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Posts Tagged ‘hysteria’

We have a culture where men are more embarrassed about paying for sex than having sex with women who are too drunk to consent.
–  Cathy Reisenwitz

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Funny how many cops who are willing to pay prefer underage girls:

Larry Allen Clay…and Kristen Naylor-Legg…were both charged with sex trafficking of a minor [because]…on two separate occasions in June 2020, Clay…the Chief of Police for..Gauley Bridge [West Virginia]…paid $50 to Naylor-Legg to have sex with a 17-year-old girl [who is apparently a migrant because]…ICE [is involved]…

Thou Shalt Not

Crypto-moralists love their rats & their subtle dysphemisms:

…researchers…gave adolescent rats free access to a sugar-sweetened beverage [much more concentrated than] those that humans drink and then tested their memories using two methods when the rats became adults…the rats that had consumed [pathologically-]high levels [of] sugary drinks had more difficulty with memory that uses a region of the brain called the hippocampus compared with rats that only drank water…the [excessive]…sugar consumption seems to…[have] change[d]…the gut microbiome…[which in turn seems to] alter the function of a particular region of the brain [in rats]…

Standard Operating Procedure (#851)

“Foreign visitors do business with locals” is neither “misconduct” nor even news:

[UK charity] Oxfam is facing new allegations of…bullying and mismanagement only weeks after it was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following [white saviors’ freakout] th[at some Oxfam employees purchased services from entrepreneurs in] Haiti…The charity has commissioned an independent investigation into accusations against senior managers in the Democratic Republic of Congo that allege intimidation, death threats, fraud and nepotism…[which arose] after…[prohibitionists were disappointed] that…the[re was insufficient hysteria about mundane transactions which brought much-needed]…money…in[to]…Haiti…[politicians bloviated] that the latest allegations strengthened the case for [denying poor countries]…water and sanitation projects [if]…an[yone among]…the emergency [workers has sexual desires]…

The Cold, Grey Light of Dawn (#991)

It looks as though Boudin is indeed following through with the policies he campaigned on:

Panelists at “Sex Work Decrim 101: Evidence-based approaches to policy”…call[ed] for the complete removal of sex work from the state’s criminal law codes.  One fan of that idea is San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin…”I’m a big believer in the decriminalization of sex work, which I think will help us become safer in concrete ways”…Boudin said…”It’s not something I would ever prosecute, except under the most extraordinary circumstances, if it is consensual between adults”…Panelist Maggie McNeill…wanted to impress upon the attendees the importance of the district attorney’s stance…she [also]…explained the distinction [of decriminalization versus legalization] through an analogy to the restaurant business…

Tony Montoya, a gay man who is the president of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, did not respond to a request for comment [on a law forbidding a common pretext for harassing sex workers].

Lipstick on a Pig

When one rewards animals for acting a certain way, one shouldn’t be surprised when that behavior increases:

Two [typical and representative] Texas [cop]s have been indicted fo[r murdering]…a Black man [by] repeatedly…taser[ing him during a pretext]…stop [being] filmed for a [cop glorification] TV show.  Javier Ambler…[was murdered on] March 28, 2019…[during] a…traffic stop…[using the pretext that he] fail[ed] to dim headlights for oncoming traffic…the A&E network show Live PD…was canceled weeks after the killing of George Floyd amid widespread protests over police brutality and racism…Ambler was tasered four times, according to body cam footage of the [murder], despite telling the [pigs] that he suffered from…congestive heart failure…Ambler…can be heard [repeatedly] saying…”I can’t breathe”

To Molest and Rape (#1110)

{sings} One of these things is not like the others

A [New Jersey cop named]…Richard F. Haffner…sexually assault[ed] a girl who worked for him at his…restaurant on numerous occasions starting when she was 15 years old, and then tr[ied] to get her to lie to investigators…Prosecutor[s seem to think it’s important that he wasn’t wearing his magical clown costume at the time]…Haffner [w]as…suspended without pay…[because prosecutors also] charged him with…offering an acquaintance money for sex…

The Next Target (#1122)

The prohibitionist crusade against OnlyFans is heating up:

Paul Gosar [a politician from Arizona] sent a[n open] letter…to the Department of Justice demanding that OnlyFans be…prosecuted for “promoting prostitution” under a…Segregation-era law called the “White Slave Traffic Act”…also known as the Mann Act…[apparently because Gosar believes that viewing a picture of a woman taken in a different state is the equivalent of] transport[ing] women across state lines…

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Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.  Usually the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil.  –  Eric Hoffer

