Child sex trafficking: why statistics should matter to the Rescue Industry

After the other day’s question about Ashton Kutcher’s ability to count, I received messages from people who probably had not visited me before. One person lamented that we are all squabbling. The Daily Beast calls it a feud. Both words minimise, or even belittle, the issue at stake – numbers claimed as victims of child […]

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Children and sex: prostitution, rescues, statistics, money and the FBI

Teenager said to be vulnerable sitting on a bench Press Release, 8 November 2010: Over the past 72 hours, the FBI, its local and state law enforcement partners, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children concluded Operation Cross Country V, a three-day national enforcement action as part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative. […]

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What do sex-buying statistics mean? More anti-trafficking efforts, that’s what

Before anyone claims these statistics on arrests of traffickers and clients actually mean something, read this, published at The Other Swedish Model the other day. Swedish sex-buying statistics: What do they mean? We live in times where crime statistics are often used to try to prove some social theory or another. Swedish police have just […]

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Becoming aware of Awareness-Raising as anti-trafficking tactic

My Google Alerts are now full of nonsensical items on behalf of a Trafficking Awareness Month in the USA. I first discovered Awareness Raising when I began to study assumptions held in the world of helping. One holds that certain social problems are ‘hidden’, and ‘hidden populations’ are great favourites amongst sociologists (who can then claim […]

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Somaly Mam, Nick Kristof and the Cult of Personality

Many wrote to me during the brouhaha about Somaly Mam and Nicholas Kristof as though I were not paying enough attention to it. There are lots of events in the fields of anti-trafficking, the sex industry and now even the Rescue Industry that I glance at and don’t find remarkable enough to comment: after 20 […]

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Sweden and prostitution law: the conditions of possibility

The idea of criminalising the purchase of sex continues to be promoted round the world, usually as part of some politician’s campaign against immoral sex and the exploitation of children, with a subtext aimed at keeping women at home and migrants out. Sweden’s law is thrown out as the model, along with claims that prostitution […]

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Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores, in @Jacobin Magazine

This essay ran first in Jacobin and was picked up by Salon and given a different title. Comments on the different slants to come soon. Prostitution Law and the Death of Whores Laura Agustín, Jacobin, 15 August 2013 It doesn’t matter which political direction you come from: the topics of sex work, sexual exploitation, prostitution […]

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Does legalised prostitution increase trafficking? Who knows, without real data?

Long ago I was Managing Editor for the Chief Economist at Merrill Lynch in New York. I know what econometrics are and am not scared to death of mathematical modelling or formulae, and I don’t think everything quantitative is bad – which some might conclude given my consistently harsh critique of the statistics batted around […]

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Nordic/Swedish models: laws criminalising the purchase of sex

Nordic model is a new tag on this website, and it doesn’t refer to leggy blondes. People contact me ever oftener asking for what I’ve written on prostitution laws in the Nordic countries, so I have now tagged everything I could find. This is a sub-set of the Sweden tag, which includes other sorts of […]

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Sex as Work and Sex Work: a marxian take

A couple of years ago I was asked to write for a special edition of The Commoner on Care Work and the Commons (Silvia Federici and Camille Barbagallo, editors). Atypically for people considering caring and reproductive labour, they wanted to include sex work. They asked me a series of questions, some of which did not […]

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