Last week’s Village Voice article, “Real Men Get Their Facts Straight,” touches on an important challenge in combating trafficking and slavery: the lack of universally-agreed on numbers about the scope of the problem. We are disappointed that the Village Voice did not devote much space to examine or endorse solutions to this aspect of child sex slavery in America. We hope the Village Voice isn’t proposing a do-nothing approach for the children who are trapped in sex slavery today.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, introduced on June 29, includes funding for ongoing scientifically-conducted, peer-reviewed research into the extent of slavery inside the United States. We urge the Village Voice to publically endorse this bill’s passage.
We should note that arrest records for underage prostitution might actually be the tip of the iceberg, and shouldn’t be taken as the only indicator of the extent of child sex slavery. There are often discrepancies between the number of crimes reported and the number of crimes committed. For example, the FBI’s annual Crime in the United States report often differs from the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey. The FBI relies on reported crimes; the Justice Department conducts a survey of 77,000 households.
This underscores the need for more research into child sex slavery. The methodology used by the Village Voice—conducting an informal head count of arrests—is not a scientifically-valid approach. Relying on unscientific methods to question the work of others is misguided.
The Village Voice article also mentions a bipartisan bill to provide federal funding for rescue and rehab shelters for sex slavery survivors. We would urge the Village Voice to endorse this bill’s passage.
While different anti-slavery activists quote different figures, we’re all engaged in fighting one of the world’s most important violations of basic human rights. Everyone has a role to play, including actors, authors, athletes, musicians and others who can spread the word. There’s even a role for the news media.
We would urge the Village Voice and its readers to join us in taking a public stand against slavery.