To paraphrase Baudelaire, the loveliest trick of religion is to convince people that the Devil exists.  Humans have never been fond of admitting blame for anything, but when someone is caught red-handed committing some evil and therefore cannot blame any other human, the truly devout buck-passer blames an invisible, intangible, supernatural force.  Authoritarians, too, love their devils; what better way to convince the Great Unwashed to render their obedience and surrender their liberty than to convince them of the existence of super-powerful evil spirits who cannot be stopped except by whatever snake oil those authoritarians are selling?  Over the past couple of centuries, belief in actual anthropomorphic deities of evil has slowly been replaced by belief in more tangible devils such as “criminals”, “terrorists”, “pimps”, and “people who vote differently than I do”, but as we head into a new dark age belief in a literal red guy with horns, hooves, a tail and a pitchfork has once again become popular in the Underdeveloped States of America.  The occult boom of the early ’70s (heralded by movies like The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby) paved the way for the Satanic panic of the ’80s and early ’90s, which after an implosion around 1994 soon returned as the “sex trafficking” hysteria; its roots in the older, more openly-religious hysteria are clearly visible in its QAnon branch and in persistent nonsense about the supposed magical powers of “pimps”.  And every so often, people whose entire understanding of how the universe works could be crammed into a chicken’s brain pan and still leave room for a politician’s moral compass, shit all over themselves because some musician employs “Satanic” imagery comparable in sophistication to that in a US television show from the 1950s.  Every society has throwbacks like this; the difference is that in America, we pretend they’re adults and let them decide who’s going to run things.

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If there is one thing more powerful than shame, it is the need to find someone else to blame.  –  David Flint

It Looks Good On Paper

Yet another state touts bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

The Virginia General Assembly unanimously passed two bills to [pretend to] help [wwomen labeled] sex trafficking survivors [when it’s convenient for the state.  The bills will]…allow…[“perfect victims”] to have convictions related to [sex work] removed from their personal records…[if they can jump through enough hoops to] prove t[o authoritarian busybodies that they were passive, doll-like “victims”] forced…to commit crimes…

Send In the Clowns

Not a clown, but still about kids hoaxing credulous adults:

Merseyside Police ha[d]…to reassure [gullible parents th[at no]… “plague man”…dressed in all black and wearing a crow-like mask similar to that of a 17th-century plague doctor…was…[lurk]ing in parks…to kidnap [their brats]…the sightings…turned out to be…a…hoax…[perpetrated by] students [falsely] reporting sightings…

To Molest and Rape (#956)

At least the BBC uses the word “rape” when a cop is the rapist:

A [typical and representative cop] has been charged with rape and sexual assault…Ben Lister…has been suspended from [West Yorkshire Police]…

Whither Canada? (#1017)

Sex workers ask the Canadian Supreme Court to uphold its own judgment:

The Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform — an alliance of 25 sex worker rights groups across the country led predominantly by and for sex workers — along with several individual applicants, have filed a Notice of Application seeking to strike down the [laws establishing Canada’s Swedish-style] sex work prohibitions…because they violate sex workers’ constitutional rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association, and equality…National Coordinator Jenn Clamen [said] “This government has spent five years paying lip service to human rights and to feminism, and it’s time for them to act.”  In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled three prostitution prohibitions in criminal law to be unconstitutional because they caused harm to sex workers and contravened sex workers’ rights to liberty and security.  This was the federal government’s opportunity to recognize sex workers’ rights and well-being by decriminalizing sex work.  Instead, the government…created a set of laws…that reproduce those same harms…

Rotting Fruit (#1055)

Given the filth spewing from every aspect of this affair, there’s no way to tell whether Maxwell’s conduct could legitimately be considered “sex trafficking”:

Prosecutors added two charges against Ghislaine Maxwell in a case accusing her of grooming and abusing young women and girls for Jeffrey Epstein…The new counts against Maxwell now include sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking of a minor…the new charges…prolong…the length of the alleged conspiracy and adds a “Minor Victim-4”…

False Witness (#1121)

Sunlight really is the best disinfectant:

…Texas [pigs have been shamed into]…end[ing]…the [monstrous] practice of using hypnosis to [manufacture “evidence”]…more than forty years after its inception…The decision [seems to be the result of unwel]come…[public attention due to]…The Dallas Morning News…series, “The Memory Room,” which [showed how]…Texas…repeatedly doubl[ed] down on the practice despite scientific evidence that hypnosis can distort witness memories and lead to false convictions…Texas officers continue[d] to [use]…the debunked technique…[t intentionally] send…dozens of men and women to prison and some to their deaths.  The Texas Rangers are among the most [egregious offenders]…performing at least 1,700 hypnosis sessions since the 1980s.  The…[most] recently [w]as October 2020…Even without the program, local police departments may still be using hypnosis to [manufacture]…evidence [which Texas law still allows] to be used in courts…

