Comment: In some of the comments

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In some of the comments

below the article some people posted that this is merely a way for the police, etc to demonize prostitution and secure funding. They do back it with statistic, I would read it before making a judgement.

Comment by Thaddeus Blanchette:

"First of all, everyone taking the time to comment here should spend a half hour reading through the following booklet, produced by one of the oldest and most respected anti-trafficking organizations in the world: the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women.

"What's the Cost of a Rumor?" thoroughly debunks the myth (yes, MYTH) that large sporting events create an increase in trafficking, using impecable data from a wide variety of researchers.

For at leats a decade now, EVERY Superbowl season brings us apocalyptic reports of how thousands - nay, tens of thousands - of young women will be trafficked as sex slaves to slake the unspeakable lusts of Superbowl fans.

This, my friends, is simply and utterly bulls**t.

Does trafficking exist? Undoubtably. Will there be, somewhere in the city of New Orleans, a trafficking victim engaged in forced sex work during the Superbowl? Almost certainly. Are their tens of thousands of these victims? Hundreds?

Try less than a dozen.

In spite of all the alarums and excursions by anti-vice squads during Superbowl season, the total number of trafficking victims found at Superbowl venues in the past 5 years is well under two dozen.

Now think about this: the police would have you believe that thousands of young women are being trafficked to serve the hundreds of thousands of supposed sex fiends who flock to the superbowl. These men apparently have no trouble at all finding the sex slaves but the cops...? Nope. Just can't find 'em. They look and they look, but those traffickers are tricky, you know. That's why you need to give the police more money.

Here's some stats for you to ponder, straight from the Federal Government's anti-trafficking program:

In a 30 month period from 2008-2010, all the federally-funded anti-trafficking programs in the entire United States turned up around 400 victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.

During the same period, there were roughly 200,000 arrests for prostitution in the U.S.

Now, either the police are incredibly corrupt and/or incompetent, or you, good people, are being sold a false bill of goods and the vast majority of sex workers ARE NOT TRAFFICKING VICTIMS.

Yes, a small minority of people are forced into sex work (and no, the average age of entry is not 12-14 years -that study cited by the Dept. of Justice and referred to in this report is deeply flawed and has been roundly criticized by sex work researchers the world over). Likewise, millions upon millions of women are forced into servile marriages.

We don't say "Let's end marriage" because a minorty of people - however large - are forced into it and enslaved by it. Instead, we ask ourselves "What can we do to make marriage better, safer and more just? What can we do to make sure that people who marry can get out of it if they want? That they have as much legal power as their partners? The same rights?"

The same thing ought to be asked with regards to sex work.

It is amazing to me that whenever we're in New Orleans, I and my wife and co-researcher, Dr. Ana Paula Silva, are able to finds dozens of working prostitutes in the French Quarter and elsewhere. And yet it never seems to occur to the journalists of the city to ask these men and women about their work. The last time we were in town, we interviewed close to a dozen sex workers in one night.

And yet when it comes time to write about trafficking and sex work, do the journalists of New Orleans bother to talk to these people? No. They seek out the one ex-prostitute who was sure-enough trafficked and recount her story as if it were typical of sex work in general.

This is a lack of ethics, in my book. If you have an oppressed group (and sex workers are indeed that), then if you truly care about empowering them, you help them speak for themselves. You don't elect a spokesperson for them.

But what's truly appalling is how the journalists writing for NOLA on this topic haven't even done the basic amount of research necessary for the task. A quick google of "superbowl AND trafficking" will turn up dozens of stories regarding how this myth has been created and sustained for years, now. Here's a story from "Psychology Today" which turns up right in the first few lines of Google:

This isn't radical or esoteric information, ya'll. It isn't hard to find. You have to be aggressively ignorant - or writing in bad faith - to be writing about the Superbowl and trafficking and yet somehow not mention this stuff.

And yet somehow, journalists like Ms. Martin can't be bothered to read this stuff when writing about the Superbowl's effect on sex work in their town.

It's truly ashame that someone like me - who lives in Rio de Janeiro but once did sex work (erotic dancing) for a short time in NOLA in the 1980s - has to point out the obvious to you good people: sex work IS NOT A SYNONYM for trafficking.

And NO: your city is not going to deluged with sex slaves during the Superbowl.

But you know who DOES have a very long history of abusing New Orleans sex workers?

The New Orleans police.

Think about that the next time you hear one of your city's civil servants tell you they need more money and manpower to find trafficking victims."


"Patty, my source for my claim comes from ten years of in the field research in Rio de Janeiro, a city which, by any lights, has a thriving sex industry. I am in and out of brothels here on a weekly basis and have interviewed and talked with probably close to two thousand sex workers here over the last decade.

I have yet to meet a single sex slave.

But here's more proof: the U.S. government's concerted efforts to investigate and stem trafficking discovered a grand total of FOUR HUNDRED sexually enslaved people in the U.S. over a 30 month perion between 2007-2010. During the same period, your country arrested close to TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND prostitutes.

So, you arrest 200,000 sex workers and only find 400 enslaved women. I'd say that's pretty damned solid proof that the vast majority of sex workers are not slaves.

The only other possible hypthesis would be that the U.S. police are massively incompetent and/or corrupt. And, if that's the case, why in heaven's name would you want to give them even more power to harass, arrest and brutalize sex workers? "

"Endless money forms the sinews of war." - Cicero,