Tag Archives: women

Myths That Won’t Die: Sex Trafficking And The Super Bowl

While no one disputes the idea that any sex trafficking is too much sex trafficking, and that people caught in that evil trade are usually there unwillingly, there is ample reason to dispute what has become an annual refrain: that the Super Bowl attracts the highest level of sex trafficking.

Like the lie that domestic violence is highest on Super Bowl Sunday, this claim seems targeted at sports-loving men. Those animals!

Some attribute the genesis of this lie to then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (now a candidate for Texas Governor) who, in 2011, said that the Super Bowl is “commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.” However, others have noted these stories go back at least 2 years earlier.

But there simply isn’t any evidence this is actually the case.

From The Gospel Coalition: FactChecker: Super Bowl Sex Trafficking and Other Myths

Human trafficking is one of the greatest evils of our age. But contrary to the claim of Abbott — and journalists who repeat the claim every year — there is no evidence that sex trafficking increases during the Super Bowl.

According to the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, police departments in cities hosting the Super Bowl deny that sex trafficking increases around the game:

2008: Phoenix police Sergeant Tommy Thompson: “We may have had certain precincts that were going gangbusters looking for prostitutes, but they were picking up your everyday street prostitutes. They didn’t notice any sort of glitch in the number of prostitution arrests leading up to the Super Bowl.”

2009: Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis: “We didn’t see a huge influx in prostitutes coming into Tampa. The arrests were not a lot higher. They were almost the same.”

2010: Miami police said they arrested 14 for prostitution. Those figures are not uncommon for large cities during a seven-day period, experts said.

2011: Public information officer Sherri Jeffrey with the Dallas Police Department: There were “zero arrests for trafficking in the time frame surrounding the Super Bowl.”

Sports on Earth: The Sex Trafficking Super Bowl Myth

The persistence of the Super Bowl sex-trafficking myth can be credited to the theatrical quality of its anecdotes. McCain’s activism originated with an experience she had while shopping in Calcutta. She heard noises under the shop floor and looked down. “I could see all these little eyes looking up at me, and I realized it was probably 30 little girls, looking up through the floorboards at me,” she said. “I realized at that time that it was very serious, and these girls were either enslaved or being trafficked, but the kicker was [that] I walked out of that shop, and I never did anything.” Afterwards, McCain approached Arizona governor Jan Brewer to propose taking action on trafficking, and the state’s Task Force on Human Trafficking was created.

The Wire: The Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking Story That Just Won’t Die

In 2012, The Houston Press’s Peter Kotz thoroughly tore apart that story, explaining that law enforcement officials in the cities where past Super Bowls occurred never actually saw increases in prostitution busts or the number of trafficked prostitutes, even despite increased efforts to catch johns, pimps, and traffickers. “We didn’t see a huge influx in prostitutes coming into Tampa. The arrests were not a lot higher. They were almost the same,” a Tampa police spokeswoman said in 2009, and a police spokesperson in Phoenix said in 2008 that there was nothing out of the ordinary: “We may have had certain precincts that were going gangbusters looking for prostitutes, but they were picking up your everyday street prostitutes,” and not foreign women “imported” for the event.

National Post: Sex and the Super Bowl: Is the big game really a magnet for prostitution and human trafficking?

“This myth trivializes trafficking … and wastes needed resources that could be used to actually address trafficking,” said Julie Ham, author of a 2011 study on human trafficking and major sporting events for the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women.

“This is part of a larger moral panic about trafficking, which reduces all trafficking to sex. All trafficking is not about sex,” said Pardis Mahdavi, professor in anthropology at Pomona College, Cal., whose research focuses on human trafficking.

Manly Men & Womenly Women

A manly man and his womanly wife
A manly man and his womanly wife

I enjoy comfortable clothes as much as or possibly more so than the next guy, but comfortable jeans just weren’t my style for the longest time. I liked dockers and other casual pants much more than I liked jeans for most of my teenage years and into my young adulthood.

Not that I had much fashion sense much of that time. I wore dark socks with leather sandals a few times. And white socks with dark shoes. And stripes with patterns. And numerous other faux pas.