Predictable Consequences

I wish I could believe that this tragedy would finally put a stake into the heart of the “sex addiction” myth once and for all:

…the press and the authorities…have spent years not only pushing the idea of sex addiction…[but also] portraying…sex workers and…sex-positive academics as evil, corrupt enemies of the state, traffickers and the wreckers of civilisation…they are complicit in crimes like this…[because] their constant demonisation of consensual sex between adults…has stoked the fires of hysteria, anger, social shaming and violent retribution…men who visit sex workers or masturbate to porn and then feel disgust afterwards are going to hold the sex workers…responsible, because it deflects blame from themselves…Often, this transferred disgust and unwillingness to accept responsibility for sexual desire shifts into campaigning against the sex industry…We see this in assorted anti-porn, NoFap, incel and rescue movements, dominated by very angry and aggressive men who want to punish women (and men) for giving them erections.  Are we surprised that some people are taking this anger beyond online rape and death threats and into the real world?  Yet these people have been indulged, encouraged and supported by politicians and the media…Set yourself up as anti-porn, anti-trafficking or anti-sexualisation, and you can pretty much say whatever you like without having to provide evidence, while your aggressive and exploitative responses to anyone who questions you will be glossed over…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cathy Reisenwitz:

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

Tracy Quan:

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

Religion writer Chissy Stroop:

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

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

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

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The younger generation…don’t understand at all how the government could ever enter your bedroom and tell you what to do.  –  Mandie Landry

Creating a Monster

There really is nothing new under the sun:

Neither Craigslist’s personals nor…US [censorship of] the sexual commerce they make possible are uncharted territory.  Reading…coverage of…FOSTA–SESTA, gives me a sense of déjà vu.  I have spent the last several years researching how, more than one hundred years before Backpage opened its online classifieds—well before the rise of the internet…lonely hearts [and] sex workers…had access to Parisian “back-page” classifieds.  Then as now, [politicians] scrambled for ways to stop them from using this new, democratizing print technology to “immoral” ends.  The largely unsuccessful, often counter-productive, and oppressive solutions they came up with during the French Third Republic (1870–1940) look strikingly similar to those the US legislature is testing out now…

This article is three years old, but it’s about century-old events anyhow.

Safe Position

This might fly in New Orleans, but it’ll definitely be uphill in the rest of the state:

Sexual acts between consenting adults should remain just that, state Rep. Mandie Landry said, regardless of whether they involve a financial transaction.  She said she will author a bill in the Louisiana Legislature that would do away with the state’s existing laws that outlaw prostitution….“If two people engage in a relationship in their own home, whether they exchange money or not, it’s between them”…Prostitution involving minors will remain illegal because minors cannot give consent, she added…

False Witness (#920)

Texas cops routinely destroy lives with the same method used to create the Satanic panic:

…a vast body of research shows hypnosis does not increase the chance of retrieving accurate memories.  In fact, it may implant imaginary ideas or distort recollections.  At least 21 states ban evidence in court that was gleaned solely through hypnosis.  Yet a Dallas Morning News analysis found Texas law enforcement has used the dubious method nearly 1,800 times over 40 years, sending dozens of people to prison — and some to their deaths.  After one week of training, any Texas [cop]…who passes an exam can attempt to use hypnosis in a criminal investigation.  Hundreds…have been certified to practice it in Texas since 1988…

The Scarlet Letter (#941)

Why do puritans pretend the literally prehistoric practice of shaming constitute a “modern” approach to harming people for having sexual urges?

The Alabama House of Representatives…approved legislation that would post pictures of men a[ccus]ed [o]f…solicitation…to shame them…f[or having]…sex[ual needs.  Bill sponsor] Merika Coleman…[bloviated a lot of disgusting sexual fantasies about] human trafficking…an[d]…argued that the state needs to attack the de[sire] for sex…Coleman said [she doesn’t care that]…posting the picture of a person who was arrested…harms those individuals who are not found guilty for the rest of their lives.  [She said it’s OK that] they are not able to get jobs…

Japanese Prostitution (#950)

Japanese attempts to suppress and hide sexuality prior to the Olympics will never be sufficient to please puritanical gaijin:

Social pressure surrounding the upcoming Tokyo Olympics has resulted in distribution troubles for traditional Japanese adult magazines, which have drastically harmed the already dwindling sector…[using the excuse] “that the magazine covers were offensive to women and inappropriate in front of children”…In the years leading up to the games’ original date of Summer 2020, “some of the country’s biggest convenience store chains…said they would stop selling the publications altogether”…Akira Ikoma, editor-in-chief of the porn magazine My Journey…said Japan is “hiding this part of the culture because they’re embarrassed”…

