Sex Trafficking Super Bowl Myth

The American Politicians, Attorney Generals, senators, governors, representatives are doing what they do best: “Lying to the public, making laws based on myths and putting innocent men and women in prison for non-existent super bowl sex trafficking” saying that over 100,000 forced child prostitutes are kidnapped, forced and raped by super bowl ticket holder fans every year at the super bowl with no evidence or proof.

Representative Christopher H. Smith, Republican of New Jersey and co-chairman of the House anti-human trafficking caucus, and N.J. Gov. Chris Christie announced a sex trafficking law enforcement crackdown. Cindy McCain (wife of John McCain) in advance of next year’s Super Bowl in Arizona, flew in to stand at Mr. Christie’s side, declaring that the Super Bowl is “the largest human-trafficking event on the planet.”

What is it about the super bowl that cause normal men to suddenly turn into evil child rapists?

New York Time article

From The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children website:

“The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is encouraged by the increased awareness of child sex trafficking that occurs before large events such as this weekend’s Super Bowl. However, some news outlets have attributed the statement “10,000 child sex trafficking victims were at the Super Bowl in Miami” to us. That is inaccurate. No one knows with certainty the exact number of children exploited through sex trafficking in the United States or during events like the Super Bowl. “
Link to Missing & Exploited Children website:
http://blog.missingkids.com/post/75067031070/sex-trafficking-and-the-super-bowl

 

How many New Jersey super bowl ticket holder fans have they arrested for having forced sex with beaten, raped child prostitutes? How many female child prostitutes have they rescued? How old were they? Can we see them and talk with the underage female child victims?

Do all super bowl ticket holder fans like to have forced sex with a child who is crying, kicking, and screaming while the Super Bowl football fan is beating the child to death?
Do they do this in the football stadium?  Do all of the super bowl ticket holder fans join in the rape?

Why is it that they never mention transgender boys, and male victims?  Are all the victims 5 year old girls that the super bowl ticket holder fans are paying to rape? Without anyone noticing?

Why is it that thousands of forced, beaten, raped child prostitutes are never found at the super bowl?  Could it be because they don’t exist?

The Sex Trafficking Super Bowl Myth

By Susan Elizabeth Shepard

for Sports 0n Earth

In 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said that the Super Bowl is “commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” Ever since that moment, dozens of stories have appeared about the sex trafficking at the Super Bowl, and this year is no different. For three years running, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy has been telling reporters that the Super Bowl’s status as a human-trafficking nexus is an urban legend. Abbott’s office has not responded to inquiries about the information or sources on which he based his comments.

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Posted in attorney general, charities, colorado, Denver, football, human trafficking, NFL, non-profit, prostitution, research, Sam Olens, sex slavery, sex tourism, sex trafficking, statistics, super bowl, Uncategorized

United States Senators lying about Sex Trafficking Statistics

United States Senators lying about Sex Trafficking Statistics

By Tim Cushing (Techdirt)

Editorials written in support of legislation are prone to conjuring up hysterical situations/numbers in order to drive the point home. You can’t motivate the average reader if there’s no hook. But the editorial writer should at least make sure the numbers being used don’t immediately prompt incredulous laughter from any reader with a couple of functioning brain cells. The editorial board for the Dallas Morning News recently issued a regrettable opinion piece supporting the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which was introduced last week. In the writer’s hurry to portray human trafficking as a terrible blight on humanity, credibility went right out the window.

Two Texas Republicans, Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Ted Poe of the Houston area, are co-sponsoring a bill that would impose stiff penalties on these adult victimizers of up to life in prison. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which has bipartisan support in both houses, would supplement an existing law that focuses primarily on punishing sex-trafficking organizations abroad. Poe and Cornyn estimate that one-quarter of U.S. sex-trafficking victims have Texas roots. Poe says our state’s proximity to Mexico and high immigrant population give the state a particularly high profile. In Houston alone, about 300,000 sex trafficking cases are prosecuted each year. Tighter border controls and reduced profit margins from the drug trade are pushing organized crime groups to turn increasingly to sex trafficking, law enforcers say.

That ridiculous figure, which posits that Houston prosecutes nearly 900 sex traffickers a day (if working 365 days a year), has since been removed by the editorial squad at Dallas Morning News. The update line notes that “inaccurate numbers” had been used and have since been deleted. (The original version can be found here towards the middle of the page.) This amazing claim was completely debunked by Houston criminal defense attorney Mark Bennett, who broke down actual prosecution stats and the possible rationale behind the Dallas News’ decision to run with the 300,000/year claim.

Nobody seems to know where that 300,000 num­ber comes from. (Mag­gie McNeill sug­gests a plau­si­ble gen­e­sis here and here.) It’s a cou­ple of orders of mag­ni­tude less obvi­ously wrong than the same num­ber attrib­uted to Hous­ton, but still glar­ingly obvi­ously wrong—if the wrong­ness of “300,000 sex-trafficking cases in Hous­ton” were equiv­a­lent to get­ting smacked upside the head with a 2X4, “300,000 sex-trafficking cases in the United States” would be get­ting poked in the arm with a fork.

That’s the hype. Here are the numbers.

In Har­ris County, accord­ing to Texas Office of Court Admin­is­tra­tion sta­tis­tics, 36,862 new felony cases were filed and 68,142 new mis­de­meanor cases were filed in 2012. So the total of all new cases filed in Har­ris County is nowhere near the 300,000 sex traf­fick­ing cases asserted by the Dallas Morn­ing News.

Bennett speculates the DMN may have just misquoted Rep. Ted Poe, one of the sponsors of the bill.

Poe, a Repub­li­can from Hum­ble, said sex traf­fick­ing rings prey on the large num­ber of immi­grant women and girls liv­ing in the Hous­ton area and across Texas, account­ing for a dis­pro­por­tion­ate share of the esti­mated 300,000 sex traf­fick­ing cases pros­e­cuted each year.

As Bennett points out, there aren’t even 300,000 federal prosecutions nationwide per year. 2010′s report shows only 91,047 people being prosecuted in federal courts, so even Poe’s nationwide claim is demonstrably false. Even more damning are these numbers.

Federally funded human trafficking task forces opened 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010.

Now, it’s bad enough that one of the bill’s sponsors would throw out an unresearched “statistic” like this while pushing legislation. But that’s somewhat expected from our politicians, especially when they’ve got a horse in the race. But it’s even worse when a journalistic entity not only takes this stat at face value, but makes it comically worse by severely reducing its scope from national to local. Mistakes will be made occasionally. I understand that. But this one should never have made it past the first round of editing. Certainly Rep. Poe is partially to blame for this, but the paper’s editorial team should know that presenting patently untrue claims as fact severely weakens its stance on the issue. Of course, coming out in favor of punishing sex traffickers is hardly a controversial stance, so it’s likely the editorial didn’t receive a thorough vetting before publication. But letting this slip through compromises the paper’s credibility and accepting Rep. Poe’s “statistics” as fact indicates DMN is in possession of a faulty BS-detector, something no serious journalistic entity should ever let fall into disrepair.

According to the United States Politicians: In Houston alone, about 300,000 sex trafficking cases are prosecuted each year.

(Dallas Morning News Editorial: Cracking down on sex traffickers). [Update: The DMN corrected its error.]

The number is such obvious nonsense that anyone who gave it any serious thought would decry it. (Amy Alkon and Walter Olson got there before me.) But the Dallas Morning News blithely published it as fact.

In Harris County, according to Texas Office of Court Administration statistics2,65036,862 new felony cases were filed and 5,819 68,142 new misdemeanor cases were filed in 2012.1 So the total of all new cases filed in Harris County is nowhere near the 300,000 sex trafficking cases asserted by the Dallas Morning News.

According to the Harris County District Clerk’s website, there hasn’t been a prosecution for sex trafficking in Houston since 2010. But when people say “sex trafficking,” they may mean “compelling prostitution.” There have been twocompelling-prostitution cases filed in Harris County this year.

Not 300,000. Two.

There are federal prosecutions as well. Statistics are not as handy,2 but I have a feel for what’s going on in the federal courthouse, and the DOJ loves putting out press releases. The number of people prosecuted for sex trafficking in the Southern District of Texas each year is in the double digits.

Here’s where I think the wide-eyed nincompoops at the Dallas Morning News got their number:

Poe, a Republican from Humble, said sex trafficking rings prey on the large number of immigrant women and girls living in the Houston area and across Texas, accounting for a disproportionate share of the estimated 300,000 sex trafficking cases prosecuted each year.

(Texas on the Potomac.)

Nobody seems to know where that 300,000 number comes from. (Maggie McNeill suggests a plausible genesis here and here.) It’s a couple of orders of magnitude less obviously wrong than the same number attributed to Houston, but still glaringly obviously wrong—if the wrongness of “300,000 sex-trafficking cases in Houston” were equivalent to getting smacked upside the head with a 2X4, “300,000 sex-trafficking cases in the United States” would be getting poked in the arm with a fork.

The population of the United states is 314 million, give or take. The population of Texas is 26 million, give or take. For Texas to have a “disproportionate share of the estimated 300,000 sex trafficking cases prosecuted each year,” Texas would have to have more than 24,8403 sex trafficking prosecutions every year.

In 2010, there were 91,047 people prosecuted in federal court. All told. Nationwide. If that number is still about right (and I suspect that federal prosecutions have dropped, rather than increasing, since 2010, given Congress’s laudable inability to keep the government running), even if federal prosecutors were prosecutingnothing but sex trafficking offenseshttp://blog.bennettandbennett.com/2013/11/dallas-morning-news-credulity-incredibility.html#fn4-7263″>4, for there to be 300,000 sex trafficking cases prosecuted nationwide each year state courts would have to prosecute 210,000 such cases. For Texas’s share of these 210,000 prosecutions to be “disproportionate” Texas would have to prosecute 17,389 sex-trafficking cases each year.

In Texas, statewide, there were 15,629 203,471 criminal cases of all types filed last year in district court;5 of these, 2,723 were misdemeanors and 45,163 were felonies not classified into categories that are recognizably not sex trafficking (murder, theft, etc.).

In Texas, statewide, there were 32,991 415,436 misdemeanor cases filed in 2012 in county court; of these, 116,307 were not classified into categories that are recognizably not sex trafficking (DWI, drug offenses, etc.)

So even if every crime charged in Texas that was not classified as something recognizably not sex trafficking were a sex trafficking crime,6 there would only have been 161,470 sex-trafficking cases filed last year in Texas—nowhere near the 300,000 promoted by the DMN.

Texas is less populous than California, but it has the world’s longest stretch of border between a first-world country and a third-world country. Texas’s economy is humming along while California’s is faltering. It would surprise me if Texas didn’t have more sex-trafficking cases than its population alone dictated.

But 300,000? Utter and complete nonsense.


  1. Those numbers seem low to me, given the crowds in the courthouse lobbies but I think the source can be trusted.My search-fu was defective. 
  2. The bureau of justice statistics is eight years behind
  3. Give or take. 
  4. A ludicrous proposition—Alkon has BJS statistics:

    Federally funded human trafficking task forcesopened 2,515 suspected incidents of human trafficking for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010.

    Most suspected incidents of human trafficking were classified as sex trafficking (82%)…

  5. All but 216 were felonies. 
  6. A ludicrous proposition. 

By Mark Bennett
Article Link:
http://blog.bennettandbennett.com/2013/11/dallas-morning-news-credulity-incredibility.html

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Posted in Atlanta, attorney general, California, charities, colorado, Denver, Georgia, Houston, human trafficking, prostitution, research, sex slavery, sex tourism, sex trafficking, statistics, Texas, Uncategorized

Somaly Mam using fake victims to commit fraud with fake sex trafficking stories

Somaly Mam Sex Slave Story Revealed to be Fabricated.

Somaly Mam using fake sex trafficking victims to commit fraud

By  and  - October 12, 2013

Meas Ratha was a teenager when she appeared on French television telling a tragic tale of how she was sold to a brothel in Phnom Penh and imprisoned as a young sex slave. Now, almost 16 years since her story was first broadcast on the France 2 channel, Ms. Ratha and members of her family have revealed that her story of abuse was carefully fabricated and rehearsed, on the instruction of Cambodia’s then-emerging anti-sex trafficking celebrity activist Somaly Mam.

In June 1998, Somaly Mam stood on the stage of Spain’s Campoamor Theater shoulder to shoulder with six of the world’s most celebrated women as she received the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation. Six months prior to winning the award, and sharing that podium with, among others, Emma Bonino, a former European Commissioner for humanitarian aid, and Olayinka Koso-Thomas, a Nigerian-born doctor who had campaigned for decades against the circumcision of women, Ms. Mam had been virtually unknown.

Six months earlier, in January 1998, Ms. Mam was propelled from relative obscurity into the international media spotlight largely owing to the harrowing on-camera testimony of the young Meas Ratha and other alleged victims of Cambodia’s child sex industry.

Meas Ratha stands outside her home near Phnom Penh last month. (Simon Marks/The Cambodia Daily)

Meas Ratha stands outside her home near Phnom Penh last month. (Simon Marks/The Cambodia Daily)

Ms. Mam’s work as president of her own Phnom Penh-based NGO, Agir Pour Les Femmes en Situation Precaire (Afesip), was being featured on French television as part of the popular weekly show “Envoyé Spécial.”

The documentary opens with the camera focused on Ms. Ratha, who was then a chubby teenager of about 14-years-old from Takeo province. Ms. Mam is seated at the young girl’s side as she tells a dismal tale of sexual slavery in an unnamed brothel somewhere in Phnom Penh.

“My name is Meas Ratha and I am 14 years old. I was born in the province of Takeo and I have seven brothers and sisters. My family is very poor. My father has disappeared. One year ago my mother fell seriously ill. I was completely distraught. I was very young and I didn’t know what to do,” the young Ms. Ratha says to the camera. She then cries and receives a comforting squeeze of support from Ms. Mam.

“They locked me up in a room and at that time I knew I had been deceived,” she continues.

The documentary goes on to explain how the young girl had been promised a job as a waitress in Phnom Penh, but wound up a captive in a brothel. Later, she is filmed playing musical chairs, skipping rope, singing alongside other girls being cared for inside the Afesip center and helping Ms. Mam treat an AIDS patient called Tom Dy.

Sixteen years since the documentary was televised, Ms. Ratha—now 32 years old and married—said her testimony for the France 2 channel was fabricated and scripted for her by Ms. Mam as a means of drumming up support for the organization.

“The video that you see, everything that I put in is not my story,” Ms. Ratha said in an interview last month. Ms. Ratha, who was simultaneously anxious and determined to let people know the truth, said that she did not want to cause trouble for Ms. Mam’s NGO, which had provided an education for her, but that she could no longer continue a lie that had followed her for half her life.

“Somaly said that…if I want to help another woman I have to do [the interview] very well,” Ms. Ratha said.

“You know, my reputation has been lost because of this video,” said Ms. Ratha, who speaks competent English, adding that she had struggled to live with being typecast as a former sex slave since agreeing to tell the fabricated story.

“Everybody saw me and say ‘I a prostitute. Her mother sold her.’ They say like this. Everybody looks down on me.”

Now, Ms. Ratha lives a simple life with her two-year-old daughter and husband, who is a pharmacist and sells medicine out of their home.

Asked if she wanted the public in France to know the truth about her life, Ms. Ratha was unhesitating.

“I want them to know too. But if they know, Afesip will be in trouble. I don’t want Afesip to be in trouble, so that it can help other girls,” she added.

Today, Ms. Mam is at the center of the global campaign against the trafficking of children and women into the sex trade. As president of her hugely successful foundation in New York, she rubs shoulders with Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and actress Susan Sarandon, both of whom are members of the Somaly Mam Foundation’s board. In 2009, Ms. Mam was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. Her foundation raises millions each year, and Ms. Mam is a jet-setting ambassador for her cause.

She owes much of her fame to the harrowing and brutal stories of girls just like Ms. Ratha, who have relayed to audiences across the world painful stories of sexual slavery in order to raise money and awareness of the Somaly Mam Foundation.

But the fabrication of Ms. Ratha’s sex slave story is only the latest incident of false information to emerge from Ms. Mam and her organizations.

Last year, Ms. Mam finally admitted, following public scrutiny, that she had made false claims in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly in New York, in which she said that eight girls she rescued from the sex industry had been killed by the Cambodian army after they raided her organization’s shelter. Police officials and Ms. Mam’s ex-husband also last year strongly denied long-standing and highly publicized claims by Ms. Mam that her daughter was kidnapped by human traffickers in 2006 when she was 14 years old. The traffickers, she claimed, had videotaped her daughter being gang-raped in retaliation for her work with victims of the sex trade. Police said they were baffled by the claims, while Ms. Mam’s former partner said the story was a publicity stunt to raise funds for her organization.

A separate Cambodia Daily investigation conducted last year also uncovered that one of the Somaly Mam Foundation’s most highly-publicized sex trafficking victims, Long Pros, had fabricated her harrowing story of gruesome mutilation at the hands of a brothel owner. In numerous interviews and in a prime-time television documentary, Ms. Pros said she was imprisoned as a young teenager at a brothel in Phnom Penh where she was held as a sex slave and had her eye gouged out with a knife for refusing to have sex with customers. However, medical records and interviews with Ms. Pros’ parents and her eye surgeon showed she had her eye removed in hospital because of a tumor that developed in her childhood. Ms. Pros’ parents said she was sent directly from their home to Ms. Mam’s organization in Phnom Penh simply to get an education and she had never spent any time in a brothel.

The Somaly Mam Foundation’s press office in New York declined a request to interview Ms. Mam for this latest article. Ms. Mam also declined to be interviewed in relation to false comments to the U.N. General Assembly, the alleged fabrication of the kidnap of her daughter, and the alleged fabrication regarding Ms. Pros’ eye.

“We don’t know why, nor will we speculate on why Meas Ratha has allegedly made the claims that you report,” Afesip’s communication team said in an email.

“What are clearly facts is that in the 15 years since the filming of that documentary, the Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF) and AFESIP have led successful programs to help thousands of young women and girls escape from sex slavery and rebuild a life of dignity,” the organization said.

“Those women who choose to publicly share their personal stories about sex trafficking are courageous and strong, and we are saddened when forces work to silence their voices and seek to distract from building awareness of this critical global problem,” it continued.

Afesip declined to provide any information regarding the brothel from which Ms. Ratha was allegedly rescued, or where her case was filed with police. Afesip also did not provide such information related to the alleged mutilation of Ms. Pros or the alleged kidnap or Ms. Mam’s daughter.

The Somaly Mam Foundation also helps with the Voices for Change program, which is run by Sydney-based non-profit Project Futures—a charity that raises awareness about human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Australia and Southeast Asia.

The organization launched an investigation into Voices for Change after The Cambodia Daily’s investigation of Ms. Pros, who is a member of the program. When asked about the status of the review, the press office said that it was still in progress.

At Ms. Ratha’s family home in Takeo province, her father, Kong Tith, a bony man in his sixties who has kept his family afloat by doing everything from logging to building houses, said a relative had proposed that he send two of his daughters to Afesip back in 1997 because he was poor and unable to properly care for all of his seven children.

“[Ratha] went to the NGO run by Somaly. My cousin saw that I was poor, so he took two of my children to Somaly’s organization. They were not mistreated” by the NGO, he said. But, Mr. Tith said, when he learned of his daughter’s participation in the documentary, he traveled to Phnom Penh to confront Ms. Mam.

“I was the one who followed the case by going to the NGO and asking them about it,” he said in an interview last month.

“This was just an opportunist taking advantage of my child,” Mr. Tith said of the false claims his daughter made in the documentary, adding that he did not take his complaint further than Afesip because the organization had helped to educate his two daughters and provided them with shelter.

Ms. Ratha still remembers the fuss her father kicked-up because of the false story she told in the documentary.

“My father brought my relatives and police to the NGO and they really freaked Afesip out,” Ms. Ratha said. “In the end they talked and understood the issue, so the problem was solved.”

“I told him, ‘father don’t you worry [about the documentary], it is the NGO’s rule.’”

Flicking through photo albums of her son’s recent wedding, Ms. Ratha’s mother, Meas Sokhom, said she was shocked to learn of her daughter’s appearance on television back in 1998. Ms. Sokhom described her daughter’s childhood as difficult due to the family’s poverty. But not one exposed to the horrors of the sex industry or slavery in a brothel.

Ratha, she said, was a happy child, and out of all her sons and daughters, she showed the most natural intelligence. It was that natural smartness that they had hoped Afesip would cultivate, which was the reason they let her go to the organization in the first place, she said.

“We cannot say such a thing [sex slavery] happened to my daughter. We are her parents and we lived here the whole time,” she said. “If these things did not happen, why did they document her life like this?” she asked.

“I asked her about it [the documentary], but she did not say anything. She just stayed quiet.”

A 30-minute drive from Ms. Ratha’s childhood village, her sister, Meas Sokha, lives in a modern two-story home with a pond in the back yard for breeding fish. Ms. Sokha has two children and spends her days as a housewife. The village where she lives is a postcard perfect portrait of rural Cambodia surrounded by fluorescent green rice fields and tree-covered hills on the horizon. But she remembers harder times, when her family would sometimes have to go without food in the evening.

Ms. Sokha was the other child in the family to go to Afesip with Ms. Ratha in 1997. The two sisters slept, ate and worked together for approximately six months at Afesip in the hope of gaining an education and finding a job. At no point during their journey from their rural home in Takeo to the NGO’s center in Phnom Penh was her sister sold to a brothel, she said.

“We were desperately poor but I was not abused. She [Ratha] wasn’t either. We are from here and were sent there [to Afesip] because we were poor and did not study much,” Ms. Sokha said. “[Ratha] is now educated, so she can work at anything.”

Ms. Sokha said that she remembered how staff at Afesip had taken an interest in her sister, as she was a confident speaker.

“They only filmed her because she was smarter than me. She was better at talking than me. I was no good at that,” she said. “The point is we are good girls, but they say that we are not good and that we were sold” to brothels, she said.

“She was not raped or sold. She was not abused but we were very poor.”

Doubt over Ms. Ratha’s story emerged shortly after the France 2 show was broadcast. French national and long-time resident of Cambodia Marie Christine Uguen cared for Ratha when she was a teenager in the late 1990s. Ms. Uguen said she had been deeply shocked at seeing Ms. Ratha appear on television telling a version of her life she had never heard before, despite living with her for months. She saw the documentary on France 2 while she was visiting Battambang province on a work trip.

“I turn on the television to see an ‘Envoyé Spécial’ on Afesip. And there I see Ratha on television speaking, squirming and crying and Somaly who takes her hand,” Ms. Uguen said.

“I did not understand at all where this story had come from. I sat Ratha down in front of me and asked her what is this story about? What have I just seen on the television?

“…Then Ratha tells me, ‘Aunty, basically, I know you are not going to agree, but Somaly asked me to go to a home in Tuol Kok with several other girls and I was the one who acted the best, so she asked me and it was me who she chose,’” Ms. Uguen said.
“I said to her ‘What’s that, you did a rehearsal?’ And she told me ‘Yes we did a rehearsal in a home in Tuol Kok and at the end it was me who was selected…’”

Pierre Legros, Ms. Mam’s former husband and one of Afesip’s original founders, denied knowing anything about Ms. Ratha’s coached story for the French TV crew. He said that his job at Afesip in 1997 was not to manage the victims but to help raise funds for the organization and set up offices in other countries in the region.

Mr. Legros said that Afesip at the time cared for both victims of sex trafficking and other girls who were taken in because they were considered to be at high risk of falling into prostitution.

“Could Somaly have taken her in as a preventive case and afterwards say she has been trafficked? Yes, that is possible,” Mr. Legros said.

“Ask Somaly. She had direct contact with Khmer people (victims and family.) I was only managing the structure,” he said in a subsequent email.

Back at her home on the outskirts of Phnom Penh earlier this month, Ms. Ratha prepared to finally watch the documentary she had appeared in 16 years ago but had never actually seen. Watching a DVD recording of the documentary on a laptop computer at her home, Ms. Ratha was visibly moved at seeing the young girls from Afesip and her past.

On the screen appeared Srey Veng, “13 years old, raped, beaten and sold to different clients for two years,” the voice-over in French says. Next on screen was 12-year-old Sokha, “the youngest, sold and raped at the beginning by her step father,” the commentary continues.

Ms. Ratha looked perplexed. Sokha, known then as A’tour, was not supposed to have been in the documentary, an amazed Ms. Ratha said.

According to Ms. Ratha, Ms. Mam had told her that the story she was to recount for the filmmakers was true, but was the life-story of another young girl, Sokha, who had been too traumatized to speak about her past.

Ms. Ratha said that she agreed with Ms. Mam to tell Sokha’s story because then it was not really like lying. That Sokha was also featured in the same documentary telling a totally different story of rape and brothels was a huge shock to Ms. Ratha.

“I don’t understand why she is in the video,” Ms. Ratha said. “Somaly lied to me…. She said this story is [Sokha’s] story,” Ms. Ratha said.

“At that time, I was not happy since what I was saying was not my true story. But I cried because I felt sorry for [Sokha],” she said. “I don’t understand.”

Related Stories

  1. More Questions Over Somaly Mam’s Kidnapping Claim A second former staff member of anti-trafficking organization Afesip has cast doubts over long-standing claims…
  2. Former Afesip Director Denies Claim of Killings The former director of anti-trafficking organization Afesip has refuted claims made by the group’s well-known…
  3. Police Deny Killings at Somaly Mam Center Police have strongly denied claims by Somaly Mam, the well-known president of local anti-trafficking organization…
  4. The Rise of the Somaly Mam Foundation Since its creation in 2007, the Somaly Mam Foundation has attracted top U.S. business leaders…
  5. Once Coached for TV, Now Asked to Keep Quiet The woman who claims she was coached by global anti-sex trafficking advocate Somaly Mam to…

Once Coached for TV, Now Asked to Keep Quiet about Sex Trafficking Hoax

By  and  - November 4, 2013

The woman who claims she was coached by global anti-sex trafficking advocate Somaly Mam to fabricate a story of sexual slavery for French television in 1998 says she has been approached by a Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF) staff member, who has begged her to stop talking to the media.

Meas Ratha, 32, revealed last month that as a young teenager she was selected by Ms. Mam to appear on the France 2 television channel in 1998 after undergoing rehearsals with a group of other young girls to falsely recount how she was sold to a brothel owner in Phnom Penh.

Days after her revelation was published on October 12, Meas Ratha said she received her first visit from the SMF staffer.

“There was a girl…came to me begging with tears to stop speaking to the media. Of course whatever I told you was true—that I was filmed to lie to the world and that I was a victim even though I was not,” Ms. Ratha said in a telephone interview on October 24.

“But now I can no longer speak,” she said.

Ms. Ratha identified the visitor as Sina Vann, a longtime employee of the SMF in Cambodia and program manager for the organization’s Voices for Change (VFC) program. The VFC program is run by SMF and aims at giving a voice to victims of sex trafficking in order to raise awareness about the issue.

The second visit by Ms. Vann was on October 23, said Ms. Ra­tha, adding that the SMF staff member had stressed that speaking out about her past could greatly damage the reputation of Ms. Mam’s organization.

“She was not here to intimidate me. But she begged me and cried in front of me and said that it would be a disaster for the organization if I keep talking to the media. She also asked me not to talk to other journalists if they approached me,” Ms. Ratha said.

“If I keep talking it will bring trouble to everyone: myself, the organization and you [journalists]. I used to stay inside the [SMF] organization so I want to help it,” she said, adding that she would heed the call and no longer speak about the fabricated story from 1998.

Ms. Ratha, who is now a streetside food vendor to garment factory workers on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, said she was admitted to Afesip in 1997 because her family of nine was struggling to survive.

Her parents and sister—who also stayed with Ms. Ratha inside an Afesip training center—backed-up Ms. Ratha’s claim that she was never enslaved as a prostitute inside a brothel in Phnom Penh.

Ms. Vann could not be contacted for comment.

Afesip CEO Sao Chhoeurth said on October 24 that he was not aware of any visit having been made to Ms. Ratha.

Hayle Welgus, policy and liaison manager for SMF in Cam­bodia, said Ms. Vann had not been sent by the organization in an official capacity.

“SMF hasn’t sent Sina [Vann] in an official capacity so I need to speak to her to see if she visited on a personal level,” Ms. Welgus said on October 24.

Contacted on Friday, Ms. Wel­gus declined to comment and re­ferred questions to the communications department at SMF.

Asked about Ms. Vann’s alleged visit to Ms. Ratha, the SMF communication’s department declined to comment.

“The statement that was sent to you previously is all that we have to share on this matter,” the communications department at SMF said in an email.

The SMF communications department was referring to a statement in which Afesip said in October that it would not speculate on why Ms. Ratha had denied the story she had told France 2.

Afesip has also declined to say from which brothel Ms. Ratha had been allegedly rescued or to which department of the police her case of alleged enslavement and rescue had been filed.

Though Ms. Ratha insists the visit from the SMF’s Ms. Vann was only beseeching, she admits that she is now unwilling to speak out about the truth behind her story due to any repercussions that could stem from harming Afesip’s reputation in Cambodia.

After The Cambodia Daily reported its findings in October 2012 into the story of Long Pros, one of SMF’s most publicized members of the Voices for Change program, the young woman’s father, Long Hon, said he was paid a visit from Afesip staff who had also asked him to cease speaking to the media.

Ms. Pros had long told a horrific story of having an eye gouged out at the hands of a brothel owner. However, medical rec­ords show that Ms. Pros’ eye was re­moved by an eye surgeon in hospital—the victim of a large benign tumor that covered one of her eyes for many years during childhood.

Ms. Pros was only sent to Afesip after undergoing her operation at the Takeo Eye Hospital, her parents said, a claim that was also confirmed by medical rec­ords and images obtained showing Ms. Pros’ medically-removed eye.

While members of the SMF staff now appear reluctant for Ms. Ratha and the family of Ms. Pros to continue speaking to reporters, a huge amount of Ms. Mam’s success and global fame stems from the highly public testimony and many media interviews conducted by the young women inside her organization who tell harrowing tales of sex trafficking.

The high-media profile of the SMF, and support from board members such as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Hollywood actress Susan Sarandon, has helped the foundation’s revenues and expenditures rocket in recent years.

In 2011, the latest year for which figures are available, spending by the SMF increased to $3.53 million. The SMF’s annual fund­raising gala in New York on Oc­tober 23 was a star-studded event where tickets for some tables went for $100,000.

Related Stories

 More Questions Over Somaly Mam’s Kidnapping Claim A second former staff member of anti-trafficking organization Afesip has cast doubts over long-standing claims…

  1. Police Deny Killings at Somaly Mam Center Police have strongly denied claims by Somaly Mam, the well-known president of local anti-trafficking organization…
  2. Questions Raised Over Symbol’s Slavery Story For years now, the scarred face of Long Pros has symbolized the depredation of sex…
  3. Sex Slave Story Revealed to be Fabricated Meas Ratha was a teenager when she appeared on French television telling a tragic tale…
  4. The Rise of the Somaly Mam Foundation Since its creation in 2007, the Somaly Mam Foundation has attracted top U.S. business leaders…

Anti-Sex Trafficking Aid Worker Claims Fabricated Fake Victim Stories Are Common. Somaly Mam, Long Pros

By  - November 7, 2013

Weighing in on revelations that fabricated sexual slavery stories were used to promote the work of Agir Pour Les Femmes en Situation Precaire (Afesip) in Cambodia, which was founded by global anti-trafficking activist Somaly Mam, a longtime aid worker said that staff at the organization were aware that some victims were not in the desperate situations they claimed to be.

Pierre Fallavier, who said he advised Afesip between 1999 and 2007, wrote in a series of recent emails that from the beginning of his relationship with the organization, concerns were raised by staff that information on victims that was being disseminated by Afesip was “exaggerated.”

Mr. Fallavier, who holds a Phd from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has worked for NGOs and multiple U.N. agencies in Africa and Asia, also claimed that, like Afesip, many aid groups create “composite” stories of the lives of people being helped by their organizations as a means to raise funds.

