgium only pretends to respect sex workers:

Brussels’ sex workers are angry that they were not consulted before the City…sprung a prostitution ban on them on [September 28th, using the excuse]…of the coronavirus…the ban not only concerns street prostitution…but also sex work in…rendez-vous hotels…Maxime Maes of sex worker union UTSOPI [said]…“The virus is just an excuse.  This is not about the coronavirus, but about longstanding issues with the people living in those districts”…referring to how neighbourhood committees have repeatedly attempted to have several hotels in the Alhambra district closed…

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Sex work is becoming cool again.  –  Maggie McNeill

The Cop Myth

Cops are responsible for more violence than any other social group in the US:

Every time protests erupt after yet another innocent black person is killed by police, “reform” is meekly offered as the solution…The Minneapolis police implemented trainings on implicit bias, mindfulness, de-escalation, and crisis intervention; diversified the department’s leadership; created tighter use-of-force standards; adopted body cameras; initiated a series of police-community dialogues; and enhanced early-warning systems to identify problem officers…None of it worked…because “procedural justice” has nothing to say about the mission or function of policing.  It assumes that the police are neutrally enforcing a set of laws that are automatically beneficial to everyone…[but in reality,] over the last 40 years we have seen a massive expansion of the scope and intensity of policing.  Every social problem in poor and non-white communities has been turned over to the police to manage.  The schools don’t work; let’s create school policing.  Mental health services are decimated; let’s send police.  Overdoses are epidemic; let’s criminalize people who share drugs.  Young people are caught in a cycle of violence and despair; let’s call them superpredators and put them in prison for life.  Police have also become more militarized…The alternative is not more money for police training programs, hardware or oversight.  It is to dramatically shrink their function…

I Spy (#1001)

Violet Blue on protecting yourself from phone-based surveillance at protests:

…our phones are spying on us 24/7.  These little handheld sidekicks are…Big Brother’s most useful asset when it comes to tracking and surveilling anyone…The only way we can completely refuse to be tracked is not to use our apps, or leave our phones at home. But not using apps or going without a phone isn’t a realistic option…Smartphones leak your information and leave a trail of your information by design.  Your info can be discovered and your habits known by any bystanders who know how to look.  Hackers and developers have been trying to raise the alarm about phone security for years, but have gone practically ignored…

You Were Warned (#1007)

Basically the same thing Biden wants; now please tell me more about the “wings”:

Donald Trump [issued an executive order] in response to [Twitter]’s attempt to fact-check his tweets [which] proposes a radical modification of Section 230…The…order…“attempts to circumvent Congress and the courts in directing changes to long-established interpretations of Section 230….orders a review of alleged ‘unfair or deceptive practices’ by Facebook and Twitter”…and calls on the…FCC to “examine whether actions related to the editing of content by social media companies should potentially lead to the firms forfeiting their protections under Section 230″…Lawrence Walters, a First Amendment expert with extensive adult industry experience…[said] “Any order impacting Section 230 immunity will likely be challenged in court…Congress is the only body that can alter the broad protections granted by Section 230 but we are seeing some legislative activity in that realm as well — particularly the EARN IT Act“…

Surplus Women (#1010)

Government never, ever blames itself for the harm it causes:

On May 17, the RCMP charged a 17-year-old [who hacked Ashley Noelle Arzaga]…to death with a machete inside the Crown Spa with first-degree murder – terrorist activity…The parlour owner and another man were also injured in the February attack.  Police allege he carried out the murder in the name of the “incel” movement…but sex worker advocates say that while the RCMP is making a show of the case, the government is evading practical change to protect sex workers – namely, by decriminalizing their occupations.  “Laying a terrorism-related charge here…makes it look like we’re more concerned about sex workers’ deaths,” says international criminal law professor Heidi Matthews. “In reality that’s not true…We still have a whole matrix of criminal laws that make their existence and their work more precarious and less safe”…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1039)