Torture Chamber (#950)

“Packed” = “concentrated”. And the concise word for “tent facility” is “camp”:

Hundreds of immigrant children and teenagers have been [imprisoned] at a Border Patrol tent facility in packed conditions, with some sleeping on the floor because there aren’t enough mats…Some [are locked up]…for a week or longer, despite the agency’s three-day limit for detaining [minors]…they…a[r]en’t…allowed to phone their parents or other relatives who may be wondering where they are.  Despite…coronavirus, the[y]…are kept so closely together that they can touch the person next to them…Some have to wait five days or more to shower, and there isn’t always soap available, just shampoo…Biden’s administration denied the lawyers access to the [camp because]…attorney visits to Border Patrol [camp]s [have] revealed severe problems, including dozens of children held at one [camp] without adequate food, water, or soap…

All-Purpose Excuse (#1063)

I love that Trumpists are holding onto the “sex trafficking” narrative like grim death:

On March 8th, the Lifeboat Project had the opportunity to host [politicians] and [profiteers trying] to stop [sex work using propaganda about] human trafficking…it was also a…[photo] opportunity for Ivanka Trump and [a payday for professional]…trafficking survivors…the…Founder of The Lifeboat Project, Jill Bolander Cohen…[introduc]ed the [fantas]y of having a universal signal that could be used world-wide…[instead of other folk magic] such as [wa]ving [red paper birds around like a semaphore flag]…or [activa]ting…[a super-duper anti-pimp tampon found in a public] bathroom…Jill be[lieves the stupid trope that]…victims [are literally “voiceless”]…so…[she proposed] flashing the letters “H” and “T” in American Sign Language…

Winding Down (#1101)

A long-overdue move by Mexico to throw off US domination:

…Mexic[an politicians]…approved a bill…to legalize recreational marijuana…The 316-to-129 vote in Mexico’s lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, came more than two years after the Mexican Supreme Court ruled that the country’s ban on recreational marijuana was unconstitutional and more than three years after the country legalized medicinal cannabis…the measure is widely expected to sail through the Senate before being sent to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has signaled support for legalization.  The measure…would allow adults to [us]e…and, with a permit, grow a small number of cannabis plants at home.  It would also grant licenses for producers — from small farmers to commercial growers — to cultivate and sell the crop…

You Were Warned (#1119)

Unless some country makes a policy of providing a safe haven, the open internet is doomed:

The Russian government’s internet regulatory agency, Roskomnadzor, has announced it will be slowing down Twitter…in the country, alleging that the platform has “ignored requests to take down material harmful to children,” including adult content.  Regional experts [say]…“that the Twitter slowdown was just the start of a large-scale offensive by authorities to assert control over — and ultimately block — social media”…Like many American crusaders against Section 230…Roskomnadzor claims this attack on free expression [i]s…to “save the children”…

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DHS…is spending its time knowingly policing paid sex acts between consenting adults (even though prostitution is not a federal crime).  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Japanese Prostitution

A modern descendant of the walled districts of feudal times:

…In its prime from the late ‘70s to mid ‘80s, Japanese civil servants, policemen, and salarymen from the nearest main island would take a 3-minute boat ride to [Watakano]…where a quarter of its 270 residents were sex workers…girls…could each make as much as two million yen ($19,000), or the equivalent of $26,000 today, every month.  Residents who weren’t sex workers ran grocery stores, cafes, and apartment complexes.  Hidden yet prosperous, Watakano Island enjoyed decades of economic wealth.  But when Japan’s economic bubble burst in 1992…high spenders stopped visiting…the[n]…In 1998, Japan legalized [outcall] escort services…

Rooted in Racism

Anti-sex laws are deeply rooted in racism all over the world:

…law enforcement uses sex-negative legislation to enable harm against marginalized communities…Laws targeting sex work and pornography “have sexist, racist, and classist origins”…and those underlying roots continue to manifest themselves to this day.  For example, “anti-trafficking” organization Polaris works with [cops] and ICE to arrest and deport…sex workers with a special emphasis on Asian sex workers.  Between 2012 and 2016, arrests of Asian people in New York City for “unauthorized practice of a profession” and prostitution rose 2,700 percent.  In 2018 Polaris launched a campaign to close “illicit” massage parlors…thousands of Asian women have lost their businesses and their livelihoods…Laws against loitering for purposes of prostitution…empower police to profile, harass and arrest women for existing in public spaces…[using excuses] such as “wearing a skirt” and “standing somewhere other than a bus stop or taxi stand” as justification

Think of the Children! (#571) 

No doubt the children were contaminated by sex rays!

