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Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

Financial Times omits any mention of the nature of [the] groups…[who] inten[d] to “eradicate” an entire legal industry.  –  Gustavo Turner

Follow Your Bliss

Understand that people like this are the norm in policing sexual offenses, and always will be:

An FBI agent who investigated sex crimes against children has been arrested and charged with multiple sex crimes against children across several states…David Harris [got himself] tasked with investigating crimes against children, including child pornography…[so it’s no surprise that] in February…he…expos[ed] himself to a 14-year-old girl…while on vacation in [Florida]…but…the…investigation…led to other [sex] crimes committed by Harris [against both] minors and adults in…Louisiana and Texas…[snooping in Harris’ phone revealed] conversation[s in which he admitted]…his sexual preference [for] underage [girls] and [bragging about] his exploits…Harris was arrested earlier this summer in Ascension Parish [Louisiana] and…has outstanding arrests warrants…from East Baton Rouge and Orleans Parish[es and] Tyler, Texas…

Traffic Jam (#403)

By this standard of “evidence”, Johnny Cash is lucky he was never accused of murder:

A jury found Defendant, Jaimian Sims, guilty of sex trafficking a minor and…the…court imposed a life sentence.  Sims appeals…arguing [among other things] … that certain rap videos were improperly admitted into evidence and shown to the jury…He contends that the lyrics…were fictional and did not depict his real life…Although these videos speak only generally to the pimping lifestyle and are cumulative of testimony in that respect, the violence and weapons depicted in the videos are relevant to the force charge—that Sims sex trafficked by force, fraud, or coercion…[the judges declared they we]re satisfied that the videos were not harmful to the defense…

License to Rape (#652)

Prohibition turns the body of every citizen into a “crime scene”, which can be violated by cops at will:

State officials say a new grant will be used to provide training for Georgia law enforcement officers to draw blood from drivers [without their consent so as to]…prosecut[e them for] DUI…

If you’re not horrified by the prospect of psychopathic thugs running around with permission to jam needles into people’s bodies without their consent on the side of the road, you must be new to this blog.

The Puritan Recrudescence (#799)

Expect the equation of human sexuality with pollution to become more common:

The editorial board of the Financial Times — arguably the world’s most influential news source for the banking, investment and overall finance industries — published an editorial…[which] compares sex work and adult content to…environmental pollutants, and parrots sensationalist pieces by The New York Times and the BBC alleging a non-existent “proliferation” of illegal content on adult sites…The subhead…soberly warns its readers…that working with the porn industry “can pose legal as well as reputational risks”…It’s the old circular argument favored by censors, prudes and well-paid religious anti-porn activists: reputable banks should not do business with sex workers or porn because they have been known to look for alternative forms of financing — which sex workers and porn are forced to resort to because reputable banks won’t do business with them…“The argument for banks to stay away from porn is, if anything, stronger than staying away from coal,” is the Financial Times’ take on that dubious comparison…

Scapegoats (#930)

It’s fascinating how the State has changed the excuse for these laws from “morality” to “animal abuse”:

[Typical and representative cop] Terry Yetman…was charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of animals…including filming sex with his own police K9.  This decorated cop was also charged with 31 counts of child pornography several months later.  Now, nearly 3 years after his initial arrest…Yetman — despite facing over 70 charges — pleaded guilty to just one count of possession of child pornography and five counts of sexual abuse of an animal…He faces a total of 45 years in prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender…

Rough Trade (#1043) 

Gee, I wonder why this happens so often in Ireland?

A Dublin man [who] attack[ed] and violently h[eld] three women in his home against their will during separate incidents has been denied bail.  Aaron Barwell…[attacked] three [different]…escorts…on 29 January, 13 August and [27 August].  He is also accused of making threats to kill or cause serious harm to two of the women…[Barwell apparently believed that claiming] the third incident was prompted by a theft of cocaine, and the others arose after [he refused to] pay…[the escorts would somehow get the judge to grant him bail]…

A Moral Cancer (#1157)

Though the claim that certain foods can take “time off one’s life” is not new, I’ve never one this absurdly specific:

…[Nutritionists] at the University of Michigan…created a Health Nutritional Index which [claims to quantify] the nutritional impact…of almost 6,000 foods and calculated the health burden of each one.  Their findings [predictably singled out popular, pleasant foods, claiming] that every hot dog a person eats takes…36 minutes off their healthy life expectancy.  Soft drinks…shortened life by 12 minutes, bacon by six minutes…each double cheeseburger…nine minutes….[and] each portion of cheese…a minute off [the un]healthy [end of] life…the index also [claims] that it’s equally possible to [magically]  add minutes…each banana was [claimed] to add 13 and a half minutes…as was a portion of baked salmon…a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…[supposedly] adds a whopping 33 minutes to life…

The puritanical notion that lifelong deprivation of pleasure in the vague hope of adding a few extra minutes of senility and decreptitude to the far end of one’s old age – a time one has only a 50% chance of reaching in the first place, statistically – is so alien to my way of thinking, I’ve never been able to wrap my head around it, even as a concept for consideration.

