Sex Trafficking

Director of Anti-Sex Trafficking Doc I Am Jane Doe Doesn't Understand the Laws She's Trying to Reform

Watch Elizabeth Nolan Brown discuss the film with director Mary Mazzio, who aims to overhaul Backpage and federal law in the name of sex-trafficked teens.

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I had the opportunity to go on Al Jazeera English show The Stream Tuesday to discuss online sex-trafficking, U.S. laws, and—especially—the website Backpage, whose executives were subject to a Congressional inquiry earlier this month. My fellow guests on the live, interactive show—hosted by Femi Oke and Malika Bilal—were three women with very personal and political connections to sex trafficking, all advocating for changes to federal law that would allow web publishers and platforms to be held liable for content that users post. This, they submitted, would help protect children and teens from being sexually exploited by giving government the tools to go after Backpage—and, if need be, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and hundreds of other websites next.

My fellow guests were Brooke Axtell, Mary Mazzio, and Kubiiki Pride. Pride is identified by The Stream as the "mother of 'M.A.', sex trafficking survivor," and Axtell as a sex-trafficking survivor and founder of Survivor Healing. Axtell is also the communications director for Austin, Texas-based Allies Against Slavery, and Pride, whose daughter is now in her early 20s, has been championing various legislative causes in her family's name for a few years, most recently before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations inquiry into Backpage. Mazzio is an Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker who most recently directed I am Jane Doe.

Narrated by Jessica Chastain, I am Jane Doe has been getting attention from places like the New Yorker, the Daily Mail, and the McCain Institute. The underlying premise of the film, out in February, is that Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act—the statute more or less responsible for keeping the social, user-driven, free-press-oriented internet as we know it afloat—is an outdated protection that "provides a safe haven for website publishers to advertise underage girls for sex."

At the beginning of the program, I assured the other guests that our fundamental goals were aligned—I, too, want to help prevent and stop sexual exploitation and violence, even though we disagree about the best way to do so. I wasn't there to advocate for the company Backpage or talk about the First Amendment in some abstract way, I said, but rather to argue against policies that will cause even more harms to children, women, and people of all genders involved, voluntarily or not, in prostitution. All constitutional issues aside, being sympathetic to the suffering of those sexually exploited can't mean settling for symbolic victories while ignoring how our policies will materially affect the lives of those we're purporting to help.

Alas, it wasn't just potential solutions I found myself arguing with the other guests about. On several occassions, I was met with accusations of lying simply for stating plain facts about U.S. law. I was also met with skepticism when bringing up information that comes directly from the U.S. Senate's recent investigation into Backpage. So what follows is an attempt to set the record straight about a few of these things.

Yes, the U.S. Has a Law Against Advertising Minors for Sex:

screenshot from The Stream

Mazzio kept lamenting that it was legal in America to advertise kids for sex. I objected, noting that not only is sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion illegal under federal law, it's also considered sex trafficking to promote the prostitution of a minor in any way, even absent force or threats or personal profit, and regardless of whether the victim's age is known. In addition, anyone soliciting paid sex from someone under age 18 can be charged as a child sex trafficker under federal law. And the same statute explicitly says that advertising a minor for prostitution is also a form of "severe trafficking in persons." It comes with a mandatory minimum federal prison sentence of 10 years and possible life in prison.

Mazzio insisted several times that this was "not true." At first, I assumed Mazzio simply meant that the law would not apply to third-party publishers, like Backpage, because of Section 230. But no—it became clear that her contention was no law even existed.

It does. It was passed in 2015 as part of the massive and much-hyped Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (JVTA), which garnered near-universal support in Congress. The advertising bit was known as the SAVE Amendment, a controversial provision that yielded intense protest from civil liberties, tech policy, and publishing groups and a lot of news-media attention.

A previous version, the "Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation (SAVE) Act" of 2014, would have required web-content platforms that run adult ads to review each one individually before publication, prohibit the use of cryptocurrency or pre-paid debit cards in placing ads, "prohibit the use of euphemism and codewords" in adult ads, get phone numbers and credit-card info from all posters, and require anyone posting adult ads to submit a copy of a government-issued photo-ID which the company would have to keep for seven years and provide to law-enforcement on demand. It passed the U.S. House of Representatives in May but faltered in the Senate.

In 2015, however, the SAVE Act came back, in subdued form, as the SAVE Amendment. This time it passed—again, with much controversy—as part of the bigger trafficking bill. At the end of the year, Backpage sued the U.S. government over the change. This is the law that Mazzio—someone making a feature film explicitly focused on Backpage, sex trafficking, web advertising, and federal law throughout this period—apparently did not know about.

79,000 Trafficked Kids in Texas?

Screenshot from The Stream/YouTube

Trying to get to the scope of America's human-trafficking problem, Axell mentioned on The Stream that a new study found "79,000 children" were being trafficked for sex in the state of Texas alone. But there are a few important things to note about that study.

First, the 79,000 figure didn't refer exclusively to minors, but rather to people ages 25 and below—something Axtell should have known, considering the organization she works for helped conduct the study (though she did not mention this).

