Super Bowl Sex Trafficking Fraud Back in the News

W.F. Price

February 1, 2014

Finally, even the mainstream press is starting to catch on to the fact that alleged sex trafficking during major sports events is a manufactured problem:

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.

No data actually support the notion that increased sex trafficking accompanies the Super Bowl. The Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, a network of nongovernmental organizations, published a report in 2011 examining the record on sex trafficking related to World Cup soccer games, the Olympics and the Super Bowl. It found that, “despite massive media attention, law enforcement measures and efforts by prostitution abolitionist groups, there is no empirical evidence that trafficking for prostitution increases around large sporting events.”

This story-that-won’t-die is an example of how feminist lies and hysteria eventually corral conservatives into their cause. It’s a very old story; the first example I can think of off the top of my head is reports of white slaving surrounding boxing matches in the early 20th century. It was as fake then as it is now.

However, for decades it was forgotten, until resurrected with claims by 2nd wave feminists that sports events were patriarchal oppression fests, during which men celebrated their dominance by beating their wives, enslaving women, raping, etc.

Somehow, the lies gained traction. I guess the “damsel in distress” trope will always have appeal, and stories of innocent young things being shoved into houses of ill-repute to be ravished by lust-crazed animals are titillating enough that media outlets can’t resist but take advantage of using them to attract attention.

It turns out that this fear-mongering has real-world consequences. Despite the fact that there is no evidence for an increase in prostitution during Super Bowl weekend, hookers (johns aren’t mentioned in the article, but who cares about them anyway?) are being tossed in jail at a higher rate than usual, clogging up the courts with minor offenses. Surely, tossing low-end prostitutes and the lonely johns who support them in jail is doing a great service to the women of the US, right?

I used to oppose legalization of prostitution, because it can be an ugly business. But I’ve come to realize that it isn’t going away any time soon, and we aren’t doing society or the people involved any favors by criminalizing the lifestyle.