Saturday, February 4, 2012

I was told prostitutes would be available...

I was a bit disheartened to hear about Indiana AG Greg Zoeller using the Superbowl as a bootstrap to get a human trafficking bill through the legislature. The bill in question had indeed passed both houses and was signed into law by Mitch Daniels on Monday, January 30th. As FoxNews reports, the law does some good things, no doubt about it:
It is now against the law for anybody to arrange for a person to participate in any forced sexual act. Before, Indiana law only prohibited forced marriage and prostitution. 
Also, the law makes it easier to prosecute those who sell children into sexual slavery. It reduces the burden on a prosecutor to prove coercion. Before, prosecutors had to prove a victim was threatened or physically forced into sexual slavery. Traffickers could escape prosecution by claiming the victim wasn’t being held against their will. 
The new law extends the definition of sex trafficking and increases penalties.
My understanding is that the maximum penalty for sex trafficking in Indiana has been increased. And that's great. Hell, knock it up to one hundred. Make it a capital offense to sell children into slavery, sexual or otherwise. That's all good.

But Zoeller and others used the Superbowl to get it done by repeating the urban legends about thousands of prostitutes descending on Superbowl cities every year in the weeks before the game. The FoxNews story repeats the nonsense, as well:
Organized criminals are known to exploit young women and children through gatherings such as the Super Bowl. In fact, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates 10,000 prostitutes were brought to the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami. In 2011, more than 100 people were arrested for prostitution in Dallas during Super Bowl weekend.
Ten thousand? Really? Give me a break. I live in Miami, know plenty of police officers, and I'm telling you this just can't be backed up, at all. And look at the last bit: more than 100 arrested for prostitution in Dallas. So what? With all the extra police on duty, with all the local prostitutes out in force (because that's certainly a reality), that number--which is just "arrested," not charged or convicted--isn't all that big. How many of that one hundred were from out of town? How many were underage? Surely, those numbers would be given if they supported the storyline. But they weren't given, probably because they don't.

Pete Kotz at the Miami New Times goes into some additional details about this urban legend here. And he addresses the Dallas numbers, as well:
Sure enough, when it was all over, cops had made only 105 arrests metrowide, mostly by rousting the local talent. Twelve women faced penalties no greater than for speeding tickets. Only two arrests involved human trafficking.
He has quotes from police in past Superbowl locations, as well. None of them seemed to think prostitution numbers were particularly high.

And we're just talking about the prostitution aspect, so far. Not content with only that kind of fear-mongering, Zoeller upped the ante, by making human trafficking a huge part of the story, and not just plain old run-of-the-mill trafficking, but trafficking in children for use in sex. Who could say no to a bill combating that? No one, of course. So the bill passed and Daniels signed it. But at what cost?

The Obama Administration has engaged in plenty of fear-mongering to get its agenda passed in the last three years. And it's been rightly called out by critics on the Right (and occasionally on the Left) when that happens. It's a disgusting and shameful tactic, in my opinion. Laws and programs are a good idea or a bad idea, and that determination is made by looking at the facts, at reality, not by using scare tactics and blatant misinformation.

The law Daniels signed may be a good one, but the tools used to force it through were just wrong. And Zoeller should be ashamed of himself, as should everyone else that knowingly repeated the urban legend of Superbowl prostitutes.

Cheers, all.

5 comments:

  1. At least they didn't claim legions of dead hookers were left in the wake of the Super Bowl. Yes, that's damning with faint praise, it's true.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sorry, if you're expecting sanity from the media or non-fear mongering from politicians, you will be very disappointed.
    From what I've seen of news in North America, if they can't fear monger or laugh at it, they don't want it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Research report on sorting out the myths and facts about Human Trafficking sex trafficking prostitution sex slavery at sporting events:

    NO EVIDENCE OF SEX TRAFFICKING AT SPORTING EVENTS:

    The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) :

    link to research report:

    pdf verison: http://www.s-i-o.dk/tekst/WhatstheCostofaRumour.pdf

    http://issuu.com/nswp/docs/whatsthecostofarumour.11.15.2011-1-?mode=window&pageNumber=1

    Article link: http://www.dallasobserver.com/2012-02-02/news/the-super-bowl-prostitution-hoax-returns/

    http://www.partisans.org/2011/10/how-media-sensationalism-undermines-anti-trafficking-efforts/?fb_comment_id=fbc_5007062113701_860331_5007241666701

    http://bebopper76.wordpress.com/


    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

    Video only:

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

    http://www.youtube.com/user/Mythofsextrafficking

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  4. 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??

    http://bebopper76.wordpress.com

    It was all a big lie told by 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, which are anti-prostitution groups that tell lies in order to get grant money from the government and charities to pay their high salaries, and get huge amounts of money into their organizations.

    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.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for all the info, Anonymous.

    ReplyDelete