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sex slaves, who knew? (part 3)

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“The history of childhood has been a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken.  The further back in history one goes-and the further away from the West one gets-the more massive the neglect and cruelty one finds and the more likely children are to have been killed, rejected, beaten, terrorized and sexually abused by their caretakers.”
~Lloyd deMause, 1988

Children: The Modern Commodity

Ok, just so we are on the same page here:  we are continuing on with this series of posts about Human Trafficking, and more specifically, with the issue of sex slavery.  This is the third post in a series of posts entitled, “Sex Slaves, Who Knew?”

(You can read part one, here, and part two, here.)

I have been talking about this issue of slavery for quite some time now among those I do life with.  It has been pretty much a running conversation ever since I became aware of the problem a few years back.

And I have to be honest, when I first started researching and learning about human trafficking and sex-trafficking, and then subsequently sex slaves, and children sex-slaves (three words I just could not have fathomed putting together in that order in a sentence– EVER– had it not been told to me), I got a little sick to my stomach . . . OK, “A LOT” bit sick to my stomach.

To the point of literally gagging in a public university library looking around to make sure nobody heard/ saw my disgust (much less the story I was reading on the screen in front of me).  Can you believe?  I was actually embarrassed/ ashamed of what I was reading and seeing?  Nothing I did, mind you, caused these events to take place.  But, somehow, I felt vaguely responsible and icky for reading this kind of “garbage.”

However, this “garbage,” was . . . TRUE.  REAL, LIFE GARBAGE coming off the pages, repeatedly smacking me in the face, shouting at me : “WAKE UP SLEEPER!!!  THIS is the world you live in . . . this IS the World . . . AND don’t even think for one second that you can close your eyes EVER again!”

And I didn’t . . .  Couldn’t.

I was reading about MODERN-DAY slaves in what can only be described as a modern day NIGHTMARE!  I was reading about men and women, mostly women though, who had been bought and sold numerous times as if they were meat.

But what really got to me the most, was that not only were men and women sold . . . but, mostly it was c h i l d r e n that were being sold.  As that information sunk in and all of the pictures of children on the side of the proverbial milk cartons of my life flashed through my mind, and it became suddenly clear WHERE they had all gone.  Many of them had been bought and sold . . . for sex.

Children- the MOST defenseless, vulnerable inhabitants of our society.  They are taken advantage of in the wost ways possible.  Sadly, we are part of a world . . . and a society, no less, that takes a little girl and transforms her from this:

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And then, turns her into:

Tell Gawker to Stop Facilitating Child Sex Trafficking

… that

And for what? Why? Why prostitute a little girl??

Well, let’s see from a trafficker’s point of view, and to play devil’s advocate here for a second … there are several “benefits” to trafficking children, and namely little girls, so I will go into a few here.

For starters, trafficking children is a low-risk, high-profit trade. 

Children are easier to deceive, psychologically torment, and lie to.  They have no idea what their rights are as a person.  Some are so well groomed, psychologically, that they actually believe their trafficker/ pimp is the only one who loves or cares for them.

Furthermore, They’re easier to move and hide from authorities.  It’s easier to claim a child as one’s own or as a relative when traveling, and that’s what they do, they travel  . . . a lot.  They have to if they want to meet the wishes of their cliental who are always eager for FRESH FACES.  

Which brings us to our next reason, and that is that they are in high DEMAND, because in more developed nations they are considered to be less of a risk for contracting disease for one thing, and they are also more likely to do certain acts of service, which their older, more experienced “free” counterparts may refuse to do, not to mention the large number of pedophiles that seek out opportunities with children.

The last reason I give you, comes back to the golden coin . . . it is much cheaper to purchase, maintain, and transport a child, so they will, always be in high demand in this trade.

Which brings me to my next question . . .

Exactly, Who is targeted as victims of trafficking?

Traffickers look for very specific things, such as girls from rural areas and abroad, this works out well because they are often uneducated.  They also target those suffering from poverty, homeless children, and the traditional kidnapping is also a common method for obtaining new “product.”

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What’s less known is that many victims are being “primed,” and “groomed” way before being thrown out in the sex slave rings.

