Sex (Trafficking) Panic?

Two stories today contending that something has gone wrong in all the attention to sex trafficking in the UK. I’d already been concerned that people were losing sight of the horrors of other sorts of trafficking. But I had pretty much uncritically accepted the high figures I read in the media about sex trafficking, and the reports of police crackdowns on it. Until I saw these (thanks, Sam!):

1. Inquiry fails to find single trafficker who forced anybody into prostitution.

2. Prostitution and Trafficking– The Anatomy of a Moral Panic.

Neither of these stories should be taken to suggest that there is no sex trafficking, or that sex trafficking doesn’t matter. But facts matter, and being right about the facts matters. These stories show that some of the things I took to be facts were not. The second story also draws attention to the views of prostitutes themselves, who have been vocal (though generally unheard) opponents of proposed laws penalising “men who pay for sex with women who are “controlled for gain” even if the men do so in genuine ignorance.

Repeatedly, prostitutes’ groups have argued that the proposal is as wrong as the trafficking estimates on which it is based, and that it will aggravate every form of jeopardy which they face in their work, whether by encouraging them to work alone in an attempt to show that they are free of control or by pressurising them to have sex without condoms to hold on to worried customers.”

Rape victims denied insurance coverage

For example:

A 38-year-old woman in Ithaca, N.Y., said she was raped last year and then penalized by insurers because in giving her medical history she mentioned an assault she suffered in college 17 years earlier. The woman, Kimberly Fallon, told a nurse about the previous attack and months later, her doctor’s office sent her a bill for treatment. She said she was informed by a nurse and, later, the hospital’s billing department that her health insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, not only had declined payment for the rape exam, but also would not pay for therapy or medication for trauma because she “had been raped before.”

From here. (Thanks, elp!)

Clitorectomy reversed

There is hope for victims of female genital mutilation – that is, when you are a citizen of France or the United States. Newsweek reports on the work of Dr. Marci Bowers, who performs reconstructive operations on women who have undergone clitorectomies. 80% of the women who undergo the procedure have pleasurable feelings restored.

It is the first time I heard of the possibility. The clitoris is a wonderful organ, and most of it is buried inside as recent research brings to light, so it is not unimaginable that there are options of restauration, why didn’t I think of that? Fortunately, Dr. Pierre Foldès did. When he started 20 years ago, he found

“It was shocking for me to discover in my research that there was nothing, absolutely nothing on this organ, although there are hundreds of books on the penis, and several surgical techniques to lengthen it, enlarge it or repair it. Nobody was studying the clitoris because it is associated with female pleasure. There was very little anatomical detail on it. It was as if it didn’t exist. I had to start from scratch.”

But there now is a start. Kudos.