“I started working as an adviser to Afesip in 1999, and stopped in 2007. From the start, people around me—all Khmers—were saying the stories Somaly told about herself and some of the girls were exaggerated. At that time I did not want to listen, because I could see the good Afesip was doing. The level of violence against women then was higher than anywhere else in Southeast Asia,” Mr. Fallavier wrote in an email.

“A few courageous individuals then set up organizations to rescue such women. Among them, Afesip decided it would also lead a ‘political’ struggle to get the rights of women and children recognized…. [S]o at that time, what counted were results. Everyone knew that some victims lied and were not in the desperate situations they claimed to be, but they were still in so much need of help that it did not seem to matter,” he wrote.

“And then, at the same time, donors were getting an interest, and were sending their people with crews of journalists to take pictures and extracts selling stories. I used to tell Somaly to send them away, that all they wanted were exotic stories of violence and sex, with the picture of a beautiful hero saving children so they could sell their papers. But they came with the funders, or with promises their articles and re­ports would help advocate for the rights of women. And they were the first ones to manipulate the images and the stories.”

Mr. Fallavier said that the recent spotlight on the Somaly Mam Foundation, following revelations that at least two alleged victims of the sex trade helped by her organization had fabricated stories, should be extended to include many other humanitarian groups.

“[I] find it unfair to point solely at Afesip for fabricating stories about its typical beneficiaries. This has been and still is the approach that all major international NGOs use, in Cambodia and elsewhere,” he wrote.

“They take bits and parts of the life stories of different beneficiaries and make up a ‘typical’ sob story that they use to raise funds with.”

Mr. Fallavier, who worked for Handicap International (H.I.), said that he left the organization because of such a practice in 2000 because he believed it to be “unethical.”

“But the point is that all NGOs do so, that they are unapologetic, and that it is well known to anyone working in that sector,” he continued.

“Just take one of the stories from Cambodia that Oxfam, World Vision, Care, etc. use in their advertising campaigns ‘at home,’ and try to trace them. You will see how the majority of these stories are ‘composite’ of different realities,” Mr. Fallavier claimed.

“They justify it very bluntly: This is marketing they need to raise money, and it is only with extreme stories that they will get people to give the cash they need to undertake their work. In fact, in many cases, back home, private marketing companies are in charge of the advertising, and they sell NGO work in the same way they would with any other service.”

Responding to Mr. Fallavier’s claims, the communications department at the Somaly Mam Foundation said it would not comment as Mr. Fallavier had never held an official position with Afesip.

“[W]e can’t speculate about allegations made by someone who had no formal affiliation with the organization,” the communications department said in a statement.

“Mr. Fallavier has been a good friend of Somaly Mam and supportive to Afesip Cambodia on a personal and unofficial capacity. He has never held any official positions or roles at Afesip Cambodia. We do not know when his relationship with Afesip and Somaly Mam began, yet it is an amicable and supportive one that still continues today,” the statement continues.

Pierre Legros, who helped found Afesip in 1996 and is the ex-husband of Ms. Mam, confirmed Mr. Fallavier had advised Afesip.

At one time, Afesip’s funding from the European Union (E.U.) was sent through H.I. and Mr. Fallavier had acted as an intermediary between the two organizations, Mr. Legros said.

“In 1999 we received money from the European Commission. This money we could not receive directly as we had to pass through an NGO that had an agreement with the E.U. So we received money passed to us by an intermediary NGO. It was Handicap International that was chosen to be the intermediary with Afesip,” Mr. Legros said.

“Pierre Fallavier was hired by Handicap International to serve as someone who was responsible for the programs run by Afesip using Handicap International mon­ey. He was the adviser to Afesip in making the link be­tween Handicap In­ter­national and Afesip.”

Mr. Fallavier’s emails followed a recent story revealing that a 14-year-old girl being rehabilitated by Afesip had been coached in 1998 to tell a fabricated story of sexual slavery in a documentary for French television. Other stories promoted by Afesip of sex slavery, trafficking and even killing have also proven to be false.

In his emails on the subject of victim fabrication in the aid industry, Mr. Fallavier reserved some of his harshest criticism for Handicap International France (HIF).

According to Mr. Fallavier, in 1999, when he was working in Cam­bodia with HIF, the organization launched a campaign to send hundreds of thousands of letters to raise funds from individuals in Europe using stories of child victims of land mines. The campaign, run out of HIF’s headquarters in France, gained im­mense traction because of its focus on child landmine victims. However, child victims of landmines represented only a tiny pro­portion of the work HIF was actually carrying out in Cambodia—most of its work was in roads, irrigation and access to water.

Though he does not claim that the landmine stories were fabricated, Mr. Fallavier said they greatly exaggerated the extent of the problem.

“I learned that if work with children victims of landmines represented less than ten percent of HI operations worldwide, the fundraising campaign that showed HI largely as supporting these children brought in 90 percent of the private funds it used to complement institutional funding in all its operations,” Mr. Fallavier said.

“So, somehow HIF was collecting the majority of its funds on a belief they built among the public that the money would be used to support these children,” though Mr. Fallavier admits that a disclaimer was written in tiny print at the bottom of H.I.’s call for funds.

Arnaud Richard, head of the Federal Information team for H.I., said last week that the organization “does not fabricate stories” when publicizing its work in some of the world’s poorest countries.

“The stories are personal stories which give the general public an insight into both the wider situation and the lives of many of our beneficiaries. This enables us to raise the awareness of the public and private donors in countries where HI is represented by national associations (UK, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and USA). We would also point out that beneficiaries are in­formed of HI’s actions and are asked to give their permission to use their image,” he said.

“Several people who have worked for our organization for many years remember that Mr. Fallavier once worked for Handicap International. However, he left the organization more than 13 years ago, and we do not currently have any further information on his reasons for leaving Handicap International,” he said.

Mr. Richard said that H.I. promotes its work abroad through a team of four people dedicated to gathering testimonies and information from its operations and programs.

These four people, dubbed the “Federal Information team,” regularly travel to the field to meet with beneficiaries. The stories can then be used as part of the organization’s attempts to raise funds.

Asked about Mr. Fallavier’s claims that H.I.’s fundraising techniques were misleading the public, Mr. Richard said the organization engages in focused campaigns in order to draw the attention of donors to its activities.

“These campaigns were indeed run during the period you have mentioned in order to raise funds,” Mr. Richard said referring to H.I.’s campaign carried out during 1999 and 2000.

“However, to be totally clear, at no point during these fundraising campaigns did the organization state that the money collected would be specifically used for our actions in Cambodia. We are always careful to point out that donations are used to help people with disabilities and to improve their living conditions. For example, we might highlight the cost of fitting a disabled person with an orthopedic device or providing them technical aids in order to give donors an idea of the potential impact of their donation.

“In order to avoid misunderstandings on this point, however, the documents sent out to donors specifically state that the testimonies are offered as examples only. The reply slip also clearly states that, by making a donation, the donor ‘authorizes Handicap International to allocate its aid to the most useful and urgent activity.’”

Mr. Richard also took issue with Mr. Fallavier’s interpretation of H.I.’s work.

“We strongly refute the idea that these stories were invented or that we misled donors regarding the use of their donations. Although we are sure that Mr. Fallavier—who appears to have made a good impression on those who worked with him at Han­dicap International—is acting in good faith, his interpretation of an activity of which he has very little knowledge—fund­raising—is totally false,” he said.

Other organizations in Cambo­dia working with women and children also denied Mr. Fallavier’s claim that they engage in exaggerating stories, and that any stories on victimhood are presented accurately using real, consenting people or composites of real life situations.

Talmage Payne, CEO of Hagar International, said the practice of using victim testimonies in order to sell an NGO’s work abroad raises serious questions due to the pervasiveness of using images in fundraising that fully identify the face and names of sexual abuse or trafficked minors.

“This violates a number of best practice protocols about protecting clients and many national laws—even if the story is true,” Mr. Payne said.

He added that the Somaly Mam Foundation’s use of a 14-year-old alleged victim of sex slavery could even be in violation of Cambodia’s Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, which states that “Newspapers and all other mass media shall be prohibited from publishing or broadcasting or disseminating any information which can lead to public knowledge of identities of victims in the offences stipulated in this law.”

“The well known and well regarded [NGO] brands are very careful about this with strict protection standards. It’s a problem on the fringes. It’s not a norm or mainstream,” Mr. Payne said.

Mr. Payne said that in his organization’s publications a researcher may create a composite case study of many stories in order to “create victimology of certain types of abuse and recovery,” all of which is disclosed in any writing on the matter. He added that all stories are based on the subject’s consent and that identifying images are never used in cases of trafficking or sexual abuse.

Andrew Moore, country director for Save the Children, also said fabricating victims’ stories is not practiced by his organization.

“Save the Children does not fabricate stories for fundraising purposes,” he said. “We adhere to high standards of child protection and child safeguarding in gathering stories from the field, and all our staff are trained on child safeguarding.

“Our publicity work is done in-house, with thorough approval protocols that ensure that only factual reports that safeguard the interests of children are released.”

In a recent article, Sebastien Marot, executive director of Friends International, an NGO that helps disadvantaged children living in urban areas in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Honduras, Mexico, Egypt and Burma, said the situation regarding the fabrication of victims’ stories had arisen as “a direct consequence of the interconnected actions of the child protection organizations, the media, the donors and the general public; all wanting the best for these children, but instead turning them into victims.”

“[A] large number of organizations get sucked into using children to raise funds: making them talk about the abuse they survived in front of a camera, having their picture in a pitiful situation published for everyone to see, allowing non-professional visitors into their centers [like orphanage tourism],” Mr. Marot wrote.

“In worst cases, the truth is distorted or the stories invented to attract more compassion and money,” Mr. Marot said in the article published on his organization’s website.

“The impact on the lives of these children is terrible: if they come from an abusive situation, such a process retraumatizes them and in any case it stigmatizes them forever.”

Mr. Marot said the media was complicit, and searched out and published emotionally-charged stories in order to attract readers. Moreover, donors tend to react to these stories.

“As regulators of the money it is easy, if specific guidelines are not in place, to fund projects on a purely emotional basis. For example we have witnessed a rapid increase of orphanages in Cambodia (funded by local and foreign private donors), despite the fact that most of these children are not orphans and it is against current Cambodian Government policies,” he wrote.

“Like the general public, donors react to highly emotionally charged stories that in some cases are built to please them or are told at the expense of the same children they want to protect. Many donors do not have the capacity or desire to check these stories, so we end up in situations of ‘embellished’ story lines.

“A main consequence of this is that in some instances organizations end up selling the wrong problem to the donors: since donors will fund based on emotions and not on the more mundane facts, this can lead to the creation of programs built on entirely wrong assumptions which do not provide the right solutions to the beneficiaries. They may give the ‘right’ message/image back to the donors but end up further hurting the children with the money that was in­tended to protect them,” he continued.

Aarti Kapoor, who was a legal adviser to Afesip between 2003 and 2006 and still works to combat sexual abuse against children, said child protection has become highly sensationalized.

“The image of human trafficking has become highly sensationalized, often to get media attention and raise funds through emotive reactions. The reality of trafficking is often more complex,” Ms. Kapoor said.

“The tragedy is that sensationalized perceptions of trafficking end up hindering our ability to identify and respond to the majority of cases on the ground.”

Article Link:

http://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/aid-worker-claims-fabricated-stories-are-common-46708/

Cambodian Sex Slave story was a lie told by Somaly Mam to make money from celebrities

What do the sex workers in Cambodia say is happening at rehabilitation centers? They say they are little better than prisons.

Long Pros Somaly Mam telling lies to trick celebrities into giving them money and fame

The Rise of the Somaly Mam Foundation
BY  | OCTOBER 13, 2013

Since its creation in 2007, the Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF) has attracted top U.S. business leaders and Hollywood stars to the worthy cause of
combating the trafficking of children into Cambodia’s sex industry.
Growing out of Somaly Mam’s Phnom Penh-based organization Agir Pour Les Femmes en Situation Precaire (Afesip), which was launched in 1996 to care
for child victims of the sex industry, SMF is the global fundraising arm of the Cambodian NGO.
SMF was created with the help of U.S. Air Force Academy graduates Jared Greenberg and Nicholas Lumpp as a way to raise funds for the work being
carried out by Afesip and five other sex trafficking organizations. The SMF’s mission to raise funds for groups fighting against sex trafficking has been
hugely successful.
At the annual SMF gala dinner, scheduled for October 23 in New York’s 1920s-era Gotham Hall ballroom, a donation of $100,000 was required to secure
seating for 20 guests at two “gala chair” tables.
The fundraising prowess of the SMF is largely due to the foundation’s board of directors and global advisory board, which includes: Jennifer Fonstad,
managing director of the multibillion dollar venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Brandee Barker, former head of global communications and
public policy for Facebook; Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO; actresses Susan Sarandon, Daryl Hannah and Lorie Holden; supermodel Petra Nemcova;
and Melanne Verveer, U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.
Thanks to the foundation’s fundraising efforts, the SMF has grown considerably in recent years with spending increasing from $348,283 in 2008 to $3.53
million in 2011, according to financial reports filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Revenues raised by the SMF between 2009 and 2010 increased 47 percent to $3.17 million. At the same time, the foundation’s expenses increased 100
percent from $1.52 million to $3.04 million, according to the IRS filings.
In 2011, revenues fell 40.8 percent to $1.88 million compared to 2010. Expenditures, however, rose that year to an all time high of $3.53 million. Among the
SMF’s expenditures, which include salaries, travel and advertising, are funds transferred to actual projects for the purpose of ending slavery and sex
trafficking in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
In 2009, grants and additional assistance from the SMF to organizations outside the U.S. (in Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries—the SMF now
has links to projects in Laos and Vietnam) amounted to $835,480. In 2010, that amount was slightly less at $759,338. In 2011, the figure totaled $808,838, still
less than in 2009. Figures for 2012 are not yet available. While grants and assistance to projects reduced between 2009 and 2011, travel expenses for the
SMF between 2009 and 2010 increased threefold from $112,378 to $357,463, according to the IRS filings. Spending on advertising and promotion also
increased from just $13,501 in 2009 to $221,887 in 2010 and $211,672 in 2011.
“Compensation” for the SMF’s current officers, directors, trustees and key employees also grew from $152,370 in 2009 to $324,461 in 2010. In 2011, that
figure reached $492,755, an increase of 51.9 percent year-on-year. Another entry in the SMF’s IRS filings relates to “other salaries and wages,” which
increased from $63,542 in 2009 to a sizable $378,384 in 2010 and a whopping $641,946 in 2011.

Article link:
http://www.cambodiadaily.com/archives/the-rise-of-the-somaly-mam-foundation-44976/

 

Sex-trafficking, fraud and money at the Somaly Mam Foundation

October 2013

Cambodia Daily just ran two controversial features on Somaly Mam, a well-known trafficking survivor and head of the anti-trafficking non-profit, the Somaly Mam Foundation that funds shelters in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Somaly Mam, Cambodia’s most well-known anti-trafficking activist, partly due to Nicholas Kristof whose “live tweeting” a brothel raid with Somaly Mam was roundly criticised by other NGOs in Cambodia, is accused of false stories of abuse, murder and kidnapping of young women, and the organization of hugely over-paying top staff including Somaly Mam herself.

Sex Slave Story Revealed to be Fabricated interviews one of the women who as a teenager spoke about her ordeal as a survivor of trafficking to raise funds for SMF, a story she now says wasn’t hers but a script she was chosen to repeat because she was bright and well-spoken, in exchange for free education at a shelter. Another survivor’s story, Long Pros, is also in question with an alleged childhood injury instead of a brothel owner’s eye gouging. Also mentioned is the UN speech where Somaly Mam claimed young women in a brothel were shot by the Cambodian police during a rescue attempt, later recanted, and her earlier claims that her daughter was kidnapped and gang-raped in response to Somaly Mam’s work, a claim denied by her ex-husband (who now runs an anti-trafficking NGO himself in Cambodia) and the daughter. Why use false or exaggerated stories?  As the accompanying feature The Rise of the Somaly Mam Foundation reports, because it pays very very well. Somaly Mam’s salary has steadily increased along with other executive staff to nearly 14% of the 2011 expenditures, nearly as much as the 16% that went to the main shelter in Cambodia. That puts SMF in company with other charities with highly-paid executive staff and less going to the actual programs - Somaly Mam Foundation in 2011 managed to hit just 23% in programs grants, the other 77% else going to fundraising, administration and staff. Ron Robinson who topped Charity Navigator’s list for overpaid charity executives, took 3.4% of Young America’s Foundation, less than half the share that the CEO position at SMF, held by Bill Livermore and then Rigmor Schneider, US$253,429 for 7% of the total budget. The SMF’s annual financial report for the same period reports a very different picture from their 990IRS form for 2011 (Charity Navigator requires registration), claiming 66% of their expenses went to “grants and other programs”. Bangkok-based journalist Andrew Drummond’s tabloidish take and Khmer440, an expat forum with bleak humor, discuss the new reports and rumors. Criticism of the SMF and Afesip has simmered for a long time, from sex workers and sex work organizations, other aid workers and others in Cambodia.

More Questions Over Somaly Mam’s Kidnapping Claim
By and | April 25, 2012

A second former staff member of anti-trafficking organization Afesip has cast doubts over long-standing claims by the NGO’s president, Somaly Mam, that her daughter was kidnapped by human traffickers in 2006 in retaliation for her work with victims of the sex trade.

The alleged kidnapping, which was referred to in a speech by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month, was also refuted on Sunday by Afesip’s former director and Ms. Mam’s ex-husband Pierre Legros.

Mr. Legros said that his daughter was not kidnapped, but had run away with her boyfriend in 2006 and that he was speaking out now in order to protect the privacy of daughter, whom he claimed was being used as “marketing” for the Somaly Mam Foundation.

Officials at Afesip in Phnom Penh have referred all questions regarding the alleged kidnapping to the spokesperson of the Somaly Mam Foundation, who said a response was pending while Ms. Mam receives minor medical treatment.

Aarti Kapoor, a legal adviser at Afesip between 2003 and 2006, said that colleagues at the organization in 2006 informed her that Ms. Mam’s daughter had run away from home, and that there was not mention of abduction at that time.

“My understanding at the time was that she had not been kidnapped, and that she ran away with her boyfriend,” Ms. Kapoor said yesterday by telephone from Bangkok. “It was her third attempt at running away. Her parents were in a divorce and had separated. It was just an unfortunate incident where she ran away from home.”

Ms. Kapoor added in an email that she was only made aware of the allegation that Ms. Mam’s daughter had been kidnapped by a BBC journalist in 2006, and that she was so surprised by the new version of the alleged events that she asked the journalist to not report on the allegations, which he deemed to be unethical and an invasion of the privacy of the child.

“I also questioned the veracity of some of the alleged facts,” Ms. Kapoor wrote.

A global spokeswoman for victims of human trafficking, Ms. Mam first claimed that her teen-aged daughter had been kidnapped by human traffickers and taken to Battambang in an article in Glamour Magazine in 2006. The story, as recounted by Ms. Mam in her many public appearances since to promote the plight of Cambodia’s trafficking victims, has evolved to include serious crimes allegedly perpetrated against her daughter while being held by her abductors in Battambang province. Ms. Mam has linked the alleged kidnap and abuse of her daughter to a much-publicized anti-human trafficking raid in 2004 on the Chai Hour II Hotel in Phnom Penh.

U.N. Secretary-General Ki-moon made reference to the alleged kidnapping on April 3 during an appearance by Ms. Mam at a U.N. panel on anti-trafficking in New York.

“Ms. Mam also endured terrible atrocities. Not only was she the victim of human trafficking, but after she escaped, her daughter was kidnapped as well. It is quite possible that the kidnappers were targeting Somaly’s family because she is fighting against them,” Mr. Ki-moon said.

In her presentation to the U.N. panel, Ms. Mam also claimed that eight girls were taken from her refuge and killed by the Cambodian army following the high-profile Chai Hour II Hotel raid.

Cambodian police last week described Ms. Mam’s claims that eight girls were killed as outlandish, and they said this week that they had no reports of the Afesip director’s daughter being kidnapped by human traffickers.

While the characterization of the event is being called into question by former Afesip staff, in 2006 then-US Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli sent a note on the incident in a diplomatic cable to Washington as part of his regular, and detailed, updating on the status of trafficking in persons in Cambodia.

In that cable, released by Wikileaks, Ambassador Mussomeli said that Afesip had informed him that Ms. Mam’s daughter was lured by “her peers” to Battambang and that three people were subsequently arrested by Interior Ministry police officers.

“Afesip reported that on May 10, after receiving a mother’s complaint, the police of the Ministry of Interior went to Battambang province to rescue a 14-year-old missing girl. The girl was lured by her peers from Phnom Penh to Battambang province. Afesip said that the perpetrators intended to traffic the girl to Thailand. Police found the girl in a Battambang club under the influence of drugs. Police arrested three suspects and charged them with trafficking. Somaly Mam, Afesip’s president. Somaly complimented the police on their great cooperation to find her daughter,” the cable states.

The U.S. State Department’s annual reports on the status of trafficking in persons, however, makes no mention of the kidnapping of Ms. Mam’s daughter in 2006 or in any year thereafter, while James Heenan, deputy representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Phnom Penh, said the U.N. did not have “any knowledge of this incident.”

Deputy National Police Chief Lieutenant General Un Sokunthea said that she had no knowledge of the alleged kidnapping, adding that such a serious crime involving the director of a well-known NGO would not have slipped by unnoticed in Cambodia.

“Somaly was here [in Cambodia]. If there was such a case in 2006, it can’t be held quiet until now,” said Lt. Gen. Sokunthea, who was head of the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking police department at the time of the alleged kidnapping in 2006.

Ten Borany, the acting director of the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, said he too knew nothing of the kidnapping, while Sok Kalyan, the former prosecutor in 2006 at Phnom Penh’s municipal court, said that such a case was never brought to his attention.

Two former deputy prosecutors and one current deputy prosecutor at Battambang Provincial Court said on Monday that the alleged kidnapping case had not been brought to their attention.

Ms. Mam’s ex-husband, Mr. Legros, said on Sunday that he wanted his ex-wife to stop publicizing the alleged kidnapping of his daughter and that it had gone too far that the U.N. Secretary-General had taken up the cause.

“She has never been kidnapped by anyone. She escaped from home because at that time I was not there and she have a few arguments with Somaly. She escaped with her boyfriend and she disappeared and Somaly discovered her in Battambang,” Mr. Legros said.

“I would like the privacy of my daughter to be private…. She [Ms. Mam] has used that for many years and now I am fed up.”

Somaly Mam admits to lying about sex trafficking:
http://www.cambodiadaily.com/archives/somaly-mam-admits-to-inaccuracies-in-speech-to-un-1590/

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Posted in Cambodia, charities, colorado, Denver, human trafficking, Long Pros, non-profit, philippines, prostitution, research, sex slavery, sex tourism, sex trafficking, Somaly Mam, statistics, Thailand, Uncategorized

Prosecute attorney general Sam Olens of Georgia for lying, exaggerating sex trafficking to get government funding

Atlanta, Georgia Hugely Exaggerated Sex Trafficking of Women to get government funding.

The U.S. City of Atlanta, Georgia and Attorney General Sam Olens hugely inflated the number of Korean and other Asian women trafficked into the city’s sex trade so as to extract federal government funds, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on Monday.

An internal police memo in 2005 claimed “some 1,000″ Asian women and girls between 13 to 25, many of them Korean were being “forced to prostitute themselves” in the city.

Atlanta police in 2005 asked the U.S. Department of Justice for money to form a taskforce to eradicate human trafficking, which was a much-publicized subject during the Bush administration. The Justice Department allotted a budget of US$600,000 based on a report from the Atlanta police which identified 216 women supposedly trafficked to the city for sex between 2005 and 2006.

But an audit in July 2008 found only four, the paper reported.

 Jan. 02, 2013 12:28 KST

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

By Willoughby Mariano

The situation was dire, police warned. The City of Atlanta was under siege by human traffickers.

Some 1,000 Asian women and girls ages 13 to 25 were being “forced to prostitute themselves” in the city, a 2005 internal police email said. Many of the victims, police said, were Korean.

To free them, police forged ahead with a $600,000 task force.

Had agency leaders questioned the estimate, they would have found it defied common sense. If it were true, one in eight of the city’s Asians would have been sex slaves.

Perhaps, then, it’s little wonder that the program had such poor results that it drew scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice. An initial report said Atlanta police had found more than 200 victims, but auditors could only confirm four.

The APD project is an example of how government officials have charged into the fight against human trafficking without a clear sense of who is being exploited and how, an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found.

While the term “human trafficking” conjures images of foreigners smuggled into the U.S. to work at brothels and sweatshops, its definition shifts, sparking complaints that public dollars are being spent the wrong way.

Mexicans have been brought to Gwinnett County and forced into prostitution. Was this the area’s biggest problem? Was a case of Nigerian maids held in Suwanee a sign of a larger trend?

What about gay male teen runaways pushed to have sex for money? Or homegrown girls sold by local pimps?

Despite more than a decade of federal and local initiatives and millions of dollars spent, policymakers don’t have information that can answer these questions. What does exist suggests that government officials either don’t understand the problem, or are failing victims.

“You have to raise big questions on whether policies are appropriate in the first place,” said Ronald Weitzer, a George Washington University professor and expert on human trafficking. “More resources spent on sex trafficking means they’re lost elsewhere.”

Money and results

Atlanta launched its search for Korean prostitutes as hundreds of millions of dollars began to pour into anti-trafficking efforts nationwide. The federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 gave special assistance to foreign victims in the U.S. and paved the way for a 2004 Department of Justice initiative to fund local human trafficking task forces.

The goal: To increase rescues of foreign victims by 15 percent each year.

City officials argued they desperately needed the money. “Human trafficking is now beginning to get a foothold in Atlanta and must be stopped before it becomes entrenched,” police told Justice Department officials.

The Atlanta Police Department won a $450,000 three-year grant, and the city chipped in an additional $150,000. Two investigators and a sergeant joined forces with a Korean translator.

At first blush, the task force seemed to be a success.

The Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance reported that Atlanta police identified 216 potential victims from January 2005 through December 2006.

But this count was later revealed to be grossly inaccurate. Auditors for the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General could find documentation for only four victims, a July 2008 report said.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance made a mistake that added 93 victims to the count. Atlanta had actually reported 123 victims. The city could not explain the 119 that auditors couldn’t track. Police said the figures were reported by a city employee who retired before the Justice Department inquiry.

The team disbanded in 2007.

In a recent written statement to the AJC, Atlanta police conceded that the unit was “ineffective in identifying victims of human trafficking, and had not produced the expected results.”

“The Atlanta Police Department came to the belief that while the issue of human trafficking is a true concern, the scope of the problem inside the city limits had declined from what was once thought during the inception of the grant,” the statement said.

Such problems weren’t unique to Atlanta. Auditors found victim over-counts by task forces across the nation, although none was as bad as Atlanta’s.

The City of Los Angeles, for instance, identified 49 victims and the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C., found 51. Auditors confirmed none of them.

Auditors also found that nearly $32 million in federal funds for victim assistance groups aided far fewer people than expected.

The conclusion: Not enough victims were being helped.

“[H]uman trafficking grant programs have built significant capacities to serve trafficking victims, but have not identified and served significant numbers of victims,” the Office of the Inspector General reported.

Seeking evidence

Horrific abuses do take place, but evidence that foreign trafficking victims are pouring into the country is scarce.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement busted an international trafficking ring that operated in Atlanta’s suburbs from spring 2006 through June 2008.

The operators tricked 10 girls and young women, mostly from rural villages in Mexico, to come with them to America. Then they forced them to become prostitutes in Norcross.

Ringleader Amador Cortes-Meza initiated them into the trade by making them have sex with upwards of 20 men on the first night. Four of the victims were juveniles. One was only 14, investigators said.

One victim pleaded to return to her family. Cortes-Meza dunked her head in a bucket of water until she thought she would drown. Another tried to escape. He beat her with a broomstick so badly she was permanently disfigured.

Cortes-Meza was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 40 years.

A years-long FBI investigation uncovered labor trafficking victims held in Gwinnett County. Bidemi Bello took two impoverished young women – one 17, the other 20 – from their Nigerian homes to live with her in Suwanee.

Their new home had four bedrooms, but Bello made them sleep on a couch or the floor. Bello owned a lawnmower, but made them cut the grass with their hands. They cooked meals but were only allowed to eat spoiled leftovers. When the food made one of them sick, Bello forced her to eat her own vomit.

Bello beat them when they disobeyed her. One ran away with the help of friends. The other found refuge in a Marietta church.

Bello was sentenced in 2011 to 11 years and eight months in federal prison on forced labor, trafficking and other charges.

While these prosecutions make headlines, such cases have been rare.

“We are told by the State Department that every year 15,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. But then, where are they?” said Elzbieta Gozdziak, research director of the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University.

If the problem were pervasive, more victims might have applied for special visas created by the 2000 anti-trafficking law. But between fiscal year 2002 and June 2010, the U.S. issued fewer than 1,900 of the visas, which allow victims to stay in the U.S., the Congressional Research Service found in a December 2010 report.

“Why are the numbers so small? Is it because the scope of the problem is not as big as they say? Or is it small because we don’t know how to find them?” Gozdziak asked.

Those numbers are proof that the fight against human trafficking has gone wrong, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a November 2011 report on a bid to reauthorize the trafficking law. While he supported it, he sought more accountability.

“Either the government is doing an unconscionably poor job of finding victims or there are not that many total victims in the first place,” Grassley wrote.

And if the number of foreigners is inflated, the government may be spending money on the wrong programs. In an unpublished 2011 report obtained by the AJC, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, said Congress needs to ensure domestic victims aren’t being overlooked.

“Over the last decade, Congress has failed to conduct the oversight necessary to ensure the programs and agencies tasked with fighting these terrible crimes are operating in an efficient and effective manner,” the report said.

The victims

Information problems stunt state-level programs, too. Programs in Georgia focus on underage girls sold for sex, leaving boys nowhere to turn.

The Georgia Care Connection Office, the state’s anti-child prostitution program, served no male clients in its first two years. Researchers who surfed Craigslist for the state’s count of minors who were sex trafficking victims did not search for boys.

Had researchers looked, they might have seen the Craigslist ads by a Douglasville man pimping a slender teenage boy for $160.

Steven Donald Lemery lured troubled gay teen runaways to his home and forced them to peddle sex online. Some of their sex ads would receive hundreds of responses.

They lived with Lemery’s wife, his boyfriend, his wife’s fiancé, and a rotating cast of characters that included broke drag queens, drug addicts and friends of friends.

The case came to light only when a 16-year-old showed up at an Alabama rape crisis center in 2011. He had with what looked like cigarette burns on his arms and chest and said he got them when he refused to have sex with two men Lemery booked as his clients.

Lemery was convicted in August for trafficking the teen from Alabama and another teen from South Carolina, as well as molesting a Georgia boy. His housemate Christopher Andrew Lynch pleaded guilty in the trafficking of a local transgendered boy.

Prosecutors sought services to help the victims recover, but all the programs were designed for girls, said Rachel Ackley, an assistant state attorney in Douglas County, where the teens were kept.

Kaffie McCullough, a longtime trafficking opponent, said that this may be advocates’ fault. “We thought, maybe wrongly, that there were more female victims instead of male victims,” McCullough said.

Whether Georgia is overlooking scores of boys sold for sex is anyone’s guess.

A 2011 Bureau of Justice Statistics report counted victims in cases opened by the nation’s 42 federally-funded anti-trafficking task forces from 2008 to 2010.

Of the sex trafficking victims, fewer than six percent were male.

But 24 of the 42 task forces gave such low-quality information that the bureau could not include their victim numbers. None of these units are located in Georgia. Furthermore, these counts reflect only the cases that investigators know about.

Trafficking is a hidden crime. Gay runaways duck police to avoid being sent home. Girls confuse investigators by calling pimps their “boyfriends.” Foreign victims stay in the shadows because they fear deportation.

“There really isn’t any concrete information,” said Meredith Dank, an Urban Institute researcher who studies domestic and foreign trafficking.

Local police agencies plan to collect data on human trafficking starting in 2013 as part of the Justice Department’s nationwide crime statistics program.

Yet a better understanding remains years into the future, said Amy Farrell, a Northeastern University professor who oversees the program to count federal task force cases.

“It’s going to be a decade for us to have good data, if we ever have good data,” Farrell said.

Trafficking victims fall through cracks of programs built on guesses, distortions

By Willoughby Mariano

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

An Atlanta police officer took the teen to the station because she looked so young. She was trembling when he found her. She wasn’t wearing much.

The girl told investigators she was from Arkansas and her journey to the streets of Atlanta began when she climbed into the car of a relative’s boyfriend. Mariece Sims and another man drove her to a Texas hotel room and raped her, she said.

They left for Mississippi, where Sims told her to make money by having sex with men at a truck stop, court records said. In Atlanta, he told her to do it again. He hit the girl when she did not make enough or tried to escape.

In the nine years since this girl walked the streets, the public has been told over and over again that hundreds of girls in metro Atlanta meet her same fate every night. It’s why this area is notorious as one of the nation’s worst human trafficking hubs.

That reputation ignited a decade of efforts against what is described as modern-day slavery. Now it is cause célèbre. Nonprofits, religious groups and celebrities have joined the crusade, and politicians are pouring millions of tax dollars into the fight.

But an investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that the initiatives are based on facts and figures that, while preached as gospel and enshrined in legislation, are guesses or distortions. Even the widespread belief that Atlanta is one of the nation’s child exploitation capitals stands on shaky ground. In this information vacuum, government officials have created programs that promise to find and help victims, but too often don’t.

The AJC found:

• Agencies have failed to keep accurate information that could tell them whether taxpayer-funded initiatives have been effective. Participants in a $1 million program did not record basic information such as why a victim was in the system.

• State-backed attempts to track trafficking trends were not designed to be scientific, and national estimates are widely discredited.

• There is little proof that initiatives bring a significant percentage of traffickers to justice. Special sweeps by local and federal task forces have turned up few exploiters. Clients of a state program to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children cooperated in only four convictions in its first two years.

• The program’s clients struggle under its care. One-third of girls it took in during its first two years returned to prostitution, some coaxed back by their pimps. More than half of those placed in safe homes in fiscal year 2011 ran away.

Despite the flaws, trafficking opponents have made some significant strides, and each rescued child is a victory.

“Atlanta and Georgia really are in the forefront of the U.S.,” said Kaffie McCullough, deputy director of youthSpark, a Fulton County juvenile justice nonprofit that fights child sex trafficking.

The legal system now takes the crime seriously. The Legislature passed tough laws, and Georgia established a statewide system to help girls who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation, noted former Fulton juvenile court judge Nina Hickson, who is credited with starting Atlanta’s movement.

“I’m not totally saying these have all been successes. There have been disappointments. But a lot of good work is being done by a lot of good people,” said Hickson.

They face long odds, Hickson and others said. Programs close within years because funding dries up. Inexperienced decision makers ignore the advice of front-line workers. Victims dodge police by calling their pimps their “boyfriends” and are beaten when they try to leave.

Yet independent experts and federal authorities say that problems here and in other communities run deeper. Poor accountability and bad data hobble the effort.

David Finkelhor, director of the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, cautions against using any of the estimates to make policy.

“The data are very poor, and are not really to be relied upon for any conclusion,” he said.

‘Facts’ really estimates

Atlanta’s anti-trafficking movement coalesced around the image of a 10-year-old girl, her ankles in shackles. It was November 2000, and the runaway was in juvenile court accused of prostitution. She was being kept in detention because there was nowhere else for her to go.

A series of stories in the AJC described how she and other girls sat in jail while their adult pimps went free. The problem was dire, and child advocates asked the Justice Department for money.

Nationally “an estimated 300,000 victimized children” were “living on the streets,” the Juvenile Justice Fund, now known as youthSpark, said in an application for federal funds.

Over the years, trafficking activists have repeated this and other grim statistics to decision-makers and before ballrooms full of potential donors and volunteers.

In 2005, the FBI added Atlanta to its list of 14 field offices with the highest incidence of child prostitution or trafficking. An FBI official testifying in Washington, D.C. cited law enforcement intelligence as well as information from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

A study commissioned by a local anti-trafficking campaign came up with another bleak figure. Research firm The Schapiro Group reported that 251 underage girls were being trafficked in Georgia in August 2007. Researchers cautioned, though, that the actual count could be closer to 400.

The Governor’s Office for Children and Families agreed to take over funding for the research. From 2009 through this spring, it paid The Schapiro Group nearly $245,000 to produce a regular count, which varied between 200 and 500. The results appeared on the agency’s website.

Now these alarming numbers appear in pamphlets, recent state legislation, and even on an anti-trafficking-themed tote bag passed out at a recent forum.

“240 Girls Were Trafficked in Georgia Yesterday,” the bag warns.

But a detailed look at the numbers shows that the most widely-used facts and figures are crude estimates, unsubstantiated, or inaccurate.

An FBI spokesman declined to explain why Atlanta is a top trafficking city.

Atlanta’s size and location may well mean the metro area plays a big role in the trade, experts said. But while the FBI official said information from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children helped the FBI develop its list, a center spokeswoman said it does not issue rankings.

In the absence of hard numbers, news articles and advocacy groups have claimed the title of the nation’s human trafficking capital for Wichita, Kan., Toledo, Ohio, and Baton Rouge, La.

Some widely-used “facts” about the scope of trafficking misinterpret actual estimates.

For instance, the claim that 300,000 minors are victims of commercial, sexual exploitation in the U.S. misquotes a 2001 estimate by University of Pennsylvania researchers.

Their report said that on the high side, these children are at risk – not actual victims. This includes runaways, children living in public housing and female gang members. Critics warn the estimate may double-count kids who are part of multiple risk groups.

The study’s authors emphasized they did not conduct a head count, and a better estimate would require more research.

Other estimates of U.S. child victims range from fewer than 2,000 to more than 2 million. The gap is so wide the numbers mean next to nothing.

“Somewhere between there is the truth, but we don’t know where,” said Mary A. Finn, a professor at Georgia State University and lead author of a report evaluating a major Atlanta anti-trafficking effort.

Figures on the trade’s profitability and victims’ average age have similar problems, yet officials continue to use them.

“They gain a life of their own,” said Ronald Weitzer, a George Washington University professor and expert on sex trafficking. “They’re repeated, recited and reproduced by the media and commentators and pretty soon become conventional wisdom, although the claims are way beyond what is warranted.”

As for the Governor’s Office for Children and Families findings on child exploitation, scholars say they are fundamentally flawed. Basic rules of research require that findings be verifiable and replicable.

These results aren’t. The Schapiro Group released some, but not all, of its methodology to the AJC, saying it was proprietary.

The firm estimated the number of victims by surfing ads on the website Craigslist, driving through high-prostitution neighborhoods, calling escort services and sitting in hotel lobbies counting what its observers think are underage call girls.

It multiplies that count by 0.38. Firm President Beth Schapiro said that’s because her company’s research showed that, conservatively, observers accurately guess a female in a sexually suggestive photo is underage about 38 percent of the time.

These reports are a waste of taxpayer money, Weitzer said. The methodology is a guessing game.

“If I showed that report to anyone here in my department, they would laugh,” he said.

Numbers have power

Yet these numbers have incredible power. The Schapiro Group’s count transformed child sex trafficking into a statewide crusade.

In 2001, Georgia legislators changed state law to make the pimping of a child a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Most headway took place on the local level.

Angela’s House, one of the nation’s residential treatment homes for trafficked girls, opened in 2002. The six-bed safe house launched with $1 million in private and state funds.

Two years later, the Juvenile Justice Fund won a $1 million grant to raise awareness and to overhaul responses by service agencies and law enforcement.

In 2005, Atlanta’s then-mayor Shirley Franklin issued a thick research report outlining the problem. She followed up with the launch of the “Dear John” campaign to target johns and boost enforcement.

But the release of the Schapiro Group’s 2007 data changed everything, said state Sen. Renee Unterman, R-Buford, a supporter of tougher laws against child prostitution.

“That’s when I could go to the floor of the Senate and say, ‘Did you know that 400 children are being prostituted on the streets of Atlanta?’” Unterman said.

In 2008, the Legislature created a commission to study the commercial sex trafficking of children. Legislation passed in 2009 added child prostitution to the forms of abuse teachers and others must report to authorities. That same year, the Governor’s Office for Children and Families opened the Georgia Care Connection Office to coordinate victim treatment and other services.

It was “the nation’s first statewide response to address the needs of child sex trafficking victims,” a 2010 news release said.

Legislators toughened laws once more in 2011 and placed the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in charge of child sex trafficking investigations.

On Dec. 6, Unterman and about a dozen lawmakers from other states took the cause to the White House. President Obama’s policy advisers wanted to know what they could do to help.

Reality is messy

The well-publicized advances belied a messy reality. Mobilizing money and resources proved far easier than creating programs that find and help the exploited.

Six nationwide anti-human trafficking sweeps dubbed “Operation Cross Country” recovered nine child victims in and around Metro Atlanta in six years, according to news accounts and FBI press releases.

Angela’s House closed when it came under new management. Funding and referrals dried up, and the new provider felt the beds weren’t needed because other safe houses had opened.

At a Dec. 21 legislative committee meeting on human trafficking, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter complained that after years of efforts, policymakers know far less about the problem than they should. While The Schapiro Group’s figures indicate the crime is widespread, Porter said, his office rarely sees cases.

“We really haven’t embarked on a process of finding out what we’re dealing with,” Porter said.

It’s unclear how many victims were helped by the $1 million awarded in 2004 to the Juvenile Justice Fund.

The program began because “serious overlaps and gaps” were causing children to fall through the cracks, advocates told the U.S. Department of Justice in a grant application.

One goal was to fill information gaps that keep victims from getting needed care and protection, the grant proposal said. Participating agencies would meet regularly and install a case tracking database for victims of child sex trafficking and other abuse.

Many fissures, however, remained, according to a $450,000 federally-funded evaluation by Georgia State University researchers. Key agencies such as the Division of Family and Children Services failed to enter basic data into the system.

Of 50 victims recorded in the child abuse database, only one entry said whether the pimp was arrested. Of the 54 clients of Angela’s House, 29 were not in the database.

The agencies said they had other priorities. Human trafficking was rare compared to child beatings, sex abuse and neglect cases, said Finn, the evaluation report’s lead author.

“We found it was not even in the front fore lobe of their consciousness. They had to struggle to remember the last time a kid they saw brought this up,” Finn said.

Whether the program improved victim care remained a mystery. There wasn’t enough information, the report said.

Deborah Richardson, now executive vice president of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, was executive director of the Juvenile Justice Fund. She said gathering information was not its central goal.

“That was never the intent of the project,” she said. “It really was about system change.”

The change wasn’t enough for victims.

Their parents and guardians reported that police and courts were helpful. So was the counseling. But it did not stop the children from dropping out of school or running away.

The teens wondered whether their futures were any brighter.

“In general, there was no clear sense of whether or not youth felt that they had ‘gotten better’ or that they were somehow at the end of a process,” the evaluation report said.

Help often lacking

Years later, it’s still not clear victims are getting better or that the government response has improved.

The Georgia Care Connection Office’s goal is to help underage girls who are commercially sexually exploited, but its own data show a majority of its referrals were not victims at all.

The office reported that it received 400 referrals during its first three years of operation. About 190 were victims. That is fewer than six per month.

About 40 children were only “at risk” of becoming prostitutes. Yet they still joined the caseload of the seven-person office. The rest were referred to other agencies or did not complete screening.

The help it did give to victims often fell short, according to a 2011 evaluation the office commissioned.

During the office’s first two years, about 35 percent of its 136 clients, all female, returned to prostitution while they were receiving state help.

Thirty-eight were arrested, some more than once. Twelve became pregnant.

Pimps were rarely brought to justice. Written statements from eight victims led to charges. Only four exploiters were convicted, the report found.

Katie Jo Ballard, executive director of the Governor’s Office for Children and Families, cancelled an interview to discuss the program’s performance. She stopped responding to repeated requests by email, telephone and in person to comment.

The evaluation report did contain success stories. One client ran away from a safe house, returned to her exploiter, became pregnant and got arrested. But with help of the office, it said, she returned to treatment, continued her education and reunited with her parents.

“Without the focused approach of GCCO, the hard-earned progress noted in this report would not exist,” the report said.

Experts who help women leave prostitution recognize that small victories are rare.

At the GCCO, even the most dedicated clients stumbled as they tried to leave their old lives, said Katrina Owens, a trafficking survivor who worked for two years as a peer support worker.

The program directed survivors to mental health services, but exploiters remained free. They called the girls relentlessly or knocked on their doors, Owens said.

Some teens could not get needed help because their parents could not afford it. Others lacked transportation to attend programs that they could afford.

Girls balked at applying to college because their criminal histories could make them ineligible for federal financial aid. They failed to find work, and the cost of books was so high they were tempted to pay for them through stripping or prostitution, Owens said.

She left the program after two years. Though civic groups lined up to ask her to speak at luncheons and fund-raisers as statewide interest in sex trafficking climbed, she was becoming a token survivor, not someone with growing expertise.

“I feel the … movement here has become somewhat of a fad,” Owens said. “That’s the truth. Once the dust settles, I’m curious to know who will still be standing up for the cause.”

Meet the reporter

Willoughby Mariano started at the AJC in 2010 as a reporter for the PolitiFact Georgia team. Previously, she worked for the Orlando Sentinel in Florida, where she covered criminal justice and wrote a blog that chronicled the lives of those affected by years of record-breaking murder rates. She is co-winner of a National Headliner Award in investigative journalism for her coverage of laborers at Orlando theme parks and hotels who worked under conditions that amounted to indentured servitude. She was born in Brooklyn, raised outside of Chicago, and lives in East Atlanta with her husband and cats.

How We Got the Story

AJC reporter Willoughby Mariano looked into evidence that Atlanta is a top human trafficking hub and discovered that it and other oft-repeated claims about the crime were unsubstantiated or incorrect. Documents revealed through freedom of information act requests and other reporting showed that anti-trafficking programs in Atlanta and across the nation struggle to find and help victims. She reviewed thousands of pages of internal government files, scholarly research, federal research reports, and court records for this story, and conducted dozens of interviews with lawmakers, academics, advocates, program organizers, members of law enforcement, and others.

Overspending, poor oversight vexed Atlanta trafficking program

By Willoughby Mariano

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Atlanta police program to rescue Korean prostitutes from traffickers raised concerns at the U.S. Department of Justice in more ways than one.

Not only were auditors unable to verify the number of victims police had reported, the task force also had begun to run out of its $600,000 in grant money by January 2007, more than a year before the three-year program was to end.

Federal authorities were surprised that police could spend so much money so quickly.

“Is it really true that the investigators make more than $100,000 per year??” a federal administrator asked in a March 2007 email.

It was, because of overtime, a police budget manager replied. Investigators made more than the sergeant supervising the unit.

The feds had other concerns. Atlanta Police Department reported it spent more than $92,000 in salaries and benefits for a victim services consultant.

“Do you have any idea at all what work this person has done (we don’t)?” that email asked.

Police blamed the spending problems on a budgeting snafu.

“The short answer is the original budget grossly underestimated personnel costs,” a June 2007 APD memo said.

Still, there was enough money to stock the unit’s supply closet.

APD purchased three desktop computers at $2,000 each, three laptop computers at $3,000 each, a $900 digital camera and a $900 camcorder, among other things, according to an internal inventory audit.

Grant money also filled three spaces in APD’s parking lot. In 2006, the human trafficking unit bought two new Ford Explorers — one in gold and another in silver — and a red, unmarked Crown Victoria with tinted windows. They were designated for undercover work.

Atlanta police realized the program was off track when a new commander took over in 2006, according to a recent written statement by APD to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It “lacked adequate supervisory structure and appropriate internal oversight,” the statement said.

The task force disbanded in 2007, but police continue to investigate local pimps. They say they are still committed to the fight.

“Human trafficking within the city borders is intolerable, and the Department will continue to work with our federal law enforcement partners to pursue and prosecute these acts,” the statement said.

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Posted in Atlanta, attorney general, California, charities, colorado, Denver, Georgia, human trafficking, non-profit, philippines, prostitution, research, Sam Olens, sex slavery, sex tourism, sex trafficking, statistics, Uncategorized

Sex Trafficking and Prostitution are NOT the same thing – No Victims found

Sex Trafficking and Prostitution are NOT the same thing.

Prostitution is a business between adults and in our society adults are responsible for themselves. Sex slavery is just that, slavery and it’s non-consensual.

“To equate the two is to say grown women aren’t capable of being responsible and making decisions  for themselves. That is pretty insulting to women don’t you think?”

Adult women are not children.

There needs to be a distinct separation of

1. Forced Child sex trafficking

2. Adult consensual

prostitution.

They are not the same.

Woman in the sex industry, have made a clear decision to work in that field. They are not “passive victims” in need of “saving” or sending back by western campaigners. So called “victims” of Sex Trafficking never identify themselves as victims. Because they are not victims to begin with.

Sex Trafficking Sex Slavery is used by many groups as a attempt to outlaw all adult consensual prostitution around the world by saying that all women that have sex are victims even if they do it willing. This hurts any real victims because it labels all sex workers as victims. This is done by the media, aid groups, NGO’s, feminists, politicians,  and religious organizations that receive funds from the government. There are very strong groups who promote that all adult women who have sex are victims even if they are willing, enjoy it and go out of there way to get it. These groups try to get the public to believe that no adult women in their right mind would ever go into the sex business unless she was forced to do so, weather she knew it or not. They say that 100% of all sex workers are trafficking victims. They do this in order to label all men as sex offenders and wipe out all consensual prostitution. Which is what their real goal is. There is almost no one who challenges or questions them about their false beliefs. Therefore, the only voices you hear are of these extreme groups. These groups want to label all men as terrible sex offenders for seeing a willing adult woman. No one stands up to say this is foolish, the passive public says nothing. These groups even say that all men who marry foreign women are terrible sex predators who take advantage of these “helpless foreign women wives”.

These groups believe that two adults having consensual sex in private should be outlawed.  Since they believe that it is impossible for a man to have sex with a woman without abusing the woman in the process.

Adult Women are NOT children.

A key point is that on the sidelines the prostitutes themselves are not being listened to. They oppose laws against prostitution.   But no one wants to listen to the prostitutes themselves.  Only to the self appointed experts that make up numbers and stories many of which have never met a real forced sex slave. The media and government never ask the prostitutes themselves what would help them in terms of laws.

Media coverage of trafficking and adult women’s migration and sex work is confused and inaccurate. The media wrongly uses the terms ‘sex work’ and ‘trafficking’ and adult sex work and child sex trafficking synonymously, as if they were the same.  perpetuating stereotypes and stigmatization, and contributing to the violation of women’s right to free movement and livelihood options.  They assume that if any woman moves from place to place for sex work that they are being trafficking. The media, politicians, aid groups, feminist,  and religious organizations does not take into account that she may do this of her own free will.  Too often  women are treated like children. Prostitution is a business between adults and in our society adults are responsible for themselves. Sex slavery/trafficking on the other hand is non-consensual.  To equate that the two are the same is to say grown adult women are not capable of being responsible or thinking for themselves.

Many anti-prostitution groups use false exaggerated made up stories of underage girls being forced. While we all agree that minors should not be having sex, the truth about the statistics and if the minor was forced or not should be known.

If a prostitute is 17 and under the age of 18, she can not give legal consent to sex. So, she could have wanted to be a prostitute, and given consent for sex, but since she is underage, she can not give legal consent, so legally she was “forced” even if she gives total consent to sex and it was consensual – she was “forced” according to the court and justice system. There is a BIG difference between being legally “forced” and truly being physically forced against someone’s will.  So, the media will always report that she was “forced” for no other reason then being under the age of 18.

This gives the impression that all prostitutes under the age of 18 are “forced” when they have not been.  They never identify themselves as victims, because they were never forced If fact, if two people who are both 17 years old have sex, they both are legally considered to be victims and sex predators at the same time. It is strange how the justice system works.

The Denver, Colorado Police are forcing prostitutes to lie about being forced.

The Denver Colorado Police (and other Police departments around the country) receive grants from the Federal government for fighting Sex Trafficking. When they don’t find any forced against their will prostitute victims – They make them up, so that they won’t lose funding.  

Denver Colorado vice Lieutenant Aaron Sanchez: “Prostitutes are not friendly. It’s not like you’re talking to a child-abuse victim or a fifteen-year-old sex assault victim who wants to cry out and wants to explain what happened or is just scared. These girls just flat out say, ‘Nope, that’s not what’s happening.’

“We have to help them realize they are victims,” Denver vice Lieutenant Aaron Sanchez says.

So… the police are trying to invent victims? Where no victim exist?

The prostitutes say that no one is forcing them and the police don’t believe them?

So the police want the prostitutes to lie? and the police are forcing the prostitutes to lie about being forced?

Article Link:http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2011/10/human_trafficking_denver.php

This Denver Post article link below says: “Defense attorney Maureen O’Brien said that in cases where a prostitute is willingly engaging in the business, she has an incentive to allege force or coercion against a pimp to avoid charges herself. O’Brien thinks calling pimping “human trafficking” could change judges’ perception and has the potential to boost prison sentences.”  http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19225280

This doesn’t make sense, Police and lawyers trying to get prostitutes to lie about being forced. Lying is bad, telling the truth is good. – I also thought lying was against the law.

Where Are All The Sex Slaves?- By Angry Harry:Where Are All The Sex Slaves? The Metropolitan Police launched dawn raids on various ‘slavery dens’ in Slough last Friday; some of the police reportedly wore balaclavas and riot gear and were closely followed by film crews invited along to witness the moment the ‘child slaves’ were liberated. Brendan O’NeillThere was only one problem with this story: it was as fictional as the original Dickensian tale of artful dodgers. … In recent years, a motley crew of government and police forces in America and Europe, feminist activists, fundamentalist Christian outfits and celebrity campaigners has turned human trafficking into one of the biggest issues of our time. They claim there is a new ‘slave trade’, that tens of thousands of people – especially women and children – are being sold across borders and into bondage every year.

But, as is usually found to be the case, these are just the typical lies that regularly emanate from those who seek to grow their ‘abuse’ empires.

… In late 2005, police in Birmingham carried out a media splash of a raid against a brothel and claimed to have ‘rescued’ 19 women who had been trafficked to the UK and enslaved as prostitutes (8). A few days later, 13 of the women were released when it turned out that they were ‘voluntarily working in the sex industry’; the remaining six, who also denied having been trafficked, were imprisoned at Yarlswood detention centre in Bedfordshire and threatened with deportation back to their countries of origin.

These women were threatened with deportation because they refused to claim that they had been sex-trafficked.

Indeed, such women can avoid being deported or going to jail if they do claim to have been sex-trafficked.

In other words, women in these circumstances are told by the police that they can gain a great deal if they would only lie about their situations and pretend to be the victims of sex-traffickers.

Indeed, they will soon also be offered money to lie about their situations. …

… Trafficked Sex Slaves To Receive Millions In Compensation Sex slaves smuggled illegally into Britain are to share millions of pounds in compensation for their ‘pain and trauma’, it has emerged.

… and so, of course, the number of women who claim to have been sex-trafficked will grow and grow and grow!

This is just one example of how those in the abuse industry work.

They actually reward people very handsomely if they will claim to have been abused.

Even sex-trafficked brothel workers reject raids and rescues

Teen prostitutes don’t want to be saved so they must be brainwashed, right?

Posted By laura agustin On 20 October 2011 @ 22:25 In sex work | No Comments

Psychology  theories brought to people exchanging sex for money (again) – child prostitution, so-called. We have already seen ludicrous psychologising in reports on Lithuania, [3]and police confusion when migrant sex workers refuse rescue in India [4] and China [5]. Here it’s New York, and a new anti-sex-trafficking division, heaven help us. Law & Order will start a new series for this, mark my words (subcategory of Special Victims). My comments in green.

Teen prostitutes hard to save, cop tells City Council [6]

Alison Bowen, Metro, 19 October 2011

New York City police say they are trying to rescue teens forced into prostitution, only to find that the girls often don’t want their help. A state law enacted last year considers prostitutes under the age of 18 victims, not criminals, and police are encouraged not to charge them with a crime.

But according to Inspector James Capaldo, head of the NYPD’s new anti-sex trafficking division, their efforts to help girls forced into prostitution are often spurned, he told the City Council at a hearing on sex trafficking yesterday.

So far so good, we know this happens all the time. But where do they go with this? To the cheap psychology department.

The teens are often terrified of being punished by their pimp, or they’re brainwashed into thinking he is a boyfriend, said Capaldo. They also often lie and say they are 19. “Sometimes they refuse to talk,” he said. “If it takes a man six weeks to put this woman in a situation, how do we undo that in 46 hours?”

Lots of people refuse to talk to the police all the time, but here we see how Rescuers use that fact to explain their failures. Brainwashing was the explanation heard at the BBC debate in Luxor [7], and terror-by-pimp is the idea proposed by social workers on an NPR show on child sex trafficking in Nevada [8]. Not to say it never happens but you need to be suspicious when Rescuers need to justify their own jobs. See, this is a new unit on sex trafficking. They even imply that slowness is not their faults because they are undoing brainwashing. And in an age of cuts and Occupy Wall Street – shameful.

The teen prostitutes often advertise their illegal services on Backpage.com, according to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. Earlier this year, in Brooklyn, a tip led police to “Jennifer,” 18, who refused to testifyagainst her pimp. Instead, prosecutors found him through a prostitution website. He was charged with sex trafficking.

Is the assumption that a female under 18 is not capable of placing an online ad? Pure infantilisation of women, inexcusable. Check out recent comments from a lot of men assuming that women would be incapable of flying budget airlines[9]to Amsterdam to sell sex and go home again. Excuse me?

Anyway ‘Jennifer’ was 18, so what is this detail doing here? Did Backpage.com force her to place the ad? Gah!

–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist

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URL to article: http://www.lauraagustin.com/teen-prostitutes-dont-want-to-be-saved-so-they-must-be-brainwashed-right

URLs in this post:

By laura agustin On 21 August 2011 @ 10:15 In migration,sex work,trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Prostituton, Sex Slavery

For campaigners like Ashton Kutcher [3], sex slavery is an easy-to-recognise phenomenon with a single obvious cure, rescue: first by police and then by social workers. And despite rescuers’ avowed respect for personal stories, they never listen to voices that criticise this cure. The poster below was made by migrant sex workers (they call themselves that) in Chiang Mai, Thailand, at the EMPOWER [4] centre. I have posted it before but so many people are still unaware of the problems associated with Rescue that I like to re-run it. See for yourself the reasons workers at Barn Su Funn Brothel gave for denouncing raids and rescue operations intended to liberate them, whether rescuers are police officers, ngo employees or even celebrities and then think twice about how you will Fix Their Lives so easily.

These sex workers complain that when the Police and anti-prostitution groups “rescue” them, they do more harm then  good.  Rescued sex workers complain that being “rescued” creates the problems below:

• We lose our savings and our belongings.
• We are locked up.
• We are interrogated by many people.
• They force us to be witnesses.
• We are held until the court case.
• We are held till deportation.
• We are forced re-training.
• We are not given compensation by anybody.
• Our family must borrow money to survive while we wait.
• Our family is in a panic.
• We are anxious for our family.
• Strangers visit our village telling people about us.
• The village and the soldiers cause our family problems.
• Our family has to pay ‘fines’ or bribes to the soldiers.
• We are sent home.
• Military abuses and no work continues at home.
• My family has a debt.
• We must find a way back to Thailand to start again.

The poster brings us close to a situation many people doubt: that poorer migrants selling sex often prefer to continue what they’re doing to being forcibly rescued by people on anti-trafficking crusades. This is not to cast doubt on many helpers’ good intentions or the genuine rescue of some individuals. But it shows how rescue agents haven’t consulted the prostitutes they want to save first, to find out whether they want to be helped and, if they do, what kind of help would actually be helpful. The poster makes it clear that cutting migrant women off from their source of income has drastic consequences for themselves and their families.

This does not mean that they or I deny the existence of abusive practices inflicted during smuggling and trafficking operations. It means that an ideological stance that claims all migrants doing sex work have been victims of such practices is wrong. Check the rescue tag to read more [6], including stories of sex workers resisting arrest and fleeing from rescuers.

During my years of researching this subject, I have met migrants of myriad nationalities, in many countries, in bars, brothels, shelters, ngo offices, streets, clubs and houses. Some had had bad experiences, some had not recovered from them yet, some were getting on with the next stage of their lives, some enjoyed doing sex work, many had adapted to it as the best option of the moment. For those who want to read more about it, my book Sex at the Margins [7]has lots of details.

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Women resist rescue by anti-trafficking police, who admit it:

By laura agustin On 12 July 2011

Headlines read Hookers rescued against their will and Rescued cybersex girls bolt DSWD office. The stories are from the Philippines, but they are not the first of their kind to reach mainstream news outlets. And they are not amazing exceptions to the rule, as everyone who works in helping projects knows.

The argument against raiding sex venues is not that all the workers are happy because sex work and free markets are just grand. The argument is that US policy, which threatens countries with losing aid if they don’t do enough to stop trafficking, promotes ham-fisted policing - cowboy raids that rush to pick up women selling sex and arrest their exploiters. Threatened countries use well-publicised raids to say to the US, See? We are doing what you want. We are stopping human trafficking and rescuing victims, so don’t cut off our aid. Which works, if you look at how the Philippines’ ranking improved in this year’s lame TIP Report [3].

So why aren’t more campaigners against prostitution and slavery concerned when women resist rescue? Is it so hard to understand that resistance doesn’t mean they love their jobs or are not being exploited by anyone or were not treated badly by their parents? All we really know it means is that they don’t want to be rescued like this. Over and over, researchers have documented how such women simply prefer their present situations in these brothels to other options – forceable internment in rescue homes being at the top of the list. Similar stories have come from other countries: Chinese women in the Congo [4]Bangladeshis in India [5].

Details of the cybersex-girls’ escape include:

Fifteen girls, rescued by police and National Bureau of Agency men from a cybersex den operated by two Swedish nationals have escaped from the Department of Social Welfare Development office in Cagayan de Oro City. . .  after mauling the duty security guard. The girls then flagged down a passenger jeepney and forced its driver to bring them away from the DSWD office. . . –ABS.CBNnews.com [6]the Philippines, 5 July 2011

Details from hookers rescued against their will include:

A hundred female sex workers . . . and five foreigners were arrested in raids on three night clubs in Angeles City Tuesday night. . . “The women don’t really consider it a rescue,” said CIDG Women and Children’s Protection Desk head . . .  “They kept cursing us, and tried their best to escape.” . . . Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr., said the successive raids in Angeles City’s red light district bolstered the US government’s recognition of the Philippines’ commitment to combating human trafficking. The Philippines has been taken off a watch list of the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report and elevated to Tier 2, a category of countries that do not fully comply with anti-trafficking standards but are making efforts to do so. Philippine Daily Inquirer, 29 June 2011 [7]

That should be a clear enough cause-and-effect relationship for anyone to understand!

–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist

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Sex Workers do not want to be rescued:  http://www.lauraagustin.com/tag/rescue

Laura Agustín

What do sex offenders and clients of sex workers have in common? To understand why my answer is a great deal, you need to look at how outsider sexuality are constructed so that some sex is deemed to be Good, everything else to be Bad and transgressors become monsters.