Second, the method used to arrive at this figure is questionable. "It is important to recognize that our approach was not to count [known] cases" of human trafficking, the report states, nor to survey Texas households for an estimation of trafficking victimization rates. Instead, researchers interviewed social-services groups and others who might be likely to encounter trafficked teens and learned that about 25 percent of teens these crisis- and support organizations worked with were trafficking victims. From there, researchers came up with various conditions they believed to put youth at risk of being victimized—including homelessless and being served by the state Department of Family Protective Service—and estimated the total number of Texas minors in those groups, then took 25 percent of each group, and added these numbers together to arrive at the figure of 78,998.

In terms of criminal investigations, the report states that from 2007 through mid-2014, Texas opened 737 criminal inquiries into human trafficking, leading to the arrest of 210 suspects, the conviction of 85 suspects, and the identification of 320 juveniles in the sex trade.

Backpage Stopped Manual Editing Policy in 2012: Backpage's policy of having moderators manually edit some adult ads before their publication occurred between late 2010 and late 2012. Backpage moderators claim that this involved editing out direct references to adult prostitution before allowing them to post, while ads suspected of involving minors would be rejected entirely.

When I mentioned this on The Stream, it was suggested that I couldn't possibly know this because Backpage executives refused to answer any questions about their ad-editing and filtering processes while appearing before the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations earlier this month.

It's true Backpage leadership refused to answer questions. But they were compelled to turn over years worth of internal documents and emails to Senators, and the subcommittee spent 20 months investigating Backpage through these documents and additional interviews with former employees. From this extensive research, the Subcommittee produced a report. And everything I said about the editing and filtering practices—including that they ended manual editing of adult ads in 2012—comes directly from that Senate report. You can read it here.

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  1. Congrats on the engagement.

    Nothing in the article to quibble about.

    That is all

    1. ENB got engaged? Congrats.

      1. i don’t see a ring in this video. that’s of course not perfect evidence, but just sayin.

        whatever you do, keep the government out of your marriage contract

        1. 22:42 to 23:30 was brilliant and took some guts. well done

      2. I think he meant that she has engaged the enemy in a stunning attack of intellectual prowess.

        1. Oh, oops. Well, congratulations, anyway, ENB. Well-said, Chipper.

    2. Nothing creepy about this… That said, Half-Virtue has a sad. The dream is dead!

      1. oh. you meant speaking engagement

      2. My left finger is currently unadorned.

        1. You just have the one?

          1. Or, I am waiting for that special someone to come sweep me off my feet.

            Fact: I can put all of the toes of my right foot in my mouth at the same time.

        2. My left finger is currently unadorned.

          Does that mean olfactorily as well?

  2. Elizabeth “Phyllis Schlafly” Brown strikes one for the cause!

  3. “The Facebook ‘fake news’ crisis’?

    The fuck is this woman talking about?

    1. She’s trying to stay culturally relevant. Surprised she didn’t throw in a reference to Miley Cyrus and Ebola.

  4. Watching a little bit of the video – specifically the part about the ads being manually edited – I’m seeing a lot of feels coming from one side as opposed to stated facts coming from the other. While I don’t necessarily give a Senate report special credence, at least it’s something you can point to as being based on documentation.

  5. Remember the good old days when cartoons were harming children because they didn’t know the difference between cartoons and reality?

    Apparently, some of those kids were actually damaged and decided they would grow up to be experts in free speech and internet law.

    WTHF is ‘online harm’?

    1. What The Helling Fuck?

    1. I hate whatever stumbling rhetorical device she’s using that goes, “What I don’t understand is [stuff]. What people need to understand is [stuff].” Especially when both [stuff]s aren’t even really questions but statements of supposed fact.

      At least when people mansplain, they’re right (or definitively wrong without knowing it). This sort of phrasing, to me, comes across as rather literally saying “I have no fucking clue what’s going on but I’ll lie and emote so that you know I’m right.” I can’t mentally do anything with it except tune it out.

  6. Well done, this gal.

    You know, I think this is why ENB sits so easy with me as a reader. Her writing neatly lays out how she got from point A to point B, and then cites everything in sight so’s you can check her work. Even when she arrives at conclusions I find unjustified, I can’t fault her reporting. She’s good at this.

    1. Linear thinking, for the win.

      1. Awfully long winded way of calling ENB racist.

        1. I think “gender-traitor” would be the term of art.

          1. How can you be a gender-traitor when genders are fluid?

            1. Fluidity is a trait.

            2. Not my gender. Nor my sex.

              1. Are you saying you’re solid? Or gaseous? Because the latter would definitely explain that smell.

    2. It’s like a… report. Apparently they still do those.

    3. She’s a dumb bitch who surprisingly doesn’t have brown hair from having her head crammed up her ass all the time. She could fuck up green bean casserole if all she had to do was take the dish from a man and put it on the table.

      /Mikey

      1. +1 Smell-a-shit No Man Frown

    4. exactly the sort of smut we expect from Sleaze-Meth Golem Drown

      [seriously though her articles are good]

      1. Good for a SJW masquerading as a libertarian in order to…umm…I mean…the long con, you know?

        1. to get all the social and economic perks associated with being libertarian!

          1. There are perks? Did I forget to put my name on a sign up sheet or something?

  7. being sympathetic to the suffering of those sexually exploited can’t mean settling for symbolic victories while ignoring how our policies will materially affect the lives of those we’re purporting to help.

