Trump Signs Law Curbing Sex-Trafficking Websites

On the heels of a  federal move to shut down the Backpage website, President Trump signed a bill on Wednesday that gives federal and state prosecutors greater power to pursue websites that host sex-trafficking ads and enables victims and state attorneys general to file lawsuits against those sites.

On the heels of a  federal move to shut down the Backpage website, President Trump signed a bill on Wednesday that gives federal and state prosecutors greater power to pursue websites that host sex-trafficking ads and enables victims and state attorneys general to file lawsuits against those sites, the Washington Post reports.

Addressing the victims and family members, the president said, “I’m signing this bill in your honor. … You have endured what no person on Earth should ever have to endure … This is a great piece of legislation, and it’s really going to make a difference.”

The impact of the bill, nicknamed “FOSTA” for its title, “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act,” was already being seen as sites shut down sex-related areas and stopped accepting sex-related advertising.

The signing came after seven executives of Backpage.com were arrested on a 93-count indictment that alleges the website aided prostitution and laundered tens of millions of dollars in profits, and that teenage girls were sold for sex on the site. Some girls were killed. The government shut down Backpage’s classified ad websites around the world, and moved to seize houses and bank accounts.

Civil liberties advocates attacked the bill as too broad, creating liability for websites that had been protected by the Communications Decency Act for content posted by third parties. A number of websites, including Craigslist, began shutting down sections that might be construed as sex-related after the bill passed the Senate last month.

Sex workers and sex worker advocates have been criticizing the bill as depriving them of a safe place to screen customers, as well as removing a tool for law enforcement to track pimps, locate missing children and build criminal cases. Other civil rights groups, including the ACLU, have opposed the bill on the grounds that it will hinder free speech.

See also: With Backpage Closed, Where Will the Sex Slave Trade Go?

from https://thecrimereport.org

Sex Workers Fight Efforts to Link Prostitution with Trafficking

As the campaign against sex trafficking emerges as a $47 million cottage industry, it has also spurred a “moral panic” that sex workers say has made them increasingly vulnerable to police abuse, and turns them into targets for those with religious or moral objections to prostitution.

At the height of national outrage over what government officials and activists call a human trafficking “epidemic,” sex workers are challenging what they say are misleading and harmful efforts to link prostitution to sex trafficking.

“People have used this moral panic, this idea that there is a trafficking epidemic, to create so much funding and so much policy that now that they’re being pressured to show the evidence—to show the sex trafficking arrests,” said Tara Burns, researcher and founding member of the Community United for Safety and Protection (CUSP), a group of former and current Alaska sex workers allied with sex trafficking victims.

“That’s where we see police arresting [prostitutes] for sex trafficking themselves, just so they can get those sex trafficking numbers up, and match the moral panic they’ve created.”

CUSP is lobbying for the passage of companion bills (HB 112/SB 73) in the Alaska Senate and House which would expand sexual assault laws to explicitly prohibit law enforcement from sexual contact with trafficking or domestic violence victims—as part of its continuing campaign to protect sex workers from laws that make them “vulnerable to violence and exploitation.”

In California, another group is challenging a state law that criminalizes prostitution, and asking a federal court to allow for a closer examination of studies that link consensual sex work to sex trafficking.

In January, a three-judge panel in the 9th circuit dismissed a suit by the Sex Workers and Erotic Service Providers Legal, Educational and Research Project (ESPLERP) to declare unconstitutional state laws that make prostitution a crime. The panel sided with 13 state and national organizations that wrote in to oppose ESPLERP, arguing that prostitution needs to remain criminalized in order to combat the “attendant evils” of violence against women, drug abuse—and above all, sex-trafficking.

ESPLERP filed for a rehearing before the full 9th circuit on January 31, wanting the court to subject the studies it cited to a higher standard of review. But in an era when pornography has been declared a “public health crisis” linked to modern-day slavery, researchers who do not openly condemn prostitution are fighting an uphill battle—and sex workers themselves find it hard to be heard over the din of victims’ advocates who would speak for them.

