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Posts Tagged ‘Handy Figures’

Slavery works as a public fantasy through which the real problems of the world can be pushed to one side and replaced with…“evil slave-owners” who allegedly lurk behind such phenomena.  –  Frank FurediSWAT thugs

The Slave-Whore Fantasy

Many organizations…receive inquiries from potential volunteers whose primary desire is to kick in doors and rescue…victims…once a potential volunteer learns that the organization does not have a covert SWAT team…they seem shocked and in disbelief.  The concept of private entities using…armed…[“rescue”] teams…is fueled by Hollywood and…non-governmental organizations…who play DVDs at anti-human trafficking events indicating their organization uses [such] teams…some even indicate their activities are unhindered by the bureaucracy of governments…

Handy Figures

I find this number very credible, given that 1% of comparatively-prudish Western women have worked as whores, plus an unknown (but certainly larger) number in other kinds of sex work:

…economist Yasuyuki Iida…says that five percent of women in Japan have [done some kind of sex work.  He]…begins by estimating that there are 10,000 clubs, bars and parlors offering sex nationwide… “each employs 30 women on average…That puts the number of women…at 300,000”…Iida settles on 10 years as the average tenure…based on data from the Ministry of Justice…the average woman enters the biz between the age of 25 and 29.  Census data…indicates that a total of 700,000 women fall within…that…group.  If 30,000 women [per year]…enter the fuzoku trade, that would represent…4.29[%] of that total…

The Course of a Disease

The Vietnamese government has just passed a decree under which clients of prostitutes will be punished more severely than the call girls…sex buyers will be fined VND500,000-VND1 million (US$23.7-$47.4)…prostitutes…will be issued a warning…in less severe cases or a monetary fine of VND100,000-VND300,000 (up to $14)…If the prostitutes are foreigners, they can be deported from Vietnam…

Legal Is As Legal Does (TW3 #7)

Another example of the need for eternal vigilance:

A delegation of former prostitutes…[and] advocates have appeared before…Parliament calling for a change to prostitution laws…the organisation Freedom from Sexual Exploitation (FFSE)…says…”the Prostitution Reform Act…not only encouraged more men to buy sex, but transformed prostitution into an acceptable, even attractive job for young, poor woman in New Zealand”…FFSE is asking the government to…[criminalize] the purchase of sexual services…

Above the Law

Three more “isolated incidents”:

Nearly twenty years after two young women were shot and stabbed to death at a Kentucky massage parlor…former [cops]…Edward Carter and Leslie Duncan are among three men charged…Tammy Papler, the woman who once ran the parlor, claimed years ago that she had been bribing police…and that the killings took place after she stopped paying.

Of course, it isn’t only whores they target:

A…San Antonio [cop raped a young woman]…Jackie Len Neal pulled [her] over…[on the pretext] that her car was reported stolen.  Even though [she] produced a sales slip…Neal insisted on patting her down…[then] placed [her] in handcuffs…[in] the back of his patrol car…[and raped her]…video cameras mounted in Neal’s cruiser were not functioning…[but] a GPS tracking system did corroborate that…[it] was parked for 18 minutes…as the woman had claimed…

And an update from the original “Above the Law”:  “A victim of a…Pittsburgh police officer…filed a federal lawsuit…Adam Skweres…failed his psychological examination before [hiring and]…the city [allowed him to keep working]…after it received complaints against him…[for] three years…Frankenstein - angry mob

The Widening Gyre

You know a moral panic is nearing its zenith when you start seeing mobs with torches:

Hundreds of people [gathered]…on Long Beach Boulevard in Compton to march against the sex trafficking of children and teenagers along the notorious strip.  The march…[followed] the route often used by johns and pimps in buying and selling young victims…”We are marching tonight to shine a light in the darkness and let these men know we see them,” [politician Mark] Ridley-Thomas said…”And to let businesses that profit from this vile trade…know that we’re coming for them”…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (TW3 #34)

Don’t believe our data; believe our dogma instead!

In Maine…its hotline netted 19 of what Polaris Project defines as high- or moderate-level indicators of trafficking in the most recent year…Destie Sprague…[of] the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said…Mainers should not reach the conclusion that only 19 people in the state were victims of trafficking in the past year…the number is in reality much higher…

Lower Education

The federal government is backing away from the nationwide “blueprint” for campus speech restrictions issued this May…the new head of the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)…said that “the agreement in the Montana case represents the resolution of that particular case and not OCR or DOJ policy”…the Montana agreement included an overly broad definition of punishable sexual harassment: “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech)…Serious First Amendment and due process problems remain with…other recent OCR pronouncements…

The Crumbling Dam (TW3 #326)

Wouldn’t you love to see articles like this in the US?

Media organizations worldwide have been busy crucifying Rob Ford for his alleged crimes and intoxicated buffoonery…but mainstream outlets in Canada…need to apologize for repeatedly presenting Ford’s crimes in conjunction with allegations of “prostitution”…Having sex for money is not a crime in this country.  Even though many activities associated with it remain illegal, having sex for money…is a job…Every major mainstream media source in the city latched onto the “hanging out with suspected prostitutes” allegations…what makes someone a “suspected prostitute,” anyway?  Fishnets?…

Backwards into the Future (TW3 #329)

Though registration is a poor idea because of the inevitable bottleneck, the general tone of this article is far more sensible than anything from the US:

…Swaziland’s sex workers are not a major contributor to the spread of HIV…[it] is spread widely by people in [unpaid] sexual encounters …However…if HIV is to be contained in any country the need to protect sex workers from HIV is a requirement…Identification of sex workers is the first step, allowing a registry of sex workers for contact and communication.  Thus reachable, these individuals can receive advice on health issues, HIV testing…counselling…treatment …and a supply of condoms…public health crises require realism…

Migliorini in PlayboyLittle Boxes (TW3 #332)

A woman who sold her virginity…for $780,000 but was unable to consummate the transaction has decided to put herself back on the market…Catarina Migliorini  was initially promised to a 53-year-old Japanese millionaire, but the deal fell through after Natsu ended up being a 21-year-old who looked nothing like his online profile.  She also had a falling out with the documentary filmmaker who recruited her…

Decentralization (TW3 #334)

Another example of “sex trafficking” as default bogeyman:

