U.S. Department of Justice
Bond Building, 4th Floor
10th and Constitution Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Att: Denis J. McInerney
Chief, Fraud Section
May 3, 2011
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. 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.