Friday, January 10, 2020

Super Bowl Sex-Trafficking Myths Return

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown - January 10, 2020 at 10:30AM

Is the Super Bowl a magnet for sex traffickers? Nope, and it never has been. But no matter how many times this wretched rumor gets debunked, some gullible members of the media insist on trotting it out anew every year.

This year, it's the Associated Press and Time doing their part to poison the discourse, with an article warning that Uber drivers and hotel maids must be on high alert for this sham epidemic.

Luckily, a huge range of press has already thoroughly torn apart this nonsense in years past. Here are some of Reason's contributions to the genre:

But don't just take our word for it! Here are a range of other journalists and outlets debunking the super-bowl sex trafficking myth:

Even the Polaris Project (one of the biggest purveyors of bad statistics dressed up as "human trafficking awareness") has stopped relying on this particular rumor. The "reality is that sex trafficking happens during the Super Bowl with the same frequency as it does every single day," the group says.

Outside of some reporters with dubious judgement, the only people who are still earnestly pushing the idea that sporting events like the super bowl are hotbeds of human trafficking seem to be 1) politicians who have made a name for themselves stirring up crime panic, 2) state prosecutors, who like to use the prospect of "sex slaves" to justify ramping up their routine vice stings during the big game, and 3) the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for whom the panic dovetails nicely with their efforts to round up immigrants and promiscuous women. But poke any "Super Bowl sex trafficking sting" headline from the past decade and all you'll find is a bunch of sex workers and their customers arrested for trying to hook up with another consenting adult.

At this point, there's simply no excuse for any reporter, politician, or other entity to repeat the Super Bowl Sex Trafficking lie. Those that do are either wholly incapable of basic research and reading comprehension or willfully trafficking in misinformation.


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