Nice example of burying the lede


The headline: BILLIONAIRE HORNDOG BOB KRAFT CHARGED WITH SOLICITING PROSTITUTION IN LEAD-UP TO SUPER BOWL.

Don’t care. Prostitution shouldn’t be a crime anyway. But this one hides the real story:

In a press conference Friday morning, Jupiter Police Chief Daniel Kerr announced that Kraft was just one of the 25 people being charged with solicitation as part of a human-trafficking investigation.

According to Florida police, Kraft was caught in a months-long investigation into a human-trafficking ring in the area, involving at least 10 spas.

There’s an important word being downplayed there. Sex between consenting adults, not an issue, even if there is an exchange of money. When it’s human-trafficking, though, that means consent has been lost, and this Kraft bozo is exploiting women.

They did at least include one criminal charge in the headline, “Billionaire”. Lock him up for that, I’m fine with it.

Comments

  1. hemidactylus says

    Checking my ESPN app earlier today to see if they had a channel for the new AAF I noticed this and did a reflexive Pats hating gloat over the headline: “Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of soliciting a prostitute”
    https://es.pn/2SkIi9J

    They eventually got down to saying this:

    “The charge comes amid a widespread crackdown on sex trafficking in Florida from Palm Beach to Orlando. Hundreds of arrest warrants have been issued in recent days as result of a six-month investigation, and more are expected. Ten spas have been closed, and several people charged with sex trafficking have been taken into custody.”

    And this is interesting: “Kraft lives in Massachusetts and has a home in the Palm Beach area. He is a frequent guest of President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago Club. Though a Democrat, Kraft is friendly with Trump.”

    Here’s one from CNN:

    https://www-m.cnn.com/2019/02/22/us/robert-kraft-solicitation/index.html

    I despise the Pats and Kraft and add this one to their growing wall of shame, but to be charitable is Kraft allegedly soliciting prostitution the same as him being aware of the trafficking component? The headlines point out the soliciting but maybe are cautious about jumping the gun on the second part. If the article were about the spa itself getting busted the trafficking component might be in the headline.

  2. Hatchetfish says

    Any second now the clogosphere will collectively wet themselves because the long foretold q-anon roundup is at hand. Then begin rationalizing furiously when the next rich rapist is a Republican… Remember, q-anon is always right, it’s reality that lies.

  3. Hatchetfish says

    “is Kraft allegedly soliciting prostitution the same as him being aware of the trafficking component?”

    I’m willing to damn him for a lack of proper due diligence in his illicit endeavors. That’s like saying “Ok, yes, I know I could have been more thorough vetting the ethical sourcing of my adrenal gland extract, but it’s not like I knew they were cutting brains open it Vegas hotel rooms!”

  4. hemidactylus says

    @3- Hatchetfish

    Well in our court of public opinion he will be tried differently than a court of law where there is a ratcheting burden of proof in favor of the accused. But I have already been rethinking this. And it really makes PZ’s comment about consenting adults a problem in terms of probability. I agree with PZ prima facie. But when you separate intent and consequence it falters. In best case Kraft had no intent to exploit women but did so by consequence of his actions. And that gets at the crux of legality and morality of prostitution on the whole. I am naive as to how prostitution works. But from that perspective if we can put numbers on the asymmetric exploitative nature of the act and say it is mostly about human trafficking in practice we fall quite far from the libertarian argument of mutual innocence.

    Still from a more legal than moral standpoint I still wonder if Kraft was aware of the trafficking that was allegedly taking place. That may not exonerate him. Trafficking is the deeper issue that may trump libertarian “freedom”.

  5. Ragutis says

    “is Kraft allegedly soliciting prostitution the same as him being aware of the trafficking component?”

    Um, if you’re getting your “happy ending” for $50, in a strip mall, from someone who doesn’t speak english… you might be a redneck taking advantage of a trafficked human.

    And WTF? Why is a bazillionaire getting handjobs in a strip mall? Miami’s just down the road and full of pros and pornstars. I’m guessing they would offer a better (ahem) quality of service and, most important, do so willingly.

  6. AnotherDayLost says

    After reading the local news source (linked to in the linked-to article), it seems likely by “human trafficking” they mean prostitution. This rebranding presumably has taken place in response to changing public opinions WRT prostitution. It’s been going on in California for a couple of years. (Thanks Kamala) The idea being that humans are being sold. They’ve also redefined “pimp” to mean whatever they say it means, but basically anyone who could conceivably profit, even indirectly, from the work of a prostitute. Unfortunately “human trafficking” already meant something else, and I’m not sure what we are to call that now.

  7. hemidactylus says

    @5- Ragutis

    Same argument could be made about getting mani-pedis in some strip mall. Still potentially exploitative sweatshop situation. And why is Miami less apt to be a place of human trafficking crimes than the northern range of the Palm Beaches?