Far too little, far too late: “Plaintiffs American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”)…Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (“CAASE”), Sex Workers Outreach Project Chicago (“SWOP-Chicago”), [et al]…bring this Complaint against Defendant Clearview AI, Inc. (“Clearview”) to put a stop to its unlawful surreptitious capture and storage of millions of Illinoisans’ sensitive biometric identifiers…”  The suit is based on “the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), which [is intended to] protect…people against the surreptitious and nonconsensual capture of their biometric identifiers, including faceprints.”  That’s well and fine, but other states are far less fastidious about how they collect information on unsuspecting citizens.  And as we’ve seen, cops freely and surreptitiously exchange facial recognition data without any permission at all, even lying in reports and committing perjury in court to cover up how they obtained any given data.  So even if this suit succeeds in banning facial recognition technology in Illinois or even destroying Clearview, the facial recognition djinni was released from its bottle years ago, and has no intention of going back in.  I do find it interesting to actually see a sex worker organization involved in a lawsuit like this, though, so kudos to SWOP-Chicago.

Working From Home (#1042)

I’m extensively quoted in this article about everyone suddenly joining OnlyFans:

While, as far as McNeill is concerned, anyone selling their own erotic labor is in fact a sex worker, she acknowledges that as online sex work becomes more popular, “some people [are] claiming the mantle of sex worker who really shouldn’t because they think it’s going to give them cachet…The criticism that those ladies are leveling at the newcomers is a correct one, but at the same time you kind of have to give them the side eye and say, ‘Yeah, honey, you were new at one time too’”…while McNeill agrees that celebrity interest in sex work…will probably “suck money from women who really need it,” she remains hopeful that mainstream exposure from celebrities may eventually have a positive effect on the progress of sex work destigmatization…

Social Distancing (#1042)

Like its neighbor the Netherlands, Belgium only pretends to respect sex workers:

A hotel where many sex workers receive their clients briefly opened its doors…despite the coronavirus regulations forbidding it, because the rules were not clear…Despite hotels being allowed to stay open…the[se were forced by government diktat]…to close their doors as they are mainly used by [human beings whom authoritarians deem “nonessential”]…“a lot of those hotel owners probably think that, based on the measures for hotels, they are also allowed to open again,” [said] Daan Bauwens of UTSOPI, the Belgian union for and by sex workers…“We strongly advise sex workers to…stop working [and live on happy thoughts, sunshine and pixie dust]” said Bauwens…

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The harmful idea that women are naturally sexually ignorant…has been the basis for repressive laws throughout history.  –  Hallie Lieberman

The Notorious Badge

It’s good to see more writers criticizing insulting hooker tropes in movies:

Working Girls, which has the more connotative and ironic title Filles de joie in French…is…an honest, if sometimes strident, three-way portrait which gains much from its deft juggling of character arcs…Axelle (Sara Forestier), Conso (Annabelle Lengronne) and Dominique (Noémie Lvovsky)…live in France…but…travel…each day across the border to Belgium to work in a legal brothel…Wisely, Working Girls is markedly more interested in which goes on in the living room than in the bedrooms.  However…it’s a pity that a screenplay which deals with the everyday life of prostitutes struggles to find anything for them to talk about together other than sex…

Skewed By Taboo

The majority of self-reports about sexual accidents are lies:

An Arizona woman [claims]…she was…only using [her ultra-slim Vesper vibrator] on the outside of her body…[when suddenly] “out of nowhere I just felt a really sharp pain”…[and] the vibrator was nowhere to be found…But…she could still feel it…“emergency room staff wasn’t able to find it in the vagina,” said OBGYN Dr. Greg Marchand…he found on the x-ray [that the]…“device [wa]s actually in the bladder”…They had to surgically remove it.  The woman plans on filing a lawsuit against the company for lack of warning on the label that [you might lose it if you shove it up your urethra]…

There are many people who enjoy shoving things into their urethras, but because our puritanical culture would judge it “perverted” and “bad”, she can’t admit what happened, even to the doctor; instead she told this silly story about how the vibrator just leapt out of her hand and went all the way up into her bladder like some kinky guided missile.  If you know any emergency room doctor or nurse, ask them sometime about how many people “accidentally” sit on things while naked and can’t retrieve them from the rectum.

