Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Of sex trafficking and International Megan's Law and cabbages and kings

~~by Shelly

A piece of legislation called International Megan’s Law—HR 4573—passed the U.S. House of Representatives, according to this article, June 20.

The bill’s sponsor, U.S. Congressman Chris Smith, has been pushing this bill, in various forms, for years. It is aimed at sex trafficking in general and will largely affect American registrants traveling out of the country, but named after Megan Kanka, a seven year old child who was murdered twenty years ago, and touted as “…the model needed for the U.S. to persuade other countries to take action to stop both child sex tourism within their borders and protect children in the United States and elsewhere,” the focus perceived by the American public is on the taking of American children for use in the forced sex market.

Sex trafficking is the new buzz-word in the sex offender industry. We have all read of its horrors—huge numbers of “sex slaves” descending on the Super Bowl; vast numbers of children scooped off the streets and forced into a life from which they cannot break free.

I cannot speak for other countries. I know there are some where life, especially a child's life, is very cheap and poverty is overwhelming. But this legislation was not passed by creating fear in our hearts for what was happening to children in third-world countries. It was passed by creating fear in our hearts that OUR children, MY child, could fall prey to the network of monsters scouring the streets of our cities and villages and taking our children.

I know about “throw-away” kids. I know teenagers run away, leave home for various and sundry reasons, and I am certain that a disproportionate number of them become entangled in prostitution, and this is terrible. But is this what people think of when they are told that legislation must be passed that will somehow keep their children safe from being forced into the sex and pornography trade?

Facebook pages declare “Every 30 seconds another person becomes a victim of human trafficking.” Another site says, “Abolish sex trafficking; 200,000 are at risk for sexual exploitation this year.” These are the type of pseudo-statistics that are not based on any study or scientific attempt at measuring or counting. They cannot be proved—or disproved. Facts are so twisted with myth that the reality is impossible to sort out.

As far as children, this FACT is worth noting: several sources, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, place the number of actual, real abductions of children and teens in the U.S for any nefarious purpose at an average of 115 a year, and almost all of those are recovered.

The bill’s sponsor, Congressman Smith, said, “The stories of the victims are tragic — ruined childhoods, devastated families, lifetimes of memories of assaults and sometimes worse.”

The implication is that these are families Mr. Smith has spoken with, stories he has heard personally, and tragedies with which he is intimately acquainted.


This is where I have trouble. As I said, I cannot speak and do not speak to what may be happening outside of the United States. And I cannot speak for anything outside of my own personal experience, but my own personal experience is this:

Like almost all American children, I went to school for twelve years and then college for six. I knew lots of kids and families. I had three children. They all had masses of friends and went to school with even greater masses of other children. I knew their friends and their families. They were involved with sports, which put us in contact with children and youth from schools all over the city.

I now have grandchildren. I know many of their friends and their families. I today have a huge circle of friends and acquaintances and contacts.

I taught high school for 28 years. I taught Sunday School and still do. I was on the Board of Education at my church’s parochial school. The number of young people and of families that I knew over all those years is literally incalculable.

In all of those years, with all of those youth, with all of those people, I never knew of a single child or person who just disappeared and was never heard from again. I never knew of a single child or person who was recovered from forced sex slavery or child pornography and told her—or his—story. I never knew a single family who had a child just disappear. I never knew anyone who knew of a single child or person to whom this happened. I never heard of a family to whom this happened. I never heard a rumor of someone to whom this happened.

Does that mean anything? I don’t know. I do know that what this legislation will do has little to do with children being taken in the United States. What it will do in reality is, again, target a very broad category of people, almost none of whom have ever kidnapped a child or operated a “sex ring” or produced child pornography, and apply restrictions to them which are inappropriate and which infringe on their rights to travel.

And which will do absolutely nothing to “protect children in the United States.” Again.


  1. I covered the main myth of "100,000 to 300,000 kids are sex trafficked in the USA myth" in my Mythbusters presentation last year:

    Myth #14: The Child Trafficking Myth: “It's between 100,000 and 300,000 child sex slaves in the United States today,” Ashton Kutcher

    Claimed Source: End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography, and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Exploitation (ECPAT). 1996. Europe and North America Regional Profile (issued by the World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm, Sweden, August 1996, p.70.) ECPAT does not have the original source work

    Fact: These numbers are “estimates” of individuals “at risk” youth. Actual risks for sex trafficking are far lower than expected. Total sex trafficking arrests (Jan. 2008-June 2010) 410 suspects and 460 victims, of which 248 are under age 18. [Duren Banks and Tracey Kyckelhahn (2011) “Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010.

    Followup source: Estes, Richard J. and Neil Alan Weiner, “The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children In the U. S., Canada and Mexico”, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2001, p.10 “A Cautionary Note: These estimates reported in Exhibit ES.2a reflect what we believe to the number of children in the United States ‘at risk’ of commercial sexual exploitation, i.e., children who because of their unique circumstances as runaways, thrownaways, victims of physical or sexual abuse, users of psychotropic drugs, members of sexual minority groups, illegally trafficked children, children who cross international borders in search of cheap drugs and sex, and other illicit fare, are at special risk of sexual exploitation. The numbers presented in these exhibits do not, therefore, reflect the actual number of cases of the CSEC in the United States but, rather, what we estimate to be the number of children ‘at risk’ of commercial sexual exploitation.”

