Category: Sex Workers Rights

Ohio Supreme Court Decides Lower Court Failed By Trying Trafficking Survivor As An Adult, But Still Upholds Conviction

The Summit County Juvenile Court in Ohio didn’t follow the law when it allowed a 15-year-old girl who was a human trafficking victim to be tried as an adult in the robbery and murder of the man who trafficked her, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The high court, however, upheld the girl’s conviction and sentence to prison for the rest of her life.

The court ruled Alexis Martin couldn’t prove that the judge’s decision to bind her over to adult court would have changed if the juvenile court had further explored her human trafficking history.

Attorneys across Ohio working on Martin’s behalf were disappointed in the decision, which they called “illogical.”

“I believe in the court. I believe in the system,” said Megan Mattimoe, a Toledo attorney whose agency, Advocating Opportunity, assists human trafficking victims. “Here, the system failed her [Martin)] at every turn.”

Martin, who is originally from Canton, pleaded guilty to murder and felonious assault in the 2013 robbery and slaying of Angelo Kerney, 36, of Akron. She was sentenced in March 2015 to life in prison with possible parole after 21 years.

Prosecutors say Martin, Travaski Jackson and Dashaun Spear organized a robbery in November 2013 that left Kerney dead and another man with a bullet wound in his head.

Janae Jones and Martin went into the home of Kerney, and they distracted him and his brother, Alecio Samuel, by having sex with them so Jackson and Spear could rob them. Spear shot and killed Kerney. Samuel, 20, was shot in the head but survived. The four people involved were sentenced to life in prison.

Jennifer Kinsley, Martin’s Cincinnati attorney, argued before the Ohio Supreme Court that the juvenile court judge should have determined that Martin was covered by safe harbor, a 2012 law that protects children whose crimes are tied to them being human trafficking victims. This would have triggered a requirement for the juvenile court to appoint a guardian ad litem to explore Martin’s history and make a recommendation to the court on what was best for her.

Martin, who is now 20, had a troubled childhood, with both of her parents and her stepfather involved with drugs. Her mother went to prison for drug trafficking and her father abused her. She was shuffled between family members and the foster care system. At 14, she was kidnapped and forced into exotic dancing, according to court records.

Martin told authorities Kerney forced her to dance, sell drugs, prepare other girls for prostitution and collect money from them.

Summit County Juvenile Court Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio considered Martin to be a human-trafficking victim but neither she, Martin’s attorney nor the prosecutors invoked the safe harbor law.

Martin didn’t challenge this decision in juvenile court, but raised it when her case was transferred to Summit County Common Pleas Court. The adult court ruled it lacked jurisdiction.

Martin raised the issue again on appeal, with the Supreme Court agreeing to hear the case.

The justices, in a 6-1 decision, agreed the safe harbor law should have been triggered, but they also said — even with this step — that Teodosio may still have bound Martin over as an adult.

“The specific facts and evidence in this case do not show that her [Martin’s] offenses were ‘related to’ her victimization,” Justice Judith L. French wrote.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell, however, disagreed.

He said failing to appoint a guardian was a “manifest miscarriage of justice” that should be corrected by vacating Martin’s sentence, returning the case to juvenile court and appointing a guardian.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh, though, was pleased with the majority’s decision.

“Alexis Martin conspired with others to rob Angelo Kerney and Alecio Samuel,” she said in an email. “Her actions led to Kerney’s death after both he and Samuel were shot in the head.

“We must hold people accountable.”

Summit County Juvenile Court officials declined to comment Tuesday. In 2016, the court was the first juvenile court in Ohio to start a special program, called Restore Court, that is aimed at helping human trafficking victims.

Mattimoe said the court’s decision points to a need to clarify the safe harbor language and her organization plans to push for that through a pending bill. She and others also will continue doing all they can to free Martin.

“We can’t allow her to sit in prison,” she said. “It’s not right.”

Police in Iceland Lose Assets After Raid on ‘Champagne Club’

Cash and other assets totaling about 1 million Krona (ISK), which equals about $8,180 (USD) that were seized in a raid on a “champagne club” have disappeared from police custody. Police said the disappearance was the result of poor work practices, but investigations have ended without any suspects.