    This assumes that their goal is to actually help. Maybe they are just trying to make themselves look good. Just spit ballin’ here.

    1. It’s impossible to determine the true motives, but you can make a good guess by examining their stated preferences (words) vs revealed preferences (actions). Regardless of what they *say* they are trying to accomplish, the net results of their actions are the real goals. Because foreseeable consequences are not unintended.

      Also, movements like this always attract prohibitionists and other anti-freedom types.

      1. It’s hard not to think this is largely just the new fig leaf of the anti prostitution movement.

    2. This assumes that their goal is to actually help.

      a good point.

      sort of consistent w/ my point below.

      The goals of issue advocacy are often layered – and actually ‘materially improving’ the claimed problem is often not even the core objective. Being Seen Trying is often just as important as whether the ‘trying’ produces any results. because Being Seen becomes a virtuous cycle where appearing on one talk-show after another eventually results in you being an ‘expert’ on the topic, which creates its own self-perpetuating career. And you become useful to politicians and corporate charitable donors and media figures who also desperately want to increase their visibility as “Caring Deeply” about an issue.

      the actual people trying to ‘do something’ to fix problems tend to end up somewhere in a back office wondering why no one ever reads their reports.

  8. Its become almost cliche for “advocates” to either knowingly misrepresent (or be stunningly-ignorant about) the details of the very issue they’re advocating for/about.

    its almost the definition of modern-‘advocacy’… which is far more about pathos than logos. Denying people their right to exaggerate is seen as a hostile act.

    I’ve seen similar round-table situations where you’d have 3-4 people on the same ostensible side of a topic, but one is citing things that are simply baldly untrue / wildly overblown… and generally the attitude by the people who know better is – rather than to correct or challenge them on the facts – simply to let it slide.

    examples are legion; the most obvious one over the last few years probably being the “1-in-5” headline claims about Campus Rape. Even though most people have actually heard the debunkings over and over and over again, they’ll still throw it out there in any debate… knowing that if anyone decides to chip up and go, “uh, actually…..” they’ll simply be torn to pieces with “ANY RAPE IS TOO MUCH RAPE WHY DO YOU HATE WOMEN” and end up losing the exchange despite being correct about the facts.

    Basically, there’s a base-level of intellectual dishonesty involved in modern issue-advocacy. If you’re unwilling to participate in that charade, you’re seen as a flawed advocate and an unreliable ‘ally’.

    1. GILMORE?, you horrific child-murdering bastard! 98% of everyone knows that simply isn’t true.

      1. 98% of everyone

        97% of scientists know everyone is like, really stupid, so nyah

      1. YOU stfu Tulpa!

        1. *loads the six shooter and places his back up against the wall*

          “The only one I can be certain isn’t Tulpa is me!”

          *waves gun menacingly*

          1. But can you really be sure?

            1. *looks in the mirror and sees Tulpa staring back*

              Noooooooooooooooooooooo!!

              /M Night Shamalama movie

              1. Relax, Sparky, it’s just a mask.

                [Pulls Tulsa mask off to reveal AddictionMyth’s face]

                1. [Pulls Tulsa mask off to reveal AddictionMyth’s face]

                  That caused me to laugh and laugh.

          2. There has got to be some sort of a Tulpa Turing test. What is something Tulpa cannot answer correctly? Alternatively, what is something Tulsa cannot help but respond to in a certain way?

            Who shall be our Gaius Baltar and come up with such a test?

            1. Who shall be our Gaius Baltar and come up with such a test?

              Eh. Gaius didn’t have to bang Tulpae to reach understanding.

              Also the Turing Test Gaius used was just exposing the skin-job cells to nuclear radiation and observe how the cellular mutation differed from human physiology…

              That might actually work in this case too, now that I think about it 🙂

    2. I’ve seen similar round-table situations where you’d have 3-4 people on the same ostensible side of a topic, but one is citing things that are simply baldly untrue / wildly overblown… and generally the attitude by the people who know better is – rather than to correct or challenge them on the facts – simply to let it slide.

      Leave Kellyanne alone, you monster.

    3. Its become almost cliche for “advocates” to either knowingly misrepresent (or be stunningly-ignorant about) the details of the very issue they’re advocating for/about.

      its almost the definition of modern-‘advocacy’… which is far more about pathos than logos. Denying people their right to exaggerate is seen as a hostile act.

      Holy Shit! I should’ve read further. This is precisely what I’m talking about with Kabuki Pride. She effectively starts off her position statement with almost nothing short “I don’t understand technical mumbo jumbo.” and then just assumes that everyone understands or agrees when she explains what everyone else should understand.

      It’s like arguing with a 3-yr.-old who’s made up a word and mad that you don’t understand them.

    4. *a footnote (to both the above)

      this isn’t necessarily as horribly cynical as it may seem.

      I know what i’m suggesting is the *essence* of cynicism – i.e. that people’s ‘true motives’ are hidden, and they are primarily selfish and vain…..

      …but its not, really. I think it would be cynical if i argued that they secretly “didn’t care”, or were ONLY using this issue for personal gain . which i think is wrong.