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Media coverage [of prostitution “stings” is]…yet another reminder of just how divorced from reality…U.S…”trafficking” operations have become.  –  Elizabeth N. Brown

So Close and Yet So Far

If you can’t support sex workers without condemning consensual sex, you don’t actually support sex workers:

Marsha Scott, the chief executive of Scottish Women’s Aid…has made it clear that the charity will not back…proposals [to impose Swedish criminalization on Scotland]…she wrote: “Criminalisation of sex work is a major issue and can cause increased risk for the women involved in it…it’s impossible to criminalise the buyer without…taking away any small bit of choice she has in th[e] awful…dynamic [of women having the power to demand payment for sex]…we want to stop…demand [for consensual sex], but we think we are not in that place yet”…

Little Tin Gods

He literally made himself into a little tin god:

…Escambia County [Florida] Sheriff David Morgan spent thousands of p[illaged] dollars to order a life-size bronze statue of himself last year before the end of his final term in office.  Current Sheriff Chip Simmons called the 6-foot-4-inch statue, which arrived last week at the Sheriff’s Office, a “brash narcissistic waste”…[naturally] Morgan [believes]…it was not that big of a deal…The statue of Morgan was one of two…paid for out of the…general fund at a cost of $75,000 for both…”I have zero intention of placing this thing in front of our building,” Simmons said…Morgan [lied that] he ordered the statues two years ago, but they were delayed because of COVID-19…however…Morgan’s handwritten signature appears on a document specifying the terms of the deal with Randolph Rose Collection Design Studio…Directly next to his signature, Morgan handwrote the date “4/20/2020” and the words, “Good to go!”…

Bronze, in case you didn’t know, is an alloy of copper and tin.

End Demand (#893)

Guys, please do your homework and only call reputable providers:

Puritanism is still alive in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, only now it poses as saving people from human trafficking…this month, five men were charged with “trafficking a person for sexual servitude” after [a huge herd of fantasy role-playing pigs]…posted ads online pretending to be an adult sex worker.  Five men…were [entrapp]ed and face charges for sex trafficking.  If convicted, they’ll be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of five years in prison without the possibility of parole, plus [condemnation to]…the…Sex Offender Registry.  The [maximum sentence]…includes up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine…

Meanwhile, Massachusetts cops who forcibly rape actual children get less than one year per victim, or no penalty at all plus being rewarded with a powerful cop gang position for repeatedly raping children of both sexes for decades.

Social Distancing (#1046)

I’m sure this guy is motivated entirely by concerns for public health:

Canberra’s largest brothel owner…has w[hi]ned that illegal sex workers [are making money while he’s closed]…Aaron Jones, who operates the Langtrees brothel…said that [independent] sex workers…would not be [collaborating with the pigs to spy on their]…customers.  He has [belched out various dysphemisms at them, including “superspreaders”, “il]legitimate[“, and “]non-essential[“, in addition to leaning heavily on the “dirty whore” myth]…”These independents are…taking four, five, six bookings per night….[with] zero co[ming to me]”…

A Broker in Pillage (#1091)

Nobody is safe until this odious, contemptible practice is recognized as unconstitutional:

A New Orleans grandfather [was robbed by] the…DEA…[of] his life savings based on [spurious] accusations of drug trafficking and without ever charging him with a crime.  Now he’s fighting to get it back.  Kermit Warren…and his son had gotten laid off from their jobs last year during the COVID-19 lockdowns, and he was trying to turn a side-business as a scrapper into a full-time venture.  To that end, he and his son traveled to Ohio with roughly $28,000 to purchase a tow truck…[but] the…truck was too large for his needs, so he and his son bought a one-way ticket back home.  In the airport, three DEA agents stopped the two men and [harassed] them about the bag of cash…the[n stole] his money [after branding him “suspicious” and claiming]…that a…dog [gave them permission to rob him]…Warren is represented by the Institute for Justice, [which]…has filed several lawsuits on behalf of people who had significant amounts of cash s[tolen] from them at airports [by pigs oinking out the magic word “]trafficking[“]…

To Molest and Rape (#1157)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative cop named Matthew Darren Atkins] who worked for several metro Atlanta police departments during a [checkered] career that [included being sacked for drug abuse in 2014] has been indicted [for]…molesting a 7-year-old girl in Cobb County…Atkins was [first] arrested in March…[then] was arrested a second time in Carroll County…[after] a woman who saw reports of [his] arrest…came forward to report that she had been molested by him as well…several years ago…

The Next Target (#1163)

This was inevitable once “sex trafficking” fetishists extended their pet fantasy to OnlyFans:

OnlyFans…will prohibit users from posting any sexually explicit conduct, starting in October.  Creators will still be allowed to post nude photos and videos, provided they’re consistent with [whatever] policy…banking partners and payment providers [demand]…the company [bloviated about]…“the long-term sustainability of our platform”…[apparently unaware of what happened to Tumblr]…

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Get down on the fucking floor.  –  typical Chicago “peace officer”

The latest addition to my collection of unusual covers is unusual indeed!  The links above it were provided by Elizabeth N. Brown, Scott Greenfield, Radley Balko, Mike Siegel, C.J. Ciaramella, Cop Crisis, and Stephen Lemons, in that order.

From the Archives

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Sex work is a legitimate form of work and should be regulated through standard business laws, like all other industries.  –  Melissa Horne

Under Every Bed

Population 77,434:

Human trafficking is something that continues to happen…here in the City of Albany [Georgia.  Hysteria ramped up after two women left town]…and [hysterics decided]…the[y] could have been part of human trafficking [sic]…[even though] police don’t believe the two cases are [even] related…Leah Dee [is a rather pathetic attention-seeker who] makes it her mission to [spread silly masturbatory fantasies about]…human trafficking…and [harass women while calling it]…rescue…Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards [bloviated that] “Albany, itself, is a hub”…and [shared his favorite wanking fantasies about how] predators typically operate in broad daylight…at sporting events, malls, grocery stores, and more…starting off with a “Gorilla Pimp”…

The Last Shall Be First (#631) 

SCOTUS makes its disinterest in potty-obsession quite clear:

The Supreme Court…dec[ided]…to…leav[e] a lower court ruling intact that says it’s unconstitutional for a school district to try to force a transgender student to continue using the bathroom facilities corresponding to their sex at birth…the…Court rejected [yet another attempt by the…Gloucester County [Virginia] School Board…[to reverse a federal court ruling in favor of] Gavin Grimm…the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia…in August 2019…granted a summary judgment affirming Grimm’s position…In August 2020, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit affirmed this decision with a 2–1 vote.  In February of this year, the school board petitioned the Supreme Court to again take up this case…[but] the Supreme Court dec[lined to] get involved again…

Disaster (#936)

Facebook didn’t think the face-eating leopards it wanted would eat its face:

…the Texas Supreme Court denied Facebook’s liability immunity for third party content based on Section 230…quoting FOSTA/SESTA to [spin a masturbatory fantasy about]…“websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims.”  The opinion…denied Facebook’s motion to…dismiss…three [predatory lawsuits based in FOSTA by ambulance-chasers claimg to represent]…“victims of sex trafficking who became entangled with their abusers through Facebook”…

Rooted in Racism (#966)

In Europe as in the US, the real humanitarians are fighting against racist “anti-trafficking” schemes:

Hanad Abdi Mohammad, a Somali who saved 31 people of a smuggling ship that sank off the Greek island of Lesbos in December, has been sentenced to 142 years in prison, after being charged with human trafficking…However, he [will “only”] serve a total of 20 years behind bars, the maximum allowed by the [Greek] criminal code…Mohammad is one of several asylum seekers who has received a[n outrageous sentence]…for facilitating the illegal entry of [refugees]…Last year, two Afghan men…received 50-year sentences for the same reasons…the turkish smuggler that transported them abandoned the boat and that Mohammad tried to save them after a Turkish Coast Guard ship forced him into Greek waters.  [All but] two of the migrants were [denied the right] to testify in [Mohammad’s defense using the excuse of] coronavirus…

Legal Is as Legal Does (#1054) 

It looks like Victoria is about to become the world’s fourth jurisdiction to achieve decriminalization:

Victoria will join a growing list of jurisdictions in the world to decriminalise the sex industry if state MPs adopt recommendations aimed at safeguarding workers and reducing stigma…Consumer Affairs Minister Melissa Horne said…the government was working towards the decriminalisation of the industry as a priority…The proposed changes stem from a 2019 parliamentary review of laws governing sex work, led by Reason Party MP Fiona Patten…[which] recommends…full decriminalisation…including street-based…work, and regulating it through the Occupational Health and Safety Act…[instead of] police…

Monsters (#1064)

State violence vs trans women in Latin America is starting to get attention:

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, a regional court based in Costa Rica, has ordered the Honduran government to continue its investigation into the [2009 rape and murder] of [trans sex worker Vicky] Hernández…by [cops who used]…a curfew [as excuse for the atrocity.  Naturally] the government’s lawyers denied its [cops were the perpetrators despite eyewitness testimony, but]…the court…ruled [otherwise]…

The Next Target (#1122)

Prohibitionists’ next target isn’t just Pornhub; it’s all online sex work:

…German authorities want to force the hosting provider of the porn website xHamster to lock out German users.  A year ago, the State [Censorship] Agency…in North Rhine-Westphalia began to issue porn portals such as PornHub with an ultimatum: Either they [censor their content using the excuse of “]youth protection[” opt-in software]…or [else]…porn companies argue that they label their websites according to an international standard designed to make it easy for parents to [censor] their children’s devices.  However, German legislation takes the opposite approach: Portals that [puritans decl]are harmful to minors should only be accessible if [prospective] users are [willing to surrender private information to prove they are] of legal age…[the threats are the brainchildren of arch-censor] Tobias Schmid, [a politician who has proudly declared himself obsessed with “Ordnung” (order)]…

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The police are…seen as outside the law.  –  Nicole Van Cleve

Schadenfreude

Yet another rescue industry “hero” is revealed as an opportunistic fraud:

A private foundation is suing [rescue industry profiteer group] Unlikely Heroes and its [owner] Erica Greve…[because]…it misrepresented its rescue home operations and breached its contract involving an online education program, among other [abuses].  The Human Investment Foundation, a Dallas-based private family foundation focused on sexual violence education and prevention…seeks declaratory relief and a re[fund] of the more than $100,000 it [was scammed into] donat[ing] to Unlikely Heroes…[which] claims to have recovered over 500 children and [indoctrin]ated more than 80,000 people [i]n human trafficking [propaganda]…since 2011.  The organization is headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, but has an office in Hollywood…[despite claims to the contrary] Unlikely Heroes does not actually own or operate its rescue homes in Thailand, the Philippines and Mexico, nor does it have any staff outside the U.S.  Instead, it extends a small donation to [other prohibitionists who] own [gingerbread houses] in their respective countries and claims the work as its own…

How Many Will It Take?

How many mass graves before people stop believing in the goodness of religion?

