“Shocks fit well into the brothel business model because they cause agonizing pain and terrify the girls without damaging their looks or undermining their market value.”

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That’s a quote from this Nicholas Kristof column in the NYT. The protagonist of the column was finally freed from the brothel in which she had been imprisoned by a police raid. There are many pimps who, under the guise of promoting “sex workers rights” would like to prevent law enforcement from investigating brothels, so that they can more effectively control their slaves.   Kristof highlights the important work of Somaly Mam in fighting these efforts.

Kristof justifiably decries sex slavery in “poor countries” and closes with these words:

I hope that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will recognize slavery as unfinished business on the foreign policy agenda. The abolitionist cause simply hasn’t been completed as long as 14-year-old girls are being jolted with electric shocks : right now, as you read this : to make them smile before oblivious tourists.

My question for Kristof is, what about the sex slaves right here in the U.S.? This may not be a “poor country” but there are a lot of poor people who live here, or are trafficked here, and many are similarly enslaved. Framing the problem as something that happens “over there” is flat out wrong, and it buttresses false and dangerous assumptions that women working as prostitutes in this country are doing so voluntarily, when this is true for a small percentage at best.   Kristof is a journalist; he could find reports of domestic sex trafficking in the newspapers on virtually a daily basis. Hey, here’s one from December 30th that took about three seconds to find using Google. Here’s another from the very same day.   Here’s one from last week. Here’s one from December 20th. It’s not hard to find the evidence if you are willing to look for it. Kristof could read about it in his own newspaper.

I save for another day my rant about how, once a camera enters the room to record the rapes so they can be further monetarily exploited as pornography, the Supposedly Liberal Doods and their fans agressively promote the view that this is a protected First Amendment excercise, because coerced prostituted women are obviously showing “agency” and to suggest otherwise is misogynist.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to “Shocks fit well into the brothel business model because they cause agonizing pain and terrify the girls without damaging their looks or undermining their market value.”

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