…bitcoin…is not backed by any central bank or government and can be transferred “peer to peer” between any two people anywhere…By largely eliminating intermediaries, bitcoin allows individuals to conduct transactions without being subject to anti-money laundering controls, which makes it an attractive currency to criminals — particularly those who prey on the weak.  Sex slavery and human trafficking generate $9.5 billion yearly in the United States alone, with each trafficked child yielding between $150,000 to $200,000 to her pimp, who controls four to six girls on average…

It’s That Time Again (TW3 #334)

The cuckoo clock is striking 13:

Cindy McCain slammed the National Football League…for not being “willing to deal” with the issue of sex trafficking at the Super Bowl…McCain…said the Super Bowl is the “largest human-trafficking venue on the planet,” but she will be working to tackle the issue in [Arizona] in 2015…McCain emphasized the necessity of bringing the issue to…Congress.  “This issue’s not sexy on Capitol Hill yet, but we’re going to make it sexy”…

Given all the one-handed writing politicians do about “child sex slaves”, I’d say they already find it plenty sexy.  But McCain’s comments, however idiotic, are at least coherent, which is more than I can say for those of her sidekick:

…Saada Saar spoke about her involvement in shutting down “adult services” ads on Craigslist in 2010…“I will never forget that morning getting calls from some of the girls who were still out there saying, ‘Oh my God!  The pimp’s [sic] are losing their minds because they can’t put us up for sale.  We are no longer for sale’…”

Imaginary Evils

Slaves found in London 'tip of the iceberg' Daily MailI knew this would turn out to be bogus, but I’m very pleased that it came apart so quickly:

The first stories in the London slavery reports…all gave the same horrifying account:  three women had been rescued by police after thirty years held against their will…But as details emerged, it seemed to be an entirely different affair…after contacting the charity, the women were encouraged to leave the house, which they did…with no dramatic police raid…[they] had joined a radical Marxist collective…which…was like a microcosm of a Soviet state- workers toil unrewarded for the benefit of the leader…”social services, education and housing departments had all had contact with the household” and…both the leaders had been previously arrested.  The presence of these women in the house was not a new discovery by any means…

And in Spiked, Frank Furedi uses the incident as a springboard for a strong criticism of the way the word “slavery” is used to describe phenomena which are absolutely nothing like chattel slavery.

Everything Old is New Again

Here are two more stories in which “sex trafficking” is described using ludicrous Victorian phraseology; this one from Ohio tells us that the mustache-twirling villains behind the “perfidious crime” are not usually stopped by “swift apprehension”, and that arresting sex workers “[fights] the vexing scourge” by “helping to restore a semblance of normalcy to [their] lives”.  The other, from California, gasps in horror at the idea of “children…at risk” from people having sex “in a home right across the street from an elementary school,” opines that “the horror of human trafficking…has destroyed the meaning of what it means to be ‘safe’ in a free world,”  and tells us that “expanding shackles” (presumably, a technology related to “invisible handcuffs”) are “fueled” by “assumptions that these are consensual interactions with women flaunting their sexual desire alongside pimps in outlandish suits with expensive cars.”

Meanwhile, if you click back to the original column by this name you’ll see something about how New Port Richey, Florida has a scheme to allow “authorities” to persecute “known prostitutes” at will.  Well, here’s an open letter to the town from its most famous daughter, Dr. Brooke Magnanti:

…Profiling has a false positive rate greater than zero, and some of those false positives will no doubt lawyer up.  Also, picking up people because you think they might possibly commit a crime in the future is not the same as detecting people who are actually breaking the law.  It is – hm, how you say? – oh yeah, now I remember the word.  “Unconstitutional.”  (My time in Florida’s schools did not go to waste, as you can see)…

Think of the Children! (TW3 #346)

Buried down near the bottom of this farrago of pearl-clutching nonsense about a persecuted Calgary massage parlor:  “Human trafficking is not a widespread problem among sex workers in Calgary massage parlours, police say…Mary Ann Franks threatens to beat up website owners

Shame, Shame

Activists seeking to criminalize “revenge porn” say they are…[preparing] federal legislation that would force Internet companies to take [it] down…law professor Mary Anne Franks…is helping draft the bill…”Going after intermediaries is a really bad idea,” says Matt Zimmerman…[of] the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  “The entire speech ecosystem…[suffers] because those service providers…decide what people can and cannot post”…Internet companies would likely respond to such a law by removing content any time there’s a complaint, to reduce their liability and…save time…

Hard Numbers (TW3 #347)

This ugly exercise in arse-backwardness repeats lurid nonsense about “sex tourism” in Brazil using Justin Bieber clickbait while describing dry stories about sex workers’ language lessons and business improvements as “titillating”; it then dismisses UN recommendations for decriminalization in a flurry of “sex trafficking” hoo-hah (describing the fringe group Equality Now as “many NGOs”), and adds insult to injury by mentioning Gabriela Leite’s Davida without stating that it’s a sex worker rights organization.  Compare it with this one, which despite being fixated on “grittiness” is at least basically honest.

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Perfect numbers, like perfect men, are very rare. –  Rene Descartes

Yesterday’s “Frequently Told Lies” inspired me to look back at “Handy Figures“, a compilation of numbers and figures which previously appeared in other columns; I had originally intended to keep updating it, but it somehow seemed wrong to make major alterations to an old column so I lapsed.  Since then, I came up with the idea of duplicating these retrospective-type columns into static pages, and that’s worked out so well I figured it was time to do the same with this useful reference tool.  Much of it is the same as the old column, but there are additional figures and better links, and I’ve rounded my estimates off in response to the justified criticism that very specific numbers don’t look like estimates, but rather exact counts.

huge crowd$32 billion:  Current claim of the total annual income of the “sex trafficking” industry; this was actually the ILO’s 2005 estimate of the value of all forced labor, not forced prostitution.

42 million:  Fondation Scelles’ estimate of the total world whore population; it’s not really bad, but see 19 below.

27 million:  According to a December 2010 “estimate” by “Free the Slaves”, the total number of people “trapped in modern-day slavery”  (see also 2.4 million and 800,000 below).

$22.6 million:  Total estimated annual amount the State of Texas spends on imprisoning prostitutes.

