Human Trafficking/Sex Work: What Can Be Done?

I am currently taking Social Problems online. For this week’s assignments we watched a movie, “Sex and Money” which deals with the problems of Sex Trafficking. We are used to hearing about sex trafficking happening in other countries, but did you know that it also happens right here in the United States?

Most people don’t.

I think there is a feeling in this country that we are untouchable. It is like we live in a world where nothing bad happens, although I do know that is a privileged feeling attributed to white suburbia. That is the world I have been living in for the past eight years. I live in a town where many people pretend like crime happens outside of the bubble, while ignoring the perpetrators within their white picket fence.

Anyway, I digress.

For this week’s discussion we have to talk about how we think sex trafficking should be stopped. For me, there is a core cause at work here and it is the overwhelming amount of young women and children who live in poverty in this world AND in the United States. We can donate as much money as we want to non-profits, go to every rally and protest, do the however mile walk, but if poverty still exists sex trafficking will thrive. If there is still a market where men are paying for sex with children, then it will continue.

Don’t get me wrong, I think donating to non-profits can do some good as long as the money is going where it should go, to shelters and so on. I would like to see preventative measures being taken so that young women and children do not have to go through hell and back. A child’s innocence cannot be given back to them, and if the first experience a child has is being trafficked, how will they perceive the world later in their life?

We also need to keep in mind that human trafficking is not the same as sex work. Human trafficking entails the selling of a human being; it is considered “modern day slavery” (i have a problem with this term because it states that slavery in the world stopped somewhere then got picked up again in “modern” times). Sex work, on the other hand is a choice that women and men make in order to survive. Or some people just like doing sex work which is OK too, in my opinion.

Another thing that popped out at me while watching the documentary was that many people created a racist image of the “pimp”. Let’s keep in mind that pimps are not all “scary black men.” They are white, brown, black, yellow. They are men AND women. They are not one single character, so again, stereotypes reign.

I think it’s important to start humanizing people in the sex work industry, as well empowering those who have been trafficked so that they can live a full life. This can’t happen if we continue to look at those in poverty as hopeless beggars. Remember, when you pull yourself up by your bootstraps you fall over.

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