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Posts Tagged ‘Monsters’

Prostitution is normal.  –  Carmen Kleingeris

Dutch Threat (#349)

Every few years, Utrecht thinks of a new way to harass sex workers:

Utrecht’s…Tippelzone…[has been] clos[ed by prohibitionist politicians.  Activist] Carmen Kleingeris…said…”Politicians are now actually saying by closing the tolerance zone: ‘sex workers do not belong’…this mentality…legitimize[s]…rape”…[The politicians specifically] decided to close the Tippelzone in 2018 [in order to gentrify the area]…

Monsters (#616) 

“Gender-critical feminists” are also virtually always prohibitionists:

The [UK] High Court has rejected claims that housing trans women who’ve committed sexual or violent offences against women in female prison facilities is discriminatory to cis women…The landmark case was brought by an unnamed cis female inmate…who…argued that her human rights were violated by having to be in the same prison as trans women prisoners who have convictions for sexual or violent offences against women, [but not by having to be in prison with]…cis women [who committed similar crimes]…The…case was supported by several so-called “gender-critical” groups…

Going After the Pimps

Your periodic reminder of what “going after the pimps” actually means:

A nurse accused of living off the earnings of the prostitution of his wife…in 2018…was fined €600 and did not appeal the decision.  [But now a busybody h]as [complained] to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland…and [David] Navarro is now facing an allegation of misconduct for allegedly bringing the nursing profession into disrepute [by failing to stop his wife from having a job]…

Between the Ears (#966)

Any internet-connected device can and will be used to spy on you:

Google Assistant records your conversations even when not in use, the company…admitted to an Indian government panel…even without saying the word “OK Google,” the AI Assistant still listens to your conversations…[even though] Google has…previously…cl[aimed otherwise]…Google [further] admitted…that their employees listen to such recordings…[but claims] it is not being done in a creepy way, [as if there is some non-creepy way to eavesdrop on strangers]…

Remember, Google has a long history of complying with surveillance and other police-statery.

R.I.P. Margo St. James

A “Celebration of Margo’s Life”:

Margo St. James…fought for sex workers at a time when the mainstream U.S. feminist movement was hostile to them and leftist organizers mostly wanted to portray them as victims…St. James still helped position the sex worker rights movement as a broad and classical liberal battle for civil rights, sexual freedom, economic liberty, and bodily autonomy, while advancing the idea that decriminalization would be good for women and good for sex worker safety.  In May, a group of COYOTE’s 21st century descendants released a video memorial to St. James, who died in January 2021.  Celebration of Life for Margo St. James features archival footage, photos, and interviews plus new commentary on and paeans to her life and work from an international and intergenerational squad of admirers. You can find the whole thing at margostjames.com

The Course of a Disease (#1118)

When a politician does the right thing, it’s usually for the wrong reason:

Maine Gov. Janet Mills vetoed legislation that would have made the state the first in the nation to [impose Swedish-style]…criminaliz[ation because]…she wasn’t convinced that the bill [taught dirty whores a lesson and she shared her masturbatory fantasies about how]…the state is a trafficking hub where victims are recruited and sent to major cities…such as New York and Boston…

As usual, the ignorant fuckwads who infest US journalism swallowed prohibitionist vomit about the Swedish model being “partial decriminalization” instead of consulting actual experts on the subject.

Property of the State (#1149)

Women with young children should avoid Alabama if at all possible:

Erika…Prock’s husband was smoking a cigarette outside the[ir] car…[when] an [Alabama cop pretended he] smelled marijuana on his breath.  Todd Prock [foolishly] told police he had [legal] marijuana [from their home in Michigan] in the trunk of the car.  The…[pigs therefore] arrested both adults and [abducted] the[ir toddler]…Weeks [later] the…Prock[s]…were charged with felony chemical endangerment, a law originally [represented to useful idiots as necessary] to target parents whose children were near meth labs…Instead of returning to Michigan, Prock and her husband moved into a tent behind her in-laws’ trailer while they fight a[ccus]ations in [both] criminal and [so-called] family court.  Her child has been [given away to] an Alabama foster family…Alabama courts have ruled that drug use can’t be the sole reason for [abducting people’s] child[ren], but [that doesn’t stop cops and prosecutors from maliciously attempting to destroy their lives for months or years until a court finally dismisses the charges]…

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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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[Internet censorship] legislation…is not about protecting people.  –  Mariah Grant

Monsters

Violence against trans people is finally starting to get mainstream attention:

Police and LGBTQ+ groups in Charlotte [North Carolina]…say…an unknown person or…person[s] may be targeting transgender women with deadly violence…two…have been killed in recent days…the body of Jaida Peterson…[was found] in a hotel room…on Easter Sunday…the identity of the second person…[was] not immediately available…[but] both victims were shot to death in hotel rooms and…both were [trans] sex workers…

