Fanaticism is to superstition what delirium is to fever. – Voltaire
As I’ve pointed out many times, moral panics do not gradually increase in intensity and then fall off just as gradually; they are more like virulent illnesses which increase in intensity until there’s an almost complete breakdown of the system they infect, followed by a comparatively-rapid recovery after the crisis point. Some of my readers are skeptical of my prediction that we’re nearing the end of the hysteria; they point out that things seem to be getting worse, not better. But as I said on New Year’s Day:
This doesn’t mean that things will get steadily better from now on; in fact, they may get worse in some ways…In “The Widening Gyre” I referred to the “trafficking” myth as “an increasingly-erratic cultural meme spinning wildly out of control, whose far-flung debris is going to cause a lot more damage before it finally disintegrates”, and now that it has entered this last and most dangerous phase we should expect to see a lot more people hurt even as ever-larger numbers of people speak out against it ever more vocally. Because it’s a useful tool of social control and a versatile excuse for tyranny, governments (especially the US government) will work hard and invest huge sums to continue the panic well beyond the time when it would have died naturally; that, however, can only work for so long, and once the edifice of prohibition starts to collapse the US will no more be able to halt the process than the communists could stop the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
I recently ran into an example of this governmental exploitation of the hysteria in a Tennessee newspaper; though it bears the declarative title “Human Trafficking: Reality in Franklin County”, it would be hard to imagine an article more disconnected from reality. Not only does it make the usual bizarre and unbelievable claims supported by bogus, discredited and misattributed “statistics”; it does so in a way that makes the motives of the cops and other “authorities” vomiting out this filth incredibly transparent to anyone not locked in the throes of “trafficking” fever. I apologize for the extreme choppiness and lack of logical arrangement in the rest of this column; the source material really is that bad (as you can see for yourself) and the only way to correct that would be to rewrite it entirely.
Franklin County ranks high in human trafficking cases, with more than 100 incidences…in a two-year period, according to a 2011 study.
Quoting a thoroughly-debunked study so extreme it’s used as anti-American propaganda is always a good way to open a “sex trafficking” article. Quick synopsis: the study’s claims are totally unsupported by local police records.
…sex trafficking is not something that just happens in other parts of the world. It is happening in the United States, in Tennessee and in residents’ own backyards…
The Profession of Faith is also obligatory.
Recorded statistics show the multi-billion dollar industry of human trafficking has grown to the second largest crime industry in the world.
“Recorded statistics” show exactly the opposite, but this evidence-free and demonstrably ridiculous claim is another classic opener.
…The reason for the higher numbers in Franklin County is two-fold. One reason…is…proximity to the Georgia Border. Karen Karpinski…[of] End Slavery TN…said…“Atlanta is one of the top cities in the U.S. for minor trafficking”…
As I’ve documented in posts labeled “King of the Hill”, practically every city, town and village in the US claims to be a “major center” of “sex trafficking”, and the statement is always rationalized by some irrelevant feature like the presence of major highways or rivers, proximity to another place, remoteness from other places or whatever else “officials” can think of. The most astonishing part is that there are no statistics on “sex trafficking”, not even bogus ones; these claims to being the “top hub” or whatever are often attributed to the State Department or FBI or some other “authority”, but they’re literally made up, and based upon nothing.
Karpinski went on to say, “TBI quoted a recent report from the Shaperio [sic] Group out of Atlanta…”
Here’s a look at that Georgia “study”, more about the Schapiro Group’s methods, and one more article for good measure. “Charlatanry” would be a mild term for their work; “criminal misrepresentation” is a bit closer to the truth.
…The high number of reports in the county could also be attributed to the fact that Franklin County is uniquely qualified to recognize and tackle human trafficking…Police Chief Dennis Young explained… “This is not that we have more of these crimes, but instead it shows that we are more proactive in finding and rescuing these children”…
…“child pornography has become a billion dollar industry”…
This is a very common claim; however, it’s difficult to imagine how it could be true given that most child porn is traded on the internet with no money changing hands, and the majority of the images have been circulated amongst pedophiles for decades. While there is certainly a market for new material (generally produced in the developing world), even the most generous legitimate estimates place the size of that market in the tens of millions, not the billions. I’m sure everyone can agree that legal adult porn is a vastly-larger market, yet even it was never as large as the popular narrative claims and has dramatically shrunk in the past few years due to free content on the internet. But now we’ve reached that transparent motive I mentioned at the beginning:
Drugs are a major contributing factor in the sex trafficking industry and local law enforcement officials realize that stopping the flow of drug related crimes could help reduce the occurrence of human trafficking. Young stressed the importance of…[creating] an environment where drugs cannot exist…It is not uncommon to see cases of children being traded for sex in drug cases…
Here’s the real reason for this massive pile of bullshit. Small counties in rural Tennessee aren’t going to get much in the way of federal “anti-trafficking” funds (compared to large cities) no matter how absurd their claims; this whole boondoggle is just a way to whip up flagging support for the failed drug war by implicating drug dealers in the currently-popular moral panic. Hysteria takes a shortcut around the rational brain, so most readers will never even notice that desperate addicts doing desperate things has absolutely nothing to do with the supposed “sex trafficking industry”, any more than cops murdering dogs has anything to do with organized military actions. Even so, the (unnamed) reporters apparently feel the need to bury this deep in the bowels of the story; they continue on after it with more bogus and misattributed statistics, then repeat the propaganda that the FBI’s “Innocence Lost” pogrom against over a thousand adult sex workers “focused” on “rescuing children” (in reality, underage hookers were locked up and criminally charged). Next, it dwells on Tennessee’s new “anti-trafficking” laws in loving detail (including the one that allows the state to abduct the children of sex workers or clients) before wandering off into one of the inane and fantastical pimp classification schemes so popular with the “law and order” variety of “trafficking” fetishist; this particular one has elements that appear to be updated versions of the lurid masturbatory fantasy that “white slavers” frequently abducted naïve young women from dance halls. And given their identical origins in the sickness of prohibitionism, I’m sure there were “authorities” in the 1920s who told their frenzied disciples that bootleggers were mixed up in the “white slave” trade as well.