2.4 million:  UNODC estimate of the number of “trafficking” victims worldwide (see also 27 million above; 800,000 and 40,000 below).

800,000:  According to the U.S. State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons” report for 2004, the total number of “human trafficking victims” worldwide (see also 27 million and 2.4 million above; 80,000, 14,500 and >10% below).

450,000:  Estimated number of active, professional prostitutes in the US.

$300,000:  Prohibitionist claim of a typical hooker’s annual income.

100,000-300,000:  According to trafficking fanatics, the number of “trafficked child prostitutes” in the US (see also 16,000, 14,500 and 2500 below).

100,000:  According to one “estimate”, the number of “trafficked” Vietnamese manicurist/whores hidden in nail salons in the UK.

80,000:  The number of Filipino women who lost good jobs in Japan due to U.S. State Department meddling (see also 800,000 above and >10% below).

70,000:  Estimated number of street prostitutes in the US  (see also 450,000 above).

30,000-45,000:  Total number of whores supposedly “trafficked” into Israel from 1991-2006, who magically vanished after a law was passed.

40,000:  The number of “trafficking victims” for which UNODC claims to have actual evidence (see also 2.4 million above and 1362 below).London Olympics logo

10,000-40,000:  Typical “estimates” of the number of whores claimed to flock to mega sport events such as the Super Bowl or Olympics (see also 1 below).

14,500-17,500:  2008 federal estimate of all “trafficked persons” of all ages and employment types (sex, agriculture, etc) in the US.

16,000:  Estimated number of all American prostitutes under 18.

2500: Estimated number of coerced prostitutes under 18 in the US.

1362:  The total number of “human trafficking victims” (all types, not just sex) identified as such in the US from 2000-2007 (see also 14,500 above).

600:  Estimated number of “pimped” underage prostitutes in the entire US who advertise online.

160x:  High-end estimate of the factor by which the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the promiscuous segment of the general public exceeds that in the escort population  (see also 3-5%, 2x and 0.4% below).

133:  The total number of arrests made in the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area during the 2.5 weeks before the 2011 Super Bowl, which is now represented by “trafficking” fetishists as the number of “trafficking” arrests (see also 1 below).

97%:  Percentage of escorts who report an increase in self-esteem after they entered the trade (see also 72% and 60% below).

97%:  Fraction of Turkish harlots who prefer to work illegally rather than be registered and subjugated in brothels.

95%:  Fraction of underage New York City street prostitutes who say they sell sex because it is the most dependable way to support themselves.

90%:  Fraction of sex workers in Queensland who prefer to work illegally (see also 97% above).

85%:  Fraction of sexually-active Bahamian teens who are involved in some kind of transactional sex.

84%:  Fraction of underage prostitutes in New York City who have never even met a pimp.

81%:  Fraction of Swedes who report being “angry” about client criminalization (contrast with the Swedish government claim that 76% support the law).

80%:  According to the UNDOC, the fraction of “human trafficking” cases involving forced prostitution (see also 20% below).Brothel Prostitute and Client

78%:  Fraction of Dutch citizens who feel prostitution is a job like any other.

77%:  Fraction of escorts who feel their clients respect them.

77%:  Fraction of Canadians who support decriminalization.

75%:  Fraction of escorts who feel the job improved their lives.

72%:  Fraction of all prostitutes who report that their work has increased their self-esteem  (see also 97% above).

70%:  Fraction of Australian whores who said they would choose the same trade if they had their lives to live over again.

70%:  Fraction of Dutch sex workers who aren’t Dutch by birth.

69%:  According to Kinsey (1948), the fraction of men who have paid for sex at least once in their lives; it is probably somewhat lower now due to the increased availability of “free” sex.

60%:  Fraction of American prostitutes who are escorts (either independent or agency).

54%:  Fraction of escorts who consider the transaction as equal.

>50%:  Of streetwalkers with pimps (see below), the fraction who control their pimps rather than vice-versa.

<50%:  Fraction of streetwalkers who work with pimps at least part of the time.

50:  As of June 2012, the high-water mark in ridiculous claims of the number of clients per night hookers supposedly see.

48%:  The amount by which sexual coercion has decreased in Germany since prostitution laws were liberalized in 2002.

45%:  Fraction of underage New York City street prostitutes who are male.

34:  Though often presented as the average life expectancy of sex workers, this is actually the average age of murdered streetwalkers from one study.

33%:  Sweden’s official estimate of the fraction of all Swedish prostitutes who are streetwalkers; note that it is more than twice as high as the standard estimate for Western countries (see 15% below).

28%:  The factor by which the number of prostitutes rose in Norway after client criminalization.

Prostitute and Her Client by Georges Bottini (1904)26%:  Fraction of escorts who feel they have power over their clients.

25%:  Estimated decrease in the American rape rate if prostitution were legal.

25%:  Fraction of Queensland prostitutes with a university degree.

25:  The average age at which American prostitutes enter the trade.

20%:  Fraction of men who see prostitutes at least occasionally.

20%:  More realistic estimate (heard at Albany Law Symposium) of fraction of all “human trafficking” which is for sexual purposes (see also 80% above).

19:  Prohibitionist group Fondation Scelles’ claim of the average age of all whores worldwide (see 25 above).

16:  The average age at which underage prostitutes enter the trade (see also 13-14 below).

15%:  Estimated fraction of all Western prostitutes who worked on the street prior to the advent of the internet.

13:  According to prohibitionist propaganda, the average age at which prostitutes enter the trade; this is derived from a purposeful distortion by Melissa Farley of the age at which underage streetwalkers in one study reported they had their first noncommercial sexual contact of any kind.

12.5%:  According to a 2005 “estimate” by Atlanta police, the fraction of the city’s Asian population who are “sex slaves” (see also 3% below).

11%:  In a 1910 study, the fraction of New York prostitutes who reported that they were coerced into the trade (from Renegade History of the United States; see also 8% below).

11:  The number of US states which allow prostitutes to be sentenced to prison.

10.5%:  Fraction of Chicagoans charged with buying sex who are actually transgender prostitutes.

>10%:  According to the U.S. State Department’s TIP report for 2004, the fraction of all “human trafficking victims” in the entire world who were “enslaved” in Japanese hostess clubs (see also 800,000 and 80,000 above).

10%:  Fraction of Dutch prostitutes who are genetically male; half are male prostitutes (many of them cross-dressers) and the other half transgender.

10%:  Fraction of Swedish girls who admit to having accepted money for sex.

10%:  Estimated fraction of streetwalkers in Western countries who are controlled or dominated by pimps  (see also 1.5% below).  It is also the fraction of underage streetwalkers who have pimps at all.

<10%:  Fraction of all women accused of being underage hookers who are actually under 18.

5-10%:  Historically, the fraction of women who prostituted themselves at least part-time, varying by time and place (from Whores in History).

8%:  High-end estimate for the fraction of female inhabitants of 1840s London who worked as prostitutes  (from Whores in History).

8%:  Fraction of underage New York prostitutes who say they were forced into prostitution.

7%:  Approximate fraction of sex workers arrested in FBI “Innocence Lost” operations who are actually under 18.

6%:  Fraction of men who see prostitutes frequently.

5.5%:  Typical fraction of women in a 19th-century European or American city employed as prostitutes at any given time (from Whores in History).

3-5%:  Fraction of STD cases in the United States which are either suffered or transmitted by prostitutes;  93% of these are associated with streetwalkers (see also 160x above and 2x and 0.4% below).

4%:  Approximate fraction of school-age girls in the US who would now be “sex slaves” if the “estimates” of hysterics were true.

4%:  Approximate conviction rate for “trafficking” arrests made in the FBI’s “Operation Innocence Lost”.

3.5%:  Estimated fraction of Western prostitutes who are under 18.

3%:  According to “trafficking” hysterics, the fraction of all underage hookers in the entire US who work in Atlanta (see also 12.5% and 16,000 above).

2.3%:  Fraction of women in the general population who report their husbands or boyfriends are “extremely controlling”.

2 hours:  Typical average cost of the least expensive hookers’ services in comparison with the average working man’s pay in most cultures.

2x:  Factor by which the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the promiscuous segment of the general public exceeds that in streetwalkers  (see also 160x and 3-5% above, and 0.4% below).

<2%:  Fraction of Cambodian prostitutes who say they were coerced into the trade (see also 1.5% below).La Bella by Titian (1536)

1.5%:  Overall estimated fraction of adult prostitutes in Western nations who are controlled by abusive pimps.

1.2%:  Fraction of women in the general population who report their husbands or boyfriends are “extremely violent”.

1%:  Fraction of modern American women who admit to having worked as whores at some point in their lives (from Sex Work).

<1%:  The fraction of “brothel” raids in which UK police found someone they could accuse of being “trafficked”; also the fraction of “trafficked” Greek whores.

1:  The number of arrests for “human trafficking” during Super Bowl week in both Miami (2010) and Dallas (2011) (see also 40,000 and 133 above).

0.4%:  The estimated fraction of all STD cases in the United States which are either suffered or transmitted by escorts or brothel workers (see also 160x, 3-5% and 2x above).

0.3%:  Fraction of women in modern Western cultures who work as prostitutes at any given time.

0.014%:  Fraction of missing “children” (most of whom are actually adolescents) who are abducted by strangers for any reason.

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Sex workers have very special qualities.  They are skilled at giving pleasure in whatever way is required.  –  Tuppy Owens

All Shapes and Sizes

Why don’t journalists actually read what they’re writing about?

…In a study of 105 heterosexual Australian women, flaccid penis size, height, and shoulder-to-hip ratio all affected the women’s attractiveness ratings of life-size, computer-generated male figures…The penis effect was so strong that that the study’s authors…[theorized] that it may have driven the evolution of bigger penises in humans…Shoulder-to-hip ratio mattered the most, while both penis size and height mattered about the same amount…there were diminishing returns for everything.  That is, how much more attractiveness the figures gained for added height, penis size and shoulder-to-hip ratio decreased as those traits increased.  So the attractiveness difference between at 6’1″ man and a 6’2″ man is less than the difference between a 5’1″ man and a 5’2″ man.  For penis size, the dropoff in attractiveness gains started at about 7.6 centimeters, or three inches…

In other words, the study doesn’t show that most women are attracted to really big cocks; it shows that they tend to find really small ones unattractive, which isn’t at all the same thing.  And BTB, the theory that the comparatively-large human penis is a product of artificial selection is not remotely new; it’s also probable that the same process resulted in human women having prominent tits when we aren’t pregnant or nursing.

License To Rape

A small-town North Carolina cop raped a 13-year-old girl while on duty, and the town hired him without any…screening after he had raped an 11-year-old…Jaymin Lenwood Murphy was sentenced in December 2010 to 41 years in prison for sexual offenses against the two girls…The [13-year-old, who is suing the town]…says that Murphy “threatened her mother and herself with jail” so she “was too terrified…to report it to anyone”…

A War for Peace

Femen demonstrates how deeply it cares about women by physically attacking them at work:

I’ve previously pointed out Femen’s deep hypocrisy in claiming that it’s noble for a woman to use her sexuality for politics, but not as a means of earning a living.  But it’s actually worse than that:  “Each new recruit…has to show off her breasts to audition for the role…each member’s salary allegedly comes to around $1,000…”  In other words, they’re paid for using their sexuality; they’re sex workers dedicated to stopping other women from doing sex work.

Against Their Will

Yesterday, Pak Kret police found the bodies of two girls floating near a pier in front of Kredtrakarn Protection and Occupational Development Center…the…girls…reportedly attempted to escape the Center by swimming across the Chao Phraya River…”  What this story does not make clear is that this was actually a prison for girls “rescued” from sex work, which explains why they were desperate to escape despite the absurd claims of “authorities”.

The Crumbling Dam

Joyce Arthur of FIRST shows what an anti-criminalization article by a non-sex worker should look like:

Within the next year, our Supreme Court may very well strike down Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional because they place sex workers at risk of violence and abuse.  Are we ready for full decriminalization?  Or will society’s fear of the legal vacuum lead to a panicked rush to pass new legislation to criminalize or control sex work?  Most people know little or nothing about actual sex workers…because they’ve been fed negative and false stereotypes from movies and TV, sensationalistic news stories, “do-gooder” organizations that purport to rescue trafficked sex slaves, and various self-appointed “experts” whose views are informed mostly by shoddy research and propaganda.  The true experts on sex work have been speaking out more and more, however, and people are finally starting to listen to them…

The Course of a Disease

The Swedish rot reaches South America:

…the Argentine Congress started discussing…[a bill] to penalize anyone who buys sex…regardless of whether the person providing the sex is a consenting adult…No one would contest that actual sex trafficking is a problem in Argentina and that something should be done about it…

SexWorker Open UniversityJust call me nobody, then.  Coercion into commercial sex is rare everywhere, and the rare individuals who are so victimized aren’t helped by wrongheaded “something should be done” legislation.  Meanwhile, half a world away, the Scottish Trade Union Conference decided to screw a sex worker outreach event called “Sex Worker Open University” by cancelling the facilities it had agreed to provide at (almost literally) the last minute:

…the Scottish Trades Union conference…issued this statement:  “…the specific title of the event…was…“The Scottish Context:  Opposing Criminalisation of Clients”…a number of individuals and organisations contacted us to ask why we were taking this view…[which] is diametrically opposed to the position STUC…reached as a consequence of its democratic process…”  This suggests that a public meeting was somehow hidden, or that SWOU attempted to keep this information private…If a LGBTQ group wants to hold an event and homophobic groups phone to complain will they cancel the booking?  If a Muslim group hosts [an] event and…Islamaphobes demonstrate will the STUC refuse to offer support and solidarity?  Will their position always be with the oppressors rather than the oppressed?…[and] why does the STUC have a position that is against the best interests of the workers?  They say it was democratically reached but it was not voted for by the full membership, nor were the workers who would be effected consulted…

A False Dichotomy (TW3 #8)

Runaway maids are turning to prostitution in order to support themselves during their illegal stay in…Sharjah…518 prostitution cases and 10 human trafficking cases were recorded…[in the emirate]…in 2012.  Absconding maids topped the prostitution cases…[but] some…came to the country on a visit visa…to work illegally in the sex worker industry…

Handy Figures (TW3 #17)

As I’ve pointed out before, the tendency of recent studies to “find” that impossibly-low numbers of men hire whores has a lot more to do with social stigma and poor question phrasing than with reality; the General Social Survey‘s claim that only 14% of American men have ever paid for sex could only be true if the number of sex workers were a tenth what it is and we each only had two clients per week!  But though I respectfully disagree with Dr. Milrod about that survey’s data being credible, I have no respect for those who technically agree with me not because of logic or experience, but because the finding contradicts “trafficking” dogma!

Naked Truth

Laura Lee in the Independent on why the Swedish model is a bad idea:

…Rhoda Grant…is pushing…this measure because she believes that prostitution is…inherently harmful and dangerous.  I know from years of experience that for the vast majority of sex workers…that simply isn’t true…they made an informed choice to enter the industry and enjoy their work…Grant [stated] in…Glasgow Evening Times  [that] “People that use prostitutes are people who would rape and abuse.”  Not only is that statement false, it is also offensive in the extreme to every client I have ever met…the solution to the protection of those in the sex industry is complete decriminalisation …any further criminalisation of the sex industry will cost lives.

The Young and the Brainless

Judgy Bitch’s excellent take on the “teen girl pimp” case:

…some newbie traffickers scouted and groomed vulnerable girls on social media sites, lured them to a rough part of town, stripped them naked, took nude photos and then blackmailed the young victims into working as escorts.  And then took their money.  The girls who resisted were physically beaten.  The traffickers?  Two fifteen year old girls, and one sixteen year old girl…It doesn’t appear that any men, let alone black men, were involved on the pimping side of the equation in Ottawa, but that hasn’t stopped the media from trying to associate any instance of pimping with black men…and…who stepped in to help the girls being victimized?  Who took a stand and put a stop to what was going on?…Yeah, that would be the johns.  Men called up an escort service, looking for sex in exchange for money, and when they realized the girls were desperately underage and deeply emotionally upset, they intervened.  In [two cases] the john drove the young girl home…In a third case, the john flat out refused to have sexual contact with someone who was clearly a minor…

Mark LancasterOne Born Every Minute (TW3 #51)

Remember Mark Lancaster, the guy who tried to trick naïve coeds into having sex with him as a supposed “audition” for a sugar daddy referral service?  He’s being charged with…wait for it…”sex trafficking”.  Add that to your list of bizarre uses for this ever-expanding umbrella term.

Skin To Skin

It’s wonderful to see so many articles arguing that disabled people have the right to see sex workers  even if prohibitionists are upset by the idea:

A forthcoming Channel 4 documentary, Can Have Sex Will Have Sex…has been labelled “controversial“, but many mothers call the sex and disability helpline, which I run, worried that their disabled son is physically unable to masturbate and desperately needs an outlet…I really love the idea of sex workers giving disabled people the chance to be touched in a non-medical way, perhaps for the first time in their lives, to be held in a warm pair of arms and have their sexual dreams respected and lived out.

Number Puzzle

Another prohibitionist screed masquerading as reasoned argument is debunked by Feminist Ire:

In early March…the Huffington Post published…“Debunking The Myths: Why Legalising Prostitution Is A Terrible Idea”…by Jacqui Hunt, London director of Equality Now…despite its title, its scope is not limited to legalisation:  she believes decriminalisation is an equally bad idea.  At first glance, her article looks fairly reasonable and well researched, citing studies from various countries in which sex work has been legalised or decriminalised…[but] the ways in which…her claims have been made…undermine her credibility…because the primary source for her observations on New Zealand reveals a markedly different picture from the one she has chosen to paint, I’m given to feel that all of her claims ought to be thoroughly investigated…

Lack of Evidence (TW3 #314)

Clay Nikiforuk, the young woman harassed by US customs officials because they thought she was an escort, appears to “get it”:

There’s no doubt in my mind that one reason my story gained the attention it did was that it screamed “sexy” at every juncture…But another reason…is that…when bad things start happening to innocent, educated white people, they could happen to anyone — or rather, other privileged people…when sex and sexuality are criminalized, people are made illegal and their rights made moot…If I were a sex worker, I might have “deserved” the treatment I received, or my detainment might have “made sense.”  If I were from a minority group or were not as educated in the English language, my story might not have provoked the shock and outrage that it did.  And rather than receiving the reaction “That should never happen to anyone,” often the reaction I still get is “That should never have happened to you”…

Trafficking, Trafficking Everywhere! (TW3 #314)

What a sane, agenda-free sex work study looks like:

Migrant prostitutes…are in the sex trade for the money…research…in New Zealand has found…Catherine Healy…said…”The findings suggests there are no signs that migrant sex workers here are victims of trafficking” [despite US claims]…

57%: On student, work or visitor visa
86%: From Asia
26%: Came to New Zealand “to study”
35%: Knew someone living here
76%: Did sex work to pay household bills
5%: Could not refuse clients and did not have access to their passports

In other words, only 5% of migrant whores (themselves a minority of the sex worker population) could be described as “coerced” in any valid way.