Welcome To Our World (#938)

Female victims of violence are increasingly treated like criminals:

Lawanna Belgard, of [Kansas was abducted by state-employed thugs and locked in a cage for]…a week…[because] prosecutors [knew] she didn’t want to be in court [and decided to force her]…a [so-called] victims advocate [who actually works for] the county attorney’s office…[made excuses for the violent abduction of an innocent person using]…the Sixth Amendment [as an excuse]…the…prosecutor [lied even more outrageously, referring to the violent abduction and caging of a traumatized woman as]…”safety measures to protect the witness”…According to…[actual victim advocates rather than state functionaries pretending to that title], stories like that of Belgard have a chilling effect on the abused — it makes it less likely that someone will report abuse and start a legal proceeding…

To Molest and Rape (#1048)

A murderer is also a rapist.  Gee, what a surprise:

…a [typical and representative cop murdered] three people…in…Austin [Texas last] Sunday…[murderer] Stephen Nicholas Broderick…is “armed and dangerous”…A $1,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to his arrest…Broderick…was initially [rewarded with a paid vacation last June for raping] a child…he…resigned from the sheriff’s office [a few days later and]…it is not known if th[e rape] is connected to [the murders other than being committed by the same psychopath]…

Social Distancing (#1063)

Pro-Swedish criminalization politicians will lose their shit over this:

A sex worker denied access to a government business loan because of her occupation is calling for a change in [anti-discrimination] law…Charlotte Edwards applied via Santander for the Bounce Back loan after being unable to work due to the pandemic…The escort’s request was initially declined due to the “nature” of her job but later approved after intervention from a group of MPs…Ms Edwards…said she had been an escort for more than five years, but Covid had prevented her working due to…travel restrictions…She was granted a mortgage payment holiday by her provider, but…had to “survive on Universal Credit” due to her working situation…she said…”I’m trying to have the [Equality Act of 2010] amended…[to include discrimination on the grounds of] occupation”…

The Course of a Disease (#1074)

Sociopaths claim this is what sex workers want:

…the coordinator of the Sex Workers Alliance of Ireland (SWAI)…Kate McGrew said the pandemic, coupled with the impact of the S[wedish criminalization imposed on them in] 2017, is making life very difficult for sex workers here.  Gardaí regularly [steal] condoms, lube and phones at premises from which they suspect sex work is taking place…This “disruption” model of policing has become “par for the course” in the last four years, she added…Very few buyers of sex have been prosecuted since then, but a number of women have been arrested and deported for [so-called] brothel-keeping offences…

Social Distancing (#1118)

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

While casinos and other businesses reopened after the…coronavirus shutdown…strip clubs have struggled under [puritanical] state rules that prohibit its core attraction — nude or topless women and lap dances.  Starting May 1, the state ban will be lifted…a Clark County “mitigation plan” would allow for topless dancers, [bu]t would still prohibit lap dances, as entertainers would have to maintain a 6-foot distance from patrons…Some strip clubs are open, operating mainly as bars and restaurants.  Dancers can work onstage but must wear bikinis or pasties [because everyone knows that nipples spray viruses over everything in the area]…

You Were Warned (#1125)

Hey lede writer, the word you’re looking for is “abolish”:

Supporters of the SAFE TECH Act want to further [undermine] Section 230, making companies responsible for policing user speech on online platforms…But sex workers and free speech advocates warn that eliminating these liability protections means greater censorship of online platforms as companies try to reduce the risk of landing in legal trouble as a result of third-party user content…sex worker[s]…could easily be sued for…content on websites, have to attend court, and pay for an attorney…digital rights advocates…[also] warn of broader free speech consequences if the bill were to pass…

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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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I really am sick to death of the current popular childish obsession with people’s genes and genitalia.  The majority of modern Westerners appear completely fixated in a kindergarten level of ad hominem; their default criticism of anyone is to use some obvious feature of a target as an insult, just as young children resort to “fatty”, “four-eyes”, etc.  Now, of course there have always been bigots and racists and bullies; the difference is that we’re going through one of the benighted periods of history in which that kind of nonsense is accepted as adult discourse, and dressed-up versions of “cooties” and “yo mama” are presented as the serious rhetoric of serious thinkers, even in academia.  Anyone who has given more than the most cursory consideration to sociology and psychology understands that small-minded people are often upset by the mere existence of others who are different from them, and that racism, sexism, prohibitionism, anti-queer bigotry and other forms of collectivist hatred are all noxious fruit of the same poison tree rooted in a very dark, primitive part of the brain.  The neurological “us vs. them” program may have helped our distant ancestors survive in lean times, but it is now dangerous evolutionary baggage which we should be incinerating rather than enshrining in law or embracing as some kind of intellectual profundity.  Pseudo-intellectualism of this sort is hardly unusual in decadent cultures, but that doesn’t mean I need to like it or accept it.  And as anyone familiar with my work already knows, I’m sure as hell not going to tolerate it in silence.

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They could give us condoms, but instead they offer us thoughts and prayers.  –  Thierry Schaffauser

Here We Go Again 

“Sex trafficking” propaganda has always been deeply racist:

There w[as] once [propaganda] that Chinese restaurants corrupted young, innocent women, leading them down a dark path of opium addiction and prostitution.  Several [prohibitionist organizations] spread this myth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries…the Boston Journal, November 1, 1903 [panted]…“The picture of a girl’s ruination through the medium of the Chinese restaurant is too horrible to depict…The Chinese restaurant is doubtless the most degrading phase of the great social evil…The suppression of the Chinese restaurant would mean the salvation of thousands of girls annually in America”…in January 1910,  [politician] John L. Donovan…filed a bill to prohibit women from entering Chinese restaurants unless they were over 21 years old and accompanied by a non-Chinese man…the bill was [of course] unconstitutional…[and] thus…rejected…but…[brought] forward once again [a year later with support from a prohibitionist]…doctor…William F. Boos[, who fantasized]…“More than 10% of the doctors of the United States, as well as many of their wives and many trained nurses, are addicted to the use of morphine, and numbers of Boston young women who patronize Chinese restaurants, because of a taste for chop suey and other characteristic Chinese dishes, end by becoming confirmed opium smokers in Chinese dives”…

Chop suey causes “sex trafficking”!

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Ever notice how often predatory cops’ targets are underage?

A Los Angeles [cop named]…Miguel Cabrera…met an[other cop fantasy role-playing]…as a 17-year-old girl on a mobile dating app [o]n…Oct. 21, 2019…Cabrera…[h]as [been] on [paid vacation for the past year]…

Deafening Silence (#427)

Commies are still enamored of the fantasy that sex work magically vanishes under communism:

…prostitution…was outlawed in…[East Germany], which referred to it as a “criminal refusal to take part in socialist life.” And to enforce the crackdown, the party looked to the Stasi, East Germany’s secret police force, which had 91,000 full-time staff and twice as many unofficial informants.  And yet…prostitution still existed…everywhere, all the time, with the knowledge, tacit agreement and even encouragement of the state and party leadership.  And as Axel Nixdorf reveals in his new documentary, Prostitution in the GDR: Socialism, Stasi, Sex, it not only brought in foreign currency, but also knowledge and power that could be used against individual citizens…certain hotels were an absolute market for sex — if you were paying with foreign currency, that is…In the harbor town of Rostock, the Free German Federation of Trade Unions ran the International Sailors’ Club, wh[ere]…only sailors with a valid shore pass — and women, of course — would be allowed entry to the establishment.  For Rostock historian Steffi Brüning, that is a clear sign that the state knew exactly what was going on at the club…

The Course of a Disease (#953)

Good long read on the havoc wrought by Swedish criminalization in France:

…[in] April 2016 [France imposed a prohibitionist regime based in Swedish criminalization, which]…is…why [Vanessa] Campos was working in a place where she could easily be killed…While sex work has taken place at the Bois de Boulogne for decades, it used to primarily occur on the outskirts of the woods –closer to other sex workers and roads full of light…When Campos died, many European countries paid attention to her murder.  France didn’t.  Despite the European sex worker community’s outrage and the clear line they drew between the law and her murder, only one French politician even bothered to comment…In the six months between June and December 2019 at least 10 sex workers were killed in France.  That’s double the already startling rate of one sex worker death per month that France had in 2014…the majority of France’s sex workers, multiple healthcare associations, and influential NGOs like Médecins du Monde [blame the law,] yet…the…official assessment of the legislation…[includes] not a single page…[on] how the law has affected sex workers at all…

Social Distancing (#1042)

Indian activists battle prohibitionism disguised as “public health”:

…the National Human Rights Commission [of India] has urged the government to recognise sex workers as informal sector workers and provide them access to welfare benefits.  The NHRC’s recommendation came in its “Advisory on Rights of Women” issued…as part of a series…in the wake of Covid-19…lockdown[s which]…led to a sudden loss of employment, particularly in the informal sector with no alternate sources of money, food or shelter and it has “disproportionately affected” women who comprise a substantial proportion of such workers…HIV positive sex workers are unable to access antiretroviral therapy…which are essential for their survival and many sex workers are outside the purview of government schemes as they lack identity documents…