Nothing New

Five years ago I wrote that the ridiculous myth that Victorian doctors invented female masturbation and didn’t know what a female orgasm looked like “is so incredibly recent I never heard of it during any of my extensive sexological reading in my teens and twenties; it seems to date to the nineties at the earliest.”  Well, if sexologist Hallie Lieberman is correct, we’ve now got a date for the birth of this idiocy:  “…The myth can be traced to Rachel Maines’s 1999 book Technology of Orgasm…[which] seemed like a well-researched scholarly book, with 465 citations and a plethora of primary sources, some in Greek and Latin; the problem is that none of them actually supported this story…

Traffic in Nonsense (#917)

The “sex trafficking” propaganda from these fetishists is some of the most blatantly derived from sexual fantasy in the entire rescue industry:

Workers at the UPS Atlanta Regional Hub…[were indoctrinated in how to fantasize that all women they see are] potential cases of sex trafficking…UPS had already [indoctrinated] its freight drivers on how to [imagine everything as] signs of sex trafficking.  Now they’re [indoctrinating] the drivers who actually go into neighborhoods…[with propaganda provided by] the organization Truckers Against Trafficking. [Head propagandist]  Helen Van Dam…[is] counting on the ignorance of the general public [about sex work to infantilize all]…prostitute[s as]…victim[s of]…sex slavery.  Van Dam [shared silly, juvenile sexual fantasies about]…“branding” tattoos on victims

On the Simultaneous Having and Eating of Cake (#919)

In the current anti-whore climate, this was a wholly predictable development:

Soldiers of Pole, a Los Angeles-based group of dancers who are working to unionize their colleagues statewide, [feels]…the reclassification of dancers as employees marks a positive shift in the industry.  As employees, strippers will have the ability to bargain collectively, which they didn’t have as independent contractors.  But it’s also led to pushback from strip club owners.  AM Davies, a board member of the group, said club owners have been “making dancers sign very illegal contracts under duress” and charging exorbitant house fees, which “in and of itself is a union busting tactic.”  Davies cited a strip club in Orange County, the Library Gentleman’s Club, that tripled the amount they charge dancers to work, increasing the fee from $65 to $200 practically overnight…“So…it makes it look like, to the dancers, that being an employee is worse — because the clubs are implementing even more illegal practices”…she said…

Pyrrhic Victory (#939)

All Londoners are now part of a perpetual police lineup:

The Metropolitan Police…announced [that] on Friday, 24 January…it…beg[a]n the operational use of Live Facial Recognition (LFR) technology…This will help [cops harass many more people than before, especially minorities]…The technology…provides [cops] with an additional tool to assist them in doing what [cops] have always done – to try to [root like pigs in things that don’t actually concern them and lock as many human beings as possible in filthy cages]…

To Molest and Rape (#966)

Not much of a sentence for attempted kidnapping & rape:

A[n attempted abduction for the purpose of rape netted a mere] 4 1/2-year prison sentence [for] a [typical and representative] Cleveland [cop] who admitted to urinating on a 12-year-old girl [while filming it with his cell phone] after she refused to [submit to abduction from] a school bus stop.  Solomon Nhiwatiwa [vomited out the usual prescribed platitudes containing the words]…”apologize” [and]…”responsibility”…Nhiwatiwa…[was] disciplined four times in his five years [as a cop and had murdered someone]…in 2012 before he joined the force…

Disaster (#975)

Good news about the FOSTA challenge:

…the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals revived Woodhull‘s challenge to FOSTA.  The court ordered that the constitutional challenge be sent back to the district court for a ruling on the merits…The decision can be found here

In plain English, the district judge dismissed the case under the pretense that FOSTA’s chilling effect was imaginary and the litigants had nothing to fear from malicious prosecution; the circuit court said “bullshit” and ordered the district judge to do his fucking job and actually consider the case.

Fair-Weather Friends (#977)

Imagine keeping your job for 18 months between a blatant offense and actually being fired for it:

Two vice [pigs] were fired on [January 23rd] by the city of Columbus, Ohio, for their role in the wrongful arrest of…Stormy Daniels…in [July] 2018…that a lawyer for Ms. Daniels said was the result of a “conspiracy of dunces”…Steven Rosser and Whitney Lancaster, were found to have…[cost the city] $450,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Ms. Daniels.  It also [reb[r]anded the [corrupt] vice [gang] [to allow cops to continue raping sex workers]…Two other [pigs]…Ronald Kemmerling and…Scott Soha, were [rewarded with paid vacations]…

To Molest and Rape (#978)

Prince George’s County, Maryland is well-known for rapist cops:

A [typical and representative Prince George’s County], Maryland, [cop]…rap[ed] a woman [during] a traffic stop last year…knowing he had HIV…Martique Vanderpool was indicted by a grand jury on 11 counts, including first- and second-degree rape …“These are [very typical cop behaviors]”…Prince George’s County police Chief Hank Stawinski [would have said if he were honest…

If It Were Legal (#988)

While stigma and criminalization exist, this will keep happening:

More than 11,000 identifying documents of…sex workers for the adult website SextPanther were reportedly exposed in a security lapse.  Passports, driver’s licenses and Social Security numbers used to verify models’ ages [to comply with US government requirements] were stored on an Amazon Web Services storage bucket that wasn’t protected by a password…a representative for the company [tweeted]…”at this time there is no evidence of [SextPanther] data being accessed with the exception of the security firm that found the exploit and informed the media.  The vulnerability was fixed within one hour of being notified”…A similar security lapse of sex worker information on adult webcam…site PussyCash was discovered on Jan. 3…In August, adult site Luscious exposed the data of over 1 million users…

Websites ask for all this sensitive information to cover their arses if raided by the pigs; they wouldn’t bother with it if not for increased criminalization and persecution of sex workers.

Dark Corners (#997)

More “truth” from the rag that claimed there were more Vietnamese “trafficking victims” in the UK than there are Vietnamese people of all kinds:

…lack of [fluency in] English…is one of the [so-called] warning flags that…put[s nail salons]…on a list…for possible [immigration raids excused by bogus]…human trafficking charges…[reasonably] price[d] nail bars have become a cornerstone of the high street, flourishing as [overpriced] shops [run by white people] close. In the past 20 years, manicures have gone from being an extravagant luxury mostly enjoyed by a moneyed elite to an affordable treat, easily accessible to everyone [so naturally something must be done to teach the peasants that nice-looking hands are only for the ruling class]…it is very hard to link such an innocuous service with such serious crimes [but UK cops and yellow journalists aren’t going to let that little detail get in the way]…

Keep in mind that despite many huge and expensive raids, the UK has never found more than a single-digit number of cases of genuine exploitation; these are actually just immigration raids cloaked under the pretense of “rescue”.  Also note that despite a failed attempt by the arch-prohibitionist New York Times to establish the racist “nail salon slaves” myth here in the US, it remains a distinctly English classist fantasy, like “pop-up brothels“.

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These sites, these actors, these directors, these writers cannot keep using us, our bodies, and our stories to line their pockets while simultaneously refusing to support us and our needs.  –  Adrie Rose

Sex Work is Work

This could potentially be useful in winning the support of bureaucrats:

…gaining allies within governments remains a challenge…despite calls for decriminalisation by a number of international human rights organisations…and several United Nations agencies.  One of the biggest difficulties has been the…conflation of sex work with trafficking, which is linked to the belief that sex work is inherently immoral.  This [ignorant] view of sex work has shaped national policies for decades, pushing the industry outside the formal labour market and the scope of national labour laws and international standards.  However…the International Labour Organization (ILO) released a study on Unacceptable Forms of Work (UFW)…[which] contains twelve dimensions of unacceptability…unacceptability in sex work manifests where these twelve dimensions occur, but the work itself is not treated as inherently unacceptable.  Used well, this framework could be a way for sex worker rights advocates to argue for the inclusion of sex work under national labour law systems…

Pyrrhic Victory (#615)

All too often, evil arrives cloaked in the mantle of expediency:

[China’s] major tech city, Shenzhen…recently debuted a new system which allows people over the age of 60 to register for free subway rides, using their face as their ticket.  This…is also being experimented with in other cities including Jinan, Shanghai and Nanjing…[he excuse is] to speed up passengers moving through the barriers to get to platforms, as well as prevent fraud…

Under Every Bed (#734)

So much for the claimed “increase in sex trafficking in Montana”:

The FBI has cut in half the time its human trafficking agent in Montana will spend on [persecuting sex workers.  “Rescue” profiteer]…Penny Ronning…called the change “a blow” to anti-[sex worker] efforts in Montana…the decision…comes as the state brings on board two new [pigs] dedicated full-time to [harassing Asian massage businesses]…

Cooties (#797) 

