The Olympic Sex Trafficking Myth London 2012 Olympic games BBC news
In recent years, every time there has been a major international sporting event, a group of government officials, campaigning feminists, pliant journalists and NGOs have claimed that the movement of thousands of men to strange foreign countries where there will be lots of alcohol and horniness will result in the enslavement of women and children for the purposes of forced sexual pleasure. Obviously. And every time they have simply doubled the made-up scare figures from the last international sporting event, to make it look like this problem of sport/sex/slavery gets worse year on year. Yet each year it is proved false.
This myth tries to make every sports fan a sex criminal. No matter what the sport is, or in what country it is in. These anti-prostitution groups need to in invent a victim that does not exist in order to get press attention.
The following is from a BBC news article about the London 2012 Olympic games:
By Mario Cacciottolo
Major sporting events such as World Cups and Olympic Games are often preceded by warnings about a rise in prostitution and sex trafficking as a result of the impending influx of spectators. But will prostitution in London really increase because of the 2012 Olympics?
It seems like every time a World Cup or an Olympics appears on the horizon, so do warnings from the international press, government ministers and police.
They all express fears that thousands of women will be trafficked to the host nation to satisfy the sexual desires of the crowds.
The same messages have long been issued for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In January 2010 Tessa Jowell, then Minister for the Olympics in the previous government, told MPs: “Major sporting events can be a magnet for the global sex and trafficking industry; this is wholly unacceptable. I am determined that traffickers will not exploit London 2012.”
And Dennis Hof, who owns the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, a large-scale brothel in Nevada, US, says he expects London to see “1,000 girls to be trafficked in by South East Asian, Albanian and African gangs, violent gangs involved in crime and drugs”.
Hof, who wants to run a legal brothel during the Olympics, bases his prediction on what he said he saw at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.
But are such warnings accurate?
The 2004 Olympic Games in Athens seems to be the first major international sporting event to have invoked widespread warnings about a rise in prostitutes and sex workers. It is often reported to have seen its sex trafficking almost doubling.
However, a report by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women (GAATW) shows the number of cases in Athens during the whole of 2004 was 181, up from 93 in 2003 – a far cry from the many thousands of women said to be threatened by trafficking in these situations.
None of these 181 cases were linked to the Games by Greek authorities.
Prior to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, similar warnings were issued by media and various officials, but according to an EU report from January 2007, the German government only found five cases of trafficking cases linked to the tournament.
The report also states that “the increase in forced prostitution and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation during the 2006 World Cup in Germany which was feared by some did not materialise” with “no sign whatsoever of the alleged 40,000 prostitutes/forced prostitutes – a figure repeatedly reported, also in international media”.
And yet, the 2006 World Cup has been used as an example of an instance where huge numbers of prostitutes were paid for sex by large numbers of the tournament attendees.
Sticking with World Cups, a study funded by the United Nations Population Fund and conducted after the 2010 tournament in South Africa found there was no significant change in the numbers of men visiting prostitutes during that event.
But there had been broad speculation that between 40,000 and 100,000 sex workers from all over the world would enter South Africa because of that tournament.
The 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, held in Vancouver, Canada were also subject to similar speculation – but according to a study conducted afterwards by University of British Columbia researchers, mass trafficking didn’t happen there, either.
The study says that “despite sensationalised media coverage” prior to the Games, there was “no evidence in this study to support concerns of an influx of sex workers or reports of trafficking of women or girls”.
Many have used the experiences of the Greeks, Germans and South Africans to form an argument that London will have to brace itself for increased numbers of sex workers.
But more than two years later, Tessa Jowell, who once told the Commons about her determination to combat sex trafficking at London 2012, now admits that “current intelligence would suggest that we are unlikely to see large scale trafficking into London as a result of the Games”.
“There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that international sporting events might create demand for paid sex due to the influx of tourists, site workers, contractors, the media and indeed the athletes themselves – although this is contested.”
Jowell also says that it is “hard to know” whether the lack of evidence for Games-related trafficking “was a result of the measures that were put in place” by her officials “or whether the threat simply hasn’t materialised”.
