Please stop spreading panic about sex trafficking

A news story hit my social media feed a couple weeks ago, stirring fear about sex trafficking. However, it is highly unlikely that the story was real. Are there any actual, documented cases of adults being kidnapped in public places and sold into sex slavery?

This is similar to other news stories of parents fearing that their children would be kidnapped, but Lenore Skenazy points out that the head of the Crimes Against Children Research Center told her that he has not seen a single case “of children being snatched from their parents in public places and trafficked.”

It is highly unlikely there are roving gangs of sex traffickers in Indianapolis seeking to kidnap adult women in public places in broad daylight and sell them into sex slavery.

But sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry, right? Not really. The number frequently cited conflates prostitution with sex trafficking. Women certainly are abused in prostitution, which is one reasons it should remain illegal. Plus, there are teenage runaways who are forced into prostitution when they are on the streets. So those that pretend prostitution is a “victimless” crime are intentionally ignoring reality. But That is not the same thing as kidnapping women and selling them into sex slavery.

So, again: Is there a single documented case of an adult woman being kidnapped in a public place and sold into sex slavery? A public place where the woman would likely be screaming? In a state like Indiana, which allows concealed carry, and the kidnapper is risking taking a bullet from the woman or a bystander?

Of course people should be aware of their surroundings and aware of those who might have nefarious intent. However, spreading panic about people being kidnapped in public places is irresponsible and dangerous. It leads to innocent people being assaulted.But even as violent crime has fallen dramatically over the last 30 years, social media continually feeds these kinds of stories. Stop sharing them.

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