Psy theories brought to people exchanging sex for money (again) – child prostitution, so-called. We have already seen ludicrous psychologising in reports on Lithuania, and police confusion when migrant sex workers refuse rescue in India and China. Here it’s New York, and a new anti-sex-trafficking division, heaven help us. Law & Order will start a new series for this, mark my words (subcategory of Special Victims). My comments in green.
Alison Bowen, Metro, 19 October 2011
New York City police say they are trying to rescue teens forced into prostitution, only to find that the girls often don’t want their help. A state law enacted last year considers prostitutes under the age of 18 victims, not criminals, and police are encouraged not to charge them with a crime.
But according to Inspector James Capaldo, head of the NYPD’s new anti-sex trafficking division, their efforts to help girls forced into prostitution are often spurned, he told the City Council at a hearing on sex trafficking yesterday.
So far so good, we know this happens all the time. But where do they go with this? To the cheap psychology department.
The teens are often terrified of being punished by their pimp, or they’re brainwashed into thinking he is a boyfriend, said Capaldo. They also often lie and say they are 19. “Sometimes they refuse to talk,” he said. “If it takes a man six weeks to put this woman in a situation, how do we undo that in 46 hours?”
Lots of people refuse to talk to the police all the time, but here we see how Rescuers use that fact to explain their failures. Brainwashing was the explanation heard at the BBC debate in Luxor, and terror-by-pimp is the idea proposed by social workers on an NPR show on child sex trafficking in Nevada. Not to say it never happens but you need to be suspicious when Rescuers need to justify their own jobs. See, this is a new unit on sex trafficking. They even imply that slowness is not their faults because they are undoing brainwashing. And in an age of cuts and Occupy Wall Street – shameful.
The teen prostitutes often advertise their illegal services on Backpage.com, according to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office. Earlier this year, in Brooklyn, a tip led police to “Jennifer,” 18, who refused to testify against her pimp. Instead, prosecutors found him through a prostitution website. He was charged with sex trafficking.
Is the assumption that a female under 18 is not capable of placing an online ad? Pure infantilisation of women, inexcusable. Check out recent comments from a lot of men assuming that women would be incapable of flying budget airlines to Amsterdam to sell sex and go home again. Excuse me?
Anyway ‘Jennifer’ was 18, so what is this detail doing here? Did Backpage.com force her to place the ad? Gah!
–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist