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January 19, 2003


I was going to start my first post for Gene Expression with the more clinical-sounding Prostitution and Genes but I thought that might not get people's attention.

I invite the other contributors and commenters of Gene Expression to consider the issue of sex enslavement in terms of human biodiversity. Jim Henley and Lynxx Pherrett are having a civilized and enlightening disagreement about the issue. Jim, as honorable a non-interventionist as I can think of (Lew Rockwell being the opposite), thinks that foreign "peacekeeping forces" cause, or at least greatly facilitate, the evil practice. But Lynxx points out In general, importation is driven more by ethnic issues than economic ones: it's bad form to enslave locals, no matter what the economic range of the clientele. So Henley's assertion that "Local militias were not importing women from other countries to enslave" before the arrival of NATO is probably bunk. There where probably plenty of Bosnian girls shipped to the brothels of Belgrade before the intervention.

I think that you can probably find a midpoint where the two apparently opposite views intersect. Foreign peacekeepers (read: horny foreign men either too young to have formed families, or separated from families) in effect create the same situation as importing foreign women into a developed country. You have the combustible intersection of young, nubile, vulnerable females without the traditional protections of family* with sexually hungry males. Bad combination for all concerned, especially the girls. A female body in this situation is reduced to a commodity to be trafficked. It's easier for a man to think of a foreign girl this way. In fact, for a man to think of "one of his own" in such a commodified fashion would be unthinkable.

Question: is reducing sex to an impersonal transactional act a means of facilitating gene flow from isolated communities? After all, Lynxx keeps referring to these gender-neutral laws about "Trafficking in Persons" but most of the persons being trafficked are fertile young women, not boys. Clean up your minds: my reference to boys has nothing to do with sex. If we are talking about slavery here, and if the developed world is so insatiable for cheap labor, then why not traffic even more in young men, who are capable of doing all the developed world's dirty work as slaves, rather than just cheap labor? Because what we are talking about here is sex, not just slavery. Treating the problem as simply a slavery issue won't work unless we concentrate on the sex part.

Lynxx's post is very long and exhaustive, separating out countries by origin, transit and destination. It does not separate out the slavery by type--because the human rights organizations and non-governmental organizations that treat the issue do not separate out slavery by type. I would suggest that they do and they would get a firmer grasp on the issue. "Israel is a destination country for trafficked women"; "Japan is a destination country for women trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and for men trafficked for labor purposes"; "Pakistan is a country of origin for young boys who are kidnapped or bought and sent to work as camel jockeys in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar." I suggest that these are quite different problems, with different sources in human biology.

As an aside, most of the white girls so trafficked are from Eastern Europe or the Balkans. This was traditionally the mine-field where slavers stocked the harems of the Ottoman elite. I wonder if some enterprising Ph.D. student could trace a historical continuity between the family-based prostitution rings of today with the slave-trading networks of yore.

*Remember the part of the Godfather where the Corleone family takes care of a "domestic abuse" of a Corleone daughter? They don't read feminist tracts to the abusing husband. They beat the crap out of him. Now that's family. When people talk about family values, they don't realize that family values (which appeal to instincts relating to blood and individual survival) function above and beyond the reach of the law, which appeal to ideas of universal ethics and morality, and which may--indeed must--supersede one family's interests.

Posted by razib at 08:22 AM

someone that's read A NATURAL HISTORY OF RAPE could probably comment on this (anyone?).
here is a link to the book....


Posted by: razib at January 19, 2003 12:20 PM

You guys all toss around the acronym HBD. Can you let a groundling in on what it means?
Thanx, Dick

Posted by: Dick Thompson at January 19, 2003 01:17 PM

Human BioDiversity I guess it's the latter-day (more politically correct, Razib?) term for what used to be called Sociobiology

We are striving towards consilience, after all!!

Posted by: Diana at January 19, 2003 02:31 PM

evolutionary psychology = human universals
behavioral genetics = individual differences
human biodiversity = average differences between groups of individuals

sociobiology = all three together, but politically out of favor [evolutionary psychology is to a large extent a re-branding]

Posted by: razib at January 19, 2003 04:18 PM

consilience achieved.......

Posted by: Diana at January 19, 2003 04:20 PM

Give the girls birth control and handguns.

Posted by: Jacqueline at January 20, 2003 09:53 AM

Actually, Sonny is seen by the rest of the family as acting improperly when he attacks Carlo - his mother tells him not to interfere when he threatens Carlo at the dinner table. Sonny was the hothead of the family - Vito or Micheal might have taken him aside and spoken to him, but ultimatly would not have questioned his right to treat his wife however he chose...

Posted by: jimbo at January 20, 2003 10:33 AM

"Actually, Sonny is seen by the rest of the family as acting improperly when he attacks Carlo - his mother tells him not to interfere when he threatens Carlo at the dinner table. Sonny was the hothead of the family - Vito or Micheal might have taken him aside and spoken to him, but ultimatly would not have questioned his right to treat his wife however he chose..."

Completely disagree with the last part. The family's respect for Carlo was not based on blood but on marriage. If Carlo chronically mistreated Connie, their intitial reluctance to intervene (as shown by Mama Corleone at lunch) would be superceded by their blood- based love of Connie. The one recurring theme of the Godfather trilogy is the primacy of blood relations (which is why Michael was so devastated with Fredo's betrayal). Now, you are right that Sonny was a hothead and acted accordingly. But, if their was no other way to mitigate the situation, Michael and Vito would have taken care of Carlo- albeit in a more organized fashion and after less lethal options were exhausted.

I am not an expert in organized crime, but what makes more sense- for a mafia boss to stand by passively while his sister's getting the 'shit' kicked out of her by her jerk spouse or for a mafia boss to take action if there is no other way?

Go read this site and see what is more compelling an explanation:


BTW, crime library is the best site I have seen for info on the nitty gritty details of all sorts of crime on the net. Anybody know a better site?

Posted by: -R at January 20, 2003 11:07 AM

Razib, links aren't working anymore when you type them in to direct traffic to other sites on your comments section.

Posted by: -R at January 20, 2003 11:09 AM

Thanks to R for refreshing my hazy memory--the point is that Connie would go to male relatives for justice, and eventually they would sort things out with her abusive husband. Outside forces like an impersonal legal system, or appeals to feminism, simply don't pertain.

Posted by: Diana at January 20, 2003 12:04 PM

R, the HTML comments are on, so you're going to have to tags again....

Posted by: razib at January 20, 2003 12:46 PM