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Posts Tagged ‘The Implosion Begins’

Coming together, even in private, is a radical, resistant, and dangerous act for [those] whose very identities are criminalised.  –  Erin Kilbride

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

The story is the same the world over:

Sex worker activists are among the most at risk defenders of human rights in the world, facing multiple threats and violent attacks…research…published…by…Front Line Defenders…found that their visibility as sex workers who are advocates for their communities’ rights makes them more vulnerable to the violations routinely suffered by sex workers.  In addition, they face unique, targeted abuse for their human rights work.  Drawing on the experience of 300 individuals in Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, El Salvador and Myanmar, the report focuses on cases of sexual assault, threats from managers and clients, [and police] raids…physical attacks and…surveillance…

Torture Chamber 

A “mistake” during “correction”.  This is not reformable:

A man was brutally beaten by [violently-deranged thugs] and denied medical treatment at the Valencia County [New Mexico] jail…Marvin Silva…was…naked in a holding c[age]…when a [screw rolled up and vomited out the magic word “]contraband[” at Silva’s dentures, thus giving a gang of dangerous cretins an excuse to]…beat Silva…[their cronies pretending to be] medical personnel [then] denied Silva’s [obvious need] for medical care before he was [thrown out] to walk 5 miles toward home…[with] fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, [and] injuries to the spleen…head, neck and abdomen…

Banishment (#848)

How a country treats its prisoners reveals a great deal about it:

For many men…co[nvicted]…of…[so-called] sex offenses in Texas, their prison term never really ends…because they’re [condemned to a different prison pretended to be] a…mental health facility…Civil commitment is the practice of [warehous]ing people…[for years or decades] past their release date, on the [pretense] that they are so dangerous they need therapy…Of course…if the state really…wanted them to have treatment and counseling, they had…20 to 25 years…in an ordinary prison before being civilly committed…For their first year or two…the men are required to wear electronic ankle monitors that they have to pay for…The…only…way…out…[is to] work their way up through four tiers of [shaming and humiliation mislabeled as] treatment…they have to keep a masturbation log…[includ]ing…what they’re masturbating about…so [a so-called therapist can arbitrarily declare] it…deviant…the prison also employs polygraphs and penile plethysmography…When an inmate moves up a tier, which can take a year, he can find himself demoted for [arbitrar]y reasons…One man who had…made it through all four tiers was finally about to get his release hearing.  But…a [screw vindictively] knocked [him] back down to tier 1…He went to his cell and hanged himself…Another man…[treated similarly] castrated himself…Until recently, inmates also had to pay a 33 percent tax on any packages they got, further isolating them from any support system they might have on the outside…

Shame, Shame (#951)

In which a bluenose describes cartoon nudity as “horrifying”:

…a new…website…boasts that it developed…image translation algorithms to “nudify” female bodies, and that the technology is so powerful there is not a woman in the world, regardless of race or nationality, who is safe from being “nudified.”  But it doesn’t work on men…the results are strikingly realistic, often bearing no glitches or visual clues that the photos are deepfakes…The [hysterical reactions of prudes] lays bare the grim and increasingly dangerous reality [that censorship is becoming increasingly popular among sheltered ninnies who can’t conceive of a more harmful use for]…powerful deepfake tools…[than realistic porn cartoons, such as cops manufacturing evidence to frame innocent people and/or excuse brutality and murder]…

The solution to this problem isn’t increasing the censorship powers of the already-bloated police state, as these rabid pearl-clutchers are demanding; it’s fighting the idea that a woman’s body is something to be ashamed of.  But good luck explaining that to people who actually think fake nude pictures are worse than totalitarianism.

Elephant in the Parlor (#1078)

People keep pretending “politician hires whores” is something more than a yawn:

Hunter Biden claimed…to [have]…lost a total of three computers – the first abandoned at a Delaware computer store and the second seized by federal agents –  each likely to hold…embarrassing pictures, videos and communications…The third laptop…was taken by Russian drug dealers after they partied with [him] in Vegas, he told a prostitute in a conversation caught on camera.  After filming himself having sex with the woman using his laptop in January 2019, Hunter left the camera rolling as he recounted [the] Vegas bender…

The Implosion Begins (#1091)

Everyone who spread “sex trafficking” hysteria contributed to this atrocity:

Matthew Taylor Coleman…kill[ed] his young children…after he said he became “enlightened” by [“sex trafficking” propaganda of the]…QAnon [branch]…Coleman’s…3-year-old son, Kaleo, was found stabbed 17 times at a ranch in Baja California…[his] 10-month-old daughter, Roxy, was stabbed 12 times…Coleman told investigators he used a spear-fishing gun to shoot and kill his children and then moved the spear…stabbing them with it…[because] “he believed his children were going to grow into monsters so he had to kill them…[he] was receiving visions and signs revealing that his wife…possessed serpent DNA and had passed it onto his children…he…knew it was wrong, but it was the only…course of action that would save the world”…The QAnon movement evolved out of [the “sex trafficking” hysteria intentionally spread by governments, police agencies, news media and “rescue industry” profiteers for the past 18 years]…

The Next Target (#1160)

It was only a matter of time before “sex trafficking” fetishists extended their pet fantasy to OnlyFans:

…Ann Wagner…the religious-right [politician]…who was the original drafter of FOSTA-SESTA, has released a letter to the Justice Department asking for an investigation into OnlyFans, claiming — without…any…evidence [whatsoever] — that the platform has “become a major marketplace for buying and selling Child Sexual Abuse Material…in the United States, as well as soliciting sexual activity with minors.”  Wagner also penned an editorial for congressional news site Roll Call stating her [ill-informed] opinion that all “sex work” (her quotation marks) is “illegal”…Wagner also [fantasized about]…the impact of FOSTA-SESTA…[whose] impact on human trafficking investigations has also been demonstrably the exact opposite of what Wagner claims

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There’s a lot of emphasis on the sex part of the sex industry rather than the trade part of it.  –  Catherine Stephens

The More the Better

Anything that helps demystify sex work is a good thing:

…sex sells and where there’s a juicy, marketable topic, the novelists will follow.  The compulsion to set stories in an “edgy” setting guarantees a constant stream of questionable fiction about sex work.  Sex workers appear only when they are dead; sex workers are ludicrously happy; sex workers are powerless victims.  Sex work is flattened into stereotypes or laughably misrepresented; sex work is stripped of all political context, erasing the real-life battles we fight over policing and legislation.  [In] my novel, The Service, I tried to give readers a glimpse of the wildly different ways in which we work.  I wanted to write a book about the mundanity of prostitution, the boredom and practicalities…If readers take anything from The Service, I hope it’s that sex work has as many meanings as there are sex workers…

The Enlightenment Police (#884)

The European Court of Human Rights just keeps kissing racists’ arses:

Businesses can sack Muslim women wearing the hijab headscarf if they work face-to-face with customers or if [other employees are racist shitheads who whine to the boss], the EU’s highest court has ruled.  The decision…w[ill encourage thuggery] at a time when [European] countries, such as France, are [wallowing in racism under the pretext of “]combat[ting] extremism[“]…

Working From Home (#1079)

The biggest problem with working through someone else’s platform:

[When] users…viewing their content then get…refunds via fraudulent chargebacks…[it is] the creator, not OnlyFans, [who] is [forced] to reimburse the money…despite the scammer already having accessed their content…OnlyFans [seem to feel it’s enough that] a User can only chargeback once and then they are blocked from the platform…

When I had my escort service, we had a separate “NO REFUNDS” form on which the girl entered the client’s driver’s license and required his signature; if he attempted a chargeback, sending a copy of the form to the credit card company would stop that shit.  It seems there should be some analogous practice for online porn purchases.

I Spy (#1098)

Anyone who doubts that politicians are deranged megalomaniacs should be following this:

…during a…late-night session, the European Parliament approved…a…set of “chat control” measures making it legal for internet companies to scan all private messages by users if they [pretend] they are looking for Child [porn]…EU [politician] Birgit Sippel described the measures as “a compromise between [government’s desire to pry into every single aspect of human existence] and protecting users’ privacy”…[but] did not specify what part of this “compromise” does anything to protect users’ privacy…Patrick Breyer, whose Pirate Party led the opposition to the measures, [said] that “chat control will allow email, messaging and chat providers to indiscriminately search your private messages for allegedly illegal material and report to the police, using error-prone algorithms”…

A Broker in Pillage (#1101)

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

…Maine repealed its civil forfeiture laws [last week]…join[ing] Nebraska, New Mexico, and North Carolina as the fourth state t[o end]…one of the most serious assaults on due process and private property rights in America today…the bill…only [allows the state to steal property without prior conviction] in a few narrow [circumstances]…death, deportation, or if the defendant fled or abandoned the property…Just as critically, LD 1521 closes the “equitable sharing” loophole.  Through this program, state and local police collaborate with a federal agency or joint task force, and outsource forfeiture litigation to federal prosecutors [in return for] 80 percent of the [loot]..

The Implosion Begins (#1145)

I’m really enjoying US newsmedia’s panic over the natural, predictable development of the hysteria they profited from for two decades:

In the wake of Donald Trump’s 2020 election defeat and the disappearance of the anonymous online account “Q” that once served as QAnon’s inspiration, many people who spout QAnon’s [version of the popular “sex trafficking” mythology] have hatched a new plan: run for school board or local office, spread the gospel of Q, but don’t call it QAnon….In June, the [NEA whined]…that “[Trump]ists and [others who adopted our favorite hysteria] are winning local elections.  And their new positions give them a powerful voice in everything from local law enforcement to libraries, trash pickup to textbook purchases [just like every other politician].”  These moves signal an important evolution for the QAnon [develop]ment…[of fantasies about] societal conspiracies of child abuse [which have been popular with politicians, cops, and the news media since the beginning of the century]…

To Molest and Rape (#1149)

Notice how often predatory cops’ victims are underage?