I read Roger Lancaster’s 1994 book Life is Hard: Machismo, Danger, and the Intimacy of Power in Nicaragua ten years ago when I was looking for ethnographic accounts of non-mainstream sexualities and gender identities. Lancaster has a new book, Sex Panic and the Punitive State, which I have not read, but I was struck by his ideas in the following essay about sex offenders. Men who buy sex occupy an increasingly similar social position nowadays: considered either monsters or perverts. This year’s TIP report and the End Demand campaign insist that these men’s desires and bodies are simply wrong. Clients are not yet placed on Sex Offender Registers, but schemes to name and shame them in the media approach that idea and I will not be surprised if calling them sex offenders is proposed.

Note in an example from the other day’s Vancouver Sun: Make human traffickers’ names public: law professor. Perrin opposes Judge Susan Himel’s decision last year to remove from Ontario Law significant barriers to safe sex work (he was on Melissa Farley’s side). Perrin is a law academic who loves the police.

And don’t imagine that men called sex offenders are really bad in a way that men who buy sex are not: it’s the process of demonisation you want to keep your eye on, and how society handles those demonised.

The essay is long, so I have cut it. About halfway through I highlight with boldtechniques being used and suggestions being made for further stigmatisation of a wide range of people.

Sex Offenders: The Last Pariahs
Roger N. Lancaster, New York Times, 21 August 2011

. . . most criminal justice advocates have been reluctant to talk about sex offender laws, much less reform them. The reluctance has deep roots. Sex crimes are seen as uniquely horrific. During the Colonial, antebellum and Jim Crow eras, white Americans were preoccupied with tales of sexual dangers to white women and children McCarthy-era paranoia, stories of Satanic ritual abuse and other sex panics stirred pervasive anxieties about lurking strangers. Sexual predators play a lead role in the production of a modern culture of fear.

. . . The most intense dread, fueled by shows like “America’s Most Wanted” and “To Catch a Predator,” is directed at the lurking stranger, the anonymous repeat offender. But most perpetrators of sexual abuse are family members, close relatives, or friends or acquaintances of the victim’s family. . .

. . .Advocates for laws to register, publicize and monitor sex offenders after their release from custody typically assert that those convicted of sex crimes pose a high risk of sex crime recidivism. But studies by the Justice Department and other organizations show that recidivism rates are significantly lower for convicted sex offenders than for burglars, robbers, thieves, drug offenders and other convicts. Only a tiny proportion of sex crimes are committed by repeat offenders, which suggests that current laws are misdirected and ineffective. . .

Contrary to the common belief that burgeoning registries provide lists of child molesters, the victim need not have been a child and the perpetrator need not have been an adult. Child abusers may be minors themselves. Statutory rapists – a loose category that includessome offenses involving neither coercion nor violence - are covered in some states. Some states require exhibitionists and “peeping Toms” to register; Louisiana compelled some prostitutesto do so. Two-thirds of the North Carolina registrants sampled in a 2007 study by Human Rights Watch had been convicted of the nonviolent crime of “indecent liberties with a minor,” which does not necessarily involve physical contact.

. . . Newer laws go even further. At last count, 44 states have passed or are considering laws that would require some sex offenders to be monitored for life with electronic bracelets and global positioning devices. A 2006 federal law, the Adam Walsh Act, named for a Florida boy who was abducted and killed, allows prosecutors toapply tougher registration rules retroactively. New civil commitment procedures allow for the indefinite detention of sex offenders after the completion of their sentences. Such procedures suggest a catch-22: the accused is deemed mentally fit for trial and sentencing, but mentally unfit for release. Laws in more than 20 states and hundreds of municipalities restrict where a sex offender can live, work or walk. California’s Proposition 83 prohibits all registered sex offenders (felony and misdemeanor alike) from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, effectively evicting them from the state’s cities and scattering them to isolated rural areas.

Digital scarlet letters, electronic tethering and practices of banishment have relegated a growing number of people to the logic of “social death,” a term introduced by the sociologist Orlando Patterson, in the context of slavery, to describe permanent dishonor and exclusion from the wider moral community. The creation of apariah class of unemployable, uprooted criminal outcasts has drawn attention from human rights activists . . . Several states currently publish online listings of methamphetamine offenders, and other states are considering public registries for assorted crimes. Mimicking Megan’s Law, Florida maintains a website that gives the personal details (including photo, name, age, address, offenses and periods of incarceration) of all prisoners released from custody. Some other states post similar public listings of paroled or recently released ex-convicts. It goes without saying that such procedures cut against rehabilitation and reintegration.

Our sex offender laws are expansive, costly and ineffective – guided by panic, not reason. It is time to change the conversation: to promote child welfare based on sound data rather than statistically anomalous horror stories, and in some cases to revisit outdated laws that do little to protect children. Little will have been gained if we trade a bloated prison system for sprawling forms of electronic surveillance that offload the costs of imprisonment onto offenders, their families and their communities.

This is the context in which End Demand campaigns are occurring. Writing on the wall.

On the panic point, I will be talking on a panel about sex scandals at the AAA in Montreal next month. Offenders, clients, scandals, panics: all related in ways I am trying to figure out.

–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist    http://networkedblogs.com/oWQCA

Great Link on Prostitutes forced by Police to lie and say they are victims, when it is the police who are victimizing them:

THE ABUSE OF ARBITRARY ENFORCEMENT OF PROSTITUTION, SEX TRAFFICKING, LAWS

http://sextraffickingvictims.wordpress.com/   

http://weconsent.org/pages/sex-trafficking

 Guest columnist, veteran prostitution rights activist Norma Jean Almodovar, author of Cop To Call Girl, founder and president of the International Sex Worker Foundation for Art, Culture and Education and executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of COYOTE .    Now without further ado, I turn this space over to Norma Jean.

Just as they did a year ago with Craigslist, a bunch of politically grandstanding States Attorneys General- cheered on by an overbearing, vociferous gaggle of anti- prostitution zealots and their sycophants from the far left and the far right-  got together andwrote a letter to the ownersof Backpage.com, demanding that the adult ads on their classified website be shut down “to stop sex trafficking.”  Despite the fact that they don’t have a constitutional leg to stand on, these blowhards decided they must force the closure of the adult ads section in this and any other online adult ad classified advertising site.

Although there are numerous other sites which cater solely to the adult crowd seeking other adults for adult activity, such as RentBoy- where virulently anti- gay Christian Psychologist Reverend George Rekers found his young stud travel companion on a trip to Italy- and countless other similar sites, it does not appear that these Attorneys General have much interest in pursuing those sites because many are for gay commercial sex and it is not politically correct to prosecute gays for the same ‘crimes’ they prosecute heterosexual adults.  Governments and religious institutions throughout history have attempted to eradicate what many call a scourge (but many others like me feel it is the best job we ever had), but none have been successful even when the punishment faced by those who violate the law is death.  So what motivates these particular politicians to attempt to “eliminate” all prostitution at whatever cost?

There are a number of studies which support the premise that the more vocal one is in denouncing another’s ‘immoral’ activities and demanding that they cease, the more likely it is that such a loudmouth is engaged in the very activity that he/she condemns.  It is a cliché that sanctimonious politicians pontificate on the importance of family values while having extra-marital affairs, buying the services of a prostitute (underage and adult) or sending text messages to persons who are not their spouses; the vehemently anti-gay politicians and preachers who secretly engage in homosexual relationships.  When it is a female politician, look for her husband to be a client of prostitutes, like U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D. Michigan).

Considering the enormous pressure being exerted on Backpage -and Craigslist a year ago- if one were cynical, one might think that those who are the most vocal in their demands to shut down adult ads because of the possibility that those ads are for prostitution- are being blackmailed or extorted by those abolitionists.  Consider that Eliot Spitzer, who, as New York’s State Attorney General, passionately denounced the evils of prostitution as he vigorously enforced laws against prostitution by day and paid for his ‘sex slaves’ by night… in some cases going out of state and violating the Mann Act, a federal crime called ‘sex trafficking’.  Spitzer rose to governorship on the back of political reform and cleaning up corruption.  According to many sources, his was a ‘scorched earth’ policy when it came to prosecuting white collar crimes.  One target of his wrath were ‘prostitution rings’  against which he had publicly vented with “revulsion and anger announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a select prostitution ring” in 2004.  He dispatched his brand of justice in short order and sent them to prison.  In hindsight one could speculate that his show of revulsion and anger came not from a sense of moral repugnance at the thought of paid sex professionals but that the ‘select prostitution ring’ he targeted had perhaps been too selective and refused his business in the past? Or did he feel a sense of pride at being able to prosecute the competition of those who did provide him with their sexual services?

Or perhaps the abolitionists knew of Spitzer’s indiscretions and used that information to extort him to be aggressive in prosecuting others who engaged in buying or selling sex?  There is no doubt in my mind that if he had not been caught with his pants down, he would be joining the other politicians in their strident crusade to shut down adult ads.  So it is not unreasonable to suggest that perhaps some or many of the signers of this letter are in a similar position.  History – both distant and recent- suggests that this may be the case…

In July 2011, a high ranking Albuquerque Criminal Judge, Pat Murdoch, was arrested for raping a prostitute.  It was not the first time he had hired a sex worker, because the prostitute he hired admitted to previous engagements with the judge.  And surely the police were aware of his activities with prostitutes, which may explain why, in 2009, he was so lenient toward an Albuquerque Police Officer -David Maes- who was also charged with raping a prostitute.  Thoughtfully, after Maes plead ‘no contest’ to the charges, District Court Judge Pat Murdoch said “sending him to prison would be a harsh sentence for an ex-cop” and gave him 5 years probation.  After Judge Murdoch was charged with raping a prostitute, he resigned, and most likely none of his colleague judges will impose a prison sentence on him, knowing that when and if they ever get caught doing the same thing, they will want leniency from the judges who oversee their cases.

Judges like Federal Judge Jack Camp… or Judge Michael Hecht... or Edward Nottingham, the chief federal judge in Denver, Colorado.  Despite the fact that an ordinary citizen charged with violating the same laws that Reagan appointee Judge Jack Camp did would have been sentenced to multiple years- perhaps decades- in prison, Judge Camp was allowed to retire at full pension, sentenced to 30 days in prison and 400 hours of community service.  He served 15 days.

Back to the States Attorneys General- are they pursuing this because they are being extorted by the prohibitionists or because they really believe that shutting down adult ads is going to somehow stop human trafficking?  Surely they are not that naïve, are they?  Having been lawyers before they became prosecutors, they know exactly how things work and that prostitution was around long before the internet and will be around long after the internet shuts the sex workers out (or moves them to other websites).

They feign concern for the sexual exploitation of underage persons through the use of adult ads, commenting that “More than 50 cases of trafficking or attempted trafficking of minors on Backpage.com have been filed in 22 states in the past three years…”  But none of them mention that in 2011 alone, more than 100 cases of pedophile and child porn possessing police/ district attorneys/ judges were brought to court... NONE of those cases involved Backpage or Craigslist or any other classified website offering adult ads – just a bunch of perverted cops, judges, FBI agents etc. who had access to these young people because they are persons in authority whom no one suspects of diddling their children.  These numbers do not include the teachers, preacherspriests, boy scout leadersHollywood producers and other persons who are trusted by the community and who do not find their victims on Backpage.  The US Government reports that 90% of the cases of child sexual exploitation are at the hands of someone the child knows, like the above cops, teachers, etc. and 68% of the cases of child sexual abuse are at the hands of a family member.  So if, as the prohibitionists and their misinformed spokespeople suggest, there are between ‘100,000 to 300,000’ children trafficked into the sex trade every year, and if that represents only ten percent of the victims of child sexual exploitation from strangers, then the number of those sexually exploited by an acquaintance or family member must be in the millions per year.  As I mentioned earlier, however, the US Government’s own report says that these hundreds of thousands of human trafficking (which includes adults and those trafficked into many other areas of labor) can’t be found, with all the millions of dollars that they spend and all the government funded agencies looking for them.

Tragically, as many cases as there are of the victims mentioned above, there is an even greater number of underage persons who are subjected to rape and sexual exploitation by persons in authority, and the government is quite aware of it and yet does little to prevent it.  In fact, those juveniles are deliberately put in harms’ way at the insistence of the rabid prohibitions who claim they are ‘saving their lives.’  No doubt when the media reports that the FBI or other government agencies have ‘rescued’ dozens of ‘victims of child sexual trafficking’ during a sting operation (and arrest hundreds of adult prostitutes in the process), the general public envisions a militaristic style raid much like our armed forces conduct when they storm into an occupied country and free the enslaved citizens, who then jubilantly rally around our heroic soldiers with cries of gratitude.  Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth for the underage victims of sex trafficking.  What the media and the government do not tell you is that ‘rescued’ means ‘arrested.’

When the cops and the feds – and for that matter, government agents anywhere in the world- conduct a ‘rescue’ raid, all persons of any age who are suspected of being prostitutes or of being ‘victims of sex trafficking’ are rounded up and herded into custody.  Handcuffed.  Chained to each other.  Put into jail cells.  Strip-searched.  Treated like vicious criminals.  And that is as it should be, according to some wonderfulChristian ladies of the Georgia Eagle Forum, or as I like to call their national group- the “Spread Eagle Forum.”  Women like Sue Ella Deadwyler, publisher of Georgia Insight, who stated – in opposition to the Republican Georgia state senator Renee Unterman who introduced a bill that would steer girls under the age of 16 into diversionary programs instead of arresting them as prostitutes – “Arrest is a valuable life-saving tool that must be usedWe need to hire more cops to arrest the prostitutes.”  She said that she believes that arrestis a better deterrent than a proposal for rehabilitation — no matter the age.  “Sure there are those who are forced into prostitution, but I think most of them volunteer,” Deadwyler said of under 16-year-old prostitutes.  “Many, many children have been scared straight because of arrest.”  Of course.

One of her colleagues argues, “We cannot repeal the prostitution law for children, because that law acts as a very real barrier that protects children from sexual predators that would, otherwise, feel free to lure them into prostitution….Have we forgotten that correction oftentimes turns a life around?”

They aren’t the only ones who believe that arresting victims is actually good for them.  Newser Staff writer Evann Gastaldo, wrote in her  March 4th, 2011 article: “Why We Must Arrest Child Prostitutes:  IT MAY SOUND CRUEL, BUT IT COULD BE THE ONLY THING THAT SAVES THEM.  Says she “Decriminalizing child prostitution (and not arresting them) means effectively ‘removing the only safe and secure protection these vulnerable children have from the pimps—being arrested and placed under the protective custody of law enforcement.’” And after one major ‘rescue’ of such victims, the Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, stated“We may not be able to return their innocence but we can remove them from this cycle of abuse and violence.”

Umm, I wonder if either he or those nice Christian ladies or the States Attorneys General who are demanding the shutdown of adult ads on Backpage.com have read the US Government Justice Department’s own report on what happens to those children (and adult prostitutes) who are ‘placed under the protective custody of law enforcement…’- the report entitled “Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008-09”?

As the May 5th, 2011 issue of the Economist states“Sexual abuse in prison is distressingly common: the Justice Department estimated that more than 217,000 prisoners, including at least 17,000 juveniles, were raped or sexually abused in America in 2008.  A total of 12% of juvenile detainees… surveyed between 2008 and 2009 reported being forced into sex.  And that is the number of people, not incidents; most victims are abused more than once.  More inmates reported being abused by staff than by other inmates.”  So we arrest the victims and put them in jail where they are raped by those who are supposedly protecting them from sexual predators... like themselves.  And this of course will ‘turn their lives around’… actually it probably will; if this doesn’t mess up their heads and screw up their lives forever.  After the well-meaning Christian ladies and legislators tell them that it is for their own good to experience the trauma of being arrested and going to jail where they are raped by government agents in whose custody they are supposed to be safe, well, they would have to have an extremely strong character to survive the ‘rescue’ envisioned by these moral zealots.   

Here is a good website about the Police, prostitution, sex trafficking and politics:  

http://www.policeprostitutionandpolitics.com/                                                                            

Tuesday 2 November 2010
How NGOs are adopting a missionary position in Asia
A sex-worker rights activist in Thailand tells Nathalie Rothschild about the reality of the prudish, neo-colonial anti-trafficking industry.
Nathalie Rothschild

We all know that there is a big sex industry in south-east Asia. In fact, it often seems that sex is the only thing we hear about in reports from this part of the world as the media peddles salacious stories about ‘sex tourism’, ‘ladyboys’, virgins for sale and girls tricked into prostitution. But in recent years another kind of trade has boomed there: the anti-trafficking industry. And local sex worker rights activists tell me that this industry is a far bigger problem for them than punters looking for sex or company.

Today, there are hundreds of non-governmental organisations in Cambodia alone working to ‘rescue and rehabilitate’ sex workers. Local sex-worker representatives even claim that there are more anti-trafficking activists than there are genuine trafficking victims.

Indeed, last year an audit of the USAID Counter Trafficking in Persons project reported that in 2009 the Cambodian government convicted just 12 people of trafficking offences. As for trafficking victims, the audit concluded that it was beyond the scope of the five-year project – initiated in 2006 with a budget of $7.3million – to establish ‘baseline data’ on the numbers of victims.

Andrew Hunter from the Asia-Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) tells me that there are NGO-run women’s shelters across Cambodia that rely on funding from donors like USAID and that they use ‘lurid stories of sexual abuse to raise money. It’s kind of pornographic in a way – but it seems making up stories of the enslavement and sexual degradation of women raises more funds.’

The USAID report explained that other organisations and researchers had also failed to establish just how many trafficking victims there are in Cambodia. One of the obstacles identified was that ‘Human trafficking victims may be unaware, unwilling, or unable to acknowledge that they are trafficking victims, so it is difficult to reach them…’

For Andrew, saying that women are unwitting victims – even if they vehemently deny it – is tantamount to denying ‘the idea that women have agency’. (Ironically, the anti-trafficking industry is to a large extent made up of self-described feminists. But feminists have traditionally fought for women to be regarded as autonomous, free-thinking individuals, not as clueless victims.)

As for enforced prostitution, Andrew says that ‘women (and men) generally take up jobs because they need to earn money’ and the same is true for sex work. ‘The fewer skills you have, the less choice you have, but many women do choose sex work.’

‘Large numbers of sex workers in Cambodia are former garment workers’, Andrew continues. ‘They find conditions in the sex industry better than in the garment factories. In fact, a few weeks ago, Cambodian garment workers organised massive strikes demanding higher wages- and sex workers were on the picket lines supporting them.’

Yet a recent BBC documentary claimed that thousands of young girls are being sold into sexual slavery in Cambodia and that prostitution is not something women take up voluntarily.

The documentary was presented by Stacey Dooley, who made her television debut in the 2008 BBC series Blood, Sweat and T-shirts, in which six young British ‘fashion addicts’ toured factories and slums in India. Up until then, Dooley had been interested in little more than clothes and makeup, but now she goes around the world investigating topics such as the use of child soldiers and child labourers in the developing world.

In her report from Cambodia, Dooley hardly has a dry-eyed moment. As Alang, an 18-year-old prostitute, tells Dooley her story (she was sold to pimps by her aunt at the age of 12) the young Brit weeps uncontrollably. After waiting nine hours to accompany police on a raid to ‘bust some brothels’, Dooley starts crying because the cops fail to catch any pimps. And so on. She also visits an impoverished widow whose youngest daughter attends activities organised by the Sao Sary Foundation. This is an NGO which runs lessons for rural children whom they’ve identified as being at risk of falling prey to traffickers.

Andrew has heard it all before. ‘The idea that large numbers of women are sold into the sex industry by their families is based on a premise that poor people are stupid, ignorant and naive – not to mention cruel.’

‘Yes, this kind of thing used to happen’, Andrew tells me, ‘in the period after the civil war when Cambodia started “opening up”’. During the time of the UN peacekeeping operation in 1992-93, women from rural areas started going to cities to find work, but were often forced into degrading situations. But as women went back to their villages and told their relatives of their experiences, people started to learn, explains Andrew. ‘The same is true all over south-east Asia. Ten years ago, when sex workers in Cambodia were crying out for assistance on this issue no one was interested. So they formed their own unions to fight for their rights as workers. Since anti-trafficking money became available, however, suddenly every NGO is worried about “rescuing sex workers”.’

The anti-trafficking industry boomed in the early Noughties, when then US president George W Bush launched the ‘war on trafficking’ as a ‘soft power strategy’ to accompany the global war on terror. However, the thinly veiled agenda was to abolish any form of sex work. Funding to organisations that ‘promote, support, or advocate the legalisation or practice of prostitution’ was suspended.

In addition, two years ago, the Cambodian government passed the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, drafted with the support of UNICEF. As researcher Cheryl Overs has shown, it criminalises ‘almost all social and financial transactions connected to sex work, whether they are abusive or consensual, fair or unfair’. According to Andrew, this has had devastating effects, driving sex workers onto the streets where they are more vulnerable and into karaoke bars where they are not allowed to carry condoms.

In her documentary, Dooley also meets a young girl who was tricked into prostitution at the age of 13 and has suffered horrific abuse, including being forced to drink alcohol mixed with crushed glass. Andrew says this kind of abuse becomes more likely when the sex industry is driven underground and sex workers cannot organise to protect their rights.

Moreover, ‘many of the agencies working with “trafficking victims” in fact illegally detain sex workers after they have been rounded up in police raids. I have met sex workers who have been held against their will for up to three months in so-called shelters.’ Andrew tells me that many shelters are set up specifically for ‘protection cases’ – ‘young girls taken by NGOs from villages in order to hide them from traffickers’. So, in order to prevent young girls from being taken away from their families, NGOs take them away from their families… ‘Usually, they teach them things like sewing and in that way offer ready-trained workers for the garment industry, where women are indeed exploited and paid paltry wages.’ Also, ‘there are plenty of US-backed DIY-NGOs in Cambodia who want to save young girls, offering them bible study dressed up as literacy classes.’ This is a missionary position indeed.

Over at Dooley’s blog, there is now a lively discussion going on, with Cambodian activists and researchers refuting some of the claims made in her documentary. Others are appalled at Dooley’s patronising tone. Indeed, she speaks to the Cambodians she meets as if they are children, looking at them with puppy eyes as they tell her of their hardships and explaining, in simple, clearly enunciated English (even though there were translators in the film crew) how she would do her best to help them and how she feels their pain.

For Dooley, who confesses she is a bit of a prude and has never met a prostitute before, the red light districts of Cambodia are understandably overwhelming. It’s hard for her to imagine that anything other than ‘brothel busting’ could be the answer to the exploitation some girls experience. But good intentions and sympathy can do a lot of harm. Dooley may want to show that she understands poor people’s desperation, but, in the end, she comes across as a wide-eyed, ignorant, well-heeled westerner wanting desperately to Do Something. She lectures and hectors everyone from western men to Cambodian police for failing to help girls in need.

Yes, Dooley is a ditzy young woman who got a gig with the BBC by fluke, but she perfectly epitomises the neo-colonialist streak to anti-trafficking. Documentaries such as hers only help portray developing world countries like Cambodia as places of vice and beastliness on the one hand, and ignorance and innocence on the other; as places filled with people who need to be rescued and civilised.

My guess is that Cambodians could do without such ‘help’ and that British television viewers could do with some programmes exposing the dubious interests and machinations of the anti-trafficking industry in south-east Asia and beyond.

Nathalie Rothschild is commissioning editor of spiked.

reprinted from: http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9843/

Evidence-based trafficking policy?: Sociologist gives State Department an “F”

by Kari Lerum5 days ago at 08:39 pm

When the Obama administration took office on Jan. 1, 2009, many scientists and scholars were hopeful that empirical evidence would play a greater role in defining a range of domestic and international policies, ranging from justifications for war, to global warming, to sex education, to policies about human trafficking. The hope was that the administration would turn away from making decisions that were rooted in ideological agendas and make decisions that were informed more directly by reliable empirical data. To some extent, this has been the case. [E.G.: see the State Department's (remarkable) response to evidence of human rights violations against people in the sex trade].

However, when it comes to directly criticizing the State Department about its international policies — even using solid empirical data —  it is probably inevitable that the State Department machine will kick into defense mode. And this is what is happening now in response to Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, for her book Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo which is based on her ethnographic research with bar hostesses in Tokyo. The State Department argues that women who are similar to those Parreñas included in her study need to be “rescued.” Parreñas’ research suggests otherwise, and adds to the mounting evidence which indicates that calls for “rescuing” adult women are simplistic, not based in reliable evidence, and are ultimately harmful to the women who allegedly “need” to be “rescued.”

Parreñas’ more complicated and empirically-grounded analysis puts a wet blanket on widespread popular discourse about “sex trafficking” — a “victim/rescue” narrative that many critical feminist, human rights, and labor scholars critique as a colonialist, patronizing, (ironically) sexualizing fantasy of White Knights swooping in to rescue helpless women. Parreñas’ work also provides yet another push to the State Department — and other all parties interested in alleviating human trafficking — to ground their approaches in rigorous data collection, as well as analysis that addresses labor and migrant rights in the context of global economic inequalities.

See below for Nina Ayoub’s story which briefly summarizes Parreñas’ findings and the State Department’s response:

Scholar’s Views Rile State Department

November 10, 2011, 9:00 pm

By Nina Ayoub

The author of a new scholarly book from Stanford University Press has become the target of criticism from an unusual source: the U.S. Department of State.

In recent weeks, Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California, has received media attention for Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo, a book about Filipina women working as bar hostesses in the Japanese capital. Bloomberg News ran excerpts of her work. She was called the “literary lovechild of Barbara Ehrenreich and Naomi Wolf” by Zócalo Public Square, which said the book will “inspire indignation for reasons you didn’t expect.” Parreñas also was interviewed onThe World, a program of Public Radio International. Following that broadcast, the State Department asked—essentially—for equal time.

The issue? Parreñas was highly critical of the ways in which State Department policies on international sex trafficking characterize the women who are the focus of her book, minimizing, she says, their individual agency as migrant laborers, and seeking to “rescue” them and regulate their lives in ways that Parreñas argues may leave them worse off.

On November 4, Alison Kiehl Friedman, deputy director of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons was interviewed on The World to “clarify U.S. policy on sex trafficking.” She told the host that “we agree with Dr. Parreñas that there is exploitation inherent in what is going on, and we agree that not all the people there are trafficking victims. And we agree that there needs to be more done to get unscrupulous labor recruiters out of the system and better protect migration flows. Where we disagree is that somebody can go in, have a personal experience for a couple of months, and categorically say these people weren’t sex-trafficking victims, and somehow calling some of them sex-trafficking victims is worse than ignoring their exploitation and trying to address it.”

In an e-mail interview, The Chronicle asked Parreñas for her response. Is she surprised at the public attention her research is getting from the State Department?

“As a scholar who is committed to ‘public sociology,’ that is, sociology that aims to transcend the academy and reach a wider audience, I couldn’t be anything but pleased that policy implementers have given attention to my work,” she writes. “Unfortunately, they seemed to have also misinterpreted the work.”

Parreñas adds: “I do wish that the U.S. State Department gave greater attention to the evidence-based research on human trafficking by scholars such as myself, and others including the anthropologist Denise Brennan, the legal scholar Dina Haynes, and the anthropologist Tiantian Zheng.” The department does not, she charges. Instead, they “insist on making unsubstantiated claims on human trafficking.”

What the sociologist is chiefly calling “unsubstantiated” is the Trafficking in Persons Report, which the State Department describes as its “principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments” on the subject. She is critical of the State Department, she says, for not fully accounting for its methods, as well as for its informants and sources. “The TIP Report would get an F if it were a  social-science-research project.”

Parreñas says she is fairly sure that her critics at the agency have not yet read her book. “Otherwise, they would not be able to dismiss my methodology as ‘having a personal experience for a couple of months.’” she writes. As a qualitative sociologist, she used a varied set of methods, including “in-depth interviews with hostesses, brokers, club owners; participant-observation both as a customer (in nine clubs) and as a hostess (in one club primarily); archival research; and interviews with government representatives in both Japan and the Philippines. I spent not just ‘a couple of months’ but a total of 11 non-continuous months in Tokyo to conduct my project.”

Unlike Friedman and the TIP Report, she says, “all the claims that I have made about the situation of hostesses—a group they say are ‘forced into prostitution’—are based on evidence, i.e., concrete interviews with migrant Filipina hostesses who I made sure represented a diverse group.” The women included “those who are college educated and those who are high-school dropouts; some work in high-end bars and others in low-end bars; some undress in the club where they work and others never sit next to a customer at a club when at work.”

Speaking on the radio of the Filipina hostesses, Friedman, the State Department official, used an analogy she said her boss was fond of. “I think that focusing on how they got there and whether there was any initial consent to travel is really beside the point,” she told The World. “It’s almost like criminalizing driving to the bank robbery, but not the bank robbery itself.”

In her e-mail to The Chronicle, Parreñas counters: “As I explicitly described in the interview, the work of hostesses is not prostitution. Instead, the work is to flirt professionally with customers.”

Friedman, notes Parreñas, “said we should not focus on how one gets to commit a robbery, but to focus on the robbery. This statement just goes to show that she chooses not to consider the circumstances of people’s lives and the particular needs that arise out of those circumstances.

In the case of hostesses, she says, “these women are often from the poorest of the poor in the Philippines. We cannot understand why they do hostess work unless we consider the structural contexts that have shaped their lives.” Those who prefer they not become hostesses, she says, should work on easing the structural inequalities that limited their choices and made hostess work the best of bad options.

“But let us say I agree with Friedman’s boss,” she adds. “Let us look at the act of bank robbery. Let us disregard how they got there. In this case, we would look at the act of hostess work. We would actually see that the work is not prostitution but professional flirtation. Professional flirting could be performed in a variety of ways—via showing acts of care such as spoon feeding sensually, dancing on stage (clothed or unclothed), singing, verbal teasing. I would ask Friedman—what is wrong with professional flirting? What is so different between professional flirting and working as a waitress in Hooters?”

“Yes, I would say let us look at the act of ‘bank robbery’ or the act of ‘hostess work.’ If we were going to do it accurately, we would actually rely on evidence to know the specifics of that ‘bank robbery.’ We would perhaps realize that the robber walked away with three pieces of mint candy from the bank and not wads of cash. If one looks at the TIP Report,one sees that the U.S. Department of State provides no evidence related to working conditions. So it is questionable if they know anything about the ‘bank robber.’”

Commenting on Friedman’s statement that “compelled service is frequently misidentified as consent,” Parreñas says that the official is “cloaking the problem of human trafficking. She is looking at the surface and not the structure.” Most migrant workers, she says, are not free laborers. They are often guest workers whose legal residency binds them to a sponsoring employer. This leaves them in a highly unequal relationship of dependency. This, she writes, would apply to farm workers in North Carolina, non-immigrant-visa domestic workers in Washington, D.C.; likewise, domestic workers in Singapore, or the kafala system in the United Arab Emirates, or au pairs in Denmark, or migrant teachers in Baltimore.

“Eminent scholars such as Carole Vance and Ann Jordan have expressed their puzzlement over the obsession of the U.S. State Department on sex workers as well as their conflation of sex trafficking and prostitution,” says Parreñas. She says that the department’s “over-obsession with finding ‘prostitutes’ who are ‘sex trafficked’” has led them to misidentify migrant Filipina hostesses. “Hostess work is not a euphemism for prostitution,” says Parreñas. Yet, she claims, the U.S. Department of State, “without evidence,” misidentifies the hostesses as not just prostitutes but women “forced into prostitution.”

This misidentification is a “setback,” she argues, “because it has eliminated the jobs of tens of thousands of women, many of whom are now living in poverty in the Philippines.” This shift, the book indicates, occurred when Japan changed its visa policies on “Filipina entertainers” in a way that conformed with U.S. preferences. The scholar also cites the research of her Ph.D. student Maria Hwang at Brown University, where Parreñas taught before going to the University of Southern California. Hwang has found a sizeable number of Filipina hostesses displaced from Tokyo working as migrant sex workers in Hong Kong. Hwang’s research, says Parreñas, shows us that “falsely rescuing them from prostitution has actually forced them into prostitution.”

Her student’s finding “tells us that it is very important that the U.S. Department of State only provide evidence-based research in their reports. Not having evidence-based research could backfire on them in more ways than one.”

