Beth Schapiro responds to story debunking her child prostitute study: "We stand fully behind our work"

Categories: Media beefs
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Beth Schapiro
This week's cover story takes a look at research conducted by the Atlanta-based Schapiro Group, which claims to track incidents of juvenile prostitution.

The problem is that the claim is based on a seriously flawed methodology--the numbers presented to news outlets as hard statistics are actually based on guesses. The researchers look at photographs posted to online classifieds sites like Craigslist and Backpage and guess who looks under 18.

Beth Schapiro, president of the Schapiro Group, sent us a letter today defending her study. Here's her letter in its entirety:

For 27 years, The Schapiro Group has been carefully and meticulously conducting strategic research for a variety of government, corporate, and non-profit clients - distinguished organizations that profoundly influence how communities work and thrive.

In a subject area where most research involves educated guesswork, The Schapiro Group has pioneered empirical, replicable research methodologies for studying the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

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Beginning in 2007 with a first-of-its-kind statewide tracking study of CSEC victims in Georgia, The Schapiro Group has a track record of developing innovative, common sense methodologies to better understand this hard-to-measure social phenomenon. In an area with no proven methodology, The Schapiro Group developed a series of logical assumptions upon which to base an admittedly conservative count of the number of young females being prostituted. Findings from The Schapiro Group studies are providing policymakers, law enforcement, and social service agencies with important insights for combating the formidable CSEC problem.

The Schapiro Group's research has documented a major shift toward the Internet and escort services, and away from street solicitation, for procurement of underage girls. So it would come as no surprise that those with a commercial interest in this marketplace might seek to try and undermine the research.

This appears to be the case in the story published by Village Voice Media Holdings, the same company that owns Backpage.com. The Backpage website has an "Escorts" section that contains ads in which females use thinly-veiled language to advertise their sexual services and the rates for those services. Because Backpage charges a fee for and stands to profit from each posting, recent estimates are that Village Voice Media Holdings earns millions of dollars annually from all of these "escort" ads across the nation.

As the article notes at the outset, "Certainly we have a stake in this discussion." The writer made that abundantly clear by beginning our interview openly expressing his "skepticism" toward the research. Any doubts about his objectivity were confirmed by the overwhelmingly negative tone of the article. With an intent to trash, not explain, the research, it's not surprising that the article is replete with "bogus," "fake," "junk," and other words that reveal his true agenda.

We encourage any reporter with questions about whether or not children are prostituted on Internet classifieds websites to check with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The problem of prostituted children on Internet websites is well-documented fact.


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18 comments
Guestkw
Guestkw

Nominate The Schapiro Group study for an IgNobel award.  Get them the publicity they deserve.

Lying is a crime
Lying is a crime

Send a Petition – Sex Trafficking Lies being told to congress, Sex Slavery, Prostitution, Sex Workers, Sex Work, Facts, Truth, Myths, LiesClick on this Link: http://www.gopetition.com/peti...Recently the Village Voice exposed the Schapiro Group, a private consulting firm in Georgia, and the Women’s Funding Network of California, a women’s charity, for knowingly deceiving both congress and the public using false data manufactured through fraudulent research presented alarming reports of a sudden rise in trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls. This false data was used to justify funding which brings more harm than good. Tell the US Department of Justice to do its job and investigate these groups for fraud and possible racketeering in so far as they have received public funding.http://www.villagevoice.com/20...Send a Petition To: U.S. Department of JusticeCriminal DivisionFraud SectionBond Building, 4th Floor10th and Constitution Ave. NWWashington, DC 20530-0001Att: Denis J. McInerneyChief, Fraud Section202-514-7023Recently the Village Voice exposed the Schapiro Group, a private consulting firm in Georgia, and the Women’s Funding Network of California, a women’s charity, for knowingly deceiving both congress and the public using false data manufactured through fraudulent research. These groups presented alarming reports of a sudden rise in trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls. This false data was used to justify funding from private foundations, corporate donors, and potentially the government. No one would deny that the prevention of sexual trafficking of minors is vitally important. The safety of children is a commitment we share. Unfortunately the false information propagated by the Schapiro Group and anti trafficking non profits does more harm than good.Fraudulent research negatively impacts the crucial efforts of legitimate organizations that serve exploited and trafficked minors. When these organizations are not able to report that they have reached numbers of youth comparable to the inflated numbers of victims reported by the Schapiro Group, it jeopardizes their credibility and funding. Bogus data misrepresents not only the quantity of trafficked minors, but also their demographics. Boys and transgender youth are not appropriately included in the study. Additionally, we are concerned that increased funding for law enforcement efforts to combat a vastly inflated threat of the trafficking of minors is channeled instead into police actions directed not at traffickers, but rather against consenting adult sex workers, a vulnerable population that already suffers from social stigma, criminalization and unequal access to protection. We reject the concept that criminalizing members of any population is an effective way to rescue them.Exploitation of children is an important issue that should never be lied about. To do so represents a greedy and cynical funding grab at the expense of frightening the public, deceiving donors, and misdirecting resources. To do so knowing that this effort will undoubtedly result in law enforcement targeting of adult women consensually working in the sex industry would surely not be consistently endorsed by the supporters of a large women’s fund.Therefore, we, the undersigned, call on the United States Dept. of Justice to investigate the Schapiro Group and the Women’s Funding Network for conspiracy to commit fraud against their donors, the public and the US government. To the degree to which they received public monies, and provided false testimony before congress, we call for an investigation for fraud against federal and state governments as well.http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/d...http://sextraffickingtruths.bl...

http://bebopper76.wordpress.co...