This process is very psychologically involved.  Often, for the older girls, the trafficker or pimp will build relationships with these girls by bringing them presents and eventually becoming their so-called boyfriend.  Then the traffickers focus on isolation and create within the victim dependency on them.

Many girls and children are being encountered online as well.  They form relationships here and when they go to meet their prince charming- they are kidnapped and thrown into the trade just like an animal led to slaughter.

In fact, in this industry, it is well known that the internet has revolutionized child pornography, Monique Ferraro makes an excellent point in her book, that “if the coming of the internet has not exactly legalized child pornography of the most worrisome kind, then, it has made such material extraordinarily accessible, and almost risk-free to those viewing it.

https://i1.wp.com/www.cnn.com/video/crime/2010/08/03/craigslist.sex.trade.cnn.640x360.jpgOnce enslaved they are expected to service 20-40 men daily …they now “owe” their traffickers the money spent on their purchase and they are told that they must work to pay off their debt.
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Escape Anyone?

Why don’t they just escape?  Or runaway? It’s easy to think, “If I was in that situation, I would refuse to do anything they told me, or I would tell my customers that I was there against my will, and ask them to call the police or the embassy… Or I would fight my way out, even if they killed me…or any other number of thoughts may be running through your mind right now…

https://i0.wp.com/www.thenextgreatgeneration.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/traffick.jpgBut, the sad truth is that after you refused the first time, you would likely be gang raped, beaten near to death and possibly mutilated . . . you wouldn’t tell your customers anything, other than how happy you are to serve them, and that you hope they come again to see you tomorrow…

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. . . because if you didn’t- your family’s lives would be threatened, and judging from the way you have been treated, you have no doubt that they would do exactly what they said they would do to them.

You wouldn’t dare run away, because last week a girl tried it, they caught her, they tortured her first, and then they killed her right in front of you to make an example out of her.

So you see, they really are . . . trapped.

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Furthermore . . . Most of the time these women and children are brought to remote places they have never seen before and often, they do not know the language.  And because they are moved frequently, it ensures the highest level of disorientation and allows for the pimps to keep up with the demand for new girls in each port or city.

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So, all hope may seem lost for them.  But Actually, and incredibly, girls do make it out alive and get up enough strength and courage to go to the police they have been warned about by their traffickers, who told them they would be arrested or worse, sent back- they get help through agencies like the United Nations (UN), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), International Labour Organization (ILO), and many others.

Aside from governmental agencies, there are many Non Governmental Organizations seeking to end this atrocity to mankind and there are many ways to get involved with them via their websites.

If you would like to learn more about them, I will list some of them below for your convenience.  And here is a quick video from one of the organizations (The Girl Effect) trying to help girls by prevention.

Lastly, the most important thing to realize in all of this, is that this is happening EVERYWHERE, even in your own backyard.  Go ahead do a quick search of your city (or the largest one near you) with the key word: trafficking alongside it, and see what turns up.

It’s just too close to home for me, which is why I have decided to do this research and why I have vouched to talk about this issue with as many people as I can, because I want people to realize:

If you don’t see them, the victims, that is, it’s only because you’re not looking.

Thanks for taking the time to read through this and to share this post with others.  Because it is only through the help of many that we can see this atrocity end.

**Please click on the icons below, to learn more about these incredible organizations!

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Related:

Sex Slaves, Who Knew? (part 1)

Sex Slaves, Who Knew? (part 2)

sex slaves, who knew?

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A few years ago, I was preparing for my senior year in college and needed a topic for my senior thesis.  One of my ideas was, “The Effects of Missionaries in Mayan culture” overtime.

However, I wasn’t quite that passionate about that topic.  I knew I would need something to really grab my attention and hold it, if I were going to write a 30+ page paper.

Nowhere in a million years did I imagine my thesis would end up being about SEX TRAFFICKING of CHILDREN.  In fact, I had barely even heard about the issue very much at that point.  But it in the end, that’s what it was that I was passionate about.

What follows is a little of what I learned . . .

But, before we get to the meat of it, we have to dig a little into our history.

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. . . Slavery . . .

Slavery.  The word just evokes horrid connotations . . . doesn’t it?

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Remember that humiliating, dehumanizing trade – of human beings . . . no less . . . more specifically of African Americans . . . but . . . they weren’t African Americans back then . . . now, were they?

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No, they were only Africans . . . Negroes . .  cattle . . . at least that’s how they were treated.

 

Just to jog your memory . . . The Atlantic Slave trade is recorded as taking place from 1650-1860- Although it was banned in the US as early as 1807 making it illegal the following year. Essentially, it took over 30 years to be banned everywhere …and even beyond that well into the 19th century ending “officially” in 1860…

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For wherever there was a market or demand for slaves in the Americas the trade would continue. 

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But thankfully, the world worked together to abolish slavery and we have been “clean and sober” of our slave addiction for close to 200 years now.  What a relief!!  Well, that’s all…the news ends there…. nothing more to report… “no news is good news,” right?…

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. . . OR is it . . .

If that were the end of the story, you could just stop reading here and now, and go about your life.

Unfortunately, it’s nowhere close to being over…

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 It’s Still Happening . . . in fact, it never ended . .

 

It just got worse…it became more discreet…but you know, nothing is new about the slave trade …really…except the name and number of victims… Today, it’s called Human trafficking ….- what a much nicer way of putting it.  It doesn’t sound nearly as offensive as “slave trade”- such a heavy statement …one we’re not prepared to admit that we’re involved in either directly or indirectly- but by turning a blind eye to it- that’s just what we are…

… INVOLVED.

 

If this makes you a little uncomfortable, try to imagine how the 27 million slaves around the world feel right now – this very minute – experiencing more than a little discomfort, more like … torture on an hourly basis.  

Oh, and Here’s A little trivia for you: 

Did you know:

During the 1980s, there were 3 TIMES the amount of victims trafficked for the purpose of prostitution in South-East Asia alone than in the ENTIRE history of the Atlantic Slave trade, which took place over a 400 year period?

To give you some perspective, the Atlantic slave trade claimed roughly 11.5 million victims, while sex-trafficking in South East Asia during the 80s claimed 33 million victims” In one decade, in one geographical region.

 That’s A LOT!

But, What is Trafficking Anyway?

http://cjaye57.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/report-u-s-officials-unaware-of-child-sex-trafficking-problem/

Well, “trafficking” is the umbrella term used for all types of Human slavery which include, but are not limited to: Manual labor, forced organ donation, and Forced sex or prostitution of another person.

It is also defined as Being tricked into leaving home or recruited by false promises of work, security, opportunity, or education. It means being moved to another city, country, continent- or, it can be domestic- which means keeping you in your own country, town, or home. 

It’s an all encompassing term and also a non-encompassing term at the same time- In other words, while it includes an infinite number of possible situations- it doesn’t cover everything and legislation in each city, state, and country differ in their policies and even definitions regarding trafficking- which makes it very difficult to prosecute or enforce.

*Please read, “sex slaves, who knew? (part 2)” to find out where trafficking occurs.

Legalizing Prostitution … is it worth it?

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Ok, here we go off the beaten path for a bit… But… How to bring this topic up?? …Hmmm… Ok, let’s just get out with it…

After having this conversation quite a bit, I thought it would be a good idea to publish my own thoughts on the topic of legalizing prostitution.  This is a topic birthed from another topic near and dear to my heart, which is Sex-Trafficking.

So without further ado, here is an excerpt from my thesis, entitled: Children: The Modern Commodity, A Treatise on Sex-Trafficking. 

Appendix I: Considerations in the Effectiveness of Legalizing Prostitution

 

The vote is still out on regulating or legalizing prostitution.  This is still a highly controversial issue with strong opinions held on both sides.  On one hand, it is argued that legalizing prostitution exposes what is done in private and forces change, in that taxes must be paid, licensure for brothel owners must be obtained, health inspections must be allowed, and other governmental controls can be enforced to ensure the safety of “sex-workers.”  This, of course, would imply that these workers are indeed “voluntary” and not forced or coerced.  The idea is that regulating prostitution will make honest work out of it. 

