Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – George Santayana
One year ago today I published “Hidden Hordes of Hookers”, the column which arguably put me on the map; it was the first post which attracted the attention of journalists (especially in Dallas) and led to a number of interviews and a plethora of links. In that column I ridiculed the dire predictions of tens of thousands of itinerant prostitutes and/or “human trafficking victims” (the terms are used interchangeably and confusingly) made by so-called “law enforcement authorities” in the Dallas area to make themselves seem important. And though none of these claims materialized, the “authorities” credited the unseasonable weather and their own hysteria for “preventing” the nonexistent “crisis”, rather like a Vaudeville comedian crediting his finger-snapping for keeping the elephants away. Ever since the beginning of the “human trafficking” hysteria, anti-prostitute activists and their cop allies have predicted that vast hordes of homeless whores will descend upon every major sporting event, and though not a single one of these ominous prophecies has ever shown as much as a whisper of a hint of coming true, that never stops the fanatics from repeating the claim at the next sporting event, nor badge-licking journalists from reporting it as fact without a trace of skepticism.
Well, it’s that time again; the next Super Bowl will be held in Indianapolis, and already politicians and police alike are ramping up to “crack down” on a nonexistent “problem”, with a credulous press corps in tow. Back in July Greg Zoeller, the attorney general of Indiana, started beating the drum; reporters claimed that “big-time criminals [put] young girls up for sale” and “when the big game hit North Texas this year, lots of money changed hands. But there was something else on the market too, sold, quietly, underground: young girls working as underage prostitutes for high paying clients. Some were simply sold as ‘sex slaves’.” This is, of course, a total lie without the faintest shred of evidence, as is the statement that “law enforcement personnel [in Texas] eventually made 133 separate human trafficking related arrests” (they were in fact normal prostitution arrests, a typical number for the time period involved, with only one accused of “human trafficking”) and the related claim that “tens of thousands of people – most of them young girls – [were] sold into the sex trade during Miami’s Super Bowl in 2010” (actually, it was one single proven incident, with unsubstantiated claims of 23 more from the Florida Department of Children & Families).
Then on September 30th, Zoeller held a press conference at which he stated (as though it were a proven fact) that “there will be an increase in demand for the illegal commercial sex trade in connection with the Super Bowl”. Interestingly, though Zoeller has obviously bought the “sex trafficking” propaganda for the most part, he seems to recognize that not all whores are helpless victims:
A major problem, he says, is differentiating commercial sex crimes that involve human trafficking from more standard prostitution. “I think the deficiencies are really that we look at prostitution where the prostitute is the criminal,” Zoeller said. “In this instance, where you recognize human trafficking, where the prostitute is a victim herself…We don’t have a specific statute that recognizes that bringing someone against their will into this trade is a specific crime,” he said.
While we can’t be sure what’s really going on in Zoeller’s head (he may simply be reserving his right to persecute working girls if no man can be railroaded as a “pimp”), it’s still good to see somebody in power saying this. Also, at least one Indiana journalist understands the principle of critical thinking; Maureen Hayden of the Kokomo Tribune wrote:
When I first heard Indiana Deputy Attorney General David Miller talk about the need to fast-track legislation that would add child trafficking to the state’s sex offenses, I was baffled…I didn’t understand the urgency in Miller’s argument: that the bill needed to be passed and signed into law before early February, when tens of thousands of sports fans will descend upon the state’s capital city for the 2012 Super Bowl. Miller told me…that before the 2011 Super Bowl weekend in Dallas, it was the Texas attorney general who described the party-filled spectacle…as “one of the biggest human trafficking events in the United States.” The Texas AG’s fears mirrored the worries of Miami law enforcement before the Super Bowl was played in its city in 2010: an influx of underage prostitutes brought into the city to service an increased demand for commercial sex from tourists in town for the game. Sounds incredibly sordid, doesn’t it? Almost like the story line for a fictional TV cop show. But Miller’s boss, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, is taking the scenario seriously…
She goes on to talk about Zoeller’s participation in the toothless and wrongheaded campaign against Backpage by the attorneys general association, but since I see a large portion of healthy skepticism in Hayden’s column I plan to send her a courtesy copy of this essay.
Unfortunately, there is no rational thought whatsoever in the various crusades by moralists, such as this petition which demands that “the State of Indiana not allow human trafficking at the 2012 superbowl [sic]” (presumably the petitioner imagines adolescent girls hawked like hot dogs in the stadium), or the bizarre and incredibly patronizing SOAP (Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution) program, which purports “To bring awareness to domestic minor sex trafficking in the US and rescue underage girls from being victimized” by spying on and interfering in the business operations of cheap motels:
S.O.A.P is a unique outreach program that educated motel owners and staff about the problem of missing children and brings awareness to Demand centered events that transport girls and women into an area for these events. It also provides a phone number to call so victims can be rescued…Teams of people will…be sent out to low end motels around the Stadium, downtown, and in high risk areas such as strip clubs. Volunteers will talk to motel owners and staff about human trafficking and the increase of girls being brought into the area for the event. They will also be offered free soap for their hotel during the duration of the event.
In a particularly absurd touch, the “free soap” is labeled with the phone number of the National Human Trafficking Hotline, undoubtedly so that motel guests can call from their waterproof cell phones if “human traffickers” pass through their bathrooms while they’re showering.
If history repeats itself (and it will), this is going to get a lot worse by Super Bowl week, then once the strumpet invasion fails to materialize the local “authorities” will parade anyone they can conceivably accuse of “pimping” before the TV cameras and credit their “preparations” for scaring the bogeymen and invisible harlots away. Please, journalists of Indiana, make yourselves part of the solution instead of part of the problem; contact me for an interview and/or do your own research. Help to free your readers from the lies of “authorities” and anti-human rights crusaders rather than contributing to the climate of fear and persecution which evil people use to facilitate their campaign of social control.