Now Airport Employees Are Being Trained To Spot Sex Traffickers

Eric Salard/WikimediaEric Salard/WikimediaConcessions workers at the Atlanta International Airport are being trained in how to spot sex traffickers and victims. One employee, Gary Norris, told wsbtv.com that before the training, he would just come in and do his job. "But now," Norris says, "you look at people, how they carry their bag or (are) walking, the expressions on their face—do they look fearful, do they look terrified?" 

Because it's not enough to have Transportation Security Administration officials watching your every move suspiciously: now the guy behind the Jamba Juice counter and the gal making your Auntie Em's pretzel will be side-eyeing you at the airport, too. Wonderful. 

The training was part of a larger statewide campaign "to raise awareness and curb child sex trafficking." As part of the effort, businesses including airports, buses, bars, truck stops, and strip clubs are now required by law to post signs asking "Are you or someone you know being sold for sex or made/forced to work for little or no pay and cannot leave?"

The signs also list a toll free number for victims to call. Failure to post the signs can lead to fines of up $5,000. 

Stephanie Davis of Georgia Women for a Change thinks the law is necessary to curb sex tourists from New York City. "Now they don’t need to go to Bangkok, they can get it right in Atlanta," she said, though why she thinks NYC predators need to leave NYC for evil-doing is beyond me. 

Meanwhile, a local CBS affiliate in St. Louis is warning that "drug dealers are switching to human trafficking." And on what basis do they know this information? One quote, from one local cop, who imagines that they must be doing so because it's only good business sense.

"Once you sell your product, if it’s drugs, it’s gone," pointed out Sgt. Adam Kavanaugh. "You have to re-up that all the time. If you have a girl, you can use her over and over, night after night." (Why do I picture Kavanaugh salivating a little bit as he says that?)

But, you know, what's the harm of misrepresenting drug dealers? Or hanging up anti-trafficking signs? These are small things. No big deal, right? 

Yet it all serves to fuel the sex trafficking moral panic that's currently raging (fanned by feminists and social conservatives and "helpful" progressives alike). That moral panic, in turn, helps grow the budgets and authority of law enforcement agencies (and social service groups) who claim to be combating the scourge. And they know this.

"Sex-work prohibitionists have long seen trafficking and sex slavery as a useful Trojan horse," wrote "retired call girl" Maggie McNeill at The Washington Post yesterday. 

"In its 2010 'national action plan,' for example, the activist group Demand Abolition writes, 'Framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support and to stimulate stronger opposition.'"

The more folks succeed at a) framing all prostitution or sex work as sex trafficking and b) inciting fears about sex trafficking's rise, the more legislative and voter support will grow for anti-trafficking measures—measures that cost taxpayers money, ruin sex workers' lives, and drive more people into the criminal justice system. Measures that put more power in the hands of cops, lawmakers, and, now, airport concessions workers.

What these measures don't do, however, is actually stem sex trafficking. Groups from Human Rights Watch to Amnesty International agree that this worthy goal would actually be much better accomplished through prostitution decriminalization or legalization. 

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  • Jordan||

    As if the Delta employees hassling you every 100 feet to sign up for some rewards program wasn't enough bullshit to deal with at ATL.

  • Almanian!||

    But ATL does have the TRAINZZZZzzz!

    I do love me some choo chooz...

  • Brett L||

    I was in ATL going and coming this week and didn't have to change concourses. It was unbelievable.

  • The DerpRider||

    It must be lucky week at ATL. My trip this week had me connecting in the same concourse with the Skyclub between gates. Jackpot.

  • ||

    You are making a train joke in a thread about sex...traffic?

  • Almanian!||

    "If you have a girl, you can use her over and over, night after night."

    My wife - I think I'll keep her...

  • The Original Jason||

    In Superfreakonomics, they (I think Sudhir Venkatesh) describe a prostitute as "a trophy wife you rent by the hour".

    I suppose you could call a wife "a prostitute you rent by the life"...

  • From the Tundra||

    You could, but probably only once.

  • The DerpRider||

    I was just directed to give this training to my vendors (insurance adjusters) this year.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Does it focus on sex slavery only, or include libertarian-style voluntary prostitution?

  • Doctor Whom||

    The latter is a patriarchal myth; there is only the former. [/radfemderp]

  • The DerpRider||

    Sex slavery, but they list indicators as - graphic magazines, alcohol, condoms, womens lingerie - if found at the property. Seems like it casts a pretty wide net over what I'd call normal household items.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    So...looking for the right thing, but in the wrong places?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Are these guys experts or some kind of self-appointed "consultant"?