Furthermore, advocates argue that by criminalizing prostitution, women working freely in the sex industry would be stripped of their means to provide for themselves and their families.  This makes one wonder: should as much sympathy be doled out to the local drug dealer, as well?  Nevertheless, the Netherlands have adopted this stance toward prostitution.  Under their governmental regulations for prostitution, brothels are legal if the owners provide the same benefits to their employees as other business owners, and if they have proper licensing to prove they are following the mandates set up by the Sex Purchase Act. 

The goal is to minimize trafficking by regulating the types of brothels and by declaring which workers are allowed to conduct business within them, i.e., no illegal foreigners are granted permission to work either as a prostitute or in any other capacity.  On the other hand, advocates for the abolition of prostitution argue that the only way to eradicate sex trafficking and to prevent it in the future is to dismantle its market entirely, which in turn, would protect those most vulnerable to it.

Regardless of the method utilized in the greater goal of eliminating trafficking, efficiency is what is sought after.  Brothel owners, traffickers, and the “Johns” that support them are all criminals, and prior to the 1999 decision, which legalized their business, they were already involved in it illegally with relative impunity. This is obviously the one thing that simply slipped past the radar of those legislators fighting for governmental regulation of prostitution in the Netherlands. 

Incredible, as it may seem, this fact alone was a major contributing factor in the decision to legalize the brothel-run business: because the Netherlands were not enforcing the original law outlawing brothels, they moved to legitimize them, in an effort to better control them (MFA, 2004).  If this type of “efficiency” seems a bit counterintuitive or even a little ironic, it’s because it is.

In other words, the likelihood of organized crime members smiling and handing over the profit they worked so hard to steal just to pay taxes- seems quite farfetched to say the least.  What is more probable is that those running these types of “businesses” made the move to be more discreet in their business dealings and continued running their show underground or illegally. 

While it is true that some brothel owners, or others seeking a business investment, may have taken advantage of this new system and converted to it wholeheartedly, the obvious situation is this- once owning a brothel was decriminalized, those choosing to remain in anonymity could do so more easily and gain an even higher profit than their tax-paying counterparts, by continuing to offer the best rates in town.  In fact, not only have many sectors of the brothel-run sex industry in the Netherlands failed to do any such “required” reporting, traffickers in the sex trade now view the Netherlands as a safe house where they can easily attain a somewhat cloaked status. 

In essence, what power is there to stop this?  By creating a law to legalize a previous crime based on the fact that there was no enforcement of that previous law, only seeks to suggest that a further problem lie ahead in the enforcement of the new law requiring taxes.  Now, to save face, the Netherlands will lead the world in believing that it was not an enforcement issue, but rather an air of nonchalance surrounding the issue that guided their decision. 

However, in light of the sheer numbers involved and the enforcement issues faced around the globe, this appears as no more than a scapegoat law.  Thus, if there were too many illegal brothels running to be able to properly incriminate them in the past, it would seem only logical that by legalizing them, in an attempt to regulate such a trade, would make it all the more difficult to enforce.  Again, unless properly enforced, a simple law does nothing to stop the average criminal from choosing to play by different rules.

Interestingly, the Netherlands and Sweden made opposite decisions about how to approach this criminal activity at virtually the same time in 1999.  So, with more than ten years into the plan, onlookers are curious to know the effects of each decision.  So much so- that according to the Women’s Justice Center in Sacramento, CA in 2003 the University of London did a comprehensive analysis on the outcomes of prostitution policies in other countries, such as Sweden, the Netherlands, and others after being solicited to do so by the Scottish government, then seeking to update their own laws.  What they found was that,

“legalization and/or regulation of prostitution led to: a dramatic increase in all facets of the sex industry, a dramatic increase in the involvement of organized crime in the sex industry, a dramatic increase in child prostitution, an explosion in the number of foreign women and girls trafficked into the region, and indications of an increase in violence against women” (de Santis, 2004).

