Archive for August 16th, 2012

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.  –  Hubert Humphrey

Remember SOAP, the trafficking hysterics who use special bars of soap to fight “human traffickers” hiding in hotel lavatories?  They’re the ones whose founder claims she was “trafficked” from her upper-middle-class family home every night for two years (without anyone ever noticing) and forced to prostitute herself, yet was freed every morning to attend school and never showed any signs of sleep deprivation.  Well, if you can believe that, their claims about “sex trafficking” at the Republican Convention are positively realistic in comparison:

As Tampa readies for the estimated 50,000 people coming for the Republican National Convention, Marilyn Garcia has her mind on another, unreported number.  Big events like this draw big money…which is why she expects hundreds, even thousands, of women will be brought to the area strictly for sex.  “We just don’t know,” she says of the number.  “What we do know is that an event of this size means we’ll have a substantial number (of women) being trafficked.  And that’s just something not talked about.”

Let’s allow yet another iteration of the gypsy whores myth to pass without comment just this once, because I have a more important question:  On which planet do “trafficking” fanatics live, where their favorite subject is “not talked about”?  Because on this planet it’s talked about incessantly, despite their endlessly-repeated claim that it isn’t.

…Garcia…is…the founder of The Rachel Project, a faith-based initiative to help “recover and restore” trafficked and exploited victims.  She’s urging the faith-based community to join in promoting awareness of the problem, which the National Human Trafficking Resource Center calls a $32 billion criminal enterprise, second only to the illegal drug trade.

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center is…what’s the right phrase?  Ah, I have it; “full of shit.”  As Ann Jordan pointed out, “Evidence for this claim either does not exist or is impossible to locate…it is not unusual to hear statements that claim to be about trafficking but are really talking about smuggling…It would certainly make more sense to say that smuggling is the third largest source of organized crime profits…”  Note also the promotion in the past year from “third largest” to “second largest”.

Human trafficking is defined as a form of “modern-day slavery” where people profit from the control and exploitation of others.  They use force, fraud or coercion to gain control of others…

Actually, it’s defined as all sorts of things, but described as “modern-day slavery” even when it isn’t, which is usually.

…The Rachel Project will join forces with TraffickFree and other trafficking “abolitionist” advocates…Volunteers are asked to take part in a training session on how to look for signs of human trafficking…that also aims to place thousands of bars of soap in motels.  Each bar’s label will be printed with a hotline number for victims, to help them flee from a life that many cannot break away from out of fear.  The project, called SOAP Outreach, is part of a national campaign founded by a human-trafficking survivor…

I find it quite interesting that the article’s author, Michelle Bearden, uses scare quotes liberally throughout the story, especially around words like “rescue” and “abolitionist”.  I sense a skeptic without the position to write about this in the way she’d prefer.

…”You have to go where they’re at, and do it in a way where it won’t draw any suspicion,” Garcia says…

After all, nothing is as innocuous as soap emblazoned with a bright red label packed with lurid “human trafficking” text.

…Selling sex has gotten a lot easier, thanks to the Internet. Many strip clubs and sex-for-hire services put images of women on the Web; some offer live chats with prospective clients.  It eliminates the fear of being caught soliciting in public, Garcia says…

Because before the internet (wait for it) all whores were streetwalkers.

“A lot of these transactions are made before the event even comes to town,” she says.  “The buyers know where to find these services.  They place a call, order 20 women for a private party, and the deal is done.  It’s a lot harder to get caught in the act these days, because so much of the business is done out of the public eye.”

A bit of perspective:  The biggest party I ever catered was 8 girls, and it took two agencies collaborating to manage that.  This is the same sort of inflation as 50 customers a night, hundreds of thousands of “trafficked children”, etc.

…While Tampa Police spokesperson Andrea Davis says there wasn’t a noticeable uptick in sex-for-hire arrests during the 2009 Super Bowl in Tampa, an FBI spokesman fully expects an increase in trafficking with the upcoming convention.  “It’s a trend we’ve seen over the years.  It has nothing to do with the specific event, and everything to do with the number of people attending it,” says Tampa FBI spokesman David Couvertier.  “It’s no secret these pimps seek large venues to bring in their ‘products.’  This is a rich environment for their type of activity.”

Except that they don’t, and it isn’t.

…Garcia didn’t know about human trafficking – which also includes men and children forced into either labor or commercial sex – until she visited Thailand in 2006.  That’s when she saw something unimaginable:  women tagged like cattle, with male customers selecting their victims by number…

There are also claims of barcodes and other such rubbish.  Only one problem:  with the exception of a single girl in Madrid this past March, nobody has ever seen a picture of these supposed tags and tattoos; furthermore, the Spanish case is clearly an example of life imitating artifice because these absurd tales have been circulated by the “trafficking” hysterics for at least six years now.

…As she began researching the shadowy industry, she learned it was a worldwide enterprise, with an estimated 27 million people trapped in some form of slavery in over 160 countries…

Here’s how that number, larger than the entire population of Australia, was invented.  But the fanatics don’t want you thinking about that too much, which is why the rest of the story is, as usual, a single lurid “sex trafficking” narrative presented without any corroborating evidence whatsoever:

…Telisia Espinosa, 36, a member of Christian Family Church…shares her harrowing experience as a prostitute by speaking at churches, conferences and other events.  She was…19, working as a dancer in a Miami strip club, when a handsome, well-dressed man walked in and began watching her intensely…one day he asked if she liked to travel.  Of course, she told him…Soon after, he asked if she was willing to leave with him.  She didn’t ask where they were going; she just packed her bags and got in his car…For nearly five years, she traveled the country with the man.  She says her daily quota was $1,000, which means she had sex up to 20 times a night…

What, not 50?  Slacker.

…She confirms the reports traffickers are drawn to big events…

Clearly, the unsubstantiated claims of one attention-seeking religious fanatic are far more credible than the anecdotal evidence of hundreds of whores which are backed up by numerous research reports saying exactly the same thing.

…”He took me to the Indianapolis 500,” she says.  “It brought in a lot of out-of-town men, and we worked from a strip club across the street…”

That’s right, pimped streetwalkers work out of strip clubs!  What, you didn’t know that?

As I’ve said before, I’m actually glad to read this kind of garbage.  The mythology of every moral panic always gets more extreme toward the end, for reasons which should be obvious.  Paradoxically, the increasing absurdity of the claims eventually causes ordinary people to abandon the panic, thus undermining its support and causing it to collapse.  Already we’re seeing more news articles questioning hysterical claims, and ever-larger numbers of internet commenters are linking my posts and those made by many others.  The “sex trafficking” mythos is spinning wildly out of control, and it won’t be long now before it tears itself to pieces.

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