  • The DerpRider||

    I have all those things in my house, but no sex slaves.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Yeah, sounds kind of a broad brush. But what *should* you look for, assuming the basement dungeon is hidden?

  • Brett L||

    Graphic magazines? There's this thing called the internet. It was built to deliver graphic content anywhere in the world in a high speed, fault tolerant manner.

  • JD the elder||

    A feller could have a pretty good weekend in Las Vegas with that stuff.

  • Rich||

    But you're gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company!

  • Jerry on the boat||

    You know it's a bad bill because both Democrats and Republicans supported it: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legisl.....014/HB/141

  • SIV||

    Anything coming out of the GA General Assembly (excepting gun laws) is almost always a bad bill.

  • pogi||

    "Are you or someone you know being sold for sex or made/forced to work for little or no pay and cannot leave?"

    I'm pretty sure that even were I to escape, my wife would track me down within a week or so.

  • ||

    What these measures don't do, however, is actually stem sex trafficking

    That's because that's not what they're about. Many of these groups are just another version of puritan scolds who think sex is bad. They want to punish, not help. Just like drug warriors.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    Or they want to expand their own/group's influence/funding/control/authority/prestige/etc.

  • ||

    That too, but I don't think you get involved with groups of this type in the first place without a major obsession/issue about it. As in any case where a person or group is super obsessed and adamant about something, always look for the personal motivation (and it often isn't profit). Non-obsessed people just won't expend the energy.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Epi, did you ever read Mencken's foreword to "The American Credo". It's actually 66% of the book (the credo part itself is sorta stupid) and worth checking out.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Groups from Human Rights Watch to Amnesty International agree that this worthy goal would actually be much better accomplished through prostitution decriminalization or legalization.

    No. Obviously, we need a War on Prostitution. I'm sure it will end the scourge of people paying for sex, which only started a few years ago.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Eventually, one would hope they'd consolidate all these wars and just call it what it is...War on Freedom.

  • Jordan||

    "Are you or someone you know being sold for sex or made/forced to work for little or no pay and cannot leave?"

    The signs also list a toll free number for victims to call.

    Seriously? They won't call 911 or run to the nearest cop in an airport full of them, but they'll call this number? This is complete WE MUST DO SOMETHING idiocy.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    If you're a slave who just got off the boat/plane from another country and you have little knowledge of the world, maybe you're going to assume nobody will help you. So these signs could send a useful message that the authorities are on your side and give you hope enough to seek help.

  • Calidissident||

    Good point, although there are pretty high odds that the person in your scenario wouldn't understand the sign.

  • paranoid android||

    These signs are ubiquitous on buses and such in my area (Pacific NW), and are mostly multilingual.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    Right???? Like you're so watched/controlled/in fear for your life that you can't call 911 or talk to someone or anything, but you'd call some random number you saw hanging at a truck stop or train station? That seems likely.

  • ||

    As Dave says below, the signs aren't for a supposed victim. They're for the public, to make this seem like an epidemic.

    I think a lot of people fail to realize how much some people hate sex. It seems crazy, seeing how much fun it is, but there is a segment of the population which just hates enjoyment of any kind, and sex is one of their favorite targets, along with drugs.

  • ||

    Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

    -Mencken

  • Invisible Finger||

    As someone pointed out, puritans and southern baptists (I know, same thing) ruin it for everybody. I blame John Adams.

  • Tonio||

    Technically, no, they're not.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Maybe it's to catch stupid people who call the number LOOKING for sex trafficking.

  • R C Dean||

    How long before somebody calls that number looking for a sex slave?

    Kinda like just happened in England, where some barbarian called the Female Genital Mutilation hotline asking for a referral.

  • paranoid android||

    As much as I agree with the thrust of the article's criticism, this is one area where libertarians have an even greater uphill battle than usual in framing the issue. The other side is running big multi-million dollar ad campaigns that have convinced people of this omnipresent international slave system run by super-criminals, and our response, for the most part, is to kind of go, "eh, maybe things aren't as bad as you're making them out to be, really?"

    How do you go around telling people that this is getting out of hand without making it sound like you Just Don't Care about all those poor enslaved women?

  • Doctor Whom||

    Do a reductio ad absurdum. Point out that children are exploited or even enslaved in the clothing industry, too, but that there's no war on clothing because in that context, people understand the distinction between exploited children and adults who freely sell their labor.

  • Surly Chef||

    You use facts and evidence to attack their most likely solution of tougher enforcement the same way that you would with the WoD. I mean it won't work but, you can do a pretty good job of painting them as evil, heartless, racist fucks before you walk away from the conversation.