A [typical and representative] Florida [cop] has been sentenced to serve ten years in prison…[for] forcing two teenagers…to remove all their clothes and then run naked in front of him…Michael Martinez…was[n’t even] fired [until a] year after the [crime]…in August 2016.  Martinez [had] pulled over [his victims using the pretext of] a traffic stop…[and used their] alcohol and marijuana [to threaten them, even trying to get]…a hand job from…[the female victim, Remy] Riley…

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All moral panics blend real societal problems with the cartoon version.  –  Michael Hobbes

The Widening Gyre (#792) 

Trying to prop up the “Facebook pimps” myth with bogus “studies”:

…re[scue industry profiteers pompously branding themselves]…the Human Trafficking Institute [claimed] “The internet has become the dominant tool that traffickers use to recruit victims, and…Facebook overwhelmingly is used by traffickers to recruit victims”…[a bogus government] report showed that 30 percent of all victims identified in federal sex trafficking cases in the past two decades – since 2000 – were recruited online…and 65 percent of identified child sex trafficking victims recruited on social media were recruited through Facebook…

Blunt Instrument (#998)

The government’s latest sleazy trick: attacking with civil suits rather than criminal charges, because the burden of proof is reversed:

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has filed a civil lawsuit against an [Asian] massage business…in St. Louis County.  The lawsuit [is based in the “evidence” that] Royal Day Spa…has its front windows covered and that it’s open late…[cops made pretextual] traffic stops…[of] three [men, threatening them with nuisance charges to get them to parrot] Schmitt’s [racist claims]…about the…Spa.  Schmitt [masturbated furiously while vomiting out moronic phrases such as]…dark underworld…modern-day slavery…and…human trafficking in illicit massage businesses…[he also shared his shockingly-racist sex fantasies about how all Asian women are stupid and ignorant and need white men to “rescue” and deport them]…

The End of the Beginning (#1015) 

Maybe we’re about to witness the beginning of the end of these evil laws:

The S.C. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled the state’s lifetime sex offender registration requirement is unconstitutional and people who demonstrate a low risk of reoffending should be able to petition a judge to have their names purged…[until now] South Carolina [has] provide[d victims ofthe law]…no recourse to seek relief from a judge…Brooke Burris…a…Human Trafficking [fetishist, vomited out a lot of ugly nonsense about the so-called]…victims [of public urination or consensual teen sex]…

A Broker in Pillage (#1038)

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

In February…almost eight years after the state of Indiana s[tole] Tyson Timbs’ brand-new Land Rover over a drug crime, prosecutors argued that…the government should…be free to take everything you’re worth.  [Last week], the state’s highest court categorically rejected that…Chief Justice Loretta Rush likened the government’s chutzpah to “Captain Ahab’s chase of the white whale Moby Dick”…[But] Indiana p[oliticians haven’t yet learned their lesson]…also in February…the Indiana Senate passed a bill to [rob] people [cops accuse] of [attending] “unlawful”…protests…

The Implosion Begins (#1075)

I did not foresee that the “sex trafficking” moral panic would implode in such a spectacular and entertaining fashion:

…the women who share…pastel, mom-washed #savethechildren posts [don’t c]are that they [a]re spreading Q propaganda…The statistics [they] share…have been repeatedly and publicly debunked by NGOs…[and] researchers…But [they think that]…doesn’t matter…They [also follow]…Tim Ballard…of the Utah…rescue [industry] group Operation Underground Railroad…[who] has [prom]oted…the child sex trafficking panic [even in its most unhinged aspects].  As the Wayfair h[ysteria] took off [last] July, he released a video…claiming that “children are sold that way” and that “law enforcement will get to the bottom of it.”  Since then, the organization has publicly [distanced itself from] QAnon…But, at the time, Ballard [continues to claim] child sex trafficking is a growing global crisis…

See also “Served Cold” below.

The Cop Myth (#1118)

If they actually punished wife-beating cops, they’d lose half of them:

A Garda…sexual assault[ed his girlfriend], threaten[ed] to kill [her] and [exercised] coercive control…in a “grand scheme” to control her life…He was charged with 35 offences…includ[ing] four counts of assault…two [of] sexual assault…10 [of] criminal damage…a threat to kill, endangerment of life, four thefts, coercion…[and] harassment…the woman…was punched in the face, grabbed by the neck, held against the floor and…choke[d]…he pulled her hair out by the roots and kicked her on the ground…the…harassment…[included] 65,000 phone messages…a number of [which included] a threat to kill…her…

Served Cold (#1138) 

The schadenfreude is so very sweet:

[Prohibitionist actor] Jim Caviezel appeared [at a conference] in Oklahoma…to promote his newest role, in which he plays Tim Ballard, the founder…of the [rescue industry] group Operation Underground Railroad, [with “sex trafficking” fetishist Mira Sorvino as his wife]…there…he…[also] promoted…the…QAnon [branch]…of [“sex trafficking” hysteria, which]…was awkward at best for OUR, which has spent the better part of a year insisting that it…is not affiliated with…QAnon…[despite] Ballard…[himself endorsing the belief last summer]…After years of success…OUR[‘s]…carefully-crafted image is coming undone…several people have been interviewed about their dealings with OUR not just by [a Utah prosecutor], but by the FBI…IRS and Homeland Security…among the matters being looked into are whether OUR operators have [raped people they branded] human trafficking victims…and whether OUR has committed human trafficking itself…

QAnon weirdness is not especially extreme from an organization which gets “tips” from psychics and has claimed that “pimps” use magic padlocks to trap doll-like girls in cages.