…Canad[ian]…investigators have found hundreds of unmarked graves at the site of…the Marieval Indian Residential School, which operated from 1899 to 1997 where the Cowessess First Nation is now located…[in] Saskatchewan.  A search with ground-penetrating radar resulted in 751 ’’hits,″ indicating that at least 600 bodies were buried in the area…the numbers will be verified in coming weeks…the graves were marked at one time, but that the Roman Catholic Church that operated the school had removed the markers…Last month the remains of 215 children, some as young as 3 years old, were found buried on the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school near Kamloops, British Columbia…until the 1970s, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were forced to attend state-funded Christian schools, the majority of them run by Roman Catholic missionary congregations, in a campaign to assimilate them into Canadian society…physical and sexual abuse was rampant in the schools, with students beaten for speaking their native languages…

Panopticon (#746)

It only took the courts five years to recognize the obvious this time:

The use of surveillance planes in Baltimore to track people’s movement for long periods without a warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, a federal appeals court [has finally] ruled…The case revolved around a…surveillance program run by the Baltimore Police Department…[euphemized as] Aerial Investigation Research…beginning in 2016…The program was [temporarily] discontinued in response to [rightful] public anger over the snooping.  But in 2019, the program [quietly] returned as…a [fascist collaboration] between BPD and a private company…During daylight hours, the planes would fly over the city recording images…of about 90 percent of Baltimore…[which] could be used to track the movements of [any] individual…co[ps decided to brand a]…crim[inal, without need for]…a warrant…

Disaster (#1000)

Even the government itself recognizes what a disaster FOSTA is:

…the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report detailing how federal prosecutors have rarely used…FOSTA…[against any] act[ual]…criminal[s]…”because…prosecutors have had success using other criminal statutes.”  “The GAO report confirms…FOSTA-SESTA was a complete disaster,” said Sarah Roth-Gaudette…[of] Fight for the Future.  “Lives were put in danger…[yet] the law has only been used once in its three-year history”…

Choke Point (#1007)

The ACLU has finally deigned to notice financial discrimination vs sex workers:

Using financial intermediaries such as PayPal and its subsidiary Venmo can make or break one’s ability to work or survive in our increasingly virtual society.  In spite of this, platforms like PayPal and Venmo continue to boot sex workers and other users off their platforms…criminalization…makes sex workers more vulnerable to financial censorship…platforms like PayPal and Venmo, who should offer their services to all users without discrimination, will randomly…shut down the accounts of sex workers…without warning or due process…harm[ing] workers relying on that income…pushing sex work deeper into the shadows and enabling more abuse…In addition…PayPal routinely targets users for speech protected by the First Amendment…and…stall[s] efforts to provide bail support…The censorship of sex workers is just one piece of the puzzle…

Predictably, ACLU only seems concerned about discrimination against LGBT sex workers.  But since we make up the majority, that will help straight sex workers as well.

The Cop Myth (#1053)

Is there any non-troglodyte who still denies police violence is epidemic?

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that since 2015, more than 400,000 people have been treated in emergency rooms because of violent interactions with police or security guards.  But there’s almost no nationwide data on the nature or circumstances of their injuries.  Many of the [US]’s roughly 18,000 [cop shops] don’t [bother to] tally…the number of people who need medical care after [thug cops] break their arms, bruise their faces or shock them with Tasers…”police…get to decide who is worthy or unworthy of an ambulance,” said Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve…[of] Brown University…“It is absolutely an undercount”…

Tissue of Lies

The latest pig fad: collecting a bunch of unrelated raids, arrests & record updates and calling the resulting dog’s breakfast a “sex trafficking sting”:

…Georgia [cop shops pretend] they recovered 20 endangered children, 16 of which are [fantasized] to be victims of sex trafficking…[by combining mundane record updates] over a two-week period in May around Atlanta…The [publicity stunt] is the third of its kind…

These “operations” have become popular with cop shops all over the US, but were innovated last year in Georgia.

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I can’t breathe.  –  Mario Gonzalez

Another New Orleans music legend has passed; though his first big hit was “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”, he was best known for this one.  The links above it were provided by Jesse Walker, David Ley, Amy Alkon, Dave Krueger, Cop Crisis, Popehat, and Scott Greenfield, in that order.

From the Archives

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A lot of…urban legends [are] old wine in new bottles. – Benjamin Radford

A Broker in Pillage (#863)

Go on, keep giving governments more excuses and powers to literally rob people.  I’m sure you’ll never regret it:

South Korean prosecutors have sold bitcoin…[stolen from people they branded] criminals…turn[ing] a profit of around 12.3 billion won (around US$10.9 million)…the [excuse used for the robbery was that the victim was]…”the operator of [an] illegal pornography site”…While the U.S. government has been auctioning [stolen] bitcoin since 2014, Korean prosecutors have held on to the [stolen] bitcoin for the past four years…[until] March 25, the exact day when the country’s [politicians]…classifie[d] crypto as “virtual assets”…

The Notorious Badge (#976)

Twitter’s connection to movies exploiting sex workers isn’t usually so direct:

After receiving rave reviews at last year’s Sundance festival, the full trailer for Janicza Bravo’s Twitter-storm dramedy Zola is finally here…the film follows Zola (Taylour Paige), a Detroit waitress who strikes up a friendship with a customer named Stefani (Riley Keough). Together, they head to Florida to earn some money stripping at a club where Stefani has heard dancer tips are excellent.  As the trip progresses, Stefani puts Zola and herself in more insane and dangerous situations, including run-ins with a nameless pimp and some Tampa gangsters…Zola is based on a viral Twitter thread posted in October 2015 by Detroit-based stripper A’ziah “Zola” King…detail[ing] a weekend of debauchery that quickly descends into a hellish whirlwind of sex, murder, and near-suicide…

The Last Shall Be First (#977) 

Since their “bathroom bills” kept getting struck down, transphobes are now trying to accomplish their goals by controlling doctors:

Arkansas [politician]s passed a bill…that would flatly prohibit medical professionals from providing any sort of gender transition treatments to minors…the…act…forbids the prescribing of puberty blockers to suppress hormones, bans genital reassignment surgeries, and bars any medical treatment that would “alter or remove physical or anatomical characteristics or features for the individual’s biological sex” or “instill or create physiological or anatomical characteristics that resemble a sex different from the individual’s biological sex”…[it] further forbids medical professionals from referring minors to any doctor who could provide the forbidden treatments…says that public funds may not be granted to any entity that provides trans treatments to minors, declares that medical transition treatment procedures are not tax-deductible forms of health care coverage (regardless of age), and prohibits the state’s Medicaid program from providing coverage for these treatments for minors.  Medical professionals who defy the law could lose their licenses to practice in the state…

It’s impossible to miss the resemblance of this strategy to that of imposing arbitrary restrictions on abortion providers.

