Why do people believe lies about sex trafficking and rape?
Do your own research. Prevent the spread of sex trafficking, rape epidemic hysteria misinformation! This video below explains why:
The University of Virginia reinstated its chapter of Phi Kappa Psi—the fraternity where Jackie claimed to have been gang raped, according to Rolling Stone—after the cops failed to find evidence that the horrible crime actually occurred. The fraternity’s national organization has reinstated it as well, effective immediately.
According to the press release:
The reinstatement resulted after consultation with Charlottesville Police Department officials, who told the University that their investigation has not revealed any substantive basis to confirm that the allegations raised in the Rolling Stone article occurred at Phi Kappa Psi.
U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan informed fraternity officials of the decision to reinstate the chapter’s Fraternal Organization Agreement with the University after learning of the update to the police investigation.
“We welcome Phi Kappa Psi, and we look forward to working with all fraternities and sororities in enhancing and promoting a safe environment for all,” U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said.
That’s it? No apology? No sorry about our huge mistake and rush to judgment? Keep in mind that the false accusation had consequences for the Phi Psi house, which was vandalized by angry students after Rolling Stone‘s story broke. UVA President Teresa Sullivan caved to public pressure to make some display of force against the frat; I would think she should be more contrite, since she was dead wrong.
For what it’s worth, frat officials don’t sound too upset:
“We believe that in the midst of this ordeal, there is an opportunity to move forward with important safety improvements. This has prompted us to take a closer look at ourselves and what role organizations like ours may play in this problem. It’s opened all of our eyes to the problem of sexual assault,” Scipione said. “Now it’s time to do something about it. As a fraternity, we are going to continue discussing that need in the coming weeks.”
Well, it’s always a good time to do something about sexual assault, although it’s weird to think this was the event that made Phi Psi aware of the problem, since its members weren’t responsible; if something happened to Jackie, it wasn’t at Phi Psi. And there is good reason to doubt that Jackie underwent an ordeal that closely resembled her claim—all evidence in her favor has been debunked, even as the likelihood of a pre-planned deception on her part continues to grow.
But in any case, Phi Psi will become the first UVA fraternity to sign the new “Fraternal Organization Agreement” with the university administration. The pact obligates Greek organizations to baby-sit their guests and puts restrictions on what kinds of alcohol they can serve. Frat bedrooms will now be guarded.
It’s not surprising that a pack of overbearing bureaucrats are peddling dubious safety requirements based in Victorian sexual morality—legislating morality and covering people in bubble wrap are two of their favorite things. The only surprise here is the timing. In a sane world, this would be an occasion for the angry villagers to lower their pitchforks and discuss the biases and processes that led them to the wrong conclusions.
But the angry villagers seem undeterred. I suppose that’s what makes them angry villagers. For too many people, it was always the agenda that mattered, not the truth.
This whole thing played out just months ago with the Somaly Mam/Nicholas Kristof sex trafficking rape scandal. And with “Sex Trafficking hysteria” in general.
Not only did Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times write many fake made up stories about “Somaly Mam” and sex trafficking he also promote it, and wrote books, made documentaries and did marketing for her.
Somaly Mam and Nicholas Kristof should have lawsuits filed against them and go to prison for committing fraud and stealing money from the public by providing the public with false sex trafficking horror stories that were lies to send money to the Somaly Mam and Afesip charities. These charities then committed human trafficking themselves by forcing women and girls to stay in their (rescue) centers against their will and to lie about being forced into sex trafficking to the western media and donors.
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times newspaper appeared with Somaly Mam at many fund raising events. He acted as her press, marketing and celebrity agent. Writing books and making documentaries about her. It seemed like Kristof was working for Somaly Mam. Was he getting a kick-back from her? Why was he doing all this work for her? How much money did Nicholas Kristof make from Somaly Mam?
And guess what? Somaly Mam continues to make millions of dollars off of her lies with her new anti-sex trafficking NGO. Nicholas Kristof was never fired and continues to make millions off of lies.
Sen. Claire McCaskill was asked about the infamous statistic that one in five college women are sexually assaulted in light of the overriding evidence that it’s not a reliable statistic. What’s the overriding evidence? A new DOJ study shows that the real number isn’t 1 in 5, it’s 1-in-52 — that means it isn’t 20 percent of all college women, it’s 1.9 percent. Beyond that, the lead author of the principal one-in-five study, Christopher Krebs, recently told Emily Yoffethat it simply is not a representative statistic that can be relied upon when discussing American college women in general. Even before that, the Washington Post concluded that the stat couldn’t be relied on as representative. Over the weekend, The Washington Post said it is “misleading to suggest that [the one in five stat] is representative of the experience of all college women.” The New York Times says the stat is “flawed.” And even Scott Berkowitz, head of the national advocacy group RAINN, says the 1 in 5 stat “is probably too high.” And see this.
How did Sen. Claire McCaskill react to this overriding evidence? Did she explain that she needs to carefully consider it? That it might actually be good news because the problem is not as severe as the White House and others have insisted?
