Where is everybody?
In fact the biggest issue for sex workers in Germany – where prostitution is legal – was the spate of aggressive police raids on licensed brothels in Berlin.
Last but by no means least is Athens, where a forecast 20,000 increase in sex workers during the 2004 Olympics led to a rather less eye-catching increase in arrests of around 300 for the entire year.
There appears to be little to debate. On the one side, the massed ranks of academics and experts who have studied this issue are mostly agreed that major sporting events are NOT places to go looking for any increase in trafficking. As Catherine Stephens of the International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) told us: "These are family events, and the idea that thousands of testosterone-fuelled blokes turn up looking for sex just doesn't reflect reality."
She added: "Cynically speaking, criminals are just not going to recoup that much money in a fortnight; the economics of it do not make sense."
A balanced view is offered by a spokesman for the Met, who tells us: "The Met treats crimes such as human trafficking and prostitution extremely seriously and already has a number of investigative and proactive teams focused on these issues and women's safety generally.
"Intelligence relating these types of crime to the Olympics is low and we are seeing no evidence of an 'explosion' in the sex industry or human trafficking in relation to the Games."
Against this are those who, on the basis of very little evidence, continue to demand resources be directed toward this “problem”. Seemingly oblivious o the advice of his own Police Force and jumping on a bandwagon already occupied by Labour MP Dennis MacShane and ArchBishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, London Mayor Boris Johnson expresses his determination "to crack down on prostitution and human trafficking in the run-up to the London 2012 Games".
He asserts: "Major sporting events are often linked to an upsurge in demand for prostitution, which in turn fuels human trafficking. At the Athens Olympics the number of known human trafficking victims almost doubled."
El Reg asked the Mayor’s office for the evidence behind this claim – but received no answer.
So does it matter? According to Ms Stephens, the answer is a resounding "Yes". She tells us: "In an economic climate where resources are getting scarcer, these high-profile campaigns are an absolute disgrace, eating up funds that could be used to help women looking for support – and failing to help those genuinely looking for a way out of sex work.
“It may make the campaigners feel better – or even boost their political egos. It does nothing for the victims they claim they want to help."
Meanwhile, in Delhi, the authorities remain on red alert, awaiting the arrival of those ubiquitous 40,000 sex workers. It will be interesting to see how many do turn up. ®
"Because they want to."
I suppose the % of individuals engaged in voluntary sex work depends on the local attitude towards it. Sex work is quasi-legal here in Edmonton. You can register an escort agency, declare you income as taxable, receive the government mandated benefits and be protected by the police the same as any other citizen.
Thanks to this more liberal attitude, I do indeed know some individuals (of both genders) who have chosen to enter the sex trade. It’s quite lucrative for them; in each case these are individuals who have given up other careers for the sex trade. Frankly, they make far more money doing what they do now than they did as dental hygienists, lab techs in an environmental testing facility or low paid civil servants.
I believe that there are plenty of places in this world where sex work leads inexorably towards the exploitation of the most vulnerable. Funnily enough, I think that upon closer examination each and every one of those places are areas of the world where ex work has been outlawed and it’s practitioners socially reviled. Nothing will ever eliminate sex work. No law, no crackdown of enforcement, no social stigma.
With that in mind, if you want to protect sex workers then legalise the trade and afford sex workers all the rights and freedoms that any regular member of society has. Allow them to form guilds, establish clean and safe working environments and provide them full protection under and benefits under the law.
If you want to get into moral arguments about it, then I have only this to ask: who are you to tell anyone of any gender what they may or may not do with their bodies? What gives you the right? How have you achieved such moral superiority? Maybe if you devoted half the effort you expend ostracising legitimate hard working people into actually finding and defeating the reasons that some people are so poorly off they might not feel they have any other choices than sex work/drugs/what-have-you the world might become a better place.
Sex work does not automatically correlate with exploitation. It does however have a much higher chance of said correlation in a backwards, repressive society.
"The Metropolitan Police are sceptical, urging vigilance, accompanied by a sense of proportion"
That isn't the usual ranting we have come to expect from plod. What have you done with the real Metroplitan Police?
It is important to bear in mind that these are "extra" and add to the existing number so I have some simple questions:
How do you get them into the country? South Africa was a nightmare travelwise with expensive flights and the issues of actually landing them :)
Where do you keep them, is there a sudden upsurge in demands for commercial buildings (as the hotels are normally all booked out)? If so please let me know so I can invest in a commercial property portfolio.
How do you feed them? 40K additional people eat an awful lot of food. Do the police look for an increase in the number of Tesco equivalent home delivery lorries?
I think these so called advocacy groups (and Boris Johnson) are typical of their ilk (which included politicians) in that they come up with these number but fail to apply real world scenarios to them to determine whether the number is reasonable or not. To infiltrate 40K women in to any country would need massive resources and time to achieve. On that basis I would suggest that Boris send out his spies to keep watch on the grocery home delivery lorries now as the criminals will already by bringing these people in now (not sure what they are going to do for the next 2 years though).
Paris because she could not even infiltrate Japan and she is not a sex worker.