Partly is was for comfort. But mostly it was because I cared both for being comfortable and for being classy. Eventually I learned enough to stop mostly succeeding at the former while mostly failing at the latter.

Apparently that goal of the good look isn’t my unique trait.

Thank heavens for that. I really didn’t need another way to be unique.

The New York Times has an article about how young males are once again discovering the benefits of sharp dressing. Personally, I gain self-confidence from knowing I can hold my own, stylistically, against any comers. While the NY Times article doesn’t so much delve into the why, it explores the cultural icons which are leading the charge and the reactions and possible paths this change will take.

“I think it’s a reaction against the homogeneity of casual wear,” said Gordon Henderson, the design director of Topman. “There’s nowhere to go with that in terms of personality, whereas a suit sets you apart. And now there are suits that are cut for young people. There’s never been that before, so it’s new to them.”

In a twist, neckties are being sold at the very place that did more than any other to usher in casual Friday: Gap. Not to be outdone, American Apparel now sells bow ties.

The NY Times article mentions that this current shift seems primarily found among young men, and is not currently influencing young ladies. A college professor sees this divide in his classrooms:

(T)he younger generation is looking at getting dressed up and making their mark,” Mr. Cohen continued. “It’s a real generation gap here. I teach at three different colleges, and I am amazed how dressed up some of the students are. Girls still come in their hoodies and pajamas, but boys come in their suits.”

In our culture today the man is the boor, the pig, the neanderthal. As a man I resent that perception of incompetence and brutishness. Many women in our culture are quick to disparage (thankfully my wife is not such a woman) and denigrate the men in the culture, reinforcing stereotypes and typecasts which do nothing but discourage those men who do try.

If I’m supposed to be such a boor, why be anything else. After all, it’s what people expect of me.

The Art of Manliness, a blog I heartily recommend to all men, and women, digs deeper into this perceived disparity and the changes which are percolating through the culture.

Asking what manly men can expect from women, the Art of Manliness posted marital rating scales from the 1930’s. The men’s rating scale is not far from what is expected of men today:

  • Doesn’t ogle other women
  • Compliments his wife frequently
  • Takes his wife on regular dates
  • Is neat and clean
  • Does not compare his wife with other women

Any woman would claim to be happy were they married to a man meeting those criteria.

But if you were to expect any kind of reciprocal effort from the wife and woman, you’re immediately labeled a sexist. And to be labeled sexist is to have your life ruined, so deeply has this disparity influenced our culture.

And don’t begin with the “We women have been working hard for you men already, we don’t need to improve” or the “You’ve got so far to catch up to us, we needn’t make any effort.”

Both people in a relationship have personal work, which supports the ability of the individuals to continue in the relationship, and relational work, which supports and builds the relationship itself.

Expectations for men were lowered at the same time expectations for women were shifted into what was previously the men’s responsibility. Not their privilege, their responsibility. Now men are raising their own achievements back to where they’ve been classically, women need to allow men to be men and cease this snark and this constant tearing down.

The Art of Manliness is careful to note that men are not trying to man up in order to be please women or to seek their approval. That is not strength but weakness.

Men are manning up because it is the right and honorable and worthwhile thing to do.

But these days a new double standard has emerged where it’s okay to celebrate men manning up, but telling women they need to recover some of their femininity is offensive. To wit:A woman telling a man to stop looking like a slob and dress up. Awesome!
A man telling a woman to stop looking like a slob and take care of herself. Sexist!
Saying that men should stop hooking up with women. Awesome!
Saying that women should stop sleeping around. Sexist!
Saying that men should get off the couch and go to work. Awesome!
Saying that a woman should be nurturing with kids. Sexist!
Saying that men should take the initiative in relationships. Awesome!
Saying that a woman should let the man lead (ever!). Sexist!

There is more there, and it is a good and though provoking read.

There really are consequences to every idea, and something as culture changing as women’s liberation has some incredible consequences which deserve to be thought through thoroughly.

Walmart And The Healthy Free Market

In case you had trouble guessing: I like businesses.

If there weren’t business there wouldn’t be internet, iphones, cars, bicycles, buildings, tents, sleeping bags, fresh produce in the middle of winter, heat and A/C, in cars too, hospitals, medication, surgery…

You get the picture.

