If you do a Google search for “world cup” and “40,000″, it will return almost 700,000 links, all of which will claim that 40,000 prostitutes will be descending on South Africa for the World Cup tournament in July, 2010.
This propaganda is the work of the anti-prostitution crusaders. Apparently they have adopted the strategy, accredited to Hitler, that people are more willing to believe big lies than small ones.
In any case, Brendan O’Neill over at Spiked illuminates just how utterly preposterous these claims are.
It sounds scary. And also eerily familiar. Where have we heard that figure of ‘40,000 hookers/prostitutes/trafficked women’ before? That’s right, during the last World Cup, in Germany in 2006.
There was only one problem with the alarming claims made in 2006: They were codswallop. Utterly unfounded. A big bag of nonsense.
Far from 40,000 enslaved women trussed up in ‘sex sheds’, the CEU report said the German authorities, having spent millions of Euros and thousands of hours of police time on the lookout for trafficked women, found only five cases of ‘human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation’ in relation to the 2006 World Cup.
This is, in fact, a standard tactic of the anti-prostitution zealots. After explaining how deeply hidden the problem is and how impossible it is to quantify it, they immediately spew forth hugely inflated guesses, estimates, and predictions, which the mainstream press eagerly and uncritically laps up and repeats as if it were fact. O’Neill explains how the numbers are doubled as necessary to ramp up the hysteria.
So during the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000, really the first time that a sporting event was almost ruined by hysterical official and radical scaremongering about a new ‘sex slave trade’, it was said there were 10,000 sex slaves.
And yet, when it came to the Athens Olympic Games in 2004, what did the scaremongers do? They simply doubled the figures, from 10,000 to 20,000.
And yet, what did the trafficking obsessives do when the German World Cup came round two years later? They doubled the figures again, from 20,000 to 40,000 (where in the real world the figures for trafficked prostitutes were zero for Greece and five for Germany).
I guess we should be grateful that they have shown enormous restraint in relation to this year’s World Cup and have stuck with the 40,000 figure instead of doubling it to 80,000.
Of course, we must take into account what these claims are designed to do. Since the goal of anti-prostitution fanatics is to imprison people for personal sexual behavior of which they disapprove, they basically function as a political lobbying organization targeting politicians who are far less concerned with truth than appearances.