So-called “champagne clubs” offer customers a chance to have alcoholic beverages and chat with the staff, who is female and wearing provocative clothing. The clubs began opening a law passed that prevented new strip clubs from being licensed in 2010.

When the club, called Strawberries was subjected to a police raid in 2013, under suspicion of engaging in sex work, many assets were seized. This included cash, jewelry and watches totaling about 1 million ISK. Only police officers had access to these assets.

Vísir now reports that all of these items and cash have disappeared. Investigations were conducted both within the police and the prosecutor’s office without any results. No suspects were arrested.

Police concluded that work practices for possession of seized assets were not followed well, making it impossible to trace where these valuables went to or at what point they disappeared from custody.

Amazingly, the police believe that nothing indicates that these assets were stolen, although they could not confirm what led to their disappearance. As investigations have concluded, it is unlikely that the assets in question will ever be found.

British Sex Worker Murdered by Client

A banker texted his partner “I’m sorry” after he allegedly bludgeoned a high-class escort to death on her 29th birthday, a court heard.

Helen Jervis asked her partner of 12 years Zahid Naseem “What have you done” after he told her “It’s too late, I’m sorry, life isn’t going to work for me” on 25 May, Lewes Crown Court heard.

The accused killer, 48-year-old Zahid Naseem, stayed for another 12 hours in the Highams Hill apartment where he had just murdered 29-year-old Christina Abbotts as she lay in bed, officials said. During that half-day, Naseem allegedly sent explicit photos and videos to another sex worker — and then pretended to be unconscious when police suddenly showed up.

As the murder trial continued, the court heard how the “privately-educated city girl” lived a secret life as a high-class escort but told her friends and family she worked in IT.

Abbotts, who worked under the name “Tilly Pexton,” was housesitting in the apartment where she was found dead. A Lewes Crown Court was told that she hit 13 times in the back of the head with a pestle and may have been strangled.

Naseem, from Elm Close, has denied any role in the murder. He claimed he and Abbotts were drinking and doing drugs together before he woke up and found her dead, the BBC reported.

Naseem has admitted to paying Abbotts up to $2,500 per night and described her as “a social media addict” who led a lavish lifestyle partying with “posh”, wealthy friends living in Westminster and other parts of London while frequenting the theater, polo and Ascot.

Jurors also  heard Abbotts had been “hassled” online and in person by a “female stalker”.

On the night of her death, Abbotts  had planned to meet friends at the Park Plaza County Hall hotel in London for her birthday party, but never arrived. Friends began to worry, fearing it may have been linked to her concerns about a stalker.

Long time friend Roshan Pariag  drove from London to the apartment in Crawley to look for her, and noted he could see a “glow” from a computer screen in the home but no one answered the door so he called police.

After police broke down the door and found her body, he said: “I could just tell by the look on their face something tragic had happened.”

Mr Pariag added: “She was always happy, she was always trying to look after friends. She was just a really, really lovely person. She was willing to give anybody a chance.”

Defense Requests Evidence in Chrystul Kizer Case

A Kenosha man who was shot to death in his 14th Avenue home last June had been under investigation for producing child pornography and sexual abuse, with one of the girls involved the teenager now charged with homicide for his shooting death, according to defense attorneys.

Chrystul Kizer, 18, is charged with first-degree homicide, arson and auto theft for the June 5 shooting death of Randall Volar III. She was 17 when Volar was killed. Volar, 34, was found dead in his burning home. Investigators learned he had been shot twice, and that the fire to the house appeared to have been set. When his body was found, Volar’s car was missing from the property.


“Not only do you commit a set of really heinous crimes, you light a body on fire, when you’re not sure if the person’s deceased or not,” said Michael Graveley, Kenosha County district attorney.

“Certainly if you come to this community from another community and shoot someone twice in the head and then light them on fire, there’s going to be severe consequences,” said Graveley.

Investigators said they’re still trying to determine exactly how Kizer met Volar, and the extent of their relationship after they found that out that Volar had paid for an Uber driver to bring Kizer from Milwaukee to his home.

According to the criminal complaint, Kizer’s boyfriend, a 21-year-old Milwaukee man, told detectives he had purchased a handgun for Kizer because she was “tired of the dude touching on her” and that she was going to shoot him.

The complaint states that she initially denied knowing Volar, but later told police that “he (Volar) helped her with money and places to stay.” Subsequently, she told police another woman shot Volar. But when faced with further evidence, she reportedly confessed, saying “she got upset and was tired of Volar touching her” and that she had shot him.

According to a motion filed by defense attorneys, before his death Volar was under investigation by the Kenosha Police Department for sexual conduct with underage girls.

In a motion to compel discovery — that is a request for the court to require the state to turn over evidence — the defense is seeking evidence found during the police investigation into Volar.

“The defense believes that the discovery in this case suggests that Ms. Kizer acted in self-defense. Mr. Volar, a 34-year-old man, was engaged in the ongoing sexual and physical abuse of Ms. Kizer, then a 17-year-old girl, and several other girls whose identities are currently unknown to the defense.”

According to the motion, the defense believes Volar attempted to engage in sexual activity with Kizer, and Kizer resisted. Further, during that struggle, Kizer at some point shot Volar, killing him.

The complaint states the defense learned Volar had been under investigation by the Kenosha Police, and police had served a search warrant on his home before the murder.

“The Kenosha Police had evidence that Mr. Volar was producing child pornography, and that he was traveling to Milwaukee, or transporting girls from Milwaukee to Kenosha for the purposes of sexual abuse,” the motion states.

It states that police “collected significant evidence of Mr. Volar’s malfeasance” when they executed the search warrant on his home before his death, and that they had collected his DNA. “Additionally, the Kenosha Police had been alerted by TCF Bank, a financial institution utilized by Mr. Volar, that Mr. Volar’s account had been flagged under suspicion of being involved in human or sex trafficking.”

The defense is seeking all evidence relating to the Kenosha Police investigation of Volar. They argue that the evidence is relevant to Kizer’s mindset at the time she is alleged to have killed him and “has the potential to provide a significant bolster to the defense’s primary theory of self-defense.”

At a hearing Monday, District Attorney Michael Graveley said the state would be opposing the release of the evidence the defense is seeking. He asked for — and was granted by the judge — an opportunity to make the state’s argument in a written brief.

Asked by Judge David Wilk whether at least some of the material the defense is seeking exists, Graveley answered that it does.

The discovery process requires both sides of a legal action to share evidence as they prepare for trial. In criminal prosecutions, the state typically has the bulk of the evidence.

Both the state and defense in the Kizer case would not comment on the Volar investigation beyond what was stated in court. In its motion, the defense suggests that the state may argue that the evidence collected in the Volar investigation is only “potentially useful evidence” and so not required as part of discovery.

“Such an argument should be rejected,” the defense stated.

They will return to court to argue the issue Nov. 30.

Indian Sex Workers Fight For The Right To Refuse Rescue

MUMBAI, INDIA — Reports of forced labor at a shelter for abused women run by a charity in India sparked fresh fears on Monday that the country’s long-awaited anti-trafficking bill could lead to consenting sex workers being locked up and treated like victims.

The Lower House of the Indian Parliament cleared the anti-trafficking bill in July this year and it is expected to be tabled in the Upper House in December.

India’s women’s minister has said it aims to unify existing anti-trafficking laws, prioritize survivors’ needs and prevent victims such as those found in brothel raids from being arrested and jailed like traffickers.

But sex workers’ organizations say it does not distinguish between victims of trafficking and women doing sex work out of choice, and could lead to the latter being held in shelters.

“There is a concern among sex workers’ rights movements about adult consenting sex workers being incarcerated in protection homes,” said Aarti Pai of the India-based National Network of Sexworkers.

Prajwala houses 600 women in its shelter in Hyderabad. Joshua Caroll, based in Myanmar, and who works for The Guardian, was in the city for six weeks and met seven survivors from Prajwala and reported on the conditions at the home.

Caroll reported that the seven women he interviewed told him that they were ill-treated, exploited and felt caged. The women preferred staying at a prison over the home.

Caroll reported that his request to visit shelter was rejected by Sunita Krishnan who runs the shelter.

One of the survivors as saying: “I was pulled out from a sex work by Hyderabad police and housed at Prajwala. For about a year, I was made to sew and clean bathrooms for money that I never received. It would have been better to be in a prison, at least you can meet with your family there.”

Another survivor described the atmosphere inside Prajwala as being one of fear and despair. Those who rebelled against their detention were beaten, she alleged. The inmates have no contact with the outside world. There are several instances of inmate self-harming and suicide attempts at the shelter, according to the women.

A 26-year-old Uzbek national, who was rescued from the flesh trade and lodged at the Prajwala home in Ranga Reddy district for rehabilitation allegedly committed suicide in April this year.

Women who had stayed at the home said that they were forced to work under the “life skills” program, which Prajawala describes as part of its “rescue and rehabilitation”strategy. The women said if they resisted, the police would be called and they received a severe beating, a woman said.

Another woman who stayed at the home two years ago said she had beaten up and her belongings confiscated. “They hit my head with a stick,” she recalled.

Of the seven former residents, five said they witnessed staff beating other detainees or were subjected to violence themselves.

Asked about the report, Krishnan alleged that the seven witnesses were paid off.

“I met this journalist at an awards function and he asked me about my grants. I know he was commissioned to damage my identity. I wrote about this on my blog,”  Krishnan said. “He spoke to seven survivors and has named none. What about the 20,000 girls I have rescued?”

She said the entire story is judged on the experience of the seven residents. “He has not visited my shelter but sent me a mail asking four questions, like ‘Do you beat up inmates’. How do I answer such questions,”  Krishnan said,

She said she “knew the lobby backing him (Mr Caroll).”

“These are girls were sent to my home by the court, and I am responsible till they stay there. If the survivors were mistreated, they would have told the court and not a journalist,” she said.

Tumblr to Ban All Adult Content

Social media platform Tumblr will institute a total ban on adult content starting December 17, 2018, according to a new report in The Verge.

The new policy will target stills, GIFs, and videos depicting “explicit sexual content and nudity” including “female-presenting nipples,” genitals, and sex. Permitted media under the new guidelines include media of breastfeeding, birth, “nude classical statues” and political protests containing nudity, and adult-targeted Illustrations that do not show sex acts. Written erotica will be allowed.

The new policy’s announcement comes just days after Tumblr was removed from Apple’s iOS App Store over a child pornography incident, but it extends far beyond that matter alone. “Adult content will no longer be allowed here,” the company flatly states in a blog post set to be published on Monday.

After December 17th, any explicit posts will be flagged and deleted by algorithms. For now, Tumblr is emailing users who have posted adult content flagged by algorithms and notifying them that their content will soon be hidden from view. Posts with porn content will be set to private, which will prevent them from being reblogged or shared elsewhere in the Tumblr community.

Starbucks Plans to Ban Access to Pornography Websites on Free WiFi

Starbucks will start blocking pornography viewing on its stores’ Wi-Fi starting in 2019, the company announced amid renewed public pressure on the coffee giant by an internet-safety group.

A Starbucks representative told NBC News that the viewing of “egregious content” over its stores’ Wi-Fi has always violated its policy, but the company now has a way to stop it.

“We have identified a solution to prevent this content from being viewed within our stores and we will begin introducing it to our U.S. locations in 2019,” the company representative said.

The announcement was first reported by Business Insider and comes after a petition from internet-safety advocacy group Enough is Enough garnered more than 26,000 signatures.

The nonprofit launched a porn-free campaign aimed at McDonald’s and Starbucks in 2014, and it says that while McDonald’s “responded rapidly and positively,” Starbucks did not.

Starbucks said in 2016 that the company was “in active discussions with organizations on implementing the right, broad-based solution that would remove any illegal and other egregious content,” according to a statement Monday by Enough is Enough CEO Donna Rice Hughes. But they didn’t act, she said.

In a letter that Hughes said she received from Starbucks over the summer, the company vowed to address the issue “once we determine that our customers can access our free WiFi in a way that also doesn’t involuntarily block unintended content.”

Starbucks has not released details about how it plans to restrict the viewing of pornographic sites or illegal content over its Wi-Fi.

Pornhub is developing a plan work around the ban. The site is launching a new subdomain that promises to offer nudity-free “Safe for Work” content.

The page, www.pornhub.com/sfw, launched on Thursday to give Pornhub users a potential workaround when the Starbucks ban rolls out next year.