  8. DonDueed says

    From the news reports I’ve seen, the women in question were brought to the US thinking they were getting legitimate employment, but were then coerced into sex work. The cops claim to have “rescued” (their term) at least ten such women.

    I’m sure more details will be forthcoming. At this time there is no reason to think Kraft (or any of the other clients) were aware of the trafficking, but as mentioned above, may have been inexcusably lax in due diligence.

    As others have said, it’s somewhat baffling that Kraft would have utilized this particular type of “service”, since he could certainly have had better options. A particular kink, maybe?

  9. microraptor says

    I think that in a situation like this, paying for sex makes you automatically complicit in sex trafficking.

  10. Hatchetfish says

    Microraptor: yes. There is sex work, prostitution included, that is not unethical. This has every appearance of not being in that category, and from descriptions, that would have been apparent.

    Noted though that (of course) law enforcement is now using ‘trafficking’ as a disphemism. Much like the expansion of ‘terrorism’ to include filming police from fifty feet. Pigs.

  11. lochaber says

    I imagine we’ll hear follow-ups on what happens to Craft and those accused of trafficking.

    I doubt we will hear about what happens to those who were trafficked. If previous cases are any indication, they’ll be lucky if they are simply deported, but I imagine quite a few of them will be brought up on charges, despite not being in control of the situation.

    This is what really bugs me about how law enforcement typically handles prostitution and trafficking – they talk a big game about protecting children and trafficked adults, but then spend a lot of time/money/resources going after consenting adults, and even when they do bust a legitimate trafficking ring, the victims are often treated as willing criminals and punished.

  12. Ragutis says

    hemidactylus

    22 February 2019 at 9:59 pm

    Same argument could be made about getting mani-pedis in some strip mall. Still potentially exploitative sweatshop situation.

    Quite possibly, yes No argument from me.

    And why is Miami less apt to be a place of human trafficking crimes than the northern range of the Palm Beaches?

    Oh, I’m sure its significantly more so, even if only due to size. I just meant that Miami has a bustling porn industry and I’m guessing many hundreds of self-employed and un-coerced young women willing to give a rich old fart a handy for a hundred or two. Google “Miami” and “escorts” if you want to check. Its your search history, not mine. I will say that, in hindsight, I realize Kraft probably wouldn’t even have to go that far. The greater Palm Beach area isn’t exactly the sticks. I’m sure he could have easily found a willing sex worker without even getting on I-95.

  13. says

    This is what really bugs me about how law enforcement typically handles prostitution and trafficking – they talk a big game about protecting children and trafficked adults, but then spend a lot of time/money/resources going after consenting adults, and even when they do bust a legitimate trafficking ring, the victims are often treated as willing criminals and punished.

    This.
    They don’t give a damn about the women once they were “rescued”. No protection whatsoever.
    In many countries women who were brought there under false promises and then forced into sex work will then be deported, so how likely is she to go looking for help? Not to mention that there’s probably someone back in her home country promising to to retaliate against her or simply the fact that her family is depending on the bit of money she sends.
    None of the law enforcement approaches is actually doing anything that really helps these women.

    +++

    “is Kraft allegedly soliciting prostitution the same as him being aware of the trafficking component?”

    As others have said, how could he not be? At least in Germany you can be prosecuted for buying stolen goods if it was obvious that this was “too good to be true”. Feigning ignorance is not being innocent.

  14. hemidactylus says

    @13- Giliell
    I assume regardless of intent, but by consequence, frequenting such establishments amounts to exploitation. Taking the newsworthy celebrity, illegality of the act, and headline grabbing salaciousness out of the equation, what should be said about patrons of nail salons that engage in human trafficking?

    https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-42729302

    And yes the focus should also be on the victims of trafficking.

  15. says

    hemidactylus

    what should be said about patrons of nail salons that engage in human trafficking?

    Now, I’m not sure if you’re trying to play “gotcha” and if so to what end, but I smell a “false equivalence”.
    while I personally have as much need of nail parlours as I have of brothels, I know that human trafficking is an issue related to the latter, but didn’t know about it being an issue with the former until you posted that link.
    It’s an interesting article, especially since they clearly say that “too good to be true” is not a reliable sign to spot a parlour that engages in unethical behaviour, since prices can be similar between those that work with employees and those that work with victims of trafficking.
    Therefore the patron of the beauty parlour cannot be expected to automatically suspect foul play the patron of a brothel can be.

  16. weylguy says

    I agree that prostitution shouldn’t be a crime, and should be legalized. But there’s a very fine between consensual prostitution and trafficking. Human greed is rampant, and the traffickers will always be there to exploit, coerce and abuse poor women and men who have little other recourse to survive.

  17. lumipuna says

    Seconding Giliell at 13. Plus you can bet there isn’t that much effort to shut down human trafficking in industries other than sex trade.

