Sex Trafficking

No Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking Hordes in Houston

Where were all the Super Bowl 2017 sex-traffickers? Living only in activist and law-enforcement imaginations, it seems.

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HPD Chief Art Acevado/Twitter

In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, the usual cabal of activists, government officials, and click-hungry hacks in the media began their annual process of entirely fabricating an epidemic of Super Bowl-related sexual violence. Once upon a time, the (wholly unsubstantiated) rumor was that domestic violence spiked during big sporting events like the Super Bowl, but for the past decade or so the hysteria has coalesced around sex trafficking. To hear the hysterics tell it, thousands—perhaps tens of thousands—of sex-selling women will flock like cockroaches to cities where sports-fans gather, and only some will be there willingly; the rest, including many children, are trucked in by opportunistic pimps and traffickers.

As ample people have pointed out—see these pieces from author and sex worker Maggie McNeill, theology scholar Benjamin L. Corey, sports writer Jon Wertheim, and journalist Anna Merlan, for starters, or check out this 2011 report from the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women—there's not a shred of evidence to support this rumor about sports-related spikes in sex trafficking. Any examinations of actual arrest data in Super Bowl cities shows no corresponding spike in sex trafficking, compelling prostitution, or any other similar charge—despite the verifiable spike in law-enforcement and media attention to the issue. Sometimes we see spikes in the number of women arrested for prostitution, but this could be attributed as much to an uptick in vice stings around Super Bowl as an increase in local prostitution levels (and is, regardless, not the same thing as a spike in sex trafficking).

Super Bowl 2017 was held in Houston, which sits in Harris County, Texas. Each day, the county posts its previous 24-hours worth of arrests on the Harris County Sherrif's Office (HCSO) website. The arrest report for February 6, 2017, contains more than 11 pages of arrests, including 12 for prostitution, a lot of DUI and driving-on-a-suspended-license charges, some marijuana possession, several assaults, theft, forgery, driving without a seatbelt, one "parent contributing to truancy," and a few for racing on the highway. The February 7 HSCO arrest log shows three arrests for prostitution. But neither reveals a single arrest for sex trafficking, soliciting a minor, pimping, promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, or any other charges that might suggest forced or voluntary sex trade.

The Houston Police Department (HPD) does not post arrest logs online, and I unable to obtain any numbers from them directly. I spoke with HPD's public affairs office Monday morning and was told someone would get back to me once the vice department had tallied the numbers, but I have yet to get a response. But the public affairs officer also pointed me to the Harris County District Clerk's Office, which contains case information for people arrested by all in-county police departments, including HPD. Between the Saturday before the Super Bowl and the Tuesday morning after, no criminal complaints were filed against anyone for sex trafficking, soliciting a minor, pimping, promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, etc.

Searching police statements and Houston media likewise turns up no post-Super Bowl mention of sex trafficking, though the subject made plenty of news just before the big game. "As Houston starts to party, there are extra eyes on the crowds," KHOU news reported Thursday after talking to HPD Chief Art Acevado. "Undercover officers are looking for everything from prostitution to human trafficking." At that point, however, they had only made prostitution arrests, booking 22 people on prostitution charges on February 2. KHOU also reported that police "helped get three woman off the streets, one a 19-year-old."

In the days leading up to and following the Super Bowl, Houston Police shared crime info from the department's social media accounts, and Houston news outlets reported on multiple Super Bowl–adjacent shootings, robberies, and other incidents of crime and violence. Neither law enforcement nor the local press mentioned any incidents, investigations, or arrests related to sex trafficking.

In the end, the Super Bowl may have "brought attention to human trafficking," but attention in the absence of a problem isn't anything to celebrate. It's what people today like to refer to as "fake news," and the people who propagate it year after year—police departments looking to justify vice stings and asset forfeiture, missionary groups looking to fundraise or justify federal anti-trafficking grants, sensationalist media, and state and national politicians with human-trafficking measures to promote—are not brave human-rights pioneers and "abolitionists" but propagandists, plain and simple.

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  1. But neither reveals a single arrest for sex trafficking, soliciting a minor, pimping, promoting prostitution, compelling prostitution, or any other charges that might suggest forced or voluntary sex trade.

    Shouldn’t that be ‘involuntary’?

    1. Or. Or. Forced OR Voluntary. Involuntary would be forced AND.

      D’y’know, I probably shouldn’t post after a bad night’s sleep……..

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  2. Robin Hiscott @hiscott_robin

    @ArtAcevedo @houstonpolice @HouSuperBowl PLEASE PLEASE watch for innocent females in trafficking!! Save them during SB!!! Help them!

    #SoccerMoms4Justice #TotallyNotHysterical

  3. KHOU also reported that police “helped get three woman off the streets, one a 19-year-old.”

    They’re now getting three squares a day and have a stable roof over their heads with someone to watch over them 24/7 unless they make bail.

    1. And if the sex wasn’t involuntary before, just wait.

  4. Houston traffic sucks

    1. Sex Traffic doesn’t sound unpleasant in comparison, actually.

      And! Would make a great band name.

      1. Someone will now get the idea to have sex while driving on I-10. Of course, if they pick the right time of day, they won’t be in any danger because the car won’t actually move.

  5. “KHOU also reported that police “helped get three woman off the streets, one a 19-year-old.”

    THANK GOD THEY SAVED THAT LEGAL ADULT FROM HERSELF!!!!

  6. OH MY GOD ANOTHER TRUMP BASHING ARTICLE FROM REASON AND THEY CONTINUE TO IGNORE THE TERRIST ATTACKS GOING ON ALL AROUND US IM LEAVING AND NOT COMING BACK

    1. There are dozens of terrorists cases that the FBI has not yet baited just waiting to happen.

  7. journalist Anna Merlan,

    “Journalist” Anna Merlan, am I right?

    1. “Journalist” “Anna” “Merlan”

      1. Here is some back and forth between Anna Merlan and our own Robby Soave (the subject was the debunking of the Rolling Stone fake rape story):

        AM: “I understand the temptation to gloat, guys, and I’ll let you, even though it’s in bad taste. Post coming soon.”
        RS: ” I’m just happy that this truly terrible, unbelievable thing never actually happened.”
        AM: “Sure you are.”

        Draw your own conclusions…

      2. (((journalist))) (((Anna Merlan))) hehehe

        1. (((((((((journalist))))))))) (((((((((Anna Merlan)))))))))

  8. In the end, the Super Bowl may have “brought attention to human trafficking,” but attention in the absence of a problem isn’t anything to celebrate. It’s what people today like to refer to as “fake news,” and the people who propagate it year after year?police departments looking to justify vice stings and asset forfeiture, missionary groups looking to fundraise or justify federal anti-trafficking grants, sensationalist media, and state and national politicians with human-trafficking measures to promote?are not brave human-rights pioneers and “abolitionists” but propagandists, plain and simple.

    *swoon*

  9. Where were they when Brady’s uniform went missing?

    1. They traded it for a 19 year old prostitute.

  10. There is this lurid tale of a flight attendant recognizing a 14-15 year old passenger as a sex trafficking victim. I bet there’s more to the story than just the breathless headline.

    Their work paid off. According to NBC News, Alaska Airlines flight attendant Shelia Fedrick said she instinctively felt something was wrong when she noticed a teen with greasy blond hair on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco.

    The flight was prior to the 2016 Super Bowl, hosted in the city by the bay, which plays into the expert opinion that sex trafficking spikes during big events.

    When Fedrick noticed the 14 or 15-year-old traveling with a much older, well-dressed man she tried to engage them in conversation. But the man became defensive, she told NBC News.

    “I left a note in one of the bathrooms,” Fedrick said. “She wrote back on the note and said ‘I need help.'”

    The flight attendant alerted the pilots of the situation and police were waiting in the terminal when they landed, NBC News reports.

    It just smells too pat and ready for the party line for me to believe it as is.

    1. “I left a note in one of the bathrooms,” Fedrick said. “She wrote back on the note and said ‘I need help.'”

      Yeah, that sounds entirely believable. The note said: “Teen with greasy blond hair traveling with much older, well-dressed man: let me know on this note if you need help.” Lo and behold, when Fedrick later checked on the note, there were these words on it: “I need help. Signed: teen with greasy blond hair traveling with much older, well-dressed man.”

  11. I thought there were 75,000 trafficked yutes in Texas. If the police have only caught 10 of them, or so, in the past year, shouldn’t these “organizations” be going after the police? Or is this like Oakland, where the cops traffic the children (allegedly)? I’m confused.

  12. Speaking of Super Bowl whores, the local media and shitocracy have started the extreme hype on the next Super Bowl held here in Minneapolis.

    “All eyes are on Minneapolis!” (These Minnesotaloids had no idea which city the just-completed game was even played….)

  13. if there is any actual Sex Trafficking, in the sense the hysterics mean it, it is vanishing in the noise these idiots create. And in the meantime, they harass women who have chosen to sell sex for whatever reason, and their policies put such women at greater risk.

    The White Slavery panic has ALWAYS been more about White Middle Class women being upset at the idea that men might be able to obtain sex without putting up with White Middle Class female bullshit. They don’t like the competition.

  14. “Once upon a time, the (wholly unsubstantiated) rumor was that domestic violence spiked during big sporting events like the Super Bowl..”

    I remember it well. The usual feminist suspects were feeding the media this story that more women were beaten on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year because the excitement of the Super Bowl apparently triggered unrestrained Male Entitlement. Every mainstream media outlet ran with the story as though it were undisputed fact. NBC even ran a PSA during the Super Bowl broadcast saying, “CALM DOWN!”

    It turned out to be an utter fabrication.

    Worth remembering cases like this the next time someone tells you that “fake news” is a new phenomenon or that “established” media outlets are immune to it.

    1. clicky

      Someone here referenced this the other day.

  15. I guess Gary Johnson decided to become a cop after the election. Good on him! Now he can bust outlaw cake bakers!

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