Archive for August 26th, 2011

It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.  –  Abraham Maslow

The principle known as “Maslow’s Hammer” due to its popularization by psychologist Abraham Maslow in his 1966 The Psychology of Science actually first appeared in 1964 in the writings of the philosopher Abraham Kaplan; he called it “The Law of the Instrument” and stated it as “Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.”  One year ago today I wrote about the way that the neofeminist/Christian campaign against sexual freedom has been disguised by a revival of the century-old “white slavery” hysteria; in order to drum up public fervor against a victimless crime, prohibitionists found it necessary to define all prostitutes as victims.  And having defined everything as a nail and released a squad of goons whose only tool is brute force, we shouldn’t be terribly surprised if the result is an awful lot of pounding.

The following is edited from an August 9th article on the CNN Hammer Project:

“Hello?  Hey, what are you doing, girl?  You just woke up?  You going to be free to hang out in a little bit?”  Shane, a vice unit undercover investigator, is on the phone with a woman who placed an online ad offering adult services.  “Okay I’m going to head down to the Disneyland area and get a hotel.”  He’s making a date, and choosing his words carefully.  “I just want to make sure I get what I need.  Are you bringing condoms or do I need to bring condoms?  You’ve got some?  And it’s 200 for an hour right?”  Shane has become an expert at scoring that important criminal admission over the phone – making sure there is no confusion that sex is expected on this date.  “From what I found, sometimes you can use too much jargon,” Shane explained.  “If you use too many street terms you can come off like a cop so I almost talk to them like, “Hey this is what I’m looking for” – just common terms and maybe throw in just a little bit of street jargon.  “If you call them rude or real vulgar they’ll just hang up on you.  So, to them it’s a business and they run it like it’s a business, so there’s that fine dance you have to do with them in negotiation you have to play to get the deal to work.”

I felt like I had to take a shower after reading this.  Note the use of condoms as evidence, flying in the face of every principle of public health; the ridiculous idea that escorts will respond well to “street jargon” (in fact, most hate and barely tolerate it) and the twisted logic of recognizing that escorts are businesswomen while treating them like criminals and then pretending that they’re victims:

This is the first step in a human trafficking operation by the vice unit.  Next, the team will wait for Shane’s date at a local hotel, hoping to eventually grab the date’s pimp.

Because, of course, all independent escorts MUST have pimps, and they’ll try to find a driver or boyfriend they can hang the label on; the hammer needs a nail.

Shane works for Anaheim Police Department – one of a raft of agencies that make up the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force or OCHTTF…In recent months, the fight against prostitution has been refocused and now the prostitutes are treated as victims.  “It’s not knocking what we did before,” explained Sergeant Craig Friesen, head of Anaheim’s vice unit.  “You’d go out, arrest the girls, you do John stings, you arrest the Johns, but with those arrests they’re often low-grade misdemeanor arrests where the people either receive a very minimal sentence or they’re released, oftentimes working in the street 24 hours later.  “With us changing our focus to trying to arrest the pimps, pimping carries a three year mandatory sentence here in California, so to us we have more of an impact because if we can arrest one pimp we can in theory shut down three or four girls because if their pimp’s out, it gives them the opportunity to escape the life that they’re in.”

Are these people actually capable of higher-level cognitive functions?  They specifically target online escorts, but then vomit out this puerile “pimp and ho” garbage about “walking the street” and “escaping the life they’re in”.  It’s as though they just mixed up a bunch of ignorant stereotypes without any regard for whether the results make sense and served the results to CNN.

The Orange County task force is one of 42 federally funded human trafficking task forces across the United States.  Many agencies are part of the task force – from local police departments like Anaheim and Westminster, to federal agencies like ICE and the IRS, which help with immigration and translation issues.  The FBI lends agents to the task force, and one agent frequently works with Anaheim’s vice unit via the FBI’s domestic child sex trafficking task force known as Innocence Lost.

By this clever shell game, federal funds are illegally diverted (there is no federal prostitution law) to local agencies; when private corporations do this it’s called “money laundering” and it’s a serious felony.

…“I think what I’m struck most by is the similarity between the stories,” said Heidi Thi, the supervisor of the human trafficking program at CSP.  “I could have somebody who was sold as a child in China and brought here to Orange County to work as a slave in somebody’s house, or I could be talking to a domestic minor who’s been trafficked for sex who was from Northern California and was down here in Orange County – and it’s striking how similar those stories can be”…Anaheim is the task force’s newest member, and only nine months after receiving federal human trafficking grant money, the team has seen great success.  Sergeant Friesen said the original goal was one pimping arrest in the first year.  The arrest from Shane’s date was the 13th in the first nine months.  He added: “Once we started looking for it – and almost stopped ignoring it – we started finding it everywhere.”

In other words, Heidi has a hammer and is struck by the fact that everything looks like a nail to her.  And once Sergeant Friesen was issued his shiny new federal hammer, he “started finding [nails] everywhere.”  If you’ve read this far, I’m sure you’re not a bit surprised.

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