Sunday, February 3, 2013

Superbowl prostitutes: growing an urban legend

It's Superbowl Sunday and we all know what that means: it's time to use a national event to advance an agenda. The agendas of choice for Superbowl weekend: prostitution and human trafficking for sex. Thus, we have the following article at HuffPo, which says:
"The Super Bowl is the greatest show on Earth, but it also has an ugly underbelly," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott told USA Today in 2011 when his state was gearing up to host the event. "It's commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States."  
The influx of fans fosters the optimal breeding ground for pimps looking to boost their profits. Experts say that the sheer number of men looking to pay for sex substantially increases demand and the massive crowds allow for pimps and victims to essentially go unnoticed, reports.
A year ago, I addressed this urban legend with reference to the Indiana AG and legislature, who used the event in their State to get a human trafficking law passed. As I noted then, the law in question might very well be a good thing, but that doesn't justify lying and exaggerating the truth in order to get it passed:
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.
Then, as now, the 2011 Superbowl in Dallas was cited as evidence to support the legend. But there is something else going on here, as well. The fabrications are not only being repeated, they are being expanded. From the HuffPo article:
According to Forbes, 10,000 prostitutes were brought to Miami for the Super Bowl in 2010 and 133 underage arrests for prostitution were made in Dallas during the 2011 Super Bowl.
Got that? According to the author, 133 underage arrests for prostitution were made during the 2011 Superbowl. The Forbes article cited by the HuffPo piece is here, and sure enough it says:
Some call it an enormous urban legend, but Super Bowl weekend is considered to be the largest sex trafficking event in the United States each year, a number estimated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children who says the 2010 Miami Super Bowl brought 10,000 prostitutes to the city. By the same group’s measure 2011’s Dallas Super Bowl resulted in 133 underage arrests for prostitution.
I addressed the nonsense of the 10,000 prostitutes in Miami for the 2010 Superbowl in full last year, but what about the 133 underage arrests? According to the Miami New Times, the total number of prostitution arrests in Dallas for the Superbowl came in at 105:
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.
So where are all these underage arrests? What's the source for that number?

Forbes says it came from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. An internet search finds the claim being repeated again and again, as if it were a fact, but there's nothing at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in this regard. An article at Meet Justice--an anti-human trafficking org--says the following about the Dallas Superbowl:
News outlets across the country picked up the story, running stories about Traffick911′s anti-trafficking campaign and the problematic industry that has grown up around major sporting events. This unprecedented media coverage resulted in part due to strong efforts by anti-trafficking groups and other social awareness organizations across the country. Following the game, the North Texas Trafficking Task Force disclosed the results of the efforts of increase law enforcement presence. Of the 133 arrests made, there were eight human trafficking-related events and four incidents involving minors. “Most of the rest were prostitution-related” (Dallas News).
And the State of Indiana noted something similar in 2012, with regard to Dallas:
Leading up to the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas, a task force led by the Texas Attorney General's Office reported 133 prostitution-related arrests, through which one trafficking victim led authorities to her trafficker, who was later arrested and charged, according to the Texas AG's Office.
That's the 133 number, no doubt, though 105 still looks to be the real one:
Arlington, host to the game, unleashed extra manpower and bagged an impressive 59 arrests. But it found scant evidence of erotic hordes. Of the 100,000 supposedly Lone Star-bound hookers, Deputy Chief Jaime Ayala says, only 13 were found by his guys. Their busts largely involved rousting the local talent.  
ICE Spokesman Carl Rusnok says there were 105 prostitution arrests metro-wide. But what was billed as a bare-naked onslaught fell rather short. Just to reach three figures, ICE had to include 12 Class C misdemeanors—the legal equivalent of a speeding ticket.  
Rusnok hints at more nefarious busts for human trafficking, but he refuses to provide names, charges or anything else that would allow for verification.  
The 38,000 teen slaves also proved elusive. Police managed to find just two—and they were Texas-grown.
Perhaps the difference reflects final dispositions; the additional 28 arrests cited to arrive at the number of 133 may have resulted in charges being dropped or dismissed. Regardless, what is certain is that there were not 133 underage arrests for prostitution. It seems the author at Forbes simply got that wrong (great job of fact-checking, Forbes). But now that it is out there, it is being repeated and cited a full year later. It is being treated as an established fact in the HuffPo article--and elsewhere--no doubt because Forbes is a mainstream and fully accepted media source.

And because it is something to get outraged over, people are going along with it, by and large.

We need to be better than this, though. We need to expect better from people who claim to be journalists. No matter how heinous human trafficking is, no matter how much we might oppose underage prostitution (and prostitution in general, for that matter), blatant falsehoods and exaggerations need to be avoided and never accepted, no matter the goal or the cause.

Cheers, all.


  1. "Lying for (insert appropriate term)" is a widespread practice when people think the end goal is important enough. People also tend to confuse their opinions with facts and desirability of action's outcome with it's legality.
    It is sad, but it is very doubtful anything is going to change anytime soon.

  2. Sex Trafficking Sex Slavery is used by many groups as a attempt to outlaw all adult consensual prostitution around the world by saying that all women are victims even if they do it willing. This hurts any real victims because it labels all sex workers as victims.

    This is done by the media, aid groups, NGO’s, feminists, politicians, government officials, and religious organizations that receive funds from the government and charities. There are very strong groups who promote that all adult women who have sex are victims even if they are willing, enjoy it and go out of there way to get it. These groups try to get the public to believe that no adult women in their right mind would ever go into the sex business unless she was forced to do so, weather she knew it or not. They say that 100% of all sex workers are trafficking victims.

    They do this in order to label all men as sex offenders and wipe out all consensual adult prostitution. Which is what their real goal is. There is almost no one who challenges or questions them about their false beliefs. Therefore, the only voices you hear are of these extreme groups. These groups want to label all men as terrible sex offenders for seeing a willing adult woman. No one stands up to say this is foolish, the passive public says nothing.

    These groups even say that all men who marry foreign women are terrible sex predators who take advantage of these "helpless foreign women wives".

    These groups believe that two adults having consensual sex in private should be outlawed. Since they believe that it is impossible for a man to have sex with a woman without abusing the woman in the process.

    the media will say that millions of people are sex slaves without doing any real research on the topic. Only taking the word of special interest anti-prostitution groups which need to generate money in the form of huge government grants from taxpayers, and charities. These "non profit" group's employees make huge salaries, therefore they need to lobby the government, and inflate and invent victims in order to get more money into their organizations. If you look into how many real kidnapped forced against their will sex slaves there are, and not just take the anti-prostitution groups word for it. You will be very surprised.

    Where are all the forced sex slaves? I would like to meet the millions of slaves and see for myself if they were kidnapped and forced against their will.

    These groups lobby the government in a big way, getting Politicians to truly believe their lies.

  3. 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????????????

    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.”

    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.

    Dallas TV News show about super bowl sex slave myth:–114983179.html

    Dallas newspaper: