Archive for January 29th, 2011

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. –  James Baldwin

It has been said that the less one knows, the more certainly he knows it.  This is certainly true of “sex trafficking” hysterics; they know even less about prostitution than the average educated member of the general public, but they declare themselves “experts” and pursue their wholly wrongheaded crusade with a vigor rarely to be found in anyone with actual knowledge.  They organize themselves into groups armed with shotguns and set out to pursue wild geese in areas where none are to be found, excitedly shooting parrots, canaries, feather dusters, joke-shop rubber chickens, airplanes, people in Big Bird costumes and anything else with the most remote resemblance to their quarries, and dismissing the concerns of their targets’ owners with an earnest “if we get even ONE wild goose it will be worth it!” They declare those who point out that their victims are not in fact geese to be “in denial” and demand that governments divert money to special goose-hunting programs and allow police to break into henhouses in order to search for the huge numbers of geese they insist are hiding there, and when these hunts still don’t turn up enough geese they begin to classify chickens, ducks and turkeys as geese and then ominously claim that the wild goose “problem” is growing ever larger.

Unfortunately, our culture hasn’t yet had enough of this particular moral panic, so new collectives of sex trafficking fetishists continue to sprout like mushrooms.  Here’s a recent story on one such group; like most, its aggressiveness in persecuting whores is in direct proportion to its ignorance.

With a study of a popular website offering adult advertisements for “escorts,” a young human rights group in Memphis is calling for action to reduce human trafficking in the local sex industry.  The group, Operation Broken Silence, this week released a report that studied Memphis-area female escort listings for the final three months of 2010 placed on the classified advertisement website Backpage.com.  The group’s study…charts a migration of adult ads to the website.  During the three-month period, the group counted 1,952 ads considered advertising sex for sale.  They included 352 women…the average age given for the women, while suspect, was just under 24.

Ryan Dalton, 23, a first-year law student at the University of Memphis, is the “anti-trafficking director” for Operation Broken Silence who led volunteers in the study of local ads on Backpage; “I’m under the conviction that Memphis is one of the largest cities in the nation, top 20, and does not have any grassroots activism specifically against human trafficking,” Dalton said.  Operation Broken Silence, founded in 2007 and hoping to obtain nonprofit status from the IRS, targets issues of genocide and a world water crisis, as well as human trafficking or modern-day slavery.  Mark Hackett, 23, a University of Memphis student who changed his major to international studies from culinary arts, founded the group.

I’m not sure this writer understands the use of scare quotes, since he puts them on the perfectly normal word “escorts” and also on a person’s job title.  But that’s just the beginning of this kiddie-train wreck; the people he writes about seem even more confused.  I’m going to resist the powerful urge to derive a conclusion about OBS’s founder from his rather radical change of major and instead ask what in the world his lieutenant means by saying “I’m under the conviction that Memphis is one of the largest cities in the nation, top 20…”  Doesn’t he know?  It took me all of 45 seconds to look this up on Wikipedia and discover that yes, Memphis is the 19th largest city in the US by population; that’s not a “conviction”, it’s a statistical fact.  And I’m really scratching my head about what these clueless wonders think their study of prostitution advertising migration from a website which no longer accepts the ads to one which still does is supposed to demonstrate.  There’s not one claim here, not even the usual falsified type, that any of these escorts are under coercion; furthermore, the study found that the average escort advertised in the ads they examined was 24.  So what?  A bunch of escort ads of adult women were placed on a popular advertising site, and…what?  Is there something I’m missing?

Apparently the moral crusaders from Operation Broken Silence think so, because armed with this “study” they started demanding the state give itself the power to steal whores’ possessions:

During the first week of 2011, OBS went to Nashville to begin drafting bills for asset seizure from convicted traffickers…When traffickers are convicted, all of the property, money, vehicles, etc, anything used in connection with human trafficking, will be sold and the proceeds will go primarily to an anti-trafficking fund that can be used by NGOs throughout Tennessee to launch future anti-trafficking campaigns.  The money and assets that traffickers used to enslave people will now be used to free slaves if this statute is passed during this session.

I’m sure most of you are aware of the “drug lord law” which allows the United States to rob everything from any person caught with more than a certain amount of marijuana in his possession; you can bet that this new law, if enacted, will result in hookers and their husbands, drivers, service owners and anyone else associated with them being charged with “human trafficking” rather than prostitution or pandering so as to allow everything they own to be stolen by the state.  And if the law passes there you can bet it will spread like a disease; governments never pass over an excuse to take things that don’t belong to them.  Wake up, America; “human trafficking” hysteria will get much worse before it recedes, and once laws like this are enacted they will stay on the books for decades afterward.  What these fanatics don’t know can hurt them, you and everyone else.

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