  • Calidissident||

    Sex trafficking is a real issue, I don't think the answer is to try to minimize the actual harm done to its victims. Pointing out that targeting voluntary prostitution (and combating the idiotic notion that all prostitution = slavery) wastes resources and distracts from targeting actual sex slavery (and how making prostitution illegal discourages forced prostitutes from getting help) is a much better route.

  • Surly Chef||

    Really, I mean how many enslaved underage prostitutes would actually be on a plane in Atlanta, as opposed to a box truck from Mexico or a boat from Russia?

  • Calidissident||

    That's a fair point, and my comment was general, not about this specific case. Although I wouldn't be surprised if it's not that uncommon (relatively speaking) for sex slaves to fly on planes.

  • Surly Chef||

    Oh I was just pointing out that this instance falls under a waste of time and resources. There's virtually no way to prove someone is being trafficked if they are on a flight to the US with all the proper paperwork short of them screaming for help.

  • seguin||

    From what little I've read, girls are mostly tricked by being promised jobs at a location - they're the ones getting on the plane, coming to town, etc.

    The signs would only work if they had the Shining, in which case they probably wouldn't have gotten on the plane.

  • Surly Chef||

    That's what I've read too. They get here of their own accord and are kind of eased into it. They are told it's just for a little while to pay for their flight and arrangements to get here. Then their pimp just keeps tacking on expenses and their servitude duration becomes longer and longer. Before they realize it they are isolated with nowhere to go, no outside contacts, and often don't speak English anyways.

  • Calidissident||

    True. I'm by no means an expert and I have no inside knowledge, but I wouldn't be shocked if, once inside the country, some girls were flown to different cities at times.

  • Zeb||

    If consenting adult prostitutes were allowed to freely ply their trade, it would be a lot easier to spot the underage and effectively enslaved prostitutes. People pretending that every prostitute is a sex slave is completely counterproductive if you want to save people who are actually being exploited.

    That's what I say. I think there are more non-libertarians who want prostitution legalized than, say, heroin. So it's not such a tricky issue if you frame it that way.

  • GILMORE||

    "What these measures don't do, however, is actually stem sex trafficking."

    Geez, next you'll start complaining that the "Affordable Care Act" doesn't make Care (or insurance) 'affordable', or that the War on Poverty seems to have simply made more Poor People Poorer. You're confusing the marketing with the product. The Product is *Moar Control*.

  • Dave Krueger||

    A tactic like this is not designed to catch trafficking. It's designed to make trafficking look epidemic. It says to the public, "These drastic measures are required because trafficking is such a huge problem". Anti-prostitution activists use these kinds of sleazy tactics because reality doesn't support their claims.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    "It's designed to make trafficking look epidemic."

    100% agree

  • Tonio||

    That's a standard part of the whole moral panic playbook, Dave.

  • Invisible Finger||

    though why she thinks NYC predators need to leave NYC for evil-doing is beyond me.

    Because Eliot Spitzer.

    And really, keeping Eliot Spitzer away is a worthwhile goal.

  • WC Varones||

    The Friday afternoon Southwest Airlines flight from San Diego to Las Vegas is known as the "Stripper Express."

    These girls appear to be funding nice lifestyles and condo purchases in beautiful San Diego with weekend work in Vegas.

  • R C Dean||

    [Makes mental note.]

  • ||

    Will the janitors be checking for gentlemen with a wide stance?

  • Rich||

  • Invisible Finger||

    "Are you or someone you know being sold for sex or made/forced to work for little or no pay and cannot leave?"

    One could interpret this as compulsory education being a form of sex trafficking as all minors are forced to work for no pay and cannot leave.

    Or is sex trafficking OK in prison?

  • Rich||

    Good catch.

    *** calls 1-888-373-7888 ***

    I wonder a bit, as well, about the "made/forced" construct.

    "Are you, someone you know, or someone who knows you or someone you know being, or have they been in the past, or potentially may be sold/rented/bartered for sex or made/forced to work/labor for little or no pay and cannot or will not leave/depart?"

  • R C Dean||

    How long before a UGA football player calls that number and complains that he is "made/forced to work for little or no pay" and, due to team rules and curfew, "cannot leave"?

  • SIV||

    "drug dealers are switching to human trafficking."

    It used to be a staple argument of the prohibitionists that "we can't legalize drugs, the drug dealers will just switch to producing and selling CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

    Like if you were for legalization of drugs you wanted to free up criminals to create a huge market for kiddie porn.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Why would drug dealers suddenly quit a profitable line of work just because the police stop hassling them?

  • The Original Jason||

    "Sex-work prohibitionists have long seen trafficking and sex slavery as a useful Trojan horse," wrote "retired call girl" Maggie McNeill at The Washington Post yesterday.

    And Reason contributor.

