98% of trafficking victims in the United States do not work in the sex industry. The most common industry that trafficking victims are found in is the domestic service industry. Many of them work for wealthy foreign nationals under a particular provision of US immigration law that provides them with very restrictive entry visas and little to no workplace protections. Others work in exploitive circumstances for American citizens who take their passports, underpay them and use the fear of deportation to keep them cowed. The largest growing group of trafficked persons in the US is men being trafficked from South and Central America to work on post-Katrina reconstruction of the Gulf Coast. This is the face of trafficking victims in the US.The titillating image of a schoolgirl, especially I think disturbs me. In a Human Rights in Anthropology class I took last semester, someone did their final presentation on forced prostitution and trafficking of sex slaves. And the power point he put together was filled with images of scantily-clad, young Asian women, some with black eyes or other cuts and bruises, posing sexily for the camera.
Why does it not get press coverage? Because the NYTime wouldn’t be able to publish a titilating cover of a girl in a schoolgirl uniform to accompany their stories on exploited nannies. Because looking at the men being trafficked in New Orleans would shine light onto exactly what a “guest worker” program means and big business doesn’t want that. Because mainstream feminism would have to do some genuine soul-searching about how some women’s liberation has come at the expense of other women. Because we might have to look at global capitalism and that make everybody uncomfortable.
And it really creeped me out thinking about this guy googling all night long looking for the most disturbing, most twisted images to put to his descriptions of the ultimate victims. These women, who will never know he used their faces in this way, without asking, are not humans to him. They are concepts. He was using them as concepts, the Ultimate Helpless Victims, look at them in their tawdry clothes and cheap makeup, look at how they are beaten up for money!
It was, needless to say, quite gross.
Likewise when the mainstream media tries to talk about trafficking of humans, or when feminists talk like they did in that thread, or for a more extreme example, here.
It doesn't help. It makes it worse.
And, on a related note, I've always wondered if say, appearing in a porn movie contributes directly to more suffering than, say, shopping at Wal-Mart. (Or Starbuck's, for that matter, you corporate sheep!) i mean, I shop at Wal-Mart, mostly because I have to. How many people have I directly injured by doing so? Maybe I'm making assumptions based purely on liberal guilt, but I think the tally would be much much higher.