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.

5 thoughts on “Sex Trafficking Figures”

  1. The word “trafficking” has been re-defined when referring to “human trafficking” compared to the old smuggling meaning. Oddly if you have paid someone so can illegally enter a country then you are a “victim”.

  2. A good source for reality on this subject is the discussion board on the site. If there’s one group of people who’d know, its the
    toms & their customers who both post there. The site even prominantly advises contacting Crimestoppers if there’s suspicion of under-age girls or girls being forced to work against their will.
    The topic comes up for discussion on a regular basis & the consensus is that the problem simply doesn’t exist in anything like the scale suggested. Even the legal definition of ‘trafficking’ is unclear. A minicab driver could be ‘trafficing’ if he drives a girl to meet a punter at his hotel.

    Working in the Bayswater area for a couple of years certainly opened my eyes to the world’s oldest profession. There must be thousands of girls operating in the area. Sit & enjoy a coffee outside one of the cafés in Queensway & marvel at the endless array of spectacular young women walking past. This in an area with little commercial activity apart from retailing & cheap hotels so what do you think they do for a living? Serve in the Tesco Express? Change bed linen?

    There were a couple of Thai girls working out of a flat next door to where I had a job. Real stunners in their early twenties. Good english & obviously perfectly happy in their careers. I unjammed a window for them when the sash cord broke ( and before anyone asks, no I didn’t ). They were scooped up when the police raided one of the agencies. Next thing, Harriet Harperson’s talking about trafficking & girls being forced into prostitution & what legislation she wants to bring in. The whole thing was a set up. These are top of their profession girls from Bangkok over here on visitors visas. Immigration doesn’t hand out work permits for girls on the game. Of course they’ve been ‘forced into prostitution’, because that way they’re ‘victims’ rather than on a deportation flight back home. The agency’s re-opened under another name & the girls are back on their backs doing what they do best.

  3. Elizabeth Pisani’s excellent book covers this well (she’s spent 10 years as an epidemiologist researching AIDS, and therefore has spent a lot of time with prostitutes of all nationalities and levels…) – she’s come to the conclusion that forced trafficking more or less doesn’t exist, and is almost entirely a myth created by an unholy alliance of religious and feminist puritans…

    Tim adds: Indeed. finsihed it a few weeks back.

  4. More evidence to back up your case can be found here:

    Basically in 2006 a major police operation involving 55 police forces across the UK plus the UK Human Trafficking Centre in Sheffield resulted in 84 women and girls being freed from brothels.

    That’s 84 out of an estimated 100,000 working girls.

    But if one follows the social capital argument and puts oneself in the position of one of these foreign girls even that 84 sounds a bit iffy.

    Imagine you are Ludmilla from conservative Grotigrad trying to earn a nest egg without your parents and freinds knowing how you do it. You tell them you’ve got this great job in London (office girl, waitressing, whatever the folks back home will believe). Then suddenly Plod arrives and catches you on the job. You’re terrified of what will happen to you and of the consequent exposure and shame. The first idea that comes into your head is to howl: “They made me do it!” followed by a flood of tears.

    I’m not denying humanity is fully capable of horrors like forcing women into prostitution, but I do doubt it is happening in Britain on anything like the scale people (with vested interests) are claiming. Strangely the evidence seems to back this up.

    Either that or the resources being poured into solving the problem aren’t working. In which case giving these agencies more money is hardly likely to do any good.

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