Do-Gooders Run Sex Rings Around Bamboozled Newshawk

|

New at Reason: Cathy Young comments on the flap over Peter Landesman's Times Magazine story on sex slavery.

NEXT: Churches of Mass Destruction

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I listened to Landesman’s NPR interview:

    http://freshair.npr.org/day_fa.jhtml?display=day&todayDate=01/26/2004

    After hearing 45 minutes of Landesman explaining the debasement and mind control of the women he saw in Mexico, I wonder exactly what Cathy Young’s definition of “forced” prostitution is… a broken brainwashed child certainly can appear willing, through ignorance of the real life taken from them…

    Listening to the interview the “forcing” was done in the training of children to become sexual fodder.

    I think that Young’s calling reports of women and children being murdered by trafficers and children being killed for a fee as being “sensationalist” was off the mark as well… although Landesman didn’t mention it in the radio article, the use of so-called “damaged” sex slaves in the creation of snuf-porn simply makes sense. The stuff exists, it had to come from somewhere.

    Lakeside104

  2. Sex slavery at least in the u.s. is over blown. Why do you need to go through the expense and trouble of supporting a slave when there are so many willing women already?

  3. “But its unraveling illustrates some common pitfalls of which all journalists should beware”

    Huh? His story unraveled? All I hear is Shafer, Cathy Young, and some blogger throwing a few rocks.

    For instance, Shafer disputes that there are “highway rest stops” in Glendale, CA as the NYT article says.

    There are no on-the-highway rest stops in Glendale, however, there are plenty of places to stop. Further discussion here.

  4. Brad, on this issue, as on most issues, feminists are all over the map. Some believe women should do whatever the hell they want with their bodies, and that’s that. Some think any commercialization of bodies is equivalent to slavery. Many of the former think that prostitution laws, which never seem to get fully enforced, are there to keep sex workers in an easily exploitable position – sort of like passing stringent anti-immigrant laws, but letting lots of immigrants work illegally.

    There hasn’t been a singular normative feminist viewpoint for about two decades.

  5. I wonder exactly what Cathy Young’s definition of “forced” prostitution is… a broken brainwashed child certainly can appear willing, through ignorance of the real life taken from them…

    Listening to the interview the “forcing” was done in the training of children to become sexual fodder.

    lakeside, by that definition, i’m a forced catholic, a forced urbanite and a forced employee. am i eligible for restitution?

    reliance on the ideas and results of psychotherapy (a pseudoscience if ever there was one) and the blaming of childhood experiences for every decision we make in our lives is antithetical to free will, it seems to me. at what point does a person become responsible for what they’re doing?

  6. I think that Young’s calling reports of women and children being murdered by trafficers and children being killed for a fee as being “sensationalist” was off the mark as well… although Landesman didn’t mention it in the radio article, the use of so-called “damaged” sex slaves in the creation of snuf-porn simply makes sense. The stuff exists, it had to come from somewhere.

    I think the “sensationalism” was in the exaggerated numbers of occurrences, not in the claim that it happens. Certainly it happens. But the number of actual snuff-porn films was greatly exaggerated in previous stories, so its existence is not proof that Landesman’s numbers/estimates are accurate.

  7. There is no evidence that any snuff films exist.

    http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/snuff.htm

  8. Good, nobody has made my joke yet. Why is it slavery when you pay for it, and not when you don’t?

    Maybe it’s from Bernard McGuirk’s joke, that you’re paying a prostitute not for sex but to go away afterwards.

  9. Thanks Equality,

    I was looking for that link.

  10. Some people in San Francisco’s city government are trying to legalize prostitution in the city. There was a recent story about an immigrant sex slave den in SF, so the legalization is more about helping immigrants stay illegally and reducing police costs than the women’s libertry to work as they choose.

  11. The right hates prostitution because it’s sex. The left hates prostitution because it’s commerce. With all their blathering about “wage slavery” why would you expect them to see the liberty interest in prostitution?

  12. the snuff producers hide out with the international satanic abuse conspirators in a secret lair underneath what used to be atlantis, obviously.

    and don’t even get me started on their lapdogs in the FBI and CIA.

  13. mak_nas,

    “at what point does a person become responsible for what they’re doing?”

