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There’s No Tidal Wave of Sex Slaves Descending on the Super Bowl

Activists and politicians warn of a roving horde of "trafficked" prostitutes that researchers just can’t find.

When the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos face off in San Francisco, experts warn us to expect Cam Newton and Peyton Manning to face burial under a tidal wave of human flesh—not the opposing team's defensive line, as you might expect, but a writhing mass of sex slaves inundating the Super Bowl and the Bay Area.

Or so government officials and moral panic types would have it.

"Super Bowl host cities typically see a jump not just in tourists, but also in some crimes, including human trafficking and prostitution," San Francisco's KGO warned earlier this month on Human Trafficking Awareness Day, an annual event held every January 11.

"The good news is that we are continuing our efforts to fight human trafficking," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said the same day. "The bad news is that the problem continues to increase."

Gascón made his comments at a press conference deliberately tied to the big game, in anticipation of a wave of "trafficked" sex workers descending on the area.

That term–not "prostitution," but "trafficking"—is a deliberate choice, selected to confuse people accustomed to the plain language established over the long history of the buying and selling of sexual services. The reason why is obvious. While the trade in sex was once frowned upon in itself, that's no longer necessarily the case. A YouGov poll published this past September found Americans almost evenly divided, with 44 percent favoring legalization of prostitution, and 46 percent opposed. That's up from 38 percent support for legalization in 2012. Amnesty International is among the organizations seeking to recognize people's right to, in the organization's words, "the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work."

Opponents of commercial sex find themselves on the wrong side of shifting public opinion, so they pull a little rhetorical sleight of hand to get around that inconvenient word "consensual." The implication of the "trafficking" terminology is that prostitutes are slaves—and they're being hustled off to a major sporting event near you.

"Coercion is much rarer than 'trafficking' fetishists pretend it is," insists Reason contributor and former call girl Maggie McNeill. "The term 'trafficking' is used to describe many different things along a broad spectrum running from absolutely coercive to absolutely not coercive, yet all of them are shoehorned into a lurid, melodramatic and highly-stereotyped narrative."

Evidence for McNeill's take is apparent in the difficulty authorities often have in convincing the trafficking "victims" they rescue that they're in need of heroic intervention into their lives.

"A lot of times they don't see themselves as victims," Bay Area prosecutor Jennifer Madden told the Associated Press. "They don't fully grasp how they've come into this, how they are being exploited, and they may not be amenable to services."

Coercion is beside the point to a lot of activists. "[T]rafficking occurs even if the woman consents," wrote the University of Rhode Island's Donna Hughes, a prominent voice on the issue, in a 2000 Journal of International Affairs article.

And government officials and anti-trafficking activists are poised to rescue a wave of such trafficking "victims" when the Super Bowl comes to town. Once they convince them that they're victims, that is.

They may be waiting a long time.

"There is no evidence that large sporting events cause an increase in trafficking for prostitution," the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) reported in 2011. GAATW, which differentiates between consensual sex workers and those subject to coercion, points out that short-term events are likely to be more profitable for organizations and officials playing off of fears than for sex workers who have to pay traveling expenses out of whatever extra profits they take in from sports fans.

The Arizona State University's Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research—an outfit that combines research activities with a militantly anti-sex work stance—agrees. The organization "found no evidence indicating the 2014 Super Bowl was a causal factor for sex trafficking in the northern New Jersey area in the days preceding the game."

Last year, the ASU group repeated its efforts, ultimately reporting "there is no empirical evidence that the Super Bowl causes an increase in sex trafficking compared to other days and events throughout the year."

There was, however, "a noticeable increase in those activities intended to locate victims from both law enforcement and service provision organizations"—activities of the sort including press conferences featuring district attorneys. So, the surge was in cops and busybodies looking for something to do. Hmmm. Maybe—No, never mind.