    I'm sure this number greatly influences sex trafficking laws even though the number can not be verified, and even researchers atdmit these numbers represent at-risk, not actual sex trafficking numbers. Keep in mind the broad definition of human trafficking.

    I'm also sure at times people confuse the broader term "human trafficking" with the more specific "sex trafficking." Human trafficking, for example, includes by definition "Coyotes," i.e., those who help foreigners enter the country illegally.

  2. Thank you, Ms Stow, for your blog addressing this issue so frankly and factually. As you have stated, this bill is being touted using myth and baseless fear-inducing "pseudo-statistics" (falsehoods) and, unfortunately, the public doesn't know this, or even question it. Thank you for continuing to speak the truth as a "voice in the darkness."

  3. I sometimes find myself wondering just how often someone creates a narrative of abuse and exploitation merely because it's the easiest way to get attention and notoriety, One might recall the case of the fraudulent author Oprah praised for writing a book about recovering from addictions that never occurred.

    This is the VICTIM era. If you're a victim, with a dark and despotic story of victimization, you're this era's version of a hero...since, as heroes go, most of them are gradually dying off day-by-day. Everyone wants to be a hero, right?

    Strangely, the generation of Americans gradually dying off....the REAL heroes....the last thing they ever wanted was praise or adulation. Something about real heroes....they're more like saints than "victims".

  4. Hi Shelly Stow. I see you all over the web and just wan't to say thank's for being one of the regular voices of reason and factual truth. As for this article; once again I have to wonder if those that claim to know actually do know what they are talking about. Once again it appears these supposedly honorable people are totally ignoring the facts, and sadly most of America is too willing to believe whatever they are told. My personal opinion is that the sponsor of this bill seems to be pulling his facts out of thin air, or is unable to read and understand statistics.

  5. If you would like to read an excellent article on this modern fetish of victimhood please read:


  6. Legislator Smith, in his quest to be known as the Anti-Child Trafficking God, has violated both the principle of sovereignty and our citizens' right to travel. The sponsor of this bill wants to legitimize the US' sending information on RSOs traveling outside the US to other countries, as well as requiring other nations to report to the US on their own citizens visiting here. Fees to report travel and international registration (and penalties for failure to do so) will follow. It seems to me that the high number of rapes in Papua New Guinea, for example, is a problem for the Papuans, not for a New Jerseyite. US law ends at US borders. We monitor all persons entering the US, we need NOT reach out and monitor our own people abroad. When we leave the US, we leave US laws behind. Did Chris Smith not learn anything from the caning of Michael Fay in Singapore, or the detention and imprisonment of Sarah Shourd and two others in Iran? If you travel to a foreign country, and you break the law, you are punished in accordance with their rules and procedures. Sovereign states are neither dependent on nor subject to any other power or state. It's also an inconvenient truth that while US countries can set up operations overseas and violate human rights and dignity with impunity, registered citizens must have their travel announced in advance and potentially bad intent imputed to them. Mr. Smith should focus his energies on issues in his own back yard, i.e. the US, and butt out of other countries' travel policies. Those of you who attended my presentation at the RSOL Conference last year also know that this bill infringes American citizens' right to travel, which was recognized by our forefathers (who were travelers themselves) and which is enshrined in international law documents. I'm not a traditionally religious gal, but I'm praying the Senate does not pass this monstrosity. It offends everything this country stands for, and offends other countries' independent authority as well. (Virginia Hall, commenting anonymously since she can't get WordPress to behave.)

  7. As we all know this is a move for political gain, nothing else. But what really upsets me, makes my blood boil, are the believers of these unjust laws/amendments. The public seems to overwhelmingly support any and all laws/amendments that are aimed at more restrictions on those that wear the label "Sex offender". They, slowly like the frog in the pot, accept these laws which violate are constitution. Instead of proposing this amendment for ALL registrants, many whom are law abiding, why not propose the amendment for those that have already been convicted of human trafficking or an international sex crime? Because that would be violation as well. Sloan4444

  8. This is the word politicians use ( crafting ) . This is what is being done with international megans law . When passing into another country that person is treated like a criminal even after all state, and federal mandated psycological group and jail sentence probation, and registry's are completed and being fulfilled. Then a welcome mate of intergation of the crime that one pled to and explain again in deapth to re live the moments . Then frisked then hand cuffed and placed in a sell as if it just happened . ( crafting ) is the ideal motion of Smith under the direction of the authors of AWA and Megans law . Their names should be used more frequently . After all the more the public sees that this punishment does not fit after time served , and if one never trafficked any man, woman, child or animal should bring up the out come of a registry offence when being with held for no reason in an other country with your family . Again the issue of harm to ones being or family with an international hit list . It's a set up . It's a snare for revenge , and time for megans law and AWA registry be responsible for the deaths, stabbings , beatings and shooting of those on the registry after time served . And the tax payers will pick up the tab for extradition right ?

  9. Trafficking into the united states from the southern borders in 2006 were documented and cought were for organ transplants from non donators . American sex offender laws are for hate and financial rewards that need to be reformed . Not one sex offence is the same if a sex offence at all, and really should be heard in todays courts and the laws re- written or exponged .


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