Trafficking of women and children (sexual slavery)

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Trafficking of women and children is a term that has been applied indiscriminately to several very distinct topics:

  • emigration by women in general seeking an improved economic situation for themselves and their families;
  • women under the age of 18 (but "adult" in the sense that they are past puberty and are living independently) emigrating for the same purposes as the women above;
  • "children" (that is, people under the age of 18, but past puberty, and living independently) engaging in voluntary sexual activity with adults, either for simple enjoyment or for economic benefits that the activity provides;
  • children (in the traditional sense of the word -- that is, young people who have not yet reached puberty) engaging in voluntary sexual activity with adults, either for simple enjoyment or for economic benefits that the activity provides;
  • "children" (people under the age of 18) being forced into sexual activity with adults, and;
  • slavery - the kidnapping of people, keeping them in bondage, and forcing them to do horrible things which they would not wish to do voluntarily.

All of the above are "hot buttons" guaranteed to excite the public, and ensure that government funding, as well as private donations, continue to stream into the coffers of certain NGOs, providing comfortable employment opportunities for unscrupulous (or misinformed) people.

By "confounding" (combining together) all of the above topics (which should each be dealt with separately), publicity campaigns have been mounted to create panic among the public.

If anyone, separating the categories, tries to discuss the possible benefits and harms to the people in any particular category, those people speaking out are then viciously attacked for "being in favor of the rape of children", etc. Therefore, the topics (which should not be grouped together in the first place) are never intelligently addressed.

But, still, a lot of people are making a lot of money by creating the panic that they have.

An opinion piece in the Christian Science Monitor (a periodical not expected to take a stance other than an antisexual or a sexophobic one, says:

How not to talk about human trafficking

Human trafficking has become the cause célèbre for sensationalist and established media alike. Videos about trafficking regularly go viral, and high-profile human trafficking cases have seized the public’s attention. As someone who works in the anti-trafficking field, you might think I would be thrilled about all this public attention. I’m not. That’s because a great deal of the existing human trafficking content is both inaccurate and irresponsible.

Last month provided a sharp example of the problem: Catapulted to fame in part by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and his PBS documentary “Half the Sky,” Cambodian activist Somaly Mam quickly became the face of the campaign against sex trafficking. Last month, her face appeared on the cover of Newsweek – for an article that exposed inconsistencies with her personal back-story and problems with the tactics of her organization, The Somaly Mam Foundation, including coaching young women to fabricate stories of extreme abuse and torture. The piece aired concerns that experts in the field have long maintained, but which have been largely ignored by institutions that have lauded Ms. Mam as a “hero” of anti-trafficking.

The sensationalizing or falsification (either deliberately or negligently) of sex trafficking information is often excused because it is “raising awareness.” The assumption is that more awareness will lead to more anti-trafficking efforts. While this may be true, such efforts are not always helpful. When misinformed people do make an effort to end human trafficking, they will often support policies and organizations that are ultimately counter-productive to the fight against human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a complicated problem that can be difficult to discuss appropriately and sensitively. But the discourse of human trafficking has real impacts on anti-trafficking efforts and on trafficking victims and survivors. What follows is a simple guide to avoiding some of the most common misunderstandings and misrepresentations.

You may read much more on the subject of "human trafficking" at the source of the article:

See also

Human trafficking
DEAD END: The International Megan's Law's Assault on Everyone's Freedom of Travel
Child pornography

External links

  • A partly factual, partly highly biased, article can be found on Wikipedia:
  • The Mann Act is a US statute enacted in 1910 prohibiting "prostitution, immorality, and human trafficking":
  • Source for the above quotation, from (more discussion there, and many links) How not to talk about human trafficking
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