“To comply with Starbucks’ new policy, we’ve created an option that allows fans to still enjoy great content to which they are accustomed, but that is appropriate for consumption in public places,” the adult video-sharing site said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the vice president of YouPorn, a free pornographic video-sharing site and one of the 200 most-visited websites worldwide, responded by sending a memo to staff banning Starbucks products from company offices starting Jan. 1, 2019

Prince George County Police Investigated for Sex Scandal Involving Sex Workers

Multiple police officers from Prince George’s County and Washington, DC – are under investigation for allegations involving coercing sex acts from sex workers.

A transgender sex worker who spoke with FOX5 said that the officers are using their authority to coerce the sex workers into sexual acts in exchange for not arresting them. She couldn’t reveal her identity for fear of retaliation, but said she had talked to DC and Prince George’s county detectives about the pending investigation.

The officers have not been publicly identified, nor have they been formally charged with any crimes, but the departments involved have confirmed the officers are under investigation.

In the case of a Prince George’s county officer, his department says the officer was off duty when the alleged incidents would have taken place. A video shows an officer – dressed in plain clothes – arriving at a location on Eastern Avenue in Northeast – where one of the incidents is alleged to have occurred – in a marked Prince George’s county police cruiser.

Other images show a man wearing only a DC police polo shirt and naked below the waist. Multiple sources have suggested  that the man is a DC police lieutenant.

Prince George’s county police offered the following statement:

There is an allegation that an off-duty Prince George’s County police officer exchanged money for a sexual act while he was in his marked cruiser in the District of Columbia.  The case is being investigated by Metropolitan Police.  Our internal affairs division is handling the administrative investigation.  Within hours of learning about the allegation, the officer was suspended with pay while the case moves forward.

DC police also offered a statement:

We are aware of the allegations of misconduct against one of our sworn members. MPD Internal Affairs Bureau is investigating the allegation. The member has been place on non-contact status pending the outcome of the investigation.

8 Inclusive Alternatives To Victoria’s Secret

Hey gang. victoria transphobic
Let the folks down at Teen Vogue know that they need full time podcasters on ther staff.

This is the Morning Wine Cellar for 11/13/18.
William is here to do a solo riff real quick and we’ll be back later for the evening Wine Cellar.

PODCAST AUDIO LINK

Labour frontbencher Keir Starmer concerned about Met police’s handling of spate of robberies of premises used for sex work in London

Common Myths About Sex Work, Debunked By Sex Workers

Sex work is one of the most maligned forms of labor, and often subject to misrepresentation and speculation. We asked two leading sex worker activists to break down some of the most common misconceptions.

With 42 killed, California’s Camp Fire is state’s all-time deadliest

The Human Identification Laboratory sorts through fire rubble to try and find victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. Sunday.
The Human Identification Laboratory sorts through fire rubble to try and find victims of the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif. Sunday. Photo: Randy Vazquez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The Butte County Sheriff on Monday reported 13 more fatalities had been discovered on Monday from the Camp wildfire, which all but wiped out the town of Paradise, located about 90 miles north of Sacramento. This brings the death toll to 42, which eclipses the Griffith Park Fire of 1933 as the deadliest wildfire recorded in state history. It already holds the title of the most destructive wildfire on record.

Details: With more than 200 people still unaccounted for, the death toll may increase further. The wildfire has consumed over 6,400 homes. The latest death toll comes after President Trump said on Twitter that he had approved a request to declare the fires in California a major disaster. People affected would be eligible for federal government aid.

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The big picture: The Camp Fire is part of a spate of destructive wildfires that have ravaged California communities in the north and south, with evacuations still in effect in parts of Ventura and Los Angeles counties due to the damaging Woolsey Fire, which has claimed 2 lives and destroyed more than 300 structures.

Morning Wine Cellar – Trans Abuse In Texas And Sex Workers Rights In Seattle

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Let’s trigger warning it up.
This is a quick Morning Wine Cellar.
We jump right in with the story of a Trans Woman facing Sadistic abuse by the legal system.
LINK – Dallas jailers ordered transgender woman to show her genitals, lawsuit says

From we dive right into news updates out of Seattle as the garbage azz Nordic Model spreads.
LINK – Seattle’s latest prostitution sting: Progressive or misguided?
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