Belgian cops have sadfeelz that AirBnB “sex trafficking” fantasies aren’t popular on their side of the Channel:

Sex workers in Bruges are renting rooms through…Airbnb for work, in what local authorities say is the start of a rising trend to “keep an eye on”…landowners who notice or suspect their properties are being used for sex work are encouraged to report them.  Failing to do so could put them at risk of being prosecuted for pimping…

Fallen Idol (#911)

This was a wise move on Stagliano’s part:

…Evil Angel [has] published its docu-porn Consent, which was originally slated to co-star James Deen, who has been accused of abuse by multiple women…following the numerous allegations against Deen, the company decided to stop working with him, but earlier this year, owner John Stagliano…[said] Evil Angel was welcoming Deen back…in a film…featur[ing] explicit sex alongside documentary-style footage exploring women’s agency within rough porn scenes.  Deen was cast after a woman performer asked to work with him for the film…[but] when the film finally hit the company’s site on Monday, there was no James Deen to be found…Evil Angel filmed a scene between Deen and Casey Calvert, the performer who requested to work with him, as well as an interview with Lily LaBeau, one of Deen’s accusers…Ultimately, all that footage was left on the cutting room floor.  (The film does, however, feature two other male performers who have been accused of on-set boundary violations)…

An Avalanche of Bullshit (#922)

Seattle sex workers are pushing back on the narrative that destroying Asian masseuses’ livelihood constitutes “help”:

Last month, dozens of community members gathered…at Seattle City Hall to discuss consequences of the large-scale police raids on 11…”Asian” massage parlors back in February.  The months-long sting operation resulted in the “rescue” of 26 Chinese-speaking women…According to Elene Lam…this kind of rescue narrative misconstrues the nuanced realities of the sex industry…Lam is an expert at the Toronto-based organization Butterfly, a support and advocacy group for Asian and migrant sex workers. The event…called Rescue Hurts, was organized by API Chaya and other local advocacy initiatives to correct misinformation around sex work and to propose alternative solutions that do not rely on state or police intervention…

You Were Warned

This decision is necessary to prevent a cascade of predatory lawsuits that would make the tobacco & breast implant lawsuits look reasonable and moderate in comparison:

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has tentatively sided with tech company Salesforce in a civil lawsuit brought by 90 women who claim they were sexually exploited.  The suit is the first of its kind since…FOSTA…As a large business-to-business software company, Salesforce counted Backpage among its clients. [Ambulance-chasers]…allege that Backpage…enabled them to be trafficked for sex.  But Backpage [and its assets were] seized by the U.S. government last year, making [a lawsuit against it unprofitable]…hence, lawyers got to work targeting Salesforce…lawyers…led [their clints] astray, big time, while marking a new low in attempts to assign legal liability to internet companies for their users’ actions and words…[because] under a large body of legal precedent, Salesforce would be unequivocally shielded by Section 230 in this case…

Japanese Prostitution (#930)

This is still a hot-button issue in Japan:

…Miki Dezaki…ma[d]e a documentary…[asking] why…a small but vocal group of politically influential conservatives still fervently dispute [sic] internationally accepted accounts of Japan’s…sexual enslavement of tens of thousands of Korean women and others in military brothels during World War II.  He explored in detail the conservatives’ case that the so-called comfort women were in fact paid prostitutes…Dezaki…concluded that the conservatives were “revisionists,” and used terms like “racism” and “sexism” to characterize some of their claims.  Now, five of them are suing him for defamation…[the] official 1993 Japanese government apology to the comfort women….has been a festering wound for…[nationalists] including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who have insisted that the Korean women were not sex slaves because there is no proof that they were physically forced…

The Notorious Badge (#934)

Twitter welcomes fake sex workers while working to silence real ones:

Hustlers…has been mired in controversy since the early production phase.  The living inspiration for the lead role…is reportedly considering suing the production company for misrepresenting her…and using her life story without compensation …Jennifer Lopez and fiance Alex Rodriguez have been accused of going to strip clubs for “research” and paying dancers a pittance for their time…Show Palace, the club…where much of Hustlers was filmed, has attracted criticism for closing its doors for a week of filming, giving dancers and staff little notice and no back pay…But the most ridiculous, bordering on the outright absurd, aspect of the film…was the marketing campaign…#TweetYourHustle….Women across the country began chiming in with stories of their…“hustles”…but there was no evidence of…sex workers.  There were no pictures of strip clubs or dressing rooms, no pictures of porn production sets, no pictures of in-call hotel rooms or AirBnB’s from escorts.  There was nothing from the community that put Hustlers on the map…

