"Sex Slaves of West 43rd Street" -- it seems that Slate editor Jack Shafer has a bone to pick with the NYTimes magazine and Peter Landesman, who wrote the stunning article on international sex slavery I posted on yesterday. Shafer finds the article thinly sourced, and filled with "elastic," unprovable statistics about just how many individuals might be involved in the trade: "Nobody really knows the true answer, but we do know whose interests are served by any inflation of the numbers." Um, I think the interests of the children held in captivity -- whether there are 10 or 10,000 or 100,000 of them -- are served by investigative journalism, right? I admit the Times article was oddly lacking in hard data, but I think that's partly the nature of this unseen crime. Frankly, I'd rather have a sensationalist ring the alarm bell, and then be backed up by future investigations -- better to call people's attention to it at all, than to wait for hard evidence that may not be available.

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