Child prostitution. Obviously a problem online, but who can we trust with the statistics to back it up? Interestingly enough, we definitely cannot trust the data produced from the Women’s Funding Network. On September 15th, claims made by chief program officer, Deborah Richardson forced Craigslist to shut down its adult section on their site. The Women’s Funding Network told legislators that juvenile prostitution has intensified at an alarming rate; the number of underage girls trafficked online has risen in Michigan 39.2%, 20.7% in New York, and 64.7% in Minnesota. This data was then reproduced, without question, in the USA Today, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Detroit Free Press. But no one bothered to find out where these precise numbers came from? Skkkeettttchhhyy.
The Women’s Funding Network study was conducted with Shapiro Group, an Atlanta-based consulting operation. The research analysts came up with some bogus method of counting the number of juvenile prostitutes, in which they later claimed that they couldn’t really remember the key information about how the research was conducted. Later on revealing that their results were not an actual representation of the incidents of child prostitution, although these same results were seen all over national press releases and local member organizations. It’s obvious that this study and its results were produced in service of its advocacy, however its data should be taken with a grain of salt.
Read more about junk science here.
[Picture from Daily Global]
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