Love & Sex Magazine

The Problem With Prophecy

By Maggiemcneill @Maggie_McNeill

Prophecy is not an exact business.  –  “Cassandra’s Mirror

The Problem With ProphecyMy January 2012 prediction on the future of sex trafficking hysteria was right on schedule up until 2017, and then, unfortunately, started to fray and become more difficult to interpret (as so often happens with prophecy).  On the one hand, articles critical of the hysteria have become far more common, just as I originally predicted, and the passage of FOSTA seems to have served as a bucket of cold water on a large number of American journalists; it’s now not at all unusual to see articles calling for decriminalization, attacking the War on Whores and even openly labeling the moral panic as a scam intended to justify censorship of the internet and persecution of sex workers and our clients, families and associates.  It is clear even to many of the stupider members of our society (including some cops) that the intentional destruction of Backpage has harmed sex workers, driven many of us to the street, and dramatically increased violence, and the increasing absurdity of “sex trafficking” scary tales involving litter and meaningless non-incidents at retail outlets has forced even cops to deny some of the more extreme and idiotic elements of the mythology.  The “Super Bowl sex trafficking” myth is all but dead, and it’s now relatively safe for politicians to support decriminalization.  Unfortunately, the US government, billionaire sociopaths like Swanee Hunt, and Hollywood nitwits like Ashley Judd and Ashton Kutcher continue to double down on the fading hysteria, expending huge sums of money and investing their considerable influence on the Very Stupid to artificially prolong the moral panic beyond its natural shelf-life.  One year ago today I wrote (quoting myself from a year earlier):

by [2020] ([2021] at the outside), we’ll be able to get through a day without having to hear fetishists like Nick Kristof non-consensually foisting their nasty wanking fantasies of gang-raping traumatized 13-year-olds in bondage upon us.  Cops and politicians may still prattle about it for a while, but once they realize nobody actually cares any more, that will soon fade away…it may take a year or two longer than I originally predicted, so let’s say…around the end of 2021).  And…remember that even after the moral panic is over, “the laws spawned by the panic will still exist and will continue to be used to destroy the lives of sex workers and our clients and families until decriminalization is achieved a decade or two from now…

I’m still confident in that prediction; already we’re starting to see a few cops and politicians drifting away from the “sex trafficking” myth to return to the malodorous bosom of the “criminal whore” myth.  And while the latter is just as conducive to oppression of sex workers as the former, it’s also far less effective in bamboozling the large number of people who understand that government has no place in the private lives of individuals.


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