Parreñas will continue her research on migrant labor. She says she is preparing a second edition of her 2001 book, Servants of Globalization: Women, Migration and Domestic Work (Stanford), which compared Filipina migrant domestic workers in Rome and Los Angeles. She is conducting new research in both cities to update their situations. She also has a new project that will compare the experiences of domestic workers whose legal residency in a country binds them to a citizen sponsor employer, meaning “that they cannot quit their job unless they are willing to be deported.” She will compare domestic workers in that situation in Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

———

Original story posted here: http://chronicle.com/blogs/pageview/scholars-views-rile-state department/29694?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

See also human rights law professor Ann Jordan’s prolific scholarship on this issue, including her article here:  http://www.fpif.org/articles/sex_trafficking_the_abolitionist_fallacy

Other related Sexuality & Society stories:

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Posted in California, charities, colorado, Denver, human trafficking, India, non-profit, philippines, prostitution, research, sex slavery, sex tourism, sex trafficking, statistics, Thailand, Uncategorized

SEX TRAFFICKING STATISTICS EXAGGERATED NO FORCED VICTIMS FOUND

What Do You Really Know About Sex Trafficking Statistics?

The following is a report about statistics on sex trafficking and prostitution:

JANUARY 15, 2012 BY  
As the human trafficking problem worsens, Raymond Bechard writes, so does the issue of false and misleading media. 

“Statistics are like women; mirrors of purest virtue and truth, or like whores to use as one pleases.”

—Dr. Theodor Billroth, 1885

The insensitivity of Dr. Billroth notwithstanding, the issue of commercial sexual exploitation in America is immensely difficult to define numerically. The only agreed upon statistics are those which have been repeated so often by so many that they become unquestioned statements of fact. However, simply stating a thing many times by many people does not make a thing true.

While individuals and organizations working against all forms of human trafficking and those reporting on it claim with certainty to know the absolute truth about the subject, they seem to have an extraordinary aversion to the facts.

In 2006 a congressional press release declared that the online child pornography business generated $20 billion a year in illegal income. The information was widely circulated with help from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, both of which printed the figure and cited the congressional study.

Unable to verify the information, Carl Bialik of the Wall Street Journal decided to find the original source of the number. Through a congressional staffer, Bialik discovered the information was provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Bialik then contacted the President of NCMEC who told him the fact came from a consulting group, McKinsey & Co. McKinsey’s representative said they got it from ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes). ECPAT said they retrieved the number from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

When Bialik contacted FBI spokesman, Paul Bresson, he was told, “The FBI has not stated the $20-billion figure. I have asked many people who would know for sure if we have attached the $20-billion number to this problem. I have scoured our website, too. Nothing!”

The origin of the $20-billion figure has never been determined.

No matter. Four years later, on May 11, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice posted an article on their “Justice Blog” which states, “It is estimated that more than 200 new images are circulated daily and the profit derived from these criminal acts could be as high as $20 billion annually.”

In his book, Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism, author Joseph Campbell refers to this phenomenon as “media driven myths,” which he defines as, “dubious, fanciful, and apocryphal stories about or by the news media that are often retold and widely believed . . . tales of doubtful authenticity, false, or improbable claims masquerading as factual. In a way, they are the junk food of journalism – alluring and delicious, perhaps, but not especially wholesome or nourishing.”

♦◊♦

When the topic of trafficking children or young women and men for sexual purposes is finally broached, critical thinking is often pushed aside. The strong emotional factor overwhelms the intellect, and with good reason. It is a horrible crime that damages the soul of all who are touched by it. Yet, this is no excuse for otherwise rational people to diminish the importance of the issue with false or misleading information.

Nonetheless, we crave numbers. We clamor for statistics. We believe that if something cannot be counted, measured, or charted, it cannot be effectively communicated – or worse, exist at all. Government officials, human rights advocates, and the media have little faith in the public to consume the complexities of our societal ills. To change minds and hearts, to pass laws and regulations, to raise awareness and money, they attempt to simplify the worst of our sufferings with figures, statistics, and percentages. “In pursuing anti-trafficking projects,” explains Kay Warren, professor of international studies and anthropology at Brown University, “government bureaucracies and NGOs have become avid producers and appropriators of popular culture – circulating stories and scenarios that represent victimizers and the traumatic experiences of those who are victimized – in order to publicize their anti-trafficking efforts and reach wider publics.”

The desire for telling numbers as they pertain to CSE is acute, often leading to disagreement between otherwise closely related organizations and officials. On June 16, 2010, a panel discussion, “Hidden in Plain Sight: The news media’s role in exposing human trafficking,” was held at the United Nations in order to discuss “how the news media have helped expose and explain modern slavery – and how to do better.” During the discussion, the panel of “leading media-makers and policymakers” justifiably “urged reporters and editors to avoid salacious details and splashy, ‘sexy’ headlines that can prevent a more nuanced examination of trafficked persons’ lives and experiences.” The participating journalists also, “lamented the lack of solid data, noting that the available statistics are contradictory, unreliable, insufficient, and often skewed by ideology.”

Providing an unplanned example of statistical contradictions and the shared frustration of responsible reporters, Ambassador Luis CdeBaca, head of the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, stated in his remarks: “Almost 50,000 victims liberated last year worldwide: that’s great,” [sic] citing “the ILO number.” However, just minutes later, Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime said, “we do not know how big the problem is, the amount of victims rescued, probably about 20,000 or so, would be about two percent in the sea of victims.”

♦◊♦

The new standard for clarification does not require information to be true, factual, or accurate. The new standard disregards the need for empirical evidence. Rather, it welcomes any bit of information that simply seems plausible and cannot be proven false. Anyone is now free to quote CdeBaca or Costa with their respective numbers. By the standards of current media, advocates, and government reporting, both men are correct – because no one can prove either man wrong.

Local and national media, always searching for a tagline that will bring the most people to their program in order to boost ratings and subsequent advertising dollars, lap up every salacious quote nonprofit organizations can bring them.

Of course, in an effort to continually raise more donations, these charitable organizations often create attention-grabbing, blanket statements out of thin air. Or worse, they will quote other sources with no reality in their numbers, thereby propagating information which cannot be proven or disproven. With the NGO jumping into the role of “expert” and the news outlet looking for headlines, everyone with a stake in the game plays along with the arrangement to bring the ‘important information you should know about’ to the public. It’s a powerful partnership producing virtually no real knowledge or understanding.

In a “Review of Existing Estimates of Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States and Recommendations for Improving Research and Measurement of Human Trafficking,” a report commissioned by several large anti-trafficking organizations who largely ignored its findings, it was concluded that, “The types of data reported by the U.S. Government and other non-governmental agencies is not sufficient to fully understand the nature of the trafficking problem in the United States.”

Information is rarely based on truth, reliable studies, or hard data. Instead, it is fluff; mere fiction intended to draw in more dollars and more viewers. With the current state of media, forever on deadline and under constant pressure to produce the most sensational news packages, there is no pressure to prove the facts or statistics provided by these “go to” anti-human-trafficking organizations. Anecdotal evidence rules the airwaves and the issue.

“Numbers take on a life of their own,” observes David A. Feingold, director of the Ophidian Research Institute, “gaining acceptance through repetition, often with little inquiry into their derivations. Journalists – bowing to the pressures of editors – demand numbers, any numbers. Organizations feel compelled to supply them, lending false precision and spurious authority to many reports.”

“The trafficking of girls and women is one of several highly emotive issues which seem to overwhelm critical faculties,” according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization Trafficking Statistics Project, which was initiated as “a first step toward clarifying what we know, what we think we know, and what we don’t know about trafficking.”

Commenting on the way her colleagues report stories of human trafficking and CSE, Lynn Sherr, a former ABC News Correspondent and writer for The Daily Beast observed that “they are headline stories, they are sexy headline stories and then nobody follows through on them.”

All too often, the stories of the victims get lost in the high-pitched tenor of the attention-grabbing headlines. Meaningful information is pushed aside in this habitually circuitous reporting. While Feingold observes that, “Trafficking is clearly the flavor of the month, forcing its way up the public agenda,” its coverage in the traditional and new media is repetitive to the point of numbing their audience.

The problems discrediting the anti-human-trafficking movement are exacerbated by the profusion of sensationalists eager to get their version of the issue in the news. Their quest for money and the spotlight has them spreading statements and statistics without the slightest consideration given to the original sources or veracity of the information they are quoting.

While the topic of CSE is complex of its own merits, the eager acceptance of false and misleading information surrounding the issue has led to even greater confusion in the media and the public. Yet, the chaos and drama caused by activists so often compelled by masked agendas is not limited to the carnage done by the misinformation they propagate. The real damage is that victims are being used, once again, by those who claim to be helping them.

Without victims, there would be no reason for these organizations to exist; there would be no story to report. Solving the problem of human trafficking would bring an end to their stated missions along with the jobs of those who are employed by them, and the income and attention they enjoy. In order to “boost awareness” they use victims and numbers with reckless abandon.

♦◊♦

The point here is that there is simply no précis to demonstrate the truth one way or another. The only truth we know with absolute certainty is that victims suffer – however many there are and wherever they may be. As anti-trafficking groups become more entrenched and focused on their own existence and, as the media works in tandem with them to entice the public, victims of trafficking – and the truth – become casualties of twisted priorities. The real work to save victims and prevent more from being exploited is sacrificed on the altar of self-promotion and financial gain.

Once again, the pain and suffering of victims are used for the money they can provide to others.

The increasingly incestuous discussion going on between all those involved in the “anti-trafficking community” has been successful mostly at closing the discourse to all those not within their limited circle. They use the same sources of information, quote the same data, seek funds from the same donors, attend the same meetings and conferences, read and write the same information online, clamor to be near the same celebrities, and take advantage of the same superficial media outlets and publicity. The repetition of their gospel gives what Stephen Colbert calls a “truthiness” to what they are saying. It may be true. It may not be. But, if we all “feel” like it’s true and agree that it’s true then it must be.

The result is an aging merry-go-round filled with riders who call themselves “experts in human trafficking” whose main purpose is to keep the ride going.

What can be stated as fact in the realm of commercial sexual exploitation, human trafficking, and prostitution is limited to the human suffering of its individual victims. Each of them began their lives with promise. And each of them had that promise broken and torn away. Though our urge to quantify the problem often compromises our rational and critical judgment, we must not also let it diminish the humanity of the individual who is fighting to escape and survive. While many claim to be experts on the subject of human trafficking, only its victims and survivors have legitimacy in that claim. Most others are mere observers.

While we continue the struggle to accurately measure, communicate, and effectively address the issue, thereby providing it with much needed – and deserved – clarity, the priority must be those who are trapped in the grip of trafficking without regard to how many there are, but rather to who they are. Their salvation rests in the public’s realization that whatever their number, these are human beings, equal to us, and each worthy of a life filled with hope, freedom, and joy.

http://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/what-do-you-really-know-about-hookers/#comments

The following information is from a report from the Crimes against children research center which talks about the Unknown Exaggerated Statistics of Juvenile Prostitution.

http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/prostitution/Juvenile_Prostitution_factsheet.pdf

Crimes against Children Research Center ● University of New Hampshire ● 126 Horton Social Science Center ● Durham, NH 03824 (603) 862‐1888●Fax: (603) 862‐1122●www.unh.edu/ccrc

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Posted in California, charities, colorado, human trafficking, movie, non-profit, prostitution, research, sex slavery, sex tourism, sex trafficking, statistics, Uncategorized

Human Trafficking Charities lying to get government Grants

This is what Anti-prostitution groups including the Salvation Army, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, government officials, and various anti-prostitution groups: Traffick911, Not for Sale, Change-org, A Future Not A Past, Polaris Project, Salvation Army, Women’s Funding Network, and the Dallas Women’s Foundation,  believe.

They want to promote and encourage – Telling lies to the public about Sex Trafficking, and Prostitution:

Problem Solvers: Anti-Child Sex Trafficking Charity in Question

Dallas TV News show about the super bowl sex trafficking myth:

A future not a past – Kaffie McCullough on why she used made up bogus child sex trafficking, human trafficking, sex slavery statistics :

A future not a past  -  audio interview with Kaffie McCullough on why she used made up bogus child sex trafficking, human trafficking, sex slavery study.

Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore are telling lies about sex trafficking:

BBC Newsnight TV Show interview:

Dallas TV News show about the super bowl sex trafficking myth:

http://www.wfaa.com/v/?i=114983179

Ashton Kutcher’s response:   http://aplusk.posterous.com/why-fight-it-could-be-your-daughter-your-niec

Kaffie McCullough admits they needed to invent scary sex trafficking statistics to get government funding.

http://www.sextraffickingvictims.org/forum/general-information-topics-of-interest/the-truth-unfolds/?action=dlattach;attach=68
http://www.sextraffickingvictims.org/forum/general-information-topics-of-interest/the-truth-unfolds/

http://sextraffickingvictims.blog.com/

http://sextrafficking.myblogsite.com
http://www.wfaa.com/v/?i=114983179   Dallas News video about the super bowl child sex slave myth

Dallas TV News show article about super bowl sex slave myth:

 http://www.wfaa.com/sports/football/super-bowl/Super-Bowl-prostitution-prediction-has-no-proof–114983179.html

http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/prostitution/Juvenile_Prostitution_factsheet.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMtUEsWhg1E

Human Trafficking Facts, Colorado, Denver, Colorado Springs, Sex Trafficking Facts, The Facts about Sex Trafficking, The Facts about Sex Slavery, The facts about Human Trafficking, Sex Slavery Facts,  Human Trafficking Fact Sheet, Prostitution Fact Sheet, The Truth, Myths, Lies, Facts about Sex Trafficking Videos, Films, Movies, interviews and Sex Slavery, Factual research papers, reports, No victims of forced prostitution found.

Human Trafficking Statistics are exaggerated, with NO proof, NO evidence, NO victims of forced prostitution.

There is a lot of controversy over the topics of sex trafficking, sex slavery, human trafficking and forced prostitution. Regarding what the definition is, the research methods used to find statistics,  what the definition of a victim is,  the number of child and adult victims involved,  forced vs. unforced sex, how the actual prostitutes themselves feel about it, and legal vs. illegal prostitution.

There is a growing number of well respected researchers, journalists, scientists, professors, that have concluded in their research that the sex trafficking, sex slavery concept is based on emotion, morals, and monetary funding rather than facts, evidence and proof.   They state that very few kidnapped, forced against their will, physically abused, raped sex slave prostitutes for profit have been found throughout the world. Their research concludes that women who enter into this type of work do so of their own free will.   They also state that there are many anti-prostitution groups who simply do not like the idea of consensual adult prostitution and have distorted the facts in order to push their agenda and receive funding and money into their organizations in the form of donations,  grants and to change the laws about prostitution.  They state that these anti-prostitution groups use made up child sex trafficking statistics which they have no proof or evidence of in order to gain public acceptance for their cause.

Women who travel of their own free will to engage in sex work for money, normally do not tell their families, friends, relatives the real reason they are traveling.  They usually tell the people in their lives back home that they are traveling to engage in legitimate work such as working in a restaurant, hotel, etc.   They do this because they do not want to be thought of as a slut, whore etc.  in their home town. These women would never think of working as a prostitute in their home town where they know a lot of people and would bring disgrace on their family. 

Many anti-prostitution groups distort the facts about this saying that these women were tricked into it against their will expecting to work in a legitimate business.   This is not correct. The women knew about the sex work, but do not want the people in their lives back home to know about it, since it is considered very bad to be thought of as a whore, slut, etc. and would bring disgrace to their family. 

Millions of USA government dollars are being spent to fight a crime that is extremely rare. The US government assumes that all prostitutes on Earth are sex trafficked slaves – Who are kidnapped and forced into having sex against their will.  This is NOT true of MOST Prostitution.

This website blog has some very important links and information about sex trafficking, that you should read. It is updated frequently.   It is important to let the truth be told.   The lying people get all the press.  It is time for the people who tell the truth to get the press.

The numbers of sex trafficking sex slaves:

There is a lot of controversy over the numbers of adult woman who are forced sex slaves. The real factual answer is that no one knows.  There is hard evidence that the sex slavery/sex trafficking issue continues to report false information and is greatly exaggerated by politicians, the media, and aid groups, feminist and religious organizations that receive funds from the government,  The estimate of adult women who become new sex slaves ranges anywhere from 40 million a year to 5,000 per year all of which appear to be much too high.  They have no evidence to back up these numbers, and no one questions them about it.  Their sources have no sources, and are made up numbers. In fact if some of these numbers are to believed which have either not changed or have been increased each year for the past twenty years, all woman on earth would currently be sex slaves.  Yet, very few real forced against their will sex slaves have been found.

It is not easy for criminals to engage in this acitvity:

Sex trafficking is illegal and the pentities are very severe.  It is very difficult to force someone to be a sex slave, they would have to have 24 hour guards posted and be watched 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Have the threat of violence if they refused, and have no one notice and complain to the authorities or police. They would need to hide from the general public yet still manage to see customers from the general public and not have the customers turn the traffickers in to the police.  They would need to provide them with medical care, food, shelter, and have all their basic needs met.  They would need to have the sex slaves put on a fake front that they enjoyed what they were doing, act flirtatious and do their job well.  They would have to deal with the authorities looking for the missing women, and hide any money they may make, since it comes from illegal activity. They must do all of this while constantly trying to prevent the sex slaves from escaping and reporting them to the police. They would need to prevent the general public from reporting them into the police. This is extremely difficult to do, which makes this activity rare. These criminals would be breaking dozens of major laws not just one.  Kidnapping itself is a serious crime.  There are many laws against sex trafficking, sex slavery, kidnapping, sex abuse, rape, sexual harassment etc.   If someone is behind it, they will be breaking many serious laws, be in big trouble, and will go to jail for many long years.

While there are some women who may be true victims. And it is possible for this to happen in rare situations. This is a small rare group of people and that the numbers and scale of this crime is exaggerated. The very nature of someone pulling off a kidnapping and forced sex for profit appears to be very difficult. Since it would be difficult this makes this crime rare. Not impossible, but extremely rare.

A key point is that on the sidelines the prostitutes themselves are not being listened to. They oppose laws against prostitution.   But no one wants to listen to the prostitutes themselves.  Only to the self appointed experts that make up numbers and stories many of which have never met a real forced sex slave or if they did it was only a few. The media and government never ask the prostitutes themselves what would help them in terms of laws.

Many women in the sex business are independent workers.  They don’t have a pimp.

They work for themselves, advertise themselves, and keep all the money for themselves.   No one forces them, because there isn’t anyone to force them. They go out and find their own customers, set their own prices, and arrange everything by themselves.  Sometimes they may employ others to help them, but these are not pimps.  If for example, she hires an internet web design company to make a website for her, does that make the web design company a pimp? If she pays a phone company for a phone to do business, does this make the phone company a pimp? If she puts an ad in the paper, does this make the editor a pimp?  If she puts the money she makes into a bank account does this make the bank a pimp?

A lot of anti prostitution groups would say yes. Everyone and everybody is a pimp.

These groups make up lies, and false statistics that no one bothers to check.  A big reason they do this is because it provides high paying jobs for them.  They get big donations, and grants from the government, charity, churches, etc.  to have these groups, and pay these high salaries of the anti prostitution workers.

Sex Traffficking in Sports Events:

Super Bowl 2011:

According to the media hype There was supposed to be hundreds of thousands of under age child sex slaves kidnapped and forced to have sex with super bowl fans. At the Dallas Super Bowl 2011. WHAT HAPPENED TO ALL OF THEM????????????

Well, as I predicted it was all a big lie told by various anti-prostitution groups and the Dallas Women’s Foundation which is a anti-prostitution group that lies in order to get grant money from the government and charities to pay their high salaries. As proved in the link below:
Top FBI agent in Dallas (Robert Casey Jr.) sees no evidence of expected spike in child sex trafficking:

“Among those preparations was an initiative to prevent an expected rise in sex trafficking and child prostitution surrounding the Super Bowl. But Robert Casey Jr., special agent in charge of the FBI’s Dallas office, said he saw no evidence that the increase would happen, nor that it did.

“In my opinion, the Super Bowl does not create a spike in those crimes,” he said. “The discussion gets very vague and general. People mixed up child prostitution with the term human trafficking, which are different things, and then there is just plain old prostitution.”

http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/super-bowl/local/20110302-top-fbi-agent-in-dallas-praises-super-bowl-security-effort-sees-no-evidence-of-expected-spike-in-child-sex-trafficking.ece

This myth of thousands or millions of underage sex slaves tries to make every sports fan a sex criminal. No matter what the sport is, or in what country it is in.

Brian McCarthy isn’t happy. He’s a spokesman for the NFL. Every year he’s forced to hear why his customers are adulterers and child molesters. Brian McCarthy says the sport/super bowl sex slave story is a urban legend, with no truth at all.

I do not like the idea of people getting the wrong information and believing lies, no matter what the topic is. The Sex trafficking, slavery issue is one of the biggest lies being told today. It is amazing to me how people will believe such lies so easily. The media is to blame for this. I wonder why they feel such a need to report wrong stats, numbers and information about this topic without doing proper research.

While this may happen in very rare limited situations, the media will say that millions of people are sex slaves without doing any real research on the topic. Only taking the word of special interest anti-prostitution groups which need to generate money in the form of huge government grants from taxpayers, and charities. These “non profit” group’s employees make huge salaries, therefore they need to lobby the government, and inflate and invent victims in order to get more money into their organizations. If you look into how many real kidnapped forced against their will sex slaves there are, and not just take the anti-prostitution groups word for it. You will be very surprised.
Where are all the forced sex slaves? I would like to meet the millions of slaves and see for myself if they were kidnapped and forced against their will.

These groups lobby the government in a big way, getting Politicians to truly believe their lies. This is an attempt to over inflate an issue in order to get more government money to these organizations. As a tax payer, voter, and resident I don’t want the government to mislead me.

I would like to see a news organization do a full report on the lies, myths and exaggerated numbers being told about sex trafficking slaves.  The articles about the super bowl sex slaves, has been proved wrong many times, but news organizations still report about it, as if it were fact.

== World Cup 2006 ==

Politicians, religious and aid groups,   still repeat the media story that 40,000 prostitutes were trafficked into Germany for the 2006 world cup – long after leaked police documents revealed there was no truth at all in the tale. A baseless claim of 25,000 trafficking victims is still being quoted, recently, for example, by the Salvation Army in written evidence to the home affairs select committee, in which they added: “Other studies done by media have suggested much higher numbers.”  Which has been proven by the German police to be completely false.  Yet people still talk about these false numbers as if it were fact.

==World Cup 2010 ==
Again using the made up number of 40,000 prostitutes trafficked:

The behavior of fans in South Africa has run contrary to what was predicted prior to the start of the tournament after David Bayever told World Cup organizers in March it was feared that up to 40,000 extra prostitutes could converge in the host nation to meet the expected demand. Bayever, deputy chairperson of South Africa’s Central Drug Authority (CDA) that advises on drug abuse but also works with prostitutes, warned: “Forty-thousand new prostitutes. As if we do not have enough people of our own, we have to import them to ensure our visitors are entertained.”

But the tournament in 2010, if anything, has seen the modern-day soccer fan attracted to art galleries and museums over brothels.

A trend that has seen a drop in revenue across the board for the prostitution industry, which is illegal in South Africa. “Zobwa,” the chairperson of Sisonke — an action group representing around 70 street prostitutes in Johannesburg — said business had been down over the last month. “The World Cup has been devastating. We thought it was going to be a cash cow but it’s chased a lot of the business away. It’s been the worst month in my company’s history,” the owner and founder of one of Johannesburg’s most exclusive escort companies told CNN.

In recent years, every time there has been a major international sporting event, a group of government officials, campaigning feminists, pliant journalists and NGOs have claimed that the movement of thousands of men to strange foreign countries where there will be lots of alcohol and horniness will result in the enslavement of women for the purposes of sexual pleasure. Obviously. And every time they have simply doubled the made-up scare figures from the last international sporting event, to make it look like this problem of sport/sex/slavery gets worse year on year.  Yet each year it is proved false.

This myth tries to make every sports fan a sex criminal. No matter what the sport is, or in what country it is in. These anti-prostitution groups need to in invent a victim that does not exist in order to get press attention.

Below are the few brave souls in the media who told the truth about super bowl sex trafficking:

Sex Trafficking in Sports Events links:

Dallas TV News show about super bowl sex slave myth:

http://www.wfaa.com/sports/football/super-bowl/Super-Bowl-prostitution-prediction-has-no-proof–114983179.html

Dallas newspaper:

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2011-01-27/news/the-super-bowl-prostitute-myth-100-000-hookers-won-t-be-showing-up-in-dallas/

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2011-03-03/news/super-bowl-prostitution-100-000-hookers-didn-t-show-but-america-s-latest-political-scam-did/

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2011-03-03/news/sex-traffick911-press-release/

Official Lies About Sex-Trafficking Exposed: It’s now clear Anti Prostitution groups used fake data to deceive the media and lie to Congress. And it was all done to score free publicity and a wealth of public funding

http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-03-23/news/women-s-funding-network-sex-trafficking-study-is-junk-science/

== In the USA ==

On August 5, 2008

U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine uncovered discrepancies in a program dedicated to cracking down on human trafficking, McClatchy Newspapers report. Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales spent millions of dollars on combating the international trafficking of indentured servants and sex slaves, including by creating task forces across the U.S. that identified and helped victims. Over four years, the department paid $50 million to the task forces and other groups. Conservative groups, who pressured the administration to go after sex trafficking more aggressively, applauded his efforts.

Critics have questioned whether the problem was being hyped. Fine found in an audit issued that the task forces and other groups set up to help were ‘significantly’ overstating the number of victims they served. By examining a sampling of cases, Fine found the task forces had exaggerated by as much as 165 percent. Making matters worse, the inflated numbers were included in annual reports to Congress.

The Sex Trafficking/Slavery idea is used to outlaw all prostitution around the world by saying that all women are victims even if they do it willing.

This hurts any real victims because it labels all sex workers as victims. Everything I heard about this problem was Americans complaining about it, but I never heard from the so-called victims themselves complaining about it. Why is that?  Many of the self appointed experts complaining about this have never even met or seen a real forced against their will victim.

The problems I see with the sex traffic idea is that suppose some of the women were not forced into this type of prostitution, but were willing and wanted to do this type of work, and went out of their way to do this type of work. (It is a lot of fast easy money, they don’t need a degree, or a green card.)

All they have to do is lie and say that someone forced them into it. When perhaps, no one did.
If a illegal allien for example is the victim all they have to do is lie and here are their benefits based on the USA anti-traffic prostitution laws:

1. They don’t have to go to jail or be arrested.
2. They get to stay and live in America, and become U.S. citizens
3. The U.S. Government will provide them with housing, food, education and will cater to them since they will be considered victims. .  They will be considered victimed refugees, and can become American citizens.

The way I see it is that this USA government system will encourage people to lie in order to receive all the benefits listed above.

While there are some women who may be true victims.  This is a small rare group of people.

What hard evidence does the police have that these women were forced slaves?  Were all the women that the police saw in fact slaves? Did the police prove without a doubt due to hard concrete evidence that the women were victims of being slaves and forced against their will?  Did they account for all the benefits they would receive if they lied?

I find it very hard to believe that most women in this business are forced against their will to do it. It would just be too difficult. There may be some exceptions but, I believe this is an attempt to over inflate an issue in order to get more government money to these organizations.  As a tax payer, voter, and resident I don’t want the government to mislead me.

== In the United Kingdom ==

In October, 2009 – The biggest ever investigation of sex trafficking failed to find a single person who had forced anybody into prostitution in spite of hundreds of raids on sex workers in a six-month campaign by government departments, specialist agencies and every police force in the country. The failure has been disclosed by a Guardian investigation which also suggests that the scale of and nature of sex trafficking into the UK has been exaggerated by politicians and media.

Nick Davis of the Guardian newspaper writes:

Current and former ministers have claimed that thousands of women have been imported into the UK and forced to work as sex slaves, but most of these statements were either based on distortions of quoted sources or fabrications without any source at all.

===In India and Nepal===

If media reports are to be believed, there would be no young girls left in Nepal. Oft-quoted figures such as 5,000-7,000 Nepali girls being trafficked across the border to India every year and 150,000-200,000 Nepali women and girls being trapped in brothels in various Indian cities, were first disseminated in 1986, and have remained unaltered over the next two decades. The report that first quoted these statistics was from the Indian Health Association, Mumbai, written by AIDS Society of India secretary general, Dr. I S Gilada, and presented in a workshop in 1986. Subsequently, a version of this report was published as an article in The Times of India on January 2, 1989. To date, the source of this figure remains a mystery. Unfortunately, such a lack of clarity is more the norm than the exception when it comes to reporting on trafficking in women and girls.

There needs to be a distinct separation of

1. Child sex trafficking

2. Adult sex Trafficking

3. Adult consensual

prostitution.

4. Sex Slavery

They are not the same.  Adult Women are NOT children.

Media coverage of trafficking and adult women’s migration and sex work is confused and inaccurate. The media wrongly uses the terms ‘sex work’ and ‘trafficking’ and adult sex work and child sex trafficking synonymously, perpetuating stereotypes and stigmatization, and contributing to the violation of women’s right to free movement and livelihood options.  They assume that if any woman moves from place to place for sex work that they are being trafficking. The media, politicians, aid groups, feminist,  and religious organizations does not take into account that she may do this of her own free will.  Too often  women are treated like children. Adult women are not children. Prostitution is a business between adults and in our society adults are responsible for themselves. Sex slavery/trafficking on the other hand is non-consensual.  To equate that the two are the same is to say grown adult women are not capable of being responsible or thinking for themselves.

Most migrant women, including those in the sex industry, have made a clear decision, says a new study, to leave home and take their chances abroad. They are not “passive victims” in need of “saving” or sending back by western campaigners.

Sex Trafficking/Slavery is used by many groups as a attempt to outlaw all prostitution around the world by saying that all women are victims even if they do it willing. This hurts any real victims because it labels all sex workers as victims.

This is done by the media, aid groups, NGO’s, feminists, politicians, and religious organizations that receive funds from the government. There are very strong groups who promote that all adult women who have sex are victims even if they are willing, enjoy it and go out of there way to get it. These groups try to get the public to believe that no adult women in their right mind would ever go into the sex business unless she was forced to do so, weather she knew it or not. They say that 100% of all sex workers are trafficking victims. They do this in order to label all men as sex offenders and wipe out all consensual prostitution. Which is what their real goal is. There is almost no one who challenges or questions them about their false beliefs. Therefore, the only voices you hear are of these extreme groups. These groups want to label all men as terrible sex offenders for seeing a willing adult sex worker. No one stands up to say this is foolish, the passive public says nothing. These groups even say that all men who marry foreign women are terrible sex predators who take advange of these “helpless foreign women wives”.

These groups believe that two adults having consensual sex in private should be outlawed. Since they believe that it is impossible for a man to have sex with a woman without abusing the woman in the process.

This is an example of feminists and other groups exploiting the suffering of a small minority of vulnerable and abused women in order to further their own collective interests. For example, getting money from the government and Charity into their organizations. Rather than wanting to find the truth.

Non government Organizations (NGO’s) are chiefly responsible for manufacturing “a growing problem” of trafficking in order to generate revenue for their Federally funded cottage industry. They also fabricated numbers by expanding the definition of trafficking to include practically anyone.

For example various women’s groups testified under oath at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (July 13, 2007) that US based matchmaking organizations were correlated to human trafficking ring.
womenspolicy.org/thesource/article.cfm?ArticleID=1442

This hysterical claim was an emotional ploy to get legislators to enact the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. The truth reveals THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A US BASED MATCHMAKING AGENCY ARRESTED FOR TRAFFICKING. These NGO’s spread their propaganda partnering with Lifetime television(Television for women) conducting a poll among viewers (mostly women) to asociate “mail order brides services” with trafficking of women to generate support for the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act. wqad.com/global/story.asp?s=3970595&ClientType=Print

This romance law requires American men submit criminal hard copy records to be reviewed before they can communicate with a foreign lady using a matchmaking organization.
wqad.com/global/story.asp?s=3970595&ClientType=Print

Why should the US government dole out millions of dollars to NGO’s such as Polaris Project whose executives are paid handsome salaries when the money could be spent on REAL PROBLEMS?

Most of the information above relates to Adult prostitution.

The following information is from a report from the Crimes against children research center which talks about the Unknown Exaggerated Statistics of Juvenile Prostitution.

Crimes against Children Research Center ● University of New Hampshire ● 126 Horton Social Science Center ● Durham, NH 03824 (603) 862‐1888●Fax: (603) 862‐1122●www.unh.edu/ccrc

How Many Juveniles are Involved in Prostitution in the U.S.?

There have been many attempts to estimate the number of juvenile prostitutes within the United States. These estimates range from 1,400 to 2.4 million, although most fall between 300,000 and 600,000. BUT PLEASE DO NOT CITE THESE NUMBERS. READ ON. A close look at these diverse estimates reveals that none are based on a strong scientific foundation. They are mostly educated guesses or extrapolations based on questionable assumptions. They do not have the substance of typically reported crime statistics, like the number of robberies or the number of child sexual abuse victims. The reality is that we do not currently know how many juveniles are involved in prostitution. Scientifically credible estimates do not exist.

The most often cited estimates on juvenile prostitution will be described here and their source, along with the major problems with their validity. Estes and WeinerPerhaps the most commonly used estimate of juvenile prostitution comes from Estes and Weiner (2001). These authors concluded in a large, publicized report that about 326,000 children were “at risk for commercial sexual exploitation.” However, there are several problems with treating this number as an estimate of juvenile prostitution. First, although this is often cited as an estimate of juvenile prostitutes, even the authors call it something muchmore nebulous: youth “at risk” of commercial sexual exploitation. “At risk” means it is compilation of youth in various categories (14 in total) – like runaway kids, female gangmembers – who could become or be involved in commercial sexual exploitation. But the authors had no evidence of how many or what proportion of these youth actually were involved. Secondly, the numbers that form the basis of their various “at risk” categories are themselves highly speculative. One large portion of the estimate is simply a crude guess that 35% of a national estimate of runaway youth out of their home a week or longer were “at risk”. Another large portion was a guess that one quarter of 1% of the general population of youth 10‐17 were “at risk”. Together these two groups constitute nearly 200,000 of the at risk youth. But it is essentially a guesstimate and not a scientific estimate.

A third problem is that no one has any idea how much duplication there is among the 14 at risk groups. Some of the runaways are also gang members and living in public housing, etc. so one cannot simply add together estimates from these various sources. A scientific estimate would have to “unduplicate” the numbers from the various categories. In sum, no one should cite the 326,000 number from Estes and Weiner as a scientifically based estimate of the number of juvenile prostitutes. AddHealth Survey Another estimate with some research credibility is from a recent study by Edwards, Iritani, and Hallfors (2005), which found that 3.5% of an AddHealth sample endorsed an item asking if they had “ever exchanged sex for drugs or money.” The nationally representative sample was comprised of 13,294 youth in grades 8‐12 during the year 1996 who completed an in‐school questionnaire. The majority (67.9%) of those saying they had participated in a sex exchange were males.

A first caveat about this estimate is that it is not clear that what the respondents were endorsing really constituted prostitution. For example, could a juvenile who had paid a prostitute for sex consider that to have been an “exchange of sex for money” and thus said yes to the question? Could a sexual encounter that involved sharing drugs with a partner as part of consensual sex have prompted someone to say yes to the question, even though the drugs were not necessarily a sine qua non of the sexual encounter? The similarity between prostitution and exchanging sex for goods needs to be clarified if this estimate is to be accepted as an estimate of juvenile prostitution. In addition, the fact that the majority of those endorsing the question were boys raises an important validity question about this estimate. Virtually no analyst of the problem thinks that there are truly so many more boys than girls engaged in juvenile prostitution; because the survey found more boys engaging in prostitution, there may be some misunderstanding of the

question at work. It may be possible to obtain an incidence estimate for juvenile prostitution through a general population survey, but the questions and details will have to be more specific to confirm that what is being counted is truly prostitution or sexual exploitation. General Accounting Office Report In 1982, the General Accounting Office attempted to determine the basis of existing juvenile prostitution estimates. The General Accounting Office (1982) found that the “general perception” estimates ranged from “tens of thousands to 2.4 million.” One set of estimates from 1982 seemed to trace back to the “gut hunches” of Robin Lloyd, the author of the 1976 book, “For Love or Money: Boy Prostitution in America,” who used a working figure of 300,000 male juvenile prostitutes. The President of the Odyssey Institute adopted this figure, then doubled it to cover female juvenile prostitutes, increasing the estimate to 600,000. Because the Odyssey Institute president believed that only half of juvenile prostitutes were known, the 600,000 figure was doubled; the estimate was doubled once more to 2.4 million because the president believed that the estimate did not include 16 and 17 year old prostitutes. These were

all just hunches without scientific basis. The General Accounting Office (1982) report also located an estimate by the Criminal Justice Institute Inc., which stated that 20 to 25 percent of all prostitutes were juveniles. The Criminal Justice Institute, Inc. estimated that there were 450,000 prostitutes of all ages, leading to an estimate of 90,000 to 112,500 juvenile prostitutes in the U.S. However, these Criminal Justice Institute Inc. estimates are not linked to any citation for methodological verification or explanation. Finally, a New York City shelter president estimated that there were “tens of thousands” of juvenile prostitutes across the nation. These “gut hunch” statistics assembled by the General Accounting Office may have been the basis for some rough consensus about the magnitude of juvenile prostitution among advocates. But there were no hard statistics. Moreover, whatever the rates were in the 1970s and 1980s, they almost certainly no longer apply. That was an era when the juvenile runaway problem was considerably larger than at present. There is indication that since the 1970s and ‘80s, running away has declined (Finkelhor & Jones, 2006) and, in the era of AIDS, casual sexual behavior among the young has also become less frequent (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2005). So it is likely that estimates from 20 or 30 years ago have little applicability to the U.S. at

the present time. Despite the fact that the General Accounting Office estimates are obsolete, current groups concerned with child welfare still use this estimate. For example, Children of the Night (http://www.childrenofthenight.org/faq.html) cites the 1982 General Accounting Office estimate of 600,000 juvenile prostitutes under the age of 16. This organization also cites UNICEF estimates of 300,000 juvenile prostitutes (In a 2004 textbook entitled “Child Labour: A Textbook for University Students”, the International Labour Organization cites the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as estimating 300,000 juvenile prostitutes. When asked to verify this, U.S. DHHS could not locate this estimate.). When asked about the estimates on the Children of the Night website, founder and President Lois Lee responded: “I am always pressured for statistics and I have said, there is no way to know for sure because there is no counting mechanism, no quantitative analysis on the subject. Several years ago, I suggested to a lot of [government] agencies and NGO’s that about 1/3rd of all runaways have some kind of “brush” with a pimp or prostitution. All the professionals agreed that was a good estimate. UNICEF published it as their own.” L. Lee (personal communication, September 29, 2007).

A considerable number of the estimates of juvenile prostitution do start with more scientifically based survey statistics on running away (for example, Hammer, Finkelhor & Sedlak, 2002), which suggest that hundreds of thousands of youth runaway every year. It might seem plausible that a significant percentage of runaway street youths engage in survival sex or get recruited into prostitution. But it is important to remember that most of the youth identified as runaways in survey samples are not truly on the streets (Hammer et al., 2002). Most runaways run to the homes of friends and family. Thus, it is not accurate to simply think about the experience of street runaways and generalize from that experience to the experience of all runaways.

Other Estimates Other organizations do not cite sources that have reliable methodologies. The Coalition against Trafficking in Women (http://www.catwinternational.org/factbook/usa2_prost.php) estimates that there are between 300,000 and 600,000 juvenile prostitutes in the U.S., citing a Beacon

Journal news article from 1997. The article, entitled “Danger for Prostitutes Increasing, Most Starting Younger,” cited Gary Costello of the Exploited Child Unit of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, but did not include a discussion of the way that the estimate was calculated. The 1995 Progress of Nations report by UNICEF (http://www.unicef.org/pon95/progtoc.html) offers a “guesstimate” of 300,000 juvenile prostitutes in the U.S. under the age of 18. The UNICEF report cited a U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimate used inUNICEF’s “Breaking the Walls of Silence: A UNICEF Background Paper on the Sexual Exploitation of Children” report from 1994. Again, there was no discussion as to how this number was derived in the Progress of Nations report. Similarly, the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) of the U.S. Department of Justice (http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/prostitution.html) reports that 293,000 juveniles are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation. This estimate was made based on the Estes and Weiner (2001) article discussed previously.

Some figures about the related problem of “sex trafficking of children” are also available, but once again with a speculative methodology, a “computer simulation.” Clawson, Layne, and Small (2006) estimated in a very statistically complicated report that over 800,000 females, including over 100,000 under age 19, were “at risk” of being trafficked to the US from eight nations: Columbia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Mexico. These include trafficking for all purposes including for employment. Of those at risk, the authors estimate that roughly 15,000 females under nineteen were being trafficked for sex from those nations. However, the authors concede that these estimates are not informed by any real statistics or research about the true rates of adult or child sex trafficking, but rather that the estimates are “probabilit[ies] based on a mathematical equation, not a reality” (M. Layne 2/4/2008). Police Data

There are also national estimates from law enforcement sources about the number of juveniles taken into custody because of prostitution and related crimes. For example, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report data analyzed by Snyder and Sickmund (2006) shows that 1,400 juveniles were arrested nationally in 2003 for prostitution and commercialized vice. These data come from aggregating data from most of the local law enforcement agencies in the U.S., and are the same data used to estimate year‐to‐year estimates in violent and property crime. This is a plausible estimate of the number of youth arrested for prostitution and commercialized vice because, in truth, not many law enforcement agencies are actively arresting youth in regard to this problem, as a soon to be released CCRC study will show. But there is undoubtedly more prostitution involving youth; law enforcement officials believe many youths involved in prostitution are arrested for other crimes (e.g., drug possession, curfew violation, etc.) but not prostitution per se. Most observers believe also that there are also many youth engaged in prostitution who are never arrested by police. So, while this UCR estimate is plausible, no one believes this estimate fully characterizes the problem. It is rarely cited, even as part of a spectrum of estimates, perhaps because it would so lower the range as to make the higher estimates seem more extreme.

Conclusion As the critique of estimates suggest, there is currently no reliable estimate of juvenile prostitution. Some current estimates are based upon “gut hunches” and “guesstimates” from almost thirty years ago. Others offer definitions of sexual exchange that may not actually constitute prostitution. Also, the methods used to create these estimates are often difficult to find, making them methodologically suspect. These organizations often recognize these problems but continue to cite such poorly calculated estimates. People concerned about the problem very much want there to be a number that they can cite. Because other people have cited numbers, there has come to be a “collective intuition” about the rough magnitude based on these earlier claims. But in reality there is little scientific substance behind any of them. This is not an uncommon phenomenon in social problem analysis and has been called the “Woozle Effect” (Gelles 1980). The “Woozle Effect” occurs when one writer reports an estimate based on a typically weak methodology or guesstimate that is subsequently cited by other writers, but without the first writer’s caveats (Gelles 1980). Estimates of juvenile prostitution seem to have taken this path: the “gut hunches” of one author and the compiling of such hunches by the General Accounting Office have seemed to provide a basis for contemporary estimates of juvenile prostitution, despite the fact that the General Accounting Office states that the estimates in the literature are “general perceptions” (General Accounting Office, 1982).

What are journalists and scholars to do?

It is our suggestion that in the absence of any estimates with any good scientific basis, that scholars, writers and advocates stop using the unsubstantiated estimates and simply indicate that the true incidence is currently unknown. It is very frustrating to write about a topic and not have an estimate of its magnitude, but we believe that continued citation of unsupported estimates gives them credibility. Even writing that “No one knows how many juveniles are engaged in prostitution, but estimates have been made from 1,400 to 2.4 million,” contributes to the problem. It gives people the impression that these are knowledgeable estimates about the current situation and that the real number lies somewhere in the middle of that range, which it may not. For brief treatments of the problem, one can say simply: “Unfortunately, there are no credible or supported estimates about the size of the problem.” For more extended treatments of the problem, one can cite some of the statistics, but then indicate that these numbers are based mostly on guesses or extremely imprecise and speculative methodologies. It would be a good idea when citing any numbers to be sure to include the low end estimate from law enforcement of 1,400, since this is among the most recent and clearly defined of the estimates, and counters the assumption that all the estimates are large.    Crimes against Children Research Center ● University of New Hampshire ● 126 Horton Social Science Center ● Durham, NH 03824(603) 862‐1888●Fax: (603) 862‐1122●www.unh.edu/ccrcFact sheet written by Michelle Stransky and David Finkelhor. (2008)

From the Department of Justice Stats pages:

Human Trafficking/Trafficking in Persons

According to The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and its 2003, 2005, and 2008, human trafficking has occurred if a person was induced to perform labor or a commercial sex act through force, fraud, or coercion. Any person under age 18 who performs a commercial sex act is considered a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether force, fraud, or coercion were present.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) funded the creation of the Human Trafficking Reporting System (HTRS). This system provides data on human trafficking incidents investigated between January 1, 2007, and September 30, 2008.

An incident is defined as any investigation into a claim of human trafficking or any investigation of other crimes in which elements of potential human trafficking were identified.

Summary Findings

Between January 1, 2007, and September 30, 2008 task forces reported investigating 1,229 alleged incidents of human trafficking.

  • About 78% of these incidents were still under investigation at the end of the reporting period. Investigations were completed and closed during the 21-month reporting period for the remaining 22%.
  • Less than 10% of alleged human trafficking incidents reported by task forces were confirmed as human trafficking, 10% were pending confirmation, and 23% had been determined not to involve any human trafficking elements.
  • Sex trafficking accounted for 83% of the alleged incidents,12% involved allegations of either labor trafficking, and 5% were other/unknown forms of human trafficking.

Of the 1,018 alleged sex trafficking incidents reported by task forces –

  • 391 (38%) involved allegations of child sex trafficking and 627 (62%) incidents involved allegations of adult sex trafficking, such as forced prostitution or other sex trafficking crimes.
  • Forced prostitution (46%) and child sex trafficking (30%) represented the largest categories of confirmed human trafficking incidents.
  • Allegations of forced or coerced adult prostitution accounted for 63% of human trafficking investigations that were ultimately found not to involve human trafficking elements.

Below is a article from the Washington Post:

Human Trafficking Evokes Outrage, Little Evidence.

U.S. Estimates Thousands of Victims, But Efforts to Find Them Fall Short

By Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 23, 2007

Outrage was mounting at the 1999 hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building, where congressmen were learning about human trafficking.

A woman from Nepal testified that September that she had been drugged, abducted and forced to work at a brothel in Bombay. A Christian activist recounted tales of women overseas being beaten with electrical cords and raped. A State Department official said Congress must act — 50,000 slaves were pouring into the United States every year, she said. Furious about the “tidal wave” of victims, Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.) vowed to crack down on so-called modern-day slavery.

The next year, Congress passed a law, triggering a little-noticed worldwide war on human trafficking that began at the end of the Clinton administration and is now a top Bush administration priority. As part of the fight, President Bush has blanketed the nation with 42 Justice Department task forces and spent more than $150 million — all to find and help the estimated hundreds of thousands of victims of forced prostitution or labor in the United States.

But the government couldn’t find them. Not in this country.

The evidence and testimony presented to Congress pointed to a problem overseas. But in the seven years since the law was passed, human trafficking has not become a major domestic issue, according to the government’s figures.

The administration has identified 1,362 victims of human trafficking brought into the United States since 2000, nowhere near the 50,000 a year the government had estimated. In addition, 148 federal cases have been brought nationwide, some by the Justice task forces, which are composed of prosecutors, agents from the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and local law enforcement officials in areas thought to be hubs of trafficking.

In the Washington region, there have been about 15 federal cases this decade.

Ronald Weitzer, a criminologist at George Washington University and an expert on sex trafficking, said that trafficking is a hidden crime whose victims often fear coming forward. He said that might account for some of the disparity in the numbers, but only a small amount.

“The discrepancy between the alleged number of victims per year and the number of cases they’ve been able to make is so huge that it’s got to raise major questions,” Weitzer said. “It suggests that this problem is being blown way out of proportion.”

Government officials define trafficking as holding someone in a workplace through force, fraud or coercion. Trafficking generally takes two forms: sex or labor. The victims in most prosecutions in the Washington area have been people forced into prostitution. The Department of Health and Human Services “certifies” trafficking victims in the United States after verifying that they were subjected to forced sex or labor. Only non-U.S. citizens brought into this country by traffickers are eligible to be certified, entitling them to receive U.S. government benefits.

Administration officials acknowledge that they have found fewer victims than anticipated. Brent Orrell, an HHS deputy assistant secretary, said that certifications are increasing and that the agency is working hard to “help identify many more victims.” He also said: “We still have a long way to go.”

But Tony Fratto, deputy White House press secretary, said that the issue is “not about the numbers. It’s really about the crime and how horrific it is.” Fratto also said the domestic response to trafficking “cannot be ripped out of the context” of the U.S. government’s effort to fight it abroad. “We have an obligation to set an example for the rest of the world, so if we have this global initiative to stop human trafficking and slavery, how can we tolerate even a minimal number within our own borders?”

He said that the president’s passion about fighting trafficking is motivated in part by his Christian faith and his outrage at the crime. “It’s a practice that he obviously finds disgusting, as most rational people would, and he wants America to be the leader in ending it,” Fratto said. “He sees it as a moral obligation.”

Although there have been several estimates over the years, the number that helped fuel the congressional response — 50,000 victims a year — was an unscientific estimate by a CIA analyst who relied mainly on clippings from foreign newspapers, according to government sources who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the agency’s methods. Former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales told Congress last year that a much lower estimate in 2004 — 14,500 to 17,500 a year — might also have been overstated.

Yet the government spent $28.5 million in 2006 to fight human trafficking in the United States, a 13 percent increase over the previous year. The effort has attracted strong bipartisan support.

Steven Wagner, who helped HHS distribute millions of dollars in grants to community groups to find and assist victims, said “Those funds were wasted.”

“Many of the organizations that received grants didn’t really have to do anything,” said Wagner, former head of HHS’s anti-trafficking program. “They were available to help victims. There weren’t any victims.”

Still, the raw emotion of the issue internationally and domestically has spawned dozens of activist organizations that fight trafficking. They include the Polaris Project, which was founded in 2002 by two college students, and the Washington-based Break the Chain Campaign, which started in the mid-1990s focusing on exploited migrant workers before concentrating on trafficking after 2000.

Activist groups and administration officials strongly defend their efforts, saying that trafficking is a terrible crime and that even one case is too many. They said that cultural obstacles and other impediments prevent victims from coming forward.

Mark P. Lagon, director of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, said that such problems make the numbers “naturally murky. . . . There are vigorous U.S. government efforts to find and help victims in the United States, not because there is some magic number that we have a gut instinct is out there. Any estimate we’re citing, we’ve always said, is an estimate.”

But Lagon said he is convinced that “thousands upon thousands of people are subject to gross exploitation” in the United States.

Few question that trafficking is a serious problem in many countries, and the U.S. government has spent more than half a billion dollars fighting it around the world since 2000.

Last year, anti-trafficking projects overseas included $3.4 million to help El Salvador fight child labor and $175,000 for community development training for women in remote Mekong Delta villages in Vietnam, according to the State Department. Human trafficking, in the United States and abroad, is under attack by 10 federal agencies that report to a Cabinet-level task force chaired by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In the United States, activists say that trafficking has received far more attention than crimes such as domestic violence, of which there are hundreds of thousands of documented victims every year.

The quest to find and help victims of trafficking has become so urgent that the Bush administration hired a public relations firm, a highly unusual approach to fighting crime. Ketchum, a New York-based public relations firm, has received $9.5 million and has been awarded $2.5 million more.

“We’re giving money to Ketchum so they can train people who can train people who can train people to serve victims,” said one Washington area provider of services for trafficking victims, who receives government funding and spoke on condition of anonymity. “Trafficking victims are hidden. They’re not really going to be affected by a big, splashy PR campaign. They’re not watching Lifetime television.”

Yet the anti-trafficking crusade goes on, partly because of the issue’s uniquely nonpartisan appeal. In the past four years, more than half of all states have passed anti-trafficking laws, although local prosecutions have been rare.

“There’s huge political momentum, because this is a no-brainer issue,” said Derek Ellerman, co-founder of the Polaris Project. “No one is going to stand up and oppose fighting modern-day slavery.”

A Matter of Faith
Throughout the 1990s, evangelicals and other Christians grew increasingly concerned about international human rights, fueled by religious persecution in Sudan and other countries. They were also rediscovering a tradition of social reform dating to when Christians fought the slave trade of an earlier era.

Human trafficking has always been a problem in some cultures but increased in the early 1990s, experts say.

For conservative Christians, trafficking was “a clear-cut, uncontroversial, terrible thing going on in the world,” said Gary Haugen, president of International Justice Mission in Arlington, a Christian human rights group.

Feminist groups and other organizations also seized on trafficking, and a 1999 meeting at the Capitol, organized by former Nixon White House aide Charles W. Colson, helped seal a coalition. The session in the office of then-House Majority Leader Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.) brought together the Southern Baptist Convention, conservative William Bennett and Rabbi David Saperstein, a prominent Reform Jewish activist.

The session focused only on trafficking victims overseas, said Mariam Bell, national public policy director for Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries.

“It was just ghastly stuff,” Armey recalled last week, saying that he immediately agreed to support an anti-trafficking law. “I felt a sense of urgency that this must be done, and as soon as possible.”

A New Law
A law was more likely to be enacted if its advocates could quantify the issue. During a PowerPoint presentation in April 1999, the CIA provided an estimate: 45,000 to 50,000 women and children were trafficked into the United States every year.

The CIA briefing emerged from the Clinton administration’s growing interest in the problem. First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton had been pushing the issue, former administration officials said.

But information was scarce, so a CIA analyst was told to assess the problem in the United States and abroad. She combed through intelligence reports and law enforcement data. Her main source, however, was news clippings about trafficking cases overseas — from which she tried to extrapolate the number of U.S. victims.

The CIA estimate soon appeared in a report by a State Department analyst that was the U.S. government’s first comprehensive assessment of trafficking. State Department officials raised the alarm about victims trafficked into the United States when they appeared before Congress in 1999 and 2000, citing the CIA estimate. A Justice Department official testified that the number might have been 100,000 each year.

The congressional hearings focused mostly on trafficking overseas. At the House hearing in September 1999, Rep. Earl F. Hilliard (D-Ala.) changed the subject and zeroed in on Laura J. Lederer, a Harvard University expert on trafficking.

“How prevalent is the sex trade here in this country?” Hilliard asked.

“We have so very little information on this subject in this country. . . . so very few facts,” Lederer said.

“Excuse me, but is the sex trade prevalent here?” Hilliard asked.

Nobody knows, Lederer said.

Bipartisan passion melted any uncertainty, and in October 2000, Congress enacted the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, significantly broadening the federal definition of trafficking. Prosecutors would no longer have to rely on statutes that required them to prove a victim had been subjected to physical violence or restraints, such as chains. Now, a federal case could be made if a trafficker had psychologically abused a victim.

The measure toughened penalties against traffickers, provided extensive services for victims and committed the United States to a leading role internationally, requiring the State Department to rank countries and impose sanctions if their anti-trafficking efforts fell short.

The law’s fifth sentence says: “Congress finds that . . . approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States each year.”

Raising Awareness
Just as the law took effect, along came a new president to enforce it.

Bell, with Prison Fellowship Ministries, noted that when Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly in 2003, he focused on the war in Iraq, the war on terrorism and the war on trafficking.

Soon after Bush took office, a network of anti-trafficking nonprofit agencies arose, spurred in part by an infusion of federal dollars.

HHS officials were determined to raise public awareness and encourage victims to come forward. For help, they turned to Ketchum in 2003.

Legal experts said they hadn’t heard of hiring a public relations firm to fight a crime problem. Wagner, who took over HHS’s anti-trafficking program in 2003, said that the strategy was “extremely unusual” but that creative measures were needed.

“The victims of this crime won’t come forward. Law enforcement doesn’t handle that very well, when they have to go out and find a crime,” he said.

Ketchum, whose Washington lobbying arm is chaired by former U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.), formed coalitions of community groups in two states and 19 cities, to search for and aid victims. The coalition effort was overseen by a subcontractor, Washington-based Capital City Partners, whose executives during the period of oversight have included the former heads of the Fund for a Conservative Majority and the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, in addition to the former editorial page editor of the conservative Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader newspaper.

Trying to Get the Number Right
Three years ago, the government downsized its estimate of trafficking victims, but even those numbers have not been borne out.

The effort to acquire a more precise number had begun at the Library of Congress and Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania, where graduate students on a CIA contract stayed up nights, using the Internet to find clippings from foreign newspapers.

Once again, the agency was using mainly news clips from foreign media to estimate the numbers of trafficking victims, along with reports from government agencies and anti-trafficking groups. The students at Mercyhurst, a school known for its intelligence studies program, were enlisted to help.

But their work was thought to be inconsistent, said officials at the Government Accountability Office, which criticized the government’s trafficking numbers in a report last year.

A part-time researcher at the Library of Congress took over the project. “The numbers were totally unreliable,” said David Osborne, head of research for the library’s federal research division. “If it was reported that 15 women were trafficked from Romania into France, French media might pick it up and say 32 women and someone else would say 45.”

A CIA analyst ran the research through a computer simulation program, said government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing the CIA’s methods. It spat out estimates of destination countries for trafficking victims worldwide. The new number of victims trafficked into the United States: 14,500 to 17,500 each year.

The simulation is considered a valid way to measure probability if the underlying data are reliable. “It seems incredibly unlikely that this was a robust, sound analysis,” said David Banks, a statistics professor at Duke University.

The CIA’s new estimate, which first appeared in a 2004 State Department report, has been widely quoted, including by a senior Justice Department official at a media briefing this year. It’s also posted on the HHS Web site.

The Justice Department’s human trafficking task force in Washington has mounted an aggressive effort to find victims.

But at a meeting of the task force this year, then-coordinator Sharon Marcus-Kurn said that detectives had spent “umpteen hours of overtime” repeatedly interviewing women found in Korean- and Hispanic-owned brothels. “It’s very difficult to find any underlying trafficking that is there,” Marcus-Kurn told the group.

People trafficked into the United States have traditionally been the focus of the crackdown. In recent years, there has been increasing debate about whether the victim estimates should include U.S. citizens. For example, adult U.S. citizens forced into prostitution are also trafficking victims under federal law, but some say that such cases should be left to local police.

D.C.: A Trafficking Hub?
In a classroom at the D.C. police academy in January, President Bush appears on a screen at a mandatory training session in how to investigate and identify trafficking. The 55 officers who attended watch a slide show featuring testimonials from government officials and a clip from Bush’s 2003 speech to the United Nations.

Sally Stoecker, lead researcher for Shared Hope International in Arlington, which aims to increase awareness of sex trafficking, takes the microphone. “It’s a huge crime, and it’s continuing to grow,” Stoecker says, citing the government’s most recent estimate of victims.

The D.C. officers are among thousands of law enforcement officials nationwide who have been trained in how to spot trafficking. In Montgomery County, police have investigated numerous brothels since the force was trained in 2005 and last year. Officers have found a few trafficking victims, but there have been no prosecutions.

The Justice Department runs law enforcement task forces across the country. It’s a top priority for the department’s Civil Rights Division.

Justice officials have said there has been a 600 percent increase in U.S. cases. But the department said in a report last September: “In absolute numbers, it is true that the prosecution figures pale in comparison to the estimated scope of the problem.”

The 148 cases filed this decade by the Civil Rights Division and U.S. attorney’s offices might not include what Justice officials call a limited number of child trafficking prosecutions by the Criminal Division, Justice officials said Friday. They could not provide a number.

Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney Richard E. Trodden, who studied trafficking for the Virginia Crime Commission, said he doesn’t know of any local prosecutions in Northern Virginia.

Nearly seven years after it began, the anti-trafficking campaign rolls on.

“This is important for me personally,” Gonzales said in January as he announced the creation of a Justice Department unit to focus on trafficking cases. Encouraged by Gonzales, who sent letters to all 50 governors, states continued to pass anti-trafficking laws.

Maryland enacted a law in May that toughens penalties.

Virginia has not taken legislative action; some legislators have said that a law isn’t needed.

HHS is still paying people to find victims. Last fall, the agency announced $3.4 million in new “street outreach” awards to 22 groups nationwide.

Nearly $125,000 went to Mosaic Family Services, a nonprofit agency in Dallas. For the past year, its employees have put out the word to hospitals, police stations, domestic violence shelters — any organization that might come into contact with a victim.

“They’re doing about a thousand different things,” said Bill Bernstein, Mosaic’s deputy director.

Three victims were found.

The Super Bowl Prostitute Myth: 100,000 Hookers Won’t Be Showing Up in Dallas

By Pete Kotz: From the Dallas Observer newspaper

published: January 27, 2011

The alarm bells reached peak decibel in November, when Dallas Police Sergeant Louis Felini told the The Dallas Morning News that between 50,000 and 100,000 prostitutes could descend on the metroplex for the Super Bowl. The call to outrage had sounded.

His estimate was astonishing. At the higher figure, it meant that every man, woman and child holding a ticket would have their own personal hooker, from the vice presidential wing of FedEx to Little Timmy from Green Bay.

And if you believed a study commissioned by the Dallas Women’s Foundation, the hordes would include 38,000 underage prostitutes. Doe-eyed beauties from the Heartland would be peddled like Jell-O shots at the Delta Phi soiree.

Official Dallas would not be caught flat-footed. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and the FBI pledged extra manpower to fight “human trafficking.” The Arlington Police Department put up billboards near Cowboys Stadium. They featured flashing photos of busted johns, warning visitors: We don’t take kindly to perverts like you, son.

Even the Shapiro Law Firm leaped in. Noting that an estimated 40,000 hookers showed up in Dallas for the NBA All-Star game last year, it wanted to make sure that, should a hedge fund manager find himself ensnared in naked compromise, “our attorneys provide experienced defense for sex crimes, including the solicitation of a prostitute.”

The city was gearing up for a massive invasion of skanks and sex fiends. It would be like Normandy, only with way more plastic surgery—the largest single gathering of freaks and pedophiles the world has ever seen. At least outside of a Vatican staff meeting.

But if Dallas is like any other Super Bowl—or Olympics or World Cup, for that matter—today’s four-alarm panic will tinkle as softly as a servant’s bell by next week. All evidence says that America’s call girls will be at home, watching the game of TV, just like you and me.

Judging by Super Bowls past, the mass migration of teenage sex slaves is nothing more than myth.

Read between his very terse lines, and you can tell that Brian McCarthy isn’t happy. He’s a spokesman for the NFL. Every year he’s forced to hear from mopes like yours truly, wondering why his customers are adulterers and child molesters.

The routine is the same in every Super Bowl city. The media beats the drum of impending invasion, warning that anywhere from 15,000 to 100,000 hookers will soon arrive. Politicians lather on their special sauce of manufactured outrage. Cops and prosecutors vow stings and beefed up manpower.

By implication, the NFL’s wealthiest and most connected fans—captains of industry and senators from Utah—will be plotting a week of sexual rampage not seen since the Vikings sailed on Scotland. And they must be stopped.

“This is urban legend that is pure pulp fiction,” the NFL’s McCarthy says. “I would refer you to your local law enforcement officials.”

So that’s what we did. Meet police Sergeant Tommy Thompson of Phoenix, which hosted the 2008 Super Bowl. “We may have had certain precincts that were going gangbusters looking for prostitutes, but they were picking up your everyday street prostitutes,” Thompson says of his vice cops. “They didn’t notice any sort of glitch in the number of prostitution arrests leading up to the Super Bowl.”

Conspicuously noted: He doesn’t recall a single arrest of an underage girl.

