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Bloggers against type
July 8, 2011 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Maggie McNeil is a semi-retired "honest courtesan" who recently countered Ashton Kutcher's "sex slavery" claims (previously) with some statistics and facts. Bobbi Starr is a professional concert oboist, nationally ranked swimmer, and works in some of the hardest porn available. She was recently featured on the (highly recommended) BBC Radio Assignment series. Primary links are obviously NSFW; BobbiStarr.com also has potential trigger warnings.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (23 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
People only care about the sexy human trafficking. There's a lot of numbers but all of them show a significant portion of human trafficking in labor and service industry and it's a shame that that massive population never gets talked about because underage Russian sex slaves are more 'exciting' than abused men we can take for granted at the supermarket, etc.
posted by fuq at 10:54 AM on July 8, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm not sure where the statistics and facts are, in the posted link: all I read was anger.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 11:08 AM on July 8, 2011


Just fyi, the U.S.'s military bases in Afghanistan and Iraq are staffed through human trafficking.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:10 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


There aren't actually too many statistics and facts in the Maggie McNeill link provided; an earlier post, also on her blog, is rather better.

This post makes the claim that there are far closer to 15,000 underage prostitutes in the US, not 100-300,000.

I'll be honest -- that still seems like a lot. Are Ashton Kutcher et al. grandstanding on the issue just to make themselves seem like humanitarians? Conceivably. Is there any proof that the VillageVoice's Backpage.com is actively harming underage girls and that banning such ads would help those girls? Not really. But is there still a major, legitimate problem? Absolutely.

So while I'm not sure that attacking online ads is really the proper course of action, I find it hard to criticize celebrities who insist on bringing up the issue. Moreover, the fact the people on the other side of Ashton Kutcher (Village Voice, these escorts) are those who directly profit from the ads makes me sort of antsy about their motives. (Suuure, maybe they're only working for the freedom of consenting adults, but what if their $ interest begins to blind them, even unknowingly, even to only a small extent?)
posted by lewedswiver at 11:15 AM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good ol' anecdata!
posted by DU at 11:17 AM on July 8, 2011


[changed the "stats and facts" link to the one the OP wanted, carry on]
posted by jessamyn at 11:18 AM on July 8, 2011


It might have been good to explain why Maggie and Bobbie belong in the same post. It reads like a non-sequitur.
posted by londonmark at 11:47 AM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


london,

I think the point being made is that most people involved in the sex industry are Actual People who are acting of their own free will. This happens to be true.
posted by effugas at 11:51 AM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


This post makes the claim that there are far closer to 15,000 underage prostitutes in the US, not 100-300,000.

I'll be honest -- that still seems like a lot.


It doesn't seem like that many to me. Don't get me wrong; it's a problem. But this is a big country. Hell, the Milwaukee Brewers got three times that many butts in the stands for their games last year and they're the Milwaukee Brewers. When you've got three hundred million people in your country you can find ten thousand of pretty much anything.
posted by Justinian at 12:24 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Maybe. But notice that your "ten thousand" is already reducing Maggie McNeil's estimate by a third -- and this is after starting with fully accepting the claimed statistic of one side of the issue while fulling denying the claimed statistic of the other side of the issue.

(The 15,000 number comes from extrapolating New Zealand data to America. It's not crazy to guess that the true American figure could be significantly higher, if there are significantly more shady foreigners trafficking girls in biggest-player-in-the-western-world America than relatively-out-of-the-way New Zealand.)

And still: 15,000 exploited underage girls is pretty horrific, any way you cut it.
posted by lewedswiver at 12:43 PM on July 8, 2011


And that, dear reader, is the scene with a legend that I will always remember. When I’m 90 and Skynet and the Terminators have taken over and I’m telling my little grandchildren/resistance fighters what I did in my 20s, that is the story I will tell.


There are so many reasons to like Bobbi Starr. I didn't know her blog was one of them.
posted by chavenet at 1:11 PM on July 8, 2011 [2 favorites]


Good ol' anecdata!

I asked a bunch of people and they all said anecdata was reliable.
posted by dubold at 1:21 PM on July 8, 2011 [7 favorites]


The only places in which any hard facts about prostitution can be uncovered are those in which our profession is entirely decriminalized,[...]

I don't know that this can be stated with such certainty.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:36 PM on July 8, 2011


Even 15,000 may be too high. The Village Voice article that started this discussion talks about the data and puts the low end of the estimate of child prostitutes at less than 1,000. For children kidnapped into prostitution, one of the authors of the 100-300k study admits that the figure is in the hundreds.

This isn't really an issue with "sides." Nobody likes child prostitution, and everybody should be interested in having accurate figures.

Marginally relevant - Brass Eye's Paedogeddon Special
posted by factory123 at 2:31 PM on July 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


one is too many.
posted by batmonkey at 3:41 PM on July 8, 2011


From a moral perspective, yes. From a policy standpoint there comes a point at which you start causing more harm than you prevent if the problem you are seeking to address occurs rarely enough.
posted by Justinian at 4:21 PM on July 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


This isn't really an issue with "sides." Nobody likes child prostitution, and everybody should be interested in having accurate figures.

Of course there are people who like child prostitution.
posted by layceepee at 4:57 PM on July 8, 2011




This post makes the claim that there are far closer to 15,000 underage prostitutes in the US, not 100-300,000.

How many child labourers are producing footballs and sports shoes for college sports teams? How many people have killed themselves rather than assemble another iPhone?

Oh, right, we need those, and we're nice people, not like those dirty whores.
posted by rodgerd at 7:35 PM on July 8, 2011


How many child labourers are producing footballs and sports shoes for college sports teams? How many people have killed themselves rather than assemble another iPhone?

The existence of one bad thing doesn't invalidate the existence of another bad thing.

Child labour in non-Western countries where Western companies outsource their manufacturing work is a terrible thing.

Sex slavery in Western countries is something Western democracies should be doing something about because it is happening on their shores.
posted by crossoverman at 9:26 PM on July 8, 2011


Driving the sex trade further underground is the only logical course of action if you're concerned about women, both underage and adult being exploited by organized crime.
posted by Grimgrin at 12:07 AM on July 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


>Driving the sex trade further underground is the only logical course of action if you're concerned about women, both underage and adult being exploited by organized crime.

Yeah. The grey market, semi-public sex marketplace offered through alternative papers (and online), notwithstanding Ashton Kutcher's well-meaning-and-good-for-PR crusade, is actually the most reliable existing antidote to the pimp-controlled world, and the underage trafficking sure to go with it.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:06 AM on July 9, 2011


Driving the sex trade further underground is the only logical course of action if you're concerned about women, both underage and adult being exploited by organized crime.

The sad fact is that I can't tell if you're being earnest or sarcastic. Ah, internet.
posted by Justinian at 1:22 PM on July 9, 2011


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