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Posts Tagged ‘violence vs. sex workers’

Prohibitionists never want to hear from sex workers who want rights rather than rescue, and they don’t want anyone else to hear them either.  –  Mark Draughn

The Birth of a Movement

Another excellent article by stalwart friend of whores Mark Draughn:

…International Whores’ Day has been celebrated on June 2 for 45 years.  Naturally, this day pisses off…prohibitionists, who…are [now] trying to replace International Whores’ Day with their own re-branded International Day of Remembrance for women who died in prostitution.  What makes this especially creepy is that…anti-prostitution laws are one of the biggest causes of violence against sex workers…If you follow sex workers rights issues, you may know that the traditional day for remembering those who died by violence is not June 2 but December 17, which is the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers…[but a quick search of prohibitionist] twitter feeds [from] December 17th…finds lots of ranting about brothels and pimps, but no recognition that it’s the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers…The prohibitionists’ failure to recognize the long-established International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers reveals the hollowness of their concern for the victims of violence in the sex trade.  It’s clear their attempt to establish an International Day of Remembrance is little more than an…attempt to erase International Whores’ Day…

Backwards into the Future (#963)

Will South Africa decriminalize province by province?

The KwaZulu-Natal Legislature…resolved to fast-track the process of decriminalising and regulating sex work…during a sex work symposium held in Pietermaritzburg…as part of the legislature’s public participation programmes…the resolutions…[will] be…debated by political parties prior to execution.  At least 55 sex workers and their representative organisations were part of the discussions.  Dudu Dlamini from Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce…said they wanted a decree before 2024…

I Spy (#1069)

Remember, Amazon eagerly hands data from internet-connected devices to cops:

…buried inside millions of Amazon Echo…speakers and Ring…cameras….[is] the ability to make a new kind of wireless network called Sidewalk that shares a slice of your home Internet connection with your neighbors’ devices.  And on Tuesday, Amazon…switch[ed] Sidewalk on — for everyone.  I’m digging into my settings to turn it off.  Sidewalk raises more red flags than a marching band parade: Is it secure enough to be activated in so many homes?  Are we helping Amazon build a vast network that can be used for more surveillance?  And why didn’t Amazon ask us to opt-in before activating a capability lying dormant in our devices?…

Comfort Zone (#1072)

An especially-incompetent attempt to hide migration control behind the “trafficking” narrative:

The Biden administration…announce[d] new actions to combat [migration by branding it] trafficking as [Copmala] Harris embarks on [a propaganda] trip to Latin America to look into ways of a[ttack]ing the root causes of regional migration…[without actually providing any] additional aid…Harris will also be [trying to remove motes from the eyes of] the governments of countries from which people are fleeing, though [not removing the beam from her own first]…

I Spy (#1082)

Curiosity offends the state, comrade:

…In an insane new bit of federal…overreach, the FBI demanded that USA Today turn over records showing who read a February story about two FBI agents killed in Florida.  The FBI sought…I.P. addresses…[of] all “computers and other electronic devices” that accessed the story during a 35-minute period on the evening of the shooting…USA Today‘s parent company, Gannett, asked a federal court to quash the…subpoena…[as blatantly] unconstitutional and…amid the publicity, the FBI backed off…but…doesn’t seem to think it did anything wrong.  The FBI [only]…withdr[e]w the subpoena because…the person it sought to find…was identified “through other means”the FBI…had other ways to find the suspect…and…still decided that infringing on freedom of the press was a good first step…

Permanent Record (#1099)

If prohibitionists really want to “rescue” sex workers, why do they keep trying to shut us out of other jobs?

A sales rep at a T-Mobile store in Fort Worth, Texas has filed a gender discrimination suit against the company after a [personnel manager] in[terrogated] her about having an OnlyFans account.  Caitlyn Stevens had been working at T-Mobile for nearly seven years when a male colleague became angry…and approached her…“in a physically aggressive manager,” forcing a coworker to step in and stop the man from hitting her.  Stevens reported the incident to the store manager.  Rather than disciplining the ma[n]…the manager relocated Stevens to a different location…[which] got less foot traffic, resulting in fewer [commissions]…When Stevens submitted a complaint…a man…called…and began asking questions about her personal life, including “whether she had a ‘sugar daddy’ and whether she had an OnlyFans account”…Then…added, “We’ve heard that people have seen nude pictures of you”…