Perhaps Phoenix was an anomaly. So let’s go to Tampa, host of Super Bowl 2009. Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis says her department ran special operations on the sex trade. They came up empty. “We didn’t see a huge influx in prostitutes coming into Tampa,” she says. “The arrests were not a lot higher. They were almost the same.”

Now it could be that both departments are incompetent, mistaking tens of thousands of women in fishnet stockings for a very large synchronized swimming team. So let’s travel to Europe, where the hooker influx for the World Cup is routinely pegged at 40,000. If anyone’s going to break the record for the world’s largest orgy, it’s the Godless Eurotrash, right?

Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup. U.S congressmen warned the promiscuous Krauts that fleshly opportunism would not be tolerated. So the government spent millions of euros to crush human trafficking. No one could say the Germans were perv enablers.

But apparently 39,995 of the blasphemers had carburetor trouble in Prague and never showed. The final Cup tally for forced prostitution arrests: 5. German brothels couldn’t even report a surge in business. And a further study by the Swedish government ruled “the 40,000 estimate was unfounded and unrealistic.”

There don’t appear to be solid figures for last summer’s South African Cup, but anecdotal evidence says the sex business was slow.

The only concrete numbers we have: Museums showed record attendance.

This isn’t to say that the sex trade isn’t alive and well. It is. Nor is it to imply there are no such thing as teen prostitutes. There are. The problem is that most of what we believe remains fixed in a blaxploitation film from 1973, where menacing pimps named Lester beat their weeping charges with diamond-encrusted canes.

Ask Maggie McNeill.

That’s not her real name. It’s the pen name she uses on her website, The Honest Courtesan, where she dispenses wisdom on all things hooker. She ran an escort service in New Orleans for six years, supplying ladies for the 2002 Super Bowl. As she sees it, almost all we believe about the industry is fallacy.

“Pimps do exist,” she says, “but they’re a relatively rare phenomenon.” The vast majority of hookers are willing, independent contractors.

Underage hookers are also “extremely rare,” McNeill says. Over the years, she fielded a few hundred applications from ladies of the eve. Only one didn’t pass a drivers license check.

Sure, there are exceptions. But McNeill doesn’t think huge numbers of hookers are going anywhere. And they won’t be heading to Dallas for a very simple reason: Sporting events suck for the sex trade.

The younger fans have already spent thousands on jacked-up hotel rates, airfare and scalped tickets, she says. They only have enough left to nurse Bud Lights and Jäger bombs.

The executive caste may have money to burn, but most bring their families along. “What do they say to their wives?” McNeill asks. “‘Hey honey, I’m going to see a hooker now?’”

As for McNeill’s experience during Super Bowl week in New Orleans: “I really saw no change whatsoever.”

So how do these myths get started? Through good intentions, of course.

There’s no way to quantify the number of hookers, since most women won’t admit to their profession. Public confession only brings an audit from the IRS or a visit from child welfare workers.

That leaves the outside world to speculate—usually with stats only appreciated after eight beers near closing time. Professors pitch junk studies whereby every runaway girl is a potential prostitute.

Advocacy groups take those numbers and fan them by the thousands, buffing them with lurid anecdotes of “sex slaves” and “victims of human trafficking.” The fervent simply can’t believe that isolated cases are just that: isolated.

But it’s hard to kindle interest in the world’s oldest profession. So they latch onto the occasional news story or CNN special. After all, children in distress sell.

“Underage girls make better victims, better poster children,” says McNeill, a former librarian with a master’s from LSU. “I’m 44. What kind of believable victim would I make?”

The study by the Dallas Women’s Foundation shows how the numbers are baked. It hired a company to gauge the percentage of juvenile hookers in Dallas. Its scientific method: Look at online escort ads and guess the ages of the women pictured!

Never mind that escort services often yank said photos from the Internet to put their most sultry visual forward. And never mind that such methodology wouldn’t pass muster at Mert’s Discount Community College & Small Engine Repair.

The company still decreed that 38 percent of Dallas hookers were underage!

(Disclosure: The Dallas Observer and Backpage are owned by the same parent company, Village Voice Media Holdings.)

Not ones to miss 30 seconds of free air time, that’s when the politicians climb aboard. After all, what would you rather do? Be fitted for the role of child-rescuing hero at a congressional hearing or a press conference? Or sit down to the complex, painful task of addressing America’s age-old runaway problem?

Of course, we in the media are equally culpable. We dutifully relay the fraud via our Patented Brand of Unquestioning Stenography, rarely bothering to check if it’s remotely plausible. And by this time, there’s no going back. The fraud must be upheld. Charities have raised money to help the innocents. Politicians have brayed and task forces have been appointed. Editors and news directors have ordered five-part series. No one wants to look like a moron.

But the week after every Super Bowl, they all go quiet.

Either the 100,000 hookers never showed, or they were in dastardly possession of super invisible powers.

Maybe it will be different in Dallas, with its all-hands-on-deck vigilance. Perhaps next week’s dockets will be sagging with thousands of runaway middle-school volleyball stars. Perhaps the Shapiro Law Firm will be giving a bulk rate to the entire roster of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.

Perhaps.

Super Bowl prostitution: 100,000 hookers didn’t show, but America’s latest political scam did.

Pete Kotz:  From the Dallas Observer newspaper

published: March 03, 2011

Had elected officials done even the slightest research, they would have known it was myth. But this had little to do with protecting women and children. Think of it as a combination religious revival and political scam.

Politicians, women’s groups, cops and child advocates were predicting that up to 100,000 hookers would be shipped into Dallas for the Super Bowl. It would be akin to the invasion of Normandy—with silicone and come-hither poses at no extra charge.

Yet someone forgot to tell America’s prostitutes they had an appointment with destiny. The arrest numbers are now in. The hookers failed to show.

It was folly from the outset, of course. To buy the hype, you had to believe that the NFL’s wealthiest fans stuffed their carry-on luggage with searing libidinal hunger. Though by day they pretended to be mercantile saints from the pages of the Wall Street Journal, they were actually marauding sex fiends. Their plot: Turn Hilton hot tubs into naked versions of the New York Stock Exchange.

And if that wasn’t enough to scare the good citizens of Dallas, women’s groups slathered the plot with surplus outrage. Up to 38,000 of these hookers would be child sex slaves, according to a study by the Dallas Women’s Foundation. They’d presumably been kidnapped en masse while waiting in line at the mall Cinnabon, then shipped to Dallas for deflowering by venture capitalists and frozen-food barons.

America’s human trafficking epidemic was coming to North Texas. The Super Bowl would be ground zero.

Conveniently, the same people making the claims reserved the roles of hero for themselves. Worry not, good people of Dallas: They would repel the infidels at the city gates.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott puffed his chest and promised dozens of extra bodies. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security linked arms with 13 state and local police agencies in a task force. Even the airline industry leaped in, training flight attendants to spot the indentured.

Linda Smith, a former Washington congresswoman and founder of Shared Hope International, announced her date with gallantry in The Dallas Morning News. “Now that I know it, I have no choice but to stand and fight,” she said. “This is just brutal, brutal slavery of girls.”

Deena Graves, executive director of the Christian group Traffick911, took it even further, framing the clash as nothing short of Jesus vs. Depravity. God Himself had naturally anointed her as His general.

“We believe, without a doubt, that God gave us the Super Bowl this year to raise awareness of what’s happening with these kids,” she told the Morning News.

But since they hadn’t bothered to do the research, they would be forced to clash swords with an imaginary foe. Such is the burden of the selfless crusader.

From Germany to Miami, the same hysteria precedes every big sporting event, be it the Super Bowl, the World Cup, or the Olympics. The only difference is that Dallas, befitting its perch as buckle of the Bible Belt, jacked up the decibels.

Before every big game, church bells ring of a massive hooker invasion. Incurious newspapers parrot the claims;a five-minute Google search being too much trouble. Then politicians and activists climb aboard.

The recipe for civic panic is placed in the oven, set for baking to a charred husk.

Yet when each event ends with just a handful of arrests, police admit the invasion was nothing more than myth. The panic whimpers away to seclusion, only to resurrect itself just in time for the next big show.

Detectives from Dallas to Plano, Forth Worth to Irving saw no spikes in sex traffic or signs of the occupiers.

“Everybody else is talking about special operations, the AG comes in talking about special operations, but this is what we do,” says Sergeant Byron Fassett, head of the Dallas PD’s human trafficking unit. “We didn’t have to do a special operation. We do special operations all the time, and this was one of them.”

In other words, it was just another week of playing cat and mouse with the world’s oldest profession.

Arlington, host to the game, unleashed extra manpower and bagged an impressive 59 arrests. But it found scant evidence of erotic hordes. Of the 100,000 supposedly Lone Star-bound hookers, Deputy Chief Jaime Ayala says, only 13 were found by his guys. Their busts largely involved rousting the local talent.

ICE Spokesman Carl Rusnok says there were 105 prostitution arrests metro-wide. But what was billed as a bare-naked onslaught fell rather short. Just to reach three figures, ICE had to include 12 Class C misdemeanors—the legal equivalent of a speeding ticket.

Rusnok hints at more nefarious busts for human trafficking, but he refuses to provide names, charges or anything else that would allow for verification.

The 38,000 teen slaves also proved elusive. Police managed to find just two—and they were Texas-grown.

Anthony Winn, a 35-year-old degenerate from Austin, had been pimping out a 20-year-old woman when he decided to peddle her 14-year-old sister as well.

The trio showed up in Dallas for the big game. But the older sister objected to the selling of the younger one. So when Dallas police encountered them on the street, the women quickly ratted out Winn.

In Grapevine, another local was busted for chauffeuring a 17-year-old hooker on her rounds.

Meanwhile, church groups and activists were out en masse. But if they were truly aligned with God, He preferred they stick to generating headlines and hurling logs on the flames of panic. He apparently neglected to grant them the power of rescue. As far as anyone can tell, not one of their tips led to an arrest. Had anyone bothered to ask police in previous Super Bowl cities, they would have told you this would happen. There’s zero evidence that American hookers have ever traveled like Spanish armadas.

As for widespread sex slavery, this too is a myth. The U.S. government has known it for years.

Like most industrialized countries, the feds began worrying about human trafficking in the late ’90s, a fear born from the slavery problems of the Third World. At the time, evidence from police suggested it was an insidious, though relatively rare, crime. But that didn’t stop politicians and activists from declaring it a pandemic.

Out of thin air, they began to trumpet that 50,000 people were being forcibly trafficked in America each year. The

Clinton administration declared jihad. President George W. Bush dilated the war, creating 42 Justice Department task forces countrywide.

But when you weld a fabricated enemy, meager scalp counts leave boasting a challenge. Just like the soldiers of pre-Super Bowl Dallas, they had braced themselves for imaginary strife.

Six years into his presidency, Bush had burned through $150 million on the fray. But of the 300,000 supposed victims during that time, the Justice Department managed to find just 1,362. Less than half were actual sex slaves. An even smaller number were underage prostitutes.

That’s because human trafficking, as defined by the government, isn’t solely about sex. It’s usually about forced labor. Think of the Chinese man made to work in a kitchen to reimburse a snakehead’s smuggling fee. Or the Mexican kid forced to toil on a Kansas farm.

By the time anyone realized all that money was flowing for naught, no one was brave enough to tighten the spigot. In Washington, it’s far better to waste millions than give the appearance you don’t care about kids.

Steve Wagner knows this. He worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, serving as director of the Human Trafficking Program under Bush. He threw millions of dollars at community groups to aid victims. Yet as he told the Washington Post in 2007, “Those funds were wasted….They were available to help victims. There weren’t any victims.”

Ten years into the war, one might assume intellectual honesty would sand down the rhetoric. But the opposite is happening. The fight’s simply moved away from protecting women and children. It’s now a holy war for the sanctity of revenue streams.

The church and women’s groups who profited from battle are loath to acknowledge they spent the past decade doing little more than polishing their guns. So forgive them for worrying.

Recession has made donations harder to field. D.C.’s coming austerity means grants will be macheted. That’s left the nonprofit world in a panic.

It isn’t easy to get donors and congressmen to slap down checks for the time-honored fight against prostitution, runaways and kids seeking the fascinating life of a crack head.

So women’s and children’s groups simply decided to change their PR. Suddenly, prostitution was no longer about prostitution. It was all about sexual slavery and human trafficking. And they began blowing up their numbers with helium.

But maybe Traffick911′s Deena Graves is right. Perhaps God has called her and others to fight demons unseen by the re st of us. It’s just that he hasn’t given them the power to find all those victims. He does work in mysterious ways, after all.

–With Reporting by Patrick Michels

Inquiry fails to find single trafficker who forced anybody into prostitution

By Nick Davies – The Guardian News, Tuesday October 20, 
2009

The UK’s biggest ever investigation of sex trafficking failed to find a single person who had forced anybody into prostitution in spite of hundreds of raids on sex workers in a six-month campaign by government departments, specialist agencies and every police force in the country.

The failure has been disclosed by a Guardian investigation which also suggests that the scale of and nature of sex trafficking into the UK has been exaggerated by politicians and media.

Current and former ministers have claimed that thousands of women have been imported into the UK and forced to work as sex slaves, but most of these statements were either based on distortions of quoted sources or fabrications without any source at all.

While some prosecutions have been made, the Guardian investigation suggests the number of people who have been brought into the UK and forced against their will into prostitution is much smaller than claimed; and that the problem of trafficking is one of a cluster of factors which expose sex workers to coercion and exploitation.

Acting on the distorted information, the government has produced a bill, now moving through its final parliamentary phase, which itself has provoked an outcry from sex workers who complain that, instead of protecting them, it will expose them to extra danger.

When police in July last year announced the results of Operation Pentameter Two, Jacqui Smith, then home secretary, hailed it as “a great success”. Its operational head, Tim Brain, said it had seriously disrupted organised crime networks responsible for human trafficking. “The figures show how successful we have been in achieving our goals,” he said.

Those figures credited Pentameter with “arresting 528 criminals associated with one of the worst crimes threatening our society”.  But an internal police analysis of Pentameter, obtained by the Guardian after a lengthy legal struggle, paints a very different picture.

The analysis, produced by the police Human Trafficking Centre in Sheffield and marked “restricted”, suggests there was a striking shortage of sex traffickers to be found in spite of six months of effort by all 55 police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland together with the UK Border Agency, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the Foreign Office, the Northern Ireland Office, the Scottish government, the Crown Prosecution Service and various NGOs in what was trumpeted as “the largest ever police crackdown on human trafficking”.

The analysis reveals that 10 of the 55 police forces never found anyone to arrest. And 122 of the 528 arrests announced by police never happened: they were wrongly recorded either through honest bureaucratic error or apparent deceit by forces trying to chalk up arrests which they had not made. Among the 406 real arrests, more than half of those arrested (230) were women, and most were never implicated in trafficking at all.

Of the 406 real arrests, 153 had been released weeks before the police announced the success of the operation: 106 of them without any charge at all and 47 after being cautioned for minor offences. Most of the remaining 253 were not accused of trafficking: 73 were charged with immigration breaches; 76 were eventually convicted of non-trafficking offences involving drugs, driving or management of a brothel; others died, absconded or disappeared off police records.

Although police described the operation as “the culmination of months of planning and intelligence-gathering from all those stakeholders involved”, the reality was that, during six months of national effort, they found only 96 people to arrest for trafficking, of whom 67 were charged.

Forty-seven of those never made it to court.

Only 22 people were finally prosecuted for trafficking, including two women who had originally been “rescued” as supposed victims. Seven of them were acquitted. The end result was that, after raiding 822 brothels, flats and massage parlours all over the UK, Pentameter finally convicted of trafficking a grand total of only 15 men and women.

Police claimed that Pentameter used the international definition of sex trafficking contained in the UN’s Palermo protocol, which involves the use of coercion or deceit to transport an unwilling man or woman into prostitution. But, in reality, Pentameter used a very different definition, from the UK’s 2003 Sexual Offences Act, which makes it an offence to transport a man or woman into prostitution even if this involves assisting a willing sex worker.

Internal police documents reveal that 10 of Pentameter’s 15 convictions were of men and women who were jailed on the basis that there was no evidence of their coercing the prostitutes they had worked with. There were just five men who were convicted of importing women and forcing them to work as prostitutes. These genuinely were traffickers, but none of them was detected by Pentameter, although its investigations are still continuing.

Two of them — Zhen Xu and Fei Zhang — had been in custody since March 2007, a clear seven months before Pentameter started work in October 2007.

The other three,  Ali Arslan, Edward Facuna and Roman Pacan,  were arrested and charged as a result of an operation which began when a female victim went to police in April 2006, well over a year before Pentameter Two began, although the arrests were made while Pentameter was running.

The head of the UK Human Trafficking Centre, Grahame Maxwell, who is chief constable of North Yorkshire, acknowledged the importance of the figures: “The facts speak for themselves. I’m not trying to argue with them in any shape or form,” he said.

He said he had commissioned fresh research from regional intelligence units to try to get a clearer picture of the scale of sex trafficking. “What we’re trying to do is to get it gently back to some reality here,” he said.

“It’s not where you go down on every street corner in every street in Britain, and there’s a trafficked individual.

“There are more people trafficked for labour exploitation than there are for sexual exploitation. We need to redress the balance here. People just seem to grab figures from the air.”

Groups who work with trafficked women declined to comment on the figures from the Pentameter Two police operation but said that the problem of trafficking was real.

Ruth Breslin, research and development manager for Eaves which runs the Poppy project for victims of trafficking, said: “I don’t know the ins and outs of the police operation. It is incredibly difficult to establish prevalence because of the undercover and potentially criminal nature of trafficking and also, we feel, because of the fear that many women have in coming forward.”

The internal analysis of Pentameter notes that some records could not be found and Brain, who is chief constable of Gloucestershire, argued that some genuine traffickers may have been charged with non-trafficking offences because of the availability of evidence but he conceded that he could point to no case where this had happened.

He said the Sexual Offences Act was “not user friendly” although he said he could not recall whether he had pointed this out to government since the end of Pentameter Two.

Parliament is in the final stages of passing the policing and crime bill which contains a proposal to clamp down on trafficking by penalising any man who has sex with a woman who is “controlled for gain” even if the man is genuinely ignorant of the control. Although the definition of “controlled” has been tightened, sex workers’ groups complain that the clause will encourage women to prove that they are not being controlled by working alone on the streets or in a flat without a maid, thus making them more vulnerable to attack.

There are also fears that if the new legislation deters a significant proportion of customers, prostitutes will be pressurised to have sex without condoms in order to bring them back.

The following correction was printed in the Guardian’s Corrections and clarifications column, Saturday 14 November 2009

In the report above about sex trafficking we referred to the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre as “the police Human Trafficking Centre”. The UKHTC describes itself as “a multi-agency centre” and says that it is “police led”. Its partners include two non-governmental organisations, HM Revenue & Customs, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the UK Border Agency. We referred to Grahame Maxwell as the head of the UKHTC; his title is programme director.

Prostitution and trafficking – the anatomy of a moral panic

Nick Davies The Guardian News, Tuesday October 20, 2009

There is something familiar about the tide of misinformation which has swept through the subject of sex trafficking in the UK: it flows through exactly the same channels as the now notorious torrent about Saddam Hussein’s weapons.
In the story of UK sex trafficking, the conclusions of academics who study the sex trade have been subjected to the same treatment as the restrained reports of intelligence analysts who studied Iraqi weapons – stripped of caution, stretched to their most alarming possible meaning and tossed into the public domain. There, they have been picked up by the media who have stretched them even further in stories which have then been treated as reliable sources by politicians, who in turn provided quotes for more misleading stories.

In both cases, the cycle has been driven by political opportunists and interest groups in pursuit of an agenda. In the case of sex trafficking, the role of the neo-conservatives and Iraqi exiles has been played by an unlikely union of evangelical Christians with feminist campaigners, who pursued the trafficking tale to secure their greater goal, not of regime change, but of legal change to abolish all prostitution. The sex trafficking story is a model of misinformation. It began to take shape in the mid 1990s, when the collapse of economies in the old Warsaw Pact countries saw the working flats of London flooded with young women from eastern Europe. Soon, there were rumours and media reports that attached a new word to these women. They had been “trafficked”.

And, from the outset, that word was a problem. On a strict definition, eventually expressed in international law by the 2000 Palermo protocol, sex trafficking involves the use of force, fraud or coercion to transport an unwilling victim into sexual exploitation. This image of sex slavery soon provoked real public anxiety.

But a much looser definition, subsequently adopted by the UK’s 2003 Sexual Offences Act, uses the word to describe the movement of all sex workers, including willing professionals who are simply travelling in search of a better income. This wider meaning has injected public debate with confusion and disproportionate anxiety.

Two academics from the University of North London, Liz Kelly and Linda Regan, tried to estimate the number of women who had been trafficked in the UK during the calendar year 1998, an exercise which they honestly described as “problematic”.

First, there was the problem of the word, which Kelly and Regan solved by accepting all variations of its meaning. Then, there was the shortage of facts. They spoke to specialists, studied news reports and surveyed police, who reported that 71 women had been “trafficked”, whether willingly or not, during 1998. In Stopping Traffic, which they published in May 2000, Kelly and Regan argued that the real scale of the problem was probably bigger than this and, in the absence of any accurate data, they made various assumptions which they themselves described as “speculative”.

At the very least, they guessed, there could be another 71 trafficked women who had been missed by police, which would double the total, to 142. At the most, they suggested, the true total might be 20 times higher, at 1,420.

But reaching this figure involved a further quadrupling of the number of victims missed by police, plus quadrupling existing estimates by sex health workers, plus assuming the accuracy of a newspaper report that “hundreds” of women had been trafficked into the UK from Albania and Kosovo, plus assuming that mail-order brides were also victims of trafficking, plus adding women who were transported within the UK as well as those brought into the UK.

Kelly and Regan were transparent and honest about the speculative character of their assumptions. They were clear about their adoption of the widest possible meaning of the term. They presented their conclusion with caution: “It can be estimated that the true scale of trafficking may be between two and 20 times that which has been confirmed.”

And they presented their conclusion as a range of possibilities: “It is recognised that this is a wide range, but it indicates the likely scale of the problem while reflecting the poverty of information in this area.”

During the following years, the subject attracted the attention of religious groups, particularly the Salvation Army and an umbrella group of evangelicals called Churches Alert to Sex Trafficking Across Europe (Chaste). Chaste explicitly campaigned for an end to all prostitution and, quoting their commitment to the principles of the Kingdom of God, they were enlisted as specialist advisers to the police.

Chaste took the work of Kelly and Regan, brought the estimate forward by two years, stripped out all the caution, headed for the maximum end of the range and declared : “An estimated 1,420 women were trafficked into the UK in 2000 for the purposes of constrained prostitution.”

The misleading figure was repeated in news stories and adopted by politicians. Even the government’s Crimestoppers campaign recycled it. And over and over again, the absence of a definition in the original work was replaced with the certainty that this was about women who were forced to work against their will. Chaste spoke repeatedly about “sexual enslavement” and “sex slavery”.

Three years after the Kelly/Regan work was published, in 2003, a second team of researchers was commissioned by the Home Office to tackle the same area. They, too, were forced to make a set of highly speculative assumptions: that every single foreign woman in the “walk-up” flats in Soho had been smuggled into the country and forced to work as a prostitute; that the same was true of 75% of foreign women in other flats around the UK and of 10% of foreign women working for escort agencies. Crunching these percentages into estimates of the number of foreign women in the various forms of sex work, they came up with an estimate of 3,812 women working against their will in the UK sex trade.

Margin of error

The researchers ringed this figure with warnings. The data, they said, was “very poor” and quantifying the subject was “extremely difficult”. Their final estimate was “very approximate”, “subject to a very large margin of error” and “should be treated with great caution” and the figure of 3,812 “should be regarded as an upper bound”.

No chance. In June 2006, before the research had even been published, the then Home Office minister Vernon Coaker ignored the speculative nature of the assumptions behind the figure, stripped out all the caution, headed for the maximum end of the range and then rounded it up, declaring to an inquiry into sex trafficking by the Commons joint committee on human rights: “There are an estimated 4,000 women victims.”

The Christian charity Care announced: “In 2003, the Home Office estimated there were 4,000 women and girls in the UK at any one time that had been trafficked into forced prostitution.” The Salvation Army went further: “The Home Office estimated that in 2003 … there were at least 4,000 trafficked women residing in the UK. This figure is believed to be a massive underestimation of the problem.” Anti-Slavery International joined them, converting what the Home Office researchers had described as a “very approximate” estimate into “a very conservative estimate”.

The Home Office, at least, having commissioned the research, was in a position to remind everybody of its authors’ warnings. Except it didn’t.

In March 2007, it produced the UK Action Plan on Human Trafficking and casually reproduced the figure of 4,000 without any of the researchers’ cautions.

The evidence was left even further behind as politicians took up the issue as a rallying call for feminists. They were led by the Labour MP for Rotherham and former Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane, who took to describing London as “Europe’s capital for under-aged trafficked sex slaves”. In a debate in the Commons in November 2007, MacShane announced that “according to Home Office estimates, 25,000 sex slaves currently work in the massage parlours and brothels of Britain.”

There is simply no Home Office source for that figure, although it has been reproduced repeatedly in media stories.

Two months later, in another Commons debate, MacShane used the same figure, but this time he attributed it to the Daily Mirror, which had indeed run a story in October 2005 with the headline “25,000 Sex Slaves on the Streets of Britain.” However, the newspaper had offered no evidence at all to support the figure. On the contrary, the body of its story used a much lower figure, of between 2,000 and 6,000 brought in each year, and attributed this to unnamed Home Office officials, even though the Home Office has never produced any research which could justify it.

MacShane was not deterred.

“I used to work for the Daily Mirror, so I trust the report,” he said.

Sources

The then solicitor general, Vera Baird, replied by warning MacShane that “we think that his numbers from the Daily Mirror are off” and then recycled the figure of 4,000 without any of the researchers’ cautions. MacShane then switched line and started to claim, for example in a letter to the Guardian in September 2008, that there were “18,000 women, often young girls, trafficked into Britain as sex slaves.” He used this same figure in another debate in the House of Commons, adding “We have to get the facts and figures right.”

On this occasion, the source he was quoting was Pentameter Two, the six-month national police operation which failed to find a single person who had forced anybody into prostitution. But MacShane had a point: presenting the results of the operation to the press in July 2008, its operational head, Tim Brain, the chief constable of Gloucester, was widely reported to have said that there were now 18,000 victims of trafficking in the UK and that this included under-age girls.

Other senior figures who were involved with this press conference say they were taken completely by surprise by Brain’s claim. “None of us knew where that came from,” according to one senior figure. “It wasn’t in his pre-brief. It wasn’t in anything: ministers weren’t briefed. Tim may have meant to say 1,800 and just got his figures mixed up.”

Brain now agrees that the figure is not correct and suggested to the Guardian that he had been trying to estimate the total number of prostitutes in the UK, not the total number of trafficked women.

But the damage had been done. Patrick Hall, Labour MP for Bedford, solemnly told the House of Commons that there was sex trafficking “in towns and villages throughout the land.”

Fiona Mactaggart, a former Home Office minister, in January 2008 outstripped MacShane’s estimates, telling the House of Commons that she regarded all women prostitutes as the victims of trafficking, since their route into sex work “almost always involves coercion, enforced addiction to drugs and violence from their pimps or traffickers.” There is no known research into UK prostitution which supports this claim.

In November 2008, Mactaggart repeated a version of the same claim when she told BBC Radio 4′s Today in Parliament that “something like 80% of women in prostitution are controlled by their drug dealer, their pimp, or their trafficker.” Again, there is no known source for this.

Challenged to justify this figure by a different Radio 4 programme, More or Less, in January 2009, Mactaggart claimed that it comes from the Home Office’s 2004 report on prostitution, Paying the Price. But there is no sign of the figure in the report.

In the summer of 2004, The Poppy Project, which is committed to ending all prostitution on the grounds that it “helps to construct and maintain gender inequality”, surveyed London prostitutes working in flats and found that 80% of them were foreign, a finding which is well supported. They then added, without any clear evidence, that “a large proportion of them are likely to have been trafficked into the country”, a conclusion which is challenged by specialist police, but which was then recycled through numerous media reports and political claims.

Last year (2008), Poppy published a report called The Big Brothel, which claimed to be the most comprehensive study ever conducted into brothels in the UK and which claimed to have found “indicators of trafficking in every borough of London”.

That report was subsequently condemned in a joint statement from 27 specialist academics who complained that it was “framed by a pre-existing political view of prostitution”. The academics said there were “serious flaws” in the way that data had been collected and analysed; that the reliability of the data was “extremely doubtful”; and that the claims about trafficking “cannot be substantiated.”

Illusion

But by that time, the report had generated a mass of news stories, most of which took the unreliable results and overstated them. Like Chaste, the Poppy Project, which has been paid nearly £6m to shelter trafficked women, has been drafted in to advise police and until recently used office space in the Sheffield headquarters of the UK Human Trafficking Centre.

The cacophony of voices has created the illusion of confirmation.

Politicians and religious groups still repeat the media story that 40,000 prostitutes were trafficked into Germany for the 2006 world cup – long after leaked police documents revealed there was no truth at all in the tale. The Daily Mirror’s baseless claim of 25,000 trafficking victims is still being quoted, recently, for example, by the Salvation Army in written evidence to the home affairs select committee, in which they added : “Other studies done by media have suggested much higher numbers.”

Somewhere beneath all this, there is a reality. There have been real traffickers.

Since the Sexual Offences Act came into force in January 2004, internal police documents show that 46 men and women have been convicted and jailed for transporting willing sex workers and 59 people have been convicted for transporting women who were forced to work as prostitutes.

Ruth Breslin, research and development manager for Eaves, which runs the Poppy project, said: “I realise that the 25,000 figure, which is one that has been bandied about in the media, is one that doesn’t really have much of an evidence base and may be slightly subject to media hype. There is an awful lot of confusion in the media and other places between trafficking (unwilling victims) and smuggling (willing passengers). People do get confused and they are two very different things.”

She said that in the six and a half years since Poppy was founded, a total of 1,387 men and women had been referred to them, of whom they had taken in just over 500 women who they believed had been trafficked into sexual exploitation or domestic servitude by the use of coercion, deception or force. “I do think that there a lot more trafficked women out there than the women we see in our project. I do think there are significant numbers. I would say the figure is in the thousands. I don’t know about the tens of thousands. That’s probably going too far.”

Certainly there have been real victims, some of whom have been compensated as victims of crime. The internal analysis of Pentameter Two, obtained by the Guardian, reveals that after six months of raids across the UK, 11 women were finally “made safe”. This clashes with early police claims that Pentameter had rescued 351 victims. By the time that Brain held his press conference in July last year, that figure had been reduced to 167 victims who were said to have been “saved from lives of abuse, exploitation and misery”.

However, the internal analysis shows that supposed victims variously absconded from police, went home voluntarily, declined support, were removed by the UK Borders Agency or were prosecuted for various offences.

Dealing with this, the document explains: “The number of ‘potential victims’ has been refined as more informed decisions have been made about whether or not the individual is believed to be a victim of human trafficking for sexual exploitation … Initial considerations were made on limited information … When interviewed, the potential victim may make it clear that they are not in fact a victim of trafficking and/or inquiries may make it clear that they are not and/or inquiries may show that initial consideration was based on false or incomplete information.”

Research published recently by Dr Nick Mai of London Metropolitan University, concludes that, contrary to public perception, the majority of migrant sex workers have chosen prostitution as a source of “dignified living conditions and to increase their opportunities for a better future while dramatically improving the living conditions of their families in the country of origin”. After detailed interviews with 100 migrant sex workers in the UK, Mai found: “For the majority, working in the sex industry was a way to avoid the exploitative working conditions they had met in their previous non-sexual jobs.”

The UK Network of Sex Work Projects, whose outreach workers deal with thousands of prostitutes, told the home affairs select committee last year: “It is undoubtedly the case that women are trafficked into the sex industry. However, the proportion of sex workers of whom this is true is relatively small, both compared to the sex industry as a whole and to other industries.” The chairman of that committee, Keith Vaz, observed: “We are told that this is the second largest problem facing the globe after drugs and we do not seem to be able to find the people responsible.”