We’ve had government since the beginning of time, and it hasn’t done a thing directly to benefit or develop beneficent products and services (except nuclear energy and other war-related items).

We’ve also had businesses since the first person decided he’d rather spread and grow his wealth instead of laboring over the same rows in the same farm for his own families sustenance.

Chipotle is an excellent example of a good business.

Our wealth allows us to pay premium price for food raised and prepared in a reasonably environmentally conscious and sustainable manner.

And it tastes good, too.

Walmart is not too different from Chipotle.

The monstrous store chain that’s easy to hate until we need cheap razer blades and jeans and socks and hand towels and garbage can liners. Then everybody loves it.

Except the unions, who are never going to love Walmart until it caves to their regressive and stiflingly stupid and anti free market strong man tactics and effects.

I pray Walmart never does, and for good reason.

When Walmart enters an area, consumers win as the often cheaper prices at Walmart “encourage” the other stores to moderate their own prices.

The prices are not always better, but they are better enough of the time and for enough products to justify the crowds you normally find at these supercenters.

Does Walmart Save You Money? (read the comments, many people report savings in the $1000’s each year while others disagree with their perception of the business practices)

But enough about prices already, Walmart benefits your health!

Huh?

Indeed, studies are showing that people living near a Walmart or “club store” (Costco, Sam’s Club, etc) are lighter on average.

But don’t all the fat and ugly people shop at Walmart? No, it’s just the ugly people and me.

In an article published in Forbes Magazine, Art Carden, an Professor of Economics at Rhodes College in Memphis TN, reports on studies showing that the increased buying power people experience when benefiting from the Walmart effect has a direct and close correlation to the health of those people.

There are several reasons this may be, and the why or how is always a bit murkier than fact of correlation, but all of the possibilities enjoy sound economic sense.

Those benefiting most from the Walmart affect are…

…women, the poor, African-Americans and people who live in urban areas.

The arguments as to why and how and many, as I noted earlier, and some may find them difficult. Read it a few times if necessary.

Our evidence is indirect, but we think it shows that price changes can have subtle and sometimes hard-to-detect consequences. Any change in price results in two phenomena. The first is the substitution effect: a change in consumption mix due to a change in relative prices. If a bag of salad is $2 and a bag of potato chips is $1, then the price of salad in terms of chips is two bags and the price of a bag of chips is half a bag of salad. If a Wal-Mart opens and reduces the price of salad to $1 a bag and the price of chips to 75 cents a bag, the “salad price” of chips has risen (from 1TK2 bag to 3TK4 bag) and the “chip price” of salad has fallen from 2 bags to 4TK3 bags. In short, salad has become cheaper relative to chips.

This argument is based on basic price comparison. If the salad cost 2 times what chips cost before Walmart,  Jack and Jill are more likely to buy the salad now because it only costs 1.3 times more than the chips now.

Then there is the income effect:

If Wal-Mart sells food at lower prices–even if our incomes don’t change–every dollar can buy more. Therefore, we’re richer.

The crux of their findings is that people, when given a choice and a suitable price range, will purchase healthier foods.

Our data suggest that we buy healthier food when our purchasing power increases. There is a small increase in consumption of fruit and vegetables in places where Wal-Mart does a lot of business and a decrease–or smaller increase–in fatty food consumption relative to places where Wal-Mart doesn’t do business. That is, people might consume more fatty foods, but consumption of those unhealthy goods increases more slowly than it does for the rest of the population.

There are other facts, findings, and arguments in the article. I urge you to read the whole thing: Wal-Mart’s Weight Effect.

The point is, don’t be too quick to denigrate or disparage the current state of our free martket system.

It’s not always pretty, and it’s easy to find fault.

However, compared with any other system out there, capitalism and the free market are the best at providing escalating levels of service and product to the most people most equitably and with the least amount of downside.

It’s been proven time and again, yet we in America now are dangerously close to forgetting completely, if we haven’t already.

The free market and capitalism isn’t about the blind, mindless pursuit of money at all costs, that’s anarchy.

Free markets and capitalism are about working in tandem with those around us to maximize our return by providing the best service or product to others. It’s a mutually beneficial system.

And we’re in danger of throwing it away.