A Sacramento [woman’s] three young kids were expelled from a Catholic school because she sells sexy videos online.  The principal…[wo]n’t even [let the children] pick up their things left in class.  Crystal Jackson…is making up to $150,000 a month selling access to photos and videos on her Only Fans account.  [Only] some of the pictures include nudity.  But…a [busybody caught her husband looking at]…her site and started a campaign [with her busybody friends] to get her three kids [expelled by sending poison pen letters including screenshots]…to the diocese and school principal…

I’m sure Jesus would approve of punishing children for the sins of their parents.

Lack of Evidence (#897) 

They were “safeguarded”, no doubt at a “safe house”.  How stupid do these pigs think we are?

Twelve people have been arrested after…police [staged a pogrom] in Woolwich and Kent…[in order] to…exploit…sex workers [to further racist propaganda]…police st[aged an American-style raid]…on…February 16, by battering down the door and smashing glass as they [chased their terrified middle-aged Chinese victims] down [like animals]…This [pogrom resulted in] the arrest of a 44-year-old woman…a 52-year-old man…a 37-year-old…man…a 59-year-old man and a 52-year-old woman.  Another woman was arrested for immigration offences….and two [other] women were…safeguarded…to [be deported] at a later date.  [Two spokespigs oinked a lot of filthy wanking fantasies about]…modern slavery…organised…crime…and money laundering…

This is your regular reminder that massive police operations in the UK have never found more than a single-digit number of “sex trafficking” cases.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1026)

“Sponsored content” means content a paper was paid to publish; it’s an ad, not journalism:

…the Guardian and the Observer [have] launched…a two-year reporting project [advertised as] investigating and exposing human rights abuses around the world…[but is in actuality sponsored] by Humanity United…[it] builds on [previously-published propaganda and yellow journalism]…on human trafficking…modern slavery…[and] sex trafficking…

Click on the subtitle link for Gustavo Turner’s previous reporting on the previously-published content mentioned above, which includes “articles and editorials with a distinct War On Porn…slant“, including providing “a platform to…Exodus Cry founder Laila Mickelwait…Humanity United…[is] a U.S.-based [prohibitionist] foundation…[founded by] a billionaire p[rohibition]ist couple…who were embroiled in a labor human trafficking scandal of their own around the time they founded Humanity United…

Social Distancing (#1084)

While India allows deranged prohibitionists to dictate public health policy:

Bangladesh has started inoculating older sex workers at the country’s biggest brothel…to protect the most vulnerable in the pandemic…“If I don’t reach them, they may not come…It’s important to encourage groups…who are disadvantaged,” said Dr Asif Mahmud of the Goalanda district where the brothel is…Bangladesh…launched a vaccination drive in the first week of February and has since vaccinated nearly 2.5 million people…

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

Hysterical fantasies about normal events seem most common in the South:

Savannah [Georgia] is [becom]ing [a hotspot for fantasies about]…human trafficking.  In one incident, a woman claim[ed] a man…was attempting to distract her at a…gas station so that he could take her children…[in reality, the man she intended to inflict cop violence upon] was actually a gas station employee who was attempting to tell [her] that the pump she was at was inoperable.  The second…post [claimed] an unmarked black car with a blue dome light in the dash attempted to pull [her] over…[she] further [lied that she] called 911 and learned the black car and a blue truck have been involved in local human trafficking incidents.  Police [den]y [that there was any such call or any such]…incidents…[in reality] the post[er]…had [simply] been involved in a confrontation in traffic with the other vehicle…

Loose Cannons (#1109)

Too bad the settlement won’t come out of prosecutors’ and sheriffs’ personal assets:

…one of the…[victims of the 2019 pogroms which entrapped Robert Kraft] has filed a federal civil lawsuit to see that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.  Keith Taig is seeking to obtain class-action status for himself and anyone who was [illegal]ly filmed while visiting the…East Spa…and subsequently slapped with criminal charges…While prosecutors [were eventually forced to] drop…all cases against the men who were surveilled, publicly humiliated, and used to make claims of a sham trafficking bust, the women…[are still being] prosecuted [despite being]…the very people police [pretend]ed…they were in this to save.  Four…have already pleaded guilty to prostitution.  Two…are still staring down serious charges…Some local press continues to report that [Lanyun] Ma stands accused of “human trafficking,” although no such charges exist…and…Prosecutors are still planning to use the [illegal] surveillance footage…

Winding Down (#1114)

Your “leaders” know what’s best, so shut up and obey:

Efforts to thwart voter-approved marijuana legalization…are evidence of a “playbook” that reflects new legal strategies and greater willingness among [politicians] to [disregard] election results…In Idaho, some [politicians] are…trying to preemptively ban marijuana legalization through an amendment to the state constitution…Utah [politicians] enacted a much more narrow medical cannabis program than was called for by a voter-approved citizen initiative…[and] the Utah Supreme Court ruled that the governor and Legislature were within their legal rights to [ignore the voters because they know better]…The Nebraska Supreme Court shot down a medical marijuana initiative before Nov. 3, saying it violated the state’s single-subject rule for ballot measures…South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem [used a similar rule] to [ignore] that state’s voter-approved…initiative…and now…backe[rs of liberty are] preparing to appeal to the state Supreme Court…In Mississippi, a constitutional challenge to voter-approved medical marijuana…is based on a signature-collection technicality that would nullify “every initiative in the past two decades”…Montana, which also has faced [authoritarian] legal challenges to its voter-approved recreational marijuana initiative, [is in better shape due to]…having a governor committed to upholding the vote…

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Our cause…isn’t just ours after all, but rather a vital part of the rights of all individuals to control their own voices, bodies, and lives without the interference of violent busybodies.  –  “Sex Worker Rights Day 2020

The landscape of sex worker rights activism looks very different from the way it did when I wrote my first essay for this occasion ten years ago; then almost nobody outside of Asia celebrated the day, and now it’s observed worldwide.  Sex worker activism in the US is no longer the domain of a small number of activists; vast numbers of sex workers now speak out online, belong to various activist groups, and politically mobilize to oppose prohibitionists, who not so long ago could count on their lies going unchallenged by any but a vocal minority.  The War on Whores has alienated enough people that a majority now support decriminalization, and support for sex worker rights is no longer the kiss of death for politicians.  The evolution of “sex trafficking” hysteria into a new Satanic Panic has many of the hacks who once eagerly spread prohibitionist wanking fantasies distancing themselves from the mythology and even debunking the tales they until-recently represented as facts.  As I wrote last year, “The younger activists, those in their twenties and thirties, have got this, and they are more than capable of carrying it; it’s time for older activists like me to move into a more advisory role…”  As part of that shift, I think it’s time for me to stop writing new essays on this topic, lest I grow irrelevant due to repetition.  Besides, I’ve already written plenty:

2011:  “International Sex Workers’ Rights Day
2012:  “Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs
2013:  “International Sex Worker Rights Day
2014:  “Sex Worker Rights Day
2015:  “Hands On
2016:  “The ‘Active’ in ‘Activism’
2017:  “Out and Proud
2018:  “365 Days of Activism
2019:  “More Than Ever
2020:  “Sex Worker Rights Day 2020

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or fear that our cause is hopeless, I suggest you read all of those in order; you may be surprised just how much things have changed for the better over that short span, and just imagine what the political landscape will look like in 2031 if things keep developing at the same rate as they have for the last three years.  We still have a very long way to go, and the fight will never be completely over until we as a species discard the wicked dogma that consensual behavior can somehow be a “crime”, and the pretense that inflicting violence on people is somehow “helping” them.  But it’s important to recognize the progress we’ve already made, and to draw from it hope for a better future.

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The Constitution…also prohibits the government from using its immense authority to coerce private actors into censoring on its behalf.
–  Ben Wizner

A False Dichotomy 

Despite the authors’ use of prohibitionist terms like “trafficked into” (meaning “sold to”), insistence on pretending that Western cultural norms apply as clearly in impoverished Bangladesh as they do in middle-class London, and offensive presentation of cops and politicians as “rescuers”, the truth in this article still comes through:  that for girls in a brutally poor, overpopulated, patriarchal culture, sex work is often (as the authors themselves express it) “the least bad option”, even when those options include the monogamous marriage so beloved of the majority of white savior types.

Out of Control (#946)

What is wrong with doctors who do this?

A Stanford pediatrician has pleaded not guilty to…[trying to molest] an underage girl he met on social media…Dr. Dylan O’Connor…[sent] her [dick pics and]…requested [nudes] from…he[r, after which she apparently told her mother, who called the cops to set]…O’Connor [up].  He allegedly…brought a blanket and condoms with him, and [told cops he had]…a sex addiction [despite knowing as a doctor that there is no such thing]…

The Widening Gyre (#1005)

The “things on cars” branch of “sex trafficking” scarelore is driven by a kind of inversion of Occam’s razor:

Brittaney Strupe [of Ohio]…got engaged [on Valentine’s Day] and had plenty of leftover red roses…So [she]…her sister and daughter…[decided to] go to Walmart…[and put them on] vehicles [as a gift to others.  But when] customers and Walmart employees began to discover them [everybody succumbed to collective hysteria and]…called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office…[which started spouting ridiculous fantasies about] human traffickers…on Facebook [where]…Strupe…[saw it and]…call[ed] to [explain, after which the cops vomited out “if you see something, say something”]…