Terrilyn MonetteThe Widening Gyre (TW3 #314)

All over Lakeview, you’ll find signs asking people to be on the lookout for missing teacher Terrilyn Monette…[rumors claim] that the Russian Mafia moved into New Orleans shortly before the Super Bowl…to abduct women for human trafficking…NOPD…is trying to squelch the rumor…

If the NOPD didn’t want a stupid “sex trafficking” panic, it shouldn’t have participated in spreading one.

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A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people’s business.  –  Eric Hoffer

Eleven updates and two metaupdates.

Election Day (November 2nd, 2010)

The campaign to ban police and prosecutors from using condoms as “evidence of prostitution” is ramping up; last week a group of public health and human rights advocates spoke to the New York legislature, and supporters now have their own website.  Find out what you can do to help end this public health nightmare; success in New York will reinforce efforts in other states.

Maggie in the Media (February 3rd, 2011)

My column on the Secret Service scandal attracted quite a lot of media attention.  Last Friday James Wolcott of Vanity Fair quoted me, writing “Maggie McNeill, whose always provocative and independent-thinking blog The Honest Courtesan provides “a whore’s-eye view on current events,” is unable to stifle a yawn over the unholy fuss being made over the Secret Service  agent and the underpaid escort, which has flowered into a hothouse scandal…”  On that same day I spoke to Abby Ellin of ABC News, whose story appeared on Monday:

“If it had happened here, the woman couldn’t have gone to the police and said, ‘These guys are trying to cheat me out of money.’  Instead, she would have been hurt and cheated, and Mr. Agent Man would have gone home and patted himself on the back for having gotten one over on her,” said Maggie McNeill, a former New Orleans call girl and the founder of The Honest Courtesan.

She also wrote:

But while they acknowledge the potential dangers to national security, sex workers in the United States think the “breach” argument is another form of discrimination against prostitutes.  “If the issue is attracting attention or bragging about being in the security detail, then it would be a problem if they brought in any outsider,” said McNeill.  “If that’s the case, then what difference does it make if she’s a prostitute or an accountant?”

The next day, Newstrack India drew on the ABC story for its own report, which said:  “Maggie McNeill, a former New Orleans call girl and the founder of The Honest Courtesan, and others have said that the policy was ridiculous, and that criminalizing prostitution was not only a human rights violation, but also a safety and labour issue.”  Meanwhile, I was contacted by the producer of The O’Reilly Factor to be on Tuesday’s show, but I didn’t want to show my face on national television and O’Reilly understandably wanted someone he could look in the eye; instead they got Sienna Baskin of the Sex Workers Project, whom I am told held her own very well (probably better than I could’ve, because O’Reilly would almost certainly have flustered me).

Not the Same Tree (February 18th, 2011)

Northern Ireland has railroaded convicted its first “sex trafficker”:

Matyas Pis was…convicted of controlling prostitution…The [two] women said they asked…Pis to book their air tickets, and he provided them with an apartment…Judge Burgess said the women were not being held against their will, but he could not ignore that “human trafficking is a global problem and we should not be blind to the fact that it is happening right now in Northern Ireland…”

So obviously this judge would convict men for having consensual sex on the grounds that he heard somewhere that 1 in 4 women have been raped.

What’s the Legal Definition of Prostitution Again? (April 17th, 2011)

I wasn’t going to say anything about this article  criticizing a new halfway whore site, because it’s sadly typical of Jezebel’s stealth anti-sex work oeuvre.  But then Lolo de Sucre of Tits and Sass published this thoroughly awesome takedown entitled “Jezebel Blogger Saves Unwitting Women from Accidentally Prostituting Themselves ‘in Fucking Thailand or Some Shit’”, which you absolutely must read; her caption for this picture is especially brilliant.

Handy Figures (June 11th, 2011)

Dr. Brooke Magnanti referenced this column and two others in a new article on the methodological deficiencies of prohibitionist “studies”.  Meanwhile, an otherwise-uninteresting news article led me to this equally-uninteresting 2006 item which nonetheless contained one interesting statistic:  49% of Indian men are now willing to admit they’ve paid for sex, which is much closer to the truth than the laughably low figures many American “researchers” produce via poorly-phrased questions.

Sisters in Arms (July 14th, 2011)

Tennessee joins the list of states defining miscarriage as murder; this article quotes and links others from Knox News, RH Reality Check, Think Progress and The Tennessean.  Had enough yet, neofeminists and nanny-staters?  Because the policies you support provide the precedents for these abominations.

Schadenfreude (November 28th, 2011)

Great news about Kristof’s “hero”, fanatical anti-whore activist Somaly Mam:

[At a UN panel] Somaly Mam…[falsely claimed] that when police raided her Afesip centre in Phnom Penh in 2004, eight of the girls were…murdered…83 women…[were taken to the] centre…after a raid…on the Chai Hour 11 Hotel, where it was alleged that underage girls were providing sexual services…However, the following day, the centre itself was raided by government officials and members of the detained women’s families, and the women released…Somaly Mam [claimed] these officials colluded with the owners of the hotel, but a number of the women released [insisted] to reporters that they…resented being “rescued”.  It was also disputed that any of the women were underage…No reports…suggested any of the women…were missing…[and] the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights [expressed] surprise at Mam’s…claim…[Pierre Legros, Mam’s ex-husband and] Afesip’s international director at the time of the raids, also denied that any…girls were murdered…he said that previous claims by his ex that their daughter had…been kidnapped and gang-raped in revenge for her mother’s activism were also untrue…[the] daughter had simply run off with her boyfriend…the lack of evidence of Mam’s claims…seriously [undermines] her credibility.  Observers had for some time felt that Mam had become preoccupied with her identity as an international celebrity…

Presents, Presents, Presents! (December 29th, 2011)

On Tuesday I received a DVD of The Thing from Lord Oberon, then yesterday the UPS man brought me John Stossel’s new book No, They Can’t from Elisabeth Whispers.  Thank you both so much for thinking about me!

An Example to the West (April 3rd, 2012)

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) held its conference in Istanbul last week, and unlike similar events in the United States, sex worker rights groups were welcomed there as important participants.  Dr. Laura Agustín wrote about the proceedings:

…I was at this event most of last week, part of a group promoting a vision of sex work, migration and feminism that emphasizes agency, the state of being in action, taking power, making decisions even when presented with few options. We overtly challenged the reductionist, infantilising ideology that has come to dominate mainstream policy and faux journalism  (like The New York Times’s) by attending many sessions and commenting…

TrustLaw reported on the conference as well, highlighting Agustín’s contribution and also quoting the EMPOWER Foundation:

“We are forced to live with the modern lie that border controls and anti-trafficking policies are for our protection…We have been spied on, arrested, cut off from our families, had our savings confiscated, interrogated, imprisoned and placed into the hands of the men with guns…all in the name of ‘protection against trafficking’”…one woman [said]:  “At a restaurant you get a menu and you look at all the options before you pick out your selection …Some restaurants have a huge menu and some only have a few dishes – either way the process is the same.  Vegetarians may not understand when you choose a steak, and others may not understand when we choose to do sex work.”

Much Ado About Nothing (April 14th, 2012)

Since the public stubbornly refuses to get worked up over the “news” that G-men hire whores, the news media is casting its net more widely:…anonymous sources [said] that Secret Service employees received sexual favors from strippers at a club in San Salvador and took prostitutes to their hotel rooms…in March 2011.”  Stop the Presses!  Men buying sex while travelling on business!  Why, that’s never happened before in the history of the world!  Contrast that non-story with this, which SHOULD have caused a scandal last December but was instead ignored by the American media:

A former Brazilian prostitute plans to sue the United States embassy and five of its personnel for injuries sustained outside a strip club [on December 29th]…Romilda Aparecida Ferreira…[is suing] for injuries, medical expenses, lost income, and psychological trauma after an embassy van ran over her and left her stranded in the club parking lot with a broken collarbone, punctured lung and other injuries…A civil suit would compound a case in which Brazilian prosecutors have already said they are considering criminal charges…Little noticed at the time, the incident in Brasília…gained traction this week…

It was “little noticed” because the American media didn’t give a damn about several apes in uniform mutilating a hooker (NHI and all that).  But now that it can be tangentially hooked to a “prostitution scandal” it’s suddenly news.

Ad Scortum (April 16th, 2012)

In order to combat prohibitionist claims that satisfied, well-adjusted sex workers are “not representative”, Greta Christina has invited us to tell our stories in a thread from which prohibitionists and other non-sex workers are specifically excluded.  If you’re a present or past sex worker of any kind (it’s not limited to whores) please contribute; the thread is already over 100 responses long!

Metaupdates

Coming and Going in That Was the Week That Was (#12) (March 24th, 2012)

In yet another sign that the anti-whore tide may be receding, The New York Daily News published this article strongly criticizing Anna Gristina’s treatment:

…in Florida, a judge granted $150,000 bail for George Zimmerman, who is charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin.  Last week, a career criminal named Ivan Ramos was arrested after allegedly raping, sodomizing and robbing a young woman…Facing 15 years, an obvious flight risk and a clear threat to the community, Ramos was given $300,000 bail.  Meanwhile, Anna Gristina…has been held on $2 million bond since Feb. 22 on a nonviolent charge of promoting prostitution…[which usually results in] probation and carries a maximum sentence of two to seven years…two weeks ago five male hotel clerks were charged…with the same exact crime [and] released on their own recognizance, without posting a dime in bail…What’s more obscene?  A woman charged with promoting the world’s oldest profession that attracts governors, U.S. senators, congressmen and Secret Servicemen?  Or this flagrant abuse of judicial power that’s turned the Blind Lady of Justice into a streetwalker?

The Camel’s Nose in That Was the Week That Was (#16) (April 21st, 2012)

American readers, have you called your congressman about CISPA yet?  If not, you’d better hurry:

Up until [Thursday] afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be [Friday].  Then, abruptly, it was moved up…and the House voted in favor of its passage…248-168…[after] an  absolutely terrible change (…amendment #6)…[in] what the government can do with shared information…Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government’s power…though it in fact expands it…Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for “cybersecurity” or “national security” purposes.  Those purposes have not been limited or removed.  Instead, three more…have been added:  investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children…Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all…[and] the government could do whatever it wants with the data…CISPA is now a completely unsupportable bill that…eliminates …all privacy laws for any situation that involves a computer…

The government’s doubletalk was so masterful it even succeeded in convincing some CISPA opponents that the changes limited its power, but as Leigh Beadon explains in this follow-up to her article above, that’s totally false.

One Year Ago Today

The Coffee Klatsch” provides samples of the blogs of three other hookers with whom I’m friendly.

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Numbers buzz in my head like wasps.  –  Dr. Lisa Van Horn (Osa Massen) in Rocketship X-M

Today’s column is merely a handy compilation of numbers and figures which have previously appeared in other columns, arranged in order of decreasing magnitude.  Because of the shadowy nature of our trade these are all estimates, but most of the links will lead the reader to the source of the estimate or the column in which I explain how it was calculated.

27 million:  According to a December 2010 “estimate” by “Free the Slaves”, the total number of people “trapped in modern-day slavery”  (see also “800,000” below).

$22.6 million:  Total annual amount the State of Texas spends on imprisoning prostitutes.

800,000:  According to the U.S. State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons” report for 2004, the total number of “human trafficking victims” worldwide (see also “27 million” above and “300,000“, “80,000“, “17,500” and “>10%” below).

443,323:  The total number of active, declared prostitutes in the United States.

100,000-300,000:  According to trafficking fanatics, the number of “trafficked child prostitutes” in the United States; this is the result of a misquote from the 2001 Estes and Weiner study which estimated 100,000-300,000 children, adolescents and young adults “at risk of sexual exploitation”, with sex trafficking as the rarest category of “exploitation”  (see also “15,694“, “17,500” and “2511” below).