  • Elizabeth Nolan Brown||

    Aha. Did not know that.

  • From the Tundra||

    She needs to spend more time here. She's quite good.

  • Ornithorhynchus||

    She's one of my favourite writers.

    Her blog is called The Honest Courtesan. She writes every day. Everyone needs to check it out.

  • ||

    I got a little skeptical when she claimed that NYC citizens have to go to Atlanta for prostitutes.

  • SIV||

    Our strip clubs are better than NYCs. Maybe the prostitutes are too.

  • Rich||

    One employee, Gary Norris, told wsbtv.com that before the training, he would just come in and do his job. "But now," Norris says, "you look at people, how they carry their bag or (are) walking, the expressions on their face—do they look fearful, do they look terrified?"

    *** snaps fingers repeatedly ***

    Gary. Gary. GARY! Would you *please* hurry up with my coffee?!

  • Ted S.||

    Of course they look terrified. They're about to get fondled by a bunch of TSA goons.

  • R C Dean||

    do they look fearful, do they look terrified

    Why would anyone look apprehensive while waiting to be rape-scanned, have their personal belongings pawed through, and possibly get groped into the bargain?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "(Why do I picture Kavanaugh salivating a little bit as he says that?)" [with link to story about Hawaii cops having sex with hookers]

    Really? Is there any basis for this suggestion? If not, I think it would be best not to say it.

  • Raston Bot||

    From Maggie's Post piece:

    •A 2004 study of street sex workers who had been murdered found that the average age of the victims was 34. This has since been cited as the average life expectancy of all street workers, or of all sex workers. That would be analogous to saying that because the average soldier who is killed in battle is 21 years old, the average man who joins the military dies at 21. (Newsweek made this mistake in its sensationalist 2011 article “The John Next Door,” and never bothered to correct it.)

    In Newsweek's defense, it's the news magazine for the illiterate.

  • ||

    Last night there was a bit that Irish posted about some fat girl and her blog. I have noticed that if you read the blogs of any given grievance monger you will find that they are very self-absorbed people, talk about themselves and their feelings endlessly, and eventually admit that they have some sort of organic or personality disorder.

    Sure enough, said fat girl admitted to being bi-polar. I don't how many of those nuts are certified and how many are self-diagnosed, but it certainly does give them another layer of victimhood to wrap around themselves, and another reason to talk about themselves.

    Anyone want to take odds on Stephanie Davis being nuts?

  • SusanM||

    I have noticed that if you read the blogs of any given grievance monger you will find that they are very self-absorbed people, talk about themselves and their feelings endlessly, and eventually admit that they have some sort of organic or personality disorder.

    So, how's the weather on Mars? ;)

  • Ted S.||

    In fact, it's cold as hell.

  • SIV||

    The scorching surface of what is the fire-swamp, Mars? The holocaust of a searing Hell when Mars a flaming asteroid colide?

    Just be sure and take Friday's oxygen pills

  • Ted S.||

    David Thompson uses the tag "Psychodrama" for such self-absorbed grievance mongers.

  • Loki||

    Concessions workers at the Atlanta International Airport are being trained in how to spot sex traffickers and victims

    And I'm sure they'll be every bit as competent at that as they are at flipping burgers. Which is to say, not at all.

    "But now," Norris says, "you look at people, how they carry their bag or (are) walking, the expressions on their face—do they look fearful, do they look terrified?"

    Uhm, some people may look fearful or terrified because they have a phobia about flying. Or because they feel like they're being watched all the fucking time.

  • Anomalous||

    This is why there are no libertarian women.

  • RishJoMo||

    Oh wow, where can I get "hooked up"?

    www.GotzAnon.tk

  • widget||

    So the TSA is on another snipe hunt. An entire government agency run by Cliff Claven. Norm! I didn't get the embedded joke in his name until just now, I'm a bit slow. Cheers.

  • Robert||

    Slave off, fucker.

    I'd been waiting so long for that opp'ty.

  • Frank2k14||

    I totally agree with preventing sex trafficking/slavery and who wouldn't ? I also think it's important to note the difference between sex trafficking and prostitution . Sex trafficking is a heinous crime . (duh) Prostitution , on the other hand , should not be a crime . As long as the woman is of legal age and is doing it VOLUNTARILY , then what's the crime ? Prostitution should be a legitimate job that pays taxes and has health insurance .Why can't a woman become an independant contractor under an assumed name and work as a prostitute either out of her home or a brothel ? what people choose to do with their own bodies is their business. Consensual sex between adults is legal , but PAYING for consensual sex with an adult is not ? So to summarize , we need to save these children's lives and by doing so , not only will we feel better about ourselves by helping , we can create a new job and help our unemployment situation .

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