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Things may get a lot worse before they get better.  –  “NYE 2018

It has been nine years since I first predicted how the “sex trafficking” mythology would implode, and though I was correct in general I underestimated how hard the government and fascist profiteers would work to extend it, resulting in my prediction being too optimistic by about three or four years.  Government funding for anti-sex hate groups is still flowing like a river of toxic vomit despite most people having found a new topic to panic about, but the “true believers” have expanded the core myth cycle to include even more bizarre elements (including techno-vampirism and colonies on Mars) that apparently are too much for the same outlets that breathlessly parroted wild sexual fantasies about millions of pubescent girl chained to radiators while being raped 100 times a day.  Even the paper that launched the panic in 2004, and has invested tremendous amounts of ink in promoting it for the past two decades, was forced to debunk its own lies when the newest version of its favorite fantasy featured unauthorized lies about its favorite politicians instead of only Times-approved lies about the demimonde.  But the prohibitionists who infest the Times are losing their shit just as much as their collaborators in the hate groups and pro-censorship cults, so it isn’t surprising that, even in the face of decaying political and popular support for its anti-sex jihad, the Times unleashed its favorite writer of hebephilic torture porn in order to embarass the hypocritical prudes in the payment processing industry to performatively cut off the income of thousands of homebound sex workers, immediately before Christmas, in a pandemic (for The Children™, natch).  This is what the end of a hysteria that government has found useful looks like; as I predicted eight years ago, it’s neither pretty nor neat:

I [once] referred to the “trafficking” myth as “an increasingly-erratic cultural meme spinning wildly out of control, whose far-flung debris is going to cause a lot more damage before it finally disintegrates”, and now that it has entered this last and most dangerous phase we should expect to see a lot more people hurt even as ever-larger numbers of people speak out against it ever more vocally.  Because it’s a useful tool of social control and a versatile excuse for tyranny, governments (especially the US government) will work hard and invest huge sums to continue the panic well beyond the time when it would have died naturally; that, however, can only work for so long, and once the edifice of prohibition starts to collapse the US will no more be able to halt the process than the communists could stop the destruction of the Berlin Wall…

If you’re one of the many sex workers who has been harmed by this censorship crusade, the news that the proximate cause of your suffering is that we’re nearing the end of the hysteria is probably not much comfort.  Nor will the words of Nicholas Klein, frequently misquoted and misattributed to Gandhi:  “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.”  But the words are indeed true:  the tyrants never fight harder than when they know they’re losing, in order to destroy the lives of as many of their chosen victims as possible while they still can.

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Criminalizing fiction is thoughtcrime.  –  Prostasia

Thought Control 

Imagine your home being fired upon and a heavily armed SWAT team busting through your front door, all so that the government can stop people from reading fiction.  It sounds like a scenario from a dystopian novel, but this really happened on November 7, 2019, when FBI agents raided the home of Thomas Arthur, the administrator of an erotic fiction archive, charging him with obscenity-related crimes.  His trial will be an important test case, which will determine whether the government is entitled to do this.  Prostasia Foundation is assisting in the defense, by arranging for an art censorship expert to testify as a witness. But we need your help to cover their costs…The prosecution of Mr Arthur for hosting text-only stories is outrageous, and it cannot be allowed to succeed…

Under Every Bed 

This regurgitation of debunked nonsense is pathetic even by cop standards:

A girl sitting…in a car…might be a sign of human trafficking…[cops & prosecutors stroking themselves]…100,000 and 300,000 children in the United States are victims of…sex trafficking each year…[the Shahada]…[more cops & prosecutors stroking themselves]…proactive …underage girls or boys prostituted in the illegal commercial sex industry…The handlers of these [inanimate] victims move them around a lot…brainwashed, emotionally controlled…conditioned to protect that pimp…”they don’t know they need rescued [sic]”…the victim runs away from that safe place…Children…18 or older…One in six runaways are sex trafficking victims…the average age of death is 34…”we’re on I-65″…100 percent genuine victims…

Guinea Pigs

To flush civil rights, just apply a label like “prostitute” or “gang member”:

…Salt Lake City…District Attorney Sim Gill [pre]tends that, because…he [chose to charge] protesters…[as] a group…their…charges are subject to a “gang” enhancement.  One of those protesters, Madalena McNeil, is accused of buying red paint that was splashed on the outside of Gill’s office building…police…subpoenaed McNeil’s Venmo account and filed an affidavit targeting state [politician] Derek Kitchen—who did not attend the protest in question—over a $10 Venmo payment with the caption “paint” the previous month…experts suggest…this…saga [h]as [become] a caricature of law-enforcement overkill…

The original story was included in Links #528.

Rooted in Racism (#966)

The racism of European “anti-trafficking” schemes is getting harder to disguise:

…[In the first weeks of November] more than 100 people [died] at sea in four separate shipwrecks within less than 72 hours [while]…six NGO rescue ships remain blocked in port by…European authorities…Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, [Medecins Sans Frontieres’] Humanitarian Affairs Advisor [said]…“For European governments…to say they are saddened by this horrendous loss of life is hypocritical at best,…They need to stop with the double-speak and admit their responsibility:  shipwrecks like this are the direct outcome of their approach to migration.”  Nearly 700 people have died in their attempt to escape Libya across the central Mediterranean during 2020, and…rather than meeting their international and maritime obligations to assist those in distress at sea, European states have chosen to further decimate search and rescue capacity…European states must stop blaming this loss of life…on [so-called] traffickers.  They must instead accept that the mass loss of life in these incidents are the human collateral of their own calculated and political decision-making…

A Broker in Pillage (#1062)

A good argument for refusing to roll over and let yourself be robbed:

The…DEA…will return more than $43,000 it seized from a Tampa woman at an airport after she joined a class-action lawsuit challenging the agency’s practice of [robbing people] using civil asset forfeiture…The DEA seized $43,167 from Stacy Jones last May as she was trying to fly home to Tampa, Florida, from Wilmington, North Carolina…the cash was from the sale of a used car, as well as money she and her husband intended to take to a casino.  Jones is now a named plaintiff in a class-action civil rights lawsuit filed in January by the Institute for Justice…Although it is legal to fly domestically with large amounts of undeclared cash, the…DEA and…TSA…have a practice or policy of s[teal]ing currency from travelers at U.S. airports without probable cause simply if the dollar amount is greater than $5,000…

The Implosion Begins (#1069)

The moral panic continues to spin wildly out of control:

An Oklahoma man accused of killing his girlfriend’s 10-month-old infant has repeatedly made Facebook posts in support of the…QAnon [variant of “sex trafficking” hysteria]…Joshua Jennings…was arrested…on charges of first-degree murder…

Tissue of Lies (#1087)

Cops all over the US are trying to shore up the dying “sex trafficking” mythology by combining arrests of sex workers and clients and pretending they’re related:

Tallahassee police wrapped…two-year[s worth of small]-scale…prostitution a[rrests together and called it a]…human trafficking…investigation…[cops claim they] saw images of a child posted on a [sex work ad] website…[and yet only adults were] arrest[ed]…106 were charged with felonies [such as “pimping”] and 72…were charged with misdemeanors…

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McCain and her ilk…never let facts get in the way of a good moral panic.  –  Julianna Piccillo

So Close and Yet So Far

Yes, sex workers are more likely to experience violence and coercion under Swedish criminalization than under most legalization regimes, including the British model which was used in Northern Ireland until the Swedish model was imposed there.  However, these sex workers are still adults and still capable of adult decision-making; they are not “children”, “victims”, “slaves” or whatever other fashionable dysphemim one cares to apply to them without their consent.  So if you’re a reporter who thinks you’re “helping” sex workers by calling attention to this increased violence, yet insist on calling their work “modern slavery”, I suggest you find something different to write about.

Honored in the Breach

A reminder that you shouldn’t let anyone shame you for refusing to vote:

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#911) 

Remember, this isn’t “human trafficking”, but consensual sex is:

Lawyers appointed by a federal judge to identify migrant families who were separated by the Trump administration say they have yet to track down the parents of 545 children, and that approximately two-thirds of those parents were deported to Central America without their children…Unlike the 2,800 families separated under [Trump’s] zero tolerance [policy] in 2018, most of whom remained in c[ages] when zero tolerance was ended…many of the more than 1,000 parents separated from their children under the [2017] pilot program had already been deported before a federal judge in California ordered they be found…

The Implosion Begins

The schadenfreude is so sweet, it almost hurts my teeth:

The Arizona…Republic‘s scribes outdid themselves recently in a piece comparing [“Cuckoo Clock” McCain]’s many years of peddling the moral panic of sex trafficking, to the…[fantasy] known as QAnon, which posits that a worldwide ring of Democratic elites sells minors for sex while feasting on the flesh of infants and undermining the presidency of Donald J. Trump.  Due to the rise of QAnon…anti-trafficking [profiteers] worry…there will be less [money to] support…the [rescue industry]…In other words, it’s a turf war, with all these unwashed newbies attempting to usurp the anti-trafficking throne currently inhabited by the widow of the late warmonger, Senator John McCain…the McCain Institute issued a statement condemning QAnon, while Cindy McCain took QAnon to task on Twitter for its “lies”…Talk about projection.  Aided and abetted, time and again, by mainstream news outlets, Cindy McCain has spread dangerous misinformation and myths about sex trafficking, citing debunked statistics, prevaricating about her own experiences, and falling back on racist tropes — all in a narcissistic bid to maintain her media profile…

Torture Chamber (#1066)

“Detention center” is just another euphemism for “prison”, and that means rape:

…since 2017, at least 265 calls…have reported violence and abuse inside California’s four…federal detention centers…Half [reported] sex crimes, including rape, sexual assault and abuse against detainees.  The rest were to report assault, battery and other threats of violence against [prisoners, mostly by] staff.  In only three cases…[was] a suspect…charged…and…[only] one…is pending.  [Since] prosecutors [a]re…[un]likely to pursue cases…what [has] emerged is…a system in which violence can be perpetuated against [prisoners] with impunity, [especially] by…[screws.  Prisoners a]re banned from calling 911…and forced to rely on [screws] to report a[ttacks by other screws]…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1066)

Turning the police state’s own weapons against it:

…[because cops sent to suppress protests] are…tap[ing] over their name[s]…individuals…are…researching how to build a facial recognition product that could defeat [cop]s’ attempts to [hide] their identity…The authorities targeted so far have not been pleased.  The New York Times reported in July 2019 that Colin Cheung, a protester in Hong Kong, had developed a tool to identify [cops] using online photos of them.  After he posted a video about the project on Facebook, he was arrested…This month, the artist Paolo Cirio published photos of 4,000 faces of French [cops] online for an exhibit called “Capture,” which he described as the first step in developing a facial recognition app.  He…[was forced to take] the photos down after France’s interior minister threatened legal action but said he hoped to republish them…Last month, Andrew Maximov…uploaded a video to YouTube that demonstrated how facial recognition technology could be used to digitally strip away [cops’] masks….[but] it’s unclear if the matches are accurate…

I’m skeptical this will work if the cops wear balaclavas, as they so often do.

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#1071)

At least a few reporters seem to be beginning to get it:

…While Traffickinghub presents itself as “a non-religious, non-partisan effort,” the organizing force behind it is neither…the organization running the…campaign…is Exodus Cry, a far-right Evangelical group “prayed” into existence in a Missouri church, with the goal of abolishing the commercial sex industry entirely.  When Exodus Cry first emerged in 2007, it was little more than a weekly prayer group hosted by a man named Benjamin Nolot at the charismatic Christian enclave known, incredibly, as the International House of Prayer, or IHOP…In recent years, the group has transitioned into a new form of advocacy: making [fak]umentaries.  Their cinematic work has yielded Liberated: The New Sexual Revolution…about the [supposed] dangers of youth hook-up culture; [and] Seattle Bikini Baristas, about how “behind the intrigue of lingerie and java lurks a darker side”…IHOP (which was actually sued by the pancake chain in 2010 for trademark infringement; the case was later dropped)…[also stoked] the homophobia that led to Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality ActIHOP later rejected the association, but the church’s founder, Mike Bickle, has…claimed that…the “gay marriage agenda” is “rooted in the depths of Hell,” that Adolf Hitler was a “hunter” sent by God to punish the Jews, and that Oprah Winfrey is a footservant to the Antichrist

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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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What we really need are safe and legal ways for sex workers to do what millions of Americans depend on them for.  –  Kate Zen

Under Every Bed 

Population 23,639:

…Guardians of the Children hosted a walk and candlelight vigil to raise awareness about child exploitation…[and] human trafficking…[but because North] Platte [Nebraska has no actual “sex trafficking” the members conflated it with]…child abuse [so they could claim at least a few hundred]…cases…

The Widening Gyre (#786)

When a headline writer doesn’t actually read the article first:

…historians offer a…thesis for the purpose QAnon serves.  The “nocturnal ritual fantasy”—a term coined by the historian Norman Cohn in his landmark study of European witch trials, Europe’s Inner Demons—is a recurring trope in Western history.  And it is often a politically useful one.  Deployed by the Romans against early Christians, by Christians against Jews, by Christians against witches, by Catholics against “heretics,” it is a malleable set of accusations that posit that a social out-group is engaged in perverse, ritualistic behaviors that target innocents—and that the out-group and all its enablers must be crushed…

Apparently, New Republic editors are so fixated on the “left-right” fantasy, and the belief that all social evils proceed from “The Right”, that they’re willing to characterize the Romans, the Christians, and the great majority of 1980s and 1990s Americans as “The Right” in order to cram an article into that paradigm.

Guinea Pigs (#955)

Just a reminder that this privacy-destroying abomination started as a means of spying on sex workers:

Palantir…promises t[o]…create clarity and order.  But to deliver, its software needs data — lots of it.  Now, two never-before-seen documents, “Intermediate Course” and “Advanced Course” training manuals, reveal how the Los Angeles Police Department has taught its [thugs] to use Palantir Gotham…At great taxpayer expense, and without public oversight or regulation, Palantir helped the LAPD construct a vast database that indiscriminately lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, friendships, romances, jobs of Angelenos — the guilty, innocent, and those in between.  LAPD’s Palantir database includes information from the DMV…[and] 1 billion pictures taken of license plates from traffic lights and toll booths in Los Angeles and neighboring areas.  If you’ve driven through Los Angeles since 2015, the police can see where your car was photographed, when it was photographed, and then click on your name to learn all about you…

Thou Shalt Not (#971)

Pregnant women are easy targets for crypto-moralists:

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should completely avoid caffeine, according to a study published in The British Medical Journal.  Its findings, though, were quickly picked apart by skeptics who are sick of women being warned that almost everything they do…is a risk to their kids.  “I don’t think we need to worry about coffee,” says Clare Murphy…[of] the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. “I think we need to worry about this relentless pursuit of pregnant women and regulating of pregnant women’s choices”…the paper…is…a meta-analysis of several earlier studies…conducted by James E. Jack, a professor of psychology at Reykjavik University whose life’s work seems to be excoriating caffeine…in a culture enamored of shame and blame, especially when it comes to moms, it is this kind of research that gets funding and attention…Murphy says that her country’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published guidelines “whereby they want a woman’s entire alcohol history through the entire pregnancy—from a glass of beer they had before they knew they were pregnant—to be all documented and transferred onto a child’s health record.”  The clear implication is that anything a mom does can and will be held against her if a child exhibits problems…

The Implosion Begins

Cops will embrace any belief, no matter how bizarre, which gives them more power:

…what if the cop patrolling your neighborhood held bizarre and unsubstantiated views?  What if…he…was watching videos…[claim]ing that a satanic cabal of high-profile…pedophiles is running the world’s most insidious sex ring?  Or was swiping through memes popularizing …[fantasies] about kidnapped children kept in underground tunnels so their blood can be harvested to help keep wealthy people alive?  And what if they sincerely believed it all?  In a small but growing number of places across the country…[cops] have endorsed QAnon, [just as they endosed “sex trafficking” hysteria from which it sprang]…