She did not. McCaskill said this: “Frankly, it is irritating that anybody would be distracted by which statistics are accurate.”
Let us explain why this comment is so terribly inappropriate for anyone, much less someone in McCaskill’s position. McCaskill is spearheading legislation in response to the supposed campus rape epidemic. It is clear that this effort is premised, in large measure, on the one in five stat (a stat that should not be relied on). Back in April, McCaskill wrote this: “According to the available statistics, 19 percent of undergraduate women have been the victims of sexual assault. Because many crimes aren’t reported, though, that number is probably higher.” (Likewise, a co-sponsor of her sexual assault legislation, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, also bought into the one in five canard: “A college woman has a chance of one in five to be raped during her college career,” Gillibrand wrote. Gillibrand’s website recently dropped the one in five canard and it is not clear if she still buys into it.)
So can you guess what is irritating to us, Senator McCaskill? That you are pursuing legislation based, at least in part, on an unreliable stat that could hurt innocent male students. And when asked about it, you said you find it “irritating that anybody would be distracted by” the truth.
The public outcry over the one in five canard has already led to public policy solutions that are grossly unjust to presumptively innocent male students (e.g., reducing the standard of proof to preponderance of the evidence, which makes it easier to punish the innocent for rapes they didn’t commit). And no doubt, McCaskill’s own legislative “solution” to the phony epidemic will pile more injustice atop the existing injustice.
We’ve had enough policy made on the basis of lies, Senator. Exactly how unjust are the existing laws and policies promulgated as a result of the phony campus rape epidemic? Among many, many others, twenty-eight (mainly liberal) Harvard law professors have decried the policies, as have law professors at Yale, Univ. of Tennessee, and George Washington University. The American Association University Professors has criticized the“Dear Colleague” letter. Even Brett Sokolow, the head of NCHERM and the foremost advocate for rape victims on American college campuses, says colleges are treating men unfairly when it comes to sex charges.
Innocence Project guru Prof. Mark A Godsey has explained that “the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases.”
Beyond that, McCaskill said something back in April that is downright weird even by the standards of the sexual grievance industry. She claimed that the “number is probably higher” than one in five — because of alleged underreporting. This is how terribly uninformed she is on the subject, despite the fact she is spearheading legislation on it: the one in five stat takes underreporting into account. Yet her statement suggests she thinks that 19 percent is the percentage of REPORTED sexual assaults when, in fact, the percentage of reported sexual assaults is a tiny fraction of that.
The one in five canard, along with the “rape culture” meme, are the wicked twin sisters of the sexual grievance industry. Both need to be challenged at every turn. Because she is helping to foment a public outcry based on a phony epidemic, Claire McCaskill is unfit to serve as a United States Senator.
At the University of Virginia — which is to “rape” what Loch Ness is to real monsters — a council of student leaders from a variety of different organizations has put together a list of action points to battle rape. One of their suggestions calls on the state legislature to enact “Closed Criminal Trials” for rape. They write: “One hurdle to pursuing criminal resolution may be the painstaking public nature of trials. Introducing privacy could make that path more attractive.”
We are raising a generation of nitwits. Too many say stupid things like this, and too many others don’t object when they hear stupid things like this said.
In this case, they have it exactly backward, of course. Criminal proceedings involving rape ought to be more public, not less. The news media ought to stop shielding the identities of rape accusers as if they were children. No less an authority than Professor Alan Dershowitz has written: “People who have gone to the police and publicly invoked the criminal process and accused somebody of a serious crime such as rape must be identified. In this country there is no such thing and should not be such a thing as anonymous accusation. If your name is in court it is a logical extension that it should be printed in the media. How can you publish the name of the presumptively innocent accused but not the name of the accuser?” Prof. Dershowitz also wrote: “It is absolutely critical that rape be treated like any other crime of violence, that the names of the alleged victims be published along with the names of the alleged perpetrators, so that people who know the victim or know her reputation can come forward to provide relevant information.”
Feminist Naomi Wolf once wrote: “Feminists have long argued that rape must be treated like any other crime. But in no other crime are accusers kept behind a wall of anonymity. Treating rape so differently serves only to maintain its mischaracterization as a ‘different’ kind of crime, loaded with cultural baggage and projections. . . . . Though children’s identities should, of course, be shielded in sex-crime allegations, women are not children. If one makes a serious criminal accusation, one must wish to be treated – and one must treat oneself – as a moral adult.”
Prof. KC Johnson wrote this about the UVA actions points:
The students’ recommendations were extraordinary. The most eye-popping came in a call for UVA to use its influence with the General Assembly to change Virginia law, and make all rape trials in the state secret (on grounds that the “painstaking public nature of trials” discourages victims from reporting crimes). The students seemed unaware—or indifferent to—the fact that secret trials are anathema to the U.S. legal tradition, or that open trials afford a critical protection to the wrongly accused.
Prof. Johnson dignifies the student’s idiocy with a rationale that ought to be apparent to a ten year old.