      I think what i describe is not necessarily an internal, moral flaw of advocates as much as it is the product of the external incentives. Advocates need to get headlines, and wild claims get headlines. if that produces some misconceptions in the public mind, so be it (they think) As long as the public *thinking about the issue at all* (albeit wrongly), you’re still accomplishing your goal. I presume the idea is, “we need a few half-truths to sell the Big Truth”.

      The problem is that once lies become conventional wisdom, you own them. and they tend to pile up. And over time, it does become the purely-cynical exercise that is the worst-case version (see = Greenpeace, SPLC, et al)

      1. ” I presume the idea is, ‘we need a few half-truths to sell the Big Truth’.”

        “Hooray for lying!”
        – Patrick Star

  9. ENB you are very brave. You tackle some shit head on that I shudder to even imagine being trapped in.

    1. ^This.

      And while ENB may have known these people would lie, and otherwise argue in bad faith, if you don’t fight back against them you cede the argument to them.

    2. ENB is stunning and brave.

      1. ENB is stunning and brave.

        And pretty!

        Aw shit, now I’ve done it. You can call her anything but pretty. (SJW cloud of doom shadows all…)

  10. Mary’s preaching the highly dubious statistic at her twitter account:

    Mary Mazzio ?@marymazzio 4h4 hours ago
    New data from @UTAustin: There are 79,000 child sex-trafficking victims in the State of Texas alone. #IamJaneDoe

    …rather than attempting to establish prevalence of trafficking among the 27.4 million people living in Texas, … victimization rates were applied to a select few community segments that are at higher-than-average risk of trafficking.

    so if you are under investigation for abuse/mistreatment, then there’s a 25% chance you’re sex trafficking your kid ?? this report is the intersection of Lenore Skenazy and ENB.

    The research team acknowledges the limitations of this narrow definition of human trafficking.

    too narrow?

    1. The current methodology was conservative in its initial assessment of the problem for Texas.

      lol what?

  11. The Stream – Children for sale

    Are they implying the the noble historical libertarian tradition of orphan purchasing is somehow morally wrong?

    Good work as usual ENB…I’ve realized I should start complimenting the better Reason writers after reading Robby’s tripe for too long.

    1. Robbo does a good enough job as long as he sticks to his beat, but falls flat when he goes outside that.

      But always do compliment the good writers.

      I wonder if the promised new commenting system will have like/dislike options. That feature is can save a lot of reading-down if people use it properly, ie someone comments “Good article, ENB” then the rest of us can simply click “like” instead of posting.

      1. Replacing words with symbols and shortcuts — Yeah, I LOVE BIG BROTHER TOO!

        1. Sure, you want to be the fifteenth person to post “good article, ENB,” then have at it. I’ll use the “like” feature if that becomes available. Now, if I find a particular passage or argument particularly clever or persuasive then I’ll be sure to post some words about that.

          1. bu.. but.. what if I’m the post she responds too!?

          2. This is a good idea. We should have like/dislike buttons for comments as well. Along with the following buttons:

            You are Tulpa
            Fuck off, slaver
            Would

            1. That’s what I meant – like/dislike buttons for comments, not for articles.

              Other buttons – heh.

              1. You guys ever Reddit?

                There’s something to be said for forcing each reader to make their own assessment — votes on internet comments are immediately perceptible before the comment itself. A down-voted to hell or up-voted to heaven comment gains speed as people conform to the group perception; it’s human nature.

                For example, that psyche experiment where one test subject is in a room with actors, they put triangles and shit on the board and everyone says the see a square, the one test subject doubting his own perception often says he sees a square too; the power of group perception.

                No ‘like’ button forces each comment to be gauged on its own merit. Maybe, what do I know. (also I like the +1 X bit used on H&R)

      2. His cops in school article was pretty good.

        1. Education is his beat. Primarily free speech on college campuses, but working outwards from there.

          I generally like Robby, but sometimes he messes up. As do we all.

        2. He’s pretty good at covering the worst of the SJW stuff on campus. The rest… he’s just young.

      3. Good comment, Tonio.

      4. I think Robby’s problem is that he’s trying, and perhaps trying too hard, to avoid assuming a tone of “preaching to the choir”. I think he wants to lead people who might be predisposed against the libertarian position on something to a libertarian conclusion using their own logic and premises. People want him to say “these SJWs on campuses are all stupid whiny babies who should be ridiculed” which is good red meat, but not very persuasive to anyone outside of our own corner.

        We can of course disagree on the extent to which what he does is effective, but I certainly don’t think he deserves a good deal of the shit that gets thrown at him from mentally challenged howler monkeys like Mike M (I think his line from this morning was something like “of course most reason writers worship the Obamessiah”)

        1. I certainly don’t think he deserves a good deal of the shit that gets thrown at him from mentally challenged howler monkeys like Mike M

          No one who can write a proper sentence deserves to be shit on by Mike M.

          I think Robby’s problem is that he’s trying, and perhaps trying too hard, to avoid assuming a tone of “preaching to the choir”.

          I think it’s less ‘he’s trying to avoid something’ and more ‘this is actually what his rhetoric is like, and it’s terrible.’