In a 2014 article for Reason on Super Bowl sex scares, McNeill pointed out that the grandiosity of warnings about Super Bowl sex trafficking is matched by the bullshit clinging to authorities' subsequent reporting of event-related arrests. Anti-trafficking efforts in Tampa "bagged exactly one quarry, a 14-year-old pimped by two rather clueless individuals on Craigslist under the heading 'Super Bowl Special' (a detail regularly repeated as part of the prohibitionist catechism since then)." Officials claim other rescues of supposed sex slaves, but the details are always vague, often include vice busts unrelated to the big game—and even then fall dramatically below the numbers initially tossed about.

Photo Credit: sciencenordic

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  • SilentCal||

    It took me a while to realize this wasn't ENB

  • Number 2||

    Why am I suddenly reminded of the story from 20 years ago at the feminists were pushing about Super Bowl Sunday have any more incidents of violence against women than any other day of the year? A story that also proved to be absolutely false?

  • ||

    Beat me to it.

    Wait, that was a pun.

  • Princess Trigger||

    I don't have the time or the energy to:
    1. Beat my wife
    2. Have sex with multiple sex slaves
    3. Gorge myself on unhealthy snacks
    4. Drink cheap beer
    5. Watch heavily produced tv ads
    6. Watch a football game

    I'm just not a young man anymore.

  • Malvolio||

    Pick any two.

  • True Neutral Paladin||

    2 & 4

  • Rich||

    Tidal Wave of Sex Slaves

    Nice movie title.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Could be a good name for a garage band as well!

  • SimonJester||

    Isis Toasts, coast to coast: Tidal Wave of Sex Slaves

  • Hi there!||

    Poonado!
    Assalanche!
    Towhoring Inferno!
    Mudslide!

    ...ok, so that last one is a bit graphic.

  • Brian||

    Slavenado.

    Slavenado.

  • ||

    Damn. The extra hookers was the one reason I was looking forward to the NFL fleecing Minnesoda when the Superbowl comes here in a few years.

  • Aloysious||

    The real tidal wave, then, is of politicians and activists profiting from public fears and seeking to gin up support for prohibitionist laws against commercial sex.

    2chilly nails it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...not the opposing team's defensive line, as you might expect, but a writhing mass of sex slaves inundating the Super Bowl and the Bay Area.

    But with equal amounts of nut-grabbing.

  • MSimon||

    Traffic is heavy.

  • MSimon||

    And for SF fans. "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys."

  • MSimon||

  • CatoTheChipper||

    Excellent! Haven't listened to this in years.

    Reminds me of psilocybin and Michoacan in the early 70s. I wasn't as addled as Agile Cyborg back then, but I experienced that state on many occasions to the music of Spirit and Traffic.

  • MSimon||

    Sex banners? I'd like one for my bedroom wall.

  • ||

    There’s No Tidal Wave of Sex Slaves Descending on the Super Bowl

    Another prime example of government failure. If it weren't for incompetent government meddling, there would be a healthy tidal wave of sex slaves descending on the Super Bowl.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Just elect MEEEEE, and there will be a chicken in every pot, enough pot to get every chicken stoned, and a healthy tidal wave of sex slaves for every Super Bowl!!!

  • Dr. Fronkensteen||

    "The good news is that we are continuing our efforts to fight human trafficking," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said the same day. "The bad news is that the problem continues to increase."

    IOW, We're incompetent in fighting a non-existent problem. Send more money.

  • WuzYoungOnceToo||

    Well, there goes my last reason to care about this year's SB.

  • macsnafu||

    So "sex trafficking" is just the latest excuse for LEO's to violate people's rights? Typical.

  • Brian||

    I am sad.

  • ireneanderson0014||

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    Clik This Link inYour Browser.
    ❇❇❇❇❇❇❇❇ http://www.Wage90.com

  • HenryC||

    There are more than a few that will pretend to be sex slaves if you spend enough money.

  • Andy542||

    ❝❝My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can't believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do..

    Clik This Link inYour Browser❞❞....

    www.Workpost30.com

  • العاب كركر||

    "The good news is that we are continuing our efforts to fight human trafficking," San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón said the same day. "The bad news is that the problem continues to increase."

    العاب طبخ
    العاب تلبيس بنات

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