By Jesse Walker
Brendan O'Neill has a great piece in sp!ked about the hordes of phantom sex slaves invoked whenever a major international sporting event is on the horizon.
10,000 imported prostitutes were expected at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 (turns out there was "no hard evidence of any women having been 'imported' to Australia for the purposes of sexual exploitation"), 20,000 at the Athens games four years later (though "the Greek authorities discovered only 181 instances of people having been trafficked into Greece for the whole of 2004, and not a single one of these instances was 'trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation'"), 40,000 at the German World cup in 2006 (police actually found a total of five), and another 40,000 at the forthcoming World Cup in South Africa (stay tuned for the real figure!).
O'Neill concludes that this recurring scare "speaks to an elite fear of unpredictable movements across borders, of working-class male behaviour, and of Third World women being easily tricked into a life of sexual bondage" -- and he notes that the British government is already warning the public about the sexual servitude to come when London hosts the 2012 Olympic Games.
Elsewhere in Reason: Joanne McNeill describes the "white slavery" panic of a century ago.