Thinking Critically About Sex Trafficking

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That’s the title of this post at Sociological Images. It asserts that readers:

… ought be critical consumers of stories about sex trafficking, the moving of girls and women across national borders in order to force them into prostitution.   Without denying that sex trafficking occurs or suggesting that it is unproblematic, Agustin wants us to avoid completely erasing the possibility of women’s autonomy and self-determination.

I tried unsuccessfully (at least so far) to leave this comment in response (I’ve edited it slightly to embed the links):

Critical thinking, that’s the ticket. Can we call it trafficking if the women were actually young girls? Because that is what a synopsis the related news report says:

“This is a news report done by Ana Garcia in 2003 which has dramatic footage of child prostitution where Mexican sex traffickers brought Mexican children to the Vista migrant camp for prostitution. This is the same Mexican crime syndicate brought to the world’s attention with Peter Landesman’s The Girls Next Door article where it was revealed that under-aged girls as young as 9 years old were being brought for mass prostitution in the San Luis Rey riverbed in Vista and Oceanside, California. Local law enforcement has been ordered to not associate Oceanside, Vista, and Carlsbad with the sex trafficking of Mexican minors since so much money is tied up in development and they don’t want anyone to get the idea that Mexican children are being sex trafficked regularly to San Diego County. Ana Garcia also revealed sex trafficking of Mexican minors and prostitution at the McGonigle Canyon migrant camps and footage was taken showing the girls having sex with the migrants and other”johns”who came to have sex with the children. The racist SDPD (San Diego Police Department) failed to protect these girls because they were Mexican and because the McGonigle Canyon migrant camp was a”no go zone”so they refused to stopped the prostitution of Mexican children. John Monti turned in a grand jury complaint about this which the illuminati of San Diego County spiked, but couldn’t since the press conference after was videotaped and the North County Times ran an article on it. Assistant Chief Boyd Long, SDPD, continued to deny knowledge of the sex trafficking of Mexican minors in McGonigle Canyon to be politically correct at the cost of the lives of Mexican children. It is irrefutable that the SDPD knew that girls were being trafficked to McGonigle Canyon, yet no one refuses to investigate the SDPD because the lives of undocumented Mexican children who are sex trafficked don’t count and the city and county government is tightly controlled. The Mexican child sex traffickers as recently as June 2008 are known to have set up another”outdoor brothel”in the area of Rancho Penasquitos. There is yet to be any public acknowledgement of what had been happening in McGonigle Canyon and no formal apology to Mexican and Central American families whose daughters had been abducted and trafficked for prostitution. Maybe if the girls had Anglo names like Danielle Van Dam….. “

Guess what, in 2006 another investigation found that nine year old girls were still showing”agency” in the same geographic area, without any apparent intervention by law enforcement.

Let me further respond with a couple of links, here and here.

Oh, and here is what a NYT reporter concluded in this article in 2004:

The operating assumption among American police departments is that women who sell their bodies do so by choice, and undocumented foreign women who sell their bodies are not only prostitutes (that is, voluntary sex workers) but also trespassers on U.S. soil. No Department of Justice attorney or police vice squad officer I spoke with in Los Angeles : one of the country’s busiest thoroughfares for forced sex traffic : considers sex trafficking in the U.S. a serious problem, or a priority. A teenage girl arrested on Sunset Strip for solicitation, or a group of Russian sex workers arrested in a brothel raid in the San Fernando Valley, are automatically heaped onto a pile of workaday vice arrests.

The problem isn’t that people are too quick to see sex trafficking. The problem is that people refuse to see it. As I have blogged about before, the Bush Department of Justice has opposed using federal resources to help women who are trafficked for sex. And, see also. An article here lays out a complicated situation in which a man who filed a grand jury complaint against the San Diego Police Department for failing to investigate human trafficking and child prostitution in McGonigle Canyon was arrested for weeks later on assault charges, for which a jury ultimately found him “not guilty,” according to the linked report.

Trafficked women are very profitable to pimps, and to the people they pay off. That, I’d guess, is the key to the whole thing.   Well, that and virulent misogyny.

–Ann Bartow

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0 Responses to Thinking Critically About Sex Trafficking

  1. annared says:

    I’m also a reader at Sociological Images so thanks for this Ann.

  2. CConway1982 says:

    I just discovered this site today thanks to the ABA, and I am so grateful. I’m a law student who wants to do work to combat human trafficking, and I really appreciate your post and the links included in it. Thank you!

  3. Ann Bartow says:

    Sure. A lot of people make a lot of money from human trafficking, so your help will be important if progress is to be made.