Fake Client Sting
Heavier forms of body modification (implants, tongue splitting, subincision, castration, female circumcision, and even procedures such as scarification in some areas) are fairly "grey" in their legality, and only slight variations may make them clear-cut violations of the law (i.e. as a medical procedure, on a minor, etc.). Because of this, if a practitioner is being targeted by the authorities, they may be presented with a custom-tailored sting (i.e. a "Fake Client Con", but done by the government) with these variations (underage client, etc.) in order to increase the chances of a conviction.
These fake clients may come with offers of huge amounts of money for the procedures (one recent case saw $8,000 being offered for a pair of circumcisions) and other promises that make the deal seem "too good to be true". Practitioners should be warned that even by entertaining online conversations on these subjects they may find themselves charged with the "intent" to commit a crime, even if they never would have independently gone out and done so.
Because of these types of tactics most cutters who have survived in the long term stick to the following rules:
- Don't mix business and pleasure.
- Don't blur the line between fantasy and reality. Additionally, many clients who approach you will mostly be about fantasy. You need to quickly identify and distance yourself from these characters.
- If a procedure seems "too good to be true" financially, or seems tailored to your personal fetishes, steer clear of it.
- Use word-of-mouth networks and only work on people who can offer a referral (i.e. if you don't personally know the person, make sure someone you know trusts them).
- Don't advertise illegal acts in public, especially in a way that can track back to you. Any public documentation should track back to the client if anyone, who can then act as a "filter" to pass potential future clients to you.
- If you are a professional piercer or tattoo artist, never do procedures outside of what's unquestionably legal in your studio. If for some crazy reason you do, don't charge for it, and don't document it.
- Never, never, never work on minors or even talk about working on minors. Even talking to minors, or talking to the parents of minors about doing a procedure on them could get you in trouble. Be very clear on this point!
- Never, never, never talk about (or boast about) what you do with the mainstream. Don't put up a website with your real name on it, don't do TV interviews, and don't get drunk at the local bar and talk loudly about your exploits (that's how Edward Bodkin got nailed).
- Retain a good lawyer. Odds are you won't need them; but if you do, you'll be very, very happy you did.
Extreme body modification has been around for a long, long, long time. It's not a modern or youth phenomenon, but the publicity of modern times combined with the recklessness of youth are endangering practitioners as modern youth embraces heavy body modification. This is making heavy modification an increasing public health concern, and is thus forcing governments to take prosecutorial action.