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Monday, 14 November 2011

Links roundup: 14 November

Interesting thoughts on whether sexting criminalises teenagers, and a case of a 17-year-old put on the Sex Offenders Register for possessing 'sexted' photos of people his age (including pictures of himself)

There’s the issue that often there is no clear distinction (in charging) between someone of the age of 17 possessing sexualised images of similar ages and a 50 year old man possessing images of the most horrible content imaginable involving very young children. It may reflect in the sentencing but ultimately the wording of the charges (Making/Possessing an indecent image of a child) may end up being the same with both persons being placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register. It also poses the question of how can it be, indeed if it should be, made clear that there is a difference between a 50 year old man in possession of 50,000 images of under 13 year olds and Peter possessing 500 images of 15-17 year olds when he was 16-17 himself?

Superb stuff from Furrygirl on parallels between the crack 'epidemic' and recent stories about sex trafficking

The crack "epidemic" was framed by politicians on both sides of the political spectrum as not a symptom of poverty, inequality, and larger social disparities, but as the cause of social problems in the first place ... Sex trafficking is also seen not as a response to social forces such as some countries having more wealth than others, the desire to go abroad to earn better money, few employment options for undocumented migrant workers, or the difficulties in legally entering a Western country if you're poor. No, sex trafficking is the social ill to be eliminated, and all that complex stuff about class, race, immigration, and gender gets neatly swept under the rug in favor of an explanation that lets people scapegoat manufactured omnipresent boogeymen while failing to address real social problems.

SF Weekly on the cold shoulder received by researchers discovering New York City teen sex workers are not predominantly girls and not predominantly controlled by pimps

Through interviews and analysis of public records, Village Voice Media has found that the federal government spends about $20 million a year on public awareness, victims' services and police work related to domestic human trafficking, with a considerable focus on combating the pimping of children. An additional $50 million-plus is spent annually on youth homeless shelters, and since 1996 taxpayers have contributed a total of $186 million to fund a separate program that provides street outreach to kids who may be at risk of commercial sexual exploitation.

That's at least $80 million doled out annually for law enforcement and social services that combine to rescue approximately 200 child prostitutes every year.

These agencies might improve upon their $400,000-per-rescued-child average if they joined in the effort to develop a clearer picture of the population they aim to aid. But there's no incentive for them to do so when they stand to rake in even more public money simply by staying the course.