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Archive for January 18th, 2013

A superstition which pretends to be scientific creates a much greater confusion of thought than one which contents itself with simple popular practices.  –  Johan Huizinga

Besides the fact that it’s just a great word, juxtaposition is an incredibly useful tool for demolishing moronic arguments and ridiculous articles.  Many times, all I have had to do to demonstrate the absurdity of a fallacious comment is to repeat it almost exactly with a few words changed, and let my readers’ brains do the rest.  But I recently discovered a case in which a journalist had done most of the job for me; all I had to do was copy and paste.  The story below in block quotes was published by TV station WXIA in Atlanta, Georgia on January 5th; the interpolated sections in italics are from a story which appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper only five days earlier (and which I’ve already quoted in TW3 #131).

As many as 60,000 college students taking part in the Passion 2013 Conference are discovering the harsh reality that slave labor and sex trafficking are real problems…”It’s true, girls are being bought and sold against their will…Sex trafficking and slavery are realities right here in our city.”  Atlanta is considered one of the major hubs for child trafficking.  It’s estimated that 500 underage girls are working the streets of Atlanta on any given night…

The City of Atlanta was under siege by human traffickers.  Some 1,000 Asian women and girls ages 13 to 25 were being “forced to prostitute themselves” in the city, a 2005 internal police email said…Had agency leaders questioned the estimate, they would have found it defied common sense.  If it were true, one in eight of the city’s Asians would have been sex slaves…Passion conference trafficking fans

The young people at Passion want to do their part to end it.  They’ll donate money this week to open two new…safe houses in the U.S., train thousands of law enforcement officers and rescue 10 women from the sex industry in Atlanta…

…The Atlanta Police Department won a $450,000 three-year grant, and the city chipped in an additional $150,000…police identified 216 potential victims…But this count was later revealed to be grossly inaccurate. Auditors for the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General could find documentation for only four victims…The Bureau of Justice Assistance made a mistake that added 93 victims to the count. Atlanta had actually reported 123 victims. The city could not explain the 119 that auditors couldn’t track. Police said the figures were reported by a city employee who retired before the Justice Department inquiry…Passion 2013

The group held a candlelight vigil for victims of sex trafficking and slave labor on Thursday night outside the Georgia World Congress Center.

“We are told by the State Department that every year 15,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. But then, where are they?” said Elzbieta Gozdziak, research director of the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University… “Why are the numbers so small?  Is it because the scope of the problem is not as big as they say?”…Those numbers are proof that the fight against human trafficking has gone wrong, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said…”Either the government is doing an unconscionably poor job of finding victims or there are not that many total victims in the first place,” Grassley wrote.

The egregiously-falsified numbers for Atlanta derive from a bogus study done in 2010 by the Schapiro Group, a marketing firm in the business of creating fake statistics to “prove” whatever the client wants “proven”; the project was bankrolled by the “Women’s Funding Network”, a front for Swanee Hunt’s “Demand Abolition” group, and was widely trumpeted until it was nationally debunked in a Village Voice article, “Women’s Funding Network Sex Trafficking Study Is Junk Science”; since then all available online copies of the “study” have conveniently vanished, so if any of you know how I can locate one for my archives please let me know.

In any case, it’s not surprising that self-identified “Christian youth” believe this nonsense; many of them probably believe far sillier things without any proof whatsoever.  But when the “true believers” are public officials, and the money they’re flushing down the “trafficking” toilet was stolen from your pocket rather than their own allowances, I think it’s fair to expect a bit less credulity.

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