We all know that college campuses are breeding grounds for puerile groupthink and conformity to the PC meme du jour – in their defense, the ones doing the “groupthinking” are barely older than children, and a staggering percentage of them still think like children – but all the supposed good intentions in the world can’t excuse idiocy that would put innocents at risk.
All persons of good will need to start calling these sorts of morally grotesque ideas exactly what they are: stupid, and dangerous.
One in five women lie about Rape
In response to the total implosion of Rolling Stone’s preposterous story about a fraternity gang-rape at the University of Virginia, the media have reverted to their Soviet-style reporting. They’re not even saying: We’re choosing not to talk about UVA because it’s a side show. It’s more like: UVA? That’s a school? Not only did the UVA gang rape turn out to be a hoax, but then President Obama’s own Department of Justice completed a six-year study on college rape, and it turns out that instead of 1-in-5 college coeds being raped, the figure is 0.03-in-5. Less than 1 percent of college students are the victim of a sexual assault — 0.6 percent to be exact — not to be confused with the 20 percent, or “one in five,” claimed by feminists and President Obama. But neither the DOJ report, nor the UVA rape hoax have dissuaded Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill from pushing their idea that the nation is in the grip of a college rape epidemic. This week, Gillibrand dismissed the UVA outrage, saying, “Clearly, we don’t know the facts of what did or did not happen in this case.” Actually, we know quite well what happened in this case. A disturbed young woman invented a fake boyfriend and a fake gang-rape to get attention, and an incompetent journalist acted as her transcriber. It was a total hoax — just like the Duke lacrosse case, the Jamie Leigh Jones case, the Tawana Brawley case, and every other claim of white men committing gang-rape. Gillibrand and McCaskill: Perhaps the accusations against Dreyfus were overblown, but that doesn’t mean there’s not an epidemic of Jews selling secrets to the Germans! We are truly in the middle of a rape epidemic: an epidemic of women falsely claiming to have been raped. It’s said that “women never lie about rape!” But the evidence shows that women lie about rape all the time -– for attention, for revenge and for an alibi. All serious studies of the matter suggest that at least 40 percent of rape claims are false. The U.S. Air Force, for example, examined more than a thousand rape allegations on military bases over the course of four years and concluded that 46 percent were false. In 27 percent of the cases, the accuser recanted. A large study of rape allegations over nine years in a small Midwestern city, by Eugene J. Kanin of Purdue University, found that 41 percent of the rape claims were false. To put it in terms Kirsten Gillibrand would understand, two in five women claiming to have been raped are lying. So why are we always being hectored: Only 2 percent of rape allegations are false! That oft-cited number comes from Susan Brownmiller’s 1975 book, “Against Our Will” — which sourced the claim to a mimeograph of a speech by a state court judge, who made a passing remark about a New York police precinct with an all-female rape squad. Nothing more is known about whether this was an actual study, and if so, what was examined, how the information was collected or the actual results. Nor can any trace of the speech, the precinct or the data be found. In Women’s Studies classes, that figure is called a “home run.” That’s why the feminists are so anxious to move on from the UVA nonsense rape story. They want to move on now so they can come back to it later, when everyone’s forgotten, and start citing UVA as their No. 1 example of the fraternity gang-rape culture. It’s crucial that we get a letter in the file that says, “This was total B.S.” Otherwise, the UVA hoax will remain in an open file, marked “unresolved.” All we’re hearing now is, Enough! Enough! Don’t be a bad winner. All this coverage is putting Jackie in a precarious emotional state. If you were a gentleman, you would drop the subject. Then in three months, they’ll be bringing up the UVA gang rape as proof of a college rape epidemic. In six months, the case will show up in feminist textbooks. Wait a minute! That was a hoax! We didn’t agree it was a hoax. We conceded nothing. The Duke lacrosse case proves that. In an unusual move, after that gang-rape turned out to be yet another hoax, the players refused to accept the case being dismissed for “insufficient evidence,” which is how prosecutors usually drop charges. They insisted on being declared “innocent.” This, the attorney general did. He also denounced the prosecutor, Mike Nifong, and saw that he was disbarred. A few years went by, and then, this year, some douchebag wrote a book that claims “something happened” in the Duke case between the players and the stripper (who has since been convicted of murder). The book got a rave review from The New York Times. With feminists, either you lose or the game was rained out. So before anyone moves on from UVA, we need to get it in writing that this case was a hoax. Jackie’s got to apologize to the fraternity; UVA’s president has to not only apologize, but pay restitution to the Greek system for shutting it down for an entire semester; and Rolling Stone authoress Sabrina Rubin Erdely has got to swear that she will never, ever write again. She cannot be an “investigative journalist.” She cannot even write movie reviews. Remember, Sabrina: No means no. Ann Coulter is a syndicated columnist. Contact her through her website at http://www.anncoulter.com.
By Janie Har on Saturday, March 2nd, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Statistics about sex trafficking, especially about minors, are notoriously difficult to document. For example, this newspaper once tried to show whether Portland is the child sex trafficking hub thatelected officials and national media say it is, only to find that nobody really knew.