    Some of the girls in Landesman’s article are described as being between 12 & 16 years old. And the techniques used to break them in are as far from catechism as it gets. Read the article.

  14. Right on Mark Nas. It’s the damn conservatives that ruin prostitution for everybody.

    In fact, I think there’s a cold wind blowing in this country, when a man isn’t free to round up a bunch of 14 year old Eastern European or Asian girls, beat the shit out of them, “turn ’em out” pimp style with multiple gang rapes, smuggle them into the U.S., and then sell them by the hour in an illegal brothel at a reasonable rate to local customers, under the threat of force.

    These idiot conservatives just can’t see the liberty interest in that… And hell, after the first or third time they get turned out, the girls like it. Otherwise they’d leave. It’s their choice, right? The guy with the gun running the brothel, the hostile (or nonexistant) local police presence, their lack of money and passport and visa – doesn’t matter. It’s just a matter of free will, and they choose to remain prostitutes, and we ought to hold them accountable for their decision.

    I blame Ashcroft.

    In all seriousness, I knew if I sat back for long enough, somebody writing on this thread would make a libertarian case in favor of sex slavery. I’m impressed, Mark. Arguing that a kid forced into the sex trade, and maybe dragged to a foreign country without documentation or money, held by threat of force, could just drop out of the business and go do something else… wow.

    I suppose by that logic African-Americans could’ve just had a work stoppage in 1860 if they disagreed with the conditions under which they were held and forced to work. So you could argue, “When are we going to hold them responsible for the decision they made, to continue working and supporting that corrupt plantation system?” Really now, that’s no different, is it? The only meaningful difference is the product – cotton and farm labor, versus sex.

  15. But Cathy, if journalists were appropriately skeptical, there would be fewer lurid stories to write.

  16. I know the far right’s position on this, but I’ve never really heard a straight answer from the far left / feminist camp on this:

    Is prostitution empowering to women, is it oppressive to women, or does it fall somewhere in between?

  17. Brad S.: I think the gender feminists are for prostitutes but oppose actual prostitution. Feminists seem to love the mystque prostitutes have for being unrurly women who trounce traditional marriage and gender roles to make her own way in life. However, the actual selling of sexual favors for money is what they deem as “repressive” and “sexist.” Go figure.

  18. which isn’t entirely absurdist, really.

    were things on the up and up, and women (and men) were able to choose to enter the business as a business rather than a criminal enterprise, not only would the harm be reduced but there would be obvious incentive to perform well and have pride in one’s job and/or talents. and the money therein. and to build something more than a stash for drugs, or to avoid a beating/rape, and other basic survival issues.

    but as it is still largely a criminal enterprise there’s going to be unacceptable degrees of violence and coersion – something i think most of us can understand. it may not be as automatically exploitive as some feminists portray it to be, but it’s painfully obvious that there’s no such level playing field for a large number of sex workers in america.

    then again, i work in PR so maybe i feel a kinship, being a prostitue of a different sort. obviously i think prostitution of this sort should be as legal as my own, the world’s second-oldest profession.

  19. There’s a blog with five posts (from “Vito”) discussing the story’s coverage of Plainfield, NJ. “Vito” left the URL in my comments here. It looks action-packed for Landesman obsessives.

  20. just looking at the profit motive, the article has bogus numbers. One girl, working 20 guys a day, at an average of $9 per guy, will not earn $2000 a week. And where the hell will this same girl earn $30,000 a week in the US? Who is paying that much for sex? I can see select girls charging $500 plus an encounter, but girls of that quality only work one or two guys a night, and definitely don’t pull in $30 grand a week. Sorry, the numbers just don’t add up.

  21. Some people in San Francisco’s city government are trying to legalize prostitution in the city. There was a recent story about an immigrant sex slave den in SF, so the legalization is more about helping immigrants stay illegally and reducing police costs than the women’s libertry to work as they choose.

    Legalizing a profession doesn’t cause an influx of illegal-immigrant professionals. It causes an influx of citizen professionals. A brothel that has to document its employees and pay taxes is a lot less likely to hire a Thai sex slave than some street-corner pimp is.

    There is no shortage of American-born prostitutes in San Francisco. Were prostitution legal, there would be even more.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.