For the police, the misinformation has succeeded in diverting resources away from other victims. Specialist officers who deal with trafficking have told the Guardian that although they will continue to monitor all forms of trafficking, they are now shifting their priority away from the supposed thousands of sex slaves towards the movement within the UK of children who are being sexually abused. They say they are also dealing with more cases where illegal migrant workers of all kinds, including willing sex workers, find themselves being ripped off and overcharged for their transport.

Unheard

However, the key point is that on the sidelines of a debate which has been dominated by ideology, a chorus of alarm from the prostitutes themselves is singing out virtually unheard. In the cause of protecting “thousands” of victims of trafficking, Harriet Harman, the deputy Labour leader and minister for women and equality, has led the parliamentary campaign for a law to penalise men who pay for sex with women who are “controlled for gain” even if the men do so in genuine ignorance.

Repeatedly, prostitutes groups have argued that the proposal is as wrong as the trafficking estimates on which it is based, and that it will aggravate every form of jeopardy which they face in their work, whether by encouraging them to work alone in an attempt to show that they are free of control or by pressurising them to have sex without condoms to hold on to worried customers. Thus far, their voices remain largely ignored by news media and politicians who, once more, have been swept away on a tide of misinformation.

• This article was amended on Thursday 19 November 2009. We said that the Poppy Project had an office in the Sheffield headquarters of the UK Human Trafficking Centre. That is no longer the case. This has been corrected.

Women’s Funding Network Sex Trafficking Study Is Junk Science. Schapiro Group data wasn’t questioned by mainstream media

By Nick Pinto of Village Voice Media

published: March 23, 2011

ATTORNEYS REPRESENTING CRAIGSLIST told Congress on September 15 that the ubiquitous Web classifieds site was closing its adult section. Under intense scrutiny from the government and crusading advocacy groups, as well as state attorneys general, owner Craig Newmark memorably applied the label “Censored” in his classifieds where adult advertising once appeared.

During the same September hearing of a subcommittee of the House Judiciary, members of Congress listened to vivid and chilling accounts regarding underage prostitution.

The congressmen heard testimony from half a dozen nonprofit executives and law enforcement officials. But the most alarming words of the day came from Deborah Richardson, the chief program officer of the Women’s Funding Network. She told legislators that juvenile prostitution is exploding at an astronomical rate.

“An independent tracking study released today by the Women’s Funding Network shows that over the past six months, the number of underage girls trafficked online has risen exponentially in three diverse states,” Richardson claimed. “Michigan: a 39.2 percent increase; New York: a 20.7 percent increase; and Minnesota: a staggering 64.7 percent increase.”

In the wake of this bombshell revelation, Richardson’s disturbing figures found their way into some of the biggest newspapers in the country. USA Today, the Houston Chronicle, the Miami Herald, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Detroit Free Press all repeated the dire statistics as gospel.

The successful assault on Craigslist was followed by a cross-country tour by Richardson and the Women’s Funding Network.

None of the media that published Richardson’s astonishing numbers bothered to examine the study at the heart of her claim. If they had, they would have found what we did after asking independent experts to examine the research: It’s junk science.

After all, the numbers are all guesses.

The data are based merely on looking at photos on the Internet. There is no science.

Eric Grodsky, a sociologist at the University of Minnesota who teaches about proper research construction, says that the study is fundamentally flawed.

“The method’s not clean,” Grodsky says. “You couldn’t get this kind of thing into a peer-reviewed journal. There are just too many unanswered questions about their methodology.”

Ric Curtis, the chairman of the Anthropology Department at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, led a Justice Department-funded study on juvenile prostitution in New York City in 2008. He’s highly skeptical of the claims in the Women’s Funding Network’s study.

“I wouldn’t trust those numbers,” Curtis says. “This new study seems pretty bogus.”

In fact, the group behind the study admits as much. It’s now clear they used fake data to deceive the media and lie to Congress. And it was all done to score free publicity and a wealth of public funding.

“We pitch it the way we think you’re going to read it and pick up on it,” says Kaffie McCullough, the director of Atlanta-based anti-prostitution group A Future Not a Past. “If we give it to you with all the words and the stuff that is actually accurate—I mean, I’ve tried to do that with our PR firm, and they say, ‘They won’t read that much.’”

A Future Not a Past is a product of the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, the Juvenile Justice Fund, and Harold and Kayrita Anderson’s foundation. To measure the amount of juvenile prostitution in the state, the consortium hired the Schapiro Group, an Atlanta business-consulting operation.

The Schapiro Group members weren’t academic researchers, and had no prior experience studying prostitution. In fact, the group was best known for research paid for by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. The study found—surprise—that membership in the Chamber of Commerce improves a business’s image.

The consultants came up with a novel, if not very scientific, method for tabulating juvenile prostitutes: They counted pictures of young-looking women on online classified sites.

“That’s one of the first problems right there,” Grodsky says. “These advertisers are in the business of making sales, and there’s a market for young-looking women. Why would you trust that the photographs are accurate?”

In other words, the ads, like the covers of women’s magazines, are relentlessly promoting fantasy. Anyone who has tried online dating understands the inherent trouble with trusting photographs.

Even if the person placing the advertisement is the one in the picture, there’s no telling how old the photo is, says David Finkelhor, the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

“How do you know when the pictures were taken?” Finkelhor asks. “It’s not illegal for an 18-year-old who’s selling sex to put up a picture of herself from when she was 16.”

And if, for the sake of argument, the photos were an accurate portrayal, how do you train those viewing the photographs to guess the correct age?

In fact, you don’t.

Before conducting its full study, the Schapiro Group tested the accuracy of its method in a sample of 100 observers. At one point, the 100 observers are described as a “random sample.” Elsewhere, they are described as “balanced by race and gender.”

These 100 adults were shown pictures of teenagers and young adults whose ages were known, and were asked to guess whether they were younger than 18.

“The study showed that any given ‘young’ looking girl who is selling sex has a 38 percent likelihood of being under age 18,” reads a crucial passage in the explanation of methodology. “Put another way, for every 100 ‘young’ looking girls selling sex, 38 are under 18 years of age. We would compute this by assigning a value of .38 to each of the 100 ‘young’ girls we encounter, then summing the values together to achieve a reliable count.”

This is dense gibberish posing as statistical analysis.

When the team went on to conduct its full statewide study, it simply treated this 38 percent success rate as a constant. Six new observers were then turned loose to count “young-looking” sex ads on online classifieds sites like Craigslist and Backpage.

That total count was then multiplied by .38 to come up with a guesstimate of how many children were being trafficked.

“This is a logical fallacy,” says Steve Doig, the Knight Chair in Journalism at Arizona State University, who reviewed the study at our request. “Consider this analogy: Imagine that 100 people were shown pictures of various automobiles and asked to identify the make, and that 38 percent of the time people misidentified Fords as Chevrolets. Using the Schapiro logic, this would mean that 38 percent of Fords on the street actually are Chevys.”

But the Georgia sponsors were happy with the results—after all, the scary-sounding study agreed with what they were saying all along. So the Women’s Funding Network paid Schapiro to dramatically expand the study to include Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Texas. (Georgia’s Kayrita Anderson sits on the board of the Women’s Funding Network)

The Women’s Funding Network says it would ultimately like to have the study running in all 50 states.

The count of online classifieds featuring “young women” is repeated every three months to track how the numbers change over time. That’s the source of the claim of a 64 percent increase in child prostitution in Minnesota in a matter of months.

But that’s not how a scientific study is supposed to work, says Finkelhor.

“They don’t tell you what the confidence intervals are, so these changes could just be noise,” he says. “When the Minnesota count goes from 102 to 112, that’s probably just random fluctuations.”

There’s a more fundamental issue, of course.

“The trend analysis is simply a function of the number of images on these sites,” Finkelhor says. “It’s not necessarily an indication that there’s an increase in the number of juveniles involved.”

Despite these flaws, the Women’s Funding Network, which held rallies across the nation, has been flogging the results relentlessly through national press releases and local member organizations. In press releases, the group goes so far as to compare its conjured-up data to actual hard numbers for other social ills.

“Monthly domestic sex trafficking in Minnesota is more pervasive than the state’s annually reported incidents of teen girls who died by suicide, homicide, and car accidents (29 instances combined); infants who died from SIDS (6 instances); or women of all ages murdered in one year (37 instances),” reads the study.

Of course, those other figures are rigorously compiled medical and law-enforcement records of actual documented incidents, so it’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison.

The police who tally many of those actual statistics—as well as records of real face-to-face encounters with juvenile prostitutes—don’t seem to be very impressed by the statistics put forward by the Women’s Funding Network.

“The methodology that they used doesn’t really show the numbers that back it up,” says Sgt. John Bandemer, who heads the Vick Human Trafficking Task Force in St. Paul. “We take it with a grain of salt.”

The experts we consulted all agreed the Schapiro Group’s published methodology raises more questions than it answers. So we went to the Schapiro Group to ask them.

Beth Schapiro founded the Schapiro Group in 1984, starting out mostly with political consulting. The bulk of the group’s work, Schapiro says, consists of public opinion research. In 2007, the group installed its own phone-banking center, and the group’s website advertises services ranging from customer satisfaction surveys to “voter persuasion calls.”

Counting hard-to-find exploitation victims wasn’t exactly in the company’s repertoire when it was asked by A Future Not a Past to devise a study on juvenile prostitution in 2007, but Schapiro jumped at the opportunity.

The Georgia studies included efforts to count juvenile prostitutes on the street, at hotels, and in escort services, but they also marked the debut of the problematic online classifieds study that would later be reproduced in other states.

In a phone call this month, Schapiro insisted that her study was the first effort ever to try to scientifically determine the number of juvenile prostitutes—a claim that would likely surprise the authors of dozens of previous studies, several of which are footnoted in her own report.

When we asked Schapiro and Rusty Parker, the leader of the classifieds study, to fill in some of the missing pieces in their methodology, they had a hard time coming up with straight answers. In fact, Parker couldn’t remember key information about how he constructed the study. When asked where he got the sample pictures used to calibrate the all-important 38 percent error rate, he wasn’t sure.

“It was a while back,” he says. “I forget exactly where we got them from.”

Parker was equally fuzzy on how the researchers knew the ages of the people pictured in the control group.

“Um…I’m afraid I do not remember,” he says.

You might say that this is important information. The Schapiro group has been telling the world that it cracked the alchemical code that transforms dumb guesses into hard statistics, and that the magic number is .38. But the leader of the study can’t remember the procedure he followed to get that number.

Neither Schapiro nor Parker had any answers when asked if there was any empirical reason to believe their two critical assumptions: that online photos always represent what the prostitutes actually look like, and that the six handpicked observers conducting the state studies have exactly the same error rate as the initial test batch of 100 random citizens.

Instead, Schapiro beat a hasty retreat, saying the study results shouldn’t be read as actual incidents of prostitution.

“We’re the first to tell you, this is not a precise count of the number of girls being prostituted,” Schapiro said. “We make no bones about that.”

Of course, a precise count of the number of girls being prostituted is exactly what the statistics are being presented as in the media, in press releases, and in Schapiro’s own study. When this is pointed out, Schapiro reverses herself.

“Well, yes, these are specific numbers,” Schapiro backpedals. “And yes, they are hard numbers, and they are numbers that we stand completely behind.”

This is the kind of cognitive whiplash you have to endure if you try to follow Schapiro down the rabbit hole. The numbers have the weight of fact and can properly be cited as actual incidents of juvenile prostitution, she insists. But when pressed to justify the broad and unsupported assumptions of her study, she says the study is just a work in progress and the numbers are only approximations.

Schapiro’s grasp on empirical rigor is such that when asked point-blank to choose between her two contradictory interpretations—estimates or facts—she opts for “all of the above.”

“I would square the circle by saying that you can look at them both ways,” she says.

Any reporter who had read the methodology of the Schapiro report would have been left with doubts, and any reporter who followed up would probably have been treated to the same baffling circuit of non-answers. The fact that the study’s findings continue to be rebroadcast in news outlets across the country suggests that not one reporter has bothered to read the study about which they are writing.

“You see this kind of thing a lot, unfortunately,” says Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst for the Poynter Institute who writes frequently about statistics. “The kind of skepticism that reporters apply to a statement by a politician just doesn’t get applied to studies.”

David Finkelhor at the Crimes Against Children Research Center says he understands the pressure on reporters to cite figures when they’re writing about juvenile prostitution, but it’s something they need to resist, because despite what groups like the Women’s Funding Network would have you believe, there simply are no good statistics.

“You have to say, ‘We don’t know. Estimates have been made, but none of them have a real scientific basis to them,’” Finkelhor says. “All you can say is, ‘This is the number the police know about, and we think there are more than that, but we don’t know how many more.’”

In her own online photos, the woman who commissioned the Schapiro Group study looks to be in her 50s, with blue eyes, graying hair, and a taste for dangly earrings.

Kaffie McCullough first approached the Schapiro Group about conducting a study of juvenile prostitution in Georgia in 2007 when, as director of A Future Not a Past, she realized that having scientific-sounding numbers makes all the difference in the world.

In early 2007, McCullough approached the Georgia Legislature to ask for money for a regional assessment center to track juvenile prostitution.

“We had no research, no nothing. The legislators didn’t even know about it,” she recalls. “We got a little bit. We got about 20 percent of what we asked for.”

Later that year, the first Schapiro Group counts were made, and when McCullough returned to the Legislature the following session, she had the study’s statistics in hand.

“When we went to the Legislature with those counts, it gave us traction—night and day,” she says. “That year, we got all the rest of that money, plus we got a study commission.”

McCullough touts the fundraising benefits of the study whenever she can. Since the Schapiro study was picked up for replication nationwide by the Women’s Funding Network, McCullough has acted as a sort of technical consultant for state groups as they debate whether to invest money in the project. Whenever she’s asked, McCullough tells the local groups that the money they spend will come back to them with hefty dividends.

“I would say, ‘The research costs money, but we’ve been able to broker—I don’t know what it is now, I think it’s over $1.3, $1.6 million in funding that we never would have gotten,’” McCullough says.

McCullough initially maintained that she stands by the Schapiro Group study, in part because she has been told that “it is the same scientific methodology that science has been using for a long time to measure endangered species.”

But when pressed on whether she really believes that counting Internet photos is reliable, she grants the sex-work industry isn’t exactly the gold standard of truth in advertising.

“That’s absolutely correct,” she says. “That’s part of how that business operates: It’s a bait-and-switch.”

And given the tricky nature of the photographs, she admits that counting pictures isn’t exactly a precise way to measure juvenile prostitutes.

“I can’t guarantee that any picture that four of those six people said looked young—that may not be the girl that you’d get if you called up,” she concedes.

Asked if she has any reason to believe that the six observers in the study have the identical 38 percent error rate as the 100 random citizens who were the initial test subjects, she allows that it might be worth revisiting that question.

The basic truth is that the study exists in service of the advocacy, and if news outlets present the Schapiro Group’s numbers as gospel, it certainly doesn’t hurt the advocates’ cause.

Admitting that there isn’t any authoritative scientific count of juvenile prostitution, as Finkelhor recommends, isn’t an option in McCullough’s book. She recalls an early presentation she made in Nebraska, when a politician gave her a piece of advice that stuck.

“He said, ‘If you all as a movement don’t start having numbers, you are going to lose the money,’” McCullough recalls. “‘How can you justify millions of dollars when there are only hundreds of victims that you’re actually serving?’”

Last week, on March 16, the drumbeat continued in the U.S. Senate with a briefing on domestic minor sex trafficking that featured Hollywood actress Mira Sorvino and the startling statistic that 100,000 children are trafficked for sex annually in America.

Trafficking, in labor and sex, became a defining issue in the administration of President George W. Bush. But as an investigation by the Washington Post in 2007 revealed, victims in the sex trade were difficult to come by.

Today, advocates have shifted media attention to allegations of trafficking in children.

But facts to suggest a plague of underage perversion simply do not exist despite claims to the contrary.

In a deficit-obsessed Congress, there is a long line of those seeking tax dollars to raise awareness of trafficking: government agencies, nonprofits, religious groups, the well-intentioned, as well as abolitionists opposed to everything from pornography to adult services.

It is no surprise that some seek to use children as a wedge.

Responsible parties prosecute predators and rescue victims. Not everyone with a microphone is responsible.

The challenge of keeping children out of the hands of exploiters is real but solutions are not clear in an atmosphere of hyped hysteria.

The following article is written by Menstuff.org
http://www.menstuff.org/issues/byissue/sexslaves.html

“Tonight our cameras take you into a dark world you’ve never seen,” intoned John Quinones darkly on last week’s edition of ABC Primetime. “American girls being snatched right off Main Street USA. And they could be your very own daughters.” Shocking! The program went on to tell about two Arizona teens ñ both white and girl-next-door cute, who purportedly were minding their own business before being snatched from home and coerced into prostitution. Or “trafficking,” as Primetime put it. That was the show’s point: We already know that impoverished immigrants from the Eastern Europe and Mexico are enslaved here, but now we’ve got a new problem, the trafficking of our own, middle-class girls. Shocking! The show was full of dire warnings by government officials. Not surprising, since the Bush Administration’s mission to find foreign “sex trafficking” victims has gone belly up since it began in 2001. Almost no victims have been located, but the feds want to keep their law and rhetoric afloat and broaden it to other areas, including the culture wars. For ballast, they’re trolling for a domestic demographic, warning that kids and prostitution is a new “trafficking” problem.

But the claim is specious. To make it, you have to play with language and omit facts ñ or bend them so far that they break. That’s what Primetime did, Thursday, February 9, with two teens, one pseudonymed “Debbie,” and the other called by her real name, Miya.

Miya, according to ABC, was working in an Arizona mall when she was approached by a couple who asked if she’d like to come with them to California and be a model. She agreed, and before she knew it, she was being forcibly pimped through an Internet escort service and terrorized into sex slavery. One morning she managed to escape from the seedy hotel she was imprisoned in. Authorities were notified. Now one of her captors is in jail awaiting trial.

That’s the Primetime version, but the “sex slave” part is a hoax. Police in Mesa, Arizona and Union City, California, say that Miya — who was 19 and thus legally an adult — willingly went to California and willingly had sex, both with the couple she was with and with others. Said Tom Haselton, investigating sergeant for the case in Union City, “I can understand the family might be embarrassed and want to tell a different story. But by the time we were done talking with [Miya] we determined that what she did was consensual. There was no force used on her and she had plenty of opportunities to leave. And when she did leave, who did she call? Not the police, but a friend, just saying she wanted to get home to Arizona.” No charges regarding Miya were filed. The man she’d been with was charged because the female member of the couple was 16 — underage. Creepy, exploitative and illegal, but she wasn’t coerced either. “She seemed to be in love with the pimp,” says Haselton. “It’s an age-old story.”

Primetime’s other example of a “sex trafficked” teen, 15-year-old Debbie, is the alleged victim of some truly horrible assaults, and police don’t contest this. Even so, Primetime left out details of the case, making it seem more novel than it is. Debbie has said she was held at gunpoint in a Phoenix apartment and threatened with death and harm to her family unless she had sex with dozens of men. Often she was stuffed by her captors into a dog carrier and a bed frame. Her ordeal lasted over six weeks until she managed to sneak a call to her mother. Then she was rescued, and returned to what Primetime called her “close-knit” family. She’d been separated from them in the first place, Primetime reported, when she was “snatched” ñ as host John Quinones put it — right off her front lawn. That happened when a girl she knew only casually drove up to Debbie’s suburban house. Debbie stepped out of the house wearing Sponge-Bob pajamas. Suddenly she was pushed into the car and kidnapped.

But Phoenix Police Department press releases describe Debbie as a runaway. Police spokesman Andy Hill told me earlier this week that she was having problems with her family. She left home willingly with a friend, the girlfriend of a pimp, and a few hours later was herself dragooned into prostitution. Debbie’s is a story of gross coercion, but clearly there’s some background here. The vast majority of US kids who get involved with prostitution are runaways; this has been so for a very long time. That fact makes for yet another stale story. So it was left out of Primetime’s because it didn’t fit the boogie-man theme pushed these days when sex trafficking gets discussed — in the media and lately by the feds as well.

In that telling, little children are enslaved right in plain sight. Four-year olds are passed to pedophiles at Disneyland, 11-year-olds in communion dresses are sold to Mexican farmworker perverts. Despite ample evidence that these stories are urban myths, the New York Times Magazine cited them anyway and conjured dozens of child sex slaves in a piece by Peter Landesman that the magazine ran two years ago. Its title? “The Girls Next Door.” And last fall, the Lifetime television network ran a much- publicized drama in which a prepubescent white girl is kidnapped off the streets by a hi-tech trafficking ring that operates all across the globe and plans to sell her to “the Saudis.” This despite the fact that no such rings are known to exist.

Paranoid “white slavery” crusades date back to 19th-century England and America. Back then they promoted anti-immigrant and racist sentiments against Jews and others scapegoated for being kidnappers and panderers. They drove prostitutes who had heretofore worked independently into the hands of pimps. Meanwhile, they did virtually nothing to end prostitution.

Now, white-slave panic is being reincarnated by the federal government. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) was launched five years ago with much fanfare from evangelicals in the Bush administration, feminists (many of who earlier worked with conservatives to try to outlaw pornography), and liberals concerned about forced-labor trafficking in general. Proponents predicted that thousands of forcibly sex-trafficked immigrant women would be found. Instead, a couple of hundred have turned up, at most.

But there are plenty of U.S.citizens who spend a little or a lot of time in prostitution. Quite a few are minors — as many as 300,000, estimates the new TVPA, which was enthusiastically rolled out by President Bush at a ceremony in January. Legally speaking, minors are always considered victims, even if they are not coerced. The new TVPA earmarks funds to label them as sex slaves.

No matter that most of these new “trafficking” victims are runaways and throwaways: often minorities, often poor, and often gay. No matter that they are seldom kidnapped or forced into prostitution, rarely fit the image of the girl next door, usually don’t think of themselves as “trafficking victims,” and typically distrust the police. No matter that we lack social services for them so they can live on their own and thrive if home is unbearable. These children are just an old story. They’re not ready for prime time.

But they are ready to fuel a movement most of the public hasn’t heard of yet. The domestic trafficking language of the TVPA was lifted from another piece of legislation, the “End Demand Act.” That bill aims to crack down on all prostitution in the U.S., by defining every bit of it as “domestic sex trafficking,” even when it’s between consenting adults. End Demand is sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX (who recently equated gay marriage with humans copulating with box turtles). The act has bipartisan support but has not yet been passed. End Demand’s wording about minors, however, was imported into the latest TVPA.

The government has not yet turned consensual adult prostitution into a federal crime. But last summer, the feds and other organizations, many of who have supported the End Demand Act and the new TVPA, started working the zeitgeist by pitching to the media about American kiddie slaves on Main Street. Primetime responded. Defending last week’s story, ABC spokeswoman Paige Capossela said that “Our producers found two cases that illustrate what the FBI, other law enforcement and child protection agencies described to us as trafficking.” That’s a nice excuse for some high yellow journalism. And, no doubt, for some high Nielsen ratings as well.

Conclusion:

The Sex trafficking, slavery issue is one of the biggest lies being told today.  It is amazing how people will believe such lies so easily.   The media is to blame for this.  I wonder why they feel such a need to report wrong stats, numbers and information about this topic without doing proper research.

While this may happen in very rare limited situations, the media will say that millions of people are sex slaves without doing any real research on the topic. Only taking the word of special interest groups which need to generate money in the form of huge government grants from taxpayers, and charities. These “non profit” group’s employees make huge salaries, therefore they need to lobby the government, and inflate and invent victims in order to get more money into their organizations.   If you look into how many real kidnapped forced against their will sex slaves there are, and not just take the anti-prostitution groups word for it.  You will be very surprised.

Where are all the forced sex slaves? I would like to meet the “millions” of slaves and see for myself if they were kidnapped and forced against their will.

These groups lobby the government in a big way, getting Politicians to truly believe their lies.

This is an attempt to over inflate an issue in order to get more government money to these organizations.  As a tax payer, voter, and resident I don’t want the government to mislead me.

If you agree that you would like to see  news organizations do a full truthful report on the lies, myths and exaggerated numbers being told about sex trafficking slaves without taking the Anti-Prostitution groups word for it;

Here are some links to help you out:

To email News media publications here is some email addresses to get you all started. (Media companies link below)

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=111

To contact USA senators and congressmen to alert them on the lies being told to them about Sex Trafficking and Slavery:

USA government officals link:

http://www.conservativeusa.org/mega-cong.htm

http://www.consumer-action.org/take_action/articles/make_your_voice_heard

(Don’t forget to tell your local government officals as well)

On Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Truth-about-Sex-Trafficking-and-Sex-Slavery/135619653172829?sk=wall

Feel free to use any information in this website to tell people about “The Facts of Sex Trafficking and Sex Slavery”

The following links will give you more information about sex trafficking especially the Washington post article and the Guardian and BBC links.

Washington post article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/22/AR2007092201401.html

News night BBC video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtaEdI3aiwg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rvA60zdkD8

http://mensnewsdaily.com/glennsacks/2009/10/30/more-on-the-great-sex-trafficking-scam-in-the-u-k/

Guardian newspaper:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/government-trafficking-enquiry-fails

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exaggerated

Nick Davies – About Truth in the Media:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8YGmASiZZ8&feature=related

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/22/gov_proposals/print.html

Sex trafficking in sports:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/super-bowl/local/20110302-top-fbi-agent-in-dallas-praises-super-bowl-security-effort-sees-no-evidence-of-expected-spike-in-child-sex-trafficking.ece

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2011-01-27/news/the-super-bowl-prostitute-myth-100-000-hookers-won-t-be-showing-up-in-dallas/

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2011-03-03/news/super-bowl-prostitution-100-000-hookers-didn-t-show-but-america-s-latest-political-scam-did/

http://www.dallasobserver.com/2011-03-03/news/sex-traffick911-press-release/

Dallas TV News show about super bowl sex slave myth:

http://www.wfaa.com/sports/football/super-bowl/Super-Bowl-prostitution-prediction-has-no-proof–114983179.html

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/8324/

www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9843

http://www.lauraagustin.com/debunking-the-40-000-prostitutes-story-again-south-africa-world-cup

Human traffic website:

http://traffickingwatch.org/node/18

http://www.justice.gov/oig/reports/OJP/a0826/final.pdf

India newspaper:

http://www.thehoot.org/web/home/story.php?storyid=3622&mod=1&pg=1&sectionId=9&valid=true#

Sex Trafficking in Asia:

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9843/

Other Links:

http://sextraffickingtruths.blogspot.com/

http://bit.ly/fXgwSD

http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/sex-trafficking-lies-myths/

http://mensnewsdaily.com/glennsacks/2009/10/30/more-on-the-great-sex-trafficking-scam-in-the-u-k/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1227418/SPECIAL-INVESTIGATION-The-myth-Britains-foreign-sex-slaves.html

http://www.bayswan.org/traffick/Weitzer_Criminologist.pdf

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/2850/

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/reviewofbooks_article/5027/

http://www.misandryreview.com/heretical-sex/2010/04/04/more-sex-trafficking-lies/

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/SPORT/football/07/09/prostitute.gallery/index.html?iref=allsearch&fbid=0Ox1WH9NNpl

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/8324/

http://bristolnoborders.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/more-evidence-that-sex-trafficking-is-a-myth/

http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/michael-duffy/much-ado-about-a-small-segment-of-the-global-sex-industry/2008/06/13/1213321616701.html

http://mensnewsdaily.com/glennsacks/2009/10/30/more-on-the-great-sex-trafficking-scam-in-the-u-k/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1227418/SPECIAL-INVESTIGATION-The-myth-Britains-foreign-sex-slaves.html

http://www.angryharry.com/reHappyhookersofEasternEurope.htm

http://www.thescavenger.net/people/numbers-of-sex-trafficking-victims-are-exaggerated-13456.html

http://the-myth-of-sex-trafficking.weebly.com/

http://www.thoughts.com/west999

http://open.salon.com/blog/westly99/2011/03/13/the_myth_of_sex_trafficking_and_sex_slavery

http://mythofsextrafficking.blogspot.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Truth-about-Sex-Trafficking-and-Sex-Slavery/135619653172829?sk=wall

http://sextraffickingtruths.blogspot.com/

http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/sex-trafficking-lies-myths/

http://westernman952.newsvine.com/_news/2011/03/09/6223238-the-myth-of-sex-trafficking-and-sex-slavery

http://westernman952.newsvine.com/_news/2011/03/16/6283889-the-myths-lies-and-truth-about-sex-trafficking-sex-slavery

http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/sex-slavery-lies-and-myths/

http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/5/

http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/sex-trafficking-and-slavery/

http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/sex-lies-and-prostitution/

http://sextraffickingtruths.blogspot.com/

http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/sex-trafficking-lies-myths/

http://the-myth-of-sex-trafficking.weebly.com/

Laura Maria Agustin, book “Sex at the margins”

http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Margins-Migration-Markets-Industry/dp/1842778609

Detailed Report and research about sex Trafficking, Sex Slavery, Prostitution:
by Ronald Weitzer
http://myweb.dal.ca/mgoodyea/Documents/Sex%20work%20-%20General/The%20mythology%20of%20prostitution%20-%20advocacy%20research%20and%20public%20policy%20Weitzer%202010%20Sex%20Res%20Soc%20Pol%207%2015-29.pdf

Ronald Weitzer:
http://www.bayswan.org/traffick/Weitzer_Criminologist.pdf

Nathalie Rothschild spiked magazine:

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/9843/

http://sextraffickingtruths.blogspot.com/

http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/sex-trafficking-lies-myths/

Washington post article:

Human Trafficking Evokes Outrage, Little Evidence

“U.S.Estimates Thousands of Victims, But Efforts to Find Them Fall Short”

By Jerry Markon

WashingtonPost Staff Writer
Sunday, September 23, 2007

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/22/AR2007092201401.html

Minnesota City Pages News in the March 23, 2011 issue have a story about the controversial statistics used to calculate sex trafficking and Sex Slavery victims:

By Nick Pinto – Minnesota city pages

http://www.citypages.com/2011-03-23/news/women-s-funding-network-sex-trafficking-study-is-junk-science/

 The Village Voice newspaper in New York has a section on the Sex trafficking controversy:

 http://www.villagevoice.com/sex-trafficking/

In October 20, 2009

Nick Davis of the London Guardian newspaper writes about a large British Sex Trafficking, Sex Slavery investigation that failed to find a single victim.

 Guardian newspaper:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/government-trafficking-enquiry-fails

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/oct/20/trafficking-numbers-women-exaggerated

  Angry Harry:

http://www.angryharry.com/es-Where-Are-All-The-Sex-Slaves.htm

http://www.angryharry.com/reHappyhookersofEasternEurope.htm

http://sextraffickingfacts.wordpress.com/

http://sextraffickingvictims.blog.com/

http://sextrafficking.myblogsite.com/entry1.html#body

http://sextraffickingfactsmyths.wordpress.com/

http://mythofsextrafficking.blogspot.com/

http://humantraffickingintheusa.weebly.com/

http://the-myth-of-sex-trafficking.weebly.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Myth-of-Sex-Trafficking-and-Sex-Slavery/191343900903887?sk=wall

http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/blog/sex_trafficking_myth_at_super_bowl_world_cup_olympics/

http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/

http://sextraffickingtruths.blogspot.com/

http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-06-29/news/real-men-get-their-facts-straight-sex-trafficking-ashton-kutcher-demi-moore/

http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-07-06/news/stuck-in-trafficking/

http://www.villagevoice.com/sex-trafficking/map/

http://www.unh.edu/ccrc/prostitution/Juvenile_Prostitution_factsheet.pdf

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Posted in California, colorado, human trafficking, movie, prostitution, research, sex slavery, sex tourism, sex trafficking, statistics, Taken, Uncategorized
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