Sex Trafficking Figures

I\’m not wholly convinced by these figures:

The Home Office estimates that there are between 6,000 and 18,000 trafficked women and girls being forced to work as prostitutes in the UK.

The number of "traffficked" women I have no problem believing. The number working as prostitutes I hae similarly no problem believing. It\’s the forced part that I\’m not sure about.

As Gary Becker pointed out decades ago those who work as prostitutes face a huge cost in terms of their own social capital losses when they do so. It\’s therefore entirely unsurprising that some (many?) do the work outside their home community. Given the greater mobility of the population in general these days as opposed to even a few decades ago it would gain not be surprising that people moved country rather than just city to do so now.

So the question is what is the confabulation of these two things? Those forced into prostitution and those who have voluntarily moved? Those voluntarily moving might well have been "trafficked" in the sense of a network existing that aids them in finding an appropriate brothel or massage parlour.

As I say, I don\’t really trust those figures for they seem to be adding two rather different things together to get a nice high total.

Deeply Unsurpising

Stubble is the way to win a woman’s heart, a study has shown. Researchers found that women are more attracted to men with stubbly chins than those with clean-shaven faces or full beards.

Women participating in the research rated men with stubble as tough, mature, aggressive, dominant and masculine – and as the best romantic partners, either for a fling or a long-term relationships.

Men like women who show off their tits: women like men who show off their own secondary sexual characteristic.

Bit of a shocker really, ain\’t it?

Child Abuse

Libby Brooks has a decent piece on a method of stopping child sex offenders from, well, reoffending. There\’s an earlier Guardian piece about it here and something I wrote on it here.

Started by the Mennonite Church in Canada and taken up by the Quakers here, at its simplest volunteers become the social support group for those offenders released from prison. My impression is that it works almost by social shame, or the desire not to let down those in that new social circle.

However is does work in detail, on the larger scale it works incredibly well. Reoffending rates are usually something like 70%. Of the 49 who have joined those Quaker run programmes in this country, not one has reoffended.

It works, which is really something rather wonderful.

But I have to admit to a certain sadness at this news:

Now, with further Government funding, Circles is expanding across the UK, with the Quakers taking a back seat. This is no longer a faith-based initiative, with volunteers presenting from all strands of society.

Yes, I\’m afraid that I\’m a terrible cynic. I just worry that something which moves from being embedded in a local community (and works precisely because of that) will turn completely to shit when run nationally by the State.

Turning to other matters:

According to the most recent study, between 16% and 20% of all children in this country experience some form of sexual assault before they reach the age of 16.

No, sorry, I don\’t believe that at all. Not unless we\’re using so wide a definition of "sexual assault" as to be meaningless.

Paul Newman

Is often asked:

How have you stayed married so long?


The eyes soon settled on Jacqueline Witte, a tall blonde actress who, in 1949, became his first wife, and the mother of his first three children.

And then.

He broke through with a starring part in the 1953 Broadway production of William Inge\’s Picnic, and it was during the run that he met Joanne Woodward, a blonde, delicate-featured actress from Georgia, who was in the cast as an understudy and became his second wife.

It would appear that the secret to a long marriage is thus to have two, the first as a trial so that you can actually work out what it is that you really want in a mate.

I\’m sure that\’s a comfort to first wives everywhere.

Some Speculation

An odd thought, prompted by this post.

Polly T is, as we know, the head honcho at the British Humanist Association (or is it the National Secular Society? Well, whichever, makes the same point).

She is also, as we know, very much a Statist.

So, at that critical moment, does she cry out "Oh State, Oh State"?


Sex and Economics

Via The Lady R we get the latest installment of the Zoe Margolis story.

Essentially, writing enthusiastically about her highly enthusiastic sex life has left her bereft of what she actually wants now, an enthusiastic but rather more emotionally connected sex life:

However, I\’m at a point where I now accept I have a need to be fulfilled emotionally as well as physically with someone; I feel ready to be with someone special for the long-term. I\’m just not confident that is possible for me to achieve in the UK now; too much of my personal life has been on display and the English attitude towards sex is reflected in how men view and relate to me: awkwardly.

OK, great, good luck to her, but what the hell\’s this got to do with economics?

Well, Gary Becker said something decades ago about prostitution (no, I am most emphatically not comparing Zoe to a prostitute). That the biggest cost in the long run was that a woman who worked as a prostitute almost inevitably cremated her chances of marrying in the community where she had worked as one. Thus the observation that women who do work as such tend to work as such outside of the community they come from. This helps to explain quite a lot of the way in which tarts tend not to come from the areas they service….yes, there\’s some economic migration due to poverty and yes, there is also a small amount of slavery and imposed trafficking, but one major driver (which part is the most important is up to you) is that is is indeed possible to go somewhere else, be a prostitute, and then come back home with the money but without that destruction of reputation and life choices.

And this is the only way in which there is a connection with Zoe:

Refreshingly, most of the men I\’ve met there have never heard of my blog or book, so getting to know one of them on a more personal level offers up an equal starting point from which to learn about the other person – which makes for far more romantic possibilities down the line.

Quite, which was rather Becker\’s point.