“The mentally disturbed do not employ the Principle of Scientific Parsimony: the most simple theory to explain a given set of facts.  They shoot for the baroque.”  –  Philip K. Dick, Valis

Torture Chamber (#1040)

When government is in charge, things can always get worse:

…As a once-in-a-generation snowstorm walloped the Lone Star State…already-dire conditions inside Texas prisons…got even worse…33 prisons lost power and 20 had water shortages after the state’s electrical grid failed…prisoners ha[d]…no options to stay warm…there…[were] ne[ither enough]…extra blankets and jackets to…go around…no[r sufficient staff] to [distribute them because]…fewer [screws] showed up to work…staff [didn’t bother] to pass out medication…and…the food…bec[a]me [even more] inedible and…unidentifiable [than before]…prisoners with [secret] phones sent pictures of their increasingly pitiful meals…more than a dozen prisons lost some or all of their access to water…so…the toilets are overflowing with waste…Advocates for prisoners say these problems have been years in the making…

See also the final item below.

You Were Warned (#1046)

Australian politicians are just as invested in demolishing the internet as US ones:

Back in September…Facebook publicly sa[id] that if Australia went forward with its ridiculous attack on the open internet, and instituted a “news link tax” on Facebook and Google, that it would block news links on Facebook in Australia… and basically everyone ignored it.  So…when Facebook announced that it was no longer allowing news to be shared in Australia (and relatedly, no longer allowing the sharing of Australian news services on Facebook), it should not have been a surprise.  And yet…almost everyone started blaming and attacking Facebook…[the] company…deserves lots of blame for lots of bad things that it does.  But this ain’t it…the simple facts of the situation are that Australia — pushed heavily by Rupert Murdoch — has decided to put in place a plan to tax Google and Facebook for any links to news…This is fundamentally against the principles of an open internet …”search engine optimization” and “social media management”…[exist] because everyone else in the world has figured out that having prominent links on search engines and social media is valuable in its own right…[the Australian government’s position] is like saying that not only should NBC have to run an advertisement for Techdirt, but it should have to pay me for it.  If that seems totally nonsensical, that’s because it is…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

For the third time in less than five months, the U.S. Congress has summoned the CEOs of social media companies to appear before them, with the explicit intent to pressure and coerce them to censor more content…[using the pretexts of] “falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine” and “debunked claims of election fraud”…[politicians claim] that “these online platforms have…[enabled] grim consequences for public health and safety”…House Democrats have made no secret of their ultimate goal with this hearing:  to exert control over the content on these online platforms…[even though] Congress violates the First Amendment when it attempts to require private companies to impose…speech restrictions which the government itself would be constitutionally barred from imposing

Torture Chamber (#1093)

“Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, so I can torture and deport them”:

In Louisiana and Texas, immigrants seeking asylum are facing dire conditions [while locked in cages due to last]…week’s extreme cold.  At the South Texas Family [Concentration Camp]…parents and children have been living with overflowing toilets, thirst, poor hygiene, and [insufficient] heat…Twenty miles away, at [another] ICE [concentration camp, prisoners]…who complain…about the cold face…retaliation [from screws who] are turning on fans to make it colder…[some] have [even] thrown blankets into the garbage after [prisoners] complained…

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Give this man his money.  –  Judge Christine Underwood

Profit from Panic 

A pandemic can’t stop opportunists from wringing every penny they can from this hysteria before it implodes completely:

The B.E. A S.H.E.R.O. Foundation…hosted its 6th annual Awareness Gala, themed “Rising from the Ashes.” The event centered on raising…funds for [the organizers by exploiting the moral panic around]…sex trafficking…Because of pandemic health guidelines, guests were invited to host in-home parties with only their close circles, family or solo.  SHERO Founder Kimberly Miles hosted the online event from the Stirling Club, with special appearances from Terry Fator, Clint Holmes, Bucky Heard of the Righteous Brothers and more…

Disaster (#949)

Australia is joining the US in trying to destroy the internet:

If Australia genuinely wants to minimise online harm, we need to have more nuanced narratives than “won’t somebody please think of the children”.  The federal government’s Online Safety Bill…[will] impede upon our digital rights, harm vulnerable groups, and c[onstrict] the way the majority of Australians experience the internet…part [of the scheme] gives the eSafety Commissioner expanded “take-down powers”…[to] order the removal of…any sexual content…or content that is “unsuitable for a minor to see”…Sex workers, pornography creators…sex-positive educators and activists are just some who will struggle to work online due to the scheme.  As experience of the controversial SESTA/FOSTA laws in the US…has shown, crackdowns such as these incentivise online platforms to remove or censor sexual content altogether to avoid penalty…this forces sex workers offline and often into unsafe working environments…