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To many people, what we do is more important than who we are.  –  Empower Foundation

Storyville 

An interesting collection of 19th-century brothel photos:

Working Girls, an exhibition of remarkable archival photos…has just opened at Ricco/ Maresca Gallery in Manhattan’s Chelsea district (where it will remain on view through October 13).  These photographs, which are also featured in a new book of the same name…are intriguing documents…of “an American brothel, circa 1892”…

If It Were Legal

I know several ladies who would’ve gladly handled this job:

An Arizona man has been charged with multiple counts of sex abuse and fraudulent schemes after he allegedly faked having Down syndrome and hired female caregivers to bathe him and change his diapers.  Three women have accused Paul Menchaca…[who] would become aroused during baths and diaper changes…Menchaca…hired the women using an online service, where he posed as his mother…making arrangements for them to pick him up at various locations…Several…times he insisted that his genitals were not cleaned enough…The caregivers became suspicious, and one…visited Menchaca’s home…Menchaca’s parents…said he is capable of taking care of himself and does not have Down syndrome…

Even if sex work were legal and unstigmatized, Menchaca (and others like him) might still choose not to hire dommes willing to cater to infantilists, either because they’re too cheap or they get off on tricking women.  And certainly, most infantilists do contract with dommes to get their needs met despite the stigma.  But the possibility cannot be discounted that some, perhaps even many, men with this kink are too ignorant to know that there are professionals skilled in dealing with their needs or too afraid to hire them.

Bad Fantasy, Good Reality

Hostess bars in the Near East aren’t very different from those in the Far East:

…are the “Russian bars” [in Jordan] really hotbeds of prostitution and trafficking?  “Russian bars” aren’t necessarily Russian.  The women who work there…[often] hail from other post-Soviet and central Asian countries, including Ukraine, Estonia, Romania, Uzbekistan and Moldova.  “Russian” women work in bars in many other Middle Eastern countries, including Lebanon, and are often assumed to be sex workers…[but] the bar owners and managers either prohibited or strongly discouraged the women from sleeping with their…clients…The women make their money by getting the clients to buy drinks at the bar…and…work on commission…Bar managers…ensure that the women are sent home in cabs booked by the bar, so there is no chance they are going to a client’s home.  But rules get broken, or at least worked around.  What is good for the bar manager isn’t necessarily what’s good for the women working there.  Whilst all of the women interviewed for the study on “Russian bars” denied ever having sex with a client, everyone knew another girl who had…

A Broker in Pillage

Let’s hope this is merely the first of many such settlements:

Philadelphia’s civil forfeiture program, which critics have long assailed for allowing prosecutors to [steal] the cash and property of [innocent people]…will be overhauled as part of a court settlement…the city…agreed to place new limits on its seizures, more quickly hold hearings for defendants to challenge the seizures, and include judicial oversight earlier in the process…”Philadelphia treated its citizens like ATMs, ensnaring thousands…in a system designed to strip people of their property and their rights,” [said] Darpana Sheth…[of the] Institute for Justice…the settlement would also create a $3 million fund to compensate some of those whose property was seized…Scott Bullock, president of the Institute for Justice…said that other jurisdictions should proactively seek to reform their civil forfeiture practices in order to avoid litigating them as Philadelphia was forced to do…

Blunt Instrument 

“Sex trafficking” is such a convenient weapon to use against adult businesses:

San Diego massage parlors have become hotspots of human trafficking thanks to the high concentration of U.S. military personnel in the area, claim local [prohibition]ists…If San Diego has a human trafficking problem because of U.S. troops, I’d say that’s an issue for the U.S. military and federal law enforcement.  Instead, the San Diego City Council is considering a measure to require special police-issued permits for massage businesses, in addition to the general business permits owners must have and the state certification required of massage therapists…These new licenses could be yanked if any illicit activity takes place at the business…a business fronting for illegal activity can already be shut down if law enforcement goes through the typical legal channels:  bringing criminal charges, proving guilt, etc., etc…But those avenues require due process, which is costly and time-consuming for cops and prosecutors.  The new measure would allow the city to yank a business’ license if any of its individual employees were found guilty of any number of minor offenses…excessive occupational and business licensing has come under intense fire from progressives…So…bureaucrat[s]..pretend the regulations are about protecting people, rather than depriving them of their liberty and property…