Dangerous Speech (#1097)

US “authorities” keep pretending “because sex” is an excuse for any tyranny:

…a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected a defense petition that the court order federal Judge Susan Brnovich’s recusal from the Lacey/Larkin case…due to an “appearance of partiality” created by prejudicial statements made by the judge’s husband, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, concerning…Backpage…The trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 23

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

It was only a matter of time before “sex trafficking” scarelore invaded TikTok:

“OK, so I saw this TikTok that Target is the new sex trafficking hub”…Makenzie Jade says in her video.  She then tells a story about being followed by a man…in…her local Target, then being circled by two additional men with nothing in their shopping carts…Over the past week…there have been dozens of [similar] videos, some with millions of views, in which young women from all over the country describe being followed by strange men or women in Target in what they [fantasize is] an attempted trafficking operation…what[ever] that…means…experts are highly skeptical of these reports.  “I have never heard a case of anyone being abducted from Target in my 20 years in this field,” says Jean Bruggeman…of Freedom Network USA, [the largest coalition of groups actually concerned with exploitation rather than simply using it as a cover for persecution of sex workers]…the TikTok rumors…adhere to a familiar pattern of…urban legends intended to spread hysteria…Dubious rumors purporting to raise awareness about the “realities” of sex trafficking are nothing new…

In a sign that the hysteria is dying, note that even the perennially-clueless Rolling Stone bluntly calls this what it is (“hoax”) rather than deferentially referring to it as a “mistake” or the like.

Predictable Consequences

Oh look, somebody at Washington Post realized how tone-deaf their initial coverage was:

[When cops raided] three massage businesses…they [branded with the moralistic epithet “]illicit[“, they vomited out a lot of filth about]…“human trafficking and child exploitation” [to]…cover [up the fact that the disguised cops raped sex]…workers, then arrested them…local media outlets…[then abetted the outrage by outing the cops’ victims, complete with names and] photos of their mug shots on the evening news…[barfing up the magic word “]illicit[” has for decades given disguised, lying thugs a court-approved pretext for raping]…spa workers…[none of whom were inter]viewed by The Post…[but after decades of these repeated atrocities, a few politicians] are [finally] beginning to propose new limits on [rape] by police, which [any person with a functional moral compass should understand] serves to dehumanize — and [deepl]ly traumatize — the very women the raids are [claimed by psychopaths] to help.  The…[rapists in] law enforcement, experts said, [nearly always] go unpunished…

As you can see, the article is still replete with copsucking, but some editor appears to have at least some inkling that maybe they’re on the wrong side.

Pyrrhic Victory (#1124)

Still think this djinni can be crammed back into its bottle?

A…facial recognition tool designed [to give government even more power over individual lives] has been quietly deployed across the [US] with little to no public oversight…more than 7,000 individuals from nearly 2,000 [government] agencies nationwide have used Clearview AI to search through millions of Americans’ faces, looking for p[otential victims]…BuzzFeed News has developed a searchable table of 1,803 publicly funded agencies whose employees…used…the [surveillance] tool before February 2020.  These include local and state police, [ICE], the Air Force, state healthcare [bureaucracies], [politicians’] offices…and even public schools.  In many cases, [bureaucrats] at these agencies [claimed to be] unaware that employees were using the tool; five [lied]…in response to questions about it…210 organizations denied any use…1,161 [others ignored] questions about whether they had used it…Hoan Ton-That, the company’s cofounder and CEO, [expressed glee that his invention has done so much to undermine privacy and empower cop shops]…

What makes it worse is, cops just keep blatantly lying about it:

Despite statements from the NYPD in early 2020 stating that it had no relationship with…Clearview AI, documents…reveal that the company was an acknowledged vendor to the department from as early as 2018, and that it continue[s] to enjoy a congenial relationship…that [has] included in-person meetings and customer support from Ton-That [himself]…

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There’s no public safety value in prosecuting these low-level offenses.  –  Marilyn Mosby

Policing Womanhood

Scratch a SWERF, find a TERF:

In a t[oxic] essay for the [carceral] feminist website 4W, Donna M Hughes wrote that the “belief” that a person could change their gender was a “trans-sex fantasy”.  She went on to equate followers of QAnon, [the latest form of the “sex trafficking”] web of lies that [Hughes vigorously supports]…to people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were given at birth…Her inflammatory comments were called “beyond the pale” by Annie Russell, the director of the [University of Rhode Island]’s Gender and Sexuality Center…Russell said the diatribe had also angered students at the university, which [also employs Hughes as a tenured professor]…The University…put out a statement distancing itself from Hughes’s comments…In response Hughes said her right to free speech was being trampled [even though she was neither fired, nor censored, nor arrested as she wants others to be]…

For those who don’t recall: Hughes considers herself a political conservative and was the architect of recriminalizing sex work in Rhode Island in 2009.

