‘No Allegations of Human Trafficking’ and ‘Women Could’ve Walked Out’ In Florida Massage-Parlor Prostitution Stings 2

Sex trafficking hysteria is the new “War on Drugs.” Like the war on drugs, virtually every category of do-gooder is getting duped once again.

By Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Reason

It’s been nearly a week since Florida police started bragging about their big “human trafficking” bust, an operation that pulled in professional football owner Robert Kraft, more than 150 other men, and several Chinese immigrant women associated with Asian spas in Palm Beach County. Police say the spas were fronts for prostitution, that the workers there were victims of sex trafficking, and that their six-month long investigation was time well spent.

Six months is a long time, however, and it’s hard to reconcile the cops’ timeline with their heroic rhetoric. If the women employed at these businesses were really the victims of “modern slavery,” why did police take six months to get them out of that situation? Why did it require repeat intimate undercover visits and building misdemeanor prostitution charges against all sorts of random men before these “heroes” decided to intervene?

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The state always needs a moral panic to justify the expansion of its own power. Gay rights are now mainstream, marijuana legalization is moving rapidly, sanctuary cities are resisting immigration enforcement, skepticism of the drug war is growing, support for criminal justice reform is expanding, and protests against police brutality are now common. In other words, the state is losing many of its tools for self-expansion. This is one reason why political correctness is increasingly becoming incorporated into the state’s ideological framework, and why we are likely to see “traditional” cultural groups (i.e. gun owners, religious traditionalists, conservative whites, etc). becoming increasingly under attack in the future.  However, the Red Tribe continues to be a major player in US politics, and currently controls all three branches of the federal government, plus a majority of state governments, even if the Red Tribe is losing ground and does not reflect majority opinion per se. Therefore, the state needs yet another target. Just in the nick of time, here comes hysteria over sex trafficking. Sex trafficking hysteria is becoming the new war on drugs, with the predictable bipartisan enthusiasm in the mainstream, and acquiescence on the part of much of the Left, as there was with the war on drugs. In the future, there will be a sex workers rights movement similar to the gay rights and marijuana legalization movements.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown

Cato Institute

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