Getting Mainstream Attention – Judging Trafficking Evidence

I finally got the attention of a mainstream-type blog, an interesting one called Sociological Images: Seeing is Believing. This site shows all kinds of pictures and asks people to (sociologically) consider the assumptions they embody. I sent them the link to my recent post called  Sex trafficking v Prostitution: How do we judge the evidence? because it gives a video that purports to show television-news audiences an instance of sex trafficking.

The video is actually hilarious and well worth a visit, as the intrepid girl reporter, all dressed up in safari gear, bravely watches prostitutes through binoculars, whispering her comments dramatically. But more important is the amazing LACK of evidence in the video itself, which just shows men and women in a field somewhere. As I say in the post, we might be seeing an outdoor brothel but we are given no evidence of trafficking because we don’t get to hear what any of the women say (or the men, for that matter).

I’ve been trying for some time to figure out how to question the evidence about victims and sex without participating in the impossible battle of statistics, where no one agrees about what the basic words mean in the first place.  So it feels significant that Sociological Images gave the post a good spread, and called it Thinking Critically about Sex Trafficking, and it might be a good idea to visit the site and reinforce some of the message.  The blog is one of a bunch of sociological ones clustered at Contexts.org, which means talking to folks who are often fairly clueless about the sex industry.

Laura Agustín