9th circuit

ESPLERP members and their legal team in court on Oct 2, 2017. Photo courtesy of Maxine Doogan

Maxine Doogan, founder of ESPLERP, says that denying sex workers equal protection under the law has led directly to abuse by police and other authorities, and that she and other people in the industry cannot report actual cases of forced trafficking without fearing arrest themselves.

“There are many people, many women, that I know who are prostitutes, who have been caught up in these prostitution sting operations; and have been sexually assaulted by the police, and raped,” she said in an interview with The Crime Report.

“Our activity is illegal. and so that just gives license for anybody to do anything to us that they want at any time, and get away with it.”

In the document submitted to the California court, opposition groups argued that “prostitution is sexual coercion, and closely related to sex trafficking,” and that “decriminalization of prostitution will legitimize sex trafficking.”

The authors of the opposition brief cited numerous “authorities” for their argument, identifying in particular eight publications by Melissa Farley, a clinical psychologist and anti-pornography activist well known for her view that sex work is “a particularly lethal form of male violence against women,” and an expression of “male hatred of the female body.”

“To the extent that any woman is assumed to have freely chosen prostitution, then it follows that enjoyment of domination and rape are in her nature,” Farley wrote in a 2000 article for Women & Criminal Justice.

But according to independent scholars in the field, the majority of the publications cited in the opposition brief have not only been debunked, but also discredited in the Canadian Supreme Court during cross-examination. The court subsequently struck down Canada’s anti-prostitution laws, finding them unconstitutional because of the negative impact they had on the safety and lives of sex workers.

Doogan notes that victim advocates are “not challenging the men who really have control over our world.”

She added: “They want to dismiss the sexual violence that we’re talking about that goes on with police.”

Doogan and other sex-worker advocates argue that the majority of people being rounded up and arrested during anti-sex-trafficking sweeps such as Operation Cross Country are not slaves held in bondage, but women working together, or as independent prostitutes– a claim supported by investigative journalists following this arrest data.

CUSP’s Terra Burns, who has analyzed thousands of charging documents from several states over the past five years, said that the most serious cases of child sex trafficking “are for the most part not cases that are being found in prostitution stings, [but] cases that are being found because somebody came forward and made a report.”

And in jurisdictions that aren’t aggressively charging people for prostitution, more sex workers are coming to police with tips, she added.

Burns, who herself was sex trafficked as a child, has lobbied extensively for legislative amendments in Alaska. She helped push through bills at the state and county level to allow immunity for sex workers reporting a crime, and hopes Alaska legislators will place priority on the proposed measure to make it illegal for police to sexually penetrate someone they were investigating.

“When an officer coerces you into having sex with him under the threat of arrest, or another kind of threat, that is an act of violence,” Burns said.

Police don’t need to have sex with someone in order to charge them with prostitution, but it happens. She describes one charging document where a police officer paid for a hand job at a massage parlor. “They could have arrested her right there, but instead he waited and got a hand job. and then he put her in handcuffs. And when that happens, it’s really traumatic.”

alaska legislature

Doogan (left) and Burns, introducing their first bills. Photo courtesy of Terra Burns

Other charging documents, published on CUSP’s website, describe police having multiple sex acts with women before arresting them.

The Alaska Department of Law as well as the Anchorage police continue to oppose the no-sexual-contact bill, and it has stalled for almost a year.

See also: ‘Invisible No More:’ The Other Women #MeToo Should Defend

In addition to government task forces, the anti-trafficking movement has also created a $47 million cottage industry of victim advocacy.

Significantly, in order to receive funding, organizations are still being asked to sign a Bush-era anti-prostitution pledge (also known as the “global gag rule”), even though it was ruled unconstitutional in a 2013 Supreme Court decision.

The same goes for researchers, according to George Washington University sociologist Ronald Weitzer, who has studied the sex industry and human trafficking for over three decades, and who served as an expert witness in the case before Canada’s Supreme Court. Before the gag rule was overturned, he was asked to sign the pledge in order to conduct an academic literature review for the National Institute of Justice.

“It’s shocking that even something as mundane as a literature review in this area becomes politicized,” he told The Crime Report.

More recent examples include University of Nevada researcher Barbara Brent, who was part of a 2014 task force developing a trafficking education program for first responders in Nevada.