          1. this is actually what his rhetoric is like, and it’s terrible

            To you. Unfortunately, this is how younger folks communicate.

            1. To you. Unfortunately, this is how younger folks communicate.

              Yeah, the thing about that is…I’m around Robby’s age. And anecdotal, but I know plenty of other people my age who hate this style of writing and recognize it for what it is: lazy, badly written, and anti-intellectual.

              I’m not going to accept the argument of “some people in this generation discuss issues poorly largely due to a bad education, therefore, we have to cater to them.” That serves no good purpose and only degrades the conversation.

              1. If you want to explain economics to a five year old, you could:

                1. Sit them down with a college level intro to economics textbook
                2. Sit down with a pile of blocks and go through the motions with them

                Which do you suppose is going to work better? Many people are predisposed to hate your position. If you can speak to them in their language you may get somewhere.

                1. Except Robby doesn’t sit down with a pile of blocks and go through the motions with them. Robby sits down, has them scream “this block is yellow!” and his response is “though your feelings in regards to the nature of the block is valid, others may feel that the block is red, and their interpretation of the block being red does not invalidate your perspective, nor does it mean you should respond in such a harsh manner.” When the block is bloody red.

                  He’s utterly self-defeating because he immediately defers to the position he’s arguing against and surrenders ground.

                  1. When the block is bloody red.

                    but if ever actually say so, you’ll then get a lecture about how you’re just being a dick for pointing that out, and why can’t you try to better understand the perspective of people who WANT things to be yellow? So Ugh.

            2. One has to ease people into their articles these days — like a latex gimp suit.

              For 1) most people are going to see red at the first line that challenges their set-in-stone beliefs.

              and 2) the rest of the article will be ignored, or halfheartedly read, with the reader using 95% of xit’s energy thinking of counter arguments at the same time as they skim the “obvious fake news article that supports an ideology different from my own”.

              I agree with Paranoid’s assessment:

              I think he wants to lead people who might be predisposed against the libertarian position on something to a libertarian conclusion using their own logic and premises.

        2. People want him to say “these SJWs on campuses are all stupid whiny babies who should be ridiculed” which is good red meat, but not very persuasive to anyone outside of our own corner

          Agreed. I think many commentators just don’t know how to communicate in Millennialese and thus end up missing the point a lot of the time.

        3. using their own logic

          is that what they call it?

          I think when you need to concede/pretend “Trump = fascism” and “Pussy-Hats = Effective Anti-Fascism” in order to suggest that “Smashing windows? = not cool/okay effective”?

          you’re not so much ‘persuading people to consider libertarian ideas’ as you are destroying any sort of defensible & coherent position at all. It just becomes a flavorless mush of “rightfeels”. Hence his love of terms like, “Okay”, which is entirely free from the logical-defense which a value judgement of “Right or Wrong” requires.

          Note that his emphasis about “why sucker punching Nazis is uncool” isn’t any sort of appeal to the NAP, but rather that “It just strengthens Trumpism”.

          1. Note that his emphasis about “why sucker punching Nazis is uncool” isn’t any sort of appeal to the NAP, but rather that “It just strengthens Trumpism”.

            Exactly. Robby loves to defer to the position he’s supposed to be arguing against and validate it, rather than flat-out challenge it and provide a libertarian alternative. It’s always “what you’re doing is not necessarily wrong, but you’re doing it in way that’s bad, so quit it.” SO WOKE, MUCH CONVINCING.

            1. I attribute it to a feeling of despair. It’s a resignation to the fact that if you flat out reject their position, they’re not going to change their minds even when presented with solid logic and evidence for a contrary position simply because “feels”. But it’s the wrong tactic, because it effectively achieves nothing even if you manage to win.

              The progs don’t argue in good faith. You can’t acquiesce to any of their demands concerning the rules of debate, it’s pointless.

            2. Can you two please take your Soave-flogging into a private space? It’s unseemly.

              1. You hear that? Reason’s #2 fascist (snicker) is telling us to take our discussion and do it behind closed doors. This is how it starts people, next we’ll be putting Renegade in the oven.

              2. Soave-flogging

                It sounds like an obscure, anachronistic sporting event.

          2. Gilmore you ain’t wrong.

            But like most things in the universe, the truth is neither this nor that, but an amalgamation of all those combined considerations, i.e., a whole is comprised of many parts — at least in this instance I’d say so.

            1. the truth is neither this nor that

              very philosophical.

              shitty arguments are still shitty.

              1. At the very least both your and Paranoid’s perceptions of Robby’s writings are equally true; the fact that those perceptions are wildly different does not change that fact.

                ^ I am getting caught up in this pedantic philosophical bit.

                Even though two perceptions are equally weighty — the reality of whose strikes closer to the heart; well I’ll leave that to God… Or whoever shouts loudest or longest 🙂

                Is Robby’s own perception of his writing more weighty then the third party viewer?

      5. I disagree. I think Robby ultimately fails most of the time to write any kind of coherent, solid argument because he’s far too willing to hum-and-haw around the issue. I’ve never read anything by him that made me re-evaluate or rethinking a point from a different perspective. He has a hackneyed rhetoric style, is ignorant of subjects he discusses, continuously uses moronic hyperbole, and steadfastly refuses to show any kind of improvement. He’s also written some extremely stupid pieces that a moment of self-reflection would cause him to re-evaluate, but he’s incapable of doing so. Robby, at his best, is average, he’s Reason’s C student.

    2. Good work as usual ENB…I’ve realized I should start complimenting the better Reason writers after reading Robby’s tripe for too long.

      Not to slight the article or her stance in regard to this particular issue, but I think this has more to do with her opposition than her more general position.

      I think, sometimes, when writing for her perceived audience, she gets caught up and turned around in her own suppositions. When she’s forced to refute something someone else assertions or claims, she’s much better. Robby, OTOH, could be handed a loaded rifle and locked in a room with Hitler, Stalin, and Mao and would question who was worse, the murderous dictators or the person who locked them in a room together.

    3. It is my understanding that Reason writers appreciate being surprised by creative nudes in their mailbox.

  12. This is a really good article.

  13. I’m a pessimistic doomsayer who believes that liberty is losing ground on all fronts in the progressive war. But there is no single issue more than sex-trafficking that I find to be totally hopeless…

    1) the sex war is replacing the drug war for federal agencies looking to spend their budgets.

    2) Few, few people are willing to risk being called a rape apologist to fight bad legislature especially when ‘if even ONE child is saved’ it’s all worth it.

    3) The machine is just revving up, the avalanche has just started, and full force has yet to be achieved. A summer campaign of blood and death is incoming for this particular area of discussion.

    So speakth the doomsayer; my friends love me…

    1. 0) It’s not just the progressives. Movements like this attract both progs and socons.

      1) Maybe. Sounds like the incoming AG is going to ramp the WoD back up, state laws be damned.

      2 & 3) Yep.

    2. the sex war is replacing the drug war for federal agencies looking to spend their budgets.

      But with better music.

  14. Second, the method used to arrive at this figure is questionable. “It is important to recognize that our approach was not to count [known] cases” of human trafficking, the report states, nor to survey Texas households for an estimation of trafficking victimization rates. Instead, researchers interviewed social-services groups and others who might be likely to encounter trafficked teens and learned that about 25 percent of teens these crisis- and support organizations worked with were trafficking victims. From there, researchers came up with various conditions they believed to put youth at risk of being victimized?including homelessless and being served by the state Department of Family Protective Service?and estimated the total number of Texas minors in those groups, then took 25 percent of each group, and added these numbers together to arrive at the figure of 78,998.

    This would almost be funny if the implications weren’t so serious. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if before long the figure mutates to “25% of all children in Texas are being sold for sex!”

    1. It’s not that far away from that. According to this website, in 2015 there were 1,533,110 Texans between 10-17. (The categories were 10-14; 15-17) If half of those are female, that means there are 766,555 girls from 10-17 in TX. 78,998 is 10.3%

      This is ludicrous.

      1. they must count every kid who was ever missing.

        1. Or they just went straight to rectal cavity sourcing.

          1. BP, I came up with anally originated factoid.

            I like yours better.

      2. but they can’t say 10% of TX minors are trafficked or they’d get a collective bullshit thrown in their faces.

      3. I think it’s a good rule of thumb when somebody cites a percentage, to look for that in terms of numbers; but when somebody cites a number, try to figure that as a percentage. Easy way to tell when somebody is trying to lie with / make up stats

        1. ^THIS. Please repost this several more times as appropriate.

          Also, first time I’ve seen your handle, so welcome aboard. Frequent vomiting is normal here. Always wear your protective cup when reading articles by Lenore Skenazi.

          1. thank you!

    2. This would almost be funny if the implications weren’t so serious.

      Exactly. Problematic!

  15. that lady seems like a terrible person. way to go, Elizabeth.

  16. Second, the method used to arrive at this figure is questionable.

    This is the same for every statistic parroted by Regressives.

  17. Semi OT: This article manages to jam more cliched identity politics memes in one article than I thought possible.

    Some snippets:

    Burlesque performer Ms. Briq House considers herself an advocate for sensuality and intimacy, and in the politically charged revue “Dear White People” she uses those concepts to explore identity, self-affirmation and social justice.

    Self-described transfem performer and activist The Lady B, a cast member of the show “Dear White People,” says gender-fluid identity poses daily challenges. “I schedule and plan my day around where I can use the restroom and where I can do it safely ? Being a survivor of abuse and oppression and being a transfem person in this world, I’ve become very hypervigilant because of that.”

    Seattle burlesque performer and producer Boom Boom L’Roux conceived her show “Dear White People” as a way for local entertainers of color to express more of themselves in their work and give voice to feelings, concerns and ideas they typically conceal from audiences.

    SEATTLE IS CELEBRATED for its open embrace of all types of people. It’s not uncommon to see a “Black Lives Matter” march with mostly white demonstrators.

    *takes deep breath*

    1. Whiteness studies expert Robin DiAngelo says that even the most liberal whites must delve deeper into their own blind spots and prejudices, and we all must go beyond words to fight racism in society.

      Seattle-based scholar and consultant Robin DiAngelo, who has a doctorate in multicultural education and specializes in whiteness studies, often gives lectures on “white fragility,”

      At the same time, she says, “White consciousness is deeply anti-black, and that’s for progressives and conservatives.”

      In her own work, DiAngelo tends to focus on racial bigotry among white progressives, whom she calls her most difficult audience “because of the degree to which we think we’re good to go.”

      Entertainer Caela Bailey, top, and her girlfriend, Takiyah “Taqueets” Ward, both appeared in Theatre Off Jackson’s recent show “Dear White People,” an emotional, politically charged and sometimes-funny series of vignettes exploring race and identity from the personal perspectives of the diverse cast.

      Ok, that’s enough, because it goes on… and on… and on… and fucking on.

      1. Idk what these people want? The keys to my house and free reign to run in and take whatever they want? You can’t admire or acknowledge racial differences anymore, because eating a taco is cultural appropriation and LITERAL VIOLENCE.

        seriously.

        WHAT THE FUCK DO THESE PEOPLE WANT FROM ME?

        I know the answer is my head on a spike. Just look at the sentiments of the ‘people’ who tortured the disabled guy… the undertones couldn’t be more clear, and is pervasive throughout the entire movement.

        1. They want the moral high ground (as established by victimhood/progressive stack) and they want that to confer control over everyone else. Period.

          1. Nailed it, dead on.

      2. “Taqueets”? Like on Taquitter?

    2. The view from the top of the Oppression Pyramid is fabulous

    3. They start with the clinically insane at the top and bury sane, well-intentioned ones at the bottom.

      Still, Baldwin says, he has a unique opportunity to build bridges as a black activist-athlete. Among other things, he’s spoken out about improving relations between police and the black community.

      1. Yeah, the last 3rd of the article takes a sudden swing from transfem (I have no fucking idea what that is) gender-fluid politics and social justice rage-a-holics to Seahawks/Sports. It’s almost as if the writer felt it necessary to bring in the beer and skittles crowd *cough*Trump voters*cough* before he completely lost everyone.

        1. This ties into the most recent print issue’s inclusion of a Peter Bagge comic about Tacoma. Apparently everyone in Washington is a Seahawks fan.

    4. It must be exhausting for these people. I’d feel sorry, but they do it to themselves.

  18. But she made a film about it! She’s an expert!

  19. Holy shit those people are dangerous.

    1. There’s always been someone waving a bloody shirt. It’s when the politicians and courts pile onto the issue that it becomes dangerous.

  20. So these researchers when they arrived at that 79000 figure didn’t blink and say “mm that seems ridiculously high, maybe our methodology is flawed…” nope, they said, “our methodology is flawless! obviously we have a terrible problem and need more grant money now!”

    It’s lies, damn lies, and statistics, all the way down

  21. Narrated by Jessica Chastain

    I want to live inside of her chin cleft.

    1. I imagine there’s probably a cozy lint-ball bed in there

  22. “It is important to recognize that our approach was not to count [known] cases” of human trafficking, the report states, nor to survey Texas households for an estimation of trafficking victimization rates. Instead, researchers interviewed social-services groups and others who might be likely to encounter trafficked teens and learned that about 25 percent of teens these crisis- and support organizations worked with were trafficking victims. From there, researchers came up with various conditions they believed to put youth at risk of being victimized?including homelessless and being served by the state Department of Family Protective Service?and estimated the total number of Texas minors in those groups, then took 25 percent of each group, and added these numbers together to arrive at the figure of 78,998.

    At least that 78,998 number won’t case anyone to read the headline and overreact.

    1. And everything I said about the editing and filtering practices?including that they ended manual editing of adult ads in 2012?comes directly from that Senate report. You can read it here.

      Ha! Reading! Silly ENB.

  23. Since when did persecuting sex workers stop human trafficking? Criminalization causes trafficking and allows exploitation the the sex industry. Why would anyone who is against trafficking support polices that put sex workers and victims at a greater risk of being robbed, raped, and exploited. Could it be that it is really about trying to abolish prostitution. hmm because that is clearly an act of violence against one of the most marginalzied populations in the world.

    1. Lets review some facts.
      as of 2016 the state of Rhode Island had 320 unlicensed foster homes. In 2014, research showed that 12% of all USA foster home kids had been sexually abused by their care takers. Youth report 1000 youths in 6 US cites tell us that they cant access shelter or any other vital service from the state, and that they dont have pimps and how they teach each other to find clients while avoiding the police. A huge number of our youth are reporting that the police force them to have sex under threat of arrest. Now lets also consider that 97% of sexual abuse on children happens by someone the child already knows, and not through prostitution.

      1. Fact the FBI & several police depts and children of the night, all thanked backpage (dotcom) for their assistance in locating minors who are engaging in survival sex, and they helped to catch a few traffickers. yet Congress has a sub committee that has harassed backpage, had their CEOs thrown in jail with no bond until the judge told Senator Kamla Harris that her charges against them where bogus and 4 other federal judges have ruled in that backpage has not broken any laws. Yet Congress wants to see US sex workers displaced and throw out in the streets. They dont care about the health and safety of uS sex workers. Between the 2 million college students with accounts on seeking arrangement dot com, and online escorts, street based workers, strippers, porn performers and cam girls, there are tens of millions of US sex workers. We have found our way out of economic inequality, we are able to raise our kids as single mothers, and be at the bus stop at 3pm.

