Today I’m making my first retraction of a post I made last week concerning human trafficking and its relation to large sporting events. Over the past year or so, I’ve been conducting a great deal of research on human trafficking and how to educate the public about it, especially my fellow men. Recently, I started running across articles regarding the Super Bowl and how it is the biggest day of human trafficking in the US. It all sounded plausible, so I posted about it. Then the logical deductive reasoning part of my brain kicked in and I did some further investigation. I found that I was overeager in making the connection between the two and may have actually fed into the myth which does more damage in the long run. Today, I make my first emphatic apology and seek to correct this myth.
There is a great paper by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women that helps dispel this myth. It is located here: GAATW Paper. It is a very concise and long paper, but at the end it also elegantly sums up the concerns and dangers around perpetuating false information and myths even if those myths are surrounded by good intentions. Per the GAATW Paper:
“As a global anti-trafficking organization, GAATW is concerned that international sporting events are being linked with increases in trafficking for prostitution, without evidence. This has been promoted most heavily by prostitution abolitionist groups, who argue that large numbers of men automatically results in a greater demand for commercial sex which can only be met through trafficking women into prostitution.
As a result, massive amounts of resources, law enforcement, media publicity and government attention have been channelled to address this supposed risk, yet all the attention and resources have failed to turn up any compelling evidence that large sporting events increase trafficking for prostitution. Yet the idea still captures governments’ and media attention, for several reasons, including its utility to frame prostitution abolitionist and/or anti-migrant sentiments in a more humanitarian guise. Human trafficking is a very serious human rights violation that demands a sustained and holistic response based on real evidence. One of our concerns has been that valuable resources and public momentum are being channelled towards a falsely constructed issue, resources that are otherwise very needed to genuinely tackle trafficking.
Another concern is that linking trafficking and sex work in this way has resulted in ‘collateral damage’, that is negatively impacting some of the groups who are affected by anti-trafficking policies, particularly sex workers. For instance, law enforcement and government officials who propose crackdowns and further restrictions on migrants and women in sex work, in an effort to protect…..migrants and women in sex work.
Fortunately, more stakeholders are increasingly becoming aware that there is no evidence to support the claim that large sporting events and trafficking for prostitution are linked. During previous sporting events, sex workers rights organizations in particular have worked hard to insert an evidence-based approach and rights-based approach into anti-trafficking discussions.
We hope the information in this guide has helped readers to critically evaluate the messages and information they receive about trafficking and sporting events. It’s unlikely that short-term hype can fuel long-term efforts, but there are ways for people to effectively engage in anti-trafficking – not as ‘saviours’, but as allies.”
Again, I apologize for any misleading information I may have perpetuated in my last post. I have fully retracted the post and in the future will be more careful about the information I feed into the world. In the end, we must all serve the fight against human trafficking to the best of our abilities. One of those ways is to talk sensibly about the situation instead of feeding into sensationalized stories and perpetuating false myths.
– True Rabbit
Please do not personally interfere if you are a witness to signs of possible sex trafficking as this can put you in physical harm’s way. Instead, you can either notify local authorities or call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree(233733). Hotline Call Specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to take reports from anywhere in the country related to potential trafficking victims, suspicious behaviors, and/or locations where trafficking is suspected to occur. All reports are confidential. Interpreters are available.
Please click the following link to Polaris Project if you are a victim or you know someone who may be a victim of human trafficking.