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Human sex trafficking is the most common form of modern-day slavery. Estimates place the number of its domestic and international victims in the millions, mostly females and children enslaved in the commercial sex industry for little or no money.
No research team before them had hit on a workable method of quantifying this elusive population. For decades, most law enforcement officials, social workers and activist groups had cited a vast range — anywhere from tens of thousands to three million — when crafting a sound bite pegging the population of underage hookers nationwide. But the range had been calculated with little or no direct input from the children themselves.
Over time, the dubious numbers became gospel. In similar fashion, monetary outlays based on the veracity of those numbers began to multiply.
The $500,000 the federal government had allotted for this joint study by John Jay and New York's public-private Center for Court Innovation was chump change compared to the bounty amassed by a burgeoning assortment of nonprofit groups jockeying to liberate and rehabilitate the captive legions of exploited and abused children.
"I remember going to a meeting in Manhattan where they had a lot of prosecutors whose job was to prosecute pimps," Curtis recalls. "They were sort of complaining about the fact that their offices were very well staffed but their workload was...not very daunting, let's say. They had a couple cases, and at every meeting you go to, they'd pull out the cherry-picked case of this pimp they had busted, and they'd tell the same story at every meeting.
They, too, were bothered by the fact that they couldn't find any pimps, any girls. "So I come along and say, 'I found 300 kids' — they're all perky — but then I say, 'I'm sorry, but only 10 percent had pimps.'
"It was like a fart in church. Because basically I was saying their office was a waste of time and money."
"Whether you are a kid or an adult, the issue becomes: To what extent is this voluntary?" Albanese says. "Because you make more money in this than being a secretary? Or because you really have no choices — like, you're running from abuse or caught up in drugs? The question becomes: If Curtis is correct, what do we do with that 90 percent? Do we ignore it? How hard do we look at how they got into that circumstance? You could make the case that for the 90 percent for whom they couldn't find any pimping going on — well, how does it happen?
"It's a very valid question," he continues. "A policy question: To what extent should the public and the public's money be devoted to these issues, whether it's child prostitution or child pimping?"
"42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot." -- Steven Wright
"Statistics means never having to say you're certain."
“A statistician can have his head in an oven and his feet in ice, and he will say that on the average he feels fine.”
"Statistics are no substitute for judgment." -- Henry Clay
"Statistics: the mathematical theory of ignorance." -- Morris Kline
"You can not feed the hungry on statistics." -- Heinrich Heine
"In earlier times, they had no statistics, and so they had to fall back on lies". -- Stephen Leacock
The survey of 72,561 teens found that American Indian youth had the highest level of drug or alcohol use, with 48 percent reporting they had used the substances in the past year. That was followed by 39 percent of whites, 37 percent of Hispanics, 36 percent mixed-race teens, 32 percent of blacks and 24 percent of Asians, according to the research published today in Archives of General Psychiatry.