Analytic Gap In U.S. Department of State’s Human Trafficking Report: Condoleeza Rice Doesn’t Seem To Care About Adults Forced Into Pornography

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The DoS’s June 2007 “Trafficking In Persons” Report notes that trafficked women and children are victims of “commercial sexual exploitation,” reporting at page 10:

Annually, according to U.S. Government-sponsored research completed in 2006, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, which does not include millions trafficked within their own countries. Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The majority of transnational victims are females trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. These numbers do not include millions of female and male victims around the world who are trafficked within their own national borders:the majority for forced or bonded labor. [Empasis added.]

The Report empasizes that commercial sexual exploitation in human trafficking in passages like this at page 35:

Demand for cheap labor and for prostituted women, girls, and boys is the primary”pull”factor. Customers for the products of forced labor are often completely ignorant of their nvolvement with slavery. Sex buyers are far more complicit in the victimization of sex trafficking victims, and thus are logical targets for education on the link between prostitution and human trafficking. Sex tourism and child pornography have become worldwide industries, facilitated by technologies such as the Internet, which vastly expand the choices available to pedophiles and permit instant and nearly undetectable transactions.

Note that the only reference to pornography in this passage is to “child pornography.” The Report references child pornography 29 times, but the forced participation of women in pornography not at all. There is plenty of evidence that women who are “prostituted” (to use the terminology of the report) are also force filmed, so that videos of their rapes can be distributed commercially (see e.g. this, and this, cf this HHS report, and see generally). Why this category of sexual exploitation doesn’t merit mention by the State Department’s Report is quite disturbing. Surely Rice doesn’t think that women held captive and forced into prostitution are appearing in pornography voluntarily.

–Ann Bartow

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