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The Cost of Our Bliss is Their Innocence

By , Tulsa, OK
Today, a staggering estimate of over two million people across the globe are victims to human sex trafficking. They are women, children, and even men, who have been kidnapped, coerced, and exploited. They have become sexual commodities; prisoners to modernized nations' promiscuity and sexual sophistication, and are deprived of their liberties by those who crave high pleasure at any cost. In this snare of sex trafficking, an entire people group faces unthinkable abuse, bearing an agony that is overlooked by free peoples and lofty governments worldwide.

Human sex trafficking is one of the most wretched forms of modern-day slavery. The American Department of State defines it as the "recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for a commercial sex act." It is a greedy industry that thrives on exploiting the weak, the innocent, and the unsuspecting. Its operators are networked globally; and like predators, they hunt down young women and children, using a variety of tricks to catch them as their prey. One such example is how mob families in Mexico employ their sons at the early age of twelve. They withdraw their sons from school and give them a few girls whom they learn to rape and pimp out, thus beginning their training. As the boys grow older, they must seek out new victims, and "first ply the girls like prospective lovers, buying them meals and desserts, promising affection and then marriage"(Landesman). Unfortunately, the girls' hearts are crushed when they are beaten, drugged, or shoved into a car and driven to a brothel. There, they undergo tormenting weeks of rape, violence, and psychological abuse before their captors deem them ready to be rented out to customers. Because the trafficking rings that do all the kidnapping usually also have footholds in their victims' hometowns, trafficked girls are too terrified to attempt escaping. Their traffickers threaten to harm their families if they run away. Under the burden of isolation, these girls can be forced to serve up to 30 clients a day; those who refuse are "beaten and sometimes killed" (Landesman). They suffer from a deep sense betrayal and emotional scarring. Countless girls end up feeling like they are used goods, and are sometimes too ashamed to return to their families if they are freed because of how worthless they feel. The ones that do escape their traffickers go into hiding, living in constant fear of being caught again by a trafficking ring and newly subjected to torture. This trade truly is a horrid torment for those caught in its web.

One major problem with human sex trafficking is that it is deeply empowered by negligent and corrupt governments. Nations such as Mexico and Thailand have outlawed human sex trafficking, but rarely exert themselves to uphold these laws. In fact, "police and local officials' corruption, bribery, and active participation as customers" ensure the success of the business (Kuo). Government is the very institution that is meant to protect the liberties of the people, but these governments have given human sex trafficking, this rancid form of slavery, the perfect soil to take root in. By not actively enforcing the ban on human sex trafficking, governments across the world inadvertently encourage it and other crime organized to flourish. Tenancingo, Mexico, is a city of refuge for an estimated 80 percent of the pimps that are vital to the Mexican trafficking industry. In Tenancingo, these criminals are actually protected by corrupt, local police. The corruption is so severe that when Mexican federal authorities traveled to Tenancingo to investigate one girl's disappearance, "their vehicle was surrounded, and the officers were intimidated into leaving" (Landesman). Governments that are poisoned by corruption leave their civilians helpless and unprotected. With no policemen to track down their missing daughters, Mexican families are left despairing to ever see them again. This is where governmental inaction or scandal can be as heinous as the trafficking itself. Any government that condones the continuance of underground sex trafficking rings is no different than an oppressor. Complacency and hypocrisy are two factors that allow globalized trafficking to boom and become a transnational phenomenon. Unfortunately, this issue not only haunts nations like Mexico, but has also taken root in the United States.

The United States is not without its own powerful stronghold of human sex trafficking. Despite proclaiming freedom and liberty for all, the U.S. "has become a major importer of sex slaves" (Landesman), with authorities estimating that at least 10,000 victims are trafficked into the U.S. each year. There are multitudes of "stash houses," or places where sex slaves are imprisoned, hiding in big cities "like Los Angeles, Atlanta and Chicago" (Landesman). These slaves can be imported from the Ukraine, Korea, Cambodia, Mexico, Thailand, and countless other nations. How they arrive in the U.S. varies, but each story is just as painful as the next. An ex-sex slave, whose Mexican traffickers named her "Andrea," was abandoned at age four and picked up by members of a trafficking ring. For twelve years, she was raised in the bonds sex slavery, trafficked back and forth across the American-Mexican border to service "clients" when she was as young as seven years old. Her clientele included American businessmen, policemen, and even a child psychologist. As the United States remains largely complacent in combating human sex trafficking, foreign countries like Mexico, a popular place for traffickers to import their victims before trafficking them across the U.S.'s southern border, "see sex trafficking as a U.S. problem"(Landesman). This comment, however derogatory, is not too far fetched. During the Vietnam War, the sex industry exploded in Southeast Asia. The presence of American military bases in Southeast Asia caused the "number of [Asian] prostitutes [to rise] from 20,000 to an astonishing 400,000" (Kuo). Within seven years, the Southeast Asian sex industry "grossed US$16 million for the Thai economy" (Kuo). In the name of recreation and relaxation, thousands of American soldiers solicited prostitutes, displaying a sexual appetite that surpassed what had been seen in local Thailand at that time. Unfortunately, the Americans were unwittingly became part of the reason why hundreds of thousands of young women and children have been enslaved for commercial sex. Without an awakening from apathy and ignorance, America will continue to play a part in the oppression of sex slaves, allowing the already burgeoning trafficking industry to drink deeply from the vast wells of American wealth.

The reason why human sex trafficking even exists lies in the demand. Without a demand for sex slaves, human sex trafficking would cease to exist. However, the United States sports a culture of sexual sophistication and a morality that unashamedly poses the saying that "boys will be boys" as an excuse for the wantonly answered lusts of certain men. This complacent attitude dismisses human sex trafficking as no big deal, filing the girls who are enslaved by this industry into the stack of American criminal stereotypes. As the United States overlooks the casualties of its all-accepting culture, it continues to produce mass amounts of pornographic and perverse materials that only embolden men (and women) to join in the atrocities of the sex trafficking trade. In 2006, the United States was strides ahead of the global community when it came to the number of pornographic web pages it produced. The number came to an alarming "244,661,900" pages, with Germany distantly following in second with "10,030,200" pages (TopTenReviews.com). The assurance is that the number of pornography pages has not been depleted since 2006, but has more than likely increased. The American pornography industry, which grossed "$13.33 billion" in revenues in 2006, burdens trafficking victims by producing a sexual demand for what the trafficking industry supplies (TopTenReviews.com). The answer to eliminating the demand for sexual services in the United States is not simply found in better law enforcement. Sex trafficking is an issue of the heart. It cannot be defeated if only combated with more government programs and donations to well meaning non-profits. The United States' necessary answer to human sex trafficking must be to promote the value of others. The media must change its message. The people must change their morals. Once women are seen as precious treasures, creatures that ought to be honored and protected, and not as sexual objects, then the demand for commercial sex will die. Once men are perceived and perceive themselves as something more than boys who "will be boys," unto realizing that they were made for more than just sex, but are men of honor and valor, then the demand for commercial sex will die.

Until that day when love breaks in, the demand for commercial sex will continue to thrive. The cost of worldwide promiscuity and sexual sophistication has been millions of precious, faceless people. Their freedoms, let alone their lives, are lost today in the shadow of slavery. These priceless human beings are the casualties of another man's high pleasure, and they carry inexcusable affliction. They are the overlooked and the unthought-of. They are the victims of human sex trafficking.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Heather.Hines said...
Feb. 5, 2010 at 9:49 pm
Samantha! This is rivoting and piercing. God has gifted you in this area and we have only begun to see your giftings (and more are to be revealed!) and how God will use them to declare His heart and emminent return. I long to see it!:) I love you!
-Heather Hines
 
Crystal replied...
Feb. 7, 2010 at 11:09 pm
Sam--AWE-SOME!!!!!! Thank you for being such a dilligent servant! You are an inspiration.
 
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