Guinea Pigs (#1101)

They’re going way beyond fake Facebook profiles now:

…for years…the FBI …[ran an encrypted messaging system called] Anom by…working with [other fascist government] partners, including the Australian Federal Police…to [spy on] the co[nvers]ations [of every single user, excusing the outage by branding all users “criminals”]…their developer source “built a master key into the existing encryption system which surreptitiously attaches to each message and enables [pigs and spooks] to [root through each]…message as it is transmitted”…Since October 2019, the FBI has catalogued “more than 20 million messages from a total of 11,800 devices…in over 90 countries.”  Most of this [snoop]ing seems to have been [to]…sniff…out drugs…[pigs] began [oink]ing [about] the results of the operation—including 700 houses [raid]ed and more than 800 [people abducted]…at a Tuesday morning press conference in The Hague…

These are the same people who thought it was perfectly OK and ethical to run their very own child porn site, so this isn’t a new low. But it does demonstrate just how far authoritarians will go to inflict violence on people for the “crime” of enjoying themselves in ways puritans dislike.

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As I’ve pointed out many times in the past, women are more likely than men to support the violent policing of other women’s sexualities; were it not for this fact, it would be very difficult indeed for even the staunchest patriarchy to effectively enforce laws intended to keep women in line.  In Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the “aunts” are women who collaborate with the religious dictatorship to control other women, and in fact Atwood has said that the novel is (among other things) a critique of the kind of “feminism” whose adherents are only too happy to police other women (some of her “aunts” are even depicted as former feminists).  In the real world, such women – those who are willing to sell out their own gender by assisting a violent patriarchy to oppress them – can be found in every form of prohibitionism, but the most self-deluded of their ilk are probably female cops who belong to “vice” gangs.  And that’s why I have absolutely no sympathy for the women involved in this ugly mess:

…Several high-ranking Harris County [Texas cops]…sexually assault[ed] and harass[ed] their female colleagues under the guise of stopping human trafficking.  In a new federal lawsuit, [several of these] women…accuse [boss cops] Alan Rosen…Chris Gore…and…Shane Rigdon of having “molested and traumatized” them in…prostitution stings…Rosen, Gore, and Rigdon are the [ring]leaders of the department’s federally funded human trafficking unit…”an opportunity for notoriety and media attention”…[which] considers entrapping sex workers…to be the main part of its mission.  The unit[‘s underlying propaganda claims]…that most sex workers are forced into it and if you only arrest enough of them, someone will give up “their sex traffic business handlers”…Liz Gomez, Marissa Sanchez, and Felecia McKinney…were selected for…“bachelor party” prostitution stings [that] soon grew into a booze-fueled playground for sexual exploitation in which young, untrained [women] were subject to disgusting abuse…the Harris County District Attorney’s Office…[knew] about this abuse for months, but…refused to take any action and rebuffed anyone who complained…[plaintiffs] spoke up about their abuse…but…were ridiculed by their commanders, retaliated against by their abusers, and quietly reassigned to less prestigious duties.  In addition, Jacquelyn Aluotto, a “human trafficking advocate” employed by the county (and the fourth plaintiff in this suit) spoke up about went what on as part of these undercover operations and was fired the day after giving an interview to the office’s Internal Affairs division…

Summary:  “When we agreed to trick other people into cages with face-eating leopards, we didn’t know the leopards would eat our faces!” said Gomez, Sanchez, McKinney, and Aluotto.  Waaah, waaaah, waaah.  Liz Brown goes into the whole disgusting scam with her usual thoroughness, so I advise you to follow the link and read it all yourself.  Female vice cops and other violent prohibitionists like to imagine that there are two different kinds of women, “good” and “bad”, which are self-evidently as different as chalk and cheese, so it’s a rude awakening for them when they realize that the difference, such as it is, isn’t as obvious as puritans like to pretend; if it were, there would be no need for elaborate scams intended to tell the sheep from the goats, and no women getting harassed or even arrested for “prostitution” on the basis of “evidence” such as being alone in public; wearing high-heeled boots or skinny jeans; owning lingerie; possessing condoms or cell phones; being trans, black, or Asian; and of course “looking like a whore“.  Unfortunately, far too many women refuse to accept this until the fronts of their heads are being chewed off by vicious animals they intended to sic on others.