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#845) 

I haven’t seen this once-popular fantasy since 2018:

A recent 60 Minutes+ episode cites a dubious claim that “up to 100,000” children are sex-trafficked in the U.S. each year…the inimitable Maggie McNeill once wrote that there are “lies, damn lies and sex trafficking statistics.” Now 60 Minutes+, a streaming version of the venerable news program, is helping to make McNeill’s point by highlighting an oft-debunked sex trafficking factoid…in the show’s March 21 episode, “Taking Facebook to Court”…

Social Distancing (#1025)

When this was announced a year ago, prohibitionists claimed it would be a disaster:

…[When] the coronavirus pandemic hit…State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced that [Baltimore] would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus.  And then crime went down in Baltimore.  A lot…This happened while 39 percent fewer people entered the city’s criminal justice system in the one-year period, and 20 percent fewer people landed in jail after Mosby’s office dismissed more than 1,400 pending cases and tossed out more than 1,400 warrants…So…Mosby is making her temporary steps permanent …Baltimore…will continue to decline prosecution of all drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic and misdemeanor cases, and will partner with a local behavioral health service to aggressively reach out to drug users, sex workers and people in psychiatric crisis to direct them into treatment rather than the back of a patrol car…

Let’s hope this “aggressively reaching out” doesn’t involve surveillance or “diversion”, which is just another form of state control.  But in any case, this is becoming a trend.

Welcome to the Future (#1107)

Everything I read about modern corporate work makes me happier I became a whore:

Amazon delivery drivers nationwide have to sign a “biometric consent” form…that grants the tech behemoth permission to [monitor]…drivers’ location, movement, and biometric data.  If the…drivers…refuse to sign these forms, they lose their jobs.  The…[surveillance includ]es…facial recognition…The company [claims the surveillance is] being used to improve “safety” and the “quality of the delivery experience.”  But…some drivers are quitting their jobs…because…the [surveillance device even records]…when a driver yawns, appears distracted, or isn’t wearing a seatbelt…and monitor[s] drivers’ body and facial movements…

Torture Chamber (#1122)

If only there were a concise word for “systematically forced to have sex”:

The [murder] of a 19-year-old woman [by] Venezuela[n] police [in a] holding cell has revealed that women in the jail were being systematically forced to have sex with [cops]…On March 13, Daniela Geraldine Figueredo Salazar died from [being]…shot [in] the face…by [a cop]…several of her fellow [prisoners] reported [to investigating officials] that they were being [systematically raped]…the…abuse was being coordinated by a [typical and representative cop] who is also currently jailed…This is not the first [time news] of sexual violence [has leaked out of] the country’s [filthy cage stacks]…In 2018, it was reported that women in Venezuelan prisons were being forced to [submit to rape] in order to be released for court hearings…in 2019, a report by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights pointed to…various forms of sexual violence [committed by cops, screws and spooks]…

You Were Warned (#1124)

Cathy Reisenwitz examines a power-hungry politician’s lies about the internet:

…The SAFE TECH Act would…hold companies liable for their users’ behavior…[an]d force small websites to spend $1 million or more…to prove to courts that users aren’t causing any one of nine new types of broad, ill-defined harm…Only the wealthiest, most powerful companies would be able to afford setting their own content moderation policies.  Everyone else would run the real risk of being sued into oblivion by wealthy people who don’t like what people are saying about them online…Like SESTA/FOSTA, the SAFE TECH Act would make it easier for those in power to stifle unpopular speech across the web.  It would strip away Section 230 protections for any web service that “has accepted payment to make the speech available.”  While many believe the law applies only to paid advertising, it’s written so broadly that it would apply to all content on any platform where money changes hands, including…all paid web hosting and even nonprofits or activist groups that sell merch or accept donations…

Predictable Consequences (#1124)

My friend Kate Zen, cofounder of Red Canary Song:

While it’s easy to repudiate th[e Atlanta shooter]’s actions as that of a monster, he isn’t alone in his views.  Many Americans feel only disdain toward these businesses, and have little respect for the women who work there…On Piedmont Road in Atlanta, where Long shot customers and workers at Gold Spa and Aroma Therapy Spa, church groups previously gathered to protest this so-called red-light district, demanding the shutdown of the sex shop across the street…many Asian street-based sex workers…in [Red Canary Song’s] outreach said some of the religious anti-trafficking groups…can be even more hurtful than the pedestrians who call them names…[besides] collaborat[ing] with police…[one said] they were “nagging her and wasting her time” when she needed to work…Long’s extreme actions are a consequence of the way we treat all sexuality in society…and…the people who are tasked with undoing the harms are often infected by the same dangerous ideas…

Dr. Elena Shih also works with Red Canary Song:

…anti-trafficking organizations…have [repeatedly] called for the increased surveillance and policing of massage businesses, and the result has been hundreds of raids across the country which have terrorized and criminalized massage workers.  These systemic forms of violence cannot be divorced from the brutal killings of massage parlor workers in the Atlanta area on March 16…When my colleagues and I talk to Asian massage workers, they often share stories of [cops] entering their workplaces at random under the guise of stopping sex trafficking.  When they don’t find any evidence of wrongdoing, they demand to see massage licenses.  Workers tell us they are frequently arrested if they don’t produce a license, or are hit with building code or public health violations.  Those who are arrested are often funneled through special courts and programs where workers, seen as morally flawed and traumatized victims, are offered programming framed as rehabilitation…[including] everything from religious proselytization to “recovery-focused yoga” to unpaid labor, when what they really need is economic security…

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Sex workers are a gift to people who stir up fake outrage for a living.  –  Mistress Matisse

Caring Professionals (#138)

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this topic addressed so well:

Both…my stylist…and…microblade artist…are care workers.  Their bodies—their hands—are necessary to their labor.  Massage parlors…exist in a similar realm of personal care, like hair salons and permanent-makeup studios.  These are all places where clients can pay for the intimacy of touch, the pleasure that touch affords.  The difference, of course, is that what we call sex work—a kind of care work that is criminalized and socially opprobrious—happens here.  And because it is labor that carries the threat of penalization, the burden of stigma and illegitimacy, the women who do this work become simultaneously more vulnerable, while their essential contributions to society remain invisible, devalued…

The Puritan Recrudescence (#892)

There’s a reason I’ve repeatedly called this cult “dangerous”:

I had been leading an independent lab for nearly 10 years studying various aspects of genital responsiveness, but the death threats first came when I published a study that did not support [the notion of] pornography addiction.  The death threats were thick with misogyny and anti-semitism, which seemed bizarre as they simultaneously bragged that they were liberal bastions for equality.  I went quickly to being physically stalked, moving my home multiple times, and now living in address protection…the Atlanta murder[s]…seemed to manifest the incredible vitriol I have watched grow.  All of this occurred through “pornography addiction” forums on the Internet.  Scientists have started studying these communities…as a part of a new anti-sexuality movement, which includes (1) anti-pornography feminists, (2) Internet porn addiction activists, and (3) religious morality groups…

Welcome to the Future (#1092)

I hope Pasco County, Florida is bankrupted by this lawsuit:

…a group of [Pasco] county residents, represented by the Institute for Justice, is suing the county over…years of harass[ment]…by cops…because [a “predictive policing”] system identified them as potential offenders.  When the residents lost patience with the continued police presence in their lives…the red tape of the endless regulatory state [was used] against them to encourage compliance or to simply cause pain…In [one] case, deputies cited [their victim] for tall grass, but failed to notify him of the citation.  Then, when he failed to appear for a hearing that he was never told was happening, they arrested him for failure to appear…The slow torture of tickets, arrests, and disrupted lives drove some to pick up and move out of Pasco County to avoid harassment…

Traffic Jam (#1107)

Mistress Matisse on why even not-quite-prohibitionist sex work documentaries are not quite good:

There are some hard-working sex workers in Hulu and ABC News’ new documentary, Only Fans: Selling Sexy, and I respect them…being in a documentary about doing sex work is a gigantic leap of faith.  We’re rarely treated with respect, and sometimes not even with much humanity…such filmmakers favour drama and controversy, and choose to sensationalise the lived experiences of myself and my sex work peers…Hulu/ABC News did better than most with their documentary – it’s smoothly made, and it only made me wince a few times.  But…in media, anyone who does sex work is deemed not to be a credible witness to their own life, so there are always non-sex workers in these documentaries who serve to confirm (or more often deny) what we say is real.  Irony in 2021 is watching a glossy TV show inspired by a sex work website, which features non-sex working actors saying to the camera, in serious tones, that giving sex workers “all this attention” might make us “go too far”.  Ask yourself: why does that sound a little hypocritical to me?…

You Were Warned (#1112)

The bipartisan war on the internet moves us another step closer to idiocracy:

Senator Mark Warner[‘s]…SAFE TECH Act…is one of the worst 230 bills I’ve seen and would effectively end the open internet…Warner doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.  At all…He…doesn’t…understand how 230 works…or how…websites actually handle content moderation …[he keeps] claiming that Section 230 has “turned into a get out of jail free card for large online providers”…Yet…this bill would help Facebook and Google by basically making it close to impossible for new competitors to exist, while leaving the market to those two…many critics have noted that smaller platforms would inevitably be harmed by Warner’s bill…Warner…[claims] he’s open to talking to smaller platforms, which is kind of laughable, considering that his staffers have been going around…lying about people…that have pointed out the problems with his bill…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1114)

The NY Times pretends to be critical of mass surveillance, yet opens this article with copsucking:

Clearview…deploy[ed its software by stealing]…billions of photos from the…internet…After Clearview’s activities came to light, [politicians bloviated for the cameras and passed do-nothing local laws easily circumvented by cops]…It seemed entirely possible [to the hopelessly-naive] that Clearview AI would be sued, legislated or shamed out of existence.  But [of course] that didn’t happen.  With no federal law prohibiting or even regulating the use of facial recognition, Clearview did not…change its practices…it [has] continued to acquire government customers…[and] is valued at nearly $109 million…it [has over]…3,100 [cop shops and other purveyors of organized violence as]…customers [including the military and]…ICE…The legal threats to Clearview have [only just] begun to move through the courts…civil-liberties advocates fear the company will prevail, and they are aghast at the potential consequences…

Predictable Consequences

Two more of my friends have thoughts on this tragedy. Kaytlin Bailey:

There are a over a hundred years of propaganda and policy behind the idea that sex workers and immigrants “infect” communities.  Asian women in particular have been fetishized and demonized, becoming the first targets of anti-prostitution and anti-immigration laws in the United States…In 1875, the Page Act barred Asian women from entering the country, for presumed “lewd and immoral purposes,” and police…began arresting droves of Asian women for prostitution.  US officials openly hoped that by driving out Asian women, they could prevent Asian people from settling and starting families here…

And Liz Brown:

…Blaming women for male lust is an old and all-too-common trope among those who commit or excuse violence against women.  And it’s a trope thoroughly rooted in common cultural messages about sexuality…we may have come a long way from the assumption that all sexy women are “asking for it,” but holding women responsible for men’s sexual urges and actions is still far from a fringe attitude.  And again and again, we see the milder version of this distorted by the minds of self-loathing psychopaths to hold that women deserve to pay for the desire men feel toward them.  Sex workers are particularly vulnerable to this type of misogyny.  Which is why it’s especially clueless and crass for certain media to be blaming sex work in the wake of the Atlanta massage parlor shootings…