In an email to The Crime Report, she wrote: “Participants, including Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, who receive federal trafficking funds, indicated that I could not include sex worker rights organizations on the team to develop programs because that violated their grant agreement. The task force eventually fizzled out, and I don’t know what happened to those efforts.”

Last year, the New Hampshire Human Trafficking Collaborative Task Force broke ties with its grants manager, Kate D’Amato, for apparently supporting decriminalization during a public event. The Manchester Police Department said D’Amato’s opinions violated a federal grant, though it is unclear whether that claim was ever challenged.

“What it means is often you’ll get religious or evangelical organizations, both in the US and internationally, to get funding for anti-trafficking work but have very little expertise in the area,” said Weitzer.

“And this was a major criticism of the bush administration funding for many of these anti-trafficking organizations during that period.”

For example: Priceless Alaska, a Christian anti- trafficking organization that works closely with law enforcement, engages a team of volunteer mentors to work with trafficking victims. By way of preparation, mentors receive a three-day training. According to its website, the training “focuses on the mentor’s personal spiritual development first and sex trafficking-specific training second.”

Among the organizations that signed on to the ESPLERP opposition brief was Covenant House, the largest privately funded agency in the US that provides services to homeless and runaway youth. Last year, Covenant House worked with Loyola University to produce a multi-city report on forced labor and sex trafficking. The report claims that one in every 5 homeless youth are victims of human trafficking.

In Anchorage, that number was even higher: “Study: 1 in 4 homeless youths in Anchorage victims of human trafficking,” the local headline read.

But Burns, who has been collecting state and county arrest records for over five years, says that the data don’t add up, and that the report is intentionally misleading.

“Nobody’s been charged with trafficking a minor in Alaska since 2008,” she told The Crime Report.

In 2014, following the national trend, Alaska created the Special Crimes Investigation Unit, which is devoted to finding and rescuing juveniles who are being trafficked for commercial sex.

“They’ve existed with that mission for four years now,” said Burns, “and have yet to charge anybody with trafficking a minor.”

The problem with the Loyola report, according to Burns, is the way it switches between various definitions of a sex trafficking victim; from youth that are not involved in the commercial sex industry at all, “youths that are underage and just trading sex for survival means,” and youths who are being coerced or held in bondage and commercially trafficked.

“If [Loyola researchers] had talked to a youth who actively had a violent pimp, they would have had to report that to police and the police would have gone in— because they’ve been looking to charge somebody with trafficking a minor, obviously, to support all this rhetoric. We would see some charges if it were actually going on in that way,” Burns said.

But when “you’re not being honest about what you’re actually talking about, and then you’re turning around and saying ‘oh these kids are being kidnapped by pimps and forced into prostitution’— then the policy that ends up being created is not going to serve those actually kids that really exist–that are out there having survival sex right now.”

Fundamentally, Burns believes that this study—and others like it—are compromised by the “religious agenda” underlying the moral campaign.

“Covenant House and Loyola University are both religious organizations who have a religious agenda to prevent other people from having sex that they disapprove of,” she said.

What Burns has found by looking at thousands of charging documents is that the majority of people arrested in “sex trafficking” stings are women working together as prostitutes, or with a driver—both things that increase safety in the sex industry, she says.

Just three people were charged with sex trafficking in the first two years of Alaska’s new sex-trafficking law. One was a dancer charged with sex trafficking herself, according records Burns obtained.

Another was Amber Batts, the owner of the online escort service Sensual Alaska. Prosecutors were unable to charge her with force, fraud, or coercion, since people were working for the service of their own free will– but they still convicted her on charges of 2nd degree sex trafficking. She was sentenced to five years in prison.

“When you think of sex trafficking, you think of people that are held against their will and made to do things that they don’t want to do,” Batts’ sister, Tiana Escalante, told The Crime Report.

Escalante described being shocked to learn that a woman can be charged with sex trafficking in Alaska for a consensual act—even when she is working independently.

“I think it’s kind of outrageous. It’s her body, her right to choose.”

Meanwhile, despite the funding for sex trafficking “rescue” operations, Burns says that as a first responder she has been unable to get law enforcement to investigate two recent cases where victims were held against their will and sold for sex. In the first case, she said the FBI told her there was not enough evidence.