        1. We put our kids through college so they will have more opportunities than we did. We are good parents, we shop at the same stores as you do, our kids go to the same schools. We spend our hard earned money in local business. Sex workers could be the best tool law enforcement has in fighting traffikcing if they would just stop refusing to cooperate with sex workers. 15 yr old Latesha Clay a sex traffikcing victim per federal law was sentenced to 9 yrs in prison and yet not 1 traffikcing organization gave 2 shits. But US sex workers rallied around this victim and we got her case repealed and she was released from prison with probation.

          1. Lets talk about Celeste Guap, a 17 yr old runaway who was running away from a violent pimp and she ran up to a police car for help. And rather than help her, the cop had sex with her. Thy nicked named her juvi and once she turned 18 they passed her around to 30 cops in 7 different police depts, some cops gave her tips on upcoming police stings, some even paid her for sex. Her mother was a police dispatcher and yet her co workers exploited her kid. So once they cat is out of the bag publicly, Richmond police access victims compensation and fly the victim to a FL rehab, where a rehab worker tried to inject Celeste Guap with medication without her consent so she bit him. She was thrown jail with a 300,000 bond and within hours, Prosecutor O Malley told them media that she could prosecute the cops without a witness. Of course she didn’t lift a finger to get the victim out of jail, and again the radio went dead from every US traffikcing organization, but sex workers rallied around the victim, crowdrised to get money to make sure she had an attorney and she was released from jail and back in CA within 10 days so now she can hold those police officers accountable. of course only 7 of them are being charged with a crime.

            1. We were very concerned that the police might murder this young woman while she was in custody and claim it was suicide so we took to twitter with Martin County Jail, we are watching, FREE Celeste Guap. https://www.crowdrise.com/free-celeste-guap

              These are the same predatory cops that you are promoting to send out to do prostitution stings. They have engage in sex acts with women and then arrest them for prostitution and they even do it with minors. Yet out of every prostitution and disorderly conduct arrest in the US for the past 30 years shows, only 1.8% of all the cases involved a minor.

              1. So truthfully be told, the war against the whores is causing minors to be exploited. It is causing sex workers and victims to be robbed, raped and murdered with impunity, because the anti trafficking lobby refuses to stop trying to abolish prostitution. Trying to abolish sex workers is an act of violence and a HUGE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION. Know this, US sex workers are coming for our rights, ESPLER V GASCON is currently in the 9th district court of appeals. We are well organized. You think womenmarch was something, just wait and see how USA sex workers are coming.
                http://esplerp.org/amicus-brie…..-v-gascon/

                1. Youth Involvement in the Sex Trade

                  With funding from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the U.S. Department of Justice, the Center for Court Innovation conducted a multi-site study designed to increase scientific knowledge concerning youth involvement in the sex trade. Nearly 1,000 youth, ages 13-24, were interviewed across six sites on subjects including entry into the sex trade, earning a living, finding customers, involvement of pimps and market facilitators, health issues and service needs, interactions with law enforcement, and outlook for the future.
                  http://www.courtinnovation.org/youthstudy

                  1. Godspeed Bella, your cause is righteous and just.

                  2. Thanks for those links Bella. Insane how the greatest allies against sex trafficking are basically pushed to the side by the authorities, an lo an behold, it is the authorities who should be put in jail (in Oakland at least).

  24. So there are 320 actual known cases of juveniles being involved in the so-called sex trade. Let’s assume every single one of these cases is legitimate sex trafficking and not, as we’ve seen in other cases, a 16-year old girl sexting with with 18-year old boyfriend. Even imagining all of these are legitimate complaints is a stretch because we know how desperate people are to broaden any definition of sex trafficking as far as they can.

    That means that 99.6% of all cases have completely evaded police. It’s not strange to say that there are many cases that are evading police. It is strange when you say there’s almost no legal evidence to back up your number but you’re still putting out that number. Imagine using this in another context. “Over 79,000 people died in the earthquake yesterday. Aa of now, of course, we only have 320 confirmed victims.” You’re using massive numbers for the shock factor while ignoring that they’re orders of magnitude greater than you can actually validate.

  25. Excellent job Elizabeth. I loved how the other panelists were only intent on refuting anything you said, instead of listening to the points you were making. You could have said: “the sun rose in the east this morning”, and I am sure they would have jumped all over you. The one panelist, I think it was Brooke Axtell, was incoherent throughout. The Miss USA contestant response a few years ago made more sense than her:

    “I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh, people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian Countries, so we will be able to build up our future [for our children].”

    1. But I would have to say that Mary takes the cake on this one. She constantly interrupted Elizabeth, and then when Elizabeth tried to respond to her, Mary would say: “Elizabeth! Elizabeth! I am trying to talk!” Then ENB totally took the high road and let her finish her comment. And you would think as someone who is a director of a documentary on the subject, she would know some facts about the topic at hand. She was woefully unprepared to discuss this topic with someone who actually knows the issue inside and out.

  26. i have a cousin whose new job involves being an advocate in these kinds of cases. as far as i can tell she hasn’t gone off the deep end, but i’ve decided to stick to “how are the kids” questions just as a precaution.

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