PolitiFact Oregon likes statistics and we like to know where they come from, especially when politicians use those statistics to shape public policy. Which is how we’ve come to Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel, an east county resident who has made combating human trafficking, especially child sex trafficking,a priority.
McKeel told columnist Elizabeth Hovde, who writes for The Oregonian’s editorial page, that the average age of entry into the sex trade industry is 12 to 14. It’s not the first time McKeel has cited the statistic. In a 2010 guest column about at-risk girls, she also wrote that “studies show the average age of entry into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old.”
A statistical average between 12 and 14? Wouldn’t that mean a large number under 12? Also, was she talking about the average age of entry for all trafficked prostitutes, including adults? Or just juveniles?
She clarified in an interview that, “the issue for me is the commercial exploitation of children. The average age of entry is 12 to 14. This is about our children being bought and sold on the street.”
It’s big and fat and the number in question is on page 92, under the section “ages of first intercourse and entry into juvenile prostitution.” The age range of entry for boys “was somewhat younger than that of the girls, i.e. 11-13 years vs. 12-14 years, respectively.” We emailed Dr. Richard Estes, the lead author, to learn more about sample size and methodology.
His response was not illuminating. “Any numbers you come across, even mine, represent best estimates of the situation. Because of the secretive and hidden nature of the problem it simply is not possible to get an accurate ‘head count.’”
Another widely cited report comes from a Vancouver, Wash., based group called Shared Hope International. The2009 reportstates that “research has shown that the average age of entry into prostitution and pornography is 12 to 14 years old in the United States.”
There’s no research citation, but there is a pie chart breaking down age of entry into prostitution, based on a Clark County, Nevada, survey of girls arrested for prostitution-related offenses. The 96 girls were ages 11 to 17. We did the math, and the average we got was 14.96, almost 15 years old. That’s young, but not 12 or 13.
Our email requesting clarification got no response from Shared Hope. We were stumped.
We scoured the Internet for more sources, reading abstracts and tracking down anyone who might have a clue. A criminology professor we queried wrote back saying that “good estimates are hard to find, and good data are harder yet” and wished us luck. He directed us to yet another paper, which we read, diligently.
We queried the U.S. Department of Justice. McKeel’s office provided links to testimony and a report tied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which state the average ages as 11 to 14, or 12. But a spokeswoman at the Bureau of JusticeStatisticssaid those are not bureau numbers and that the bureau has no average age for entry into sex trafficking.
“The likelihood that it comes from a nationally representative study is very low,” wrote Kara McCarthy in an email.
Eventually, we spoke with David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, and a respected researcher in the area. He, too, had nothing concrete but offered skepticism. The average age is higher if adults are included. Older teens simply may escape survey. “There isn’t a lot of good research on this; they’re relatively small samples,” he said.
But he did suggest another academic article, which led us to Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, a professor at the School of Social Work at Arizona State University.
Is the average age of entry into prostitution and sex trafficking between 12 to 14 years old?
“That is statistically impossible,” the professor said. “If she were to say, minor trafficking often starts between the ages of 12 and 14 across the country, that is somewhat supported.”
Roe-Sepowitz said the statistic as it applies to girls is used by many, if not all, advocacy groups; the studies on which those statistics are based date back to the 1980s. Indeed, after we spoke with her, we found a 1985 study that reports the average age as 14.
Finally, we called Multnomah County Deputy Sheriff Keith Bickford. He manages the Human Trafficking Task Force. Was he aware of an average age? Short answer: No. “You’ll hear 12, you’ll hear 14. I have yet to nail down an actual average from the people I talk to,” he said, adding that he is reading more accounts involving younger children..
We’ve galloped across the country and found that definitions are fuzzy, statistics are murky and nobody knows for sure. We’ve learned that many organizations continue to repeat the statistic that the average age of entry into juvenile prostitution is between 12 and 14 years, despite the research being old and limited.
We found a professor who said there is some research backs up the claim, and another expert who warned that sample sizes are inadequate and research limited. One of the most widely cited sources told us that any numbers, even his, are estimates.
The following is by Eminism.org:
Over the last several years, I have been trying to correct the inaccurate notion that the “average age of entry into prostitution is 13″ wherever I see it, but it is becoming increasingly overwhelming. This figure is in newspapers, official reports from City of Portland, and many websites and pamphlets claiming to confront sex trafficking (but often conflate prostitution with trafficking, and take anti-prostitution stances that are actually harmful to women). When I contact them to correct the errors, they either don’t understand what I am explaining or just plain don’t care. I’ve also been accused of being a pimp, pervert, pedophile, and other unpopular beings, simply because I challenge the falsehoods.
Here is the latest example, found on The Oregonian on July 3, 2010. Columnist Eliabeth Hovde writes:
Boys and girls are being lured or forced into what they call “the life” at younger and younger ages. […] The U.S. Justice Department believes that the average age of entry into prostitution is 13 and that 100,000 children are used for commercial sex each year in this land of the free.
