Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking Hysteria Back in the News

by W.F. Price on January 25, 2012

Greg Zoeller, Indiana’s Attorney General, is making noises about sex trafficking in connection with the upcoming Super Bowl in Indianapolis. It’s a political gimmick that has been used for a couple years now, and has replaced the Super Bowl domestic violence campaign that eventually fell flat when feminist claims about mass beatings of wives and girlfriends during the Super Bowl were exposed as lies.

The Indiana AG has enlisted cabbies in the effort, and they dutifully attended training, which they will ignore if they want to keep their jobs. Calling the cops on paying customers is definitely frowned upon in the cab business, which derives significant revenue from hookers.

“Whenever there’s a large event like the Super Bowl, we know there’s an increase in sex trafficking,” said Valerie Schmitt, coordinator of a human-trafficking outreach effort in Indianapolis. “There’s an increased demand for [commercial] sex and that leads to an increased risk that someone will be victimized.”

On Friday, as a House committee heard testimony on a bill that would ramp up criminal penalties for sex-traffickers in Indiana, Schmitt was meeting with about 100 cab drivers to ask for their help.

She described some of the classic victims of sex-traffickers, including illegal immigrants forced to work off their debts by working as prostitutes or teenagers sexually exploited by adults. She predicted Indianapolis will see an influx of prostitutes, including many who are underage.

“You’re our eyes and our ears …” she told them. “You meet a lot of people and overhear a lot of conversations that might be helpful in recognizing someone involved in [sex] trafficking.”

She asked them to put the human-trafficking hotline phone number of 888-373-7888 into their cells phones and use it if they suspect anything. Some of the cab drivers looked skeptical; while others pulled out their cell phones to program in the number.

What’s really shameful about this campaign, which should rightly be called a crackdown on prostitution, is that it suggests that vast numbers of women will be working the streets against their will. The overwhelming majority of hookers are essentially independent contractors. They go where the business is, and usually that’s where a lot of men are staying in hotels away from their families/girlfriends. The typical underage hooker is a runaway, and serves a lower level of clientele than the men who can afford to stay at hotels and watch the Super Bowl. Underage hookers are also more likely to be male than those over 18, and addicted to hard drugs.

Will some of the prostitutes in Indianapolis be illegal aliens? Certainly, but were they “trafficked?” Unlikely. Most illegal alien prostitutes came to the US of their own volition, and are working as hookers because it’s a high-paying profession that doesn’t require a green card. Where foreign hookers are concerned, the main problem here is illegal immigration, not “sex trafficking.”

When I lived in Beijing, my neighborhood was home to a lot of foreigners, Koreans in particular. Because North Korea is such a mess, large numbers of North Koreans cross the Yalu to live in China as illegal immigrants. Beijing, which has historically been a destination for Koreans in China, is where a lot of them end up. Because of their illegal status, many of the females turn to prostitution. Every six months or so, the local police would do a sweep, and clean out entire apartment buildings full of Korean prostitutes. They weren’t being targeted for prostitution, which is so common in China that the police hardly bother to regulate it, but rather for illegal entry. Even if they were being enticed by pimps, the profit potential could hardly be considered very great given how saturated the market is there. In fact, there are so many hookers in Chinese cities that keeping them out of any given venue is far more difficult than luring them in.

If Zoeller were being honest, he’d admit that this is the real problem faced by Indianapolis: hookers from all the neighboring counties will be coming to town to take advantage of the potential business. Nobody has to traffic them — they’ll come of their own accord. Rather than “victims,” they will primarily be a nuisance. However, they will represent a windfall for the cabbies, who will almost certainly not call the cops on them, even if they are illegal aliens.

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