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Football Manager in Sex Trafficking Shock

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Tagged: / Posted: 25 December 2009

Here, under the pretence of attacking British privacy laws and defending free speech, is the Daily Mail fulminating that some football manager who went to some massage parlour can't legally be identified. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1238017/Premier-League-manager-c...

Note that it's a massage parlour, most of which are admittedly brothels in Britain, but no case seems to have been brought. Still, the football manager thought it was a brothel -- asked by reporters outside if he 'knew' it was one, he said, 'Yes' -- so hereinafter 'the brothel.' And away we go. In a desperate bid to make a public-interest case for publishing the man's name, the Mail writes: 'By visiting the brothel, he could have encouraged a number of crimes or even have committed one himself. Brothels are in some cases suspected of involvement in selling sex with under-age girls and human trafficking.' He could, on the butterfly in China-weather in Florida principle.

Note the echoes of a celebrated Ecpat report referenced in these pages that claimed smoking cannabis and buying fake DVDs encourages child sex trafficking. And yet, and yet: the Mail apparently knows to lay off Ecpat and CEOP for a while, and instead introduces a fresh figure (already, in identical wording, all over the Web): 'The last major police and immigration operation against trafficking three years ago raided 373 brothels and massage parlours and resulted in more than 150 arrests.' Difficult to track down the source for this tally. There's a slew of stories from 2006 of the 'sex slaves freed' variety, often linked to an inter-agency crackdown codenamed Operation Pentameter, though the official figures differ radically (232 arrests, 134 charged 'with a variety of offenses'): http://www.pentameter.police.uk/ If that's the same crackdown, then many of the rescued slaves from abroad were cold-heartedly deported, suggesting simple visa violations. Plus a sentence halfway through the Mail piece states: 'Running a brothel remains a serious crime,' but with any luck readers will have forgotten it and won't ask how many of the 150 to 232 arrests might be connected to that fact, rather than to child-sex-prostitution-trafficking.

 It's hardly a trend, but is there a sense that the Mail is getting a little more cautious about this trafficking lark? Only a couple of months ago there'd have been rock-solid government figures to cite, plus NGO reports galore. Or are we shifting the goalposts, away from the campaigners and spin doctors towards 'solid' arrest figures? Is it just that the reporter had this figure at hand? More heads than the Hydra, this thing.

One more dishonest twist in the Daily Mail's argument

Added: 25 December 2009

Thanks to the reader who sent in the above. There is an extra element of deceit in the Mail's approach. In their anxiety to find a public interest to disguise their purely commercial interest in publishing this guy's name, they try to turn to the sex trafficking angle. One of several problems with that is that a month or so ago I wrote a story in the Guardian which revealed that, contrary to a blast of publicity from the police and the Home Secretary, the most recent police attack on sex traffickers had failed to find a single person who had forced anybody into prostitution - and the Mail recycled the story under the byline of one of their own reporters! So now they've had to ignore that completely, pretend that that story never existed and go back to the preceding police attempt to attack traffickers where all we have is the blast of publicity from the police without any follow-up to reveal just how many of the arrests turned out to involve bona fide traffickers. In concrete terms: they have to pretend that they have never heard of Operation Pentameter Two whose claimed results have collapsed in an embarrassing heap of PR hyperbole and turn instead to the claimed results of Operation Pentameter One three years ago whose claimed results have never been checked. Every time newspapes indulge in this kind of self-serving dishonesty in the name of the public interest, I feel more and more sure we need somebody - whether the courts or parliament - to protect us against them. (For the original version of the story which the Mail nicked and are now trying to forget, see http://www.nickdavies.net/2009/10/20/the-sex-trafficking-trawl-which-fai...)

 

Nick

the papers

Added: 25 December 2009

Must be confusing being the Mail. Rightwing, thus opposed to this government's excesses, but populist, thus all on board and hang em higher. But fancy the stupidity of a major British newspaper stealing from another one of the rare few articles where the writer is famous beyond the office FOR HAVING WRITTEN THAT VERY PIECE. Whatever next? Zionist Murderers Murder Innocent Arab Murderers in Murderous Conspiracy Outrage Without Full Stops, by Richard Frisk for the Times?

Grauniad's not above, mind you. I once made up a cheery Hello-style interview with a Saudi executioner for Arab News, mostly from a tedious Q&A in one of the Arabic papers. A couple of days later, who should feature it in G2 without a word changed or any attribution whatsoever? Still, that was thousands of miles away and so parochial chances were they'd never be found out, plus a theft of a theft.

Apologies for not rereading the article, would have improved my point.

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