Another false, inflated, misleading statistic.We should be used to them by now.
The most infamous, of course, is the “frightening and high” recidivism risk assigned to those on the registry every time a politician opens his mouth to justify a new law or restriction targeting registrants. RSOL has dealt with that one in re-printing Steve Yoder’s excellent piece on the subject not long ago.
With “rape culture” proponents coming out of the woodwork, this statistic continues to show up: one in five women in college will be raped during her time there. This too has been debunked for the nonsense that it is, but it, like “frightening and high,” continues to be repeated and is often “rounded down” to one in four. What parent would send a daughter off to college if she stood a 20 – 25% chance of being raped while there?
Every time the Super Bowl rolls around, or any other venue drawing a large national audience, we are inundated by announcements of vast numbers of “trafficked sex workers” converging on the city where the event is being hosted. The numbers generally hover somewhere around the 50,000 mark, give or take a few thousand. That also has been exposed as massively over inflated, to the point of being called a myth, but it hasn’t slowed the funds being apportioned to law enforcement and anti-trafficking agencies to fight this scourge.
Now the number-inflators have managed to converge two high-interest topics – sex and children – into one guaranteed to terrify every parent in Ohio and, by extension, every other state as well. U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio has just announced that, each year in that state, 1000 children are sold into sex slavery and over 3000 more are “at risk.” A very thorough explanation of the faulty calculations and reasoning that produced these numbers is given here and here.
The disparity between these numbers, which appear on many Ohio government websites, and the reality is startling. The most recent report of the Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force shows “181 potential victims of trafficking were identified statewide in 2014 after almost 100 stings to bust sex traffickers — and this tally is not limited just to children.”
Whether it be the percentage of young women assaulted in college, the true re-offense risk of registrants living in the community, or the actual degree to which sex trafficking poses a threat to our children or our football games, inflating numbers for political, sensational, or financial gain is not in the public’s interest. These tactics divert focus and resources away from measures and strategies that would actually serve public safety and better protect children and all citizens. We need truth in facts, and when something is presented as a fact, we need to be able to trust it is true.
This should not be too much to ask.