“I’ve been involved in or around criminal investigations for quite a bit,” she said. “There was so much evidence, there were text messages.”

In the second case, she said, despite having an admission from a violent pimp on social media, “the FBI told me they didn’t have time.”

A year ago, Burns helped one victim who was violently trafficked make a report to the FBI, and managed to get her money from the state Victims of Violent Crimes Compensation Fund.

“But the people from the violent crime compensation board actually called me up and let me know, ‘you won’t be able to receive this money on her behalf because we can’t give money to organizations that don’t oppose prostitution,’” she said.

Describing people who have illegal sex as being incapable of making a choice, or too corrupted to understand their own victimhood, isn’t a new strategy.

“It’s very similar if you look at the history of the laws against gay sex and the stigma around gay people… you look back and remember [people said] ‘well, there’s only gay because they were abused as children. And so the gay people are going to go out and they’re going to rape our children,’” Burns said.

“That’s the same kind of stigma that we see around the sex work. Well, prostitutes are all either victims, or they started out as victims and now they’re going to go and victimize somebody else.

“Imagine if you saw the same kind of rhetoric around domestic violence victims. Saying that domestic violence victims need to be arrested because they’re too morally damaged to know what’s good for them.”

This is precisely what Doogan and her cohort are trying to face down in court. As a sex worker and founder of ESPLERP, she insists that she is not a victim.

“If you were a victim advocate, I wouldn’t even bother talking to you,” she told The Crime Report. She calls them the “Anti’s.” “I think that they’re extremely tone deaf.”

“They’re treating us like the sex slaves that they think that we are. That’s the problem with their approach. I stopped talking to them because they don’t want to hear, and take responsibility for their own exploitative behavior.”

Members of the media are some of the worst perpetrators of this narrative violence, says Doogan, “renaming us, reclassifying us, stripping us of our agency.

“We have been barred from our own authority on these issues.”

Those interested in watching oral arguments in ESPLERP v. Gascon can view them here. Victoria Mckenzie is Deputy Editor of The Crime Report. She welcomes readers’ comments. 

from https://thecrimereport.org

Hollywood’s House Of Cards is collapsing before our very eyes!

Hollywood, CAThe longstanding casting couch institution here is destroying some lucrative careers and perhaps $billions before the dust settles.  


If they weren’t directly involved in the sexual extortion too many executives winked at the conduct.    That makes them either accessories or enablers.  

Now they are all in an incredible mess.  One thing for sure there will many forced retirements.  There will be lots of luxury Hollywood homes put up for sale as income vanishes.  

They can’t stop residual payments however there will be fewer showings of films connected to those disgraced predators. 

There are new opportunities for up and coming agents, directors, actors and executives opening as we speak.  

Will Hollywood change?  After all them movies we all enjoy are loaded with sex, violence and bad behavior. 

I think the next Academy Award Ceremony will be far more subdued.  Hopefully with much less Hypocritical rhetoric.

We’ll just have to wait and see. 

There are over 3500 stories on this blog
go to the main page at www.crimefilenews.com
Hollywood, CAThe longstanding casting couch institution here is destroying some lucrative careers and perhaps $billions before the dust settles.  

If they weren’t directly involved in the sexual extortion too many executives winked at the conduct.    That makes them either accessories or enablers.  

Now they are all in an incredible mess.  One thing for sure there will many forced retirements.  There will be lots of luxury Hollywood homes put up for sale as income vanishes.  

They can’t stop residual payments however there will be fewer showings of films connected to those disgraced predators. 

There are new opportunities for up and coming agents, directors, actors and executives opening as we speak.  

Will Hollywood change?  After all them movies we all enjoy are loaded with sex, violence and bad behavior. 

I think the next Academy Award Ceremony will be far more subdued.  Hopefully with much less Hypocritical rhetoric.

We’ll just have to wait and see. 

from http://www.crimefilenews.com/

Sirgiorgio Clardy: The Sociopath From Hell

     Sirgiorgio Clardy bounced from one foster home to another in Portland, Oregon because even as a kid no adult could handle him. In 2000, when he was thirteen, he attacked his foster dad with a baseball bat. Clardy also threatened and…

     Sirgiorgio Clardy bounced from one foster home to another in Portland, Oregon because even as a kid no adult could handle him. In 2000, when he was thirteen, he attacked his foster dad with a baseball bat. Clardy also threatened and attacked teachers, school administrators, and classmates. He took brass knuckles to school and once tried to sexually assault a female student.

     By 2013, the 26-year-old Clardy had been convicted of twenty felonies that included crimes such as forcing young women to work as prostitutes, assault, and robbery. When police officers arrested him, he'd threaten to rape their wives and children. When he wasn't incarcerated, Clardy made everyone who come into contact with him miserable, including the teenaged girls he forced into prostitution. This brutal pimp had no business living outside of prison walls.

     In the summer of 2012, several 18-year-old prostitutes, against their will, were doing business for Clardy out of the Inn at the Convention Center, a motel on the edge of downtown Portland. During the course of that operation a john tried to leave the motel without paying one of Clardy's prostitutes. Clardy caught the john before he left the motel. The pimp knocked the free-loader down and used his feet to stomp the man's face. As the seriously injured john lay bleeding on the ground, Clardy took all the cash he possessed. It took plastic surgery to repair the damage to the prostitution patron's face.

     Police officers arrested Clardy shortly after the assault. A Multnomah County prosecutor charged the violent pimp with compelling prostitution, first-degree robbery, and second-degree assault. The suspected pleaded not guilty to all charges.

     In the months leading up to Clardy's trial he threatened and spit on several lawyers appointed to represent him. Eventually Judge Kelly Skye, realizing that no lawyer wanted to be near this man, declared that he would have to defend himself with the help of a legal advisor who would not be required to sit next to him in court. After awhile even the legal advisor asked the judge to be relieved from the unsavory assignment.

     In July 2013, not long after Clardy's trial got underway in Portland's Multnomah County Circuit Court, the defendant spit on sheriff's deputies and threatened the judge. The next day, deputies rolled the defendant into court handcuffed to a wheelchair. To keep him from spitting on people, the deputies had covered Clardy's head in a mesh bag. Because Clardy refused to get dressed for trial, officers had wrapped him in a suicide smock.

     A few days into the trial, notwithstanding the presence of nine deputy sheriffs, Judge Skye ordered the defendant into another courtroom where he'd watch the proceedings on a video monitor. The judge considered Clardy too disruptive to be physically present at his own trial.

     The jurors concluded Clardy's two-week trial by finding him guilty of all charges. At the sentencing hearing a few days later, the prosecutor put Dr. Frank Colistro on the stand. The psychologist, in practice for thirty years, said, "I've evaluated serial murderers, serial rapists, and I'm going to tell you very few of those people reached the evaluation scores we're going to talk about here."

     According to the forensic psychologist, Clardy was in the 100th percentile of the narcissistic psychopath scale. "People like Mr. Clardy," the doctor said, "are born bad. It's not something we can fix. That's why we have prisons."

     The prosecutor had put Dr. Colistro on the stand to counter the defendant's claim that he heard voices and wanted to kill himself. Dr. Colistro testified that Clardy exemplified the textbook case of an anti-social psychopath, a man who thought he was smarter, more attractive, and better than anyone else.  According to Dr. Colistro, Sirgiorgio Clardy was not mentally ill. This man was evil.

     Judge Judy Skye, based upon Sirgiorio Claudy's violent past, criminal record, courtroom behavior, and psychological evaluation, declared him a "dangerous offender". People so designated, if given the chance, would offend again. As someone beyond the reach of rehabilitation, Judge Skye sentenced Clardy to 100 years in prison with no chance of parole until he served 36 years. Clardy, upon hearing his sentence, swore at the judge and threatened the deputy sheriffs.

     In January 2014, from his cell at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution, Clardy, through a handwritten, three-page complaint, filed a $100 million civil suit against, among others, Phil Knight, the chairman of the Nike Company. Clardy based his tort claim on the theory that Nike, on each shoe, does not provide a label that warns users that stomping a person's face while wearing this Nike product could cause serious injury to the stomped person. As a result of the defendant's omission, the plaintiff experienced "great mental suffering".