Department of Justice does state this figure in its website:
Although comprehensive research to document the number of children engaged in prostitution in the United States is lacking, it is estimated that about 293,000 American youth are currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Richard J. Estes and Neil Alan Weiner, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the U.S, Canada and Mexico, University of Pennsylvania, Executive Summary at 11-12 (2001)
This led me to find the University of Pennsylvania study titled “The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children In the U. S., Canada and Mexico,” which in fact states:
The age range of entry into prostitution for the boys, including gay and transgender boys, was somewhat younger than that of the girls, i.e., 11-13 years vs. 12-14 years, respectively.
But as the title suggests, this study only surveys minors (“children”), which means it does not include anyone who entered into prostitution at age 18 or over, or those who entered as a minor but has since aged out. Imagine conducting a research on those who died as minors: the average age of death would be somewhere near 10-12, but it would be ridiculous to claim that the average life expectancy for the general population is 10-12. Similarly, the “average age of entry” among youth who were studied does not tell us anything about the actual average age of entry for everyone who is in or has been in prostitution.
That’s not all. For the sake of discussion, let’s pretend that in a small town, six minors enter into prostitution each year, one individual each for ages 12-17. That means that there is one 12 year old, one 13 year old, one 14 year old, and so on. The average age of entry in this hypothetical town is the average of these six individuals, which is (12+13+14+15+16+17)/6 = 14.5.
But when researchers arrive in this town, they don’t just survey these six minors: they will also survey others who have started prostitution in the years past. So for any given year when the research is conducted, there are one 12 year old (who entered at 12), two 13 year olds (entered at 12 and 13), three 14 year olds (entered at 12, 13, and 14), and so on. The average among all of these youth will be: (12+(12+13)+(12+13+14)+(12+13+14+15)+(12+13+14+15+16)+(12+13+14+15+16+17))/21 = 13.7–which is almost one year younger than the actual average age of entry.
This discrepancy is caused by limiting the research subject to minors. Those who entered into prostitution at age 12 has six years in which he or she might be surveyed (at ages 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17), while those who entered at 17 has only one year, which artificially inflates the proportion of research participants who entered early. In short, we cannot know the actual “average age of entry” by simply averaging the age of entry reported by research participants.
Case in point. Below is a chart and table found in “The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking,” produced by Shared Hope International, an anti-trafficking group.
This chart is based on Shared Hope International’s 10-city study on minor sex trafficking. In the same page where this chart appears, Shared Hope founder Linda Smith states “The average age that a pimp recruits a girl into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old.” But interestingly, the chart does not support this statement: the average of all responses represented in the chart/table is 14.97, which is much higher than Smith’s “12 to 14″ figure. Plus, simply averaging all the responses is not enough, for the reason I pointed out above. So when we adjust the numbers to compensate for the over-representation of those who entered early, the re-calculated “average of entry” turns out to be almost 16 (15.91).
This calculation is rudimentary and at best an approximation, since we don’t have access to the complete data or truly representative sample. But I suspect that it is much closer to reality than 13, which is what journalists, politicians, and many anti-trafficking activists claim.
There is also an element of common sense here. Assuming normal distribution (bell curve), the average of 13 implies that for every 20 year olds entering prostitution, there are equal number of 6 year olds doing the same. That, common sense should say, cannot possibly be true. The alternative is that the distribution isn’t normally distributed, but heavily clustered around 10-12 year olds to balance everyone who enters into prostitution 16 or older. This again is implausible, as we simply do not find that many 10-12 year olds in prostitution, at least in the United States. The only logical conclusion is that the average age is not anywhere near 13, but is much closer to 18.
That doesn’t diminish the fact that some very young children are victimized, and we should do something about it. But it is not trivial if the average age of entry is 13 or 16 or even 18, because it drastically changes what social policies we must enact to combat forced prostitution and trafficking. I feel that many journalists, politicians, and anti-trafficking activists use the lower figure merely for the shock value, to arouse strong emotional reaction toward the issue, but they are acting irresponsibly when they distort reality. We need to understand reality as they are and craft rational and sensible responses to the problem, rather than indulging ourselves in panicked frenzy.
by: Glenn Harlan Reynolds – for USA Today
Americans have been living through an enormously sensationalized college rape hoax, but as the evidence accumulates it’s becoming clear that the entire thing was just a bunch of media hype and political opportunism.
No, I’m not talking about the Rolling Stone‘s lurid and now-exploded fraternity gang-rape story. Whatever the truth behind that story, it’s now clear that basically nothing that Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely told us happened, actually happened. But the hoax is much bigger than one overwrought and perhaps entirely fictional tale of campus goings-on.
For months we’ve been told that there’s a burgeoning “epidemic” of rape on college campuses, that the system for dealing with campus rape is “broken” and that we need new federal legislation (of course!) to deal with this disaster. Before the Rolling Stonestory imploded, Sens. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., were citing the Virginia gang rape as evidence of the problem, but now that the story has been exposed as bogus, they’re telling us that, regardless of that isolated incident, there’s still a huge campus rape problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
Sen, Gillibrand also says that “women are at a greater risk of sexual assault as soon as they step onto a college campus.”
