Sunday, April 17, 2011

Freedom Isn't So Bright

These are two exerts from a research essay I wrote last quarter about Sex trafficking, the glamorization of the trade, and how education is the first step to shutting down the industry.

 Imagine you are standing on a metropolitan street corner and you spot a young girl standing across the way.  Dressed provocatively, with hair messy and swollen eyes and cheeks, a car pulls up and the young girl gets in.  As you witness this act, you begin to notice the streets are littered with women and girls with similar physical descriptions.  You see parades of beaten women march in and out of rundown apartment complexes stumbling from forced alcohol drained down their throats.  Slimy men slither out of their cars shelling out pounds of money to the pimp with the youngest, and best looking girl.  Women trapped, on the verge of death, forced to be used violently as objects.  You see twenty year old women with fourth grade reading levels, twelve-year-old's on their third pregnancy and trying to survive another brutal abortion.  Forced drug addiction, constant beating, constant fear, nightly bleeding and daily pleading for a sovereign rescue.  This is not a dark future, this is the dark present.  And to the general populations surprise, this darkness not only floods foreign countries, but drowns America as well.
    The horrors of modern human slavery and sex trafficking in the United States are not in our imagination, but upon us and have been for years.  The problems of sex trafficking are taboo to discuss among our culture and we glamorize the issue rather than look at its true dark colors.  Strays, runaways, and desperate young women are prime targets.  It takes a lot of work and detail to prevent pimps from recruiting women and children into human slavery, but the first step to putting a stop to this dark present is education.  Schools, families, parents, girls, boys, men, and women, need to step out of their comfort zones, drop the denial, and open their eyes to the reality of this dark truth.


The United States is shaped by a culture that glamorizes pimping and prostitution.  This cultures tolerance of sex trafficking and prostitution is embodied in multiple venues of daily life.  Clothes, television, movies, music, video games, and all other forms of entertainment.  High schoolers, and college students are dressing up as pimps for Halloween.  There are decorations made to create a “pimp and ho” party.  Popular television programs support and produce shows such as “Pimp My Ride”, about designing automobiles with cool, new features.  Free online games are provided where you can play a pimp and “slap your hoes, pimp the street, kill the competition, and ally with friends.”  Songs like “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” get honored and receive Academy Awards. (Kotrla)  Because of this, researchers suggest that in the United States the number of children and youths entering the commercial sex trade business is growing tremendously.  Shared Hope International states this is happening “to service the demand resulting from the normalization and promotion of commercial sex across America.”  Resulting in what has become what Shared Hope International calls “a shopping mall where buyers can choose from a variety of human products of various ages and colors.” (QTD, Kotrla)  In our culture we see the life of a pimp as entertaining, glamorous, rewarding, hip, stylish, and cool.  No one takes the time to look behind the man and see hundreds of thousands of broken, drug addicted, beaten, scarred, dead, demoralized, women and children.  I guarantee none of these victims destroyed by these ‘stylish’ men would call them anything but monstrous.  As the general public chooses to close their eyes on human slavery, their ignorance keeps them from realizing that they are part of the problem.
    “We know what works. We can begin to defeat sex trafficking if we severely punish its national and multi-national profiteers, arrest its customers, offer a way out to its prisoners, and create self-respecting economic alternatives for children and women who are at risk. The question is: Will we?” (QTD, wakeuppeople)  The path to stopping modern human slavery is a long, dangerous, unappetizing road, but the first step we take on that road could save thousands of victims.  In the beginning, just being educated about the problems and issues inside the sex trade makes a significant difference to the cause of help.

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