    In Finland, sex trade as such hasn’t been illegal in recent history, but much of the same effect is traditionally achieved by making procuring or “pimping” broadly illegal. The main purpose of all the related legislation seems to be to keep sex trade effectively underground, hoping it won’t become culturally normalized or super easy for potential clients to access.

    Human trafficking was only criminalized fairly recently, under some international pressure, since it was thought our laws against procuring should cover that. Oops. Turned out there’s also trafficking in construction and restaurant industries.

    AFAIK, actual sex trafficking is fairly uncommon in Finland, and victims can now access some sort of protection program – but you can’t necessarily know beforehand if you’ll be deemed a victim of trafficking or a victim of procuring. In the latter case you might be deported, and in the former case you might be just expected to suddenly find some livelihood other than sex work.

    Recently, buying sex is also illegal if it seems that the worker might be a victim of trafficking or procuring. It’s unclear to me how exactly this works in practice w/r liability and enforcement.

  18. hemidactylus says

    @15- Giliell
    No negativity intended. I’ve been looking at this from different angles and value your input. The nail salon issue may be a good baseline in that getting nails done is a rather innocuous act so the possibility of trafficking adds moral qualms. The massage parlors involve illegal sex acts that are most likely coerced due to circumstances of the victims, so these massage parlors are even worse than the nail salons that exploit immigrant workers. But the massage parlors are targeted by law enforcement because the prostitution which makes me wonder about what is done to limit exploitation in other industries going on what lumipuna says @17. Or unfortunately does that become a matter of rounding up undocumented workers and deporting them, so they are in a no win situation?

    As for the sting in recent news there are other rich men besides Kraft that are under investigation.

  19. Kagehi says

    Thing is.. I don’t trust, at all, the current legal environment, and the laws, which define trafficking. I am all for ending trafficking, but, it has been defined on both state, and federal levels as being all of the following:

    Offering someone a safe place to do sex work.
    Allowing sex workers to use a website to talk to each other.
    Allowing sex work advertisements in your publication/web service.
    Sharing an apartment with someone that works as a sex worker.
    Sharing an apartment with another sex worker.
    Actually hiring a sex worker.
    Renting a room to a sex worker, if you suspect that they are not just someone renting a room, but plan to use it for sex work.
    Presumably, no matter the rules you follow, the laws you follow, the lengths you go to, in order to not exploit the people that work for you, if you tried to run it as a business, unless you are in Nevada – actually being a pimp, or brothel owner period.

    The last one being the key here. Yes, it is possible, maybe even likely, that workers in some/all of these places where being “trafficked”, in the sense of coercion, threat, etc. But, I don’t entirely trust that this is the case. The default assumption is “always” that if such business is being done, its always coercive, see #8 in my list above. This means that even of you gave them contracts, set up rules that allowed them to reject clients, created a list of people to “never” allow back in to the establishment, and took ever other step you possibly could to not traffick someone, you would still be legally doing so, with there being a) no real protection for them, if you, or someone that worked for you, decided to actually threaten of coerce them, because b) neither they, nor you, have any legal standing, and c) no one involved has any legal recourse, of any kind, to either sue for false arrest, loss of wages, or anything else, if someone busts down the door, arrests everyone, then charges the owners/managers with trafficking, and a bunch of misguided police and social workers try, and fail, to find “shelters” and other “help” for the workers. Generally, both of those resources are already full, with people that have real problems, and are underfunded, leaving a sex worker, whether they did work for an otherwise honest employer, or even an independent, with no job, no rent, no place to actual go for help, and no actual help for the “problem” the state is busy having a press release about “saving them from”.

    When ever I see the word “trafficking” crop up now, frankly, I don’t go, “Oh, good, they are making headway into ending a problem.”, I think, “Whose farm did they burn to ash, to get rid of the 1/4 acre of pot they found growing there?” Because this is a burn the crops, salt the ground, and poison the wells, as we march to victory, “solution”. They are not ending the problem, they are hoping the enemy will starve to death, so they don’t have to be bothered with actually finding them. Heck, some of them have all but suggested such, with the use for the insane, “Its legal to sell sex, but not buy it”, Nordic model, and the theory that this will cause the “workers”, who, remember, are also supposed to all be coerced, enslaved, or threatened into working (by people that don’t give a damn whether its illegal to buy it, it just makes the price go up), to “find other work, since they can no longer live on what they make from sex work”. Err. wait, what???

    Its the word of people that think that sort of thing is “sensible” that should be trusted when they do a equivalent of a big drug bust, or start talking about “yellow cake”? And, this is Florida. The state that, about once a year, tries to come up with a new rewording of a dead law, to define porn, and the people that make it criminals (the last one of which actually tried to conflate it with trafficking, that being the “in vogue” solution to these things now).

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