The truth — and, since she’s a politician, maybe that shouldn’t be such a surprise — is exactly the opposite. According to the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, the rate of rape and sexual assault is lower for college students (at 6.1 per 1,000) than for non-students (7.6 per 1,000). (Note: not 1 in 5). What’s more, between 1997 and 2013, rape against women dropped by about 50%, in keeping with a more general drop in violent crime nationally.
It’s getting press because it suits the interests of those pushing the story. For Gillibrand and McCaskill, it’s a woman-related story that helps boost their status as female senators. It ties in with the “war on women” theme that Democrats have been boosting since 2012, and will presumably roll out once again in 2016 in support of Hillary Clinton, or perhaps Elizabeth Warren. And University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan hasn’t apologized for her action in suspending all fraternities (and sororities) on the basis of a bogus story in Rolling Stone. Nor has she apologized for the mob mentality on campus that saw arrests, vandalism and protests at a fraternity housebased, again, on a single bogus report. Instead, she’s doubling down on the narrative.
This kind of hysteria may be ugly, but for campus activists and bureaucrats it’s a source of power: If there’s a “campus rape crisis,” that means that we need new rules, bigger budgets, and expanded power and self-importance for all involved, with the added advantage of letting you call your political opponents (or anyone who threatens funding) “pro rape.” If we focus on the truth, however — rapidly declining rape rates already, without any particular “crisis” programs in place — then voters, taxpayers, and university trustees will probably decide to invest resources elsewhere. So for politicians and activists, a phony crisis beats no crisis.
Even one rape is too many, of course, on or off of campus. But when activists and politicians try to gin up a phony crisis, public trust is likely to be a major casualty. It’s almost as if helping actual rape victims is the last thing on these people’s minds.
Originally published on Marijkes Praktijken. Author Marijke Vonk. Translated by Maartje Swart.
It’s a classic heroic tale: bad guys abduct an innocent little girl, hero barges into their lair and saves the damsel in distress. It’s the exact story that we get told about human trafficking in the sex industry. Human traffickers steal a woman away and force her to work until the heroes storm the brothel and save her. But what if the ‘damsel’ wasn’t actually in distress? What if there are no bad guys to be found? What if the heroes turn out to be the bad guys?
The rescue industry is big business. The USAID Counter Trafficking in Persons project pulled in a good 7.3 million US dollars. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, one of the largest international organisations against prostitution, offers financing and jobs to countless projects and persons. The Dutch organisation Free a Girl raised more than a hundred thousand euro through their Lock me Up campaign, for example for the Alliance Anti Trafic, which orchestrates rescue missions in which prostitutes are taken from their workplaces and kept locked in government buildings. In itself a worthy goal, of course, trying to rescue women from sexual exploitation. But there are problems.
“It’s as if prostitutes don’t want to be saved,” said a surprised manager of a Rescue Foundationshelter in India. The rescuers had once again made a raid on a brothel, after which the women had been forced into a shelter they weren’t allowed to leave. Again and again women escaped, continually protested their imprisonment in the shelters, and returned to their old workplaces as soon as they were able to make a run for it. It was as if the women were working as prostitutes of their own accord, didn’t view themselves as victims, thought of the rescue missions as threats to their human rights and livelihoods and for the most part felt victimized by the rescue industry.
We have now reached a point in history where there are more women in the Thai sex industry who are being abused by anti-trafficking practices than there are women being exploited by traffickers.
– Thailand, Empower Report
In Thailand sex workers refusing to admit after capture that they were human trafficking victims can be detained for months so they can be used as witnesses in other human trafficking cases. They don’t have a right to legal counsel, aren’t allowed to contact their families or other organisations and aren’t allowed to leave. The medical care in such ‘shelters’ (prostitute prisons) is inadequate. There’s no independent institution where the prostitutes can complain, there’s no trial, the rescue industry gets a free pass.
In India, too, women try desperately to stay out of the rescue industry’s clutches. After women had fled the ‘shelters’ (prisons) in Mumbai once again, the High Councilordered an investigation. “The shelters are a living hell” was the conclusion. Women suspected of prostitution, regardless of whether they are guilty (or well, victimized) can be kept prisoner for years, even if they want to leave. They have no right to legal counsel because they are ‘victims’ and there’s no trial. They aren’t allowed to communicate with the world outside the shelter, although often their families are often informed they are sex workers, so that women don’t dare to go home and face this disgrace. They are fed concoctions with insects, worms and gravel in them. Sexual assault by staff members is an everyday occurence, just like forced vaginal exams and abuse. Sanitary amenities are inadequate, women urinate and defecate on the floors, there is almost no medical care. They want out. Women are depressed, fearful and even suicidal. More and more money is spent on guarding these shelters: not for the safety of the women, but to make sure they stay inside and contain the umpteenth try to break out.
