Trafficking

Americans like to think we don’t have these problems – but we do. Prostitution isn’t always a “victimless crime”:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — About 1,000 American-born children are forced into the sex trade in Ohio every year and about 800 immigrants are sexually exploited and pushed into sweatshop-type jobs, a new report on human trafficking in the state said Wednesday.

Ohio’s weak laws on human trafficking, its growing demand for cheap labor and its proximity to the Canadian border are key contributors to the illegal activity, according to a report by the Trafficking in Persons Study Commission.

”Ohio is not only a destination place for foreign-born trafficking victims, but it’s also a recruitment place,” said Celia Williamson, an associate professor at the University of Toledo who led the research.

From 1990 to 2000, Ohio’s foreign-born population increased 30 percent, and the state has a growing pool of legal and illegal immigrants who draw victims or hide victims, Williamson said. These networks are highly organized, with brothels fronting as legitimate businesses.

4 thoughts on “Trafficking

  1. The crime against the women, here, is slavery.

    Whether commercial sex per se is exploitive is a different question.

    When the starving sell their kidneys through a global market to the rich we see exploitation of the class of sellers by the class of buyers, though the buyer is doing what he must to survive and the seller arguably has more alternatives.

    When rich drug lords sell coke to children and fools we see exploitation of the class of buyers by the class of sellers because the product is both harmful and addictive and the buyers are ignorant or stupid.

    But no one thinks anyone is exploited in the usual case when a farmer sells food, though the buyer must have it to live and the farmer may well be rich.

    Which of the three is prostitution per se more like?

    Prostitution may be the last business in the world that, being illegal or at least morally underground in most societies, is organized by violent and brutal people – mostly men and many psychopathic – when it is organized at all, and so provides a ready opening for the extensive use of slaves.

    And the objection here is the same as it is to the use of slaves or even exploited free labor in any business.

    But where it is legal or even just not savagely organized it may be much more like the case of farming.

    Particularly in the case of the many women who are occasional, part-time, or temporary prostitutes where there is simply no room for any claim not based squarely on the Christian moral outlook that they are exploited one whit more than anybody else doing part time work of their own choosing.

    That outlook aside, there is simply no objection to prostitution or sex work, per se, any more than to work at the deli counter of the local supermarket, however profoundly we may feel that we could never do that sort of thing, or even associate with those who do without a mixture of shame, fear, and contempt.

    There are people who look at commercial sex and see only degradation and crime.

    Maybe that is even most of us, including both the workers and their customers.

    Conservative moralists are certainly like that.

    Their attitudes toward, and moral and emotional responses to, commercial sex are not too terribly different from their attitudes and responses to homosexuality, allowing for the difference in orientation and the resulting differences in temptation, repulsion, and disgust.

    And all of us share in the same heritage of the Christian outlook on sex outside a permanent, monogamous union of one man and one woman, or “not open to procreation.”

    All of us are colored by that in our most intimate personal feelings, our life choices, and our politics.

    And many of us are no doubt right in the conviction that the viability of our own life choices depends in large measure on the confinement, in large degree, of sex within the partnerships to which we really are committed for life.

    But all the same, and perhaps despite the conservatism of our personal responses or life choices, we who are not conservatives may look at commercial sex and see a trade as common as any, and the people in it we may see as “sex workers.”

    And if you agree fundamentally on this though your personal feelings, attitudes, and life choices may make it more firmly “not for you” than any other line of work, you see prostitution as a trade like any other in which the producers, or workers, are or may be no more exploited than in any other business.

    And then you will see it, without irony, as at least potentially, or much of the time in reality, a victimless crime.

  2. The article isn’t about people choosing to be sex workers. It’s about children who are sold as sex slaves to brothels. Big difference.

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