But the big news this week is Polaris’ tacit admission of blood on its hands:

…following the attacks…anti-sex work organization Polaris Project deleted multiple pages that made claims about massage parlors as dens of sex trafficking…Polaris removed its page for “human trafficking in illicit massage businesses”…According to an archived snapshot of the site, the…page was up as of March 18, two days after the attacks…by the next day…the page returned a “not found” error.  The [memory-holed] page…featured a series of grainy images of massage parlors overlaid with titles like “Massage parlor trafficking networks and organized crime,” and “Your role in ending massage parlor trafficking”…

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This guy lay in shit and…died in [a] cell that looks like a friggin’ horse stall.  –  unnamed investigator

Imagination Pinned Down

Like seeing pictures in clouds or inkblots:

When the unrecognizable body of Jeannette DePalma…was found atop a…wooded hill…called the Devil’s Teeth in 1972, rumors spread quickly that the [16-year-old] was killed in some sort of satanic rite…Police…[claim]ed…they had found signs they thought might be related to the occult, including crosses made of sticks and branches arranged in a coffin-like outline around her body…But crime scene photographs released for the first time [last month]…debunk those claims, showing that DePalma’s body was simply lying in a dense, brushy area…facedown with an arm draped over a downed tree branch…Jason Coy, a history professor…who researches witchcraft…said he can’t find any sign of the occult or any other symbolism in the jumble of brush and branches.  It suggests that investigators, looking for something sinister, saw patterns that weren’t there…“Everything in th[e police] sketch that was marked out as a cross, in these crime scene photos just looks like a pile of underbrush…it’s a perfect example of how…i[f] someone…[has] the idea that something could be occult, they remember things that way”…

The Naked Anthropologist

Here’s Dr. Laura Agustín with GAATW on the rescue industry:

Torture Chamber 

For a change, this journalist doesn’t refer to torture as “correction”:

…Reginald Wilson spent more than 1,300 days in and out of jail since 1997 for charges often related to his fragile mental health…in December 2018 [Georgia cops abducted and caged him] for a probation violation…[dur]ing a mental health crisis…he was [lock]ed in a padded [cell and given no professional help, even after]…he smeared his own feces on the wall.  “He never slept. He was constantly just up, doing almost like gymnastics when you watched the video,” one [screw admitted to]…investigators…Wilson stopped eating, drinking and refused to take medication…[yet] the jail’s psychiatrist never saw [him].  In[stead,] staff [just repeatedly yelled “stop faking” at]…him…[and cop]s tased him at least tw[ice].  After… eight days…a [screw] found Wilson not breathing…[and] covered in…feces…[he had] died from…dehydration…

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because a little boy picked a flower”?

[A] 6-year-old…was accused of picking a tulip from a yard at his bus stop, his attorney Julie Boyer said, and…was on trial…for injury to real property.  The boy’s attention span was too short to follow the proceedings…[so] Boyer…handed him crayons and a coloring book…she…and others [explain that] children that age don’t have the mental capacity to understand the juvenile justice process and…can’t make informed decisions…[yet at present North Carolina]…expect[s them to]…”Should a child that believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy be making life-altering decisions?” asked…Judge Jay Corpening…[local] advocates…recommend…the age be raised to 12…The National Juvenile Justice Network recommends 14…

End Demand (#893)

It’s good to see a story like this quote at least one knowledgeable person:

Columbus [Ohio politicians] are weighing changes to local solicitation laws that would emphasize pu…shing [propaganda about] those who pay for sex [in addition to propaganda about] those who sell it…[politician] Mitchell Brown [vomited out popular nonsense about]…sex trafficking…chief [copagandist and rape apologist] Jennifer Knight…[salivated about forcing people into “re-education”] sessions…[but actual] researchers like Jennifer Suchland argue “end demand” policies often backfire…“Because there’s now substantial evidence to show that they are, one, not actually reducing the amount of exploitation, and two, they are increasing the precarity of those people who are in the sex trade”…Suchland says…the “end demand” model is based on a faulty assumption…

Knight is the sow charged with making excuses for the Columbus rape gang, and claims the way to “build trust” with women is to hunt, rape and cage them.

Safe Position (#1058)

Don’t be deceived by Katz, a duplicitous proponent of Swedish criminalization:

Queens, New York, District Attorney Melinda Katz moved…to dismiss nearly 700 cases against people charged with loitering for the purpose of prostitution…[on] the same day…Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed [Swedish-style]…criminaliz[ation]…The…law was repealed last month out of concern it too often targeted…people…based solely on their appearance…Katz [followed up by bloviating about]…sex trafficking…

Katz is dismissing these cases because she has to, since the law they were charged under was repealed.  This isn’t some kind of personal move on her part toward sex worker rights, despite claims to the contrary.

Predictable Consequences

Lots of sex workers are quoted in this rebuke of prohibitionist yellow journalism:

The New York Times re[acted to]…the recent slayings of eight persons at three “Asian” spas…by a deranged religious nut…with a self-[indulgent article]…adopting the rhetoric…of…sex work…pro[hibitionists], painting the spas as havens for sex trafficking…without one quote from sex workers or sex worker rights advocates, the Times piece [claim]s that “experts say there are more than 9,000 such businesses” in the U.S. which are “fronts for prostitution,” and that “many of the women working there are being exploited.”  That dubious statistic hails from a particularly odious non-profit, the Polaris Project, which has long conflated consensual adult sex work with sex trafficking and has a history of dealing in fake statistics and urban legends…Massage workers…have no agency, nor any voice, in this scheme or this article…

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