Disqualified (#1077)

A look at Hacking/Hustling’s report on shadowbanning:

Shadowbans are complicated, in part because they don’t just impact marginalized users…the term itself gained mainstream prominence after President Donald Trump tweeted about it.  Nor are social media platforms transparent about their shadowbanning process, making it difficult to verify when a user is shadowbanned and when they aren’t.  So what are sex workers up against, and how are shadowbans impacting the American public at large?  The answer is as urgent as it is complex…

The Implosion Begins

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Gender-specific…violence is not an aberrant corner of law enforcement. It is…a cornerstone of police power.  –  Anne Gray Fischer

I Swear To God

Just in case you thought the US was the only country playing the compelled speech game:

A leading [Irish] sex workers rights group was told it could not access government funding unless it [pretend]ed that “prostitution is inherently exploitative of vulnerable people”.  Sex Workers Alliance Ireland enquired about emergency funding from the Department of Justice after it gave similar funding to the leading “End Demand” advocate organisation in Ireland…The group says “this culturally entrenched position” from the government has “no place in decision-making within the DoJ in regards to policy-making”…A spokesman for the Department of Justice…[responded by vomiting out a lot of nonsense about] “organised crime involved in human trafficking”…

Monsters

It’s good to see the real monsters caged for a change:

A court in El Salvador has sentenced three [typical & representative cops] to 20-year prison sentences for the murder of a transgender woman, the nation’s first convictions in a homicide case involving a trans victim…About 600 LGBT+ people have been murdered in El Salvador since 1993…[Camila] Diaz, a 29-year-old sex worker, had fled El Salvador for the United States following repeated threats on her life from a gang but was deported two years ago [due to racist, anti-sex US laws and violent Trump administration policies.  Then in January 2019]…the three [murder]ers…offered to give Diaz a ride home a[s a pretext to murder her.  They]…handcuffed [her] face-down in their p[igmobile, then]…severely beat…[her] and thr[ew her] out onto a highway…she…died three days later in a hospital…

Business As Usual (#767) 

It’s good to see this getting public attention again:

…Police sexual violence is hidden in plain sight…sexual violence…is endemic to law enforcement, and…women of color..,are especially vulnerable to it.  This violence is possible in part because of the extreme power disparity that exists between targeted women and police, which at once enables such violence and shields officers from consequences.  But police sexual violence is also possible because it is a legally sanctioned tactic of everyday policing.  Women’s bodies are the strategic terrain on which police gain evidence, secure informants, and impose their authority in the name of “public safety” and “border security.”  Indeed, rape is considered a legal and legitimate tool of law enforcement…undercover police routinely entrap women into engaging in sexual acts to gain “evidence” that they are doing sex work.  Because consent is obtained under false pretenses, this practice amounts to legal sexual assault…Sexual “contact” by police officers to enforce morals laws is legal in all fifty states; when lawmakers in Alaska tried to ban police sexual contact, the Anchorage Police Department quashed the bill.  How did we get to the point where sexual assault is considered valid, necessary police work?  The answer lies in the origin story of modern police, and specifically in the history of the discretionary enforcement of public order laws…

I Spy (#904)

When it comes to mass surveillance, fascism beats communism hands down:

…Anomaly Six LLC…founded by two U.S. military veterans with a background in intelligence, said in marketing material it is able to draw location data from more than 500 mobile applications, in part through its own software development kit, or SDK, that is embedded directly in some of the apps.  An SDK allows the company to obtain the phone’s location if consumers have allowed the app containing the software to access the phone’s GPS coordinates.  App publishers often allow third-party companies, for a fee, to insert SDKs into their apps.  The SDK maker then sells the consumer data harvested from the app, and the app publisher gets a chunk of revenue.  But consumers have no way to know whether SDKs are embedded in apps; most privacy policies don’t disclose that information…Anomaly Six is a federal contractor that provides global-location-data products to branches of the U.S. government and private-sector clients…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#911) 

COVID-19 is almost as versatile an excuse for tyranny as “sex trafficking” is:

…Citing the threat of COVID-19, [the Trump administration has] granted federal agents sweeping powers to almost immediately return anyone at the border, including infants as young as 8 months.  Children are typically entitled to special protections under the law…[but] the administration is not deporting children — a proceeding based on years of established law that requires a formal hearing in immigration court.  It is instead expelling them — without a judge’s ruling…[or] access to…lawyers, sometimes not even their family, while in U.S. custody.  The children are not even granted the primary registration number by which the Department of Homeland Security tracks all immigrants in its [custody], making it “virtually impossible” to find them…almost all children arriving at the border are being rapidly returned.  Between April and June, [CBP thugs and bureaucrats] encountered 3,379 unaccompanied minors at or between ports of entry.  Of those, just 162 were sent to federal shelters for immigrant children…Lisa Frydman…of…Kids in Need of Defense…[said,] “The rest are just gone”…Of the thousands of unaccompanied minors expelled under the health [pretext]…advocacy organizations said that they have only found about three dozen after months of searching across the United States, Mexico and Central America…the administration has detained at least [240] children in three Hampton Inn & Suites hotels in El Paso and McAllen, as well as Phoenix, before expelling them…Children reported being held for weeks…with little ability to reach anyone outside…

Blunt Instrument (#986)

It’s great to see Asian sex workers fighting back against the racist “sex trafficking” narrative:

…sex work can be a crucial source of income and, in some cases, startup capital, for those denied access to other options.  “I’ve seen a lot of former massage parlor workers start bakeries, laundromats, or new massage parlors of their own,” says [Kate] Zen, a former sex worker and co-founder and co-director of Red Canary Song, a collective of Chinese massage parlor workers in New York City that formed after massage parlor worker Yang Song died [because of] a police raid on a Flushing massage parlor in November 2017…It is the quintessential American story.  Immigrants arrive, often fleeing persecution or other injustice elsewhere.  They find a neighborhood that has at least some of the comforts of home — food, language, culture.  Maybe some family or friends who came before them.  They find work, even if it’s not necessarily the work they’d ever dreamed for themselves.  They save up, and some of them start their own businesses, pay their way through college or get certification for careers they were already trained for…But because of who they are and the kind of work they do, sex workers are seen as nuisances at best and easy targets at worst by those with more power and wealth in the city around them…

I Spy (#1057) 

Pigs are rooting around in people’s social media in order to destroy their lives:

…In early June…the City of Pittsburgh created [a new cop shop called] the Damage Assessment and Accountability Task Force [DAAT] to…charge…[as many] people [as possible with]…alleged crimes stemming from the protests.  The charges range from disorderly conduct and failure to disperse to burglary and [so-called] weapons of mass destruction [as though they had nukes or something]…In 21 cases, police used social media in combination with other forms of evidence….including…Analyzing Instagram profiles and Facebook livestreams…facial recognition…surveilling the home of a suspect’s girlfriend…surveillance cameras…[and] using [facial recognition based on] a statewide database of photos…including…driver’s license photos…

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Sex workers are not a thought experiment.  –  Kai Cheng

Monsters

Violence against trans people is getting mainstream attention:

The NYPD drone circling over the protest outside the Brooklyn Museum [on June 14th] must have only picked up a sea of white.  That’s the color protestors were asked to wear to rally and march silently in the wake of the deaths of Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Riah MiltonTony McDade, and countless other Black trans victims of police brutality and civilian violence.  The event featured speakers from the Okra Project, the Marsha P. Johnson InstituteFor the GworlsGLITS, and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts, as well as the family and loved ones of Layleen Polanco…Many of the people gathered had their own stories of police brutality to tell, but that didn’t stop them from showing up for the Black trans community…

Nothing To Be Proud Of

More queer sex workers are remembering that Pride commemorates a riot:

Sex work gave me a livelihood and autonomy…and…sex workers taught me resilience and self-worth.  Queer “community,” with its endless callouts and purity politics, has never come close to doing that…Maybe you came here expecting a congenial, well-reasoned article patiently defending the virtues of sex work as a profession and politely asking for solidarity.  This isn’t that article.  That article has already been written, several times, by several different authors.  That article should have changed all of your minds already about the fact that sex workers are human beings who deserve basic human rights, but apparently it didn’t, so here we are.  Still criminalized, still stigmatized, still by and large ignored by mainstream “LGBT community,” despite the fact that transfeminine sex workers such as Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are the reason that we have Pride in the first place.  People love the idea that sex workers need saving.  A lot of money, power, and attention goes into that idea – not to sex workers, but to our would-be saviors…In order to [really help], though, anti-sex work activists and police would have to actually care about sex workers’ actual lives, as opposed to their self-image as Real Life Heroes™ rescuing us from evil human traffickers…

Do Not Tolerate Domestic Violence

Government as domestic abuser is a very useful metaphor:

For ages the Democratic Party and its allies have been actively manipulating leftwardly-inclined Americans away from issues which might inconvenience the powerful — issues like economic justice, anti-imperialism, slashing the military budget, ending government surveillance and police militarization, and actually getting money out of politics…The powerful do not care if you have an abortion. They do not care how many bullets your gun can hold, they do not care if two guys get married or what gender pronouns you use, and they do not care if everyone is a racist or if no one is.  They care about maintaining and expanding their ability to exert control over other people…But…[now] people aren’t just out protesting racism, they’re calling for the complete dismantling of the entire police state…And the nice guy abusers are falling all over themselves to manipulate them back into their cage…Liberal narrative managers manipulated the people into understanding that they are only allowed to care about issues like sexism, LGBT rights, and racism.  The people responded by saying “Okay, well then we demand that you dismantle the entire police state because it is racist.”  Through all the confusion and fog of a lifetime of ingesting establishment propaganda, the people have still managed to find one solid strand of “no” that they know the nice guy abuser can’t actually forbid them from holding onto…

Quiet Genocide

Mainstream Western media are still largely ignoring China’s atrocities in Xinjiang:

…Formally an autonomous region of China, [Xinjiang] is today practically the largest internment camp in the world…Xi [Jinping] instructed the cadres of the Communist Party of China to “show absolutely no mercy” to its Uighur Muslim population.  The regime that now decries any allusion to the genesis of the coronavirus as bigoted then proceeded to describe Islam as a “virus”.  And its prescription for the eradication of this pathogen…was the swift “hospitalisation” of Muslims in indoctrination camps…up to 20 prisoners are packed into every cell.  Heads shaved, hands and feet bound at all times, they are permanently watched by cameras.  Their day begins at 6am and ends after midnight.  Their meals consist of gruel — except on Friday, the holiest day of the week for Muslims, when they are served pork, forbidden by Islam — and they are granted two minutes a day to relieve themselves in a communal bucket.  The remaining hours are devoted to the performance of rituals intended to purge them of their religious and ethnic identity.  They must master Mandarin, the language of their overlords; soak themselves in party propaganda; atone for who they are by confessing to their existence as a crime; and endlessly chant slogans pledging subservience to Han supremacy: I love China! Thank you, Communist Party! I love Xi Jinping!…Inmates are made to sit on chairs embedded with metal spikes, starved, and suspended from ceilings and flogged with electric truncheons; their fingernails are prised with pliers, their skin is pierced with needles, and their bodies are pumped with mysterious medicine.  “Good” behaviour cannot bring relief from this ordeal because it is impossible for the captives to know what defines “good” behaviour…All that stands between the inmates and the torture chamber is the mood of the prison guards…There is no emancipation even in death from the humiliations…in addition to destroying and disfiguring Muslim places of worship, [China] also razes their graves

Silver Lining

My answer to the titular question: “I certainly hope not”:

…the anti-trafficking community has been largely silent on the blossoming conversation on police brutality…While some organizations have put out blanket statements about Black Lives Matter and racism, these…have not addressed the field’s entrenchment with law enforcement, or the use of anti-trafficking to re-brand abusive police forces/tactics and expand the police statecan a field that relies on carceral penalties and approaches even be saved from its pro-police roots?  The history of the anti-trafficking field has revolved around the decision to take social justice problems and apply a criminal justice answer…This decision to…center…law enforcement and criminal justice-based interventions was concretized through legislation which incentivized joint approaches between service providers and law enforcement and primarily defined success as convictions…

Social Distancing (#1031)

The Japanese are much more sensible about sex than Americans:

…nightclubs across Japan are trying to come to terms with in the age of COVID-19, as they roll out a raft of anti-infection measures to shed their newfound notoriety as hotbeds for virus clusters.  The industry [was ready]…for the full lifting [last] Friday of Tokyo’s business closure requests, which…pave[d] the way for host clubs and hostess bars…to officially reopen for the first time in months.  In reality, a number of nightclubs had already resumed business to protect the livelihoods of employees.  But…many parlors [are now] taking a stab at the new safety guidelines issued by the government on how to coexist with the pandemic…

The Cop Myth (#1049)

A Reason interview with Reason alumnus Radley Balko:

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American policing is a thick blue tumor strangling the life from our communities.  –  A  Cab

Not for Any Reason Whatsoever

Do I really have to add, “Not because you saw a man painting his house”?

A San Francisco woman who questioned a man writing “Black Lives Matter” on his own home has apologised for…[trying to get him beaten, abducted or murdered by] calling the police on him…In the video, shot by James Juanillo on his phone, [Lisa] Alexander is seen asking Mr Juanillo, who is Filipino, whether he lives in the house, saying that he is defacing private property as he uses chalk to write words on his wall…[luckily for] Juanillo…the [cop who came]…recogni[zed him and declined to brutalize him]…

Monsters (#949)

In which yelling “stop faking!” is described as “trying to wake her”:

New footage outside the Rikers Island [solitary confinement] cell…where transgender woman Layleen…Polanco died last June reveals that guards tried to wake her for approximately an hour and a half before calling for…medical care that could have saved her life…after an epileptic seizure…