80,000:  The number of Filipino women who lost good jobs in Japan due to U.S. State Department meddling, “for their own good” (see also “800,000” above and “>10%” below).

70,000:  The total number of streetwalkers in the US  (see also “443,323” above).

15,694:  The total number of all American prostitutes under 18.

14,500-17,500:  2008 federal estimate of all “trafficked persons” of all ages and employment types (sex, agriculture, etc) in the US.

2511: The total number of coerced (whether “trafficked” or not) prostitutes under 18 in the US.

160x:  High-end estimate of the factor by which the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the promiscuous segment of the general public exceeds that in the escort population  (see also “3-5%“, “2x” and “0.4%” below).

97%:  Percentage of escorts who report an increase in self-esteem after they entered the trade (see also “72%” and “60%” below).

84%:  The percentage of underage prostitutes in New York City who have never even met a pimp.

81%:  Fraction of Swedes who report being “angry” about the criminalization of prostitution clients (contrast with the Swedish government claim that 76% support the law).

80%:  According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, the fraction of “human trafficking” cases involving forced prostitution.  Another popular guess is 46% (from a study by the University of California at Berkeley), and other “authorities” claim numbers as low as 20%.

78%:  Fraction of Dutch citizens who feel that prostitution is a job like any other.

77%:  The percentage of escorts who feel their clients respect them.

75%:  The percentage of escorts who feel the job improved their lives.

72%:  The percentage of all prostitutes who report that their work has increased their self-esteem  (see also “97%” above).

70%:  The percentage of Australian prostitutes who said they would choose the same trade if they had their lives to live over again.

69%:  According to Kinsey (1948), the percentage of men who have paid for sex at least once in their lives.  Other studies have generated numbers as high as 80% and more recent studies much lower ones by careless phrasing (e.g., “employ prostitutes” rather than “have ever paid for sex”), but Kinsey’s is the estimate that best fits my own observations and those of many other pros.

60%:  My own estimate of the fraction of American prostitutes who are escorts (either independent or agency).

54%:  The percentage of escorts who consider the transaction as equal.

>50%:  The fraction of pimped streetwalkers (see below) who control their pimps rather than vice-versa.

<50%:  The percentage of streetwalkers who work with pimps at least part of the time.

33%:  Sweden’s official estimate of the fraction of all Swedish prostitutes who are streetwalkers; note that it is more than twice as high as the standard estimate for Western countries (see “15%” below).

26%:  The percentage of escorts who feel they have power over their clients.

25%:  Estimated decrease in the American rape rate if prostitution were legalized.

25%:  The fraction of Queensland prostitutes with a university degree.

25:  By my own calculations (see link for details), the average age at which American prostitutes enter the trade.

20%:  The percentage of men who see prostitutes at least occasionally.

16:  According to the 2001 Estes & Weiner study, the average age at which underage prostitutes enter the trade (see also “13-14” below).

15%:  The fraction of all Western prostitutes who are streetwalkers.

13-14:  According to prohibitionist propaganda, the average age at which prostitutes enter the trade; this is derived from a purposeful distortion by Melissa Farley of the age at which underage streetwalkers in one study reported they had their first noncommercial sexual contact of any kind.

11%:  In a 1910 study, the fraction of New York prostitutes who reported that they were coerced into the trade (from Russell’s Renegade History of the United States; see also “8%” below).

>10%:  According to the U.S. State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons” report for 2004, the fraction of all “human trafficking victims” who were “enslaved” in Japanese hostess clubs (see also “800,000” and “80,000” above).

10%:  Fraction of Dutch prostitutes who are genetically male; half are male prostitutes (many of them cross-dressers) and the other half transsexuals.

10%:  The percentage of Swedish girls who admit to having accepted money for sex.

10%:  The estimated percentage of streetwalkers in Western countries who are controlled or dominated by pimps  (see also “1.5%” below).

10:  The number of American states which allow prostitutes to be sentenced to prison.

5-10%:  Historically, the percentage of the female population who prostituted themselves at least part-time, varying by time and place (from Roberts’ Whores in History).

8%:  High-end estimate for the fraction of female inhabitants of 1840s London who were employed as prostitutes  (from Roberts’ Whores in History).

8%:  Fraction of underage New York prostitutes who say they were forced into prostitution.

7%:  Fraction of prostitutes targeted by a recent FBI underage prostitution “sting” who actually turned out to be under 18 (no figures are available on what fraction were below the local age of consent).

6%:  The percentage of men who see prostitutes frequently.

5.5%:  Typical percentage of the female inhabitants of a 19th-century European or American city who were employed as prostitutes at any given time (from Roberts’ Whores in History).

3-5%:  Fraction of STD cases in the United States which are either suffered or transmitted by prostitutes;  93% of these are associated with streetwalkers (see also “160x” above and “2x” and “0.4%” below).

4%:  Approximate conviction rate for arrests made in the FBI’s “Operation Innocence Lost”.

3.54%:  The fraction of Western prostitutes who are under 18.

2.3%:  Fraction of women in the general population who report their husbands or boyfriends are “extremely controlling”.

2x:  Factor by which the rate of sexually transmitted infections in the promiscuous segment of the general public exceeds that in streetwalkers  (see also “160x” and “3-5%” above, and “0.4%” below).

<2%:  The fraction of Cambodian prostitutes who say they were coerced into the trade (see also “1.5%” below).

1.5%:  The overall percentage of adult prostitutes in Western nations who are controlled by abusive pimps.

1.2%:  Fraction of women in the general population who report their husbands or boyfriends are “extremely violent”.

1%:  The percentage of modern American women who admit to having prostituted themselves at some point in their lives (from the National Task Force on Prostitution, quoted in Sex Work by Delacoste & Alexander).

0.4%:  The estimated fraction of all STD cases in the United States which are either suffered or transmitted by escorts or brothel workers (see also “160x“, “3-5%” and “2x” above).

0.285%:  The percentage of women in modern Western cultures who work as prostitutes at any given time.

0.014%:  The fraction of missing “children” (most of whom are actually adolescents) who are abducted by strangers; only some of these might be the victims of sex traffickers.

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