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We made their lives worse.  –  former OUR member Meg Conley

Stalkers in Blue

Another cop demonstrating exactly what he is:

A [typical and representative] cop [who]…snapp[ed] photos up skirts during a Texas wedding is [named]…Scott Eugene Kilmer…[wedding organizers foolishly hired Kilmer to attend the event wearing his magical clown costume], whe[re] he was caught [repeatedly putt]ing…his foot [with a camera on it] between [women’s] legs but [nobody wanted to] confront him because [they were afraid he would maim, tase, pepper-spray or even murder]…the…guests…the camera transmitted photos to a device in Kilmer’s p[igmobile]…[where other cops] discovered about 50 video clips from the wedding and…similar images [he had taken] previously…

Censor Chic (#830)

Corporations have become the favored tool of censors worldwide:

The British government [has] proposed sweeping re[gulation]s to force [websites] to…[cens]or what is posted online — including carve-outs to [render] politicians [immune to such censorship]…The much-delayed Online Safety Bill includes hefty penalties for companies that fail to [obey the censorship diktats of politicians]…and…[forc]es a so-called duty of care on social networks, smartphone apps and other sites where people can interact with each other, making them [arms of the fascist establishment whether they like it or not]…Content on [politically favored] websites will…not be subject to the new rules…The U.K.’s proposals come as countries worldwide look to [by]pass [legal restrictions on censorship by] forc[ing] social media companies to [do the governments’ dirty work for them]…In Germany, local officials recently revamped the country’s [notorious] online content rules, known as NetzDG, to mandate that companies [become police informants]…The European Union is also pushing ahead with s[imilar] proposals…while countries like Hungary and Poland are pursuing [laws] that would…ban…platforms f[rom censoring politicians and bureaucrats]…[anti-]rights campaigners and misinformation [promoter]s welcomed the U.K.’s new proposals…

See also “Kiss Freedom Goodbye” and “The Convergence of Censors“.

O, Canada! (#1027)

Prohibitionists want Ontario to be more like the US:

Advocates and community groups are calling on the province to drop plans to [increase police powers using the pretext of] human trafficking…[because the] proposed bill [will] harm sex workers and…lead to discrimination and racial profiling…The proposed law would [empower cops] to inspect any place for compliance with the law and [interrogate] any person [they feel like harssing]…with failure to comply leading to possible heavy fines.  Police and inspectors would also have the power to [demand] hotels…[let the pigs root in] their guest registers…without [warrant, merely by vomiting the magic words “]human trafficking[” at random clerks]…Over 70 legal and human rights organizations have written to the provincial government in opposition to the bill, calling for the resources dedicated to this plan to instead be redirected into efforts to help marginalized communities across the province.  Sandra Ka Hon Chu…of the HIV Legal Network…[pointed out that] these types of government initiatives [always] involve surveillance…and [usually abduc]tion and/or deportation of sex workers…“human trafficking i[s used] as a pretext to monitor and interrogate sex workers and to discourage them from working,” she said…

Quiet Genocide (#1054)

There are still some Westerners who insist this isn’t genocide:

Across much of China, the authorities are encouraging women to have more children…but in…Xinjiang, they are forcing them to have fewer, as…part of a vast and repressive social…engineering campaign by a Communist Party determined to e[stablish fully totalitarian] rule…Xi Jinping…has [condemned millions of]…Uyghurs…to [concentration] camps…placed the region under tight surveillance, sent residents to work in factories [thousands of kilometers away, abducted Uyghur] children…[to give to childless Han couples, and forced] Muslim women…to [submit to]…invasive birth control procedures…[propaganda] authorities [absurdly claim that] the procedures are voluntary…[but] the [facts say otherwise.  Uyghur women]…recuperat[ing] at home [from the forced sterilization were also forced to literally accept] government officials [in their beds]…If they…refused…they faced steep fines or, worse…a…[concentration] camp…[where] they were…[repeatedly and systematically] raped

Served Cold (#1120) 

It took almost seven years, but the press finally caught up with me on this:

I’d never heard of Operation Underground Railroad when…Tim Ballard, called me suddenly in the summer of 2014…I didn’t wonder why he thought it was appropriate for me—the writer of a mommy blog—to chronicle anti-trafficking work…A camera crew filmed everything, because Ballard…[was] pitch[ing] a TV series about his [cowboy games]…OUR staff…were mostly as inexperienced as I was…Everybody wanted to “save the kids,” but no one really knew anything about these kids.  We talked mostly about fundraising.  The calls never addressed real things children need to be saved from…Ballard…put me in harm’s way so that I could write a story about him…But…I’d imagined myself the same way he did…as a savior…I tried to find meaning in my own life on the backs of exploited kids… A TV show based on [his] bookSlave Stealers, is currently in development.  And a new action movie about him, Sound of Freedom, is forthcoming. Jim Caviezel plays Ballard, with Mira Sorvino as his wife…

Dangerous Speech (#1128)

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

Federal prosecutors have failed, for now, in their most repugnant smear tactic to date in the case involving veteran journalists and onetime Backpage.com owners, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin…Judge Susan Brnovich denied a government bid to prejudice the jury at trial by introducing gruesome details of homicides that Lacey, Larkin and their four co-defendants have absolutely nothing to do with…But in a separate ruling issued the same day, Brnovich explained that she will permit prosecutors to try to introduce material involving “sex trafficking” and “child sex trafficking,” though the defendants are not charged with these heinous crimes…These allegations rest on an absurd theory of vicarious, third-party liability, in an attempt to hold Lacey and Larkin responsible for the alleged illegal acts of people they don’t know, have never met and have zero connection to…

To Molest and Rape (#1130)

High union rank is another thing rapist cops often have in common:

A [typical and representative] Miami-Dade [cop] and…high-ranking union member has been charged with sexual battery…John Jenkins Jr. has been “re[warded for his behavior with a paid vacation]” said [top cop] Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez III in a statement [which also focused] on…Jenkins…not…[wearing his magic clown costume while raping women]…Jenkins resigned as executive vice president of the South Florida Police Benevolent Association…

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The…state may not obstruct those who wish to participate in lawful transactions nor…those who wish to help them.  –  Justice Hayden

Droit du Seigneur

If a non-cop did this, do you think the court would simply ask his employers to demote him?

A New Jersey police chief…[who] offer[ed a cop] a promotion in exchange for sex with his wife and [underage] daughter, should [merely] be demoted, a…judge [declared]…Rudy Beu…was [found] guilty of…[a few status] charges…Beu…has been [on paid vacation]…since Feb. 26, 2020…

To Molest and Rape

Rapist cops often target sex workers for exactly this reason:

…on May 24, 2020…[sex worker and activist Jay St. James] was stalked and raped by Christopher Drumm, a [typical and representative Eugene, Oregon cop]…after the attack, she and her family were harassed by other [cop gang] members…No charges have been brought against Drumm—but St. James is now facing charges of her own after protesting her assault…three days before the a[ggravat]ed rape…Drumm responded to a domestic violence call at St. James’s house…St. James requested a mental health professional, but [of course they sent the pigs]…instead…the [cops refused] to make a report…about the abuse…[but instead reported her to] Child Protective Services…because [she had not magically teleported] her children [away the instant the] …domestic violence [started]…Drumm and his colleagues [also] sexually harassed her…For the next three days…Drumm continued to show up at her house unannounced…[then] on May 24…[he] returned…and raped her twice…

The Proper Study (#897)

Another study proves what sex workers have been saying all along:

Our research provides new causal evidence on the impact that criminalizing sex work in a lower‐​income country has on the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by exploiting a natural experiment in which commercial sex work was unexpectedly criminalized in one district in East Java, Indonesia, while it remained noncriminalized in neighboring districts…criminalizing sex work increases STI rates among sex workers…by 27.3 percentage points, or 58 percent, from baseline…the main mechanisms driving the increase…are a decrease in access to condoms, an increase in condom prices, and an increase in sex without condoms…women who…leave sex work because of criminalization have lower earnings than those who leave by choice…children of [these] women…are more likely to work to supplement household income…criminalization [also] results in substantial increases in the probability of STI transmission to the general population…Understanding the impacts of criminalization…in lower‐​income countries is arguably even more important than in higher‐​income countries…

Skin To Skin (#980)

Wise judge refuses to allow prudish paternalism to trump human needs:

A senior judge has ruled it is lawful for carers [of people with mental disabilities] to help clients find and pay for sex…[but entitled busybodies plan] to appeal the judgment because of its implications for policies on [sending violent thugs to attack people for desiring consensual adult sex]…The young man…known only as C, is fit and healthy but…needs daily help with many parts of his life. He has autism and a genetic disorder – but [the judge]…found that he was happy and well-supported…C knew he would probably never find a girlfriend but he nevertheless wanted to experience sex – and so he had asked his carers if they could find him a sex worker…[but] C’s carers w[orried] they would [be]…legally [classified as “pimps”] if they agreed to help…Justice Hayden ruled that…If the law banned the carers from helping C, that would be discrimination because anyone else without his condition could lawfully pay for sex…

Pyrrhic Victory (#1052)

To the state, facial recognition systems’ false positives are a feature, not a bug:

In February 2019, Nijeer Parks walked into the Woodbridge…New Jersey…[cop shop after] receiv[ing] a frantic phone call from his grandmother telling him that p[igs]…had come [root]ing for him…Parks had trouble with the law…on drug-related charges, [but]…was now working a steady job as a carpenter…Parks [unwisely walked into the cop shop without a lawyer in an attempt] to clear his name…[but was instead arrested on bogus charges of] aggravated assault, unlawful possession of weapons, using a fake ID, possession of marijuana, shoplifting, leaving the scene of a crime, [and] resisting arrest…he spent 11 days in jail…[before] learn[ing t]hat the evidence against him was…a facial recognition scan of…[the] fake ID…What followed was a year-long legal nightmare for Parks, who faced years in prison and the potential of additional time due to his prior convictions…

Disaster (#1115)

Canada is following Australia and the US in trying to destroy the internet:

Canadian Senate Bill S-203…is another woefully misguided proposal aimed at regulating sexual content online.  To say the least, this bill fails to understand how the internet functions and would be seriously damaging to online expression and privacy…S-203 would make any person or company criminally liable for any time an underage user engages with sexual content through its service…unless the person or company “implemented a prescribed age-verification method”…[it] would criminalize the acts of independent performers, artists, blogs, social media, message boards, email providers, and any other intermediary or service…that is in some way “for commercial purposes”…The only meaningful defense…would be to verify the legal adult age of every user and then store that data…The sheer amount of technical infrastructure…would be costly and overwhelmingly complicated….[and] introduce many security concerns that weren’t previously there…the financial burden would only advantage the largest players online…the bill would likely force many companies to simply eliminate sexual content instead of carrying the huge risk that an underage user will access it…

You Were Warned (#1131)

Puritans never quite admit they want to destroy the internet, but this comes close:

U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty…has unveiled a [scheme] to repeal Section 230…and replace it with something he calls “Section 232.”  His [Orwellian-named] “21st Century FREE Speech Act“…would change the nature of online communication as we know it…the…bill…attempts to establish as U.S. federal policy the act of “facilitat[ing] the…blocking…[of] objectionable or inappropriate online material”…[and to] redefine “the major internet communications platforms” as “common carriers”…In quite explicit terms, Hagerty’s bill establishes a protection from censorship of “religious and political speech” while at the same time encouraging the censorship of “objectionable and inappropriate online material”…the…bill…would essentially enshrine a peculiarly vague notion of sexual content (i.e. “signifies the form of immorality which has relation to sexual impurity”)…an[d] active[ly] call for state and corporate censorship…

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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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[Prohibitionists] are to blame for the fear sex workers live with, and the deaths that follow.  –  Mary Moody

The Course of a Disease (#342)

Business As Usual

Wow, a headline writer without a boot permanently lodged in his mouth:

…[a typical and representative New Haven] cop [named] Gary Gamarra [claimed that his rapes of] two different…sex workers [were OK because they wanted it]…Gamarra resigned from the force after [lying about] the [rapes, but]…now he’s seeking to have the resignation rescinded [so he can] get…back [to raping again].  The police chief, meanwhile, is seeking to have the state bar Gamarra from ever serving as a police officer in Connecticut again.  And the state’s attorney’s office has decided…[not] to pursue a criminal case against Gamarra [because whores.  Other “officials” thought it was much more important to note that he was not wearing his magic clown costume at the time of the rapes]…

Disaster (#974)

It’s just going to keep getting worse:

…the gaming chat platform Discord [has] quietly updated its guidelines to restrict adult content, issuing a ban on users accessing NSFW servers…on iOS devices…entire servers, as opposed to individual channels, are…designated NSFW if the community “is organized around NSFW content or whose content is predominantly 18+”…It will still be possible for Discord users to access NSFW servers on its desktop version, and on Android…[because] the…policy shift was intended “to comply with Apple’s policies”…

See also “The Next Target” below.