Design
Design

I think someone should look into Beth Schapiro's background and find out if she's any relation to Melanie Shapiro who runs the non-profit organization citizens against trafficking.

Yes, I see the different spellings but that can easily be dismissed as a deliberate "accident".

Specifically, I'm wondering if Beth Schapiro might actually be Melanie Beth Schapiro.

This bogus study has destroyed many lives and I hope they are held accountable for deliberately misleading the american public. Their methods were not only flawed, they were unethical to the point of being criminal.

At the very least, they owe craigslist $32 million per year for each year that craigslist has it's erotic services section shut down.

The Schapiro Group fails at any time to mention the actual statistics of trafficking as posted on the Department of Justice website. the actual # is 137 confirmed cases over a period of almost 2 years and this includes: sex trafficking, labor trafficking, minors and adults combined.

The only time anyone needs "estimates" is when they can't make money off the "facts".

Don't take my word for it, Please don't .... http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/conte...

Beth, I'm a sex worker and I will be praying for your soul. May God have mercy on you.

Steve Soriano
Steve Soriano

Just because a study is completely fabricated and presented as the result of intensive work on flawed criteria, selected to acomplish a pre-determined result doesn't mean God doesn't support it.

rt66
rt66

Sigh..here come the expert opinions again. Now show us some hard evidence like where any sting netted large numbers of under aged girls.

Stewey
Stewey

Schapiro knows what she's talking about! Just ask her! Plus she has experience with the subject?!

Harleygrl
Harleygrl

Kinda reminds me of that "statistic" about the number of domestic violence incidences rising "sharply" during football games, namely, the Super Bowl. Remember THAT one?? "Solid gold research", right?

Harleygrl
Harleygrl

Uh, yeah. Right. Sponsored by Abercrombie and Fitch, I betcha.

Baldur
Baldur

The fact that Schapiro appeals to the authority of the National Center for Misusing and Exploiting Children is telling. This is the group that once claimed that 1.5 million children per year went missing in the U.S. and insinuated that these were kidnappings by strangers, whereas the actual rate of such kidnappings has hovered around 150 per year; and which more recently claimed that child pornography is a 20 billion dollar per year industry, when in fact there is no commercial child pornography, and when there was it never exceeded 1 million dollars per year.

Appealing to an authority that repeatedly pulls numbers out of its ass - well, it has worked for many years, but it's certainly not convincing.

Dana O'Brien
Dana O'Brien

Thank you Nick Pinto, may I pleasehave a small word to the public....Please,please , please you holier then thou, do-gooders-quit trying to save us all based on your own covictions. You give felonies out for victimless crimes, You decide who is underage in escort adds, and propose legislation ,censorship, all sorts of crap, because YOU think these women are under 18. Stop it. I want concrete ,credible facts. Not because you think? You obviously don't.

JADE
JADE

If the Village Voice is inaccurate in it's claim that your study is invalid because your figures were based on gueswork and not actual figures, let me ask...Did Your Staff Interview, Meet With, question via telephone any of the Exploited Youth to come up with your figures regarding sexually exploited youth on the internet. I am aware that youth are being exploited via internet; tha is just common knowledge; however are YOUR figures accurate? And based on real knowledge or did you in fact guess the ages? And no I do not work for or have an interest in the Village Voice. I work with children, some who have been involved in sex work, some voluntarily others were forced.

Joedro
Joedro

that bitch looks like a straight up bitch. message approved by joedro.com

Sparky
Sparky

Schapiro has constricted a nice circular argument (from authority no less).

Crap produced by hard work and spending money is still Crap.

Still not worth the pixels/electrons/paper they're printed on.

jh
jh

As someone with extensive training in social science research methodology, I am always disappointed that there isn't some sanctioning body to weed out junk research like this. Assuming the initial portrayal of the research design is accurate (and nothing here would make me think it wasn't). the initial design does not allow any kind of meaningful conclusion.

Shameeka Jones
Shameeka Jones

Beth Shapiro is one of my Hoes..I make a grand per week off her ugly mannish ass!

Big Herb Dickerson
Big Herb Dickerson

this legislation represents a major cultural shift in perceptions about the prostitution of teenagers.

For the record, as president of The Schapiro Group, I am very proud of the firm's contribution to this cultural shift. We stand fully behind our work - work which puts us on the front line of one of the most critical issues of our time.

BUT YOU MADE SHIT UP TO MAKE THE SHIFT HAPPEN AND THEN YOU SIT THERE AND TAKE MONEY FOR MAKING IT UP. HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT THAN A WHORE?

but we have jebus on our side and that make it alright (hello payday!)

Magnoliafan
Magnoliafan

Was this comment written by a Village Voice employee?

Kevin Hoffman
Kevin Hoffman

Not only is "Big Herb Dickerson" not an employee, he is a frequent critic and antagonist of our news blogger Hart, which you can see from this Google search:

http://tinyurl.com/4v8z53n

Kevin HoffmanEditor in ChiefCity Pages

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