Now whether Zoe\’s enjoyment of and retelling of her enthusiastic sex life ought to make men react that way, a way in which they don\’t when they haven\’t heard the stories, is another matter, entirely so, but that they do seems obvious….and sadly, the universe isn\’t quite constructed the way we\’d like it to be on all and every matter.

Amazing what economists can tell you about, isn\’t it? Why a writer might move continents to revitalise their love life?


Rupert Everett

Not had a lot of time for him over the years: much too much of a luvvie for me. However, the man does seem to have some sensible ideas:

"I don\’t think prostitution will ever end, just as drug taking will never end. Both should be legalised as a way of controlling them. Cut out the middleman. Tax them. Use the money to fund clinics for the victims."

Tania Zaetta

A Bollywood starlet has been accused of having sex with Australian SAS soldiers while on a morale-boosting trip to Afghanistan. The Australian military is investigating the allegations – strenuously denied by Tania Zaetta – that she slept with troopers during a tour of military bases last month.

But wasn\’t she supposed to be boosting morale?

So, Erm, Mary,

Plenty of sex in the speeches. Roman political oratory was full of sex – and especially the idea that your opponent was keen on being buggered. Adultery was (sort of) OK, so was buggering. But not what we classicists coyly call “being the passive partner”.

What term do you classicists use when you\’re not being coy?

Replacing Viagra

Umm, so how does this work then?

The pill, which is being developed by the Medical Research Council’s Human Reproductive Sciences unit in Edinburgh, uses a hormone to release the chemical Type 2 gonadtropin, which drives the reproductive system.

It is expected to outperform Viagra because it will increase the brain’s desire for sex, wheras Viagra only boosts the body’s sexual capability.

OK, yes.

Lack of libido affects more than a third of women and one sixth of men.

Right, got it. It makes those who currently aren\’t all that interested, interested. Fine.

Professor Robert Miller, part of the research team, said the drug would replace Viagra.

Erm, no, that bit of it I don\’t get. Viagra works in people who have the desire but not the physical capability (diabetes, heart or vascular problems etc). So how does a drug that increases the desire help those who already have that but not the ability?

Someone\’s rather talking up their new product, aren\’t they?


What a glorious country where the Court of Appeal considers the matter of whether the filming of a man\’s naked chest is voyerism in the same manner that that of a woman\’s is.

It is perfectly legal to ogle a man\’s chest but not a woman\’s breasts, according to an unusual ruling on what constitutes voyeurism by a panel of leading judges at the Court of Appeal yesterday.

Only women\’s breasts can be regarded as "private parts", whereas the male chest – even if the male in question has man breasts, or "moobs" as they are known – cannot, the judges say.

The mills of the law may grind slowly but most assuredly they grind small.

Two further things occur to me: the first links with a (possibly apocryphal) case in the US where two naked women joggers argued successfully that in jogging naked they were not in fact guitly of (whatever the charge was, flashing? Obscene exposure?) for the details of the charge stated that genitalia must be exposed. Since womens\’ genitalia are internal, they were not exposed and thus no offence committed.

The other is to ask, what exactly are "private parts" for that is what our current UK law states. It\’s not just genitalia, as womens\’ breasts, while they are many delightful things, are not in fact those. What if that definition is in fact secondary sexual characteristics? I think that we\’d all accept that ogling would include staring at a woman\’s bum, the shape of which is indeed such a secondary sexual characteristic (the placement of adipose tissue making it so).

Which would lead to something of an interesting situation: the prime male secondary sexual characteristic is facial hair: so does staring at a man\’s beard now constitute ogling? A second such male characteristic is male alopecia: is staring at baldies now a crime?

Just what is the definition of "private parts" then?

No, Not a Surprise

About 19% of men admitted they were potential gold-diggers and would tie the knot with someone in order to benefit from their wealth and luxury lifestyle, compared with only 11% of women.

Pretty much a staple of a certain sort of historical novel (that is, those written back in history, not those set in history) isn\’t it, the pursuit of an heiress?

Men Going Off Sex

Seems that the British male is less interested in bonking his partner than in the past. As to possible explanations:

Cooper, who is professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, also blamed Britain\’s culture of long working hours. \’Britain\’s work culture has gone from 9 to 5 to extremely long hours, which makes for a very stressful life,\’ he said. \’Stress can be cumulative, which means eventually people can find it impossible to switch off and relax.\’

I think we can put that to one side. Average working hours have been declining for men for more than a century. You know, this evidence thing….

Royal Gay Sex Scandal

So the perpetrators of this blackmail plot about the royal gay sex scandal have been found guilty and sentenced to five years each. No, I still can\’t say who it was all about but that is easy enough to find out.

What everyone is really interested in of course is whether the allegations were true, not whether they were being used for blackmail purposes: both thing that are true and those that are untrue can be used to extort.

Recall that the evidence as such was film of a servant alledging:

The tapes claimed that the married member of the royal family, witness A, performed a sex act on the male aide at a party and took cocaine with him.

So, film of someone boasting that such and such had happened. Was it actually true?

Strachan, 31, and McGuigan, 41, used the tapes to demand money from A, but in court they have admitted that the gay sex allegations were untrue in their mind.

The convicts don\’t think so. But, then, should we take the word of convicted criminals?

The truth is, we don\’t know the veracity of the allegations at all. What fun, eh?