Because what you need to understand is, organisations that are part of the rescue industry earn good money for rescuing and rehabilitating enough women in their shelters. The more court cases (if there are any perpetrators they are rarely convicted), the more ‘witnesses’ they ‘protect’ and the more sex workers they ‘offer a chance at a better future’ by having them make products that are sold in the Western world for big bucks (“made by disadvantaged women who were saved from the sex industry!”) the more money the projects rake in. More women means more cash.
In South Korea the bullying by the police has gotten so severe that prostitutes rather killed themselves than be ‘saved’. The United States pressured the government into making a stand against prostitution (‘human trafficking’). Despite protests from the sex workers themselves the police kept arresting johns and pestering the prostitutes. Women used to earn about nine thousand dollar each month, but this shrunk to a good three thousand ever since the police kept invading the brothels. The US and the South Korean government have reached their goal: women are being forced out of prostitution against their will. For 920 USD per month they are allowed to live in a shelter and work for the government, but as usual few prostitutes are happy to perform forced labor while impris… I mean, to be rescued.
RATSW: If a woman agrees to go to work in a brothel but ends up sent to a factory and forced to sew, is that trafficking? Would you rescue her?
Police: No that is not trafficking. We wouldn’t rescue her. That is called an opportunity.
– Empower Report
Size of the human trafficking industry
The rescue industry claims there are millions of people all over the world, particularly women and children, who are being traded like chattel across borders to work as slaves in the sex industry. However, real proof for large-scale human trafficking operations is never found. The rescue industry claims this is because it’s a hidden and shadowy world which makes it hard to find hard data, but even big ‘rescue operations’ don’t succeed in proving the existence of trafficking. Take for instance the British project ‘Pantameter 2′, involving the police forces of the entire United Kingdom (as well as that of the Republic of Ireland and the UK Human Trafficking Centre), in which raids were performed in hundreds (hundreds!) of brothels and massage parlors. Results? No arrests. Not a single arrest was made for trafficking or forced prostitution. Zero. Nada. Dissatisfaction with this result led to the foundation of the Acumen project, explicitly designed to provide proof of human trafficking. The results were disappointing: none of the women had been kidnapped, held against her will or sold. To be considered ‘vulnerable’ in this investigation they had to fulfill one of the criteria, of which working in a brothel was one, which labeled the whole group as ‘vulnerable’. Other criteria were having an economically disadvantaged position (not speaking English, not having had an education), having a disadvantaged social position (being an illegal immigrant for example), being wrongly informed (it was sufficient if you were working in a different city than had been agreed on) or having been abused/having been forced (was found only rarely). Four of these criteria were enough to be considered a ‘victim of human trafficking’ in this report, regardless of whether you actually werea victim of human trafficking. 11% of the women included in the investigation complied to these criteria. Next, this percentage was raised considerably based on preconceptions (“this has to be too low, in reality there must be more women from vulnerable countries”) and the results were presented to the world: thousands of victims of human trafficking in the UK! They hadn’t found even one…
CoMensha is a Dutch foundation that fights human trafficking and puts out reports about the scale of human trafficking in the Netherlands. Their numbers are used by the Justice Ministry’sWODC and by the police. In their annual reports, CoMensha mentions the amount of reports they have received of possible victims of human trafficking, but for convenience’s sake, they abbreviate this structurally to victims of human trafficking. And to be clear: CoMensha does notcheck or investigate these reports, they are reports of suspicions.
The imprecise (and misleading) language use of CoMensha is copied without scruples by all sorts of official institutes, and this turns the reports of possible victims into actual victims. When the government ordered the Intraval agency to investigate prostitution, their report mentioned “400 victims of human trafficking” instead of the actual 400 reports of possible victims. The real problems in the sex industry are not talked about. Prostitutes in Utrecht are hindered in their work and are denied a place of business ‘for their own good’ and ‘because of suspicions of human trafficking’. Again, the myth of human trafficking is used to put prostitutes in a more dangerous spot, to force the sex industry underground and to take away the rights of sex workers.
In the year 2000, The National Human Trafficking Reporter asked 155 help and special interest organisations how many reports they had had of possible victims of human trafficking, and simply added the numbers these organisations gave them (!) with no correction to account for doubles, then systematically talked about ‘victims’ in the report instead of ‘possible victims’, causing news papers and other media to wrongly state that in the year 2000, there had been 608 victims of human trafficking.
In Cambodia alone there are hundreds of organisations ‘rescuing and rehabilitating’ sex workers’ and it’s suspected there are more activists than victims of trafficking. An audit by the USAID Counter Trafficking in Persons project reported that in 2009, only 12 people had been charged for human trafficking.
The Asia-Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) reports how the rescue industry is almost pornographic in their way of using lurid stories about sexual humiliation in order to rake in more funds, even while they have trouble finding any actual victims.is how the organisations explain this failure.
The police is often the perpetrator of violence against sex workers. In countries where prostitution is prohibited, it turns out the police is the number 1 agressor when it comes to violence against sex workers. They have the power to arrest and publicly humilate these women and this power is abused at a large scale. InCambodia, 70% of the prostitutes who work in a brothel reports having been abused by the police and almost 60% has been raped by the police. The awful thing is, they are hardly able to report this sort of crime for fear they themselves will be arrested or abused further.
