Some Actual Sex-Trafficking Numbers, Instead of Myths

Categories: Crime, Longform

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There has been much discussion of sex trafficking, and much doling out of federal dollars to groups pledged to fight it.

What there hasn't been a lot of is a close determination of the actual extent of the phenomenon, as opposed to widely accepted tales of countless girls coerced into prostitution by violent pimps.

This week's cover story, "Lost Boys," looks at a study done in New York that dug a little deeper and exploded some myths about sex trafficking.

Among the findings:

• Nearly half of the kids -- about 45 percent -- were boys.

• Only 10 percent were involved with a "market facilitator" (e.g., a pimp).

• About 45 percent got into the "business" through friends.

• More than 90 percent were U.S.-born (56 percent were New York City natives).

• On average, they started hooking at age 15.

• Most serviced men -- preferably white and wealthy.

• Most deals were struck on the street.

• Almost 70 percent of the kids said they'd sought assistance at a youth-service agency at least once.

• Nearly all of the youths -- 95 percent -- said they exchanged sex for money because it was the surest way to support themselves.

In other words, the typical kid who is commercially exploited for sex in New York City is not a tween girl, has not been sold into sexual slavery and is not held captive by a pimp.

The story also comes with this editor's note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: Village Voice Media, which owns this publication, owns the classified site In addition to used cars, jobs and couches, readers can also find adult ads on Backpage; for this reason, certain activists and clergy members have called attention to the site, sometimes going so far as to call for its closure.

Certainly we have a stake in this discussion. And we do not object to those who suggest an apparent conflict of interest. We sat quietly and did not respond as activists held symposiums across America--from Seattle to Miami--denouncing Backpage. Indeed, we were never asked for response.

But then we looked at the "science" behind many of these activists' claims, and the media's willingness, without question, to regurgitate a litany of incredible statistics. In the interest of a more informed discussion, we decided to write.

For background articles go to:

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Jeff Lewis
Jeff Lewis


Sex Trafficking/Slavery is used by many groups as a attemptto outlaw all prostitution around the world by saying that all women arevictims even if they do it willing. This hurts any real victims because itlabels all sex workers as victims.


This is done by the media, aid groups, NGO’s, feminists,politicians,  and religious organizationsthat receive funds from the government. There are very strong groups whopromote that all adult women who have sex are victims even if they are willing,enjoy it and go out of there way to get it. These groups try to get the publicto believe that no adult women in their right mind would ever go into the sexbusiness unless she was forced to do so, weather she knew it or not. They saythat 100% of all sex workers are trafficking victims.


They do this in order to label all men as sex offenders andwipe out all consensual prostitution. Which is what their real goal is. Thereis almost no one who challenges or questions them about their false beliefs.Therefore, the only voices you hear are of these extreme groups. These groupswant to label all men as terrible sex offenders for seeing a willing adultwoman. No one stands up to say this is foolish, the passive public saysnothing.


These groups even say that all men who marry foreign womenare terrible sex predators who take advantage of these "helpless foreignwomen wives".


These groups believe that two adults having consensual sexin private should be outlawed.  Sincethey believe that it is impossible for a man to have sex with a woman withoutabusing the woman in the process.

Here are some good websites about this:




God damn not another bullshit story about how trafficking isn't a problem. We get it, VVM doesn't believe it's a problem. Hell, if I was making money off of it I'd do my damn best to try to discredit any study or effort to help the people as well.


In other words, the typical kid who is commercially exploited for sex in New York City ...  is not held captive by a pimp.

Nearly all of the youths -- 95 percent -- said they exchanged sex for money because it was the surest way to support themselves.

Just because the children weren't physically held captive by an actual person doesn't mean they weren't trapped. Sex work can be a valid choice for some people, but homelessness and destitution can push people into it who wouldn't otherwise enter that work. And since a majority of these children sought help through youth agencies I really can't see how village voice can infer there's no coercion going on.


I don't see how this is exposing myths about sex trafficking. Rather, it's a study that is publishing facts about the sex trade. Sex trafficking and the sex trade are related and intermingled, but not the same thing.

In 2000, the CIA estimated that 50,000 slaves are imported into the United States each year, which rivals the height of the slave trade in the 19th century. Sex trafficking is a serious problem, even if the sex industry isn't predominately made up of sex trafficking.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

Who is this "WM" you speak of?  I already know, just want to hear that broken record some more.

Early Cuyler
Early Cuyler

Ah hell, never mind H_e_x, I know see that you wrote V V M, color me paranoid.

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