Under Every Bed

Population 13,665:

…a recently-formed group in York County [Nebraska] wants to…erase the faces of sex trafficking from the York area…and…educate York County residents on what they can do to disrupt the sex trafficking plague…Local schools are being trained on how to identify human trafficking, as well as the hospitality industry…Hospitality employees are crucial to disrupting sex trafficking, as many victims are sold in hotels…

This is one of the tiniest little podunk towns I’ve ever featured in this subtitle; even the rural county I lived in when I was in Oklahoma had almost twice as many people, and I was the only escort there (plus a couple of girls who worked the bars, I believe).  One wonders where they think all those “sex traffickers” are hiding; I grew up in a town of 6000 and everybody knew everybody else’s business.

Torture Chamber 

“Correcting” people to death:

A Texas prison guard has been charged in the aggravated assault of an inmate who…died [as a result of the attack]…[screw] D’Andre Glasper [slammed] Gary Ryan[‘s] head [into a concrete floor, resulting in]…brain injuries…[Ryan] died nearly two weeks later…Ryan was less than three months away from completing a five-year sentence for [contempt of cop]…

An Example To the West (#659) 

The Thai sex worker organization EMPOWER has now opened an online library to supplement its physical sex work museum in Chiang Mai.  I have said many times before that Asian sex worker activists, most especially Thai and Indian activists, are among my heroines; they regularly accomplish amazing activism far beyond what we in the West ever manage, under oppression and social stigma as bad as that in the US.  These women’s courage is an inspiration to all their sisters in every land.

Send In the Clowns 

A sad epilogue to the Great Clown Panic of 2016:

A Reading [Pennsylvania] man was sentenced…to 22 months to five years in state prison for firing a shotgun while drunk at his apartment in December 2016 because he believed there were clowns inside it…Nathan A. Matthias…will receive credit for the 490 days he’s spent in prison since June 2017 and was ordered to complete drug and alcohol treatment…[cops] found Matthias standing next to the house holding a shotgun and ordered him to put the gun on the ground.  Matthias told police that two small clowns were running around his apartment and he had shot at them…While being questioned outside, Matthias pointed next door and said he still saw clowns on the neighbor’s roof, but [the cops] did not see any…

Comfort Zone (#847)

Europe’s attempts to hide its racism behind the “human trafficking” hysteria are crumbling:

Eleven people who had been arrested and charged with human trafficking in October 2017 appeared in court in Brussels on September 6, the first hearing of a trial that activists say is yet another case of “criminalization of solidarity” in Europe.  The defendants have allegedly assisted 95 undocumented migrants, including 12 minors, to travel from Belgium to the United Kingdom last year, either by hosting them in their homes, by lending them phones and thereby indirectly helping them cross the channel.  On the day of the trial, three hundred people protested in front of the courthouse.  Demonstrators say this is a political trial, aimed at dissuading people from helping migrants by establishing an intimidating judicial precedent…Belgian law states that there must be a monetary transaction involved for an act to be framed as human trafficking, something the defendants deny ever happening…[advocates point out] that the law’s scope is…being expanded to target activists…

The Widening Gyre (#872) 

The more cops are forced to deny “sex trafficking” scary tales, the harder it will be for them to spread such tales themselves:

The woman behind a now viral Facebook Live video says she regrets using the term “human trafficking” to describe what [didn’t] happen…at a local grocery store but does not regret [spreading hysteria about] the [fantasy].  Lynne Knowles went live on Facebook Sunday and it has since been viewed more than 3 million times.  Knowles described a suspicious man following her through several aisles of a [Florida] grocery store, recording her on his cell phone…While the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says they are seeing more women report[ing] being followed by strangers in public places, what happened to Knowles doesn’t sound like a precursor to human trafficking…[spokespig] Spencer Gross…says [they haven’t] investigated a human trafficking case in more than 18 months…[but oink oink “If you see something say something” squeal grunt]…

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