Working From Home (#1070)

We’re way past the watershed when a prominent sex worker activist gets a network news byline:

Sex workers are the majority of creators on [OnlyFans], and here was a celebrity coming in and making more in a day than they could in a year.  Many sex workers rely on [the site] as their sole source of income during the pandemic, as in-person encounters became unsafe.  But what especially angered workers was how [former Disney star Bella] Thorne caused a wave of chargebacks that “broke OnlyFans”…[by] promising a $200 pay-per-message nude photo that she then shied away from sending…Shortly thereafter, OnlyFans…limit[ed] max subscription and tip payments and extend[ed] payout time by 23 days in 14 countries where fraud risk is deemed highest…To rub salt in the wound, Thorne’s sister Kaili responded to the controversy by seeming to dismiss and shame sex worker concerns…while the scandal has mostly died down, the problems it revealed remain worthy of our attention, especially as we head into fall and winter without a clear end to the…pandemic in sight…

Tissue of Lies

As I predicted almost 9 years ago, these debunkings are becoming common:

…The myths spread about human trafficking are endless.  Every year viral headlines claim the Super Bowl (and other major sporting events) are hotbeds for human trafficking.  This has been debunked for years.  The vast majority of sex workers get into the industry through friends or social activities, not through coercion of pimps.  There are ads to fight human trafficking in airports all over the country, despite there never being a confirmed case in one (but many cases of interracial families are reported)…These myths will continue feeding conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and QAnon until there’s a cultural effort to share the truth.  Human trafficking has been marketed as a national problem for decades and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars both publicly and privately, yet still has no credible studies showing the numbers of victims, no proof there’s a nation-wide crisis, and scarce evidence that current solutions help the underlying problems at all…

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Are we also going to ban [picking] peppers and asparagus?
–  Niels van den Berge

License to Rape

Police states define the bodies of all citizens as “crime scenes” which can be violated by “authorities” at will:

Denver police are [trying to cover up the rape of]…a man [who] was [an]ally [raped by a cop] while being arrested at a protest.  [Cops charged] Michael Jacobs…with disarming a police officer…[claiming] he violently resisted arrest and tried to disarm [his rapist] of a pepper ball gun…[in actuality the cop] used his…nightstick [to rape him]…Jacobs…otained a rape kit following the arrest…a doctor evaluated him two weeks after the incident, finding “rectal and anal hemorrhage”…

Torture Chamber (#997) 

Serial rape is just one of the fringe benefits afforded to screws in Florida:

…[screws] repeatedly sexually assaulted and [raped] the inmates at the…Coleman [cage stack] in [Florida]…In some cases…the [rapes went on regularly] for years…Six of the [rapists] admitted to [serially raping prisoners] but…were not prosecuted — instead, they were allowed to resign or retire, and some are still receiving benefits…

The Cop Myth (#1004)

41% of cops admit to beating their wives. Some don’t stop with mere beating:

Jay Allen Rotter, a [cop in] Tarrant County [Texas, murdered]…his girlfriend [and then claimed she] had shot herself…Police [tried to cover it up for several weeks before finally arresting]…Rotter…on September 14…

Dutch Threat (#1005)

A good general overview of political attacks on Dutch sex workers contains this welcome news:

…job satisfaction should not play a role in whether you deserve labor rights…In a striking twist [the Green Left Party, which has previously] voted in favour of [laws to register, surveil and control sex workers]…advocated decriminalisation of sex work…the Secretary of State promised to investigate various forms of sex work policy, including the New Zealand model of decriminalisation…such a study has already been done, with one of the most important conclusions being that sex workers should be listened to…

Quiet Genocide (#1023)

Meanwhile, the “enlightened” West just watches as a genocide progresses:

Turkey has been a safe haven for Uighurs fleeing persecution ever since the Chinese Communist Party took control of Xinjiang in 1949 and hosts one of the largest Uighur diaspora populations in the world.  Then came a sudden, unexpected switch…since early 2019, Turkey has arrested hundreds of Uighurs and sent them to deportation centers…Erdogan’s remarkable U-turn has a simple explanation:  His regime and Turkey’s economy are in crisis.  With few other friends, Ankara is counting on Beijing to patch things up…Once seen as a model of democracy and economic development in the region, Turkey is now an authoritarian country…Western companies and investors, once attracted to Turkey’s fast-growing economy and population, are staying away.  China’s appetite for expansion into Western Asia and Europe offers Erdogan a lifeline…China is now Turkey’s second-largest import partner after Russia.  China has invested $3 billion in Turkey between 2016 and 2019 and intends to double that by the end of next year…

The Implosion Begins

I did not foresee that the “sex trafficking” moral panic would implode in such a spectacular and entertaining fashion:

…Rather than enticing new recruits with the promise to unveil…secrets about the…Clintons and Obamas, #SaveOurChildren captures attention with [approved government] statistics about the prevalence of child sex trafficking [which have been endlessly repeated by media like The Guardian], then draws susceptible readers down the rabbit hole of increasingly implausible falsehoods…QAnon [uses the same]…blatantly false beliefs about [sex workers that] Democrats [have conspired with Republicans (and politicians of all parties in most other Western countries) to spread for two decades, then adds extra fantasies about elites] sexually abusing children in order to extract a life-extending chemical from their blood…The #SaveOurChildren version of QAnon has been particularly popular among a new coalition of anti-public-health activists who have been galvanized by the coronavirus pandemic…Facebook’s recommendation algorithm…helped facilitate cross-pollination between…dedicated to anti-vaccine activism, anti-coronavirus lockdowns and QAnon…[which then] infiltrated many online subcultures, including those formed around evangelical Christianity, New Age spiritualism and alternative medicine or “wellness”…

The Widening Gyre (#1074)

It’s fascinating to watch the media flailing against a hysteria they’ve worked for decades to create:

Cuties, which was a hit when it premiered at Sundance last year, tells the story of an 11-year-old girl…who strays from her strict conservative…Muslim upbringing to join a hip-hop dance troupe.  At its essence, Cuties is a coming-of-age narrative and a commentary on social media’s role in sexualizing children, but…[“sex trafficking” fetishists claim] that Cuties and its accompanying marketing materials were evidence of an underage child sex trafficking cabal in Hollywood.  It [i]s the kind of wild-eyed, hysterical allegation that…[for] years…[has] been promoted on…mainstream [media platforms and by] public figures and [profiteer] organizations…[to further a campaign to increase the power of the police state and censor the internet by] fuel[ing public hysteria about a mythical] child sex-trafficking trade…the discourse surrounding Cuties [is further evidence that control over this fantastical narrative has sh]ifted [to] the fringes [from] the mainstream…

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I’m always happy when journalists investigate the wild fantasies promoted by politicians, cops, and “rescue” profiteers via the mainstream media.  First of all, they have much better investigational tools and resources than I do, plus paid time to do the job; second, they have a far larger platform, and can thus inform many more people of the truth even if their coverage of the topic trails mine by years; and third, given the central role played by the news media in disseminating the lies and propagating the hysteria, it is the moral responsibility of ethical journalists to at least attempt to counteract the massive damage done by their unethical, incompetent and lazy brethren.  So I was very pleased indeed to see Michael Hobbes (whom I’ve corresponded with before) publish in Huffington Post (which for a while was as happy as any other site to spread anti-sex tall tales) a thorough debunking of that “brave hero cops rescue dozens of ‘sex trafficked children’ in Georgia” masturbatory fantasy from a couple of weeks ago.  So much information is intentionally omitted from the “official” press releases in such stories that I’m often forced to surmise the real meaning of semantically-opaque terms like “rescued”; I’m gratified to see that the details Hobbes uncovered are close to my educated guesses:

…“U.S. Marshals Find 39 Missing Children in Georgia”…proclaimed the government’s official press release.  Federal agents and local law enforcement, it said, had rescued 26 children, “safely located” 13 more and arrested nine perpetrators, some of whom were charged with sex trafficking.  The facts of the operation weren’t clear (what does “safely located” mean, exactly?), but it didn’t stop media outlets from taking up the story…the vast majority…were little more than rewritten versions of the U.S. Marshals Service’s press release.  Within hours, social media users continued the game of telephone. “39 kids were just recovered from traffickers in Georgia,” Charlie Kirk, the founder of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA, wrote in a tweet…More than 150,000 people shared a single-sentence tweet from someone named King Randall, I: “How is finding 39 missing children in a double wide trailer here in Georgia NOT the biggest news story in America?”  Well, to answer a one-sentence question with a one-sentence answer, 39 kids being rescued from a trailer in Georgia is not the biggest news story in America because 39 kids were not rescued from a trailer in Georgia… 

…“This was not a designated anti-trafficking operation,” [said] Darby Kirby, a U.S. Marshals Service inspector…the…effort…was a collaboration between state and federal authorities to locate 78 “critically missing” children…they…found all but 13…39 were “recovered,” meaning they were removed from whatever situation they were in — which could be anything from living on the streets to crashing on a friend’s couch to staying with a parent who didn’t have custody rights.  The other 26 cases were closed without the child being “recovered”…[which] could [either] mean that another agency…found them — or that they had been home all along…authorities said they suspected [emphasis Maggie’s] that 15…were [so-called] victims of trafficking (meaning [only that] they were engaging in commercial sex) but confirmed only six cases…The operation netted only one new charge of sex trafficking…Of the seven men and two women arrested, three were charged with probation violations, one was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and two were accused of violating custody arrangements.  One…was arrested on a warrant for a previous sex trafficking charge, and two more were arrested on warrants for sex crimes in other states…agents did not rescue a large number of children from a single location — or even a single jurisdiction…only two…were recovered together.  The other kids were found individually across 15 Georgia counties and six other states:  South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky and Michigan.  The operation took place over two weeks, not one night…the agency did not conduct any raids…

…It’s also worth noting that the operation was also set up to arrest [legal minors], not just rescue [children]…two…were [arested as] suspects in homicide cases, and one was a person of interest in another…11…had…“some kind of gang affiliation”…seven warrants [in all] were issued for underage offenders…54 of the 78…had been in foster care before they went missing…most…were…runaways…

There’s a lot more, but I think you get the picture.  Between some reporters waking up, some outlets at last letting skeptical journalists publish stories like this, and some (like the New York Times) being forced to recant their own propaganda for fear of being associated with QAnon, I think it’s safe to say we’ve at last entered the period of skeptical journalism that always precedes the collapse of a moral panic.

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