February 1, 2014

Sex trafficking, my ass

I was wildly irritated by the intense media coverage of prostitution busts in New York and New Jersey this week, all part of the Super Bowl media thrust. And that's all it was: a staged media event. This has nothing to do with right and wrong, and has minimal -- if any -- connection to "sex trafficking". So it was refreshing to see a sensible article about it in the NYT this morning. It's written by a woman who knows a thing or two about prostitution: Kate Mogulescu, the founder and supervising attorney of the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project at the Legal Aid Society.
TENS of thousands of people have descended upon the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area this week for tomorrow’s Super Bowl, accompanied by the usual media frenzy. A now familiar feature of this coverage, wherever the Super Bowl is held, is an abundance of stories, from Reuters to CNN, reporting that the event will cause a surge in sex trafficking to capitalize on the influx of fans and tourists.

Representative Christopher H. Smith, Republican of New Jersey and co-chairman of the House anti-human trafficking caucus, and Gov. Chris Christie announced a law enforcement crackdown. Cindy McCain, in advance of next year’s Super Bowl in Arizona, flew in to stand at Mr. Christie’s side, declaring that the Super Bowl is “the largest human-trafficking event on the planet.
The problem is that there is no substantiation of these claims. The rhetoric turns out to be just that.
Sure, slam the women to make the police look "good" in the run-up to the Super Bowl. This is a media spectacle, not a reality-based event. And the harm falls on women who were having a hard time to begin with. Pisses me off.
Remove the guise of “preventing” human trafficking, and we are left with a cautionary tale of how efforts to clean up the town for a media event rely on criminalizing people, with long-lasting implications for those who are then trapped in the criminal justice system. If we continue to perpetuate fallacies like the Super Bowl sex-trafficking phenomenon, we will continue to perpetuate the harm caused by prostitution arrests in the name of helping victims.
You tell 'em. This is just more police-state nonsense, brought to you by the states of New York and New Jersey. It's an attention-grabbing men v. women ploy for the cameras -- and only the women suffer consequences. The whole thing makes me sick.

1 comment:

Artichoke Annie said...

Good post. It shouldn't have to be pointed out but unfortunately that is not the case. Thanks.