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bongo

Help Corroborating The Ilo Figure For Sex Trafficking Profit

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Recently I've become a little obsessed with validating reported data about the sex trade for want of a better term.

 

The latest 'big number' to cross my radar was the International Labour Organisation claiming ( page 36 if needed ) that trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation is the world's most profitable form of human trafficking and that in the advanced economies it was worth 80,000 US Dollars profit per year per victim to the scumbag trafficker. ( 50,000 GBP per year approx ). Some admittedly disreputable organisations are citing this as some kind of definitive number without any thought to checking it.

 

I thought the number could be corroborated by looking at the reported profits from court reports of convicted brothel or agency owners. Madam Margaret Paterson was one such criminal who ran a '1.2 million racket' according to the BBC. If that was say 24 trafficking victims in one year or 4 victims over 6 years, then the numbers would validate the ILO claim in ballpark terms. Alas for the ILO the report mentions 'no trafficked women were discovered but evidence of a "large organised criminal business" was uncovered'.

 

I took a look at some parliamentary questions that relate tangentially to the profit from sex trafficking.

This one gives figures for human trafficking confiscation orders using the Proceeds of Crime Act over 3 years as £2.09 million GBP

And this one gives figures for brothel keeping, prostitution, pornography and pimping confiscation orders over 11 years as £12.18 million GBP.

 

If we combine those numbers and on top of that also assume that 9/10ths of that is sex trafficking ( and only 1/10th is everything else, yeah right, but stay with this if you wish ) then it is about £1.6 million GBP a year being subject to a confiscation order. Let's use the National Referral Mechanism figures of around 400 verified UK sex trafficking victims a year, that means a profit of around £4,000 GBP per year per victim to the scumbag trafficker.

 

Someone will say, whoa, hang on there a moment. The value of confiscation orders will only be a small %, say m%, of the trafficking annual profit, and the National Referral Mechanism is only capturing the small %, say n%, of the actual victims, as most traffickers and most victims don't get found out. Whatever 'm' and 'n' actually are, as long as they are similar, then the £4000 profit per victim per year will also be similar. Even if 'm' is four times bigger than 'n' then you have a £16k profit per victim per year.

 

This doesn't get close to corroborating what the ILO are saying.

 

If anyone can help corroborate the ILO figure, in UK or RoI terms, using a court report or government figures, I'd be grateful, as I cannot see any way their data stands up to scrutiny.

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One organisation that has publicly endorsed the inflated trafficking profit estimate is called turnofftheredlight.ie.

I decided to ask for their help :cool: :

 

Subject: That 80,000 USD claim per EU sex trafficking victim per year

 

 Dear Turnofftheredlight,
 I notice that you are claiming that the average EU sex trafficking
victim is worth 80,000 USD per year to the criminal(s) doing the
 trafficking. You site a source which is the ILO.
 Sex trafficking is despicable of course. There are laws against it
 and rightly so.

 What I want to ask is this:
 Can you help me corroborate this figure?

 For example:
 Can you send me a link or information pertaining to any successful
 prosecution of a trafficker where it was established at court that
 the value of their crime was at least half of the amount you claim to
 endorse?

 regards, Bongo

 

Dear Bongo,

 The figure of 80,000 US Dollars is from the most recent report of the
 UN based International Labour Organisation- a link to the report is
 here:
 http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---declaration/documents/publication/wcms_243391.pdf
and goes into detail as to how these figures were estimated.

 I hope this is of use.
 Kind regards,
Aibhlín

 

 Hello again Turnofftheredlight,

 I'm aware of the ILO report.

 What I want from you if you can is your help corroborating their
 estimated figure that you are currently endorsing.

 This could be through a link or story or information pertaining to any
 successful prosecution of a trafficker where it was established at trial that the
 value of their crime was at least half of the amount you endorse?

 Can you help corroborate their figure?

 regards
Bongo

 

Dear Bongo,

I would suggest you investigate the case of Thomas Joseph Carroll,
 convicted trafficker, whose profits were estimated to be in the millions:
 http://drugsinfonewslineireland.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/carlow-family-brothel-pimp-boss-ordered-to-stump-up-cash-or-face-another-10-years-in-british-jail/

 Regards,
Aibhlín

 

 Hello Turnofftheredlight,

 This is sort of the thing I'm looking for but it doesn't validate the
 claim that the profit is 80,000 USD per EU sex trafficking victim per
 year.

 Take this quote:
 'he admitted he was making €27,000 a week, over €1m a year from
 prostitution'  and this quote:
 'He set up his operation in an old priory where he and his partner
 Shamiela Clark, an ex-prostitute, ran a network of nearly 50 brothels
 in all parts of Ireland'

 If there is only one trafficked person in each of those 50 brothels,
 then that gives a profit of around 20,000 Euro per year per victim in
 2005-6 money. That's not close to the 80,000 USD figure.

 This guy is undoubtedly scum, but the article does not validate the
 average figure from the ILO that you have endorsed in your publicity.

 I'm asking here for your help validating the figure your organisation
 is endorsing. Can you actually help with this?

 I notice that one of your affiliates is a largely public funded
 non-governmental organisation called Ruhama. According to their last
 annual report, they dealt with 63 new cases in 2012 of women affected
 by prostitution, of whom 18 ( 29% )  were identified as Victims of
 Trafficking.
 Does your affiliate Ruhama keep data on the value of the profit per
 year from the scum exploiters for those 18 trafficking victims they
 identified? If so what was the profit figure?

regards
Bongo

 

 Dear Bongo,

 Turn Off the Red Light is a coalition of 70 organisations, not an
organisation in of itself. I would suggest that you contact Ruhama, which
 is one of the partners in the coalition, directly with your query.

 Kind regards,
 Aibhlín

 

Hello again Turnofftheredlight,

I will contact Ruhama shortly. However they are not the ones currently
making the claim that I'm seeking help with as far as I know. YOU are.

I feel you have ignored my question which is directed to YOUR organisation.

You should be aware of what your assertion means. You are endorsing a claim
that 80000 USD is the AVERAGE profit for the slimeball trafficker per victim
per year. That means there will be cases where the profit is higher than
that, and cases where it is lower. That's what 'average' means. You have to
be aware this is the meaning of your claim surely. If profits are
distributed uniformly about half of convicted trafficking criminals should
show a profit greater than the figure you are promoting.

Your best shot so far at helping me has actually validated a counter claim
that you are endorsing a false estimate. Is this where your organisation is
really at?

It's ok to say  'No', that you cannot help corroborate the claim you
endorse. Then please stop endorsing the claim. If you can help, then please
be of assistance here.

Serious question: Can YOU validate the figure that YOU are endorsing?

regards
Bongo

 

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Good luck getting a straight answer. 

 

I've asked on Twitter too. 

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Just realised I've made two mistakes -

First: I got m and n the wrong way round in the opening post. It doesn't affect the principle behind the calculation but still a mistake.

Second: I missed the point that turnofftheredlight.ie made that they are not actually an organisation 'in of itself'

 

It's gotten surreal - the people I've asked for help will admit to working for an 'Alliance', a 'Coalition' or a 'campaign' but categorically deny being an 'organisation'.

 

I'm so embarrassed not to have noticed.

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Just realised I've made two mistakes -

First: I got m and n the wrong way round in the opening post. It doesn't affect the principle behind the calculation but still a mistake.

Second: I missed the point that turnofftheredlight.ie made that they are not actually an organisation 'in of itself'

 

It's gotten surreal - the people I've asked for help will admit to working for an 'Alliance', a 'Coalition' or a 'campaign' but categorically deny being an 'organisation'.

 

I'm so embarrassed not to have noticed.

 

I don't think you have any reason to be embarrassed. TORL throw around grandiose "facts" all the time with no foundation whatsoever, it's 

not like they don't deserve to be asked to account from time to time. 

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A little more correspondence with turnofftheredlight.ie:

 

Dear TurnOffTheRedLight,

I checked Ruhama's web-site and annual reports again and also contacted them
as per your suggestion, but it was to no avail. Ruhama did not provide
anything of use to help corroborate the above trafficking profit statistic.

You say you are a Coalition of 70. You say the following on your home page:
"Turn Off The Red Light is a campaign to end prostitution and sex
trafficking in Ireland. It is being run by a new alliance of civil society
organisations. Trafficking women and girls for the purposes of sexual
exploitation is a modern, global form of slavery."

You may think it unreasonable, but I think it is reasonable to ask for your
help here as I'm assuming from the above statement that you know a lot about
sex trafficking. Can you help me by suggesting any other member of your
campaign that could help corroborate the profit per victim figure that you
have been endorsing.

Can you assist?

regards

Bongo

 

Their reply:

 

Dear Bongo,

Thank you for your continued interest in our work. The figure we quoted
is an International Labour Organisation figure – a United Nation’s
Agency – if you wish to query it further I suggest you contact them.

Regards,
Aibhlín

 

 

 

Curiously this Campaign has ploughed on regardless with this publicity yesterday:

"Traffickers make $80,000 for every victim of sex trafficking in the EU"

So it looks like they are still endorsing a number for which when questioned they can only provide evidence to support an opposing view that the number is stupid.

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Former detective Kevin Hyland is claiming in newspapers today that trafficking for sexual exploitation is worth around 100,000 GBP per victim.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3105130/Oliver-Twist-type-gangs-operating-British-streets-Anti-slavery-commissioner-say-adults-using-children-shoplift-beg-school.html

has the story with pretty pictures down the side of women who are worth 100k a year to their agents probably , but many other newspapers have it too.

 

The quote in question is: "In sexual exploitation, someone can make a million pounds a year out of 10 women".

The report also says we had 151 convictions for slavery related offences in the last year. So presumably there will be proceeds of crime confiscation orders to back this 100k per victim figure up. Erm, no there aren't.

 

 

.

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The web site entitled Operation Do The Math looks as though it might be a gold mine of sex trafficking debunking statistics for the USA, but unfortunately it is so badly designed, I fear that all but the most dedicated will take one look at the stuff it has collected and leave overwhelmed by what looks like an impenetrable muddle. Perseverance is certainly a quality you will need to have to explore its wealth of data.

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On 01/06/2015 at 6:16 PM, bongo said:

The report also says we had 151 convictions for slavery related offences in the last year. So presumably there will be proceeds of crime confiscation orders to back this 100k per victim figure up. Erm, no there aren't.

 

 

.

I think that almost all the "modern slavery" convictions have been domestic service or agricultural, rather than sexual.

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