To Molest and Rape (#1066)

Just protecting and serving:

…the Boston Police Department in 1995 filed a criminal complaint against [rapist cop Patrick Rose]…for sexual assault on a 12-year-old [boy], and…an internal investigation…concluded that he [was] likely [guilty, but he was allowed to]…ke[ep] his badge…for another 21 years, and rose to power in the [pig] union…his [victim grew up and lasy year discovered that] Rose [had been raping his daughter since she was 7]…The department’s cover-up]…left Rose free to [rape] again and again, from one generation to the next…

Quiet Genocide (#1118)

China is ramping up its propaganda campaign against those who tell the truth about the ongoing Uighur genocide:

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denounced more than a dozen [people who escaped]…Xinjiang…as liars, criminals, terrorists, and persons of “bad morality”…in a bid to undermine reports of abuses that have led…Western nations to [recognize that China is conducting] …a campaign of genocide.  [The propaganda also claims that of about 12,000 known victims listed in several]…database[s]…nearly 1,350 were “fabricated”…nearly 7,000 are “living a normal life,” while some 3,250 “have been convicted and sentenced for crimes of violent terrorism and criminal offenses”…[and] another 500 had either died of diseases or are living in foreign countries…

The Next Target (#1122)

The prohibitionist crusade against all adult material online continues:

Mastercard Inc. is “[tightening] the requirements it sets for banks that process payments for sellers of adult content”…the company will demand “clear, unambiguous and documented consent…[and] document[ation of] the age and [government-approved] identity of anyone depicted in pictures and videos as well as those uploading the content…the banks…will need to certify that the…sites have a review process prior to any content being published, as well as a system for complaints that addresses illegal or non-consensual activity within seven business days…[including] an appeals process that allows for anyone depicted in adult videos or photos to request that the content be removed”…

Predictable Consequences (#1126)

I’ve been pointing out the inherent violence of prohibitionism for years:

…While Exodus Cry has largely tried to get Pornhub shut down using political and social media pressure, its rhetoric is used by people who want to take matters into their own hands.  Sex workers and organizations targeted by those people believe that the rhetoric is going to lead to real world violence, and say that several high-profile mass killings can be traced back to anti-sex worker rhetoric more broadly…these groups have used extremist language and tapped into QAnon sentiment toward child trafficking, so it…is…not the least bit surprising, to see extremists using Nazi paraphernalia, death threats and photos of weapons alongside Exodus Cry’s Traffickinghub logo

It seems as though Vice is now trying to distance itself from this evil hysteria, which it has always tacitly supported via its credulous attitude toward “sex trafficking” propaganda.

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

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I hope this makes Swedish criminalization fans extremely uncomfortable:

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

The More the Better 

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

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

Rough Trade (#448) 

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

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

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

Little Boxes (#865)

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

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

HIV Cure (#920)

Another silver lining for the COVID pandemic:

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

Like Houses (#1031)

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

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

To Molest and Rape (#1127)

Notice how often rapist cops’ victims are underage?

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

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

A Broker in Pillage (#863)

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

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

The Notorious Badge (#976)

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

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

The Last Shall Be First (#977) 

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

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

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

Dangerous Speech (#1097)

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

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

The Widening Gyre (#1103)

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

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

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

Predictable Consequences

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

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

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

Pyrrhic Victory (#1124)

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

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

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

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

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

It Looks Good On Paper

Yet another state touts bullshit “safe harbor” laws:

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

Send In the Clowns

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

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

To Molest and Rape (#956)

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

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

Whither Canada? (#1017)

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

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

Rotting Fruit (#1055)

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

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

False Witness (#1121)

Sunlight really is the best disinfectant:

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

Predictable Consequences

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

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

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

Policing Womanhood

Scratch a SWERF, find a TERF:

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

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

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#845) 

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

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

Social Distancing (#1025)

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

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

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

Welcome to the Future (#1107)

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

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

Torture Chamber (#1122)

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

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

You Were Warned (#1124)

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

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

Predictable Consequences (#1124)

My friend Kate Zen, cofounder of Red Canary Song:

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

Dr. Elena Shih also works with Red Canary Song:

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

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