As the first to implement this type of legislation, in Sweden, there is a “Zero-Tolerance” stance on prostitution: the buyers are prosecuted while the sellers are not.  So, ten years later is there still prostitution in Sweden? The answer is yes, however, there has been a substantial decrease in the numbers of prostitutes found; on the street, that is.  With that being said, there is a group of people that claim that this legislation has actually made it less safe for sex-workers, in that, it is all done underground now, where the hope of rescue is slim to none (Ritter, 2008).  Ritter also quotes a local escort who reasons that:

“if a sex worker seeks to establish contact with a client on the street, and police are waiting around the corner, she’s going to jump into the car without making a security assessment,”

which can result in more violence and abuse for these “hidden” workers. Supposing this to be true, the underground, un-regulated, illegal sex trade of human beings is happening everywhere with Sweden being no exception.  Thus, to be so obtuse as to suggest that as a result of Sweden passing this legislation, an underground prostitution network has evolved, rather than acknowledging its prior existence, one must really reach far. 

In actuality, the underground network in question, has been and continues to be omnipresent or everywhere, including in those countries in which prostitution has been legalized, and perhaps even more so now, due to all of the newly formed “legal” business aggregating there.  It must be a comforting realization for traffickers to see that there are not enough people or agencies, to govern, properly monitor, and enforce these laws and regulations for even the known or registered working population in this field, let alone any others slipping in unnoticed. 

So, while the number of prostitutes in the underground network is unknown in Sweden, likewise in the rest of the world, it is still a huge risk for the traffickers and pimps to set up shop in a country so openly averse to this type of business.  To expound on this assertion,

“when the buyers risk punishment, the number of men who buy prostituted persons decreases, and the local prostitution market becomes less lucrative.  Traffickers will then choose other more profitable destinations” (Ekberg, 2004). 

As more time passes, this seems to be the case.   For instance, it is becoming more apparent in countries like the Netherlands that a lack of restriction in this area breeds more rebellion; and many have spoken out about their disapproval of the increasingly larger number of individuals who have been quite-obviously trafficked into their country.  In response to this, some sources indicate that even,

the Netherlands appear to be taking a step in the direction of how Sweden has been approaching the problem for the past ten years.” (de Jong, 2009). 

Still, the question remains-: what makes more sense for a trafficker? The decision may seem a bit taxing for even the most astute trafficker: whether to set up shop in a country that openly declares the illegality of his actions or in a country that embraces his lifestyle to some degree.  Add to this a multitude of like-minded individuals, and the choice becomes much easier to make.  Kajsa Wahlberg, a member of the human trafficking unit of Sweden’s National Police board, says,

“police know from eavesdropping on human trafficking rings that Sweden is considered bad business because of its tough stance” (Ritter 2008). 

Not only are underground networks the only ones viable in Sweden, but they are also prey to the laws and legislation prosecuting even the “Johns” or customers, which also makes the choice for the Netherlands, and other countries like it, a little more appealing for traffickers.  Once again, as a reminder, it does not take too much brainpower to become a trafficker, but ignoring this fact requires even less.  Traffickers are

“calculating profits, costs and marketing [along with] the risk of getting caught,” Wahlberg said. 

Essentially, they are trying to create a bad market for these activities, and their success is being noticed around the globe (Ritter, 2008).

In conclusion, while trafficking and forced prostitution occur everywhere, those countries choosing to take a stand against the outward manifestations of it within their own borders by fighting for abolition, are making greater strides in seeing the eradication of trafficking than those choosing an alternative path.  As to those fighting for the “right” to prostitute themselves, it should be noted that the devastating results of such an industry where there is more demand for services than those willing to perform said services freely, will always require trafficking to ensure a balanced number of workers available.  

The case at hand, then, is whether to allow the rights of some to hinder the freedom of all.  There comes a time when the government has the power to make a decision for the betterment of all, if compromising a few, to do the right thing.  In the case of legalizing prostitution, where the rights of some directly interfere with the freedom of others to the point of the exaction of that freedom, the means to gain economically will never justify the end result of slavery.

So, there ya have it folks, my take on the legalization of prostitution… Now, what is YOUR take on it? I would love to know!

 

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