Fallen Idol (#976)

I suspect this isn’t going to end well:

Ginger Banks…who co-starred in the 2018 Evil Angel documentary-style feature Cam Girls, has filed a police report for “sexual battery” with the West Hollywood Police Department against company owner and director John Stagliano for an incident while they were shooting a scene for that project in February 2018…Banks [also] posted a series of videos on social media describing her frustration with “the lack of accountability” she felt the adult industry dispensed to powerful stakeholders like Stagliano…Banks [said] that the recent decision to file charges now stems from a realization that what had happened to her and her co-star, cam model Jenny Blighe, was indeed a reportable offense under California law…

Choke Point (#1013) 

More fascism in action; don’t say sex workers didn’t warn you:

Covid Bail Out NYC, a group raising funds to get people out of jails during the…pandemic, has a list of hundreds of people waiting to be bailed out.  But because of constant security freezes and transfer limits imposed by PayPal and its mobile payment service Venmo, the group is only able to bail out around five people— $20,000 worth of cash bail—per week…In response to the pandemic, several grassroots bail out organizations popped up, using community outreach, social media, and payment processing platforms like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App to raise funds quickly.  The crisis became even more urgent during the Black Lives Matter protests, as police a[bduc]ted and [cag]ed thousands of [citizens exercising their First Amendment rights] across the U.S…the…process starts to break down because of payment platform’s transfer limits…PayPal…users can transfer up to $60,000 a week, but may be limited to $10,000 in a single transaction …But unusual activity—like a mutual aid fund going viral on Twitter and having its account flooded with donations, for example—could trip PayPal’s fraud monitoring service.  Those holds can stay…for weeks…[while] PayPal [continues to collect interest on the balance]…

Social Distancing (#1042)

At their core, the Netherlands are still prohibitionist:

…Like other freelancers [Jeanet] applied for emergency government funding but…has not…received a penny,  [so she] works illegally as an escort…from home, usually with clients she has known for a long time. “I do not take too many customers, for safety reasons,” she says. But, even with the infectious disease spreading, there are still plenty of customers who are willing to pay for her services…Sex workers in the Netherlands have been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic…[because] the government has [declared them “nonessential“, so many must]…work…illegally…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1048)

Oh look, Microsoft also wants to have its cake and eat it too:

Microsoft CEO Brad Smith declared during an online Washington Post event…that his company “will not sell facial-recognition technology to police departments in the United States until we have a national law in place…that will [allow us to pretend we aren’t evil for developing] this technology.”  This follows Amazon’s announcement…that it is implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of the company’s …facial recognition platform…These moves follow IBM CEO Arvind Krishna’s letter to Congress announcing that his company is getting out the facial recognition business…The digital rights group Fight for the Future has issued a statement calling Amazon and Microsoft’s moves “essentially a public relations stunt.”  The companies’ researchers will “spend the next year ‘improving’ the accuracy of their facial recognition algorithms, making it even more effective as an Orwellian surveillance tool…The reality is that facial recognition technology is too dangerous to be used at all…Congress should act immediately to ban facial recognition for all surveillance purposes”…

The Cop Myth (#1048)

Will you believe that there’s no such thing as a good cop if a cop tells you so?

I was a police officer for nearly ten years and I was a bastard.  We all were…It’s a time in my life I’m ashamed of.  It’s a time that I hurt people and, through inaction, allowed others to be hurt…Under the guise of public safety, I personally ruined people’s lives but in so doing, made the public no safer…so did the family members and close friends of mine who also bore the badge alongside me.  But enough is enough.  The reforms aren’t working. Incrementalism isn’t happening.  Unarmed Black, indigenous, and people of color are being killed by cops in the streets and the police are savagely attacking the people protesting these murders…

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Curfew and quarantine enforcement inevitably mean new opportunities for police overreach, profiling, and violence.  –  Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Above the Law 

Even rent-a-cops feel entitled to rape sex workers:

A hospital security guard has been jailed for 14 years for the rape and violent assault of two sex workers…one of the victims was forced to jump naked from a window to get away from Noel McKeon…as he tried to stab her. The attacks, on June 18, 2016 and on February 2, 2018, both took place after McKeon contacted the two women [for outcall]…

Monsters

What a sick, sorry waste:

Timothy Blancher, 20, Alunte Davis, 21, and Paris Cameron, 20, all attended a party with a 19-year-old man they met at a gas station in Detroit.  Hours after he left the group, Devon Robinson, 19, burst into the house wearing a masked and…gunn[ed] the three…down…Jurors found Robinson guilty Tuesday of the May 25, 2019, murders…committed…to cover up…that he had engaged in sex…with the three victims…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#802) 

Predictable in the current Neo-Victorian climate:

Playboy has announced that it’s closing down its flagship magazine for the rest of 2020.  It seems unlikely, given the wording of the announcement and the state of print magazine-making, that it will ever return.  It’s not a surprise, exactly — its circulation and advertising drooped long ago, accelerating as the nudie pictures for which it was celebrated became available everywhere for free…

The Widening Gyre (#866)

This won’t end until it starts inconveniencing the wealthy & well-connected:

…Oprah Winfrey’s name…trend[ed on Twitter after]…a series of tweets…alleged that the celebrity’s Florida home had been raided by police, who were “digging up the tunnels” there in connection with an alleged sex trafficking ring.  (…Oprah has no home in Florida)…the tweets put forth theories:  some noting the friendship Oprah enjoyed with Harvey Weinstein, others suggesting the novel coronavirus epidemic was somehow engineered to shift the spotlight away from the arrest of celebrities involved in the alleged ring…includ[ing] Tom Hanks and Justin Trudeau…

Wise Investment (#920)

Sex workers, clients & everyone else harmed by “prostitution stings” needs to keep suing over them:

From January through March [of last year], at least four men responded to online ads f[rom a pervert cop fantasy role-playing as] a [sex worker] named “Brittany” who…asked each of the four men to meet [him] at a hotel, but first to stop at a gas station before to buy [him] a treat such as a candy bar or a can of pop…Cases against them were dismissed, first by a district court, and then by a three-judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals…[because] the [prosecutor] charged the[m]…with…soliciting prostitution….[which] has to come in a “public place”…cops and…prosectors…didn’t prove any of these men was in [public] when they texted [the masturbating cop.  Though]…the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office [vomited a lot of disgusting nonsense about]…human-trafficking…[all over the court, it still]…rul[ed that]…there’s no evidence indicating [the cop was fantasizing he] was underage, or a victim of trafficking, [while msturbating, and] the…language on gross misdemeanor solicitation is plain, and applies only to “public” acts…

You Were Warned

A reminder of what the government is trying to take away from you:

It’s almost hard to believe now, but there was time when Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of “participatory media” were widely heralded as great gifts to public perception and global democracy.  For going on nearly half a decade now, the tone on tech companies and social media has shifted to one of suspicion, hostility, grievance, and moral panic.  But as COVID-19 continues to spread around the world and as many governments continue to mishandle things, people are starting to remember why the platforms we love to hate are important after all…Social media have also been providing news from early outbreak zones across the globe, as users widely disseminate stories from foreign news outlets, statements from foreign leaders, and first-hand accounts from residents of affected areas abroad.  These snapshots helped give Americans a better sense of the scope of the threat posed by COVID-19 at a time when the messages coming from official channels were conflicting and confusing…

Social Distancing

As always, sex workers demonstrate our adaptability:

Portland will not go without its strippers, even during a…pandemic.  Lucky Devil Lounge is bringing its dancers to your door with a new food delivery service it’s calling—wait for it—”Boober Eats”.  “I originally did it at first as a joke,” says club owner Shon Boulden, “and it got 150 shares on Facebook—like nothing we’ve ever had before.  So I was like, ‘Well shit, why don’t we just try to do this?'”  Lucky Devil has a full food menu and non-alcoholic drinks, like ginger beer and Red Bull, available for delivery.  The process is similar to many the home drop-off systems that have sprung up overnight as a way for restaurants and breweries to continue operating…Simply peruse the menu online, give the business a call and place your order….[but] instead of being greeted a harried driver in jeans and a hoodie, your meal is hand-delivered by two dancers.  “They’ll wear pasties and booty shorts, drop off the food, dance for a second and then we’ll move along,” Boulden says.  “We’ll still stay a reasonable distance back.  They have Lysol as well”…the strippers will also pose for photos…

Meanwhile, in porn:

Free Speech Coalition…called for a voluntary shutdown of all adult entertainment productions in the United States and Canada through Tuesday, March 31…”we ask that producers cancel all shoots through March 31, and recommend that performers immediately stop filming with partners who are not a part of their household”…

The Public Eye (#1022)

Prohibitionist whining is becoming increasingly desperate:

The MTA [was paid to] display…a series of advertisements promoting a “Sex Workers Pop-up” exhibit…[prohibitionists moronically labeled the text-only ads]…“sexually oriented” [even though they merely advertised an art exhibit]…and [bloviated a lot of their usual puritanical idiocy about how consensual sex is]…inherently harmful.  The pastel pink promotions, up since early March on subway lines across the five boroughs, was bankrolled by George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and invites commuters to a West Village “exhibit dedicated to the global sex worker movement”…

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