“We would certainly rather be having a conversation about whether the threat of trafficking was ever going to materialise rather than about it as a reality on the streets of London and we should continue to be vigilant in the face of such a threat.”
The Metropolitan Police Service’s Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command (SCD9) was set up at the start of 2010 to tackle vice, human trafficking and immigration crime. It has a team focusing on vice-related crime in the five Olympic host boroughs – Newham, Hackney, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich.
SCD9 was given £600,000 to tackle the potential increase in trafficking in those five boroughs in the run up to 2012.
However, a Met Police Authority report on SCD9 published in October 2011 said the “intelligence currently held does not support any increase in prostitution in the Olympic Boroughs and actually shows a decrease in some locations”.
And a Met Police spokesman says SCD9 was set up “based on assessments made over three years ago” which had used “the best information available” at that time. “As time has moved on we have not seen any rise in trafficking linked with the Olympics,” he adds.
Conservative London Assembly Member Andrew Boff has compiled the Silence of Violence report which also says there is “no strong evidence that trafficking for sexual exploitation does in fact increase during sporting events”.
He also says raids on brothels were increasing as the Olympics approached, with 80 being closed in the Olympic borough of Newham in the last 20 months or so.
Sarah Walker, of the English Collective of Prostitutes, echoes this view, saying recent frequent police raids on east London brothels represent a pre-Olympics crackdown – about which the ECP is “outraged”.
However, the Met Police denied conducting any crackdown, saying it has “not increased operations targeting brothels in the five Olympic boroughs” and was “responding to local concerns and feedback from residents and businesses across London about street prostitution”.
Another group representing sex workers, x:talk, is calling for a moratorium on arrests, the detention and deportation of sex workers until the end of the Olympics.
A spokeswoman also says police raids on brothels, particularly in east London, are driving sex workers further away from their support network of co-workers and health services, prompting the call for a pause on arrests.
“Ultimately, arresting these women and raiding their places of work just makes them more vulnerable,” she says.
Getting money to prevent sex trafficking even if there isn’t any: London Olympics
Posted By laura agustin On 10 May 2012
Those who wish evidence were the basis for social policy have been endlessly frustrated and annoyed by the survival of the myth saying sex trafficking – forced prostitution – increases enormously on the occasion of major sporting events. Despite enough evidence to convince most people that there is no such surge (see SIDA’s report on the 2006 World Cup and SWEAT’s on the 2010 ), it’s obvious that evidence doesn’t matter where the fear of hidden crime is constantly threatened. In other words, if the police haven’t found many women in chains, the victims must be too well hidden, which justifies further money for more intense policing.
Some NGOs against human trafficking do now acknowledge that there’s no proof that trafficking increases around big sporting events. But they like to argue that their own efforts to prevent trafficking are the reason – Ta Da! There must be a name for this kind of logical fallacy.
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has set up its own anti-trafficking programme called UN.GIFT , which now gives funds to a lot of the people sustaining this kind of scare-mongering. Stop the Traffik  (sic – why have they spelled it like this?) is one, here maintaining that
campaigns countering human trafficking and increased law enforcement, before and during the events, are necessary to prevent the trade. International sporting events can increase human trafficking due to the short-term increased demand for prostitution, construction work, and all other sorts of labour.
So the funding gravytrain tootles along. But now they have a new justification for their activities:
prestigious sporting events can play a central role in attracting attention to the issue of human trafficking, and can function as an opportunity to increase engagement across communities. Most importantly, as there is evidence of continuous human trafficking in London and across the entire UK, we should use this opportunity that the London Olympics presents us with.
So now, whether there was ever going to be any increased trafficking or not, campaigns that worry people that their might be are doing a good job of raising awareness. In NGO-speak this is called prevention. If there is more self-serving silliness I don’t know about it.
With great solemnity, based on this absence of evidence, we find troops of volunteers ready to worry everyone in London about the hidden scourge. Here’s one (with funding from Stop the Traffik) in Tower Hamlets , one of London’s Olympic boroughs (meaning some Olympics activity actually occurs there). Do you wonder what these people will do?
This will involve running outreach sessions with local schools, hotels and faith groups using data gathered from borough-specific research, which volunteers would also be conducting. There will also be the opportunity to organise a local fundraising event to generate additional income and attract more volunteers from the local area.
I’d like to know how that research is being done. Meanwhile, the photo at the top shows a UN.GIFT box  that’s going to be unwrapped during the games. (Warning if you click on that link that you are subjected to the soundtrack of a promotional video portraying cruelty.) The purpose is described as
to inspire visitors, both from the UK and abroad, to take action to stop the trade. . . a giant public art installation, which will demonstrate to people how victims of human trafficking can be deceived; beyond the promises of exciting opportunities that will entice people to the box, once inside, the stark reality of human trafficking will be revealed. . . family-friendly and will inspire people to advocate and end trafficking in their own communities.
This is all what happens when a fear (panic, myth) takes on a life of its own. Evidence that there is cause for such fear is simply irrelevant. Unfortunately, there are unsought side-effects, as police make raids and arrests of sex workers to show they are looking for traffickers and their victims. Thus x:talk’s call for a moratorium on arrests  in London.
–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist
article links: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18174387
t is very interesting that even though CNN has reported that sex slavery has been reported false in sports events. They still have “CNN freedom project” which continues to report biased incorrect information about sex trafficking. This project is really not a news project at all. It is a special interest group that tells lies. This reporting does not try to find the facts. It only repeats incorrect statistics. There is someone at CNN that has a mission to mislead the public about this issue. I would like to see a full scale investigation report about why they are so concerned with misleading the public.
Super Bowl-domestic violence myth persists
The myth dates back to 1993 when, like a game of telephone, anecdotal evidence became conflated into a statistical fact parroted throughout the media without confirmation. That year, The Associated Press and CBS labeled Super Bowl Sunday a “day of dread” for women across the country. Women advocates spoke of a “flood” of calls to domestic abuse hot lines and media mailings warned women “Don’t remain at home with him during the game.”
Christina Hoff Sommers, American Enterprise Institute resident scholar and equity feminist, trackedthe rumor from its inception and, along with such journalists as Washington Post reporter Ken Ringle,demonstrated that despite the hysteria, women have never been in any greater danger on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day.
Sommers explained to The Daily Caller that while such dramatizations may serve a purpose for some activists, domestic violence is too serious a problem for such exaggerations and opportunism.
“Women who are at risk for domestic violence are going to be helped by state of the art research and good information,” she said. “They are not going to be helped by hyperbole and manufactured data.”
For just those reasons, Philip W. Cook, an investigative journalist affiliated with Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), told TheDC that domestic violence is a topic that often requires a great deal of fact-checking.
“There are more myths, misinformation and half truths about [domestic violence] than any other significant social issue,” Cook said. “So this is simply part and parcel of a tremendous amount of myths, misinformation and half truths that get accepted without critical journalistic thinking and inquiry.”
Propagation of such fallacies such as the “Super Bowl hoax” helps perpetuate negative stereotypes, said Sommers.
“If you look at these myths they almost all promote this idea that women are victims and men are brutes. The ‘Super Bowl hoax,’ for example, depicts the average guy sitting in his couch watching the Super Bowl as a violent predator and I think this promotes prejudice,” Sommers said. “This view has been popular among hard line gender activists who want to depict masculinity as pathological.”
One of Cook’s concerns has been the manner in which false data inform policy makers and the harm it can cause for real victims.
“[The myths] translate into public policy that directly affects people’s lives,” Cook said, pointing to ineffectual programs and agencies. “When it comes to domestic violence policy, there is more misinformation out there and in particular the media tends to accept it without any scrutiny.”
While some may view America as a patriarchal nightmare, by comparison to much of the rest of the world, it is an oasis of gender equality. According to Sommers, such falsehoods work to harm America’s reputation.
“These false claims about violence make our society look dangerous for women, when in fact American society…is a place where women have achieved great success stories for feminism,” said Sommers. “In Pakistan and Iran they will defend their societies by saying women are imperiled in the West, that …women are beaten — especially Super Bowl Sunday! — there can be no distinction between women who are free and are oppressed.”