     Clardy's lawsuit, the product of sociopathy in the extreme, was dismissed by a judge on October 2, 2014. 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

The Mother Who Pimped Out Her Daughters

     In April 2012, a tipster called the Nebraska State Patrol to report a woman he had met on Craigslist. According to the informant, she had sent him sexually graphic photographs of her 14-year-old daughter. For a price, this woman off…

     In April 2012, a tipster called the Nebraska State Patrol to report a woman he had met on Craigslist. According to the informant, she had sent him sexually graphic photographs of her 14-year-old daughter. For a price, this woman offered to make the girl available for sex.

     On April 26, an undercover state officer, posing as a potential John, arranged to meet the 35-year-old mother of three at a motel in Kearney, Nebraska. Michelle Randall, accompanied by her 14-year-old daughter, offered to sell herself for $150, and/or the girl for $200. The officer flashed his badge and arrested the mother. A child protection agent took custody of the teen.

     The arresting officer took Randall to the Buffalo County Jail where she was held on $250,000 bail under charges of soliciting the sexual assault of a child and possession of child pornography.

     Police and child protection personnel went Randall's home near Minden, Nebraska where they found the suspect's other two daughters, ages 7 and 9, alone in the filthy house. The girls were placed into foster care.

     When questioned by the police Michelle Randall admitted allowing her 41-year-old boyfriend, over a period of 14 months, to have sex with her teenage daughter and her 7 year old. She also named some of the men who had paid to have sex with the girls.

     Over the next few weeks, Nebraska police officers arrested 7 men, including the boyfriend, who had paid to have sex with the 14-year-old one or more times. Three of these men had sexually molested the 7-year-old sister. They were all charged with sexual assault.

     A Columbus, Nebraska man, 37-year-old Donald Grafe, had sex with the 14-year-old at a Lincoln truck stop. The other arrestees included Logan Roepke, a 22-year-old man from McCook, Nebraska; 38-year-old Alexander Rahe from Omaha; 41-year-old Shad Chandler from Lincoln; and Brian McCarthy, 25, also from Lincoln. McCarthy, incarcerated in the Lancaster County Jail, had pornographic images of the 14-year-old on his cellphone.

     In November 2012, Michelle Randall pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault of a child and two counts of possession of child pornography. The judge sentenced the mother pimp to 92 to 120 years in prison.

     In January 2013, Shad Chandler from Lincoln, Nebraska, pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a child. Three months later the judge sentenced him to 15 to 45 years behind bars. The other patrons of child prostitution pleaded guilty and received similar sentences. In 2013, police officers arrested three more men accused of having sex with the 14-year-old girl. These men were eventually convicted and sentenced to prison terms.  

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

How Seattle Police Busted a Tech-Savvy Sex Ring

A police investigation uncovered a secretive network of male customers, many of whom worked in computer technology fields and were comfortable using those skills to arrange–and rate–sexual rendezvous. “The internet has greased the wheels on illegal sexual exploitation,” said one prosecutor.

The Seattle Times examines how police brought down a secretive, tech-savvy prostitution network in nearby Bellevue. Using pseudonyms like “TomCat007,” “Captain America” and “Tahoe Ted,” the network of men posted thousands of sexually explicit reviews on a carefully curated, Seattle-based website called The Review Board. In great detail, they rated a woman’s performance, energy level and physical attributes, and offered recommendations as if they were reviewing restaurants. While the men came from different, mostly white-collar backgrounds, prosecutors said many were tech workers comfortable using their browsers to shop for what they wanted–and who could afford the $300-an-hour rate for sex.

The Review Board, an online forum for sex buyers since 2001, boasted it had 23,000 members, most of them in the Pacific Northwest, in 2015. There were many other similar sites — more than 100 in King County alone. Together, the websites ensured the women working in expensive Bellevue apartments had a steady stream of customers — and that the customers had a steady supply of new women. “The internet has greased the wheels on illegal sexual exploitation. It’s made it so easy for men to get involved,” said Valiant Richey, a King County prosecutor.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Condoms As Evidence in The War Against Prostitution

     One of the key justifications for the criminalization of prostitution is public health, to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDs. In New York City alone the government spends $1 million a year distributing fr…

     One of the key justifications for the criminalization of prostitution is public health, to curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDs. In New York City alone the government spends $1 million a year distributing free condoms with this very purpose in mind.