Anti-trafficking organisations have put themselves in the idiotic position where they have to use violence and human rights violations against the women and girls they say they are rescuing, so they can prove there has been a crime, in spite of the denial and the uncooperative attitudes of the alleged victims.
Sex work as a profession.
Of course, sex work isn’t always a completely free choice, often women find themselves needing to work in the sex industry because they lack other options. Research by Mai (2009) for example showed that a lot of immigrants in the UK work in the sex industry because that way they can eke out a respectable living for themselves and their families. A lot of immigrants choose sex work to avoid the abuse in other sectors, where long hours and little pay are not uncommon. Many of the sex workers in Cambodia are former seamstresses and clothing factory workers, who prefer the circumstances in the sex industry above those in other sectors.
Almost 95% of women in CSOM research reported the money they earned as the primary motivation to work as a sex worker. About 3.9% of women reported having ever been forced to work. This percentage, in this research and comparable ones, is similar to the percentage of women not in the sex industry who feel forced or abused. Furthermore, 97% (!) of women working as escorts report an increase in self confidence since they started working as a prostitute whereas only 8% of streetwalkers reports this. Another research (Decker, 1979: 166, 174) showed that 75% of escorts feel their lives improved since they started working as a sex worker, 25% says it didn’t change anything, and 0% felt that their lives had gotten worse. Australian research showed that half the protitutes considered their work as one of the major positive aspects to their lives, and 70% said they would choose prostitution again if they had to do their lives over (Woodward et al., 2004: 39).
The human trafficking myth allows governments to enforce restrictive migration laws, claiming it is to stop human trafficking but in reality mainly to stop immigration. In 2008, Cambodia passed the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Law, a law financed and supported by UNICEF. This law makes it impossible for sex workers to work safely, makes almost any social or financial transaction surrounding sex work a criminal act, and has forced sex workers out on the streets. The consequences are horrendous: sex workers are being raped, abused and arrested by the police, the rescue industry keeps women locked up against their will and women have been known to die in custody.
When sex workers are considered either criminals who need to be punished, OR victims in need of rescue, the rescue industry takes away any humane option from sex workers. Take for exampleProject ROSE in the US, in which prostitutes have to admit that they are victims, are lectured on the evils of ‘selling one’s body’ and have to promise to give up on sex work forever or they will be thrown in prison. You’re either a filthy whore or a powerless victim, nothing else.
‘Rescue missions’ in the sex industry and laws against ‘human trafficking’ in practice make sex workers’ positions more vulnerable and dangerous. Restrictive migration laws to fight human trafficking and laws aimed against the clients of sex workers make a protitute’s job more complicated or even impossible, forcing sex workers to take more risks to fly under the radar. For many migrant sex workers the rescue industry and their ‘rescue missions’ are a greather threat to their safety and livelihood than john or ‘pimps’.
Large organisations for the rights of sex workers, like Empower in Thailand (50 thousand sex workers) are calling out for help against anti-trafficking organisations who are slandering them, insulting them, setting the police on them, keep them imprisoned for years, forcing medical exams on them, having them follow mandatory programs and forbidding them from crossing the border.
Stop human trafficking
To stop human trafficking, first the rescue industry has to be stopped. Reducing prostitutes to powerless victims and then raiding their homes or workplaces, keeping them in shelters they cannot leave and where they are forced to work for minimal pay because otherwise they are faced with arrest or worse is HUMAN TRAFFICKING.
Sex work needs to be acknowledged as a legitimate profession, so that sex workers can be protected against abuse and violence from police and institutions. In New Zealand the laws were changed in 2003, making sex work legal. Sex workers reported feeling no apprehension about going to the police or to court to make complaints about bad circumstances. A good 60% of sex workers indicated that under the new laws, they were better able to refuse work. The research committee’s conclusion was clear: legalizing sex work improves the rights and safety of sex workers.
Only when sex workers have equal rights as people in other professions we can begin to truly combat human trafficking. When sex workers can rent a space, have an accountant, can cooperate and have rights, then we can fight injustice. Right now, prostitutes in England sharing an apartment for work can both be arrested and convicted for ‘being a pimp’ and ‘keeping a brothel’, allegedly making the other their victim! In India, adult live-in children of sex workers are arrested for human trafficking (because they benefit financially from their parent’s income). In the US, prostitutes travelling or visiting a client together are arrested, again because they ‘victimize’ each other. If, as a sex worker, you can file a report on a bad situation without fear of being kidnapped and held by the rescue industry or arrested by the police, you can arrange so much help from within the sex industry itself. The world is in no way improved when we punish sex workers.
The real causes of human trafficking need to be addressed. Problems surrounding poverty, gender inequality, migration problems, discrimination, cultural problems and sex negativism. Human rights. But that’s not as exciting a story as 13-year old girls in a six foot square closet, so human trafficking is still being financed by us. The saviors. The good guys. It’s enough to make you cry.