A Moral Cancer (#1013)

Crypto-moralists won’t hesitate to add nationalism to “health” rhetoric to advance their anti-pleasure agenda:

British stores could be flooded with “dangerous” bacon and ham from the US, marketed under misleading labels, as the result of a transatlantic trade deal, says the author of a new book based on [statistical illiteracy and militant veganism]…The meat has been cured with nitrites extracted from vegetables, a practice not permitted by the European Commission because of evidence that it [marginally] increases the [very small] risk of bowel cancer.  But it is allowed in the US, where the product is often labelled as “all natural”…

Robocops

Court declares that cops are too stupid and evil to understand that intentionally burning an innocent person alive is wrong:

…On July 10, 2017, [Gabriel Eduardo] Olivas’ son called 911 to report that his father was threatening to kill himself…[responding cops] found Olivas “leaning against a wall and holding a red gas can”…[one cop] shouted…”If we tase him, he is going to light on fire!”…Olivas [had] poured gasoline over himself…[but pig Jeremias] Guadarrama “fired his taser at the gasoline-soaked man, causing him to burst into flames…The fire spread from Olivas to the walls of the bedroom, and the house eventually burned to the ground”…Olivas…died…the [family]…sued…and…the…court [ruled]…it…”reasonable”…[to set off high-voltage electrical] sparks that could easily ignite gasoline…after a[nother cop] had [already] emphasized it…the 5th Circuit has forthrightly declared that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit police from firing Tasers at a suicidal, gasoline-drenched man…

The Last Shall Be First (#1078)

Anti-trans hysteria has shifted from toilets to high-school sports:

A proposed bill introduced in…Georgia…called for banning transgender girls from participating in [organized] sports…a similarly-written law in Idaho…is currently blocked by injunction from a federal court.  So another proposal was introduced…that went even further.  House Bill 372 would redefine gender as “a person’s biological sex at birth” in state law, require state-funded schools and associations to ban participants they deem not “biologically” male or female from sports, and calls for a panel to examine information about the genitalia or chromosomes of any [prospective] participant who petitions otherwise…

I must point out that contrary to some online statements about this buffoonery, it does not call for the panel to inspect students’ genitalia, only “information about” them (presumably derived from a medical exam).  But it’s still akin to the creepy pretense that for students to voluntarily allow other people to examine their genitalia for the purpose of pleasure is a “crime”, but for the same students to be forced by law to allow strangers to examine their genitalia for the purpose of bigotry is “protection”.

The Next Target (#1099)

One day, “professional ‘survivor'” will no longer be a lucrative job:

…[Morality in Media] filed a…[law]suit in Birmingham, Alabama against Pornhub’s parent company MindGeek, [exploiting the claims] of two women who alleged illegal videos of themselves were uploaded to the platform by third-party users…The lawsuit alleges that MindGeek “conspired, facilitated and financially benefited, from sex trafficking ventures between [themselves] and others”…

A Broker in Pillage (#1101)

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

A district court judge in North Carolina is threatening to jail one town’s officials if they don’t return nearly $17,000 in cash they s[tole from] a man’s rental car…Jermaine Sanders was staying at a hotel in…November when he left his room and found police [ransack]ing his car.  Police [claimed] they found half an ounce of marijuana and $16,761 in cash.  They s[tole] both…[and] sent the cash to…CBP [in order to circumvent state restrictions on such robbery].  When Sanders lawyered up…Mooresville [bureaucrats] responded that [they were] no longer in possession of the cash…[Judge Christine] Underwood…found the city in contempt of her order [to refund the money] and…[gave] them seven business days to comply.  She told the city’s attorney…that she was not afraid to jail town commissioners, the police chief, or anybody else responsible for keeping Sanders from getting his money back…

Yet most courts still refuse to admit that this is about nothing other than profit:

Civil asset forfeiture…allows police to s[teal] property they [pretend] is connected to crime without arresting…the owner…the practice demolishes due process and undermines property rights, giving cops a license to steal from innocent people who often lack the resources to resist…[pushers] of [the scheme pretend] it deters and incapacitates drug traffickers…[but] in a new study published by the Institute for Justice, Seattle University economist Brian Kelly…analyzed data from five states that use forfeiture extensively:  Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota.  He reports no statistically significant relationship between increased forfeiture revenue and lower drug use rates or higher crime clearance rates.  To the contrary, Kelly found that clearance rates for violent crimes tend to fall as forfeiture revenue rises…[because] the lure of…money diverts law enforcement resources from predatory crimes to drug offenses…

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