     Every year, New York City vice officers make 2,500 prostitution arrests. In a few cases, the fact that the sex trade suspect possessed more condoms than what is considered customary has been used as evidence of prostitution.

     Among sex workers, rumor has it that cops will arrest anyone in possession of more than three condoms. While there is not a three-condom rule, a lot of prostitutes no longer carry them in fear of being incriminated by this evidence. What can a prostitute say when the vice officer asks, "What are you doing with all of those condoms?"

     The New York City Department of Health conducted a study in 2010 that revealed that a third of the city's hookers didn't carry condoms as a measure to avoid incriminating themselves.

     Since more than 90 percent of prostitution arrests lead to plea bargained sentences, vice officers rarely need to make their cases using this type of evidence. In suburban New York's Nassau County, District Attorney Kathleen Rice has said that the evidentiary value of condoms does not outweigh the negative public health effect associated with the use of this prosecutorial technique. According to this prosecutor, "condom evidence is rarely of any value to a prosecution. If you need condom possession so badly in a case against a trafficker, you don't have a good case." Prosecutors in San Francisco and in Brooklyn, New York no longer use excessive condom possession as evidence in prostitution cases.

     In 2013, the New York State Assembly passed a bill banning the introduction of condom possession into evidence at sex trafficking trials. A supporter of this first-of-its-kind legislation, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, told a reporter with the New York Times that "Sex workers are not a politically appealing constituency to most lawmakers." The New York State Senate has not taken up the bill. (It's perhaps a bit ironic that politicians, who are whores themselves, aren't more attuned to the needs of these constituents.) 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Feminists Debate Prostitution

     Feminists across Western Europe are sounding the alarm. Prostitution, they claim, has become today’s “white slavery,” which ever more women from Bulgaria and Romania, Africa and Asia, being forced, tricked or seduced into selling their bodies.

     But in so doing, these activists are creating a schism in the [feminist] movement, between those who see prostitution as another form of male oppression and those who see it as a possible means of female empowerment.

     Much of the debate is centered in Germany, where prostitution is legal. As a result, the German author Alice Schwarzer said, the country has become…”a paradise for johns from all over the Continent,” who come in busloads to frequent the new “mega-brothels” in Cologne, Munich or Berlin.

     And, indeed, prostitution is big business in Germany. In bordellos along the borders with France and Poland, countries where prostitution is illegal, groups of visitors are often offered flat-rate packages. Though exact numbers are rare, experts estimate that there are as many as 400,000 prostitutes in Germany, serving more than a million clients and churning out a hefty revenue of 15 billion euros a year.

Mirian Lau, The New York Times, December 29, 2013 

     Feminists across Western Europe are sounding the alarm. Prostitution, they claim, has become today's "white slavery," which ever more women from Bulgaria and Romania, Africa and Asia, being forced, tricked or seduced into selling their bodies.

     But in so doing, these activists are creating a schism in the [feminist] movement, between those who see prostitution as another form of male oppression and those who see it as a possible means of female empowerment.

     Much of the debate is centered in Germany, where prostitution is legal. As a result, the German author Alice Schwarzer said, the country has become…"a paradise for johns from all over the Continent," who come in busloads to frequent the new "mega-brothels" in Cologne, Munich or Berlin.

     And, indeed, prostitution is big business in Germany. In bordellos along the borders with France and Poland, countries where prostitution is illegal, groups of visitors are often offered flat-rate packages. Though exact numbers are rare, experts estimate that there are as many as 400,000 prostitutes in Germany, serving more than a million clients and churning out a hefty revenue of 15 billion euros a year.

Mirian Lau, The New York Times, December 29, 2013 

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Honeymoons And Hookers Don’t Mix

     Between May 8 and 11, 2013, Florida undercover officers with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office ran a prostitution sting involving an online ad aimed at prospective Johns. The operation resulted in the arrests of 92 men. One of the su…

     Between May 8 and 11, 2013, Florida undercover officers with the Polk County Sheriff's Office ran a prostitution sting involving an online ad aimed at prospective Johns. The operation resulted in the arrests of 92 men. One of the suspects caught in the web was a 45-year-old youth minister. Another unlikely catch involved a young man who was on his honeymoon.

