Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's official, the Trafficking Act failed

From Mel: the New York Times admitted that the Federal Trafficking Act failed. Somebody owns up, but I wonder if there are any decent journalists left on the printed presses, and online versions of them. The article blamed everything usually blamed by the anti-prostitution camp, but did not address the obvious. If the attitude remains, asking for more legislation to fix the failure will result in a bigger cock up. Did they understand this simple fact? Initially they think that the anti-prostitution laws are not enough to beat prostitution, so they cook up anti-trafficking laws, and became a cock up. If you try to add domestic trafficking legislation, what makes you think that it won't be a bigger cock up? Making the target bigger so you get more hits? But you need more ammunition too, which is hard to come by.

Firstly, the editorial doesn't address the estimation of victims, which is highly controversial as exposed by other journalists. Revising it down to 17,000 doesn't make it more believable. The article blamed many other things but this. The number of California prisoners is 170,000 in 2007. Did looking for needle in a hay stack come to your mind? With the looming state cuts, the number of prisoners could be easily be reduced by 17,000 any time.

To give you some idea how small 17,000 is. That would spread in a country of 300 mil people, mostly in cities over 10 mil, and some in isolated places as rumored in some Nevada brothels, which is again likely to be inaccurate. With that sort of small numbers, the pimps don't need to advertise, and the general public (johns and other prostitutes) can't tell the difference.

More importantly, prostitution is divided amongst ethnic groups. Just as Americans dominate the sex tourist message boards, many 2nd tier prostitutes or part-timers come to US for short rewarding trips on tourists visas. They don't bother with you if you can't speak the language. In addition, language is often used as the major screening process. To be successful, LE has to have the perfect accents for all the ethnic groups, which is damn impossible.

Now they want to extent the legislation to "domestic" trafficking victims, as identified by people on the ground. I doubt if the victims are identified as a side effect of the efforts bring about by Trafficking Act - just look at the Craig List pictures. If you don't know that "domestic" victims are more visible than foreign victims, you fail. You don't need to discover that after lots of Federal funding.

I agree that it's hard to prosecute pimps and traffickers. It's easiest to catch the prostitutes, then maybe the pimps, who would be silly for them to bring you to the traffickers behind the scenes. I don't know LE can do much because even with the full support of the public (johns and hookers), they are pretty useless. Someone dreamed that trafficked victims satisfy the demand for rape fantasy. But if these public know anything, that even moderate GFE has a price, how long the line will be if someone advertise for role playing rape for cheap?

There is something that is easy to do which doesn't cost much. Some girls are particularly easy to catch because they are new, and not prepared because they are not planing to be in it for long. You really don't want to punish many of these girls for having fun for a while, with the money they earn. As it stands, they are like having traffic tickets for first few offenses, until the fines or jail time do not justify their work anymore. Then they move on to other states to have a fresh start if they want to continue. All you have to do is to have a centralized database for these offenses. The current ID scheme is a mess. You need to check finger prints. Now is that easy to identify domestic trafficking victims from girls who just want to have a bit of fun?

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