Less-Than-Super Sex: Don’t Come to Dallas Expecting 100,000 Prostitutes

There’s plenty of exaggeration surrounding this Sunday’s Super Bowl in Dallas, but a couple of recent stories struck me as total balderdash, so I’m happy to see that some people in the Lone Star State are trying to set the record straight. The charge: up to 100,000 prostitutes are flocking to Dallas for the game, nearly half of whom will be underage.

The Dallas Morning News kicked off the panic back in November with Police Sgt. Louis Felini emerging from an anti-hooker conference with the disturbing prediction of a huge influx of prostitutes for the game, which was then amplified and repeated by scores of breathless reports. The New York Daily News, for example, wants us to be aware of the teen sex rings descending on the city. USA Today is currently going with the even scarier Child Sex Rings Spike During Super Bowl Week, citing Texas AG Greg Abbot in writing that “Incidents of underage prostitution have spiked during previous Super Bowls, leading to some arrests.” You hear that? “Some arrests.” That’s more than none!

The Dallas Observer, however, is not convinced that a traveling horde of whores is about to turn their lovely city into a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. In an amusing article entitled The Super Bowl Prostitute Myth: 100,000 Hookers Won’t Be Showing Up in Dallas, writer Pete Kotz calls bullshit on the hysteria, going through the hassle of actually reporting by calling the police precincts of recent Super Bowl host cities and asking them about prostitution arrests.

Here’s the word from the cops in Phoenix, where the game was hosted in 2008: “They didn’t notice any sort of glitch in the number of prostitution arrests leading up to the Super Bowl.” Okay, but certainly Tampa, which had the game in 2009, was drowned in extra hookery for the week? “We didn’t see a huge influx in prostitutes coming into Tampa,” said a police spokeswoman. “The arrests were not a lot higher. They were almost the same.” What about the World Cup then? Surely that kind of “football” attracts skanks and skeevy guys? The data’s not yet in for South Africa, but Germany, which hosted in 2006, reported five (5) arrests for illegal prostitution, after breathless reports of 40,000 extra professional sex-havers rolling into town.

Of course prostitution is real, and underage prostitution is morally reprehensible. Journalistically reprehensible: creating a “spike” in prostitution out of what is at most a “blip” and painting a story of fear and outrage just so you can use titillating, link-baiting words like “Teen Sex” in a headline. Nice myth-busting, Dallas Observer.

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