     A 21-year-old Chicago area groom named Mohammed Ahmed was on his honeymoon in Orlando, Florida. After showing up at the place where he hoped to engage the prostitute, Ahmed was arrested by the cops running the sting. When Ahmed didn't return to his honeymoon suite at the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate, his bride called the police and reported him missing.

     As it turned out, the newlywed was only missing from his bride. The authorities knew exactly where he was--sitting in the Polk County Jail facing charges of prostitution solicitation and possession of marijuana. The realization that her husband tried to hire a hooker just hours after the wedding ceremony must rank near the top of the honeymoon-from-hell list.

     Because I believe that police officers should be spending their time and resources on more serious crimes, I am not a fan of prostitution stings. But in Ahmed's case, the Polk County Sheriff's Office did Mr. Ahmed's bride a huge favor. If she didn't treat his prostitution arrest as an indication of what life would be like with this husband, she had only herself to blame.

     While I could not find the disposition of this case, I'm pretty sure he made bail, pleaded guilty, and paid a fine. What effect this had on his marriage was not publicly revealed.  

from http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com/

Stop Treating Sex Workers, Trafficking Victims as Criminals: Study

Police and the courts need to dramatically change the way they deal with prostitution, beginning with treating sex workers and trafficking victims as individuals who need counseling and help to remake their lives— rather than as criminals—said an Urban Institute report released today.

Police and the courts need to dramatically change the way they deal with prostitution, beginning with treating sex workers and trafficking victims as individuals who need counseling and help to remake their lives— rather than as criminals—said an Urban Institute report released today. “The criminalization of prostitution and, more generally, negative interactions with the police discourage the reporting of, and therefore investigation of and response to, violence and exploitation,” declared the report, entitled “Consequences of Policing Prostitution.” The report’s authors studied 1,413 prostitution-related cases in New York City between February 2015 and March 2016. The study used data from the Exploitation Intervention Project (EIP) operated by The Legal Aid Society in New York, as well as interviews with EIP clients. In many of the cases, the clients  reported being subjected to verbal abuse, racial profiling and even propositioning by police officers. A 44-year-old black female, for example, reported being paraded with handcuffs in front of officers after she was arrested:  “It was like a show…., They were laughing and it was fun, it was fun for them, it was a good night.” Some 84% of the EIP’s clients analyzed for the study were individuals of color, and many had histories of being sexually abused.  More than one-third had been or were currently being trafficked. Criminalizing prostitution impedes an individual’s chances to find housing or gainful employment that would enable them to find alternatives, the study said. The treatment of sex trafficking victims in particular was criticized by the authors,  Meredith Dank of John Jay College of Criminal Justice;  and Jennifer Yahner and Lily Yu of the Urban Institute. “Entrenching anti-trafficking efforts in the policing of prostitution is harmful,” they wrote, noting that trafficking victims are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and should be provided with counseling rather than putting them in handcuffs. “Trafficking prevention…necessarily starts with economic and gender justice and involves preventing homelessness, family violence, child abuse, and all sexual abuse and assault.” The study, one of the first to systematically examine the backgrounds and outcomes of people criminalized for prostitution within a single jurisdiction, was assisted by Kate Mogulescu and Katie Beth White of The Legal Aid Society of New York. Although it recommended that authorities de-criminalize prostitution, it also suggested initial steps that courts and police could take to that would have the same effect:
  • Police could cease arresting people for prostitution or send individuals to court-based prostitution diversion programs, where their charges could be dismissed with the help of criminal defense attorney as “if they never happened, so participants can immediately move forward unburdened by negative consequences of an arrest or conviction record.”
  • Judges should be careful not to “impose further stigma, embarrassment, or danger on those facing criminal charges on prostitution offenses through language, comments, or imposing assumptions or judgment.”
In one ominous note suggesting a growing problem in New York City, the study also found that the number of Asian individuals arrested in connection with  both unlicensed massage and prostitution charges increased by over 2,700 percent between 2012 and 2016—from 12 to 36 cases. The report is available here. This summary was prepared by TCR intern Davi Hernandez      

from https://thecrimereport.org